Monday, September 30, 2013

That's no moon....

....oh wait. Yeah, it kind of is.

I'd like to have been a fly on the wall when this was about to go down:

"Hey, I've got an idea.... let's paint the death star on your butt!"


The excuse factory

Stephen Harper has said the following about legalizing marijuana. What follows each quote is my response.

"I've been very fortunate to live a drug-free life, and I don’t meet many people who've led a drug-free life who regret it."

Well, Mr. Harper, I have yet to meet a marijuana (only) user that regrets it either. I predict that had you even been a casual user at some point in your life, your opinion would be quite different.

"I know some people say if you just legalized it you’d get the money and all would be well. But I think that rests on the assumption that somehow drugs are bad because they’re illegal ... The reason drugs are illegal is because they are bad."

Not if you read history, Mr. Harper.

"Cannabis was added to the Confidential Restricted List in 1923. The 1922 publication of Emily Murphy’s The Black Candle may have been inspiration for the addition. Murphy, a police magistrate, used anecdotes culled from anti-drug reformers and police to make her arguments, which make strong links between drugs and race and the threat this poses to white women. One chapter is entitled "Marahuana – A New Menace", and makes the claim that the only ways out of cannabis addiction are insanity, death, or abandonment.

More importantly, cannabis was outlawed after the Director of the Federal Division of Narcotic Control returned from League of Nations meetings where the international control of the drug was broached. Cannabis did not begin to attract official attention in Canada until the latter 1930s, and even then it was minimal. The first seizure of cannabis by Canadian police was not until 1937. Between 1946 and 1961, cannabis accounted for only 2% of all drug arrests in Canada."

"When people are buying from the drug trade, they are not buying from their neighbour. They are buying from international cartels that are involved in unimaginable violence and intimidation and social disaster and catastrophe all across the world."

Yes, most of the marijuana Canadians buy is grown in the US (our neighbour) and Mexico. It isn't grown by local farmers only because it is illegal to grow cannabis without permission from Health Canada, although some do try to grow it in secret. So if we were allowed to grow it, we would no longer be supporting those 'cartels'.

"I must admit myself sometimes I’m frustrated by how little impact governments have been able to have on the drug trade internationally. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking that if we somehow stopped trying to deal with it, it would suddenly turn into a nice, wholesome industry. It will never be that."

Governments have had little impact because the demand hasn't gone away. You can't reasonably expect sellers to give up a lucrative business when demand for product has never been higher and legal supply is non-existent. You don't 'stop trying to deal with it', you legalize and control it, tax it, make it safer for consumption. You arrange it so that a valid ID is required to buy it to keep it out of the hands of kids. Once it is legal to grow and produce in mass quantities, the 'cartels' become obsolete, because they are no longer needed to fulfill the demand. Many users would likely just grow a few plants in their back yard.


Saturday, September 28, 2013


 While we're on the topic of chocolate, Rittersport, my favourite chocolate bar brand, has finally released a bar that you used to only be able to get once in a blue moon. Coconut.

[Happy dance]

Scary chocolate

Nestlé have made a special batch of some of their favourite chocolate bars just for Hallowe'en.

I can't wait to sink my teeth into some Coffin Crisp. I'm pretty sure Olivia will like the Scaries.

Star Wars booze

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Things I learned lately 25 September

  • There is no cell phone reception at Burning Man. But there are pay phones.
  • Quebec currently has or plans to have a total of 1860 wind turbines in the province.
  • A new Google employee is known as a "Noogler" and a former employee is referred to as a "Xoogler".
  • Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin own just 16% of the company. That 16% gives them a combined net worth of around $46 billion.
  • Google has acquired an average of one company every week since 2010.
  • Canadians call it Bristol board. Some Northeastern Americans call it oaktag. The rest of the English world calls it poster board.
  • Almost 50% of recent grads in US regret choosing either their school, their major, or both.
  • Pull the stem and eat an apple from the top down right through the core. You'll barely notice that you ate the core.
  • One of the reasons there are empty homes in China is that many Chinese treat investing in property as a means of saving, rather than a savings account or stocks. A home is a tangible investment that can be used by their children later too.
  • China has 160+ cities with more than 1 million residents.
  • A future cure for grey hair could be available after scientists discovered why follicles become discoloured as we grow older. People who are going grey build up hydrogen peroxide in the hair follicle, which causes hair to bleach itself from the inside out. This could be reversed by an antioxidant cocktail that allows re-pigmentation of the hair, a discovery made whilst investigating the disease vitiligo, which Michael Jackson suffered from.
  • A McDonald's Super-Sized fries, phased out in 2004, contained 600 calories.
  • Assuming you use 25 sheets of toilet paper per day, you then use 168 trees in your lifetime just for your sanitary needs.
  • For the first time in the history of Canada, more people live west of Ontario (30.7% of the population) than east of Ontario (30.6%).
  • Canada had the biggest population growth of all G8 countries between 2006-2011.
  • Utah just raised the speed limit on parts of its rural interstates to 80mph.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Best missed connection note ever

"I saw you on the Manhattan-bound Brooklyn Q train.

I was wearing a blue-striped t-shirt and a pair of maroon pants. You were wearing a vintage red skirt and a smart white blouse. We both wore glasses. I guess we still do.

You got on at DeKalb and sat across from me and we made eye contact, briefly. I fell in love with you a little bit, in that stupid way where you completely make up a fictional version of the person you're looking at and fall in love with that person. But still I think there was something there.

Several times we looked at each other and then looked away. I tried to think of something to say to you -- maybe pretend I didn't know where I was going and ask you for directions or say something nice about your boot-shaped earrings, or just say, "Hot day." It all seemed so stupid."

[Update] I just wanted to link to the whole thing, but it expired. Luckily, I kept the rest just in case:

"At one point, I caught you staring at me and you immediately averted your eyes. You pulled a book out of your bag and started reading it -- a biography of Lyndon Johnson -- but I noticed you never once turned a page.

My stop was Union Square, but at Union Square I decided to stay on, rationalizing that I could just as easily transfer to the 7 at 42nd Street, but then I didn't get off at 42nd Street either. You must have missed your stop as well, because when we got all the way to the end of the line at Ditmars, we both just sat there in the car, waiting.

I cocked my head at you inquisitively. You shrugged and held up your book as if that was the reason.

Still I said nothing.

We took the train all the way back down -- down through Astoria, across the East River, weaving through midtown, from Times Square to Herald Square to Union Square, under SoHo and Chinatown, up across the bridge back into Brooklyn, past Barclays and Prospect Park, past Flatbush and Midwood and Sheepshead Bay, all the way to Coney Island. And when we got to Coney Island, I knew I had to say something.

Still I said nothing.

And so we went back up.

Up and down the Q line, over and over. We caught the rush hour crowds and then saw them thin out again. We watched the sun set over Manhattan as we crossed the East River. I gave myself deadlines: I'll talk to her before Newkirk; I'll talk to her before Canal. Still I remained silent.

For months we sat on the train saying nothing to each other. We survived on bags of skittles sold to us by kids raising money for their basketball teams. We must have heard a million mariachi bands, had our faces nearly kicked in by a hundred thousand break dancers. I gave money to the beggars until I ran out of singles. When the train went above ground I'd get text messages and voicemails ("Where are you? What happened? Are you okay?") until my phone ran out of battery.

I'll talk to her before daybreak; I'll talk to her before Tuesday. The longer I waited, the harder it got. What could I possibly say to you now, now that we've passed this same station for the hundredth time? Maybe if I could go back to the first time the Q switched over to the local R line for the weekend, I could have said, "Well, this is inconvenient," but I couldn't very well say it now, could I? I would kick myself for days after every time you sneezed -- why hadn't I said "Bless You"? That tiny gesture could have been enough to pivot us into a conversation, but here in stupid silence still we sat.

There were nights when we were the only two souls in the car, perhaps even on the whole train, and even then I felt self-conscious about bothering you. She's reading her book, I thought, she doesn't want to talk to me. Still, there were moments when I felt a connection. Someone would shout something crazy about Jesus and we'd immediately look at each other to register our reactions. A couple of teenagers would exit, holding hands, and we'd both think: Young Love.

For sixty years, we sat in that car, just barely pretending not to notice each other. I got to know you so well, if only peripherally. I memorized the folds of your body, the contours of your face, the patterns of your breath. I saw you cry once after you'd glanced at a neighbor's newspaper. I wondered if you were crying about something specific, or just the general passage of time, so unnoticeable until suddenly noticeable. I wanted to comfort you, wrap my arms around you, assure you I knew everything would be fine, but it felt too familiar; I stayed glued to my seat.

One day, in the middle of the afternoon, you stood up as the train pulled into Queensboro Plaza. It was difficult for you, this simple task of standing up, you hadn't done it in sixty years. Holding onto the rails, you managed to get yourself to the door. You hesitated briefly there, perhaps waiting for me to say something, giving me one last chance to stop you, but rather than spit out a lifetime of suppressed almost-conversations I said nothing, and I watched you slip out between the closing sliding doors.

It took me a few more stops before I realized you were really gone. I kept waiting for you to reenter the subway car, sit down next to me, rest your head on my shoulder. Nothing would be said. Nothing would need to be said.

When the train returned to Queensboro Plaza, I craned my neck as we entered the station. Perhaps you were there, on the platform, still waiting. Perhaps I would see you, smiling and bright, your long gray hair waving in the wind from the oncoming train.

But no, you were gone. And I realized most likely I would never see you again. And I thought about how amazing it is that you can know somebody for sixty years and yet still not really know that person at all.

I stayed on the train until it got to Union Square, at which point I got off and transferred to the L. "

Long Island Landscapers

This could be good............ except for one small thing.

Super Minion Brothers

Sunday, September 22, 2013


So, the idea behind Phonebloks is that you should be able to not only choose the kind and quality of parts in your phone and plug them into the main board, but this would also give you the ability to replace broken parts and upgrade your existing components. I could opt for a better camera and sacrifice some storage, for example.

An interesting concept in theory. The problem would be getting all the players (phone manufacturers) to get on board. Brands would no longer be able to distinguish themselves with their own unique chassis etc. It also suggests that there's enough of a culture that would bother building their own phone from 'blok' components. I would consider it, but who knows how many others could be bothered. Then there's the question of OS. Would it run iOS? Android? W...[gack!]indows Ph...[choke]one? Neither? What about all the apps I invested in? Would they still work? Then there's the inevitable discussion of evolution. When a new phone comes out, it doesn't just have a new processor or camera. It often has new architecture as well, something that the main board design is based upon.

So while I like the idea of being able to customize my phone's components, there would have to be a drastic and comprehensive change in brands' attitudes toward sharing and standardizing technology as well as phone software and I don't ever see that happening. If a company were to just sell this under one brand for one OS (likely Android), I don't see this idea getting much traction, as the Android scene is fragmented enough already, hardware-wise.

My favourite things in iOS7

  • The ability to make the text bigger
  • Easy access to wifi / bluetooth / do not disturb (Control Center)
  • The new spirit level (page 2 of the compass app)
  • Auto updates for apps
  • The new way to close apps

Minions in black

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fall colours

Friday, September 20, 2013

Beastie Boys Sabotage + librarians = ?

Awesomeness, of course.

Lack of faith through experience

It seems that every story I hear about a doctor's visit reduces my confidence in the health care system more and more. Darlene had severe pain in her elbow and extreme lack of mobility. She saw 3 different doctors (not different by choice) as the pain did not subside over the period of a week. Each doctor came up with a different diagnosis. One chalked it up to a nerve issue. Another said it was bursitis. Yet another said it was another one of those unexplained side effects of fibromyalgia. In fact it was neither of those things.

Darlene visited a physiotherapist who specializes in sports injuries. I won't go into how she managed to get to see this therapist, as she was not referred by any of the three doctors. In fact, even though she requested a referral to this physiotherapist that she had already been seeing for other treatments, the doctors would not oblige. Anyway, the physiotherapist asked what the doctors had done to determine the cause of her pain. When she told him, he was disappointed, but not surprised. A few quick checks and his diagnosis was complete. Darlene had suffered a sprained tricep that was affecting the bursae in her elbow. He was able to come to this conclusion with a few routine mobility and strength tests. He even had physiotherapist students, who happened to be present, to confirm his diagnosis with their own examinations. They all concluded the same thing.

The physiotherapist immediately applied ultrasound therapy to the affected area and arranged for a follow-up visit. He also dismissed the elbow brace that she was forced to buy on the doctor's recommendation and gave her a more suitable one.

If Darlene had not had an opportunity to see this physiotherapist for something unrelated, she would be suffering this injury much longer than necessary and possibly missing more work than necessary, as she uses her right arm to perform tasks that require precision, dexterity and strength. This is yet another symptom of what's wrong with our system. In an effort to save money, doctor's visits are quick and perfunctory, diagnosis is inaccurate and doctors are very reluctant to refer patients to specialists who might be able to help them.

What do you mean I can't be Iron Man?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Extended warranty versus a surge protector

I'm noticing that stores selling modern washers and dryers are trying very hard to add extended warranty packages. Now that the washer and dryer console is mostly electronic, sellers have new ammunition to use to justify the extended warranty, warning that any power surges will possibly severely damage the electronic circuit board in the washer, a costly repair.

Of course, what they don't tell you is that for $15, you could buy a wall mounted surge protector that would protect your washer for far less money.

Another doctor becomes pro-marijuana

[I realize this is now old news, but whatevs, right?]

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, apologizes for ignoring marijuana's medical potential in 2009. After travelling the world, meeting with medical experts and medical marijuana patients, Gupta concludes "We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States."


•Marijuana laws are not based on science.

•Marijuana doesn't have a "high potential for abuse" and doesn't lead people to use other drugs.

•In some medical cases, marijuana is "the only thing that works."

•It's safer than a lot of prescription drugs. There are no cases of anyone who died from a marijuana overdose.

•76% of doctors believe in it.

•Withdrawal symptoms are minor.

•The system is biased against research into medical marijuana's benefits. Only 6% of research on marijuana published in the last year analyzed benefits. The other 93% are designed primarily to investigate harm.

That circle is stuffed

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Things I learned lately 17 September

  • Soon there will be Campbell's soup Keurig K-cups. Noodles in a pouch, broth in a K-Cup.
  • France requires that all workers get 30 days of paid vacation per year. UK gets 29, Germany gets 28. Canada gets 14, US gets 0.
  • 29% of Americans think armed revolution might necessary to 'protect our liberties' (44% of self-described Republicans feel this way).
  • It's a myth that you shouldn't wake a sleepwalker.
  • McDonald's sales have fallen for the first time in a decade. Even so, 49% of Americans went to the fast food joint in March 2013.
  • The cost of solar power is dropping like a stone. It used to fall at a rate of 6% per year, but now we're at 20% per year. At this rate, solar will be cheaper than coal in 5 years. If that happens, the economy will see a significant change due to the practically zero development value of fossil fuels.
  • Between 1968 and 1973, someone hijacked a commercial airline flight roughly every week.
  • Less than 1% of all Americans contribute 68% of all election campaign funding.
  • In the early 1900s, underwear for men covered the whole body and were called 'union suits'. Essentially what we would now call one piece long sleeved long underwear.
  • In the 1934 film “It Happened One Night,” Clark Gable is shown taking off his shirt, and he is bare-chested. This was the first time a man in a domestic scenario was shown with no undershirt.
  • A few redditors developed an interesting theory, that Max and Ruby are dead. The show takes place in the rabbit afterlife. Their parents are absent because they're still alive. Their grandmother however, is with them because she too, is dead.
  • 90% of all volcanic activity is in the oceans.
  • There is now an ABBA museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Natch....
  • Countries including France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea, the UK, Ireland and the US have adopted systems where people accused of file-sharing have their Internet access curtailed. This takes many forms, from losing access until subscribers complete a "copyright training course" designed by the entertainment industry, to out-and-out disconnection from the Internet. An in-depth survey of the file-sharing landscape before and after the introduction of three strikes rules shows that there is no evidence demonstrating effectiveness. 
  • 95% of income gains in the US since 2009 have accrued to the top 1%.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Burger quest - Flippn Burgers

In my never ending quest for great burgers and fries, I had to find a way to get to Flippn Burgers in Kensington (330 10 St NW). Having the day off one Friday gave me just such an opportunity.

I had already read numerous reviews on Yelp about this place and knew it was small, so I made sure to go early - 11:30am. The place was almost empty, so no lack of places to sit for me.

Let's start with the burger. I ordered a cheeseburger on a brown bun with mustard, pickle and sauteed onions, with fries and a bottle of ginger ale. I like that the pop is in glass bottles - a nice touch. I know now what other reviewers meant about the patty itself. It doesn't have that 'I just made this with my own hands' texture. In fact one could mistake this for a frozen patty. But I do believe that the meats used in this place are 'halal' meats, so I doubt this allows for fresh ground beef made into hand-made patties on the premises.

That's OK though. The burger was good enough. My biggest concern was the fries. My last sojourn was to Cliveburger and their fries were - how shall we say - shellac'ed. They were likely cooked at too high a temperature and this created a fry that was too shiny, too crispy and not tender enough on the inside.

Not at Flippn Burgers. Their fries (IMHO) are perfect. Many thanks to Omar, who is forever trying to make the recipe better. You did it, man.

Cut in half

I would so love to do this prank on people.

Who's there?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Such a crazy idea, it might work

If I ever decide to run for national politics, I think I would run as an independent MP for Calgary West.

For starters, anyone, even a wet-behind-the-ears nobody like me could probably do a better job than the incumbent. As an independent MP, I may not have any influence through the party in power, but I wouldn't be subjected to towing their party line either. I could vote the way I believe my constituents would want me to vote.

People might ask me "What would you be able to get for Calgary West if you didn't belong to the ruling party?" My answer is "What are you getting from your current MP who does belong to the ruling party? Besides naps and inappropriate attacks against Nelson Mandela."

I must be very up front about the fact that I am motivated in some small part by the fat pension that awaits me if I manage to last 2 terms, but that I feel that after serving my country as a soldier for 20 years and then as a politician who cares about his riding and the people in it, I think an MP's pension would be money well spent. It would certainly be orders of magnitude bigger than the military pension I get now.

I promise not to fall asleep in Parliament. I promise to always rule on behalf of the people, not some corporation. I promise to always answer mail from my constituents, even if the answer is that I don't have an immediate answer. I promise to be inclusive and treat everyone as equals. If Marg Princess Warrior comes to make fun of me, I promise not to run away and call 911. I promise not to make false claims for benefits I am entitled to.

Would you vote for me?

[Update: I just realized that there are pictures of me in drag on Facebook. Never mind.]
[Update 2: Our ridings have been re-aligned. Rob Anders is no longer my MP as of the next election.]

How to water plants while you're away on vacation

Fill a large pail with water, and stand it a little above the level of the plants and group round or near as many plants as practical. Loosely plait two or three strands of wool together, immerse completely in water, and place one end in the pail, weighted, and touching the bottom. Rest the other end on the soil: a separate plait of wool is advisable for each pot.

Daft Minion

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hope Santa can swim...

This is what the North Pole looked like on 25 July 2013. That's water you see, not ice. The North Pole is now a shallow lake on top of an ever thinning sheet of ice.

You can catch a live picture of the North Pole here.

Kitten wants to play too

This nerdy love song is cute enough, but her kitten makes it even cuter.

More fun with headlines

Yes, I amuse myself a great deal.....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Tianducheng is a replica of Paris in China that has maybe a few thousand residents, even though it was built to accommodate over 10,000 people.

It comes complete with a 1/3 scale Eiffel Tower.

Electrified roads

The city of Gumi in South Korea just turned on its first 15 mile long network of "electrified" roads that recharge electric vehicles as they drive.

Cables carrying electricity at a specific frequency about a foot below the road generate an electromagnetic field. This generates current in a coil located underneath certain vehicles, charging the vehicle's batteries.

The technology is only being used with a few electric buses, but it's easy to see how this could completely change the logistics and cost of owning an electric vehicle by eliminating the range problems with electric cars. Batteries can become smaller and cheaper.

A research study behind Gumi's network concluded that only 5-15% of roads need to be electrified for the concept to be viable.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Finland facts

  • 36 vacation days per year, not including holidays. You can leave your job for a brief hiatus and come back to a guaranteed position months later.
  • Tuition at university is free.
  • An immigrant, while learning the language and training for jobs, earns 700 euros a month to live on. 
  • When a child is born, the parents will collect 100 euros a month from the government until the day they turn 17.
  • The country has a low infant mortality rate, better school scores, and a very low poverty rate.
  • It's the second-happiest country on earth (the U.S. doesn't break the top 10). According to the OECD, Finns on average give an 8.8 score to their overall life satisfaction.
  • The Finnish government gives every mom a 'baby box'. This package sent to expecting women contains all the essentials for newborns -- everything from diapers to a tiny sleeping bag. (Want to choose your own baby clothes? You can opt instead for the box's cash value) 
  • Finland mandates four months of paid maternity leave, and the mother and father can share an additional six-month "parental leave" period, with pay. After that, kids can either continue staying home with their mothers until they reach school age, or parents can instead send them to a publicly subsidized child-care center, where the providers are all extensively trained. The cost is on a sliding scale based on family income, but the maximum comes out to about $4,000 a year, compared with $10,000 for comparable care in the US.
  • Unemployment insurance in Finland lasts for 500 days, after which you can collect a means-tested Labor Market Subsidy for an essentially indefinite period of time. (The unemployment rate is a high-but-not-awful 8.2 percent).
  • In addition to dirt-cheap universal health care, Finland offers compensation for wages you might have lost while you were away from work, as well as a "Special Care Allowance" if you need to take some time off to take care of your sick kids.
  • People in Finland are more secure and less anxious because there is a threshold below which they won't fall. Even if they face unemployment or illness, Finns will have some payments from the state, guaranteed public health care and education. 
  • Finnish women were the second in the world to get the vote in 1906, and they were heavily represented in the country's first parliament. 
  • Roughly 75 to 80 percent of Finns are union members (it's about 11 percent in the US), and the groups dictate the salaries and working conditions for large swaths of the population. 
  • Finns live in houses and apartments that are about half the size of Americans', and their taxes on the wealthy, like those on capital gains, are much higher than ours. Professionals such as doctors make far less there, which helps medical care to stay reasonably priced.
  • Finland has much more powerful local governments and they're tasked with executing the myriad functions of the welfare system -- from helping the poor to operating the day cares. Municipal taxes are redistributed and supplemented with grants, thus largely eliminating the problem of under-resourced areas.


I would have loved to play this as a kid.

Why the minion face?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Things I learned lately 7 September

  • Nissan claims that they will have the technology to put self-driving cars on the road by 2020. The challenge will be to convince governments to make them legal, insurance companies to insure them and drivers to trust them. Interestingly, Mercedes high end models already have adaptive cruise control with mild steering capability, which means that the car can drive itself on any major roadway, even with curves. The caveat is that you still have to keep your hands on the wheel.
  • To deter ants from invading your home, spread powdered cinnamon anywhere you see them.
  • You shouldn't eliminate eggs and red meat from your diet, you should 'restrict' them to a few times per week at most.
  • 10 days of stubble is apparently the most attractive length of facial hair on men on the scale of clean shaven all the way to a full growth beard.
  • New car smell is caused by the plasticizers that make PVC soft in car vinyl.
  • The cost per watt of power produced by solar cells is now mere cents above the band of cost of coal and natural gas and it's falling fast.
  • Pirates never made people walk the plank. That notion came from Peter Pan.
  • Pirates never made treasure maps. That notion came from Treasure Island.
  • The qwerty keyboard layout is a remnant of the typewriter. The layout prevented common letters from being pressed at the same time and jamming up the type levers. (I knew this intimately as a result of my days as a teletype technician back in the day).
  • Australia is the only continent without an active volcano.
  • You might only have 70 years to see Venice before it's submerged due to climate change induced rise in sea levels.
  • You might only have 20 years to see the glaciers in Glacier National Park. 123 of the 150 that existed in 1900 are gone.
  • The average height of a European man increased 11cm between 1870 and 1980.
  • Bob Seger sang (uncredited) backing vocals on the Eagles' Heartache Tonight.
  • Duane Allman taught Don Felder to play slide guitar. Don Felder gave Tom Petty guitar lessons.
  • KFC Japan will sell deep fried corn potage (soup) for a limited time. This may be a one-upmanship against American county fair fare.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Keurig paydirt!

Just over 18 months ago, I mentioned that I would like to operate a store that sells every flavour of Keurig coffee and tea and let the public buy as many of each flavour as they want - mix and match.

Well, someone beat me to it - in fact they've been doing it for years (in Calgary no less), but I only found out about it last week. We went on Saturday and..... well, heaven. I had to behave and only buy $20 worth of product, but I could have easily spent $60 without trying.

Needless to say, I have a lot of great new flavours to try and have been reacquainted with ones I love but haven't seen in stores.

Yes, I know, I'm getting to that. The name of this place is The Coffee Connection and they're at 1047 26 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A 6K8 and they're open Monday to Saturday from 10-4.

If you own a Keurig, you have to go. Like, go already!

Elbow Falls unrecognizable

Darlene, Olivia and I went out to Elbow Falls on Monday. It was my first look at the popular day trip destination in Kananaskis Country in quite a few years.

En route, we stopped in at a garage sale in Priddis and when they heard we were going to the falls, they warned us that we wouldn't recognize the place.

They weren't kidding. The flood of 2013 really remodelled the place, as it did to pretty much every river or creek sourced in the Rocky Mountains in Canada, at least southern Canada.

Many of the paved paths leading from the parking lot to the original shoreline just ended at a cliff. The raging river in June had eroded much of the park area including most of the picnic area. Picnic tables that had been anchored into the ground with large cement pylons had been left standing in the middle of the destruction like hoodoos. You could see from the erosion how high the water had gotten and I was amazed that they had been able to bring what was left of the park back online in such short order.

The Elbow river had carved a new route through the valley further south and much of the older riverbed was a garbage dump of gravel, trees and flotsam.

But the eye opener was the highway's Elbow Valley bridge leading out to the park. The east end was completely washed out and broken apart. I wish I had been able to stop and take a picture, but it was chaos getting through that valley on the new, one lane, temporary bridge. I found a pic online that at least shows some of the damage.

It's going to be years before that bridge is fixed, or more likely, replaced.

Snoop Loops

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

10 Rules of Internet

1 - Given enough time, any object which can generate musical notes will be used to play the Super Mario Brothers theme on YouTube.
2 - Judging by their response, the meanest thing you can do to people on the Internet is to give them really good software for free.
3 - Three things never work: Voice chat, printers and projectors.
4 - Once a web community has decided to dislike a person, topic, or idea, the conversation will shift from criticizing the idea to become a competition about who can be most scathing in their condemnation. (See The Law of Fail.)
5 - Any new form of electronic communication will first be dismissed as trivial and worthless until it produces a profound result, after which it will be described as obvious and boring.
6 - If your website's full of assholes, it's your fault. (See the post on this topic.)
7 - Most websites treat "I like it" and "This is good" as the same thing, leading to most people on the Internet refusing to distinguish between "I don't like it" and "It's not good".
8 - When a company or industry is facing changes to its business due to technology, it will argue against the need for change based on the moral importance of its work, rather than trying to understand the social underpinnings.
9 - People will move mountains to earn a gold star by their name on the Internet.
10 - The only way to get useful feedback from people on the Internet is to ask questions that are actually answerable, instead of open-ended.

~Anil Dash

It's not about having nothing to hide....'s about stuff not being anyone else's business.

"If you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear"

That's the campaign slogan the UK used when installing millions of public surveillance closed circuit cameras.

I used to be in the military and one of the things we learn in the realm of information security is that one little piece of information might not justify any kind of protection, but if you put enough of these pieces together, you can build an accurate picture of what's going on and that can be a matter of concern when it comes to privacy. Professor Daniel J. Solove:

"By joining pieces of information we might not take pains to guard, the government can glean information about us that we might indeed wish to conceal. For example, suppose you bought a book about cancer. This purchase isn’t very revealing on its own, for it indicates just an interest in the disease.

Suppose you bought a wig. The purchase of a wig, by itself, could be for a number of reasons. But combine those two pieces of information, and now the inference can be made that you have cancer and are undergoing chemotherapy. That might be a fact you wouldn’t mind sharing, but you’d certainly want to have the choice."

Why privacy matters, the article.

Welcome to Cornwall

Monday, September 02, 2013

Fun with the NSA

Wonderful parody of the Pixar lamp, but re-mixed for the NSA.

I love how the lamp stomps down 'U'

AMA with Joh Malkovich

Reddit 'ask me anything' with John Malkovich highlights: (this is really fun if you say it in your head in the voice of John Malkovich)

John, what time of day can I pour a drink and not feel bad?
"sorry, i would say at least you have to wait until 7:00 pm. i mean if i can do it, so can you. cowboy the fuck up!"

John, purely out of interest, do you smoke ganja?
"sometimes my best friend russ makes me smoke ganja, but i become a bit insane and normally eat a couple hundred dollars worth of say, ice cream sandwiches or dilly bars or what have you. even worse, i won't share any of it."

Sherlock and John