Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Freestyle sucks my blog, Pt. 2

I hate Freestyle. I hate it. I've got Voodoo dolls in the forms of Cameron Phillips and Kelly Ryan. I'm going to get t-shirts made up with "Bring Back Tetsuro" emblazoned across the chest in Metallica writing.

But most importantly, I've sent angry emails to the producers. And, as it turns out, while it might not make a difference in the programming, at least someone is keeping count, and maybe even reading them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Our House...

Is a very very very fine house!

With...er...a hole in the roof that leaks into my office whenever it rains.



Oh well, at least it keeps my busy-body co-workers distracted.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Meet my main man Mikey, the hard drive King!

As a further reminder of the unfairness of the world, someone likely got paid to make this ad, this, er, pet dryer...but this was probably done as an unpaid labour of love.



Love of Jello, that is.

Note to retailers:

The millennium was one of the biggest anti-climaxes in the history of the human race. Don't get me wrong, I had a lot of fun that New Years' Eve drinking at a carnival in Cambridge, England waiting for the world to end, but I really was hoping for some sort of chaotic mess to erupt SOMEWHERE in the world. It would have made me feel a lot better for all of the Y2K nonsense that we all tolerated in the news for most of 1999.

So for all of you who named your restaurant, computer software, or giant hamburger combo meal after the changing of the century:



...maybe it's time to pick a new name.

This one's for the nerds.

Did you miss the joke in the subject? Sorry it was pretty subtle. It's funny that this one's for the nerds because, well, I pretty much cater exclusively to nerds around here. Reading blogs is a nerdy thing to do. Mind you, we have a diverse group of nerds - computer nerds, knitting nerds, celebrity gossip nerds (most of whom are in a state of denial about their nerdiness) - and I really believe in celebrating nerdiness. It's what makes us fun at parties (or at least that's what I keep telling myself).

That said, this one is for that particularly hardcore group of computer nerds - the Linux nerds. The ones who care enough about software that terms like "open source" and "GPL" make them feel all fluttery inside. Everyone else can pretty much stop reading here.



Seriously, stop reading. There's nothing for you here.



Ok, now that we've weeded out the rabble, it's time for a little game. Actually, I'm not at all confident that there is anyone still reading at this point, but I'm excited enough that I'm going to continue anyway.

Here we go. I'm going to show you a picture, and you can try to figure out why it's so exciting. Ready? Here it is:


Did you catch it? It's pretty subtle. We're all about subtlety today. Ok, I'm going to give you a hint. It has to do with one of the visible blue LEDs. Ready to try again? Ok, here we go:



Did you catch it that time? That's right, you guessed it - I have finally (finally!) coerced my SUSE 10.0 laptop into loading the drivers for my usb wireless card at startup! Rejoice! Let's see it one more time, it's so beautiful:



I won't ruin the fun by telling you how long it took me to get this working. But hey, it seems to be the Linux way that if it's not difficult to make it work, then it's not nearly as exciting when it DOES work.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Yet another seasonal posting

Since it's that time of year where everyone starts cozying into their woolies, it seems like a perfect time to remind all of my readers that:

Just because you can knit it doesn't mean you should knit it.



From Tracey.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Christmas has come early.

Dear City TV,

Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

I may now forgive you for Making The Band and Making The Band II.

Please, please, just calm down, people.

The best part of this auction is the line that says:

"All in all, you'll save more than $60 with this bundle!"

Now, I'm pretty good at math so can someone tell me how this deal saves you $60 over the retail price of $400?

Whatever. To all the parents out there who are trying to buy your kids' love with a $2000 US video game system for Christmas: you're doing something wrong. Tell your kids to stop being whiny brats for two months and then, in February, you can calmly walk into Future Shop and pick one off the shelf for the retail price. You won't even have to punch some other whiny brat's father in the face when he tries to grab the last box out of your hands!

Then, put the $1600 that you save into something that will make an appreciable difference in your child's life - like, i don't know, savings towards the $20,000/year tuition that you're going to be paying for them to go to Queen's in 2010. Or if you aren't that patient for the child-love-payoff, buy them $1600 worth of games for their new XBox 360.

And if your kid won't stop crying because you are such a mean parent and you don't love them and everyone else is getting one for Christmas...well, that's your own damn fault for raising a whiny brat. Didn't Willy Wonka teach you anything? Besides, at this rate, with awful selfish little children, how are you ever going to qualify for Extreme Makeover, Home Edition?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Love is the water of your beer.

I wonder if anyone would trust me to marry them as an officially ordained minister of the Beer Church?

What do you think?

Kyla? Tanya? Anybody? C'mon...they've already got the speech written for me:

"Water is the essence of life, but when water is combined with grains, hops and yeast, the outcome is glorious beer. So too shall be the product of your union. It is an unselfish union between beer’s basic ingredients that makes the finished product truly magical. It is an unselfish union of beer’s ingredients that makes beer truly magnificent. So too will be your marriage. Love is the water of your beer. Trust is the grain that will give your marriage its character and strength. Passion, like hops, will add fragrance and spice to your life together. Your commitment to one another is the yeast that acts as the catalyst to make this glorious union—this metaphysical wonder—possible."

And so on.

UPDATE: Though she isn't actually engaged yet, I've got a confirmed appointment to marry Tina if and when the fateful day of her unholy matrimony arrives. That said, I should add that I had to promise her a line of dancing girls as part of the ceremony - and don't think that there won't be an extra fee for that. Dancing girls don't just grow on trees, you know. They grow on legs.

Blowin' Social Sneezes

As a long-standing and loyal fan of BSS and pretty much every other Arts + Crafts initiative, I am sad today to realize that Jason Collett is a snob with no sense of humour.



Get off your freakin' high horse, Jason Collett, and maybe you'll be able to enjoy trashy pop music for what it is: it's trashy. That's part of the fun.

Oh, and if you're going to give us a rant about overplayed pop music and frustratingly obvious choices, don't follow it up 14 seconds later with your choice of goddamn Bob Marley.

UPDATE: Ok, today Jason Collett had every chance in the world to redeem himself by saying something intelligent about Wolf Parade. After all, add Broken Social Scene to Wolf Parade and the only missing element of the current Canadian Indie Holy Trinity is The Arcade Fire. Surely Jason Collett must have something to say about a band that is compared to and contrasted with to his own band in every recent review of either album?

Nope, sorry. He hasn't heard the record yet, so he doesn't have an opinion. Great, maybe you can let us know when you have time to catch up with your peers, Jason, and then you can get back to us. Forget the fact that listening to the records on the Playlist is basically his job while he's on the panel, forget the fact that this is arguably the most exciting year for Canadian music in the last decade. He hasn't heard the record yet.

Jackass.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

What with all the engagements in the air...

...I can't help but be moved by the obviously sad story that is lurking beneath this Craigslist posting. He's probably got another posting somewhere where he's looking to barter the services of a tattoo artist for a barely-used tuxedo.

In other news, Sarah came out last night and kicked ass as a ringer for the Cobra Kai. It seems that this might already be the end of her dodgeball career, but I've gotta give her props for coming out and giving it her all. Woot!

Also, I'm conflicted over the National Playlist. Despite obvious problems in format and the lackluster performance of everyone's favourite host, I can't deny being pleased that Amanda Putz's choice of Elliott Brood last week has been helping the record sales of an otherwise un-appreciated Canadian musical marvel.

So here you have it - I am glad that the National Playlist exists and I listen to it every day. That doesn't mean that I'm going to stop bitching about it because it still pisses me off almost every day (Alanis Morrissette? What?) but i concede that it is not without merit.

So magnanimous of me, I know.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The state that we are in

I can't decide if it makes me more happy or sad to find out that this is one of the most popular sites on the internet.

At least now I've finally got this one out of my head...but at what cost?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Japan Rules

I want to play the balloon busting game.

Maybe I can start a spin-off league from my Dodgeball team.

Also, if Vanessa and/or Dave ever invite you over for dinner, just say yes - you will thank me for it when you're drinking your fantastic mint julep. They even sent us home with bread pudding leftovers (and the bourbon-chocolate sauce in a separate tupperware...yeowtch, so good)! They probably won't invite us back, though, because Sarah and I both wrote them and thanked them the next day (2 people sending 2 emails each) so they might think that we're a bit desperate and invite someone who plays harder to get next time.

Also, anyone whose phone number I had up until yesterday who wants me to be able to phone them at some point in the future should re-send me their number because I lost my cell phone and its contained phone book in a taxi yesterday. Clean slate time!

On the bright side, my new phone is a flip-phone model so I won't be accidentally calling anyone from my pocket anytime in the near future (sorry, Hilton).

A concession to Sarah, who will hopefully not use this for purposes of Evil.

So, Sarah is pretty much convinced that her general state of well-being has declined since she started working out and stopped smoking. So, in an attempt to perhaps let her keep at least one nasty habit under her belt without an unhealthy conscience, I give her this tidbit - from the American Heart Association, no less.

And I quote: "According to the American Heart Association, whether high caffeine intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease is still under study, however moderate coffee drinking - 1-2 cups per day - doesn't seem to be harmful."

Woohoo!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Team Pezi Takes Over World

Or rather, a map of the world.

And by "Takes Over" I mean "Has one lonely pushpin on the".

Somewhere out there...

...there's a poor soul who hasn't seen me in a looooooong time that got bored and typed my name into Google and now thinks that I've really let myself go.



God Bless America, indeed. Dude, America is what put you in jail. Maybe you should re-examine your loyalties.

Freestyle sucks my blog

This is probably going to be one of an ongoing series of "I can't believe that Freestyle is really this bad" postings, but whatever, you're going to need to bear with me. After all, I'm not the only one who's upset.

I would just like to point out that Kelly Ryan just introduced Sinead O'Connor as "The woman with the prettiest head in Rock'n'Roll." There are so many things wrong with that statement that I can't even begin to respond.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Maybe this is why they locked you out.

CBC, what's happening to you?



First you give Jian Ghomeshi another chance to prove his lack of relevant musical knowledge by letting him host yet another 50 Tracks-style show - and could someone please tell me how Percy Sledge and Antony and the Johnsons were beat out by...shudder...Nickelback?

And also, could someone let these people know that, yes, the Arcade Fire are great - in fact, they're amazing, one of my favourite bands - but they maybe don't need to get CBC airtime since they're playing on half the top-40 radio stations in North America (and have been for months)!? Oh, I know, let's get some Broken Social Scene on the list - you haven't played anything from You Forgot it in People for at least 20 minutes.

Then, while I'm still reeling from the senseless morning programming, you sneak up on me in the middle of the Ontario Today call-in and, just as Ed Lawrence's soothing voice is about to bring me back from the edge of the ledge, you slap me in the face with Freestyle. What's Freestyle, you ask? They describe it as "Water Cooler Fodder...at its Finest". I don't even know what that's supposed to mean - isn't water cooler fodder usually uninteresting conversation with people you wouldn't talk to if you didn't work together?



What it actually amounts to in reality it's just random irrelevant bursts of pop music (Bonnie Rait? Sarah McLaughlan?) separated by inane banter (on such clever topics as "what movies make men cry" and "how the omnisexual is replacing the metrosexual").



For real, why do these jackasses think that I care what they have to say? This is AM radio programming that you're forcing onto us, people. AM RADIO!

You know, I didn't think that it would be possible, but it's true:



I actually miss Tetsuro.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Exercise Frozen Beaver

This article needs no commentary, so I'm just going to give it to you in whole so that you don't need to go to the National Post site


Adrian Humphreys
National Post

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hans Island, the tiny Arctic island at the centre of Canada's war of words with Denmark over its sovereignty, is so barren that even the rocks used by soldiers to erect an Inukshuk needed to be flown in by helicopter, military documents show.

When a small contingent of the Canadian Forces landed on the island in July on a sovereignty patrol, they also erected a 12-foot pole topped by a metal Canadian flag that had been specially designed and built at a cost of almost $2,000.

Details of the secret three-hour mission -- code-named Exercise Frozen Beaver -- are contained in internal military documents and photographs obtained by the National Post.

The visit on July 13 was followed by a second unannounced visit, one that brought Bill Graham, the Minister of National Defence, to the island on July 20 to pose for photographs in front of the flag.

The erection of the Inukshuk, a traditional Inuit landmark built by piling stones, is a curiosity.

The military claims there was nothing special about placing an Inukshuk on the island, even one that is hastily caulked together and fixed with an engraved plaque declaring: "O Canada, We Stand On Guard For Thee."

"While on Hans Island, CF personnel erected a flag pole and raised the Canadian flag. They also built an Inukshuk, which is normally done on these types of Ranger patrols," says the Canadian Forces Media Lines on the visit. (Media lines are officially prepared cue cards used by officials when speaking with reporters.)

However, Inukshuks have not been a part of previous sovereignty patrols and there appear to be no records of other Inukshuks being constructed on earlier missions.

The engraved plaque bears the date July 12, 2005, but officials say the mission took place July 13. Presumably weather delayed arrival by a day.

The Inukshuk is unusual for other reasons as well.

The first item on the Frozen Beaver mission timetable was for Rangers to "select rocks for Inukshuk in Eureka and transport to site." Eureka is a northern weather station.

It estimates the rocks would weigh about 300 pounds, a serious matter for delicate helicopter flights in the Arctic: "Air support load limitation a key factor," the document cautions.

Three soldiers were to spend an hour collecting rocks of an appropriate size and shape.

After flying from Eureka to Hans Island, an hour was set aside for two Canadian Rangers to erect the Inukshuk while two others filled the metal base of the flag pole with stones to weigh it down. The Rangers are a largely aboriginal military unit.

The flag-raising was to take five members of the ground mission 30 minutes, with one person slipping away near the end to capture it on film.

After 15 minutes of packing and cleanup, the soldiers again took to the air in their helicopter, making a final pass of the island to take pictures of the flag and Inukshuk before leaving.

Like the Inukshuk, the flag left behind is unique, designed for the mission and constructed and assembled in secrecy.

The idea was to erect a flag that would always be unfurled, similar to the U.S. flags left behind on the moon. Making it from metal was seen as a way of ensuring it did not deteriorate in the high winds.

Photos of the visit show Hans Island to be a desolate rock devoid of foliage.

A small wooden and windowless hut containing a cot, portable stove, cooking pots, maps and other supplies was found there.

The hut is marked on the outside with the words "Tulugaq '88."

Tulugaq is the name of a Danish Navy arctic patrol cutter. In 1988, the ship took a Danish crew to Hans Island. Danish warships have made almost annual stops on the island, which they claim as their sovereign territory, a claim contested by Canada.

Denmark suspended a planned visit to Hans Island by HDMS Tulugaq this summer to avoid additional diplomatic tensions.

Also photographed on the island was a wooden outhouse, likely one of the world's most northerly outdoor toilets. It lies on its side, housing planks of wood. Nearby, what appears to be 12 rusting oil drums and six gas cylinders lie on the ground.

The Canadian military visits may have caught the Danes off guard, but they have since checked on the Canadian monuments and found the metal flag design was not effective.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller told a Danish government committee shortly after Exercise Frozen Beaver that the Canadian flag had already been flattened by harsh winds.

"How do I know that? We're monitoring the island, of course. It's a part of Danish territory," he was quoted as saying.

OPERATION FROZEN BEAVER

POLE: $1,500

Specially designed and built to detach into three sections, allowing it to fit in a helicopter before assembly on Hans Island. It is bolted into a square base of thick steel and, when erect, stands about four metres high. One hour was set aside for two soldiers to assemble the pole and flag on the island. It took another hour for three soldiers to load the base with stones to weigh it down. Another 30 minutes were scheduled to raise the flag slowly while being photographed. Made by a Yellowknife welding company for $1,500.

FLAG : $401.56

Made of a metal sheet 1/8-inch thick, 48 inches long and 24 inches high, according to schematic diagrams obtained by the Post. The Maple Leaf image appears on both sides. Flag stencil cost $401.56.

PERSONNEL

Documents refer only to five soldiers being involved in the ground operation -- two Rangers, a Ranger commander, a mission commander and a photo technician. Some photos, however, show at least eight people at the flag raising. Presumably the helicopter crew accounts for the discrepancy.

PLAQUE: $98

Engraved in English, French and Inuktitut, the plaque was made by a Yellowknife jeweller for $98. It declares: "Erected by members of CFNA HQ, 1 CRPG, 440 and 438 Sqns, [the four military units involved in 'Exercise Frozen Beaver'] on July 12, 2005; 'O Canada, We Stand on Guard for Thee.' " The mission actually took place on July 13.

INUKSHUK

Built by two members of the Canadian Rangers, a largely aboriginal military unit, from stones flown to the island. One hour was set aside for its construction; another hour for three Rangers to first hunt for rocks in Eureka.

THE ISLAND

Hans Island, located between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland, which is Danish, is claimed as sovereign territory by both nations. The barren rock is about one kilometre in diameter, with a cliff on its south end. Negotiations over its sovereignty are ongoing.

© National Post 2005

Via Inuit and Native Art Bulletin.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An open letter to the heads of the federal opposition parties:

Hey jerks: an election over Christmas is a stupid and mean idea.

Just wait one more freakin' month.

Please.

I really, really want to have Christmas this year.

Tie me to a chair, house music will blare...

Coming to you today from the land of awesome: fighting pirates with high-power smoke alarms.

Woot! Green power! Woot!

Two articles have come to my attention through Slashdot in the last couple of days.

The first is one of those stories that you really, really want to believe about the wonders of science: random inventor breaks the currently believed laws of quantum mechanics to produce a super-efficient power generation source that runs on water. If it sounds too good to be true, that's because it probably is. Don't get me wrong - it would be a rather amazing turn of events for our planet if this guy turns out to be right and I will be the first to run down the street screaming for joy...but I am skeptical. I suppose that only time will tell with this one.

The second, on the other hand, is the sort of story that makes you feel stupid for not having thought of it first. The question: how do we deal with the giant scale and environmental problems of installing giant traditional wind turbines? It turns out that the answer is probably as simple as turning it on its side and making them smaller.

Well, duh. Sounds too good to be true, right?



Except that it really does seem to work...really well.

Damn, science is cool.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Kevin, my man.

Despite numerous gaping flaws in your personality and personal history, you somehow managed to pull off the career move of the decade when you married Britney. Now, if you know what's good for you, you'll keep your head low and not do anything too worthy of attention. Maybe then the "Pavarottis" will stop paying attention to you and Britney will never figure out what a jackass you really are.

What's that? You want to be a "rapper"? Great dude, why don't you just bring the fam to karaoke this Thursday night and get it out of your system.

What? You want to put out an album this year? No man, no...slow down here and think about...

WHAT? Britney is signed on to manage your career and you've got two songs written? Have you never heard what they say about mixing business with pleasure?

No, that's not what they say...never mind. No no no, stop now...please, just take a deep breath and think about this, think about your son.

No, your new son. With Britney.

Oh christ. You've recorded a track. Well, what does Britney think of it?

Oh, dude, that's too bad...I mean, she's your manager AND your wife, and she's telling people that your new track isn't so hot? That's got to hurt. Well, at least you can just bury it before anyone else hears it.

Excuse me? You wanted a second opinion on it so you released it on the internet? Christ man, why didn't you just call me? I could have given you a second opinion! Wait, let me listen to it, maybe it's not as bad as they say.

Oh. Oh, man, I must have grabbed the wrong link - this sounds like Vanilla Ice. It's so bad, hah, I almost though that...

Oh, this is it? Are you sure? Oh, man.

Um, yeah. I've gotta go, Kevin. I forgot, I've got to get my laundry out of the dryer. I'll, um, talk to you later. No, I can't make it to karaoke on Thursday - I'm gonna be pretty busy for a few weeks. But I'll call you soon, promise.

Uh, sure, whatever - peace out to you too, bro.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I can't believe he stayed on the line...

The only real problem with this clip is that it pretty much forces you to laugh along with Roger, Rick and Marilyn.

Shudder.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Peter Gabriel = Romance

If you've ever thought to yourself, "Hey, what would The Shining be like if it was re-conceived as a RomCom?" or "James Cameron totally missed the mark when he turned Titanic into a love story!" then today is your day.

Here, here and here.


Via Tina, via her brother Colin in Vancouver.

"They aren't talking because they're dead, stupid."



Sarah and I had a great night last night scaring the pants off* the neighbourhood children whilst promoting chocolate-based tooth decay.



We didn't get a chance to check out the competition in the neighbourhood, but I'd say from the turnout that we got (well over 200 kids!) and the positive reaction of even the most jaded trick-or-treaters that we were at least in the running for the best house on the street.



Highlights of the night included:
- Sarah giving an infant her first Hallowe'en candy, ever (and the little girl was dressed as Calamity Jane!)
- Having a frightened kid decide that we were silent because we were dead (duh) and then getting freaked out and offering Sarah his whole bag of candy if she would just say something
- Jumping out at a small child with candy in my hands and having him yell and whack me in the shin with his sword



Next year, you'd better look out. We're just getting started.



* No, we didn't actually scare the pants off any of the neighbourhood children. That would just make us entirely the wrong type of "scary neighbours" (though we were drinking beer while we gave out candy...hopefully that hasn't put us in ill repute).

Briscoe needs YOUR love.

Her picture hasn't been approved yet as of 10:12 AM EST, but once it is you'll be able to see our kitten Briscoe here and, if you wish, bring her to battle with kittens across the Internet.



Oh, and Logan: I didn't put Briscoe up today because I think that she's cuter - only because she's a black cat and, well, 'tis the season. And your picture is, frankly, a bit blurry. But you're cute too, so I'll put you up here.