Mary er... Merry Christmas

Just wanted to do a quick post at this festive time of year and wish a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

And if you're name is Brian Christmas, as he says, he has Merry er... Mary Christmas all year long. (Brian married Mary earlier this year.)

The Most Memorable Web Videos of 2007

We are now a world of consumer generated media.

Instead of turning to CNN to see a biased, edited version of the world, we now turn to the Web with the likes of YouTube, Wikipedia and even FaceBook to find out what's going on in our community...

... our community that now encompasses the entire world.

The video on this page is a synopsis of the most memorable Web videos of 2007.


And who says birds don't make good pets...

This guys parrot has learned how to mimic his cellphone ringtones and tortures the guy by making him think his phone is ringing when actually it's the parrot.

One hand fixes the other

I think M.C. Escher's stuff is really cool and trying to figure out some of his three-dimensional impossibilities are rather mind bending.

This is a neat take on his drawing hands.


More family friendly than any wardrobe malfunction

One time at band camp... oh, wait sorry.

This is probably way cooler than any band camp story, though admittedly just as geeky.


There are no borders in space!

One would think that the space race is over, but no, even with the International Space Station, the space race is still going strong.

You'd think that when the human race moves into space we could ignore all the lines we've drawn in the sand, literally and figuratively.

However the Asian space race is going strong with multiple missions to the moon, even though America and USSR have been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
And India is apparently going as well.

With all the disease and poverty in the world, and even in Asia's back yard, you'd think that they could collaborate on this mission to the moon and spend the savings on improving the lives of their people in rural areas.

Guiness is cool

Here's a cool new commercial from Guinness in the same vein as the Honda commercial.

Good things come to those who wait.


Real Life Superheroes

"Real Life Superheroes are a group of people that have risen above normalcy and societal constraints in order to serve the public good while maintaining a unique personality and look."

I think they're brave just for going out in public in their "costumes."

How inspiring though to know that there are people out there taking action: patrolling the streets, picking up litter, cleaning graffiti and aiding residents in however they need.

Here's a definition of a RLSH from the welcome post on the Superheroes Anonymous website:
  • A Real Life Superhero challenges the very meaning of “real life” and provides hope, inspiration and uncertainty to a world that has become too complacent with normalcy and mediocrity. A Real Life Superhero is someone who loves the world to such a degree that they are not content observing but feel compelled to act. And so in that way, they differ from just a “good person” and earn themselves the title “hero.”
A recent news story covering their first meeting in Times Square describes a couple of the superheroes:
  • Street Hero wears a black mask, a black bustier and black knee-high boots. She was a former prostitute who now attempts to protect women who work the streets. She is trained in martial arts.
    "I do it on my own," she said. "Mostly after dark. Around the city."
  • The Super fixes faucets and does electrical work for people in need.
    "I said to myself, if we have to wait around for the city or the mayor to fix everything wrong or dangerous in this city, it'll never get done," said the Super, who wore a red cape, a yellow shirt and a white mask.

Jason Clements has just poked you.

OK, maybe it doesn't have the same affect in a blog as it does on Facebook.

Not being a die hard Facebook user I've never really got the significance of poking someone. To me it was a useless thing with no real purpose.

However, after reading Dave McClure's blog entry on the subject it makes a bit more sense. I'm starting to see that there can be more background read into a specific poke to interpret it. Though to me the sexual connotation is still a bit strong for me to start using it too much.

I think it would make an interesting topic for a social or philosophical paper or discussion to study more.

The Red Sox may just win the World Series (again)

Not being a big sports fan I wouldn't normally mention the World Series in any of my posts.

However, being a bit of a pop culture and TV fan, the fact that Boston won for their league and will now play Colorado for the World Series is a big thing, especially in the World of 'Lost.'

Jack, a lead character in the series (along with his father) would say "when the Red Sox win the World Series" to mean something was very unlikely to happen, along the lines of "when pigs fly" or "when hell freezes over."

And now Boston could win for a second time in four years after their win in 2004.

Not sure the win will shatter the storyline though. I think one of The Others, maybe Ben or Tom, mentioned to Jack that the Red Sox had won the World Series while he's been stranded on the island (though not sure if they were joking or serious).

Can't wait for the season to start up again in the new year.


Is it Christmas?

The proliferation of Christmas cards and decorations on the store shelves for the majority of the year puts the date in question sometimes.

So, if you ever find yourself unable to keep track of the days and think it might be Christmas, just check out this site and get the answer.

And if you start feeling rejected by seeing 'No' too many times, just watch this countdown to no when you might see a 'Yes.'


Guess I measure up

According to the findings of the 2007 web design survey completed by A List Apart, I'm pretty typical when it comes to web professionals.

White: check
Male: check
30 something: check
Bachelor degree: check
Blog: check

Close to 33,000 web professionals answered the survey's 37 questions and around 70 per cent of the respondents fit the above bill of a white, 30 something male with a bachelor degree.


More research in favour of open source and social media

Many companies do not to have open blogs or wikis where anyone can contribute for fear that malicious or negative feedback will prevail.

And you may think that allowing anonymous contributors would lead to posts of malicious or false information, but according to the study infrequent anonymous contributors to Wikipedia are as reliable as registered users who update constantly.

And if a company is focusing on quality and serving their customers then they shouldn't have to worry. Sure there may be the odd negative or false comment, but I believe there is an altruistic nature of society as a whole and if a person has a good experience with a product or service he or she is going to share that good experience with everyone.


Onslaught and Amy follow Evolution

Dove has two new self esteem ads to follow the success of the viral ad, Evolution:
  1. Onslaught
  2. Amy - this one actually lets you replace the name with that of 50 other common names
“Amy can name 12 things wrong with her appearance. He can’t name one.”


Do not try this at home

This is what the North American commercials look like when they're rehearsing.

"Das sicherste Ensemble der Welt" literally translates to "the most certain ensemble of the world."

sicher can also mean "safe" though. So, you'd think the commerical is a bloopers reel for the final synchronized ballet, but it's actually demonstrating how safe they are.

Well done I'd say.


Mathematical proof to the existence of multiple universes

Turns out The One may not be that far off after all.

In the movie, Jet Li's character travels to multiple universes killing off his alternate self.

The premise of the movie is that there's only so much power in the universe to go around for each person and it's shared with your alternate selves.

So, by killing off your alternate selves the energy becomes more focused among those remaining to the point of almost god-like strength and intelligence.

And now there's a mathematical proof that the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes.

Of course you probably have to kill off a couple of your alternate selves to have the brain power to understand the proof.

My very own missile silo

I want me one of these. And what a bargain at only $1.5 million.

Imagine turning this into a recreation facility / resort.
  • You could have repelling and mountain climbing in the silos.
  • Military and space themed guest rooms.
  • Maybe even launch your own rocket into space and offer rides.
And in case of alien invasion or nuclear fallout, I'm sure you'd be protected in your underground bunker.


Spin class power

Supercomputers powered by bicycles. This is a cool idea. I'm sure lots of power can be generated from a busy fitness centre. Just hook up a few extra gears and straps to the equipment and voila, instant, free power for the fitness centre.

They could easily employ a rechargeable generator that charges during spin class.


It changes you

In The Brave One, when Jodi Foster's character is asked how you get over a tragic event in your life, she says, you don't, it changes you.

A pretty good movie portraying how someone copes with fear and how one doesn't overcome the tragedy, but how it changes who they were into someone else.

There have been comparisons between this and Death Sentence with Kevin Bacon, and there are some similarities; how someone who presumably wouldn't have otherwise, become vigilantes out for justice seeking vengeance against those who've wronged them.

I haven't seen Kevin Bacon's version yet, but I think Jodi Foster will win out. Death Sentence,seems to be more about the violence, the action, the machismo and catering to a guy audience. The Brave One, although perhaps a predictable Hollywood story, gets you thinking how something like that would change you. It's more of a movie that you will remember and not forget the minute you walk out of the theatre.

MOTOROKR Transformer

How cool is that. A MOTOROKR E6 cellphone modded into a still-functioning Transformer.

I gotta have one of these.


A challenge to graduates

I read a copy of this speech in the June 2007 issue of Speechwriter's Newsletter and thought it was rather inspiring.

The three lessons about growing up from Senator Barack Obama's commencement speech May 19 at Southern New Hampshire University:

1. The world doesn't evolve around you.
2. Challenge yourself. Take some risks in your life.
3. Persevere


Telecommute now becomes telepresence

Now you can be in two places at once.

A tech company in Waterloo has an employee living in Nova Scotia and yet his smiling faces still appears at the water cooler every work day.


Population clock

Want to see how fast the world population is really growing? Check out the population clock for the U.S. and the World.

As of today at 20:58 GMT, the world population is 6,616,179,912 (when I started this post). And just a few minutes later it's already jumped to 6,616,180,686.

The U.S. Census Bureau is predicting by July 1, 2008, the world population will be 6,679,532,264. That's over 70,000 in less than a year!

And I've stated before, the prediction is 9 billion by mid-century.

Do you really think that this planet can sustain such growth?

Check out the clock and you can watch it change as you watch.

Wouldn't open source be a better world?

Here's two stories of people having their own content swiped and then they get dinged when they try and swipe it back.

Scientist must pay to read his own paper

Viacom says user infringed his own copyright


Jet Li versus Jason Statham

War is definitely a guy movie complete with nice cars, car chases with said nice cars, beautiful women, some scantily clad or not clad at all, and awesome fight sequences including a couple sword fights.

The premise is FBI agents trying to take down two warring Japanese gangs and one FBI agents personal battle trying to capture an elusive assassin named Rogue.

Good movie, I just wasn't too fond of the ending, which I'm hoping isn't becoming a trademark ending for Jason Statham (possible spoiler if you follow this link).


Darth Vader Transforms to Death Star

The recent Transformers movie has brought out a lot of interest in Transformers with new toys, etc.

And now they've combined Star Wars and Transformers to create this Darth Vader that transforms into the Death Star. How cool is that?


Let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened

I don't think when God created man he used this phrase.

And yet, scientists are playing god and figure in 3 to 10 years they'll have been successful. If you think letting evolution do the hard work and then figuring out what happened is success.

The goal is to create life from scratch. Don't you think that sounds like the plot for the next horror movie? Messing with something and not knowing exactly what you're going to end up with.

The scientist even admits they can't control it, "We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened." (Jack Szostak)

If you're not smart enough STOP messing with it!

Another scientist on the project, Mark Bedau said there are legitimate worries about creating life that could "run amok," but there are ways of addressing it, and it will be a very long time before that is a problem.

I'm glad he feels confident. His idea of "a very long time" is probably after he's dead so whatever monster he creates won't be a problem while he's alive.

He must not have kids as he's not worried about whoever is left to deal with the nightmare.



This is what R2-D2 would look like if George Lucas created Star Wars in his frat days at university.

Jason Bourne versus Bob Lee Swagger

Doesn't Bob Lee Swagger sound like a presidential assassin's name? Along the lines of Lee Harvey Oswald and John Wilkes Booth.

Any way, on to the review...

Both movies, with a well-trained government soldier, are action-packed, and each with it's own interchangeable action star: Mark Wahlberg in The Shooter and Matt Damon in the latest adaptation of Robert Ludlum's character in The Bourne Ultimatum.

Similarities include the plot of the secret government department that has "assets" (to use the terminology from The Bourne Ultimatum) performing assassinations that are questionable ethically all in the name of "the greater good of the country."

And when the said well-trained soldier questions the ethics or just happens to be placed in the wrong place at the wrong time, their government who they have well-served, turns on them and sends other assets to wipe out any misdeeds on the part of the government, i.e., shred all evidence, including the said well-trained soldier.

That's where the action comes in. And as far as fast-paced action goes, I'd say that Jason Bourne could beat Bob Lee Swagger. It would be a close fight, but definitely The Bourne Ultimatum is my choice to provide the most non-stop, action-packed sequences.

Though if it's explosions and high body counts that you want, The Shooter would be the movie for you.



M.C. Escher in his Lego days

Escher's paintings and line drawings are famous for their impossibility in the physical world breaking rules of gravity and logic.

However, a few people up to the challenge have recreated his masterpieces in Lego of all things.

Select image for more info on each creation.


Ding Fries Are Done

This is hilarious. If you've ever worked in a fast food restaurant you're familiar with the beep the machine makes when fries are ready.

And even if you've never worked behind the counter you've likely been in a fast food restaurant and heard the constant, annoying beeping when those behind the counter don't silence it right away.

Add this to your list of carols to sing at your next holiday gathering.


Please refrain from procreating

Church of Euthanasia or Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, though these two philosophies may go to the extreme, they at least open the discussion.

The article talks about the exploding population of the World and the impact on the environment. Another suggested option was to limit couples to one child. I think this is still extreme and the experience of China's one child limit should be evidence that this isn't the way to go.

I think it is something that people should think about though. Religion aside, there are voluntary methods available today to control the number of children people have. (And I'm talking responsible methods before the heat of passion, not after.)

I know people my age who have had 4 or 5 kids. Why would anyone want 5 kids!?! That's got to be hard on a woman's body having that many kids, not to mention the parents sanity.

And I know parents love their kids dearly and wouldn't want to even think about the monetary cost of their kids, but I'd think that couple's should think about the environmental impact.

Our current world population is 6.5 billion and projected to raise to 9 billion by mid century. We're killing the planet now and need to cut back on pollution... what will 2.5 billion more people do?

Update (Aug. 3, 2007):
A bit timely that this article ran in the same week that an article about a couple just having their 17 kid. Can you believe that!?! And they want more. You know, maybe having a one-kid limit isn't a bad idea.


Live Free or Die Hard

Great action-packed, guy movie. In typical Die Hard fashion there's lots of bad guys getting their butts kicked by John McLean (Bruce Willis), lots of gun fire and explosions.

And along the lines of Die Hard 3, this one branches out from the one building of the first Die Hard to encompass a large section of the United States. So, more car chases and even some helicopters and Air Force planes. Cool stuff.

Kind of a steady progression to larger locations starting with an office building, moving to an airport to a city to the Eastern U.S. So, I guess if there's a Die Hard 5 it will have Willis (or his character) travelling all over the U.S. And Die Hard 6... world domination.

The release revolved around what hackers call a "fire sale" where basically the intent is to shut down the country and take it back a few hundred years with no communications, no utilities, and crash the stock market... basically Armageddon with how dependent we are on technology now-a-days.

Of course I'm not spoiling the ending by saying he gets the bad guy in the end. That's a given.


Deja vu - physical or spiritual

I watched two movies recently that deal with a similar theme - if you knew something bad was going to happen before it happened, what would you do or could you do to stop it:
Both movies prompt the question, is everything preordained that even if you knew something was going to happen, could you do anything to stop it or in trying to stop it would your actions actually be what causes the bad thing to happen?

In one the movies precognition is spiritual or supernatural whereas the other the foresight is technical or physical, as in scientific and laws of physics.

Deja Vu was more of an action/drama whereas Premonition was more of a suspense/thriller. Both had twists at the end and if you rent the Premonition DVD, there's an alternate ending that may or may not provide more closure or just add more to the mystery and suspense.

Both were good movies, but I preferred Deja Vu to Premonition.

I won't say which is which, but when questioning whether fate or destiny exists, in one movie the actions to prevent the disaster were successful and in the other were the cause of it.


The latest action figure: You

Last year Time magazine named you as person of the year. And now with all that fame you can order a custom action figure that looks, talks, and dresses just like you.

You can even order extra clothes to dress yourself as your alter-ego/secret identity. And various tools and weapons can also be ordered to complete the look.

All for the low, low cost of $425. Of course if you don't break the mold, you can order extra copies of you for $39.95.

Great idea for someone's 50th birthday, graduation, wedding, parting gift, what have ya.

I'll take one Super J please.


Transformers, more than meets the eye

Autobots, transform

The Transformers movie is an awesome array of guy-pleasing effects with military machines, explosions, fast cars, and yes, even women.

Though to a true Transformers fan there may not have been enough screen time for the stars of the show. It was half way through the movie before Optimus Prime showed up and Megatron didn't appear in full force until the end of the movie.

I was hoping though that they would play the old theme song from the cartoons, at least in the credits. Anyway... could story line and awesome effects with the robots and the transformations.

I'm not sure how the expect to cover up the whole thing though. A battle that destroys half the city would've had a lot of survivors to tell the tale.

Camp Cod driveby

When you take a drive along the road through Cape Cod you don't actually know that you're near the ocean. The roads are narrow with trees right up to the edge. We took a drive for a couple hours along what I would call the coastline, except for the fact that I never did see the coastline.

One thing I want to suggest, if you ever take a trip to New England, make sure you bring along a few bags to collect your garbage. There's a $10,000 dollar fine for littering on the highways, but it's next to impossible to find a garbage can.

Also, as I mentioned, the driving is a bit complex. If you're in a round-a-bout you have the right of way, but you have to cut in front of cars wanting to get on when you get off, and half the time the cars getting on just cut in front of you whether you have the right of way or not. It becomes a real acrobatic nightmare with cars criss-crossing everywhere.

Plimouth Plantation was somewhat exciting, though the $21 per person entry fee wasn't. Plimouth Plantation spelled differently so as not to confuse you with Plymouth the place, which is just down the road. Yep, that's not too confusing at all. And the Mayflower II is also there... at Plymouth... with a y.

Anyway Plimouth (with an i) is a recreation of the first English settlement and portrays how the first "pilgrims" co-existed (on shaky ground) with the Wampanoag native americans.

And one other tip. If you buy a bottle of beer from a brewery, make sure it's not going to tip over and spill and have your car end up smelling like a brewery. Finding a grocery store or a pharmacy isn't that easy and Lowe's doesn't sell the standard Febreeze spray bottle. (No officer, I haven't been drinking, but you're right I do smell alcohol. Hmmm... :|


Live Free or Die

Drove through New Hampshire yesterday and today. Kind of ironic to me that Bruce Willis' movie Live Free or Die Hard is playing at the time I'm driving through the state that has that saying on their license plates.

From the way people were driving today I'd say some of them have a death wish. The seat belt law only applies to people under 18 and we saw a guy on a motorcycle with out a helmet so I guess that isn't a law either.

I think Boston driver's were worse though, and the roads and signs didn't help. There were multiple lanes converging down to one or two lanes instantly with no notice. There were round-a-bouts with intersecting streets and cars driving right across in front of you and multiple times we were cut off by cars driving across two lanes of highway and cars inching their way in with out so much as a signal.

Anyway... our sites of attraction were America's Stonehenge and Salem, Massachusetts.

America's Stonehenge is dated to be about 4000 years old, give or take a few hundred. Similar to Stonehenge in England, it marks many celestial occurrences, such as the Summer Solstice and the Equinox.

Salem was big into witches with multiple witch museums and stores. They apparently have a few hundred practicing witches. We took a trolley ride around to catch the highlights then walked around a bit but didn't go into any of the museums. Even though Harry Potter seemed to be the big promo going on at this time with the next movie opening Wednesday and the last book coming out next week.

We were glad to get off the highway after driving through Boston in rush hour and were grateful to receive a complimentary drink coupon once we actually made it to the hotel.


Day 2 in New England

Today we visited Shelburne Museum, Magic Hat Brewery, Champlain Chocolates and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. All are within, or close to, Burlington.

EM wanted to go to Shelburne Museum as they have a large quilt exhibit. It did have many other interesting places though.

There were a lot of historical buildings that were actually moved to the location, including a large paddle boat, a large circular barn, which was brought in pieces with a large helicopter, and even an old jail moved there in the 50s. It tool three days to move the jail along the highway in one piece at 3 to 7 mph. There was a print shop as well that was interesting with many old presses and finishing equipment.

Weather was a bit wet walking around outside in the rain at the museum with our umbrellas.

Magic Hat had unlimited free tastings. I picked up a long-sleeve T and a jug of Fat Angel.

Ben & Jerry's was packed so we skipped the tour and settled on a pint of ice cream... :)

The Vermont licence plates say "Green Mountain State," and it didn't disappoint. We drove about 3 hours through the mountains. Beautiful scenery literally driving through the clouds with the mountains covered in forest.

The last leg of the drive through New Hampshire we were able to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace. It took us about an hour to drive 15 miles! I guess being the end of the Fourth of July week many people were returning home to Boston from cottages, etc., so a lot of traffic.

Spending tonight in Salem, New Hampshire; not to be confused with the famous (or infamous) Salem, Massachusets, which is on the agenda for tomorrow.

On the road again

We started our vacation today by driving 9 hours to Burlington, Vermont. Weather was good to start, but we ran in to some heavy rain the last half of the trip.

Crossing the border at Cornwall was uneventful, but just across the border there were plenty of signs informing us that we were in Mohawk territory, not NYS. We made sure we kept our arms and legs in at all times and obeyed all signs during that short leg of the journey.

We drove across the islands of Lake Champlain into Vermont and that was a nice scenic drive; except for the dark clouds and on and off again rain.

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and the Shelburne Museum are on the list for tomorrow. We also found brochures for Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, so we’ll see if we can schedule that in tomorrow as well.


Surprise in the [pizza] box

I heard on the radio this morning about a new pizza place in Winnipeg. To differentiate themselves from all the other pizza places they've added a surprise in the box; kind of like a toy in a cereal box.

The catch is, this ain't no pizza you want to serve to your 6 year old. You have to show photo ID proving that you're over 18. The surprise is photos under the pizza ranging from mild to hot.

I'll keep this blog clean and let you come up with the alliteration used for the name of the place. I'm sure a quick search on Google with the appropriate search terms will find the place for you.


Save our planet

Words of wisdom from Dr. Seuss:

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.
- from The Lorax


What sledgehammer?

This guy might as well have just skipped the first step of taking it into the Mac shop and jumped right to step two like these girls did.

If he'd been a bit more mature about it he might have gotten somewhere trying to convince them that he didn't spill any liquid on it.

But I really don't think they're going to believe him now when he says he accidentally hit the laptop with a sledge hammer (a few dozen times). Good luck with that.


Beam me into the movie room Scotty

With a couple actual Star trek props purchased from Paramount Pictures, including the captain's chair from Star Trek: Enterprise, Gary Sekulow has created his own home theatre to look like the bridge from Star Trek.

Ocean's 13

This is a good popcorn flick. True to the previous Ocean's movies, the group spends a fortune planning and setting up an elaborate con/heist with a huge payout at the end.

And the movie keeps you guessing as well, and in the end reveals that all was according to plan.

With a cast of big name actors - George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Bernie Mac, Al Pacino, and the list goes on - it's hard to go wrong.

Not huge on special affects, elaborate stunts, car chases or gun fights, this movie still delivers enough glitz and glam and Vegas for the typical guy and still keeps the women engaged with the heart throbs like Clooney and Pitt.

And for the intellectual there's the planning and high-tech gadgets used to pull off the heist and trying to figure out how it was all done before the reveal at the end.


Rob from the poor, even if it means beating them to a pulp

A new law, Bill C-59, is being pushed through Parliament as a result of money-bags Hollywood... and at the expense of our health and safety.

Hollywood lobbyists have been pushing to have camcorders banned from theatres in Canada to limit illegal recording of movies (because they are having trouble paying the $20 million salaries that the hard up actors are asking).

"unauthorized camcording will not be tolerated in Canada even if it means diverting law enforcement resources from health and safety issues to movie theatres"

Police officers will be inspecting everyone's bag going into theatres looking for camcorders resulting in longer lines which will delay people getting into the theatre on time so they'll miss the previews for upcoming movies and thus not know there's another cool, expensive blockbuster coming out that they just have to see and will miss going to it and Hollywood will lose money.


Eleanor forgoes speed for smart

Thalon Design, a concept car company has taken the body panels off of a Smart ForTwo and created new panels in the vein of the Shelby GT500, dubbed Eleanor, from the movie Gone in 60 Seconds.

Cool concept, though I think it really loses the sleek look of the Shelby and it definitely wouldn't make the jump that Nicholas Cage did on the bridge in the movie.


Shell & Ferrari - Circuit

New TV spot for Shell Canada features a succession of Ferrari's through the ages (1967, 1972, 2003 and 2006) racing through various cities in the world.

Crank up the sound to hear the rev of the Ferrari's engine.

Check out the Marketing magazine post.


The Illusionist

This appeared in theatres around the same time as The Prestige and thus obvious comparisons are to be done, but apart from the magic theme, few parallels can be drawn between the two movies.

The Prestige is all about the rivalry between two magicians. The Illusionist is more of a love triangle and the jealousy of the the third wheel, the rich prince.

Where it was key to the story line in The Prestige to divulge the secrets of each magician, The Illusionist never divulged the magician's stage secrets, other than a small parlour trick shown to the detective played by Paul Giamatti.

A good movie though, well acted and a bit of suspense.

Will Traveler

The Traveler is ABC's latest new Summer drama. Typically I don't think shows starting mid season make it past the first few episodes.

But who knows, this latest conspiracy theory may provide enough intrigue to last. The question is whether it will follow in the errors of Lost and have too many questions with not enough answers.

With only two episodes aired it's too soon to say.

The premise of the show is three friends, Jay, Tyler and Will, having just graduated, go on a road trip before hitting the real world. They have been house mates for the past two years and developed a strong friendship during that time.

Their first stop is to have some fun in a New York museum. Jay and Tyler don rollerblades and glide through the museum as a prank with security guards giving chase. Will holds back to film the fun.

Once Jay and Tyler are free of the museum a bomb goes off. Will disappears, along with any trace that he even existed, and Jay and Tyler are prime suspects after being caught on film fleeing the museum just prior to the blast.

It seems that everyone is against them, even Tyler's rich father. And there's even hint of a conspiracy with Homeland Security part of the cover up.


Hogzilla's revenge

I'm not a big supporter of hunting, but I'm not that against it that I'd usually take a stance against it, but this is a bit over the top.

A giant hog, over 1000 pounds being chased through the woods and shot mercilessly multiple times with a pistol by an 11-year old. (The kid shot his first deer at 5! What lessons is he learning?)

Sure one can argue that if it's that big it's probably led a long, full life, but that doesn't justify it's end.

And to top it off, to get the giant hog out of the woods they had to chop down trees and bring in a backhoe to get it out. So not only was the animal shot multiple times, but the environment had to be disturbed and trees killed as well. So much for leave no trace mentality.

And this hog is supposedly larger than hogzilla, a large hog killed in 2004 and now the focus of a horror film being created. And to reward the kid for the most recent hog kill he's being given a small part in the upcoming movie.


Spiderman 3

I think the effects were the star of this movie. The first two were definitely a lot better.

This movie tried to do too much with the story line of who actually killed Ben Parker and the creation of the Sandman, plus Venom and the strained relationship between Peter Parker/Spiderman and Harry/New Goblin. Two (sic) many villains.

The Spiderman movies do one thing good over other superheroes movies and that's the ongoing character relationships and interaction.

However, I think the happy ending was a bit strained and seemed out of sync with the rest of the movie, almost like an add on at the end to make sure there weren't any loose ends.

Overall, it's a good movie though and definitely worth seeing in the theatre if just for the effects.


"I'll be back"

The famous line uttered by Arnold Schwarzenegger's title character in the first Terminator movie. And he wasn't lying.

"The Terminator" was followed by two movies completing the trilogy.

The Halcyon Co. has acquired the franchise rights to the popular "The Terminator" movie series and intend to make a new trilogy.

However, there was a little white lie on behalf of Arnold as he won't be back for Terminator 4.


Pop can heater for the garage

A little pop can ingenuity and you've got a solar heater for the garage to take the chill off when you're out working on the old beater (or restoring a classic 'vette).



What would you do if you could see two minutes into your future?

If you're Chris Johnson, aka Frank Cadillac (Nicholas Cage), you help the FBI fight terrorists and hopefully you get the girl in the end.

With the ability to see the near future, he dodges bullets while trying to stop terrorists from detonating a nuclear bomb in California.

As the reviews say, there's a surprise ending. I won't spoil anything, but expect the unexpected.

It is a good action-packed movie though and Cage even has a love interest with Jessica Biel.


Kryptonite found in Serbia

A new mineral has been discovered in Serbia.

It's composition is sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide, the same scientific name written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther in Superman Returns.

The new mineral will be called Jadarite. It can't be called kryptonite because it does not contain krypton, an inert gas already found in the periodic table of elements.

Serbia, eh... it's cold and barren up there ... the Fortress of Solitude is in a cold and barren location...


The Prestige

"Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called "The Pledge"; The magician shows you something ordinary, but of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn"; The magician makes his ordinary some thing do something extraordinary. Now if you're looking for the secret... you won't find it, that's why there's a third act called, "The Prestige"; this is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you've never seen before."This is a really good movie. It makes good use of flashbacks and jumping around in the timeline to tell the story.

However, it's a bit tragic and disturbing in the lengths that each man goes to in their battle of one-up-man-ship and their obsession to perform the ultimate trick.


Cogito ergo sum

Initially, Greek's had no concept of mind. A Homeric warrior had emotions, plans, and preferences, but Homer did not unify these into one common thing.

Descartes philosophical logic was that: thought exists. Thought cannot be separated from me, therefore, I exist (Discourse on Method).

Most famously, this is known as "I think, therefore I am" ("cogito ergo sum" or "Je pense, donc je suis").

I was out of town last week, and have been neglecting this blog. Plus I've been busy with life and work. (I have an exam tonight and this is a distraction from last minute cramming.)

Anyway, I returned to the office this morning and learned of a tragic event this past weekend. A co-worker passed away tragically after a hot-air balloon accident down in California. I didn't work closely with her, but she was a really nice person, full of life and always seemed to be joking around and enjoying herself. And affecting others around her in a positive way.

Then this afternoon I learn of the most recent school shooting, the worst to date with 31 people killed.

It's been a very reflective day so far. Such tragic accidents can happen through the fault of no one, and then tragic events can occur that are not accidents, but results of human intervention in dark and evil ways.

Lots to think about.


Magic Toothpicks

Not sure if this is for real, but it looks kind of freaky. I'd like to try it and see if it works.

I can kind of understand them coming together as the water drop would run down between them and kind of draw them together with the water tension, but I don't see how it would then separate again.


1.25 Red Bulls in one Foosh

FOOSH™ Energy Mints contain the equivalent amount of caffeine as 1.25 Red Bulls! All in one little 22 1.8 gram mint.

Try one of these next time you need to be ALERT for a late night/early morning, whatever floats your boat. :)


More Web regulation Doesn't Make Any Sense

Some groups want the CRTC to regulate the Internet and even make YouTube subject to Canadian content requirement.

I think the key point of this Toronto Star article is this:

"If Canadian broadcasters are unable to rely on cheap U.S. programming, they will be forced to compete by investing in their own original content. This will dramatically alter Canadian content production from one mandated by government regulation to one mandated by market survival.

It is increasingly clear that the blossoming of new media is a threat to old business models, not to Canadian content."

I've talked about this before when it comes to government interference in development. Everyone would be a lot better if government and organizations took a more hands-off approach.

We live in a free society driven by the laws of supply and demand. If the old model isn't working, the government shouldn't throw money at it. Companies should either adapt or move on.

Hopefully lots of people will link to the TorStar article and get across that those who want to regulate the Internet aren't logical and their arguments don't make economic sense.

The Collective Mind

Gerry McGovern makes an interesting case in his post, Web facilitates wisdom of crowds.

He argues that the collective intelligence is perhaps more reliable than that of an expert.

An expert's advice could be skewed to the expert's own views and experiences, and therefore could be biased. Also, statistical research is only the analysis of the limited population surveyed. There is always a degree of error.

Mass collaboration, by definition will be free of any one person's particular biases. And all the skepticism of Wikipedia could be unwarranted. Most people want to take credit for putting in accurate information and not be blacklisted for putting up bad data.

And that's why The Borg was such a formidable enemy. :)


Island Celebrates 40th Anniversary

This is the 40th anniversary of San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several semicolon-shaped islands.

British newspaper, The Guardian, published a seven-page supplement describing the geography and culture of the two main islands, named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse.

Check out the article for more info.


Lost and then buried alive!

Last night's episode of Lost had one good point - it introduced a mystery and the solved it by the end of the episode?

THIS IS A SPOILER WARNING. I'm about to reveal the ending.

The episode was the whole back story of two Losties, but they were minor characters who weren't even introduced until this season. I'd like to watch the first episode again and see if Nikki was really there running around the crash site or if they refilmed those scenes. She was probably just an extra who was written in this season.

The only tie-in to the rest of the story was showing why Paulo used the bathroom at the Perl station, which I don't really care about. It did show Ben and Juliet in the Perl station hatching their plan to kidnap Jack, Kate and Sawyer. But we already knew all that.

The episode reveals that Nikki and Paulo discovered a few of the islands secrets before the rest, but they never shared the info, so what's the point?

This episode gives the back story for a couple unknowns and how they stole some diamonds, but by the end of the episode they're buried alive! With the diamonds!

The episode starts off with them dead (paralyzed). Why get us involved with these characters and then kill them off?!? Is there hope that they will dig their way out before suffocating?

Tune in to next week's episode for the exciting conclusion. Or not.

Ban on plastic grocery bags

Many foreign cities and nations have already implemented legislation to ban one-time, non-recyclable plastic bags, and now SF is the first U.S. city to enact the legislation.

San Francisco stats:
  • 200 million - number of plastic bags used each year
  • 740,000 - population
  • 1000 - estimated time it takes a traditional plastic bag to dissolve
  • 413 million - number of gallons of oil saved by eliminating use of 100 million bags
  • 9.2 million - number of pounds of carbon dioxide not produced

Leaf Rapids in northwestern Manitoba is the first Canadian community to ban plastic bags.

And the B.C. mountain town of Rossland is considering a voluntary ban on single-use plastic bags.

816 million gallons of oil saved each year in SF! That's huge.

One barrel of crude oil, when refined, produces about 20 gallons of finished motor gasoline. On average, a car will consume 750 gallons of gas per year.

So, the elimination of bags in SF is the equivalent of 1,088,000 million cars off the road for a year!


The Cybertron knights

The Transformers movie opens July 4, the date reserved for the summer blockbusters. I know I am anxiously awaiting it.

The writers of the screenplay liken the transformers to shape-shifting mechanical knights and modeled Optimus Prime after King Arthur. Cool.

Can't wait. And they're keeping quiet on what Megatron will shape-shift into.


Plasma Pong

This is classic pong on steroids... that is, hyped-up, new-tech, acid trip, steroids. Totally cool.


R2-D2's new carrier as a postal worker

On March 28, two powerful forces will unite... no not the dark side and the light side.

The Star Wars universe and ... the U.S. Postal Service?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Star Wars, a new commemorative stamp will be announced March 28.

And to lead up to the announcement 400 mailboxes in 200 U.S. cities will be converted to look like R2-D2. How cool is that?


Second-world country

I wrote a post awhile ago about government interference with tariffs and red tape hindering growth.

Here's some more interesting facts that make you wonder what these people are thinking:
  • In Lima, Peru, to legally establish a one-person garment workshop takes 289 days of bureaucratic toil, costing $1,231, 31 times the monthly minimum wage.
  • In the Philippines, purchasing land can involve up to 168 steps, interacting with 53 public and private agencies, and take from 13 to 25 years.
  • In Egypt, buying land can involve more than 77 procedures at 31 public and private agencies, and can take from 5 to 14 years.
  • In Haiti, to buy land you need to jump over 111 bureaucratic hurdles, and
    wait for at least 12 years.
These governments are hindering growth and I'm sure their people and economy would be a lot better if some all of the red tape were cut.

"The more sophisticated a society and its economy becomes, the easier it is for its citizens to do what they need to do." - Gerry McGovern

(The above are just a few examples from Hernando De Soto's groundbreaking book,
The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else.)


300: The movie

Great action movie! And great fight scenes - almost like a dance the way the Spartan soldiers spun around hacking the Persians. (He says with an evil glint in his eyes.)

You can see Frank Miller's influences with the rich colours and almost comic look to the scenes, as he did for Sin City.

Though I'm sure there was a lot of creative license taken from the original story, there is some historic truth to the story. And King Leonidas's defeat spurred the rest of Greece to battle the Persians and eventually defeat Xerxes and his army.

A classic rallying tale of losing the battle, yet winning the war. There are faint resemblances to Lord of the Rings, even with a bit of the fanatical, although more of a historical fiction.

And if you were in doubt, this is definitely a guy movie and not for the faint of heart.


Today's the day

I mentioned in an earlier post about number portability for phones.

Well today is the day. You can keep your current cell or land line phone number when you switch to a different carrier - cell to cell, cell to land line, land line to cell, etc.

So, if you're not happy with your current service provider, you can just say sianara. However, if you're on a contract you're still on the hook until that's up.

And you need to sign up with the new company first before canceling your old service. So, it won't be easy, but it can be done.

How long will the war last?

British Prime Minister Tony Blair plans to spend up to 20 billion pounds (US$38.60 billion) on three or four nuclear-armed submarines to replace the aging Trident system.

His rational:
  • Britain must retain nuclear weapons because new threats from Iran, North Korea or nuclear terrorists make it dangerous to abandon them.
  • Design and construction of new submarines will take so long that it must act quickly to have a replacement ready when the existing nuclear submarines go out of service in about 2024.
2024! That's over 15 years from now! How long will tensions in the Middle East last? And does the military really use submarines anymore let alone 15 years from now?

Tony Blair is due to step down in a few months and critics are saying that he's trying to rush the decision through to leave a legacy. He's been in power for 10 years, I think he needs to seriously consider this.

I wouldn't want my final act in power to be spending $38 billion dollars on nuclear weapons.

I'm sure there are lots of better uses for $38 billion dollars. Perhaps using it to help people in the Middle East rebuild and set up a government that will end the conflicts (hopefully a lot sooner than 2024).



These are kind of neat action figure that are fully articulated and featureless. Without being associated with the latest fad, or movie they are a good concept. And would make a neat toy to add to my desk.

Specifically the Omega male armoured knight.

There was a fencer created in 2004 for Fencing Singapore, but only 1000 were created and only available in Singapore. So, even though it would be way cool to find one of those, I think the chances are pretty slim. And even if I did I imagine whoever's selling it would be asking a fortune for it. It even came with all three weapons: sabre, foil and epee.


Famous last words

  • Are you sure the power is off?
  • don't be superstitious.
  • Double dare me.
  • Help!
  • He's probably just hibernating.
  • Hey, watch this!
  • I'll get a world record for this.
  • I'm making a citizen's arrest.
  • I've seen this done on TV.
  • I wonder where the mother bear is.
  • That's odd.
  • That stuff only happens in the movies.
  • The odds of that happening have to be a million to one.
  • These are the good kind of mushrooms.
  • This doesn't taste right.
  • Well, we've made it this far.
  • what does this button do?
  • What duck?
  • I think it's dead.
  • It's only a little one.
  • Does this go any faster?
  • No, Tony, I don't have any money.
  • I built it myself.
  • I don't need a helmet.

You may laugh at some of these, but it's lack of common sense that can kill.

I took a wilderness first aid course a couple weeks ago, and when you're in an emergency situation and you're in a remote area with no way to get immediate help there's three levels of a situation.
  1. Bad
  2. Very bad
  3. Too bad
There's only so much someone can do in the wilderness to help if you get injured or suffer a medical emergency. So, you better hope that your injury or condition doesn't fall into the last category.

An example is if you get bit in the but by a poisonous snake. You're last words are going to be, "I've been bit in the ass; you've got to suck the poison out." If it was me out there with you, my response is going to be, "That's just too bad." ;)

(To be socially conscious, I just want to point out that sucking out the poison isn't actually how you treat a snake bite.)


79th Annual Academy Awards

If you missed the show last night, or want a recap of all the winners, follow the link for all the winners and also some short clips of the acceptance speeches.

Also check out the Red carpet gallery to see the celebs in their high fashion dresses and jewelry.

Just a quick recap:
  • Martin Scorsese finally won
  • Helen Mirren was again honoured for her role in "The Queen" with Best Actress, and
  • Forrest Whittaker took Best actor for his role in "The Last King of Scotland."


Ghost Rider

A great comic book flick and a big win for Cage with a box office intake of $45 million this past opening weekend.

Ghost Rider has lots of action for the guys and a minor love interest for the girls with Johnny Blaze's old girlfriend played by Eva Mendes. And if you like the good triumphing over evil plot then this is the movie for you. You can't get more evil than the devil... unless it's the devil's offspring.

And for the chopper lovers there's lots of those and some cool motorbike stunts as well. And you gotta love that chain whip that Ghost Rider uses to get the bad guys.

Based on the 1970s Marvel comic book, I think Ghost Rider predates Spawn, but there are some parallels to the stories. The devil's bounty hunter, or leader of the army of darkness, as the case may be, taking his devil-given powers and deciding to use them for good.

Overall, a pretty good night out.

A quick post

Really busy with lots going on - two weekend Wilderness First Aid course; website for Western writing course; busy at work ...

For my writing course, Writing for the electronic environment, I need to create a website, so I'm developing my own site and will make it much nicer than it is now with just one basic page. Haven't taken the time to work on it until now, so I figure if I have to do a site for my course I should do this one.


Super Bowl XLI

For those of you up in Canada, unless you drove across the border to watch the Super Bowl, or have an illegal satellite dish, you would've missed the big $85,000/sec. commercials produced for it.

So, if you're interested, you can check them all out online.

Watch the commercials and see that when playing rock, paper, scissors, you can win with rock against paper. And learn what criteria to use when deciding whether or not to pick up a hitchhiker.

Point of clarification

My profile for this blog says that I'm a struggling writer. I just wanted to clarify a point.

I write in my profile that no one can call themselves a writer unless they put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, at least once a day. Just want to clarify that there's more to it than that and even if I do manage to post something every day it doesn't mean that I'm a writer.

Just because someone gives you a paintbrush it doesn't automatically make you Rembrandt.

So, even if I write a lot of content, if it's crap or if no one wants to read it, then I'm not having any success at becoming a writer. Although the hope is that with consistent writing there will be an upward curve in the quality, which is what will help me to become a writer.

Snakes are soothing!?!

There's a spa in India which is promoting having (non-poisonous) snakes slithering over your body as a relaxing, therapeutic massage. I watched Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes came from him falling in a snake pit. I don't think it was relaxing for him, and I don't think I'd every find it relaxing.

The owner of the spa said she was "inspired by her belief that once people get over any initial misgivings, they find physical contact with the creatures to be soothing."

OK, good luck with that. I don't think I'll be visiting any spas in India in my lifetime.

Detroit autoshow pics

Some of the dealers had cameras set up and were taking pictures of people with the cars. they then gave you a card with an access ID where you could download your picture. So, here's me with a Viper and a Corvette.

Here's more pictures that I took. (There would have been more, but I had power issues with my camera.)

Noble cause or just plain stupid?

Either this guy has a death wish or he really believes in his cause enough to die for it.

"Slovenian Martin Strel plans to swim 3,375 miles down the world's greatest river, defying piranhas, snakes, crocodiles and even sharks."

Martin is 52 years old and the swim will take him 70 days to complete. He's swimming for world peace and the environment. Hey, he's risking life and limb, he might as well aim high with his goals.

"I've always been swimming for peace and friendship. I decided to dedicate the Amazon swim also to the preservation of the rain forest and clean waters," he said.

All the power to him. And at a cost of $1 million to fund the swim, I hope he gets a lot of publicity for his cause.


I made it

Last minute plans came together and I made it to the autoshow yesterday.

However, I was a bit disappointed as I don't think it was as good as past years and there were a few trials and tribulations.

To start off, I had to pay $25 for parking!

And then as soon as I get into the show I pop in new batteries into my digital camera and nothing happened. OK something happened, the green light flashed for a second and then the red light flashed a few times and then nothing happened. Not what I was expecting. I did eventually manage to get some intermittent power out of it and was able to get a couple pictures (I'll post those tomorrow or Monday).

There were some nice cars and some nice concept cars, but many of the manufacturers had scaled back. VW especially; they used to have a huge section in the lower level, but this year had just a small corner on the main level. And Ford didn't have the GT there.

Anyway there was a lot of steel and chrome and power there, notably Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Jaguar, ... and I had my picture taken in a Corvette.

So, I did have a good time, and definitely going during the week is better than going on the weekends. The crowds are a lot better. We had some fun too trying out a racing game where we actually sat in real race cars jacked up on hydraulics that moved like the real thing. That was cool.


Detroit Autoshow

Another year of great launches and concept cars. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here, missing all the flash, the chrome, the steel, the sleek lines...

Maybe next year (provided I have my passport to get across the border).

The Canadian International Autoshow is next month, so maybe I'll get to that one; even though it costs more than the North American Autoshow in Detroit and is way less fanfare and car launches than at NAIAS.

Five minutes to doomsday

The Doomsday Clock counting down to doomsday or Armageddon was moved from seven minutes to midnight to five minutes to midnight.

The clock was created in 1947 and signifies the degree of perils we faces on Earth and the destruction of humanity in the "Second Nuclear Age."

Over the years, the countdown clock has fluctuated, and was at its closest, two minutes to midnight in 1953, during the Cold War.

The move was prompted by the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, and also by the threats of global warming.


Blood Diamonds

You've likely heard of the movie currently playing in theatres,starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but you may not be aware that blood diamonds are a real problem in the world.

Blood diamonds have fueled wars across Africa, leading to the deaths of more than four million people and displacing many millions more.

Right now, $23 million in conflict diamonds from the Ivory Coast are being smuggled into diamond markets around the world.

In the movie, men from villages were taken from their families to work at the diamond mines. The young boys were taken, brainwashed and turned against their families and made to fight for the rebel armies. The rebels would cut off a villager's limb for every rebel that was killed. The women and young children, if they weren't murdered, fled their homes to refugee camps.

War stories from Sierra Leone, where the rebel group mined diamonds to fund the conflict (PBS):
  • Unidentified Amputee: “First used the ax to chop the left hand off. After, they want to cut the other, then this little boy started crying and said, "Please soldier, don't cut off my papa's other hand." So they said, "Let this woman remove this child from her back, we'll chop off his arm." And I said "No!" So they decided to chop the other hand off.”
  • De Sam Lazaro: “So they basically said you could have your right hand if you gave your son's hand.”
  • Amputee: “Yes”.
You can do your part to help stop the smuggling and sale of blood diamonds, by reading this buyer's guide and ensuring jewelers you visit have policies in place to guard against selling blood diamonds.


Viral videos of 2006

Check out these videos from last year:
  • Stick figure doing the running man on a treadmill while laughing his head off watching the Simpsons.
  • A sumo hippo doing ninja moves on an infomercial selling a potato peeler while levitating.
OK, maybe not performed all at once in the same video.

And check out this Google video to see more juggling feats and decide for yourself, who's better: Garfiled or Bliss?


16 Rules to Live By

If you haven't yet made your New Year's resolutions, or even if you have, take a look at these rules for some things to add to your list of things to achieve and work on this year.

Here's the short list, follow the above link for more on each rule.
  1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.

  2. Never give up.

  3. When you're ready to quit, you're closer than you think.

  4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worst thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worst thing could be.

  5. Focus on what you want to have happen.

  6. Take things a day at a time.

  7. Always be moving forward.

  8. Be quick to decide.

  9. Measure everything of significance.

  10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.

  11. Pay attention to your competitors, but pay more attention to what you're doing.

  12. Never let anybody push you around.

  13. Never expect life to be fair.

  14. Solve your own problems.

  15. Don't take yourself too seriously.

  16. There's always a reason to smile. Find it.