Monday, May 30, 2005

Memos: Monster in my Pocket Edition

  • I need to go clothes shopping this week for a trip to a conference. I've gotten away with pants with frayed cuffs and holes in the pockets up until now, but this is as good an excuse as any to get a bit of a wardrobe refresher. Any females want to come and keep my from pulling a Bertie Wooster? (Finding a Jeeves on such short notice is certainly too much to ask.

  • Anyone in the mood for something other than the usual Tim Horton's should go to the Formosa Tea House and ask for a green milk tea with half sugar. Normally it's way too sweet and you can barely taste the tea, but when you ask for half it really hits the flavour zone.

  • The computerpunk crowd are now contemplating another gettogether on the Summer Solstice. Someone suggested being ballsy and trying to get it off as a religious holiday. I like that idea.

  • Thanks to a certain generous soul I'm now the proud owner of 40 gigs of concert bootlegs, more music than I'l lever be able to digest before my computer blows up and I lose it all. I told myself a couple of weeks ago if I promised myself to not buy any CDs for 2 months I could buy myself an iPod. I think I just found my justification.

  • Culinary revelation of the weekend: apple slices in a stir-fry: good.

  • Culinary revelation of the weekend #2: Even the so-called Thai Pasta at the Gahan House must have enough Thai something-or-other in it to make my gut go all flippy. Maybe it's a subconscious pre-determined reaction to that case of food-poisoning I got at the UNB Thai Student Society dinner one year. (What a night to take a pseudo-date on.. :P )

By al - 1:13 p.m. | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Gathering

the gathering, originally uploaded by dragonofsea.

This is the little spontaneous picnic Sabrina, Kim, Jamie and some other friends and I had yesterday.

Didn't even think it was going to be a picnic, but enough people just thought to bring one thing each that it turned out really great. Then there was frisbee throwing and dog chasing and lots of good conversations. Just what I needed, for sure.

This is taken with sabrina's new camera, and you'll notice a link to her flickr photos on the sidebar below mine.

By al - 7:57 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 27, 2005

Music and Culture

I hate rock reviewers. I hate them for their little power trips, where they decide that "that kid tries too hard" and belittles a great band like Rush into a sideline 'cult'-status group. They even invented the term 'cult following' to belittle the poor fools who didn't listen to them and drop a group once they were declared uncool.

Now, the culture of music would still exist without rock reviewers, people would probably still listen to similar kinds of music to suit their tastes.

Of course, most well-known rock critics have a keen sense of culture, and that's really what they are, culture critics. They jump up and down and uncork bottles of champagne whenever one of them discovers a new movement or a band they think will 'change everything'.

Grunge is the best example of people confusing a cultural movement for a musical one. There's really no good description of grunge music. The messiness and griminess of the sound is a product of first the production that was available, and later on Steve Albini would seek out and exploit this aesthetic to its logical extreme. But beyond that, Soundgarden was a metal band, Nirvana was a punk band who hadn't properly done a good enough job of hiding their Beatles records, and Pearl Jam was not musically much different from what you could describe as a traditional straight-ahead rock group.

But those groups, and the lesser-known ones who laid the foundation in Seattle in the 80s when no one was paying attention, like the Melvins (stompy Sabbath-style metal that got ever more experimental) were in communication with each other, and they passed ideas around and played for each other and supported one another. It was a real culture, in the sense that bacteria left in a Petri dish forms a culture, growing in its own pattern around itself and creating perhaps something completely new in the process. But it was a heterogeneous culture that didn't require much musically except a rejection of flashiness.

But all through the early nineties all we heard about was how grunge music was the great new thing that would take over the world.

Kurt Cobain, bless him, bought into this idea as much as anyone, even once saying to Axl Rose "We exist to destroy bands like you." (David Geffen couldn't have asked for a better rivalry to fill his bank accounts as the grunge kids staked out their territory against the jocks. Vince MacMahon wouldn't have been able to write it better.) Kurt liked to call his music 'punk' without acknowledging the pop influences he may or may not have been conscious of at first but which he ran away from, self-defeatingly, in his later work, seeking authenticity, mistaking popularity for artistic uncleanness.

Now, the lesser grunge band, Stone Temple Pilots, was happy to glom onto the success of the grunge image, but if you actually listen to their music, if you gave it to a Martian musicologist along with all the other major albums released in that 5 year period, and asked him to arrange the music in piles according to which ones sounded like they belonged together, STP would be thrown directly on top of the Guns'n'Roses in the arena rock category. And Smashing Pumpkins would be tossed somewhere closer to Pink Floyd than to Pearl Jam.

Cultural lines are drawn with often little regard to musical lines, and the people who confuse the two are called rock critics.
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By al - 3:40 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Holiday Weekend

Jody was over last holiday weekend. It was a nice change from heading over to the Island. Spend the weekend playing D&D, playing video games, working on some of my projects. . . but mostly D&D.

I've been thinking of getting a set of good surround speakers for my gaming PC for a while now. Of course, I haven't been using that PC for video games much (it's been more of a DVD/CD burning station as of late). Plus, when I had the house, I had my surround receiver connected so it wasn't much of an issue. Well, I've started playing Guild Wars and GT4. This weekend, tried to show Jody this short animation and I had to switch over a set of speakers instead of using the fancy headphones I usually use. While at Futureshop, saw a set of Logitech X530 speakers on sale. . . they are now connected to that PC.

I've been working on modifying Jody's XBox for a while now. He had to get a brand new one which has made the job a pain in the ass. Got a modchip, but the company I got it from didn't send me the correct adapter. Then I had problems formatting the flash on the chip. Finally got that working. Ordered the adapter I needed from another company. Figured I'd might as well get something else to offset the shipping costs. So I got a flash card for my GBA.

While writing this post, I've noticed a pretty bad spending habit of mine.

By Ming - 12:56 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Solo II

Greg's been going to Moncton to race in Solo II. I stopped by last week to watch and hangout with Greggu-kun, and I figured I try it out this week. It was pretty fun and navigating the course wasn't as difficult as I anticipated (I generally have problems seeing pylons). We did four runs through the course, and you can tell I'm getting more familiar with the car/course each time (times are here). At least I wasn't the slowest car on the track and Greg tells me I did fairly well.

By Ming - 12:44 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

While you are in NL

Hey Al...For the pearl jam concert...I checked out some of the venues for you while I was away. I posted them On computer punk but I think will intends on making the thread private, kind of got the feeling he wasn't so appreciative and I didn't know if that meant all post by other people would disappear or not...I suppose that would be his thing anyway so here is the list of things I remember that were accessible for Justin ( I can't remember who asked if it was you or Justin...Maybe both but any way)

I was suppose to check out potential venues for hanging out for you guys while I was in Newfoundland this past week. St. John's is an awesome city...Wish I was going with you...There is a lot to do...Lots to see...If you get a chance go up signal hill...I love the view up there... There are a few look offs that are nice...As long as the fog isn't in. If you get the chance the graffiti art in the down town area is spectacular to see...Too.

The concert is probably in the stadium which is not to far from down town...Anyone you ask in St. John's will probably point you in the right direction...If you ant I can put you in contact with Erin or various others who can help you a bit too.

list I can remember

Grape vine..There is a one step lift to get Justin over...Can be iffy...Quite often has live music...But it is unpredictable as to what will be played.

Etomic....Accessible at a side gate...Probably a poor choice...Dance bar....

There is a new bar that has an entrance of New Gower St....But I can't remember the name....This one is probably the most suitable

Kelly's pub.....Again not a good choice

Erin's.....Normally Celtic music...But I have found some good times there.

Bitters....But that is away from the down town area...Up by the university...But you can get food there.

Probably more...Just not in my head right now. The majority of the Bars and pubs still allow smoking inside right now...However while I was there I learned they are changing as of September so I have now Idea what will be going on at that time.


Jungle Jims...I like the food there especially the chimmi cheese cake.
down town area...But it will be good for the meat eaters too.

Pasta Plus....I love the food there...But it has many veggie options...

bagel cafe...Personal opinion is that it is the best breakfast place in town...Might be a bit tight...But should be fine.

I believe most of the coffee shops on water street are accessible too, many are closed around 9 ish.

Classic cafe use to be but I didn't get there this time to see if it has changed.

Warning to walking around downtown St. John's. Some of the streets are very steep Justin make sure your breaks are in good order. Oh and watch out for the pot holes.

Subway...Near George St. Always open when the bars close...

By Sabrina - 6:42 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I suck as a friend..

Just a quick belated happy birthday to you both, Alex and Tuan....

Sorry I forgot to mention anything sooner...


By chantal - 12:30 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 23, 2005

Shibam ( Manhattan Of Yemen Desert )

A town in Hadhramut, Yemen with about 7,000 inhabitants, and capital for periods of the Hadramawt kingdom. Shibam owes its fame to its distinct architecture, which now is on UNESCOs programme to safeguard the human cultural heritage. The houses of Shibam are all made out of mud bricks, but still there are about 500 tower houses, rising 5 to 9 storeys high. While Shibam has existed for around 2,000 years, most of the city's houses come mainly from the 16th century. However over the following centuries, many have been rebuilt over and over again. Shibam is often called "the oldest skyscraper-city in the world", or "Manhatten of the desert" which is a claim with quite a bit of consistency.

By al - 1:38 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Dream Diary: Fancy Big-City Lawyer Type Edition


Set in the house I grew up in before I was 10 years old, but in the present. k (my sister) is living in the basement and I'm living in the top part.

k has a friend who is having computer trouble, he thinks someone has maliciously deleted some of his files. As I'm down there, sitting at the same yellow table where my very first computer lived, poking away at a PC (don't remember anything particular about it or the screen) k's friend, who is very worked up, also calls a lawyer to come in. She arrives, and is this extremely beautiful short-haired blonde with a tongue like a whip.

We sit at the computer trying to figure out what's happened. She suggests looking in some kind of history file, and there is everything the dude thought was missing. I say "Wow, you're kind of like really really expensive tech support," and she says "yeah I see this all the time."

While she was sitting at the computer she said she was uncomfortable because she only liked to sit in one chair in a given day, and asked if I would bring the chair down from upstairs for her. I find this a little bizaare, but I go upstairs and bring down a chair that's just large enough to be difficult to get through the basement apartment door. As I'm struggling she comes out and says "OK, I'm done." and I say "well, you can bring this chair back upstairs, then."

I don't think she was too keen on that idea.

The scene switches to the front yard, there's snow on the ground, lots and lots of snow, piled high, the way it used to when we were kids before global warming. k comes around the back of the house and says that her window is broken. She is worried that our father will be mad, but I remind her that he isn't here and that we can just fix it ourselves.

Her friend suggests sticking an inflatable shark into the hole in the window to keep the wind out and then we can just fix it later, as he waves the pool toy shark around.

At this point I just decide to lie in the snow and look up at the sky, and I wake up rather peacefully in the same position.
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By al - 10:09 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 22, 2005

What I Want in a Phone

This comment from the Slashdot article “Television on your Phone” sums up my thoughts on mobile phones perfectly.
Here is what I want in a phone: (Score:5, Insightful)
by nasor (690345) Alter Relationship on Sunday May 22, @11:49AM (#12605104)

-a good strong signal that won't drop calls
-a long battery life
-the ability to survive repeatedly being dropped onto a hard surface from a height of about 5 feet
-waterproofing might be nice

Maybe once I can get all that, I'll be interested in a phone that can deliver TV shows, play Beethoven ring tones, take grainy pictures, and allow me to play simply video games. Honestly, what do these companies think that people buy phones for?

By al - 1:54 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Why I Love The Iron Giant

I sometimes forget that this is my absolute favourite movie of all time. Everything about it is pitch-perfect, from the beautiful animation, with just the most fluid motion for both the main character, Hogarth, who moves exactly like an energetic little kid would, to the giant, who also moves like an energetic kid. (to wonderful effect.)

There also aren't many movie characters that I instantly identified with like I did with Hogarth. The innocent kid who wants nothing but good things for anyone, but who is starting to lose hope in people, spending his time by himself finding new pets and watching science fiction movies on TV while his mom works overtime at a restaurant. When Hogarth befriends the giant it seems like it's exactly the beam of hope and inspiration that could save a kid like that from becoming cynical and marginalized from a world that doesn't understand him.

The sweetness of the movie goes extraordinarily well with the wicked social satire of the cold war era United States. The 'duck and cover' school propaganda film is understated but totally goofy in a 'Dr. Strangelove' sort of way if you actually pay attention to it. You can see Brad Bird's “Simpsons” heritage coming out here and in other places, like how the adults mostly seem less sensible and more irrational than Hogarth, who's just a kid.

Oh, and the climax of the movie, when the Giant says “Superman” - niagara fucking falls, every time.
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By al - 1:00 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Give me my monk's cell

The spectacle of me working on some Perl code on my laptop at Timothy's was probably enough to scare away customers. I never quite realized that my odd habits while thinking about code were so unconscious.. like my lips moving while reading code I don't understand, or a tendency to start to nod to whatever music I am listening to, or pointing at different lines on my screen, drawing imaginary lines between them.

I thought such things were me being perhaps a little eccentric, but I'm starting to wonder if my mind gets really warped when I am trying to write code with the thought processes I have to go through that I maybe forget to not act like a dork in public.

Perhaps the fact that I was feeling a little gloomy today had an effect on me as well, but I'm starting to think that the only way I can appear to be 'normal' is if acting normal is the only thing on my mind at a given moment.

By al - 10:01 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

CBC Newsworld's “news.real” - Lazy Reporting for the younger generation

This is an email I wrote to the CBC Newsworld show after they did a typical 'echoing the background noise' report on the Newsweek scandal
A question about the "Newsweek" story:

Does Neil MacDonald and the producers of the "Newsweek" report on May 21st's "News.real" program mean to have us believe that Newsweek's circulation is so wide that it's stories can spark protests in Afghanistan? That's pretty good since I didn't think a magazine could ship its latest issues to the Middle East so quickly.

Of course, even the Pentagon says the Afghan protests were unrelated to the Newsweek story, , but that hasn't stopped the White House PR machine, nor it seems, your program, from making a lazy connection between the two.

What scares me the most about this affair is the growing push on news organizations to watch themselves with a line like "people died because of that story." Don't they teach about censorship techniques like this in first year journalism classes?

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By al - 7:48 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment


There's this line between proper and vicious self-deprecation and mere concealed bragging. It would be fitting that I can't even tear myself apart very well.

By al - 5:10 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 20, 2005

I made it. It was a crazy long drive which started on the red mud. With a short but uncomfortable drive. My sister and her husband joined me and my roommate until we got to pictou.

On the boat we played poker and with a lot of confidence in one hand I bet high. After all everyone had 4 cards showing and I had three kings. There was no chance that anyone had any royal flush or anything of that sort. I had the forth king (a wild card in my hand). Steve beat me with 4 aces. urg.....

Anyway in the great metropolis of Pictou I managed to get lost and instead of returning to the highway when I dropped my sister and her husband off I ended back at the PEI Ferry....urg. Then Steve and I raced to get the Newfoundland boat. Which we did and slept horribly with the noise of the boat and the sound of old men snoring.

Newfoundland roads are set up so there is only one way to get from Port aux Basque to St. John's and that is the long way around. There were many obstacles such as slow moving red cars...A place where the majority of the highway was a big hole and we had to wait for single lain traffic to be open to our direction. And when I thought I could not drive anymore 10 hours of driving later, we arrived in St. John's.....Note PEI must explain to Newfoundland the nice thing about having multiple roots to get everywhere.

By Sabrina - 9:23 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

All Institutions Are Corrupt

I've heard a lot of predictable statements these last few days about how people are exasperated with the political system. “Oh, those politicians are just in it for their own careers”, ‘They don't care about anything except their stupid games”, and many variations. Here's the thing: The political system in Canada is working better now than it has in my living memory.

What did Martin have to do to get his budget passed? He had to work his ass off. He had to listen to other parties about what they wanted in the budget instead of just declaring it unilaterally.

The people accusing Belinda stronger of unethical behavior are confusing loyalty to a political party with ethics. Party loyalty is the opposite of real ethics. She realized that Harper is a wingnut who doesn't listen to Canadians nor to people in his own party, including Conservative premiers who have won multiple elections and might have useful advice on how to crack through to the rest of us. What does she owe a party that doesn't listen to her and isn't articulating what she wants to see for her country?

Now, the Liberal party is owed no loyalty, either, but they are now in the position of having to employ discretion in their actions. What more could someone ask for in a balance of power?

Politics is corrupt because people are corruptible. The same goes for the business world, only they can do their dealings in the dark. Mussolini equated corporatism with fascism for a reason, and American corporate leaders were the most vocal supporters of the Nazi government and its method of operating.

If you are losing faith in government you should rightfully have lost faith in the corporate world long ago.

Any institutions out there that are actually functional? The church? I won't even waste the effort on them.

What these three institutions, and any other similar-sized collections of people, have in common is that at some point they change their focus to self-preservation. Members of a government seek re-election even if to do it they have to make promises or take positions that damage an entire society. Employees in a business seek to protect their own positions and will step on their fellow workers to do it. Shareholders will shield themselves from enough real involvement in the filthy actions they demand in order to make quarterly profit estimates to still allow them to sleep at night. Churches attack innocent, marginalized groups of people to hide and distract from their rotting corpse of an institution.

The animal kingdom functions much more effectively than humans because instincts are far harder to corrupt. A wolf pack is just about the perfect-functioning unit. If a member of the pack performs poorly at tracking prey, the rest of the pack will just stop following him. In the human world the poor tracker will have a title called 'boss', and he'll be more concerned with keeping that title than for the pack eating. And the pack of poor, stupid humans defer to this title out of sheer selfishness. They imagine themselves wearing that title proudly one day, and they want to preserve all the arbitrary power they covet.

But humans don't have the luxury of instinct. When a wolf loses a fight for dominance he skulks off. A human in the same situation will very well wait till nightfall and cut the winner's throat. That's human nature. So we erect rules and systems and institutions to protect us from our own nature.. and the result is that these institutions become the agents of harm themselves.

The difference is that being the leader of a wolf pack is a hard job. A submissive dog lives a much happier and less stressful life than a dominant one who feels he has to protect his pack and put himself at risk when needed. In the human world we associate leadership with luxury and comfort. And so we get as our leaders people who seek those things, rather than those who feel a drive to take on the hard work of protecting his pack.

(My use of the masculine gender is unfortunate, if there was a neutral article I'd have used it when referring to humans.)

By al - 5:02 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Linux Window Managers: The Little Sister Test

The 'putting Debian on little sister's computer' experiment continues, as I still haven't come across a Windows CD.

The default window manager, like I said, is the whole GNOME environment, which is overkill for pretty much anyone as far as I can tell, and especially for a computer with 64MB of RAM. (Upgrades not easily to come by for SIMM RAM) It would run, but barely, and don't even think of running another program on top of that. (The fact that your browser choice are the big fat Mozilla or Konqueror and all the KDE stuff that gets loaded with it doesn't help matters.)

So I needed a window manager that gave just enough of a normal computer's functionality that my little sister could use it without having to edit config files.

Usable, familiar way of interating with the file manager, start menu and desktop icons. Memory hog of the first order. Rejected, sadly, since it's Linux's best hope.


Lean and fast.. mostly because it doesn't seem to do anything. You can't add items to the panel without editing a config file that doesn't even exist in your home directory after installation. Did a good job of loking like Windows and acting absolutely nothing like it. Rejected.


Quite configurable, reasonably fast. The NeXT-ish docks were a novelty for me and a bizzarre anachronism for Lynn. Dragging items to the dock didn't work, nor did trying to create icons on the desktop. Most programs had to be accessed by right-clicking on the desktop. Too Unixy-and-proud-of-t. Rejected.


I think we have a winner. Fast as hell, knows what people expect from a windowing environment these days. No desktop icons but the panel was easy enough to use. I'll keep that on there for now and see how it works out but it seems to be the only window manager I've seen so far that has its head in the right place.

Other Linux notes:
  • Switched from aMSN to GAIM, mostly for speed but also aMSN has this nasty habig of popping up windows whenever someone just clicks on your name. Annoying as hell, deselecting the obvious preferences option didn't stop it, and since the program is slow as molassis one was forever closing windows and waiting for them to go away. GAIM, on the other hand, is much more civilized.

  • Mozilla Suite doesn't use much more memory or resources than Firefox. I'm wondering what all the fuss is about

  • Setting up sound in Linux is still ridiculous. Why do I still need to fight with isapnp? Hasn't someone written a script to configure an AWE32 by now?

  • The design of XMMS (winamp junior) is familiar but still bad. Is there an iTunes clone for Linux? Or is that too mainstream?

More later, unless I can find a Windows 98 CD, that is.

By al - 12:13 p.m. | (6) comments | Post a Comment

You want me to what?!

Just when I think that I have experience the full breadth of Alberta's cowboy culture, something comes along that has me stunned or giggling by the sheer foreigness of it....

...Yesterday I got invited to help out with a cattle drive....A CATTLE DRIVE!! That's right, I'm being put on a horse to join 3 other guys to ride out a herd to pasture...I didn't think people still did it that way...I guess I figured they used those new cattle trucks or 4x4s or something...

...make things even more interesting, I've never been on a horse before! My friends are all looking forward to seeing 'the city gal' (by the way, I pass as cultured and refined around here- yeeesh) manage her mount...

I guess so long as someone shows me which pedal is the gas and which is the break, all will go smoothly....

By chantal - 10:49 a.m. | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Video Games and Stuff

I mentioned I'd give my opinion of Guild Wars, a PC on-line game I got a few weeks ago. Well, it's pretty fun, much like a better version of Diablo. Like Diablo, it quickly degenerates into a hack and slash game and interaction with other players can be rather limited. I've been running around trying to get different armor pieces for my character but that's been a rather fruitless exercise; read on the net that that's not possible in the area I'm currently in. Quests tend to be pretty simplistic and can be completed by just following the arrows to the next check point. It's enjoyable, but has the potential to get dull rather quickly.

Got my new PS2. Nothing really special about it except it has a different chip and plays more games. I was reading that I can play DiVX and other media files with it. Flashable BIOS via a CD-R. I'll probably explore the more interesting features of the new chip once I'm bored of Guild Wars.

Tried to mod a friend's XBox, again. For something that is supposely easy to mod, it's proving to be rather annoying. It's not like the PS2 modchips where you have to be a professional to solder the damn chip in. The progression basically when like this: Tried to softmod the console. Microsoft patched that hole. Got a modchip. Company I bought it from didn't include the adapter board so I can install it on that version of the XBox. On top of that, having problems flashing the BIOS on that chip as well (damn USB). Frustration is slowly setting in.

BTW, the foundation of the house is done. I'll have to post some pictures later.

By Ming - 3:21 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Filthiest Headline Ever

I don't have my camera on me today so I couldn't take a picture of the front page of today's Guardian, but I found the photo on the CP wire, so this is approximately what it looked like:

Belinda Pulls Off Shocker

The look on Martin's face seals, there's a naughty copy writer on staff at the Guardian.

For the uninitiated (from (NSFW)
1. shocker
The act of inserting 2 fingers into the vaginal opening (normally the index and middle fingers), and 1 into the anus (normally the "pinky" finger). This is usually performed when she is laying back, in the "deep thrust" postion (see "deep thrust" for more hardcore info). Commonly described a numerous number of ways, e. g. 2 in the pink, 1 in the stink; two in the grass one in the ass; two in the slut one in the butt; two in the koot, one in the boot; goin to town with one in the brown; and many more, this method of sexual gratification is one sought out by people of all levels. But only grand masters, like the Big Johnson have perfected it.

By al - 3:00 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment


Okay it is now Wednesday afternoon and I can barely contain the excitement of leaving. I am sure that will all go down hill after traveling for a day. But still i can't wait. Newfoundland here I come. Work done in 1.5 hours.

By Sabrina - 12:55 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Political Insight of the Day

Peter and Belinda will have way hotter sex now.

By al - 9:41 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment


It's Wednesday morning and I am getting ready to leave. I am off to the rock for a wedding. It is going to be great. I just have survive the morning of work and a little of the afternoon at work.

By Sabrina - 6:38 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Debian Sarge Quick First Impressions

Installed Debian Sarge on my little sister's computer last night after her windows died.. A few observations..

  1. wow, debian net install was easier than the last time I installed mandrake

  2. It's a bit tightly tied to GNOME.. I'd have preferred a n easy tway to switch to something lighter

  3. on the other hand, doing an apt-get install [application] automatically puts an item in your gnome start menu thing, which is great

  4. The Debian net-install also cures my other major complaint about Linux usability: the tendency to throw every possible package into a distro, so you get 6 mail programs, web browsers, 5 window managers and no way to know which is the best one with a typical install of something like Suse.

  5. I like Debian's totally non-commercial nature. No tricking you to sign up for for-pay upgrade services or support, nothing in your face whe nyou start the thing. Just a nice, working operating system.

  6. X installation was relatively simple. It did ask what the manufacturer of the video card was, not something a Joe User would know. But that was it, much better than the last time I installed Linux and had to remember how much video RAM I had and what the maximum horizontal and vertical synch rates of my monitor were.

  7. The desktop system still installs all the usual Linux crap, because you never know when you might want to run your own mail server, apparently.

We'll see if it passes the little sister test finally. She's got her Hotmail and her MSN, that should be all she would need for now, and all that ever really worked reliably under Win98 lately in the first place.

By al - 11:13 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Meme: Countdown

Stolen from Janelle:

Ten Random things about me:

10. My day revolves around coffee consumption.
9. I don't like talking about myself.
8. I sometimes zone out completely when I'm in a crowd.
7. I try to never wear clothing with brand names on it.
6. I can listen to a song over and over and still not be able to tell you what the words are unless I listen specifically for them.
5. I get nervous before picking up the phone to call someone but love to have long phone conversations.
4. Looney Toons cartoons will cause me to laugh uncontrollably.
3. I enjoy walking by myself because I can take the long way and walk slowly if I want to and stop to explore something or other that I might come across.
2. I have no idea what I'll be doing or where I'll be a year from now.
1. I like to cook but I'm a bit neurotic about having my own kitchen and having everything in the right place before I feel comfortable.

Nine ways to win my heart:

9. Own a cat.
8. Be the kind of person who is just as happy single or in a couple.
7. Have an interesting hobby or two.
6. Be unconcerned with what people are thinking when they look at you.
5. Do something to surprise me, to show you were thinking of me.
4. Be honest and open about what you're thinking and feeling.
3. A soft voice.
2. A soft touch.
1. A kind heart.

Eight things I carry/wear everyday:

8. Wallet with way too many cards in it.
7. Reading glasses.
6. Camera.
5. Mini telescope.
4. Headphones.
3. Watch. (I get neurotic without it)
2. Pen.
1. Kit bag.

Seven things that annoy me:

7. Bad spelling.
6. Grating voices.
5. People who call you 'buddy' when they're lying to you.
4. People who power trip on arbitrary rules.
3. People who make sweeping pronouncements and then get offended when you ask them to back them up with facts.
2. Drivers who think a light turning red is equivalent to 'last call' at the bar.
1. Superficiality.

Six places I've visited or intend to:

6. Israel (intend to)
5. Paris (intend to)
4. Mexico (intend to)
3. Montreal (visited)
2. Newfoundland (visited)
1. New Zealand (intend to)

Five things I want to do before I die:

5. Write a piece of useful and popular software.
4. Spend some time working on free software or other charitable work that I'd be good at and not just another warm body.
3. Unionize Wal-Mart (sure, why not, someone needs to.)
2. Learn at least 2 more languages.
1. Write a book or essay that changes peoples' minds about something.

Four things I'm afraid of:

4. Republicans
3. Girls
2. Failure
1. Loneliness

Three things I do everyday

3. Read my usual set of blogs and news sites.
2. Torment the dog, then take her for a walk.
1. Listen to music.

Two things I'm trying not to do now

2. Procrastinate
1. Say unkind things

One person I want to see now

1. I'm thinking of someone but am afraid to say
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By al - 3:30 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Paintings at University Ave. Construction Site

Photo Set: University Ave. Construction Site Paintings

These paintings appear on the wall around a construction site near where I work in downtown Charlottetown. I came by there at 5:30 this morning because it was a good time where I could stand in the middle of University Ave. and get good shots of them.

By al - 6:25 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, May 14, 2005

What happens when you barely sleep for an entire week?

Answer: you sleep in until 4pm on Saturday. Which means I'll be up late tonight, which means sleeping in on Sunday, which means not sleeping much on Sunday night, and then my work week starts the same cycle again. If I could get anything done while up not sleeping it would be fine, but I'm mostly just stressing that I'm not falling asleep and that I'll be too tired the next day, which makes me too nervous to sleep.

I might actually go see a doctor about my sleep problems.. I don't have caffeine in the evenings anymore, but the consequence of that is that when I do have a cup of tea or something it will keep me awake more than when I would think nothing of drinking a couple of cups of coffee while reading or wahtever in the evening.

It's like going on a diet to lose weight, it helps as long as you stick to it but as soon as you break your diet just a little you're back to square one.

On the upside, at least I'm getting a lot of reading done, since it's about all I can do when I'm physically spent but not able to sleep.

By al - 7:21 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

The Porcelain Gods @ Brennan's

This is the best part of the show j. and I saw last night, where the singer burst into green flames.

Update: On the other hand, Tam has some long-exposure pics that actually look good: Link.

By al - 4:32 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 13, 2005

flickr Photo Group: Atlantic Canada Music

I just created a new group on for Atlantic Canada Music, basically pictures of concerts, festivals, people jamming or related nonsense.

Group photo pools are great because anyone can add their photos without having to wait for someone to put them up for you. Also I thought I'd create it because I got tired of searching through old message board threads for people's pics.

If a few people join and start adding their photos it should turn into a great little collage of the music scenes around these parts that no one in the rest of Canada seems to know about.

But not if it's just my stupid pics in there, so everyone get going and add yours too Smile

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By al - 3:53 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Greg MacPherson @ Baba's

Greg MacPherson @ Baba's

This was a pretty good show. He said that he flew into Halifax today and rented an amp before driving to PEI, and after a day of travel he was still pretty sharp, which I wouldn't have been :)

Maybe he should have rented a rhythm section as well, but he pulled off a pretty good sound on his own all things considered. His style was pretty straight-forward rock songs, energetic riffs, lots of variety. Very solid musicianship. I'm still humming one of his songs to myself as I type this, so that's definitely a vote of confidence.

By al - 12:38 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Don't buy the new Sloan CD (A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005)

So yesterday I was at J's place, just watching Beatles DVDs and listening to some tunes. That day he bought the new Sloan greatest hits album, A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005, and when he popped it into his computer it started playing garbled noise. At the same time a message popped up telling him he needed a licence to listen to this content, and that he had to connect to the Internet to download special keys to get asccess to his music.

After struggling with the thing for 10 minutes or so it still wouldn't work.

Fuck you, Sloan, you sold out. Do you know what someone ends up doing when you screw over your listeners like that when all they want to do is listen to their music the way they want to and not by having to connect to the Internet each time and use some retarded custom program? They go on Bittorrent and download the thing just like they would have had they stolen it.

So people are using the tools of piracy to get around the restrictons put on them try and curtail piracy.

The sooner the record industry collapses in on itself the better. When you start treating your customers like criminals your customers will drop any remaining loyalty to you and go elsewhere.
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By al - 12:56 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Red Hat 9 is Evil. . . .

I remember this horrible debate a long time ago where a lot of people were complaining about Red Hat and some other Linux distros backporting code into their distros. I haven't really seen the problem firsthand, as I was using Mandrake at the time.

I've been taking a linux course this week at work, Linux device drivers and all that fun stuff. Due to company infrastructure concerns, we're doing the old 2.4 kernel. So, we're use Red Hat 9. First, my laptop overheats if the processor runs at full power; it takes about an hour before it crashes. Hard. Red Hat 9/Linux 2.4 does not support CPU frequency scaling, so it runs my processor at full power until it crashes. Red Hat backported 2.5 code into Red Hat 9 and they backported the CPU frequency scaling code. Problem. When I enable that, the kernel does not compile. Bastards. Al, thanks for finding CPUSpeed. Unfortunately, the stock Red Hat 9 kernel does not this support built in and I can't build a kernel with that support in it.
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By Ming - 9:57 a.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Protesting Wal-Mart? You can hurt them much more deeply if you do it quietly.

I've read that there will be a big extra special super-duper anti-wal-mart protest in Charlottetown this weekend.

What ever happened to 'just don't shop there'?

I can pretty much guarantee such gatherings will fly over the radar of the people who actually do shop at wal-mart.. seems more of a self-satisfaction exercise for the people who don't shop there already.

The sentiment is in the right place, to be sure, wal-mart scares the daylights out of me, but the implementation won't strike me as something that will accomplish much. Why not instead print up concise, easy-to-read explanations of wal-mart's deceptive low prices on bottom end items, to let people in on the fact that they're not really saving money by shopping there even though the big advertized prices seem to be lower.

On the other hand, a smart and silent union card campaign could actually get someplace. Having a big red sign that says "Hey Wal-Mart, we're gonna be causing trouble, better be on the look-out" won't.
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By al - 1:10 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

That's Repulsive, It Must Be Brilliant

I had that thought today when the fear struck me that soon we would see advertizing take the form of MSN Winks. As in:

User A downloads a free 'wink' (animated full-screen emoticon that you can send over MSN Messenger) from a site owned by coca-cola.

User A sends the (perhaps innocuous) wink to a few friends, to see what it does and to show it off.

User B gets the wink, is amused by the animation, smiles, and sees 'click here' at the end.

User B is put in a good mood by the animation and still hasn't learned his lesson about clicking things sent to you via a Microsoft product (this is the target market for such an ad campaign to begin with.) The link takes User B to, or some promotion subsite.

The website sees that the reference was from User A's computer, and credits a little paypal or promotions account some nominal amount of money, or maybe a free iTunes song with 5 clicks. Or an affiliate program where if User B ends up buying something User A gets a percentage.

This system is already up and running on the web, and further decentralizing it, and adding the exploitation of trust between users on a contact list, can make ads even more targetted and effective.

Now, if you are a marketing goon in a position to implement this: Kill yourself.

I think it's funny that I come up with genius marketing ideas now and then, and I base my judgment of how good an idea it is by how completely terrified and repulsed I am that someone might actually do it.

Maybe this anti-conscience is what happened to the former consciences of marketing people. They use it as an idea barometer and misinterpreted the negative reaction as something good.
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By al - 11:45 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

A Tale of Two Weezers

mark and I agree, and he put it best, “weezer are strange, they would make a lot more sense if Pinkerton was their first album. As it is it's as if Rivers fell down a rabbit hole and wrote his best album by accident.”

On the CD there is an interview with the band, and in it the drummer says “It seems like to be a true weezer fan you have to always be unhappy with what the band is doing.” They tried to write uplifting, happy songs, which is all well and good, but if they don't come from some sort of personal experience they will be trite and hollow. And they are.

What made Pinkerton so great was the personal and intimate subject matter. Now, perhaps Rivers isn't ready to write about going completely nuts and becoming a recluse, for which I don't blame him, but that could mean that he just doesn't have a lot of material left to draw from, if the most compelling thing to happen to him was to fall for a lesbian.

On the other hand, if I just consider weezer to be a good-sounding pop band, and Pinkerton to be Rivers' Rocky I, then things can be easily put to rest, and I can stop hoping for more before each new release.
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By al - 6:10 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Video iPod?

On this Slashdot thread that notes the new version of iTunes lets you download and watch music videos, there is a comment from someone claiming to be from Apple giving a lecture about why a video iPod would not work.

His main points were that people haven't flocked to existing portable movie players. Kids aren't even using the PSP (Sony's attempt to refight the game gear vs. gameboy battle) to play movies.

But here's the thing, a video out port on an iPod would only cost a few dollars extra to add to the device. Or they could make it part of the dock. Imagine 60GB of movies (presumably ~600MB MPEG-4 movies, so about 100 on a 60GB iPod) that you can take over to a friend's place to watch on his TV. The thing is smaller than even a single DVD.

Now, of course everyone knows Apple doesn't talk about unreleased hardware and I have no doubt one of them has thought of this before I have, so seeing the software infrastructure put in place now with iTunes makes me think that they aren't going to have someone else get this right first.

And if the idea does fail, it won't cost them anything substantial, since video technology has been part of QuickTime for over a decade and a half, and an iPod Photo already has everything it needs to play videos (digital out would be much better, of course.)

It's not about watching the movies on the little screen, the screen could even be turned off to save battry power. It's about the world's smallest TiVo.
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By al - 4:22 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Ming-Duc is Aweseome

Especially now that he's hosting the images for this site. Contemplating saying goodbye to our friend blogger and pointing a domain like or somesuch to a wordpress blog that we can use. (if it's hard to use I won't do it.)

I've got a hand-sewn template that should be easy enough to migrate to a different tag system.

Nothing immediate, just musing.

On another note, as metablogging is pointless, I just saw Eternal Sunshing of the Spotless Mind tonight. Loved it, I especially liked Jim Carey and David Cross' characters. What is it about comedians that makes them able to do dark characters so well? Does it have to do with some kind of underlying bitterness I sense in quite a few comedians? Carey's character isn't dark so much as it is.. sad and gloomy, and he pulls it off excellently.

This is what real, good science fiction is, where it is a way of drawing some social contradiction or problem into much sharper relief. For some reason when it works well people don't even call it science fiction.

By al - 2:48 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 09, 2005

The guy at work

Okay so there is this guy at work. His desk is right next to mine. So when he first showed up, he was all nice and stuff...But then he never stopped talking...I am telling you this guy won't stop taking for a minute to let anyone else say anything at all. I was talking to Another guy at work about the swim meet from the past weekend. And the guy (I'll came him jerk from this point on) says to the guy I was talking to..."Wait I want to tell a story" And destroys the conversation we were having. The jerk was telling a gambling story where he lost all his money and had no similarity to the swim talk I was having with the other guy.
Jerk has been work with me for about 6 weeks now, he interrupts people conversations to tell stories that are not relevant to the conversation. He talks over people and it annoys everyone. Jerks most annoying habit however is that he keeps telling everyone about how expensive all his stuff is. He has an $1800 bike, and shows off how good it is. So I say "Well F@#K you, I have a bike that cost me $300, 10 years ago and you don't see me bragging about it"

I have tried to get this guy to go away. I have tried ignoring him. But he just won't go anywhere. I have also tried eating food so my breath is horrible...but it doens't phase him. AHHHHHHHHHH. I dont' know what to say to make him go away. I have even tried saying that. Jerk will not take the hint.

Jerk talks to everyone in the place the same way. He wants to show off his money. It is not cool. There are a lot of people where we work who raise several kids on a salary of equal or lesser value than his. Jerk is also inconsiderate He shows up to a shooter party this past weekend, with out a contribution. The deal for the party was, everyone brings in a bottle (usually picked from a list) then they get to have what every they want in the line of shots for the duration that the liquor last. One of the girls at the party was designated to make the shots. So Jerk shows up without his bottle and still drinks what ever he wants and on top of that he annoys the hell out of the bar tender.

By Sabrina - 6:50 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Memos: Robert Smith's Hair Edition

  • I find that if I ever want to talk about something serious with someone I have to arrive ther eby way of lots and lots of stupid humour, because that's the only way I know how to start a conversation. As in, I'll send someone a message with something funny in it, and then try and guage their mood in subsequent messages, before bringing up what I really wanted to talk about. I think I need some kind of mood ring where I can just change it myself to show if I'm wanting to just be goofy or if I'd rather be a little quieter or more thoughtful.

  • The Obsessed are a great metal band. Their earlier stuff is a bit too soaked in doom metal gloominess and imagry, but The Church Within is a later album that seems to have grown beyond the band's roots and is a really excellent just-plain-heavy-metal album. (The ridiculously complex taxonomy of the types of metal music always baffled me.) The Church Within has a sound that sits somewhere at the mathematical mean between Black Sabbath's heavy, rolling riffs and Iron Maiden's pace, melodic bridges and bass playing that stands starkly apart from the guitars. And the guitar solos are totally Iommi-inspired seemingly-messy blues lines. Worth a listen if you've ever been a metal fan.

  • I had a dream the other night, I meant to write it down like I have been doing but the only part I can remember is that I found myself talking to an ex of mine, and I go to say something in her ear and we end up kissing. Not sure what that means, but I woke up shaking my head.

  • I found this poodle drawing yesterday, totally draws the parallel to the way a lion looks, I think it's great. Especially given the unfair image poodles have in North America.

    Found it at the Poodle History Project. The subject came up because poodles were listed as the #2 best working dog breed on one of those discovery channel shows. (Behind border collies, who are perhaps more intelligent than poodles but also more tricksy and hard to deal with.) Poodles are certainly much more dignified than border collies, as well. A friend described standard poodles' demeanor as 'wise', which is very fitting.

By al - 8:56 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Mope Pop is Funny

Just yesterday someone actually informed me that I don't like 'songs' but instead I only like 'music', and that the fact that I usually don't notice song lyrics unless I specifically listen for them is 'retarded'. It was such a bizarre statement that I've been trying to figure out what the hell she even meant.

It came from my complaint that Trent Reznor is singing too loudly in his latest album.

But the accusation got me to thinking about how my love of music differs from some other people's. I'm usually not ever one to want to learn very much about a rock star's personality or his or her life outside of the recording studio and stage. There are quite a few bands in my current rotation who's members' names I don't even know, but who's music I absolutely adore. To my thinking the fact that I can know a song backwards and forwards and can hum the whole thing and play it out if I wanted to is everything I could ever want from a song and a band.

But then I go online, usually just out of cursory searches for new music, and people on fan message boards are combing over details of a singer's personal life. Not something I can usually ever even get to the end of reading.

And then there are the stories people have of how a song changed their lives, or how songs make them feel a certain way, or how some line from a song is something they want to be included in a wedding vow. There simply aren't these kinds of ties between music and memory for me. When I'm feeling down I don't go and look for a song that tries to reflect exactly how I'm feeling. Most times I just want to have something coming into my ears so I can think about that instead of whatever is weighing me down at the time.

Growing up if you asked me what I thought a song like "In Bloom" by Nirvana meant I'd probably have to say "Let me listen to it again so I can pay attention to the words". Then I might be able to pick apart the words and come up with some kind of analysis, but that would pass out of my consciousness long before I heard the song again and be more concerned with humming the wicked guitar riff and playing air drums to Dave Grohl's percussive savagery.

So tonight I tried to search my mind for examples of song lyrics that actually do hit me in a personal way. At first I had to think 'OK, what singer actually thinks about things the way you do?' The quick and easy answer to that was, of course, Morrissey.

So in goes You Are the Quarry. As I listen to it I remember the same complaint as I had about With Teeth, the singer expects that I want to hear his words repeated every time I put the song on. The Smiths had lots of clever lyrics as well, to be sure, but fortunately Johnny Marr's ego prevented Morrissey from dominating the sound quite as much.

Maybe it's why I have a hard time listening to this album.. Because Moz is singing things that do get to me, and I can't quite tune them out. Like the line: “Close your eyes / And think of someone you physically admire / And let me kiss you. / But then you open your eyes / And you see someone that you physically despise. / But my heart is open to you.”

Even though he's gotten extremely rich off of this kind of self-hatred, which means I'll have to find some other way of making my fortune, there is some kind of reassurance hearing the same thing come from some other mind.

There are a couple of very notable other exceptions. “It's Not Easy Being Green” will bring tears to my eyes if I sing along to it, and I've only actually listened to Billie Holiday sing “Strange Fruit” once, and not wanting to hear it again.
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By al - 4:45 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 06, 2005

Attention Overload

Attention Overload

Rowena normally doesn't get much in the way of lovins from us, she probably nearly died today from all the attention.

By al - 1:58 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

I wish I was a crow.

I wish I was a crow.

This one lives in the tree by my house and seems to say 'hello' whenever I come home or leave.

By al - 1:56 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Memos: Pete Townsend Eddie Edition

  • Just bought a pair of tickets to see Pearl Jam in St. John's, Newfoundland in the wee hours this morning. This is in addition to the pair I already bought to see them in Halifax. So the current plan is to drive to hali. with Justin and Taylor and Janelle, see them there on the 22nd, meet up with Will and whoever the shit else J. has convinced to come along, say goodbye to Janelle, then fly to St. John's early on the 23rd. That gives us two whole days to poke around St. John's and generally stalk the band and meet up with all the real PJ fanatics who've been following them around the country. Apparently the last date on the tour, like St. John's will be, is notorious for being a much longer set and where Eddie Vedder goes even more nuts than usual. Can't wait. After the show we fly back to Hali. and then take a shuttle to the Island, on which we'll likely all fall completely asleep. I'm going to be pumped about this all summer long.

  • More music news, the Shoreline Festival on July 8th-10th in Rollo Bay is going to be a wicked time. The lineup is pretty damn impressive for PEI, and actually makes me think that there may be what you could legitimately call an East Coast 'scene' (but oh how the constant obsessing and whining about a 'scene' on various message boards has soured me on using that word).

  • The screen on my laptop is getting a little loose.. where it will fall closed if I don't position it nearly straight up. Still perfectly usable, but just another thing that's slowly breaking on it, along with all the plastic bits that have come off, port covers and decorations and such, and the 'j' key which has been missing for about a year and a half now, the network and modem ports which no longer work (currently using a PCMCIA network card), the wireless card (which I stepped on one day), the media buttons on the front which only work with WinXP (and not with Win2k which I much much prefer), and the battery cover, which has gotten a little loose, so if I am carrying the computer around and jiggle it a bit too much, the battery will get knocked loose from the connectors just long enough to lose power. I've had the machine for 3 years now, and really it still works and does everything I need.. but maybe a powerbook is closer to my future than I thought.

  • So Tony Blair managed to keep a 62 seat advantage in the British House of Commons with only a 36% shrare of the vote. Quoth the Taylor: "Proportional representation is for homos." Meanwhile, my hope for gains by the Liberal Democrats have been deflated, with them getting barely more than 50 of 600-some seats, roughly the same percentage of seats as the NDP have, with no political leverage thanks to Labour's huge majority. The only good thing is that at least Blair will quit soon. It seemed inevitable that Blair would win, because the Conservatives were limited mainly to southern England, and irrelevant everywhere else. The whole situation is very similar to the Canadian House of Commons' electoral map, including regional nationalist parties.

  • Memo to Trent Reznor: You're 38 years old, filthy rich and can do what you love for a living. The angsty lyrics are getting old.

By al - 8:55 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment


A little over a month ago my little sister and her husband got a piece of mail from concerned parents of Canada (or something very similar to that). The piece of mail was disguised to appear as if it was coming form our MP. When she read it she found it to have language stating how the new legistration on gay Marriage will ruin the values of her children. The piece of mail continued on with several unsupported statements and in the end was a horrible little bit of literature based on opinion and had no concrete facts in. My sister took it as Hate mail and took it upon herself to write into her MP expressing her opinion and extreme displeasure that Canada post would allow the delivery of such a piece of mail.

The result:

A press release from her MP. Stating he does not endorse this campaign, as well a note saying that after several months of deliberation he will be voting in favor of gay Marriage rights. He mailed this press release to my sister and with was a letter explaining that he was thankful that this matter had been brought to his attention and that apparently my Sister was not the only person who was malcontent with the campaign. My sister and her husband were very content with the responce. My roommate (who happens to be gay) was pleased with the results as well. Big sister is proud of little sister.

Way to go Kim

By Sabrina - 6:26 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 05, 2005


By al - 2:46 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

I got 100%

color test http://

By Sabrina - 8:33 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

what religion are you?

You scored as Buddhism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Buddhism. Do more research on Buddhism and possibly consider becoming Buddhist, if you are not already.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths: (1) Life is suffering. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are usually divided into three categories that base the Buddhist faith: morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration. In Buddhism, there is no hierarchy, nor caste system; the Buddha taught that one's spiritual worth is not based on birth.

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with

By chantal - 3:22 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

You signed your lease? We own you now.

How can the ATC people be so stunned?

To rent an LCD projector for a day? $225, thank you very much. No, we're not actually here to meet your IT needs, like we advertize, we're actually here to extract as much money as we can from you now that you're here because this building is a giant money black hole and the good deals we gave the big companies to come here and fill the place up means we have to screw over the startups and small companies whom we had an original mandate to help.

/going out to buy a new projector to rent it for $150 a day.

By al - 3:05 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Re: Quizzy

Well, it's close. I guess it's my Southern Chinese upbringing shining through :-p Buddhism is pretty popular there. What I find interesting is the 50/50 split between Christianity and Satanism. . . .

BTW: The full output the site puts out royally messes up the blog layout. Please edit before posting!

You scored as Buddhism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Buddhism. Do more research on Buddhism and possibly consider becoming Buddhist, if you are not already.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths: (1) Life is suffering. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are usually divided into three categories that base the Buddhist faith: morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration. In Buddhism, there is no hierarchy, nor caste system; the Buddha taught that one's spiritual worth is not based on birth.

Buddhism = 88%
agnosticism = 83%
Islam = 63%
Paganism = 58%
Satanism = 50%
Christianity = 50%
atheism = 50%
Hinduism = 38%
Judaism = 38%

By Ming - 12:06 p.m. | (6) comments | Post a Comment

More quizes

Thanks to Circe for bringing this one to my attention

You scored as Buddhism. Your beliefs most closely resemble those of Buddhism. Do more research on Buddhism and possibly consider becoming Buddhist, if you are not already.

In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths: (1) Life is suffering. (2) All suffering is caused by ignorance of the nature of reality and the craving, attachment, and grasping that result from such ignorance. (3) Suffering can be ended by overcoming ignorance and attachment. (4) The path to the suppression of suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right contemplation. These eight are usually divided into three categories that base the Buddhist faith: morality, wisdom, and samadhi, or concentration. In Buddhism, there is no hierarchy, nor caste system; the Buddha taught that one's spiritual worth is not based on birth.

Buddhism = 88%
Paganism = 83%
Hinduism = 67%
Judaism = 58%
Islam = 58%
Satanism = 42%
Christianity = 33%
atheism = 25%
agnosticism = 21%

Which religion is the right one for you? (new version)
created with QuizFarm.

By Sabrina - 7:02 a.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Playing with the foot ball at work

At lunch several of the people around find activities to do that are not related to chemistry. Today a pile of found a patch of grass and started tossing the foot ball around at work. It was great. We tossed it back and forth. Some of the guys with stronger arms would do long passes to each other. And generally they were pretty gentle when passing to Tansy and myself. The only two girls brave enough to play today. However that bravery may have been lost. First Tansy took a ball to the tip of her middle finger. She said it hurt a bit but was fine. Then I took one to the tip of my middle finger and my baby finger. I dropped to my knees. Then stood up and resumed play.

about an hour later I saw Tansy and her finger was swollen, my middle finger was fine but my pinky had a few little black spots on it :)

Now my finger is black all over and puffed up like a balloon. The skin feels much like I put a glove which was too tight on it.....Tomorrows plan...Revenge.

By Sabrina - 9:43 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

“There is no love here”

New NIN is good.. but the voice is mixed quite loudly, so you get to hear trent's lyrics very clearly, and they seem to be transcripts of a depressive teenager's livejournal.

By al - 5:58 p.m. | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Charming Cowboy Quotables

here are two lines I heard from cowboys over the weekend....oozing charm out here, I tells ya....

"my woman's getting too loose...I'd flip her over but that's how I got her pregnant the first time..."

"She's a tough cow to f#$k boys, but we need the calves..."


By chantal - 3:09 p.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment


I was talking to one of my co-workers about a PC game, Guild Wars, and he really got me interested in it. It's a MMORPG, free to play online (i.e. no monthy subscription) and it looks pretty cool. So I went to the mall yesterday to check up on it and it sounds pretty good. EB only had one copy and I didn't like the version of the box it was in so I told the clerk I'd think about it.

While I was walking around pondering the meaning of MMORPG, I decided to look for a particular Yo-Yo I saw in a TV commerical. It's funny. Yo-Yo's are definitely a fad toy, but for some reason they just keep on coming back. . . strange eh? So, I find them hidden away at Walmart. Yotech is the new brand I saw on TV. Nothing special, $6 for a basic Yo-Yo, fixed metal axle, plastic sides, spare string and tricks on a CDROM. It's pretty stylish looking, but not quite what I was looking for. After all, the commerical was claiming it to be pretty revolutionary. Then I saw the "Level 1" marked on the package. *lightbulb* There must be other models! Searched the rest of the aisle, but no dice. Off to Toys R Us.

Found a whole bunch of Yo-Yo's there. Found the other model there too. $9 with a fancy transaxle clutch mechanism to make the Yo-Yo auto return. Not exactly what I call revolutionary, I have one with a simular system already in my collection (in fact, it looks exactly the same). I don't like it. It's cool at first, but once you start doing tricks and the thing kicks back when you don't want it to. . . not fun.

I did find this one:

This one's cool. It's got a sleeve bearing for an axle, adjustable response/spin settings, and it looks awesome. I got the yellow one. It works great. Advanced sleeper tricks are a breeze with this thing. You can take the thing apart and see the axle mechanism; it's pretty neat how it works. Only con, the plastic is really hard! After a few hard throws, it starts to really hurt your hand! Picture a solid piece of pastic and metal slamming into the palm of your hand at about 50 kph. . . .

Oh, and I did get Guild Wars. Futureshop had the collector's edition with an artbook, comm-headset, and other stuff included. More on that later.

By Ming - 3:05 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Hitchhiker's Guide == Brilliant

OK, I'm going to talk about plot points and endings and if you haven't seen the movie (even if you've read the books or heard the radio series) don't read on. Just don't.

Now then, since you've all seen it I don't feel the need to stick to a linear plot summary or try and have a real point, I'll just mention things I thought were funny.

Zaphod as President Bush of the Universe was perfect. While the original character of Zaphod was a little dry, and was a real rival for Trillian, and the cortex of his brain was considered the single coolest place in the universe, the new Zaphod is rather more outrageously dimwitted. But he's still on the quest to find the ultimate question, with at least as much fervor as the original Zaphod, and has many good lines while he's at it. I always found old Zaphod's lines could be things that Ford might have said, they both had similar ways of reacting to the rest of the characters, and in the radio play the voices were a bit too similar. New Zaphod has some great lines like: "I'm the president of the galaxy, I don't have time to do a lot of reading!"

It was pretty obvious they were making Bush references and for that I'm glad they changed the character.

Trishia (Trillian) was much more convincing as an astrophysicist than the girl who played her in the original miniseries. (Yes it's because she was blonde, don't bother.) And man did I ever fall for her when they did the shot where stuck her face into the machine that determines what you were desiring at that moment, I just thought "hey, you're looking at me, aren't you?" *sigh*

I always find it funny when actors bring elements of the previous characters they've played into a new role. Like Natalie Portman taking the whimsy of her character in Garden State and using it against little old unsuspecting love-struck al in Closer. In this film the actor who plays Arthur Dent, Martin Freeman, is most famous for playing Tim in "The Office". One of the story arcs of "The Office" was how nice guy Tim slowly becomes more and more of a BS artist and becomes increasingly like his vile boss David whom he despises.

In the movie Arthur tries to get out of a couple of sticky situations, like the Vogon captain asking about his poetry, through excellent use of bullshit, and he did it with the same affectations as his character in The Office did.

Speaking of which, the scene where Arthur rescues Trillian from the Vogons by filling out the proper prisoner release form was absolutely brilliant. I kept expecting them to get frustrated with the bureaucratic process and try a daring rescue of some sort, but they stuck to their guns, and as soon as the proper signatures were gotten Trishia was free to go. (this is quite a big plot deviation from the book, but it's a good way to keep the Vogons in the story, and it really fleshes out the 'not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous' Vogon character trait. As such the movie had no real villains, just insane systems of puzzles and circumstances that they never had to defeat, but simply get through. Very British, somehow.

Any doubts I had about the film not being enough of a comedy were instantly vapourized at the very beginning when the dolphins did the extended musical version of 'so long and thanks for all the fish' with a tune very similar (eerily so) to the song 'Complicated' by Avril Lavigne.

Another great piece of humour was the way-over extended pull-away from the earth right before it blows up.

Finally, I quite enjoyed the very, very different ending to the movie. Instead of being dropped on earth mark 2 with the cavemen and the telephone sanitizers and hair dressers that were shot into space from a more sensible planet, the Magrathians recreated Earth exactly as it was the morning it was destroyed, so that the program could pick up where it was. But Arthur decides he doesn't want to be on earth, and asks Trishia if she wants to go off somewhere in space with him. I really liked that they had them end this version of the story by getting together. It's sort of like how I thought the last Charlie Brown strip should have had Charlie finally getting a kiss form the little red-haired girl. "Great Job, Tim, you'll never have to work in an office again."

Update: One other thing, the fact athat they were daring in enough to use three entirely separate god machines (deus ex machinae) to get out of bad situations (the platnet factory, the point-of-view gun and the ship that cycles through every possible permutation of existence) was very ballsy of them.
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By al - 1:07 a.m. | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 02, 2005

RIP: Squeaky

RIP: Squeaky

This is how we deal with aliens who try and mess with the servers.

By al - 8:26 p.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

First Day of biking season

With the jump in the price of gas this morning, I started my daily biking to work today. I got up and like it was habit. I got ready to go to work, by putting on my old red fuzzy pants. Hooked up my MP3 player and off I went. I found that the ride was pretty good right up until I got the Hill. Now to look at the Hill it is sort so it doesn't appear to bad. However everyone agrees that it is nasty cause it is so damn steep. I found my self strugging to get to the top, as one of my co-workers decided to pass me by. He made it look easier than I could. But I will say that listening to Smash as I travered the hill made it easier.

Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

Side note.
Gas is getting too expensive.

By Sabrina - 10:04 a.m. | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Trying to like the Washington Nationals

I've been a Montreal Expos fan all my life, 1994 was heartwrenching for me and losing the team after last year just felt like an afterthought.

So now I don't have a baseball team anymore, for real this time. I figure there are still crusty old Brooklyn Dodgers fans out there who just haven't come around to liking the Mets yet, and don't plan to.

But there's a Washington Nationals game on TV tonight so perhaps I'll be open minded and give them a chance. Frank Robinson is still managing them, and that's pretty damn cool for sure.

They're playing the Mets tonight, in the 2nd inning the Mets are ahead 1-0.

RFK Stadium seems like a decent place to play baseball in. At least they haven't renamed it after a corporate sponsor or Ronald Reagan (yet).

OK, here's the dealio: I've always kind of liked the Mets. But since they were in the Expos' division I could never really cheer for them. So as I watch this game, I won't consciously cheer for one team or the other. But at the end, depending on whether I'm happy with the result or not, I'll have a new team to cheer for, either the Nationals or the Mets. It's just like my old trick when I was a kid, if I couldn't decide on something I would flip a coin, and if my heart sank a bit I knew to just go with the other choice.

I don't know a lot of the guys on the Nationals' lineup.. lots of new names. Their pitcher tonight reminds me a bit of Randy Johnson. Can really throw some fire across the plate.

Sadly, the ESPN announcers seem to be talking to people as if they don't know anything about baseball, and seem more interested in talking about the steroid controversy than the game. "That's a base hit for Christian Guzman.. er, sorry, Gary Bennet. Bennet was still up there?" Worst announcers ever.

Ick, super-imposed strike zone square showing up on the replay. Hate hate hate. I'm surprised the umpires allow that. The flexible strike zone is a bit of a baseball tradition.

OK, the nationals are playing old fashioned Expos ball, get guys on base, don't swing for the seats, take a sacrifice if it can advance your baserunners.

W00, it payed off, Nick Johnson base hit with the bases loaded, 2 runs score. Now José Vidro is up. (finally, someone I know.) Announcer just called them the "Expos". That's kind of sad, actually.

I'm not sure I like the Nationals' uniforms. The letters on their helmets are in cursive script, very curly, but the lettering on the uniforms are blocky typeface. Doesn't really match well at all. I don't really like the red colour, either.

Oops, Family Guy on. Check back in on the commercials.

I hate the new mascot.. Screech the fat Bald Eagle. Their whole brand seems really slapdash and unprofessional.OK, back to Family Guy. Nice to see that hasn't lost its soul. Actually this is pure gold.

OK, back to the game.. and they're asking Mike Piazza about the new pope, and he's trying to sound positive. I guess as long as you're still in the closet you're allowed to shill for Benny XVI.

Jesus, Family Guy is amazing.. and American Dad looks like it's going to be terrible. Baseball time again.

OOps, mets have tied it up at 3 and bases are loaded.. Paterson, the Nationals' pitcher is starting to struggle.

Ugh.. American Dad not funny. And stylistically exactly the same as Family Guy. Sort of like the crappy design done for the Nationals. heh. Oooh, and alien and a talking fish, nice creative work there, guys. Futurama actually outgrew The Simpsons, this is like a bad parody of Family Guy.

Baseball again. John Paterson still pitching for the Nationals. I guess their bullpen is still as shallow as the Expos'. It's a pretty strange experience to suddenly see your old team without the emotional attachment of being a fan.

The Washington crowd is big, around 30,000, but not loud at all. In Olympic Stadium even if they only had 10,000 people in the stands they made tons and tons of noise, mostly by using the empty seats next to them.

Joey Eischen just got injured pitching for the Nationals. Not really cheering for the Mets, either, despite the Nationals mostly irritating me. I used to like Mike Piazza but he hasn't done much of note lately at all, and it really seems like their owners aren't even thinking about trying to build their team. Looks like my search for a new team is going to have to continue.
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By al - 9:32 p.m. | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Out From Under @ Brennan's

Out From Under @ Brennan's

Link: Out From Under home page. These guys are seriously rockin', which is especially high praise since they had a primarily country vibe. Their playing was as tight as can be, their bassist had a really memorable slide technique, the guitar sounds melded together perfectly, and they even had a dude riffin' away at a saxophone for a while.

I had a blast, hope to see them playing again soon.

Update: Looks like they liked that photo enough to put it on their site. Cool :)

By al - 3:50 a.m. | (1) comments | Post a Comment

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