Alex O'Neil has kindly agreed to be our teacher on Monday August 22nd. Our hope is that we will be able leave the evening knowing how do do basic Wiki editing and how best to set up our own wikis The session will begin at 6 and go on to at least 8pm. We do not have a licence so BYOB may be good. I am bringing red wine. We can choose a takeout when we get going. Preview - In September the guys at the Little Mac Shoppe will begin a series of Mac evenings - watch this space for more
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I laughed when I saw the front page today, allthough the pic was of tragedy. But if you have or haven't seen it, it's a pic of the flooding in the US along the Mississippi, and to the right of the pic in big letters it says "New water park to be open next year." Previous Guardian headline hilarity: Link.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Finally got the wheels and tires yesterday. Had to instruct UPS to drop them off on the porch unattended for the afternoon, as I wasn't going to take a day off work to wait for the guy to arrive. Lucky for me, no one decided to walk away with some new wheels. After a couple of hours in my sister's garage, I had the new wheels on. While I was doing that, I did a quick check to see if there was a noticable different in wheel weight between the old and the new. I have to say, they were pretty close, I think the new wheels are slightly heavier, but not by much.
Got the race tires mounted on the old rims that same night. Canadian Tire is great for late night, last minute stuff. I'm still surprised I managed to fit all 4 old wheels and tires, plus the new tires all in the Celica. After that was done, took a spin to Tuan's so he could check out the car and have a bite to eat. Then back home to retorque, and prep the autocross gear.
The Celica handles differently now. Not particularly sure if I like it or not yet. I just know it feels strange. It feels pretty responsive, yet mushy at the same time. Not really sure how to explain it. I'm currently running pretty high tire pressures, high 30's (manufacturer suggests 29 psi BTW). I'll be adjusting that as I get a better feel for how the car handles. Acceleration feels about the same, maybe a little slugish than before, but not really noticable. Hopefully I'll get that stuff ironed out or I'll get used to them.
Some pics of how the Celica looks now:
Really great show tonight. Jessie was excellent, totally filled the room with just her and her guitar and a drummer. I got the Cardiacs CD and on first listen I think it's fantastic. Same minimal sound, really mellow, like the singer has her electric guitar in her lap on the couch, but still playing with lots of feeling.
I thought it was really classy of her to set up her equipment down on the floor in front of the crowd, instead of up on the stage. It made for a really comfortable, intimate atmosphere, but she still rocked out pretty hard. Her songs seemed to be pretty personal, describig a couple as “ever stalk someone? Well, I have.. I drove by that boy's house so many times,” and “this one is about a time when I nearly went completely crazy.”
She was really humble and sweet when I went up to buy a CD, she said “for which band?” and I had to say “umm, yours I guess.” “Oh. Well, that's cool.” She also gave me a compilation CD of a bunch of Toronto bands on the same label as her. I'll maybe write something about it later, but let's just say Chewie and his sense of humour fits right in in Toronto.
Special Noise had some pretty spectacular drumming, the songs were pretty out-there, too. Very interesting to listen to.
Spincycle Squared rocked out the hardest, more great drumming but with more straight-forward beats, really fun.
Thanks so much to kelly and gabrielle for doing all this up for us. We're lucky to have their patience and persistence.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Had one of those boring but kind of nice weekends. Yesterday I visited a friend for a bit, got to play with her cats. God I miss having a cat around. I never feel quite as comfortable as I do just sitting there with my hand out as a cat comes over and inspects you for a while, and then decides you're alright, and comes up to be petted. I always feel like I can completely understand a cat's entire chain of thoughts. Something just feels right inside me when there's a cat around.
After that we went down to a barbecue that some of Pants' old acquaintances from up West were at (also neighbours of Sabrina and old friends of her and her sister and brother-in-law, it's all a big wide incestuous circle that I'm not really part of.) It was lots of fun, really good food, the gar-b-q (video/avi of a fireball taken by Sabrina). It was kind of fun to just sit on this little van seat and observe the interaction between a group of old, great friends Â how well they all got along, how easily they could tell when one was about to jump on the other one and wrestle them to the ground. One of those groups where you can tell that there's a whole unspoken language between them. It didn't bug me at all to be on the edge of it, either, it was really nice to watch.
Today I went up to the grandparents' place so that they can make a dinner for Katherine who's leaving tomorrow. Was really happy that my cousins appreciate and understand The Young Ones (I have all the episodes on my lappy, we watched the ÂUniversity ChallengeÂ episode where they go on a trivia show up against the four posh kids, Lord MontLordors Snot, Miss Money Sterling and Kendal Mintcake, where Neil pours a bucked of piss on Lord Snot's head and Vyvian shootsmortarter round at them. High-brow British comedy at its peak, don't ya' know.
After that we came back home and Katherine came with me to visit Pants. It was cool because she met Pants and became friends with him entirely separately from me, so he knows her and he knows me but he never really saw the two of us together before. It was a nice time, just talking asittingtng around, like I always enjoy doing more than pretty much anything else.
Going to the SS Cardiacs show tomorrow. You should too. Link.
SHOW SHOW SHOWSo basically things have been pretty pleasantly uneventful lately, and I can't complain about that because I really don't like drama, and any time I sense it coming along I just involuntarily shut down and hope it blows by me.
SS Cardiacs (MTL) http://www.myspace.com/sscardiacs
Spincycle Squared (HFX) http://www.outoftouchrecords.com
Special Noise (HFX) http://www.myspace.com/specialnoise / http://www.specialnoise.tk/
Birmingham (PEI) http://www.myspace.com/birmingham
Two Hours Traffic (PEI) http://www.twohourstraffic.com
St. Pius X Hall
106 St. Peters Road
Saturday, August 27, 2005
So last night was a pretty good illustration of the tendency Pants and Taylor and I have towards not really doing anything. Sure we may make plans of some sort, last night we had scheduled to the minute between my dinner date with Sabrina to seeing the Sharp Like Knives show to seeing one of the bar shows afterwards. But between laziness, tardiness and cheapness, and the general feeling that we'd pretty much rather just sit outside and shoot the shit with each other, we just ended up chatting for the rest of the night.
Notable events included when the travel agent who booked our Pearl Jam flight came up and talked to us at Victoria Row. There are also stories involving nudity and the drunk father of this crazy girl we all used to know introducing the boy she's about to marry, and Pants, the one brave member of our party saying "that's great, I'm going this way now." while me and Taylor, the other coward, had immediately got a safe distance away to laugh quietly to each other while Pants fended for himself. But we had to explain "Look, pants, us being there wouldn't have spread out the weirdness, it would have magnified the weirdness and taken it to a whole other level." He wasn't buying it.
After that we just walked to Pants place, discussed pseudo-relationship drama to once again re-affirm my steadfast avoidance of any and all dramatics in interpersonal relationships. Then we pestered the weird dude who works at the Irving for a bit and then left Taylor to chase his dreams and Pants and I went to his place to listen to some tunes before I walked home.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I still haven't figured out how to do proper podcasts without my own hosting, so I just uploaded the mp3 file. You can listen to it here:
Rock Snob Radio: Episode 1 (audio/mp3).
For future episodes we'll have interviews with people involved in the local music and arts community here in Charlottetown, and generally less foolishness. This was more to get our feet wet actually making something.
I just made my first post over at Robert Paterson's Community Broadcast Centre. It's a little experiment in 'making our own news source' while the CBC is on strike. I've apparently found myself volunteering to be the music guy.
Also, last night Pants and I recorded the first episode of our podcast radio show. As soon as I figure out how to host and wrap and xmlify the thing you should be able to subscribe to it in your iTunes.
Technorati Tags: PEI, Podcasting, Collaboration
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
OK, everybody go http://www.google.com/talk/ and download the little tiny Google Talk client and add me so I can see what all the fuss is about. My google user ID is aloneill .If you have a gmail account that's what your user id is, no need to sign up or anything, apparently.
So far I like the fact that the client doesn't take a million years to load and get in your face like MSN and Yahoo! does.
Monday, August 22, 2005
It's been a pretty busy weekend. I was down in Fredericton checking out a Focus. The car was nice, however after running though a few different scenarios and discussing money with Greg, decided to pass on the Focus, fix up the Celica and prep it for winter.
That said, currently in the mail are:
17" Falken Hanabi Satin Silver Wheels (4)
Kumho Ecsta SPT 205/45R17 Tires (4)
Wheels locks and mounting hardware for 17" rims and tires
Yokohama A032R (Soft) 205/50R15 Tires (4)
By the end of the week, I'm getting the body fix on the Celica. The wheels and tires should be in by the end of the week, early next week. The real question is, should I attempt to overtake Doubleday at the double regional in Freddy? Or get some practice in and lay the smackdown on his home turf?
Thursday morning, spent over 4 hours at Toyota getting the alignment done on the Celica. I'm not sure if it's going to help the tires wear better, but it feels somewhat better. Somewhat means: The car is more stable on the highway, better turning response, however there's a bit of a vibration when I'm over 140km/h. . . Of course, given that my tires might have a few flat spots it just might be that.
Was in Charlottetown on Thursday evening. Hung out with Al and Binnie and saw "Howl's Moving Castle". The plot was pretty odd, but the movie was enjoyable nontheless. Crashed at Binnie's place for the night and headed up-West by noon.
Jamie Booth was down for the weekend for a wedding. Hung out with him and his girlfriend for a while, saw the movie "The 40 Year-Old Virgin". It was pretty good. Booth's been playing a lot of hockey down in Florida. His girlfriend plays too which is pretty cool.
Then there's the standard fare of D&D, hockey, and video games for the weekend. . .
I'm giving a little lesson on how to set up and use wiki software tonight at the Queen Street Commons at 6pm. Anyone who's interested should come by. (blue house next to the parkade)
Here's the post on the QSC blog: Link.
I'll be sticking to the easier methods of getting a wiki going rather than the finer points of MySQL and Apache administration. I have a standing policy against encouraging techno-masochism, so whenever I can steer people away from editing Apache configuration files or using the MySQL command-line interface I will.
I'll focus more on how the syntax and markup works, linking between articles, useful features of wiki software, that sort of thing.
If there are enough people there tonight I may even try an experiment involving a quick brainstorming session and instant website using the knowledge of the people in the room to quickly put something together.
Technorati Tags: Wikis, Collaboration, QueenStreetCommons
Al did you change the hallway? Where are all the characters? I want them back.
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Stewie's rant from tonight's “Family Guy”
HA! I GOT YOUR HAT! TAKE THAT HATLESS! Now go back to the quad and resume your "hackey-sack" tourney! I'm not gonna lie down for some frat-boy bastard with his damn sandals and tivo and skull headbands and his amber-crombie and fitch long-sleeved open-stitched crew neck handly smoking his sticky buds out of a soda can while watching his favorite downloaded Simpsons episodes every night, YES we all love Mr. Plow, "oh you've got the song memorized do you?" SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE! That is EXACTLY the kind of idiot you see at Taco Bell at one in the morning, the guy who just whiffed his way down the bar-skank ladder. IF HE WANTS TO THROW HANDS I'LL THROW HANDS!Funny that sounds more like the typical Family Guy fan, according to my extensive research methods, i.e., sitting in the lounge at university residence. Family Guy was definitely the frat boy favourite. The Simpsons drew a nerdier set. I'm thinking that this latest inter-series bash was a backhanded burn on “Family Guy” fans.
Technorati Tags: Television, Family+Guy, Simpsons
Saturday, August 20, 2005
So Hunter Thompson gets his remains shot out of a cannon today.
Best comment, from MeFi: Link.
'Is it crass of me to hope that someone films the service for eventual DVD release?'
Yep...that's right...I got tired of busting my ass 16 hour days for nothing...the book wasn't getting written and Nathalie and Alex have postponed the wedding for a bit while they work on the Disney Carribean Cruise ship...
..hardly seems worth sticking around any more.
So I called my old boss in Korea and got my old job back at the same school I worked at last year. And true to Korean management style they need me back ...now. So I fly out Monday...back to Korea for round 3.
I am looking forward to being back on a routine of working 4 hour days and having hoards of time to write the book...
How long am I going for this time? My goal is to have the book finished in 6 months...and then come back when it is ready for publishing.
guess I'd better brush up on using my chopsticks...it's been a while.
Friday, August 19, 2005
I was at cafe Diem today with my roomate and we ran into one of the cast from sketch 22(Dennis Trainor) . I was waiting to get into the washroom and he was fixing his coffee. Someone had asked about the show and he had told them that it was going to be extended until Sept 9th.
I took the chance to let him know how much I enjoyed the show. It was really cool, I do enjoy the chance to tell artist, and actor that I appreciate their work.
He mentioned they don't get to see the show. I thougth it would be fun if someone could video tape a few of the shows for them and send it to them.
Antonia Zerbisias has a good roundup of the CBC employee blogs that are springing up like dandelions since the lockout began. Link.
Also, Peter Rukavina linked to this seven minute audio file explaining their side of the lockout. Link.
It's very interesting how the CBC employees are finding ways to get their side heard, to try make some small effort to counter the full-page newspaper ads the CBC management are taking out across the country (at taxpayer expense, natch).
I'm thinking that there's some element at CBC management that would really rather see CBC crumble than lose this fight. The paradox of public sector strikes is that the longer they go on, the more money the management (government) saves, since they don't depend on the workers to make or sell anything. (Though of course this is a lockout and not a strike - CBC management have barred the doors and are standing between employees and their paycheques and benefits, after they worked without a contract for a year already, and won't let them back to do their jobs until they agree to some pretty serious cuts in ob security for many employees.
One wonders whom the CBC management are trying to impress.
Technorati Tags: CBC, Labour, Blogs
If you put hotdogs into the pot of water while it's still cold, and slowly turn up the heat, they won't notice they're being boiled and won't try and escape.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
I noticed that there were 6 users from Charlottetown online at Plazes today, more than any other single city (including New York, Berlin, etc.)
If this keeps up Peter should add 'master tech evangelist' to his resume.
I've actually gotten some real use out of Plazes of late, since e.co and I both use it I can quickly see if he's online and at the Commons or if he's at his place or his parents' place.
On the Mac there is a script to set your Adium status to reflect your current location automatically. I haven't found one to do the same with MSN Messenger on Windows yet, but Messenger is somewhat hackable, so perhaps it's doable. Maybe I'll look into it this weekend.
Technorati Tags: Plazes
What are we upto tonight?
Ming when do you wonder into town?
Al you always know what is going on in town, so what is going on in town tonight?
I am still looking to find Booth.
When, where...and those type of questions!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
This is our pretty sweet setup at the Queen St. Commons. That's mysister and e.co looking at her pictures from Mexico.
The funniest part is that having our laptops and scrounging up oldmonitors for dual-screen setups gives us a better workstation setupthan the ridiculously expensive computer equipment where we used towork. Score one for cheapness.
This is our pretty sweet setup at the Queen St. Commons. That's mysister and e.co looking at her pictures from Mexico.
The dog was Sam and the coyote was Ralph....but I can't find the other sheepdog.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Shaving the beard started out as the beginnings of a Morrissey costume for an Indie Dance Night, but now I'm thinking I may stick with it for a bit, until laziness takes over again, anyway.
Shaving the beard started out as the beginnings of a Morrissey costume for an Indie Dance Night, but now I'm thinking I may stick with it for a bit, until laziness takes over again, anyway.
Last night I charged my iPod on e.co's comupter (scandalous!) and when I got it back it had Grateful Dead all over it. I turned it on as I was walking home, adn the song that came on consisted of the singer repeating “David Bowie, David Bowie, David Bowie” and then “UB40, UB40, UB40.”
I'm pretty sure the same song was still playing as I walked into Timothy's to get my morning coffee just now.
Maybe that would explain the half-eaten bag of Doritos in my kit bag. (either that or floor bowl? wtf?)
PS. TRIVIA! (even though the new guy sucks, it's still a chance to wave my virtual member around for a while while eating curry-dipped french fries.)
Monday, August 15, 2005
I was on the Island on the weekend playing hockey and stuff when Jody mentioned to me that Jamie should be on the Island later this week. He tells me Jamie should be at the cottage about this time. Jody also tells me Binnie has a nack of getting a hold of Jamie. . . Binnie, if you start baking a whole bunch of cookies, will he just magically appear?
Sunday, August 14, 2005
I a may have mentioned on a previous post that I am doing the Terry Fox Run this year. As a team me and several people from the place are working on raising money for the event and I suggested a bake sale. I got elected to sit at the table for the flea market today.
we did well. Several of the people from work brought in goodies to sell. One girl brought in some books to sell. All was well. Except I got left from 11 am till 3pm by myself to sell.
I think everything went really well all tolled, we raised about $80 for the event and still have a few thing left over to sell at work tomorrow. Hopefully they will buy it up and we can enjoy the earnings.
The flea market however is a place where humans gather and truly the worse of people can come out. One mother yelled at her child not to buy some carrot cake because the mother felt the child did not like it. Lady give the child a break, let her try it if she wants. Several people told me that I should be selling things cheaper or differenltly...Come on people the event is for charity. My favorite where those who wanted to get bargains. The cookies where 25 cents each. There were pushers and yellers, snobs and all kinds.
I should mention as well all the sweet people entered in this event to. They walk around with smiles on their faces, will to give up a dollar or two for charity. The little old ladies and men tell me often how good everything looks as they buy them, cause they don't bake anymore. Younger teens are all two willing to help out by buying something sweet.
Perhaps it is in the mist of all this chaos, the flea market, that one can find all the shadows, colors and glimmers of humanity. For me I found a lot of people both nice and mean, and some help for my worthy cause.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Had a very interesting discussion with Pants last night while wandering around downtown.
We started talking about pop music and he said that he hates the song “My Heart Will Go On”. (opinion stated - always a mistake when engaged in music discussion; cards shown.. wait for it..) He said he especially hated how it gets stuck in his head (Opportunity! This one will require some massaging of word meanings to make work, but nothing overly ambitious.)
At this point Pants is sitting against the wall of the outside of Zombie Myron's, we're about 20 feet away from the door and the usual crowd mixed with a few people there to see Midnight Auto Supply (the Alice in Chains tribute band, or at least that's what I thought they were. I remember us shouting “Grind! Man in the Box!” between songs.) and Mystery Sytem, all buzzing in and out but far enough away to not notice us. I'm doing my monkey act and standing on top of the base of a lamppost, hanging off of it and shifting my weight from left to right. Picture a monkey conversing with a bear.
“So you find this song is something that you end up hearing in your head from time to time?”
“Yeah, it's catchy.”
“So it's catchy? Well, that to me would mean that you've been caught. Wouldn't that mean that your brain considers it somehow to be worth remembering? I'd say there's something there, something that your subconscious has declared to be worth remembering and is going about trying to figure out what it is about that melody or sound that you secretly find utterly compelling.”
“I hate you, al.”
“I'm on your side, buddy, don't try and fight your subconscious, it's 90% of your brain and it's always on. Try and push against your subconscious and it'll steamroll you. Your brain, deep down, knows there's something to that melody in that song. Trying to push it away by declaring ‘I don't like that song’ is like me telling you to sit in a corner and don't come out until you stop thinking about a white bear. You're fighting a losing battle.”
“Listen, all I'm telling you is that I don't like that song.”
“Oh I'm not arguing, I fully acknowledge that you say you don't like it. We're really not having an argument because we're discussing two different things. You've made a value judgment about a song based on your chosen criteria for evaluating the quality of music, and I, arguing on behalf of your subconscious mind, am saying that there's something compelling about that particular series of notes that makes your neurons start to jump and jiggle and want to turn the thing over and examine it and get to the center of the mystery. We dream about things that we need to fully sort out, and it's a process you can't avoid.”
When the monkey and the bear engage in verbal sparring, the monkey knows he's not going to push the bear around, but he can get the bear riled up by throwing coconuts to hit just the right targets.
I always know how to have a good time.
Technorati Tags: Music
Friday, August 12, 2005
I love this the album, The Woods by Sleater-Kinney. It's like a clingy girlfriend who is amazing in bed. You know you're spending too much time with her and neglecting your other friends but it feels so good at the time.
I've got this album on the brain so much that when I hear things like the guitar solo in the Talking Heads song “The Great Curve” from the Name of the Band is Talking Heads live album, I immediately know for a fact that I've found another one of the pile of influences that went into the playing on The Woods. I need to make a playlist in my iTunes of ‘albums that make me want to listen to The Woods again’, so I'll know not to listen to them if I don't have the hour to spare afterwards. I'm looking at you, Surfer Rosa and Electric Ladyland.
The other thing that had S-K on my mind (besides THAT I'M SEEING THEM OPEN FOR PEARL JAM IN SEPTEMBER) is this interview that Eddie Vedder did with them. (next month is the reverse, S-K interviews Pearl Jam. Also next month, Al loses it completely in the metro centre and will need to be carried to St. John's.) Here's the interview: Link. (Thanks, pants.)
OK, I couldn't resist, blasting “What's Mine is Yours” as I type this. This album is mostly performed live, as mentioned in teh above interview, with just a couple of vocal and guitar tracks put on top of the live performance. It gave me the same vibe as listening to the live Taling Heads album. The instruments soudn like they're played by people, there's no constant rhythm guitar holding up the foundation when the lead guitar starts into a solo and abandons the nice comfortable rhythm. There's no protection.. you're just thrown up into the air for a while, spinning around, being drafted upwards by rising melodies insted of pushed along the ground by a steady reliable and compressed-to-all-hell safety net of rhythm guitar tracks.
Listening to the woods is like going on a wild late night drunken adventure with someone you've only known from a safe distance, but you're seeing a whole other side of them and they're grabbing you by the arm and dragging you to new places. You knew they always had an air of danger to them, and you've anticipated this moment, where they finally cut the lines and you have no idea where you'll end up. “I can show you some shiny tricks / come on let's get our kicks.” You know you'll learn from the experience, because they're smarter than you are, but the chaotic element will sweep you up into the whirlwind. Good bye standard punk rock tunes, hello to taking our heads, cracking them open, spilling out all our notions of rock music canon, throwing them into a blender and bashing it with fuzzed-out guitars.
The vocals are mixed low enough that it feels like you have ot put a bit of effort into listening for them, and picking out what the lyrics are. On the album the drumming and main vocals are placed directly in the center channel, being contantly pressed in on either side by the overbearing but complementary guitars. Then there's the superhuman 'wha oh oh's that no one else could probably physically emulate thrown in the mix to keep things stirred up.
When I saw them play in San Francisco I walked in in the middle of “Let's Call it Love” and was immediately mesmorized by Carrie Brownstein wrestling her guitar like it was a boa constrictor, strangling and jabbing the neck to wring out louder and deadlier homages to all your favourite rock guitar solo moments.
Technorati Tags: Music, Sleater-Kinney
Thursday, August 11, 2005
One of the girls at work convinced me to go to this UFIT, an aerobic class.
I was a bit unsure cause I have never tried it before...By it I mean an aerobic class.
It wasn't as bad as this chubby body would have thought. Lot's of jumping around and then you stop and so a designated exercise for about 1 minute then back to the aerobic bit. The designated stations included weights, push up, jumping jacks, crunches, a step thing, dips and several more in that kind of thing.
It was fun. But I do admit to being tired now.
So for something new you can give it a shot.
I was reading up on the history of the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Celica on Wikipedia and decided to follow some tech articles. I always assumed since the two engines were so identical, they basically performed the same except at the high RPM range where the VVTL-i and high-lift cams kicked in. I knew the bore and stroke were different too, but I didn't think it made that much of a difference and I never really test drove a GT-S to do a comparison. I ran across this interesting tidbit (on www.toysport.com) which really hit me:
It is very interesting to note the difference between the two engines. The 1ZZFE and 2ZZGE are of the same displacement, but their bore and stroke are different. The 1ZZFE “izzy” with the FE head is the quick response, high torque model- has a longer stroke ratio, to further improve the torque characteristic. The 2ZZGE “duzzy” with the sports type GE head is the high RPM, higher HP unit- with a square bore / stroke ratio. This allows it to rev and deliver power in the higher RPM range.
The driving characteristic of both engines are dramatically evident. In the 2000 Celica, where both engines are offered- the GT with the 1ZZFE is easier and smoother to drive- more responsive. The GTS with the 2ZZGE starts [off] lazier, and need lots of pedal- but ultimately more HP. Which is a good contrast- drivers now know the trade-off between drivability and horsepower. A lot of people who tested the cars opted for the more responsive GT model, although they were initially looking for power. The power band characteristic of the two engines offer a good choice- chooses which is more important.
Chalk up another reason why I like my Celica best.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Last night while I was trying to go to sleep the idea pop into my head.
What historical event would I change if I knew there would be no bad effects.
First I had a long thought about that. There are so many horrible things to happen in history.
War after war...battles, the hallicost, the halifax explosion, the shuttle explosion, 9-11, then I wondered if I could do something a bit different, could I stop a chain of events. Like the over fishing of our seas, the discovery of the A bomb, the extinction of several animals.
Trains of thoughts of this sort is why I should not be left to think on my own.
I still have no idea what event I would change. But my train of thought didn't end there. I did start to imagine the effects of changing these events. Most seemed good. But then I found a large number of problems with this manner of thinking.
Time loops thinking before bed is dangerous, if only for the brain. I only encopased the thought of direct effects, but the indirect effect could be far more dangerous.
Needless to say this train of thought caused me to miss several hours sleep.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
tToday is one of those days. This morning I wondered into the lab not sure excatly what I was going to do. I found some stuff to do...Dishes...dishes always provide me with a time using task which must be done...dishes are now done and I am into liturature. which means all task are done.
It is going to be one of those extreamly long days. The reason for no further work is that I am waiting for results. I am expected to get them back tomorrow midday...
Question for all recovered or otherwise hardcore Nirvana fans:
By what definition of ‘pure’ was Kurt Cobain ‘too pure for this world’?
Sure, feel bad for the guy, his life did end in a tragic event, but to paint him as some kind of angel while still alive either belies that one is looking at him through the self-centered eyes of an adolescent mind or has little regard for the damaging and destructive behaviour patterns Kurt always had.
Does ‘pure’ have more to do with not ever having to have grown up? Were the pre-teen fans seeing their hero acting and talking just like them in interviews, and thinking that he committed some sort of heroic act by never giving in to parents or authority figures and never getting soft?
That's not to single Kurt out specifically as being any different than a lot of eccentric celebrities. The never growing up trait is one I just talked about in the very last blog post as it affected Peter Sellers.
Maybe there's something similar there.. I sort of see a bit of myself in Peter Sellers' ability to play a given part when needed, to take on other personality traits and mannerisms and make them his own, but having a fear of not know what is actually him. While he was terribly destructive to his family and his wives, his personal life was outside the scope of movie fans.
Kurt is unique in that he died right at the time when the Internet was nudging its way into mainstream society. Perhaps he was the first cult obsession of the Internet age. The first figure who existed in death more than in life, because the career of Nirvana began and grew and ended just before the explosion of personal Internet use. With a current band like Radiohead the focus of Internet obsessiveness is waiting for whatever is new, scrambling for leaked studio recordings and endless debates about a band's direction. But Nirvana had everything wrapped up into a neat little dramatic ball for people to roll around endlessly. Debates about the best album don't happen, (try to state your genuine opinion that brilliant piece of pop music Nevermind was better than the interesting but spotty In Utero and watch the shit hit the fan.)
Fixation on Kurt Cobain as some kind of E.T. figure who was crushed by the sheer awfulness of humanity has now become a shorthand for a kind of immature lashing out at any external forces that would try and intrude on someone's beautiful love/hate relationship one's self.
Technorati Tags: Music, Nirvana, SixFeetUnder
Sunday, August 07, 2005
I love Geoffrey Rush. I've seen him play everything from Leon Trotsky to Javert and he becomes a completely different person for each role that he plays. In Shakespere in Love I kept waiting for Rush to appear since I knew he'd be in the movie, and nearly totally missed that he was the dumpy little producer guy. I can't imagine anyone else doing nearly so brilliant a job playing Peter Sellers.
First of all, let's get something straight, people who enjoy Pink Panther movies have pure hearts and enjoy life more than people who think they're dumb. (Except me, I just have a sadistic enjoyment of goofy humour.) Not to mention all of his other roles, some of which were even more brilliant, like the three parts he played in Dr. Strangelove. Sellers existed before the age of “Entertainment Tonight”, before people knew more about actors’ personal lives than their own families’, so all I ever knew about Sellers were his performances.
Sellers is portrayed as that rare kind of dysfunctional human being who, by sheer luck, ends up being good at something that is lucrative enough that people will tolerate his destructive ways. It reminds me of Mick Jagger saying “I never had a drug problem, I could get drugs whenever I wanted.” So the particular pathologies that Sellers grew up without knowing how to control, thanks to an overly permissive yet simultaneously overbearing mother, are again allowed to grow freely in his adult life. Rush pulls the portrayal off in that larger-than-life way where sellers himself probably couldn't have done it better, since he may not have been self-aware enough to portray himself letting characters' traits seep into his own personality and seemingly take over.
It's really too bad this movie didn't get a theatrical release, and only ran on HBO in North America. The performance was far more of an achievement than any of the best actor Oscar-nominees. And the directing was very original, using lots of bizarre set-switching and actors breaking character. If you can find this movie you should definitely watch it, and if you were a fan of Sellers you should seek it out.
Technorati Tags: Movies
Friday, August 05, 2005
Everyone should see the way I have my laptop positioned on the arm of this couch, the acrobatics one goes through to get a good wireless signal, get comfortable, and get the sun out of your eyes are quite amusing.
And of course every few minutes I remember the giant cup of Timothy's coffee that's over on the coffee table, just out of reach enough to make me have to shift my weight from that precariously balanced happy medium.
This being a techno-hippie stuff is hard.
As the house is nearing completion and I have a better idea what my cash reserves will look like, I decided to do some purchases. Yay! Being able to spend money has been a luxury for the past couple years, so when I can do a bit it to acquire new stuff, it's exciting.
I've been meaning to get one for years! So I got two! I'm not too sure why I never made it a bigger priority, it made sense to have (at least) one. I think it was the fact that when I was in Summerside, I rarely had power problems. There's been several power interuptions lately at my sister's place (the last one was enough to trip mess up the computer but not turn it off. . . really strange) and I said that's it. I got 2 UPS units, one for the server and the other for the box next to it. Managed to get the router and ADSL modem on standby power so hopefully people can reach my server when the power's out. I guess it's the thought that counts.
Also picked up a 1GB USB flash drive. It's awesome being able to carry around that much storage and just be able to plug it into a computer and go. I have a 128MB stick from work and after borrowing that a few times for personal use, I knew I had to get one. Of course, 128MB isn't great for the types of files I generally deal with on a daily basis, so 1GB should be fine for now. . .
Planning to finally fix the Celica soon. I'm really looking forward to that!
Yesterday was the last game for the Summer hockey league I was playing in. 15 games in 5 weeks is pretty demanding, but it was great going out and skating with and against Major Junior and Pro-level players. Apparently we squeaked into first place for the championship games. The semi-final was a bit nervous as we fell behind a few goals before making a comeback. We handily won the championship game though. 15-1 by the halfway point of the game then we stopped counting. Overall, I'm impressed how well I did. I don't think any agents will be knocking on my door, but knowing I can sorta keep up with these guys is a good feeling.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
This week has been full of excellent technology-related events here in Charlottetown. Tonight e.co. and I went to go see a presentation on Plazes at the Confederation Centre of the Arts. Here's Peter Rukavina's blog post about it: Link. Felix will be followed on the programme by artist Don Gill who will talk about his approach to urban landscapes and his project Erratic Space created during his residency in Charlottetown this summer. The event is free. It promises to be an interesting night.
Felix Petersen, co-founder of Plazes, will drop in via video from Germany to talk about the history, development and future of the system. Felix will answer questions from the audience, so if youÂre curious about Plazes, or just curious about bootstrapping a web system, bring your thoughts.
PlazesPeter did a great job giving an introduction to Plazes in a way that non-technical people could 'get' it, what it's about, what you can do with it, etc. Felix Peterson was a very good speaker as well, even though we were only able to hear him through Skype.
What I took from it was the heavy emphasis on not reinventing the wheel and taking advantage of other existing open systems, and of user input. Instead of having a team of people in California entering in geographical data about every publicly-accessible wireless router in the world Plazes lets users who 'discover' a new location to enter in the information about its location and leave comments about it, and attach pictures to it using their existing Flickr accounts. In effect you get a swarm of users building up your database for you, and the issue of trust has played out rather well, I personally haven't run into a single inappropriately-tagged Plaze.
Felix described it as a wiki for geographically-centric data.
The crowd was a good mix of half technical people and half who came for the art presentation. But they seemed to take interest in the ability of Plazes to be used for purposes other than just finding free Internet access. Someone asked how it might be used for political and activist group organization, something those of us on the other side of the technologyfencee likely hadn't thought of.
Erratic SpaceDon Gill then showed us a presentation on an art project he did based on walking around Charlottetown and collecting little bits of the landscape as he went along.
He made some very insightful remarks about the importance of walking to photography. I've commented in the past that having my camera with me when I go on walks makes me want to go places I haven't been before. Don takes this to the logical extension and makes scrapbooks of his journeys. The quote in this post title is from him.
He also made interesting use of technology by integrating video into his presentation, and using video as a way to show the depth of a scrapbook without having it be ruined when people look through them in an art gallery.
He also said that in his teaching art to students, he tries to avoid teaching them to use expensive tools like Photoshop that are cost-prohibitive to artists after they leave school. Instead he tries to teach them using tools that will be available to them in the outside world, and he takes a very democratic approach to the production of art. This hits the same philosophy as the Plazes developers had, they didn't go out and get a ton of venture capital money to spend on fancy equipment or overly ambitious content. Just build the tools for people to use themselves to build something great.
Technorati Tags: Plazes, Charlottetown, Art
Felix will be followed on the programme by artist Don Gill who will talk about his approach to urban landscapes and his project Erratic Space created during his residency in Charlottetown this summer.
The event is free.
It promises to be an interesting night.
i was checking my logs today, and someone got to my website with the following google search string:
...that's just it. I was watching a movie, and afterwards, nothing. It's an empty feeling really. Like an awkward silence. Is like going to sleep on your side and having your arm lie there. It's just there; wishing someone was so it could serve a purpose.
Gord has a good post up making the inevitable comparison betweenthe big, evil Atlantic Technology Centre, and the Queen Street Commons, inspired by the low-key, free and very worthwhile event with David Holtzman on Monday, which he thinks would never happen at the ATC. Link.
Wow, that turned bitter quickly. I started out wanting to mention how great the Queen Street Commons is (and can be) and I was immediately drawn to the comparison to it polar opposite: the ATC. If ever there was a comparison between the top-down approach to fostering innovation and the bottom-up approach this is it. The ATC provides big everything: lots of services, lots of building, lots of flashy equipment, and lots of suits. There is a lot of window dressing (even the hand towels are dispensed automatically when you need them) inside an office building that cost so much that I cannot imagine how it can break even in operating costs, even given the exceptionally high rent. The Queen Street Commons is an older house that has been fixed up with good services (no fancy hand towels) and a low-key atmosphere that is conducive to working and talking together.I've criticized the ATC many times in the past, it's certainly an easy target. It's nice to see that some Islanders are bypassing the government's ham-handed attempts to force innovation from on high and just getting to work in the most sensible, low-cost way possible.
The ATC would never bring in David Holtzman and provide the talk for free. If such a talk were to happen it would be be invitation with catering by the in-house coffee shop for a fee. I am pretty sure there would be suits and handshakes and maybe a photo opportunity for the Guardian. It is not the same.
I hope what the ATC desires to produce in innovation the Queen Street Commons actually delivers. Charlottetown does not need fanfare; it needs results.
The suits need structure, they are afraid of one of us stripping away the layers of institutional weight to expose who actually does real work and who just works and lives to preserve his or her own place the system. Taking away the facades and the trappings of the corporate world is like taking a king's robes and jewels away, so the worth of the man can be measured against everyone else.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
I was on the Island over the weekend running in the double Solo 2 regional event at Slemon Park. It was a great event, except for the sun burn I got (I actually burned damn it!) I did pretty good and finished in 4th place for my class. The people that placed higher than me: Ed is a US national Solo 2 champion. Ray is a two-time Canadian national Solo 2 champion, and Kevin who is really good, has R-compound tires , and therefore I don't have a chance of ever beating him until I get new tires (or he has a really, really bad day. . . which isn't likely).
Greg's probably still giddy from snatching 1st in his class. Congrats Greg.
One of the guys took a ton of pictures from the event. He took quite a few of my car (thanks Gordon!) I had no idea I ran that close to the pylons. . . it also looks like my suspension is doing something awfully strange when I'm taking a few of those corners (I might want to verify that). Anyways, here are some pictures:
Monday, August 01, 2005
I had the great pleasure of getting to attend a talk with internet super-guru David Holtzman at the Queen Street Commons. The blog entry announcing the event and giving a good brief bio of Holtzman is here: Link.
While many have taken credit for inventing the Internet, thinker, activist, and writer David Holtzman is one of the few who can say he actually ran the most critical network in the world. As CTO of Network Solutions and the manager of the Internet's master root server during the late 1990s, Holtzman not only oversaw the growth of the commercial Internet from 500,000 domain names to over 20 million, he also led the way in imagining and inventing a world in which technology positively impacts every facet of human life. It was an unbelievable treat to get to listen to what he had to say on every topic under the sun. The discussion ranged form what the future of Microsoft might be (becoming less and less relevant as they lose their grip on key market segments) to why certain gadgets take over a market (iPod and TiVo, because they weren't designed by engineers trying to cram every possible function into a cryptic set of controls.) to the Beatles and what was so special about early rock'n'roll.
The credit for organizing it goes to Dan James who got him to come and Robert Paterson who helped lead the discussion and offered very interesting perspectives himself.
I'm going to try and remember a few of the things we talked about.
Music, what is it about music and culture these days that makes it far less interesting than in the late 1960s? We thought that perhaps back then people didn't think they had everything already figured out. So a powerful force would come along like the Beatles or Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix and the record companies didn't demand to control every aspect of their image and identity,and they hadn't yet mastered the art of manufacturing one-hit-wonder packaged pop.
A pretty significant insight that David shared with us was the fact that the internet's root name server, where everybody looks to to see where to go if you want to reach something.com is only the root name server because everyone's managed to agree that that's what it should be. But if a few internet service providers decided to rebel and create their own domain name system, and pointed their servers to a different IP address to say 'this is the root name server' there would be nothing anyone could do about it.
The old philosophy of the internet as a decentralized network still has echo effects today. Like the BitTorrent protocol, which is basically a big encryption system for transferring large amounts of data. And Skype which lets you send messages and communicate by voice over a completely encrypted network. Rob said that it's so solid that the US military has banned Skype use by service people in Iraq because they can't monitor what people are saying.
I also pointed out that Skype's popularity in China has exploded, and wondered if escaping censorship had anything to do with that. David gave the common sense reply that it was certainly more to do with the fact that people could use it to make free voice calls, and that in an economy like China's that is a huge deal.
Dan mentioned that censorship of internet communication happens even closer than in China, pointing to Telus blocking access to pro-union websites as an example.
On another topic, we had a great discussion about online reputations and how people come to organically trust certain sources of information. In the last paragraph I linked to a post on boingboing.net. Did I go through all the Google search results to see which one was the most informative and objective? Hell no, I'm far too lazy for that. I just went back to the place where I found the story in the first place, which is a site many people know and which is widely-enough read that if they were being blatantly dishonest it would have caused a big stir in the online world.
Reputation has become how people get around the scam artist around every corner. Ebay built its popularity with a reputation system. Yahoo! started out as a collection of website reviews, nothing more. David was at amazon when they were hammering out the review system, and he warned them about what eventually ended up happening, that their reviewer database malfunctioned and it revealed everyone's real names, and many many authors got caught writing positive reviews of their own books.
And the same becomes true for local areas and specialized domains. Dan and Rob talked about how the star rating for hotels was totally bogus, where you would get an extra half a star if you bought a certain company's drapes, or how you may not ever get a full star rating because you have wood paneling instead of a certain kind of wallpaper. Rob said that nearly all the business at a bed and breakfast he's familiar with comes from word of mouth and people hearing about it from sources they know.
David said that good taste has now become a valuable commodity in itself. This clicked with us immediately. I mentioned the fact that the respected opinions in the local Charlottetown music scene are the people who are in charge of booking certain venues and are known to consistently do a good job. I then totally namedropped PEILocals.com and said that it's become the central hub for the music culture around Charlottetown, which just sort of grew up because like-minded people happened to find each other.
One more thing I'll mention, David came back to the topic of what a brilliant device the iPod shuffle is, and how it very obviously wasn't designed by an engineer who would have added a display and crammed as many little dinky features into there as he could have. Instead each button does only one thing, the device does one thing extremely well, and its usage fits perfectly with how people often want to listen to their music. I said that it was the equivalent to the analog watch, which people still use. It tells the time, and there's only one button. That's about all most people want out of a watch.
And he drew from this that the personal computer as we know it won't even exist in a few years, because people don't like a big scary box that doesn't do what they want and that they're tied to. They want things that do a task and do it well. And a writer would have a totally different kind of a device than an accountant or an engineer, instead of them all trying to use the same machine for different tasks.
k...it's been a while since I flip-flopped on what I want to do with my life long-term...and it looks like it's time for the customary waffling back and forth on what to do professionally...
yes, yes...still writing the book and it's coming along slowly but surely. (hit a bit of a rough spot for a few months, working 14 hour days and sleeping only in my free time...)
I decided that working at the hotel was akin to having sold my soul to the devil...was starting to feel like I was having my soul sucked out through my eyeballs (yes, it was THAT pleasant)...so I quit.
I quit last Thursday and then skipped out of town for a vacation with my bitches through the Kootenays, BC.
Being on vacation skews reality so there was no time to feel sorry for myself (sans job, sans direction) but now that my vacation draws to an end (at mom and dads a few more days, and then...) I have to face the scary prospect of job hunting once again.
(I'm starting to question whether or not I thrive on the uncertainty of my financial instability...it does, after all, most of the time act as a catalyst for relocation and travel.)
So being in this hyper-sensitive state of chaos I find myself open (more than usual) to other peoples' suggestions on what to do with my life (and as always, EVERYONE has an opinion...).
For a little over the year I have had this idyllic picture of myself living in the depths of the forest (I am an Earth child, you know...*^_^*), growing herbs and edible flowers in a greenhouse, with maybe a few organically fed chickens and a cow (dairy- one needs to carefully specify such things living out here in cowcountry)for fresh milk.
The other day I was talking with this lady downtown and I stooped down to pick a plant..wanted to check to see if it was Chamomile or Pineapple plant. When I explained what I was doing she looked at me brightly and said "you know, if you like that sort of thing maybe you should consider going into herbal medicine..."
CLICK! It was like a switch going off inside and I suddenly felt light and very calm...it seemed to fit perfectly and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. I have done the research on school programs (another 4 years to attain Master/Clinical herbalist)and enjoy the idea of a half-hippie, Earthchild existence of growing and cultivating the herbs, making my own tinctures, teas and balms and setting up an apothecary somewhere ultra-hippie (like Nelson, BC...Victoria's ultra-cool vibe sans yuppies).
I'd also study Reiki while I was at it and teach/ perform that as well....
Maybe eventually I could expand my Western herbal medicine practice to incorporate Traditional Chinese Medicine (recently regulated by the BC government...)
So that's where things stand now...I open the floor to comments...
I (heart) City Cinema. I haven't been saying that enough late, probably because their recent crop of films has been too bizarre even for me, (and also the mall theatres have been fulfilling my Batman-viewing needs nicely.)
But starting on August 17th for two weeks they're going to be showing Howl's Moving Castle, Hayao Miyazaki's latest film. I have no idea what it's about since I stopped paying attention to the Japanese animation universe sometime in my teen years, but Miyazaki's films are by any measure some of the best pieces of moving picture art ever created.
My favourite is still Princess Mononoke, which Disney put out a few years ago but didn't promote so it never had the mainstream success it should have. Now it seems it's become a pattern that Disney will distribute the film in North America to whichever theatres will specifically try and get them but without spending any money marketing them or taking any kind of a risk.
As we saw with Disney refusing to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11, eventually the highest-grossing documentary film ever made, they can make some pretty stupid decisions. But I'm not complaining too much about this one, at least they're still bringing it over, and I'll be able to see it even if it's not doing a wide theatre run.
Another tidbit, Science Fiction / graphic novel god Neil Gaiman did the English adaptation of Princess Mononoke.
Ming get down to Charlottetown and come watch this when it's in.
I'm trying to figure out what's so special about the 40 Knots pub in Victoria By The Sea that made Saturday such a great time.
e.co. and I arrived in Victoria and set up our tent around 8ish, and we poked our head into 40 knots just to see if anyone was there. That's when we ran into Jeff from the band Out From Under and his girlfriend Maggie. Jeff recognized me from locals message board, and that led to a really good conversation about everything music-related in Charlottetown.
The bartender, Ben, is another one to whom I got to say "I know you from the Internets." Having locals has really helped everyone's social life this Summer.
So we ate supper at 40 Knots, the food was pretty good, I just had fish'n'chips and coffee, which is hard to judge a restaurant's quality by, but it was exactly what I was after at the time.
Quite a few people ended up trickling in to see The Mystery System and Out From Under. Especially OFU, because they generally have a rather sizeable entourage that now shows up at their concerts. Probably why people like booking them, it makes for a nice friendly atmosphere and guarantees a crowd.
The idea that there was something different about the place was driven home when I found myself sitting casually on the floor of the deck outside next to a couple of other people as we were playing with this big adorable Newfoundland dog named Rupert that belonged to a someone there. Not something that you'd find yourself doing in Charlottetown. Everyone was in a good mood, people all introduced themselves to each other, there was no drama to be found anywhere, just people who either made the effort to get out there from town or people from Victoria who get to breathe that sea-side air all day long, which has to be good for the soul.