Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tribes

So I'm writing this form the lobby of the hotel they're putting me up in while I do some work in Ontario. There are a handful of others working for the same company at various sites staying here as well. Mostly your typical techie lot, all male, all pretty much what you'd expect.

Interestingly there's also a large group of people here who have just started working for a pharmaceutical company as salespeople, I'm guessing they're those people who go around and give doctors free pens and golf days in exchange for pimping their company's latest overpriced allergy pill.

The differences between the tech people and the sales people in the way they act and communicate almost makes it look like they're speaking entirely different languages. I've just been doing my usual thing and being a social chameleon and talking to whoever happens to be around when I'm down here getting coffee or doing laundry or whatever, and it's very striking to just observe the social cues involved in keeping up with the salespeople's conversations, vs. the assumed background knowledge that is taken as a given when talking t oa tech person.

There's a definite set of codes in both cases that people rely on as a signal to say 'I'm with you'. I simply couldn't picture one of the techs trying to shmooze a doctor at a softball game, nor could I see one of these kids, fresh off of working at ski lodges and in bars and wherever else you find overly charismatic but under-skilled people trying to wrap their head around some large, complicated software system.

Even in high school the differences between the various cliques weren't so pronounced, the differences here seem to even go to the level of how our brains are structured.

I'm very glad I seem to have picked up a talent for talking to people across age and social groups, life would be terribly dull if I had to only live inside a single social group. I guess I've always been a floater, though.

By al - 9:20 AM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 29, 2006

Sculpture outside Bell Canada buildings

I'm too tired to write anything so here's a picture. I just tried to use my access card from work that was dangling from my belt to get into my hotel room. Which means the plan for tonight is probably going to consist of ordering chinese food and watching The Big Lebowski and going to sleep. On the bright side apparently the transit strike is going to end quickly.

I just noticed this today as I was walking in to work, because it was the first sunny morning since getting to Toronto.

By al - 7:39 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Transit Strike? Of course.

I fucking hate this city.

By al - 11:54 AM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Rawk*

So we've come full circle. I remember my earliest game experience was with Pong on my much loved second hand Atari. It must be in the yellow genes to be fascinated with gnip gnop. I'm no exception.

So I laughed off Rockstar's Table Tennis, that is until I looked into it further. Yeah, I had the typical, "WTF? No hooker-killing?!" moment. I kid.

This game is balls-to-the-wall fun. I currently suck at it. Easy to pick up. Difficult to master. The controls are simple, the timing spot on. They really nailed it - but then if you can't nail the dynamics of ping pong...

The graphics are silly good. No sex. No guns. No glam. Character models at times gets close to movie CG quality. It's exclusive to the 360. I guess this is why I bought the system. 500 bucks of hardware to play simulated ping pong. I wouldn't have it any other way. :) Note to Nintendo, get Rockstar to port it to the Wii with full motion sensing.

Greg, Duc, bring over a controller. I'm calling you out!

By TVT - 7:59 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 26, 2006

Back to PEI for the Weekend

Well, they kept me in Toronto for the long weekend but were nice enough to send me home for 2 days this weekend. I'm actually looking forward to it, though. I miss the weird little place.

I have some tentative plans to hang out with a couple of people, but mostly my schedule says "go and do whatever, just don't think about work."

By al - 12:47 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Email notes

Okay this was put together from an email type long I was keeping. Just jotting down some ideas in my email and sending it to myself. It's kind of corny, and the first part I posted a few weeks ago, but here is what it is.


Their first meeting didn't go so well. As she saw it She was knighted to her king and he was a heathen that believed in false gods. As he saw it, he was the top warrior to his clan and she was a horrible fate sent by the demon gods, to torturer and destroys his world.

On a battle field scatter with blood, she hauled a dripping sword from the corps of some small man's body as he drove his spear deep into the back of an armored knight. Both their opponents died, seconds before their eyes meet. In an unusual pulled they gather their weapons and headed directly for each other. Stepping through piles of human body parts, weapons posed to strike. The short distance that separated them was closed with vicious intent. As the reached each other they began the battle. Her sword was deflected by his pear and she brushed the point of his spear off with a shield. The battle going on around them continued to wage with great horrors against man kind being committed, the death blow to one of her comrades would be the most significant moment in either of their lives. Her comrades body fell striking both of them near the knees, cause both of them to stumble in mid swing she reached out with her shield hand and he did with his free hand. IN that second as she grabbed his arm and he caught her hair on the side of her head, it happened. Her sword found it's mark, his spear found her abdomen and they both felt it in their dying breath. They fell to the ground in a momentary struggle to reach the other and say what they knew to be true. The death that followed was quick and would separate them.

The second time they met, life was no easier than it was the first time. Their whole lives had been spent in war. She was the daughter to a great commander, he was the captain to the enemy's troops. He found her during an invation. Plucked away from the comforts of her fathers home and tossed in cells with other prisoners, like common slaves. She had been a prisoner for over a month when he was investigation the cages they had been put in. He quickly discarded the bodies of the dead and killed the sick with no second thought. She was huddled in a corner he hopes he would not look at her. He did.

He reached out and put his hand on her shoulder. Both were horrified at what they felt. They knew exactly what the other was going through. He stopped frozen as she gazed up with horror in her eyes.

"Take this one to my tent! And don't let her escape" His words were spoken to a near by soldier. Who simply did exactly what he thought he should.

The girl ended up in the tent of General, stripped and tied. The soldier placed her there. He new the rules about prisoners and the captains orders were wrong, Prisoners belonged to the Prince. He alone could chose a fate for them. The captain would need to talk for his actions and the girl would pay.

The captain never saw the girl, it was more than a month before he would here what her fate was. She was taken directly to the prince and he held her prisoner, for his own use. At the day he heard of her fate he leaned of his own. The troupe had returned home on the day of their victory and the Princes' guard took him in custody. He was charged with treason against the Prince. For months he was to be imprisoned and as a punishment, each time the prince decided to visit him, he would bring the girl and taunt his ownership of the girl in front of her. Grabbing at her body, making her do unspeakable things in front of the captain. Then on the day of his death the captain watched as she was beaten and raped until she was dead. Her dead body burned next to his live one.

No meeting in centuries they had, was fated to work. They once met sitting next to each other on a boat traveling in search of gold and adventure. The boat sank. Another meeting involved walking on to a bridge and coming across each other. As they smiled at each other, turning their heads to follow each other across the bridge. The bridge collapsed killing not only them but hundreds of others.


In a long over due event, when kings still had their power, and knights where still among the highest of prized people they finally where able to meet and have what was destine to be theirs.
The day they met was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Snow fell from the sky, in large wet flakes. The flakes where flown around the sky with the fury of a thousand windstorms, twisting and turning in the sky, creating at first an eye pleasing event, which quickly turned into a torment to the skin. Animals hid in the woodlands, people huddled in their beds and homes for any warmth and comfort it may provide. Two small children had lost their parents.

The little boy was no more than 6 and was steadily crying as he tried to find his mother in the blinding snow fall. He cried out for his mother over and over, as he stumbled through the growing pile of snow. In the end he found a stair case, that provided some protection and ducked under it. There he found a smaller girl, younger then himself. She was huddled in the corner, crying over her lost mother.

It took several hours of sobbing, while looking at each other before they talked. The stormed out lived that wait by several hours. In the wee hours of the morning, they were huddled together for warmth. As the storm began to die down they fell asleep. Only to woke by a two set of parents screaming their names. Each made their way out from under the steps, screaming "Mommy" at the top of their lungs. They found their mothers and were separated again for years.

He became a junior soldier and as fate would have it her father became a military armorer. She spent her adolescent days walking around the fields looking at the soldiers as they practiced drills and leaned new skills. She found it most fascinating to watch as they hit each other and hand to hand combat was her favorite, especially the young men who normally ended up just wrestling like young boys. She would pretend to pick flowers near the edge of the training camps and always returned to her fathers shop with glorious bouquets of flowers to decorate with. It never bothered her that her father was a man, and felt no need to make his smith shop pretty. But she insisted. As time wore on, she helped her father more and more, she would help gather wood and coal for the fire, she was even strong enough to lift the metals and bring them to her father. By the time she was sixteen she was testing each sword herself , for balance and stability, stroked and even the sharpness of the blade. She knew more about swords then most of the soldiers ever did.

When a new crew of young men came, it was her, who accepted the duty of arming the, according to the length of sword, best suited to them. It was nearing her 17th birthday that one particular boy caught her attention. She reconised him even through 13 years of growth, and age had changed him so completely. She armed each of the new boys with their weapons except him. She waited until all had gone, to their new drill sergeants before she found a sword for the boy.

He smiled at her as she passed the weapon on. He took the blade from her hand in a slow jester, then said in a voice so quiet, she barely heard him "I remember you!"

She glanced down briefly and smiled shyly. "I remember you to."

It would be more than ten days before she saw him again and it nearly drove her nuts. But when she did see him, it brought her great joy. A few days later, they got to speak. The started with the memory from their childhood. Then went onto describe what had happened since. Her mother had died, of a sickness of the lungs. Her father had gone from being the towns blacksmith to the royal armorer. His Mother and Father had mostly been farmers, he grew up their. His eldest brother was going to get the farm, and his sister had long since left to marry a man, he did not like. He was left to do what ever he wanted. He had joined the ranks of the Junior soldiers, a year late, but curious if this would fit his wish for his own life. So far it did.

Once the catch up was over, they talked about numerous things. Just getting to know each other. Days and weeks passed and each day when his training was done, he found his way to a hill near by the armorer’s smith.

They though, no one noticed, but her father did. He was a quiet man and would be glad to see his daughter married to a young man becoming a soldier. He could provide for her.

The year, he stopped being a Junior solder and actually was accepted to be a full grown soldier was the year that they married. This time they had their happily ever after.



Now if I can figure out what I want to do with it.
Sorry for the disaster of gramer and spelling

By Sabrina - 1:21 PM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Serendipity 360

Made the jump. Eb is running a 360 trade up promotion right now. Unfortunately, I haven't really got my game on for the past year. Ah yes, transition years, where nothing major gets released cause everyone's gearing up for the next cycle.

I took a look at the upcoming releases for the Xbox and Gamecube - they're pretty much dead. So I traded in both and surprisingly got enough store credit to afford the Premium 360.

This thing looks great even on old school teevee. And though I hate batteries, the untethered freedom is quite nice. Now I just need to find out how to get all that pre-loaded promotional crap off my hard drive. Addidas commercial. I'm lookin at you.

By TVT - 1:09 PM | (6) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Call Me a Monarchist...

.. But I actually found it a little disconcerting that I didn't hear a single Ontarian refer to yesterday's holiday as "Victoria Day". Maybe it's been officially changed to "go out to the cottage and breathe slightly less foul air day" but I didn't get the memo on that one.

All Ontarians seem to be able to talk about is housing, whether it's the proliferation of real estate advice shows on local TV channels, where real estate agents anser callers' questions by telling them bo buy in the region they happen to work in, or home improvement shows or every topic of of every conversation I seem to walk by and overhear, everyone is obsessed with their daily commute, the expensive little patch of property they were able to afford with what they earn while at work and away from home for 12 hours a day, and the equally expensive patch of property they dream to own up North which will make it all worth while.

Suckers. Every last one of them.

By al - 4:37 AM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Belated

Belated Happy Birthday to both ALex and Tuan...

hope you all had a huge, honkin' slice of b-day cake and that the new year is full of all the love, luck, wealth (and visas) that you deserve!!

By chantal - 7:48 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

That's Just Not Right

How is it that someone from the Maritimes has to wait till he gets to Toronto before he gets to experience being chased by a goose?

So I decide to go for a walk around Markham today, just to see what was what. Mostly there was a whole lot of condo developments and stark-looking corporate buildings. Pretty much sterile and dead, save for the sketch-tastic strip mall filled with booths selling counterfeit DVDs and a karaoke bar. *shudder*

So when I'm waslking back to the hotel I'm mostly not paying attention to anything, since the town is so dead, until a mother goose chased her babies across the highway onto the sidewalk right in front of me. Then she started hissing at me, and I don't know quite what to do. I start to back away and it starts walking towards me. I finger the strap of my bag wondering if it would be wise to take a swing at the thing if it gets any closer. It's making noises like my cat when she's got a hairball, between honks and wing flaps. But fortunately her babies didn't get the signal to stop so she had to go chase back after them and left me on the deserted corner in corporate hell.

So this is big city living.

By al - 1:03 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Another one today

Happy Birthday Al.
Hope your having a great time in Toronto.

By Sabrina - 3:35 PM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Walking, Walking, Walking

Spent the day in downtown Toronto today. Met up with Shan and we took the bus and then the train into downtown. Got to know how the transit works out here in the boonies. (hour long wait on the weekends, makes Charlottetown's system look like a model of efficiency by comparison. There are 3 transit operators that I saw running independently of each other if you don't buy a huge pass, you don't get a free transfer between them. But eventually we got to the train station at the very top of the horsesohe and went right down to the southern part of downtown with the CN tower. It was cloudy at the time and kind of shitty so we didn't go up the tower. Walked down to the ferry to the Island though, and then up past a few neat little landmarks like the sugar factory.

Sadly I forgot my didital camera at the hotel, so no pictures. But everyone knows what Toronto looks like anyway, so screw it.

Then we went up to Kensington Market and enjoyed the chaos. It was quite a welcome contrast to the corporate ghost town that is Markham after 5:00pm. China towns are my conceptions of what cities must be like if you jsut let them grow organically. Sort of intersting to observe, but I'm still not a big city person, unless it's some place with built-in personality like Montreal or San Francisco. Some place like Calgary or Edmonton would stifle my soul pretty damn quickly.

After that we had late lunch at a little Mexican restaurant called Hernando's on Younge near Queen's Park, nothing out of the ordinary but a good tuck-in for sure. Then we went off to the ROM, with very good timing since we got there right at an hour before it closed, so we didn't have to pay to get in, but still managed to see every floor. They have a great exhibit of ancient Chinese art, culture and architecture on, which was very cool to see. They have one of the
Terracotta soldiers on display which I sort of came upon without looking until I turn around and was eye-to-eye with the thing. Pretty funny.

After the museum we walked around a bit more, I always love spending a day when I get to a city and just walking around as much of the city as I can, to see the different neighbourhoods and basically experience the city as someone who lives in it would, instead of just going to the various attractions. So it was great to just jaunt all over the place and stick my head in random little shops and such. Then once again it was time to negotiate the transit system out here to the boonies, which included a lovely half-hour wait for the changeover from the TTS to the YRT. Gah this sucks.

Will probably have a quiet night tonight, actually it's not like I'll have much choice. The only life I came across walking on the streets in Markham was a dog barking out a condo window at me, as if to say 'HEY! I'M HERE! HELP!'

By al - 9:56 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

How many years is that now?

Happy Birthday Tuan
Hoping you have a better year next this year.

By Sabrina - 12:38 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 19, 2006

Donatello was the better turtle

Advertising. I'm not immune to it. Especially foodstuffs. Throw a new burger on a billboard and I'm there. The Blair Witch Project? Motion sickness.

Grand Theft Auto? Holdin y0 'gat sideways does not a good game make. Also, the much hyped "matureness" of the series. Somehow partial nudity and pointless ultraviolence is a hallmark of being an adult. Hrm. Not that there's anything wrong with those things. It's just that it's all executed to appeal to a pre-teen gangbanger wannabe.

Which brings me to Dan Brown. Who I've managed to avoid curiosity in until the Hollywood hype machine ran me over. I fully admit 2 things: 1) I'm not a writer. I just write out whatever I'm thinking. It works for me, cause I ain't gettin paid to blog. 2) I haven't read a book in ages. So I flipped through the Da Vinci preview chapters on Amazon. Wow. Bad. Like really bad. Like I could write this bad bad.

Then I went and checked out the reviews. They were all solidly in the Dan Brown writes heresy / is a literary genius / Hardy Boys for adults camps. But he's sold millions! *sigh* Quantity doesn't always mean quality.

Brown has succeeded magnificently, he's created the book for people who don't read books. It's quick to read and the chapters are short giving the non-reader a sense of accomplishment. He makes you feel smart. Ooooo... anagrams. It reads like a screenplay which is great for Ron Howard and company. Then we hit the cliches. An albino antagonist? Heck. Give him an eyepatch, a scar, a goatee, a prosthetic arm, and maybe throw in a lisp.

There's no denying it. The prose is clunky.

1st paragraph:
Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery. He lunged for the nearest painting he could see, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man heaved the masterpiece toward himself until it tore from the wall and Saunière collapsed backward in a heap beneath the canvas.

1st paragraph edited to leave room for imagination:
Jacques Saunière staggered through the archway of the Louvre's Grand Gallery; lunging for the Caravaggio. The painting tore from the wall trapping the curator underneath.

1st paragraph as I would have wrote it in grade 9:
Worldwide renowned uber curator Jacques Saunière staggered forth through the vaulted archway of the great museum's Grand Gallery. He lunged desperately for the nearest painting he could see with his own two eyes, a Caravaggio. Grabbing the ornately gilded frame, the seventy-six-year-old man of Francophone descent heaved the enormous masterpiece toward his stately personage until it tore from its supports anchored in the wall and Saunière the curator of the Louvre collapsed backward, not forwards, in a heap of poorly edited paperbacks beneath the canvas.


I'm not a literary elitist. I hate Shakespeare. A novel doesn't have to be complex to be enjoyable. But on the other end of the spectrum it shouldn't hold your hand. There's too much reliance on font and italics in the sample chapters I read. Heck, there's an illustrated edition. They should just go the next logical step - The Da Vinci Pop-up book.

I just judged a book by its Amazon. I guess I have something in common with the Catholic Church (motto: Don't believe in that other work of fiction.) now. Eeep.

By TVT - 5:39 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I shouldn't even be writing this..

I should, by all rights, be physically dead right now.

I've not slept enough for the past 5 days. I didn't sleep at all last night. I was out of bed at 4am to get to the airport at 5 to be on a plane at 6, and then the very helpful lady behind the air canada desk crosses out our connecting flight gate and writes in another one, which turned out to have no plane at it. So we have to run to the place we should have been to begin with and nearly miss our connection.

When we got in we went straight to the frightening corporate HQ of the company I'll be working on contracts for and we went right to work after lunch. So this hotel bed better be the greatest thing in the universe or I might just up and float away.

Looks like Shan and I have tentative plans to hang out on Saturday. Not sure what I should do friday, it's sort of hard because the last train is pretty early and the transit out here sucks to begin with. (stupid corporate wasteland suburb on the other side of Toronto from other corporate wasteland suburb that I'm working in.

Note: Anyone who spends even a second a day commuting to work on Toronto's highway system is a sucker. I'm staying in PEI. I get to walk to work (for now, anyway) and it's heavenly.

By al - 10:55 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Off to Toronto

 Well, work is sending me out to do transition work for about three weeks. I will be back on the Island for about 3 days at the end of May, then back to Toronto for another half a week, and home for two days on the 5th, then off to Mexico for Katherine's wedding on June 7th, and I'll be coming back from there on the 14th. So I'll basically be away for the better part of a month, living in hotels, eating every kind of international type food I can think of and more, I'm sure, and working myself to death trying to learn everything there is to know about [deleted] in way too short a time.

I'll try and blog as much as I can about my non-work adventures. I'll be staying out in Markham but I'l ltry and get into the city as much as I can. I've already had a few good suggestions of places to visit, but I'd welcome any others, of course.

Now I'm off to panic about what I need to bring that I don't have...

By al - 6:29 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 15, 2006

Kekeke

Sure the asian automakers are no saints. Toyota's got that whole sexual harrassment lawsuit going with thier top exec. Hyundai's got the slush fund scandal. But last I checked, yellow was still a colour of the rainbow.

I love Hyundai's reply to Mr. Jackson. Zing!

By TVT - 11:01 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

I got to see this movie last night, and really didn't know what to expect. You always suspect that most writers secretly want to write a novel about being a writer, which was parodied in the original novel. And so to stay true to the spirit of the book the filmmakers take a brilliant step and make a movie about making a movie based on the bizarre, 'unfilmable' book.

With this we get to see the actors playing versions of themselves, with the lead actor, Steve Coogan (trying to shake his role as Alan Partridge) is especially good at conveying a particulary British combination of pompousness and pathos that you're never quite sure is entirely just acting.

The rivalry between the two lead actors, with them trading subtle barbs as Their respective importance to the movie comes into view also makes for some of the funniest moments.

Of course it happens that no one on the set except for one assistant has actually read the book, as you see Coogan being given some pre-prepared sound bites to use for an interview about the movie, like "the book was post-modern before there was a modernism to be post about".

This reminded me of the movie from last year that Don MacKellar did, Child Star, which was also a self-referential take on movie-making, with that one using a fictional ill-thought-out action movie about the U.S. President being rescued by his son. It makes sense that a British metafilm would use as its subject a movie based on yet another 19th century novel, with most of the people on the set not 'getting' the satire, and thinking that the battle scene and the love story must be the most important scenes to film and devote resources to.

Getting to see Stephen Fry playing himself was probably my favourite part. He's been turning up in interesting places lately, like as the voice of the book in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie and as a psychic in the movie about Peter Sellers.

This probably isn't a movie I'd want to buy and watch over and over again but it made me laugh, and there was a lot of understated bits of brilliant satire that make this a really good watch.
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By al - 9:41 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 12, 2006

New Job

So I'm starting a brand new full-time job on Monday. I won't write about it online just in case they're a big evil company who hates bloggers. And also because if I write about my work it would cause me to think about it at home more than I absolutely need to. Bah on that.

So today I filled out the stock options enrollement form and all that, this is definitely the kind of job a grownup might have. Scary thought, indeed.

Now I just have to figure out how to weazel my way into getting the time off I need to go to my Sister's wedding. That should be fun. I might just threaten to quit and re-apply if they give me shit, since I know they'd hire me back.

More good news is that they don't hold back my first pay cheque, so I'll be getting money about 2 weeks sooner than I expected. w00.

Currently reading:
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight: Revised and Updated : The Fate of the World and What We Can Do Before It's Too Late
By Thom Hartmann
Release date: By 27 April, 2004

By al - 4:35 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

World of Mastercraft

I got a brilliant idea for a new massively multi-player mahoojit. What if?... We crossed The Sims with garbage picking?

You'd have countless hours of excitement creating your digital Maritimer avatar. Mild mannered call center worker by day; eco-warrior by night.

It'd all be online of course. I could go over to your virtual home and delight amongst the old sofa and assorted gewgaws that only the finest micropayments can buy.

Competing players could take the by-law enforcement officer career path. Issuing citations and bannings for anyone caught.

Foreign players would go gangbusters on this stuff. They'd hire out their scrap metal farming services to the ire of the online community.

Damn. I'm astounded by my own genius and that's not just the hyperbole talkin! Get Blizzard and Will Wright on conference call.

By TVT - 12:13 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Weird workaround for crashing Firefox

So I've mentioned before that for some reason my installation of Firefox would immediately crash if I logged in to MySpace. Since I've become sucked into that particular vortex of shameful addiction it was keeping me using Opera for quite a while now. However I've noticed that the latest versions of Firefox are even faster than Opera at loading pages, so I've been wanting to switch back.

Still haven't figured out the crashing though, though. I have an unused user account on this Windows XP installation, and when I run Firefox from there and go to MySpace and log in everything works fine, which is infuriating. I tried uninstalling Firefox, deleting every trace of a profile or cath folder (not a simple task, now that I've done it.) and installed several different versions of Gecko-based browsers, from the venerable Seamonkey to the latestnightly Firefox 'minefield' builds, but they all would result in a crash.

But just tonight I found a randomly bizarre workaround, if I go to my MySpace profile page while not logged in, and click on 'instant message', a new small window opens up, which asks me to log in. If I log in from there it will work just fine, and will take me to my start page, squeezed into that little browser window. But this will leave me logged in so I can then click 'home' in my main browser window and am back on the Open-source bandwagon.

I hate software.

By al - 3:58 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I hate being right.

Dammit. I saw this coming. Fee reduction. Lowered budget. Increased deportations. And now, they're thinking about reducing the yearly quota or an outright moratorium on the mess.

Glad I didn't vote for you. *sigh* If only I could use my powers for evil.

By TVT - 12:03 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mario and Sonic videos from E3

Bunch of nintendo videos from E3:

FEAR MEGA MARIO

Mario Galaxies

Video 1

More official-ish looking video

Sonic on the Wii - The jumping through loops thing looks like they might be drawing from the gameplay of NiGHTS: Into Dreams, which would be absolutely AMAZING.

By al - 7:21 PM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

11 weeks

And no one's responded to any of my inquiries. Not the Minister, not the Director General, not the visa office. I lost my cool and fired off this email to some MPs and news organizations. I don't know how many more tearful phone calls I can take. I do know that I've promised Trang I'd move to Vietnam if she's not here by next year. Wasting any more than 3 years of our lives would be a little too much to bear.

Yes I'd rather live in a communist country where my rights mean shit than to live without her. I've learned and grown so much these past few years. Money, the 1st world lifestyle, none of it means that much to me anymore. The rest of the world can go about it's fruitless wealth collecting ways. Like they say, for richer or poorer, I've found my peace. And no one's going to take it from me.

-----------
"Hon. Monte Solberg (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Canada has the most generous immigration system in the world. Every year we allow 250,000 people to permanently land. Hundreds of thousands of other people come here as students or on work permits.

My point is that we have shown extraordinary generosity to hundreds of people who are here as undocumented workers. However, there are 800,000 people who are trying to get into Canada today legally. What message does it send if we allow people who are here without documents to get ahead of those who are playing by the rules?"[1]

-- This myth ends here. Now. --

In 2005, the United States granted permanent residence to 1,122,373 immigrants.[2] The average processing time at a Canadian visa office for all types of permanent residence is over 4 years.[3] In 2002 Citizenship and Immigration Canada imposed a secret moratorium on parental sponsorships.[4] As of 2006 Canada has donated $16,346,829 to the United Nations refugee effort. We rank #9 behind Norway, Sweden, and the United States.[5] And we currently do not respect the UN Convention against Torture.[6]

Notable moments in Canadian history. (1755) Acadian Deportation, (1885) Chinese Head Tax, (1923) Chinese Exclusion Act, (1907) Japanese immigrant quota set to 450 people a year, (1914) War Measures Act forces Japanese-Canadians into internment camps.[7] Canada supplies arms to the war in Vietnam. Literally, creating the humanitarian crisis they would later take part in.[8] I should know. I am Canadian. I was also one of those refugees. I came here without documents. How can anyone expect a refugee to have a full set of papers? We don't all live in 1st world nations.

The $975 Right of Permanent Residence Fee has been reduced to $490. However, there will be no increases to the annual immigration quotas.[9] There has been no annoucement for increased staffing or funding for the immigration department despite recommendations from the Standing Committee.[10] The cost of entry is reduced which may or may not increase the number of future applicants. Combine this with the massive backlog and you have a recipe for even longer wait times. Short term gain, long term pain. It's all the more insulting because your department pockets millions from potential Canadians yet you do not deliver the services expected. This results in more and more mandamus cases filed. Honestly, how many class actions does it take for you to get the message?[11]

Do I feel resentment towards illegal immigrants, Mr. Solberg? NO. Because your system is not 1st come 1st served. I hold no grudges against anyone wanting a better life. I am stating this to make a point - Immigration Canada admits to queue jumping.[12] Think about it. The wait times for legal applicants is obscene. It's no wonder people go out of their way to avoid the red tape. Your system *encourages* this.

The only reason why Canada's immigration laws have improved is through the blood , sweat, and tears of immigrants and their supporters. Canada is a compassionate nation but our immigration system is certainly not "the best in the world". Mr. Solberg, my wife is a part of that 800,000 person backlog. I've never been more ashamed. We can do better. And I'm not the only one that's come to this conclusion. The Canadian Bar Assocation and your own Standing Committee echo my views.[13]

No one will stand up for us. Indeed most immigrants fear to speak out. I don't blame them. Why risk retaliation? We've shown the world we're willing to use children as bait.[14] If you find these words to be harsh. Know that the truth hurts. You trample on the rights of the individual and you damage us all.

We should be reminded that Jesus Christ was a refugee; Einstein an immigrant. We claimed this land from its indigenous culture. We are all immigrants. Indeed "There are no passengers on spaceship Earth. We are all crew." - Marshall McLuhan

Someone. Anyone. Help us. http://tvantu.blogspot.com

By TVT - 7:18 PM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

E3 musings

So Sony's taking a page out of the Xbox playbook. They're launching with a base model and an extra tasty crispy edition. I just find that amusing after they said the MS way fractures the user base.

$659 CDN for the uber-edition? Guess what I won't be getting for xmas. I don't even own a 360 or PSP. With each successive console they price themselves out of market share. C'mon. No sane parent's going to buy little Johnny that much love. I'll wait for the inevitable price wars or a game that compels me to buy the system. Whichever comes 1st.

The PS3 boomerang controller is gone. Awesome. The traditional Dual Shock design is back - minus the shock. Not so awesome. Dammit. Just pay Immersion for its patents already.

So the rumbly is gone and replaced with a motion sensor like MS\Logitech used. Which no one gave a crap about because there were no games that really made use of it. I suspect the same thing will happen here.

And its wireless. *sigh* I'm not so clumsy that I contantly trip over my cables. That and I hate batteries, no matter how long they last.

By TVT - 12:53 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Sunday, May 07, 2006

My Weekend. . . .

Finally finished with the white paint coats on the resin statue. It turned out pretty good (considering all the problem I've had). Picture of the pieces, all masked up:



And here unmasked and after a bit of touch up:



I'll probably start with the black paint tomorrow unless I decide to work on a different project.

The resin project wasn't a huge part of my weekend though. Spent most of the weekend cleaning around the house and cleaning the Celica. I've been meaning to clean-up the Celica for a while now, so I washed and waxed the car. Even took the wheels off to clean and wax them as well.



With the auto-salmon season just a bit over a week away, I decided to time how long it takes to change wheels while I was cleaning my street wheels. I was rather slow last year and I wanted to try a few things to see if it helped speed things up. 30 minutes isn't bad, but faster would be better especially for the Wednesday night events.

By Ming - 2:14 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, May 06, 2006

long shot...but if

IF anyone sees this dog, can you repond to this and let me know how to contact you?
He was last seen in the Mount pleasant Enmore area, and is extreamly friendly. He would easily go with anyone

chenook the little buggar

By Sabrina - 6:48 PM | (4) comments | Post a Comment

Kittycat Update


Post-op Kittycat
Originally uploaded by Alejandro the Great.
Just got Kittycat back from the vet's this morning. Now that we've spent money on it she's officially ours. (Makes sense to me.) So apparently you're not supposed to pick her up for a week now. She's going to think everyone is mad at her. Poor kitty.

By al - 4:55 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Perfume

I just finished reading Perfume by Patrick Süskind. Some people will know it as the novel that inspired the Nirvana song "Scentless Apprentice". It's funny the lyrics to that song go from being weird and inaccessible to being a very basic book report, but of a rather strange book, so it works out nicely.

The story is a fairly well-written page-turner with lots of tidbits about the basic craft of constructing perfume. What I found most interesting was the description of how the main character's extraordinary sense of smell worked, and the metaphors to our own context that the author used to convey this sense which is nearly perfect in the main character, Grenouille, but so ignored by ourselves. The author talks about how each smell becomes a solid memory and can tell the story of any given person or object. Grenouille would instantly know everything about a person from theri smell, and could assess people's intensions by how their mood affected their personal odor.

The only other similar attempt to describe a heightened sense of smell that I've read was in Stephen King's book The Eyes of the Dragon where one chapter is written from the perspective of a dog creeping through a tunnel to find a prince locked in a tower (or similar.). In that book, which allowed for the existence of real magic and therefore didn't limit its context and comparisons to what a 18th century European might have been familiar with, scent was manifested as glowing visual trails of electrically charged air, suspended and moving and alive, and more prominent in the mind of the dog than what his eyes would see.

By al - 3:33 AM | (5) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, May 05, 2006

I Hate White. . . .

I when back through the archive to find out when I last posted pictures of my resin project. That was two weeks ago. I'm still working on f$%^ing white.

Well, the first problem I had was I ran out of the white acrylic paint that came in the paint sets I started with and I could only find bottles of enamel paint locally. I wanted to keep things moving along, so I decided to try airbrushing with enamel paints. I didn't want to ruin the better airbrush, so I switched to the cheaper one that came with the air compressor. The problem with using enamel paints, you have to thin them for airbrushing. Thinning white is a nightmare. Too thin and the paint doesn't stick or the paint runs. Too thick and the airbrush clogs up, the paint sputters and the uneven and over-thick paint ends up like the ice at a curling ring. At one point, I even went back and did a few coats with a traditional paint brush. . . still surprised how well that went.

While I may spend a hour or two applying a coat on the different pieces, waiting for them to dry is the longest part. After a day it's still not completely dry so when you put the sandpaper to it, paint just sort of rubs off. It takes at least two days for it to really dry. I did a lot of sanding between coats trying to smooth things out.

Enamel paint fumes. Perhaps I should have moved to a better location, but I had to take a day or two off at one point to clear the fumes out of the room and my head. That was pretty bad.

I've gotten better at using the airbrush and I have a rather good mixture of paint/thinner now. Thinking I'll be doing one or two touch-up coats of white before unmasking and moving to the next colour: black.

By Ming - 9:51 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Nerds. Rejoiceth!

OMGWTFBBQ we won. I swear if Han doesn't shoot first this time there'll be a riot. We'll all come a runnin outta our parent's basements and converge on Skywalker Ranch. Ritually torching it to the ground a la Burning Man.

By TVT - 9:10 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I Love the New Apple Ads

Apple recently put up six new ads on their website and are running them on TV.

Here they are: Link.

They're really funny in a warm-hearted way, and while they talk about the flaws of PCs the ydo it in a humourous fashion that doesn't put PC users on the defensive, and they also emphasize how well Macs and PCs work together.

I'm really impressed with these ads because you can tell that they hired some genuinely good comedy writers to do them. And the guy who plays "PC" is John Hodgeman who is a new correspondent on The Daily Show and the auther of The Areas of My Expertise. I've only read excerpts from it but it's truely funny and totally dry in a Stephen Wright kind of way.

By al - 8:16 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Preying on Hopes and Dreams

Well, they were true to their word I'll give them that. The Conservatives just halved the immigration fee. I'm getting 400 bucks back. Big frigging whoop. I've also got a brain between these two ears.

- no increases to visas granted each year (there are quotas)
- no increase to the immigration department or more staffing
- decreased entry fee
- 400,000 applicant backlog

Remember. The fee contributes directly to Immigration's funding. Gotta pay for plane trips, hotels, long distance calls, meetings with heads of state and all that international wheeling and dealing.

And that my friends is a nice little recipe for disaster. I'm lucky to be near the end of the queue. I shudder to think what future Canadians will have to put up with.

Most folk on the immigration boards I visit are quite happy. As they should be. But let's be realistic. Nobody up in Ottawa thinks before making policies.

And the Liberals promised 700 million in funding and scrapping the fee altogether before they fell. And I got a bridge to sell.

By TVT - 6:16 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

I bought three

These people are so far ahead of us that it's already the weekend over there.

By TVT - 11:54 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, May 01, 2006

I can't escape it.

Immigration. It's the hot topic in the media at the moment. Which means it'll last but a few months or until something more sensational occurs. Live 8 anyone? It's seeped into my fictional pastimes as well. The second season of Ghost in the Shell is centered around the refugee and immigrant crisis in Japan after the Second Vietnam War. Ace Combat Zero for PS2 details the rise of the terrorist organization "A World Without Borders".

They're merely diversions though. Reflections of our current xenophobic world view. I feel a great sadness for humanity. We've yet to let go of our differences. Race (which should be an antiquated concept relegated to the history books), sexual preference, skin color, culture, language, clothing. My DNA differs very little from yours. If I could only take you all into orbit and make you see what I see.

Cause it breaks my heart every week I hear my wife crying on the other end of the phone.

By TVT - 5:41 PM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

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