Monday, April 30, 2007

Our Future

CBC radio just did a story about high school students on PEI getting into pre-arranged fights and putting them up on YouTube.

I think these kids need to do evolution a favour and fight to the death.

Then the crowd needs to get involved and pummel the winner to a lifeless pulp as well.

The gentle island.

By al - 7:53 AM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Out of the loop

Sorry for being out of the blogsphere as of late. I'm losin the urge to post as I get older it seems. I ain't hip or with it no mo'. Social networking and Web 2.0 (god I hate that name) have left me behind. Anyhoo.

Onward to updates!

- got a Wii in March; completing the holy trinity for this generation.
- working on buying (or building) a house for the summer, probably in Dieppe
- enrolled Trang in English classes
- paring down the mighty Transformers collection *sigh* growing up sucks :)
- been tinkering with my new cellphone, Bluetooth only works for transferring contacts. So I had to go on eBay and get a USB cable. Paying for ringtones is simply wrong. :D

I missed the VT discussion (if there was one). I'm assuming ya'll made the Wong Danny connection. I gotta buck the Angry Asian Male stereotype.
...Sunshine, Lollypops and Rainbows

By TVT - 7:57 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, April 27, 2007

Torture to Listen To

It was, of course, too good to last. But for two shining, hopeful minutes on Thursday, Michael Hlinka almost made sense.

Karen Mare must have been embarrassed to have to let this guy on her program. Her being the one who has actually travelled to Africa and talked to farmers who all had an intimate knowledge of how the World Bank operates, and him being just some twerp who as far as I can tell isn't even a working economist.

Hlinka is taking the classic American right wing line that because there are problems in some institution that was meant to serve some public good that clearly the whole idea was a mistake in the first place and it should be scrapped. Funny, though, that the Enron scandal didn't cause him and others like him to call for the end of corporate-friendly capitalism.

And yeah, I'm as familiar as any sheltered first-worlder can be expected to be with how rotten the World Bank and IMF are and how their policies are to the detriment of the countries they are meant to be helping. However, if Mr. Hlinka were to -- God forbid -- get on a plane and go talk to an African farmer about it, and suggest that the ideal solution would be to completely pull out and wait for private banks to roll in and start doing business there, the farmer would simply laugh in his pasty little face. Private Western economic interests already tell the World Bank what to do, letting them have at their victims directly is not any kind of solution.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Lauren, My 1 Day-old Niece


My 1 Day Old Neice
Originally uploaded by Alejandro the Great.




My 1 Day Old Niece
Originally uploaded by Alejandro the Great.




My 1 Day Old Niece
Originally uploaded by Alejandro the Great.

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By al - 3:02 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Killer Q

I didn't realize this this afternoon but CBC has used this mediocre host vehicle, Q, to not only kill off the lovely and quirky Freestyle, but is using this same dull club to kill their respectable arts show that aired in the evenings, The Arts Tonight.

CBC's evening schedule is now nothing but re-runs after Ideas.

Let's review - Shows that CBC has decided to kill:

Freestyle

Brave New Waves

The Arts Tonight

The CBC Radio 3 broadcast on Saturday evenings

And they've also replaced the classical music show in the late evening with.. more reruns.

Shows that CBC is keeping:

Go with Brent Bamburry (At least Arthur Black could punch up a string of pointless interviews with nitwits with a witty and well-written rant at the end.)

Shows that they're completely gutted of original and interesting content:

DNTO (Also now known as 'what SYL found on YouTube that week.)

Some of the short run series like the Age of Persuasion have been decent but I get the feeling that this is the end-result of the process of outsourcing content to independent producers, bringing them on for a short while and then letting them go, rather than having a staff of talented generalists who can regularly produce good content for CBC's regular shows.

These recent changes have been more drastic than the ones that resulted from Paul Martin's budget cuts a few years back, yet there's no financial necessity this time like there was back then. Which makes these changes look more like meddling and incompetence rather than necessary cutbacks.

Also, teh NPR-voice-trained guy on Sunday afternoon has worn out his premise. Somebody tell him, please.

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By al - 5:56 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, April 16, 2007

Q? Queue? Cue? Qué?

Within 5 seconds of me tuning in to CBC's new show, notfreestyle, Gian Ghomeshi made a Snakes on a Plane joke. Bad sign.

Gian's selling point is supposedly that he's funny, unfortunately when he's just by himself in a studio, or if he's interviewing someone who isn't also funny themselves, then he comes off as completely dry.

They're interviewing a conductor of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and the recording had hisses and gaps, which make it sound like it was done using some kind of digital recording device that compressed just a little too much.

Making a big deal out of the letter Q is going to get really tiresome really fast. Ugh.

I miss Freestyle.

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By al - 3:06 PM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Memos: Well Running Dry

  • I still run into people who say they read this blog. I can't imagine why, I haven't had nearly the output as I used to and I'm wondering why. I used to get really attached to a topic, like an election or something else, and feel like I had something to contribute to the general discussion. Now I feel like there are other people who can write better than I do and who have a more consistent output whose work I'd just be replicating. It's not that there is very many Canadian political blogs worth reading, most of them are too inward-focused and more concerned with petty fighting among other bloggers than with communicating with a mass audience and acting as a watch-dog to the press. On the other hand, there just isn't the overarching drive and purpose that the US-based Liberal blogs have when they go up against the most corrupt and criminal US administration in history. I've tried, really I have, but I just haven't been able to work up the blind rage and personal hatred for Stephen Harper that I have for Bush. He's just far too dull for that.

  • Why doesn't homemade bread brown properly when you toast it? It also sucks for making egg-in-the-basket. I still have a whole half a loaf to get through that my grandmother brought me and I'm fresh out of ideas and jam.

  • I went to the PEI Fashion Week show, yesterday. The event is a fundraiser for multiple sclurosis, and they apparently sold out of tickets, which is great news. There were some local designers featured, as well as other independent Canadian designers thanks to Heather from Absolutely Fabulous, who obviously put in a lot of hard work and had a really novel bit where they brought out a girl before their segment who was dressed in nothing special and had no makeup on, and said they would bring her out later with a complete makeover, since their store also has a little beauty salon. It's not like she wasn't gorgeous to begin with, naturally, but they really did great work in such a short time. I'm clearly not normally one who knows the first thing about fashion shows but this was just a fun evening. Afterwards Kelly and I had a good time making fun of people and just generally being awesome like usual, so it was a good night.

  • Filipe Massa won the Formula One race in Bahrain today. It's great to see he's actually learned how to drive. Good for him.

  • I still don't have a new baseball team I can really get behind. The Blue Jays are playing better than they have been in years and years, but I think I still have more of an interest in National League teams. The Cubs would be too obvious, the Mets still have Mike Piazza who's a gigantic tool and ruins the whole team for me, the Marlins are tainted by Jeffrey Loria, who would make me happiest if he could just dive into a vat of live, starving rats. I just miss the days of having my Expos, when I could sit in front of the TV with a whole packet of saltine crackers and watch for hours, and get really excited and into it when the game was close. It's just not the same when you aren't emotionally invested in one of the teams, as much as baseball is still my favourite sport to watch.

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By al - 5:07 AM | (2) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hockey!

Finally got some ice time in Moncton! After a horrible time with injuries and still no luck getting ice in Moncton all winter, I finally get a call to play. Thanks Tuan, I owe you one buddy.

So, two hockey tournaments in the next two weeks. Some regular ice time all Summer. Hopefully Jamie recovers from surgery and starts his regular ice time back up. Then I'd be all set. Right now, I'm more excited about hockey than the upcoming autoslalom season.

By Ming - 11:25 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Going to Vegas!

Yeah, I'm going to Vegas. Going there to meet with a third party equipment provider to do some collaboration work. Should be fun, a bit work during the day and then we should have time in the evening to check out the strip. I'll try to remember to take pictures :-p

Things are pretty hectic for the next couple of weeks. Before I leave, I got a hockey tournament this weekend. My mom's also leaving for Hong Kong and probably expecting me to spend time with her even though I have guests at the house. Then up early Monday to catch the flight to Las Vegas. Back late Thursday night so I can play in another hockey tournament the day after, and try to find time to work security at the Moncton car show for the club.

Upgraded the firmware on the Linksys router in the basement. I've been cursing that thing lately, it's been performing extremely horrible the past few weeks. Hopefully that fixes the problems I've been having. I've been cursing at the damn thing ever since I bought it a couple of years ago.

By Ming - 11:02 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

.

"We had a memorial service for Isaac [Asimov] a few years back, and I spoke and said at one point, 'Isaac is up in heaven now.' It was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, 'Kurt is up in heaven now.' That's my favorite joke."


"As I read the Book of Genesis, God didn't give Adam and Eve a whole planet.

He gave them a manageable piece of property, for the sake of discussion let's say 200 acres.

I suggest to you Adams and Eves that you set as your goals the putting of some small part of the planet into something like safe and sane and decent order."


So it goes.

By al - 2:23 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Memo to CBC Radio

Just a few thoughts about CBC radio..
  • Why oh why do they keep giving Gian Ghomeshi work? Are they hoping that the third time will be a charm for him and are sacrificing the great show Freestyle to do it? They're planning his new show to be some kind of arts and entertainment deal, I'm pretty dubious to say the least.

  • I hate Shelagh Rogers, mostly for her turn of phrase yesterday.. "if this song doesn't melt your heart then it's made of Canadian shield granite." Does the CRTC force her to include contrived Canadiana references in her torturous waxing?

  • The show Fuse on Saturday afternoons has been pretty enjoyable. However, Alan Neil needs to stop fawning over the musicians and acting like getting two random musicians to play together for an hour is some kind of epic event in musical history. He's the James Lipton of yuppie-friendly Canadian indie pop.

  • DNTO is getting really lazy lately. Back when Norah Young hosted it they did all kinds of original material, had some great in-depth interviews and was four hours of really solid listening. Now it's been reduced to two hours where Sook Yin Lee just gets on various regulars to ramble about TV or whatever funny Youtube video the producers were watching while they goofed off and surfed the web during the week instead of working. I have the Internet, I already know what funny things have been going around lately. I don't need someone on the radio to tell me about them a week later. Please do something slightly original.

    The internet is making so many CBC producers very lazy and is sucking away their creativity. Perhaps they should be banned from surfing at work.

  • I can't say enough good things about Vinyl Tap, but maybe I love it more than I otherwise would just out of relief that Danny Finkleman is no longer stinking up my Saturday evening radio listening with his gripes about his toothbrush being too skinny.

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By al - 3:17 PM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Easter Funny

I went to the stand-up comedy show at the Guild yesterday. Overall I was really impressed. Margie Carmichael sang a few songs and read a bit from her book. I always really enjoy bits that are written with poetic precision. Putting words together artfully to me is even more of an art than making fun of the instructions on shampoo bottles.

Taylor did a good job in the first act, he didn't make any effort to speed up his pace, which is actually a good thing. Half the funny in watching Taylor is his little asides and pauses. There was a sketch comedy group as well, but honestly I didn't find them very funny at all. The first bit they did was the 'freeze tag' game, where one member shouts 'freeze' and takes the physical position of someone else and resumes the sketch. I found they switched up far too frequently, so there was never a chance to really develop a dialog beyond just the initial gag. Next they did a bit where they had to make up lyrics to a song on the fly. And frankly it blew. To pull off that game really well requires a lot of practise, and the kind of word power that the members of this group just didn't seem to have to come up with rhymes or at least lines that flowed well quickly enough.

The last two comedians were Patrick Ledwell, who's about to go to the Halifax Comedy Festival, and was definitely the most polished of the night. He did a bit that I enjoy of his about having conflicting goals in life while trying to be 'goal oriented' to please prospective employers. Richard Shroeter also performed, and he did a great job, too. Overall Patrick was the best in terms of what you expect from a typical stand-up act, but there's something unique about how Taylor throws so much of his human-ness out there that makes it a lot more memorable

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Midnight Snacking Rule #4

Just because it's beige and mushy doesn't mean it's potato salad.

By al - 1:31 AM | (1) comments | Post a Comment

Monday, April 02, 2007

Griffin iMic quick first impressions

I love this little guy. Normally with my el cheapo Dell laptop that work makes me use, when you plug in earphones you are bombarded with noise from the computer's electic-field heavy devices. When the hard drive was accessed you'd hear clicking noises, when the CD was spinning you just heard a constant buzzing sound. Now the iMic puts the sound hardware outside of all the noise and interference from the computer itself, and sound is crystal clear. For $20 on Ebay I get the sound improvement you wouldn't see without paying another few hundred dollars for a higher-end laptop.

I'll talk about the recording capabilities later, but I imagine it will make podcasting a much simpler affair, since you can patch in your own sound cables etc. As long as Audacity cooperates, anyway.

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By al - 11:02 AM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Memos: Just Say When

  • Had a pretty good weekend, nothing really stood out but it was fun to go out to the Bucket Truck / Flush show last night and just float around and talk to whoever I run into. When you go with a group there's always the feeling like you need to keep track of where everyone is and what people are doing. But when you go by yourself you can be a lot more free to just take a stroll and chat with whoever you come across. Much less stress and more possibility of finding something or someone you weren't expecting.

  • A dude friend of mine just sent me an animated heart 'wink' over MSN. Not sure how I feel about this.

  • I've been finding myself getting into conversations lately where I end up explaining a topic to someone and they always tell me that no one has ever made them understand whatever it was so clearly. This was especially true with the course I tought at work over the last couple of weeks, but also just in general conversation about things like economics or agriculture or fish stocks. I wonder if this is an actual talent I might have.. to absorb a complex topic and relay it so people can understand it. Maybe the all-over-the-place nature of topics I cover on this blog even though I'm really only writing for a core audience of like 6 people might pose the same need. I should think about this further.

  • You know what I haven't had in a while? An honest-to-god, out-and-out, head-over-heals crush on someone. That initial feeling you get when you get to know someone new and exciting, before the inevitable let-down, either from the rejection or just reality dawning that it wasn't the perfect person you imagined, can be quite the thrill. Not sure I want that again, but meeting someone new might be nice.

  • OK, time to try and get some sleep. Even though I never seem to be able to properly fall asleep on Sunday night. Having to relinquish my weekend and fall back into the weekday routine is rather an unfortunate pill to swallow.

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By al - 1:03 AM | (3) comments | Post a Comment

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