Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Things To Do With Your Mouth In Your Kitchen

Bet you didn't know you could do that, did you?


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"I'm a PC" "And I Mac"

You've probably seen the Mac vs PC ads. Have you seen the UK version? The Japanese version?

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Why You Should Listen to Your Wife

This is a story about a couple that had been happily married for years.

The only friction in their marriage was the husband's habit of farting loudly every morning when he awoke.

The noise would wake his wife and the smell would make her eyes water and make her have to gasp for air.

Every morning she would plead with him to stop ripping them off because it was making her sick.

He told her he couldn't stop it and that it was perfectly natural.

She told him to see a doctor; she was concerned that one day he would blow his guts out.

The years went by and he continued to rip them out!

Then one Thanksgiving morning as she was preparing the turkey for dinner and he was upstairs sound asleep, she looked at the bowl where she had put the turkey innards and neck, gizzard, liver and all the spare parts and a malicious thought came to her.

She took the bowl and went upstairs where her husband was sound asleep and, gently pulling back the bed covers, she pulled back the elastic waistband of his underpants and emptied the bowl of turkey guts into his shorts.

Some time later she heard her husband wake with his usual trumpeting which was following by a blood curdling scream and the sound of frantic footsteps as he ran into the bathroom.

The wife could hardly control herself as she rolled on the floor laughing, tears in her eyes!

After years of torture she reckoned she had got him back pretty good.

About twenty minutes later, her husband came downstairs in his bloodstained underpants with a look of horror on his face. She bit her lip as she asked him what was the matter.

He said, "Honey, you were right." All these years you warned me and I didn't listen to you.

"What do you mean?" asked his wife.

Well, you always told me that one day I would end up farting my guts out, and today it finally happened.

But by the grace of God, some Vaseline, and two fingers, I think I got most of them back in."

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Movie Review -- Smokin' Aces

Short Review: Not so much good as fun. Visually appealling enough to warrant big-screen viewing, but maybe wait for it to run at the local ghetto theatre.

Long Review: Ever watch a movie and think "Oooooh. So close, good try."? That's Smokin' Aces. It has all the right elements, or enough of them that it could have been fixed in post-production & editing. Which is exactly where this movie falls down.

The story is good, the dialog is hoping, the action sequences and the directing/acting (for the most part) are wonderful, the production values are superb. Lots of eye-candy, lots of little vingettes and story arcs that work really well in and of themselves. But it's as if the editor wanted us to feel the random, unpredictable violence of life as reflected in the broken story line, or have no chance to grow sympathetic for any particular character, because that's how the film is edited.

It could have been a much tighter, smarter film if they'd cut about 45 minutes out of it. It would have made much more sense if it hadn't tried to explain everything. Especially towards the end.

. . . and don't even get me started on the physics of a 120 pound woman firing a .50 caliber sniper rifle at a high rate of fire using a motel matress as a rest. Damn sexy though.

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Great White North -- Capitols of Canada

The hosers explain Canadian Geography

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Friday, January 26, 2007

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Choosing the Right Sunglasses

My problem is I can never figure out what shape my face is, so I'm not sure which shape to pick for my glasses.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Soldiers are Funny

. . . because they have to be, and sometimes they get bored.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Movie Review -- Volver

Went to see "Volver" last night -- good little art-house film. It's about a mother who's not just a mother, two fathers who are not fathers, and a ghost who's not a ghost. Well plotted, acted, and directed well enough to keep one interested all the way through. I can't decide if it's a drama, a mystery, or a comedy. And guys, just in case you think this is just a chick flick just 'cause there aren't any car chases or fight scenes, the director throws in a couple of rich visual tableaus. Of course, he's going to make you squirm emotionally for them first.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Great White North -- Curling Secrets Explained

In our second "Great White North II" episode, we tackle the dark secrets of curling.

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Movie Review -- Bandidas

I rented a movie with a friend last night that was a pleasant surprise. The cover had Penelope Cruz & Salma Hayek, which isn't a bad start for the cover of anything, but doesn't give you any clues about the quality of the movie. I'd never heard of it, so I figured it was a direct to video probably crappy release.

It turns out to be not a bad little film. The plot is rather predictable (two girls from opposite sides of the robber-baron railroad tracks set out to be bank robbers and avenge their murdered fathers) but the production values, costumes, and acting are actually quite good. Dwight Yoakam is a great slime-ball/bad guy. It's also paced quickly enough that it never gets boring. Good Friday night with a bottle of wine kind of movie.

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Clueless Part III: Windows Vista

One of the podcast that I listen to regularly, Security Now, ran an analysis of the security & licencing requirement of Windows Vista. One security researcher called the Vista Content Protection specification called it "the longest suicide note in history". Highlights include checking itself every 30 milliseconds, to make sure nobody has put a voltmeter on the motherboard in order to crack the high-definition content. Apparently it would make your computer behave like an "un-medicated paranoid", flushing & restarting any & all major sub-systems unpredictably.

Also, not content with just pissing the owners off, peripheral manufacturers (like your sound or video cards) would have to be licenced, provide the same level of protection, and could have their licencing yanked at any time if their security isn't good enough -- whatever "good enough" means. This would also increase their cost & reduce their reliability & power.

This is whether you want to use your computer as a high-definition media platform, which I don't.

Go ahead and listen to the podcast. They explain it in a way that everybody can understand and get something out of it.

I think my next machine is going to be a Mac laptop.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Clueless Part II: Clueless Judge Plus Lying Expert Witness

So just in case you thought clueless judges could never affect you, consider the case of a substitute teacher who is facing 40 years in jail because of the combined efforts of a negligent school administration, clueless investigator, lying and/or stupid "expert" witness, and clueless judge.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Clueless Part I: Best Headline Ever

“Judge Tries to Unring Bell Hanging Around Neck of Horse Already Out of Barn Being Carried on Ship That Has Sailed.”

Best headline ever, associated with this court case associated in part having to do with the side effects of psychotic drugs, and a judge who thinks that somehow he controls the intertube web thingee. Maybe two are related -- the drugs and the judge that is?

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Movie Review -- Children of Men

Once in a while a film comes along that you hope is going to be as good as you think it is. Funny things about us humans -- we're not very good at predicting the future. Things turn out to be much better or much worse that we think they're going to be.

"Children of Men" is both much better and much worse than I anticipated.

Director Cuarón's ("Prisoner of Azkaban", "Y Tu Mama Tambien") has taken P.D. James novel and made a movie that works on all ways -- chase movie, cautionary tale, human drama -- which is consistent and coherent on all levels -- emotional, personal, political, and technically. That's the good part.

It is set in a world in which women stopped having children eighteen years ago. This has plunged the world into chaos. The UK has been able to shut the rest of the world out most literally, hunting down and deporting illegal immigrants. In the most personally disturbing part of the movie the director takes us first person through a deportation, using images and sounds that invoke Abu Ghraib prison, the Holocaust, and "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome". It's just far enough in the future that this could all start happening tomorrow. The film is so well crafted, so believable, that this is our world. That's the bad part.

Through this world Theo (Clive Owen) shepherds the pregnant Kee (Claire-Hope Ashityey)
through police, freedom fighters, terrorists, psychotic internal security guards, and his own personal demons. Everybody wants a piece of her, and everybody else has guns. The only way to survive is by knowing who to trust and by letting those others -- known and unknown -- throw themselves in front of the bullets.

The writing, direction, and acting are all first rate.
Cuarón is fast becoming one of my favourite directors, and I can't wait to see what he comes out with next.

Go see the movie. This one is definitely going on my "buy" list.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Killer Rabbits

Killer rabbits have been around for a long time. This one chased a snake up a tree.

Note to family & friends: you can buy me stuff from here anytime. No reason to wait until next Christmas!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Investment Education

A free on-line course in investment: stocks, bonds, funds, and portfolios. I'll let you know what the catch is.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tees for Geeks

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007


There are many knot websites, and even many animated knot websites. This one is the slicket, most complete, most visually appealing one I've come across.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Motorcycle Show & Bike Bunnies

I was at the Calgary Motorcycle Show on Friday night, wandering up & down the aisles with a friend, taking in all the shiny bikes new & old, and all the other distractions -- leather, sunglasses, chrome. One the bike bunnies came up to me holding a clipboard and asked,

"Do you want to enter a draw for a wireless radio?"

Think about it.

I said, "I didn't know there was any other kind."

She meant sattelite radio, of course. Cute though. One wonders how some of them stay up-right, because they're so top-heavy.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Camp Baking

Baking bread or cake at camp isn't really all that hard, as long as you're a little prepared. "Be Prepared" -- hmm, where have I heard that before? I like cast iron skillets myself, despite the weight. Unless you're cooking for a large group or doing back-country stuff. Then it's just a matter of actually paying attention to what you're doing so that your baking doesn't burn.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Building Stonehenge

I've always been fascinated by how Stonehenge and other ancient structures were built without cranes, block & tackle, or other machines. Never mind moving a 300 foot barn with just one guy.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Film Review - The Departed

Went to see "The Departed" with a friend last night. I'm not sure how this film slipped past my radar -- we caught it at the Moviedome, our local cheap-seat last-gasp-before-video theatre. It was amazing, the critics praised it, and it got high ratings from the public.

Martin Scorsese directs this remake of a Hong King film "Infernal Affairs" in a way that invokes Shakespearean pathos & Wagnerian drama, using violence instead of dance as his medium. Matt Damon plays a slime ball rat within a police special investigation unit. Leonardo DiCaprio remembers how to act for this film and plays a conflicted undercover police officer within the Irish mob.
Jack Nicholson reprieves his role as a drug-addled crazy person. I wonder how it is that he plays nut jobs so convincingly and makes them so likable even while he's up to his elbows in blood? I think it's his face. If you ever see the scene where he's describing a rat, you'll know what I mean.

Many critics complain about too much violence, by which I expect they mean the blood & brains being liberally splattered on and around everybody in every second scene. Disconcerting as these are and as they are meant to be, Scorcese does have an obsession with authenticity. Even if it includes realistic portrayal of gun-shot wounds. This obsession also shows up in Damon & Dicaprio's pre-movie training (Damon even went along on a drug raid, much to the producers consternation), and the attention to detail in the portrayal of the Boston police. Not only the physical detail of the uniforms, procedure, and ritual, but also in the emotions, attitudes, and commitment required to be a police officer.

What it means to the movie audience is a submersion in that world, without the distraction of noticing where a film-maker screwed up. Instead, we get to pay attention to the characters, feel what they feel, and have authentic emotional reactions to and understanding of the protagonists. This makes it a great movie, which is definitely going on my 'buy' list.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Lawrence Lessig on Media & Culture

If you have any interest in media/technology/culture, this is a fascinating & mind-blowing lecture given by Lawrence Lessig. The clip of "Jesus Christ the Musical" is in itself worth it.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Wallpaper Rotator

This looks interesting: a utility that rotates your wallpaper, using Flikr as a source. It bases its selection on the tags (keywords) you put in. Anybody tried this?

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Monday, January 01, 2007

50 Greatest Cartoons

Happy New Year!

I usually avoid "best of " lists because they're boring.

For this one I wish there was more, like the actually cartoon. They got it right, of course, by putting "What's Opera, Doc?" first and then following up with "One Froggy Evening" & "Rabbit of Seville" near the top of the list.

While I was exploring the list I came across a page all about banned cartoons. Check it out if you want to see Fred Flinstone and Barney Rubble lighting up, or Bugs Bunny in black face.

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