Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Donation

When his house falls apart, maybe the One Red Paperclip guy can donate it, here.

There are two Donation bins near my house. I believe both of them are for clothing. There are signs include the words "no dumping" and "no garbage" and that sort of thing. But sometimes there are piles of garbage in front of them. Sometimes piles of broken toys.

But not too long ago, somebody left a different donation. A Dodge Colt.

I don't know who would think they could donate a smashed up Dodge Colt with no engine. It had been rear ended and was heavily damaged. The muffler was ruined. The brake lights were broken. The trunk would not close. The bumper had fallen off. There were a large number of dents. The paint had scratches on it. There were probably cigarette burns in the upholstery. Nobody could use it. Why was it being donated?

Someone went to all the trouble of pulling the engine out, then attaching the car to a tow truck and driving it all the way over to the donation bins. That's a lot of work for a whole lotta nothin'.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Caution: Tube empties from toilet directly into street.I keep losing things. My most recent rash of losses began when we bought this house. I was losing heat throught my ceiling and attic because my insulation was, in some places R-0, in others R-10, and in a lucky few places, R-25.

This caused a loss of money, as I continually paid more and more on my Natural Gas bill each month. To put this into perspective: my old house was 850 sq. ft. and my entire annual gas bill, including gas dryer and water heater, came to about $720.

In our new house of about 1700 sq. ft. (built in 1939) I am paying almost that much for January and February, and we use an electric dryer now.

We decided to have a Home Energy Audit done on our house because the goverment gives grants to cover the cost of lots of improvements. The audit costs about $300, but identifies the weak areas of your home, indicates what you should do to fix them, and informs the goverment of everything. Once you've completed your work, the auditor comes back for a second visit, tests your house again, and reports the improved numbers back to the goverment, who then cuts you a fat cheque for a million dollars.

When the auditor came in late September, I took pictures of his fan system that evacuated the air from our house. This is how air leaks are found. Here's where the losing theme comes into play again - I lost the pictures I took (along with the pictures I took of me making my Doc Brown costume. Yes, even more losing).

Our audit indicated, among other things, that we currently have a low level of insulation in our attic, and that if we improved the Resistance value to R-40, we'd receive $400 from the Provincial Gov't and $400 from the Federal Gov't. Sweet!

The Report:
Your house currently rates 35 (out of 100). If you implement all of the recommendations, you could reduce your energy consumption by up to 24% and increase its energy efficiency rating to 51. The average efficiency rating for a 1939 house in Canada is 44.

The standard energy efficiency of new homes built in Ontario is 75. To qualify for an "Energy Star" rating, your house must be 80-100.

We got estimates for doing the work, and things got even sweeter. We could insulate our 900 sq. ft. attic with blown fibreglass for $810. But, if we wanted to save even more money, they suggested doing R-50 for an additional $80. I said yes. Who wouldn't? Maybe someone who didn't have $80. But not me!

The crew came within a few days and filled our attic with practically 3 feet of fluffy, scratchy insulation, pumped through a large plastic tube. It was all over the floors and stuck to our clothes.

Upon completion, our house was so warm that everything began melting. We've had the a/c on 3 days this week, and there's no end to the heat wave in sight. But seriously, I have to say I'm quite pleased and hope that my losing streak is now over.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rob Scott, Pianoptic

Wednesday night I was proud to zip into C.N. Towertown for my friend's CD-release party at Lula Lounge. I've known Rob Scott my entire life. And when I say friend, and I say entire life, I mean we have pictures of my 4th birthday where HE is the one blowing out MY candles.

Rob is a piano prodigy. At 8 he could reproduce, by ear, any song he heard on the radio and it wasn't until highschool or thereabouts that he learned to read and write music physically, on paper. Before then, everything was my ear, by memory.

His songs were played that night with such passion and ferocity that watching his face contort with the different emotions was as entertaining as watching any great band perform live. Rob has been all over the map, emotionally and physically. He was one of the youngest students to ever attend the prestigious Berklee School of Music in Boston, upon winning a massive scholarship while he was still in high school.

While I was nerding it up watching Star Trek, mesmerised by the different angles of the friggin bloody Enterprise, Rob was creating astounding music and building a solid foundation for what is about to become an formidable career.

Roughly 10 years ago, two big labels (one being Sony BMG) got into a bidding war over Rob and the latest pop CD he had created. Unfortunately the deal offered wasn't what he was looking for, and he cautiously opted for Teacher's College instead.

After a year of teaching music in Mexico, he came back and gave his true passion another shot. Playing weekly in some of the ritziest hotels in downtown Toronto can hook you up with a lot of contacts.

Somehow Michael Buble heard his stuff and gave him a call. They forged a bond, and a deal. Mr. Buble's next album will feature one of Rob's jazz songs, recorded in a Vancouver studio during the upcoming winter months.

But for now, Rob is promoting his newest CD, Pianoptic, which I believe is his first commercially released disc. The range of music is awe-inspiring: from a musical eulogy at his mother's dreamt funeral, to Outkast's 'Hey Ya!' to the Beatles' 'Blackbird' to three songs played simultaneously: Bohemian Rhapsody, Rhapsody In Blue, & Blue Rondo Ala Turk cleverly titled Bohemian Rhapsody In Blue Rondo Ala Turk.

Not to mention
his own stunning compositions recorded on an imposing 9.5 foot long Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Piano, with 97 keys, yes you read that right - 97 keys, all in the lower register. The outcome of his skill was a crowd of about 130 all on their feet.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Ten Dollar Desk

Tip - a home office should be inside your home, not in your driveway.

What's a nice desk worth? A combination of the price of the wood, and the labour of assembling it? What about the designer? And the screws and drawer hardware? What does it all add up to? $900? Maybe $2,000?

How about $10?

My workplace was recently getting rid of a number of old desks and tables. There was a silent auction. People bid on them. Highest bid won.

Nobody bid on this desk.

The auction ended and my favourite desk did not sell. I asked about it and was told any offer was good, as the desks needed to leave the building as soon as possible. I offered $10 and the desk was mine.

I didn't really want or need a desk. And this one was far too enormous to fit anywhere in my house. Sure, I could have sat behind it in an overstuffed leather chair smoking a nice cigar and telling people I didn't like their teeth, but that's not me. Plus, nobody would come to my house if I did that to them. Jerks.

What I really wanted this desk for was the wood. The wood was very nice. Thick, solid, nice grain and best of all - curved edges. It was absolutely perfect for my bar countertop for the bar which I am building in my basement.

When I got the desk home via One Useless Man's minivan, I layed on my back in the middle of the driveway and started unscrewing screws. I thought I would unscrew a few and take the wood straight into the basement.


Thirty-seven screws later the darn desk was still strong enough for me and Suz, our two fat cats, and four of our neighbours to stand on. Upon further examination, I found it was glued as well. That is a sign of a good, quality-built desk.

I estimate there are still 70 or 80 screws left in the desk, and many of them are unreachable as they are deep at the back of the drawers. To whomever built this desk, I apologize for what is about to happen to it. Tomorrow, Mr. Jigsaw comes for a visit.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Radeon is Rad-ical

This card could've powered Sputnik.

Not so long ago my birthday made an appearance then quickly went back into hiding. He's a sneaky devil and likes to surprise me only once a year. But he's predictable so I always know when he's going to show up.

This year I was prepared as usual, but surprised when my Suz got me, in a round-about kind of way, a Radeon 512 mb video card for my comp. The card features a good-sized cooling fan which has a nifty image of a girl on it.

I was surprised to find a company would spend extra time and resources printing high quality images on their components when they'll never be seen once placed inside the non-transparent case of the computer.

Anyway, I am happy to find that I'm able to play my most favouritest games, like C&C Zero Hour, with the graphics cranked to the absolute max. Even still, I am finding I must turn the game speed way down to be able to play properly.

Now my buildings can be captured 7x faster, my gattling cannons blown up 6.5x quicker, and my Chinese Nuclear Migs can crash at record speeds while my pilots have mere milliseconds to scream "China going dowwwwwn!"

Oh, and my carpal tunnel can advance 8x faster also.

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This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.