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

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Crazy For Roomba

You know you're nuts when you're upset for winning a GPS.

Am I crazy? Those of you who already know me are presently screaming "YES!" but I ask again, am I crazy? Give me an answer based on my thoughts and actions regarding this LG gps unit.

Here's the nutshell: Today I won an LG LN730 Portable Navigator, and I don't want it.

Everybody wants a GPS right? So I'm slightly crazy already. Now here's the way tons crazier part: I want the prize my workplace is awarding next month, an iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner. Crazy, right? A guy wanting a vacuum over a GPS?

The problem with this prize is that I already have a totally dope GPS unit, which I also got for free nearly 2 years ago. Sure, the LG is pretty rad too, what with MP3 & WMA playback as well as a sweet Photo Viewer with the SD memory card slot.

So am I crazy?
Wanting to pass up a GPS with those super-cool bonus features and likely having a faster processor than my Sony?

I am crazy: crazy brilliant! I can trade the GPS for the Roomba, because who wants a vacuum? Nobody! And who wants a GPS? Like, everybody! Even agoraphobics would find this particular GPS useful and fun.

With the Photo Viewer they can show their friends all the crazy things Zippur the cat licked from their bellybutton last weekend. And they can download all their favourite songs to it and rock out to Supertramp when they're layin' a coily. Rad!

Now, I don't really need all that. When it comes to photos and music, I'm older than Jesus. Photo albums and CDs are abundant at my house. But if my house were Roombafied, I'd never have to clean the floors. I could sit on the busted Ikea couch watching Robotech reruns all day, drinking Vodka tonics and dropping Cheeze-its and Melba Toast all over the floor while my lil Robovac hovers at my feet in suck mode.

Yes! It would be like having a robomaid, or a dog, or a 2-year-old son. I'd throw it food and it would just eat and wander aimlessly, occasionally bumping into things like the TV. Ah, I'm already in love with my imaginary Roomba. So, am I crazy or what?

Update: GPS traded!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Twelve Thumbs Down To Cloverfield

Cloverfield? More like BLOWverfield.

I like J.J. Abrams. I've liked his work a lot. Based on his past accomplishments, I had no reason to think anything bad about Cloverfield. In fact, I was expecting it to be awesome.

J.J. Abrams produced and wrote the TV shows Felicity, Alias, and Lost. With that track record, one would think he knows what he's doing.

One would be wrong.

Cloverfield is filmed entirely with a Handycam, from the perspective of a young dude, exactly along the same lines as the Blair Witch Project. The main difference between the two styles is that the main character in Cloverfield seems to be suffering one enormous epileptic seizure for the duration of the movie.

I've seen my fair share of home movies, and I know they shake and cause motion sickness. But Cloverfield is unreal. It's simply impossible for most normal human beings to watch this kind of vomit-inducing camera shake, and I have the math to prove it.

Our theatre, on a Sunday afternoon, contained 47 movie-goers. At $10 a pop, the theatre was potentially earning $470. Out of the 47 viewers, six walked out of the theatre, hands covering their mouths, chunky-liquid-ketchup-flavoured popcorn spewing forth - both onto the floor and anyone sitting in an aisle seat.

These viewers were not to return.

Cloverfield's legacy.Six is exactly 12.7% of the audience. Using that as a baseline, assume that every theatre will lose up to 12%* of its audience. Opening weekend, Cloverfield apparently blew the competition away, earning an average of $12,000 per theatre.

But subtract the 12% of viewers who blew the technicolor rainbow all over the theatre manager's shirt, and you're left with $10,560. Add to that the word of mouth spreading rapidly about Cloverfield's unwatchability and you can see where those numbers might go.

Right into the toilet, just like everybody's popcorn and hotdogs.

The Cloverfield story is excellent, and I would have loved it and likely bought the DVD, had it been filmed properly. I know exactly what they were trying to do with the whole Handycam thing, and I love the idea. But the camera shake is so unbelievably bad that the special effects are all but wasted, as you can never really see what's going on. Even the tough-stomached people who sat through it complained as they left.

Two thumbs up to Cloverfield's story, but twelve thumbs down for the idiotic execution. Cloverfield is so shakey, it makes The Blair Witch Project look like it was filmed with a tripod.

*Individual theatre results may vary!

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Terrorists Are Here! And They're Crippled.

Weird writing on your ticket indicates you are a terrorist suspect.

Watch out world! Airliners are being taken over by the most unsuspecting of terrorists in the world - cripples! At least, that's what Homeland Security thinks. At least, that's what I think they think, as they targeted me on my way home from Florida last week at the Tampa International Airport.

Picture it - a nicely dressed 30-something guy in line, supported by his cane, approaching airport security. Suz stood behind me, and my pilot-friend Chris, wearing a nice red shirt, had just successfully gone through security.

Now picture airport security realizing something's not right.

No, it wasn't hounds and tasers and personnel busting through crowds. It was very subtle. The first employee was baffled by my ticket, particularly the hand-written part which the nice green arrow is pointing to, above.

"Hold on," were his first words. Then turned and asked his coworker, "Have you ever seen this before?" His coworker shook her head. His hand moved to his walkie talkie.

Yeah, it was just a walkie talkie, made of plastic and bits of metal and simply used for communicating with other living persons. But dang it's scary when a person of authority moves his hand toward his waist. He's either going to pull out his gun, grab his pepper spray, or undo his pants - All of which are equally scary.

He called another security officer over and showed him my Air Canada stand-by ticket. He asked the same question, "Have you ever seen this before?" followed by, "Is this acceptable?" The entire airport seemed to go silent.

Tension mounted
as the two stared at my ticket. I hoped. Suz waited. Chris wore a nice red shirt.

The answer came, and it was No. The security man opened a separate, previously roped-off area and told me and Suz to wait in there. A few minutes later another security dude told me I would be entering a chamber which would blast puffs of air all over me. I did as I was told, and when the light went green, I exited the other side.

My cane was confiscated and examined while I stood with their loaner cane. A few minutes later I was sent through the metal detector.

On the other side, it was far from over. I was asked to remove my shoes and my belt by two security officers. (I'm sure one could've done the job, but two is more intimidating, especially with one's pants around one's ankles.)

Once my personal apparel was given the thumbs up I was told to put it back on, and to sit and wait while they searched all my luggage. With blue rubber gloves on they searched through every bit of baggage. Clean clothes, dirty clothes, and I-could-probably-get-another-2-days-out-of-these-because-they-havn't-started-to-smell-yet-clothes.

After that, they searched my camera bag with some sort of swab. All I could do was think how lucky I was that they weren't using the rubber gloves or swabs on me.

Man, for them to have made all that effort I must've been one scary-looking dude. Next time I'll make sure I shave, and request that nobody writes anything weird in the bottom corner of my ticket.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Florida: It's Like High School.

Arr, how'd that wench get offa the ship?!

Our trip to Florida was a moderately smashing success. Actually, that phrase makes about as much sense as ordering an Extra Medium coffee, so scratch that. The Florida trip was totally excellent, even though the weather wasn't.

The reason for the excellence of the trip was threefold: excellent friends, excellent price, and excellent fun.

The two friends we travelled with happen to be pilots who work for Air Canada, so procuring tickets for the airline was much less painful than usual. It doesn't even matter that we missed our first flight by 5 seconds and had to wait 5 more hours for the next one.

Nor does it matter that the toilet on that plane exploded and leaked down the side of the fuselage, then had to be cleaned up and paperwork had to be filed while we waited and waited. No. None of that matters because the price just couldn't be beat. Except, perhaps by a big European named Stipe - with a stick of course.

The highlight of the trip was an old mini-putt place near Treasure Island called Smuggler's Cove. When I was an unruly teenager the line for this place in the summer often topped an hour, as it was of amusement park quality. Now that I'm an unruly adult, I have the patience for such things, but luckily, being winter, we didn't have to wait a bit.

Grrr, raaarrr! Growl! Oink!The place was exactly as I remembered it, from the massive pirate ship right down to the super sweet, nasty-ass alligators chillin' in the artificially blueified swamp. Upon viewing the lazy gators fenced off behind a military-approved-possibily-electrified-could've-been-barb-wired fence covered in signs reading "Do not stick your fingers into the gators' eyes, buttholes or mouths", one particular friend wondered aloud if they were real.

I wondered if he should have kept that thought to himself.

This was not the first time we had to reassure our Air Canada friends that something was actually real. It was about the fourth time, in fact. After two cranes and a pelican. I don't think I've ever said, "yes, it's real!" more in my life. It didn't matter what I said as the dang things had to move before anyone believed me. Then I changed stories and explained, not-so-convincingly, that they were robots. When still no one believed me, I punched them all and ran away crying.

Like I said, I'm unruly.

Despite the rain on Thursday and the overcast Wednesday, we had a grand time hanging out in my parents' condo, eating tasty bagels, teasing each other and going to bed early. It was kind of like high school all over again.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

How To Change Maps On Sony GPS

As long as I've been using my Sony Nav-U GPS, I've discovered it to be both fun, and as annoying as a video-game deprived, snot-nosed kid in church with no kleenex and short sleeves.

The NV-U70 GPS unit is one of the smaller units on the market, memory-wise. It only has 1 gig of useable space. The problem with 1 gig is that the maps of Canada and the U.S.A. take up more than 1 gig.

To get around this problem, Sony included a DVD with various maps of North America. You can pic and choose, mix and match, which maps you want. I've never had to do this before, but since Suz and I are off to Florida tomorrow, we needed to add the southern states to our maps.

When I inserted the DVD-ROM, it installed in a few seconds. Easy. I selected "Map Manager" which lead me to a very simple map-selecting screen, which was perfect for me, being a dim-witted guy. All you need to know is where you are travelling, what it looks like on a map, and some simple math. All of which I was supposed to learn in grade 2.

The map options were:
  • Full USA

  • West USA

  • East USA-A

  • East USA-B

  • Canada-A

  • Canada-B

  • Hawaii

  • Puerto Rico

  • Alaska

When I selected a particular map, the corresponding states/provinces were highlighted, and the size of the map, in MB, would appear in the bottom corner along with how much space, in MB, was left.

I deleted "Canada-A" which included about 50% of the U.S. and replaced it with "Canada-B" which only included the northernmost states. That freed up another 450 MB or so for another map. The second map I chose was "East USA-A" which included, as Homer would say, America's wang.

The next part was the hard part: Waiting. Waiting usually isn't very hard to do. But when you really want something and are forced to wait and wait for an unreasonable amount of time, it can get frustrating.

Ask any video-game deprived, snot-nosed kid sitting in church.

Get this. It took one and a half hours for the maps to be transferred to the Sony NAV-U. Wow. I could've watched an entire movie. Or written 90 high quality answers for Useless Advice From Useless Men. But instead I played Killer Instinct on my old SNES. It was time well-spent.

And now I'm going to spend some more time relaxing and having fun in Florida. See you all in some form or another when I get back next week.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What To Do With Your HD DVDs

Transform your HD DVDs into something useful with these tips below.

If you haven't heard the news already, the long-fought Hi Definition DVD format war pretty much ended when Warner Bros. switched from HD to Blu-ray. HD DVD currently only has Universal and Paramount studios backing them, while six major studios, like Disney and 20th Century Fox, are all backing the Sony. So, now that Blu-ray has essentially won the Hi Def DVD war, i hear you asking yourself, "Is HD DVD really dead?" and "What am I going to do with all my HD DVD movies?" And what about that obsolete HD DVD player?

Let DMC & ME give you some ideas.

HD DVDs are round and therefore, by nature, can fill a variety of needs. You could sell your HD DVDs as totally rare "designer" coasters... at garage sale prices! How about sabotaging Blu-ray's chances at success by jamming stacks of HD DVD discs into the display models at Wal-mart? Who needs knifes? Spread butter with your HD DVD discs. They're even dishwasher safe.

There are so many possibilities. You could donate the discs to a local gun club as clay pigeon replacements. Or, you could brighten the day at a very poor dog-training school that can't afford frisbees.

The discs sure seem easy to get rid of now, don't they? But what are you going to do with that bulky HD DVD player? You can use it as storage for a single, medium-sized pancake. Ah, you never thought you'd see Toshiba make a pancake cozy, did you? With the disc tray ejected, tether it to the dashboard of your 1989 Ford Tempo winter beater for an instant hot-chocolate holder. Or, pair it up with your 1980 Toshiba Beta and start an obsolete technology museum. (I'd suggest donating half the proceeds to a worthy cause - like hungry families of ex-Toshiba employees).

Got any other ideas? Use your imagination! Like they said, HD DVD isn't dead. It's just a roaming, exiled and unwanted zombie looking for a home, but it's certainly not dead.

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Monday, January 07, 2008


Is Toshiba going Belly up?The war is over. That's right. The 2-year long HD DVD and Blu-Ray war is, for all intents and purposes, over. And the loser? Toshiba.

For the second time no less. And that's gotta hurt.

Warner Bros., the largest movie company with the most titles, announced on Jan. 4 it is abandoning HD DVD in favour of Sony's Blu-Ray. And this announcement came just days after Christmas shoppers spent millions of dollars on 1080p HD DVD equipment. Including my Suz who surprised me with the new player seen at left on Christmas morning.

Three years ago, when information was sketchy at best, I talked about the upcoming HD DVD/Blu-Ray battle, and related it to the BETA/VHS fiasco of the 80s. But then, I think most technodorks did too. Back in the 80s Toshiba was a Sony ally. This time around, Toshiba was one of the primary developers of Sony's rival HD format, which is very unfortunate.

Those perky folks at Toshiba were caught completely off guard by Warner's ill-timed announcement, just before the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, effectively sucking the perk right out of them. In retaliation they softly threatened Warner by mentioning "contractual agreements" in their press release, here, then went running up and down the streets declaring "We're not dead!"

Meanwhile, the Sony guys were jumping up and down, popping the bubbly, and screaming "Konichiwa! Konichiwa!" or something that actually means Yay.

The end result has consumers experiencing these same mixed emotions. There are a lot of upset consumers who banked on HD, or thought their players would be safe as long as the war continued. Warner Bros. primary goal was to end the consumer confusion and get people buying Hi Def instead of waiting it out. They've certainly pleased some consumers, and dealt a harsh blow to the rest, like me, when they turned their backs on HD DVD.

On a more amusing note, this format war was so good Hollywood couldn't write it. "HD DVD: The look and sound of perfect failure."

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Seymour Butts

I gotta write something neat here.

Mt. Seymour juts 4,754 feet upwards, basically, out of Vancouver. It's a force of nature tamed by humankind, with a decent highway right to the top, where ski slopes entertain.

Suz and I were hoping to get some nice mountain photographs when we visited her brother (and family) for Christmas, and one day of sun was all we needed. Every morning we woke up to the same question, "What do you want to do today?" The answer was always "Mountains!" Finally, on one sunny day, we headed for Seymour.

At the base of Mt. Seymour the temperature was +7C. A sign read "Warning. Extreme winter driving conditions. Only 4x4 vehicles and cars equipped with snow tires may proceed."

We proceeded.

Slowly the lush ferns and trickling waterfalls were replaced by snow and ice. With higher altitudes came lower temperatures. The blue sky vanished as we hit the clouds. Higher and higher we drove, until the snowbanks rose higher than the BMW's roof. Finally we broke through the clouds at the peak of Mt. Seymour to find the temperature was 0.

PhotobucketClouds were moving all around us as we explored. The views were pretty spectacular in nearly every direction. As long as the clouds cooperated, we were able to see straight down into the city. Other times, an eerie cloud cover settled over the trees.

One interesting sight was a chairlift destroyed in a 1998 windstorm. It still stands, but the roof is heavily damaged and appears to be rotting. There are 6 TV stations that have their broadcasting towers on Mt. Seymour along with 15 area radio stations.

Mt. Seymour was surprisingly bright and jam-packed with skiers, tobogganers and snowboarders. Except for being in a jet, it is the highest I've ever been. Suz exclaimed, "This is where Santa lives!" upon reaching the summit. But she was wrong. Santa lives in my basement, chained to the wall.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

A Funny New Year

Happy New Year all you people I don't really know!!

Suz and I made some special plans for New Year's Eve this year. Not "rides the short bus" special, but "very fun and different" special. We drove into the big city for a show, a show, and a party.

Our first stop was Toronto's totally geriatric Massey Hall. Actually, it was dinner across the street, but that wasn't much of an event. My old friend Rob Scott, the piano wiz you may remember from this post, invited us for 3 reasons, 2 of which were piano performances.

He, along with Great Bob Scott, was playing the musical introduction/interludes between stand-up comics at Massey Hall for their 7th Anuual New Year's Eve comedy show. The show ran from 8:00 till almost 11:30 and was hosted by Royal Canadian Air Farce comedian Jessica Holmes and featured many famous and hysterical comedians such as Last Comic Standing Finalist, Gerry Dee (who I like to say is best known for his bee-ar and the hoe-ney joke.)

One of the funniest guys we saw turned out to be a really distant "friend of the family". And I'm totally using that phrase in the loosest sense as he actually only knows our sister-in-law out in Vancouver.

After the comedy we ran across the street, Suz on her feets, I on my cane, to the Pantages Hotel where Rob entertained for the lounge-crowd and ushered in the new year with some fancy piano action and an emotional rendition of Auld Lang Syne which had the entire lounge singing & dancing.

Finally, just after midnight, we headed up to his room and celebrated his birthday, about 30 minutes too late. One of the comedians from the Massey Hall show, a friend of Rob's, joined us along with about 14 others including Rob's producer, Jaymz Bee. It was an enjoyable evening with shenanegans all night long. Unfortunately, 3 a.m. rolled around and Suz and I had to head for home, crawling into bed at the ungodly hour of 4:00.

To hear more of Rob's music, check out his music links here.

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