Friday, June 30, 2006


Today is the last day for the old Saskatoon Transit Service bus routes and schedules. So its goodbye to the 18 Express. Its goodbye to Route 8 7th Avenue North. To Routes 6 and 6A. To 20 University. And to so many others I've ridden over the years. Its also goodbye to many old bus stops as well. How the public will react to the changes we'll soon know. But for good or bad at least they picked the right time to do it. Its not hard to guess that summer ridership is lower than other times of the year given that school is out for the summer and many other people who use the bus are on vacation. Things will be messy enough, but would have been rather messier if they changed everything September 1st. You can see the new routes here.

Now I Understand.

Reading the reviews at Rotten Tomatoes for Superman Returns I learned that the new movie is supposed to be a followup to the classic Superman films of the late '70s. I suppose I heard this was the case a good while ago but wrote it off as a silly idea. Frankly it still strikes me as a silly idea. Why make it a sequel to a pair of films much of your potential audience may very well have never seen? At the very least they won't have any attachment to the old films, as to them they're just some old '70s superhero films they've seen on TV. The makers of Batman Begins quite rightly felt no need to make a linkage to the Michael Keaton-George Clooney-Val Kilmer quartet. The characters are more than iconic enough that they don't need to reference previous big screen attempts.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Parents These Days!

If its not the goofy names they give their kids its the goofy hairstyles. I saw a little kid yesterday, about five or six, who had a mohawk. The poor kid is just one step away from severe trauma when someone tells him his hair is silly. I can't imagine what his parents were thinking.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gear List.

In a shameless attempt to increase the visitor count, and because every musician, no matter how lame, should have one on their site, here is my collection of musical "toys:"

Circa 1986 Fender Japan '57 Reissue Stratocaster, Lake Placid Blue. I've had this one for almost 20 years.
1980 Aria Pro II TS-300 Thor Sound guitar. 3 on a side headstock.
Roland JC60 guitar amp. I really need to find the cover for it.
Boss DS2 Turbo Distortion.
Boss HM2 Heavy Metal.
Boss DD20 digital delay.
Boss RPS10 pitch shifter/delay.
Danelectro Surf and Turf compressor.
Digitech PDS20/20 digital delay.
DOD FX60 chorus. The round knob version vs. the original square knob version. Beats me if there's any circuit difference between versions.
DOD FX80B compressor
Heet Ebow. The late '80s-early '90s black version
Ibanez VL10 volume pedal
Realistic Concertmate 500 sampling keyboard. The Radio Shack marketed version of the classic Casio SK1 sampling keyboard so beloved of today's circuit bending crowd.

Things I'd like to get:

A phase shifter of some sort. Perhaps the Ibanez PM7 Phase Modulator, or maybe an old DOD FX20. I like the look of those old DOD square knob boxes.

A Roland D2 or MC09. These little synth/sequencing boxes were designed for the techno/dance crowd, but their odd designs look like they might be interesting for the odder kinds of music I'm interested in. I've fooled around a bit with Jeskola Buzz and other bits of software on my computer, but you can't lug a computer around very easily that's set up for home use.

Perhaps some sort of MIDI keyboard.

I could probably do with a cheap mixer as well.

Of course what I really need to do more of is using the stuff I've got. A familiar story I suppose for lots of people with all sorts of hobbies.

"....Robin downloads the winning goal...."

If you watch the Canadian sports channels, and I assume other Canadian channels as well, you probably know that line by now. For those who don't its from an ad for Rogers Communications cell phone service. In the ad an intrepid trio, including the lovely Robin, head to Germany to watch the FIFA World Cup. When they can't get tickets Robin uses her cell phone to download the winning goal so our heroes and their new friends can watch it. Soon after first seeing the ad I couldn't help but wonder exactly how much doing something like that would cost, assuming its even possible with a Canadian market cell phone in Germany. I can just imagine the poor girl arriving home in Canada and finding a gigantic charge on her telephone bill for downloading a short bit of video. Then again these kids don't strike me as too smart. After all they decided to attend one of the world's major sporting events without bothering to buy tickets in advance. Like oh, say a year or so in advance given the world wide market for it. Its not like trying to buy Grey Cup tickets, where interest is all but zip outside Canada.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Naughty Yahoo!

Here's something of interest if you use Yahoo's Yahoo! Unlimited music service. Matrixsynth: WARNING: Yahoo! Unlimited Naughty naughty. This kind of thing is prohibited in Canada. You could be in a wee bit of trouble if you tried this stunt with Canadians. But apparently this service is not offered in Canada. I presume it has something to do with content rights issues.

No Need For a Sauna.

Not this week in Saskatoon at least. If you want to sweat off the pounds just go sit in your car with the windows closed. The heat is on, with temperatures Thursday forecast to reach a high of 34 C. And not even any rain to cool things off for a bit at night.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Long Has He Run.

It was interesting listening to today's Toronto Blue Jays-New York Mets game and thinking about Julio Franco, who is currently playing with the Mets. Franco will turn 48 this year. His major league career started in 1982, which means he was playing professional ball before some visitors to this blog were even born. And he's actually doing some position playing this year. He hopes to keep playing into his 50s, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he makes it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Aaron Spelling, RIP.

I just found out that Aaron Spelling passed away yesterday at 83. His death can reasonably be considered the end of an era in Hollywood. Spelling has long been one of the dominant figures in the US TV business, and as you can see from his IMDB entry there's a high likelihood that he had a hand in at least one program you've been a fan of. I was interested to learn that he had an early career as an actor as well.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Robert Pickton may turn out to be Canada's worst serial killer. He's been charged with 67 counts of first degree murder, and the Port Coquitlam, BC pig farmer may be charged with more. But in a bizarre turn of events his case has served to reunite members of two families. This week Florence Lands, currently living in Cochin, Saskatchewan, contacted her sister Marie for the first time in 15 years after learning she was on a list of Pickton's alleged victims. Lands last talked to her sister in 1991, and only recently found out that she had been reported missing and presumed dead, and possibly a victim of Pickton's. This comes only a couple of weeks after Linda Grant, another woman believed to have been a victim, turned up in the United States 23 years after her family last had contact with her.

The obvious question is why these women made no effort to let their families know they were alive years ago. Grant claimed she had no idea she had been reported missing in 1983 after she left BC's Lower Mainland. Lands claims she had no idea her sister didn't know she was alive. One would think that they would have considered that their families might think something bad had happened to them when months, then years went by with no contact from them.

Will other apparent victims turn out to be alive? Let's hope so. More importantly let's hope they "come back from the dead" as quickly as possible, both to save police resources spent investigating their fates, and to help those they may have left behind stop grieving people who don't need grieving.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

No, Saskatoon, Its No Rumour.

There actually is a big glowing yellow hot thing, called the Sun, that appears in the sky during the day. I know you might have written it off as a tall tale after the last few days of rain, but it does exist. Finally, after what sems like forever, today's forecast calls for sunny skies with some cloudy periods, with no chance of rain. Of course at this time of year daytime heating tends to result in such forecasts changing to ones with a possibility of rain in the evening, but we'll have to wait and see if that happens.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Danger of Shampoo.

Well, okay, not that Shampoo. Yes, she is dangerous, as anyone familiar with Ranma 1/2 would tell you. Instead I'm talking about the kind you put on your head. This morning in the shower I knocked the shampoo bottle onto my foot. It was 3/4 full(a bottle of Pert Plus if you really must know), so it hurt a bit, and I bet it will leave a small bruise. Not a very auspicious way to start the day. Still, I'd rather have it land on my foot than the plastic floor of the shower stall and damage that.

Of course I'm sure someone, someplace, is warning all and sundry about the supposed dangers of modern shampoo. If people will try and draw a link between breast cancer and the use of underam deordorant and antiperspirant surely someone will try and link shampoo use with some disease.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Bloggers of Gor?

It never ceases to amaze me what will generate hits on this blog. This post, about some fans of John Norman's Gor books getting into police trouble, has been generating at least one hit a week since I wrote it. I wouldn't have thought there would be so much interest in things Gorean. Of course anyone who is looking with blog search engines for the term Gor is mainly finding similar posts about the story in question, or things using the term gor that have nothing to do with Norman. It doesn't look like the ideas of the Gor books themselves have much of a foothold amongst bloggers. Perhaps "masters" are too busy to blog about such things, and their "slaves" aren't allowed to blog.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tournament Results.

Today is the Second Annual World Blogger Championship of Online Poker at I took part, and as I write this I was just knocked out. I came in 1584th out of a field of 2247. I would have like to have done better, but staying in for almost an hour is nothing to be sorry about. I do think I've done better in the couple of freerolls I've taken part in though. I wish I could have had the hand I got playing in the free tables last night, a Royal Flush. You can imagine I was rather surprised to draw that one!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Superman, Confused?

Probably not. But there are some contradictory ideas about the Man of Steel floating about right now. On the one hand you have Stephen Skelton, whose book The Gospel According to the World's Greatest Superhero claims that Jerry Siegel and Toronto born Joe Shuster deliberately fashioned the character after the story of Jesus Christ. Given that Siegel and Shuster were Jews this seems a bit unlikely. New York Rabbi Simcha Weinstein thinks that the Old Testament inspired them, not the New. Others have suggested that Supes was Siegel and Shuster's response to a world in which facism and Nazism were on the rise, which as Jews they may have found especially threatening.

On the other hand you have speculation about Superman as gay icon. Along with this we have debate over whether the new movie Superman Returns is macho enough to appeal to teenage boys, and tittilating talk about the efforts apparently taken to make sure no one is offended by Superman's crotch, including rumours of computer graphics being used to make it look less prominent. The idea of a gay Superman is a bit amusing given his romantic relationship with Lois Lane, long at the core of the Superman mythos. In recent years Superman has actually been married to Lois, although last I heard their marriage was on the rocks. I think it might have had something to do with mind control, but don't quote me on that.

As for Superman and matters of faith it seems to me that Superman might just as easily be an agnostic or even an atheist as anything else. After all he came from a world destroyed by a horrible catastrophy. He himself has what could be considered godlike powers, yet knows his own personal flaws, fears, and limitations. And he's had encounters with godlike beings who use their powers to commit acts of evil. So he might be a little skeptical of the idea of a Supreme Being being a proper figure for veneration. On the other hand Frank Miller, in his classic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, has a scene that implies Supes might worship the Earth, given that he refers to it as mother.


I've been sitting here for a good while listening to Saskatoon area emergency broadcasts. At the moment they're dealing with a multiple vehicle accident near Saskatoon's Credit Union Place arena. One of the people involved went through a vehicle windshield. The police on scene told the ambulance crew "to step on it" because this person was in a bad way. Remember that the next time you think its too much of a bother to wear your seatbelt.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh, Dear.

My father took his car to SGI for an evaluation and then to the autobody shop. There's at least 5 grand of damage from the deer strike, and the shop told him it might not be repairable. What's especially upsetting is that my parents had planned to leave on a trip to the Yukon at the end of next week, followed by a visit to my aunt and uncle in Kitimat, BC, for their 50th wedding anniversary. At the very least the Yukon trip will be cancelled even if the car is fixable. The obvious question is whether SGI will accept the body shop's claim its unfixable if they find that's the case.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh, Deer.

My father had rather a scare today. He was driving out of town when he was hit by a deer. He wasn't hurt, but the deer sure made a mess of the front end of his car. It's still driveable, barely, but it's definitely going to need some work. I was kind of surprised the air bag didn't deploy, but that was just as well, as it would have been hard to drive with it out.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Reminder

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7924474

The First Steps

Having signed up for's World Blogger Championship of Online Poker I've spent the last couple of days playing on the free section of the website. As you can imagine given that I'd never played a hand of poker before Thursday I'm a long way from being much of a threat to Howard Lederer or Doyle Brunson, but I'm figuring out things a bit. Tonight I impressed myself by entering a "freeroll" tournament(ie one that does not require any money to enter) on the site and coming in 2773th out of 5563. (Thanks for the tips, Brent.)

Its a good thing that they do offer free tables. I'm no where near ready to be wagering actual money, even on the ultracheap tables they offer. If you're considering checking out the online poker world I'd strong advise you not to play with real money without first building up some experience. Its not hard to get into a bad groove and burn off all your chips in a short period of time, especially if you're inexperienced at poker in general. You'll find that the ethical poker websites actually have limits of how much money you can put into an online account to play poker in any one day, week, month etc., so its obvious they realise this can be a problem too.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

An Unexpected Movie Tie-in.

Here's a good one via Stupid Evil Bastard. The Kroger supermarket chain in the US offers Disney's Old Yeller brand dog food. You'd think it would be a rather unfortunate choice of characters to use on dog food given that the film ends with Old Yeller being shot by his young owner because he has rabies. But apparently the packaging has been highly successful.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

WSOP For Bloggers.

Got a blog you've had for a while and post to regularly? Then you have a chance to win a trip to this year's World Series of Poker in Vegas. will be holding an online tournament Sunday for bloggers, with the top prize being a $10,000 seat at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this August. And its free.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7924474

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


I was going to bid on an eBay auction just before it ended, only I got the time wrong and missed it. And at the price it went for perhaps I would have won. The item in question? A Roland D2 sequencer/sound module. Fortunately these seem to turn up fairly regularly.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pennies Not From Heaven.

Frankly I don't know where they came from. But I didn't turn down the chance to pick up a half dozen or more pennies from a 7/11 parking lot tonight. Although I have no proof I suspect someone dumped them from their car. Too bad that they're so disrespectful to the penny. Lowly coin that it is its still money. Some people have suggested getting rid of the penny in an effort to simplify commercial transactions and reduce the number of coins made. I hope they don't get rid of it. By itself its not much, but get a bunch in a container and soon you have several bucks of pennies to deposit or exchange at some future visit to your bank.

From SK. To CA.

I received a nice surprise in my e-mail box this morning. My first Where's George hit. I now have a hit rate of 33%. Of course this hit rate looks a bit less spectacular when you find out I only have 3 bills entered there, since I don't handle US currency very often.

I took a look at the top ten Georgers and was surprised to see folks with several hundred thousand bills entered. But I soon realised the reason for this. Unlike Canada the US still has one and two dollar bills in circulation, which allows for the average user to enter quite a few more bills than the average Where's Willy user.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Vince Welnick, RIP.

Former Tubes/Grateful Dead keyboardist Vince Welnick has died at 55. Although at the moment unconfirmed it appears Welnick may have committed suicide. He had apparently been fighting depression for a number of years. Welnick joined the Dead in 1990, staying with the group until Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. Welnick was one of the founding members of the Tubes, appearing on all but the group's 1996 album. Welnick is the fourth Grateful Dead keyboardist to die suddenly, joining the group after Brent Mydland died in 1990 of a drug overdose. Founding Dead keyboardist Ron "Pigpen" McKernan died in 1973 of complications related to alcohol abuse, while Keith Godchaux was killed in 1980 in a car accident after having left the Dead.

As an addenda to my last post I'll note that I caught the next announcer break on C95 after my post, and its pretty obvious from what she said that Shauna Foster was on tape, or more like hard disk in this day and age. It seems they need to work on the content of their breaks a bit.

C95, Live or Memorex?

Chances are you're no kid if you remember the catchphrase I'm borrowing above. In any case I was just driving around a bit, and I turned on Saskatoon's C95 FM. DJ Shauna Foster came on, and said we should all go out and enjoy the sun as part of her chatter. But there was one little problem. It was raining at the time. So the obvious question comes up whether the current broadcast was pre-taped. If not Ms. Foster really needs to check the info display in the booth more often, so she knows what the weather is actually like. You can listen to C95 here.

Numerological Nonsense.

Here's an amusing bit of stupidity via Orac. Tuesday is June 6th, 2006, and since its the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year of the century some folks are getting in a tizzy because that day will include three 6s. In other words 666. According to the UK's Sun tabloid that includes one Melissa Parker, who wants to have her labour induced because she fears a child born on that day could be the Antichrist, and its her predicted due date. You can be that she's not the only one with such worries.

You'd think someone who believes in such an idea would also realise that if their child is fated to be the ultimate evil there is nothing they can do about it. After all Satan is presumably more powerful than some mere mortal and her doctors.

But you have to ask why Satan would go through with this scheme in the first place. The very book that supposedly reveals it, the Book of Revelation, also shows he'll lose. He's had 2000 years either to read the thing or have someone read it to him if he's illiterate, which seems rather unlikely. If the Second Coming and Satan's role in it is inevitable that means Satan is pretty much a zombie, and for that matter so are the rest of us. Everything anyone has ever done has to lead up to that point, so anything we do is pre-ordained. If that isn't the case then Satan cancelled that plan 2 millenia ago and is working on some other plan.

Its also worth noting that people may be freaked out about 6/6/06 for nothing, since some scholars now believe the actual "Number of the Beast" is 616, and that 666 is derived from poor translation.

This story reminded me of another story of supposed numerologically inspired tampering with a birth date. Stories have long floated around that Yoko Ono went to great efforts to ensure her son Sean Lennon was born on the same date as his father John Lennon, October 9th. This was supposed to have some astrological significance if I remember correctly. Whether its true or just another excuse to slag off Yoko Ono is another question.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pyramid by Paypal.

The imagination of con artists knows no bounds. Today I received a spam e-mail with a link to this site. Its a variation on the classic pyramid scheme, only instead of sending money by mail you send it through Paypal accounts. It won't take too many fish to bite this hook for the original scammer to receive a lot of money. As with all pyramid schemes at some point they'll run out of suckers, and the last folks in will likely see zip in return. Of course if Paypal catches on quickly enough he'll probably never see most of the money. I suppose I should have forwarded the e-mail to Paypal, but its safe to bet that this one has already been reported by multiple folks.