Thursday, December 30, 2004

One of the top musicians of the swing era has died. Artie Shaw was 94.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Hmmm, is this CNN headline kind of dubious? Some folks think so. The line in the article about how the tsunami disaster "spared neither rich nor poor" reads like another promotion of the "celebs are just plain folks like you and me" idea. Of course anyone who puts much thought into it realises that although what happened to them was horrible these well to do folks will have a much easier time of getting on with their lives than the common Thais, Indians, Indonesians, Sri Lankans and others affected by the disaster.
More sad entertainment news to report. Actor Jerry Orbach, best known in recent years for playing Lennie Briscoe on Law and Order, has died at age 69 of prostate cancer. Orbach was supposed to reprise the character in the new Law and Order spinoff Trial By Jury, so it would seem the future of this show will be in some turmoil.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A couple of deaths to report. Legendary country guitarist Hank Garland has died at age 74. Garland is probably almost as famous for the speculation about what he might have done as for the amazing body of work he produced before a 1961 vehicle accident. On the literary front American author Susan Sontag has died of cancer at 71.
From the "Truth in Advertising" department: I got some spam in my email this morning that was labelled as spam. Didn't make me open it, but the thought was nice.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I was just crushing a bunch of pop cans and plastic bottles that I intend to take in for the deposit refund soon, perhaps tomorrow or Wednesday. What a lot of effort! I always go to the trouble of sorting them into separate containers and flattening them. Unfortunately most people are too lazy to do so, so you usually end up at the recycling depot behind someone with a big bag of various types of containers mixed together, which slows things up considerably. The deposit for cans here in Saskatchewan is 10 cents, the deposit for plastic containers under one litre is 10 cents, and those over one litre are 20 cents. Glass bottles vary depending on size, although a typical booze bottle is in the 20 cent range. By themselves thats not much, but save up dozens over the course of a couple of months and you end up with 8 or ten bucks of extra cash on a semi regular basis, and you keep the landfills from filling up with stuff that can be reused. The economics of this recycling may be another question however.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

I hope no one who might come across this blog, or is a regular or occasional reader, has lost any family or friends in today's earthquake and tsunami disaster in Asia. What a horrible mess.

The link I looked at this morning that first notified me of the disaster(I hadn't turned on the radio or tv yet) was via Yahoo. As is usually the case with news stories presented on Yahoo they had a bulletin board section for responses. And as usual a large percentage of what was posted was ignorant crap by moronic twits. Whether they were serious or not doesn't matter, it was just complete garbage. It makes we wonder why Yahoo even bothers with those boards, since all they do is generate flame wars and incoherent yammering. A complete waste of good hard disk storage as far as I'm concerned.
I hope someone will actually be able to read this thing. With my computer it seems to be acting rather wonky right now.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Its very quiet on the hit counter today. I guess folks had better things to do than run around reading blogs. Good for them.
Merry Christmas folks. I hope you're having a good one. Me, I got a big surprise, a cheque for way too much money from my grandmother. Fortunately for me my bank isn't open for a few days, so I can't go run off and spend it all at once.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Its entirely possible I've posted this link before, but doing it again won't hurt. If you're interested in science fiction tv and movies you might find Space: The Imagination Station's message board of interest. Although Space is Canada's equivalent of the US Sci Fi channel not everyone who posts there is a Canadian, so don't feel shy about posting if you aren't.
Oooh dear. Thanks to a heads up from Pharyngula and Respectful Insolence here's a link to The Truth For Youth, a Christian evangelising site with some really cheesy comic books. Check out the anti rock one for example.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Website zap2it has a report on the supposed complaints sent to the FCC about the Athens Olympics broadcasts. Its amazing how much the sight of a breast can freak some people out. As for the apparent "f word" spotting its hard to imagine that anyone watching the broadcast, other than perhaps a toddler or two, hasn't heard that word in use at least once a week for most of their lives. Personally I doubt too many little kids would be watching women's volleyball anyways. The prohibited word occasionally turns up in live sports broadcasts of things like baseball, picked up via on field mics, and I doubt the FCC is going to mandate live sports been shown on a 7 second delay to prevent this.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Just found out that blues guitarist Son Seals has died of diabetes related complications at age 62. Interestingly it says he's survived by 14(!) children. He must have been rather busy with the ladies over the years.

Another musician who died this week was British saxophonist Dick Hecktall-Smith, who played with various members of the British music scene. He must have been an amazingly tough guy given the number of health problems he managed to survive over years before cancer finally killed him.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Watching the Christmas episode of 6teen brought up an interesting thought. The episode ends with the kids in the mall the day after Christmas, and they realise that its Boxing Day, which in much of Canada is a day jampacked with sales, and hence stores and malls jampacked with often bargain crazed shoppers. Given that Boxing Day sales are a very Canadian thing I can't help but wonder if that segment will be changed if the series sells outside of Canada. Certainly most Americans wouldn't have a clue about Boxing Day madness.
Today's random search engine attractor phrase is coalsack nebula. :-) Not that I expect it will work.
Its funny how wrong one's perceptions can be. In his column in Macleans Magazine Peter Mansbridge mentions that he is a bit over 6 feet tall. For some reason I had always had the impression he was kind of short.

One thing thats always been interesting about him is that he's never bothered to hide his balding. If he had gone to the US to work for one of the American networks as a news anchor one can't help but suspect they would have made him get hair plugs, or wear a hairpiece.

And speaking of hairpieces how can Donald Trump not know he looks horrible? It looks like he's wearing a dyed skunk tail on top of his head.
Hmm, I wonder if I should post the following every once and a while: The appearance of ads on this blog should not be assumed to be an endorsement by me of the services, products, or viewpoints presented by the advertisers.

Nah, maybe not. I'm sure anyone with a lick of sense can tell thats the case, and I don't want Google's ad division getting pissed off at me.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Here's a tip for aspiring commercial fiction writers: Be careful about using names for your characters based on real people. Todd McFarlane, creator of the comic book antihero Spawn, has seen his company forced to declare bankruptcy after he lost a lawsuit by a former NHLer. Personally I've never even heard of this hockey player, and I never thumbed through enough Spawn issues to remember the character in question.
Since I've just been sitting here reading them I should post a couple of music related links for you to check out. First is the Henry Kaiser homepage. It had been a while since I'd been there, so it was time to go for a look again. My Kaiser albums really need to be yanked out and played again(as you can say about a lot of my music collection), especially Its a Wonderful Life. Amazing solo guitar on that one, the title cut making it onto the Kaiser CD compilation Lemon Fish Tweezer a few years back. On the forum of the site was posted a link to Kronosonic, a neat little page with discussion of some of the more unusual sides of guitar playing, including a recent interview with HK.
Here's an interesting article about the problem of "knife crimes" in the UK, and whether the problem has been overblown. Probably the most interesing thing about this article to me is the question of the collection and interpretation of crime data, such as what constitutes a knife offense under British law and whether knives are an apparently increasing problem only because people are out looking for them. Its also interesting to read that the homicide statistics for 2002-2003 in the UK were higher than most years, but that this was because the crimes of serial killer doctor Harold Shipman were all counted for that period, even though the 172 victims counted were actually killed over a 20 year period. Its not hard to imagine US opponents of gun control using what would appear as a large rise in the murder rate over the course of one year as yet more "proof" that stricter British gun laws of recent years have lead to more crime. I remember hearing talk that a similar sort of spike in Vancouver area murder rates might occur because of the alleged crimes of Robert Picton, currently awaiting trial, would be counted for the year he was charged, and not the years they actually occured.
Since I've been getting some hits from his mention of my blog, I would be remiss if I didn't post a link to Orac's new blog Respectful Insolence. Go look at it, and after you look at it go look at Atrios's Eschaton blog, which I've been perusing a bit of late.

An interesting thing caught my eye the other day. During the Christmas shopping season some firm sets up calender sales thingies(don't know what to call them exactly, hence thingies) in local malls. Looking at the music calenders I came across the 2005 Pantera calender. Kind of odd to see it just after former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell's murder. I doubt he was a public enough figure in Canada for anyone at the company to even consider pulling the calender from sale.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Kind of a disturbing article. Large numbers of Americans surveyed believe in restricting the rights of Muslims in the US.

This of course makes me think of the recently introduced restrictions in France on "overt" religious garb in schools, with Muslim clothing like headcoverings for women being considered one of the main targets. Personally I think this is a foolish idea. They claim they want to retain the secular character of the French school system, but in reality what they are doing is playing into the hands of those who would see their fellow Muslims isolated from mainstream European culture. Those Islamists who advocate such a policy can claim they are being discriminated against by mainstream society, and hence Muslim children must be removed from such a situation.

BTW I came across the link to the article above at Americablog.
The US electronics chain Circuit City is currently using the classic Cars tune "Just What I Needed" in their ads. Of course its the chorus hook they're interested in, not the rest of the lyrics. Somehow I doubt they want you associating the products they sell with the line "wasting all my time" that is repeated several times in the verses. On the other hand I'm sure they'd like you to "kind of lose (your) mind" over their products and service. Hopefully the estate of Ben Orr, the Cars' bassist/vocalist who died a couple of years ago of liver cancer, will get some nice money from the ad, since its Ben singing the song.
Crap! Why can't I ever have 100 million bucks in the bank for stuff like this?

If anyone in charge of the news department at CBC Radio happens to read this, do me a favour. Please get Rubina Ahmed to preread her newscasts. She has this bad habit of mispronouncing words she shouldn't. I'm sure it was her who I recently heard pronounce Maoist as "may-oh-ist."

Friday, December 17, 2004

A tragedy! I was going to have two of these for supper, but one has disappeared, probably to the bottom of the freezer. Oh how will I go on, with only one?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Speaking of trials, the behaviour and treatment of juries after a trial is one interesting difference between the Canadian and American legal systems. In Canada jurors may not discuss their experiences on a jury. In the US in recent years we've seen more and more jurors interviewed, either by the media immediately after a trial or by news programs like Investigative Reports at some later date. Given the publicity jurors get I'm surprised that no one has gone after a juror or jurors after a trial because they didn't like the verdict. Unfortunately I suspect its likely to happen sooner or later, especially in connection with a high profile case.
Yeah, I know, you likely don't want to hear anything else about the Scott Peterson case. But seriously, can anyone actually believe something like this unless they're a complete paranoid kookoo? I suppose the Peterson defense team should be at least be given credit for their imagination.
For fans of fanfiction here's another link that might be of interest, Fanfic Haters Anonymous. Be warned I will take no responsibility if reading this community a.)pisses you off because someone disses your fav writer or fanfic, or your writing b.)makes you despair for humanity because of some of the horrible crap so described within, or c.)makes you laugh until you roll around on the floor with your ribs on fire at how silly some of the fics bashed are.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Okay, Bootleg fans, chapter 8 is up. Finally. I'm sure you're all saying "About bloody time," or words to that effect.
Prime Minister Paul Martin has stated that Canada will not accept missiles for the proposed US missile defense system on Canadian soil. All I can say is "Well, duh!" There's no indication the US has any interest in stationing interceptor missiles on Canadian soil in any case. He also says that he won't put money into the system. This may also be a meaningless statement. Given that the system is going to be tied into NORAD continued Canadian involvement in that organisation all but certainly means defacto providing financial support for the ABM system.

Not that the system is likely to be operational in any sort of effective fashion anytime soon. Today's interceptor test failed. Personally I think the whole thing is a big pork barrel project of questionable utility. Even its supposed current goal of being able to counter an accidental launch, or a deliberate launch by terrorist and the like, seems unlikely in the near term. Of course anyone who seriously wants to launch a nuclear attack on the US can come up with ways of avoiding the shield, like using cruise missiles, which the system isn't designed to be used against.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Weird. My name has turned up in someone's scientific paper. FYI its a .pdf file, so you'll need something like Adobe Acrobat to read it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Here's a link to a rather interesting article about "white" converts to Islam in the US.
Hmmm, some interesting comments on the history of Christmas in the US.
Another stupid lawsuit. Walmart is being sued because it stocked and sold copies of an Evanscence album with the "f word" on them. Frankly I can only roll my eyes at the plaintiffs. If their daughter hasn't heard that word at least a dozen times in the last month from friends and/or family I would be greatly surprised. Perhaps they should lock the little dear into a hermetically sealed bubble until she's 25 or so so the naughty words don't hurt her.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Hey, Jody Harris! If you ever pass by these parts I just gotta say your playing on the Raybeats Guitar Beat album is damn cool.
I just entered my 1000th bill at Where's Willy a few minutes ago. And I got a hit today, bringing my next milestone, the 100 hit mark, just a little bit closer. Hopefully my slightly more aggressively marked bills will start to generate a bit higher hit rate soon.
There are some really stupid people out there. The US Federal Communications Commission is reportedly investigating an obscenity complaint regarding NBC's coverage of the Summer Olympics opening ceremony. One wonders whats next. Perhaps someone will try and force the FCC to mandate the return of the old bra ads, which only showed the products being worn by a dressmakers torso.
James Brown announced in a press release this morning that he has prostate cancer. This came as a bit of a surprise given that he performed here in Saskatoon last night, which was apparently the last date of his Canadian tour.

Since I've been posting quite a bit about guitarists and guitars lately I would be remiss if I didn't mention some of Saskatoon's entries in the business. Fury Guitars is Saskatoon's senior guitar maker, and indeed one of Canada's longest running guitar manufacturers, having set up shop in 1962. Fury are said to be the first manufacturer of solidbody guitars in Canada. Fury head Glenn McDougall also had a hand in designing instruments made by Deakon Roads. Dingwall Guitars are probably the best known Saskatoon maker. Sheldon Dingwall's basses, which use Ralph Novak's fanned fret system, have turned up in the hands of pros like Leland Sklar, major league session bassist and Phil Collins sideman. And there's Pura Guitars, who make a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Its amazing some of the things you run across just by visiting a website. Believe or not, and I know it sounds like a weird joke, there are actually people who like to eat clay.
Another musician death to report, but this time one that happened due to illness, and of a musician known only to a few. Hugh McIntyre, bassist for the Nihilist Spasm Band, died Monday of congestive heart failure at age 68. Founded in 1965 this Canadian group was one of the first to explore totally freeform playing and noise as music, making them contemporaries of the pioneering British free improvisation groups Joseph Holbrooke and AMM, and the multinational collective Musica Electronica Viva. Canadian musician Zev Asher made a film called What About Me: The Rise of the Nihilist Spasm Band in 2000 about the group, and it has appeared on Canadian tv before.
Bizarre. Former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed last night during a peformance by his current group Damageplan, along with 3 other people in the club. Reportedly the gunman, who was shot and killed by a policeman soon afterwards, rushed the stage denouncing the guitarist for causing Pantera to break up, and then pulled out a pistol and shot Darrell several times before shooting others. Ironically this occured on the 24th anniversary of John Lennon's murder in New York in 1980. Its hard to imagine someone's fandom for a group going that far, but its really not that much different than the stalkers who have pursued celebs, and sometimes killed them.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Dick Clark, sometimes refered to as the World's Oldest Teenager, had a minor stroke this week, but expects to recover. He's 75. So thats how old he is. Having a stroke shows he doesn't have some Dorian Gray-esque picture hidden away. Clark is a survivor though. He was involved in the late '50s payola scandal that helped sink his fellow early rock and roll DJ/promoter Alan Freed, testifying before Congress in 1960 but never charged with any wrongdoing, and managed to ride out any damage the association might have caused to become a major figure in US tv production. His Wikipedia entry provides more detail on his career.

I was doing my weekly "bug the guys at HEL and Long and McQuade" routine today when I had an interesting surprise. Hutterites in a musical instrument store! Hutterites are a conservative German Protestant sect who immigrated to Western Canada to avoid religious persecution in Europe for their pacifist and communalist beliefs. They live in large communal groups, refered to as colonies, and live via farming their communally owned land. With the dark jackets, pants, and hats of the men, and old fashioned skirts and head coverings for the women some folks unfamiliar with them might be reminded of the Amish. Hutterites however do not eschew modern technology in the fashion of the Amish. Hutterites use electricity, motor vehicles, and modern farming methods while living an austere personal lifestyle.

But things are obviously changing, at least in this part of Western Canada. You see them in Saskatoon far more frequently than you would 20 years ago, and in a far wider range of places. Presumably this "liberalisation" has something to do with the fact that they don't largely shun the modern world. It must be harder and harder to justify many limits on personal lifestyles when other elements of modern life are used. A 2 way radio in a tractor presumably makes it harder to claim a personal radio for personal enjoyment is wrong. And like other such movements, such as the Amish, some young Hutterites decide that they aren't willing to accept their traditional lifestyle anymore and leave their home colony to join the mainstream of society.

And speaking of my visit to HEL I had a pleasant time trying out several models of Parker Guitars from their Korean made line, albeit acoustically. I played a PM10,, a PM20, a P36, and a couple of P42s. They were all interesting guitars to play, but of them the P36 was the one I liked the most. Parker's attempt to produce a Fender Telecaster style guitar the example in question had a neck that really appealed to me, being very comfortable and fast to play. I think it won soundwise just a little bit over the others, although there was some minor fretbuzz on the B and high E strings on the lower frets, although it probably would go away with a bit of tweaking and wouldn't likely be noticeable in any case thru an amp. The weight of these Parkers appeals to me, as I tend to find I like a lighter guitar for comfort reasons. The body shapes of course aren't for everyone but I don't mind them.

Living in a city the size of Saskatoon is good if you're a guitarist. Not only are there several musical instrument stores, there are also a wide array of instruments to try, and often several examples of each one. Of course one disadvantage these days is the sheer range of instruments available. Even the low end stuff, made in such places as China, Indonesia, and even Canada, is quite playable, especially compared to the cheapies of previous eras which wer a lot more hit and miss. So a potential buyer is likely to find something he or she likes, but may face option anxiety trying to decide which of several suitable instruments is worth buying.
Well, as regular visitors here will realise I've decided to allow Googlee to advertise on this blog. I figured some minor advertising isn't going to hurt anyone, I might make a bit of cash off of it, and it wouldn't surprise me if Google eventually puts involuntary ads on blogs anyways.
Yesterday seems to have been international day here on the blog. Besides the no surprise US and Canadian hits I also had hits from Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, and France. Of course all that pointless screwing around I was doing a bit ago didn't hurt in boosting the hit count.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I should really know better than to screw around with the formatting of this thing. All it does is cause me to waste time I could be doing something useful with, like eating cookies.
Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.
If you've been sitting in despair waiting for their next tour you're in luck. Motley Crue have reunited. I guess someone in the band must need money. It will be interesting to see if anyone else in heavymetalland is inspired to get back on the road. Former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore might be a candidate. In recent years he's been doing the renaissance festival thing as Blackmore's Night, but I can't imagine he's making huge bucks off it. Could he put together a new version of Rainbow, and would it make him any money? Deep Purple is likely out, because from all accounts he split because he couldn't get along with the rest of them.
Might as well make one more post before I go to bed. If you look at my Blogger profile you'll see that it lists me as a Libra because of my birth date. I find it amusing and bemusing that anyone takes astrology seriously at this late date. Of course the fact people do is just a reflection of their lack of knowledge in all sorts of other areas. It could be worse. At least people in North America haven't taken up the Japanese obsession with blood types, which many look to for some of the same kind of things astrology claims, like romantic compatibility. If you've ever looked at webpages for Japanese celebs and pseudo celebs you've likely run across listings of their blood type.
For some reason the thought of the winter boots I wore as a kid just came to mind. They were navy blue nylon things that if I remember correctly had zippers on them. I certainly remember the felt booties, or liners, or whatever you'd want to call them, that they had. They were detachable, and presumably replaceable, although that never happened in my case. I can also remember the winter boots I wore in high school, at least I think that was when I wore them. They were big clunky things with the most ridiculously stiff and thick laces I think I've ever seen, laces that were so long I ended up wrapping them around the top of the boots a couple of times. They were rather hard to tie.

I gave up wearing winter boots years ago. These days I just wear running shoes as I do the rest of the year. I just don't see the need for winter boots even when its -20 and you're freezing your butt off.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I was just reading some stuff about a Harry Potter fanfic writer who had her apartment broken into and her and roomies computers stolen. Now folks, including many she doesn't actually know, are actually making donations to replace their stuff.

Someohw I doubt complete strangers will be donating me any money anytime soon.

Sunday, December 05, 2004


This time I mean it.

For sure.

If it doesn't happen you can come after me with your pitchforks and your clubs.

Its about bloody time.

Chapter 8 will come out within the next week or so.


Fer shure!

(Of course for most visitors the above will be utterly meaningless, but for certain of you, you KNOW what I'm talking about.)
Just had a first. I hit the "next blog" link on here and up came a blog that tried to dump a trojan onto my machine. Thank goodness for my antivirus software.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Just in case anyone passing thru is a guitar nut, here's a few places worth checking out. The Fender Forum Ibanez Collectors World. The Guitar Gallery.

Friday, December 03, 2004

I just went past the $10,000 entered mark at Where's Willy today. It amazing how much money passes thru your hands over the course of a year. I've also started entering my bills at Canadian Money Tracker as well.

The supposed attempt on the Serbian president I mentioned yesterday apparently wasn't. They're now claiming it was a case of road rage by a US Embassy employee. That guy has got to be one of the luckiest men alive, as the presidential bodyguards didn't just shoot his car to bits. However many people in Serbia aren't buying the explaination. Presidential supporters cling to the idea it was an assassination attempt, while Serb nationalists opposed to the president claim it was all a setup to generate sympathy. Probably not a surprising result in a country as divided as Serbia.
Since I'm sitting here not doing much I might as well post a link to an online comic I came across. Its called No Need for Bushido Its kind of entertaining with some not bad artwork, and bound to make you smile a bit if you're into manga and old samurai movies.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

An interesting article ran in the San Francisco Chronicle today, discussing the appearance by major league baseball players Jason and Jeremy Giambi last year before a federal grand jury in a steroid trafficking case. Both men admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs. What I found especially interesting was their willingness to take pills without knowing what they were, trusting that the pills weren't harmful, or conversely weren't placebos they were paying a lot of money for.(One was possibly the female fertility drug Clomid.) One can't help but wonder if Jason Giambi's health problems this year had anything to do with him being on "the 'roids" last year.

You wouldn't catch me doing that kind of thing. I don't like needles.
Looking at the cover of the latest Wired today, which features James Cameron and a blurb about all these high tech research things supposedly on the way, I couldn't help but think of how similiar it can be to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics. It features the same kind of breathless techno fetishing of stuff that often doesn't actually appear. Anyone who has paid attention to PS and PM content over the years will be familiar with all the "gee, that REWLS!" high tech stuff they've blabbed about that has never come to pass, including stuff of questionable scientific credibility in the first place. I'm probably not the first person to see similarities with the long defunct "pop science" magazine Omni as well. Omni often did the same kind of thing, but like Wired tried to appear more upscale that PM and PS, and was more interested in fringe stuff like life extension and psychics.
There was an apparent attempt on the life of the president of Serbia yesterday. Someone rammed their car into his a number of times, with no success. Apparently things are so bad for wannabe Serbian assassins these days they can't even afford to buy a cheap gun for assassination purposes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I was gonna post a spoiler warning, but frankly a spoiler warning would just let you guess what happened anyways.

It's byebye Ken Jennings, finally. He was beaten tonight on Jeopardy. It will be interesting to see what we see of him after this. Will he use his celebrety to break into some form of entertainment job, or will he go back to his job as a computer software dude? Somehow I think the latter is far more likely. Of course he will be back for their Tornament of Champions sooner or later.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Watching the latest Delta State episode, "Claire's Crackup," was rather a frustrating experience, namely because the episode suddenly jumps to Brodie apparently being in trouble and nothing is really resolved about what's happening to Claire. This is a really good example of something that I've noticed in a few other episodes, which is that they seem to be trying to cram too much into a 30 minute package at times. You'll be watching and something will happen without enough explaination so it seems like you've missed part of the episode when you know you haven't.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

If you've ever tried to use one of those online translation things I hope you realised that the translations don't always work very well. A case in point is a hit I got on here tonight from someone in Columbia. They used Google's translation service to look at my entries from September. It translated my description of some attendies at the final Montreal Expos game as "fairweather fans" as "los ventiladores del fairweather," which even a non Spanish speaker like me can tell is just plain wrong. Obviously an idiom like fairweather fans translated literally is not going to be correct. Unfortunately I've seen websites where I suspect such a program was used, as the English used has all sorts of weird phrasing that could be the result of overliteral translation.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Time for another random Japanese culture link. Today's selection: the homepage for those Japanese psychedelic troubadors, Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso UFO(there's some topless women in a few places on here, so minor viewer discretion advised). Incidentally one of the labels that currently has Acid Mothers albums in their lineup is Canada's own Alien8 Recordings.
I've mentioned before that I'm a regular reader of the Fanficrants community at Livejournal. Unfortunately right now they've got anonymous posting disabled due to trolling problems, and I can't comment on anything. Grrrr! Stupid trolls.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I heard the ancient Rush tune "In the Mood" on the radio tonight and found it interesting how generic Alex Lifeson sounded on that tune. The soloing could have been Angus Young or any of a zillion other guys playing at the time, 1974. He would become much more distinct in a relatively short time.
WAAAAAAH!!! No one's reading my blog today!

I alone....

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Poking around Google tonight I stumbled across Gary Lucas's homepage. Looking at the picture section it seems Gary has developed a fondness for Sea Foam Green, as he's got a Strat and a Tele that are in that colour. And before you ask "Who the hell is Gary Lucas?" read the bleeding homepage, okay?


What's in a name?

One of the classic guitar effects pedals of the 1970s was the MXR Phase 90 phase shifter. If you have any amount of albums in your collection of rock music from that era you've probably got at least a few that have one in action, a good example being the rhythm guitar on the Stones' "Shattered," as well as other guitar parts on the album Some Girls.

MXR were one of the big wheels in the effects biz back in the '70s, making a number of pedals that are considered classics. The Dynacomp compressor is still a favourite of many guitarists. Unfortunately in the long run they proved unable to compete with the Japanese, especially Roland's Boss effects line, and closed up shop in 1984. A number of years later the musical instrument accessories firm Jim Dunlop acquired the MXR name and effects designs, and began reissuing them, including the Phase 90.

Now however Dunlop has issued a new variation on the stompbox, the Eddie Van Halen Phase 90. Eddie was a big fan of the Phase 90 on the first two or three Van Halen albums. This new version, besides having a EVH inspired red with black and white strip finish, has a push switch that allows you to switch between the early "script logo" Phase 90 sound and the later "block logo" version.(The logo thing is a reference to the writing on the originals.) However the price is quite a bit more, the EVH model costing just about twice what the standard reissue costs around here.

I don't know about you, but I sincerely doubt a switch, what is probably a couple of extra resistors in the circuit, and a fancier paint job which is most certainly done by a robot, is worth an extra almost 100 bucks. Rather its because Eddie's name is associated with this new stomper. If Dunlop had given it some other fancy paint job, the same switch, and called it the Phase 90 Scriptflip or some similar cornball name you can bet they'd only want the equivalent another another 30 or 40 bucks Canadian for it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Here's an interesting opinion piece by John Doyle of the Globe and Mail above the arrival of
Fox News on Canadian tv. He thinks many Canadians will find it funny. He may be right, at least about those that can see it that is. Fox News is going to be on the digital cable channels, which means you'll need to be a digital cable subscriber and have to specifically subscribe to a package that includes Fox News. I can't help but wonder if this won't lead to whining in some circles that Fox News is being "censored" since it won't be on the analog cable channels like CNN and MSNBC are.

Just as a followup to my last post about the new series 6teen I see that one of the characters is named Nikki Wong. First of all, tv writer folks, there are other Chinese surnames besides Wong and Lee/Li. Would it hurt you to use them? Of course given that last name I can't help but jokingly speculate that the character is in some way related to Maria Wong on Teletoon's long running teen comedy Braceface, a cousin perhaps. A more real connection is that the character of Nikki is voiced by Stacy Depass, who took over the role of Sharon Spitz, the title character of Braceface, after Alicia Silverstone found herself unable to continue doing the role.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Caught an episode tonight of Teletoon's new series 6teen, so I decided to enter the term into Google and see what came up. It seems the series creators are hardly the first ones to use it. There are quite a few folks using it, including the inevitable porn merchants. Is there a word that some porn merchant doesn't use in association with a website? Interestingly this is another series where Teletoon has fronted for 26 episodes as with Delta State(heh, another Delta State ref to generate hits here). Too bad they didn't have the cash a couple years ago to produce some more Undergrads episodes. Even a one hour special of some sort would have been nice.

And speaking of cartoons, if you were a fan of MTV's short lived series Downtown you might want to check out Cartoon Network's current giant robot action-adventure/parody series Megas XLR. One of the secondary characters on Megas is Goat, and may very well be the same Goat who was on Downtown. Not only are the character designs near identical, both Goats are voiced by voice actor Scot Rienecker. This may have something to do with the fact that series creators Jody Schaeffer and George Crstic were part of the writing staff for Downtown. In the Megas world there's a tv video station called Pop, and its MTV-ish logo has been smashed in various episodes. Are these blokes perhaps a little pissed at their former employer? Canadian viewers can catch Megas XLR on Teletoon Saturday and Sunday.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Driving around with the radio on tonight I heard the Tragically Hip, and I couldn't help but think of one of their guitar players, the long haired guy. Is he ever going to change his hairdo? He's had the same hairdo from the beginning of the band, and its getting pretty silly that he still looks like a refugee from 1975. Of course there's always the possibility he only has that hairdo when the Hip are working. Shave off that beard, cut his hair, and no Hip fan will likely recognise him, allowing him to roam the streets without being bothered by fans looking for autographs and such.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sad news for Canadian comedy fans. John Morgan, former member of the Royal Canadian Air Farce, has died at age 74. The Welsh born Morgan was one of the founding members of the Farce, and left the comedy group in 2001. He was known for numerous characters he played over the years, including the denser than dense Mike From Canmore.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Here's a story not likely to improve your opinion of litigation lawyers. The hiphop group Arrested Development is suing the popular Fox tv show of the same name, claiming it violates their copyright to the name. Interesting way for a group that hasn't released an album in a decade to get some new media attention. I can't imagine they're actually serious about this given the commoness of that phrase.
A piece of advice. If you don't have antivirus software on your computer install it. If you do and you don't update it regularly do it. My antivirus software caught a virus in my e-mail this morning. And please, no "If you had a Mac you wouldn't get viruses." There actually are Mac viruses out there. They're just considerably less common than PC ones because there are less Macs out there, making them a less attractive target for troublemakers.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Ah, the cheeziness of infomercials. I just watched a bit of one on a French language channel for something called the Magic Bullet, a mini food mixer doohickie. Whoever dubbed it for the Quebec market did it on the cheap, as no real atttempt was made to make it sound like the actors were saying the dialogue, and you could hear the original English language soundtrack underneath. Of course the fact one of the women in the infomercial was walking around with a ciggy in her mouth with a bigass hunk of ash hanging off it around food upped the usual cheeseball factor. I wonder what an omlette mixed with your Magic Bullet tastes like with the lovely addition of tobacco ash to it?
A magazine I read each month, albeit in the library, is Gun World. Three guesses what its about. Interestingly Gun World is rather restrained when it comes to the always contentious US gun control issue. Sure, there are the occasional complaints in the articles about this and that regulation, but there isn't the same kind of advocacy/editorial articles found in some of the other US gun mags, and even those complaints tend to be rather restrained. Perhaps the editorial staff assume that most of their American readers don't need someone telling them every five minutes what to do regarding gun control issues.

Had a bit of a surprise recently when I saw, for the first time in a long time, an issue of Small Arms Review in a local shop. This is a US magazine primarily intended for fans of what are considered "Class Three" weapons under US law, that is machine guns, which includes submachine guns, automatic rifles and so forth, as well as silencers/noise suppressors, certain types of shortened rifles and shotguns, and so on. It is legal in 39 US states to own automatic weapons, but federal regulations require you to have such weapons registered and you must pay a federal tax on their purchase. However manufacture of new automatic weapons for the civilian market has been outlawed in the US since 1986, so owners and potential owners of such firearms must compete for a limited, and ultimately very slowly shrinking, pool of these guns, made and registered before 1986, for sale, driving up prices. The cheapest are examples of the Ingram Mac10/M10 family, going for around 1000 bucks. So if you're interested in such weapons, or just interested in the idea that someone not only can own such things, but would want to, you might want to check the magazine out.

Friday, November 12, 2004

I just read that Chinese-American writer Iris Chang, author of The Rape of Nanking, has committed suicide. Given the subject matter of that book I couldn't help but wonder how long it will take before a conspiracy theory appears that claims she was murdered by Japanese extreme rightists.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Its interesting the things people don't put on their websites. For example check out this website for Jennifer Hale. Strangely it has no pictures of her, other than maybe those long shots. Her name may not be familiar, but you've likely heard her voice more than once, especially if you or someone in your family is a cartoon fan.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I heard an American political commentator comment today about the supposed stability the US two party system provides. But I found myself disagreeing with him. I think it can be argued that the two party system is what's causing some of the current problems in the US. Specifically I think that if there were more than two viable parties in the US some of the polarisation would disappear, because there would be more outlets for people's political preferences. The Republican Party for example might not have as many of the hard right religious types that turn off many voters. Those folks would likely have their own party, and the Republicans would be more centrist. Of course the fact that the President is elected in the US means the effect of more parties would be somewhat different than in parliamentary systems like that of Canada.
Its a long shot, but if someone who has the power to should ever pass through here, please reissue Strange Advance's The Distance Between album. Someone has to have the rights to it. I hate to think what will happen when my nasty old CD copy goes byebye.

This message was brought to you courtesy of "We Run."

Friday, November 05, 2004

Its interesting how record companies always seem to go out and hunt down soundalikes when a group becomes successful, and how such bands seem to pop up. Montreal's Sam Roberts has become very successful over the last couple of years here in Canada. Now, a group with the rather generic name of Boy has popped up. I saw the video to their first single off their new record on Muchmusic recently and thought it was Sam Roberts. I sat there thinking "Hmmmm, Roberts has shaved off his beard" before finding out it was actually Boy. You can listen to "Same Old Song" at their website, and perhaps disagree with me that it sounds like Sam Roberts.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

I'm sure most folks passing thru will be glad to hear that I'm NOT gonna do a bunch of longwinded commentating on the US Pres elections. You'll run across your nauseating share of that over the next few days, or weeks, or months in blogspace along with all the other places it will turn up. Probably months. I will comment that I think its stupid that a bunch of anti gay marriage amendments passed. Anyone who thinks gay marriage is some big threat to anything needs to do some serious thinking. Of course the US Supreme Court will likely declare some or all of them unconstitutional sooner or later anyway.
It seems any suspicions one might have had were true. Former major league baseballer Ken Caminiti died of a drug overdose, according to his autopsy. Coronary artery disease and an enlarged heart were said to be contributing factors. Just another unfortunate example of why you should stay away from cocaine and steroids.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A brief request for any Americans passing thru. Please vote tomorrow if you can and haven't already. We need a decisive vote in this election one way or another.

I hope I didn't depress anyone too much with my last post, but it was one of those nights.
Another month gone, another month less until the inevitable end.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

There are many things I do not want to know in this world. has a category for the cartoon Yakkity Yak. Its currently empty, so I don't have the temptation to find out what kind of R or NC17 rated story some loon would come up with for Yakkity Yak.

Friday, October 29, 2004

We actually had a sunny day here in Saskatoon today, after several days of clouds and foggy periods.

I guess the weather gods decided to give London their weather back.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Byebye curse.

Hopefully the folks in Boston won't destroy too much in their celebrating tonight. Why people decide their fav team winning the big one is a perfect excuse to riot is beyond me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

I've been getting more hits on this blog for Delta State searches, and this time its people looking for Delta State fanfics. This makes me wonder how early is too early to write a fanfic about something. I suppose it depends on what series you intend to write for and what your story is going to be about. With any ongoing series you always run the risk of writing something that will be in complete contradiction to what ends up being canon(ie a lot of early Babylon 5 fics must have ended up buggered when Michael O'Hare quit and Bruce Boxleitner was brought in). But this is magnified if you try and write when you've only seen/read/what have you the first few episodes of something. Delta State seems to have a specific plot arc going, so it could be risky to write for it without seeing the whole thing. Its also probably a bit early to know how much fanfic the series will inspire. Some series just don't catch the attention of large numbers of fic writers, while others arguably are overwritten for.
More sad music news to report. Veteran British radio announcer John Peel has died. Peel's radio programs proved incredibly influential, promoting all sorts of acts that are considered classics. In recent years many of the performances from Peel's show have been released as The Peel Session CDs. Altho' he was from the first generation of rock and roll fans he never got stuck in his tastes, continuing to search for new groups to interest him.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Here's a seed for a fanfiction piece. Unfortunately I don't have enough knowledge of one of the shows in question to pull it off, but maybe someone out there will come across this post and does. To whit, its a crossover between the original Mission Impossible and Stargate: SG1, with Sam Carter from SG1 in some way being related to Cinnamon Carter of the Impossible Mission organisation, although I'd suggest not mother and daughter. Aunt and niece would probably work better.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

There sure are some odd products on the market today. The home appliance/electronics compajy LG is currently marketing a refridgerator with a built in television. Frankly I can't see who this is supposed to appeal to other than gimmick junkies, and I wonder how well a tv will hold up in such an application. It certainly has the risk of leaving you with an obsolete technology smack dab in the middle of your kitchen should current analog format tv be phased out in the next 10 years or so for high definition tv, which should be well within the lifetime of your typical fridge.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Alas, no World Series for the Astros this year. Oh well, there's always next year. Of course I'm hoping that this time next year we'll be waiting for game one of the World Series to begin in Toronto.
A couple of things to bring a grin to my face today. One being the Sox winning last night and heading on to the World Series. I do have to wonder at Francona bringing in Pedro as a reliever. Thats not something he normally does and he was pitching on only a day's rest. Not to mention that he's the likely starter for Game One. One good thing about the way things went is that neither team in the World Series will have much of a rest advantage. If the Yankees had won game 4 of the ALCS they would have had almost a week of rest, giving them rather an advantage.

Another nice thing for me is that my Willy index is now past 700. Want a Willy index of your own? Just go here to learn how. Or perhaps you'd prefer a George index. If so, check out Where's George.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Here's a more extensive article on Cecil's problems.

As I type this I'm listening to disc one of the King Crimson live album Absent Lovers. This makes me think once again its time to consider posting some album reviews on here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Does baseball great Cecil Fielder owe you money? If so you're not the only one. Apparently he has a rather strong gambling addiction, and as a result is reportedly hiding out trying to avoid creditors. Damn, sad to hear this after Ken Caminiti's recent death.

And here's the obligatory "Go Soxs Go!/Go Astros Go!"

Monday, October 18, 2004

Yet another musician death to report unfortunately. Doug Bennett of Doug and the Slugs passed away on Saturday at age 53 of an undisclosed illness.
The hit counter on this blog is just about to hit 1000. Thanks to everyone who has passed through here so far.

Its a complete mess here in Saskatoon today. The large amount of snow we've received has made the roads a mess. And as is always the case things are compounded by people suddenly driving like total idiots, doing things any sensible person should know not to. For example I saw someone driving this morning with a dog in their lap. This is dumb at any time, but even more dumb when the roads are slick and you need both hands on the wheel. (Pets should never be loose in a vehicle anyways. Belt them in or have them ride in a pet carrier.) I had to do some driving a bit ago, and it was pretty bad. I made it back in one piece with no accidents, but it was a rather nail biting trip.

Another annoyance today was using a public bathroom, and having someone else do so, then leave without washing their hands just before I did. Folks, WASH YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU USE THE TOILET! I don't care how careful you were I don't want unwashed, fresh from the bathroom hands touching anything I might want to touch. I wash my hands with soap and water out of respect for others, and I'd really appreciate others doing so as well.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Its the invasion of the geriatric rockers! I heard on tv tonight that Paul Stanley of KISS has had a hip replacement recently. So apparently has Mick Mars of Motley Crue. And Eddie Van Halen had one a few years back. Too much stage jumping? Or could it be a health problem they all share? My cousin has had to have work done on his hips, and I assume in his case its a genetic thing given his relatively young age, aggrevated by years working construction. Interestingly Mars is supposedly 52, so he was no spring chicken when the Crue first came to fame in the early '80s.
If you're watching any of the Yankees-Sox game tonight you're hearing probably the most distinctive umpire voice in the biz, Jim Joyce. How the hell does he do that "STRIEEEEEEEKEEE!" thing several dozen times a game, 162 games a year? You'd think he would have shreaded his vocal cords a long time ago. And what does he sound like at home? "Pass the PEEEEEEEEAAAAASSSSS!"
I sure am glad I don't have anyplace I want to be at this late hour. The streets of Saskatoon are covered with a bunch of snow, and I'm sure the roads are completely crappy right now. Should be a couple of fender benders tonight.

I was just watching 24 Hour Party People, a film about Tony Wilson and Manchester's Factory Records. If the movie is anything to go by Wilson could be kind of a pretentious wanker, doing stuff like comparing Shaun Ryder of the group Happy Mondays to Yeats. A rather funny scene is when Wilson comes in on his girlfriend in a club bathroom having an encounter with Howard Devoto, then of the Buzzcocks, after she caught Wilson in a van with a hooker. The scene then pans to someone cleaning the bathroom, who comments he doesn't remember anything like that happening. Its Howard Devoto himself! There are other cameos in the film, like Vini Reilly of Durutti Column as himself, and Mark E. Smith of the Fall trying to get into a club. The script has the guy playing Wilson often breaking the "fourth wall" and talking to the viewers about his or that point of the history of what happened. A most interesting film.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Oh dear. There are some flakes of snow floating out of the sky. Just what we don't need at the start of the day, another reminder winter will soon be here. If you're interested, here's the five day forecast for Saskatoon.

Monday, October 11, 2004

And here's another quick post, this time dealing with the bizarre. A former LA Raiders football player is being sought in an alleged drive by shooting of the home of Las Vegas magicians Siegfried and Roy. Very weird. I wonder what he had against them? Their supposed sexual orientation? Their now infamous white tigers? Its like something out of a tv comedy sketch.
Another unfortunate baseball death to report. Former National League MVP Ken Caminiti has died of a heart attack at 41. Unfortunately the fact that he admitted after he retired to using steroids during his playing career, and his problems with cocaine abuse leads one to suspect his drug use may have caught up with him even if he was currently clean. Hopefully we won't be hearing about any other major leaguers dying so young anytime soon.

And I have just found out that Christopher Reeve has also died of a heart attack. This is less of a surprise, as severe quadrapelegics like Reeve are beset by all sorts of health problems. Interestingly the former Superman star had appeared on the TV series Smallville, which chronicles the adventures of a teenaged Clark Kent before he becomes Superman, a couple of times.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

A request for the Atlanta Braves and their fans. Drop that "Tomahawk Chop" bullshit. Its stupid, moronic, and makes you seem really lame.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

FYI you might want to be careful if you check out Teletoon's Delta State webpage, as the episode descriptions contain spoilers.
An interesting little oddity about recent hits to this blog is that a lot of them seem to be a result of the Delta State comments I made recently. It seems a lot of folks want more info on this program. Not that I know much more that the rest of you. Most of what I've figured out came from the TV Tome and Internet Movie Database pages for the series.
A while ago I mentioned that a spider is living on the thermometer outside my kitchen window. Well, he's still there, despite the fact we've already had several evenings of below freezing weather this fall. Tough little guy isn't he?

Recently I've been reading Black Belt magazine in the library, Black Belt being America's longest running(as far as I know) martial arts magazine. A couple things in the articles have amused me. One is that a certain writer seems to think the Christianity of certain interviewees is important. Fair enough, but its kind of funny when you consider that the Asian martial arts often have a connection with spiritual/religious practices like Buddhism. I suppose this is something anyone with a strong faith must resolve for themselves. Studying something like Shorinji Kempo might not be your first choice if you're an Evangelical Christian. Another was a very American whining at the end of one article in the latest issue about the possibility of those horrible "gun grabbers" taking everyone's guns, so your martial arts will come even more in handy.

The ads are interesting as well. You can buy stuff ranging from very straight ahead books on things like karate katas(forms) to videos offering to teach you some supersecret "unbeatable" martial arts style, no doubt so you can beat the jokers who buy someone else's "unbeatable" martial arts style tapes. Not to mention all sorts of training equipment, including gizmos to help you learn to do all those cool Jean Claude Van Damme splits. You know, the one he does in every bloody movie he's in. I can only wonder what the old masters of certain arts would think of doohickies like that. I can just imagine some Okinawan karate master muttering under his breath in bemusement about very idea of wanting to do such moves, let alone buying some Rube Goldberg device to help you do them.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

First, a link to comments at on John Cerutti's untimely death. Its nice to see comments from some of the people who actually knew him.

Today is the start of the baseball playoffs. Personally I'm throwing my support for now behind the Boston Redsoxs. I think it would be cool if they made it to the World Series this year, and ended the infamous "Curse of the Bambino." Of course if they do win the World Series we can expect a few people to declare this a sign that the end of the world is nigh. Hopefully they won't do anything too stupid.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Just found out a few minutes ago that former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and Rogers Sportsnet colour commentator John Cerutti was found dead in his hotel room this morning. He apparently died of natural causes, one assumes a heart attack. The Jays have issued a press release on his death. A real shame, and a very sad ending to a poor season for the Jays. Condolences to his wife and 3 children.
Today is the last Montreal Expos game. Unfortunately its not on tv, at least in this neck of the woods. Too bad, as it would have been nice to see how things went, especially if they win.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The last Montreal Expos home game just ended a few minutes ago. Tonight's full house brings up the obvious question of where the hell all these people have been the last half decade or more. And certain of tonight's fairweather fans almost screwed things up by throwing crap on the field, leading to the possibility of the game being suspended. Fortunately that didn't happen, as if it had there could very well have been a riot.

With the Expos gone another obvious question comes to mind, namely the fate of Montreal's notorious Olympic Stadium. The stadium will now have no ensured source of income. Even several years ago there had been talk it might be abandoned due to some of the problems with the structure. Its not a wild guess that the facility may be on its way to demolition.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

FYI to Undergrads fans. There is now an Undergrads category at It will be interesting to see how many of the dozen or so Undergrads fics on ffnet actually migrate into the new category. With luck this change will also encourage someone else to write a fic or two for the series.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

As you've probably heard by now the Federal Communications Commission in the US has fined CBS some 500 thousand bucks for the exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the Superbowl half time show. Personally the whole thing strikes me as stupid and hypocritical. Its some horrible crime that Jackson's nipple was visible, yet during this same Superbowl broadcast they had ads for a new "erectile dysfunction" treatment pill which mentioned 4 hour erections as a possible unwanted side effect. Is a brief glimpse of a breast more offensive to "family values" than that?

Don't feel too sorry for CBS though. I suspect they will more than make up for the fine by the increased viewership their broadcast of the big bowl games will get. After all its a reasonable guess that some people who wouldn't otherwise be watching will this time around in the hope that something else shocking will happen.

Friday, September 24, 2004

If you're into Canadian politics, check out the October, 2004 issue of The Walrus. Marci McDonald's article "The Man Behind Steven Harper" is a profile of Tom Flannagan, one of the brains behind much of the Reform/Canadian Alliance/Conservative Party of Canada's ideology, and the so called Calgary school. You read some past articles from the magazine at their website.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Had Chinese food for supper tonight. As is often the case we ordered from Asian Cuisine, located just off Central Avenue in Sutherland. As usual we ordered some ginger beef, and I think their ginger beef is the best of the ginger beef I've eaten in Saskatoon Chinese restaurants. Asian Cuisine's primary business is takeout, as they have only a small dining room with a half dozen or so tables in it. We occasionally order from Szechaun Kitchen, a similar "hole in the wall" type place located on Broadway Avenue.

A recent entry into the Saskatoon restaurant market is Eastside Mario's, located on 8th Street, one of Saskatoon's primary business streets. My parents went there a bit ago, and commented that it shares the same problem as a number of other restaurants seem to these days, its too noisy. In a society where the average age is increasing you can only wonder at design decisions that will alienate older potential customers, especially those who are hard of hearing. Interestingly its located on a plot of land next to Saskatoon's outlet of Red Lobster, a plot that was supposedly going to house an Olive Garden. (It became available when Sherwood Chev/Olds, one of Saskatoon's main auto dealers, moved off the land.) The story goes that the Olive Garden bigwigs decided via their formula that Saskatoon isn't big enough for one of their restaurants. Personally I and others thing they underestimate the amount Saskatonians eat in restaurants. After all Saskatoon has a high number of restaurants.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Been a good long while since I've posted a Japanese culture link, so here's one. It discusses some recent events regarding one of the members of Pink Lady The female singing duo were one of the first Japanese acts to try and get a foothold on the American pop scene. Unfortunately they tried to do so via the notorious tv show Pink Lady and Jeff, generally considered one of the worst tv shows of the late '70s.
Since I'm sitting here perusing links off of it I figure I should be a nice guy and post a link to PZ Myers Pharyngula blog. Besides, I think I've had a couple of hits on here based off of comments I've posted to posting on his.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Taking a look at my Blogger profile page I note that it hasn't been updated since the 15th, even tho' I've made a number of posts since then. Should I bother complaining to them? Nah, I don't think so. As long as the actual posting mechanism does I really don't care what the profile might do.
Yep, I am definitely very verbose today.

Delta State, hmmm....

No, its not a school I'm thinking about, but a new series that just debuted on Teletoon this month. Apparently based on a comic book, it chronicles the adventures of a quartet of young adults with no memories of their past. Sharing an apartment together they spend their time trying to figure who they were, and who they might be, while using their psychic powers to fight the Rifters, a group of baddies from someplace as yet unrevealed, who are trying to take over humanity, including taking over human bodies. This often requires them to go into the delta state, a sort of surreal parallel dimension. Their only ally is Brodie, a psychologist type who, like the Rifters, we really don't know much about yet. Hey, they've only just shown the 3rd episode of an apparent 26. However, I have this suspicion he'll turn out to be in some way connected with the Rifters. A renegade perhaps?

Its probably a bit early to decide how well the series will work, but the art style is definitely interesting. Some of the shots are obviously live action material overlaid with animation, leading to some very realistic looking facial movements and so forth. On the other hand is the noses of everyone, which have a line around them, leading to an odd appearance. Lots of bright colours are used for the characters. The overall makes me think somewhat of MTV's late 90s offering Downtown.

Like a lot of cartoon productions these days this one is a co-production deal involving Teletoon and some European networks. No big surprise. The cost of a series these days is such that small and niche market networks like Teletoon can't go it alone. This of course was the thing that doomed Undergrads and Cybersix, namely not being able to retain partners and find new ones to replace them. Hopefully this series will come to some sort of reasonable conclusion or resolution of the initial story in the final episode of the 26, and not leave viewers stuck with a cliffhanger. One good thing, whatever happens, is that the number of episodes should cut down on the repetition factor once they've played them all and go into a rerun cycle.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

While I'm at it I'll mention Britney Spears' reported marriage today. You wanna bet she won't be married this time next year?
Tuesday will see the release of the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD. However the versions released have changes from the originals, both those made in 1997, and yet more made for this release. The obvious question is of course why the prospective buyer isn't being offered a choice of which version to buy. You want to make changes, George, well, yeah, no one can stop you. But why not let those who want to see things as they appeared in 1977-1980-1983 have that choice? Especially since the hardcore, true believer types are likely to buy both versions.

I can only wonder what Gimpy would think....
Just read some more details of the death of Rick James. It seems he had quite the mix of stuff in him when he died, according to the autopsy report.

Its amazing that some folks just can't get past doing drugs. John Entwistle's death was the result of cocaine. James was apparently doing drugs even though he had multiple health problems, including a 1998 stroke. I wonder who might be next of the older crowd.
I'm number ten! At least if you believe Google.
Hopefully the link I'm about to present will work, because I seem to have trouble using them anyplace but directly via the site. Anyways, if you're a fan of Stargate SG1 and like SG1 fanfics check out Neuropsych's stuff at Fanficnet. I've really gotten hooked on his Campers stories. Fun stuff, especially his character Jaffer. If that link doesn't work just go to the main page and work your way in from there. I'm not a hardcore devotee of the tv series, just a casual viewer. On the other hand you don't really need to be a persistent watcher of a series to enjoy its fanfics. I've read far more Kim Possible fanfics than you'd guess by the relatively few episodes of the series I've actually seen.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Just found out that Johhny Ramone has died. He had been ill with cancer for some time. It sure is getting to be a long list of musicians who have died this year.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Tonight and tomorrow are the finale of Canadian Idol for this year, with one of the 2 finalists being Theresa Sokyrka from here in Saskatoon. The Idol concept has been licenced in all sorts of places, like Malaysia, as I found out by reading a blog post about the current competition. But it makes me wonder about Idol programs in other countries, and I can imagine scenes from a few.

Iranian Idol: As always ladies and gentlemen our music selections are approved by our own team of Islamic clerics to ensure they are not un-Islamic. And they would like to warn Reiza not to engage in the kind of moves he used in last week's episode. Not only are they un-Islamic they tell us, they also make you look like a bad Elvis impersonator.

Andorran Idol: And here's your winner of Andorran Idol, Francesca! Of course she's winner by default, since she's the only candidate.

North Korean Idol: Wasn't that a stirring rendition by Chan Ho of "The Korean People Will Stand With the Dear Leader For 1,000 Years?" And now here's Hee, with "The Dear Leader and the Korean People Will Defeat the Imperialist Agressors and their Lackeys."

Monday, September 13, 2004

At the moment I'm sitting here listening to Kraftwerk's Radioactivity album, and just realised it will be 30 years old next year. And something like Duran Duran's debut album is closing in on 25 years old. Time sure flies. Someone wanna slow its passage down for a bit please?
Today is an important anniversary, at least in some universes. If you happen to come from one of them you probably know that today, Sept. 13, is the 5th anniversary of the Moon being blown out of orbit. If you've been wondering what happened to those folks on Moonbase Alpha you can find the details here. Hmmm, maybe I should watch "Breakaway" sometime today....

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Poor South Carolinians! A group called Christian Exodus figures their state is the perfect place to try and set up a "Christian" government, even if that means suceding from the Union. They want a bunch of folks who agree with them to move to South Carolina so they can dominate the political system, vote their kind of people into power, and transform South Carolina. Good luck. I can't help but wonder if these folks know the racist right had a similar idea, ruminating back in the '80s and early '90s about turning the Pacific Northwest into a "White homeland." Idaho was a popular destination for such folks, as it supposedly has the lowest number of "minority" citizens in the US.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

A while back I commented on here at my amusement at some of the prices online book sellers wanted for titles from the Death Merchant action/adventure book series. I was just doing a little bit of looking for stuff on horror novelist Edward Lee's book Coven, and I found references to copies of it selling for as much as 150 bucks! Wow, all that for a horror paperback. A limited edition hardback version came out sometime within the last year or so at a mere 45 bucks American, but it was only 300 copies so I imagine the price of these may go up as well.

Coven is amazingly over the top. It tells the tale of a university town that is menaced by an evil alien entity from elsewhere and his army of cloned minions, who look like sexy young women and run around kidnapping people to crossbreed with other aliens the creature has kidnapped. Lots of violence, sex, and sex mixed with violence. If you've ever wanted to read a scene where a woman projectile vomits due to an orgasm induced by being screwed by an alien this is the book for you. The sheer gonzoness of it made me wonder exactly which parts were to be taken seriously and which were to be considered extreme black humour. Lee's later books that I read didn't seem to have the dark humour element that Coven does, but certainly had the mix of sex and bizarre that Coven does.

Books like Coven, some of C. Dean Anderson's stuff, and others I thumbed thru in the late '80s and early '90s made me smirk a lot when the controversy exploded over Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho. The only reason this happened at all was because American Psycho was written by a supposed mainstream writer, and would have been published by Simon and Schuster if not for the complaints. You could find all sorts of books with similar or worse violence haunting the horror sections of the era, but you didn't see reams of ink and hours of tv time spent analysing them. And personally I found Ellis's writing so bland that the whole thing seemed lifeless and didn't get the "this is disgusting stuff" section of my brain going like some of the other stuff I ran across.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

One thing that you are not likely to find if you visit Saskatchewan is strip clubs. No, they're not illegal, but a peculiar quirk of Saskatchewan's liquor licensing regulations is that strip clubs cannot serve alcohol. There have been a number of attempts to start liquorless strip clubs but they generally fail, which tells you something about what it takes to get most people to watch strippers, namely some booze in their belly. A Saskatoon businessman tried to get around this by opening up his strip club, Showgirls(yeah, not very original is he?) next door to his restaurant, with a patio connecting the two and a door on each end of the patio. So patrons could go into the restaurant, drink, and then go thru the two doors to watch the strippers. However he's gotten into other problems with the regs unrelated to the alcohol question, so its future is currently uncertain.

In one way Saskatoon should be a good market for a strip joint, namely that its a university town, with the University of Saskatchewan having somewhere between 15 and 20 thousand full time students each year. There's also Kelsey, a tech college, with several thousand more students, as well as other smaller business and so forth schools, and one assumes horny university boys are a primary market for "exotic entertainment."

Monday, September 06, 2004

Here's a birdwatching tip. If you want to attract bluejays, put out a bowl of uncooked peanuts. Bluejays absolutely love peanuts.
I mentioned in a post a while back that I've been reading Ben Watson's Derek Bailey biography in a bookstore. Dan Warburton of Paris Transatlantic has just posted a review of the book. Although I do think the book is worth reading I can definitely understand some of Mr. Warburton's criticisms of it, especially since Watson can get a bit heavy on the Marxist class analysis and so forth. Now if I could just get a look at drummer Eddie Prevost's book on free improv, which PT also have a review of online, Prevost being another fellow with some apparently rather interesting theoretical meanderings going on in his book.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

A piece of advice for anyone waiting on my fic writing.

If I claim that I'm going to be releasing something "within the next week or two" don't believe me. I am most certainly wrong. But I do understand how annoying it is waiting for new chapters to show up. There are a number of stories by other folks I'm waiting on new chapters of just as you might waiting for me to get my act together and put out some more stuff. Of course what's really annoying is waiting for a year or more for something new from certain writers. The worst of course is wanting new chapters to a story and knowing that they aren't likely to ever appear. Like the infamous Zen's Ranmafic The Long and Winding Road.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Saskatoon has a number of people who you see regularly who I call pickers, just as I'm sure other cities of comparable size do. These are folks who go thru garbage cans downtown and around malls looking for discarded beverage containers to exchange for the deposit on them. Some of the more ambitious ones check thru dumpsters behind apartment buildings and businesses, or even work residential back alleys. One thing I find interesting about them is that none of them wear gloves. Personally if I were doing that one of the first things I want to get my hands on is a pair of gloves given some of the things people throw in public garbage cans, especially in this age of diseases like AIDS being transmitted thru discarded junkie syringes.

Deposit returns on most refundable beverage containers are handled here by SARCAN, a local organisation that uses handicapped folks to run the return depots.(Glass beer bottles and alcohol bottles can also be returned to Saskatchewan Liquor Board stores for refund.) SARCAN currently has a monthly limit of 50 dollars per person for deposit returns because of people bringing in large numbers of containers from out of province to claim the refund, so I wonder how the pickers who gather more than 50 bucks a month deal with this. There are at least a couple of small firms that buy beverage containers from private individuals, so presumably some of the pickers go thru them, although they will obviously get less money than if they go to SARCAN directly.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Its amazing some of the cheesy ways people try and sucker you into looking at their webpages. For example consider what happens if instead of typing in you type in Surprise! You get directed not to a blogging page but another lame-o fundie recruitment site. Its the usual "the end is near, so join up with our version of Christianity and get sucked up into the sky when things go to shit" nonsense. One can only wonder how people can cry wolf over and over again and believe it. There probably hasn't been a day since Jesus was crucified that someone hasn't claimed the end is near. Besides, as my grandmother says the world ends for someone every day.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Caught a bit of SCTV on the Comedy Network just a bit ago, and they were playing the soap spoof The Days of the Week. Seeing it again my attitude towards it hasn't changed. It never really worked for me because they played it too straight. Soap plots are wonky enough as it is, so you really have to exagerate them to spoof them. Yet for some reason the SCTV cast and writers kept the idea going for quite a long time. Apparently they didn't seen any problem with the concept.

Monday, August 30, 2004

And speaking of anti SUV material, what should I stumble across a few minutes after my last entery but this page(they use naughty words, so reader discretion advised). These folks have got a real mean on for the Hummer H2. I'm not sure how many of these are floating around Saskatoon if any. There are a couple of Hummer H1s in the area, the most frequently seen one being a yellow model owned by Jerry's Food Emporium, a locally owned fast food place. There definitely something you wouldn't see me driving, if only because I have enough trouble parking a normal car or minivan, let alone an overgrown hunk of metal like a Hummer.
It seems I'm not the only person who dislikes SUVs. The French are considering a tax on them due to their supposed negative impact on the enviroment. Its hard to imagine something like that happening in North America. The howls of indignation and "you're interfering with my RIGHTS!" would be heard far and wide, not to mention the big 3 auto makers and the Japanese bitching about how it would hurt their business. Interestingly enough French auto makers don't currently produce SUVs, they're all imports.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Outside the kitchen window of the house is a thermometer. For the past couple of weeks or so, but I bet its actually been longer, a spider has been sitting on it at night. I can't help but wonder why. Perhaps its warm there at night from the heat leaking out of the window. Or maybe the light attracts something it likes to eat at night. Autumn is gradually approaching, and I imagine the occasional spider will begin to show up in the house. Unfortunately for them I usually vacuum them up when I get the chance. We have enough bugs in the house as it is, since we have a problem every year with camelback crickets infesting the basement every summer, not to mention ants sometimes getting in. At least we don't have to worry about some of the more agressive spiders, such as the brown recluse, that cause problems for people in the more southerly parts of North America.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Looking at some random blogs it amazes me some of the stuff people write. No, I'm not talking about the actual content, but the bizarre spelling they use. Is this some sort of New Age teenspeak or what? If you're one of the people who writes like this you might as well not bother. No one is going to take the time to decipher your weird shit in the hopes something interesting might be there.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Teletoon has been having ads of late for its new fall schedule. Some of it looks interesting, Undergrads is back to infect a new group of wouldbe fans, but they're also gonna play The Flintstones.

Sorry Teletoon, but I do not need to see the bloody Flintstones again. Here in Saskatoon when I was a kid CFQC played the series weekdays at noon forever. There was a time, and its probably hasn't changed that much, when I could see an episode for 10 seconds or less and tell you which one it was. I could probably recite chunks of the dialogue from each episode as well. So its one show I don't need to see ever again, especially if they only buy a half or a quarter of the episodes and play them 16 times over the next 6 months.

The series was very much a ripoff of The Honeymooners, with Fred in the place of Ralph Kramden and Barney as Ed Norton. An early episode even features Fred doing a variation on Ralph's perennial "to the Moon, Alice!" threat. And Mel Blanc's original Barney voice sounds very much like Art Carney's portrayal of Norton, and perhaps changed because it was too close. Ironically given that the show is now considered classic kiddy fodder it was obviously intended for a more general audience, just as the classic Warner Brothers cartoons were obviously intended to entertain people older than six.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Gotta love those loons at PETA. I was reading in the local paper today that a Newfoundland billboard company has decided not to rent its billboards to the group to present posters than claim feeding children beef is child abuse. This is apparently not a new campaign, but is just now being tried in the Maritimes. In any case its a stupid idea. You are hardly going to convince people to stop eating meat by comparing them with child abusers. Sometimes PETA seems to behave like a parody of an activist group, saying and doing things that if they were presented as part of a comedy sketch you'd laugh at, but in the real world make them look very stupid.
I tried a bag of Old Dutch's Szechuan Beef flavoured potato chips today. They turned out to be not bad at all. No, they don't really taste like beef. Would anyone think they would? But they did taste quite nice. Probably not the best snack for someone on a sodium reduced diet, but then what chips are?

Friday, August 20, 2004

After much screwing around trying to get an Asrock P4s61 motherboard installed in this machine we finally gave up and got another board. So far it seems to be working fine. We suspect that the Celeron 1.7gig CPU we were trying to use might have screwed things up. The joy of computer upgrading....

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I think someone is trying to tell me something.

Went out to get a drink. Stopped off at the local Walmart and dropped a loonie(thats a one dollar Canadian coin, non-Canadian folks)into the Coke machine out front. It didn't vend me anything, telling me to use exact change only. When I hit the coin return instead of giving me some change it vended me a can of Five Alive and gave me 25 cents back. Grrrrr!! So it was over to the $1.25 Coke machine. Yeah, I at least got some product out of the first machine, but it shorted me 15 cents and vended me something I don't drink.

Probably the soft drink gods are telling me I drink too much Coke.
Things will be a bit slow from me for a bit. I'm trying to have a new motherboard installed in my computer, and there are software problems. Since thats the computer that has all my writing on it I won't be working on any of my fiction projects until its back operational. So anyone waiting for new stuff will have to be just a bit more patient. Fortunately I have access to the online world via this computer, so I can do things like write this.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

That should of course be Beyond Good and Evil, but stupid old won't let me edit my post to correct it. BAH!!!!
Here's something for the Undergrads fans passing thru. I was browsing thru the software section of a local Staples office supply store Monday morning and came across a game called Between Good and Evil. Interestingly I think the main character in the game, Jade, looks a hell of a lot like Jesse. Take a look at the screenshots here, especially the portrait shot near the bottom. The official page for the game, which is available in both PC and game system forms, is here.

Monday, August 16, 2004

There's not much to say about this link other than that its all KISS's fault.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I just saw something that referenced When Harry Met Sally, and of course this made me think of those annoying Herbal Essences shampoo ads. Unless you're recently arrived from abroad or are one of those odd folks who don't own a tv you've seen ads in that stupid campaign a zillion times. Well, believe it or not When Harry Met Sally came out 15 years ago. So it should be obvious to the folks that make that stupid shampoo THAT ITS TIME TO DITCH THAT STUPID CAMPAIGN, BECAUSE ITS SO BLOODY OUT OF DATE!!! Seriously Mr. and Mrs. Advertising Exec, most of us are tired of the damn things. I don't care how supposedly successful they've been, its time for a new idea. Those ads are the equivalent of a tv show in 1984 treating hippies as if they were hip and current, instead of vaguely farcical..
If you're a major league baseball fan, especially a Canadian one, you might want to check out the Batter's Box Baseball Blog. Not surprisingly a lot of the content deals with the Toronto Blue Jays. Personally I find the discussion there better than the newsgroup on Usenet, although thats really not much of a surprise I suppose. A personally run blog is going to weed out the nuisances than an unmoderated newsgroup attracts.

Its not much fun being a Jays fan this year. The wheels have come off, and no one seems to be able to put them back on for very long. Letting Baltimore have an 8 run 8th inning like in today's game is a good example. I can't help but think that the team needs someone to do something spectacular to inspire them, but I doubt that's likely to happen.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Bummer. Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is being treated for cancer. Fortunately he's reported to be doing very well. Its ironic Watts would be having such problems, as by all accounts he's always been the cleanest living of the Stones. Compare him to Keith Richards, who has probably tried most of the narcotic and intoxicating substances known to man at some point.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I was just watching Muchmoremusic's(Canada's equivalent of VH1) Ten Worst Dressed in Pop thing. But amongst the badly dressed, at least for this program, is host Karina Huber herself. She's wearing this horrible purple slip style dress with a sort of sash under her breasts. Ugly. Who told her wearing that was a good idea? Of course given that its probably a dress from the line of some sponsor of the program she may not have had much choice in wearing it.
Just a little update for folks waiting for chapter 8 of Bootleg. I'm working on it.


Hopefully I can get it out within the next week or two. As usual I'll make no firm promises. In any case when it does come out I'm sure some folks will be quite happy with what happens in Chapter 8. I'm also hoping to get some other stories done in the next while.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Given all the frooforah in the current US presidental race about who served and what they did here's an interesting link. Its a list of prominent politicians and others from both sides of the political fence, and their military service, or lack thereof. As always its interesting to look at this from a Canadian perspective, since military service is very rarely an issue in Canadian elections.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Just a small request. If anyone comes across any Undergrads fan art please let me know.
Just a little heads up for certain folks. I was looking at the Teletoon schedule for September last night.

Nitz and the Click are back.

Need I say more?
Sunday afternoon must be pornblog update time at I was just looking at the recently updated blogs list and there's a couple dozen or so that seem to have just been updated. As if the porn biz needs more places to post stuff. Hmmm, then again maybe it does given how much having your own domain costs versus using one like this one.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Sure am chatty tonight aren't I?

I just went to check on one of my fav fanfic related sites, Rakhal's The Penultimate Ranma Fanfic Index only to find "WebSite Disabled, Please Contact Our Billing Department" in big letters. Ouch. This also means that the Lost Library of Florestica, a repository for various Ranma and other fanfics, is also out of action. Double ouch.
Here's a new word for your vocabulary: tablehooter. And what is a tablehooter, you ask? The answer can be found here. I even own one, namely a Realistic Concertmate 500, a rebadged Casio SK1.
I just remembered a bit ago that this is the 59th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Oddly enough I've seen nor heard nothing in the media about this, when in past years I'm sure I have. Perhaps its just a case of WW2 becoming more and more like earlier wars, namely a true historical event instead of something that sort of hangs over everything. This process is of course inevitable for any historical event as it becomes more distant from the present and more and more people it directly affected pass away. Thirty years from now 911 will be the same way.

The musician body count for this year has gone up yet again. This time it was Rick James. Given his long problems with substance abuse it's ironic he died of reported natural causes, although the cocaine and other drugs likely didn't help even if he hadn't done them in years.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

An interesting book worth checking out if you're interested in geopolitics and so forth is Thomas P.M. Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century. Its both a discussion of how the US might deal with international relations as the world changes and a look at how some of what currently drives US policy came about. I don't agree with everything he says, but he's definitely got some interesting concepts going, like his division of the world into Functioning Core, that is the countries of the industrialised world and those elsewhere with similar economic setups like India and China, and the Non Integrated Gap, places that are disconnected in some way from the modern world economy. He's not a partisan of the current adminstration and has some criticisms of its behaviour which I think are valid from his perspsective. He also has a personal website dealing with his writings.