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.