Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Gentle Finish.

November is ending the way it started here, with nice weather. It was a degree or two above freezing today, ending a month of surprisingly mild weather. There hasn't been much snow yet either. Tomorrow will see December begin with a high of 4, but things are expected to cool off as the week progresses.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Memoriam

With coverage of the ongoing economic crisis and then the Mumbai terrorist attacks dominating the news I managed to miss that former Platinum Blonde bassist/keyboardist Kenny MacLean died on November 24 of an apparent heart attack. I only learned of his death today via a CBC interview with Jason Priestly. So I figured I'd post his video debute with the group, "Crying Over You," in tribute. MacLean was brought into the group when singer Mark Holmes decided he wanted to concentrate on singing and not split duties as bassist as well. I'll also note that the guitar solo on this song was actually played by Alex Lifeson of Rush.

It's funny to think that I watched that video as a teenager way back in 1985, and now presumably some of the people in that video may have children the same age I was then. Time sure flies.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Gas In Saskatoon, November 28, 2008.

Continuing the trend, another week, another drop. Gas in Saskatoon is currently 86.9 cents a litre.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Homemade Hamburgers, Yum!

You'd think there wouldn't be much difference, but there's just something better about hamburgers made from scratch even over patties made fresh in the meat section of your favourite grocery store. Perhaps it's the spices and so on you put in homemade ones that a commercial product won't contain. And those of you who don't eat meat? I really feel sorry for you right now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shut Up Week.

Unless you just came out of a sealed capsule at the bottom of the ocean, or have been running around with your fingers in your ears shouting "Lalalala, not listening!" for the past while(a not unreasonable response right now) you no doubt have heard the regular stream of dire predictions coming from various quarters on the economy. The Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development is the latest group to release a negative outlook for the world economy. And with each one the markets seem to go on a rollercoaster. So perhaps it's time for all of them to shut up. Keep their predictions of doom and gloom to themselves just for a week and see what happens. What's the worse that could happen? I can't see it being much worse than the Dow Jones and TSX dropping 400 points one day because of some prediction from an expert, followed by them going back up 250 points the next day because those involved realise there's still money to be made.

Modern media doesn't help things. It allows almost immediate dissemination of such material, and hence an almost immediate reaction from the markets. If this blog for example was in any way influential with the movers and shakers in international markets there could be a response from some interested parties within a few minutes of this post being published. The pundits and organisations that create such material might want to consider that fact before flapping their big mouths.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Gas In Saskatoon, November 21, 2008.

You can probably guess the content of this post. Yes, the price of gas dropped once again. It's now 88.9 cents a litre here in Saskatoon. But to break up the monotony I'll mention that the price of diesel is currently 112.9 cents a litre. One of the advantages in the past of diesel was that it was always a few cents a litre cheaper than gasoline, so you could save a bit if your car was diesel powered. But not right now.

I Always Miss The Cool Stuff.

There was a lot of press today about a meteor that streaked over the skies of Western Canada last night. If you were in the region I hope you got to see it, because I sure didn't. My father figures he saw the bright light it generated as he went for his after supper walk around 6:30 local time. Me, I was indoors and saw nothing. Fortunately several cameras in various places caught its descent, and I saw one spectacular example on the news this evening. It was amazingly bright in some locations.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Originally uploaded by mr. gueguen
I recently realised that I've begun to build, unintentionally, a collection of small radios. It's interesting to compare the three modern radios with their great grandfather. Clockwise from the top we have:

An M-zone R-363 shortwave radio. I picked this one up at a local London Drugs mainly to use for shortwave and other radio noises in the kind of weird music making that interests me. These normally sell for 20 bucks plus tax, but London Drugs regularly discounts them to $9.95. Frankly I wouldn't pay 20 bucks for one, but the discount price was cheap enough. The only thing digital about this thing is the frequency display. The actual tuning mechanism is analog, and sloppy analog at that, although that slop does allow the radio to tune to frequencies it's not officially designed to, but that you'd want to hear. Build quality is of course iffy as well. Cheesy little radios like this appeal to many beginners because they're cheap, but an experienced shortwave listener will actually have more fun with one, as they know how shortwave signals work and therefore know what can and can't be heard on a portable with a tiny whip like this one's. I suspect a lot of these get returned by novices who think they aren't working because they can't hear anything, not realising they're listening at the wrong time of day for the frequency range they're tuning, or that propagation conditions can sometimes prevent signals from reaching you. You can find this radio under other brand names as well.

Next is the Sony SRF-59 AM/FM Walkman. I've mentioned this little dear on here before. It's been getting a lot of attention from radio hobbyists because of its great long range AM performance in a compact size. I've had a lot of fun with this one, and it's been a frequent occupant of my belt when I've been outside for long periods of time. I'm still on the original AA battery I put in when I first bought it early in the year. Even the dirt cheap headphones Sony provided with it are still working well. If you're an AM DXer you should really buy one of these.

Next we have the blue no name FM radio. I bought this little thing for a buck at the local Dollarama store. Yep, a mere loonie. I hate to think what these actually cost to produce, but I could hardly turn it down at the price of a chocolate bar. Of course it's got tinny audio and dubious RF performance, and the included ear buds aren't particularly comfortable, but it's fun to fool around with, and fits in a pocket. This one even has a built in light so you can use it as a flashlight. Why? Who knows what the designer was thinking.

Finally we have an ancestor of these guys, the RCA VIctor Six Transistor AM radio. This turned up in my Grandmother Carr's stuff as my parents were helping her move recently. Other than a scratchy volume contro/on-off switch this thing is in very nice condition, making me suspect it didn't get used much. I'm not sure of the exact age of this radio, which was made for the Canadian market according to the inside of the rear cover, which also says its a model PA5. Apparently these were made by Toshiba, as they share similar details to certain Toshiba models, and of course were made in Japan. They come from an era when the number of transistors was a selling point, hence the prominent Six Transistor engraved on the front. My example stil has its leatherette carrying case and ear bud, both of which are in nice condition for their age as well.

Gas in Saskatoon, November 14, 2008.

Are you surprised, dear reader, if I report the price has dropped again. Probably not, especially if you heard the price per barrel of oil may drop to 50 bucks or lower. In any case the price of gas in Saskatoon today is 92.9 cents a litre. Just a little drop, but still a drop.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Snow Away.

Unfortunately it's snowing today. I was hoping it would stay away for a while longer. There's a good chance most of today's batch will melt tomorrow, but sooner or later we'll get our usual permanent winter coating of the stuff. Rats.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Gas In Saskatoon, November 7, 2008.

No photo this week. The price of gas in Saskatoon is currently 94.9 cents a litre, yet another drop. Sure makes filling the tank a bit more comfortable, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Man Behind The Voices.

As a followup to my Stewie and Superman's baby post here's an article from Fast Company magazine about Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Seems he's building up quite the empire. And it's an empire that still requires a good chunk of direct involvement from him, since he does the voices of several of the main Family Guy, its soon to hit the air spinoff The Cleveland Show, and American Dad characters along with taking part in other areas of production such as writing music.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Don't Wanna Watch A Cosplayer.

No election commentary tonight. Maybe tomorrow if I think of something worth posting while tromping around in the cold tomorrow. Rather I'll comment on the recent Entertainment Weekly cover featuring the guys playing Kirk and Spock in the upcoming Star Trek movie. Sorry JJ Abrams et al but I won't be rushing out to see this one. I was dubious about the concept from the start, but seeing the EW cover shot all I could think was that the guy playing Spock looked like a cosplayer. And that just made me even less inclined to go see it. In way it's like deciding to make a James Bond movie that's not only a '60s period piece, but has whoever is playing Bond wearing the same kind of hairpiece Sean Connery was, it just seems cheesy.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Gentle Start.

It may be November 1st, but it sure didn't feel like it outside in Saskatoon today. It was ten degrees above freezing, and the 5 day forecast indicates daytime temperatures will remain above freezing through Wednesday. I'll take this kind of weather as long as we can.