Sunday, March 29, 2009

Are They Watching You?

Someone in China is spying on a lot of people, according to the findings of a group of Canadian researchers. Does that include you and me? I'd be embarrassed to have someone looking at certain things on my computer, as I'm sure most people would. But on the other hand if they're wasting time spying on me they're not spying on someone else it would actualy harm. And let's be blunt, if this network is run by the Chinese government they're not alone. Cyberwarfare is becoming an increasingly active field, and you can be sure that the US, UK, and other major intelligence powers are doing this kind of thing as well. Does Canada's Communications Security Establishment do so? The government isn't going to admit it if they do.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gas In Saskatoon, March 27, 2009.

No surprise this week. The price of oil is creeping up, so up goes the price of gas. Gas in Saskatoon is currently 95.9 cents a litre. I will not be at all surprised if it passes a buck a litre before the end of April, if not much sooner.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Gas In Saskatoon, March 20, 2009.

Gas is currently 89.9 cents a litre, down 3 cents from the previous price. Barring any othe price changes I suspect we may see it go up as the Easter holiday weekend approaches.

Friday, March 13, 2009



This photo wasn't supposed to to look like this. It's supposed to be a shot of people at an event at the Saskatoon Public Library I was at today. Unfortunately I accidentally moved the camera just as the shutter snapped. But even though it's an accident I actually like this shot. It looks like a deliberate work of abstract art even though it isn't. So I've given it the title Smear, and here it is for everyone to see. And no doubt go "Gee, that's a crappy piece of blurry crap."

This post makes me think I need to go through some of my old posts and add photo tags to them.

I've started a blog for photos I've been taking of Saskatoon. You can see it here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So You Won't Have To.

If you're interested in the history of science fiction on television there's a good chance you've heard of The Starlost. The early '70s Canadian filmed series is a common entry on worst sci fi TV series lists. Still, despite it's rep for sheer badness you may be tempted to seek out episodes of the series to see for yourself. Fortunately for those of you who may be damaged by viewing episodes of this trainwreck James Nicoll has over the past few days been watching the series and giving his impressions on his Livejournal. You can read the latest entry here. Please, those of you with frail constitutions, just read James' reviews. Leave watching The Starlost to trained professionals.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Don Versus Donations.

Saturday and Sunday saw the latest edition of a long running Saskatchewan tradition. It was Telemiracle time again. The 33rd edition of the highly successful telethon generated 3.8 million dollars in pledges. But what was the cover story in this morning's edition of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix? Sunday night's Eagles concert, the first of three for Saskatoon. Three whole pages were devoted to the concert. Telemiracle? A single two column article on page A7. You really have to wonder about the editorial priorities of the paper when a major charity event and Saskatchewan tradition plays second fiddle to a concert by a group that isn't doing anything new or important. The cynical part of me wonders if this lack of coverage today had anything to do with Telemiracle broadcasting on CTV stations in Saskatchewan, while the Star Phoenix is owned by TV broadcaster Canwest/Global.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Here Yesterday, Gone Today.

As I've mentioned before if you find something on YouTube you want to watch don't hesistate. Yesterday seeing some '50s pop singers on TV led me to looking for info on an episode from the '70s Quinn Martin Productions TV series Cannon, "The Quasar Kill." Much to my surprise I actually found the complete episode on YouTube and proceeded to watch it. But between 6 PM Saskatoon time and now the person who put the episode up pulled it. Too bad for you, as I was going to post a link to it so you could watch it also. The episode itself features Frank Cannon, played by the late William Conrad, being called in by an old friend to investigate the death of a scientist apparently killed by a message from outer space. As with so much of what Hollywood put out then and continues to put out the episode really should have a giant "lasers don't work that way" tag attached to it, as the way the laser kills the victim makes no sense, and frankly I'm not sure how the laser is being used to communicate with space in the first place.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Gas In Saskatoon, March 6, 2009.

Another week, another price increase. Gas is now 92.9 cents a litre in Saskatoon. I would imagine it will creep up some more as we get closer to Easter no matter what direction the price of oil takes.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Erica's Word."

Another fun find from YouTube. "Erica's Word" was a 1985 single from San Francisco's Game Theory, a group led by Scott Miller. Miller's taste in lyrics tended to run towards clever wordplay, and I especially like the lines "Make believe and pretend/I remember when they served the same end." The highpoint of the group's career was 1987's Lolita Nation, a double album of new wave/powerpop meets postmodernism lyrics meets collage and cutup. Unfortunately the group wasn't able to capitalise on it when their followup Two Steps From the Middle Ages came out just before their label at the time, Enigma, went bankrupt, followed by the departure of guitarist/vocalist Donette Thayer and an injury that prevented drummer Gil Ray from touring with the band. The group never really recovered, but Lolita Nation has become sort of a cult classic, no doubt helped along by the fact that CDs of the album are apparently almost as rare as hen's teeth and have been known to sell for considerable sums, as the album has remained, as the late great Clyde Gilmour might say, "in cutout bin limbo." I really need to dig out my LP copy and give it a spin one of these days.

It's interesting to compare Game Theory's fate with another band that released a double album in that period, Sonic Youth. While Game Theory got the short end of the stick Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation played a key role in getting the band signed by Geffen, leading them to become the most successful group to come out of the New York underground scene of the 1980s. Like Game Theory Sonic Youth were signed to Enigma, although unlike Game Theory they had another outlet for their album, England's Blast First.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Under New Management.

If you're a former employee of US electronics retailer Circuit City this isn't going to make you happy. It was announced today that Canadian telecom company Bell will be buying Circuit City's Source by Circuit City stores in Canada. These were Radio Shack stores until Circuit City acquired them in 2004, the name change coming due to legal moves by Radio Shack in the US. As Circuit City closed up its American operations at the start of 2009 the majority of the Source stores, some 750 outlets across Canada, continued to operate.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Quick Response.

It doesn't take long for fans to start producing fanfiction. Joss Whedon's new series Dollhouse has only aired 3 episodes, yet there is already a section at for the series with 25 entries. And not surprisingly there is already crossover fic for it, such as this example I spotted at the Buffy: the Vampire Slayer crossover site Twisting the Hellmouth. After all the lead on Dollhouse is Eliza Dushku, who played Faith on Buffy. No doubt if Sarah Michelle Gellar ever goes back to TV whatever she stars in will be quickly crossed over as well. Personally I'd be leery about writing fanfiction this early for a TV series. There's a strong chance whatever you write will be contradicted in short order by subsequent episodes.