Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's Cassette, July 23, 2009.

One of the vehicles I drive regularly has a cassette player, so I often use it. Today's cassette was Severed Heads' Since the Accident, Nettwerk's late '80s version. The original version was released in 1983. At the time the music was still mainly tape loops and low end analog synths, with "vocal" content generally consisting of various found and manipulated voices, singing and otherwise. I suspect that despite apparent claims otherwise this album and the following City Slab Horror may have had some influence on the work of Richard James aka Aphex Twin et al.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Results.

PokerStars' Guiness World Record Tournament is still running as I write this, but I've been out for a good while. But I have nothing to complain about. I ended the tournament in 5971st place out of a field of 65000 and won 3 bucks. At the end of the first hour I thought I was soon to be done, but a series of successful hands got me back in the game and I was around to hit the money at 16250th place. My trick in these kind of things is always to be patient. I see too many people who have a bad hand or a series of bad hands proceeding to go on tilt, go all in with a marginal hand, and find themselves on the rail in short order. When I'm in a bad place I'd rather see as many hands as possible, even if it means I get blinded off, than try to play marginal hands in the hope I'll catch something.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Making History.

It's rare for me to be involved in a potentially historic event. In fact I doubt I've ever been involved in one before. But Sunday may change that. PokerStars currently holds the Guiness World Record for biggest online poker tournament. 35000 players took part in a single tournament they held December 28, 2008. Now they intend to break that record, with the attempt taking place this Sunday at 14:10 Eastern Time. Along with direct entry for a mere buck they're holding lots of freerolls, each giving out 1000 tickets for the tournament. I took part in several today, and with some lucky cards I managed to make that top 1000, giving me a ticket for Sunday's attempt. Getting to the money will of course be very unlikely given the number of entrants, but it will definitely be fun to be part of that crowd. Hopefully such a huge tournament won't break their servers!

Gas In Saskatoon, July 17, 2009.

Gas in Saskatoon is currently 99.9 cents a litre. I'm a bit surprised to see the price going down as the summer progresses instead of going up.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Today's Cassette, July 16, 2009.

Yes, I'm verbose today. Not that I'm getting many visitors....

In the Sanyo tonight is Sailing the Seas of Cheese by those whimsical Bay area boys Primus. This was their major label debut on Interscope.

One thing the Sanyo MGR-710 lacks is a rewind control. The only way to speed through the cassette is fash foward. No doubt this omission was to save a few cents a unit and boost the profit margin.

Just Because.

From YouTube, a nice long live cut by Japanese group Yura Yura Teikoku. I don't have anything by them in my Japanese music collection, but I definitely like this piece.

Wherefore Art Thou, Malted Milk?

I want a Malted Milk chocolate bar. I can't find one anywhere in Saskatoon. Looking at the Cadbury Canada page I'm beginning to suspect the bar has been discontinued. Oh Malted Milk, why hath the market foresaken thee? The bar had been around forever. I guess there are just too many choices on the market. Another bar I occasionally would eat that has disappeared in recent years is the Almond Mars.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Michael Jackson mania continues in the tabs, and I doubt it will let up anytime soon. But one example I saw today was especially eye rolling. The cover story for the latest National Examiner is Michael's autopsy, and the headlines include the claim he starved himself to death. Right below that was a headline that read "Lose 5 pounds this week on the lemonade diet." Rather a case of cognative dissonance there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today's Cassette, July 14, 2009.

Last month I posted about that classic piece of audio playback tech, the cassette, and commented I wanted to listen to more of my collection. So here I sit, a Sanyo MGR-710 in my lap, listening to Mirage by the Meat Puppets. It's been a good long while since I listened to this one. Brothers Cris and Curt Kirkwood have been back in action as the Meat Puppets over the last couple of years after Cris finally got past years of drug addiction and a 2003 incident that led to a two year jail sentence. Not a bad album at all, and I suspect the title cut, which opens the record, was inspired by the '80s version of King Crimson.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Advertising Many Years Time Ago.

There are always surprises to be found on YouTube. One of these is the commerical above, a Molson Canadian ad from circa 1985. This ad, which features a cover version of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," predates Nike controversial use of the original Beatles recording of "Revolution" in a TV ad by two years. I saw this ad numerous times during its run on Canadian TV and it stuck in my head, so it was interesting to stumble across it on YouTube after not literally seeing it for 24 some years.
Pop culture is often ephemeral, but TV commercials by their very nature are extreme examples of this. While a musician, novelist, or filmmaker hopes their work will be a hit and have a long life those who make commercials know that their works will in the majority of cases have a limited lifespan. Their life may be as short as a day or two, and in general most ads hang around only for a few weeks. There are of course campaigns with longer lifespans, but even in those cases they tend to alter gradually as time passes, and even the most successful will eventually outlive their usefulness. Eventually today's successful ad elements like Erin Esurance will join the Taco Bell chihuahua in the nostalgic memories of those who saw them.

Given this it's surprising to see such "ancient" material online. Things that people might be expected to want to experience again, like TV shows and music, have often been the subject of less than careful treatment. An example would be Doctor Who, for which some of the earliest episodes are no longer available because the BBC didn't bother to preserve them. Old commercials are even less likely to be preserved, since their intended goal has been accomplished and there is no real viewing audience that would be interested in acquiring them on DVD. So their appearance on YouTube is mere luck of the draw, the result of being captured when a TV show or movie was recorded for later viewing off TV. It's reasonable to assume that for many ads the only existing copies will be such happenstance archiving, especially those ads made locally or regionally. So don't be surprised if that Coke ad you really loved in 1989 isn't available online.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gas In Saskatoon, July 10, 2009.

Gas in Saskatoon is currently 102.9 cents a litre. Reports earlier this week indicate that demand for gas is down this Summer, presumably because fewer people are taking long trips due to the economic recession.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Thumbs Down, Brad Trost.

Brad Trost is the MP for my riding. Since he's a member of the Conservative Party I had little reason to vote for him in the first place. And now I have even less reason after seeing comments he made to the so-called pro life site LifeSiteNews about government funding of Toronto's Gay Pride Week. Specifically this Trost statement got my ire going: "The pro-life and the pro-family community should know and understand that the tourism funding money that went to the gay pride parade in Toronto was not government policy...." How is a gay pride parade anti-family? Well, I suppose it is if you hold a narrow idea of family that never applied to everyone in the first place, and does so even less in an era that is slowly seeing silly prejudices against people for their choices of consentual sex partners fade away. And anti-life? Equally silly, since gays and lesbians are pretty much immune from causing or having accidental preganancies respectively, and hence are exceedingly unlikely to seek abortions for anything other than rape or utter medical neccessity.

Trost also said "Canadian taxpayers, even non-social-conservative ones, don't want their tax dollars to go to events that are polarizing or events that are more political than touristic in nature." As decided by whom? Somehow I doubt Trost would be complaining if someone got a government grant for a "Support Our Troops" parade, despite the political nature of such a function. Or how about the Calgary Stampede, which is becoming a lightning rod for a small but increasing number of Canadians who see it as meaningless cruelty to animals.(I'm neutral on the subject.) The reality is anything with a message beyond "Let's all have a nice day" is likely to offend somebody, and I wouldn't put it past some people to be offended even by something that innocuous.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Shut Up Already!

Okay, news media. Enough is enough. Michael Jackson is on his way to the cemetary. So shut up about him for a while. He's not going to get any more or less dead if you keep talking about him. At the very least can the 24/7 coverage of meaningless minutae. There will be lots of time to wrinkle out all the dirt you can print about him over the next few months. Meanwhile you've been giving short shrift to more important stories, like the Iranian mess and the coup in Hondouras.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Canada is 142 today, so go out and celebrate. Even if you aren't a Canadian you should go out and celebrate anyways. Drink a Molsons or something.