Saturday, December 31, 2011


Does Pokerstars taunt people?  I'm currently playing in the Saturday morning Weekly Round 2 Freeroll on Pokerstars.  I had 6-10 of clubs in the small blind, but folded to a raiser, since it's not a great hand and it's early in the tournament.  The flop came 7-8-9, all clubs.  I would have had a straight flush if I had called!  Arg!.  It would have been my second straight flush in the last 12 hours, as last night I was playing an Omaha Hi/Lo freeroll and hit a Ace to 5 straight flush, and with clubs no less.   So, it makes you wonder, but only briefly of course.  Given the number of players and the number of hands in any 24 hour period it would be ridiculous for them to waste valuable computer coding to set things up to tease players.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Way Too Fast.

When I went into Safeway this morning I noticed they already have a Valentine's Day section set up.  How ridiculous.  Boxing Day sales are still going on, and they're shilling a holiday that's more than two months away.  I seriously doubt anyone is thinking about Valentine's Day yet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

When I Rule The World 12.

All the incessant screaming on TV, at public events, and so on will be prohibited.  Seriously, it's damn annoying!  Enough already.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another Unwanted Present.

I received something I didn't want for Christmas.  My computer's CPU fan quit.  How annoying.  At least I have access to other computers until I can replace the fan, but it's no fun not having access to certain files.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, December 23, 2011.

This week we got an early surprise for Christmas, and not one that anyone wanted, an increase in gas prices.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 115.9 cents a litre at most locations. 

Hot Christmas.

Depending on what the weather is like where you live you may wish you were celebrating Christmas in Saskatoon.  Looking at the latest forecast Environment Canada is predicting a high of 4 degrees Celcius for tomorrow and 5 degrees for Christmas Day.  Yep, April type temperatures in late December.  Definitely not what you expect in this part of the world at this time of year. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Won't Happen Anyway.

I was recently thinking about another one of my When I Rule The World ideas, namely that no one will be allowed to sit beside me on the bus.  But of course such a post would be silly.  After all when it happens I won't be riding public transit, so making such a proclaimation is unnecessary.

Klan Kanned.

I recently posted about finding a Ku Klux Klan page on Deviantart.  I speculated that the account would soon be banned.  Sure enough I checked it today and the user has been permanently banned.  I presume Deviantart has some way of keeping banned people from simply creating a new account, but I'm sure they'll try.  And of course they'll whine about censorship.  Too bad, fools.  Deviantart is a private website and can kick off anyone they want.  Their behaviour regarding bans has often been arbitrary, but I doubt too many people will disagree with this one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


What's your visual prescence online?  To the best of my knowledge there are only two photos of me online, one I took myself,  and my accidental capture when GoogleStreet View scanned Saskatoon a few years ago.  You can't see my face in either, which has been okay by me in the past.  All you can tell is that my hair is brown, and I could do to lose some weight.  Other people have extensive photo collections of themselves on places like Facebook and Flickr.  They're obviously more physically comfortable with being seen than I am.  In a way it's funny given how many people are paranoid about their online security.   There are people I've never met who I might recognise if I ever ran into them, merely because I saw their Flickr feed.  Of course it's a big world, and that's not likely to happen, but it is something to think about.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Open The Door, Mr. Kim.

Greetings, Kim Jong-un.

I have no idea how you feel about your father, Kim Jong Il, passing away.  You might be happy, sad, or indifferent.  But I suppose one thing you definitely are now is scared.  If things go as your father desired you are about to become the leader of North Korea.  And therefore you've inherited one hell of a mess.  At the very least you probably have to worry that you'll be promptly overthrown by whatever factions are competing with yours.  Should you hang on to power you've got a country full of starving people, a backwards economy that pretty much exists at the whim of the Chinese, and various foreign powers that are just waiting for you to screw things up.

It's time to open the door.  Let the world in.  Sure, you'll probably want to do it slowly,  But you have no choice.  Your regime isn't going to last even as long as your dad's unless you save North Korea.  And the only way to do that is to find a way to end its isolation.  North Korea is far enough behind as it is, and it's only going to get worse.  You've seen the outside world, you know what it's like.  You can see what your people could have if they're allowed to.  So give them the chance.  Find some way to make a peaceful change, before everything comes crashing down.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Very Rare Bird.

Today I received something that must be very rare for the typical blog.  A hit from Andorra.  I would suspect there might be some visitors who have never even heard of this tiny European country, which doesn't even have half the population of Saskatoon.  Very cool.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Will It Please The Cosmic Lord Of Death?

I'm sure I've come across this page before.  Assuming I did it certainly didn't state we might see a new book featuring Joseph Rosenberger's infamous creation, the Death Merchant. I'd remember that.  I must say I'm surprised, as there can only be a tiny handful of people clamoring for new adventures featuring Richard Camellion.  I can't help but wonder about the legal status of this new book.  Dell was the last publisher to release Death Merchant books, and Rosenberger died in 1993.  So who owns the rights to the character?  Dell?  The Rosenberger estate, assuming there is one?  If the book isn't officially licensed, would the current rights holder think it worth the time to sue?  It's apparently being published by Kerodina Press, which sounds like it's a vanity press, so don't expect to see this in your local bookstore.  As for the title it doesn't really sound Death Merchantish.  It should be something like The Ressurection Strike.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Klansmen On Deviantart.

You can imagine my surprise when I came across this on the popular art site Deviantart.  According to the account info this one has been up for a month, which surprises me even more.  You'd think DA would have pulled their account already.  An obvious question is which version of the Ku Klux Klan this one is, given that there are at least 5 rival versions running around the US right now.  Of course the person who created this page may be a member of none of them.  In any case don't be surprised if you click on that link and there's nothing there but the announcement of a banned acount.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Cross Promotion.

Time to promote my other blog, Saskatoon at Seven Megapixels.  Today's entry is about the Rusholme Pedestrian Tunnel on the west side, which was in the news in November over crime concerns.  Take a look.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

When I Rule The World 11.

The term keytar shall be banned, for the term is an abomination.  The proper terms will be strap on controller or remote keyboard. 

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Another Sighting.

Following up my last post this morning I rode 0601, again a DART bus, and it too was equipped with an electronic sign.  Besides the time and "Stop Requested" message this one also displayed the upcoming stop.  There was no voice announcement, so perhaps this can be turned off by the driver if they find it annoying.  Interesting that the two buses I've encountered so far with these signs were both 2006 purchase date vehicles.

Friday, December 02, 2011

New Transit Tech.

I got on Saskatoon Transit bus 0604 today, which is one of the DART buses.  As I sat down I noticed a digital readout in place where the usual stop requested sign was.  At the time it was simply showing the current time.  It was only after we got over the University Bridge that a stop was requested, and as I suspected this gizmo flashed "Stop Requested" when the bell cord was pulled.  This was accompanied by a male voice stating "Stop Requested."  So, was this a test fit, or is it already planned to install these things on all buses?  We'll soon find out.  The unit does have a problem in my view, the "Stop Requested" message appears only briefly after the cord is pulled, so inattentive riders might pull the cord even though the bus will soon be stopping.  It will also be interesting to see if this unit has more sophisticated functions, like announcing upcoming stops as the bus approaches them.  Of course units that can do that are probably more expensive than ones that have only one message.

Gas In Saskatoon, December 2, 2011.

A tiny drop to report this week.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 111.9 cents a litre at most locations.  A dollar less per 100 litres may not seem like much, but if you drive a lot it quickly adds up.

Angering The Neighbours?

Next year is the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  The government intends to spend a bunch of money commemorating the event.  In a way I'm surprised.  Stephen Harper and much of the current strain of Canadian conservattism tends to treat anything American as wonderful, and will frequently denounce even the mildest of criticisms of the US by Canadians as anti-Americanism. Yet the current Conservative government intends to celebrate an event where the Americans, from a Canadian perspective, were the bad guys.  Apparently they aren't worried about bringing up bad memories in the US, as the War of 1812 included the occupation of Washington, DC and the burning of the White House and Capitol Building in 1814.  This was retaliation for the US attack on York, the future Toronto, so apparently the government isn't worried about stoking Canadian resentment towards the US either.  Most interesting.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Child Of Twilight?

Walking into a store this morning I passed a little girl, 3 years old at the most, and her mom.  The girl was named Bella.  I found myself wondering if the tyke was named after the "heroine" of Stephane Meyer's Twilight books.  Sure, it's possible the kid is named after someone like the late American feminist Bella Abzug, but given her age it's rather more likely she's named after Bella Swan.  I would imagine there will be a lot of kids shaking their heads in a couple of decades when they get around to reading about the doormat character they're named after.

But hey, it could be worse.  At least is supposed to be the heroine of Twilight.  Imagine the kids who might be named Draco, after Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter books.  The actor who played him in the movies, Tom Felton, appealed to a lot of the female fans, and the result was what is actually a rather nasty character being quite popular.  You can be sure that someone will name their kid after him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Need A New Chair.

My computer chair squeeks like crazy.  It sounds like I'm on a schooner out at sea every time I move more than a little.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, November 25, 2011.

We had a double dip this week.  Gas dropped 3 cents a litre at the start of this week, followed by another 1 cent drop.  The resutl is that gas in Saskatoon is now 112.9 cents a litre at most locations.  With winter driving season starting mid December it will be interesting to see if prices go up then.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

They Persist.

Some movies have a long production cycle, but this one seems a bit ridiculous.  Warner Brothers has indicated their continued interest in a The Man From U.N.C.L.E. film, despite director Stephen Sondheim jumping ship last week.  The article claims that Warners has been interested in a movie based on the '60s spy series for tweny years.  You have to wonder why.  Even the studio supposedly realises there lkely isn't a  large and devoted fanbase for the series, yet they've been trying for two decades to get the film off the ground.

For younger visitors not familiar with it The Man From U.N.C.L.E was a product of the early '60s spy boom that resulted from the success of James Bond.  It starred Robert Vaughan as Napoleon Solo and David McCallum as Ilya Kuryakin, agents for the fictional United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.  Together they fought against the schemes of THRUSH, an organisation bent on world conquest.  It was noteable that U.N.C.L.E. was an international organisation, and that the threat from THRUSH so great that an American agent could be successfully partnered with a Soviet agent, years before the real world detente period.

And it's the unfamiliarity of younger viewers with the series that strikes me as the problem.  It's these folks that fill the movie theatres for big budget action-adventure movies, not the people most likely to have actual nostalgia for the series.  Even more recent properties that have been turned into feature films, like The A Team, haven't been huge hits, and one assumes they have a larger fan base to draw on.  And given that much of the premise of the series is tied to the era it was made in it's not hard to suspect that a version set in the modern era will be little more than an original concept with a few signifiers tacked on to connect it with the original.  Doing it as a period piece?  Not likely, as that might not appeal to the young crowd you need to make it a hit.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cable Craziness

I've written before about the guilibility of some audiophiles.  They'll spend ridiculous amounts of money on stuff that supposedly improves their audio systems.  Today I came across another example. 

Chances are you're the owner of at least a couple of USB cables.  After all if you're reading this you probably own a computer, and chances are you own at least one device that needs a USB cable to connect it to your computer, like a camera or MP3 player.  Bujt if you believe the folks at the Locus Design Group your current USB cable likely isn't good enough.  Instead you need something like their Cynosure USB cable.  The price?  A mere 3549 dollars for a 3 foot cable.

Reading the blurb methinks the designer of this thing doesn't have a clue how USB devices work.  Of course the potential customers likely don't either.  After all they're the same kind of people who think that replacing a metal knob with a wooden one will make an audible difference.  And no doubt Locus will have happy customers who will rave about how the "stage" of their audio has improved, and how this was the best 3549 bucks they've ever spent.

Nice money if you can get it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Be Honest, We Can Take It.

That short little fan of purple, Prince, was scheduled to play in Saskatoon December 11th.   Unfortunately for his local fans it was announced this week that the show has beeen cancelled due to "scheduling conflicts."

It's amazing this hoary old euphamism is still in use.  Promoters and performers should be honest and admit the truth.  They didn't sell enough tickets.  We all know that's the case, so why pretend otherwise?  After all , these shows cancelled due to supposed scheduling conflicts are never rescheduled.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Grand Title.

Today was the once in a century number combo of 11-11-11, the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of the century.  Of course many people decided this was more significant than just being a cool number.  Global TV's supperhour news program devoted a segment to the subject, showing people getting married, buying lottery tickets, and so on because they thought this was a lucky, mystically significant, or what have you, day.  This included a numerologist from the Numerology Institute of Canada, Gordon Spowart.  It will come as no surprise to regular visitors to this blog that I was not amused with seeing him, as numerology is a pseudoscience.  But checking out the Institute my annoyance has turned to amusement.  As you can see from the website it appears Spowart is the Numerology Institute of Canada all by his lonesome.  Arrogance amongst promoters of this kind of stuff is all too common.  Cranks love to give themselves grand titles, or create organisations with important sounding names  that make it sound like they have large number of supporters and minons.

If only some of my odder interests had a wider audience, I too could make myself sound more important than I am.  I could for example start the Rosenberger Research Institute of Canada, since I've got a bunch of Joseph Rosenberger's Death Merchant books in my possession. and probably know more about him than virtually any other Canadian.  Unfortunately there's not much you can do to exploit knowledge of crankish '70s pulp writers, versus silliness like numerology, which has all sorts of followers just ripe for the picking. 

Gas In Saskatoon, November 11, 2011.

Gas prices dropped again this week.  Gas in Saskaton is now 116.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Somehow I doubt the drop was because Remembrance Day was this week.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

A Webcomic Tip.

Unlike priint comics, the back "issues" of webcomics are generally available instantly online.  Most have their past strips archived on site.  But before diving into the archives you might want to check how big they are.  Yesterday I started going through the archives of a webcomic called Blip.  I hit the first strip button on the main page and started reading.  And reading.  And reading.  If I'd bothered to go the archive first I wouldn't have read so many strips in a shot, as there have been over a thousand strips to the series.  So it was kind of ridiculous reading as long as I did, as there was no way I was going to reach the most recent comics in one sitting.  I'm not that obsessive.  So,, check the archives first, so you can pace yourself.

Monday, November 07, 2011

There's Still Time, People of Saskatchewan!

In case you've forgotten for some reason I'll remind you that we're having a provincial election today.  Polls remain open until 8 PM, so if you haven't voted already get out there and do it.  If you don't you'll have effectively voted for whoever wins, whether you like them or not.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, November 4, 2011.

The price of gas held longer than I expected, but it's finally changed.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 118.9 cents a litre at most locations.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not A Russian Politician.

We tend to associate fast food restaurants with a sort of cultural imperialism.  The perception is that the food at one in the US will be the same as the food at one in Tokyo.  But that often isn't the case.  Fast food chains often regionalise their menus to reflect local cultures.  For example in Canada Burger King offers poutine.  A dish originally created in Quebec poutine is french fries covered with brown gravy and cheese curds or some other form of cheese.  A few days ago I tried out BK's version with bacon added.

BK Poutine

Given the plastic lid I assume this stuff is made elsewhere for Burger King and just heated up at the restaurant.

BK Poutine 2

As you can imagine a combination of these ingredients tastes quite salty.  I like salty, but eating this stuff probably upped my blood pressure for a while.  I'm sure someone who has eaten poutine made in a Quebec restaurant would turn up their nose at this stuff, but I liked it and may try it again someday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Looking out the window what do I see?  Snow falling from the sky.  It's warm enough that it's melting, but it's a terrifying sign of things to come.

Time to get out your toques, everyone.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Here in Saskatchewan we're currently drawing to the end of a provincial election campaign.  Today I saw a sign in front of a local restaurant indicating their support for the Saskatchewan Party.  Personally if I were running a business I wouldn't do something like that.  Why risk alienating your customers and potential customers who don't support the party? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You Would't Have These Problems.

The ridiculous "Birther" issue came up again this week in US politics.  Texas governor and Reputlican presidential candidate Rick Perry flipflopped around about the issue, making it unclear what he actually believes.  Of course there's a simple solution.  Someone needs to introduce a constituional amendment to bring the US in line with a sensible country like Canada.  Make it so anyone who is an American citizen  is eligible to run for the office, instead of needing to be born an American.  Why keep a provision around that discriminates against millions of loyal Americans simply on the basis of their birthplace?

It's A Shame.

It seems a lot of my best blog post ideas come when I'm busy doing something else.  Unfortunately by the time I actually get to a computer several hours later the desire to write them has run out.  Nor would using some sort of mobile blogging platform work.  Even if I was inclined to spend the time squinting at a tiny cellphone screen I'm usually doing something that could preclude that.

Hmmm, I wonder how many great works of literature were lost because someone like William Shakespeare was too busy cleaning the yard to get them down.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Not My Pet.

This morning while sitting in the library reading a book I spotted a tiny spider on my pant leg.  I blew him off.  But he apparently liked something about my pants, as he kept reappearing after several attempts to remove him.  Finally he ended up on the floor, and the last I saw him he was running away for parts unknown.

It's interesting the difference size makes.  I wouldn't want a spider of noticeable size on  me.  But a tiny creature like that just seems cute, not threatening.  I can only imagine what kind of insects and other creatures the little guy eats.  They'd be as small or even smaller than him.  Of course not being a spider expert I have no idea how big he'll get, assuming of course he survives for long being in an environment with dozens of people walking around at any one time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bad Crunch Combo.

I was watching Chopped tonight.  One of the chef contestants was also a mixed martial arts practitioner.  Seems to me that's not the best hobby to have as a chef.  Have a bad sparring session and you might break a finger or two, which can't be a good thing if your day gig involves cutting food and other fine motor skills.  I would imagine having a leg in a cast wouldn't make working in a typical restaurant kitchen easy either.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, October 14, 2011.

Gas has gone up in Saskatoon, reversing the downward trend of recent weeks. It is now 121.9 cents a litre at most locations. Last week I speculated that the fire at the Regina refinery might cause a rise in prices, but I have no idea if this is the case.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Alas, No Bang.

I'm disappointed.  The 5 AM and 11 AM forecasts for Saskatoon included the possibility of a thunderstorm.  No thunderstorm appeared.  Early October isn't a time in this part of the world when we normally see thunderstorms, so I really would have liked to see one.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Once On The Dial.

I had a nice surprise today.  During my travels I came across a mailbox with a "Radio 600 CFQC Saskatoon" sticker on it.  I'm sure I haven't seen one of those in twenty years or more.  I really should have taken a picture.  Fortunately I came across a photo of it at the Radio Sticker of the Day blog.   It's the style at the top of the post.  Of course the one in the photo is much nicer looking than the faded example I saw.  Several decades on a mailbox will do that to an image.

My family were consistent listeners to CFQC in the '70s.  However we eventually began to listen to CBC for some reason.  Perhaps we just changed our tastes, I really can't remember.  CJWW currently holds the station's old 600 khz frequency assignment, while the callsign lives on via the local CTV station.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, October 7, 2011.

Down once more.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 117.9 cents a litre at most locations.  However it's possible this trend might stop.  A gas refinery caught fire in Regina yesterday, and it's possible this may have an effect on production.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

What's Stew With You?

Back in July(it didn't seem that long ago) I posted about trying out the microwave beef and mashed potatoes from Hormel's Compleats line.  Yesterday I tried the beef stew from the same product line.

stew 1

The photo on the package of this stuff looks more appealing than the one on the roast beef.

stew 2

But here's the actual stew itself.  Not the most appealing looking stuff, is it?

The stew was okay, but I don't think I'll buy it again.  I can buy Puritan brand beef stew for a $1.25 a can at the local Dollarama, and I think that stuff is a bit better product, even if it takes longer to cook.  The Hormel stew cost me $3.50 at Safeway, and that was on sale, the regular price being $4.75 or something like that.

Old School.

During my travels today I was in a store at the same time as a mother and her two young children.  The little boy was named Josiah.  Rather an old fashioned name to here attached to a five year old.  Later I wondered if being just a couple of stores down from a Christian book store had anything to do with the enounter, as perhaps conservative Christian parents would be more likely to call their son something like that.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

No Subtlety

When we think of dreams, we tend to think of a bizarre world full of strange images and events that are hard to understand.  That wasn't the case with my latest dream.  In it I was watching some sort of American political debate,  and one of the Republican speakers was Red Herring.  The name even had me rolling my eyes in the dream, because no one around me seemed to get it.  Yeah, my brain wasn't being very imaginative this time.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, September 30, 2011.

Yep, this feature is back on Friday, where it belongs.

Once more the trend is down.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 118.9 cents a litre at most locations.  It will be interesting to see if prices go up at all in the next week or two, as Canadian Thanksgiving is in the middle of October. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hey, Rays!

You lot really should send the Orioles a big present of some sort.  They really helped you out tonight.

Rays fans...well, there really aren't that many of you, are there?   When a team can't fill its stadium when their last game of the season determines whether they'll reach the playoffs or not you can't help but wonder how much longer the team will be there.  I'm sure there's someplace in the US that would appreciate the Rays more.  For that matter I wonder if Vancouver wouldn't be a good home for you.  Not that it will probably happen, the Mariners would probably see a Vancouver team as a threat to their bottom line.

Atlanta got beaten, as they should.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, ditch the "Tomahawk Chop" crap.

The National League playoffs are shaping up to be the Battle of the Ex-Jays.  Chris Carpenter pitches for the Saint Louis Cardinals, and won a complete game shutout tonight.  John McDonald and Aaron Hill are playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks(with many suspicious they'll be back with the Jays next year).  And Roy Halladay is pitching for the Phillies.  Now, if the Jays can make it in next year in the American League....

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, September 24, 2011.

The downward trend continues.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 121.9 cents a litre at most locations.  It will be interesting to see if it goes down much further.  I suspect it won't get any lower than 115.9 cents a litre.

Candy Time Machine.

There are all sorts of things one might like to do if someone invented a time machine.  A new one came to mind yesterday, getting candy. 

I saw a sign yesterday announcing the grand opening of a new convenience store.  For some reason this made me think of a chocolate bar from my childhood, the Wigwag.  The Wigwag was strips of caramel crisscrossed and covered in chocolate.  Sure, the caramel tended to harden up pretty quickly once it hit the store shelves, and the chocolate tended to flake off and get on your pants or shirt as you ate it.  But I'd still like one again.  A shorter lived bar from my youth was the Caramba, a caramel fudge bar that was only around for a year.  I'd like to try one again.  Even a trip a couple of years into the past would be helpful so I could go buy a Malted Milk bar.  That one would also be easier, since I wouldn't have to hunt up 1970s money to buy one.  Of course I imagine if you had a time machine you'd have the resources to find enough '70s money for your shopping trips to the past.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

YouTube Fails Me.

Going about my business today foir some reason a classic Canadian ad from the '70s came to mind.  It was a fire prevention ad based around the Little Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe.  The animated ad, which featured the Little Old Lady and her brood knowing what to do when fire broke out "Later that night, around half past two," spawned several more PSAs.  Unfortunately the original isn't on YouTube, just one of the later ones.  The later one misses the deadpan narration that makes the original so fun.  Of course, as I mentioned in a post about TV commercials on YouTube a good while back, it's surprising when ads like that do turn up on YouTube, especially the older ones.

Since it isn't available here's one of the classic National Flm Board Canadian Vignettes that appeared for years on Canadian TV.  This one is about the Republic of Manitoba.  Love that line at the end.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, September 17. 2011.

Prices continue to fluctuate.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 125.9 cents a litre at most locations, down 3 cents from last week.  It's interesting to compare this with the start of 2011, when the price of gas didn't change from January 7th to February 25th.  Of course the post Christmas/New Years holiday period is probably the slowest time for driving in Saskatchewan, so you might not want to discourage gas purchases.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Obvious Question.

If Budweiser if the King of Beers, who is the Queen of Beers?  A quick check indicates there is no agreed upon holder of the latter title.  Of course I'm sure some folks would contest the King of Beers title as well.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today's Cassette, September 15, 2011.

It's been a while, hasn't it?  Current in the old Sanyo is Steelteeth, the 1997 album from Toronto's Change of Heart.  Ian Blurton brought the group to an end after touring behind this one, going on to form Blurtonia and later C'Mon.  This cassette is an example of the problematic nature of cassettes.  It's lacking in high end compared to others I own, and it sounds like the alignment is off given that the stereo image is a bit wonky. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Waaah, It's Reading My Mind!

I'm sitting in front of the computer listening to the Blue Jays game on the radio.  And what does Adsense pop up when I checked on the blog?  An ad for listening to the Blue Jays online!  Spooky.

Well, not really, given that I've written some Blue Jays related posts over the last month or so.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, September 9, 2011.

This week's entry is on time.

A rather annoying jump to report this week.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 128.9 cents a litre, up 6 cents from last week.  And here I thought the price of oil was going down.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

When I Rule The World 10.

When I rule the world car horns will not beep when you use the remote to lock the car doors.  Having a horn seem to be beeping at you when it isn't is really annoying, and has potential to distract you at the worng time.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, September 2, 2011.

Yeah, I'm cheating a bit.  Too bad.

Gas price fluctuations continued this week.  Gas in Saskatoon is 122,9 cents a litre at most locations, down 2 cents from last week.  Given this is the last long weekend of the Summer it's possible we'll soon see another drop as demand drops a bit with the traveling season done.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Analog Today, Digital Tomorrow.

A final reminder for Canadian visitors:  Today is the last day of analog over the air TV transmissions for most TV stations in Canada.  Tomorrow they will begin transmitting in digital format.  If you receive TV via an old fashioned TV antenna you will need a recent TV that contains the necssary circuitry or a coverter box to watch the new format.  Cable and satellite TV viewers are not effected.  It should also be noted that if you use a radio to receive TV audio for some reason it will not be usable to receive the audio from digital TV stations.  I haven't been looking for them, but I haven't seen  any sign digital capable TV audio portable radios are available in Canada.

In Saskatoon specifically CTV and Global's Saskatoon transmitters will go digital.  CBC's English and French TV stations will remain analog.  As noted before the transition has been a bit of a mess as far as which stations will and which won't switch over to digital tomorrow, so consult with the stations in your area if you have any doubts.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I won't claim to be a great poker player.  But one thing I am is stubborn.  I'll stretch out my stay in a tournament as long as possible, even if I've got a ridiculously short stack.  Tonight I was playing a sit and go on Pokerstars with some money I won there on Sunday.  I didn't play well tonight, including having pocket aces cracked twice, which might not have happened if I played them better pre-flop.  Come bubble time in the tournament and I and the other tiny stack were down to our last couple hundred chips.  In the end on his final hand he had just a tiny bit fewer chips than I did, so he was forced all in by the blinds and antes, while I had a grand total of two bucks left that allowed me to fold.  He lost the hand, and became the bubble player, while I won 50 cents.  A silly way to win that money, but still fun anyways.  Of course if I played better I might still be in the tournament playing for more than 50 cents.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Change, It Had To Come;

Just in case anyone has been using my link list to access PZ Myers Pharyngula blog I'll note that I've switched the link here to the new version on  If you want to look at the old Scienceblogs version there are usually links on the new version when something is crossposted to both.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, August 26, 2011.

It's been a week of pingponging gas prices.  At the start of the week gas dropped to 119.9 cents a litre.  The trend reversed itself on Wednesday with a rise.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 124.9 cents a litre.  It will be interesting to see what if any changes there are before and after the Labour Day long weekend.

Two Thousandth Time's The Charm.

Congratulations to Jeph Jacques, whose webcomic Questionable Content has published itts two thousandth strip.  What started as a primitively drawn one strip gag comic about a 20 something and his little robot companion has grown considerably more sophisticated since then.  As the name indicates the comic often contains NSFW material, so don't get too into trolling the archives if you're at work when you read this.  Most webcomics don't last more than a couple of years, let alone long enough to have an archive of two thousand strips.   And Jacques is supposedly one of those rare cases who makes good money with his work.  Here's to another two thousand strips.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


It's funny that they call it life insurance.  It's actually death and damage insturance.  But of course calling it life insurance makes it a more appealing product.

When I was a kid every year we'd get a package handed out at Cardinal Leger, the Saskatoon Catholic school I attended, offering life insurance for kids.  We kids always shook our heads at the fact that the company gave out more money if you were maimed that if you died.  Of course we didn't realise that a badly injured child would cost money to help recover, while a dead child wouldn't.  If I remember correctly it was 10 grand if you died, 25 grand for major injury. 

Friday, August 19, 2011


Squier Thinline 1

It's been a long time since I bought a guitar.  I'd been thinking about buying something this year, so yesterday I pulled the trigger and bought this Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecastter. 

Squier Thinline 3

Squier Thinline 2

Of these photos I like the back the best, as it nicely shows the figuring of the mahogany used for the body.

The Telecaster was the first successful solidbody "Spanish" (that is, made to be played by fretting) guitar to see mass production.  The Leo Fender design was first released under the Esquire name in 1950.  When local guitarists convinced Fender to change the neck design so it had a truss rod, allowing for adjusting the curvature of the neck to compensate for climate effects, Fender renamed the guitar the Broadcaster.   Several hundred were produced before the  Gretsch Company asked the name be changed since they already had a Broadkaster drum line.  The result was a final name change to the one that would stick with the instrument, Telecaster.  Fender would soon revive the Esquire name for a single pickup version of the design, versus the two pickup Telecaster.

Telecasters have been offered under the Fender brand name ever since, a production run second only to the hollowbody Gibson ES-175, which debuted in 1949, making the '175 the electric guitar model produced the longest. 

This Squier model is based on the late '60s Telecaster Thinline, designed by the late Roger Rossmeisl(who designed many of the classic Rickenbacker instruments used by the Beatles) with help from Phil Kubicki.  It features a mahogany body with a hollowed out chamber and accompanying f hole, both features originally being an attempt to create a lighter version of the Telecaster than the original solidbody design.  This emulation is part of Squier's Classic Vibe line, which has been getting a lot of attention from guitarists of late.  These Chinese made instruments run in the 300 buck range, and show a nice level of quality for that price. 

Fender established the Squier line of instruments in 1982 when it began selling Japanese made instruments.  Fender had acquired the V.C. Squier string company in 1965, and decided to use the Squier name for their initial Japanese line in case reaction proved negative.  Instead Squier went on to be Fender budget oriented line, with production over the years moving to South Korea, Indonesia, India, and China as production costs increased in more developed countries and as guitar manufacturing capabilities grew in sophistication and quality in new places. 

This is a nice instrument.  I haven't popped off the pickguard to get a look at the electronics, but this one is surprisingly electrically quiet for a guitar with single coil pickups, which are prone to 60 cycle electric noise.  It seems a good shielding job was done.  Some folks have complained about the neck width and depth but they haven't bothered me yet.  If you're looking for a budget electric check these out. 

Gas In Saskatoon, August 19. 2011.

It's been a while, but the price of gas has finally changed.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 120.9 cents a litre. Of course the price change had to happen the day after I put gas in the car.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fan Phone.

Walking down the street today I heard someone's phone blurt out a familiar sound.  It was the opening bars of "Green is the Color," the old Saskatchewan Roughriders theme song.  These days it's pretty hard being a fan given how poorly they've done this year.  But there is a consolation, the BC Lions are every bit as bad this year, so the Riders aren't alone in the CFL West basement.

Monday, August 15, 2011



While doing some shopping today I decided I wanted some chips.  Unfortunately Real Canadian Superstore didn't have the Old Dutch chips I wanted.  After a bit of looking around I decided on a package of President's Choice Organics line chips because the price was good.

I certainly didn't choose them because they were organic.  Frankly the idea of organic junk food is rather silly.  Whatever minor health advantages being organic might give you they're still potato chips.  Just like regular, non-organic potato chips they have quite a bit of fat.  Using organic sunflower oil doesn't change that.  I don't think they taste any better than any other potato chip, although they're quite good.

Betcha Wanna Pet Him.

It was that time of year again.  Dudley came to visit last week.

dudley 2

Here he is waiting for everyone else to come back.  I'm afraid I'm not that entertaining to dogs.

dudley 1

I'm pretty sure I took this one mid chew of one of his dog treats.  His eyes look a bit odd because I used the redeye tool of the Kodak software I use on them. 

I should have tried to take more pictures of him.  I especially wanted one of his tail frantically waving as he was the centre of attention, but I couldn't pull one off.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

False Advertising.

This site calls itself the Canadian Free Press.  Yet the front page contains virtually nothing dealing with Canada.  Rather it's a bunch of US political stuff, much of it of obvious cluelessness, such as 'Birther' nonsense.  They should call the site Shameless American Right Wing Fanboyzone or something like that.  On the other hand they do say at the top of the page "...Because Without America There Is No Free World."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

That's What We Like To See 2.

Many major league baseball players never hit a grand slam.  Bret Lawrie has been in the big leagues less than a week, and tonight he hit his first.  He's 21.  I wonder how many more he might hit over the next however many seasons he plays.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Still Transmitting.

A lot has changed on shortwave over the years.  Many stations familiar to long time listners have dissappeared completely.  Others have greatly reduced their schedules, especially to the industralised world.  They unfortunately assume that if you live in such places you'll listen online.  But there are still some familiar sounds to be heard.  While tuning around the bands I cam across a familiar voice.  It was Arnie Coro, still hosting his longrunning show DXers Unlimited on Radio Havana Cuba.  He still sounds pretty good.

It's not much of a surprise that Coro is still aorund given that Radio Havana Cuba is largely stuck in the past, just like US-Cuba relations are.  It was interesting to hear the RHC newscast refer to NATO troops as "occupying troops" and the Taliban as "resistance forces," read by someone with a North American accent.  Probably some Canadian, or maybe some really adventurous American, who thinks they're helping to "fight US imperialism" instead of helping prop up a decrepit Communist dictatorship that needs to go.  Cuba has no more reason to like the Taliban than the rest of us, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that.  The whole thing was tedious decades ago, and gets even more so as the decades go on.  Unfortuately I doubt even the Castros dying will change things, as American policy has given the Cuban regime no reason to lighten up..

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I Question His Taste.

I must say I'm a bit disappointed with Mike Wilner after what I heard on today's Blue Jays pre game show on the Blue Jays Radio Network.  Today's Blue Jays-Orioles game is in a rain delay.  Over the PA system they apparently were playing "Here Comes The Rain Again" by the Eurythmics.  Wilner claimed it was the worst song of the 1980s.  Seriously?  Worse than some of the third rate hair metal that charted?  Or the more egregious of the schmaltzly power ballads that were so popular?  I don't think so, Mr. Wilmer.

Friday, August 05, 2011

That's What We Like To See.

Brett Lawrie just had his first at bat as a major leaguer for the Toronto Blue Jays.  The result?  A single and an RBI.  Good job!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Brother.

I'm surprised I haven't done this in the past, but better late than never.  It's my brother Joel's birthday today, so this one goes out to him.  And you too, if it's your birthday.


In Saskatoon the only people besides police officers you'll encounter on the street with legal handguns are the crews of armoured trucks.  While Canadian police forces have universally gone over to semiautomatic pistols armoured truck guards have continued to carry revolvers.  But it seems this is changing.  This morning I saw a Brinks guard heading in to a liquor board store, and it looked like he had magazine pouches on his belt.  Sure enough when he came back out I could see his right hip, and he was carrying a pistol instead of a revolver.  (I'm familiar enough with guns that the design of the grip made me think it was a Smith and Wesson product, perhaps their recent M&P model.)  I would imagine this is simply a case of the older guns needing replacement, as armoured truck robberies aren't common here.  In fact I haven't a clue when the last such attempt might have been.  It also makes me wonder again how much shooting practice these guys actually get.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Long Walk Avoided?

Things are looking up a bit for those of us who use the bus a lot.  Workers at Saskatoon Transit, represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615, are currently without a contract.  The last one ended 19 months ago.  When the union announced this week that it would not accept overtime, starting today, as part of a job action the city retaliated by threatening to lock them out Monday.  Fortunately both sides have now agreed to a mediator,  and the lockout has been lifted.

Back in 1994 we had a transit strike.  The strike started when I was across town at the Mall at Lawson Heights.  I was standing at the bus mall, waiting for a bus, when a city employee showed up to let us know there would be no more buses that day.  As I result I ended up walking home, which is quite the trip.  Fortunately this was during the Summer, so it was just a long walk.  I hate to think what it would have been like  if it was Winter.  This all but certainly wouldn't have happened this time, since I would have had ample warning, and Monday is the Saskatchewan Day public holiday anyways.  But I'm sure there are others who would have had to use the bus Monday who would be in a bad spot.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hit The Streets.

Canadian visitors who watch much Canadian TV have probably seen a recent series of ads concerning children's health by now.  They feature a parent talking about how their kid does some activity, and how that's plenty of physical activity.  The ads then go to state that no, that isn't enough, that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day to be healthy.  It seems to me that there's a simple way to help meet that goal for many kids.  Have them walk to school.

No, it's not practical for all kids to walk to school.  Some live too far away to do so.   But I have the suspicion that lots of kids who could be walking to school don't.  There sure seem to be a lot of cars parked in front of the typical school at the start and end of the school day.  Get some of these kids walking from an early age and the chances of them being obese are likely to be greatly diminished.  And frankly many adults would probably benefit from walking their kids to school if they just can't let them walk there alone.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I regularly examine my blog traffic, but it's for the actual reasons for it, not sheer numbers.  So I completely missed that my hit counter has gone past 30 thousand.  Of course that's because I don't take the sheer numbers it indicates too seriously.  Still, I figured I should mention it did happen.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


It was 42 years ago today that Apollo 11 landed on the Moon.  So here's some appropriate music.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not My Style.

I was just out running errands.  Leaving the parking lot of Varsity Common shopping centre on 8th Street I saw a man in a long denim skirt walk out of Sobeys.  Before you ask, yes, I'm sure it was a man given his beard.  It would be interesting to know why he was wearing that skirt.  Personal choice?  A lost bet?  Or some other reason?  Whatever the case it was an odd sight for Saskatoon, but that's cultural.  In North America men don't wear skirts,  and even certain types of long flowing robes are likely to be a more familiar sight on a man than the kind of skirt a woman would wear.  This is something I doubt will be changing anytime soon.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sorry To Disappoint.

Checking out today's traffic to the blog I found someone in Brazil came here by doing a search for "gueguen gay."  Sorry to disappoint you, whoever you are, but I'm straight.  If you're looking for a gay Mr. Gueguen he's elsewhere. 

Mr. Gueguen Predicts!

Today I was walking downtown when I noticed a young woman walking towards me.  She came to a stop beside me as we both waited for the crossing light.  Getting a bit better look at her I had a vision of her future.  What did I see in that vision?  Plastic surgery.

No, I hadn't suddenly fallen victim to wooitis.  Rather I noticed that she was one of those folk who decided piercing her ears and then sticking ever larger things in the hole to distend the earlobes was a good idea.  She had a pair of disks in the holes that looked about the size of quarters, if not bigger.  That's not the kind of thing that will just go away if you remove the jewelry, unlike more modest piercings.

Remember, kids, extensive tattooing and elaborate body modifications are hard if not impossible to get rid of, and what looks good at 25 may not look so good at 45.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Digital TV Update.

Time to follow up my previous post on the transition to digital TV.  Today's Star Phoenix has an article about the switchover, including the fact that CBC may no longer be available over the air after August 31st in Saskatoon.  If you watch TV via cable or satellite this won't effect you, but if you do need a CBC signal via antenna reception you may be out of luck.  And as I previously mentioned if you do wish to watch Global and CTV in the Saskatoon area via antenna you need to go out and buy a digital capable TV or converter box before the deadline, or those stations will be lost to you as well. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Wouldn't Do That.

A rather disturbing incident is causing some controversy here in Saskatchewan.  A couple living near the village of Springside were found dead in their home last week after not being heard from for 2 weeks or so.  Unfortunately there were also 7 dogs living with them, and the dogs began to eat their dead owners after whatever food they might have had access to ran out.  There is currently no indication the dogs had any role in the couple's death, there being some suggestion the male of the duo committed suicide after she died. 

The Saskatoon SPCA is currently in custody of the dogs, and currently hope to have them adopted.  A neighbour of the dead couple, Magaret-Ann Irving, feels the dogs should be put down, as she claims the dogs already had behavioural problems.  Many people who responded to articles and radio news reports on the case feel the dogs should be allowed to live.  Frankly if I were the SPCA I would probably have the dogs put down.  It seems to me that letting the dogs be adopted after what happened is just asking for a major lawsuit if the dogs do even minor harm to someone.  Even if new owners sign some sort of waver acknowledging the dogs have problems there could still be others who would sue.   It may be unfair to the dogs, but I'd say better safe than sorry.

Harry Potter And The Animator's Storyboard?

This week sees the debute of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, the final big screen adaptation of JK Rowling's ultra popular book series.  Hearing a news report this morning on the film made me wonder if there was ever any attempt to make a Potter cartoon series.  It seems highly likely that it was done.  Many franchises have hit the TV screen in cartoon form.  Some were successful, such as the 1980s cartoon version of Ghostbuters and the current Star Wars:  The Clone Wars series.  Others never made it to air, such as the proposed cartoon version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, despite a short pilot animation that included voice work from much of the cast of the TV series.  Then there are such bizarre examples as Rambo and the Forces of Freedom, based on the Stallone movies.  Perhaps Rowling didn't like the idea of material being produced that wasn't directly based on the books, as the movies were.

For that matter I wonder if there was ever a pitch for a Harry Potter ongoing comic book.  Again this would obviously have revolved around stories not created by Rowling, which is perhaps why it didn't happen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Intelligence Implications.

The ongoing British tabloid scandal seems to just keep growing and growing.  The list of victims of cell phone hacking includes former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and may include Prince Charles on top of several lesser members of the Royal Family.  But in the reports that I've been exposed to I have yet to encounter any discussion of the possible espionage implications of all this.  If unscrupulous journalists, reportedly with the help of British criminals, can hack people's voice mail then what can professionals from the various intelligence agencies or the more sophisticated terrorist groups do?  The growing number of capabilities of cell phones and their cousins bring to mind all sorts of possible tricks that could be done by pro hackers, like say accessing camera functions to take pictures of secure locations, or tracking the movement of targets by GPS data.  But even access to voice mail could allow all sorts of mischief with proper analysis, especially if the target or those that contact them are less than careful with what they say.

Conversely the members of some organisations may not be happy with this scandal.  It has revealed the vulnerability of these technologies, and their current targets may as a result become more cautious with their phone use.  

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hey, Cat People.

What does it mean when you walk past a cat siting in a window, and it licks its lips twice as it watches you go by?  Should I be worried?

If you don't see another post on here you'll know the International Kittycat Konspiracy has done me in.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, July 8, 2011.

The decline in gas prices has reversed.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 122.9 cents a litre at most locations.  And as I predicted the price went up several cents instead of just one.

A Note To Skateboarders.

The middle of the road is not an appropriate place for boarding.  Furthermore if a vehicle comes up behind you get the hell off the road so you don't slow up traffic.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

A Note To Bicyclists.

If you're driving on the street you count as a vehicle.  So please don't drive through red lights and stop signs without stopping.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Things I Eat.

A dietician would not be happy with my diet.  I don't eat enough fruit and vegetables.  And I have a habit of trying stuff like this:

This is roast beef and gravy from Hormel's Compleats line.  Honestly it doesn't look all that appealing on the package.

Here you can see the nutrition information for this product.  Quite a bit of salt for a single serving.

And what do we find under the plastic after we microwave it? (FYI, you're supposed to poke a few holes in the covering before microwaving, which I did.)

No, it doesn't look particularly appetising after it's cooked.

My verdict?  Edible.  The beef is kind of stringy, and a bit red for my taste since I like my meat well done.  But the overall taste isn't bad.  It's definitely not going to be any threat to your mom's roast beef supper if you have a mom who makes roast beef.  But if you need a quick lunch it will fill you up a bit.

Gas In Saskatoon, July 1, 2011.

It was another week of dropping gas prices.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 118.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Interestingly I saw a promo for the newcast of a Detroit station, and gas prices there are apparently going up.  Perhaps retailers there are trying to cash in on the July 4th long weekend.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When I Rule The World 9.

Strollers the size of small motorcycles will be banned from public transit.  Seriously, who thought those are a good idea?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, June 24, 2011.

I missed last week's entry in this series, so there's no way I was going to miss this one.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 121.9 cents a litre at most locations, a drop of one cent from last week.  You can bet that when the price next goes up it won't be by a mere cent.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Gold For Saskatchewan.

You'd think I would have remembered, but I didn't.  The World Series of Poker is well underway, and Saskatchewan can now claim a braclet.  Tyler Bonkowski of Regina won $220,817 in the 3000 Dollar Limit Hold 'Em tournament, $3000 being the amount each player has pay to play in the tournament. Along with that nice chunk of change he gets a World Series gold bracelet, as do all winners of a WSOP event.   Note that you won't find the actual tournament Bonkowski competed in in the Star Phoenix story.  I think it's a reasonable guess that the writer isn't a poker fan.  Bonkowski is from Moosimin by way of Regina.  This is his forth cash at a WSOP event, and the first victory for a Canadian player at the 2011 edition.  The Main Event, the highlight of the series, begins July 7th.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When I Rule The World 8.

When I rule the world SUVs will be banned.  As for pickup trucks you will actually have to provide a good reason why you should be allowed to own one.  And pickup trucks that have designs that make them nothing more than overgrown sports cars will also be prohibited.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, June 10, 2011.

Gas in Saskatoon is currently 126.9 cents a litre at most locations.  A drop of 1 cent really doesn't make much difference when you're filling up.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

That Voice.

It's weird finding out that Kanye West sampled a Mike Oldfield tune of all things, although not as weird as it would have been if I hadn't heard he'd sampled King Crimson.  So, it's time for some good old shameless hit mongering by posting "In High Places" here.  Not that it's worked in the past, but maybe this time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Do Creationists Pee?

The question came to mind after reading a new bit of Creationist nonsense PZ Myers came across.  You'd think anyone above about oh, the age of three would know that urine is the result of fluid intake, and therefore largely composed of water.  Apparently not whoever came up with this silliness.

(If you read the comments to PZ's post you'll see a lot of people think it's a Poe. Whether it is or not you can be sure someone out there does actually believe this.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Talking Money.

They say money talks, but I currently have a five in my pocket that sounds like a pirate.  The serial number prefix is AAR.  Then again maybe it's a cry of pain, since the bill is torn in a couple of places.

Look at Canadian paper currency serial numbers and you'll see lots of combinations that make words, or some other familiar combinations of letters, depending on what you're familiar with of course.  Some familiar ones that have caught my eye include:

AOK, which looks like the phrase "A, okay!"
FET, which is a type of transistor.
APE, which is obvious.
FEM, which is sometimes used to indicate female. 
AOR, album oriented rock, a term often used for the big "arena acts" of the '70s and early '80s, like Styx and Boston.
HOP, another obvious one.
HOE, yet another obvious one.
HOG, as above.
BEV, the common short version of the name Beverly.
AOL, America Online, the Internet company.
APB, all points bulletin.
FEG, the commonly used trade name of Hungarian arms company Fegyver- és Gépgyár.
APC, armoured personnel carrier.
APU, auxillary power unit, found on  many aircraft.
AOA, Age of Apocalypse, a storyline from Marvel's X Men comics.
ANY, another obvious one.
HOT, yet again obvious.
BTK, the pseudonym of serial killer Dennis Rader.  Also a 1990s Canadian hiphop/rock group, Birth Thru Knowledge.
APG, a prefix used by the US military to identify aircraft carried radars ie the AN/APG-65 used by the F/A 18 Hornet.
AAA, anti aircraft artillery, or the American Auto Association.
BTU, British thermal unit, a measurement of energy use.
FEE, another obvious one.
ALF, both the short version of Alfred and the title character of a popular '80s sitcom.
ALE, as in beer
BTR, a series of Soviet era military vehicles, such as the BTR70 armoured personnel carrier
BTW, common online abbreviation for "by the way."
HOW, obvious again.
EWE, a female sheep.
ALT, a key on a computer keyboard, or an abreviation for alternate, or the last name of a famous model.
FEB, an abreviation for February.
AYA, a common Japanese female name.
EWI, Electronic Wind Instrument, a synthesizer controller, designed by Niles Steiner, for saxophone players.
AYE, obvious again.
AAM, air to air missile.
ARE, obvious.
AWE, obvious.
ALL, also obvious.
ARF, the sound of a dog bark.
BEN, the common male name.
ARC, another obvious one.
ARK, Noah's impossible to float boat.
ELM, a nice tree.
AHA, "A ha!"
ALA, "A la."
EVH, guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
BEM, bug eyed monster, a common '50s sci fi menace.
EVE, the girl who supposedly got us all in trouble.
ANT, a guy who was in Genesis once upon a time.
AVE, abreviation for avenue.
ELK, a nice creature to see.
BFF, best friend forever.
EVA, common girl's name.
FRG, short for the Federal Republic of Germany.
ERG, a unit of energy.
EST, a briefly popular New Age mental health treatment created by Werner Erhard.
AIM, US military prefix for air to air missiles. Quite appropriate given the word it also is.
BEA, common female name.
ASK, obvious.
GOB, English slang for spitting.
BEG, obvious.
ELP, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, the popular, and sometimes infamous for musical excess, progressive rock group.
ERA, Equal Rights Amendment, which many Americans stupidly rejected.
GPS, Global Positioning System.

Yes, this post is silly and excessive.  But I just had to do it.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Switching Over...Or Not.

If you're a Canadian TV viewere you may have noticed ads about the upcoming changeover to digital TV transmission.  Canadian TV stations must switch their over the air TV transmissions over to the new digital transmission format by August 31, 2011.  Sounds simple.  But it isn't.  The Wikipedia article on the subject shows what a mess it's going to be.  Some transmitters will be changing over or already have done so.  Others wont.  For example the CBC English and French transmitters in Saskatoon aren't scheduled to switch over because they are retransmitters only, with the studios located in Regina.  Regina's CBC transmitters on the other hand will go digital.  Some transmitters may leave the air entirely.  This is on top of the confusion that is likely to result because many viewers won't understand they need to acquire equipment capable of receiving the new digital ATSC standard.  In the United States nearly 2 million people still didn't have digital TV receivers when analog signals ended in June of 2009.  So some viewers will suddenly find their local TV station gone from its old analog channel and not know why.

If you have cable or satellite you won't have to worry.  But if you need to receive signals with an antenna you'd better get cracking at getting the right gear.

Cash Is King.

Yesterday I got one of those phone calls you don't want.  My bank notified me that my debit card was being locked because of a potential data skimming, and that I'd have to visit my local branch to get it unlocked and to change my PIN number.  Since I didn't find out until after local branch hours had ended I was stuck with a grand total of 13 bucks to my name that happened to be in my pocket.  In reality I wasn't really broke since I do have a credit card with another bank, but I only use that card for certain things. 

This is the kind of thing that makes appreciate cash.  When you spend actual, physical money your entire savings aren't at risk, just whatever cash you hand over.  You're also more likely to think about what you're spending, instead of simply pressing a button and worrying about it later, like at the end of the month when your bank statement comes, and you suddenly realise that you've spend a lot more money than you thought.  It's probably a good idea to leave the card in your pocket except for more pricey things, which you're likely to buy at places much less likely to be the site of a skimming attempt, and pay for the small stuff with paper money.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Not Watching The Puck.

Hockey has been getting a lot of non-sportscast press the past few days in Canada.  It's a combination of the Vancouver Canucks going to the Stanley Cup and the announcement Winnipeg will be the new home for the Atlanta Thrashers, despite the NHL's disdain for the idea.  Yet it's worth remembering that despite the stereotypes a lot of Canadians don't actually watch hockey, like me.  Like soccer I find it a bunch of pointless going back and forth.  I prefer something where the use of strategy is a bit more obvious, like Canadian football or baseball, and other non-hockey watchers have their own reasons for disinterest with the game .  For example there are probably some immigrants or the kids of immigrants who don't bother with hockey, but stick with the traditional sports obsessions of the "old country," whereever that might be. 

Still, even if you don't follow hockey it's not hard to get interested in some of the business goings-on behind the game.  For example why would anyone want a pro hockey team in Atlanta, especially since the first attempt, the NHL's Atlanta Flames of the early '70s, failed and moved to Calgary, where they remain today.  Los Angeles makes sense if only because of its sheer size and the number of Canadian expats living there, especially those in the entertainment business.  There's also the already mentioned antipathy by the current NHL bosses towards any talk of a new team in Canada.  It's only because they pretty much have no choice, other than let the team fold, that they've finally agreed to the Thrashers move.  But watching the actual game itself is something I just won't be doing.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Refresh Button.

It's time to refresh your poker lineup, GameTV.  You're playing Premier League II for about the 30th time since I first started watching poker on your network.  I'm sure there are a few viewers who have memorised every hand by now.  A lot of your other poker programming is equally tired.  You've got your money out of those progams, now it's time to move on.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not A Sibling Act.

When Jeopardy started tonight I couldn't help but smile when I saw that two of the contestants were Carl and Chloe, and were beside each other.  This was because siblings Carl and Chloe Crashman were characters in the Canadian cartoon Carl Squared, which aired on Teletoon.  Too bad neither of the Jeopardy contestants had the last name Crashman, which would have been even cooler.  And of course neither were related, as relatives can't play against each other.  Not that the animated siblings would be happy to be on the same show anyways.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Public Service.

Annoyed that you can't figure out what the hell that music in the new Blackberry ad is?  Wondering why it sounds a bit like Queen?  That's because it is Queen, with their theme for the 1980 flop Flash Gordon.  I've  never seen the movie, and looking at the clips here I'm in no hurry to.  (Melody Anderson's acting looks pretty bad here.) One thing that's amusing to me about the Queen footage in the vid is Brian May doing piano parts on an Oberheim OBX analog synthesizer.  For those not familiar with it, an OBX cannot do realistic piano sounds.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, May 20, 2011.

People tend to assume gas prices go up as a holiday approaches, especially a holiday that allows for lots of travel.  But that wasn't the case this week.  The price of gas actually dropped twice, with the price now at 127.9 cents a litre at most locations.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

No Cleaner.

My street was supposed to be cleaned last night.  Didn't happen.  So, where the hell were the street sweepers?  I like watching those things.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Caitlin Wouldn't Work There.

Regular visitors of this blog will know I'm a fan of the now ended Teletoon teen sitcom 6teen.  Although an actual location is never given I've always felt that the series took place somewhere in Southern Ontario, specifically one of the cities of the Toronto region.  Via A Bit More Detail I found out that there actually is a Galleria Mall in Toronto.  Robyn Urback posted at blog.TO a report on the mall.  Unlike the animated megamall in 6teen this much smaller mall has seen better days.  Of course that's because they only share a name, with the TV version being based on Toronto's Eaton Centre and Edmonton's West Edmonton Mall, not this sad place.  It reminds me a bit of Saskatoon's Market Mall, which tends to have a vibe of being past it, but Market Mall is a powerhouse by comparison.   Interestingly in an early episode, "A Lime To Party," the owner of the Big Squeeze lemon drink stand, Big Steve, threatens to move it to a strip mall when sales drop.  I would imagine it would be a place like this real Galleria Mall. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, May 13, 2011.

Gas prices seem to be in flux today.  Earlier this week they rose to 136.9 cents a litre at most locations, but today many seemed to have dropped their price a cent 135.9 cents.  Beats me what difference they think a one cent drop will make.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

In Case You're Wondering...

Well, you probably aren't.  But on the off chance you are, no, the results of last week's election haven't effected my desire to post.  I simply haven't had anything I wanted to post make it to postable status.  I often get ideas when I'm away from the computer, but usually by the time I get back to it they've gone away. 

Monday, May 02, 2011

I Thought There Might Be A Loophole.

Under Canadian election law radio and TV stations can't broadcast election results until the polls have closed in the area they service.  The idea is to prevent voters from being unduly influenced by election results elsewhere in the country.  As a result the national CTV and CBC news channels are currently blocked here in Saskatchewan, where the polls won't close for just over an hour.  But the thought came to mind that the Sun News Channel might be accessable, since it's a new channel, and therefore whoever arranges such things might have missed it.  But it too is currently blocked. 

Frankly it wouldn't matter to me if I knew the results elsewhere in the country before I voted.  My mind isn't going to be changed on the day of the election.

Where Did You Vote?

In my case I can actually show you.  I voted at Saint Augustine Catholic elementary school, which was the subject of a post on my photoblog last year.  You'll only get a shot of the exterior, as I didn't think it appropriate to ask if taking photos of the actual voting was possible.  As noted voting takes place in the school's gym. 

I hope you got out to vote today if you had the chance, or voted in the advanced poll last week.  As always not voting means you defacto voted for whoever wins in your riding, no matter what you think of them. 

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Where No One May Find Him.

Chances are this won't be the first place you'll find out that US forces have killed Osama bin Laden.  Although I would have prefered they captured him alive so he could be tried I'm not upset he's worm food.  But now an obvious question is what to do with his body.  I've already seen nonsense about wrapping him in pigskin or ideas along those lines.  Such ideas are childish and will simply incite violence.  The best thing to do with his remains is to dispose of them in such a way that they cannot be located again.  Bury him in an unmarked grave in a randomly chosen graveyard.  Better yet cremate him and scatter his ashes to the four winds.  This will make sure his corpse cannot become a relic, an idol,  a focus of veneration by those foolish enough to fall for his bullshit ideas.  Do all this in secret and only announce it after the fact, so that the act of disposing of his remains cannot be used by his followers, and the date it happened cannot become a day of memorial.  He doesn't deserve the attention.

Toss Trost.

Pretty simple message here.  If you're going to vote in Saskatoon-Humboldt tomorrow don't vote for Brad Trost.  It's time for this guy to go back to the 1950s or whereever it is he came from.  We don't need the kind of sexist, anti-gay, outdated mindset he represents in our government.  So send him packing.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, April 29, 2011.

Almost didn't get this one in today.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 131.9 cents a litre at most locations. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just In Case You Forgot.

Since we've got an election going on here in Canada you may have forgotten.  So here's a reminder.  Saturday, April 30th is the deadline to file your Canadian income tax return for 2010.  Yep, less than a week away.  Kind of appropriate that the election is May 2nd, since how you vote will decide who gets to spend your contribution to government revenue.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Heat Without Light.

If you're in Saskatoon and subscribe to Shaw digital cable you can see the new Sun News Network channel on channel 177, and apparently this applies in other markets as well.  A press release indicates the channel will be free for the first six months.  I won't be watching it given the stupid BS about "political correctness run amok" in one of their ads.  Funnily they played this promo right after a Liberal Party campaign ad, but presumably they have to play campaign ads no matter who offers them.  It will be interesting to see how well this channel actually does, as Conrad Black's attempt to create a right wing national newspaper, the National Post, has never made money.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, April 15, 2011.

Well, it didn't take long for another price increase.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 128.9 cents a litre at most locations.

As the price of gas goes up it will be interesting to see how much longer the companies keep selling it in cents a litre.  Although cents might sound cheaper than dollars 1.28 sounds cheaper than 128.9.  Not to mention that selling gas at a dollar twenty eight a litre will make it sound cheaper when compared to US prices in the four and five buck a gallon range.

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Whimper.

Manny Ramirez announced his retirement today after it was reported he had run afoul of Major League Baseball's drug policy again.  He apparently faced a 100 game suspension and decided to pack it in.  Pretty disappointing way for a career like his to end.  The Tampa Bay Rays will have a hole to fill, but better for it to happen a week into the season than for the saga to go on for weeks.

Gas In Saskatoon, April 8, 2011.

Once again it's time for the longest running feature on this blog.  Gas in Saskatoon is currently 123.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Barring other changes in the economy it will be interesting to see if the price increases towards the end of the month, when the Easter holiday rolls around and a bunch of people will be travelling.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Sorry, Jack.

I found your message on the answering machine this afternoon, but I'm afraid I can't come to Saturday monrning's NDP rally.  I like to sleep in on Saturdays, and I might not even be awake yet.  Good luck with the rally, as we certainly don't need Conservatiuve MPs being re-elected in Saskatchewan.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sorry, Sportsnet.

You're up to your old tricks again, namely playing only some of the Toronto Blue Jays games on all Sportsnet feeds.  But I'm afraid it's not going to get me to subscribe to additional feeds or the Sportsnet One channel.  I'm sure it won't work on most other Jays fans either.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Disunite The Right?

This being April Fool's Day my thoughts drifted this morning to my former MP, Jim Pankiw.  He had said last year he'd run in the next election, and a March 26th Star Phoenix story indicates he's running here in Saskatoon-Humbolt.  Could he actually serve a useful purpose and pull votes from Brad Trost, and increase Trost's chances of losing?  One can only hope.  That's the only thing he actually can do in this election, drain off the idiot vote.  Trost isn't much better than Pankiw is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's The "In" Thing, Stephen.

What's wrong with our PM?  He keeps trying to convince people the other parties will form a coalition if he doesn't get a majority, and that this is bad, so they should vote for him.  Funny how his counterparts in the British Conservative Party don't seem to think coalitions are a bad thing.  They're even running around chopping things left and right like Harper would if he could get away with it.  Maybe he should reconsider the idea and think about forming one himself again if things don't go the way he wants.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Maybe You'll See Paul.

How's this for an interesting webcam?  It provides live coverage of the famous Abbey Road street crossing.  Pretty good quality and a smooth feed.  Of course it should be noted that Saskatoon is 6 hours behind UTC, so it's nighttime in London as I post this.

Pay The Girl.

I'm not going to post Rebecca Black's surprise pop hit "Friday."  It's been seen enough already.  All I'll say is that I hope Ark Music, the company behind the song, will pay her for its success.  At minimum they should pay back her family for the money they shelled out for its creation, no matter what the contract they signed says.  Black apparently had no involvement in writing the song, but she at least deserves a chunk of the mechanical royalties(royalties paid out for the sales of the actual recording) being the artist.

Somehow before all this is done I suspect we'll be hearing about a lawsuit involving at least some of the parties.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not The Final Bow.

Although she had long been in poor health the announcement that Elizabeth Taylor has died still came as a surprise.  The tabloids had featured variations on "her brave last days" headlines so often over the years it seemed she would dodge death into her nineties, but it was not to be.  However this won't be the last we'll see of her in the celeb press.  Given a suitable mourning period(say a couple of weeks) the tabs will move on to the kind of stories they run post death about people like Taylor, such as lurid details of her life they held back out of fear of lawsuit or the fights amongst her heirs over her estate, whoever they may be.

Althnough in the later years of her life she was best known simply for her celebrity it is worth remembering that she came to fame as an actress, her career including 2 Oscars for Best Actress.  Compare this with someone like Kim Kardashian, whose primary claim to fame seems to be that she can dress herself.  I doubt we'll be talking about her or her contemporaries when they're in their seventies.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Big Five.

Twitter turns five today.  It can now go to kindergarten in the Fall.

The obvious question is where Twitter will be in five years.  A lot of internet big names have risen and fallen.  A few years ago Myspace would have seemed like the place to invest in, but now the site is stagnant.  AOL seemed to be everywhere at one point, but now has a much smaller public footprint.  Remember Altavista?  Even if you do you likely haven't used it in years.  Being on Twitter may seem tired in a few years, replaced by some other concept.

On CBC Saskatchewan's The Morning Edition this morning host Sheila Coles commented on the banality of many Twitter messages, like people sayng they're eating breakfast.  Given that Twitter is an online equivalent of cell phone text messaging this is no surprise.  Lots of text messages are equally trivial.

This post is longer than 140 characters.  Hopefully it won't strain anyone's attention span.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Tell your newscasters to stop pronouncing Iraq as "eye rack."  That is not how that country name is pronounced.  Doing so makes them sound like uneducated hicks, and I suspect a lot of uneducated hicks know better.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Defensive Action.

Talk continues that the lowly penny may soon be discontinued in Canada.  But today I did my part to keep it around.  I decided this morning I wanted a drink, but I was a little short on change.  Not wanting to be totally changeless I grabbed a couple of rolls of pennies I had planned to deposit in the bank eventually and set off for the local Safeway.  The one closest to me has a self checkout lane that accepts cash, so I knew I could use a bunch of pennies.  So I grabbed my pop and spent a couple of minutes shovelling a buck and a bit of pennies into the kiosk.  No doubt the guy who was overseeing the self checkout lane must have thought I was crazy, but the machines accept pennies so it was a legit way to pay.  Of course all this was done with the knowledge on my part that there aren't many customers there at 9:30 AM, so I wasn't likely to slow things up.  Doing quixotic things like this should be done in a way that won't cause problems for others. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Google Disturbs.

I'm sitting here reading a discussion about how rape is presented in fanfiction.  It reminded me of a piece of Ranma 1/2 fanfiction where a drugged Ranma is raped by Kuno.  The title escapes me, so I typed "ranma kuno rape" into Google in an effort to find it.  After I hit enter it came back with "Did you mean: ranma akane rape."  It's a disturbing enough topic to be searching for as it is, and Google comes back with that, which would seem to indicate that's a far more common combination of words.  Thanks for upping the discomfort factor.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Woo Warning.

A post by Les over at Stupid Evil Bastard hipped me to this, a handy comic list of telltale words that indicate (in the proper context of course) you're dealing with a woo monger.  These will be familiar to anyone who pays attention to woo, but they're a good reminder of what to watch out for.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Would You Eat That?

It's amazing the weird stuff people will eat.  I've become a regular viewer of the show Chopped on the Food Network.  The premise is that 4 chefs compete to impress a panel of judges with dishes made from surprise ingredients.  In the basket for last night's opening appetizer course?  Goat brains!  Why would anyone want to eat goat brains?  Disgusting.  Of course that's not as weird as some foods and beverages you can find, like the pricey coffee that's made of beans collected after passing through a civet.  At least goat brain is just an unappealing chunk of flesh, versus coffee beans that have been pooped out of an Indonesian equivalent of a raccoon.

I hope this doesn't put you off your feed, as the saying goes.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


There are many considerations when selling a product.  One of the important ones is the design of the packaging.

squat 2

In recent years soft drinks have been offered in Canada in cans like those above.  These squat little things contain 237 millilitres of product each.


When I went to buy some groceries yesterday I decided to buy some Coke Zero.  When I came to the pop isle I found that the small can format had changed to the one above, as it has for other Coke brand products.  It's taller than the previous format, which was the same 237 millilitre package as the Pepsi cans above.  But if you look at the picture carefully you'll see that the can actually contains less than the old version. It contains 222 millilitres of beverage, 15 less than the squatter format.

I doubt the new format was intended solely to reduce the amount of product.  Given that part of the reason for this size of pop is to appeal to those on diets it wouldn't surprise me if they hope to encourage purchases by making people subconciously associate drinking that size with getting slimmer.  They might also be hoping to attract customers who like energy drinks like Red Bull, which come in similar slim cans.  But whatever the other reasons they've also apparently decided to use the change to increase their profit margin.  I have no idea how much 15 millilitres of Coke Zero or any other soft drink costs to make.  But if you make a tenth of a cent or whatever per can versus the 237 ml size while selling it at the same price it will quickly add up.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Gas In Saskatoon, February 25, 2011.

If you thought the goings on in the Middle East wouldn't effect you directly you've probably changed your mind by now.  As a result of rising oil prices gas in Saskatoon is now 119.9 cents a litre at most locations.  Frankly I'm surprised the previous Saskatoon price, set on January 7th, lasted as long as it did.  The jump this week was 8 cents, and I won't be surprised if it goes up further in fairly short order.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CD Minus.

There has been much talk in recent years about the future of the recorded music business.  Downloads, both legal and illegal, have made a big dent in the sales of CDs.  Not only has it effected the record companies, as I still old-fashionedly tend to call them, but it's also hurt stores that sell CDs.  It would seem the decline has claimed another casuality.  While out and about today I found the CD Plus store in Confederation Mall had closed.  The fact the sign on the door announcing the closure didn't mention the other outlets in town made me suspect they were all going.  Sure enough the Midtown Plaza outlet is gone, and the sole remaning Saskatoon outlet, at the Centre at Circle and 8th, continues to have all merchandise at 30 percent off.  A quick search  online revealed that the chain's retail outlets across Canada seem to all be closing.  The company will continue online for the foreseeable future, but the obvious question is whether they can compete against for the online shopping market.

So, what's left for buying CDs in Saskatoon?  The HMV chain still has two stores in Saskatoon, one in Midtown Plaza, the other at the Mall at Lawson Heights.  Walmart, Futureshop, and Best Buy carry CDs, but obviously don't have the variety more specialised retailers do.  The two London Drugs stores in Saskatoon carry CDs, and I've bought quite a bit of Blue Note stuff from them over the last couple of years.  Then there's the independently run Vinyl Exchange, Vinyl Diner, and Tramps.  I would imagine all these outlets will be glad to see a competitor gone as they jockey for shares of the remaining market.  Ironically the independents might hold up better than one thinks, as they all offer music on vinyl and deal in used recordings. 

The way things are going maybe it's time to stock up on CD players....