Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Leap Day!

Time sure flies.  Once again it's Leap Year, and we get an extra day.  In a way it's too bad it just gets labelled as February 29th.  There should be an extra day added to the week with its own specific name.  No doubt people think it would be too confusing to have an 8 day week even if it was only once every four years.

Since we don't have an 8th day this week how about some Beatles instead?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gas In Saskatoon, February 24, 2012.

Up it goes again.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 122.9 cents a litre at most locations, a 6 cent increase sioce last week.

To some Americans this may not seem like much of a rise.  But note that the price is in litres.  One US gallon is  approximately 3.785 litres.  So this price rise is equivalent to an increase of 22.71 cents a gallon.  Or if you prefer gas is roughly $4.66  a gallon in Saskatoon.  So, to fill a 30 litre gas tank costs $6.81 more than it did last week.  And lots of folks are driving things will gas tanks rather bigger than 30 litres.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Rumours Start.

Today I had an example of how interesting rumours start. While viisiting the east side Long and McQuade I overheard someone telling the staff that a new law would force you to have a breathalyzer and a spare in your car or be fined.  He was outraged about this apparent infringement on his rights, and how much it would probably cost everyone, 30 or 40 bucks each I think he said.

The claim sounded suspicious to me.  So when I arrived home I looked it up, and found it was true.  But there was a missing part of the story.  This new law is coming into effect in France, not Canada.  Under a new French law you will need to have a couple of one use disposable breathalyzer kits in your car, and you can indeed be fined if you don't.  However these kits only cost around 3 bucks, not 30 or 40.  The fine will be 11 euros.  The idea is to have drivers who have been drinking self test themselves, and not drive if they're over the French limit.  France is trying to reduce its road fatalities, of which it had some 4000 last year.  And this requirement will simply add to the safety equipment French law already requires you to carry, such as a warning triangle and a flourescent vest.  You can be fined for not having those already.

Presumably the fellow I heard talking about this missed the locale.  So he and the others he told the story to may spread this mistake, and get more people riled up.  Of course I say "presumably" because I may have misheard what he said, and he did mention this was in France.  Fortunately I took a look before doing my own rumour spreading.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bridging The Two Solitudes.

This morning I rode Saskatoon Transit 504.  This is a late '90s Nova Bus manufactured bus that used to be part of Montreal's transit fleet.  You can still see signs, literally, of its previous ownership, as the "Stop Requested" signs are still the French "Arret Demande" signs appropriate for French speaking Montreal.  Given that this and the other used Montreal Novas Saskatoon bought last year don't seem to see much service I guess they feel no need to change the signs.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Walking On The Moonbase.

Fans of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson's mid '70s sci fi TV series Space: 1999 have often wondered about the idea of a  remake.  Some dreaded the idea, some wanted it, and many just didn't think it was possible.  Now, 12 and a half years after the year 1999 itself has come and gone we've got word that someone is taking the plunge.  ITV America is teaming up with HD Films, who were behind the ABC revival of V, to produce Space: 2099.  We can now write off at least one possibility that I personally have always suspected was the most likely way we'd see a "revival;"  namely as a spoof of the original a la The Brady Bunch movies.  Producer Jace Hall says the series won't be a "dark and gritty" reboot, although such  a tone would in fact fit quite well with the first season of the original, which had its share of what I'd call gothic horror.(A good example would be the episode "The Troubled Spirit," where Alpha is menaced by a man's vengeful ghost before he dies.) 

This new version is of course a reimagining/reboot, as the date change from 1999 to 2099 should make obvious.  When discussing a new 1999 you always see fans who want a direct continuation of the original, which isn't a viable idea.  All that would do is utterly confuse viewers who have no contact with the original.  Will this 21st Century version work?  It's still early days on the project, and more than one series revival project has sputtered out or been unable to find a buyer.  The Andersons' own UFO was the subject of 2 remake attempts in 1996 and early 2000s that never went much further than some concept art.(A big screen movie version is currently in production, with a projected screen date of 2013.)  No doubt some will be skeptical given the failure of HD's V remake to thrive, but that series did air. 

HD Films has a webpage up for the series.  Obviously not much real detail is available yet, but they are interacting with the fandom.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't Bother.

Spam in the comments to the posts here will be removed if I spot it.  So don't waste your time, and mine, by posting that crap.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bienvenue A Tous.

Today seems to be international day for me.  So far I've had blog traffic from France, Romania, Germany, Denmark, Brazil, the Phillipines, Croatia, India, and Senegal.  Oddly enough I've had no American traffic yet, which is unusual.  I'm pretty sure the Senegal visitor is the first I've had from that country.  Welcome to all.

Gas In Saskatoon, February 17, 2012.

This week saw our first gas price increase of the year.  Gas in Saskatoon is now 116.9 cents a litre at most locations.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hello, Mister Pot.

While driving around this morning I had the radio briefly tuned to CKOM during John Gormley's show.  Gormley was discussing a new study by a group of Alberta reseachers that argued the ingredients in junk food should be labeled as pathogens because of their effect on health.  Gormley read a bit from one of the participants and accused him of grandstanding.  Yeah, a right wing radio call in show host accusing someone else of grandstanding.  Tell us another one,  John. 

In case you're wondering, I have been eating some junk food today.  I'm hoping to cut back some over the next couple of weeks or so, both for the good of my weight, but more importantly to save money.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hard Up.

It seems the folks at Maclean's, Canada's equivalent of Time, were hard up for something to put in the latest issue.  One  of the cover headlines is "Ian Tyson's Secret Lover Tells All."  No offense to him if he reads this, but Ian Tyson isn't exactly hot news these days amongst Canadain celebs.  "Justin Bieber's Secret Lover Tells All" might get you some buyers, but I can't see Tyson's doing so.  Of course as anyone familiar with Maclean's knows a few years ago you probably wouldn't have seen a headline like that on the cover at all.  Their covers have gotten somewhat more sensationalist in recent years.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Alex Calls It.

In the comments for today's Out at Home strip creator Alex Wendzel has the appropriate description for today:  pink merchandise day.  Of course you could just as easily call it red merchandise day.  Or too much sugar day.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Last And First.

Chances are you will have heard of the death of Whitney Houston when you read this post.  But you probably haven't heard the following before:

Witney Houston's first professional recording as lead vocalist is supposedly this tune, "Memories," from the 1982 album One Down by Material. Material was a group formed in the late '70s by bassist Bill Laswell, and at the time was known for its experimental rock based music. Given the mainstream commercial course of her career the combination seems odd at first glance.  On top of that the song was written by Hugh Hopper of British prog rock pioneers Soft Machine, and had a saxophone solo by jazz musician Archie Shepp.  On the other hand the arrangement of the song itself isn't too far from what Houston would later do, and One Down seems pretty obviously an attempt at a more mainstream, commercial sound than the group's previous releases. 

Houston was an unknown at the time the album was released so her prescense made no difference to its sales at the time.  Conversely I've never seen any indication any significant number of her fans, once she became famous, knew the song existed at all, so the album didn't have a second life.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Music Store Etiquette Tip.

If you are going to play an instrument through an amplifier at any sort of volume, please make sure it is in tune first.  It doesn't have to be perfectly tuned, just in tune with itself.  Otherwise it is very annoying to others in the store having to hear your out of tune blues licks.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Still Running.

Interesting.  The Official Undergrads Website is still up.  I just about wrote "still active," but I don't get the impression anyone has done anything to it in years.  Some links seem to be gone, but it's still largely functional.  You'd think it would cost Teletoon or whoever last operated it money to keep going, but maybe the operating costs were prepaid for a long time, and that account still hasn't run out.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Poker 101.

No, a straight is not better than a flush.

I just saw someone on Pokerstars who apparently thought a straight was better than a flush.  I really hope he was kidding.  At least he was playing in a freeroll, with no money needed to participate.  Better yet it was an Omaha Hi/Lo tournament, and Hi/Lo is one of the more complicated forms of poker.

Monday, February 06, 2012

So Much Music... little time to listen to it.  Someone could send me 10 recordings a day, every day, and I'm sure I'd never run out of things to listen to.

This is one of the things I was listening to tonight, the late jazz drummer Rashied Ali in a duet with a guitarist I was previously unaware of, Michael Bocian.  This reminds me I need to listen to some of the stuff in my current collection that I haven't in a long time.

QE II 60.

Today marks 60 years that Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne of the United Kingdom.  That  makes her the second longest reigning British monarch, the longest being Queen Victoria.  Her reign lasted 63 years and 216 days.  Will Elizabeth beat that?  It seems a reasonable guess she will.  Too bad for Prince Charles.  However long he ends up being King he wont be able to come anywhere near that long of a reign, (Unless of course some really major advancements in life expectancy take place.)  In fact it's not hard to wonder if she might not still be Queen a decade or more from now given that her mother lived past 100.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Anno Corvus Corax

There's been a lot of talk lately of this being the Year of the Dragon in Chinese tradition.  Here in Saskatoon it may be more appropriate to talk about the Year of the Raven.  Normally ravens are seen briefly here as they pass through late in the Fall and early in the Spring.  This Winter however they've hung around in signficant numbers.  Could the unusually warm weather have something to do with this?  Whatever the reason they seem to like it here at the moment.  It will be interesting to see what happens in the Spring when their cousins the crows, and birds like gulls, return.  It would also be interesting to know what effect they're having on the larger birds that do hang around Saskatoon all year round, like the magpies and blue jays.  And smaller birds may find themselves facing more problems due to the prescense of yet another species that may prey on them.