Friday, December 13, 2013

My Soft Moc Experience

After a not-so-satisfactory experience with the store at Yonge & Eglinton, I'm really hoping that the head office comes through and restores my faith in customer service. Story to follow. For now, just some pics.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Logomagik Sucks

I'm used to not getting the best customer service. It all seems to be a lost art these days.  But when I get PARTICULARLY bad customer service, the kind that makes me say "never going there again if my life depends on it", I feel the need to post it here as a public service.

Such was the case with Logomagik (371 Queen Street East, Toronto).

I used them a couple of years ago for some jerseys. They screwed up the order, basically just doing a really bad job in terms of centering and placing the lettering. When I brought it to their attention, they acknowledged that they knew the job was iffy (and yet let me take it home!) and offered to reprint them. They told me to keep the misprints (after all, what were they going to do with them?).

Not the worst experience, so a couple of years later I decide to give them another chance even though I had had GREAT experiences with some other companies (but mostly in the U.S., so you get fleeced at the border). The order is fine. Not great, but acceptable.

A few months later, I need some more of the same shirts. Easy-peasy right? Nope. They screw them up. Even though they had the order on file. To boot, the order wasn't ready when it was supposed to be (in part because they only respond to emails once a day and can't seem to keep track of who has already paid for their stuff), so I am picking them up on the way to the first game.  They offer to reprint the order. I ask if I can take the misprints with me so that my players at least have SOMETHING to wear. They hesitate, so I only take the shirts I know I'll need. They want me to bring them back.

No mention of compensation.

I leave the store, shaking my head. This is nuts. I walk back in and talk to the receptionist, saying, "Look, this has obviously been an inconvenience..." and she gets the hint. She says she'll talk to the manager.

A week later, I still haven't heard form them. I send them a note. They respond saying the shirts are being printed as we speak (magically) and that the manager is offering $40 (on an order of $140+). So now we've missed two games.

The shirts are done, almost two weeks late, so I go to get them. The receptionist isn't there. The manager hands me the shirts and says "so we're good."


I mention that the receptionist talked about... "compensation?" he says. He offers me $20, saying the order was, what, $100? I tell him it was over $140 and he says, "$30? That's all I can really do. Otherwise we lose money on the order." Way to make your customer feel as though they are taking advantage.

I'm not sure if it's the neighbourhood, but these guys talk to me like I'm some punk trying to rip them off. No smiles, just attitude.

I ask if they have a use for the misprinted shirts, otherwise maybe I can give them to my players and maybe they can find a use for them. The guy in the back pipes up, "you want the money AND the shirts?!" Needless to say I left the store without the (misprinted) shirts and shaking my head.

Look, I'm not going to tell these people how to make their customers happy. That's up to them. What they do when they screw up reflects on them. I wasn't about to haggle for compensation.

In the end, this was obviously a failed exercise in customer service. Not only did the guy lose some of his treasured profit, he lost a customer. There is simply no way I'll ever go there again. And in the age of the Internet it is now so much easier for me to share my story and advise you not to use them either.

Need custom shirts? I can recommend some places to you, including Create My Tee who have INCREDIBLE customer service, but you can be sure my recommendations WON'T include Logomagik.

Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks Logomagik sucks

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Boingboing's Science

Anyone who knows me or knows this blog is aware that I frequent the Boingboing website. I love it and hate it at the same time. It offers some very cool info/links (I just shared the article on Google Maps' new ocean feature not half an hour ago on Facebook) but it also has an obvious bias towards technology and general hipster and/or liberal subjects.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it gives the site a sort of voice, but the editorializing can turn some folks off. I prefer to simply take it in, chuckle at times, and read on.

But, every once in a while, (as we've seen in the past) I just have to call them on it and point out some of the issues I have.

Today I came across this article that talks about the debunking of some of the allegations made in a NY Times piece that seems to point out issues with the whole "cloud computing" thing and the wastefulness of data centres. The article supports the debunker's claims that the initial article's reasearch is flawed because, in part, they couldn't possibly have had access to sufficient data to make such a claim.

Ok, cool. I'll buy that. Makes sense. The debunker seems to know his stuff and, if what he says is accurate, then, yes, the research would seem to be lacking in data and perspective. Good article, Boingboing. Thanks!


Soon afterwards, Boingboing then posts this article about cyclists and how they are nicer than they are perceived to be, and that anyone who sees cyclists as dicks must be doing so because they have a perception bias.

The science behind this article? The observation of some cyclists in one city by a cyclist advocacy group (!) and the empirical data on cyclist fatalities in nine others. (which, obviously, can be correlated to the dickishness of cyclists nationwide, right?)




So much for pushing for stronger research. But if the half-assed results are in your favour...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Inspirational Art

Perhaps as a bit of a follow-up to this post, I felt a swelling inside when I came across the website of Des Taylor. Taylor is an artist in the comic book vein who tends to create in an old school/war era/pin up style.

I love it.

I think it looks so classy and sexy and fun and beautiful.

If I could go back in time, I would force my younger self to train in cartooning and visual arts in general (including photography). I always loved that stuff, but never felt I had the natural talent. I could see and appreciate others who had much more skill than me, and just sensed they had a brain function that I lacked. To this day, I find that I am more of a critic than a creator. I know what looks good, I know what can be done to make a nice piece/film/creation better, but don't seem to have the imagination to get off the blank page myself or to put my thoughts to practice.

Seeing stuff like Taylor's gets me all giddy inside and makes me daydream of a life where I can create beautiful art, too.

I often wonder if these artists view their art in the same way; with awe or a smile on their face. Or is it work to them? Would actually being an artist be like working in your favourite restaurant?

Is it better to be the artist or the audience?

Dunno. But I do know that I envy Taylor and his talent.

...I like to think he smiles.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Christmas lists

Ok, so let me ask you something: list or no list?

See, some people/families I know are in the habit of providing lists of gifts they would like to receive to their loved ones to make the gift hunt easier. Practically speaking, this makes sense. It ensures you get something you want and takes a burden off those who might otherwise spend hours walking the malls at the busiest time of the year.

...But doesn't it take the fun out of Christmas morning? I mean, for me, half the fun is being surprised. Not knowing what's in the box. Of course, this had led to years and years of disappointment in terms of gifts received. ("why did so-and-so think I'd want this?" or "Hm. I guess I wasn't worth the shopping effort if they picked up this generic item.") This has been an accepted risk of my unwillingness to give hints, and it is why I am always so grateful to those who take the time to make an effort and make me feel special (note that "thoughtful" is not linked to expense nor to time spent - simply to the personal nature of the gift).

I've always tried to be a good Santa. I've always tried to give people a thoughtful gift. That seems to take some of the "commercialization" out of Christmas and make it, for me, about really showing someone that you care and have gotten to know them and want to please them. This doesn't always work, of course, as I can't always think of something special or meaningful, especially if giving to someone I don't know very well. But giving someone a token, generic gift has always felt like a #fail to me.

So is it better to be given a list of gifts to choose from, knowing that your gift will be well received, or is it worth rolling the dice on a "blind" gift? For now, I'm sticking with the no list option. might make an exception. To all my potential gift-givers, please feel free to buy me this:


Thursday, September 08, 2011

Academic Research: So Smart, So Dumb

On the surface, this study of the depiction of terrorism in prime time television looks interesting.

Until you watch the video.

If you can watch this without noticing the massive, gaping problems with the methodology, you shouldn't be allowed to utter the word "research". Put the book down. Step away from the beaker.

Despite some levity, this wasn't intended as a joke, it seems; yet the study is comical.

The study is based on 24 episodes? If they monitored ten times that many I would question the results.

And kids are learning this scientific method in university.

Honestly. WTF.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cory Doctorow Strikes Again


I love the conclusion drawn from this article:

Basically, what it says is that people who download files (like movies etc) illegally are amongst the big spenders of legitimate entertainment consumption.

"The study concluded that's users were among the entertainment industry's best customers, using filesharing as a sampling method to determine which media to purchase, spending premiums to attend weekend showings of new films, and generally outspending average consumers in their media consumption."

Go figure.

I mean, who would have thought that people would actually go SEE movies as well as download them? It's as if they are fans or something. Weird.

And exactly how the f*ck did you deduce that these folks were using the site to sample media that they might later purchase? Surveymonkey?

I'm pretty sure the big bad entertainment industry is aware that these folks aren't downloading stuff instead of buying it all the time, but when they do download instead of buying, the rights holder is being deprived of potential profit (not all movies make money, you know).

And you wonder why it costs $15 to see a movie...

Friday, June 24, 2011

To Serve and Protect

I don't really have the energy to write much today, but I felt compelled to share/vent the disappointment I am feeling this morning. Depression, really. Aren't I a nice guy?

I was visiting my normal sites today - The Star, Boing Boing, Facebook etc and came across a few stories that related to the police. All were negative and related to alleged abuses by police forces - not just in one city or related to one case, but in three different cities (Toronto, Vancouver and Rochester). This makes me both angry and sad. Seriously: what the fuck is going on around here?

In Toronto, the fall-out continues with regards to the absolutely insane G20 fiasco. No, not the fact the great Canadian Government (The "Harper Government" you say? Kiss my ass - but that's another post) hoodwinked Parliament and misappropriated funds so that they could line the pockets of Conservative-friendly ridings (for which someone ought to be sent to jail - not re-elected!), but the violence that occurred in the city's core. How anyone would think holding a powder keg of a meeting in a busy metropolis as opposed to at the top of a fucking mountain is beyond me. Did the leaders really get a good look at the city? From behind those fences, I doubt it. So what was the point of having it here, exactly?

What is REALLY upsetting about this stupid adventure was the way the police behaved. Not only did they let vandals run amok and uncontested in the city streets, smashing windows and burning cars, they then proceeded to rough up ordinary citizens, violating their rights left right and centre. WHAT THE FUCK?!?! When did the police lose sight of their purpose of existence? It's unbelievably depressing. The police are supposed to be the good guys. They're supposed to protect us. They're supposed to be role models. When you kettle innocent people wandering on Queen Street in the rain, when you beat up people who are gathered peacefully at Queen's Park, when you arrest, strip search and manhandle guys for saying, "good luck with Saturday" you are NOT doing your job. You are FAILING the public. You have LOST our faith.

But at least finally - FINALLY - the chief admits that maybe they didn't do such a bang up job (despite what was being said previously). Of course he blames the fact that they were not prepared. Responding to emergencies is part of the job description, you dunce! You had time to arrange transportation and overtime for cops from all over the province to arrive in Toronto but couldn't figure out - in six months - how to get some of them to Yonge Street when the shit went down? STFU.

In Vancouver, they were a bit more effective, even though they had - what - two days notice that there would be a game 7 in town? Stores got smashed, cars got lit up, but the whole thing was dispersed in 4 hours and at least they TRIED to go after the troublemakers. Oh, but they STILL managed to fuck that one up. Rule #1 - when trying to disperse a violent crowd, do NOT strike the unarmed couple to the ground with your shield and continue to harass them after they are clearly subdued and injured. Oh, and when you realize you've fucked up? Maybe call for a medic instead of just running away to catch up with your buddies. This one was actually caught on video. The initial reports may have been of a "kissing couple" but the true story is far less romantic.

But we can forgive the cops for screwing up a little when they are under pressure in these massive demonstrations, right? I mean, adrenaline is pumping, threats are everywhere... Oh, but then there are stories like this one to remind us of how police can sometimes make the wrong, petty move even when they've had time to think about it. See, first, the police overreacted to a citizen recording a traffic stop. When the shit hit the fan there, did the cops apologize and nip the situation in the bud? Nope, they compounded the issue and embarrassed themselves even further. When citizens gathered to support this poor lady, the cops decided that would be a good time to send out a few patrol cars to ticket any supporters' car that was parked more than a foot from the curb.

To serve and protect.

For years, I have given the police the benefit of the doubt when stories arose that were critical of the way a situation was handled. I've even done so on this blog. I don't think I'm willing to do that anymore. My faith in the force has been rattled too often. Have I changed or has the police culture changed? Is this a sign of the times or the way it has always been?

What the fuck is going on?

Whatever it is, it has to change. The police have GOT to be the role models. They have to be held to a higher standard. They have to be our protectors. They have to be strong, vigilant and just. We have to be able to believe in them. That does not mean closing ranks when one of them does wrong. That means identifying the problem and kicking it off the force asap. You don't tolerate a cancer, you eradicate it.

Is "To Serve and Protect" too complicated? Try this: "Do Right."

UPDATE: Apparently, the charges against the Rochester woman were dropped "for lack of evidence". Considering the whole thing is on FUCKING TAPE, I'm hesitant to buy that reasoning and am even more depressed about the lack of transparency in the justice system.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Inspirational photography

While suffering through my 9-5 work week, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to have a more interesting career, such as that of a pro athlete, a comic book artist or a photographer. Photography is something that I've long been interested in but have never really pursued. It's hard to make any sort of money at it, especially if you aren't willing to commit to a life of wedding photography. (I value my weekends!)

Sometimes, though, I'll come across a website or news story about really cool photography and I second-guess my 9-5 existence.

I came across one such link via Boingboing. (where else?)

This is photographer Brian McCarty based in California. He has a book coming out collecting some of his very nifty work involving placing toys in real backgrounds to create a sort of "optical illusion" style of art. I kinda like the underwater ones, myself.

Seeing this makes me question whether sitting in front of a f***ing computer is really what I want to be doing with my life.

I wonder what the stork would say... (warning: this is quite possibly the most depressing commercial EVER.)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

CRAZY GUN-TOTING COP!!! ...Not so crazy?

Boingboing strikes again.

So I'm perusing the site, which is usually pretty interesting, and come across this post that seems to relate the story of a crazy, gun-waving cop caught on video pointing his firearm at a motorcyclist who was speeding. The story goes on to tell of the crazy lengths the DA is going to to back the officer.

The DA part of the story is one thing, and yes it sounds a bit out of touch with reality ("wiretapping"? Really?) but what pissed me off was the way the officer was portrayed and the way the biker's actions were overlooked.

The picture seems damning, but watch the video. In it, we see the biker speeding and driving recklessly. We even see him pull a wheelie. That's f***ing insane. Right there, this guy loses any sympathy from me. The guy should have his licence revoked for life. Honestly. WTF?

The video shows the speeder passing a police car, and the bubble pops up: "69 MPH" as if that was the speed he was doing when the cop caught him on radar. Less than half a minute earlier he was doing 127 MPH.


That's some 205 km/h for us Canadians.

So do you really think the cop caught him at only 69 mph? Do you think radar only works the moment you are passing the cop car? Really?


The guy starts checking his mirrors repeatedly, then speeds up to at least 82 mph (132 km/h), and takes the first exit he can. At this point, he knows he could be in trouble and he's CLEARLY trying to elude any police vehicle that may be pursuing him.

Now we don't know if he knows the cop is chasing him because there's no sound and we can't see what he sees in the mirrors. But once he gets on the ramp, we see him check his mirrors and then turn his head - that's when we can see the police vehicle in pursuit, lights flashing (notice there's still no sound at this point). Does he pull over immediately? Nope. He rides up to the light where the traffic is stopped and then stops.

This is where we see the unmarked cruiser (a gray sedan) pull up alongside. The officer gets out and unholsters his gun as he says "get off the motorcycle". What was the biker doing at the time? BACKING UP. So even before the cop can get out and say anything, the biker is making a move away. Where the heck is he going? Is it possible the cop sees this as a potential fleeing manoeuvre? Could that be why he draws his weapon? Notice that at no point does the officer actually raise his firearm at the biker. He puts his hand on the bike to arrest the biker and identifies himself.

Crazy cop? I dunno. Seems pretty calm and in control to me, especially since he's facing a biker who was endangering the lives of others.

And let's get something straight: this guy was not just "speeding", he was stunt driving and weaving dangerously around traffic. The guy is lucky the cop had that much patience with him. Had someone been hurt the public would be asking for the biker's head on a stick.

But who is the bad guy here? The police officer. The "out of control" cop. Are you kidding me? This guy was super calm.

I watched the video again, trying to find where the unmarked car might have seen the biker. Look back at the car in the passing lane next to the bus at the 0:34 mark. Think that might be him? I don't know where else it might have been. So was the cop really pulling his gun out for a guy doing a measly (?!) 69 mph on a highway, or had he been trying to catch up to the idiot who had passed him doing a wheelie at 127 mph?

Check out this news story about the incident. Regardless of the recording felony charge, the "victim" makes the disingenuous statement that he thought someone might be stealing his bike or trying to shoot him when the officer unholstered his weapon. ...Really? You KNOW you are being pulled over by a vehicle with flashing lights and you figure maybe you're being mugged? Really?

But the media outlet eats it up and paints the cop as the bad guy.


Friday, July 16, 2010

This and That - July 16, 2010

Just some thoughts on things I came across today:

Beaver kills dog, beaver to be killed
There's something missing in this story, surely. I mean, why is there an off-leash in that particular spot? Why not just move the off-leash area instead of killing the beavers? And I don't buy the "if we move the beavers they'll just fight to the death with another beaver for their territory" argument. I mean, surely there are places suitable for beavers where there isn't already a beaver. WTF?

New Superman to be made, without Brandon Routh
This is too bad. I can understand not casting Routh if they want to completely re-boot the franchise again, but Routh was terrific in Superman Returns, I thought. He channeled Christopher Reeves and was a suitable Man of Steel, physically. Making a feature with Tom Welling would be another option, but I guess he comes with the baggage of the tv series - see re-boot of the franchise idea. Casting Chuck's Zachary Levi would be bizarre, though, seeing as Routh had an extended run on the series and Levi comes with the comedic baggage. I can't see him as Supes.

Bionic legs allow paralyzed man to walk
Wait...why hasn't this happened before? Some guys in a garage came up with this? Seriously? Is there not enough money to be made in the development of this device that it hadn't been created before? I'm confused. Great for this guy, though. Great friends. If enough of these can be made and the system improved, I'm sure the price will come down even from the $150K projected price. I wonder what insurance companies think of this? These devices would have their own issues, but if it saves people the cost of special houses, ramps, etc, maybe that price tag doesn't seem so high?

Mel Gibson's lawyers say tapes were doctored
If the tapes were edited, ok, then that's a pretty serious charge. But unless they were doctored in such a way as to make it sound like he said things that he didn't, well, I'm not sure it's gonna matter in the public eye. I'm thinking of things, like, I dunno... "If you get raped by a pack of n***ers", you know, that sort of thing. Still, you gotta wonder about someone who would record and leak phone conversations. Use 'em in court, sure, but making them available to the public? Maybe they deserve each other.

Jarvis losing a lane to bikes
Not sure how I feel about this yet. I’m all for bike lanes, don’t get me wrong, but I question whether Jarvis is really the right street for them. It’s a major arterial road for cars, that’s for sure. But if you wanted to get around the city on a bike, would Jarvis really be your street of choice? First of all, it runs from Rosedale to east downtown; who is riding their bike down from Rosedale? For those coming from north of Rosedale, that’s probably not your route of choice since Mount Pleasant (Jarvis north of Bloor) likely won’t be getting a bike lane and is very hilly. So who is this for? How much will it be used? If you really wanted to be daring, you’d convert Yonge Street into a route for bikes, pedestrians and delivery trucks only. It could be converted into a terrific shopping strip. Who drives on downtown Yonge Street really? But the point is this: bikes, unlike cars, don’t converge on major arterial roads. That’s the beauty of a bike – it can go anywhere there’s pavement at roughly the same speed. Bike lanes are great, but one major development on one street that’s off the beaten path is not gonna cut it. I’d suggest separate lanes, with a curb, much like some streets in Montreal. And put them on LOTS of streets, not just one or two. Cyclists aren’t likely to go out of their way to take a bike arterial road – they’ll just take the shortest route. So let’s accommodate bikes everywhere.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Awesome journalism

I read those "commuter" papers on my way to work. They're convenient and free.

But, man, do they suck.

24 is by far the greatest offender, but Metro is filled with errors, omissions and nonsense every single day. I fear for the minds of those who take this stuff at face value.

This may or may not be related, since I saw the same story reported in The Star, but I thought I'd share this interesting tidbit of info that I came across and made me shake my head.

There was this study, see (you know how much I love those!), and in it a bunch of would-be researchers looked at immigrants to Canada versus those born here to see how they compared in terms of water safety. The headline reads: "Research compiled by the Lifesaving Society shows a strong need for water safety education targeted at Canada's immigrants."

Followed by stats.

Issue #1: "The Lifesaving Society’s survey polled 433 Canadian-born adults and 599 Canadian immigrants from the Chinese, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Muslim communities." So, basically, not immigrants from the other 70% of the world. That's thorough. I'm not sure this really represents an accurate reflection of "immigrants", but ok...

Issue #2: Metro, who published the story on their front page, says, "Even though 20% of immigrants said they cannot swim, 79% reported to the study that they planned to spend time around or on the water this summer." *GASP!* Someone warn these people!!!

...Hold on... 20% can't swim... 79% plan to be around the water... that means 21% won't be even near the water... 20% can't swim...


Wow. Way to be alarmist. This, ladies and gentlemen, is front page news.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cory Doctorow misses the point again

I haven't been over to Boingboing in quite a while. I blame the twitchy bookmarks feature on my browser since they updated the servers at work.

Did I say work? I meant home. Since they updated the servers at home.


Anyway, it didn't take long to come across a post by my fav contributor, Cory Doctorow, in which he aimed his vitriol at "The Man" and missed completely.

In this article, Cory links to another article wherein the author claims that the recording industry in America is wasting its money suing peer-to-peer users who download/share music files, presumably at the expense of CD sales. See, the numbers suggest the RIAA is spending way more in lawyers' fees ($16M) than they recoup in litigation wins ($400K). Bad investment, right? Losers, right?

Uh...not so fast. Do you seriously believe the primary objective of the RIAA is to get their money back via litigation? Come on...

Of COURSE it's "litigation terrorism" as one comment poster put it. The RIAA clearly thinks it's worth it in deterrence or they wouldn't be doing it. These guys are all about profits, remember?

Piracy may still be thriving (as many comment posters seem to be pointing out with glee), but I'm sure that there is SOME portion of the population out there that is just a bit freaked out by the threat of being singled out - maybe even $16M worth? Hell, even the UFC is jumping on that bandwagon.

The fact is that as long as the internet exists, piracy will exist. There are tons of people who feel they shouldn't have to pay a dollar for something they can potentially access for free (legal or no). Does that mean these rights holders should lie back and take it? Hell no. Is it good PR? Hell no, but they're banking on the fact that you like the artist on the front of the CD enough to ignore the name in the small print on the back of the CD.

Now stop stealing shit! Geez...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Michael Bryant - Darcy Sheppard Incident Follow-up


I was out of town on Tuesday, so I missed this bit of news. Seems the charges against former Attorney General Michael Bryant were dropped when the prosecution decided it had no reasonable chance of conviction.

See, back in September of aught-nine, I posted this. It got the most comments, I think, of anything I've posted on this blog. I was trying to make the point that everyone should take a deep breath and wait for the facts to come out before passing judgement (not just in this case, but in all cases) and holding pro-cyclist/anti-car sit-ins. Seems some folks missed that message, though, and accused me of supporting Bryant and being a car-loving douchebag.

Although I'm sure many will doubt the story (I have my own questions), it seems that some facts have indeed come to light that helped get Bryant off the hook. You can catch most of the story here, but here are some highlights:

- Sheppard was drunk. He had a blood alcohol of 0.183, over twice the legal driving limit (not sure how that limit applies to impaired cycling).

- He had been acting somewhat oddly (to be kind) moments before the incident, throwing traffic cones and junk onto the street and doing figure eights in front of a car.

- He cut in front of Bryant's car at a light, passing on the driver's side.

- Bryant did not, as the video suggested to many, deliberately lurch at and then strike Sheppard with his car, but rather this sequence was the result of the car stalling and Bryant nervously attempting to restart it. (Bryant should have realized the danger when the car lurched the first time, but, hey, I didn't interview the witnesses.)

- The car did not speed off at a rate of 60-100 km/h, but rather hit about 35 km/h.

- Sheppard struck Bryant in the forehead as Bryant drove in a panic.

- Forensic evidence proves Bryant did not mount or touch the curb at all (as some had suggested, in an effort to squish Sheppard like a bug) but rather Sheppard's outstretched body struck a fire hydrant no more than a foot from the curb and caused him to fall off, strike his head on the curb or roadway and suffer fatal injuries.

- Sheppard had a history of outrageous behaviour involving vehicles, including one caught on camera that shows that Sheppard also had a history of latching onto cars. The story is here.

As for all the other stuff regarding violence earlier in the evening, it seems that was neither proven nor dismissed.

The bottom line is that Sheppard's own father accepts the decision and applauded the thoroughness of the investigation.

Did Bryant err that evening? Obviously. He apparently couldn't get this car started and then tried to do so in a not-so-safe manner. But the story goes that he panicked. Was Sheppard justified in being pissed at what appeared to be a reckless if not aggressive act? Of course. Was Bryant equally justified in fearing for his safety and that of his wife in the face of Sheppard's reaction? I'd say so. Was this an example of human failures and unusual circumstances coming together with tragic consequences? You bet your ass.

Is this the rallying cry for cycling advocates? Not on your life. People who want to see more bike lanes should be distancing themselves from "troubled" folk like Sheppard. "Bad month" or not, this was not the poster-boy for bikes in the city.

I'm hoping that now that the facts are out, people will make their arguments in a more intelligent manner, rather than simply jumping to conclusions and breaking out the pitchforks and torches, all the while lauding Sheppard as an angel.

That's the end of this post. Bike lanes will be another post - just as it should be.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Something Immediately

Let it never be said that I don't listen to my future wife.

Happy now?

Now let me get back to work! I have to work twice as much if I'm gonna give you half my sh*t! :P


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Bogus Air Miles

I don't have the time nor the inclination to get nto this too much today, but thought I'd comment on this link I noticed today.

When the whole Bonus Air Miles thing was launched (which, to me, was back in university, I believe) I was left scratching my head. How can this possibly work? If everyone starts collecting air miles and getting free flights, well, won't the airlines lose revenue and be forced to add crazy restrictions? If enough people earn enough points to start seriously redeem them, won't they just jack up the number of points needed to get a flight? What's to stop them once they have all these people invested?

Looks like I was right. Although this is supposedly the first increase in 5 years, the fact of the matter is that the air miles you've been collecting over x amount of time are simply not as valuable as they once were. Oh, but keep collecting, dear loyal customer - they'll pay off EVENTUALLY.

And when you want to redeem your BAM points or whatever other loyalty point card thingamabopper, we have this one ticket on this one flight at this one Orlando. Congrats!

That's why I've never been one to look for BAM deals. I whip out my card as a matter of course when I hand over my credit card to pay for groceries, but that's about it. I am NEVER lured by an offer that promotes BAMs. In fact, when I see ads that say "earn 50 BAMs with every purchase" it just turns me off more. If they can just hand out 50 points just like that, what's the point of me earning 1 or 2 points every time I buy groceries? (If that) I've been whipping out my card as a matter of course for some 15 years now and the last time I looked I had squat for points. Yippee.

Forget the BAM offer. I'll take 10% off the sticker price every time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Au revoir, Le Marche

On my lunchtime stroll I noticed that Le Marche, a long-standing restaurant at the corner of Yonge & Wellington, had closed. It caught me - and a number of would-be lunchtime patrons - by surprise. There was a sign in the lobby thanking customers for their patronage.

Guess it's gone for good.

Now I'm not exactly shedding a tear for the place. I hated eating there. It was an overpriced buffet that actually charged an automatic 15% gratuity. (WTF?)

I also didn't like the social aspect of it. You get seated, then have to get up and walk around looking for food. It was like a giant menu that you had to walk through and you and your friends would have to go your separate ways to get your stuff (unless you happen to be eating the same thing). Then you get back to your table with your food, possibly minutes apart, and eat. This means there's no time between ordering and being served to talk with your meal partner(s). That's crap.

Then, when you check out, they charge you the gratuity for the pleasure of having served yourself. Thanks. If it's automatic, why not simply add it to the posted price of the food?

So, yeah, I hated the place. But it was a bit of an oasis in the midst of the downtown core. It looked nice, at least, and it often played French music - particularly Joe Dassin - inside the restaurant and out on the street.

I wonder what's going to take its place?

UPDATE: Spoke too soon? Yes and no. What will replace the Marche? Well, a Marche, of course!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Our Wedding Blog

Sorry I've been ignoring you so much, blogosphere, but, you see, I've been very busy this Christmas season.

I even (gulp) got engaged.

Zoinks, yo.

No, to be honest, I haven't been sweating it in the least (yet) because my bride-to-be is so incredibly utterly fantastic. I know that we're gonna have a great time together.



Zoinks, yo.

We've been discussing various wedding options/details and first up seems to be venue (which, of course, is paired with guest list, since the size of the wedding considerably narrows the list of suitable venues). It appears we're looking at about 150-200 guests. And that would be just family and close friends.

Zoinks, yo. (@ 8:07)

To help us on our journey and in order to capture advice (mostly) in one place, we've set up a wedding blog. You can find it here. We thought about sites like eWedding, etc, but they either cost money or expire. Eff that.

So, please, faithful reader, drop by the new blog and give us your two cents.

Or, better yet, enough to cover the cost of your plate.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Punishment should fit the crime, not the damage - Liambas vs Fanelli

Earlier this week, an OHL hockey player was injured after a crushing bodycheck from an opponent.

I hadn't seen the hit until just now, but I'd heard about it from others.

I don't know the players involved, but from what I can tell through a brief search, the hitter - Michael Liambas - is a bit of a douchebag on the ice as this ridiculously dirty hit on John Tavares demonstrates.

The recent incident resulted in a match penalty for boarding to Liambas and a trip to the hospital for Ben Fanelli, who was upgraded from critical to serious condition at last report.

Today, Liambas was suspended by the OHL for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. This would make it one of the harshest suspensions ever handed down.

And it is completely b.s.

The hit was devastating, no doubt about it, but it should have resulted in a two minute charging penalty at most.

With all due respect to Ben Fanelli - and I'm sure EVERYONE wishes him a speedy recovery - the injury (skull and facial fractures) was a result of his head hitting the glass and the metal divider and not from the hit itself. Liambas did not leave his feet, nor was this a "head shot" (not every head injury is a result of a "head shot", the expression-du-jour in contact sports these days). Minus the debatable charge, the hit was clean.

Boarding is typically the result of a hit from behind, and some will argue that that is the case here. Bull. Liambas catches Fanelli in the back shoulder, but only because Fanelli turns to fire the puck the other way and possibly to protect himself at the very last moment.

As any experienced hockey player will tell you, this is exactly what NOT to do. Bracing yourself against the boards is the best way to minimize the impact of a hit. Turning your back is suicidal. It's hard to tell from the video if Fanelli protected himself at all or was simply getting rid of the puck.

Unfortunately, Fanelli's positioning resulted in him being spun violently into the boards where his head hit the glass and divider. The force of the impact with the glass knocked him unconcious and he fell to the ice, his helmet having been dislodged in the process.

Lesson number two in this situation is that players should be required to have their chin straps secured firmly.

It appears the OHL is not punishing the hit, but rather the damage. If Fanelli gets up, there's likely no match penalty, never mind a suspension. But when a player is seriously hurt, there's this sense that something drastic has to be done to balance the scales of justice - even when no crime was committed. The suspension is often in proportion to the injury, rather than the act.

Why is that?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: attempted murder should be punishable in the same way as murder. It isn't because you failed in the attempt that you should be "rewarded" with a lighter sentence. In other words, we should judge the act and intent, not the damage. In this case, the hit was essentially clean, though devastating.

So why the massive suspension?

The league talks about "respect" and "sending a message". But what's the message? What's the lesson to be learned here? Since there was nothing really wrong with the hit, and hits will happen in the future, what "message" does the league hope to convey and have heeded by the players?

This is a punishment based on politics and perception, and not on the facts or the acts.

It's tragic that Fanelli was injured on the play, but it isn't Liambas' fault.

I hope Fanelli has a full and speedy recovery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Correlation Without Causation

Ever heard that expression? (or "Correlation does not imply causation"?) I heard it in Psych 100, I think. I remembered it because it was so true of so many statements one reads in the press, especially when it comes to scientific studies and the like.

Don't get it? Ok, here's a simple example:

Red car sales increased last year.
The police issued more speeding tickets than ever last year.
Therefore, owning a red car causes a person to speed.

That's a retarded statement, and yet I can't tell you how many times I've read something similar in a newspaper or somesuch. There are any number of reasons the number of speeding tickets increased that have nothing to do with the colour of the cars on the road (though there's always the possibility that it IS caused by just that).

I came across this today and it made me laugh:

I'm such a geek.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tradition! (of the egg nog variety)

I have an annual tradition. Every year, I buy the first carton of egg nog that I see.

I like egg nog. Some people think it's revolting, but those people are ugly.

Egg nog with rum? YUM!!! I look forward to that every Christmas. Of course, I usually have way too much and need a year to recover.

So guess what I saw when I dropped by the grocery store the other day? Sure enough, there was a shelf full of egg nog. This year, it was the "Irresistibles" version. I quite like the President's Choice Premium egg nog (in the black carton) but the tradition doesn't care - whatever's first wins.

So I picked up a carton, went home, and enjoyed my first egg nog of the season. OCTOBER!!!!!!!!

What the fudge?!


I used to think having my first egg nog in November was a bit odd. I'm gonna be sick of rum & egg nog before Hallowee'n!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Get off the phone!!

Jim Kenzie is a columnist for The Toronto Star and a tv personality who works the automotive beat.

He's a smart guy and I often agree with his points of view.

Perhaps that's a redundant statement. :P

Anyhow, his latest article tackles the recent legislation effectively banning the use of cell phones while driving.

Or, rather, the use of hand-held cell phones.

Note the problem here?

See, while the legislation is no doubt a step in the right direction (though Jim seems to think it actually makes matters worse if people think it endorses the hands-free option), it doesn't quite address the issue. The act of holding a cell phone to one's head is no doubt dangerous. I have seen drivers nearly collide with me and/or other objects because they had limited their field of vision. The ban will help curb this occurence. But, see, this approach has cellphone apologists using the same old ridiculous argument that radios and the like are just as distracting. I mean, they're all items that require physical dexterity and keep our hands off the wheel, right?


You would have to be a complete moron not to agree that the real danger of cell phones is not the physical presence of the item but the mental distraction they cause.

And no, you putz, a phone conversation is not at all the same as listening to the radio.

See, listening to the radio is passive. Sometimes you don't even notice the song playing - it's ambience. But when you're on the phone, engaged in a conversation, it's a completely different use of the mind and draw on your attention. Do I have a science degree? No, but what I do have is half a brain. It's as obvious as obvious can be that when you are participating in a phone conversation, you "retreat" mentally, even if just a little. There's no way that you are as aware of your environment. That's a dangerous frame of mind when operating a vehicle in traffic.

If you haven't seen it yourself, then you either don't drive enough or your lack of perception skills has me thinking - cell phone or no - you already shouldn't be driving. I've been in cars with people who go absolutely retarded once they pick up the phone. They slow down, miss exits, lose track of cars around them, or even become panicked and edgy.

A hands-free device will not cure this. Drivers will still be distracted as they retreat psychologically in order to converse intelligently. Yes, even the "good" drivers.

I have long refused to talk to friends on the phone if I know they are driving. The fact they they may be using a hands-free device will not change that.

The legislation does not ban hands-free communication because, as I understand it, it would be difficult if not impossible for an officer to determine that someone is using a hands-free device. The legislation should not be seen as an endorsement of hands-free. My solution? Ban all cell phone communication while driving. Pull over the folks who use hand-held devices, sure, but add a charge for people caught using a hands-free device when involved in an acident. Determining that a hands-free device was being used in that instance would not be impossible to prove and just might discourage some use.

Wanna make/answer a call while driving? Pull over or get off the phone!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Viewpoint Film Challenge

My friend Russ is a very talented artist. You may have seen some of his work on some PC video game boxes or on the Canadian version of Monopoly.

About a year ago, he started a mini film fest called the Viewpoint Film Challenge. The premise is fairly simple: give filmmakers a script that they more or less have to stick to (just dialogue) and see how each one interprets it differently. The script, of course, is purposely vague.

The rules are simple:
- You cannot add dialogue.
- You can remove dialogue.
- You can move dialogue around, but not words or letter within dialogue.
- The film has to be under 10 minutes.

The first time around, the entries included not just the standard stuff, but animations and films filled with green screen effects. You can see them here.

Based on what I've seen of the second incarnation, recently holding its screening at the Arcacia Centre in Chinatown , the films are even more ambitious. Russ's film in particular is unbelievably awesome with its special effects.

It's incredible that you can do this kind of film on a home computer!

The films from the second screening should all be posted soon, so keep an eye out. Viewpoint Film Challenge 3 seems to be a given, so if you're interested keep an eye on the site or join the VFC Facebook group.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stop crime, get arrested II


Another one of these.

So let me get this straight: guy gets his place burglarized TWICE IN ONE DAY. He catches the guy in the act the second time and, in the process, kills the guy and the police are debating whether to charge the burglary victim?


This is bullshit.

The article says:

University of Maryland law professor David Gray said prosecutors must weigh
whether Pontolillo thought he was in danger or became the aggressor. If he
thought he might be severely harmed, then he was within his rights to protect
himself, Gray said. "It doesn't matter if he used a gun, a sword or a frying

How about the right to defend your property? I mean, I'm big on that myself, but I thought they were really big on that in the States. I thought you could shoot trespassers down there.

A friend of mine recently had his place broken into in the middle of the night. The burglars(s) clearly did not realize he was home, asleep in the basement. My friend (wisely) escaped out the side door and ran to a neighbour's to call police.

Now, let's imagine that my friend had a kid. Let's imagine that the kid is asleep in another room and that my friend cannot escape with the child unnoticed. Can he confront the burglar with a weapon then? (the fact that the burglar dies from their wounds should never be a consideration - you either believe in defending something with force or you don't - you can't always control the outcome of using that force)

You can bet your ass that I'd be standing there with my samurai sword or Ginsu knife or rocket launcher. Whatever I could get my hands on.

Honestly: fuck the burglar.

What? The guy was supposed to let the guy just walk off with his stuff? No? Then how the hell was he supposed to stop him? By threatening him with force? What if he had to actually USE that force to stop the guy? Is that ok? He had a SWORD. How many different ways are there to use a fucking sword?!

And, besides, does he really have to give the guy the opportunity to surrender before using the force to incapacitate the burglar? I mean, isn't losing the element of surprise just increasing the odds the burglar will do you harm? Just because the guy hasn't seen you yet doesn't mean you aren't in danger. This guy could have run the sword through the burglar's back and I still wouldn't have a problem with it.

Bottom line: the burglar isn't the victim. You break into someone's house, you take your chances.

John Pontolillo shouldn't get arrested, he should get a pat on the back.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Video Awards

Another video awards ceremony, another Kanye West outburst.

I hate it when tv is predictable.

I didn't see the ceremony, actually. I watched maybe 5 seconds of it, just as Serena Williams, fresh of her own outburst at the U.S. Open, got a somewhat mixed welcome.

So I missed the "lowlight" of the show when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video for "You Belong To Me" to announce to the crowd that, while he was happy for Taylor and would let her finish, Beyonce had made one of the best videos of all time.

You stay classy, Kanye.

Swift, understandably, didn't finish her speech - not until Beyonce invited her up on stage to do so when she herself won Video of the Year for "Single Ladies".

Ok, so I think we can all agree that Kanye is a complete douche. Here's the part I don't get: Kanye thinks this was one of the best videos of all time and should have certainly beaten this. Am I missing something? A video where three ladies do a choreographed dance on a bare set is one of the best videos of all time - in this day and age - and is leaps and bounds better than a video with an actual story to it?

Now I'm not saying Swift's video is great. It's pretty cliche and simple, really. I think it's depressing that it would win a video award. I mean, what happened to innovative videos? Don't we live in an era of CGI where incredible artistic visions can come true? What happened to pushing the envelope and making cool/original works like this or this or this? Is choreographed dancing all we need these days?

It's best video - not best SONG.

And while we're at it, can someone please explain to me how Beyonce can not have the Best Female Video and yet have Video of the Year? Isn't Beyonce female? Or does she have a sprinting career I don't know about?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Tag! You're a douchebag.

Ok, so I'm kinda bored - it's the calm before the storm - so I thought I'd kill a minute or two by throwing up another post. I'm tired of all the Bryant-Sheppard bull and wanna get that post off the top of this page. :P

So here's something I came across on Boingboing : "Daredevil LA tagger 'Buket' of YouTube fame gets nearly 4 years in jail".

Four years seems more than a bit much but I don't know the circumstances of the charges. A little jail time to sober this moron up doesn't seem extreme to me, though.

Some people may say I'm getting old, what with my beard and all, but the truth is that I have always detested graffiti and "tagging". It's juvenile, rude, inconsiderate, ugly (usually), disrespectful and mean - and in this jerk's case, dangerous.

If you think this guy is anything but a "reckless egomaniacal douchetard", then I'm not sure we can be friends anymore.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Michael Bryant vs. Cyclist Darcy Sheppard - Facts Before Acts

Something been's bothering me the past couple of days.

It isn't a new theme, but it's rearing its ugly head again: People who protest or condemn without having the facts.

On Monday night there was some sort of incident between a cyclist, Darcy Sheppard, and former Ontario MPP Michael Bryant who was driving his Saab convertible. What we know is that at some point after this incident and shouting match, the vehicle moved down the road and that, at some point, Mr. Sheppard clung to the driver's side. The vehicle traveled erratically down Bloor Street and, at some point, Mr. Sheppard fell under the rear wheels, suffering injuries that proved fatal.

That's it.

That's all we know.

Reporters and police have been trying to fill in the rest using eye witness accounts, but the fact is that the only people who know exactly what happened from begining to end are the two occupants of the vehicle, Mr. Bryant and his wife.

It has been alleged that there was a minor collision involving the car and bicycle, which took place either before or was bookended by angry exchanges between the two men. It's alleged that Mr. Sheppard slammed his bag onto the hood of the car. It's alleged that Mr. Bryant began to drive off and that Mr. Sheppard pursued the vehicle on foot and then grabbed the driver's side somehow. It's alleged that Mr. Bryant yelled at Mr. Sheppard to get off as he continued along Bloor. While it is indisputable that the car traveled westbound along the eastbound lane, it is not a given that this was done intentionally by Mr. Bryant and while it appears to be a fact that the vehicle brushed plant holders and other obstacles along the eastbound curb, it is not known if this, again, was intentional. Some allege that Mr. Bryant was attempting to "shake off" Mr. Sheppard.

What interested me right off the bat is that Mr. Bryant was not immediately charged. He was not charged until the next day, and he was not charged with manslaughter or somesuch, but rather criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death. One legal source says that, if convicted, Bryant would likely face two years in jail. Two years. Conspiracy theorists were quick to jump to the conclusion that Bryant received preferential treatment because of his former status as Ontario's Attorney General. Bryant left the post a while back to lead Invest Toronto.

But was it preferential treatment or are the facts as presented to the police by witnesses and Bryant such that the police think there may have been some extenuating circumstances?

Sheppard is a former (?) bike messenger and his colleagues were quick to stage a protest on Tuesday afternoon with plans to protest again during the Wednesday afternoon rush hour. Since they chanted "murder" at one point, I assume they are protesting the charge, rather than staging some sort of traffic-blocking memorial. But I don't know for sure. Do they know? Do they know what they are protesting? I don't have all the facts of the case - do they? What exactly is the issue here? Bike lanes? Crazy drivers? Mourning? Police corruption?

From the start, Mr. Bryant has been painted as the guilty party with Mr. Sheppard portrayed as the victim of road rage. When incidents arise involving a bicycle and a car, the automobile is often portrayed as the big bad wolf.

I don't buy it.

Let's say, for argument's sake, that you're in a car, a convertible, and some guy who is angry as hell for whatever reason starts attacking you or that you feel they are about to attack you. What would you do? Lock the door? It's a convertible. Try to get out? By the time you undo your seatbelt the guy may have already punched you in the face and knocked you silly - or worse. Yell for help? Good Samaritans MAY come over if you're lucky, but by then, again, you may be unconcious - or worse. Do these things even occur to you in the split second that you're threatened? Guess what I'd do. Hit. The. Gas. I'm in a car. The best way to get away from a guy who may be a complete psycho (for all I know) is to reach 60km/h. I don't have a taser. I can't defend myself - nor my wife - from a seated, restrained position. I have very very limited options. If the guy is crazy enough to latch onto my car as I drive away do I stop and chat? Eff that. Now I might hit the brakes hard and hope he goes flying, but maybe that doesn't occur to everyone. Maybe they keep driving in the hopes that speed and common sense will convince the guy to simply let it go. Then again, maybe he doesn't. Maybe he hangs on either out of anger or fear. Then maybe he falls.

I'm not saying that's what happened in the Bloor Street case, but it's something to consider. What was going through each person's mind? Why did they do what they did? How much did anger, fear and lack of time to think play a role? Is the car's operator still the big bad wolf in this scenario?

You'll have to forgive me if, without having all the facts, I'm not willing to crucify Mr. Bryant.

It's come to light that Mr. Sheppard is a recovering alcoholic single father of three who has 61 warrants for his arrest in Alberta. An hour before the incident on Bloor, Mr. Sheppard was involved in another incident at his girlfriend's residence where he showed up having been drinking (there seems to be some qestion as to whether he was drunk) and apparently caused enough of a ruckus to warrant police presence. Friends who heard of his passing said things were looking up for the man who had had some rough patches, saying that things were improving for him "just last week". Yup - looks that way. You'll forgive me if, not knowing the man personally and knowing only his criminal and alcohol-related issues, I hesitate to put a halo on him and brand him the upstanding victim in the Bloor Street incident.

(On a side note, hearing testimonials from friends of victims has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves with news coverage. The victim can be a crack dealing gang banger who has 20 convictions for gun possession and the story is always that their death is a "tragedy" and the victim was "a great guy" with a "bright future". STFU.)

So we have some facts, but not many. On the surface, it would appear that Mr. Bryant was driving recklessly in an effort to rid himself of Mr. Sheppard.

But do we know that for a fact?

I mean, isn't it at least possible that Mr. Sheppard played SOME role in his demise? Is it possible that Mr. Bryant feared for his safety and that of his wife? Is it possible that Mr. Sheppard overreacted to the minor incident in which, for all we know, he was 100% in the wrong? Is it possible that the incident an hour prior impacted Mr. Sheppard's state of mind at the time? And why in the world would someone purposely try to shake someone off their driver's side by driving down the wrong side of the road and into objects along the curb? Isn't it possible that this was NOT Mr. Bryant's intention? Isn't it possible that it was Mr. Sheppard's presence on the driver's side door that caused the car to swerve left (either through contact with Mr. Bryant or the wheel itself)? But why didn't Mr. Bryant simply hit the brakes? Is it possible that he feared for his safety so much that the idea of stopping and perhaps giving his "attacker" a chance to regroup was not an option? Or is Mr. Bryant 100% guilty?

Who knows?

I don't. And that's the point. If you don't know the facts for certain then at least keep your mind open to the possibility that things are not as they appear.

Wait for the facts before you condemn and stage your "protests". Otherwise, don't expect to get my sympathy.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Craziest Film Cast EVER!

I came across this link after visiting the UFC website.

Did you know about this?

This is quite possibly the craziest cast for an action flick you will ever see:

Sylvester Stallone
Dolph Lundgren
Jet Li
Jason Statham
Mickey Rourke
Randy "The Natural" Couture (UFC)
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin (WWE)
Eric Roberts
and a cameo by... Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Apparently Lundgren was hired after JC Van Damme turned it down. Wesley Snipes then Forest Whitaker then 50 Cent were supposed to play the role now taken by Terry Crews of "Everybody Hates Chris". Bruce Willis is rumoured to play the as-yet-uncast Mr. Church which had been offered to Kurt Russell.

Clearly, the idea is to make this movie as much an 80s action movie junkie fest as possible.

Of course it's gonna suck, but who cares?

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Beach Boys a capella

Came across this link on Boingboing.

I didn't know this existed: it's the voice tracks from some Beach Boys tunes. Remove the music and you can really appreciate their harmonies - which were great to begin with.

I've always liked the Beach Boys, but this has boosted my appreciation for their talents and style of music.

There isn't supposed to be any instrumental music, but if you listen carefully, particularly to the "Sloop John B" track (and the not-so-great "Caroline No"), you can clearly hear the tune. perhaps it was sound bleeding from someone's headphones into the mic.

Regardless, it's a great piece of music. The second half of "God Only Knows" made me think of a wedding procession tune.

...There's that word again....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Random Excursions

I came across a post on Boingboing that led me here.

I quite like this idea. I've always liked taking road trips and especially visiting new places.

Trips these days seem to be "destination trips" - you drive via the quickest route, usually a highway, to get to your destination fastest. Not very scenic.

I live in Toronto, yet I find that I don't know as many of the towns surrounding the city as I'd like.

Coming back from Dan's wedding reception last (?) summer, I avoided the highway and instead took a more scenic route (yet still on a major road so that I wouldn't have to twist and turn too much - I still had to get home!) which led me through St. Thomas, Ontario, a place I'd never been. It's a nice little town, which I now know is the site of the unfortunate passing of Jumbo the elephant, who was struck by a locomotive while visiting with the circus. A tour of the town would be incomplete without a visit to the statue of Jumbo. It may not have been the quickest way back from Windsor, but it was certainly more enjoyable and pleasant than the 401.

As the post says, I think establishing rules would be important. I like the idea of not being allowed to take the same stretch of road twice, but I'm not sure about following a direction beyond what the road allows (see the bit about using the GPS). Seems to me that when a road ends, that's when you use the die. But if you end up on a major road, how else do you determine when to roll again? Do you have a time limit for travel between rolls? Maybe you roll whenever you see a ________?

I think I'll come up with a plan and hopefully I'll be able to execute it sometime in the near future. (I'd have to rent a car!)

I think putting your trip in the hands of fate could be fun.