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Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

hellboy01 Here are a list of links for your enjoyment. PLEASE heed the NSFW (not safe for work) and NSFS (not safe for squeamish) warning: only the cemetaries are good for a work based viewing. Expect gore, grimaces of the dead and the odd naked person on a morgue slab:

Architecture: Of The Dead

After Life - This is one of the most beautiful collections of photography I have ever seen. Jonathan Clark spent several years photographing the seasons changing in England's Streatham Cemetery, and the results are breathtaking. In many cases, subtle animation and sounds are used to enhance the already captivating ambiance of these magical and melancholy pictures.
Angels In Filth - A great collection of black and white and color photographs of graveyard angel statues.
Beneath Los Angeles - How thoughtful! Steve Goldstein walked around the cemeteries of L.A. and photographed the graves of the famous and infamous for our viewing pleasure. A cyber treat for the morbidly inclined.
Cemetery Listings - From Dark Necropolis comes this small but engaging collection of travelogues to cemeteries in the Massachusetts and Rhode Island areas.
Cemetery Monuments - A nice collection of photos of some of the choicest cemetery monuments in the country. It's not laid out in any geographic order and it isn't annotated, but the photographs are lovely all the same.
Cemetery Photo Gallery - A revolving gallery of lovely photographs from some of the world's finest cemeteries, archived monthly. It's the next best thing to being there!
City of the Silent - The quintessential cemetery site on the web. Be sure to check out the collection of unique epitaphs.
Cold Marble - The cemeteries of Baltimore.

Biology: Mutants and Bugs

A Social History Of Conjoined Twins - This sight is more odd and fascinating than dark or gruesome, but it is rather morbid to read about the deaths of conjoined twins. Imagine awakening in the middle of the night to find that your "other half" has died... and knowing that death will soon come to claim you too. Very interesting case studies of siamese twinhood.
Forensic Entomology - Case studies of insect-aided forensics investigations. A bit squeamish and entomologists themselves may have trouble accepting the fact that some insects would much rather see us dead. Thought-provoking, to be certain.
Forensic Pathology - Cue The Who: a collection of forensic pathology clinical photos - both gross and microscopic - with nice scientific explanations of the facts behind the carnage.
Gross Specimens - A wonderful collection of fetuses in jars and the like, which includes panoramic video of one of the more disturbing fetuses. If you don't like being scared for real: this is available

Criminology: Bad things can happen to bad people

Crime Life - An amazing site chock full of the most despicable and disgusting the web has to offer. The photo gallery is comprehensive, the content exhaustive.
Crime Magazine: An Encyclopedia Of Crime - A wonderful site full of articles, trivia, gore and more!
ID-Wanted.Org - A fascinating site dedicated to help law enforcement find missing or unidentified bodies. Contains some graphic post-mortem shots of unidentified victims.
Mexico - The Dark Side - Photographs of the Museo de las Momias, various Mexican cemeteries, and the always-nifty Day Of The Dead celebrations. Gosh, it's enough to make me want to visit Mexico!
The Smoking Gun: Archive - A collection of images including decades-old crime photos, mug shots, JKF assassination pics, and war casualty images during World War II. Gripping stuff, of course.
The Crime Library - A collection of articles about your favorite infamous individuals.
Crime Magazine: An Encyclopedia Of Crime - Before there were wikis, there were encyclopedias.
Dead Man Eating - The Texas Department of Criminal Justice lists what condemned people eat. For me, I'd pack the cannon real good.
Internet Crime Archives - A very complex and colorful site chock full of info o' serial killers.
Jack The Ripper - This is another excellent Jack site - and one that allows you to actually talk to the killer. Very clever. Of course, for me, From Hell is the best product of Jack The Ripper Lore.
Texas Department Of Criminal Justice Statistics - You can also keep tabs on the upcoming executions. Don't miss an important state sponsored homicide.
ZodiacKiller.Com - A fascinating website detailing one of the most fascinating of unsolved murder sprees. Wasn't me, honest.
Law Enforcement In The Past - My sister spells it "torcher." More pictures and illustrations of those ever-wicked medieval torture devices. What sad, sick times they were!

Death: It's better than UPN

Case Index - University of Pittsburgh - Patient case studies - some of which end in death and include forensic pathology images - courtesy the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Pathology.
Celebrity Morgue - View the rotting remains of such former denizens of high society as Marilyn Monroe, Tupac, JFK, Ted Bundy, and my personal favorite, Edgar Allan Poe.

Doh!ology: The Science of Getting It Wrong

The Darwin Awards - Never have so many done so much wrong.
Amusement Ride Accident Reports and News - No wonder Walt Disney's head was preserved: it was the only part the workers could extract from the Mickey Mauler!
Bus Plunge! - This is what I think is likely for EVERY bus ride.

History: Profound and Still Scary

African-American Holocaust - An incredibly powerful and disturbing set of images conveying the horror racism. Many too much for this trivial post, but it's important to note.
Censored Pictures of The Great War - The governments censored photographs of World War I, If people knew that they sent their children to die on barbed wire or choke on mustard gas, it might spark something like the Russian revolution. This is a collection of French photographs that were not destroyed, so we can see the gory realities of war for ourselves.
The Mad Monarchs Series - An excellent collection of the most deranged monarchs to ever rule. This site hasn't been updated, so it doesn't include Dubya.
Memento Mori: Death And Photography In 19th Century America - A thought-provoking essay into the history of the popular 19th century
art of funerary photography, loaded with numerous sad images. Were people so amazed that they could take a photograph that they did?
The Nanjing Massacre - A friend's family lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. They won't buy anything Made In Japan. Here's why: a chronicle of one of the worst atrocities in history - the Nanjing Massacre of late 1937/early 1938. In several months: 300,000 unarmed Chinese civilians were ruthlessly murdered by the Japanese army.
The Official Donnelly Homepage - In case you think a) Canada doesn't have serial killings; or b) they've only started happening in the last 40 years. A site dedicated to preserving the history of the Donnellys - a Canadian family who suffered a massacre of five family members in 1880.
The Peshtigo Fire - Before Katrina, the Peshtigo Fire of October 8, 1871 was the worst natural disaster in America: it killed at least 1200 people. Did I mention that Bush is great at making history: worst disaster; biggest loss of civilians through enemy attacks; most violations of the Geneva convention since WWII Germany; he's going to throw a nuke in 2006 to mark the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima.
The Triangle Factory Fire - A fascinating site about the horrible tragedy of the Triangle Factory Fire - where over one hundred women perished in 1911. The march of commerce continued
War Against War!- After World War I, German pacifist Ernst Friedrich began a crusade to end war by showcasing the horrible mutilations and tragic deformities which had befallen many of the German soldiers. Combine Victorian era science, medicine and warfare to make images as disturbing today as they were then.

Theology: Witches and Christians Don't Mix

The Witching Hours - A beautiful site which discusses the abundant historical atrocities of the Witch Hunting era. Be sure to check out "Punishment, Torture and Ordeal" for a truly frightening experience!
Tortures And Torments Of The Christian Martyrs - Boy, those early Christians were sure picked on, weren't they? And such imaginative methods of torture! Human ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. View engravings of each of the various torture methods at this fascinating site.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

April 30th, 2006: Philips Pulls Defibrillators Amid Wrongful Death Claims

I was watching West Wing tonight. Because of a scheduling issue, I actually get the real US feed, which I love because how different their culture is. Case in point: HeartStart Home. The ad shows an ambulance stuck in gridlock and talks about cardiac arrest stats. It's an ad for a home defibrillator. In other words, you keel over from a heart attack and someone shocks you into life. First my small problem: if you are in danger of a heart attack: CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!!!!...! I had a moment of clarity about my weight well before I had a crisis. Since then, I've lost 40lbs. and I plan on losing 80 more: my goal is to do this at a speed that does more than change my waistline, but my attitude. If you walk into a store to buy HeadStart Home, something is wrong.
Coming from a background in first aid, I have to say that defibrillators are scary devices. If someone has a cardiac arrest, there is a small chance they will survive. Done right, the use of the defibrillator will raise the chance. Done wrong, it kills them. Defibrillators can kill people two ways. One: if you position it wrong, you send an arc of electricity through the body but miss the heart: holy leaping pectorals, the feller's still dead. Two: a lot of reasons put someone on the ground with that grey pallor. Of all of those reasons--stroke, allergic reaction, narcolepsy, blood clot, aneurism, etc.-- only one of them can be remedied with a defibrillator; defibrillators will instead electrocute the poor soul.
What I predict will happen? People will start to buy HeadStart Home this week. Boomers who loved their burgers, will spend their cash on this latest gadget. In about three months (January-Feburary) Christmas bills, winter snow shovelling and comfort food will take their toll. Some people will have a cardiac arrest. A subset of that group will own a defibrillator. Some of that set will use the defibrillator properly. The rest will freak out when they see their beloved corpse. They'll scramble for the defibrillator. They'll fumble to place the pads. Some squealing twentysomething will be shaking the corpse furiously. The person with the defibrillator will throw the switch and three things could happen. The twentysomething will get electrocuted. The corpse will get a fried liver or lung, but that heart will miss the current. Or, a poor guy with a lump of bread in his airway will be killed by the defibrillator when someone should have tried the Heimlich maneuver.
This will happen a few times-- enough to get onto the radar of the hairdos at NBC Dateline. They do some research and prep a piece for the late March of 2006. Lots of life saving stories; then the dark exceptions. People call their congressmen. Knees jerk across the nation. Defibrillator makers pull their home models in time to prove me right.

Bend Over and Say Splog

Blogs are getting pounded by spam blogs: splogs. Weasels will post a comment and add a plug for their website. They do this not once or twice: they do this 100 or 1000 times. Google and other search engines march to the blogs, index them and spit out their results. Two factors make splogging viable: spastic trendy hungry search engines and crappy programmers.
When I started doing stuff on the web (like 9-10 years ago), you could go to a search engine, add a site and voila! it would appear as part of the search engines. Weasels of the day flooded search engines, so the engine had to get picky and hold onto a link for weeks and vet it. This stymied the weasels. In the last couple of years, blogs came on the scene. Blogs are nothing new: Blogger is just a honed CMS for posting material; crap-ass LiveJournal is a discussion forum with a lot more popularity and lot less functionality than you would find elsewhere. Anyways, they make blog posting so easy that there is a diarrhetic flood of opinion, information and navel gazing. If search engines used their common, slow vetting technique, they would totally miss out on firsthand accounts of stuff as it was going on. Google, MSN and others took the brakes off of their indexing engines. You post it now, and it will be up there quickly. Really, check it out. Because search engines are working so hard and so fast they don't bother to wait and see if they're getting crap. Weasels have exploited this weakness. If you link to something, that destination has a value. Link to it twice and the value of the destination is greater. Do that 1000 times and that destination is the place to go to. So much so, that that popularity link will outshine similarily relevant destinations.
What makes splogging so easy is that programmers are largely crappy at their job. There is a long video by Chris Pirillo where he shows all of the notifications he has recieved from splog comments. It's like showing off a great car that cost so little. Then, you get in an accident and lament the lack of brakes, seat belt, bumpers, horn, and metal body. There's a reason to vet links. There's a reason to limit user commenting.
When programmers build these systems they didn't ruggedize and weasel proof them. Here are some easy ways to pull this off:
One post per user per second. If you're typing comments, no matter how fast you are, you will not be able to post at a rate of faster than 1 per second. So, comment accepting scripts should identify users and allow them to post only 1 script per second. Can you tame a splogging script to post once per second? Sure. But a wins through processing power. I've watched attacks as they happen. When a 'bot hits a site, it throws 20-100 hits at a site per second. If a splogger did tame their script to make 1 comment per second and get past this limitation it means their bot would be running at 1%-5% of its capacity. Where before they could have seeded 1000 comments in ten seconds, now it takes twenty minutes. In twenty minutes, an analysis script could catch on and lock out a user.
No hyperlinks. This would make comments much safer. A splogger could still exploit the indexing by putting a phrase from their site in the comment and letting their own site's indexing be the key part of the formula. Nevertheless, the lack of inbound links would hurt splogging viability.
Make everyone log in and renew their login. Make login with captcha the default for blogs; disallow anonymous comments and make captcha disabling an overt act. Also, send out questions to registered users via email-- something that a script couldn't automatically answer: "What do you get when you combine blue and yellow?" or "Who was the US President in 1962?" if the registered user can't answer, poof goes their account.
Prosecute Sploggers. Change the Terms of Use to disallow splogging. If someone does it, hand them a bill. Or, treat splogging the same as computer hacking and go after the sploggers. They mention their website: they want to be found. Accomodate them. Find them at home at 3AM and show them how handy you are with a taser.

Beware of Fourth Dimensional Creatures

I'm watching Carl Sagan's Cosmos series, particularly the episode on galaxies, the expanding universe and Flatland. He was showing the village of Flatland with all of its two dimensional creatures. A three dimensional apple decides to visit Mr. Square of 123 Flatland St., Flatland. It lands unhindered by the walls on a Flatland hut and presents itself in three dimension: four little apple bottom lumps appear. The same apple's geometry would change as it sunk into Flatland and presented new planes.
What breaks my brain is that this single object first presents itself as four separated objects from a two dimensional perspective. What if a) every object presents all of its dimension; and b) objects in our world are connected from a perspective of higher dimension?
What if every object presents all of its dimensions? In the Flatland example: the apple had three dimensions but Mr. Square had two? Scientists used to theorize that there were monopoles: magnetic objects have positive and negative poles so there must be a way to get an object to present only a positive or negative pole. So far, that theory hasn't panned out. What if the idea of Mr. Square is also a false assumption. Mr. Apple presents two dimensions in Flatland but Mr. Square is also three dimensions and presents only a plane? If that's the case, then what is going on with our unseen dimensions? Superstring theory has predicted that there is a ten dimensional universe and we experience three dimensions, so something is going on with those additional dimensions.
What if objects in our world are connected from a perspective of higher dimension? Remember Mr. Apple's bottom bumps? Mr. Square would say that the bumps are four separate objects. What if we were presented in three dimensions but some other three dimensional object is connected to us via a fourth, fifth or sixth dimension? For example, think about the apple tree with all its apples connected to the tree in the third dimension. Because they're contiguous in the three dimension they are connected somewhere in all of the dimensions. Pluck the apple in our third dimension and you have to ask: Is it now apart from the tree? It is on the third dimension, but is there still a vine at right angles to all our three dimensions that hooks the apple to the tree? Objects and phenomenon have to stay in their dimensional perspective, so anything that stays in our three dimensions would have to stay put: it couldn't jump nutrients from the apple tree over the fourth dimensional vine to the apple sitting in your fridge because the trickle of moisture and vitamins are third dimensional objects. With that said, go back to the three dimension Mr. Apple in Flatland. When it starts to rot, you see it rotting on all of the planes presented in the second dimension. That apple could still be on the tree at the same time its doing a home invasion on Mr. Square. Until the planes slice all the way up the apple, hit the stem and keep going to the tree would Mr. Square know that the apple is still connected.

Just some thoughts to break your brain on a Sunday morning.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Electra Woman and Dyna-Girl

This site shows off the Where Are They Now for the staples of Saturday morning TV in the late 70s: Electro-Woman and Dyna-Girl; Land of the Lost; Isis. Remember the late 70s? There were three channels of kids shows, some of them weren't animated; and none of the live action characters dressed like purple dinosaurs.

Cooperate AND compete, not just one or the other

Some great ideas from Bruce Sterling's blog:

Many people have abstracted principles of how nature designs. The following list is what I consider the distilled combination of those enumerated by Janine Benyus, Michael Braungart and William McDonough, Kevin Kelly, Steven Vogel, D'Arcy Thompson, Buckminster Fuller, Julian Vincent, Dee Hock, and my own limited experience. Explanations and attributions follow the main list.
  • Waste = Food
  • Self-assemble, from the ground up
  • Evolve solutions, don't plan them
  • Relentlessly adjust to the here & now
  • Cooperate AND compete, not just one or the other
  • Diversify to fill every niche
  • Gather energy & materials efficiently
  • Optimize the system rather than maximizing components
  • The whole is greater than the sum of its parts--design for swarm
  • Use minimal energy & materials
  • "Don’t foul your nest"
  • Organize fractally
  • Chemical reactions should be in water at normal temperature & pressure

Vogel's mechanical-engineering-specific principles (summarized):
  • Nature's factories produce things much larger, not smaller, than themselves.
  • We use metals, nature never does
  • Nature makes gradual transitions in structures (curves, density gradients, etc.) rather than sharp corners.
  • We make things out of many components, each of which is homogeneous; nature makes things out of fewer components but they vary internally.
  • We design for stiffness, nature designs for strength and toughness.
  • Our mechanisms have rigid pieces moving on sliding contacts, nature bends/twists/stretches.
  • Nature often uses diffusion, surface tension, and laminar flow; we often use gravity, thermal conductivity, and turbulence.
  • Our engines are mostly rotary or expansive, nature's are mostly sliding or contracting.
  • Nature's engines are isothermal.
  • Nature mostly stores mechanical work as elastic energy, sometimes as gravitational potential energy.

Squatting On My Civil Rights

Victoria has been rated as one of the most pleasant places to live in Canada from an enivronmental standpoint. On a scale of 1 to 100-- with 1 basically being room temperature every day of the year and 100 being Hell on Earth-- Victoria rates an 11. Because of this, you can walk around outside in January in nay but undershorts and live to tell the tale. This means that Victoria is a great place to be homeless. In Toronto, Montreal and New York, a winter night in the cold is a death sentence. Here, we have campers who trot from one public park to another and set up camp. They believe that we are violating their civil rights by refusing them a campsite on public land. They are selfish and weaselly bastards.
When I was a kid (that was only 30 years ago), downtown's Government Street used to be a hub of scum-- drug addicts, alcoholics, hippies and drifters. Our parks were relatively safe. Nowadays, Victoria has emphasized its tourist trap aspect. Government street is now dotted with Mountietm statue vendors and gelatto stands. The riff-raff have been pushed into the nearby neighbourhoods of Fernwood and Vic-West. They've also set-up camp in local parks.
Yes, they're poor. Yes, Victoria is an expensive place to live. I know, I have to live here to earn a living. Most of the campers are on welfare; many are thieves and drug dealers. There is an overlap-- some are collecting my tax dollars, some are breaking into my car for the remainder. Somehow people have tied up poverty and criminal behavior. If you call a poor thief a thief, you're painted as unsympathic. A crook is a crook is a crook. Les Miserables plucked at the heart strings not because of a man in need of bread: the singing and costuming delivered the pathos. In real life, the piece of trash stealing from you would club you to death to be able to make off with the CDs in your car. The campers are part of that camp.
If they like camping and hate rules, why not move to a campsite in a Provincial park? Riight... the campers don't want to camp there, far away from drugs and handouts. Living in a cheaper place would cut back on some of their income; but they can collect welfare whereever they live.
The Cridge campers have gone to court to fight for their right to camp on public land. Holy: I can't afford a lawyer, but then I have to pay rent and pay for groceries and contribute to society. Are public lands open to the public? Yes. But by squatting, these campers have taken away my rights to be there. Most of the time, you can tread over any part of a public site. When the campers set up shop, they blocked me from that public land. Because they're using part of the camp as a toilet, part of it as a fireplace and part of it as a shooting gallery, I am barred from the camp. I can walk onsite, but only at the risk of physical harm: hepatitis, collera, e-coli, shards of glass, discarded hypodermics, a beating from a mob of riff-raff who would like my money and shoes.
If the campers enjoy going to court, I would like to engage them. If I had their money, I would start a class action suit on behalf of the people of Victoria for their violation of my civil rights. By camping on my public land; and threatening myself and other citizens, they are violating my civil rights. Back when I was a kid, I could run in a park or roll in the autumn leaves. These campers and their riff-raff have taken that from my daughter. There are so many needles in the park next to our place that a roll in the Fall leaves is likely to leave her a pin cushion. These selfish and weaselly bastards have taken that away from her.
On the news, the 30 to 40 Cridge campers are complaining that they're only allowed $325/month to live. Since when did full-time at minimum wage ($8 x 8hrs x 22 day/mo) equal $325? Everywhere I turn, there are signs in windows for Help Wanted: dozens of places that need people. Here's how the Cridge campers can pack up their tents: GET A JOB. There is plenty of work for people without skills. The problem is: they don't want a job because it cuts back on their lifestyle. Some have alcohol, drug and psychological issues, but a lot of people live with those problems.
A friend of mine landed in Victoria about two years ago with a backpack of clothes, $500 in cash and nothing else. He bumped around for a while and found a job that paid about minimum wage, got a place to live and he was off. No skills (well he had skills, but they weren't applicable) and no help. He did it, so it can be done.
Another friend of mine left a professional career and bumped about for a while. He has a history of mental illness. He also has a lot of debt. Rather than give up and pitch a tent, he found a job he could do without angst, maintained his living and managed his pyschological issues. Easy, hard: it was doable and he did it.
I know people out there will decry that I am unfair to the plight of the campers. I don't care about the campers and neither do you. Have you taken in a homeless person? Have you said, "I make $X/mo. and I need $Y/mo. to survive: I am giving the remainder to the poor?" Forget about donating it to a charity to keep your hands clean. Have you walked up to the type of person who would camp at the Cridge and said, "Here's a bunch of money."?
The problem is that society is a bell-curve: 1% of the people have most of the money; 1% of the people have nothing. A lot of people are the working saps. That bottom 1% will always fail to survive. Victoria has enough jobs and arguably enough housing. It's a given that the Cridge campers are failures: could they please go somewhere else to fail? Maybe, could they fail while flipping a burger or stocking a shelf? As it is, they're squatting on my civil rights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Cheryl, Alice and I went to the Toy Show in Sidney on Sunday. After that, we went on a leisurely walk through the seaside township of Sidney, BC. I met up with a couple of the locals: friendly folks, who seemed stony at first. Let's just say, they'll remember me...

A friendly seaman dared me to gore out his eyes. I showed him that I would do anything on a dare

An elderly lady asked for help reading a passage from her book. I helped myself at the same time...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Oh, Dear Deer

Hunters in New England are supposed to be on the lookout for pumpkin headed deer:

Elizabeth Laatsch had to reassure the operator her call was no Halloween prank.

A deer came through her backyard Friday with a pumpkin stuck on its head.

At least, it looked like a pumpkin to the South Middleton Township woman.

“It sounds very far-fetched,” says Laatsch, who moved into the Stonehedge Drive house with husband, Jerry, about a month ago. Her husband was on the back porch about 11:15 a.m. when something walked through the yard.

“He did not know what it was at first,” Laatsch says. “He called out to me.”
She looked outside and saw the deer moving slowly, unable to see where it was going.
The animal disappeared into a wooded area and gully. Forty-five minutes later, the deer meandered back and Laatsch took its picture.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Recreational Interview

I have a good job. And, I am past probation. A post on a discussion forum that I am a part of asked for a web developer-- a non-smoking web developer. The job poster gave a address which is something I always find weasely: by keeping the employer anonymous you have to apply for the job and then discover if they're an employer you would ever want to work for. I applied for a job once and discovered that the place was the place that sold herbal viagra and spammed almost everyone alive about their crappy product. This guy is likely a one-man show who BSed his way into a job too big for him; and/or the graduate of a lame tech college (2, 3) who now has to do his job and he's discovered he's tapped out for skills.
Anyways, the post to the discussion group generated a lot of flak and it reminded me of a concept I came up with a while: the recreational interview. Make up a resume and LIE about every detail so as to be a shoe-in for the job and guarantee an interview. Why? Have you seen what happens at an HR office? One place asked for resumes to be stapled, one came in with a paper clip and got rejected. That schmoe lost the job over a paper clip. Others rejected non-black-ink-on-white-paper applications; for a typo; for calling someone named "Mel" by Mister (Mel was a woman). Once you have the interview, consider the flavour of the interview and go in, guns blazing. Here's some thoughts:
The Pirate. Say everything like a pirate. "Dar Lassie! That software barge be a fine lot. But they'd keel haul the Linux folk as sure as a pirate has a parrot."
Peek a Boo. Do the interview normally. Bring interview notes. Part way through, hold up the book to obscure your face from the interviewer. Then, tentatively poke your head around and shout, "Peek a boo!" Repeat.
The Salary Issue - Version One. Go all the way through the interview. As soon as you can, discuss the topic of salary. With a straight face, tell them you are unwilling to work for less than $400,000/yr. plus a boat.
The Salary Issue - Version Two. When you can work in the topic of salary, tell that you want to be paid in celery-- a weight of celery equivalent to the interviewer and that you will need to verify the weight on a weekly basis.
Star Wars. Everything you talk about has to tie into Star Wars. Use similies at the start. By the end of the interview, cite experiences of Star Wars characters as though they were your own. "I was flying down the trench. I had this X-Wing in my sights. Suddenly my wingmen were destroyed and I was blown out of the trench by this spice smuggler. That was my worst job."
Clown Day. Come to the interview dressed as a clown. Explain that your mother dressed you this way.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ailin' vomit!

Thinking quickly, Ronald disguised himself as a big Hollywood movie director, took a shorcut and headed off the Grimace at Filet-O-Fish Lake.

Here's this great piece on McDonald's ads. McDonalds is insidious and evil. This site tracks the ads that brainwashed little kids into thinking that dead cow and onions between disks of starch could only be better if washed down with sugar water and a side of grease fried tuber filaments. Oh, I dislike them. Between McDonald's and Walmart, the North American countryside has been decimated of its merchant biodiversity. Where before there was Pop's Hardware and Mom's Diner now there is only the megalo-Walmart and their little McDonald's franchise in the corner like a gorilla with a derringer.
Victoria, BC sports more than 12 McDonalds'! Why? Why? Via RealPolitik I've been following the McDonald's march of evil. They've run out of market share. In other words: everyone who wants a Big Muc, can get it whenever/wherever they want. That's why they've opened the Chipotle's chain. What gets me is why they haven't moved into retail-- supermarkets-- prepackage the burger and bun separate from the condiments. Freeze them and package them with something like four to a package. Pull out the burger, nuke it for 90 seconds; sloosh out the condiments and voila! Now you can double over in agony while in the comfort of your home!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oh Galactica: You Were the Dicso of SF

Flashy, stupid, with bright lights and a lot of big hair, Battlestar Galactica was the Magnetbox to Star Wars' space fantasy.
Today, I was making lunch and turned on the TV. They were rerunning the old Battlestar Galactica series. It lasted 24 episodes (would they be epsilons in Galacticaese?) so the reruns continued into the spin-off series: Galactica 1980. They made it to Earth but found that Earth sucked technologically. Talk about a repressed memory. Galactica 1980 is one of those experiences you push down into your subconscious like the time you were blindfolded and thrown into a slaughterhouse.
I took a moment to read the plots from the 10 episodes of Galactica 1980.
Oh man: did they stink! The best of the lot (and this says it all) is where Starbuck comes back for a tale from the past, befriends an injured Cylon and makes out with a space angel (episode 10). A few more of them involved Hitler. I kid you not. Back in the last 1970s, the bar for TV quality was pretty low. Hell: CHiPS was highly rated.

In the remake of Battlestar Galactica, Ronald Moore has been very revisionist but still keeping the waypoints. My hope is that he does a Galactica 2010. Where before there were creepy kids raised on the high gravity Galactica, now there are Children of the Corn style kids from the Galactica who use their eerie shinning on common Earth folk.

For those of who who need more Galactica:

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Who to sue... Who to sue...

In the third calendar week on the seemingly unending BCTF strike, word has come that the Canadian Tax Payers Association has landed a class action suit on the BCTF. Well, the BCTF is screwing them; and the BC Government is screwing the BCTF. In a way, the BCTF is firing blind and the BC Government is pointing the shooter.
I think the next class action suit to come down should name the BC Government and the BCTF as defendants. Think about it: they have both worked to make us miserable. Why not punish them both? Can you imagine these two sides working together to save their collective asses? I can see it now. Either:
  1. they will band together to fight a common target-- the public. It's what they're good at, so they work together to beat down Joe & Jane Average and the Average's 1.76 children in a court of law.
  2. they will snipe and claw at each other. It would be like that story about the scorpion that talks a fox into ferrying him across the river on his back. Half way across, the scorpion stings the fox. The fox says, "You've doomed us both!" The scorpion replies, "It's my nature." Put these two at the same desk as defendants in a class action and you will win as both will be so blind to thought of working together that they will screw each other even if that means they lose themselves.

This Post Is Three Hours Old Already

Shaw Cable released its Shaw Digital Phone last week to much hoopla. I was suspicious. They go down all the time and their technical support sucks. For a while I used to do their dance of unplug the modem, unplug the hub, et cetera.The techies were so clueless that for a while I faked it. Then I started to refuse: "I'm not doing that. That won't get us closer to a solution." I'm sorry. I asked for an outtage estimate. They give me a bunch of busy work, meanwhile a Shaw service truck is pulling up out front and the techie is still trying to get to the bottom of whether it's my router or my cabling at fault.
Shaw is offering all phone services for $55/month. Oohh! Of course if I plug in a $30 headset I can Skype unlimited anywhere in the world. Better still, I can pick up my laptop, go to an Internet cafe and Skype from there. If you don't like Skype, there's Google Talk or MSN or AOL. Trust me: using Shaw for VOIP telephony is like paying AOL to see movie listings. Somebody has to go to talk to Shaw and tell that its not 1995 and they've missed the boat.
Back to the age of my post. Shaw goes down. Now I'm screwed. What do I do? Right now, I phone them. What happens if I have Shaw telephone servce? Well, nothing. Shaw's digital telephone service will actually improve their service. How? Well, customer complaints and levels of service are monitored. When you call and complain, that call gets logged. If an outtage generated 1000 angry calls, it was a more severe incident than the outtage that generated 700 calls. If 20% of the users switch to Shaw telephony, what happens when service goes down? Nothing! Where before you would have 1000 angry callers, now you have 800 because 200 (20% of 1000) users couldn't complaint. As they penetrate the telephone service market, the size of their customer service logs will shrink.
What would happen if during this outtage there was an emergency? Could I call 9-1-1? Sure. Hang on...
There. I just stood on top of my chair and shouted "Nine! One! One!" With Shaw telephony that's as close as I get to help.
Am I saying that Telus is great and Shaw sucks? No. They both suck, but from a bandwidth perspective they're about the same. Shaw provides a much wider array of services and that service cuts out. Telus has a narrow focus and less interruptions. By running in a line of communication from each of the two providers, I have an overlap of service. If Telus cuts out, I can email and Skype to others that I am screwed. When Shaw does the same, I can phone in a complaint.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Put it to a Vote, You Cowardly Bastards

It looks like Jim Sinclair's BC Federation of Labour has come out from a 1000 day slumber. They are organizing a day of action for Monday. What form of does it take? Who knows. Will there be a strike of the transit system, the steelworkers, the brotherhood of dog walkers? Who knows.
Do you know what I do know? According to
Sinclair repeated his offer to call off Monday's day of protest if the province agreed to talk with the teachers it has ordered back to work after imposing a two-year contract with no wage increases.
Thanks, Jim. Get all of the unions organized. Get everyone making alternate plans and then pull the plug. This harkens to back to the 1983 when the leader of the BCGEU of the time made an 11th hour deal with the BC Government, hours before the BCGEU would have to pay their own membership strike pay.
Maybe this is a case of two wrongs making a right. Most of the people participating in Monday's day of action will be out of work despite the fact that they are current working under a contract. After all this hew and cry over how the BC "Liberals" (the National Socialist Party name was taken) tear up contracts, the unions in BC are doing just that. People have said that unions are styming the will of our elected government. Maybe, but what's worse: I don't think there's a single case of a union (apart from the BCTF-- where 60% of them voted; and 90% of that 60% voted to strike), who have voted to get involved in tomorrow's march on the legislature. If the membership is angry and resolute, why don't the unions put this day of action to a vote? It seems like they don't like butting up against BC's representative government. It looks like they also don't like the idea of their membership weighing in on this. Since before Columbine, we've known that bullying doesn't bring about a positive outcome.
Before you breach the contracts that your memberships agreed to, union leader X, put it a vote. See if they agree with you. And if they do not, don't shout them down. They aren't your followers; they're your boss. They pay for you to carry out their will. Stopping ripping them off. That's the government's job.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

NBC Finds Men Walking on Water

This from
...on NBC's "Today" show Friday, she didn't have much to worry about.

In one of television's inadvertently funny moments, the NBC News correspondent was paddling in a canoe during a live report about flooding in Wayne, N.J. While she talked, two men walked between her and the camera making it apparent that the water where she was floating was barely ankle-deep.

Matt Lauer struggled to keep a straight face, joking about the "holy men" who were walking on water.

"Have you run aground yet?" Katie Couric asked.

"Why walk when you can ride?" Kosinski replied.

Later, an NBC News spokeswoman explained that Kosinski had been riding in deeper water near an overflowing river down the street, but there were concerns that the current was too strong for her.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Grow A Pair

With the BCTF walkout into it's first week I have heard that their walkout will last a couple more weeks and that the general strike card has yet to be played. This is all about the unions vs. the government. The unions are weak because they so much better at supporing other unions than they are at supporting their own. If they wanted to bring the government to its knees, they would carry out a focussed strike: one bent on causing the most harm to government. They have to understand that if they're up against a government elected by the people, the people are targets. If they weren't the targets, unions wouldn't strike and withhold services that people use to generate revenue for their businesses. The tepid actions of unions in the last several years is part of this passive-agressive mindset that people use to assuage their guilt or hide an iron fist in a velvet glove. In war, if you bomb a factory and a nursery the latter is called collateral damage. Trust me: everyone in that nursery is in consensus with what really happened. The goal of the unions is to hurt so many people that they generate a public backlash and force the people in government to listen and give in. That's the intent: to hurt people. It's time that unions grew a pair and do what they're setting out to accomplish. The sooner they can strike a critical blow, the sooner this can be over for everyone. Here's how:

Courthouse Strike: First off: picket the courthouses. This will not directly stop the judges, but it may stop their clerks, the baliffs and the support staff. Without support, judges will not set foot in a courthouse. That curtails their ability to render judgements based on labour actions.

Revenue Strike: Picket liquor stores. It's not their largest source of revenue, bu it is noticeable. More than, target the distribution centres. Who cares if the liquor stores are open if they don't have liquor to sell. Target the tax collection offices. If you picket them, they can't collect revenue or enforce the legislation. While you're at it: picket the pay boxes at provincial parks.

Transit Strike: Don't block the gates and keep the drivers out. Block certain routes where the demographic is wealthier-- where the demographic is a more likely to include an MLA. In Victoria, allow the Quadra-Esquimalt to continue its route past drug addicts and riff-raff; but block the Uplands bus. MLAs don't take the bus, but they do enjoy road that are not clogged with their well-heeled brethern.

Private Sector Strike: Nail some of the key private sector unions and urge them to join a walkout. That's what solidarity would actually mean.

Park At Right Angles: Just as simple as that. It is illegal for you to park more than 30cm from the curb. It is illegal for someone to hit your car-- even if it's parked akimbo. Drive up to a spot and pull in perpendicular to the curb so that the back of your vehicle blocks the curb lane. Do it on every street-- blocking out one lane in some cases; all lanes in others. This has nothing to do with a picket but it will frustrate the people who elected the government that the unions are try to fight. For the bonus round: block the front gates of the tow truck companies that would impound offending parkers. I guarantee you that they will impound those vehicles well before they handle what the City asks them to do. At the end of the day, the people who put in the government in office are frustrated and annoyed.

Workers Unplugged: I challenge you to show me the clause in any contract or employment agreement that says that a) a worker's phone must be plugged into a wall socket; b) a worker's computer must be attached to a network. Draw a day's pay, do a day's work. Come into work, pop under the desk, unplug the phone cable then the network cable --*

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Should I Take Drugs?

People escape reality through drugs. It's cowardly, but given the onslaught of reality TV shows, maybe I need to escape reality by any means neccessary. This is a quote from an article about the Reality show, Kill Reality:

“The whole cast was drunk or wasted throughout the taping, and everyone was having sex with everyone else,” says the insider. “Not only were there orgies, but at one point someone relieved himself on Trishelle [Canatella, of Real World: Las Vegas and Playboy fame] in full view of the cameras—and, from what I saw, she loved it.” In another booze-fueled bacchanal, we hear Tonya Cooley, the lusty blonde of Real World: Chicago fame, begged co-stars to do lines off her genitals “because it turns her on.”

What No Boy Should Be Without

I liked the movie Serenity and I think this guy would be a fitting addition to my toy collection. It has everything a kid would like: grizzly grimace, bloody blade, matted hair. Oh wait, I think I described a citizen of Esquimalt.

I may buy extras to give to disturbed children at Christmas :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wipe That Smug Look Off Your Face

I've been watching the BCTF affair for the last few weeks. When Jinny Sims appeared before camera, she looked smug. When Shirley Bond was interviewed, she looked smug. Apish thug, Mike De Jong sort of looks smug (I think smug is something you can only pull off if you have an IQ of 100+).
How can the different sides look so smug? Simple: they're getting paid to hurt us. They have one concern about the people: the body count. If the BCTF can screw over more people, the better their job action. If the BC government can land its boot on the neck of more people, the better their government-- their control over the people.
Are Liberals (nee SoCreds) bastards? Well, yes. That's no surprise. What gets me is that unions are raining down fire from a pillar of moral superiority. They have the workers in mind. They're looking out the little guy. Oohh, think of the children. Bullshit. Unions didn't show up to make the business or the institution that employs the people to turn out a product or service. They aren't sweating and suffering to drive the machines that produce. They're there to supposedly ensure worker's rights. But they don't do that. The BC government has figured out that the tiger is toothless.
I suspect there will be a sympathy general strike-- a one day show of power that will do nothing more than pollute the province (because of lack of public transportation) and derail the lives of regular people. If the teachers can drum up the support, I ask if the teachers will be there to support 15% wage hike grabs of others. I think the wage increase is out of line. Wage increases have to stay in step with inflation, or they create inflation.
What the BCTF needed to do with the $6 million they've spent in strike pay is sock that into a Civil Rights lawsuit to challenge the BC Government's right to impose settlements. The teachers would have better spent their cash on reforming government through litigation (e.g. gay marriages, Roe v. Wade, big tobacco). Every law is in place because it hasn't been successfully challenged. Barring the teachers from striking (which the essential services legislation was supposed to have done) doesn't presuppose an imposed settlement. Because of that error in law, it may mean that the government has abused the situation so bad that the teachers had to strike.
The BCTF need to stay out of supreme court and let every union local sue the government from their local courthouses for $9999.00-- one dollar below the small claims ceiling-- so that they can't be slapped with court costs and punative damages from the government should they lose. The government will spend $100K per defense. No? Research the case of Ocean Technical Services v. The Province of BC. In that case, the plaintiff was screwed over by the government for whistleblowing. He found that the NDP had used Forest Renewal BC as a slush fund for cronies. For example: one employee was billing over $8000/mo. for services-- but submitting the bill to three people. In essense, the guy got $26,000 in a month for the same body of work. FRBC had a tech support contract that was figured per computer-- including computers in storage. How much tech support does a computer in a closet need? Anyways, he was blacklisted. His business and two subsequent businesses were blacklisted. He sued for a few thousand dollars of owed consulting money. The government landed on him with a $100K+ legal defense. When the Liberal took power, they didn't settle. They continued the assault. The Attorney General's office cannot figure out cost benefit analysis. Because of that, the BCTF can make Liberal stubborness very costly. Real bean counters would see that it's either cheaper to cave out of court; or pricey because they will have spent millions of dollars defending. Once one case wins in one small claims court room, all of the upcoming cases can refer to it as case law. But that's a low-profile high-IQ move and judging from the teachers I've met, it's beyond them.
Also, helping more than themselves is the opposite of what unions do. (e.g. they could push to raise the minimum wage in BC, but unions instead push for only their members thus contributing to inflation that erodes the spending power of non-union workers). That's my core beef with unions: they aren't an altruistic organization for the working people. They're a partisan organization whose focus is to take money from its membership to solidify their own foundations.
No? Here's some strike math: If people work 200 days/year, every day on strike is worth 0.5% of their annual wage. A three day strike is the equivalent to surrendering 1.5% of their wages. Any strike that goes on for more than three days is only in the interest of the unions. By Friday, the BCTF will have helped workers surrender 2.5% of their annual income. In the Telus case, the workers were out for +/- 50 days. That means that their union volunteered a 25% wage cut on behalf of their employees. They lost twenty-five percent of their annual wage. Remember that Seinfeld episode where George went in to negotiate the script sale and came out with less? That's what unions seem to do when they strike.
The BC Government can make hay with this and make the BCTF look lousy. How? The government should give them the 15% increase-- and give them that alone. The teachers will vote to accept more money. Don't budge on class size or conditions. Then, play with the budget numbers (the government always screws the budget numbers to do what they want them to do) and make it look like the teacher's settlement put the government in the red. The condition of students will continue to be lousy. Parents will be pissed that the teachers have more cash and their kids still watch videos day-in-day-out. The teachers will get more than any other union coming up for negotiations which will stir resentment. When other unions ask for more money, the Liberals can say, "sorry: the teachers took our lunch money." Solidarity? Sure, like a hobo invited to Lake Louise, this will create a divide of haves and have-nots between the teachers and the unions about to negotiate new contracts. The union movements are already fragmented and creaky, giving one union a clear benefit will not help all of the unions but will erode inter-union support. That 15% wage hike could be the biggest cost savings ever created.

So, I would like to say to the players in this current drama: wipe that smug look off your face and please get your heel off of my neck. You have work to do.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I like what one dubya can do. Not the ass in Washington. A "w""w""w" in a web address:

I'm going to try the combo that gets me to a porn site !

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Colbert and Carell: They Really are the Ambigiously Gay Duos

Robert Smigel tapped on the talents of Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert to voice the Ambigiously Gay Duo: arguably the best thing on Saturday Night Live in recent years. Well, the people at Gorilla Mask have collected all of the shorts: Enjoy!

Star Trek Transporters for the Jarhead in Jeopardy

Via TrekToday and Scripps Howard News Service the US Department of Defense spent $25,000 researching how to create Star Trek style transporters. Surprise! It's unfeasible. As an example of the hurdles: "encoding of the contents of a human body would require 10 to the 28th kilobytes of computer storage capacity, or 100 quintillion commercially available hard drives. Moreover, to dematerialize one human being the way Star Trek does it "would require...the energy equivalent of 330 one-megaton thermonuclear bombs." Yep. Do you know that NASA spend millions of dollars perfecting a pen that would write in space. The Russians gave their cosmonauts pencils.
The idea of digitizing and transporting someone somewhere is one the dumbest ideas of all time. It's infeasible, unstable and would be tremendously painful to endure. Not painful? Ever scape your hand on a sander? The transporter would kind of laser scrape you until you were an vat of goo ready to be digitally related to another position.
What would work: dimensional repositioning. You're standing in one spot in the third dimension, someone throws a switch and you're somewhere else. You've remained stationary, but spacetime has folded beneath your feet. Turn off the contraption and you land in your new spot. The problem is that you would have to move through a higher dimension to get from A to C (sans B). As of now, only the dwarves from Time Bandits have the map for how to get from here to there without touching the points in between. Space-time folding would be "easier" than the Star Trek style of beaming. Unfortunately easier means that instead of getting from here to Jupiter in a row-boat; you now only have to get from here to the Moon in a row-boat.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


I've decided to put out Blogjest for your tinkering. Blogjest aggregates different RSS and Atom sources and put them in one spot. I still have to get some of the bugs out. :(
Check out my blog to support its shortcomings.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Place The Face

This is a swell tool : you can add facial features until: voila! You have the face of your suspect! Well, you have someone's suspect. Check it out!

Monday, October 03, 2005

I'm Taking Up Smoking

Twice tonight, I got subjected to two totally sick (not in a good way), anti-smoking commercials. The first has a pair of stop-motion animated figures. One of them finds a nest of dead rotting rats and comes out with one it her mouth. In the second ad, a cat comes into the living room, pukes up a hairball and one of the figures sticks it in her mouth.
I could mention the URL here, but I only paid attention so that I could do a WHOIS lookup. I found the registrar information (below). The company behind these crap-ass ads is a place called, "Sedgewick Road" They have an alternative way to do things. Ooh! Edgy! I'm sure these guys are familiar putting digusting things in the mouths of little doe-eyed figures.
What really pissed me off was KCPQ's first airtime: 6:30. My daughter is watching a cartoon, it breaks for an ad and this crap spills out. No only does it not warm me up to the anti-smoking movement: I am so pissed with this stupid ad that I going to post this and go up to the store for smokes. I am going smoke through a pack in protest. Tomorrow night, I am going to tape the same timeslot. I'm going to skip the show and pay attention to ads. I am going to boycott the ads that run in the same segment as this crap. Yes, I'll not buy their products, but I am also going to write those advertisers and tell them how I feel. And I'll do it all while enjoying the smooth flavour of a cigarette and its relaxing after effects.

If you felt the same way. You may want to get a headstart on the boycott of their tangentially associated clients:

Sedgwick Rd
Jay Laguzza
1741 First Avenue S.
Seattle, WA 98134
Phone: 206-971-4200

Registrar Name....:
Registrar Whois...:
Registrar Homepage:


Created on..............: Thu, Jun 30, 2005
Expires on..............: Fri, Jun 30, 2006
Record last updated on..: Thu, Jun 30, 2005

Administrative Contact:
Sedgwick Rd
Jay Laguzza
1741 First Avenue S.
Seattle, WA 98134
Phone: 206-971-4200

Technical Contact, Zone Contact:
Domain Registrar
575 8th Avenue - 11th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 902-749-2701
Fax..: 902-749-5429

Domain servers in listed order:


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