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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Separated at Birth?

Brandy vs. Taun We? Which one looks more alien...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Apartiniums : Turning Back the Crack Shacks

Several months ago, a series of drug raids shut down activity up at 822 Esquimalt Road, a former property owned by murdered, John Ruffalo. Esquimalt City Council grew a pair and revoked the business license that allows the apartment block to rent to crack ho's and drug dealers. These drug dealers then spill out into our streets, they turn tricks on your property and leave spent needles. Obviously a situation you would prefer to see remedied.
The business license was revoked. The drug addicts moved on. The place started to undergo some heavy renovations. I thought it was just getting a facelift. A week or so ago, the work dwindled. A couple of days ago a big showy sign went up with a Web address at the top: "" I'm a geek, my curiosity was piqued.
It turns out that is the catch-all for a bunch of propeties undergoing renovations in the area:
  • 1535 JUBILEE AVE
Who is behind this idea? John Asfar (2), the owner of the Traveller's Inn hotels/motels that dot Victoria. So, is a great new idea for how to de-crack Victoria? I have heard great stories from people who have had dealings with Asfar. I've tried to find online anecdotes but no luck. What? No one commits these episodes to the web? Oh well.
So, is this a brilliant new strategy or one pulled from Monopoly?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Flight 705 : From Memphis to the FedEx HQ

I was watching Discovery TV last night. They had this wild piece about an aborted aircraft hijacking from 1994. Here are the details, according to Wikipedia:

FedEx Flight 705 was the scene of an attempted hijacking of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 on April 7, 1994. Auburn Calloway, a FedEx employee, was due to be fired for lying on his résumé about his previous flying experience with the United States Navy. He boarded the San José, California-bound aircraft, which was loaded with electronic equipment bound for Silicon Valley, intending to murder the flight crew with hammers, and then use the aircraft for a kamikaze attack on FedEx Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. His reason for using hammers was so that the injuries inflicted would resemble those occurring in a plane crash — Calloway wanted to disguise the attack as an accident so that his family would benefit from his work's $2.5 million life insurance policy. As a last resort, he was also armed with a speargun, smuggled on board in a guitar case. Calloway attempted to disable the Cockpit Data Recorder to cover his tracks. Unbeknownst to Calloway, the 2 man flight crew that was supposed to fly that flight was replaced by a new 3 man crew, consisting of Pilot Dave Sanders, Co-Pilot James Tucker, and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson. Calloway, a former Navy pilot and a martial arts expert, decided to attack just minutes after take-off. He brutally wounded the flight crew with hammers, and fractured the skull of Co-Pilot James Tucker. A lengthy struggle ensued with the flight engineer and pilot. Co-Pilot James Tucker, also an ex-Navy pilot, managed to control the plane as the 3 men struggled in the cockpit.

By means of extreme aerial maneuvers the flight crew eventually succeeded in restraining Calloway, though all three crew members were critically injured and none would ever fly commercially again. Loaded with fuel and too heavy to land, Pilot Dave Sanders landed the jet safely at Memphis International Airport despite the dire circumstances. As the police gained access to the plane, by escape slide and ladder, the cockpit interior was covered with blood.

Auburn Calloway plead temporary insanity but was sentenced to life without parole on August 15, 1995 for attempted murder and attempted air piracy, which he is serving at the United States Penitentiary, Atwater federal prison in Atwater, California.

As of 2006, N306FE, the DC-10-30 involved, is still flying for FedEx.[1]

On May 26, 1994, the Airline Pilots Association awarded Pilot Dave Sanders, Co-Pilot James Tucker, and Flight Engineer Andy Peterson the Gold Medal award for heroism, the highest award a civilian pilot can receive. Because of their injuries, none of the crew has been certified as medically fit to fly commercially.

This incident was also featured on television, in National Geographic's Air Crash Investigation — Suicide Attack [2].

Monday, January 15, 2007

Golden Globe Winners - 2007


Best Motion Picture/Drama: "Babel"
Best Actor/Drama: Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland"
Best Actress/Drama: Helen Mirren, "The Queen"
Best Motion Picture/Musical or Comedy: "Dreamgirls"
Best Actor/Musical or Comedy: Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat"
Best Actress/Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada"
Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls"
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"
Best Animated Feature Film: "Cars"
Best Foreign Language Film: "Letters From Iwo Jima"
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, "The Departed"
Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan, "The Queen"
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, "The Painted Veil"
Best Original Song: Prince, "The Song of the Heart" from "Happy Feet"


Best Drama Series: "Grey's Anatomy"
Best Actor, Drama: Hugh Laurie, "House"
Best Actress, Drama: Kyra Sedgwick, "The Closer"
Best Musical/Comedy Series: "Ugly Betty"
Best Actor, Musical/Comedy: Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock"
Best Actress, Musical/Comedy: America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty"
Best Miniseries/TV Movie: "Elizabeth I"
Best Actor, Miniseries/TV Movie: Bill Nighy, "Gideon's Daughter"
Best Actress, Miniseries/TV Movie: Helen Mirren, "Elizabeth I"
Best Supporting Actor: Jeremy Irons, "Elizabeth I"
Best Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt, "Gideon's Daughter"
Most Annoying Creature: Rosie O'Donnell

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Robin Hood Fund

I heard about this cool company called "Cambrian House." It's a start-up that creates start-ups. They use "crowd sourcing" to take ideas from concept to launch. One of their early products is the "Robin Hood Fund." It's like a 50-50 draw, with a splash of democracy. You sign-in with your idea and chip in to register. The others see your concept and vote for it or for someone else's concept. It's a cool idea.
I got in on an early drawe and votes for the one thing I wanted that I couldn't get myself: a better Christmas for my Mom, niece and nephew. Their finances suck. I try to help, but with whatever I do, there is always room for more. So, I asked for "A Good Christmas" for the Mom. I let it be known to my friends that they could vote for my Mom's cause. They did and we won. So, I distributed $200 amongst them.
Today, I put together a video of the hand-off of the cash. Enjoy!

Did I mention that I was a fan of Robin Hood Fund and Cambrian House? They're cool.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

We can travel through time

Here's a ironic concept:
When time travel is invented it will evenutally be available to every time in the past and future-- carried by its travellers as they move through time. So, it is already available in the here and now. Or, it will never ever be available.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What's in store for 2007?

In the Chinese Zodiac, most of 2007 will be under the Year of the Pig. For me, 2007 will be under the Year of the Finish Line. I end up picking up a swell one month idea every two weeks; imagine where that ends up in a couple of years. So this is my 2007 to-do" list:

Wrap up a Drupal development for Game-Boyz - Take a legacy system built many years back and drag in into the 21st Century: RSS, tagging, sophisticated CMS, flexible theming. It launched over the Christmas break. yay.

Wrap up a Drupal development for The CI - Take a legacy system built many years back and drag in into the 21st Century: RSS, tagging, sophisticated CMS, flexible theming. The reason I did the Game-Boyz design to was as a testbed for the CI work. The CI is maybe 10 times more complex-- hence why my day-job project isn't done, but my side-project is done.

The Halloween Alphabet Book - I have 23 of the 26 letters done in Sculpey. After that, I have to do a pass over them with a dremel, gloss and paint to fix little flaws. I have to do up the background effects. Then built sets, set the scenes and with the help of my talented wife, shoot 26 keeper images plus a cover, do some post-production CGI and take it to a publisher. If they act like jerks, then I will published it via Lulu.

Cthulhu Ornaments - These sculpey ornaments made a big splash last Christmas. So, as possible, I will make new ornaments. I learned from a friend that because of the age of the Cthulhu property, Lovecraft's work is now in the public domain. So, I am going to pay homage to this century's first cat-loving, bigotted, sickly, shut-in geek who was unappreciated in life: Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Maybe Alan Quartermane deeps to hitch a ride to Ry'leh from Captain Nemo. Damn.. now another idea....

Drupal 101: 101 Tips for Developing Drupal Sites - I have about 5-10% of a book done for how to make a Drupal driven site. I have seen two books on Drupal: one devoted a third of the book to the subject. The other one, from Packt, devotes the whole book, but I have to wonder why. The book I am pitching with be about 1/3 background/foundation information; 1/3 themes and 1/3 module development. After sufering the ass-clowns in tech publishing, this book has only one destination: Lulu.

Making Money Online 101: Tips for Making Money Online - This isn't a "get rich quick" book-- it's a "get some money from your surfing" book. We use the web to get rid of stuff we don't want to haul to the dump; we get deals off of the web; we get pin money out of things like Google Adsense and PayPerPost; we get swag for doing product reviews.

Scavenger of the Battle - The first sci-fi book I did sucks. So, I've taken the concept and started over. The plot points will remain intact: a war that doesn't exist; a conspiracy to hide the truth; some of the characters. More than that, the titular character is getting its own role. Three guesses where I intend on publishing this one when it's ready.

I have other ideas, but I would prefer to get the above items off of my to-do list first. Then we can see what else is possible in the Year of the Finish Line.

Monday, January 01, 2007

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