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Monday, September 28, 2009

Fire in Esquimalt

Footage of the clean-up of the fire from 1300 block Esquimalt Rd.
I was at Saxe Point when this smell of burning plastic wafted over. We followed the sounds of fire trucks and found this scene.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Flash! I'm not mental-- they do exist!

For the last two or three years, I have been seeking a "Tokyo Flash" watch. They are like regular watches (hours, minutes, seconds) but the display is messed up and cryptic. Orderly: but cryptic. That's kind of like the computer code I work with: orderly but cryptic. That made it a natural fit. What was harsh: there were so unknown that they you couldn't find English language sites that featured them. I found some Japanese sites that had them for sale but with the site wholly in Japanese (except the prices), I didn't know what I was getting myself into, so I passed.
When I was in Vancouver, I hit a bunch of watch stores in Richmond. This search underlined the cultural divide in Asia between Japan and China. They had no clue what I was talking about: all they had was cases full of gaudy average fare. No signs of the flash watches.
I went into a watch shop in town. I asked about these. One of the clerks tried to show me watches that have flash memory. The other one said they would be bringing in one model in November. hoo ray.
I opened up Amazon today. Lo and behold: TOKYO FLASH WATCHES. A cornucopia of weird wrist watches.

The major downside for these watches: they are not available via Amazon in Canada. However, you can go to source: Tokyo Flash and order for delivery to other countries.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Obama Continues to be The Man

Obama went onto Letterman last night. Obama walks out and says, "What I really came here to see was this heart-shaped potato!" So, this weird little heart shaped potato was tossed up and handed to the president. Great theatre! Barrack Obama has made himself available to 170+ interviews since taking office: three times more than what recent presidents have allowed. Obama has figured it out: we (Canadians, Americans, Chinese-- you name it) are media consumers. We eat it up. By being available for so many interviews he's tapping into the flow. His arena sized town halls are putting him in direct contact with the public. By doing his Flickr feed and Youtube videos, he's bypasing old media and getting to tech savvy people. Over the last few decades, the American Presidency has been hidden and protected to the point where contact is rarefied. It's set up tinder dry conditions-- people starved for access now have access in wildfire proportions. It's a wild change.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Some things take time

People diss the Internet because of how many things aren't what they should be: high bandwidth delivery; real time video communication; or other technologies that are still not there yet.

How long do you figure TV took to get off the ground?

1928: Station W2XBS, RCA's first television station, is established in New York City, creating television's first star, Felix the Cat — the original model of which is featured in Watching TV. Later in the year, the world's first television drama, The Queen's Messenger, is broadcast, using mechanical scanning. Also this year, John Logie Baird transmits images of London to New York via shortwave.

1948: NBC decided to bring Texaco Star Theater from radio to television, with Milton Berle (Uncle Miltie) as one of the show's four rotating hosts.
Television manufacturing begins in Canada. The television audience increases by 4,000 percent this year, due to a jump in the number of cities with television stations and to the fact that one million homes in the U.S. now have television sets. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission puts a freeze on new television channel allocations until the problem of station-to-station interference is resolved.

1958: The CBC's microwave network is extended from Victoria, B.C. to Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia, to become the longest television network in the world. Pope Pius XII declares Saint Clare of Assisi the patron saint of television. Her placement on the television set is said to guarantee good reception. (Ironic: we're still waiting for that...)

So when I hear people bitch about 10 years to get some technologies to come to fruition, I look at TV: it took more than 20 years from the first TV show to Uncle Miltie. Then five years to make it popular.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gwai Lo At Dim-sum

Sunday morning, we went into the depths of the Red Lion hotel to the Jade Fountain restaurant. The goal was dim sum. Word was this was the Holy Grail of little cart delivered dumplings in Victoria. Expect a review to come soon.
What got me was the table sitting behind us (see above).
Figure A: Loud A-Hole. He barks out, "Gee we better wash these here chopsticks!" He dipped his sticks into the tea pot and swished them around. Bravo: if the chopsticks were dirty, he just made the tea they were all to drink dirty. Next up, one of the carts came by, piled high with bamboo steamers. The routine is to allow the server describe what it is in each column of steamers. Figure A (aka GWAI LO!-- white eyes) instead started lifting off all of the lids and pawing at the food. Hey animal: that's people food, so hands off! He then started to yell at the waiters and waitresses, literally whistling for attention. He wanted water, so he got up and helped himself to some glasses and a pitcher of water. Throughout the meal, he was making these bigotted remarks about these funny people and their funny food.
Figure B: Let's call her "Bea"-- she is likely the long suffering wife of Figure A-hole. My theory is that he will die of drunk driving or by driving his forklift into a wall at the warehouse. At that point, most people around them will mock sympathy and she will start living her life. The sin is, that she will have spent many long years-- the best years of her life-- beside the moron who manhandles food intended for other people.
Figure C: He just sits silently and looks on. Either he is numb to this behaviour or he's a vegetable like Capt. Pike from The Cage. Don't worry: the gwai-lo will just grab his share and chomp it down.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Great Insults By Smart People


The exchange between Churchill and Lady Astor:
She said, "If you were my husband I'd give you poison."
He said, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: "Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease."
"That depends, Sir," said Disraeli, "whether I embrace your policies or your mistress."

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..." - Oscar Wilde

"I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend.... if you have one." - George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill
"Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second... if there is one." - Winston Churchill, in response.

"I feel so miserable without you; it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." - John Bright

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

Monday, September 07, 2009

So Closes Summer

Summer officially ends on September 21st, but it's effectively over on Labour Day weekend.

My Mom's side of the family goes up to Nanoose Bay for the weekend. They hang out and relax. They're a clean-cut bunch and that feels very different from who I am. I used to drink a little, I occasionally have a cigar. I swear like I'm a salesman in Glengarry Glenross. In my off time, I make man-sized sculptures of Cthulhu; and paint up innocent garden ornaments to look like ghouls and 'bikers.' My Dad's side of the family are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Let's just say were they in 19th century England, they would have been shipped to Australia. Here I am: Mr. In-between. I have a belief structure, I like the odd mild vice, I like weird/geeky/dark stuff; but I don't have a criminal record or a string of bad debts and bad situations. Likely, this is why I gravitate to my circle of friends who are much like me: a little geeky, a tiny bit rough, but smart (or smart-assed) and all-above: they're good people.

Nanoose: Three years ago, I thought I could just go next year. Two years ago, Cheryl broke her ankle while moving some crappy computers that were offloaded onto us. One year ago, we shuffled kiddo to my Mother-in-Law's and painted the whole place so that we could get sell it off and get away from the lousy property management and myopic strata council. This year: no injuries, no house sale drama but the clock ticks. So, we made the time and went: my boss even told me to slip away early. That was grand!

The new (to us) van, a 2003 Kia Sedona, had an engine light go on part way up the trip, but the documentation said it could be ignored for the time being. We made it up to Nanoose Bay, using a memory of what the route was 34 years ago, when I last visited the place. The tide went out and I took the opportunity to pick around for shellfish. I found a handful of clams; and wifey found a handful of oysters! In many ways, she's my good luck charm. The predominant weather was rain: that suited me fine.

All-in-all, it was a very nice trip. While the trip up island was dense with evil traffic, the trip down was sparse. We hit two Walmarts, which counts as evil, I guess. Today, kiddo and I will embark on making home-made ketchup (mmm...). Tomorrow: schools starts again. She and I will make a point walking as often as possible to head off my Baron Harkonnen physique.

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