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Saturday, November 28, 2009

SCTV + Youtube

Today, I hit a video store that was going out out of business. I scored a collection of the best of the early years of SCTV. I got to thinking: there must be some of the these on Youtube.

Half Wits

High IQ

Farm Film Celebrity Blow-up

Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses

Hey Geogry

Tim Ishimuri Show

Oh That Rusty (from that Martin Short was funny once)

Ben Hur (watch out for Leopards!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How Do You Fill A Shopping Mall?

First things first: to read this blog post, you will need to pay me $1 in advance.

How do you fill a shopping mall? Charge admission.
This week, Hillside Mall in Victoria announced a "late night before late nights" event. For $5 per person, shoppers could come into the mall on a Sunday night when the mall is otherwise closed. Stores offered 10% or more off of select items and deals. As of November 23rd through to Christmas, the same mall will be open to 9PM every night.
This afternoon, the mall was active but far from capacity. This evening, the mall was thick with people. No parking spots to be had. Line-ups in every store. The mall had carolers, live piano and free bottles of water. Did that fill the mall up to capacity? No: it was the feeling to exclusivity. To have one of the 2100+ cars in the parking lot; or be one of the 6,000+ people crowdng the stores. For $5 you could be packed into a mall that was a 2/3 full when it was free to visit.
We're still not out of a recession. People are watching their pennies. How then can you charge for something that is commonly free and get a better turn-out than otherwise? Between the surcharge for admission and the lack of money available, you would expect a poor turn-out, or some small elite segment. Instead you got everyone showing up.
Is this glutton culture in action; or the bottled water craze? People can be casual when they do not have to pay, but they crush in when there is a price attached. Where else is this playing out? Bottled water is an excellent example. I keep going back to my childhood lemonade stand. I offered lemonade for 25¢ and water for 10¢-- it was a cheaper option and I still had to pay for the styrofoam cups. Kids scoffed at me "no one will pay for water!" Fast forward a generation and people are guzzling aqua fina for the same price as their favorite sugar water (aka Coca Cola). Somehow you don't only attach a price to something of value: people are attaching value to something of a price. Is this topsy-turvey system a key to wealth? Or maybe, it's just a way to make brand new rubes.

That'll be $1, please. Just feed it into the disk slot. I'll get it via the Internet.

UPDATE: The Dollar Store in the mall
offered 25% off all items. That was great, but it came with a catch: not all of the items we bought were put in the bag. So-- we saved 25% on $20 of goods, but they left out $5 of items. You do the math on how much we actually saved...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quick Thoughts on Preiudice

Why is it bigotry if a white man hires only white men,
but it's solidarity if a union only works with unions?

Monday, November 09, 2009

H1N1 For Sale in Victoria

This from UsedVictoria:

Hello. I am a nurse with an extra vial of the H1N1 vaccine. One vial will do 10 shots. I am willing to administer these shots to the highest bidder. A silent auction will start when this ad is posted and continue until midnight on Friday, November 13. I will contact the highest bidder to arrange to come to their house and administer the vaccine. I will also bring my credentials.

Good Luck!

What some snake oil? If so, click here

Thursday, November 05, 2009

So we've demonized shopping bags. Why stop there?

We've all accomplished a great feat. We've made shopping bags as popular as swastikas. Why? Because of our love-hate with oil, we use it all the time and spout vitriol at anyone else who uses it.

You've given up bags. Keep the momentum going and give up these other petroleum products:
  • Chewing gum
  • Hair dye
  • Asphalt
  • Crayons (the main ingredient is paraffin wax, a petroleum product also used in most candles)
  • Candles (see above)
  • The wax layer of the packaging your frozen food comes in. (And, of course, the fertilizers that farmers used to grow much of that food.)
  • Ink
  • Panty hose
  • Heart Valves
  • Pillows
  • Aspirin
  • Ammonia
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Guitar strings
  • Shoe polish
  • Tape
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Vitamin capsules (think you're healthy when you're dosing yourself with a little bit of petroleum every day?)
  • Solvents
  • Caulking
  • Insecticides
  • Deodorant
Ask your eco-conscious grocery store when they're going to stop selling the above items.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What Vexes You?

I have been trying to crack the nut of increased web traffic for some time (my labour pains have been documented on my tech blog). I may have tripped over a solution, but I have to see if this is a two day fluke or not.
In broad strokes, my solution is to ask "what vexes you?" What gets you pissed off and animated? I do this trick in restaurants. I take a moment and tune from my table to all of the tables in earshot. I listen to all of the conversations-- not to eavesdrop: I am taking them in an indistinct combination of words. Family, friends, TV, what's on the menu. What I hear a lot of (maybe because it's me): I hear people talking tech. Why did Windows do this? My email won't work! Did you see the LOLcatz site? I can't get my iPod working!
This stuff (tech) vexes people. When it gets people's attention, they look for a way to scratch their itch. Being single vexes single people, so they go to OKCupid (like the slogan says, "your date will be OK"). Whatever it is that you can't solve, it may drive you to go online for some resolution. If it's a popular topic that I know something about, I will dig for information and write about it. In shaping my web development to get traffic, I am going to look for solutions to what vexes people; then publish that information.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Why should they worry about taxpayers?

After some rabble broke up the Torch relay leg in the Cook Street Village area on Friday, one of the spectators who lost her chance to see the torch had the best observations of the weekend:
Why are the protestors worried about taxpayer dollars? They're not taxpayers!

Awesome! She was very right. This rabble isn't there to get their money spent fairly. They wanted my money-- my tax dollars to pay for them to be able to wander around with piercings and pot smoke on a weekday. But, VanOC wrestled $6 billion from the government-- from MY taxes (and I am totally a taxpayer). I didn't want it: I thought it would be a tremendous blow to our economy. And, I thought it would be an open door to allow in opportunists and corruption. I actually think this is a the raison d'etre of the BC Liberal party. This party of realtors, thugs and criminals don't want to manage a province or bring good government to the people. They want bilk the province, create a massive shift of assets to people friendly to the Liberal party, then walk away. It won't be as simple as "walk away"-- the shining stars of the Liberal cabinet and party will resign from provincial politics. It will leave a weaker Liberal party besieged by post-Olympic scandal. None of them will go to jail or have to make amends-- they'll just step down. The NDP will swoop in to a hard won victory and form the government. They will inherit a lot of unfixable problems. The public's short attention span will disassociate the Liberal for the woes of the 2010s. After the NDP have been put through the wringer (and had their own round of opportunism and cronyism), they will fall, in time, to a re-vitalized right wing party who is not connected to the scandals and ruin of the 2010 Olympics.
No? You think that the future won't play out like this? The Social Credit, crippled by scandal, were decimated in the early 1990s. The fringe party, the BC Liberals, got more seats than the ruined SoCreds. The rats swam over to the BC Liberal party, co-opted it and made it their own. They're almost done pumping the Liberal stock. Soon, they'll have to dump it. My guess: the water-logged Conservative party is ripe for popularity and take-over in the middle of the next decade. It has the brand-name recognition that a party needs.
Just ask the former SoCred / former Liberals Conservative MLAs who sit across from the NDP government in 2012.

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