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Monthly Archives: March 2010

3D TV… Does Anyone Really Care?

Published March 31, 2010 - 1 Comment

I have to admit I’m getting a little sick of the whole “3D TV” talk.  I only just upgraded into the realm of LCD TVs a very short while ago, and really that was only just barely a toe in the water.  My Dynex LCD looks great, but isn’t exactly a technological masterpiece.  I could have spent much more money and gone with a brand name that doesn’t elicit questionable looks whenever someone asks me what TV I own.  But it works.  Well… the 2nd one works.  The first one had issues.

So I’ve told myself that I’m not going to look at TVs ads anymore.  I’ve changed the name of my savings account from TV to… don’t laugh… treadmill… and I generally skip over the pages showing new TVs.  After a couple of years of watching the prices of LCDs and plasmas tumble to ridiculously low levels, I have my TV and I’m done following the latest trends.

Or so I thought.

It’s hard to ignore the latest craze.  Half the podcasts that I watch mention 3D announcements in one form or another.  I walk into work, and people are talking about 3D TVs.  They’re prominently displayed in the FutureShop flier.  There are even 3D glasses listed there for the bargain price of $249/pair. 

But is anyone actually buying 3D TVs?  I don’t know anyone who’s even seriously mulling the idea over.  I know that every technology goes through its early adoption phase, and if successful, gradually mainstream interest will erode the price barrier.  But I’m still  having a hard time wrapping my brain around why on earth I would even want a 3D TV in my living room.  Yes, Avatar was certainly spectacular, but honestly… I think I would have said the exact same thing had I seen the 2D version.  They went the extra mile to make it look amazing.  Simply because something is presented in 3D does not necessarily make it spectacular.  There are plenty of real-life examples of that in your own life.

Do I really want a TV that I have to wear glasses to watch?  Isn’t that going to be a pain when you’re casually watching something, while doing something else?  I regularly have the TV on while I’m folding laundry or some other mundane task.  I glance up when something interests me.  Do I want to put on glasses to do that?  And what about these glasses?  I can’t find my remote control at the best of times because it’s fallen somewhere.  How am I going to keep track of these things?  And what if someone comes over?  Do they have to carry 3D glasses around with them?  I dunno.   Maybe it works just fine if you watch it without the glasses.  Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill.  I honestly don’t know. 

All I can say for sure is that I like my TV viewing experience the way it is now.

The Unfriendly Giant

Published March 28, 2010 - 7 Comments

Does anyone else remember The Unfriendly Giant?  It was a radio spoof of CBC’s The Friendly Giant television program.  I’m pretty sure that it played on CFBC, but it was no doubt broadcast on other radio stations around the country.  I’m thinking that it was on in the early-mid 90s, but I don’t specifically remember which year.

I used to listen to it faithfully, with the Unfriendly Giant finding new and amusing ways to abuse poor Rusty and Rooster, and Jerome the Giraffe.  Yeah, I know that sounds cruel, but trust me.. it was hilarious.

Just did a quick Google search and see that there are several entries about Unfriendly.  That’s good.  I remember looking a few years back, and there was nothing at all.  I guess that it might be possible to find some long lost episodes, after all.  I used to own a cassette with an hour’s worth of episodes, and like an over-trusting idiot I lent it to someone and never got it back from them.  Was I smart enough to make a copy?  Oh hell no.  Yeah… dummy…

I miss you, Unfriendly…

 

[updated – Because of the huge number of searches on this blog for The Unfriendly Giant, I have created a separate blog.  Please check it out here.]

It’s Just a Blog

Published March 26, 2010 - 1 Comment

It’s just a blog. It’s a vehicle for self-expression, nothing more. It doesn’t matter who reads it. Who doesn’t. Who likes it. Who hates it. You’ll never live off it. It’s not part of your retirement plan.

It’s just a blog.

Young Artists for Haiti – Wavin’ Flag

Published March 25, 2010 - 0 Comments

It’s been 25 years since Bob Geldof put together a group of UK pop artists, BandAid, to record Do They Know It’s Christmas? and raise money for the starving people of Ethiopia.  Since then there have been several group collaborations for various worldwide causes.  After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, a group of young Canadian artists recorded a version of K’naan’s Wavin’ Flag.

I actually prefer the original version of the song, but there’s nothing wrong with this one.  It’s a great choice to inspire awareness, and hopefully action.  I’ve watched the video many times, and have tried to pick out some of the different artists.  Most of them are familiar (to me) faces.  There are definitely a few that I can’t place, but that doesn’t detract from the song at all.  And yes… even Justin Bieber’s solo piece at the very end works with this song.  And that pains me to admit.  It truly does. 

Enjoy…

CCS Client of the Year Photoshoot

Published March 24, 2010 - 0 Comments

Apparently I’m still the Client of the Year, although I haven’t made it easy on them. I told them that I was unavailable to attend the general meeting but would provide them with a written testimonial of “my story”. Which I did. Then I had to edit certain parts when I was asked to sign a release so it could be used in promotional material. Now I’ve been asked for a headshot to display along side the testimonial.

Hmmm.. Good luck with that. No thank you.

Of course I didn’t word it like that at all. I was much more polite but it all came back to one thing… I’m a writer, not a speaker and certainly not model. Cameras and I have never gotten along and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I never thought… I should have offered to draw something. My stickmen are amazingly lifelike.

Yeah right…

Google Street View Comes to Town

Published March 23, 2010 - 2 Comments

I’d heard recently that my area was now included in Google’s Street View.  I went looking, and lo and behold, yup… it’s quite neat to be able to see what the place looks like.  I looked up a few of my past living establishments.  You have to play with the addresses a little bit, I found.  If I wanted number 49 of a particular street, it took me to that street, and said that it was number 49, but in reality it showed me a view from 102 or something like that.  That happened in 3 of the 4 addresses that I looked up.  Only one was bang on perfect. 

Unbelievably, even the house that I’m in right now is included in Street View.  I figured that I’d be so far out town that there wouldn’t be any chance that it would be there.  I guess I was wrong!  Someone must’ve enjoyed going for a drive that day.  I only wish that the damn crows hadn’t ripped the garbage bags apart on the day that Google went through.  It’s not the way I’d like people to see the property.

Sure, some people have some legitimate privacy concerns around the Street View project… those aside, it is kinda neat to be able to show people who might not live around here, what they’re missing.

The Script – Breakeven

Published March 23, 2010 - 0 Comments

 This is one of those songs that was somehow released in 2008, yet seems to have gone unnoticed, at least in these parts, until recently.  I heard it on the radio a few days ago, and thought that it was a brand new release… but I was wrong.  I’m not sure when it started to get local airplay, but I’ve heard it a few times now.  And I quickly added it to my “must have” list, and have pretty much played it to death since. 

When I went to purchase the video through iTunes, there were actually two of them.  That’s where I noticed that one had a 2008 release.  Even the other one said 2009, so it’s not like it’s brand new. 

The group is from Ireland.  I like groups from Ireland.  Reminds me… gonna have a blast watching U2 this summer…

I’m pretty sure that these lyrics were ripped word-for-word from my journal.  Where are my royalties?

*sigh*

I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in
Cause I got time while she got freedom
Cause when a heart breaks no it don’t break even

Her best days will be some of my worst
She finally met a man that’s gonna put her first
While I’m wide awake she’s no trouble sleeping
Cause when a heart breaks no it don’t break even, even no

What am I suppose to do when the best part of me was always you?
What am I suppose to say when I’m all choked up and you’re ok?
I’m falling to pieces, yeah
I’m falling to pieces

They say bad things happen for a reason
But no wise words gonna stop the bleeding
Cause she’s moved on while I’m still grieving
And when a heart breaks, no it don’t break even, even, no

What am I suppose to do when the best part of me was always you?
What am I suppose to say when I’m all choked up and you’re ok”
I’m falling to pieces, yeah, I’m falling to pieces, yeah
I’m falling to pieces, I’m falling to pieces

You got his heart and my heart and none of the pain
You took your suitcase, I took the blame.
Now I’m tryna make sense of what little remains
Cause you left with no love, with no love to my name.

I’m still alive but I’m barely breathing
Just prayed to a god that I don’t believe in
Cause I got time while she got freedom
Cause when a heart breaks, no it don’t break even
No it don’t break, no it don’t break even, no

What am I gonna do when the best part of me was always you?
What am I suppose to say when I’m all choked up and you’re ok?
I’m falling to pieces, yeah, I’m falling to pieces, yeah
I’m falling to pieces, I’m falling to pieces

Oh, it don’t break even, no
Oh, it don’t break even, no
Oh, it don’t break even, no

What’s Wrong With Healthcare for Everyone?

Published March 22, 2010 - 0 Comments

As I was going through my daily motions earlier today, a blog post was forming in my head.  I was going to create a category called “Commentary”; something for content a little more serious, and a good length.  I envisioned what I was going to write.  I had a few good lines that I wanted to work in.  A few good points that I wanted to make.

Then I sent a text message to my American friends.  It said the same thing to everyone.  “Welcome to rest of the socialized world.  Big changes going on down there!”.  Then I sat back and waited.

It didn’t take long for the replies to start coming in.  My original blog post went out the window.

At the risk of offending some of my friends south of the border, I will offer my thoughts…

You frustrate the hell out of me.  I don’t know what it is about healthcare reform that polarizes you people so much.  I find it difficult to comprehend how extending healthcare to a segment of your population that roughly equals Canada’s is a bad thing.  Yes, there will be changes.  Yes, your costs may go up.  They might not.  Your service might be worse.  It might be better.  No one really knows how this is going to play out for sure, because even the best prepared plans are still only a guess.  And that’s true of anything.  It’s a monumental task, but it’s one that’s well overdue.  To use the “If it ain’t broke…” argument isn’t an argument at all.  With 30-50 million (the number seems to change, depending on what you read) Americans without an adequate form of healthcare… the system was not working.  You can’t just continue to ignore something like that.

When I read some of the replies to my text message, I felt like screaming.  Are you expecting fireballs to rain down?  A vast plague to spread across the land?  Is this really the death of your great nation?  I have my doubts. 

It’s healthcare.  What’s wrong with extending healthcare to everyone?

Future Shop, You Suck.

Published March 21, 2010 - 2 Comments

All I wanted a new telephone.  Well, 4 actually.  But still… was that too much to ask?  Apparently so.

I’ve been in need of a new cordless phone for awhile.  I bought a cheap one last year because my place has a single phone bolted to the wall, and that just wouldn’t do.  I couldn’t get comfortable at all while sitting on the steps.  I couldn’t roam…  And I need to roam.

So I’ve been eyeing a particular set of Panasonic Dect 6.0 phones.  Four handsets may seem like overkill to some, but I don’t think so.  One in the kitchen (with the base), one in the living room, one in the office, and one upstairs.  Each one is programmable to ring (or not) depending on the time of day.  They also have a call blocking function, which I was eager to try out with some of my favourite telemarketer numbers that continue to appear.  Oh, and the phone will say “good morning” to you as a wake-up announcement.  How cool is that?

All of this does not come cheap.  The phones are $160, but that’s ok… I still have my $150 Future Shop gift card, courtesy of RBC’s incompetence (that’s another story… I believe the old version of the blog had that one).

Well… in this week’s flyer, the back page showed my phones… $60 off!  It was a 3 day only sale, but that’s fine.  Plenty of time to swing by and grab them.  Who else is going to be interested in a talking phone?

I spent the day doing some research, then checked the In Store Availability online.  What a wonderous idea this is!  It clearly showed that the phones were still available at my local Future Shop, but I’ve been burned by that before.  I didn’t want to go over there and find out that the computer had lied to me.  Better to just purchase it online.  I wasn’t in any big hurry.

So if the website says that it’s not currently in stock in their warehouse, but will ship when available, that generally means that you can still purchase it now, at the sale price, right?  Conveniently when I clicked checkout, I received an error that stated my order could not be processed at this time, but they would hold it in my shopping cart until a later date.  That’s not helpful.

Fine.  I drove to the store.  Guess what?  No phones in stock.  There were 4 on order, but they wouldn’t arrive until Thursday.  But this is a 3 day only sale.  Thursday is no good.  Thanks.

Today when I checked again online, it opened up to my shopping cart… and told me that the offer was no longer applicable, and cancelled.  And amazingly.. it still shows that the phones are in stock at the local store!

Now, because I have a gift card, I’m going to get these phones one way or another… but I think that’s the final straw with me and Future Shop.  They screwed up my attempted TV purchase last year… I wasn’t able to get my cellphone through them because their contract was with Rogers only… now they’ve screwed this up… I can remember a time when Future Shop was god.  Kingston, Ont was the first place that I’d ever seen one, and it was like dying and going to Heaven.

Not any more…   it’s hell… pure hell…

It’s Tax Time Again!

Published March 20, 2010 - 2 Comments

I decided to do something different this year, and tackle my income tax forms myself.  It’s been years since I’ve done my own taxes… back when I was single.  Now I’m essentially single again, and figured that I didn’t need to pay someone for something that I’m capable of doing myself.  Sounds great in theory, but I remember now why I preferred to just hand them over to someone else.  It’s not because they’re overly complicated.

I’m just lazy.

It didn’t help that I forgot one of the forms that I needed.  At least that’s the excuse that I told myself as I packed it all up again, and decided to put it off until tomorrow.

I’m curious what other people do with their taxes.

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