Tuesday, December 13, 2005

World Travel Ain't What It Used To Be

I'm increasingly disturbed by various reports in the newspapers about widespread violence by large groups of people. First it was the Paris riots which began October 27th and lasted for a couple of weeks. I couldn't believe I was reading daily reports about places I'd visited throughout France, strolled through the streets and just generally enjoyed the atmosphere.

Now comes news of rioting in, of all places, Sydney, Australia. And the riots have even spread from Sydney - there are also reported incidences in Adelaide and Perth and who knows where next.

Anyone who's visited Australia will tell you that it is a stunningly beautiful country, full of friendly and, up until recently, incredibly tolerant citizens. As a world traveller, you're met with open arms (more or less), always spoken to in a friendly way, and generally made to feel like you're welcome.

If I were backpacking worldwide now, instead of five years ago as I was, I would have had to dramatically change my plans. Five years ago October I was visiting Paris and France; in another two weeks from now I would be flying from Portugal to...wait for it...Perth, Australia.


Saturday, November 26, 2005

Confessions On A Dance Floor

Used to be a big fan of Madonna, but with all that Esther stuff lately, I've been rather turned off. However...

I had to give it a try...I went out and bought her new CD (at $12.99, how could I go wrong? I mean, even if I hated it, I could always sell it at a used CD shop.) Ripped it over to the LifeDrive and awaaay we go...

Have to admit, she can still do it - there's more than a few catchy tunes in there, even after only the second listening. I'm sure you are, dear reader, already getting saturated with "Hung Up" - the first track on the disc - which is playing all over town. I even saw a drag queen performing it on Thursday night at Bar 501 (rather well, I might add...but that's another blog entry, probably...)

The CD can sort of be described as "Kylie Minogue with Attitude". ("If you don't like my attitude you can just F off"). Madge still does her best dancing pop tunes when her voice in the higher registers - the deep husky just doesn't seem appropriate for the pop genre.

If you want some decently "up" music at a good price, check it out.


Sunday, November 13, 2005

Pictures of the Week...er, Year...

It's so difficult keeping up with all the web pages around here. I haven't posted a single Picture of the Week all year. Shame.

I've made it up to you, though. I've collected the best bunch from 2005 and you can now find them all on the Pictures of the Week page...along with all the archives too, of course.


What's Inside a Dexit Tag?

Dexit TagDexit TagDexit Tag

I'm glad you asked!

What's Dexit? It was introduced a year or so ago in the Toronto area as a substitute for cash for small-price items (most commonly, fast food). No debit card to swipe, no hunting for change, just tell the cashier you want to put it on Dexit, they then push some buttons, you touch your Dexit tag on the magic Dexit interface box, and voila...takeout to go! You can "refill" your Dexit tag online with more cash. Great idea, right?

Well, not really. It hasn't really taken off because it means that any vendor dealing with the Dexit system has to punch more buttons on yet another box at their point of sale system (e.g., cash register, etc.)

Anyway, being an early adopter of these sorts of things (and with the promise from the Dexit tag seller guy at Ryerson that "Oh, absolutely, all the food vending places at Ryerson will have this Real Soon Now!"), I picked up a tag, stuck $100 on it...and waited. Well, stuck is the right word for my $100, because I found it a pain to find someplace to actually use up the cash! Oh, and of course, they won't let you take the cash back out, so you're forced to spend it.

Well, on Friday night I tried to pay for my $5.00 Pizza Pizza slice and a pop, and it ran short. I'd finally used it up.

Great, now I can have some fun. Click on the pictures for a bigger view. You can see that there's a magic little chip inside (about 5 mm across) and it's connected to a coil of wire (black hands in the second picture point to the coil, and the red hand points to the connection that went to the chip.) I guess the coil is needed as part of a resonant circuit and an antenna so the box in the store can see the card. The chip is encoded with a number (I've blurred it in the picture) so I'm not sure what it's telling the store box, but it's got to be just more than a simple tuned circuit. Maybe the store box radiates some current into the chip so it can then send a mini-transmission back to the box saying "Yep, it's me, he's authorized, give the guy his Big Mac".
Anyway...now you know...

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I've Given Up On "It"

As some of you may know, I can be a bit of a grammar nut at times. Since I'm a prof, that's probably not a bad thing - it sort of goes with the job, after all. However, for years now, I've noticed a creeping change in the English language: the improper use of "its" versus "it's".

It's (there's that word) really easy to remember the rule: "it's" is a contraction for "it is"; and "its" is a posessive pronoun, which is a fancy way of saying the word refers to something having a posession.

Try these:
"It's an easy rule to remember."
"The cat was found in the corner, licking its wounds."

If you see the word "it's" and you can say out loud "it is" when reading it, you've got it right, you need the appostrophe. Anything else, you use "its".

You wouldn't, for example, say "The cat was found in the corner, licking it is wounds" so you know you don't need the appostrophe there.

Okay, so much for the grammar lesson. You can see this isn't difficult. And if I only saw the problem on things like yard sale posters I wouldn't be very upset. But, starting about ten years ago, I saw this basic problem creeping into widely distributed publications like daily newspapers. Then magazine publishers, who generally have more lead time and opportunity to proofread, started messing this up. Now, it's (there it is again) more or less ubiquitous. Last week I saw the front cover of a "apartments for rent" magazine that's available around here, showing off a high rise building with the statement "Living At It's Best". Sandwich shops with expensive, mass-produced and professionally designed signage with "Its the best meal in town." Arrrgh!

After being upset about this for so long, and witnessing increased misuse, I've decided to give up. They say the English language is a constantly mutating one - we add new words, redefine old ones, re-spell others. So, in terms of ranting and raving about a magazine mis-spelling its front page title (hey, there's that word again), I'll stop now.

But...to my students reading this...don't think you will ever get away with it in a paper you're handing in to me! I still have my standards, after all...


Friday, October 28, 2005


Fulla!Meet Fulla, the doll that's making a hit in the Middle East. Don't confuse her with Barbie, the doll from the west - this young lady has "Muslim values." She comes right out of the box wearing her black abaya and matching head scarf. She even has her own tiny prayer rug, in pink felt. And, like Barbie in the west, it's almost impossible not to come across Fulla chewing gum, Fulla bicycles, or Fulla breakfast cereal, all in memorable Fulla pink.

"This isn't just about putting the hijab on a Barbie doll," Fawaz Abidin, the Fulla brand manager for NewBoy Design Studio said. "You have to create a character that parents and children will want to relate to. Our advertising is full of positive messages about Fulla's character. She's honest, loving and caring, and she respects her father and mother."

Read the full article here, via the International Herald Tribune (original article in the New York Times).

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Posting The Cat


Now I, too, can be googled for this new popular phrase - posting the cat. It's come to represent the moment in a blog's life where, for lack of anything better to do or say or write, the blogger posts a picture of their cat, as if this would be of importance to anybody: "Look, here's a picture of my cat, Toodles." This moment is when we know that the life of that particular blog is essentially over and done with. It's similar to the phrase jump the shark which refers to a TV show past its prime (the original example being when Fonzie water-ski jumped over a shark on Happy Days - it was all downhill from there.)

to get more fine comments about this, including an article in the Globe and Mail last Friday.

And, rather than risk being a self-fulfilling prophecy, I will not post a picture of my cat with this entry...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Computer Tech Nostalgia

Apple //e'sSo sad...

I was sauntering along second floor Kerr Hall South on campus the other day and came across a few Apple //e computers (a whole 64K of RAM!) with a bunch of Disk ][ drives (a whopping 140K per floppy disk!) and even an Apple Graphics Tablet (sketch images directly into your Apple //'s high resolution screen!) Sadder still, I didn't get to take a digital photo until today, when most of the good stuff was gone already (click on the pic for a larger view...)

And suddenly I got all nostalgic. My Apple ][ was my very first personal computer that I bought in 1979 for the insane amount of $2000. I brought it home to my parent's living room (one of the few Computerland stores in Canada was in Burlington), unpacked it, and hooked it up to their TV set (remember, hardly any computer monitors around back then...) I connected my cassette player, and loaded up Little Brick Out, a ready-to-go computer game. It beeped and booped, and little coloured squares bounced across the lo-res screen.

My parents looked at this extremely expensive box that was doing, for them, very little to make the investment worthwhile. They asked me, rightly so, "What are you going to do with this thing?" I replied, in all innocence,

"I don't know. But I have a feeling these things are going to catch on and be really big someday..."

(Yes, this is a true story...)

BTW, on eBay, Apple //s go for around...$35, including disk drive. *Sigh*.
* * * * *
I see, on a related note, that Atari has released the Flashback 2, which looks like the old Atari 2600, and has 20 classic games already installed (and 20 new ones, too). And it's only $30 U.S.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bad Blogger? Not Really...

I don't feel too bad that I haven't posted anything since mid-September. A couple of fellow bloggers I know haven't written since August and...April! Funny, it seems that blogging is, as you would imagine it eventually would, going out of style.

It's a lot of work, really. I mean, who really has the time to post an entry on their blog, when their lives get really filled up with stuff? They're too busy living to post on a blog.

Having said that, here I am again. Really, I've been mostly posting on my No Smoking blog, so check that out if you haven't done so already. I've been a non-smoker for a month, and I'm enough of a self-centred person to blog about it. Geez...

RTA blog readers: we're almost through half of the first semester, who knew? You first year guys are awesome. Second years, hope you're having a great year without my presence. And of course fourth years, I have half of you in Practicum anyway so it's kinda like a reunion to some degree. You know what I like about RTA? The unbridled enthusiasm about creating & storytelling. Okay, sometimes I have to be "the prof" and lay down the line about stuff we can't do in production, regarding University academia and respect for...well, pretty much everybody and everything. Word to the wise: y'know, your producer will yank on your choke-chain of reality even after you've graduated, so it's really a bit of a reality check in terms of what we can, and cannot, do in our industry. Hey, I'm as much of a "go all out" guy as can be, but as an academic I understand, too, that we can't go completely out on a limb, as much as we'd like to do. Maybe there's a deeper thought in all of this, in terms of what 'society' (notice the quotes) wants, needs, desires. Oh bleah, this is getting way too philosophical, as accurate as it might actually be...

Gonna post this and sign off, and get some bloody sleep. What a crazy week it's been, lots of meetings, hanging out with students, and generally absorbing the RTA atmosphere.

You guys rock!

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Thought that title might get your attention...

Our friend, Stevi, died on September 7th. Those of you reading the "No Smoking" blog will know this. That's about a week and a half ago. And he's still around...

I don't know how many of you believe in paranormal experiences, but we've had a few in the last week or so:

* A wine glass levitating in mid-air, doing a 180 degree flip and dumping wine on Shawn (who caught the glass)

* Pennies and dimes appearing on the floor from out of nowhere (in his apartment and in the funeral home)

* Making his sleeping dogs suddenly wake up, jump up, knocking one of the photo boards the gang was making for the funeral home, spilling pictures all over the place. This doesn't seem too paranormal, but when they gathered up all the pictures, one was missing. It was found inside a *closed* briefcase.

* He also visited me at the house Friday night Sept. 9th, and I caught several orbs on my nightvision (infrared) video camcorder when I was talking to him. Video coming soon of this, on the web...

* And just today, as I was scanning in all the photos from those funeral poster boards, for a future website for him, he was turning lights on and off in my house.

He is truly enjoying the fact that he isn't bed-ridden anymore and had freedom of movement. Always the trickster, even in death. All of us are spiritual people so this hasn't freaked any of us, we just talked back to him and had a joke with him. But he has clearly been trying to tell us he's a lot happier now by pulling off these little scenes! :-)

I know a lot of people who would be totally wigged out by this. I won't kid you, it's a little disturbing and certainly unpredictable, but we all know he's just making contact with us. How cool!


Thursday, September 08, 2005

No Smoking Blog

I've started a second blog on quitting smoking. Why? Because I quit on Tuesday, and I want to keep a journal of how it's going. And, if I commit worldwide on the Web, I'll have a better chance of sticking to it.

For all the details, check out No Smoking.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Amazing Amanda?

Amazing AmandaScary new doll coming on the market just in time for the holiday season. Amazing Amanda is scheduled for release next month, and at $99 US, "the 18-inch-tall doll promises to 'listen, speak and show emotion.'"

"One prerelease model of Amazing Amanda, once it was activated (by flipping the toy's only visible switch hidden high on its back and beneath its clothing), woke with a yawn, slowly opened its eyes and started asking questions in a cutesy, almost cartoonlike girl's voice...In all, the doll is equipped for almost an hour of speech that includes various questions, programmed responses, requests, songs and games. And as Amanda speaks, the doll's soft-plastic lips move and its face, using Disney-like animatronics, help to suggest expressions."

Probably the most frightening thing was a statement by the doll's inventor, Judy Shackelford. "This doll," Ms. Shackelford said, "acts like she loves you."

People are already having fun with this. At gadgetizer.com, the suggestion has been made "For those of you who detest the thought of going through the motions and having your own kid, you can buy one for about $100..." and a respondent writes "I wonder what little surprises are also installed but not publicised�.. does it turn into a loud and foul-mouthed teen in a couple of years?"

Catch the full article in the New York Times here.

Bad Summer Blogger

I know...June 21st since the last entry. Shame on me. But who wants to sit at a computer and blog, when you have this wonderful summer weather we've been experiencing for months now? So yeah, I've been outside a lot, but doing things like course prep and research for my switcher simulation project. Thanks be to laptops with wireless cards! :-)

Anyway, that's all over now, Labour Day's around the corner and then back to school. A big shout out to all the RTA students: welcome back!

Quick update on the LiveDrive I was bitching about so much a while ago. I've learned to love the beast. Turns out that, as I figured would happen, software companies released newer versions of their stuff to work with the LifeDrive, so now it runs fast. And with all the hard drive space, I can read the Globe and Mail online edition in the morning, while listening to podcasts of electronica DJ mixes. It makes the subway ride quite liveable. And I can keep the entire Wikipedia in my pocket!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Early Adopter

The LifeDrive...hmm...(and by putting that word LifeDrive in this entry, boy, will this blog get its ass kicked by the web-spiders, this seems to be a hot topic these days...)

Picked up one of these the first day they went on sale at Future Shop a couple of weeks ago. Well...talk about a love/hate relationship.

Love: The 4 gig hard drive built in - loadsa storage, the web-browsing with full WiFi (I swear it's more sensitive to finding ports than my laptop!) I've used that extensively. It plays videos quite nicely for its tiny screen, and of course piccies look great on it. MP3 player? - yeah, it's okay, but I'll stick with my MiniDisc for now, believe it or not.

Hate: the price ($700 CDN!), The f@$&*! slow hard drive response! Gawd, that's driving me (no pun) crazy. Y'see, unlike most other Palms, PalmOne in their infinite wisdom decided to cache almost everything on the hard drive. Grrr! To save a measely 32 megs of RAM, you gotta be kidding (okay so there's a 10 meg buffer RAM...) And you thought Windows was slow loading apps. With my now-defunct Clie, I clicked back and forth between Datebk5, DietDiary, great big mother apps, everything, in a half a second. Well now...try sometimes up to 15-20 seconds (no, I am absolutely not kidding.)

A wonderful company, Ludustech, makes SharkCache, a small app that permanently loads apps into the cache, and it works kinda okay sorta - it's helped, but it's not the best solution. Kudos to them for at least working something out so fast, though.

Recommendation: gawd, I so hate to say this having plunked down $700...DON'T BUY ONE, if you have any experience with other Palm-ish devices, the waiting time will simply drive you nutz.

I'm still looking for a really keen workaround software thingmie to solve this one and only problem with the beastie - once and for all!


Late Adopter

Most of you will consider this group extremely old news, but I've suddenly, this summer, gone on a jag of Delerium (that sorts of sounds like absinthe, or something, doesn't it?) I've been listening to the CD Poem for years (long story, ripped from an ex-girlfriend's collection), and I just got to wandering into CD Cat and Refried Beats and CD Replay looking for anything else. Found the catalog online, of course. And it's all just great summer listening, so well done and trance-y. I'm up to four ripped over to the MiniDisc, but I'm still looking - not for the Archives series, I want the original CDs, if you catch my drift. Why buy something twice?

The Old Song and Dance

I know it's really old news by now (recent USA Today article) that people have, once in a while, been getting fired because of what they post on their blogs. Most of the time (all that I've read so far, at least) it's because they were slamming, or perhaps giving away tips about, their company. Needless to say, you won't find me doing that here - I won't even mention Downtown University, my place of employment. Nope, won't catch me posting stuff here about my workplace. Nosiree.

Actually, truth be known, if I ever did get into that, it would likely be compliments to my faculty, and kudos about all the great students I teach. Who needs to stir up dirt when you actually like working at a place?

Hmm...those who can't change jobs...blog...?


Wednesday, June 01, 2005


In the month of May, there were 114 visits on this domain (the domain gets several thousand a month) for a search result with the word "naked". (This blog entry will, no doubt, generate a few more...) Boy, are you guys mis-guided. There isn't a naked picture in this entire place, although I probably mention the word from time to time on a page, or a blog entry.


Well, it's the dog days of summer, more or less (I know - I asked my dog today and he said "woof" which is probably dog talk about the heat, "whew", or something. That, or he was asking me if he could go outside to take a shit, I'm not really sure which.) Anyway, the game plan for me is read a couple of good books (I've been loaned "Silent Bob Speaks" ), do my course revisions, and do my research so they will actually keep me on as a gainfully employed professor (that publish or perish thing.)

For the students in the crowd, my courses will be BDC 111 and BDC 211 (you first years will remember the fun and games there), and of course, BRD 046/047 Practicum, which is getting a major overhaul this summer - fourth years, you'll find it's much more comprehensive and easier to keep on track with the status of your project and your group (hey, at least that sounds good writing it down here.)

Okay, got a meeting (when will they stop??) tomorrow morning at 9, so let's post this suckah...


Friday, May 20, 2005

Airline Flight Attendants Unite!

Flight Attendant's Calendar

If you're reading my blog, you'll know that I'm a supporter of Queen of Sky. This is an interesting take on what United Airlines' flight attendants are doing about their pensions being cut in half:


Thursday, May 12, 2005

ASCII Signatures

This is so cool! For us oldies, ASCII pictures were "the way" back in the early 1980s. Ever want to have your signature line printed out as a bunch of letters and symbols and stuff? Then check out this link!

| __ \
| | | | __ _ _ __ __ _
| | | |/ _` | '_ \ / _` |
| |__| | (_| | | | | (_| |
|_____/ \__,_|_| |_|\__,_|

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dollar Store Discoveries

Aren't dollar stores amazing places? About once a week, I walk through the huge Dollarama at Yonge and Charles just to see what's new. And there's always something new there. I usually end up spending a couple of bucks on neat stuff. The other week, I noticed that they are selling compact fluorescent light bulbs for a buck. I don't know how good they are, but it beats $3+ at the hardware store.

Something I bought this week: DVDs with three episodes each of Dragnet, Topper, and Burns and Allen. These are probably shows which have had their copyright run out (they're all about 50+ years old) and didn't get renewed through some loophole, so they may be in the public domain, which is how Television Classics got a hold of them - read more about Television Classics' offerings here. But hey, three episodes for a buck? What's not to like?

Something I did not buy this week: the dollar store home pregnancy test. I'm not kidding, a pregnancy test stick for a buck. I don't know about you, but I think that there are times of important decisions in your life where it's okay to spend a little more than the minimum to be certain about something. I mean, would you trust the results from the dollar store pregnancy test?


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I don't make this stuff up...

Machine Gun CouponOn the Las Vegas Strip, there's all kinds of characters giving out, usually, little business cards with scantily clad women pictured on them and text such as "Strippers To Your Door only $69".

As well, there are coupon booklets of a less unsavoury nature with some genuine values in them. But here's a coupon (with certain values of another kind) that I thought many of you could appreciate. Click on the picture on the left to see a bigger version.


Thursday, April 21, 2005

Greetings from Lost Wages, Nevada!

I�m on location at the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention, and then staying on for the Broadcast Educator�s Association convention. In all, it�s an entire week in sunny Las Vegas. But because of the conventions, I haven�t seen any of the city. That should change over the next couple of days, now that the NAB is finished, leaving just the BEA.

Some observations:

* The Americans are light years ahead of the Canadians in terms of digital television roll-out and equipment for both the broadcaster and the consumer. For those who are into this sort of thing, this statement will come as no surprise, but when you see it close up and personal on the show floor, it certainly gives one pause. Walking around the exhibit floor, I couldn�t get over the idea that I was strolling through a set for Blade Runner - huge (20' across) high resolution screens with flashing pictures and surround sound adverts everywhere. Strange.

* No wonder Americans are overweight! It is so difficult to get a decent meal here that isn�t fast food in one form or another. If I look really hard, I can usually find a salad someplace or a decent sub sandwich. This, being a tourist town, means you�ll pay around $7.50 US for that salad or sandwich. I will say one thing though, the portions of everything are definitely larger than what we find in Canada so in a sense you get some value for your eight bucks. On the other hand, who needs all that food? The buffets abound in LV, of course, but I haven�t been in one this week because I simply can�t imagine eating more than a small portion, so why pay $12 for a meal you�re not going to finish? I�m really noticing this food thing because I saw Super Size Me a couple of weeks ago, so I�m pretty sensitised to fast food these days. That, and I�ve been on a low fat diet for a couple of months (the doctor said my cholesterol was too high, sigh... )

* Las Vegas is one of the remaining places where you can still smoke everywhere - it�s a smoker�s paradise. You can�t smoke in the convention hall, but in the casinos for example it�s open season. Even in the restaurants (although they do have a no smoking section.) Think of Canada ten years ago, and you�ve got the perspective. It�s a bit weird really, when you come from where we normally live to visit and it takes some getting used to.

*Americans often seem to think they own the place. When walking down the busy corridors in the casino to get from one place to another, they walk in the middle of the aisle! I literally had to stop dead in my tracks today otherwise I would have been run over by a (yes, overweight) American in the casino as I was making my way back to the room. This was one of several circumstances. Oh, my other favourites: standing in the middle of the escalator taking up the whole width (easy to do with some of the people I�ve seen) and today, when I wanted to get off the monorail car, one chap stood right in the middle of the doorway, as if he didn�t think it was at all possible that somebody would want to leave. Clearly, these people aren�t used to riding public transit like the TTC. Torontonians are so well behaved when it comes to these things (most of the time, anyway.) No wonder they think we�re so �nice� up there.

So it�s a weird and wonderful week in Sin City (no I haven�t seen the movie yet.) (Note: don't type sincity dot com, that's a porno site!) And the whole business makes me appreciate Oh Canada that much more. We live in a pretty civilised society up there, and when we think we�re excessive, we should look south as a comparison. Not to say that we�re not extravagant in our own way sometimes, but we seem to have a little more respect and understanding about what we�re consuming. Well, a little...


Friday, April 15, 2005

My TTC Beefs

Sorry I haven't written lately but as the students among you will know, it's been a busy month with deadlines for projects, papers, and other assorted stuff.

But travelling on the TTC every morning has made me think of a few things about people's awareness of others. I have a couple of thoughts.

First, why don't people remove their backpacks? I know, this is one of those old yaps that the TTC drags out from time to time "please remove your backpack, blah blah" but it's getting to be an epidemic. The worst offenders are (sorry guys) high school and university students who are either not awake yet (I hear you) or don't realise that they're taking up the space of almost two people by wearing their packs on the crowded subway. I always take mine off, and stuff it between my legs to make more room (okay, that sounded a little weird, but you know what I mean.)

My other thing is I wonder why people insist on either (a) standing up before we get to Bloor and Yonge or (b) start walking as much as they can toward the doors as we approach Bloor and Yonge. People, some facts. It's Bloor and Yonge, odds are extremely high that there's going to be a whole bunch of people getting off here. Standing up only makes the standees even more crowded. And it doesn't save you any more time than maybe a few nanoseconds of getting off the train. So just chill, and wait for the subway car to come to a complete stop. Trust me, they'll let you off, you won't get trapped, really. And for you pushers in the crowd...the last time I checked, there isn't a way to walk through solid objects (i.e., other people) yet, so stop yer shovin'.

Well, that's my rant for today. Hope things are well with all of you.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Cool Script of the Week

First off, I'm blogging from my local pub (they have wireless, yay!) Isn't technology wonderful?

Second, I found this cool place www.geo-loc.com which gives you a script to put on your website to let you track from where in the world your page is being hit. Very neat. Check out the homepage of my textbook (danalee.ca/ttt) to see a sample, and if you want to get your own map, just click on mine to forward you to geoloc. One word of warning: their website is mostly in French, so be prepared to read pages in Canada's other official language.



Monday, March 07, 2005

Wedding Video Fun

The CeremonyThe videos from the wedding are finally online. It took a while because I took my time playing around with the camcorder, the firewire, and Windows Media Maker. It's a pretty cool program, especially given the price - free.

Check 'em out on the wedding site...


Friday, February 18, 2005

Michael Jackson Trial Delayed With The Flu

The thing that gets me about all of this is, not that the trial's delayed, but that he's in hospital with the flu??? When was the last time you checked into a hospital because you had the flu? No, you probably crashed in bed for a couple of days, popped ASAs, drank tons of water and soup, slept like crazy...and, yes, you felt awful. If it was really bad, you maybe had a friend or loved one look after you. But you got over it.

There are millions of Americans who can't get to a hospital when they have a burst appendix, broken leg, or get shot by somebody...because they have no health insurance, and it would bankrupt them to go into surgery.

And Michael Jackson gets to go to the hospital for flu symptoms...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

What Do You Mean "Never Used"?

Found on a "contents sale" poster on a telephone pole today:

"For Sale: two wall mirrors. Never used. $25."

Well, I thought it was weird...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Cool Wedding Pictures

Dana & KirstinWe were at Liane and Howard's place last night for dinner (and oh, sooo much wine...) and she gave us some really amazing black and white photographs from the wedding (click on the pic on the left for a sample.) There's more on the wedding site, enjoy.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

Queen of Sky Update

Queen of Sky SupporterMy original blog posting about QoS is at the bottom of this blog page - I kept it here even though it was late last year, because I feel it is still relevant.

QoS has been very busy, I occasionally drop by her blog and see what's cooking - tons of interviews for the media (in 20 languages, no less - the articles I mean, not that QoS speaks all those languages...). She made it on to CBC Radio lately (I haven't heard the stream yet but I expect I will listen to it in the next day or two.) She has also started a Blogger's Bill of Rights. Quite the activist, and doing all of this while on (un)employment insurance. Her lawsuit against Delta Air Lines drags on...and on...and on...

Nice touch to see - there's a "referrals" links page at the bottom of her blog, and I even get a hit there (!), so it's good to see that some of you are clicking over to check out somebody who we will undoubtedly hear more about.


Read The Assignment Carefully...

Just overheard in a stairwell at Ryerson:

"Well, the assignment said 'Do part (a) and (b), and so I...' "
"No it didn't! It said 'Do part (a) OR (b).'"

[brief pause here while the lightning bolt of realization hits]

"What? Get out!"
"You mean you did both parts?"
"Oh gawd...I'm sooo dead..."


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Everything But The Kitchen Sink

Kitchen Floor Final Original FloorFloor Time Lapse AVI 6 MegsWhy chill out and relax over the holidays when you can spend a week in your kitchen, ripping up 80 years' worth of old linoleum tiles (loved that grungy 70s look...), sanding a subfloor with four levels of sandpaper, staining, and finishing with four coats of polyurethane? Not to mention living with your 'fridge and microwave in the dining room, and eating take away and zapped food. Actually this kind of sounds like bachelor living again...or a student rez. But it was worth it. Click on the picture on the far left to see the finished result as a still. The picture right next to it is what we started with.

Or if you're really daring, click on the picture on the right to download a 6 meg. Windows Media Player 9 AVI of a timelapse of the entire process (except for the urethaning, which is boring to watch...). Warning: this file will take over two minutes to download on a high-speed connection, so you might want to do a "right-click-save target as" on the picture, and then view it offline afterwards.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Annual Clean-up

Yes, it's true, I've archived the 2004 blog entries. You can find them using the link (DanaLife 2004) at the right side of this page, though. I've left three recent entries here that I think are still relevant for one reason or another.

Did the annual end-of-year computer clean up, too. Over 1500 sent and deleted email messages to go through and, for the most part, toss. Not to mention oodles of graphical material I'd found on the Internet for my first year course. All nice and organized, now.

As usual, I found a couple of Pictures of the Week I forgot to put online, they're in the usual space, so check 'em out if you like.

A new semester, a new year, a new life...what more could one ask for?


Friday, December 24, 2004

Wedding Bells

Dana and KirstinFor those of you who don't already know...Kirstin and I got married on December 11th! It was a great celebration with about 50 people attending, at Fantasy Farm. You want to see proof, don't you? Well, wander over to danalee.ca/wedding to see the pictures (warning, there's well over 150 of them...). I'm having some problems digitizing the video, but hopefully that situation will be resolved soon enough. While you're on the site, don't forget to sign the guest book!

Have a great holiday (whichever one you celebrate), and keep on bloggin'!


Friday, November 26, 2004

Three Ages of Living

Perspectives do change as you age. When I was 20-something and fairly new to living on my own in the big city, I was amazed by things being built all around me in what was a prosperous time in Toronto - the Eaton Centre, the CN Tower. Yes, there was a time that these buildings didn't exist. I have photos of the CN Tower under construction, which look very weird. (I should post one someday...) I couldn't get enough of the city, and I soaked it all up like a sponge. Same thing with RTA - took it all in, and more. After all, it was all about me...right? (And I don't say that facetiously, either - it really was about me, and my universe, as it should be at that time in one's life.)

These days, things are different, as well might be expected. I was walking down Dundas Street at Bay, where they are building the new Ryerson Business building. First, though, they have to tear down the parking garage that was there. I looked over at the jackhammer vehicle thing parked on the top of the half-remaining arcade, poking suggestively into a leftover pillar, and thought "I remember when they were constructing that parking garage." Okay, now I feel old. I think you realise this when buildings that you remember going up, are now being torn down to make way for new ones.

As I thought this, I realised it's still about me. With a bit broader view of the world thrown in for good measure. And an understanding that everything is relative - it isn't worth sweating the small stuff, and, actually, it's all small stuff anyway. Not to say we don't stress out, but somehow I have an understanding that all of us, like those buildings, will eventually be torn down anyway. We commonly call this "death", and the last time I checked, none of us are getting out of here alive. So stop worrying about every little thing so much, and enjoy the ride.

My parents' generation is dealing with this in their own ways. They've already seen their bricks and mortar buildings fall down or be torn down, so that concept is hardly news to them. But they feel that they, too, are slowly being eroded away by the simple accumulation of years. My parents often ask me where I get my energy from, my youth - as if they didn't have it when they were my age. Actually, it's funny - I remember they were in their mid-40s when they started protesting about how they didn't have any energy anymore, and how lucky I was to be a teenager with boundless energy, and wait until I get to be their age, yada yada. Well, here I am - their age when they started on about this.

But something's different. If anything I feel I have more energy than when I was, say, in my 30s. But I think that's primarily because I'm channeling it into things that are moving me forward, learning, teaching, experiencing. I'm not using it up in fruitless and energy-zapping emotional turmoil, arguing, angst-ridden relating, and so on.

I'm not trying to accuse my parents of anything, but more speak to what society expected of them in their day. They and I have talked about this, too - the "what will the neighbours think" paradigm, which drove them to incredible excesses of following astoundingly arbitrary rules for no reason other than their 1950's society's belief that there was only one way to do things. This upbringing has led them to be incredibly narrow in terms of what our new millennium has to offer them, because, quite simply, it's not what they know and they would have to learn quite a few new paradigms to take full benefit of how far we've come in the last half century. All they seem to see is how much work it all is, not that it could give them some of that long-lost energy, back. And try as I might to convince them that they should, to use the phrase, "get out more" it's not forthcoming.

Which I guess begs the question, can you re-build an eroding building? And if not, then perhaps we should start paying attention more to how we are eroding ourselves over time, consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or accidentally.

Maybe all of this has been triggered by my hearing Pet Shop Boys' "Being Boring" for the umpteenth time on my MiniDisc: And we were never holding back or worried that/Time would come to an end

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Blogger grounded by her airline - disturbing

Queen of the Sky"A US airline attendant is fighting for her job after she was suspended over postings on her blog. Queen of the Sky, otherwise known as Ellen Simonetti, evolved into an anonymous semi-fictional account of life in the sky. But after she posted pictures of herself in uniform, Delta Airlines suspended her indefinitely without pay."

You can read the full story at BBC News here, but I do find this a bit disturbing. I mean, if she was slagging Delta Airlines all over the place, well maybe. But this was just a semi-true but nonetheless fictional blog about a flight attendant's (mis)adventures.

Apparently, Delta's pissed that she had a picture of herself in a clearly identifiable Delta uniform, in a supposed compromising position (click on the pic for a bigger view of one of these so-called problematic poses.) Apparently these sorts of piccies are done from time to time (I mean wouldn't you have a bit of fun if your job was a flight attendant?) as a bit of a laugh. I think Delta's 'way off the mark on this one.

Queen of the Sky's blog can be found at but good luck trying to get in, as you can understand the server's fighting for air (no pun intended) these days as the hits just keep on comin'.