Appeal to patriotism

04/24/07 | by Adam | Categories: Canadian, Calgary

I live in what used to be Ralph Klein's riding here in Calgary. With his retirement, the seat is open for someone new so the political machines are getting warmed up.

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A forwarded prayer.

04/23/07 | by dena | Categories: Ramblings

A relative forwarded a prayer to us just this last week, and it tends to raise a red flag, as we are not religious. We are atheists. The forwarded item was:

May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let His presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.

ixnay fish

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Hot Fuzz

04/22/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Movies


Even if you're not a B-movie fanatic like my wife or father-in-law, if you've ever seen Shawn of the Dead, it's hard not to have a soft spot for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The duo is back again in a unique entry into the overlapping genres of mystery and comedy, and buddy cop.

Simon Pegg stars as a London policeman - no, police officer - Nicholas Angel, who excels at his job. This turns out to be a bit problematic (I won't give it away), and he ends up assigned to a post in a small town, much to his dismay. The small town seems to have what can only be generously described as a casual attitude to law enforcement, as you start realizing when you see the pub patrons.

Nick Frost is the son, Danny Butterman, of the police chief in this village, punished for his light indiscretions by having to buy everyone cake. He is a likable lug who is just basically following in his father's footsteps, and from his penchant for cop movies, wonders whether in the line of duty Angel has ever gotten to fire guns akimbo while fighting crime.

Nick Angel tries to bring a little bit of rule of law to the place while showing Danny a few of the ropes. His penchant for paperwork and processing people come in handy, but ultimately, many of his attempts are frustrated.

In this sleepy little town, though, a string of accidents start to happen...

It really is a fantastic movie; I was surprised. From the appropriately exaggerated camera techniques that move the story along to the quirky characters to the story to the inappropriately laugh-generating gore (oh, the poor journalist), it all fits rather nicely together.

If you want to see a comedy a bit higher-brow than Police Academy and a bit lighter than Snatch with some good writing, I highly recommend giving Hot Fuzz a try.


Tolkien's "The Children of Húrin"

04/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri


I really only have one question about this: will it be even less readable than "The Silmarillion"?

Of course, it could be as dull as the "Books of Lost Tales". "The Hobbit" was a classic; "Lord of the Rings" was a rather fine read. After that, the Tolkien oeuvre is a little hard going.


The Saga of Bob

04/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Whining

I'm well aware that many computer geeks have, shall we say, limited interpersonal skills. Generally speaking though, you keep those ones away in a closet somewhere and do not make them customer facing. That rule normally applies within companies as well as to external customers.

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Oh Great - Squeegee Kids

04/17/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, People

I hate squeegee kids.

It wasn't even that I had really met any before. Living in a 19th Avenue apartment and walking to and from work each day, I had my fill of panhandlers. I had my fill of natives trying to pass off funny stories for a buck or two whenever I tried to go anywhere in my neighbourhood. The guy with a sign about his starving kids who turned out not to have kids... at least, not in his care, and my favourite, Mr. "Allergic to Soup" guy who, upon me trying to give a bit of charity with a good meal, refused it with the claim that he was allergic to soup.

I guess I'd just heard all the stories.

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It's a boy!

04/09/07 | by dena | Categories: Announcements, Hoots, Raves

Early this Monday morning, Ritchie and I were up and off to the Prenatal Genetics Clinic for an 8:30 am appointment for our 18-week ultrasound.

Pretty terrific that Ritchie was able to come this time-- for the ultrasound part of the triple screen I had in late February, he was mired in project work and couldn't make it to see that our spawn was indeed just chugging along in there in terms of growth... One head, two eyes, one nose, one mouth, two arms, two legs-- no sign whatsoever of punctuated evolution giving us the next great jump in human development. ;)

x-men angel (rehosted)

So no X-Men-like incarnations! (No tails, no horns, no flippers or fins.)

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04/07/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

Ever been on a long flight, and they give you one of those little packages of pretzels, and you desperately need just a little more amusement than merely eating the pretzels?

Well, perhaps you haven't, but I have, and with all the connecting flights, I did figure out that I could spell just about anything with those tiny pretzels, just by nibbling off just the right pieces. Now granted, there had to be a certain amount of license taken, but some of the letters come out okay. For example, the X:

(dim rectangles of course indicating the parts you need to eat!)

So, for crazy people's enjoyment, here is my whole sample alphabet in preztels, or "pretzelbet", as nobody in their right mind would call it: the full pretzelbet.

You will notice that there are actually more ways to make the letters than these. Yes, yes there are! Perhaps a lowercase r would be more recognizable, or the M and W could actually be based on the same bites. Go wild! Some letters are definitely more challenging than others. Airplane mini-pretzels seem to be a very good challenge, and you might have to practice to get the full letter "G" I list.

Yes, I miss the span of time when they actually came out with pretzel letter snacks, thanks for asking :)


Yup, they think we're stupid

04/05/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

In my mailbox today was a letter postmarked from Spain, Madrid to be precise. I don't actually know anyone in Spain so gave it a look. Inside was -- oh, I can hardly contain myself -- a notice that I had a winning ticket in the "El-Gordo Sweepstake Lottery" and won $815,950.71. This was my "notfication" of winning from the "International Lotto Corporation" courtesy of "Eurolinks Securities Madrid." And better still, I could still win the $1.3 billion international lottery. Man, I could make more money than most countries here!


Due to mixed up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice

Oh, my, what a good idea. Wouldn't want anyone else getting in on this.

Of course the fact that the wonderfully named "notfication" completely excluded any personal information and is a somewhat askew colour photocopy shouldn't raise any issues; the lack of a real contact address is surely just a minor omission and of no consequence.

My cynicism could be due to me winning this a few months ago too. Same cover letter with a few details changed and that's about it. They didn't even stretch to buying a nice little watermarker or perhaps one of those cool stamps of incorporation that engineers get. Nope, just one poorly duplicated sheet of paper. I mean, if they're going to defraud me, at least try to make it a bit convincing.

You might have thought that if I didn't bite the first time around I might just not possibly the second. Yup, they think we're stupid. That's all there is to it.

Addendum: "Eurolinks Securities" makes a quite amusing appearance over at a href="" Scamblog.

Update: Removed the Scamblog link as it's apparently become some sort of adblog site and lost all of the original content.


Alienating business plans

04/04/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Whining

I've been using DataViz's "Documents To Go" for years now on my Palm Tungsten. When I bought my Macintosh, I was delighted that they offered a OSX version as that made switching platforms easier. When v9 came out late last year, I paid the upgrade fee quite happily. Recently DataViz released v10 of the program. Around the same time they made a few little adjustments to their business practices.

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The Counter-Creationism Handbook : Mark Isaak

04/01/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Books, Religion, Science


I was moved to pick this up when I saw a book-signing in the front of the bookstore I was walking into, and got close enough to realize they were peddling mystical garbage. I ended up in the science section just to shake off the willies from such close contact :)

This is a book by Mark Isaak, the editor of TalkOrigins' "An Index To Creationist Claims".

In fact, the book is essentially a very slightly pared-down list of the claims and their rebuttals in book form, though with a few more images. When you have it laid all out in paper format, it's a substantial amount of material. It can be used as a reference for specific claims, it's true, but you can do that on the web site. I enjoyed it most just reading it from cover to cover. Creationist claims are pretty colourful, so they and their rebuttals don't get dry all that quickly :)

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Those whacky, whacky searches (again)

03/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Time for another installment!

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Creative answers to technical questions

03/30/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly


Yes, you've probably seen all of these before. I think they're funny and worth repeating.

(Via Daring Fireball)


Want a lot of hits of your name in Google? Write an Amazon review

03/27/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Or better still, don't.

Every now and again I do the vanity search thing on Google. Typically a search on my full name brings up a couple of pages, mostly associated with other people who share it. This time a slew of pages appeared which is a trifle unusual. Almost all of them had the same review for an album on Amazon.

What was a little surprising was that although I had actually written those words, I'd never posted them to anywhere other than my old personal website. Someone had copied them (and kindly cited the source!) on to his own Amazon music reviews page. From there they propagated to what feels like every music search and retail operation on the internet.

I'm not going to link to the review or album since it's not terribly important, but it's a fascinating example of the flow of information on the internet. Alas, it seems that my principle contribution to the internet's font of knowledge is to be the guy who gets a "[sic]" as he misspelled a specific musical style!


Filing taxes electronically

03/27/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Canadian


Last year I decided that I'd had enough of paying quite a lot of money to an accountant to do my taxes. I'm less than convinced about the "Tax Experts" of H&R Block, and thought that that yearly purchase of a package like QuickTax or UFile seemed like a bit of a waste. So, in the end I went with one of the online systems as suggested by Revenue Canada. For some people with more complex returns, I can see that any of the above make sense, but mine tend to be a T4, a couple of charitable deductions, maybe an RRSP contribution if I got around to it, but that's about it. Anyway, the one I chose worked just fine and took me marginally less time than filling out the paper equivalent. I plan to do the same again this year.

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