Monday, February 12, 2007

I've Moved

I have moved my blog to! Please update your links!


Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bush Lite and First Impressions

It's been a long time since I've posted, but I'm going to try and update this thing more often. I feel like I've been silent for too long and that some things have gone down recently that just cannot get brushed aside.

Today I want to talk about the terrorist plot on our nations capital. I have to say that the thought of armed men storming the parliament building, taking hostages and beheading Stephen Harper is beyond belief. Shock would hardly cover the emotion that would surely rise up in myself. Yet, something seems off with this story.

Some commentators have already pointed out how this is turning into a spectacular show-trial and quite possibly will reduce the chance of these men getting a fair trial. Are they guilty? I don't know and I think it's up to the court to decide that. But by parading these guys around with SWAT team and snipers at every turn as if at any moment a full battalion of insurgents were going to show up gives the impression that these are more than just a bunch of deranged young adults and instead an organized and credible threat against our nation. Let's remember that they were caught before the execution of their plan by tracking a large purchase of fertilizer. If intelligent people were in charge of this operation, you would think that they would have bought in smaller quantities from unconnected sources... I also found it funny that the picture the press has used in the story on CNN shows nothing more than a gun, a multi-meter, and a soldering iron. Wow. So every registered firearm owning electrical engineer in Canada is potentially a terrorist? Yikes. This is a strange new world we live in. You'd think that if this was a fully planned and imminent threat they would have some scarier stuff to show in that picture... like... a bomb?

But I digress. My point is that there seems to be a new playbook being used with the media as of late and it reeks of Karl Rove. I'm not saying he's the puppet-master of the Harper government (but it wouldn't surprise me), I'm just saying that the conservatives may have picked up a few tips from their brethren south of the border.

For one, Harper stated that "we are a target, because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values -- values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law." This sounded so familiar that I had to go look up where I had last heard this. Bush said it back in 2001: "They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other." That always rang hallow with me then and it does so today as well. You know, maybe they hate us because we are bombing them, blowing up their cities, and killing innocent civilians? No, it's just cause we can choose to go to MicDick's and have cheeseburgers and watch MTV. That REALLY gets them all burned up inside.

But is that little, insignificant quote just an over reaction on my part? Maybe. But yet, something still seems different about how our Canadian officials are acting lately. Not many people noticed (or cared) but the National Post ran a story last month about Iran and how the country was planning to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims. The story ran with a picture from 1944 which showed a Hungarian couple wearing yellow stars that the Nazis forced Jews to sew onto their clothes. They even had an online poll with the question, "Is Iran turning into the new Nazi Germany?"

The problem with this assertion is that the original focus of the story turned out to not be true which was admitted by the editor-in-chief, Douglas Kelly, quickly after it was published. He said that, "[the paper apologizes] for the mistake and for the consternation it has caused not just National Post readers, but the broader public who read the story."

But the funny thing was how this story was used later in the day (before the retraction) by Mr. Harper when he said that Iran "is very capable of this kind of action," adding, "It boggles the mind that any regime on the face of the Earth would want to do anything that could remind people of Nazi Germany."

It seems that the Harper government is trying to get Canadians on board with a potential military action against Iran... just like our friends to the south are doing already to their population. Of course, a spokesman for Mr. Harper added later that his statement was prefaced by, "If this is true..." but we all know that public opinion doesn't care about whether it's true or not.

It's all about first impressions.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


You might remember that last summer I posted about starring... well, appearing, in the new Harrison Ford movie Firewall. Well, last night I had the... priviledge?... no, ability to see the flick early as part of a preview promotion at Metropolis.

The movie in general wasn't all bad. The first 30 minutes were actually above average for your standard run of the mill thriller. What they did really well was making the plot rather plausible for a change. Most of the actions taken by the bad guys are explained and make sense. Note, I did say most... not all.

The scene that featured me was much too short to really make me feel like I was really in the movie. No, there was a blurry guy in a red shirt rocking out with a guitar that looked like me, but it wouldn't inspire anyone to say, "Hey! Weren't you in the movie?" even though I was at the premiere wearing the same outfit.

SPOILER ALERT!!!! Please do not keep reading if you plan on seeing the flick.

You should know from the trailer that Harrison Ford plays a security engineer guy for a major bank that is forced to work around his own security measures when Paul Bettany holds Ford's family hostage. The part that had me interested was how they kind of ripped off the first season episodes of 24 where Jack Bauer was in the exact same situation as both were wired up with cameras and microphones and are being watched at all times. Where this falls apart is when the bad guys choose to only do this for one day. The next day, oh, well, we trust Harrison now, so we won't do that whole deal again.

Now, most people know that to have wireless access, you need to be in range of a wireless router or access point. Sadly, the writers of this movie didn't know, as Harrison Ford is able to connect to the net under a bridge and Paul is able to check his Swiss bank account from the side of the road on a remote mountain pass.

But my biggest gripe with this movie was the number of groaner moments in the final 20 minutes. Sometimes movies have moments when you say to yourself, "Man, that was SUCH an AWESOME TWIST!" This movie didn't have that kind of moment. It had one of those, "No... no... no we are... no... you didn't just say... OMG... SHOOT ME!" What was this moment? Well, as the bad guys are running off to their base with his family, Ford stops to log into his online PetFinder service that tracks a GPS locator in their dog's collar. Oh yeah, that's right. The dog was taken with the family... because... well, he's just sooooo cute! Sigh.

After that it was all downhill.

But I was in it! SO IT WAS AWESOME! :-)

Let's just say I plan to rent it and rip ONE CHAPTER... and that's all I could probably watch ever again.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

My New Pad

It's been a long time since the last post, but that was mostly due to me packing up and moving to my new place... not to mention an increased drive by Jo to get wedding stuff done early! :-)

So here are some snapshots of the new pad!

So we still have some work to do obviously. We need to get a nice dining table and a matching love seat to go with our nice Ikea couch Jo had. We are also still in the process of de-boxifying the apartment, as can be seen in the bedroom picture. The nice part is that those are all empty boxes, so it's just a matter of folding them up and storing them back at Jo's mom's place or throwing them away. Our storage area is housing the final boxes with stuff in them, but I'm not sure if I'm gonna keep most of that stuff anyways.

Anyways, I'm suffering from a brutal cold today so I'm going to post this and go back to resting.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Daily Show Update

Some of you may wonder why Monday night's episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart was a repeat. As was mentioned on Tuesday night's taping, the death of a young staffer who worked on the show was the cause. In honor of the young man, Tuesday night's "Moment of Zen" appeared to be a favorite clip of the 23 year old receptionist who committed suicide last weekend. A somber Stewart introduced the clip and the show's credits ran without any music.

On a lighter note, Jon will receive the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Honorary All-America Award for 2005 in January of next year. The NSCAA Honorary All-America award is presented to those who have brought particular distinction to the sport of soccer through their efforts within and beyond the boundaries of the sport.

More can be read on this here.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Day the Whole World Went Away - Deconstructed

This is very neat to listen to. I guess these were posted during the time NIN was working on the Fragile and posted these as teasers to their old website. Click on the numbers to hear the loops. Each number adds another layer to the sound or changes the ordering of the mix. There are other loops for other songs too, but this one was really neat. Check out the rest at the NIN Hotline Archive. They are the colored boxes under Sound Loops.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

I found it again, and everyone must experience this at least once... I practically peed my pants when they did this on Family Guy last month.

Friday, December 09, 2005

An Overdue Update

Due to the craziness of school and my studying for exams, I had planned to put this off for yet another week... but I have realized that this isn't truly fair to those of you who I don't see very often. As such, here is the latest news in the world of Mike.

I got engaged.

Yes, that's right. Mr. Professional Single got himself a woman. On top of that, she even said yes. Stunning.

I've had many requests as to how this all went down, but I'm growing tired of explaining so here is all I'm going to give out.

Josee and I went out for dinner at Chambar down on Beatty Street and had an amazing dinner with some superb wine and excellent service. Following a mind-blowing desert feast, we travelled over to Jericho beach which was so fogged in that we couldn't see our car from the park... and also couldn't see the water at all! We walked through the eerie fog until we heard the water lapping up onto the beach. With fog all around and the sound of the waves crashing, I pulled out my iPod and we danced on the beach to Sarah McLachlan's Dirty Little Secret. When it ended, Death Cab for Cutie's Brothers in Different Beds came on, which is one of our favorite songs. During the intro, I proposed, and we hugged and danced through the song.

There you go! The rest of the evening (and days to follow) were spent going from family member to family member telling them the good news.

The date is currently set for August 26th, 2006. Oh, what fun planning a wedding is!



Well, not exactly. I still have a beef with the fact that every single shade of green has a specific name chosen by Martha Stewart. Sigh.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Test your musical might!

This site has an image. In it are pictures that represent 75 different musical acts. See how many you can find!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sony Gives Out Workaround to it's Own DRM?

So, this guy emails the makers of the Sony DRM to complain about the inability to use his legally purchased music on his iPod. The reply he gets first tells him to "complain to apple to open up their DRM to third parties" but then goes on to explain how to work around the DRM completely!

Using the obvious technique of ripping the DRM laden tracks using Windows Media Player (as allowed and explained in the DRM's instructions), you can then simply burn the entire album to a new CD... sans DRM. Then you can rip the new CD as normal as many times as you'd like.

As a consumer, I'm just appalled at this. Why have DRM if you give out instructions on how to beat it? Is Sony only doing this to get people to lobby Apple for them???


Friday, November 11, 2005

Sony DRM spelled backwards is EVIL

Actually, it would be MRDS, which didn't really spell anything... Anyhoo...

For those of you who haven't heard, Sony has released it's new digital rights management software into the wild... and you may already have it on your computer. The CDs, when inserted, install what is known in the hacker world as a "rootkit" which is a special piece of software that runs in the background on your machine without letting you know about it. Even more alarming, is that this software is incredibly difficult to remove as it hides itself from even administrator level permissions.

Currently, the following CDs have been detected to have installed the rootkit software.

  • Trey Anastasio, Shine (Columbia)
  • Celine Dion, On ne Change Pas (Epic)
  • Neil Diamond, 12 Songs (Columbia)
  • Our Lady Peace, Healthy in Paranoid Times (Columbia)
  • Chris Botti, To Love Again (Columbia)
  • Van Zant, Get Right with the Man (Columbia)
  • Switchfoot, Nothing is Sound (Columbia)
  • The Coral, The Invisible Invasion (Columbia)
  • Acceptance, Phantoms (Columbia)
  • Susie Suh, Susie Suh (Epic)
  • Amerie, Touch (Columbia)
  • Life of Agony, Broken Valley (Epic)
  • Horace Silver Quintet, Silver's Blue (Epic Legacy)
  • Gerry Mulligan, Jeru (Columbia Legacy)
  • Dexter Gordon, Manhattan Symphonie (Columbia Legacy)
  • The Bad Plus, Suspicious Activity (Columbia)
  • The Dead 60s, The Dead 60s (Epic)
  • Dion, The Essential Dion (Columbia Legacy)
  • Natasha Bedingfield, Unwritten (Epic)

If you have put one of these CDs in your computer recently, it would be wise to consult Google for removal instructions. But beware! Early pioneers in this field of work have mentioned that sometimes it will cause your CD player to CEASE WORKING!

Now, I understand that DRM is a necessary evil in our day and age, but this seems to be crossing lines of a different sort. In an effort to reduce theft of Sony's copyrighted content, Sony sees no problem with potentially damaging its customer's computers. Early reports have been made already of viruses that can piggyback on Sony's rootkit software and use them to cripple computer systems and enjoy the rootkit's property of being difficult to remove.

Let's just say that I won't be buying another Sony CD until this garbage has been removed.

PS - Is it just me, or are more than half of these CDs targeted at the wrong demographic for countering file sharing?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Tool Of God?

(Excerpt from

BBC will report Bush told Palestinian leaders that God told him to end tyranny in Iraq

President George W. Bush allegedly told Palestinian ministers that God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State, the BBC will report in a program slotted to run Oct. 17, RAW STORY can reveal.

The BBC errantly posted a press release link on their website early, revealing the documentary's contents.

In Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs, a major three-part series on BBC TWO (at 9.00pm on Monday Oct. 10, Monday Oct. 17 and Monday Oct. 24 British time), Abu Mazen, Palestinian Prime Minister, and Nabil Shaath, his Foreign Minister, describe their first meeting with President Bush in June 2003 to BBC reporters.

Foreign Minister Shaath declares: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, "George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan." And I did, and then God would tell me, "George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq …" And I did. And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, "Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East." And by God I'm gonna do it.'"

Prime Minister Mazen recounts how President Bush told him: "I have a moral and religious obligation. So I will get you a Palestinian state."

The series charts the attempts to bring peace to the Middle East, from Bill Clinton's peace talks in 1999/2000 to Israel's withdrawal from Gaza last August. It was produced by Norma Percy, who produced The 50 Years War, along with producers Mark Anderson and Dan Edge.

Presidents and Prime Ministers, their generals and ministers tell the BBC their accounts of what happened behind closed doors as peace talks failed and the intifada exploded.

Death Cab For Cutie

I've been listening to Death Cab all week after seeing their amazing show at the Commodore this past Tuesday. There isn't anything I can say about these guys other than Wow. Brilliant and poignant lyrics and simple melodies built upon less than simple timeframes (at least on the older material) and a voice that brings it all together. If you haven't checked them out yet, download/buy/steal their new album Plans. Brilliant.

Here's one of my favorite tracks written out... Painful, heartbreaking, yet insightful.

What Sarah Said - Death Cab for Cutie
And it came to me then
That every plan is a tiny prayer to father time
As I stared at my shoes in the ICU
That reeked of piss and 409

And I rationed my breathes as I said to myself
That I'd already taken too much today
As each descending peak of the LCD
Took you a little farther away from me

Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines
In a place where we only say goodbye
It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend
On a faulty camera in our minds

But I knew that you were a truth I would rather lose
Than to have never lain beside at all
And I looked around at all the eyes on the ground
As the TV entertained itself

'Cause there's no comfort in the waiting room
Just nervous pacers bracing for bad news
And then the nurse comes round
And everyone will lift their heads
But I'm thinking of what Sarah said...
"Love is watching someone die"

So who's going to watch you die?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Well, This is Hardly a Surprise...

You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(8% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NIN: The Greatest Concert of My Life

Yes, that little circle indicates where I was standing during the entire performance. A performance that quite easily blew my mind. I have been a huge NIN fan since I started listening to rock music in high school. (Yes, I only listened to movie soundtracks in elementary... and not the "music inspired by" kind, orchestrated soundtracks!) Opening with the song, Love is Not Enough, from With Teeth, Trent came out swinging. A thin veil covered the stage which hid the band for the majority of the song and all that could be seen were the outlines of the members as they rocked out. The veil lifted and the show really took off.

The exact order of the set is a blur now. But my best guess shows that the guys pounded through 21 songs in less than 1 hour and 40 minutes. The stage show was impecable. Very simple, but powerful. They had these little monuments around the stage in weird shapes that turned out to be all LCD screens. A larger one in the back was used in combination during The Line Begins to Blur to draw lines across as the others began to burn red like fire. Crazy.

The highlight of the show for me was the live performance of Eraser. This was done again with the veil dropped and had a video presentation displayed on it. It began with the classic NIN nature show of wild animals killing each other, decomposing, and so on. But at the pinnacle of the song, which is really about someone reaching the end of all hope and contemplating suicide, the video changed to showing scenes of the Iraq war. I have to say I was blown away. The power of the song had been redirected from hopelessness of self, to hopelessness of humanity. Are we in effect no better than the savage animals seen just seconds before? It left me pondering for the rest of the evening.

With the veil still down, Trent began to play a slower version of Right Where It Belongs. This song contrasted images of nature again with humans and war, but also with humans and... happiness? Interspersed in the film were clips of young suburban people in khakis with smiling kids and shiny mini-vans. People dancing at black and white balls. Then war and suffering. The lyrics in the background, "What if everything around you isn't quite as it seems? What if all the world you think you know is an elaborate dream?" Powerful. The peak of the show was when one of the dancers slowly turned to reveal themselves as George W Bush dancing with Laura Bush. The first boos of the evening erupt.

The show then roars to life again with songs like, "You Know What You Are" and "Burn." The other surprises of the evening included live versions of "Deep" which finally sounded good and "Down In It" which has cheesy early 90's rap written all over it. The mosh pit stops as no one wants to admit that this genre of music is good. I chuckle.

Finishing with Head Like A Hole, the fans thank the band for an amazing ride. Drenched in sweat and probably a few bruises, the band thrashes a few more things on the stage and takes off. Trent seems to smile. It's nice to know he's back doing what he loves. And I know I will be back for the next show for sure.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Bill Gates Meets Napoleon Dynomite

It's a hand cam, but definitely worth watching. Click Here to download a copy. More proof that these guys have WAAAAAAY too much money on their hands.

Trent Helps Out

The mastermind behind Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor, recently performed for ReactNow. Moved by the devastation of Katrina on his former residence of New Orleans, Trent performed a solo version of Hurt on piano.

Now I really can't wait for the concert!

Also, there is a new song by Trent floating around the net called Non-Entity. Can't confirm if it is destined for the next album along with the track Home that was released on the Japanese import version of With Teeth, but I would figure that's a good bet. Could be a really mellow album in comparison to With Teeth, hopefully also with some more instrumental tracks similar to those on the Still EP. Time will tell.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Congrats Dave & Jamie

The summer of love is officially at an end. Wedding number 5 (of 9 possible that we could have gone to!) was my bud Dave Robinson marrying my girlfriend's sister, Jamie Hacker. It was a very nice service with only a few snafus...

The reception was alot of fun after we relaxed a little. The opening was a little frantic but once the food was on the table the party was underway. The caterers were friends of Jamie and they dropped the roast beef from the menu in favor of prime rib. No argument from me. I repeatedly commented that the rib was simply, "Magical." It had a tender etheral substance too it... like it was prepared by elves from the mythical forrestland found beyond the wardrobe in an old British mansion.

But the highlight was the look on the couples face. Dave looked sharp and Jamie was stunning. Way to go you two. Best wishes in your life together!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Brains Behind Bush

Click here to watch a quicktime movie that seems to shed some light on the brains behind the Bush Administration. Brilliant.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


So I threw a mini-stag last night for Dave last night for some locals at my tiny living/bed-room entertainment center. We watched a few Season 4 episodes of Family Guy, 2 episodes of Robot Chicken (hilarious, mad-cap sketch animation show), 1 episode of Da Ali G Show, and topped it off with a leaked copy of the Stewie Griffin Story / Family Guy movie.

It was nice for me since people brought all the necessary goods to make the event fun. Lots of beer, some vodka, orange juice (for the vodka), tostitos, salsa, organic chips, more beer, organic pop, non-organic pop... but then the oddity. I know some people like it, but cheesecake at a stag party? WTF! For the record, none of the peeps there swing their bats "differently" than the others and the description "straight as an arrow" could be applied (at different levels of intensity) to each person there. Yet at the end of the night, 1.5 cheesecakes had been consumed. I was shocked and appalled.

I stayed in the chip region and consumed about half a bag of "two-bite" brownies which I affectionately call "one-bite" brownies. Needless to say, I had a mighty nasty stomach this morning, but it was worth it.

Good luck on Saturday Dave.