Thursday, October 28, 2004

Yoda Arafat

Is it just me or is Yasser looking more and more like Yoda these days?

Wired and stuff

The most current issue (12.11) of Wired is pretty good for a change. There's an article about a river in Arizona that got contaminated with salt from farming runoff and thereby killing Mexican farmer crops downstream. The US gov. built a quarter of a billion dollar desalination plant that isn't in service yet. While the plant was being built, the salt water runoff was poured out into the Mexican desert. Oddly enough this eco-rich salt water wetland formed and all kinds of endangered animals and plants popped up in the desert. Now the Mexicans want the swamp to stay and nobody wants to fire up the desalination plant. Interesting problem...

There's also a free CD in the magazine with music released under the Creative Commons License (Beastie boys, etc). This is cool in theory because it gives artists and small labels some tools to break the major record company stranglehold on the market. On the music front, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer is a serious badass that made the big labels pay up $50 million in unpaid royalties to some big name artists in May. He is now starting the wheels rolling to investigate the industry for radio payola. John Peel would be happy.

Speaking of cool, there's a new small affordable Hummer H3 coming out in a year or so.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Peel legacy

John Peel died today, this is sad on many levels. John was a BBC Radio 1 DJ that really championed new music and gave lots of bands airplay that would never have been given radio play anywhere else. Bands like Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and even drum & bass DJs like Kemistry and Storm all played live on Radio 1 from John's studio. These sessions were called the 'Peel Sessions' and without them, many of the worlds most important seminal bands, artists and DJs would never have gotten past their tiny scenes. The next time that you listen to the Strokes, Interpol or even Britney, think about John and how he had some hand in shaping that sound. Rest in peace John, the world will miss you dearly.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Weekends in burbia

Besides pubbing with my buddies, I really don't know what to do with myself when I stay in town on weekends. Maybe it's just me but watching tv, shopping and seeing movies really SUCKS! This is especially true when you get used to riding motocross, fishing and destroying wood and metal with power tools. I just don't get the suburban life, and hopefully I never will.

On a different note, my sources tell me that the legendary existentialist band "The Pumps" are getting back together for a second coming tour. Speaking of all girl bands, GBG are amusing me these days. Yeah, I know they aren't exactly ATREYU or KITTIE but amusing none the less, probably because like every kid in the 80's, I had a crush on Belinda Carlisle (the gogos) when I was a pup and Nicollete does a good impersonation minus the nose job, bulimia and cocaine. BTW: Google tells me that Belinda was in playboy at 42, wish I had a copy. My birthday is coming up (wink wink).

GBG - C'Mon

Friday, October 22, 2004

Something about Mark

About five years ago, Mark Cuban was the big kahuna at that had just been bought out by Yahoo for 5 billion dollars. Yahoo was really interested in my company's products but they got Mark on the case because he was their main guy when it came to video. So Mark had me and my partners fly out to Dallas to meet him and his team. He yelled at me for a couple of hours and tried to poke holes in our technology and then finally made us an offer to buy the company and pretty much threw us out of his offices. Needless to say, I didn't take his offer but I am still on good terms with him and oddly enough, he wrote about our technology from back in the day recently in his blog. I like Mark, he's a loose canon but the dude has some really solid values when you take a look under the hood. I watched a bit of both the Apprentice and Benefactor and the difference seems to be that Trump & his squad seem to make arbitrary nasty decisions to can people for what seems like minor issues, Cuban on the other hand makes what seems to be really rational entrepreneurial decisions. Trump makes his calls from an ivory tower and Cuban's in the trenches with the rest of us sweathogs. Even with a billion bucks in his pocket, Cuban still makes common sense decisions that don't seem to be too different from the ones that I would make.

One of his companies is Magnolia pictures and they have a documentary coming out that was filmed in Iraq by a bunch of random Iraqis given DV cameras. It seems to be the most enlightening piece of media coming out of Iraq because it doesn't take a stand, just seems to blurt out a whole bunch of footage shot by everyday people on the ground in Iraq.

On a different note, this guy is an idiot and you should check out Tiger Army.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Adam Smith and my email

Adam Smith was an economist who in the 1700's came up with a lot of theories about political economy and free market systems. Most of what Adam Smith theorized about revolved around the principle that public welfare would be best served by market forces being naturally guided by economic free market forces (like competition and demand). Adam figured that people and governments were really ineffective compared with supply and demand. For the most part, he turned out to be right. If you look at stuff like AIDs medication and high priced drugs, you'd think that the free market really failed the people who need this stuff. In effect though, this is untrue because the profit motive behind this is government incentive in the form of patent protection. The government actively lets the drug companies make money at the expense of peoples lives - competition in the form of generic drugs is illegal. Same thing with music and media monopolies. You can trace these problems back to some kind of government protection. I don't think that the government can be completely hands off, we'd have corner store heroin shops if there wasn't some sort of intervention but I think that for the most part Adam was right, it's just that there are too many fingers in too many pies to make it work the way he predicted.

Anyways, what's that got to do with me? Thanks to the free market economy and a couple of dudes in the valley who gave me a 1GB email account, Hotmail extended my inbox to 250MB. The same kind of thing happened when Sprint gave me 15 cent a minute long distance, Bell gave me 10 cent calls.

Now I just wish the same thing would happen for gasoline and banking fees.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Road rules

I am on the road again pretty much all week this week, working at the House of Commons. Yesterday history was made - the chamber ajourned because of a software issue! Something to do with the translators software systems. I guess that's the state of things right now that software in some form controls almost all machines. This is kind of scary when you think about it but at the end of the day, most of the machines work pretty well most of the time so catastrophic failures are pretty rare. Having said that though I saw a show about software bugs in radiation therapy machines that killed a few people, so you've really got to be careful not to underestimate the effects of bad software.

On a different note, a while ago I was talking about car stereo integration with MP3 players. has a pretty good article about this.

If you haven't seen the CBC shows on the greatest Canadians of all time, you should check them out, pretty cool people. I didn't realize that insulin was invented by a Canadian (Frederick Banting) who sold his invention for a dollar to made sure that insulin was affordable by everybody and in turn saved millions of lives. Lots of people and stuff like that.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More Moore Entertainment

Most of you that know me know that I think that Michael Moore is a donkey turd. That's not because I am pro-Bush or anything. If anything, I would like to see Bush indicted for his intent with the same vigour that Clinton was for his blowjobs. The thing is that guys like Moore discredit the whole liberal and centrist wing of the world. It is easy for the right to point out that the left and center is full of crap when the left and center is represented by contortionists like Moore. Take a look at this document by Dave Kopel called "Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11" and ignore some of the right leaning rhetoric and concentrate on the facts and timelines of objective data versus Mikey's claims. Sure Kopel is a bit of a right wing gun toting crackpot, but the BBC and their footage and all of the timeline data that he states is pretty easy to verify independantly.

Moore is an arse hole for bending the truth again to serve his purpose - just like he accuses Bush of doing.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

An unfortunate moose

I sadly put my street bike away for the winter this weekend after enduring a wet, cold and rainy drive up north. This annual event really sucks.

I killed two chipmonks by accident by leaving a half full bucket of water around. The dumb little fellows jumped in the bucket and couldn't get out. I looked in the bucket and saw two little pickled rodents. This made me sad. Not as sad as putting the motorcycle away though.

Then there's this moose that got it's antlers tied up in a power line and well, the rest of the story is a little weird and sad at the same time.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Storage and stuff

Why is it that they can make a 20GB MP3 player that can fit in your nose and they don't yet have a digital camera with a built in hard drive? Speaking of which, Archos, Dell and Rio all have super tiny mp3 players coming out any day now. I kinda have my eye on the Archos, smaller than an iPod mini, 20GB HD and $250US. I think I'll wait until january though unless one of you doods wants to buy me one for christmas (hint, hint)

I am going to be on the road pretty much all of next week so if you need something from me, go ask somebody else.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Judy is an idiot

I am not especially politically inclined but political matters regarding the budget really piss me off because it is after all my tax dollars that are financing it. Let me ask you something, if you had a credit card bill, would you pay it off in 60 years? Would you ever run up a bill that took you 60 years to pay off? How about 30 years? Read on.

Here's what NDP finance critic Judy Wasylycia-Leis said about the 8 Billion dollar government surplus for 2004:

"Every spring for seven years this government has been telling poor kids, students, environmentalists, city mayors and so on that the cupboard is bare. And every October, every fall, suddenly billions in surplus mysteriously appear,”

Hey Judy,


Judy, you dumbasss, even if we paid 8 billion a year to pay off our Canadian federal debt, it would take between 30 and 60 years to pay it off.

So tell me something. I don't intend on paying any taxes in 30 years and certainly will be close to death in 60 years so who is going to pay the bills that you run up?


Judy, if you want to spend more money, spend your own not mine. In the meantime, Judy, please piss off.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Well my 1 day roadtrip turned into a full week on the road which was a little harsh but mucho productivo. I cooked my first turkey this weekend - 16 pounds of bird flesh stuffed with 4 pounds of "stuffing". Good thing some people came over! A word of advice if you ever make a huge slab of any kind of meat, get a meat thermometer - it works great and you don't have to know what you're doing. Oh yeah, buy some disposable containers and make sure nobody leaves empty handed ;) This was a random weekend with lots of random activities including some bike repair work, cleanup and some chopper riding. I think a bunch of us are going to start a mini chopper bike gang to terrorize something or the other - "Hells Retards".

I ran in to Chuck at the boat/sled shop on the corner of my street. He now is the proud owner of some steel pins in his wrist thanks to a redneck who strung a steel cable across an ATV trail and nearly decapitated Chuck. Good thing he was there because I was able to vulture a few parts from his wounded bike :) For the record, I'm not the only one pulling parts off his bike, that's another crap thing about being out of action, your friends will use your machine spares. But that's what friends are for right? Anyways, he's probably still burping turkey and he'll have some shiney new parts from all of us when the orders come in.

Last week I did some work for the National Archives at the Gatineau preservation center. This is a huge glass warehouse with a solid concrete building inside housing archive film, video, photos and books. The humans work on the roof of the concrete building inside a glass building. It's pretty wild, you have to see it to believe it. Here's the concrete warehouse on the left inside the glass warehouse. Five stories up, people work on the roof - Indoors! Posted by Hello

This is the outside of the National Archives preservation center. Posted by Hello

Al has a roomate who does custom paintjobs on these micro choppers, 25cc little beasts that go about 35 MPH. Dangerous as hell but crazy fun too. I can't tell you what a gas these little monsters are. The seat is about the size of a slice of bread and it sounds like a chainsaw. Posted by Hello

Me and the chopper Posted by Hello

This is a bundle of joy disguised as a 25cc chopper. Posted by Hello

This the view from Mt. Sourir in St. Donat, pretty cool lookout overlooking the lakes, town and airport. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

The Pumpkins

Every fall in Delaware some maniacs have this competition where they use huge catapults, trebuchets and pneumatic canons to fire pumpkins thousands of feet. The team that throws an intact pumpkin the furthest wins. These devices are HUGE and cost the teams tens of thousands of dollars. The furthest throw last year was almost a mile. Holy crap, some dude shot a pumpkin out of a canon almost a mile! I'd like to go and check this out one year, it looks like fun.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Here it comes

If a car was a thong, it would be the Mercedes fortwo. Under 20 grand, 70MPG, diesel and super safe - it seems like a no brainer. The thing is really tiny, I saw one buzzing around this summer. It is basically a motorcycle with four wheels in a crazy strong rollcage - ram into it and it bounces away. I just wonder how it handles in two feet of snow. Wired has a good article about this little bad boy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The bear facts

I am telling you, there is something up with the bears this year. This bear gobbles pies.

On the road again

I'm on the road until next Tuesday so have a happy Thanksgiving and please - don't put it in your mouth if you don't know where it's been.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Supreme Santas of Canada

I just watched the speech from the throne today because, well because I had to (for work). Besides being the same as the last speech, what really struck me was that our supreme court judges all dress up like Santa. I wonder why that is. Adrienne Clarkson sits there in the Senate Chamber giving this speech in front of nine Santas. Sure it is serious business, but besides being surreal, it's really hard to take anything Canadian seriously as it is. Why not dress the Senators like elves while we are at it?

90 Days

Ninety days sometimes seems like an eternity and sometimes seems like a flash. In about ninety days it's going to be -20 outside. In about ninety days, it's going to be 2005. In about 90 days I'm going to Costa Rica. In the next 90 days, I'm going to be out of town 60 days. In the next 90 days, I'm going to piss about 400 times. In the next 90 days, I'm going to drink over 200 coffees. In the next 90 days I'm going to drive 10,000 kilometers. In the next 90 days I'm going to be really busy and have a lot of fun.

This is brilliant and this guy is an idiot.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Wind power

Did you know that Hydro Quebec just launched a huge wind power generation project? Well, that's pretty cool considering that most people consider HQ to be an environmentally unfriendly bunch. I read an article in Fortune (Aug 23rd edition) the other day on how to kick the oil habit - alternative energy, more efficient gas and hybrid powered cars, more ethanol fuel blends and less consumer waste were three of the big suggestions. I think that technology can make all three a lot simpler. The deal breaker is usually consumer pushback to wacky eco-technology. These days though it's a pretty easy sell to convince a consumer like me to reduce oil consumption. Big bucks, dirty wars and even dirtier air is enough for me, now give me some better products.

When Fortune magazine starts talking about stuff like this, you know it's got some good fiscal and political sense and not just eco-vegan dogma.

One more thing, this guy is an idiot.


I saw one of those cheezy motivational posters a while ago that said something like "obstacles are the things that you see when you lose focus of your goals". Yeah whatever, that seemed like another one of those things that makes sense for like 10 seconds and then disappears. That's what I thought until this past weekend. I crashed my motocross into a small boulder, endo'd over the handlebars into a pile of boulders and rocks. I guess the rain and storms exposed a few more rocks than I am used to making the ride a little sketchier. Anyways, the point is that I had an 8 foot wide trail with a 10 inch boulder in the middle and by getting fixated on the rock, I went straight for it and crashed instead of picking any one of a million other lines. Then that cheezy motivational poster made sense, look where you want to go and not just at the stuff in the way. I've read that in business books, seen it in posters, learnt it in motorcycle school, read it in motocross technique books and finally lived it up close and personal. Makes some sense now that I've kissed the rocks. BTW: I'm fine, just a bit sore but I broke my brake lever and banged up the bike a bit. So take my word for it, keep your vision on the long term because if you lock in on some minor crap in front of you, you will likely slam right into it.

On a different note, the Laurentians are spectacular right now - go check it out, there's tons of stuff to do up there and the scenery is brilliant. Shut off your TV, get off your couch and check it out dude.

And finally, there actually is a bluetooth motorcycle helmet on the market but unfortunately it isn't a fullface. So that's 2 out of 12 things on my list that are taken care of.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Is it a coincidence?

I put my boat away two weeks ago, didn't ride motocross for two weeks, rode my motorcycle and not my car in town and now the ozone hole over Antartica has shrunk. Coincidence or not? You be the judge.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry and Bush

I didn't bother watching the debate last night because they both stand for more or less the same thing. Americans would probably get their panties in a bunch and point out differences in policies regarding gay marriages, the environment etc., but I think that a lot of people (including Canadians) are missing a major point about the US that nobody seems to be talking about.

How about that MONSTEROUS US deficit? Yeah sure we Canadians have a huge one too, but we argue about it all the time and have talked non stop about it for a decade. We've actually paid down $50 of $600 Billion.

The conservative estimates from Republican friendly economic think tanks peg the US deficit at over 7 Trillion dollars with a hidden unfunded deficit totalling over 40 Trillion dollars. Unfunded budget deficit in simple terms is pension, health care etc. that is promised to be delivered but there is no money in the bank for and no tax revenue coming due for.

40 Trillion dollars divided by 300 million people means that every man, woman and child in the United States is liable for $133,000 $US.

MR BUSH, MR KERRY, what about the buck thirty three that all of you patriots owe? Talk about it, argue it, scream about it. Just do something about it because if your country goes down in economic flames, so do we. Mr Bush, your 2004 deficit of $480 Billion US$ would be the Canadian equivalent of $69 billion.

If the Canadian government ran a $69 Billion dollar deficit last year, they would collectively be castrated in a very public display of fury.

How about here in Quebec?

Federal Debt: 500 Billion ($16,666 per capita)
Provincial Debt: 110 Billion ($14,666 per capita)

Total debt per capita: $31,332

Here's the saddest part, as government debts get cranked up, more of tax dollars go to foreign banks in interest payments instead of being spent on government services like roads, hospitals and education. Canadians already spend 30% of tax revenue on debt payments.

For the record, you can make a voluntary donation to the US Secretary of the Treasury to pay down the US debt. ("Gifts for Reduction of the Public Debt." Established by Public Law 87-58 in 1961).

I would recommend that Secretary Snow consider buying some squeegees as well.

Some sources:
Canadian census stats
Quebec financial status
CNN Budget article
Scotia captial budget report
Minister of Finance financial report
US Population demographics
Liberal article about unfunded US liabilities
US Treasury Debt FAQ