Spine.cx Archive

Back in the day (early 2000s), there was a website that I maintained called Spine.cx. That site was rendered obsolete when twitter and facebook took over the internets. But there were lots of interesting things posted on there. Here is an archive of some of those things. Note that these weren't all posted by me (Steve); it was a site that welcomed submissions from all registered accounts.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2007.


It's Free Subwoofer Day!

The Futureshop crazy extended warranty has come through for me for a second time. The first time, I ended up bringing back a laptop because the battery wouldn't charge anymore. This time, 6 years (the warranty was good until 2009) after I bought it, I took back a 10" Velodyne subwoofer that had developed a nasty rattle somewhere inside the casing.

The guarantee says that if they take more than 60 days to get it back to you, or if you have to send the same item back more than twice, they'll just replace the item for you with one of equivalent value. 60 days + 1 later, I'm waiting in the customer service line at Futureshop, and it's moving surprisingly fast. The fact that they're going to replace it means to me that I have the opportunity to upgrade. It's like a 6 year layaway plan ;)

I left the store having upgraded to a 15" Velodyne subwoofer (total cost $999). I only paid $310, including a new warranty (I mean why not, it's certainly served me well so far) that covers my new subwoofer until 2016. It is currently sitting in the back of my Honda Element...It's large, heavy, and awkward enough that I haven't quite figured out how I'm going physically move it to the place I want it to be. I'm probably going to have to clean up the downstairs hallway :|

Check back here later...I'll have pictures of the behemoth both in the box and out.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2007-01-13 at 16:43:21.


Hinterland Ho's Ho?

Through Jeff MacArthur, via Mike Lazazzera, I bring you the funniest video I've seen this year. It's a fantastic spoof of those classic Hinterland Who's Who videos that always used to run on TV when you were a kid.

A few years ago, I wanted to see if my company was monitoring internet usage by downloading "Beaver.mpg". Nobody ever called me on it, but I kept the file around just in case I had to back up my story. I guess they've reorganized the website since the last time I went there...134_1_E_150.mov doesn't seem to have the same censor-inviting ring to it.

Originally posted on Monday, 2007-01-08 at 20:03:20.


24 Season 6

Word on the street is that the first four episodes from 24 Season 6 (not intended to be aired until the 14th of January) have been leaked onto the intarweb. Now, should you choose to seek to obtain said episodes, that is your business, and even if I knew how to do such things, I wouldn't say so here. Harumph.

Rumours also flying around (I heard from somebody who might have watched them tonight) is that starring in at least two episodes is Canada's own Shaun Majumder, and in at least three episodes, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Siddig El Fadil a.k.a Alexander Siddig. I don't want to give away any plot elements here, so I won't say what roles they're in.

The proposed story line is (no surprises here) that some middle-eastern-looking gentlemen are looking to blow up something American, possibly using nuclear weapons.

Personally, I'm looking forward to Jack Bauer killing various people of all races and creeds. I can't get enough of this shit.

Bauer / O'Brian '08

Originally posted on Monday, 2007-01-08 at 01:08:44.


Is the Noodle Nook finally opening?

The Noodle Nook

Hopefully, the Noodle Nook on Blowers Street is finally going to open after a lengthy time when nothing was visible inside the place. When I walked by yesterday, however, I noticed some actual woks inside. Maybe that means something?

Woks-a-plenty Is it really?

Originally posted on Thursday, 2007-01-04 at 13:40:42.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2006.


Save your podcast subscriptions online

If you're using iTunes to download your podcasts, have you ever had it crash, or otherwise screw up your library of music? Chances are, you didn't lose your actual music, you just had to re-add it to your library. But what about your podcast subscriptions? You probably had to scour the web looking for the websites of podcasts which you never visit just to get your RSS feeds back.

Here's a solution that lets you subscribe to your podcasts using online tools so you never lose a subscription again.

Ok, first, let's go through all the tools I'm going to use:

1. Google Reader
2. Feedburner

That's it!

First, if you don't have one already, get yourself a Google account, and head over to the Google Reader website. Google Reader is an RSS aggregator that lets you tag your different feeds with arbitrary terms. Since we're talking about podcasts here, I suggest you tag your podcast feeds with 'podcasts'. I use the plural podcasts rather than the singular because it lets me distinguish the media feeds from the blogs I read about podcasting. Podcast, the singular form, would match them both.

If you have your feeds in an existing aggregator, like Juice, that lets you export an OPML file of your feeds, Google Reader will allow you to import all of them at once by clicking on the settings option in the upper right and then clicking on the Import/Export tab. This is by far the easiest way to go. If you can't export your feeds, you'll have to copy each one, and subscribe to them in Google Reader individually. Fortunately, this is the only painful part of the process.

After you have all your podcast feeds imported into Google Reader, and you've tagged them all with a uniquely identifiable term, you need to export the feed for all items tagged with that term. Click back to the main google reader page, and then click on settings again, and go to the Tags tab. You should see your 'podcasts' tag along with an RSS icon, a series of concentric orange quarter-circles. Click the icon to make the feed public.

Click on the 'view public page' link to view the exported items. This page should have an ATOM feed associated with it. ATOM is similar to RSS, but most podcast readers can't understand it. We have one more major step to go before iTunes can download your shows.

Copy the ATOM feed for your podcasts and head over to Feedburner.com. Drop the URL for your ATOM feed in the box on the front page, and check off the "I am a podcaster" check box. Click the next button. If you don't already have a Feedburner account, the website will give you the chance to sign up for one now. You can also take this opportunity to pretty-up the name and address for the feed you're going to be subscribing to in iTunes.

That's pretty much it. Now just take the new feed you've created, and subscribe to it in iTunes using the Advanced menu, Subscribe to Podcast (or the podcast downloader of your choice). The URL for your feed will be something like http://feeds.feedburner.com/<what you typed in>. Now, when you want to subscribe or unsubscribe to a podcast, just go to Google Reader, add the RSS feed, and tag it with 'Podcasts' and the shows will get automatically downloaded.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-12-19 at 19:54:45.


.NET complaint of the month: XmlDocument is not serializable

I gotta say, on the whole, I'm quite pleased with this .NET Framework that Microsoft has provided us with to develop software with. It's not often that I find something worth complaining about. But this is one of those times.

One of the cool features of .NET is that you can mark a class, or other data structure as serializable, which basically means that the structure and all its data can be easily tossed across a wire, performing a 'deep' copy. This is typically performed by creating an XML representation of that object and its data in a SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) envelope, or some binary form.

Now for the irony: The System.Xml.XmlDocument class is not fucking serializable. Yes, that's right. Microsoft's implementation of the very stuff used to serialize arbitrary objects is itself not serializable. I had to implement my interface with strings instead. Figure that out.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-12-19 at 19:04:44.


Being sick sucks

I don't get sick very often, but because of that, when I do get sick, I hate it that much more. In retrospect, I felt this particular sickness coming on a few days in advance, but I was reluctant to admit that I was getting sick, and if I heeded the statistics, chances are that I wasn't.

Fast forward to two days and one holiday party later. I wake up on Monday morning and feel like a bucket of smashed assholes. Feeling this way is enough to make me email in sick for (I think) only the second time this year. Don't tell my boss, but I wasn't really sick the first time...I think I just wanted to sleep in. For those of you who think emailing in sick is weird, I say calling in sick is just a good way to get caught in a lie.

Monday was a horrible day. I was burning up, but still felt, no matter how many clothes I put on, like I was freezing. I'm sitting in front of my computer wearing a sweatshirt, a fleece jacket, and a blanket, shivering. Between catching up on my TV watching, and calling into a scrum meeting, I actually managed to do some work, testing, mostly.

Tuesday morning I felt largely better, save a cough which persists to this day. From experience, this will probably last until at least after the Holiday season, and I get up at 4am to go stand in line at Futureshop for Boxing Day deals.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-12-13 at 23:23:40.


Interesting way to sell digital music

I'm regularly browsing Zunior.com, checking out new music that I can play on the podcast, and I came across an interesting idea that they had: a digital box gift set where MP3s get snail mailed to you on a USB thumbdrive that you get to keep as well.

It's obviously not as speedy as a download, but you actually get something physical, which is kind of cool, and thumbdrives are definately useful. I thought this was a cool idea, especially for a gift. Sending someone a download doesn't exactly feel "festive", but the thumbdrive could actually be wrapped and given as a present.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-12-06 at 10:40:34.


My episode of commandN is online

In case you weren't clicking 'reload' on the page as much as I was, looking for this week's episode of commandN, it came online just moments ago. My segment starts at about 2 minutes in.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-12-05 at 14:49:14.


@#$%! Snow

I'm surprised I'm the first one to post about this. Maybe the rest of you are still stuck in traffic. More people should do audio posts...It's very therapeutic.

As you might expect, this audio is loaded with expletives. Handle with care.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-12-04 at 20:51:19.


You like Christmas music, right?

I'm sure that some of you know that in addition to Spine Radio, I also do a music podcast for Zunior.com. This month, I produced a mostly-holiday-themed episode that you might enjoy. Don't worry, it's not overly sappy sweet with holiday cheer...I don't think I could stand that either.

If you're interested, you can find it at zunior.blogspot.com, and if you like it, you can subscribe with the Zunior.com Podcast's RSS feed.

For anybody who missed the chance to win the Thurstons album I gave away in a previous episode of Spine Radio, you have another chance to get it in the Christmas episode of the Zunior.com Podcast.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-12-03 at 14:05:10.


Windom Earle at Stage Nine

I'm killing myself waiting for this show. Go check out Windom Earle tonight at Stage Nine or you'll regret it. I mean it. They rocked the house at the Sappy Records Music Festival, and they'll rock the house again, I'm sure of it.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-12-01 at 15:05:52.


MySpace is a scourge (to tabbed browsing)

The worst thing about MySpace isn't the ugliness of the site. It isn't the fact that it's horribly slow. For anybody who uses tabbed browsing regularly, it's got to be the music player that starts playing as soon as the page loads.

I can appreciate the use of MySpace for discovering bands that I haven't heard before, but I often want to click on somebody's friends and open them up in new tabs for me to peruse at my leisure. If any of them have music players, they will all start playing. <sarcasm>And nothing sounds as awesome as 4 completely different songs playing at once.</sarcasm>

Why can't the song play after I click play? I don't have a "music" myspace account, but if this is a setting, I'm going to start cursing every band who doesn't turn it off.

Image courtesy of xkcd, a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

Also, does it piss anyone else off that the retarded graphical madness that goes on in myspace's music player has absolutely nothing to do with the shit that's playing? They look like VU meters, but they correspond in no way to the actual output levels.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-11-30 at 08:15:50.


I'm going to be on commandN

Jeff MacArthur, one of the co-hosts of commandN came by my house tonight to film a segment about audio podcasting for their next episode.

Jeff does the techTIPS segment for commandN, and along with his sister Amber MacArthur, and a few friends, they kick out a 15-minute-long, tech-centric video of news, tips, and web-picks every week.

Be sure to check it out. Jeff tells me that my episode will be on the web on Monday (December 4th).

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-11-29 at 21:15:41.


New condom technology

Who would have thought that they could improve on the condom? I mean, everybody knows they suck, but they do the job, right?

I must admit, I haven't thought about it much myself, but you wouldn't think there was much room to advance in prophylactic technology, but then there it is, a huge fucking advance (no pun intended) in prophylactic technology.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-27 at 23:16:25.


FREE Shotgun and Jaybird Tickets

For anyone who doesn't typically read the Spine Radio blog, I'm posting this on the main page because in this week's show I'm giving away two free passes to the Shotgun and Jaybird show on December 9th.

You're dumb if you don't try and go. My company holiday party is that night, and I'm still going to try to go. Shotgun and Jaybird are worth paying to go see, and you could do it for free, I can't imagine why you wouldn't.

Listen to the show for instructions on how to cash in. Check out Shotgun and Jaybird's MySpace for examples of what you'll miss if you don't go.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-27 at 22:27:46.


Random thought

Body parts are like remote controls: They cost almost nothing to produce, but they're very expensive to replace.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-11-23 at 16:13:36.


Selling vintage computers on Ebay

I am selling some vintage computers on Ebay right now. If you're in the market for some museum pieces or just looking for a better doorstop, go on and take a look at my auctions. If you're in Halifax, I'll deliver them to you for free.

Just think, YOU could own the machine that launched my career as a software developer, the Commodore Vic 20. At the tender age of 5, I wrote my first line of BASIC on that very keyboard. Or you could proudly display your very own MacQuarium made from the MacIntosh Plus. The possibilities are endless.

Bid Now!
Commodore Vic 20 head unit only untested
Apple MacIntosh Plus with 20SC external hard drive
Commodore Vic 20 with TV adapter and manual

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-11-23 at 01:03:53.


Axl Rose sings "Liquor and Whores" with Bubbles

Somebody managed to get away with video-taping the Trailer Park Boys on stage with Guns'n'Roses. Axl actually sings a couple of verses of "Liquor and Whores" with Bubbles. Cool shit.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-11-23 at 00:33:56.


Sounds re-instated after IE 7 upgrade

I recently upgraded to IE 7 thanks to Windows Update. I thought everyone could benefit from something that I noticed after I started using it for a while.

The machine I upgraded was the one I use to record the Spine Radio and Zunior.com Podcasts on. If you noticed in the latest episode of Spine Radio that there were a couple of beeps and clicks, then you'll know what I'm about to complain about.

I had my system sounds turned off; "No Sounds" was the profile that I had chosen. After installing IE 7, it had gone ahead and added all explorer's sounds back again -- very annoying. Definitely something to be aware of if you use your PC for recording things.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-20 at 22:30:43.


CCTV Cameras + Google Video = Halifax's next income source

I've been thinking about the new video camera that Halifax has focused on the corner of Grafton and Blowers, "Pizza Corner" for us locals. Cameras are great for capturing all the stupid shit we do -- especially when we're drunk. And where do most drunken videos end up?

YouTube. Or basically, due to the recent 1.6 billion dollar acquisition, what the internet is calling "GooTube".

Now that the concept of revenue sharing has been introduced for videos on Google Video, the City of Halifax should take advantage of all the closed circuit TV cameras in the downtown area, and get some of the content up on the web for the rest of us to enjoy and laugh at. This might do more to discourage vandalism and crime, when the potential criminals know that there could be millions of eyes watching them break the law. Of course it might encourage people to show off for the cameras as well, but at the very least, Halifax can make a quick cash grab from one of the most lucrative sources on the web: Google Ads.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-20 at 11:06:53.


Best purchase I've made all day

Transformers: The Movie (20th Anniversary Edition)

Enough said.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-11-17 at 14:16:45.


My photos on LeftHip.com

The rumours are true -- I'm all kinds of new media. Not only do I have a mean radio voice, but I take a wicked photo as well. A couple of my photos from the Halifax Pop Explosion were used for a feature on the Pop Explosion by Left Hip Magazine.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-13 at 18:12:13.



About once a year, I go on a hunt for a pair of headphones. Last year, I picked up a Sennheiser HD570 set. I found them to be a great pair for home listening, but they're not exactly what I'd call 'portable'. I also bought some inexpensive cans for the Spine Radio Studios, but they're hardly ideal.


What I'd really like to find is a set of headphones that can block most of the ambient sound so that I can only hear what I'm monitoring. More than once I've tried to record a rock show, and I only found out afterwards that my recording was crap -- I couldn't distinguish between my recording and the actual show, and the levels were completely overloaded. I only have a little MP3 player to record on, and I suppose the real solution is to buy a proper solid-state recorder with VU meters and other indications that the recording was peaking, but those are generally pretty expensive.

My other problem is that my head is just fucking huge. This presents two issues with the majority of headphones out there today. Headphones that fit other people constantly squeeze my head and give me massive headaches if I wear them for any appreciable amount of time. Headphones that don't cover the entire ear are just uncomfortable.

Those HD-570s I talked about before completely cover my entire ear, and are actually very comfortable for me. Does anyone know if there is a "closed" style of those? Closed, as opposed to open style, is important, because when you have a microphone in your face, and headphones on your ears, sound can bleed back into the mic. While this doesn't cause the feedback squeal that having your speakers & mic on at the same time would, it'll give you a weird sounding reverb.

I don't expect anyone else has these problems, but on the off chance that somebody does, what did you do?

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-11-06 at 14:19:06.


Sons of Butcher, TONIGHT at Stage Nine!

They're playing here, in Halifax, tonight, at Stage 9.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-10-23 at 14:23:55.


Halifax Pop Explosion 2006

How I could I write about the Halifax Pop Explosion without playing music? I decided to put my thoughts in an MP3.

Check it out.

Shotgun and Jaybird
The Sourkeys
Pony Up!
The Diableros
Duchess Says

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-10-23 at 00:45:25.


My own personal feed, burned

Just now, I went and hooked myself up with a feedburner feed for my personal blog here on Spine.cx. What's really cool is that I found out that I can have all the links that I post with del.icio.us, and all the photos I post on Flickr spliced into the feed with no extra effort from me. I'm all about being lazy. I think it will also automatically change any MP3 I link to into a podcast enclosure as well, if you're into that sort of thing.

So, if you want the one-stop-shop for all things Steve, check it out:


Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-10-17 at 18:49:52.


Motorola SLVR L7 Review

Last week, I bought a Motorola SLVR L7 from a guy on eBay. It's basically like the RAZR, but it's the candy bar style of phone instead of a flip phone. So far, I'm liking it. It's not that I didn't like my iMate Jasjar, but there are some obvious advantages that the SLVR has over it. For one, it's an insane amount smaller and lighter. It also has an almost completely metal body, which I'm sure adds to the weight, but makes it feel very sturdy in your hand. The Jasjar has WAY more processing power, and a much bigger screen, but after carrying it around in my pocket for more than a year, I really started to yearn for something that wouldn't weigh my pants down and clunk against my leg when I took every step. (Not that I don't have that problem already...rimshot!)

The SLVR is just a smidge over a centimeter thick, and not very much taller than a RAZR when it's closed. You can honestly hardly even tell it's in your pocket. The things that drew me to the SLVR/RAZR over other phones was not only this form factor, but also the fact that its connection for data and charging was not some esoteric $80 cable that my older Nokia phone required, but a standard mini-USB cable.

Given that the phone has a standard USB jack in the side of it, I can plug it into my computer, and automatically have my contacts synchronized to it...I didn't have to re-type in a single one. I can also easily get the photos onto my computer to post via flickr or anywhere I choose. I really pity most people that have to use their data plans to send themselves photos through email or some other such kludge. The camera isn't really that great; it only takes 640x480 images. Obviously camera-phones don't replace real digital cameras unless you really don't care about your photos.

Contacts on Motorola phones took a little bit of getting used to for somebody who's only used Nokia phones up until now. Nokia phones' contacts were grouped by the contact name, whereas the Motorola doesn't seem to group contacts at all by default. I managed to get this worked out, but it wasn't as intuitive as I would have thought.

I'm sure some of you are yelling at the screen that I should have just read the manual. Well, that's where you'd be correct. However, I did read the useless, waste-of-pulp, craptastic, bundle of pages that sullies the name of manuals everywhere and it has not much more than a diagram labeling the buttons. Fortunately there are many, many people who use the RAZR, which uses the same software as the SLVR, and one of them was able to tell me what I needed to do. It's not like it would have made or broken the phone for me, but it's nice that I can make it do what I want.

For all you crazy kids who like your ring tones, it's easy to add them to the SLVR. Just like you can drag all your photos off of the phone, you can drag MP3s onto it. I've managed to add a separate ring tone to each person who I would normally call or would call me. There's only about 6 megs of space on the phone, so I made them 15 seconds or less and encoded them at 48 kbps and 22 kHz. When played on the phone, there's no noticeable loss in quality, because that's about as good as the speaker is anyway.

That's all I have to say about it after a week of using the phone. It's actually more remarkable that I don't have more annoyances to report. That's something in itself. I guess that means it's pretty good :)

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-10-17 at 00:25:16.


Firefox 2.0 release due out within the week

The actual release version of Firefox 2.0 is due out this week. It's got a bunch of cool features, but a couple of my favourites are the following:

Session restore. If the installation of a plugin or theme necessitates a restart of the browser, or *gasp* the browser crashes, how annoying is it to lose all of the pages you had open in your 15 tabs? With the session restore feature, Firefox 2.0 will remember all the URLs you had opened in all of those 15 tabs. Upon restarting, you'll be asked whether you want to restore all of those open tabs. Very handy.

Inline spell checking. Many of you will know how much of a stickler for proper grammar and spelling I am. I truly believe this feature will at least prod and poke the lexicographically-challenged folks out there to right click on their red-underlined chaff and pick out the proper words.

Check out the rest of the new features in Firefox 2.0

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-10-16 at 23:30:28.


Sunday Shopping

As I'm sure everybody here expected, I made it my mission to go out shopping on Sunday. I headed for Bayers Lake and shopped at both Futureshop and the Superstore.

Futureshop was completely unprepared for how busy their store was going to be. Only one checkout was open and the line-up quickly wound its way past all reasonable lengths. Even when the second checkout opened, it still took quite a while to get through. At the Superstore, it was even worse -- they were prepared, but the crowds still overwhelmed the cashiers. See the pictures below.

New Futureshop hours Sunday Shopping line-up @ the Superstore

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-10-15 at 17:50:56.


Spine.cx mentioned in the Halifax Herald

In case you hadn't caught it, Spine.cx was mentioned in the Halifax Herald a couple of days ago. I'm wouldn't be surprised if you didn't catch it; it was quite inconspicuous. It was only after it was pointed out to me by Brent that I saw it myself.

Anyway, it looks as though they were looking for confirmation of public opinion for their story on musicians licensing their music for ads, and they googled something and found my previous blog post about hearing Joel Plasket in a Zellers ad. They then shamelessly stole the text without so much as a link back here or a nod to the original poster (Keely).

I maintain that I posted that a full 5 months before it showed up in the Herald. I'm on the fucking ball, you all know it :)

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-10-11 at 18:41:06.


The Michelin RAZR?

This case for the Motorola RAZR makes it look like it was made by Michelin. I suppose it might also save it from a fall down the stairs:

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-10-07 at 15:28:39.


It's about time

A Nova Scotia judge has issued a ruling stating that the provincial government went beyond its powers by preventing grocery stores from opening 7 days a week.

The article goes on to say that the Premier would "clear the way for wide-open Sunday shopping". Hopefully this means that full-blown, non-grocery store openings aren't far behind. I feel like we're finally catching up to the rest of the world -- too bad it had to involve the courts.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-10-04 at 14:21:44.


I should write the Coast with this

So, the Rolling Stones were here. They set up on the Commons nearest the corner of Cogswell and North Park streets. North Park street was blocked off and the traffic light pattern was changed. I am not going to complain about sitting on Rainnie drive at a constant red light for 10 minutes last week (I ran it, despite the fact that there were 5 uniformed cops right on the other side of the intersection). I understood that things would probably be fucked up until the stage was torn down and all the tractor trailers were removed from North Park Street.

Would somebody please tell me why that nobody took at look at how those lights were supposed to work before they changed them? I drove through that intersection today, as it is my regular route to work, and whomever set it back to "normal" obviously didn't understand how much of a bitch that 5-way intersection is and that some of the lights are supposed to have an advance flashing green. Well now they don't; I spent about 25 minutes waiting on North Park Street in a huge line-up of traffic trying to turn left. This is a distance that I can usually cover in less than 4 minutes in heavy traffic.

This really seems like something that should be pretty fucking brain-dead: Back up traffic light pattern. Apply Rolling Stones traffic light pattern. When Rolling Stones leave, re-apply backed up traffic light pattern.


Here's the intersection I'm talking about, so you out-of-towners can commiserate with me.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-09-26 at 09:29:31.


Spine Radio on CKDU redux

After receiving confirmation from the powers that be, I am more sure than ever that Spine Radio will hit the actual airwaves tonight at 0100h. I realize it's a bit late to post this in the hopes that anyone is going to listen live, but if you're curious what it actually sounded like on the radio, you can download it from the CKDU archive page. If you're reading this on or after September 26th, this link should download the show that was aired, plus about 5 minutes on either side.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-09-26 at 00:13:57.


Transformers fan film - The Rude Awakening of Optimus Prime

This has got to be one of the funniest fan-made videos I've seen in a long time. Of course, I probably find it funnier than most because I watched every damn episode of the Transformers like I would break out in hives if I didn't.

Rodimus, give me back that fucking matrix immediately.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-09-14 at 10:24:13.


Spine Radio on CKDU

For anybody who listening for it like I was, Spine Radio was NOT broadcast last night (Tuesday @ 01:00) on CKDU, 88.1 FM in Halifax, nor was it the previous week as I had thought. I sent an email to the program director at the station and she's looking into why it hasn't been airing. I guess most of the overnight programming is automated, and it is set into motion by the last actual live DJ to be in the studio the previous evening. My guess is that that DJ just didn't know the schedule had been updated and was still setting the overnight playlist to what it had been previously. Hopefully before the month of September is out, we will have heard Spine Radio on the actual airwaves at least once :)

To all you insomniac students out there who may want to listen, the web version is going to be at least a full week ahead of the one on CKDU, so the best way to get it is still to head over to SpineRadio.com and subscribe.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-09-13 at 00:50:49.


Apple releases iTunes 7.0

Earlier tonight, Apple released iTunes 7.0, mainly a vehicle to allow the sale of movies through the iTunes store, and an update to the video iPods to allow them to play downloadable games. I'm happy because the updates fixed a few of the biggest problems that I had with the iPod/iTunes combo.

First off, they fixed a simple problem by having the iPod's screen stay lit (at the minimum brightness) when it's connected to your computer. This is useful because when you dock your iPod, the screen changes to a flashing "Do not disconnect" message that you can't always see if the screen goes dark. Since the iPod is charging anyway, there are no worries about your battery going dead because the screen is on.

Second, I had a weird problem that occurred most of the time when I docked my iPod. It would forget what I had listened to! If I listened to 10 podcasts before I docked, and then checked the status of my iPod in iTunes after I docked, my iPod would forget that I listened to those 10 songs. What a pain in the ass! More often than not, I found myself scrolling through those tracks again, just to mark them as played. I had heard from some of my Mac-using friends that they didn't have this problem, so I think it was probably only a PC thing.

Combined with the small little utility I had to write to monitor my podcast share on my server machine and automatically sync the new shows to my iTunes library and then to my iPod, I'm quite happy with everything now. My next step is to write a service to continually monitor iTunes to see if my iPod is docked, and then to do the syncing automatically instead of having to run the damn thing manually.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-09-13 at 00:41:17.


Firefox 2.0 Beta 2

Firefox 2.0 Beta 2 came out a couple of days ago, and despite my bad experience with Beta 1 (that I suppose, in retrospect, I should have blogged about), I decided to throw caution to the wind and give Beta 2 a try. In 1 1/2 days of use, I have been pleasantly surprised by it.

It hasn't crashed on me yet, and has some really cool features like integrated spell-checking in forms beefed up custom search capability, and slicker looking chrome. It seems faster too, but maybe that's just me.

If you want to give it a try, you can find it on releases.mozilla.org.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-08-31 at 20:48:18.


At least it asks...

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-08-31 at 14:57:47.


Camping is fun

I need a hobby. Well, a hobby other than one that involves me sitting in front of a computer. Anything that doesn't involve me being sedentary. I've established for myself that I hate softball, so that's out. What else is there?

Recently, while on my trip to Boston, we camped to do it on the cheap. (With 4 people in the car, and discounting all the stuff I bought, the trip only cost us $95 each!) Besides the few trips to Blomidon that a group of us did a few years ago, I hadn't really been camping since I was a kid. I kind of like it. In the past couple of weeks, I found myself buying a tent and some hiking boots. I think I'm even going to try and fit my girthy frame with a pack large enough to go on a multi-day hike. And I'm more than a bit excited by the prospect. I'm not interested in many things that don't have circuit boards and a power source, so this is pretty cool.

There are a group of people at my place of business who are planning such an expedition, but I'm not sure I want to go too fast too soon and more importantly, I don't want to be the guy at the back slowing everyone else down.

I guess this kind of links into my post about cool camping locations, but I wanted to see if anyone's game for heading out to Kejimkujik sometime in September and maybe trying to get to one of the campsites that aren't directly accessible by roads. It would be cool to see if some newbies like me would be willing to go because then we can move at our own pace and commiserate if things go poorly :)

I'd also be into attempting some hiking and camping in the winter months too. You might think, "Why the fuck would you go out camping in the winter?" I'd reply that it's the perfect time to go camping: There are no bugs, and you'll never have appreciated a campfire or hot chocolate as much in your life. You have to be prepared for the weather, for sure, but you can't have a snowball fight in the summer.

If anyone is interested, post here or fire me off an email.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-08-24 at 17:35:21.


Go see David Picco at Ginger's and/or Gus'

My step-brother, David Picco is going to be touring Atlantic Canada in the next few weeks. (He's from Newfoundland, but is currently living in Toronto.) He's playing on Saturday, August 26th at Ginger's Tavern on Barrington Street, and then again on Wednesday, September 6th at Gus' Pub on Agricola.

Anway, it would be really cool if people could come out and support him because I think this is the only way he gets to eat. Check out his music on his myspace page: http://myspace.com/davidpicco.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-08-17 at 12:00:39.


18 ways to stay focused at work

Blogger Dave Cheong has come up with a list of 18 ways to stay focused and more productive at work. I'll bet one of them is not posting on your blog...unless your blog is your work...I wonder what that's like?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-08-15 at 10:01:49.


Free CDs (for the price of postage)

I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago in a Spine Radio episode, but Brobdingnagian Records is giving away albums for the measly cost of packing material and postage. I can't think of a much better deal.

When they're gone, they're gone, so stock up!

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-07-25 at 22:29:13.


ANOTHER new radio station?

Driving around today, I noticed a van beside me in traffic with 88.9 something something on the side. Unfortunately, this is another fucking classic rock station.

Yes, exactly. That is exactly what Halifax needs. We have a huge shortage of classic rock stations in this city and I, for one, am a huge proponent of being able to fill my car radio presets with nothing but stations with cheesy-ass DJs playing the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith 24/7. Please, can we get 4 more classic rock stations? That's all I need. I don't get to hear Stairway to Heaven enough times in a day.


Now, this "new" station is just an FM re-broadcast of the AM station 960 CHNS (or vice-versa, depending on how you look at it). Oldies 96 is apparently no more; not that I care. As much as I dislike Z103, at least they're trying to give us something that we don't yet have.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-07-22 at 22:56:00.


Spam of the week

Spam of the week:

From: Adam Phelps <AdamPhelps@0451.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 17:49:18 -0060
Subject: Q22

Silence. Stuck out my head. Nobody. And I went on my way, whistling a tune.
Jonathan sighed. The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They
Low speed ahead along the pylons, altitude three yards. Halt at the
directly into his path, calling for its mother. With a tenth of a second

From: Walter Langston <WalterLangston@01-stay-in-paris-hotels.com>
Date: Jul 12, 2006 5:25 PM
Subject: 9TK

and they still don't catch on. I stabbed the ashtray with my cigarette butt.
Don't be harsh on them, Fletcher Seagull. In casting you out, the
delouser--the scientists call it the medical hangar--along with the boot.
were strong and calm. "We've come to take you higher, to take you home.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-07-18 at 11:36:49.


Camping in Boston

Plans are starting to come together for our road trip to Boston. We've been researching campsites so we can travel on-the-cheap, and I think we've settled on Wompatuck State Park. It's about 30 minutes south of Boston, so we should be able to drive to the nearest subway station and then hit downtown.

So far, I think Jeannine and Tanya are just going to shop. We're going to be travelling with wifi-enabled laptops and a GPS (probably) so we should be able to update blogs, podcasts, photos, etc. from the road.

What's fun to do in Boston? Any requests for interviews or photos?

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-07-17 at 14:01:45.


New blog entry privacy feature

I've implemented a new feature that will let you guys not only decide whether to post a blog entry to the home page or not, but decide from 4 distinct levels of privacy for them. While coding the feature, I was thinking that it would be cool if everybody could exercise their own editorial control a little more when they're deciding what should and shouldn't go on the front page.

If you're writing something genuinely interesting, then by all means, put it on the front page. If you're simply blogging about what you did that day or musing about the stock price of porkbellies, then perhaps the front page isn't the right place for that entry.

Click inside to read about how to use the new options.

So, instead of the checkbox to put the post on the front page or not, there are now 4 options to choose from:
1. Show on the home page and in my personal blog. This is the same as if you had checked the checkbox that was there before. Selecting this option will display the blog posting on the front page (spine.cx) as well as your personal blog (<you>.blogs.spine.cx). The entry will show up in RSS feeds for both the home page and your personal blog.

2. Show in my pesonal blog only. Just like it sounds, the blog entry will not show up on the home page, but will appear in your personal blog. This option is the same as leaving the old checkbox unchecked. The post will appear in your personal blog's RSS feed only.

3. Require a direct link to this entry. This option removes the post from all lists of post. It won't appear on the front page or your personal blog page, but will be reachable via a direct link to the article, e.g., http://spine.cx/article.php?sid=1120

4. Allow only me to see this entry. The only person who can see the blog post is the author, while logged in. It is not otherwise accessible in any way.

Hopefully that gives you guys some more options to use spine.cx.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-06-27 at 19:48:31.


Vin Art Wines offers free Absinthe tasting

For those of you who have always wanted to try real absinthe, but haven't wanted to import it from France, now's your chance. Vin Art Wines will be offering tastes of the green fairy this Saturday from 1 to 5 pm.

Not only can you pick up a bottle of this stuff for yourself, but it's on sale, and they're going to throw in the spoon for free.

Click inside to read the full text of their invitation.

La Fée Parisian Absinthe is made in Paris based on a 19th century recipe containing Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and other aromatic herbs. It's the only absinthe endorsed by Marie-Claude Delahaye, founder & curator of the Absinthe Museum in France, making it the most authentic in the world.

Like true French absinthe it has a dark green colour, rich bouquet of aniseed flavour and louches (turns cloudy with the addition of water) beautifully. And the La Fée Absinthe Spoon allows it to be served correctly -- it's truly the only connoisseur's choice.

Absinthe...the Green Fairy...La Fee Verte....no other drink has the same romantic history - the French Impressionists....Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Manet, Van Gogh....Paris in the Belle Epoque....the cafes of Montmartre....the muse of writers from Verlaine and Rimbaud to Joyce and Hemingway. Of course, there's a darker side to absinthe as well - no other drink has ever roused the same degree of passionate condemnation, and no other drink has ever been banned outright in the way absinthe was in the years leading up to 1915.

Banned for almost a century until its recent revival, absinthe is something of a “living fossil”, a coelecanth amongst drinks, able to magically transport us back to the glittering world of Paris and the Belle Epoque, a world of bohemian musicians and writers, of the Moulin Rouge and the cafes of Montmartre, a world of starving struggling artists and glittering courtesans.

Come join Sommelier Derek McKinnon, the man responsible for this lovely beverage here in Nova Scotia, as he shows off cocktails, and the proper serving method of the "Green Fairy". The proper serving spoon will be provided with all purchases on this day only. ($49.95 and well worth it!)

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-06-21 at 12:15:11.


This is why NOFX kicks everyone else's asses

There are two fairly major concerts happening on the Dartmouth waterfront this summer. The first being Wilco on July 12th, and the second being NOFX on August 14th.

Some of you might know that I have a hard time paying the fucking crazy prices that so-called "popular" bands want to charge for their shows. $70 for Our Lady Peace? However the fuck much it was for washed up Motley Crue and geriatric Alice Cooper? I do not fucking think so.

Wilco are a pretty good band, but they're charging $39 for their show, and there's only one other band on the bill. NOFX, on the other hand, are bringing what basically amounts to their own fucking rock festival with them, a whopping 10 bands in total, and they're only charging $28.

And that's why they rule the school.

P.S. Yes, I actually have bought all of NOFX's albums. Legally.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-05-29 at 19:21:51.


Photos From FNP X

Check my Flickr photos for some pics of the pub crawl. If you have photos of your own, post the URLs in the comments.

I think a good time was had by all, even if Beth didn't win any awards :)

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-05-28 at 23:21:19.


Lost will have no re-runs in its 3rd season

The official LOST podcast from LOST producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse says that in the 3rd season of LOST, there will be no re-runs! The first six episodes will run un-interrupted from November, ending with a mini-cliffhanger, and then will not air for the next 12 weeks. Upon returning in February, the show will air consecutive new episodes for 17 weeks until the end of the season.

They also say that during the 12 week break, no re-runs will be aired. This is, I think, good news, because at least there will only be one gap in the season, and we, as viewers, won't be tortured by stations showing old episodes.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-05-28 at 22:48:06.


Shirts are in!

If you've ordered a t-shirt for the Seal Clubbing pub crawl, it is now in my posession. Please call my cell (488-8291) to arrange a time to pick it up today (and pay me if you haven't already), or you can just get it at the first bar of the crawl (Rogue's Roost) after 4:30 on Saturday evening.

Hope to see everyone out Saturday night!

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-05-26 at 11:42:33.


Lost finale! Live together, die alone

I had a phone conversation with Ian Frosst about the LOST season 2 finale. Now you can hear it too.

A personal theory: I think that the fake Henry Gale is really the fiance of Penelope Widmore that she was going to marry instead of Desmond. Her team in the north (or south) was looking for either Desmond or Henry.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-05-25 at 00:05:18.


More cities should do this

An organization called Doors Open Toronto sponsors an annual event where the general public can have free access to "architecturally and/or culturally significant properties that are either not usually open to the public, or would normally charge an entrance fee."

This seems like a really cool idea. There are a number of buildings in Halifax in which I would love to have a tour. I remember the Bedford Institude of Oceanography, where my dad used to work before he retired, had a day when they were open to the public and it was very popular. I think that, especially for a tourist-industry-centric town like Halifax, this would be a great idea. You listening Kelly???

When I was going to school, it seemed as though everyone's dad worked at BIO. Weird.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-24 at 14:23:28.


24 Season Finale

Don't read any further if you haven't seen the finale yet (and you don't want to be spoiled).

What the fuck is with Jack taking a call on a land line? He hasn't used a land line for the whole fucking season, he's getting planes and submarines patched into his cell phone, and some dumb operator can't forward his daughter to his cell phone? I totally saw the ending coming because of this! I thought it would have been the bluetooth headset crew and not the Chinese, but the outcome was basically the same.

It's like an unwritten rule that Jack can't end a season happy. Between getting his wife murdered, getting addicted to (and unaddicted in the SAME DAY) heroin, faking his own death, disowned by his only daughter, and getting shipped off to Shanghai in a container ship, you'd think he'd be ready for retirement.

Just the same, I can't wait for the next three seasons.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-24 at 00:50:30.


Big Brother UK

Just downloaded the first episode of the UK edition of Big Brother. I can't express to you, the reader, how much funnier it is than the American version. Let me count the reasons:

1. Accents. Even just inside the UK, there are countless accents. Manchester, Liverpool, Wales, Scotland, etc. Each one is completely different. Very entertaining.

2. More than one gay person. In the American version of BB, I don't think there is any chance in hell they'd have more than one gay guy on at the same time. It may be becoming more acceptable to have gay relationships in drama shows, but that's scripted, written: It's artificial. I don't believe that they're ready to allow for the potential of the public seeing an actual gay relationship develop on national TV.

3. Swearing. As far as I can tell, it's pretty much uncensored. I've heard several of the major dirty words that aren't allowed on North American television, and there haven't been any bleeps yet.

If you have the means, I recommend checking it out for yourself.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-05-22 at 19:24:07.


Shirts have been ordered

A grand total of 48 shirts were ordered this morning. To anybody who didn't get their order in, well, too bad; you had ample time to do so.

Again, here's a link where you can pay me for the shirt(s) you ordered.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-05-18 at 15:47:30.


Three Minutes

Frosst and I talk about the 2x22 episode of Lost, Three Minutes. He's on satellite internet, so there's a little bit of lag in our Skype connection. I don't know if we have any actual insights, but we had fun.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-17 at 21:00:24.


Andechs Dopplebock

Andechs DopplebockMy brother got me to try this beer that his Austrian friend Ingo brought over from Germany, and I have to say, it's pretty good. Listen to the audio review for the full scoop.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-05-16 at 21:10:37.


Shirt Payment Options

Because we're so close to the actual crawl date of May 27th, I am going to have to place the order for the t-shirts no later than the morning of Wednesday, 17 May 2006. That's THIS WEDNESDAY.

Several people have been asking me how much shirts are going to cost. I can now answer that question, and the price is $15. You can pay in one of two ways:
  1. Give me cash.
  2. Pay me via PayPal:
Please get any further shirt orders and payments in to me as soon as possible. Thanks!

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-05-15 at 17:53:52.


Shirt graphics!

Spine.cx pub crawl FAQ:
Click to get a bigger version.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-05-14 at 16:11:40.


FNP X: Bar line up finalized.

I've been quite busy at work lately, so I've kind of let this pub crawl organization stuff fall a bit behind. Anyway, the bar line-up is finalized, and if you don't like it, tough. You had more than enough time to email me about it if you had any suggestions. If you have a t-shirt, there will be no cover at any of the bars.

1700h - Rogues' Roost
1830h - Maxwell's Plum
2000h - The Seahorse
2130h - Pogue Fado / The Frigate
2330h - Pacifico

The theme is still seal clubbing. I'll have a graphic posted up here as soon as I can.

Important: There's only about 2 weeks before the crawl (Saturday, May 27th!)so we need to recruit like crazy. If you're reading this, tell all your friends, tell everyone you know. Give out the URL http://spine.cx/crawl/. Put it on posters and post it around town, I don't care. We NEED people. Like I said, I've been lax and I haven't really done my job in this department, so I need your guys' help.

To sign up for a t-shirt: Send me an email with "pub crawl t-shirt" in the subject line and tell me what size(s) you want and whether you want a regular (Hanes/Gildan) or girly-style t-shirt. You can bulk order if you want, but when I collect the money, holding the orderer responsible for all the funds for that order. If everybody orders their own t-shirt, it'll make it easier logistically anyway.

Questions? Email me!

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-05-11 at 20:16:00.


The Question Mark

This is a three-way skype conversation between Matt, Ian, and I, talking about the episode of Lost that aired on May 10th, 2006.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-10 at 21:55:50.


Joel Plaskett song in a Zellers commercial

I'm watching the second part of a two part House M.D., and what should come on but a Zellers commercial. They've had some catchy music in their ads before, such as the Bedouin Soundclash, and the Be Good Tanyas. Keeping in my current form of making statements that start off like questions, who should be featured in ths current ad, but Halifax's own Joel Plaskett with a song off his new DVD/CD, Make a Little Noise: Nowhere with you.

Good on Zellers (a Canadian company) for using Canadian music in their ads.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-03 at 22:33:35.


CBC offers way more podcasts

CBC is now offering podcast versions of what I'm willing to bet are your favourite shows. Have you ever wanted to listen to Definately not the Opera, but haven't been able to, because it's on right in the middle of Saturday afternoon? Now you can download the show and listen to it whenever you want. Never miss it again!

If this doesn't get you interested in podcasting, and actually subscribing to a show, I don't know what will.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-05-03 at 12:28:21.


The Zunior.com Podcast

I have paired up with Dave Ullrich of Zunior.com to do a music podcast featuring stuff that you can buy at Zunior.com. This is only the first one, so don't be too harsh :) Hopefully, it will only get better. Please check it out and tell me what you think.

You can find it on Zunior's podcast page.

Featured songs:
The Hanson Brothers - My Game
Great Lake Swimmers - See you on the Moon
Elevator - August
Eric's Trip - I'm so near here
Wintersleep - Lipstick
Jill Barber - Old Blue Carpet
The Remains of Brian Borcherdt - Flight
Mike O'Neill - Mr. Carvery
The New Pornographers - Use It
Lost Wax Guild - Streets are Empty
The Super Friendz - Girls and their Boys
Paper Moon - Daytrip to Salzburg

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-04-29 at 00:11:40.


Canadian musicians speak out against copyright laws & DRM

It's about time somebody stood up and said something, and I'm proud that it is Canadian artists doing it. DRM makes it harder to listen to music. If I can't listen to a CD in my car, I can't bring it on a road trip, I can't push it onto my friends, and if they never hear it, they'll never go buy that CD themselves.

First of all, radio is pretty much dead to me. With the exception of CKDU and (of course) the CBC, I haven't listened to radio in about 3 years. I can't remember the last time I heard a song on any of the commercial radio stations here in Halifax, and then went out and bought a CD because of it. All, and I mean ALL, of the new music I listen to comes from the Internet. If it weren't for the Internet, I'd probably still be listening to Whigfield and Aqua. You're right...I probably wouldn't have any friends either.

Second of all, Steven Page says it better than I ever could.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-04-27 at 11:00:12.


Silent Hill

Tanya and I review and talk about the movie Silent Hill.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-04-25 at 07:55:55.


Metro Transit's clientele is top notch

Today on my way home, a fine gentleman sat next to me on the bus. He was so respectable that despite the fact that he was too drunk to do it successfully, he tried very hard to hide the fact that he was drinking a bottle of listerine. Every once in a while though, he would nip it out of his jacket pocket and empty some into the McDonalds cup he was holding. To his credit, I don't think he knew that I could see everything he was doing. He then asked me if I knew Jesus. His breath smelled exquisite. What a fine, fine gentleman.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-04-19 at 21:57:15.


What bars shall we visit?

So, nobody has expressed great outrage at the date of May 27th, so I'll take that to mean that it's a good one. The theme is still open for discussion, but a sure front runner is "Seal Clubbing". The only other suggestions were my original one, "Pub Crawl Idol" (people didn't seem to like that one), and something to do with the Commonwealth Games bid.

The second thing we have to discuss is the bars we want to attend and the time we want to attend them. As we all know, timing is of critical importance when choosing what bar to go to: some bars won't let a crawl in cover-free if it shows up too late, some have happy hours at certain times, etc.

Anybody have a preference as to what establishments this crawl should patronize? As a general rule, I like to start off with a few drinking/eating bars, and then finish the night off at a dancey bar -- that's what everybody seems to want to do when they're nice and loopy.

Subscribe to the pub crawl information RSS feed

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-04-14 at 19:36:35.


Bluetooth is good for something

So, my brother and I are sitting in the Economy Shoe Shop, and for whatever reason, we want to get on the internet. He has a Treo 650p, and he does it easily through the Telus' CDMA network. I have a Jasjar, and I could also do it easily, if I subscribed to a data service. We did something that was really fucking neat. He exposed his device as a bluetooth modem that my device could use. My Jasjar, via bluetooth got out onto the internet through my bro's Treo 700 on CDMA. Perhaps that's a little too geeky for most people, but I thought it was damn cool.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-04-14 at 13:35:12.


How do you know when to stop wiping?

Don't ask. Just listen.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-04-11 at 23:09:37.


2006 Element

I am over at Portland street Honda and I decided to try posting to my blog with my handheld. I managed to take and upload some photos to Flickr. Then I got to the blog posting and I found that there are no square brackets or greater/less than symbols on this keyboard. Anyway, here's the link:

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-04-11 at 13:02:27.


Pub crawl at the end of May?

Spring time means it's about time for another Spine.cx pub crawl. The tentative date is going to be May 27th. Keep that date free. The theme we're going with so far is "Pub Crawl Idol"...you can imagine the t-shirts.

As always, if you have any suggestions for an alternate theme and bars we should bring the crawl to, please post them in the comments to this blog entry. If you want to go ahead and sign up for a t-shirt, send me an email. For always-up-to-date information on the crawl, you can sign up to the pub crawl mailing list.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-04-09 at 18:10:48.


The .NET Framework can't count past 256

Anyone who did arts in university can stop reading now.

For the most part, I really like developing .NET applications. I think Microsoft has done a fairly good job at making a framework that's pretty nice to use. But there are some things that just piss me the fuck off.

A case in point: I'm not sure how many people know this, but there is a maximum length for a file's path; actually, there's two maximum lengths. The FAT filesystems (FAT16, FAT32) had a limit of 256 characters. Remember the days of 8.3 filenames? You'd have to nest a file fairly deep in a folder hierarchy to get to 256 characters. With the advent of Windows NT, and subsequently windows 2000 and XP, they came up with NTFS, the NT filesystem. Since this filesystem natively supported long filenames, not the silly ~1 kludge that 95, 98, and ME bore, 256 suddenly became not such a hard length to hit. They upped the maximum path length to 32768 characters. That ought to be enough for everyone, right? I still don't know who in their right mind would want to type 32k of characters to get to a file :)

My problem is that the .NET framework, now in its 2.0 incarnation, and I'm pretty sure working only on operating systems that use NTFS, cannot access a file with a path longer than 256 characters. There has been a way to access these long paths since around 1997 in Windows NT 3.51, yet here in 2006 we can't seem to get past 256 characters. This made me want to kick a framework developer square in the juniper berries.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-04-07 at 22:04:37.


My new iPod

I've had my black 30 gig iPod now for a few weeks, so I figure it's about time I write something on her about it. First, let me say that the iPod is an amazing MP3 player. Its capacity and form factor are unrivaled by any other player out there. It simply holds the most and looks the best, while keeping a svelte figure to boot.

This shit is svelte!

iTunes, however, is a miserable bitch goddess. I don't know if it's just because I'm a Windows guy trying to use an Apple product or what, but I find iTunes very difficult to use. I just find the interface doesn't have the options I think it should, and if they are there, they're not in the places where I expect to find them. I consider myself a fairly experienced computer user, so in general, if I can't easily figure out your application, most of the time, your application is stupid. I'm willing to forgo that statement for some pieces of software that are inately complex, but not for a music manager like iTunes.

First of all, If you want to keep your sanity, UNCHECK the checkbox that says, "Keep iTunes Music folder organized". That thing scares the hell out of me. If your MP3s are not properly tagged with ID3 tags, then who knows what the hell is going to happen. iTunes (and the iPod) work almost entirely on these tags. They are what both pieces of technology use to display when browsing your library of music, and while playing a particular selection. The only way to reasonably keep track of things, is to have all your MP3s tagged properly. I have found that a good program to do this with is called (logically) Tag & Rename. It lets you generate ID3 tags from the filename of an MP3, and vice versa. It lets you do in a more tolerable way, what iTunes would have fucked up from the start.

Ok, so that's the first problem out of the way, but don't worry, there are lots more. Number two on my list has to be the automatic update feature of iTunes. This is supposed to keep your iTunes library synchronized with what's on your iPod. Now, even I'll agree, this sounds pretty good in practice. You can have a complete copy of your music in a nice portable form that you can listen to on the road, while you're walking, attending funerals, etc. It kind of breaks down when your music collection is like mine, and far, far larger than the 30 gigs afforded you by the (what now seems) tiny iPod hard drive.

Luckily, there is another option that would seem to be exactly what the doctor ordered: Automatically update selected playlists only. This would seem to say to me that whatever is in the selected playlists would be kept synchronized with the corresponding tracks in my iTunes library, but everything else on my iPod would be left alone for me to manage manually. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and I ended up having to re-copy about 10 gigs of music to my iPod after iTunes mercilessly deleted it. Therefore, the only option left for me to use was the third and last: Manually manage songs and playlists. I don't revel in doing anything manually...I mean, come on, that's what computers are for. I shouldn't be subjected to anything *gasp* manual. But I didn't really care...With 30 gigs of space, I didn't figure I'd be changing the music so much anyway. Except for podcasts. New ones download every day. How the fuck am I going to deal with that?

Whew! iTunes to the rescue! Somebody thought enough to stick a podcast tab in the configuration options. That should take care of everything...right? Well, as it turns out, not so much. I don't know how many of you know this, but I am subscribed to (as of this writing) 51 podcasts. (It's not as bad as you think: They're not all 1 hour long like Spine Radio, and they don't all release new episodes as frequently as once a week.)

Even though I'm sure iTunes would be more than capable of handling the multitude of subscriptions, there was no easy way to move these subscriptions from my other (and current) podcast downloader into iTunes. And even if there was, I wouldn't really want to use iTunes for it. Because I subscribe to so many shows, the sheer size of all the downloads can grow quite quickly, so I would rather my podcasts download onto my server machine at home, the one with the terabyte of disk space, and not my laptop. I'll go into my podcast receiving set-up at some point, but not right now.

Anyway, since I basically couldn't use iTunes as my podcast downloader, I had to figure out a way to somehow automatically get podcasts that were being downloaded onto, and shared from, my server machine onto my iPod. As it turns out, that's not trivial. Unlike Windows Media Player, iTunes does not have the option to monitor a directory in your filesystem, and automatically add any files to its library that it doesn't have yet. When I used a Windows Mobile device to listen to podcasts, this is exactly what I did. New podcasts would get picked up by Media Player, and a smart playlist would sync them to my device. With no way to do the same in iTunes, I'm left with a problem. But, hey, I'm a software developer, and this problem is starting to look a little bit like a nail.

Non developer types may want to skip to the end of the marked section. Anyone who's interested, or suffering from insomnia, feel free read all the gory details.
After a little bit of googling, I found out that iTunes has a COM interface.. Perfect. I fired up my development environment and went to work. It turns out that iTunes interfaces aren't so much a programming interface as they are the COM representation of the iTunes program itself. If there was a menu item or button you could click on the GUI, there was a method on a COM object you could call do do the same thing.

However, since I could accomplish what I wanted to do via the GUI, I could also do it via the interfaces. With a pretty shallow learning curve, I whipped up a small command line app that just scanned my podcast share for anything that was newer than the last time it had run, and added those items to the iTunes library. It would then do its best to synchronize any new podcasts over to the iPod (if it was connected), and remove any old ones that I had already listened to. It works pretty well, and it serves the purpose; even if I do still have a breakpoint to make sure it doesn't delete anything its not supposed to.

I know people are saying that there are other applications out there (like EphPod or Anapod Explorer) that can replace iTunes for getting music on your iPod, and while this is true, these other applications did one of two things:
1. screwed up my iPod's internal database, and rendered my iPod incompatible with iTunes, or
2. couldn't do (or be configured to do) what I wanted them to do, in which case they were really no better than iTunes.

The third major problem with the iPod/iTunes one-two punch to the sack was that once your music is on the pod, there is no supported way to get it off and back onto your computer. There are some applications that can help you with that problem, though. They include, but are not limited to the afore-mentioned EphPod and Anapod Explorer, as well as SharePod, and YamiPod. From what I've read, older versions of the iPod just stored your music in a hidden folder on the iPod itself, that was clearly visible when you turned on the "hard drive" option. In the iPod with video, however, the files are placed seemingly randomly into folders named F00 to F49, and the filenames are munged into random 4-letter strings, i.e., MMSJ.mp3. The programs I mentioned will read the appropriate information from the iTunesDB file on the iPod and rename the files according to artist, album, etc., when you copy the files off.

So, after all that, if you still want an iPod, I think you'll be happy. The iPod itself is a great device, and I highly recommend it. iTunes can go suck an egg.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-04-06 at 00:20:19.


OMG!!! This baby seal is so cute

And I'm willing to bet that it's just as delicious.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-04-03 at 23:43:59.


Red carpet at the Junos

Through some good fortune, I was able to attend the red carpet ceremony at the Juno awards. I borrowed Ray's camera, which he was nice enough to lend me, and got some fairly decent shots of the musicians as they walked down the red carpet Argyle Street.

If anyone TiVo'ed, or otherwise recorded the red carpet E-Talk Daily portion of the Junos, I would love to get a copy because I was on camera several times, and I want some screenshots ;)

I need your guys' help though. Since I don't have cable TV, I actually had no idea who the people were that I was taking pictures of. I need you guys to help me identify the people in the photos. So please comment on the photos or add notes to them.

The part that sucked was the 4 fucking hours standing out in the cold waiting for the CTV assholes to get the ball rolling. I'm not typically a star-chaser, but the opportunity presented itself, and well, I'm a citizen journalist ;)

And to the fucker in the black hat who was right in front of me blocking the coolest shots I could have taken with his above-the-shoulder hands and his big fat head, you can go to hell.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-04-03 at 10:05:58.


Eastlink wireless trial

For a while now, I've been noticing wireless hotspots around downtown called "Eastlink WiFi Trial #16" or something like that. I've tried connecting to them, but to no avail. Well, just today, I got an email from eastlink:

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-03-28 at 12:09:41.


WTF is up with iTunes?

So, I picked up an iPod last week (which I'm still planning to blog about later, a little more in-depth) with my tax return money, and I decided to give iTunes a go as my primary music player. I know I always seem to have these fucked up problems, but this one is fairly extreme. My normal, everyday MP3s play all fucked up in iTunes, and only in iTunes. They play just fine in Winamp, Windows Media Player, and on the iPod itself.

Has anyone ever experienced this? If you know anybody that can help me out, I'm running iTunes on Windows XP Professional with SP2. I'm usually the guy to answer people's technical questions, not ask them, but I'm really stumped in this case.

Edit: I was finally able to fix the problem after being pointed to this support article on apple.com.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-03-24 at 18:00:30.


Knee in my Package

It's tax time, and you just have to deal with it.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-03-23 at 11:00:29.


Me on Electric Circus

I didn't want this video to get lost, so I stuck it up on YouTube.com. It's from back in 1999 when I was on electric circus:

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-03-18 at 22:00:13.


Anti-war protest hits downtown Halifax

Apparently some people were planning a big anti-war protest for Saturday around noon. I was just coming out of the farmer's market as it was getting started, so naturally, I whipped out my trusty camera and started taking pictures and a video. Sorry about the quality of the video, it looks much better on my computer than on YouTube.

After they walked past me on Lower Water Street, I went to get my car, but I lost them. However, I was pretty sure they'd head for Spring Garden Road, since that's where they'd cause the most disruption. I beat them there and got some more photos ;)

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-03-18 at 21:00:06.


St. Patrick's Day 2006

What a blast I had on St. Patrick's Day. It started off with breakfast at the Old Triangle. I got there at 07h55, and the place was already packed. Brent joined me soon after that, and we sat down for a bite. Being as crowded as it was, it took a while before one of the wait staff even brought us menus. After that, we waited about 30 minutes, and nobody ever spoke to us again. I flagged down the next person I saw, and explained the situation. Luckily, it happened to be one of the owners of the place and he really got the ball rolling for us ;) About 3 minutes later, we were eating bacon and eggs and drinking Guinness.

Then I had to go to work :(

After work, we headed to the Fife and Drum, the hotel bar of the Casino Nova Scotia Hotel. It was also quite full, but thankfully, we had some intrepid seat-savers working for us. The Guiness flowed until around 22h30, when the more sober among us migrated to Gus' Pub to hear the band of a friend of a friend that was playing there.

Around midnight, we went for pizza and called it a night.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-03-18 at 20:50:03.


Capsaicin cures prostate cancer

Holy flamin' hoop, Batman! Reuters is reporting on a study that concluded Hot peppers kill prostate cancer cells. In the war of capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot) vs. prostate cancer cells, the hot stuff won 80% of the time. That's huge.

However, 95% of men said they'd rather have prostate cancer than squeeze a habanero up their fudge tunnel.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-03-17 at 10:17:23.


Our little Flashy is getting married

Congratulations to Spine.cx's own Flashy and Triad who are getting married sometime in April. Sorry, but I forget the exact date. Here, Flashy looks absolutely absorbing in her TP wedding dress:

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-03-12 at 23:41:31.


Superfriendz @ the Grawood

For anyone who didn't attend the Superfriendz show at the Grawood this past Saturday night, you missed a good show. I took some pictures. I also picked up their original cassette release "Sticktoitiveness", which they re-released on CD, and their 2003 release "Love Energy" which I didn't even know existed until now.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2006-03-12 at 13:10:38.


Danko Jones - Sleep is the Enemy

I picked up an actual CD for the first time in a long while this week. Every time I heard that Danko Jones has put out a new album, I just have to pick it up. The last one was non-stop rock fest of epic proportions, and their new one, Sleep is the Enemy is much of the same. It is hard-driving, solid-core, rock and roll from start to finish. It's well-produced, great-sounding, and adjective-hyphenated.

I have sent off an email to the only online contact I could find to try and secure permission to play a song or two on the podcast, so hopefully I'll hear back soon, so you can all get a taste.

In summary, buy this album.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-03-09 at 23:22:01.


Google Calendar is coming

You had to think this was coming. Google is developing a web calendering application that will be closely integrated with Gmail. I'm psyched. There really hasn't been a great solution for a calendar that is available on the internet. The closest so far has been 30Boxes.com, but I have high hopes for "CL2" (the project's code name).

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-03-08 at 19:35:28.


Maternity Leave (Fucking CTV)

Fucking CTV. Why would you change the time of the best show that you have on your fucking station? Why would you force me to find out about this change in time by accident? If it weren't for getting my television shows from the internet, I would be that much more pissed off at you.

Anyway, Maternity Leave. This show gave us a shit ton of insight into some long-running questions like "What happened to Claire when she was kidnapped by Ethan?" "Was Ethan affiliated with the Zeke and the guys on the boat?" "Is Rousseau's daughter Alex still with the Others?" Tremendous.

Edit - This article also has the prestigous honour of being article #1000 on spine.cx. Neat.

Because of fucking CTV, I missed the first 15 minutes of this episode, but from what I understand, it just set the stage for what was to come, and wasn't extremely critical. The important things to note is that Aaron (Claire's baby) gets sick, and Claire starts to remember things that happened to her when she was kidnapped.

As she starts to remember, we experience the memories as flashbacks -- the first flashbacks we've yet seen that actually occur on the island. Rousseau shows up and Kate comes along, and the show basically turns into a big celebration of girl power. Which is fine, because they're hot. Claire remembers that before she got on the plane (or maybe she just thought it was then, because she was pretty drugged up), ETHAN injected her with some 'medicine' for her baby. She also has some rapid-fire flashbacks showing that they injected her (and baby) with some sort of shit (looking suspiciously like the stuff that Desmond injected himself with in the season premiere), and she thinks that finding out just what that is might be a good thing. Also, is it just me, or is Libby getting hotter?

Kate, Claire and Rousseau take off to find Claire's elusive 'medicine', and as they walk, Claire remembers more and more and eventually remembers where the entrance is to A NEW DHARMA HATCH!!! This one has the familiar octagonal logo, only with the medicinal symbol on there.

The best thing though, is that we find out that Zeke and his rag-tag band of Others are really just normal people with fake beards and Relic hats. It's also interesting to note that all the planes on the mobile of airplanes above the baby's crib were from Oceanic Airlines.

Questions for the next episode: Why was the Dharma Medical hatch abandoned? Was it just me, or was the guy in the vault in the hatch REALLY fucking with Locke? He's trying the ol', "You're not going to let that other guy boss you around" ploy to try to turn Jack and Locke against each other...something they probably would have done on their own if it weren't for Sawyer stealing the guns. How the fuck did Eko know about the prisoner in the hatch? Dharma hatches: 3 down, 3 to go.

This show really got me excited again about the mythos of Lost. We just need another show about the black smoke and it'll all be back on track.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-03-02 at 10:29:46.


Public hearings on buildings extended

They are extended the public hearings on the two buildings proposed for the old tex-park site. There will be another hearing on next Tuesday, March 7th. Anyone else feel like going down and voicing an opinion?

I just heard some of the opposition to these buildings on Information Morning and I was overcome by rage at the lack of vision of some of these people. Maybe we'll kick in a Sunday shopping dig while we're there, eh? :)

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-03-01 at 08:02:44.


Time to do my taxes

I calculated my taxes and all that jazz, and by my calculations (actually, the calculations of UFile.ca), I'm getting approximately $343 back from our new Conservative government. I am seriously thinking about picking up a piece of technology from Apple in the form of an iPod. The real question is: Should I pick up a 4 gig iPod Nano or a 30 gig iPod Video?

Both of them have merits and drawbacks. I shall compare and contrast the two.

The iPod Nano vs. the iPod Video

First, the obvious difference is the amount of storage space: 4 vs. 30 gigs. Now the video part of the iPod video doesn't really matter to me so much because it can only play video specifically formatted for the iPod. All the video I have is encoded with the either the Divx;) or Xvid codecs, and I'll probably never buy any video from iTunes. The extent of the video playing ability that I'll probably use is playing video podcasts and enjoying the size of the screen for browsing the directories. On the flip side, 4 gigs is quite a lot of space for music. If you consider that music encoded at a reasonable bitrate (read: way fucking higher than 128 kbps), you can still fit at least 40 albums in 4 gigs of space.

Second, the size is vastly different. The Nano is tiny -- about as long as a credit card is wide, not much thicker, and less heft than a pocket full of change. The Video has a harddrive. Because of that, it has to have a bigger battery. Because of that, it has to have a larger physical housing to contain all that goodness.

The real argument, though, is whether to get an iPod at all. In my opinion, there are two main drawbacks to iPods in general:

1. Lack of expandability. There is no way to upload a new codec to an iPod. I can't make it play Ogg Vorbis or Xvid. This is a pretty serious drawback because even though MP3 has been a standard for music for several years, it's not the end. Just like everything gets replaced (vinyl, cassette tapes, and CDs), so shall MP3 eventually be surpassed by some better format, and your old trusty iPod won't be able to play it.

2. No lossless format. In iTunes, you can't buy a losslessly-encoded version of a song. If Apple hopes to have downloaded music replace physical media, they are going to have to start offering content of the same quality that you can get on a CD. The iPods say in their spec sheets that they can play something called "Apple Lossless" format, but I've never seen it. This could be due to my ignorance of Apple technology in general, but I've bought a song or two from iTunes, and I've never been presented with the option to download a lossless copy of the song.

Those are my thoughts on the Nano vs. Video iPod. What do you guys think I should get, and why?

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-02-27 at 10:50:46.


Out on Saturday night

Fun times had by all. Even Matt the Pimp.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-02-22 at 09:32:30.


The Long Con

This episode was good in terms of character development, but really did nothing to advance the mythos of the island. If you listened to the official Lost podcast, you'd know that they said this episode was basically about making Sawyer look like a badass again because up until this point, he had been turning into a big puss.

It was interesting, but really didn't tell us much we didn't already know. Probably the most interesting parts were (a) the fact that Charlie has gone all Anakin Skywalker, and (b) now the two big leaders on the island, Jack and Locke, don't really trust each other anymore. I think that one of two things could happen: Either everyone will band together and beat the crap out of Sawyer or (more probably, in my opinion) the entire situation will implode and there will be mass chaos. Whatever happens, I'm sure the Others will love it.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-02-10 at 14:02:16.


Great blonde joke

I haven't heard a good blonde joke in a long time, but this one is hilarious. Let me know what you think. I laughed out loud.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-02-04 at 13:16:49.


Motorist attacks bike courier

Bernie sent me this remarkable account of pedestrian journalism from Toronto. A photoblogger caught some shots of a motorist attacking a bicycle courier going down. Apparently they were so good, the Toronto Star stole them and used them as their own. Shame on them.

Anybody on here ever experienced this kind of road rage?

Photo by Hool

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-02-02 at 21:51:49.


Stephen Harper is weird

I'm watching the news last night, and inevitably, there is a story about Stephen Harper, and how he's the prime minister designate and about to take office and everything. That's all well and good. The weird part comes when they show a shot of him dropping his kids off at school, and as they're about to go inside, he shakes their hands.

Who the fuck shakes their kids hands?! Seriously, if you're not going to give your kids a hug, don't bother to fucking shake their hands, it just makes you look like an even bigger douche than you already are. He and his wife have probably had sex exactly twice: one for each child. They also probably sleep in seperate beds like on Leave it to Beaver.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-01-26 at 10:40:49.


Fire and Ice

Overall, I think this was a fairly boring episode, but I think we can glean some fairly significant revelations from it, the least of which being Charlie's background. I think this episode, even though it seemed to center around Charlie, was really alluding to something else entirely.

I don't want to spoil anybody, so click inside for the full story.

So, if Charlie's not using heroin, and we have no reason to assume that he did use, why the fuck is he having crazy-vivid hallucinations? The only other time I can remember something simliar happening to anybody on the island was when Boone hurt himself and Locke made this salve out of some plants and shit. Boone had this wacko island acid trip not dissimilar to Charlie's. So, my theory is that Locke slipped Charlie some of the crazy salve somehow, maybe made more potent by the heroin (I'm sure he knew about it long before he "found" it in this episode...Locke is just like that).

Why would Locke want to do that? Well, I don't think I blogged about it, but one of my thoughts about Locke is that he has no allegiance to the other crash survivors. He's totally into the island, and he'd do whatever the island asked him to do. The island is his god. I forsee that sometime in the future Locke is going to defect to the Others. Now, I'll ask again, why would Locke want to drug Charlie? I think the answer is that he wanted to do exactly what he did, make Charlie lose face in front of Claire. Locke is subtly trying to work his way in with Claire in order to eventually take Aaron himself. He'll justify it by telling himself, "It's for the island." This will ultimately lead to a confrontation of the "Man of Faith" (Locke) vs. the "Man of Science" (Jack) and the other Man of Faith (Eko).

Furthermore, why is Locke keeping the heroin locked up in the safe? Why doesn't he just destroy it? Maybe he really likes porcelain statues? And why did he change the combination to the safe? Who knew that combination besides him and Jack?

Another curious happening in this episode was Hurley and Libby's conversation. If Libby was in the tail section of the plane, and Hurley was in the front section, and Hurley was the last person on the plane, then how did Hurley step on Libby's foot? I think Libby is lying, but I'm not sure why.

Why in the hell is Eko marking trees? I have no idea.

I have heard through the grape vine that there is no new episode next week, but instead they will be re-broadcasting "The Numbers" episode. The new episode in two weeks will apparently be closely related to that.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2006-01-26 at 10:35:17.


I have the biggest ego on the internet

According to EgoSurf.org, I outrank just about everybody else with whatever criteria they use to determine ego. I think it has to do with how many search results for Steve Dinn come back with spine.cx links.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-01-24 at 14:48:43.


Election Babble

I took the test on PoliticalCompass.org and I found myself to be quite left-leaning. But the more I listen to and read about what the NDP have to say this time around, the more I find myself wanting to vote Liberal again.

I would definately rather have a party in power that knows who its corrupt members are than a party that just hasn't found them yet.

Originally posted on Friday, 2006-01-20 at 09:31:27.


Two-Tiered Milk

I was in the grocery store today to pick up some milk, and I found that when I got to the cooler there was something different...something I did not expect. There was a new type of milk, and I wasn't in the loop. I don't like it when this sort of shit goes down in my fucking grocery store and I don't know about it. What the fuck is the purpose of all those fliers I get every week if they're not going to let me know about new types of milk?

WTF is "Farmers Choice"? I think this province is moving towards a two-tiered milk system. The rich will get the "choice" milk while the rest of us will have to settle for the crap.

So, I did some research, and as it turns out, Farmers Choice is a type of milk with some crazy Omega crap in it, and it costs 50 cents more per carton.

If I were an alarmist, I would say that we now have a two-tiered milk system. The rich pay their extra 50 cents and get their crazy Omega-nutrient, and the rest of us stay with the old cow juice and whatever crazy disease that Omega crap stops you from getting.

I, for one, welcome our new OmegaCow overlords.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2006-01-17 at 00:14:15.


The opening of Sensations

Matt, Jay, and I checked out the grand opening of Sensations last night. The protesters were there in spades sporting some nice signs. There were supporters there too, which was nice to see. We waited outside in line for about 20 minutes. I'm sure they made us wait just so the news crews would not just be filming protesters because it wasn't that crowded inside.

I had never been inside any of the other incarnations of this bar (Crazy Horse, Little Nashville), but it was nicer inside than Ralph's. I hope it does well. There were more people around in that area of town than I had ever seen before. I can't help but think the bar will be good for surrounding businesses.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-01-14 at 19:26:33.


Monitor envy

I just got a new monitor, and I'm very happy with it. However, as happy as I am, I am still easily made jealous when I see pictures like this.. This dude can go to hell :) I can't imagine how much all that cost...especially since it's all Apple brand stuff, except for that lonely Dell in the corner.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2006-01-14 at 18:33:26.


The 23rd Psalm

It’s good to finally get a new episode of Lost after what was an agonizing break over Christmas with nothing. Lots of interesting things happened in the episode. We see the monster, we get an Eko flashback, and there are even some Sawyer shots for the ladies.

I would really like to pick up the Lost podcast that I was doing before, and I’ve been talking to Matt about doing it with me. So, if you enjoyed the first one, then there may be more coming.

Don’t click into this story if you haven’t seen the show on 11 January 2006 and don’t want spoilers.

Charlie’s heroin statue comes back into play. I’ve been waiting for them to delve into that issue again. I think Claire’s being a bit of a bitch about the whole thing though…I mean, obviously things in Charlie’s life have changed a bit since, oh, I don’t know, BEING STRANDED ON A FUCKING DESERTED ISLAND. I think she should give him a break. He’s always had Aaron’s best interests at heart. But at the same time, it did seem quite curious that he has a stash of a pile of Mary statues in a hole. Fucking wanker.

Mr. Eko rocks. I had heard that we were going to get to see a flashback of him and I was really looking forward to it. There were rumours floating around for a while that he was involved with the Nigerian drug plane, but they were pretty much quashed when the episode “The Other 48 Days” showed that he was, in fact, on Flight 815. I was happy to see that he was kicking ass right from childhood. Mr. Eko is one bad dude, and that’s just the way it is. He’s one of my favourite characters in the show along with Locke.

Finally, we get to see the monster that’s been terrorizing the inhabitants of the island from the day they got there. To be fair, we have seen it before, but it was not clear that the black smoke that appeared to be pulling Locke into a sinkhole in the jungle was the same thing that was chasing the islanders around all the time and devouring pilots. This explains why Locke was not afraid when he was being pulled down the hole in Season 1. He had seen the creature before. He faced it – stared it down. Interesting to see how Locke and Eko had the exact same reaction when faced with the creature. I think these two have very much in common, that we aren’t quite aware of just yet.

Michael asked to Locke to allow him access to the guns in the hatch. Then he asked to take Kate’s shift watching the numbers, and of course, he goes and tries to fucking MSN Walt again. Seriously, WTF. Where the hell does he think the other end of this reject computer from the 1970s is? This isn’t exactly Messenger we’re talking about here. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the last thing that Walt (if it really was Walt) types to Michael. We know that he wants Michael to come and get him, but is it really one of the Others? I think next episode we’ll see Michael going off half-cocked in a solo attempt to save Walt like a fucking retard. I noted that on IMDB, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been added to the cast, but Malcolm David Kelley has been marked as 2004 – 2005. Does this mean that we’ve seen the last of Walt? Even creepy wet Walt in spooky visions? I guess time will tell.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2006-01-11 at 23:46:06.


My wierd-shit-o-meter is pegged

My computer bit me. I was picking up my server machine, and I guess I caught my finger on a sharp piece of metal because I sliced 'er right open. Bled like a sonofabitch. Now that sucked, but it wasn't even the weirdest part. I went to my dad's for supper that night, and I found out that both my brother and my dad had both cut their fingers that day as well. That's weird. I guess things really do happen in threes.

My brother had a similar injury to me...seems working with computers is inherently dangerous. My dad actually had to get 5 stitches after slicing up the side of his finger on the jagged edge of an opened can.

Speaking my dad's injury, it was purely because of the kind of can-opener he used. It slices the entire top off the can, including the rim, rather than just opening it. I don't know, it's hard to describe, but I think you can see what I'm getting at. I will never use the kind that cuts the entire top off the can because I thought the edge it left was quite unsafe...turns out I was correct.

Originally posted on Monday, 2006-01-09 at 12:03:02.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2005.


Merry Christmas

Merry @#$%*& Christmas!

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-12-25 at 00:00:58.


SteveCast #8 Carnage at the Mall

More of my nonsense on the mic, on vacation and bored.

Music in this podcast: The Quintessentials - The Stepford Wives, Gold Enzo Ferarri - To the Night Club, Bad Religion - American Jesus
Music provided by the Podsafe Music Network.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-12-23 at 00:28:27.


SteveCast #7: Customer Appreciation Day

I'm on vacation again, so it's time to resume an activity that can consume my time that's at least somewhat constructive.

WTF is "customer appreciation day"?
Propeller Brewery's India Pale Ale
What razor do you use?

Featured music by The Pistol Whipper Snappers. Background music provided by Chub Creek and Mark Rushton. Extra content by Bruce Murray.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-12-20 at 18:26:53.


Spine is back!

There was something amiss with our database server, but we restored the system as it was on Thursday before it went down. Some of your comments, and blog entries may have been lost if you made them after Thursday night.

Continue as if you were normal.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-12-19 at 10:03:39.


RIAA phone call

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-12-13 at 20:35:39.


Best 404 Ever

My Odeo Channel (odeo/197f40cc82612ba9)

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-12-13 at 18:55:51.


Open the box on new music

A very interesting music subscription service has opened up recently. Pandora.com has indexed the musical "styles" of a crapload of music, some popular, some not-so-popular. The really cool thing about this particular service is that you can create multiple "channels" by seeding it with the name of a band or a song. It'll then analyze that song and deliver in your channel songs with similar musical qualities.

It's really quite good at what it does: Pick your favourite song and create a channel based on that...I've been listening to my Eric's Trip and Chixdiggit channel for most of the morning, and I've heard maybe two songs I didn't like.

Give it a try. Unless you're on dial-up :P

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-12-08 at 13:01:26.


All blog entries now on the front page

I got tired of having such a static front page on spine.cx, so now, all blog entries from all users will appear on the front page. You can still give out the URL to your own personal blog as http://<username>.blogs.spine.cx/ like this http://steve.blogs.spine.cx.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-11-30 at 10:19:05.


I baked some Macaroni and Cheese

Ok, so I'm about to get down to some funky baking action. Macaroni and cheese. Easy, right? Well, in theory...

First I realize that I don't have a casserole dish. Or a grater. To the Store! Home Outfitters provides me with a spiffy new stainless steel collander, a pyrex casserole dish that has a lid so it can double as a storage container, and one of those cool graters that they use in restaurants where you put the cheese in and just turn the handle (they're are much easier on your knuckles). Next stop is the grocery store, where I pick up all the ingredients I'll need to do the stuff before I put everything in the oven.

Come inside, and I'll share the rest of the process with you.

First things first. It's called Macaroni and Cheese, so I started with the macaroni. Bring a pot to boil and throw it in. That's easy. Then, since lean ground beef was on sale, and I had bought some of it, I decided to make macaroni and cheese and meat. I started browning the beef. The next step was to crush a column of crackers. They didn't stand a chance.

The second part of macaroni and cheese is obviously the cheese. I had purchased many fine cheeses to use as part of the recipe. I had hoped my new grater was up to the challenge and it didn't disappoint. Those cheeses were begging for mercy in seconds flat. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and fresh Parmesan all went into the mix. Along with a couple of cans of Hunts Italian flavoured tomato sauce. I was supposed to use tomatoes, but I didn't realize I got the wrong thing until I had opened the cans and was pouring the contents into a bowl.

The final pre-bake step: Pour all that shit into a casserole dish and cover it with the crushed crackers. I now realize why people think that all their homemade shit tastes better than anything else. I was so fucking hungry when I started this ordeal, by the time I got to this step, and was waiting for the thing to bake, I would have been happy to gnaw on the sole of my shoe. Anything tastes good at that point.

In the end, the thing turned out pretty well. I never said I couldn't cook, just that I didn't cook. People seem to confuse the two.

Oh yeah, I cleaned up too.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-11-28 at 22:40:41.


My Challenge

Today, I have commenced my challenge in accordance with the latest podcast. Jeannine has challenged me to go an entire week without eating out. Since it didn’t officially start until today, I took the opportunity to order a pizza from Freeman’s Little New York last night and that’s what I brought for lunch today. I had a cold slice this morning for breakfast.

This evening, I have to go where I haven’t been in many months: The Grocery Store. I hate grocery shopping. Most of the time, I end up buying too much shit because I want to try to extend the time between required trips, and half of it spoils in my fridge because I end up eating out somewhere.

If any of you guys have some good, easy, fast recipes for things that I can make this week, post them here. I’ll take them under advisement when I’m at the store.

[Edit 28/11/2005 16:59:23]
Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I'm going to try the Macaroni and Cheese tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-11-28 at 11:33:29.


Halifax Podcaster Meet-up

Got to meet some interesting characters tonight, including Tod Maffin, Bruce Murray, and Jeff MacArthur. Tod is travelling the country, talking to local podcasters along the way, and trying to come up with a strategy for podcasting for the CBC going forward. We met at the Economy Shoe Shop.

Beer, food, and interesting conversation. Good times.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-11-24 at 01:10:59.


Lost podcast reveals some new information

If anyone else is listening to the Lost podcast that ABC is doing, you'll now know that they have revealed that yes, in fact, the bunker that the tail section surviviors found was Dharma Initiative facility called "The Arrow". This isn't really hugely surprising because the logo found in that bunker looked similar to the Swan logo, but with an arrow instead of a swan. What they won't say (yet) is what research was being done in that facility. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go [url=]here, and then continue inside the article.

They also said that this week's episode is going to be called "Collision" and that it will feature a flashback for Anna Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez's character).

Hanso Foundation Projects:
1. Life-Extension Project
2. Electromagnetic Research Initiative
3. Quest for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence
4. Mathematical Forecasting Initiative
5. Cryogenics Development Imperative
6. Juxtapositional Eugenics Development Institute
7. Accelerated Remote Viewing Training Facility

In the orientation video (from the episode titled "Orientation"), it is mentioned that there are 6 stations (like the one the fuselage survivors found), but it was unclear whether they meant 6 on the island or 6 in the world. A second bunker found on the island would seem to indicate the former.

Because of the scenes showing Jack's key floating in front of him and Desmond mentioning that his fillings hurt whenever he walks past a certain wall in the facility, it is reasonable to assume that "Swan" station is dedicated to the Electromagetic research initiative. Everyone is still speculating what the "Arrow" station's purpose is.

In the latest episode, "The Other 48 Days", the tail-section surviviors find, a Bible, a glass eye, and a radio. What that could possibly mean is anybody's guess, but the producers of the podcast have said that they are not random and that those specific objects were found for a reason. Here's hoping they don't make us wait too long.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-11-23 at 00:44:10.


Saturday night at the Attic: CHIXDIGGIT!

Everybody who's anybody is going to be at the Attic this Saturday night to see Chixdiggit! for their Halifax Pop Explosion appearance.

This band is probably my favourite live act. Their energy on stage is legendary and their music is short enough to hold even the attention of the most ritalin-prescribed spaz. Trust me when I say you'll regret it if you weren't there. Also on the bill are the semi-local act (from Moncton), the Ditchpigs, who pleasantly surprised me the first two times I saw them.

Show starts at 2300h. And best of all? It's only $10.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-10-14 at 09:21:39.


How much fucking water can the sky hold?

I know we live in Nova Scotia, where the weather can change in an instant. So why isn't it changing now? How much fucking water can possibly be up there? Surely we've seen it all by now. It's been raining all fucking weekend...and not just drizzling, I mean raining HARD. My dehumidifier told me to fuck off.


I was going to wash my car this weekend.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-10-10 at 14:51:14.


My Flickr account

I've opened up an account on Flickr. It's pretty useful. As a freeloader, you can upload up to 20 megs of photos per month. If you choose to pay $25 / year, you can upload up to 2 gigs a month. (EDIT: Changed from 20 gigs to 2 gigs to reflect reality. Still, that's a lot of photos: All the photos on spine so far aren't even 2 gigs.)

Since I have a quality camera on my cellphone now, I've taken to taking random pictures. Flickr is the perfect venue for such an endevour. You can even subscribe to an RSS feed for my photos.

You can see my photos in all their web-enabled glory here: http://flickr.com/photos/stevedinn/.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-09-29 at 16:53:31.


Some stuff has happened while I was away

I ventured out into my neighbourhood today. Many things have changed since I've been gone. I took some pictures using my jizz-jar.

Click inside and we can walk through them.

1. It looks like the ol' Copper Penny is getting a new facade. I don't think that'll make it any more upscale.

2. This HDC place was supposed to open before I left (on September 7th). It still doesn't look very open, and really, why do I care anyway?

3. Applebees. Swiss Chalet meets the Apple Barrel. Meh.

4. NSLC in Bayers Lake is finally open! Only about an entire year behind schedule! Walk-in coolers get my thumbs up. Now if only they weren't under the thumb of a retarded union like the NSGEU...

5. Old Navy, baby, yeah! I will continue to ensure that children in developing countries have jobs by shopping here.

6. I couldn't zoom very well, but if you look in the background on the yellow building, you can see the logo of the once great Kartbahn. Hopefully it'll be open soon.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-09-18 at 19:48:37.


i-mate Jasjar

One of the cool things about going to the PDC was the crazy deal that was announce during the keynote speech on the first day by Jim Allchin. An i-mate Jasjar, normally retailing for about US$1200 for the low, low price of US$160. And if you were one of the first 300 people to order (of course, I was; I was #78), you could get a bluetooth wireless headset for US$9.95 (which I also got). How can you say no to a nearly 90% discount, especially for a device that is so fucking cool?

Let me run down some of the features on this baby: First, it's a Windows Pocket PC 2003-based PDA. It has bluetooth and 802.11 wireless capabilities. It has two cameras, one 1600 x 1280 on the back for real pictures, and a 320 x 240 on the front so you can partake in video calls. Calls...yeah...did I mention it's also a cell phone? Pop your simcard in and you're also on the GSM network.

The device can open like a clamshell to reveal the beautiful 640 x 480 screen and QWERTY keyboard. I'm still getting used to typing with my thumbs. The screen can also swivel 180 degrees and fold back down on top of the keyboard to act like a regular PDA. The screen will automatically re-orient itself from landscape to portrait when you do this, in order to maintain "uprightness" of the display.

I popped my 256 meg SD card that previously belonged to my camera in to the device and it happily played my MP3 media files in Windows Media Player 10. I'm really enjoying using my first true convergence device. I think I'll still use my MP3 player for music though, this thing is still a little more bulky than I'd really like to carry around with me all the time, but I can't really complain. It's the best portable device I've seen to date.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-09-16 at 03:16:29.


Tuesday afternoon at the PDC

I am posting this from a new PDA/cellphone/wi-fi device...I'm still getting used to the keyboard, or thumbboard as it seems to be.

Anyway, a session on MMC 3.0 is about to start so I'll check you guys later. Frosst and I will put up some audio as well.

Edit: Some photos are up, and the podcast is back up after some technical difficulties.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-09-13 at 18:56:09.


Finally in L.A.

Fucking woke up at 0345h this morning to get my 0430h ride to the airport to catch my 0610h flight to JFK and then onto LAX. Cool incidents were that I went through security at JFK right behind the Wayans Brothers. That was pretty neat. I'm glad to see that celebrities have to go through the same sort of bullshit that the rest of us do.

After that, we got on the flight to L.A., and proceeded to become bored out of my mind. It was a fucking long flight (~5 hours)and I am too fucking big to fit comfortably in the economy-class seats. But, of course, we eventually make it and disembark. Then comes the crazy cab ride in the handicap cab with the guy who looks like he's strung out on coke. That was fun.

But the best part is coming up. We check into the hotel, and not 5 minutes after I get into the room and attempt to get online, but the power goes out. I think I just blew a fuse or something, but as it turns out, half the city is out. Frosst was theorizing as usual, along with most other people, I'm sure, that it was a terrorist attack, but I believe it just turned out to be some utility problem.

So, my first day at the PDC is tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-09-12 at 19:23:05.


I win again

Date: Wed, 07 Sep 2005 17:26:47 -0300
From: Kimberly Hoffman <her email address>
Subject: Allison Crowe
To: <my email address>

Congratulations Steve, you have won two tickets to see Allison Crowe on Saturday, September 10th at 8:00 pm and a copy of her CD. You can
pick up your prizes prior to show date at The Coast, 5435 Portland Place between the hours of 9 am to 5 pm. Thanks.

Office Manager
The Coast
5435 Portland Place, Halifax NS, B3K 6R7
902.422.6278 ext 123 Fax: 425-0013

Anyone know what Alison Crowe is like? I knew an Alison Crowe growing up, but I don't think it's the same one.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-09-07 at 21:24:09.


SteveCast #6 - New Orleans is Sinking

I rant a little bit about the anarchy that's going on in New Orleans and some about Big Brother 6.

Check out this guy's LiveJournal blog. He's a sysadmin the crisis manager for DirectNIC, and he's been holed up in their offices on the 10th floor of an office building in New Orleans since before the Katrina hit. It's really interesting to hear a first hand account of what's happening on the front lines.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-09-01 at 23:40:33.


Podcast mailing list

Due to a few requests, I have set up a mailing list so that people can be notified via email when a new Spine.cx Podcast comes out. I'm not sure why they just don't subscribe via RSS, but to each their own.

If you would prefer this method of announcement for the podcasts, you can get yourself on this mailing list by going here and signing up.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-08-26 at 11:09:41.


Podcasting on location

For the first time, Jeannine and I have been requested to make a personal appearance :) We will be podcasting at the opening of Bethana Briffett's new clothing store, Banana Berry Clothing. We will be at the store on Thursday, September 8th, 2005, at least from 5:30 - 7:30, with the podcast being released to the internet the following day.

There will probably not be anything there that fits me, but if you're into clothing designed and made by local Haligonians, and would like to support a fellow Spine.cx Dork's venture into the entrepreneur-o-sphere, stop by 1584 Argyle Street on September 8th from 1700h - 2000h.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-08-23 at 21:45:45.


Plane Crashes

Is it just me or have there been a lot of plane crashes in the media lately? Toronto's Air France crash, Greece's Cypriot airliner crash, Venezuela's charter jet crash, and now one in Switzerland.

Everyone always says that flying is statistically safer than driving, and that is absolutely true. But still, sometimes you can't help thinking and fearing the worst. I wonder if the media is just reporting more of them now. It's hard to gauge the difference between what they're reporting now and what they didn't before.

It's not going to keep me from flying to the U.S. next month though...after all, the only crash in North America had no casualties, right? Right? :|

Edit: Another one in Peru.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-08-23 at 14:41:19.


SteveCast #5 - Charger test drive and Dave Doolittle's

Steve & I went to test drive a Dodge Charger and ate at Dave Doolittle's. Post in the comments here if you want to go on a Alexander Keith's brewery tour or a Harbour Hopper ride tomorrow (Saturday).

Listen to this one in headphones if you can ;)

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-08-19 at 16:05:00.


SteveCast #4 - The Redwood Grill

I didn't really get a chance to do some of the great suggestions I got, because I didn't go downtown today. I did, however, get to go out to the Redwood Grill for supper. In the SteveCast, you'll find my review, as well as some talk about the suggested activities that I didn't do :)

Today's music was brought to you by Spiderbait and John Frusciante.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-08-18 at 19:30:41.


SteveCast #3 - Batting Cages and the Vines

I take a suggestion from Ryan Belbin and hit the batting cages at Atlantic Playland. Afterwards, I drive around a bit and hit the Vines Pasta Grill for supper. All in all, not a completely boring day.

Keep the text messages coming! Email me if you must. Tell me what I should do, and a restaurant where I can eat; I'll record the event and review the restaurant.

Edit: Today's music was brought to you by Daft Punk.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-08-18 at 08:00:01.


SteveCast #2 - On vacation and bored

I'm on vacation and bored out of my mind. Send my phone a text message with what the hell I should do today. I'll try and record it for the next SteveCast.

Edit: Today's music was brought to you today by Punk-O-Rama 10.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-08-17 at 11:45:38.


Obvious: Bell ExpressVu has lousy customer service

No real surprise here, I just wanted to link to a real horror story that this guy has had about his attempt to buy a second receiver from Bell. The commenter at the bottom is certainly correct about the cellphone and cable companies having the same bad service. The worst customer experiences I've ever had have come from Rogers and Eastlink.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-08-11 at 20:34:18.


SteveCast #1

The first of probably many "SteveCasts" (Not to be confused with the Spine.cx Podcast). I talk a bit about how RSS works and how it fits in with podcasting. Then I go into an explanation of some of the new features on the website.

You can probably look forward to some ranting.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-08-06 at 18:55:18.


Spine.cx's 4th birthday

Yay! It's been 4 years since Spine.cx was brought up in this format of articles and comments and such.

How many of you remember when spine.cx looked like this?
For a short time, it looked like this.
But most of you probably remember spine.cx when it was blue.

For it's birthday, I gave spine.cx post-datable blog entries and user profile pages. But anyway, Bean is in town from Ottawa, so I thought we could have a bit of a party for it at Maxwell's on Saturday night. What do you think?

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-08-05 at 14:16:55.


Podcasting for everybody!

In an effort to make life easier for me, I accidentally added a feature to the website. When you go to post a new blog entry now, if you're paying attention, you'll notice a new text field just above the OK button: "Enclosure URL". If you stick a URL in this text field, it'll show up linked to from the podcast icon in your post, and it'll be included in your blog's RSS feed in the podcasting <enclosure> tag.

No, I'm not going to host your MP3 files, I'm just allowing you to easily create the RSS feed...but buy me a hard drive and I might change my mind ;)

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-08-01 at 19:42:07.


Popularizing the Spine.cx Podcast

Among the many other things I think about during any given day, one of them usually is, "How can I make the Spine.cx Podcast more popular to more people?" Hmmm...that certain is one to wax philosophical about, isn't it? One certain way is to vote for the Spine.cx Podcast on PodcastAlley.com. I've actually included a little form over on the right-hand side of the main page that'll be pre-populated with your email address. All you have to do is click the button. If you're worried about being spammed, I wouldn't. I have never recived a spam email as a result of my voting on PodcastAlley.

Another way is to subscribe to the Spine.cx Podcast using iTunes and Odeo.com. If you're already subscribed through some other means, you don't have to stop, note that subscription doesn't necessarily mean downloading again. Those two places just use subscription counts or rates to rank their podcasts.

Of course, the best way to popularize just about anything is by word of mouth. Tell your friends about it if you think it's entertaining. Teach them how to subscribe, rather than downloading each episode individually. Introduce them to Odeo.com and how crazy-fucking-easy it is to use. Post on some forums or something. Talk about it.

I was trying to think of a way to have some sort of podcast-promotion contest, but how would I decide who won? I suppose I could just be subjective. I really have no way of knowing how many more people are listening because of a certain campaign. If you can think of some way that could work, I would love to hear it. I would like to have a real contest, where people could win something useful...like $30 or something.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-07-26 at 15:41:34.


At least Scientologists don't ring your doorbell and wake you up

I fucking hate Jehova's Witnesses!!! Why do they come to my fucking house? They woke me up today. I know it was 10:30, and I probably should have been up anyway, but that's not even close to the point.

I don't want their fucking "Watchtower" magazine. I couldn't even feel good about telling this one off, because she was like 80 years old. Damn.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-07-16 at 11:26:48.


What is up with Club 5171?

I do not understand what the owners of Club 5171 (formerly Merrill's) are doing with that once-great bar. It all started when they closed the place for three weeks for renovations...

..And then opened again as the exact same fucking place. Since then, it left its dance bar beginnings and tried having live acts play. That obviously didn't work because they changed the format once again to a latin/salsa dancing theme. Today, I'm reading the Coast to find that Club 5171 is advertising themselves as "The only country bar in the heart of Halifax".

What. The. Fuck.

I don't thik that a bar that can't decide what the fuck it wants to be has any chance to survive (make your time). I'm predicting right now that the brand new bar "The Frigate" located under Pogue Fado in the old Soho Kitchen space does WAY better than Club Fifty-one Seventy-shit.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-07-15 at 08:31:44.


The new machine is live!

The afore-mentioned new machine is live. Hopefully the only difference you'll all notice is that it's faster.

But please let me know if it isn't.


Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-07-05 at 21:31:05.


NSGEU wants you to boycott private liquor stores

Fuck that.

I'm not even going to get started on what I think of unions, but I know that I absolutely love the private liquor stores. Knowing that they're not unionized just makes me love them even more.

This summer, I shall endevour to shop exclusively at non-unionized stores. Fortunately, the NSGEU has posted a list for me.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-07-05 at 08:44:47.


A new spine.cx

Spine.cx is about to get transplanted into a new body. Currently, spine.cx is running on an AMD K6/2 400 MHz chip with 384MB of RAM. A new machine has been set up with an AMD Athlon 1800+ chip and 500MB of RAM. In addition, I have two 40 gig mirrored drives instead of one 5-year-old 6 gig drive :)

In my initial tests, pages on the new server were loading almost 10 times faster than on the current server. Feel free to play with it. Post away, do whatever you want. when I switch it over for good, everything posted to the beta server will be overwritten with the database from the original.

Let me know if there are any problems.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-06-30 at 16:58:26.


Cheap audio equipment

I'm looking at buying some new equipment for recording the podcast. Specifically a new mixer. The one I have only supports two microphones, and to get the guest in for the last two, I've had to pass that mic through my laptop as a preamp and it doesn't sound as good.

So, I'd like to pick up a mixer with >=3 mic inputs (has to support XLR as well as 1/8 or 1/4" mono plugs) and some regular line-level inputs as well. Really cool would be the ability to redirect arbitrary inputs to a secondary output (or to both primary and secondary outputs).

If anyone has any connections, now's the time to give it up :) Or used gear, I'm open to used gear as well, as long as it does what I want at a reasonable price.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-06-29 at 14:39:30.


It's about fucking time

I really don't understand why it took so fucking long to pass the gay marriage bill. Doesn't this shit just make sense to people? This idea behind bill C-38 is one of the most obvious I have ever contemplated. I really do not "get" the people that disagree with it.

I hope that there are whole families of Harper-lovers out there that have headed for their storm cellars because they think the married gays are going to ruin their families.

I realize that most people on this website will agree with me and that I'm "preaching to the converted" so to speak. But man, sometimes it's just good to write about something that you think the government finally got right. I'm not even gay, but this sort of shit is on the same level as things like giving women the vote; i.e., very important, don't you think?

Update: It's been more than 12 hours after the passing of gay marriage legislation and I still haven't seen any de-valued heterosexual marriages. Hmmm...wait...no way...Maybe Harper was wrong?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-06-28 at 23:35:04.


Promo Girl's identity revealed

I don't know how many of you guys listen to CBC radio, but you probably know that I do. For the last year or so, a curious entity known only as "Promo Girl" has introduced shows, announced upcoming programs, and the like. I always thought she sounded kinda hot.

Well now I have proof.

Promo Girl's identity has been revealed as Shauna MacDonald; originally from Antigonish, but now calling Toronto home. She's been in the Trailer Park Boys too.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-06-23 at 10:19:21.


Panhandling's not illegal...yet

There is a new potential law on the books of the Nova Scotia government. Halifax city council voted overwhelmingly in favour of recommending the "Safe Streets Act" to the province allowing the police to arrest aggressive panhandlers.

Click here for the CBC Nova Scotia article.

One member of an activist group present during the vote had to be carried out of City Hall by police after they were asked to leave, so there is definately some disagreement as to whether it was a good idea. But What I think is the most curious thing about this propsed law is the question, "What exactly defines aggressive?" I've never had a panhandler get physically aggressive with me, but I've had them ask me repeatedly for money. Enough that I felt uncomfortable and just wanted to get the hell away from them.

Is this just an excuse, as the protester said, to "make poverty illegal" or is it a reasonable course of action given that panhandlers can be potentially dangerous to the public?

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-06-15 at 09:29:01.


Thanks for the gifts!

I just wanted to say thanks to all the people who brought with them birthday gifts for me on Saturday night. I totally didn't ask for or expect them, so it was even nicer to get something. I ended up with two quarts (or 26'ers for you newfs) of liquor (Crown Royal and Captain Morgan's Private Stock) and three lobsters complete with a stick of real butter!

Thanks everyone, I really appreciated you all coming out and having a good time. Except for the magnets...but I'm not going to let that sully the experience :) Hopefully next year, for my 30th, it'll be even bigger and better.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-06-13 at 22:21:11.


I think I crashed a party

Tanya and I went downtown on Saturday night, to the Seahorse. I'm fairly certain we weren't supposed to be there because the place was not have as crowded as I would have expected. Not very crowded at all. Turns out we crashed some sort of EMI executive's retirement party. Man, was he ever drunk...but 8 shots of tequila in about 20 minutes will do that to you. Jimmy Rankin and Scott MacIntyre were playing too, so that was pretty cool.

After they started those guys played, we were treated to the billed act for the night, King Konqueror. First time I'd ever seen them play, and they were good. They're going to be back at the Seahorse on the 23rd of June, so go check them out if you're into that sort of thing.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-06-06 at 22:57:27.


Best money making scam ever

Man, I wish I had thought of this. All you have to do to make money in this day and age is to threaten to kill and eat a cute little animal. You don't even have to follow through because nobody is going to know if you don't. This schmuck has already bilked $28k from hapless visitors, and people are still donating.

I'm still not sure this site isn't just a psych student's way to pay tuition.

If you're dumb enough to pay someone money not to eat a rabbit, you deserve to lose it. Read the hate mail. It's pretty funny.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-05-31 at 09:15:48.


Crawl & Order: The day after

The Crawl & Order pubcrawl went off last night without a hitch, save perhaps for the crap-ass weather. The photos are up over here, the pubcast is over here, and you can comment on anything about the crawl in here.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-05-22 at 18:55:34.


Garrison's Jalapeno Ale

I visited Bishops Cellar today with my 10% off coupon from The Coast. Got a whole bunch of stuff I've never tried before.

Right now, I'm drinking Jalapeno Beer by Garrison. It smells like the nachos from Empire theatres. Even the crappy cheese; it's amazing. It tastes pretty much like you'd expect it to, like a medium-coloured beer with the distinct flavour of jalepenos.

But it's HOT. Spicy hot. Holy shit. I took a big swig right after I opened it and I nearly shit myself. It was jabbing at the back of my throat with capscasin daggers. It's taking me the better part of an hour to get it down because I have to let my mouth cool down after each gulp. I think that's why they sell them individually instead of in 6 packs or cases...nobody would drink more than one of these things at once.

It's good, but not in the way that most beer is. Most beer is good because it tastes good and you can drink a bunch of them. This Jalapeno beer is good because it tastes pretty good, and if you give it to your guests, they won't ask for another.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-05-14 at 21:00:15.


Wireless is almost ubiquitous

I am almost convinced that wireless can and will be everywhere. Right now, I'm in the basement of my grandmother's house in St. John's, Newfoundland, and I'm stealing wireless from somebody in the neighbourhood. It's tremendous. The signal is almost non-existant, but it's good enough that I can maintain a connection and that's good enough for me.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-05-07 at 23:12:42.


Website feature!

I have told a few people this, but I'm sure most of you don't know: You can get redirected to your blog through snazzy personalized URLs...you just stick your username in front of blogs.spine.cx. For example, mine is http://steve.blogs.spine.cx. Makes it easier to give out at parties.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-04-28 at 08:42:26.


Pink Razors

Chixdiggit have a new album out, it's called Pink Razors. Man, just when you think they can't rock any harder, they come out with something that rocks fucking harder. I think Chixdiggit is probably my favourite band of all time, eclipsing my previous favourite band of all time, Eric's Trip. I mean, what other punk band would ever use the word 'philatelist'? That's just awesome. They're so fucking hard they could scratch corundum. Ask Mohs. He knows what's hard core.

P.S. I might be drunk.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-04-25 at 23:53:13.


The new Doctor Who

There's a new Doctor Who series and so far, it's awesome. Obviously since we're in an entirely new decade for Doctor Who, the special effects are an order of magnitude better than you've ever seen. The Doctor is in his 9th regeneration and is played by Christopher Eccleston. His new assistant is played by Billie Piper (yes, this Billie Piper).

With this show, and the new Battlestar Galactia, I have renewed hope for SciFi on Television, even though Enterprise has been cancelled just when it was getting good.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-04-25 at 23:24:53.


The second podcast

So, we got together at my place and recorded a second podcast. This one has Jeannine talking into a much better microphone. Thanks to Matt Muise for lending it to me. We run the gamut with this one...talking about everything from how to prounce 'scallops' to whether it should be legal to use your cellphone while driving.

Subscribe to the podcast here.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-04-24 at 19:38:20.


Spine.cx's first podcast

Yes, it's true! Spine.cx has entered the pod-o-sphere. I'm guessing that some (probably many) of you have no idea what podcasting is or why it could be useful to you. The short version is that podcasting is the downloading of binary content via RSS syndication. (If you don't know what RSS is, check out the orange rectangle located on the left of this page.) With the correct application managing your syndication, you don't have to manually download anything. You just go to your computer, and there's a bunch of content on your hard drive.

The most common use for this technology so far is syndicating audio files (usually mp3s) that are basically radio shows. I subscribe to a few of them. But the beauty of it is that it's not limited to audio. It could be video, or even a torrent file. Combine syndication with the automatic downloading of torrents and you've got something incredibly powerful and userful. I'm not using bittorrent technology (yet), but everything is still available as MP3s.

Subscribe to my podcast feed!

Jeanning and I talk about Halifax developments, swarmings, and the new pope (who I think I mistakenly called John Ratzinger...should have been Joseph). I can't apologize enough for the quality of Jeannine's microphone; it really sounds like shit. If anybody has a reasonable mic that the wouldn't mind lending me... ;)

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-04-21 at 23:47:25.


The Subway Thing

For posterity, here is the original Subway rant that pretty much got Spine.cx on the map. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't lost.

Bring Back the Classic Cut

An Online Petition

Picture this, I'm at Subway, and I'm looking forward to sinking my teeth into my freshly-made, renaissance-quality 12-inch roasted chicken sub. Mmmmmm....Delicious. It's lunch time, and I'm relatively hungry. My mind is pretty much blank except for the culinary concoction that I'll be injesting in the next few short minutes.

The illiterate seem to like symbols.

"What kind of bread?" the nice lady behind the counter disturbs my sandwich-induced meditation.

"White," I reply, without hesitation. I never could get into the idea of submarine sandwiches on whole wheat, but I digress...

My mind is racing with pictures of generous helpings of meat and vegetables all nestled into a V-shaped canyon of tasty bread with that clever little strip disconnected from the main loaf. It actually seems to invite toppings to fill it up. It's just not proper if it's not overflowing with the girth of edible vegetation.

The nice lady turns abruptly, and grabs a loaf from the rack behind her. Faster with a knife than that android from "Aliens", she slices open the bread and begins to place the sumptuous ingredients within. I begin to notice something not quite right with the look of this proto-sandwich, but I let it go; after all, she's the Sandwich Artist, not me.

I follow along the sneeze guard, toward the cash register, as the nice lady continues making my meal, and I finally realize that the bread is not actually in two pieces, as the Subway sandwiches of yore, but rather one. It's simply slit down one side like a hot dog bun. I'm in shock. There's just no way I'm going to get all the toppings I want on this sandwich. I'm in such a state of disbelief that I pay, slackjawed, and leave with an $8 mutation under my arm.

Most people don't read the text, so here's another picture.
Apparently gone are the days when one could ask for enough lettuce and tomatoes to effectively have a side salad with one's sub. Not to mention the impossible feat of attempting to eat one of these hideous abominations; I won't go into the gory details here.

Sure, you can bend to the will of the establishment, and force yourself to ask for the old cut, but that's really not the point. Do you have to ask for the "classic" Coke anymore? No, it's the default. And you know why? Because it's better. The public stood up and bitched, and the establishment listened. Power to the people!

To anyone who longs for the classic subway bread incision, and abhors this incredulous deformity of art, please sign my petition to bring the 'classic' cut back to the Subways of our fine nation, and to find the one responsible for instigating this despicable mutilation of sandwiches.

How do you like your buns?

A comparison of two sandwiches

Purpose: To demonstrate that the new "hot dog" style of Subway bread cutting is inferior to the old "V-shaped canyon" style.

Hypothesis: The old style will hold more vegetables, and be easier to eat. Overall, providing a more enjoyable lunchtime experience to the eater.

Procedure: I get together with a non-believing friend to use as a control specimen. I figure he won't mind getting a sandwich cut the new way because he doesn't yet know the difference. I know it's kind of unethical, letting him actually pay money for an abomination like this, but hey, it's for science.
We travel to Subway with plans to get basically the same sandwiches, only mine cut the old way, and his cut the new way. The time at the actual store was rather uneventful. The staff were polite and efficient as they always are. I don't blame them for this fiasco...they're just doing what they're told. But how can you call your employees Sandwich Artists when they must bow to the Establishment's method of cutting bread?

Let's take a look at the sandwiches once we get them back to the lunchroom and unwrap them:

The Old Cut

This is what a sandwich should look like. Neat. Tidy. Perhaps a little spillage around the bottom, but that extra stuff is all good.
The New Cut

Look at it. It's disgusting. It looks like somebody gutted a muskrat.

Here we can see my assistant, Ryan, attempting to eat the sandwich cut the new way. As he soon finds out, it's not very easy.

The Eating Process

This might just be the most disturbing picture of all; he can't even get it to his mouth without spilling toppings all over the place. Poor Ryan, the sacrifices he makes for science...

Now that we're finished eating, we can examine the aftermath. You can easily see that the waste factor is much lower with the old cut.


The only toppings lost here were the ones that fell out during transport.

This is what it looks like on the other end of a black hole.

Conclusion: We now have empirical evidence to support the previously made hypothesis. It is reasonable to believe that the old cut is superior.

The Gourmet Bread Conspiracy

or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New Cut

I don't know if many of you other people noticed this, but looking back, didn't the new cut start appearing just about the same time those new gourmet breads came out? Not to mention that @%!&*? hand puppet with the voice of the parrot from Aladdin. I believe that the introduction of these breads was not simply to allow the sandwich eater more choice, but also to distract patrons from the fact that it was being cut using an inferior method.

Now, I'm all for innovation in the wheat sciences, but these breads hardly innovate. I was going through the drive-through at a Subway near my home, and I asked the gentleman behind the voice in the speaker to explain the difference between these new-fangled types of bread and, I kid you not, this is a quote:

"Hearty Italian, that's basically white with some crap on top; Country Wheat, that's whole wheat with crap on top; and Parmesan Oregano." Note the crap.

I'm not going to comment on his obvious coarseness of language, on the contrary, I appreciated his frankness in the matter. Parmesan Oregano is the only one of the breads that actually involves something new, apart from the ill-fated Asiago Cheese bread, which only lasted about a month.

As a discriminating consumer, would you say that "some crap" on top of a regular offering of bread warrants the prefix "gourmet"? I sure don't. It is because of this that I feel the "gourmet" breads of Subway are nothing more than a "smokescreen" of sorts to draw the attention of the public away from the more important issue that's right under our noses: the absense of the V-groove cut.

"Try this new bread, it's great!" says my friend as he chomps down on his new-cut sandwich; a fallen mustard-soaked pickle already staining his shoe.

I rest my case.

The fresh salmon debacle

Or lack thereof, as the case may be

As I'm sure you're aware, my cause is to get the old cut re-instated. But throughout the course of my campaign, various people have emailed me with their own grudges against Subway, and although it deviates from this site's goal, I couldn't help but indulge myself and bitch about this as well.

A loyal reader (Joe U. Rinator) sent in this photo of what I consider to be another grave disappointment:

At first, like you, I saw the brightly-lit letters spelling out the words "Fresh Salmon". "Hooray!" I thought. What luck. At least one Subway has made a consious descision to offer a choice of meats above and beyond the ordinary selections. This might even give people who aren't hardcore vegans a choice other than the veggie sub. Hell, I'm the furthest thing from a vegetarian possible, and I'm thinking to myself that I'd love to try a 12" Salmon on white right now.

But then I look a little closer at what I thought was a JPEG artifact, and my blissfully ignorant reality is shattered once again, by the complete, unadulterated absurdity of a large sandwich chain. I leaned in, close to the monitor, and saw some barely visible lighter blue text above and below the word "fresh". I zoomed in for a closer look:

Oh the horror. I realize that what I had seen was not a JPEG artifact, but something much more sinister. Not an innocent product of a lossy image-compression algorithm; no, this was a deliberately-placed, law-suit avoiding manoever. Cleverly framing the advertisement of "Fresh Salmon" were words to change the meaning into a much less appealing product: "new fresh salmon taste".

I'm pretty sure that if what they were serving was salmon, they would damn well call it salmon. This leaves me with quite the poser: If it's not salmon, then what the hell is it? At best it's fish-flavored tofu; at worst--and this is probably closer to the truth--it's a carefully mixed concoction of alge and sawdust. If I want sawdust in a fast food product I'll go to McDonald's.

Just another page in a growing dossier of evidence that the standards at Subway are sliding down a slippery slope from whence there is no return.

The word on the street

The public's opinion of the new cut

I've seen quite a few people sign my petition so far; 152 as of this writing, but I thought the best way to be sure I was doing the right thing was to take to the streets and ask the public. While investigating, I found out some interesting truths:
  1. Not many people like to have their picture taken by a stranger; especially when you tell them that it's for a web site.
  2. People think you're weird when you ask them about sandwich breads.
  3. As I suspected, the public massively prefers the old cut.

Hear what the public had to say

"I totally despise the new way, I prefer the old way. It seems to be more convenient and less messy."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"I personally hate the new cut. I'm not sure why they changed it but I would like to speak for the old cut."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"It's very simple...the new cut just isn't acceptable. With the old cut, you get all that stuff, and you can hold it in your hand, and just keep chewing and chewing and chewing; man it makes like a huge sub. The new cut? It's crap!"

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"I like the old way better than the new way because all your stuff doesn't fall out."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"[I like] the old way because it fits more into it and it stays nicer because when it's cut the new way it's more messier because it goes all over the place. The old way kept it in the sub."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"I prefer the old way, just because things don't fall out the side like they do more now, like everything was on top, you know, so it couldn't fall out the side and that the stuff stays in better and everything blends in better that way."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"The old cut is better! I like the old cut. Bring back the old cut"

Listen (32 KBps MP3)
"I always ask them to cut it the old way, and then they look kind of cranky when they do."
"I ask for the old way because I don't like the new way. Yeah, there's not enough room there."

Listen (32 KBps MP3)

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-04-18 at 11:59:32.


New Forums!

So, just like I rewrote the main site, I've also re-written the forums. They've been done for a while, but I've just been using them myself. I haven't seen any glaring bugs, but if you do, drop me a line and let me know, please.

Also, in case anybody didn't notice who would otherwise care, I would like to move the pub crawl discussion into this thread.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-04-17 at 12:38:32.


Create your own South Park look-alike

Using this flash animation, you can make yourself into a South Park character. Good way to waste time at work ;)

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-04-14 at 10:23:13.


More companies should do this

This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen put out by a technology company. It's not a product, it's an advertisement...but it's awesome. It's an explanation of Hitachi's perpendicular technology done in the style of schoolhouse rock.

Click here to watch it

Just goes to show that if you make an advertisement entertaining, people will not only not fast-forward through it, they will actively seek it out and watch it over and over.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-04-13 at 10:18:07.


I thought everything was relative

Let me start out by saying that I love Uncommon Grounds, but their coffee sizing methods just don't make sense.

Is it not logical to call your smallest size, oh, I don't know...SMALL? And say, perhaps, you had three sizes. What would you call them? I think the industry standard would be "small", "medium", and "large". Unfortunately, this is not the case at Uncommon Grounds. I can forgive the "single", "double", and "triple" labels. They at least make sense; unlike Starbucks with their "venti" and WTF. But if you ask for a coffee by actual size, you'll quickly find that their scale is skewed to the right: Their smallest coffee is a medium. Why are these sizes not relative?

Sure, there are times when a size should be absolute, like clothing. If I wear an extra-large, I want to be able to buy any extra-large and know it will fit. If the same methodology were to apply to UG's coffee, then they should offer a small as well.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-04-12 at 10:10:03.


MSN Messenger 7.0

So Messenger 7.0 is out now, officially. I recommend that you all download it, it's pretty cool. Some of the new features include letting you see little, miniaturized images of the contacts in your contact list, allowing users to append a message to their name (so changing your name isn't necessary), and hooking into Media Player to show your contacts what you're listening to at the time. There's also a bunch of little features like "winks", "nudges", and the ability to tell everyone when your MSN Spaces blog is updated.

"What I'm listening to" is a feature I just can't get to work. I don't know why it doesn't work; everything seems to indicate that it should. But it doesn't. If anyone can offer any troubleshooting tips for that one, I'd be much obliged.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-04-08 at 18:50:40.


This Ottawa hotel is awesome

I'm in Ottawa on a business trip and the hotel they put us in is fucking awesome. It's called the Brookstreet Hotel. Hands down, it's the best hotel I've ever stayed in. Better than anything in Halifax. The Internet connection in the rooms is FAST, which could be because we're right next to an Alcatel building. I downloaded about a gig worth of stuff in a little over half an hour.

Anyway, if anyone's reading in Ottawa, let me know what's fun to do here. I'm only here tonight and wednesday night, and we leave Thursday evening.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-04-05 at 18:58:01.


Let's Blaspheme

What do the Pope and Terri Schiavo have in common?

Come on, that question is its own punchline.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-04-01 at 15:26:28.


Google maps is officially the best website ever

I bore witness to something on google maps that completely blew my mind. It recognizes one-way streets when giving directions. I suppose it makes sense since they get their data from a company who also provides data for car navigation systems, but holy shit, that's cool.

Check it out: One way The other way

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-03-30 at 13:05:00.


What's up with this?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-29 at 22:17:58.


Birthdays in the HRM

Every year, I think about trying to come up with a list of things that somebody can do free on their birthday. Stuff like Baskin-Robbins free ice cream or lunch at Mother Tuckers and things like that. But every year, I forget until it's too late to do anything about it.

Not this year! Let's compile a list. This could be beneficial to anybody who has a birthday coming up. The more things we find, the more we can all get for free. Fuck, I love free shit.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-29 at 13:38:27.


The Montreal Grill

I just found out that the restaurant (or diner, I guess it's a diner) in the basement of the BMO building downtown has its specials online. Pretty cool.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-29 at 13:32:05.


Podcasting and the applications used

I am seriously considering starting up my own podcast. I have pretty much all the gear I would need to do it, short of a three or four channel mixer that would be handy for adding music or switching between two microphones. I am planning to record anything I'd do on my iRiver IFP 799, which is incidentally the same thing that Adam Curry uses for his podcast.

Mine wouldn't necessarily be daily, probably not, but maybe weekly. One piece of software that Curry uses that I would love to be able to use is a Mac-only application called Audio Hijack that can grab the sound output of any other application and record it specifically. I tried some basic recording to see how my microphones sound and used my laptop to play some background music, but I still get the pings and blips of other applications like MSN. I know I could just shut those certain applications down, but even explorer makes noise sometimes. Really, what I would like this ability for is to be able to talk to somebody on the podcast via Skype. Seriously, how cool would that be? I could do phone interviews.

Anyway, if anybody has any suggestions for windows applications that can do the same thing, please respond here or email me.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-29 at 11:46:10.


Time for a new pubcrawl?

So far this year, I've heard no less than three people in seperate situations ask me if there is going to be another spine.cx pubcrawl. I don't see why there can't be if the interest is there, but the last few seemed to be waning in the number of those attending. I am more than willing to organize, if the people will come, but it's hard to get motivated when you've seen more than 100 come out and now you're getting only around 30.

If one is going to happen, now is the time, or at least soon. Spring is in the air, the temperature is rising and St. Patrick's day was just a warm up.

Feel free to use this blog entry to post theme and date suggestions. If TJ reads this, consider this the bat-signal. There's a good chance I will need your t-shirt design services in the near future ;)

EDIT (17 Apr 05): Please continue discussion here, in the forums.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-03-28 at 19:14:05.


Having lunch on a Sunday afternoon

Right now, I'm sitting in the Blowers Street Paper Chase. I've ordered a club sandwich and a bowl of ginger-carrot soup. I'm listening to another table's conversation about which country of the world has worst bastardized the English language. One says the United States, one says Australia, a third says Canada, and the fourth is actually arguing for England.

Personally, I don't think it should be just about country, but rather region. Actually one of the guys just brought that up. I mean look at Canada; how many dialects are there? Just in Nova Scotia, even. You can easily tell if somebody is from Cape Breton, or the south short just by the way they talk. In England, there have been jokes written about how you can tell from somebody's accent, where they live, to the precision of what street they live on. Anybody else have any thoughts?

Incidentally, the club sandwich was exquisite. More bacon than any other club sandwich I've ever had...and this bacon was excellent. Rich, flavourful tomatoes, and vibrantly green, crunchy lettuce. Deee-licious. And their wireless access is free. That's what I like to hear. Even if you don't have a laptop, you can pay a nominal fee and use their workstations scattered throughout the place.

The coffee's not as good as Uncommon Grounds' coffee, but then, really, what is?

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-03-27 at 13:43:49.


Skype Internet Telephony

I'm sure many of you have heard of Skype. Me too, but I had never really used it until yesterday. Man, was I impressed. I got a friend of mine to give me his skype ID over MSN messenger and then I dialed him up. It was amazingly clear. Computer to computer calls anywhere in the world are free. Free.

They've probably had this for a while, but I just never noticed, but now they have the ability to call actual real phones. It costs money to do that, but it's probably cheaper than making a real long distance call. Basically you go over the internet to the local Skype center in whatever country you're calling and then it makes a local call to the number you wanted. Pretty slick.

Anyone else have a Skype ID? Post 'em in the comments, if you don't mind them being public. Mine is "stevedinn". Give me a call :)

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-03-25 at 11:29:15.


Video lottery terminals

On the way into work on the bus this morning, I heard a piece on the news stating that local bar owners are upset about a push by the Nova Scotia government to take away their VLTs. I say good for the fucking government.

Their chief argument is that they would not be able to survive as a business if such a large portion of their income is taken away. If such a large portion of their income is coming from VLTs, then aren't they basically a casino? I think that any place that isn't surviving on their merits as a bar and is just hanging on because they are a place for the gambling-addicted to wallow in their own crapulence, then I don't think they should stick around anyway.

Get rid of the damn VLTs.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-03-23 at 09:24:09.


Nobody will let me buy a wi-fi SD card

I have been wanting a small, portable wi-fi-enabled device since wireless technology has been available. Now that PalmOne has introduced their SD wi-fi card, I’m thinking to myself, “This card + my Zire 72 = unstoppable!” I journey to Futureshop to pick one up. First stop, the digital camera, PDA, & Cell Phone thingy:

“Hello, I’d like a Palm wi-fi SD card please.”

“Sorry, you can only get one in a bundle with a PDA.”

I’m pulling out my wallet. “How much is...pardon?”

“You can only get one with a PDA”.


What is up with that? As it turns out, Staples is the same way. Why can’t I buy this thing by itself? After some googling, I found it on a few websites, but I would rather buy it locally if I can, for obvious reasons. It’s not often I leave Futureshop when the thing I want it still in the store.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-22 at 20:36:59.


Podcasting applications suck

I'm trying to get into Podcasting. There are some interesting shows that I've started to listen to on the bus ride downtown in the morning. Unfortunately, the software sucks ass. I haven't been able to get anything I've downloaded to work properly for me. I have to just go to the website and download the shows manually.

I'm very tempted to write my own. If nothing else, it'll show me exactly how difficult it really is to get a podcasting app running.

My roommate and I had the basic idea for podcasting about a year ago. Well, ok, it was mostly his idea, but I was there. I even constructively added to the idea process. But it was mostly selfish; I just wanted my television show torrents to get automatically downloaded each week. Replace television shows with MP3s of radio broadcasts and you've got podcasting.

What I'd really like to know is, why haven't the existing RSS readers out there got this feature in their product. I mean, they already do RSS, all they would have to add is support for the <enclosure> tag, and they're off to the races. Not to mention that I don't really want to have to have two applications that basically do the same fucking thing.

Edit: Of course, the same day I posted this iPodder came out with version 2.0 of their software. Needless to say, it's much better than the one I had before.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-03-18 at 15:16:50.


New MP3 player

I just bought an iRiver IFP 799. It's a 1 gigabyte player that thanks to a timely firmware upgrade, windows recognizes it as a removable drive. I credit this purchase to Brent who had previously bought the 256 meg version.

It's a pretty sweet player all in all, and it's one of the only ones available with my number one feature: being able to play Ogg Vorbis.

This little player has a number of features that led me to its purchase. One is definately its size. This thing is small. It's about as long as my index finger and about twice as wide. The heaviest thing about it is the double A battery that it takes.

Also very powerful is the recording abilities. You are able to record directly to MP3 from the FM radio, the microphone, or the line in. In fact, Brent used his device to record a Cool Blue Halo show at Tribeca last year and despite the fact that the output from the sound board was mono, the quality was excellent. I am looking forward to recording some things of my own.

Absolutely wonderful is the previously-mentioned firmware upgrade that allows me to completely circumvent the horrid proprietary software that comes with the device. Upon connection, the player shows up as a removable drive, and I can use explorer to drag and drop music files or anything else I want onto the internal 1 gig of storage provided. Simply because of this, the funtionality of the player has expanded dramatically. On any machine, I can hook this thing up and use it just like a USB key. I really don't understand why any company would bother developing a custom software solution when they can just implement a removable drive and allow explorer to do what explorer does best.

I believe I also mentioned how it takes a double A battery. I am all for my cell phone taking a custom lithium rechargable battery, but it's also nice to be able to swap it out when it runs dry, to be able to buy a replacement battery at any drug store for a dollar and to not have to carry a charger around with you all the time.

The FM tuner is great. With my Palm Zire 72, this was one thing I really missed when using it as an audio player. The automatic scanning definately needs some work though. It found and filled its 20 preset slots before it got to 90 MHz.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with it. I've only had the thing for a few hours now, but I have a feeling that I'll still be happy with it for quite a while.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-15 at 22:42:39.


Now this is funny.

In a .NET windows forms application, paste this code into one of your windows' code files:

protected override void OnPaint(PaintEventArgs e)
base.OnPaint( e );
this.SpecialSecret( e.Graphics );
public void SpecialSecret(Graphics g)
int maxSize = 4;
int maxFine = 1000;
Brush b = new SolidBrush(Color.Green);
for (double t=-Math.PI;t<Math.PI;t+=Math.PI/maxFine)
double R = (1+Math.Sin(t))*(1+0.9*Math.Cos(8*t))*(1+0.1*Math.Cos(24*t))*this.Width/10;
float x = this.Width/2+(float)(R*Math.Cos(t));
float y = this.Height/2-(float)(R*Math.Sin(t));
g.FillEllipse(b,x,y + 30,maxSize,maxSize);
g.DrawString("www.dotnet.us ;)",this.Font,b,this.Width/3*2,this.Height/3*2);

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-03-11 at 19:54:28.


Computer for my living room

I need a computer for my living room. The one I had in my entertainment unit went tits-up the other day. It couldn't even get past the boot screen (after the POST)...sometimes it would bluescreen too! To be honest, I wasn't totally happy with it anyway; the fan noise was extreme.

So, now I'm looking for a combination of a machine of modest performance and a quiet case that doesn't end up costing me a fortune. The old chip was an Athlon 1800+, but as long as it'll play XVid videos and DVDs it's fine with me. I can reuse most of the other hardware, such as the DVD-ROM, RAM, and video card, so all I really need is the board and chip, and case.

Anybody have any suggestions for components that would fit the bill?

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-03-10 at 10:31:30.


Canada's not so liberal when it comes to the Internet

I'm not sure how reliable this is, but it seems that the Canadian government has plans for their own version of Carnivore, the "Lawful Access" initiative. It's amazing to me how a country who can legalize filesharing can come up with this sort of ass-backwards concept of allowing wiretaps (digital or not) without a warrant.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-08 at 20:40:55.


Deadwood Season 2!

One of my favourite shows from last year is back: Deadwood started its second season last night. I was surprised to like it because it was a western, but the sheer realism of the sets and the passion and quality of the actors draw you in.

I'd recommend it to anybody who hasn't had the seen it yet; those who have don't need me to.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-03-07 at 19:51:24.


The elusive internet café

I am sitting in what used to be commonly called an “Internet Café”, but what are now commonly referred to as “Cafés”; more specifically, Uncommon Grounds on Argyle Street (interestingly enough, that URL didn't show up until the second page of search results for "uncommon grounds halifax" on google). However, I am unfortunately relegated to composing this blog entry in Word, rather than the webpage itself because I can’t connect to any access points whatsoever. Very disappointing.

I have enjoyed a very nice coffee and a ham and gouda sandwich, but I feel rather misled, not only by the lack of Internet in this internet café, but also by the lack of power outlets. In fact, this place is so lacking in power outlets, that it can only have been by design. There’s only one other person in here with a laptop, and we’re forced to sit next to each other because the only outlet in the place is here.

Ok, let’s think about this: If you’re going to bill yourself as an Internet Café, then perhaps the principle things you should have, besides coffee, would be uh…Internet, and power. Come on people.

[Edit: Ok, I found out later that the internet thing was because I had to actually register with them. Fair enough. I should have found that out, but the lack of power outlets is still reprehensible.]

[Edit2: Found out later still that if they did indeed have wireless internet at this location, then I would have to register with them. They don’t currently, but it’s in the works, I’m promised.]

Now, if I were to review the place as a pure café rather than an Internet café, then they would surely fare much better. They have great coffee and damn good food at prices that are considerably lower than Starbucks. It’s all good on that front.

There are a number of clever idiosyncrasies that make this place pretty cool: The Andy Warhol-style pop-culture murals on the walls, the fact that everything is stainless steel, and the way they serve the coffee for “eat-in” customers in clear glass glasses. Second, but certainly not in my mind, are the tip jars; yes, they have more than one. Every day there is a trivia question posed to the customer with three possible answers, and a tip jar for each one. It’s like you’re supposed to “vote” for your answer by tipping. Personally, I think they seed one of the incorrect answers so obsessive-compulsive people like me will feel an unconscious desire to fill up the correct answer bowl with money. Damn them! A daddy-long-legs isn’t even a spider!

On the down side, this particular location doesn’t seem to have nearly the comfy seating area that the other two Uncommon Grounds locations do. There are only two plush leather seats in the whole place, and nary a couch to be seen. It’s much smaller than the others, but man, this hard backed bench is doing nothing for me.

In conclusion, if you’re just looking for coffee and a bite, then any U.G. will do, but don’t bother hanging out in the Argyle Street one…It’s like they designed it to make you want to leave.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-03-06 at 13:47:03.


There's a new Pick in town.

My friend (and boss) Jeff Pick just had his second kid. Another boy...I'll let him explain the sitution:
On Thursday March 10th @ 11:43AM, Crystal and I (well, mostly her as I simply held the camera) unleashed another child containing my (apparently very cute) genes into this world! ;)

Ethan James Pick was born 8lbs 4oz, and seems to be doing just fine! Mom and dad are tired, but still hanging strong in there. Should be home from the hospital (finally) sometime on Sunday … if everything continues to go as well as they have been!

Dangerous...Hopefully this one's more like his mom :P

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-03-05 at 15:44:01.


Crash course in BBCode

I'm sure more than a few of you have wondered, "WTF is up with all this BBCode shiznit? OMGWTFLOLBBQ!!!!!11!!1!1one". Well, I'm here to explain as best I can.

In short, BBCode is a pseudo-mark-up language very similar to HTML that you can use to make text bold, post working links, format your text, etc.

Read on for more.

Q: If BBCode is like HTML, why not just use HTML?
A: That's a valid question. And it comes with just as valid an answer: Since the rest of this website is also shown with HTML, Joe User, who thinks he knows what he's doing, enters a comment or a blog post, or whatever, with some HTML in it. But Joe didn't close one of his tags. That could potentially screw up the rendering of the rest of the page and nobody wants that.

Not allowing actual HTML in user-contributed content also prevents the malicious use of the <script> tag in cross-site scripting attacks.

Q: Ok, I get it. How do I use it?
A: BBCode is very similar to HTML, but instead of surrounding your tags with < and >, you're going to use [ and ] (square brackets). Let's go through the tags together so you can see what they all do. For display purposes, I'm going to use <> instead of [], because [] would actually get interpreted as BBCode.

<align=left>This text is aligned left</align>
This text is aligned left

<align=center>This text is aligned center</align>
This text is aligned center

<align=right>This text is aligned right</align>
This text is aligned right

The word <b>bold</b> will appear bold.
The word bold will appear bold.

<bg=red>This line's background will be red</bg>
This line's background will be red
<bg=#ccddee>This line's background will be some other colour.</bg>
This line's background will be some other colour.

The code tag will cause whitespace not to be ignored, so you can format things with spaces.
for( i=0; i<5; i++ )
// This is code.
// Whitespace is not ignored.

<color=red>This text will be red.</color>
This text will be red.

Email and MailTo
<email=email@example.com>Link Text</email>
Link Text

<i>This text will be in italics.</i>
This text will be in italics.

Image and img

Link and URL
<link=http://weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/>Link Text</link>
Link Text

<quote>This text will be quoted</quote>
This text will be quoted


<size=9>Size = 9</size>
Size = 9
<size=10>Size = 10</size>
Size = 10
<size=11>Size = 11</size>
Size = 11


Originally posted on Wednesday, 2005-03-02 at 10:25:01.


Two more visits to the doctor

After my throat swab for strep came back negative, my doctor called me back in for a blood test. Two days and another appointment later, it turns out I have mononucleosis.

Lucky for me, the only symptom I really seem to be experiencing is the swelling of tonsils and lymph nodes. Unlucky for me, that one symptom is making up in spades for the lack of the other ones.

Any of you guys ever get mono? Did it lay you on your ass?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-03-01 at 17:04:10.


A visit to the doctor

For the first time in around 10 years I felt sick enough to make an appointment to see a doctor. Honestly, the last doctor I went to that wasn't in an emergency room was my pediatrician.

What can possibly have been so bad as to prompt me to take these drastic measures? Well, I could barely swallow (no jokes please). My tonsils were the size of red, pulsating, golf balls. I was going to take a picture, but I thought that would be too much. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the PAIN. Usually these things just go away after about a week (or less), but this one stuck around; with a vengance.

I try not to take a lot of drugs (save alcohol and caffeine of course), especially antibiotics, because I'm paranoid about one day the world being taken over by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is also why I am against all the hand-sanitizers and the anti-microbial soaps and all that junk.

Bacteria are out there and we're going to come into contact with them, there's no doubt of that. I think it's better that we experience that and let our antibodies build up our immune systems like they're supposed to. If you can do something naturally, then it's got to be better than pumping your body full of drugs.

I get why we need to sterlize operating theatres, it's not like I'm advocating the ban of these anti-microbial solutions, but operating, cutting someone open, isn't exactly what I'd call natural.

Just don't chop your vegetables on a raw chicken and for the most part, you'll be fine.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-02-25 at 12:58:53.


Fire in Fairview

This guy has some pretty good photos of the fire that ravaged that apartment building in Fairview on Sunday.

Photo by Shaun Lowe

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-02-22 at 10:17:44.


Windows XP firewall is useless

My brother sent me an interesting email today. It doesn't totally surprise me.
By adding a new key to the registry in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / Services / SharedAccess / Parameters / FirewallPolicy / StandardProfile / AuthorizedApplications / List you can circumvent the whole purpose of the firewall with out the user's interaction or knowledge. Spyware & Adware manufacturers already do this.

More information and a little rant at:

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-02-21 at 14:43:17.


Why aren't there bathroom standards?

Toothbrush handles have been getting conspicuously girthier in past years, but the diameter of the holes in toothbrush holders hasn't kept pace. Toothbrushes are fat (phat?). It's getting so it's hard to find a "normal" toothbrush anymore.

It's not even that I mind the fat brushes; they fit better in your hand. But I'm relegated to using a cup to hold them.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-02-20 at 22:02:25.


Goodbye to the Wave?

I was reading in the Halifax Herald today that due to renovation of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and Sackville Landing park, they may be tearing down the Wave. That sculpture that you climbed on as a kid (or maybe still) may soon be no more.

I get why. People climb on that thing all the time, and I guess the city could be liable for any injuries sustained. Still, I think it sucks. That sculpture defines that part of the waterfront. This excerpt from the article really surprised me though...

Skateboarders are also known to use it as a ramp, while baby strollers, bicycles and even a unicycle have been spotted wheeling up and down.

Baby strollers? Who the hell are these irresponsible parents wheeling their young up sharp inclines onto 3.7 meter high sculptures?

And who can get away with calling that oversized slab of concrete a park? Shouldn't a park have some semblance of grass?

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-02-14 at 14:25:08.


Party at the Frosst's. I think my body is rejecting it.

Oh my. Alcohol is evil. I've suspected it for some time, but now my hypothesis has been confirmed. I just can't seem to handle it like I used to. Drinking the measuring cup full of rum didn't help, I'm sure.

Ray, Jeanine and I had planned to go skiing in the morning, but that turned out to be not practial nor possible as I was still drunk when I woke up. It's 11:08 now, and we still haven't ventured off of the couch. Watching Mythbusters and drinking tea seems much easier on my body.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2005-02-13 at 11:00:43.


LokiTorrent.com shut down

LokiTorrent.com, one of the few remaining big torrent sites has been shut down by the MPAA. Makes me really glad I live in Canada. Good thing the majority of the torrent sites out there are not in North America.

As long as I can get my TV shows, I'm happy. How's this for irony: I cancelled my cable, because I can download my television shows using the internet service that my cable company provides.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-02-11 at 18:26:11.


Razor blades

How much does it really cost to make a razor blade? Per ounce, they must be more valuable than gold. I do not understand how 8 blades can come to more than $20. Granted, I'm buying them for my Mach 3, and those are probably the most expensive ones out there, but I think they do give you the best shave.

You'd think they could make them last longer too, all they're cutting is hair. I've had a pair of scissors for many years, and they still cut everything just fine, no sharpening! Razor blades seem to dull enough to scrape the hell out of your face in less than a week.

It's a scam, I'm telling you. Gillette just merged with Proctor and Gamble in a $57 Billion deal. Razors are big business.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-02-10 at 11:17:53.


Spine.cx gets rewritten

Over the past few days, I've been working on a new code stream for spine.cx. Something not so cluttered and encumbered with PHPNuke code that I never really used anyway.

So far, it's mostly functional. You can post blog entries and comments. I posted this message from the new beta site. You can check it out if you want. Use the same username/password that you do for the normal spine.cx.

Please let me know what you think!

Update! I've changed the database to reflect the "blogging" paradigm on the beta site. Anyone who has ever submitted an article to spine.cx is now credited as being the primary author, and now has that post in their blog.

I am also thinking about changing the way spine.cx works. Think about this: Each user now has his or her own weblog. People can post to their own weblogs, and the more interesting articles can get chosen to be displayed on the main page as well. I think that would be a pretty cool way to go.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-02-10 at 00:15:53.


Whidbey Beta 2

I was at an MSDN event tonight, regarding security in .NET. That wasn't so interesting in itself, although the presenter was good. The really cool thing was the exposition of some of the cool new features in Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey). The things I was most impressed with were the "refactoring" and the renaming capabilities.

Refactoring allows you to hilight a bit of code, then right-click on it, and go Refactor/New Function. This will take that bit of code, find all the variables it was using, and set up a function for that bit of code with all the variables as parameters. Fucking cool shit.

Renaming is like a search and replace in context. Say you had a variable 'name'. Not an uncommon thing. But you also use the text 'name' in a bunch of your comments, or other variables like 'username'. You can use the renaming feature to only search and replace the text where it is referencing the variable in question. I can see that one being extremely useful.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-02-08 at 23:31:47.


So, they're going to do another bridge study

Sometimes I just don't understand what goes on in the minds of politicians. From things as big as the "war on terror", to things in Canada like the sponsorship scandal, to right here at home with the commissioning of a $65k study for find out that there's traffic on the bridges. Brilliant!

I really think the solution will ultimately come down to Halifax having a public transit system on par with other major cities. I don't know if not having a subway is going to hurt is detrimentally in the long run, but it sure seems like it would have been a good idea now. If the existing transit system was half decent (i.e., not having to wait for your bus for the better part of an hour, and when it gets there not having it be as crowded as free donut day at the fat farm) then more people would use it. The more people that use it, the less cars would be on the road.

Have you ever noticed how many cars driving during rush hour have only one person in them? That's insane! I'm guilty of it myself, of course, but it really doesn't make much sense. Not to mention the cost of parking.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-02-08 at 11:08:16.


User 'blog functionality

For all you kids who like to 'blog, spine.cx now has a solution for you. Check out the box on the left side with the red title bar. You can post all you want, and you'll have a section of the website to call your very own, complete with hierarchical comments, just like the stories on the main page. You also get your own rss feed at no extra charge. When you're looking at your blog, just tack on "&op=rss" to the URL, like this. From time to time, I may even select a story posted in a 'blog to be featured on the main page.

I don't know how popular this feature will be with spine.cx users, but the kids sure seem to like their 'blogs these days.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2005-02-08 at 10:34:40.


Best new show on TV this season

So, what do I think is the best new show on TV this season? House, M.D. It's kind of like a cross between CSI and E.R. Every week, they have a patient with a mysterious illness and the doctors use their noggins to solve the case.

But the best part of the show isn't the plot, nor the detective work, nor the medical setting. The thing that makes the show is the Dr. House character. He is the single most surly, cynical, bastard of a man that has ever graced the small screen. This alone makes the show worth watching. Merely viewing the man and his constant stream of sarcasm and insults are enough to entertain me to no end. My only hope is that they can keep the show fresh. Here's to a second season of House M.D.

Originally posted on Monday, 2005-02-07 at 14:16:16.


MGM is a movie butcher

According to an article I've just read on Slashdot, at least 315 of MGM's so-called "widescreen" DVD releases have actually been the Pan & Scan versions with the top and bottom of the picture cut off. This basically means, when you buy the widescreen version , thinking you're getting the original print of the movie, you're actually getting less picture than the people who bought the P&S version. This is absolutely appallingto me.

There is currently a class-action lawsuit against MGM for this heinous act of flagrant disservice to movie-lovers everywhere. You can see the list of affected DVDs here or go to mgmdvdsettlement.com. You can return your hacked up discs for either a new one, or US$7.10 each.

Originally posted on Friday, 2005-01-28 at 09:52:58.


Car accident redux

Last week, I got my car back from the collision shop, looking as good as new. They even cleaned it inside and out, it was awesome. Since the hairy man had no insurance (nor a drivers licence), I had to pay a deductible, even though I was not at fault; a reduced deductible, but a deductible nonetheless. I found out that my insurance company will go after the driver, and if they can get any money out of him, I'll get my money back. I guess that's as good as I can hope for.

I happened to be at the scene of the accident earlier today (it is near Futureshop after all) and I received an unexpected bit of joy.

It seems as though the Hairy Man has abandoned his car in the very spot where I last saw it. Exactly one month later, it is still there. I could not fucking believe it. Anyway, I was able to get some much better pictures of the damage I did to his car. Enjoy.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2005-01-22 at 14:09:45.


MSN Messenger Virus

I don't know if it's been announced anywhere lately, but I believe there's an MSN Messenger virus floating around out there. Last night, from three different contacts that I rarely talk to, I received file transfers of .pif files called "naked_party.pif" and other crap like that. If that's not a virus, I don't know what is.

Anyway, thought you peeps should be on the lookout for such things. Don't get caught with your pants down.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2005-01-20 at 10:38:17.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2004.


A tale of Christmas woe

Ok, so listen up because I've got a story to tell. A story of Christmas woe. It'll break your heart kids...gather 'round.

I was out shopping for Christmas presents, as people do at this time of year. I had just purchased an item at the FutureShop in Bayers Lake and was ready to go home to wrap it. This was my last present to buy. I was done. Finally. I pulled out of my parking spot, and drove down to the throughfare at the bottom of the parking lot to make my way back to the road and home. As I was passing in front of the SuperStore, a large hairy man in a small white car dashed out of the lane right in front of me, without any hint of slowing down. I slammed on the brakes. It was too late. There was a relatively loud "crunching" sound and my bumper became intertwined with his driver's side rear door like some sort of macabre dance.

Then, the swearing started.

Updated! Diagram of accident scene inside.
Updated again! I finally got the pictures off of my cell phone.

Surprisingly, I wasn't involved in any of it. The hairy man proceeded to call me a fucking this and a fucking that while I remained a paragon of tranquility. He yelled at me that he was calling the cops, which actually relieved me, since this meant that he probably wasn't going to speed away. (I found out later that he would not have been able to "speed away" since his car would no longer start.) Since he was calling the police, I phoned my insurance company and opened a new claim.

A while later, the fire engine arrived. Wait a second...The fire engine? Yes, the fire engine. We managed to get all three types of emergency vehicles at the scene. The ambulance and the police car arrived after a short time. Then, since nobody was hurt (or on fire), the fire engine and ambulance left in disappointment. The police officer remained. He took our statements: first the hairy man's, which involved a goodly amount of arm-waving and pointing. I didn't really have much to say because when he got to me, he was able to infer exactly what had happened based on the position of the cars, probably in direct opposition to the hairy man's testimony. All I had to say was "Yes."

I backed my car up and the hairy man pushed his out of the intersection. The cop went on about his business taking down information. Here's where it gets interesting:

MeHairy Man
Drivers LicenceYesNo

Yeah. So the guy should not have even been driving. Wonderful. No insurance! Even better.

Luckily, my car is still drivable, but I'm more than a little embarassed about driving it around with the front of it all smashed up. I took it to the collision place (conveniently also located in bayers lake). Unluckily, they will probably be unable to get parts until the new year, after the holiday season.

So anyway, that's my story. Stay tuned for updates. I'll be posting pictures as soon as I can get them off of my damn phone. Yeah, that was the only camera I had with me at the time.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-12-23 at 10:06:58.



I had two of my intrepid (read: unpaid) reporters go and check out Fid, one of the restaurants from the burgeoning local restaurant scene here in Halifax. I mean, what's a scene if it isn't burgeoning? It's a non-burgeoning scene, that's what it is.

Click inside to read their reviews.

Matt's Perspective

It was a cold cold night. Bitterly cold. I picked up Cindy at 5:30 from her place of work. She had a funny winter hat on that quite amused me. We went directly to the restaurant (actually, we went to my apartment for a bit, but don’t tell her boyfriend. Anyways … sheeeesh … she just wanted to see my TV). We left the apartment after 10 minutes and went directly to the restaurant. We were greeted by a very friendly waiter who offered to take our coats. We both declined. I think Cindy was planning on stealing the silverware sometime during the night and needed a place to stash the goods.

We sat down. My shirt was a little wrinkled, so I was a bit self-conscious about that. I let Cindy look at the wine list because she’s fancy … and is generally better at picking out wines than me. We had a slight disagreement about one of the wines, but of course she realized I was correct. It was a 2001 Bleasdale Mulberry Tree … I told her we had it before but she didn’t believe me. I knew though … I knew. Cindy ordered the wine, and we went on to discuss things such as current events, politics and fine wines. Actually, we talked about how I have a reputation for being a player.

The wine came to the table. It was awesome! Seriously. At this point I should describe Cindy’s pants. She had these red chords on that she really likes. I enjoy them as well.

We ordered our meal. Cindy ordered Quail for an appetizer and beef tenderloin for her main course. I ordered scallops for my appetizer and then beef tenderloin as well. And then, I was feeling a bit frisky and decided to order yet another appetizer for the two of us to share … a mushroom tart.

First off … the amuse bouche. That’s a little “pre-appetizer” appetizer that is served on a small spoon. I can’t remember what it was, but it was sort of like a hard pate. It had a small pickle on it that reminded me of Christmas. I think at this point, I went for my first pee of the night. I had been drinking water all day and it had just started to hit me.

The appetizers arrived at the table. The scallops were among the best I have ever had (rivaled only by Da Maurizio, which are served in a port reduction sauce I believe). I don’t really remember what was served with the scallops but it sort of had a texture of ginger. Cindy put little pieces of Quail on my plate and they were the tiniest tastiest little bird legs I have ever had. After we had both finished our individual appetizers, we went on to share the mushroom tart. It was like we had moved onto dessert before the main courses even arrived. I think people should make mushroom tarts instead of apple pies this Christmas … seriously. If you could describe happiness as a taste, I would describe it as mushroom tart. “How are you today, Matthew?” “I am feeling very MUSHROOM TART today … thank you for asking”.

The chef, Dennis Johnston came out from the kitchen at this point to greet us. Dennis is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and if you have a chance to go to FID, make sure to have him come out to talk to him about your meal. He cares a great deal about the food he serves.

After the appetizers, we continued to drink our wine. At this point we started discussing Cindy’s current boyfriend “situation” and I talked about the girl I am dating. We also talked about what we would do if we didn’t have to work anymore. Cindy would like to go to Spain (or maybe she said Italy) and sell flowers. I think I would like to work with animals. We were served an apple sorbet at this point. Very tasty. Very very tasty.

At this point, I had to go pee again and I think that Cindy had to pee too.

Main Courses! We both ordered the same entrees (with the exception that Cindy ordered her tenderloin medium and I ordered mine medium rare). The beef was sitting on a bed of spinach. On the side, there was a small bowl filled with a creamy, cheesy something (I think whipped potatoes … but fancier). The beef was amazing. However, I think that Cindy and I got our beef mixed up. No matter … we switched and everything was peachy again. I was in beef tenderloin heaven. I’m not good at describing food … so picture Homer Simpson salivating over a donut. That’s how Cindy looked (except much more attractive). I tried to finish all of mine, but I failed.

By this point we had finished the bottle of wine but were still feeling a bit parched. So we each ordered some more wine by the glass (same wine). I was no longer feeling cold from being outside at this point. I was also probably flirting with Cindy a bit, as I tend to do when I’m drinking … but I’m sure it was very subtle, and of course just in a friendly manner.

The desert menu arrived. Cindy chose a mixture of three different deserts! One of them was a ginger crème Brule, another was a chocolate desert (I’m allergic to chocolate so it was all hers) and the final desert totally escapes my memory … although I think it was like a creamy green tower, if that makes sense. Afterwards, Cindy had herself an espresso. I tried a little bit of it, but I don’t really like coffee. She downed it like a shot of tequila. What a girl.

The entire meal lasted approximately 3.5 hours from start to finish. It was an amazing experience. Everything, from the appetizers to the deserts, was exceptional! At one point, the waiter even took a small comb to the table to remove the crumbs. You can’t get service like that at every restaurant in the city, that’s for sure.

One more pee … that’s right … three times during the course of the evening. At this point it was the wine that was affecting me I think. Also, both of us were having trouble moving from all the food. At the end of the night, we thanked the waiter. Dennis came out again from the kitchen and we thanked him as well. We went out into the cold night again, sat in the van for a few minutes while I made Cindy listen to John Frusciante on the CD player and then I drove her home. Altogether, it was a great evening out at a great restaurant. And Cindy was fortunate to have a great guy like me to share the evening with.

Cindy's Perspective

"Oh hello Pat," chirped Matt as Cindy hopped into the passenger seat, sporting her finest –40 proof winter gear. "Well hello, mister fashion over mittens" she replied pulling off her toque and stuffing it into her laptop packsack.

Entering the restaurant, they were greeted by a warm smile and shown to their seats. "Something to drink?" offered the waiter. After a quick scan of the wine list and light debate over whether or not the vintage was in fact liked, Cindy asked for the Bleasdale while Matt concurred knowingly. In a flash a bottle appeared, glasses were filled and the toasting and savoring began. "Okay, you were right," Cindy admitted quickly changing the subject to the menu.

While Matt order not one, but two appetizers, "because one is for sharing", he was careful to show the waiter that the caramelized scallops should be placed directly in front of him, while the shitake mushroom and cheese tart should be placed more in the centre, and yet still closer to his side of the table.

A wonderful smell suddenly hit the table as the appetizers were arranged with great care and presentation. The crab apple lacquered quail was divine as was the bed of Savoy cabbage it rested on. The scallops had their own unique flair being kept completely in tact, tasting as if they come directly from the ocean and taking on the hint of mandarin orange that also graced the dish. The shitake mushrooms were filled with flavor as was the delicate tart encasing them. Polite sharing was entertained, but it was clear that these gastric treats would not last for long. With strategic timing, Matt ensured the lion’s share of the central appetizer with distraction techniques. Placing a succulent piece of scallop on Cindy’s plate he was careful to pick up a large portion of tart upon retuning to his own plate.

Very chatty now, warm from extravagant food and wine, and ready for the main course, they were not disappointed when two beautiful tenderloins appeared in front of them, arranged on a nest of sautéed spinach. The steak drizzled in a decadent sauce and sprinkled with crispy onion chips, was cut like butter and the accompanying dish of puréed cheese potatoes had a melt-in-your-mouth flair.

As if this feast wasn’t enough, the waiter returned again with dessert menus and soon a trio of key lime mousse, moelleux au chocolat and ginger crème brûlée were placed in the centre of the table. Single espresso shot ended the night and feeling the force of many additional pounds, the two diners waddled out the restaurant.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-12-08 at 14:57:34.


Finally, some new photos

Yeah, I've been a real slack ass when it comes to taking photos lately. Anyway, I finally have some more of them up there in the gallery. They chronicle my company's holiday party. You guys should go rate and comment on them like the good website readers that you are.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-12-06 at 11:17:48.


Plastic money

I had a startling revelation about how I perceive money today. I was at the mall, buying a CD (yes, I still do that every now and then), and I had my bank card out to pay for it. When the guy read me the total off the cash register, it didn't even make a dent in me. I wasn't even paying attention. He might as well have just said "money".

I hand over whatever plastic card I'm using at the time, punch in my PIN or sign my name, and walk off with some new merchandise. If I see the same item for a lower price, I'd still buy that one of course, but the de-cashifying of money has made me less consious that I'm actually exchanging it for goods. I'm leaving the store with everything I came in with, after all; my card is still safely tucked away in my wallet.

It was kind of a weird realization; when I was walking out of the store, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how much I paid for the two CDs I had just bought. Oh well...I'll check it on my banking website.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-11-17 at 19:56:41.


Track your money

Ever wonder where your money goes when it leaves your grubby little hands? I don't mean your "money" in the ephemeral (potentially electronic) sense, I mean the physical bills that you spend at retailers. Well I have. But it was only recently that I came into a $50 bill with a stamp on the back that said 'Track me! www.cdn-money.com'. I ventured to that website and entered the serial number off the bill. It was interesting to find out that 610 days prior was the last time somebody had entered that serial number into the website, and at that time, the bill was in British Columbia! It makes me kind of curious how it got here to Halifax. It certainly had time, but what of the means?

Anyway, if you feel a bit geeky and want to track your money, sign up for an account and start registering bills.

The only catch here is that in order to find out what is happening to your money, other people have to go to the website and enter the serial number when they get your bill. I've taken to just writing the website on the back of the bill, similar to the stamp I found on one of mine. Luckily, it's not illegal to mark on bills.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-11-11 at 09:41:35.


Rememberance Day

I've said it last year and a few years ago too. Everyone should come out to a Rememberance Day ceremony, whether it's the one I'm going to, or another one closer to you. Make sure you get out and support your local veterans.

I look forward to a time when conditions do not exist to facilitate becoming a veteran.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-11-01 at 07:34:44.


CBC continues to impress me

I am impressed again and again with the CBC. Most recently, I became aware that CBC is offering streaming audio of their radio stations via Ogg Vorbis! I can't wait until they give up Windows Media altogether.

In all seriousness, I think it is a responsibility of public corporations to at least investigate, if not mandate, open source software solutions to these common problems. If the government can solve its problems without spending the ridiculous amounts of cash required for licencing fees required for the Microsoft (or other closed source) equivalents, then I'm all for it.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-10-25 at 23:18:17.


Go Vote!

This is it. The day we've all been waiting for. The Sunday Shopping Plebicite! Make sure you get out and make your voice heard, otherwise, you have no right to complain of the outcome.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-10-16 at 01:50:28.


Laptops vs. Desktops

I have never really wanted a laptop, but I managed to get one from work in a game of chance. I started to find it very useful because I was able to work on the same computer wherever I was. Slow VPN connections were no longer really an issue.

Embracing the laptop experience, I bought a wireless router. As I type this, I'm in my livingroom with no wires at all :) I'm actually enjoying the experience so much that I found myself contemplating purchasing a laptop as my next computer. Maybe even this one.

My real complaint about laptops, the small screen real-estate and keyboard, can be mitigated by simply using a different machine to remote-desktop to it. On a 100 Mbps LAN, it's no different from actually using the console. For some tasks, like storing volumnious amounts of media, you'd still need a stand-alone computer around anyway, so it shouldn't be hard to find a machine to remote-desktop from. Other than that, I think I'm a convert.

Also, touchpads suck ass. That is all.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-10-09 at 18:05:51.


Spine.cx has a new home

Spine.cx was moved yesterday from its previous home in the basement of the building on the corner of Quinpool and Windsor, to its new home in Purdy's Wharf. I think it likes it there. Better view.

In other news, Old Navy opens in Moncton on September 30th. Why Moncton and not Halifax, you ask? I can't be certain, but I feel confident that it has something to do with the ability to open on Sundays.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-09-26 at 12:21:02.


Sunday shopping plebiscite

It's that time again. Time to think about Sunday shopping. Surely you didn't forget about the pain and the anguish we went through at the end of the Christmas shopping season when it went away? Well, on Oct 16th there is a municipal election for the Halifax Regional Municipality. Attached to this election is a plebiscite for which you can make your voice heard on the issue of Sunday shopping.

It's been said time and again on the news lately that the people most in favour of Sunday shopping are also those who are least likely to vote, so we have to do something to change that. Get all your slack-ass friends (that means students too) off their asses and get them to the polls so we can go buy shit whenever we want to. DO IT.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-09-08 at 19:42:13.


The Village

I saw The Village last week. Didn't really have time to write about it though. This is M. Night Shyamalan's latest effort (and fourth that he's both written and directed). For those of you who haven't seen The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, or Signs, this one has the same sort of twistiness to it, but I won't spoil it for you. Anyway, I recommend it. It gets my seal of approval.

I thought the main chick in the movie was pretty hot, so naturally, I looked her up on IMDB. Turns out she's only hot with no makeup on like she was in the movie:
Hot Skanky

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-08-28 at 10:58:45.


Today I saw a power bar explode

Today I saw something I've never seen before. Nor do I ever expect to see it again. It was the damndest thing. Jeff kicked a power bar, the things with multiple power outlets that you can turn on and off, and it fucking blew up.

It exploded with a fury and anger that I've never seen a power bar manifest. This was not just a spark and a black spot. This was a blinding flash of light and the plastic casing splintering and flying in all directions. Truly a sight to behold, if you're wearing the proper eye protection.

Sorry I don't have anything more exciting to tell you, but I've been working so damn much I haven't had time to do anything. I'm going to Al's party on Saturday night. That should give me some good fodder for posts.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-08-19 at 20:54:06.



One of my favourite bands, Chixdiggit!, is playing in Halifax tomorrow (Friday) night at Stage 9. As good as they are on record, they are even better live, so I suggest that anyone who can check them out should do just that.

As for Stage 9, I'm still trying to get a feel for it. I've only really been there once. Anyone else have a good/bad experience there?

Update! 8/14 17:27

Anyone who missed this one should be sorry. This was probably the best show I've attended all year. It was the non-stop rockfest that I've come to expect from Chixdiggit. The sheer energy that these guys put out on stage could power a small city, I'm sure of it. "Let's hear it for Kevin on guitar! Let's hear it for the audience, come on audience! Let's hear it for Halifax." Every song is a love song and you can tell they mean every word.

But the best news was that they announced that Chixdiggit will be coming out with a new album and that it'll hopefully be in stores by the spring.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-08-12 at 16:44:28.


I've been a slacker

I know, I know...I haven't posted anything in over a week. I'm a big slacker. Well, here's some new photos: First, we have some Tall Ships and next we have a house being demolished by a backhoe.

Talk amongst yourselves. I'm busy.

P.S. T-shirt guy, I still have the shirt. I'll get it to you sooner or later.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-08-09 at 19:05:57.


Cool Blue Halo Live at Tribeca

My roommate bought this portable electronic media player the other day. It's very cool because it's really small, and plays Ogg Vorbis, my preferred format. Another cool feature is that it can record in realtime to MP3, which means, depending on the quality to which you set it, you can fit many hours of audio in its 256 megs of flash memory.

We put this theory to the test at Tribeca (located on Granville Street next to MEC) on Tuesday night when early 90's Haligonian band Cool Blue Halo re-united to play a show. The device was connected directly to the soundboard with a regular old 1/8" stereo cable and the recording began. After a bit of futzing with the sound with a wav editor, we were pleasantly surprised with the results of our efforts.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-07-29 at 11:48:44.


Those damn conservatives

This time they've gone too far. Well, maybe not too far, but certainly far enough for me not to like it. Perhaps you've seen the signs they've posted. I've seen them around the Bayers Lake area. "Take Back Canada", they say. From what? From social progress? From women's rights?

I think we should put up signs that say "Free Canada", as in free us from the jesus freaks and good ol' boys who want to try to tell us what we should be doing and how we should be doing it.

Promise Keepers, anyone? Scary.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-07-26 at 10:52:33.


Eyesores be gone

They are finally tearing down the decrepit, condemned, old parking garage on the corner of Granville and Sackville Streets. It's been a long time coming, some would say. It's stood there for a number of years, useless; a shadow of its former self. Perhaps it yearns for the day when cars drove upon its ramps. Now it has been overrun by pigeons. Pigeons that have called that structure home since before it was decomissioned. Where are those poor pigeons going to live now?

Even as the structure is being dismantled, the poor birds flee from the sounds of the jackhammers and the metal-cutters. Some of you might question my concern for creatures which are annoying to many and hated by some. Well, I ask you, if they aren't free to live in the old parking garage, what will they do? They'll be out shitting on people, that's what. Or picking up stray pieces of donair meat and dropping them on unsuspecting cars.

Fuck pigeons. Fuck them up their stupid asses.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-07-21 at 18:47:03.


A contest

I have had a black Simple Plan t-shirt, size large, donated to me by a generous benefactor. It doesn't even come close to fitting me, so I thought I would give it away on the website. I wanted to post a picture of it, but every time I tried to get the picture off my memory card, my computer would reboot. Three reboots later, you're still not getting a picture.

Anyway, this contest is going to be fairly simple. Email me telling me why you want this shirt. The email that does the best job of convincing me wins. I'll even mail it to you if you're not local.

The contest is over whenever the hell I want, so send your emails promptly ;) I'll notify the winner and get their mailing address at that time. I'll even post the picture if I can ever figure out what the hell went wrong.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-07-14 at 10:08:58.


Songs for short attention spans

Find modern songs too long to listen to? Can't wait to hear the closing chords and get on to something new? This album may be just the thing for you. It's 100, yes, one hundred songs squeezed onto one 80 minute CD.

By forcing himself to find really, really short songs, the compiler has created an eclectic mix that's not at all unpleasant to listen to. If you have the means, I highly recommend giving it a listen. Even if you don't like a song, it's usually over in less than a minute.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-07-07 at 23:32:30.


The most fucked up things happen to me

What's the last thing you would expect when you wake up in the morning? For me, the last thing I would have expected was for my eyelid to be turned inside out and swollen like an altar boys's tuchus. Honestly, I wish I had a photo of that for you (stay tuned, there are some coming...), but I was kind of panicked at the time. This was around 5:45 this morning, and it's no doubt what woke me up at that ungodly hour. I pop it back the right way around, and although it's still very swollen, I figure I've sufficiently remedied the problem and I go back to sleep.

Two hours later, I wake up for real. No dice, my eye is still puffed up more than your dad on viagra. As I'm getting ready for work, I make the judgement call to hit the E.R. on my way in. It was relatively quick and painless, those liberals really were swift about keeping their shorter-waiting-time promises.

Unfortunately, the only thing that the nurse and two doctors that looked at my eye could tell me was that something had inflammed the tissue of my upper eyelid (No shit!) but it was probably gone by now. The best I could hope for was to take some anti-histamine or anti-inflammatory drugs and wait a couple of days. It wasn't really anything I didn't expect, I just think it prudent to see someone who knows what they're talking about when it comes to your eyes.

As I left the E.R., it was already looking a bit better. Hopefully I'll be good and healed up for some heavy drinking on Canada Day.

Update! 1357h:
The swelling has gone down a lot, and my vision in that eye is pretty much back to normal, but I think it'll be a couple of days until I stop looking like I lost a fight.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-06-29 at 11:09:38.


I got to ride a Segway

Yeah! I was at the Technology museum in San Jose today and I got to ride a Segway. At first, it's not very intuative, you just feel like you're going to tip over when you lean, but you get the hang of it fairly quickly, and it becomes pretty natural. Still, US$5k is a bit too much to drop on something that amounts to a really neat toy.

Click here for a video of me riding the segway. It's pretty big, so don't download it over dialup.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-06-26 at 00:05:39.


You gotta fight for your right

From: Dragos Ruiu
To: bugtraq@securityfocus.com
Subject: Caveat Lector: Beastie Boys Evil
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 01:10:23

Well I truly regret actually purchasing a copy of the new Beastie Boys album to support them.

It seems that Capitol Records has some sort of new copy protection system, that automatically, silently, installs "helpful" copy protection software on MacOS and Windows as soon as you insert the CD into default systems. I'm not sure exactly what it does yet, but I am sure regreting actually purchasing said media now... they don't deserve my money if they choose to pull stupid stunts like this. Installing software without your permission sounds like viral malware behaviour to me. I certainly hope the AV companies put signatures into their products for this crap.

They include some sort of uninstaller buried on there for Windows, but I see no such thing for MacOS. If anyone has disassembled the aforementioned malware already and can save us some time with instructions on how to remove it... thanks in advance.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-06-17 at 10:19:50.


Downtown power outage

They couldn't have picked a better day for a transformer explosion: Sunny, 25° I'm standing by the window in my office on the 12th floor of a downtown office building and I hear a huge BOOM and then all the power goes out. Fantastic! I'm very happy that Visual Studio saves your work automatically when you compile.

Since the HVAC is now non-operational, and it's hot in here at the best of times, we proceed outside. There is literally nothing that can be done, so what's the point, right? We go get a coffee and then execute the requisite standing-around period until we finally decide to go to the bar. It's only 11:00, but we figure it's a nice day and the decks will be open.

We're halfway to the Argyle and my cell phone rings to tell me that the fucking power is back on already. It had barely been an hour! Damn those Emera Power workers for being so efficient.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-06-09 at 11:30:06.


My birthday party

So, yeah, my party happened on Saturday night. I'm still working on getting the webcam's photos turned into some kind of stop-motion video. It worked pretty well while it was light out, but after that the pictures just turned out black. Bummer.

Anyway, the biggest mistake of my night was playing checkers with Ryan Belbin. See these weren't ordinary checkers, but rather each piece was a shotglass. I got destroyed in more ways than one.

For most of the night, I didn't take many pictures, but I distinctly remember more than a few flashes going off, so I'm sure that there are photographs floating around out there. If you took pictures, post your links in the comments.

Also, if you missed it, a bunch of punks showed up and played Faxe Hands. I heard one of them fell down my front steps.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-06-07 at 10:47:03.


My Friday night

Friday was Jeanine's birthday, so a bunch of people went out for drinks and eats at Mexicali Rosa's. Unfortunately, I accidentally ordered their 'contest food', simply because it was a good deal. After finding out that I could get my picture on the wall and a free deep-fried ice cream for finishing the Bigger-than-your-head burrito, I was compelled to try, not only by my ego, but the dozen or so people who had suddenly become my biggest fans.

Obviously they hadn't a chance to actually measure *my* head, previous to this engagement, because the 'bigger-than-somebody's-head' burrito was handled with ease. This was certainly no 72 ounce steak.

Following that outing, which was relatively tame compared to where I was to go next, I caught a cab home, changed (because I had gone to Mexi's right after work), and headed to a friend's place for another birthday party. He shall remain nameless because I am about to describe various acts of belligerance and debauchery, which may or may not be illegal where you are.

First, allow me to describe the scene as I walk in: To my left, a full DJ set up. Two turntables and a microphone, as Beck would say. To my right, a bar selling shots for $2. This was excellent, because I hadn't brought nearly enough beer for this party, which was surely destined to go all fucking night.

Not 5 minutes after I had entered the place, some jackhole (who shall also remain nameless) grabs a container of bear mace (bear fucking mace) from somebody else's pocket, and proceeds to spray it in the living room. For anyone who has not yet experienced this lovely concoction of chemicals, let me tell you that it's not exactly pleasant. I can say with absolute certainty that I do NOT want to get this shit sprayed in my face. You couldn't exactly smell it, but you could definately feel it. It was spicy. Kind of like somebody holding an indelible tabasco marker under your nose.

The house bascially had to be evacuated. You couldn't exist inside without coughing up a lung. Stay inside long enough and it made you gag. Windows were opened, and fans were set up. About 45 minutes of hanging out on the deck later, and it was ok to go back inside. You're probably thinking that was the worst thing to happen that night, right?


Around three o'clock in the morning, some fucking yahoos try to crash the party and end up (I heard this second hand) getting pushed down the stairs. Naturally, they try to start a fight by insulting people. Being drunk and stupid, people respond in anger. Party crashers get driven off, only to promise to return with firearms and shoot up the party. That's when I left.

Here are my photos. I didn't have my camera at the crazy party, because I'm sure you realize, as I did, the places where you most want to take pictures, are the places where you least want to take your $400 digital camera.

So there's my Friday night in a nutshell. Can you top that? Post your stories here.

Oh, one more thing: After being in a room that has had bear mace released into it, remember to wash your hands before using the washroom. That is all.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-05-30 at 12:57:56.


Steve: 0, Beef: 1

I've done some stupid things in the past. Some of them really stupid. This ranks up there with the best of them. My brother convinced me to attempt eating a 72 ounce steak at the Lone Star. It cost $40, but it was one of those, "If-you-can-finish-this-meal-then-it's-free" things. You have to tell them 24 hours in advance so they have time to thaw it out.

I'm no slacker when it comes to eating steaks. I was confident, maybe even a little arrogant about my ability to finish it. I mean, I'll routinely get a 20 ouncer from the butcher, and I thought eating what would equal 4 of them wouldn't be that big of a deal. Holy crap was I wrong. A more forceful defeat at the hands of beef could only include being trampled or gored by an actual bull.

When the waitress brought it out, I couldn't believe the sheer size of this thing. It was a gargantuan brick of flesh and sinew that the establishment offhandedly labeled 'steak'. More like a roast, actually. Never had I seen such an amount of beef that wasn't actually on a cow. I started to doubt my abilities right out of the gate. This steak filled the entire plate save for the space taken up by a slice of pickle and two half slices of toast (I have no idea why they include toast).

It actually came in three pieces, loosely bound by sinew. Two of the pieces, roughly the same size flanked a third, half again the size of one of the others. All of them were about 2 inches thick. I made it through one of the flanking pieces and about halfway through the middle one before the beef topped out my stomach and started to fill my esophagus. I had been defeated by beef.

I got the rest of it to go, gave the half of the big piece to my brother and kept the other whole piece for myself. Maybe I'll eat it tomorrow, but for now, I have had just about as much beef as I can stand.

You can see pictures of the entire ordeal here.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-05-23 at 23:06:37.


Bomb scare in my neighbourhood

Ok, so I'm driving home and the street one block down from me is roped off with police tape. Cop cars all around. You'd think, "WTF?!", right? Me too. Naturally, I pull over and walk back, camera in hand to see if I can find out what the hell is going on.

I tried talking to a cop but didn't tell me anything useful. The people evacuated from their homes, however, were quite eager to tell me that it was a bomb scare. I fully expect this to be on the news tonight, but you heard it here first. Take that Bruce Frisko!

Spine.cx: Your number one source for rumour and conjecture.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-05-23 at 17:27:11.


My birthday party

My 28th birthday is on the 1st of June. Since that's a Tuesday, I'm throwing a party the following Saturday, the 5th of June. Bring meat to barbeque, and booze to imbibe. If you don't know where I live, drop me an email.

It's been a long time (last August 16th) since I've had a house party, so lets try and make this a good one.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-05-23 at 03:28:03.


Beers, beers, beers

Recently, some beers have made me curious. Some because they have no carbs, and some because they're used in bizarre party games. I decided to try them both.

There are many low or no-carb beers out there now, and I had to pick one, so I chose Sleeman's Clear. The other beer is Faxe, used in playing the extremely strange party game, Faxe Hands.

Faxe is a Danish beer that is light in colour, but heavy in taste. It's remarkably thick for how light it is. But the most curious thing about this particular beer is that it's 10% alcohol. If you want to get ripped in a hurry, then this is your beverage of choice. At only $2.50 for a tallboy from the liquor store, you can't beat it for dollar/alcohol value.
Sleeman Clear is what it purports to be: A clear beer with only 2.4 grams of carbs per serving. What it definately does not purport to be is anything fucking worth drinking. This beer is putrid. It's as if they hooked a good taste sucker up to each bottle as it went out of the factory, and turned it on full-suck mode. I would not buy this again if it were the only beer in the store. Your milage may vary, but I doubt it.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-05-22 at 21:57:53.


Point Pleasant Park reopens June 4th

Just like the title says, Point Pleasant is scheduled to reopen for general use on Friday, June 4th at 9:00.

Hopefully, it won't look like this for the next generation of park-goers. The city is planning a long term project of replanting trees, but it'll obviously take a while before it's anything like it was before Juan.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-05-13 at 11:28:11.


Gas and mouthwash

These gas price increases have gone on long enough, so I thought it was about time to write a full-fledged article about it. Ninety-six point nine, eh? That's getting pretty fucking crazy. When it starts costing people more than $50 on average to fill their tanks, it's time for people to seriously start thinking about alternative means of transportation and/or alternate fuel sources.

As far as I'm concerned, the economy is still in the shitter. This poor guy that I saw at the bus stop can't even afford to drink brand name mouthwash! What's the world coming to?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-05-11 at 21:24:36.


My new toy

I love getting new pieces of electronics. It's like Christmas; the sweet smell of virgin circuit boards filling your nostrils. Last week, I went and bought myself a Palm Zire 72 as an upgrade from my Zire 71. Coincidentally, I'm also looking to sell my Zire 71. Let me know if you're interested ;)

The Zire 72 improves on the Zire 71 in just about every conceivable way: It has has more memory (16 -> 32 Mb), faster processor (144 Mhz OMAP -> 312 MHz XScale), better camera (now 1.2 MegaPixels), and best of all Bluetooth wireless capabilities.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-05-03 at 22:17:52.


Why Free standards are better

The reason I prefer Free, open standards is because shit like this can't happen. People expected it to happen with GIF. Compuserve had a patent, Unisys owns Compuserve, pretty much everyone saw that one coming.

This JPEG thing is a different story. I thought that standard was pretty safe. I guess I was wrong. Some people rag on me for using Ogg Vorbis as my primary audio file format, but the reason I do is because if of this: the patent owners for MP3 charge licencing fees to encode, decode, or distribute anything in MP3 format.

I believe that vendors will eventually all include Free format support in their applications because it will cost them nothing except the time to implement it. I believe that users will eventually use Free formats because it will cost them nothing to distribute their works and the applications that create them will cost less because of the absense of licencing fees. But most of all, I believe that the world needs to support Free formats. I mean, why should you get charged for the format in which you distribute your work. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Don't get me wrong; I appreciate all the work that the authors of the MP3 format did to increase the electronic distribution of music, but the opportunity now exists for the masses to put their weight behind a truly open and Free standard. And I'm doing what I can to support it.

Open picture format: PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
Open audio format: Ogg Vorbis
Open video format: Ogg Theora

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-04-26 at 23:31:49.


Hardware failures

Of all the pieces of hardware in a computer that could possibly fail, the most annoying is a hard drive. Guess what piece of hardware in my computer is in the process of failing? Hey, you got it. I bet that didn't take more than two guesses.

About two weeks ago, I bought a 160 Gb drive from Futureshop because they had a kick ass mail-in rebate deal. Anyway, it cost me only $170. I set it up (in software) with the 160 Gb drive I already had as a 320 Gb striped array. Fantastic. Until the new drive started giving me read errors.

I had just finished the laborious process of transferring over one hundred gigs of crap off of my previous drives and onto the new striped array. That took basically a whole day of watching progress bars. Now I have to do it all again, only this time, I have to go "pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease" everytime it starts a new file hoping against hope that it doesn't fail. There is nothing worse than losing data.

Once I get all the data off that I can get, it's back to Futureshop to see about getting a replacement. I don't have the package anymore (they make them such that you can't get the damn drive out without destroying them), but I do still have the label; I was just about to send in that mail-in rebate, you know. I have high hopes that they will still take it back, because the magic 30 days have not yet passed and it is defective, after all.

Wish me luck.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-04-15 at 23:19:09.


Best. Monitor. EVAR.

I think anyone who's ever written a client/server architected program has either basked in the glory of, or pined away for, a dual monitor set up. I know that since I have had dual monitors, I just can't go back. It's just too sweet.

This monitor however, would put all that to shame. If you were ever writing a server/client/client/client/client/client program, then this is the monitor for you :)

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-04-08 at 11:11:18.


Canadian women win gold

The Canadian women have done it again: won a world hockey championship. There was definately some questionable refereeing going on during this game; bad calls were made on both sides. But it if weren't for a (bad) decision in calling one of the Americans' shots that actually went in the net a non-goal, this may have been a vastly different game. Sure it happened in the last 5 minutes of the game, and Canada was up by 2, but still, there's that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that says "what if..."

Did anybody else watch the game? Was anybody there? Please comment.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-04-07 at 12:07:10.


Downloading music in Canada is now 100% legal

A Canadian court has rejected a motion that would have allowed file sharing netizens to be sued. Looks like it's open season (as if it wasn't already) on file sharing.

The original article on CBC.ca is here.

The Recording Industry Association of America has sued about 400 individuals in the U.S. for allowing others access to song files. Several people have settled out of court for about $3,000 US each. The Canadian Recording Industry Association tried to sue 29 Canadians earlier this year.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-03-31 at 18:33:54.


New photos

I figured if I was going to start posting more frequently, I would go out and actually take some new photos too. There are two new albums posted for your viewing pleasure.

One of them is my (albeit short) visit to Point Pleasant Park on Saturday, when they were letting the public into see what's left of the flora; and let me tell you, it's not much. The other was my visit to Ski Martock on Sunday for their final day of the season. They put on their annual "Slush Cup" where skiers and snowboarders attempt to make it across a 40 foot stretch of (muddy) water without falling in. Most were unsuccessful.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-03-29 at 19:00:12.


A night of free drinking

Hold on just a minute, this isn’t something I’m offering to the general public; rather, it’s something I have just experienced. Some friends and I were at the Granite Brewery on Barrington Street and started to eat supper, continued drinking beer, and decided to stay for the currently-sound-checking entertainment.

Drinking, some old arguments were brought to the table, such as “Does a peanut butter sandwich imply jam or jelly?” and “What days of the week comprise the weekend?” We tried to engage our waitress in the conversation, but she didn’t seem appreciative.

Still drinking, we were the only clients in the bar. Waiting for the live music to start was turning out to be a bit of a chore. Simply drinking was not holding my attention. Eventually, more people started to roll in and around 10 pm, the two female singer/guitar players took the stage. At first I was confused by the fact that they were singing love songs about “she” and “her”, but upon scanning the audience and finding its constituents primarily mannish, and female, I understood the situation.

Nevertheless, it seems that I really like lesbian singers because I really liked the last band that I knew was lesbians (lesbian sisters, at that—Tegan and Sarah was their name) too. Some fantastic guitar playing and better than average singing was heard and enjoyed. They played very melodic, folk-like tunes that really spoke from their hearts. These girls were not afraid to lay their emotions down in song lyrics and you have to respect anyone who can sing their feelings to a crowd of strangers.

On my way home (I took the bus, because I’m too cheap to cab it when I’m just going home to Palmela Handerson), I was eavesdropping (is it really eavesdropping when they’re talking more loudly enough for you to hear them three seats away?) on this guy and girl coming from what sounded like a movie screening. Turned out they were digital arts students that were making short films and jazzing them up with special effects and such. If you think computer people can talk with the buzzwords, you have got to hear these digital media people going on. They were throwing around jargon like high school seniors with a freshman’s lunch money.

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering, “When the hell am I going to find out about the free drinking?” Or maybe you forgot about that all together. Anyway, when I get to my door, in my mailbox is a mail-in rebate cheque for $50 for something I bought at a boxing day sale. Because of that cheque, my entire night out cost me $2.50.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2004-03-27 at 01:21:39.


FNP 8: Because drinking is half the battle

Yeah, I know it's been over a week since I last posted something on the main page, but honestly, it's because I've been either working or sick. This post will make the wait worth while.

I am announcing the 8th incarnation of the Feelin' No Pain pub crawl franchise: FNP 8: Because drinking is half the battle. That link should pretty much answer all your questions. If you have any others, email me.

I've carefully timed this one to coincide with the end of university exam schedules, so hopefully we can get lots of people out. Spread the word.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-03-25 at 07:48:28.


My bus is an elevator

That's right. On my bus, people get in, stare at the door, and do not talk to anyone else for the duration of their stay. Unless you're with friends, in which case talking is allowed. This is because the rest of us get to eavesdrop on whatever interesting conversations we care to. I figure a bus is just like an elevator that moves throughout the city and doesn't necessarily go up and/or down and you don't really press any buttons.

People get on an elevator with a plan and somewhere to go. I thought the same was true for a bus, but it appears not to be so. People get on a bus with time to kill.

On my bus, a complete stranger would not interrupt my listening pleasure to ask, "What the fuck are you listening to?". On my bus parents would not let their children run screaming up and down the aisle. On my bus, people would not pay in pennies and then argue with the driver (who won't move until the situation is resolved) that you're sure there was $1.75's worth in there.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-03-11 at 22:15:00.


The "new" Merrill's

I'm worried about Merrill's. It's been an institution in my perception of the downtown scene for as long as I can remember. Since getting a job basically across the street from it, I've been there for lunch a number of times and I've brought nearly all of my pub crawls there. But recently it's changed hands. New owner, new chef, new menu, new name: the "new" Merrill's.

Since this change took place, I've been noticing a disturbing trend, fewer and fewer people are gracing the doors of this fine establishment. In my opinion, the menu is better than it ever was (except for the lack of nachos, but don't get me started on that), the chef is a nice guy (I was talking to him when I was there soon after the opening), and the atmosphere is pretty much identical. Because of those reason, I can't understand what is the deal with the declining patronage.

After J.J.'s closed, I started to get paranoid about losing the bars that were my old favourites. Everybody go down to Merrill's and have a drink. Show your support.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-03-03 at 20:13:42.


Complete. Total. Ineptitude

I'm not sure if the title yet applies to the HRM employees or the retarded fuckers on the road this morning, but it's possibly a little of both. They had a curfew on for two nights so they could clean up the streets. They closed off downtown so they could widen the roads. Why, then, did it take me nearly 1 1/2 hours to get downtown today on a bus route that normally takes 1/3 of that time?

I have patience. Really, I do. I understand that it takes a herculean effort to clear such an amount of snow as we have seen here lately. But this storm was on THURSDAY. That's a full 5 days ago (nearly 6). I'm thinking that we should be pretty much back to normal now. No sir. Not the case.

How can the city expect people not to use their cars, while at the same time scaling back bus schedules? The only option for some people is not to go anywhere and even that's not really an option for some. Shouldn't the priority for widening roads be the roads along which the buses travel?

Are the traffic problems because of the cops directing traffic? Possibly, but I doubt it. It may not even be anyone's fault in particular, but I rather enjoy imagining to myself that I've figured out the problem...especially when I have 90 minutes on the bus (did I mention I was standing?) to do it.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-02-24 at 09:59:20.



Undergrads, one of the best animated shows ever, in my opinion, has finally come out on DVD, but guess what? It's not available in Canada yet. Sure I could order it on Amazon, but I think I'll wait. The rips are coming out online (I've got 6 episodes), so I'm not in a rush, but I will *definately* buy this DVD set for the special features and interviews with the creator, Pete Williams.

I'm willing to bet Nitz, Cal, Rocko, and Gimpy all remind you of someone you know. That's what makes it such a great show.

Originally posted on Friday, 2004-02-20 at 22:16:36.


The WB cancels Angel

The WB network has announced the cancellation of one of my favourite shows, despite increased ratings over the same period last year. They are at least allowing them to finish the season, but I have my doubts as to how they're going to end the series gracefully with less than half a season left to shoot.

On the bright side, there is talk of movies and otherwise continuing the Buffy/Angel universe. Perhaps the end of the show will be what it takes to get more Buffy cast members to guest star on Angel.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2004-02-15 at 13:12:26.



For anyone who doesn't yet know about the best web browser out there, here it is: Firefox. Previously named Firebird, previously named Phoenix, still the same great browser. Tabbed browsing, automatic pop up blocking, sheer blinding speed, and, well, the fact that I personally use it should be enough to sway you to the cause :)

Get Firefox

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-02-09 at 09:28:08.


Tidbits from Slashdot

There a couple of links from Slashdot that I found very poignant to whom I think my readers are ;) It's not plagarism if you cite your sources, right?

Building a home theatre PC. Something I am currently thinking about; yeah, I have a computer that's hooked up to my television, but I want one that can output in HD and Dolby Digital.

The specs for Xbox 2. 64 bit microprocessors, PowerPC chips, NO internal hard drive, and NO backwards compatibility top the list of interesting bits.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-02-03 at 14:01:18.


RealPlayer with no spyware

The BBC uses real media format to stream their videos and such, but were annoyed (as we are) that RealPlayer came bundled with spyware and other crap that nobody likes. They commissioned Real to make them a player with no ads or spyware, but because they are a public-service broadcaster, they can't advertise. Relax, it's not the end of the world, it's still crappy software.

Get it while it's hot.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-02-03 at 09:41:51.


Bubba Ho-Tep being shown at Park Lane

Many of you probably have never heard of such a movie. Those of you who have will know that it's one of Bruce Campbell's later movies. That's right. Bruce Campbell from Army of Darkness, the campy, horror/comedy classic.

Anyway, it's playing at Park Lane Cinemas, on February 9th (next Monday) at 7:00 pm. Tickets go on sale at 6:00 pm and they will cost $8. Check out the official website.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-02-03 at 08:41:35.


Pixar ends relationship with Disney

After putting out several films together, such as Monsters Inc., Toy Story, and most recently Finding Nemo (the most successful animated film ever), Pixar has announced that they will be severing ties with Disney, who distributed their works.

As usual, the argument was over money. Pixar wanted more of a share of the profits and a lower distribution fee becaus their movies were so successful. I can't say I blame them. Disney's going to shit these days.

Originally posted on Friday, 2004-01-30 at 10:20:34.


New $100 bill

Not to be outdone by the American's $20 bill, the Canadian government has released a new $100 bill with the usual ramp-up of anti-counterfitting features: Watermarks, holograms, metallic strips, etc.

Check out a picture in this story.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2004-01-29 at 11:28:35.


Sir Bill of Microsoft

Is it just me, or is the Queen of England knighting people like it's going out of style? Originally, I thought, fine, she can knight whomever she wants, but at least up until now she was confining herself to British citizens, as they are the only ones who can legitimately use the title "Sir" in front of their names. I cannot see rhyme nor reason behind the upcoming knighting of Bill Gates.

Bill will become a "Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire", but since he's not British, no "Sir" for him. I think Sir Anthony Hopkins could kick his ass in a joust anyday.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-01-26 at 10:22:49.


No scents is good sense

"No scents is good sense", or so the new signs in my office tell me. It's supposed to be the start of some sort of campaign to get us to stop wearing scented products to the office for people who are sensitive to them. What about the people who are sensitive to people's fucking B.O.? I am acutely aware of those peoples' needs because I am among them.

What I think people really need is some lessons in moderation. I know how horrible it is to get on an elevator 10 minutes after the last person, and not be able to breathe because 6 gallons of perfume is still hanging in the air. But it's also not very pleasant to have to sit next to the stinky guy on the bus, is it?

Surely there is a happy medium.

Originally posted on Friday, 2004-01-23 at 09:28:30.


Alexander Keith's becoming the top beer in Canada?

Read a story in the Daily News today that said the president of Labatt Breweries of Canada wants to position Keith's in a "splashy marketing campaign" that could make it the most popular brand in the country. It goes on to say how Keith's will always be brewed in Halifax, and that the marketing will not overshadow (in fact, it will use) the fact that Keith's has a long history of maritime brewing.

Maybe we'll find out whatever happened to Roger, the Admiral, and my personal favourite, the Admiral's daughter.

Alexander Keith's Hockey Night in Canada, anyone? :)

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2004-01-21 at 10:19:00.


HDTV and why you should get it

So, Eastlink recently started offering a new set-top box that can decode and display HDTV. "Why is this significant to me?" you may ask? "Well", I would answer, "HDTV is not only the most significant update to television as we know it since black and white gave way to colour, but it also looks fucking fantastic.". Yes, I believe that's exactly how I'd answer.

HDTV offers about 16 times the resolution that traditional TV does. Think about it. How many of you have your computers set at 640x480? Traditional television is only about half that. Although HDTV capable sets are still fairly pricey, they're coming down quickly. As an early adopter (4 years ago), I paid through the nose for mine.

I'm not much of a football fan, but let me tell you, it's very cool seeing a game in the the clarity that HD offers and hearing the fans yell and cheer from behind you on a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix.

Eastlink's HDTV package has 6 channels, five of which you can get for free during their trial period and the sixth you get with a subscription to the movie network. So that's FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, and two channels that they show everything else on. All of the prime time shows are in HDTV and they look fantastic. For anyone who didn't know, since HDTV's aspect ration is 16x9 instead of traditional television's 4x3, which means that these shows are all filmed in widescreen. It's a much more pleasant experience, like everything you watch is a movie instead of a television show. Some of them even come through in 5.1 sound.

Of all the channels, CBS really shines through with the best quality video. I don't know what it is, something intangible perhaps, but the crispness and clarity of the CBS channel is far better than the others. I would give second place to the PBS programs broadcast on the first "catch all" channel; high resolution images, to be sure, but I tend to notice some shimmer. All the rest are clearly better than standard television, but they just don't compare to the quality of the top two. When the HD channels are not showing native HD material, they show up-converted 480i programming. Even this looks staggering better than normal.

So, everyone go and get an HDTV compatible set, and get on the bandwagon. My dream is for one day to have every program on every channel to look this good. I know this is mandated by the CRTC, but they keep pushing the date back. You really haven't experienced television until you have seen HDTV.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-01-20 at 16:15:41.


Winter driving

You would think that we, as Canadians, would have this winter driving thing all worked out by now, but after last night's 15 cm snowfall, I can see that we have not. I witnessed some un-smart things being done by people this morning. For example, sliding into a pole is very un-smart, but perhaps that wasn't in the driver's control; I won't bitch about that. What I am going to bitch about is the amount of snow that people leave on their cars and think it's perfectly OK to drive around.

You sloppy bitches.

Not only can snow from your roof blow off and hit the windsheild of the car behind you, it can slide off when you stop and cover your own. Also, try brushing the snow of your brake lights so perhaps I could tell when you were stopping. Post your own complaints about awful winter drivers.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-01-19 at 09:41:42.


Kodak says, "Screw film, I never liked it anyway."

Kodak has decided to stop producing and selling film cameras in the United States, Canada, and Europe (except for disposables) and put all their resources towards digital ones. That's a fairly major statement for a leader in the field of consumer-level photography. Time to buy some Sandisk stock I guess.

Anybody out there an amateur (or professional) photographer? I know at least two people who are, one uses film and the other uses digital. Do you see this as the death of film photography? Will it be relegated to the annals of history as something only professionals or weirdos use like turntables or betamax tapes? Personally, I think it's a pretty bold step by Kodak; one I wasn't expecting to see for a few years to come.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2004-01-13 at 22:12:12.


New year, new pub crawl

After what I thought was waning interest in my pub crawls, I have recently had several people ask me when the next one was going to be. What kind of guy would I be if I let down my readers? A shitty one, that's what kind. So Feelin' No Pain 8 will be arriving sometime this spring. Probably in March, so keep your calendars open, kids.

Email me if you have any suggestions for any part of the crawl, theme, bars, etc.

Originally posted on Monday, 2004-01-05 at 13:18:30.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2003.


Christmas Oddities

Merry Christmas (or insert appropriate holiday here) to all you crazy kids out there. Hopefully everyone got what they wanted, whether it be material, spiritual, or emotional.

This Christmas certainly was an unusual one, even if you're only speaking about the temperature. I mean, 14 degrees (at the peak), what's up with that? I happen to have some photos for comparison taken three years apart of the same scene out my front door. One of them, you'll notice, is covered in snow. The other is being bathed in rain.

On top of that weirdness, my dad displayed a fantastic rejection of his conservative roots by giving me a book written by a lesbian muslim. I may be giving him too much credit; he didn't know she was a lesbian. I've read the first chapter and it's pretty good so far. Maybe I'll bookcross it after I'm finished.

I received a generous helping of the standard cookies, candies, and some leftover turkey to take home, but the gift I'm looking most forward to using is my Futureshop gift card ;)

Originally posted on Friday, 2003-12-26 at 14:30:23.


Company non-denominational holiday party 2003

Good times were had by all this past Friday night at the Halifax Curling Club...well, the people who can remember Friday night at least. I managed to have my share of fun while spending only about $8 on coke and ginger ale by bringing a handy flask of rum with me. That, and coming away from the gift swap with a half-pint of Crown Royal ;)

I also continued the now-three-year-running tradition of me winning stuff. This year, tradition was a two-year-old video card whose drivers render my Windows 2003 machine non-bootable. If anyone has any newer drivers for an ASUS V7100 Deluxe Combo please email me. Basically, it's a GeForce2 MX with a TV tuner.

I know that people are expecting photos, and although I *did* take some, they turned out very dark and I don't really think they're worth posting :(

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-12-15 at 09:22:45.


The holiday meal of champions

Thanks to some bold reporting by Outersurf and some trepidacious link clicking of my own, I now know what is the ultimate holiday meal: The Turducken.

What better way to celebrate the holiday season with friends and family than by eating a chicken in a duck in a turkey? Really, you're just being more space effieient. So if you've got a bachelor apartment or something this is really the way to go. Or perhaps you were planning to eat a turkey, and were going to let that chicken and duck go to waste; problem solved!

What other animal combinations would be good to eat?

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-12-08 at 12:56:02.


Pay what you want for music

I have recently found what I consider to be the most fantastic website that nobody's ever heard of. From this website, I learned two things: (1) A website does exist that will charge a reasonable amount for downloadable CD-quality music; and (2) Courtney Love is not as wacky as you think.

Just like Magnatune's slogan implies, they are not as evil the as major recording labels. Their take on music sales is more like the donation bin at an art gallery than the cash register at the record store. You can listen to music (in 128 Kbps mp3 format) before you buy anything, and when you do buy it, you can choose to pay anywhere from $5 to $18.

This is the first instance, I believe, of the software's "shareware" type of model in the record industry. Seven genres of music, loads of artists, each with multiple albums -- there is plenty of music to browse through and listen to. With the try-before-you-buy model that they have, there's no chance of buying some thing that you're not going to like.

Downloads are available in MP3, the original WAV, OGG Vorbis, MP3 variable bitrate, or FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec). Get more information about the site here.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-12-08 at 11:00:14.


Captain Morgan Private Stock

I don't know how many of you Spine Dorks are rum drinkers, but I surely am. Until recently, I thought Captain Morgan Deluxe was just about the best dark rum out there...that is until I discovered Captain Morgan Private Stock.

It only comes in 750 mL bottles, which cost about $35 each. That's a little steep for a bottle of rum, but this isn't just any bottle of rum. This is simply the smoothest, fullest-flavoured, spiciest-aromaed rum I have ever tasted. It is absolutely delicious. I have not yet found the need to even mix it with anything -- it's that smooth.

Mmmm...mmmm. This is some of the best rum that money can buy.

You know how you can tell the classy wine from the crappy wine? The classy wine comes with a cork while the crappy wine has a screw off top. Well, apparently it's the same with rum. Once you remove the foil-like wrapper at the top, there's a cork stopper in the bottle. That, and the shape of the bottle itself, gives you that authentic feeling that this was really smuggled out of some carribean island.

Even if you're not a regular rum drinker, I highly recommend that you pick a quart of this up for whenever I come over.

Steve gives
Captain Morgan Private Stock
Thumbs Up!

Originally posted on Sunday, 2003-11-30 at 21:25:01.


Personal computers as home entertainment centres

It's been mentioned in the forums a few times, so I'll bring it to the forefront. I think it's pretty much inevitable that personal computers are going to play a bigger role in the houses of tomorrow than they do today. While today, I have a personal computer controlling my lights and playing my media, this is not the norm. The masses are still using physical vs. virtual media.

For me, this transition was natural, mainly because I'm lazy. I mean, who wants to keep shuffling around CDs all the time just because I want to listen to a different band? Pointing and clicking for audio is where it's at. With a big enough hard drive, you can rip DVDs as you purchase them and view them on-demand at any time as well. Not to mention the TiVo-like applications that can turn your computer into a personal video recorder.

The most vocal objection I hear to this paradigm is, "I don't want to watch movies on my computer." My response: Has nobody ever heard of TV-out? Most video cards will at least have a composite out, if not S-Video. After all, TiVos are basically a subset of a personal computer with respect to their abilities and functionality, and people use those with reckless abandon.

If more people *did* watch movies and television on their computers (while hooked up to their television), the most vocal objection I would expect to hear is, "There is too much fan-noise." And I would agree. S2K and others have brought up some fantastic solutions to this problem in the forums, so I won't duplicate them here.

My question to you is: What is necessary to help speed this into the mainstream? The faster this becomes the norm, the sooner I can say something like, "Hey, I missed CSI last night, can you upload it to me?" I can *almost* do this now, mainly because my social circle is comprised of a lot of geeks like me :) Still, I can't wait for this attitude to become more prevalent.

If the network is the computer, then the media is the network.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-11-25 at 11:22:33.


Rememberance Day

If any of you guys are planning to be at a Rememberance Day ceremony, maybe we could meet there. I'm planning to be at the ceremony at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax. I generally get there around 10:15 or so, to try and secure a parking spot and get a coffee beforehand :) If you're interested, lets meet at the Tim Hortons on Barrington and Sackville Streets at 10:30.

I think that Rememberance Day is one of, if not the most, important holiday that we, as Canadians, can celebrate. It is completely independant of religion, and truly, if it were not for the things we remember on Rememberance Day, we would probably not have the freedom of religion that we enjoy today.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-11-10 at 11:38:24.


I have a confession to make

I did something I'm not proud of this weekend. It made me feel kind of dirty. Tainted. Unclean. I went to the Palace. And it was all that I hoped it could be.

Unfortunately, gone were the Sunday night $1 drink specials. The "promo" bar was selling beer for exactly the same price that the rest of the place was: a hefty $4. Fortunately, the clientele hadn't changed much. Still there were the women not dressed in much (read: 'skanks') and the lecherous old men (read: 'me'). Somehow, it just wasn't the same without Jerry's though.

But the best part of all? The Palace is now completely non-smoking (except for the man-made stuff released over the dance floor).

Completely by accident, I happened upon a DJ competition. The competitors were not really remarkable, with the execption of the last two (who ended up placing first and second). The second last guy performed his entire, flawless set without the use of headphones. I still have no idea how he was able to cue up the next record or to beat mix with the previous song. Truly amazing.

The last guy, who goes by the name of "Skratch Bastard", did some of the craziest mixes I have ever seen. Imagine the line "Shake that thing" taken from Led Zepplin's "Black Dog" mixed with Sean Paul's "Shake that thing" and you have some idea of what I'm talking about. Done live, it's even more impressive. Without a beat missed, he mixed in a new baseline and turned Guns'n'Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" into the newest dance hit. If Skratch Bastard is ever playing, I highly encourage you to go see him. I will definately be seeking him out again.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-10-14 at 10:48:29.


Steve goes to Wisconsin

Even though I went to Wisconsin before Juan hit, I thought that Juan was bigger news. The astute among you may have noticed that I have also posted pictures of my trip in the photos section. It was a fun time. I got to hang out with State-side Spine Dorks Emily and Dr. Nick in their natural habitat.

Over the course of this trip, I visited some strange and wonderful places, such as Milwaukee Brewers baseball games, and the local watering hole, the Brazen Head.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-10-01 at 20:15:13.


Hurricane Juan

So, I guess we had a hurricane. I almost wish I was here for it, but instead, I was stuck in a Howard Johnson's in Newark. My flight home got cancelled because of our friend Juan. As of Tuesday night, my house still does not have power (I'm writing this at my brother's place on Lady Hammond Road) and isn't scheduled to have it restored until Wednesday night.

Since there was nothing to do at home, I jumped in the car and drove around to take pictures of the carnage. My car was also the only place I had to listen to the radio, so I wasn't being *totally* voyeristic :) What really pissed me off was that I lost my nearly-year-long uptime for spine.cx :(

Here are the photos of the carnage. Remember to rate them!

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-10-01 at 00:08:43.


HRM drops Clayton Park speed limits

The speed limits for quite a few streets coming off the Bedford Highway have been reduced to 40 kph. These streets include Bayview & Flamingo, two of the most travelled roads in that part of the city. I can understand why they're doing it. I mean, I've seen cars that are trying, hopelessly, to back out of their driveways in the morning among all the rush-hour traffic. These streets were obviously not designed to handle the amount of commuter traffic that they now do.

The real problem, in my opinion, is the lack of ways to get off of the Halifax peninsula. Currently there are only three: The armdale rotary (and we all know what a traffic snarl that can be), the Bi-Hi entrance on Joseph Howe Drive (recently made much better by some modifications), and the Windsor Street exchange leading to the Bedford Highway (which was widened, but still sucks).

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-09-04 at 16:29:35.


Springtime Fall = new roommate

So it seems that every year for the last 4, the spring fall brings with it the promise of a new roommate for Steve. This year, it's my friend Brent Rockwood. He's a computer guy too, and he's bringing with him all sorts of hardware and wireless networkingly good things. I'm excited.

Together we will form a geek stronghold the likes of which have never been seen! And we will call ourselves Tenacious D! No, wait...I think somebody has that name. Well, whatever.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-08-28 at 10:10:45.


Nigerians get wise

For the first time in months, a Nigerian spam email has broken through my spam filter. It seems they finally got wise to the fact that we're basically ignoring and/or ridiculing them so they decided to write a new template for spam. It has similar elements to the original Nigerian Spam, but it's different enough so that my spam filter didn't count a single hit against it.

You can read it below.

Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2003 21:20:27 -0600
From: aaeezie tobby <aaeezie1@123.com>
To: aaeezie1@123.com
Subject: good home needed


I wish to use this medium to introduce myself and express my Client's desire buy a living house in your country.I am Aaeezie Henry Tobby an Attorney in Nigeria and my client is looking for a trust worthy man that take care of his future investments overseas.He is a former Liberian Director Auditing & Accounting Department of Ministry of Defence Headquarters presently on assylum in Nigeria.

If you know that you can help,get to me and so that I will give you the necessray information that will enable us to proceed.Once you have contacted me,you should bear in mind that it should be confidential and private.

Barr.Aaeezie Henry Tobby N/B.Bear in mind that it is not only house that he wishes to buy and you shall be compensated adequately for your help.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-08-23 at 02:04:12.


New sections to the website

So there are parts to PHPNuke that I've never used yet, but I think I might start. Mike has written a review of a video game he's bought recently. and I have integrated the subway thing into the main site. They're there, and I don't presently take advantage of them, so I said, what the hell?

You can also get links to these things in a little box on the left side, below the calendar thingys.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-08-19 at 09:51:48.


Ryan & Sarah's housewarming

Photos from the kick-ass party I was at on the weekend past. There was much beer. I think I drank most of it, or at least that's the way it felt. I took some photos.

There were a number of people there I didn't know, which was cool. Too many parties I go to now have all the same yokels that I see everyday. There definately needs to be some new faces in the photo gallery. Gotta mix it up. Gotta keep it interesting.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-08-14 at 10:01:50.


Nova Scotia International Air Show

Those of you who are in the know will already be aware that the Nova Scotia International Air Show is taking place at CFB Shearwater on September 6th and 7th. It's usually a good time, and it looks like they've actually put some effort into planning it this year. Hopefully it will actually be sunny for this event -- not like the dripping-sky ass weather that we've had for the past week.

Might be a great place to organize a flash mob. I say we do it near the Americans with the large guns.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-08-12 at 10:11:45.


Spine.cx is two!

Today is the second anniversary of when I installed PHPNuke on spine.cx and made it the site it is today. Since then, there have been just over 730,000 page views, 3000 comments, and 6300 forum posts. Thanks for putting up with the ads and all that garbage. The site has grown a hell of a lot in the last year, and hopefully, it'll grow even more in the next.

Shout outs to all you playas with the low user IDs and the high post counts ;)

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-08-11 at 10:32:08.


Two weddings in as many weeks

One on July 26th, another on August 2nd. I'm actually kind of flattered that I got invited to two weddings. I would like to wish Peter and Ian the best of luck in their new states of matrimony.

I took some pictures at Peter's wedding, but at Ian's, I forgot my camera :( Don't forget to comment and rate those photos!

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-08-11 at 10:25:27.


Camping in the rain sucks

So, as the title of this article suggests, this weekend, I was camping in the rain and experienced the full magnitude of suck. Thankfully, I was sleeping in the Element and I stayed quite dry -- at least while I slept.

Friday night we sat and drank around a fire. Saturday, it was raining, so we decided to go into town and catch a movie. We saw American Wedding. It was very funny and I highly recommend it to anyone who liked the first two. This one is even more "Stifler-centric". Saturday night we sat and drank around a fire.

I also attended the wedding of a friend and coworker of mine, Ian Frosst whom you should all encourage to post more often because he has some completely nonsensical points of view that I'm sure would make S2K's head spin ;) It was a nice ceremony, but it was on the far edge of Upper Middle Eastern Bumblefuck.

I have never seen as much food as I saw at this wedding. Seeing as the majority of their family is vegetarian, they are to be commended for having such a varied array of meat and meat products available. This barbecue wasn't simply hot dogs and hamburgers, but rather succulent steaks and marinated chicken breasts. Delicious.

And the desserts! I nearly went into a diabetic coma. They were so good. I hope he gets married again soon.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2003-08-03 at 17:46:42.


Tucker Max suit dropped by plaintiff

Tucker Max, internet personality, is generally regarded as an asshole -- he'll even admit it himself. He hooked up with this chick named Katy Johnson one night and the encounter was so interesting to him, he wrote about it on his website. She wanted to maintain her squeaky clean image, so she filed suit against Mr. Max.

The big news now is that she has now dropped the suit. Guess she figured she didn't really want to lose in court

Originally posted on Friday, 2003-07-25 at 00:19:55.


Frequent masturbation lessens risk of prostate cancer

From an article at CBC.ca: "Scientists in Australia determined that men in their 20s who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer later in life. The study suggests ejaculation by means of masturbation provides better protection than ejaculation in sexual intercourse because men can pick up infections from intercourse that actually increase the risk of getting prostate cancer."

That is all. Please continue...uh...whatever it was you were doing. Nudge nudge, wink wink ;)

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-07-22 at 08:36:49.


Low-volume flush toilets are crap!

My dad has just renovated his house. New siding, and a completely new kitchen and bathroom. It looks fantastic, as new and shiny things do. But when shopping for a new toilet (the old one was yellow and just doesn't fit the new colour scheme), the problem of selecting one came up. It's not like you can just go into the store and ask to have one of them hooked up so you can take a test-dump.

And it's not even simply about comfort. (I think I would sit on a prospective toilet for a good 15 minutes and see if my legs go to sleep.) While seat contours are certainly an important qualities to look for in a toilet, there is also the question of LPF (litres per flush).

Traditional toilets would use as much as 20 or 30 litres of water per flush, but recently, environmentalists and hippies have been complaining that too often everything is going down on the first try. They have lobbied government and toilet manufacturerers to produce toilets that use less water. Some use as little as 7 litres per flush. While this may be enough to make a number 1 go away, sometimes it's just not sufficient for a number 2.

I wanted to help out my dad, so my brother and I investigated this problem further. We found an extremely helpful website called Toiletology.com that answered all our questions and then some.

Turns out it is a widely-held opinion that the Toto Ultramax model is the best toilet out there today, and that the Toto brand in general is held in high esteem among plumbers and cloggers alike. I believe this is because of their G-Max flushing technology.

If you'd prefer to keep your existing toilet, you can simply add a pressurizing device to your tank. In study after study FLUSHMATE® emerges as the clear winner in water-closet performance.

So many choices. Who would have ever thought that the toilet industry was so competitive? Between government regulations and the black market in high-volume-flush toilets, it's an interesting game we're playing here, isn't it? I think my dad is going to scrap the Kohler he has now and try to find a Toto Ultramax. Man, those things are flying off the shelves faster than Tickle-Me Elmo.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-07-21 at 11:22:41.


Happy Canada Day!

Spine.cx wishes Canada a happy 136th birthday. To give people something to comment on, how are you spending your holiday?

Edit 07/02 0051h: Just got back from watching the fireworks. They sucked. But I did take some photos. The most interesting things I saw that night were this and this. And some lesbians. Wanted to get a photo of them kissing, but didn't want to be too conspicuous.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-07-01 at 00:00:20.


At least we have our priorities straight

I thought, I'll test my theory of buying beer on Sunday and go down to the Cold Beer Store on Agricola Street. It was closed. But wait! There's a sign telling me to go down to Water Street to the Keith's brewery store. To the Stevemobile! I park and walk in, and there is a line up of no less than 50 people in front of me.

I see some curious sights. I meet some cute chicks, and talk to them whilst in said line. We bitch together about the state of affairs and how long it is taking us to get through to the cashier. This guy is trying to stuff a 2-4 into his backpack to ride home on his bike. Humerous.

Although I'm sure that being Canada Day weekend, this was the exception rather than the rule, maybe this will convince the powers-that-be that being able to buy alcohol on Sundays would not be a bad thing. Surely there are enough people interested in the idea to make it worthwhile.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2003-06-29 at 18:38:15.


Some people are just weird

This actually happened a couple of days ago, but I forgot to mention it on the site. Something today jogged my memory. Anyway, I'm in a restaurant, and I finishing my meal, and this guy at one of the nearby tables is in the same boat. He's just getting served his coffee. Everything is normal up to this point, but just you wait.

He opens the sugar packet lengthways. What. The. Fuck. I simply do not understand this man's process of reasoning. It couldn't have been a fluke, because I saw him do it to more than one packet. How do you maintain flow control with such a large opening? I mean that's why they make them rectangular; so you can open the small end. Otherwise they would make them square, like a throw pillow.

I think he was a closet anarchist.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-06-26 at 09:02:28.


What's there to do in Halifax in the fall?

Christine writes: "This coming October (I know, it's pretty far away) I will be travelling out east with some friends. We are heading to Cape Breton for the Celtic Colours Festival but on our way back are hitting Halifax. From what I hear about your wonderful city it's a great place to go on a pub crawl. I'd like to go on an organized crawl, so we wouldn't be alone. I hear Halifax has such tours. I found your site but it seems we will be way late for your crawl but do you have any suggestions for me? I would so so so so so much appreciate any info you could offer."

Do it up.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-06-21 at 11:35:33.


Why do I always get the crazy ones?

All I wanted to do was get some groceries. I finish going through the isles and head up to the checkout with my cart full of goodies and hope to be on my way fairly soon. Unfortunately the cashier apparently has other plans. She tells me about how she really regrets being an only child and how her friend got beaten up in university, but she had a big sister who came to her rescue (big sis played rugby). Then she tells me about how the population at large is part of a growing conspiracy to steal her pens and she shows me the one currently tethered to her belt. This girl is nuttier than trail mix. "They're not getting this one! Huhhuh!" she chortles. And I believe her. I wouldn't go near that pen with someone else's ten-foot-pole. Thankfully she only makes me sign the credit card slip with the pen that she's woven a cover for out of yarn bearing her name.

Next time, I'm going to pretend I'm mute.

Don't even get me started about taxi drivers. Most of the time, when I get in a taxi, I just want to be driven to where I want to go and get out when I get there. I'm not hiring them for conversation. If I want that, I'll go buy some groceries.

I realize these people are mostly just trying to be polite, and in some cases trying to garner a larger tip, but chances are, I'm happy sitting in my cone-of-silence and just want to be left alone. If I'm taking a cab, chances are I'm drunk anyway. I don't think I'd make very good conversation at that point.

I think people in these positions should leave it up to the customer whether they should engage in conversation, which is really just meaningless banter about the weather, sports, or current events anyway. It'll save them the headache of talking to someone who gives only marginal responses, and it'll save me the headache of giving marginal responses.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-06-18 at 08:22:22.


Ownership of Montreal Grill

The ownership of the Montreal Grill (the restaurant in the basement of the Bank of Montreal building on Hollis & George) has changed hands. It is now owned by the Greek couple that owned the Soup'er Sandwich a few years back. They have promised to bring back Souvlaki Thursdays. I was planning to put a menu in this article, but they don't really have one that I could take and scan.

Consider this a P.S.A. Go down there and show them some business.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-06-11 at 07:56:27.


TABU: Forbidden Fruit

Here is the second review of an alcoholic beverage ever done on Spine.cx. I'm not doing Baja Tango, like I said I would, basically because I didn't feel like drinking that stuff right now. I was buying some beer (Keith's has the 15-packs back for the summer), and this stuff in a curious metal bottle caught my eye. It's called TABU (complete with weird backwards and upside down letters and a funny accent over the upside down 'U'. Don't tell me I'm going to find that one in the ASCII chart :)

Despite the obvious puns I could make with the name 'Forbidden Fruit', I'm going to try and make this a serious review and give this beverage some thought.

So, anyway, the metal bottle is what inticed me to buy this. They sell it in individual 500 ml bottles for $3.95. It's 7.0% alcohol by volume. The main alcoholic ingredient is vodka. It has a bottlecap, which I thought was kind of strange. I expected a screw-off plastic cap for this kind of drink. From the look of it, it strikes me as a cooler-style of beverage.

Oh well, here we go. First impressions: It smells a bit like grapefruit or some kind of fruity punch...Definately some grapefruit in there. Tastes like candy...a little too sweet. This drink makes me think of what it would taste like if someone decided to add alcohol to one of those crazy energy drinks like Red Bull or something.

I've decided that I'm going to drink it out of the bottle because I don't want to know what color it is. Upon reading the ingredients, I'm sure it's some sort of dye anyway. The only natural thing in this drink is water, and maybe the vodka; everything else is artificial this or synthesized that. Kind of makes you wonder how they came up with this drink. Some mad scientist stirring a cauldron of stuff and when a drop of it can eat through a steel plate, he knows it's ready. Still, it's almost encouraging that they can create something that approximates fruit from scratch. What will they think of next?

It's not hard to taste the vodka if you're looking for it, but I don't think you'd notice it otherwise. All the same, I'm not even halfway through the bottle yet, and I'm kind of getting sick of it. Maybe it's the artificiality-ness of the whole thing. Maybe it's a carcinogen. Maybe I'm rotting away from the inside. But I digress...

I don't really taste anything particularly forbidden about this "taboo" drink. Kind of girly. Maybe something to sip on before you chase it down with a bottle of Boone's. Whatever the case, I don't think it's for me. It certainly is a neat bottle though. I'll bet you could use it for a candle-holder or something. I won't break if you drop it. That's good to know. At least it's recyclable.

Steve gives
TABU: Forbidden Fruit
Thumbs Down

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-06-07 at 21:04:52.


Palm Zire 71

At first, I was cheesed off because I had purchased an m515 about a month before the Zire 71 was announced by Palm because, at the time, the m515 was the best price/performance value, in my opinion. Since the Zire 71 was offered with a built in camera and MP3 playing functionality for only $50 more than the m515, after I got over my original bout of swearing and disappointment, I decided to bite the bullet and attempt to trade up.

Inside is my review of the Zire 71.

So, first impressions: The screen is amazing. Very low-glare, at 320x320, it's 4 times the resuolution of the m515. It's plastic, where the m515 was mostly metal, so it can feel kind of cheap and flimsy. The stylus, which is also plastic, doesn't have the proper weight to sit in your hand. It's much too light. In addition to the normal four function buttons on the bottom and nstead of the usual up and down buttons, is a 4-way joystick. This offers a little more flexibility, but it can be hard to tell if you've actually pressed it, so you can end up going further down in your document than you thought.

The processor is completely different. As with all Palm OS 5 devices, the Zire 71 uses an OMAP Arm processor running at 144 Mhz. It is reams and reams faster than the 33 Mhz DragonBall processor than ran the M515. Even though I had mine overclocked to 66 Mhz most of the time, the Zire 71 still puts it in the dust. Menu changes happen instantly instead of waiting for that split second.

The built in software is pretty much the same as every other Palm, with the exception of the camera software and photo viewer. The accompanying software is pretty neat though. It comes with a video player, MP3 player, and some other stuff I didn't really look at.

Kinoma Video Player has a PC-based part for converting MPEGs, AVIs, etc. into a Palm compatible format (and reducing them to 320x320), and a Palm-based part for actually playing and managing them on the device. I have a 256 Megabyte SD card so I managed to cram on a whole bunch of crap. Tripping the Rift played surprisingly well. I was impressed.

The MP3 player did not fare so well.

Unfortunately, Palm has decided to bundle the piece of shit that is RealPlayer, or rather now RealOne with their devices. Real is second only to MusicMatch on my list of despised media players. I didn't even bother installing this one on the Palm. I got as far as the splash screen of the installation and cancelled it.

Obviously, I still want to play MP3s, so what do I do now? Sureley there is a shareware or open source MP3 player for Palm OS... My search ended much better than I had hoped. I found AeroPlayer, which not only plays MP3s, but also OGGs! This was fantastic. I installed it and it worked without a hitch. I had no qualms about purchasing the lifetime upgrade key for this piece of software.

Battery life appears to be very good. Playing OGGs during my 35 minute bus ride into the office, the battery meter didn't drop at all. Thankfully, AeroPlayer allows you to turn the screen off while it runs in the background, saving valuable battery life.

The camera is no prize, it only takes pictures at 640x480, but for the time it takes to write them to the card, I wouldn't want them to be any bigger! The digital camera I bought three years ago, the Kodak DC480 is much better in quality and resolution, but it's a little bulky to carry around with me 24/7. The Palm is light, small, and very easy to fit in a pocket so I'll never again have to say, "I wish I had a camera." If I'm ever planning to take pictures, however, I bring my real one.

In conclusion, I wish I had known that this device was going to be released, because I would certainly not have purchased the m515! The Zire 71 completely destroys it in every way I could ever want. WiFi support would be nice, but the Palm that supports that is nearly twice the price. I can live without it....for now.

Edit 06/06/03@22:43 Oh yeah, the thing I forgot to mention is that trasferring files to the SD card via a hotsync is retardedly slow. I mean stupidly slow. I waited twenty minutes for a 60 meg album of OGGs to transfer over before I gave up. The same album transferred to the card via a card reader took about 25 seconds. Go figure.

Steve gives the
Palm Zire 71
Thumbs Up!

Originally posted on Friday, 2003-06-06 at 10:05:41.


Group wants you to donate your $155 cheque to charity

According to several articles, including this one, a coalition of church groups want you to donate your $155 forthcoming cheque to charity, to help the homeless. I wonder if this is something that people will actually do? How exactly is it vote-buying if you hate the Hamm government to begin with? Discuss.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-06-05 at 12:24:56.


Greekfest 2003

This coming weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) is the planned date for Greekfest 2003. Experience what a donair should *really* taste like! Have your own piece of baklava! The possibilities are endless.

Come on down and drink your fill of Ouzo and do some of those silly dances. You know you want to.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-06-02 at 16:57:44.


FNP 7: The Matrix Get-Loaded

I know you're all waiting for them with baited breath, so here are the photos. Don't forget the comments and ratings!

I had more people ask than usual if there were any extra shirts this time, so the design is going to change slightly to not so much reflect a pub crawl, and the shirts are going to go on sale here. I'll get them printed if I get more than 30 ordered.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2003-05-25 at 00:00:45.


Bacardi Ciclon

Here at Spine.cx, we feel that it is important to provide the viewing public with not only reviews of frivolous things like CDs, movies, and pop bottles on the street, but also important things like alcohol. It is with that sentiment that I give to you the first Spine.cx review of an alcholic beverage: the brand new (at least to me) Bacardi Ciclon (there's an accent or something over that 'o', but I don't know how to do that. Anyway, it's pronounced "see'-clone"). It is "Bacardi gold rum infused with blue agave tequila and a natural lime flavour".

Click inside for the review.

Well, I guess the first thing to do is smell it. I'll just crack open the bottle here...Mmmm. It smells pretty good. Maybe I'll just have a taste. *sip* I think we have a winner. This stuff tastes pretty damn good just on its own...I find my mind racing to think about what this would mix well with. For any of you who have tried Bacardi Limon, it's a little like that, but you can definately taste the tequila in it; not overpowering tequila, as I'm sure some of you are definately thinking, but rather the nice subtle tequila, like you'd find in a marguarita. I love saying that: Marguarrrrita! Salsa! Chi Chi Rodriguez!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I believe I shall try Sprite as a mix. *Pour* *Mix* And the verdict is good after the first sip. I think it's the artificial lime in the sprite that blends well with the artificial lime in the alcohol. I could really get into this stuff sitting on the beach, with a lot of hot chicks around. Or as a backup, I could really get into this stuff sitting in my room typing on my computer, which is basically what I'm doing now. It's a poor substitute for option #1.

This stuff is very smooth. Not a bad aftertaste or anything. I think I would buy it again, perhaps in a larger quantity, so I get, like, more of it.

So anyway, tune in next time for my review of Baja Tango, kind of like Baja Rosa, but made with oranges instead of strawberries.

Steve gives
Bacardi Ciclon
Thumbs Up!
P.S. If there are any people reading this from any large liquor corporations that would like to donate some product, and maybe get a favourable review, *nudge* *wink*, I can be reached by email 24/7.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-05-19 at 14:53:27.


I am the champion

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and I guess they were right about that one. Being at work when you don't want to be there; on a Friday afternoon; when it's sunny outside; can make your mind do weird things. We invented a new sport: Carpet Surfing.

See, we recently had our office renovated and we got brand new cubicles. They suck. They were designed by sadists. Ergonomic they are not. Their keyboard trays were attached to the desks via hydraulic arms that any person of substantial height could not help but continuously smash their knees against upon sitting down. So they were promptly removed.

Step 1. Run and jump onto a keyboard tray and slide acrosss the carpet. Go for distance. Step 2: ??? Step 3: Profit.

So far, I have the record.

Originally posted on Friday, 2003-05-16 at 18:24:32.


FNP 7: Crawl updates

Some further information for you crawlin' peeps to dig. The printers tell me the shirts will be ready on the 22nd of May. I have called all the bars to let them know we're coming and to see what deals I could get out of them for the crawl.

Click inside to hear what they all had to say.

1730 - 1900
Joe Murphy (whoever he is) will be playing when we're there. There is a $1 cover charge, but the guy I talked to said that he's 99% sure he could get it waived for anyone in a t-shirt.
Because of this guy playing there, he said it would probably be standing room only on the inside. The deck will only be open if the weather permits. If the weather is inclement, I suggest a detour to the Thirsty Duck.
1900 - 2000
The downstairs portion of the bar will be reserved for us.
2000 - 2130
Happy hour prices as long as we're there for anyone in a shirt.
2130 - 2230
The manager said that they are not fully staffed (i.e., no DJ and only one bartender) until 2130h, so I suggest that we simply stay at Breakers for an extra half hour. The drinks are Happy Hour prices there anyway :)
2230 - 0000
No cover. Happy hour starts at 2300h. The guy also said he won't let crawls in after 2300h, so make sure you get there in a timely fashion.
0000 - 0200
No Cover. $1 off shooters at the promo bar on top of the dance floor.

Originally posted on Friday, 2003-05-16 at 18:00:23.


Camping trip 2003 redux

Just letting everyone know that the group campsite at Blomidon has been booked for the weekend of August 1st through the 4th for around 20 people. So if you care, you should make sure you can get that Friday (August 1st) off.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you may want to reference the previous article that was posted on this subject. Also, you should let us know that you intend to be there, so we can make different arrangements if need be.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-05-14 at 10:46:58.


Somebody's getting a littering ticket

So, I'm standing on Hollis Street, minding my own business when out of nowhere, this truck drives by and starts dumping empty plastic bottles of every sort all over the road right in front of Province House. And NOT by accident. Nearly the entire street was covered. Luckily, crack Spine.cx reporter Raymond Seto was there with his camera.

Check out the photos inside.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-05-13 at 14:02:27.


The only thing worse than software problems...

Are hardware problems.

I was very happy to finally get a new, up-to-date machine (2.4 GHz P4) machine at work last week, complete with a shiny new 40 Gb hard drive. I installed the newly-gold Windows Server 2003 and the slew of applications that I need to do my job and I was off to the races. Everything was going smoothly until I came in Monday morning and pressed a key to break the machine out of its screen-saver hibernation. Beep! Reboot. Fuck.

Half an hour of trying unsuccessfully to boot, I gave up. Shortly thereafter, I began hearing strange clicking noises coming from the drive. Ack. Another drive, another install of W2K3, and the better part of a of a day later, I'm back where I started, pretty much the same, save a large ball of cynicism I've yet to remove from my ass.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have had a drive fail on me, but all that have failed have been Western Digitals. Typically, at home, I would buy Fujitsu, but I'm told that they don't make desktop drives anymore, is that correct? Right now, at work, I have a Seagate, and at home, I have a WD (it was a present) and a Quantum.

What does the population at large recommend for hard drives? Has anyone else out there experienced the craptactular experience that is a hard drive failure? Did you have backups? ;) What drives have good warranties now? Which ones have the best MTBF (mean time between failures)?

I'm curious.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-05-13 at 00:36:11.


Ads?! WTF!?

I have taken a big step with the website today. I decided to try offering textual ads for sale on Spine.cx. I don't really see any reason why it would piss anyone off, but that's what I find myself worrying about. It's not like they're as bad as banner ads, or popunders, or those ones that seem to float across what you're trying to read. The last thing I want to become is one of those Internet hypocrites who goes on and on about free this and open source that, and then turn around and start having huge, gaudy ads on my site. That would really be offensive to me.

Hopefully, textual ads will be a happy medium; they'll don't attract much undue attention and they're only on the right side, so if you're not looking for them, they'll stay out of your way :)

Also, I bought a new keyboard for my PDA. I wrote this article on it. It is hard to get used to typing on it because it's even smaller than a laptop keyboard. I suppose that I will get used to it though. It's a hell of a lot easier than trying to write all of this in Graffiti. The worst thing is that the right shift key is just a *little* too far to the right. Where I would reach for the right shift key with my pinky on a normal keyboard is the 'cursor up' key on this one. For size and weight, it's fantastic. Lighter than the PDA itself, it folds up to be not much bigger than than the PDA. It becomes its own case. The PDA/keyboard combination is WAY easier to lug around than a laptop. Granted, there are more than a few things that you can on a laptop that you can't on a PDA, but for the difference in weight and ease of manipulation, I'll take the PDA any day.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-05-03 at 17:22:45.


Steve's Trip to Newfoundland

I'm back from Newfoundland. Saw a lot of relatives and made a lot of new acquaintances. Drank a fair amount of beer.

What you are about to experience is basically my stream of consciousness during the time I was in Newfoundland. It may not be easy to follow. I make no apologies.

We had Easter Dinner at my grandmother’s place; aunts, uncles, the whole bit. I heard on the radio an ad for The Grumpy Stump Pub - 753-BEER. There are two black people in Nfld., I saw them both.

Newfoundland is very rocky. Snow still abounds in most places. I visited the communities of Petty Harbour & Maddox Cove on the north side of the Avalon Peninsula, ate at the Captain’s Table restaurant, and had the biggest piece of fish I have ever seen. Went into the Colony of Avalon (population 171) where there's an archeological dig unearthing a British settlement (Lord Baltimore) from 1620 or so. Took a few pictures. Saw a Neon w/ a big spoiler

There are only 2 places that I can find in St. John's that offer public internet access. One appears to be out of business and their space is for lease. The other is the Public Library which is, being a government building, closed for Easter Monday. I am going insane without the internet. I am glad I made the descision to buy the Palm that I'm using now. Hopefully I'll be able to at least check my email before the week is out.

My cousin David has finished his last exam of the year so he and his classmates are going on a big tear. I've been invited. Tomorrow I'll fill you in on whatever I can remember :)

It’s about 0400h. I am drunk @ a pizza place in Mount Pearl. I have no idea what time it is. I've just spent my last $5 of cash to get a greasy slice.

Woke up before my alarm around 7:15 or so. That always seems to happen after a night out. Big glass of water and a coffee later and I am involved in a futile attempt to try and get my handheld to work with my cousin's computer. I have a feeling it will take much patience. I actually don't feel too bad; kind of surprising given how much I drank. I definitely know I was out last night, but I think that could be the lack of sleep rather than the alcohol.

There is so much snow on people's lawns that they've taken to shoveling it onto the street just so it'll melt more quickly.

Attempted to use MUN's public access Internet terminals. What pieces of utter & complete shite. We're talking *minutes* to render a web page; not to mention that the right-click menus were disabled. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

So, anyway, I'm sitting at the terminal and the guy on the computer next to me goes to GAY.com. I couldn't tell if it was a porn site or not, but I did catch a glimpse of more than one shirtless man. I'm not one for eavesdropping but this was difficult not to notice. Then he starts chatting with his (presumably) gay friends even though the sign over both our heads plainly says "no chat". Some people.

Ate some seal flipper. Think of the most gamey meat you know, then add 50% more game and a few cups of rubber and you will begin to approximate the texture and taste of seal flipper. I guess it's some sort of delicacy. Mmmm...flipper. Sounds like I'm eating a friendly dolphin. I wonder what dolphin tastes like? Damn them for being endangered.

Visted the brand new GeoCenter at Signal Hill. There are certainly a lot of rocks there. I can understand where Newfoundland got the nickname.

Until today I was sure that Signal Hill was named for Marconi's wireless message across the Atlantic. I have since come to find out that it has that name because the British military called it that in the 1700s.

Halifax has got nothing on St. John's when it comes to windy and narrow streets. Along the roads approaching the battery, which are skinnier than Bedford Row at George Street, there are enough tightly-packed houses to please even the most frugal of urban planners. And when there aren't any houses on the side of the road, there's a cliff as sheer as yer mammy's bloomers.

Saw the movie "Holes". It wasn't bad but you could definitely tell it was a Disney movie. Not one damn cuss word in the whole thing.

Looks like we're driving east today. Going to visit Conception Bay.

Crossed over to Bell Island on the ferry. I now have definitive proof that what I'm smelling while crossing Halifax Harbour is not the ocean. I smelled the ocean today and Halifax Harbour certainly isn't it. There isn't much to see here really, we drove around the whole thing.

There was maybe four cars on the ferry on the way over, but the way back was a different story: we arrived about 3 minutes before the ferry was scheduled to leave and it was chock full. To the ferry operators' credit, it took little coercion to get them to maneuver the existing cars enough to squeeze ours on. I didn't really feel like spending another 40 minutes looking at nothing.

Went through the communities of Bauline, Flat Rock, and Torbay. Got some very scenic photographs. Visited the Ocean Sciences Centre (unfortunately, it doesn't really open until June) in Torbay & took pictures of the seals. Check out the webcam. If I could only find some decent public internet access, I'd check it out myself.

I can't believe I've talked my dad into listening to a heavy metal radio show on the MUN radio station CHMR. It's certainly interesting to see his reactions to the titles of the songs as the DJ reads them out: "And that was 'Bring out Your Flesh' by Church of Misery." Or something like that.

Supper at my grandmother's house: delicious salmon, vegetables, and potatoes; but most curious was the dessert. It was cheesecake made with "bakeapples," or cloudberries, I believe they're called here. They have a very curious taste to them; curious but not unpleasant. Apparently they're expensive.

Went to a bar called The Republic. You can probably guess it's an Irish bar. Had a drink called a "car bomb." It's half a pint of Guinness with a shot of Bailey's dropped in and chugged. It really is better than it sounds. I think I may have inadvertently introduced a certain pattern of speech into the environment where it's probably suited best: "ass over teakettle". Some of my cousin's friends hadn't heard it before and now they're off to the races with it.

I don't think much is going on today. The local media is all abuzz with the news of the closure of the cod fishery. I have been invited to my aunt & uncle's place for supper and my cousin has invited me out with his friends again. I don't know if I'm going to go, only because I really don't like flying while hung-over.

It's four o'clock and boy was I right about not much going on. I guess I'll be heading out to my aunt's place soon, at least I can look forward to getting on the Internet there.

BBQ at my aunt's. I ended up hanging out with my cousin Alison, her Finnish boyfriend, Petter (that's pronounced "Peter"), and some of their friends at Don Cherry's and watching the Ottawa/Philadelphia hockey game. Three periods and several beers later, the crowd dispersed and I caught a cab home. I am definitely looking forward to getting home tomorrow.

Woke up late, around 1030h. A shit ton of my dad's fiancé's relatives came over for lunch and to meet me. Some of them had met me the last time I was here. I was tired and it was a little too much for me. I took refuge wherever I could.

And that brings this journey to a close. I am currently on the plane back to Halifax. All in all, it was a pretty good trip. If I'm sensible I'll have uploaded my photos from the trip so I can link to them from this story, but we'll see how "together" I am when I actually get home.

If you've read this far, then you deserve to see the photos. They are here.

It's been fun,

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-04-26 at 21:18:28.


No smoking in public in 2008

Halifax council has passed a legislation that will disallow smoking in public places except for special "smoking chambers" and ban it altogether from public places in 2008.

I say 2008 can't get here quickly enough. I know this will probably piss off the smokers, but I say fuck 'em, they're going to die first anyway. If cities like New York are doing it, then the rest of the major metropolises (metropoli?) can't be far behind. It's good to see that we're taking a leading role in this issue (as opposed to our 18th-century-style stand on Sunday shopping).

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-04-16 at 10:53:34.


It's spring, and that means Pub Crawl

The preliminary rounds are over and now we're getting to the meat of this, the 2003 pub crawl season. I believe we've settled on the theme for the seventh incarnation of Feelin' No Pain and it shall be The Matrix. Originally it was thought to be a good idea to try and co-ordinate the crawl with a showing of the movie, but then it was decided that the logistics of such an undertaking would be prohibitively complex. I'm still going to go myself anyway...

T.J. has done his usual masterful work and whipped us up another fantastic t-shirt design, which you can see for yourself by clicking on the link below. The semi-confirmed date is Saturday, May 24th. Click on that link and go sign up.

Here also, is a link to a close up view of what the back will look like. Note that the bar list isn't finalized...those are just on the shirt for a "proof of concept" if you will :)

Update 11 April 2003 08:33: Yes we will still have baby-t's available.

Update 12 April 2003 10:45: Go here to purchase a shirt.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-04-10 at 22:46:29.


New Photos of the FARK Party and New York

Finally, I am home and I have had a chance to get all the photos I have taken off of my camera and onto my website. I'm not exactly what you would call a photographer, but I have an eye for pictures. Unfortunately, there are some of the pictures from New York where I think the camera caught a moving car and tried to focus on it instead of what I was actually shooting and as a result, the entire picture is kind of blurry. Oh well, it's better than nothing.

Here are links to the FARK Party album and the New York album. Update 21:11 Don't forget about rating the pictures. The rating forumula is specified on the bottom of the Top 10 page. Photos need three votes to make it into the top 10.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-04-02 at 01:07:31.


A day with Steve in Manhattan

Rants isn't really the right category for this, but I don't think an appropriate category exists...

My flight back home has been delayed until Tuesday night, so I get to spend the weekend in New York. I decided to head back to Manhattan so I could check it out in the daylight. Nighttime was cool, but I didn't have a lot of time there before, and there were a number of attractions that I still wanted to check out. Come live vicariously with me as I recount my experiences.

My hotel is in Long Island, which is about a half hour drive from Manhattan, so instead of driving and having to deal with both traffic on the way there and parking when I got there, I opted to take the Long Island Rail Road. I got stuck sitting with two old Jewish ladies who rambled on and on about basically nothing. I took note of a portion of their conversation regarding why one of the ladies had so much junk in her purse. I happened to think she carried too much as well. Forty-five minutes and $9.50 later, I arrived at Penn Station in central Manhattan.

Right above Penn Station is Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that when I was leaving the station, so I didn't even check it out. The first place I checked out was two blocks east: the Empire State Building. It costs $10 to get to the observation deck on the 86th floor. At around 1000 feet high, you can certainly see a lot; the view was absolutely incredible. You can see everything from the Statue of Liberty (although it’s very small from that distance) to the Chrysler building to the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges crossing the East River. The view helped me plan what I was going to do; I decided to walk south. Heading down 5th and 6th Avenues, I passed the Flatiron Building (that's the triangle-shaped one that is often featured in pictures), and continued through the mess of construction and traffic that is Soho and Tribeca.

The aim of this journey south was to see Ground Zero, where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood. I didn’t think it was so far away, but walking 60 blocks is a good way to put distance in perspective. It is so crowded with people and traffic down there, that even without all the workers in those office buildings, I cannot imagine the chaos that ensued when all that crazy shit went down. I got some pictures of the big gaping hole that is currently there, and read some placards at the site commemorating the people who died during the attack. At Ground Zero, I met a nice couple from Denver, Colorado who gave me a map of Manhattan that I put to very good use.

Proceeding around the southern tip of the island, I walked through Battery Park and saw where the ferries for Liberty and Ellis Islands were docked. It was starting to drizzle, so I decided not to go across to the Statue of Liberty. I took a picture from the shore, but I’m pretty sure it was too far away to turn out very well.

I was as far south as I was going to get, so I turned back up north. I walked past Wall Street in the Financial District and got pictures of Trump Tower and the New York Stock Exchange building. It started to rain a little harder now, so I decided to get somewhere with a roof. I took the subway all the way up to 72nd street west & 9th.

By the time I exited the subway, it wasn’t raining so hard anymore. I walked east through Central Park, which is quite a nice place. There was a bunch of people swing dancing while wearing in-line skates; definitive proof that in New York, no matter how obscure your interests, there will always be a shitload of other crazy people who share them.

The east side of Central Park is bounded by 5th avenue. I was much further north than my original position, so southward was my direction of choice once again. I got about five blocks when the sky just opened up and brought buckets of water from the sky upon the unwary pedestrians below. I took refuge in T.G.I. Friday’s, but not quickly enough to avoid getting extremely wet. After supper, it was still absolutely pouring, so I got a cab back to Penn Station to catch my train to Long Island.

Remember the old Jewish ladies from the way down? The way back was no better. I rode home behind two middle-aged lesbians with mullets. Ack. I never want to see that ever again.

Unfortunately, even though I took a schwack of photos, I do not have my compact flash card reader with me, so I can’t get them off of my camera. You will all have to wait until I get home to see them. I think I took about 60 of them, give or take.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-03-29 at 22:58:13.


Gone again - This time to NYC

I wasn't even back at work for a whole day before they decided to ship me off again to New York City. I'll be damned if I don't get to see something that's worth taking a picture of this time. I really want to get to see the Statue of Liberty and Times Square and the Empire State Building, and other touristy New York stuff.

Have any spiners been to N.Y.C.? What's good to do? Give me the low-down. I want details.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-03-25 at 20:03:32.


Back from D.C.

Finally, I am home after leaving for two days and getting back a week later. The trip was useful for the customer, I believe I fixed some of their problems. That was nice. The sucky part was that I never got out once during the day to do any of the touristy stuff that someone visiting D.C. for the first time wants to do. I didn't get to see the White House; I only saw the Washington Monument from the roadside (no thanks to Crazy Tractor Guy there); I never even got to go to a store to look for those slick-ass bluetooth headsets.

The only cool part of the trip was when I was sitting in the D.C. airport waiting for them to announce boarding for my flight. I looked over and recognized Theo from Gob. As it turns out, they had just got advance screening presses of their new CD, "Foot in Mouth Disease". They let me listen to it on the plane. I whipped open my laptop and ripped it. Sweet.

Don't forget about the FARK Party this weekend. It should be a good time. You should come.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-03-22 at 00:26:27.


Updates from the American Capital

Traffic is fucking insane. Worse than the 401 in a snowstorm. I was stuck in it about an hour before Bush is supposed to make some sort of address to the nation. About half an hour to go now. I'm in my hotel preparing for the St. Paddy's day Washington nightlife I've heard so much about.

So the U.S. is probably going to start boming. That's my prediction. The cops are out in force, barricading all the streets around the White House and that's why I couldn't go and visit any of those places. Fuck. I'm a little bitter. It's not like I get to go on business trips that often, and when I do, I tend not to ever get to see anything :(

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-03-17 at 20:33:03.


Software Developer Union

This may have been brought up before, but what the hell, lets bring it up again. First off this includes everyone that works in the industry, programmers, quality control, tech writers, managers, IS, support reps etc.

How many times have you, or someone you know, been stuck working for long hours, evenings and weekends. Without any compensation, or even so much of a thank you?

Sometimes it is unavoidable, but the rare instances are not what I am talking about. I am talking about when some sales guy in butt fuck no-where that promises a feature to a client tomorrow just so they can collect the commission. Should the software developer not get part of that commission? Do they not deserve it? I mean if they didn't put in the extra time then the sales guy wouldn't get the commission.

I am also talking about the unrealistic deadlines that are always imposed on us without any sort of consultation. In what other industry are delivery dates given without asking the people doing the work, how long they think it is going to take?

Do others feel that the industry takes our willingness to work long hours for granted? Or is that expectation automatically placed on us when we take a job in this industry? Is the fact that we take pride in our work, to the point that we are willing to go the extra mile, expected?

Generally the pay is pretty good, but it is not always about the money? Or are you one of those people that for an extra $1000 a year you are willing to put in 60-hour weeks. No wait you don’t just get money, you get stock options. We have all had the “golden handcuffs” on at one point or another, but the realization of any large amount of money from options is very rare.

How much would this industry change if a Union were formed? Would the quality suffer from the institution of a Software Developers Union? Generally the people that work in this industry are smart people, why do we continually stand for the mistreatment? Or are stupid people the only ones that will stand up for them-selves?

I posed a lot of questions, but the main point is, do you think there should be a Software Developer union, and if there were a union would you join it? Do you agree with what I have said here, or not. What is your opinion on the subject?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-03-11 at 08:30:26.


Roll up the Rim is back!

Your favourite contest has re-appeared at your favourite coffee-and-donut shop. Yes, Roll-up-the-Rim is back at Tim Hortons. If it's anything like last year, I'll buy at least one coffee a day for the two or three months that this contest is on, and I'll win a coffee and one or two donuts. That would suck. I want the car. Not for the car itself, of course, they are hideous. I just want something to trade in for my new car because I haven't been able to sell my old car yet :(

Of course I wouldn't turn down the 53" Panasonic widescreen television or $1000 cash either ;)

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-03-03 at 08:21:48.


Should elevator buttons be toggleable?

A co-worker of mine posed an interesting question about elevators. (Wouldn't my object oriented programming professor be excited if he knew we were about to discuss elevator theory.) Have you ever wanted to take back a button that you pressed in error on an elevator? I know I have. It's a pain visiting the floors that the punk kid pressed just before he got off, isn't it?

Should you be able to turn off elevator buttons by pressing them again? I.e., Should elevator buttons be toggleable? In all circumstances? Why or why not? Discuss.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-02-27 at 00:20:52.


Unsolicited email is the least of our worries

Most, if not all, of us receive some spam in their email. And we hate it. We curse the people who would use such an underhanded tactic in their attempt to advertise to us. Whether it be for a no-hassle loan, or for porn, or maybe even for that penis enlargement you've always wanted, spam is unwelcome, annoying, and resource-hogging. Sure, that one email in your inbox isn't that big, but think about how many mailboxes are on your mail server, and then think about how many other mail servers are out there. It truly boggles the mind.

But there is something worse still than email spam. Something even more devious, insidious, and calculating. It is...

It is companies like Internet Search Registry and their deliberate attempt to trick you into paying for a service that you really don't need. Instead of sending out email spam, which would probably be immediately deleted, they rely on order forms which look remarkably (some might say "suspiciously") like invoices such as the one on the left. The only thing that tips you off to this scheme is a small block of text in the upper right corner that states, "This statement is a solicitation and receipt of your payment will confirm annual subscription."

Not only are they soliciting this payment in an (in my opinion) unethical way, but it is an annual fee, which will be charged again and again unless they are explicitly told by the client to stop.

I can understand how an individual would not be fooled by such a ploy, but consider the corporation: Who would receive these sorts of things? Probably the accounting department, right? They probably wouldn't look twice at it. It's an invoice. Pay it. I shudder to think how many people and/or companies have been taken in by their shell game.

I haven't submitted this website to a single search engine, but it still appears on them. The "service" that this company provides is simply not useful or needed. The surreptitious way in which they try to drum up business just makes it worse.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-02-22 at 21:05:28.


Anyone want to buy a '95 Taurus?

Yeah, I'm selling my car. I could only find one photo of it and it's of the rear. I'll try and take a few more. Anyway, it's a '95 Taurus, blue in colour. It's got power everything; seats, mirrors, brakes, steering, & door locks. Air conditioning for those hot summer days too. And low mileage, don't forget that.

"My god," you're probably thinking, "I'd mortgage my home for the chance to own a fine machine such as that. Why, the ladies would flock to me if I cruised the strip in such a magnificient automobile." And you wouldn't be all wrong. I am only asking for the paltry sum of $3900. Then all this (and more) can be yours.

Email me if you're interested. Update! If any one of you refers to me the person who eventually buys my car, you shall receive not only my gratitude, but also (drum roll) a set of computer speakers!

Now you too can help Steve sell his car! Download this Word document or this PDF and post it on your office bulletin board!

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-02-17 at 12:15:38.


They keep building up, don't they?

I don't think I'll ever run out of things to rant about. Let me set the scene for you...

It snowed last night, as most of you will have realized by the time you read this. Ray and I head to the ski hill. It's promising to be a glorious day. The temperature is about -7 at the top of the hill, and it's noticibly warmer at the bottom. The sun is shining and the new snow is beautifully covering the hill. What could possibly ruin such a wonderful day?

Update! 10 Feb 03 12:04 Check inside
Update! 12 Feb 03 14:55 I was called just now by the sales guy from SportChek and he has found me replacement skis! (more inside)
Update! 15 Feb 03 17:25 I got new skis!

Some of you know that I bought a pair of skis a few weeks back at the huge SportChek sale. I got a fantastic deal on a set of Nordica W65s (only mine were yellow) just because they were last year's model. I had skied on them about 4 times previous to this day and I was loving them. They were my first pair of shape skis and I was getting very comfortable with them.

Well, one fateful run down the hill, I turned rather hard (well, I guess, in retrospect it was hard), and I found that the rear binding on my left ski (which was up until this point found directly behind where my heel is) had lost interest in following me down the mountain and had started to make its own way. The departure of this rather necessary piece of equipment, thus allowed my left foot to move about the slope unfettered.

For the non-skiers reading this, what I have just described is not at all condusive to staying upright. My ski, the rear binding, and I all decided that we'd had enough of each other and continued in our seperate directions. Since the "emergency brakes" of a ski are on the rear binding, the ski without one doesn't exactly stop on its own. Since I am sliding down the hill headfirst on my back, I am in no condition to stop it either. I finally managed to compose myself, dig my ski out of the woods, pick up my now unattached half-binding and continue feebly down the hill on one ski.

This was all before lunch.

Being determined to finish out the day, I went to rent some skis. Rental skis suck. I went from feeling elated at being on the slopes on such a wonderful day, to being distraught and downtrodden. I swore a lot. Ray laughed at me. I swore at Ray.

Meahwhile, back in Halifax...

Remember how I said I got a great deal on those skis? Well here's the problem I have now:
I have a few choices
  1. Wait to see if SportCheck can come up with another pair of these skis, which may not be possible because they were last year's model.
  2. Get store credit. But since I got such a great deal, I'd have to chip in some more cash to get a ski of equivalent performance.
  3. Take the money and run. I'm back where I started and no worse for wear. But I have no skis. I could, of course, use this money to buy skis at another establishment.
And that's where we stand today. Here is the link to the rest of the photos.

Update! 10 Feb 03 12:04 I also feel like ranting about how Cleve's Sporting Goods does not seem to have a website. I mean, come on. Who the hell doesn't have a website in this day and age? All I'm trying to do is look at potential replacement skis and they are one of only two chain stores in Metro that sell downhill skis. There's always Aerobics First, but I haven't yet been able to get there while they're open. I can't even email somebody to complain because they don't appear to have email addresses either. Stupid Cleve's. Does somebody want to bring them into the 21st century?

Update! 12 Feb 03 14:55 I was called just now by the sales guy from SportChek and he has found me replacement skis! They are being couriered from somewhere on the west coast. Unfortunately they probably won't get here in time for the weekend. That sucks, but I suppose it's unavoidable. I will have to take my old skis when I go (hopefully) on Saturday.

Update! 15 Feb 03 17:25 I got new skis! The album of photos of my broken ski has been updated with pics of my new ones.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2003-02-08 at 23:43:11.


Yo, peeps. This be a throwdown.

I don't know how many people outside my own office ski, but you are welcome to join Ray (who won't login) and I at Wentworth on Saturday. There are two more spots in my vehicle for anyone who would like to come with us.

Drop me a line if you are interested. Tell your friends too. Should be a good time. Weather looks great.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2003-02-06 at 09:18:55.


The weather sucks

It wasn't long ago that I was remarking how cold it was, but I would gladly trade the craptacular weather out today for a sharp drop in temerature. I can't believe that it's 6 degrees out. Just think, if we went back to Friday afternoon, and if it was below freezing, all this rain would have been snow. It would have been glorious. Maybe I even would have been able to go skiing this weekend.

It seems that even in the winter, the old joke still holds true: "What follows two days of rain in Nova Scotia? Monday."

Originally posted on Sunday, 2003-02-02 at 13:22:26.


Television is to blame, yet again

Two brothers in California strangled and dismembered their mother, and obviously it is the result of watching The Sopranos. I can't begin to express how messed up that last statement is. Anybody who kills and dismembers anybody is a pretty twisted fuck. If you don't have some of that instinct in you, watching a TV show isn't going to push you over the edge.

The obvious connection the article draws between this murder and watching the Sopranos isn't exactly going to help the case of video games' alleged connection to violent behaviour (i.e., Columbine) either.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-01-28 at 10:51:38.


Holy crap it's cold

Does it seem unusually cold to any of you other Haligonians? Maybe it's just me, but I think it is cold. Silly cold. Shit ass damn cold.

Some people have been saying that it's not any colder than it should be, but the the past three or four years have been warmer than average so we're a bit spoiled. I don't know if I agree with that...I think -17 is cold no matter what's going on. I've even talked to people from out west (in the prairies) where it's routinely in the -20's during the winter. They say it's way colder here; something to do with the humidity or something.

What do you do to combat the cold? What if you *have* to be outside?

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-01-22 at 22:09:20.


Post your poll suggestions

It's clear that I suck at coming up with new polls. Post your suggestions for new ones here. There's a maximum of 12 choices, and one of them should probably be "Other", unless there is really a finite number of choices.

I'll consult with my colleagues, and one of the suggested masterpieces will probably be the next poll.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-01-20 at 10:43:16.


Crappy hardware free-for-all

I am giving away a bunch of old hardware that is not necessarily crappy, as the title of this article implies, but is stuff that I just don't need or use anymore. This is including, but not limited to, two pairs of computer speakers, two monitors (a 15", and a 14") and numerous cases. Make me an offer on a K6-2 350 Mhz computer as well (sans ram and hard drive)....no, I'm not giving that computer away.

Feel free to drop by and pick stuff up. If you really want something, post here and I'll hold it until you can come and get it. First come, first served.

If you need directions to my place, drop me a line.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-01-13 at 14:49:33.


Free tickets to see old men play hockey!

First person to post in this article (that wants them) gets two tickets:
Oldtimers' Hockey Challenge (14th Anniversary)
Legendary Hockey Heroes vs. Law Enforcement Allstars
Saturday, January 11, 2003 @ 6:00 pm
Halifax Metro Centre
Oh what fun.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-01-08 at 17:08:17.


Smoking in the HRM

As many people know (and relish!) a new bill concerning smoking in public places has come into effect as of 01 Jan 2003. This website, has all the information you should need about these new regulations, including the bill itself.

The thing I find the most interesting are the fines ($200 for an individual or $500 for a corporation), and the fact that "any member of the public can report their concerns to the HRM By-law enforcement office at 490-4000".

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2003-01-07 at 13:59:19.


Virtual Beer Bash?

What do you all think about attempting a virtual beer bash?

Webcams, headphones, Yahoo Messenger and the OH- of your choice? Meet online at a given time, etc. Hey! No cab costs. No line-ups. No bad weather. Cheap booze.

I'm such a loser.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-01-06 at 18:59:51.


Pub Crawls

Late last year, a number of people were asking me when the next pub crawl was going to be. If you recall, however, I had quite a bit of trouble rounding people up for the last one. I have no real desire to put one on if only a few people are going to go; we might as well just get drunk together and totally forgo the shirts.

If that's what you guys are into then, great, I can stop doing all this work :) But if you'd rather have a full-blown crawl, with the shirts and everything, then I need at least 40 people to make it worth while. I would love to have one on the scale of the Survivor crawl, which I still consider the most successful to date.

Talk about this potential crawl in the comments. What did you like about previous crawls? What should be different this time? What can I do to raise attendance? Bar suggestions? The sky's the limit.

Originally posted on Monday, 2003-01-06 at 08:29:08.


Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2003. It doesn't really feel any different, does it? And where the hell are the flying cars? Aren't we supposed to have them by now?

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2003-01-01 at 09:50:04.


Spine.cx posts from the year 2002.


New Year's Eve Party at Jon & Sharleen's

I'm not sure too many people noticed the small mention down in the Events section, so I thought I'd give it a little more prominence.

Please indicate on the event if you're planning to attend. It would be nice for them to keep track of the number of people coming.

Pictures, of course, will show up here afterwards ;)

Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-12-21 at 20:21:14.


Nemesis Follow-up

After three days of pining, I finally got to see Star Trek: Nemesis. I liked it, which should come as no surprise to anyone because I'm a rabid Star Trek fan. Season 7 comes out on DVD before the end of this year, and that'll complete my collection of all things TNG. Hopefully it won't take too long for Nemesis show up on Futureshop's shelves..

For my review of the movie, click below. The review may contain things you don't want to know before seeing the movie, so consider yourself warned.

I went to see a Star Trek film and get all nostalgic about the characters and that's exactly what I got. Familiar faces, plenty of space battle scenes, and in keeping with the precidence of the last Trek movie, a crappy-ass villan.

The stupidest thing about this film was most certainly the lead bad guy, Shinzon.

Stupid #1: He is a clone of Jean-Luc Picard. Why does everything in the known universe revolve around Picard? I know he's the captain of the flagship of the Federation, and blah blah blah, but everyone is after this guy. The borg are after him, the romulans want him, I mean, just give it a rest.

Stupid #2: In typical evil fashion, he's bent on genocide. This almost certainly dooms him to failure. It's been proven time and time again that the more overtly maniacal your plan is, the less likeley it is to succeed. Let's test your mettle on this one: I'm going to build a giant space ship that is essentially a big microwave dish that fires a whole bunch of (previously only theoretical) radiation towards its target, killing all life in its path. Then I'm going to kill all the humans. Does that sound like it's going to succeed? Shinzon has obviously not read the Guide to Being an Evil Overlord. He's just the typical orphan boy from the wrong side of the tracks who grew up an now he's pissed off that he didn't get any good presents for Christmas.

With the exception of Shinzon, and his army of Orcs, the movie was everything I wanted. There were lots of in-jokes, Picard said "Tea, Earl Grey, Hot", there was NO holodeck (I think it was only ever mentioned once). It was missing some Klingon women; however they covered up that void nicely with a hot Romulan chick.

Overall, I'd recommend it. It you're a Star Trek fan, I'm certain you'll enjoy it. It was a hell of a lot better than Insurrection, and probably better than most shows. I don't think there will be a movie that trumps First Contact for me though.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-12-17 at 10:31:48.



I'm probably more psyched to see Star Trek: Nemesis than the average person, or even the average geek. Now, I'm not going to be dressing up like a Klingon or anything, but I can probably answer most trivia questions without breaking a sweat. Insurrection was a little disappointing, but that was really to be expected from an even-numbered film.

Deanna is way hotter in the latest movies than she ever was in the show. In fact, First Contact was the first time I can remember that she ever looked hotter than Beverly. I don't know why she had to wear those retarded jump suits instead of a proper uniform. It'll be nice to see the familiar faces of the Enterprise E crew again.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-12-10 at 08:55:47.



I saw this movie mentioned on Penny Arcade and I found myself wondering why I'd never heard of it before. The trailer looks amazing. Lots of guns and cool fightin' moves and stuff like that -- that's always good in my books. I'm kind of surprised it's not a John Woo film from all the shooting in the trailer.

Anybody know if and/or when it's going to start playing here? Apparently it has already opened in some places in the U.S.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-12-08 at 16:47:19.


Sunday shopping from both sides of the coin

Marc wrote something less wordy than, but similar in sentiment to: "Consumers seem to want to shop on Sundays, that much was obvious. The really curious bit is that retail clerks don't seem to mind it either."

Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-12-01 at 20:01:41.


Privacy at commercial establishments

I'm in line at my favorite local purveyor of warm, toasty processed meat goodness, $5 at the ready and fully populated subway card in hand. My overly-friendly sandwich artist informs me at the cash that due to "new regulations" in order to use my Subway card, I have to fill out *all* of the information fields printed thereon. I'm reminded of RadioShack's infamous "we need your name and address to complete your transaction" policy.

My friendly Subway minion also informed me that they may ask for ID to ensure that the info I enter on the card truely matches my actual identity. I hope Mr. I P Freely, 123 Main St doesn't mind me borrowing his particulars while I chow down on my steak and cheese on hearty italian.

Personally, I *like* the fact that RadioShack, FutureShop, et. al. take my name and address and track all my purchases. It makes it that much easier if when I lose my receipts. I really don't understand why Subway gives a damn either way...It's not like you're going to return your sub.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-11-27 at 14:43:20.


So, I got drunk on Friday night...

I was at Pitchman's, which I have become convinced is the new JJ's. It's weird because I used to frequency Pitchman's when they were non-smoking and the only people that went there were other people in their mid-twenties trying to escape the nauseating haze of tar and tobacco in just about every other place. And I'm kinda tall, so I get the full brunt of it. I think I vaugely remember being at the Palace too -- never a good sign.

Anyway, after we leave the Palace, I'm walking up Bell road towards Quinpool, past the horse place. There's about a foot of mud and horse shit covering the sidewalk so I opt to walk on the road. Mind you, I'm still close to the curb -- I'm drunk, but I'm not stupid.

To my chagrin, a passing car still manages to HIT ME WITH THE FUCKING SIDE-VIEW MIRROR. Bunch of savages in this town. If only I had the presence of mind to get the licence number, but it was too dark...yeah, that's it...dark.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-11-26 at 08:19:09.


Nothing special

There have been a number of things running around in my head for the last few days, but I haven't had much time to devote to the site. I think I'll get them down in writing now, while I'm able...

1. I think I've actually managed to convince Ray that there is a use for center and surround channels. This is a major feat for me and perhaps indicates some sort of paradigm shift in Ray's higher cognitive functions. I think it's only mere hours before he decides to log in.

2. Why does anybody work for Skeletor? It's certainly not his flawless complexion. You don't ever see him paying anybody. The only reason I can think of is that he's promised Beast Man and Evilyn some sort of time sharing for Eternia once they've conquered it, but even that doesn't hold much water. I mean, he's Skeletor. Do they really think he'll honour that agreement once it's all said and done? I know what they say about two-faced people, but I'd be all the more suspicious of someone with no discernable face.

3. This is a classic debate, but it's never really been brought up here before: Where does Optimus Prime's trailer go when he transforms into robot form? Sometimes it looks like he just leaves it on the road, but other times it appears to vanish into the ether. Since I'm opening this for debate, I'm proposing that it goes to the same place that Soundwave's extra mass goes when transforms into tape player mode.

4. While we're on 80s cartoons, what's the deal with Voltron (the 5-lion one)? All the lions are the same size, but whose arms and legs are of equal length? Of course the problem is circumvented by the magic of animation, but it really just doesn't make sense.

5. Pan-and-scan movies suck ass. Especially for Star Wars. As it was pointed out to me this morning, on a P & S copy of Episode 2 (or really any episode), you can't even read the scrolling text at the beginning properly. With all the control George Lucas has over the Star Wars franchise, and DVDs in particular, I'm surprised there even exists P & S versions of any of the Star Wars movies.

6. I got a new cell phone. It is very cool. If anyone knows where I can get a USB Bluetooth adapter or a Bluetooth hands-free kit for less than the prices listed via those links, please let me know.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-11-14 at 09:09:57.


What the @#$%! is all this white crap?

So I guess we got some snow. Much snow. Who actually managed to get to work today? I spent half an hour just trying to get *back into* my parking spot :)

Regale us with tales of your tales of snow-covered adventures.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-11-07 at 09:47:11.


Digital Vinyl

I'm usually not one to go for the novelty CDRs, but these ones from Verbatim are particularly cool. They depart from the standard burnable disc in the way that they look like old-style vinyl 45 RPM singles. They're probably twice the price of standard CDRs, but I think they'd be worth it for one package or so. They'd be great for gifts anyway.

Originally posted on Monday, 2002-11-04 at 00:24:40.


Remembrance Day

You'll notice that the has changed to a Remembrance Day themed one. This is not because I've suddenly embraced religion, but rather that I think that Remembrance day (or Armistice day, or Veteran's day or whatever Americans call it) is one of the most important holidays we, as a free society, can observe; it really trancends religion. It is thanks to those people whom we are remembering that we are able to argue freely about what religion (or lack thereof) we will practice.

For the last 13 years, I've attended the November 11th ceremony at the cenotaph at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax. I listen to the Catholic guy and the Jewish guy who say their respective prayers. Sometimes they're a little long winded, but they speak from the heart. Regardless of their theological overtones, the message rings true. Hopefully I'll see some of you guys out there this year too.

Originally posted on Friday, 2002-11-01 at 11:01:57.


Jam Master Jay shot and killed

Jam Master Jay, a founding member of the pioneering rap trio Run DMC, was shot and killed at his recording studio near the New York neighborhood where he grew up, police said.

Two men were buzzed into the second-floor studio shortly before shots were fired inside its lounge at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police said. As of early Thursday, police had made no arrests.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-10-31 at 07:28:50.


Want to avoid handing out candy?

Don't feel like lining the pockets of annoying little children with sugar? Want to get out of the house? If you've answered yes to either of these questions, then feel free to join us at the Oasis on All Hallows Eve, sometime after 6:00. Much merriment will commence, and as a bonus, nobody under 19 will be admitted. Chances are nobody will ask you for candy either.

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-10-30 at 23:19:42.



Inspired by some ideas the previous article, I have a similar style question: Obviously all of us who read this website use computers. A large number of us work with computers. What kinds of ergonomic inventions do you use that you find you just can't live without? What one would you like to have that maybe haven't been realized yet?

I, for one, could not live without my Microsoft natural keyboard (except mine has the normal cursor keys), and intellimouse explorer. For all their faults, I think Microsoft makes some pretty kick-ass peripherals.

For ass-comfort, I also have my eye on something I'll probably never buy, mainly because it costs $600, but I'll sit in it everytime I'm at Staples.

Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-10-27 at 20:13:28.


Cool computer cases

I was over at Brent's today, checking out his new computer. He got his case over at MysteryByte Computers, that place that you can see from the Armdale rotary, but can't figure out how to get to (I guess that's the mystery). I was just wondering if any of you other cats have interesting or novel cases on your computers besides the standard, drab beige.

My case is pretty cool (although still beige). It has a lockable front to prevent access to drives as well as 4 castors that I can roll it around on. It's also sturdy enough to ride around on.

Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-10-26 at 21:42:04.


You can have hours of fun with this

Make your friends say whatever you want. All you have to do is upload a photo, tell the app where to position the markers for eyes, nose, and mouth, and type in what you want them to say. I'm especially fond of the "Scottish Male" voice.

You have to download and install a plugin, but it's well worth it. Here are some examples. Post links to your own creations in the comments.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-10-22 at 16:14:44.


FNP6: FBI photos!

Shame on me for not posting any new articles in a whole week...Hopefully the pub crawl more than made up for that.

Anyway the photos are up here so go comment and rate them. Will any of this new batch make it into the top 10? Just keep in mind that I wasn't the one taking pictures of all the boobs. Someone else had my camera at that point :)

Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-10-20 at 14:33:10.


FNP 6 Shirts

Everyone hopefully realizes that we indeed have our 40 people, and the crawl is now moving forward. Shirt design has been finalized; it changed only very slightly from the original mock-up that was posted. Can you spot the difference? :) You can pay me any way you like as long as it's cash or paypal. I'll take a cheque if you're standing there when I cash it :)

T.J. and I decided that in order for the shirts to look proper, the bars and times would be left off the design. Instead, everyone will receive the F.B.I.'s "most wanted list". Click below for that one...

Note that the perceived dollar values are actually times that we will be arriving at the corresponding bar and NOT actually money you will receive.

Yes, I know they go in the wrong order for a Most Wanted list.

Yes, I know that 2400 is not really a valid time.

Here are the shirts in case you were too lazy to click the link above:

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-10-09 at 09:25:43.


Ron MacLean NOT returning to Hockey Night in Canada

Ron MacLean is apparently NOT returning as the anchor-man of CBC's long running Hockey Night in Canada. After 17 years an argument over money has put him at odds with the CBC. Ron was asking for a salary of $600,000/year, pretty steep if you asked me. I don't know how they are going to find somebody to take his place...there's nobody that can banter with Don Cherry like Ron MacLean. The playoffs just aren't going to be the same anymore; it's a sad sad time.

Edit: I guess that's acutally $600k over *5* years. Doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it?

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-10-01 at 00:20:40.


I need help

And not just the psychiatric kind. The problem is that (as of right now) there are only 21 people signed up for the FNP 6 crawl. I don't think that's enough people to even warrant doing it, which kind of, well, sucks. If I can't get at least 40 by October 5th, when I was planning to order the shirts, then I think I'm going to can it. I'd hate to see that happen, and I'm sure some of you would as well, so talk to your friends and the other people who usually come out on these things and get them to sign up (especially if they're planning to go and just haven't got around to it)!

Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-09-25 at 14:39:54.


Beer in movie theaters?

It's been recently talked about by Famous Players Cinemas to allow beer to be sold at the concession stands at movie theatres. You wouldn't be able to take it into the actual theatre though, just drink it in the lobby.

So, do you think it's a good idea? Have you always wanted a beer when you watch a movie? Will the problem of drunk people yelling at Jackie Chan just get worse? Write your comments below.

Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-09-24 at 08:33:38.


Comment on this tentative lineup of bars

Following, in the article, is a tentative list of bars for FNP 6. I took into account your suggestions from the poll. I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but hopefully this list will appeal to the most of the people most of the time.

Click below to read it.

1700-1830Halifax Alehouse / Pitchman's (This would be where the real crawl starts...)
1830-2000Maxwell's Plum (mmm...good eats and good beer)
2000-2100HORSE! (I know this'll ruffle some feathers, but it's only for an hour...)
2100-2230Breakers (Pool, air hockey, and more drinks)
2230-0000Mercury (Dance the night away!)
0000-0200Merrill's (To finish off the night)

Originally posted on Friday, 2002-09-20 at 20:14:37.


Never underestimate stupid people in large groups

Jill writes: "William Shrubsall, the charming fellow who beat his mother to death with a baseball bat, has applied to legally change his name to Ethan Simon Templar MacLeod - AKA The Saint." Judge_Fredd sent in this site questioning whether man has actually walked on the moon. Lastly, Butterfly submitted an article from the Winnipeg Sun. Click below to read it.

Drunk Passed Out Woman Sues City for Frostbite

September 15, 2002
Woman suing city after left out in cold
By STAFF - Winnipeg Sun

A women who suffered frostbite after spending seven hours in sub-zero temperatures is suing the city.

Kim Simon, who was found outside her Simcoe Street home on Jan. 20 suffering from hypothermia and severe frostbite, is suing the City of Winnipeg, fire officials and paramedics on scene, the taxi driver who dropped her off and the taxi company, Unicity Taxi.

The cabbie called paramedics when Simon, who was earlier at a bar with friends, passed out in the back of the cab.

Emergency personnel and the taxi driver should have made sure Simon was safely inside her house before leaving, said her lawyer Samuel Wilder.

"They should have seen her in safely -- especially when they saw she was having trouble," Wilder said.

Wilder filed the civil suit Friday. The city has 20 days to file a defence.

Simon has had several skin grafts, lost one finger and has severe nerve damage to her right leg which impairs walking, Wilder said.

She is suing for pain and suffering and loss of income.

Originally posted on Monday, 2002-09-16 at 00:34:54.


Media coverage of 9/11 anniversary

An Ominious Coward writes: "There apparently will what the networks are touting as "extensive coverage", such a saturation of images from a year ago, particularly the more gruesome ones - how many times can one watch a plane smash into a building? How many times can you look at collapsing or burning structures? Knowing people were aboard those planes and in those offices, and that I'm watching them die, makes me a bit uncomfortable seeing the fireballs replayed over and over.

Is it just me, or is anyone else not going to be able to watch TV on Wednesday?"

Note: Not to make light of the situation, but this sounds like a normal day of programming for the FOX network...

Originally posted on Monday, 2002-09-09 at 08:39:23.


Canadian Senate urges gov't to legalize marijuana

It's all over the news, I'm sure you've read it already, the Senate has released a report suggesting the legalization of marijuana. I don't really know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know is that the governemt is tired of spending money on drug enforcement when they could be raking in weed taxes.

The thing that especially took me by surprise was the age limit they suggested: 16! I was expecting it to be at least the same as cigarettes. I don't know why they just don't sell cigarettes only in liquor stores if there's such a problem with underage smokers. I think this is the way pot sales should go too.

Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-09-05 at 22:38:45.


It's about time for a pub crawl...

September means "Back to School" for many, and along with that comes a return to a lifestyle of hours at the library studying, bad meals in residence cafeterias, and of course, drinking heavily. I can't help with the first two, but I have the third one covered. It's time to start talking about Feelin' No Pain 6, the 6th (obviously) in a line of pub crawls that include such hallowed events as The Survivor Crawl and The Nova Scotia Liquor Coalition.

Click the link to see some ideas that are brewing for the latest installment.

First of all, these are just ideas; none of them are carved in stone, and they're all subject to change. Feel free to submit your own ideas for anything: which bars to visit, a date for the crawl itself, theme & shirt ideas, etc.
  • Priming the engine. I was thinking of starting off somewhere that would bring the people out early. Too many crawls start off slow because people don't show up until the third bar. I envision a night starting off with a brewery tour. At first I was thinking Garrison, but they are a little far from downtown. Propeller, however, is much closer. I haven't called them yet, but if they're the same as Garrison, it should be something like $15 for all you can drink in 2 hours.
  • University students. What's a pub crawl without students? Many of you probably know a boatload of students that are coming back to school. Tell them about the crawl. The more people we can get on board, the better. More people = bigger party, cheaper shirts, and better deals at the bars.
  • Themes. Good themes include things taken or parodied from popular culture. Take a current or popular movie, tv show, etc, and change it to somehow relate to alcohol :)
  • Feel free to discuss things pertaining to the crawl in the comments of this story, and in the forums. Make your suggesting in either of those places, or send me an email or a private message. All suggestions will be taken into consideration. Unless, of course, they're stupid.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-09-03 at 10:42:31.


    Mike Maher's bachelor party (and Wedding!)

    Pictures of Mike Maher's bachelor party are now up. Remarkably, the night was relatively tame, except for the P.O.T. incident. This is remarkable, not only because it was a stag party, but because this man is the same person who (a) *ran* across the top of a two-storey high scaffold while intoxicated (and exhibiting no fear or concern for his own well-being), and (b) threw a shopping cart off of my 11th floor apartment's balcony (also while intoxicated).

    Anyway, you know the photo drill...comment and rate away.

    Pictures of the wedding are now up here! They were married by a Justice of the Peace, and it made me *so* happy not to hear the word 'god' once in the entire ceremony, which was only 15 minutes long. I am *definately* being married by a Justice of the Peace if and when that time ever comes...

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-08-22 at 21:19:07.


    Local Bands and why people suck

    So I went to some shows this weekend for the first time in a long time. You probably don't know this, but from '93 - '97 I was HUGELY into Halifax's local music scene. I have countless CDs, albums (yes, albums), and 7" singles from many, many local bands on labels like Murderecords, No records, Cinnamon Toast Records, and all that jazz. I'm not the only one who remembers Bubaiskull, or Eric's Trip, right? I mainly stopped going to shows because the people I went with (my university classmates) moved away after graduation and everybody else I knew sucked.

    Why should you go see bands in the local scene? Read on.

    1. They're good! I saw about 8 bands play this weekend, and they were *all* good. Even if they're not, you're out like what? 5 bucks? Oh well...

    2. They're cheap! This weekend, I saw two shows (one with 2 bands, the other with *8*) AND bought THREE CDs for a grand total of $38. That's less than the price of ONE concert ticket.

    3. It's fun! You're not sitting in a seat far, far away from the band, you're in a small, intimate club setting where the band is right in front of you. Even if you're as far away as you can get from the band, they're still closer than they would be from 99% of the seats in a stadium. And beer isn't even exorbitantly overpriced. Bonus!

    4. Something for everyone! Just because I happen to like punk and rock music doesn't meant that there is not legions of R&B artists and rappers and blues singers, and folk singers, and musicians out there waiting for you to be their audience. Halifax has many great bands that deserve your attention but they just haven't put together a video to be whored on MuchMusic.

    It's no secret that I have much disdain for bands that charge $40+ for their shows, especially when there are so many alternatives, and CHEAPER (and often better) alternatives at that.

    If you've read this far, then surely you are part of my readership that actually *does* go to local shows, and it's to you I pose this question: Why do people purposely *miss* the opening band(s)? I don't get it. You're going to pay cover anyway, why not get your money's worth? If you've legitimately got something better to do, then by all means, do it; but if you're just missing them because "opening bands suck" then I say YOU suck. Every band has opened for someone before (except possibly the first band in existence). Being an opening act does not mean you automatically suck ass. I'm not saying that it completely precludes you from sucking ass either, just that you should be given the benefit of the doubt. More often than headlining acts would like to admit, the opening acts often show them up.

    And people suck because they miss the whole damn thing.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-08-19 at 09:12:44.


    Danko Jones - Sound of Love

    I figure that as long as I come out with the MP3 of the month before the month is actually *over*, then it's all good, right? :) Yeah, I had a hard time deciding what I was going to put up this month, but I eventually decided on the latest single from a guy whom you probably haven't heard of: Danko Jones. I first saw him about 5 years ago at a show in the "Antiques" building on Barrington Street (before they boarded it up) opening for Chixdiggit. I didn't think any person, place, or thing could rival Chixdiggit's live show, but this guy made me think twice about that assumption. He's Rock and Roll to the core, drinking *milk* out of the carton on stage :) If you ever get a chance to see him live, I highly recommend it.

    Without further ado, here's the MP3: Danko Jones - Sound of Love

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-08-14 at 18:02:06.


    Spine.cx is one year old!

    Whee! Spine.cx (in its current incarnation) is one year old as of the 11th of August. The traffic on the site has definately increased during that period. It doesn't seem like that long ago that I was posting about reaching 100,000 hits, and we're almost at 200,000 already. Those 200,000 hits don't even include the forums, which have also surged in popularity.

    Thanks for coming.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-08-13 at 14:00:23.


    Blomidon camping trip 2002 photos

    What's better than three days and three nights in the woods? Making fun of people in photos that you took during your three days and three nights in the woods. Some of these photos deserve to be in the top 10. Let's make sure they get there. Vote and comment them up!

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-08-05 at 13:37:21.


    This guy sucks at the Internet

    Some of you know that I have an MP3 of the Month section of this website. Soon enough it got indexed by Google, and lots of passers-by were dropping in just to download MP3s. I didn't think that was so hot.

    Come inside and let me tell you a story.

    I had intended these MP3s for *you* people, the people that actually contribute to the site with comments and story submissinos so I changed a little bit o' code so you had to be logged in to download. Well, people started creating user accounts just to download MP3s and then fucked off and never showed up again. "This sucks," I thought. Another quick hack, and now you had to have been logged in as a user account that was at least 2 days old in order to download.

    I thought that measure would deter all but the most determined MP3 downloaders, and it has. Except for the real dipshits. Check out this email I got from this guy who thinks its MY fault he isn't smart enough to pirate his own music :)

    Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 02:30:40 -0300
    From: Dave75@yahoo.com
    To: sdinn@spine.cx
    Subject: [Spine.cx] Your website sucks balls!

    I came to your site looking for an mp3 after searching a major search engine and got your elitist arrogant little message telling me to join or go away. How does 'get fucked' sound? If you are able to get your hand off your dick while looking at all the people who visit this site thinking you are god's gift to the internet and put your pants back on don't bother replying.

    As you can imagine, I found this enormously funny. Like I'm going to get insulted by some 12 year old who can't figure out how to use Kazaa. I'm actually surprised he spelled everything correctly. I still think computers should require an operating licence.

    So you, my friend deserve one of these:

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-07-31 at 12:29:15.


    The first edition

    Well, here it is. It's what you've all been waiting for. It's the first edition of Ask Spine! I know you're all as excited as I am about what I hope becomes a regular feature on spine.cx. However, it can't happen without YOUR questions. Yes, I'm pointing at you. Email them to askspine@spine.cx.

    Click below for the first installment.

    Dear Ask Spine:

    Personally I think there is nothing worst than a person that says they commit to do something (attend a party, participate in some function, join a team, go on some trip, etc) and CONTINUES to sound upbeat and committed to it up to the last minute and then BAILS! The last minute (or worse, the next week) lame-ass excuse for not joining in.

    Confused in the big city.

    Dear Confused in the big city:

    Personally I think there is nothing worse then someone who complains about other people all the time. Not everyone can do what you want when you want. Give them a break. Maybe they are going through a difficult time with work, relationships or life in general. What you consider a lame excuse may actually be the truth. Why don't you try talking to your friend to see why they continue to put things off. I personally had no desire to go out whether it be to a party, the movies, or just to hang out with people up until about a week ago. I made a spontaneous decision to go on a vacation with a girl I hardly knew and ended up having the time of my life. Now I'm much happier and talking to more people and finding myself wanting to get out more. Remember that there are times when all you probably want to do is relax and have no interest in what someone asks you to do. Instead of bitching about a person who apparently always bails find people who have interests in whatever it is you are interested in and ask them to join you. Remember that whatever it is you are thinking of someone else another person may think the exact same thing about you.


    Dear CIBC:

    Hmmm...Good question. Ever hear of the old axiom "An eye for an eye"? It's all about revenge. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Isn't that the golden rule? Isn't that what we're all taught since pre-school to hold as the gospel of society? I say give 'em back exactly what they're givin'. Make some plans with them and then go out with your "real" friends. See how they like it.

    Either they'll come around or you'll never speak again. I give it 50/50.


    Dear Ask Spine:

    My roomate keeps borrowing my clothes and it is driving me nuts! They stretch out my clothes and don't wash them before giving them back. I don't want to make them angry but they need to stop touching my stuff. What can I say to them that won't make them hate me?

    Fed up

    Dear Fed up:

    Who cares if your roomate ends up hating you. If you have a problem with your roomate borrowing your clothes let them know. I personally would have a problem if I lived with someone and they constantly took my clothes, wore them, got them dirty and threw them back in my closet. It is one thing to ask if you can borrow someone's clothes but to just go ahead and take them is probably one of the most disrespectful things a person could do to another. However if your roomate is stretching your clothes out that is a pretty big problem. Maybe you should inform your roomate that there is a pretty obvious size different between the two of you and that they are too big to borrow your clothes. If you talk to your roomate and she gets mad she will eventually get over it. If she continues to borrow your clothes without asking put a lock on your door that you can lock when you leave to go out. Remember though your roomate isn't BORROWING your clothes, your roomate is STEALING your clothes. Honestly go ahead and tell your roomate that she is pissing you off and ask her how she would feel if you did the same to her and tell her that the local roomate clothing store has now gone out of business forever.


    Dear F.U.:

    There are two possible answers to this question. Which answer I give depends on a piece of information that you have not provided me: Are you male or female? I will have to answer in two parts.

    Male: Your roommate is probably gay. No straight man would borrow another man's clothes. If he's not already out of the closet, you need to confront him about his sexuality. Although there's nothing wrong with his "lifestyle choice", you need to make it clear that if gay people wear your clothes, you could be mistaken for gay when you next wear them. This is clearly unacceptable.

    Female: I'm not really seeing anything wrong here. If your roommate is repeatedly "getting dirty" in your clothes, it must be because there is something enjoyable about the experience. Perhaps you should give it a try. Perhaps together. After you "get dirty" with your roommate, you could then wash your clothes together and then soap each other up in the shower and...What was I talking about? I have to go now.


    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-07-23 at 22:35:02.


    Car troubles

    I'm accustomed to having things go wrong with my car. It's fairly old at almost 8 years, and admittedly, I haven't exactly taken it in for regular maintanence, or even to have recalls done. Even after all this abuse and neglect that I and so many others put our vehicles through, there are just some things that you don't expect to go wrong with your car. Some things that, no matter how many times you may have heard the stories from others, just can't happen to you. It's unfathomable.


    My fucking rearview mirror fell off.

    I know some of you are immediately thinking of the SIDE-view mirror, knocked off by a careless person opening their car door in the spot next to me, but I assure you that I am of sound mind, and I am talking about the REAR-view mirror. Yes, the one that sits above the dash, smack in the middle of the windshield. No, nothing happened to the window.

    It simply fell off. The glue (or whatever that substance is that until recently held the mirror's "stalk" onto my windshield) has given up the ghost. It has ceased to stick. In fact, it's not even the least bit sticky. It is completely devoid of adhesive properties. It is as helium: inert and not bonding with anything.

    In a curious juxtaposition of roles, I found myself not trying to refrain from holding a cellphone in my right hand, but rather wielding a disembodied mirror in a futile attempt to see who may be traversing into my blind spot. You can't know how frustrating it is not to have a rearview mirror until you are forced to go without one. It's like when you forget your watch and then spend all day glancing at your bare wrist.

    Not two days ago, I had a conversation with my father about how well my car had been running lately. I even knocked on the proverbial wood. Don't get me wrong, however...I'm still VERY glad that my faithful mount hasn't come up with a more expensive affliction, as it is wont to do. This is one of those things that, should I care to, I could fix with duct tape; although I don't think that would do much for the resale value.

    So in the grand scheme of things, if this is what gets thrown my way in the genre of car troubles, then I'm quite thankful. But I'm still going to bitch.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-07-22 at 23:35:41.


    New photo rating system

    It occurred to me that there needs to be a better way of ranking my photos than simply the number of views eash has had. Because I know the best photos on this site are not of Ryan and Sarah holding a puppy or of Mike and Jo doing absolutely nothing. So now there is another column on the Top 10 page.

    Yes, now you can rate photos from 1 to 10. I don't care what constitutes rating a photo high or low, just go through them and rate them according to whatever standards may exist inside your macabre, twisted minds.

    I've rated a few already to get you started. Don't forget the old ones ;)

    EDIT: Anybody know how to do a weighted average? Normal averages are too wishy-washy for this sort of thing, I think.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-07-21 at 21:01:00.


    We need to oust NSCAD, and here's why...

    Why do we need to oust NSCAD? Well, I suppose they don't really need to be *ousted*. Just moved. The evil corporation of NSCAD is taking over more and more precious downtown real estate that could be occupied by more bars and this is a very dangerous thing.

    In the words of Ebenezer Scrooge, "Lead on spirit! Lead on!". Did you guys get that? That was a play on the word "spirit" and... Damn. I almost forgot to whom I was talking. Please, continue scratching yourself inappropriately. Yes, I'm talking to you.

    What's the situation?

    The non-driving part of Granville Street, in addition to being the home to one of the downtown area's many copper penis posting boards, was until recently the home to many drinking establishments. That was until NSCAD came in and bought them all up. Bastards.

    J.J. Rossy's, the last bastion of the poor alchoholic student, was bought and closed by NSCAD for what? To show art? You can show art anywhere. All you need is a room. Ok, a room with sturdy walls, so you can hang shit. But not much more than that. The end of Granville however, is possibly the best area for a bar in Halifax, but apparently nobody has realized it yet.

    St. John's is a drinking town

    How many people reading this have been to St. John's? Ever been to George St.? If you have, you'll know what I'm getting at. The end of Granville St. could easily be closed off (you already can't drive on it, and that's half the battle right there). The bars share the cost of a couple of bouncers at each end of the street to check IDs, and then you open the whole street as one big bar. Think about it.
    Walk into Peddlers and get yourself a beer. Take it out on the street. Maybe there's a band playing at the north end, on that little stage-like thing. Go dance in J.J.'s. Get another beer there. Come out and watch the next band.
    You get what I'm saying? That area could have been the best party area in the city, but it's all pretty much moot now. Not to mention if many more bars close, Halifax is in danger of losing the coveted "Most bars per capita in North America" title that we now enjoy. Only recently we reclaimed our rightful title that St. John's had so cavalierly userped.


    The only solution I can come up with is to move NSCAD somewhere where they can't do any more damage to our fine city's drinking establishments. Somewhere like Burnside. Maybe we can even get the heritage people involved...they always like this sort of thing.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-07-12 at 10:38:12.


    Office Space's red Swingline stapler a cult icon?

    I am surprised, to say the least, that until recently, Swingline did not have a red stapler in their catalogue. Check this slashdot article for a few links regarding the relatively new addition. It has quickly become Swingline's top seller, despite the fact that it costs twice as much as the identical black model. That's marketing for you.

    The biggest surprise to me? I had no idea people wanted so badly to be more like Milton.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-07-11 at 08:40:51.


    New Feature on Spine.cx

    We're going to be starting a new (hopefully weekly) feature on spine.cx that's basically going to be a "Dear Abby" type of thing. Only it's not Abby who will be answering your questions. The principal answerer will be Kim, or Butterfly, as she goes by here. And you never know, I might pop in and answer a question or two myself.

    Questions can be emailed to askspine@spine.cx. No real names will be posted, so think up some of those creative acronym names that all those other advice coumns have. You all have problems. I know you do. Get crackin' with the questions.

    Stay tuned for more new features...

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-07-09 at 16:54:24.


    My adventures as a marketing research guinea pig

    A while ago, I had responded to an ad in the Coast calling for people who would be willing to spend an hour watching beer commercials and giving their opinions to a marketing focus group. Sounded like an easy way to make $30 to me. I watched three ads in total. Read about my experiences below.

    Unfortunately, these weren't new ads. In fact, each of you, if you watch any television at all, have probably seen each one of them:

    1. Keith's ad where the guy bequeaths his nephew a fridge. This is just about the worst Keith's ad I have ever seen. The concept of leaving anyone a fridge after you die is the most ridiculous thing ever. It's not even funny. Then, as if in celebration of receiving this magical major appliance, the dutiful nephew throws a party. As Mike pointed out to me later, it looks like he attempts to trap an innocent girl between himself and the fridge in order to have his nefarious way with her.

    As you may have guessed, I trashed this commercial. It basically sucks.

    2. Molson Canadian ad where the guy slaps his pet beaver on the bar. This has got to be one of my favourite beer commercials ever. Of course, it doesn't make me like Molson Canadian any more than I already do (which is not much), but it makes a good play on existing Canadian stereotypes that our American brethern have. The two Americans at the bar start by ridculing some of these stereotypes, one of which is that all Canadians have a pet beaver. The Canadian proceeds to pick up his pet beaver from the floor and place it on the bar, and summarily commands it to attack.

    The beaver, in a fit of such rage which I have not seen since the ferocious rabbit in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" leaps forth from the bar, affixing his sharp teeth (primarily used for gnawing at trees and building its dams) to the American's throat. Hilarity ensues. The beaver, after all, is a proud and noble animal.

    3. Keith's ad where the guy from Toronto can't pronounce "donair". Of the "new" Keith's ads, this is probably my favourite. Doesn't compare to the beaver one though. This one starts off with a maritimer leading his Torontonian friend into a lower-deck-like establishment. There's a band playing "Barrett's Privateers" and he makes his friend promise never to buy him another "donnair". No, no, silly Upper Canadian; that's a DOE-nair. This guy really looks depressing too. I mean, who goes into the lower deck dressed all in black, like they're going to a fucking funeral? I don't understand why the chicks are all over him either. Maybe they think that because he's from T.O., he must be loaded. I can't figure it out.

    Blah blah blah, the guy proceeds to have a great time, and go home and tell all his stuffy Upper Canadian friends what a great time he had in Nova Scotia. Well, they don't exactly show that part, but I'm sure that's what they meant. Hell, maybe this goth-in-training is the rich uncle that left the first guy the fridge...

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-07-06 at 17:27:55.



    What sort of site should Spine.cx become? That's the sort of thing I'm thinking about lately. Should it move toward a certain genre of topics or stay the mish-mash of everything it is now? Do you think having other active authors (i.e., people besides me) posting stuff is a good idea? I've thought about it, but people rarely submit things, so why would they post things on their own?

    I'm open to some suggestions for the site in general here. Anything from the look of the site, to functionality, to style, to basically anything at all. Post your suggestions in the comments, or send me a private message.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-07-03 at 09:06:19.


    Sarah Polley - Courage

    This MP3 is a cover of a Tragically Hip song that I'm sure everyone knows, "Courage". The singer is none other than the star of "Road to Avonlea", that spinoff of the "Anne of Green Gables" show produced by CBC. Yep, it's Sarah Polley, a good Canadian in her own right. Since Canada Day is in July, I thought that Canadian music would be appropriate for this month. Download the song here.

    You'll notice I said "month of July". I'm changing the MP3 of the Week to the MP3 of the Month. 12 MP3s instead of 52 is much easier on everything :)

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-07-02 at 18:11:54.


    It's Canada Day!

    It's Canada day, so go drink a beer or something, eh? Not one of those light beers either. None of this Coors light or Bud light or Miller light crap. Get yourself something brewed by Molson or Keith's or Moosehead. Even though Moosehead isn't one of my personal favourites, it *is* a Canadian beverage and so it's ok by me. Then go to a hockey game and drink that beer....Yeah, I know the playoffs are over but there's nothing stopping you from grabbing your sticks and going out on the road, you know? Just watch out for the cars. HAPPY CANADA DAY!

    EDIT: The link to keiths-fans.ca was broken. I fixed it.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-07-01 at 17:12:41.


    Camping photos and some other crappy photos

    A few of us were camping in Blomidon this weekend. Kind of a "warm-up" trip of sorts. We checked out the group campsite, and it's pretty spiffy. The guy said that they've had up to 300 people there in the past, so I don't think we'll have anything to worry about with respect to size or places to put people. The group site is also very isolated from the rest of the campsite, so we won't have to worry about noise.

    Anyway, here's the camping photos and here's the other crappy photos.

    EDIT: Don't forget that you can comment the photos!

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-07-01 at 11:54:55.


    Series 7: The Contenders

    I saw this movie called Series 7: The Contenders last night. I'm not surprised if you've never heard of it. I don't remember it ever coming out in theatres here, but if you ever see it in the video store, DEFINATELY pick it up.

    The premise is that of a reality show, only taken to the extreme. There are six contestants (or Contenders) chosen at random from a particular town -- they could be *anyone*. These six people are given weapons and the object of the game is to be the last one left alive.

    I think I would describe it as a kind of Survivor meets Real TV meets Ultimate Fighting Championship. The movie flows like a television show, there is a narrator who explains the action as it's happening, there are cameramen following each of the contenders (who frequently get in the way), and the action is very real as it's happening. The show is so well done and so perverse that I can actually imagine this sort of thing happening...which doesn't say much for the state of television in general and reality shows in particular. It is extremely odd, yet somehow almost familar to see scenes like a 53 year old nurse sniping people from a balcony or a 8+ month pregnant woman screaming obscenitites at someone she is about to shoot.

    Taken from a purely sensationalistic point of view, I loved this movie. Call me morbid, but there is nothing more exciting than watching people fight for their lives. It was also very comforting to know that no matter how much I liked the movie, there is someone out there who is even more demented -- the sick fuck who made it. Thanks buddy! :)

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-06-25 at 11:44:39.


    Old people are armed to the teeth

    But then again, if I lived in Truro, I suppose I wouldn't take any chances either :)

    This article tells the story of how two elderly Truronians, each in their 70s, were charged with posessing "a .30-calibre M-1 carbine and a .233 Muzzelite assault rifle". I'm all for protecting yourself and your home, but I think that may be a tad excessive, even for Spryfield.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-06-25 at 11:29:38.


    Spine.cx Blackout Party! Wooooo!

    Yeah, a blackout party doesn't work so well for things requiring electricity to function, does it? :)

    The astute and dedicated among you will have noticed that spine.cx was down for a period this (Monday) evening. The cause? A rogue self-immolating power transformer that has finally been brought to justice. Thanks to the swift and capable hands of the Nova Scotia Power Corporation (or is that Emera?) and the nimble wit and tenacity of System Administrator Moose of Twisted Pair Network Consulting, disaster was averted, and recovery took only a short while.

    If power transformers are allowed to explode and catch fire in this town, OUR town, then the terrorists have already won.

    Update! Extensive interview inside!

    After conducting extensive interviews with people near and around this incident, I've come up with very little. This is the best I could do:
    Q: What can you tell me about this...uh...happening?
    A: I know surprisingly little about this accident, except that it stopped me from entering Canadian Tire last night to buy some paint. I think that a car hit a telephone pole and knocked something down, but even that's almost pure fabrication...

    Q: What kind of transformer was it?
    A: Headmaster, I'm almost sure of it.

    Q: But you're sure it wasn't Optimus Prime?
    A: <snide>?</snide>

    Q: Thankyou for your time.
    A: I hope this has been informative and infuriating.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-24 at 20:52:36.


    Daze - Call Girl

    This song harkens back to my old glory days...when I would be seen at the Dome, 4 nights a week, double rum and cokes all around me, and the old school dance music was all you could hear. Ahhh...those were the times, eh? :)

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-06-23 at 21:55:23.


    Spine.cx passes the 100,000 hit mark!

    It was a sunny day not unlike today that Spine.cx was born back on August 11th, 2001. Well, this particular incarnation of spine.cx anyway. I've had the domain name since 1998. Originally, this website was not much more than a place for photos. And I didn't even have a digital camera until October of 2000. Then it got broken and I sent it back. So I didn't really have a camera until December 2000.

    Incidentally, this is spine.cx's 200th article. Talk about your weird coincidences :)

    Anyway, since then, I've devoted many hours to coding (teaching myself PHP) and writing rants and such. And many of you have devoted many hours to ridiculing me for devoting many hours to coding for this website :) What I'm trying to say is, thanks for posting the articles and the comments, and for using the stuff that I write because it's much more worthwhile to do something when somebody else can actually get some enjoyment out of it.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-06-20 at 16:04:18.


    Ninjai is back

    About a year ago, there was this site with the most incredible flash animation I had ever seen. They produced a series of 5 short films (all using flash) about a little ninja (name of: Ninjai) who was on a quest to find out where he came from. Well, it became massively popular. WAY more popular than the authors/coders/flash artists/bandwidth providers had anticipated, and they couldn't keep up with the demand for new episodes. I can only imagine how long it takes to do a flash animation as involved and as detailed as that. I realize that when some of you think of Flash, you can only conjure up thoughts of Mr. Nice, but this is so much more.

    Ninjai.com is back in full swing, and they promise that they're now ahead of themselves and they'll be able to release all 12 episodes, one every two weeks. Go and watch them. They're awesome.

    An excerpt from the site:

    Hey Ninjai Fans -

    We've been working really hard to get ahead of ourselves with the chapters, and we can now guarantee that we'll be showing 12 chapters straight through, one every two weeks. Since the vast majority of you haven't yet seen Ninjai, we're going to be starting at the beginning with Chapter 1.

    To all of our loyal fans, thank you for waiting and for your various forms of support and encouragement. A lot of you were concerned that Ninjai was finished, but happily that's far from the case. Indeed Ninjai is stronger and pluckier than ever.

    We would have been up 4-6 weeks earlier, but we were waiting for our syndication partners to be ready so that we could all launch simultaneously. Unfortunately, up to this point they have kept pushing their launch dates back to give themselves more time to prepare to show Ninjai full screen like we do here at Ninjai.com. Our demands have been pretty high to potential syndicators-we ask them to have no cluttering ads around the episodes and to show Ninjai full screen, etc. Anyway, we couldn't ask all of our friends and Ninjai's fans to wait any longer, so we've decided to bring our selected syndicators on board when they're ready. As they get their exhibitions finalized, we will be showing Ninjai and his adventures exclusively on Ninjai.com.

    You'll be glad to hear that we've scraped together some money to get as much bandwidth as we possibly can so that your viewing experience is trouble-free.

    We hope you enjoy Ninjai's adventures.

    Best Wishes,
    - the Ninjai Gang

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-19 at 21:28:24.


    Get $10 back from Futureshop...

    ...if you bought the Buffy Season 2 DVD set. With tax and everything taken into account, I got back $9.20 just because I happened to notice that it had dropped in price. Thanks to Futureshop's 30 day price protection guarantee, and the fact that they keep all my purchases neatly in a database accessible by customer service representatives (I didn't even have my receipt), I'm not out that money.

    I have no idea how long the sale price is going to last, so if you can, get in there while the getting's good.

    I'm glad that Futureshop is storing all purchases in a database. It makes it much easier than saving a receipt for each of the metric crapload of things I buy at the place. Hopefully places that do this, like Futureshop and Radio Shack (which has been doing it for years) will cause other stores to abandon the arcane practice of requiring paper receipts.

    I just wish I knew when things were going to be at their lowest price, because I'd just buy them then!

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-19 at 19:54:12.


    This has really gone too far

    Here's an email I got recently. I get this (or a variation of it) about 5 times a week:

    Your contact was availed to me by the stroke of luck. It was given to me because of my diplomatic status as I did not disclose the actual reasons for which I sought your contact. But I was assured That you are reputable and trustworthy if you will be of assistance.

    Note: I encourage anyone who cares enough to write them back and share the correspondance with the rest of us :)

    I am Lomana nonda Kabila (Jnr) the son of Late President LAURENT DESIRE KABILA the immediate Past president of the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO in Africa who was murdered by his opposition through his personal bodyguards in his bedroom on Tuesday 16th January, 2001. I have the privilege of being mandated by my father colleagues to seek your immediate and urgent co-operation to receive and clear a consignment containingthe sum of US $16,500,000.00. (sixteen million, five hundred thousand Dollars) cash and some thousands carats of Diamond. This money and treasures was lodged in a vault, with a security firm in south africa and transported to europe.

    In August 2000, my father as a defence minister and! president had a meeting with his cabinet and army chief about the defence budget for 2000 to 2001 which was about US$70million dollars. so he directed one of his best friend. Frederic Kibasa Maliba who was a minister of mines and a political party leader known as the Union Sacree de opposition radicale et ses allies (USORAL) to buy arms with US about $20million on 5th January 2001; for him to finalized the arm's deal, my father was murdered. And today, only 16.5 million dollars of the total money can be accounted for. F.K. Maliba (FKM) and I have decided to keep the money with a foreigner since neither i or him can explain the origin of the funds and treasures. He intends using these funds to contest for political elections in the future. Inspite of all this we have resolved to present you or your company as beneficiary to the consignment(the above sum and diamonds).

    This transaction should be finalized within seven (7) working days, we have unanimously agreed that, for your co-operation you will be entitled to 25df930d1cercent of the money when successfully clear the consignment in europe,70 141205256ll be ours and 5 134501932ll be for any expenses we may run into during the course of this transaction. The nature of your business is not relevant to the successful execution of this transaction what we require is your total co-operation and commitment. In other to ensure a 100risk-free transaction at both ends and to protect the persons involved in this transaction, strict confidentiality and utmost secrecy is required even after the successful conclusion of this ransaction. If this proposal is acceptable to you, kindly reply me and provide me with your personal telephone and fax No through my E-mail for immediate commencement of the transaction. I count on you to keep my secret, SECRET. Looking forward for your urgent replyThanks.

    Best Regards,
    lomana nonda kabilla

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-19 at 08:29:00.


    Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs

    I admit it. I like pianos, which means that I like the Ben Folds Five practically by default. This song (Rockin' the Suburbs) is the title track from Ben Folds' first solo effort. Oddly enough, there are no pianos in it. I like it anyway. It rocks. "Let me tell you all what it's like / Being male, middle-class, and white." It doesn't get any better than that, folks.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-17 at 22:56:39.


    Halifax FARK party is a go!

    Yep, it's official. Halifax shall have it's 15 minutes of fame, and it shall be called the Halifax FARK Party. The date is set for Friday, July 12th. We're planning to go to the Halifax Alehouse (lots o' beer, just like the name suggests), and then follow that up with some drunken dancing (and of course more drinking) at the Mercury. A plethora of links follow. Click "Read More" to see them.

    EDIT: We shall meet at 7 o'clock at the Alehouse on the prescribed date.

    The initial posting on FARK is here.
    The original page is halifaxfark.tripod.com, but I don't like pop up ads :)

    If you don't check this page often, you can sign up for the mailing list and get information delivered right to your inbox. Don't worry, I won't spam you. I promise. Honest.

    Questions can be emailed to me or to halifaxfark@hotmail.com. You can feel free to post here as well, but you have to sign up for an account on my stupid website to do it :(

    That's it! Check back here for updates or join the mailing list.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-06-16 at 20:45:33.


    Added some photos

    I finally got the pics from the IWK War Canoe Challenge up. They turned out really well. I think my camera likes very bright situations. Also not long after that, I took some pictures of Ryan & Sarah's cat doing stupid things.

    You probably haven't noticed, but if you go and click on event in the calendar, there's now a link to photos from that event, if there are any. For example, the pictures of the softball team stylin' in our new jerseys can be accessed by clicking on the event for the game where they were taken.

    Even further (and more off topic), I've added another little section. You'll notice it on the left, under the link for the Photos section. PHPNuke, as it turns out, has many of these little plugins or "modules" that anybody can write (as I have). This particular one is supposed to give people an incentive to post and be active users of the website by giving users points for certain activities. We'll see if it works.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-06-13 at 21:36:20.


    Basketball: What the hell is it good for?

    This article pretty much sums up why I don't like watching basketball games. Please read it before continuing. The article specifically targets Shaq, but could easily be applied to various players with perhaps a slightly less degree of success.

    I would like to put forward that I only feel this way about watching basketball. Playing is a different story altogether. I find playing basketball quite challenging and physically demanding. But then I'm not 7'1".

    In no other sport does height yield such an advantage as in basketball. Being fast really doesn't mean much because the court is so damn small. If the court were even the size of a hockey rink, it would change the game completely. Instead of taking two steps and throwing the ball to the 7 foot tall guy standing next to the hoop (who summarily drops it in), there could possibly be an element of challenge or difficulty for players to get it out of their own end.

    I believe the real problem is that the hoop cannot defend itself from somebody 7 feet tall. In any other sport, once a shot has been taken, the skill of the opposing team (most importantly, that of the goaltender) can still prevent points from being scored. Not in basketball where "goaltending" is actually a breach of the rules. The size of the players in the NBA has changed the game such that it becomes not much more than "Keep Away." Putting the ball in the basket becomes a moot point because judging from most NBA scores, the teasm pretty much do this every time they get in their opponents end.

    There is no element of excitement in watching a game where there is no tension in wondering if a team will score. It is a virtual certainty. Sure there are some great at-the-buzzer shots but that is not the norm. And it's nothing like a good sudden-death overtime :)

    I'm sure that I'm inviting the flames with this one, but I'd love to hear them. Why the hell is this game so interesting to watch?

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-12 at 21:38:43.


    Billboards on wheels are worse than cellphones

    Have you seen the trucks driving around with nothing but a billboard on their beds? Yeah, I have a bit of a problem with those. See, I don't like the idea of vehicles on our roads with large signs whose sole purpose is to attract and hold our attention. So, if I'm looking at the billboard on the truck (which is, of course, moving) then I'm not paying attention to what? Oh, that's right, the ROAD. I'm not paying attention to the ROAD. Which would be where the other cars that can hit me are located.

    A mobile billboard

    I'd really like to commend whomever came up with this incredible idea to have moving distractions grace our streets. Not only are they NOT stationary like traditional billboards, but they are right in your face, as they drive right next to you on the road. If they're just being driven somewhere to be parked, then fine. I have no problem with that, but I think they should at least be covered while driving so they do not attract the attention of people whose eyes should be on the surrounding traffic.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-12 at 09:16:23.


    New Feature - Calendar

    Hot on the heels of the ground breaking (ok, not really) photo display system is the stupendous, incredible Calendar! It'll let you keep track of your day in some rudimentary fashion. You can post events that are either private (only you can see them) or public so that the whole spine.cx community can share them.

    If anybody actually decides to use it, please let me know if you run into any bugs or other unexpected annoyances. You can get to the Calendar by clicking on the item in the main menu that says "Calendar" ;)

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-10 at 09:01:56.


    Naughty by Nature - Uptown Anthem

    I heard this song on Much (Vintage) Vibe last night, and it's been in my head ever since. Sarah will enjoy this one, I think :) It's Naughty by Nature's "Uptown Anthem". Standouts from this group include "Hip Hop Hooray", and the ever-popular O.P.P. (which until that song came out, I always thought stood for Ontario Provincial Police ;).

    It's not a long one, but it's a good one, and it's sure to get your feet movin'. To the beat y'all, and you don't stop. Keep on, 'till the break-a-dawn. Keep on 'till the early morn...

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-10 at 08:51:44.


    Why McDonalds fries taste so good

    Ever wondered why McDonalds seem to have the best fries? Because they're made with meat, that's why. Now who's laughing, vegetarians? "I'd never touch a hamburger, but man, these fries are good." McDonalds has a press release on their website about the whole deal, apologizing to vegetarians and hindus. I don't see the point. Nobody's dead, or even poisoned or anything.

    Incidentally, I did some digging and found these great narratives on vegetarianism:
    1. http://www.xmission.com/~maddox/sponsor.html.
    2. http://krinberry.com/parables/vegetarian.html.
    3. http://www.petsorfood.com.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-06-05 at 16:03:15.


    Reel Big Fish - The Set Up (You Need This)

    Reel Big Fish are awesome. They're kind of ska, but not really. They're kind of swing, but not really. They have an extensive horn section, but it blends so tightly with the rest of the instruments that it's hard to imagine the songs without it. The song I've selected for this week's MP3 of the week is my favourite song from their album "Why do they rock so hard?", although there are MANY excellent tracks on that album. It's not hard to listen to the whole thing in one stretch. They have new one coming out on June 25th. Everyone should go and buy it. These guys rule.

    Sorry about being a little late with this week's MP3, but I was hungover on Sunday and I had to play softball on Monday night.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-06-04 at 11:15:27.


    Stupidest marketing ploy EVAR.

    The weirdest thing happened to me yesterday. I'm leaving my house for the first time that day, and as I turn to lock the deadbolt, I see something hanging on my doorknob. Sure, you'd expect a flyer or some other kind of advertisement. Even a "do not disturb" sign would have been less of a shock. You know what I find hanging on my doorknob?


    That's right. Tuna.

    Well, it's not JUST tuna, it's tuna in a vacuum sealed pouch; it's not like delinquent kids just smeared it on my door. So I look around, half expecting to find some twit wandering around with a pouch full of fish, distributing it to various households, but this tuna ninja was obviously too stealthy for me.

    I'm not exactly the world's biggest tuna fan. I mean, the least they could have done is provided me with some Miracle Whip to go along with it. Remember that peanut butter/jelly mixture that they used to sell? I'm thinking pre-mixed tuna and mayonnaise is the next big thing.

    It's not as if I asked for this tuna-from-heaven and if a company suddenly had a large surplus of it's food stuffs, I can think of much better uses for it. What genius says, "Hey, we have millions of pouches of non-perishable, vaccum-sealed fish. I know what we can do! We can hang these on all the doorknobs in our great land." Well that immediately cuts out the segment of the population who would probably most appreciate a free food sample. You can't hang anything on the doorknobs of people who don't have doorknobs.

    Why not send it to a country in need of aid and get a nice tax break for your charity? I wonder if they thought about the fact they they probably offended many families of vegetarians, people who own fish, or those wackos in those weird fish-worshipping religions. I know that I'm not more apt to buy tuna in a pouch than a can. The only advantage you get is not having to drain it. I'm near enough to a can opener to get inside a can of tuna, then chances are I'm close enough to a sink to empty out the liquid.

    Handing out samples in the grocery store like every other product would have been just fine. It would have been just as successful at getting me to switch brands, which is to say, not at all. If the powers that be want me to buy more tuna, they should start giving me more value for my money...like including free DVDs or Episode II action figures.

    Get with the program.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-03 at 10:12:37.


    Which do you like better?

    I have two photo display systems. One is on photos.spine.cx right now. It just reads directories for JPEGs and serves 'em up. It's pretty simple. The other one is almost finished development, and it can be found at http://spine.cx/~sdinn/photos/. It's database driven, which means you can add comments and the same album can be referenced from different parents. That's pretty cool, but because an album doesn't have a defined parent, you lose the "up" capability. But that's why your browser has a "back" button, right?

    Anyway, tell me which one you like better.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-06-03 at 08:41:54.


    Steve turns 26

    I seem to be posting a lot of stories in the "Beer" topic lately....hmmmm. Anyway, I'm turning 26 on June 1st and I'm putting on a little shindig at my place. Feel free to stop by anytime after 7:00 or so. Earlier if you want to barbeque. Honestly, I don't really care when you show up. Hopefully it'll be a good time, hopefully it won't rain.

    By the way, I live at 22 Hanover Court.

    UPDATE: Didn't really take many pictures, mainly because I just forgot :( You girls can come over to finish that photo shoot anytime though ;)

    Thanks to everyone who actually got me something, I honestly didn't expect it. But every single person save one got me ALCOHOL! The one who didn't, Mike, got me a nifty plaque for my home theatre. Unfortunately, the US postal service is unpredictable, and it didn't get here in time so he gave me a picture of it:

    Somebody last night mentioned the obvious question, "How come it isn't 16 by *9*?".

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-05-30 at 18:49:55.


    Mr. Nice

    Mr. Nice writes: "Hi. My name is Mr. Nice. As you can see, I don't have any arms or hands. But that doesn't stop me from dancing, does it? Would you like to see me dance?"

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-05-29 at 22:15:36.


    Mozilla 1.0.0 release party!

    I think everyone can tell by now that I don't need much of an excuse to go out and have a good time. Let's all go out and celebrate the release of Internet Explorer's biggest competition, the open source browser that's like, a zillion times better than Netscape: Mozilla.

    Information about the release parties in general can be found on the Mozilla 1.0.0 party locator page. Sign up for the Halifax party (Mozillapalooza) here. Information will be posted here when it becomes available.

    Tentative date is Friday, 14 June 2002. Bars/Locations are up for discussion.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-05-28 at 16:30:40.


    Andrew W.K. - Party Hard

    This song (and indeed the whole album) is nothing but good (I won't say clean) fun. The songs are fast-tempoed and the lyrics aren't very intelligent, or even thoughtful, but I am compelled to tap my foot and bob my head while I listen. I describe this band as equal parts Def Leppard, Motorhead, and Chixdiggit, if all those bands were comprised of frat boys.

    Download it here. Rember to rename the .zip extention to .mp3.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-05-25 at 13:44:14.


    Summer is officially here

    I don't give a crap about eqinoxes or "official" dates for the start of seasons, but there are some certain occurances that absolutely mark the transition from spring into summer, and I have just witnessed one of them with my own eyes not two minutes ago. The jovial chimes of the Dickee-Dee ice cream cart just merrily rang outside my window. I looked out, and sure enough, there it was going by. If I weren't so lazy, I probably would have run downstairs and bought myself a horrendously overpriced treat. Oh well.

    The weather is nice on a weekend for a change, those crazy backwards ice cream tricycles are out, and damn it, we're going to win a softball game sooner or later. Make no mistake about it: summer is here.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-05-25 at 13:31:55.


    Brewery Tour followup

    Ok, drinkin' buddies, we shall meet at the Alexander Keith's Brewery on Water Street on Saturday the 25th of May at some time before 8:30. We'll either be on the 8:30 tour or the 9:00 tour. I could have booked a tour, but the guy wanted me to pay for all your asses in advance. I said thanks but no thanks :)

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-05-21 at 14:18:25.


    Tenacious D - Tribute

    I've decided to start a new section of spine.cx devoted to music. I'm a voracious music-listener, as some people know, and I have a very eclectic taste in music. Everything from rap to classical to death metal to electronica is in my CD collection. I'm going to try to update the MP3 of the week every weekend. Future MP3 of the week postings won't appear on the home page, but will be accessible via the "MP3 of the week" link in the Categories box on the left-hand side of the site.

    So, without further ado, you can download the inaugural week's MP3 here.

    Update: The MP3s are going to have a ".zip" extention so your browser won't try to play them on you. Just rename the file to .mp3 and you're ready to rock.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. You can review and rate the MP3 in the "Downloads" section, or just follow this link.

    If you have any suggestions for a future MP3 of the week, feel free to email me with them.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-05-18 at 18:53:34.


    Drinking Games

    Everybody's played a drinking game or two in the past, I'm sure. Below is one submitted by one of the loyal readers that spine.cx has and that you wish you were. Post your favourite drinking game. Discuss the merits and drawbacks of each.

    Butterfly writes: "This is a different version of everyone's favourite drinking game, 'Fucked Up'."

    Equipment Needed:

    1. Cards - one deck for every three to four people.

    2. Alcohol

    3. Optional - shot glass for measuring drinks.
    1 die for determining drinks

    Game Rules:

    Lay out all the cards across the table. First person takes a card and the game is on.

    ACE = DO IT

    The person drawing an ace gives a task to any other player. Must be something that can be done in the room you are playing in. Person has to at least try to do the task. If the task is completed the task giver does the drink, if not completed the victim does the drink. If the task is not completed one other person can attempt it. If they can do it, both the task giver and the victim drink. If not completed, the victim and the second person both drink.


    The person drawing a King starts a sentence. The person who either cannot give a word that makes sense or cannot give a word at all drinks.


    The person drawing a queen asks another player a Yes/No question. If the question is not a Yes/No question they drink. If the person asked does not respond with a Yes/No answer they drink. They immediately ask another person another Yes/No question. Cannot repeat a question and cannot ask the person who asked them a question. If either of these are done the questioner drinks.


    The person drawing the jack says a name. Next person says another name using the first letter of the last name of the original name. If a one word name is used, or a double name is used, the rotation reverses. Person who makes a mistake or repeats a previously said name, drinks.


    The person drawing a ten calls social, and everybody touches glasses and drinks.


    The person drawing a nine says a statement. I never (and something they say they never did). Anybody who has done it drinks.


    The person drawing an eight names a category. Person who cannot come up with an answer to fit the category drinks.


    The person drawing a seven starts by saying 1, next person says 2, and so forth. When 7 or any multiple of 7 comes that person must say Buzz. Person not saying Buzz or forgetting the count drinks.

    SIX = Letter

    The person drawing a six says a letter. The next person says a word that begins with that letter, and so forth. The person who repeats a word or cannot think of a word drinks.


    The person drawing a five makes a rule, (keep fingers crossed while smoking, close eyes while drinking). The rule is in effect until the end of the game or another person drawing a five cancels it. This can easily be abused, so be careful.


    The person drawing a four makes a statement. The other players must say whether they think it is true or false. Then the original person tells if it was true or false. Everybody who guessed wrong drinks.


    The person drawing a three says a word. The next person must say a word that rhymes with it. Whoever cannot think of a rhyming word or repeats a word must drink.

    TWO = TAKE

    The person drawing a two must take a drink.


    The person drawing a joker gives drinks to every other player.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-05-17 at 21:56:42.


    Underoos: Underwear that's fun to wear

    Holy crap. Linked to from FARK is this RetroCrush article about Underoos. I realize that some of my reading audience may not be old enough to remember Underoos, but I sure do. I'm not embarrassed to say that I had the Superman and Batman sets. They were kick-ass.

    But what's up with some of those designs? I didn't even know half of them existed. Star wars characters are fine, but the whole point of putting on Underoos was that you're supposed to look like the character that's on the package. There's no way that Yoda Underoos are going to cut it. I mean, it's just not plausible that someone is going to look at me with a picture of Yoda on my chest and think I'm Yoda. Not going to happen. With Supes, the only things I was missing were the boots and the cape (but I had one of those anyway).

    Same thing with everyone's favourite bad guy, Darth Vader. Sure it'd be tres cool to pretend you were a dark jedi master, but a blue t-shirt just doesn't do it. Same goes for the Boba Fett, Chewbacca, and Tonto (?!) sets. I didn't know ONE SINGLE CHILD who would choose to be Tonto over the Lone Ranger, but there's no Lone Ranger Underoos, are there? Nooooooo.

    For the girls there was bascially only the Wonder Woman set and the C-3P0 set. Now I ask you, when you were a kid, and even now that you're a (semi-)adult, how many women are interested enough in C-3P0 to dress up like him. What kind of genius marketing descision was it to make C-3P0 into girls' underwear? What does Anthony Daniels think of this? Then there's the Daisy Duke Underoos: do parents really want their little girls dressing up in a pre-pubescent version of Daisy Duke shorts?

    Damn, some of the things that came out of the marketing minds of the 80's were messed up...but I sure wanted that Luke Skywalker flight suit.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-05-15 at 08:48:34.


    Widescreen is king! Perhaps people aren't so stupid after all...

    On Amazon.com's DVD best seller list the widescreen versions of both Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (Philosopher's) Stone and Ocean's 11 are outselling their pan & scan counterparts. Whether this is intelligence being displayed on the part of the consumers or just dumb luck, perhaps this is the beginning. If Blockbuster can be converted to carry widescreen over pan & scan, I believe we will have won.

    This is in stark contrast to only last November, when the pan & scan Grinch was outselling the widescreen version.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-05-13 at 13:36:56.


    Date for Spider-Man sequel set...already.

    Yep. When faced with enormous profits, I guess studios don't want to take any chances. A sequel to the retardedly successful-at-the-box-office movie Spider-Man has had its release date set (and without any marketing requirements...remind you of any other industries?).

    Spider-Man II (or whatever it will eventually be called) is due out on 07 May 2004. Sam Raimi is set to direct, and stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst have signed on as well. It's not like they didn't have sequel clauses in their contracts...

    Rumor has it that the villian in the next movie will be Dr. Octopus. Incidentally, Spider-Man has reached #94 in IMDB's top 250.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-05-10 at 09:43:40.


    Alexander Keith's brewery tour

    So about a month or so ago, Ryan and I each happened to purchase a 2-4 of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale because there was this deal where you got a free beer stein...a nice one too. In the bottom of this stein was a 2-for-1 coupon for a Keith's brewery tour. Unfortunately, they expire at the end of May...

    "Hey," we thought, "What a great idea. Let's get a bunch of people and go on a brewery tour." No shirts to order, little to no organizational overhead, sweet! And so the date was planned for May 25th.

    For those among you who haven't had the pleasure of this experience, it's pretty neat. Instead of just sitting in a room and drinking (which I can do at home), you actually get a tour of the Keith's facilities on Water Street. Everyone is dressed in period costume, which means there's buxom bar wenches in tight corsets.

    It costs about $8 and you get at least two glasses of draught, so it's not a bad investment. No pressure to attend, but I'd like to know who wants to go because if we reach sufficient numbers I should probably warn them that we're coming :)

    Maybe we could even make a night of it and head out somewhere after the tour. That last pub crawl was only my second time in the basement of the argyle...I thought it was pretty fun...hmmmmm.....

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-05-09 at 08:50:39.


    See yourself in Lego

    When I saw this website, I was reminded of troopers. This is just as cool, if not cooler. You can create an effigy of yourself in lego. If you've ever wondered what you'd look like as a lego person, now is your chance to find out.

    I made a picture of myself to give you an example.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-05-06 at 09:19:41.


    *Sigh* I'm looking for roomates AGAIN.

    It looks like I must begin the search for a roommate yet again. My current roommate is moving out at the end of May. If you know anybody looking for a place or is just toying with the idea of moving, gently, but firmly, nudge them over this way. I've got one room available immediately, and one available June 1st, or possibly sooner.

    Before you say anything, I've already put up posters in the CS building at Dal in an attempt to reach my "target market" :)

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-05-03 at 21:09:53.


    FNP 5: Photos

    You know you all wanted to see them. Here they are. My personal favourite is this one. Sorry Ryan. If anybody else has photos of this event, please send me a URL and I'll link to them.

    Thanks to everyone for making it a great time. Hopefully eveybody's hangovers aren't too bad :) Looking forward to FNP 6...but not for a while :)

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2002-04-28 at 11:32:17.


    3rd anniversary of the invention of Cubeball

    Today marks the third anniversary of when Ian Frosst and I invented the game of Cubeball. This occured because the product we were both working on at the time took an obscenely long time to build, and there was nothing to do but wait in the meantime. This waiting led to boredom, and boredom led to Cubeball.

    Read The official rules of the WCBA (World Cubeball Association) below.

    W.C.B.A. Official Cube Ball Rules

    (Second Draft)

    1. Equipment

    1.1. Playing equipment shall consist of not less than:

    2. Playing Area

    2.1. The barrier, if it is not already fixed in place, shall be stood upright in such a fashion that it divides the total playing area in to two equal halves.

    2.2. To decide which player plays on which side of the barrier shall be determined by a coin toss. The winner of the coin toss can either choose on which side of the barrier they shall play, or they may choose to have the first throw.

    2.3. Players shall choose one of the wheeled chairs for their use until the end of the game. If so desired, this may be determined by a separate coin toss.

    2.4. If the winner of the coin toss chooses to have the first throw, then the loser of the coin toss can choose which side of the barrier they want, and vice versa.

    3. Gameplay 3.1. Basic Cube Ball 3.1.1. The object of the game is to hit the target on the top of the barrier using the superball.

    3.1.2. The superball must make contact with the ground before striking the target in order for points to be awarded, or for a successful clearing of the barrier to be accepted. I.e., players cannot simply 'toss' the superball over the barrier.

    3.1.3. Players must be in their respective wheeled chair while throwing the superball.

    3.2. Scoring 3.2.1. Hitting the target in accordance with the rules specified in section 3.1, and knocking it down from atop the barrier, results in one (1) point for the player knocking the target down. This maneuver may henceforth, in this document, be referred to as a 'knock off'.

    3.2.2. Hitting the target in accordance with the rules specified in section 3.1, but not knocking it down from atop the barrier, results in three (3) points for the player hitting the target. This maneuver may henceforth, in this document, be referred to as a 'hit'. When the target is hit, but not knocked off the barrier, the target shall not be restored to its original position until it has been knocked off the barrier. 3.2.3. Hitting the target multiple times in the same throw is possible. Points should be counted for each hit. If the superball hits the target twice, but does not knock it off the barrier, the throwing player shall be awarded six (6) points. If the superball hits the target twice, and knocks it off the second time, the throwing player shall be awarded four (4) points.

    3.2.4. Hits on the target when it is not atop the barrier do not count. I.e., if, during the same throw, the target is knocked off, and then hit while it is down, only points for the knock off are awarded to the thrower.

    3.2.5. Players have two chances to get the superball over the barrier to their opponent. Failing to do so results in a point for the opposing player.

    3.2.6. After a player has tried and failed two (2) times to get the superball over the barrier, and their opponent has been awarded one (1) point, each subsequent failure to get the superball over the barrier shall result in one (1) point awarded to their opponent.

    3.2.7. If, at any time, the superball makes contact with the ceiling, the thrower's opponent shall be awarded one (1) point.

    3.2.8. If, due to a player's throw, the superball has cleared the barrier successfully but does not make (or would not have made) contact with the ground in their opponent's half of the playing area before coming to a halt, then one (1) point shall be awarded to the thrower's opponent. (This rule has not been introduced in regular season games pending a decision by the WCBA Cube Ball Rules Committee.)

    3.3. Winning 3.3.1. The first player to achieve ten (10) or more points and be two (2) or more points ahead of their opponent's score shall be declared the winner.

    4. 'House' Rules 4.1. Due to the wide variety of barriers, superballs, and targets that may exist in different games of Cube Ball, and although the WCBA encourages strict adherence to this document, the WCBA sees fit to allow some variation to these rules and to the methods used for awarding points; within individual leagues.

    4.2. If it is found that a particular target is too stable, and does not fall when hit, then an adjustment may be made to the amount of points awarded for such a hit; perhaps switching the number of points awarded for a hit vs. a knock off.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-04-26 at 09:00:25.


    Downtown littered with copper penises

    I know I'm not the only one to notice the rather-penis-shaped copper-colored "community bulletin boards" that have been...well, erected around the downtown area. (Man, there's just WAY too many metaphors there.)

    They're supposed to stop the wanton posting of bills around town on telephone & power poles. I think they're horrendously ugly and I've heard that cost several thousand dollars each. I am constantly amazed to see the asinine purposes for which our tax dollars are used. Update 25/ Apr 2002: Now with pictures!

    Click the pictures for bigger versions:

    The last one is relatively normal looking and quite aesthetically pleasing, actually. It's the big "thingy" on the top of the large ones that's kind of odd.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-04-24 at 14:58:42.


    FNP 5: Shirts are in!

    Picked up the shirts yesterday. They're pretty cool. If you want 'em, come and get 'em. I'll have them in the office today, but I can leave your shirt with Moose if you so desire.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-04-24 at 07:12:48.


    I appear to be rubbing off on others. Not sure that's a good thing :)

    Brent has purchased for himself a new 55'' widescreen television and a progressive scan DVD player. Although I'm less than thrilled at his choice of Samsung components, I applaud this new foray into the wonderful world of high priced electronics.

    Since his site doesn't yet have a working comment system, I thought I would post about it here so people could talk (read: gossip).

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-04-16 at 09:50:03.


    Crazy Ants Wiping Out Christmas Island Crabs

    SYDNEY (Reuters) - "Crazy Ants" are devouring the famous migrating land crabs of Australia's Christmas Island and may have killed off up to half the crab population in the past few years, a conservation official said on Wednesday.


    Yes, they're actually called "crazy ants". (In case anybody didn't realize, Christmas Island is where .cx domains come from)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-04-10 at 13:36:11.


    The manual for my bedside lamp

    I wanted a new bedside lamp. I went out to Home Depot and bought a new bedside lamp. I wasn't able to completely understand the instruction manual, but luckily there exists a medium where idiots can ask questions. It is called the Internet.

    I scanned it in and thought I would post it here so you nice people could help me out. Click the images for larger versions.

    Cover Page:
    Page 1:
    Page 2:

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-04-09 at 23:26:15.


    My Furniture is here! (Theatre renovation Pt. II)

    You may remember, a LONG while back, I posted about how I was getting my theatre room renovated. I waited for the furniture I wanted to go on sale, and shortly thereafter, in the first week of January 2002, it did.

    I purchased said furniture, and so began the waiting process. Why it takes 4 months to get my furniture from wherever it was to toronto, and then 7 days from Toronto to me, I'll never know. What I *do* know, is that it was worth the wait.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-04-09 at 12:22:21.


    My god, giant ants in California

    California has been taken over — 'conquered', if you will — by a master race of giant ants. It's difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume the captive earth men or merely enslave them. One thing is for certain, there is no stopping them; the ants will soon be here. And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to...toil in their underground sugar caves


    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-04-05 at 13:08:48.


    Vanilla Coke, How Long Will This Last?

    This article on cnn.com states that Coke is reportedly working on secret plans for a vanilla version within the next few months. I dont know about you, but im thinking vanilla floats will be in order if this is happens.

    P.S. What ever happened to Crystal Clear Pepsi and O.K. Soda (AKA Swamp Water)?

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-04-01 at 21:00:28.


    Roger Ebert on music piracy

    I gain more respect for Roger Ebert every day. Here is an intelligently written commentary on the state of internet music sharing and how it relates to the music industry. He talks about Universal's new CD copy-protection scheme that will render CDs unplayable in DVD players, CD-ROMs, and car stereos and how record companies, by trying to eliminate music sharing and MP3 swapping, are really just biting the hand that feeds them -- the fans.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-03-28 at 12:37:08.


    AdCritic.com is coming back!

    Seen on FARK, but definately newsworthy enough to be seen here as well. The popluar site that hosted all kinds of advertisements, like the classic "Vikings?!" ad, and the "Dodge Aries" spoof is coming back!

    AdCritic had originally shut down a few months ago because they couldn't pay for all the bandwidth they were using. I hope this doesn't mean more stupd web ads, but hopefully this new incarnation can stay afloat.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-03-28 at 07:21:01.


    Klingon Google

    This is the most retarded thing I've seen all week. I know Google is trying to be all multi-language and stuff (I tend to get redirected to Google.ca most of the time), but this is ridiculous. A version of Google for Klingons.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-03-27 at 10:47:41.


    FNP V: Shirts and schedule finalized

    The shirts and schedule are inside. Thanks again to T.J. Maguire for doing them up for me. The shirt price is $17 (add $2 for XXL).

    For those just tuning in, this crawl will take place on the 27th of April, 2002. the sign-up links will remain at the top of the root spine.cx page until the crawl date.

    Update: You people who have signed up can pay via either the "handing Steve cash" method, or PayPal. Now get out there and recruit!

    A few people have asked me why the shirts are more expensive on my crawls than other peoples'. It's NOT because I'm trying to scam anyone, or even that I'm trying to make money from this. The answer is simple: I offer Baby-T's. For whatever reason, baby-t's are more expensive than regular t-shirts. I know they use less fabric...I've tried to use that argument, but it just doesn't seem to work.

    The people who buy regular shirts end up subsidising the baby-t's. I never mentioned this before because I didn't think anyone would have a problem with it. The women get their baby-t's and the guys get...well, the guys get their baby-t's :)

    Ok? Good. Onto the good stuff:

    Final bar list:

    1700h - 1830h Your Father's Moustache (Eatin' Bar)
    1830h - 2000h Planet Pool (Fun bar)
    2000h - 2130h Maxwell's Plum (Eatin' bar)
    2130h - 2230h The Seahorse (Drinkin' bar)
    2230h - 0000h Mercury (Dancin' bar)
    0000h - 0200h Merrill's (Dancin' bar)
    After Merrill's...who knows?

    (Click on them for a larger version)

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-03-26 at 13:04:23.


    Spam sucks! (and so does trafficmagnet.net)

    First off, please DO NOT go to trafficmagnet.net. I don't want to give those bastards any traffic.

    They are the scum of the earth and should be destroyed. The reason? They have webcrawlers that go and harvest email addresses from web pages for the sole purpose of spamming them. I've received the same email sent to various email aliases that I have set up. I've NEVER sent any email from these addresses, as they're purely aliases, yet I get spam all the time.

    Click below for the offending email and my reply. Maybe I'll just go post the address to all of the alt.binaries.erotica newsgroups :)

    Update: I found an old email that I had previously sent to this woman. It's included in the body of this article.

    The offending email:

    Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 1:11:54 +0800
    From: Christine Hall
    Reply-To: Christine Hall
    Subject: LISTS.SPINE.CX


    I visited LISTS.SPINE.CX, and noticed that you're not listed on some search engines! I think we can offer you a service which can help you increase traffic and the number of visitors to your website.

    I would like to introduce you to TrafficMagnet.net. We offer a unique technology that will submit your website to over 300,000 search engines and directories every month.

    You'll be surprised by the low cost, and by how effective this website promotion method can be.

    To find out more about TrafficMagnet and the cost for submitting your website to over 300,000 search engines and directories, visit www.TrafficMagnet.net.

    I would love to hear from you.

    Best Regards,

    Christine Hall
    Sales and Marketing
    E-mail: christine@trafficmagnet.net

    And my reply:
    (Keep in mind that this wasn't the first time I responded to this email. I tried being nice, but that obviously didn't work.)

    Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 13:40:13 -0400 (AST)
    From: Steve Dinn
    To: Christine Hall
    Subject: Re: LISTS.SPINE.CX

    Ok, that's about enough. I've received this email about 10 times and I'm sick of it. I'm going to be blunt here so you can understand what I'm saying to you. I guess the other times I complained, I didn't write monosylabically enough for you to comprehend:

    DO NOT send any more advertisements to ANY email address ending in "spine.cx". I do not care that I'm not on some search engines. I don't give two shits. Really. You are just pissing me off. I would NEVER give business to a company that sends unsolicited email, and hey! that includes you.

    Not only am I NOT going to do business with you, but I'm going to tell ALL my friends who have ANYTHING to do with the internet NOT to do business with you. I am going to make a point of mentioning on my website that your company sends unsolicited email, and that you are among the more unscrupulous individuals online today because you do so. Make sure you check that out, next time you're scanning it for email addresses.

    Then, just for good measure, every once in a while I'll write YOU an unsolicited email just to tell you once again how shitty I think your company is for doing this. Then maybe you can see how badly it sucks.

    Am I getting through to you now?

    My god, you people have no souls.

    Have a nice day,

    An old email:
    (I really wasn't kidding when I wrote this :)

    Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 20:19:58 -0300 (ADT)
    From: Steve Dinn
    To: Christine Hall
    Subject: Re: LISTS.SPINE.CX

    I thought I told you stop harassing me.

    Please don't send me any more emails. I run *all* the domains that end in .spine.cx so please don't send any emails to any addresses that end in @spine.cx.

    Got the picture? Good.

    Next time I won't be so pleasant.


    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-03-22 at 13:59:08.


    Feature: Spoo.ca

    Spoo.ca is another Halifax website, run by Simon Leither. As it turns out, spine.cx and spoo.ca both decided to use PHPNuke around the same time, in August 2001. Simon was even nice enough to post an article about the Pub Crawl. It's a pretty cool site all around...a bit more free-form than spine.cx. Check it out.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-03-19 at 10:45:31.


    It's St. Patrick's Day!

    Get out your shamrocks and your leprechans, and wear something green. This Sunday is the day when everyone is Irish. It's time to drink green beer and insult the British. Then we drink more green beer, maybe some good Irish whiskey, and stumble all the way home down the rocky road to Dublin to have a Guiness.

    I'll direct your attention to this thread where it is being discussed where and when the festivities will commence. Anyone who'll be in Halifax on Sunday night is more than welcome to join our "merry band".

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-03-15 at 07:10:37.


    Live action remakes of anime movies & shows

    Recently, I've seen more than one account of rumours that anime television show Dragonball Z and ultra-violent anime movie Ninja Scroll are going to be remade as live action movies.

    What's the deal here? Where are they going to find an actor with Goku's hair? How are they going to manufacture enough fake blood to properly reproduce Jubei's battles? These are questions that must be answered!

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-03-13 at 08:07:11.


    Canadian Gov't to raise taxes on recordable media

    I'm sure many people have seen this on Slashdot, but I think this needs as much exposure as it can get.

    Here is a PDF describing the atrocity. Basically we're looking at $1.23 for all CD-RWs, $2.27 for all DVD-Rs, and a completely ridiculous $21/Gig tax on portable MP3 players. That's $420 for a Nomad! WTF?!

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-03-12 at 13:49:25.


    Jeff & Crystal's baby joins us outside the womb

    Jayden Cole Pick was born March 9th, 2002 at 1147h at the maternity wing of the IWK hospital. He weighed in at 7 lbs 3 oz, which I think puts him slightly below Featherweight :)

    Congratulations Jeff & Crystal.

    EDIT: Pictures of baby Jayden are just a link away. Click on the Read More link.

    Click for photos.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-03-11 at 09:59:59.


    Dial M for Penny

    Jesus Murphy. Some guy was shot several times and killed outside the Copper Penny last night...only about two hours after I left. Yikes. Although I heard on the Q104 this morning that the "alleged" shooter was arrested at the scene.

    On a side note, I went searching to "Copper Penny" on Google to try to get a useful link, and ended up finding this. What kind of drugs is this guy on? He says about the Penny, and I quote, "Not so smoky anymore." I don't think he's ever actually been there.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-03-08 at 08:26:25.


    New DVD standards obviously not carved in stone

    DVD Forum's Steering Committee voted this week to approve the use of low-bit-rate compression for high-definition DVD. The DVD Forum's decision, made at a meeting on Feb. 26 in Tokyo, to stick with a red-laser-based scheme but switch to low-bit-rate compression, came only a week after nine of the world's biggest electronics companies agreed to promote a blue-laser-based format for next-generation video and computer optical disks

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-03-05 at 09:19:55.


    FNP V: The Nova Scotia Liquor Coalition (NSLC)

    The title says it all, the name and the theme of the fifth incarnation of the Feelin' No Pain pub crawl have been decided. It's still scheduled to take place on the 27 April 2002 (Saturday). Times and bars are still up in the air, so feel free to suggest some in the comments.

    You can sign up for this crawl here, and see who else has signed up here.

    Also, St. Patrick's Day is coming up soon. There's a thread over on the forums discussing that.

    Proposed bar list:

    1700h - 1830h Your Father's Moustache (Eatin' Bar)
    1830h - 2000h Planet Pool (Fun bar)
    2000h - 2130h Maxwell's Plum (Eatin' bar)
    2130h - 2230h The Seahorse (Drinkin' bar)
    2230h - 0000h Mercury (Dancin' bar)
    0000h - 0200h Merrill's (Dancin' bar)
    After Merrill's...who knows?

    Sample shirt:
    Shirts shouldn't cost more than $16 or so, depending on how many people sign up. The shirts are going to say "Helping Nova Scotians battle sobriety since 1998" and the logo is going to be bastardized :)

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-03-01 at 23:11:45.


    Why is HDTV taking so damn long?

    Here is an article on MSN's Slate.com talking about how HDTV is available in most places now, but nobody knows it.

    I can understand that HDTV is prohibitively expensive for a lot of people, that's fine. But the fact that most cable (even digital cable) providers don't have any HD channels, and some satellite providers require you to buy two dishes (one for normal tv, and one for HDTV), and most of their salespeople don't know they offer HDTV, means not many people have it in their homes.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-02-22 at 08:30:29.


    Industry Agrees On Next Gen Unified DVD Standard

    From a press release on matsushita.co.jp:

    Nine leading companies today announced that they have jointly established the basic specifications for a next generation large capacity optical disc video recording format called "Blu-ray Disc". The Blu-ray Disc enables the recording, rewriting and play back of up to 27 gigabytes (GB) of data on a single sided single layer 12cm CD/DVD size disc using a 405nm blue-violet laser. The companies that established the basic specifications for the Blu-ray Disc are: Hitachi Ltd., LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., Pioneer Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, and Thomson Multimedia.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-02-19 at 16:25:18.


    TheSpark is back in action

    TheSpark.com is back! Long have I awaited its triumphant return from its 4+ month hiatus, and it was worth the wait. There's some brand new articles on there, and Christian says they're going to up date the site every day.

    Most notably, check out Tantra: The Art of Awesome Screwing and The Lazy Test.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2002-02-14 at 16:25:34.


    Transformers Season 1 on DVD!

    An article on DVDToons.com talks about some information released from Rhino Video concerning the upcoming release of season 1 of the old hardcore 80's cartoon, The Transformers.

    The set is scheduled for an April 23rd release and contains completely digitally remastered full frame video and a whole pantload of extras. I don't know about you guys, but this was one of my all-time favourite cartoons. There was only about 4 seasons of this show before it went to complete shit, so hopefully they'll release the rest of them in the same fashion.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-02-13 at 12:55:48.


    Which Office Space character are you?

    Take the test and find out who you were.

    Ever since I saw that fat man keel over and die, "hostile takeover" has been my middle name. I hate my job and my company. I'm a bitter corporate drone who gets others to rebel. A natural leader who's got 40 subscriptions to

    Originally posted on Monday, 2002-02-11 at 13:11:22.


    Too much @#$% SNOW!

    I don't really have much to say here...Use this space to vent about the weather.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-02-05 at 09:32:45.


    DVD Forum 4.0 now online

    A brand new version of Steve's DVD Forum, a web application to help catalog your DVDs and borrow movies that you'd like to watch, is now online. It also lets you see, at a glance, to whom you have lent DVDs and from whom you've borrowed them as well.

    Version 1.0: Perl CGI with a text file back end
    Version 2.0: PHP with text file back end
    Version 3.0: PHP with badly designed database backend
    Version 4.0: PHP with a much better designed DB backend

    Lots of stuff new in this version, including a completely redesigned database, the ability to post comments on DVDs, and a valiant attempt to reduce redundant DVD entries. All of the information was ported over to the new database, so nobody has to add any information over again (except for Alan DeCastro...there was no WAY I was adding all his DVDs in by hand again :).

    Hopefully, this go-round, nobody will get redirected to blank pages, or get silly database errors. There's a forum where you can go to report bugs or make feature requests as well as check on their status.

    Listings now include a thumbnail image to help identify titles. It's much easier to find out who has copies of any given DVD, and whether it's available for borrowing. There's a page where you can keep up on the DVDs that have been added to the system recently (Does anyone miss the email that used to go out weekly?).

    Even though DVD data is shared by everyone who has a certain DVD in their collection, anyone can suggest updates to that DVD's information. Any propsed changes to a DVD's listing are queued for an admin's approval before getting committed.

    The Advanced Search page lives up to its name a little more than it did before. You can search by just about any one of the fields in a DVD's entry. You can even search for all of my Anamorphic DVDs that are comedies and have a DTS soundtrack.

    When browsing others' DVDs, of course you'll not see anyone who hasn't entered any DVDs into the system. Since there's some people who are registered, but don't really use the site anymore, but can't be deleted for referential integrity reasons, the default listing contains only those users who have used the site in the last two months. It's still easy to get a listing of everybody though.

    Once a few more transactions take place, I'll whip up a page for statistics like the top 5 DVDs (based on number of times borrowed), top lenders, top borrowers, etc.

    Don't hesitate to post any suggestions or comments under this article, but please limit your posting on the forum thread mentioned above to bugs and feature-requests.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-02-05 at 09:31:23.


    Prime Minister Day?

    Would you like a long weekend (another Stat holiday) in February? Go here and vote YES!

    The government is considering a new holiday. The Globe and Mail is doing a poll to see if we as Canadians would like one. It would be the same as the American holiday Presidents day but ours would be Prime Minister day.

    Please go to the attached link and vote "yes" (on the right hand side) and maybe we will get a much needed holiday during the gloomy months of the winter.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-30 at 18:31:04.


    Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

    I had my inane movie trivia mettle tested today when I was asked by Keely to see if I couldn't use the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon theory to connect him to Star Wars. It took me about 10 minutes to come up with something, but keep in mind that I DID NOT USE IMDB! This was all from the trusty block atop my shoulders.

    Click below to see how I did it.

    Well Star Wars is a broad topic, so I chose one of the principle actors who has done a lot of stuff: Harrison Ford.

    1. Harrison was in What Lies Beneath with Michelle Pfieiffer.
    2. Michelle starred with Danny DeVito in Batman Returns.
    3. DeVito + Christopher Lloyd in the 70's sitcom Taxi.
    4. Lloyd co-starred with Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.
    5. Michael J. Fox was in Family Ties with Michael Gross.
    6. Michael Gross was in Tremors with Kevin Bacon.

    I'm sure it can be done in less steps than 6. Have a go at it, but don't cheat and use the Internet, that's no fun.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2002-01-26 at 20:46:39.


    Feelin' No Pain V Tentative Date - Comments Please

    FNP IV wasn't all I had hoped it would be; there was probably only 40 people on that crawl. That's not a bad number, but it pales in comparison to the more than 80 that were involved in the Survivor crawl, partly due to the fact that the date flip-flopped more than once. So this time I'm starting early. The date I'm thinking about for FNP V is Saturday, 27 April 2002. Reasons being that this is the end-of-school-end-of-exams time for many university students :)

    Please comment on the date. What do you think? Pass the link around to anyone whom you think wants to read this sort of thing. If you get really keen and want to sign up already, you can.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-16 at 08:18:17.


    Phillips says copy protected CDs are not CDs

    Phillips has come out and said that they (as the patent holders on the Compact Disc format) do not recognize the copy-protected CDs that some of the major record labels are putting out as legitiment CDs because they do not adhere to the Compact Disc standard. They have it within their power to dictate that these bastard children of CDs may not carry the Compact Disc logo. They also plan to put out hardware that is capable of circumventing the copy protection.

    Phillips is my new favourite multi-national conglomerate. Read the original article (in German) or the English translation thanks to Google's language tools.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2002-01-11 at 15:49:57.


    Portable MP3 player for sale

    I'm selling the portable mp3 player that I got at my company's Christmas party. I just found I never used it; there's probably only 4 hours of play time on it. I'm also selling the 64 meg add-on card that I bought for it, since I have no use for it without the player.

    Yeah, yeah, it's a pretty self-serving article, but hey, this is my website :) If you're interested in buying it, it's up for auction here. The auction ends on 16 January 2002 @ 2122h.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-09 at 23:00:45.


    The Marquee Club Has A Website

    Now you won't have to pick up the coast every week to find out whats happening at the best live bar in Halifax.

    The Marquee Club's new website has lots of information from the band listings a month in advance to the lighting and microphone specifications.

    Coming soon:
    April Wine: Friday, January 18th
    The Mudmen: Friday, February 1st (go to this one, they were the best show at Snow Jam)
    Big Sugar: Friday & Saturday February 8/9 (bring ear plugs, these guys are loud!)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-09 at 14:53:14.


    Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas, dead at 69

    Wendy's restaurant founder, Dave Thomas, is dead at age 69. I think people should eat Big Bacon Classics all this week in hommage of this fine individual. Wendy's is probably the best fast food joint out there, but I don't understand why they don't serve onion rings.

    They don't say how he died, but he did have quadruple bypass heart surgery in '96, and he was on kidney dialysis since last year. Poor Dave, he won't be in any more dumb commercials.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2002-01-08 at 11:34:56.


    One Night at McCool's

    I don't remember seeing this movie in the theatres, but it stared me down countless times in the video store. Liv Tyler on the cover looking so good, how could I resist? And she's a redhead in this movie! I broke down and bought a used DVD from Video Quest for $12.

    Plot points will be discussed in the body of this review so if you want to be surprised by the movie, I wouldn't recommend reading it.

    I really didn't know what to expect from this movie, except that the critics said it was funny, or at least that was what was printed on the DVD case. It started out in a very promising way: Three completely seperate views of the same set of events, which eventually converge in an onslaught of hilarity. Some of the better movies are set up this way...Many are done with flashbacks, but not usually from three different points of view. Unlike films like Pulp Fiction, One Night at McCool's is more or less chronological in its storytelling.

    I know this is going to sound like a bad joke, but a laywer (Paul Reiser), a highway patrol officer (John Goodman), and a bartender (Matt Dillon) are all in a bar (McCool's) where they all happen to lay eyes on a ravishing redhead (Liv Tyler) and are immediately infatuated with her. Each of the three thinks that she's the one for them. Reiser ends up talking to a psychiatrist about his lust for this mysterious woman; Goodman to a priest who can't seem to get enough of the "gory details" so to speak.

    The three sets of flashbacks come together with quite a bit of humour (like Reiser in a leather bondage-type suit) and much more grace and fluidity than I thought they would. I found it to be a pretty funny movie, all in all. Multiple shots of Liv Tyler's assets didn't exactly hurt my opinion of it either. I'd definitely recommend it as a renter, if not a purchase. I haven't yet, but I'd bet I could watch this movie at least a few more times for Liv Tyler alone, and with flashbacks, there's always a cause to watch more than once to catch things you missed the first time through.

    One Night at McCool's rates 3 spines out of 5.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-02 at 23:30:22.


    Pictures from New Years Eve

    You wanted to see them. Here they are.

    Hopefully this witih oblige your voyeristic tendancies for another year. Suggestions for captions are welcome in the comments section of this article.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2002-01-02 at 08:57:41.


    Spine.cx posts from the year 2001.


    My New Year's Party

    Here's the ultimate test of how accurate a guesser I am of the size (or lack thereof) of this website's local readership: Everyone who reads this in time is welcome to come to my place to bring in 2002 like it ain't nobody's business.

    If you don't know where the place is, then email me. If you can't find my email address on this site, then perhaps you should just stay at home and wrap yourself in a nice thick blanket until all the hubbub subsides.

    The plan is to BBQ around 5 or 6 o'clock, and then start the hardy partying around 8 or 9. It ends whenever I feel like ending it :)

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-12-31 at 00:10:07.


    Merry Christmas!

    So Christmas is here....I want to hear all your stories about visiting with relatives and/or in-laws. All the bitching about not getting those argyle socks you wanted, and all the jubilation over the mass of swag that you now boast.

    Lay it on me. I can take it.

    Here's what I wanted for Christmas. I didn't get it :(

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2001-12-25 at 09:56:38.


    Universal to render significant portion of CD players useless

    While implementing their "copy protection" scheme for music CDs, Universal Music will be simultaneously rendering most DVD players, car stereos, and computers unable to play their wares. It's quite silly, in a way: If I can't play music on my DVD player, in the room where I most want to listen to music, I'll be that much more determined to find a way to rip it and get it in a format that I can listen to anywhere.

    Record companies don't get the fact that these copy protection schemes do more to annoy their patrons than they do to deter the would-be music pirates. Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids.

    Original article.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2001-12-18 at 15:14:12.


    Theatre room renovations: Part 1

    For those of you that are interested, I've been documenting the renovation of my home theater room with plenty of pictures. Click on the link below for a bit of a description of what's going on in the photos.

    Pictures are here if you can't read, and just want to look at the pretty pictures.

    DCP_1308 to DCP_1313:
    These pictures show the crappy state this room was in after I ripped most of the faux wood panelling, and silly decorative beams off of the walls. I found next to no insulation, which explains why everyone froze their asses off down there. Some of the panels are still up in these pictures, because those are the ones with the light fixtures on them, and I don't want to play wantonly with electricity.

    DCP_1314 to DCP_1323:
    Studding and insulating and wiring, oh my! That's basically what's going on here. DCP_1322 clearly shows the different types of wire. The white stuff is for power for lights and outlets. The red stuff is a slightly higher gague power cable for the electric heater that's going to go under the windows on the opposite wall. Each of the yellow cables contains 4x12 gague speaker wire. Plan for the future: bi-wire all your speakers! I now have approximately 10 billion times more insulation in that room (that figure is rounded up to the nearest 10 billion).

    This is when the hole in the wall for the component rack gets cut out. You can see my ABC laundry detergent in the other room.

    DCP_1325 to DCP_1332:
    Drywall, drywall, drywall. This was probably the most time consuming process of the day. I can't imagine doing this myself. I would have screwed up so many times. All the outlets and lights and windows to cut around.

    DCP_1333 and DCP_1334:
    These are 2 pictures of the wall sconces that will hold the lights. Two will go on each side wall. There's also going to some pot lights in the ceiling, but they won't be on during movies, only when I need some real light in there.

    Well, there you have it., the first bit of renovation. Tomorrow brings the tapers to finish of the drywall, and the electrician to actually get the lights working. Still to come is the 8" stage at the back for stadium seating purposes :)

    Questions or comments are welcome...I'll try to answer them as best I can.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-12-13 at 18:00:18.


    I'm number 5!

    I finally have something to be proud of. I'm the fifth most screwed up individual on the Internet, according to The Screensavers and their "Web's Weirdest Personal Crusades" article.

    I guess the Subway Petition isn't dead after all...

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2001-12-11 at 10:57:45.


    Build a computer controlled VCR

    Our friends over at SandyWalsh.com have an interesting article on building a computer controlled VCR, complete with a nifty diagram. Check it out.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-12-03 at 13:24:27.


    Eastlink screws the pooch

    If anybody reading this gets their Internet connectivity via Eastlink Cable in Halifax, they may have noticed that they were unable to reach this site for part of Friday night and most of Saturday. My sources tell me that some routing thing-a-ma-bob that I don't fully understand was configured incorrectly. People not connected via Eastlink could reach spine.cx just fine. Even people at Eastlink could. Just not their broadband subscribers.

    Hmmm...Some compentance would be nice.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-12-02 at 18:36:13.


    What the heck is with MSN Messenger lately?

    Has anyone else noticed that MSN Messenger keeps kicking you off every couple of minutes, seemingly at random? I hope this is happening to at least one other person or I think I shall go stark raving mad.

    My own personal theory is that is has something to do with the new "improved" .NET version of Messenger. The only problem I had with the old one was that I couldn't sign on in the first place. But this one is like, "Come on in! Stay a while. No, one second thought, get out." Surprisingly, the former was less frustrating...

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-11-29 at 14:43:24.


    Choose an icon for the Games topic

    I need help choosing an icon. Right now the icon for the "games" topic is a Dreamcast. This is simply because I now own one, and it's the reason I created the topic in the first place :)

    Help me choose (a more appropriate?) one. Click below.

    Here are the choices. If you can come up with a better one, then I'm open to suggestions. Discuss.

    Atari 2600

    Nintendo GameCube

    Nintendo N64

    Sega Dreamcast

    Classic NES

    Sony Playstation

    Super NES

    XBox Controller

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-11-28 at 16:03:00.


    Watch women beat each other with sticks

    I attended my first Dalhousie Women's Hockey Team game on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't an entirely unpleasant experience. The best part? It's free. There is no better admission fee than free.

    Everyone should come out to their next game. My sources tell me that it is Saturday night at 1800h (that's 6 p.m. for the arithmetically challenged) at the Dal Arena, the pointy roof building just off South Street. Bring your mitts, though, it's cold in there.

    Does anyone know if they have a website?

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-11-26 at 11:24:31.


    Holy retro, Batman!

    None of the following text is mine, but I thought it was really interesting. Read it, and see how many childhood memories it brings back for you. I was wallowing in my own adolescence for a good half hour afterwards.

    If not, then you're either too young (born after 1980), or too old (born before 1970).

    I am a child of the 70's and 80's. That is what I prefer to be called. The 90's can do without me. Grunge isn't here to stay, fashion is fickle and "Generation X" is a myth created by some over-40 writer trying to figure out why people wear flannel in the summer.

    When I got home from school, I played Atari 2600. I spent hours playing Pitfall or Combat or Breakout or Dodge'em Cars or Frogger. I never did beat Asteroids. Then I watched "Scooby Doo." Daphne was a Goddess, and I thought Shaggy was smoking something synthetic in the back of the mystery machine. I HATED SCRAPPY.

    I would sleep over at friends' houses on the weekends. We played army with G.I. Joe figures, and I set up galactic wars between Autobots and Decepticons. We never beat Rubik's cube, unless you count taking off the stickers. I got up on Saturday mornings at 6 a.m. to watch bad Hanna-Barbera cartoons like "Captain Caveman," and "SpaceGhost." In between I would watch "School House Rock."("Conjunction junction, what's your function?!")

    On Friday Night Daisy Duke was my future wife. I was going to own the General Lee and shoot dynamite arrows out the back. Why did they weld the doors shut? Did your dad turn from mild-mannered Bill Bixby nto "The Incredible Hulk" when he got upset? At the movies the Nerds got revenge on the AlphaBetas by teaming up with the Omega Mu's.I watched Indiana Jones save the Ark of the Covenant, and wondered what Yoda meant when he said, "No,there is another."

    Ronald Reagan was cool. My family took summer vacations to South Florida and collected "Muppet Movie" glasses along the way. (We had the whole set.) At the hotel we found creative uses for Connect Four pieces like throwing them in that big air conditioning unit.

    I listened to John Cougar Mellencamp sing about Little Pink Houses for Jack and Diane. I was bewildered by Boy George and the colors of his dreams, red, gold and green. I was a "Wild Boy," Duran Duran. MTV played MUSIC videos. Nickeloden played "You can't Do That On Television" and "Dangermouse". Does anyone remember the "Banana Splits?" I drank Dr. Pepper. "I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper, wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too?" Shasta was for losers. TAB was a labratory accident. Capri Sun was a social statement. Orange Juice wasn't just for breakfast anymore. My mom put a thousand Little Debbie Snack Cakes in my Charlie Brown lunchbox and filled my Snoopy Thermos with Grape Kool-Aid. I got two thousand cheese and cracker snack packs. I went to school and had recess. I went to the same classes everyday.

    Some wierd guy from the 8th grade always won the science fair with the working hydro-electric plant that leaked on my project about music and plants. Field day was bigger than Christmas, but it always seemed to rain just enough to make everybody miserable. Rubber band fights were cool. A substitute teacher was a marked woman. Nobody deserved that. I went to Cub Scouts. I got my arrow-of-light, but never managed to win the Pinewood Derby. I got almost every skill award but don't remember ever doing anything.

    The world stopped when the Challanger exploded. Half of your friend's parents got divorced. People did not just say "no" to drugs. AIDS started, but you knew more people who had a grandparent die from cancer. Somebody in your school died before they graduated. We are the ones who played with Lego Building Blocks when they were just building blocks and gave Malibu Barbie crewcuts with safety scissors that never really cut.

    Big wheels and bicycles with streamers were the way to go, and sidewalk chalk was all you needed to build a city. Imagination was the key. It made the Ewok Treehouse big enough for you to be Luke. And the kitchen table and that old sheet,dark enough to be a tent in the forest. Your world was the backyard and it was all you needed. With your pink portable tape player, Debbie Gibson sang back up to you and everyone wanted a skirt like the Material Girl and a glove like Michael Jackson's. Today, we are the ones who sing along with Bruce Springsteen and The Bangles perfectly and have no idea why. We recite lines with Ghostbusters and still look to the Goonies for a great adventure. We flip through T.V. stations and stop at the A-Team and Knight Rider and Fame, and laugh with The Cosby Show and Family Ties and Punky Brewster and "What you talkin' bout Willis?" We hold strong affections for The Muppets and why did they take the Smurfs off of the air? After school specials were about cigarettes and step-families.

    The Polka Dot Door was nothing like Barney, and aren't the Power Rangers just Voltron reincarnated? We are the ones who read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume. Friendship bracelets were ties you couldn't break and friendship pins went on shoes - preferably hightop velcro Reebok. And pegged jeans were in, as were unit belts and layered socks and jean jackets and JAMS and charm necklaces and side pony tails and just tails. Rave was a girl's best friend; braces with colored rubberbands made you rad. The backdoor was always open and Mom served only red kool-aid to the neighborhood kids.YOU NEVER drank the New Coke. Entertainment was cheap and lasted for hours. All you needed to be a princess was high heels and an apron; the Sit'n'Spin always made you dizzy but never made you stop; Pogoballs were dangerous weapons and Chinese Jump Ropes never failed to trip someone. In your underoos you were Wonder Woman, Spider Man or Robin and in your treehouse you were king. Star Wars was not only a movie. Did you ever play in a bomb shelter?

    We didn't start the fire Billy Joel.

    We had neighborhoods where in the day we could play kick-the-can, guns" and all of the things that made us Grow up. There was always that one "field" that could be used for either baseball, football, homerun derby, or just a place to hang out. That was my field of dreams Mr. Costner.At night we would play flashlight tag. Just like we could trick-or-treat at night without the fear of being shot and killed. Just like our guns had caps or "lasers". If we didn't have the Jessie James guns we could just get a rock and smash the caps on the ground!

    We loved those orange race tracks...that was until our mother realized she could smack us with them. We too collected football and baseball cards but it was because we wanted to be the first in the neighborhood to have the "complete" set. In our neighborhoods we played with He-man and Skelator. Going to get a Happy Meal on Saturday with dad or mom was worth waiting the other six days of the week.

    No, we are the furthest thing from a lost generation. Does going to arcades on Saturday, getting carpooled to football with your best friend, eating fruit roll-ups, having birthday parties at McDonalds or Godfather's pizza or Noble Romans where you could make your own pizza-express mean you are lost? How many people melted their army figures that were given to them by their parents? Was Green Latern the Coolest Super Hero or Aquaman? "Wonder twin powers activate!" How about coming home at and separating your Halloween candy into: The cool stuff, the homemade stuff, and the pennies... how about the candy that came in that awful orange and black wax paper? Did you ever try it? Do you remember the one house that had a sign in the candy bowl that said, "Take One." How many did you take if you liked it? Were you desperate one year and as a teenager you trick-or-treated?

    Our generation had character and heart. We played with real baseballs and "Putt putt for the fun-of-it.""Hey, my mom will take us if your mom picks up!" Could you ever really beat Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom...? Did you have sliced oranges or grapes for your half-time treat? How about the hot dog and coke after each football and baseball games? Star Crunches? Whippy Dip? Twinkies? Ho-ho's?

    This is what WE are all about!

    When you put all this stuff together, you have my childhood. If this stuff sounds familiar, then I bet you are one, too. We are the children of the "80's".

    That is what I prefer they call us. We are not the first "lost generation" nor today's lost generation. In fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak. So if you are reading this and it ALL hit's home then you do indeed have a heritage or a generation. This is what makes us the most unique generation of all.

    Now didn't that bring back memories?

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-11-22 at 13:48:55.


    Pan & scan Grinch vs widescreen Grinch

    This is something I really don't understand. Amazon.com is selling two versions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas: one in pan & scan and the other in widescreen.

    It's no secret that I, as the anal-retentive bastard I am when it comes to video and audio, prefer the widescreen versions of movies. My confusion lies in the fact that the widescreen version is cheaper (only by 24 cents, but still...) but the pan & scan version is, as of this moment, the better seller.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-11-22 at 09:02:37.


    Burger King makes Whopper for left handed people

    Am I the only one who thinks this is total and complete crap?

    Read this press release and see if you can discern what (if any) difference there is between rotating the condiments 180 degrees and turning the @#$%! sandwich around. I absolutely cannot believe that this is legitiment

    The astute among you will notice the date on the press release :)

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2001-11-20 at 11:45:37.


    My Television is Calibrated

    I finally managed to get my television calibrated by a professional. His name is Gregg Loewen, and he was nice enough to post on the forums a description of what he did.

    Click below for a graph of pre-calibration vs. post-calibration values for color temperature.

    Toshiba TW40X81 (Steve Dinn)
    Video Calibration Report - Performed by Gregg Loewen
    IRE 6500 Pre Post
    100 6500 13600 6550
    95 6500 13600 6650
    90 6500 13400 6650
    85 6500 13400 6750
    80 6500 13100 6750
    75 6500 12600
    70 6500 12000 6700
    65 6500 11000 6600
    60 6500 10100 6500
    55 6500 9300 6500
    50 6500 8900 6300
    45 6500 8700 6200
    40 6500 8500 6200
    35 6500 8100 6400
    30 6500 7600 6450

    Lens Striping
    Left Center Right
    Pre 6900 6600 5900
    Post 6200 6400 6300

    Note how close the post-calibration numbers (yellow) are to total perfection, at a color temperature of 6500k (blue).

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-11-19 at 14:57:53.



    Right now, the forums (where all future photoshops will go) are totally seperate from this main site. That means that users have to create two logins, and that's a pain in the ass. I have a solution, but I'm not going to have the chance to implement it until tonight. Here's how it's going to work...

    The main site (this one) will be the principal one. I'm going to copy over all the existing accounts from this database to the forums database (assuming that user doesn't already have an account there). Same password, same username. Any time someone creates a new account on the main site from then on, they'll automatically get an account for the forums.

    If someone just creates an account on the forums...they're out of luck. I think I'll actually disable the forums user creation and force people to make one on the main site.

    If you're signing up in the meantime though...just do it in both places using the same account name. It'll make things a whole lot easier on both of us :)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-11-14 at 12:19:38.


    New Halifax news site

    My brother, who runs Twisted Pair Network Consulting, Inc. has started a site dedicated to Halifax, and the surrounding area.

    There's no place for user comments, and he definately needs to get some better icons :) But it's sure to prove useful. Most importantly though, the site provides a realtime update to Spine.cx's headlines! (Check out the left hand side of the page).

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-11-14 at 09:49:50.


    Spank the monkey

    Another in the long line of Flash games that never cease to amuse me. You can actually spank a monkey. It's funny because there's a monkey, and you spank him.

    My top score is 822 mph, but I sort of found a way to cheat :) See if you can do any better.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-11-12 at 13:42:03.


    Remembrance Day Ceremony Photos

    Photos from the Remembrance Day ceremony at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax. I didn't take very many, but I guess some is better than none.

    Click here

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-11-12 at 09:03:30.


    Stupid socialists protest outside empty building

    I'm up in my office right now, looking down at the Nova Scotia Legislature, 12 floors below and across the street. A bunch of International Socialists are beating drums and yelling, completely oblivious to the fact that the parking lot is completely empty, and it's a Friday evening before a long weekend at a government office.

    Do you really think there's anyone but commissionaires there? I seriously doubt it.

    Oh yeah...and you know what they're protesting? Capitalism! Ha! Wow, I can feel myself drifting further left as we speak. Stupid socialists...

    Originally posted on Friday, 2001-11-09 at 17:08:07.


    Poppy supply running out. Steve's Remembrance Day rant blamed.

    Canadians have snapped up Remembrance Day poppies this year at a clip normally reserved for the latest boy band CD or hot new Christmas toy.

    "We've run out and that's never happened since it all started in 1921," said Mick Steers, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Legion, which runs the 80-year-old poppy campaign.

    Original story.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2001-11-09 at 13:56:35.


    Do your own photoshops

    I don't have a high enough normal article to photoshop article ratio to keep posting all the "photoshop this pic"s that people want me to post, so I've made a place on the messageboard area where you can go and post your own.

    Go nuts.

    Originally posted on Friday, 2001-11-09 at 13:34:24.


    Photoshop Beer Factor Crawlers

    Photoshop this sorry group of pub crawlers :)


    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-11-04 at 02:46:13.


    Beer Factor Epilogue

    Feelin' No Pain IV: Beer Factor is over and I consider it to be a smashing success. I think everyone involved had a great time, and by the time they read this, they'll probably be nursing their hangovers :) Thanks to everyone who came out and made it the fun evening that it was.

    Oh yeah...All comments and suggestions about Feelin' No Pain IV: BeerFactor, and future pub crawls should be made here, in the comments section.

    And you're probably looking for the pictures...they're here :)

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-11-04 at 02:36:25.


    Remembrance Day

    I can't believe that some people sleep in on Remembrance Day.

    If you haven't already, go to a mall or a grocery store, or wherever, and find a veteran or legion member who's giving out poppies and donate some money and pick one up. Then when you're trying to decide if it would look better on your lapel or your knapsack, try thinking about the significance of that poppy and what it really means instead of dismissng it as just another accessory. And then wake your sorry ass up on Remembrance Day and get to a war memorial or another place where there's a service going on. Take part. Remember. That's what it's all about.

    I'm an athiest, which for the uneducated, means I don't believe in a "god" or other supreme being as such, but the significance of Rememberance Day goes far beyond religion. In fact the people that I'm remembering while you're at home in your pansy little bed are the ones who fought for your right to practice whatever religion you do. Thousands of men and women have died preserving the freedoms that we continue to enjoy in this country and if all that's asked of us is to partake in a ceremony, and maybe get up a little earlier than usual on a holiday, then I say that's a bargain. If you have a different view, maybe you ought to think a little more about why November 11th is a holiday in the first place.

    In my view, this is probably the most important holiday of all. Without the actions remembered on this day, there might not be other holidays like Yom Kippur, Kwanzaa, or even Canada Day. Maybe that view is a little extremist, but if people are willing to die for your right to do whatever it is that you do, and think what you want without persecution, the least you could do is thank them.

    I know that come the morning of November 11th, I'll be at the Grand Parade in downtown Halifax, paying my respects. Perhaps, if you haven't before, or haven't in a while, you should think about it as well.

    Lest we forget,
    Lest we forget.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-11-01 at 09:48:34.


    Stupid Haligonians

    I know I haven't really posted anything at all this week, but give me a break. I'm on vacation. I'm chillin'. I'm maxin' and relaxin' :) Go fill yer boots with some photoshop fun.

    Halifax police officers break up a crowd of students Tuesday at St. Patrick's High School. Staff believe the violence started with a dispute over a phone bill.


    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-11-01 at 09:11:24.


    Holiday Logos

    I've been inspired by Google to come up with some holiday or special event-based logos for this web site. I figure with all you photoshop types out there, this shouldn't be too hard.

    I'm looking for a better halloween one that I have right now (see top of page), and maybe a Christmas one too. And any other holidays you can think of :) I'll use the ones I like the best.

    Click the link for a hi-res version of the logo.

    Updated 16:31 Link to the original spine graphic used to create the logo.


    This is the biggest resolution version of the logo I have, but remember it has to be resized in the end to fit at the top of the page (approx. 300 x 82).


    Spine graphic:

    Originally posted on Friday, 2001-10-26 at 10:41:21.


    Snow White DVD may be glitchy with XP

    Proud owners of Microsoft's new Windows XP operating system may find that they can't play one of the hottest DVDs of the holiday season on their computers: Disney's re-release of its classic film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

    Original story: http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-7648523.html

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-25 at 19:20:23.


    Small girl, large soldier

    I think this photo has something to do with the IRA disarming recently, but I can't view the whole story...damn online subscriptions! Photoshop away!


    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-25 at 14:38:45.


    DJ Jazzy Jeff @ Merrill's

    Yes, you read that correctly. DJ Jazzy Jeff, of DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince fame, is coming to Halifax, and will be performing at Merrill's tomorrow, Thursday, October 25th. I know I'm going; there's no way I could miss this. This is just as good as when Rob Base came to the Palace :)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-24 at 19:06:02.


    Episode I

    I have a bad feeling about this...


    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-10-20 at 20:36:55.


    Moderation of comments

    I'm working on a way for users to be randomly given the ability to moderate comments. This may take a while because the more I tinker with it, the more I find that this software is held together very tenuously with strands of thread :)

    What I'd like to see from you guys are suggestions for reasons for moderation, like "funny" or "retarded" or things like that. Suggest both good (+) and bad (-) reasons. I look forward to reading your suggestions.

    Current moderation reasons:
  • Asinine (-)
  • Bin Laden (-)
  • Redundant (-)
  • Stupid (-)
  • Offtopic (-)
  • Cool (+)
  • Funny (+)
  • Insightful (+)
  • Interesting (+)
  • Informative (+)
  • Originally posted on Friday, 2001-10-19 at 10:57:04.


    Sports pics are almost too easy...

    New York Yankees' Jorge Posada, right, slides safely into second base after hitting a shot to right field as Seattle Mariners shortstop Carlos Guillen looks to umpire Gary Cederstrom for the call during the fourth inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series Wednesday in Seattle. (The Associated Press)

    I'm giving you a high res one to work with, but please don't make your final pics greater than 500 px wide, ok? Thanks.


    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-18 at 09:57:36.


    Halifax anthrax scare

    A Halifax firefighter [in a wacky outfit -SD] sprays down a colleague outside Purdy's Wharf tower in downtown Halifax on Tuesday. Hundreds of workers ended up outside after suspicious white powder was found in the building.


    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-17 at 12:30:29.


    Pitbulls are damn tough, apparently

    According to this article, it takes 7 shots from 9mm service pistol, or several blasts from a shotgun to take down a crazy, giant pitbull. Good information to know in case you're ever in a dark alley with a crazy, giant pitbull.

    Update: Yes, that is my article on FARK :)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-17 at 09:04:20.


    Some people shouldn't use computers

    I had the chance to correspond with a lovely individual today, whom I'll tell you about. Suffice it to say that, as the title suggests, some people just shouldn't use computers. But first let me give you a little back story...

    I run several mailing lists, as many of you know. One of these is a fairly popular one that exists for developers and users of an open-source multiple-protocol messenging client to communicate. There are several hundred people on this mailing list, so I expect to get a "Please help me do something" email once in a while, and that's fine. What I don't expect (or tolerate) is the guy who corresponded with me today.

    He wanted to be removed from the list. Aside from the fact that he couldn't figure out how to remove himself from the list when instructions on how to do so are included with every email sent out on said list, his tone wasn't exactly friendly, as, I'm sure, yours would be if you were asking somebody to help you. I, being the caring individual that I am, reflected upon the old axiom: Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he'll never go hungry. I decided not to unsubscribe him myself, but rather tell him how to do it himself. I forwarded him a URL to the options page for this particular list:
    Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:12:00 -0300 (ADT)
    From: Steve Dinn 
    To: [removed]@aol.com
    Cc: everybuddy-admin@lists.spine.cx
    Subject: Re: remove me
    To be removed, go to:
    http://lists.spine.cx/options/everybuddy/[your email address]
    Example (for me):
    If you've forgotten, or don't know, your password, there's a facility to
    have it emailed to you.
    I thought I was being fairly helpful. I was nice and polite, despite the fact that he was neither with me. I felt good about myself. I had helped another human being. My karma was up.

    What a jolt to the system when I got this back:
    From @aol.com Mon Oct 15 17:55:07 2001
    Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 13:50:43 EDT
    From: [removed]@aol.com
    To: sdinn@spine.cx
    Subject: Re: remove me
    This link does not work??????????
    UNSUBSCRIBE ME NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    In a message dated 10/15/2001 9:12:14 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
    sdinn@spine.cx writes:
          http://lists.spine.cx/options/everybuddy/[your email address]
    I was taken aback. What am i to say to something like this? Here I was attempting to enlighten this poor, poor person, and yet they strike at me as if I am an eskimo to their baby seal. I wasn't about to stand for it. I paused, pensively for a moment, collecting my thoughts, and then put the proverbial pen to paper (yes, I know I'm on a computer):
    From sdinn@spine.cx Mon Oct 15 17:55:38 2001
    Date: Mon, 15 Oct 2001 14:59:16 -0300 (ADT)
    From: Steve Dinn 
    To: [removed]@aol.com
    Subject: Re: remove me
    Jesus, calm down buddy.  What's your problem?
    I'll unsubscribe for you.
    In case you didn't realize, a complete set of list commands are included
    with *every* email that goes out from the list.  Perhaps you should try
    reading those before flying off the handle at people who really have
    nothing to do with your inability to comprehend simple instructions.
    People would be much more willing to help you if you didn't come off as
    such a prick.
    You _did_ replace "[your email address]" with "[removed]@aol.com", right?
    He hasn't responded yet. I kinda hope he does...I think I'll tell him that I infected my last email with anthrax :)

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-15 at 18:27:39.


    Cool stop-motion animation

    A friend of mine told me about this friend of hers who made his first stop-motion animated film. I have to say, for a first attempt, it's pretty sweet.

    Check it out. You'll need Real Player to make it go.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-15 at 17:52:16.


    Mr. Leather 2002

    In an interesting twist of fate, I happen to have some photos from the Mr. Leather 2002 contest held at Reflections last Saturday night. One of our users, morr, has a girlfriend whose brother organized the show. Anyway, I lent them my digital camera, and the rest is history. See the photos of this event here.

    For those of you who actually like to click on the "read more" links, here's a bonus "photoshop this pic" for you:


    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-10-14 at 17:21:24.


    Bert is Evil shut down

    In the wake of Bert appearing in photos with Osama bin Laden in a Bangladesh-made poster, the Bert is Evil website has been shut down and replaced with a letter from the guy who started it all, explaining his reasons. It's a real shame it had to come to this, but I guess I can understand his point.

    Fortunately, I have the whole thing mirrored here for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of seeing it yet.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-10-13 at 17:38:58.


    Come up with a caption for this pic

    Similar to the photoshop idea, I suppose you could photoshop it if you like, but the real challenge here is to come up with things that these two gentlemen might be saying.

    A soldier on sentry duty and a military policeman take shelter behind two concrete blocks at the navy dockyard in Halifax while bomb disposal crews dealt with a suspicious object found at the shipyard on Thursday. (Ted Pritchard / Herald Photo)

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-10-13 at 00:54:46.


    Subway Sign

    Here's what to do: Take this photo below and mangle it, distort it, change it. Bend it to your will. Post your results in the comments.

    Some other examples of what I'm talking about are here.


    Originally posted on Friday, 2001-10-12 at 13:07:50.


    Encode radio stations to MP3 in realtime with your phone

    Damn. I think I want this. Nokia has announced new model of cell phone that can not only play but also ENCODE mp3s. It also has a builtin FM radio. This phone will allow you to record FM radio and encode it in realtime to an MP3 whicih you can then transfer to your computer.

    It also has a full QWERTY keyboard and looks kind of similar to a gameboy advance. Nokia's official web site is here. A write up and some pictures are here. This thing looks like it may just give the RIM Blackberry a run for its money. Too bad it's not available in North America :(

    This one's pretty cool too.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-11 at 12:42:56.


    Why didn't anybody cheat on Just Like Mom?

    Remember the game show Just Like Mom? It was basically like the Newlywed game except it was a mother and one of her kids that would try to match their answers. Read about my problems with this whole scenario.

    Yeah, it's true; even as a kid, I would ridicule stupid things that didn't make sense. Especially things like this. After all, it's not like it's Jeopardy! or anything, this is "Just Like Mom" for shit's sake. The questions that were asked on this show were so predictable that any mother deserving of that title who wanted to win her kid a trip to DisneyLand would try and practice some of these forseeable Q and A's in advance. Questions like, "What do your mom and dad argue about the most?" came up constantly. If they had reviewed previously taped episodes and put a little bit of legwork into it, they could have run away with the victory like the guy on Press Your Luck in 1984.

    However, the worst part of this show by far, was the "Bake Off" finale portion. All bets are off here, the winner of this final round can still win the game almost no matter how far they were behind. The premise is this: the kids are put in a little kitchenette, each with identical sets of ingredients and are told to mix up some cookie dough. The moms are then supposed to guess which cookie (out of three) their kid made within 60 seconds. Pretty daunting task, eh? Get real. This is the easiest challenge of all. All the mom/kid team has to decide on is what will be the distinguishing ingredient. Think about it, "Ok little Jimmy, all you have to do is dump the whole box of raisins in your cookie batter, and mommy will know it's yours." Substitute raisins for another unusual or easily identifiable cookie ingredient in case they don't happen to have a certain one available that day, and BOOM! you're on your way to DisneyLand.

    It all comes down to this, a creed of sorts that has helped me through many a situation:
    If they didn't really want you to cheat, they wouldn't make it so damn easy.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-11 at 09:32:16.


    E-Payment options for FNP IV

    After much tribulation, people can finally pay online for crawl t-shirts via one of two methods:
  • This secure web site.
  • PayPal

  • Of course, you can still hand me cash :)

    E-Payment transactions must be completed by 14 October 2001 to make sure I actually have the money when I go to order the shirts. If you pay in US funds on PayPal, shirts will be US$12 (US$13 for XXL).

    Cash is good until the hard deadline of 19 October 2001.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-10 at 08:25:17.


    Television shows in 16 x 9

    So far this year, I've noticed three shows being broadcast in a 16 x 9 aspect ratio (1.78 : 1): Angel, Enterprise, and E.R.. I think this is the best thing to happen to T.V. since color. It's about time that Television was ushered into the 21st century. When HDTV becomes more commonplace, all shows are going to have to adapt to this format (like the Sopranos). I can't wait.

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-04 at 23:54:31.


    Yee Haw! Ride it, yeah!

    An Afghan horse trader leads his horses through the mountainous area of the Khyber Pass headed to the western Pakistani city of Peshawar, October 3, 2001. The horse trader brings horses from the northern parts of Afghanistan and travels for about 25 days to reach markets in Pakistan to sell them. (Aziz Haidari/Reuters)


    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-10-04 at 08:35:38.


    Buy yourself an ass-kicking

    This guy, at some point in the past, had a very interesting auction running on Ebay. Unfortunately, the thought police got to it before the masses could.

    I guess he's just sick and tired of kicking people's asses for free.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-03 at 15:47:47.


    Building a Home Theatre

    I'm getting quite serious about the whole home theatre thing. I'm planning to completely remodel one of the rooms in my basement to function solely as my theatre room sometime in the not-so-distant future.

    I've already had a contractor come and take measurements of the room and discuss with me what I want done. When the actual renevation is taking place, I'll be sure to post lots of photos so you can follow the progress. Ok, ok, it's mainly for me, but perhaps someone else out there will find it interesting too :)

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-03 at 11:13:38.


    Courtney Love Sues Ex-Nirvana Members

    In a move destined to keep the final recorded works of Nirvana out of fans' hands for many months, Courtney Love has sued both Universal Music Group and the two surviving members of the band, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic for total control over the rights to Nirvana's music.

    Click here for the original article.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-10-03 at 08:24:54.


    Thow your hands up in the air!

    Here's the second half of the double-shot to keep you occupied :)


    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-01 at 22:03:05.


    J-Lo's wedding

    Go on. Tear it up. Just no cocks this time, please :)


    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-01 at 22:01:05.


    Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2001/2002 Season Premiere

    Click below for my review of season premiere of BTVS. There may be some spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet, but still want to be surprised, don't read it, although, I don't think I'll shock anyone to say that they bring her back to life :)

    I was concerned not so much about if they were going to bring Buffy back (because it's not much of a show without the title character), but about how they would bring her back. I really didn't want some cheesy time paradox, as Star Trek is often wont to do, or have her come out of the shower a la Patrick Duffy. The premiere really didn't disappoint. I must say, I think that the show was classic Buffy. There were funny parts (Grrrr! Arrrgh!), the obigatory demons, and lesbian wiccas doing that crazy stuff that lesbian wiccas do.

    But onto what I really think: The "bringing her back" scene was really well done. I'm glad it wasn't just a flash-in-the-pan kind of spell...that would have cheapened the whole deal and made people wonder why this sort of thing doesn't happen all the time. The destruction of the last urn of Osiris has pretty much prevented them from ever writing this into the story again. Snakes coming out of mouths and spontaneous arm slicing let you know that you're dealing with some serious shit.

    Let's talk about the characters: Overall, I thought it was a pretty good show. Makeup on the biker demons was superb, as I've come to expect from Buffy and Angel (Speaking of which, anyone care to post a review of the premiere of that show?) There hasn't been a season of Buffy yet that hasn't found me couch-bound to watch it. I look forward to this one too.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-01 at 21:29:43.


    Portable MP3 Player on the cheap

    Found a link to a technology company selling a portable MP3 player that can use Compact Flash cards, or IBM's microdrives, a storage medium compatible with Compact Flash cards. That means an effective capacity of 1GB! But the best thing is the price: US$99.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-01 at 13:03:24.


    Removing the WTC from films

    Recently, I read a review of "Zoolander" in which it was stated that the World Trade Center towers were digitally removed from the New York Skyline. Do you think that this should be done? After all, when this movie was made, they were there.

    Granted, any movie that claims itself to be set after 11 Sep 2001 should not have the towers, but do you agree with T.V. shows and movies digitally removing them from previously shot footage?

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-10-01 at 09:09:52.


    Acts of Gord

    I came across a hilarious web site run by the proprietor of a store that rents and sells video games and consoles called "The Gamer's Edge". It features various stories about stupid and annoying customers who enter his otherwise respectable establishment.

    Especially funny are the stories about the people who attempt to shoplift from his store or the one where some guy expects him to price match his new games with another store's used ones...priceless.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-09-29 at 15:42:45.


    Let's try another

    The last one worked pretty well, but this time I think I have a better picture :) Feel free to submit any pictures you feel deserve to be photoshopped as well.

    I'm dying to see what will come out of this one...


    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-09-27 at 08:44:56.


    FARK does it, I can too.

    You know what to do. Go forth and bastardize this picture. Post your results in the comments section.

    If you can't write an image tag (or don't know what one is), then go here and learn.


    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-09-24 at 08:50:00.


    Thong Contest @ The Copper Penny

    I've heard many accounts that your favorite bar (and mine), the ol' Copper Penny will be putting on some sort of contest whereby women show their thongs and compete for a 3 month membership at Stations Gym.

    Sounds like a party to me; if you're in Halifax, I'll see you there :)

    I got this little "get in free" card from one of the bartenders:
    $2.00 Hasta La Vista Baby $2.00
    Say Goodbye To Summer
    Thursday, Sept. 20-9:00
    Live Bands
    All Request D.J.
    Loads of Keith's Brewery Prizes
    HAPPY HOUR 9-11

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-09-20 at 11:19:21.



    I posted this story about a stupid squirrel in a flash video and I was like, "Wheeeeeeeeee!"

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-09-19 at 12:34:01.


    Snow Jam Schedule

    After seeing the Snow Jam schedule in The Coast I thought to myself, "What a service it would be if I posted that schedule here."

    And so I did.

    Saturday, September 15, 2001
    Time Thing Place
    1200h Gates Open  
    1200h Scratch Bastards DJ Stage
    1215h In-Line Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1245h BMX Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1315h Bucket Truck Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1345h Jam Session Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1430h Shyne Factory Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1500h In-Line Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1530h Skateboard Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1600h Black halos Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1630h Buck 65 DJ Stage
    1630h Snowboarding Qualifying Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1730h Static in Stereo Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1800h BMX Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1830h Gob Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1900h Skateboard Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1930h BMX Big Hit Contest McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    2000h Treble Charger Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    2115h Sloan Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage

    Sunday, September 16, 2001
    Time Thing Place
    1200h Gates Open  
    1200h DJ Cam Harding DJ Stage
    1215h In-Line Super Sessions McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1230h Snowboarding Finals Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1315 Project Wyze Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1345h BMX Super Session McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1405h Skateboard Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1430h Mudmen Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1500h BMX Flatland Super Session Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1515h Snowboarding Big Hit Contest Nike ACG Quarter Pipe
    1600h In-Line Best Trick Contest Mountain Dew Code Red Street Course
    1615h Kardinal Offishall Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1700h Skateboard Super Session McCain Pizza Pockets Vert Ramp
    1730h Awards Presentation Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage
    1745h Finger Eleven Molson Canadian Rocks Mainstage

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-09-13 at 14:45:49.


    Planes Crash into World Trade Center

    Everybody's heard about this by now, I'm sure. Two planes have crashed into the Word Trade Center in New York, and have reduced the twin towers to rubble. No one has claimed reponsibility officially yet, but several word leaders have denounced the act.

    I mirrored some (blatently stolen) pictures here.

    This is certainly a dark day for not only the U.S. but the entire world.

    Originally posted on Tuesday, 2001-09-11 at 14:44:33.


    Feelin' No Pain IV - T-shirts & Schedule

    The semi-traditional date change has taken place, the theme has been decided, the bars and times are finalized, and the shirts are designed.

    Click below for the goodies or sign up now.

    The date for Feelin No Pain IV will be November 3rd, 2001.

    2030hParty House

    Click on an image to zoom in. Props to T.J. Maguire for his phat dezinin' skillz.

    Price (as always) will be $18, or $20 for XXL.

    Since this crawl is gonna be in November, and possibly during some cold weather, is anybody interested in getting hooded sweatshirts?

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-09-10 at 21:40:43.


    Photos from NSIAS 2001

    I've just posted some photos from the Nova Scotia International Air Show.

    I got kind of frustrated taking these pictures because my I came to realize that my digital camera doesn't have the zooming capabilities that I would like. Even though I could see the planes quite nicely, in the pictures, they look like they're miles away. Oh well. there's still some nice shots of the Snowbirds.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-09-08 at 18:32:25.


    Put the Home in Home Theatre

    Browsing the messageboards at the Home Theatre Forum and I came across a link to The Crutchfield Guide to Home Theater Installation. It looks pretty comprehensive. Everything from mounting your speakers, to choosing a remote, to multi-room systems.

    Download the complete PDF here (approx. 2 Megs).

    Originally posted on Thursday, 2001-09-06 at 09:35:02.


    Date and Theme for FNP IV (Finally) Set

    After much bruhaha, the date and theme for Feelin No Pain IV have finally been nailed down.

    Theme: Beer Factor
    Date: October 6th, 2001

    [Updated: 06 Sep 2001 @ 1914h] Due to people fleeing in panic, the date is now up in the air again.
    [Updated: 07 Sep 2001 @ 0858h] Hopefully, the new date of Saturday, November 3rd is far enough in the future for people to avoid any conflicts.

    Because there were more votes for it than any other single theme (there were more votes for "Other", but not for any single "Other") and because we already have a mocked up graphic, it looks like the theme is going to remain "Beer Factor". Like I said originally, it's cheesy, but I think we can work it.

    The date is going to be undecided for the time being Saturday, October 6th, 2001. Sorry if this conflicts with any plans you may have, but I have to pick a date and stick to it. I've tried to balance giving me enough time to get everything together with not having it too far in the future, while simultaneously avoiding university midterms. I hope I've succeeded.

    I'll post the final t-shirt design and the bar line-up as soon as I have it.


    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-09-05 at 16:47:56.


    Nova Scotia International Air Show

    The Nova Scotia International Air Show (formerly the Shearwater International Air Show) is going on this weekend (8, 9 Sep 2001) at YAW.

    It's usually a good time, so I'll definately be checking it out. According to the schedule, the Snowbirds and the Skyhawks demonstration teams will be performing again this year. They're always some of my favorites.

    Originally posted on Wednesday, 2001-09-05 at 10:41:39.


    Prequel to "Silence of the Lambs" being remade

    I read over at SandyWalsh.com that they're redoing the movie known as Manhunter, only this time it's going to be called "Red Dragon" and Edward Norton gets to be the star.

    For those of you have never seen Manhunter, it's a prequel to Silence of the Lambs and (in my opinion) can't hold a candle to its successor(s). It's quite weird seeing somebody play Hannibal Lecter who's not Sir Anthony Hopkins.

    Here's a link to the original story.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-08-27 at 16:33:38.



    I'm not sure how many of you have had the exquisite experience of eating a donair, but it's an experience that I'm sure my body can only stand after an extended recovery period from the last one. It's kind of like getting radiation therapy because you like the tingly feeling.

    They're wrong on so many levels, but yet they're so good. I don't claim to understand it either.

    How can one resist the sweet, spicy, meat-like brown matter on that spindle? It calls to you like the chick across the bar, that you know you shouldn't go home with. But of course, you eventually do. The smell coming from the pizza place wafts out onto the street, like an olfactory version of a siren's song. I can't resist. I am drawn to it. I'm thinking, in the sober part of my brain, that this is bad, but the alcohol-controlled portion has been in command since much earlier in the night and vetos that judgement.

    They're like one night stands. All you can remember about your previous one was good, so you go and get another one. It's good while it lasts, and maybe you even feel a little dirty after you finish, but it's a good kind of dirty. The difference is, with a donair, you're always in the bathroom a few hours later, wondering why it burns when you go.

    So, yeah, the reason I'm writing this is because I had one last night, and now I'm paying for it. My digestive tract is screaming at me in a kind of whiny, Michael J. Fox voice, "Why?! Why did you do this to me again?" I'm listening to it, for now.

    I'm sure it'll happen again, that I'll be downtown, I'll have had a few, and I'll forget the valuable lesson taught to me by my colon. I'll have another donair, and the cycle will repeat. Just don't let it happen to you.

    Friends don't let friends eat donairs.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-08-19 at 09:55:56.


    Sign up for Feelin' No Pain IV

    People can now sign up for Feelin' No Pain IV: here. Here's where the fun starts...let's see if we can beat Feelin' No Pain III's numbers. I want to see at least that many people out on this one. I know we can beat it.

    In addition, feel free to vote for the bars that'll be on the crawl here and talk about things pertaining to the crawl here. Any other questions can be directed to me.

    Originally posted on Monday, 2001-08-13 at 22:25:16.


    This Site is UGLY!

    Yeah, I know this site is pretty damn ugly. I don't pretend to be any good at picking colors and stuff like that. That's why I became a software developer and not a fashion consultant.

    So I leave it to you, the good people who may be reading this, to pick my color scheme for me. Just post in the comments of this article what you want the color to be for each part of this page. Make sure your colors are web-safe and put them in the HTML standard "#RRGGBB" format.

    If I pick your colors to use, well, you won't get any kind of prize other than the satisfaction of knowing that the colors on this site are the ones that you picked :)

    [Added: 12 August 2001 @ 2048h]
    Right now I'm using T.J. Maguire's color scheme. I think I like it. Unless somebody comes up with something better, I believe I'll stick with this for a while.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-08-12 at 17:58:41.


    Steve's DVD Forum 2.0

    Steve's DVD Forum version 2.0 is now up and running. Hopefully, most people won't even notice the difference, except of course that it's faster :)

    Version 2.0 is completely rewritten in PHP (instead of Perl) and uses a database back end (instead of text files).

    If you find any bugs, or have any suggestions, email them to dvdforum@spine.cx for consideration.

    Talk about the DVD Forum and all kinds of other good stuff here.

    Originally posted on Sunday, 2001-08-12 at 16:20:55.


    Feelin' No Pain IV

    Well, it's been almost two months since last we talked. It's time to start thinking about the next Feelin' No Pain pub crawl. I haven't come up with a theme as of yet, so I'm still open to suggestions.

    I'm looking to have it around the time when students come back to university, so the downtown scene will be exquisite :) Feel free to email me with any ideas for bars or *challenges*, heh :)

    One theme has been suggested to me (by Fred Marsland) and that's "Beer Factor", a take-off of the reality show "Fear Factor". T.J. Maguire, the official Feelin' No Pain pub crawl artist has mocked up a logo:

    You can post your comments here, or in the message boards I have set up.

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-08-11 at 02:56:38.


    First Post!

    This is kind of a test of this new-fangled system PHPNuke. It's pretty neat, but may be overkill for what I need here. Oh well :)

    Originally posted on Saturday, 2001-08-11 at 02:42:07.