Saturday, December 21, 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 ;)

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

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.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Nemesis

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.

Sunday, December 8, 2002

Equilibrium

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.

Sunday, December 1, 2002

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."

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

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.

<Steve>
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.
</Steve>

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

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.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

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.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

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.

Monday, November 4, 2002

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.

Friday, November 1, 2002

Remembrance Day

You'll notice that the Spine.cx logo 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.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

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.

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Ergonomics

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.

Saturday, October 26, 2002

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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

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.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

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 :)

Monday, September 30, 2002

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?

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

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.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

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.

Monday, September 9, 2002

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...

Thursday, September 5, 2002

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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

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.

    Thursday, August 22, 2002

    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...

    Monday, August 19, 2002

    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.

    Wednesday, August 14, 2002

    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

    Tuesday, August 13, 2002

    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.

    Monday, August 5, 2002

    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!

    Wednesday, July 31, 2002

    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:

    Tuesday, July 23, 2002

    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.

    Butterfly

    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.

    -Steve.




    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.

    Butterfly

    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.

    -Steve.

    Monday, July 22, 2002

    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.

    Right?

    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.

    Sunday, July 21, 2002

    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.

    Friday, July 12, 2002

    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.

    Solution?

    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.

    Thursday, July 11, 2002

    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.

    Saturday, July 6, 2002

    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...

    Wednesday, July 3, 2002

    Suggestions?

    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.

    Tuesday, July 2, 2002

    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 :)

    Monday, July 1, 2002

    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.

    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!

    Tuesday, June 25, 2002

    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! :)

    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.

    Monday, June 24, 2002

    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.

    Sunday, June 23, 2002

    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? :)

    Thursday, June 20, 2002

    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.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2002

    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

    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!

    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:

    ATT:REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS ASSISTANCE
    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.

    SOURCES OF DIAMONDS AND FUND
    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

    Monday, June 17, 2002

    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.

    Sunday, June 16, 2002

    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.

    Thursday, June 13, 2002

    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.

    Wednesday, June 12, 2002

    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?

    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.

    Monday, June 10, 2002

    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" ;)

    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...

    Wednesday, June 5, 2002

    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.

    Tuesday, June 4, 2002

    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.

    Monday, June 3, 2002

    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?

    Tuna.

    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.

    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.

    Thursday, May 30, 2002

    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*?".

    Wednesday, May 29, 2002

    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?"

    Saturday, May 25, 2002

    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.

    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.

    Tuesday, May 21, 2002

    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 :)

    Saturday, May 18, 2002

    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.

    Friday, May 17, 2002

    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.

    KING = SENTENCE

    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.

    QUEEN - QUESTION

    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.

    JACK = NAME GAME

    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.

    TEN = SOCIAL

    The person drawing a ten calls social, and everybody touches glasses and drinks.

    NINE = I NEVER

    The person drawing a nine says a statement. I never (and something they say they never did). Anybody who has done it drinks.

    EIGHT - CATEGORY

    The person drawing an eight names a category. Person who cannot come up with an answer to fit the category drinks.

    SEVEN - BUZZ

    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.

    FIVE = RULE

    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.

    FOUR = TRUE/FALSE

    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.

    THREE = RHYME

    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.

    JOKER = GIVE

    The person drawing a joker gives drinks to every other player.

    Wednesday, May 15, 2002

    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.

    Monday, May 13, 2002

    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.

    Friday, May 10, 2002

    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.

    Thursday, May 9, 2002

    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.....

    Monday, May 6, 2002

    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.

    Friday, May 3, 2002

    *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" :)

    Sunday, April 28, 2002

    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 :)

    Friday, April 26, 2002

    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:
      • one (1) superball, of a size agreed upon by both players;
      • one (1) item, preferably symmetrical, to be used as a target for the previously-mentioned superball;
      • one (1) barrier, approximately four (4) to six (6) feet in height, stretching the entire width of the playing area, and with sufficient width to support the target on the barrier's top edge (the separating wall between adjacent cubicles is often used as this barrier); and
      • two (2) wheeled chairs, as are normally found in modern offices.

    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'.

    3.2.2.1. 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. 3.2.3.1. If the superball hits the target twice, but does not knock it off the barrier, the throwing player shall be awarded six (6) points.

    3.2.3.2. 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.

    Wednesday, April 24, 2002

    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.

    Tuesday, April 16, 2002

    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).

    Wednesday, April 10, 2002

    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.

    http://reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=sciencenews&StoryID=794482

    Yes, they're actually called "crazy ants". (In case anybody didn't realize, Christmas Island is where .cx domains come from)

    Tuesday, April 9, 2002

    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:

    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.

    Friday, April 5, 2002

    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

    http://asia.cnn.com/2002/TECH/science/04/05/new.bug.ap/index.html

    Monday, April 1, 2002

    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)?

    Thursday, March 28, 2002

    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.

    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.

    Wednesday, March 27, 2002

    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.

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