Friday, December 23, 2005

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.






PodcastSteve008.mp3(audio/mpeg)5.6 MB[ Download ]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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.





PodcastSteve007.mp3(audio/mpeg)5.8 MB[ Download ]

Monday, December 19, 2005

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.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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.

Monday, November 28, 2005

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.

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.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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.

Friday, October 14, 2005

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.

Monday, October 10, 2005

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.

Goddamn.

I was going to wash my car this weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

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/.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

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.

Friday, September 16, 2005

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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

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.





PodcastPDC01.mp3(audio/mpeg)7.3 MB[ Download ]

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

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
www.thecoast.ca

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

Thursday, September 1, 2005

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.





PodcastSteveCast006.mp3(audio/mpeg)3.7 MB[ Download ]

Friday, August 26, 2005

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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

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.

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.

Friday, August 19, 2005

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 ;)





PodcastSteveCast005.mp3(audio/mpeg)5.1 MB[ Download ]

Thursday, August 18, 2005

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.





PodcastSteveCast004.mp3(audio/mpeg)3.3 MB[ Download ]

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.





PodcastSteveCast003.mp3(audio/mpeg)3.8 MB[ Download ]

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

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.





PodcastSteveCast002.mp3(audio/mpeg)2.3 MB[ Download ]

Thursday, August 11, 2005

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.

Saturday, August 6, 2005

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.





PodcastSteveCast001.mp3(audio/mpeg)4.5 MB[ Download ]

Friday, August 5, 2005

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?

Monday, August 1, 2005

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 ;)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

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.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

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.

Friday, July 15, 2005

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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

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.

Giddyup.

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.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

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.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

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?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

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?

Monday, June 13, 2005

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.

Monday, June 6, 2005

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.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

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.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

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.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

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.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

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.

Monday, April 25, 2005

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.

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.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

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... ;)

Monday, April 18, 2005

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.

Tidy

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

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)

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