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:

Your contact was availed to me by the stroke of luck. It was given to me because of my diplomatic status as I did not disclose the actual reasons for which I sought your contact. But I was assured That you are reputable and trustworthy if you will be of assistance.

Note: I encourage anyone who cares enough to write them back and share the correspondance with the rest of us :)

I am Lomana nonda Kabila (Jnr) the son of Late President LAURENT DESIRE KABILA the immediate Past president of the DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO in Africa who was murdered by his opposition through his personal bodyguards in his bedroom on Tuesday 16th January, 2001. I have the privilege of being mandated by my father colleagues to seek your immediate and urgent co-operation to receive and clear a consignment containingthe sum of US $16,500,000.00. (sixteen million, five hundred thousand Dollars) cash and some thousands carats of Diamond. This money and treasures was lodged in a vault, with a security firm in south africa and transported to europe.

In August 2000, my father as a defence minister and! president had a meeting with his cabinet and army chief about the defence budget for 2000 to 2001 which was about US$70million dollars. so he directed one of his best friend. Frederic Kibasa Maliba who was a minister of mines and a political party leader known as the Union Sacree de opposition radicale et ses allies (USORAL) to buy arms with US about $20million on 5th January 2001; for him to finalized the arm's deal, my father was murdered. And today, only 16.5 million dollars of the total money can be accounted for. F.K. Maliba (FKM) and I have decided to keep the money with a foreigner since neither i or him can explain the origin of the funds and treasures. He intends using these funds to contest for political elections in the future. Inspite of all this we have resolved to present you or your company as beneficiary to the consignment(the above sum and diamonds).

This transaction should be finalized within seven (7) working days, we have unanimously agreed that, for your co-operation you will be entitled to 25df930d1cercent of the money when successfully clear the consignment in europe,70 141205256ll be ours and 5 134501932ll be for any expenses we may run into during the course of this transaction. The nature of your business is not relevant to the successful execution of this transaction what we require is your total co-operation and commitment. In other to ensure a 100risk-free transaction at both ends and to protect the persons involved in this transaction, strict confidentiality and utmost secrecy is required even after the successful conclusion of this ransaction. If this proposal is acceptable to you, kindly reply me and provide me with your personal telephone and fax No through my E-mail for immediate commencement of the transaction. I count on you to keep my secret, SECRET. Looking forward for your urgent replyThanks.

Best Regards,
lomana nonda kabilla

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?


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.