Thursday, 29 October 2009

Art Day: Chicken for Dinner

Today I present:

Chicken for Dinner

The cabinets in the background are uneven, the plate has no shadow, and there's an ink smudge under the fridge. Overall, it's a crappy piece. But, it's a crappy piece for a good reason.

Chicken for Dinner is for a radio contest here in Grande Prairie. We're giving away tickets to an upcoming Nitty Gritty Dirt Band concert; in order to win a pair you have to make a guess from multiple choice options. If you get it wrong (there's a 1/3 chance of winning) you get a minor prize.

It could be a tube of toothpaste, a can of beans, or piece of crappy art.

To sweeten the deal, I stole the frame from another photo we had kicking around the radio station to spruce up my picture. Take that, decent photography!

On a side note, while this isn't the first ever painting of mine to be framed, this is the first one I've personally done up.

Hopefully the winner comes by to pick up their art. I wouldn't want them to miss out on this great picture frame.

Stereophonics - Innocent

Monday, 26 October 2009

That Dude in the Bathroom

I hail from a pretty small town, one with not much in it. I went to college in a small city as well, and aside from a few minor culture changes, nothing about “City Livin'” really caught me off guard (except for when I got cable. Hells yeah!).

Since then, I've moved to Grande Prairie, and it's eerily similar to Brandon, Manitoba. Except for one thing:

The guys who stand in the bathroom

I think they're called Washroom Attendants. Grande Prairie is the first town I've met these guys in, and I've always found it pretty awkward to have this dude just standing there, watching you. After you finish your business he turns the taps on for you and gives you some paper towels.

I don't know if women's washrooms have attendants, but I do hear that some of the chick's bathrooms have couches. That's pretty cool, I'd trade an attendant for a couch any day.

Anyway - the assist with my paper-toweling - that's all good and fine, Then you get the whole “Want some cologne?” spiel.

No man, I don't want any cologne. Put that away right now!

Finally, I have to pay the guy! Pay him for something that I was going to fumble my way through anyway. It's not like the world would stop turning without this guy, so why should I pay him?

I haven't ever had to have someone attend to me in the bathroom, and I sure as heck don't need to start now. Especially since I only see these guys at the bar. But I let them do their thing, and I think they must make quite a cleaning. You could choke a horse with the sack of loonies, toonies, and fivers these guys have. When it comes to me and payment, more than likely I'll just give them five bones and count that as payment for the night. When I don't tip I feel immensely guilty.

I also have the same problem with buskers. I hate walking by them and trying to act like I'm not digging their music.

They probably don't care though, because I won't be the first guy to not tip, and I certainly won't be the last. Depending on the joint I'm carousing that evening, sometimes I feel for the guy.
To be honest, I drink in some real dives. The nicer establishments are where I feel less like tipping, the dumpier, the more I feel like paying. Basically their tip increases in correlation to their risk of getting stabbed.

Watching me take a leak and trying to drown me in cologne aside, there is one saving grace: The packs of gum.

I really like getting a pack of gum from these dudes, especially since I'm a beer drinker. Beer doesn't always leave the freshest of breath, so the gum is really appreciated, even if I did just buy it from a guy in a washroom.

I guess I'll just have to get used to the Washroom Attendants. But seeing some of the coin these guys get, I think I could stand to hang out in the men's room of some dive handing people paper towel.

And for the sake of gender equality I would install a couch.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Windows 7 and The Giant Sack of Your Money

Windows 7, the latest operating system for PC users, is released to the public today. Tech blogs, gamers, even Burger King, is getting excited.

Then again, maybe excited is the wrong word to use. There is a general pallor of “Let's see how bad this one is.” with a hint of optimism. Optimism is good, but everyone's skeptical attitude towards Windows 7 is completely justified.

Microsoft's Vista, a.k.a., The Monstrous Operating System of Epic-Failure-Proportions, is a deep black mark on Microsoft's already tarnished record. I've had a few unfortunate experiences of working with Vista PCs. Actually, to say that I 'worked' with Vista would be a stretch, It's better to say that I futilely attempted to use an operating system that didn't work.

PC's are built to be versatile and customizable, which is exactly what Vista wasn't. Attempts to make it customizable are rebuffed at the system's whim. It baby stepped you along and made all your decisions for you, all while reminding you at every opportunity that you may or may not be about to make a mistake that isn't going to happen.

Anyway, Vista is crap. So bad that businesses advertised that they could get rid of it for you. When something is so terrible it actually becomes a sell point for your older, supposedly inferior, technology you know you have a serious POS on your hands.

Here's a bit of irony. Vista is so bad even Windows themselves started marketing that you wouldn't have to put up with Windows 7, this owes to the early marketing of Windows 7. I've noticed for some time now that new computers that come with Vista mentioned that they're “Upgradeable to Windows 7.”

How clever of you Microsoft, you almost got away with it.

Microsoft has not only engineered a new operating system, but a genius new money grab. For some reason, I assumed that 'Upgradeable to Windows 7' meant that when it was out, customers would be able to ditch Vista for Windows 7 at no extra cost. Of course, this is not the case.

How much does it cost the consumer to upgrade from Vista? Here's a price listing of what the purchase of the OS alone will cost, and it's going to set you back more than $100. Then, if you take it in to a computer place to get serviced, you're already adding more money to a large enough pile as it is.

There are a few systems that did come with a free upgrade option, but this does not apply to all Vista computers. Not even close.

Microsoft has the right to make a profit, but the cost of Vista and an upgrade to Windows 7 is outrageous. They're taking two big dips from your wallet and stand to make a lot of money here. It's practically criminal considering that Vista was broken on release so the desire to upgrade is already there. Windows owes its Vista users for what it subjected them to, but they're not going to own up to this debt.

Here's another little tidbit you might be interested to know about:
Users of Windows XP will need to back up all their files or lose everything on their hard drive during the upgrade.

That's right, if you're one of lucky enough folks to have side-stepped the Vista debacle, you now have to jump through hoops to upgrade your computer. That's Windows way of giving the middle finger to all their patrons.

For me, this isn't a giant problem because I have the hardware and the know-how to do this, but the average person probably doesn't have a giant second hard-drive to back their computer up on. That means they're going to have either buy the hardware to upgrade their computer themselves, or spend the extra money to take their computer in to a computer shop for the Windows 7 installation.

Will I be buying into Windows 7? Probably not. At least not until I buy a new computer. Windows XP, with all its problems, is still a decent enough offering. It does what I want it to do, it's set up the way I like, and for the most part it works.
I also can't be trusting of Windows 7 reviews this early on. There's some praise for it already, but I'm 99% sure Windows would happily pay off reviewers to get some good press about themselves. I can't confirm my suspicions, but I'll wait until I hear the layman's reviews.

Here's another reason I'm suspicious, the Windows 7 Launch Party.

Have you seen this sad attempt at marketing? Seriously Windows. Just because your video goes viral doesn't mean it was a success. Especially when it's THIS HORRIBLE.

Fatlip - What's Up Fatlip

Monday, 19 October 2009

Auctioning off Art

This past Friday night was the Rotary Club Scarecrow Auction, in which my Dark Crusader was sold off to the highest bidder.

Don't worry, that clown is not actually my Crusader

I was in it to win some kind of glory, but unfortunately my Crusader didn't win any ribbons. I was a little miffed at first, but after seeing some of the other winners, and the quality of the competition I was up against, I didn't envy the judges who had to pick the winners.

The best part was the live auction. It's a good thing I didn't have a bidding number because I probably would have dropped several hundred dollars on a scarecrow. Auctions just get me all worked up like that. Also, there was a steak dinner and I sat at the table with all the good-looking women.

My Crusader wasn't in the live auction though, which was disappointing, but it was however in the 'Blind Box.' You just wrote an amount down you wanted to buy it for and hoped it was enough. I haven't found out how much mine sold for, but I'll be posting an updated once I find out.

I didn't get any ribbons or anything, but that's okay. People were fairly impressed with the scarecrow. The only thing that really ground my gears was that my scarecrow lost to Micheal Jackson. Of the celebrities to lose to, I lost to MJ? F that! Plus, there were three Micheal Jacksons there, which is bunk.

This is the one I lost to. Jerk. At least they got his sticky-esque body proportions right.

This is a pair of headless horsemen. The one that actually has a horse got first place and sold for $700 I think. You can't really tell in this photo, but it looked more like the horseman was doing illegal things to his steed rather than riding on it.

This was a cool Greek mythology shout-out, except I wasn't aware that Dionysus only had one arm. Oh snap.

I present: The most startled looking woman ever.

Big points for accessorization

Look how casual this Scare'Crow' is! I should have taken pictures of his feet, because they were the coolest part of all.

Note to buyer: Receive a free tent and firewood with purchase of scarecrow.

This is a very realistic representation of the local rodeo queens. It's actually a prerequisite for queen contestants to have freakishly long necks.

I may have hated Pierce Brosnan as Bond, but I love Pierce Brosnan as James Bond as a scarecrow. Winning combo!

Apparently that particular mask is the most terrifying of all faces that could be found. Because, as we all know, hideous housewives, whose hairstylist must work for Carrot Top, dolled up like clowns give people nightmares.

Here's a photo of mine compared to another radio local station.

That's supposed to be Lady Gaga. It's very realistic, especially with her ass put in the front of her pants like that. The awkward ass-crotch hand grab is one of Lady Gaga's lesser known dance moves.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Winter Days

It's starting to get cold in the northern climes. People are abuzz over word that perhaps next week we might see temperatures in the double digits!

So, looking forward to a brief pre-winter thaw, Peace Valley residents are staying positive; Especially the employees at 'Custom Cellular' whose effervescent attitude shines through a gloomy day no matter what.

Proof? Here's the store's sign I walk by every day.

The Presets - Are You The One?

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Book Review: Pygmy


by Chuck Palahniuk

This is Palahniuk's latest book, and carries on his usual tradition of wacky, completely off-the-wall crazy, convoluted plot. Also, as is his usual fashion, it involved gratuitous amounts of rape, sex, violence, and a touch of romance. Pygmy comes with a solid 18A rating.

Pygmy follows the story of the a foreign exchange student, hailing from an unnamed totalitarian nation, whose goal is to implement a deadly terrorist attack on the United States of America.

The entire book is written from the first person point of view of the main character Pygmy, and narrated in his broken english. At first this was extremely confusing, and actually almost made me quit reading. I can really see it turning off less dedicated readers, especially if you aren't a fan of Palahniuk in the first place.
But sure enough, after a couple chapters, I picked up on Pygmy's phraseology and got sucked right into the insane story.

Overall, I give Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk:


It was good. Really good in fact. It's definitely something I'm going to re-read, because early in the book I probably missed some stuff while struggling with the broken english narration. In fact, late in the book I had to skip back to the beginning to make sure I didn't miss something important.

It was a story unlike any other I've read, and the main-character, despite being a teenage potential-mass-murdering rapist, was very endearing.

But I really have to detract points for the narration. It may be uncouth and unappreciative of me, but I didn't like it. It was there to add realism to a very, very, unrealistic fantasy, and to make the vexations and hatred Pygmy feels for Americans almost tangible. I have no problem wrapping my mind around that one, but it was just too much.

A book that dealt with foreign languages and translation really well was World War Z. WW-Z was also written in a first person narrative, but the entire thing was “translated” by an interpreter. I strongly feel that something along those lines would have done this novel's story better justice.

I'll note here that I started out only wanting to give this book a 7/10, but the more I wrote about it the fewer bad things I had to say. So the narration is only a minor detraction (for me) from an otherwise excellent read.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Palahniuk; Pygmy is easily one of his best. Also, if you like books with terrorism, intrigue, and comedy, this one's for you.

It isn't recommended to people who don't like violence and sex in their books. There's a lot of it in this one. It's %100 integral to the plot, so don't expect to be able to read this book either and just be able to skim over the dirty parts.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Feeling Blue

I haven't seen or done anything interesting for quite some time now (like a week, which is a long time for me to be doing nothing), and it's been getting me a little depressed.

Some might say, I've been feeling...'Blue.'

Which was convenient because last night The Blue Man Group was in town! It was awesome. The whole show rocked from start to finish. They played their wacky Blue Man instruments, a really kickin' band played backup, there were some cool graphics, amazing music, and hilarious slapstick mixed in. The coolest part thought was how there was an actual story arc to the whole concert.

After the performance, The Blue Man Group proceeded to do their strange Blue Man things.

Classified - Feelin' Fine

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Talking to Dennis Quaid

Here's something I've wanted to play with for a long, LONG, time. A HAM Radio. I think that would be really cool!

Currently, I work in radio. I've been behind the microphone thousands of times between a number of different stations. You'd think the novelty of that by now would have worn off, and to a degree it has. I still enjoy radio and all, and I always like hearing from my hometown about how some folks liked listening to me on weekends and still talk about it now and again. But ham radio, man that would be cool.

It's essentially all the same technology as an AM transmitter, which is my favourite kind of radio transmissions, and running a ham radio would put me one step closer to my goal of owning and operating a pirate (or legal) radio station some day.

Another reason I'd like to own a ham radio is so that I can use it talk backward through time to Dennis Quaid like in the movie 'Frequency.'

I live pretty far north, further than probably 70% of the rest of Canada, which puts me closer to the northern lights. If you saw the movie Frequency, then you'd know that the Aurora Borealis plays a key role in using a ham radio to talk backwards through time to Dennis Quaid.

I'm pretty much in the best place possible to re-enact 'Frequency.'

The catch? I don't own a ham radio. Nor do I have knowledge of how to run a ham radio or the proper license to operate one legally. But there aren't many things that are totally %100 legal anyway, and things that are %100 legal aren't always that much fun to do. So big whoop.

Luckily though, the local Grande Prairie Amateur Radio Club has just donated a working ham radio and transmission tower to the town museum. It's being unveiled at a press conference TOMORROW. I'm pretty sure if I give George Clooney and Brad Pitt a call they'd help me steal it, and we'd have lots of fun doing illegal things together like in 'Oceans 11.'

Or maybe I could just go to the press conference and play with the radio, either option works.