Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

A few pictures of Anna opening her presents on Christmas morning!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lost Season Four Trailer



Can they re-capture the magic? I'm still not sure how I feel about the third season finale. I vacillate between it ruining or re-kindling my interest.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Our New Cat Cali

Our new cat Cali, short for Calico not California.



She's the one on the right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Veronica Mars Season 4 Preview



Alas, it is not to be as the show is officially canceled and Kristen Bell is currently in the second season of Heroes.

McDonald's to take on Starbucks

It is all over the news lately that McDonald's is poised to take on Starbucks in the specialty coffee arena. McDonald's has recently won a taste test against other major coffee companies, including Starbucks, and has seen a marked increase in coffee sales.

Personally, I think it is a really bad move for McDonald's to start selling $3.00 coffee drinks. Recently we went though a McDonald's drive through where Donna, Kate's mom, order one of their iced coffee drinks. We had to wait forever to get our order which is exactly the opposite reason you go to McDonald's, i.e. quick cheap food.

This move could really alienate McDonald's core customers unless they find some way to produce espresso, latte and frappes in a production line. Which could also have a knock on effect to trained barristas as they are replaced by junior high school students.

Anyway if you don't think this move by McDonald's into coffee is significant then you need to read Fast Food Nation to see the power that McDonald's wields over North American food production. As they are the number one purchaser of beef and potatoes plus they are number two in chicken purchases.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New Blog for Book Reviews

Hi all, I have moved all my future book reviews to Straight From the Library. It is in preparation for what I hope to be some pretty big news for me and my reviews. Just in case you are wondering, my next book review will be I Am Legend which is soon to be a motion picture starring Will Smith.

Friday, November 2, 2007

How to Catch Catfish

About 10 years ago on the Tennessee Nashville Network (which became The National Network and is now Spike) I saw a show where guys were catching catfish by sticking their hands into the fish's mouth up to their forearms. Everyone I've ever told this story to expressed some skepticism but now I have proof. Video of the event has been posted on-line.

Vindicated!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween, Halloween, Trick or Treat

We headed up to Janice & Ted's house tonight to take Anna and Peyton out Trick or Treating. You can see some pictures of Anna in costume here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Uncle Scrooge's Money Bin

One of my fondest memories as a kid was sitting back and reading Don Rosa's Uncle Scrooge comic books. Now an artist has reproduced it faithfully in miniature. His photos also link to some more great information on the money bin and Uncle Scrooge.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Daft Punk: Alive

Daft Punk is releasing a new album called Alive which was recorded during their recent tour. The widget below gives you a taste of what the album offers.

Crooked Little Vein

To the best of my knowledge, Crooked Little Vein is the first novel by prolific comic book writer Warren Ellis. Let me see if I can sum up the plot.

A heroin addicted US chief of staff hires a Manhattan private investigator, Mike McGill, to find an alternate US constitution. The book was written by the founding fathers of America and details their true plans for the country. Richard Nixon lost the book in the 50's and since them American society has been getting progressively worse. The trail leads Mike on a cross country chase for the book where he encounters every sort of depravity you shouldn't be able to imagine.

I was constantly laughing out loud during while reading this book. The deviants and underground cults that Mike finds himself getting involved with are disturbingly funny. The message that is coming across is that the underground is now mainstream. Anything you can think of can now be found on-line. It's like the ultimate long tail example.

If you are unable to keep an open mind this book is probably not for you but if you can get passed the descriptions of sexual situations you will really enjoy this noirish detective novel.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Anna's First Skate

Our friends, Ernesto, Anmar, Andre and Alexa invited us out to go skating tonight. Amazingly enough this would be the first time that Anna would ever be out on ice skates. One quick trip to Canadian Tire to pick up some bob skates and a helmet and we were all set. Anna loved skating and we'll be heading back to skate night in a few weeks.

Pictures of the skate can be found here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sandman Mystery Theater Find

There was a comic book sale at Landsdowne Park this Sunday and I stopped by to see if I could find any deals and ended up picking up 3 of the 5 volumes of Sandman Mystery Theater.

Sandman Mystery Theater is film-noir, hard boiled detective novel in a serialized comic book form. It follows the adventures of Wesley Dodds a wealthy socialite in 1930's New York as he solves crimes as the gas mask clad vigilante, the Sandman.

Great reads for any fans of the pulp fiction crime dramas.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Book of Fate

The Book of Fate is the latest novel by Brad Meltzer. The first time I was introduced to Meltzer was when my Dad boomed into town and wanted to pick up the new book by that author who's name started with an 'M'. After one trip to the local books store's mystery section and we found The Tenth Justice.

However, it wasn't until years later that I actually read anything by Meltzer when he started his Archer's Quest run on Green Arrow. Which was followed up by his incredible limited series Identity Crisis, a murder mystery set in the super hero community. With that in mind I borrowed Dad's copy of The Book of Fate to read.

From Booklist, Wes Holloway, a hotshot presidential aide, is wounded in an assassination attempt that kills the president's close friend. Eight years later, the dead man reappears, very much alive and apparently stalking the former president. Wes thinks he can figure out what's going on, but to do so he must decipher a two-century-old code and penetrate the secrets of Masonic history.

At least that's what you are led to believe from the dust jacket. But for those of us who are hoping for some DaVinci Code esque mystery will be disappointed. The Masonic history connection is used very sparsely and is not central to the plot.

The story moves along at a plodding pace for about 400 pages until the last third where things rush to a final conclusion. I can't say that this is one of the best books I've ever read but it is entertaining and the way in which it is structured allows you pick it up and put it down easily.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Supreme: The Story of the Year

Even if you've never read a book by Alan Moore you've probably seen a movie based on this graphic novels like From Hell staring Johnny Depp, V for Vendetta with Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman and the forgettable League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. That's not to say that the incredibly dense with literary references League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel wasn't amazing. Regardless, I digress.

In Supreme: The Story of the Year Moore takes over the writing duties of Supreme. A character who was created by Rob Liefeld as a blatant rip off of Superman. However, with the introduction of Moore to this title he was able to throw away all of the past continuity of the series and reboot the title to pay homage to the Silver Age Superman.

In this revision of the comic the character Supreme is aware that he is being revised, in an early story he even visits a reality where all of the former versions of Supreme live. He also comments on how his memory is full of holes which is due to the fact that his back story is not written yet. Moore uses this quest where Supreme is determined to fill in his memory as an opportunity to add to the Supreme mythos while advancing the plot of the series. This concept of a meta narrative is continued throughout the entire book.

If you enjoy a book in which the characters are constantly breaking the fourth wall or if you are just a fan of the silver age of comics, Supreme: The Story of the Year is the book for you.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Anna's Third Birthday

Well today Anna turned three years old. We spent a quiet evening at home having supper with friends. We had a cupcake cake and opened presents after dessert. Her favorite present was a baby doll we bought for her that comes with it's own stroller and bassinet. I will post up some video of the event as soon as I have a chance to convert it.

Also, Anna got a real nice virtual birthday card from her aunt Cathy.

Next up is a pool party on Sunday with all of her friends plus Granddad Simon and Grandma Donna will be in town to celebrate as well.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Sharing Knife: Legacy


Multiple award winning author Lois McMaster Bujold returns with the second installment of her latest fantasy series The Sharing Knife: Legacy.

The story picks up immediately after the events of The Sharing Knife: Beguilement as we join our heroic couple Dag Redwing and Fawn Bluefield a scant few hours after they are married. They now have to travel back to Dag's home to explain their forbidden marriage to Dag's kin.

While I did think that the characterization, which is a strength of all of McMaster Bujold's work, was great I still was a bit disappointed with this book. The main plot thread running through the entire novel was whether or not folk could learn to accept Dag and Fawn's marriage. I guess that doesn't really speak to me as it seems like such a foreign concept that it did not hold much drama for me at all.

It was a good read but it won't be going to the top of my stack anytime soon. For some great fantasy work by her check out the Chalion series.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brasyl

Brasyl is the latest novel by Irish author Ian McDonald. It is not really of sequel of River of Gods but it does continue on in the same vein as he speculates on the future of a country's culture when faced with the daunting challenges of the Information Age.

However, unlike River of Gods which only takes place in a futuristic India, the narrative in Brasyl takes place in the 2032, 2006 and 1732.

While individually I enjoyed each of the individual stories I kept expecting them to tie together more tightly. When they eventually do it feels forced and it seems to be setting up for a sequel rather than concluding the story.

I can't say I recommend this book at this time. Perhaps if a sequel is introduced it will all make more sense. For an Ian McDonald book I do recommend please check out the previously mentioned River of Gods.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Veronica Mars Season 1

So we finished watching Veronica Mars Season 1 and we were really impressed. So much so we will be looking for seasons two and three of this critically acclaimed but canceled series.

The premise of the show is quite unique. The titular character Veronica Mars, played by Kristen Bell, was once popular in her high school, that is until her best friend is brutally murdered and her father the town sheriff pursues the dead teen's family as murder suspects. Since this family is rich and powerful they use their influence to get him removed as Sheriff. The dogged persistence of the Mars family to uncover the true killer ostracize Veronica from her boyfriend, the dead girls brother, and all of her popular friends at school.

Now she works with her father at his detective agency while going to school and trying to fit in to her new role as an outsider.

In each episode Veronica solves a case usually brought to her by the outcasts of Neptune High. The back story of the first season deals with the hunt for the true killer of Lilly Kane.

The show is excellently written and acted. The scripts do not pull any punches and deal with adult themes lacking in most shows dealing with high school. It's very entertaining and I recommend everyone picks it up.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Caffeine Nap

LifeHacker provides details on how to improve your mid-day nap by combining it with a cup of coffee.

Ah coffee, is there nothing you can not do.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Boba Fett Hoodie

I know that Christmas is about 3 months away but I just wanted to make all family members aware that Ecko has just release a line of Star Wars influenced clothing. My personal favourite is the Boba Fett hoodie.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Put Paul in the Hall

It was 35 years ago today when Paul Henderson scored the goal to give Canada the win in the 1972 Summit Series with Russia. This moment is such a part of the Canadian psyche that everyone can tell you where the were when it happened. Even I remember where I was when the goal was scored and I wasn't born for another 2 years. It was that big of a moment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spook Country

Spook Country is the latest novel from William GibsonFlag of Canada. I love the fact that this is a science fiction novel set in the past, in this case 2006. There is a wonderful follow up article where Mr. Gibson discusses that science fiction is not about predicting the future but a reflection of the present day. Which is something that I feel most people don't really get.

Spook Country is a double entendre which refers to the current state where the Spooks (CIA, FBI, DHS, etc.) seem to be running the country and GPS driven art where you can only see the Spooks if you have the GPS and a URL. You can really see from it's humble beginnings where the art could evolve into a number of channels that we could all tune into to overlay our own "reality". This concept is wonderfully expanded in John C Wright's The Golden Age trilogy.

The novel proceeds along telling the story from multiple points of view each one with their own plot threads that eventually begin to interweave their way to a satisfying conclusion.

Hollis Henry, former indie rocker now freelance journalist is writing a story on a new art form that exists only in virtual reality, Bobby Chombo, a GPS software specialist who provides the software that enables the virtual reality art, is tracking a mysterious cargo container that drops on and off the grid, Agent Brown is tracking a young criminal named Tito who he hopes will lead him to the cargo.

This was a real quick read for me and I highly recommend it. Especially if you are a fan of the afore mentioned Golden Age trilogy.

Misc:

Cory Doctorow reviews Spook Country.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Apple Picking

On Sunday morning we were up bright and early to make the 45 minute trip to Mountain, ON where we went apple picking at Mountain Orchards. This was the same place we took Anna for her second birthday and we wanted to get back there earlier this year as it would be a) warmer and b) more apples would be on the trees.

We started and ended the day with some of the delicious apple cider mini donuts from the bakery. But in between the kids had fun going through the corn maze, picking apples, riding the tractor and playing in the hay.

Click here for more pictures.

Cory Doctorow's Short Story Scroogled

Cory Doctorow has released a new short story called Scroogled on Radar. I have created a .lit version for Microsoft Reader for those of us who like to read on the go.

RIP, Robert Jordan

Boing, Boing is reporting that Robert Jordan has passed away. Jordan is the author of the immensely popular and Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels.

I have been following the series for 15 years and I'm deeply saddened that it will never be finished. When an author dies we are not only deprived of his presence in the world but also the presence of all of the characters which he has created.

Terry Fox Run 2007



So the Terry Fox Run is over for another year. I've collected $1255 which surpasses my $1000 goal.

My team mate, Paul Brun, and I decided to walk the 10 km as he's got a busted ACL and I have a broken ankle. The entire "run" took us an hour and a half during a beautiful fall day here in Ottawa.

It's still not too late to support my participation by donating.