Dirt Roads to City Streets

A blog in search of an identity and a focus.

Location: Canada

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Something you don't see every day (thank god!)

Procrastinating, so thought I'd share this. Upon reading it, I was reminded of one of the many bad '80s gross-out movies (yes, children, they made gross-out movies before American Pie, Dumb & Dumber and Harold & Kumar) - I think it was one of the Porky's movies, wherein a young man contemplates the pleasures to be found in a jar with honey and flies. In this life-imitating-bad-art version, the jar contained pasta sauce, and the guy was driving around with a Jack Russell, but you catch the drift. The Aussies eloquently titled this article: Driver convicted for penis in pasta jar. I don't think I can really add anything else to that.

Sidebar on Porky's: did you know that Kim Cattrall was in that one? And Susan Clark and Alex Karras (you know, Webster's parents - more importantly, he was Mongo in Blazing Saddles)? Huh. Guess career suicide was reserved for the sequels.

All I want for Christmas...

It's that time of year again, when I cautiously begin the shopping sorties that I avoid throughout the rest of the year. It's also the time of year when I give thanks to the great and glorious internet, and its plethora of shopping opportunities that don't require me to brave the mall scrum.

I doubt I'll find any of these treasures under my tree in - dear God! - just over a month, but I had to share: jewellery made from bits and pieces of Barbies. Hey, who doesn't want to own a stylish pendant made from Barbie boobs? Try explaning that to the kiddies...

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's the coolest new technology? You'd be surprised...

I know it's been awhile since I posted, but I've been busily playing with technology. Yeah, it's a decent excuse, all things considered. I sat in on a video conference recently that extolled the climbing stats and buzz around Twitter (I've been on there a while, though not terribly active). Did you know it's one of the fastest-growing social media sites out there? It's true, although I'm still struggling to find a good business case for it. Dang.

Then, read an article about how taking down one spam re-seller impacted the volume of messages that we all receive from our good friends in Nigeria (see Spam Drops After Internet Providers Disconnect a California Hosting Firm). That's good news, right? A decrease in spam means that my spam filter has less difficulty figuring out what to flag incorrectly (for the next few days, all messages sent to my home account will be flagged that way, to make it easier for me to find them in the deleted folder).

And now, a really interesting article by the fellow behind Second Life. Second Life is one of those social networking things that I've eschewed, mostly on the belief that it requires entirely too much interaction with people, and we both know what my thoughts are about people. Exactly. Don't like 'em all that much.

In spite of his credentials, I decided to give the guy a read. I like to know what the future will bring. I even shelled out on a book by a futurist (which is, let's face it, the world's coolest job: I predict the future based on what I see today! Send money now!) called The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World in the Next 20 Years. I don't recommend it, by the way. For a more entertaining read, though it's now dated, I recommend The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story, written about the guy behind Silicon Graphics and Netscape. Now there was a guy busily creating his own reality. Wonder what he's doing these days.

Anyway (my digressions now have spawned digressions), here's a guy who successfully innovated with technology that encouraged others to play along and come up with their own versions of reality. I was keen to discover what Philip Rosedale was going to have to say about the future of technology and the technology he was most bullish about going forward. I was more than a little surprised at his answer. Ready for it?


Yep, electricity. The technology that continues to be hair-raising even though it's no longer eyebrow-raising (I couldn't resist that one). Why is he looking at this blast from the past to open the door to newer and more interesting things? Because we're finally getting to what he calls a "tipping point" in decentralized electrical production - the cost of solar cells is finally moving into the affordable range, and as it continues to do so, he predicts it's going to democratize power generation and open the doors to innovation among the planet's poor, who have heretofore been denied the opportunity to pull up a virtual chair at the table.

It's an interesting and powerful idea, and one with more than a little merit. Consider this: historically, we've looked to the frontier, the hinterland, for ideas and creativity. As the heartland settles and establishes itself and veils itself in rules and hierarchies, creativity is perforce stifled. "That's not how we do things" becomes the cry. Instead, it's the guys on the fringe who are still free to push the envelope that come up with the interesting stuff. To counteract that schism between mainstream and fringe, the mainstream likes to swallow down the edgy little guys with the good ideas, absorbing them and making their radical ideas palatable to the masses. There are lots of examples of this throughout history - look at colonization (all of the really interesting stuff comes from the peasants in the colonial backwater who are quietly going about their business, growing tea and cotton and finding gold and silver and using homeopathics to heal themselves), look at business (if you build a better search engine, Microsoft will buy you), look at the politics of the fringe (those chicken littles in Greenpeace who foolishly believe that the sky is falling - can you say Silent Spring anyone?). The edge is interesting and eventually the center absorbs it and seeks a new edge.

So, the edge in this case is the silent masses who have not benefited from our electricity-based culture or technology. Rosedale posits that that will change and that "the developing world is nearing an opportunity to embrace decentralised power generation as a means to survive and thrive and ultimately to innovate."

He concludes:

The global talent pool is set to boom as incredible minds start to look at world problems through fresh eyes and start to envisage the ways in which technology can make a difference to their lives and their surroundings.

So, what's the coolest technology I've seen? Anything born from the right we should all have to innovate.

What does the future of the internet look like? It looks like a world map where even the furthest corners of the planet are able to get online because of the decentralisation of power generation.

What technology is getting me excited right now? Electricity.

We've come full circle but second time around is going to be even better.

Pretty cool, huh? Now, the cynic in me notes that the whole article lets this guy sound like a future-thinker and a dreamer without ever having to sit down and give away his plans for world domination in technology, but I guess that's his right. If I really knew what the future held, I'd probably play that information pretty close to the vest as well, rather than throw it out for the world to see.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Your site as a graph

This is just too kewl.

This site takes a URL that you choose and will automagically map it out as a funky graph. To the right is this here blog. Blue for links, red for tables, green for div tags, violet for images, yellow for forms, orange for linebreaks, black for root tags and gray for all others. Coolio. Try it with a site of your own. Watch as it rotates. Oooh...pretty....

I'm baaaaaaaaaack

Okay, okay. Stop poking, prodding, spamming and otherwise heckling. I'll post, I'll post! To be honest, I stopped posting around the time google took over because it became just one more set of passwords I had to manage and remember. Think I'm kidding? Getting back on here took no less than 3 messages from blogger and google to get me back up and running. That, my friends, makes no damned sense.

What's been up with me since last I posted? Well, for the last month, my entire world has been consumed by Tribal Wars. Who knew I was so blood-thirsty? Relax, I haven't gone all gamer on you. ;) It's a war(ish) game, with fighting and tactics and tribes, and 14 year olds swearing vengeance, but it's not a first-person shooter game. Instead, you build up a village, gradually accumulating the troops you need to support yourself and going on "farming" raids to steal additional resources from vacant tribes (or players who aren't as obsessive about logging in). Even attacking another player is clean and bloodless (you send troops, their activity is basically a timer showing how long until they get there, and once they hit their target they instantly turn around and come home).

I somehow managed to find myself in a great tribe, with people who used actual punctuation in their well-written sentences (I know! I was amazed, too!). Then, they made me a tribal leader (assistant diplomat). Things were going well, but evil Riceman kept coming in and kicking our butts, along with his cronies in Death To All (I was in Death Before Dishonor - note that I didn't name the tribe, or it would've had a "u" in there). Tragically, D2A poached many of our better players and the leaders disbanded it. I was suddenly being courted by many other tribes, including D2A, about whom I'd talked so much smack that I couldn't justify going to play with them. So, after accumulating 3 villages and spending waaaaay too much time online, I decided to pull the plug and leave before it took over more of my waking hours.

Seriously. It was scary how involved I got in that space. It began to cut into my time on my Deck of Distinction. And that made no damned sense.

What else? Planning to drive to the coast for my fall vacay, which will be fabu. Pictures from previous trips can be found on my facebook page, which I leave wide open to the world, because apparently I know nothing about security and identity theft. ;)

Also - this just in:


Congratulations as we bring to your notice, Officially of the senate house federal
Republic of Nigeria has chosen you by the board committe on appropriation and
finance as one of the final recipients of this new year contract/inheritance file to
celebrate the fiscal 2008 an ATM CARD has been issued out of $5,500,000.00 to
the lucky recipients fill out below information and send it to the Payment Remitance
Office. Full Name..Residential Address:.Occupation: Country:
Telephone:.Atm code:ATM-0081)

Senator Abubakar .D.Sodangi
Phone Number : +2347039406730
Isn't that cool? I didn't have to do anything and the nice people in Nigeria want to give me money. All I have to do is sending them my ATM code and they'll deposit it for me. Nigerians are so nice... ;)

Well ShammaLamma? Is that enough?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get over it! Banished Words List

Periodically, I encounter a word that is, like, so last year. Finally, someone is willing to step up and collect those words that no longer need to be spoken with such frequency. You go girl! ;)

Lake Superior State University :: Banished Words List :: 2007

My favourite among them: "BOASTS -- See classified advertisements for houses, says Morris Conklin of Lisboa, Portugal, as in 'master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces -- never 'bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,' or 'kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.''"

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Repress Yourself?

An interesting article that discusses my favourite crime fighter - Gil Grissom - and how the popularity of one of television's most consistently under-written leading men may be the leading edge of a trend away from the touchy-feely emotional sharing that too often clogs our airwaves (and blogs...no offense ;).

Or, it's just a cool promotional tool. You be the judge. Read:
Repress Yourself.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stop Global Warming (it's fun!)

Funny, and a little creepy - particularly William Petersen and his sexy eyebrow. Take a look at the video here.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

AR says goodbye to team sicko

This was an interesting episode, filled with setbacks and recoveries, dramatic meltdowns, idiocy of biblical proportions and one of my pretty boys crying at the landscape. All in all, a pretty decent way to kill an hour while avoiding the Oscars.

So, all the teams begin by leaving the mud bogs that they entered last week. Of course, Chirna and Mirna get stuck, but team Kentucky pulls them out. Awww… The girls note that the coalminers are the nicest people on the race, and you can sense that they’ll ride that pony til she drops. Then, Drew and Kevin get stuck (big surprise…I wish we’d’ve seen them have to change the destroyed tire they limped in on last week, but it was not to be. Or, if it was, I missed it because of my commercial show. My bad). So, the healthy one gets out and decides he’s going to… tow the truck out by attaching it to himself? Just as I’m commenting to myself that it’s the lamest idea in the history of bad ideas, the damn idea works and the truck comes roaring out of the puddle, and the sick one decides to keep motoring, nearly running over his buddy and then dragging him beneath the tires, because, oh, he’s still freakin’ ATTACHED to the damn bumper. He expresses his remorse for this act by slowing down and not apologizing, thus earning himself a small place in reality show history.

Anyway…onto the new and improved travel for the week. We open with Rob & Ambuh and my pretty boys cleverly booking flights that would see them to their first destination some 40 minutes ahead of the sheep who all book on the same flight. But lo! The airport gods are once again fickle, and their flight comes in late. Will this be the end of R&A? Could I possibly be this lucky? Do I want to be this lucky if it means my boys are getting punted out alongside them? Stay tuned!

So, then there’s some driving once the other teams arrive. And no one has any difficulty finding the first destination, which involves them going to a boardroom in Chile? Peru? Something like that. Upon arrival, the teams have to wander around the boardroom cluelessly, looking at … um, clues (letters prominently displayed in the form of doodles, logos, etc.) and puzzle them together to form a word. My first thought was that we’d somehow morphed into an episode of survivor, because when I see a puzzle, I now think islands.

Anyway, the secret letters spell a word that matches a destination portrayed in stunning black and white photography on the walls of the boardroom. So, some teams figure this out instantly, while others take a more crapshoot approach and spell words like “aquarium” in the hopes that they’ll accidentally get it right. They don’t. Uchenna’s big shiny head near bout es'plodes when it takes Joyce for-frickin-ever to figure it out. Mary gives it away to Kevin-or-Drew who is standing behind her (she’s the only one who tries to help the judge by reading the answer aloud). The lone-fratboy wanders around in a hair-product induced fog for about as long as Joyce before he gets it. Joyce, demonstrating keen strategy, gives the answer to the old dude. You know. The one with the hat. Meanwhile, the fake businessmen continue to chatter amongst themselves as though they weren’t surrounded by idiots and incompetents. I admire that dedication in a fake suit.

Anyway, so everyone is now en route to the world’s largest open pit copper mine, where they’ll get their next clue. They have a choice of tasks, explains mini-Philbot, as he schlepped around the mine area, of putting about 50 nuts-and-bolts on one of those monster truck tires or driving a huge front end loader and moving gravel from point A to point B, which is of course a traditional task for the people of the region. The vast majority decide to go with the wheel thing. Rob reminds us that he’s very experienced at driving around heavy equipment because he was in construction for 10 ye-ahs. The key to this task is that both team members have to take a turn driving. R&A breeze through it, no prob. Team Orange has a minor meltdown when the re-read the clue and discover that they both have to do the task (fortunately, one has done everything, so the other only has to go through the motions – insert your own old married couple joke here).

Meanwhile, over on the bolt side of things, Charla and Mirna have a minor meltdown when they discover that big dump trucks are actually, like, big, and that means the need for a stepstool, which causes tall whiny girl to freak while little plucky girl bellows. It was really dramatic television, and even the beauty queens were touched. Or sickened, it was hard to tell. Anyway, team Coalminer is demonstrating their solidarity for their brethren by not giving a flying fig about how well the wheel would stay on the truck, causing Mary to be caustic and pessimistic and David to fall on his ass, which made me hoot aloud, which is of course a traditional response to humour by people in the region.

Team old people gets lost finding the vehicles, prompting old dude to remark that they failed the stop-look-and-listen portion of the test. The coalminers are the last to leave, and Typhoid Mary bemoans same. There is much driving, and they get to this weird landscape called The Valley of the Moon, which is quite possibly where NASA filmed the so-called "lunar landings". My boys cry, even though they feel like bitches about it – bitches with bad nails, to boot! Anyway… everyone is warned that they have to creep along through this area for reasons that aren’t important at this juncture, and most manage to restrain themselves from violating that rule. While en route to the Moon place, Mirla and Chirla realize that the beauty queens are following them, thus riding on their coattails – they’ve paid a cab driver all their money to lead them to their destination. Words are exchanged about same and the pretty girls leave, while team cousin berates the cab driver, because they are giving him their last $20 (aka the food from their mouths) and they make a lot of threatening sign-of-the-cross gestures in his directions. This makes their statements about pure hearts and morals even funnier, because oh, the irony!

Anyway, about half of the teams didn’t get good directions on how to get from the Valley of the Moon to the Valley of the Pitstop, and all hung a right instead of a left, mostly, as Mary pointed out, because the sign to the right had more words, which is always how you know you’re going the right way. Kevin and Drew overlook the fact that they no longer have to creep along and get left in the dust, with the sick one whinging about it the whole time. Some of the teams realize quickly that they’ve taken a wrong turn, while others like to wait and see if everyone else is going to turn around first.

Naturally, Rob and Ambuh came in first, followed by the pretty boys. I sense a pattern here. The other teams straggle in haphazardly, and Mary, who feels slighted that team Cousin passed them in an effort not to be last, comments on it to Phil. Team Gays-in-Orange hug Philbot who discovers he doesn’t actually have a pre-programmed facial response for that. In the end, Kevin and Drew came in last, which was really no surprise, considering how sick the sick one looked. And we learned an important lesson on beauty from Team Cousin, who reminded us that it’s easy to be pretty with the help of cosmetic surgery. I’m already enjoying them a lot less, two weeks into the game, than I thought I would.

Oh, but next week! Danielle, who is now partnered with the fratboy, has a melt down because of a fish! Mmmm… that’s good viewin’, right there, a-yup.