Monday, September 25, 2006

The Apple Cult

So yes, I got my iPod. That's why I haven't posted here in a few days. I've been fiddling with the iPod and my music collection the entire time. It's addictive trying to manage over 10 000 songs, getting the album art, release date, and genres correctly labeled on every one of them.

I'm happy with the iPod overall. One side effect of owning one now is that I've started to notice just how damn many other people own them. On my latest coffee run, I swear that more than half of the people I saw were wearing the iconic white earphones. It's amazing that one product can suddenly change the primary colour of earphones from black to white. Even more alarming is the sheer number of people with their ears plugged with music. It used to be just joggers and people on the bus listening to their Walkmans; now standing in line at Tim Horton's is an occasion for music. They should just start permanantly installing white earphones on babies when they first pop out of the womb. It'd save the hassle of messing with chords all the time.

Then there are crazy Apple people who only buy Apple products. I realized today that I'm 2/3 of the way there. I have an Apple laptop and an Apple MP3 player. The only major Apple category I'm missing is a desktop computer. I almost wish I could convert all the way, too, because the PC version of iTunes 7.0 is absolute shit. See? Apple has this magic cult power over people, to make them want to buy one of their computers because they screwed up the software on the PC. Yeah, reward them for screwing up. That makes sense.

Ah well, enough about iPods. It's all I've been writing about lately. I'll think of more interesting stuff to type later. Maybe.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

iPoo


I did it. I ordered an iPod. I just did it yesterday, figuring I'd have a few days before it shipped in case I wanted to change my mind and cancel the order, but no; it shipped this morning. This is the first time I've put something on my credit card without having enough money to pay it off immediately. Stupid me. Soon I'll be on that crappy "Till Debt Do Us Part" show, being yelled at by that lady with the weird accent, telling me how to avoid becoming homeless.

At least my week-long obsession with iPods is now over. I can quit laying awake at night as I waffle between buying it or not buying it, black or white, and what I should engrave on it. It's pathetic, really. Of course, now I'm obsessed with reloading the tracking information. It just left Shanghai. [Insert racist joke about my iPod being Chinese].

As you can see, I have nothing interesting to say. Move along.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Triumph of the Rossi Possi


I'm quite chuffed with the fact that Lukas Rossi won Rockstar: Supernova. He's been consistently great from the beginning. I guess being Canadian helps too, tapping into that tiny bit of national pride in me. That's two Canadians to win Rockstar in a row, proving beyond a doubt that Canada is full of people who don't give a shit 'bout no one and will rock your fucking face off.

One thing Canadians can't do, apparently, is competently manage a TV station. Global TV, whichs show Rockstar here in Ontario, screwed up big time by starting the show an hour late. They let it play for about half an hour, then suddenly flashed forward to the live show, skipping an hour of the most important part of the show. Oops. Well, at least we got the "reality episodes" on TV while the rest of the world had to watch them on the web.

But anyway, I look forward to Supernova's music. Lukas has enough personality and a unique enough voice to make a good frontman, and with the previous experience of the other three, the band is sure to be at least a moderate success. Dilana will probably put out some cool solo stuff too. I can't wait for next season. What I'd like to see is the House Band searching for their own singer and launching a career. Those guys are friggin' awesome at what they do. Probably as good if not better than the bands which have been the focus of the show.

On a completely seperate note, I'm still deciding on the iPod. Microsoft's Zune is rumoured to be coming out today, so I guess I'll wait and see if that's any good. I doubt it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Fruit of the Tree of Music

I feel like the biblical Eve. Except I have a penis, and the Apple I'm tempted by is a large corporation rather than a fruit, and the devil's name is Steve Jobs.

Get it? I compared being tempted to buy an iPod with the story of Eve. See what I did there? It's very clever.

Anyway, stupid Apple released new iPods yesterday. I don't need a new mp3 player, but my old iRiver is getting a little outdated. For one thing, I've run out of room on it. I've got a shitload of CDs, and it would be nice if they all fit on one portable device rather than only 250 CDs at a time. The new 80GB iPod would hold them all nicely. Plus iPods do all that fancy but unnecessary stuff like showing album art, playing videos, and keeping track of what you listen to.

Plus, you know, I need something to entertain me at the gym, because I'm all trying to lose weight now. I'd work out so much more if I had a brand new iPod to keep me company. It's for my health, right? And the fact that I literally have 50 bucks in my bank account? Well, I've got a credit card, and I'll easily be able to pay it back in the future. Like, in 4 to 8 years, when I'm done school and have a real job. Four hundred dollars will be nothing to me then.

Oh dear blogfriends and real life friends reading this, should I do it? Should I buy an iPod, or is it obvious that I'm just needlessly addicted to technology and making excuses to spend money I don't have on things I don't need?

And if I do get one, what should I engrave on the back (it's free)? I was thinking something nice, simple, and inoffensive, like "Tom Cruise is a couch humping homo", but alas:



All the other good ideas have already been done too:






Sunday, September 10, 2006

Book Review: Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

Just finished reading Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk. Most people know him as the guy who wrote Fight Club. Invisible Monsters is so full of twists and turns that I feel that I'd give important plot points away with even a brief summary of the book. But basically, it's about a fashion model who gets her jaw blown off, and ends up going on a physical and psychological journey with some, um, interesting characters.

The style of this book sets it apart from most others. It's written like a fashion magazine; that is, it uses too many adjectives, the paragraphs are short, and it jumps around from topic to topic so that you feel like you're never getting the whole story at one time. I actually found that this made it more enjoyable to read, rather than less, though perhaps that just says something about my attention span.

The content is loud, shocking, hilarious, and campy. Easily disturbed or easily disgusted people will probably want to avoid this (though if you really wanna throw up in your mouth while reading, check out his short story Guts (click to read the whole story)). The themes running through Invisible Monsters will be familiar to anyone who's read Palahniuk's other novels, or seen Fight Club.

I've heard rumours that Invisible Monsters was being worked on as a movie. I find it hard to picture this as a movie, though. Without giving much away, let's just say it would have to employ some "unique" actors and/or actresses. I enjoyed the book from start to finish, though, so I'd recommend it to anyone with a strong stomach looking for a fun read.


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Neighbours (Part 2)

I've written before about how the people who live around here, and their kids, have problems. It has not gotten any better since then.

Here are some of the charming things they have done lately:

  • Left various toys in the parking lot (their primary playground). Since it's a parking lot, cars tend to, you know, park there, so when they pull in or out, they either run over the toys or the driver is forced to get out and move them. I've witnessed parents' vans running right into their kids' bikes, but they casually move them aside, and the bike is back in the same place a few hours later.
  • Destroyed cars. V and I saw two kids stomping on a car the other day. The metal on the front of the car was literally bouncing in and out. When that was dented enough for them, they got right up on top of the car and started bouncing up and down there. Getting bored with that, they moved to the car beside it and proceeded to tear the license plate off, then throw it into the bushes. Another time, a baby was given the keys to her family's van. She tried to open the door, but babies ain't so good with the hand-eye coordination, so she missed the keyhole and scratched up the car door instead. All this has made me extremely paranoid about our own car, so I compulsively check out the window whenever there's the smallest noise. The paranoia is somewhat justified though, since there is a big scratch on our car, and it doesn't look anything like usual mall-parking-lot scratches (i.e. the person beside you slams their car's door into yours, or bumps it when they pull out).
  • A few days ago, I was doing one of these checks out the window, and there was a baby (an even younger one...this one in diapers and unable to walk) on our front lawn. Alone. Furthermore, it was chewing on a piece of garbage that had been left on our lawn a few days ago by some other kid. But hey, I'm no parent, maybe that's good for babies, so I just closed the curtains. (Note: I'm sure there was a parent nearby but out of my sight. They're not that bad. I hope.)
  • Playing soccer and hockey in the parking lot are favourite past times of the neighbours. Not an empty parking lot, no, because you need cars to use as goal posts. Little smart cars that belong to the strangers whose front lawn you're sitting in are perfect.
  • Combining parking lot sports with doing weird stuff with babies, the other day I saw one of the parents join their kids in a hockey game. On roller blades. With a baby strapped to his back. OK, let's say he's really coordinated, so he won't fall on his back and squish the baby. Let's say the kids he's playing with are also coordinated enough to avoid slashing the baby with their sticks. Hockey still requires a lot of quick movements and turning, which causes the baby in its little harness thing to shake back and forth violently, hitting its head on the sides of the harness. The weirdest thing? Apparently, the guy is a doctor.


We've seriously considered calling someone. The police or child protection or whatever. But these are supposedly smart adults, and like I said, we don't have kids, so who are we to judge them? I'll tell the kids to stop touching our car (or taking apart our fence, as the case may be), but when it comes to their kids' lives apart from us, I'll let the community of parents deal with them. I know they are all nice, good people when you actually talk to them; but I have this theory that when people have kids, they immediately become mildly retarded. Suddenly, their kids' happiness is all that matters, and things like personal property and respect for neighbours take a back seat.

I sound like a grumpy old man I guess. Whatever. Lots of crappy stuff is happening lately so I guess I felt like venting.

Incidentally, if I ever had a metal band, I think I'd call it Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Monday, September 04, 2006

It Sucks That Steve Irwin is Dead

I can't believe Steve Irwin died this morning. He's one of those people who I wish I could be if I wasn't such a pussy. He also seemed like such a genuinely good guy, helping wildlife in his home country and entertaining people by being goofy on TV. This sucks ass.

You could say you saw this coming, but you'd be wrong. What you saw coming was Steve being mauled by a crocodile, or poisoned by a snake, or disemboweled by a velociraptor. But stabbed in the heart by a stingray? You didn't see that coming. Stingrays are harmless. I've swam with stingrays. Hundreds of people swim with them every day, and none have been killed since 1945 (in Australia at least, according to this). If you saw this coming, go out and buy a lottery ticket, because hey, maybe you can see the winning numbers coming too.

Another sad thing about this, which says something about the culture I've grown up in, is that one of the first thoughts that went through my head after hearing he had died while filming a documentary was "I wonder if it was caught on film?"

Also somewhat strange is that fact that Animal Planet is already planning to name a garden after Steve, and also start a charity in his name. You can find this at his Wikipedia entry, which is fully updated regarding his death and the reaction to it. And he died this morning. I'm not saying it's bad, but it just seems weird to me that information can travel so quickly, and decisions can be made so fast, about an event that happened in an Australian ocean less than 24 hours ago.

Incidentally, yes, it was caught on tape. Not that it should matter.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Food Logic Volume 2: Peanut Butter Coffee

Premise 1: Peanut butter tastes good with chocolate.
Premise 2: Chocolate tastes good with coffee.

Conclusion: Peanut butter tastes good with coffee.

I put my logic to the test this morning. Here is the recipe: 1 mug of coffee, 1 pack of sweetener (no sugar, thanks, I'm on a diet), and 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter. Scoop peanut butter into mug, add cream and sweetener, then slowly stir in boiling hot coffee. Warning: using chunky peanut butter may result in injury.

How did it taste? This may seem surprising, but it was actually very good. The PB gave the coffee a mild nutty flavour, and also made it a bit creamier, presumably due to the "butter" part.

I'm surprised nobody has thought of this before (and they haven't; I searched Google for peanut butter coffee and found nothing). There is hazelnut coffee (mmmmm) and almond coffee (mmmmm), so what's so gross about peanut coffee? Nothing. Mmmmm! And butter? There's already butter caramel coffee at Tim Horton's. I'm just putting all this deliciousness together for the benefit of mankind. You'll see; Starbucks will see this blog and copy my idea, and soon there will be peanut butter coffee wherever there are pretentious people willing to pay too much for it (me included).

One disclaimer, though. When you get to the bottom of the mug, there is a thick sludge of PB that didn't want to dissolve. It feels like drinking warm snot. So, uh, there might be a few bugs to work out. But hey, the first 90% of the cup? Delicious! Try it!

See also: Shrimp + Chocolate = Yum


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Blogger Sucks Volume 2

Thanks Sachz for explaining what's going on with Blogger. I tried out the new Blogger beta with a new blog, and it sorta sucked. There are some nice ideas in there (e.g., I've been waiting for a way to categorize posts for years), but none of them actually worked. It gave me error messages whenever I tried to do anything. Better luck next time, Blogger.

I tried Wordpress, and it seems pretty awesome as far as blogging tools go. I just can't bring myself to switch everything there, though. I have an irrational attachment to Google-owned products. I guess it's because they're working on services that do everything that computers can possibly do, and I'm hoping that one day they'll all work nicely together. Like maybe I can write a document in Writely, which will automatically post to Blogger, while simultaneously marking when I posted something in my Google Calendar, and keep track of the dates and number of posts, comments, and visitors in a Google Spreadsheet, then email any comments on the post to Gmail. Oh, and all these files could be saved on some sort of online Google Web Storage which I'm sure they're working on (although others are already hacking a way to do it).

Ideally, this would also all sync up with with non-internet software on my Mac too. But maybe that's asking for too much. Still, I'm betting that one day all software will be internet based and will work together like this. The technology is there; companies just need to cooperate and get it polished enough to be useful.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Blogger Sucks

Yesterday I went to change the template for this blog, and got an error message. No big deal, I'll do it later. Then I came back today, and the entire template was gone.

So, I had to redo a lot of it. It looks OK now but there might be problems since I don't really know what I'm doing.

Be sure to back up your templates, people with blogs. Anyone know what's with Blogger lately? Buttons are starting to look different, plus it's screwing up all the time. Weird.