Friday, December 28, 2007

Why Your Dog is Smarter Than You

You know how sometimes, someone will pretend to throw a dog's toy, and the dog will start running for it even though it never left their hand, and then they laugh and laugh about how dumb the dog is for thinking they threw a toy when they didn't?

I don't think that's dumb at all. If the person had actually thrown the toy - and 99% of the time, when they look like they're about to throw a toy, they do - then the dog would already be halfway to the toy by the time it hit the ground. By starting to run before the full throwing motion has happened, the dog gets the toy faster and makes more efficient use of her playing time. Not only that, but she has to calculate the direction the toy will be thrown before it even starts moving. That's smart.

We humans are the dumb ones, for not realizing the genius of dogs.

So next time you play a sport that requires retrieving a ball, don't be an idiot: if you suspect the ball might bet thrown, sprint in the general direction that it might go with your tongue hanging out. It's the smart thing to do.

P. S. Happy holidays to everyone. I hope you got and gave some good stuff, and saw and were seen by some good people.

Monday, December 17, 2007


The following conversation took place on Digg recently. I made a small contribution, which started a beautiful spiral into stupidity. The last comment is definitely the best, though.

(you'll probably have to click to read)

See also: I Win at Digg.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Icicle Lights

You know, I really just can't get into icicle Christmas lights. They're ugly and stupid. The worst part is that they don't look at all like icicles. Icicles aren't spots of light in a jagged zig-zag pattern with bundles of wire between them. At least traditional Christmas lights can be arranged in a nice row. Icicle lights hang in messy random dreadlocks of plastic that look like a fairy puked on your roof.

You know what would be cool though? Icicle lights that actually looked like icicles. Shiny smooth semi-translucent glass spikes of varying lengths that glow softly. I'm totally gonna invent these. But I'll have to call them "real icicle lights" so people don't mistake them for the fairy-barf variety. Sorta like how in the 80s, the cartoon about the Ghostbusters had to be called "The Real Ghostbusters", because some shitty cartoon with a talking bat and a talking gorilla who lived between the World Trade Center's towers and busted ghosts already took the name "Ghostbusters". It's exactly the same.

Oh, and anyone remember this stuff? I used to go nuts for crap like this. I remember they sold generic "slime" in vending machines that I'd buy every time I went to the mall. Kids these days, with their video games and cell phones, just don't appreciate the awesomeness of old fashioned toys. Like a jar of slime.

Here is me:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Food Logic Volume 6: Coffee + Eggnog

Here is a Christmas treat for you, dear reader.

Premise 1: Coffee goes good with all breakfast foods.
Premise 2: Eggs are a breakfast food.
Premise 3: Eggnog is just eggs that have been nogged.

Conclusion: Coffee goes good with eggnog.

Seriously, it's good. I start 'nogging my coffee every year around this time, after realizing that while eggnog is good, it's hard to drink a whole carton of it before its expiry date. But not if you use any excess eggnog instead of cream.

Add some rum for an extra morning pick-me-up.

Starbucks will steal my idea, just like they did with maple coffee. You'll see. Then next year they'll come out with peanut butter lattes and butter-cheese macchiatos as if it was all their own genius idea. But you, dear reader, you know who the real genius is. Me. I'm the real genius.

(See also: Food Logic Volume 5: Coffee + Maple Syrup.)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Brought to You by the Letter "L"

If you want to be entertained for a few minutes, check out The Six Biggest Arseholes in Games. The article itself is funny, but even better are the comments, most of which are foul-mouthed British people going off on how much they hate different blocks in Tetris (particularly that "L" bastard). Here are some highlights:

Miketong: Any analy retentive tetris player will tell you the L block is nothing compared to those cuntish S block twins.

RP: I agree, the S blocks are bastards, but there's something distinctly arsehole-ish about that L-shaped twat.

Matthew:In terms of how they get along with the other blocks, they're real assholes. Racists even. You always have to cater to squareblocks, making sure there's a good space for them.

Baz: I'm gonna have to say that the square in tetris is a complete and utter cockhat. If it was an actor it would be Robin Williams.

Oh and I saw this movie called "I Know Who Killed Me", starring Lindsay Lohan, last night. Now, the title is supposed to be funny I guess, because usually when someone uses the first person, they are alive, so "I know who killed me" is sorta self-contradictory. It's also intriguing, because you think, maybe the person saying it is a ghost, and they know who killed them, so they haunt policemen and lawyers and jury members in order to bring the killer to justice (#35: Ghost Cop). Or maybe she's a zombie who wishes she could tell everyone who killed her, but can only really moan about brains and such (#36: The Mute Zombie Caper).

But no, instead, the movie is about a person who isn't dead, and doesn't really know who attempted to kill her. I guess "I Forget Who Tried to Kill Me" doesn't have the same ring, but it would be more accurate.

[SPOILER ALERT] Oh, and the word "me" is even misleading. At the point in the movie that Lohan actually says "I know who killed me", it makes absolutely no sense. [/SPOILER ALERT]

If you accidentally read the above paragraph without seeing the movie first, don't worry about it. It's not that great anyway. It's basically one pretty good idea that's dragged out over 1 hour of bad dialogue, characters acting stupid (one phonecall at the beginning of the movie could have saved everyone a lot of trouble), & vague symbolism with the colour blue, mixed with 1 hour of Lindsay Lohan stripping or having sex to music, but never actually getting naked. And she's really not even hot.

In conclusion, I Know Who Killed Me is a cuntish twat of a movie. Bloody hell.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


OK so I failed NaNoWriMo. Again. I think a major contributing factor is that, especially at this time of the year, life tends to get in the way of writing. As the middle of the year approaches, school assignments are due, and that means I have to mark them.

Speaking of which, except for the time commitment, I really don't mind being a TA and teaching a lab. I hear other TAs and teachers complain about their borderline-retarded asshole students all the time, but in 4 years of teaching, I haven't had one student that was a major problem. Not to toot my own horn, but maybe it's because I don't expect these people - who are just a few years younger than me, really - to be stupid little children. If a TA goes in with the mindset that they are wise old superior caretakers, constantly battling against an army of brats who only want marks they didn't earn, well, maybe that's exactly what they'll find. Psychology instructors in particular should know about the power of self-fulfilling prophecies.

This "holiday season" also provides another reason for failing to write a novel: A bunch of good video games are coming out, which has renewed my addiction to them. My latest fixes are Mass Effect and Super Mario Galaxy. Mass Effect is an amazing old-school sci-fi RPG, with voice acting and a story that are better than most movies. Super Mario Galaxy is just fun as hell, in the same way that Mario 64 was when it first came out. Its fucking-with-gravity premise sorta hurts my brain, though. And with all these new games, I'm stuck with the dilemma of having to choose between finishing old games before starting new ones, or abandoning the old ones and hoping I get bored enough to get back to them later.

Life is hard.

Speaking of life and video games, check out this clip, about video games, from the show "Life" (see how clever I am with segues?). It's sorta sad that depictions of video games and computers in movies and shows are still either stuck in the 80s, or warped to the future, or as is the case in this clip, a combination of both.

Next time I want to hide something, I think I'll install Windows and Excel on an old Xbox, reverse-engineer a game to run off the hard drive, have "levels", and activate Excel to open a file when the player beats the last level. Then I'll hope that nobody thinks to, you know, just open the file by clicking on it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Dear guy who reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings in his MSN username,


Why do you feel the need to lay out your personal problems for everyone on your MSN list? Why do you leave vaguely disguised private messages to girls who you have a crush on, or girls who you perceive to have wronged you, or girls who dumped you, or girls who you met online and hope to bone one day? Do you realize that everyone on your list can see those?

It doesn't help that these messages are in barely readable half-leetspeak and involve cheesy self-aggrandizing metaphors. Hey, good for "u" if you think that you are the light that shines gently through the dark shadows. Just keep it to yourself.

Oh, and who the hell are you? How did you get on my MSN list? Do you randomly add strangers to your list, and was I dumb enough to reciprocate, assuming I actually knew you? See, the thing is, I don't know your name, because instead of identifying yourself in the aptly named "user ID" field, you write these one-line dribbles of verbal diarrhea.

I hope you don't actually find my blog and see this letter, dear guy who reveals his innermost thoughts and feelings in his MSN username, because yeah, I'm being a dick. But someone needed to say it.

In conclusion, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Book Review: The Singularity is Near, by Ray Kurzweil

The singularity refers to a time, sometime in the future, when machines become more intelligent than biological humans, and technology begins to improve rapidly as a result. The Singularity is Near is Ray Kurzweil's attempt to justify his belief that the singularity is coming sooner than most people think, and what consequences it will have.

Oh, what consequences.

Kurzweil envisions a future where almost nothing is impossible. Human-machine hybrids live forever in a world with very few problems, playing and engaging in intellectual pursuits in any virtual reality environment they can imagine. This isn't your typical flying-car future. What use are flying cars when anybody can instantly obtain any information, or experience any location, just by thinking about it? It sounds like science fiction, but Kurzweil convincingly argues that it is not fiction at all.

The best part is that, if he's right, almost everyone reading this can experience this future in their lifetime. This book should be prescribed to suicide-prone people. With a Utopian future just a few years off, why end it now?

Some would probably argue that Kurzweil is too hopeful. He does seem a little, uh, off at times. The dude is on a radical diet involving dozens of drugs and food restrictions, just so his aging body can last long enough to see the singularity he so believes in. And how many times do we need to be reminded that in the future, you can become the opposite gender and have sex with whoever, or whatever, you want? That's cool if you're into it, but in a world with almost no limits, I think most people will come up with even more interesting stuff to do with their time. And although he argues each point well, if he's wrong about even one - for example, one fundamental limit on technology is reached, or one catastrophic world-altering event sets us back - all his predictions could fall apart.

Still, even a small chance that he's right should give us all an enthusiastic hope for the future. Reading this book (and its shorter predecessor, The Age of Spiritual Machines) made me happy to be alive in today's world; I don't think I could give a book any higher a recommendation than that.

P.S. I wrote more about this book at this post. Yes, it took me more than 6 months to read it. In fact, it probably took me over a year. It's damn thick. But although it does have boring bits, it's worth the time investment.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bruce Lee Strikes Back

I've written before about how awesome Bruce Lee was (see Bruce Lee's One Inch Punch), and I've even tried searching for him by sketching his face. The dude in the video below also sought to sketch Bruce Lee, but instead of using a computer, he did it the old fashioned way; with a bowl of black ink and karate chops. Check it:

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Say Your Right Words", the Goblins Said

Here are some more words I do not like:
  • "Grout": What a gross word. Plus, grout itself is gross. It always starts out white, but a few days later it's black and brown with dirt, dead skin, slime, and who knows what else. This is why I like my floors carpeted.
  • "Woo Woo", or just "Woo" (in reference to bullshit paranormal stuff): What are you, 6 years old? Nothing puts an end to serious scientific and skeptical discussions like suddenly breaking into babbling baby-speak.
  • "Rafe": I apologize in advance if your name is Rafe, but dude, you have a really stupid name. I watched Pearl Harbor recently, and got distracted because I thought they were constantly talking about sexual assault. "No, self", I said to myself, "it's Rafe, with an F." If you look up the meaning of the name Rafe, you will see the following entry: "from a German word meaning a huge douchebag; Ben Affleck." True story.

To keep from being all negative, here are some words that I do like:
  • "Bacon": Because bacon is just inherently funny. So is pork.
  • "Antediluvian": This is a fun word to say. Antediluvian antediluvian antediluvian. Ahh, that felt good. Don't know what it means? Try THIS informative site.
  • "The Cat's Ass" (in reference to something that is awesome): This may have gone out of style 50 years ago, but I think it's time for a comeback. Kids, next time you're out on a date, please tell your lady friend, "baby, I really think you're the cat's ass." You are guaranteed to get laid.

Here are more words that I hate.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Exciting Update

No time to blog. Writing novel.

Check it:

Red squares mean I'm falling behind. Don't even have time to write novel.

But at least I'm ahead of failed novelists Geoff and Nick:

And at least London Ontario is ahead of Estonia:

Hahahahha...fucking Estonia. Suck it! SUCK LONDON'S WORDS ESTONIA!!!!

P.S. I don't even know where Estonia is. :(

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Remember, kids, today is the only day when time travel is legal. We get to set our clocks back a whole hour at some point today. It's a good thing, too, because I've got a shitload of stuff to do; papers to mark, video games to play, a novel to write. I just have to decide if I'll use my hour for business or pleasure. Good or evil. The power to manipulate time is not something to be taken lightly.

And for gosh's sake, don't use your yearly quantum leap to just sleep an extra hour. Here is a fact: Alexander Graham Bell invented the space shuttle in less than an hour (*). And you want to spend your hour sleeping? Come on.

So what are you going to do with your extra hour?

* (Not actually a fact)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have You Got Another Jump I Could Hoop Through?

Speaking of spooky psychic stuff, today I was preparing a lecture when two things struck me almost simultaneously: Sloan's song "She Says What She Means" popped into my head, and I had to pee like a racehorse. I scurried to the bathroom; relief filled me as I emptied my bladder, all the while humming the tune. And what did I see as I glanced down to gauge the effectiveness of the last few shakes? Why, it was the word "Sloan", the very name of the band whose song was on my lips, who, I now know, share their name with the makers of fine urinals.

Coincidence? Subliminal urinal expertise? Or something more?

Oh, and the best thing I've overheard at Western in a while was heard today. A guy says to the girl beside him, in an 'I'm so disappointed in myself' sort of voice: "I ate 150 shrimp."

Happy Halloween kids!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I watched this new show called Phenomenon on Wednesday. Basically, it's American Idol with magicians (mentalists, to be specific). Criss Angel plays the part of Simon Cowell, and Uri Geller plays the part of Paula Abdul.

First of all, I loved the show. It's all done live (supposedly), which gives it a realistic feeling that you don't get with a lot of modern magic on TV (e.g., Mindfreak or David Blaine's specials). The guy with the nailgun was particularly intense; you know he probably won't screw it up, but just knowing there's a small chance he'll puncture his brain on live television is enough to keep it interesting. The bear trap guy was less impressive. Dude, you didn't even hide the fact that you switched the trap. And are you in pain or not? At least keep your act consistent.

But there is a degree of confusion in this show that sorta pisses me off. On one hand, there's Uri Geller there, who claims to have "real" psychic abilities. In the introductions to the contestants, some of them told stories about sensing the death of a loved one, or whatever. The show seems to foster the belief that these people really do read minds.

On the other hand, Criss Angel is there. I think Criss Angel is awesome. If you watch carefully, you see that his approach is actually quite skeptical. On his show, he sometimes reveals how he did his tricks. He refers to his feats as "illusions" or "demonstrations", and never claims to have any supernatural abilities. I think this was epitomized in one episode of Mindfreak, when he spent the entire episode putting on a seance and freaking people out by having them see and feel ghosts. At the very end of the show, he said something like "so do you believe in ghosts now? I don't." Nice. On Phenomenon, these people are illusionists; what they do is amazing, but not supernatural. They can make it look like they are reading minds, but they are not. It's awe-inspiring in a similar manner to really good special effects in a movie. You almost believe it's real, but you know it's not.

Phenomenon can't decide if it's trying to amaze us by tricking us into thinking it's real, or by showing us really good performances by people who we know are trying to trick us. Now, you know I'm not one to completely dismiss psychic phenomena. There's something to them, and they're worth researching scientifically. But nobody in their right mind is going to believe that flawless mindreading is going to happen on a reality show (nor any other silly game). I'd be more impressed if the show was up front about that.

My guess is that Uri Geller prevents it. He wants people to believe that stage magic is a genuine demonstration of psychic abilities, so that his own stage magic thrives. The dude does some impressive stuff, but come on, he can't really bend spoons with his mind. Again, with him, I'd be more impressed if he didn't put on the whole "everything I do is because I'm actually psychic" act. He did a demonstration of his "abilities" live on the show, by having the audience choose a symbol (one of the five Zener card symbols) that he had sealed in an envelope. It just barely worked out - and hey Uri, any chance you always pick the star in demonstrations like this? How about randomly selecting the symbol next time?

Anyway, like I said, loved the show, but I do wish it wouldn't perpetuate the myth that stage mentalism and "real" paranormal phenomena are the same, or even related. I have a long standing interest in both, but they are completely separate things.

Bonus fact: Uri Geller designed the logo for *N Sync. It must have taken all his psychic energy to conjure up a star to put in front of the band's name. Oh hey! Maybe it's related to the fact that most people out of any randomly selected group will choose a star over other symbols. Well played, Uri.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

In Triumph

I was poking around the NaNoWriMo web site's forums, and came across this writing practice thing called prompting. The idea is that someone posts a short "prompt", then everyone else has 15 minutes to write whatever they want about that prompt.

I saw that a prompt had just been posted: "In Triumph". Written like that, with a capital T. So I ran with it and excreted a quick and dirty little story in 10 minutes, and I thought I would dump it on my web log.

It's a heart-worming story about the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is "In Triumph":

Doug snuggled up close to his friend Henry.
"It's almost time," said Doug.
As if in response, the walls around him shook. A deep rumbling filled their ears.
"I'm still skeptical," said Henry. "It's not the usual time. He hasn't even had supper yet!"
Doug wriggled up closer to the exit.
"I see light!" he said. "Really, it's almost time!"
The walls shook again. Globs of thick slime dripped down from the pink ceiling. The wet ground inched forward, sliding toward the exit.
"I guess you're right," said Henry. "He must've eaten something gross."
"Well we wouldn't be here if he wasn't prone to doing that," said Doug.
They began to laugh together, but then the tube began to shake and rumble again. They had to wrap their long bodies around each other to keep from slipping down to the exit.
"I'm scared," said Henry.
"Don't worry," said Doug. "I've done this a million times. Something else will come along in no time and we'll have a brand new host."
"I guess a change of scenery 'll be nice."
"That's the spirit."
A bright light blossomed at the end of the tunnel.
"Here we go!" squealed Doug, and the two worms, tail-in-tail, slid to freedom.
As they began the first moments of their new life together, they could hear a booming voice far above their heads.
"Good boy!" said the booming voice. "Good poo poo! Who's a good boy? Triumph's a good boy!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007

It's nearing the end of October, and that means it's almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

To get further practice for my new career in fiction writing, I'm going to give it a go again. The idea is to write an entire novel in one month. I tried this last year, and failed. But hey, I called it, when I wrote this:

... I'll have to write 2000 words or so a day. Yeah. Right. I'm destined to fail, but it's the participation that matters more than success. Maybe I'll work my way up to actually completing NaNoWriMo next year, but for now, I'll just give myself an A for effort.

See how I set myself up to succeed even if I failed? That's how to get ahead in life.

Perhaps I will post the aborted novel attempt here sometime later. I went back to read a bit of it recently, and the good news is that it sucks. That's good because it means I've improved my writing in the last year to a point that I can recognize suckiness in my own past work.

Anyway, I was setting up my profile on the NaNoWriMo web site, and it asked what my favourite novel is. Hmm...never thought of that before.

Then I remembered what my favourite novel ever is. The problem is that I don't remember who wrote it, what it is called, or what it is about. All I remember is that I was about 10 or 11 years old when I read it, and I couldn't put it down; I stayed up all night reading it all in one sitting. I also remember that it scared the living shit out of me. I haven't read a book like that since.

Actually, I do remember a few more details about it. Maybe you, worldwide internet, can identify my long lost love of a book (and subsequently crush my memories when I find out it's actually crap). Here is what I remember:
  • It took place in a forest.
  • The front cover was dark - mostly black - with a photographic picture on it - but the title and author were in brightly coloured letters (yellow or orange).
  • It was part of a series. The other books in the series had similar covers, with a photograph of something (usually objects, not people) overlaid with brightly coloured letters, all in the same font.
  • It may or may not have taken place in Canada and/or been by a Canadian author.
  • It was probably written for young people. It may or may not have been available in those Scholastic book fair things (do they still do those??).
  • It may or may not have had a sasquatch in it.

Another memory from my childhood is coming back to me: seeing the movie below in the back horror room of Jumbo Video (which had a life size Freddy statue and was awesome) and being freaked out by it.

I think I always assumed it was a chick with the wolf head coming out; I guess I never looked long enough to notice the flat chest (or maybe it's just proof that I've never been a boob man). I also never noticed Red Riding Hood in the background, because that wolf is so fucking scary.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Classification and Generalization of Shit and Shit-Based Language

I have been doing some research, and here is a handy guide to the different types of shit.

  • Living Shit: Living shit is born when people become frightened. They will often exclaim "you scared the living shit out of me!", and they will no longer have sentient shit living inside of them.

  • Bull Shit: Living shit is not always entirely truthful. When it tells a lie, perhaps to bolster its own (often fragile) self confidence, or to further its political agenda, it becomes bull shit.

  • Horse Shit: When bull shit's lies become so persistent that they cause anger in those exposed to them, it becomes horse shit. People exposed to horse shit will often exclaim "this is horse shit!", and will then throw a chair across the room.

  • Ape Shit: The danger of horse shit, of course, is that it breeds ape shit. When horse shit induces such a severe degree of anger as to cause complete irrationality, the bearer of the anger transforms into ape shit. Ape shit is dangerous, and should not be approached. It will cut you.

  • Bat Shit: The most damaging consequence of ape shit is bat shit. When the irrational rage of ape shit persists long enough, it transforms into bat shit. Bat shit is incapable of coherent thought, often dropping small nuggets of bull shit that do not know they are bull shit. Bat shit can scare the living shit out of people, thus renewing its life cycle.


It seems that are shit-based reverse-euphemisms for most emotions: Anger = ape shit, fear/surprise = living shit, happiness = pig in shit. I propose the following for some of the remaining emotions:

Jealousy = Lizardshit. Because lizards are green and so is envy. E.g., "I am lizardshit jealous of the number of comments on your blog."

Sadness = Platypus-shit. Because platypuses are the Earth's saddest freaks of nature. E.g., "I was feeling platypus-shit down, so I listened to Fall Out Boy and cut myself just a little."

Disgust = Skunkshit. Because there's nothing more disgusting than combining the two things that can come out of a skunk's ass. E.g., "People seem to think Natalie Portman is hot, but I think she's totally skunkshit."; "Thank you for baking this cake for me, but I'm afraid it's skunkshit."

That's all for today's lesson. Have a good day now.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Leave Britney Alone

I had a dream last night that I was Britney Spears' ninja bodyguard. She had very tight security wherever she went. Even at the grocery store, there was a special platform put there for Britney Spears's protection; spikes would come out of the platform if you pressed buttons on a nearby panel. When a group of rival ninjas attacked, I managed to impale most of them with the spikes, but I did have to take out some of the leftovers by hand with my ninja martial arts skills.

When I woke up, my back hurt from raking leaves yesterday.

I went from kickass ninja to broken old man in a matter of seconds. Real life sucks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dead Hamsters and Dead Leaves

My Xbox 360 finally came back (after being sent off for surgery). Except it's not my Xbox 360. It's somebody else's. Sure, this one works just fine, while mine didn't, but it's just not the same.

I feel like the kid whose parents "accidentally" killed my hamster in an incident involving plastic tubing and saran wrap, then went out and bought a new one to put in the cage, like I wouldn't even notice. Well I noticed, Bill Gates. I noticed.

Oh well. At least my Xbox is still blogging as if nothing's changed. And you can still be a crazy stalker and see how much time I've spent playing, and when, at Live Eye. Yes, more than a day of my life has been spent playing Bioshock. Awesome, awesome game. It's the first one I've ever beaten, then gone right back and started playing through again.

In other news, I really like fall. The new TV season has started, school hasn't gotten too intense yet, the weather is just the right temperature, and everything smells like musty sweet rotting leaves.

I raked leaves today. Another first homeowner type thing for me. I don't really get the point of raking leaves...more will always fall, and they'll just turn into nice rich soil anyway. There are starving kids in Africa who would kill for some nice soil.

It's decided then. I will attach a label to my bag of leaves that says "To: Africa, From: Mike. You don't have to kill for soil any more." The garbage men will know what to do.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Capital Idea

I was reading a charming little article at New Scientist, called "How Does it Feel to Die?", and came across the following passage:

Despite the public boasting of several prominent executioners in late 19th-century Britain, a 1992 analysis of the remains of 34 prisoners found that in only about half of cases was the cause of death wholly or partly due to spinal trauma. Just one-fifth showed the classic "hangman's fracture" between the second and third cervical vertebrae. The others died in part from asphyxiation.

Michael Spence, an anthropologist at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, has found similar results in US victims. He concluded, however, that even if asphyxiation played a role, the trauma of the drop would have rapidly rendered all of them unconscious. "What the hangmen were looking for was quick cessation of activity," he says. "And they knew enough about their craft to ensure that happened. The thing they feared most was decapitation."

I'm so proud of my school. If it weren't for this fine Western scholar, we'd all lie awake at night worrying about whether hanging victims were conscious while they were strangled to death.

Hanging ain't so bad after all. Crime, here I come.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We Got a New Camera

So this is a photo-blog now.

The camera is a Canon Powershot SD750 and it's very nice. It can recognize human faces and focus on them, just like The Terminator. It has not, however, killed anybody or time traveled. Yet.

I don't like people much, though, so I only take pictures of dogs.









Thursday, October 04, 2007

It Hurts When I Wii

As a follow up to yesterday's post, check out what the creators of the Nintendo Wii game Manhunt are doing to promote the game. They're giving away a blood-covered Wii. And it's not just cheesy cartoon blobs; it really looks like someone got the urge to play Super Paper Mario after murdering their family.

P.S. Since it's October and Halloween is coming up soon, pretty much every post this month will involve blood, guts, zombies, or candy. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


V and I have been watching Dexter lately. It's a show about a serial killer who works for the police and kills other bad people. What's amazing is that this show's main character is an evil man, with little empathy, compassion, or any other emotion toward other people, yet he's still, somehow, likeable. Maybe it's because he's so different than most of us that the show is fascinating (and how flashbacks to his past, which can be boring backstory in a lot of TV and movies, are actually some of the best stuff in Dexter).

We're still on Season 1, but apparently Season 2 recently came out. To promote it, the creators made a fountain in Philadelphia flow with blood instead of water. Awesome.

More pictures here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Future of Music

The way we get music is changing. A big first step happened when Apple released iTunes Plus - DRM-free music. But that isn't good enough; lack of DRM infection is confounded with a quality increase, allowing them to charge more for music that you can actually listen to. The selection is also very limited. Even artists that offer some older albums on iTunes Plus (I'm thinking Smashing Pumpkins) have their latest album in the same old broken format.

Now has its own MP3 download service, with DRM-free music, a larger selection than iTunes Plus, and all for cheaper (on average; unlike iTunes, they have variable pricing). Another step in the right direction, but not available in Canada yet.

What I think is even cooler, though, is what some individual artists are doing. Trent Reznor (i.e., Nine Inch Nails) is clearly unhappy with the label he's currently stuck with. After doing some creative new stuff to promote his latest album, at concerts he told people that it was a rip off to buy it; people should just steal it. He then released the raw tracks to the songs on the album and allowed the world to remix it. The best remixes were released, in various qualities, with cover art and everything, totally for free (get 'The Limitless Potential' here).

Radiohead isn't constrained by a label any more. So with similar philosophies to Reznor's, they can put their money where their mouth is and try something new. Check out the web site for their newest album, In Rainbows. If you manage to find your way to the store, you'll see that (in addition to a cool physical collector's edition), you can download the whole album for whatever price you feel like paying for it. You could put in $0.00 if you really wanted to, and get it for free. But I'll be paying the usual $10.00 plus a $2 or $3 tip for being so awesome. This is the way to do things. No matter how much record labels "protect" music, it will be on the internet, for anyone who wants it to easily download for free, weeks before it's even released in stores. Might as well put it on the band's official site, and get some bonus money from the people who are willing to pay (of which I'm sure there are many).

This is the future of music. Record labels are no longer needed when anybody with a computer can create and release music to the world. Soon they'll be as obsolete as their name ("record"? what the hell is a record?). When online music is actually worth paying for, I think people will do so - and that money will go directly to the people who created it.

It's gonna get harder and harder for me to stubbornly insist on sticking with physical CDs.

Update: It looks like the site for Radiohead's new album is sorta broken at the moment. You can still preorder it here though.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies (#30 - 34)

We're about 1/3 of the way through 100 ideas for horror movies, so let's shake things up a bit. The next few ideas follow a theme: They've already been done.

Sometimes I'm halfway through writing an original idea for a horror movie, when I get to the extensive research phase of the process and realize that it's already been done by somebody else. Here are the smelly aborted corpses of ideas that never even had a chance:

30. Killer Pigs: Pigs are evil and kill people and - DAMN! Someone's already making "Pig Hunt".

31. Killer Sheep: There are a lot of sheep in the world, and - BAH! Already done, and with a much better title: Black Sheep. "There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand; AND THEY'RE PISSED OFF!". Couldn't have said it better myself.

32. Killer Nuns: Nuns are just so repressed, they're bound to - OH SNAP! There's not just one movie, but an entire genre of movies on this. Click for more info on Nunsploitation (seriously).

33. Killer Cops: OK OK, killer cops is nothing new. But how about REALLY evil killer cops, who, like, taser 15 year old autistic kids. No, no, even better, they taser old ladies in wheelchairs until they die. And then - OH NO, BRO! It's not only been done, but it's been done in real life. The kid and his awesome beard survived, but the old wheelchair lady is still dead. It's not so funny when it's real life horror.

34. Killer Vagina: It's about ... well ... oh, why do I even try any more? Just click to find out more about "Teeth."

Conclusion: Everything's been done. There's no such thing as an original idea for a horror movie. I quit.

See also: #25 - 29.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I Win at Digg

Digg is a "social news" site where people submit stories then other people vote on which stories get to make it to the front page. Each story also has a comments section, in which people can "digg up" comments they like. Once in a while I like to throw in a random comment to see how many people digg it.

I recently used the digg comment stalker to see which of my comments got the most diggs. Here are the top 4.

They're much better out of context, but you can click to see the actual comments if you so desire.

And if you have a digg account, be sure to add me, phronko, to your friends. It's gone all Facebook lately, and I'd feel much less lonely if anonymous internet people pretended they knew me.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Xbox 360, 2005 - 2007. RIP.

A dear friend of mine died on September 18th. I have had many good times with My Xbox 360, playing games, watching movies, and being called all sorts creative words for homosexuals and black people on Xbox Live. Other people said it wouldn't work; they said that most Xbox 360s get sick and die within a few months of meeting them. "It'll never happen to me", I thought, but oh how wrong I was. I began to play a demo for some shitty game, and My Xbox 360 froze up. I thought she just didn't like the game, but then I put in Bioshock, which is a game we both really enjoy playing, and she froze up again. I let her rest for a while, but when I went to wake her up, she just lay there. Three red lights appeared on her face. I knew it was over.

It's never an easy thing to do, but I called Microsoft to have the body removed. The woman who answered the phone must have been upset too, because she had trouble talking and understanding me. Let's say the name of the street I live on is "Bobsington Avenue". I tell her the name, then begin to spell it. She interrupts after the first three letters; "Bob Street?" I continue to spell it out. "Bobsing Street?" I know this is hard, lady, but let me finish.

After the dirty details are worked out, she says "I have to ask you one final question." She asks, but I swear that I didn't hear her correctly. She repeats, in an official tone, "are you Filipino?" Um, no. I'm not. I say "double-you tee eff". Actually, I don't, but I should have.

They'll send a cardboard coffin, and I'll send her back to Microsoft. I know they'll send a refurbished replacement back, but it just won't be the same. It's OK though, I know she's in a better place. She's with the almighty Bill Gates now. Rest in peace, Xbox 360, rest in peace.

Here is a trip down memory lane, blogger-style.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Note: Post updated on Sept. 21, 8:10 p.m..

This is a true story:

09/17/2007: I wake up, check the clock. 2:00 a.m. I hear noises coming from the darkness outside of the bedroom. Tapping noises. I wait a minute, heart thumping deep, hoping it was my imagination. Willow begins to bark as it starts up again. Definitely not my imagination.

V is awake now. We both lie still, listening carefully, whispering "what the fuck is that?" I get up the courage to check it out. It's coming from the kitchen, where the back door is. When I get close, the noises stop. I turn on the light to the back porch and quickly look out; nothing there.

Must've been the neighbours coming home or something. I go back to bed.

I try to sleep, but a few minutes later, there it is again. Tapping, scraping on plastic. V urges me to get up again; I swear it's right at the back of the house. This time I grab our biggest knife after flipping the lights on. Again, the noise stops as soon as I get close to the kitchen. I figure if it was a leaky faucet or the fridge or the house shifting, it wouldn't react to my presence. This scares me.

I bring the knife back to the bedroom. This time I don't even try sleeping. Five minutes later the tapping starts up again. This time, I creep slowly to the kitchen and don't turn the lights on. It's definitely not coming from outside. It's definitely coming from the vicinity of the sink. That leaves two possibilities: it was a leaky faucet after all, or someone is trying to break into the window directly above the sink.

I inch closer. I don't see any dripping.

But then I look into the sink. There's a bowl filled with bubbly water there. A bubble pops and it makes a faint plasticy tap. Relief fills me, I dump the fucking bowl of water that has been popping all night, keeping me up, and curse myself for being so worried about something so silly.

With an explanation found, I'm able to fall asleep, but in the back of my mind, I'm wondering if the noise stopping whenever I got near could really have been sheer coincidence. I'm drifting off to sleep, but in the back of my mind, my ears are still picking up something scraping at the back of the house.

09/18/2007, 9:00 a.m.: There's no sign of anyone trying to break in. I guess the water bowl theory was correct after all.

09/18/2007, 2:00 a.m.: I wake up for no apparent reason, then realize it's the same deal as last night. Willow barks, I sigh and grab the knife.

I sneak into the kitchen real slow and ninja-like. This time I left the light on out back, and there's clearly nobody there. This time, the sounds don't stop when I get close. They're coming from the kitchen sink; no, from the cupboards beside the sink; no, from the other set of cupboards. Only a very small midget could fit into my cupboards and move that fast. Unlikely. I come to the realization that it was something alive all along - probably mice or giant cockroaches - just not a human.

I'm not gonna do much critter killing with a knife, so I go back to bed and eventually get to sleep.

09/19/2007, 12:00 p.m.: I go to make Indian food, and my suspicions are confirmed. There's wet mouse shit all over the pots and pans.

Later, V looks in the other cupboards. There's shit everywhere. Either there are a lot of mice who just became our roommates, or it's one mouse with overactive bowels. I hope it's the latter.

I go to get mouse traps. In addition to the normal wooden ones, there are cardboard tents with glue on the bottom. Mice run into these, they get stuck, then they lie there all night until they dehydrate to death, have a heart attack out of fear, or someone kills them. No thanks. There are also plastic ones. The diagram on the package shows a line drawing of a hand squeezing the trap, and a little line-drawn mouse is falling directly into the garbage can. Touch-free operation, like it's changing the bag on a vacuum cleaner or something. I get a lump in my throat and consider turning around and just living with it. But shit in my food probably isn't healthy, so I skip the gooey tent of horrors and get the two less sickening deathtraps.

I load them up with peanut butter and discover that sleep is hard when you're constantly anticipating a loud snap that means you've just murdered something.

09/20/2007, 10:00 a.m.: I get up, check the traps. Nothing there. I do a double-take; nothing there. No peanut butter, no body. The little rat bastards managed to lick the peanut butter up without setting off the trap. I'm both happy for them and annoyed, and it's a weird feeling. Looking closer, there is shit all over the ground below the trap. Man they shit a lot. I redo the traps, putting PB right on the trigger this time.

09/20/2007, 11:12 p.m.: Just as I start writing this very blog post *, there's a snapping sound from the kitchen. I'm afraid to look. I won't be able to sleep tonight if I look. It can wait until morning.

Just before bed, I see one running across the floor. So it's a family, then.

09/21/2007, 9:00 a.m.: So there it is, this little creature that shares most of its DNA with mine, dead because of me. I do it quick, just like in the line drawings, not looking too close. I especially don't want to look at the underside, because then it might go from being an "it" to a "he" or a "she", and that would just be too much for me.

09/21/2007, 8:00 p.m.: As I update this post, another snap. Fuck!/Yay!

Well there you go. Another joy of owning a house, I guess.

* Astute readers will notice that yes, I write blog posts in advance sometimes. It's so people don't realize I'm loserish enough to have more than one thing to blab about in one day. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Food Logic Volume 5: Coffee + Maple Syrup

Premise 1: Pancakes go good with maple syrup.
Premise 2: Pancakes are a breakfast food.
Premise 3: Coffee is a breakfast food.

Conclusion: Coffee goes good with maple syrup.

OK I'm serious about this one. Sure, Starbucks and Second Cup have offered Maple Lattes before, but those use sugary fake syrup. Similarly, Aunt Jemima's maple-tinted racist-stereotype-recommended corn syrup goo will not do either. You need good old real Canadian maple syrup. Yes, the kind that costs $10.00 per bottle. Luckily you only need a tablespoon or so. Add extra sugar if you are so inclined, a bit of cream, and you're in maple heaven. It's like sucking the gunk straight from the maple tree, except with coffee. Mmmmm.

See also: Food Logic Volume 4 (Coffee + Cheese)

And stay tuned for the next installment, where I take this reasoning to the next level. Here is a sneak preview:

--> Coffee goes good with maple syrup.
--> Maple syrup goes good with bacon.


Update: My friend Nick sent me the following email pointing out that my logic was not as explicit as it should have been.

Hey dude. I got lazy and checked your blog. I read an entry devoted to your latest recipe, coffee plus maple syrup. I don't remember much of philosophy 222 (that logic course we both took, but at different times), but I think I've managed to properly symbolize your argument. Here it is...

A = pancake
B = thing that complements maple syrup
C = breakfast food
D = coffee

1. All A's are B's.
2. All A's are C's.
3. All D's are C's.

C: All D's are B's.

So, does that work? I don't see it...



P.S. Did you actually try mixing cheese into your coffee? Ech. I don't even drink coffee or eat cheese, but, ech.

And here is my response:

My gosh, you're right! Perhaps I imagined the delicious taste I experienced this morning.

Hmmm, no, that can't be. Maybe I can fix the logic by symbolizing it differently or adding in hidden premises.

I suppose the main hidden assumption throughout the food logic series is the following premise, which is true of all foods:

P1. If (X goes with Y AND Y goes with Z), then X goes with Z.

Add this to the installments before today's, substitute the foods for X, Y, and Z, and it's sound logic.

Today's is a bit different. We want to add categories in there; in this case, breakfast foods. But let's stick with conditional logic for a while so we can use P1.

To formalize today's food discovery:

X = Maple syrup.
Y = Pancakes.
Z = All breakfast foods.

1. P1
2. X goes well with Y
3. Y goes well with Z

Conclusion: X goes well with Z.

The third premise was not explicit in my original formulation, but should be self evident to any food connoisseurs like myself. We're not done yet though! We now know without a doubt that maple syrup goes well with all breakfast foods.

Now we can introduce the categorization:

C = coffee
B = breakfast foods
M = things that go well with maple syrup

1. All Bs are Ms [this follows from the first conclusion]
2. C is a B.

Final Conclusion: C is an M.

So there you go. Coffee goes well with maple syrup. That's a FACT.

P.S. No, I never tried the cheese one. But given the irrefutable logic which has now been formalized, it cannot possibly taste bad unless you reject all logic and science.

P.S.S. I'm going to post this conversation on my blog to rectify my horrible logic mistake.

I am happy that this important issue has come to a peaceful conclusion. OR HAS IT??? Please let me know if there are any more flaws. My sense of taste depends on it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Your Brain Will Betray You

People are dumb. If they hear something that is unclear or ambiguous, they will hear whatever they want to hear, or whatever they are told to hear. And I don't mean they'll interpret "nice shoes" as a genuine comment when it was meant sarcastically; I mean people will actually hear completely different words depending on what they are expecting to hear. Even you are not immune to this.

Try this. Listen to the song embedded below. It's Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" backwards. Listen particularly to the section that starts at about 4:40 on the little timer.

Unless you've been exposed to this before, you probably heard random backwards gibberish, with maybe a few things that sounded like real words.

Now listen to the clip below:

It's the same song you heard before. The exact same noises reached your ears, but you probably heard completely different words than you did at the 4:40 mark in the previous clip. To prove it, go back and listen to it again if you'd like. After seeing the purported lyrics, I can't listen to it without hearing the Satanic message.

Of course, it's probably not really a Satanic message. We just look for the words we were told to look for in almost-random noises, and our brains make us find them. You could probably do this with almost any song. For example:

And with this in mind, I present to you the most fucked up thing you will see all day:

Edit: More of the same here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies (#25 - 30)

25. Ginger Snaps Red Dawn Dawn of the Red: A mysterious signal from space causes the people of Earth to have an irrational hatred of people with red hair. As the ginger holocaust forces the gingervitis-infected underground, they begin to breed an army of ginger kids trained to set fire to their foes...with their minds. The ginger army emerges, and the world is covered in their flames.

It's sorta like Village of the Damned, except creepier, and nothing like Village of the Damned.

Inspiration for this idea came from this.

26. Your Parents Having Sex: It's two hours of your parents having sex. Scariest movie ever.

27. P. O. Z.: The world's first zombie movie told from the perspective of the zombie. Here is an excerpt from the script:
  • Main Character: "Uuuungh."
  • Zombie 2: "Uuungh?"
  • Main Character: "Uuungh uungh. Nuuh, gu fuuuuugh."
  • Zombie 2: "Ghf! Nrrrguuh, uuuurgh duh iiuungh."
  • Zombie 2 gets shot in the head.
  • Main Character: "Uuuuungh."

28. Hypnautical: That's just a cool title. Let's say it's evil hypnotist on a boat? Who cares? Look at that title, man.

29. Cruise Control: Tom Cruise goes crazy - er, remains crazy - and decides to conquer the world. His first plan involved becoming an actor, joining a cult, jumping on couches, entering a doomed marriage with a younger woman, and eating her placenta. When this sequence of events failed to imbue him with unlimited power as he had hoped, he moved on to plan B:

Still bitter over his breakup with Nicole Kidman, Cruise teams up with his former enemy, the evil alien Lord Xenu, in his final attempt to both take over the world and get revenge on Kidman and all of her kind. He asks Xenu to send a mind-control signal from space that will cause irrational hatred of redheads. The world is covered in their flames.


See also: One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies, #24 - 25.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The "C" Must Stand for "Caring" and "Compassionate"

I heard the following on CNN this morning, after a story on the earthquake and possible tsunami in Indonesia today:

"If you have any friends or loved ones in them...and ask them to send us any pictures or video that they have."


Monday, September 10, 2007

Book Review: I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

I Am Legend is a difficult book to categorize. At first glance, it's a vampire novel; an accurate characterization, because yeah, there are vampires in it. But the deeper meaning and metaphors behind them, the structure of the story, and the situation the main character finds himself in, make it feel more like a zombie story. But even then, the focus isn't so much on the creatures, but on the main character and his inner struggles, making it more of a sappy drama. You could even argue convincingly that it's science fiction.

Given these overlapping categories, and the fact that I Am Legend came out in 1954 and has influenced subsequent generations of horror fiction, it could easily feel stale and cliche reading it today. It doesn't; I Am Legend still feels fresh and new, even to someone like me who has seen and read almost every piece of horror fiction released since I was born (and a lot from before that, too).

Part of its brilliance has to do with Matheson's writing, which gets right into the main character's head, and feels just detailed and realistic enough to relate to. There is also some ineffable eeriness to it. Certain mental images - like pudgy Ben Cortman standing outside, constantly yelling at Neville to come out - stick with me in a way that other authors' don't, for some reason. I Am Legend should be required reading for anyone even remotely interested in the horror genre.

A note about the upcoming movie of I Am Legend starring Will Smith: WTF? Judging from the trailer, the movie has almost nothing to do with the book. Will Smith can be an OK actor, but I really can't picture him pulling off the depressed, alcoholic, sexually frustrated, elderly Robert Neville from the book. No, I picture the Will Smith version romping around destroyed New York with his dog buddy (who must have had a good agent, because his role in the movie seems significantly expanded from his book counterpart), sharing feel-good moments, screaming "Aw HELL naw!" whenever he sees a vampire, then punching them in the face and spouting hilarious lines like "welcome to Earth". And that is really the opposite sort of character from the one in the book. I like a good end-of-the-world movie, and I'd probably be excited about this one if it didn't have the title "I Am Legend." It'd be better if it had only claimed to be loosely based on the novel, and had a title like...oh I dunno... "Fresh Prince of the Entire World."

Sunday, September 09, 2007

200 Bad Comics

Know how I've done the 100 Horror Movies thing? Well this guy has done something even awesomer by creating 200 bad comics. I think I'm addicted enough to go read every single one.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Magnets: Beyond Holding Things to Fridges

Some random but fascinating tidbits that I've learned while writing my comps today:
  • There are over fifty known sensory systems that have been identified in living things. Why, then, is a "sixth sense" seen as a far-out impossibility?
  • The genome of bacteria that can sense magnetic fields is only about 4.3 megabytes. All the information needed to create this organism could easily fit in an email attachment. The human genome is about 750 Mb. Bigger than a bacteria, but still smaller than Windows XP.
  • Magnetic structures, similar to those that allow the bacteria above to detect magnetic fields, have been found in a 4 billion year old meteorite from Mars. This is half a billion years older than the earliest known life on Earth. It suggests that the ability to detect magnetic fields may have been one of the first sensory systems to evolve, and that the ability to do so may have been brought to Earth from Mars.

While I still want to get this part of my comprehensive exams over with, it's actually turning out to be pretty cool. My paper involves the following kickass things: Ghosts, hallucinations, Jesus, pigeon navigation, The Virgin Mary, ESP, psychokinesis, turtle navigation, mental patients, God, airplane crashes, whale suicide, lobster navigation, and now, Martians.


Kirschvink, J. L., Walker, M. M., & Diebel, C. E. (2001). Magnetite-based magnetoreception. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 11, 462-467.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

tv blog post ranting

omg did u see big brother tonight? it totally sux that jessica and eric are both gone becuz they were sooo cute together but now at least they can get it on in the jury house lol. but still i wish eric was there because eric was americas player and eric was my favorite character. the last thing he sez when he leaves the house is he sez I hope jen got aten by a shark ROFL!!1!

then i watched dont forget the lyrics and i thought it would be totally boring but it totally wasnt because its funny to see ppl sing bad or really good and forget the lyrics lol. but like wtf, it ruins it because it shows the whole show before every commercial break so u already know if their gonna get the song right or not and thats totally lame

o and i think the cartoon chicks in the strawberry mini wheats commercial are totally hot and i totally wanna put my wee-haw in there cartoon vajayjays roflolwtf

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rotten Apple

Is it just me, or are Apple's new iPods sorta disappointing?

The Shuffle hasn't changed. The Nano does video and has a new interface, but looks fat and ugly (best comment I've seen about it: "does it do the truffle shuffle?"). What's now called the "Classic" has the new interface and looks pretty good, and got a storage increase, which is nice, but for me, not worth upgrading for.

What will be talked about most is the new iPod Touch. It is, almost literally, an iPhone without the phone. It has all the stuff that people have been asking for in the top-of-the-line iPod for years: A giant touch screen, a snazzy new interface, and most importantly, a wireless internet connection to connect to the iTunes store directly (and, I pray to Jobs, sync with a computer wirelessly). It even has some cool stuff nobody expected, like having a web browser and doing fun stuff while in a Starbucks location.

This is all awesome. If it stopped there, and we used logical assumptions to fill in the blanks, I'd currently be putting my old iPod and a few internal organs up on Ebay in order to pay whatever it could possibly cost to get my hands on one. Unfortunately, one of those logical assumptions turns out to be false. I'm talking about storage capacity. This is the most advanced, most expensive iPod ever. It looks like an iPhone, but its focus is on music and video. So you'd expect it to hold the most songs and videos, at least as much if not more than the Classic. But this assumption is wrong. The biggest Touch is only 16GB.

It looks like they took the "iPhone without the phone" part a bit too literally. Why would I want this new iPod, then, if it does less than the iPhone, but doesn't do much more? This sentiment is enhanced by the fact that Apple has also announced that the Touch's WiFi capabilities will be immediately available on the iPhone as well, and it has just dropped in price to only $100 more than the Touch.

I'd rather pay $100 more for the same device with a phone. But I'll do neither, not only because the iPhone still isn't available in Canada, but because 8GB, or even 16GB, isn't enough space to hold even a medium-sized music collection. Mine is already bigger than the previous 80GB ceiling, so even if I could afford it, using the Touch or iPhone as my primary iPod just isn't practical.

Why can't Apple just make one device that does everything? Fix the stupid problems with the iPhone, add a 160GB drive to it, and nobody could resist it.