Thursday, December 31, 2009

My favourite songs of the decade (2000 - 2009)

100. You Know You're Right - Nirvana
99. I Believe In A Thing Called Love - The Darkness
98. California - Phantom Planet
97. Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo) - Black Kids
96. The Real Slim Shady - Eminem
95. Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z (f. Alicia Keys)
94. Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case
93. Portland, Oregon - Loretta Lynn (f. Jack White)
92. Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control) - Groove Armada
91. You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse
90. Carolina Drama - The Raconteurs
89. Hate To Say I Told You So - The Hives
88. Into Your Hideout - Pilate
87. A Certain Romance - Arctic Monkeys
86. Inside and Out - Feist
85. Fit But You Know It - The Streets
84. Antichrist Television Blues - Arcade Fire
83. Still In Love Song - The Stills
82. Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
81. Bandages - Hot Hot Heat
80. Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl) - The White Stripes
79. Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio
78. American Idiot - Green Day
77. Remember The Good Times - Cuff the Duke
76. Happy Alone - Kings of Leon
75. The Underdog - Spoon
74. Irreplaceable - Beyonce
73. Weak Become Heroes - The Streets
72. Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue
71. Kids - MGMT
70. Pork and Beans - Weezer
69. Somebody Told Me - The Killers
68. Astounded - Bran Van 3000
67. One More Time - Daft Punk
66. Crabbuckit - k-os
65. Fight Test - The Flaming Lips
64. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
63. Elevation - U2
62. Letter From An Occupant - The New Pornographers
61. Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) - Arcade Fire
60. Reconstruction Site - The Weakerthans
59. Don't Give Up The Fight - Magic Numbers
58. Gimme Sympathy - Metric
57. Let's Get Retarded - Black Eyed Peas
56. Steady, As She Goes - The Raconteurs
55. Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis
54. Phantom Limb - The Shins
53. Take It Easy (Love Nothing) - Bright Eyes
52. The Great Escape - Patrick Watson
51. When You Were Young - The Killers
50. Lost In The Plot - The Dears
49. The Dire Wolf - The Tragically Hip
48. The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
47. Boulevard of Broken Dreams - Green Day
46. An Honest Mistake - The Bravery
45. Dancing In The Moonlight - Toploader
44. I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor - Arctic Monkeys
43. Dark of the Matinee - Franz Ferdinand
42. Jesus Walks - Kanye West
41. Clint Eastwood - Gorillaz
40. Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
39. In Da Club - 50 Cent
38. Sing Me Spanish Techno - The New Pornographers
37. Bohemian Like You - The Dandy Warhols
36. Mardy Bum - Arctic Monkeys
35. Pounding - Doves
34. Float On - Modest Mouse
33. Can't Stop - Red Hot Chili Peppers
32. Hey Ya! - OutKast
31. Can't Stand Me Now - The Libertines
30. Rest Of My Life - Sloan
29. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
28. Grace Kelly - Mika
27. Gold Digger - Kanye West
26. Combat Baby - Metric
25. Hung Up - Madonna
24. All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
23. I Predict A Riot - Kaiser Chiefs
22. Ms. Jackson - OutKast
21. Take Me To The Riot - Stars
20. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
19. Where Is The Love - Black Eyed Peas
18. Young Folks - Peter, Bjorn and John
17. Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
16. Yellow - Coldplay
15. Last Night - The Strokes
14. Lose Yourself - Eminem
13. Rebellion (Lies) - Arcade Fire
12. Ignition (Remix) - R. Kelly
11. The Reasons - The Weakerthans
10. Rehab - Amy Winehouse
9. Fake Empire - The National
8. Time To Pretend - MGMT
7. Hurt - Johnny Cash
6. Paper Planes - M.I.A.
5. New Slang - The Shins
4. The Scientist - Coldplay
3. Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
2. Stronger - Kanye West
1. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes

How things change in a decade.... Ten years ago I was in Chile with a group of friends to see in the new millennium (ignoring the actual new millennium date, same as everyone else on the planet). We were each assigned a year in the '90s and had to make a mixtape that represented that year. Needless to say, the task is now much easier with iTunes and MP3 players.

Food for thought as the decade winds down....

On this day in 1999.... From ForeignPolicy.comblog:
  • Lou Dobbs was a respected, middle-of-the-road journalist.
  • The prospect of achieving Middle East peace seemed imminent.
  • Beltway pundits believed Al Gore and George W. Bush were centrists who would govern similarly.
  • You could meet your loved ones at their arrival gate.
Read the rest of the Foreign Policy post here

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My favourite movies of this decade. Part 4 - "regular" movies

  1. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I'm ranking it as if it is one, big movie) 
  2. Garden State 
  3. Batman Begins 
  4. Casino Royale 
  5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 
  6. Lost In Translation 
  7. Catch Me If You Can 
  8. The Constant Gardener 
  9. Everything Is Illuminated 
  10. Bourne Identity 
  11. Spiderman II 
  12. Memento 
  13. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle 
  14. Gladiator 
  15. Sin City 
  16. In Bruges 
  17. The Wrestler 
  18. Hotel Rwanda 
  19. Almost Famous 
  20. Kill Bill 
  21. O Brother Where Art Thou? 
  22. Little Miss Sunshine 
  23. The Squid and the Whale 
  24. Borat 
  25. Igby Goes Down 
  26. High Fidelity 
  27. Traffic 
  28. Hot Fuzz 
  29. Pirates of the Carribbean 
  30. Moulin Rouge 
  31. The Ring 
  32. Adapdation 
  33. The Lookout 
  34. Sideways 
  35. Cinderella Man 
  36. The Aviator 
  37. Children of Men 
  38. Collateral 
  39. Juno 
  40. Before Sunset 
  41. The Last King of Scotland 
  42. Syriana 
  43. Blood Diamond 
  44. Munich 
  45. I Heart Huckabees 
  46. Wonder Boys 
  47. Mean Girls 
  48. A History of Violence 
  49. The Wedding Crashers 
  50. Thank You For Smoking
Honourable Mention:
  • Walk the Line 
  • Control 
  • 8 Mile
  • The Prestige
  • Frost / Nixon
  • No Country For Old Men
  • Minority Report
  • Atonement
  • Into The Wild
  • Insomnia
  • 21 Grams
  • The Departed
  • Bad Santa
  • The 40 Year Old Virgin
  •  The Dark Knight

    Sunday, December 27, 2009

    My favourite movies of the decade. Part 3 - Animated Features

    1. Finding Nemo
    2. WALL-E
    3. Ratatouille
    4. The Triplets of Belleville
    5. Team America: World Police
    6. The Incredibles
    7. Persepolis
    8. Shrek
    9. Up
    10. The Simpsons Movie

    Saturday, December 26, 2009

    My favourite movies of the decade. Part 2 - Documentaries

    1. U2-3D
    2. Dogtown & Z-boys
    3. Spellbound
    4. Bowling for Columbine
    5. Murderball
    6. Touching the Void
    7. March of the Penguins
    8. An Inconvenient Truth
    9. DIG!
    10. Man On Wire

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    My favourite movies of the decade. Part I - Foreign Language Films

    To better list my fave films of the 2000s I've decided to break them down into various categories:  Foreign language; Animated; Documentary; and, well, regular movies for lack of a better category. First up:  Foreign language films:
    1. Infernal Affairs
    2. In the Mood for Love
    3. The Lives of Others
    4. Man on the Train
    5. The Motorcycle Diaries
    6. Bon Cop, Bad Cop
    7. Letters from Iwo Jima
    8. Goodbye, Lenin
    9. Tell No One
    10. Defiance

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    Best of 2009

    'Tis the season for lists and I'll not disappoint. The next few posts will likely all be lists. Many will focus on "Best of the Decade" but we need to close out 2009 first. Without further ado here are some of my faves from 2009:

    1. Gimme Sympathy - Metric
    2. Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z
    3. Kids - MGMT (released in Oct. '08 but everywhere in '09)
    4. Sometime Around Midnight - The Airborne Toxic Event
    5. Love is a First - The Tragically Hip
    6. One Track Mind - Classified
    7. One Day - Matisyahu
    8. Follow Me - Cuff the Duke (love the whole album but in the year of Twitter I had to go with this one)
    9. Cornerstone - Arctic Monkeys
    10. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris - Morrissey
    Being Here - The Stills
    Sweet Child 'O Mine - Taken By Trees
    I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman - K-OS
    Laces Out - USS
    Sweet Tides - Thievery Corporation

    Sadly, my movie going took a major hit this year so I can't really put together a 'Best Of' list for 2009. That said, I did just see Up and Star Trek and highly recommend them both. Also, you should take in the documentary Trouble the Water; it was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award, losing out to the also amazing Man on Wire.

    It is not a 2009 book, but I read it this year and can't recommend it enough. Do yourself a favour a read What is the What by Dave Eggers. It is immensely sad while also being hopeful and inspiring. An incredible book. 

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    World's largest spherical panorama

    Somebody once said to me, "Prague is a winter city." Well, here today, on the first official day of winter (although let's face it, winter has been here for a while already), let me take you to Prague.... This is pretty amazing.

    From Wired:

    360 Cities, a Dutch company, has created a stunning panoramic photo of Prague in the Czech Republic. “The creation of this image represents my previous five years’ obsession with all things panoramic,” says Jeffrey Martin, founder and CEO of 360 Cities. “If you’re stuck at home over Christmas, feeling humbuggy and don’t feel like hanging out with your family, you can explore Prague instead.”

    What makes this panoramic photo interesting to viewers is that you can zoom in and out, move up or down or change your view–much like with Google Street View maps.

    The photo has been assembled from 600 shots clicked by a 21-megapixel Canon 5D Mark II camera and a 70-200mm lens, set to 200mm. The camera was mounted on a special robotic device that turned it tiny increments every few hours. The resulting data from the camera was about 40-gigabytes.

    The photo measures 192,000 x 96,000 pixels, or 18.4 billion pixels altogether.

    The Economist to go Social in 2010

    Interesting to see The Economist zigging while many competitors are zagging. The august magazine (or, newspaper as they would say) it launching an aggressive social media campaign to create deeper engagement with their readers and to attract new readers.

    Tough to say if this will work but it seems a more promising strategy than (a) sticking your head in the sand and hoping the danger goes away; or (b) fencing in your content and limiting access only to subscribers.

    The Economist newspaper plans to acquire 500,000 fans on Facebook and 750,000 followers on Twitter within six months, says the FT, calling it another sign that traditional publishers are looking to social media as a substantial source of web traffic and new readers.

    The Financial Times’ report says that users of The Economist’s website will soon be able to log in to the site and make comments using their Facebook identity, through Facebook Connect. The website will also take on features similar to social networks, allowing readers to create profile pages and earn a reputation through other users’ recommendations of their comments on the site. (read the rest of the article here)

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    A city in the clouds

    Cool / eerie photos of fog shutting down the city of Wuhan. I can only assume the mayor of this town is Lando Calrissian.

    Wednesday, December 16, 2009

    Now THIS is urban density

    Sichuan, China.

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    A spectacular time waster - 20 Greatest Monty Python Sketches

    In honour of 40 phenomenal years of comedy, Gnews takes a look at the 20 greatest Python sketches ever.

    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Seth Godin's free ebook of big ideas

    Seth Godin has compiled a new, FREE(!) ebook called What Matters Now. Here's some information about it and a link to where you can download it. A worthy read for some 2010 inspiration while you roast chestnuts by the open fire this holiday season.

    Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up.

    Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around. I hope a new ebook I've organized will get you started on that path. It took months, but I think you'll find it worth it the effort. (Download here).

    Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O'Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Raise a glass for health reasons

    Chemical In Beer May Prevent Prostate Cancer
    Beer-drinking men may be reducing their chances of developing prostate cancer with every pint, tests by scientists have revealed. Experiments have shown that xanthohumol, a compund derived from the hops in beer, blocks a chemical reaction that can lead to the development of cancer. Click here for the rest of the article..
    Honey, I'm not going to the pub just for me. I'm going there for us.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    An amusing slice of life

    Saw this today on the ever-awesome My Life Is Average (MLIA) blog.
    Today I was at the dentist and they were asking me questions while they had instruments in my mouth. When they took them out I said sorry I can't talk when I have something in my mouth. The dentist said under his mask 'That's what she said'. I no longer hate going to the dentist. MLIA

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    Looking back at analysts and the iPhone

    From Brainstorm Tech 

    The great iPhone death watch
    Palm CEO Ed Colligan, commenting on then-rumored Apple iPhone, 16 Nov 2006

    “Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone… What Apple risks here is its reputation as a hot company that can do no wrong. If it’s smart it will call the iPhone a ‘reference design’ and pass it to some suckers to build with someone else’s marketing budget. Then it can wash its hands of any marketplace failures… Otherwise I’d advise people to cover their eyes. You are not going to like what you’ll see.”
    John C. Dvorak, 28 March 2007

    “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”
    Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, 30 April 2007

    "What does the iPhone offer that other cell phones do not already offer, or will offer soon? The answer is not very much… Apple’s stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 seems ambitious.”
    Laura Goldman, LSG Capital, 21 May 2007

    “We Predict the iPhone will bomb.”
    Seth Porges, The Futurist, 7 June 2007

    “The forthcoming (June 29) release of the Apple iPhone is going to be a bigger marketing flop than Ishtar and Waterworld combined. Because its designers forgot Platt’s First, Last, and Only Law of User Experience Design (“Know Thy User, for He Is Not Thee”), that product is going to crash in flames. Sell your Apple stock now, while the hype’s still hot. You heard it here first.”
    David S. Platt, Suckbusters!, 21 June 2007

    More than 33 million iPhones, 100,000 apps and 2 billion downloads later, the death watch continues. To see AAPLinvestors' full collection — including comparisons to such "iPhone killers" as the Palm (PALM) Pre, Research in Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry Storm and Motorola's (MOT) Droid — click here.

    Oversized baggage


    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Does having kids stupid make you?

    A guest post from my lovely and talented wife.

    I am the hippo, goo goo goo-joob. From

    Is my kids making me not smart?
    Stay-at-home fatherhood dulls my intellect to a nub. Excuse me while I ponder the subtext of "Hippos Go Berserk"
    I don't know if parenting makes you chronically stupid or just temporarily slow, but after nearly four years of child rearing, most of them spent as a stay-at-home dad, my intellect has been dulled to a nub. Women have known this for generations. Maybe that's why the "stay at home vs. get out and work" debate is so contentious. Of course, I've never heard anyone talk about it. But maybe I just wasn't paying attention until now. All I know is, while my wit may never have cut with the precision of a Ginsu blade, my mind was a bit sharper than the rusty pair of kindergarten safety scissors I'm working with these days.  
    How often have you been at a fancy dinner party, or a rocking kegger, and overheard someone lamenting the fact that their friends with children have suddenly been rendered incapable of discussing anything except the contents of the baby's diapers or the adorable thing little Cullen did to the dog? There are Facebook groups for venting frustration with parents who constantly yammer about their offspring and the business of raising them. I understand where these people are coming from. But it is hard for me to understand why they are so annoyed — after all, those people are free.
    Click here to read the full article.

    World's Best Pie Chart


    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Today's something or other #47

    Are you ready for some Jihad?! Well, we had Fantasy Football: The Musical, so I guess, why not?

    Mike Tanier reviews Monday Night Jihad, Jason Elam's novel about a linebacker turned government operative tracking a tight end turned international terrorist. Yes, that's actually the plot.

    The book review is priceless, here are a couple choice quotes:

    “...the novel plays out like an elaborate game of learning-disabled cat and narcoleptic mouse...”

    “They create intentionally silly dialogue that seems to insult the reader's intelligence while rewarding deeper analysts who appreciate the sardonic irony.”

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    More drinking with your iPhone - never go thirsty again!

    Have you ever said to yourself, 'self, I need a Guinness and I need one now.' You lie, of course you have. Okay, let’s say you’re out and about and you have a thirst for some Vitamin G. Now there’s an iPhone app that helps you “locate a pint.” The app also shows you how to pouring a perfect pint and provides an alcohol FAQ. 

    I got to get me one of them iPhone things.

    And here's an added bonus for your viewing pleasure. (I add value because I care.) There are three stages to the perfect pour: 
    1. You craft the pint
    2. You revere it
    3. You savor it

    Good god I'm thirsty.

    A whole new level of insanity

    Did you have Hot Wheels cars when you were a kid? If you did then you'll remember the loop the loop. Ever thought about trying it in a real car? Crazy, non? Well the guys at Fifth Gear TV have replicated the classic Hot Wheels set, and will attempt to perform a full 360 degree loop in a full size car.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    A whole new level of awesomeness

    So, if you're like me and, well, most people who aren't non-dairy vegans, I'm sure you like bacon. Mmmm... bacon. It really is tough to beat.

    Do you like fudge? Mmmm... fudge. 

    Ever wonder how to make candied bacon fudge? Well, wonder no more. The Kitchen tells you how. Whoa! Did I just blow your mind or what

    Candied bacon fudge. Perfect for the holidays.

    Drinking alone has never been so much fun

    Can the iPhone make beer even better? Well, perhaps. Check this out from Fast Company:
    Turns out there's a keg's worth of new beer-themed iPhone apps that have recently bubbled to the surface of the iTunes store. In the brave new AR world, you'll always be able to find craft beers and a cozy watering hole wherever you go. Unlike last year's hokey iBeer app, the following actually have practical applications.(click here for the rest of the article)

    Sunday, November 29, 2009

    The Happy Gilmore shot deemed a menace to the golfing industry

    If you golf, and are a typical guy, you've likely tried the "Happy Gilmore" tee shot at some point. Alcohol might have been involved.

    When anyone tries such a thought you'd assume that they'd first make sure there weren't people directly in front of them. Well, the recent case of Bezanson v. Hayter in Nova Scotia suggests otherwise. 

    Today's something or other #46

    The Jesus in the hizzle?
    Recently separated, Mary Jo Coady was ironing and when she completed the task, noticed the image of Jesus Christ on the underside of the iron.

    Saturday, November 28, 2009

    Perfect for days that end in the letter 'Y'

    In addition to making your empty life complete, this would also make a spectacular Xmas gift at a Secret Santa party.

    “Just the thing for a cozy night in,” 
    Party on, Garth.

    Friday, November 27, 2009

    Star Wars and Facebook: Together at last

    From See more Facebook feeds here.

    Effective pie charting

    Please design a logo for me. With pie charts. For free.

    There's a lot of funny stuff on this guy's site. Definitely check out Strata Agreement (I posted the link previously). Very funny.

    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Mercedes, iPhone and James Bond

    What do these three things have in common? Well, Mercedes has created an iPhone app that lets you control your Benz. What will the app let you do? Apparently....
    • Navigation
    • Remote door locking
    • Vehicle finding
    • Dealer connect
    • Stolen vehicle location
    • Automatic alarm notification
    • Roadside assistance calling
    • Automatic collision notification
    • If that's not enough, there are premium extras that give you location-based weather and traffic info, and a concierge service that lets you book hotels, find stores, make restaurant reservations and so on.
    Other than letting you steer your car through a parking garage while slumped down in the backseat it doesn't get much more James Bond than this.

    Can't wait to see what the guys at Pimp My Ride can come up with.

    Click here for the article in Fast Company.

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    A new anger management solution

    Next time you're having a bad day don't run down your co-workers or your boss; don't take it our on your partner; don't gorge on unhealthy food, have a smoke or too many single malt scotches. Visit the Japan Trend Shop and order yourself a Shouting Vase

    Problem solved. Your welcome.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Today's something or other #45

    It was just the other day that I remarked to LM that I missed The Wire. I can't watch TV the same way anymore. The Wire spoiled it for me, with the exception of a few comedies (hello, 30 Rock). The next day I saw this on Buzzfeed. The internet is awesome. 

    Less tasty than even Steamwhistle?

    Beers from around the world are usually designed for their local markets. Some find fame and fortune overseas owing to their superiority over all other beverages (Guinness) or their immense marketing power (Budweiser, Heineken). For many, it is hard to see how they could become popular in foreign markets. Take Chibuku from SABMiller, for example... 

    Thanks to Coxy for the find.

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Fall in TO - East Side




    All photos taken with my Blackberry Curve 8900.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    World Cup Qualifying hots up... off the pitch

    Behind the scenese diplomatic manoeuvrings before the Ireland v. France match. Funny stuff at the Irish Soccer Insider:

    These letters were leaked today showing a major breakdown in communication between the French Government and the Irish over the upcoming World Cup qualifying play-off. There’s now a full-blown diplomatic row brewing.
     For full details on the brouhaha, click here.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    The Town That Chorizo Built

    Mmmm... cured sausage.

    From The Atlantic
    This weekend I was in Candelario, a village at the windblown foot of the Sierra de Béjar in Salamanca. Candelario enjoys certain renown for its beautiful location and its extraordinary degree of historic preservation: narrow cobbled streets lined with a peculiar style of 18th century construcion, handsome and impeccably maintained.
    But what makes Candelario extraordinary, nay, perhaps worthy of pilgrimage, is its proud claim to be the birthplace of chorizo, that object of unstinting devotion in Spanish gastronomy. Granted, people have been making cured sausages with pig guts since time immemorial. But for chorizo to be chorizo, it had to wait for pimentón to arrive from the Americas, for it to be refined--along with other products from the New World--by early agricultural researchers at the monastery of Yuste, and for it to be planted throughout the balmy valley of La Vera. [click here for the rest of the article]

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Today's something or other #43

    If at first you don't succeed....
    A South Korean woman is celebrating after passing the written exam for a driving licence - on her 950th attempt.
    Source: BBC

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Sunny day, sweeping the clouds away

    Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day. Obviously there can't be any significant milestone happening today, right? Wrong! Today is the 40th anniversary of the world's most magical street, Sesame Street.

    Ever tried to remember the lyrics to some of those old Sesame Street songs but couldn't quite come up with the words? Well, someone's done the work for you. Enjoy.

    The CBC has a few good articles on the impact and importance of Sesame Street, including Things That Go Pop! and Sesame Street Celebrates 40 Years.

    Excerpts from those articles:

    Monday, November 9, 2009

    20 years later....

    Here's a pretty cool video of the dominoes falling today in Berlin. Hard to believe it was 20 years ago that the Wall came down (and rendered most of what I learned in high school about how the world worked obsolete).

    The CBC also has some interesting photos in their in-depth Berlin Wall section:

    The Iconic Photo of the Berlin Wall

    Today's something or other #42

    Economy Has Been Hard On Everyone:


    Submitted By: Ted W

    Fave Comment: Batman quietly continues his one-man crusade to wipe out grime in Gotham City. – dono1

    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    Well sir, I guess there's just a goodness in this world

    From: My Life is Average

    Today, I stuck a hand into my coat pocket and found five dollars. Wrapped inside of the five dollars, there was a note. "You have just been reverse pickpocketed. Enjoy this five dollars in knowing that it was forcibly received by your pocket; take that, society." I then proceeded to stick both the money and note into another victim's pocket. MLIA.

    Toronto stuff from the web

    A bunch of random Toronto stuff found on the web this week:

    The Sorauren Park Pumpkin Parade was the biggest ever this year, with organizers counting an amazing 1,620 Jack-O-Lanterns. Read more and see the pictures here.

    Tourism Toronto Getting its Butt Kicked by the Canadian Tourism Commission on YouTube. The Canadian Tourism Commission has done a great job putting together what I think are rather honest and compelling depictions of some of the finer aspects of life in Toronto. Two dozen high quality YouTube videos of decent production value and great content are a lot more than Tourism Toronto can say they've done in this realm (they have zero videos to share on their YouTube channel). [Note: The Canadian  Tourism Commission's You Tube channel is definitely worth checking out, and I love that they feature Mercury Espresso Bar in the Leslieville segment. Best coffee shop in town.]

    The Samovar Room - a Russian-themed bar - takes over the beautiful space in the Winchester Hotel that was formerly the Laurentian Room. The place looks really cool. What is it with Russian-themed bars when you go east of Yonge?

    Bored with wine tasting? Try coffee tasting at Te Aro.

    See Toronto Fall colours captured in all their glory at blogTO.

    Today's something or other #41

    Had to post this:  Princess Leia and her stunt double catch some rays in the Tattooine sunshine. Did I mention she's in her metal bikini? Click on picture for full-size.

    Source: BoingBoing

    Saturday, November 7, 2009

    A new look and feel for SWATE

    I've been experimenting with a few things at Slightly Worn Around the Edges to improve the reader experience. As you probably noticed, the blog looks a little different:  New image (I'm still not 100% sold on it), different colours and more.

    I felt it was time for a bit of a change but, more importantly, I changed the layout to give a wider main column as some items were being cut-off with the old layout. I've also gone with more white space. More white space is going to be a hot trend in 2010 (if it isn't already). I think there still needs to be more differentiation between posts so consider this a work-in-progress.

    I've also added some functionality that will make it easier for you to follow the blog and share blog posts. There are Follow and Share buttons in the NAV bar at the top of the page. The Share button allows you to forward a post to Twitter, Facebook or Google Reader (a tool I highly recommend, by the way) as well as by email. The Follow button allows you to follow SWATE on your blogger dashboard (if you have one).  

    You can also more easily subscribe to the blog via your favourite Reader (again, I like Google Reader, but many people swear by Stumble Upon). There are a number of choices that will send new content automatically to your Reader of choice. The button for this is just under the About Me section on the right side of the page. Can't miss it. Subscribe and  never miss any of your favourite, super-awesome content.

    Another interesting wrinkle to the subscribe option is that you can opt to add SWATE to your iGoogle homepage. Yes, now SWATE can sit on your home page beside such august news feeds as CBC and ESPN. Here's a picture of my iGoogle page so you can see how it could look. Click for full-size image. I'm so proud.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Angry Store Owner Assaults Yelp Reviewer Who Called Her Store "a Total Mess"

    From Fast Company:

    Man pans bookstore on Yelp. Bookstore owner tracks him down, writes harassing emails, and tries to break into his house. Man responds by calling police--and Yelping about the entire experience.

    In what can only be described as a paradigm of Internet justice, a California Yelp user named 'Sean C.' was able to follow up his initial negative review of a San Fransisco bookstore with this gem:


    The user created a Flickr set of screenshots containing threatening message that the bookstore owner had sent. Only once he produced the screenshots did a Yelp administrator offer to help Sean C. stop the harassment, according to Gawker.


    As Gawker notes, the store owner's swings between plaintive hurt ('I have no money to pay for help') and outright fury ('Do you not have a girlfriend... I can see why') are perhaps unique to that unique brand of Internet passive aggression that allows for brutal, anonymous honesty.

    The bookstore owner was arrested and placed in psychiatric holding, and has been served with a restraining order, according to Sean C.

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    A third way to visit New York

    From the New York Times' Frugal TravelerStaying With Newfound Friends, for a Fee - By Matt Gross

    Last Saturday evening, the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn was drenched in rain, and yet the poor weather did little to deter the crowds marching up and down Bedford Avenue, the neighborhood’s main drag. Slickers hiding their tattoo-covered arms, umbrellas obscuring their asymmetrical haircuts, young New Yorkers came out en masse — as they have for well over a decade now — in search of cheap drinks, thrift-store fashions and the latest underground bands and D.J.’s.

    Despite its veneer of affordability, Williamsburg is not a neighborhood in which the Frugal Traveler often hangs out. Partly it’s because, at 35, with nary an ink stain on my body and scarcely enough hair for a symmetrical ’do, let alone an abstract one, I feel out of place among these cool kids. But it’s also because, thanks to iffy service on the L and G lines and my reluctance to take taxis, Williamsburg feels remote to me even though I live in Brooklyn — as it must to many out-of-towners, who basically have two options if they want to stay the night: find someone special to crash with, or check in to the coldly modern Hotel Le Jolie (235 Meeker Avenue; 718-625-2100;, one of the only hotels in the area and where weekend rates start at $254.

    But last weekend I embraced Williamsburg’s pleasures with confidence, because I’d found a third way....

    Click here to read the rest of the article.

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Today's something or other #40

    Goats in trees?! What will they think of next?

    Saturday, October 31, 2009

    Can simultaneous prayer take God offline?

    Found on Google Reader:  From Net Effect by Evgeny Morozov

    I don't care if it's "slacktivism" but this Facebook campaign is incredibly funny: launching DDOS attacks on God by simultaneous prayer
    As you may already be aware, recently the Atheist Founation of Australia and the Global Atheist Convention websites were the target of a significant DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, which began on Monday 19 October.

    This is a call to all non-believers and advocates for freedom of speech to join us in a global co-ordinated minute of prayer with the aim of inundating God (in this context, the Christian god, God, as distinct from the Greek god, Zeus, the Egyptian god, Ra etc etc) with so many useless prayers that it causes his divineness to go offline as as result of our own DDOS ('Divine' Denial of Service).

    The prayer minute will be at exactly 8pm (Eastern Standard Time) and 9am (Greenwich Mean Time) on Sunday 8 November 2009.

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    You think you're bad?

    As Michael Jackson once said, "You ain't bad! You ain't nothin'." This bird is bad.

    Level of Awesomeness? Red Alert

    This could be then next big thing:  Movieoke. Forget it, Jake, you can't handle the truth that it’s Chinatown, the whole frickin’ system is out of order and that’s what I like about high school girls… I keep getting older, they stay the same age. Talk to me, Goose (because) I am a golden god and tonight we dine in hell. Hoo-ah!

    Okay, so that’s not what movieoke is about at all, but you get the idea. Or not. See below.

    MOVIEOKE tonight in Toronto

    Are you tired of drunken amateurs butchering your favourite songs? Now they'll have their way with your favourite movies too! Movieoke is a lot like Karaoke, but instead of sloppily belting out the lyrics of classic songs, you'll be sloppily performing the dialogue of classic films. This Halloween edition features iconic horror scenes from selections like The ExorcistPsycho, and of course, Halloweem. – R.T.

    Admission is free. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON


    For more information about Movieoke in general, go to I like movies. I like karaoke. Why didn’t I think of this?!? 

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    The power of righteous indignation

    Dude Drops His Kindle 2, Convinces Amazon to Replace it and Pay Him $200 For His Troubles [Balls] - from Gizmodo by Adam Frucci

    Behold, the power of a scary-sounding letter from a lawyer! Paul dropped his Kindle 2 and it broke. Amazon wanted $200 to replace it. Instead, they replaced it and gave him an additional $200. Damn, son!

    Seriously, how badass is this letter he sent to Amazon?

    Paul Gowder
    [Address omitted]

    August 12, 2009 Inc.
    Legal Department
    1200 12th Avenue South
    Suite 1200
    Seattle, WA 98144-2734

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    On June 21, 2009, I purchased an Kindle 2 e-book reader from the website. I purchased this device based, in substantial part, on the expectation that it would be reasonably durable. In particular, I expected that it would be approximately as durable as is ordinary in the consumer electronics market. advertises the Kindle 2 on the basis of its durability. Notably, displays a 'drop test' video on the web page for this product. That video displays the device being dropped twice from thirty inches onto what appears to be tile. That video displays a fall with sufficient force that the device visibly bounces, and deliberately creates the impression that the device will function after impacts similar to that sequence of drops.

    Despite those representations, the Kindle 2 is far less durable. On July 26, 2009, I dropped a messenger bag containing the device onto the sidewalk, from approximately two feet above the ground. It was dropped only once, and the messenger bag absorbed enough of the shock that nothing else in the bag, including a Macbook laptop, suffered any damage whatsoever. (Unlike the drop displayed in's video, for example, nothing actually bounced.) Moreover, there was no visible damage on the exterior of the Kindle 2. Nonetheless, the Kindle 2 became completely unusable, with over 50% of its screen no longer able to display any text.

    I called support and was told that, because of the accidental drop, you would not be willing to supply a replacement device under warranty. You did, however, offer to sell a new device at a discount, for $200.00. I took advantage of that offer under protest, and explicitly reserved my rights to bring a claim against you based on the unreasonable fragility of the device and the misrepresentations in your advertising. It is that claim that forms the subject of this letter.

    I am prepared to offer an immediate settlement of my claims against for a payment of $400.00. That sum represents the $200.00 replacement fee I paid plus $200.00 to compensate me for the diminution of utility and value of the device as well as of the e-books I have purchased for that device, in light of the fact that the replacement device, too, can be expected to be far more fragile than advertised and prone to destruction under the slightest stress. This offer expires thirty days from your receipt of this letter. If you do not accept this offer, I intend to bring suit either individually, or, if I decide it is warranted, as representative for a class of similarly situated plaintiffs. At that time, I will seek the amount noted above, plus punitive damages under the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civil Code §1750 et. seq., costs, fees, and such other monetary damages as provided for by law, including without limitation Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et. seq., the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and other relevant law.

    Also, you have demanded the return of the broken device as a condition to the unreasonable discounted replacement offer which I accepted under protest. Your agent has informed me that you will charge my credit card for the full price if the broken device is not returned to you. I am considering seeking a protective order placing that device in the custody of the Court pending litigation. However, should I instead return the device, you are hereby notified that it is evidence in the anticipated litigation to which this letter refers. Should you modify, destroy, or resell the broken device, I will ask the Court to treat that as deliberate spoliation of evidence and make adverse inferences as appropriate.

    Very truly yours,

    Paul Gowder

    And here's Amazon's response:

    Pretty awesome. Just goes to show that if you put your somewhat-unreasonable request in an official-looking form and also threaten to sue, big companies will be happy to toss a token amount of money your way to make you go away. [Consumerist]