Saturday, September 30, 2006

This Is Not A Videoblog

As I just wrote, this is not a videoblog. Then why am I posting so many videos? Well, as you can see on the right sidebar, my list of videos has evolved into two lists (in cool modern scroll boxes!). The not by us list includes videos from youtube and google video. I like the google video page when viewing videos, but not the youtube page. By posting the youtube videos on my blog, the links can send you to the relevant post here on my blog, and we can bypass the youtube page altogether.

Buck 65 "463"

Buck 65 "Blood of a Young Wolf"

Nellie McKay "Ding Dong"

Andy Kaufman "Rose Marie"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Andy Kaufman Variety Show

The beginning is a bit odd, but stick with it. You'll be enriched.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Best of Best of Vancouver

Seven days ago, the Georgia Straight released their eleventh annual Best of Vancouver edition. I have gone through it and made some painstaking edits so that I can now present to you jblue's first annual Best of Best of Vancouver. Enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Best overlooked resource

Sometimes our distinguishing features are the hardest to notice. Take our tap water. The reason it tastes better than others’ is because it is. As far as collection points go, it doesn’t get more idyllic than the Capilano, Seymour, and Coquitlam reservoirs, where rainfall and snowmelt are captured. Our water is then treated with kid gloves to avoid contamination, with the holding watersheds being off limits to people and clear of any agricultural or industry runoff. Technically, it rates as soft, which means no calcium carbonate and, more to the point, no scummy film settling on the surface of a glass. It gets bonus points for aftertaste—there is none, despite receiving the standard chlorine treatment. People seem to accept that it’s safe to drink, and restaurant and bar staff don’t make a point of pushing bottled alternatives, so it’s amusing to see every other person in town carrying around a bottle of the bought stuff.

Best example of a municipal politician failing to keep a promise

Sam Sullivan on bus fares
Last month, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan fessed up to the Straight that he couldn’t keep his pre-election promise to reduce one-zone transit fares to the "pre-COPE" level of $2. Just 10 months ago, in his inaugural address as mayor, Sullivan claimed that the city’s three TransLink representatives would "champion options" to increase bus service and reduce fares. We shouldn’t be too surprised by this broken promise. His predecessor, Larry Campbell, also pledged to reduce transit fares before he was elected in 2002. After joining the TransLink board, however, Campbell voted for fare hikes. Bring out a polygraph the next time any Vancouver mayoral candidate makes a pre-election promise to cut bus fares.

Best example of a federal politician failing to keep a promise

David Emerson on being a Liberal
David Emerson ran as a Liberal in Vancouver Kingsway and never warned his constituents that he would cross the floor to join the Conservatives. As lawyer and political analyst Peter Dimitrov told the Straight last year: "In my mind, there was a legitimate expectation within the minds of the citizens of Vancouver Kingsway that if elected, Mr. Emerson would sit as a Liberal." On February 6, the day that Emerson was sworn into office after the election, he joined the Conservative caucus and cabinet. When it comes to broken promises, this one belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Prettiest fantasy for our city

On weekends and in the summer months, the roads to and through Granville Island are choked with cars on the hunt for parking. (We could tell you our secret spot, but then we’d have to kill you.) The resulting traffic jams and fumes detract from the enjoyment of one of the city’s most popular destinations. There’s clearly no simple solution. Better transit? A footbridge to connect the island with the downtown core? A pedestrian/cyclist path slung beneath the Burrard bridge? Somehow, the island needs to become vehicle-free, except for bikes, buses, taxis, and delivery vehicles. Much of the sprawl now occupied by parking spaces could then become café terraces, squares, and green enclaves filled with elves and fairies. European cities such as London and Paris have shown that keeping cars out of key tourist areas greatly improves the quality of social and cultural life while stimulating economic activity.

While we’re at it, we’d also like the rain to come down only at night.

Favourite local time to sort through cellphone messages

Relaxing with a Venti coffee while waiting to make a left at a major intersection.

Best reason to expand the pride parade route

The annual queer celebratory parade had the streets lined several deep on either side from the beginning (and before) to the end. Organizers stated that about 300,000 people attended, which is almost double the attendance of the previous year (185,000). The huge numbers send an important message of acceptance and tolerance, particularly in a city where a gay man, Aaron Webster, was brutally murdered. In this case, yes, size does matter.

Best new example of "padding" a bank account

The Canucks’ new backstop, Roberto Luongo, has a contract that promises him $6.75 million for his services this year. If he plays, say, 70 games (and he is a workhorse) and in each of those faces about 25 attempts on his net, he’ll rack up an average of just over $3,850 earned per shot. That’s U.S. currency, too, by the way. Yes, Luongo is one of the best in the world at what he does. But here’s what he does: he deflects, knocks down, or grabs at fast-moving rubber chips with plastic armour and custom-built pillows strapped to his body. Every time he performs one of these actions—even when it’s a routine stop-and-clear with the stick on a trickling shoot-in—he makes more than you do in a month. Thank God we took that whole freaking year off to regain our perspective on the game.

Best reason to fear the rocks

The neatly stacked columns of rocks that appear along English Bay’s shores are Vancouver’s equivalent of crop circles. Stock up the basement—the invasion is imminent.

Best place to ogle Stepford Wives

Not Google, ogle. Waltz into almost any trendy Lower Mainland restaurant chain and check out the female wait staff, who are all blonde, white (in spite of living in one of the most multicultural Canadian cities), and Jessica Simpson. And your wife thought you were salivating because of the food? When dollar bills roll out of their mouths, resist the temptation to ask when that upgrade hit the market.

Best colour for coffee

Next time you buy a cup of coffee or iced drink, imagine your paper or plastic cup (not to mention paper napkin, plastic lid, and wooden or plastic stir stick) as a raindrop, one that is joining thousands of other raindrops throughout the city to form a river. Eventually, this river runs into an ocean’s worth of coffee cups discarded by people around the world, piling up in landfills everywhere, which you, your family, or your offspring will have to deal with in the years to come. Then enjoy your drink. Bottoms up.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Andy Kaufman "It's a Small World"


For years, my fruit intake has consisted mainly of apples and oranges. Sure, every now and then I would partake in other varieties of fruit. Blueberries and grapes sometimes. Bananas and strawberries occasionally. Watermelon and kiwi rarely.

Lately though, on a whim, we bought some pears. It had been a while since I had had a pear. Man, they are delicious, and easily transportable too. Now, when leaving the house, do I grab an apple, or a pear? Often it's both.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Curved Shower Rods

A few months back I was getting a tour of a friend's new place and when we got to the bathroom I noticed that their bathtub, like ours, was, and probably still is, quite narrow. I commented on it and said that I find our tub annoying. When showering, there is very limited left-right space for my wingspan. My right arm rubs against the shower curtain and my left arm bangs against the wall. Even worse, they didn't even place the rod parallel to the side of the tub; they placed it inside of the side, making a narrow space even narrower. I'm able to push the shower curtain out a bit before it even touches the tub. Another friend, who was also getting the tour, said that what we needed was a curved shower rod. He explained what a curved shower rod is, and I thought, yeah, he's right, we do need a curved shower rod. I thought that thought many times, usually while showering and experiencing unwanted arm/curtain rubbing.

Then came the honeymoon. In our hotel at Disneyland, guess what they had? If you guessed a delicious continental breakfast just like they advertised, you're way off. But they had curved shower rods! There was so much room to maneuvre in. Oh, it was heaven. I was swinging my arms to and fro, at first casually, but then I got more into it, and eventually I was waving them in the air like I just didn't care. Shortly after arriving back home, the very next day in fact, we went out and bought a curved shower rod. The very next day after that, we installed it. The very next day after that, showering was that much more enjoyable. We put it as far out as possible, while still using the original holes in the wall. It could go farther than what it's at, meaning there's still ample tub-side above the curtain's bottom, but it's as far as it can go without affecting the opening of the bathroom door. I strongly recommend this device, especially if you have a narrow tub, as rude as that sounds.

And now you know a lil' something about our shower. Next up: our toilet.

(Note - that is neither myself nor Biscotti in the shower. It is our international exchange student, Makiki. Kidding!! I got that pic off of google images. In case you're wondering, we don't have any exchange students.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

one red paperclip

Have you heard the one about the guy who started with one red paperclip and set out to make a series of trades, with the goal of one day trading for a house? He did it. It's a true story. The guy's name is Kyle MacDonald. The first trade netted him a fish-shaped pen, followed by a hand-sculpted doorknob. Future trades got him, among other things, a snowmobile, a recording contract, and, finally, on July 5, 2006, a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan (hi Rob and Andrea!). I used the word finally, but the first trade occured on July 14, 2005, so he went from one red paperclip to a house in less than a year. Mighty impressive. It's a cool story, with the trades happening all over North America.

Click here for more.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bottled Water

I've never been much for buying and/or drinking bottled water, and thanks to

Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem

it'll stay that way for a lonnnnnng time. Maybe forever.

The link takes you to one of the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007, and I thank
Mr. Cumiskey for spreading "the news that didn't make the news". Attakid. Mr. Cumiskey currently has a very funny Daily Show video clip on his front page. I endorse the watching of said video clip.


Friday, September 15, 2006

Game Winning Goals

GW is a stat in hockey. Over the course of the upcoming NHL season, as you're watching games, and I know you'll be watching games, you will undoubtedly be told that so-and-so has X number of game winning goals, either in that season alone, or in their career, or, if you're lucky, both! Wow, you'll think. That player is clutch. However, dig deeper and you'll realize that maybe that player isn't as clutch as you thought him to be. You see, the way game winners are decided makes the stat pretty meaningless. If a game ends 5-3, they just determine whoever scored the 4th goal for the winning side and give it to them. If 4-1, they look for who scored the 2nd goal for the winning side. Understand?

Now, imagine the Canucks and the Oilers are playing, and it's a 1-1 game. Linden scores (woo-hoo!) and it's now 2-1 Canucks. That goal opened the floodgates and the Canucks scores 4 more goals to make it 6-1. The Oilers have essentially stopped trying and Morrison adds another to make it 7-1 at the end of the second. During the second intermission the Oilers get an earful from their coach and start the third period with purposeful play. They score 5 goals to make it 7-6, but can't finish the comeback. Canucks win. Who gets the game winner? Morrison. The goal he scored was anything but clutch. It was a stat padder at the time.

I believe it was Dan Russell who I first heard propose the idea that the game winner should be given to the player who gives their team the lead that they don't relinquish. In this case, Linden. Once the 'Nucks had the 2-1 lead, they were always in the lead.

Another hypothetical example. Another tie game. This time, let's say it's 3-3. Canucks vs Flames. Two minutes to go in the game, Daniel Sedin scores on a clutch end-to-end rush (okay fine, it was off the cycle), and the Canucks are up 4-3. The Flames pull their tender, and Henrik Sedin scores an easy emptynetter. 5-3 Canucks. The Flames, still with the net empty, pour it on and score to make it 5-4. Game ends. Henrik, with his emptynetter is given the game winner.

So until the NHL changes the way the GW stat is recorded, I encourage you to ignore it like I do. Be like me, you know you wanna.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Whistlers in Whistler!

And now, Biscotti's sisters..

Whistlers in Whistler! at Google Video

Fifteen Years for DiPietro

After signing out of Hotmail I saw amongst the headlines, DiPietro inks 15-year deal. The article says that New York Islanders GM Garth Snow has signed goaltender Rick DiPietro for 15 years for $67.5 million. Holy shnikeys. That's unheard of, kind of. "The contract is believed to be the longest in NHL history and second only in major North American pro sports to the 25-year, $25-million contract Magic Johnson signed with the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers in 1981" (see link). In this day and age, when many players in all sports are signing contracts a year at a time in the hopes of having a sensational breakout career year so that they can sign for megabucks the next season, DiPietro's signing has shocked me. Good move by the Islanders? Good move by DiPietro? Good move by both of 'em? I don't know his game well enough to say, but even if I did it's a case of "time will tell". He could hit a major slump, he could get injured, he could win the next eight Stanley Cups. It could happen. The article says that "DiPietro is guaranteed the full $67.5 million if he suffers a career-ending injury. However, it's unclear what would happen if the five-foot-11 puckstopper were to retire before the deal expires". (He's 24 years young.)

Somewhat related: Many years ago, when the Grizzlies were still in Vancouver, I was at a game and saw Snow walking the concourse alone (he was the Canucks back-up tender at the time). I looked - nay, stared - at him, to be sure it was him. His head turned my way and he noticed me staring before I could look away. He gave me a slight head nod to tell me that it was indeed him. My heart went all aflutter.

Monday, September 11, 2006

If Jack Helped You Off A Horse...

Larry & Willy were giving away Barenaked Ladies tickets; I called in; I won; I told Willy my name; I heard the next-on-shift radio host announce my win to the world; Biscotti got home soon thereafter; I played it cool for 10-15 minutes before telling her the good news; now we wait until February.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Just wanted to say a few things about the sidebar. The somewhat new feature, bookmark holder, shows you what I'm currently reading. The newer feature, videos, has few entries for now, but will grow over time. It will mostly be home-video type videos, with a few exceptions, such as The Haka. Lastly, I wanted to point out an addition to cool sites. News site The Onion has been on my radar for many months and I finally got around to browsing its contents. It's chock-full of good stories, including this one.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Monty Hall Problem

As you may have noticed on the rapidly evolving sidebar to your right, I've been reading, and recently finished, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. In the very creative novel, there were many cool asides, one of which was The Monty Hall Problem.

I was not familiar with said problem. How many of you are familiar with said problem? Raise your hands. Keep 'em up.. I count one. Cool. For the other two readers, here's the dealio:

You are on a game show on television. On this game show the idea is to win a car as a prize. The game show host shows you three doors. He says that there is a car behind one of the doors and there are goats behind the other two doors. He asks you to pick a door. You pick a door but the door is not opened. Then the game show host opens one of the doors you didn't pick to show a goat (because he knows what is behind the doors). Then he says that you have one final chance to change your mind before the doors are opened and you get a car or a goat. So he asks you if you want to change your mind and pick the other unopened door instead. What should you do?
(Curious Incident... pp 78-9.)

Well, it doesn't matter right? At that point it's a 50/50 shot that you'll get the car........... right? That's what intuition will tell you.

Marilyn vos Savant, "an American magazine columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright who rose to fame through her listing in the Guinness Book of World Records under 'Highest IQ'" (wikipedia), in response to that question, answered differently. She wrote that you should always change your pick because there is a 2 in 3 chance that the car is behind the other door. Say? She received thousands of letters scolding her, including some harsh words from mathematicians and scientists.

But she was right, and explained it in a follow-up column. There are three doors to choose from, so there are three possibilities:
  1. You choose a door with a goat behind it.
  2. You choose a door with a goat behind it.
  3. You choose a door with a car behind it.
For 1:
  • You stay, you get a goat.
  • You change, you get a car.
For 2:
  • You stay, you get a goat.
  • You change, you get a car.
For 3:
  • You stay, you get a car.
  • You change, you get a goat.
So, changing will get you a car 2 times out of 3. And staying will get you a car 1 time out of 3.

Cool, eh?

In the novel, the narrator concludes this aside by saying, "And this shows that intuition can sometimes get things wrong. And intuition is what people use in life to make decisions. But logic can help you work out the right answer".

For more on The Monty Hall Problem, click here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Camping @ The Gorge


Back in early April I ordered the tickets to Dave Matthews Band using ticketmaster online. I bought two tickets to the show taking place on Saturday September 2nd, the second of three shows. I knew I wouldn't want to drive back home, or anywhere, after the show, so Biscotti and I decided to camp there, and drive back on Sunday. For camping tickets on ticketmaster, there were three options:
  1. Three nights ($120)
  2. Two nights ($80)
  3. One night ($40)
Which would you have selected? I selected the one night option. I selected wrong. The tickets got mailed to us a few weeks later. Two tickets to Saturday's show (yes!), and one ticket for camping on Sunday night (wha??). I went back online and discovered my error. Either the instructions weren't present while I was ordering or they weren't obvious enough (or I'm an idiot, but let's skip that part), but if we wanted to camp for just Saturday night, I was supposed to buy two nights of camping, and then get a rebate as we left the campground on Sunday. Interesting.

I called ticketmaster, waited on hold for a while, clumsily attempted to explain the situation, gave the order number, and was told I would have to call the Seattle ticketmaster as the event was happening in the States. I was given two different numbers, and over the next week neither number resulted in talking to a person. I told Biscotti that I wasn't too worried. We would try to work it out when we arrived there, and if worst came to worst, bye-bye $40 and hello back of our Tracker. Hopefully there weren't a limited number of sites, à la Alice Lake or other BC Provincial Campgrounds.

Upon arrival, we were told that we just had to buy another night. Simple as that. I went over to their credit card swiper, and the girl punched in $80. No, I said, I just need one night; I already have one night. She quickly canceled the transaction and punched in $40. She took the ticket I already had then gave me my receipt and a purple doohickey to hang on the rearview mirror.

Back in the car, we followed two cars who were heading into the camping area. It wasn't immediately clear that it was a free-for-all. Driving on a "road" that was feet away from parked cars and pitched tents on both sides, there was a staff person about every 50 meters who pointed us in a direction. We had thought that eventually a staff person would point to what would be our "campsite". Instead, the staff persons eventually stopped existing.

The two cars went on ahead, and we saw a spot between two cars that was wide enough for our car, so we pulled in. Turned off the car and sat there, wondering if we had just done something wrong. Got out, looked around, and figured that we'd start setting up the tent and one of the many people in close proximity could come and set us straight. Sure enough, a girl in shorts and a bikini top came over. She had the words "birthday girl" written on her chest, and "need ticket" on her back. You two just getting here? Welcome! I guess we were fine.

The show that night was phenomenal. More than phenomenal. A DMB @ The Gorge show is pretty much indescribable. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Walking back to our tent, we were a little worried. We hadn't even had to find it in the light, how could we find it in the dark? It was surprisingly easy. Retraced our steps, took an unintentional shortcut, and voilà!

Sunday morning we packed up and drove towards the entrance/exit, curious as to how this whole "rebate" thing would work. Behind a couple of cars, I saw the drivers hand over the mirror doohickey, and a staff person hand them a couple of slips. Can't be forty bucks cash can it? Sure enough, pulled up, handed him the doohickey, and he gave me two twenties. Is this really the best system for camping at the Gorge? Let's say someone is camping for just Friday night. They pay $120. They leave Saturday morning and get handed $80 cash? Strange.

All in all, it was a very fun experience.

Friday, September 01, 2006

DMB @ The Gorge!

Biscotti and I are leaving tomorrow morning to head on down to the Gorge in George, WA to see Dave Matthews Band. In preparation for hitting the road, I do what many of you probably do first or close-to-first: I think of what CDs to bring. Now, in the past on road-trips-to-concerts, the practice has been to listen to CDs of the band that you are about to see. So, the live DMB CDs that I have would be perfect. Red Rocks is great, Listener Supported is very good, and Central Park is phenomenal. However, I'm putting a new practice into play tomorrow. I'll take those CDs, or at least one of them, but only to listen to on the drive back home, to re-live the concert, in a way. On the way there, we'll listen to some of our other favorite bands, then the concert will seem that much more... that much more... I need a good word here.. that much more sensational? Yeah, that's a good word.

We're hoping to be camping at the Gorge tomorrow night, but due to a ticketmaster system snafu, that may not be happening. Details on that, and a brief-or-detailed concert review, with-or-without pictures, on our return. Maybe.

Have a good long weekend everyone..