Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Obsolete


Well, another decade has come and gone... and so has a lot of our fancy techno-junk...

Remember when digital flip phones were all the rage?

Remember when shock-free portable CD players were a must have?

Remember answering machines? VCRs? Floppy drives?

Remember cube TVs!? (I do, but that's because I still have one)



The analogue era is gone, and we have officially entered the digital age.

From shopping mall directories, to pumps at the gas station, to the fridge in your kitchen, anything can be given a brain these days, and in the next 10 years the world will become a very different place yet again...


But for now, let's look back a the past ten.


The Huffington Post published an article highlighting 12 ordinary, everyday things that have essentially died off since the turn of the millenium.

Summing up how fast things change is enough to make you bust out a whaaaazzzzzuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!?

12) Calling: Believe it or not, I hate talking on the phone. Chatting with callers on the radio is one thing, but when it comes to everyday conversation, as far as I'm concerned, if it can be said in a text, say it in a text. Nothing worse than mindless Hey how are yous?


11) Newspaper Classifieds: The only thing left in the classified section these days is job ads (targeted to people who likely don't use Craigslist) and "escort services"... I can only imagine whom they're targeting...


10) Dial Up Internet: It sucked. 'Nuff said... but the sounds are pretty nostalgic, no?


9) Encyclopedias: Why buy expensive books that take up space when you can just punch it into Wikipedia? There are so many articles on there that the odds of one being fudged up by a net surfing hoodlum are pretty slim.

That said, if you want your apartment to smell of many leather bound books... an encyclopedia set may not be all that bad...


8) CDs: I still use these, and obviously they're still sold in droves. But I think that's because what people are spending their money on is not the CD (They're just going to transfer the music on to their iTunes anyway). What people are still interested in buying in the new decade is real, tangible, cover art and liner notes.

You also can't display an iTunes collection on a rack in your living room. Many people enjoy that... my CDs, however, tend to wind up on the floor of my car...


7) Landline Phones: Hellooooooooooooo? Why bother? Unless you collect rotary phones... Which is kinda cool, I must say...


6) Film and Film Cameras: These seemed to die off relatively quick! It wasn't until computer software technology caught up with that of the cameras themselves that the digital revolution seemed to take hold.

It was only a few years ago that Kodak flaunted its Advantix brand film and cameras. The ones where you can choose different photo sizes, reduce red eye, etc... impressive features for film. But, um, digital does that too.


5) Yellow Pages and Address Books: Much the same as the classifieds, these babies won't truly die out until literally every home and every person has access to an internet device. Until then, grandma is still going to turn to page 675 to find the number for the knitting store.

(No offence 'Nan, I know how much you like your knitting)


4) Catalogues: Aside from Ikea and the Sears Wishbook... when was the last time you've ever seen one show up on your door? Nope, websites are the new catalogue. It's over.


3) Fax Machines: This surprised me actually. Fax machines aren't the rock star office supply they once were, but they're still very useful I find. Besides, these days they're easily integrated into printer/scanner technology... so it's really more of a "why NOT put it in?" kinda thing.


2) Wires: The more stuff we invent, the more space their wires take up. Granted, they're still cluttering up my living room. But bit by bit and little by little they are disappearing. Wireless internet is already king. And now you can even charge some cell phones wirelessly!

The Palm Pre, for instance, charges through a magnet in the back of the phone. I don't think it'll be too long before you'll be able to make toast on your roof.

But will batteries be included? If they are they'd better toss in a loaf of bread too. Extra incentive to buy!


1) Hand Written Letters: This, I consider somewhat of a tragic result of the advances in technology.

It makes complete sense why no one writes letters anymore, why bother when you can tweet instead?

But a hand written letter is something that will never die off completely. People have been writing each other for centuries, and to this day it's still a heartwarming gesture to sit down and scribble some meaningful words for someone you love.

It's just a humbling reminder that while all these crazy innovations have become essential cogs in the way we live... the power can always go out... but the written word will last a lifetime.

Happy New Year everyone!

I wish you nothing but peace, love and the upmost of joy in 2010 and beyond!

Ian



Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Balls

It's award season again!


This morning the Golden Globe nominations were dished out and for some reason Justin Timberlake was there to help do it...


JT- "I was in The Love Guru!"
Ian- "I know Justin, but that was a terrible movie"
JT- "Oh... I was in Alpha Dog..."
Ian- "I know Justin, that movie was okay, but Emile Hirsch and Anton Yelchin pretty much stole the show."
JT- "Oh... I was in Black Snake Moan"
Ian- "I know Justin... for about three seconds"
JT- "Oh... I'm dating Jessica Biel!"
Ian- "Atta boy. Here's a Grammy."
JT- "Thanks!!!! :D!!!!"


Anyway, here's a rundown on some of this year's nominees:

MOVIES


Best drama
The Hurt Locker - Haven't seen it, but hear it's amazing... good work HFPA, 1 point
Inglourious Basterds -Amazing film... 1 point
Precious -Kind've obvious, but it was a great movie... 1 point
Up in the Air - Not even out yet, which bugs me about these award shows... -1 point
Avatar - Not out... but I'm super excited to see it. So torn... 0.5 points




Best comedy/musical picture
The Hangover -Blown away by this one. Laughed every second... 1 point
It's Complicated - Meryl's in it... may as well toss it in the pile... 0 points
Julie & Julia - Meryl's in it, pile... oh, but it's good (I hear)... 1 point
Nine - Have YOU seen it? Because I have indeed not... at least Meryl's not in it... 1 point
(500) Days of Summer - Meh... 0 points


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart" - He's still at it, eh?... 1 point (for effort)
George Clooney, "Up in the Air" - Not out, looks good, Clooney is hit or miss for me... 0 points
Colin Firth, "A Single Man" - Not... out... but Tom Ford definitely is... 1 point
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus" - A. Maze. Ing. Can never go wrong with Mo-Free... 1 point
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers" - Toby creeps me out in the trailer, signs of a good actor... 1 point


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria" - Obligatory period piece... 0 points
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side" -Hey, it killed New Moon... 1 point
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station" -The Last what?... Never heard... 0.5 points for Dame Hellen
Carey Mulligan, "An Education" -Peter Sarsgaard makes robbing the cradle look classy. 1 point
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious" -Duh... she nailed it... 2 points (extra point being it's her first role)




Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mo'Nique, "Precious" -Wickedly evil... but please shave your legs... 1 point
Julianne Moore, "A Single Man" -One of my all time favorite actresses... 1 point
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air" -Clooney's conquest BUT she grew out of New Moon... 1 point
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air" -Tough call, too much Clooney here... 0.5 points
Penelope Cruz, "Nine" -... 2 points... one for each chi-chi...




Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon, "Invictus" -Matt Damon can do no wrong... amazing performance... 1 point
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones" -Great story, movie looks... um... different... 0 points
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station" -Did you know he's related to a Prime Minister? Huh... 1 point
Christoph Waltz, "Inglorious Basterds" -Phenomenal... 3 points (one for each language)





Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Sandra Bullock, "The Proposal" -They meant The Blind Side, right?... 0.5 points for Betty White
Marion Cotillard, "Nine" - 1 point... I just feel obligated...
Julia Roberts, "Duplicity" -Mr and Mrs Smith knockoff... 0 points
Meryl Streep, "It's Complicated" -It's Meryl, but we need to even the score here... 0.5 points
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia" -... 0.5 points... please don't ever do Mama Mia again




Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Matt Damon, "The Informant!" -Go Matt! 1 point
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Nine" -Oprah hollerin' his name is still echoing in my brain... still... 1 point
Robert Downey Jr, "Sherlock Holmes" -Lurve RDJ, but this movie kinda looks like a stinker... 0 points
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer" -That's the kid from Third Rock, right?... Good for him... good for him... 0.5 points
Michael Stuhlbarg, "Serious Man" -Never heard of the movie, but upon googling, I want to see it... 0.5 points



Best Original Song -- Motion Picture
"Cinema Italiano," Nine -Catchy, catchy, catchy... 1 point
"I See You", Avatar, performed by LEONA LEWIS -Is James Cameron trying to make her the next CĂ©line?... 1 point
"The Weary Kind" Crazy Heart -Does Jeff Bridges sing it? CAN he sing?... 0 points
"I Want To Come Home," by PAUL MCCARTNEY, Everybody's Fine -*Kablamo* The movie is a bomb... 0.5 points for Paul
"Winter," by U2, Brothers -These awards are stuffy enough without Bono's ego on board... -1 point





Best Animated Feature Film
Coraline -All of these movies look adorable... points for everybody!!!... 1 point
The Fantastic Mr. Fox ... 1 point
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ... 1 point
The Princess and the Frog ... 2 points (for Disney going old school)
Up ... 1 point


Movie Score: 37.5/50



TELEVISION


You know what? I agree with every one of these selections... except House... Sorry, just not a fan.

Television score: 18/20



Best drama series
"Dexter"
"Mad Men"
"House M.D."
"True Blood"
"Big Love"



Best comedy series
"30 Rock"
"Entourage"
"Glee"
"The Office"
"Modern Family"


Best actor in a drama series
Simon Baker, "The Mentalist"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Bill Paxton, "Big Love"


Best actress in a comedy series
Glenn Close, "Damages"
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Anna Paquin, "True Blood"
Kyra Sedgewick, "The Closer"

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Neighbours

I have some very eclectic neighbours in my building...


First there's the girl across the hall.
Filana is her name... Phillana... Fillanna? I barely know if I'm saying it right, let alone spelling it, but she's cool.
A hippy dippy kinda gal that burns incense, dances in the hall and leaves used books by the front door for the taking. She travels around Canada a lot working as a shaman of sorts; attending rain dances, midnight weddings in the bush, and many, many raves.
She offered to bring me some chili one night... I fear what kind of mushrooms she uses in the recipe... Still, she's good people.

Next, there's Crystal. I don't know if Crystal is actually her name, but she looks like a Crystal. Torn grey sweat pants, stained hoodies, and hair done up in a loose ponytail right on top of her head. She's the building drunk.
Occasionally we run into each other in the stairwell, and she valiantly slurs out some kind of attempt at small talk. It usually involves her former employer and how they're "huge jerks" (Crystal's choice of words is a lot more colorful).
She lives in an apartment smaller than mine. It's literally a little box at the corner of the hall right next to Fillana's place.
Her door is usually left open a crack which allows her cranked up music to be heard throughout the building. She loves everything from Kiss to The Jonas Brothers, and sings along with every track she plays...
It makes me kinda sad really. I mean, it's obvious she's an alcoholic with family issues. I base that on the highly audible arguments I've heard her have in the hall with the old man who delivers her rum.

Next up is my friend Heather...

This classy dame and I have been friends since first grade. We lived together in Edmonton for a spell and eventually both found our way to Calgary.

Then we found our way two doors down from each other... she lives down the hall right across from Crystal.

One night, shortly after moving in, Crystal stopped by her place to ask if she wanted to drink with her (Exhibit B in the alcoholism case).

This creeped Heather out and prompted her to cut me a set of keys to her place in case she ever got in "trouble".

Silly girl... she's more likely to get in trouble with yours truly... and she does.

No biggie... We cook food, drink wine, swap old stories, then hit the club from time to time... we're pretty much a pair of hip urbanites living our youth to the beat of the city. Coming from St. Paul, Alberta, this will always be a novelty...

Finally, there's the Gruesome Twosome.
Don't know their names, don't know their story, but I do know this... they have a LOT of sex...

Seriously... jackrabbits, these two.

It's a guy and a girl living together (I assume?) in the apartment that separates mine and Heather's; A mopey looking pair that have an affinity for extra-baggy jeans, wallet chains and KORN t-shirts.
Rarely seen, but always present. I've hardly ever seen either one of them leave the flat. But of the two, she tends to pop out more often.
Never for long though. She'll head out and come back about 15 minutes later with either pizza, groceries, beer or confectionary from 7-11.
As for him... I'm more likely to spot a Sasquatch doing his laundry down the hall than see him venture into the daylight.
Jobs? Doubtful... unless they're running some kind raunchy website out of their living room... which is frighteningly plausible.

There's three dead giveaways that these two are always lurking a wall away from me:

1) Movies: They own a sound system, and they have a taste for action flicks

2) Music: Surprisingly one (or both) of them is way into Three Days Grace and Evanescence... those KORN tees are a touch misleading that way.

3) The SEX!!! Lots of it. Morning glory, afternoon delight, and late night... um... escapades?

Usually the moaning and groaning on the other side of the wall can be drowned out by my television... but last night... last night was different.
Because it wasn't just moaning and groaning last night... something dark and dirty was going on next door...

I think there was a whip involved.

The cracking echoed in my dreams... *shudder*...

My neighbours... quite the motley crew... I think I'll bake them cookies for Christmas.



-Ian

Friday, December 11, 2009

Totally Aliens

Something effed up happened in Norway this week...

Early Wednesday morning, while sipping their coffee, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and mushing their kids off to school, folks from Harstad to Tromsø were amazed by a dazzling spectacle of light in the sky above.

An enormous glowing spiral appeared and rotated while a strange green beam shot out from its centre.

The entire show lasted around 12 minutes before dissolving back into the darkness.

Whoah... Move over Balloon Boy, because even if this IS a hoax... color me impressed!

Of course, my nerdy/awesome side is really hoping this is some kind of alien activity. A cross-dimensional wormhole opening up the heavens and linking us with an advanced civilization the likes of which our imagination can't begin to comprehend... or it might be some viral marketing campaign for "Avatar"...

... But sadly, the Russians are taking credit.

Suppoooooosedly it's some rocket thing they fired from a submarine that went the way of Amy Winehouse and became a cracked out mess in the sky.
Here's a smart British guy explaining how that's possible:



Thanks for that buzzkill... Rocket or not, I'm sure this thing is going to get explained away in the near future.
But in the meantime I'm working on how to greet our new alien overlords... Smile? Bow? Handshake? Would they have hands?

Damn, what should I wear?