THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE LANCE, THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR STUDENT NEWSPAPER:
NEWS, REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY, COURTESY OF THE PAPER TRAIL

Monday, June 30, 2008

Duuuuuun, Daaaaaaa, Da-daaaaaa














Long weekends are amazing. I trust you're not around to read it anyway, so I'm not going to be around to write it.

Well, not til Wednesday, anyway.

Happy Canada Day, Canada.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Get Connected

I suspect I'm just going to leave this to sit here awhile, since those involved did such an awesome job on it, and I don't want it to get shuffled down the page just yet, so enjoy debut episode of LoL [Lance Out Loud].

Another first for campus news, the series will keep you up to date with what's going on across your campus. The premiere episode gives you the scoop on convocation, the Canadian Track and Field Championships and the latest doings at the Pelissier Street Gallery, as well as the semi-annual Phog t-shirt show.



Props to D'Arcy, Mike, Ryan, Madames Gale Gare and O'Neil and anyone else who's working on it. You all came out swinging fresh out the box, and I have no doubt you can keep it up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Quizzical

As was pointed out on AOTS when I first saw this clip, the argument is dependent on the demand for the product. Can you can compare Kid Rock to gasoline? Ninety per cent of the Western populace needs gasoline for something. Did anybody need a cover of Kid Rock singing 'Feel Like Making Love'?



The comment thread that follows the thread is equally enjoyable, with supporters of Mr. Richie arguing he's being anti-corporate America. Mmmm-hmmmm.

The argument is flawed because at present, the economic model that has so failed the entertainment industry has yet to fail the sweater/computer/gasoline businesses as fully. When I can download a sweater from the Gap, then make that argument.

Bits and Pieces

Forgot to mention I finished Nugent's American Nerd last week, and while I found the latter half of the book to be a little padded, I thought the first part was a good social examination of the nerd/geek/dork phenomenon, and how these types came into existence. Interesting points:
  • To know where nerds come from, you need to know where jocks came from, since that's the norm they run opposition to. And jocks go back to notions of 'muscular Christianity' or the values of Teddy Roosevelt, as Western societies moved to more urban environments. Physical prowess was no longer proven on the farm, so sports emerged as the popular expression of physical skill and fortitude.

  • The nerd model can be seen in literature as far back as Jane Austen, EM Forster and PG Wodehouse.

  • The one precept that unites all nerdly activities, from LARPing to anime lovers to D&D players is a strict adherence to rules; a desire to conduct social interaction with the rigidity of a computer program or an RPG rulebook. You always know what to expect from people if you know they have a Charisma value of +14.

  • A tenuous, but thought provoking chapter examined the link between nerdiness and mild forms of autism like Asperger's. One expert in the condition is quoted as saying when he speaks at places like Silicon Valley or any other tech-centered town, the attendance is 10 times what it is anywhere else. Nugent asks, are we diagnosing a social condition instead of a mental one? This is probably a highly controversial notion, but props to Nugent for not shying away from it.

  • Personally, I enjoyed the piece on the anime convention, considering my recent falling out with all things Japanese that North Americans love. Nugent has the stones to point out that what's being sold at such cons isn't nerdiness, it's childhood. More than that, it's a sexualized childhood. He mentions how at one panel, the discussion on the panelist's favourite candy is longer than the story of her emigration from Russia and her breaking in to manga publishing. Old men flirt with young girls, the girls cosplay half naked, they all 'glomp' on each other, but nobody ever hooks up. Seriously, y'all? It's kind of creepy. I'm happy everyone has found a place, but it's still creepy.
That said, I'll still see you all at the Canadian Comic Expo in August. So yeah, The book gets a B+. That said, it's still definitely worth a read.

Speaking of anime, the Lady and I discovered a bizarre little video shop in Square One yesterday [bizarre to be found in a mall, and not in some dilapidated building downtown], and I managed to score the last three volumes of Satoshi Kon's Paranoia Agent for an acceptable $10 per disc. Kon, as my old timers know, is the man who gave us the modern classic Perfect Blue, and has since given us Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika. I believe PA is his only attempt at TV thus far. I picked up the first disc upon its release, but I was on the tail end of my fandom and $40 for a three episode disc was too rich for my blood after that [thank you very much Cinema One Devonshire]. But 10 bucks? That I can do.

I should run down my top ten anime loves one day. Prove my cred [and subsequent disillusionment] to be legit. We'll see.

Lucky for you, that's for another day.

ADDED: Listen to The Sound of Young America interview American Nerd author Benjamin Nugent on their podcast!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Trail's Movie [Making] Corner

In my high school, as in most high schools I'd think, there was a kid who made movies. Dan was the son of the shop teacher, who drove one of those wood-paneled station wagons that were being phased out in the mid-90s. He wasn't a popular kid, but he wasn't like the proto-emo kid who four days a week was blonde haired, then on Thursdays dyed his hair black and spiked it out Robert Smith style.

Aside: On a trip back to my parents' place, on a nostalgic dig through some artifacts of my youth, I came across a list of outbursts that kid had in grade eleven French class, that he would make when he couldn't take anymore, and we jotted down because they were so laughable to us. In this post-Columbine world...well, let's just say if there was a 'most likey' at my high school.....

Anyway, the first movie I remember Dan making was about a pair of homeless guys who find a duffle bag full of money. Chaos and hilarity ensue. Most of the filming was done the summer going into grade twelve, so I wasn't privy to most of the developments. It was only after classes recommenced that I learned the climactic scene was going to be filmed at the Navy Yard in Amherstburg that weekend, and a crowd was needed. So I headed down with a bunch of my classmates from across the popularity spectrum, and we stood huddled together to look like a sea of people as a classmate of mine [who did some work for the Star as a photographer] pretended to get shot by having fireworks taped to ketchup packets taped to a piece of plywood on his chest. It was amazing.

I was thinking about those days a lot as I watched Michel Gondry's Be Kind Rewind tonight. I knew going in that the movie split the critics' opinions, specifically over one key moment: the suspension of disbelief required to believe that the entire town of Passaic, New Jersey would enjoy Jack Black and Mos Def's 'Sweded' remakes and want to be a part of them. Some reviewers weren't able to get behind that idea. Me, remembering that day when I threw on a Hawaiian shirt and a Goofy hat [not an adjective, the hat looked like the dog from the Disney cartoons. I think I was creating a character of some kind], standing next to one of the most popular girls at school, and no one cared because we all wanted to make it happen so we could watch ourselves when we were done, I could totally believe it.

I also enjoyed the movie because it's essentially a love letter to the remix culture that I've so openly supported here before. The closest thing to a villain in the film is a cameo by Sigourney Weaver as a Hollywood studio lawyer who confiscates and destroys all the remakes under copyright violations. Gondry never takes the dialogue farther than that, perhaps trying to suggest to the audience that creating your own movies is better than remaking those done before, but it's clear the value of the remix [and the pirate] isn't lost on Gondry.

What's interesting is that while the movie seems to embrace the culture that's come to prominence in the web 2.0/digital era, it does so using stubbornly analog technology. VHS tapes, no computers, no visual effects: just found equipment and ingenuity. I'm not going to argue which aesthetic is superior, I just found the juxtaposition interesting.

Not for everyone, Gondry's flicks usually aren't, but I for one enjoyed it. It took me back to a fun time in my life, and makes me regret the fact that Dan never finished his sequel starring those two homeless guys. I moved up to a speaking role, as a nudist cab driver.

The Trail's Idea of a Sport Report

A lovely day of capitalism spent at the Square One mall out in Mississauga today. Be forewarned, Windsor: with the Lady off for summer vaca, your Mon-Fri schedule could get a little wonky.

In sports, the greatest night of the year happened last night with the annual[ish] WWE draft. Looking at the results:

Rey Misterio goes to RAW. To be fair, ReyRey had done about all he could on Smackdown, and I wouldn't have predicted another run at the top for him over there. He may not get one on RAW either, but at least we'll get some fresher matches, and the brand gains two kid-friendly top babyfaces with him and John Cena.

Jeff Hardy goes to Smackdown. Won't harm or help him, I don't think. Though Smackdown's a little more lenient with who they let run with the ball, so maybe he'll get a top push. Though maybe not...which we'll discuss in a minute.

CM Punk goes to RAW. Not a draft as much as a 'calling up to the big leagues'. Punk's super over, yet directionless in ECW. Start building him up to make him a viable contender when he uses that Money in the Bank shot he's got.

Matt Hardy goes to ECW. On the surface, it looks awful for him. Everyone knows ECW has become the farm leagues, but Hardy's got a rabid fanbase, and the shuffling of both him and his brother might be a play to lure their fans to watch their shows.

Jim Ross goes to Smackdown; Michael Cole goes to RAW. Ummm....what?!?! Look people, Jim Ross leaving RAW [everytime it happens] is akin to CBC losing the Hockey Night in Canada theme. He is the voice of RAW, the best play by play man in the business, and I don't know why they continually move him from his spot. I've heard before they wanted to bring Cole up to the big leagues, and if they want to mould Mick Foley into a top tier commentator, JR's the man to coach him, but still. It's just kind of balls.

Batista goes to RAW. Meh. Doesn't really matter one way or the other, besides possibly freshening up Dave's character. Heel him, put him with Jericho and continue the feud with HBK.

Umaga goes to Smackdown. Where he can now be beaten by all the main eventers on that brand.

Kane goes to Raw. Don't really see the point, since Kane's been bounced around all three brands more than anyone in the company. Hopefully they have a plan that won't neuter ECW completely.

Triple H and Mr. Kennedy go to Smackdown. No. Effing. Way. Nice cliffhanger, but no. Effing. Way. Trips has always wanted to be on the top show, and RAW is the top show. Unless he's been struck by an altruistic desire to elevate the Friday show, this will never stay. Look for some 'back room dealings' to send the Champ back to Monday Nights. Kennedy? Meh. Maybe he'll get some direction out of the change. Lord knows he needs it.

As always, my thanks for sitting through this. Going to watch 'Be Kind Rewind' now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Road Trip

The Lance goes on vaca, takes you with it.

Unexpected Three Day Weekend!

Sorry about that, kids. Actually, wait. I'm not sorry. I was in Guelph demoing new songs with the Fabulous Ictusband, who might be playing a show with our old friends in Explode When They Bloom next month. The Trail is a skilled xylophonist. But only when the notes are engraved on it.

Speaking of our old friends, they get the full writeup treatment in the latest issue of The Lance [on stands now]. I've know Dave since the Disposition days, and I'm proud to see his talents [and the band's] finally get the recognition they deserve [saw the 5/5 writeup in The Scene this morning, too. Aces, boys].

Though, Lindsey? They're from KingsVILLE, not Kingston. :P

The Globe looks at which presidential candidate is better for Canadians. Despite the Obama-love, McCain might be better for Canada's interests, if not our sanity.

A Spider-Man game that actually fights the way Spider-Man should fight. That means something else will invariably suffer.

It is worth noting that by going to Guelph to be a skilled vibraphonist, I missed the FREE(!) Video Games Live performance in Dundas Square here in Toronto. Probably better. I wouldn't have wanted the nerds to see me start crying when the theme for FF:X started playing.

Shock and horror! Scotty2Naughty leaving Windsor?! Dear Lord, no! Good God, man, you're an institution! But I wish you well, my friend. The Rose City was lucky to have you. And you'll quickly find, even though you leave, you're never really gone.

Tribute: Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, tits.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Before Bed

Well, Caesar's is open. While I'd encourage the citizens of Windsor not to shit themselves just yet, there's no denying the opening of the casino was a major event for the city. Not every day Billy Joel plays Windsor.

Someone there need to book Al Green. That's all I'm saying.

Elsewhere: Japanese thirtysomethings killing themselves in record numbers.

Australia world's fattest country.

Canadian Courts overturn father's grounding of his own son.

Wanna hear Jim Prentice refuse to answer any questions about the Canadian DMCA on CBC Radio's Search Engine? Have at it.

The Mars Lander finds ice on the red planet. Informs world via Twitter.

Cartoonist Coco Wang reports on the China Earthquake via graphic art. The Panda strips are my favourites.

Now sleep. Which is where I am a Viking.

Love and Happiness

























The man is 64 years old, he's had boiling grits dumped on him, abandoned secular music and come back to it again. And we are all grateful.

The Reverend Al Green tore down the Sony Centre in Toronto tonight for 75 minutes of soul and gospel. I have no qualms admitting that when he sang 'Amazing Grace,' I misted up a little. Then he sang 'Let's Stay Together' and set the crowd on fire, with more energy than men a third his age.

You like music? See the Rev. while you still can.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Long and Lazy

You know what's awesome? Napping. The Boston Globe agrees. So since I'm up at 5.30, I'm gonna go do that now. Updates could be sketchy tomorrow, since I'm going to see Al Green perform as part of the Toronto Jazz Fest.

Oh. Hells. Yeah.

Continued Adventures in Global Hiphop: HALCALI

Came across this today [via Flight808]. While I might prefer the video for Strawberry Chips [if only more rappers dressed like trees and danced], this clip for Twinkle Star is probably a little more palatable to you Westerners, and has a higher WTF?!/second rate.



You area a weird and magical place, internets.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shipoopi!

Apparently there is an insurance broker in Washington State who makes some of the best indie commercials the world has ever seen. He's a legend over there and through the magic of the internets, you may also enjoy him. There's a list of almost forty commercials, but this one is my favourite. For no real reason.

Honk for Fonk!

The State--Who Cares, Firefox!

Most exciting news of the day today is the release of Firefox 3.0! Don't know what it is? Philistine.

Firefox is only the most badass web browser on the planet, and if you're still using Internet Explorer, I weep for you. Do yourself a favour and download the update. You'll never go back.

Elsewhere...

Best crotchety old bastard interview ever! The New York Times magazine interviews Gore Vidal.

Today marks the first day gay marriage is legal in California, and Commander Sulu is the first in line.

KISS blames Radiohead for the decline of the recording industry. Oh, and you. Don't forget it's all your fault.

Industry Minister Jim Prentice responds to criticisms of the proposed amendments to the copyright act.

Severed feet keep turning up on British Columbia beaches.

Suck it, fair use: The Associated Press now says bloggers can yoink four words of copy for a headline. After that, pay up, slappy. This is clearly not going well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Welcome to Monday

What a day. Worked a bizarre 2-7 after getting up early to attend the Canadian Book Expo for free [added perk of working in the bookseller trade], and then to IKEA with the Lady to get some small items for the house, your man is pooped, Windsor. I mean, I could thrill you with observations on the book retail industry, but you have lives, so I'll spare you.
So what more do you need than an effectively choreographed rendition of Michael Jackson's Thriller performed by Darth Vader and Storm Troopers, filmed at the annual Star Wars weekend at Disneyland? Nothing, that's what.



So much nerd in one sixty second clip. Speaking of nerds, I'm almost finished Benjamin Nugent's American Nerd, a social history of the nerd image, its historical roots and how it came to be known, played straight down the middle, pretty objectively. I'll report back when I finish it.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Brief Filmic Aside

Flipped through the latest issue of Rue Morgue at work yesterday, primarily because it had Machine Girl on the cover [a movie first cited for awesomeness on this blog here] and promised a lengthy story on Japanese 'youth gone wild' splatter flicks. The wonderful article tipped me off to two movies that will be quickly hunted down at the local questionable rental establishment.

The first, Karaoke Terror, follows the gang war that erupts between a group of younger boys and a group of middle aged women who meet in a karaoke bar, when one of the latter rebuffs the sexual advances of one of the former. Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami [he of 'Audition' and 'Coinlocker Babies'], it looks exceptionally promising. Gore, gender politics and Ryuhei Matsuda for the ladies. Sounds good to me.



The second film is simply called Tokyo Gore Police. That's really all that needs to be said. Something about a special police force charged with hunting down mutants. There's no nice, two minute trailer online, but you can find a five-minute clip of various scenes. Continuing the 'Six Degrees of Audition', this one stars Eihi Shiina as the lead cop.

Now look. I'm not going to embed the clip here because it is really, really over the top, and I don't think that's appropriate. Even I have my standards. If you go back and look at that Machine Girl trailer posted last year, this is even worse. If you want to see it, hunt it down yourselves, but believe me, if you enjoy dismemberment in your movies, TGP's got it by the pound.

On that happy note, enjoy your weekend!

Out the Door

Quick post before I go to the grocery store: The much talked about amendments to the Canadian Copyright Act slid into the legislature at the last minute yesterday, before Parliament headed for vacation. It's bad if you download [$500] and worse if you upload [$20,000].

Michael Geist does my work for me.

Developing.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Start Conspiratori...zing?

While I take this video with a heavy grain of salt, since the idea of the Internet going down in 2012 strikes me as a little too....Mayan Calendar Apocalypto to me, if even a third of what they're saying is true, bad times all around.

Though considering the YouTube page entices you with nude photos of the host, I've got my fingers on the shenanigans button. All of those gentlemen need a haircut, too. Fine if you're fronting an indie band. Not so fine if you're delivering a message of dire importance to the people. You look like the Lone Gunmen from the X-Files.

It should also be remembered, that even if it doesn't happen, it won't be because the TelComms don't want to.



EDIT: Upon further review, I notice I missed this clip is being brought to us by Athene, another YouTube "celebrity" notable* for playing lots of World of Warcraft and pimping his girlfriend. So that Lone Gunmen comparison grows more accurate, and that salt grain grows even larger, but they're sticking to their integro-guns on this one, so you be the judge, Windsor.

*-->not actually notable.

For My Homies Who Ain't Here, It's The State of The World

Wow. Didn't see that coming. Then again, I'm not bright.

PM Stephen Harper issued a statement today apologizing to Canadian First Nations for the residential schools policy, an official programme of parliament that saw native children forcibly removed from their homes and sent across to the country to assimilate into nice, proper Christian Canadians.

While some voices of dissent chided the apology as hollow and insufficient, all of the First Nations leaders in attendance cited the moment as a landmark in Canada's history with its aboriginal peoples.

Locally, news that the Mayor's Youth Action Committee is looking to get moving on an Ambassador program with Transit Windsor, in an effort to create a dialogue with this segment of residents. So if we have any younguns reading this, go check out the details and get involved with it. Because while I'll never hate on public transit, and we know they do the best they can in the car capital of Canada, it could be so much better.

Because it's been awhile since I checked in with the craziness constantly swirling around Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, Keith Olbermann provides you with footage of veteran journalist Bill Moyers dismantling one of Bill's ambush producers at the recent National Conference for Media Reform. Olbermann fills you in on the '$20/barrel oil' comments, if you need a rebriefing on the sex scandal mentioned, see here. They call that pwnage, right?

Incidentally, if you have 40 minutes and care about this sort of thing, Moyers' keynote can be found here, and makes for good watching, though America-centric.

Think China's the only place engaging in Internet censorship? Vive le France! And no, this is not an endorsement of terrorism or child pornography. It is a statement that the time and resources might be better spent going after those who disseminate such information, instead of blocking its access. It's tackling the problem from the wrong end. You want to stop the hose from running, you don't jam your finger in the opening, you turn off the tap. Same principle.

Freaky ass freak shit: Man revives after being declared dead for an hour and a half. Oh, and they were starting to harvest his organs when they noticed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Affairs of the....Something?

After now reading the entirety of that New York Magazine story on male infidelity [see link in previous post], I'm reminded of two things, one of which works to the authors thesis, one that works against.

1. I think I read somewhere a quote by Chuck Klosterman stating that the biggest difference bewteen male and female views on sexuality can be summed up as such: Say you, as a man, live in an apartment building. As you pick up your mail in the lobby one day you bump into your attractive neighbour who, after pausing uncomfortably, makes a bizarre request.

She would like you to watch her masturbate.

Say this young lady has a predisposition to being watched while she masturbates. She doesn't need or want you to do anything, she just wants you to go up to her apartment and stand there.

And say you do. You go up, stand in the bedroom doorway, watch her do her business, likey get aroused but you stay fully clothed, you never touch her or yourself, and when she finishes up and says thanks, you go home and start making dinner.

Men, the argument goes, will not view such an encounter as cheating. Women....would think otherwise. As a man who's watched marriages threatened by a strip club bachelor party, I'm inclined to agree with such an assessment.

2. I'm also inclined to agree with the commenter on the article who quoted Stephen Colbert: "Is there a chance that this is just a sophisticated rationale for being a complete asshole?"

Reading the piece, for all its wannabe scientific evidence that philandering is required for male sanity, it really just seems like the author is clamoring for an excuse to mess around, despite his apparent love and devotion to his wife.

Complicated times we live in, Windsor.

Tamara Doesn't Understand the State of the World

One of the best space killers in my old News Editor days during the summer was running the list of the honorary degree recipients at Spring convocation. You could easily kill a page with the headshots and bios, and in these slow summer months, that's better than gold, believe me.

The current crop is up on the Daily News website. If there was any 'marquee' attraction this year, it would have to be writer Ann Marie MacDonald, author of the novels 'As the Crow Flies' and 'Fall on Your Knees,' as well as the play 'Good Night Desdemona [Good Morning Juliet].' This news will likely make the feminists in your lives happy and/or jealous.

Hey look, Bjork made another crazy dope ass video. Doesn't she ever get tired of doing that? It's not like anybody airs them anymore.

God bless the Interwebs! A US gag order apparently prevents it from being discussed there, but that has no bearing on the BBC's publication of allegations that approximately $23 billion has been lost, stolen, or mismanaged in Iraq since the start of the war. Some might call that war profiteering [like Henry Waxman, the chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform] but I ain't one to gossip, so you ain't heard that from me.

New York Magazine posts the full text of last month's cover story on men's ongoing problems with fidelity and marriage.

Proving their continued confusion at online matters, Metallica hosts a party for guests to listen to tracks from their upcoming album. Nobody requests, formally or informally that the content of the party not be discussed, so people go home and blog about what they thought of the tracks, which promptly gets them orders from the band's peeps to take down all posts concerning the party. Best part? All of the reviews were positive!

Yeah, the end times are coming, people: California doctor threatens man with tire iron for cutting in gas line. Allegedly.

High school paper runs front page story supporting flag burning as free speech. Promptly gets disbanded by administration. There's a lesson there, I think.

Summer panic: flip flops are painful!! Anyone remember those Wal-Mart clogs that gave people chemical burns last year? That was pretty sweet.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Another Illusion Shattered

You know, I never understood why my compatriots who enjoyed the WWE were always unwilling to give TNA a chance. No one can argue that the wrestling isn't superior 90% of the time, yet Lady Trail thinks it looks bush league, and D'Arcy and Remo both always felt reminded of WCW, due in no small part to the commentary of Mike Tenay.

After this, I see their point.



Good Lord, that crap is scripted? All hail Jim Ross and Jerry the King, Windsor.

With Hands Covered in Scratches, the State of the World

Now taking suggestions on kitten disciplinary techniques. Whither the cat whisperer?

Our lead story tonight: holy shit it's hot. With temperatures in the low 30s and a humidex guaranteed to grease your ass, summer has made its presence known. As always in circumstances like this, the health unit advises you to take it easy to avoid the risk of injury. Temperatures should level off later this week.

But what you care about the most is the announcement of the 3G iPhone, which is finally and legally coming to Canada. 8GB and 16GB models will hit our shores [via Rogers] on July 11. So who cares about 3G? It's basically a faster network that allows you to access online content quicker. Won't make a lick of difference when you're talking, but will when you log onto Facebook. Plus, Apple's recently started letting third party developers create content for the phone, so you can play Tetris now without voiding your warranty. The Jesusphone continues to thrive.

Wonder what the Earth looks like from Mars? There you go.

Let the speculatorium rise! Gallup reports Obama would take McCain, 48% to 42%. You know, if only two thousand people voted.

In a story that matters to other people more than me: CTV has snagged the rights to the Hockey Night in Canada theme out from under the CBC. See, the CBC doesn't own the song, it was licensed from composer Dolores Claman through a Toronto firm. The two sides couldn't reach a new contract agreement, so Claman sold the song to CTV outright, which means the CBC will never get it again. CTV will use the theme on TSNs hockey broadcasts and during the Olympics. To be fair, the CBC is a publicly funded corporation, and Claman wanted two and a half million for the song. Can you justify that kind of taxplayer money being spent, no matter how traditional it may be.

Additionally, you can easily judge what type of Canadian you are based on what pops into your head when you see the acronym HNIC. I know what pops in mine, and it ain't sporting.

Choose your epitaph: the best last words ever uttered.

Chemistry is awesome!



kjjhhhhfgaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahgggggggggg

The kitten says hello. Lord save me.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Family Addition

You may have noticed yet another 'summer slowdown' in the past couple days, Windsor. I'll put it to you like this:

1. For a few months now, Lady Trail has expressed the desire to adopt a kitten.
2. I have been opposed to the idea, due to concerns over space, time and most importantly how it might upset JackJack the Wondercat, who is and will always be top dog in this house.
3. Despite these concerns, no one could say that the Lady doesn't tolerate her fair share living with me, and after almost six months, if she still wanted another kitten, I really didn't have any reason to oppose her.

So after a weekend search we welcomed Sophie [name subject to change] into the house.



She's currently scratching at my foot as I type this. JackJack's been unimpressed, and there's been some hissing, but no one's gotten the shit beaten out of them yet, so we're staying positive.

So I've been babysitting, dealing with all the glory that new cat ownership entails, on top of working closing shifts.

And at the risk of blogging sans business, I remind you again that if you're interested in being part of the Lance's news video channel for this fall, swing by the offices this Tuesday or Friday at noon to try out and let us know your ideas. It's a great opportunity for all you young new-media types to be a part of something you won't get a shot at anywhere else.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Taking Stock Before Bed

How was Hockey hangover, Windsor? I truly wish I could have been there with you. Judging from my IM chat with Hollywood, who mentioned the blaring of car horns outside his office, y'all did it up proper likes. I wouldn't have expected anything less.

Elsewhere, Gord's back on the 'pro' side for Windsor's seedier venues, touting last weekend's Red Bull Air Race as a boon for numerous downtown businesses, including the Million Dollar Saloon, and how one local business owner made friends with some guys from Chicago who had such a good time in "party city" they've already rented rooms for fireworks night. I'm lazy, someone please go find me a column at Super Bowl time where he railed against people who thought Windsor was nothing but a place to score Cuban cigars and hand release massages.

Related [sort of], because I love to give credit to anyone who gives Gord a flagging, Chirs Schnurr points out all the ways Henderson's recent column on bridge crossings in France and China misdirects the public. The piece in question was written in response to the growing tensions between the city and the province over the border issue [DRIC v. Greenlink, but I'm not even going to go into it here]. Point being: Gord seems to think China's human rights and environmental records can be given a freebie because they know how to build a bridge. I'm sure the labourers who built said bridge were adequately compensated, too.

Kudos to the commenter on that thread who numerically lists all the ways Henderson's become a cheap propagandist. A farce, really.

Enough of Gord, let's turn our attention to what really matters to you: how to siphon gas from a new car with a filter block. Happy theft!

Ray Kurtzweil [the man who inspired Our Lady Peace's Spiritual Machines album and who I've had beef with since he proposed a computer that could write original poetry] tells us the future is actually here now. Forget the rocket car, if you last til the Singularity, you could live foreeeeever!

It's probably shenanigans, but until I hear otherwise, it's the saddest thing on the internet.

That just makes me want to sleep.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Check Out the Crabs in the Bucket

At the risk of telling you exactly where I live, suffice to say my commute to and from work consists of a streetcar and a subway, taking a total [walk to station included] of about 45 minutes each way. Living and working where I do, I also never have to deal with the congestion of downtown, or the madness that is Bloor-Yonge at 5.00 p.m., but I have experienced it on days off, and it's always a treat being pressed up to strangers and finding their dandruff on my hat after I get home.

That said, nothing in this city even compares to this mess. I enjoy how the attendants are completely unconcerned with what might happen should someone need to, I don't know, exit the train. They're like, 'Eff it, let Toshiro at the next station deal with it.'

The State of the World: Pregame Edition

Hopefully tonight won't keep me up until 1.00 a.m. While I would like to see them win at home, I don't trust them to get it done if it goes to game 7. Just win it tonight, boys.

The biggest story of the day is obviously Barack Obama's securing of the Democratic presidential nomination, setting the stage for a campaign against Republican John McCain, who's basically been sitting around resting for the last three months. The focus now turns to healing the rifts in the party brought on by the long, sometimes bitter battle between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton.

Related: the Guardian has some interesting, none too flattering commentary on how Ms. Clinton handled her defeat.

For the comic nerds out there, Newsarama got its official redesign this week, trying to siphon some of that IGN readership. Thing is, I don't know that anyone who goes to Newsarama wants to read about games or movies. They go for one thing: softball, fawning interviews with comics pros. All the redesign seems to have done is make those harder to find.

One of the sleeper hits in the Trail household is the animated adaptation of Aaron McGruder's 'The Boondocks'. It doesn't always knock it out of the park, but the 'Return of the King' episode was genius and it has the best theme song on television. Well, that or Samurai Champloo. Anyway, at the start of the second season, the show came under from Black Entertainment Television for a pair of episodes that accuse the network of being a destructive force in African-American culture. BET got word, complained, and the episodes were shelved. They come out on DVD next week, which should only improve relations, I think.

And since a similar topic came up at work today, The Art of Manliness [the questionable chaps who think every man should read books only by white men, and lots of Jon Krakauer] invite you to quit coddling your kids, since you're ruining society.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Copyfight Rages

We've talked about this before, but it bears repeating. One of the dumbest pieces of legislation the US ever drafted [take your pick, right?] is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is the law trotted out whenever a giant entertainment corporation threatens to sue a soccer mom in Arkansas for using a Daughtry song as background music on a YouTube slideshow. Canada's lack of such a law is probably one of the reasons why neither of us have gotten C&Ds in our inboxes.

Hope you enjoyed it while it lasted.

This week, Federal Industry Minister Jim Prentice will introduce Canada's version of the DMCA to Parliament, before heading to Japan and South Korea next week. To be clear: the DMCA is the law that technically says you can't transfer the songs you bought on compact disc, onto your iPod, among other things. It gets whipped out anytime anyone wants to threaten someone who's done something on the web someone else doesn't approve of. It's also highly likely that the bill will cater to interests in the US. [Michale Geist has the talking points.]

Think I'm lying? Was it not just last week news broke that the US already had the authority to snatch your iPod or laptop if they thought it contained copyrighted material? And that Canada was thinking of getting on that train? Oh yeah, it was.

As I've said before, don't misunderstand, mine [and others'] issues with laws like this has nothing to do with protecting the right to be a thief. Copyright protection, whether you like it or not, needs to be there in some form [though some would argue that any artists who's generated enough interest that people want to steal the fruits of their labours should be thankful, not litigious]. The problem is that such laws want to tell you what you can do with your own property. Under such an act, not only can you not rip a movie to your iPod, libraries can't carry the same film. You can't burn mixes for your friends. And on and on.

Books have been protected from this sort of shenanigan by the 'first sale doctrine' for a century. But with no similar law in place for other forms of physical media, expect numerous pains in the asses for all of us, not to mention the criminalizing of the remix, one of the most vibrant artforms to emerge in the last 20 years.

Provided there's even time to do so, write your MP when this drops. Make an issue of it, don't just let it slide through the legislature. There's a respect for ownership, and there's greed. You don't need a crystal ball to know what this is.

Casting Call!

And after all that, they still frigging lost.

Hey, you! Yes, you! All of you, even the little one in the back. Watch this video!



DVD Commentary
1. The 'Gotcha' segment mentioned in the video was actually never aired on this blog. A series investigating the people who would sprawl out and sleep in the CAW basement, it was put on hiatus after the first episode, when the second, which appears above, was axed for being too potentially embarrassing to the subject in question.

2. The song playing in the background is another bit of Lance detritus that was deemed too risque for general viewing. Weird that both these items have been dug up for general consumption now. *shrug*

3. The handsome gent in the video is new Lance EiC Ryan Rogers. Who clearly needs your help for this, since he damn sure can't do it himself. So swing by the offices on the days mentioned. We are now and always in the basement of the CAW Student Centre, across from what used to be the student pub.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Calling in with Cup Fever

Honestly, Windsor. When we settled in to watch the game tonight, I did not think the thing would be going into a double overtime. My body cries out for sleep, but if they win tonight, it's the Cup, so what do you suggest I do?

So alas, when that bad boy's over, I'm off to bed. You have a problem, blame Fleury for not sucking tonight. If they lose, gloat in the comments.

This and That from Around the Way

Obviously the hottest story tonight is across the river, as the Red Wings attempt to bring the cup home in game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. If they do get it, I hope it's at home, and I'll be feeling you in my heart, Windsor, wishing I was sitting on the steps of the Palace Cinemas watching the celebratory crowds go by. Good luck to 'em.

Loathe as I am to mention anything related to 'Sex in the City' in this forum [Lady Trail was there on opening night, and loved it of course], I have to give the utmost respect to Windsor native Tara Wilson, and her boyfriend Chris Noth, the guy who happens to play the lead love interest in the series and film. Both were in town on Friday for a very high class fundraiser at the Art Gallery of Windsor, to support the Spirit of Excellence literacy program on Drouillard Road. It was one of three events the couple held in town. It would have been easy for Wilson to leave her hometown behind after hooking up with her own Mr. Big. Instead, she continues to give back to her community and give it some positive press it so richly deserves. First class, the both of them.

Pondered: could the impending food crisis be averted if people just started eating bugs?

Entertainment Weekly looks at the bud boom occurring in popular entertainment lately.

National Geographic reports findings of a new tribe in the amazon, photographed shooting arrows at airplanes.

25 policy decisions that lead to oil going for $150 a barrel, offered without comment.