Monday, June 30, 2008
What started as a simple browsing of some awesome photos taken by Chris Paltzat, turned into browsing various photo groups on Flickr that pertain to my Canon S3 IS, which in turn brought me to an HDR photograph Flickr group.
A quick Google search revealed to me exactly what the "Autoexposure Bracket" feature on my camera is used for. My interest peaked, and another Google search told me that I have software that can do the processing, and have had it all along: Corel's Paintshop Pro X2.
Now I'm anxious to get started and find some nice scenery to shoot.
Back to Chris Paltzat's blog. I had a brief email exchange with him after I sent him a message about his photos. He's a self-taught "amateur" photographer. I hesitate to say he's an amateur, because his photos are quite impressive. But, that's what he claims to be. I asked him for tips and his advice was to read as much as I can, and he kindly referred me to a few books with two of them being highly recommended. I plan to pick both of them up as soon as I can. (Thanks again, Chris!)
If you get a chance, drop by Chris's blog -- three six six -- and have a look around. He's posting a new photo every day of the year.
This afternoon my daughter answered an unknown phone number. I was outside hanging Canada Day decorations on the house when she came out and said "Daddy, the phone is for you."
"Who is it?"
"I dunno.. they asked for Scott".
"So why did you answer it?" I'm thinking it's a telemarketer. We rarely ever answer the phone when we don't recognize the number.
It was someone from the Ottawa Sun. The first thought in my mind was they were going to ask me to subscribe. Even though we already do, we've had calls in the past asking us to subscribe. Weird.
Luck was on my side this time. They were calling to tell me that I am a weekly qualifier!
Sometime in October after the contest is over, they'll have a "wrap-up event" for all qualifiers. I have a 1 in 34 chance of winning the car and the $1200 in gas. Just for being a qualifier, I win $100 in gas.
I'm stoked. :)
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Digital Home Canada - Poll finds number of Canadians playing video games naked: "one in five Canadian men (17%) has played a computer game in the nude while a significantly smaller percentage of women (9%) have done the same"I'm not sure if this is funny, or disturbing. Why anyone would want to play video games -- while naked -- is puzzling.
They also have other interesting stats in the story.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sure enough, this morning I got notification of a new posting over at Snopes.com -- George Carlin on Aging -- debunking the rumoured Carlin quote.
If you reading this, take note. If someone sends you the email, send it back to them with a link to Snopes.com and correct them!
You can also find Carlin's own view of these quotes on his own web site.
Monday, June 23, 2008
I took a quick look at the bumper before leaving the dealership and it looked pretty good. The truck was washed and the inside was even vacuumed. I was happy.
I got home and looked closer at the bumper. The passenger side was beautiful. No complaints. On the driver side, where there were two lower chips (I didn't take photos of that side) I discovered a new paint bubble, almost in the exact same spot that there used to be one on the passenger side. I gave it a light poke with my finger nail and it was indeed a bubble. Not just a build-up of paint.
My wife called the dealership back on Friday and left a message with a brief explanation. No return call. So she called them again this morning and explained what the problem was. "Jamie" said he wasn't aware of this new problem. He said that they don't inspect anything other than what is reported and repaired. My wife told him that we were sure it wasn't there before, so this was likely new due to the repainting. But regardless, since there's a 3 year warranty on the paint, it doesn't matter if it's new or old. He said something to the effect that if they fixed every little thing like this, they could be doing this 5 or 6 times. My wife said if that's the way it has to be, then perhaps the bumper should be replaced? And we're not going to keep paying for a loaner car every time when it should be fixed right the first time.
He said he would have to speak with the service manager.
Now, I can understand that time is limited and maybe they don't have time to inspect the entire bumper, but realistically, how long would that possibly take? I'm not a body repair expert, but it took me all of 10 seconds to spot the bubble when I got home. This new bubble is like a foot higher from where the chips were that they repaired. How could they not see it? It's not like it's on the back of the bumper where they wouldn't have been looking during any preparation or repainting. It's 12" above it!
Now we wait....
(Original post here)
Sunday, June 22, 2008
It was a great event, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. We're already talking about next year! Now that we've experienced the whole event, we'll try to make it even more fun for everyone on our team.
I managed to stay away the entire time, meaning I was awake for about 26-27 hours in total. My entire body is achy and sore. Mostly from carrying the 200lbs of stone dust filled bags that we used in place of tent pegs.
I think my favourite part was the Luminary ceremony after sunset. The field lights were all turned off, leaving the track lit only by the luminaries. It was a very touching moment when the bagpipers played Amazing Grace as Sandra and I stood in front of my Dad's luminary.
I think the only downside was having to move our tents 6 or 7 times on Friday morning to make room for the track. Ideally, it would have been nice if the tracks had been marked prior to setting up.
The funny moment of the evening was when three teens stopped in front of our tent and asked if they could take a picture of our team sign. One of them said "it's the most awesomest team name!" Apparently there were other people who commented on our team name.
The last time we managed to see our total laps, we think it was around 130-140. That's about 5 minutes per lap. However, more often than not, we walked in pairs or small groups and those only count for 1 lap. One lap counter per team. We didn't have any designated times for when each member took their turn. It simply worked out that someone was always willing to take the lap counter and do their part, throughout the night. We had a great team!
A few things I learned from all of this that might help for next year:
- Most people either ignored, or weren't aware of, the "no pegs" rule for tents. I was told that there's an underground sprinkler system on the field, therefore they asked that we didn't use tent pegs. We had 200lbs of stone dust packed in freezer bags to use in place of pegs. Moving the bags to and from the truck was a pain. We'll have to think of a better way to "peg down" our tents next year, or get a cart to move the bags!
- I am way out of shape. I should start walking more in the weeks leading up to the event. My body hasn't stopped complaining since we got home yesterday. :)
- We packed way brought way too much with us.
- Parking wasn't as limited as we were told it would be.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
What started out as an idea about 5 or 6 months ago between a friend and I after a mutual friend passed away from cancer at a very young age earlier this year, is about to become a reality.
This Friday night, I will be participating in a 12-hour Relay for Life to help support the fight against cancer. I am the captain of a team of 12 people who have have collected a total of $2,898 in pledges for the event.
I am extremely grateful to all our generous friends and family who have who made a pledge to help us achieve this amazing total. Thank you everyone!
With rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, it is certain to be a very wet night for us, even though we will have shelter when we're not walking around the track. Let's hope for reasonably warm temperatures!
I'm sure we'll have plenty of photos to post and share with you all.
If you'd like to make a donation, it's not too late! You can do so online by following this link. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
Again, thank you all for your generosity!
Anyway, I stepped outside to find that the neighbour from two doors down had parked their truck behind the car beside us, and it was partically blocking our car. The car beside us rents the spot from the neighbour right next door.
It's actually not too unusual to find the two-door-down neighbour parking their truck there. They tend to do it often, but usually for short periods of time, while unloading stuff from the truck.
My wife went out to ask them to move it. Before she got to their door, our neighbour's basement boarder came home. This was the first time I've heard him speak. He's a quiet guy, who works night-shift. He asked her if it was our truck. She said no. He said it had been parked there all night, apparently. He works with the guy who rents the spot and said that he blocked in car owner) had been ringing her (the truck owner) doorbell non-stop this morning to tell them to move I guesss he must have given up and found another way to work.
So my wife rang the "offender's" doorbell and knocked on her door a whole bunch, in attempt to wake her up. Finally, she answered the door and my wife asked her to move the truck. Her response was something like "Did I forget that I parked my truck there last night?"
Holy crap.. what kind of condition would you have to be in when you got home to make you forget that your truck was parked illegally all night?
I think they'll soon be hearing from their landlord. My wife and the guy from next door are going to call the condo management office and complain, and ask that they notify the owner who rents to them. We do have parking security that we're supposed to call if someone parks in our spot, but apparently you have to prove that it's your spot before they get it towed. All the home owners got letters a while ago stating which spot is their's, but I'm sure the guy who rents that spot doesn't have the paper. Still, I don't think you need to prove parking spot ownership to get someone towed or ticketed when they're parking behind you, which is technically in a fire lane.
This isn`t the first time we`ve had parking problems with them. I came home one day from work to find an unknown car parked in our spot. I parked in the fire lane and sat on my door step for about 5 minutes. I was about to move our truck directly behind them so they couldn`t leave, but then a kid came out of that house and left in the car. The woman who lives there (the offender from last night) told him that he`s not supposed to park there, and to use visitor parking. (Pot... kettle?) He said, "I was just there for 5 minutes" which was obviously BS.
The woman and her live-in boyfriend used to park in the neighbours spot all the time, when the unit was empty for months and undergoing renovations. They never asked permission. Even when the place was sold and the owner moved in, they continued to park there on occasion after he started renting his spot out to another neighbour a few doors down. That guy even once left them a note on their windshield telling them that he'd get it towed the next time.
It's too bad because they are generally nice people, but they're not making (or keeping) any friends by being so inconsiderate.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday was spent vegging on the couch and playing Rock Band. :) Oh... and the inlaws from 4 or 5 doors away came over for cake since it was my Birthday.
This morning my wife and I attended our daughter's school play for an hour, after my wife dropped our truck off at the dealership to get the paint chips on the bumper repaired. The remainder of my family-free day was spent watching a movie and farting around here on the laptop.
Now that the kids are home from school, I'm sitting on the doorstep typing this boring blog entry.
Tomorrow will probably be more of the same, but in the evening I'll hopefully be going to pre-register our team for this Friday's Relay for Life event. That's assuming that I can get everyone's cash donations to bring with me, otherwise we'll have to wait until Friday evening to register during the event.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
I was browsing a few impressive videos of young people playing both of these games when I noticed a trend. It never fails that some know-it-all chips in his two cent comment like "That sucks man, play that on a real guitar" and adding that they hate it when some kid thinks that it's like playing a real guitar.
The only people I ever see making a comparison between Guitar Hero or Rock Band and a real guitar or drum kit is the so-called "real" musicians who hate the game.
Here's a particularly pissed off individual, quoted straught from a YouTube video (spelling & grammar errors included) of Eddie Van Halen's live "Eruption":
"It fuckin pisses me off,kids go into the guitar shops while youre playing a real guitar,and theyre like,yeah,I can play that...on guitar hero,its easy.and they think theyre real bad asses.Guitar Hero has to be one of the worst inventions ever."Good grief, does that really matter? It's apples and oranges.
I'm sure there are probably a few kids who think that it's like the real thing, but so what? If it gets them interested in music, maybe one day they'll take interest in learning a real instrument?
I've heard some say that these games are nothing more than a glorified "Simon" game. Hate to break it to you, but they're more difficult than Simon. There's more coordination needed to play. It's not as simple as just pressing a coloured button when it flashes. There's timing involved in pressing the button and hitting the strum bar. You have to be in sync with the notes. You need to get a feel for the rhythm and the beat to play the game well.
If you're one of these haters, keep your hate to yourself. Don't slam anyone who likes the game. You've got nothing to fear. You may or may not realize this, but these games are designed created by REAL musicians. People who can play real instruments, AND play the game well.
Maybe that's why you hate the game. Because you can't do both?
Monday, June 9, 2008
CTV purchases The Hockey ThemeThe last 3 paragraphs of that article scares me. For the love of all things hockey, please... NOT Stompin' Tom Connors. I don't like Stompin' Tom. And I don't like "The Hockey Song". I don't think it would matter who sang it.
CTV Inc. has acquired the rights to The Hockey Theme in perpetuity, the network announced Monday.
The agreement was reached with Copyright Music & Visuals, which was unable to renew a deal with CBC Sports.
CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore said he was disappointed but not surprised the song was shopped elsewhere.
"The two sides were so far apart and there was so much bad blood that we knew a deal would be difficult," he said. "The reality is it takes two sides to do a deal and we tried everything we could to do a deal.
"We offered arbitration, mediation — we offered to meet their price. On Friday, when it came right down to it, we never got a response from them on our latest offer and find out, in the meantime, they appeared to be negotiating with CTV."
Moore said CBC had negotiated for 14 months but to no avail, and that the agency was asking for $2.5 million to $3 million for use in perpetuity.
"If they got that from CTV, we would never have been able to get there," Moore told CBC Newsworld. "It is not a responsible price for us.
"If that is the price CTV wants to pay, it won't be the first time nor will it be the last time, probably, that they outbid us for something. They have a lot more profits than we do."
The song had been used on Hockey Night in Canada since 1968.
"Hockey is a game, it's not a song," Moore said. "We have the No. 1 sports property in Canada.
"I don't expect one less viewer to tune in on Saturday to watch Hockey Night in Canada. They will continue to watch their favourite team."
According to a release, CTV said it agreed to a deal with Copyright Music & Visuals after Friday's deadline with CBC passed.
The agency represents the song's composer, Dolores Claman, who was born in Vancouver.
"The song has a long and storied history in Canadian sports, and has become ingrained in the hearts and minds of hockey fans across the country. It is an iconic tune, embraced by Canadians everywhere, and we felt it was imperative to save it," said Rick Brace of CTV Inc.
Moore said he was surprised a rival network would purchase something so inextricably linked to the Hockey Night brand.
"It's a constant commercial for our network," he said.
Lawsuit complicated negotiations
Earlier on Monday, CBC Sports had said it planned to bring in noted sports and entertainment lawyer Gord Kirke in a last-ditch effort to bring about a mediated resolution.
Complicating the bid for a settlement was an outstanding lawsuit filed against the CBC in late 2004 surrounding its use for ringtones and downloads.
Moore said CBC wanted to resolve that issue along with the song's future use, but that representatives for Claman wanted to keep them separate.
Claman, 80, has written about 2,000 jingles over her career, including the Ontario theme A Place to Stand, which she co-wrote with her husband, Richard Morris.
"I am very moved by how so many Canadians have taken the hockey theme to heart. We are so pleased the song has found a new home," said Claman, who now resides in Britain.
Before Kirke's involvement was announced, CBC Sports announced plans to launch a new national contest in conjunction with Nettwerk Music Group to find a new theme song.
Canadians will be invited to write and record an original song for Hockey Night in Canada, with fans and a jury of experts to choose the best new composition.
"I think it'll help us get a new demographic," Moore said. "The theme that we had was a great theme. [But] it was 39 years old. Maybe it's time for something else."
The son of Stompin' Tom Connors said Monday his father is open to licensing his famed hockey song to CBC as a replacement.
"If they want to use The Hockey Song, it's a good song, whether Tom sings it or not," Tom Connors Jr. said. "There's other versions out there.
"Even if they wanted to commission some other band, like a big [name] band if they wanted to do more of a Hockey Night theme, everything is open for negotiations, of course. That's the business we're in."
Anyway, the CBC really dropped the ball on this one. They're trying to make it look like they did everything possible, but seriously, how can they expect anyone to believe them when they openly admitted that they were going ahead with the contest to find a new HNIC song, while trying to negotiate a deal? Would a few more days of waiting really make that big of a difference to their contest?
TORONTO -- CBC appears to be making a last-ditch effort to rescue the popular Hockey Night in Canada theme song.I can't see this making any difference... but hey, it's worth a shot... I guess.
The public broadcaster has asked Toronto sports lawyer Gord Kirke to mediate negotiations between CBC and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls the song.
CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore says CBC feels it's worth one last effort to save a theme song that evokes such passion among Canadians.
CBC's licence for the song, written by composer Delores Claman and a staple of Hockey Night in Canada since 1968, expired last week following the Stanley Cup finals.
The parties were in negotiations late last week before CBC announced Friday it would begin the search for a new theme song.
The broadcaster has asked Canadian musicians to vy for a $100,000 prize by submitting their own original compositions to replace the theme.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
My wife took the truck to the For dealerership during the week. The warranty on the paint is 3yr/60,000kms. They have to order some part(?) first and will call us to set up a service appointment once it's in.
No definite word on exactly what they're going to do.
Friday, June 6, 2008
This is disappointing, but I'm not too surprised. I don't believe that the CBC went back into negotiations in good faith. The only reason they did it was an attempt to make the public think that they cared. They keep bring up the outstanding litigation "hovering over our heads", when the other side said it has no affect on the terms on the proposed contract.
Negotiations to keep the Hockey Night in Canada theme song have collapsed, meaning the CBC program is now in search of another anthem.
Copyright Music & Visuals, the Toronto agency representing the song's composer, Dolores Claman, said on Friday that the deal had fallen through.
That news came as a surprise to the CBC, said Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports.
"We're disappointed, as many Canadians are," Moore said, adding he found out about the deal falling through from CBC News.
"We have no real idea why the deal fell apart," he said. "We're not sure why because the other side hasn't communicated with us.
"You have to ask the other side what happened."
Copyright Music & Visuals said it had offered the public broadcaster a chance to renew its licence to use Claman's song — a staple on HNIC since 1968 — on terms that were "virtually identical to those that have existed for the past decade."
Previously, each use of the song cost the CBC about $500, the agency said.
After the first two years of a new agreement, the rates would rise about 15 per cent, an increase Copyright Music & Visuals president John Ciccone called an industry standard.
"We offered to continue paying the richest licence fee in Canadian television, which was the price they asked for," said Moore. "We also offered to buy it outright for a high six-figure sum."
A call made to Ciccone by CBCSports.ca was not returned Friday.
Claman, who has written about 2,000 jingles over her career, is also credited with the Ontario theme A Place to Stand, which she co-wrote with her husband, Richard Morris, in 1967.
Contest for new theme in works
Moore said Friday the two sides had agreed upon a price, but added an "unfortunate set of circumstances," including an outstanding lawsuit, hovered over negotiations.
A lawsuit filed against the CBC in late 2004 by the composer alleges that the broadcaster was overusing the Hockey Night in Canada theme and has not been settled. Copyright Music & Visuals said the litigation hasn't interfered with the CBC's use of music, nor was settlement of the suit a condition for the proposed new licensing agreement.
"We really can't do business with a lawsuit hanging over our heads," Moore said. "We feel that we've done everything we possibly can."
CBC Sports will now move on and launch a new national contest in conjunction with Nettwerk Music Group to find a new theme song, he said. Canadians will be invited to write and record an original song for Hockey Night in Canada, with fans and a jury of experts choosing the best new composition.
The winner will receive $100,000 and proceeds from any royalties will go to minor hockey across the country. More details on the contest will be revealed in the next week.
"We expect a lot of terrific music, and we expect that the new theme for Hockey Night in Canada will be as iconic as the last two themes have been," Moore said.
Earlier on Friday, Liberal heritage critic Denis Coderre told reporters in Ottawa that Conservative Heritage Minister Josée Verner must defend one of Canada's most famous musical traditions and do everything possible to ensure the CBC continues to broadcast the theme.
"The Hockey Night in Canada theme is a part of Canada's culture that goes beyond sport," Coderre said. "If the minister wants to show that she cares about Canadian heritage, this is her chance."
And now they'll no doubt spend a bundle on promoting the contest to find a new theme.
I feel sorry for the person who wins because I can't see the public accepting it.
- CBC claims they're still in negotations with Copyright Music & Visuals (the company who manages the copyright on behalf of the song's composer, Dolores Claman)
- Copyright Music & Visuals claims that they received an email from CBC stating that they would not renew the contract.
- CBC said that if they don't renew, they have plans this summer to hold a public contest to write a new theme.
- CBC is currently being sued by Dolores Claman alleging that CBC repeatedly used the theme song in broadcasts not covered under her licence agreement and refused requests to negotiate additional fees.
- Copyright Music & Visuals claims that resolution of the ongoing litigation is not a precondition of the new proposed licence agreement..
- CBC says "You don't do business with someone who is suing you." While that may be true, we're not talking about a multi-million dollar contract here. This smells like CBC trying to take a little heat off their poorly thought out decision.
I think CBC is missing out on a good marketing opportunity/partnership here. Maybe they're trying to use this to their advantage? "Play by OUR rules, or your song doesn't see its 40th birthday."
National Doughnut Day
National Doughnut Day was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise much-needed funds during the Great Depression, and to honor the work of World War I Salvation Army volunteers who prepared doughnuts and other foods for thousands of soldiers.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
CBC ending use of 'Hockey Night' songHave the decision makers at CBC lost their fuckin' minds? What kind of a "new direction" is this? Down the toilet?
Sportsnet.ca - The CBC will not be using the legendary 'Hockey Night in Canada' theme song next season after it decided not to sign a new license agreement according to the song's publisher.
The composition was written by Dolores Claman in 1968 and has become one of the longest running theme songs in broadcasting history.
According to the publisher, the CBC was offered a new license on 'virtually identical terms to those that have existed for the past decade (approximately $500 per use)' but the network has chosen to move in a new direction.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Claman said "I am saddened by the decision of the CBC to drop the Hockey Night in Canada Theme after our lengthy history together. I nevertheless respect its right to move in a new direction."
If they're looking to improve anything, get rid of Bob Cole before next season. Harry Neile can go with him. I'm sure they'll save a hell of a lot more than $500 per show.
Many of the comments on the Sportsnet article say to send CBC a complaint at http://www.cbc.ca/contact. Whether it will make a difference, remains to be seen. I sent one anyway.
Edit: CBC actually found the balls to post the story on their own site... an hour after the story broke: Red Wings victory last outing for Hockey Night theme? There's also an online petition here, if you wish to sign it.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life is an overnight non-competitive relay that celebrates cancer survivors and pays tribute to loved ones. It's a night of fun, friendship and fundraising to beat cancer.
I will be participating as a member of the Team W.T.F. (Walk To Fight) team, in the Orleans event on June 20th, 2008.
Why I Relay
I am doing this in memory of my Father whom I lost to cancer in December 1998, and a friend in February of this year. 12 hours of my time and your pledges can make a difference.
Help me reach my goal
You can be part of a community that takes up the fight. Please pledge me now and help make cancer history.
Online pledging is secure and it saves the Society money by reducing administrative costs. You can pledge online by following this link.
Thanks for your support!
More about how your donation helps.