Thursday, November 30, 2006

Some good news

Iraqi forces 'ready by mid-2007'

Assuming this is actually pans out, that's great. They should make a serious, similar plan for Afghanistan.

Now, I support our troops finishing the job over there, but let's train the country so they can make their own trained security/defense force, and let's get our troops the hell out of there.

This way, the fucking nutjob suicide bombers would then have to be bombing specifically, and only, their own police and service persons, their own people. No allied forces would be present, so they could no longer argue "we are attacking the enemy". If they continue to do bomb despite, they truly are past insane (past the blowing-yourself-and-other-people-up-will-earn-you-20-virgins-in-heaven insane.).

Quebec politics: tired of it

I'm tired of the damn whiney bitchy Quebec provincial "GIMME GIMME" attitude about everything.

I don't understand why Canada should favour Quebec so damn much anyway; I understand that the British were quite a brutal at times towards the French speaking people in the region when Canada was still developing as a Country, but come on. That's hardly the climate in Canada now.

I had this impression that Steven Harper and the PC party was less of a suck ass towards Quebec as the previous Chretien led Liberal party. Apparently he's a Quebec as well as Bush suck ass. Great.

Now, I've never been to Quebec (though I was near it in Ottawa and Petawawa ;) ), but from others I've heard of the complete hypocrisy of their Province: huge French signs where there is no or small English signs, etc etc.

77% of Canadians outside of Quebec thought "Quebec as a Nation idea" was utter and complete bullshit.

Either play by the same rules as every other province, or make your own damn lousy French country. Sorry, Quebec, but it seems the rest of the Country feels the same way. I can't blame myself or 77% of the rest of Canadians for feeling this way: not too long ago, the province almost voted for Separation. Shit or get off the damn pot, I say.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Part 1 Colbert 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner


I think I spend more time on YouTube now than I do doing research.. oh well.

Colbert and the Wii

Heh, I watch Colbert quite a bit. Between him and Jon Steward, I get a nice comedic look at the current world events (is there any better way to view them, now a days, with all the shit going on?).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

What's wrong with the world today

After reading a map based history of the world, I've realized the one constant throughout human history is war. War for millions of different reasons, ending up mostly for land and power, and many times religion used as a tool for these.

Religious fundamentalism / extremism is again becoming, and has been, a major problem.

On the other side of the world, terrorist groups go relatively unchecked in many countries because this bullshit is allowed.

Of course, putting the hammer down on religion is a fine line between violating people's rights.

On this side of the world, Christian fundamentalists fuel the problem. They are essentially the reason Bush became and stayed president so damn long. Then again, another president may not have had the blind balls to try to get some "order" in the Middle East.

I bring this up because I'm starting to watch Jesus Camp. The beginning is pissing me off. "Let's be like the Muslims. Let's train our young people for Holy War. President Bush is a holy man". I would hope shit like this in never said in North America, but I bet it does get said.

The radio host in this film says people like this make him embarrassed to be a Christian. One of my friends at school is a Muslim, and he thinks the same way about extremists of his religion.

Casino Royale

My thoughts on the new James Bond:

David Craig plays the best "rough around the edges, suave, ruthless killer" Bond yet.

Then again, I've only seen Roger Moore, Connery, and Brosnan as bond. Brosnan wasn't bad as the suave / charming but somewhat ruthless Bond. Roger Moore is good, but it's hard to take him more seriously as an Assassin when the other work I know him from is the old creepy, but funny gay guy in "Boat Trip".

I liked this Bond film: it's how Bond became Bond, how he got his trademarks (Shaken, not stirred, Bond, James Bond"). This film was fast paced, and relied mostly on standard but exciting stunts, fights, and chases, as opposed to the recent over-the-top Gadgets and Cars of the Brosnan films. I bet the subsequent films will have more gadgets as Q is re-introduced.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Elite Beat Agents for the DS

Just tried this game last night for the DS. It's awesomely addictive, but it indeed verifies that these Japanese game developers are smoking, snorting, popping, or injecting some very, very, good narcotics of some sort.

Elite Beat Agents Trailer

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Wii impressions (even though I don't own it yet..)

I'ma bit disappointed by the launch lineup, but it's pretty good compared to other launch lineups (N64 had Mario 64 only, Gamecube's sucked, PS3 and XBOX360's were non-existant.)

On that note, I hope Sony's PS3 is beat out by both XBOX360 and Wii (which probably won't happen, as Sony still has momentum going for them.) Every single retailer I went to over the past few days posted messages on how Sony promised them PS3's, but they received none. A lot of pissed off customers.

The only feasible reason I could see for wanting a PS3 ($700 Cnd) right now is if you:
- want a Blue Ray player (as they cost >$1000 now anyway)
- Really need to play a few mediocre release titles in high definition.

That's the same reason I'm in no rush to get a HDTV yet, there's not really a lot of HD content yet. What, a handful of overpriced movies in HD, and a few channels? No thanks. Though my Grandpa just got a HD set, I'm a bit behind.

Anyway, back to Wii:

To me, at least, there's only 1 game worth getting so far (besides playing Wii Sports!, see below videos from Youtube), Zelda. Some other games definately look worth a rent though (Excite Truck, Red Steel.) It seems Red Steel had some great ideas, but wasn't implemented as good as it could have been. Perhaps we'll see some awesome FPS's on Wii (certainly, Metroid Prime 3.)

Although, from reviews I've read, a lot of people feel the Zelda controls are just "tacked" on (which I suppose is true from a development standpoint.) I would have liked to see actual sword strokes converted from Wii controller --> game accurately, instead of the more "digital" conservative control Nintendo went with.

My point is, there's not much reason to play Zelda on Wii over Zelda on Gamecube (which I already own).

However, I still can't wait to try out the Wii next week at my local EB (requires a driver's license, guess they don't want you running off with a Wii Controller!).

I'm really excited about Wii? Why?

Look at the below videos.. this is the "natural" way to play video games. Small kids get it very easily. I remember playing NES and wanting to move the controller around to get my character to move.

Wii Bowling

Wii Sports : Boxing

Nintendo Wii Sports' Boxing

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Well, I finally got around to reinstalling Windows XP. It had got unbearably slow, and got some trojans or some shit on it that I was too lazy to get rid of.

I got a "Robusto" version of XP, and boy do I like it.
Why? It auto installs everything itself (took about 1 hour). Including all my drivers, commonly used programs (Office, Nero, Photoshop, multimedia and internet apps, etc). It also sets all the Windows settings to pretty much how I like them (ie. default detail browsing view, etc). Plus, it's memory footprint is 35 mb instead of Windows XP default of about 70mb. It's the next best thing to doing a fresh install all yourself, customization, and then doing a drive backup.

This brings me onto the subject of Windows Vista (which, admittedly, I haven't tried yet.) Microsoft needs to give us a reason to upgrade. Many of us (myself included) upgraded from 9x to XP (or Windows 2000, almost the same operating system) because it was simply way better: not built from DOS like 9x, and not horribly unstable. These were features you wanted to upgrade for, because they are important to each and every user of the O/S.

Attention Microsoft: the following are not "features", however:

- an operating system requiring 1 GB of RAM and 128MB video memory. WTF does this new system do? Does it do my laundry and clean my house or something? Half Life 2 and Doom 3 both run sufficiently with 512 MB ram and a 64 MB video card. Microsoft wants to tell me Vista is more demanding than state of the art 3D games? I don't think so.

-Adding lots of extra crap that is useless and just makes the system footprint much bigger.

One reason I would buy Vista in the future: if it supported FLASH memory hard drives.

As flash memory or equivalent gets cheaper (4 GB sticks are reasonably priced now), eventually, I would like to have, at least,my Windows / commonly used apps/ maybe a few games on a silicon-based "hard drive".

Hard drives are great, really, but inevitably unreliable. Sure they work 99.9% of the time without fucking up, and are dirt cheap, but they are magnitudes slower than silicon based memory.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


So, in the past few months especially, I've been considering teaching.

For as long as I can remember, I've considered teaching as a career option (though at one time it was University level teaching.) My fellow students seemed to think I was naturally suited to it.
University teaching is out the window now: as much as I've kinda gotten used to the whole research thing now, another 4-5 years of reading horribly written papers will literally drive me insane (PHD). I'd prefer to keep my sanity.

You know, though, I've been tutoring again the past few weeks, and I really enjoy it. There's a direct payoff in teaching/tutoring: when despite all the distractions, you know you got through to the kids, because they've mastered the subject better.

Of course, I have to consider the +'s and -'s of teaching vs engineering:

45K (to start)-75K (over 10 yrs) vs estimated 60K-100K (engineering).

Summers off. Big plus: I can do what I want (2 1/2 months off). Teach summer school or another job if I need more money, paint, work on some fun EE projects (always wanted to program some of those robots.)

Good working hours: 8:00-3:00 ain't bad (although, especially in the first few years of teaching, there's a lot of "homework" preparing lessons and stuff past that.)

No one's my boss. Well, the principal is your boss, but not as much in a direct way.

Great benefits. Teachers pretty much have the best benefit plans out there.

More time for my kids (when I have them.. some day. No rush.)

Well, at this point, I've applied, and it's a definite option.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lost: Neverending story problems

Don't get me wrong, I love Lost. It's still a great show, but it is / could be facing a huge problem:


Lost needs to have an ending season. They way they are going right now, I think a fourth, and final season, would be great.


If Lost is allowed to go on for season after season, it will inevitably start to increasingly SUCK ASS.

This happens in TV, books (like the Wheel of Time that never ends, 12 novels and growing...), where more and more plot lines are introduced just to lengthen the TV show / book series, and fewer and fewer older ones are resolved.

Please ABC, don't do this to Lost. It deserves better.

Should Canada be in Afghanistan?

A similar question applies to Iraq and US soldiers.

A fellow GA brought up this question to me.

It's a difficult question to answer.

One one end, I have a friend who is headed to Afghanistan in January. I'd rather Canada be in a peacekeeping mission only.

However, when you join the army, you are putting your life at risk in possible violent combat. That's something you understand (or at least, you should) when you apply.

If the allies were to just phase out of the Middle East (as the Democrats will push for, even though Bush will put up a big fight) the terrorist situation could possibly get worse. If the US/Canada/allies back out of the Middle East, the terrorist organizations will basically get free range. It's not as if the hatred of the US/Britain/Allies by many in the Middle East will just go away if they withdraw.

Our soldiers might be dying overseas, but I like to think they are dying for a reason: trying to stabilize a country, such that, eventually, hopefully, it will be stable enough to support itself, and combat and remove terrorists without our help.

This issue is so complex, really. It's about Oil control, it's about organized religion, fight over land (especially with Israel), etc etc.

My utter and complete distaste for organized religion was summed up by a quote from Elton John I read today:

"Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate. From my point of view I would ban religion completely"

I love it, "Really hateful lemmings". It paints the picture so accurately. That's what the whole conflict in the Middle East is really:

Group A) Fundamentalist Muslim organizations who do not want democracy, allied "help" etc. Since they have no other resource to fight back but people, they turn their own people into hateful lemmings to use as weapons (suicide bombers). It's pathetic, really. All these fundamentalist organization leaders should be shot, and other members of the organization charged for the bullet.

Past history tells us (just like Lisa mentioned in the Simpsons last night, boy was that episode political, I loved it) that we can't establish a democracy in a region that a good chunk of the people resist (ie. Vietnam.)

So we might be fighting a war we can never, ever win.

Do we re-strategize (as the US military is now) or give up?

Friday, November 10, 2006

You can't fail a proposal seminar, can you? I missed the point again, big surprise.

Well, today was an interesting day. Morning tutoring the grade 6's was interesting. Need some more cash, and I enjoy the job (probably more than I would another part time job, certainly.)

Anyway, had my presentation all prepared, changed it how I thought my supervisor wanted it (it seems I misunderstood him..).

You know, I think my supervisor is a pretty good prof, and a good supervisor.. but a lot of times.. he's simply an asshole (kinda like the Dennis Leary song.)

Case in point:
a week and a half ago, the members of my committee discussed a date (via email, and then later in person.)

One of my committee members (Dr. Kar) didn't show up, so I went to find him. My supervisor (Dr X Chen) seemed suprised one of them was late. Not sure why, everyone in my department (including him) is late all the time. He apologized for forgetting, I said it was no biggie. When we get in the room, my supervisor blames ME since Dr. Kar forgot.

Now I'm responsible for other people's failed memories (hey, I have a hard enough time remembering my own stuff.)

And then after my presentation, of which my supervisor apparently didn't understand the last 5-6 slides (as they were the most important, showing my contribution and ideas to the area.) He then said I didn't, and that the presentation was a fail.


Then I drew some more block diagrams on the board.. still not buying it.

Well, so Dr. Kar said "good presentation, just send us a brief report/slides highlighting your contribution, using more of the words I". Thanks, Dr. Kar, at least someone can put things in a nice manner, instead of being an asshole like my supervisor.

Then afterwards, I get like an hour long spiel from my supervisor. How he was embarrassed (yeah, I should have told him, like I wasn't? Thankfully I don't really get embarrassed easily.)
How he can't figure me out, yadda yadda. How he's a logic person, he doesn't think I'm stupid (well , thanks, gee).

Should have told him: sorry bud, logic doesn't work for everything in the world. We live in a world of the completley illogical. I know it's his job to be a "good supervisor", being difficult and all, but come on.

I think it's also a fault of the mismanaged department: other departments, such as Mechanical engineering, have a course where you attend other people's seminars, learn about what needs to be presented, etc. Nothing of the such in our department. We're left by what our supervisor tells us and our best judgement.

Now that I think of it, had I not got my scholarship renewed, I would have got the hell out of that place this September.. ah well, could be worse. :)

It just sucks. I've actually worked really hard in the past few months to get the ideas well formulated, some good results for illustration, and he blows it all off.

Ah well, that's life.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


The frozen daquiris and pina colodas went over well: serving them in large glass vase like container was a good idea, me thinks. I drank too much, but drank a lot of water afterward, which always solves that problem for me. ;)

I've been up since 9AM, which is surprising. Good thing I have nothing to do today . :)

Strange ideas came up last night, for instance, Gerry thought to use the air hockey table, by covering it, as a gigantic bong (especially if used in a small area, like say a closet, too bad our closet is maxed out, so to speak.)

Jessie B is a bit of a loser, and wouldn't go. So we put a picture up of her instead, with a cigarette (for accurate representation.)