Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hand me the blinders, I'm pulling up my sleeves

Happy New Years Eve,

Yesterday I was pleased to discover that one of my new pans from Christmas is totally huge. And the best part is, I think I might be able to fry an entire package of bacon all at once inside of it. Now, my fiance says 'no,' and for good reason, yet .... I'm pretty sure I could do it.

The pan was definitely large enough for me to make two grilled BLTs at the same time, which is larger than four slices of freshly baked bread from the grocery store - and they were great. So it's a good pan.

In the mean time, there are a few items that I'd like to declare I'm officially going to be working on during the next month to make sure my hobbies don't evaporate into just watching tv all the time.

1) In Business magazine's new assignment on F&J Collision. I'll be making some calls for it today, and hopefully have the article done in no time. I think I'm going to like profiling a collision centre. I think, anyhow. I'll post more after the interview. You can read my last profile with Ray Pittao Sr. from the Lighting Boutique at this link (warning, it's a .pdf). I called Pittao a "Venetian 007," but I guess the editor pulled that out - which is a shame.

2) Choose Your Own Adventure has to get worked on some more. I think that the book will fall into four parts (although, that could grow considering how long it takes to tell the story). That said, I've almost got the first two parts figured out - and the third part laid out and ready to write, which is a big step. The problem is, I haven't found the motivation to write a single word for the thing in the longest while, and that's not good.

But, I'll be scheduling time to be put aside just for this project, and with some hard work and dedication, it can get to where it's going.

3) New Zombie Dinosaur image. I've got a great idea for a new picture, but, as usual, I'm open to suggestions, so if there's anything that you'd like to see a zombie-dinosaur doing, just drop me an email or a comment, and I'll crank it out. (No more 8.5"x11" images for a while - they take way too long). * My new idea has a big ass dinosaurs tossing around people, who are being attacked by zombies, at the same time.

4) The Spoof Edition of The Lance. That's right, I've got to get the one article that I'm excited to release ready to go. I was hoping to finalize it this week, but seeing as how I'm locked out of my office building, that will have to wait until next week. Too bad. But I hope to get the script finished, the images finished, and then the article that's going to run with it done, too. All for Monday. If anyone requests it, I'll post some of the images that I've finished for it to the blog.

5) I've got to make the final adjustments and inclusions into Lefevre's Redemption, which most of my family read (the same copy by three of them) in under a week. So it's apparently a very light read for anyone who was worried that I would use big words. So now I've got a copy of the first part in rough draft printed out, and a draft of the second part printed out. Put them together and you've got most of a novel that I'd like to (self)publish in the next year. There's still a lot of writing, layout, rewriting, editing and printing to be done on it, so perhaps it will be ready for the summer (well, before May, anyways).

There, like the Conservatives, so long as I just focus on five things, I should be able to do them, and do them well - I'll just have to ignore whatever else tries to get in the way. Hand me the blinders, I'm pulling up my sleeves.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Big Three CEOs are not dinosaurs

I'm tired of the automotive industry's executive directors being called Dinosaurs. I know the press aren't literally thinking that the CEOs are dinosaurs, but the term is totally unacceptable.

Dinosaurs are a story of success. Dinosaurs survived for almost 200 million years. That's a long, long time. They survived three major extinctions, came back bigger and badder after each one, and - theoretically - evolved into one of the largest and diverse animal families of today. This is a story of success - not failure and extinction.
I'm not even sure that considering the CEO's failures is necessarily appropriate, even if the term 'dinosaur' is wrong to begin with.
The CEOs are heading companies that have been running for over sixty years, and they have had their ups and downs - but most importantly, they've been in the same industry all of these years. To think that they are out of touch with the consumer is actually thinking like the dinosaurs. This whole trend began when the gas prices went through the roof over the last two summers, but it's outdated already now that gas is at the same levels it was almost 20 years ago. Suddenly gas isn't out of the general consumer's price range, and to think that people won't purchase vehicles because of gas prices is the only thing that's 'out of date.'
Perhaps the executives have to begin thinking like their forefathers and remember that they have to build products that people can afford. One of Ford's many innovations in the production line was to pay his workers enough so they could afford his cars, while he was determinedly against organized labour. While organized labour is still a polarizing issue, the workers are still getting paid well above what market rates would suggest. Some of America feels that the invisible hand of the market place should be allowed to let the wages reach an equilibrium. That's a post for another day, perhaps.

The integral part here is that these CEOs are not dinosaurs, and they're not where they stand becuase they have the survival techniques of extinct animals. To say they haven't the vision to forecast into the future doesn't suggest that they therefor have the vision of an extinct species. They're just near-sighted, perhaps like a rhinoceras, or something. Not dinosaurs.
And, frankly, it would probably suit the automotive industry to return to what they did well, paying their employees and generating a mass market for vehicles. These are what Lee Iacocca said created the middle class:
But if it hadn't been for Henry Ford's drive to create a mass market for cars,
America wouldn't have a middle class today.
It seems lessons from the past are the answer here, and thinking like 'dinosaurs' might actually be a part of the solution.

But seriously, just quit calling failing business sectors dinosaurs, when dinosaurs were incredibly awesome and are better than anything we have now. Seriously, dinosaurs' compressed bodies create our fossil fuels (along with mostly acquatic material, if I know my fossil fuels) which is one of the chief motivators of the global economy - NOT the reason that the economy is failing. Stupid analogies make me upset. And dinosaurs rule.

To elaborate on how awesome dinosaurs are:

Here are 8 of the most unusual dinosaurs you've ever heard of (though there are few pictures - so I will drum them up for you).

1) Epidendrosaurus

2) Insicivosaurus


3) Gigantoraptor

4) Dracorex hogwartsia

5) Suzhousaurus

6) Erketu

7) Deinocheirus

8) Ankylosaurus

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

401 accidents some more

Well, as usual, we were traveling the 401 East Bound to visit my folks and there was another devastating collision that stopped traffic. This time we were lucky, though, and were just observers as emergency vehicles were reaching the scene, instead of victims caught in the unending line of traffic that gets backed up after an accident.

Very lucky. We saw a car that was overturned and there must have been seven paramedics and emergency personel on scene to recover someone from an overturned vehicle. But it didn't appear that this was what was closing the west bound traffic - rather some van tried to pass a transport truck, clipped it, and fucked everybody around.

The 401 is stupid. My advice, get on it early, don't stop for anything, and get off as soon as you can. In my case, Windsor to Nobleton is about 360 km, and God willing, I'm off of that sucka in 180 minutes, if I can help it. Seriously.

Now, I'll "Plead the 5th" and let you do the math on how many km/h that is - but it's nothing too risky. Simply put, the more time you spend not on the 401 the more time you're not stuck behind a line of traffic that's going nowhere. Or the more time you're not having dumbass silver vans side-swiping you while they pass.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why Sundin is no Hall of Famer

I've been sitting on this post since August 20 - and now that Sundin has signed - it is ready to roll! Now that Mats Sundin has been signed by the Vancouver Canucks, and is back in the NHL I'm sure people will be looking for feedback.

Well, here's an outline as to why Sundin doesn't belong in the Hockey Hall of Fame (this was written before Igor Larionov was inducted - yet he stands as another example; the number of points you score do not necessitate your induction into the HHOF.


Here is a few good reasons why Sundin is not yet an NHL Hall of Famer

Without going too overboard, here is a lot of work why Mats Sundin shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, as argued by The Hockey News, argued against by some cry baby, and then commented on by myself.


Ten Reasons Why THN.com Should Fact Check

Tuesday August 19, 2008 @ 12:29 AM EDT

If Mats Sundin isn’t a Hall of Famer, it’s not for these Ten Reasons by SteveDangle. Basically, this guy disagrees with The Hockey News report that argues Sundin isn't qualified to be a Hall of Famer. Well, here goes:

10. Has never lead his team to great heights (THN)

He only led his NHL team to the conference finals twice, yes. But he captained team Sweden to a gold medal at the Olympics in 2006. Oops. And he also won three IIHF world championships from 1991-1998. It’s not the cup, but it’s difficult not to call these “great heights.” (Dangle)

- - was he leading the team, though?

First of all, taking your team to the third round of the playoffs is a big deal, but you have to win your conference to be considered a champion of any kind. Sundin hasn't done that. I can't recall if the Leafs even won their division since Sundin became captain. Certainly not since they moved to the Eastern Conference, right?

As for the 2006 Gold Medal, that was an achievement to be proud of, no doubt. BUT did Sundin really 'lead' that team?

Among the players on the team there were:

  • 15 Stanley Cups (Lidstrom x 4, Holmstrom x 4, Forsberg x 2, Pahlsson, Modin, Samuelsson, Zetterberg)
  • 12 First-Team All-Stars (Lidstrom x 9, Forsberg x 3)
  • 6 Norris Trophies (Lidstrom x 6)
  • 5 All-Rookie Team members (Lundqvist, Ohlund, Lidstrom, Forsberg, Zetterberg)
  • 2 Calder Trophies (Alfredsson, Forsberg)
  • 2 Conn Smythe trophies (Lidstrom, Zetterberg)
  • 1 Art Ross trophy (Forsberg)
  • 1 Hart trophy (Forsberg)

  • 2 Calder nominations (Ohlund. Zetterberg)
  • 1 Lady Byng nomination (Alfredsson)
  • 1 Selke nomination (Zetterberg)
  • 1 Vezina nomination (Lundqvist)
Notice that Sundin is not among any of these players, which argues - how much leadership does a team of this calibre require? And let's not forget what a fucking joke the Mark Messier Leadership award is. If you think I'm alone in believing that this award is a total joke, you can see other public opinions here. Or here. And here. That's enough for now.

9. Has just 16 more points (1,321) than games played (1,305) during his 17-season career. Very good, but not great. (THN)
I wasn’t aware having 1,300+ points over a 1,300+ game career wasn’t great. And as you will see later in the article, this argument falls flat on its face when it comes to Dino Ciccarelli. (Dangle)

Points NEVER dictate whether someone makes the Hall of Fame, on their own. You have to do some MAJOR stuff AND have great points to be considered Hall-worhty. Sometimes you can do great things and NOT have a lot of points and make the Hall. But often enough, you have to do some major, MAJOR things AS WELL AS score points, to be a Hall of Famer. From here on, we will absolutely disregard any comment that suggests that POINTS are reason enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

If you want examples; leave a comment and I'll dig some up. But POINTS are not reason enough to be elected.

8. He never posted a 50-goal season and had just one 100-point season. Pavel Bure had two 60-goal seasons and two more with 58 and 59 and he’s an outsider. (THN)

No 50-goal seasons? Well neither did Adam Oates. Actually, he only ever scored over 30 goals twice! Hopefully he doesn’t try to defend Oates later in the article. Oops again. Also, Pavel Bure played just 702 career games due to injuries. But saying “Well he would have done better if-“ is not good enough for the hall of fame. He still may get his call yet, though. As for the lack of 100-points seasons, he’s currently 30th in all-time NHL points. If he plays just one more year and scores just 60-points – which is far less than what Mats is used to doing – he could jump as high as 23rd, assuming Recchi and Shanahan continue to produce points typical of their skills. And if he plays two more seasons? He’d likely pass Gretzky’s pal Jari Kurri and maybe even gulp Doug Gilmour. Both players are under 100-points away. If Mats Sundin breaks the NHL’s top 20 all-time scorers, is anybody really going to care how many 100-point seasons he had? (Dangle my emphasis)

Simply scoring 100 points in a season (in only ONE season ever) also doesn't make you worthy for election. Simply scoring many goals in one season ALSO doesn't make you worthy. You have to have exceptional numbers for a long time, or do something exceptional as measured against your peers, to stand out for Hall of Fame voting.

Case in point, Sundin scored a fantastic (and career high) 114 points in the 92-93 season, but that wasn't even good enough to crack the top-10 scorers that year. He had to stand out among his peers, and he didn't. Not even close; Mark Recchi (in 10th spot) had 123 points.

As for being 30th in league scoring: I'll bet everyone ahead of him in the scoring race that's in the Hall of Fame was among the Top 10 scorers of all time when they were elected, and they have since been surpassed by current players who last over 25 years in the league (like Ron Francis, Chris Chelios and Adam Oates who all played well into their 40s). You can find the list of the Top Scoring players here.

What you need to know about the 29 players in front of him:

  • 11: Sudin has already played more games than. (His scoring highs are likely because he's played over 1330 games!)
  • 18: In the Hall of Fame already.
  • 3: Not in the Hall (These include Doug Gilmour, Adam Oates and Pierre Turgeon - is Sundin better than these guys?)
  • 8: Not yet eligible to be entered.

Please note that the five players that Dangle highlights as being Hall-worthy are not in the Hall. Adam Oates, Pavel Bure, Mark Recchi, Brendan Shanahan and Doug Gilmour all did some outstanding things, and I promise that Recchi, Shanahan and Gilmour get in before Sundin is even considered.


7. His 1,321 career regular season points are impressive, but not good enough. Adam Oates has been rejected two straight induction years and he retired with 1,420 points. Same with Doug Gilmour and his 1,414 points. (THN)
For Adam Oates, you can more or less read #8 over again. As for Doug Gilmour, most seem to agree he actually will be in the Hall of Fame. He’s been rejected once in a good induction year. You could compile a staggering list of players and coaches that had to wait several induction years to get into the Hall, so I find this argument easy to scoff at. (Dangle)

As we've argued earlier, POINTS aren't a good enough reason to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Oates and Gilmour are going to have tough fights to get inducted, but here are some things that Oates and Gilmour have that Sundin doesn't - ON TOP OF having a lot of points (and in fact more than Sundin).

Gilmour:

  • 1 Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames
  • 1 Selke Trophy
  • 1 First Team All-Star
  • 1 Hart Trophy nomination

Oates:

Had the misfortune to be a centre while Gretzky and Lemieux were battling for the greatest hockey players of all time. He had more assists than anyone not named Gretzky during the 1990s. If it weren't for the greatest forwards to ever play, Oates would have been the undoubted champion of the league.

  • 6 Lady Byng nominations
  • 3 finishes in 3rd place in league scoring (behind Gretzky and Lemieux)

If Sundin had these things, do you think there would be a debate of his worthiness or eligibility for the Hall? Me neither.

6. His 555 career regular season goals are impressive, but not good enough. Dino Ciccarelli has 608 and he has been rebuffed and Dave Andreychuk (640) won’t get in when he’s first-time eligible in 2009. (THN)

Yes but Sundin also has more total points (over 100 more) and more points per game than Dino Ciccarelli. On top of that, Sundin has a career +78 while Dino is a career minus-2. Ciccarelli is also without a cup, and he was convicted of assault in 1988 for attacking Luc Richardson with his stick. I’m not trashing Dino, and I’m certainly not saying he doesn’t deserve to get in, but let’s not be selective with our information. As for Andreychuk, not everybody can get in on their first try, especially when they’re competing with Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, Brian Leetch, and Joe Nieuwendyk (all eligible 2009). (Dangle)

The only way scoring goals is going to get you into the Hall of Fame is if you scored more than someone more often than anyone else. Again, goals and points will not get you into the Hall of Fame. Even with trophy wins like the Maurice Richard Trophy, which you can share, you might not get in. Although it couldn't hurt to win a few, right? Too bad Sundin didn't win any.

Also, Sundin has played so many hockey games that the volume of goals he's scored is beginning to lose its significance. Yes, it demonstrates durability and longevity - but consider that the players that played before him made the same scoring impact in fractions of the time that Sundin has done it in. For example, IF Sundin doesn't retire and he scores 20 goals (which would be likely) and he passes the 3 players ahead of him, the stats look like this:

  • Guy Lafleur: 560/1127 = 0.497 gpg (inducted in 1988)
  • Joe Nieuwendyk: 564/1257 = 0.449 gpg (uneligible)
  • Mike Bossy: 573/752 = 0.762 gpg (inducted in 1991)

Sundin: 555/1305 = 0.425 gpg (unqualified). He's played 178 more games than Lafleur, 48 more games than Nieuwendyk, and 553 more games than Mike Bossy. We're talking almost entire SEASONS more than these players. That's almost like comparing apples and oranges.


5. Has averaged less than a point per game in the playoffs in his career. (THN)
He also averaged more than a point a game during international play, so let’s not be selective (again). I’m about to make an argument most Leafs fans wouldn’t contest: his supporting cast was never all that great. What do you do when the team you’re facing has just one legitimate star? Get on him like a straight jacket, and that’s just what teams did in the playoffs. Just ask the Philadelphia Flyers how worried they were when Robert Reichel was coming down the wing. Not so much. (Dangle)

Internationally fantastic hockey players don't get into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Don't believe me? Check this link. The highest scoring players in international history don't make it in, unless your name is Valeri Kharlamov, who was inducted in 2005, but died in 1981. Vladislav Tretiak is also inducted - although it is admitted that he's one of the very few to never play in a North American professional league.

Is Sundin exceptional enough to cross this threshold of outstandingly remarkable internationally recognized players? Well, that's a rhetorical question, because I don't need you to say, "No, he's not" out loud, because we all know it.

OK - so we've dispelled any arguments that a strong international career will traditionally qualify anyone for the Hall of Fame.

The argument toward his playoff performances speaks for itself.

Believing that he was never equipped with quality linemates is bullshit. The Maple Leafs entered the playoffs with plenty of quality players that Sundin never managed to excel with. He didn't make them better, and he didn't lead his team with their help. How many times can you bring in a guy like Gary Roberts, Alex Mogilny and Owen Nolan and not win? These were players that had skills as high as anybody out there, who didn't excel playing along with Sundin. You put those four players on a team, and you should have what you need to win a few games in the playoffs.

(The Leafs haven't managed to get their hands on a bonafide defense-man yet. When Rob Blake was available, and the Leafs didn't snag him, I knew they weren't serious with winning.)


4. Has never been a first-team all-star. (He has been a second-teamer twice.) (THN)
No, but on top of being a 2nd team all-star twice, he was also on the all-star team eight times, including seven consecutive years between 1996-2002.

All star teams don't mean a lot. It means fans want to see you there. When you're the number one player in Toronto, the largest hockey market in the world, you're going to get a lot of votes to be on the All Star team (which is decided by votes). THEREFOR he SHOULD have that many appearances just for the sake of being a part of the Franchise. If this is a worthy accomplishment, then Sundin should THANK Toronto for being on the all-star team so many times.

He still hasn't been a first-team all-star, something which is a statement to the hockey world, that you stand out among your peers. He hasn't done that.


3. Has never won an individual award. (THN)
Really? 2008 The Mark Messier Leadership award 1992 Best forward at the World Championships
I suppose these wouldn’t be considered one of the “big” awards, but the argument is still false. And even if Sundin won the Hart Trophy for example, as Alexander Ovechkin said in June 2008, the Hart is nice, but it’s no Cup. Which do you think Marcel Dionne would rather have: his scoring title over a young Wayne Gretzky, or a Stanley Cup? Individual awards are important for most hall-of-famers to have, but in the end it doesn’t matter. (Dangle)

First of all, we've already discussed the Messier Leadership Award in Item 10. Second, we discussed the international achievements in Item 5. The argument that Ovechkin makes is absolutely irrelevant, in this instance. Ovechkin can remark that he's not entirely satisfied with the Hart Trophy because he's so geared toward winning a Stanley Cup. Sundin, on the other hand, has nothing to show for his absence of a Cup. Nothing.

Marcel Dionne, though never won a national championship, had a lot to hang his hat on beyond the numerous trophies and accolades that he received. Plus he was happy to have his younger brother win a cup years later. I'm sure Dionne is at peace with not winning a cup.

Individual awards play a major factor in voting for the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sundin is going to have a helluva fight if he wants to get in without one.


2. Has never won a Stanley Cup – or even made it to the final. (THN)

For this argument I’ll forgive that his international achievements were ignored yet again. Are you saying guys like Marcel Dionne, Darryl Sittler, and Gilbert Perrault aren’t worthy of the Hall of Fame for not winning the Cup? We also seem to forget how close guys like Ray Bourque and Dave Andreychuk came to not hoisting Lord Stanley’s Mug. The argument, I’m sure, for most of these gentlemen will be that their supporting casts were not very good. My point exactly. I’m sure had Sundin won the cup he would have passed it to Ladislav Kohn or Jonas Huglund first. (Dangle)

International achievements don't need to be reiterated, as they are demonstrably unimportant in Hall of Fame voting. THN is not saying that anyone is not worthy of the hall for not winning a cup, but they are saying that not winning a cup is a major strike against you. You'd have better done something remarkably notable in your time (because you had lots of it while you were winning nothing) if you want to get into the Hall. He could have passed the Cup to Cujo of Belfour, but hey, that's just me, thinking that it's great goaltending that win Cups.


1. Has rarely played at a level where he’s considered among the top few players at his position. He has been loyal, durable, his production has been remarkably consistent, but he hasn’t crossed the line between being a very, very good player and a truly exceptional player. (THN)
This is the one solitary argument that is at least semi-legitimate, partially because it’s opinion. I too would argue that Sundin was never considered the best center in the NHL. Let’s keep in mind who he was dealing with, though: Gretzky, Messier, Lemieux, Yzerman, Lindros (back in the day) and recently some no-name kid called Sidney Crosby. I’m sure there are dozens of arguments for why Sundin should not be in the Hall of Fame, but these certainly aren’t them. (Dangle)

Hey, you got one right. But the proof is not that it's opinion, but rather that Sundin is standing in the shadows of his peers. He's not the best player, not the best leader, not the best scorer, not the best European, not the best Swede, he's just not ... the best - he's kind of just behind the best, and that's going to be where he stays. He's not going to be a Hall of Famer.

My arguments:

Sundin has scored a lot of points. That is NOT why someone gets into the Hall of Fame, unless they score a NOTABLY or REMARKABLY large amount of points. Sundin has not done that.

There will be snow

Well, yesterday we were treated with a handsome helping of snow - the paper is reporting 11 cm. But we're supposed to get much more than that on Friday, which is being dubbed "Snowmaggedon." And more on Sunday, after that, too. It's to be coupled with colder than usual temperatures, too. I'll try and get a camera and take some pictures of how snowy it gets here. I like the snow - plus we don't have a paved driveway, so I don't have to shovel anything.

AND for the first time ever, we live on a city bus route, meaning, for the first time ever, our roads will be plowed! Take that Ron Jones! I just had to move out of your ward to get the snow removed by the city - apparently talking to you was a waste of my time. Enjoy Ward 2.

"Austroraptor cabazai" sounds like a new discovery out in Buenos Aries, of a big new raptor with unusually short arms. The doc's don't know what to think of it, just yet. It also had a very long, narrow head. Much longer than you'd expect, I think.

Morocco has an "ancient river of giants," if you'd like to read more about that.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Maple Leafs Challenge

I know, I know ... it's been ages since I updated the Maple Leafs Challenge (in fact, it's been a month, less one day). Well, I'm on it right now, while I watch the Leafs.

Latest - the Devils just tied the game just before the end of the second period, apparently after reflecting off of a guy's visor. So it's all tied up, and now I've got to hustle to hockey tonight. The roads are slippery, so watch yourself out there!

Updates:
- no scoring event during Nov. 17 ,3-2 loss to Boston.
- Leafs blow a 2 goal lead in the 3rd period during Nov. 22, 5-4 loss to Chicago.
- Leafs lose by a margin of 3 goals during Nov. 25, 6-3 loss to Atlanta.
- no scoring event during Nov. 27, 2-1 loss to Ottawa.
- no scoring event during Nov. 29, 4-2 win to Philadelphia.
- no scoring event during Dec. 1, 3-1 win to Los Angeles.
- Leafs lose by a margin of 3 goals & Leafs score in the last minute of the 3rd period during Dec. 2, 5-2 loss to San Jose.
- Leafs lose by a margin of 3 goals (4) & a Leafs player scores 2 goals in a game (2) & a member of the opposition scores a hat trick (5) during Dec. 4, 6-3 loss to Phoenix.
- no scoring event during Dec. 6, 2-1 loss to Washington.
- Leafs get their 10th win in December (4) during Dec. 8 win to the New York Islanders.
- no scoring event during Dec. 12, 2-1 win to Buffalo.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wolverine preview

I'm not really sure how to actually post this on the blog - BUT despite the exclusivity that the trailer for The Day the Earth Stood Still, I have haphazardly found the trailer for the Wolverine origins movie.

Here's the link: http://blog.nanowrimo.org/node/163

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holidays are here, and ...

I saw some interesting things at the mall this year

Mostly, people who were also in my undergraduate English degree, working at the mall. Or at the A&P. Like, I have the same English degree as them, and they're (likely 27-ish just like I am) and they're still working at the mall - likely still living with their parents, etc.

While I'm not looking down on them, I am wondering if that's what an English degree is worth anymore. Just creepy seeing people from my program being the scrutineers at Costco, making sure what's on your receipt is actually what's in your cart. I'm exceptionally lucky to be working in my field, building up years of experience writing and working in the newspaper business. Exceptionally lucky. I could be doing something else that isn't as productive, that's certain.

Happy holidays on that note.

Do you think the marked decline of posting on the blog is affecting the volume of traffic? You better believe it has! Although yesterday I have over 20 visits to my most popular post. Can you guess which one it was?

...

I'll give you a second to think about it.

...

My post about The Mist, where I posted some images of the monsters. It turns out people from all over the world are searching for those images all of the time, and my blog must be at the top of the list when the results come up. Dozens of visits a week - if you can believe it. I can't explain that phenomanon. If I were looking for traffic hits I could just post lots of pictures of The Mist, and put my feet up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Spoof Edition


For the Jan. 21, 2009 edition of The Lance (which was updated last night), we're going to be working on our Spoof Edition, which readers seem to like. We've only done about five of them since the past Editor in Chief before me - although I heard back in the day, rather than having them come out during the month of January, they coincided with April Fool's Day.

I enjoy writing these satirical parodies of everyday news, and of course, may of our subjects of ridicule don't enjoy being a part of the michief - though I'd consider it an honour. For example, we ran one article about a guy who won all of the elections and held every position on campus, but was empeached because he wet his pants. He 'threatened' to sue us because we said he wet his pants (but swears that he didn't).

Well, the University of Windsor has a new president, and we don't know too much about him, yet he still will likely be our main story going into the fake-news edition. I've been working on how to make the story about him hilarious in different ways, and finally have established a script and put down some artwork to make it as funny as I can.

I've needed some help from a comic enthusiast, Craig Campagna, to make it possible: and it's shaping up quite nicely. I'm just doing some scanning of the images I'm working on, and I hope you'll get the gist of where this is going.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Officially on holidays now: although I'll likely be popping in and out of the office for the fun of it over the next few weeks, I certainly don't expect to be putting in full days or anything. Not by a long shot - so it's nice to watch movies until late, sleep in a bit, etc.

Except yesterday I had a wicked-bad back. I have no idea how it happened (slept on it wrong?) but it was acting up something fierce yesterday. It's still a bit weak right now, but ... at least I'm not having my sentences cut off by the paralyzing pangs that would pump out of it at random moments.

This is a great chance to make forward strides in the Choose Your Own Adventure novel, which is shaping up to be quite long and in-depth, although a reader likely won't actually go through every option too often. When there are this many twists and turns I wonder what the readability will be like. There certainly are many different options, and not all of them take you to certain death, so that's nice.

Other news
It wasn't too many years ago that therizinosaurs were absolutely unheard of, yet these days paleontologists are describing new species were near-regularity, which is neat. These giant monsters were absolutely unique in their design, like a lizard/bird/sloth hybird, or something. The hands and arms were the most confusing, and they're currently believed to be omnivorous bug eaters, or something like that, which dug through trees and the earth to scratch up meals.

Crazy looking, no doubt.

This is awesome, too. Metallica has offered us a great video regarding an alternate future. It's surely worth a look.





Have a great day

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lost: Season 5, episode 7 - "316"

It's been revealed that the latest episode of Lost for Season 5 will be entitled "316."

Yet, what does that mean? I've been reading some speculation that it could be a reference to John 3:16, and that's an awfully great idea. 

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The reincarnation of Locke?
Suggests one poster on the message board I was reviewing earlier today - but I have a more interesting idea that I think is going to possibly be considered. 

There were 324 passengers aboard Oceanic Flight 815, and we discover that there were 8 survivors according to "The Lie" that the Oceanic 6 tell the world when they're rescued. Okay, so that means that there were 5 Oceanic survivors (the 6, minus Aaron), and the three others who weren't rescued (Charlie, Libby and Boone) meaning that we add the survivors to get 8 survivors of the wreckage, according to "The Lie."

NOW - if we were to subtract the survivors from the passengers, we get 316 [324-8=316]. 
I have argued: 

One of the mysteries that were set up for this season is: Who actually put the plane in the ocean, where did they get the bodies and why did they do it?

By the seventh episode, I hope that these questions are being addressed - and 324 - 8 (the survivors - including Charlie, Boone and Libby from the enhanced version of that episode)= 316. There should certainly be some drama when survivors and "all of the bodies" don't add up. 


To which I was answered:
Dogma9 said...

Rogers: That was already revealed in Meet Kevin Johnson, It was widmore, we got REAL documents and everything


they arent gonna go back and change it.

http://the-odi.blogspot.com/2008/03/episode-4x08-widmores-files.html


Yet, I rebut:
Rogers said...

Hey Dogma9:

There is reason to believe throughout Season 4 that Ben lies, or isn't entirely honest, when he's trying to influence someone to do something. He's called on it a variety of times, like in "The Shape of Things to Come" when he got called out for knowing more about the smoke monster than he let on. So, if he were trying to influence Michael to do something, it could be concluded that he might be dishonest to make that happen.

There are arguments throughout Season 4 that Widmore planted the ship (like in Meet Kevin Johnson) yet there are also suggestions that it was Ben who planted the ship (Lapidus suggests to Michael that he doesn't believe that Widmore planted the fake ship, AND Gault also suggested that Ben was the one who sank the ship).

I feel it is entirely reasonable to believe that this is an unresolved setup from Season 4 to be addressed in Season 5. And 316's relationship to the Oceanic 6 (plus the three other above-mentioned survivor's and the statement that all of the bodies were accounted for from the wreckage) is a major clue that this is what they'll be discussing in this episode.

AND EVEN IF the ship was planted by Widmore and that's a done deal (which I've argued is not the case) there remains the issue of the 324 bodies all accounted for, yet eight survivors of the wreckage who should not have been counted when the ROV's uncovered "Oceanic 815," right? 

There IS more to this story, and 316 (324-8) is a good enough place to begin speculating.

Rogers said...

And REAL documents can be forged - like Ben's many passports. There is evidence suggesting that he can fake these sorts of things.

Episode 7 of Season 5, entitled "316," I argue, will be about the flight of Oceanic 815 and the drama that unfolds regarding the discrepancy between the bodies accounted for during the discovery of the wreckage and the survivors of the flight. 

So that's what I think.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Zombie stegosaurus



So, now that I've done some photoshopping on the bad-boy, I can present the finished Stegosaurus Zombie for your consideration:


I also managed to layout the storyboards for the next few chapters of the Choose your own adventure, although I don't know when I'll get that done. It's already 111 pages, or something like that, which is pretty big considering I'm only halfway through the story. I guess when you're writing all those alternative choices, that's when things start to get much longer. This could be quite the long project.

I hope you like the image - it was a long time coming. 


Sunday, December 7, 2008

News to me

While you may have already heard this, I had not heard of it until just today.

Believe it or not, but the world will get a little brighter with the inclusion of:


I now have at least two hours of 2009 booked off.

Also:

a freaky big-finned squid has been capture on film, and you can read more about it here. I will not post it, it's too freaky.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Zombie stegosaurus

Finally, I finished the Zombie Stegosaurus while I was streaming old episodes of Lost Season 4 through the laptop.

Click on top of the image, and it should expand and look even bigger, meaning you scan over the detail I put into it. Once I've got the photoshop working on it, I'll add the logo, my signature and a border to make it look nice. I hope you like it, it took fucking forever!
The image isn't fixed up like the good ones I've got, it's still in its rough shape for now, but you can see what it looks like compared to the mock-up I posted a few weeks back.

Lance Spoof Edition
I've also got some sneak peeks at something I'm working on for next month's spoof edition of The Lance, that you might think is funny. You also might not, but these are characters from the WUFA strike back in the day. It's entirely expected that we'll kick some ass in it, once again. Should be fantastic.


You might be wondering what I could possibly require quick mock-ups for three of the ring leaders of the WUFA strike for: yes, what indeed? Or, unless you're the Windsor Star, what "5indeed"?

Spits close barn door
"The old story, however, was the preferred Barn yarn of the evening. Like how the Madhouse on McDougall is so named for its history of raucous fans. 5Indeed [sic], the ghosts of Spitfires past must have been in attendance, judging by the spirit that rose up in the Barn like some thunderous train -- cheering on the building like a fallen hero at the end of a TV Cogeco video honouring the octogenarian structure (my emphasis)."
Granted, I'm in no position to be pointing out spelling errors at someone else's paper, eh?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Awesome

I found this haphazardly today - and it's well worth the posting. I warn you in advance, there are these two guys will spoil the ending of 100 movies in four minutes.



Please enjoy responsibly.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nanowrimo Winner

Here it is, suckas! Strolling in a day early for the 50,000 word verification - I am a winner of the 2008 Nanowrimo Challenge.

I win access to this little .jpg as well as a certificate. I printed and framed my certificate from last year. The Choose Your Own Adventure novel is coming along nicely, and it certainly has had its challenges. I honestly didn't think I was going to make it this year, but the story pushes along nicely and works really well. Plus, there's a lot of fun writing the 'endings' every now and again.

No doubt, if I'm going to have a reader go through five or six pages just to have the protagonist die, then I'm going to reward them with something cool - like the flamethrower I was mentioning earlier. It was recommended that I have someone die at the hands of a lion at the zoo - and I think I know a way to make that work (although I don't think the zoo really fits into the story very well).

So - a good day for me. It's a bit awkward for me to post this novel up online, because part of the novelty of a CYOA is turning to pages and checking where the story goes - which is not quite the same with a .pdf document. I admit, you'll have to wait for this one to be printed out (and finished) before you get access to it.

Unless I post it up with the blog and have links to the appropriate pages. I don't know if I want to do that just yet - I mean, perhaps I'll post the first part of the book like that, but ... I'm not certain I want to do that just yet.

Now I can get back to updating the Maple Leafs Challenge, which I haven't touched in almost two weeks. The participants must be getting edgey about it. Sorry.

See y'all around.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Odontochelys - the tooth turtle half shell.

You may recall a post from a few days ago about Eileanchelys waldmani, the early turtle that paleontologists believe is the missing link between waterbound turtles and the lizards or reptiles or whatever it was that they were before they became aquatic.

My complaint was that the articles revealed NONE of the information that would highlight those awesome particularities that would lead scientists to believe that a missing link was found. All the article did was say that it was in fact found, and that people are exciting. It was missing all kinds of information.

UNTIL NOW: My younger brother has come through for me and found an article about Odontochelys semitestacea, which means "Tooth turtle half shell" (again, people should ask me to name these things) and this article clearly demonstrates what they're talking about.



So, by the breast plates and the ribs, they are able to deduce that the turtle's shell developed the underside first, and the upper side after. This is also linked to the development of the fetus. So in a turtle fetus, they've discovered (likely by tearing open hundreds of turtle fetuses) that the lower part of the shell grows first, and the upper part grows last. In many ways, suggested evolutionary changes have been observed in chicken embryos in the Discovery Channel special I outlined for you a few months ago.

Anyhow, all of that aside, it's good to see that the Beeb (BBC) has managed to outdo itself. I think working for the BBC would be awesome. Probably one of the most respected news institutions in the world.

Articles that will make you ...

Laugh: Students drop Cystic Fibrosis charity drive. Here is that same story again, this time demonstrating that the SU is ignorant. The comments in this thread are much more interesting and argumentative than the earlier post's. Case in point, "How does something like this pass 22-2? What affliction is inclusive enough for them? The Flu? Will they cut off all fund raising for Breast Cancer research as well?"

Indeed.

Cringe: Boy, 12, severs fingers during Zamboni joy-ride. Not much else to say about that. They don't explain how his fingers were actually caught in the machine, nor why the hell he was driving the Zamboni - just the facts ma'am, nothing but the facts. Duh, duh duh da ... ;)

Smile: Ten-tonne asteroid streaked across Prairie skies. Reported a few days ago, a lot of people from  a broad collection of areas in the Prairies all reported seeing bizarre streaking lights in the night sky. A UFO cover up? C'mon national news wire! You've got to get the dirt on this sort of thing. 

and scratch your head: Amateur spots astronaut's lost tool bag. "Using co-ordinates released by the United States military, the 35-year-old amateur astronomer recorded the image of a $100,000 tool bag lost by a spacewalking astronaut last week from his Brockville backyard."

Next edition: I've got another URSG segment, and I think I'll continue to refer to it by its acronym rather than 'outing' my grandpa every time he sends me a racy email. I'll also have to come up with a sufficient disclaimer so that I don't get any hate mail on this sort of thing. ALSO a Maple Leafs Challenge update. And don't think that I won't be mentioning the damned Nanowrimo some more - these last few days are going to be intense! 12,000 to go!

Mistakenly racist disease canned by council

This sounds like the most ridiculous item you've ever heard of, yet - after reading it, I realize that Windsor wouldn't be far behind if Council had the information that Carlton had.

So ... someone tells a member of the Carleton Student Council that Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that only affects white people, and mostly men (which was a lie). So, the student council decided that having an event that only benefits white males was unacceptable, and canceled their Shinerama event. I'm not kidding.

First of all, how do you trick like 30 students with their laptops open during a council meeting? Fact checking this kind of bullshit should be a cinch. Seriously, how does this sort of idiocy permeate through an entire student council. They should be embarrassed. And as this was reported on CTV, it would appear that they're going to get noticed as the idiots they are.

It's unbelievable. (maybe Windsor wouldn't do this? I'd like to think that they wouldn't. Although if they did, the newspaper would have a good time with it.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Huge Lost Spoiler

You don't have to go here to read this, but this is the Call Sheet for a day's worth of shooting on the set. It has a lot of information in it - no dialogue, but basically it recaps each of the scenes that it's shooting.

If you don't want to know what time things are happening in, what the hell is going on, or where everyone went, then dont read this. Because it will spoil everything. It appears that most of the scenes are for an episode called "The Little Prince" and that is an episode that is chiefly about the importance of Aaron.

IF you don't want to be spoiled, but would like to be teased, then you'll be excited to know that William Mapother's "Ethan Rom" will be in this episode. Neat, eh?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lee Stempniak

So the Leafs picked up Lee Stempniak, and that's just fine with me. A couple years ago, John Ferguson Jr. could have got a whole lot more for a guy like Alex Steen. His potential was incredibly high - the same for Coliacovo - and they've both underachieved and developed slowly. Frankly, Stajan is lucky that he's responded relatively well to the benchings he's received early in this season, else he'd be history too.

The next guy that was being used left and right in year's past that isn't getting even half the ice time he used to (figuratively speaking) is Alex Ponikarovski. I don't think the coach likes him either, so we might see him moved to someone who might want him. It's too bad, because Poni had some incredible hustle in years past, but for some reason is having a lot of trouble being an impact player for the Leafs right now.

But what people are arguing about now is that it's odd that this trade is being made while the Leafs are in the process of hiring a new GM. Haven't they been in the process of hiring a new GM since last season?

I'm going to say, no, it's not odd. If Coliacovo and Steen weren't going to be useful members of the Leafs nor a part of their future, it was fine that they were moved. Why have a new GM come in and take a few weeks to get tuned into the situation before making the same move way after. In a way, this was something that had to be done, and something that they spared Burke from doing. Perhaps it was a message to the players that their work wasn't acceptable, not to a new GM, but to the existing ownership that's been here all along.

NOW - the bit of this that is odd is that a new GM is possibly being delivered by the stork as we speak. A GM in a rebuilding franchise gets a free reign to redesign a team how they see fit. So, when a trade is made, it's for a player that the GM is looking to bring in to fit their design. To make a move right before a new GM comes in means that basically, there are two fewer players for the GM to move to acquire new assets. So ... maybe a little odd - but basically, if these things had to be done, why wait? There's no bad time to make a good move.

The move sounds cool - new blood always makes things interesting. Fans want a change, so keep the change coming. Plus, the Leafers were way overloaded with defensemen. There was a hunch that d were going to start getting moved over the summer when they kept signing defencemen people had never heard of, after drafting a defenceman in the first round.

Anyhow - I'm a fan - I want to see neat new stuff. New characters on the set always makes for a fresh moment. Now we have to find out if the new guy is a hero, a villain, or just a catalyst that will move the plot forward to the season finale. Right?

I'm looking forward to Lee Stempniak.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yeah, so I finished up by writing about 6,300 words today. That's a lot of sitting and writing. The flamethrower thing ... man, just gruesome. I guess it's kind of like getting what you wished for.

I had to imagine up and record how somebody would burn alive, how their skin would twist around, and the smell. And for good measure, I half-severed someone's head with a flying car door.

That's one way to end a tangent in a CYOA that you don't intend on carrying the story forward, I guess.

Now I am tired, and am going to not work on the novel for the rest of the night. Good night everyone.

Nanowrimo

I kicked out about 3,000 words so far today - and after I cook dinner, I hope to write a bunch more. I'm taking an exciting moment to use a flame thrower for the first time.

Do you know how much flame throwers are awesome in Choose Your Own Adventure books? Me neither, not yet, anyhow. I've got to kill a few characters off and end a tangent that the storyline is heading in, and a flame thrower seems like a rockin' way to accomplish that.



Not much you could do if that gets on you. Not much at all. Awesome.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Guarantee you've never seen anything like this

I stand by this: you haven't seen anything like it.


Funny Videos


You're going to need some volume to be able to listen to this. This is really something.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What is going on in my head?

Are you wondering what's going on in my head?


Well, as a matter of fact, it's this, all of the time.



If you want to be in my entourage, you'd better give a hard back massage. And wear camouflage.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Writing and writing about dinosaurs

Nanowrimo
I finally reached the 30,000 word mark on the Nanowrimo last night, and it was the last thing I did before I went to bed. I'm totally going to have to rewrite that whole chapter I wrote last night, because it was just awful. Seriously. But 30,000 words is just about on pace to getting to the 50,000 mark by the end of the month. It might be a bit of a struggle, but I think I'll still be able to pull it off.

Dinosaur roundup:
If a dinosaur fell in the water, then turtles would have swum with dinosaurs. This story indicates that a turtle has been discovered that may represent the missing link between exclusively terrestrial turtles about 210 million years ago, and turtles that could swim 164 million years ago. His name would be Eileanchelys waldmani.

Oh yeah! I can tell that this is the missing link by ... his awkwardly crushed skull? I wish these articles would highlight what in fact leads scientists to believe anything particularly new about these species. Seriously, the academic papers that these reports come from must have some sort of indication. Was it the feet? Was it the shell? Was it the teeth? Damned if we'll be told.

What else is neat in Dinosaur Land today? How about the oldest dinosaur footprints ever discovered in the southern hemisphere? Well, perhaps that's not neat, but ... Archeologists Find Dinosaur Tracks in Bolivia, except archeologists don't look for prehistoric animals, right?

Well, did an archeologist find dinosaur tracks?:

Paleontologist Pablo Gallina described the day he first saw the prints.

"When I stooped down to look at the prints, the other paleontologists were 50 meters ahead and saying There's more here! And above that there were more prints covering 30 meters with 50 or 60 steps all in a line,” Gallina said.

So, the reporter managed to get it right, but the editor decided to read the whole article and then pull a word out of his ass which didn't appear anywhere inside, and use it in the headline. At least he spelled it right, which I sometimes don't do.

The news wire idea:
I'd hate to say that I'm any kind of expert on dinosaurs, because I'm not, at all. I'm a fan, and that's about it. The kind that reads what the experts say, and that's all. An expert will make the discoveries, which I do not do.

However, you can read wire stories that spell names wrong, have no idea what they're talking about, and not reveal the information that people need to know that makes the story interesting. But there are sweeping statements that the editors just miss because they don't know what they're talking about.

For example, the marine reptiles that swam in the oceans during the Mesozoic era were not dinosaurs, yet a turtle hops in the water, and suddenly "Turtles swim with dinosaurs." And no mention of what interpretation of the fossils leads paleontologists to believe this.

And the second article thinks that paleontologists are archeologists - which is like comparing astronomy to astrology. They look a bit similar when written in the English language, and that's about it.

Not long ago I was discussing a news wire idea with a friend: basically, we would crank out material on our favourite subjects and offer them in a news wire for people to pick up and put in their papers. There are thousands of local papers that might sign up for a digital service like this, and make use of the stories. So I would write dinosaur articles that actually use the right names, the right info, and make sense. Not because I'm an expert, but because I'm a fan. It would be like giving back to the dinosaur community who is upset with these errors all of the time.

My friend wanted to write cooking articles, or recipes. We'd have to find others to help contribute - perhaps someone who did articles on cryptozoology, astronomy, archeology, or whatever. Stories that had particular niches that could be interesting once in a while, we'd do that.

So, we get a few hundred papers to sign up and buy into the newswire and we'd collect the subscription fees for our hard work. It's still an idea that could work, but ... I just don't know if right now is when papers are expanding their budgets to include newswire services. They'd certainly be more interested in including more newswire content - I just think they're happy with their existing Reuters, CP and other newswire services that have international scopes.

Anyhow, that's it for an early morning from me. I hope you're all having a great day.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Of Angels and Insects

Good morning,

material is a bit thin again this week. But that doesn't mean that this isn't funny:

I scored a couple goals at hockey last night, which was alright. There's this one guy who's the biggest baby I've ever heard, and he's just a pain in the ass to play with. Any time someone lifts his stick, or gives him a tug, he starts chirping like he's George Laroque. We're just playing for fun, so having someone going off like that certainly doesn't add any more fun to the evening.

Plus, he's got to be 130 pounds soaking wet - right, the smallest man on the ice. I have to think that someone is going to just lay this guy out or punch him out. He's just such a prick. It's too bad, too, because he's an outstanding skater and stickhandler. His shot is pretty good as well. It's just disgusting how he talks to people while playing pick up on the south pad at the Ice Park.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Round up of neat stuff

Zombies:

apparently there will be another sequel to 28 Days Later, and this one will be directed by Danny Boyle, who directed the first film. The rumours that it might be called "28 months later" were dispelled as nonsense. He also said that the script isn't written yet, so they aren't sure what all will come of it.

Here's a video of what looks like it's going to be a neat movie I'll never watch.






Monsters:

Monsters in baby cookie lusting form.

MLC, NaNo and weekend report

Wedding stuff: Today we're meeting with the minister that's been recommended to us, which should be interesting. The only truly unsettling part of it all, despite the noticeably large fundamental differences between his church and the one I grew up in, it's awfully difficult to be up and suitable for this sort of thing by 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday. A man's got to sleep in sometime during the week, or else all of that sleep-deprivation he suffers all week adds up on him.

If we deny ourselves and hour's sleep each night (say we only get 6 instead of 7) then we're actually denying ourselves a full night's worth of sleep each week. Anyhow, I like using the weekends to refuel, but apparently church doesn't like that idea.

MLC:
I've updated the Maple Leafs Challenge. Nothing too much has changed in terms of standings, but there have been some neat scoring events. In particular, the Leafs held Vancouver to only 15 shots last night, meaning Shelley scored a big event all to herself. Nobody saw that one coming, especially me.

Nanowrimo went well yesterday
. I think I had my greatest single-day output ever, which is awesome. I can't be certain exactly how many words it was, but it could have been 7,500 words, which is awesome. And it wasn't me reciting American Pie and quoting my favourite lines from the Yellowpages, like the Nanowrimo "pep talks" would recommend. It was good ol' hard work.

I don't suspect I'll have another positive day like that again today. That's chiefly because I'm going to church this morning, then we've got to get groceries, then I'll have to come home and do dishes, and start working on dinner for our guests this evening. I know! Where am I supposed to get my work done with all of that other stuff?

It's like life doesn't care if you're committed to Nanowrimo or not. Stupid life.