Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No pain no gain!

I recently was solicited to donate money to a spin-a-thon benefiting overweight kids. The raised money would send them to a camp where they would lose weight. I'm sorry but I laughed so hard when I received this email.

There are plenty of worthwhile charities out there to feed starving kids and this one wants money to take kids who are eating too much food and make them lose weight? Why don't the overweight kids just participate in the spin-a-thon? Or better yet, why don't they give their excess food to the starving kids? Then we kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Quick thought

Does the word "rehearse" mean to "hearse again"? And if so, what does hearsing mean?

Words fascinate me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Post Halloween Post

We all love Halloween. As kids, it's a parent-approved way of loading up on sugar - unless your parents are complete squares, you know, the kind who would only let you watch CBC or something equally lame. As adults, we love Halloween because chocolates go on sale for 75% off normal price on November 1st and we get to go to Halloween parties.
It's been said plenty of times elsewhere and by funnier people than me that Halloween is the only time of year that gives ladies the chance to dress completely inappropriately and get away with it. That's all good and well and naturally, starting the next day, everyone's Halloween party photos start showing up everywhere, especially on Facebook as profile pics. But this leads me to my Complaint of the Month.
Those Halloween pics you thought were fun as a profile pic? They get old. Fast. The worst thing is people forget they put a picture of themselves as a sailor or nurse or cat or whatever and they leave that pic there for months on end, way past its best before date.
I urge people to swap our their Halloween pics from their Facebook profile no later than seven (7) days after Halloween itself.
Thank you for your understanding.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

You lost me at Facebook

I was reading an article today on CNN about how Nigerians were incensed at their portrayal in the (awesome) scifi movie District 9. Nigeria is demanding an apology etc etc blah blah whatever. Man, if I saw a movie where Armenians were evil people, I'd love the attention. Any publicity is good publicity! But I digress.

I was going to write a post about how sensitive everyone is now days when I noticed something in the article that is popping up with alarming regularity in recent times.

The depiction has sparked an outcry, including a Facebook group condemning its portrayal of Nigerians.


CNN saw fit to tell us that -GASP- a Facebook group denouncing something exists? Oh my god, then the complaint must be wholly legitimate! Prior to a Facebook group's creation, Nigerians' beef was totally immaterial but now hey watch out! A Facebook group will change everything.

In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic. I'm not sure if the writers of these articles are even aware how stupid they sound. Hey Faith Karimi, next time you write a piece about anything other than Facebook, do not mention that a Facebook group exists. Anybody with two marbles shooting around in their skull will realize that writing something like that totally destroys whatever credibility the article was aiming for.

Do you even know how easy it is to make a Facebook group? In a matter of clicks and keystrokes, I could start a group warning people of the impending danger of super-grown Lyme ticks from the forests and how they'll rise up and enslave the human race. Just because there's a group out there, doesn't mean the argument has legitimacy.

For god's sake, in 2 seconds, I found this group on Facebook: "Protect Traditional South African Values: Reinstate Apartheid!" Seeing as how District 9 is a thinly veiled take on South Africa's institutionalized racism, why didn't Faith Karimi write an article about reinstating Apartheid and include this group as evidence that there's a push for it? There's a group for everything!

It makes me wonder about the state of journalism out there. It seems that anyone can get paid to write.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The only tomato that is rotten, sir, is yours!

I have a beef with rottentomatoes.com. So much so that I didn't even make the preceding address a link, as to not give them extra traffic.

You see, everyone quotes a movie's score on RT (that's what us cool kids call it) as the final say on a movie's quality. But do you even know what that score represents?

RT (there's that cool moniker again!) recommends a movie as "fresh" if the aggregate score is 60%+. A movie is not recommended ("rotten", putting the R in RT) if the score is below that. But the thing is, they're not taking an average of all the reviews they cull from throughout the internet. They are using a binary system. If a movie got a recommendation, it will go in the fresh pile, regardless whether it got a lukewarm ok or a rave review. They are both counted the same according to this metric. Likewise, a movie whose individual score is less than 60%, say 2.5 stars on 5 in your local paper, will get a rotten tag. The reviewer may have been on the fence about a movie and thought it was just ok, but such a movie will be lumped together with god-awful dreck like the latest Transformers movie. Then, all the fresh reviews and all the rotten reviews are counted, and the score is given.

My problem with this is that there allows no room for nuance; it's either yes or no. Movies are a form of art and as such require shades of grey in between, something the fascist system at RT enforces.

However, all is not lost. Buried in tiny font to the right of the giant % score is "Average Rating". This is the true indication of what the critics think. It's the true average of the scores and a better indicator of the critical opinion of a movie. Were it not for this, RT would be a complete waste of time.

Either that or just go to metacritic.com.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fan of Facebook

I'm not sure exactly why this is, but I find it hilarious that Facebook allows people to be "fans" of things. I can understand becoming a "fan" of a band or a tv show on Facebook in order to see who else likes the same things as you to maybe have a discussion about it. But, like most things, people take this too far.

You can be a fan of just about anything on Facebook, it makes the word lose all meaning. I've seen some ridiculous things out there attracting fans, including (but not limited to) cuddling and sarcasm. Yay, I could be a fan of sarcasm. This is the greatest thing ever! I'm so awesome now!

I recently saw people become a fan of god and I thought this was too much. Firstly, the image associated with being a fan of god was a photo of Earth from space. Oooh, how divine! But the reason I find this funny is that I feel it should be offensive, no? On the one hand, you have people becoming fans of the Montreal Canadiens and Alexisonfire, yet the very same mechanism is used to be a fan of god. By no means a religious person, I would have thought that believers would be appalled at their almighty tritely being reduced to the same level as a local sports team or a terrible musical act.

Even better than being a fan of god is being a fan of peace. I kid you not, I have seen people become fans of peace on Facebook. What a conversation piece that is!

You're a fan of peace?! Wow, that's like so deep, man! Who would have known peace is something that would attract fans? Personally, I don't care for it but since I saw that you became a fan of it on Facebook, it totally changed my life. I, too, enjoy peace now. The power of Facebook compels me!


Why not become a fan of oxygen while you're at it?

All this to say that life was better before Facebook came along, allowing me to guess at people's stupidity instead of having it confirmed by their postings.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More grammar!

Due to popular request, I will now delve into a sticky situation to many, namely further vs. farther.

Farther should be used when discussing distances, when referencing a measurable amount of miles or kilometers or whatever.
For instance, "My house is farther east than yours.

Further should be used when talking about something more nebulous, a relative amount of something, generally not distance-related. For example, "You have to read further in that book to get to the good part." This example means that you'd have to advance in the book from your current page to get to an interesting bit.

Similarly, people often misuse "less" and "fewer". Fewer should be used when talking about something that you can readily count. For example, "I have fewer books than you."

Less should be used when you're discussing something that cannot be counted individually. "I drank less water today than yesterday" would be an example. Water isn't something that you can count individually. It's a mass quantity.

If you ever see those express lanes at the grocery store that say "12 items or less", that's not correct. If you're feeling particularly jerkish, you should demand they change it to the correct "12 items or fewer", since items are something that can be counted individually.

There are some exceptions, of course. It sometimes gets tricky with time and money. "That movie was less that an hour and a half" is acceptable, even though hours can be counted individually. Also, "I made less than $100 this week" could also pass as correct. But the phrase "fewer dollars" is ok but it's "less money". Dollars can be counted but money is a mass amount.

Confusing sometimes, eh?

Friday, July 10, 2009

The only victim is common sense

To glean some insight into this posting, I refer you to this article:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/07/10/spain.pamplona.bulls.death/index.html

Surprise, someone got killed at the running of the bulls! What's more of a surprise to me is that more people aren't dispatched at this event. Put aside the inherent stupidity of such an event for a moment and let us concentrate on the use of the word "victim" in the article. My feeling is that if you're purposefully putting yourself in harm's way, and then that harm comes to you, then you're not a victim. You're a fool.

Let's see. Crowds of people. Angry bulls. Sharp horns. Yeah, what did you think would happen? Like I mentioned up top, I'm surprised more people aren't gored to death.

If I'm skydiving and my parachute doesn't open, I wouldn't consider myself a victim. If some lady is looking at herself in her mirror, while holding a cigarette in one hand and the wheel in the other (as I witnessed just yesterday), and gets into an accident, she's not a victim nor is that an accident. If that same lady kills someone in the accident, then the other party is a victim.

It's sad that this guy got killed but it was 100% preventable by anyone with any scruples. The only victim here is common sense.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Grammar!

On the heels of my controversial blog post on spelling, here comes another language peeve of mine. Me vs I.

Why can't people get it straight?

For example:

You and I were invited for supper. --> Correct.
The teacher asked you and I to stay after class. --> Wrong!

Only when you are the subject of the sentence do you use I. An easy trick is is to eliminate all others from the sentence:

I [was] invited for supper. --> Correct.
The teacher asked I to stay after class. --> Wrong and sounds stupid, too.

It should be: The teacher asked me to stay after class. Likewise, adding more people would make it: The teacher asked you and me to stay after class.

See, easy, right?

So now you shouldn't have any problems keeping me and I straight. Unless you're from Laval, then you start all your sentences with both.

Me, I don't like that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

This washroom's not for yakkin'!

As talkative as I may be, there is one place that I consider to be a bastion of quiet. I refer, of course, to the public washroom.

No matter if you're my best friend, I always feel uncomfortable talking to someone in the washroom. I really find it weird that people will chit chat while there are things coming out of you. Gross.

It's not bad enough that people talk to each other in the washroom, but what is the etiquette for cell phone usage? I say it should be put away and not even looked at, for fear of contamination. I mean, this thing is going right near your mouth.

So imagine my horror when I was in the washroom earlier and someone is carrying a phone conversation sitting atop the toilet. This is obviously something I frown upon. Imagine the person on the other end! What happens when you finish your business but your conversation is still ongoing? Do you sit there over a pot of waste matter? Do you dare flush, giving away your position on the throne? It's gross and I won't have any of it. When I'm dictator of the world, I vow that...wait, what's that? I won't be? Oh.

Well then please remember to wash your hands.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spelling!

Regular readers (if any) will know that I abhor bad spelling. Yes, everyone makes typos, so that's fine. Or if you're in a rush and misspell something, knowing it's wrong, but don't have the time to check how it's actually written - I'll let that slide, too.

What I hate is people who consistently spell a word improperly. My friend the DoctaCSG mentioned recently that he hates it when people write "congradulations". I agreed with him and then I open up Facebook and sure enough, someone else wrote "congrads". Congrads? Are you for real? Have you ever read a book? Does it even sound like there's a D in there?

That's just one of the words I hate seeing misspelled (misspelled itself often being misspelled with only 1 s). Another thing that often tricks people is "should've". I very often see people write "should of". Only morons write this. If you write "should of", then tah-dah! I got news for you. You're a moron. Think about what you write. Does "should of" make any sense? It's supposed to be a contraction of "should have". "Should of" is meaningless and merely serves to flaunt your illiteracy to the world at large. But if you write "should of", then chances are your friends are illiterate too so there's not much chance that they'll read your grievous error.

Lastly, why are people tricked up by "ridiculous"? I've often seen it written "rediculous". It's not even pronounced that way. Does anyone outside of a Southern stereotype pronounce it "ree-diculous"? No. It's rid-iculous. Say it right. Do you say "ridicule" or "ree-dicule"? Exactly.

In short, stop being a dolt. Read a book now and then that isn't written by Stephenie Meyer and learn a god damned thing or two about proper use of language.

**Rant over.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Of all the things...

I've been going to the gym now for 5 years, about 3-4 times a week, and have noticed some gross habits of people. The grossest occurrence is usually gum-related, with people sticking their gum absolutely anywhere. I often wonder what goes through someone's mind when they stick gum in the elliptical machine's cupholder.

"Hmm, I'm chewing gum but I don't want it now. Should I walk the 10 steps to the garbage right over there or stick it in this cupholder in front of me, so that it'll stick to every subsequent user's water bottle?"

I think we all know the choice people like this make. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I suggest that these people should be shot for their crimes.

My point is, knowing full well what levels of nastiness the gym-going public may take to, the administration saw fit to put up this sign in the showers: Il est défendu de cracher dans les douches.

It's forbidden to spit in the showers. Really? Of all the unspeakable evil that may find its way in the showers (and trust me, there have been some notoriously horrific things that I've seen), they choose to remind people not to SPIT? Excuse me, management, but you're one letter off. Spitting is the least of our concerns.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Peggle: A real life Ktarian mind game

I thought I could resist the notorious infestation that is Peggle but I couldn't resist. It's like the Ktarian mind game that Etana Jol gives Riker in that episode of TNG. Everyone's addicted to it and is pressuring me to play. I resisted long enough, hoping to be the Wil Wheaton in this scenario but I ended up being the Ashley Judd...lasting long without playing but not until the very end.

If some of you are still unfamiliar with this game, it's essentially a videogame variation on pinball where you have to hit all the orange pegs on the board before you run out of balls. The balls themselves could have special powers, too. The appeal of the game is basically visual and auditory stimulation. The colours are so vibrant and flashy and the sounds are so...satisfying that it makes you come back for more.

When I close my eyes, all I see are orange and blue pegs and all I can hear is Beethoven's Ode to Joy rattling about my skull.

Now if only Data would show up with a palm beacon to disrupt the mind-controlling effects of the game.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Susan Boyle: My $0.02

This past week, this Susan Boyle woman has apparently captured the world's attention by singing well on a British talent show.

As if that's not pathetic in and of itself, the fact that this woman is absolutely hideous cannot be ignored. What's that, you say? Calling her hideous is terribly mean? Not so, I counter. At least I'm calling it as it is. Everyone else who buys into this phenomenon are the mean ones for being complicit in mocking this woman.

I pose the following question. Is she the best singer who's come across one of these talent programs? The answer is no. Have better singers than her become sensations like this? The answer again is no. So why is Susan Boyle so special?

Because she's hideous. That's a fact and anyone who says differently is lying to themselves.

The contrast between her appearance and her singing also exposes a ridiculous prejudice in people, that being only good looking people could have some talent. Heaven forbid that ugly folks could do something well.

All this to say, if you're buying into this hype, at its root, she's only anything because of her lack of appearance.

On top of everything, what makes it even worse is that this is obviously a calculated maneuver. As if she didn't have to go through many stages of screening before making it on tv. And there is Simon Cowell, feigning incredulity at this woman. Word is he's busy signing her to record deals and will put out CDs to make a few bucks off her back while the iron is hot.

Shameful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Years of research

After years of consuming candy bars, I think I am eminently qualifies to render judgment on which one is the best. Yes, there is an ebb and flow to my tastes, depending on the day. Sometimes I love a Wunderbar, other times a Coffee Crisp will do the trick. But there's one bar that will always hit the spot.

Crispy Crunch.

There's something about the crispiness of that centre portion interacting with the outside chocolate shell that just so satisfying. And most of all, it tastes fantastic. Sure, the peanut flakes might get stuck in your molars but that's an added bonus, a time-release flavour delivery system, if you will.

What's your favourite bar?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ppl wh dsmvwl r th scm f th rth

There is a disturbing trend online lately that upsets me to no end. It is this phenomenon called disemvoweling which is the process whereby someone would post a message and then remove all the vowels from their text. Why, you may ask? I have no clue other than that the internet is full of idiotic degenerates who take great delight in the wanton murder of linguistic skills.

Now, we all know that the internet is a bastion for cave-dwelling miscreants who post and lurk on internet forums (see this theory here) but this new movement is bringing it to a new low.

Stop the madness, everyone! Shun those who spurn conventions of language and justice! Spellers of the world, unite!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Anyone have a +3 helm?

After weeks of taunting and provocation, I finally jinxed myself. I got a cold.

Yes, I can't remember the last time I was sick. It must have been before last winter, 1+ years ago. Here I am, felled by the unpredictable weather.

Look, it's going to be 9 degrees in the afternoon!...but -5 in the morning! Which coat do I wear?

Well, f@#& you, Quebec winters!

Alas, it seems I failed my saving throw. I need to improve my constitution.

At least I'm feeling better now! I could put away my write-you-own-will kit.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

East Block Mario's?

Has anyone seen the new ad for East Side Mario's? Wow, if I were Italian, I'd maybe be offended...if I could stop laughing for a moment.

In case you haven't seen it, the voice over is done in a way that's supposed to sound like a typical Noo Yawk Italian accent. But it ends up anything but. It not only fails but fails spectacularly on a scale seldom seen.

The guy doing the accent sounds like he's from Eastern Europe, acting in a community theatre recreation of Goodfellas. It even took me a while to understand what the commercial was going for. It's that bad.

Honestly, they couldn't actually go get a New Yorker? Just go, pick up any New Yorker off the street, pay him a couple of bucks and boom, you have an authentic accent. Hell, I could do a better accent. How this guy passed the audition is beyond me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Change you can't believe

I usually don't get political on this blog, but here's just a quick observation for the moment:

People say that Obama's election proves that anyone can become president?

To that I say, really?? I thought the election of Bush showed that anyone can become president.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Comic Crossovers and Big Ethel

I love comics.

A great tragedy of my life (among many, I suppose) is that I don't have the time, effort nor will to dispose money to read all the comics that I want.

Despite not having read all the comics that I wish I had, I do know a thing or two about them, namely that crossovers are teh awesomez!!!!1!!one!!eleven!!!!.

I remember a time (which I suppose still goes on) when Spider-Man guested in EVERYone's books, whether he had a reason to be there or not. I always thought it was ridiculous how Marvel would shoe-horn a beloved character anywhere, in the hopes that some bozo kid would see the cover, with a happy bubble proclaiming "Guest starring: Spider-Man!" and pick up issues of a series he would never have even considered previously.

Fine. I get it. Spidey is popular so let's plaster him everywhere.

But then how does one explain these crossovers?

SNL and Spidey?
Letterman and the Avengers?

I can't decide which one I love the most, Don Rickles with Jimmy Olsen or Muhammad Ali vs Superman. Both titanic issues in their own right, I imagine.

One thing is for sure, though. The moment Jughead makes a terrible pun about hamburgers or makes a snide comment about Big Ethel, Frank Castle would blown his head off and steal his crown.


Aside: Has anyone kept up with Archie comics? In my day (and waaaay before, dating back to the 40s), Ethel was drawn to be really ugly, quite mannish, and very undesirable. But I suppose that's politically incorrect these days so now they draw her as a normal-ish looking girl who's not that terrible to be around.

Way to stick to your guns, Archie Comics. What the hell, man?... What the hell?