Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends down here in the USA !

In related news, the Macy Parade was just catapulted into the 21st century with a wonderful "Rick Roll" by the Cartoon Network (click here). This is brilliant.

(To be "Rick Rolled" is to be duped into visiting a web page only to find it is a video clip of a cheesy 1980s song, Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley. This may be the first in-person version and shows that both the Cartoon Network and Rick have a sense of humour.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Shop

This weekend, some people and I ran into a lovely store in the CWE in St Louis.

Simply called The Shop, the store offers a nice variety of scarves and knit hats, mittens, etc. The owners were really nice and offered us chocolates and wine even though we didn't buy anything. I told them I would tout their store on my blog as thanks.

It is at McPherson and Euclid, next to the old Balban's (which is now Herbie's). Check it out for some great holiday gift ideas.... Note that they are a transient, seasonal store so this post is time sensitive! They will be gone in Jan 09.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Draft Beer Party

With all the election hoopla this autumn, I was reminded of a situation in Grade 4.

As I told friends, my Grade 4 French/homeroom teacher started a political party, and ran in the PEI provincial election circa 1979. It was called the "Draft Beer Party". Now, I have no idea if this was a protest movement, an ironic commentary on western culture, or a way for him to meet women; as kids, we just thought it was cool.

I remember wearing a button for the DBP (probably one of the few dozens printed) on election night. I wondered to my father if he might win -- with 40% of the polls reporting, he was at 69 votes. My dad commented that he was surprised he got any votes at all.

This is a nice backstory but the real point of this blog post is that, on a whim, I looked up the short-lived, beloved Draft Beer Party on Google.

Get this: there is a Wikipedia entry for it (click here).

Wow. Perhaps it was written by Mr Campbell himself.

ps. A final thought: many CC readers try to probe the psyche and influences of someone who famously prints slogans on trite media and then poses in public, in a vain attempt to achieve noteriety. To those readers, I say: take note, and thank Mr C.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

CC Version 4.0 (beta)

This week, I took one step closer to CC Version 4.0 (i.e. a birthday). Not there yet though.

It has been a good birthday 'season' good times with special people, good food, and really enjoying a film festival that occurs each November here in StL.

There is much introspection as well. Who do I want to be? What is my moral obligation to my family (in terms of proximity)? How long will the American experiment last? (It is going very well but I am increasingly losing touch with my homeland. I have spent 25% of my life in the US.)

To quote Rush, "if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". Yikes. Thanks, Neil.

More heaviness later... For now, I'm celebrating version 3.0 which worked out pretty well. When I was 30, I had never completed a triathon or played the piano. I hadn't seen Europe or Hawaii. Despite major academic success (at a monstrous time investment), I hadn't really done much with my career.
(I'm certainly not done on that front, but there have been some wins.) And I was fairly lonely in a town without many friends. (I have since found wonderful people in StLouis.)

so.... what's next?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I don't like e-fads. I resisted Facebook for a long time and also Twitter. Now, I'm on both.

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a micro-blogging site where one just updates their status. It is like an offline IM site, where you follow friends and they follow you. It is useful for employees in remote offices, for groups attending conferences, and for anyone who wants more PR. The name comes from the analogy of birds chit-chatting to each other in the trees.

For me, the PR potential broke my resolve: so my tech blog is on there now (click here). This is my technical 'persona' so the updates will mostly be career based. My friends are more than welcome to follow me; I may or may not follow you. I'm less likely to do so if you are a frequent 'tweeter' as I find the whole thing a bit distracting at work.

Right now, I try to 'tweet' once a day. I peak at work but don't tweet.

Some CC devotees may remember the famed "micro posts" on this very blog, as started some time ago. This was somewhat inspired by an early article on Twitter. Or possibly an older, prototypical service -- I wouldn't be surprised if Twitter ripped me off! It would bother lesser bloggers but at the apex of the vanguard, it is our burden at CC to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous imitation.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He's Gone

I have confirmation that my upstairs neighbour has moved!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If ye break faith with us who die

Lest we forget: Flanders Fields

As I point out annually on here, this poem is why Canadians wear poppies in the first days of November until Nov 11.

It is sobering to think that a war would be so intense and cause such suffering that it would be known as The Great War -- and yet it would hardly be the last of the 20th century.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Quick Update

Just a quick note to say hello.... Very busy week:
  • Attend a live PostSecret event (more later)
  • Busy at work and thankfully the gym
  • Nuptials today for Michelle and Brad (congratulations!)
  • Oh, let's see. Ah yes: the Americans had an election down here which was sort of a 'big deal'. If you consider a historic event and speech, with palpable joy and electricity to be 'big'. I had hoped to blog some reaction but it is hard to recreate the magic of that evening.
ps. My travel plans are set.... Heading home circa Dec 20 - 30. I booked ages ago and Air Canada updates my itinerary every 5 days so heaven only knows when (or where?) I'm really going now.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

New York Times Machine

For you literary types, welcome to your next addiction (click).

The New York Times has digitized articles from 1851 to 1922 and put them on the web. You can read about the end of WWI, or the sinking of the Titanic.

This is a monstrously cool example of some tech stuff called 'clustering' or 'cloud-computing'. The data and the software are hosted on a giant network of computers at Amazon. The cost of doing this was incredibly small: as software and data scale up, economics get strange indeed.