Joost!

29 04 2007

I’ve just become a new member of the beta Joost community. If you didn’t know, Joost is relatively new interactive software that uses P2P television technology to distribute TV shows and other video content – for free. Basically, you get a very luscious UI complete with an Dashboard-like overlay of widgets, and the ability to watch about 24 TV channels in fullscreen on your computer. The channels you get depend on where you are. To be honest, I’m not all that impressed with the channels I get right now, but this is only the beginning. I think that once Joost has completed beta testing it’ll be much more enticing. There are rumors circulating on the community forums of all kinds of things on the horizon: CNN, HBO, and special features like a Star Trek channel. Despite the current lack of attractive options, the program itself is very nice. I haven’t looked at screenshots from the Windows version, but the OS X version is very Mac-like; pretty, intuitive, and all the rest. I predict that, if they keep up the good work, Joost is going to be a big hit, and probably more of a threat to YouTube than Sony’s current Japan-based project called eyeVio. (For the Slashdot article on this, clicky.)

Also, I need to give a big shout-out to David Linsin, whose blog I came across randomly while browsing Technorati. He was cool enough to send me and three others an invite to Joost beta. Like all things that hope to generate some hype, Joost requires you to be specially invited by a current user before you can download the client. And it’s not like Gmail where everyone immediately has so many invitations. I currently have none, but I think I’ll probably get some eventually. If I do, I’ll be happy to send them to anyone who’s interested.

On the personal side of things, I had a pretty rough third day at work on Saturday, as we were hosting a wedding in the evening which meant everyone had to be on top of their game. After some relaxation on Sunday I met up with friends for some almost-soccer/step-sitting/soda-swigging, (sorry Sarah) shenanigans. At some point between 12 and 1 we stopped by the Barn in Westdale (now open 24/7!) and stocked up on candy, Ritz crackers, strawberries with whipped cream and corn nuts, and headed over to Sara’s place to watch The Emporer’s New Groove. Good stuff. I don’t work again until Thursday, meaning I need to get some other things done in the next couple days. I think I’ll take a resume (Shh!) over to Fortinos with an interest in the little Entertainment section they have in one corner of the store. I also need to call my boss again to see if I can get a day off next week so I can go to Newmarket.

Anyway that’s all for now.

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Technorati Luv

28 04 2007

As of tonight I’m officially listed with Technorati – a site that’s basically a search engine for blogs. (I suppose it’s also a social networking thing since you have profiles and stuff.) I’ve known about it for ages, but I never took the time to look into it carefully until now. As silly as it may sound, I think signing up with them was the most fun I’ve ever had registering for something online. Maybe it’s because I’m just a huge Web 2.0 fan boy. (But seriously…the part where you type out a 250-character blog descriptions actually has a little character count going as you type it. How cool is that?) Plus they give you some nifty little widgets to stick in a template, and, well, fresh additions to my blog’s template make my heart beat faster because I’m really cool like that.

I’ve been doing more thinking lately about making this blog accessible to wider audiences and so forth, but just tonight I’ve seriously re-considered my previous notion that it would never happen unless I made it much less personal, since my own personal life is pretty ordinary. But, just from some of the browsing around I’ve been doing tonight, (won’t go into the details) I’ve seen that there are plenty of folks who enjoy reading frivolity as much as I enjoy writing it. Thus, I’ve done some self-promotion in blogging circles so we’ll just see what happens.

Random: My work shift tomorrow got changed from afternoon to evening. In other words? RIP Weekend.





White Board Stop Motion Goodness

26 04 2007

Check out this cool video I found while browsing Break.com instead of sleeping!

So neat.





Work, Work!

25 04 2007

Today was my first day working in the kitchen at Baranga’s. I plan to make this the one and only time I talk about work, (or this particular job, at least) on a personal level because the idea of this blog is that anyone’s welcome to read it. I guess I’m saying there’s the possibility that one of my co-workers or employers could read this, however unlikely, so I want to be sensitive to that.

The kitchen runs in a fairly orderly way. The waitresses (referred to always as “the girls”) come in bearing armfuls of dirty dishes which they put in a rack on the counter. I’m responsible for making sure there is an empty rack there at all times, or at least enough space for more dishes when they come. I pull the full racks across to my side of the counter and then push them along a track to the sink. Then I spray them spotless. I have to make sure there’s nothing left on them, because neglected scraps get baked onto their surfaces when I put the load in the sanitizer. Then I push the full rack into the machine and hit the switch. If there’s downtime with the incoming plates and stuff, then I’m supposed to go over to the other sink and scrub the bigger items which have to be done by hand. (Pots, pans, and greasy trays.) Once the sanitizer is finished its cycle, I pull the full rack out the other side and lay the items out to dry. Eventually I have to gather them up and run around looking for their spot. Apparently my supervisor is pretty prickly about things being put away in the wrong place.

Washing dishes on its own isn’t very enjoyable. It’s tedious, and mind-numbingly repetitive. The only remotely fun part is spraying something clean with the high-powered nozzle. Scrubbing things is my least-favourite part – it’s slow, and wet, and dirty. Stray noodles and bits of meat gather in the corners of the primary sink where they float like fetid mold on the brown water’s surface. Also, the soap dispenser doesn’t work properly, and the tap is too long for the narrow sink, so you can’t swing it around with the water running or you’ll make a big mess. (Guilty, once or twice.)

But, all complaints aside, a job is a job. The best upside to all this is that my co-workers seem very friendly. I only worked for about 3 and a half hours today, but it seemed much longer because I wasn’t talking to anyone. I think this will change soon when I get to know the others in the kitchen, and then the time will go by a lot faster. I hope so, anyway – I don’t know how long I’d last if every day was like today, only three times longer. Anyhow, I’m scheduled to work again on Friday and Saturday, starting at 11am.





Massacre Chasers are Lame

23 04 2007

You know, it’s pretty angering to me when people like Jack Thompson and Dr. Phil take advantage of an incident like the shooting at Virginia Tech by using it to bash something they don’t like – namely video games. Note, I’m not alone in my sentiments here – what I’m saying is just rehashing what’s been discussed in several other articles and blogs, but here it is nonetheless.

On the eve of the VT massacre, Dr. Phil said the following on Larry King Live:

The problem is we are programming these people as a society. You cannot tell me – common sense tells you – that if these people are playing video games where they’re on a mass killing spree in a video game, it’s glamorized on the big screen, it’s become part of the fiber of our society. You take that and mix it with a psychopath, a sociopath, or someone suffering from mental illness, add in a dose of rage, the suggestability is just too high. And we’re going to have to start dealing with that. We’re going to have to start addressing those issues and recognizing that the mass murderers of tomorrow are the children of today that are being programmed with this massive violence overdose.”

Uh huh. Right. I have huge respect for Jason Della Rocca (executive director of the International Game Developers’ Association) right now, because he hit the nail right on the head, summing up exactly what I was thinking quite well:

“It’s so sad. These massacre chasers — they’re worse than ambulance chasers — they’re waiting for these things to happen so they can jump on their soapbox.”

Jack Thompson, for those of you who don’t know, is a controversial attorney who is a wildly active opposer of violent media, particularly video games. Following the VT massacre he was interviewed on MSNBC, and was confronted with this quotation. Watch how angry he gets.

Haha. And that smoking analogy was pretty bad in my opinion. Of course not every smoker gets lung cancer – but they all get damaged lungs. That’s the difference. Very few gamers are “damaged” by the games they play. Ah well. Thoughts?





Triumphant Return

22 04 2007

I’m back!!! Actually, I never really went anywhere. I’ve been putting off writing this post because I thought I’d have to make it really long, and, you know, good – and not to mention well-thought out, to make up for my huge lack in posting. However, I’ve decided to write whatever comes to me because, as we all know, something is better than nothing. So!

I’m done school. Yeah, crazy! I wrote my last exam on the 14th I believe, and moved out of my place at 661 Edinburgh (forever!) the following day. No more menagerie! I feel pretty good about how my exams went. I haven’t got any marks back yet, but I’m not concerned. As you’d expect, it’s strange that I’m done my first “year” of university. Those people who told me university would fly by faster than high school – they were right. Wow.

Employment: I have it! Yes, indeed. I’ve been hired as a kitchen person at Baranga’s. My plan in applying for work there was to get a waitering job, or bar tending. I was initially devastated when my employer-to-be handed me a Kitchen manual and my original visions (of me standing on the deck giving somebody a fancy drink with a pink straw, against a backdrop of the sun setting on the lake) were replaced with me toiling in a noisy, steamy kitchen with an overbearing supervisor breathing down my neck and telling me to hurry up. Granted, I’m sure both extremes are over-exaggerated in my mind, but there they were anyway. Since then I’ve found out a lot more positive things about the job, such as the fact that the other kitchen folks are supposedly mostly (female) university students. That, I can live with.

But that’s not all! There’s another job prospect for me at the Desjardins Credit Union outlet in Hamilton’s Centre Mall. (It’s our very own Mos Eisley! Although, if you’ve seen Jackson Square lately, you might say the comparison should be made there instead. I’m on the fence.) My dad’s contact with them is hopefully enough for me to get my foot in the door. I dropped off a resume with them last week, and should hopefully be hearing from them in the coming days. If I get a job there, I’d probably be a bank-teller of some sort, presumably full-time and also presumably yanking in a better wage than my dish washing gig. I’ve pretty much decided that I’ll take the Desjardins job over Baranga’s if it’s offered to me, despite the fact that I wouldn’t meet any young people working there. Le sigh.
UPDATE: As I was finishing up writing this entry, I got a call from Margarite Tsangarakis, my employer from Baranga’s. I start work this Tuesday at noon. …GAH! Oh well. I just hope I don’t get a call in the meantime to get interviewed at the same time.

My other plans for the summer are both bounteous and ambitious. I have an extensive mental to-do list, but this list I’m about to compile will probably be somewhat incomplete:

Getting G2:
I’ve only done a little driving practice since I’ve been home, but with a little more I think I’ll be confident to arrange my government test. My goal is to have it set up before the month is out. That gives me just over a week. Ack.

The Elusive Play
At some point last semester I got the bright idea to write (and possibly go on to direct) a one act play for an event at U of G called…Snow Week. I think. For some reason I’m thinking they spell the Snow without the W. Uh, details on that later when I find out. Anyway, the only problem right now is, and the reason I referred to it as being elusive, is because as of now I don’t exactly have an idea. Or at least, nothing more than a couple pun-packed titles and one-liners. The other thing is, I’m pledged to work on this with my good friend from Acting I, Sarah Lavine. She lives, (for this summer, at least) with her family in Newmarket. This is one of the reasons I’m bound and determined to get my license, so that I can get myself up there to visit and compose. Hopefully one or both of us is struck by inspiration, sooner rather than later, so we can get that ball rolling.

The Muskoka Retreat
Back in high school, my youth group from Binkley Church had an esteemed yearly ritual of spending a long weekend at Lakeside Lodge on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka. Having spent quite a bit of time up north even before that, (at the fairy tale-like mansion-cottages belonging to my uncle) the area’s become quite a nostalgic place for me. Thus, I’ve started discussing with my old gang from high school the possibility of going up there together on a long weekend. Renting a cottage is tricky in regard to the organization and cost of it all, but I’m determined to get something worked out. I’ve already located an excellent resource, with all the listings I could ask for. The problem is, the more people you need sleeping accommodations for, the more expensive it gets. Anyway, I’ll talk more about that when more decisions are made.

Other Trips
I hope to make some other excursions as well with my friends this summer. We may go to Montreal, (which Pete has to familiarize himself with anyway since his recent acceptance to Concordia) or someplace like that. And, although it’s not this summer, next summer the UEFA Euro Cup 2008 is being hosted by Austria and Switzerland. Pete, Paul and I are hoping to go. Just from looking at this site, it looks like the average cost of a ticket to a regular match is anywhere between 300 and 800 euros, and the semi-finals and final cost between 1200 and 3000. As far as I know, the conversion is one euro equals about a dollar-fifty Canadian. Ouch.

As if that plan weren’t unlikely enough, we’re also coddling a distant goal of attending the next FIFA World Cup in the summer after we graduate in 2010. The location? South Africa. Oh yeah.

Misc.
Obviously there are some things I want/need to be doing that are a little closer at hand than overseas soccer tournaments and so forth. For one, I’m thinking of getting into the habit of running every morning. I haven’t started this yet, but it would be really excellent if I did. Cardio is gooooood. Also, as I was visiting with good old Sarah (Kat) last night, she mentioned a…well, I don’t know what to call it exactly, but they’re *free* (Argentinian) Tango lessons in Toronto that she took advantage of many times last year. I never went with her before, sadly, but I’d like to take that opportunity now. (You didn’t think I was going to mention something that isn’t beyond my personal financial means did you? Well there you go.) I don’t care what people say – dancing is great fun, and especially fun to tell people you can do since not many people can. In addition to all that, I plan on asking for a camera for my birthday so I can start taking more pictures that aren’t of the grainy webcam variety. Rockwell has really taken to photography over the past several months and wants me to join him in an urban-themed photo-taking quest this summer, featuring downtown Hamilton’s seedy underbelly in all its squalid artistic splendor. I also have to go out and buy a wireless router for this house, because being confined to my room and the minimal reach of this old broken ethernet cord is no fun.

Anything I’m missing? Ah, my friends and I are planning some movie marathons, such as a Lord of the Rings marathon with the extended editions of each film. (It amounts to about 9 or 10 hours…at least.) That should be fun. Sort of. There’s more I’m missing for sure, but I’m sure you’re as tired of reading as I am of typing, especially considering what an amazing day it is.

More coming later. And no more month-long posting gaps, I swear.





I know, I know

9 04 2007

It’s coming, I promise.