From the monthly archives:

July 2008

Indiana Jones 4 came and went. It provided me with nearly a year of anticipatory nerdery, the likes of which I never thought I’d enjoy again. Today I’m glad to say I was wrong. From IMDB:

Steve Carell and Seth Rogen are to reteam for a new Ghostbusters movie, according to Internet reports. The funnymen are at the centre of a huge new movie rumour, which has been reported by DreadCentral.com. According to “a reliable source, who cannot be named”, Carell and Rogen will join the original four Ghostbusters, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson, for a third film. According to the website, the original GhostBusters stars will hand over their “proton packs” to the new guys, for what insiders believe will be a new run of spook-chasing movies.

I remember reading once that the GB franchise was going to be revived in the mid-nineties, starring Chris Farley and Chris Rock among other younger talent. And I know that there is a next generation console Ghostbusters game in development with Akroyd and others lending their voices and even helping to write the underlying story. Am I just a ginormous toolshed? Or is this really cool news? Maybe don’t answer that.

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Mr. Bean: 1995 – 2008

by Dave on July 31, 2008

in

Our strange little cat shuffled off this mortal coil last night after a month of dramatic weight loss and piddling on my bed. After he moved up here with Janet back in April, he and I became pretty close, and towards the end he was spending as much time in my room with me as he was in hers. He was friendly, had a unique face which led me to nickname him the feline Jimmy Durante, and it’s a sad day in Portland.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhYNjdjLWMA[/youtube]

Here he is in a cute video from a couple months back, chilling on my bed with Shepherd. What I especially liked about him was the way in which he got along with the puppies. Although they tended to haunt and sniff him in inappropriate places, he truly seemed to enjoy their company and I even caught them all snuggling once or twice.

He’s currently lying in state in our laundry room, and I am off to build him a wooden box and then bury him in a quiet spot in the woods near our house. Godspeed, Mr. Bean. You were a great pet and a wonderful addition to our family.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Barack to Basics

by Dave on July 28, 2008

in

obama-berlin

Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is ‘Ich bin ein Berliner, bitch!'”

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One Slow Week

by Dave on July 25, 2008

in

I actually did a lot of work on the blog this week, but it was all behind the scenes. The good news is, I finally upgraded the blog software to the latest version of WordPress. The bad news is, I lost all of my categories, tags and post formatting (i.e. paragraphs) in the process. The upgrade wasn’t easy, but it’s done and suppose I can live with the fallout. Nothing I can’t fix, eventually.

Bear with me kids. I’ll be back in full force from this day forward. And to prove that, I’m going to treat you with a silly video.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beo0wC9Uirk[/youtube]

If that didn’t make you laugh, then please never visit this blog again. Because you’ll never get it, and it’s about to get real good again.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Jurassic Bark

by Dave on July 21, 2008

in

dog-trex
When FiFi saw the T-Rex he was reminded of his former life as a vicious carnivore, spent sniffing other Tyrannosaurus’ butts.

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Heath, We Hardly Knew Ye

by Dave on July 19, 2008

in Movies

I can sum up my opinions on the intricate and supreme masterpiece that is The Dark Knight in only one word: holy fucking shit, Batman. Everyone involved in the movie, from Chris Nolan right on down to the art director, brings their A-game and this is really one for the ages.

This summer has been a complete mental overload for me in terms of anticipated movies. I have now seen 2 of my top 3 – Indy 4 and TDK – with Tropic Thunder still a month away. The new Batman film, coupled with the remarkable Iron Man, have renewed my faith in the Superhero genre which I haven’t really paid any attention to since I was a little kid watching Superman II at an Ottawa-area drive-in. Not since General Zod came to town have I given a rat’s hindquarters about caped crusaders and I am glad to say that Bale, Freeman, Gyllenhall, Caine, Oldman, Eckhart and especially Ledger have slapped me back into DC/Marvel fandom.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSZkAIi7U-o[/youtube]

But it’s easy enough to parrot what everyone else is going to tell you about the film, so whilst I slurped coffee/played Scrabulous this morning I tried to really pinpoint reasons and moments behind Dark Knight kicking me in the bat-balls.

  • Katie Holmes isn’t in it. Her replacement, Maggie Gyllenhall makes up in actual talent what she lacks in her predecessor’s looks.
  • Comparing Ledger to Nicholson is apples to oranges, really. Heath’s Joker isn’t better than Jack’s, it’s just another extremely strong facet of the best and most unique superhero movie of the last 20 years. Burton’s original film and Nolan’s reboot are very different universes and neither Joker would fit well in the other’s greasepaint.
  • The special effects employed to turn Harvey Dent into Two Face will curdle your blood. I’ll leave it to you to find out exactly what I mean.
  • The ‘truck chase’ I’ll call it, when the Joker tried to capture Dent as he is being moved between jails is truly amazing – from the driving to the effects to the sound to the surprise twist upon its conclusion.
  • The ‘ferry scene’ and the way in which the people of Gotham surprise the joker with the humanity he didn’t believe they possessed is clever and touching.
  • The writing overall, particularly the many ways in which the Joker surprises and outsmarts the police, makes me want to start my own script. It’s that good.
  • Gary Oldman, one of my very favorite actors, gets a lot more screen time as Commissioner Gordon than he did in Batman Begins and we see a real character emerge – especially in relation to his desire to protect his family.
  • Batman goes to frigging Hong Kong to bring back a key criminal and uses an awesome variety of tools, courtesy of Lucious (Morgan Freeman) to do so. James Bond and Q must be seething with jealousy.
  • Alfred, Michael Caine, makes some questionable decisions as the dutiful servant and father figure to Bruce Wayne, but his love for both Bruce and Rachel is always evident.

I could go on, but I have a BBQ in Barhaven I must attend. Get your little bat-bottoms to this outstanding piece of cinema and I hope you enjoy it half as much as I did.

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The 4 weddings (but hopefully not a funeral) I am attending in September have got me thinking about ways to possibly inject a little bit of fun into the proceedings. I’m lying – I am compiling a viral piece for a client and am looking for input. So I’ll put the question to you like this:

What is the most inappropriate song you can think of to be played during a wedding ceremony or reception?

So if you could request and possibly sneak one song past the filter of a wedding DJ, what’s the most cringe-worthy tune you can think of? A few pop into my mind immediately.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTjPnKITwss&feature=related[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIX82jURxFE[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxxOyGK1pMk[/youtube]

I’m not talking about 2 Live Crew inappropriate. I’m looking for songs that might seem to jinx or doom the happy couple specifically. Have some fun with this, and I look forward to your suggestions and comments. Update: Here is the list I’m going to run with.

  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths
  • Separate Ways – Journey
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division
  • I Don’t Love Anyone – Belle and Sebastian
  • A Man Needs A Maid – Neil Young
  • A Quick One, While He’s Away – The Who
  • I Am Trying To Break Your Heart – Wilco
  • 50 Ways to Leave your Lover – Paul Simon
  • Suspicious Minds – Elvis Presley
  • D-I-V-O-R-C-E – Tammy Wynette
  • I Hate Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe
  • Run for Your Life – The Beatles
  • All my Exes Live in Texas – George Strait
  • You Give Love A Bad Name – Bon Jovi
  • Better Man – Pearl Jam
  • Wicked Game – Chris Issac
  • It’s the End of the World as we Know it – REM
  • She’s Having My Baby – Paul Anka
  • Another One Bites the Dust – Queen
  • If you Want to be Happy for the Rest of Your Life – Jimmy Soul

Thank you all for your suggestions, and I will let you know when the finished piece is live. The final version will have funny write-ups about each song, YouTube Videos and lyric snippets.

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The Dock Doctor

by Dave on July 15, 2008

in Canadiana

Although we got the dock and boatlift in over a month ago, neither monstrosity has has been “sitting” properly on the lake bottom. One corner of the dock would dip frighteningly when stepped on and the boat lift was too far from the shore, requiring a tremendous amount of wheel cranking to get it into or out of the water. I finally decided I’d had enough of my family’s rickety death marina.

A neighbor was asked to come over with his ATV which has a powerful winch on the front of it. I grabbed a mask, snorkel and long metal pipe for leverage, jumped into the lake and attached the cable to the frame of the lift. With some difficulty, and several dives down to clear away rocks, we managed to maneuver the lift closer to the shore and lined up perfectly with the dock. After the repositioning I discovered in no uncertain terms that my lung capacity is not what it used to be as I dove down to the bottom multiple times to rearrange rocks, stabilize and level the four lift posts.

Once the lift was squared away, I went back underwater and swam into the dark area underneath the dock before jamming a nice big, flat rock under the leg that tended to dip. While I was down there, I gathered up some bottle caps, a thermometer and an old boat bumper that had been resting in peace for gosh knows how long. After that, I dried off by screwing some extra rubber trim onto a bare section of dock edge and relocating a cleat that had been in an inconvenient spot. So now when we moor the boat without putting it into the lift the cleats are perfectly lined up with the bow and stern lines. Listen to me, eh? Pretty soon I’ll have a parrot perched on my shoulder.

The most amazing thing about the whole procedure were the staggering number of fish who turned out to watch/lend their support. Everytime I came up for air and then dove back down to where I’d just been 15 seconds or so before, there’d be a group of curious fish hovering around the spot where I’d just been meddling with their world. Big fish, little fish swimming in the water (this is beginning to sound like a PJ Harvey song)… perch, bass, sunfish – they were fearless and it’s a sight I’ll be returning to soon, possibly with additional masked intruders.

Sully and Jim – y’all need to get up here this summer because the fishin’ must be exceptional. Call me the dock doc.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Communism is Exhaust-ing

by Dave on July 14, 2008

in

korea-goes-green

North Koreans began to rethink their reluctance to “go green” when Kim Jong Il’s 30-million-dollar Hummer backfired during a PyongYang indoctrination festival.

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Professionally Photographed Pyes

by Dave on July 10, 2008

in Photos

Back in May at the SCTV Reunion show there was a photo stage set up at the after party and Janet and I were the very first folks photographed. We were, of course, being used as test subjects before the actual cast arrived – but the photos were taken nonetheless.

SCTVPARTY-07

A couple of hours later I ran into the photographer and asked him if he’d mind emailing me the photos if he ever got around to it. Well, yesterday he finally did and they are a couple of doozys. There are very few professionally taken snaps of me or my sister in existence – let alone together and let alone dressed up in our best fineries. Janet’s cool ensemble leaves me thinking she should have been battling vampires with Kate Beckinsale and my super beige blazer and shiny ribbed shirt was purchased specifically for the event.

SCTVPARTY-08

Please enjoy, and if ever you wanted a nice pic of the Pye siblings to stick on your fridge (it could happen) – your prayers have finally been answered. Now get yourself some new prayers because that one was just pathetic.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Ring-Tailed Talents

by Dave on July 7, 2008

in

yawning-lemur
Everyone knows that Lemurs make up the infraorder Lemuriformes and are members of a group of primates known as prosimians. But Warbie could fold his tongue, too.

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I created what’s known as “Linkbait” for a client this week, and I think it’s pretty damn good if I do say so myself. To any of my readers with a Digg account – We’re very close to going viral and I’d like to unashamedly solicit a few votes if I may be so bold. If this effort were sub-standard I’d never ask – this is something you can Digg in good conscience.

How can one make a decent living spending a massive amount of the work week compiling photos and writing copy for a list of funny barbecues? I wish I had an answer for you. I also invite you to post it to facebook, vote for it in StumbleUpon, Mixx, Reddit, etc. There’s a good readership. Sit, readership.

independence-daySo this post isn’t a complete waste of time for everybody else, I am extremely proud to be able to say – for the first time ever as an American Citizen – Happy Frickin’ 4th of July everybody!

I feel very lucky to be able to enjoy dual-citizenship, because I have such strong ties with both Canada and the United States – and I never had a choice.

I bleed red white and blue. And then red and white again. But whatever colors I bleed, they don’t run. Coo loo koo koo coo loo koo koo, and I regret that I have but one life to give for my province. Speak now or forever hold your poutine.

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Leave Barnstead Alone!

by Dave on July 3, 2008

in

Forget about Britney – my old pal Eric Barnstead is being harangued by his neighbors in Concord to move and/or shut down his home based landscaping business.

“The board has always had a reluctance” to deny home-based businesses, Chairman Roberto Braceras said before the board voted. “Perhaps the community has become so upscale that we’re going to restrict someones ability to make a living.”

That sounds like Concord all over. From what I can tell his neighbors on Ministerial Drive have made him jump through many difficult hoops in the hopes that he’d be unable to abide and then inevitably shut down by the board. He took down the small sign he had for his business on his lawn as per their wishes. He also limits vehicle trips, idling time, limits his employees to one, operates within strict hours and has ceased storing any materials there. But there’s no pleasing those elitist bastards.

“The neighbors are asking ourselves if we should have moved here or to Billerica,” said one angry neighbor in an outburst after the hearing was closed, “Because here is going to be like Billerica if you continue to carry on this way.”

What a pompous twat. Eric has always been a bit of a back woodsman in the middle of a street of the elite, but he’s a good man and a hard worker – not to mention he is one of the best harmonica players I have ever heard. I spent a lot of time at that house during high school, and I know the area well. Caterina Heights Powder Mill Road definitely isn’t, and I have a hard time imagining the Barnstormer single-handedly causing property values to plummet.

None stood in support of the applicant; almost the entire audience rose in opposition.

Hang in there, brother. If this doesn’t work out John Popper has never looked very healthy.

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According to every authority figure I have ever had, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things. When advanced Flash video compression first came on the scene in 2005, creating new media juggernauts like YouTube and Google Video, it sent copyright holders spinning on their heads and running for their attorneys. Lawsuits were threatened, videos were pulled down quicker than Madonna’s sheer thong (I love Madge, but this is just wrong) and many predicted the demise of the powerful new sharing technology and the hugely popular sites it had so quickly spawned. That, for the record, was the wrong way to do things.

What YouTube and its peers have done is create access to a massive amount of content that many people, particularly young people with money, would never have had access to. In many cases, these young people discovering new movies, bands and TV shows will then go out and purchase CDs, DVDs, BlurRay discs and MP3s. Most record companies, movie studios and TV networks fought tooth and nail against allowing Duran Duran videos, clips from Caddyshack and 80s SNL episodes from availability on YouTube. Of course they’d rather someone had to buy the material instead of watching it for free online – but they won’t buy anything if they are completely unaware of its existence.

Compressed Flash video has very poor audio and video quality by today’s advanced HD standards. It can’t be easily downloaded, converted to other video formats or burned onto DVDs. It threatens nothing but can offer everything to savvy marketers and enlightened corporate decision makers. And it seems YouTube now offers the ability for these copyright holders to take alternate and potentially profitable measures against folks, in this case yours truly, who upload and share material that they own.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Qd0lZIIn3A[/youtube]

“UMG has claimed some or all audio content in your video One Thirsty Kitty. This claim was made as part of the YouTube Content Identification program.”

Apparently someone at UMG took exception recently to the fact that I used Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat? as the soundtrack to my breathtaking masterpiece, One Thirsty Kitty. This is one of the most highly viewed videos I have created and shared on the network, but their attention was more likely drawn to it because I ‘tagged’ it with the title and artist, hoping that Tom Jones fans might find and enjoy it. In their email to me, however, YouTube mentions an automated method they’ve created that can seek out at least songs automatically: “Partners may use our automated video / audio matching system to identify their content, or they may manually review videos.” Did some sort of spider crawl through my page and discover the use of the song? If so, that’d almost be cool. But let’s be realistic, it was probably a human busybody.

The right way to do something is what YouTube has empowered UMG to do in my case. I get to keep my silly video of Boss online. YouTube gets to keep a half decent and reasonably popular piece of content live, and UMG may someday, if they haven’t already, enjoy sales of Tom Jones CDs, DVDs or MP3s because a surfer heard the song on One Thirsty Kitty and fell in love with it. Apparently they are also now allowed to use the page OTK resides upon for advertising purposes. It’s a clever compromise and it benefits all three parties.

“Your video is still live because UMG has authorized the use of this content on YouTube. As long as UMG has a claim on your video, they will receive public statistics about your video, such as number of views. Viewers may also see advertising on your video’s page.”

Well done, YouTube Content Identification Team, and I sincerely mean that. This is progress.

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Oh the Doo Dah Canada Day

by Dave on July 1, 2008

in Canadiana

canada day graphics 05As all my clients are American I can’t exactly kick back, relax and swell with pride today. As usual, there’s a lot of the old online marketing to do. But I do want to mark the occasion here on the blog and wish all of my Canuckian readers (and those Yanks who suffer from poutine-envy) a lovely Canada Day. Here are a few spellbinding facts I dug up for the occasion…

  • Canada is the second largest country in the world, with 9,971,000 square kilometres of land.
  • The baseball glove was invented in Canada in 1883.
  • With only three people per square kilometer, Canada has the fourth lowest population density in the world.
  • The world’s smallest jail is believed to be in Rodney, Ontario, Canada. It is only 24.3 square meters (about 270 square feet).
  • Canada has the ninth biggest economy of the world
  • According to the United Nations Human Development Index, Canada has the highest quality of life in the world.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, Canada does not own the North Pole. In fact, the North Pole is not owned by any country.
  • Canada is the world’s eighth biggest trader.
  • Of all of the world’s producers of natural gas, copper, zinc, nickel, aluminum, and gold, Canada is in the top five.
  • Canada is the fifth largest energy producer.
  • Canada has the world’s highest tertiary education enrolment.

Alright, alright – one at a time. We can’t take you all at once. Be patient, and one day maybe you too can be lucky enough to call yourself a citizen of the mighty country that invented basketball, the electric light bulb, the electric range, the electron microscope, standard time, the television, the telephone and the zipper. Have a doozy, and let’s keep the boating deaths to a minimum this year, OK?

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