Saw Discovery shuttle with 39 space missions under its belt!
Amazing! Also saw Enola Gay. The plane that dropped the atomic bomb Little Boy on Hiroshima.
And here is the working replica of the plane that stated it all….
This is our new house.
Waiting for grandparents at the airport.
Relaxing after a longish flight from USA.
With her grandmother.
Sister in laws.
Cousins. Little guy ultra cute and ultra naughty.
Having “ultra” fun.
Regina Spektor Is Back!!
My running schedule this year included, a half marathon in Feb, a full in May, a 30K in August and a full in Oct. Each of these runs represented it’s own problems and I could not give 100% on the day of the respective runs. Reasons varied from running in slush in Feb, to IT band problems (excessive training) and no strength (severe lack of training). I know it’s silly of me to focus on the time but I am a very egoistical person (in some matters :)) and I want to prove that I have it in me to improve my pace and be as good as my peers.
Therefore, I have decided to focus on distance rather than pace. Next year I am aiming to run a 50k. Have not decided which one but I will. To help me reach my goal, I will need to put in at least 40k every week until my “true” training begins. What does that entail? Lots of time on the dreadmill during winter months (hello gym!!) and at least one LSD on the weekends. This will put pressure on the home front (wife not a enthusiastic supporter of my running) and my on line activities (I love to wake up early in the morning and just surf the net).
We will see how it goes. Wis me luck!
Here is what I see when I try and go to the site : Skeptics Guide To The Universe at my work place. I think Steve Novella will blow a fuse when he sees this :)
Here is my list of top 10 albums of 2010 :
10. The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night
This is basically the album My Bloody Valentine would have created after Loveless. Soaring music, beautiful lyrics and a sense that the band wants to tell the sad, sad tales that they have encountered throughout their lives. If you were a fan of MBV, you have got to get this as it would be a wonderful extension to that era.
09. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Another minimalistic album which I downloaded based on the recommendation from Will’s Band Of The Week and fell in love with by the time I was half way through. This has been my “running” album of choice and whenever I have recommended it to fellow runners they have been full of high praises for it. The thing I really like about the album is the vocals and the guitar work and the most surprising thing about the album was the drums. I was fully expecting a drum machine but I swear that they have a live drummer. This simple change lit up the album! Loved it!
08. Menomena – Mines
I have a full post of this album so I will direct you there
07. Quest For Fire – Lights From Paradise
This band, in my books, is the best band from Toronto this year.The sonic landscapes and the lazy vocals are perfectly in tune with each other and take the listener off to a higher experience. In this album they seem to have specialised in building the tension in the songs and never ever releasing it. Especially the opening track ‘’The Greatest Hits By God’’ which basically lays the foundation for the album. Looking forward to their live performance.
06. Wintersleep – New Inheritors
The track Black Camera is the one song that really draws you to this album. I mean a group coming out with a song as rousing and catchy as Black Camera has got to offer more, and they did not disappoint. The album is frankly a very straightforward rock album but maybe that’s why I really like it so much. Songs have the right amount of grunge and right amount of pop to pass off as awesome! Loved the album.
05. Frightened Rabbit – The Winter Of Mixed Drinks
Their follow up to an outstanding album was amazing! In fact, I would venture to say that it was better than the first one (Midnight Organ Fight) even though it sounds “over-produced”. The first one was raw and full of emotions of falling out of love. This one did not have a central theme and if it did, I completely missed it. However, the songs are just amazing. I think the buzz that they have going on each song (and the dark, dark lyrics)
really made it one of my favourite albums of 2010.
04. Diamond Rings – Special Affections
First came across his music (yes, it’s just one man band) on CBC radio 3 podcast. I just loved the guitar work and the “minimalistic” sound of the song and went and bought the album. I was expecting the album to be an ok album because I have had a few miss hits lately and was pleasantly surprised. What really sets the mood is John O’ Reagan’s vocals. He has this nonchalant way of singing which I really love and his impossible-to-ignore hooks in each and every song in the album. Can’t wait to see him live!
03. Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record
Finally! After 5 long years and they have come up with an excellent album. Seems like Kevin and Brandon finally were able to sort their differences out and get the band together (along with their old cahoots who are now as, if not more, famous than BSS – Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Millan) for a an excellent ramshackle album which delights, pauses one to think and then gives wings to the heart with scintillating music.
I saw this band live last week. And since the show was in Toronto, everyone was present including Feist, Emily and Amy. At one point I counted 16 people playing on stage! There was chaos but an organised chaos which delighted the 2500 or so people present at the Sound Academy. More on the show at a later post.
02. Black Mountain – Wilderness Heart
They are back! I love this Vancouver band and have been following all their different versions (Pink Mountaintops and Lightning Dust) for the last few years and they have progressively gotten better. Their latest album takes us back to their rock and roll roots with a bombastic sound that just gets my heart pumping! Awesome album.
01. Grinderman – Grinderman 2
What an awesome sound! What amazing performers! And what heart wrenching and disgusting lyrics. Everything these guys have done in the last few years has top notch and inspiring. I mean anyone who comes up with “What has that husband of yours ever given to you?/ Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen” deserves the lyricist of the year award! However, it’s their music that really attracts me. Pounding, ear splitting noise that ensures adrenaline keeps rushing through your veins all the time. Outstanding album and my number 1 album of the year.
1. Jeremy Fisher – Flood (Upcoming folk artist in Canada. Wonderful soothing tunes.)
2. KaiserCartel – Secret Transit (Folk with a tinge of Indie sounds. The vocalist has the best pipes I have ever encountered.)
3. The Pack A.D. – We Kill Computers (I have to add the obligatory ‘like The Black Keys’ this duo is vocalist guitarist and vocalist drummer but that’s where the comparison ends. The way this band pounds and sings, it would put Black Keys to shame.)
4. Small Sins – Pot Calls Kettle Black
5. Los Campesinos! – Romance Is Boring
6. The Soft Pack – The Soft Pack
7. Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Still trying to “get“ the album)
8. The Black Keys – Brothers
Got an opportunity to watch a couple of movies last week and here are moi reviews :
The Social Network
Finally, watched the movie about Mark Zuckerberg (MZ) the official founder of Facebook – The Social Network. The movie has been reviewed to death by all the podcasts I follow so I had a fair idea what was coming. But I did not realise that I would be of the opinion that this is the most ho-hum movie EVAH!
The story, for those living under a rock, is about the creation process of facebook. It is about a genius who uses other peoples’ ideas to create facebook. The acting was really good considering the paper thin story. Thank god for Aaron Sorkin. Without him this movie would have been a train wreck. However, the use, or rather the misuse of female characters was a glaring f*ck-up by Sorkin. Why was it difficult to show that MZ actually has been a relationship with a girl since he met her in his sophomore year? Because, that’s not what Hollywood wants. And the movie is littered with these kinds of twist to the truth and that really put me off.
The basis of the movie is these depositions taking place between MZ and the people who “came up” with the idea of facebook. I put those quotes because I am not entirely convinced if the idea of facebook was from MZ’s richer co-students. However, I have read that he may have taken the idea from a school he used to attend. Or maybe he got the idea from the people I referenced to earlier but by doing that does it mean MZ took a simple idea and expanded it further and shut out the original contributors? Possibly. But that does not make him a thief. A prick, but not a thief. Anyway, the these co-students were paid off handsomely (BTW, they claim that the pay off actually cheated them out of the agreed amount and they have sued again!)
The other deposition in the movie was with Eduardo Saverin (ES) the original business partner and initial financier of facebook. The movie shows that ES was pushed out of the picture once Sean Parker (SP), played absolutely brilliantly by Justin Timberlake, showed up with connections to money. Although, the SP character is shown to be a lout, he did go on to do what was expected from ES (who instead of focusing on the company, decided to focus on his career). Of course, the movie had to show that ES was thrown under the bus and it probably is true. But if I am running a business which is on the verge of exploding and I have financiers lining up but one the founding members (who has to be involved in key business decisions) is absent, I would probably do the same thing MZ did. Anyway, ES did settle for a huge chunk of facebook and is now worth $1 billion. And that is without having done absolutely nothing. The American Dream!
Harry Potter : Deathly Hallows Part 1
One of the few times, I have made an effort to see the movie as soon as it came out. I probably should not have bothered and waited for the DVD.
As a fan of the books, I wanted to see if the movie could do justice. Since translating a book into a movie is an arduous task, I had kept my expectations low but, boy, was I disappointed. I should have realised with Hollywood involved, they would screw up the screenplay. The focus of the book was on the underlying story and the sheer dejection of Harry Potter and his friends as they flounder about looking for horcruxes. But the focus of the movie was on action and explosions and snakes eating up bodies. The idea of the deathly hallows was presented but it was just rushed through and that aspect of the story just never developed. On whole, really disappointed. Oh well, I can only hope that part 2 helps in redeeming the franchise.
My rating : 6.5 out of 10
…..I am pushing the reset button on this blog….again. A post a month because I have so many “angry” things to say and not many “pretty nice things”.
I am going back to politics, anti-religion and anti-anti-intellectual rants. Ok world, get ready for some rants to either piss you off or to make you want to kick my teeth in.
Either way, I don’t care.
Tim Hortons has its franchisees locked down, too. There are the little things, like surprise “Always Fresh” audits that grade franchisees on how long customers wait at the drive-thru, the amount of time a pot of coffee is allowed to sit around, and whether there are weeds in the parking lot or graffiti in the bathroom. And there are the big things, like an ironclad franchisee agreement that maximizes profits flowing to head office in Oakville, Ontario. Store owners pay royalties of between 3.5% and 4.5% of gross sales, plus another 8.5% to cover rent. That’s on top of an average $450,000 franchise fee to get started. The company brings in yet another steady stream of income as the exclusive supplier to its franchisees: coffee, cold cuts, soup, bagels, doughnuts, pastries and buns. All of which come at a markup that some franchisees claim borders on gouging—but more on that later.
Not exactly the model I would support except my brain does not listen to me :(. And I don’t understand why the author has titled the piece “How Tim Horton’s Will Take Over The World”. I mean, is the world US and Canada only? There is mention of franchisees in China and India but has anyone seen Tim Horton’s in these or other countries?
10 years ago I was in charge of making sure that new rates were applied to an accounting table before a batch process was to run the same night. I applied the rates…..to the wrong table!! The problem was not noticed until 10 days later and the entire production was scrapped and had to be entered again for the last two weeks!! Needless to say I was not very popular amongst the customer service department and was able to get away with it because I was only a month old in the company!
Old news but still Vital To Get It Out There.
I am a peaceful guy who follows the law of the land to the letter and avoid trouble whenever I see it coming. Which is why I have always maintained that the Israel-Palestine discord can be mended with sane minds and people who pursue peace no matter the price.
But if something like this were to happen to my daughter, I would pick up a gun against the “lawful occupiers of Palestine” in a second!
An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. The soldier, who has only been identified as “Captain R”, was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.
The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was “scared to death”, made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.
The army’s official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected. A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.
In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as “a little girl” who was “scared to death”. After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive.
At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot. Although the military speculated that Iman might have been trying to “lure” the soldiers out of their base so they could be attacked by accomplices, Capt R made the decision to lead some of his troops into the open. Shortly afterwards he can be heard on the recording saying that he has shot the girl and, believing her dead, then “confirmed the kill”. “I and another soldier … are going in a little nearer, forward, to confirm the kill … Receive a situation report. We fired and killed her … I also confirmed the kill. Over,” he said.
Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body. On the tape, Capt R then “clarifies” to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: “This is commander. Anything that’s mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it’s a three-year-old, needs to be killed.”
Even a three year old would have been killed! I ask you, how exactly are these brave soldiers any different from Hamas? News like this just makes my blood boil.
In NewYork and Washington until the end of this week. Will start posting regularly again
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (CNN) — The senior at the University of Utah gets dressed and then decides which gun is easiest to conceal under his clothes.
If he’s wearing a T-shirt, he’ll take a smaller, low-profile gun to class. If he’s wearing a coat, he may carry a different weapon, he said.
He started carrying a gun to class after the massacre at Virginia Tech, but the student says he’s not part of the problem of campus shootings and could instead be part of a solution.
Nick, who asked not to be fully identified so his fellow students wouldn’t know he carried a gun, he says he has had a concealed weapons permit for more than three years. But it was Seung-Hui Cho’s murderous campus rampage that made him take a gun to class.
“Last year, after Virginia Tech, I thought ‘I’m not going to be a victim,’ ” Nick said.
“My first thought was ‘how tragic.’ But then I couldn’t help but think it could’ve been different if they’d allowed the students the right to protect themselves.”
….and also if any punk talks to his girlfriend, he can settle this the old fashioned way, by calling him out to a duel and shooting the living sh*t out of him. What a moronic law. Young hot headed adults allowed to carry guns. What’s next, anti aircraft gun system in your home to ward off birds sh*tting on the roof of your house?
…..I’d like to think so. Here is the original speech. It’s about 13 minutes long.
and here is an edited musical version of the speech. How many celebrities can you identify?
Welcome to my new site.
A few smart people must have noticed that I have now chosen WORDPRESS.COM as my blog tool. So far I have been really impressed with wordpress and hope that they will live up to my expectations (and hopefully take care of my formatting from here on).
Well, I have had a long hiatus from blogging and it is over now. Talk to you soon.
So, there is a huge debate on torture going on
in the USA (1).
The side For torture, constitutes mostly the
republicans and the 101st Keyboard fighting
brigade (2) who say that torture is completely
acceptable in the "war on terrah". After all a
lunatic might be ready to detonate a suitcase
nuclear bomb right now so let's extract the
information any way we can! Bring on
waterboarding (3), sleep deprivation (4),
The side Against torture, mostly the progressives,
say that torture is totally against the nature
of the United States of America. The country
was founded on the principles of humanity and
torture does not fit in any where.
IMHO, torture will never go away. It has existed
for thousands for years and will continue to exist
for the next thousand. So to pick at details of
what constitutes torture and what does not, is
an utter waste of time. What must be done is
to come down hard against mis-use of a military
"torture policy" and this can only be done by
the people in charge.
And here lies the entire problem with the current
debate in the US of A. The people in charge are
actually ADVOCATING a proactive torture policy!
These poor fools cite study after study and
experts after experts on how it is totally
acceptable and necessary to torture. What they
must be doing is to make public statements
against the torture incidents and hold very
public inquiries on the deaths 100s of people
(I refuse to use the word terrorists as the charge
is never laid out). The interrogation techniques
should be reviewed by the military (and only by
the military) with clear indication that
interrogators responsible for deaths or serious
mental disorder of the people being interrogated
will be facing nothing short of a court marshal.
And to all those who say that in times of a war
when critical information is time sensitive (5),
then "niceties" can be thrown to the wind, you,
my friend, have just become a terrorist yourself.
Do you want to know what the Ronald
Reagan years were like?
Go here :
To be 16th On the World Press Freedom Index (1)
was quite a shock to me. After all, Canada is the
one of the G8 countries. However, I never knew
this (2) :
“Canada is one of the most concentrated media
markets in the world. Only four corporations distribute
70 percent or our dailies, three control most of the
tv news market and one company owns the
majority of all our radio stations. So what does this
mean? A 2006 Senate committee said it best when
they stated the “concentration of [media] ownership
has reached levels that few countries would consider
acceptable.” A recent CRTC hearing on media
diversity has recognized that our media market is so
concentrated that it is seriously damaging Canadian’s
access to more than one opinion. “
This is really shocking!! That’s way too much power
in the hands of a few. And I have always wondered
why no newspaper in Canada has really grabbed
a hold of my imagination (only Globe And Mail has,
to an extent). And the reason maybe because of
such lacklustre and weak opinion pieces and editorials
which don’t really have much impact on my thinking.
But why? I mean, this is Canada. What I most
expect from Canadian journalism and editors are
hard hitting reports
And the reason for that maybe in hidden in this report
by COMPAS (3) :
“Journalists see press freedom as thriving in
Canada. They give press freedom an extraordinary
81 score on a 100 point freedom scale. Furthermore,
press freedom is not perceived as declining. The
level of freedom is the same as 10 years ago,
those polled say. Journalists do nonetheless see
threats to their own freedom.”
“When respondents comment on the performance
limitations of their profession, they offer a
diversity of thoughts. Several journalists attributed
the limitations of their profession to declining
resources in the newsroom. “There is a distinct
shortage of investigative journalism in Canada,”
said one respondent. “I attribute this to the
large number of editors and managers who
don’t actually know what investigative journalism
is for, and why it adds value to news
And there you have it.
All the executives and managers do not know
what journalism is!! Well, of course they don’t.
They are after the mighty dollar. They don’t
care how advertisement space is sold as long
as it is sold and of the cost cutting. And if an
editorial piece hits too close to home, it must be
And I found it quite interesting in the report that
the journalists were blaming of apathy from readers.
From the report :
“When journalists comment on audience threats
to press freedom, they tend to think in terms of
two themes-apathy and lack of interest on the
one hand, or intimidation by a small audience
segment on the other. One respondent said that
the press freedom benefits from too little support
among the public, which does not understand
“how vital it is in a democracy.” The media need
to do a better job of “explaining what it is and.
defending its importance.””
How convenient!! You don’t know how to sell a
product, so you blame your customers. That is a
really head-up-the-ass attitude.
I had thought that this was over (1).
(2) The federal government is dismissing an incendiary
newspaper report about the continued abuse of detainees in Afghanistan.
Prisoners at an Afghan jail in Kandahar are being bashed
with bricks, having their fingernails ripped out, getting electrocuted,
being forced to stand up without sleeping and are whipped with electric
cables, Montreal La Presse reported on Monday.
The newspaper cites interviews with three prisoners and
independent sources including a spokesman for the Afghan Human Rights
Commission and a prison boss.
But here is the classic response from politicians, you know the one who have
a hand book from the Americans
"We do expect these kinds of allegations from the Taliban,"
said Tory House leader Peter Van Loan.
What an impeccable argument!! There is no way to refute what he said because
it is the Taliban who are disseminating that information and since Taliban
are known to be liars, this new piece of news must be a lie. No matter that
it came from investigative journalists backed by Human rights'
organisations. What the hell are the conservatives up to?