Leonard Cohen arrives in town on April 15th!

Posted on January 16, 2013 by

(Image linked from www.leonardcohen.com)

Hallelujah!“, the ‘Stories of the Street‘ are screaming that ‘Everybody Knows‘, like a ‘Bird on a Wire‘, ‘I’m your Man‘ when it comes to loving Leonard Cohen’s music. ‘I Can’t Forget‘ that impressive ‘Tower of Song‘ he has created…

Sisters of Mercy‘, ‘Here it is‘! Even if I have to invade the US to get tickets, I want some. ‘First We Take Manhattan‘ and all that. ‘One of Us Cannot Be Wrong‘… And if it is raining, we can be wearing a ‘Famous Blue Raincoat‘, ‘A Bunch Of Lonesome Heros‘, waiting in line for tickets. ‘Why Don’t You Try‘?

Are you going to get tickets too? Hello? Are you there? ‘Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye‘!

***
Tickets go on sale Jan 18, 2013 at 10 AM

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Indeed!

Posted on December 18, 2012 by

So I went to see “The Hobbit” in 3D High Frame Rate (HFR – 48-frames-per-second) tonight. I’ll save you some reading by saying the following:

If you are a Tolkien / Middle Earth fan in general – and I am – you will love it.

Now, for the details. I’ll try to hold back somewhat on spoilers, although anyone who has read the book (and really, who hasn’t?!?) will already know how it goes and allowing yourself to be upset by a few spoilers is kind of like watching ‘Titanic’ and being upset if someone tells you ahead of time the ship is going to sink. But I digress…

The Story

Some parts of the movie were particularly close to the book and it’s intent (the first meeting/party/supper with the dwarves at Bag End for example), but if you read the Hobbit and expected it to stay true to the original, you will be surprised. Peter Jackson took a lot more creative license taken with this than with Lord of the Rings (LOTR):

1. Frodo/Elijah Wood has a cameo and is at Bag End with Bilbo at the start of the movie, when they basically replay the intro to the Party from The Fellowship of the Rings? I found that odd.

2. Peter Jackson added characters that were either not part of “The Hobbit” (Galadriel, Azog the Pale Orc), or barely mentioned (Radagast the Brown, Saruman). He also added scenes:

  • a meeting between Gandalf, Elrond, Saruman, and Galadriel;
  • a ‘greyhound’ race with wargs chasing giant jack rabbits; and
  • several scenes/battles with Azog, the Pale Orc.

I guess the Goblin King wasn’t enough, he thought they needed two arch-enemies – three if you count the dragon, four if you bring Sauron/Necromancer into the mix? (I suspect Peter Jackson has plans for Azog in round 2 as a way to provide more insight into Sauron’s rise to power.)

3. Bilbo‘s intelligence from the book was downplayed. For instance, a major “Bilbo saves the day” scene – where he used his wits in the book to overcome adversity – was “given” to Gandalf (the Trolls).

4. Bilbo‘s heroics/skills were expanded upon in a battle with Azog – another appearance for one of those “extra characters” Peter Jackson threw into the mix.

5. The story was what I would consider to be much easier to follow for those heathen (er, I mean non-Tolkien) fans/readers who might have been lost during the original Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Special Effects

Although I had expected more of an evolutionary jump, the detail placed into the work was impressive, on par or somewhat better than that used in LOTR.

Also, while 3D is really not a big draw for me with movies – and I learned tonight that 3D at 48-frames-per-second didn’t really change my mind on that – it was definitely interesting to see. It worked well on inside shots (the supper at Bag End was amazing), while I found it a little lacking in the scenic shots.

Truthfully, the 48-frames-per-second rendition reminded me of the “True Motion” feature on the 120 and 240 Hz TVs that we all toyed with at first, then set back to normal and forgot about. That doesn’t mean I’m against it, it just means I need more time to decide.

Conclusion

Overall, I give it an 8 (out of 10)

Well-worth seeing on the big screen, and worth seeing at 48-frames-per-second, if for no other reason than to judge for yourself whether or not you like the new “look & feel” Peter Jackson thinks is the future in movie-making.

The extra characters and scenes do a decent job of aligning “The Hobbit” so that it does an interesting job of introducing the plot that leads into the LOTR trilogy.

Of course, that also explains how they are planning to get 3 feature-length movies out of a single children’s story! 🙂

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Making Facebook News Feed default sort to “Most Recent”

Posted on December 18, 2012 by

If you are one of those people who – like me – prefers sorting your Facebook news feed in Facebook in chronological order (aka “Most Recent“) instead of what Facebook considers “Top Stories“, I found this little tidbit at PCWorld to help make “Most Recent” that your default.

Simply use this url (uri…) to launch Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=h_chr

That will make it default to “Most Recent“.

You are welcome. 🙂

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A Politically Correct, Legally Non-Binding Greeting for the season

Posted on December 16, 2012 by

201012182047.jpg

Received this years ago in an email. I brush it off and share it each year, just for giggles!

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, and without prejudice or consideration, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the secular practices or religious persuasion of your choice, with respect for the secular/religious persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice secular or religious traditions at all; and also my wishes for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2013, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Canada a great cultural mosaic, (not to imply that Canada is necessarily a greater cultural mosaic than any other country or is the only nation with a cultural mosaic), and without regard to the gender, nationality, race, creed, colour, age, height, weight, intelligence, voting preference, physical ability, food preference, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you also accept and agree to these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others, is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wisher accepts no responsibility for any unintended emotional and/or physical discomfort, disruption or stress these greetings may bring to those not subject to societally sanctioned or unsanctioned seasonal emotions, beliefs or traditions.

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Movember Madness

Posted on October 31, 2012 by

From the Movember Canada site:

During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in Canada and around the world. With their “Mo’s”, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and male mental health initiatives.

On Movember 1st, guys register at Movember.com with a clean-shaven face. For the rest of the month, these selfless and generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts.

Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their gallantry and valour by either throwing their own Movember party or attending one of the infamous Gala Partés held around the world by Movember, for Movember.

Day 1 – the goatee is gone!

Movember_sm.jpg

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Do teachers deserve a free pass during budget cuts? #education

Posted on October 3, 2012 by


(Financial Post image)

I know this will get me into hot water with my teacher friends, but… While this story was written a bit whiny from the “why do they get special treatment” perspective of the writer, it does contain valid discussion points.

Excessive teachers’ wages a boondoggle we can’t ignore.

I enjoyed my time as a Community College Instructor, and I particularly enjoyed my time off in the summer. Teaching is a calling I am drawn to, and I know from experience Teachers often have a tough career, but… when the rest of the public service is getting hit with cuts, that doesn’t give them the right to a free pass. Many other professions are just as tough or tougher, and they come with fewer benefits and higher qualification/experience requirements.

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Social media customer service success story. It works! #learnsocial

Posted on September 29, 2012 by

Just a quick note to explain my story – I had been receiving what I would consider “spam” calls from an unknown toll-free number (877-330-9754).

Like any good cell phone owner with caller ID, I ignore any number I don’t recognize, preferring to allow human nature and voice mail to weed out the chaff.

But, after a few weeks of persistence on their part – and annoyance on mine – I did some research. I found out exactly who they were, a company called VoxData, and they were soliciting for RBC Insurance.

I bank with the RBC for some of my finances, and according to the rules of the national “do not call registry“, they have the right to call existing clients. However, they are also obliged to remove them upon request from their calling lists.

At this point, I decided it was time to answer their call and tell them to take me from their list, to do it the “right way”. Unfortunately, after 3 attempts to answer the calls and ask them to remove me from their list, I was unsuccessful. I kept getting dead air at the other end, and the calls kept coming, sometimes 4 or 5 times per day. So I gave up being nice.

What is a social media junkie to do? I did what every good social media junkie should do – I tweeted it!.AND I posted it to Facebook and Google+. Yes, some people believe this is the modern day equivalent to screaming at the weather or actually expecting city hall to change. But guess what? It works (sometimes). My buddy Dave Carrol went viral with his United Breaks Guitars videos (12 million views and climbing). And there are many other examples out there. 

So I sent this (somewhat snarky) tweet about the spam calls I was receiving on behalf of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC):

Original Tweet

What happened? Well, I got the usual feedback, comments from friends and followers who sympathized or were having similar issues, etc. But… I also received this reply tweet from @AskRBCCanada, in which they asked for my info via Direct Message to remove me from unwanted calls.

RBC Response

Kudos to RBC! If they make good on this, it will be a perfect example of how social works. The last piece of this puzzle? My “thank you” tweet:

Thank You Tweet

Now, if more businesses would just understand they need to adopt this type of customer service model


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Why not raise MP salaries and cut the pension completely? #cdnpoli

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

Conservatives back hike in MP pension contributions – Politics – CBC News.

CBC Image
(CBC Image)

It’s a good start, but I’m actually a firm believer we should pay our politicians more. Yes, controversial, I know, but I have reasons for saying this.

It is a thankless job most of the time, and most work very hard. More money would also help attract more capable candidates who were willing to try what amounts to a 4 – 8 year “contract” position that allowed them to make a difference in how the country runs.

But…

    take away the pension completely!

Let them invest whatever amount they want from their salaries in self-directed RRSPs. Maybe even offer a matching payment scheme, say 5%, like many private employers offer. The savings on pensions alone would more than cover any salary increases.

Just my $0.02 worth.

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