Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Billboard Online Hot Product

For all those people in the States who like great rock music mixed with a sly sense of humor and a cynical edge, Canada's Matthew Good Band released their album 'Beautiful Midnight' in the U.S. yesterday. (The story is halfway down the page on the above link) It's hard rock that'll make you feel smart for listening to it.
Ever notice that the interest rate on personal chequing and savings accounts at most banks are so small that in an average month, you're lucky to earn more than a penny in interest? Yet over a 25 year mortgage, the average homeowner ends up paying twice the original value of the house, which means that the bank makes a 100% profit on it. So with all these banks making record profits, they can't give their customers a break? I thought that our government was supposed to protect us from such blatant, callous profiteering. What would be the harm in lowering mortgage rates by 2-3 percentage points across the board? So what if the bank makes a little less profit? It puts money back in the hands of the consumers, who can then invest it, or buy stuff like cars and DVD players and braces for their kids. If the economy really does slow down into a recession, I plan on blaming the banks for hammering people with such unnecessarily high debtloads, all in the name of greater profits for the rich folks.

Tuesday, January 30, 2001

The Matrix - Comic Books

If you liked the movie 'The Matrix', you have to check out this constantly-growing collection of online comic books based on the film. The art is terrific, and the stories can be quite involving, too. My current favorite is 'Broadcast Depth', by Bill Sienkiewicz.
BBC News | BUSINESS | Napster confirms membership charge

We've got until the summer before we'll be forced to pay for our 'free' music, so get busy, people! :)
They don't mention what the fee will be, but I imagine it will be something like 5-10 bucks US per month, and while that might seem like a lot, if you had the chance to download all the free music you wanted for 5 bucks a month, that's a pretty easy decision to make. Especially if there isn't another free alternative to Napster by that time. My worry here is that the subscription fee will end up lining the pockets of the record labels instead of the artists, and then we'll be right back where we started.

Monday, January 29, 2001

Entertainment Weekly's | Hot Topic: (Survivor: The Australian Outback)

I like Ken Tucker's quick observations of Survivor 2's first episode, mostly because I agree with him. :) The show looks like it follows the time-honored cliche, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it', but I wonder if that will hold people's interest over the three months. I'm surprised that the producer made the decision to not allow the contestants to even mention the first Survivor; a reference here and there would be welcome, especially as it would help us get an idea of how they see each other. (As in, 'oh, he's just pulling a Richard.')

One thing, though: how could they find 16 people who, even though they knew what they were getting into, could not manage to learn the art of fire-starting beforehand? Wouldn't that be one of the first things you'd want to implant into your brain? Doesn't bode well...
Man, what an ugly baby that was. I hope everybody liked kick returns and abysmal quarterback performances, 'cause that's what we got. You know, while parity in the NFL is good for the profitability of teams in general, I'm not sure it's that good for the game itself. Okay, so the Ravens have a great defence. Maybe if the Giants had a real quarterback, we could have found out whether or not the Ravens have a Superbowl-best defence.

Perhaps the worst part of the evening was the half-time show, which was even more disturbingly surreal than I had imagined. Britney Spears trying to sing 'Walk This Way'? Hey, Britney, come back when you can sing as well as you striptease, okay?

Friday, January 26, 2001

So the Superbowl is this weekend, and from all accounts, it will be a low-scoring affair. Most of the Superbowls in recent years have been relatively boring, and when you have a couple of teams that could threaten to keep the score at 0-0 into the fourth quarter... well, everybody likes kick returns, right? I think this thing where the Superbowl is always held down south is a big mistake. You want to see how tough these players are? Have 'em play in Soldier Field with a snowstorm raging around them! If you think AstroTurf is hard, try frozen turf! The winner would be the team with the most players left standing at the end.

I don't care who wins, and because I live in Canada, I don't even get to see all the nifty new commercials either. The Ravens will probably win, even though I'd hate to see that thug Ray Lewis with a Superbowl ring. The half-time show - whoever thought that putting Aerosmith and N'Sync on the same stage was a good idea needs to be taken out back and shot. Let's think about this for a second - who's the demographic here? Who's the anticipated audience for the Superbowl? Males aged 18-60, right? So how many of those males are N'Sync fans? Five? Six, maybe? What the hell happened here, anyway? Was Yanni unavailable? Let's get John Tesh on the phone, see if he wants to do the gig too. Maybe the producers are hoping Britney Spears will join her boyfriend onstage and start doing that stripper dancing routine she's so enthusiastic about. That would get males aged 18-60 to pay attention. Hell, let's just cut to the chase, skip the middlemen, and just pack the stage with porn stars! The passions of the Great American Male: football, beer, and porn!

Yeah, you're laughing now, but wait a few years. We're slowly making our way to that scenario, believe me. - Man accidentally saws off hand, then shoots nails into head - January 25, 2001

Call the Darwin Awards, we've already got a winner for 2001!

The best part of the story is that the guy lived! - Technology - Microsoft Web sites victim to hacker attack - January 26, 2001

First of all: ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!


Microsoft has to know that they're the biggest target in a world of crackable websites, so this sort of thing was inevitable. In fact, they might want to start preparing for the next assault, now that their cherry has been popped. It's too bad, though, that the media continues to insist on using the term 'hacker' when they clearly mean to use 'cracker'. A hacker is generally benevolent; a cracker is malicious. Hackers wrote the security programs that protect computers and networks; crackers are the ones trying to breach those programs.

Oh well. Maybe Microsoft might start using Linux-based firewalls if they want some real protection. :)

Thursday, January 25, 2001

What is with all these alternative rock bands with numbers in their names? 3 Doors Down, Stroke 9, SR-71, 9 Days, Blink-182, Sevendust... There are some who believe in coincidences, but I'm not one of those people. There are patterns in everything, and there's a pattern here, if I could just figure it out. In the 90's, Canada had a bunch of rock bands with three-word names, like Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Rainbow Butt Monkeys, Matthew Good Band, Crash Test Dummies... That was a pattern of sorts, too. I should give IBM a call and tell them to take Big Blue off the whole chessmaster thing and have it concentrate on this phenomenon. While I'm at it, I'll ask them where the hell my Jetsons' flying car is. Aren't we in the new millennium already? What's the hold-up?
Dark Horizons - Film News & Rumors

Garth Franklin has put up a '10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2001', which is a cool read, although I disagree with his placing 'Lord of the Rings' at number 3. LOTR is without a doubt the number one movie, at least for me, and I suspect for almost everyone else who visits my site. :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2001

So this is just something I'm trying out, really. I don't know whether this is an activity that I'll stick with; I might end up focusing my energies on the StoneDog's Growl section of the Discussion Forums. I just thought it would be interesting to use this as a way to throw quick comments about stuff at my visitors.

In any case, this stuff won't necessarily be about the Wheel of Time; I might comment on last night's episode of Buffy, or the ludicrousness of everyday existence, or whatever. Who knows? :)