Tuesday, November 27, 2012

IKEA IS OPENING! (Why don’t I care?)

Everyone is a buzz. Winnipeg will finally have a dot on the IKEA map. We're going to have a location here, open, functioning... full of all that neat "stuff" that they have quality manufacturers make and ship world wide.Stuff in flat boxes…
Well... maybe not "quality", but hey, it's fairly decent for the price. (Comparing it to Jysk anyway)
Having an IKEA close might have me go in and buy a few things now and then, but I'd think long and hard about a "pack the vehicle to the brim and then tie stuff to the roof" kinda shopping trips I've gone to the Minneapolis IKEA for. I have seriously loaded my SUV to the breaking point at their loading zone, having the interior compartment packed, longer material splitting the front passenger from the driver, the roof loaded, and the rear hitch platform carried two chaise loungers which obscured the tail lights AND the third brake light.
Why would I carefully consider spending my time (and money) here instead of there?  
Consider the following items and the cost differences between the US and Canada.
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US price is $1375.00                              Canadian price is $1591.00
Sure. A couple of hundred bucks… big deal.
It’s NOT a couple of hundred dollars, it’s $216.00, which is more than I’d pay for diesel, and I did mention my type of buying spree, right? Loaded to the top of a pick up truck cab? (Done that too!)
This random sampling shows about a 14% disparity, but consider that on Saturday, my son purchased the two cabinets shown at the “advanced opening by invitation only”, because I only needed the two.
Suddenly I’m out $348 instead of $200. ouch  $148 bucks? what is that… 46% more? On 2 items!
The Swedes are smart people. They look at our country, and realize what stupid people we are… so they decide to open a store here to accommodate us. The citizens will flock to it, regardless of getting gouged.
“Winnipeg has it’s swagger back” wrote the Sun http://www.winnipegsun.com/2012/11/24/ikea-gives-winnipeg-its-swagger-back
Ya. I remember our last “swagger” Winnipeg had. There are a pair of idiots somewhere sporting the “swaggerville” tattoos. http://www.winnipegsun.com/2011/08/11/making-swaggerville-permanent
Our battle cry must be understood as      Screw me. I’m Canadian!




Thursday, November 22, 2012

I need my fix!

Like a morning without a cup of coffee, I had become accustomed to awaiting a podcast release from Marty.
Bigger and better things were available to him, and I can imagine that preparing for his television program, City Circus, is substantially more work than recording a podcast.

Imagine having (potentially) days to piece together an audio clip, and compare that to what I assume is 45 minutes to an hour of studio time to tape (assuming they still use Beta) a show at Shaw. I really understand why he doesn't put out many pod-casts anymore.

Understanding aside, I was left without the "agitator", and since I'm a BellTV subscriber, I wasn't even able to watch without going through an onerous process of downloading the show to a memory stick, or setting up my TV to be connected to my PC... all things I would consider doing if I just had the time.

Being in my mid 40's, ( THAT explains why I was looking at mid '60s Mustang convertibles on E bay last night!), the whole, "Down load an app or a program, convert the file, save it in a format, paste it into iTunes..." get's a little cumbersome. It's not that I'm computer illiterate, let's just say I have a "stutter".

I found the fix! (another allusion to the title in a different manner than the "coffee fix")

There is a program called Clip Converter http://www.clipconverter.cc/ that is uber simple. (how do I make those two dots over the U in those types of words?)

Simply open the page, past the You tube link into the obvious field, tell it to save in whatever format you want (in my case an Mp3) and when it finished, download the file to your "download" file. Then drag it to your iTunes and voila ! (No, that's not a "French" company that Sam sold all our water to...)

Today, my five hours of driving will be made more tolerable by being able to get my "fix". I just hope I don't OD.

Keep up the good work Marty, and good luck with that... I'll let Marty tell you.

(Cue the foreshadowing organ music clip) http://www.audiomicro.com/tracks/dialog/68379 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hockey Players. How smart are they?

Not very from what I can tell.

Consider that the average players career spans 4 or 5 seasons, and the average player only plays 100 games. If they lost 10 games this season, the average player squandered 10% of his career.

Do ya think you're gonna get that back?

Add to the whole mess that I had planned to buy my old man the "jets" channel for every Christmas from last year until the end of time... now I have to buy him a pair of argyle socks. I'll bet he'd enjoy the NHL more, but alas it's outta my hands.

Oh... Gary Bettman? The guy Ian White called an idiot? He's been the commissioner for the NHL for 19 years now, and he makes $7.9 million a year.

Who's the idiot Ian? You make $2.5 million, and you're in your 5th year.

Go play hockey. (or not... life WILL go on without you)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Well THIS got me going a few days ago...

I bent one of my "rules" a few days ago, and didn't change the radio station on the Drive Home. (Typically as soon as I hear that show is on, my station is changed.)Someone was going on about how incensed they were that City Hall was towing vehicles from streets that were being plowed as a "courtesy", and placing warnings on the windshields instead of ticketing them.

The words "taxpayers" and "revenue" came up in regards to the missed opportunity to ticket the cars with the $150 fine.

Let's review this a bit, for the young, (and older "traffic" guy) as well as the host of the show.

Winnipeg attempted to roll out a "new snow clearing" campaign last year. "Know your zone" was the theme, with a grader and a loader animated as army officers attempted to educate Winnipeg drivers.

Unfortunately, there was no snow last year to speak of, and they rolled the "new" program out late in the year. Frankly, I don't ever remember the City utilizing the "new" approach in 2011...not even once. Ddoes the "media outlet" have any record of it being used last year? (Not that objective news reporting is a thing we see a lot of in Winnipeg.)

I'm forgetful. Combine that with my PVR and my propensity to completely ignore  annoying radio hosts without more than one topic for a day that they reiterate over and over again, small children who are misbehaved AND commercials if I happen to be watching a live TV show (from a Winnipeg feed) and one can see how someone might have missed the whole campaign last year OR simply forgot all about it.

Personally, I get e-mail updates from the City. They tell me when and where plowing happens. That said, others might not, and they may not be tied to their computer, smart phone, the television... people can actually be busy living their lives, or just trying to survive. Is that an excuse?

Let's consider the following.

We've recently had a simply awful transition in our recycling program that I still, and will for ever call "garbage day".(Sorry Mr. Woodstock)  I don't like the new system, I never will, it was poorly conceived when it was first "rolled out", and remains as such. The thing is that we heard, "Well, it's a new system, and the City needs time to work out the kinks."

Now we have yet another debacle, where garbage day and the "new" parking ban coincide, and with annoying results. "It can't be helped. We tried to schedule around it, but couldn't."

I'm amazed by how these people who are given a microphone and work for a "news station" can sit there and spout off their own misconceived ideas about how the world works, yet think that regurgitating the news as prattled off to them by some mouth piece from the City only to be spewed over the airwaves as if it were gospel is actually objective reporting.

This "Oddone" on CJOB can come visit the West End sometime and show us all with 25' lots how we can entertain family for a short visit on a snow clearing day. My Mom and Dad (who are seniors) can't come visit unless they check the website, or spend 20 minutes on hold calling 311, to find out what zone they're going to visit us in, and if there are parking restrictions on our street.

Sure... I get how a 12 hour shift makes more sense than the old way, but this young, opinionated traffic reporter from the sky went on to tell everyone tuned in that "Snow happens every year... this isn't new people!" and "What did you do last year!?". She was incensed by the whole idea of the City NOT ticketing people.

Clown school grad no doubt.

For as long as I can remember, the residential overnight parking ban was called over the whole city from 24:00 to 6:00 or there about... I can't seem to find the exact info as it appears that all the new releases regarding the implementation of the ban seem to have been removed from the 2011 press release records. (I presume that was done so as not to provide anyone with an excuse as to when they park). Some of us have delt with THAT way of doing thing for MANY years Ms.Odd one, so forgive those who missed the first implementation of the "new" way of doing things.

Yes, I knew. I told my visitors they had to park half a block away in a church parking lot (at 21:30 (a fairly respectable time of the evening), even thought the street had already been cleared because, "Those City parking patrols are a$$ holes. They're mandated to ticket anything they can now that they're a special "arms length" body."

My personal disdain for the City, and the Parking people led me to know these things, while others who don't make the effort I do to stay informed may not... like my company.

So Ms. Odd one, Ms. "Drive at Five" ,and Mr. "Traffic guy", come visit me some evening where your only choice as my guest is to park on the street, figure out where to park your vehicles, or better still, forget to check the web site because you don't want/need/have a smart phone at your finger tips, and get a ticket and get your car pulled around the block. Then tell me how you enjoyed your evening as my guests. (BYOB Brian)

I'll never invite YOU to a party, because I can't have one this winter... you never know when it might snow, and as the Odd one says, "This isn't new PEOPLE... it snows in Winnipeg." As a result, we can't actually PLAN a house party. Using the Odd one's thinking, we need to be prepared for it... it might snow, and there might be a parking ban that might be between 7:00 and 19:00, or between 19:00 and 7:00. We can't be sure which.

The new method may do a better job at allowing the crews to clear the streets, but it has a far greater negative impact on the citizens of Winnipeg... one great city (as the Odd one has on her Facebook page).


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Skyfall. 50 Years was worth waiting for.

No spolier alert here, but an honest review from someone whose seen all of the Bond movies (more than once).

Fantastic.

If someone had asked me, "What's your favourite Bond movie?", I'd likely have settled on Goldfinger (1964). Sean Connery was the cold, to the point spy, with witty one liners and a great car that was "tweaked" by "Q" branch. The villain, Auric Goldfinger, was great, (although he didn't speak a word of English and had his entire script voiced over). Given it's time, the well choreographed fight scenes, the car... I would have picked that one.

Skyfall is Daniel Craig's third attempt to match Connery's character (as was Goldfinger for Connery), and the saying  "third times a charm" held true for both. Craig has nailed it. The "Bond. James Bond" line isn't forced, the "shaken not stirred" line is only alluded to, the techno gadgets that became a little tiring and over the top at times are no where to be found except for...

There are many times the movie gives a nod to it's 50 year history, and most of those nods (as I watched and interpreted them) are to Goldfinger. By now it should not be a spoiler to say that the reintroduction of the 1965 DB5 was "kewl", being Bond's personal car in this movie, not something given him by the new  "Q"
(who is probably a better replacement than the ill thought John Cleese was). There are further nods to gadgets that are understood only by Bond aficionados during the movie that will have to be explained to the younger viewer, or better still, watch Goldfinger before you go see Skyfall.

Craig is superb. I didn't think Bond would ever cry in a movie. After all, no tears were shed when his wife was killed in "On her Majesty's Secret Service". Kudos to the director who saw fit to expose the fact that the character does have emotions, and affection.

Judi Dench as M gives what may be the performance of her career, and is (as I recall) the first "changing of the guard" insofar as M is concerned that is explained to us in any way.

Javier Bardem plays the type of character he honed in "No Country for Old Men" (and pretty much everything else he's done well), and is a believable character, as opposed to some recent villains.

We saw it in IMAX at Silver City. Excellent. There are movies I've seen that are simply too loud... and this isn't one of them. As with every Bond movie, stuff explodes. The shaking seats are a part of the "big screen" experience, and while it may not rival the boat explosion in "Thunderball", stuff really does explode.

Bond, simply, comes back to it's roots, having morphed into a gadget filled, unbelievable, and often silly series, with some terrible offerings (mostly in the Roger Moore era), that are exposed for what they were after this movie is held up for comparison.

If you've seen them all... GO! If you haven't, this is still a great movie.

Our little entourage spanned the generations, and everyone enjoyed it. If you like some intrigue, well choreographed stunts, dry humour, and a movie that doesn't try to be something it isn't just to fit into a mould, GO!

There haven't been too many times a Bond movie and "Oscar" are mentioned, but this year may be different. Both Goldfinger and Thunderball won in a category in 1965, and never for acting.

We'll wait to see what this years Academy Awards thinks of the latest, and best Bond movie to date.