Saturday, December 30, 2006

Superheroes and Supervillains

I took a quiz to discover which superhero I'm most like, and found:

Your results:
You are Superman
Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test
Should I be worried that I'm more like Supergirl and Catwoman than Batman?

There was another one to see which super-villain you're most like:

Your results:
You are Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
Mr. Freeze
The Joker
Lex Luthor
Green Goblin
Dark Phoenix
Poison Ivy
Blessed with smarts and power but burdened by vanity.
Click here to take the "Which Super Villain are you?" quiz...
I'm not even sure I know who Dr. Doom is.

Lacrosse season is back!

I'm watching the first NLL game of the season, broadcast live over the intertubes. Mike Accursi just scored for Rochester, and the Knighthawks now lead the reigning NLL champion Colorado Mammoth 11-10 in the second quarter.

My friend Mike has a nephew, Shawn Williams, who is a great lacrosse player. He was signed by the Toronto Rock in 1999, and Mike got Rock season tickets to watch Shawn. He brought some other friends to a couple of games, and they started to really enjoy the game. In early 2000, they decided to head to a Buffalo-Philadelphia game in Buffalo, and Mike asked if I wanted to go and check it out. I tagged along, though I knew nothing about lacrosse. I was instantly hooked, and when Mike said they were considering expanding their four season tickets to eight for the next season, I told them to count me in. Since then:

  • I have missed only one Toronto home game (because I was on a Caribbean cruise at the time)
  • I've also seen a number of games in Buffalo and a couple in Rochester
  • I run a lacrosse pool for my friends
  • I've edited hundreds of pages on lacrosse (and created about 50) on Wikipedia

I don't think you could say I'm obsessed with lacrosse, but I'm certainly a fan.

Colin Doyle was traded from the Toronto Rock to San Jose the other day, which took the lacrosse world by storm, since Doyle has been one of the top scorers in the league over the last few years, has been named championship game MVP three times, and was league MVP in 2005. (Incidentally, Doyle's page on Wikipedia was one of the ones that I created.) Doyle was traded with another guy (who the Rock acquired in a trade last month) and a draft pick for three young players and a couple of draft picks. One of the players the Rock got was Ryan Benesch, who was the first overall draft pick last year, so the Rock have essentially traded a proven scorer (who's only 29 — likely lots of good years left in his career) for an unproven rookie, though one with lots of potential. I didn't care much for Doyle for the first few years, because he was a bit of a hothead, and tended to dive now and again. Over the last two years or so, however, he's calmed down a lot, and my respect for him has really grown. He also stands perfectly still for the national anthems, and even sings along with O Canada, which impressed the hell out of me the first time I saw it. Long story short, I'm not really sure how I feel about this trade. It's nice to bring some young blood into the team, and the draft picks in 2008 and 2009 may set the Rock up nicely for the next decade. But Colin Doyle was the anchor of the Rock's offense and a bona fide superstar player. If Benesch's potential doesn't pan out (does the name Nik Antropov ring any bells?) this could be the beginning of a number of "rebuilding" years for the Rock.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Perfect Day

Merry Christmas to all! Christmas at the Perrow household was quite stress-free this year. We always travel to the grandparents' places around Christmas, but we always wake up Christmas morning in our own house. In previous years, we would wake up Christmas morning, open our presents as fast as possible, then pack the kids in the van with one or two of their new toys and head 3-4 hours north to either my parents' place or Gail's dad's place, to be there in time for Christmas dinner. Then we'd do Christmas all over again there, and a day or two later leave that set of grandparents and drive the hour to the other set. A day or two after yet another Christmas, we'd come home to the huge mess that we left.

We only made one change to that schedule this year, but it made a huge difference. We decided not to go north for Christmas dinner, but leave later in the day. As a result, we took our time opening presents, and if the kids wanted to play with something for 10 minutes before opening the next one, no problem. This small change completely killed any time pressure that we felt, and made Christmas Day very enjoyable. However, that's not the perfect day I referred to in the title of this entry. Boxing Day we spent at my in-laws place, and the 27th at my parents' place, and both days were very relaxing and enjoyable, but neither of them was the perfect day either. The perfect day was yesterday, the 28th.

The boys slept until about 7:30, and I got up with them while Gail slept in. Ryan had already made himself a waffle, and I got Nicky some breakfast as well. They watched some TV while I got their clothes and swimming stuff ready, then I drove them over to the YMCA for a "Kitchen Chemistry" class followed by a swim. While they were there, Gail and I cleaned up the family room — moved new toys to the play room or the boys' rooms, collected all the wrapping paper and boxes for recycling, stuff like that. Then I got the boys, and they played happily until lunch time. Lunch was something simple, and then we played a game or two as a family. I got the Scene It: Harry Potter DVD game, and we played that a couple of times. Ryan's seen the first movie once but not the rest, and Nicky hasn't seen any of them, but they enjoyed watching the clips and stuff. After that, Ryan wanted to do one of the puzzles he got for Christmas, and I helped him until he got bored and went to watch TV with Nicholas. Gail and I continued the puzzle until dinner time. We had dinner (leftover turkey, believe it or not), and then watched a TV show on UFOs, aliens and the whole Roswell thing which we all enjoyed (though Gail said the boys were a little freaked out later), and then I went to my friend Jeff's place for an evening of Texas Hold'em poker. The last time I played poker at Jeff's I didn't win a single hand all night. This time I did win some hands (some with fairly big pots) and I came 4th out of 9 people, so I was pretty happy with that.

It wasn't a great day because we got a lot done, or because of any one event, or because the meal was great, or anything like that. It just seemed like the perfect family day — the boys had fun doing things by themselves, with each other, and with us, and we had fun doing stuff with them as well. There was a minimum of fighting, squealing, and yelling (though with our boys, some of that is inevitable), nobody got sent to their room, nobody had to go to bed early because they weren't behaving, it was just a great day all around. The Perfect Day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Spam Zen

I received this piece of spam email today:

Subject: I speak?A most harsh one and not.

In a lawful deedAnd lawful.

Where are my other men monsieur?. I have butlittle more to.

Our houseBequeathed down.

I'm sure it means something deep and philosophical, but I can't figure out what.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Harvey Danger rocks

I blogged before about Harvey Danger and their free-as-in-beer CD download. I downloaded the album, liked it, and attempted to buy it, but they charged my credit card without sending my anything. I emailed them about it and they reversed the charge, so I tried again. Once again, they charged my credit card but nothing got sent. I emailed them about it today, and they said that not only would they reverse the second charge, but now they're going to send me a free copy of the CD.

So: I paid nothing to download their album. I liked their idea of releasing the album on the internet (plus I liked the album itself), so I wanted to make sure that the band actually makes a profit from me. But because I had trouble buying the CD, I'm getting a free copy. The end result is that the band will still make no monetary profit from me. How's that for irony?

The best I can do now is to promote the living hell out of the band, so that's what I'm doing here. I will probably buy their other albums as well, but if I do, it'll be from, not from their web site!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Useless spam

Well, spam is useless anyway, but I seem to be getting a lot of spam recently that has no links, no images, no URLs, nothing. People who send spam, I thought, were generally trying to sell you something - buy my stolen / copied watches, buy my illegal drugs, buy penny stocks (that have already peaked) in my company, check out my porn web site, stuff like that. But if the message contains no way for you to get to their web site, how do they make money off of it?

My family web site has a guest book. Every couple of weeks or so, I get a couple of spam postings, which I promptly delete. This morning I got one from "Bill" (uh-huh) which said (this was the entire text of the message): "Hello, nice site look this:".

Bill, if you're reading this blog, I assure you that I really wanted to "look this", but there was no "this" to "look". My interest was piqued, and then disappointment washed over me like I was a Senators fan during the playoffs. Most of the people who visit are my family, so in order to spare them that level of despair, I deleted your message. I'm sorry, but I have to do what's best for my family.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Raptors game #3

I went to the Raptors game against the New Jersey Nets tonight, my third Raptor game this season. In the first game, the Raptors led 2-0, then Atlanta tied it up and went ahead, and never lost the lead again. In the second game, they had a 2-point lead around 24-22 or so, but then lost the lead and never got it back again. So when the Raptors had a five point lead early in the game, I was pumped. Sure it was only 10-5 maybe 2 minutes in, and sure, this is basketball, where a 10-point lead can vanish within a minute, but still. I was kind of right - the Raps had 12-14 point leads several times, and almost every time, the Nets clawed back to within 1 or 2; they even tied it up at least once. The Raptors persevered (even without CB4), and came out on top, 90-78. Their defence was much better in this game than in the previous two, and I thought (being the basketball novice that I am) that T.J. Ford played really well.

Ex-Raptor Vince Carter was booed every time he touched the ball, and whenever he took a shot and missed, the cheers were louder than when the Raptors scored. One time, Vince even attempted a three-pointer and missed the net, rim, and backboard entirely; the crowd went nuts. Vince — an air ball? Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Vince ended up with a positively mediocre 12 points. Fans were yelling "Carter sucks", and a couple of years ago, I would have been right there with them, but tonight I just didn't feel the hate. He's no longer the slimy bastard who admitted that he gave less than his all for the last year or so of his stay in Toronto, now he's just a guy who used to play here. It's not like he's Roger Clemens or anything. Oh, and Alonzo Mourning, who was traded to the Raptors as part of the Carter deal but told them he would not play, and forced them to buy him out for $10 million, is still a scum-sucking dirtbag.

This was the third major sporting event that I've been to where something exciting happened to the person next to me:

  1. A bunch of years ago, I was sitting in the 500-level of SkyDome during a Jays game with Gail and another couple we knew, Mark and Kathy. We were way out (and I mean way the fuck out) in right field, just inside the foul pole. Mark jokingly mentioned the remote possibility of someone hitting a ball to us and I swear to God, the next batter hit a long foul ball that landed in the empty seat in front of Mark, who grabbed the ball.
  2. At a Rock game a few years ago, my buddy Jeff (with whom I went to the Raptors game tonight) was sitting next to me, and caught a t-shirt thrown from the field.
  3. At every Raptors game (and every Leafs and Rock game too), they pick two fans at random from the upper section and move them down to the front row (it's the "Move of the Game", sponsored by a moving company). Tonight, the chosen two people were sitting right next to me. Man, that would have been suh-weet.

Friday, December 08, 2006

No Lilly, no Meche, now what?

What, exactly, is J.P. Ricciardi thinking? We all knew that the Jays' biggest problem last year was inconsistent pitching. We also knew that other needs were a catcher (both Zaun and Molina are free agents), and help in the middle infield. So what moves has he made? Two good ones (well, not horrible at least), and two bad ones. He resigned Zaun (needed to be done, but we still need a backup and Molina is too expensive) and signed shortstop Royce Clayton, so we're OK up the middle. But he also signed Frank Thomas and Matt Stairs. Great, now our good-hitting lineup is even better, but wasn't pitching the problem in the first place? Is he hoping we will win lots of 9-7 games and just pound our way into the playoffs? Memo to J.P.: you need pitching to win. End of story.

The Jays were not able to re-sign Ted Lilly, and Spier is gone, so the pitching staff is weaker than before, and we've spent something like $9 million on Thomas (Stairs and Clayton were cheap). We were willing to go up to near $10 million for Lilly ($10 million for Ted Lilly? Yeesh), so now we have that money available. They were looking at Gil Meche, but he's said no. Even if they did sign him, they'd have been at best no better than last year. Does J.P.'s plan for getting to the World Series this year really include "Hope that Chacin bounces back, and that Towers, Taubenheim, Janssen, and McGowan suddenly find a way to win 12 games each"?

Couldn't the Lilly money plus the Thomas money have been better used on someone like Barry Zito, or even Andy Pettitte? Maybe he's looking at trading Vernon Wells for a front-line pitcher, but a stud pitcher is worth more than a stud outfielder, so we'd have to throw in prospects as well, and we just ain't got any. In general, I like what Ricciardi has done with the Jays, but these moves have me shaking my head. Then again, the offseason isn't over yet, so maybe it's too early to judge, but so far, next year's team is not looking any better than last year's.

Update: Read in the paper this morning: What's the difference between J.P. Ricciardi and Lindsay Lohan at a bar? Lindsay Lohan can buy pitchers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Graeme the inventor

While sitting in line at the Tim Horton's drive-thru a couple of weeks ago, getting ready to order the exact same thing that I always order when I don't have breakfast at home ("Sesame seed bagel toasted with butter, large steeped tea, one milk, one sugar, double cup please"), I thought of an idea. It's unlikely to ever happen, but it's cool anyway. The idea is for Tim Horton's to create a small device, something that could hang on a key chain, that functions as a remote control. I'll call it the TimFob. The TimFob could have several buttons on it, and each button could be programmed to a different order — when you get to the drive-thru, you point your TimFob at the ordering window and press one of the buttons. The order is transmitted and placed, and the total immediately appears on the screen. Then you can drive up to the window and pay.

Each TimFob would have a unique ID number, and when a button is pressed, it simply transmits its ID number and which button was pressed, and the computer inside the store checks its database for the order corresponding to that TimFob and button. Customers could set and change their favourite orders on a web site. If they want, customers could also tie their credit card number to the TimFob so that their purchase is automatically paid for. You'd have to make the TimFob easily removable so that people could hang it on their key chains and then use it while their keys are still in the ignition, and then replace it once they've ordered.


  • Obviously, this would speed up ordering, and cut down on errors in data entry (i.e. 1 milk 2 sugars, or was that 2 milk 1 sugar?). One of the Timmy's near us almost always screws up some part of our order. Either Gail's tea isn't decaf (in which case she'll have a headache all day), or my tea has too much / not enough sugar, or the sesame seed bagel has cream cheese and the whole wheat bagel has butter instead of the other way around, or...
  • If the TimFob handled multiple buttons on the same order (and why wouldn't it?), the whole family could place their standard order with a couple of button pushes.
  • You could also grab someone else's TimFob when running to Timmy's for a group and make sure you get what they want.
  • If you wanted something other than one of the preprogrammed orders, the standard drive-thru procedure still works.
  • Tim Horton's could implement some kind of reward program (i.e. buy 10 coffees and get a free donut) without having to have stamp cards or things like that
  • Handy for people who have strong foreign accents!

There are some drawbacks too:

  • Timmy's could then track people's purchases, as well as locations and purchasing habits, and some people may not like this idea (but in that case, don't use the TimFob)
  • If the payment thing is implemented, they'd have to make sure the system is fast — Timmy's currently does not accept credit or debit cards since they frequently have long lines, and credit/debit transactions take longer. I cannot think of any other company that could get away with only accepting cash in this day and age.
  • There are the obvious security issues with having your credit card tied to something that could easily be stolen and then used with absolutely no authentication, but Esso already has that issue with their Speedpass.

Of course, creation of the TimFob would cost Tim Horton's money, and it's not likely that people would pay to use it (though maybe they would if Timmy's offered a discount, or perhaps the aforementioned reward program — people pay for the 407 transponder after all). Their biggest expense might be to pay me for the idea and use of the term "TimFob" which I invented today. (This blog posting and all contents are copyright © 2006, Graeme Perrow. All rights reserved.) Since this idea doesn't really help the company much, just the customer, it's unlikely that they'll do it (call me a cynic). But if they ever do, remember, you read it here first.

Note: No, I am not so arrogant as to believe that I am the first person ever to think of this idea. I'm sure many other people have thought about the same thing — this is my own original idea inasmuch as I've never heard or read anyone else talking about such an idea.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Blue Man Group

We went to see Blue Man Group in Toronto on Saturday night. In a word, wow. Absolutely undescribably amazing. "Undescribable" is an understatement — it was funny, it was musical, it was percussive, it was interactive, it was messy (for those in the first few rows, called "the poncho section"), it was without a doubt the weirdest experience I've ever had in a theatre. The three Blue Men never break a smile, never speak or make vocal noises of any kind, and yet still manage to convey their messages, which is important when they bring audience members up on stage and want them to do stuff. It's a multimedia extravaganza, with not only music, but everything from paint to marshmallows, Twinkies to Cap'n Crunch, as well as computer animation, pixelboards, laser effects, and multi-coloured PVC tubes all over the place.

I guess it's not for everybody, but everybody we went with loved it. Highly recommended.