gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for April 2008

The Globetrotter’s LogBook

April 29, 2008 @ 23:32 By: gordon Category: Gadgets

A banner ad on geocaching.com caught my eye recently.  Clicking on it took me to The Globetrotter’s LogBook website.  There are actually six different logbooks to choose from:

  • Countries of the World
  • Flight Register (for when you’ve filled up the Flights section of Countries of the World)
  • Vaccination Register (for people who apparently have way too many vaccinations!)
  • Trip Notebook (for when you’ve filled up the Notes section of the Countries of the World)
  • Surprise (This is a buy-on-faith type of book, I guess.)
  • Flanders’ Six Divine Cities ("118 top sights-to-see-before-you-die, carefully selected by the Flemish Tourist Office")

Basically, they’re small hard cover notebooks, similar to Moleskine notebooks, that have pre-printed pages tailored for travellers.  The Countries of the World book has box for each of the "current 193 countries (and their 58 overseas dependencies)" with some key facts about the country and then a space for a passport/customs/immigration stamp or anything else you can stamp it with.  There are other sections in this book for the flights you’ve taken (including room for the pilot’s signature), the vaccinations you may have had, places to make more detailed notes about your trips and experiences, and other stuff.  It seems like they’re also individually numbered because you can register them online and gain access to more content.

I might just have to pick one up before my trip to Greece.

Honey, I’m exploiting our kid!

April 29, 2008 @ 18:08 By: gordon Category: General

There’s a tv show hosted by Danny Bonaduce called I’m Exploiting My Kid I Know My Kid’s A Star, which basically sees ten kids competing to be the “next star”. I’m not really sure what they’re going to be a star of, but apparently whatever it is, the winner will be the star of it.

I’ve watched maybe ten or fifteen minutes worth of this show and seen a few trailers for it. In one of the trailers, Raquel aka Rocky (who looks like a wannabe Vegas stripper), the mother of a girl named Hayley, is obsessed with winning that she says the following, complete with finger wagging…

“We have to win this competition. DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME????”

And you could just see Hayley tensing up and wanting to run.

The show has segments with the parents speaking to the camera and the parents trash talk each other and and each other’s kids. And there’s an elimination process which means one kid a week gets sent home each show after Danny Bonaduce cuts them to pieces all for the sake of a few rating points.

Seriously, this isn’t entertainment. It’s exploitation.

I can’t believe that all of these poor kids really want to take part in this. More likely they can’t tell their parents for fear of retribution.

They just showed Austin and his dad after they were just eliminated. The father was saying “I’m so sorry, Austin. So Sorry. It’s a bunch of bull****.” as they walked back to their room to get their stuff and the son cut him off saying “Stop. Would you stop talking.”

In the talking-to-the-camera bit in the car, Austin said “I made my friends. I did my performance. That’s all I could do. There’s nothing I could change.”

Hopefully, Hayley will win this stupid show because I fear her mom will tell her for the rest of her life that she’s a failure if she doesn’t. But, if she does win and becomes the “next star” then her mom’s going to control her every waking moment (and probably many of her non-waking moments, too). She loses either way. Poor Hayley.

While googling for some information about this show, I found an article by David Hinckley in the NY Daily News who feels the same way I do about this show.

Oh, and I’m not linking to the show’s website because I don’t want to do anything to support it. May its ratings be less than a test pattern on a local cable channel at 2am.

Around the world with Les Mis at Royal Albert Hall

April 27, 2008 @ 21:17 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

I found this in an entry on Gadling by Jamie Rhein:

It’s from the 10th anniversary celebration of Les Misérables at Royal Albert Hall.  There were seventeen different Jean Valjeans from around the world, each of whom sang a few lines from "Do You Hear The People Sing" and "One Day More" in their native tongue.

I haven’t seen a huge number of "Broadway" shows, but of those I have Les Mis is one of my favourites.

WordCamp Toronto 2008

April 26, 2008 @ 21:50 By: gordon Category: Meta, WordPress

I’ve been blogging for more than ten years.

Initially, it consisted of putting up some HTML pages when I was on a trip or when I did something particularly noteworthy, such as my first flight with a passenger as a licensed pilot.  Eventually, I found a piece of software called Pivot, which made it easier to blog, but I found it a bit cumbersome to customize.  One thing that set Pivot aside from other blog systems is that it did not rely on a database behind the scenes, meaning it was fairly straight-forward to set it up.  Instead, it generated HTML files for each entry.  But I couldn’t do everything I wanted to with it and updating the look-and-feel was becoming increasingly frustrating.

So, I looked at other blog systems out there and eventually settled on WordPress.  A slick, database-driven system, it had lots of bells and whistles and it was just easier.  My frustration level went down significantly.

Since then, WordPress has become very popular and is used by some of the largest blogs on the Internet.  The user community is very active and they hold events called WordCamps, one- or two-day events with various speakers and networking activities.  I noticed that there’s going to be one held the first weekend of October in Toronto, so I signed up.  It’s only $25 and for that I get lunch both days and a t-shirt, too.  Hopefully, my schedule won’t change between now and then. 🙂

D’oh! Pennsylvania man imitates Homer Simpson and lives

April 26, 2008 @ 10:29 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net

Pennsylvania is coal country. There are numerous coal mines there, both of the deep shafts in the ground type and the huge pits on the surface type. Needless to say, mines of any type are dangerous places and you can easily get yourself killed by falling into one if you’re trespassing on mine property at 1am.

Apparently Nathan Bowman didn’t learn this lesson.


First ride of the year

April 25, 2008 @ 23:37 By: gordon Category: Cycling, Out and about

I had my first ride of the year this evening along the Ottawa River.  Just a short ride to the War Museum and back because it was getting late.  Though I have both a tail light and a head light, none of the other cyclists I encountered on either the path or the roads, except one, had any lights or reflectors.

HTA 62(17) – Lights
a bike must have a white front light and a red rear light or reflector if you ride between 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour after sunrise and white reflective tape on the front forks and red reflective tape on rear forks.  Set fine: $20.00

That’s taken from the MTO’s Cycling Skills website.

It’s not like lights are expensive.  You can pick up tiny white and red LED lights from Mountain Equipment Co-op for under $4/each, so there’s really no excuse for cyclists not having lights if they’re going riding at night.

WordPress 2.5.1

April 25, 2008 @ 23:07 By: gordon Category: Meta, WordPress

WordPress 2.5.1 was released earlier today.  It fixes some bugs and has some performance enhancements.  More importantly, it contains a very important security fix.

The security fixes affect the following files:

  • wp-includes/pluggable.php
  • wp-admin/includes/media.php
  • wp-admin/media.php

If you’re using Subversion to maintain your WordPress installation, you should only need to login to the server, switch to the root directory of your blog and enter the following command:

svn sw http://svn.automattic.com/wordpress/tags/2.5.1/

Since WordPress 2.5.1 does contain a security fix, you should upgrade immediately.