saturday night with the resisters

Just back from Innes Town Hall, to see a screening of Let Them Stay, a documentary about US war resisters in Canada, hosted by War Resisters Canada. It was a fun evening.

support a resister, wear a resistor
I wonder if I should start wearing a resistor in my lapel: Support a Resister, Wear a Resistor? Sure beats wearing a triode for the War Amps …

EcoBunk Unplugged: the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards

ecobunk unplugged 2005
TEA sez:

EcoBunk Unplugged
the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards

For advertising excellence in confusing the public & compromising the environment.

Our annual fundraiser and comedy show pokes fun at the most outrageous corporate green advertising of 2005. Sometimes we even point the finger at ourselves. We present nominated ads under nine different categories and reveal the winner. The laughter lasts for two full hours.

Of course, we don’t actually send awards to the winning companies.

Come celebrate with us! Ecobunk is a popular and favourite event among the environmentally-minded in Toronto, Waterloo and points beyond.

Thursday, December 8th, 2005
Plaza Flamingo
423 College Street
Show starts at 8:00pm
Doors & Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm
Tickets: $20
To reserve your seat(s) call TEA 416-596-0660

*** Note we are asking for prepayment this year and can accept credit cards or cheques. ***

Don’t miss the event this year!

I’ll be there. Will you?

we’re shite and we … invented the modern world

(a rant for St Andrew’s Day)

It must have been great to be part of the Scottish Enlightenment. This wee country seemed to blossom, from a muddy backwater to a world leader in economics, philosophy, mathematics and engineering.

And yet, for the average Scot, all that was a long time ago. All it seems we can manage now is to churn out neds by the million. So how did we get from the place described (rather breathlessly) in Arthur Herman’s How The Scots Invented The Modern World to the place where the football fans chant “We’re Shite, And We Know We Are.“?

Urban disenfranchisement of the formerly agrarian workforce, perhaps? Who can say. We even chose the darkest, grimmest part of the year for our national day (hint: St Jean-Baptiste would make a smashing national day …). So, have a happy St Andy’s, get properly munted, and wha’s like us, eh?

music of 2005

It’s getting towards the end of the year, so I’m thinking about what albums I enjoyed most. These are the 2005 albums I have in my collection:

  • A Hawk And A Hacksaw — Darkness At Noon
  • Aimee Mann — The Forgotten Arm
  • Animal Collective — Feels
  • Beck — Guero
  • Bettye Lavette — I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise
  • Bright Eyes — Digital Ash In a Digital Urn
  • Bright Eyes — I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  • Calexico / Iron & Wine — In the Reins
  • Caribou — Marino Audio
  • Dan Jones — Get Sounds Now
  • The Decemberists — Picaresque
  • Deerhoof — The Runners Four
  • Devendra Banhart — Cripple Crow
  • Dressy Bessy — Electrified
  • The Duhks — The Duhks
  • Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
  • Fiona Apple — Extraordinary Machine
  • Gorillaz — Demon Days
  • Grandaddy — Excerpts From The Diary Of Todd Zilla
  • Jennifer Gentle — Valende
  • John Parish — Once Upon a Little Time
  • Kate Bush — Aerial
  • Kate Rusby — The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly
  • Kimberley Rew — Essex Hideaway
  • Lazerlove5 — Flicker Mask
  • Lemon Jelly — ‘64–‘95
  • The Lollipop People — We Need a New F-Word
  • Malcolm Middleton — Into The Woods
  • Marbles — Expo
  • The Mountain Goats — The Sunset Tree
  • My Morning Jacket — Z
  • Of Montreal — The Sunlandic Twins
  • Sigur Rós — Takk …
  • Sleater-Kinney — The Woods
  • Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
  • The Vanity Project
  • Wolf Parade — Apologies to the Queen Mary

I know there are some that won’t make my list (Aerial, for one) but the rest of them all have their moments.

queen west

Went to Canzine today after meeting. Can you belive it, an almost full house and it was a silent meeting?

Anyway, Canzine was full. Bought a couple of Spacing TTC buttons to show my commuter tribe affiliation (Kennedy — Union), and also a m@b book. Eveyone’s favourite Bramptonian Friendly Rich was there, being friendly and well-dressed. Jim Munroe looked in his element in his No Media Kings room.

After that, I walked down to the turbine. The warm weather had brought the ladybirds out. They were all over the deck.

decemberists

The Decemberists were as great as ever last night. We snagged comfy sofas up on the balcony at The Phoenix, so it made up for the usually dire venue.

I’m definitely showing my age, though. When they played a demento-rock version of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky, I was about the only person who could sing along.

Hope that Derek got his laguiole back; it was confiscated at the door …

timely quotation

Anent George W. Bush’s “God Told Me To Do It …” revelation, was it purely coincidence that the week’s quotation in Catherine‘s Women Artists Datebook is:

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

 — Susan B. Anthony
?

ex dexit, or trying to be

Coo, was I really all fired up about Dexit, like I appear to have been in January 2004? ‘Cos, basically, Dexit sucks.

The coffee place I get my morning fix got rid of its unreliable Dexit machine when it changed hands. So I’ve got nearly $70 sitting on the useless Dexit tag, doing nothing.

Today I called for a refund, and discovered that Dexit won’t refund your balance. I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I’d known there’d be this in the ultra-sneaky Dexit user agreement (PDF):

Only in the event of your death (and upon receipt of such documents as Dexit reasonably requires in such circumstances as to whom is entitled to your estate funds), or Dexit closing your Dexit Account without cause, will the remaining funds in your Dexit Account be repaid to you. “Cause” will include any violation of this Agreement, any fraud or attempted fraud, any other operation of the Dexit Account or use of a Dexit Tag in an unsatisfactory manner, or non-use of your Dexit Account for over three (3) years.

So, do I hafta kill myself to get my money back?

Oh, and Dexit’s phone support staff are untruthful. I needed to speak to a supervisor. They promised one would call before 8pm this evening. It’s 9:55 now, and I’ve heard nothing.

all around the lakes

Had an impromptu visit to Port Burwell today to fix a cranky cell modem. It was also my first experience of driving a stick shift — and not just any stick shift, one with 400Kclicks on it — on the wrong side of the road. It was weird, but since I neither wrecked the car nor hit anything, I think I got the hang of it.

Anyway, no trip to Burwell is complete without a visit to the Lighthouse Restaurant for fresh fried lake perch. While I was there, I got chatting to a couple from Chicago who were working on their plan to cycle round a Great lake each summer. By doing this, they were hoping to appreciate the scale of these huge bodies of water. Neat plan.

One day, when I’m a Celebrity Windfarm Designer with my own television show, I’ll take a summer off to go round Lake Erie.

I hate Sony

While I like my Cybershot P100, I can’t believe that Sony would make the Memory Stick Pro incompatible with older Memory Stick readers. It’s bad enough that Sony had to created their own expensive, proprietary memory card format (which does exactly what better than CF or SD?), but to make it incompatible between revisions of itself is beyond inexcusable.

Y’see, I scored a cheapo Lexar multi card reader from CWO the other week because it was quite small and takes both CF and MS. I discovered this evening, when it failed to read my MS Pro cards (in the adaptor) but happily read my mum’s plain MS card, that the two formats are gratuitously incompatible. Um, hello, earth to Sony R&D …

batch renaming iTunes directories

In partial response to the Ask Metafilter question “How can I rename my music folders on my Mac based on ID3 tags?“:

#!/bin/bash
# itunes_sanity.sh - fix dir names created by iTunes
# only works for mp3s, and not actually tested on a Mac
# created by scruss on Sun Sep 4 22:05:00 EDT 2005

find "$@" -type d -mindepth 1 | while read directory
do
  artistdir=$(dirname "$directory")
  firstfile=$( find "$directory" -type f -iname '*.mp3' | head -n1 )
  year=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TYE ' | sed 's/=== TYE (Year): //; s/[^0-9]*//;' )
  album=$( id3info "$firstfile" | egrep ' TAL ' | sed 's,=== TAL (Album/Movie/Show title): ,,;' )
  echo mv \'$directory\' \'$artistdir/\[$year\] $album\'
done

So if you were in the terminal, in your music library (one up from the individual artist directories), and you did:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy

you’d get:

mv 'Dan Jones/Get Sounds Now' 'Dan Jones/[2005] Get Sounds Now'
mv 'Dan Jones/One Man Submarine' 'Dan Jones/[2003] One Man Submarine'
mv 'Tripping Daisy/Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb' 'Tripping Daisy/[1998] Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb'

If that looks okay, run the output through the shell:

itunes_sanity.sh Dan\ Jones Tripping\ Daisy | sh

and all should be well.

You’ll need id3lib, which is probably most easily installed from Fink. Also, this only works for mp3 files; I can’t grok the tag info for AAC files. And finally, this might go seriously screwy on weird characters in filenames. You know my feelings on that …

ididn’tBook

For a truly soulless evening, take yourself down to the BestBuy at Scarborough Town Centre.

STC is a mega-mall, with the obligatory huge concrete and asphalt deadzone around it. Its current sales slogan is For what defines you, which must mean that its denizens are in a pretty parlous state, existentially speaking. Its only slightly attractive feature is its derelict KrispyKreme store, which opened as a flagship, then frazzled almost as quickly as a KK’s dextrose rush. Abandoned donut shops are Canada’s ruined abbeys; places of worship gone to seed.

BestBuy itself is an outcast from the mall, in an especially ped-unfriendly way. Perhaps the only defined route there is through a monster split-level Wal-Mart, but I didn’t have enough hitpoints to make it through that particular slough.

I’d checked their website, and it said that the store had iBooks in stock, at $50 below retail. Did the store have any on display? No. The Apple section was set behind the customer service desk, which was a scrum of slightly disgruntled shoppers. So I left without seeing one.

I wandered in a bit of a post big-box haze to McCowan RT, a weird little station at the very end of the rails. At least I was rewarded with a beautiful sunset over the 401 at McCowan; all boiling red and purple. That’s about the best you’ll get near STC, and for free, too.

great work of fiction

MS Backup\'s not-so-accurate time assessment
We use MS Backup. This is the typical output of a run which took — at the very outside — 90 minutes. Where it gets its figure of 11½ hours, I’ll never know.

The demented mind of Adam Elliot

a scene from Adam Elliot\'s Harvie Krumpet
I like animation more than Catherine does, so last night while she was teaching, I rented Harvie Krumpet. It’s a series of shorts by Australian animator Adam Elliot. All of them are poignantly strange. The main feature follows Harvie from his birth in Poland in the 1920s to his dotage in Australia. Bad things happen to him, but he abides.

If you can imagine Wallace & Gromit on mogadon, and imagine liking it, you’ll know how I feel about Adam Elliot’s work.

Sustainable Energy Fair

I survived the University of Toronto First Sustainable Energy Fair. The weather was pretty grim, despite the cold and the rain. Maybe some of the solar cooking events didn’t happen, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of all involved.

There was a good crowd, and I talked myself hoarse on the WindShare stand. There were some interesting people there, including the irrepressible Tom Karmo, and UofT‘s own cyborg, Steve Mann. And yes, I am really responsible for getting Winton Dahlström into wind energy; mea maxima culpa.

I have pictures of the sustainable energy fair here.