Archive for June, 2010

Tips For Visiting Canada Pt.1

Many people visit Canada without the basic knowledge needed to survive without getting lost, killed or embarrassed. This is because all they are told about is what language we speak and even that is sometimes usually wrong. The rest of their knowledge is just rumors and stereotypes that have built up over the hundred and forty three years that Canada has been a country (happy birthday canada!!). So to solve these problems I have compiled a list of things that all tourists and people thinking about emigrating should know before they get off the plane and wonder where all the penguins are.

1. Bring Shorts and a Big Warm Coat. It is not always cold in Canada despite what you might think. Many tourists have shown up at the border in july with their skis strapped to the roof and the sled dogs on the back seat. Summer here is like summer in most places. Hot. That doesn’t mean you won’t need a coat. It gets cold randomly and although true Canadians don’t really seem to notice or make a big deal of it, you will notice so be prepared to put a coat or sweater on because we will all stay outside on the patio of whatever pub, bar or tavern you happen to be at.

2. Be Prepared To Stay Outside. No Matter What. Canadians like to stay outside as much as possible between April and November because we know whats coming in December. Christmas. Or as marketing people like to call it, the Primary Gifting Period. Canadians then like to spend all their time inside. Shopping. Visiting family. Or just generally staying home hibernating or watching hockey. This means that no matter what the weather, as soon as March turns to April, most Canadians will emerge onto patios and decks and the Barbeque’s will heat up. By easter weekend everyone will be outside. This brings up another weather related problem for tourists. No matter what the weather, Canadians will stay outside on the patios. Now you Be thinking what about the cold and rain? Well that has been solved with patio heaters and large “Patio Size” umbrella. Two very Canadian items. This also explains the very popular clothing combination of shorts and a coat.

3. Our Corners are Larger than Most. A popular phrase used by Canadians when giving directions is “Oh, It’s just round the corner” or “It’s just down that street”. You must remember that Canada is a very large country (second largest! Second is good for Canada. Usually we get 13th. Remember that) so “just down the street” is quite a lot farther then many other countries “just down the street”. So be careful cause sometimes “just…” could be hours away. (Example: Toronto is just round the lake from Kingston)

4. All Roads Go Where You Think They Are Going. In many countries lots of roads that seem straight, are not. This sometimes means that you will drive around in circles for hours saying “That tree looks familiar” four of five times before you realize it is the same tree or you will drive down a street going north only to have it end up turning east with no way of turning off the street. In Canada, over 80% of the roads actually are straight and will go where you think they are going. There is still that 5-10% that go in circles but you can see that they are without having to waste time driving around. There is also the rest of the roads that are bendy and fool you into thinking they aren’t going anywhere but will actually take you where you want to go easily. A good example is Highway 7. (goes from just north of Toronto to Ottawa. google it if you don’t know where it is)

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The Worst Excuses I’ve Heard For Being Arrested

Well Toronto has made it through the G8/G20 without too much trouble. Except for the riots. And the over 900 arrests of course. I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home and didn’t get involved in any of this.

I must say that as the media have been talking to prisoners who have been released after being detained during “protests” (not really protests any more are they) there have been some very amusing excuses for them being arrested. My favourite so far is a mother whose son was arrested and she was confused as to why he as arrested because “he wasn’t even in Toronto on Saturday!!!” (lots of exclamation points. She was really panicking). So how, may I ask, did he end up in a Toronto prison if he wasn’t even in the city? I’d like to be around to hear that explanation.

Another man said that he was only there because he was curious and wanted to see what was going on. That’s a great way to think. He couldn’t just turn on his TV. Oh no. He decides to go and see a riot first hand instead of staying at home and watching in safety. What he’s done is say to himself “I’m going to go somewhere where I might get seriously hurt and possibly arrested because I’m CURIOUS”. That’s like going to afghanistan or Iraq because you were curious about what’s going on. If you ask me he deserved to be arrested for being an idiot.

Now I don’t doubt that some “innocent” bystanders got caught up in the mobs of people being arrested but attending something like this comes with the risk of being arrested so you really shouldn’t complain that much. If I’d been there, the second I saw the protest getting out of hand I would have got the hell out of there.

All these arrests have got the civil rights groups complaining that the police had no right to arrest all these people because they were not “disturbing the peace”. “disturbing the peace” could really mean anything couldn’t it? Yelling in the streets could be disturbing peace. If these people didn’t want the chance of being arrested then they should have stayed at home. Maybe now they’ve learned their lesson.

And one last thing to all those people who are giving advice to the police on how to handle the situation. It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback, if you were in charge you wouldn’t have a clue about what to do. I’m not saying I agree with everything the police did but they did their best and I support how they dealt with the events of the last few days.

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GO AWAY!!!!

If there’s one thing that annoys me it’s the reason for protesters getting violent at the G8/G20. I have figured out that the main reason for it is because, and I quote (paraphrase really) “no one notices us unless we make a scene”. Now this may be true but in case you haven’t noticed people are already inconvenienced enough by the huge fence that is closing off the core of the city and all the extra police officers everywhere. All that violent protests accomplish is that people get more agitated. Not at what the people are protesting but at the protesters themselves.

A good example of this is the Tamil protests last summer(? or whenever). People didn’t mind when the protests were peaceful (they were. If only for a short while) but when they started standing on highways with their children (I’m sure you were as shocked as i was) and causing chaos in downtown Toronto and elsewhere, people were less inclined to support their cause and getting more angry with the protesters. I know I was.

Actually for this G8/G20 in Toronto I’m slightly hoping for a bit of violent protesting (DISCLAIMER: I AM IN NO WAY ENCOURAGING VIOLENCE) simply because the government has already spent a Billion dollars on the G8/G20, and as a taxpayer (yeah, thats right) I don’t want it to have been a waste.

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Live From E3 (Pt.2)

One of the biggest anouncements so far at E3 has been that of the Nintendo 3DS. Thats right, 3Ds. No there isn’t three screens or anything like that. It is going to be able to play games with 3D graphics without the need for 3D glasses. That is the main feature that Nintendo is focusing on right now.

There have been many guessed as to what the 3DS will look like and so far the image from Nintendo has been this,

If this DS update is anything like all the lasts then it will definitely be worth buying.  So far all the DS updates/upgrades have included significant physical and software changes. Unlike Sony who has released four models of PSP and the only one with a really significant change was when they released the PSPGo. Just by looking at this picture, which isn’t the final model but it’s going to be close to this, there are going to be some great changes.

Here are the specs that were released at E3,

Size (when closed):
Approximately 5.3 inches wide, 2.9 inches long, 0.8 inches tall.
Weight:
Approximately 8 ounces.
Look:
Final design is TBA.
Top Screen:
3.53-inch widescreen LCD display, enabling 3D view without the need for special glasses; with 800×240 pixel resolution (400 pixels are allocated for each eye to enable 3D viewing).
Touch Screen:
3.02-inch LCD with 320×240 pixel resolution with a touch screen.
Cameras:
One inner camera and two outer cameras with 640×480 (0.3 Mega) pixel resolution.
Pre-Installed Software:
TBA
Nintendo 3DS Game Card:
2 GB Max. at launch.
Wireless Communication:
Can communicate in the 2.4 GHz band. Multiple Nintendo 3DS systems can connect via a local wireless connection to let users communicate or enjoy competitive game play. Systems also can connect to LAN access points to access the Internet and allow people to enjoy games with others. Will support IEEE 802.11 with enhanced security (WPA/WPA2). Nintendo 3DS hardware is designed so that even when not in use, it can automatically exchange data with other Nintendo 3DS systems or receive data via the Internet while in sleep mode.

Game Controls:
Touch screen, embedded microphone, A/B/X/Y face buttons, + Control Pad, L/R buttons, Start and Select buttons, “Slide Pad” that allows 360-degree analog input, one inner camera, two outer cameras, motion sensor and a gyro sensor.

Other Input Controls:
3D Depth Slider to adjust level of 3D effect (can be scaled back or turned off completely depending on the preference of the user), Home button to call system function, Wireless switch to turn off wireless communications (even during game play), Power button. The telescoping stylus is approximately 4 inches when fully extended.

Input/Output:
A port that accepts both Nintendo 3DS game cards and game cards for the Nintendo DS™ family of systems, an SD memory card slot, an AC adapter connector, a charging cradle terminal and a stereo headphone output jack.

Sound:
Stereo speakers positioned to the left and right of the top screen.

Battery:
Lithium ion battery details TBA.

Languages:
TBA

Parental Controls:
Parental controls similar to the Nintendo DSi system will be included.

It’s not too much but it’s better than nothing.

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Awkward!

I’ve been thinking, what could be the most embarrassing situation you could be in when your cell phone rings? Sure there’s the usual stuff like when you’re in the bathroom but what situation could be REALLY embarrassing? I’d like to see someone on stage performing something when *ring*. I think stand up comedy could be funny. It could be a real test of the comedians talent. I want suggestions. All of your suggestions. Comment at the bottom of this article.

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Live From E3 (Pt.1)

no I’m not actually there. I wish I was though cause it looks like there’s lots of great stuff being announced this year. Here’s the first part of a sort of summary of whats been going on.

The Force Unleashed II

I played the first one and I liked the story mode (campaign, whatever), it was amazing, but once you got passed that it got kind of boring. The PSP version had some more single player features that were fun but there still wasn’t much. I’m hoping that in #2 there will be a bit more to do once you are finished story mode so you will want to keep it for longer than a few weeks (days if you’re really good). I still want to play this though because if it is half as good as the first it will still be amazing.

Rock Band 3

Rock Band is always fun. It is one of those games that you can return to when you have nothing better to play. Rock Band 3 is going to add a keyboard peripheral (you can play the keyboard now) which could be good. It will also have 83 songs included and 1500 compatible songs (downloads, previous versions and track packs). The Rock Band website announced these tracks will be on Rock Band 3

2000s:

  • Metric – “Combat Baby”
  • Rilo Kiley – “Portions for Foxes”
  • Them Crooked Vultures – “Dead End Friends”
  • The Vines – “Get Free”
  • The White Stripes – “The Hardest Button to Button”
  • Phoenix – “Lasso”
  • Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
  • Juanes – “Me Enamora”

1990s:

  • Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing”
  • Stone Temple Pilots – “Plush”
  • Smash Mouth – “Walkin’ on the Sun”
  • Spacehog – “In the Meantime”

1980s:

  • Dio – “Rainbow in the Dark”
  • Huey Lewis and the News – “The Power of Love”
  • Joan Jett – “I Love Rock and Roll”
  • Night Ranger – “Sister Christian”
  • Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”
  • The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
  • Ozzy Osbourne – “Crazy Train”

1970s:

  • Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”

1960s:

  • Jimi Hendrix – “Crosstown Traffic”
  • The Doors – “Break On Through”

there are also a few more in game features listed on the website.

Medal Of  Honor

Thats right, another one. I have nothing to say about this.

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Just Score Already

I’ve been watching the world cup as I’m sure most of you have too and I’ve become really bored with most of it. It seems that all has happened so far is that lots of good teams have ties some not so good teams, teams that would normally be knocked out in the first round have been holding their own and Germany flattened Australia 4-0. Just draws and slow games. It is getting very boring. So far the only exciting part was the last 15 minutes of the Cameroon vs. Japan game. That was a nail biter. I’m getting to the point that I might not watch any games that don’t have my team in them.

I of course am cheering for England and its not looking good since the 1-1 draw with the U.S. which I didn’t get to see (I’m so mad, I heard it was good). Canada didn’t qualify (big surprise..) because let’s face it, we’re not very good. Don’t get me wrong though, Canadians are big fans of Football (don’t call it soccer) we just can’t seem to get enough actual players together in order to make a good team. So for now I will be cheering for England. At least until Canada gets a team that gets past qualifying.

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