Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's a JonBenet World After All

Okay, some Disney Darkness today. On our latest sojourn to the mecca that is DisneyWorld, we noticed a marked upswing in the number of little girls wandering the parks in full 'princess' gear. These were young ladies of preschool age; made up in full-bore coiffed hair, too much makeup, hair and face glitter, and elaborate dresses.

The first few were cute, and we'd often laugh at how a full day at a Disney park would turn these little princesses into tired, disshelved little Courtney Love avatars.

But they kept coming - and coming. This was no random meme. There was something organized here.

Then we discovered the wellspring for all these little wannabe beauty queens and their way-too-adoring parents - the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

This all feels deeply disturbing, like somehow make-believe has been co-opted by the World of Adults. The innocence of dress-up games has been packaged, structured, and sold to paying Customers.

So I made a little video.

Do I need to lighten up and take this a little less seriously? I'm guessing I do - but damn!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

First Life

The funniest thing I've seen today.

And I have a teenager.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Master Chief? Meet Troy Hurtubise.

A few years back in a what must have been a "Holy crap, there's nothing on TV at 3:15am on a Sunday morning" kind of moment, I found myself watching a documentary on TVO about The Grizzly Man. While he's had some minor notoriety over the years, let me recap in case he's new to you.

Troy Hurtubise was a man possessed by Grizzly bear attacks. While men of similar single-mindedness might chase white whales or sculpt UFO landing sites out of mashed potatoes, Troy's Grail was to invent a suit that would enable a person to withstand a Grizzly bear attack. In the process, he lost just about everything. The ensuing documentary is highly recommended viewing; inspiring, hilarious, and deeply sad.

Troy is back and he's got a new Grail. Have a look at this recent news report and tell me he's not destined for another glorious failure. This is truly an amazing guy. But I think he's looking in the wrong market for his latest invention. There are Geeks out there who'll want to talk to Troy. Maybe one of these guys. Or even this guy.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Call to Arms!

I'll tell you a secret; I follow politics. I'm not really what you'd call a 'political guy', but I'll be the first one to dial up the election returns with a big ol' bowl of popcorn. You'll never find me storming the gates of Parliament with the proletariat, though. I'm much too lazy for that stuff.

But sometimes, I get pissed. For example, when Ottawa put a tax on many forms of recordable media - just to reimburse artists in case I use that media for illegally recording music or video - I got pissed. Of course, no one in Ottawa knew I was upset about this plan. Consequently, the tax in now in place. I like to think if the muckety-mucks had known I was miffed, they probably would have changed their minds.

What's pissing me off these days is an impending batch of changes to Canadian copyright laws that would effectively eliminate the notion of Fair Use. An example: it's perfectly legal (in Canada) to rip a CD that you own and copy its content onto your MP3 player for your own use. This is Fair Use, but under Ottawa's proposed legislative changes this will be illegal. The CBC has a good article on the topic.

In a nutshell, these changes are being considered under extreme pressure from Big Media and would move us further towards a somewhat-international (read: American) model of Digital Rights Management (DRM). This is bad - unless you like being told how and when you can enjoy music, movies, TV, software, and any other form of 'media content' that you thought you paid for. However, this is good for (some) content creators since they can decide how and when they'll take their pound of flesh even after you've actually paid them for their product.

In the meantime, Michael Geist (Canadian media law professor) maintains a kick-ass blog on the subject which will give you all the gory details if you're so inclined. And if you really want to voice your displeasure, contact your MP. For couch vegetation like myself, this has been made almost too easy. For the more ambitious, you can phone or write your MP starting here.

So, get pissed like me. You'll feel better.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Cursed Dinghy Ride

Some love it, some hate it; but everyone knows it.

When the real world has you down, when you've spent far too many hours in WoW killing Orcs and Undead, when you start to actually 'care' about the fragility of a minority government in Ottawa, when the weekly Canadian Tire flyer is all you have to look forward to - I offer the following salve to restore your heart and soul.

KD.... this one's for you.

And if this video montage has elevated your blood sugar to dangerously high levels - an antidote.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Seen and Heard...

Just a few Floridian observations:

Best. T-Shirt. Ever. "I love manatees...... they taste like children"

Florida is becoming an incredibly popular vacation-spot for South Americans. Going 'north' for a winter vacation seems wrong to me.

Regardless of age, South American women love their thong bikinis. Trust me on this.

Question: Do young Japanese tourists try to look like anime characters, or is the opposite true?

Brazilians, hands down, are the most attractive people on the planet.

Nobody should take my picture while I'm frolicking at a water-park in my bathing suit. Ever.

South Americans never stop talking. Not even when they're supposed to.

There are few sights sadder than watching people wander around eating giant smoked turkey legs. Street vendors should not be allowed to sell them; at least while I'm watching.

A growing trend: people renting wheelchairs or electric scooters at theme parks to (1) avoid all the trouble of... umm... walking and (2) to get preferential admission to shows, rides, parades, etc. Double karma loss if your family members take turns being 'the disabled one'.

The FAA should require that dog tranquilizers be mandatory for all children under 10 years of age on flights. Allowing their parents to partake would also be acceptable.

You can buy more stuff in the States. That's cool.

I cannot - and will never - look cool behind the wheel of a white PT Cruiser.

More to come, perhaps.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back Through The Looking-Glass

I'm back from the parallel universe that is Florida. By turns it was an entertaining and (sometimes) deeply weird trip. I'll be sharing some of this goodness in posts to come - including a bit of video exposing some Disney Darkness that may impress you as being far more disturbing than Tigger throwing punches at paying guests.

In the meantime, let me play catch-up and answer a few questions and comments that were waiting for me:

David - I hear you, brother. I won't divulge the number of times I've found myself at Disney World since my first encounter with 'the magic' at 15 (ahem..it's in the double digits). It will always hold a soft spot in my shrunken, cynical heart, too. I simply love it there.

KD - There's no request too large coming from our own Patron Saint of Geekiness. Chlorine, refuse, and singing urchins? Done and done! Look for the video evidence in the days to come. Just for you my friend.

Sonny - Alas, Mister Toad's Wild Ride was closed a few years back to make way for a Winnie the Pooh attraction at the Magic Kingdom. It was a sentimental fave of mine, but I have no real favourite ride. Peter Pan is a must-do as is Pirates of the Caribbean. Both simply take me back to happy times past. I will allow that Mission:Space at EPCOT is sort of a fave. Any ride that pulls 3 Gs (seriously) and causes a blood vessel in my eye to burst (not kidding) must definitely rock.

There is so much to share, so stay tuned!