Friday, April 11, 2008
      ( 1:50 PM )   by David Barker  
Quick Update

1> BSG season premiere rocked.

2> So does a show called Smash Lab on Discovery.

3> Went to see Nicholas Nickleby with Laura last Thursday. Spoiler: Smike dies. I nearly cried.

4> Had lunch with Reid on Friday. Salad King across from old Sam's. Thai. Mmm.

5> now lets me save new posts as unpublished, but won't let me publish them...

6> Corner Gas' sixth season will be its last. Gak.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
      ( 8:31 PM )   by David Barker  
Well, until I can figure out what's wrong with my WordPress blog on tnir, this is where I'll be bloggering.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004
      ( 1:22 PM )   by David Barker  

Thank You, Blogger But All Good Free Things Must Come To An End...

I'll be switching over to my Movable Type blog at, kindly supplied by Reid Ellis, so all the many of you who read this should change your bookmarks.

I like blogger and still think it's a handy tool for what it offers. I just think that MT is better for the same reasons. I still don't know how to do all the stuff I want to do and Reid says there's lots more, so we'll see.


Monday, February 09, 2004
      ( 11:22 AM )   by David Barker  

Ouch, Dude! Seriously, Dude! Ouch!

My young friend Michael broke his leg last week while skiing, just a few days before the family was due to go away for a week in the Dominican Republic.

He's thirteen, so you can imagine what's going on in his head : guilt, recrimination, probably feeling a little bit of a whole lotta stupid. Maybe us grownups can tell him not to fret himself, but it's only natural. Poor guy.

His right leg's in a cast from his toes right up to his hip, I think. He got to choose the colour and glow-in-the-dark was an option, so that's what he got.

I'll tell ya, I felt pretty useless when I visited him on Saturday, which is probably nothing to how Reid and Luisa feel, and his father, Steve. Michael's pretty much confined to the living room couch because he can barely get around and only then with help. He's putting on a brave face - we played Space Munchkin - but there were times when the pain was bothering him.

I've known this guy since he was four - both him and his nine year old brother are cool kids. Which says a lot for the parenting.

Anyhoo, long story short, I feel terrible because a friend is injured and I can't do much about it, but I can't begin to imagine how his family actually feels.

And then Debbie Ohi goes and breaks her tharibular runulus (on the armal appendage somewhere...I think), just when she was recovering from punishing tendinitis. She's a web-goddess and a writer, fiction and non, and basically makes her living with her keyboard. She's got ViaVoice, but she prefers hands on.

I'm sure she'll be fine but it must be terribly frustrating for her to have this happen right now, just when she was recovering.

Get well better, Debbie!

And Michael!

Sunday, February 08, 2004
      ( 11:26 AM )   by David Barker  

This Is True Literally.

I get the email referred to here and I love it. This bit below is a new free service the guy offers. It's maybe 50 characters of javascript code copied from his website. The story shown below will change every day. Cool.


Thursday, January 29, 2004
      ( 9:17 AM )   by David Barker  

Can't Believe It. Cannot Frikkin' Believe It.

Last night I watched a whole episode of American Idol. Laughed, cringed, gasped.

It started a few weeks ago when anything was an acceptable alternative to Star Trek:Enterprise. Which sucks. I watched a little of this, a little of that, including some American Idol. Last week I watched more of it.

This week, (they were in Honolulu), I watched the whole thing. The whole frikkin' thing.


Won't be doing that again.

I hope.

I really, really hope.

For the love of God, somebody help me!

BTW, I've been through this:

Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over television -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to televisoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Didn't help.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004
      ( 11:00 AM )   by David Barker  

Back To School Started Monday...

It's a six month course that's going to provide me with CompTIA A+ PC Core and Hardware certification as well as CompTIA Network+ certification. Along the way I pick up a Microsoft Certified Professional card for Windows 2000 and MS Office.

Day One - Monday, January 19, 2004


This was basic stuff, and simple.

The morning was Business Communication orientation and the afternoon was orientation for our 6 week co-op placement in June/July.

Day Two - Tuesday, January 20, 2004

More Orientation

Much more on Business Communication. We looked at language, soft skills, hard skills, a lot of basic stuff that it actually felt good to review.

We were asked to prepare a five minute speech on any topic. I wasn't feeling all that great on Monday night so I didn't do anything. I didn't forget, I just didn't bother because I figured I'd figure something out. And I did. I went about fifth, and just started talking about 'three children's fantasy series': the Oz books, Narnia and Harry Potter.

(more to come)

Day Three - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Business Communication

(more to come)


Saturday, January 17, 2004
      ( 10:48 AM )   by David Barker  

TV Does Not Suck! As Much!

I have a new favourite TV show. Friday nights at nine, here in Toronto on CTV (channel 9, cable 8).

It's called 'Joan of Arcadia'.

Can't really do the basic premise justice, so I'll only say that, as you may have heard, it's about a teenage girl who God talks to, in the form of just about anybody she might meet in the course of a day. He has her do things that affect those around her, usually for the good.

Here's the official CBS website.

The cast is first rate (Mary Steenburgen and Joe Mantegna as the parents, eg) and the writing and plotting is quite nice.

The show was created and is written (mostly, so far) by one Barbara Hall, who's been around for a while, on such things as Judging Amy and Northern Exposure.

I haven't felt this way about a show since Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Shut up.

Friday, January 16, 2004
      ( 11:40 AM )   by David Barker  

Not Your Dad's Twenty-First Century Or Maybe It Is.

I'm in the main public library branch in Toronto, using the internet accessible computers set up for the public.

Each session is one half an hour. There are a lot of problems with how things are set up here, but that's not one of them.

Here's what just happened.

Some guy is on a computer. He leaves his coat and stuff (it's -12, and the wind chill is -24) and goes away, probably to the john.

Some other guy, waiting for a computer in the designated line-up (they probably have a macronym for it) , sees him go, comes up, moves the guy's stuff and sits down.

A few of us around him suggest that perhaps he's in the wrong.

His response is - and I kid you not - "Get out of my country". Said to good old born-and-raised-here, Canadian-accented me. I told him to get back on his medication. So he told me to get a job.

The original user of the computer, maybe German or Slavic in origin, goes to complain to library security, but they're pussies and don't do anything, so the fncker gets away with it.

He fncking gets away with it. In the first place, he just takes over the computer, then when we complain on behalf of the original user, he gets racist (and nuts), and then when the original user complains, Security doesn't do anything about it, so this racist mental-case (and I mean that in the worst possible way, pace nobody) fncking gets away with it. With all of it.

Jeezes Kriced.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004
      ( 1:53 PM )   by David Barker  

Mars, Again. No, Still.

Check this out, from

It's fucking beautiful. Check out the resolution, the out-yer-back-window detail of the nearby rocks and the stuff in the distance!

"This is the first color image of Mars taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. It is the highest resolution image ever taken on the surface of another planet. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell University."


Monday, January 05, 2004
      ( 10:59 AM )   by David Barker  

I Guess NASA Sure Knows Mars From Elba. (Old Scottish Accent Joke About Napoleon. Or Something.)

Mars! Goddam! I remember when Pathfinder landed in 1997 I was glued to TV and the internet - dialup back in those days. I couldn't get enough of it. Still can't but I've learned some patience. =;]

The Brits had a bit of hard luck with Beagle 2. But they're not giving up and will keep trying to wake up or re-contact the lander.

Beagle 2's mothership (ie her ride), Mars Express still has a really cool agenda of scientific experiments.

What's a little bit scary is that I saw Jay Ingram on Canada's Discovery Channel last night saying that something like two thirds of all missions sent to Mars have failed. The Soviets account for a huge chunk of that, so no huge surprise, but nevertheless a little chilling.


Sunday, January 04, 2004
      ( 2:43 PM )   by David Barker  

Technophobic! But Only Because The Technology Is So Dern Big!

I had a fun evening on Friday at Jeff and Gail Kesner's house. It's the way the hell up - I don't know. I got a lift with Reid and Ronnie, and I don't drive, so all I saw was traffic and some signs, then boom, we're there. Much quicker than I thought.

They live in a big, beautiful house in a neighbourhood of like houses. We - the rest were mostly others from Jeff and Gail's olde tyme university friends gang - were invited up to have a gander at Jeff's new toy, a gigantic HDTV capable screen that can basically serve as the video device for anything requiring video display. He has the obvious stuff hooked up, like his DVD and VHS players, as well as a computer (doubling as a DVD player, if I got that right...).

Jeff took us downstairs to the family room soon after we got there to show us the screen. Now, I was expecting something big, but I was completely surprised. I turned into the family room, saw the screen and dropped to my knees with a 'Sweet Jesus, Jeff!"

We watched all sorts of cool junk, in different formats, in different aspect ratios, with various complexity of stereo sound, including ancient home movies converted to digital format.

There were lots of cool kids, including the host children, Jennifer and Megan, as well as Ronnie, Elspeth, Daniel, Ross, Annie and Sarah, and me.

Jeff and Gail have a very cool home, which was immediately recognizable as a geek house because there was a telescope stored in the large front hall half-bathroom.

Lotsa fun. Thank you, Jeff, Gail, Jennifer and Megan.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
      ( 1:32 PM )   by David Barker  

Good Fellowship! Yee-haw! (Elvish for 'yippee!)

Well, yesterday was the last day of the Gathering of the Fellowship, the first of a hoped-for biennial celebration of Tolkien's various works, their admirers (and yer basic fans), and those inspired by them. This year was focused on the release of the third and last of Peter Jackson's films based on The Lord of the Rings; The Return of the King (of which I saw the first show at the Sheppard Grande cinema at midnight on Tuesday, started late, didn't finish until 3:35am Wednesday; still counts! Still rocked!).

My membership was a Christmas gift from good friends and fine human beings, Luisa Perrella and Reid Ellis (see links to the right). I can't rave enough about the quality of the event. Of course there were problems, one particular one really rotted my socks: the masquerade contest before the banquet at Medieval Times was held on the same floor level as the spectators, hence nobody at the back could see any contestants but the seven foot tall Ent. More to the point, I couldn't see any contestants but the seven foot tall Ent.

I spent the second day (of the three day event) with Luisa's thirteen year old son Michael. We went to a very interesting (if somewhat less rich than advertised) seminar on writing the tengwar, the elvish script. And if you don't know what that is and don't care, than go away. Michael is a fairly recent convert to LOTR (recent in my terms, not his) and it was neat to see how interested he was in getting the basic idea of the tengwar. We went to the masquerade and banquet together and had lots of fun. One really nice touch was the fact that they rewrote the script for the show so that instead of medieval Europe, we were in the early Fourth Age at the court of King Eomer of Rohan, and the the contestants were champions from across Middle Earth.

I will add that my original membership did not include the banquet. Luisa had bought herself a banquet ticket (no full membership because it was all during working hours for regular office types...), but for some reason, decided she couldn't go, so I got her ticket. Even though I got to go on her ticket, and it was a lot of fun, I am so sorry she missed it.

On the last day there were several interesting sessions but I went to a even more interesting session on designing your own costume armour using as your sources such things as the action figures, pix off the web or freeze-frames of scenes from DVDs of the movies...

Here's the blurb for that session from the website. "In this hands on armor building workshop, experienced costumers will coordinate groups of 8-12 participants in the creation of a full set of armor from a LOTR costume. They will have three hours and use only simple materials such as posterboard, duct tape and markers..."

The experienced costumers had brought their own home-made versions of Sauron's armour, Haldir at Helm's Deep (a woman, FYI), and Elrond at whatever the name of the battle was where the Ring was lost. The Sauron armour was what made me want to go to this session in the first place. I was in the Vendors' Room when I heard this clanking. I turned around and saw this guy walk in all spikey and silver and mean looking, except that he was wearing a Santa hat. (As Michael said with a deep evil sounding voice, when I told him, "I am the bringer of doom. And presents.") This guy was Toby Markham (, gotta love that domain name, and if you surf his pages you'll see what he means by it...). The costume blew my mind. Most of it was aluminum, with the spikes made of some plastic plastic (sic) stuff that these kind of people use.

I didn't learn a lot, but I learned enough to know that I might get into doing that sort of thing. The session was a great end to the con and I had a great time.

Next time is hoped to be in 2005, again here in Toronto, but maybe after that in New Zealand or even Oxford.


Thursday, December 04, 2003
      ( 11:22 AM )   by David Barker  

This Is Cool! Check It Out!

Tolerance dot org is a very cool anti-racism/anti-bigotry project of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Check out the "Do Something" column on the right.

This story is great!

An excerpt: "In Boyertown, Pennsylvania, Project Lemonade so irritated the Ku Klux Klan that the group threatened to sue organizers for raising money "on our name." Money raised went for library books on black history."

Read the whole story to see what pissed off the Klan!

Monday, December 01, 2003
      ( 10:53 AM )   by David Barker  

Kids Today! Kids Tomorrow.

Well, yesterday I attended a nice little meet-the-baby party for Jamie Chew, the wee fella whose arrival was recently blogged about here.


I love kids. I think I get along with kids. I will probably never have kids of my own, and that might be a good thing, all things considered.

Some of my friends have children of different ages, and I like them all. Some are older now, approaching adulthood, some are younger, but smart as a buggy-whip and fun to hang around with.

Jamie is the teeniest little tiny baby I've seen in a long time. Megan Kesner was tiny the first time I saw her, but older than Jamie. Now Megan, just over two, is walking and talking (quite articulate when she wants to be) and has the most charming smile I've seen in a long time.

Ronnie Ellis (not there yesterday) was about a year old when I first met him, and he was afraid to shake my hand. Now I'm having philosophical discussions with him, a recent one about the propriety of deliberate flatulence in social situations. (I told him I'd sit on his head and fart if he did it again...pace Luisa and Reid.) His brother, Michael Cecutti, (also not there) is thirteen and growing up fast. This past Hallowe'en he decided he was too old for it, which is fine and his decision, but quite a step too.

Little Jamie has big eyes and tiny fingernails and seems quite alert and curious. I only heard him fuss maybe twice in the few hours I was at his parents' home.

There were quite a few kids there, all of whom were quite well behaved, even if their parents had to chide them every now and then.

It was a good day.

Thursday, November 13, 2003
      ( 11:40 AM )   by David Barker  

Lucy, You Got Some 'Splainin' To Do. Now, Whatever Could He Mean?

Okay, a heads-up. From now on, when what I mean to convey is that I'm not interested in excuses, I'm going to say "I don't care if he's filling in for Mel Zoetz!"

This is from one of my 112 favourite Simpsons episodes, where they try to shut down the burlesque house. The line was funny then and it will be funny forever.

Like I said, a heads-up. I am not, however, going to say or write the equally brilliant but tragically over-used 'D'oh' unless it's really, really appropriate. And don't try to trick me either. I'll see it coming and you'll be sorry.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
      ( 1:06 PM )   by David Barker  

Welcome Jamie!

John and Kristen Chew (mostly Kristen) gave birth to a wee baby boy on Tuesday.

Here are proud papa John's pics.

They - the parents - are, like many people I know, intelligent, friendly and gracious people around with whom it is a pleasure to hang. (Kristen is in publishing, hence the 'whom'.)

Jamie is their first child. What an entrance.

(And yes, Freudenfreude rears its pink little fuzzy bunny head again...)

Also, time-lapse Reid. You have to blink fast as you move your eyes really fast across the screen. I think.

Monday, November 03, 2003
      ( 10:15 AM )   by David Barker  

Rofflemow. Whatever That Means. People Use It, So I Will Too.

Even though I already knew the story, when I saw this headline on, I double-took, because I imagined something completely different.

"Teen surfer describes losing arm to shark"

Here's the thing of it: why did the shark want to hear about it?


Saturday, November 01, 2003
      ( 12:38 PM )   by David Barker  

The English. Delia Smith, The Naked Chef, Nigella Lawson, And Now This.

"The Duchess of Devonshire hasn't cooked for 60 years, and it shows - her new recipe book advises you to send the gamekeeper out for gulls' eggs... oh, and to keep your own cow"

I came across this article about the Duchess of Devonshire, the youngest (and last surviving) of the Mitford sisters.

It's from The Guardian Unlimited, and their Observer magazine section The Observer Food Monthly.


Friday, October 24, 2003
      ( 12:09 PM )   by David Barker  

Enterprise Without The 'The'

Okay, PaulK, here's my POV.

Me saying Enterprise ralfs means that while I really wanted to like it and gave it chance after chance, they failed.

Many things collude to make me want to slap Rick Berman and Brannon Braga two or three times each

To wit, a list:

1) the horrible storytelling

2) the Saturday morning cartoon plot contrivances

3) the wasted opportunities (again and again) to exploit everything established by the previous series (and tossing them all away by saying 'oh, First Contact changed the timeline' when we know what the Federation's official policy is on changed timelines...)

4) either not enough decontamination scenes or too many, I'm not sure yet

5) the hugely stupid 'American Cowboys in Space' attitude; a plot device to show why the Vulcans are so paternalistic? Maybe. But Archer never learns.

6) the irritating fact there are exceptions to the bad storytelling (still bad even for American television science fiction, but better than the series average) like Carbon Creek and Extinction (title? Archer et al changed by virus to extinct natives hunting for lost subterranean city).

They can do better. They have done better. They don't have to because they have a religious fan-base and a lowest common denominator target ideal.

That's why I want to slap them.


Friday, October 17, 2003
      ( 12:29 PM )   by David Barker  

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Draft Wesley Crusher For The Next American Presidential Race! Time Travel And Everything!

Kid I you not, I got this off Wil Wheaton's website. NB, not his project.

Life is wonderful. Amidst all the BS and seriousness and serious BS, there is laughter. Maybe not at what's really funny, but at what could be funny.

Wil Wheaton has a serious sense of humour about himself and his past. He has a great future.

I gotta read his book.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003
      ( 3:14 PM )   by David Barker  

Had We But World Enough, And Time, To Get My Name Spelled Correctly...

When I was in high school, Jack Langedyk (yes, that Jack Langedyk) worked on an ecology project for the local paper. They spelled his last name correctly. They spelled mine wrong. But when my older sister got her name in the paper, they spelled it right.

Okay, so I used the handle 'dwjoyes' a lot on the web; it's my initials and my mother's maiden name, which I once thought had a history, but doesn't, at least not the one I thought.

Well, I used it to leave a comment on the Toronto Star's comment boards, and they spelled it wrong! Jones! It says so much about the state of their technology - imagine rant here.



      ( 10:18 AM )   by David Barker  

Former Actor And California Governor-Elect Helena Handbasket...

I got nuthin'


Saturday, October 04, 2003
      ( 3:53 PM )   by David Barker  

Stranger In A Strange Land. Indeed.

I am reading Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Strange Land for the second time in about thirty years, and have come to a startling - and very science-fictiony- conclusion; this is not the same book that I read in high school - even though this book is very possibly from the same early 1970s printing or printing range as the one I read back then. It has been completely changed. I cannot account for things as they are in any other way.

This one is comic and satirical, with cunning and wise jabs at politics, society, even human nature. It makes me laugh unexpectedly and I can't wait to get back to it if I have to put it down for a while. I sincerely like the characters, even when I don't know why the hell they're doing what they're doing, rather like my friends in that regard.

I've 'always' liked Heinlein's Friday, except the last two or three pages, even still, after recently re-reading for about the dozenth time. His early stuff never appealed to me as an adult, although some of his juvenile stuff, like Farmer in the Sky was quite good for me in high school.

I know people keep writing after they're dead, like L. Ron Hubbard and J.R.R Tolkien, but to have them completely replace a book they published when alive is rather interesting - something very twenty-first century about it, futuristic even, as if Heinlein knew I'd like this version better when I was forty-six then the one I read when I was fifteen.



Friday, September 19, 2003
      ( 8:56 AM )   by David Barker  

I Guess I Should Mention How Cool PHP Is. I Should Have Before, So Here. So There.

Thanks to Reid (q.v.) I've been able to start learning php on his server. I've been an HTML and VB hobby programmer for years and always wanted to be able to do something programmatically intelligent serverside - more powerful and private - to match up with javascript (not vbscript, it always has to be installed, and I don't even know if Netscape or the other browsers will process it...).

Reid gave me an account and diskspace a while back and finally I started to use it (among other things, reformatting my blogspot future blog, the barker kid,). He casually mentioned I could feel free to try out php. I thought 'yeah, that's Linux, I don't know Linux, I can't even spell it, so how the hell can I learn php. ' I did.

Then, I started looking at it, and thought 'this is pretty much what I've been looking for'.

So I thought 'start with the easy stuff, positive reinforcement stuff, boolean return values of positive (or negative if negative is positive, you get it)'. I started with the file functions. Easy.

Then I got ambitious. Uploading a local file to the server. Gotta be complex, tricky, lots of settings that if you don't get exactly right, it will fail catastrophically, causing the server to crash in Scarborough and buses to crash in Etobicoke. I swear to God and kid you not, it worked the very first time! And here's the thing of it, I didn't believe it had actually worked, even though the file with the correct name and with the right byte-size was in the right place. And I could download and view it. (You see, I was so used to learning VB on my own, and having almost nothing work like it was supposed to, even if you copied the sample code exactly, having to learn what not to do by analyzing the error messages, which, God bless Microsoft for the backwards blessing, were often quite detailed and comprehensive. I still think of programming classes in VB as what not to do. Like childhood and geopolitics, I guess.)

So anyway, back to file uploading. I had access to both Netscape 7 and Explorer 6, so I set up scenarios to prove that the file upload hadn't actually worked - still reading the local file or something - , because I truly did not believe it had! Well, long story short, it had.

One big interest is security (job is Nortel PBX, voice-mail and call-centre management software programming and administration) so I started looking at php sessions. Learned cookies along the way, and felt that getting sessions nailed was like Paul on the road to Damascus, only this revelation was neither blinding nor irrelevant. But damnably exciting.

Reid was quite helpful along the way. He even told me I'd actually end up learning a subset of Perl, which gasted my flabber, let me tell you. Hasn't happened yet. My php is still like me trying to speak German in Vienna. I haven't spoken it since high school, I learned German German, from a professor who was Dutch - so I probably had a Dutch accent, and while I can probably find the bathroom (positive reinforcement, remember), I can't discuss Hegel or Goethe. Hell, I can barely pronounce Goethe. So there you go.

So now I'm on to writing HTML and javascript on the fly, spontaneous purpose-rigged, situation dependent feeds to the client. And there's CSS, XML, database access via MySQL, delightfully sophisticated array manipulation functions, time/date functions that make me want to - never mind.

Hurray for php! Hurray for Reid! Hurray for me!

And hurray for Talk Like A Pirate Day! And true to the spirit of the day, I cut and pasted that link and its HTML from the view-source of Wil Wheaton's wilwheaton dot net (q.v).

Swabs, planks, scurvy, yoho, ahoy, treasure chests, doubloons, grog, "Treasure Planet" (q.v.!) , damsels in distress, damsels in dat dress, Johnny Depp in dat coiffure, a privateer, a buccaneer ("How much does it cost for a pirate to get his ears pierced?") ! Long John Silver, Sir Francis Drake, Captain Kidd, Ching Yih Saou, Blackbeard, "Blackbeard's Ghost" (q.v.), Jacquotte Delahaye, the Pittsburgh Pirates, woohoo, the list is endless!


Wednesday, September 17, 2003
      ( 9:09 AM )   by David Barker  

Because My Friends Are Sometimes Right. That's Why.

I would like to plug BitPass, a new web goods and services micropayment site. I read about it on my friend Reid's blog, and thought, hey, this is cool.

Then another friend, Peter, posted an interesting comment and opinion.

I think BitPass deserves some free publicity. Check out the various links highlighted in Peter's comment.

"Fight The Evil Power!"

(That is a quote, relevant here for various reasons, from the Chinpokomon episode of 'South Park', which, if you don't like it, well, you should probably go back to church, because you've just been tempted by Satan...)

Thursday, September 11, 2003
      ( 11:21 AM )   by David Barker  
I'm just going to repeat my post of a few days ago. Peace.

The Best Way To Remember September 11, 2001. I Hope Jeff And Gail Don't Mind Me Saying It This Way.

On Thursday, September 11, Megan Keiko K. will be two years old.

Happy birthday, you charmin' l'il gal!

(And to Megan's big sister, Jennifer K., I don't know when your birthday is, but 'Happy Birthday' to you too, when it rolls round again. Remind me!)

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
      ( 9:19 AM )   by David Barker  

Leni Reifenstahl Has Died At 101. Never Saw Even One Of Her Films

A few years ago I saw a two part biographical documentary on her. It played two Sunday nights (really Monday mornings...) in a row. It was fascinating and sad.

What she had to say about her films, how she refused to admit - even to consider - that they might have been used as propaganda, when she claims they hadn't been produced as such. I guess it's old hat - maybe trite - to say that anything can be used as both a tool and a weapon, literally and metaphorically.

Well, I guess I have to see her movies now.

And keeping things in perspective, according to BBC online news, over 11,400 French died in the recent European heat wave.

Monday, September 08, 2003
      ( 3:08 PM )   by David Barker  

The Best Way To Remember September 11, 2001. I Hope Jeff And Gail Don't Mind Me Saying It This Way.

On Thursday, September 11, Megan Keiko K. will be two years old.

Happy birthday, you charmin' l'il gal!

(And to Megan's big sister, Jennifer K., I don't know when your birthday is, but 'Happy Birthday' to you too, when it rolls round again. Remind me!)

Friday, September 05, 2003
      ( 12:18 PM )   by David Barker  

Lucy Liu Just Announced Her Engagement. Rrrr.

So pop Plan A.

Problem is, I was so sure of Plan A that I didn't bother with a Plan B. Hell, I didn't even call it Plan A. I just thought, you know, 'hey, my numbers gotta come up sooner or later.'

I'll be better prepared next time. I'll create a Plan B, promote it, then come up with a Plan C, promote that, and start the clock again.

Third time lucky.


Thursday, September 04, 2003
      ( 3:44 PM )   by David Barker  

William Gibson And I Are Like This! Crosses Fingers, Which Is Also The Sign Of A Lie...

I got this from his blog today. The website is Multibabel, 'Lost in Translation'.

It asks the question,literally, "What happens when an English phrase is translated (by computer) back and forth between 5 different languages?" (Try just cut-and-pasting that question!)

It lets you specify including Japanese, Chinese and Korean. I did.

My input was "Exceptional but derogatory children infest the territory." (Try it with the Doctor Seuss title 'On Beyond Zebra'!)

Translated to Japanese:

Translated back to English:
Being exceptional, but the scorn child devastates the territory and

Translated to Chinese:
是例外的, 仅轻蔑孩子摧残疆土和转动。

Translated back to English:
Is exceptional, only the despite child devastates the territory and
the rotation.

Translated to Korean:
무례 아이가 영토 및 교체를 유린한다 다만,
좋다 있는다.

Translated back to English:
The impolite child tramples a territory and a shift only, is good, it

Translated to French:
L'enfant impoli piétine un territoire et un décalage seulement, est
bon, il est.

Translated back to English:
The impolite child tramples a territory and a shift only, is good, it

Translated to German:
Das unh?fliche Kind trampelt eine Gegend und nur eine Verschiebung,
ist, es ist gut.

Translated back to English:
The impolite child tramples an area and only a shift, is, it is good.

Translated to Italian:
Il bambino impolite calpesta una zona e soltanto uno spostamento, è,
esso è buono.

Translated back to English:
The impolite child treads on a zone and only a movement, is, it is

Translated to Portuguese:
A criança impolite pisa em uma zona e somente um movimento, é, ele

é bom.

Translated back to English:
The child impolite steps on in a zone and only a movement, is, it is

Translated to Spanish:
Los pasos descorteses del ni?o encendido en una zona y solamente un
movimiento, son, él son buenos.

Translated back to English:
The discourteous steps of the boy ignited in a zone and only a
movement, are, he are good.

Then I used the last English output as the seed for the next cycle and got

Original English Text:
The discourteous steps of the boy ignited in a zone and only a
movement, are, he are good.

Translated to French:
Les étapes discourtoises du garçon mis à feu dans une zone et
seulement un mouvement, sont, il sont bonnes.

Translated back to English:
The discourteous stages of the boy fired in a zone and only one
movement, are, it are good.

Translated to German:
Die discourteous Stadien des Jungen, der in einer Zone und in nur
einer Bewegung gefeuert wird, sind, es sind gut.

Translated back to English:
Discourteous the stages of the boy, who is fired in a zone and in only
one motion, are, it are good.

Translated to Italian:
Discourteous le fasi del ragazzo, che è infornato in una zona ed in
soltanto un movimento, sono, esso sono buone.

Translated back to English:
Discourteous is made of the boy, that it is put into an oven in a zone
and only a movement, is, it is good.

Translated to Portuguese:
Discourteous é feito do menino, isso é posto em um forno em uma zona
e somente um movimento, é, ele é bom.

Translated back to English:
Discourteous is made of the boy, this is rank in an oven in a zone and
only a movement, is, it is good.

Translated to Spanish:
Descortés se hace del muchacho, esto es espeso en un horno en una
zona y solamente un movimiento, es, él es bueno.

Translated back to English:
Discourteous one becomes of the boy, this is thick in a furnace in a
zone and only a movement, is, he is good.

So this sort of thing, along with practically everything anybody can do on the internet is like the technology itself; viz, most of it was quite possible twenty years ago but once thought of, quickly forgotten, because doing it would have required a huge amount of manual effort, time spent in libraries private and public, in long correspondences with experts foreign and domestic, lots of typing or longhand, and tedious things like fact checking, Q&A, spell-checking and god knows what not else.

Not anymore. Almost as soon done as thought of, the willing servant of many masters, a little "genie in a bottle", a little "Sorceror's Apprentice", a little "Shoemaker and the Elves"...

More to come.

Not from me. From the internet...

Saturday, August 30, 2003
      ( 10:27 AM )   by David Barker  

Funniest Thing From The Watergun Party! How Could I Not Blog This?!

Okay, so Michael - a 13 year old Monty Python And the Holy Grail fan - is in the upstairs bathroom window overlooking the backyard, trying to bomb people with water balloons. People are trying to get him with their waterguns.

He looks down at me and shouts "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!"

I laughed my guts out.

Fine lad, my young friend Michael.

Friday, August 29, 2003
      ( 10:14 AM )   by David Barker  

Stupid Stupid Rules! Well, Okay, Stupid If I Can't Get Away With Breaking Them

(Coming back to this post a few hours later to add 'I don't normally do anything this impulsive or, in the Santa Claus sense, naughty. I swear.')

TorCon3 is this weekend. An earlier post here told how I volunteered. Well, I wasn't a paid up member, and my evil caught up with me. I did manage to help out on Wednesday setting for the Art Show on the second level of Toronto's Convention Centre.

I had originally been assigned to help unload stuff for the Consuite in Toronto's Royal York Hotel, a classic structure, once the tallest building in Canada, and even the British Empire - maybe Commonwealth. I went to the hotel but there was only one lone soul there, a young fellow named Ori. Turns out he's Israeli, got bailed on by his friends back home who were supposed to come but didn't, and, while he's been at a few other cons in the States, he's never volunteered before. Interesting guy, among other things he teaches D&D to kids and tries to slip in culture and stuff.

So Ori and I waited for our contact, who apparently had gotten busy elsewhere, and we ended up going over to the volunteer centre at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is connected directly to the above mentioned convention centre, a technology we learned from the English, I believe, even if the Americans take credit for it in old movies with Raymond Massey (a Canadian, I might add). Then back to the Royal York to search and wait again, then back to the Crowne Plaza.

Finally Ori and I, among others, started helping set up the racks for the art show. It mostly involved sitting there doing repetitive piece work which I shall not here describe, so we could talk all we wanted. Ori was telling me interesting stuff about Israel, his New Jersey-like Tel Aviv home suburb, Israeli television good points and bad, his American con adventures, and so on.

We worked for a few hours, talked to some interesting people, mostly American, and then went to a nearby food court (Simcoe Place - I'm sick of putting helpful links in here, look it up yourself...), where I found that someone had given me an Italian 50 lire piece as a Canadian quarter (of a dollar, 25 cents) and Ori mentioned he had a few Israeli coins, which I have never seen before. They were kinda cool, one of them looks like a smaller version of our loonie (the one dollar coin, replaced the one dollar bill a few years ago, cf the toonie, the two dollar coin), they have interesting symbols on them, and at least one of them had Arabic script as well as Hebrew. And one had what looked like some ancient eastern Mediterranean script too, although I'm not sure.

So Ori got assigned guard duty for the next day, not letting people in without their official hologrammed pass and decoder ring. He said he had a PhD in guard duty. A guy in the volunteer office said 'wha...?' and I said 'Israeli army.' Everyone was suitably impressed and I imagine Ori gets a great deal of respect down there...

I said I'd go back to the Royal York and get assigned something at the Consuite.

So the next day, Thursday, ("yesterday", local time - Ori was slightly jetlagged, only I can't remember if he was tomorrow, yesterday, or had time travelled, or what...) I went down to try and bravely persevere in my well-intentioned con of the con, and got busted in about three minutes. 'No paid up registration, no volunteering. Bad local. Bad.'

It was fun while it lasted. I definitely should get a job and start going to more of these things.

(I made up the part about the decoder ring.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
      ( 9:24 AM )   by David Barker  

John Honderich, Publisher Of The Toronto Star, What The Hell Are You Thinking?

There's a lot of things I could be asking you that question about, but there's one thing particularly current and relevant that's sandpapering my sweetspot just about now!

It's Interplanetary Mars Day in the Solar System. Humans from Mercury out to the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud are celebrating the opposition of Earth and Mars. Common knowledge.

The Toronto Star, quite rightly puts it on the front page (albeit down in the corner) and continues it on page A7. There's full colour charts and diagrams, a cool (but way too small) picture of Mars (from Hubble? Maybe the same as on NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day today). There's a box with bits about Mars movies (Mars Attacks -with pic, etc), literature (Gulliver's Travels, Edgar Rice Burroughs, etc) and visual arts (classical paintings and stuff).

Then, and this is the kicker, on the right side of the page is about a third of a column in the middle of the page entitled "Planetary drama will change the zodiac forever" by PHIL BOOTH, STAR "ASTROLOGER" - my sarcastic double quotes. And the further hell of it is, this little article - the whole thing - is bolded. Pardon my French but qu'est-ce que le fuck?

You wanna know why we have computer viruses, SARS, forest fires, blackouts and heatwaves? Well, I'll tell ya right now! It's Mars, that's Mars, with a capital M and that sounds like - um - and it rhymes with SARS! Right here in Sucker City, it's happening now. I say it's Mars, with a capital M and that's an upside down W and that stands for Wars and that looks like Mars.

Okay. Mars is real. The opposition is real. Horoscopes and astrology are a two busloads of horseshit that any shyster with a shingle, a smooth tongue and a cool eye can run a Harold Hill con with and get the town to buy like a big brass band. Well, here's the big fucking naked emperor in the bathwater; there ain't no big brass band.

I don't even have a problem with the picture from Mars Attacks. That's fiction and fun. Ack. Ack. But to put an article on this crap right along with the valid and interesting scientific information about the event is just stupid. Do ya hear me, Mr. Honderich? S-T-U-P-I-D. It's creating a false impression of validity and accuracy that is misleading. Misleading, did I say? It's out and out chicanery and charlatanism! You are tacitly perpetuating an ancient fraud, a con with such a pedigree that otherwise normal people fall for it, in fact might not even think about as harmful simply because of its ubiquity.

Oh, do I hear you say you believe the people ask for it? That you are being objective and inclusive, because some people do believe in it, and who knows, it might have some substance? Nope, doesn't work.

When you publish this type of thing you do two things. You create that false sense of validity I mentioned. And I hope you're reading carefully now, you are damaging the credibility of your whole publication.

I mean why should I take your reporting seriously on stuff like the Aylmer meat-packing story or anything purporting to be the truth about Zahra Kazemi's death, if you think that the astrological analysis of the Earth-Mars opposition is in any way comparable to the scientific facts about the situation?

It's just like the three most important things about real estate, only in this case it's credibility, credibility, credibility. You do know there's a supermarket tabloid with the same name as your paper, don't you?

And don't publish any more crap about how Immanuel Velikovsky got a bum rap either, because that's a whole other naked emperor.



Saturday, August 23, 2003
      ( 3:05 PM )   by David Barker  

The Germans Don't Call It Freudenfreude, But I Do.

Check out my friend Debbie's recent posting about her nieces.

I like reading stories like this. When I do, as I've said before, but I don't think in this blog, I wish it was me but I'm glad it's them.

(A Day Later: Seems some people, maybe Germans, do call it Freudenfreude...)

Thursday, August 21, 2003
      ( 11:45 AM )   by David Barker  

Project Gutenberg Is Going Broke I Ain't Mike and Goldie, But I'm Shilling Anyway

I subscribe to the update email for Blackmask, an online library that is constantly adding public domain books to its virtual stacks. Today, I got one and this is an excerpt (of an excerpt from a message by PG founder Michael Hart on the Book People Archive.)

"" Irony: As Project Gutenberg moves from 9,000 to 10,000 eBooks in the next 4 months, we only have 2 months' budget on hand. . .so right now it looks as if we will run out of money in October. . . .

This month my assistant and I are working with no salary. We might get paid later, if things start looking up.

We are going to need people to interface with the MAJOR granting agencies to get a good run a million eBooks!!!

We should approach the Fortune 500, Computer 100, and the 500 wealthiest people, too.

Can YOU "help??? ""

Check it out and think about it seriously.

Thank you and God bless.


Wednesday, August 20, 2003
      ( 11:43 AM )   by David Barker  

Forgot Something About The Watergun Party. The Kids!

Stupid me. How could I forget to mention all my friends' cool kids that were there too?

There were siblings Gareth and Charlotte, wild childs and lotsa fun. Gareth just got his deep-end bracelet from his swimming program and seemed to be quite proud of it.

There were brothers Daniel and Ross. Daniel got into the pool fun, the whirlpool and cannonballs, but Ross, who's younger, not so much. Ross did have a cool Sue the T-Rex t-shirt that I liked.

Sisters Jennifer and Megan were there. Jennifer is pool-savvy, but Megan is way too young (born Sept 11, 2001, a much better anniversary to remember), although she did have fun trying to get into the pool down the ladder with her mum Gail.

Elspeth was there, but she wasn't as into the whole pool thing as the other children, but she's a friend and it's always nice to see her.

Jonathan was there and had his dad and me doing cannonballs right in front of him. He pushed his dad in once or twice.

Eric, Luisa's nephew, was there, but he's not really a kid anymore. Like me, however, he still knows how to act like one. As I must say, do most of the rest of the adult grownups that were there.

(John and Kristen's baby was there too, but he/she isn't actually due to join us in the outer world until November...)

And of course, there were my old friends, Michael and Ronnie, without whom the watergun party, and the pool part of it, wouldn't be the same.

If I missed anybody - I hope I didn't, but I'm old - somebody let me know and I'll put them in.

Next year will come too soon...

Monday, August 18, 2003
      ( 2:37 PM )   by David Barker  

WTF? Yeah, I Said F.

The fearless simpletons at the Toronto Reference Library have posted a handwritten sign on the front door saying it will be closed until further notice. Not 'until Tuesday', or 'for one week'. Until further notice. It better be a friggin' crime scene.

They've always been a shower of dotty ditherers who mean well, but they just get happier and happier.

Their attempt to provide internet access was laughable - is laughable. The right mouse click is disabled on all the public machines in the library, even those not on their LAN and therefore not internet accessible. Their nanny filter blocks access to, among others, Live Ireland, an Irish music internet radio station. Machines sit broken or with frigged up software for months after being reported, and their IT guys have fun in the multimedia studio while people can't get connected.

The public library system wide IT team does not see fit to post occasional library closings on the branch's website or on the internal homepage the browsers (Netscape Navigator 4.7, if you can believe it...) default to when they're opened. Staff post laserprinted signs on the front door, but users aren't reminded when they open Netscape.

It looks for all the world that somebody's nephew was hired to set up the internet browsers, and probably doesn't know that LAN is an acronym and not a one syllable word, never mind that he/she/it has certain responsibilities to the regular users. It's called Information Technology for a reason, slick.

God, they're wretched.

[ A day later; yesterday in the paper it said that all public libraries are closed until further notice to conserve electricity! Again I say, WTF?]

Thursday, August 14, 2003
      ( 12:07 PM )   by David Barker  

Feet First, Or Is It Head First?

Never been to a SF convention before Ad Astra in the spring, now I volunteered for TorCon, which is WorldCon this year, or something.

I have been assigned to the ConSuite, and will also be doing anything they ask. I don't know if the first just presumes the second, or what.

I'm sure I'll find out everything, including the jargon, the politics (aargh!), the personalities (hmm...), and so forth, et cetera.

Wish me luck.

Oh, yeah! I also volunteered for this December's big worldwide Tolkien hoohah, the Gathering of the Fellowship, to coincide with the release of "The Return of the King". But I haven't heard anything back yet.

Wish me luck.

Monday, August 11, 2003
      ( 9:34 AM )   by David Barker  

Told You I Was Going To Enjoy Myself! Huzzah For Me And All My Friends!

Long story short, the Watergun Party had rocks in!

Wild watergun fun in the corner lot front yard! Then fun antics in the round in-ground pool! Including the ever-popular whirlpool, always a highlight of the annual - or annular - event.

The evil couple of Debbie "Evil Web-Goddess" Ohi and her evil henchhusband, Jeff "Big Fella, Ain't He? Evil, Too" Ridpath, totally got me with a digital camera, watergun and pail of ice cold water based practical joke. If, as they claimed, it was unplanned, then I must say 'Well done', if not somewhat evil.

To spare her bandwidth I won't post the URL to Debbie's pictures of the party, but I will say that besides capturing my reaction to the above mentioned evilness, she was able to use her digital camera to get some very nice shots in the pool, actually under the actual water!

To Reid and Luisa and Ronnie and Michael, thank you all very much for a great big wet blast of fun!!!


Saturday, August 09, 2003
      ( 11:52 AM )   by David Barker  

The Watergun Party! Callooh-Callarty!

Today is Reid and Luisa's (and Ronnie's and Michael's, too) annual Watergun Party, the fifth, I think...somebody help me here. (I'm joking, no one reads this...)

Everyone runs around like a herd of maniacs (or whatever the collective noun is; a frantic? a bacchante?)

Luisa always sends out the invitation with a whole slew of highly sensible warnings; bring dry clothes, leave your moisture sensitive valuables inside, watch out for kids when you push somebody into the pool. I always laugh because she's writing these to adults. Not your father's adults!

It's always fun (and No, You Know Who You Are, I don't think everything's fun!) and they don't have to post a rain date, because rain is no consequence, although temperature is.

I shall enjoy myself. And you, whoever you are, and whatever you are going to do today, (unless it involves criminal acts or causing sorrow) do likewise.

Friday, August 08, 2003
      ( 2:49 PM )   by David Barker  

Spirited Away By - You Guessed It - Spirited Away...

I just saw Hayao Miyazaki's exquisite movie on DVD at Tim and Anneli's. I bet you can guess that I liked it.

(And No, You Know Who You Are, I don't like everything!)

Suffice it say that when Sen (Chihiro) remembered Haku's real name and they were falling through the air, I nearly started to cry.

Thank you, Miyazaki-san.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003
      ( 11:48 AM )   by David Barker  

I've Got The Best Friends In The Whole World. My Friend Luisa Thinks She Does, But I Do.

Due to the buying and vacationing habits of two different families of friends, I have recently had access to extremely cool video libraries.

(Any more information and I violate their right to privacy. And with some people, it's a rite to privacy. But not these guys, I mean they let me into their homes!)

I saw, for the first time, on DVD, O Brother, Where Art Thou, by the Coen Brothers. Eeyikes! What an excellent film! What exquisite storytelling! What a hand with the dialogue! What a cast!

Then I saw Fight Club for the third time, but the second time was quite a while ago. The things you miss... And I watched the first part again, with the director's commentary. This should be mandatory.

(This is 'Tyler Durden' as the query string for the Wordsmith dot org service, the Advanced Anagram Server. Just a thought. A lost, wasted thought, but what the hell.)

Last night I watched the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, called Once More With Feeling. Joss Whedon is God. Not just a god. But God. You know, Y-hw-h. J-h-v-h. "I Am That I Am."

That's a joke. I am so close to an atheist that you might say (because I do) I'm an asymptotic agnostic. Joss Whedon is a storyteller of the finest school, someone who has mastered his medium, with little regard for the doldrums and storm seasons of ratings and sweeps weeks. I know he has to deal with the studios and censors, but, Jeepers Tap-Dancing Cripes, he has transcended his restrictions: "Nuns fret not".

You don't like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? You don't know it. Click here.

Waiting for me right now is Spirited Away, by Hayao Miyazaki and his posse at Studio Ghibli. I haven't seen it before so I can't wait.


Friday, July 25, 2003
      ( 3:47 PM )   by David Barker  

Chaise Longue! Godammit! It's Chaise Longue! Always Has Been!

Kriced, that bugs me. It's not a chaise lounge! Never was. It's French for 'long chair'. That's a different language so they say and spell things differently.

All-2-frikkin-gether now - chaise longue.

Good. Again.

And again.

Once more.

There will B hell 2 pay if I have 2 revisit this issue.

Return 2 your now better lives.

And don't get me started on the 3 syllable pronunciation of epitome.



Saturday, July 19, 2003
      ( 11:45 AM )   by David Barker  

Something's Wrong... Something's Terribly, Terribly Wrong

Starting yesterday afternoon sometime, from a University of Toronto library, MSIE v6 (aka Explorer) started not downloading images from webpages. I first noticed it when trying to view some scanned slides a friend had posted. I thought it was just his server. Then I noticed it on another friend's page, with which there had been no problems earlier.

Then today, at our main public library, using (illegally...) MSIE 5, the same problem occurred. So I tried Netscape 4.7 which is the default browser in Toronto's public library system, and no problem.

I am back at U of T, at a different library, and the same problem is occurring in MSIE v6 and not in Netscape 6.2.3. Some small images, mostly gifs apparently, get through, like arrows and drop-down outline type pluses and minuses, but large images don't come through, even though the status bar at the bottom says '12 items remaining...' or whatever.

It's almost as if Explorer has somehow been crippled, all versions of it. Well, at least 5 and 6.

(And something seems to be affecting my connection to AccuRadio, an internet radio station with some nice jazz channels. It just stops in Explorer and is inaccessible in Netscape.)

It would be interesting to know how far this problem extends in space and time.


Friday, July 18, 2003
      ( 2:05 PM )   by David Barker  

Wil Wheaton, I'm Sorry. So Sorry.

For years, he pissed me off. As you all know, it wasn't really him, it was Wesley Crusher, but I got confused.

I've just been listening to his audio blogs, recorded from the road while he and his wife were on the way to a con in Oklahoma, where he was going to speak, read from his book 'Dancing Barefoot' and hang.

Just fun. Plain fun.

What a guy.

      ( 12:54 PM )   by David Barker  

Joss Whedon's Firefly Movie In The Works. Got Your Attention?

Rumour has it that he's writing a movie based on the sadly short-lived (and woefully mistreated by the network...) series.

I only saw maybe three of the broadcast episodes and while I had my cavils about the universe it took place in, I still enjoyed the stories; the intricacy and intensity with which he told the story.

You had to watch every minute of the action and the story or you'd miss something...

He had a fine cast and good stories, with appropriate weirdness, that were nothing like Buffy.

Fox bastards.


Tuesday, July 08, 2003
      ( 1:28 PM )   by David Barker  

It's A Good Thing Nobody Reads This Blog. Especially aiabx.

Thanks to Anneli, the high school English teacher, who ought to know better, but thankfully does not.

A good pun is its own reword

A pessimist's blood type is always b-negative.

Practice safe eating - always use condiments.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean your mother.

Shotgun wedding: A case of wife or death.

I used to work in a blanket factory, but it folded.

If electricity comes from electrons... does that mean that morality comes from morons?

Marriage is the mourning after the knot before.

A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

Corduroy pillows are making headlines.

Is a book on voyeurism a peeping tome?

Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.

Banning the bra was a big flop.

Sea captains don't like crew cuts.

Does the name Pavlov ring a bell?

A successful diet is the triumph of mind over platter.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumour.

Without geometry, life is pointless.

When you dream in colour, it's a pigment of your imagination.

Condoms should be used on every conceivable occasion.

Reading whilst sunbathing makes you well-red.


Thursday, June 26, 2003
      ( 12:40 PM )   by David Barker  

Gettin' On. Gettin' On.

I mean that two ways. I am forty-six years old today. I could be sad and mournful and complain about the lousy hand life's dealt me, but nope. Just can't do it.

I have great friends, cool friends, and while I could use a job, I feel pretty good about finishing a few short stories and a novel. Nothing publishable, but nevertheless, I DID IT. Yes, I'm shouting.

I've been happier, true, but I'm not really all that sad now.

I hope you're all doing well and are safe and happy.

Ya never git the world ya want, sometimes ya git what ya deserve, and sometimes, ya can't do anything but Candide yer way along, cuz, that's Life.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003
      ( 10:44 AM )   by David Barker  

Silly Spike Lee - Well, Stupid Actually...

Here is a CNN story about Spike Jones Jr.'s reaction to Spike Lee's lawsuit to stop TNN from changing its name to 'Spike TV'.

And below is a cut and paste from IMDb of all the other people in their database who have just as much right - or as little, really - as Lee to be P.O'd.

Most popular searches
Spike Jonze
Spike Lee


Other matches
Actor Actress Cinematographer Composer Director Writer Production Designer Editor Producer Miscellaneous crew Second Unit Director or Assistant Director Production Manager Sound Department Stunts Art Department Visual Effects

Alan Adrian (spike adrian)
Alan Adrian (spike adrian)
Alan Adrian (spike adrian)
Spike Africa
Spike Alexander
Spike Cherrie
Spike Dawbarn
Spike Edney
Spike Feresten
John 'Spike' Finnerty
Michael 'Spike' Huber
Matt Hyson (spike dudley)
Spike Jones
Spike Jonze
Spike Kem
Henry 'Spike' Lee
Spike Lee
Spike Lynch
Spike Mason
Spike McClure
Spike Measer
Ray Milland (spike milland)
Spike Miller
Spike Milligan
Armand Morissette (rev armand spike morissette)
George 'Spike' Neely
W.C. Robinson (spike robinson)
Spike Silver
Spike Jones' City Slickers
Spike Sorrentino
Spike Spackman
Spike Spencer
Spike Spengle
Spike Spigener
Spike (I)
Spike Jones and His City Slickers
Michael Spike
Spike Steingasser


Caroline Rankin (spike rankin)
Caroline Rankin (spike rankin)
Spike (VI)


Spike Geilinger
Spike Jonze
Spike Lee
Spike Marker
Anthony 'Spike' Simms
Charles Montgomery 'Spike' Stewart


Spike Hughes
Spike Jones
Spike Milligan


Spike Brandt
Spike Jonze
Spike Lee
Spike Leigh
Ray Milland (spike milland)
Charles Montgomery 'Spike' Stewart
Spike Zone


Spike Feresten
Spike Jonze
Spike Lee
Spike Milligan
Spike Mullins
Spike Steingasser
Charles Montgomery 'Spike' Stewart


Production Designer
Ernest 'Spike' Trevino


Spike Lee
Charles Montgomery 'Spike' Stewart


Spike Brandt
Spike Feresten
Spike Jonze
Spike Lee
Paul Spike Lees
Ray Milland (spike milland)
Charles Montgomery 'Spike' Stewart
Michael 'Spike' Van Briesen


Miscellaneous crew
Spike Brandt
Spike Cherrie
Richard 'Spike' Falana
John 'Spike' Finnerty
Spike Allison Hooper
Spike Jonze
Spike Kinghorn
Spike Kunsman
Doug Lavender (doug spike lavender)
Spike Lee
Michael 'Spike' Lewis
David J. Link (david spike link)
Spike Lynch
Spike McClure
Spike Nordenstrom
Darryl Pearce (darryl spike pearce)
Spike Marianne Polley
Spike Rinaldi
Michael 'Spike' Ryan
Anthony 'Spike' Simms
Spike (II)
Spike (III)
Michael Taschereau (michael spike taschereau)
Spike Tashereau
Mike 'Spike' Van Biesen
Spike Watson


Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Spike Brandt
Spike Lees
Spike (II)


Production Manager
Paul Spike Lees
Michael 'Spike' Van Briesen


Sound Department
Ian 'Spike' Banks
Spike Allison Hooper
Anthony 'Spike' Simms
Spike (IV)


Spike Cherrie
Spike Silver


Art Department
Spike Brandt
Devin Clark (II) (spike devin clark)
Spike Milliken
Spike (V)
Spike Stewart
Gareth 'Spike' Thomas


Visual Effects
Spike Giles
Michael 'Spike' Lewis

Friday, June 13, 2003
      ( 9:31 AM )   by David Barker  

Harry Potter Is Fun, Not Great Art, But It Was Never Intended To Be, So Pull The Stick Out And Enjoy Yourself. Or Go To He!!. Or Azkaban.

My friend Anneli, (of Tim, Anneli and Alicia, see right) send me this. It's a quiz to help you figure out which Hogwarts house you belong to. It is neither binding nor signicant.

I am

Your a Gryffindor. House of Bravery. You are never
afraid to do anything, as long as you have your
friends. Brave and curagous Gryffindors are, so
be proud of your friends and of you if you are
in Gryffindor.
"You might belong in Gryffindor
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart"

What House in Hogwarts are You In?

It's from Quizilla who do a lot of silly quizzes on different topics. Some of them are fun and some totally useless and pointless, but okay timewasters.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003
      ( 12:14 PM )   by David Barker  


peace in archy

in case there's any confusion about what I meant by my last post


Sunday, June 01, 2003
      ( 1:54 PM )   by David Barker  

Gloating, Because I Was Right. Was Too.

Salam Pax is real. This is an article from the Guardian Unlimited about him.



Friday, May 30, 2003
      ( 1:23 PM )   by David Barker  

Christopher Tolkien Is P!ssed!

He's a Big Baby. And pretentious, too.

To be fair, I'd be p!ssed about the musical too. Musical? Read the link.

Sunday, May 25, 2003
      ( 2:52 PM )   by David Barker  

Why Everybody Is Wrong About The Matrix Reloaded Except Me. Yes, You Are, So Just Settle Down.

It isn't a martial arts movie with some preaching and jabbering. It isn't sophomoric philosophizing, and it isn't cyberpunk. It is a finely told story.

Yeah, it's got martial arts, and preaching, and jabbering, and philosophizing, and cyberpunk. And CG. And continuity errors - see IMDb. And it remains a finely told story.

It's a story about real people, with received belief systems about human and machine histories. And an apocalyptic threat at the door since forever. And they do not have a long forever. As a human culture they're very young. They do not remember who started the war and they do not remember for sure what chicken tastes like. It is likely that no single human line of culture survived the machines' conversion of humanity to - ahem - 'Coppertops.'

They've had their messiah legends and disappointments and sorrows for only a few generations. There is a current generation that was not born in the machine's human farms and don't have the jacks and hook-ups that all the older generation and most of the active rebels do.

There are factions and factions within factions, like in any conflict that is Us versus Them. Even the enemy is shown to have factions. And some of those factions are sympathetic to the humans, and some are only opportunistically sympathetic.

The machines are not the monolithic maleficent totality we were led - led - to believe from the first movie. They are not united, nor, as we may surmise, are they all sane, not in their own frame of reference, and certainly not from our point of view.

Morpheus is a man who believes in humanity, and in the Oracle's prophecy. He Truly Believes that Neo is the One.

Neo does not appear to doubt that he is the One. But is he Morpheus' One? After his discussion - perhaps trial - with the Architect, I don't think he shares Morpheus' belief. Especially after the incident with the machines when they have fled the destruction of the Neb.

It is a story. Told better than in most cinematic science-fiction, especially American. It is most wonderfully not The Phantom Menace, nor does it bear anything more than a passing resemblance. It is a epic story told in epic terms, and shares only the scale, which along with the CG serves to enhance the story, not usurp it, to bring home both the otherness of the humans in the Matrix and their commonalty with their fellows in Zion, whatever the truth. Morpheus is a much more charismatic leader - individual - than Obi-wan or Anakin, and his passion makes him more alive and vital, dangerous to his enemies and stalwart to his friends, than the pale Obi-wan or plastic Anakin.

It is a story, well-structured, with hints and guidance, puzzles to solve and dark paths to discern, motivations to trust and distrust, surprises and disappointments. And most importantly, it was Fun.

So shut up.


Wednesday, May 21, 2003
      ( 10:29 AM )   by David Barker  

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Has Come To An End. Thank God For DVDs!

It was a nice ending. I was sure that she was going to end up back in Heaven one way or another. She didn't.

I'm sad it's over but I'm quite pleased with how it ended. I hope I can say the same thing when I go.

Thursday, May 15, 2003
      ( 12:20 PM )   by David Barker  

Litigation Proof Linking. So Sue Me.

One of my favourite comic strips is Patrick McDonnell's wonderful Mutts. It's about a cat named Mooch and a dog named Earl who are best friends. They have their families and their friends, and Patrick (using his first name just cuz it feels right) has created in them some excellent comic strip characters.

Now some comic strip syndicates have weird linking rules and permissions, (and I just don't have the time or the conscience to worry about every single one) so here's the google search string. Click on the obvious one to find out more about Mooch and Earl.

And while I'm at it, here's the google search string for Mark Tonra's James, which makes me smile and laugh too, but in a completely different way to Mutts.

And Darby Conley's gut-busting Get Fuzzy google search string.



Wednesday, May 14, 2003
      ( 12:19 PM )   by David Barker  

There Is A God. Well, A Godling Really, I Guess. Quasi-Omnipotent. Because Some Things Still Suck. Like Enterprise. (See Previous Posting.)

Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Izzard are going to star in a film version of E. Nesbitt's "Five Children And It". It ain't "The Story of the Amulet" one of my favourite stories, but it's darn near good enough.

Here's the Ananova news story.

Here's Blackmask's online version of the actual story.

      ( 10:34 AM )   by David Barker  

Enterprise Sux!!!! Yeah, It Does!

Let me be unambiguous. Enterprise gets worse and worse. Carbon Creek was a high point, with a good idea and an interesting storyline nicely developed - for American television science fiction, that is to say - and I really liked it, especially Blalock's performance, which usually doesn't do much for me. She is just there for T&A, but does a fine job of that.

Even if they're really doing something intelligent like leading up to the founding of the United Federation of Planets and the original synthesis of the Prime Directive, well, shit, I just don't care anymore. And I really, really wanted to.

It's like Braga and Berman just don't understand storytelling, nor the craft of episodic TV, nor the concept of characterization. And screw internal consistency and science!

They have a guaranteed fanbase/constituency with a high geek percentage that will watch it and defend it just because it's Star Trek. Cripes.

"Hi, look, it's me! I'm Brannon Braga or Rick Berman! I run Star Trek now! Look at me! Look at me!" I guess they finally got laid.

The Muppet dog in the see-through bathtub getting a alien lizard pituitary gland episode just rankled. Rankled, I say!

The Cogenitor episode was horrendous - a good concept horribly presented - and the Borg episode - well, it yanked.

It's like Lily Tomlin said; "We took banality out of America and into the cosmos."

Someone should do something. Something evil. Something terminal. Something Romulan.

I don't even want to watch it anymore. I yearn - yearn, I say - for the good old days of Deep Space Nine! Voyager! Even Next Generation!

British television science fiction! Pure frikkin' gold. Space: Island One, Star Cops, oh man. Even the comedy. Red frikkin' Dwarf.


EcretSay EssageMay OTay EidRay ERay AmuladZay EarchSay


Monday, May 12, 2003
      ( 10:39 AM )   by David Barker  

Did I Mention I Met Chris Hadfield Yesterday? Well, I Did!

Got his autograph. Asked him what it was like up there. He waxed rhapsodic about the spacewalk.

I am keeping this in perspective, though. It's not like it was John Glenn or Keir Dullea.

But, man, Chris Hadfield!

Yeah, I know, but give me another day or so. I'll get over it. Maybe I'll meet Lucy Liu today. I am so on a roll.

Sunday, May 11, 2003
      ( 1:50 PM )   by David Barker  

I Met Chris Hadfield This Morning! Chris FREAKIN' Hadfield!

At about 11:30am Sunday, May 11, 2003, I was in the Atrium on Bay, on the lower level near the Macdonald's by the walk-through to the bus station. I see this guy. Yeah, it's him. No, it isn't. So I ask him. Yup, it's him. I thought I was excited to have met and talked to Karl Schroeder, Canadian author of Ventus and Permanence at Ad Astra a few months back, but nope. Didn't hold a candle to this. I was tripping for like an hour. And I didn't run into anyone I know so's I could brag. Goddam.

But I got his autograph, made out to me - this sucker's mine, not for eBay. And he signed it Ad Astra. Plus his name, too.

Cool. I met and shook hands with a human (and Canadian!) who's been in space! Two shuttle missions, MIR and a space-walk! Here's his NASA bio.

(This is not like the autograph I got from Eugene Levy many years ago at a screening of 'This is Spinal Tap' that only my friend Anneli actually believes is his because she was there. You can't read it - it's just a scrawl.)

Friday, May 09, 2003
      ( 1:29 PM )   by David Barker  

Matrix Reloaded Spoilers Don't Get Pissy, You've Been Warned

This is a Time magazine review With Spoilers.

This is from Ain't It Cool, a totally hilarious, with full impact foul language, critique - nay, paean - of the movie With Spoilers. I love it.

This is also from Ain't It Cool, but she didn't like it...

Now, this, from the Christian Science Monitor, presented without comment, except to say that if Northrop Frye were alive today, he'd probably say something along the same lines, after, of course, saying "Holy shit, I'm still alive!"

You decide for yourself. Sometimes there is a spoon.

And yes, I still want to see the movie.


Thursday, May 08, 2003
      ( 12:05 PM )   by David Barker  

Vandalism. Schmandalism.

Makes me sick. Racist graffiti in public washrooms. The latest, "Moslems can eat my ass" in the local public library. I added, in big red letters, "How, with your head up your ass?"

One for the good guys.

But sometimes it feels like the bad guys are still way ahead on points.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003
      ( 11:53 AM )   by David Barker  

Salam Pax Has Updated!

Check it out.

I was getting seriously worried and I don't even know the bugger.

Sometimes there's a happy ending.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003
      ( 1:01 PM )   by David Barker  

Going Out On A Limb Here. (I Used To Like Roseanne Barr, Too)

I really like Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Just do. I like their politics and their voices. Bull Durham was pretty good too. I like the photograph of them at the last Oscars, flashing the peace sign at the camera. Heartwarming. Optimizing.

Here's an Alternet article by Tim Robbins called 'Countering the Wave of Hate, from April 17.

Good stuff. Good hearts.


Tuesday, April 29, 2003
      ( 12:37 PM )   by David Barker  

The Matrix: Rejected - You Should Thank These People For Doing Your Thinking For You. And Praise God, Or Whatever.

Dr. Albert Oxford PhD explains it all to you.

(From David Wong's Pointless Waste of Time, but I didn't want to tell you that first.)

(And check out the posts in the forums, what a bunch of idiots. I mean boner-loners, humourless, stupid people. I don't call people stupid generally, but since they'll never read this, and they can't see me, or find me - or their own assholes with both hands and a mirror on the floor - I don't care. They're stupid. It's like Stupid Pride Day in those forums, St Stupid Day, the Day of All Stupids, Dance, Dance Disco Stupid, How Much Is That Stupid in the Microsoft Window, Life Is Like A Box Of Stupids, you are getting the brunt of my gist here, I'm sure.)

(And while I'm parenthesising, check out this site on INSULTINGLY STUPID MOVIE PHYSICS [his caps]. Ohmygod, what a kvetch! I don't really want to know the size of the alligator up this guy's ass or why he likes it up there so much. He doesn't appear to apply the same outrage to comics or Saturday morning cartoon physics, or anything. He's just a smart guy pissed off with no sense of proportion and not much of a sense of humour either. Except totally accidentally. The movies he's rating for bad physics are essentially fantasy, not scientifically accurate realism. It's not about the physics. It's the story, stupid.)


Tuesday, April 22, 2003
      ( 10:27 AM )   by David Barker  

It Ain't Blade Runner. But It Never Is, Goddamit!

Sunday morning, Easter Sunday, that is, here in Toronto, I was walking up Yonge Street north of Dundas. Yonge and Dundas is where the Eaton Centre shopping mall is, looks like if they had renovated GUM in Moscow...Anyway, there's a few video billboards on buildings in the area, kind of like as if the city fathers (and mothers, cool yer jets) wanted the intersection to look like Blade Runner. No gene-hacker stalls or animated geisha billboards, but it's our little Ginza. (You can't see me larfing as I re-read this...)

Well, damn if on Easter Sunday morning the City-TV (local station, duh) dominated video billboard on the roof of the Hard Rock Cafe is showing the Microsoft Windows NT Blue Screen of Death for all the world to see (if you were all looking south on Yonge Street from north of Dundas).

They've had hardware problems with the billboard itself, mostly the pixel modules (or whatever ever they're called, spare me the emails...) and it was even completely replaced last year at one point.

A billboard on the roof of the Gap just north of the Eaton Centre was showing an NT error message for a few hours one day last fall, but it still stayed in Windows NT...

Anyhoo, it was funny. Here it is, the actual third year of the future, and they still can't get this shit right. As to who 'they' are, well, you know who 'you' are...

As to our fate if the future continues like this; war, plagues, painfully public IT incompetence, well, I guess Armageddon is just around the corner.



Saturday, April 19, 2003
      ( 10:23 AM )   by David Barker  

Consequences of the American Victory in Iraq: The Mid-West in the Middle East. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa & Iraq.

I'm thinking transplant the American heartland to the Cradle of Civilization, you know, imam and pop shops...and that's about as far as I'm going to get with that joke, so <emily_litella>never mind</emily_litella>.

I am just as happy as a pig in shit about finishing my novel. Just so's ya know.

There's lots of editing work left, but the first official beta is finished and ready for testing. I have a few friends lined up for that, and one friend who absolutely refuses and has already rendered an opinion (negative), based, to be fair, on short stories of mine he's read before. And who cares. He's never finished a novel - writing, c'est-a-dire, not reading, I'm pretty sure he can read.

Salam Pax (q.v.), is still MIA. Maybe he's just given up. If I was the type to get my pray on, I'd pray for him. It would probably work, since his god and the one I was raised with are like cousins or something.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003
      ( 10:52 AM )   by David Barker  

Pie Boy! Sure, Dave...

Yesterday I finished my first novel. At 72,000 plus words, it is entitled "The Word in the Box." It was originally conceived as an entry in NaNoWriMo or the National Novel Writing Month, November of 2002. Now the "National" refers to the U.S., but they had entries from all over the world. The sole goal was to write 50,000 words in one month, no other requirements, restrictions (including 'must be in good taste') or limits. The writing was to start at 00:01 on November 1, 2002. Damn New Zealanders were gloating about being able to start soonest. By the last day of November I had 26,000 words officially posted on the website, although I was able to write 3,000 more that day.

Yesterday I finally finished.

It was a beautiful day in Toronto with a high of 27 Celsius. There was a new episode of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' featuring the return of Faith and the appearance of a new bad guy, a fallen priest named Caleb, and servant of the First, played by the same Canadian actor who played the captain of the Serenity, main character and main spaceship of Joss Whedon's latest and late series 'Firefly.' I was privileged to watch it at the home of my friends, Anneli, Tim and Alicia, who are mom, dad and daughter.

I had a good day.

Salam Pax (q.v.), however, still has not updated. I hope he's not dead. Or evil.


Saturday, April 12, 2003
      ( 11:24 AM )   by David Barker  

Lying To The BBC. After WWII, It Feels - I Don't Know - Like Lying To God...

Bear with now, and keep up.

Clicking on the link below gets you to a BBC page that asks you to indicate if you are in the UK or not.

This is where you lie. Click on "Yes". (Don't worry, they'll believe you. And if it's true, then you're okay anyway...)

Now scroll to the bottom of the new page.

Look for the '10' graphic and 'Ten things we didn't know this time last week'.

Click on it.

You are most welcome.


Go ahead. Hurt someone you claim to love.

And, since yer askin', no, Salam Pax (q.v.) still hasn't updated his blog since March 24. God help him. Or screw'im if he really is this war's Tokyo Rose.

We'll see.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003
      ( 3:16 PM )   by David Barker  

Same Day. Better Story.

I listen to various internet radio stations via Live365. Several stations play only movie soundtracks, which I like to use as background music when I'm writing. (Listening to Moviola right now...) I have accidentally become a fan of movie soundtracks separate from the movie, although there were several that I already owned, like 'Phantom Menace' and 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'.

I would like to recommend Soundtrack Collector. It functions in a way similar to IMDb, but for movie soundtracks, instead of movies. Specifically, it lets you catalogue the soundtracks you already have, wishlist the ones you don't, track the ones you really want, and comment/rate them all as well, among other things. One feature I especially like is you can keep a list of favourite soundtrack composers, like Clint Mansell or Rachel Portman. (I'd never heard of them either, - or more correctly, noticed them - but there you go.)

I reported a minor problem earlier this afternoon (and that's three hours earlier, PST!) and got a reply back - from the boss! - before 3:00, telling me it was corrected. And it was.

      ( 10:55 AM )   by David Barker  

Smart White Man vs Stupid White Men

This is a link to Michael Moore's website version of the newsletter I got this morning from him. (Not personally, of course not, I signed up for it a few weeks ago after reading 'Stupid White Men' and seeing 'Bowling for Columbine'; he doesn't know me from Johnny Canuck...). Check it out. He's a fun kind of social commentator/satirist and scrappy little bugger. I, although I am far from one myself, really like scrappy little buggers. With whom I agree politically and ideologically, of course. And you can too.

And further to CTV's little April Fool's Day stunt about remaking the terrible early '70s sitcom 'The Trouble with Tracy', it turns out it was all a publicity gimmick for Graham Crawford's Comedy Network TV series.

I've never seen his show, but it was still a good gag.

Salam Pax (q.v.) has not updated since March 24.


Not pessimized for Netscape 4.7 (it's personal)

(move your mouse pointer over this text)

(all links open in a new window)

     post rating:

      - 'i haven't felt so alive in years '
           - 23 out of 10
           - I really do have to get the damn book!
my future blog :
          - the barker kid

my resume :
          - CV

my friends :
          - reid and luisa
          - martin
             100% personal
                  website free

          - tim, anneli & alicia
             100% personal
                  website free

                  google them
          - debbie ohi
              electric penguin
          - miguel sternberg

places i visit:
          - wil wheaton dot net
          - the onion
          - this is cnn
          - the toronto star
          - w3 schools
              web learning; xml,
              html4, xhtml
          - APoD
          - IMDb
          - SoundtrackCollector
          - No Es News, Es Fark
          - Blackmask!
        - kenner's girder and panel building set!


just sayin' it don't make it so...

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