Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Hanging out on my roof in the dark circa 1983

  In 1983 I was 14 living in Blackburn Hamlet and all of my best friends lived within a stone's throw of my house, that is to say, if I couldn't hit your house with a rock, you probably weren't my friend.
  One hot summer evening found me on the roof of my parent's house with two of my friends. I used to go up on the roof to read comic books in the summer when I was younger to get away from my little brother, who was an unrelenting annoyance of locust proportions. I'm not sure why we were up there that night, but we were enjoying the unusual vantage point in the hot night summer air. Across the street lived one of my best friends, who oddly enough wasn't with us on the roof that night. Also across the street lived my friend's beautiful older sister, who was worshipped by my group of friends as a minor deity, much to the horror and chagrin of my friend who would tolerate no talk on the subject.
  On this night, as we were sitting up there in the dark, a curious thing happened. A switched on light illuminated a second floor window in the house across the street and a female person walked into the room with a towel on their head and a towel on their body. The towel on the head came off followed by a long haired head shake and then as we sat there in shock and disbelief , the lower towel came off and we saw some bits of bits we should not have seen over the top of the window sill.
  No one said anything. Silence. It got weird. Someone said  "Oh My GAWD!". I agreed. We had just seen half of a bare naked lady after all. It probably lasted 7 seconds. As long as a top notch bull rider can stay on a bucking bull. Then the person put on PJ's and left the room.

It was surreal. We must tell no one we said. No one speak of this to anyone. It's creepy. It's wrong. We all agreed. Not good. Let's not do this again..

The next night there were seven kids on my roof. Everybody had told at least one other person and one of them had told two people. All of the noble second sobre thought from the previous evening  had gone right out the window (in deference to the much more interesting window across the street). I was actually questioning the load-bearing safety ramifications of having this many people up there when my friend from across the street walked over to my place, probably to ring my doorbell which would lead to questions of where I was etc.. so I hissed at him from the roof: "Up here".
"What?" He asked, looking around. .
"Up here" I hissed.

He looked up at me (uh, well, all of us), then across the street and then we were told to get down off the roof or he would come up and toss us all down one by one.

We complied. Besides, it wasn't safe that that many people up there and he was bigger than us.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Suspect in the mysterious gun-wielding Ottawa biker case.

Suspect must have forgotten his fake gun, had to use the finger instead...

So this past week in Ottawa, there was this guy on a motorbike who would speed up behind you on the Queensway, tailgate you and if you did not immediately change lanes and get out of his way, he'd swing around and pass you on the driver's side and point a gun at you. He was driving a red Honda CBR and wearing a black helmet. He did this several times a day during his commute and numerous complaints were received. I saw it on Facebook, his picture was plastered everywhere and I caught it on the news.

Yesterday on Ottawa Kijiji, some guy is selling his Red Honda CBR (actually it was "For Sail") and it happens to have all the same kewl sticky stickers in the same placity places. There's even a shoe in the pic and look it's black and has orange laces? Different brand of shoe but hey, maybe the suspect likes black shoes and orange laces...

Can you say dumb-ass? He turned himself in today after Police tracked down the bike.
When you google his name you get a few tidbits.
in 2014 a man by the same name and age at the time of incident was charged with DUI, impaired operation of a motor vehicle by drug. Not sure what he was handed there, but months later he was stopped by police (they did not say what prompted the stop) and charged with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, impersonating a peace officer and carrying a concealed weapon. Police seized an imitation hand gun, "blank" ammunition and a bullet proof vest.

A bullet proof vest? WTF? Why do you need a bullet proof vest? Unless you're going to rob a bank reporter in the middle east you don't need a bullet proof vest.

I'll be very interested in seeing what happens to this dude if he is convicted of what they suspect him for. People like him just don't get it, if there's ever a Zombie Apocalypse, this is the type of "don't give a f*ck" guy who is more dangerous than the zombies.

If found guilty, please reserve a space in one of our nice jails for him.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Why does everyone screw up the "Let's Go Crazy" Riff by Prince...

So tonight I want to learn "Lets Go Crazy" by Prince, because I like that song, it's got cool parts, Prince died and that sucks. Maybe I'll get lucky and a fellow Youtubeopian has a guitar lesson and can save me some time. NOPE. I forgot, 90% of youtube guitar lessons SUCK and are wrong unless it's Justin Guitar or Marty whatsisname or the artist themselves, It's gonna suck because Guitar players who give lessons on youtube are lazy and base their lessons on what they recall from memory of the last time it played on their car radio when they were at the McDonald's drive thru, or the last time they were hanging out with Jeff their friend who has it as a ring-tone on their cell. Maybe they check the original recording for the key but it's quite obvious they stop after 5 seconds and start to invent shit after that.

That bugs the shit out of me. If you went to a performance of a Shakespeare play and the guy holds up a skull and goes "Atlas poor Robert Urick, I knowed him well" would you do a double-take? That is what this is like for me, almost disrespectful to the artist, I get offended for them.

Case in point. This guy seems fun, and from Manchester or somewhere like it. 30 seconds in: F# to E? E chord hammer on to A4? What version are you listening to man?

This helpful young man in the pony tail specializes in the Super bowl version from 2007. He is quite enamored about it and yacks for 5 minutes before teaching anything (Sounds like ME eh?). His unique version of the riff starts at 6:20. Special attention paid to wacking.

His interpretation of a cool one-handed move at 8:54 is too hard to play at E12. No one would ever play it like that. He's off by one string and 7 frets. Prince does it at the 17th position. You can tell this by counting the visible frets on Prince's Hofner at 1:51. When there's video of a performance that's this good, it pays to look at it.

I actually like this guy below and he is a great player (I totally learned Purple rain right there although I'm suspicious of "Never take the place of your man"  change up). Three of the other songs seem right but at 8:07, he too slightly murders the riff(well ,maybe manslaughter).  

I shouldn't do this. It's not nice but it bugs me enough so that I stew about it and it comes out in bursts. People comment on these videos and thank the guys because they think they are right. Well, they successfully taught someone how to play it wrong. It's kind of like religion. 3 guys are teaching different interpretations of the same idea. Chances are two out of the three are wrong. In this case, it's three out of three. If they said it was their own take on it, or in the style of it, I'd be ok. This guy is good and he says that. He's still wrong though, it's not a semi-tone slide into the B. It's "inspired" though, so no foul. BONUS, He's stumbled upon the hammer on F# chord which I hear in the original. Good on ya! (pity about that semi-tone slide).

Sorry Prince.. I promise to shut up and do a "lets go Crazy" video lesson to make up for these ones because they bug the shit out of me. People should be able to learn to play your stuff the way you did, out of respect for the genius you were. 

Until the next rant...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

First prank call in 25 years - Feb 18th 2016

I'm sitting on my couch tonight playing guitar, badly I might add, the ending tapping section to Joe Satriani's "Satch Boogie" is a bitch rhythm-wise (6-6-4) when I get a call on my work cell from a name I don't recognize. I answer. I'm greeted with some screechy kid's voice on the other line screaming at me because my cat bit their toe and they are bleeding. I put them on speaker-phone.

KID "Your cat bit my toe!"
ME "That's neat, can I get a ride in your time machine because our cat Puffy died when I was 11"
ME "Do I owe you any money for that?"
KID "BIT MY TOOOOOOOOOOOEEEEE" (they sound like the kid from the Exorcist now)
ME "Have you ever seen the Exorcist?"

This goes back and forth a bit and I continue to noodle on the guitar as the kid rants about having to go to the hospital for their bleeding toe.
ME "I'm making music"
Me "I take requests. do you like Metallica?" (plays opening to "Enter Sandman")
Me "I don't know that song".
KID (unintelligible squawking), they hang up...

Wow. A bona fide prank call. I didn't think you could do that anymore what with call display (enters Phone number in Canada411, does reverse lookup). Hmm, Teal Crescent in Orleans. Hey I know where that is, I bought an old Xbox from someone on that street ages ago...

My wife arrives for supper, we sit down to eat, phone rings again, same prankster. I put them on speakerphone so the whole family can enjoy.

KIDS (now there are two of them) "YOUR CAT BIT MY TOE!!!!! ARGGGGHGHGG!"
ME "Hey, I was a kid once, and I used to...
Me ".. make prank calls but then they came out with this thing called Caller ID and Reverse phone number lookups.."
Me ".. and if I was a bad sort of man I could come to your house and speak to your parents..."
Me "Do you live at (number withheld) Teal crescent in Orleans?"
KIDS ".CLICK.."  dial tone..

Well that was funny...

Then it got funnier, Poopy toe cat biter calls back. This time my wife answers and it's not a kid, it's an apologetic parent. A parent whose two 6 and 7 year old kids are terrified that a bad man who knows where they live is coming to their house. She told my wife, "I'm going to punish them for bothering you on the phone but whatever your husband told them seems to have done the trick.."..

So I have this Jason mask, and an address and a sense of humor....


Friday, October 09, 2015

ASUS RT-AC66U Firmware 378.55 (Merlin) & setting up OpenVPN with Private Internet Access (PIA) and a ROKU Media player

I'm fairly late to the Netflix table but I knew early on that Canada was second to the US in terms of available shows(check out this Toronto Star Article). At the time of it's writing the US had just about double, 7202 titles compared to Canada's 3663.

I'm also a UFC fan and subscribe to UFC fight pass, their online streaming service. Last year UFC Fight Pass changed what I got content-wise from their service because the UFC had just signed a deal with TSN that prohibited Fight Pass from showing Prelims and other UFC TV offerings on the streaming service that were also being shown on television. If it happened to be shown on television, then UFC fight pass got "blacked out" in Canada (so you didn't "cut the cable" to encourage getting/keeping a cable subscription I guess). You needed Fight Pass AND a cable package featuring TSN in order to watch all the "free" TV UFC and Fight Pass events. The UFC was screwing over the paying subscribers of their streaming service by withholding UFC events that were also shown on TSN where "non-paying" UFC fans could watch them.

Thanks a lot. Even when we pay for stuff, we still manage to get screwed by cable companies we may or may not subscribe to.

In any event I had been using a VPN service for years, Private Internet Access(PIA) for my everyday surfing needs and wanted to extend it to my Netflix and UFC viewing to get around the annoying geoblocking. Everyone I know uses some sort of DNS-proxy based anti-geoblocking solution but I did not want to subscribe to a second service when I already had a perfectly good VPN service. The catch was that I do most of my media streaming on the main floor with a ROKU device which has zero OS customization (it has a great little remote, easy for the wife and kids to operate though). So how do you get a dumb closed device to use your VPN service? By telling your router to redirect it's IP to your VPN gateway.

Here's what you do.

You need to set up your router so that the OpenVPN client is known to it and then feed it an IP address of a device to have it go through the VPN and appear to come from somewhere else in the world like the good old U.S. of A. Here is a screen shot of my router's OPENVPN Clients tab.

In the "Server Address and Port" field you enter the location you are spoofing. I used
"" (no quotes)
along with port 1194. The port and the address need to match and you can find this info on PIA's site along with a full list of locations under the "Regional gateways" section in the bottom left.

Enter your PIA userid and password as shown and in the "Redirect Internet traffic" section choose "Policy Rules" in the dropdown and this opens up a section where you can enter the IP address of the device you wish to use with the VPN. In the destination IP just put (I'm using a ROKU media player).

I'm using the following in the "Custom Commands" section:

remote-cert-tls server
reneg-sec 0
verb 4

In the "Authorization Mode"  field I have it set to "TLS" and clicking on "Content modification of Keys & Certificates" brings up a page where you can enter the following cert in the "Certificate Authority" section. 


And that does it. If you are in Canada like I am fire up NETFLIX on the device you just made use the VPN and look for "Sons of Anarchy" or "30 rock" or any of the other 3000 some offerings not available in the great white north to see if it is working.

I don't feel too bad because it's a service we're paying for and it is the same as if you brought your IPAD with a netflix app across the border and fired it up in a Dunkin Donuts in Maccina or something. Plus the UFC Canada crap burns my ass almost enough to vote with my feet and cancel the service. At least this way I feel better about giving them my $10 a month. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

People who watch videos on their phone full blast with no headphones 3 feet away from me are idiots.

Is this a new "I have no self awareness" thing? People watching videos on their phones at full volume when waiting in line at the grocery store, subway, or sitting by themselves at a table in a half empty cafeteria while they are 3-4 feet away from someone like me?


I'm going to do something embarrassing the next time someone does that near me.

"What are we watching? Ohh. old hockey fights? John Leclair and the Legion of Doom? Fascinating"

"So you missed the Video Music Awards live eh? How awesome. Is Justin Bieber presenting?"

 "So the subway guy that used to be fat's a pedophile? I guess it's important to catch up on current events like that in line at the express lane at the IGA."

"That sounds like a fascinating Japanese Anime. I especially love the pumping Japanese glam metal soundtrack. It's so helping me choose my sub's condiments..."

(To the stranger in the cafeteria after I pull up a chair and sit down beside him)
"Can you turn that shit up? What are we watching?"

Saturday, May 09, 2015

The Water Heater Fiasco 2015

Looking at the bright side, at least we have our health and food to eat no one is dropping bombs on us! Problems you can fix by throwing money at them and enduring a minor period of inconvenience
is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Sometime back in February I was looking at my gas bill and was again bothered by the $25 water heater rental charge. Direct Energy (or whatever they are called now) were certainly getting the better end of that deal because the tank had never caused me any problems and was 17 years old. Thinking that $300 a year might be better spend elsewhere I went about getting a quote on getting my own water heater installed. I researched tank-less and rejected it due to cost and was quoted $1400 (they had to add some new piping to bring stuff up to code) on a 50 gallon old fashioned kind. Since 5 years of rental was $1500 and the new tank after install was $1400 I figured in less than 5 years it will have "been paid", and everything after that was savings.

The guys came on a Sunday with a 60 gallon by mistake (no extra charge). The install did not go well though and the guys ran out of time and had to come back the next day to finish. They took away the old heater as part of the deal to return it to depot. We had no hot water for most of Sunday and Monday. I had no idea what a first world problem pain that was. Clothes washer, dish washer, showers, baths, even washing your face with hot water, not an option.

They came back on Monday, finished up, even knocked $100 off the price for the extra delay and everything was peachy! There was an issue with my Direct Energy bill afterwards though. The water heater rental has yet to come off . There is an order of operations to taking our tank back, you need a number FIRST then you bring it back, my guy brought it back and I got a number later, so,, yeah. They tell me it takes several cycles to catch up. They say the 4th bill should do it so I've paid $100 in rental charges for a tank I don't have ;-)

Fast forward to today when the clothes washer upstairs malfunctioned and decided to drop several gallons of water on the floor which ran down the nearest vent which happened to exit above the water heater in the basement and give it a bath.The water did not seem to do any damage to anything else and quickly found it's way down the drain.

Later that evening when we ran out of hot water it was apparent that the water heater was not working. Upon close inspection the thing looks FRIED! The GAS Control Valve LED's don't light up and the blower assembly took a good douse. There was a ring of water inside the tank and this started to rust the open bottom lip of the tank.

So now I'm at that place I've been too so many times before. Do I pay for trial and error repairs to get the stupid thing fixed and have it break again or just assume the whole thing is suspect and look at replacing it whole. Just like my stupid lemon of a Jandy Pool heater, my crappy Bosch dishwasher, and Fridge which have all eaten $1000 in repairs and just got chucked out soon after. Repair people stink these days and don't even try to find the issue and just replace over-priced parts at random. When's the last time you saw someone get a multi-meter out and try and trace a fault?

Bloody hell. I'm going to call Direct Energy tomorrow and get them to install a new rental tank (again). $1300 down the toilet.

To top it off, the Dishwasher is making chewing sounds, I called up the service guys today. It came off warranty a week and a half ago, end of April 2015. There's usually a third bad thing that happens at times like this, we'll wait to see.

Morale of the story, If it ain't broke, don't fix it. When you try to save money, it sometimes ends up costing more &^$%$#*^^!


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