Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hi Mr. Jobs

The other day I wrote this line: "Think Apple if Steve Jobs died."

The next day, Steve Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO. Obviously spooked by my inadvertent prognostication, he felt he should get his house in order.

Lesson? Steve Jobs obviously reads here. I don't blame him. After all, I know what sucks in technology. Here's hoping Tim Cook finds Steve's blog bookmarks and continues to heed my sage advice about things.

For instance - know what's cool? Bubble domes around the seats and REALLY big cup holders. Also, tailfins. iPhone 6 should totally have tailfins and a really big cup holder.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Vote Happy Crow!

Filmchaw, top characters of the 90's, round whatever. Go vote already!

Oh, but vote for Eric Draven and Happy Gilmore, the rest of those guys all suck.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bye Jack

Canada has had 3 major federal parties for decades now. The youngest of those is the NDP. Little more than a fringe party for most of my life (amassing 5-10% of the seats), its fortunes turned around in our last federal election.

Starting out as a big farm-supporting party, it became synonymous with union support, exorbitant spending, and general leftist policies. I supported many of their beliefs (green before green was a thing, support for the needy, and generally being decent human beings), but not their economics. Plus, their leaders were often about as endearing as a soggy piece of toast.

Then Jack Layton came along. Still an NDP idealist, he seemed to recognize that they had to play ball with politics at some level if they wanted to be more than a disproportionately loud voice in the House of Commons. He got the NDP fundraising to a level its never seen, he dragged the party to a more centrist and populist point. He took his used-car salesman look and became an endearing man of the people.

I voted for him. My justification was that I couldn't get behind the other two serious options available - a right-wing party that wasn't the progressive conservatives I had grown up with, and a centrist party that had managed to do nothing of substance over my lifetime. The NDP was never going to win, but I liked them as a conscience vote. They could have swing power in the minority governments we'd been seeing. Their policies would have to be enacted to some degree, filtered through a more economically conservative sieve. They kept the other parties more honest.

Then something unexpected happened last time. They started winning seats. Lots of seats. Way more than they'd ever seen. The supporters of the do-nothing Liberals were sick of their smarmy leader and lack of achievement, and those of the Bloc Quebecois were heading to the NDP in droves. The NDP pulled in over 100 seats, when they'd seldom seen 20 in the past. They were the official opposition to an (unfortunate) Conservative majority, behind by only 63 seats, and 9% of the vote. They had a larger voice than ever, but very little power. Regardless, it was a watershed event in Canadian politics, and there was no doubt in anybody's mind that it was all due to Jack. His "nice smile", friendly demeanour, and promises of holding our Prime Minister accountable for his actions brought the whole party's standing upwards. Candidates who were nothing more than placeholders found themselves elected despite not running any sort of real campaign. The "orange wave" swept across the country and sent a message that people wanted a change. I actually found it a little scary, and recall fearing that they could actually WIN the election while I watched the votes come in. The party had never seen these heights. And it was all thanks to their leader.

This morning he died.

Three and a half months after his party swept to their greatest victory ever, he lost his battle with cancer and passed away at home with his family by his side. A sad day in Canadian politics to be sure.

His legacy will live on. His wife Olivia Chow is also a Member of Parliament for the NDP. His son Mike is a Toronto City Councillor. But neither has the charisma of Jack.

With Jack's death the fate of the NDP is very much up in the air. Think Apple if Steve Jobs died. The party will obviously continue on, and will maintain its position as the official opposition until the next election. But without the cult of personality that surrounds its departed leader, their chances of maintaining their momentum are in doubt. If they maintain a loud, unified voice over the next 4 years, and prove they have Canada's interests ahead of their own, then they might be able to continue being a force. But if they falter, if they return to their socialist roots (and they have been unabashedly so in the past), if they once again give the idea that they'd rather tax and spend then bring realistic economics to bear, then they'll find themselves back on the fringe.

But for now, they have a voice. Here's hoping they won't waste what their leader gave them.

One more thing. At this year's Toronto Pride Parade, there was no cheer louder than the one that went up when the NDP's orange float went by. The Conservatives were nowhere to be seen, the Liberals had all the oomph that would be expected of a defeated giant and felt like little more than vague political grandstanding, but the NDP float was pumped - flags, cheers, jumping, dancing, and smiles all around. Led by this guy:


Bye Jack.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Somehow Busy

Right, it's summer. So that means there's always something going on 'round these parts. Toronto can get downright dreary during the winter, so it squeezes as much as it can into the summer. Not that I've been partaking in too many of the city's offerings either.

Bloggers dropping in for international birthdays, my local friends having the gall to have their own birthdays on top of that, and endless stream of movies to see, farmers markets providing an every-cycling range of fresh produce that has to be turned into meals, Jays games, poker games, days too nice to waste inside, and just the day-to-day stuff that takes up time... when I have nothing to do, it comes as a relief.

Except "nothing" translates to either doing some photo editing or playing my way through am ever-increasing backlog of video games (damn you and your sales Steam!). Both of which fall under the category of "leisure" and relaxing.

So, some pics... then maybe I'll get to finishing my writeup on Happy Gilmore for Filmchaw's continuing (and drawn-out) 90's character challenge... yah, I'm the guy holding up this round. Sorry.

I was at my first Jays game of the season on Sunday. Robbie Alomar Hall of Fame day. First Jay in the Hall as a Jay (others not as a Jay include Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson, and Phil Niekro - all of whom have obviously stronger affiliations with other teams). Great crowd, and has me missing the glory days.

I opted to not bring my SLR this time, as I knew the place would be sold out and I'd worry about the camera too much. So the iPhone came into play.

Lookin' Up In The 7th


I'm not a huge fan of the camera by itself on the phone due to how noisy it is, but it's easily replaced my point and shoot for the "better to have any photo than no photo" moments.

But I need to get out for a real shoot again soon, because apparently I feel the need to increase my backlog of photos I'd really like to finish off an post. The other question is, "where?" I'll keep my Flickr account, but I'm thinking maybe 500px might be worth a look for my favourite pics. Flickr is just falling behind on features, layout, and monetization.

Alright, enough rambling.