Sunday, October 27, 2013

Google Censorship - America No Different Than China

Google, long hailed as the internet search option of choice, also has a long history of Censorship in regards to what you can and cannot search for using their engine.

Recently they have removed the ability to search for sites online that lobby groups for the Motion Picture studios, Recording industry, and other powerful right wing groups petition Google to do. Google has shown no backbone or leadership in maintaining the rights and privacy of its user base. It's readily apparent just how easily Google will give up information or cave to the Government despots to take away the rights of those that use their search capabilities. They have been accused of misuse and manipulation of search results, page ranking misuse, removing or censoring links, data disclosure and privacy breaches, and collecting and aggregating data about Internet users.

I have decided that I will no longer use Google search but switch off to either Yahoo, or because I'm a Linux user as well, Duck Duck Go is a fantastic search engine with many privacy features.

The fact is that it's time for regular people to start using their ability to switch to other products when the corporations start infringing on our rights and privacies. We are the ones that must do this, the Governments won't, the Corporations won't, and we have very limited lobbying power ourselves. So we have to vote with our dollars and our choice of products. This includes not using the Google Chrome browser as it has nefarious means of collecting your private data and information. Google Mail is another huge data mining tool and also used to share your private information.

As consumers we ultimately hold the power, but we must do as a unified group, not a scattered bunch with the, "I don't give a shit." mentality. Make sure to check out and sign petitions to help get our views out there. Basically, start using your considerable power to let the Corporations know that you will not accept their practices.

Without everyone getting on board and trying to make changes we will all end up paying the price of corporate data piracy and loss of our privacy.


Wikipedia Information
Boston Review Article
Image Censorship

Friday, July 06, 2012

Hitting the Dating Scene...Let the Terror Begin!

So, the time has come for me to start dating again. It's been so long since I've hit those waters and I'm a bit intimidated by the sharks out there. I think I'm going to start out with internet dating on sites such as Lavalife, POF, and others just to get into the groove of things.

The girls are older now and understand more about the dating ritual and have given me the thumbs up. I'm finding it a bit difficult to convince myself that there is someone out there with the same likes, interests, and attitudes that would mesh with my own.

I have made a commitment to myself that I will not visit "Pick-up" joints or the like. What I once recall as a fun and enjoyable thing to do, I now consider terrifying and full of potential awkward moments. So, I will update as it happens.
Here we go.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Day Surgery: Kidney Stone Lasered

About a month ago I was typing on my computer when I started to feel pain in my lower back on the left side. The pain intensified so quickly and with so much intensity that it dropped me to the floor literally crying out. I had no idea what it was, and no way to lay for the pain to alleviate any. Meanwhile, my children are freaking out, my sister calls an ambulance thinking I'm having a heart attack. The ambulance arrives and they think I'm having a muscle spasm in my back, even though I'm telling them it's not even remotely close to that.

So I get to the hospital, after 2 hours of laying there in agony I am finally seen by the Doctor on call who tells me that it's more than likely that I am passing a Kidney stone. He leaves, and an hour later a nurse comes over and asks me to pee in a cup (keep in mind I'm still in pain), so I manage my way to the bathroom to pee in the cup, get escorted back to the bed I'm in, and another hour goes by when the Doctor comes back and says, "'re passing a Kidney stone."

He gives me a few Tylenol and releases me from the hospital.

As a Military member I have to do a follow up through our MIR and make sure that all is well. Kidney stones in the Military is a big deal and you can be released from the Forces for them. So, I go and see a civvy Urinologist and he does a CAT scan. They find out that the stone never passed and is lodged in my blah-blah (can't remember the name of the tube), and I'll need surgery to remove it. Because it's too large to use the Sonic method, they will have to go up my pee-pee through my bladder and laser it out.

On Monday, I went in for the surgery. It went well, but the days that followed it were a nightmare. I was told that they had to leave a shunt in the tube to keep it from collapsing due to the swelling. Well, this shunt acted just like a stone was lodged there, so not only am I peeing blood and feeling a burning sensation, but it's like I'm passing another stone every time I go to the bathroom. Which is a feeling that is more intensified because of the surgery.

So, in a few days I have to go back into the Doc's office and have the shunt removed....I will be awake during this procedure and I'm not too happy about that fact.

So...hopefully this won't ever happen again, and for all of you that have passed a stone...I feel for ya.


Sunday, September 25, 2011


So, for the past 5 years or so I've been an avid fan of the UFC, a stalwart supporter of MMA as the new super power sporting events. I haven't missed a UFC promotion in about that amount of time either. I'm extremely loyal to my favorite fighters, win or lose, and I'm getting pretty darn knowledgeable about MMA as a  fighting style as well.

I watched the recent bout with "Rampage" Jackson vs Jon "Bones" Jones and was actually screaming at the TV for Rampage to at least throw a punch rather than just stand in front of him like some kind of punching/kicking bag. Jones completely dominated Jackson and I was actually pretty disappointed with the match. The hype machine had me believing that Jackson stood a chance, and might even pull out an upset, and then you watch this decidedly one-sided match and I thought to myself, "He can't even get close to do anything, this is a massacre."

I really want so see someone that has a chance stand up and fight Jon, give him at least a small challenge...I'm hoping that Rashad Evans will be that guy...that will be an incredible fight. I never truly believed that Rampage had a chance because he's a striker, and that's pretty much the formula he followed and failed at against Jones. Evans on the other hand, is fast, intelligent, and extremely good with his hands. He has fantastic wrestling and his speed should allow him to get inside of that foot long reach advantage that Jones has over most other opponents.

Then there's the upcoming GSP vs Condit fight.  I absolutely love GSP, he's my man, but this is going to be one hell of a great fight. I didn't think Nick Diaz stood a chance against GSP, but Condit is another matter entirely. He's going to take this fight to GSP like no one has before and George had best be ready for a battle. Diaz is probably my most hated fighter in all of the UFC, he has no class, no sense of sportsmanship, he seems pretty punch drunk at the best of times, and he's unprofessional. I wished that Dana had just kicked him the hell out of the UFC with his failure to show up and ultimately his removal from the GSP fight. If you ask me Diaz was terrified and knew full well he was out of his element with George. Condit on the other hand is a machine, his striking and ground game are outstanding and he, as GSP put it, is a much more dangerous opponent.

Diaz will be fighting BJ Penn (who looked amazing against Hughes) but seems to be a bit out of his game lately. I'm not sure BJ has the heart anymore to compete in the UFC, which might give Diaz an advantage.

There's also one of the most anticipated Heavyweight fights coming up with Junior Dos Santas vs Cain Velasquez. I'm taking Cain on this one, but I love JDS as well.  Awesome match up, awesome fight.

So many great matches coming up, and so many great moments to anticipate.

Dana White is probably my most favorite of all of the UFC members though. I love his straight talking, no bullshit, but intelligent interviews. This guy knows the fight game, he knows what the fans want, and he gives it to us on an exciting platter. Dana is by far my favorite personality and hopefully some day I'll get a chance to meet him and say hiya. Highly doubtful though as my role as a single parent takes up most of my free time.

So...if you've never watched a UFC match...give it a go, it's exciting, dynamic, and the skill level of these athletes beats any other sport out there. No matter who your favorites are, I respect them all for the amount of time they put into this sport.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Computer Games: Loss of Immersion/Story

     So, I went to EB Games and I picked up the highly anticipated title of F3AR (the third installment of the series) and quickly drove home (like any computer geek would do) to install and play it. Not too far into the game I was bored and a bit frustrated and it dawned on me that I really miss the good ole days.

     Games like Wizardry, Baldurs Gate, Ultima (Series), Mission Impossible, DOOM (Series), Heretic, Zork (Series)...and a gazillion other older games that grabbed you by the junk and wouldn't let go until the game was over.

System Shock 2

     You remember those games right, the ones that made you jump out of your skin, or took you on a dungeon crawling adventure, or even let you fly a spaceship and destroy your enemies. Games like System Shock 2 that would scare you so badly that you stayed up at night playing with every light on in the house, or the original Aliens vs Predator with the eere atmosphere and moments of face sucker terror, how about the original FEAR when it came out, or even the fun fantasy romp of the old D&D computer games.

     I've spent hundreds of dollars on games over the past few years and almost all of them depended on flashy graphics and sound to sell the product...but the story line was just terrible, the games seemed to be just action events strung together to try and keep your mind occupied and it saddens me that very few games actually pull me in and give me that feeling of escaping into the story line.

Wizardy 8

     A few notable exceptions lately are games like: Dead Space (and Sequel), The Witcher, Amnesia (Truly a throwback to the good ole days), and Mass Effect. I would love to see a major shift in the way companies build thier games, and rely more on the storyline and then fit the graphics and sounds to suit the story.

     A game I would love to see (being a AD&D freak) would be a dungeon crawl into the Underdark of The Forgotten Realms world...something akin to an instance in World of Warcraft (detail, size, and depth) but for single player/Multi-player questing. Or how about a first person shooter akin to Doom 3, but on a much wider scale, with a broader storyline, and sufficient variation of enemies and objectives.

     It's time to look at the history of gaming and focus on those games that truly made an impression in our lives and see what it was that they did well and emulate that. Until that time, I'm not going to be purchasing too many more games (Diablo III is the exception), until someone wow's me with the total package.

Diablo III
(I'm already drooling)


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

High Cost of Iphone Contracts: 3 Year Contracts Please Go Away

I am a self admitted techno-geek. If there is a new product on the market that has that, "OMFG I must have it!!" factor, odds are I'll sell a kidney to try and get it.

Something that is driving me crazy, mainly because of our Canadian culture of sit back and do nothing, is the high costs and legalized theft of Rogers Communications Iphone/Smartphone contracts and data plans.

At the time I bought my Iphone 3GS, Rogers was the only company that offered a packacke deal with an unlimited data plan, that has since changed and other companies have joined in to cash in on our Canadian lack of motivation to protest.

So here is a rough example of my cost in relation to my ability to communicate with my Iphone:

Downpayment: $320/(with a 3 Year Contract)
Monthly Bill: $120 (incl: Taxes & Fees)/3 years

Note: This is the minimum package the time of purchase there were only two plans available and this is the lowest cost package)

120 x 48 = 5760

So for 3 years of cell phone use it will cost me roughly $6080.

Ponder that for a moment...that is a HUGE cost to keep and use a Cellphone. And don't even think about trying to bail out on your contract early...the Rogers phone Nazi's will be calling you ad nauseum threating you and your entire family (including any Goldfish) with the wrath of Debt Collector Hell if you even remotely consider cancelling it.

So for the price of a second hand have the option of grabbing yourself a high tech cell phone for 3 years.

Now...after talking to other folks, and after doing some research, I have decided to write my MP a long and detailed explnation of why I am frustrated with current Mobility Contracts. I also asked for an explanation of how this legalized theft can be allowed (read: Lack of Competition and Regulation). I'm not very hopeful that I'm going to receive an answer and if I do, I'm sure it will be more Political doublespeak, but I'm hopeful that I'm not the only person out there that is pissed off over this.

Well...until next time: Text me!!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why Canada Should Legalize Marijuana

We had a conversation between friends last night over a few beers, and one of my buddies showed me this write up and I thought I would share it. I completely agree with Mr. Becki's opinions here.

As well, if you haven't watched: The Union -- Marijuana Documentary from British Columbia This is a very informative show.

I think it's time people got the facts, and I also believe that the misinformation out there is actually harming what could be an answer to so many different problems that it's almost criminal in itself.

Why Canada Should Legalize Marijuana

By: Peter BeckI

I have many vices. Pot, however, is not one of them. I don’t smoke the stuff, and never have, but I don’t sit in judgment either. Recently, I started looking at what could happen to the Canadian economy if we didn’t just decriminalize marijuana, or condone medicinal uses for it, but actually allowed the free market to grow, package and sell it. What I’ve found out is pretty startling.

To begin with, most estimates say the cannabis business in British Columbia alone is worth US$24 Billion dollars a year, street value. How much is that? That’s more than the forestry exports to the US from BC in any given year, and is about two and a half times the agricultural exports for the entire country.

So, let’s start with that number: US$24 Billion a year in profits. That’s roughly CDN$34 Billion. I’m being conservative here, and forgetting the fact that if you were to legalize marijuana, Canadians would be growing it in every fallow field, window box, and basement in the country.

Now, factor in the tourist trade. Come to Toronto, or Vancouver, or Peggy’s Cove for that matter, and such back a Molson Canadian accompanied by a pre-packaged, filtered, high-quality spliff. I’ve seen estimates in the range of $90 Billion for the country if even 1% of the American population comes north to buy their stash.
$34 Billion plus $90 Billion equals $124 Billion.

Here’s another number. Canada has about 600,000 citizens who have been indicted for using marijuana for personal use, and around 30,000 arrests are made each year. According to the Auditor General’s report, this translates into $500 Million for annual enforcement of drug laws, and about $500 Million for legal fees. Tack on about $50,000 a year for each incarcerated offender, and you end up with about $1.5 Billion a year. Again, I’m guessing on the conservative side.

$124 Billion plus $1.5 Billion equals $125.5 Billion.

Here’s another one: one acre of hemp produces the same amount of cellulose fibre as 4.1 acres of trees. Trees grow back in about twenty-odd years. Hemp grows back every four months or so, and produces paper at one-quarter the cost of wood pulp (creating one-fifth of the pollution). You can also make four times more gasohol or methanol from help stalks than from corn. Hemp is actually the strongest natural fibre there is, and until the 20th century, it provided almost all the world’s paper, clothing, textiles and rope. Even if we ignore the moral, ethical, or ecological reasons for using hemp to replace pulp and paper, it just makes sense economically.
First, cut the capital expenditures in wood pulp production – about $8 Billion – by three-quarters. We just saved $6 Billion. Now, quadruple the potential volume of cellulose fibre. With about $15-20 Billion in annual exports of newsprint and wood pulp, that would be roughly (let’s be conservative and call it $15 Billion) $60 Billion. Obviously, there wouldn’t be that much demand, so let’s simply double the present number to $30 Billion, and keep in mind that our resource is now virtually unlimited. We don’t have to keep spending all that money in reforestation projects, so our parks and woodlands can be saved as an added bonus to the $90 Billion we’re making on tourism.

$125.5 Billion plus $6 Billion plus $30 Billion equals $161.5 Billion.

Is this starting to scare you? We haven’t even touched on the potential tax revenues from selling weed in nice, neat packages. The federal government gets about $5 Billion annually in revenues from tobacco. While the average Joe won’t be smoking a jack of J’s a day, a joint is probably going to cost more than a cigarette, and will certainly be taxed heavily. Let’s round it off to another $3 Billion – not including the increased sales of both tobacco and marijuana due to, again, the increased tourism. Textile export increases, new business development, job creation, medical research and exports – throw in another $4-5 Billion.

$161.5 Billion plus $5 Billion plus, let’s call it $3.5 Billion (to round things out), equals $170 Billion.

That’s $170 Billion: around 15% of the entire GDP for the country in 2001. We could give every man, woman and child in Canada five hundred dollars every year, and have about $20 Billion left for foreign aid.

And there’s more. Legalizing marijuana, growing hemp and producing its products, supporting research and development into its many uses, and cutting down pollution and deforestation to levels well below Kyoto’s meager demands would certainly reverse the brain drain to the US. It would also attract thousands of liberal-minded, well-educated professionals to Canada’s industry, education, and health care systems. This would increase production, demand, and profitability.

The US is, of course, concerned about Canada’s potential to become the Holland of North America. Their decades-old war on drugs has been too much of a backbone for popular support to let it slip away. The best threat they have come up with so far is to suggest that border crossings will be much tighter. This is not a serious economic threat, as we’ve already factored that in as of 9/11.

Over 70% of Canadians approve of the decriminalization of marijuana. That, in itself, should be motivational. Even the Canadian Medical Association has admitted that it’s ‘not addictive, occasional use not harmful, not causal with criminal behaviour, no evidence of mental damage.’

Take whatever stance you’re comfortable with on smoking the stuff yourself; I’m looking at this purely by the numbers.