Friday, January 25, 2008

The Occasional Rant: Dead Celebs; Vista is Satan; PC-hostile CDs; Stéphane Dion Might Be Right After All; And Then Some...

Hey, les Gang! Life as a wage slave may suck, but at least there's time for some more bitching and scratching.

So here we go...

  1. Heath Ledger. Brad Renfro. RIP. Could it be the alignment of planets? Could it be that the death-watch focus on Britney, Lindsay and Amy have failed these 2 tortured souls in an industry where looks and performance intertwine? Has Western-civilised society in general become so shallow that the pain and struggle experienced by the famous few get scrutinised under the paparazzi microscope while the common, obscure majority dealing with the same issues get ignored, mocked and even exiled to wallow in their own private hells?

    It makes a sane person mad with the desire to kill Dr. Phil, the fake, phony, trivialising bastard-fuck of a charlatan who tried to make Britney his personal experiment, but failed. Where was he when Brad had his demons? Where was he when Heath had to deal with being the Joker for the Dark Knight? Does he care for all of the tortured people, or is he content being Oprah's lap-dog?

    I know pain, pressure, desperation. These guys deserved better. Love and respect to those who do.

  2. Vista: Bill Gates's "Fuck You" to PC owners? Hands up all those who still chafe under the yoke of Windows Vista.

    Here's the story so far... I got myself a nice little HP laptop preloaded with the infamous OS, loaded up on my favourite games while being challenged every time by its built-in sentry, blah blah blah. In spite of it all, things started getting copacetic. Right?

    Well, on Tuesday I booted up the laptop, clicked on the IE button and got a nice little F-You from the system. Just when it was trying to load the Yahoo!© homepage, the damn browser went tits-up on me. Windows stepped in to shut it down with a couple of killer pop-ups of its own, then after I clicked on the "Close Program" button, a balloon appeared on the lower right-hand corner of the screen saying that an app called "Data Execution Prevention" kept the browser from running and ruining the Vista Utopia.

    Somehow, the OS assumed that IE would crash and burn and that the entire system would scream blue screen. But I led me to think that of all the OSes I've tried, Vista was one of the worst.

    In fact, the only (relatively) robust OS I've ever experienced was IBM's late, lamented OS/2 Warp 4. I worked with it during my time at BMO and it rarely gave any grief, especially while monitoring the bank's vast array of branch nodes and ABMs.

    A year-and-a-half later, BMO installed Windows NT, and all hell broke loose.

    For a corporation with a virtual monopoly on PC OSes, they should've done their homework before ditching XP in favour of an Apple-lite wannabe. Maybe I should've bought a Mac instead.

  3. Can someone help me with these CDs?

    I've tried ripping these CDs for my "jukebox":

    Nelly Furtado - Folklore (crashed WMP, CD-DA)
    Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake - It's Morning (crashed CD-DA, unreadable by WMP)
    The Mars Volta - Deloused in the Comatorium (Track 10: "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" - crashed both CD-DA and WMP)

    IMO, Furtado's "Folkore" was a great release, but when I tried to even play the CD, the laptop went "F-U" on me. Same thing with the Bright Eyes disc. Connor Oberst is without a doubt a true fuckin' pop music genius - next to Tom Waits, Richard Thompson, Ben Folds... But was it his idea to make "Wide Awake" so cyber-hostile - the entire OS went Jihadi on me when I popped it in. Like, WTF dude? The Volta's "Comatorium" equals anything put out by At The Drive In in terms of intensity and lyricism, but the last track was a whore, eventually forcing both rippers to yell "Kamerad!" before expiring.

    If anyone has similar ripping war-stories, et al, let me know. If you know a cure, e-mail me. Please. Like, right freakin' now. 'kay?

  4. Stéphane Sticks It to the Man. It's a lot better when read out loud.

    He who is not Céline recently made a comment that, surprisingly, made a lot of sense.

    And so said Stéphane the man...

    "We are going to have to discuss that very actively if they (the Pakistanis) are not able to deal with it on their own. We could consider that option with the NATO forces in order to help Pakistan help us pacify Afghanistan," said Mr. Dion in Quebec City, commenting after his two-day trip to Afghanistan last weekend. "As long as we don't solve the problem in Pakistan, I don't see how we can solve it in Afghanistan."

    The Liberal leader explained that Afghan officials told him they know where the extremist strongholds are in Pakistan. But he said the Afghans don't take action.

    "One day, we are going to have to act because our soldiers are cleaning out some areas, but in fact very often they are only clean in principle. The insurgents go take refuge in Pakistan and they are going to come back (to Afghanistan) at the earliest opportunity. This could last very long if we don't tackle the problems that often originate from Pakistan," Mr. Dion said.

    Defence Minister Peter MacKay told Canwest News Service Dion's comments were off base.

    "Mr. Dion can't be serious to suggest NATO "intervene," in another country while simultaneously saying Canada should abandon its United Nations-mandated NATO mission in Afghanistan," he said in an e-mail.

    "He has to explain to Canadians why he wants an "intervention" but wants to turn his back on Afghanistan, which has asked and continues to ask for Canada's help. It's inane."
    With all due blah blah blah... most of what Monsieur Dion said made a lot of sense - Taliban come in, leave IED, fuck-off to the other side. If the Pakistanis have trouble teaching the Taliban manners, why couldn't we help these "brothers" out?

    Don't forget: Pakistan, like all the other 'stans, is Islamic. Period. And to many, if not most in that land, the Taliban are brothers. To date, 78 of my brothers and sisters have gone to a better life thanks to these Jihadis, and Musharraf doesn't seem to be doing enough to rein in these murderers who have also sent innocent Muslim civilians to paradise.

    Right about now, the 78 Canucks, including Sapper Gonthier, are each probably enjoying 70 virgins and endless showings of classic NHL - the ones with the Rocket and Bill Barilko. After all, they too are Allah's children, aren't they?

  5. Gauging the Rage About Page. (And why I'm being very cautious about what I really want to say without hurting too many feelings.)

    Think of this as a bookend.

    Ellen Page is without a doubt one of Hali's best exports next to Keith's, Sloan, April Wine and (even though they're from Cole Harbour, but who cares?) the Trailer Park Boys.

    Now, I admit to seeing Ellen a few years ago passing through along Young St. once in a while - she attended the Shambhala school which is located not too far from CFB Stadacona. Didn't know or care who she was. She was just another face. But thanks to a few choice roles in some movies ("Hard Candy", "The Tracy Fragments", "Mouth to Mouth", "Juno"), she has gotten more than a foot in the door - she's now in the house.

    I also have to mention the fact that she did appear in Season 2 of Trailer Park Boys as Treena Lahey, the sensible offspring of the oft incoherent park super Jim Lahey (played by the inimitable John Dunsworth).

    Everyone is talking about "our Ellen" being in the running for the Oscar. I hate to say this, but she's got herself some pretty stiff competition - and that's not just the Torontonian in me saying this: I'm being a bit realistic. Cate Blanchett, Julie Christie (remember "The Demon Seed"? Wicked-ass flick.), Marion Cotillard (c'est qui?) and Laura Linney all want a piece of that action.

    I'd love to see Ellen win one, not only for Hali but for all of the Great White North. But truthfully, the golden doorstop has a tendency to go to the classic (Julie Christie has been around since I was half Ellen's age), the pretentious (Cotillard, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress, played Édith Piaf in the sprawling "La vie en rose") or the all-American. Also, I haven't really experienced too many dark-horse wins, let alone wins by newbie talent.

    Ellen, with all due respect since she might be reading this, is a newbie talent compared to the competition. I'm saying that this is not her time. I'd give her 2 more years, more mature roles and storylines, and maybe an appearance on "Red Eye", then she will have enough cred to bring home the hardware.

    After all, where the hell is JK Simmons, the man who played Juno's dad? Why did he not get a nod?

    Of course, I may be proven wrong. Ellen is talented. And if you take her Canuck career, she does have milage via tv and indie productions. So maybe the Oscar would be considered the icing on the cake.

    For now - I'm picking Julie Christie. Better luck next year, Treena Lahey.
And so... there you go.

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