Archive for the ‘Art & Media’ Category

Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

November 23rd, 2010 at 11:45 pm

The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Listened to the Audible version.

Very slow to start, with an overwhelming amount of details, but then picks up. The end dragged on a bit, but overall very compelling.

However, there is definitely some very dark subject matter here, and I would be very careful to whom I recommended it.

View all my reviews

5 Podcasts Worth Listening To

December 15th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Podcasts!I wrote up this list for a friend yesterday and I figured maybe it was worth sharing with the world at large. While a number of these are video podcasts, I usually listen to these while riding a crowded bus into and home from work each day, so even the video ones often get consumed in audio-only mode from my pocket.

  • Buzz Out Loud – A daily tech discussion show. A great way to stay up to date with current topics in tech. Usually pretty easily digestible at around 45 minutes. WebsiteiTunes direct-link
  • Co-op – A weekly gaming review video podcast. Really good, but not very audio-only friendly (lots of video clips from the games they’re reviewing), so skip this one if you’re looking for something to listen to while driving. WebsiteiTunes direct-link
  • The Totally Rad Show – A weekly video podcast. Three dudes talk about movies, video games, tv shows, comics, pop-culture, etc. The kind of show I wish I was hosting. Works pretty well in audio-only format as well. WebsiteiTunes direct-link
  • Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show – A weekly video podcast.  Kevin Pollak interviewing people in entertainment. Each episode runs pretty long (1.5-2hrs) but they’re almost always interesting and often really funny. Also works great in audio-only format. Website (don’t bother with the website though, it’s terrible) & iTunes direct-link
  • ROFL – A weekly video podcast. Standup comedy cut down to one joke (presumably the best of the set?) from comedians all over the US. Also works great in audio-only mode. Website & iTunes direct-link

I’ve got more… but these will do for now. Do you subscribe to any podcasts? If so, which ones? And if not, why not?

Social-Networks Activate! Help Me Find A Good Book to Read

March 16th, 2009 at 12:03 am
Bookstore by ImaginaryGirl on Flickr

"Bookstore" by ImaginaryGirl on Flickr

When I was young I read a lot. Then I went to University. Some of you may be familiar with my 9 year dance with post-secondary studies. The details of which being longer than I ever care to write about, the take-away point is that during this period, I pretty much stopped reading anything I wasn’t required to read (two exceptions being The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings books, and the Harry Potter series, the inner-nerd in me types gleefully).

Over those 9 years, I kept telling myself it was ok because I was just tired from all the required readings from school. Then, once school was finished, my tune smoothly transitioned to the I’m-so-busy-at-work and recently the oh-my-god-being-a-new-parent-is-so-exhausting excuses. But I’ve grown tired of these excuses and want to find something to read… damnit!

"Hardy Boys Collection" by hyperboreal on Flickr

"Hardy Boys Collection" by hyperboreal on Flickr

One problem: decisions. Some of you may be familiar with my 30 year dance with decision making. When I was 10 and there were still a couple thousand Hardy Boys books left to read the decision of what to read was really easy, just read whichever book was next in numerical order. Later, I had endless time to wander the aisles of the Lindsay Public Library and found some authors I enjoyed. As an adult, though, how does one choose what they want to read? While Harry potter was fabulously fun to read, I did of feel somewhat like a twelve year old when deciding I was going to read it: Magic?! Awesome!

GoodreadsSo I turned to the interwebs for advice and signed up at Goodreads.

Goodreads is the largest social network for readers in the world. We have over 1,900,000 members who have added over 44,000,000 books to their shelves. A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, form book clubs and much more. [“about goodreads”]

Unfortunately, Goodread’s “find friends” service (really awesomely providing Google Friend Connect and Facebook App as options) was merely an quick and easy way to discover I don’t know a single one of those 1,900,000 members. The site seems to be reasonably well designed though and I think it would be a lot of fun if I knew some people on the service.  One feature I liked in particular was the ability to customize the “book links” that appear below each book.  In addition to standard Amazon, and, I saw you could add links for the Toronto Public Library search, and added my own for the Ottawa Public Library.

So, take 2. I’m casting out this post into the murky social-netwaters to find out who of you are avid readers, how you find and share good books online, and what the hell you think I should read.  Add comments below, email me, or if you don’t already have an online service to manage your virtual book shelves give Goodreads a try and add me as a friend so I can list something more than the Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings books on my profile.

NFB Archive Pick #2

March 15th, 2009 at 9:40 pm

The Canadian National Film Board recently made over 700 films available for streaming over the Internet. Not only are they available online, but they’re also available for sharing on various social networking sites as well as for embedding wherever you want. So I present to you my second NFB pick:

A little known fact: This film made up approximately 90% of the french immersion curriculum when I was growing up.

NFB Archive Pick #1

January 26th, 2009 at 2:30 pm

The Canadian National Film Board recently made over 700 films available for streaming over the Internet.

Classics such as Mon Oncle Antoine and Nobody Waved Goodbye are free for online screening, along with pioneering animation by Norman McLaren and animated films such as The Big Snit and The Cat Came Back.

A group of filmmakers and curators chose the first films to be made available from among the 15,000 productions made by the NFB, said Deborah Drisdell, director of strategic planning. []

Not only are they available online, but they’re also available for sharing on various social networking sites as well as for embedding wherever you want.  So I present to you, probably my most favourite NFB film of all time, The Log Driver’s Waltz:

You can read more the whole process, and whats been added each week, over at the NFB Blog.

Michael Geist – Because the Hollywood Lobby Isnt Strong Enough

June 10th, 2007 at 11:25 am

Wow. Just a couple weeks after the movie industry strong-armed Canada into introducing an act to crack down on movie recording with camcorders (which similar laws, incidentally, haven’t stopped the US from becoming the largest source of camcorded movies), comes this…

Don Bell, a Liberal MP, yesterday introduced Bill C-453, the Canadian Motion Picture Secretariat Act. The bill would create a new government-backed secretariat, comprised of industry officials, to provide the House of Commons with reports every six months on potential legislative reforms to support the industry.

Read More (

Update: Just to be clear, the Brent in the comments section of the above link is not me.

The Optical Illusion Dragon

May 25th, 2007 at 12:26 pm

I recorded this at the Franklin Institute in Philedelphia on our recent trip down to Savannah.


The movement of the head is the illusion. In reality the head is actually concave, and it’s a skewed perception of depth that creates the illusion (in person, you need to close one eye in order to view the effect).

You’re doing great!

May 19th, 2007 at 11:18 am

White & Nerdy

September 22nd, 2006 at 9:38 am

This has been going around the internets for the past week, but it still cracks me up. There was a time when I was a kid when I loved Weird Al. I haven’t really heard any of his albums since the Jurassic Park one. This song, and the video in particular, is really funny.

Click ‘read more’ to see the video.

The “Get Well Roger” Photo Project

September 16th, 2006 at 9:47 am

Chicago area bloggers at have started a flickr photo group to collect pictures of people giving the “thumbs up” to send their wishes to Roger Ebert. They say, “When we get enough pictures, we’ll send them on to Ebert to let him know we’re all thinking about him.” Pretty cool idea.

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