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A Salute to the #2 Pencil


kinda angry

That's a nice apron you're wearing. I believe Mrs. Scangrade has the same one at home!


July 22nd, 2013

Who's feeling trivial?


Many moons ago, I had a web site on the long-defunct GeoCities. Like most GeoCities sites, it looked atrocious and had no content of any value or interest whatsoever. Well, except for one thing: a Simpsons trivia quiz comprised of fiendishly difficult questions based on incredibly arcane details in the show. Now those arcane details are some 15 seasons in the past, which I'm sure makes the quiz even more challenging. I recently attempted to answer all the questions myself and scored rather dismally, and I'm the one who wrote the damn thing. So good luck! The quiz is reproduced after the jump, for anyone who's feeling sufficiently nostalgic and/or bored to give it a shot.

Take the quiz...Collapse )

May 16th, 2009

It all started a few months ago, when the Sunset Grill on Yonge St. closed down, and was replaced with a "Coming Soon" sign for a new take-out sushi place. And I thought to myself, "Another one? This neighbourhood's already got like... say, how many sushi places are there around here anyway?" I figured you could eat at a different sushi joint every day for quite some time without straying beyond a comfortable walking distance.

Based on a suggestion from Karen, I decided to turn this into an actual experiment. The methodology goes something like this:
  1. On Victoria Day, visit the closest sushi place to my house.
  2. Each week, continue to visit nearby sushi places in increasing order of distance
  3. On Labour Day, note my final distance from home

Of course I could easily determine the answer right now without actually going to all these places, but what fun would that be? Also, I'd lose the chance to answer some other important questions, such as: How long will it take me to get tired of sushi and abandon this ridiculous project? How long until I get food poisoning? Will all the places currently operating actually make it the whole summer before they buckle under their collective weight and implode?

Check back every week to find out the answers!

[Update: I decided -- why not? -- to start a dedicated Sushipalooza blog for this.]

September 6th, 2008

Terror on the Midway!!!!

kinda angry
Wow, I can't believe this blog hasn't dried up and blown away in the bitstream of the internet after all this post-free time. Anyhoo, I'm going to relate a boring, mundane story from my recent visit to the CNE. Enjoy!

So we're at the CNE. It's about 3 minutes to midnight... just enough time for one more go on the "Crazy Mouse" roller coaster before they shut the midway down for the night. Sweet! We climb into a coaster car with a couple of random strangers, and off we go. For about 10 seconds. Just as we're getting to the bottom of the lift hill, the chain stops moving. We roll up as far as our momentum will take us, which is about 2 "clicks", and stop dead. As the Official Sarcastic Wiseass in our car, I say "All right, midnight, ride's closed, everybody off!". Half-hearted chuckles and eye-rolling all around.

After a minute or two, an employee walks out into the middle of the structure and starts peering up at the track, trying to find the problem. By this time, all the still-mobile cars have finished their run. In addition to us, there's a car at the top of the lift hill, one on a brake run just past the lift hill, and another one sitting halfway around a bend a little beyond that. The employee dude put on a safety harness (for decoration apparently, 'cause he didn't attach it to anything) and clambered up a support pillar and onto the track behind this last car. And then he starts pushing it. Walking along the track, pushing the roller coaster car in front of him. Clearly, something is wrong with one of the wheels, which caused it to get stuck on the curve. Loud squeaks of protest emit from the wheels as the carny tries to push it along the track, but eventually he gets it going. It rolls slowly through the switchbacks at the top of the track, squeaking all the way, until it comes to the "big drop" part of the track. All eyes are on the hobbled car as it reluctantly rolls over the brink. Finally, gravity gives it enough of a boost to get a bit of speed going. This lasts until the car gets about 7/8 of the way up the big hill that immediately follows the big drop, at which point gravity decides it would like to pull the car backwards down the hill, and it continues rolling backwards part way up the drop, then back down again, and so on, back and forth through the dip about 5 times before finally coming to a rest. Ta-da!

Of course the "big drop" being the most exciting part of the ride, this is where the ride camera is situated. The ill-fated car tripped the camera about 5 times as it rolled back and forth past the bottom of the hill. Below, please find for your amusement a short video of the ride photo preview screen, showing several sequential shots of the same people. Fan-tastic. As you can see, on about the 4th pass the guy on the right threw up his arms and yelled "whoo!" really loud. Clearly, the Official Sarcastic Wiseass of that car.

Luckily for us, we were right at the bottom of the hill, and presently some carnies came and let us out of our restraints so we could climb the 3 feet to the ground. The car ahead of us, at the top of the lift hill, had it almost as easy, just a few more rickety narrow stairs to climb down. Eventually, somebody came along with a cherry-picker truck to get the people out of the car stuck in the dip. I didn't get a shot of that, alas, but I did get a shot of them cooling their heels in their disabled vehicle a few minutes prior:

Once the occupants were rescued and ushered over to the Triage and Waiver-Signing Station, a forklift drove up. Presumably if we'd stuck around long enough, we would've seen them take the disabled car off the track with the forklift, at which point the unfortunate souls on the brake run would finally have a clear track ahead of them and be able to finish their ride normally, although I suspect much of the thrill would be dampened by this point. But we didn't stick around, we went to get supper instead.

And that's my courageous story!

February 22nd, 2008

As a public service, I proudly present this handy instruction guide on how to access the mens' room at Fran's new-ish location on Shuter St. (You may be able to find a way to optimize this procedure somewhat; this is left as an exercise to the reader).

  1. Locate the marked door, near the bar.
  2. Take a magnetic swipe card from the little basket beside the door.
  3. Swipe the card through the reader to unlock the door. No no, black stripe facing the other way.
  4. Proceed through the door into the adjacent hotel, being sure to keep the card with you so you can get back into the restaurant.
  5. Locate the bathrooms to your left. Note the sign which says "out of order, please use washroom on 3rd floor".
  6. Walk towards the large visible staircase straight ahead.
  7. You can't get up these stairs; they lead to the condo lobby and are separated from the hotel area by a glass wall. Continue around to your left, behind the check-in desk, down the hall to the utility stairwell.
  8. Climb the stairs to the 3rd floor.
  9. The door to the 3rd floor is locked. Go back down to the 2nd floor (which is not locked) and catch an elevator to go back up to 3.
  10. The elevator has a lot of buttons, none of them labeled 3. The closest one is 5. The doors have already closed, so you'll have to get off there.
  11. From the 5th floor, catch one of the other elevators (the ones across the hall, that weren't there on 2) down to the 3rd floor.
  12. The only bathroom in evidence is a single-person handicap-accessible facility. Hope there's no line!
  13. Return to the ground floor via the stairs.
  14. Re-enter the restaurant with your swipe card and return it to the little basket.
  15. Enjoy your cold meal!

August 11th, 2007

(no subject)

kinda angry
Hello, nobody. Today I have a little quiz for you. Which of the following is a sensible thing to display on the electronic route designation sign on the front of a city bus operating on a normal route?

  2. I'M A NEW BUS
  9. CHK MW

(* assuming the bus in question is, in fact, running on Dufferin)
The answer shall be revealed!Collapse )

May 2nd, 2007

A joke...

kinda angry
So a priest, a rabbi, and an AACS copyright attorney are sitting in a bar. And the priest says to the rabbi, "09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0".

Ha ha ha! Get it?

October 21st, 2006

A modest proposal

kinda angry
(With the usual caveat that just because I'm updating once, don't expect me to do it again.)

I was standing at a bus stop today, and this dumbass teenage girl threw her fast-food french fries box on the ground. Then, a few minutes later, her drink cup. Then a candy wrapper, then another. I was wondering why her mother, who was standing right there, was letting her get away with being such a boor... then her mother threw her own candy wrapper on the ground. Ah.

A few weeks ago, another dumbass teenager was walking down the sidewalk past my house, and as he passed he casually hurled his half-empty drink bottle right across my front yard. Bounced off the steps and skittered around the yard, spewing Gatorade everywhere. He didn't even look, just like "I'm done with this", (*toss*).

Back in the summer, I was walking along a busy street, and some guy's dog took a crap right in the middle of the sidewalk. And then the guy walked away and left the pile of turd sitting there. In a narrow part of the busy sidewalk, no less, so I'm sure it got stepped in within about 30 seconds.

And don't even get me started on the assholes who smoke in bus shelters and terminal platforms, amusement park lineups, and other crowded, clearly-marked non-smoking areas.

Obviously, some people need a bit of remedial manners training. So I propose we blanket the city with an army of plain-clothes Enforcement Officers, armed with cattle prods. When an officer witnesses one of a list of specific infractions of common decency and/or common sense, they will identify themselves, state the nature of the offence, and apply a mild corrective shock to the offender's genitals. To prevent abuses by power-mad cattle prod toting Enforcement Officers, they could be equipped with surreptitious video cameras (say, mounted on the the rim of the officer's sunglasses, or concealed in a shirt button, or some 007 shit like that) and uplinked live to central control, where a supervisor would have to concur that an offence had been committed and clear the officer to administer the appropriate punishment. To ensure transparency, all the footage could be made available on the web (JerkTube.com), and the highlights could be compiled into a weekly TV show that I suspect would be very popular and would help offset the astronomical cost of the project. Clearly, there are some technological hurdles to overcome, but it's 2006 for chrissakes, I'm sure we can figure it out.

If any of you uninspiring candidates for mayor want to run with this, you've got my vote!

June 18th, 2006

This doesn't count

kinda angry
My mistake in bitching about the transit strike was that it was something time-specific, and now it's outdated, whereas "I'm not posting in this stupid thing" is timeless. So now I have to post something else to bump it down the list. Silly me. Hopefully this post will have better longevity. Just for something to say, I'm going to regale you with the anecdote of The Strangest Public Washroom in Toronto (That I Know Of). It's really boring, even by LJ standards.

The Strangest Public Washroom in Toronto (That I Know Of) is on Olympic Island. It's an oddly-shaped building, with a footprint like a bunch of hexagons stuck together. Around the outside are one door labeled "Men" and not one, not two, but three doors labeled "Women". When I got there at like 6am, they were all locked except one of the "Women" ones, stuck in a little alcove around the back side of the building. (The story of what the heck I was doing over on the islands at 6am in the first place is long, unblogworthy, and more to the point, time-specific). Being so early in the morning, there weren't many people around, but not so few that the bushes were a more attractive option than a hopefully-empty women's washroom. So I cautiously opened the door and called inside to make sure the coast was clear.

I needn't have worried. This washroom clearly didn't see too many customers. It wasn't connected to either of the other 2 "women" doors on the outside of the building, and it's position around the back made it the least convenient one to get to. Because of the hexagon-based layout of the building, it was weirdly arranged with triangular stalls wedged into corners and whatnot. Each of the stalls contained a toilet brimming with paper towels, discarded beer cans, and other assorted garbage, among more unspeakable things. I picked one that looked like it could be flushable without flooding the whole joint, but of course the water was turned off. No water in the grimy, dusty sinks either. It was like the place had just been abandoned by the parks staff, and they just plumb forgot to ever lock the door or send in a cleaning crew.

Eventually somebody came by and unlocked the rest of the doors, including the large, gleamingly clean mens room, its toilets devoid of garbage. At the far end of the room, set into the wall past the last stall, was a blank grey door that looked like it might lead to a utility closet or something. Being in an exploratory mood, I decided to check the door and was surprised to discover that not only was it unlocked, but it lead to a long narrow room full of urinals... and nothing else. No sinks, no toilet stalls, no alternate door to the outside world. Obviously not forgotten by the staff like the abandoned ladies room, because it was clean and the water worked, but it seemed to be unknown to most of the park visitors. When the door to the handicapped stall was open it actually obscured the door to the "secret" room almost completely. As the day wore on and the place got more and more crowded, I just slipped right past the lineups and the growing mess and into my on private pissoir. It was fantastic. I never saw another soul going in or out of that room all day. I was a little surprised to never stumble on anyone having sex back there, actually.

A section of the wall of the Secret Chamber of Pisspots looked like a passage to another room that had been cheaply covered over with plywood. So my theory is that there used to be 2 complete washrooms for each gender, connected by an internal door, so that they could unlock either one or both halves, depending on demand. Kinda makes sense because Olympic Island is often used for special events and needs lots of bathrooms sometimes, and not so much other times. Then at some point I guess they decided to turn the second mens room into a third ladies room instead, but they didn't want to be bothered ripping out all those urinals or knocking down walls or anything. And then they turned off the water in their new ladies room and let it all go to pot for some reason. I dunno. I never did pop back into the Abandoned Ladies Room and search for the other side of the walled-up passageway to verify my theory. Didn't seem like such a hot idea with so many people milling around :P.

There. I think it's a real testament to the power of the Internet to spread worthless ideas that I can post such a long pointless description of a washroom where millions of people can (and won't) read it, without some editor stepping in and saying "No, this is a total waste of precious bits, you can't publish this".

May 29th, 2006

A rare exception

kinda angry
OK, I'm just gonna post one little thing:

Bollocks to you, ATU Local 113!


May 16th, 2006

Nothing to see here

kinda angry
Don't be confused, this is not a blog. Blogs are things that get updated once in a while. You know, "today I bought a handbag", "my cat ate some Cheerios", that kind of crap. This, on the other hand, is just an account I set up so I could post comments non-anonymously. Or nonymously, if you prefer. I have no intention of updating it. And even things I do intend to do, I usually get too lazy to do pretty quickly. So don't hold your breath.
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