Category Archives: Lists

February Quotes

I saw this on another blog somewhere, and thought it was a neat idea. Once a month, I will post a list of interesting quotes I’ve heard over the previous month. They could be lines from songs or movies or TV shows or anything else. In my case, they’re mostly songs because I listen to a lot of music. The quotes I selected were chosen mainly because they were intruiging or clever or funny, not because they represent my thoughts or feelings at any particular time.

“We’re only immortal for a limited time”

Rush, Dreamline

“I’m in a groove now, or is it a rut?”

Rush, Face Up

“What people don’t realize is they’re between 10 and 150 milliseconds away from every creep on the planet”

“Well I’ve been looking’ for a job but it’s hard to find
Down here it’s just winners and losers and don’t get caught on the wrong side of that line”

Bruce Springsteen, Atlantic City

“Last night I sat him up behind the wheel and said
‘Son, take a good look around. This is your hometown'”

Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown

“If you wonder why I never wrote you a song
it’s because happiness writes white”

Harvey Danger, Happiness Writes White

“I remember what she said to me
how she swore that it never would end
I remember how she held me oh so tight
wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then”

Bob Seger, Against the Wind

“I was flyin’ back from Lubbock, I saw Jesus on the plane
Or maybe it was Elvis, y’know they kinda look the same”

Don Henley, If Dirt Were Dollars

“She just looked at me, uncomprehendingly,
like cows at a passing train”

Don Henley, If Dirt Were Dollars

“A man with a briefcase can steal more money
than any man with a gun”

Don Henley, Gimme What You Got

“Who’s the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who follows him?”

Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Star Wars”

Leia: “Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerfherder!”
Han: “Who’s scruffy-looking?”

Han Solo and Princess Leia, “The Empire Strikes Back”

Leia: “I happen to like nice men.”
Han: “I’m nice men.”

Han Solo and Princess Leia, “The Empire Strikes Back”

“When he speaks nobody listens, where he leads no one will go”

Genesis, Man on the Corner

“I swear you might have left me anyway
So I’ll leave you instead”

Big Wreck, Under the Lighthouse

“Two men say they’re Jesus
One of them must be wrong”

Dire Straits, Industrial Disease

“It is [for] a 5th round draft pick… It was either that or a bucket of pucks, but Florida didn’t want to give up a whole bucket.”

My friend Steve, talking about the Leafs trading Wade Belak to Florida

“You gave me nothin’, now it’s all I got”

U2, One

“Am I buggin’ you? Don’t mean to bug ya. OK Edge, play the blues.”

U2, Silver and Gold (live)

“Don’t believe in what they tell me, there ain’t no cure
The rich stay healthy, the sick stay poor”

U2, God Part II

“You’ve got to cry without weeping, talk without speaking,
Scream without raising your voice”

U2, Running To Stand Still

Eric Clapton vs. Elton John

Here are ten reasons why the guitar is a more difficult instrument to play than the piano:

  1. Once you tune a piano, it’s tuned, and can stay in tune for years. A guitar that’s perfectly in tune at the beginning of a song can be out of tune halfway through that song. Plus, the piano is always tuned the same way. The key that plays a C note on one piano will always play a C note on any other piano. Guitars can be tuned in any number of different configurations — the open top string is usually E, but it might be D, or F, or something else; it depends on the tuning.
  2. On the piano, the right hand and left hand are doing essentially the same thing. They play different notes and such, but basically the same thing. On the guitar, the left hand is fretting notes while the right hand is picking or strumming them. Fundamentally different actions.
  3. A chord on a piano is usually three notes, sometimes four. On a guitar, you frequently have to play six-note chords with only four fingers (the thumb on the fret hand is almost never used).
  4. On the piano, there is one set of keys in strictly ascending order. You always know whether one note is higher or lower than another based on whether it’s to the left or right of the other note. On the guitar, there are essentially six different sets of notes which overlap. Is the 3rd string, 6th fret higher or lower than the fourth string, 12th fret? Answer: lower, but unless you play the guitar or have one in front of you, it’s not obvious.
  5. Unless you press the sustain pedal on the piano, as soon as you remove your finger from the key, the note stops. On the guitar, you can remove your hands entirely and the open strings will ring unless you deaden them.
  6. If someone has never played a piano in their life, you can teach them a C major scale in about 10 seconds: Black keys are grouped in either 2 or 3. Look for the 2 black keys together, and the white key immediately to the left of that is C. Hit that key, then each white key next to it (to the right) until you get to the next C. That’s it. Teach someone that, and if they find themselves at a piano a month later, they could probably repeat it. On the guitar, it would be 2nd string from the top, 4th fret, then 2nd string 6th fret, then 3rd string 3rd fret, 3rd string 4th fret, 3rd string 6th fret, 4th string 3rd fret, 4th string 5th fret, and 4th string 6th fret. Or instead of 3rd string 3rd fret, you could do 2nd string 8th fret. Or numerous other ways. I’ve been playing guitar for 20 years and I had to do little air-guitar fretting motions in order to figure out how write it down here. Someone who had never played a guitar before would have no chance of remembering the notes a month later. (On the other hand, playing a C-sharp major scale on the guitar is easy once you know the C major – just move everything up one fret. On the piano, I’d have to think for a minute to figure it out.)
  7. If you don’t play the guitar often, playing for more than a couple of minutes causes the tips of your fingers to hurt. Piano — no pain.
  8. You’ve got grands, baby grands, uprights, and other types of pianos, and they all look different, but excluding quality differences, they play pretty much the same way. Playing an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar are very different. 6-strings and 12-strings are also very different.
  9. With a piano, you play a note or you don’t, though you can play it louder or softer. Same with a guitar, but you can also play the note and then bend it, or hit the note below and bend up, or hit the note and slide up or down, or hit the note above and slide down, or hit the note below and slide up. You can bend strings behind the nut in some cases, and if you have a tremolo bar (aka whammy bar) or a slide, you have even more options. Plus there are natural and artificial harmonics, which are impossible on a piano.
  10. The location of a note in relation to position of the black keys tells you immediately what note it is. I haven’t taken a piano lesson in over 25 years, and I can’t read music anymore, but if you asked me to fine a G on a piano keyboard, I could find it right away. On a guitar, you just have to know, or remember the notes that the open strings play and figure it out from there.

Note to piano players — don’t get all bent out of shape. This list was made tongue-in-cheek.

Books you will not see on anytime soon

  1. Hockey – A Gentleman’s Game” by Todd Bertuzzi
  2. A Comprehensive Analysis of U.S. Foreign Policy in the 20th Century” by Paris Hilton
  3. How I Made Millions Playing Professional Lacrosse” by anyone
  4. Feeding Your Family on only $17 Million a Year” by Latrell Sprewell
  5. My Favorite Hanukkah Traditions” by Mel Gibson
  6. An Actor’s Guide to Avoiding Typecasting” by Joe Pesci
  7. Burying the Hatchet: How to Resolve Personal Differences And Just Get Along” by Roger Clemens and Mike Piazza
  8. Building a Successful Long-term Career in the Entertainment Industry” by that kid who played “Webster” on TV (foreword by Leif Garrett)
  9. High on Life: Why You Don’t Need Alcohol To Have Fun” by Lindsay Lohan
  10. Being a Sports Celebrity Without Becoming a Jerk” by Kobe Bryant, Barry Bonds, Latrell Sprewell, Roger Clemens, and numerous others

Honourary mention: “George Foreman’s Big Book of Baby Names” (I saw that on some web site somewhere and got a good laugh)

Questions for People Over 30

Got this from cahwyguy.

1. Do you prefer solicitors and service staff to address you by first name
or by title+last (e.g. “Ms. Smith”, “Dr. Adams”, etc.)?
Title unless I know
them outside of their job, or have dealt with them numerous times in the past. I
was at the bank the other day, and the guy I met with came out and said “Hi
Graeme” although I’d never met him before. I didn’t like that.

2. How many careers have you had? Just one – software developer.

3. How many jobs? How many employers? 6 co-op terms at three employers:
3 at IBM in Toronto, 2 at Sears Canada in Toronto, 1 at Microsoft in Redmond, WA.
After graduation, a year and half at Corel in
Ottawa. After grad school, three years at Comnetix in Mississauga, and just
over nine years at iAnywhere Solutions/Sybase in Waterloo.

4. What was the best employer you worked for? iAnywhere, of course!

5. What was your favorite job? Some of the work
I was doing

at Comnetix was really cool, but the company itself had problems. I love what I
do at iAnywhere.

6. How many companies, businesses or incorporated organizations have you

7. Did you grow up to be what you wanted to be when you were 5? When you were
10? When you were 15? When you were 20?
My parents tell me that I wanted to be
a baker when I was a kid. Apart from the standard fireman, policeman, etc., I
never really had any career plans. I didn’t even know what I wanted to major in
at university; I was in the math faculty, but was “non-specialist” until I picked
computer science in 2nd year.

8. Have you published any books or academic papers? How many? A couple of
technical articles at UWO, and an article in the proceedings
of the Third International Symposium on Integrated Network Management back in

9. Do you hold any patents? How many? iAnywhere has applied for a patent
for our web-server-in-the-database-server technology, and my name is one of four
on the patent application.

10. Are you licensed or certified to practice a profession(s)? If so, what?

11. Ever served in the military? What branch and how long? Nope.

12. What’s the largest number of employees you have ever managed at a time?
I’ve supervised several co-op students, and I think I had two at the same time
once or twice. None in the past, oh, five years or so though. I have no interest
in being a manager.

13. How many countries have you lived in? Canada my whole life, except
for four months (September to December 1991), when I lived in Redmond, WA, USA,
while working for Microsoft.

14. How many times have you been married? Once.

15. How many kids do you have? How many grandkids? Two sons, born 1999 and
2002. No grandkids for at least another 15-20 years, hopefully.

16. Whom do you observe Thanksgiving with? Usually my parents and Gail’s
parents (on different days). This year, we had some non-Thanksgiving-related
things to do that weekend, so we stayed home.

17. How many parents have you had? Just the two…

18. How many of your parents are still alive? How close are/were you to
Both are still kicking. I talk to them a few times a month, and we see
them maybe every other month or so. My sister talks to them almost daily.

19. What’s one way you were surprised to find out you turned out like one of
your parents?
Can’t think of anything. I’m more like my dad than my mom, but
not in any way that surprises me.

20. What’s one way you expected to turn out like your parent(s) and were
surprised not to?
Again, nothing comes to mind.

21. Do you own or rent your home? If the former, how many years on your
mortgage, if any?
Own. We bought in 1997, so we have 16 years

22. Do you have roommates (i.e. non-family adults living with you)? If not,
how long has it been since you had roommates?
No. I lived with three other
grad students in 1994 at Western, and moved in with Gail right after that, and
we got married the next year.

23. Have you ever sat on a jury? Yep, though it resulted in a mistrial,
so we never really got to do anything. Details are here (Day one),
here (Day
two), and here (Day

24. Have you ever run for office? Held office? Nope.

25. Are you a member of a political party? Do you volunteer with it? Do you
donate money to it?
No, no, and no.

26. What’s the nicest restaurant you’ve been to in the past year? We’ve
been to Milestone’s in Burlington a couple of times, including last Saturday
for our 11th anniversary.

27. What’s the nicest item of furniture you’ve bought? (Gifts don’t count!)
Our entertainment center. Holds our 36″ TV and all the stereo equipment. The
only problem with it that if we ever decide to go plasma, it’s useless.

28. What kitchen appliance are you most happy you bought? (Gifts don’t
Our side-by-side fridge, though the water dispenser does not have a
pump in it. It uses the water pressure from the pipes, which isn’t very good, so
it takes forever to fill up a glass of water, and the ice cubes it makes are
hollow. We don’t use it (the water dispenser) anymore because of that.

29. Do you have a preferred airline? How many frequent flyer miles do you
Air Canada. We have a few hundred thousand Aeroplan points, which we
may use next year for a trip to the Big Apple, or we may save them for a couple
more years and go to Hawaii.

30. Where do you like to go to vacation? Our trip to Fern Resort is
always fun, and we’ve been to the Carribbean twice (once to Sandals Ocho Rios on
our honeymoon, and once on a cruise. I would
love to go to Hawaii or Australia. Gail wants to go to Paris for her 40th birthday
in a couple of years.

31. Women: Do you wear skirts or trousers on the job? N/A

32. Men: Do you currently have facial hair? No. I’ve had both a full beard
and a goatee in years past, but Gail’s not too fond of them.

33. Do you have grey hair yet? If so, do you try to hide it? Yes, around
my temples. Never tried to hide it.

More lists

Making lists is fun! Here is a list of all the airports I’ve ever flown into or
out of:

Pearson (Toronto)
Prestwick (Scotland)
Heathrow (London)
San Francisco
Logan (Boston)
O’Hare (Chicago)
Miami/Ft. Lauderdale
Reagon National (Washington DC)
Newark (NJ)
La Guardia (NYC)
Pittsburgh (stopover on way to Orlando)
San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Montego Bay (Jamaica)

And all the countries (and provinces/states) I’ve visted:

Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, BC)
U.S.A.(Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, US Virgin
St. Lucia

Note that Curaçao belongs to the Netherlands Antilles, while Aruba is a State
of the Netherlands. Both technically belong to the Netherlands, so neither is
really a country by itself.

Concerts I’ve seen

Here is a list of bands I have seen live. A number in brackets indicates
the number of times I’ve seen that band. They are listed in the order in which
I remembered them while making the list, not the order in which they occurred.

The Captain and Tennille CNE Grandstand – hey, I was only
Rush (3) All Maple Leaf Gardens, I think
Triumph (3) MLG twice, and their last-ever show at Kingswood
the day before Rik Emmett left the band
Rik Emmett Opened for Kim Mitchell at the CNE
Kim Mitchell (2) CNE and the Village Green at U of Waterloo
during frosh week
Bob Seger MLG
Bruce Springsteen CNE
The Eagles CNE
Don Henley Kingswood
Honeymoon Suite (6) Kingswood a couple of times, Ontario Place
forum, The Diamond.
Whitesnake CNE
Iron Maiden MLG?
Anthrax MLG? Opened for Maiden
Bruce Dickinson Rock ‘n Roll Heaven
Metallica (2) Copps Colliseum and Olympic Stadium in
Montreal. In Montreal, they played for about an hour before James Hetfield got
burned by some pyrotechnics (during Fade To Black, ironically), and they had to
cut the show short to take him to the hospital. See Guns ‘n Roses below – this
was the same show.
Faith No More Olympic Stadium – opened for Metallica and
Guns ‘n Roses Olympic Stadium – left the stage after 45 minutes,
causing a riot. Gail and I didn’t notice, because we had left 20 minutes before
that to go see Blue Rodeo, who were playing a free show down the street.
Blue Rodeo (3) A bar in Montreal, The Diamond, and the Village Green at U of W
Corrosion of Conformity Opened for Metallica at Copps
Voivod Opened for Rush at MLG. They sucked.
Saga MLG
Styx CNE
Heart Kingswood
Haywire Kingswood
The Rolling Stones CNE
The Who CNE – Very disappointed. No band that was that popular,
with that much material, that has been around for 30+ years should be allowed to
play a 90-minute show. The Stones played over 3 hours.
Paul McCartney SkyDome – fantastic show
Red Rider Opening for Rush at MLG
Tom Cochrane (2) Some place in Ottawa (New Years Eve 1992), and
The Twist in Waterloo
Chalk Circle The Twist
Ray Lyell and the Storm The Twist
The Tragically Hip Fed Hall (!) at U of Waterloo
Jeff Healey Fed Hall
Bryan Adams Molson Park
Sass Jordan Molson Park
The Steve Miller Band Molson Park
Moxy Fruvous Molson Park
Extreme Molson Park
Barenaked Ladies Kingswood
Def Leppard CNE
The Wallflowers ACC, opening for John Mellencamp
John Mellencamp (3) CNE, Molson Amphitheater (when Gail was
8 months pregnant), and ACC. The one at the CNE was probably the loudest concert
I’ve even been to.
Crowded House Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle
The Posies Bumbershoot – opened for Crowded House
Van Halen CNE, but sadly, never with David Lee Roth
Aldo Nova MLG, opened for Saga
Prism Entex
Sheryl Crow CNE, opened for the Eagles
BTO CNE, opened for Van Halen

Update: Added third Blue Rodeo show, Moxy Fruvous, and Extreme – thanks Fais! Also remembered Barenaked Ladies and Aldo Nova

Update: Added Prism

Update: Added Sheryl Crow

Update: Added BTO opening for Van Halen. There was a third band on the bill, but I can’t remember who it was.

Music stuff

Here are a few lists of music-related things:

Good Band Names

  • Blue Rodeo
  • The The
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • The Thompson Twins (there are 3 of them, and they’re not related)
  • Rage Against The Machine – not a big fan of their music, but good name
  • Strawberry Alarm Clock
  • Bands named after people who don’t exist (Max Webster, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull)
  • Death Cab For Cutie
  • Rainbow Butt Monkeys (now known as Finger Eleven, another good name)
  • Bourbon Tabernacle Choir
  • Buddy Whasisname and the Other Fellas
  • Bruno Gerussi’s Medallion
  • Me First and the Gimme Gimme’s

More good ones here.

Bad Band Names

  • The (anything) – post-1980. The Cars? The Smithereens? The Salads?
  • Bands that name themselves after a place (Toronto, Boston, Kansas, Chilliwack, Asia, Chicago) – The Bay City Rollers are exempt from this because they picked their name by throwing a dart at a US map
  • Audioslave – great band, boring name, especially considering the members came from Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden, both good names

Just Weird Band Names

  • Chumbawumba
  • Bowling for Soup
  • Hoobastank
  • The Meat Puppets
  • Toad The Wet Sprocket
  • Mott The Hoople
  • Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Great Album Names

  • Not of this Earth – Joe Satriani — After listening to his guitar playing, you might believe he really is not of this Earth.
  • Break Like The Wind – Spinal Tap
  • Tragic Kingdom – No Doubt
  • Yes I Am – Melissa Etheridge — Doesn’t refer to her sexuality, but since it’s the first album since she came out, it sounds like it does
  • Rockihnroll – Greg Kihn — He also had albums named Kihnspiracy, Kihnspicuous, and Kihnsolidation

Generally bad album names:

  • Anything non-debut album that’s self-titled (see Peter Gabriel, Weezer)
  • Any numbered album (Led Zeppelin, Chicago)
  • “Untitled” albums (Led Zeppelin “IV”)
  • “Greatest Hits” if you’re a band that didn’t have any actual hits, i.e. on the Top 40 chart or whatever. Pearl Jam is immensely popular, but has had very few big hit singles. If Pearl Jam were to release such a compilation, “The Best Of Pearl Jam” would be a better option than “Pearl Jam’s Greatest Hits”.

Best Guitar Solos

  • Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
  • One of these Nights – The Eagles
  • Alive – Pearl Jam
  • Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Shine – Collective Soul
  • Layla – Derek and the Dominoes
  • Sultans of Swing – Dire Straits
  • One – Metallica

Top 10 Great Album Names for Bad Albums

10. Songs about Fucking – Big Black
  Honestly, I have no idea what this band sounds like, but you just gotta love the honesty of the title.
9. Eat ’em and Smile – David Lee Roth
8. All the Best Cowbows Have Chinese Eyes – Pete Townshend
7. Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors – Fish
  Not that bad an album, but not nearly as good as his stuff with Marillion.
6. The Spaghetti Incident? – Guns ‘n Roses
  After Appetite for Destruction and the Use Your Illusions, this one was a bit of a downer.
5. Counterparts – Rush
  Not a great album, as Rush albums go, but the album art plays on the word “Counterparts” very well, listing a bunch of words that go together, as well as pictures of things that go together, and other things like a blueprint of a kitchen sink and parts of a clock (get it? Counter parts?).
4. Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch – Our Lady Peace
3. Badmotorfinger – Soundgarden
  I loved Superunknown, and had heard lots of good things about this one, so I bought it. It’s OK, but Superunknown blows it away.
2. Sailing the Seas of Cheese – Primus
  Tommy the Cat and Jerry was a Race Car Driver are both good, but the rest was rather forgettable. Frizzle Fry is a much better Primus album.
1. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence – Dream Theater
  Again, not a bad album, but not as good as other Dream Theater albums. Awesomely cool album title though. This one gave me the idea for this list.

Update: Honorable mention to The Worst of Jefferson Airplane by (who else?) Jefferson Airplane. This one’s good not only because of the good name, but because (I believe) it was their debut album.

Maybe next I’ll list the worst album titles for great albums — pretty much any self-titled album (that’s not a debut album) or numbered album (Chicago II, Chicago III, Chicago IV, …, Chicago XVII, …) would count here.

Cool stuff

I saw an article today on the 100 best (computer-related) products of 2005, so I thought I’d come up with my own list of products that I can’t live without. Well, OK, maybe “can’t live without” is a little strong, but here are some products that I really like.

  • Mozilla Firefox. It blocks most pop-up windows, allows multiple pages in tabs, has a google search feature built-in, and allows smart keywords (i.e. I can enter “wiki ” in the address bar, and it will load wikipedia and search for the “anything” that I entered. And it doesn’t allow useless and dangerous ActiveX controls. And it supports web standards like CSS way better than IE. In short, it just rocks.
  • A few extensions for Firefox: Adblock, Web Developer, and Add Bookmark Here are all very useful.
  • The MP3 player in my car. When the CD player in my Grand Prix got flaky, I replaced it with one that also plays MP3s. I quickly created a few disks with lots of albums on them, and now I’m hooked. I can put in a disk in, hit shuffle, and not hear the same song twice for days or weeks. I have a single CD with the entire Tragically Hip collection, plus one or two other albums, since there’s room.
  • IrfanView. It’s an image file utility that can do things like display slideshows and stuff, but the only thing I use it for is batch image conversion. For example, I had a directory containing 25 .jpg files that I wanted to scale down — they were all something like 3300×4800 pixels, and 800 dpi. For the web, I only wanted maybe 150dpi and 800×1200 or thereabouts. With IrfanView, I selected the images, told it what I wanted it to do, and it did it to each one in turn. Very cool.
  • My universal remote control. I use it to control the following components in our family room: TV, DVD player, VCR, receiver, CD player, and even the ceiling fan.
  • Wireless networking. We bought a wireless router about 4 years ago (cost something like $350 for the router and $150 for a wireless card – way cheaper now), and I don’t know how we survived without it. I guess before Gail and I had laptops, we just used our PC, which was always in the same place, so there was no problem. Now, I bring my laptop home from work and turn it on, and it immediately connects to the internet, and I can do this in any room in the house.
  • My cell phone. I don’t get a lot of calls; about 90% are from Gail, asking me to pick up dinner on the way home from work, or stop off at the grocery store, or whatever, but I always make sure I have my phone with me whenever I go anywhere.

One more item that’s on the very cool list, though I’ve never really used it, is Mac OS X. I’ve never been a Mac guy at all, but I did work at a company that did NeXTStep development. NeXTStep was the best development environment I’ve ever worked in. Once NeXT was bought by Apple, they kind of based OS X on NeXTStep, and made it even cooler. I’ve only seen it a couple of times at work when John (a faithful reader of this blog, and quite possibly the only reader of this blog) shows me the cool stuff his Mac can do. It’s basically your standard Unix system, but the GUI is far cooler than any other Unix GUI I’ve seen. It does cool things like being able to temporarily tile all of the windows, allowing you to pick one, and them moving all the windows back to where they were. The Windows UI team could learn a thing or two from OS X.

States I’ve visited

Here is a neat little site that shows all of the US states you’ve visited. Here’s my map:

The only eastern ones I’m missing are Delaware, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

Update: Made the picture smaller so that IE doesn’t get screwed up when trying to display the columns.

Update: Added Nevada and Arizona!