Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Travel Tips: Surviving the Flight

Don't you hate when you're in a plane and some kid is kicking the back of your seat?
Here's a proven method to deal with those pesky youngsters:
"Hey kid... if you stop kicking the seat, your parents will buy you ANY TOY YOU WANT when we land."
Works every time!
(Just make sure you're far away from the tantrum later at Customs or Baggage Claim)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Once and For All: US and Canadian Retail Prices are Different

As we approach another Black Friday, we are inundated with people asking the age old question in defence of cross-border shopping:
Why are prices in US so much cheaper than Canada? It's not fair!

So once and for all, I offer the simple definitive explanation of why the prices don't match.

The answer begins with the opposite question:
Why would the prices be the same?

Is it because we share the same continent? By that logic, every country in Europe would have the same prices.

Is it because we speak the same language? Nope, obviously unrelated to currency.

Is it because we both call our money "the dollar"? Also irrelevant. (If Thailand changed the name of their Baht to Dollar, would it's value instantly quadruple? I highly doubt it.)

USA and Canada are different countries with different laws, different regulations and different taxes. There's no reason why their prices should be identical.

Still not convinced? For those who doubt the logic, I'll add simple economics:
USA's population is almost 10 times Canada's, so as a country compared to Canada, the US is basically always buying in bulk. As any shopper knows, upping your retail order by a factor of 10 will always get you a better price.

So there you have it: a fundamental explanation to why US/Canadian retail prices are different, based on facts that will not change in my lifetime, so I should never have to hear the question asked again.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Why Rob Ford Shouldn't Resign

Ford's drunken buffoonery was public knowledge BEFORE the election, and they still voted for him. The only thing that has changed since then is that we have MORE PROOF that he is the man they voted for. That's not a reason to resign, that's the reason he'll be re-elected.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why Toronto Can't Have A Champion Hockey Team

There are lots of little reasons that Toronto can never have a winning NHL or NBA team... but the root of all these problems is one little fact that you never hear the sports shows talk about.

The real bottom line is that compared to the United States, Canada doesn't really count. Even if you discount the fact that our market is so much smaller money-wise... in the community of world-class athletes, Canadians don't matter. Not even in hockey.

Sure, there is honour in being a Leaf... when you're ON THE ICE. But if you're a top-level player OFF THE ICE at a social gathering with other millionaires, and they're talking about their lives in Chicago or Los Angeles, nobody cares what's going in Toronto. You are instantly a nobody and you don't matter.

No amount of incentive can keep great players in Canada when the United States want them. Even if Toronto somehow builds a great team, the key players will be poached to US teams as quickly as possible. After all, players at NHL/NBA levels got there because they are strong competitors who fight to excel. They're not the kind of people who like to "settle in a quiet comfortable place" - they are people who gravitate to higher and higher competitive levels, continuously chasing higher rewards - precisely the culture that USA does much better than Canada.

So if you're waiting for that Leafs Stanley Cup, you'll be waiting until the Canadian market is as big as the US market. Probably not in our lifetime.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Open Letter to Everyone Who is Whining About Free Downloads Killing The Entertainment Industry

Having been on every side of this scenario at one time or another (musician, consumer, producer, marketer...) I am very, very tired of hearing how downloading/streaming movies/music for free is "illegal" and "destroying the industry".

You know, before there were DVDs, torrents, MP3s, etc., there were entertainers who got paid to entertain.

Somewhere along the line, an industry of creating and selling entertainment 'containers' (CDs, cassettes, VHS tapes, etc.) popped up... so entertainment companies were no longer selling entertainment, they were now selling entertainment containers.

This turned out to be a MUCH bigger market, and so entertainers now make salaries that are highly disproportionate to the service they are providing. (Example: Tom Cruise Acts in 1 movie, and gets payed for selling 1 MILLION DVDs.) This system is clearly broken.

Now, the system can be fixed: since technology has made the 'containers' obsolete, entertainers could be forced to go back to selling entertainment.

It's like when the refrigerator was invented, and we no longer payed people to cross the ocean to chip icebergs to get us ice. Did the former ice fetchers complain that people with a fridge were "stealing their intellectual property" and "cutting into their potential sales"? No, they just realized that their product was obsolete and no longer profitable, so they stopped selling it and went back to their core service, which was ocean transport.

Technology moves forward - fighting it is pointless because you cannot stop it - your choices are only a) embrace it or b) let it destroy you. Complaining that it's "not fair" because it suddenly prevents you from raping consumer wallets just shows your ignorance.

Accept it: entertainment containers are becoming obsolete. Anyone with a PC can make their own. But there will always be a growing market for entertainment.

Despite what you may have heard from David Byrne, this lack of 'containers' will NOT hurt up-and-coming artists trying to get RICH and FAMOUS. It will likely hurt artists who just want to get RICH - so those in it for the money will stop or slow down, and we'll be left with those who do it because they have something original to say. But it's easier than ever to get FAMOUS: just throw a video on YouTube - if you're as good as you think you are, people will find you... and then they will pay to see you at a concert or theatre.

So what will the entertainment industry be left with? Much less CRAPPY entertainment, MUCH MORE high-quality entertainment, and FREE ACCESS to disseminated copies of it. Win-win-win.

And sure, it will hurt SOME parts of the industry: specifically those which do not add value. If your business model was to take a DVD that costs 5 cents to produce, put someone else's content on it, then sell it for $50 - yeah, you're going out of business. And good riddance to you. But if you're ADDING value, creating something from nothing, you now have a global audience advertising your service.

So, to the whiners:

If you are a singer, remember: you are not in the business of selling CDs; you are in the business of singing. If you are an actor, remember: you are not in the business of selling DVDs; you are in the business of acting.

"Illegal downloaders" are not "stealing your intellectual property" or "cutting into your potential income" - they are providing you with UNLIMITED FREE ADVERTISING for your ACTUAL product or service.

And if after unlimited free advertising, your product is still not making you money, then I've got bad news for you: your product stinks.

Monday, October 21, 2013

'Talking Dead' is stupid

What is the point of 'Talking Dead'?

Things you will never hear on the Talking Dead post-game show that follows new Walking Dead Episodes:

1. "I work/act on the show, so let me tell you what's going to happen next!"
2. "I'm an unpopular entertainer who's not just here to promote some unrelated project!"
3. "I didn't like that episode!"

P.S. I have never watched an episode of Talking Dead - so if my assumptions are wrong, just let me know.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You're Welcome (Once a year, at least)

I'm petitioning the Canadian government to institute a new national holiday on the day after ThanksGiving. It's going to be called You'reWelcomesGiving. (After all, it would be rude not to.)

If you would like to support this petition, or if you have suggestions for You'reWelcomesGiving traditions (example: throwing up turkey and/or stuffing into a cornucopia), please add your comments to this post.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


Is Nest the Tesla of appliances, or is Tesla the Nest of cars?

Either way, when they release the "Nesla" (an electric vehicle that parks upside-down on your ceiling to control the temperature, humidity and CO2 levels of your home) we'll officially be living in the future.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Creationists vs. Evolutionists

If I were a Creationist, I'd use this argument to win any debate with an Evolutionist:
"If your theory of Evolution is true, why are there still Creationists?"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

How To Use The Alarm Panel

"How do you set the alarm?" 
"How do you deactivate the alarm?"

Everyone at the office keeps asking me how to use the office's Alarm system panel.
Specifically: when to use the Home, Off and Away buttons.
So, here are the alarm buttons explained once and for all.

Hit the home button when you are going home.
example: on your way out of the office

Hit the off button if you want to set off the alarm.
example: if you are a burglar

Hit the away button if you are looking for a way to activate or deactivate the alarm.
example: if you are still confused about Home and Off buttons

Hope this helps!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

ASUS customer support (spoiler alert: it sucks!)


True Stories: ASUS Customer Service, July 2013

Continuing the series started with my Apple Store experience, here's what I learned while trying to return a defective motherboard to ASUS.

What they say...What they mean...
"Please sign up for our Advance Replacement program!"
(advertisement playing while on hold for 30 minutes with tech support)
*AR program means they give you a new one upfront while they fix the old one
I can put your Advance Replacement request on file, but it never works so if no one calls you back in a week you should call us again and start over.
"The serial number is on the motherboard."
(phone support)
Although we manufactured it, we have no idea where the serial number actually is, even if you tell us what model you have. So I can list a bunch of places it *might* be, while you disassemble your computer and use a magnifying glass to read what may or may not be there.... unless you're smart enough to realize that just googling the model # and 'where is serial number' will show you instantly.
"Sure, you can pick up the motherboard instead of having it shipped to you."
(phone support)
I'm going to make a note of that in the file, but I don't expect anyone to read it.
"Yes, your repaired motherboard is ready and waiting for you to pick it up."
(online chat support)
Although you requested for pick-up instead of shipping... and were skeptical enough to even double-check with us upon repair completion so as not to waste another trip here... we are still going to tell you its ready for pickup even though it has already been shipped to the only address we had on file, which is your home address where you won't be when it's delivered -- that way, instead of just picking it up today, you can waste a trip here to be frustrated in person, plus wait another week while the motherboard travels to Quebec and back, and then go chase it down from Purolator after they can't leave it at your house when no one is home during the day.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One Face, Many Names


ah, the many spellings of "Giulio" one discovers at Starbucks....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Senior's Day

Yesterday at Shopper's Drug Mart....

I'm paying at the cashier, another guy is paying at the cashier to my left...

The other guy is a 70-something with an obvious and ill-fitting jet-black hairpiece...

I'm a scruffy 30-something with tons of white hair...

...and HE gets the Senior's Discount.

What's wrong with this picture?

Monday, April 01, 2013

Walking Dead Season 4 Predictions

After watching the Walking Dead Season 3 Finale, here are my official predictions for Season 4:

1. Carl, now a rebellious teen, will run away and start an all-zombie punk band called The Rocking Dead

2. Rick and Michonne will get it onne

3. Guvnor will be back next season, TWICE as evil as before (i.e. 2 eyepatches)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Vote for me to be your next Pope!

My papal platform: If I am selected to be Pope, here's my to-do list:

1. Replace the word 'pimp' with the word 'pope' everywhere it appears
(i.e. Pope my ride, Poping aint easy, etc.)

2. Popes, while still not allowed to marry, WILL be allowed to have mistresses.
(Hot babes, not just nuns.)

3. Add a "Pope" button next to the "Poke" button on Facebook.

4. Nickelback will be declared a cardinal sin.

5. Choice of red, white or fortified wine at church. Also, eucharist wafers will be Twix.

6. Use googledocs.
(i.e. ten commandments will move from stone tablet to googledoc format for easy collaboration & revision tracking)
(i.e. instead of going to church, just have google hangouts)

7. Popemobile will be a Ferrari.

8. Gayness in the literal sense (i.e. same sex marriage) will be allowed in my church.
Gayness in the pejorative sense (i.e. "Clash of the Titans was so gay") will also be allowed in my church.

9. Vatican will be on a yacht.

10. Rosary will be shortened to 3 beads maximum.
(i.e. earring instead of necklace)

11. Marriage contracts will have fixed lengths.
(i.e. 1-year, 5-year, 10-year or pay-as-you-go marriage contract options)

12. No more altarboys.

13. Official Papal entrance music: "Jesus is just alright with me" by Doobie Brothers

14. Have the Bible translated into English (and moved to googledocs, see #6)

15. No more Star Wars movies (and I'll wipe out everything after the first 3.)

16. Confession will no longer be a required sacrament -- sins will now include built-in "implied confession". Plus, will also offer optional "pre-confession session" for those who want to save time by repenting BEFORE committing their sins.

17.  I will appoint Barack Obama as Prime Minister of Canada (Terry's idea but I like it)

This list will be updated, feel free to comment with suggestions.