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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

If Only We Could

Finally, a damn blog about what I intended to blog about! I know I could blog more during the week, but let's face it, I'm just not that gung-ho.

The year was 1987. Geddy Lee was in his "I love keyboards" phase and Neil Peart was in his electronic drum phase and Alex Lifeson was playing with A LOT of flanger. Some don't like the post "Moving Pictures" '80s Rush, but "Hold Your Fire" is a great album. It produced some unreal, thought-provoking tunes like "Force Ten," "Mission,"(unreal song, just unreal), and perhaps the only hit, "Time Stand Still."

"Freeze this moment a little bit longer. Make each sensation a little bit stronger." Oh, Neil. If only we could. What a great song about savouring the moment. This tune marked Rush's first collaboration with another singer, featuring Aimee Mann on vocals during the chorus... or prechorus... Who knows what the actual chorus of this tune is? I mean a rather lengthy part is repeated quite a bit... But for that part, I'll call it a prechorus.

Anywho, what a good tune! It's got this bouncy chorus with the above mentioned lyrics and Peart plays this off-beat hi-hat pattern with a bouncy quarter note bass that just gives it a real drive, and then there's this awesome guitar breakdown with synth in the background where Peart plays straight eighths on the bass and it's phenomenal. "Not looking back, but I want to look around me now. See more of the people and the places that surround me now." Beautiful lyrically and musically, check this tune out. Thanks to Jeff Brown at 92, you can hear this song quite a bit more on rock radio. Check out "Hold Your Fire" as an album, it's a great departure for the band and show their versatility.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Next time you think about joining Facebook, find a wall and give yourself a Facemash

The Facebook movie. Good sweet Mike. What can I honestly say? A movie about the conception of a website and the subsequent lawsuits that dogged its creator. Great idea for a flick... Not. While the acting and dialogue were tremendous, I just found myself not caring.

You really want to like Eisenberg's character, Mark Zuckerberg, but he comes off as such a pompous, self-centred prick that you can't, and that really alienates you from the picture. His buddy gets totally screwed over, so there's less of a likability for Garfield's character and more pity than anything.

It's really hard to say whether or not the film portrayed Zuckerberg in a negative light because it seemed like they were trying to make him this internet hero, but they still wanted to let us know he did some bad stuff. Bad stuff like stealing an idea for a now billion-dollar website, absolutely screwing his best friend, and being an overall emotionless dick. So, we've seen him do all of this, and we see him being sued and I was like "good, he deserves it." He basically stole an idea and then elaborated. However, through the cunning use of sexy Rashida Jones and her brief heart-to-hearts with Eisenberg's character, I almost found myself feeling sorry for the guy. But now that I think about it, I don't know why. Maybe it's because he's completely inept in a social setting and yet he pioneered the world's number one social networking site. Thus, I really can't say the film portrayed Zuckerberg in a negative light, but I can't say it shone the positive light on him either.

I think this film will have two very opposite effects on Facebook's popularity. For one, I think people are going to get a craving for Facebook and rush home to use their accounts and tempt their friends into joining because it's "so awesome." It may also attract people who want to see it now that they know where it came from. It'll attract those curious folks who want to see if they can see this history in it, i.e. maybe they'll be able to tell how it came from its Facemash roots or something like that. For another, however, I think the film will turn people off from Facebook because of all the corruption and lies and back-stabbing that went on (I'm assuming it all went on so dramatically in real life because movies never lie, they show everything exactly how it happened, because two nerds could really pull off that kind of drama in real life... couldn't they?). People may also be turned off by the fact that after screwing over his pals and getting sued for probably over a hundred million dollars, Mark Zuckerberg is still the world's youngest billionaire. That's disgusting. That's the lesson you leanr from this film. Steal an idea, back-stab your way to the top, get sued for unfathomable amounts of money and still be richer than all hell. Brilliant and insightful.

The real Mark Zuckerberg seems to deny the dramatic elements of the film, citing it as fiction. Underneath all of his diplomatic, political responses, I can simply tell that he didn't like the way he was portrayed. And that's completely understandable. He's portrayed as a socially inept nerd who can't keep a girlfriend or best friend to save his life. Even after his best friend spots him tens of thousands of dollars... So he's an ingrate too. I can see how the real Zuckerberg would take issue with this, but the way he responded just seemed dishonest. It seemed like the big guys behind the scenes had their hands up his puppet butt, much like Cheney usually had his hand up Bush's rear. Zuckerberg seemed to be doing what he was told to save the company face. I like the fact that he denied being the same as the character in the film, but to try and show that through a hefty donation to a school was asinine. Oh, the timing was a coincidence, I just so happened to donate a hundred million dollars on the same day the film opened. Bo-Ha. Bull honky. Don't insult me. You knew full well what you were doing Mr. Zuckerberg and you left a nasty taste in people's mouths.

I would have waited until a couple weeks after the film's release and then I would have made a donation, especially one of such magnitude. It would have been in better taste, and it would have been more believable as a gesture of goodwill because people would look at it and go "oh, the film did well, Facebook must be doing well, Mark Zuckerberg is doing well, Zuckerberg is giving back." To me, that would have been a far better scenario for Zuckerberg and the Facebook camp. With Zuckerbergs actual timing, I think people are going to look at it as a saving face emergency measure. They won't see it as a donation of good will, but as a donation to say "look guys, I'm actually a decent dude and not actually a douchebag." Either way, I think he looks like an ass, but I think if he had made the donation at a later date, he might be just one cheek or something.

I mentioned Zuckerberg's response to the film- you can check out some points here:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Buyer Beware Blog

For our Buyer Beware project, we compared WestJet and Air Canada based on price, accommodation, comfort, food quality, and other amenities that go along with airline. My part of the project was to look at cancellation, flight-change, and bereavement fares.  We found that WestJet came out on tape based on customer satisfaction as well as their commitment to it.

I've learnt to really look at what I'm buying before I get into anything, especially with airlines, because there's a lot of fine print and smoke and mirrors that may mislead the customer. Granted... these smoke and mirrors are easily seen through if you just know where to look. WestJet seems like they want to let the customer in to find whatever they want; their legal section featuring tariffs and whatnot is presented clearly and is easily accessible, both on the web and based on readability.

Air Canada's online tariff descriptions and legal stuff are very difficult to read and go through. It's presented in a block format with all of the type, including titles, in the same type size and font. One must basically read through the entire 91 page to find exactly what they're looking for. It essentially made me mad and I just got sick of looking at Air Canada.

Getting back to looking deeper, this project has taught me to analyze a larger purchase (like an airline ticket) from all angles before I finalize because there are many ways that one can screw oneself (with respect to purchases and airlines).

The only part of the project I don't care for is the paper itself. While I think it's necessary to have something to hand in, I do believe a presentation should suffice. Perhaps a shorter, more succinct paper would suffice, featuring findings and method and whatnot, kind of a like a scientific method write-up.

All in all, however, I found the project to be somewhat eye-opening and I think it would have been interesting to explore other topics because I haven't been on a plane in 12 years. Other topics I'd like to explore would be brand-name clothing, video games, computer products, and workout products like protein powders.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Rock and a Hard Place

Today, against our will, the CreComm class was forced to go to a political forum featuring Winnipeg's two major mayoral candidates, Judy Wasylycia-Leis and Sam Katz. Opening questions were asked very forcefully and in a rather ballsy manner by the moderator, CJOB's Richard Cloutier. The replies were very animated and campaign-like, but after a little while, both Katz and Wasylycia-Leis resorted to almost catty banter. It soon became more like a pissing contest than a political forum hosted by informed, professional candidates.

Now I ask all of you, how do you vote now? I feel like I'm in an episode of South Park now in which I'm forced to either vote for a turd sandwich or a giant douche (I'll let you figure out who's who for yourself). What now? After seeing this "forum," I feel like my own vote is hopeless. Each candidate danced around the questions being asked and really didn't answer anything. How am I supposed to make an informed decision when I really dislike them both as people now? I suppose I could choose the lesser of two evils, but why not just choose not to vote?

I did find it a little odd that Cloutier seemed to be cutting Wasylycia-Leis off a lot and letting Katz speak freely. And boy did Katz speak freely. Yeesh.

I'm having a crisis of conscience now though, because I really don't know for whom I should vote, or for that matter, if I should vote at all? What's the point? After seeing the way the leading candidates handled themselves today, I'd be more inclined to vote for the next best 12 year old than one of these 2 potential ruinations of Winnipeg. I've honestly lost all faith in our civic government as of today and don't really care who wins now because, by the sounds of things, the city's going to hell. I may be being a bit dramatic, but I thought we were supposed to be able to look to the apparent leaders of the city for guidance and professionalism and leadership. Now I'll just go to one or the other if I want tips on how to deal with a child during an argument.