September 28, 2006

So that's what that tower is all about

So I'm listening to Alex Jones this afternoon. (Yeah, yeah, I know.) I missed the exact context of the statements, but he started going on about the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. According to Jones, if you get up close, it looks like "something out of Lord of the Rings, where Sauron lives or something.

Additionally, I learned tha the "main room" of our Neo-Gothic House of Parliament has the proportions 6-6-6, Satanic rituals are held in the building, it has "demons and devils" all over it, and, of course, the ever-spooky "green roof."

Of course, I'm sure this ridiculous tirade about Canada's most prominent landmark has nothing to do with Jones' lengthy detention by Customs this June when he and his megaphone came to Ottawa to protest the Bilderberger meeting.

Here's a current picture of the Building of Evil, courtesy of the Hell - I mean, Hill Cam:

You may notice that the roof isn't so much green as it is brown, and in fact hasn't been green since it was replaced in 1997.

What a loon.

September 22, 2006

Blogger Beta

So . . . just out of curiosity, have any of my Blogger-using readers made the switch to "New Blogger" yet?

I'm intrigued by the feature set, which may stave off my (inevitable) migration to WordPress for awhile yet. On the other hand, switching over to Blogger Beta is an all-or-nothing commitment: i.e. I can't create a test blog and make sure all the kinks are worked out before committing the Crusty Curmudgeon.

*sigh* . . . So close, and yet so far.

September 19, 2006


Once again, ye swabs, 'tis International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

In celebration o' th' occasion, I be playin' Gilbert an' Sullivan`s Th' Seafarin' Hearties o' Penzance at work, t' general amusement.


September 07, 2006

Dim Bulb University

"Oh well, there's always Lakehead."

That was a running gag with some of my engineering classmates in my first year of school at Waterloo. Faced with difficult homework assignments that late-night collaborations couldn't crack, the mock defeatism usually elicited a chuckle. A variation on the same theme, "Oh well, there's always Arts," didn't seem so funny to me by 1992. And now, 17 years later, life imitates mockery again.

Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, recently ran an advertising campaign that justifies that old derision:titled "Yale Shmale." Its posters featured a picture of George Bush and the text "Just because you go to an Ivy League school doesn't necessarily mean you're smart."

The president of Lakehead's student union described her reaction to the campaign as "repugnance" and embarrassment on the school's behalf. In fact, the ad campaign drew such a negative backlash that the school pulled it soon after. The Web site YaleShmale now reads, "You can get a great education at Yale. You might even become President of the United States."

Apparently this ad campaign was aimed at prospective students in the Greater Toronto Area - I'm guessing, in particular, the smug liberal Bush-is-a-moron type, and probably the ones who were already turned down at Canada's other top contenders for Last Chance U., Laurentian and Carleton.

Despite the pullback of the campaign, Lakehead University president Fred Gilbert claims it was a resounding success. This is, incidentally, the same genius that instituted a campus-wide ban on Wi-Fi networking this February, based on the dubious claim that wireless Internet causes cancer. Maybe before looking like a woo-woo, he should have asked his science faculty whether the microwave frequencies used for wireless networking are ionizing (they aren't). And does the ban include cordless phones and microwave ovens, which operate at the same frequencies?

Going to an Ivy League school doesn't mean you're smart. Apparently, neither does administering a Canadian university. For his tireless campaign to make Lakehead U. look like @#$%head U., Dr. Fred Gilbert is hereby awarded the DIM BULB du jour. Congratulations!

September 06, 2006

Why I love Frosh Week

On my way to and from church on Sunday, I passed by the main bus stop at Carleton University. Sunday happened to be "move-in day" (or at least one of them) for new students.

Standing in the shelter, out of the drizzle, were a half-dozen to ten people who appeared to be students, patiently waiting for the bus to arrive. Meanwhile, plastered all over the glass of the shelter were signs reading as follows:


Immediately to the south of the shelter was a wooden barrier across the road with a "ROAD CLOSED" sign hanging on it.

Five years from now, these people are going to be working for you. Consider yourself warned.

September 04, 2006

Another one in the can

Today is the Crusty Curmudgeon's third anniversary.

The fall of 2006 also marks the tenth anniversary of my presence on the WWW, as well as roughly ten years since I started fooling around with 3D rendering and raytracing for entertainment. (In fact, the first raytraced image I created for the Web is still in use - mainly since I haven't bothered to update that page in almost five years.)

In the last few years, my graphical efforts have focused primarily on the use of The Gimp and other Photoshop-like tools to composit complex images by arranging layers of simpler elements. So I thought that for this go-around, I'd set the Gimp aside (apart from some necessary post-processing) and let the renderer do the hard work. (Raytracing, for those who aren't familiar with the term, is a method of rendering photorealistic images that simulates light rays interacting with surfaces.)

I also thought that after three years of a predominantly blue blog design, it was time to let the Crusty Curmudgeon's other "official" colour, orange, take the front seat for a year. The particular shade of blue that I use on this blog was the corporate colour of a company I worked for a few years ago. During my tenure, they "rebranded" and abandoned blue. So I gave it a new home and saved it from a life on the streets. The orange is simply a contrasting colour I chose to complement it, and I keep it around because blue and orange drives certain conspiracy nuts batty. (They don't teach the conspirinauts colour theory, I guess.)

There isn't any particular significance to the soap sculptures, except that one of my first 3D images was a model of a soap sculpture carved into my name. At the time, I was forced to wear a nametag, so I decided to "customize" it a bit.

I'm still having trouble with the image. Realistic rendering of some surfaces can be tricky - pools of water should not look like diluted milk, for example. Well, I'm learning as I go, and since all the major elements are in place, there's nothing hindering me from tweaking it to try and improve the optical properties of the water and a few other things. Also, the bullets need a bit of work, and I'm sure I'll find a few other bugs that need repairing over time, as well. (Promises, promises.)

Best of all, I didn't forget my own blogiversary for two weeks, like last year.