Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Jan Is World Famous!

Sailing Anarchy is a wonderfully irreverent sailing site that I check out everyday. It has the dirt on the sailing world. I believe it is the most popular sailing web site on the internet. In other words this is a big league place!

After Jan knitted me a sail boat, I decided that I should send Sailing Anarchy a photo, I thought they might get a kick out of it.

Well, today I checked out their site, and... woo hoo... on their front page was Jans knitted boat!

I loved the title they used 'Knitting Anarchy'!

If you need a knitted boat of your own you should check Jans knitting site.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Ultimate Christmas Present

I found this online, it is too good not to share!

This is every mans dream remote control! hahahahahaha

What Do You Call Cold?

I got up this morning and the thermometer was showing a mercury solidifying -30C. Now that is cold! That's so cold that if you attempted to take a leak outside it would freeze before it hits the snow, and you likely would get frostbite in a very delicate part of the anatomy!

Needless to say there will not be much outdoor activity today. I am rationing my beer so I don't have to make another run to the liquor store!

If I do have to venture out I will make sure that I have my Willie Warmer on! hahahaha

F'ing Weather, Cabs And Planes (Part 2)

Everyone will be pleased to hear that peace and tranquility has once again returned to the Barrett household. Jan got a phone call at about 11:30 Thursday night, Joey had completed the long trek to New Orleans.

He arrived safe and sound, but was feeling a little pooped out as he had had no sleep in in about 36 hours.

They didn't even lose his baggage! So I would view it as a pretty tame adventure. He did have something like a 7 hour layover in O'Hare airport tho. I have spent many happy hours in the major airports of the US, and I have to admit that O'Hare is not a bad spot. It has some damn fine bars in which to spent money on overpriced cold beverages.

Unfortunately Joey is only 16, so I don't suppose he got to make use of the facilities hahahahaha.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Another Way Too Much Time On Their Hands Story

Oops maybe that's me!

I was perusing the news sites for some interesting story that I could write about for BNN, unfortunately nothing caught my eye.

I decided to delve deeper, and I came across a great press release from 'TV Land'. Someone with way too much time on their hands decided to compile a list of the top 100 catch phrases from the last 60 years of TV.

I must admit that I am not much of a TV watcher, other than CNN, Discovery, and the Food Channel. But even I thought it was an interesting list.

You can find the press release here.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

F’ing Weather, Cabs, And Planes

It is only 10:30am and the day is not going well.

Joey is en-route to New Orleans. His flight was scheduled for 6:55, and being the good citizens we are, I called a cab firm last night and ordered a pick up at 4:30. Its about a 25 minute and $40 trip. This would give us the required 'being at the airport' 2 long hours before the stinking flight.

Of course the weather gods decided to intervene and we got a small dump of snow overnight. The consequences of this was that there was no cab at 4:30, there wasnÂ’t even one at 5:00. By this time Jan is becoming frantic. To make matters worse the stinking cab companies lines are all busy.

At about 5:45 we get a call from the aforementioned cab company suggesting that we might like to find alternative arrangements to get to the airport! I suggested that I might make alternative arrangements to get $300 from them to cover the non refundable ticket!

This changed their attitude a little, and by 6:30 we were at the airport.

Knowing full well that there was no way Joey was going to catch the flight we put a brave face on and prepared to do battle with United Airlines. The ticket guy could not have been nicer, he booked Joey on a 7:10 flight via Chicago, and the net result should have been a happy landing in New Orleans at 3:30pm, two hours later than originally planned, but life is good. Even better because of the weather situation no mention was made of the $40 fee to make a schedule change.

Because of needing to clear customs and make sure you are not carrying illicit tubes of toothpaste (3 oz max) they hustled Joey off to the dark world of immigration.

Jan by now is just a blubbering mess, she is crying so much the maintenance crews are following her around with a mop and bucket.

According to the Departure information the flight got off around 7:15, and much to the relief of the maintenance crew I dragged her out of the airport.

Being poor we took the bus-train-bus way home, so it was around 9:30 when I got my first beer. Of course in the big rush we did not remember to ask the flight details from Chicago to New Orleans. “no problem honey, 5 mins on the internet and I’ll have it figured out”. Oops, the DSL connection is not working!

It turns out that the DSL service in our part of town is experiencing some problems.

I just about have Jan calmed down when the phone rings, it is United Airlines (Automated System) informing us that there is a weather delay and that they have rebooked Joey on a new flight from Chicago leaving at 9:00pm!

Poor kid is going to have a real long day, he is now scheduled to arrive in New Orleans at 11:15pm.

Jan of course is a basket case because of all this.

More laterÂ…Â….

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Long (Cold) Weekend

WooHoo, I decided to play hookey for a couple of days (Official hookey) I took vacation. No stinking work for the next four days!

This is great timing, cos the weather is destined to be cold, cold, and even f'ing colder. Sunday they are threatening -30C. Let me tell ya, 30 below sucks! The hairs in ya nose freeze. And don't try to take a leak outside, it will be frozen before it hits the snow bank!

My idea was to buy a carton of cigarettes and a delivery truck full of beer.

I'd be all set for the next 4 days.

Of course my lovely bride has other ideas. The alarm clock will be waking us at 3:30am tomorrow moring so that we can get in a cab at 4:30am to make it to the airport for 5:00am.

Joey who lost his home in New Orleans when Katrina hit and has been staying with us is heading back down there.

So thats going to be my morning!

The good news is, when we get back, I got beer!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I Like A Good Giggle

And this is a good giggle. I write news items for BNN, its an internet news organization. Well I looked around the internet world for something to write about, and found nothing that appealed to my warped sense of adventure.

I decided to write a local Calgary story.

Imagine my suprise when I checked google news an hour later and discovered that my story was the lead, with the 'Wall Street Journal' under me hahahahahahaha.

Woo Hoo the power of the net!

If ya want to read the article it is here.

Anyone For Egg Salad?

There are about a million different recipes for egg salad. My lovely bride has extended this to a million and one. Of course she did not want to 'spill the beans', cos she knew I would laugh.

Apparently in a moment of 'old timers disease' she picked up the sugar instead of the salt. So we got sweet egg salad!

I am sworn to secrecy about this, so don't tell anyone. Jan will kill me if I blab about it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Rubic's Cube

If you were around in the 70's you must remember this little gem. The most annoying device ever known to man.

It was so pretty and so symmetrical when you started, but a couple of twists and the whole thing was a mess.

In the late 70's I went to Chicago for a computer geeking and beer drinking extravaganza. Clearing customs at O'Hare was a breeze, the immigration guy wanted to look in my briefcase, and yes, I had a Rubic's cube in there. It took no time at all to clear customs.

I found this online, and it is too cool for words, the cube is online!

Friday, November 17, 2006

F’ing Utility Bill Taxes

I realize that in order for a country to function it needs to generate money. With no money there would be no way to maintain the vital infrastructure of society; things like; filling in the damn pot holes in the road, enforcing the no drinking in public laws, making sure that you don’t overstay your welcome at the parking meter, and various other critical aspects of everyday life.

I do get fed up with they way that some of this damn money is extracted from my wallet though.

For the longest time my favorite offenders have been the utility companies. Every month I receive the natural gas bill. I defy anyone to explain in plain English how the hell they put this monster together. In my simple mind it should be such a simple process, a calculation along the lines of cost per unit X number of units used. Instead it is a 4 page adventure in creative accounting and taxation. The gas itself is virtually free, what costs is all of the other services, cost to store it, cost to transport it, subsidy to ship it to Florida (where the only natural gas comes from Old El Paso brand refried beans!)

I live in Alberta which has one of the worlds biggest reserve of natural gas, we have so much of it I am surprised that naked flames are permitted here. Yet we get to pay the same price for the product as someone in Tampa. I had a spirited session via E-mail with one of our legislators a while back on this very subject. His response was it was all due to NAFTA. Well that makes no sense, if NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement for you non North Americans) was supposed to level the playing field price wise, how come it costs me a dollar for a lettuce here, and only 10 cents for the same product in California?

The net result of all this ‘level playing field’ crap is I get a $200 bill each month during the 10 months of winter! To add insult to injury, last year the gas company decided to play an April fools joke on us all. In July (when it actually was above zero and no one needed any stinking gas) they sent out a bill that was almost twice the amount that it should have been. Apparently there had been some sort of (again incomprehensible) mistake in the cost per giga joule (whatever the fuck that is) over the winter months, and this was a price adjustment!

This has to be the only industry that can get away with this kind of activity. Could you imagine going to the supermarket, you get to the cashier; she rings in all your purchases, and then tells you…. “oh last February we made a mistake on the price of pork roasts, so we are going to adjust today’s bill”.

Another user of creative accountancy is the telephone company. The bill starts off at a very reasonable $16 for basic service. Now I don’t mind that, $16 for all the local calls you can make is a good deal. Of course this has little to do with the actual amount that you pay each month. Once again we have a 4 page bill, there are more taxes and service charges than you can shake a fist at. There is a 911 tax, a long distance tax, a common carrier tax, a get rich quick tax, and then a tax on all the taxes you already paid!

You end up with a bill of $30. They just nickel and dime you to death. Oh and they make the bill absolutely incomprehensible, you would need to have a PhD in astrophysics to make any sense of it.

hahahaha think I need a beer now.......

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Oh Oh It's The Weekend

Woo Hoo, two whole days away from the Fun Factory. The only major thing I have to figure out, is what to do in the next 48 hours.

The opportunities are almost endless! We have plenty of bits left and could certainly manufacture some more computers, but, even I have to admit that right now we have enough of the pesky things.

The whole apartment is packed to the gills with damn computers, about the only safe place is the bathroom, and that's full of typewriters.

Of course there are a couple of broken laptops laying around, I wonder if I could convert one of them into a wall mounted media player for the bathroom? Maybe with the use of a proximity sensor they could play music videos while you are having a crap! hahahahaha

hmmm I will have to think about this one.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Dangers Of E-Bay

I allways thought E-Bay was a pretty safe site till I saw this.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Good Giggle

I enjoyed this one..............

It puts Jaws in a whole new light!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The PCPC As A Multimedia Platform

Wow, that is all I can say!

We took our 'off the shelf' PCPC and decided to test it out as a media device. My original plan was to use it in a 'real world' situation. During the summer Jan and I like to watch movies on our next door neighbors house. He has this really good stucco wall.

Unfortunately the weather has been less than kind to us for the past week, and the idea of freezing to death did not seem the way to go.

Based on the sub-zero temperature we opted to do our testing inside. In order to make this as realistic as possible we chose 'top of the line' peripherals.

The speakers are Maxell Flat Speakers (Model FPS-1) with a subwoofer (I believe that you can pick these babies up for about $5 on E-Bay. Yup we go the extra mile. These critters even come with a wired remote control! How neat is that?

Our next decision involved which digital projector to use. There are so many on the market, it is impossible to know which one to select. I decided that we would just use the one that we already had. It's kinda old, but it works good. Actually the colors are richer than the new ones!

We hooked it all up and hit the gas!

Unfortunately Blogger has decided that it does not want to upload pictures any more. The finale of this experiment will have to wait till later.

The PCPC Is Ready For The Holidays

We have created two new designs for the upcoming holidays.

The Thanksgiving version features a turkey.

The Christmas version comes with Santa's Workshop.

You can get more views of the outstanding Santa's Workshop here.

In Late Breaking News..

This just in... Dateline November/12...

We are delighted to make this important announcement, the PCPC is now certified ready for Linux! No need to wait for Windows Vista, just slap on your favorite flavor of Penguin and Hey Presto!

What is next for the PCPC, I hear you all ask. Well the next phase is twofold, we are going to put the PCPC through a rigorous shakedown and see just how good a home entertainment system it is. We will be testing it out for use with a regular TV and also a digital projector.

Our second mission is to look at ways that we can further customize this unique creation to enhance the end users experience.

Stay tuned readers, there will be more announcements later today.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

PCPC Those Finishing Touches

It wasn't until this morning that I realized just how difficult it was going to be to turn the computer on. Obviously the general public would not be impressed in they have to dinker around with a screwdriver and Glue Gun every time they wanted to use the computer.

Jan and I had a high level management meeting on the subject, and I am pleased to tell you all that we decided to make a small engineering change.

Not only is there now an On/Off switch but also a power indicator, and a Hard Drive busy LED.

I think that these features make the PCPC even more desirable for the discerning shopper.

We would love to be able to offer this new technology for Christmas, who could not be delighted to find a PCPC under the tree on Christmas day? Unfortunately our bushiness partner Bill is telling us that his new version of stinking Windows will not be available until January (What a dough head!).

Of course Jan (Director of sales and marketing) is still trying to get this gem to market. And if you want one, now is the time to order. Jan tells me that we have the manufactured ability to get a PCPC under everyone's Christmas tree!

Because of Bills's tardiness, we have had to find other avenues to persuade people to buy our PCPC. For a Limited time only, we are offering personalized cases. Jan will knit your message on the front!

For more info, check out Jans site.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Yup, we are proud to introduce you to the PCPC! As some of you know, my lovely wife is one of those 'arts n crafts' people.

I was all in favour of building another BeerBox, but Jan insisted that we try something different!

I always do what Jan says.

So we have created what I am sure is the only Plasic Canvas Personal Computer. As this was a US and Canadian joint effort Jan added the flags.

Wanting the Case to appeal to as wide a range of users we have disgned it for both Intel and Amd processors.

.....and of course it is stinking Microsoft certified.

We were going to put on a Linux peguin, but Jan was too drunk to knit it! hahahahaha.

A rear view shows how the whole thing is put together,

Michael Dell, eat your heart out!

The Creative Mind At Work..

Different industries employ different techniques for 'mocking up' a potential product. The automotive folks use modeling clay to create a full size demo of their idea. My preferred material is Styrofoam, it is non-conductive, has great insulation properties, and maybe best of all, it's cake to cut!

I find that an Exacto knife works well.

If any of you are planning on trying this at home, I recommend you do this outside. Luckily Jan is not a clean freak, so I can get away with being a little messy!

Having created the footprint, assembly can commence. The first step was to position the Powersuply and DVD Rom on our baseplate.

Next came the Hard drive, Notice the creative use of Styrofoam in order to minimize vibration.

In order to prevent shorts, it was necessary to insulate the motherboard from the power supply. I was also concerned about air flow from the power supply. My solution was to use more Styrofoam, this time employing an intricate design to enable the cooling fan to maximize it's effectiveness.

Next step is to add the motherboard and all of the bits that go on it.

And that my friends is as much as I can share with you in this post. The rest of the engineering department (Jan) is working in the rest of the computer.

If You Thought The BeerBox was Good..

If you thought that the beer box or Pizza Box was some revolutionary work in the computer industry, have I got news for you! The entire design team is snowed under today, we have a radical new design. The R&D department has out done themselves.

Unfortunately I can tell you no more than that at this time.

Our working demo model should be up and running either late today or early tomorrow.

Remember to check back here often, otherwise you might miss the big event and have to watch the rerun on CNN.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another Example Of Too Much Time On Their Hands

Jan found this one (hmm maybe she has too much time on her hands?).

Anyway, this site contains a database of names of people living in the US, apparently the info comes from the US census folks.

It's fun to try once, but I will warn you, when I played with it, there was a pop up ad!
LogoThere are:
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Feature On The Blog hahahahaha

In order to make it simple for really rich people to help us poor people out I have put a paypal donate button on the side bar! hahahahahaha

Now its my guess that it will never get used, but WTF! hahahaha (Bill Gates if you read this send me a couple of million, Jan has expensive tastes!).

Actually the reason I did it was to check out how difficult it was to do, and to prove to a dough head at work that it did not cost thousands of dollars.

I have just started a blog for the non-profit that I work for, and we had a meeting about it today. Being a Non-profit we do not have much money to throw around, in fact without donations we would not be able to operate, and over 1,000 people a night would have no place to sleep.

In the meeting I suggested that we put a PayPal button on the blog so that if a reader was inclined to send us a donation they could click and do it right now.

Our Expert from the IT department was in shock and horror that we might even consider such a proposal "I was going to do that once for a client, it was going to cost thousands of dollars, PayPal is really expensive".

After the rest of us had stopped laughing, I explained that this was not true.

A general rule of business is if you have no clue what you are talking about, it's usually best to keep the mouth shut! hahahahaha

Anyway, the bottom line is PayPal is easy, I'll set up a new account tomorrow for the Non-profit, hand it over to our admin people and see how well we do.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The BeerBox Is Fixed!

It has been a tough time, but I am glad to be able to report that the BeerBox is fixed. It was a particularly difficult operation, requiring a good deal of co-ordination with Jan (she had the clear tape and scissors while I held the box together.

My original plan was to try and re-use the custom case, however that turned out to be impracticable. The entire 'upper module' has been replaced. The original has found a resting place outside. We had some snow on the ground, so I thought this was a fitting place to throw the old 'module'.

I have hated working on 'brand name' computers for many years, brand name means proprietary, and a pain in the butt. Well the BeerBox makes HP and Compaq look like a walk in the park.

I got it all put together, plugged it in, and then could not find the hole to put the Ethernet cable in. Then I realized that I had taken the Network card out and stuck it in the HP piece of crap that I was using as the backup system.

Installing the NIC was a two man job, I had Joey holding the top module, while I fished around in the dark on the lower module. I now know how NASA feels with building the International Space Station! Details, details, details!

Cajun Delight and the BeerBox websites are back online!

Long Live The BeerBox!

Americas Most Wanted

Well that might be a slight exageration.

Salt Lake City, Utah cops are on the lookout for a parole violator, Mr Curtis Allgier.

My guess is that they should not have much of a problem finding him! hahahahaha

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Why My Wife Is Special!

Jan likes to make stuff from plastic canvas. For my birthday she knitted me a sail boat. Not just any sail boat, but the one that won the last Americas cup.

Eat your hearts out, she is mine, and I am keeping her!

It is hard to beleive that she knitted this! Actualy she uses something called Plastic Canvas, and she can make everything from it.

Visit her web site and buy stuff! hahahaha

I-RON Chef!

I have always enjoyed the Japanese Iron Chef series on Food TV. It's too silly not to enjoy. The translation from Japanese to English is part of the fun.

Well, it is my birthday today, oh, it's also my wedding anniversary. Jan had this theory that if we got married on my birthday I would never have a reason to forget our anniversary.

For our wedding anniversary Jan bought me a cardboard box! The good news was, it was full of chef hats! I have always wanted one, now I got a box full!

A chef hat is something I have always wanted.
We decided to take the Chef hats on a trial run.

I think the nearest thing to heaven is a meat clever in one hand, a chefs hat on your head, and a beer in the other hand!
My lovely wife Jan wanted in on the fun, and I am a nice guy and 'lent' her a hat. She is now the official Iron Chefette!