Sunday, August 31, 2008

I don't have much to write about, or perhaps I do, but I am just not in the mood today and I haven't been all week.

The looming Presidential election in the USA could provide some fodder, as could the increasingly likely election here in Canada.

Stumbled across a story, not exactly unusual, about a neighbourhood in Edmonton taking matters into their own hands and torching a suspected "drug house" to the ground.

Another story out of the Nanny State about stereos and other music equipment being seized after someone failed to comply with a noise-abatement notice.

Pretty weak update I know. I'm going to have a nap and try again later tonight.

In other news, I highly recommend you rent War Inc. which I watched last night. Very cool movie that examines the absurdity of war, corporate profit, sexual exploitation and greed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I have yet to see the summer blockbuster The Dark Night. Hell, I have the comic book, 1st Edition, purchased it as a teenager and it has been in a plastic sleeve ever since. I will see it eventually but to tell you the truth I'm not a big movie fan.

However there is one film I definately want to check out. I am a big fan of any sort of apocalyptic stories. I loved Children of Men and 28 Days Later was far more then "just a zombie flick". I recently watched Doomsday, and loved it despite the somewhat cheesy Mad Max homage.

What I enjoyed about all of them was the examination of the breakdown of society and human decency that occurs in the face of ecological or even viral disaster. That is why I am looking forward to Blindness, a new release about the a world-changing virus that causes what you can probably guess by the title. Smarter then Doomsday, and more serious, it truly examines the human element and psychology of being cast out as a leper, the fragility and destruction of society, and then having to rebuild your own. Call it Lord of the Flies for the 21st Century.

Blindness opens September 19th

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This doesn't have anything to do with Stupid Neighbours, but after watching the travesty that is the Olympic womans gymnastics on NBC just now, I simply can't help myself.

Another night, another example of obvious deductions and errors by Chinese gymnasts being ignored by the judges. I'm sick of the pussy footing around the issue, so I'll come right out and say it... the Chinese are cheaters!!!


10. America has dominated the sport since learning the secret of winning without cheating: Identify the best Eastern Bloc coaches and offer them citizenship in the greatest country in the world.

9. Alicia Sacramone kicks ASS!

8. Pubes. We have them.

7. Only the Hamm Brothers could make a bad haircut look good. Year after year. "Paul, Morgan... does your mom still use a bowl and do it herself?"

6. While our coaching is gruelling and requires 100% committment, we don't steal young children from their parents and keep them in a prison for the rest of their competitive lives.

5. Michael Phelps is one hell of a swimmer, but he is kinda a douche.

4. Two words: Camel Toe

3. Shawn Johnson, the sweet 16, All-American, girl next door... and she has an official website. Suck on that He Kexin!

2. We don't need fake ID to compete (and win). McLovin?

1. Nastia! Need we say more? Gold medal pedigree, hot, blonde, and a name straight out of Eastern European porn. She also has an official website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Renton, Washington - A crazy old lady in Renton chased her neighour and a small child around the block with a machete, lit her house on fire, and subsequently perished in the blaze. She was described as "quiet, nice and sweet" by her fellow neighbours. They said the same thing about that guy who decapitated and then snacked on the ear of a fellow bus passenger in Manitoba last week. At least he was described as "quiet", "church going", "model employee" and "a very nice polite guy". Just goes to show you should never trust anybody who isn't a drug-addled, raving lunatic.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Authorities in Wales took the unusual step of seizing and ordering the destruction of a noisy neighbours entire CD, record and cassette collection as part of a judgement for breaching a noise abatement order. The good news is the destroyed collection was mostly crap, including Cher (who was apparently a favourite to blast at top volume). Karl Wiosna also had his stereo, speakers, tape deck, and even his clock radio siezed. Mr. Wiosna was also fined and ordered to pay court costs.

The question remains why police destroyed the collection instead of putting it up for auction. Police forces auction off assets seized from drug kingpins all the time and it would be a shame to learn that they just destroyed a bunch of rare 7" or Japanese imports.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Brighton, England - Noisy sex results in a noise abatement notification and substantial fine, neighbours kept awake all night, and young children so emotionally disturbed they started wetting the bed. For what its worth the 29-year old single mother who is the center of attention (in more ways then one) describes her all night love making sessions as "normal". Complete with "I'd Hit It" picture and very pervy looking boyfriend.

South Ossetia, Georgia - With the world's attention towards the Olympics this week all hell has broken loose in this until now pretty much forgotten corner of the world. This isn't as simple as a David vs Goliath story of the freedom & democracy loving Georgia vs. the awaking bear of Russian totalitarianism. Headlines indicating that Russia has "invaded its neighbour" are sensationalist and only serve to fan the flames but the Russians are not exactly innocent in this whole affair. Neither is the Georgian government who thought they could quickly gain control of a breakaway province while the international community was looking the other way, breaking a ceasefire that has been in place since 1992. There is a great timeline of the conflict between Georgia and the breakaway region of South Ossetia available via Reuters, a conflict which by the way has been going on for nearly 20 years. Like any conflict between neighbours this could spiral out of control very quickly. Hopefully someone will have the good sense to turn the other cheek (and by that I mean butt cheek) and walk away.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


There is an old saying that goes "A friend will help you move... a BEST friend will help you move a body".

I think Coquitlam, British Columbia resident Katy Yin may feel the same way about her neighbours, who armed with a broom and rocks fought off a Black Bear which had attacked her while she was tending her garden. So how would the saying go?

"A neighbour is someone who watches your house while your on vacation...a GREAT neighbour is someone who fends off a bear attack!"

Sunday, August 03, 2008


There was a time when companies attempted to win our business with superior customer service and high quality products. These days companies just try to win business by selling cheap crap cheaper then anywhere else. Who cares if it breaks right? You can buy more cheap crap later. We are so obsessed with the psychological side of shopping that it doesn't even matter if we buy something we need or if it will last. It is more about the endorphin rush then the product itself.

There are still plenty of companies bucking this trend. Businesses that are carving out niche markets and going head-to-head against Big Box stores and holding their own. As a personal example, my wife and I had our home and car insurance with one of the big banks for years when we lived in Toronto, a large Canadian urban center. When we moved out to the country 3 years ago we went to ensure our new house and the bank wanted to charge us rates that were triple what we were paying in the big city.

I couldn't understand why, since the house we bought cost nearly $80,000 less then our house in the city. I figured it was an error or something. We had been customers for years, both home and auto, and it really seemed like they just didn't want our business.

I eventually figured out they had valued our home at over a million dollars. This had to be a mistake I thought, so another round of phone calls were in order. In the end the bank wouldn't budge, the value of the home was set and the premiums we were going to pay were a reflection of that.

Now I should mention I didn't pay anything close to a million dollars. Hell, I didn't even pay $200,000 for the house. This is rural SW Ontario. This is farming country. Now, if my 2800 square foot house (and more importantly my 75' x 130' lot) was located in Toronto it may just be worth a million bucks, but out here it is worth what I paid for it. The bank still wouldn't budge.

In the end it was clear the big banks were just not used to dealing with rural properties. I spoke to some folks who live in the area and more then one had similar experiences with the "big city banks". Eventually a fishing buddy of my father-in-law told us about a small insurance company that deals exclusively with farm and rural properties. One phone call later I had a quote that was both reasonable and fair, and learned that there are plenty of alternatives to the big banks. If it wasn't for that word of mouth advertising I don't know what we would have done.

Last week a friend pointed me towards the Home Insurance widget from Having access to something like this 3 years ago would have saved me a lot of time, money, and stress. You simply type in the details and you are provided multiple quotes from different insurance companies, and not just the big banks. You can re-calcualte and customize options including the deductable (increasing your deductable is an easy way to save money).


A crazy story caught my eye today. The first I will admit first came to my attention via a spot on BoingBoing so most folks have probably seen it already. It is the story of what could be called the Pacific Palisades Rathouse. You've heard of crazy cat ladies? The ones who die and people discover they had 100+ cats living in the house? Well these twin sister crazies didn't die, and it wasn't cats... it was rats. Thousands and thousands of them, being fed for years, and completely taking over the neighbourhood. Apparently various levels of local government were completely aware, and despite multiple complaints nothing was ever done. So if you think your municipal government is useless, read up on these winners, who are pictured in the dictionary next to "inefficient government bureaucracy".