Monday, June 29, 2009

How to burn a Xbox 360 Game the easy way!!!!!!!!



One thing I didn't know was that youtube has tons of videos like this, how to's for all your computer needs which is awesome.

I bought an Xbox 360 on the weekend. I had held off as I'm not a traditional gamer. I have the feeling most people gaming are sitting at home with headsets and playing online games. I like puzzle and strategy games I play by myself.

One negative is that this thing really sucks your time. I kept saying "Go to bed. I should go to bed!" and 5 hours later, I was like "Crap!".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Internet

Have internet now. Still too slow, on the phone to tech support, but 10 times faster than that DSL I had.

I found out I can record programs on my laptop so I want to set that up and the Xbox can use the net too so I need several splitters and faster service.

Still working.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

London - October

There is so much happening in London right now I have to go back. Right now I'm looking at going in October so I can catch the "Gay Icons" exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, which I am seeing on October 7th. Need suggestions for a cheap flight.

John Barrowman in La Cage Aux Folles. Fri Oct 9, 7:30, 54 pounds.

Priscilla: Queen of the Desert. Thurs Oct 8, 2:30, 62 pounds.

Prick Up Your Ears, Thurs Oct 8, 7:30 pm, 49.50 pounds.

Billy Elliott, Sat Oct 10, 7:30, 61 pounds.

Sister Act, Sat Oct 10, 3:00, 65 pounds.

Avenue Q with the amazing Daniel Boys, (if extended).

Wicked, Wed Oct 7, 2:30 pm, 60 pounds.

Planning to travel around, leaving London on the 11th and flying back to TO on the 18th.
Thinking London - Cardiff on Oct 11.
Cardiff - Birmingham on Oct 13
Birmingham - Manchester on Oct 15.

Crappy flight times get the best prices. If I wanted to fly when I want, it would be over $2300.
AC Oct 6, 8:50 am direct to Heathrow
AC Oct 18, Manchester to Heathrow to Toronto, 6:30 am departure!
$938.26
plus I have 10% off.

Staying in London, Oct 6, leaving the 11th.
YHA looks good. Book on hostelworld. $199 CDN for 5 nights is awesome.

Train to Cardiff Oct 11. 60 pounds

Stay in Cardiff Oct 11, leaving Oct 13 This place looks good. $68 CDN for 2 nights.

Cardiff -

Train to Birmingham Oct 13. 39 pounds.

Stay in Birmingham Oct 13, leaving Oct 15. This place looks good. $45.50 CDN for 2 nights through Hostelworld.

Evita is playing in Birmingham. I could go the evening of the 13th.

Train to Manchester Oct 15. 28.50 pounds.

Stay in Manchester Oct 15, leaving Oct 18. This one. $97.94 CDN for 3 nights.

Man United game Oct 17. On sale July 1.

Will check out cool stuff to do later!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bridge Taps

Stupid internet.

I can't get DSL at my new house due to "bridge taps".


I hope to have cable internet and VOIP set up by next week. This will give me a temporary 2 week phone number of 647-427-6325 apparently, although I don't know when.
Info on bridge taps below, I don't understand a word:
"Bridged tap or bridge tap is a long-used method of cabling for telephone lines. One cable pair (of wires) will "appear" in several different terminal locations (poles or pedestals). This allows the telephone company to use or "assign" that pair to any subscriber near those terminal locations. Once that customer disconnects, that pair becomes usable at any of the terminals. In the days of party lines, 2, 4, 6, or 8 customers were commonly connected on the same pair which appeared at several different locations.
There are no active components in a bridge tap, just a “T” (or branch) in the cable. This T causes an unwanted Signal reflection (echo) as the signal travels along the unused branch.
Digital subscriber lines (DSL) can be affected by bridged tap, depending on where the tap is bridged. The farther from the customer's location, the better. DSL signals find an impedance discontinuity at the unterminated end, which reflects back through the cable pair, much like a tennis ball against a brick wall. The echo signal is now out of phase and mixed with the original, creating, among other impairments, attenuation distortion. The modem receives both signals, gets confused and "takes errors" or cannot sync. If the bridged tap is long, the signal bounces back only in very attenuated form. Therefore, the modem will ignore the weaker signal and show no problem. One method of fixing this problem is to ask the tech to "cut dead ahead" your line. This removes the extra cable past your house and can improve DSL performance and stability."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Strangers in the Night

When I checked in here, I noticed the mini bar and thought "What a scam! Who would pay $4 for a chocolate bar???" and didn't give it another thought.
I woke up at 4 am and somehow Homer Simpson took over my body.
I was like "Mmmm.... forbidden chocolate...."
D'oh!

Started playing "The Sims 3". It's addictive. There's almost too much to do. Your characters age, they can catch fish and eat them, pick apples, get pregnant, I was in the park and I saw a woman having a baby so I took her to the hospital. You can go to the bookstore and there's about 100 books, and if you read business books you can advance your career, you can take your boss out to dinner and suck up, loads of stuff. Quite fun until 2 am.
D'oh.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday in Ottawa

Woke up late and went over to Parliament. Had to wait an hour for a tour so I hung out in the cat place. Some very cute raccoons were there so I watched them for a while.


Tour was good. Was a bit worried about security but I was pleasantly surprised. I remembered in America where they give you a pat down, go through your bag, metal detectors, scan your bag and swab it for explosives. Here, my bag went through a scan as I walked through the metal detector, was allowed to take in a drink, no problems.
Tour was good, we started out in the legislative section which was kind of dark, hence the stained glass ceiling:

The walls were lined with former Prime Ministers:

I really think we need more women PM's. It seems crazy there was only one.
As it was the weekend we got to see the library which was amazing:

And then the Senate part, I have no idea what the difference is, and there's much more colour in there.



Finally a hand written book with everyone who died in WWI and they turn the page every day at 11 am.

Then dinner and back to soak up the internet before I get back to my crappy home internet. Grrr....

Pride

Pride activities are heating up in Toronto and my calendar is so full, many nights there's so many things I can't get to them all.
Here's a roundup:
June 19 - Fritz Helder and the Phantoms play a free show at Woody's at 7 pm for the Pride launch party. RSVP at rsvp@pinkmafia.ca
June 20 - "Deathwatch" a play by Jean Genet, tickets at TO TIX booth.
June 21 - Sky Gilbert in drag at "Free Jane", free, Buddies at 8 pm
June 22 - Joe Orton's "Loot" at Soulepper. Missing seeing Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Bloor.
June 23 - I have tickets for "Homogenious", a comedy show at Buddies, but I'm going instead to another event at Buddies at the same time, the cast of "Bare" singing Broadway songs, with guys singing the girls parts and vice versa. They do this in NYC every year and I've always wanted to go.
June 24 - Cheap Queers, a variety show at Buddies at 8 and Porn Pride with Pierre Fitch at 10 pm at Goodhandy's.
June 25 - Gay day at the Blue Jays at 7pm. Missing another Cheap Queers show at Buddies.
June 26 - Keith Cole hosts "Cheap Queers" at Buddies, $6 entry, 8:30 pm, last year his show was the best I saw all year.
June 27-28 - concerts and the Pride parade.
June 29-30 - Tampa Bay plays the Blue Jays at the Sky Dome.
July 1 - 12 - Fringe festival. There's 190 shows, there will be one for you.
July 17 - Bare opens. Get your tickets now!
July 19 - Tour the Don Jail with my parents.

Cat

I was lying in bed last night and missing my cat. A friend went over to see her though and sent me proof, a la a ransom demand:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

YOW 4 - Minty goodness

Has anyone else been listening intently to the Bare soundtrack getting ready for the play? Go, now!
Went to the Royal Canadian Mint this morning. It was ok. No photos allowed.
Across the street was the Notre Dame Basilica which was in the background in the previous spider photo. I was looking around on Trip Advisor and someone posted that the inside was really nice so I stopped by and it sure was.

Here's Jesus on a Saturday night at the baths:

Came back and had lunch. A tuna sandwich with fresh made raisin bread. I think the art of making bread has been lost, I think bread from a factory should be outlawed.
Anyway, a quick stop to buy shorts and then off to rent the bicycle. I don't know where I got the $5 from, it was $25 for 4 hours which was fine. I rode the 8 km to Hog's Back Falls which was cool with fast moving water, there's a video at the end of this post. It was hard to get a good photo vantage point though.

So I stopped off to read my book for half an hour. It was a great bike ride, by the Rideau Canal. I think I should do a new reoccurring thing which I've called "What I'm Reading". Right now it's "Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound With a Minor League Misfit" by Matt McCarthy.

"A Season on the Mound with Minor League Baseball's Most Unlikely Pitcher
Matt McCarthy never expected to get drafted by a Major League Baseball team. A molecular biophysics major at Yale, he was a decent left-handed starter for a dismal college team. But good southpaws are hard to find, and when the Anaheim Angels selected him in the twenty-first round of the 2002 draft, McCarthy jumped at the chance to live every boy's dream.
In Odd Man Out, McCarthy tells the captivating and hilarious story of his year with the Provo Angels, Anaheim's Class A minor league affiliate in the heart of Mormon country. He quickly discovers the dirty truths of the minors: the Americans and Dominicans don't speak to each other, the allure of steroids is ever present, and everyone puts his own stats ahead of the team's success. With a brilliant eye for baseball's character, McCarthy takes readers through the ups and downs of an antic, grueling season filled with cross-country road trips, bizarre rivalries, and players competing with cutthroat intensity for the ultimate prize—a call up to the majors.
In the spirit of Ball Four, McCarthy recounts inside-the-locker-room tales of teammates who would go on to stardom, including Bobby Jenks, Joe Saunders, and Ervin Santana. Odd Man Out is one of the great books about baseball life, capturing with rare perfection the gritty essence of our national pastime as it is played outside the spotlight."
Anyway as I was riding back to the bike return place I noticed several signs saying "Rideau Falls: 11 km" as as I kept riding back the numbers kept getting smaller til I hit my turnoff and it was only 4 km away.
This was a bigger falls:


Then back to the hotel to recharge and and quick 5km round-trip walk over to Gatineau to see the new IMAX movie "Under the Sea". It was good, and I don't think I've said it before here but we need to do more to correct climate change. We have to atone, BIG TIME for the sins of the last generation. I am disappointed again with the Liberlas for flip flopping on the carbon tax. They need to add a carbon offset charge to new car purchases and instead of investing in old technology and failing car companies, invest in renewal resources.
I stayed for the second movie about the secrets of the Pharohs, but I had seen it before somewhere else. Maybe at the Science Centre in Boston? Who can keep track.
I stopped this woman on the inter-provincial bridge to take my photo in front of the Parliament with my new outfit.
Now there's a couple problems with this photo:

From her vantage point my head is almost completley covering the Parliament building and the woman obviously suffers from the palsy as it's really blurry and out of focus.
I was thinking of this as I walked home and remembered when I went to the home of the owner of Ringling Bros. Circus in Sarasota. I went with the fellow I was seeing and they had an area where kids could dress up. We put on animal hats and asked one of the dosents to take our photo. She was very humble and started saying how we wouldn't want her to take our photo as she had Cerebral Palsy and her hands shook a lot. I said nonsense, we'd be honoured, and she took it. We talked afterward and she told me how she was surprised they even hired her to be a dosent because of her disease and how greateful she was. Then she said something that has stayed with me since, she said "Well, one thing I learned is that we all have something." And she looked at me and said "Well, not you, you're so young..." lest she offend me and I thought of my constant runny nose and agreed, and said that yes, we all have something. No one is perfect. And sometimes when I feel bad or different, I remember her words. Her photo was perfectly clear and is now one of my favourites.
I'm on tangents tonight.
I don't think my camera has panoramic but I created one with cleaver cropping:

And I thought this photo was great:

Stopped off for dinner, spinach quiche and salad, and I was relecting on how I still hardly ever eat meat despite not being vegan any more. Next door was a chocolate shop and I bought some fudge with no price on it. I was a little surprised when she said it was $15. Oh well.
Coming back two cute street performers put on an amazing show. Look at the hoop in the photo and the beige shirt. Somehow the guy has no head in this photo:


I wanted to tip them $10 but I only had $20s so I gave about $5 in change. It's funny, as I get older I tip more. Handsome guys, good 30 minute show, funny, what else could you want? I've also found myself tipping handsome waiters more. I'm working up to paying for it.
My hotel room at the Novotel is quite nice and they give 500 Aeroplan miles per night. I may have enough left over for a trip to Atlanta or NYC after my Miami cruise. There's a TV in the room, 50 channels and nothing on. What's the point of these stupid things?
I decided at 10:30 to go out and take some night time shots of Parliament. This was the best one:

Not so super impressed with the night setting on the camera. I rested it on a pillar, why is it so blurry? The building wasn't moving that I noticed.
An eternal flame was for some reason parked right outside the building.

Sleep and spider solitaire. I'm addicted now. Tomorrow Rideau Hall which a friend recommended and a tour of Parliament providing I get up in time. Stupid alarm in my room is broken.
video

Friday, June 12, 2009

Little Ashes and the sketchy crowd

Went to see the movie Little Ashes tonight which I thought was about the life of Salvador Dali but was actually about 1 year of his life and his relationship with a poet. Worth seeing, but nothing special. Robert Paterson as Salvador, I'm never seen someone from Spain who wasn't tanned before. Also the theatre was in the tattoo district with some sketchy characters.

Previously, I went to the Laurier House, home of former Prime Minister's Wilfred Laurier and Sir William Lyon Mackenzie King.

Tour was $3.90 and I had my own guide which was cool.



Lester B. Pearson's widow gave them all his stuff so they re-created his office in the building, even though he was pretty much unrelated. From the way they made it sound, she put the stuff on the step, rang the bell and ran away.


This is his original bathroom mat with what they assume to be ink stains.


These are King's glasses, notice how he chewed the ends.


When King was alive he kept very detailed diaries. He asked that these be destroyed after his death. So of course the Canadian government published them. In them he talks about moving a table into the closet below to conduct seances and communicate with his mom, Laurier and Abe Lincoln. That was before the air conditioner was there.

Then I went over to the original Ottawa Penitentiary, it`s since been converted to a charming youth hostel. This is a cell, it just has a bed and you can`t talk as it was made to echo sound so the guards would hear you even if you whispered.


I put this photo below here as it says even though the death penalty was abolished in the 60`s in Canada, the death penalty for treason wasn`t removed from Canada until 1998.

This is a chart for how long the rope should be when you`re hanging someone. If the rope is too short the person`s neck won`t break and they choke to death and too long and they could be decapitated.

The tour guide and the noose in the background.

Looking up at the trap door.

The guy fell here.

Only 3 people were hanged they said. What a lot of infrastructure.

Weekend in Ottawa

I'm free! For now, training is done. Til Monday.

So I have the whole weekend in Ottawa. I thought I had seen everything good here but I found a few more things. I had wanted to see the Diefenbunker but it's not accessible by transit and 40 km away. So no.

I did find:
  • a tour of the Royal Canadian Mint. I'm booked for 10 am tomorrow, $3.50. Apparently they just make collectors coins there, they make the real money somewhere out west but it should be worth $3
  • The RCMP Musical Ride
  • Laurier House. Home of the former Prime Minister. $3.90 admission. I think I'll head there when I'm done typing this.
  • Hog's Back Falls. A waterfall 8 km from downtown. You can rent a bicycle for $5 and go along the lake for a nice easy pretty trip.
  • Ottawa Art Gallery.
  • The movie Little Ashes, about the life of Salvador Dali is playing just down the street from my hotel.
  • The IMAX movie "Under the Sea" looks good.

Bare and upcoming theatre

Previously I stated that if I was going to run a gay theatre in Toronto my first show would be the musical Bare. And guess what, it's playing! Opening July 17th! Buy your tickets now! Run!

I plan on going several times. Got tickets for opening night, then you can rush for $15.

Fringe Festival in Toronto has some amazing stuff including one of my favourite plays of all time, The Laramie Project and something that sounds interesting called "Fucking Stephen Harper: How I Sexually Assaulted the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and Where it Got Me."

Also Jerry Springer: the Musical is back.

Finally Deathwatch by Jean Genet is an official Pride Toronto event.

Some hot awesome shows coming up. Very happy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

YOW - The Sequel

So I prepaid 1 year of DSL through that other company and I got a note from Primus today saying I can't get DSL at my place and I have to get cable internet. Sigh. One day my internet will come.

Went to the National Gallery after training today.

Oh, my, there's a spider on me!

Parliament.

A cool shot of the Berlin Zoo from Scott MacFarland: A Cultivated View.

A funky Picasso.

"A Madonna of the Tenements - 1904" by Lewis W. Hine. They had a ton of his stuff there, photos of child labour and new immigrants at Ellis Island, good stuff.

My friend Jonathan from training:

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Internet and phone

Ugh.
I am currently with Primus for phone and internet and I loved them. The speed at my old place on the internet was faster than I ever had with Rogers and for $64.95 a month I got home phone, internet and unlimited long distance. Rogers was charging me $55 a month just for internet and now they have download maximums and you can't torrent files between 4 pm and 2 am which Primus does not have.

Since I have moved here, my speed it incredibly slow, 130 kb/s, twice the speed of dial up. Downloading a tv show takes about a day and a half, which is especially annoying when you don't have cable. I heard back from Primus today that this speed will not ever increase which I don't understand as I live in downtown Toronto.

So now I'm shopping for an ISP. What fun. Both Bell and Rogers are out as they have bandwith limitations and charge a lot of money.

Strangely enough, when you google "ISP Toronto" a list of about 10 come up. The first one is www.acanac.ca. They have no bankdwidth limitations, say they offer the same service as Bell and when you sign up for a 12 month contract they charge $18.95 a month for high speed. Too good to be true? Possibly. With a 30 day money back guarantee I'm willing to give it a try.

If service is good they also offer VOIP, so I could get my phone through the internet with unlimited long distance for $10 a month.

We'll see. It would be easier to just stay with Primus but I suppose the only thing that is certain is that things change.

Fast internet will be nice to have again.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A series of lessons

As I get older, I learn more and more that life is a series of lessons. It gets to be a lot, and there are times, like right now, where I really want to go home and cry and be in bed. Things add up and get stressful.

The lesson I am trying to learn right now is best identified with this story:

"In ancient times, two monks, an old and a young one, were walking together. In this order of monks, any contact with women was strictly forbidden. The two monks came to a stream, swollen by the spring rains.
A beautiful young woman stood on the bank crying her heart out. "Why are you crying?" the old monk asked. She replied that she wanted to go to her father's house to attend her sister's wedding, but that the stream was too high to cross.
"No problem at all," said the old monk, and he picked the young woman up and carried her across the stream. When he sat her down on the other side, she thanked him profusely, and went on her way.
The two monks continued their journey. But the older monk could see that his young companion was becoming more and more disturbed. "What's troubling you, brother?" he asked.
The younger monk exploded in anger. "You know we're not supposed to have anything to do with women, and you picked that woman up and carried her across the stream!"
"I picked her up and set her down," replied the old, wise monk, "You have been carrying her all this way.""


I need to learn to let it go. To digest the situation and move on. And I feel I will continue to be tested until I master this lesson.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Dear Rogers Centre

Dear Rogers Centre
I have been a season pass subscriber for four years.
I wanted to give you some insight into why I subscribe. I live downtown and my friends do not. I love to go after work to games with friends. On the weekends, my friends can't come and it's not so fun to go and sit alone at the games so I usually give those a miss.
One of the benefits of being a subscriber is the promotions, stuff like photo day or giveaways. This year for example I was interested in two, the Aaron Hill bobblehead and the Rogers centre replica. I'm not so into stuff like the Joe Carter statue as I was too young then to like baseball. I keep the giveaways in my office at work as a conversation point, over the years I've collected 8 such items.
Today I went down to the Rogers centre to get the replica. I was alone and have plans in the afternoon so my plan was to go in and get the item and leave. I did, and as I was leaving I was stopped by security. He said "We have you on camera, what is that, the 4th or 5th one of those you've gotten? Get out of here!" Now I rode my bike down and didn't bring a bag so I was carrying the thing in my hand, I have no idea where I would have kept 4 or 5 of them. I asked the man what I did wrong, what rule I had broken, and he berated me for 5 minutes.
Can you please send me the rule I broke so I know not to do it again? Also can you please explain why your guest relations policy actively encourages harrassment? I'm concerned, as I said I've been a season pass holder for 4 years and am now discouraged from subscribing again.
This happened today, June 7, 2009, at gate 11, the man was about 55, heavy set, wearing a black jacket and hat.
Thanks in advance for the info.
- Adam Dunn

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New House

So it's far from finished but here's some photos of the new place.
We started out today walking to the local dog park which was cool as you get swarmed by 20 dogs.

This one was my favourite:

And the boys in the neighbourhood were cute too:

I went back afterward with a couple friends to see the dog and everyone gave us strange looks. One guy said loudly to his friend "Like where's your dog? Hah!" I suppose you're not allowed to just go socialize. D'oh.
Awesome poppy field just down the street from me.

I didn't think these grew in Canada. I remember when I was in Paris I wanted to go to this one place to see poppies as I've never seen any and wanted to know what they looked like but I went at the wrong time of year and missed them so this was a cool first.
This photo is now my computer wallpaper:

Ok, so the house. Here it is from the outside:

And inside, my new sofa:

I was walking home and saw this. It's really comfortable and I needed a 2 seater and this is perfect as it doesn't have ends on it so you can lay down on it if you want to and the door can still open. Got it for $40!
I also bought some counter chairs:

A Parliament Furniture special for $160 cash, they're quite nice too.
This is my sleeping area, I need a new bed:

Entrance way:

Kitchen:

Bathroom: