Thursday, December 27, 2001

Getting the shakes some more

Today I checked my e-mail for the first time in almost 3 days. That's the longest I've gone in over 2 years. (I did play video games every day the past few days, so it's not like I was in withdrawal from computers altogether...)

Wednesday, December 19, 2001


I have a rack!

Friday, December 14, 2001

Getting the shakes

I'm going to have to start working for money again, soon. I need new Lego "like a junkie needs junk."

And now they're going to start selling fan-designed models!


Sometimes a surprise party with 100 of your closest friends and family really is a surprise.

Happy birthday Gramma!

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Google Groups
Ever since Google released their monstrously comprehensive archive of newsgroups (dating as far back as 1981), every geek I know has been rummaging around for their personal 'classics'. Well, now I've found one of my own.

My favorite, although not my earliest, old posting found on Google is comparatively recent. In, July of 1994 I submitted a proposal for a new newsgroup:

One of the many purposes I suggested for the proposed group was discussion of:
Advocacy for and against the legalization of consensual cannibalism in modern society.
I especially like the respondant who signed himself Dave "meat-eater" DeLaney:
it occurs to me that the name alone, in this case, will probably attract a whole *new* Permanent Floating Flamewar; congratulations for finding one of the few taboos not yet constantly violently fought over on Usenet already...

In the end, I didn't bother to take the joke any further, so no newsgroup was ever made to support discussions around cannibalism.

RKCBack on Halloween, I mentioned here something about a revolution...

The Revolutionary Knitting Circle has put forth a global 'Call to Action' for the G8 meeting in June. The action will be a Global Knit-In!
Happy Anniversary to me...
This month marks 8 years that I have been designing websites, and running web servers on the internet.

Ugh. I'm feeling old.
HTML Tips Blog

Announcing "Conscientious HTML Tips" - my new blog-based attempt at gathering a collection of useful tips for creating good HTML.

The focus will be on under-used elements of HTML that can be applied to enhance its structural and semantic quality.

Saturday, November 3, 2001

A couple old notes from a bloggish sort of page I had in pre-blogger days:

Wednesday, September 8, 1999
Today marks the beginning of the 23 times 5 days of discord.

Thursday, August 12, 1999
Under the category of 'stuff like this weirds me out':
For years (possibly since the late eighties - I'm not sure) I've been jokingly ranting about (among other conspiracies) how Ronald Reagan actually died when he was shot back in 1982 (or was it 81?) and was replaced by a Disneyland style 'animatronix' robot. (picture the jerky movements of a Disney character repeating "Well, Nancy. Well, Nancy."...)
So, last night I was continuing my reading of Everything Is Under Control, when I came to the section on Peter Beter who "believed that... the KGB has also murdered dozens of American politicians and business leaders, replacing them with androids (humanoid robots). The 'attempted assassination' of Ronald Reagan was a cover-up, while they killed the real president and replaced him with one of these androids." [pg. 73]
Too weird.

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Rant From Grant is a new archive of my rants that are periodically included with the Activist Network's weekly summary e-mails.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Knit, knit, knit knit...
...the revolution is coming!

Friday, October 26, 2001

You have to be a regular CBC listener to fully appreciate the humour of Wayne MacPhail's mock-transcript of "This Morning with Osama: Shelagh Rogers Interview with Osama bin Laden"

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

It is important for everyone to read and re-read the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights at least every couple years.

It disturbs me to recognize that such a bold document would never make it past a first draft in this "modern" world.

How shameful it is that there are so many active human rights violations going on in my own city, province and country! Off-hand (I just did another read through) I can think of cases where the following articles of the Declaration are either outright violated, or otherwise interfered with, in my country: 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 12, 19, 20, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28. Keeping in mind that if we include the actions of corporations and the government abroad, nearly every article would be subject to violation.

As a social justice, pro-democracy and environmental activist -- I've got my work cut out for me...

Sunday, October 14, 2001

The Onion reports: God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule.
'nuff said!

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

It all started with a website - started a few years ago - dedicated to revealing to the world that Bert is Evil.

Now a photo linking Bert to Osama Bin Laden has turned up on a poster reportedly used widely by pro-Taliban demonstrators.

There's also some interesting discussion about this phenomenon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2001

"The Rev. Brendan Powell Smith presents: The Brick Testament." A satirical, occaisionally offensive (to overly-serious folks, anyway), depiction of Christian/Jewish stories in Lego.
You can also read more about it in the ongoing discussion on LUGNet.

Wednesday, October 3, 2001

Lego Technic Space Shuttle - 8480This is the single most complicated set I've ever seen or built. The gear systems are excellent - actually educational. It's big, excellent parts, and an amazing feat of design engineering. Simply the best Technic set ever.

The set isn't being produced any more, and isn't available on the Lego website or in stores. However, they seem to have found a few in a warehouse somewhere and those are available from the Lego Shop at Home 1-800-453-4652 number in Canada and the U.S. US$158 (plus shipping). Ask for set number 8480.

Thanks to the ever-excellent LUGNet for putting the details of this set on the web, including the picture referenced here which is Copyright ©1996 LEGO.
"New LEGO system for business and strategy development." This is a press release from The Lego Group announcing "the first-ever LEGO product specifically for adults -- a tool that helps business managers develop strategy by using the creative dynamics of the LEGO Brick and play."

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

"The title that wasn't there" is a semi-real (maybe) piece on the Coen Brothers' process for selecting a movie title.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

A couple members of NALUG, the Northern Alberta Lego Users Group, have posted photos of their train layout at an Edmonton model train event this past weekend. (More photos) (Video of their working roundhouse)
"Mindstorms Not Just a Kid's Toy" in IEEE Spectrum, is a good read on Lego robotics. Some very cool things have been done with the programmable brick.
"A few words of thanks for Mr. Rogers" is, for me, a moving description of the positive impact Mr. Rogers has had.
Leonard Nimoy Should Eat More Salsa
When I first visited (the official website and blog of Wil Wheaton - Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: TNG), I was kind of creeped out. But the shocking thing is, he actually says some interesting stuff. Worth a visit if you're at all geeky and hated Wesley.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Read This: "Hackers face life imprisonment under 'Anti-Terrorism' Act."

To those of us who are rightfully cynical, this terrible abuse comes as no surprise. It is, none the less, a complete travesty of justice and must not be allowed to happen.

Computer hacking is not terrorism. Most computer hacking isn't even harmful in any way shape or form. There are some small number of deviants and criminals who engage in harmful computer actions (such as theft of credit card information and spreading viruses), but those acts are not terrorist in nature - any more than your typical burglary or vandalism.

Treating computer crime in this manner is an utterly tyrannical, despotic, evil, vicious (etc., etc.) act. This has nothing to do with justice and protecting society - and everything to do with corporate power and repression.

This is a vile disgrace on the lives lost on September 11; that their deaths should be used to justify the hateful agendas of the rich and powerful.

Shame on you, American government.
It's been a thouroughly insane couple of months.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Monty Python in Lego!!!

Saturday, August 4, 2001

Yesterday I joined the ranks of the unemployed (although there's still my full time job as an unpaid activist).

Due to "lower than expected quarterly earnings", I, and a large chunk of my fellow employees in various cities were "transitioned down" (my new favorite euphemism for being laid-off - actually heard in a company meeting a few weeks ago).

Frankly, for me, it comes as a relief. I was at the point where if I wasn't cut in this latest round of layoffs, I was going to have to figure out how to quit. The company (probably better thought of as "corporation") began to lose it's vibrancy for me a couple years ago when the company I worked for was bought by a large multinational. What had been a dynamic young company full of interesting ideas and people was eaten up - and eventually flushed - by a corporate monolith.

I feel sorry for those who were not laid off, left walking in the ghost-town that once was one of best jobs to have.

I knew my layoff was coming. There had been warning signs for a couple weeks (such as subtle and not-so-subtle "transfer of knowledge" about the systems only I knew how to take care of). So, on the morning that the new layoffs were scheduled be announced, I took one last walk around the mostly empty offices that had been such an exciting place, before going to 'meet my fate'. To be honest, that sentimental stroll was the most emotional part of the whole process. It gave me a real sense of "closing the book" on that part of my life.

I worked with many fun and challenging people in my time with the company (and some evil people too, but until recently they had been easily outweighed by the good).

Consolidation of power into the hands of a few. Monopolization. Destruction of small, effective, systems. Catering to the interests of the elites. Struggling to climb the proverbial ladder to the top. Selfishness and greed. Territorialism. Shortsightedness. Economic and social stratification. Destruction or denial of community. Mono-culture. Closed communication.

Those are all things I fight against in my work as an activist, and they are all things that the multinational brought to the company I worked for

I'm glad I'm out, but I'm sad that it came to this.

Monday, July 30, 2001

Those wacky Americans are at it again! They've apparently been considering printing quotes from their constitution on their money, while at the same time embedding tracking devices to eradicate privacy.

Thursday, July 26, 2001

Today I received the web address of "The Adventures of ACTION ITEM! ...Professional Superhero!" This is a classic strip about the utter uselessness of corporate buzzword language.

Thursday, July 19, 2001

I got the new Lego summer catalog this afternoon.
Trains, bulk, Mindstorms 2.0, various cool little things...
...I expect to be broke by this time next week!
A project to challenge Adobe for using the ridiculous American DMCA legislation to have a Russian security analyist arrested for identifying just how insecure Adobe's PDF technology is.
The moral of Adobe's story: If you say the emperor has no clothes, you'll be thrown in jail.
[Update: the boycott is over - Adobe smartened up...]

(the website is long defunct now - it was at

Tuesday, July 17, 2001

The Lego Desk. I was reminded of this today. It's a full-size, functional, desk made entirely out of Lego. The crazy thing is, the guy who wanted it had it custom built - instead of building it himself. Now that is weird.
Anyone feel like dropping us$10,000 on a Life-size (7') Darth Vader made out of Lego for me?

Monday, July 16, 2001

Gillian Steward has written an article debunking Stockwell Day's democratic rhetoric.
Stewart Alsop has written an article for Fortune about Microsoft's efforts to get access to, and control of, everyone's personal information.
(well, everyone who 'counts' - meaning those who are wealthy enough to be a part of computer society.)

Thursday, July 12, 2001

On Friday, July 13, at 7:00PM, Calgary IndyMedia will be presenting the Canadian premiere screening of "Prague 2000: World Bank and IMF Under Siege".
Location: Murray Fraser Hall 162 (University of Calgary)
If you're in Calgary, you really ought to check this out!
John Neal's kids have come up with some 2 stud wide train cars.
[Time Waster] features creepy old child photo with moving lips doing really bad versions of songs. Um, whatever.
Mmmmmm, Lego castles. Many delightful creations by Lego castle fans.

Tuesday, July 10, 2001

"The Emerald Chapel... is the religious center for the city of Bricktopia."

An excellent and hillarious Lego model. "The people of Bricktopia worship the god of interest rates."

It gets weirder:
The chapel's "Chamber of Forgiveness" features a Lego dominatrix extracting tithes from the church's followers.
I just found out this morning about the LUGNET ranked list of Lego sets! This is an excellent way to discover great sets both old and new.

Thursday, June 28, 2001

A California State Attorney is reportedly being demoted, apparently because of providing a legal interpretation that was in line with the state law, rather than being in favor of employers.
Isn't it "nice" to see that corporations can so readily override the law?
DIY stop-motion, high-speed digital photography. Their samples include some great visuals of things being shot/shattered by ballistics. Especially cool is the amazing water-balloon suspended in air - without the balloon!

Friday, June 22, 2001 is tracking Microsoft's war against open-source.
Some cool unofficial Lego Star Wars models by a Lego fan.

Friday, June 15, 2001

" Unisys Apologizes for Creating Unintended Consequences of the Computer Age"
"Unisys Corporation... issued a public apology for the many human inconveniences resulting from its invention of UNIVAC I, the world's first commercial computer, introduced on June 14, 1951."
"Apple gives satanists hell" reads the headline of a MacWorld article about "Apple's legal team['s] dispute with The Church of Satan."
The church has issued a detailed reply to the situation. The kicker is this quote:
"It is also amusing to us that this company uses as a corporate logo an apple with a bite taken from it, which certainly appears to be a reference to that other famous apple. We have not forgotten that forbidden fruit, which would impart knowledge of Good and Evil, offered to Eve in that mythical garden by none other than the serpent, an avatar of Satan himself."
Mike Daisey, an Amazon worker, has put out some videos where he tells accounts of his adventures at the web-based book retailer. The one I watched was "Porn Day", where he describes how it was part of his official job to, once a week, check out porn sites on the net (no joke) and evaluate whether they should be allowed to link to Amazon.

Thursday, June 14, 2001

A blogger buddy of mine, replying to my e-mail announcing this new blog (my first) said:
"And you with so much to say... I can't help but wonder why it took so long."
My reply:
Larry Wall wrote in one of his Programming Perl books that the three essential qualities of a programmer are laziness, impatience and hubris.
Guess which one was winning out for so long :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Place Jamming - reclaiming urban spaces for nature. Inspiring read from Adbusters.
There's also a place jamming contest (deadline: August 1, 2001).

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

"Lego Legends"!!! Lego will finally be reissuing classic sets! The first set is "The Guarded Inn" (originally set #6067, now set 10000), a great Castle set from 1986. It's expected to begin shipping in July, only from Lego Shop at Home.