Friday, December 28, 2007

Free at last

Everyone, this is Nate. I've managed to escape from the clutches of my kidnappers.

I'm trying to get home, but I'm not sure where I am. While being held hostage I met this guy named Moe Green, and he said I was in some place called Leutonia. I did pretty good in school, but I've never heard of a country called Leutonia.

WIsh me luck.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

CAN SOMEONE COME AND GET HIM?

Okay, you win. Forget about trading Crosby. We don't care about the Polka Stars that much.

But we really need someone to take Nate Saxon off our hands. We really don't want to harm him, but he keeps demanding that we bring him more chicken wings, and we've already used up all the poultry in our village.

Can someone please come to take Nate Saxon home?

Please?

Sincerely,

The Leutonian Liberation Front

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

ISN'T ANYONE LISTENING?

Okay, we were under the impression that Nate Saxon had some influence over the life of Sidney Crosby. He certainly blogged about Crosby enough.

We are beginning to think we were wrong.

Even if Nate Saxon has nothing to do with Crosby, we are standing firm to our demand that Crosby be traded to the Polka Stars - the national team of Leutonia - before we release Nate Saxon.

Doesn't anyone care what happens to Nate Saxon?

Sincerely,

The Leutonian Liberation Front

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

THIS IS NOT A JOKE

It occurs to us that some of you may have assumed that our claim that we have kidnapped Nate Saxon was a joke. Well, never assume. You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an ass out of u and me.

So believe us when we say that we will not release Nate Saxon until Sidney Crosby is traded to the Polka Stars.

Sincerely,

The Leutonian Liberation Front

Monday, December 24, 2007

THESE ARE OUR DEMANDS

This website has been hacked by the Leutonian Liberation Front. We have kidnapped Nate Saxon and will not release him until the Pittsburgh Penguins agree to trade Sidney Crosby to the Leutonian National hockey team, the Polka Stars.

HA HA HA HA HA. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Crosby Count


Sidney pulled himself out of a slight slump the other night in the game against Boston. He had a nice jump to his step and potted a goal and assisted on two others.

Not to mention the fight.

Sid squared off against Andrew Ference - the instigator of the scrap - and fared quite nicely, thank you very much.

The Pens took that game in a shootout, but lost to the Islanders the next night. Crosby picked up a helper in that game, and got another helper in today's matinee against Boston again, a game the Pens won.

Now, Sid gets a nice holiday break. He's off until Thursday, December 27, when the Pens host Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

Rest well, Sid. Happy Christmas.


CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 36
Goals: 16
Assists: 32
Total points: 48


LUNCH: Overly sweet Chinese foot from the mall while doing some last-minute shopping.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Get ready for Boxing Day



I know it's only December 20, but that doesn't mean you can't start thinking about the biggest shopping day of the year.

Besides, if you're like me, you've waited to make that big purchase until the big sales hit on Boxing Day.

Future Shop has this great system in place where they let online shoppers get in on the Boxing Day Sale two days early.

That's right, you can get Boxing Day savings at futureshop.ca starting at 8 a.m. on Monday night. That's Christmas Eve.

And in order to make the online shopping experience more pleasant for you, while you're buying a new TV or digital camera, enjoying a mug of egg nog, and waiting for Santa, Future Shop has come up with "Five tips to prepare for online Boxing Day shopping." I'll paraphrase here. If you want the full details, get them here.


- Update your account information
- Sign up for Verified by Visa
- Take an early peek at the deals (all the better to make your list!)
- Don't give up (back orders on some items will be accepted)
- Queue up the best deals (wait for the system while you are checking out; refreshing your screen will cause you to lose your place


What's on your wish list for Boxing Day? Let me know in the comments.


LUNCH: Noodles from a mall cafeteria. What can I say? I was doing some Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

They did not just do that


In a move that is sure to - in my opinion - doom the Eskimos for the next four years, the Edmonton CFL football club has signed quarterback Ricky Ray to a three-year contract, with an option for a fourth.

Amazingly, the club is keeping Danny Maciocia doing double-duty as head coach and director of football operations.

The people who took the blame for the dismal Eskimos season were the secondary coaching staff.

Hmmm. What are your thoughts on all this? Do you also hate Ricky Ray, he with the soap opera star name? Let me know in the comments.


LUNCH: BLT. Mmmmm, bacon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Helluva day in the NFL


Brett Favre is now the career leader in yards passing for NFL quarterbacks. Not to mention the fact that he's led the Green Bay Packers to a first-round playoff bye. This team seems at times like they are running on adrenaline and excitement, but they sure are fun to watch.

The New England Patriots, in the meantime, doubled up on the New York Jets 20-10 to keep their undefeated season alive. It was a game notable more for the bad blood between the teams - and the bad weather on the day - than for the game itself.

But the Pats got the job done. It's what they do.

Now, only two games to go. The final game of the regular season is against the wildly inconsistent New York Giants (who dropped one to the Redskins and lost tight-end Jeremy Shockey in the process).

Next week's game could be the one the Patriots need to be prepared for. It's against the Miami Dolphins.

Don't laugh. The Dolphins won their first of the season yesterday and have nothing to lose. If the Patriots get the least bit complacent they could stumble.

But with a head coach like Bill Belichick, this is not likely.

I'm still predicting a 16-0 season for the New England Patriots.

The Crosby Count


Well, I've been on the road for a bit, trying to visit as many clients as I can before the end of the year, so it's high time we checked in on the status of our boy, Sid the Kid.

He's slumped a bit, dropping to sixth on the total points list, but he'll make that back soon enough. The road trip that brought he and the Penguins to western Canada took a bit out of him, I think.

They're back on the road, too, playing the Rangers tomorrow and the Bruins on Thursday. But then he's back home for a nice extended four-game stretch over Christmas, so I expect to see him up the output then.

We have faith in the Kid.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 32
Goals: 15
Assists: 28
Total points: 43


LUNCH: Bowl of chicken noodle soup with big, fat, thick noodles. Salty, too, which I like.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sale extended!

The Future Shop friends and family sale that I wrote about on Friday has been extended.

Now you can take advantage of the deals until 10 a.m. ET, 7 a.m. PT on Tuesday, but only at the online store, futureshop.ca.

Check out the deals over here.

What are you going after? A new iPod? A fancy television? Let me know in the comments.


LUNCH: Roast beef sandwich, deli style

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Crosby Count


Well, Crosby didn't generate many points on the road trip into western Canada, but he led the Penguins to a sweep.

His 3-assist third period against the Oilers started the tour off nicely, and while he was kept off the score sheet in Calgary and Vancouver, the Penguins took both of those games in shootouts. Both shootouts, it should be noted, were won by Penguins defenceman Kris Letang.

The game against Vancouver - which I just finished watching - damn near ended up with a poetic, epic finish. With only a couple of minutes left in overtime, Sid got a jump on a loose puck and was tripped up by Miller while on a breakaway, which led to a penalty shot.

So we've suddenly got two franchise players - Crosby and Roberto Luongo - going head-to-head with the game on the line. Sid made a great move, but Luo did him one better, by keeping his eye on the puck and never letting up on the play. It was a great moment.

For the record, Luo stopped Sid a second time during the shootout.

Anyhow, I'm sure the Pens are counting this road trip a success.

Side note: Is it me or did Dany Sabourin play pretty good?

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 29
Goals: 14
Assists: 26
Total points: 40


LUNCH: Eggs, toast, and breakfast sausages; more like a late breakfast (I think it's called brunch in some places)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fun for friends and family


Wanna be my brother? Sister? Aunt? Nephew?

Every once in a while, Future Shop holds a sale for friends and family. The nice thing about this sale is that, as far as Future Shop is concerned, we are all friends and family.

The next sale takes place this weekend. It comes and goes in a hurry, though, so plan on making some time to stop by the store nearest you this Sunday evening (in B.C., Alta., Sask., Ont., N.S., Nfld., PEI) or Monday evening (Man., Que., N.B.).

You'll be getting a minimum of 10% off most items available at the stores during this sale, including televisions, high-def players, speakers, and receivers.

Or, better yet, slip on over to the online store, futureshop.ca. Online bargains become effective on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (that's 3 p.m. for the cowboys and cowgirls and 2 p.m. for the wet coasters) and are available right through noon ET on Monday.

The deals online are even better, with some offers - like MP3 and iPod accessories - only available on the Web.

Here's a list of all the savings being offered.

And now that you're part of the family don't forget to send me a card on my birthday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Canada's best ambassadors


There was a great double header on TSN tonight. First, Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns were in Toronto to take on the Raptors. That game was followed by Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in Edmonton to play the Oilers.

Nash and Crosby are both icons in their respective sports, and deservedly so. They both dominate play and, more importantly, they make their teammates better.

Nash - who has been taking some slack lately for saying he won't play in the Olympics even if Canada qualifies - didn't exactly put on a show tonight, but he certainly showed that he is a big reason that the Suns will again contend this year.

It's too bad that the Raptors, which actually look like a basketball team to watch, were missing their two biggies Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, because if those two had been in the lineup, the Raptors would have made a better game of it.

As it was, a 45-point third quarter by the Suns was enough to put the Raptors down. Still, it was a great game, and it's always nice to see Nash playing in Canada.

Final score: Suns 136, Raptors 123.

The second half of the double-header had Sidney Crosby leading the Penguins on the team's first western Canada road trip since he entered the league three years ago.

In all these years, Crosby has never played hockey out west, except for an appearance at the Macs Midget tournament in Calgary. That's one reason there has been such a media circus in Edmonton for the past couple of days.

Crosby told media on Tuesday that trying to do too much was not a good strategy, and that he was going to just try and enjoy the game.

He couldn't have enjoyed the first couple of periods, because he didn't play so hot, and heading into the third, was spending more time on the bench than he's used to.

That did something, as Crosby assisted on three of Pittsburgh's four goals in the third period, and giving the Pens the win over the Oil. Talk about putting on a show.


Final score: Penguins 4, Oilers 2.



LUNCH: A tasty bowl of French Canadian pea soup

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Celtic sneaks through to Round of 16


The Celtics were up against AC Milan today in the last game of group match play in the UEFA Champions League. They needed to come out of the game with a point to guarantee a spot in the next round, but a goal by Filippo Inzaghi on a beautiful play by Kaka put a stop to that.

Thankfully, Benefica beat Shakhtar Donetsk, so Celtic is through anyway.

UEFA Champions League action is on hold, now, until February 19.

As for the other Scottish football club, the Rangers need to beat Olympique Lyonnais next week to advance from their group. The Rangers are tied with Lyon at the moment.

Who are you rooting for in the Champions League? Let us know in the comments.

That was close


It came down to the last play of the game, but Tom Brady and his New England Patriots managed to hold on to keep their undefeated season alive.

But I never expected that they'd come so close to losing against the Baltimore Ravens. The Colts, yes, but the Ravens?

ESPN's Len Pasquarelli has a great rundown of the Patriots' fortunes during the last two minutes of the game. Despite the complaints of the Ravens, though, who were saying that the officials gave the game to the Patriots, the calls made against the Ravens in that last drive were totally valid.

The Pats probably shouldn't have won this game. But they did. Which is why I think they'll squeak out a 16-0. The gods are smiling on them.

But Sunday's game - Week 13 of the season - is against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That game will not be a cake walk. At least the Pats are at home.

What do you think? Can the Patriots get past the Steelers on Sunday? Give us your opinion in the comments.


LUNCH: clubhouse and chips

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Making sense of the Halo story


The video game website 1UP has a great feature that summarizes the entire plot of the Halo franchise. Thus far. 

As they indicate, with three high-speed video games, a half-dozen books, and a couple of comics all telling different parts of the story - at different chronological times, no less - it can be difficult figuring out exactly what the story is all about.

The feature, which you can take a look at here, is a big ol' flowchart that starts "A long damn time ago" and threads the plotline all the way up until the  end of Halo 3, AD 2552. 

The writer, Jeremy Parish, doesn't get into the fine details of the plot or the characters, but does a good job of bullet-pointing the story. 

"No. There is too much. Let me sum up."

Anybody else out there have any problems figuring out the fine plot details of the Halo games?


LUNCH: Butter chicken and lamb vindaloo at an awesome Indian buffet

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Green Riders prevail



So the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the 2007 Grey Cup champions. This despite the fact that they tried - really tried - to lose the game.

Yes, this year's Grey Cup was a comedy of errors, with only two offensive touchdowns in the entire game.

Twelve men on the Field have a great rundown of the game itself, as well as links to the mainstream sports media coverage. Extra points to them for invoking the most excellent Northern Pikes, too.

(Hey, the Pikes are touring! They were in Grand Prairie last weekend!)

Anyhow, the CFL is finished for this year. I think it was a lackluster ending, to be honest.

Now I can spend more time watching hockey and keeping a third eye on those Patriots, who almost got beat by the Eagles and a second-string quarterback on Sunday.

Final note: word today that the B.C. Lions have released Dave Dickenson. Whose got a thought on that move?


LUNCH: Carrot soup and a tuna sandwich

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Crosby Count


So the Kid had his point streak halted at 19 games. Pretty good for a twenty-year-old hockey player in his third NHL season.

After one game kept off the scoresheet, though, he was back on it, and last night he picked up a goal and a helper as the Pens shut out the Atlanta Thrashers. 

I wonder when we'll have to stop calling him the Kid. Any ideas on when that will become inappropriate? Or is it okay for him to be a 33-year-old kid someday?

On a related note, read this story from The Onion: Sidney Crosby's One-Goal, Two-Assist Performance Saves Hockey.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 23
Goals: 12
Assists: 21
Total points: 33


BREAKFAST: Just some Corn Flakes, as I'm keeping my appetite ready for a day of grazing; it's Grey Cup Day, fool!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

England's out!


Did not expect this to happen: England has been knocked out of Euro 2008 because of a loss to Croatia.

The English were two points up on Russia in their group, and only needed to not lose to Croatia.

They didn't need to win. They just needed to not lose.

But they lost, and as a result, Russia moves on, and England will watch the games on the telly.

Beckham's reaction says it all, doesn't it?

Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland all finished third in their divisions, so are also out, as is Wales, which finished fifth.

So in Euro 2008 there will be no teams from the United Kingdom/British Isles.

Who will you be cheering for? Netherlans? Greece? Germany? France? Spain? Portugal? Italy? Maybe the Czech Republic? Let me know in the comments.

EDIT: English coach Steve McLaren has been fired. "This is one of the saddest days of my career," said McLaren.

"Qualifying for a major tournament is probably the minimum requirement," said one of the executives of the Football Association.

You think?


BREAKFAST: Slice of ham and an egg on toast

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

TiVo in Canada!


I've heard - from a reliable source - that TiVo has started exporting their boxes into Canada. What's more, electronics retailers across the country have started ordering the Series 2, 80-hour, dual-tuner boxes and you can expect to see them on shelves within days.

They'll likely be priced at around $200.

This is excellent news, actually, as TiVo is the best DVR available. Even if you have digital cable from a provider, send their crappy DVR back to them and get a TiVo box instead.

Then you'll understand why people who have used a TiVo go on and on about it, and why people really do love their TiVo.

My Christmas shopping just got a whole lot easier.

I've started a thread over at the Future Shop Community Forums to track the latest on this.

Anyone other than me excited about this? Comments, please.

Mmmmm, TiVo.


LUNCH: haven't eaten it yet, but I'm looking forward to having a tasty pulled-pork sandwich

Friday, November 16, 2007

Bigger bang for my buck


I travel a lot on business, and I end up in the United States almost as much as I'm in Canada, so I'm pretty aware of things like currency rates.

And I have to tell you that what's happened with the Canadian dollar in the past month has really surprised me.

Keep in mind, too, that it's only been in the past month - and a few days - that the loonie and the greenback have flipped positions, with the Canadian dollar worth more than the American. That's never happened before in my lifetime.

As a consumer, the strength of our dollar excites me, especially when I'm in the U.S. all the time. Prices in the U.S. are usually cheaper, so with our dollar worth more than theirs, it means I can get even more bang for my buck.

But I'm not going too crazy making big purchases south of the 49th.

A friend of mine asked me the other day why I wasn't buying cars and big-screen televisions in the States, and I guess if you weren't back and forth across the border all the time, you might not realize why that's not always a good idea, even with our dollar being as strong as it is.

First of all, the reason things are priced differently in the States and Canada is not just because of the value of our currency. The prices of things up here also has to do with duties - taxes - that our federal government imposes on products coming into Canada, and the GST, and a bunch of other market forces that I can't always get my head around (so much for those economics courses in university).

So if you want to buy a car in the States and bring it back to Canada, you still have to pay the duties that the government would have collected if the car was brought in by a dealer, and you still have to pay the GST, and any other taxes. So those "savings" can disappear in a hurry.

Unless you want to try and smuggle the car across the border. But I wouldn't recommend trying that.

More importantly, though - especially with big-ticket items such as cars and massive flat screen TVs - is that importing the products to Canada - which is what you are doing when you buy products down there - you can invalidate any warranty. Sure, you saved $10,000 by purchasing that Ford Focus in the States, but what happens if the transmission goes at 10,000 clicks? That would cost you a dollar per kilometre. There goes any savings you made when you purchased the car.

There are two businesses that would be tricky to be in right now. One is any industry that exports to the U.S., because they are making about 20 percent less on every unit sold at this point. The second is retail, because the public outcry about consumer pricing has been so loud.

Of course consumers want prices to come down because our dollar is strong. And the sticker prices of many items are being reduced.

Those companies that manufacturer their own products and operate worldwide have been the quickest to respond. Apple and Sony and many electronics manufacturers have dropped their Canadian prices to get them in line with the currency rate.

Retailers such as Future Shop have already cut prices on things like flat-panel televisions, MP3 players, video-game consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

The longer our dollar stays as strong as it is, the further I expect prices will fall.

Remember: this has all happened in just over a month. It takes time for adjustments on prices to work their way through the system. Plus, the currency markets are so volatile that our dollar could be back down to US$ 0.90 in another month. Businesses are waiting to see how stable our soaring loonie is going to be before they lock in any lower prices.

Yesterday, the dollar was back below $1.02.

But I don't think retailers in Canada will ever have the exact same prices as retailers in the U.S. because of the reasons listed above, and also because Canada isn't the U.S.

We're twice the size of the U.S. but have a tenth of the population. Those realities alone mean that prices will be higher in our country because the individual buying power is reduced because there are fewer of us clamoring for the same product and because when things are shipped from one place to another, they have to travel so much further. These factors make prices higher in Canada.

But the other thing I'd say is that if you want U.S. prices, move to the U.S. Then you can have U.S. prices. And with those cheaper prices you can have a weaker economy, a slumping dollar, a country at war with the world, skyrocketing health care costs, and all the rest.

And you'd be missing Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night.

The Crosby Count



The Pens snapped a four-game losing streak last night when they beat the Islanders 3-2.

More importantly, Crosby extended his point streak to 18 with an assist on George Laraque's game winner.

Next up are the Rangers, again, for the second time in just over a week. But this time the Kid and crew are at home. Here's hoping for an offensive explosion.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 19
Goals: 10
Assists: 18
Total points: 28


BREAKFAST: Cheerios and a banana

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At the game: Oilers at Canucks


A client gave me tickets to the Canucks game for tonight, so I got a rare chance to see a game live.

I always forget how fast the game is; you lose that sense when watching games on television.

It was, all things considered, a boring game. The Oilers took the shootout win on the final shot. Hemsky roofed one on Luongo.

The Canucks came out strong in the first, but by the second period had started to lag, and in the third, the young Oilers team simply dominated.

Gagner and Cogliano are as fast as you've heard, and excited to be playing in the NHL, too.

Can't say the same for the Canucks. Well, not all of them, anyway.

Kesler and Cooke had the fire in their eyes, but Naslund and Morrison seemed like they would rather have been somewhere else.

What has happened to Morrison? He looks deflated.

Luongo was composed tonight, and made a couple of great stops that kept the Canucks from getting overwhelmed by the Oilers.

Like I said, the game was a bit boring.

But I'm glad I was there. You forget how fast they are.


LUNCH: Deli-style sandwich, heaped with pastrami

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Crosby Count


The Penguins have lost their last two games, but Crosby has points in both games, extending his streak to 17.

On Saturday night, the Pens lost 5-2 to Philadelphia, their second lost to the Flyers in four nights. Tonight, they lost 3-2 to the Devils. Against the Flyers, Sid notched an assist, and tonight he figured in both Penguins goals, scoring one and assisting on the other.

They get a couple of days off now, and host the Islanders on Thursday and the Rangers on Saturday. They must get sick of playing the same teams over and over again, don't you think? I don't care how much it costs or how tired the players get, I'm all for playing every team in the league twice every season, once at home, once in the other team's arena.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 18
Goals: 10
Assists: 17
Total points: 27


LUNCH: Lasagne with a side caesar salad

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A couple of doozies


I was glad that the Patriots were on a bye this weekend, because it meant that I could virtually ignore the NFL in favour of the free-for-all CFL divisional semifinal games. (Although I did watch some of the Packers against the Vikings, and damn did that game surprise me. And I have to say that I called the Colts losing to the Chargers.)

Both the East and West semifinals were fantastic, wide-open games.

It was near freezing and windy in both Winnipeg and Regina today. Perfect football-playing weather.

In Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers started the game well - scoring a touchdown on their first possession - but the Alouettes scrabbled back and actually controlled most of the rest of the game. The trip to Toronto to play the Argonauts next week in the East final came down to a clutch field goal kick made by Bomber kicker Westwood with only four seconds left in the game.

And that play was set up by the Bomber defense's second line-of-scrimmage stand that forced the Als to turn the ball over on downs. An earlier wall of Bombers at the goal line prevented the Als from scoring a touchdown. The boys in blue owe their win today to their defensive linebackers.

Final score: Blue Bombers 24, Alouettes 22.

In the West semifinal, the Saskatchewan Roughriders started strong and stayed in control for the entire first half. The Green men scored an early touchdown, faked a field goal to keep another drive alive, and left the Calgary Stampeders gasping. The only spark the Stamps showed in the first half was an exhilarating defensive play near the end of the half. A pass from Kerry Joseph to Andy Fantuz at the Stampeder's end zone line bounced off the receiver's shoulder and into the hands of Stamps D-back Dwaine Carpenter, who scampered three quarters of the way down the field and, as he was about to be tackled, lateraled the ball back to Trey Young, who clambered in for the TD.

I thought that the Stampeders would have put in a better effort, but I suspect they needed an extra game or two with Burris back in the lineup to have been truly ready for today's game. Too many mental errors by the Stamps, too, who seemed a bit arrogant about it all. Not good when you're headed into Regina - and having to face those fans - for a playoff game.

I also wasn't sure that the Roughriders would play as well as they did. While they started the year gangbusters, they were a bit off in the second half of the year, and seemed like they were only able to win games against teams who were starting their backup quarterbacks.

Final score: Roughriders 26, Stampeders 24.

So next Sunday it'll be the Bombers in Toronto to play the Argonauts and the Roughriders in Vancouver to play the B.C. Lions.

That means by Friday, the streets of Vancouver will be flooded with a bunch of drunk prairie folk. Watch out, Vangroovyites.



LUNCH: Hot dogs and potato chips. Hey, I was watchin', like, eight football games.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Gift buying gets easier


Everyone loves technology, right?

Wrong. That's why your dad just gave you a funny look when you gave him those VR googles for his birthday last year.

Future Shop has this new feature at their website that will help you come up with nifty gift ideas for everyone on your list regardless of how tech savvy they are.

It's pretty slick.

They are calling it the "Gift-o-Meter." It's a candy-cane coloured slider that ranges from "Tech shy" on one end of the spectrum, to "Tech wild" on the other.

What you do is slide the switch until it describes the person you are gifting, then click the "enter" button.

Dad, then, is a "Tech flirt": a guy interested in an iPod but not concerned about the specific type of iPod.

Mom, though, is "Tech social": she loves technology because it makes her life easier.

And cousin Alfie? The guy who everyone in the family turns to when they've fried their operating system? He's "Tech savvy."

For each level of the continuum, you'll be provided with a list of gift ideas, from TV and video to phones and PDAs to tech accessories. It's like getting expert advice without having to talk to a clerk!

It's a fun little tool at the Future Shop Web site, directly under the big image at the top of the page. Check it out.

The Crosby Count


Sid's point streak is now 15 games because he wrangled an assist against the Rangers last night. They've had a bit of a busy schedule the past while, playing six games in eight days. Good thing they're in the Atlantic division.

Now Sid gets ready for Saturday's scrap against rivals the Philadelphia Flyers, who handed the Pens a loss on Wednesday. Time for some sweet revenge, Sidney. Time for another multi-point night, I think.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 16
Goals: 9
Assists: 15
Total points: 24


LUNCH: A massive burrito smothered in mole sauce

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Crosby Count


Coming off a pretty hairy road trip last week, the Penguins were at home last night, hosting the Flyers, who didn't win a game against the Pens last year.

The Flyers flipped that losing streak on its head, beating the Penguins 3-1. The Pittsburgh offense seemed a bit skunky, but the biggest problem was goaltending, as Dany Sabourin let in two goals on the first three shots of the game.

Suddenly, it becomes clear that whatever you might say about the Pens offensive production, goaltending is the real problem for Pittsburgh this year. I wonder if The Sieve has something he can add to my analysis on this.

Crosby maintained his streak, though, with an assist on the Pens' lone goal. He's got points in every game this season, except the opener on October 5.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 15
Goals: 9
Assists: 14
Total points: 23


LUNCH: A big bowl of chicken noodle soup with about a thousand crackers

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Patriots still perfect


Well, I didn't get to the computer to post after the big game on Sunday. Blame the excitement of a second half comeback and a few too many pints during the celebration for my absence.

After a breakfast meeting Monday I was off to the airport to get on a plane back home.

So I'm only now getting a chance to reflect on the game.

I'll admit that I wasn't the most positive of monkeys at the half. The two pass interference calls made on the Patriots nearly killed me, and I mistook Brady's steely glare for frustration, when I should have known it was resolve.

Next time I'll know better.

At the end of the game, Peyton Manning didn't even bother to take off his helmet. Trying to hide tears, maybe?

Now for a week off, before coming back to round out the season with another string of victories.

16-0 here we come!

The Crosby Count


The Kid notched a couple of nice goals against the New Jersey Devils last night, moving him into a tie - with Jarome Iginla - for second spot at the top of the NHL scoring chart.

You go, Sid! Keep getting Nate those sweet fantasy draft points!

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 14
Goals: 9
Assists: 13
Total points: 22


LUNCH: Chicken pot pie

Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's B-Day


Yes, I know there were CFL games this weekend, but other than the Argos locking up the East Division title, the games didn't mean much.

This weekend, though, is all about the NFL, and more specifically, all about the New England Patriots and the Indianpolis Colts. That game starts in just under an hour.

I'll report back after the game.

BTW, "B" is for Brady.


LUNCH: A big, coronary-inducing plate of chili-cheese fries

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Canucks sucking: discuss

I'm just not even sure what to think about the Vancouver Canucks. I can say I've been watching more Flames games and Eastern teams, because I just can't bring myself to tune in to a Canucks game.

But other people are talking about why they think the Canucks are off to such a bad start.

  • Canucks Hockey Blog: "It was a mess, and unfortunately for Bieksa, Salo and the Canucks' 'D,' it was a bloody mess."
  • Canucks and Beyond: "It’s hard to really work up a good head of insults about my least favorite team in the NHL [Colorado Avalanche], when my Canucks are currently flailing around like a beached whale searching for dinner."
  • False Gods: "This team is in disarray both on and off the ice."

What is really going to hurt the Canucks is the loss of Kevin Bieksa to a "lacerated calf muscle," although some are saying it's his Achilles tendon that got sliced.

Ouch.

EDIT: The Canucks put together some offense against the Avalanche on Saturday night - six points between the Bobsy Twins - but I've gotta wonder if they are going to trade for a defensemen. Soon. With Bieksa and Salo both out, they are looking weak back there.

What ever happened to Fleury?

There was a time when Theo Fleury was the heart and soul of the Calgary Flames. He had a never-say-die attitude that belied his small stature. And he was a member of the Flames during that golden era when Lanny won them a Stanley Cup.

Oh, how he fell from grace.

The last I heard, Fleury was playing hockey in Ireland, of all places. But Eric Duhatschek caught up with Fleury in Calgary a few days ago, and fills in some recent history.

The Crosby Count


The Penguins lost to the New York Islanders tonight and it was another low scoring affair: 3-2 in favour of the Isles.

Crosby picked up an assist, which isn't too bad when your team only scores two goals.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 13
Goals: 7
Assists: 13
Total points: 20


LUNCH: burger and fries in the pub, watching the last regular season CFL games

Friday, November 2, 2007

Countdown: Tom versus Peyton

Despite the fact that these guys don't like each other, they are surprisingly civil about it.

In fact, they are both going out of their way to compliment each other, as the quotes in this article prove.

I almost wish there was some trash talking going on, but you're never going to get that from guys like Tom and Peyton. Their mothers taught them manners.

The Crosby Count


I think maybe it's begun. I think Sid the Kid has settled in to his new job as captain of the Penguins, and is about to take off in the game of goals and assists.

Unless by saying that, I'm jinxing him. Hope not.

Stay tuned to Giga Byte Me for daily updates on Sid's prolific output.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 12
Goals: 7
Assists: 12
Total points: 19

LUNCH: Chicken noodle soup and a ham sandwich

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Getting some Leopard in here

I haven't had a chance to install the new version of Mac OS X, yet, as I've been on the road for a bit, but I am looking forward to getting home and giving it a go.

As I wrote earlier, the Time Machine backup feature alone is worth the fairly minor price tag.

And for those of you who are like me, and always seem to have one hitch or another when installing software, here are a few threads that will help you along:

Good luck. I think we're all gonna like this plenty good.


LUNCH: Philly cheesesteak sandwich, dripping in cheese and onions

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Countdown: Tom versus Peyton


Four sleeps to go.

Nobody seems surprised that the Colts - undefeated this season, 12 straight home game victories, and Super Bowl champions - are underdogs against the Patriots.

That's because the Patriots are that good.

Sure, their game in Indianapolis will be their toughest of the season, but does the word juggernaut mean anything to you?

"You can't stop the Juggernaut!"

Make no mistake, either, there is no love lost between Tom and Peyton. They really don't like each other. This time, it's personal.

Ain't it always.

The Crosby Count


Oh, Sidney! You pot a goal and assist on three others in a game in which your team scores 4 goals.

That's more like it.

Bring on Colorado!

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 11
Goals: 5
Assists: 12
Total points: 17


LUNCH: I'm on the road, so I had to visit the Queen Mum for pad thai; the best in Canada

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tom versus Peyton

Only five more sleeps until the game of the year.

Are you ready?

It turns out I'm going to be on the road, too, so won't be in front of my nice big flatscreen to watch the Patriots crush the Colts. Guess I'll be trolling the streets of Montreal for a decent sports bar.


LUNCH: Cobb salad

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Have a little lateral



I was thinking the other day about how there aren't any laterals or pitch outs in professional football any more. You'll see them now and then in the CFL, but you really don't see them in the NFL at all.

This morning a buddy told me about this game. With two seconds left in the game, the Trinity Tigers have to score a touchdown on the last play of the game in order to win. The Tigers quarterback takes the snap on their 40.

Just watch.


BREAKFAST: Cheerios, while watching the NFL preview shows

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Crosby Count


Did you see the Canadiens play the Penguins? The Habs were up 3-0 and let the Pens come back on them.

Then we're treated to a whale of a shootout. It took 8 rounds before anyone scored. Some great saves by Dany Sabourin and Carey Price. Price, in particular, looked awesome. He simply would not move first. Crosby and Malkin ended up not knowing what to do with the puck in the shootout because Price simply outwaited them. That kid is the real deal.


CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 10
Goals: 4
Assists: 9
Total points: 13


LUNCH: Steak sandwich, nice and rare

Friday, October 26, 2007

"I hurt my poor little finger!"


First, terrible news that Anthony Calvillo has decided to take the rest of the year off to care for his wife, who was just diagnosed with lymphoma. It's a courageous and respectable decision, and the Alouettes are to be commended for allowing him to take a leave of absence.

Practically, it means that Jason Maas will start as quarterback when the Als take the field at McMahon Stadium in Calgary on Saturday.

As for Friday nights games, the B.C. Lions surprised nobody by beating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Lions locked first place in the West Division, and Dave Dickenson even took a few snaps, threw a touchdown, the usual.

Even better was that Casey Printers left the game in the first half because HE HURT HIS FINGER.

I swear I could hear him wailing as he walked to the sidelines to have his hangnail looked at. "WAAAAAAH! My finger! WAAAAAAH!"

Of course, as soon as he was off the field, the Ticats scored a touchdown. How to take it to those B.C. Lions who done you wrong, Casey.

Then, with Saskatchewan playing a bunch of second stringers, the Edmonton Eskimos did their best to win a game and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They had the lead - a good lead - heading in to the fourth quarter, but just didn't have enough to wrap it up. So the Eskies are out for the season.

The Crosby Count


This year, so far, Sidney Crosby has only scored goals against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He nabbed another last night as the Penguins lost 5-2.

What is wrong with the Pittsburgh offense?

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 9
Goals: 3
Assists: 9
Total points: 12


LUNCH: Sausage on a bun, with a bag of chips. The sidewalk special

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loping like a Leopard


So the new update to Apple's Mac OS X releases tomorrow. Code-named Leopard, it will be installed on all new Mac computers, portable and desktop, and can be purchased as an upgrade for $129 plus tax.

I've watched the video which walks you through the changes, and let me tell you, there are five reasons I can see that make me want the upgrade right now. Ranked in order of their usefulness to me:

1. Time machine
2. Data detectors in Mail
3. Stacks in the dock
4. Spaces on the desktop
5. Quick look previewing

I'm too smart to install this on the first day. I'll wait until bigger brains than I give it a try and work out the kinks. But I'm not waiting too long.

Time machine alone is worth the upgrade.

Ouch!


Well, Jeff Francis must wish his second pitch in the World Series had gone better than that. Having Dustin Pedroia crank the ball out of Fenway just set the Rockies off on the wrong foot.

Poor, Jeff. I hope he gets another chance to pitch in this series.

But I gotta tell you, I don't know that he will. The Red Sox are peaking at just the right time, and the Rockies really suffered from that week off.

Plus, the players on the Red Sox squad are long-time pros who have been here before. Hell, many of them were around when they snatched victory from the jaws of being swept out in the first round.

I'm not sure the Rockies can overcome that confidence, although now the monkey is off their back, I hope they take a game or two, and give Francis a chance to pitch again. He deserves that much.


LUNCH: a bowl of chili to warm the insides on this crisp day

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Crosby Count


The Penguins beat the New York Rangers last night. The score? 1-0.

Seriously? 1-0? With Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, Malkin, Gomez, Drury, Shanahan, and Sykora on the ice? All that talent on the ice, and only one goal scored?

C'mon. I mean . . . sheesh.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 8
Goals: 2
Assists: 8
Total points: 10


LUNCH: Cajun chicken panini with a spinach salad

Sunday, October 21, 2007

CFL weekend roundup

The Argos beat the floundering Alouettes, the Lions beat the Eskimos (and unless the Eskies win their last two games and the Alouettes lose both of theirs, that's it for the green and gold this season; good analysis over at Twelve Men on the Field), and the Stampeders decided to rest Henry Burris, and lost to the Blue Bombers, establishing that maybe they need Burris to win (and, therefore, that it may have been a good idea to rest him and his shoulder).

Then, in the sole CFL Sunday game, Saskatchewan managed to beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which does nothing to establish whether they can win against a real football team with a healthy quarterback.

And did you hear? Lenny Kravitz is the half-time headliner at this year's Grey Cup game in Toronto. (Check out the nice Kravitz photo over at Rouge For the Win.)

So, close


Well, Lewis Hamilton, the fresh-faced sensation of the F1 circuit this year, wasn't able to become the first rookie to win the drivers championship after all. Problems with his McLaren early in the race set him back, and he finished seventh.

He was quoted as saying, "Obviously I am pretty disappointed with the result today, having lead for so much of the season and then not to win the championship. However I have to put the result into perspective, this is only my first year in Formula One and overall it has just been phenomenal. I am still very young and have plenty more years in me to achieve my dream of becoming world champion.”

Finn Kimi Raikkonen locked up the Formula One World Drivers' Championship with a first place finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend.

But Hamilton was able to really make the F1 season exciting. I look forward to watching what he can do next season to set things on fire.

Holy crap


Going into today's NFL game with the New England Patriots in Miami to play the Dolphins, the question wasn't whether the Patriots would win, but how badly they would embarrass the Fins.

Well, at halftime, the Patriots are up 42-7. Tom Brady has already thrown for five touchdowns.

In all of their games so far this season, the Patriots have scored more than 34 points. They've done that today in the first half.

People, 16-0 is possible.

EDIT: Final score: Patriots 49, Dolphins 28; Brady threw for six touchdowns, and only played about half of the second half.

The Crosby Count


I was really expecting more offense from the Pens this year. I'm glad they beat Washington, yeah, but with Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin on the ice, I expected the score to be bigger than 2-1.

Oh, well, at least the Kid nabbed an assist.

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 7
Goals: 2
Assists: 7
Total points: 9


LUNCH: Early, yet, but I can tell you I plan on having a big bowl of chili

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Crosby Count


Sid scored the shootout winner in the game against Carolina tonight. Too bad shootout goals don't count in my hockey pool. He did snag a couple of assists, though. Not too shabby!

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 6
Goals: 2
Assists: 6
Total points: 8

LUNCH: chicken salad sandwich with a big dill pickle

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Crosby Count


Okay, I was really excited to get the first pick in our hockey draft this year, because it meant that I could snap up Sidney Crosby, and instantly be in the running to win the draft. Sid the Kid really is that good.

Or, he was last year. And the year before.

But he's been slow to get rolling this season, and in four games with the Penguins so far this year, he's only got four points: 2 goals, 2 assists.

Which, for any other player would be phenomenal. But for Crosby it's mediocre.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to trade the Kid. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but I'm not a moron. I'd like to see Crosby notch a few more points, sure, and I'm also sure that he will. So I've decided to start tracking his output in this blog.

So if you wanna know how Sidney Crosby is doing, check back here for a points update on the league's best player.

After the Penguins loss to the New Jersey Devils tonight, here's where the Kid stands:

CROSBY COUNT
Games played: 5
Goals: 2
Assists: 4
Total points: 6


LUNCH: A pita wrap with tuna salad. The pita was a bit dry, but the tuna had just the right amount of mayonnaise

Monday, October 15, 2007

Football round-up


Well, Tom Brady clearly won the battle of the quarterbacks when the Patriots crushed the Cowboys on Sunday. Too bad, Tony Romo.

Tom, don't give up your day job, though, cause an actor you are not, and you proved that in the funny bit about why you are always listed as "probable" on the NFL injury report because of that lingering shoulder injury.

Henry Burris showed why the Stamps need him so bad, and the Eskimos were, for all intents and purposes, officially eliminated from the CFL playoff picture. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Ha!

Finally, over at Twelve Men on the Field, a look at how B.C. Lions president Bob Ackles is trying to save the CFL.


LUNCH: Really average mall Thai food, ginger beef and orange chicken. Mmmm, sweet

Friday, October 12, 2007

Go, Rockies, go


I'm not much for baseball. Love to play it, but I've never had an easy time sitting through an entire game.

Except when I was on a business trip in Arizona, and I got to see some spring training action. Being that close to the players on the small fields is really something, actually.

Anyhow, I've been intrigued by professional baseball this year for a few of reasons. I love that the hapless Mets lost their last, like, 20 games and were knocked out of the playoff race. I love that the regular season results weren't decided without some extra games being played. I love that the arrogant Yankees were swept in the first round.

Most of all, though, I love how Jeff Francis, who was drafted into MLB straight out of UBC, has become such a hero. He led the Colorado Rockies to a game 1 win in the National League Championship series against the Arizona Diamondbacks last night.

There haven't been many Canadian baseball players, let alone Canadian baseball players who have really made a difference.

Justin Morneau, the MVP who plays first base for the Minnesota Twins, has been a rising star for a couple of years, and Matt Stairs had a good season for the Blue Jays this year, but not since Larry Walker has a Canadian baseballer threatened to be the news story of the baseball season.

Jeff Francis, the left-hander from Delta, B.C., has got me watching the baseball this October.


LUNCH: This is the last day for turkey sandwiches. At least, it better be.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Play Memory for prizes!


This is kinda cool, actually.

Future Shop is celebrating its 25th anniversary. (If you've watched any football or hockey in the past week or so you've seen the TV ad, in which the staff member tweaks the front entrance audio. Which reminds me, Future Shop, that you need to BRING BACK THE ROBOT!)

Anyhow, as a way of promoting their 25 years in the electronics retail biz, Future Shop has put up a few web pages that look back. There is a timeline, a list of "fun facts" about how the electronics industry has changed in 25 years, and a video that looks at how the store has changed over the years.

But the coolest thing they've done is created a short game of Memory. Remember the game where you turn all the cards face down, and by turning over two at a time you have to find matches?

The difference here is that you need to match old technology - like the first digital audio player released in North America, with 32 MB of memory (enough for 8 whole songs) - to new technology - like an iPod Touch.

You're given 25 seconds to match twelve items (six pairs), and if you're fast enough, you can enter to win a $2,500 gift card at Future Shop and other daily prize draws.

And let me tell you, having $2,500 to spend on new gadgets and electronics is better than bragging rights over weird Aunt Irma.


LUNCH: I'm still working on that turkey

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanksgiving Classic football



All CFL today, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Montreal to play the Alouettes and the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Calgary to play the Stampeders.

Montreal walked all over the Ticats. Cavillo never missed hitting his receivers, who walked through the Ticat defense like they were standing still.

I haven't been quiet about what I think about Casey Printers, and while my attitude hasn't changed, it has softened. I saw Printers laser the football and watched him scramble and run, so I understand that he has some measure of talent. More important, though, he has been humbled by his experience so far. His new-found humility gets him a few points in my book.

Just a few. I still hate the guy.

But the Alouettes, who exploded in the first half and looked to blow out the Ticats, fizzled in the second. Even so, the Ticats only ended up with one touchdown. The rest of their 19 points came from field goals. Printers ended his day 15 for 39, with two interceptions.
In Calgary, the Stampeders are clearly missing Henry Burris, as they dropped their third in a row.

Akili Smith started the game for the Stamps, and couldn't generate any offense at all. Ben Sankey came in in the third quarter and at least got some points on the board, including a great last-minute drive (which was pointless because the Riders were too far ahead).

Burris claims that he'll be ready to return for next week's game against the Blue Bombers, but that's an awfully quick return from a dislocated shoulder. Tough call for a coach to make, but I'd give him another week, unless my playoff chances were in jeopardy.

Come to think of it, they might be.


LUNCH: Well, yesterday was turkey day at my house, so today was - wait for it - turkey sandwiches!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Why I hate NASCAR


So Jacques Villeneuve has decided he wants to race NASCAR. Fine. Good for him. He's clearly got no hope for a career in music. (He's only sold 233 copies of his debut CD, Private Paradise.)

And the drivers in the NASCAR circuit are whining and complaining about Villeneuve's deciding to debut at Talladega.

"Wah! We don't want the new kid to play with us today! What if he's better than us? Wah!"

I can't stand those pathetic, moronic half-wits. Some of the drivers are threatening to try and crash Villeneuve out simply because he's the new kid.

Well, I hope Jacques drives his ass off, stays nice and humble like a good Canadian, and makes all those NASCAR drivers look like the spoiled idiot brats they are.


LUNCH: Are you kidding me? With turkey in the oven? I'm fasting until that bird is done.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Tonight is hockey night. In Canada


There are 14 game in the NHL tonight, which means that every time in the league but two are on the ice. On Hockey Night in Canada on CBC we get Montreal in Toronto, followed by Vancouver at Calgary.

I know the season has been active for a couple of weeks, but it actually feels like hockey season now, don't you think?


LUNCH: More like breakfast, because I was so late getting to it. Bacon, eggs, toast.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Bungie splits from Microsoft

This comes as a surprise, especially given how successful Halo 3 has been.

Bungie Studios, who created Halo, is leaving the embrace of Micorosoft to become an indie studio again. An indie studio that has Microsoft as an equity partner.

The full details can be found at MCV and GameSpot.

This is backwards from what normally happens. Usually, a studio makes a game for a publisher, it sells well, and the publisher acquires the studio. That's how Bungie ended up part of Microsoft in the first place.


BREAKFAST: Nothing. Yet. But steak and eggs, maybe. It's Friday.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fantasy hockey draft


The consensus among the learned hockey analysts is that Sidney Crosby will win the scoring title (cause that's a difficult prediction to make), but who rounds out the top 5 scorers for the 2007-2008 season?

Joe Thornton, Jaromir Jagr, Dany Heatley, Alexander Ovechkin, Vincent Lecavalier, Marian Hossa, and Henrik Zetterberg are certain to be at the top of the heap.

But after Crosby, who would you pick for spots 2 through 5?


LUNCH: a nice slice of pumpkin pie