Autonomous Source


November 07, 2007

Pollster's revenge

It was dinner time (of course) when the pollster called. He spoke quickly at me in French and all I caught was 'CROP poll'. I interrupted him and said, "I'm sorry, I only speak English."

*click* HUMMMMMMM.....

November 02, 2007


A shiny Autonomous Source no-prize to the first reader that identifies the animated cartoon franchise depicted by the odd shapes of these tasteless noodles:

The slices of hot dogs were my own addition. Sometimes I can lead our children on quite the culinary adventure.

UPDATE: We have a winner! The correct answer of Scooby Doo was given by dmorris. Besides the everlasting pride, he wins a coveted Autonomous Source no-prize which is not on its way to him right now!

October 30, 2007

Don't forget the ponies, John

Down in the States, John Edwards has big plans:

Edwards, a former Democratic senator from North Carolina, says the federal government should underwrite universal pre-kindergarten, create matching savings accounts for low-income people, mandate a minimum wage of $9.50 and provide a million new Section 8 housing vouchers for the poor. He also pledged to start a government-funded public higher education program called "College for Everyone."
He is also claiming magical powers:
Like other Democrats, Edwards named his top three priorities as ending the war in Iraq, enacting universal health care and overhauling the American energy system. "Those are three things instantly I would do," he said.
So far he's said nothing about the ponies. But there's still many weeks of campaigning to go...

October 24, 2007


I thought I was destined to meet my end through killer bees. Nope. It's the viper pit for me.

But maybe Viper's are not always fatal...

October 08, 2007

When you work in a corporation too long...

You know how it is. Most of your time is spent on things that are not important. Well, they are important, of course. Your company would fall apart if it wasn't for the many minor tasks you and your fellow workers accomplish each day. But you don't expect any appreciation for them, and they're not anything to write home about.

Once in a while though, you do work on something that stands out. Something you will remember all your days, and that you will probably tell your grandchildren about. It makes you glow with pride and feel energized and excited about your job. No, this is not just a job! It's your Calling in Life! This is not a time for false modesty. Accomplishments like this are good for the moral of your fellow employees, will force customers to reappraise their previous experiences with your company, and -- let's face it -- will allow the top management to see your unique blend of skill and drive, as well as the long-term, out-of-the-box, paradigm-breaking thinking you're capable of. It will finally earn you the promotion you deserve.

You must tell everyone. Send a company-wide email. Make a presentation to your department. And invite the top management! This is big! Send a press release to the media! Take matters into your own hands and send the news to your entire customer database! Everyone must know that you have taken your company to a whole new level of service!

We're writing to let you know that Park Plaza has updated its Privacy Policy effective October 28th, 2007. We value your business and are excited to make these changes, enhancing our services to serve you better.

Please take a few moments to review the updated Privacy Policy.

Thank you for staying at Park Plaza!

And then everything is quiet. Why have there been no responses to your email? Why did no one show up for your presentation? There hasn't been one follow-up phone call, or anyone dropping by your desk. Is your work not respected? What's the matter with the people around here? Are they stupid? Or do they just not care?

Face it, you hate your stupid job...

October 06, 2007

Barking. Mad.

Research is still underway, but so far the following things have been found to cause the Devil Dog to bark insanely:

Squirrels, anyone getting too close to his food dish, cars on the road, his reflection, thunder, the train, our cats daring to poke their heads from their hiding places, visitors, other dogs, falling leaves, the annoying way his toys stubbornly refuse to move, chipmunks, cyclists, pizza delivery men, having a toy roll under the furniture, strangers walking on the road, birds, being ignored, anyone in the house being deeply asleep in the middle of the night, going four hours without getting a walk, oxygen...
But I've got a feeling that this is just scratching the surface...

October 04, 2007

Okay, what's with the Candyland obsession?

Over the past couple of months, I've had hundreds and hundreds of hits to this blog coming from Google looking for... Candyland pictures. You know, I wrote piles and piles of great stuff a few years ago when I was optimistic and enthusiastic about this whole blogging thing. I can look back at that old stuff and I still think it's pretty good. Yet this is my final legacy on the internet?

September 22, 2007

But are you a robot?

Hillary Clinton: I'm not a lesbian.

September 07, 2007

Marvel Premiere! Featuring... Rollerman!

Finding the world's true superheroes has been what this blog has been about since its inception in 2003. Well okay, I've found one: the Perplexing Polarman, currently making Iqaluit a safer place. But now word comes of the arrival of... Rollerman!

But is he really a superhero? He does have a cool costume and name, but in the entirety of this video he does not once apprehend a bad guy. However, it looks like he has violated many traffic laws. It's just a matter of time until he flattens some poor innocent bystander. So he must be a supervillain.

Luckily for him he lives in Paris, far from the forces of justice that might put an end to his evil ways. But he shouldn't get too comfortable, evil will always be defeated in the end.

July 29, 2007

Simpsons! Meet the Simpsons!

Apparently the movie is pretty good, but I haven't got around to seeing it yet...

Criminal prosecutors

This story is making the rounds, but if you haven't heard about it yet you can find out about the whole sordid affair from Mark Steyn:

Do you know Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison?

If you do, don't approach them. Call 911 and order up a SWAT team. They're believed to be in the vicinity of McMinnville, Ore., where they're a clear and present danger to the community. Mashburn and Cornelison were recently charged with five counts of felony sexual abuse, and District Attorney Bradley Berry has pledged to have them registered for life as sex offenders.

Oh, by the way, the defendants are in the seventh grade.

Messrs Mashburn and Cornelison are pupils at Patton Middle School. They were arrested in February after being observed in the vestibule, swatting girls on the butt. Butt-swatting had apparently become a form of greeting at the school – like "a handshake we do," as one female student put it. On "Slap Butt Fridays," boys and girls would hail each other with a cheery application of manual friction to the posterior, akin to a Masonic greeting.

And then an authority figure found out, and decided to ruin a few lives. Read the whole thing.

July 23, 2007

Cruel and unusual

Forget Guantanamo Bay, in the Philippines they really know how to torture their inmates: they make them participate in reenactments of Michael Jackson videos. Do not watch this if you're faint of heart...

UPDATE: Additional warning: you may not be able to get that wretched song out of your head. Always proceed with caution when dealing with Michael Jackson songs.

July 11, 2007

Uses for the Multitudians

In Stanislaw Lem's book, The Cyberiad, Trurl was offered a few hundred thousand slaves by the King of the Multitudians in exchange for his services. When Trurl refused, the King told him of the many wonderful things you could do with so many slaves.

You can, for example, dress them in robes of different colours and have them stand in a great square to form a living mosaic, or signs providing sentiments for every occasion
Some South Koreans working at Samsung have made this vision a reality. It's as creepy as it sounds:

Expect to see something like this at the Beijing Olympics.

July 02, 2007

Confronting the nostalgists for totalitarianism

So what sight greeted us as our family arrived in Wakefield, Quebec for the Canada day parade? This:

The Soviet flag was flying from the mast of a barge docked at the main intersection. It was the first thing visible as anyone entered town. I was aghast.

I'm normally a somewhat reserved person. I intensely dislike confrontation. But I knew I would be angry with myself if I didn't go to have words with the historically illiterate morons that raised this banner. I told my wife to wait, pushed the front of my hat down, and strode over to the dock.

There were three men in the boat. I asked when they were planning to take that flag. They said they weren't. I asked them why they were flying the flag of a regime that had killed millions of people. They replied lamely that the Soviets were our allies in World War Two. Though it was less visible, they also were flying a Cuban flag, suggesting that the USSR's aid in defeating Nazi Germany was not what they were celebrating. I started getting angry. I reminded them of the mass starvations in the Ukraine and the gulags, and asked how anyone could proudly display a symbol of an empire that engaged in that kind of inhuman repression. They shrugged and said I was the first person to complain.

And I most certainly was. I looked around and saw the bemused looks on the faces of the passersby. I was playing the role of the crazed right-winger, while they were the cool, beret-wearing hipsters. I replied that even though I was the only person willing to speak up, I was still right, and that they should be ashamed of themselves. And then I left.

What is amazing is that the three men on that barge own a local business, Kaffé 1870. They seem to have no problem with the fact that if they lived under the regimes they are so nostalgic for, they would have been shut down long ago.

But perhaps there is some hope for them. I noticed that within a half hour they had taken down the Soviet flag and replaced it with a vertical red banner. I'd like to think I made them feel a little bit of shame, even if just for a moment.

June 22, 2007


People who know me think that I am perfect in every way. But this is not quite true. I must admit to one minor character flaw: a weakness for stoopid computer games.

The latest bauble to catch my attention is an online golf game called Albatross18. It's a strange, surreal, Nintendoish game that is free to download and free to play. The company that produced it makes money by allowing players to purchase 'cookies' with real money that can be exchanged for improved equipment and clothing. But if you're too cheap to pay for items (like me), you can still improve your character buying items with 'pang', earned by competing in tournaments and making good shots. I've managed to purchase a stylish cowboy hat and a pair of sneakers so far.

The game is deceptively easy to play. After a few rounds, you'll easily be hitting par and making birdies on the easy courses. But veteran players can make eagles, albatrosses, and holes-in-one. And the hard courses take a long time to master. There are also special shots like the tomahawk, which rockets a great distance and comes down with an explosion. I've yet to see someone deploy one of these shots on the PGA tour.

To play, get an account on the OgPlanet site, log in, then download the software from the Albatross18 site. But don't do it if you don't have hours to waste on a pointless internet confection. I'm trying to quit cold turkey myself...

May 22, 2007

Abandon hope, ye who follow this link...

Over at the Blog Quebecois, gnotalex has revealed what he really thinks of me. I'm crushed of course, but I will not stoop to his level. It takes two to feud, and I refuse to get into a war of words with a pathetic, worthless hack like him.

It's obvious that he's jealous of my immense talent at bringing the finest in stoopid, time-wasting flash games to the Canadian blogosphere, when all he can do is find boring, second-rate games. That may be okay for his boring, second-rate blog, but we have higher standards here at Autonomous Source.

Only here will you find links to quality games like this one, Desktop Tower Defense.

It's like many of the other tower defense games, except that your placement of the towers creates the maze the creeps run through. It opens a whole new world of strategic options. Playing on medium skill level allows you to record your scores. As an additional bonus to the readers of this blog, I have created a 'group name' -- autonomous -- that you can record and compare your finished score with others. Just part of the service you can expect here at Autonomous Source.

March 30, 2007

Looking forward to a summer vacation

Holland is our destination, to visit some of Michelle's family. Google helpfully provides an itinerary. Step 20 might be a little difficult though...

January 24, 2007

Don't follow this link

I can thank Gnotalex for the loss of this morning to idleness. Terrible thing, idleness, always stopping me from being the effective achiever I know I am meant to be.

Anyways, if you do not want your day to me mired in idleness, DO NOT follow this link. I'm warning you!

And if you do follow it, I'll bet you can't get to level 39 like I did...

January 20, 2007

Your vote is your say, don't throw it away.

Over at Faster Than The World, they're attempting to resolve, for once and for all: what was the best arcade game ever? Fifty games have been nominated for the voting, and it's clear some of them are pretty wonky. (I mean, come on! Tecmo Super Dodge Ball?) But the important games are there.

It's clear that if there is any justice in the universe the winner will be Atari's Gauntlet:

Go my minions, go to FTTW and vote for Gauntlet!

C'mon! I mean it. That means both of you...

UPDATE: You guys are such a disappointment. Space Invaders has been declared the winner. Which makes me think some people thought they were voting for the most influential arcade game of all time or some such thing, rather than the best one. Because certainly no one could be interested in playing Space Invaders any more...

January 17, 2007

For Lease: Supervillain Lair

How does this sound as a supervillain (or even a superhero) lair? Massive man-made caverns located behind the rushing water of Niagara Falls? It would be the perfect place to build an army of giant robots. It's almost too good to be true.

And they exist! A hydro-electric powerstation once used these caverns to expel water from two turbines. It would have been very expensive to fill them in, so it was never done. And no one could ever get to them anyway.

Or could they? Thrill to the story of how three ninja mountaineers, JonDoe, Stoop and Dsankt, made their way past Ontario Hydro's lame security and made their way to the base of the Falls -- from behind.

Note that the writers, editors, and financial backers of Autonomous Source do not in any way endorse this dangerous and illegal activity. But we do think it's pretty cool.

November 01, 2006

Things I've learned

Wrapping a string of red Christmas lights around the bowl you use to hand out treats looks really cool. Unfortunately, the heat from the lights turns the chocolate bars inside into soup.

October 17, 2006


The 1K project involved 1000 people racing a car solo over an insane track on some racing game, each saving a record of their race, then using software wizardry to superimpose the cars over each other. You get a very nifty-looking result. But the real artistry of this video is the camera-work that captures the chaos.

A more hi-rez version of the video is available here (select the full screen option).

October 01, 2006

Most Annoying Canadian 2006

As promised, the end of September closed the nomination period for the 2006 Most Annoying Canadian competition. Now the voting can begin. Autonomous Source headquarters has worked very hard to choose the twenty-four candidates listed below. They, and the also-rans, were carefully categorized according to a complex process that gave them each ratings on various 'annoying' metrics. Then I picked the ones I liked.

Ben MulroneyDon CherryDavid SuzukiGeorge Stroumboulopoulos
Alexa McDonoughJason KenneyJack LaytonStephen Lewis
Maude BarlowKate McMillanSacha TrudeauBob Rae
Ken DrydenCharles AdlerPhil FontaineBuzz Hargrove
Margaret AtwoodDalton McGuintyHedy FryTed Simonett
Colleen JonesRona AmbroseJoe VolpeBelinda Stronach

Vote for your choice on the sidebar (on the home page). You will be able to vote once per day, and voting will end on December 31st of this year. Please do not make your choices lightly, as the winner will move on to the Worlds, where we have a chance to stage an upset victory over the Americans. We know Canadians are annoying, now is the chance to assert our international dominance.

September 25, 2006

Speaking of The Inferno...

Apparently I'm bound for Hell. Damn.

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Sixth Level of Hell - The City of Dis!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Very High
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Low
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Moderate
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Moderate
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Find your Final destination.

September 05, 2006

I'll be there, man...

Well, probably not..

But how can I miss it? Liam will be there!

August 30, 2006

Speaking of the kooks...

Darcey points to a great Steyn article highlighting some of the Canadian contributors to the crowded kook market:

Who is A. K. Dewdney? He's an adjunct professor of biology at the University of Western Ontario, and he has pieced together the truth about what happened on 9/11. You may be familiar with the official version: "To account for the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush White House has produced a scenario involving Arab hijackers flying large aircraft into American landmarks," writes the eminent Ontario academic. "We, like millions of other 9/11 skeptics, have found this explanation to be inconsistent with the facts of the matter."

Instead, he argues, a mid-air plane switch took place on three of the jets. "The passengers of one of the flights died in an aerial explosion over Shanksville, Pa.," he writes, "and the remaining passengers (and aircraft) were disposed of in the Atlantic Ocean." Most of us swallowed "the Bush-Cheney scenario" because we were unaware that, when two planes are less than half a kilometre apart, they appear as a single blip on the radar screen. Thus, the covert switch. Instead of crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the flights were diverted by FBI agents on board to Harrisburg, Pa., where the passengers from all three planes were herded onto UA Flight 175 and flown on to Cleveland Hopkins and their deaths. By then, unmanned Predator drones had been substituted for the passenger jets and directed into their high-profile targets. The original planes and their passengers were finished off over the Atlantic.

Really, it's all very simple...

Cartoon from Filibuster Cartoons by way of ¡No Pasarán!

August 26, 2006

The circle of life

It's happened. I'm a parent. Yesterday I found myself herding my children through one of those bad roadside attractions of the type I remember visiting when I was a little boy. The place was Storyland, located about an hour west of downtown Ottawa. It features an odd collection of ancient statuary, an ancient mini-golf course, a half-dozen peddle-boats (yes, ancient) in a stagnant pond, one of those big, air-filled jumpy things, a couple of oversized sprinklers and one of the biggest backyard water slides that Wal-Mart sells. And it's all operated by a dozen high school students wearing badly maintained costumes.

Unfortunately for me, Max and Talia were having the time of their life. Which means I spent over five hours there. Which meant I promised to take them back...

August 21, 2006

Dipsy does MC Hammer

Why am I putting this video up? I really don't know. Today I just got nothin'. But it has to be seen to be believed.

Dipsy really deserves to headline his own show. He's carried the Teletubbies long enough.

(via Videosift)

August 08, 2006

We are all Mushrooms now

No, I don't know what the title means. These are some mushrooms the kids and I found the other day. (Larger pic.)

July 19, 2006

When will it end?

It's a rare day that I sit in front of the TV at 8:00 and wonder what's on, but tonight I did. On Fox there's the talent reality show So You Think You Can Dance. On CBS, the talent reality show Rock Star: Supernova. ABC has The One: Making A Music Star. I think it might be a talent reality show. NBC has America's Got Talent, possibly another talent reality show. And in Canada we have CBC and CTV both simulcasting one of those shows, with A channel bravely blazing its own path with Canada's Next Top Model.

TreeHouse has Little Bear. I think I'll watch that.

July 18, 2006

Spider blogging II

Last year I shared with the world a photo of a huge spider I found inside a log. Due to the tremendous response to that photo (2 comments! Wow!), I have decided to show the world the latest giant arachnid hiding out in my yard. She's at least as big as the one from last year, but she's a lot friskier.

Her name is Laverne and she lives in a hollow of a tree next to Max and Talia's play structure. The kids are both fascinated with spiders and have absolutely no fear of them. If you can look closely at her, you can see an egg sac underneath. That's right, Laverne is going to be a mommy!

I'll try to keep the blogosphere up to date.

My, that's a big burrito!

Some people say portion sizes have got too large in the US. Nonsense. Why, I could probable finish this burrito in a week and still have some room for ice cream!

(via Nobody's Business)

July 13, 2006

You learn something new every day

Sometimes, when you're driving behind some slowpoke down the highway, you find yourself asking questions that are not easy to answer -- without getting into a lot of trouble. Fortunately, the internet has the answers:

It seems those Smart cars are more resilient than they look. Oh well, better to find out now.

Of course, there are other bad things that can happen to Smart cars

July 10, 2006

Must be tertiary syphilis

I'm so glad to have had the chance to meet Fenris Badwulf in Toronto before he went completely insane. But then again, I somewhat regret not meeting the individual who wrote this:

Accept the smoke of burning airships with your morning Tim Horton coffee and donut. Let cougar women feast upon the sexual delights of fresh trained eighteen year old soldiers. Say ‘Welcome’ to the business opportunities of total war. Make a service contract offer with The War God.

Soon, you will have a comfortable air raid shelter. The government will give you a coffee machine, and donuts after each large city wide attack. It will have running water, electricity for your computer and air conditioner, and recycled air out of the deepest sewers. What a deal! You will be as safe as a mushroom. You will be the man with the car and the hot chick when the lights go out and city evacuates during the attacks from the city melting machine from beyond Pluto.

Sound the War Timpani! Honk the Clarinets! Pummel the Tamobrine Ensemble! Let the fearsome roar of our Castanetes sound across the land as our invincible squares of pikemen and dashing halberdiers move to subjugate new territories for our mutual economic benefit. Hurrah for Monopoly Capitalism!

Yes, This Country is assembling a pre-emptive planning sub-committee (ex folio ut nil captum barbarorum) for the aggressive reconnaissence of the least outer and greatest inner parameters of the projected problem exploration grouping. Our Enemies are Doomed!

It'll all be over soon.

July 09, 2006

Zidane lets it slip through his fingers

So what the heck was that guy thinking? It's the last ten minutes of a match in which France is clearly outplaying their opponents. A billion people are watching; it's the last game of Zidane's career -- and possibly the most important. And he head-butts some guy out of play and knocks him to the ground? Did he think he could get away with it?

Sure France might have lost anyway, but he killed the great momentum the team had at that moment. And he was definitely going to be needed for the shoot-out in the end. What a waste.

UPDATE: I spent some time looking for this last night on YouTube but was unsuccessful, but here it is, the moment Zidane loses it:

July 06, 2006

You Tubed

Here at Autonomous Source headquarters, we're always on the lookout for the latest blog fad so we can jump on the bandwagon too. Lately it seems that embedding other's YouTube videos on your site is all the rage. It's wrong to fight these things; better to just go with the flow...

The first amusing video is from a Japanese game show, or perhaps a morning show. An annoyed monitor lizard must decide which maiden's headgear he wishes to devour. Why can't we get this kind of stuff on Canada AM?

The next selection is from the most significant rock band of the 20th century, with a video for the song that changed the world. It's 1976 -- Can you handle DEVO?

Johnny Knoxville is now a Hollywood mega-star, starring in such timeless films as The Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer. But before he was a household name, he abused his body and his dignity for a show on an obscure cable channel. This is possibly the funniest thing you will see in your lifetime:

YouTube has people creating their own original content, not just sharing the contents of their old VHS tapes. This one is pretty popular. (Okay, it's not completely original...)

And finally, nostalgia. If you're a Canadian of a certain age, this video will bring back lots of old memories. If you're not, it will be a pointless waste of two minutes of your life.

Okay, that's enough for this week. I reserve the right to do this again, for as long as this fad continues.

July 04, 2006

Well this is pretty monstrous...

The enormous cocoon of unnecessary government services that the British people are being enveloped in keeps getting more constraining:

Mr Ternouth's thriller flooded back to me this week when I read of the Government's plan to spend £224million of your money and mine on setting up a database, recording details of the lives of all 12 million children in England and Wales.

Among other things, the Children's Index will record whether a child's parents are providing a 'positive role model', how the child is performing at school — and even whether youngsters are eating the daily five portions of fruit and vegetables recommended by the Government.

Presumably, children will be questioned at school each morning on what their parents fed them the night before.

The database, we are told, will be made available to social workers, teachers and doctors, who will have the power to flag up 'concerns' when they think that children are not meeting the criteria laid down by the state.

I can imagine Ken Dryden endorsing a similarly intrusive registry to 'care' for the nation's children (no, they'll not be yours anymore) should the unthinkable happen and he winds up sitting in the Prime Minister's office.

(via Small Dead Animals)

June 18, 2006

This makes me nostalgic for Vegas...

(via Samizdata)

Continue reading "This makes me nostalgic for Vegas..." »