Mental Floss

Mental – For your brain

Sandy McCallum Remembered

by on Nov.02, 2008, under - Main Page -, Bloggings

Sandy McCallum – my Great Acting Uncle

Just wanted to post a note about my gret uncle Sandy who passed away last week.  If any of you saw Death Race 2000 made in 1975, he was The President.  The only interesteing image I could find of him was a web writeup that you see displayed here — looks like that's where my brothers and I might have inherited our knack for making faces.  🙂 If you click the image, it should link to the official online writeup.

My dad sent me this Guest Book for him after I first posted this article.

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Short video on the most influential instrument in techno: The Roland TB-303

by on Sep.21, 2005, under - Main Page -, Bloggings

I just dug up
this 5 minute video (estimated) by Nate Harrison on the history of the
Roland TB-303.  If you've followed its history there's nothing too
new, but he expertly lays out the headspace the music world was in at
the time, and how it was (mis)used through the ages.  For anyone
who jumped into techno lore late in the game (yeah okay, it's all relative)
this is a great watch to backfill details on where the sound came from.

http://www.nkhstudio.com/pages/bassline_mp4.html

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Camera + Brown Man = Fear – Something's not right with this picture

by on Jul.09, 2004, under - Main Page -, Spew

It certainly sounds like an interesting time for people living in the United States, of all colours.  be not afraidI'm
not really political, so this isn't a politics rant, but I do have a
fair amount of angst against bullies.  Not that I was especially
picked on in my youth (there were times, you f*kers), but there are
some people in the world who just don't seem to offer that much value
to society and we would all probably be better off having them
removed.  Elsewhere. 

I've read other
articles (on the Internet, of course) about people being harassed and
detained for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  But
there was something about this tale (maybe because he's a photographer as well) that really made me feel insecure. 

Now
another reason I decided to write this up is to solicit some feedback
about the type of character drawn towards enforcement and security
professions.  The vast majority of police and security guards I've
met in Toronto (and surrounding areas) have been “good guys”. 
They may not be especially complicated and want to keep the situation
simple, (quite often, it can be simplified) but I do get the overall feeling that they want to do the right thing.

I
do not get this feeling from American law enforcement.  Sorry, I
just don't and it's from personal experience.  The characters I've
encountered (chatting them up on the street, walking in the wrong area,
general observation) seem more along the lines of the kid in a small
town who happened to build muscle easily, and spent their youth
enjoying their physical dominance (and the resulting popularity with
some social groups) over their peers.  They also never leave their
town.  And not all of these people are large hulking peace
officers — I'm just creating a character mould to give you an
idea. 

A short example from a few years ago: I
was in downtown San Francisco at night, walking around without my
glasses because I had broken them, and walked along a length of
sidewalk that apparently had some sort of barrier setup to prevent me
from walking on it.  Yet I was walking there anyway.  A
little way into the Restricted Area a peace officer got my attention
and told me I shouldn't be there. 

“Really?”
“Yes, that sign over there.”
“Oh…” I said squinting, “.. oh sorry, I didn't notice it because I don't have my glasses on.”
“No you just didn't read it.”

…. You're right!  But was that really necessary?  Do you really value a good relationship with the community?

It's
these sorts of characters that destroy a police's relationship with the
community they're charged to protect.  It's the same type of
characeters who enjoy a dominant role, regardless of its
appropriateness, and harassed Ian Spiers.  These bullies need to be dealt with.

I
do want to say though that the nicest officer I've met was a highway
patrolman in Michigan who pulled me over for my first (and so far,
only) speeding ticket.  There needs to be more guys like him.

 

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I was already an angry teenager

by on Jul.06, 2004, under - Main Page -, Spew

Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger Badger  Once
upon a time, I used to cast my thoughts freely.  I fell off the
boat, and now I have this opportunity to rejoin.  Dare I spew
again?  Do I really have much to complain about?

And who wants to listen to my crap anyway?  Life sucks, get a helmet or make a change.

I will actually post to this blog, most likely in its appropriate place and not on the main page (this may change).  I'd like this to not become a cesspool of rantings.

At least the whole blogging thing as a content management system
will simplify my life, so I hope to keep in better touch with people,
even if it's a one-to-many relationship. (no offence to anyone, I still
love you all)

The editor for blogware comes with a bunch of
built in graphic smilies , so you don't have trouble interpreting
things like <=====8

<- Pirate?

(Yarr!)

 

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Motorola Talkabout T6220's

by on Jul.04, 2004, under - Main Page -, Technology Lust

[Google Search]

I should really write something about these radios I picked up, because
they rock so hardcore.  I needed something that could get my
attention while I was near loud sound stages at music festivals, and
the Motorola Talkabout T6220 had a vibration feature, so it quickly
went to the top of my list.  I got two, then bought two more —
they're that good.  Aside from the vibration system, there's a
bunch of other nice features that came with it.

Some of  the good points:

  • 2 mile/4km range
  • 560 channels built on the FRS standard (14channels X 40 subchannels)
  • Vibration paging (very useful for music festivals)
  • Rugged enough for events like Burning Man (desert, talcom-powder like dust)
  • Can pick up emergency bad weather broadcasts, and the walkie will automatically switch over to them
  • “Privacy Codes” that scramble your transmissions, but sound really cool when you start to mix-and-match the codes between radios
  • Sexy red backlight that isn't too bright in dark situations
  • Can remain silent until you page/vibrate the other party

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