Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Watch today for when pigs fly: NHL to return to Winnipeg

Where will you be when this is announced?


According to Darren Dreger from TSN (on Twitter):
DarrenDreger: Atlanta and Wpg still working on final sale and relocation details, but source says they are still hopeful of an announcement in Wpg today!! (7:30am)
DarrenDreger: David Thomson is on our flight to Wpg. Good sign the announcement is today!!! (8:30am)

DarrenDreger: True North will issue statement at 11am local advising of the day ahead, time of presser, etc.(8:40am)

Jeff Marek of CBC:

JeffMarek: On our flight to Winnipeg is David Thompson. Today's the day, folks.

Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet:

RealKyper: #NHL news. Winnipeg press conference slated for 1 pm local time. Congratulations Winnipeg.

Let's be prepared for a "let's wait til Thursday" press conference. Just sayin'.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Winnipeg Jets Announcement Imminent

Link as seen on CBC.ca

Hockey fans anxious for word that the NHL is returning to Winnipeg could soon get good news.
CBC News has been told by True North Sports and Entertainment to have technical people ready to set up possibly late Monday for something early Tuesday.

True North has been in negotiations with Atlanta Spirit, the owners of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers, to move the franchise to Winnipeg. But until now neither organization has hinted a deal was close.

Paul Jordan, chief operating officer at The Forks, told CBC News he has been told to have the popular meeting place ready for a party on Tuesday.

Jordan said he'll be given four hours official notice but he is already getting everything ready, trying to prepare for something spontaneous.

"That's exactly what we're dealing with. So we've got talent on hold, we've got you know, the stage on hold, we've got television screens on hold, and we've got DJs on hold. We'll put something together," he said.
The buzz on the Twitter universe Monday reflected the speculation that a formal announcement was near, with some pinpointing the time as 10 a.m. CT on Tuesday.

As well, two of Canada's largest sports networks — TSN and Sportsnet — reported the deal is as good as done.

"The Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg situation has narrowed to a point where it's quite possible there could be an announcement as early as Tuesday," stated TSN.

"Lawyers on the Winnipeg side have signed off on the deal and the Atlanta legal team is doing their due diligence today. If they sign off on the deal, the sale will go through, pending league approval.

"If there is no announcement Tuesday, the next likely target would be Thursday."

 The report on Sportsnet.ca was nearly identical, stating: "A formal announcement will likely be made on Tuesday that the Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg."

Tuesday has been cited as an ideal day because it comes just before the puck drops for the start of the Stanley Cup final series between Vancouver and Boston.

Hundreds of hockey fans converged at Winnipeg's famed downtown intersection of Portage and Main on May 19 after the Globe and Mail initially reported an agreement had been struck.

Since then, speculation has been rampant as to when an announcement might come and it reached a point last week where feverish fans reported seeing NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in the city.

But every sudden spike in expectation has been followed by an equally sudden silence.

Until now.


Take anything Sportsnet says with a grain of salt, as they said the Coyotes were actually done and they weren't. Still, if Dreger says it, then it's true. :)

Here we go!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Sunday Trip Around The Bay

I just took a Sunday trip around the bay with Steph. We took the cameras, and here are some of the shots. Have patience in letting them all load. :)

We started in Harbour Grace, and finished in Salmon Cove on the beach. We found some nice subjects for shooting, such as the old building s in Harbour Grace and the beach itself down in salmon cove.

 I've processed some of these, and some I haven't.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review of LA Noire

I've sat through some very interesting games in my life. Mass Effect, Assassins Creed, Rock Band, The World Ends With You. The list goes on and on. But LA Noire, wow. LA Noire desserves  to be on a list of it's own. Visually and technically, you will see  one of the most impressive games of our generation. Musically and thematically, you will hear and feel one of the most impressive games of your lifetime.

You, for the most part, play Cole Phelps, a decorated war hero turned beat cop then detective for the LAPD in the late 1940's. It's just after the end of World War 2, and we see a city not only growing into the city we know it to be today, but also healing from the scars of what the war truly did to it and the world as a whole. people who thought they'd be coming home to hero's praise are working dead end jobs and losing their minds. Families are picking up the pieces after their husbands and fathers come home with scars far deeper than the eye can see. Fear  of communism and the red menace is everywhere, as are monsters who are willing to advance by taking advantage of everybody they see.

The technological advances shown in this game will either be a boon or a curse for all forthcoming titles of similar design. The visuals provided in facial features and gestures is unprecidented. There has never been a game to have this calibre of detail. When you look at Cole and he's upset, or he's angry, or he's intense, you know it, and you feel it. It's not just  from the unbelievable facial features and gestures provided, it's from the incredible voice acting and scripting. It's from the entire atmosphere that truly captures your imagination and wholly envelopes you as you  watch the story unfold.

There are 5 main types of gameplay involved. there is investigation, interrogation, driving, gunfighting, and action/brawling. In investigation, you survey crime scenes and discern what possibly could have happened. You gather clues and interview witnesses. It's not as difficult as it sounds, as the interface is incredibly user friendly, and your controller rumbles whenever  you come across a clue, even if it may be  hard to find. Not everything you see is useful either, but generally your trained gumshoe is able to tell you if the item is useless or not. Given that this is 1947 and not modern day CSI, you'll almost cringe at some of the things you'll see the detectives do with evidence, such as taking a dead body, slogging it over, grabbing the face, hands, and clothing. You'll go through it, looking for evidence or clues, with no concerns for destroying possible hidden evidence. 

In interrogation mode, you'll generally be sitting across from someone and asking them questions, trying to get the truth oout of them using your skills and intuition as a detective. This is where the technology of fantastic facial features really shines, as youu must watch facial features and gestures to see if someone is lying to you or not. This can get difficult at times, given the situation. Sometimes you might get better information from someone if you goo easy on them, like when you interview a child. They are generally afraid, or trying to protect someone they love.

The car driving is simply flawless. Your control over a vehicle is very simple. Left trigger is gas, right trigger is break. If you want to take a turn sharper, simply tap the left trigger to do a sort of handbreak turn. The AI drivers can be a little dumb, but once  again, it is 1947, and regulations for driving credentials were far less stringient back in the day, thus explaining this to a degree.

The shooting and action/brawling segments are almost minigames in a sense. They are generally short sections at the end of a running or driving sequence where you either shoot a fleeing suspect to death or beat him to a pulp. The control in both sections is quite good, as shooting is a pleasure, and fighting, while tangly, is easily completed as well. Save for a section near the end of the  game, these are kept brief and to a minimum. This isn't a shooter or fighting game, this is a detective, thriller murder mystery. If there was too much of one or the other, you'd lose the true value of the game itself.

There are 20 base cases you will play through, with one DLC  case available as well, dependent on where you purchased the game at launch. I had "The Naked City" vice case. DLC is fully realized with all the little nuances of the original material, and well worth the money, should you wish to pursues the story of Cole Phelps beyond the original mysteries.

LA Noire is not just a game, it is an experience. Not since my first time trying Super Mario 64 have a felt this sense of "wow" when playing a game. Mario 64 ushered in an era of real 3D gaming, far more than most of the inferior titles that claimed the same before it. LA Noire has ushered in a era of true "immersion". Yo willl genuinely feel for every tough decision, grieving wife or husband, for every scared or abused child. There are no punches pulled, it is full on gruesome for bad scenes, full on joy for good scenes. This is inspired by Noir film, however, so the good scenes happen far less than the bad.

This is a must game for anyone who has ever said "I like video games". It's not my favorite title by any means, but it reall ranks up there in the amazement and wow factor. Play this game. Experience the next generation of gaming, before it happens.

Score: Full price: $69.99. This game is worth paying full retail price for, a distinction not many games hold.


Friday, May 27, 2011

This Picture is for Steph

9 month old box turtle babies looking for a good home!


Internet Billing: We Win

Thanks to George Stroumboulopoulos for this link:

First: George's Blog Post:

Shaw Changes Internet Pricing After Outcry

We've talked a lot about usage based Internet billing on the show. Because of the public outcry, the CRTC was forced to change its ruling on the matter.Now there's more proof of how much the outcry changed things. Shaw Communications has become the first telecom to actually change its Internet pricing. In some cases they've doubled the amount users can download and introduced some unlimited plans.See, the squeaky wheel does get the oil.

Next: His link.

Shaw changes pricing plans in response to public outcry 

How much bandwidth the average file uses

Shaw Communications Inc. (SJR.B-T20.670.090.44%) has become the first telecom company to alter its pricing plans as a result of public outcry over Internet pricing in Canada, more than doubling the amount users can download while introducing new, unlimited plans.
Any change to pricing, however small, can have a big impact in an industry that collects fees from millions of customers.

The move to increase download limits is seen by some critics as proof that current Internet plans offered by telecom companies are unnecessarily expensive. But Shaw’s new plans also offer customers faster speeds for higher prices, part of the company’s belief that greater Internet use by its clients should lead to higher profits.

“This can facilitate the Netflixes and the YouTubes that customers obviously want,” said Shaw president Peter Bissonnette, alluding to online video-streaming services that have dramatically increased Internet use. “The patterns of usage by customers are changing, to the point where they will need more, they’ll require more capacity. And we’re able to provide that at a rate that is both perceived by our customers to be fair, but one also that gives us a return.”

Shaw’s actions come after consumer outrage sparked by a CRTC proposal earlier this year that could have killed popular unlimited plans offered by smaller providers. The anger prompted a political backlash reaching as high as the Prime Minister.

The new plans offered by Shaw will likely have reverberations in a sector where pricing changes are usually rapidly countered by eager rivals. Given that analysts had speculated earnings could be affected if the regulatory environment shifted dramatically, Shaw’s move could be seen as an attempt to pre-empt changes.
Internet plans offered by Shaw and Telus Corp. in Western Canada are generally more generous than those in Ontario and Quebec, where outrage focused on the pricing schemes of BCE Inc. and Rogers Communications Inc. After the changes, Shaw’s plans will in some cases double the download limits and speeds of Rogers’ plans.

The move also comes ahead of Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission hearings in July on usage-based billing.

Although the CRTC cannot order telecom companies to change their retail pricing plans, Shaw’s move is a sign that the threat of regulation gets results for consumers, says Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor.

“Shaw is doing this because the writing was on the wall,” he says. “When you’re in a position to offer such better pricing and data caps than what you were offering before, it highlights just how uncompetitive this market has been.”


Canada has gotten the shaft on telecommunications for years. Let's go after cell phone services next. ALIANT! TELUS! ROGERS! YOU ARE NEXT!



The AHL Subsidy: The Rebuttal for People Who Don't Want To Do It

Here is an excellent rebuttal from Brian Jones of the Telegram with concerns to the AHL issues of the past week. He takes the very unpopular approach of "what is he thinking" with reference to Danny Williams asking for a subsidy from Government for the team.

No Dough for Danny

So, a guy who rose to power by promising “no more giveaways” is out of office barely half a year before he tries to convince the people of Newfoundland (and Labrador) to be suckered into another senseless giveaway.

I refer, of course, to former premier and popular patriot Danny Williams, who — having saved the province’s offshore oil resources from the giveaway-happy Liberals — this week asked the province for $500,000 each and every year for his hockey buddies.

It’s confusing.

He insists he’s not the potential buyer of the Manitoba Moose, but he’s all over the news, just like in the old days.

Williams claims the $500,000 annual government subsidy (which was denied) is necessary for St. John’s to get an American Hockey League team.

The request for dough wasn’t from him, he insists — it was from St. John’s Sports and Entertainment (SJSE).

Horrible history

SJSE, some taxpayers might recall, receives $1 million to $1.5 million per year from the City of St. John’s.
It operates a terrific facility — Mile One Centre — that for the past few years has essentially served as a mighty nice rink for minor hockey.

SJSE and St. John’s city council have some gall asking the public for more money.

After all, the geniuses at the city are directly responsible for the debacle — “money pit,” in the vernacular — that Mile One Centre has become.

A decade ago, about $40 million was spent to construct Mile One, even though the city had only a five-year agreement with the Toronto Maple Leafs to operate their farm team in St. John’s.

The mind reels.

Would you buy a house that might last only five years?

Even after the St. John’s Maple Leafs were hauled up by their skate laces and moved to Toronto, city councillors continued their ineptitude.

St. John’s immediately and fortuitously landed a major junior team in the Quebec league, but one councillor with dubious scouting abilities derided it as “high school hockey,” an ignorant appraisal that was typical at city hall.

Better option

At the time, Younger Boy asked me what major junior hockey was. I told him, “They’re the best teenage hockey players in the world.”

In a city the size of St. John’s, major junior hockey is more feasible, economical and affordable — for owners and fans — than minor pro hockey, and probably more fun.

Outfits such as the Saskatoon Blades, Brandon Wheat Kings, Peterborough Petes, Oshawa Generals and benchfuls of other teams have hit the ice decade after decade, some for half a century. St. John’s should learn something from them.

There has been a noticeable silence from Halifax, Moncton and Saint John.

They’re good hockey towns, but we don’t hear rumblings from them about vying for a vaunted AHL team, even now when the Moose are wounded and about to be put down.

Possibly, the hockey fans and moneymen in Halifax, Moncton and Saint John are satisfied with their major junior teams. (By the way, whatever happened to that Saint John Sea Dogs team, which joined the Quebec league the same year as our sadly departed Fog Devils? Oh, right. The Sea Dogs, Quebec league champions, are playing this week in the Memorial Cup tournament.)

It comes down to basic economics.

If the AHL can be profitable in St. John’s, Danny should bring them, and good luck to him.

If not, don’t ask for a government giveaway. Here’s an idea, Mr. Former Premier: offer some equity in return.

We know you are big on public equity.

And here’s an idea for Tourism and Culture Minister Terry French: set aside $500,000 per year, get a mortgage and build a quadplex for local kids to play hockey in.

Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at bjones@thetelegram.com


As you can see, not everyone is for getting an AHL team at any costs. This is why I think more and more, the idea of adding a "travel tax" to the ticket price of between $2.50 and $5.00 would work best, basically putting the onus of the needed subsidy on the people who actually WANT the team here.

I believe that we would all benefit from the team being here, but naysayers need tangibles to be swayed, apparently. So, the rest of us will likely have to pay.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Let The People Decide: AHL Hockey

Let the people decided if they want to pay the $500000 subsidy, not an ignorant politician.

There are many examples of how governments are willing to pay out for all forms of business in the past. So I put it out there, let us all decide. Put it to a vote. If you want the province to pay a subsidy for professional hockey to return to Newfoundland, then vote yes. If you don't, then vote no.

Obviously, this will never happen. But there are other options:

A) There are 500000 plus people who live in the province. $1 per person. Easy math, very affordable. Hell, make it 2 dollars a person, to make sure this happens.

B) A tax on the sale of tickets for games. This basically takes the responsibility out of the hands of people who don't want or don't care about professional hockey in Newfoundland and into the hands of people who do. I would gladly pay as much as $5 extra per ticket. At 6250 seats per game, thats $31,250 raised per game, at at 40 games in a season, that totals $1,250,000 per season. If we land a playoff team, that number simply goes up. Keep the excess for future seasons, within 5 seasons it'll be a forgotten issue.

C) Danny paying out of pocket. As a supporter of someone who made my province a "have" province, I think this is unfair, but an option none the less.

The one thing I want to see, above all, is to have the AHL back in Newfoundland. Let's make that happen.


Scoring chance wasted: Province would have recouped AHL investment

c/o Robin Short @ The Telegram


Had St. John’s somehow managed to land the 2013 world women’s hockey championship, a 10- or 12-day tournament, the provincial government was prepared to prop up the local organizing committee with a $200,000 shot in the arm.

Yet the folks on Confederation Hill have snubbed their noses at $500,000 for an American Hockey League team in St. John’s, a move that may scuttle a proposal that would see the Manitoba Moose relocate to the capital city next fall.

For the record, the movers and shakers connected with the Moose-to-St. John’s deal maintain there is no agreement in place. The Telegram has learned it’s signed, sealed and, well, not quite delivered.

The holdup is this little thing going on in Winnipeg, where the imminent NHL transfer of the Atlanta Thrashers to Manitoba has yet to be announced.

Once that happens, the AHL’s Moose will be on their way to St. John’s where Danny Williams will be paying the relocation fee, a guaranteed amount to Mark Chipman’s True North Sports and Entertainment, who retain ownership of the team for the time being, and absorbing any losses the new St. John’s franchise might incur.

There were a few hurdles to overcome here in St. John’s. One was a lease agreement with Mile One Centre, but given St. John’s Sports and Entertainment’s yearning for an anchor tenant — all the better
it’s the AHL — that hasn’t provided much of an obstacle.

Even SJSE will admit, privately, this is the city’s best — and perhaps only — chance at the AHL again.
Given the emerging cost of travel, and the fact the new St. John’s team will be on the hook subsidizing incoming AHL teams, just like the early years of the St. John’s Maple Leafs, some provincial money will be required.

Hurdle? Obstacle? Try Mount Kilimanjaro.

But should we be surprised? Not really. This has nothing to do with a lousy 500 grand that could be dubbed a subsidy, grant, economic development or whatever. It has nothing to do with the fact the government will get its money back, and then some (some at City Hall suggest a $10-million economic spinoff from an AHL team isn’t out of the question).

Unlike the $160,000 the provincial government gave to something called the Atlantic Studios Co-operative Wednesday. A co-op that, get this, has one permanent employee, apparently.

No, this has everything to do with Kathy Dunderdale, the current premier, and the ongoing rift with Danny Williams, the former premier.

Five hundred thousand dollars, or $500. Doesn’t matter. That the request didn’t even reach cabinet speaks volumes.

Funny, but is there anyone out there who really, truly believes Dunderdale would be plunked in the premier’s chair if not for Williams?

Anyway, back to the point: selling the idea of handing public money over to pro sports has always been a dicey proposition.

But only it were it that simple.

The reality is government was getting a return on this investment, directly through the tax on AHL ticket sales, and indirectly through the spinoff generated by the team.

There is a host of examples for the economic spinoff that could be derived from the American Hockey League:
• a payroll in the $2 million to $3 million range for the new St. John’s team
• increased hotel room occupancies during winter, the low season in the industry
• more staff for Mile One, meaning more money circulating through the community
• out-of-town visitors dropping good money in the city each weekend
• a boost to a downtown that’s not exactly bursting at the seams

And we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to money generated.

Money, by the way, from which the province gets a cut.

But this makes no difference to the crowd who will cry ‘No dough for hockey!’ regardless of the positive arguments. No difference that a game or two on CBC’s Sunday afternoon AHL broadcasts, viewed nation-wide, would cost 10 times the price of those provincial government ads.

No, this is all about Danny Millions. He’s good for it, right?

And on the eighth floor of Confederation Building, one can’t help think an attitude of one-upmanship resonates through the corridors.

Can there be any other plausible explanation? With ‘Republic of Doyle’ getting a million and a half dollars? Countless grants going to local entertainers, professionals in their own right?

With the province as financially well-off today as its ever been, and that coming on Williams’s watch, ironically enough?

Noone really knows if this deal is dead, but you can be sure Williams is very pissed. He will either dig in his heals, and come up with the money. Or he’ll walk, and one close associate of Williams said Wednesday afternoon he wouldn’t be surprised if it was the latter.

Either way, time is of the essence, as they say.

Any day now, and the Atlanta-to-Winnipeg deal will be announced. Shortly afterwards, Chipman and True North Sports will want an answer from St. John’s.

If it’s ‘Thanks, but no thanks’, Mile One may as well pack up the glass and boards, strip down the ice plant and sell the works of it.

And then maybe make a sound stage of the building.

Imagine how many government grants that would generate?

No subsidy for AHL team in St. John's

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- The Newfoundland and Labrador government says it will not provide a subsidy to help bring a professional hockey team to the provincial capital.

Tourism Minister Terry French says now is not the right time to make a financial commitment to such a venture.

French made the comment today in the wake of reports that indicated a potential professional hockey team for St. John's may depend on an annual subsidy from taxpayers.

Former premier Danny Williams, who has been involved in talks on a proposed deal for an American Hockey League team, said in a statement to NTV News that he was "deeply disappointed" with the government's decision.

Williams said a subsidy was a "critical part" of bringing a team to St. John's.
He has said any potential deal was also contingent on an NHL team moving to Winnipeg, according to local media reports.

-- The Canadian Press


Uh oh. Things suddenly look grim for St. John's AHL again. :S Oh well. Easy come, easy go.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New Man Raze Single: Awesome Rock and Roll


(PS: it is safe! I've listened to it without my PC blowing up!)

This is a side project for Def Leppard Guitarist Phil Collin. Give it a listen if you like great, high tempo rock.


This is not a way to win a farting contest.


A New Zealand truck driver who fell on a compressed air hose that pierced his buttock has survived being blown up like a balloon.

Steven McCormack had fallen between the cab and the trailer of his truck, breaking the air hose.
The nozzle pierced his buttock and began pumping air into his body, which expanded dramatically.

As he screamed, Mr McCormack's colleagues turned the air off and laid him on his side, saving his life.
The accident happened at Opotiki on the North Island on Saturday.

Mr McCormack, who is 48, is still in hospital in the nearest town, Whakatane.

He said that doctors had told him they were surprised that his skin had not burst, as the compressed air - pumping into his body at 100lb/sq in - had separated fat from muscle.

"I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot.

"I was blowing up like a football... it felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon," he told the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon.

He said his skin feels "like a pork roast", hard and crackly on the outside but soft underneath.

He credits his colleagues, especially Jason Wenham who put him on his side, with saving his life.

Mr Wenham, Ross Hustler and Robbie Petersen had lifted Mr McCormack off the brass nozzle which was still stuck in his body, and packed ice around his swollen neck until an ambulance arrived.

Doctors inserted a tube into his lungs to drain the fluid and cleared the wound in his buttock using what felt to him like a drill.

"That was the most painful part," he said.

"It's fair to say he's lucky to be alive, it was a potentially life-threatening situation," a hospital spokeswoman told AFP on Wednesday.

Mr McCormack confided that the air was gradually escaping his body in the way that air usually does.


You can't make this stuff up. Dear God... the memories of Kenny vs. Spenny...

Speaking of...


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

AHL Return to St. John's?

Just a link to a story of interest in the local area.



Danny Williams has been working “very hard” on getting an American Hockey League team for St. John’s, and acknowledges the city is “very close” to landing the Manitoba Moose, but cautions there are no deals in place.

However, The Telegram, as reported Saturday (click here for Saturday's story), has learned an  agreement involving the transfer of the Moose to St. John’s for the 2011-12 AHL season is done, but won’t be announced until the imminent NHL transfer of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg is complete.

Initial reports last week indicated a news conference is planned for today in Winnipeg. That time frame is now unlikely, meaning a more likely scenario for an announcement on the sale of the Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment will be Wednesday or perhaps later.

A news conference outlining the transfer of the Moose is planned for Friday in St. John’s, but given the delay in Winnipeg, the St. John’s announcement could be pushed back to next week.

“There are certain things that first have to happen,” said the former premier, “not the least of which is the NHL deal has to fall in place.”

Following Saturday’s Telegram report, the Moose issued the following release through Twitter: “Despite reports in the St. John’s Telegram, there is no agreement that would see the Moose move to St. John’s.”
When contacted Sunday evening, former St. John’s Maple Leafs director of operations Glenn Stanford, who will take over the new St. John’s AHL club when it arrives, declined comment.

Not that Stanford can say much. He is currently employed as president and governor of the Hamilton Bulldogs, who will play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final tonight in Houston.

True North, under Mark Chipman, has also been ultra quiet through the whole process — first with the Phoenix Coyotes and now with Atlanta — for fear of upsetting the NHL applecart a la Jim Balsillie.

It was also reported in The Telegram Saturday Williams intends to eventually purchase the franchise from Chipman and True North in a year or two.

“Yes, I suppose it’s something I’d entertain,” he said, before adding, “but it’s never been discussed.”
Williams also maintains there are no deals in place with Mile One Centre or the province.

The team, under Williams and Stanford, would have to reach a lease agreement with St. John’s Sports and Entertainment. However, given SJSE’s desire to have American league hockey once again, and given the fact this is likely city’s best chance for an AHL club, it’s difficult to envision to the two sides not coming to an agreement.

As for the province, the new AHL team would be looking for some assistance, much the same as Winnipeg in its NHL bid.

“Call it a travel subsidy, call it economic development of whatever form you like, but the economic spinoff (of an AHL team) would be significant,” Williams said. “You’d have a payroll here of $2 million or $3 million a year, and that doesn’t even include the visiting teams and visiting fans coming in for games.”

For the past number of years, the Moose have been the farm team of the Vancouver Canucks. However, with the transfer of Atlanta to Winnipeg, the new St. John’s club will be the farm team of the fledgling Manitoba franchise.

The Thrashers’ AHL affiliate had been the Chicago Wolves. But because Chicago owns the AHL franchise and not Atlanta, the minor league club is not part of the NHL transaction leaving the Wolves to find an NHL partner.

The arrival of the new AHL club will bring an anchor tenant to Mile One for the first time since 2007-08. That was the final season of the three-year-old Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise, the Fog Devils, who were sold to Montreal interests and became the Junior de Montreal.

Before that, St. John’s was home to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ farm club for 14 years. That franchise relocated to Toronto following the 2004-05 hockey season.

c/o Robin Short @ the Telegram

Monday, May 23, 2011

New Photos of Old Ideas

I went out on a sunny Monday afternoon and shot off a bunch of stuff, playing with my new ND filters and trying my hand at HDR without a tripod. Here's some of what I came up with.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sometimes... good things do happen. :)


c/o Major Nelsen

Loud cell-phone talker removed from quiet car by police

By Liz Goodwin
A woman who was escorted off an Amtrak train by police last weekend after she allegedly refused to stop talking loudly on her cell-phone has the Internet cheering her fate.

Civilians and quiet-car champions are supporting her ejection for violating policy at high volume during the 16-hour journey. It doesn't help her cause that she became belligerent when confronted about it by one of her fellow passengers.

KOMO News reports that Lakeysha Beard says she felt "disrespected" by the incident, though passengers said it was Beard who was being rude by refusing to stop yapping while sitting in one of the train's designated quiet cars. She had not stopped talking since the train pulled out of Oakland, California, 16 hours before it reached Salem, Oregon, when a passenger confronted her about the talking. That's when Beard got "aggressive," KATU reports, and conductors stopped the train so that police could remove her and charge her with disorderly conduct.

Amtrak created quiet cars in 2001 when a group of passengers who rode the Philadelphia to D.C. route every morning asked if they could reserve a car where cell-phone loudmouths weren't welcome. Ever since, the rare havens of quiet have become a battlefield between silence-loving rule-followers and rebellious cell-phone addicts. Gawker suggested, not without a dose of sincerity, that the cops who removed Beard from the train were heroes, and that Beard should be charged with "unspeakable crimes against humanity and sentenced to life on some distant planet where there are no reception bars, ever."

According to a very scientific reader poll at The Huffington Post, 77 percent of people were happy the woman was hauled off the train. And CNN personality Anderson Cooper blasted the woman on his "ridiculist" last night, asking "What could someone possibly talk about for 16 hours?" He even compared being stuck on the train with a person who would do such a thing to the "fifth circle of hell."

The Internet is full of tales of innocent people's quiet-car journeys being marred by loud passengers who ignore the rules. An Israeli blogger with a PhD in conflict resolution wrote a lengthy post about the best way to get a fellow passenger to shut up without starting World War III. "Always assume the transgressor is ignorant, not arrogant. This way you won't feel wronged and can communicate your message with less contempt and hostility," he suggests.

Meanwhile writer Christopher Buckley, a self-described quiet car Nazi, wonders why there would be any confusion as to the correct behavior in that part of the train: "The Quiet Car does not hide its light under a bushel. Prominent and explicit signs hang from the ceiling at five-foot intervals. They declare, unequivocally, that NO CELL PHONES ARE PERMITTED and that conversation must be kept to a minimum and in hushed tones."


(Chris gently smiles knowing today, the world ends. At least it happened once.)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Centre for Disease Control suggestions for the Zombie Apocalypse

An actual article. C/O Major Nelsen

And yes, it's really the CDC website, albeit in the social media section.


The following was originally posted on CDC Public Health Matters Blog on May 16th, 2011 by Ali S. Khan.
Image of zombie
There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

A Brief History of Zombies
We’ve all seen at least one movie about flesh-eating zombies taking over (my personal favorite is Resident EvilExternal Web Site Icon.), but where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much? The word zombie comes from Haitian and New Orleans voodoo origins. Although its meaning has changed slightly over the years, it refers to a human corpse mysteriously reanimated to serve the undead. Through ancient voodoo and folk-lore traditions, shows like the Walking Dead were born.
Photo: A couple dressed as zombies - Danny Zucco and Sandy Olsson from the movie Grease walking in the annual Toronto Zombie Walk.
A couple dressed as zombies - Danny Zucco and Sandy Olsson from the movie Grease walking in the annual Toronto Zombie Walk.
In movies, shows, and literature, zombies are often depicted as being created by an infectious virus, which is passed on via bites and contact with bodily fluids. Harvard psychiatrist Steven Schoolman wrote a (fictional) medical paper on the zombies presented in Night of the Living Dead and refers to the condition as Ataxic Neurodegenerative Satiety Deficiency Syndrome caused by an infectious agent. The Zombie Survival Guide identifies the cause of zombies as a virus called solanum. Other zombie origins shown in films include radiation from a destroyed NASA Venus probe (as in Night of the Living Dead), as well as mutations of existing conditions such as prions, mad-cow disease, measles and rabies. The rise of zombies in pop culture has given credence to the idea that a zombie apocalypse could happen. In such a scenario zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder “How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?”
Well, we’re here to answer that question for you, and hopefully share a few tips about preparing for real emergencies too!

Better Safe than Sorry
Photo: Some of the supplies for your emergency kit.
Some of the supplies for your emergency kit.
So what do you need to do before zombies…or hurricanes or pandemics for example, actually happen? First of all, you should have an emergency kit in your house. This includes things like water, food, and other supplies to get you through the first couple of days before you can locate a zombie-free refugee camp (or in the event of a natural disaster, it will buy you some time until you are able to make your way to an evacuation shelter or utility lines are restored). Below are a few items you should include in your kit, for a full list visit the CDC Emergency page.
  • Water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • Food (stock up on non-perishable items that you eat regularly)
  • Medications (this includes prescription and non-prescription meds)
  • Tools and Supplies (utility knife, duct tape, battery powered radio, etc.)
  • Sanitation and Hygiene (household bleach, soap, towels, etc.)
  • Clothing and Bedding (a change of clothes for each family member and blankets)
  • Important documents (copies of your driver’s license, passport, and birth certificate to name a few)
  • First Aid supplies (although you’re a goner if a zombie bites you, you can use these supplies to treat basic cuts and lacerations that you might get during a tornado or hurricane)
Once you’ve made your emergency kit, you should sit down with your family and come up with an emergency plan. This includes where you would go and who you would call if zombies started appearing outside your door step. You can also implement this plan if there is a flood, earthquake, or other emergency.
    Photo: Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away.
    Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away.
  1. Identify the types of emergencies that are possible in your area. Besides a zombie apocalypse, this may include floods, tornadoes, or earthquakes. If you are unsure contact your local Red Cross chapter for more information. Family members meeting by their mailbox. You should pick two meeting places, one close to your home and one farther away
  2. Pick a meeting place for your family to regroup in case zombies invade your home…or your town evacuates because of a hurricane. Pick one place right outside your home for sudden emergencies and one place outside of your neighborhood in case you are unable to return home right away.
  3. Identify your emergency contacts. Make a list of local contacts like the police, fire department, and your local zombie response team. Also identify an out-of-state contact that you can call during an emergency to let the rest of your family know you are ok.
  4. Plan your evacuation route. When zombies are hungry they won’t stop until they get food (i.e., brains), which means you need to get out of town fast! Plan where you would go and multiple routes you would take ahead of time so that the flesh eaters don’t have a chance! This is also helpful when natural disasters strike and you have to take shelter fast.
Never Fear – CDC is Ready
Photo: Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Prepared
Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Prepared
If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work). To learn more about what CDC does to prepare for and respond to emergencies of all kinds, visit:
To learn more about how you can prepare for and stay safe during an emergency visit:


Thrashers to Winnipeg: Just short of being a done deal!

c/o tsn.ca

Winnipeg Mayor: "It's just a matter of time"

WINNIPEG -- It's just "a matter of time" before a deal to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg is finalized and announced, the city's mayor said Friday.

Mayor Sam Katz said the deal to bring an NHL team back to Winnipeg is going to happen. There is an understanding the deal will move forward but nothing is signed, sealed and delivered yet, he said.

Katz said he's been in touch with Winnipeg's True North Sports and Entertainment, the company negotiating the sale, and has been told there is nothing official -- yet.

"I do believe this will happen and it's long overdue," Katz said in an interview. "The Jets never should have left here . . . After 15 years, we'll all be ecstatic to have them back. There is no doubt that the fan base is there. The corporate support is there."

True North Sports and Entertainment have been quietly negotiating with the Atlanta Thrashers about moving the team north of the border. Despite a report Thursday night that a deal is done, both the NHL and True North have said nothing has been decided yet.

That hasn't stopped Winnipeg hockey fans from celebrating.

Excitement about the return of NHL hockey is growing in the city with fans now buzzing about what the team should be called and wondering how soon they can buy tickets. Some fans took to the streets late Thursday night, waving Jets jerseys -- still a best-seller in the city -- and cheering "Go, Jets, Go!"

Winnipeg lost its beloved Jets in 1996 when the team moved to Phoenix because of financial problems. Since then, Winnipeg has built a new arena -- the MTS centre -- and has argued it can support an NHL franchise once again.

"This is a very different Winnipeg than it was 15 years ago," Katz said.

Seeing an NHL team play on Winnipeg ice once again would have special meaning for Thomas Steen. He played for the Winnipeg Jets for 14 years and is now a city councillor. Steen broke down crying when it was announced in 1995 that the money-losing Jets were leaving Winnipeg.

Like some other skeptical fans, Steen said he's trying not to get his hopes up until the deal is official.

"We've been close before," he said. "I'm trying not to get too excited but of course, I'm excited. It sounds for real this time."

At the 4Play sports bar across from Winnipeg's MTS Centre, co-owner Oreanna Cheater said the excitement is palpable. The return of the Jets is all anyone is talking about.

"It's been an up-and-down roller-coaster but I'm very, very excited about it. I think it's for sure this time, it's actually going to happen," she said. "I don't think my son slept a wink last night. He is unbelievably excited."
Cheater believes Winnipeg fans will show their loyalty.

"When something is taken away from you, it opens your eyes and you say 'Oh, oh. We weren't doing our jobs'," she said.

David Kehler shared season tickets to the Jets with his grandfather before the team left the city. Their departure was "devastating" and Kehler said he can't wait to watch an NHL team on home ice again.
"I'm just waiting for that call to put a deposit down on a season ticket," said Kehler, who has started an online petition calling for the prospective Winnipeg team to be called the Jets. "It seems like it's just inevitable at this point."

C/o TSN.ca

Deal not done yet!

Sources tell TSN that a reported agreement to move the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg has not yet been reached and that talks are continuing.

The Globe and Mail reported on Thursday night that an agreement had been reached where owners Atlanta Spirit would sell the Thrashers to Winnipeg-based True North Sports and Entertainment, and that an announcement to officially move the team to Winnipeg would come Tuesday.

Primary sources in both Winnipeg and Atlanta told TSN late Thursday night that there are still significant issues being negotiated.

NHL sources have also told TSN that the deal to sell the team is not yet complete.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who attended the Bruins-Lightning game in Tampa on Thursday night, has no plans to travel to Winnipeg on Friday.

Quoted from The Fourth Period's facebook:

"J-E-T-S ...... Its actually happening - Thoughts?"

and their main page article:

The Globe and Mail reported late Thursday evening that an agreement to sell the Atlanta Thrashers to True North Sports and Entertainment is done, resulting in the club moving to Winnipeg.

Citing sources, The Globe and Mail claims True North owners Mark Chipman and David Thomson had been pursuing the Thrashers for some time, as they were the primary target, not the Phoenix Coyotes, whom they had also pursued. The paper indicates an announcement was is for Tuesday in Winnipeg, where NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would be in attendance, though that could change as a result of the news breaking much sooner.

TFP has learned that a deal has not yet been finalized, though one league source confirmed the NHL would not get in the way of a sale and move.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has also indicated that the NHL's Board of Governors has not yet approved the sale.

It's not yet being reported what the team purchase price and NHL relocation fees are, though it's believed to fall in and around $170 million.

TSN reported last Thursday night "there are still significant issues being negotiate."


I am admittedly excited. :D Not even a Jets fan remotely, just nice to see the story finally coming to a head.


Chris Dixon's Favorite Video Games of ALL TIME

So here it is Tuesday, and I still haven't finished the countdown. I thought I'd do an "honorable mentions" before I post the number one game. So without further adieu:

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Xbox 360
Burnout 3 - PS2
WCW/NWO Revenge - N64
Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past - SNES
Shadowgate - NES
Mortal Kombat  -Multiple from SNES to Xbox 360
Spiderman Web of Shadows - Xbox 360
Starcraft - PC
Final Fantasy 7 - PS1

I could simply do another countdown with all of these!

Number 1 to come!


I actually thought I'd get all of this in one day. I was sadly mistaken.

The one thing I like to think about when I get into a discussion about favorite video games is lasting appeal. What games have stuck with me over time. While to many this may seem a juvenile discussion to many, given that the discussion IS about games, I don't see it that way at all, and actually think that anyone who feels a game is juvenile these days is certainly someone who isn't very open minded. In many ways, video games are the books of years gone by. There are game stores, just like book stores. There is now mainstream appeal for games, moreso now than ever before, and even in some cases, moreso than books.

Now before you think I'm randomly gonig off and forgetting my original point about lasting appeal, I'll bring this to a point with my number 2 selection on the countdown. This series of games that has spanned multiple systems has to go in as one game because it is simply about one game. Hockey.

At number 2 on the countdown, we have:

EA Sports NHL Hockey, from 1992 - present.

No spoilers here, just check out Wikipedia's coverage of this enduring game series.

Now this series has had it's ups and downs, but it has always drawn me back. As many of my regular readers know, I am an Islanders fan, through and through. This game has given me the joy that my sad sack team has never been able to, a championship team. In the digital world, the Islanders have  won every Stanley Cup (or championship in 1993) since 1992. Through the lean years when the team's stripped barron roster statistically couldn't possibly keep up, someone a magical hand of fate carrying a video game controller has lifted them from the perils of mediocrity to the heights of immortality.

Every year I've played this series of games. Every year since 1992. This is why this game is number two, as it has "lasting appeal". It doesn't make number one, but that is simply because number 1 is a game that I will remember forever. This one I'll just play forever. :P


When I was living with my brother downtown St. John's a few years back,he owned the fabled little purple brick of a system, The Nintendo Gamecube.Given it's power, it was surprising that outside of Nintendo brand product, there were so few triple-A system exclusive titles available for it. One of the few, which comes in at number 3 on the countdown, was my second "I got lost in it" titles.

At number 3, we have:

Resident Evil 4 - 2005 - Nintendo Gamecube

In the end, the game was released for most every other system, plus some next gen systems (there is a planned release for the title later this year on XBOX Live Arcade and PSN) but the original masterpiece came on Gamecube. It was easily the BEST title of it's generation, especially technically and visually. The game is still comparable to many titles today, even putting some to shame! It was the tale of Leon S. Kennedy, the once rookie cop trapped in the Raccoon City incident (Resident Evil's 2 and 3) and is now a special liason/ agent for the President of the United States. His job: to save the president's daughter from a terrorist group in a rural part of Europe.

Quoted from Wikipedia: (again with minor spoilers)

In 2004, the Umbrella Corporation's secret activities within Raccoon City have become a public affair. Following an investigation conducted by the U.S. government, several Umbrella officials are implicated and prosecuted. The government indefinitely suspends Umbrella's business, bankrupting the company.
Leon S. Kennedy was recruited by the U.S. Secret Service after they learned of his actions in Raccoon City. Leon is sent on a mission to rescue Ashley Graham, the President's daughter, who has been kidnapped by a mysterious cult. Leon travels to a rural village in Europe, where he encounters a horde of violent villagers who pledge their lives to Los Illuminados ("The Enlightened Ones" in Spanish), the cult that has kidnapped Ashley.
While in the village, Leon is captured by its chief, Bitores Mendez, and injected with a mind-controlling parasite known as Las Plagas. He finds himself held captive and tied up back to back with Luis Sera, a former Los Illuminados researcher. The two work together to escape, but then quickly go separate ways. Leon discovers that Ashley is being held in a chapel, and rescues her; despite the attempts of Osmund Saddler, the leader of Los Illuminados, to stop the two, they escape.

This,  along with Snatcher, are the only two games I've ever had 10+ consecutive gaming hours sank into. This game had it all, thrills, suspense, and action. There are literally dozens of edge of your seat moments. This is a game for the adult gamer only, with many graphically violent sequences, all handled directly on camera. (the chainsaw through the torso death sequence is quite memorable) This game is easily one of the greatest games ever made, not only for it's technical achievements, but for how it took a lagging franchise in Resident Evil, and re-invigorating it to a point of where it was on everyone's lips again.


Over my years of playing games, there have been so very few that I have lost myself in. One of the true gradings of games is the level of immersion that one feels when they play the game itself. There have only been two, actually. Both, not so ironically, will show up in today's countdown. When I say "lost", I really mean lost, with each of these two games literally taking me for 10+ hour gaming sessions, the only two games to ever do that. Generally when I play, if it's an "extended" session, I can sit for between 2 and 3 hours, then I put it down. A typical gaming session for me is around 45 minutes to an hour, and if I know I'll be back to the game, I'll leave it paused for upwards of 30 to 45 minutes before rejoining it. These games, I sat and played till my eyes were red and dry, and even after that I didn't want to put it down.

At number 4, we get:

Snatcher - 1994 - Sega CD

If any of you readers have ever played the Phoenix Wright series currently out on Nintendo DS, then you know what this game is like, as they are direct copies of the gaming style that this game provides. You get a screen, often times static, with a series of things listed on the bottom that you can do, such as "look at door", "flirt with girl", etc. It doesn't sound that fun, but the story and the visuals are done so well, the game is easily one of the most engaging gaming experiences I've ever had. The short action sequences would be considered mini games by today's standards, with the shooting sections being compatible with the blue light gun available for the Sega Genesis at the time.

Quoted from wikipedia:

The game is set in a primarily first person perspective and uses a menu-based interface that allows the protagonist (Gillian Seed) to interact with his environment. The player can choose to "Look", "Investigate", "Talk", "Ask" and "Move" (in addition to other options) to acquire key items or receive vital information from other characters. The player can analyze items in Gillian's belongings or show it to other characters. The player uses Metal Gear (Gillian's robotic assistant) to communicate with other characters via a videophone or save their current progress. During key points of the game's story, the player must pass shooting sequences to defend Gillian from assailants. These shooting segments uses a 3x3 grid which the player can target to fire at enemies. A shooting trainer, called "Junker's Eyes", is accessible at Junker HQ that allows the player to measure their accuracy.

 The cyberpunk world that you traverse in is well imagined and realized. Even as simple static images with subtle movements, just enough to catch the eye, they bring you into a futuristic environment filled with eccentric people, killer robots, and flying cars.

The game itself was likely the first game I played that took me more than 8 or so hours to complete. When I first played the game, I was actually playing and a broken disk, with a solid crack on the edge, making parts of the game unplayable. I managed to repair the disk well enough to play through. I used, strangely enough, toothpaste, crazy glue, and a spork. This game was worth the effort, and at about hour 20, I was rewarded with the excellent ending sequence.

If you get the chance to get your hands on this classic, do so. It's worth every moment and made the failed "Sega CD" add on very worthwhile.


Given I've been away from the blog for a few days, I thought I'd come back with a daylong, epic post covering one of my favorite subjects: video games. Throughout the day I shall post my top 5 favorite games of all time. They cover a number of different systems, genres, and time periods.

Starting with number 5, we get:

The World Ends With You - 2008 - Square Enix for Nintendo DS

This action role-player was one of the only games I've ever bought because I liked the cover artwork. I felt like a stylish, Japanese, steampunk skater thing that really worked for me. Luckily for me, it turns out to be one of my favorite games of all time, with not only incredibly strong visual appeal, but an excellent battle system, sneaking in an almost turn based battle system, but not quite. It has excellent touch screen based controls, with various strokes and taps comprising the control for the various spells, or "Psychs" that you use.

Excerpt from Wikipedia: (sadly, major spoilers included)

The game's story follows Neku over the course of the three weeks that he plays the Game, paired with partners Shiki, Joshua, and Beat for each week, respectively. Neku is confused at first, lacking knowledge of how he died or how he arrived at the UG. As he develops friendships with his partners and starts to understand the rules of the Game. After the first week, only Shiki is allowed to return to the living, and she promises to meet Neku at the statue of Hachiko. He also recovers his entry fee, which was his memories, except for the events leading up to his death. However, Shiki has become what Neku values most, and she is used as his new entry fee for the second week. During the second week he recalls small details of his death; eventually, he recognizes that he was shot at by Sho Minamimoto, one of the Reapers he faced during the Game. At the end of the second week, Joshua seemingly sacrifices himself to save Neku from a explosion created by Minamimoto.

Since Joshua was actually alive, the Game is nullified and Neku is forced to replay the game a third time. His entry fee this time is all of the other players, meaning Neku cannot form any pacts and stands no chance against the Noise. However, Beat immediately defects from the Reapers and rejoins Neku. Neku and Beat find that the Reapers and the entire population of Shibuya are wearing special red pins that cause them to think the same harmonious thoughts. Without any missions to complete, the two venture to the fabled "Shibuya River", which Joshua was looking for during the second week. At the river, they find Megumi Kitaniji (北虹 寵 Kitaniji Megumi?, キタニジ Kitaniji), the Game's Conductor. Kitaniji explains that he created the red pins in an attempt to remake Shibuya, which the Composer challenged him to do; if he fails, both he (for losing) and Shibuya will be erased.

 If you have an Nintendo DS or any of it's kin (DSi, DS Lite, DS xl, 3DS), then you owe it to yourself to at least play this game. It proves you can have both INCREDIBLE style and AMAZING substance. It shows you an have a role player with a near turn based system without constantly having to menu flip, a la Final Fantasy. The action is fast and furious. The leveling and minimal menu hopping is engaging and interesting.

At Number four, coming up we have a cyberpunk adventure from way back in 1994 that came out on a doomed system. See you back here later!