So, You Want To Know About Canada, Part 1.

Hey…psssssst…come here.  I want to tell you something.

Who, me?

Yeah, you.  I hear you’ve been asking about Canada.

Yeah, I have!

Great!  Well you’ve come to the right place.  I can answer all your questions.

That sounds good.

Not only does it sound good, it will also feel good.

Oh, that’s nice…wait, what exactly do you mean by feel good?

Never mind that.  For now.  The first thing you want to know about Canada is that it’s big.

How big?

Bigger than Australia and Perez Hilton’s ego combined.

Holy crap.

I know!  It’s unbelievably big.

If it’s that big, then the people who live there must be giants.

That’s a reasonable, yet crazy assumption.  People in Canada are normal sized.

Hmmm.  Well, if it’s that big then there must be billions of people living there.

Not at all, my ignorant friend.  Canada actually has one of the lowest population densities of any nation.

No way.

It’s true.  That’s because most of the space in Canada isn’t readily habitable by sane people.

Interesting.

Not even remotely, but here is something that is interesting.  Canada is the world leader in the production of maple syrup.

That’s not interesting either.

If you like pancakes and waffles it’s very interesting.

Fattening breakfast foods are OK.  What else do Canadians eat?

For the answer to that question, you will have to wait for the next edition of So, You Want To Know About Canada.

Crap!   What if I don’t want to wait?

Tough.

September 22, 2009 at 11:50 pm 11 comments

The Tao of Blogging: How to increase daily hits.

yin-yang

I’ve finally discovered the secret to successful blogging.

You see, the secret to successful blogging – and by successful I of course mean the number of hits you receive, not the quality of your blogging – is to not blog.  No, seriously, I have proof.

During the course of this blog, some where over a year of fairly regular posting, the number of daily hits I received steadily increased.  Of course, this is all relative, because when I started blogging my hits were exactly 0, so even one hit could be considered an increase.  But, over the months the total increased gradually until I was at a point somewhere slightly above 0; and I mean slightly.

The past few months, though, I’ve only made a handful of posts.  This was due to a combination of burnout, wanting to focus on other things, and questioning the purpose of it all anyway.  I pretty much stopped blogging, although I hadn’t yet decided what my intention was as to the future: did I want to pack it in entirely or would I start blogging regularly once again?

Even though I had stopped writing for the blog, I still checked in every so often, and looked at the stats.  Starting a couple of weeks ago I noticed my daily hits were climbing to significantly impressive (for me) new levels.  One day during this past week my daily hits made it into the 4-digit range, which was something I never expected would happen.

Part of Taoism is discovering the path of least resistance – which I interpret as a licence to be lazy.  Just kidding…or am I???

No, I am.  In the blogging world, the path of least resistance is to not blog.

Another idea in Taoism is that in order to succeed, you need to give up the attachments to succeeding, which I did a long time ago.  So, by not blogging I have tapped into the Tao and this has caused my daily hits to increase significantly.  Obvious proof of the validity of Taoism, not that it needs it.

Then again, the new found number of daily hits might have something to do with a more human element.  The posts responsible for the vast majority of hits lately have something in common.  That commonality, coincidentally, happens to be that each of these posts contain a picture of half-naked babes.  Here is a link to the post that has garnered the most attention of late:  Canadian Nationalism:  How Do We Know Who is Best?

So, this new found success can be boiled down to either Taoism or Half-naked babes.  Tough call…

August 27, 2009 at 12:19 am 8 comments

Typical Males Think With Their…?

So, I was in the locker room of my gym today, changing and minding my own business because that’s what you do in a man’s locker room.   There were several other guys around, doing the same thing, changing and minding their own business.

There was also a T.V. situated on one of the walls.  Usually it’s tuned to a sports channel, but today, for some strange, inexplicable reason it was on Cosmo TV, as in Cosmopolitan Magazine TV.  Some serial drama that I didn’t recognize was playing.  I thought it might have been Felicity, if you remember that show, but I wasn’t positive that that’s what it was.  It was something of that ilk anyway.

As you can imagine, most of us guys in the room weren’t paying attention to this program.  It’s not typical “guy” programming, and really who wants to get involved in an hour long drama when you are only going to be in the change room for a dozen or so minutes anyway?

That’s when this line, spoken by a sexy female voice came through the televisions speakers: “…and this is what my breasts look like.”

Without thinking – at least with my brain – I turned my head towards the television screen to see what was going on.  As I did so I noticed every single other guy in the locker room turning to look at the screen at the same time.

Apparently Cosmo TV can be a big hit, even in a guy’s change room.

Now I have a question stuck in my mind, because I’m curious and need to know things.  Even useless things.  Such as, would that line have received the same attention in a woman’s locker room?  I’d like to do some practical field research into the matter, but I’m not sure that my gym would find it appropriate behaviour.  Still, I’d like to know.

Inquiring minds.  Or, if not the mind, then…?

July 28, 2009 at 8:22 pm 4 comments

The Case of the Rouge Valley Vagabond

Something a little different.  This developed organically when my buddy, Sean, and I decided to go for a hike in a local park.  The results are below.  It’s long, but the twist ending should keep you in suspense.

The Continuing Adventures of Sean O’Humber: The Case of the Rouge Valley Vagabond

A Canadian Fermentation Production

The Background:

It had been a hot summer in Toronto.  People were anxious to get out of their stuffy homes and into the parks and ravines that criss-cross the city.  Unfortunately one of  the city’s biggest parks was under attack by a mysterious figure:  The Rouge Valley Vagabond!!

*Ba B0m Baaaa*

The city needed heroes, but only one stepped forward.  It was Sean O’Humber; adventurer, experienced crime fighter, and all around nice guy.

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O’Humber –  a firm believer in self-promotion – was prepared to take on the Rouge Valley Vagabond single handed, but I couldn’t allow that.  I, Snappy McShooter, volunteered to be this great warrior’s assistant and official photographer for the Vagabond case.  I was happy to do it, mainly because I really needed a job.  Besides, it was a nice day, and Sean was a nice guy.  What did I have to lose other than…

… MY LIFE!!!

*Ba Bom Baaa*

Before we set out for the Rouge Valley we reviewed what we knew about the case.  The villain had been scaring and chasing  visitors out of the Rouge Valley Park, which was located in the eastern reaches of Toronto.  A few people had gone missing and were presumed to be frightened.  No one had seen the Vagabond’s face.  Some people reported that they heard someone whistling show tunes just before they were attacked.

It wasn’t much to go on, but Sean reminded me that we were now committed to bringing justice to a part of the world that was sorely lacking it.  I reminded O’ Humber that we were being paid in bus tokens and freeze pops, so let’s not go crazy here.  O’ Humber just shook his head and said, “Justice shall be done.  Villain thine time has almost come.  To the valley!!”  And with that he ran straight into a tree.

Sean O’Humber recovered quickly, though, and soon we were off, and headed in the right direction.

The Case of the Rouge Valley Vagabond:

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O’Humber rode his metal steed to the Valley and prepared to do battle with the Vagabond.  After taking a nap in the driver’s seat, he left the car, performed a quick set of calisthenics, and then growled ferociously at a little kid who happened to be passing by.  He was ready.

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O’Humber steeled himself at the trailhead.  “Are you ready, Snappy?”  I nodded.  “Then let us find the Vagabond and challenge him to battle!  Did you bring the chess set?”  I nodded again.

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Our adventure almost ended prematurely when we ran into the evil machinations of the Vagabond.  We discovered our path blocked by a nefarious sign.  Luckily O’Humber is skilled in deciphering riddles and he noticed that the arrow was pointing to a new trail.

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We came across a second  sign, this one read “Danger”, an obvious threat.  I was about to turn around and head back to the car when O’ Humber shouted, “A-ha!  I’ve figured out the riddle, Snappy.  This path is only dangerous  to a single person, as represented by the crossed out person symbol.  If two of us use the path we’ll be fine.”  And off we went.

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Suddenly I heard a bang and noticed that O’Humber was bent over.  “Sean,” I said.  “Are you alright?”

“Of course I am,” replied O’Humber.  “I’m just smelling this flower.”

“But what was the booming noise I heard?  It sounded like a gunshot.”

“Oh…that.  Er…excuse me.”

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We rounded a bend and came across a river.  We also came across our first clue.  We discovered a pile of trash and a note.  The note read:  Whoever left this pile of trash please remove it as soon as possible.  Thank you and have a pleasant day.   Signed, The Rouge Valley Vagabond.

“He shall not get away with this,” vowed O’Humber.  “I wonder if he’s an ISJ?”

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Our path led us to a thick, dark forest.  Just as we were about to enter we found another clue; a bag tied to a fallen tree branch.  O’Humber rushed into action and  inspected the bag.  Immediately he fell to the ground, gasping for breath.

“What’s the matter, Sean,” I yelled.

“Don’t come near,” he warned.  “It’s toxic.”  Our hero slowly crawled away from the bag.

“What is it?  Shall I call 911? I bet it was a trap set by the Vagabond.”

“It’s OK now.  I’m OK.  It’s just a bag of dog poop.”  He slowly wiped his brow.  “Have no fear, brave Snappy.  We shall not let a bag of rotting dog feces deter us in our goal – our goal to bring the Rouge Valley Vagabond to justice!”  And with that pronouncement O’ Humber strode bravely into the forest.

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We entered the forest and decided to take a break and have some relief.

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Our intrepid hero, needing to maintain his strength for the upcoming confrontation, ate an apple while enjoying the cool environment of the forest.

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O’Humber finished the apple, and, with casual disdain, threw it aside.  It was to be a fateful decision.  Fateful like a punch upside the head!

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The Vagabond struck quickly and without warning.

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He delivered an impressive left-hook to O’Humber.

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Just as the villain struck, my camera mysteriously jammed and I had to run behind a nearby tree to fix it.  After several minutes I was able to fix the problem and ran back out to assist our hero in his struggle.  Unfortunately I was already too late.  The surprise attack had left our O’ Humber stunned and at a disadvantage.  When I returned I found the brave crime fighter unconscious at the bottom of a set of steps.

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I rushed to his side.  “Hero,” I said.  “Are you OK.”

“Have at you,” cried O’ Humber, regaining consciousness and taking a swing at me.

“No, Sean, it’s me.  Snappy.”

O’ Humber shook the cobwebs out of his brain and stood up, ready for action.  “Where is the villain?”

“He must have run off.  Did you get a good look at him?”

“Alas, I did not.  His face was covered with a mysterious fur like substance.”

“A beard?” I querried.

O’ Humber shrugged.  “Could have been.”

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We continued on, more determined than ever to catch this nefarious criminal and put an end to his schemes.  O’ Humber, a skilled tracker, discovered some suspicious looking footprints along the path.

“You’re mine now, VagaBitch!”  O’ Humber meant business.

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We searched hi and low for our nemesis, but to no avail.  The Rouge Valley Vagabond was nowhere to be found.  The park was eerily silent, and strangely devoid of any evidence of humanity, including signs of garbage.  We were beginning to become concerned.

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Frustrated and tired we decided to pause for a moment and go over what we knew about the case.

“Why would he attack you at that time,” I asked.  “All you did was throw your apple away…”

O’ Humber stood up. “That’s it. Snappy, you are a genious.”

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“The Vagabond only attacks people who litter!  And I know who the Rouge Valley Vagabond is..”

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“YOU!!!”

“But…,” I stammered.  “How did you figure it out?”

“Simple, elementary hero work,” O’ Humber crowed.  “First, the only two things you talked about the whole time we were walking through the forest was how clean it was and how cool and crafty the Vagabond must be.  Second, you had a beard before the Vagabond attacked, and then suddenly after the attack your beard had mysteriously disappeared.”

“That’s great,” I said.  “But you’ll never catch me.  I know these woods like the back of my hand.”  And off I ran.

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I had a head start, but O’ Humber soon recovered from his surprise and started his pursuit.

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He began to catch up.

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I tried to run faster but it was to no avail, I could not escape the wrath of O’ Humber.  Besides, it’s difficult to take pictures and run at the same time.

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“Stop,” I pleaded.  “No more.  You win. ”  I put my hands in the air, because I just didn’t care anymore.  “What are you going to do with me?”

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O’ Humber looked pensive and thoughtful for a moment before he responded.  “Although I agree with your ‘no-littering’ policy, I disagree with your ‘attacking and scaring people’ policy.  Unfortunately, I’m going to have to take you downtown.  Let’s go.”

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As we were returning to the parking lot, O’ Humber noticed something in the middle of the pathway.

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It was a piece of plastic wrap.  “This ones for you, Snappy.”  He put the garbage in his pocket and we continued on, to the big house.  I can’t stay mad at O’ Humber.  He’s the type of man who is single minded about his purpose:  Justice.  If you cross him, you will end up spending time in a small cell, and on cold nights snuggling up to Bubba.  That’s the way O’ Humber is; he plays no favorites, he plays by the rules he plays for keeps.

July 6, 2009 at 3:12 am 3 comments

Oh, The Humanity…

I was Stumbling around the net when I came across this site: http://magswordfinder.com/

I didn’t find the site particularly interesting, my personal opinion, of course. The site allows you to type in a word and it will pull out any other words that can be made out of the letters involved in the word you type. What I found interesting, though, was the disclaimer:

“Note that some dictionaries are quite large, so the search may take several seconds.”

Several seconds? What kind of world are we living in where we have to wait several seconds to discover all the iterations of the word “Impatient”? I’d rather spend my time watching cat videos and eating fast food, thank you very much.

June 14, 2009 at 8:17 pm 5 comments

The Truth About Curling

The first thing that non-Canadians ask me when they find out that I am from Canada is: “Tell me about the sport of curling because in my country we do not play, but it is a very fascinating sport to us and we must learn all we can about your culture.” This is what they ask unless that person is from one of the following countries that has an official curling association (list from Wikipedia):

Since I played curling for a few months back when I was in high-school, and I’ve watched a couple of games on T.V.,  I figure myself to be something of an expert.  Therefor I will explain all you need to know about this sport.  Once again the amoebas have agreed to assist in the explanation:

Teams are made up of 4 people, making a total of 8 players participating in each game.  Competitors like to get together before a match to have a celebratory drink to the game that is about to take place.

curling1The Canadian Amoeba Curling Club has won the World Amoeba Curling Championship the past three years.

The game begins.  The blue team shoots first this round.  Next round the brown team will shoot first.  Play continues for a total of ten rounds.  With the first shot, Team Blue will try to set up a guard.  A guard is a rock that sits before the house (the coloured circles) but after the Hog Line (black line you see in the image).

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The first shot was perfect!  Everyone, including the opposition, celebrates the shot with another drink.

Team Brown has the next shot.  They decide to try and get a rock into the house.  Unfortunately the shooter put too much pepper on the shot, and the stone goes all the way down the sheet and out of play.  The players decide to have a commiseratory beer.

curlingtemplate3Curlers tell non-drinkers to “go play hockey”.  This is considered a major insult in the world of curling.

Play continues with players on opposite teams alternating their shots.  After all the shots are taken (sixteen in total for each end), points are awarded.  Points are scored by having one or more of your team’s rocks closer to the center of the house (circles) than your opponents.  If your team has two rocks closer to the center than any of the other team’s rocks, then your team will score two points.  If neither team has a single rock in the house at the end, neither team receives a point.

curling5In this case the brown team scores two points since they have two rocks closest to the center of the house.  Only one team – or neither team – can score points each end.  Everyone celebrates Brown Team’s points.

Play continues like this over ten ends.  At the end points are tallied and the team with the most points wins.  After the game everyone gets together and has “one for the road”.

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Games sometimes end before ten ends are played, due to excessive alcohol poisoning.

And that is pretty much curling in a nutshell.  If you are interested in some actual curling information, I recommend checking out Curling Basics.  It’s a really cool site, with lots of good, and…er…relevant information.

Happy curling!

June 3, 2009 at 3:52 pm 9 comments

Top 10 Tips on Creating Lists of Tips

Creating top-ten lists is the meat and potatoes of internet posting.  Although I do enjoy reading them, I think making a top-ten list is lazy authourship.  That having been said, I would like to return to Canadian Fermentation by introducing for your education, Dear Reader, my Top 10 Tips on Creating Lists of Tips.

Although it may seems like there are contradictions in my list, there are, in fact,  none.  It’s a perfect top-ten list.  I hope you enjoy it and are able to take something educational away with you from the experience.


1.  Creativity and entertainment are more important than applicability, facts or actual usability.  Go crazy!

2.  Interesting visuals are nice, particularly if they include a hottie (male or female depending on your target readers), or a picture of a cat doing something crazy.  The pictures should, even if loosely, be related to the topic or tip.

cat-comstume-2The best visuals are a combination of hot babes and cats.

3. Originality is overrated.  Focus on topics that people are familiar with.  People don’t want to learn something new, rather they want their beliefs confirmed.

4.  Keep entries short.  A long entry just provides more material for other people to prove you wrong.

5.  Try to refer to at least one “expert” in your list.   Jane Spilousia, Lead Tip Master with the Tip Institute of Toronto says, “Experts give your tips acumen and authority. If in doubt, find an expert to make your tip pertinent.”

6. Don’t share personal anecdotes, and beware of using your personal experiences as proof.  Trust me   – I tried this on my last Top 10 list and it didn’t work.

7.  Borrow from historical sources.  If you become stuck for tips to share just remember that the internet is your playground.  Ignore what others have told you; there is no such thing as plagarism on the internet.

8. Maintain your authority.  If you receive critical responses to your list, either delete the responses or chastize and humiliate the person who criticized you (preferably using an alias).  This will show other readers how masterful and in control you are.

9.  Give yourself a deadline, and stick to it.  Don’t worry about having a concise, accurate list with the absolute “top 10″ tips. The important thing is production; get that post on the web where it’s needed!  Be willing to embrace tip #1, rather than strive for total accuracy and relevancy.  By utilizing tip #’s  5 + 8 your list will remain relevant.

10.  Avoid being witty.  Most readers are stupid anyway, and won’t get the joke.  Don’t waste your time on them with your best work when any old junk will do.

Bonus:  Always have a bonus tip.  Why?  No one really knows, it’s just something that all top 10 list makers do.  You don’t want to stand out from the crowd, do you?

May 4, 2009 at 2:55 pm 11 comments

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