Thursday, April 28, 2011

No Facebooking Allowed on Election Night

Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act - written in the 1930s - prohibits the premature broadcasting of election results over Canada's many time zones. Elections Canada recently came out and said that this law applies to the private Facebook posts and tweets of ordinary citizens.
Broadcasters have played by these rules for 80 years, but it's pretty ridiculous and more-or-less unenforcable to levy the same law against internet users in 2011. I feel like Elections Canada is ashamed of this law; in one radio interview one of their representatives said something like, "we didn't write this law but it is our obligation to enforce it" (sorry, I can't provide a citation).
On today's episode of Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Paula Simons of the Edmonton Journal raised an interesting point - she said that as a member of the news media she is not willing to risk incurring a $25k fine by posting election results in advance. She will, however, be scouring the 'net and reading what other people post out of sheer curiosity.
This got me thinking about some of the more silly nuances of how this law is interpreted:
  • If it's illegal to post election results in advance on Facebook, is it illegal to "Like" or comment on someone's status that contains advance election results, if that causes the original comment and your action to be re-published in your friends' feed?
  • Is it illegal to "Re-Tweet" a tweet containing advance election results, which effectively broadcasts the message to a new group of users?
  • Is it illegal to link to a source of offending information in your Twitter posts or Facebook wall?
It would be too easy to sign up for a new, anonymous Twitter account through a proxy server and tweet election results anonymously to your heart's content. Actually, I am willing to bet a good number of people who find this law ridiculous plan to do just that. This article talks about a "cyber rebellion" in the works.

Martin Luther King once said, "Just as it is the duty of all men to obey just laws, so it is the duty of all men to disobey unjust laws". 
Thankfully, the CBC and Bell Canada (CTV) have teamed up and have challenged the law in the Supreme Court of Canada (source), but it was not possible to rush the decision to before the election.
Is anyone else going to be refreshing Twitter all night on Monday?
Related: Here's a good blog providing aggregate analysis of election polls if you're digging this election:

Montreal Impact vs Vancouver Whitecaps

On Wednesday night I went to see a Montreal Impact soccer game! I under-prepared for an evening game in April and was freezing for the whole two hours, but it was a lot of fun to watch!

I arrived a bit early and I was worried no one else would show up, but by the time play started the stadium was about one-third full, which is pretty good considering there was a Canadiens game on that night!

Montreal has one section of nutty fans. Apparently they can light smokey flares when the game starts:

Not knowing which colour was which, I loudly cheered for blue (the colour of the whole stadium and all Montreal Impact merchandise) until the pink team made a good play and the stadium erupted in cheers. Oops, I guess Vancouver was blue. I switched and cheered for pink.

Vancouver scored a goal about 60 minutes in, and the game remained at 1-0 until the end. In a last-ditch effort to help the team score another goal, Montreal fans lit a red smoke bomb in their stands:
It didn't work.

All in all a very fun night! I'd much rather spend $25 bucks on watching a soccer game than hang around my apartment alone, so I think I'll make a habit of attending the home games.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TV-Out on Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant (GT-i9000M)

This past weekend I was looking for something in my cable drawer and found something I wasn't looking for: a cable like this. I remembered that my phone supposedly supports TV-Out and thought I'd try it out.

I was VERY impressed with the results!
On the top row is Cubed (a music player) and the middle three are Widgetsoid menus.

I don't have exactly the right cable, so on my TV in Montreal the output is black & white. I tested it in Saskatoon on my roommate's TV and it worked in colour. Apparently it is missing on a few similar models they made in the states.

It's a neat feature - basically any time you want to show more than one person something on your phone (pictures, a YouTube video, etc), you can just plug your phone into the TV with a $1 cable.
Landscape mode fills the screen.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Great Week

The last week has been pretty awesome! Unfortunately I never remember to take pictures of anything awesome. Here's the skinny:

  • Two of my pals flew out to Montreal for the Rush concert last Wednesday! Incredible show but unfortunately Geddy's bass was only audible when Neil wasn't drumming, which was hardly ever. 
  • We ate tons of great food, including an awesome breakfast, poutine, and smoked meat! 
  • Flew back to Saskatoon for the long weekend, had some of my mom's delicious Easter buns (paska).
Here are some things I DID take pictures of:

Two of Robyn's cousins visited Saskatoon for the first time and were inundated with all of the city's offerings, including the river, the beautiful campus, and the Berry Barn's Saskatoon Berry Pie:

My sister got me this awesome cookbook for my birthday:
I got a bunch of other awesome books, including How to Cook Everything, The Book of Awesome, We, Robot, and Room.

Robyn and I went to Poached for breakfast and it was AMAZING. I ordered crab cakes with a poached egg on top and marinara sauce, a breakfast salad and a bagel. We got a side order of bacon-wrapped maple pecans - ALSO AMAZING. It was Easter Sunday and the staff hid a few Cadbury eggs in the salad, which I thought was cute!

Robyn and I cooked our own supper on Sunday night (which was much needed - with the concert and the Saskatoon visit I haven't cooked at all for myself!). It turned out to be super-healthy but also super-delicious! Shown here is spaghetti squash with a tiny bit of parmesan, a spinach salad with cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese, pecans, leftover chicken and a simple oil-balsamic-garlic dressing, and kale chips.
I was skeptical (perhaps uncertain is a better word) of both the kale and the spaghetti squash, but both were excellent and I will purchase both in the future! 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Montreal Wandering

I went for a long walk today by the harbour and through parts of Old Montreal and Chinatown. I saw some neat things! 

A haunted house! Spooky. On the left you can see the Bixi bikes - rent-able public bicycles.

Montreal's congress centre looks like a kaleidoscope oil slick.

A spa boat (left) near something decrepit looking. 

Neat architecture. They look abandoned, I wonder if anyone lives there? 

There... of in the distance... Radio-Canada headquarters!

The Biosphere!

The Jacques-Cartier bridge links the island of Montreal to St. Helen's Island, which is made of the earth excavated while constructing the Montreal Metro system. Now the island houses a Metro station, a Formula One race track and a theme park. In this pic you can see roller coasters to the left of the dome.

I found Chinatown and wandered through there. 

The Chinatown Holiday Inn has some traditional-looking temples on top.

Knock quietly or there will be.... trouble.

Glad Breakfasts

Last week I made Glad Breakfasts in advance for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I call them Glad Breakfasts a) because they are in Gladwares and b) they make me Glad! Any day that I don't resentfully eat cereal is a good day.

Basically I just crack three eggs in a Gladware, add a shot of milk and whip with a fork for a few seconds. Then I added mushrooms, green pepper, and spinach but you could put in whatever you wanted! I suppose you could also pre-cook the veggies. I didn't this time.

In the morning, I fry some pancetta bacon, which is awesome because a) it's smoked (pre-cooked), b) it's pre-cut, and c) it gives off just enough fat to cook with - significantly less than normal bacon (ie, you don't have to drain the pan). Then I just dumped my scramble-in-a-container in the pan and scrambled everything.

Very tasty! I like having "weekend breakfast" on weekdays every once in a while.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring in Montreal

Spring magically appeared in Montreal on Saturday, and it looks like it's here to stay - I hope!

I wanted to take so many pictures on the walk home today, but didn't because taking cell phone pictures of people is weird:

  • A BILLION people lined up outside the Ben & Jerry's, because today is Free Scoop Day;
  • A hilarious number of random children running around on busy downtown sidewalks (possibly connected to Free Scoop Day);
  • All the open space at McGill University, previously barren, now filled with people studying, reading, and catching sun;
  • The immediate and drastic change in the population's attire from heavy boots and coats to shorts, skirts, sleeveless shirts and sharp-looking spring jackets;
  • Tons of old couples out for walks, sporting their denim pants without any back pockets.
Also, it was hot enough on Monday that I had to turn on the air conditioning in my apartment! Maybe it's the west-facing windows. 

I'm an April baby and I got a really nice birthday card from my family in the mail today. Lots of love on the inside but on the outside - a dinosaur to stick stickers onto! 

Someone has already added some stickers to it! Hahaha

My dino:
I just needed to make it as metal as possible. Yes, the T-rex is playing a guitar with a whisk.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pork Tenderloin

I'd eaten it previously, but I never really realized how amazing pork tenderloin was until about a year or so ago - Robyn turned me on to it. It's cheap, simple, versatile, and extremely delicious: tender (true to its name), juicy and near-impossible to screw up.

At the Metro (grocery store) below my apartment I can get a full pork tenderloin for under $5, easily enough for two meals. Do ANYTHING to it, throw it in the oven for ~35 minutes at 425*F, and BAM, amazing supper.

On Tuesday I was feeling a combination of lazy and hungry - a dangerous combination that could normally lead to Subway or Pad Thai. But instead of fast food I grabbed a pork tenderloin for $4.80 and some asparagus. I Googled "easy pork tenderloin" and found this dead-easy recipe. Breadcrumbs, olive oil, pork, and you're done!

I tossed the asparagus in Mrs Dash and olive oil and threw it on the George Foreman grill for 8 minutes. It could have used 2 more minutes, but was still good. I had some olive ciabatta buns that I garlic-buttered and tossed in the oven for the last 10 minutes.

Total cost, about $10 for two meals' worth, and prep and cooking time was about 45 minutes total. Yumm.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Weekend in Saskatoon: Bridges, Bacon, Board Games, Balloons

I was in Saskatoon for the weekend. It was fun!

Robyn and I went to look at the construction on the new Circle Drive South Bridge:
They have a little platform that you can watch the construction from if you drive around the Diefenbaker Park loop! Or, you can be lazy and look at

Me and my buddies went out for breakfast for a CELEBRATION OF BACON
Denny's is like that one guy you know who sounds like he's fun to hang out with, but then you get there and you realize that you can only stand that person for about five minutes at a time. It was a fun (1:30PM) brunch with my friends, but I wish we went to Schryer's Smoked BBQ Shack instead! Robyn and I went there on Friday night and it was aweeeesooommmee.

Robyn and I played board games with my parents. Here are two of my consecutive turns in Scrabble:
It can't get any worse!
It got worse. 

Finally we went to my Dad's office at the university and popped all of the balloons that his coworkers added to his office for April Fools:
I liked the note that he left for the caretakers.