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    Growing from Seed: Jiffy-7


    2012 - 06.09

    For Easter Karin got some seed starting kits, and she’s had pretty good success with them so far.  In fact so much success that she needed to give away a bunch of the seedlings because they all sprouted.  So that’s pretty cool, and maybe she’ll talk more about her experience herself.

    The point of this post though is to expound a little bit on the Jiffy-7 Pellets which are very interesting things.  They are an integral part of the seed starting greenhouse that Karin used, and you would think that because they are called Jiffy-7 that you could just go anywhere and buy additional pellets and refill your greenhouse.  You’d think that, right?

    Well it turns out that the pellets come in different sizes, which isn’t really that problematic, but you’d think that they might be Jiffy-1, Jiffy-2, Jiffy-5, Jiffy-7 pellets and such.  Turns out that logical system doesn’t apply to the Jiffy pellets, regardless of size, they are all called Jiffy-7 and they go from about 18mm to about 60mm.  What this really means is that it’s significantly more difficult to find the right size pellet, because they all have the same name, and the sizes are not always clearly marked or indicated either on the boxes of additional pellets, bulk pellets or on the Jiffy Greenhouses themselves.

    So the bottom line is that they are a great product, but that you need to be especially careful that you know what size you’re looking for so that you aren’t disappointed.

    The Problem with Crows…


    2012 - 06.04

    My sister has a problem with crows, and in truth it’s not that many, it’s not like it’s a murder.  But she’s had a bad experience where they were aggressive and attacked her.  You would think that after something like that it would be easy to get the powers that be to take action.  Sadly not so much.  The evil masked arch-nemesis known only as “Strata Council” has been totally ineffectual, and incommunicado.

    Some people are wrongly under the belief that you can’t mess with birds, and that’s simply not true.  It is true that birds fall under the responsibility of the Ministry of Environment (here in BC anyway), so your local city is unlikely (and in some cases unable) to do anything about them.

    Here’s the quick summary:

    BIRDS

    • All birds are considered wildlife and are afforded full protection under the BC Wildlife Act.  A person commits an offence if the person except as provided by regulation or by an issued permit, possesses, takes, injures, molests or destroys a bird or its eggs.
    • Under the Wildlife Act Designation and Exemption Regulation 253/2000 Schedule C, point 2, the following species of birds and their nests or eggs can be destroyed without a permit: crows (except common ravens), black-billed magpies, European starlings, house sparrows, rock doves and brown-headed cowbirds.
    • Some species of birds are classified as game birds.  Hunting seasons and bag limits for game birds are published in the annual Hunting Regulation Synopsis.  This synopsis is available via a link on the Ministry of Environment’s website.
    • For injured birds phone the nearest animal rehabilitation centre.

    If you want to read more you can read the actual Wildlife Act: Designation and Exemption Regulation or just Schedule C.

    It’s always important to know the rules…

    So what do these exempt species look like?

    Crows except for the common raven:

    Wikipedia: Common Raven

    Wikipedia: Common Raven

    So this one you can’t touch, but all other “crows” are ok.

    The Black-billed Magpie:

    Wikipedia: Black-billed Magpie

    Wikipedia: Black-billed Magpie

    The Common Starling/European Starling:

    Wikipedia: Common Starling/European Starling

    Wikipedia: Common Starling/European Starling

    The House Sparrow:

    Wikipedia: House Sparrow

    Wikipedia: House Sparrow by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos under the GFDL

    The Rock Dove (aka: pigeon):

    Wikipedia: Blue Rock Pigeon

    Wikipedia: Blue Rock Pigeon

    And finally the Brown-headed Cowbird (not to be confused with the brown-haired Cowbel [which would be me]):

    Wikipedia: Brown-headed Cowbird (Male)

    Wikipedia: Brown-headed Cowbird (Male)

    Best make sure you double check the regulations before doing anything about the birds, but as of this writing it was legal to destroy their nests or eggs without a permit in BC.

    Awake


    2012 - 05.29

    This is one of those shows which has been cancelled, we watched the last two episodes last week.  Although the final episode left some stuff open, it worked well as a concluding episode.

    What I actually liked best about the show is although it was weird and had some sort of paranormal aspect to it, it was not essential that you understand that paranormal aspect.  Once the premise was introduced it was used effectively, but wasn’t really explored through the normal course of an episode (e.g. most characters in the show were completely unaware of any supernatural elements in the series).

    Another interesting aspect is that the show creator answered some questions about where the show would have gone in a Season 2 and potentially beyond.  It’s also one of the few shows where I would be really curious to actually hear directors commentary…

     

    Disposable Clothing on the way?


    2012 - 05.24

    I was reading this article today about the fees that some airlines are charging for checked bags, or in some cases carry-ons.

    It’s not like I’m a frequent flyer or anything, but as these fees continue to rise it does open up some other possibilities.  It’s not uncommon in some science fiction stories to feature disposable clothing, or paper clothing.

    As far as I know no one is currently serving this market, or otherwise renting clothing or anything like that.  Now the baggage fees aren’t probably quite to the point that people would seriously consider it, but still it looks as though we might get there sooner rather than later.

    Might serve as writing prompt for someone who’s writing something in a near future era…

    Lucky Number Slevin


    2012 - 04.14

    Saw this movie was on Showcase a little while back and taped* it, I’d seen it before and quite liked it.  I’m even going to go so far as to classify it as a favourite, which is interesting since it’s one of the few favourites which I don’t own in any form.

    If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching.  Stylish thriller with strong comedic elements, nice twists and turns and good dialog.

    * “Taping” a show, I suppose perhaps I’m dating myself now, what do the kids call it these days, do they use the technically correct and technology neutral “recorded”, or do they actually say “PVR’d”?  It won’t be much longer before kids won’t know what a VCR was and that for most of 30 years people used magnetic tape for watching movies or recording television…

    Email Avalanche


    2012 - 04.13

    Anyone else out there finding that they’ve fallen behind on their email?  Anyone got great tips?

    I’m working to get my inbox down to 0 which might not be an achievable goal in the short term, but I’m going to try to work on it for 2 hours a day until it’s achieved sometime in 2016…  Ok, it’s not that bad.

    It’s funny how email has changed the world for better and worse, but in the near term it’s here to stay.

    To be honest I think what I really need to do is only check my email in one location, because the real problem is balancing the email which you’ve read somewhere else but were unable to deal with at the time, or for which you didn’t have access to the necessary bit of information because it was on a different computer.  I think that will solve the problem…

    That’s why we have Canada


    2012 - 03.25

    I don’t want to live in a country where no one ever says anything that offends anyone, that’s why we have Canada.” – Bill Maher

    Made me laugh.  Which he then followed up with a bit about Mitt Romney being the “least interesting man in the world” a counterpoint to Dos Equis advertising campaign featuring “the most interesting man in the world”.  The quote is at about the 2:12 mark of the video:

    John Carter [of Mars]


    2012 - 03.08

    “John Carter” opens tomorrow, and I’m interested in seeing it.  When I saw the first trailer for it my reaction was: “That looks interesting, dumb title though”.  I read in the paper the other day that the producers weren’t impressed either, but that they didn’t have control over it.

    It turns out the the movie is based on a series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs (he also wrote Tarzan).  The market research showed that all movies with Mars in the title had done poorly, which is why the movie is not called “John Carter of Mars” or something along those lines, which would have been much more informative (but still isn’t a good title).  I’d have preferred something like “Edgar Rice Burroughs’: John Carter”, and I may have numerous other suggestions after seeing the movie.

    I’d also like to point out that the problem with movies with Mars in the title doing poorly has in my experience a lot more to do with the quality of those movies and a lot less to do with the word “Mars” (or the planet for that matter).  That said, I don’t think they’ll rename the upcoming remake of Total Recall to “Total Recall: Mars”… then again is it possible to improve upon an Arnie movie?  Can anyone else get away with the what Arnie did and have it work?  I doubt it.

    Bottom line, titles matter, but content is still king.

     

    Wireless Access


    2012 - 03.06

    Last week we had a bit of an internet outage, called in to troubleshoot it, and just after they had me do the factory reset it came up that there was a network outage on there end.  Lucky me, I got to reconfigure our wireless network.

    On the bright side I got to reconfigure our wireless network, so I changed a bunch of things.  So if you’ve got a wireless device that was previously paired with our wireless network, you’ll need to set it up again next time you’re over, just an FYI.

    Do they even watch their own shows?


    2012 - 03.05

    One of the recent TV additions which Karin quite likes is Alcatraz, which is fitting since we were both fans of J.J. Abrams first major TV success: Alias (with Jennifer Garner).  Last week Fox which airs the show pre-empted the show because of a very much rain delayed Daytona 500.

    On some level I can understand that, it’s a famous race… and it was supposed to have run on the weekend but was delayed due to weather.  Still it comes as a surprise to people who care nothing at all about the race that the show they thought they were going to have on their PVR was something completely different, and there wasn’t even a courtesy explanation when the regularly scheduled programming would have aired to tell us what was going on or why.

    In the case of Alcatraz, it was supposed to be Episode 8 which aired.  This week they aired (as originally scheduled) a “2 hour event” which was actually Episodes 9 and 10.  So I don’t know when they will air Episode 8.  It’s hard to know at this point (not having seen Episodes 8-10 yet) whether there will be a major continuity issue because of it.  But really who makes these decisions?  Do they actually watch the shows they air?  It doesn’t seem like it.

    Sometimes it feels like TV scheduling is being legislated… who knew that so many locals moonlight as TV executives…

    This is further emphasized with things like weather warnings with annoying audio which are broadcast out of region.  I don’t know if I’d be interested in them if I actually lived in Detroit or Chicago, but I’m definitely not interested in them since I don’t.  Not only that, but they put them in intrusive locations on the screen and interfere with the programming.  They really should work on the technology (which I can only hope somehow doesn’t exist, rather than that they are choosing not to use it) which allows them to remove these things regionally.  Further, they should make it so that the information is not captured by my PVR, I really don’t need a storm warning from thousands of kilometers away and months old interfering with my watching a show.  But I guess for the executives it’s not about the quality of the watching experience… because if they believe it is, they are doing a terrible job.

    It’s not just the weather warnings though, it’s the station promos and other show promos which pop-up and cover significant portions of the screen.  I understand why they do that, and to some degree they are effective, I can’t help but notice them.  But they clearly either do not actually watch the shows, or they don’t care.  Entirely too often do I see a promo overlayed and covering show credits or show content, or the worst: subtitles.  It just really goes to show that they aren’t paying attention.

    There was a time when the live TV experience was the best, but when they continue to add these “features” which realistically are only features in their minds, they continue to degrade the experience, and drive their audience crazy.  So many of these new “innovations” are realistically the equivalent of someone taking a phone call during a movie… very disrespectful and detrimental to your enjoyment.

    So a little advice to the TV executives out there, actually watch the shows from time to time, in the broadcast format, and imagine yourself as someone who actually wants to watch the show… and see how you feel.