Kris Kringle Meets the Credit Crunch

Santa, seen from behind, carrying a large trash bag
Photo by Axel Bührmann.
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

By now, you’ve probably read at least one article about how the credit crunch has affected people’s gift-buying this holiday season. The one that stuck in my head is Sorry, kids, Santa’s tightening his belt, which appeared in The Globe and Mail a couple of weeks ago.

Here are the opening paragraphs from the article:

Fat tears rolled down Logan Roberts’s face when his mom said Santa was cutting back on gifts this year.

The 10-year-old desperately wanted an iPod, his mother says, and he asked Santa to slip one under the tree to save his parents from buying one.

“He said, ‘Christmas is my only chance to ask Santa to buy it instead of you,’” says Mindy Roberts, a 40-year-old mother of three.

“My kids just think it’s the greatest because Santa gives [gifts] for free so that if they ask for them for Christmas, then it doesn’t impact me. It’s really very cute.”

I was under the impression that kids by the age of 10 had figured out the real story behind Santa Claus, either through their parents, via logic, their friends, accidentally stumbling into a hidden cache of presents or in a particular case that ended in a suspension, a teacher. I think this would be especially true in the age of the internet –  I’d wager that child safety content filters are focused on adult content and not searches for phrases like “Is Santa real?”.


“Warm Welcome and Friendly Atmosphere”

“Warm welcome and friendly atmosphere?” I’d hate to see their idea of what “great service” is…

Sign: "A warm welcome and a freidnly atmosphere / To ensure our customers' comfort and security these premises are under constant video surveillance."
Photo by "DD TV".
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.


“Snowmageddon?” Seriously?

Snow-covered houses on Gothic Avenue
The houses on Gothic Avenue this morning.
Click the photo to see it at a larger size.

Yes, Accordion City is going to face two consecutive large snowstorms this weekend – the one that’s been happening all morning and another one on Sunday – but to call it “Snowmageddon” is the sort of thing that only a wuss who didn’t make the cut for Dalhousie University’s Quidditch Club would do.

It’s one thing for local TV news to use the term “Snowmageddon”, and I was quite surprised that the National Post – a paper whose origins are in the rugged Canadian West – would play along, but for Environment Canada to join in the hype game is pretty sad. They released a bulletin that contained the phrase “Could this be snow-mageddon?”

(Perhaps not as bad, but still annoying, was the innumerate statement made by an Environment Canada meterologist in this article about Wednesday’s, today’s and Sundays storms: “Things come in threes,” he said. Dude, if you wait long enough, things always come in threes.)

I’m with Torontoist on this one:

It looks like Environment Canada has come to its collective senses; the term (and explanation of its use) is missing from the current version of the statement. In other news, two storms are expected to bring some wind and snow—perhaps even a lot of snow—to Toronto and much of southern Ontario tomorrow and Sunday. You may have trouble driving, the TTC may be a little slow, and your neighbour probably won’t plough his walk. Snow-mageddon? Sounds more like plain old winter to us.

Besides, it looks like a Christmas card out there!


Demotivational Poster of the Day

I know that parodies of Successories’ motivational posters are old hat, but the facial expressions on this one are priceless:

Poster courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.


Karaoke for Kans at Sneaky Dee’s This Saturday!


HoHoTO wasn’t your last opportunity to have a fun night out on the town and help the food bank. Carson T. Foster, Accordion City’s Undisputed King of Karaoke is hosting Karaoke for Kans this Saturday at the legendary lovely dive known to all as Sneaky Dee’s (431 College Street, at the southeast corner of College and Bathurst) this Saturday.

Carson will be bringing his legendary “Kickass Karaoke” library to Sneaky Dee’s; you can check out a reasonably recent list of his songs here. The fun starts at 9 p.m. and admission is either one of:

  • 3 cans of non-perishable food
  • Pay what you can

with all proceeds going to the food bank. With the hard times this year, I suspect that the demand on the food bank will be pretty high this year. If you haven’t yet made a donation to any of our local food banks, this is your chance!

It should be good fun for a good cause; I can’t guarantee anything about the quality of the singing.


“Quidditch Anyone?” No Thanks.

I saw this on the subway the other day and had to get a photo:

"Quidditch Anyone?" subway ad for Dalhousie University
It’s also called the "Involuntary Celibacy Club".

Of its “more than 120 clubs and societies”, why did Dalhousie – a school with a great reputation and one of the “Canadian Ivies” – choose to highlight this one?

As a founding member of the Star Trek club at Crazy Go Nuts University, I do not say this lightly: this looks like a club for losers. Unless it’s for a dare in which you stand to make some decent coin, do no join this club. You will never wash away the stench of “loser”. You’d be better off joining the Furry Club or starting cuddle parties – that’s how low on the Geek Hierarchy I think the Quidditch club is.


Scenes from “HoHoTO”

hohoto_logoNever let it be said that Accordion City’s nerd, media and PR community can’t throw a good party and raise a lot of money for a good cause! Last night, the HoHoTO party (T.O. is local shorthand for “Toronto, Ontario”) took place at the Mod Club in Accordion City’s funky College West neighbourhood. Although the party was put together in a matter of days and relied largely on Twitter for promotion, the event was run as if it had been planned months in advance, sold out in a week (over 600 tickets!) and raised over CAD$20,000 for the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank.

Here’s what the dance floor looked like when the event was at its peak. Not bad for a Monday night during the Christmas season:


Being nerds, they couldn’t resist setting up a program that displayed Twitter messages about the event on the club’s giant screens. A good number of people used their mobile phones to post to Twitter, and we also got a number of greetings from people who couldn’t make it but wanted to send us their best:


The organizers even managed to get some custom-made vinyl tops for all the club’s tables that showed the HoHoTO logo and the names of all the sponsors:


Everybody dressed up for the event, but Pete Forde gets bonus points for breaking out the white suit, sassy T-shirt and old-school Polaroid camera:


We got a special video greeting from Mayor David Miller, who thanked the organizers for their efforts and their ability to get the whole thing together so quickly, and the rest of us for raising so much money that the event was one of the food bank’s most successful fundraisers this year.


The music was excellent, and we have DJs Duarte Da Silva and Ryan Taylor to thank. They took requests the old-fashioned way, but they were also monitoring Twitter for requests – you could send them a request by posting a message tagged #hohotodj. You’ve got to love the 21st century!




In addition to the attendees who were generous not only with their admission money but also their raffle ticket purchases, credit has to go to the sponsors and for their generous (and swift!) support:



The event wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the volunteer squad, who counted my wife, The Ginger Ninja, among their number. Thanks for your time and effort!


I had a blast, and I suspect that most of the crowd did as well. My thanks to everyone who took part in HoHoTO, from the organizers to the attendees, for a job well done, a party well thrown and all the funds raised for those less fortunate than us.

Shall we do this again next year? I certainly hope so.