There’s Just No Pleasing Some People

Seriously, Melanie, Dracula’s trying to “do you a solid” here…

"Tomb of Dracula" comicClick the comic to see it at full size.

Quick Grammar Lesson: When Dracula says “It is I,” he’s using correct grammar. “It is me” (or “It’s me”), while seemingly less formal, is also incorrect. “It is he” and “It is she” are also the correct forms, while “It is him” or “It is her” are wrong. That’s because in these cases, the pronoun is the subject and “it” is the object.


What Was That Economics Term?

Seen while shopping around for a new vacuum cleaner:

Christmas tree with a sign that reads: "Was $185 Now $50"

For some reason, I can’t remember the economics term used to describe the fall in value of certain types of goods after a specific date. If you know, could you refresh my memory in the comments?

(Also: $185 is a lot to ask for a mangy-looking tree.)

And no, the term I’m looking for isn’t “SALE”, as my smart-ass schoolmate William Merlet suggested on Facebook.


C’mon, Just Admit It

Bottle of "Maybe You Touched Your Genitals" hand sanitizerHow does Certified Bullshit Technician find all the good pictures?

The TSA has a special version: “Maybe You Touched Many Other People’s Genitals”.


Your Knife Opinions, Please

Set of 6 old knivesClick the photo to get a closer look at these knives in all their former glory.

I find myself in a situation where I have no kitchen knives save a motley assortment from my “Bachelor 1.0” days, all of unknown provenance. My guess is that they’ve come from the dozen or so housemates I’d had over the years. I hear that the young people, like these two, might refer to them as “janky”. The knives have been kept in a drawer for years (the good ones lived in a proper knife block). The photo above shows the sharpest of the bunch, based on some experimental onion-slicing.

Knife sharpener

While cleaning out the kitchen, I found this modern-art-looking-thingy. It’s a knife sharpener, and like the knives, it too is of unknown provenance. I ran the santoku-ish knife (in the topmost photo, it’s the one closest to the lower right-hand corner) through it a half dozen times and it seemed to do a better job at slicing onions. Of course, this may just be a placebo effect and I may have made the knife even more worthless. Time will tell.

Still of "Knives Chau" (played by Ellen Wong) from "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"“Knives” Chau from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

I can easily go out and buy a new set of knives, but I plan on making do with the janky set for as long as I can. In fact, The Current Situation is such that there’s a lot of household stuff that I need to replace, but I’m resisting the urge to make a beeline for the store. My reasoning is as follows:

  • Holding off on replacing those household items buys me time to do a little research. I can read reviews, shop around, and as you’ll see in just a moment, call on the collective smarts of my readers.
  • Holding off also buys me time to find out what things I used to have that I don’t really need. Whatever I need will become glaringly obvious through its absence and I’ll buy it. Whatever I don’t need will neither be missed nor bought.

Gentle Readers, I’d love to tap your collective smarts: do you have any recommendations for knife sets? I’m no chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I cook a lot. I work from home a fair bit, so not only do I prepare dinners at home, I also find myself in my own kitchen for lunch. While I’m not aiming to buy an expensive set, I know better than to go cheap.

I did a quick check of the Costco Canada site and found these two sets that were in the neighbourhood of what I wanted to spend. The first is this ten-piece Henckel set, which sells at Costco for CDN$200:

Henckel 10-piece knife set

Here’s what’s in this set:

  • 23-slot birchwood knife block
  • Vegetable knife: 7.6 cm (3 in.)
  • Paring knife: 10.2 cm (4 in.)
  • Utility knife: 12.7 cm (5 in.)
  • Santoku knife (with Granton edge): 17.8 cm (7 in.)
  • Carving knife: 20 cm (8 in.)
  • Chef’s knife: 20 cm (8 in.)
  • Bread knife: 20 cm (8 in.)
  • Sharpening steel: 23 cm (9 in.)
  • Kitchen shears

The second is this nine-piece Sanelli set, which also sells at Costco for CDN$200:

Sanelli 9-piece knife set

Here’s what’s in this set:

  • 1 oak wood block
  • 1 flexible fillet knife: 19.7 cm (7.75 in.)
  • 1 narrow boning knife: 15.9 cm (6.25 in.)
  • 1 roast knife: 24.1 cm (9.5 in.)
  • 1 bread knife: 24.1 cm (9.5 in.)
  • 1 japanese knife: 17.8 cm (7 in.)
  • 1 paring knife: 10.2 cm (4 in.)
  • 1 Edgemaker®
  • 1 Castor peeler

Do either of these sets make sense? Are there better sets at the same price? Is it a fool’s dream to hope to get the right knife set for me at the the CDN$200 price point? Should I forget sets, go to a “proper” kitchen store and perhaps build a set, spending more and building a set a knife or two at a time?

Let me know what you think (especially if you’re a chef or very avid home cook) in the comments!


“And I Thought It Smelled Bad…On the Outside!”

Snow-covered gas station in Williamsburg with Han Solo, Luke SKywalker and a tauntaun photoshopped into the foreground.

I love these recent photos of Williamsburg (which, like the rest of New York City, is still covered with snow) with scenes from the ice Planet Hoth (from The Empire Strikes Back) photoshopped into them.

Snow-covered Williamsburg street with Imperial Walker photoshopped into the background

[ Found via Gothamist ]


Windows Phones in Canada

Want to know what Windows Phone 7 devices are being offered by Canadian telcos? I’ve got the list below:


telus wp7 phones

Telus offers two Windows Phones:

  • HTC 7 Surround. This is the one with the slide-out Dolby Surround speakers and a little kickstand so you can use it as a mini video player. The speakers are surprisingly loud and clear and our coworker Anthony “The Mobile Situation” Bartolo used them to great effect at TechDays this year, annoying us with the Jersey Shore soundtrack.
  • LG Optimus 7. This one’s for people with DLNA-equipped TVs (or in a pinch, a TV with an Xbox hooked up to it) – you can use DLNA to send the pictures and videos on your phone to a nice large screen. It’s great for presentations, vacations slides or even movie-watching.


bell wp7 phone

There are a number of people who refuse to use on-screen virtual keyboards and like the reassuring feel of a button’s “throw”. If you’re one of these people, Bell’s LG Optimus Quantum is the Windows Phone for you, with a slide-out keyboard. I’ve taken it out for a test drive at the store and it feels pretty nice.


rogers wp7 phone

I’m on Rogers (as are all Microsoft employees in Ontario – the company pays for our phones and plans), and their Windows Phone is the Samsung Focus. It’s sexy, skinny, much lighter than you’d expect for a device with this kind of horsepower and it sports a bright, crisp 4” Super AMOLED screen, just like the one on the Galaxy S. I end up doing a lot of impromptu demos with this phone, and everyone walks away impressed.


expansys site

If you’re in the market for an unlocked WP7 phone, or perhaps a WP7 phone that the Canadian telcos aren’t carrying, Expansys are the go-to people. If you’ve been to one of the big Microsoft conferences in the US – PDC, TechEd North America and so on – you’ve probably seen their booth. They’re the go-to guys for all sorts of mobile devices, including the hard-to-get ones.

They have a Canadian site,, and they’ve got a very extensive selection of Windows Phone 7 devices. Better still, their service is great. When I screwed up my last order and accidentally ordered the European version of a phone that wouldn’t be compatible with HSPA+ over here, a quick email to their service was all it took for them to fix the problem and let me know it was fixed. I salute them with a filet mignon on a flaming sword!

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


The Saddest Christmas Card

Christmas card in a card rack: "Christmas wishes to you and your cat"

And sadly enough, I’ll bet you know at least one person for whom this card would be perfect.