The Search For Canada’s Game Shows

If you grew up watching game shows like a fiend whenever you weren’t in school the way I did, this might be worth checking out.

Canada was once a breeding ground for new, original and beloved game shows, even some that reached audiences worldwide. Now, game shows produced in Canada are few and far between, and when they are made, they’re usually adaptations of shows created elsewhere in the world.
So what happened to Canada’s game shows? And will Canada one day return to being a creator of original and popular game shows in the numbers they once were? Only by retracing our history can these questions be answered, and our upcoming documentary series blows the dust off of Canada’s historic game shows from the 90s, 80s, 70s and even earlier.
“The Search for Canada’s Game Shows” is a journey across Canada to find out more about these shows and their impact, and features interviews with the producers, hosts and broadcasters who pioneered them. We will also take a loving look back at some of the greatest moments from these game shows through the fond memories of the contestants.

If you can’t catch the episodes on Game TV, it looks like they’ll be available online.

By the way, it says here that Talk About was only produced between 1988 and 1990. I’m sure that’s right, but is that really right? I swear I remember watching episodes a few years beyond then that weren’t reruns. That’s where the being in school most days part comes in, I’m guessing.

FlickType Is No Longer A Subscription App

Pretty sure I’m supposed to see this as a positive, but whenever a service I rely on decides to forgo a consistent source of revenue designed to fund continuing development in favour of something that on the surface appears much less lucrative and much more unpredictable, my reaction generally ranges from skeptical to nervous. That’s what it’s doing right now, in case anyone is curious. Flicktype Keyboard for iOS Changes Pricing, Pivots from Subscription Model

Flicktype was available with both monthly and yearly subscriptions. However, Kpaw, Flicktype’s developers, have decided to release the app on iPhone for a one-time fee of $2.99, and have also released a separate (similarly priced) watch app which is being advertised to both blind and sighted watch users. The developers have mentioned that the watch app will also be voiceOver accessible.
Users who have previously subscribed at either the monthly or yearly options will be able to cancel their subscriptions and use the new app for free in perpetuity; they will not need to re-purchase the app.

If I were to offer a suggestion to the folks in charge, it would be by all means, drop the subscriptions in order to grow the user base assuming that’s the reason for your decision. But add a tip jar with one time or recurring donation options similar to what apps like Twitterrific have done in the past so that those of us who would like to can more directly support your work on an ongoing basis. I can’t speak for anyone else, but that would make me feel a little better about the future.

Let’s Go Out For A Beer And An Extra Car

I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that’s not why I’m having trouble coming up with a good way for Justin Sproul to defend himself here.

It was just after 11 p.m., and the truck appeared to be towing a vehicle.
But this pickup was not a tow truck.
After having confirmed no rear lights were visible on either vehicle, the officers conducted a traffic stop. Officers investigated and came to a quick conclusion.
Buxton police said the truck had backed into a second vehicle, jamming the trailer hitch into the rear bumper. The driver told police that when he pulled away in his pickup he didn’t realize the other vehicle was attached to his.

Oh, and it’s worth noting that this all started as he was leaving Skip’s Lounge, which is, in fact, a bar.

Thankfully no one was in the other vehicle and nobody was hurt.

Well, He Did Ask For A Maple Leaf Cake…

Donc Jacob demandait un gâteau des Maple Leafs de Toronto pour son anniversaire. La pâtissière bien sur a été sur Google…

Posted by Tania Levesque on Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Mascouche, Que., family is laughing off an error by their local bakery that marred their son’s eighth birthday celebration last weekend.
They had requested a cake with the Toronto Maple Leafs logo for Jacob, a diehard Leafs fan  — just like the cake he’d received for previous birthdays.
Jacob’s stepmother, Tania Lévesque, said the bakery told her it didn’t have a Maple Leafs template on hand, so she suggested doing a Google search for an image that could be reproduced with icing.
Jacob’s father, Mathieu Bertrand, picked up the cake from the bakery on the way to a Montreal hockey arena for his son’s party Saturday.
To his surprise, instead of the NHL team’s logo, atop the cake was the logo for Maple Leaf Foods.

Question. When was the last time a mistake went viral and we could all just have a good laugh like this? Nobody’s getting investigated. Nobody’s getting fired. Nobody’s getting shamed. Nobody is apologizing. Nobody’s boycotting. Nobody’s getting sued because the error ruined Snowflake’s birthday and gave him meat sugar party hat PTSD. A funny thing happened and we’re all just like hey, that’s funny. It’s nice.

Even Maple Leaf, who is surely doing it partly because it’s good PR, is being pretty cool.

Maple Leaf Foods said on Monday it would send the family to a Maple Leafs game, and offered Lévesque a choice between going to Toronto or Montreal. 
“I’m going to choose Toronto because the kids want to go there,” she said. “And also they gave us $300 of Maple Leaf Foods. The kids love baloney from Maple Leaf.”
Not only will Jacob see his favourite team play in person for the first time next month, it will also be his first time seeing Toronto.
Jacob is tad overwhelmed by all the attention his birthday cake is getting, Lévesque said, but he’s “super excited … He’s very, very happy that we’re going to Toronto.”

Hopefully the actual Maple Leafs will give him a meet and greet or something while he’s in town.


This is one of the funnier police news releases I’ve seen in a while, and a fine example of why the master criminals tag exists. Purple fentanyl seized after vehicle rolls into police cruiser

On Jan. 5, 2020 at 9:59 a.m., a member of the Guelph Police Service observed a vehicle driving in a suspicious manner near the intersection of Speedvale Avenue West and Brentwood Drive in the City Of Guelph. During observation, the vehicle skid into a curb, quickly reversed causing the tires to squeal and then quickly accelerated into a nearby driveway.
As the traffic stop was initiated, police observed the adult male driver jump out of the driver’s seat into the back passenger seat. The vehicle then began rolling backwards, crashing into the police cruiser, while the front passenger climbed into the driver’s seat. The initial driver then jumped into the front passenger seat. He was subsequently arrested.

A search of his coat incident to arrest revealed:
    •    A pill bottle containing 18 tin foil pieces containing purple fentanyl valued at $810
    •    A red cylindrical container containing two tin foil pieces containing purple fentanyl valued at $1,050 and four amphetamine salts pills valued at $75
    •    Four pieces of tin foil containing purple fentanyl valued at $210
A 37-year-old Fergus male has been charged with:
    •    Operation while prohibited x2
    •    Drive while under suspension x2
    •    Dangerous operation
    •    Breach probation x3
    •    Possession for the purpose of trafficking x2
He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on Jan. 6, 2020.

The mental picture is fun, and the x2s and x3s are icing on the cake.

You mean he’s been arrested before? But he’s so careful!

Dr Pepper Has Made A Menace Out Of Me

A food feud and a parent of the year at the same time. You don’t see that every day. Dude has horrible taste in beverages, too.

A West Monroe man has been arrested after he allegedly put a gun to his son’s head after his son drank the last Dr Pepper in their home.
According to an affidavit by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office, the nine-year-old boy and his mother told Deputies that his father, Chad Kinnaird, had been drinking and had a loaded handgun on him when he entered the home on December 28.
The boy said his father got angry with him because he drank the last Dr Pepper and pushed the barrel of a gun against his head.
Police also spoke with Kinnaird’s 11-year-old daughter, who was home at the time but did not witness the incident. She said her father admitted to her that he’d put a gun to her brother’s head.

When police spoke to Kinnaird he denied that anything had happened, but they did find a gun during a search of his house.

He was charged with Domestic Abuse Battery, Child Endangerment as well as Felony Violation of Protective Order.

That last one feels like it needs a little more reporting and explanation. If he’s being charged for violating an order, that implies that he shouldn’t have been there. If he shouldn’t have been there, how was he in a position to know how many Dr Peppers were there? Did he storm in, gun drawn, demanding one? Would explain why an order may have been needed, I suppose.

Humanwash, An Automatic Shower Scrubber For People Who Have Trouble Doing It Themselves

Badly written linked article aside, I like this idea a lot. I know quite a few people who would probably really appreciate having access to something like it. Man creates ‘human car wash’ shower tool that will wash body for you

The innovative machine, dubbed the “Humanwash,” is installed with a rotating brush unit that scrubs the neck, shoulders and back at the same speed as a pair of hands.
Paaso, from Helsinki, hopes his unique design can serve the elderly to the injured but it also works perfectly for those who want to enjoy a shower beer or nap.
He said, “It took me more than three years and four different prototypes to get this right. I couldn’t find anything like this when I was doing my research on YouTube.
“It is fitted with two motors which control the rotating brush and the vertical movement of the brush. It also has an emergency stop button and automatically stops after 15 minutes.

“I designed it for people who have mobility issues, or are injured or are older and struggle to shower themselves.”
The invention is listed on Paaso’s website with a $5,300 price tag, although it is not clear if it is available to buy yet.

Paaso added: “It could be a very useful tool in a hospital or for care providers, it only uses the same amount of space as a normal shower.
“The user can wash their entire body in two or three minutes, but as the brushes are designed for a gentle massage the normal washing time is about ten minutes.

Take It From Me

If I may offer you all one piece of advice as we head into this new year, it would be to never combine whatever stomach virus it is that everyone in the world seems to have right now with a very painful sinus infection. After eight days and counting of firsthand research on this subject, I am here to definitively tell you that this is a very, very poor idea.

To give you an idea of just how poor, I’ll offer you this statistic. Over the Christmas holidays, I have managed to lose 11 pounds. Not gain, *lose*. Anyone who has ever experienced a proper Christmas holiday surely understands how not normal that is. Between the antibiotics and the other bug causing things to spin around and run for the exits, my appetite has basically been nonexistent. I’ve literally had days where I’ve needed to work up the courage to eat a clementine or two.

This, in turn, has helped do wonders for the energy levels, as you can surely imagine. And when your energy is low, you tend to fall over, stay there and sleep. Yes, even when you’re me. But when you’re me, sleeping at strange times doesn’t go into a handy extra sleep bank like it does for most people, so you get me sitting here writing a post about how shitty I’m feeling at four on a Monday morning when I really ought to be in bed recovering because my body is sick of tossing and turning and has decided that it must do something that isn’t lying down like a sensible person would do.

And this is the best I’ve felt since December the 28th. Go me.

But if there’s one bright side to any of this, it’s that at least it waited to strike until I was back home. Had it not I would have been with family so would have been ok, but if there’s one thing that sucks more than being sick, it’s being sick someplace that isn’t your own home. And if there’s one thing that sucks even more than that, it’s being sick someplace that isn’t your own home while that place is filled with people loudly having a much better time than you. I got to have my good time first, so things aren’t all bad even if they’ve pretty well felt that way for a damn week.

Hope all of you are having a better start to the year than I am. And if any of you want to come to my neighbourhood and beat the shit out of whatever heavy construction equipment has been incessantly beeping and roaring and pounding for the last several hours, that’d be cool. It’s really not helping my comfort or my mood, but I don’t have the energy to go out there and kick its ass myself.

I Did An Ignite Talk And Didn’t Blow Up!

I meant to write about this back in November, but November and December sort of got devoured, so maybe I can do it justice now.

Every November, our company does a little internal conference where people do talks and workshops and stuff for other people to learn from. When it came time to make presentation proposals, I was low on ideas, so I thought “Hmmm if I don’t have ideas enough for a 45-minute talk, maybe I can do an ignite talk about the new criteria in version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. That’ll be less work and preparation. Yeah!” So I decided to take a deep breath and see how this went. I’m really glad I did because I learned a lot from it. I had to prepare less material, but about the whole less preparation and less work thing? Oh how wrong I was.

So in case you don’t know what an ignite talk is, here’s a quick description. Each speaker gets 5 minutes, in which they have to go through 20 slides, 15 seconds a slide, and the slides advance automatically! So if you lose your rhythm, it kind of looks like what happens when an orchestra’s parts go out of sync with each other. When your time is up, it’s up, and that’s it! When I was a kid doing public speaking, my folks would joke that if I took too long, the judges would get the hook and drag me off the stage. Well, in this case, they just might…in a polite way of course. So, here’s what I learned while trying to avoid getting the hook.

  • Usually, my presentations end up getting peppered with babble that I come up with on the fly. This does not work in an ignite talk. There is no room for rambling or excess things or repetition. Everything has to be timed out just so, so I have to plan my funny comments right into the script.
  • The first thing you have to do is break up your big idea into your major points. About 3 or 4 points make a good number.
  • Remember, it doesn’t have to be one point per slide. You can have a point that takes two slides and it’s just fine.
  • Time it as you go. Otherwise you could end up in a heap of trouble. Also, when you find a slide with timing that works, do a word count. Then you can sort of eyeball things as you go along. I found about 60 words ish seemed to fit into the time.
  • What I had to do was use a stopwatch on my phone, but have JAWS read the slide content. But keep in mind your screen-reader’s speech rate. If it sounds like an auctioneer, it might not be speaking at a rate that would be comfortable for you to duplicate. So change it if necessary.
  • If you’re using Powerpoint, you can make your slides make a noise as they transition to the next one. Here’s how. So you can practice and make sure you can fit into the assigned 15 seconds, and when it’s presentation time, you can hook an earbud up to the presentation computer, run your slides, and you always know if you’re on track or not.
  • Make it so you have room for error. So if you go off track and have to cut a slide out, your presentation still makes sense.
  • I admit I cheated a little bit. Since Ignite talks need pictures in their slides, I sent my slides to someone who is good at finding pictures, gave her some ideas of what I would want, and let her put the images in. But I’m sure you could figure out other ways to do it.
  • Practice your talk a whole ton. Practice so all you need is a couple of words to remind you how each slide is supposed to go. Practice in front of people who try to distract you and throw you off. Practice it until you can pretty much do it in your sleep. Practice, practice, practice! Then you cannot get flustered. Flustered people splutter and stammer and go off track and smash! Hey, look, there’s that out of sync orchestra I mentioned.

So here’s my Ignite talk. Here are my slides, and here’s the audio. If you wait a few seconds until I really get going, you can sync them up and hopefully it will work.

Admittedly I was still nervous, and I was having to talk a bit quickly to get everything in there, but it was my first try, so I’m not going to beat myself up too badly.

I think I’d do an Ignite talk again. I just need to remind myself that it’s a five-minute overview of something. If I keep that in mind, I’ll be good.

What Matters Most, What Makes Us Whole, Is Knowing Who Is Annoying The Hell Out Of Us This Christmas

This friggin commercial drove me batty this Christmas season.

and not for the reason you’re probably thinking, that it ran six jillion times an hour, especially on certain channels. No, it’s for these three reasons.

First, I had no idea what it was for. This happens more times these days than I’d like. I’d like to record the audio of a bunch of these suckers and post them one after another just to give people an idea. It’s ridiculous! What’s up with the commercial where a guy’s voice talks about how you could tell her that she has the sweetest voice you’ve ever heard or that her eyes sparkle like diamonds, but you won’t, because that’s not you? Or that one with the creepy music and some high-pitched voices going “Quack quack quack!” Or the one singing about how we all need a hug in the morning, and one at the end of the day? And those are just the recent ones. I know TV is a visual medium, but part of getting products in people’s heads is to hit them with its name in multiple ways. And blind people do watch TV and might want to know about your stuff.

Second, I can’t understand if “what matters most, what makes us whole,” is being “around the evergreen, with the whole family-ee-ee”, why is she calling to wish someone a “merry Christmas, merry merry Christmas, baby”? Is he stuck in some foreign land on military service? Is there a reason that “baby” can’t be “around the evergreen with the whole family?”

And the last one is completely irrational. This commercial really started stepping it up when I decided that maybe this year I should break with tradition and go home to be with my family instead of going to Steve’s family because my dad was about to go through heart surgery. I was discovering that it might be harder to do than I had planned, and this stupid commercial kept taunting and taunting and taunting me. Listen, unknown entity, being told that what matters most is to be with my whole family when it looks like I can’t really pull that off makes me hate you with a burning passion.

I found out that the entity deserving of said burning passionate hatred is Sobeys. Thanks, Sobeys, for the frustrating and taunting commercial.

It ended up not being possible to get home to my family for a multitude of reasons, but I did have a good time with Steve’s family…so I got to be around the evergreen with that whole family, and they put up with my frequent calling and texting of my family, so it all worked out.

Now we just need to have my dad pull through his recovery from Monday’s heart surgery. It sounds like it’s going to be an uphill climb, but so far he’s doing ok.