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Guest Post: Tommy Thumb, Peter Pointer & Buttons

December 1, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi folks!

I was recently sent this article from my grandfather, Bill Cunning (inventor of “Panic! Crossword Challenge), and thought it was rather clever and insightful — and may even give you people some idea of where I get my knack for nonsense from. 

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

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Tommy Thumb, Peter Pointer and Buttons

I have always believed in paying tribute to deserving people and so the following missive is dedicated to three “unsung heroes”. It’s hard to believe that they have done up and undone more than 400,000 buttons so far in my life. This does not include many other unnamed buttonings.

Have you ever threaded a needle, or even peeled an orange? If so, did you pay attention to see what natural actions were in motion during the process? Well what actually happened was that your brain told your eyes to see the problem, and then your thumb and first finger grabbed the thread and aimed it toward the eye of the needle held by the other thumb and forefinger. A similar action took place to peel the orange, sometimes with the help of your finger nails. Our brain organized the whole procedure from years of practice of threading needles or peeling oranges or buttoning. All this activity goes on and we probably do not realize it. And what about those similar actions that take place automatically when lacing shoes, scratching your skin, putting on socks, flipping a coin, testing food, zippers, light switches, using a fork at meal times, counting paper money, opening and closing Venetian blinds, playing a guitar, and so on… 101 jobs for them.

Those fingers really do not know what they will do until a problem arises. For instance, when your finger touches a hot pot it doesn’t know it’s hot until it sends a message, via some nerves, to our brain. The brain then tells the finger that “the pot is hot, take your finger off of it”. So that may be how most of our bodily actions take place.

This story is about Tommy Thumb (our thumb), Peter Pointer (our first finger), and Buttons. My education in perfecting the art of doing up and undoing buttons probably began about 80 years ago, born in Regina in wintertime when I was about four or five years old, learning to operate the buttons on my long-john combinations. In those years my pants had three buttons to close the fly (If someone noticed that a button on the fly was undone, they would say, “It’s one o’clock at the water works”). Then came shirts, sweaters and winter coats. Shirt cuffs were quite tight in those days and the buttons had to be undone to be able to get your arm into the sleeve. Thank goodness that manufacturers eventually made a looser cuff. There were usually five or six buttons to close a shirt. My sweaters were also button up as zippers were not common then. Pants braces had six buttons and overcoats either winter or rain, had four or five large buttons. It’s amazing to witness those two digits on both hands go about their business of finding a button and locating a hole to place it in. In time I became proficient in that job and could even do it with my eyes closed.

Now to the point of this article – an estimate of how many buttons I have done up and/or undone on my clothing from age 4 until age 85.

Daily Routine:

Age 4 to 14 days years total buttons total done up
combinations-winter 90 10 900 4 3,600
sweaters-winter 90 10 900 4 3,600
shirts-daily 365 10 3650 5 18,250
pajamas-daily 365 10 3650 4 14,600
overcoats-winter 150 10 1500 4 6,000
Total 46,050         

 

Age 15 to 65     
pajamas-daily           365 50 18,250 4 73,000
shirts-at home           365 50 18,250 5 91,250
shirts-business          260 50 13,000 5 65,000
sweaters-weekly          52 50 2,600 5 15,000
overcoats-winter         150 50 7,500 4 30,000
Total 274,250

                                                 

Age 66 to 85
pyjamas – daily 365 20 7,300 3 21,900
shirts-at home 365 20 7,300 5 36,500
shirts-casual 182 20 3,640 5 18,200
sweaters-casual 182 20 3,640 5 5,200
coats-winter 90 20 1,800 4 7,200
Total 89,000

 

Grand total                      
Age 4 to 14 46,050
   15 to 65 274,250
   65 to 85 89,000
Total buttoned up      409,300

Then I had to unbutton all 409,300 of those buttons!!!!

The next time you are dressing, take a moment to watch the activity as  buttons are being done up. Then give your thanks to our “unsung heroes”.

Thoughts on Gambling and a Hockey Slots Game Review

October 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi folks! 

When I turned 19 and became legal to gamble, of course one of the first things I did was hit our local casino. Not one who enjoys losing money, my trip frequency soon dwindled to a much more affordable rate than at the onset of my legality. One lesson a good friend of mine learned and established early was to set a budget: come in with a set amount of cash to play with, and leave your wallet in the car(bring your ID too though). Whether your night at the tables lasts five minutes or five hours, look at it this way: you could spend $20-??? on dinner, drinks, a movie, or whatever other evening entertainment you’re into, or you could try your luck at making far more than you came in with. Either way, gambling is just entertainment. If you play responsibly, you can have a fun night, not lose more than the cash in your jeans, and get over how fast you lost it.  

If you’re into online gambling more than the real life version, our friends at Lucky Nugget Online Casino have a great hockey themed slot machine game called “Break Away” that they’d love for you to try out. Looks like a great time. Have a read of their review of it, and maybe sign up and (responsibly) play a few pulls!

-SDC 

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Review of Ice Hockey Slots Game Break Away

One of the most appealing aspects of slot machine games is that they are based on a wide range of themes. These themes can be quite varied and taken from pop culture, history, music and sports. For those who are sports lovers, it is of little surprise that they are drawn to sports slot machine. Fans of ice hockey can enjoy a slot machine known as Break Away. Some online slots such as Break Away stays true to the sport without tying in any league or team affiliations. Therefore, no matter who their favourite team is, ice hockey fans can find universal fun with this slot machine game.

One aspect of Break Away that immediately pops out to players is its massive amount of paylines which number 243. This gives players many opportunities to win big with Break Away. The symbols of this game are of course items from ice hockey such as rinks, players and refs. The game also provides realistic sounds that one would expect to hear while at an ice hockey match. Ice Hockey fans will find the design quite pleasing.

While Break Away does offer an additional progressive jackpot, with 243 paylines and an awesome free spin feature, it has a lot going for it already. When the free spin bonus is triggered, the largest amount of spins that can be won are 25. The exact amount is based on the number of scatter symbols that appear. Three of these symbols will results in 15 spins while four will award 20 spins. Of course, five symbols are needed to get all 25 spins. The free spin feature doesn’t stop there. When in this part of the game, any money that is won has a special multipliers added to it which makes winnings soar. The more wins translates to a great multiplier amount.

Wanna Be a Writer? Start As a Blogger.

April 5, 2013 Leave a comment

JDC

Congratulations JDC Junior Journalists on finding this blog! You have been awarded 10 bonus points. The following is my lecture from April 6, 2013.

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What is a “blog”?

1)     An online journal or diary, available for all the world to read — depending on your privacy settings, and ability/desire to publicize and advertise it.

2)     The word is the short form of “weblog”, which is the mashed together version of “web log”, which refers to logging information on the web.

3)     The term “blog” was coined in 1997 when a liberty was taken with the term, shortening it. A person who writes a blog became known as a “blogger”.

4)     Blogs can be any length, but posts of a shorter nature like Twitter’s are known as “micro-blogs”.

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Why blog?

1)     Because you can say anything you want, in any language, about any topic you want – give opinions, write reports, share fiction, poetry, review products, discuss music, sports, history – blogs are a haven of free speech, and a vehicular outlet for people who have something to say but nowhere to say it.

a)     You never know what you might write about – a man in Pakistan inadvertently live-tweeted the capture of Osama Bin Laden. Just write and let the words take you where they will.

b)     You also have the power to edit or delete a blog, if something needs to be updated, or removed altogether.

c)      It can teach you how to write engaging content – invaluable for writers on any platform.

2)     Because you can blog from anywhere that has an internet connection, anytime – home computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

3)     Because you can blog however you want – traditional text, add pictures, blog pictures only (photo blog), video blog (vlog), audio/podcast, and more.

4)     Because it’s free. Purchasing a domain and hosting for a webpage is costly, and requires building, or the hiring of someone to build your page for you. Blogs come with templates to choose from and are user/tech-inept friendly. WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr and amongst the most popular blogging platforms available.

5)     Everybody’s doing it – even newspapers are adding blogs to their publication’s websites in an effort to stay relevant and profitable in the digital age. Their blogs mean opportunity to blog for them, and sometimes even hiring to do so.

6)     Because there’s no wrong way to do it. If you can click “post”, then you can blog.

7)     Because it’s a great way to jump start your writing career and gain some notoriety and confidence while no one cares who you are or wants to publish your writing.

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How can blogging help an established or aspiring journalist?

1)     It keeps you in practice when you may not have other opportunity to write.

2)     It connects you to an audience. If you learn to promote your work through social media, you have the chance to connect to/be seen by 500 million Twitter users, 170 million Tumblr users, 1 billion YouTube users, 1.06 billion Facebook users, and however many users and viewers.

a)     Accruing a high volume following of visitors will make you appear valuable and marketable to advertisers. This can be advantageous in applications for writing positions, selling advertisements, and can also make you more likely to be approached with opportunities.

3)     It connects you with online communities interested in the topic(s) you write about, and may lead to further writing opportunities.

4)     It is advantageous to a blogger that people can click on a free blog from their computer or phone easier than going to a newsstand and buying a newspaper, or even paying for an online subscription.

5)     It can lead to opportunities for interviews, product reviews, and more.

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What are the disadvantages of blogging?

1)     You won’t make any money, at least in the beginning. There are ways to monetize your blog with advertisements and products, but blogging will likely be a “labor of love” for you until you manage to appear on someone important in writing’s radar.

2)     Depending on the community your blog creates, visitor comments can sometimes be rather negative – you’ll have to either develop a “thick skin”, ignore them, or develop some constructive tact in dialoging with people who chose reply with negativity.

3)     Because of the open and unedited nature of blogging, bloggers don’t carry an overly credible reputation with them amongst trained journalists. If you want to be taken seriously as a journalist, eventually you will have to progress to writing for an established publication, or start one yourself.

a)     Further, blogging can leave you open to grammatical and style errors that may out your writing as amateur. You’ll need to pay close attention if you want to impress anyone with your blogs. When in doubt, enlist a proofreader.

4)     It requires a lot of effort and dedication if it’s going to go anywhere – if you’re a procrastinator, or lose interest in blogging regularly, your blog will likely go by the wayside, along with all its potential.

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In conclusion, everything I’ve accomplished in journalism can be directly traced back to my days as a dedicated blogger. I strongly recommend it to any of you as a supplement to your ongoing studies towards a career in writing.

While you’re here, follow me on Twitter:

Not even an undercover CIA agent enjoys hearing their alias has to pretend to follow the Calgary Flames

February 9, 2013 Leave a comment

This clip was from the September 30, 2012 season premier episode of “Homeland” on Showtime, so it’s a little old, but still neat to see hockey and an NHL team referenced in this show. Too bad it had to be the Calgary Flames that got the mention. Oh well. Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

UPDATE:

macgyver flamesIt appears that this Flames mentioned in a spy show may not be as random as once thought — MacGyver, perhaps the greatest spy/secret agent of them all, was a Calgary Flames fan, and mentioned the team and often wore their apparel on the show.

It’s odd that Mac was a Flames fan, as his fictional biography notes he was born in Minnesota — which would suggest that he should have aligned with the North Stars. They arrived in Minnesota in 1967, when MacGyver was 16; which is a good age to solidify an allegiance to a team. The Flames didn’t move to Calgary from Atlanta until 1980, when he was 29. And there are no mentions of MacGyver cheering for the Atlanta Flames in the series, only the Calgary version.

Attempts to find the actor that played MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson, aligned with any particular NHL team have proved inconclusive. Though it is well documented that he used to play as a kid, and continues to be involved in hockey through charity games and such.

But more to the Homeland correlation — the most plausible rabbit trail to follow is that Homeland actors Morena Baccarin (aka Jessica Brody) and Diego Klattenhoff (aka Mike Faber) both acted alongside Richard Dean Anderson (aka MacGyver) on Stargate SG-1 at different periods. Anderson was there as Jack O’Neill from 1997-2007, Baccarin appeared as “Adria” in six episodes from 2006-2007, and Klattenhoff appeared as “Team Leader” in one episode in 2005. Faber is also Canadian (born in Nova Scotia), so there’s that too. It’s believable that MacGyver/hockey/the Flames may have come up in conversation between any combination of the three, and then may have popped into Baccarin or Klattenhoff’s mind at a table read or something when it came time to mention a hockey team in the Homeland episode.

Maybe I should work for the CIA.

Calgary lost again? Some things never change.

(Glove bump to “hocko” on Reddit for picking up on the lead)

Hockey Fan Living Abroad? The Best Links to Free Online Streams of Games.

December 30, 2012 16 comments

I’m Canadian, and if you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ve put together by now that I’m a big hockey fan too. As I’m currently residing in Asia, watching games can be quite the challenge. Major networks like TSN and CBC won’t stream games online outside of Canada. So I’ve been forced to sift through the internet for the best online streams I can find.

You're welcome guys!

You’re welcome guys!

If you’re in the same boat as me, today’s your lucky day. I’ve hacked through all the junk, and compiled a list of all the best links to free hockey games that I’ve found. I’ve got no doubt the game you want to watch can be found at one of them. And for free!

The following links are my go-to’s. You’ll have to wade through them to find the best feed, but it’ll be worth the effort. Most of these sites will require you to close numerous ads to uncover the screen, but they’re all free, and don’t require any players or software to be downloaded.

Here they are:

1) http://www.wiziwig.tv/competition.php?part=sports&discipline=icehockey

2) http://myp2p.mu/index.php

3) http://www.frombar.tv/c-3.html

4) http://livetv.ru/en/allupcomingsports/2/

5) http://atdhe.eu/hockey

6) Reddit Hockey’s VLC solution

If you’re ok with downloading software, then download Sopcast. It’s a trustworthy P2P internet TV internal player, and you can stream much higher quality feeds from it than you can from any of the above links. Just be aware through the download process to uncheck all the non-sense it wants you to install along with it. If any of this sounds too risky for you, stick to the links above.

Did I miss any? Leave your favorite links in a comment, and I’ll add them.

Happy hockey watching!

2012: It’s (Not) The End Of The World As We Know It, So I Feel Fine….

December 31, 2011 2 comments

Hi folks!

Thanks for making 2011 another record setting year for Serenity Now… The SDC Blogs. Lots of new developments in readership, product reviews, and writing gigs with media outlets have been fun and welcomed. Looking forward to what the next 365 days will bring!

I thought it appropriate to repost an old blog on the old 2012 end-of-the-world hype, which no one is too worried about anymore. It was originally post for a site that is now defunct, so it’s a good opportunity to get it back in circulation. Enjoy!

-SDC

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Isn’t it great when Hollywood, and other media outlets, inspire panic in people by suggesting in a film or other propoganda that the world is going to end in the very near future? Isn’t it also interesting how much material on the topic becomes purchasable in various formats immediately after the report catches fire?

Contrary to suggestions of the 2009 straight-to-dvd blockbuster, Here’s why 2012 will simply be another year in history, and you can take a break from building your refuge tunnel to the center of the earth:

1) The Mayans did indeed have a calendar that ends on 2012. However, just like any other calendar, all you have to do is start it from the beginning again. Their calendar begins from a time Mayans identified as a point of creation, and then counted forward in units of “tun”. Similar to the way we sequentially write 10, then 20, 30, etc., Mayans change the names after 20 units. 20 tun equals 1 k’atun; 20 k’atun equals 1 b’ak’tun; then piktun, kalabtun, k’inchiltun, and so on. On December 21, 2012, the 13th b’ak’tun cycle will end, and then the 14th will begin. After the completion of 20 b’ak’tun’s, the first cycle of 20 piktun’s will begin October 13, 4772, and so on, and so forth. So if the Mayans already had names for all this, why would they/why should we think the world was ending?

2) There’s no planet or celestial body named “Nibiru” (or anything else) that is on a collision course for earth. NASA’s got plenty of instruments in space, like the Spitzer and Hubble telescopes, that would have relayed a message about a planet on an intercept course by now. NASA launched a spacecraft named Voyager 1 in 1977 (yes, there’s a Voyager 2 as well) that is just now in the process of leaving our solar system. So if it took us 33+ years to get something out of our solar system, don’t you think we’d know about something coming towards us by now? The odds of something that size getting to us through our galaxy in one piece (the Milky Way is filled with much larger and dangerous things like larger planets and asteroid fields) is extremely slim. Besides, if something we actually coming, The US or some other country would put up some sort of missle defence system, or we’d just deal with it ala Armageddon style, right?

3) The earth is subject to solar activity ALL THE TIME, and is able to deal with flares and such due to its magnetic field and atmosphere, which deflect harm. The earth’s magnetic field does reverse polarity once and a while (approximately every 400,000 years), but the effect takes several thousand years to complete, and would not interrupt the earth’s rotation or point of axis.

4) Planetary alignments also happen ALL THE TIME. They’re called “eclipses”, and chances are, you’ve heard of, or maybe even seen them. Even if all the planets in the solar system aligned (which they won’t), it wouldn’t be cataclysmic. It might be cold for a few hours or so, but that’d be about it until the sun started hitting us directly again. The earth isn’t going to flood, the oceans won’t boil, Hawaii won’t burn down, and the continents aren’t going to crash into each other.

So there’s the scientific explanation of why 2012 will hold nothing to worry about except for living your life. I’m a Christian, and my personal beliefs are to the tune of what Jesus said himself in the Bible,

“No one knows of the hour of the final days, not even the angels in heaven, except for God alone. The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36, 44)

In other words, none of our fancy methods of determining the end of the earth will be accurate, as it will happen in an incalculable way; no calendars, no psychic or prophetic predictions, it’ll just happen. According to scientific theories, we’ve got a few billion years yet (but no pinpointed time), so don’t pack up or quit your job just yet. Until then, go live and enjoy your life! I’ll do my best to keep you afloat of other catastrophic cosmic events that are of no consequence to your, and everyone else’s, existence.

Happy 2012!

 

Merry Christmas!! A Song by The Fire, & A Christmas Conspiracy.

December 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Merry Christmas everyone!  I wanted to get one Christmas blog in this season.  So here it is.

Back in college, a few friends and I took a closer look at the classic Christmas song, “Walking In A Winter Wonderland”.  Why this particular song came to our attention, I really don’t know; but then again, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably asked yourself that same question about the majority of the content on this blog :)  

Anyways… so when I was young, I remember singing this song and not thinking twice about it; but now after revisiting it in my later years, I might think twice about having my future kids belt this one out in public.   It’s got a nice ring to it and all, but the lyrics may be a little more “adult” than you realize, or depending on how far down the conspiracy rabbit hole you prefer to venture.  Let’s look at the song a little closer, together, so I can show you what I mean:

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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening, [Bells... a calling card, perhaps?]

In the lane, snow is glistening [The lane... some sort of secret meeting spot?]

A beautiful sight,

We’re happy tonight. [Why so happy?? More on this next stanza...]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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Gone away is the bluebird, [ok, birds fly south for winter, that makes sense. But....]

Here to stay is a new bird [...who is this new bird?? He’s supposed to be at the bottom of the continent by now... apparently he’s here “to stay”... has the bluebird been replaced?? Or does the new bird only come calling when the bluebird is away on business for the winter months??]

He sings a love song, [Love songs? At Christmas? Fishy...]

As we go along,

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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In the meadow we can build a snowman,

Then pretend that he is Parson Brown [A “Parson” is a member of the church with the authority to marry people. Why are they pretending, and why Parson Brown in particular? Do these two have something up their sleeves? Is this a “dry-run” of sorts?]

He’ll say: Are you married?

We’ll say: No man, [In the words of Elaine Benes, they're "just havin' a good time"]

But you can do the job

When you’re in town. [The job?? Is that what she’s calling whatever it is that the new bird does with her while he’s in town and “bluebird” is gone?? Or are the two “birds” planning on a secret Vegas style hitching via their friend, the real life Parson Brown??]

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Later on, we’ll conspire, [con•spire –verb: to agree together, esp. secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal; to plan or agree on (a crime or harmful act) together in secret]

As we dream by the fire

To face unafraid,

The plans that we’ve made, [what plans have you made that would require you to state you’re not afraid of them?? What is the risk/reward ratio of monetary payoff to jail-time in said made plans?]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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In the meadow we can build a snowman,

And pretend that he’s a circus clown

We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,

Until the other kids knock him down.

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When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,

Though your nose gets a chilling

We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way, [and how exactly do the Eskimo Inuit frolic and play? Nose kissing naked in one sleeping bag to keep warm?? I think this one puts us over the open interpretation line...]

Walking in a winter wonderland.

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Haha, I don’t entirely hope I’ve ruined a Christmas classic for you, but I do hope I’ve encouraged you to think twice, or at least re-examine from time to time, the lyrics that you may mindlessly blurt about, just because they sound good, and others are doing it too.

Merry Christmas everyone!! Enjoy the Christmas music by the fire!

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