Thursday, April 12, 2007


Jesus... I've been tagged. This has never happened to me before. I feel like the Sally Fields of the internet. Thanks to Callaghan for this honour. Sorry it's been been so long since you tagged me. I had no idea. It's probably my fault he hasn't posted in a month.

The request is for: Five Things you Probably Don't know about me.

1. I'm an award-winning piper. I played the bagpipes from the time I was ten until I was 18. Sadly it was just before the whole Celtic craze thing so all I got were the typical "blowing your pipe" jokes. For those of you who don't understand I will now act it out.

Also: proof of this claim can almost certainly be found at the Ottawa Piping Club where my name is engraved on the trophy for Best Strathsbey and Reel.

2. I own three telescopes. A 12.5" Dobsonian, a 70mm Ranger, and I built my own 8" dobsonian telescope. I've loved astronomy since my folks took the five of us kids out to the Dominion Observatory one cold winter night and we saw Saturn. It blew my mind... I seen Saturn many times since then... it blows my mind every time.

3. Here comes strike three: as I already confessed to Dix, I am a magic nut. Just having written these three things suddenly explains so much I haven't understood for the longest time. I am a genuine-and-not-in-a-cool-way geek. I think Jay Sankey is a genius, I took magic classes from David Acer at Perfect Magic when I was going to the National Theatre School. He was like 15 at the time and was already a great performer.

4. My late aunt Millie had what I think is the most incredible name: Melba Opal Phoebe McKay. Plus everybody called her "Millie"!

5. I wrote my first play in grade one: It was Robin Hood. I directed it. And cast it. I was Robin Hood and Barbie Melson was Maid Marian. It was about how Robin Hood wanted to kiss Maid Marian and then marry her. My friend Ross McKenzie wanted to be in it. He was Friar Tuck. His job was to marry Marian and Robin. My other friend David wanted to be in it. But what part was there left? Robin had to travel through the forest so, I wrote a special role for him... he was Robin Hood's donkey.

Thanks for the tag Callaghan.

I know now that am a wiener.

Dwayne Hoover was a Pontiac Dealer on the Brink of Going Insane.


His peephole is closed again.

Rice and Cheese!

Didn't you guys read my Yes/No Review of Andy Barker?!
It can't be any plainer. I said "YES!" Dammit.

What are you? My brother?

Monday, April 09, 2007

The TV Writer and Bit Torrent: a moral question... kind of

I'm a pretty law abiding guy.

Except when I think the laws are dumb. Even then I don't go out of my way to flaunt my lawless ways. But there's a moral question that's been bugging me lately and I'd like to hear what other people think.

I have a friend...

And like many of you he's a Bit Torrentin' fool. For the most part it's been shows there is little or no chance he'd ever see here in Canada anytime soon. Particularly shows from Britain that weren't on BBC Canada, and that he couldn't find at the local video store. Then it was shows that were mentioned at a story meeting that he hadn't seen that were on HBO (Movie Central) and they weren't out on DVD yet and he didn't have "the cable". And then, it was just episodes of shows that he happened to miss during their first run... and now it's anything at all.

He has no illusions that what he's doing is legal. But he believes in Karma. He knows he'll have to pay... some day, some how.

And this is the thing: for the most part he does eventually pay for stuff he likes. The pleasure of watching some downloaded file on his computer doesn't compare to watching it on HD with his digital cable... or on DVD. So when he finds something he likes... like Six Feet Under and Deadwood a couple years ago... or Rome, Life of Mars, and Extras more recently... he doesn't mind coughing up the bucks for the DVD so he can watch it in it's full glory.

And today: it happened... he saw his own show being bit torrented... and what did he feel? Guilt? Resentment? Outrage? Nope... it was Pride.

Somebody... a fan presumably, cared enough to digitize and upload it... it's being seeded out there by a few curious viewers who maybe heard something about it but never got around to seeing it. And maybe they'll give it a chance.

There is a part of him that wonders if he, or more specifically his livelihood, is being threatened by the practice. After all, the show is a product. It is part of a business in an industry and profits are what motivate the decisions of the investors. But is this cutting into the industry's profits? I mean really? In the short term, there's no doubt. Viewership is down and therefore so is ad revenue. On the other hand these are also the guys that own and operate the companies that enable people like my friend to download the programming in the first place. And in the long term... isn't it actually more likely the industry will make money by creating content for not just one medium but several at the same time.

They irony is his show is on a network that makes the episodes online available to anyone (with a PC) who live in the country. So the people downloading the show are probably outside the country... but wouldn't it make more sense to make the show available to anyone around the world and talk with an smart advertising agency to find some way to get ad revenue by customizing the content to the local viewer?

It's just the old model of exchange that is dying. And people like my friend are just helping put it out of its misery.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

To Whom it May Concern

And you know who you are...

Taco's Puttin' on the Ritz was originally released in 1991. [UPDATE: or in 1982, and that's the trouble with the internet!] The original Puttin' on the Ritz was written by Irving Berlin (as I believe Rob suggested)

Whatsamatteryou? was released in 1980 by Joe Dolce.

There was something else that was in dispute but I can't remember what.

Dave's Yes/No Movie Review: Grindhouse