2016-05-07

Beacon Hill Has One Exit

As you may know. Fort McMurray, in Wood Buffalo, Alberta,  has one road connecting it to the rest of the world (Highway 63 until the intersection with highway 881). Beacon Hill has one road out of the subdivision.

That's not good. If you only have one road out of your neighborhood, move!

 The videos below were taken Tuesday May 3rd, 2016. Most of the homes you see were burnt to the ground. I called the videos epic when there were118 views. There are now over 800,000 and I've seen the videos on CTV, CBC, NBC, CNN and the BBC. And now you can watch them here. You really should watch them in full screen (the bigger, the better), in 1080P. These are embedded and linked, not copies, so apologies if the poster has taken them down.

My blog is usually quite political, but remember that many families in Fort McMurray lost their homes (quite likely, including the poster of the videos).

Videos contain foul language.

Beacon Hill, Fort McMurray, Wood Buffalo, Alberta, Canada


Fort McMurray Fire 1 of 6 Front Dash Cam


Fort McMurray Fire 2 of 6 Fire Dash Cam



Here are the links for the other 4 videos of the epic Beacon Hill escape. See if you can spot the deers almost causing an accident in videos 3 and 4.

-
Fort McMurray Fire 3 of 6 Front Dash Cam


Remember, if you only have one road out of your neighborhood, move!

My income is way, way below the Canadian median wage. Yet I give hundreds of dollars to the Red Cross every year. It feels good to help (it is about 25% tax deductible, so don't be cheap).

2015-09-07

Stop Harper for 10 Cents a Day

A tight 3 way race. Isn't democracy great. But the Conservatives have more money than the Liberals or NDP.

The NDP is going to win Quebec (Quebeckers despise both Harper and Trudeau).

But many people in other regions will still vote Conservative. The Conservatives can win.

Influencing voters, and overcoming (sometimes justified) apathy, is expensive. 
If you make a $500 donation to the federal NDP, it will only cost you $150 after tax rebate. $150 over 4 years is only 10 cents a day (0.1 X 365 X 4)

Think about how much the Conservatives have already cost Canada, and, more importantly, you: Needless defence spending, commercials for non-existent federal programs, income splitting, less accurate Canadian census, etc... 

2015-06-16

Golden Age of Television

So people are stealing video in shocking numbers, and yet we are apparently in the "Golden Age" of television?

The jury is still out on that one, in my humble opinion. But then again, I'm still miffed AMC cancelled Rubicon. 

Still, if you feel you've been missing out, here is what I've watched and enjoyed since September. (Canadian channels)

Drama
-Homeland with Claire Danes. (Super Channel)
-Madam Secretary
-The Americans
-House of Cards. The plot of the latest season was a departure from the 1990s British version (which had far fewer episodes), and therefor it was rubbish. However, the actors and visuals are just as great as in previous seasons.
-Mad Men (Sigh. So, so good, and yet, as always, so dangerously close to terrible. So I totally get it if, like most people, you don't like it). 
-Our Girl. Set in Afghanistan (BBC)

Comedy
-Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
-Fresh off the Boat
-Silicon Valley (HBO)
-Veep (HBO)
-Modern Family
-The Simpsons (Global)
-Last Man Standing
-South Park (Comedy Network)
-Episodes (The Movie Network)
-Mr. D (CBC)

I watched plenty of British TV comedy this winter. There are some high quality shows, my only beef is the seasons are way too short. 
-Fresh Meat
-Him and Her
-Siblings
-Plebs
-Cuckoo
-Friday Night Dinner
-Bluestone 42. A wartime sitcom set in Afghanistan. Loved it. (BBC)

Other:
Top Gear (BBC)

2015-02-06

Allegiance's Hope Davis is Not the Air Farce's Jessica Holmes

Wow, I just watched the entire first episode of NBC's new Allegiance dram (à la The Americans) thinking they had cast the Air Farce's Jessica Holmes as the Russian-American heroin. They didn't. In fact, they casted the 9 years older, and very American, Hope Davis.

Hope Davis

2015-01-27

What Air Asia Does Different

Firstly, let me premise that I'm not convinced Air Asia is profitable.
Any reported "profits" could simply be accounting manipulations based
on unrealistic depreciation values assigned to new airplanes or very
temporary competitive advantages based on hedged fuel and low wages.

But from a brand perspective, here is what the company does different
(Air Asia is an umbrella group of independent national airlines).

-Western Rock music during boarding and unloading.
-Charges for water
-Flies small people (compared to North America and Europe)
-Is genuinely comfortable. Having suffered through two 7 hour ANA
Dreamliner flights, I can confirm that Air Asia's A320 seats are far
more comfortable. They are in leather à la Westjet (so easy to clean)
and have foam in them.
-Takeoff like rockets. They shoot for the moon when they go up and
travel at very high altitude.
-Leave early. I always wondered how airlines enforced their 20 minute
rules at the gate. Well Air Asia does it more often than not by simply
leaving the gate!
-Flight attendants are gorgeous and kept humble by having them clean
the plane. And they start cleaning the front before all the passengers
are off!
How pretty? People were taking pictures and videos of them.
-Ban outside food. As a North American I find this one hard to digest,
but South Asia food does tend to smell, spill and stain. So that
cucumber sandwich will have to wait.
-No alcohol. This is probably because of Malaysian and Indonesians
imposing their stupid religious customs on others, but no booze for
you.
-They sell advertising space. You know that ad space inside city
busses, Air Asia does that to. Possibly for accounting and tax
reasons, however, it appears to be in-kind advertising. So companies
that advertise Air Asia get ad space on the luggage compartments of
the inside of the plane
-The face of the owner is on the side of the plane. I'm tempted to
call this an ego trip, but who knows? It is different, that's for
sure.
-10 minute sales pitches during flights. A flight attendant apologised
to me because he was going make a 10 minute sales pitch "in the local
language". 10 minute talks on cell phone plans are bearable when you
don't speak Malay. If you do, then you should be using your phone to
listen to music anyway (in Airplane mode, of course).
-You can buy tickets without a credit card. If you do use credit, it
will cost you $9. Your boarding pass can be printed at home or using
the bar code sent to you via MMS with the airport self serve kiosks.
Human check-in on international flights remain free and quite popular.
But travellers opt for human check-in are greeted by long lines. The
adjacent document check lines were at most 3 people long.

7 kilo hand luggage limit (10kilo with Tiger). That ain't much, but it
is doable. My weeklong travel bag containing a pair of jeans, charging
cables and plenty of underwear topped out at 6.7 kilos when my bathing
suit was wet from a swim at Singapore's Changi airport. But normally
it was well under. Locals don't seem to have mastered travelling light
and are paying luggage surcharges.

These observations are mostly based on my experiences flying in an out
of KLI2 in January 2015 operated by the Malaysian branch (The umbrella
group is based in nearby Sepang).

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