Thursday, August 21, 2008

Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s

If you’re tired of the modern street-corner versions of beauty, such as Kim Kardashian, Tila Tequila or Vida Guerra, that are so prevalent in today’s cheap society, then you might want to do yourself the favor of picking up Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s. Unlike the paper versions that introduced your dad to the wondrous curves of a woman’s body, Playboy Cover to Cover is a box set of DVD-ROMs that are driven by the powerful Bondi Reader software (Macs and PCs) and search engine, which allows users to navigate and locate any article, interview, feature story, piece of fiction or photo in a matter of seconds.

In much the same way as Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40 Years, Playboy Cover to Cover is a complete digital archive of every page of the epitomous magazine’s first decade of service. Because we like to read Playboy for the articles, we can now enjoy pieces by such literary luminaries as Jack Kerouak, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemmingway, and John Steinbeck. Don’t worry, however, if you’re not interested in reading;Playboy also included all their pictures from the era. Witness the resurrection of the legendary women who started it all: Bettie Paige, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Bridgette Bardot, and more are all present and accounted for.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to organize the contents to your personal preferences or leave them as Playboy intended; Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s offers a peek into a bygone era. Enjoy the Americana culture and show off your latest acquisition at your next cocktail party (which you learned how to throw proper from The ‘50s) – and don’t forget to enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dog Tags & Fashion

Normally I don’t care what an individual wears – be it a T-shirt with a strategically placed middle finger, an “offensive” phrase, revealing clothing or white socks and a suit. Yes, I’ll snicker and maybe make a joke to whomever I’m with if you’re dressed like a social leper, but it’s not usually done with malice; it’s more like pity. I’m not a style icon or even a metrosexual, but I like to think that I can at least assemble a decent looking closetful of clothes.

One fashion accessory that I have strong opinions (and they’re not very friendly) about is dog tags. There is no way in hell that anyone besides a military serviceman or a veteran should be wearing dog tags, and certainly not some 16-year-old douche who is so oblivious to the greater world around him that he thinks the conflict between Russia and Georgia is between Russia and the fourth state of the Union.

I’m frothing at the mouth about this because over the weekend and within two minutes, I saw two teens (who clearly didn’t know each other as they were back-to-school shopping with their respective mothers) exit a store proudly wearing their dog tags on the outside of their shirts. I also served in the US Army and have some understanding of the purposes, which can ultimately mean that a funeral is in your future, that dog tags serve – like informing a medic or doctor about your blood type, your religious preference and your service number.

I also know that a lot of men shed their blood, lost their sons, lost their fathers, became amputees, and even died for our freedom – which, yes, includes your freedom to wear dog tags whether you served in the military or you’re a self-absorbed fashion retard. But I just find it so disrespectful to those who’ve worn dog tags around their toes and to those who placed them there. Anyone who wears a dog tag without having earned the right to do so has about as much respect for his forefathers as President Bush has for being an American ambassador and representing our nation in a positive light to the rest of the world.

I don’t know if these kids think that wearing dog tags as a fashion accessory makes them feel empowered or if they think chicks dig it, but their ignorance deserves a punch in the mouth. They need to remember that those who’ve been initiated belong to the world’s biggest and greenest gang – the US Army... HUA! And to me, these kids look about as clueless as a 10 year old smoking cigarettes.

No blood; no glory.

Monday, August 18, 2008

D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615) – Reviewed

D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615) – Reviewed

First I have to mention that I recently purchased my first notebook. It’s an Acer and so far I’m happy with it; it’s not the most powerful machine ever created, but that’s not exactly why I bought it. The fact that I bought this new computer required me to setup a wireless network, so that I can continue to bring you these quality posts that have you hooked like a socialite is addicted to Starbucks from anywhere I take my notebook. And that brings me to the post (no, I’m not a Starbucks junkie), which is to discuss first impressions on the D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615).

This is my first foray into the wireless world and while it wasn’t hard, it was almost as bumpy as a Montreal road. FYI: Montreal is notorious for horrendous roads that often leave cars paralyzed on the side of the road and angry Frenchmen foaming at the mouth. I might be leading you up to a major disappointment here, kind of like how Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure left you feeling awesome while Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey left you feeling like warmed-over vomit, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about my first impressions of the D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615).

I’m not anything like David Lightman (aka Matthew Broderick) in Wargames, but I’m not a complete idiot when it comes placing a disc in a drive and following installation instructions. So, the D-Link website promises that you’ll have your “router up and running in minutes” and that you “don’t have to be a networking expert to get it set up.” Problem is that D-Link assumes that the average guy coming in off the streets understands wireless 101. This means that there is a slight encryption to the user manual and, also, everything in the text points to the “Wizard” that’s supposed to set up your new system, but seems to be AWOL at first glance. On a positive note, the installation on the PC and the hardware was very easy to set up – almost idiot proof. Still, the fact that I had to call customer service to get my notebook set up on the wireless network leaves something to be desired.

In the end, don’t look for the word “wizard” anywhere and working the system is a lot simpler than the language in the manual indicates.

As far as how I like the DIR-615? Well, I just got it set up yesterday and I’m too new to it to make a comment.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Music Review: Slipknot – “All Hope Is Gone” & “Psychosocial”

Release date: August 26, 2008

Rating: 8/10

Slipknot will release their fourth studio album All Hope Is Gone later this month, but the band has teased fans by making two songs available at It these two songs, “All Hope Is Gone” and “Psychosocial,” are any indication, Slipknot fans are in for some metal that’s as raw as a freshly butchered bovine. Fans will also be happy to see that Slipknot has made good on their promise of putting out an album that ranks among their heaviest, and one that expands on their thrash metal guitar work and vocal melodies. Corey Taylor has stepped away from lyrics that reflect his own life, choosing to turn his focus to what’s wrong in life. Of All Hope Is Gone, Taylor has said that it is “very dark” and that “It’s going to rip your face off… I don’t think the world will be ready for this album.” Slipknot fans will be the judge of that.

“All Hope Is Gone” opens with enough drum and percussion to send any WW II vet into shellshock and back to Normandy before it breaks into frantic guitar riffing and an outright vocal assault. There is a speed metal solo on this track that seems to belong like a white kid in South Central, but after several listens it grows on you and serves as a nice breather before getting slaughtered by some more skull-crushing metal. We first hear the bridge of “All Hope Is Gone” at 2:27; it’s a more rhythmic grind that’ll send a calming wave through the crowd, causing fans to retract their fists and throw up their horns. Being that “All Hope Is Gone” lyrically deals with America’s paradoxical situation on a global scale, perhaps fans should throw up a peace sign.

“Psychosocial,” my preferred track between the two, relies heavily on tradition metal elements. Hitting you hard with a sonic intro before leaping into a head-swinging/fist-thrusting verse that’s sure to leave a pit weak in its knees, “Psychosocial” aims to please with its metal muscle supported by pop sensibilities. “Psychosocial” is sure to be the track that will garner Slipknot a fresh lineage of fans, just as it’s sure to be the guilty-pleasure track for the die-hard fans. Joey Jordison has a sweet slow roll during the chorus and Taylor breaks into a more mainstream vocal styling, all of which contribute to the soft touch of this track. Still, I can see our soldiers blasting this anthem as they drop bombs in the desert.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cell-Phone Citations

Just so that we’re clear on this, I fully support the issuance of traffic citations to drivers who use their cell phone while operating their vehicle; there’s not much in this world -- aside from nu-metal kids who preach their creed and don’t know who Slayer is or what a Spider Riff is, toy dogs and their self-centered owners, Canada’s little-brother complex, Heineken, pretentious and elitist socialites or hipsters, the "precious few," etc., -- that I despise more than cell-phone users who chat away oblivious to the road conditions that surround their boxed world. Seriously, wake up you establishment slaves. All of which to say that I’m happy Quebec now fines such cell-phone users $115 and three demerit points.

I did, however, see something when I left my office building in Montreal’s plateau area on August 7, 2008, that really confused me, which then angered me and finally left me stupefied; I saw a squad car “pull over” a bicyclist because he was talking on his cell phone. Really, does the Montreal police department have nothing better to do than bother a 19-year-old kid on his way home from spending a summer day at Parc Jeanne-Mance? Maybe little boy blue ought to worry more about the needles and syringes that litter many on Montreal’s streets than his frosted tips. Actually, I’d feel much more satisfied if I knew my municipal taxes were going towards Montreal’s “finest” stopping the abundant and obnoxiously arrogant Quebec drivers who think that they can speed around town like their on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (that’s the F1 track in Montreal).

Anyway, after I’d stopped to watch the police take this young kid’s identification, I decided to head toward my car. Between five to ten minutes later, the time it took me to reach my car and circle the block so that I could head north on St. Laurent Blvd, the cops were still wasting this kid’s time and my tax dollar. Seriously, copper, get a job.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ironkey USB Flash Drive

USB flash drives are great for making all your data portable and pocketable. Unfortunately their small size, while convenient for quick body-cavity disappearances, makes them prone to becoming lost or easily stolen and, therefore, subject to breaches of privacy. So, whether you want to safeguard confidential DOD documents, your Doogie Howser-style journals, your wedding plans or (and celebs such as Pamela Anderson, Kim Kardashian, Dustin Diamond, and Verne Troyer should pay particular attention here) your bedroom escapades on your USB flash drive, you can’t go wrong with the Ironkey.

Not only will the Ironkey encrypt your drive contents with AES CBC-mode encryption, but it’ll also self destruct once 10 incorrect passwords are entered consecutively. Other features include onboard password management, web-surfing encryption, metal encasement, military waterproofing standards, a self-destructing encryption chip should physical removal be attempted, and 30MBPS read and 20MBPS write capabilities.

The Ironkey is available for shipping throughout the U.S. and Canada and worldwide through Iron Key Resellers. The Ironkey is sleek, tough, and keeps its mouth shut for you; that’s a lot more than your girlfriend or ex-girlfriend was ever able to do for you.