Showing posts from 2013

Expect the Unexpected

Sometimes it pays to keep an open mind, keeping alive the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised. Several recent movies that didn't give me great first impressions turned out to be better than I initially expected.
Gravity - The first trailer for Gravity was terrible, in my opinion. When it was shown in the theatre, I think at least half the audience was laughing at it! But, subsequent trailers were a great improvement, and the actual movie was wonderful (perhaps the best film of 2013, so far).Rush - I'm not into Formula 1 racing, and the trailer didn't impress me. Taking a leap of faith, since Ron Howard was the director, it turned out to be a great film (even for non-racing fans), one of my favourites this year.Metallica Through the Never - Heavy metal music isn't my cup of tea, but the film was showing on the retrofitted IMAX at Yonge/Dundas, so I thought I'd give it a chance. The film was very loud, and I'm still not a fan of heavy metal after seeing it, but…

Happy 146th Birthday Canada!

Today is Canada Day. More than just a holiday or a day off from work, it's an opportunity to reflect what it means to be a Canadian.

When my mother left Greece in the 1950s in search of a better life, she considered moving to either Australia or Canada. While I'm sure that Australia is a wonderful place, I'm glad she chose Canada.

We're blessed to live in a free country, whose citizens are tolerant and where multiculturalism is embraced. Rich in natural resources and situated next door to the world's richest economy, we have advantages that are the envy of much of the world. We're also quick to adapt to technological change, which has made us more connected to each other within Canada, while also being confident global citizens.

While we should not be complacent, and indeed there are many things in Canada that can be improved (e.g. a lower tax burden, better treatment of First Nations), we should be thankful to past generations that they've done so many goo…

Fifteenth Anniversary of

It was 15 years ago today that I registered my first domain name, the dot-com that corresponds to my surname. I was fortunate to register it before others who share the same surname caught on to the importance of the internet and owning domain names. Fortunately, my surname isn't "Smith" or "Jones" as I'd have had no chance to register those as dot-com domains in 1998!

Indeed, it wasn't until a few years later that I acquired, via my company, some domains that most others would consider valuable (including and

Free Pizza Domination

Cineplex has been running a great promotion in conjunction with Pizza Pizza lately. The top player in the Timeplay movie trivia competition (which precedes the trailers) wins a free medium pizza. The remaining top 10 players get a free slice of pizza. In 5 competitions, I've been the top player 4  times, and came in 2nd place the other time.

Here's what I've learned:

You can't have more than one of the same prize be redeemable within the "My Stuff" folder. For example, I had 2 free pizzas (because I didn't redeem the first pizza, before winning the 2nd free pizza), but once I redeemed the first free pizza, the 2nd one disappeared from the "My Stuff" folder. So, it's important to redeem the reward quickly, or at least before you win again.You can't win more than one prize per day. Sometimes I take in two movies in a single day. I won a free slice in the first movie, and a free pizza in the 2nd movie. But, since I'd already won that day…

Jury Duty

Yesterday I received a jury duty summons. It should prove interesting, as I've never served on a jury. As luck would have it, the Toronto Star published an article on jury duty in this morning's newspaper.

End of High Interest Savings Accounts

I was surprised to learn today that High Interest Savings Accounts will be terminated as of April 30, 2013. They had been paying an attractive interest rate of 1.80%, which had CDIC insurance protecting the principal, but have since dropped it to only 1.20%. The Royal Bank of Canada acquired the deposit business of a few weeks ago, and it seems they don't want to pay the rates that drew many customers in the first place.

Since other financial institutions are paying more than 1.20%, I telephoned and asked that all of the funds I had deposited there be transferred out immediately, so that I can direct the funds elsewhere. The customer service representative, who was very polite and professional, did not seem surprised by my decision. It appears that I'm not the only person who moved all of their funds out of today. I hope that she and other staff at will not be laid off.

Canada needs more options, not fewer ones, for savers seeking higher…

A Nickel For Your Thoughts?

On Monday, the Royal Canadian Mint will cease distribution of the penny (1 cent coin), making the nickel (5 cent coin) the lowest issued coin in Canada. Inflation has eroded the purchasing power of the penny over decades, so much so that it now costs more to produce a penny than its face value. Many people won't even bother to pick up a penny, although I still consider it good luck to do so!

This also means that prices will start to be rounded to the nearest nickel when paying in cash. This won't affect me too much, as I use my credit card for most purchases. But, I think many skeptical folks will be upset when they see certain cash purchases rounded up, as they won't realize that it's balanced out in the long run by purchases that are rounded down.

48 FPS Revisited

Following up on a prior post, I had the opportunity to watch The Hobbit again at 48 frames per second (FPS), and the experience was much better than the first viewing. I actually watched it at the ScotiaBank Theatre in IMAX first (at the standard 24 FPS), and then immediately went to the SilverCity Yonge-Eglinton UltraAVX screen, which was not only showing the film at 48 FPS, but also had the Dolby Atmos sound system (the only venue in Toronto with this new technology, apparently).

After three viewings, I'd update my rating of the film to 8/10. As for the 48 FPS technology, the picture appeared superior to that of the IMAX screening earlier in the day. It still felt a bit "different" than a normal film experience, but I'm starting to get comfortable with it now. I could enjoy the film this time, without being distracted by the technology.
The second film in the The Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug, is due in theatres at the end of 2013, and I'll likely onl…