Posted by: Rich Sherkin | November 12, 2013

Dial M for Madame Kali

My wife Mari stars in a short horror film in the ABCs of Death competition.  Check out Dial M For Madame Kali by director Jazz Virk.  Please Like the film to help them in the competition!



Posted by: Rich Sherkin | June 9, 2013

Opinions Are Like….

So you might have noticed I haven’t been posting much lately.  There are a few reasons for this;

First, the blog tends to turn Facebookish after a while.  I don’t bother with FaceBook because frankly I don’t care a wit about every thought that comes through every Friend on my list.  Friends I wouldn’t have in my house.

Next, I don’t have time to write everything down so you can read it.  I’d rather be doing more things with my time than documenting my life and thoughts.

Lastly, analysis of traffic over the time the blog has been around shows that the bulk of my traffic (and I do get  consistent traffic daily) is centred around my Flight Simulator pages.  And why not?  It’s cool.  You can learn from it.  It’s not someones opinion.

My music blog, Lower West Side Studio, offers information on many subjects musical and has also been receiving a steady stream of traffic.  I will continue to update and build on it regularly and I hope you find it useful.

As for this blog; it will stay up as I have many visitors who I hope find my information useful.  Maybe I’ll update it sometime but it won’t be very frequently.

As for me…. I’m outta here!

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | September 24, 2012

The Pot Of Gold

The other day I had an epiphany.  Magic had happened and I was transformed with new knowledge!  A rainbow had suddenly appeared in back yard and I realized that that meant there must be leprechauns.  Now I know it sounds silly but here’s my reasoning.  I’ve never seen the actual end of a rainbow.  Oh I’ve seen rainbows many times but this was the actual end of the rainbow… in my yard (actually it may have been over the property line in my neighbour’s yard but that’s semantics).  So I decided to use faith in the whole matter rather than reason.

I decided that if the rainbow does actually end somewhere then leprechauns must exist.  They’re magical so what the fuck, why shouldn’t they exist?  They collect gold, perform magic and somehow manage to evade detection.  If you catch them they have to grant you three wishes to let them go but who knows how they use their magic when we don’t have a hold on one?  They may be in control of everything!  Who can prove or disprove it?  I’d better just go on believing.

So now I believe that leprechauns are all around us and watching each of us.  They keep track of what we do and somehow will reward and punish us when we die and become magic too (somehow, I haven’t figured that out – I thought we just….you know… died).  Anyway if that’s the case it’s important that I live my life to please them.  You know, sing songs and tell stories about them.  Stuff like that.  I would collect money for them (somehow all magical beings need money) but it seems they have their own gold so….Yay!

WHAT?!?!  You’re saying that I shouldn’t be placing my belief in invisible beings who run everything by magic and reward or punish me based on my actions thereby demanding my worship.

Oh…. Sorry….  Then it must have just been a rainbow.  I feel much better now!

Don't Piss Off The Faries Don’t Piss Off The Faries

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | July 29, 2012

Thank You Rush – I Love Eating Here!

Dave Marinaccio wrote a book called All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek which offers some neat insight into how a form of entertainment can pass on relevant knowledge.  The book is available on Amazon.

A lot of what I learned I learned from the Progressive Rock group Rush.  No, not just about the Passage to Bangkok but also the one thing they said in French;  Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose – The more that things change, the more they stay the same.

That’s the first thing that went through my mind when I saw that Steve’s Restaurant was opening in Thornbuy.  For those who know the Toronto area, Steve’s has been a staple in many a native’s restaurant rotation.  Always great for breakfast, Steve’s would also do for any other eating time of the day.  The food was fresh, hot, delicious and fast.  My friends, family and I have been eating there for as far back as I can remember.

A local restaurant, The Orchid used to occupy the building where Steve’s moved to.  The Orchid relocated deeper into Thornbury and we’ve yet to visit the new location.  When the building closed and renovations began I heard that the new place would be called Steve’s.  Mari and I thought that it’d be neat if it was actually the “Steve’s” we grew up with.

Then the sign went up and the distinctive logo was unmistakable.  It was our Steve’s!

They renovated the interior which now feels more roomy.  I’m not a huge fan of all the brown but that’s personal taste and everyone is different.  The place is bright, very clean and open.  As usual the food was great and the service fast.

So it seems that moving out of the city wasn’t only on our minds.  The great thing is we can have Steve’s again anytime – just like we used to!

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | July 29, 2012

Tempus Fugit

Wow!  It’s been a year now and I can hardly believe it.  It’s now a beautiful if not dry Summer after a very mild Winter and of course our killer Spring.  Most of the region’s apple farms have been hurt badly by the frost which hit mid-Spring.  Our seven trees won’t be bearing any fruit and while that’s a bummer, folks livelihoods have been hit hard.  Couple that with the lackluster ski season and you can see why the area is struggling economically.

Real estate is also hurting in the area. a couple weeks ago I read that the Shipyards, a large housing development, is closing their sales office, selling the land it’s on and moving it (although the move won’t happen right away).  Building projects have frozen and new home sit empty.

Commercial is hit hard as well as residential.  During our year I’ve seen stores in the surrounding area open then close just as quickly.  The percentage of vacant storefronts is staggaring.  This can be said for the larger surrounding cities like Collingwood and Owen Sound.  Smaller communities appear to have slightly less turnover but business owners are still stuggling.

Still, the community spirit is fantastic here.  Way moreso than I ever experienced in the GTA.  We’re still outsiders though and will likely always be to locals.  Transplants is the official term for folks like us but it’s something we can live with.  I’ve been asked so many times by so many people “So how do you like it up there” that I’ve lost count.  Each time, from the heart, I tell them we both made the best descission of our lives.

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | May 4, 2012

A Tomb With A View

If you want a laugh and to enjoy a “who-done-it” check out A Tomb With A View, presented by the Thornbury Community Theatre.  You’ll have a howling good time!

You would think that something from the past would never trump something from the future but it’s happening.  I’m referring of course to the sudden planetary embrace touch screen interfaces.  There has been a huge escalation in their use since the discovery that humans can’t live without tablet computers (read: iPad).   The touch interface is indeed a good one but should it be universal?  Is it really better?  Are buttons really obsolete?

For our discussion we’ll look at two starship pilots;  Ensign Hikaru Sulu of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 and Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher of the later model NCC-1701C.  Each pilot sat, week after week, in front of a complex array of controls used for navigation, maneuvering and weapons control.  The big difference between these interface consoles, and indeed the rest of the technology on each ships respective bridge, is that the earlier ship used tactile buttons, knobs and controls (and those cool floppy discs) where the newer ship used a touch-screen interface.

But which interface is superior?

Before you rush out and say “oh well with a touch-screen you can reprogram each display a multitude of times so that each control station can serve a variety of purposes.”.  Yes that’s true but with mapping the same can be said for the tactile controls.  So lets not bicker about flexibility.  Let’s focus on something more important.  Functionality.

The benefits of buttons never dawned on me until the mid-1990s.  At that time everyone was making very cool leaps and bounds in the field on tiny little touch-screen displays and they were finding their way into everything.  For me it was the chance to get a touch-screen control for the new home theatre I was building.  Sure the interface was more expensive but look how cool it was.  Then the salesman talked me out of it.  “How are you going to feel where the controls are in the dark?” he asked.  I had never thought of it.  Like many people most of my remote controlling is done through the tactile feedback I get from the buttons.  I didn’t want to have to stare at a bright screen just to find the volume control.  I ended up buying the regular remote and was happy for it.  Score one for buttons.

Now with the iPad (I hesitate to say tablet computing any more because let’s face it – Apple owns this self-created market) every application is controlled via a touch-screen interface.  Buttons, sliders and annoying little knobs appear on the screen for you to play with.  Sometimes the things are so close together you can’t help but hit two at once.  Sometimes a dangling finger can even inadvertently hit a switch just because you relaxed your wrist when it got tired.  Fire photon torpedo.  Oops!

This occurred to me when I was running sound effects for a play and I accidentally triggered the wrong effect because my pinky wasn’t falling quite in line with his brothers as I turned my body.  It was then that I thought that a box with 4 rows of  4 buttons each would be a lot easier to work in the dark than this flat panelled fiend.  Oh sure it gets the job done but is it better?

I’ll just bet Sulu had way more fun pushing all those flashing buttons than Wesley did sliding his greasy fingers all over the flat-screen controls.   Now I wonder, did the Enterprise have janitors come in and Windex off the fingerprints at the end of each duty shift?

Personally, I like buttons.

Sulu’s Raised Helm – Through Feeling the Buttons, Sulu Can Safely Look Into His Scanner.

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | February 15, 2012

One Billion Apps and Counting

Every tablet manufacturer with an OS is boasting how many Apps they have available in their store or market or whatever.  An App for everything they say.  It’s so bad that we roll our eyes when we hear “I have an App for that”.  But lets take a look at the App scene.

First of all, Apple screwed their competition by doing it first and far enough ahead of the curve  that there was a long period of time for the competition to catch up.  During that time Apple distributed millions of free applications.  Full featured Apps were pouring out for nothing and people were gobbling them up.  Afterwards, once millions of downloads the Apps started coming at the cost of a dollar.  Fair enough.  Better than fair.  A deal!  Now, several years later, most free “demo version” apps have paid upgrades to unlock the useful features (and remove those horrible ads) and the days of the dollar app are slowly being chipped away.

Next the other tablet OSes joined the fray.  Trouble for them is they didn’t have the luxury of giving away decent free applications.  Developers were getting used to making money for their work and learning a new platform to give something away wasn’t an appealing thought.  The independent developer often has to choose sides.  Many of them were shifting their time and resources to The Dark Side (come on, Microsoft is so sad right now they can’t even be considered The Dark Side anymore).

So here we are with all these platforms and all these Apps.  But what do we really have.  I’d love to see a filter that removed all the games, jokes, funny crap and time-wasters from the App Stores.  I’ll bet a dollar that nobody would advertise the number of apps left over.  And how many task managers can someone usefully use?  Does having sixty, many of which are “My First App” out there make any sense?

When software is sold in stores vendors must be choosy so they may deal with limited shelf space.  They pick popular products which sell and shy away from products that don’t move.  One might argue that that gives those with the marketing edge or a larger budget a better opportunity.  It does.  It also means that someone going into that store will likely find the most popular products out there.

These products are popular because they have some reputation behind them.  Either the manufacturer has a history of decent products or they bought someone who does.  Most of all they’re around to support the product.

With the online application store model and everyone being a software developer there’s no differentiating good from bad.  The rating system is a marginal guideline but often many applications have no ratings to go by.  With sixteen-hundred paint programs not every one can be tested.  Worse is that these independent developers can get bored of a product and simply drop it.  No future versions.  No bug fixes.  No support.

All available at the App Store.

Caveat Emptor!

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | January 16, 2012

Bunny Rumble

Man is nature weird!  You may recall back in the summer our home suffered a plague of frogs.  It seems that some time yesterday we were visited upon by a scourge of bunnies.  You see, by Friday of last week the snow around our house was pretty much wiped out.  The lawn was showing all nice and green, the rain was falling and overall it was a fine autumn day.  Saturday we woke up to find a light dusting of a few centimetres covering everything.  It was a nice change.  Snow during the winter in January.

This morning Mari called my attention to the backyard.  In the fresh, pristine snow were hundreds of rabbit footprints.  They seemed to converge into the backyard from trails leading out of forests and the meadow surrounding our home.

More strange than that was the area where it seemed there was some type of altercation.  Perhaps a ‘Battle Roayle of Bunnies” if you will indulge me.  But don’t just take my word for it, I took some photos.

Bunnies converge From the West

Bunnies Fan Out And Break for the Yard

Bunnies Converge in Yard from Various Entry Points

Bunnies Moving in from the East

Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere

Bunny Congregation - Having a Butt before the Show

Get Ready to Bunny Rumble

Run Away Bunnies

Whatever caused this huge influx of bunnies is beyond me.  Tracks come from everywhere leading to our yard.  There, apparently some type of event took place.  Too bad we missed it.  I’d like to see a bunny rumble.  Afterwards it looks like they made a break for the meadow.  Good luck to them!

Posted by: Rich Sherkin | January 12, 2012

B-Ark Candidates – Continued

Reading Stream Tweeters – People who sit down to read the news on the Internet and then Tweet every article they’ve been reading because if they found it interesting, surely everyone will.  We’re not talking one or two at a time.  Three plus?  Here’s your pass – the B-Ark is boarding.  Step lively and don’t miss out.


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