Archive for November, 2006|Monthly archive page

Computer Technology Both Amuses and Frightens Me

In Uncategorized on 11/30/2006 at 9:16 pm

There is not a more perfect time to introduce online procrastination material than when exam period begins to loom on the horizon. Now this feature has been available for some time, but I hope it brings joy to at least one person who’d rather be doing anything than real work. allows you to scan in a photo of yourself while it, through some magical technology of its own- okay, they call it an algorithm, will match you with celebrities who you most resemble, giving a percentage of how physically similar you are.
Originally the aim was to compare faces as a genealogical tool “through photos and meta-data contributed by yourself and other users” so that “the more photos added to the system, the more powerful it becomes.” This algorithm finds relatives of people in your photo owing to the “genetic-based facial similarities that exist between relatives.” You could therefore use this to formulate links between people whom you never even knew were related.
Whether you use it to explore your family tree, or you simply want a few chuckles, myheritage guarantees a good time. Hint: your matches will vary depending on the tilt of your head and the expression you are making so go ahead and scan a few photos for a variety of matches. You may be flattered (74% Gisele Bündchen- good thing they didn’t measure the size of my thighs), a little weirded-out (66% Tom Cruise- everyone loves a scientologist?), or doubting what it means to be a woman (54% Michael Moore- I think I’ll go kill myself now), but bottom-line, you’ll have wasted at least 30 minutes.

boys will be boys…

In Uncategorized on 11/28/2006 at 2:56 pm

Sadly there aren’t many things that throw us off composure but the recent rash of revelations as to how certain business moguls got their initial start to spark their astounding success (or is it the other way around) definitely got our attention. First there was our very own fav Jawed Karim (yes that Jawed) who got the inspiration for YouTube empire while trying to belatedly download Janet Jackson’s nipple slip, and now hot off the presses comes news that (sigh..the things we dig up for you people) Laurence Lewin (see photo right) talking about how Melanie Griffith didn’t look that great but…

“…I was watching the movie Working Girl, and there’s a scene where Melanie Griffith is vacuuming in her underwear. … Anyway, she’s wearing some sort of frilly underwear and she looks absolutely fabulous despite not having the best figure. That got me thinking about great underwear and how it could make women feel. At the time, lingerie was sold in department stores and, in my opinion, it was boring. The bras looked like a lineup of white and beige soldiers. I wanted to make it more fashionable, more fun.”

Hmm…right. Well that little company that Melanie ‘inspired’ became a little known Canadian retailer called La Senza which became awash in umm..a tiny bit of cash this past week to the tune of about $710 million dollars since its announcement this past week that it had been acquired in a friendly takeover by Limited Brands of USA which in turn just happens to own Victoria’s Secret. Of course we are always happy to see a Canadian success story but… is it only us that thinks Janet and Melanie should be entitled to a huge chunk of the respective ’empires’ that they inspired? Stay tuned…

life in the not so fast lane… #24

In Uncategorized on 11/26/2006 at 9:52 pm

sometimes talent alone just ain’t enough 😦

thanx nadia:)

life in the fast lane… #48

In Uncategorized on 11/24/2006 at 1:56 am

Overheard in Starbucks

I couldn’t quite believe my ears when the person in front of me in the queue at Starbucks ordered (in a dead-pan voice):

“A tall skinny Ethiopian, please”

I did my best to hold back the laughter, but I ended up sniggering. And then the barista (who knows me well) saw the look of my face and then started to crack up herself.

Meanwhile the person ordering the coffee had no idea what was going on or the hilarity of what she had just ordered.

thanks Ben 😉


In Uncategorized on 11/22/2006 at 10:46 pm

Never seen before: this remarkable image of an unborn elephant, taken approximately six months into the two-year gestation period, was captured using a combination of 3D ultrasound scans and tiny cameras inserted into the mother’s womb. They were taken for the National Geographic TV channel, to be shown next year.
© Channel 4

Chef Cook Off is Here ;~)

In nessiepicks on 11/21/2006 at 6:20 pm

So it’s that time of the year again. We here at brainwashcafe have decided to search for the McGill’s most extraordinary culinary talent and so we’ve reduced ourselves to “labrat” status (letters/emails of consolation are welcome) in order to find him/her/it.

Our rating system is based on few yet important factors (feel free to suggest more):

1. THE “wow” factor (and we ain’t necessarily talking food here)
2. less is more (this goes for dress code especially)
3. performance speed (without breaking a sweat… well, maybe a little)
4. t.t.t. (taste taste taste!!)
And so for the last several weeks there have been random individuals (mostly of the androgen redundant variety) showing up at our door with sharp knives (eeek!) , strange um..spices, cooking us great(?) meals for chance of winning title of brainwashcafe‘s MEC (most extraordinary chef). But as you all know, we gals tend to get confused (waddaya mean you dont use alcohol ever), biased (kate, who cares if he can’t cook just look at him!!) or both and so we thought to leave it up to YOU! guys to decide who we should consider taking on. Good luck!

Introducing Chef Contestant #1: Nick
St. Pius X Culinary Institute graduate
Trilingual: english, french, and spanish
Counselor for troubled youth on his spare time
Certified First Aid ( and French …hmm)
He knows his cheese. Spent 3 months serving it!
Best Known for Quote: “A kitchen is a kitchen.”

mother of all reviews…

In Uncategorized on 11/19/2006 at 7:42 pm

Listening to Evan expound on his true love is somewhat akin to passing by a train wreck. You know you shoudn’t stare but… (warning; it’s a little long !)


I never saw Goldfinger on the big screen. Perhaps if I had I would have something to reference my experience watching Casino Royale last night. As a James Bond fan seeing Goldfinger on opening night in 1964 is probably the only experience that might have come close. Only if I had been there could I say for sure what I now believe; Casino Royale is by far the best James Bond film ever made.

Let me give you a little bit of information about myself to qualify this opinion. Since The Living Daylights I have walked out the theatre after every new James Bond film with the feeling that I had just seen the best James Bond film, then after a few months and a few more viewings I have come down to earth and the movie slides down into its position in my list of favourite Bond films. This effect, I believe, is because of the excitement of seeing a new James Bond film gigantic, for the first time up on the big screen, just outweighs seeing the other films for the umpteenth time on the television. Hence, the virgin viewing of Tomorrow Never Dies trumps the seventy-fourth viewing of Goldfinger.

Casino Royale, however, is different. I’ve never left the theatre with this great of a feeling about a new Bond film. Never.

You see, Casino Royale is a complete experience. It not just a great Bond film. But also a great film. Casino Royale has achieved something the no other Bond film has achieved; it has three dimensions.

The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

I never saw The Creature From The Black Lagoon on the big screen in 3-D. But I did see a trailer for it when I went to see another lousy 3-D film. The Creature’s trailer in 3-D blew me away with the depth of the three dimensional effect. This was the same way that Casino Royale affected me, only Casino’s depth was of character and plot, and not of special cameras and glasses.

I’ll start with Daniel Craig’s portrayal of James Bond. Craig made James Bond a real person rather than a character. Craig let me feel Bond’s emotions, amazingly even when he was suppressing them. Craig showed me how James Bond could truly fall in love. Craig made me feel the danger and the fear, and made me see how this man Bond could stand up to them.
Now I love Sean Connery’s James Bond, but the depth just isn’t there. Nor is it there for Lazenby or Moore. The depth Dalton added was a mere embossing. And Brosnan’s attempts to add depth to the character were less The Creature From The Black Lagoon and more Sharkboy and Lavagirl, a movie that would flash on the screen in big text, ‘Put your 3-D glasses on we’re going to add depth now’.

Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd was more than three dimensional. I don’t know how many of you have had higher maths, but I recall in some calculus class or another being taught about four dimensional objects moving through three dimensional spaces, and while the object would be of one solid shape in four dimensions, in three it would appear to be a fluid, changing object that could be only truly understood if viewed in four dimensions. Such was the character of Vesper, only at the end of the film, when we knew all of Vesper’s dimensions, did her character’s actions through the film truly take shape. Enigmatic is the word that has been used to describe Vesper, and Miss Green’s complex yet simple approach to Vesper plays perfectly to the word. You see Vesper is a character of… shall we say ‘burdens’ to keep this review spoiler free. Her burdens dictate how she interacts with Bond. And only when seen with that extra dimension is her character’s form fully understood. Until then its concept and its beauty is just a wonder to behold. Miss Green’s own beauty on the other hand is obvious through the whole film.
Mads Mikkelson turned one of Ian Fleming’s most ordinary villains into the James Bond series’s most fascinating. It has been pointed out that that Le Chiffre is not the megalomanic, ‘let’s start World War III’ type Bond villains, but Le Chiifre unlike all Bond main villains is not even the most evil person in the film. While he is not the greatest evil, he is the centre of evil. Mikkelson plays this near perfection. The fear, the fearlessness, the confidence, the desperation, the sadism, the creepiness (with some points going to the makeup department) each flow steadily from the villain.

Casino’s lesser players each are displayed in Glorious 3-D Characterisations too. Judi Dench’s M is surprising. Let’s get this straight right now, this is not the same M that gave orders to Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond. This time M is the relic of the Cold War and this time she really does ‘have the balls’.

Giancarlo Giannini as Mathis makes the best Bond ally ever. His character comes straight from the novel, yet his story improves on the novel.

Felix Leiter as played by Jeffery Wright manages to do as much with Felix as any of those who had taken the role before him, but with barely the screen time of John Terry.

Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The French Connection, anything Jackie Chan.

Okay, now these films I saw on the big screen and action-wise, Casino Royale is in these films’ league. More French Connection in Casino’s grit and ability to weave the action into the artistry. More Die Hard and Lost Ark in adrenaline. And Jackie Chan because… well, I’m a big Jackie Chan fan precisely because with every stunt and every action set piece you truly believe that Jackie could get seriously hurt or maybe killed. Casino takes that a step further, while you may know that Jackie Chan might get hurt, you believe his character will survive just fine. (That makes the action greater, but downgrades the film). In Casino you believe that James Bond may not survive. Craig’s Bond may sustain more injuries in this film than a Jackie Chan blooper reel, and definitely more than the previous Bonds had combined.

Ian Fleming.

Never has Fleming’s writing been given this much respect. The movie actually felt like the novel. Now Msrs. Purvis, Wade, and Haggis may have updated every inch of the story contained in Ian Fleming’s first novel yet still managed to make the only Bond film that felt like the novel it was adapted from. Sure, From Russia With Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service are very true content of the novels. Casino Royale is true to much more. It is true to its novel’s spirit. It is true to its novel’s soul.

A few Bond fans and so-called Bond fans predicted this new film would have Ian Fleming making one of his famous turns in his grave that they seem to think he performs regularly; if true, this roll will be only because Fleming realised the changes that could have been made to improve his first novel. One twist added to a Fleming-sacred character was such an improvement to the story that if the late Mr Fleming’s casket were ever to stir, it surely would have been when that missed opportunity was penned on to the script.


I wasn’t born yet. But Casino Royale’s love story set against mystery, intrigue, and danger is near or on this level. Craig’s James Bond and Bogart’s Rick Blaine each in love with Green’s Vesper Lynd and Bergman’s Ilsa Lund respectfully. The parallels are there, only Casino is absent its Victor Laszlo, which surprisingly only makes its love triangle more compelling. And Bond’s final line about Vesper bites harder than ‘We’ll always have Paris’.

A Classic? I’m really comparing Casino Royale to a Classic? Yes, I am, and I am going to state right here and now that Producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson have finally stepped out of the shadow of the James Bond series’ great patriarch, one Albert R ‘Cubby’ Broccoli, and in doing so have finally surpassed him. In doing so they have given us a new Classic.

Now, I must tell myself that after a few months and a few more viewings I may very well come down to earth and Casino Royale will slide down below Casablanca into its position in my list entitled Best Films Ever Made. It will, however, undoubtedly forever remain atop my list of Best James Bond Films. signed, Evan Willnow.

Casino Royale Rating: 5/5

thanks Evan 😉

life in the fast lane…

In Uncategorized on 11/13/2006 at 9:13 pm

So we admit whilst the mid-term elections were gripping the entire nation south of our border, war in Iraq raged on with daily death counts, Borat conquered Hollywood with penny ante budget mockumentary, we here at brainwashcafe were avidly tracking.. um..the amazing saga of Zahra Amir Ebrahimi. Yes indeed you may ask, Zahra who?? The short answer would be she is Iran’s most popular actress, at least until recently, when she suddenly began to be also referred to as the Iranian Paris Hilton.. except that unlike Paris’s inexplicable fame and fortune, Zahra is facing an extensive jail term, financial ruin, and a public flogging (yup you read that right, as in whipped) for engaging in pretty much exactly the same bedroom antics.

It turns out that in this hard core (oh pls;) islamic nation, releasing explicit sex tapes of one’s private amorous acrobatics can be hazardous to your health, even through no fault of one’s own. Zahra’s ex-boyfriend (i mean like who else right? when will we gals ever learn..) secretly started distributing a 20 minute bare-all tape on internet, and then surprise fled to more liberal neighboring Dubai to escape prosecution, where, we assume he’s also counting his profits. Bastard.

Amid rumors of attempted suicide and absence of hard facts, speculations are running rampant, as are rogue copies of the hot tapes being posted on YouTube. Not that we want to make light of all this, but this only goes to show that even in Iran, boys are boys and all they want is the SAME bleeping THING!! It seems mom was right all along ;( .. Sordid details right here.

H&K’s Guide to Everything Part I; Pedestrianism

In Uncategorized on 11/13/2006 at 5:11 pm

Although there are a few Montreal references, we like to think this Guide can be appreciated by most urbanites outside of our lovely city.

Sometimes I thank all that’s holy that I don’t drive. Montreal is full of crack-pot drivers who I’m convinced make it their lifelong goal to kill me. Even though this city couldn’t be designed better for the walkers here, I still find it a scary place in need of a guide for innocent pedestrians.
Road-Raging Power-Walkers are the worst type of pedestrians conceivable. For some reason unbeknownst to the rest of humanity, Power-Walkers have an impulse to move at breakneck speeds that regular people would be forced to jog at. I don’t understand why these people are walking so quickly all the time; they’re pretty much the epitome of all that is annoying, so I know for for a fact that they are not rushing to meet up with friends, or that they have a social life in any shape or form. While I have often been tempted to maneuver myself in front of them and gleefully watch while their (probably robotic) heads explode, I haven’t as of yet been able to build up the courage. Scary Power-Walkers, you rule the sidewalk for a reason.
The Multi-Tasker is a familiar phenomenon identifiable by their talent for doing nothing well but their knack for doing five things miserably half-assed. Usually running behind from their repetitive snooze-button pushing, Multi-Taskers are often seen half-dressed while eating breakfast with one hand and texting on their cells with the other. These walkers pose a 100% threat of pissing you the hell off. Their speed is often erratic and requires constant surveillance to avoid possible 8-people pile-ups.
The Socialite is an especially obnoxious breed to your average antisocial student walker. Socialites like to walk arm in arm with their fellow socialites on two-lane sidewalks, forcing all oncoming traffic into snow banks, walls, or parked cars. If you’re trapped behind them, expect a long wait; they form impenetrable walls and they’re aware of little else outside of their conversation of how they were “soooo drunk/stoned/etc. last night.” To these obstacles of pure annoyance, try speaking the language. I find a good smack with a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag does nicely, or getting all Naomi Campbell on their asses and hurling a Swarovski crystal-encrusted Blackberry at their heads.
Out-of-Towners can be easily recognized for their poor pedestrianism. Yes, I’m afraid, ironic as it is, globe-trotting tourists are failures when it actually comes to trotting. First of all, they are among the almost non-existent minority of people in Montreal who wait for the traffic lights to change in order to cross the street. Furthermore, not only will these pedestrians be moving slowly in order to capture the magical moments of Montreal on film, they actively disrupt the fine balance of the sidewalk-habitat by stopping other pedestrians in order to ask for directions. The nerve! Add on to this the way they integrate their own unique customs into their walking (something foreign and British like walking on the left) and you might as well stick them in a cab, pay their fare, and point them politely in the direction of the Bio-dome.
Now if this were the streets of California, things would take care of themselves: the Road-Raging Power Walker would get cut-off by the Multi-Tasker and out of a fit of blinding fury, pull out a .9 mm and pop a cap in their ass. Then, because they’ve nothing else to lose, they take out the infuriating Socialites and Out-of-Towners and subsequently lead the LAPD on a high-speed chase to the Mexican border. Fortunately or unfortunately, due to geographical location, our urban jungle is a wee bit different and a hell of a lot more frozen. There are numerous other obstacles on the sidewalk that should be handled with care. This category includes, but is not limited to ice, drunks, children, dogs, pigeons, strollers, people on crutches, homeless people, umbrellas, and stationary bus lines. Please be safe. And if you’re anybody on this list, save us all our sanity and use public transport.
Next time on H&K’s Guide to Everything: The Woes of Public Transport


In Uncategorized on 11/08/2006 at 6:04 pm

…or also known as botanophilic voyeurism.

my damaged brain…?

In bblonde, damaged brain on 11/07/2006 at 1:57 am

So, I have a confession to make. I buy a single lottery ticket every wednesday, without fail. This past week a ‘friend’ informs me matter of factly that therapy may be required for what is clearly and obviously a gambling addiction. Luckily for her there weren’t any heavy object immediately discernable to throw but it did jostle my sensitive memory cells about the subject
Fact is, our perception of brain damage has never really extended to our own behavioral patterns, particularly when it involves recurring but non-intrusive compulsive activities like gambling. Even in the face of pretty concrete neurological evidence dating as far back as 2003, gambling is still categorized as an impulse control disorder, where even hard core pathological gamblers are considered ‘healthy’ with respect to their cognitive behavior. To save my failing brain (sigh) the trouble of summarizing badly, I have dug up for you gentle readers, the original abstract in its entirety innocently titled;

Brain damage and addictive behavior: a neuropsychological and electroencephalogram investigation with pathologic gamblers. Enjoy while I rip up my lottery ticket… ;

BACKGROUND: Gambling is a form of nonsubstance addiction classified as an impulse control disorder. Pathologic gamblers are considered healthy with respect to their cognitive status. Lesions of the frontolimbic systems, mostly of the right hemisphere, are associated with addictive behavior. Because gamblers are not regarded as “brain-lesioned” and gambling is nontoxic, gambling is a model to test whether addicted “healthy” people are relatively impaired in frontolimbic neuropsychological functions. METHODS: Twenty-one nonsubstance dependent gamblers and nineteen healthy subjects underwent a behavioral neurologic interview centered on incidence, origin, and symptoms of possible brain damage, a neuropsychological examination, and an electroencephalogram. RESULTS: Seventeen gamblers (81%) had a positive medical history for brain damage (mainly traumatic head injury, pre- or perinatal complications). The gamblers, compared with the controls, were significantly more impaired in concentration, memory, and executive functions, and evidenced a higher prevalence of non-right-handedness (43%) and, non-left-hemisphere language dominance (52%). Electroencephalogram (EEG) revealed dysfunctional activity in 65% of the gamblers, compared with 26% of controls. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the “healthy” gamblers are indeed brain-damaged. Compared with a matched control population, pathologic gamblers evidenced more brain injuries, more fronto-temporo-limbic neuropsychological dysfunctions and more EEG abnormalities. The authors thus conjecture that addictive gambling may be a consequence of brain damage, especially of the frontolimbic systems, a finding that may well have medicolegal consequences.
Dr.Regard M, Dr. Knoch D, Dr. Gutling E, Dr. Landis T.
Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

dickheads redux…

In Uncategorized on 11/05/2006 at 2:19 am

So we think this is beautifully um..drawn and very funny, not to mention really educational for all the francophiles among us. Such an innovative way to learn foreign policy:)

thanks nadine 😉

an inside joke…

In Uncategorized on 11/04/2006 at 2:04 pm

sorry guys, but this will only make sense to Canadians…

merci Fabien 🙂