Tag Archive | Ben

Where is Ben Co.?

It’s painfully obvious I haven’t posted in a long time.  This was by choice.  I found I was lacking the mojo and producing forced posts about stupid stuff (see, well, the last few).  I haven’t given up the ghost, but I’m still evaluating the merits of continuing the site.

In any case, my real reason for posting was to let you know that sometime Ben Co. contributer Humberto has undertaken his long-awaited cross-country roadtrip.  I urge you to follow his progress at Modern Odyssey, while I stay in wet, cold Toronto.  Crying.

Ben Co. is putting on its Speedo

Yes-sir, it’s time for Ben Co. to take a thoroughly undeserved holiday.  Time to recharge the ‘ol sarcasm engines, refill the tomfoolery tanks and re-oil the joints o’ jubilation.  If we are feeling feisty we might even undertake a redesign.

Enjoy your August and look for new content come mid-September.

Use your beaver to score heroin

Vancouver’s east side is notorious (by Canadian standards) for prostitution, drugs and crime.  I had the chance to check it out last fall and even I was surprised that it more or less lived up to the hype…or maybe lived down to the hype?

In any case, a Vancouver radio host decided to highlight the rampant problems of east side Vancouver by donning a beaver costume and trying to score some heroin by holding a sign saying, well, “I want to buy heroin.”  FYI, this is an old news story (early June), but it’s new to me, so there.  And the Globe is just reporting it, so I’m at least up there (down there?) with them.

Anyway, long story short, the stunt worked, the beaver got hooked up with the junk, and the Vancouver police showed up to relieve the beaver of said junk.

Juvenile prank or funny attempt to highlight the problems on Vancouver’s east side?  Considering the radio station appears to be Fox-owned, I’d opt for the former, but the fact that a guy in a beaver costume can buy heroin does highlight some serious social problems.  You be the judge.

MyTTC does what theirTTC can’t

Transit users in Toronto have been lamenting for years over the lack of a coherent trip planner on the TTCs God awful website.  A recent beta release of the TTCs new and improved website only hinted at a trip planner in the works, and even that reference appears to have been removed (oh, and FYI, TTC website guys, the new site looks better than the old site – which is akin to saying dirt tastes great compared to feces.)

So, what is a poor, confused transit rider to do?  Why, go to MyTTC and get your route mapped for you there.  MyTTC was developed by a couple of transitphiles who were, like most transit riders, tired of waiting around for the TTC to get their act together.  So, after hours spent organizing the mess of transit data into something coherent, the developers produced a little gem of a trip planner.

As the developers note, this is a work in progress and they stress that they need users to help them make it better.  When I mapped a route yesterday from my house to one of my favorite bars I noticed that it had you walking a little further and taking a bus you didn’t really need to take when leaving my place.  So, like a good user I sent some feedback and lo and behold, Kieran, one of the developers, had gotten back to me last night and said that they were still adjusting the weight given to walking and that it might be a bit high.  Now that’s service.

So, for those of you in the GTA, use MyTTC, provide feedback, support great homegrown work!

Much delayed Toronto subway extension a go

It appears that the federal government has finally gotten their house in order and is getting much needed funding to the Province of Ontario after 2 years of stalling by the Harper government. The feds are chipping in their $697-million share of the $2-billion dollar Spadina subway extension, according to the Toronto Star.

Any subway extension is good news in my book (even the poorly conceived and pointless Sheppard line, but barely), but this stretch is especially important to Toronto. Take a look at the proposed extension below (for the full view, check out my subway map here):

Image courtesy of Spadina Subway Extension Project

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Printing Custom Google Maps

If you are anything like me (and for your mothers sake I hope not) then you love making maps with Google (like here). I am still very much a neophyte compared to what some can do with Google Maps, but I’ve often found myself wanting to print some of my creations to take with me.

Anyone who has tried to print a custom map will find that it leaves something to be desired. For example, I make a lot of maps that flag places of interest in cities (bars, restaurants, points of interest) and want to be able to print the map with corresponding labels. Google just doesn’t do a solid enough job for me.

How do I take my custom Google map get in an easy to print format, you ask?

Well, I use the Google mymaps converter. This delightful piece of code uses the the KML code in your google map (right-click on the little KML guy  ( ) and copy the link location.  Then you paste that into the mymaps converter and, boom, you get a printer friendly little map complete with a legend.

I love people who are smarter than me and can make stuff like this.

Oh baby!

You know what really tweaks my nipples?  Babies…more specifically, babies with parents who feel that somehow their decision to reproduce makes them entitled to special treatment anywhere they go.

I have saved a special space in my to-be-built-dungeon for these uber-lazy parents.  You know, the ones who push little Mercedes or Trevor around in one of those enormous tanks disguised as a stroller.  I see them on the subway during rush hour, taking up the space of 5 people, I see them in narrow groceries stores, I see them forcing people off the side walk…and the worst part of the deal, there’s always a baby inside them, pooping and peeing and generally carrying on.  It seems lazy to me…not only are you forcing your spawn upon everyone, but you’re taking up precious urban space while doing it and making sure your kids starts out life in a fat promoting position, preparing it for a life of obesity.

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When does Gay not equal homosexual?

We are all well aware that the religious right is a favourite topic of mine, but a story I came across this weekend really made me giggle.

I first came across this article in the TO Star and was able to find a screenshot on Bejing Olympics Fan’s site. Turns out that the religious-right Christian news site OneNewsNow has a nifty little piece of automatic software built into their site that automatically alters “offensive” words like, oh, turning “gay” into “homosexual”.

So what happens when the site posts an article on Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, you ask? Well, you get the screen shot below:

[insert wah-wah trombone sound here]

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