11/17/2005: "3rd Almost-Annual Christmas No-Way-In-Hell Fantasy Wish List"
A few months ago I remembered starting the Not From Toronto Annual Christmas No-Way-In-Hell Fantasy Wish list way back in 2002, and quickly realized that I had totally forgot about doing one last year. I suppose that's excusable (or at least understandable), as I had been laid off just around the time I'd normally do the list, and had other things on my mind (like finding work, being able to eat, that sort of stuff). So to make up for last year I'm not only resurrecting the List, but packing in more No-Way-In-Hell than ever before!
As I've mentioned more than once before, my wish lists tend towards the pragmatic, if not outright utilitarian. Well, utility is fine and good, but pragmaticism has no place in a No-Way-In-Hell Fantasy Wish List, so I've done my best to totally toss that aside and go for the gusto.
1) A company airplane. Last week I picked up a company car for use on my various errands across Ontario. Of course, my territory is much larger than just Ontario - I'll eventually be selling all the way across Canada and into the 48 contiguous United States as well. That's a bit more than I can drive in an afternoon and still be home for supper. So, even before I get my pilot's license (I need an airplane to practice on, right?), I figure I should get a company plane to complement the company car. Something small and fast, such that I could cover most of the North-Eastern US in a day if I needed to.
2) A fully autonomous Volkswagen. You may have heard about the DARPA Grand Challenge, where fullly autonomous vehicles must navigate an off-road course over hundreds of kilometers. This year's winner was a 5-cylinder diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg named Stanley. It should be pretty easy to load up all of the gear Stanley used onto, say, a Passat TDI or Golf R32, and give me a car that I can set and forget. A great complement to the company airplane, don'tcha think?
3) Just enough rope to let George W. Bush hang himself with. I've been reading more and more about the second term curse in American politics, and how Dubya is suffering the same fate as so many before him. His approval rating is slipping, and he's becoming less relevant, so it would seem. Well, it would be a wonderful Christmas present - and one that keeps on giving - to see him impeached, tossed out, arrested for fraud or treason or criminally negligent stupidity, or something like that. (Short of that, I'd settle for both sets of Bushism coasters.)
4) A 60-minute shopping spree at the Apple online store. Last week Jannette and I took a waltz through the new local Apple dealer, and boy, could we ever spend some money in there. They had on display a jaw-droppingly gorgeous 30" display that was beyond words. Coupled with some very slick speakers, it did a VERY good job at displaying high definition video. It would make an excellent TV. You'd need either a PowerBook or a PowerMac to run the video, but that's OK, it could double as your server and media center too. I probably wouldn't need 60 minutes unless I wanted to moderate myself and actually try to choose between goodies.
5) A Green Party majority. Yes, I'm well aware that if the Green Party actually got into power that they'd pretty much turn Ottawa on its ear, but is that necessarily a bad thing? The Liberals got their hand caught in the cookie jar, and I can't assume that any other established party would be any better, so why not hand the reins over to someone new? Well, new here anyways... the Green Party is already in power in Europe, so there's precedent at least.
6) The chance to drive every machine created on Junkyard Wars, Monster Garage, etc. Despite not having watched any of those shows for a few years (due to having turned off both cable and satellite), I absolutely love watching when I can. Full Metal Challenge, Panic Mechanics, Biker Build-Off... it's all good. What would be even better would be able to operate every single creation that's ever come out of the garage on these shows. Sure, some may be kinda dangerous, but that's half the fun, right?
7) To be a binding mediator between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVD. I'm hardly the early-adopter type, and I'm not really itching to be able to sample new high-content DVDs, but at the same time I think this whole situation with dueling DVD formats is just stupid. I was too young to really remember Betamax versus VHS, but I hardly want to experience anything similar, with much more at stake. There are great reasons to go with either system, but the fact of the matter is that once ONE format is chosen, billions of dollars that would be wasted on tooling up for both formats can be put into actually producting new DVDs and the systems that play them. Plus, consumers will be more than happy to ditch their current systems and upgrade.
8) A Mac mini cluster. I suppose I could simply get this during my 60-minute spree at the Apple Store, but I'd likely need a little help in setting it up. Honestly, I have no personal use for a cluster, but just think what the processing power a cluster of, say 1024 Mac minis could do? I'd set it up as a charitable foundation that donates processing time to worthwhile projects. You can forget about looking for extra terrestrial signals or billion-digit prime numbers, I'd be going for projects that will improve the quality of life for humanity. Earthquake prediction, climate modeling, protien or drug interaction modeling, that sort of thing.
9) A wind turbine. I'm not talking about those little household-sized turbines that people use to lower their electric bill or anything like that. I'm talking one of the big industrial megawatt mothers that have blades that have to be shipped individually on transport trucks. Why piddle around with generating only a few hundred watts when you can do a million? If you've got a good windy spot to put one, may as well make the best of it, right?
10) A de-militarized, renovated B-1B Lancer. Althought I'm not much of an aerospace geek, I have always loved the look of the B1-B variable geometry wing bomber. It's sleek, the wings can sweep back into a delta for maximum speed, and it's just overall very well-proportioned. I wouldn't want it for bombing purposes, of course, but I have to figure that an airframe that size would make one heck of a great RV conversion. Mach 1.2 to Hawaii, anyone?