Coffee Promotions

Thoughts on Tim Hortons and McDonalds coffee promotions.

A recent blog entry from one of the hosts of my local news radio station about coffee promotions got me thinking about coffee marketing.

It’s obviously no coincidence that McDonalds started a promotion of a free small coffee at the same time as Tim Horton’s Roll Up the Rim to Win contest. While I agree that McDonalds is not the place I would turn to first for a cup of coffee, I disagree with his statements regarding sticking to certain strengths. McDonalds is attempting to counter the attacks Tim Hortons has been making in the breakfast department. Five or six years ago, my morning routine would include a stop at McDonalds for a Bacon n’ Egg McMuffin, followed by a trip through the Tims drive-through for a large double double. These days, when I need my breakfast on the go, I can get a bacon breakfast sandwich at Tims with my coffee.

I will admit, the McDonalds coffee is decent. This still won’t change my morning routine. I pass three separate Tim Hortons on my morning commute, but there aren’t any Golden Arches in sight. Tim Hortons franchises have a pretty good density in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

I will however, consider ordering a coffee from McDonalds when I’m there already. That is part of the point, I believe. McDonalds is not attempting to become the leader in coffee. They’re trying to remain competitive, especially in the morning breakfast market.

As for the Roll up the Rim contest at Tim Hortons? Earlier this week, a free coffee won me a free coffee, which is about as far as the chain ever seems to go.

Flash Forward

So I’ve watched the first two episodes of Flash Forward. It’s been a few years since I read Robert J. Sawyer‘s novel, on which the show is based. It seems to be a fun show so far. Joseph Fiennes and John Cho are great leads for the show.

In the first two episodes, they’re really been slamming the audience with the “is the future predestined” question. Yes, we get it. Don’t remind us every five minutes. Maybe wait until after the next commercial break before telling us again, ok?

I really enjoy the image of the corkboard that Joeseph Fienne’s character, Mark Benford, sees in his Flash Forward. However, this poses an interesting paradox.
Some of the clues which he sees, such as the name D. Gibbons, are then placed on the corkboard in the present. We are led to believe that the only reason some of these clues are on the board are because of his vision. Some of the other items in his vision appear later, such as the photograph of the burned dolls.
It’s an interesting problem. If he saw the name “Sawyer” on the board in his vision, and wrote it on a new index card in the present, how would he know that it’s a relevant research point, instead of a dead end? D Gibbons has proved a useful starting point so far, but I’m curious as to how reliable these notes can be, without a “true” point of origin.

This of course, is far from the first time that television shows have played fast and loose with time paradoxes. Most of the different, conflicting theories of time travel, etc are already covered by one or more of the Star Trek series. There are even Fan Collective DVD box sets for Time Travel, and Alternate Realities.

Apparently Lost started something with time travel too. I stopped watching that show at the beginning of season three however. Hopefully the Flash Forward writers have a coherent plot in mind. Presumably they do, as the action will heat up towards the season finale date of April 29th.

Anticipation 2009 Worldcon Schedule

My 2009 World Science Fiction Convention schedule.

I’ll be attending the 2009 WorldCon later this week in Montreal. My scheduled events are as follows:

2-047 Fri/Ven 10:00 1hr
P-523B Academic
Nostalgia and the SF Impulse
Jason Bourget, Nick Matthews, Jordan Jackson
Tempering Realism and Nostalgia: Retro-futurism and Hope in Fallout 3 Jordan Jackson University of Saskatchewan
Modernizing the Difference Engine Nick Matthews University of Waterloo

2-337 Fri/Ven 20:00 1hr 30min
P-511D Science and Space/Science et espace
A Trojan Ate My Brain
Michael Citrome, Nick Matthews, Skott Klebe, Thomas Womack
What is the future of malware and computer viruses? Do we really want Windows
running on our brain implants? Will there ever be an end to spam? We discuss the
darker, less convenient side of the computer revolution and what its future might be.

2-384 Fri/Ven 22:00 1hr
P-516E Teen Programming/Programmation pour ados
Ann VanderMeer, Christopher J. Garcia, Kristin Norwood, Nick Matthews
What is SteamPunk, and why is it the latest craze? Is it just Victorian clothing with
goggles, or is it something more?

3-049 Sat/Sam 10:00 1hr
P-523B Academic
Robot Dreamings
Nick Matthews, Thomas A. Easton,
Christine Cornell
Trojan Robots: The Ancients Meet the Moderns in Capek’s R.U.R. Christine
Cornell St. Thomas University
Anticipating Robot Fabbers Thomas A. Easton Thomas College

4-203 Sun/Dim 14:30 1hr 30min
P-510B Kids Programming/Programmation pour enfants
Maple Syrup Production
Nick Matthews
Learn about where nature’s only tree-based sweetener comes from; what the various
grades mean (with tastings!); and enjoy maple syrup on shaved ice–a little taste of
February in August.

4-313 Sun/Dim 19:00 1hr
P-511D Science and Space/Science et espace
Martin Hoare, Nick Matthews, Paul Chafe
Some people dream of the Commodore 64 and the ZX Spectrum and there is a roaring
trade in ‘retro games’ and ‘retro computing’ in general. Why is this?

Ad Astra 2009

Ad Astra 2009 was held this past weekend in Toronto. I attended a number of very interesting panels, with a large focus on the process of writing and publishing.

I photographed a number of the panelists, which can be seen on my flickr page, as well as some below the break.

People photographed include Michael Green, David G. Hartwell, Karl Schroeder, Hayden Trenholm, Tony Pi, David Drake, Violette Malan, Fiona Patton, Rob St. Martin, Eve Silver, Karina Sumner-Smith, Jana Paniccia, Marcel Gagne, Suzanne Church, Michelle Rowen,Derek Künsken, Rick Wilber, Matt Moore, Erik Buchanan, Gabrielle Harbowy, Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, Sèphira Girón, Michael R. Colangelo, Phyllis Gotlieb, Alison Baird, Nigel Bennett, Kent Burles, Joanne Ellen Hansen, Ruth Stuart, and Robert J. Sawyer.

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