Things, stuff, and other items of interest

December 31, 2009

Behind the pink coloured door.

Recently, during my holiday traveling, I was asked a question about this site that I didn't, and still don't, have a good answer for. I don't recall the precise wording, but I trust you'll indulge me if I paraphrase slightly:
 "Why don't you just post a big naked picture of yourself online? You'd be less exposed."
First, for those of you who know me, let me apologize for the mental picture this question unavoidably conjures up. For those of you who don't know me... please ignore the mess on the floor made by those who do. So skipping the whimsical response of: "This is less likely to get me charged with crimes against humanity", I guess the obvious answer is I get a kick out of it. I'll admit that the 'exposure' is a little disconcerting for one inclined to paranoia and seclusion such as myself, but at the same time it gives me an opportunity to stretch some neural pathways that I don't get to otherwise.

Some other questions have come up over the last couple of months about the site, and now seems as good a time as any to answer some of them.
  • This is the fourth (I think) version of this site. I've always used the same domain though the content has changed considerably. 
  • I've done my own 'graphics' for all of them. A miniscule amount of knowledge and some good software goes a long way. The Title graphic for the last 3 sites were:


  • This is the first site that's lasted more than a week that I haven't hosted on my own server. I use Blogger because it's basically the first one I started playing with. I know Wordpress is more glitzy these days, but for now, blogger is suiting my needs and so this is where we are.
  • I use Google Analytics and Feedburner Analytics to track the site use. I'm pretty sure I'm the smallest 'client' they have. The scope and detail of information about you guys on those sites is flabbergasting. Take a look here. This is only a small portion of the information available in terms of analytics, and I'll admit that I don't fully understand all of the info offered. My numbers are pitiful, but given the nature of this site and the rather limited audience appeal, they could be worse.
  • I use Feedburner to publish my site to an RSS feed as well as by email. A side note on this... I hadn't really taken advantage of RSS feeds until I set up my own site to publish to one. I feel like a luddite for having left it that long to take a serious look at RSS feeds. Greatest thing since sliced bread. RSS feeds rock. 
  • I use a number of spots for link management: Delicious.com, Instapaper.com, Twitter.com to name a few. A vast majority of my web browsing is spent parked at Reddit.com. Probably my favourite site on the entire interwebotron.
  • I also use my iPhone quite a bit for the site. Some handy apps on the iPhone for this stuff: Twittelator Pro, Reeder, BlogPressLite, Yummy, InstaPaper Free, Wikipedia, Dropbox, aNote.
  • "Notes to my Nephew" was signed "Uncle Onion" because my nephew hasn't managed to pronounce my first name accurately yet. Since my nephew is perfect, it is obviously quite embarrassing for me to find out I've been mispronouncing my own name all of these years.
  • Why I hate Puppets - 98.5% accurate. I didn't need to embellish much on that one.
  • Links to the YouTube.com clips about the old naked santa I mentioned in my last post. Please be aware that the first of these two links contain nudity of the 70-year-old-man variety. The clip is entertaining, but for obvious reasons it is not appropriate for all viewing ages. Posted by special request:
  1. Rare Exports Inc - Clip One
  2. Rare Exports Inc - Clip Two.  
I think that about covers it.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts involving: The worst Superbowl ever; The Worlds least likely Biker; and an homage to geek toys.

December 23, 2009

Bah Humbug!

Ah, Christmas holidays. The serenity of the season gently falls upon us as the water main out front of the house explodes and the public utilities back hoe begins to crack the pavement in the -8'C weather. The water's turned off, and the diligent and dedicated workmen begin to play a game of 'hide-and-go-seek' with the gas pipes.

I will be perfectly candid with you dear reader. I am not a fan of the Christmas season. I know, I know,... I'm a monster. An evil, cruel miser who is not fit to participate in decent society. I don't want to leave you with the impression that I hate Christmas, because that's not the case. I'm just not a big fan. I genuinely enjoy hanging out with the family, having a few beers, and enjoying good food with good company. I've even reached the point in life where I think I get more fun out of giving than receiving. I just can't put my thumb on it, it's just ..... something. It makes me anxious, I'm on edge the entire time, and it's only this time of year that it happens.

With this in mind, I offer up some links that I've found over the last week or two that I thought had a festive note about them... with a slight twist.

Let's start off with Stoner Santa. I'll admit freely that I grabbed a copy of this pic from the TeaMakers blog:


Creepy eh? Huh? A little right? You ain't seen nothing yet. If you're up for some serious creepiness, I'd suggest you take a gander at "The Winter Stalker" by Stephen Reedy and Alex Pardee. I've embedded a clip below if you think it won't keep you up at night. Fair warning... it is seriously messed up.



That's probably the creepiest I've found so far. There was another one about some Santa hunters up north, but it's got full frontal nudity from a dude that's pushing seventy. It was a very cool clip, well put together and very entertaining. However I didn't give this blog the appropriate parental rating for nude-old-guy-running-in-the-snow, so you'll have make due without.

As a counter point to the uber-creepy Winter Stalker, allow me to offer up what is easily my favourite clip from the 2009 holiday season so far:



I freaking love that clip.

A few extra links thrown in for good measure. How is it that the yanks manage to pull this off in the busiest city in the world, and I've never seen this happen, or even heard of anything nearing such flat-out coolness taking place in the Great White North? Bravo neighbours, bravo. Nicely done. Well,... except for you

Last but not least, I thought I'd pay my respects to the folks that host this site free of charge. A little self serving perhaps, but all the same their gesture was impressive. Best of the season to you.

December 12, 2009

Notes to my Nephew #001

Dear future Jack:

Hey there pal. I hope you don't mind me blatantly exploiting you to come up with some content for my site, but it was an idea that I played around with for a while, and thought you might get a kick out of it when you were older. Or maybe you'll hate it, and think your uncle is a complete tool. It's kind of 50:50 either way. Okay, maybe it's closer to 40:60, but I'm willing to risk it.

Where to begin? I'm going to assume by the time you stumble across this, you're going to be old enough to read by yourself, and have some idea of what's going on in the larger world around you. Currently, you're still what is technically referred to by pediatric medical practitioners as a "rug rat". I wanted to give you an idea of what was going on in the world while you were still old enough to bake a loaf in your shorts and burn out your parent's olfactory senses.

Before I go any further I want to make it crystal clear that you are one lucky little bugger. There's an old saying that goes something along the lines of: "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Well, that's true. However, in your case, you got the parental equivalent of the golden ticket from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. You may not agree with this next statement 100% of the time, but take my word for it, on the whole, your parents are freaking awesome. I'm not going to get side tracked into a bunch of sappy sentimental nonsense, suffice it to say, out of all the people on earth you won world-wide parental lottery my friend.

Now, with that said, I will come clean with you. I have an agenda that I seek to accomplish by writing you this letter and what I expect will be more in the days to come. Trust your parents. They love you. They are wise, and they have you're best interests at heart, sort of. Well, your Mom does for sure, all of the time. Your Dad also does,... most of the time. I'm not telling you not to listen to your Pop little buddy, far from it. It's just that your old man is a talented dude, primarily in the art of "bullshit". He is a veritable "Bullshit Master". No really, he is. Seriously. He is gifted with a silver tongue, and to be historically accurate... has not always used that gift with the gold-standard of applied ethics. No doubt, he would take umbrage with this statement, despite it being completely true, and so I fear that you may not receive a totally unbiased accounting of our family history. My goal is to offer you another perspective for your consideration, nothing more. For starters:
  • If your Dad asks you to help him test the security system, DON'T!
  • If your Dad buys you a BB gun, and then wants to play with it himself, DON'T LET HIM!
  • DO NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES expect your father to play fairly when it comes to:
  1. Darts
  2. Mario Kart
  3. Risk / Axis vs. Allies / Settlers of Catan
  4. Ping Pong (Probably best to wear a cup while playing)
While we're at it, I may toss in the occasional comment on world events and what not, some observations on the flotsam & jetsam of what passes for our news media.  We are in the final days of the first decade of the twenty first century, and you're about to turn two years old very soon. The current political climate is somewhat depressing to be honest. In the news this week:

The current war-related scandal has to do with how much our current Minister of Defense knew about just what was going on with the treatment of some of the prisoners after they had been transferred to Afghan authorities. Canada currently has approximately 2830 military troops deployed in Afghanistan as part of a NATO lead joint task force. All of that basically boils down to Canada is currently at war with a bunch of guys in Afghanistan that have some funny ideas about how they can treat their neighbours. We've been there since 2002 (I think) and during that time, 133 (so far) brave Canadian men and women have lost their lives trying improve the situation over there.

Another item that will have some impact on your world is a two week conference called: "COP15" that's taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark currently. It would seem that the news concerning Canada's participation isn't very encouraging, and frankly, seems out of character for our nation, if not perhaps our current government.

There were some other items in the news this week as well, some of it quite interesting, some of it not, and some of it just down right embarassing. Obviously there was a lot more news stories than I can go into here, and I suspect there were plenty of stories that should have received better coverage but didn't for various reasons.

I think that's probably enough of the news for now, lest we become overwhelmed by the never ending march of current affairs. Christmas is just around the corner for us, and I'll be seeing you in a few weeks. I have yet to start my shopping, and I have no clue what to get you. Something loud I'm thinking. Battery powered, buttons and sirens need to be involved. That or a drum kit possibly. Maybe some sort of trumpet or penny whistle perhaps. I know I've got a kazoo around here somewhere.

I hope all is well with you little buddy, eat your veggies (except the brussel sprouts), listen to your folks, be good. I'll see you soon.

Uncle Onion

December 6, 2009

In search of a topic....

Well, that backfired a bit. It would seem, the two or three of you that read this thing are fans of stories that star overweight narcoleptics who attend puppet shows that cater to the 'sexual deviant' demographic. Huh,.... well,.... ya, how about that?

Last week's post accomplished a couple of things:
  1. Set a new record for comments! w00t! (Thanks CT & Dave)
  2. Set a new record for unique visits per day as reported by Google Analytics. (Once again, thanks CT & Dave!)
  3. Has established a peak that I'm reasonably sure I won't match again. So thanks for coming out folks, don't forget to tip the waitress.
And there in lies the problem.

I've been trying to come up with something to write about for the last few days. I've been dredging through my very foggy recollections for stories that may entertain if only briefly. Which brings us back to a point that was made fairly soundly a few posts back: I lead an unbelievably dull life. You can see where this starts to turn sour. To add to the problem, I've carefully cultivated a site that lacks any sort of defined theme so as to suggest a topic for a given day.

Politics? I've reformed. I use to wax poetic on the topic at the drop of a hat, but I like to think I've wised up some. What matters the perspective of the ant to the one holding the magnifying glass? A touch melodramatic perhaps? A little too fatalistic? Okay, fair point. Basically what it comes down to is I change my mind too often. How can I possibly comment or offer up even the most minute modicum of wisdom if I can't resolve these issues for myself?

Another topic that lends itself to discussion: techie stuff. I'm at least a sixty watt bulb when it comes to computer matters and there's got to be something worth yakking about in there right? HA! I get emails, phone calls, and knocks on the door from family, neighbours, friends, co-workers, and passers-by-on-the-street as it is. Why for the love of all that is good on this planet would I invite more? This is a topic that will almost certainly be revisited in the future, if only to add my voice to the well-trod ground of geek-whining re: Being the free tech-support guy. It sucks. If you're a geek you already know this. If you're not a geek then you're a perpetrator. Solidarity my geek brothers & sisters! SOLIDARITY! We shall overcome.

And so the list begins to form:

  • Religion? See the entry for "Politics" listed above, only add more zealots.
  • Motorcycles? This topic is really only interesting to other riders, and to be honest, it's not a topic that lends itself easily to the written word. No doubt I'll come back to it in the future, but it's with a sense of the inevitable that I won't do it adequate service. It's like catching a fart with a fish net... it just can't be done. I've read a lot on the topic and if I may be so bold, I'll go so far as to say that few (if any) are able to capture that spirit with words. Fewer still capture it on film.
  • The wild and crazy stories of a bachelor living the good life in the big city? I would direct you to my last entry to quash that suggestion.
  • Video games? Please, I'm a geek... not a nerd. I waste WAY too much time on them. The only people who want to hear my opinions / thoughts about video games are other video game geeks. You know who you are. Yes, you. However, since we're on the topic - Assassin's Creed II is the freaking BOMB yo!
  • Movies? Meh. It's kind of been done to death hasn't it? Does it really matter what I think about a film you aren't going to remember hearing about next week anyhow? 
  • Books? There's really only one thing to be said on this topic: Read as many as you possibly can. Good, bad, Oprah-approved, Government censored, best sellers, obscurity fated single printers, comics, religious texts, lunatic propaganda, self help books. It doesn't matter. Okay, maybe not the self help books, they suck... but everything else is good. Read more. Always read more.
  • Food / Cooking / Restaurant reviews. Already did that. If you are able to find "3 guys from the 'burg" flash back anywhere let me know. I've looked more than once and couldn't find it. Besides, food reviewing is not a venture best accomplished individually, it just seems pathetic and lonely. Besides, if done in the company of others, you can steal stuff off of their plate in the interest of "research".
I could keep going but after the first twenty points or so, it just sounds like whining. So now that I've firmly defined what I'm not going to do on this site (and have been for the last 3 months now) I should probably get started on what I am going to do. Did I mention navel gazing? I think I did. Lots and lots of navel gazing.

A quick note a little off (non-existent) topic: I found an article on Macleans this week that I thought was an interesting read. I'd encourage you to check it out. I'd give you some hint about what to expect for the next entry, but I wouldn't be fooling anyone by suggesting I had some clue what it would be.

December 1, 2009

"Why I hate puppet shows" - or - "Puppets, public humiliation, and the morbidly obese"

As the URL of this site already makes the implication, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I am accurately described as "portly plus". A large lad if you will, a gentleman of considerable substance, an enthusiastic epicurean, a walking-talking-cookie-apocalypse, a disproportionately proportioned person, a voluminous bon-vivant. But I digress....

I don't raise this point in order to draw unwanted attention to my chiseled pear shaped physique, but rather to establish some credibility with you the reader. I need you to understand that I have some level of expertise in the area of recognizing, identifying and describing those of us on the "prep-the-defibrillator" end of the BMI spectrum. It is necessary for me to establish this credibility, in order for you to gain a full appreciation of the facts and details in the story that follows.

Some years ago, I was invited to participate in a social outing by a buddy of mine with whom I worked. We had, on occasion quaffed the occasional brew while lobbing small aerodynamic missiles in the past, and I had already become familiar with his friends and chums that made up his social circle. It's worth mentioning, that my buddy was older than I, as was his circle of friends, by a span not measured in weeks, months or even years, but rather decades. This hadn't been an impediment to establishing what I thought of as a cordial demeanor amongst the group, which it sometimes can be among small groups made up of individuals with a wide range of ages.

To my great surprise, my friend hadn't invited me to the annual dart tourney but rather to an event with a decidedly more cultured air about it. It seemed, that the ladies of the group had convinced my friend to accompany them to one of the local theater productions. For one reason or another, he grudgingly agreed only to discover that he was the sole male attendee for the soirée. In what can only be described as complete panic, he beseeched his male friends to lend a hand and accompany him in what was shaping up to be "ladies night at the theater". All too predictably, they declined. If only I had had the good sense to do the same.

What can I say? He made a convincing argument. The show was to be a comedy. A one man show put on by a performer my friend had previously seen. He went on to describe the performer as an artist of considerable talent, who was known to possess a dry, sarcastic wit. The last time the peformer had brought his show to town, it had sold out in hours and had received great reviews.  I like to think of myself as a man willing to approach new experiences with an open mind. He made the whole event sound intriguing, plus I'd be helping out a pal. Like so many three-card-monte victims have discovered before me, there's a sucker born every minute. I agreed, despite what seemed like an exorbitant ticket price, I was assured the show would be well worth it.

The evening in question arrived, and our motley crew began to assemble outside the theater. I had never been to this particular theater before and to be honest, I felt a little out of my element. This served to create a feeling of mild anxiety that only hindsight can now identify as a physical manifestation of what is referred to in literary terms as foreshadowing. It was then that I found out that a new comer had been added to the familiar faces I had already come to know. It is now good reader, that I need you to wipe your mind free of preconceived notions and images, and let me try to paint a picture for you with my words. What can only be described as a modern day bipedal mastodon began to lumber over to our group with all the alacrity of a on coming glacier. Such was the girth of this person that I was not immediately able to identify it's gender, only once I heard it's shrill "fingernails-on-chalkboard" giggles and tee-hee's did I correctly associate it with the fairer sex. A word I use with the utmost caution, and in it's purest most clinical application.

I do not want to seem rude, boorish, or shallow. I try not make a habit of judging people by their appearance, but in certain cases one is simply overwhelmed. Well what would you do if you were face to face with what appeared to be a creature that defied and seemed to ridicule the principles of natural selection? Had someone tried to convince me that the human skeletal structure was capable of functioning under such duress, I simply wouldn't have believed them. Having the argument forced upon you with such empirical evidence all at once, is positively discombobulating. To be honest, I'm pleased I didn't just wet myself right there and then from pure shock. Ah, this was but the first of many surprises in store for me on this particular eve.

Recovering poorly from my initial surprise, we began to enter the lobby where a pre-show party was under way. This was an unexpected discovery for me, as this entire theatrical adventure was something of a learning experience. Over the next half and hour, I had opportunity to speak with the new arrival. I'll call her "Darwin" for the purposes of this recounting, I don't actually recall her real name. For thirty agonizingly long minutes, Darwin described to me in "Doctor-Patient" detail her variety of medical woes. Ranging from the predictable obesity issues, to more intimate health problems that I had mistakenly considered too private in nature for public discourse. Put simply, the content of these descriptions could have made the inmates on death row blush. I have no doubt that my own complexion was glowing something akin to a search & rescue helicopter spotlight.

They finally began to let the crowd in, and it was then that I truly discovered just what kind of a "buddy" I had. It seemed, through some sort of fluke happenstance, that Darwin and I were to sit next to each other during the show. Now I have already pointed out, that I am not a small fellow. I believe I have sufficiently belaboured the point that Darwin was not what most people would consider 'petite'. Either one of us, individually, would have brought a nervous sweat to the brows of the other theater patrons who had the misfortune to sit next to us. Combining both of us in the same row of seating? Well... I probably wasn't the only one who began to grow concerned for the structural integrity of the seating platforms.

I'm not really sure how I endured the next two hours. (TWO HOURS!) The artist of much renown? He was something of a disappointment when he was revealed as a perverted puppeteer who apparently had given up his comedic roots in order to write, direct and perform his own show. A show based around the sexual assault of a 'straight' youthful puppet by militant homosexual puppets. A plot, that he took great care in depicting as graphically as possible within the confines of the puppeteering art form. Picture a dark demented  mix of Jim Henson caliber puppets, Brokeback Mountain, and a snuff film. Far be it for me to criticize the artistic endeavours of such a deranged, bold "artist", but at the risk of once again appearing to be closed minded & judgmental I would be putting it mildly if I said the show did not appeal to my tastes.

Darwin was a real trooper, she managed to stay awake for ten whole minutes before she (I shit you not) passed out from fatigue at having to climb the twenty or so stairs to our seats. It was a solid ten more minutes before I realized that the noise I was hearing wasn't part of the performance, but rather some odd combination of whale-song and snoring that had been coming from her wide-open maw. I'm a little surprised that I didn't pick up on this earlier, as the rivulets of spittle and drool that were now covering her corpulent jowels, were a dead give away. Naturally, this was only to be expected when one became aware that her head tipped back and was now propped up by only the folds of fat protruding from her neck. Bowing to peer pressure from the variety of looks of both disdain and abject terror from those immediately around us, I applied the only remedy that presented itself to me by elbowing her repeatedly in what passed for her torso. To absolutely no ones surprise, this has no affect what so ever. She continued to enjoy an hour and a half long respite from the demands of social conformity, and woke up near the end of the show only after the volume of her snoring became so fierce that it started to compete with the theaters sound system.

Two hours after it began, the artist was bowing to a standing ovation as I was bolting for the door. I never saw Darwin again, nor have I returned to that theater. I've developed an instinctual, visceral loathing for puppets, and a deep-rooted phobia of recordings of under water whale songs. My "work-buddy" and I no longer speak to each other very often, and I never again accepted any of his invitations to any social events. I wish I could tell you that this story is something I made up, a work of fiction,  but sadly that's not the case. I only just remembered it as I was channel surfing the other day, and happened to notice "The Muppet Show". Later, when I awoke on the floor in the middle of a pool of my own sweat, the story came back to me.

November 28, 2009

Self Pity, Nunchucks and Tim Minchin

In the interest of maintaining some sort of consistency with the update frequency on this site, I've opted to go for the "Oh for the love of God, just write SOMETHING" approach. It may not result in the highest caliber of writing output, but it's a start.

Bit of a rough week this week that finished off with more of a day-long kick to the cahones than anything that resembled what passes for my typical Friday. If any of you were following along on Twitter, you would have noticed this entry at the beginning of the day:
"Not a real "up-beat" news day it seems:
http://j.mp/6H2hsG
http://j.mp/7fJouk
Not entirely sure which is more disturbing."
Thankfully, after a rather long day a buddy came through with the much needed pick-me-up:
"@Banerixat I like to find the upsides...like we might be able to find a way to imprison those Nortel execs in the Toronto Humane Society."
I've made a point of not getting too terribly political, or getting caught up in the daily grind on this site, but those two stories just seemed to have caught me at low ebb.  If proven true, the allegations from the first story are as deplorable as they are infuriating. As you might imagine, given the sentimental time of the year, and 'plucking-of-the-heart-strings' nature of the story, it's gotten a lot of coverage. The reaction to the item seems to be universally visceral and bordering on violent. I'm a big fan of that whole "innocent until proven guilty" aspect of our criminal justice system, so I struggle not to be sidetracked by the emotional response to the grittier details of the story. Suffice it to say, I hope those responsible get what's coming to them, whether it's public redemption, or a beating from a large muscular prison inmate who has a soft spot for puppies.

I came across the second story shortly after reading the first and that pretty much shot my cheery jubilant outlook for the day. This one is a little closer to home in that it's a local company, and I have some friends who are directly affected by this. I hesitate to comment or draw any conclusions because I am aware that even among our most sober and austere news reporting institutes, bias can creep into any story. As a result I am reluctant to take any news item at face value no matter what the source without some sort of confirmation. With all this in mind, if what's reported is accurate, it's disheartening to say the least even to those of us who are observing this from the sidelines. Surprisingly, or predictably... depending on your level of cynicism and personal political perspective,  the reaction is swift and frankly hard to distinguish between sincere & justifiable disdain, or merely political opportunism. I suspect, as usual, it's up to the individual to decide.

So as not to leave you completely depressed and crestfallen, I offer up what amounts to a shiny bauble distraction. If those weren't enough, I would ecourage, nay... dare I say urge? I do! I URGE you to head over to YouTube and check out Tim Minchin's offerings. If you're as moved by his work as I was, you may even buy his album off of iTunes. It's worth adding that Mr. Minchin has three albums out all together, all of which are available for purchase for reasonable prices at his website.

November 18, 2009

Ugh... blog schmog.

Here's part of the problem in convincing yourself that you need to start writing a blog: coming to terms with just how staggeringly boring you are.

I am a boring person.

There, I've said it. I live what could be described as an excruciatingly dull existence. I've known coma patients that were less sedentary than I. Oh God, that's actually true. Not often you shock and amuse yourself with an insult you wrote about yourself. Well... that's not too awkward.

I skipped a week (nearly two actually) for updates, I'll try to be more disciplined about this in the future. Truth be told, I have no idea what direction I want to take this site in. v2.0 of BigGuy.ca was my half assed attempt at some pseudo-political rants, that I think were generally well received. The down side on those is that they took me days to write. Inclined as I am to criticize my own writing, this generally consisted of two or three days of effort, dozens of draft versions, then one final mediocre entry that was hashed together out of frustration and a complete lack of sustained interest.

The version before that was sufficiently nerdy that I'd prefer not to go into excessive details. Coding was done. Geeks gathered. There was glory, there was strife, international plots, power brokers, shady back room deals. There were also inordinately large amounts of time wasted by gentlemen who had much better things to occupy themselves with. No doubt some children still bare the emotional & developmental scars of various fathers getting up at 02:00am to launch attacks at just the right time in order that entire fleets of make-believe star fighters arrived at make-believe planets to utterly decimate make-believe opponents. Did I mention it was a tad nerdy?
"Seriously, you can play in just five minutes a day. That's it."
Some of those geek's significant others still haven't forgiven me. And this too did pass.

v1.0 of BigGuy.ca was my first entry of a solo effort website. Shockingly, I kept it running and added content for more than a year. Essentially a photo-blog, it documented in 1.3 megapixel greatness my travels and tribulations for a year or two.

I still have a copy of each one of those websites, should in decades and centuries to come some future historian require credible documentation on just how much free time adult males were able to utterly waste in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. That's me, a man of history.

Future entries on this site will likely include (but not be limited to:)
  • Weird / crazy people in my neighbourhood - Starring: Don the homeless guy, Crazy Old Italian dog walker guy, Scott the hyper-vigilante security guard, and Bird-flipping insane dude from a local watering hole.
  • An homage to bloggers that I admire and respect.
  • Efforts on my part to communicate my disdain for ACTA while trying to remain as politically neutral as possible.
  • Much, much, much navel gazing
Oh that's right faithful readers, that's as close to a cliff hanger as you'll ever get on this site.

October 31, 2009

Eggs & Toilet Paper

The last entry was a wee-bit longer than I had originally intended, so I'm going to keep this one short. Considering the day, it offers an obvious theme and I am a slave to fashion if nothing else.
  1. Scariest thing I've found this week on the net - not for the easily spooked. 
  2. Best Halloween costume I've seen so far. 
  3. Geekiest + best pumpkin carving I've seen so far.
Honourable mentions (this may be updated as the day progresses):
  1. Stan Lee's idea for a costume (quoted from his Twitter Feed):
"Joanie and I have to decide what to wear at my daughter's Halloween party. Maybe I'll go as myself and say I'm a Skrull impersonating me!"
Happy Halloween folks.

October 27, 2009

Complexities of the Interwebotron

BEHOLD! I, your humble blog-writing-host-guy, will ASTOUND & AMAZE you with a tale of adventure and danger, of excitement and ...... and ..... errr... well..... uhhmm....

Ok, so "astound & amaze" may be a little optimistic. If I were to be completely honest with you, I'd settle for 'mildly amused for a few brief moments'. At the very least, my bare minimum goal is to avoid sending you into a violent and destructive rage, in which you destroy your immediate surroundings and ultimately must be brought under control by the local constabulary through the use of liberally applied tazers & tranquiliser darts. But I digress...

I recently had an opportunity to take part in something special. Through a myriad of individual efforts, by an elite selection of "internet communication experts", I had, what can only be described as a (hopefully) once in a lifetime opportunity to watch as a very real internet phenomenon unraveled all around me.

I was sitting at my desk, muddling about diligently, when I noticed that I'd received an email.
 "Yay!" I thought to myself, "someone has taken the time to offer me a missive that I might use as a form of external validation. Huzzah!"
I started reading the email, and became slightly confused. It was from someone I didn't know, and I wasn't entirely clear on what the gist of the message was. I was immediately struck by a sense of panic and experienced what is best described as an auditory flashback of Celine Dion strangling an abnormally large cat singing one of her mega hits.

Thankfully that moment passed quickly and I realized that the email didn't seem to be a personal note, but rather it seemed distinctly business related. That struck me as odd, as it came in on my email address that I normally reserve for personal communiqués.

While I sat there befuddled by the situation, I was once more blessed by the technological miracle that is electronic mail. Another letter from another unknown source, which itself was followed by yet another. Within moments, a few minutes at most, I was the recipient of twenty-three different emails. All of which seem to be relating to the same topic.

It was then I realised that I was in the middle of a veritable techno-maelstrom of "reply-alls". In fact, I later learned that I was technically incorrect, though the symptoms were nearly identical. I was experiencing something even worse... the dreaded "Rogue ListServ"!

Through what I can only assume was earth-shattering incompetence, some knuckle dragging, mouth breathing luddite had managed to royally pooch the administration settings of an email list server. An email list server that belonged to a previously well-regarded institution of higher learning. I will not reveal the institute in question, but suffice it to say that this is a scholastic destination of many a young ambitious Canadian, one which charges a pretty penny for the honour of reaping it's academic offerings. An institute that I have never had any occasion to interact with previously.

Do I seem harsh? A tad insensitive perhaps? Unforgiving and unnecessarily cruel maybe? I suppose it's possible. I suppose I could be reacting arrogantly and boorishly. I would ask you to consider that within a two hour period, I was deluged by over one hundred and seventy emails. The problem as it turned out, originated with the an email sent out by the institute in question... but was made infinitely worse by my fellow victims when they, in their blind rage took umbrance at being technologically assaulted and replied, en masse in an effort to give voice to their frustration and anger.

What follows, is what I consider to be a selection of the cream of the crop of responses. Scaling in annoyance & anger as we progress. I would take this opportunity to point out that I have removed all the names, signatures & email addresses to protect everyone's anonymity. That is to say, the anonymity of the academics, administrators from both public and private sectors, faculty members, and private sector uppity-ups that seemed to make up the membership of this distribution list.

How my email address ever got included in such a lofty ensemble I can't begin to imagine, but suffice it to say this crowd seemed considerably better heeled than my normal compatriots and chums. I'm judging this based solely on the titles and signatures that were included in the emails, so it is entirely possible I have misconstrued the status level society has granted these luminaries. If nothing else, it illustrates quite adeptly that status does not directly relate to performance




To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Unsubscribe, I don't even know who you are?




To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Unsubscribe me NOW.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Hey!  Nothing works....please remove the "free world" from this list.  It is a bit annoying.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Please also unsubscribe me.  Geez!



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

HEY, FOLKS, I KNOW THIS IS FUN BUT HITTING REPLY-ALL ISN'T GOING TO GET YOU OFF THE LIST! CONTACT [SENDER] IT IS THEIR LIST THAT IS GENERATING ALL THIS.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

So Would I. This is a bullshit waste of time. Nobody wants it. Take me off.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Please stop sending your "unsuscribe" messages to the complete list!
Please only send them to the original sender, otherwise you are
spamifying everybody's mailboxes.
Thanks!



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Il s'agit sûrement d'un virus. Même un francophone du Québec reçoit ces courriels! 14 depuis 3 heures!  :-)



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Dear [SENDER],

There is a multi-recipient message being generated by you
[SENDER] regarding '[TOPIC REMOVED]" that is causing seeming endless copies of junk mail arriving in email in-boxes all over the place, including mine. It is very annoying.
People are responding saying "please delete me' "please delete me" but it just keeps coming and coming. Can you please look into this and stop it at the source.

Thanks



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

GET ME OFF THIS LIST... or perhaps is a virus from _____??????



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

I appreciate the irony in sending this, which only adds to the mass of emails we're all getting, but hopefully by putting the message in the subject line people will clue in. Sigh... if only the internet worked magically like so many seem to think it does. YELLING IN ALL CAPS isn't going to make the internet fairy solve your problems any better than replying to all, which only perpetuates the snake-swallowing-its-own-tail farce that this has become.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

HELLO EVERYONE.  DO NOT REPLY TO ANY OF THESE EMAILS!!!  ANY REPLY - REPLY ALL OR NOT - GETS SENT TO EVERYONE!!!

IF EVERYONE STOPPED REPLYING, WE WOULD END ALL THIS NONSENSE.

SO DON'T SEND BACK AN "UNSUBSCRIBE ME" EMAIL, OR ANYTHING FOR THAT MATTER.  BEST THING TO DO IF YOU ARE REALLY UPSET IS TO CALL [SENDER].  CONTACT INFO IS IN THE FIRST EMAIL SENT OUT.

SORRY TO SEND OUT YET ANOTHER EMAIL...HOPEFULLY EVERYONE WILL READ THIS BEFORE SENDING OUT MORE REPLIES.



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

Dear all, this clearly is a virus. If everybody stops reacting then this probably is the last we all ver hear from it. Otherwise we will all be getting mail from people who want to unsubscribe for days on end. Not reacting is the best option.

Kind regards. [RECIPIENT]



To: [SENDER]
From: [RECIPIENT]

This is just epic.

I hope this is being documented as a sociological experiment regarding  the intrusive of technology.


The ones who are simply annoyed and asking to be unsubscribed, I understand them. I know precisely where they're coming from. The others however, the ones who feel only they have the powers of perception capable of fully discerning the situation, and advise everyone not to reply, while they themselves reply, instructing the rest not to. Those are the ones that make my jaw drop.

Again, I'll point out that this distribution list was compromised of professionals, administrators, academics, from all walks of life, from every province, from outside the country even. These folks are the products of higher education. I'll wager that each of them have a degree. A degree produced by an institution of higher learning. Probably an institute that charges a pretty penny for the honour of taking advantage of it's academic offerings. Just like the one that so badly bungled a piece of technology that was just being introduced into wide use right about the same time that the Grateful Dead started touring.

October 17, 2009

A perplexing conundrum.

Here's the thing about personal websites... the content is mostly drivel and crap that few other than the author care about. My situation is complicated by the fact that I'm aware of this. So while I'm plagued by the urge to share my meager wit with the disheveled & soiled masses, that urge is accompanied by a rather large dose of disgust for bowing to what resembles my ego each time I do. This internal tète à tète proceeds while I'm painfully aware that it's all for naught because I'm pretty sure the only one reading this is my Mom. (Hi Mom - everything's fine & the chili turned out great.)

Now the point of all of this wasn't to draw more attention to my own struggling id and the complexities there in, but rather to set the stage (such as it is) for the dilemma that I am currently faced with. This dilemma arose as a result of a peculiar email arriving in my inbox this week. The dilemma is this:

  1. I did not directly or indirectly invite/cajole/or otherwise encourage this email in anyway.
  2. I don't know the sender, nor do I know the intended recipient.
  3. I am definitely not the intended recipient.
  4. The email is of a rather personal nature. Not so personal as to reveal any information critical in nature other than a missed opportunity, and an absolutely abhorrent choice in musical taste.

Essentially, I'm presented with a gift or a curse. Someone has sent me an email that they intended for another. I received it, and am instantly inclined to disregard it. I find that as my day progresses, I am unable to put this odd little electronic correspondence out of my head. It begins to plague me. It haunts me. This email could be the beginning of something magnificent for two strangers. Or it could be the necessary piece of information that could bring closure to a troubled life. It's not outside the realm of possibility that this short little missive could be the crucial missing element in what was intended to be a blissfull existence which is now doomed because of it's absence. WHAT THE HELL MAN!?  I didn't ask for this. Why are people sending me their freaking personal shit?!

I received this email because someone sent it to an address that now belongs to me. I "own" the domain name that this website is registered under. Any and all email that is directed at my domain, will pass through two or three filters I have set up to remove all the spam & junk mail, and eventually will be redirected to an email account that I can check at my convenience. That is to say, if you were to send an email to: Jerkface [at] bigguy [dot] ca, (while making the obvious replacements), I'll get it. Similarly if you change the address to: knuckledragger [at] bigguy [dot] ca, I'll get that one too.

Getting back to my mystery letter... this thing plagued me so much that when I got home from work earlier this week I spent roughly three hours trying to track down the intended recipient with no success. I don't feel it's really my place to respond to the email, though I recognize that the responsibility lies with me all the same. And so we arrive at my conundrum. WTF do I do with this email?

[To: Recipient]
[From: Sender]
There's a Celine Dion song on the radio and it reminded me of when you told me you even liked some of her music.
I wish I could've met you even if it was just once.
[Sender].
Do I respond to "Sender" and tell them that their email did not arrive where they expected? Do I ignore the entire thing and go about my business? Do I continue my magical-interweb hunt for "Recipient" in hopes of passing on this oddly touching, yet largely substance-free correspondence despite the radically warped sense of musical appreciation that apparently plague both parties?

No dear reader, the answer is obvious... I'll make it the focal point of a blog entry, and let you decide for me. That,... or, hope that "Sender" eventually finds this website, and this entry in particular, all while taking note of the great care I've gone to to protect both parties anonymity so as not to rouse anyone's ire.

October 1, 2009

Well aged and barely adequate:

Well, that was short lived. To the three of you that I know are reading this you'll probably have noticed a wee bit of a change in the look of the site / blog / whatever the hell this is.

The whole "When I Take over the World" thing sort of ran dry after about three or four days. Which, all things considered, is probably about seventy-two hours more than it needed. So I resurrected an old (and favourite) graphic I used on an older version of the site back when I used to host it myself. Woohoo! Lets hope this iteration is capable of lasting longer then the four or five posts the old one did. If for no other reason... the graphic I think is worthy of at least six.

Whew.. now that I've set my goals just slightly out of reach, I can look forward to the impending & all-encompassing wave of depression that will arrive roughly about the time as my realization that my dream of self-employment through witty and insightful web based banter is once more ready for long-term storage.  Mmmmmm, can you smell the narcissism yet?
"Who's sense of identity needs validating?"
"Mine does! Mine does!"
I've left the posts from the previous iteration of this site below, because well... I still think those &#(@ing meteorologists should be paid on a performance basis. Seriously. How sweet a job is that?
"Hey it might rain... it might not. Is it pay day yet? I'm going for coffee."
Yup.. so mark it down. Let this wisdom be passed on to the generations that follow. Screw going to law school, medical school is nothing but heartbreak and long hours. You want an easy ride and little to no stress? Meteorology my friends, meteorology.

Now then, before the bell rings... who in the class can tell me the difference between Stratus & Cumulus clouds?