Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

30 June 2007

Squished

In this constellation which is the internet, one of the prettier and brighter lights has just gone out.

Philipa of Fortean Times (not the one BoingBoing's always referencing, the other one), is getting out of the internet business entirely:
"I'm sad to say that I've been threatened again and am sick of all the unpleasantness and charges of.. oh there's a list of nasty names. I'm paying for nothing if I adhere to all the restrictions for fear of being hauled into court while his lawyers "find something", so am ending my internet service. Thanks so much for all your brilliant comments and for your blog too; some great stuff."
For me, personally this is a dark day. There are too few people who have ever referred to my e-scribblings as "brilliant" and "great stuff" as it is. But for the rest of us it is unpretty as well. It seems a triumph of money, and the will to harrass. It is the silencing of one more democratic voice on this most democratic of media.

As I understand things (and honestly my grasp of the situation is roughly akin to the grasp the goldfish has of Sea World), it's Peter Hitchens' fault. If this is true, then boo and hiss, Mr. Hitchens, for taking this little light from us.

What exactly has Hitchens' knickers in a knot (or more properly his lawyers') I cannot possibly imagine. Aside from Philipa's public apology to him, I can find nothing but positive, even hagiographic, comment on her blog. Yet something a single mother with a young daughter might say of him terrifies him and his att'ys so much that they see it necessary to paralyze with poison torts?

O Avid Fan, I have only Philipa's word for this. She could be drama-queening the whole thing to death. I have searched for references to this row elsewhere without result. But Philipa has not lied to me yet, so far as I know. Her opinions are erudite, well-expressed, and sincere. Her actions have matched her words: first she took her blog into the privacy of password-protection, and now she's leaving us.

What can a big gun of Hitchens' calibre fear from the wee flyswatters of the blogosphere?

Farewell, Philipa. You will be missed.







29 June 2007

I Want You To Read This

You may not agree with Mr. Trudeau's stance on the current Gulf war, or with mine. You may consider Trudeau a leftie, looney, or some other unpleasant thing beginning with "l".

But read these strips--from Sunday the 24th to Saturday the first (which is not yet up as I write this).

Then surf over to the "Blowback"--Trudeau's personal comment section for the strip.

Start down at the post by David Ferrier, subject "MST". And read up. If you can read those comments all the way through and not feel something clench in your gut, you're probably Dick Cheney.

Do it now. The strips will archive soon, and then you won't be able to read the whole series.







28 June 2007

Deepe in ye Darkeness, Somethynge Stirrs

So Metro got told last week "They're bringing in another IT guy. You're going to have to move before Friday." Then he heard "You're going to have to move this week." "Friday?" he inquired plaintively. "Yeah," said the lying sack of an IT director, leaning beamingly over the desk. That was yesterday morning. At eleven o'clock the person who will be occupying my desk came in and said "Oh--weren't you moving? Lionhardt said you'd be moving this morning."

Metro knows when he's been licked. Usually there are traces of saliva, and sometimes cat hair. Notwithstanding which, he also knows that you can fight city hall only if you're prepared to set the place afire. So he grumblingly moved.

Metro lost 16 square feet of desk space, because his 7' desk won't fit in the 7' space he now lives in. This, O Avid Fan, is a severe handicap to one who regards his desk as a flat filing cabinet.

More interestingly, the new Metro desk is located in "the cube". In times long lost two ceilingless walls were built out from the corner to form a small square room. Inside said room dwell the odd couple of our workplace. Call them George and Kramer.

Kramer is a lanky dude with a shaved head and spectacles. Somehow "spectacles" seems the right word. He would be entirely at home in a woodcut illustration of Scrooge or Screwtape. He is tall, thin and stooped, with a quiet demeanor unless roused. George is short, balding, and permanently irritable. If a bag of money fell on him he'd be too busy complaining about the headache and threatening to sue to notice it was stuffed with cash. Though he does have a terrific if morbid and depressing sense of humour.

However, in one respect he's rather like Gollum: he dislikes the light, he does. My precioussss.

So Metro moved from a desk ten feet from the front window, at the perfect angle to receive sunshine but not glare, to a space about twenty feet on each side, to share with three people and their computers what was once an executive office for one. There are four fluorescent fixtures above this space. Each equipped to contain four long tubes, light for the giving of. That's sixteen potential sources of sickly glare, rather than sunshine.

But only one fixture contains these light-giving tubes. When I first arrived, I thought it was some misguided gesture of economy on the part of the company that made a quarter of my office look like the darkest depths of Mordor. But it's George. He dislikes the glare (and I don't really blame him), so he had fourteen tubes pulled out. What light there is in this space, arcs eye-scorchingly from the two tubes above and opposite me, turning my monitor into a backlit monolith with a glowing centre.

Fortunately we're moving from this building sometime within the next six months. So screw it. Not that it'd do any good to complain. Despite the fact that without us they'd have $#!7 to sell, we as a department occupy a similar slot to the janitorial contractors who come in just as the office shuts. The rest of the company (being about 40% salespeople) sort of know we're around, doing whatever it is that we do, but they don't see us as essential to the process.

In fact, we've pre-empted a large, daylit office on the second floor of the new building, reasoning that being the denizens of the basement, in a section of the building most people never see, has led to this incorrect attitude.

Anyway, as I was moving my computer tower into the new space (where it must squat atop a desk without sufficient underspace to store it) the new guy appeared, dragging a box.

"Bet you're thrilled," he said.
"Could be worse," I said, like the Black Knight of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (It's just a flesh wound!).
"I know what you mean," he said reflectively "this is my sixth move in two years."

Yeah, it could be worse.

In the words of M. EaGLe: Es macht man denken (Makes yer fink, dunnit?)
"I wept because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had some, and mugged him."

But for now, the Mine of Moria awaits me. Fly, you fools!

If you're looking for something to do, why not go rock out to some Funny Money? The I highly recommend as a tasty metal treat the song which starts playing when the site loads.

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26 June 2007

Please, Please Tell Me What I'm Doing Right!

My average number of visitors is about two hundred on a good day. Today I'm already up around five hundred.

What am I doing right?

Well based on my comprehensive analysis of the stats involved, that would be this:



And this:



And this:



You're all perverts!

Welcome. You don't know how proud and happy I am to see you all. I don't know why it took you so long to get here, but I hope I've made it easier.

Let nobody say I don't aim to please.

In the spirit of which: (A-hem)
You've been a very naughty boy/girl/other. Now I'm going to have to punish you. Bend over ...

No, sorry. Can't do it. Whore I may occasionally be, but cheap, no.

So if your fingers are still flexible enough, and unsticky, go read the story, which is getting some decent press, or one of the other entries here at Metroblog.

At least you might hang around after you've finished. It seems most of you take about a minute and a quarter. Haven't you heard of afterplay? I mean, if you're only coming to me for just that one thing then you should at least stick around for a few minutes of polite conversation.

Oh fine, just shove off and go visit Raincoaster's beaver shots. I can't find the ones taken by Mme Metro.

Of course you could always bring me a present. Or give me some money. I'd be okay with that. I'd even offer you a bonus pic:



And yes, yes:
You've been a very naughty boy/girl/other ...







Unusual Activity

Something I've posted here is drawing people. Yesterday I had more than double my regular number of hits. Yet page activity hasn't changed ... Odd, that.

Perhaps Fatherland Insanity is driving the traffic--they've finally found me?

Or maybe it was the link I got at Middle Earth, for which I am humbly thankful, though I feel ME didn't accurately interpret the intent of that post. But that's cool with me.

Nag's Private Book Club may have had something to do with it too.

So thanks to any and all. If you're interested, my three top entry pages are here, here, and here. If you felt like it, maybe you could tell me what brought you in the comments.

And yeah, I know some of you came looking for that picture of the Budweiser girls. So let me save you some trouble:



We aim to provide Metro-style sloppy and inconsistent service to all those who demand it.







25 June 2007

Home of Tomorrow's Consumers!

Proof that we are not learning any lessons from our experiments in unrestricted free-market, free-wheel capitalism:

Apparently the problem is that enrolment has risen, while government funding for schools in the Ottawa area has fallen. So the logical solution is ... corporate sponsorship?

Of course it is.

"Welcome to Wal-Mart High" says the article at Yahoo! News.

But of course, this solution could prove a thorny problem: after all, people would be getting an education. And a well-educated workforce definitely isn't one of the major goals for Wal-Mart.

I only hope that this is a ridiculous point-making strategy by one of the public education groups, attempting to draw government funding back into education, where it should be.







24 June 2007

Art From Spam!

Darren Barefoot has a posting about a brilliant little online art project that uses comment spam to make art. I'd go read it, but I already did, so perhaps you'd like to.







22 June 2007

Little Shock

She looked at me, eyes startled, lips slightly parted. There was a milk moustache on her upper lip.

"Say that again?"
"Say what?"
"What you just said."
"I didn't say anything."
"I could have sworn I heard you say you were going to kill me."
"What?"
"I thought you said 'I'm going to kill you', clear as day."
"I never said that."

After a pause, she went back to the paper and her coffee. I unplugged the toaster. I carefully scraped the plastic from around the plug. When I could see wire, I tucked the toaster back into its recess atop the counter.

"That was weird," she said.
"What was?"
"Me, thinking you'd said that."
"What?"
"You know, 'I'll kill you' or whatever it was that you said."
"I didn't say that," I let the annoyance snarl in my voice.
"I know," she replied, gazing at me strangely, "It's just weird that I'd think that you did."
"Yeah," I said, turning my back and carefully flexing the crack in the coffee maker so that the burner coil showed through. I replaced it, carefully, just a little bit away from the puddle of water by the sink, and plugged it back in. I moved the radio to a precarious perch next to where the dishes were set to soak.

She was silent as I carefully poured some bleach into an unlabeled bottle and placed it in the fridge next to the jug of filtered water. She read her paper while I loosened the trim rail and the handrail at the top of the basement steps. As I was carefully removing the ground wire from the light switch she said:

"What would you do if I died?"

What indeed. I thought.

She was looking at me narrowly.

"I guess I'd try to get through it. You know, move on?"
"How long?"
"What?"
"How long d'you think it'd take to get through it?" Her voice trickled with ice.
"I don't know," I tell her blithely, "At least ten minutes." I finished rubbing the vegetable knife against the warm chicken breast I'd left out the night before, and put it back in the fridge.
I looked over. She had that hangdog look on her again. My hand flexed on the handle of the knife.

The sugar was in a small white bowl that looked precisely like the small white bowl of rat poison, which strangely enough is a white crystalline powder. I pushed it to the back of the shelf, pulling the poison forward.

"Look," I said mildly "Why do you want to think about that stuff anyway? I'm far more likely to go early than you are."
"Oh, don't talk like that."
"It's my business honey. I'm male, for starters, slightly overweight and at my age that's as bad as being obese, family history of heart trouble and cancer both ... heck, we'll be lucky if I make it to fifty."
"You're forty-nine now," she said.
"So I'd better make this a great year, then," I say, suddenly buoyant as I checked to make sure the pilot light on the oven was out.
"You'd better."

"Didn't you tell me the most common cause of untimely death in women is accidents in the kitchen?"
I grunted noncomittally. Then I turn. She's looking at me with another face. It's raw and full of mean glee. Black with it. Suddenly, like someone hit a switch, she's herself again.

"I packed you a lunch, sweetheart," she said abruptly. She never packs my lunch. I took it anyway, knowing that it was going into the round file at work as soon as I get there.
I checked the pockets of my jacket for spiders, and my shoes for poisoned blades. Then I headed out to the car.

"I'll see you tonight," she called.
"Don't bet on it," I trilled to myself.

The puddle on the driveway was subtle, might have been an old one. I pondered looking under the hood. After all, it'd only just been repaired. No matter. I put my briefcase in the trunk, using the opportunity to examine the gas tank, then check the underside of the car. For a moment something in the trunk tore at my eye, dragging it back to its bright yellow cover with that moronic little graphic on it.

The car started okay. The brakes felt a little spongy, but it was no surprise. I pulled out my cell phone, then thought better of opening it and sniffed the air. Just for safety I opened the window.

My daily alerts popped up, and there it was. It was our anniversary. It happens right around this time every year. Only this time I'd remembered it. There was a small package on the bedside table with her name on it, containing a small but mankilling scorpion. In the bathtub were what looked like bath beads but were in fact capsules of an odourless, colourless gas that is totally harmless unless in contact with water, which it turns into an extraordinarily potent acid. The crystals in the jar of bath salts had similar properties.

I perked up. This could be the day. Maybe today the house would be silent and empty when I get home. Or better yet, perhaps there'd be an ambulance and a tired-looking old detective on the lawn when I get home.

I was at the foot of the hill when the steering locked full over to the left. I abruptly swerved across two lanes of traffic, got clipped by a delivery truck, smacked into the edge of the overpass abutment and plunged down a forty-foot drop.

The air bag deployed about ten seconds after I landed, breaking my glasses. The car was standing on its nose against the concrete wall of the bridge that passes over the railway tracks.

I heard the honking of an air horn. Struggling frantically I cleared away the broken windsheild and swept the airbag's deflated carcass out of the way. A diesel engine was sliding my way, propelled only by the weight of the train behind it. Its brakes were locked, and sparks were bursting from underneath it.

I reached under the seat. The escape tool wasn't there. I scrabbled with my fingers against the floor. After a seeming eternity I grasped it, and with one fast strike I chopped through the seat belt.

I tumbled through the windshield, landing on a railroad tie in an ungainly heap. My legs didn't quite want to work. I could feel air being pushed ahead of the big diesel. Looking up I saw gape-mouthed morons across the bridge above admiring my agility.

I threw myself to the far side of the tracks just as the train barrelled through the wreckage of my Lexus. I could almost hate her for that. I tried to catch my breath as the massive machine ground to a halt. Between the slowing groups of wheels I could see the far side of the track, swept nearly clean of the carcass of my car. And the little yellow book: Automotive Power Steering Priciples and Practice.

After an endless time of reports and papers, traded business cards and e-mail addresses, it was too late to head in to the office. Larry said he'd bury it as a sick day. Magnanimous prick. Refusing a lift from the cops, I plodded uphill home.

She's in the kitchen.
"Clever girl," I say.
She turns, knife in rubber-gloved hand:
"You!" she says cheerily "The coffee maker was good, very good. I got a bit of a shock, but I didn't figure it out until I saw you'd moved the radio."
"That's my smartie," I say, "Come to Poppa!"
She rushes me with the knife. I do a fallback-disarm, so that she winds up in my arms. I kiss her on the nose.
"None of that now," I say "It's Friday night."
"But it's not after four."
"So? I'm home from work, aren't I?"
"You got there?" Clearly she is disappointed at the prospect.
"No, no ... sheer genius darling. Did you mean for the train to be there?"
Her smile is impish: "Wouldn't you love to know? Now take me to bed and let's get the weekend started. But watch for the scorpion--it's somewhere on your side of the floor, I think."

As I carry her in and dump her unceremoniously on the bed, I reflect at how the perfect partner can truly give one a new zest for life.







Two Carrots!

Okay, you gotta give 'em credit for this.

I got my raise. Now I asked for 15 percent, originally. And figured I'd accept no less than ten. I got 7.8.

But--and as Orson Welles used to say, it's a big but--They offered me another project. It is juicier and more meaningful than the "Oh $#!7 reports" I've been doing so far, and may in fact displace one of them entirely elsewhere.

And even better: if I "take a lead role" in the creation and nurturing of this new project, I will receive another 7.8 percent raise, although exactly when has not been specified.

I'm quite happy with the way things have turned out, apart from the long delay. I think I'll stick around for a while. Heck, if I get the other half of the raise I might get my credit card paid off in a year.







21 June 2007

And ... Cue the War Drums

New truthiness, just as we've come to expect from Bushco:
"The Iranian involvement here [in Iraq] we have found to be much, much more significant than we thought before. They have since about the summer of 2004 played a very, very important role in training in Iran, funding, arming."
General Petraeus quoted by Yahoo! News, italics mine.

Significant enough to warrant going to the UN Security council and ignoring their failure to endorse another pet war?

In the news tomorrow:
Other Shoe Drops
War In Iran
Troops will be welcomed with open arms, find the WMDs, Bin Laden, Elvis, says Bushco

The trouble is, we know Iran likes to meddle in the region. But we have been lied to so often and so long by this pack of mangy curs that it's impossible to distill truth from the usual bile they spew.







My Time Has Come!

So ... through a combination of choices and refusal to choose, I wound up being a rather underpaid writer instead of the astronaut I always dreamed of being (after the train-driver thing phased out).

But y'all excuse me whilst I hurry off and fill in an application.

After all, if they're pretending, then they'll need someone with a dramatic background. They'll also need someone who can document events onboard, in case the worst happens.

Worst happening:


Phone calls may be left with Mme Metro until I get back. She isn't coming. She's still mad at me about that boat and the three-hour tour.







Common Sense on "Homeland Security"

"The more you tighten your grip, the more systems will slip through your fingers."
--Pricess Leia Organa to Grand Moff Tarkin

In this era of "asymetric warfare" (meaning the enemy doesn't play by rules, but we're forced to [pretend we do until we can gut the letter and spirit of the law]) is it "appropriate" to debate the measures taken to protect the civillian population?

After all, our intelligence services are doing the best they can to forecast threats and stop them. We cannot, of neccesity, know of every threat, every mutter. Not only would that blow some fairly delicate intelligence-gathering systems, but it might erode civil society. For example, imagine that synagogues or mosques were found to be funnelling money to people who comitted acts of terror. Wouldn't the civillian populace revolt at this rot in our midst, possibly resulting in hate crimes against the unfortunates who happened to share a set of basic beliefs?

Imagine that New York bars were found to have jars on the bar for the collection of money for terrorist organizations ... Or rather don't. Because all of those things have happened. And yet society manages to muddle through somehow.

Until now. Three thousand unfortunates' lives were used as a symbol by people determined to undermine freedom and place free citizens in fear. And nothing has been the same since. Whether those taking such advantage were the dead Saudi terrorists or the still-ruling Bush administration is left as an exercise for the student.

So is it appropriate to question the wisdom of our civil masters when they are taking steps they believe will make us "safer"?

You bet it £µ©λing well is.

Let's start by considering the United States, whose panicked frenzy we now seem to be aping:

Since the patriator act came into force in the US--how many terror attacks have been stopped by either the TSA or the Department of Fatherland Insanity?

None. All the "attacks" (and by this we often mean to include half-baked plots involving people who may or may not have been unstable) declared as forestalled by the administration were stopped by the cops, and/or by the FBI and related agencies. By the way, do you know who the only serious plotters foiled were? Go on. I bet you can guess.

Intelligence is clearly what is required here. Pity it's in such £µ©λing short supply.

So, ignoring the fact that the best equipped terrorists--sorry, I forgot, if they aren't brown then they're just run-of-the-mill, uh, patriots? ... Anyway, ignoring the fact that the best-equipped militias and movements who are willing to carry out this sort of attack are primarily homegrown, exactly how much safer does adding another layer of froth on our Gestapo soup make us?

The thing that the raving authoritarians pushing this kind of invasive control are trying to prevent is a repeat of the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001, and those that occurred in the London and Spanish train attacks.

A no-fly list will not assist this effort. No terror attack has been stopped by the No-Fly List in the United States--except for these ones.

The failure in security that led to 11-9 was the total absence of any but the most basic security on domestic flights. Had the same set of controls been in place on domestic flights as were on international ones in 2001, the hijackers could likely never have boarded the aircraft.

But instead of setting up a rational response after the attacks, like putting in place regular, normal, civil authorities, the Bushies created the Homeland Security Department--crawling with uncivil authorities.

As with many such, its name belies what it stands for. It stands for loss of security, privacy, and the right to question bullies in uniform. If you doubt me, try crossing the border with only your driver's license. Or better yet, ask one of those gutted, gunned, godforsaken Jack Bauer wannabees if they think they're doing any damn good. After all, all the foiled plots so far have been happening inside US cities--even the few actually set in action by foreign citizens.

So obviously they aren't doing Jack squat.

(In fact it says a great deal about the nature of this silliness that the poster boy for Fatherland Insanity is a crazed torturer (that he is fictional is no handicap--so is the rest of Republican history). And that so many of those border bozos want to be like him. Or that so many Reptard presidential candidates and judges invoke his name.

Especially when Darth Vader's in the back with his hand in the air, jumping up and down and yelling "Ooh, ooh--Pick meeeee!")

So what have we got so far:

Since the aircraft attacks, nothing to do with Homeland Insipidity or the No-Fly List has actually "made America safer".

(I will not re-open here the question of what "safer" is supposed to mean. My bullshit detector just got repaired again after last time.)

There is no evidence that anyone could prevent an assault on any large concentration of people in a thousand locations besides airports. Were I a terrorist, I'd go to a Virginia gun show, buy about thirty guns, hand them to my followers, and repeat the instructions George the Lesser gave the American people on 12-9:

"Go shopping."

Metro the Terror Leader says: Head for the malls boys, go to Wal-Mart, buy your ammo off their countertops.

"You want that giftwrapped, Mister?"
"No thanks, I'll use it here."

Head for amusement parks, churches and schools, and remember: guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people!


Need I point out the futility and pointless, aggravating stupidity of a no-fly list at this point?

Now a "no-drive list". That I could get behind. I see people every day whose right to use a motor vehicle could use some serious circumscribing and abridgement. In fact, some of them could stand to be thrown off abridgement.

But our NEW Green (GREEEN I TELL YOU!) Conservative Government (New!), which is trying to shred current Canadian gun control legislation, is also trying to stuff a no-fly list somewhere personal.

I don't want a Department of Motherland Defence, I don't want a Canadian Pay-a-traitor Act. I don't want my government telling me "We're arresting this guy because he's a bad guy--you'll have to take our word for it, and never mind how we got him to confess."

I want Stephen Harper and his Bush-admiring cronies to just, please, £µ©λ off and leave the police and CSIS to figure out how to do this right--without becoming the money-sucking bemoth and home for unemployable brothers-in-law that the Fatherland Insanity office is.







20 June 2007

Canada Gets One Too!

We now have a proposed "No-Fly List". I'm not 100 percent clear on the concept, but I think a "No-Mosquito" list might have been more useful. Especially considering the success of the US version in harassing grannies, toddlers, people whose names differ by only two letters from the names of people whose names are actually on the list, and my father.

Yeah. Dad has a name not quite as common and anglic-sounding as "John Smith". From 2001 to 2005, every time he handed his passport to a Fatherland Insanity placeholder, the particular bollard would shuffle out of his booth into the intestines of the airport. Some half-hour later, Dad would be allowed to travel again. But he began arriving an hour earlier than the stated times on his ticket.

No explanation was ever offered. But it has since come to Dad's attention that one "John Smith" was definitely on the No-Fly-List.

Personally I'm thankful that we seem determined to increase our Gross Domestic Product by adding a thriving Terrorbusiness sector.

Wandering Coyote got there first, so go read it there.







Dooced, or deuced. It's an interesting word.

In the blogosphere, as no doubt all Avid Fans will know, the term "dooced" refers to getting one's ass fired for blogging.

Now quite aside from the whole question of whether blogging on work time might be a noble purpose, approved of by local authority or not, should it be a firing offence if one blogs outside of work hours and tells the strict truth about the place?

I dunno, but I'm sort of testing the principle to its legal and theoretical limits by blogging during the precious minutes of my lunch hour. About work.

I've spoken very briefly about life in my little fluorescent lit space. It's not bad. However, we work on the ground floor, and due to a flood of sewage a couple of years ago, the place stinks something nasty when it's wet outside. It was cheaper to clean the carpets than replace them.

And indeed, that is the very hub of the issue, the nub of the problem, the crotch in the mismatched halves of the worker-management tuxedo.

Thus it is in my department: We told management last year that we're tasked out to the max. We typically run at what I estimate is 90% of capacity. The discussion went like this:
Management:
We're thinking about adding a bonus structure based on the number of monetized products you're involved with.

My Boss: Well that won't work. I spend 40% of my time on (non-monetized product). Should I dump it?

Me: No good for me either. I mostly write (free electronic ephemera), which is part of the monetized package of services, but makes no money.

D: How's that going to work for me? I spend about half my time editing and rewriting for your (management's own) package. Do I get the bonus or do you?

L: I spend a lot of time assembling contributions from D, L, and My Boss for our flagship monetized product. How will we decide who gets bonuses?

My Boss: I think we'd rather just distribute the bonuses evenly.

Management: Well ... Well ... I don't see how that'd work ... anyway, we'll think about it.

My Boss: Actually, we could use that money to hire an editorial assistant instead, just to ease the work a little and maybe let us work on other moneymaking products.
Management retreats into Attention Defecit Behaviour. I feel the problem is cultural. The US side of my workplace seems to encourage their workers to cut each others' throats for bonuses. As Canadians and 'socialists' (Management actually used the word during the meeting), we're more averse to that, maybe?

No assistant was hired, although by wrestling every layer of management all the way to the board, My Boss managed to get an intern for the summer. Meanwhile, we got another two products added to the load. It affects me none, as they quite logically gave them to the two people already working at full throttle.

Then about two months ago, I asked for a 15 percent raise. It only made sense. I had started a year ago, lived through two probation periods (the mistake that threw me back onto probation was not mine, but I was too green to make an utter nuisance of myself). Having twice proven my mettle, I didn't even get the usual "Welcome to the team," raise one sees at such times.

So after a year of no raises, I carefully evaluated a) how much they were underpaying me in the current market, and b) how much they'd have to fork out to hire someone else to do the job and applied for about twenty percent less than b).

Three weeks back my boss asked me to submit in writing the reasons I felt my raise was justified. The following week she called me into her office.
My Boss: Okay, so the board wants to know if you're ambitious, like me, or just happy being where you are.

Me: Well obviously, I'd like to get ahead, take on more responsibility, blah x 3.

MB: Good. Because the board wants to know if you want to do any product development.

Me: Oh? For what product?

MB: Well that's the point--do you have any ideas for monetized products. And I think I should mention that the size of your raise may be contingent on whether you're willing to do this.

Me: Uh, well I have a couple of ideas ...

MB: Good, send them in a memo, okay. By Friday, please.
So now they want me, working at some 90% capacity, as we migrate every electronic record we have to a totally different server and data management and creation system, a task I expect to take roughly eternity, to take on the responsibility of a product developer.

£µ©λ that!

Product developers get money--much bigger money than I should properly be paid for doing my job--which was what I was trying to persuade them to do.

I wonder why my attitude sucks lately?

I wonder what would happen if I outright refused to do any product development but made it clear that I expected the full amount of my raise?

I wonder if after £µ©λing me around for two-and-a-half months, they'd get pissed if I wanted it made retroactive?

What if I applied for another raise as soon as I get the next one (because I sure as hell ain't staying here if I don't get one)? When they ask why, I need only point out how long this one is taking.

Oh--cherry on the cake: During a phone conference last week, Management told the others in the office that product development was now part of their jobs too. And they're not even applying for raises.

So now, if they're saying product development is part of my job description, I'm still underpaid--doubly so in fact.

Fortunately Mme is working, and earning twice my salary. I can put up with this sort of grasping crap for a year while we get rid of our debts. But I won't tolerate anything less than the full 15 percent raise, not as a product developer especially, for more than 12 months.

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19 June 2007

We Interreruput This Blogue

To inform you, O Avid Fan, that the post below is too long and possibly crazy, having just read it ourselves.

Everyone should instead go and watch this, which I arrived at with the assistance of Mme Metro.

Alas, my Office Of Great Labour seems unlikely to go in for that sort of thing, but more on that latre.







Late Happenage

Recently I discovered HARD Radio. It is one of a number of sites which provide an internet-based service: In this case, music to bang heads to; one's own or someone else's, they don't specify.

Perhaps that's why I'm recovering something ... not sure what. My skin feels three sizes too small. My brain feels as though it's pulsating ... and no, I haven't smoked anything at all for far too long entirely. But to give you an example:

You know my writing style, O Avid Fan. I'm fairly direct, usually; try to lead from A to B in a straight-ish line, assuming that's part of the plan. So here's the bio I didn't post on one of those social networking sites that I recently joined:
Upon my release from high school on an unsuspecting world, I drifted happily into the company of drunks and murderers, all good people, where I spent many pleasant years in an atmosphere of collegial violence and casual cruelty.

Following my realization that I never really belonged there I went on the road, hauling dangerous and unproven machines to mysterious destinations for no known purpose. The sounds of my engines were like terrible music, and faint screams at the edge of hearing drifted after me along the yellow light of the wet, slickened highways.

After the amnesia and the fugue that followed I discovered myself in engineering, where I was devastated to learn that I didn't have enough numbers.

But I had words by the billions.

So I went to school to sharpen my pencil against the rhetoric of the masters. I became able to slay weak arguments and false premises with the gentlest twitch of the nib. I can kill fear with the rightly-placed words. My red, blue, and green pens are known and feared where mis-spelt words and rogue apostrophes dwell. Now I spend much of my time documenting the final moments of those unfortunates whose last words were "Oh $#!7!"

But I have yet another chance to break free. The rime, salt, and calcine on my brain is flaking off in patches. For the first time in decades the monster stirs and sighs, twitching fitfully in its sleep. Words cascade off the steely scales of its back and puddle on the floor where I can assemble them into coherence of a sort. I heft my knife--to open the correct vein is tricky, the beast must not be slain, nor again buried
.
Exactly. Almost adolescent in its purpleness, no?

And yet, for no good reason, I kinda like it ... I feel as though there's another string on my mental guitar again, as though I were excavating something important.

It's fragile and to most of the world it is, and it should properly be, insignificant.

But dammit, it's mine. And may the gods help anyone who tries to get it from me, or tries to prevent me from retrieving it. Because whatever this is, divine madness or second adolescence, I want, need some of it, at least a little.

I have vague memories of being a teenager. Maybe this is what it was like. It's as though I've been handed the key to a vehicle in a darkened garage. Perhaps it'll be something harmless like my little Yamaha U7e, or maybe it'll turn out to be ... something far bigger, darker and more dangerous.







18 June 2007

Why Buy Advertising When You Can Purchase Headlines?

The Conservative Party of Canada, currently governing through no fault nor skill of their own, is taking the Party to the Wal-Mart crowd.

They're sponsoring a car on the Nascar circuit.

And that would be fine, except that it is of course, about careful control of the messaging: The driver they're sponsoring is none other than Pierre Bourque of the Bourque Newswatch site.

Do you think Bourque is likely to tax the Conservatives with any detrimental news headlines anytime soon? I mean, there's being an "escort"--Borque's headline aggregator has never been especially critical in his coverage of the New! Green! (Did we mention NEW?) Conservative Government of Canada.

But this looks like throwing himself on his back for a fiver.

Let's go to the tape:
The federal Conservative party is moving forward with a new strategy to make heads turn with its logo — at more than 160 kilometres per hour.

The party took a different advertising track by sponsoring a stock car in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, as it tries to win over the estimated one in five Canadians who counts himself or herself as a NASCAR fan.
[...]
NASCAR provides a "terrific medium" to spread the party brand as Canadians switch from traditional sources of information, such as newspapers and television, into the rapid-fire digital age, said the car's driver, Pierre Bourque, also creator of the Bourque Newswatch website.

"This is a great opportunity for them to get some facetime with a huge segment of the Canadian electorate," Bourque told CBC news on Monday. "It's a natural fit for them."

Translation: we're looking for folks who are illiterate to the news, or better yet, watch Fox. Next, watch for big blue "C"s tattoed onto the chests of World Wrestling Entertainment stars.
Bourque steered the Dodge Charger stock car to a respectable 13th-place finish, but initially, all was not well under the Tory emblem on the hood.

"The engine blew up in practice," Bourque said. After starting the race in the 22nd position, Bourque ran as high as fifth.
Hopefully paralleling the party's results in the next election.
The unique branding strategy is "historic" for a political party, Conservative party spokesman Ryan Sparrow said Monday.

"It's the first time it's ever been done," Sparrow told CBC News Online. "NASCAR fans are the people we want to reach. They're hard-working Canadians who pay their taxes. They play by the rules."
Whereas everybody knows the non-Nascar-watching populace cheat at Monopoly and evade Revenue Canada in their (foreign-built) Rolls-Royces.
Sparrow wouldn't say how much the party paid for the sponsorship, likening such a disclosure to "Coke telling Pepsi how much" it paid for getting its brand on billboards.

With the minor difference that, aside from through its NEW Green CONSERVATIVE new Government of GREEN Canada contacts, Pepsi doesn't currently have its hands in the taxpayers' pockets.

Of course, this is no worry for Liberal or New Democrat strategists. After all, the segment of Canada that actually votes conservative has a hard enough time reading stationary objects like signs. How they'll make out reading the words "Conservative Party of Canada" at 160 Km/h I'd hate to guess.







15 June 2007

I Am Reborn!

Capers and jigs up and down in glee at the triumph of years.

Because VICTORY IS MIIIIINE!

Now, absolutely any time she looks at me in that narrow way and says "Are you sure?" I will simply whisper, just at the outside edge of hearing:

"Soyce".







Danger, WIll Robinson!

UCAUTION
IN THE INTEREST OF SAFETY IT IS ADVISABLE TO KEEP METRO AWAY FROM FIRE AND FLAMES.

From Go-Quiz.com

Via Raincoaster, may the FSM shower noodly blessings upon her slimy self.







Video Friday Strikes Again

I admit it: I liked Honeymoon Suite a lot when I was growing up. And no tune did I like more than this one. Musically tight, with vivid imagery ... all very cool. It was sometimes difficult to reconcile my enjoyment of synth-pop and New Wave with my taste for Judas Priest and AC/DC, but I managed. Specialization is for insects.

But since Much Music wasn't available except on the Pay TV package my parents were unprepared to pay for, it's only since the advent of YouTube that I've been able to see some of the videos.



This video's got everything: A self-referential soundtrack and video clip, cheesy fade/crosscut effects, a really cool retro car. Hot babes, and even two cute children and a charming Basset hound. More importantly, the band were clearly having fun when they made it.

Heck--this video has production value; because as Mo Fuzz of Fuzzball Records is wont to say: "There's only one thing that adds production values ..."







14 June 2007

Hinterland Ha-Hah! The Raincoaster

The Raincoaster is a tiny, moist creature dwelling in the coastal swamps of her apartment.

Unusually aggressive, easily provoked, and notoriously thin-skinned after moulding (no, we meant "moulding"), the creature is not so much threatened as threatening.

Nonetheless, in presence of alcohol it has been seen to become engaging, loquacious, even coherent on occasion.

It's mating behaviour is, FSM be praised, unknown to science, save possibly to some of our colleagues in the medical field who are known to be into that sort of thing.

The Raincoaster has a birthday. This year it is claiming to be 39, yet again.

So here is a present. The Raincoaster must not say I never gave it anything.

Ah! Ah! The horrible whining ... the whiy-hi-hi-hi-ning! Here is another, stolen from Laughing Squid.

Oh alright, one more, but you'll ruin your appetite for dinner, and it's loverly sperm whale today--your favourite.







Post #704: The Envelope Filter Meme

Envelope Filter tagged me some time ago with the Five Eateries Meme. I tried to beg off under the excuse of being busy posting beautiful, pouting muppets to my blog, but that was apparently not good enough.

So here we go. Since my dining out tends to be all about the experience I had in doing so, the list below could contain a venture to the Golden Armpits or some stunning five-star palace. You have been warned:

1) Occupying a high place in my heart is a little joint called Le Boomerang. As the name suggests, it is in Paris, though not Paris Hilton. Had to get one mention in--it's gotta be good for some hits. Too bad they don't serve hot beaver in a creamy (static) sauce, perhaps?

But they do serve the gorgonzola fondue that threatened to annihilate my waistline when last I ate there.

It's all about cheese. Mme Metro had some sort of stir-fry of meat and cheese cooked on a hot stone, I had a bowl of hot stinky cheese with bread. And of course we shared a bottle of plonque especialment ordinaire.

As a bonus you get to eat the stone, if you can.

2) For my second choice there was the Ninja Diner. It's a small bistro in the Lower Hackensack Amtrak station, and in the finest tradition of fusion cusine it's a lot like Medieval Times with an Asian flavour.

Actually it's more like the film "Gladiator" with an Asian flavour. First, the Dish of the Day is paraded around the restaurant in chains. It might be a Giant Ninja Turtle, or Kraken sushi special, or Filet de Minotaur.

Whatever it is, in order to eat of its flesh you must fight it and prevail in the sandy-floored arena at the centre of the restaurant. Otherwise your fellow diners are permitted to feast on your still-warm vital organs.

I ate there twice in one day, and barely escaped alive on a third occasion. Handy hint: the vegetarian special is NOT the soft option. To this day I am searching for the carrot that took my left kidney. From Hell's heart I spit at thee, for hate's sake I stab at thee ...

Anyway, it's a damn good deal for $7.99 on Thursdays.

3) In Amsterdam. I was returning from the Cafe 3 Koenigen (Three Kings) cafe, a dreamy place with two ancient and Christmas-light-behung trees growing through its middle when I was suddenly taken all esurient, for no apparent reason.

Seating myself outside an Indian cafe whose name I recall as "Nasil" I proceded to inhale an appatizer, followed by their dish of the day--two kebabs, some sort of bread, rice, and rice pudding for dessert.

Then I went and watched a man juggling chainsaws with his partner, who performed on a flaming see-saw.

After I pulled myself from the pavement I boarded a tram, because it would eventually wind up pointing in the direction I was headed. Onboard I met the uptight cow from my hostel who was theoretically travelling but was unable to leave her sociology studies behind. Her companion was less pretty, but far more interesting. I tried to shake them by hopping off at the memorial to gay Holocaust victims, but they followed me thence all the way across town in the wrong direction.

The two of them followed me through the "Zone of Tolerance" as I ogled pretty, friendly ladies in black bikinis, with the Sociology Dragon saying things like "This is the sort of thing you like, is it?", "What's the attraction for you here?" and "Isn't it a little insulting to have someone just appeal to your basest instincts?"

I did my unlevel best to answer.

But as I was wandering home I spotted Haagen-Daz. At which point it all becomes a bit of a triple chocolate blur.

Sorry ... where was I again? Oh--But the restaurant was cool.

4) Perhaps the most interesting dining experience I ever had was at the amazing "Nuthin' But Soup" restaurant in Prague. This tiny corner of Canada, located in the former catacombs of the ancient Cathedral, was a very pleasant surprise among several more drab eateries and chain restaurants.

Being short on cash, I ordered the 99¢ (2.34 Zloty) All-You-Can-Handle Standup Soup Special. The customer stands in a fiberglass channel with a pint mug. He or she is given either a French-style baguette, a loaf of German Pumpernickel, or a bowl of crusty rolls.

When the buzzer sounds, the customer may begin pouring him-or-herself mugs full of soup from the spigots mounted at the end of the tub. Naturally, the choice of soup depends on how hungry you are.

A thin, pourable consommé will enable you to eat at least three mugsful, with bread, in the alotted five minutes. Hobos especially will find the chicken broth a tasty treat.

If you're not a hobo, try the peasant chowder. It may not be made with genuine peasants, but I defy you to tell the difference. Unfortunately its consistency allows only the most experienced diners to get more than half-a-bowlful of it into their gullets before time runs out.

Oh--reccomendation for new diners--a towel is vital. A waterproof poncho is also reccomended, as it will keep the orphans who swarm the streets from attempting to wring soup from your outer garments.

5) Of course, I must not shrink from celebrating Canadian cuisine. And for that, we turn to Jeffers' Fryzz. The Fry Wagon, as it is known, is parked at the corner of Main and Nanaimo Streets in the thriving Metropolis of Penticton, British Columbia.
They do not serve that classic Canadian dish of hot tasty beaver on a bed. In an unusual move, they have chosen to specialize in a dish prepared with fresh ingredients available only at great expense.

Naturally it is of their Poutine that I speak. The delectability of their French-style fried potatoes in gravy, topped with cheese curds, must be sampled to be believed.

When I am feeling unhappy, or I awaken to find once again that I am not in fact an amazingly handsome movie star, married to both Tia Carrere and Elizabeth Hurley and rich beyond the dreams of Midas, well, I head for my local Jeffers Fryzz wagon and attempt suicide by cholesterol.

Note: Jeffers has reportedly opened up a new franchise Fry Wagon. Look out your window now to see if it's in your area!

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13 June 2007

God Grant Me Such A Death

I spend a lot of time evaluating deaths. I'm writing a blank verse poem about it. Is the article too short? Can't use it. Is there not enough detail? Can't use that one either. Is it too "political" (though what's political about corporate neglect and corruption I defy you to tell me)? Then it's a no-go. Today I found a "good" death.

If I were inclined to believe in such a place as Heaven I would be certain of finding Mario Oberio Vieira there.

This is the type of person I want to remember when Ralph Reed, Robertson, and the rest of the pompous, pious pricks are pontificating their putrid pronouncements.

A real Christian. A man who learned the lesson of John 15:13 and followed it wholeheartedly through to the end.

Here endeth the lesson.







Post #702, Stilletta's Meme

The second meme I've had dangling about my neck is the "5,7,8 or possibly 19 Weird Things" meme inflicted upon me by Stilletto Girl, I think. What the hell did I ever do to her? And does anyone have the pictures?

1) I have been hit by cars while riding a bicycle on three occasions; never while wearing a helmet, and fortunately never at a speed much greater than walking pace.

2) I was abandoned as a child and raised by a tribe of mimes, who taught me their beautiful language. Since I did not speak aloud until I was 17, I have a runcible accent. If I hang around with anyone awhile I eventually start using their expressions and colloquialisms, and pronounciation. When I returned from Australia, my friends had to put up with "mate" for months.

3) I spent my grade 12 year collecting the locks used by my school to seal the vacant lockers and storing them in another full-length vacant locker. I think I had about 200--they half-filled my storage space. On the last day of school I was clearing out my own locker when the custodian found that one locker remained locked. Since no student's name was assigned to it, he had to get the principal to watch while he cut the lock off.

When he did, and the locks tumbled out in a silver pile, the principal turned and looked straight at me. I still don't know for certain whether he knew it was me, but he suspected, oh yes, he suspected.

4) I am engaged in a constant covert battle with the forces of darkness, who manifest themselves in the form of enormous talking humanoid turtles, often at shopping malls. I have mounted a stealth campaign, and it's a rare day that passes without me dragging another sad, empty shell to the dumpster. They are simple creatures, for all their deadly ninja skill, and easily lured with pizza.

5) Not sure if it's weird, but I don't have lucid dreams anymore. Bit sad, really. I miss them tremendously.

6) I have the world's largest collection of non-collectible things. I collect only single samples of any example of the genre. Because these things are non-collectible, they are very rare, and thus extremely valuable. Not, however, valuable enough to make them collectible, which is good because it keeps the price of items low enough to make my collection affordable.

7) I have now been restoring the same car for approximately 15 years, with what are best described as limited results. But it keeps me off the streets. Literally.

8) The fillings in my teeth are custom made from the machine heads for which Deep Purple's sixth album was named. I acquired them from Joe Satriani in a guitar duel. Hah! All he did was stand there and play notes and stuff, and yeah, it was very impressive. But I figure why call it a guitar duel if no-one gets traumatically injured by a guitar, eh?

Have a slightly off-kilter and surreal day now, y'all.







12 June 2007

Post # 701: Mur's Meme

Okay, Some Meme Stuff

I have three memes I keep promising to catch up on. First there's the Blogs-that-make-me-think Meme, from Mur. Which I'm really crummy for not having completed YET.

  • BoingBoing: Makes me think of the future, and of Orwell sometimes.

  • Waiter Rant: Makes me think of the millions of people doing thankless jobs for $#!7 wages everywhere, some of them because they actually like to.

  • Omnibrain: Whose recent post on laughing rats may be forcing me to reconsider my definition of "sentient"

  • The Pump Handle: Which makes me realize that without goodwill, regulation is next to useless.

  • Cliff Schecter, just lately. It's all political.


  • There are many, many others. But I only needed five for the meme.







    11 June 2007

    My Oblogation to Readers ... ?

    So I had a thought.

    Someone I know, like, and respect claims to be actively seeking out my blog. This person has come in for a couple of mentions here and there; some of them positively hagiographic, some less so.

    So I was wondering whether I should a) Post something as a warning that "here there may be dragons" for the unwary? b) selectively edit certain examples, or c) forget it, and go with "what's done is done."

    Obviously I'm choosing "a". I couldn't do "b". I dislike censorship, and why should I censor that which is true? And what I post is as true as I can make it. Sometimes things may be ill-expressed or written in anger or with bad grace. But dammit, (1) this is a blog.

    But "c" is out too. I don't write stuff to hurt people (for a given value of "people"), and certainly not intentionally. See note (1).

    I struggle for objectivity at all times--the operative word is "struggle", see note (1).

    My thoughts on the subject are as yet incomplete. See note (1)

    In other news: My workplace ignores the serial comma. I feel this reduces the richness of the language.

    That's it.

    ...

    C'mon, it's a slow day news-wise. I'm fed up with politics right now.

    The US is in the grip of a criminal madman ... IMPEACH! Can anyone tell me why he's not in the dock yet? Blah blah blah and pray for Obama in 2008.

    Canada is in the grip of people who admire the criminal madman. Blah blah blah and pray for the Green party sweep of whenever this government gets taken down (2008, January is my bet).

    Paris Hilton. Paris £µ©λing Hilton. Who cares anyway? I've never thought she was particularly fascinating, nor beautiful. Looks like Modgliani drew her but forgot to finish her off. Not famous for actually doing anything but ruining her own life and spending money. I don't care about "justice" in this case--on either side. It's long past the point of being a bad joke.

    While the media flew helicopters over the courthouse to make sure they got the perfect picture of Paris, the 3500th soldier died in Iraq. Malls across America are expected to run a special "If you don't go shopping, his death will have been in vain" promotion with up to 40% off selected items like kevlar vests and Hummvee armour packages.

    But speaking of pretty white chicks and media attention: Why do you know the name Kelsey Smith, when you've never heard of Stepha Henry? Both were apparently the victims of foul play. Only one has been found, and only one got real international attention. Because the media knows pretty white girls sell.

    Oh, and while I was looking that up at the home of Cliff Schecter (who can verbally beat down a republican strategist faster than Cheney can shoot his face off--or someone else's), I spotted this image:



    Who knew he was a demon ninja? Well, I mean, I know we all suspected but ...







    10 June 2007

    Okay. Yesterday was busy ...

    First: A big shout-out to my favourite stalker(s). You know who you are, if you've found this blog. Heartical, mi brother, mi sistah ...

    Mme Metro had to run the local morning market yesterday. I had an appointment to participate in a sailboat race. We have one car. Ta-da-da-DA-da-da! Yamaha U7e to the rescue, right?

    Well not exactly ...

    I leaped aboard my trusty steed and headed for the thriving hamlet of Winterfly, just up the shoreline from home. Because my scooter won't do much more than 70 km on dead flat road, it's just barely legal for the highway here. I hugged the right side of the road, but still had the odd narrow escape from people passing at 110+.

    The hill up to Winterfly is long, and after running flat out for so long my U7 could no longer stand it. Suddenly the engine lurched. If the transmission had been a standard, it would have left a short rubber trail before dumping my collective onto the ground. As it was, the automatic clutch disengaged and the vehicle dragged to a halt.

    Investigation found that the engine was seized. It could be kicked around only with the greatest of difficulty. But that was what I did. After a cool-down, it started up again just fine.

    Yes, I know that this was not the brightest thing, but I was a long way from home, stuck on the highway. So I rode into town, went to the lake, and went sailing.

    Plywood ducks are a relatively new phenomenon here. Background: someone from my last production, known hereafter as Christine Holstein (because her last name prominently includes the "cow" sound, and not for cruel jest) built one as a project to help bring her closer to her father. He had to work yesterday, and she knew nothing of sailing, so I did the white knight bit while successfully hiding my lust to sail.

    It was a sweet time. The weather was blustery and rainy. We were out for about five hours. In the end, we came in second. Unfortunately that was because only two boats finished the race. But Chris had built a really nice boat, and it was a pleasure to sail it for her. If she can learn to sail it without my lardy ass in the boat, she'll win races one day.

    Following dinner, I went and picked up a bottle of wine at the store where Horatio Kos's sister works. You'll recall me whingeing about the two of them earlier? We were perfectly civil. That was it. It wasn't until I got home at nearly ten PM that I'd discover she'd written me around lunchtime.

    With wine in hand, I hopped aboard my (t)rusty U7e again, and sped homeward ... sorta.

    I had decided not to take the highway. Again, not the smartest possible option. But in defence of my stupid brain I was tired and felt like not dodging traffic. So I elected to go and find the forest service road connecting Winterfly and Hometown.

    I wound my way into the mountains and sped along a muddy dirt road, heading almost exactly in the wrong direction. You see, one dirt road unsigned looks very like another, and like other unsigned items one must look carefully to ensure one has the genuine article. The one I was on didn't go to Hometown, but rather to Scionville, some 40 km further away and considerably further West than I would need to be.

    It should have been 17 to 20 miles home (miles: an ancient and outmoded form of measurement in which the speedometer of the Yamaha U7e as sold in Montreal in 1973 was graded). After 30 km, I became fretful.

    Then she stalled for the first time.

    I paused to verify that I had fuel and oil, and pressed on as soon as she started again. But after a few more clicks, she quit.

    Finally, after several stops and starts, she stalled and would not start again. Terrific. I was 30 km from the only civilization in the area I could be certain of, 10 km from the last ranch, and five from the dam construction site I had passed where I might find a proper tool kit--safely locked in a shipping container no doubt.

    Fortunately the forest roads have their code, and a man and his son stopped to help. Paul and Pat, who will never know the shout-out I am giving them here, loaded my bike atop their aluminum fishing boat, drove me 30 km back to Winterfly, then took me via the highway to my home. They refused all payment: beer, gas money, or hookers, and insisted on driving me to the house, where at 10:00 PM, with darkness locking in, Mme was becoming somewhat understandably Anxious.

    Paul and Pat didn't accept my offer of just one beer. Instead they said "Pay it forward" and drove off. So if you break down in the area of Hometown and you're stuck, wait around, I'll be along sooner or later.

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    08 June 2007

    O Canada:

    Where NHL hockey meets Col. Sanders (the hatted gentleman being Don Cherry) meets crime meets alcohol meets the music industry meets Trailer Park Boys ...



    ... meets lolcats, wouldja believe.

    We's in ur house, eatin yr chickenz?
    O hai. We cleaning up Little Bones?
    we pwns yr buckets!

    The Hip simply rule.
    So I'm way video-heavy lately. Sue me.
    Actually, all my posts are written by a ghost blogger called Donym.
    Sue Donym.







    Spock Captured!

    Fascinating.

    The CBC reports today that a man in Vancouver has been found to bleed green. Not only that, but the government has been concealing this information from us for at least nearly two years!

    As surgical staff prepared the man for the middle-of-the-night emergency operation, Flexman and a colleague attempted to insert a line into a wrist artery.

    Arterial lines are used to monitor blood pressure during an operation; any blood that flows when the line is inserted into the artery should be vivid red, the sign it has been oxygenated in the heart. But in this case, which occurred in October 2005, it was not.

    "During insertion, we normally see arterial blood come out. That's how we know we're in the right place. And normally that blood is bright red, as you would expect in an artery," Flexman said in an interview Thursday.

    "But in his case, the blood kept coming back as dark green instead of bright red."

    "It was sort of a green-black. ... Like an avocado skin maybe."



    The reaction in the room? "We were very concerned, obviously,"


    Forget the so-called "terror threat". They live!



    As for me, I'm doing better today. Still stung, disappointed, etc. But starting to crest out of the trough. Helped along by being able to spew it all out into cyberspace, and by the poker tournament I played last night, which to my utter astoundishment I won.







    07 June 2007

    Pulling It Out

    Yeah, blogging kind of helped. I think I'm starting to recognize the up side of this particular roller-coaster.

    Often when faced with a bad case of the blues we retreat to the familiar things of childhood.



    It's silly enough to make me feel silly about feeling this way. Though I note that that lady muppet is no Kate Pierson.







    Communication in the 21st Century

    <--!whingeing-->

    Okay, so I've been having a rough time lately. And I really feel kind of stupid about it. Drama isn't my thing, and melodrama even less so, at least offstage. So here are the facts:

    1) I secured the lead role in a play. The play rehearsed for six weeks. Then ran for four nights. On the fourth night I started to relax and have fun with it, and it ended.

    My initial reaction feels like post-coital depression; there was this long buildup, a frenzy of activity, and now nothing. I'm smoking the cigarette and wondering if I could make myself a sarny on the way out. But then it gets slightly more complex.

    1a) I stopped sleeping longer than about four hours a night almost a week ago now. In addition to being tired and unable to focus, I'm in a near-permanent state of tired & angry misery that reminds me of being fifteen again. With the grotesque difference that I'm considerably older than that. I also think I've stopped eating as well as I used to. Mme does her best, but I'm not terribly hungry.

    2) I developed a crush on the leading lady. Okay not exactly; When I found out I got to kiss her I thought Okay, she's pretty. That's nice. We rehearsed very professionally together (she perhaps more than I in that she had all her lines pat from about day two).

    But towards the end I realized a couple of things: she's radiant. She truly lit up the stage and it was a real pleasure to act alongside her. She's very bright, having written a play which she is now producing and directing herself. She's also just over half my age.

    Okay, so lest I be creeping you out at this point: I'm a happily married man. I'm not interested, beyond my usual general level of interest in anyone with a double-X chromosome arrangement, in anything more than friendship and conversation. You'll have to take my word for that, and it's not like I've never thought for a fleeting instant of being somewhat less than chivalrous and more than platonic; but the worst I think I could be accused of, usually, is wanting to bask in a certain amount of reflected glory.

    Her brother was also in the play, and I felt we'd kinda bonded. He's 18 and reminds me very much of me at the same age. In fact, it's as though someone stripped out my personality from high school and dumped half in him, half in her.

    So these are two interesting people I want to stay in touch with. And it's just not possible. You see, the generation gap is nothing compared, I think, with the communication gap.

    3) One of Mme's favourite movies is the Cusack/Robbins epic "Tapeheads." During conversation with the brother, whom I'll call Horatio Kos, it turned out he was also a fan. I suggested that we four, Mme, me, Horatio and his sister, get together for a couple of flicks.

    "Cool." he replied.

    During the run of the play, we met outside rehearsal on a couple of occasions. Last time he said straight out that this had to be the week because he was moving to a different shift. On Monday I e-mailed him to ask when was good?

    And ... And ... And nothing.

    Okay, no biggie. I went up to a meeting of the drama group that put on the play, where I got mugged into the vice-presidency. On the way home I stopped into the beer & wine store where Horatio's sister works to pick up a celebratory bottle. I swear she looked glad to see me. She recommended a bottle of pretty decent plonk called "Arrogant Frog" and we talked about writing and her future--which I believe in my heart involves, if not little gold statues, then a long and prosperous career on whatever celluloid has been replaced by. She also said that she and her brother were into the movie evening pretty much whenever (and I think that's a quote).

    Now when I left that meeting I was still irritable, apathetic and unhappy. After speaking with her for about fifteen minutes (it was apparently a slow night) I was pleasantly surprised to find I felt much better. I went home and had a couple of glasses with Mme, and slept over five hours. Feeling fine the next day I dropped an e-mail to her saying essentially "Thanks for the wine recommendation and the chat, I hope we'll talk like that again," though not while I'm standing in the checkout line.

    And ... And ... And ...

    I hate ... HATE ... checking e-mail compulsively. But that's what I found myself doing yesterday. There's the old line in my business: You cannot NOT communicate. A brusque reply would say one thing. Nothing at all, I suppose, is quite clear too. On the other hand, we are taught to always presume good will.

    In the big picture, this is nothing. Maybe two weeks from now I'll look back on it and laugh.

    4) In the immediate frame, this accentuates that I don't have any particularly good frineds in town. That the people I've found that I most enjoy spending time with are from an entirely different generation, with the exception of Mme.

    I don't wish to disparage the friends we have in town--especially those who read this blog--you are all wonderful people and I'm honoured to know you. But you all came to me through Mme (and why not, she is wonderful on her own account). The only person I've been able to speak with about this all is another 20-something who is disgustingly mature and accomplished for his age, and who of course has better things to do than hang out with me. He also doesn't drink, which is nearly an insurmountable flaw in any friend of mine.

    My skin feels permanently too hot. Mentally I'm riding the edge of some imaginary line where my first reaction is to haul off and punch something. I don't want to be at work, don't really want to socialize (not least because of how pathetic this $#!7 feels) and were it not for the mortgage I would probably be lying on the local beach with a local bottle for a couple of days. I mean, if you're going to wallow, you should do it right, no?

    Of course in concert with the way everything else is going, it's gone from 34 degrees and blazing sun last week to about 18 and dull, dull grey. So no beach in any case (though I did get the first swim of the year in on Sunday).

    Normally I'd be able to laugh at how stupid I'm being. Usually I could get myself out of this within a couple of days. Maybe blogging it will help.

    I have more on the generation gap thing, about nostalgia and mid-life crises. But I wanted to get how I was feeling written down while it's still fresh. Someday I may just feel this way again, though the mind boggles, and I want to be able to look this up and remind myself how useless and pathetic it is to be whingeing my way through a fairly priveleged life.

    I apologise for infliciting this on you, O Avid Fan.
    <--!/whingeing-->

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    06 June 2007

    One of These Things is Not Like the Others



    Okay class. A little geography lesson: All of the marked points on this map are countries except?

    Well here's a clue for comparison:



    Notice anything about those two pics?
    I didn't know Yahoo! was so sovereigntiste.

    Still working on the whole gloom & misery thing. Feeling a bit better today, but I can feel it's going to be a long few days' road. Just not sure how much I want to say about what, and a little constrained by circumstances.







    05 June 2007

    Nothin' Goin' On But the Mortgage

    I've tried at least four times to post. I'm down, blue, and completely unmotivated. Part of it is that I've been feeling a way I don't fully understand and I can't quite make out what I want to say about it.

    Usually I'm well in control of that aspect of things. If I don't want to feel a certain way, I take steps to feel some way different. Running from emotional peak to trough gets damn old once you're past fifteen or so. So now I wish I felt different, but I can't seem to manage it, quite.

    I've got two memes and a post on humour and the Great Enemy to work on. But I seriously can't.

    Not adding anything in particular to the mix is the sudden realization that I spend a good part of my life reporting second-hand on the unfortunate ends of people whose last words were most likely "Oh £µ©λ ..."

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    01 June 2007

    I Don't Have Time for This

    But I haven't forgotten you, O Avid Fan(s).
    Lacking time to post I hereby declare this to be video Friday:



    A sweet little number by Van Hagar, back when Eddie was between rehabs and actually looked healthy.

    I expect to be back after the weekend. Peace out y'all.