Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Worst Christmas Spirit Ever

Years ago, I used to work for JMG CompuSmart in Hamilton. One of the owners - let's call him David (because that's his name) - had what I think might be the worst, most disturbing view of Christmas I've ever seen. Apparently David really, really doesn't like to be disappointed on Christmas morning. To avoid disappointment, David will go out and buy ALL OF HIS OWN PRESENTS.

He has them wrapped, and placed in a spare room in his house. Friends and relatives then come over and speak to David's wife, who lets them know what gifts are "available" for David. The person picks a gift, pays David's wife, and she gives them the receipt and then lets them write their name in the "From" part of the gift tag.

When David first told us this one day at work, everyone got this uncomfortable look on their face and said nothing. Except me. I thought he was kidding. I really didn't think a grown man - co-owner of a multi-million dollar business - could be so infantile. I laughed out loud, and said something along the lines of, "Can you imagine anyone actually being that fucked?"

Problem was, David wasn't kidding.

I was fired a few weeks later. Which I am sure was simple coinincidence.

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stalker Ads...

Imagine the following scenario: you receive a phone call from a close friend, who tells you that "some people" have been coming around and asking questions about you. What kind of food do you eat? What clothes do you wear? Where do you like to shop? How much do you usually spend?

What's more, it turns out these unknown people aren't talking to just one friend. In fact, they're talking to lots of people. They want to know what kind of beer you drink, what TV shows you watch, how often you eat fast food.

You finally track one of these anonymous question-askers down and you confront him. Instead of denying his activities or apologizing, he says, "Yes, I have been following and asking questions of all the people you know, delving into your spending habits."

Would that bother you?

Now imagine he says this: "I have to tell you, following you around and asking people questions about your spending sure is time consuming. would you mind carrying around this little plastic card and using it whenever you shop? That way I can automatically build a database of all your spending habits so that I can figure out how to best target advertising directly to you. Tailer-made to present the most psycholigically effective advertisments directly to you."

Would you use the card? What if they promised that if you used the card you would get all kinds of free stuff? How much "free stuff" does it take for you to surrender your privacy to an organization who's stated goal is to figure out what advertising you are most vulnerable to and then use that information against you?

It's called Air Miles.

Nothing is free ... especially when lawyers tell you it is.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Family Photo

This is a picture my sister uploaded to Facebook. It used to have my stepfather in it, but thanks to Photoshop I was able to give the pic a colonectomy.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Back in my computer tech days, one of my favourite hobbies was building functioning computers out of left over spare parts ... in other words, creating a Frankenbox. I've been out of the computer tech game for years, and as such don't really get my hands on spare parts any more, so I can't really enjoy that hobby much. However, I did have an old P3 1.0 Gig system sitting around, and happened to have a spare monitor, so ....

I had some time to kill yesterday, so I made trip to Factory Direct and picked up a 40 gig HD (for $30.00 ... less than a buck a gig .... wow), a USB wireless network adapter ($25.00). I headed home and downloaded a copy of Windows XP professional .... I mean, purchased a legal copy of XP, and installed it on my computer.

The wireless usb adapter worked perfectly and Frankenbox was on my home network in no time. I'm currently working on transferring all of my music files over to the new system so it can serve as a music server for the network. I'll also be experimenting with Winamp's webcast features so hopefully I can stream my music live online.

Which would be kinda cool.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Yeah, so....

Today I hid from a nice person. She's someone who works with me. She's new here, very nice and friendly, and gets along well with her coworkers. She occasionally tries to engage me in conversation, which is why I hide from her. Because I'm shy.

Most people who know me have a tough time believing that I am shy, but trust me it is the truth. I have a very hard time in dealing with strangers, and quite often feel overwhelmed by their attentions. I don't really know why I am so shy, although I have some suspicions. Whatever the reasons, the fact remains that I find it very difficult to engage people I do not know in converstation. I also seem to carry some kind of air or aura that makes people believe I am not shy; people tend to think I'm just standoffish and rude. So I usually end up pissing people off due to my somewhat offensive defense mechanisms.

For most of us, people come and go into and out of our lives on a more-or-less constant basis. Old friends move away, new friends come into our lives, etc. But when you don't make new friends easily, the process can seem more like erosion. Old friends fade away and are not replaced by new. Until one day you realize that you can count the number of friends you have on the fingers of one hand. I am grateful for those friends, for they are wonderful and delightful people that I love deeply. When it comes down to it, I would rather have a few real friends than a host of casual accquaintences.

Having a small circle of friends does mean that I usually don't get together with them too often. People have their own lives, families, jobs, responsibilities, etc. For those with a large pool of friends its usually not too hard to find someone to hang with for the evening. Having a small circle of friends usually means that if I am in the mood to socialize there is a good chance that everyone I know will already be busy or engaged for the evening. And to be honest, I'm not the best at reaching out to begin with. I wish I was better.

The sensation of loneliness is growing. I have been alone most of my adult life, and had thought that I was more or less used to it. Apparently something has happened to change that, and I find myself no longer content to be alone. I don't mind quiet, but occasionally the silence can become something more than just silence. Any attempts I make to describe it better just seem melodramatic.

An important event happened in my life last summer, and it has changed me. I am no longer content to be alone. I don't know if this change is for the good or not, although currently it seems to be more on the "not" side. There is a longing building in me, a yearning for something amorphous.

Maybe its just a midlife crisis. That would be nice.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sick of US Politics yet?

Just how much air time can be devoted to subjects that don't actually matter? Take for instance the Republican and Democratic candidate selection process. I'm flabbergasted at the amount of time the press spends talking about who's going to win - Obama or Hilary? Or is it Edwards? - in the various individual states.

Don't misunderstand me, it does matter who ends up winning, and ending up becoming their party's presidential nominee. What doesn't matter are all these shows trying to guess who will win. For example, for the Democratic process, professional oddsmakers put Obama at something like 33%, Hilary at 32%, and Edwards at 27%. Now, perhaps I'm a bit simple, but to me that just means "Flip a three-sided coin".

In most cases, the battle is so freaking close there simply is NO WAY to pick a winner in advance. No matter how authorative the "expert" queried, the fact of the matter is that they are just guessing. And if you examine the experts' track records after the fact, they're usually as wrong as often as they are right. Which is what you would expect from someone who is guessing.

And that's what doesn't matter. The guesses. Yet you can't turn on a television without being flooded with hundreds upon hundreds of hours of television programmind devoted to trying to guess who's going to win the primary. And this is nothing compared to what we'll get once the Presidential race begins to heat up.

Bread and circuses.