Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tick tock tick tock

No, I'm not planning on sending a letter bomb to my comments spammer (although it would be in keeping with my policy of massive and disproportionate retaliation). Instead, that's the count down clock to my departure.

I got my plane ticket back from Air New Zealand, booked my Calgary - Vancouver flight, found places to stay to in England (it was a little worrying at first, but I forgot that normal people don't check their email every 5 minutes (or even every day).

Thanks to the wonders of the internyet I also now have an OK idea of all the various travel times between key locations in Southern England. England is very small. I had forgotten just how small it was until looking at a map and then travel times. Seriously, 5 hours from Calgary get you just past Edmonton. From London, it gets you to most other English cities (unless it's rush hour, in which case you might make it to the next exit on the M25).

Monday, August 22, 2005

Things About Me.

Since it seems to be fashionable for bloggers to make narcissistic lists of facts about themselves, I thought I'd try to make one.

1) I check my email 12 times or more a day and can't understand why normal people don't do it at least once. Seriously, people, check your email, you're ruining the information superhighway. You are better off emailling me than phoning me if you want my attention - I can ignore the phone, I almost never ignore an email.

2) I simply can not just buy a loaf of bread when I go to the supermarket. I will ALWAYS end up with about 10X the amount of stuff. Doesn't matter if my cupboards are empty or if I just spent $200 two days before. I will load up my shopping basket. Food is one of the few things I enjoy shopping for.

3) Raw tomatoes make me nauseous, boil em up and make pasta sauce or ketchup and I love em. I also don't like haut-cuisine (even just cuisine is suspect, unless we're talking French - which I can do, lentement). I like food that is cooked, not created. My top three foods are potatoes (especially roast, fried, or mashed up with plenty of dairy products - it's my Irish heritage), sweetcorn (especially on the cob, but I go through a lot of frozen corn too), and beef (either rare, or stewed for so long it's falling to pieces). My favourite condiment is sweet chili sauce and my father has made several of my top ten meals ever.

4) I drink ridiculous amounts of water. We're talking about 4 litres a day. I strongly prefer it iced (I keep three half full plastic drink bottles in the freezer, so I can have cold water all day).

5) I enjoy watching professional wrestling. Yes, I know it's fake, and I know that ironic-faux-belief is so Gen X (I think I'm offically Gen Y, but whatever, even if I'm late X, I despise people who try to be cool, so I ain't doing that). I just enjoy it because it's like a soap opera with plenty of explosions and people "punching" each other. I also enjoy trying to work out where the storylines are going (and when I'm right, proving I'm smarter then the average bear - which is my real favourite hobby).

Five items will do because I got a little tangential on some of them (what a surpruse, huh?)

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Vigilante Justice.

Well, I got my first comment spam, so I turned on image verification for comments. Sorry bout this, but I figured it was better than forcing people to have a blogger account to comment.

The following is an open letter to the owner of and anyone else who thinks it might be a good idea to spam this blog:

Dear Spammer,

You just made a huge mistake.

I complained to your domain registrar and your web host. Hopefully you'll need to find a new host and domain name and start all over again.

I've also bookmarked your site so if it does go live you'll be recieving some special attention from me. You want to spam my blog? You're going to pay the price.

I have always disliked spammers, and now that I'm trying to make an honest living on the internet I actively hate them.

By the way, the honest living argument is probably going to be your defence for spamming me. Using automated tools to exploit other people's work without adding any value of your own is not an honest living in my eyes.

I don't care that it's possible to get automated tools to create forum posts and blog comments to increase your link popularity. It's possible for me to just tip my garbage off my balcony rather than take it to the garbage chute too, but I don't even though it would save me a 30 meter walk.

What you are trying to do is steal Page Rank. I don't like stealers. Yes, stealers is not a real word but to call you a thief is an insult to thieves - at least thieves have to make some sort of effort, you just bought your spammy software off some sleazy get rich quick website and set it to work.

As you will discover, I have a rather vindictive streak. You spammed the wrong blog, and I'm going to make you pay. Simple as that. In fact, I'm going to try and destroy you. Forget an eye for an eye. This is going to be massively disproportional payback. If I can bring your business to its knees, I will, and I will be glad about it.

I might be rather liberal on many things, but crime and punishment is one thing I'm pretty conservative on - especially punishment :D - There's no Eighth Amendment on the Internet. In case you don't understand (you are a stupid spammer after all) the Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. Which is exactly what you are going to get.

Hurry up and launch your site so I can start getting medieval on you.

That is all.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I suck at blogging.

I mean really, let's go over the checklist of a good blog.

1) Updated Regularly. Well, except when I'm busy, bored, uninspired or tired. I'm not appointment reading, because nobody, except the phone company, makes appointments for a 72 hour window.

2) Short posts. BWAAAAHAHAHA! When given free reign, I can and will be rather verbose. Sure, each individual sentence will be well crafted and fairly efficient. There will just be lots of them on a variety of topics.

3) Plenty of links to other blogs and interesting content. Nope. I'm selfish and want to keep all my visitors to myself. Plus I just never remember to link to anything cool, because I'm starting to become forgetful in my old age.

4) Interesting content. Sure, I sometimes manage to find something interesting to write about, but usually I'm just scrambling to put a veneer of humour on a rather unexceptional daily life. Sure, the meta-narrative (oh yeah, random intellectual showing off like that isn't good blogging either) of my life is interesting, but there's been precious few interesting events recently.

That all said, I did go for a hike on Sunday with a couple of friends from my U of C days and couple of their friends. It was good to get in back touch, however briefly, which people I like, and meet new ones (even if I am going to resort to my old trick of leaving the country).

We wandered up Mt Yamanuska (or something like that). It was good fun, the views were very nice - mostly back down a valley out to the plains. All round a good Sunday afternoon, capped off with a very pleasant dinner of nachos, fajitas, and chocolate cake.

While I'm thinking about desserts, one more thing I will miss about Canada is maple flavoured stuff. It's everywhere from on top of pancakes (of course), in brownies (an obvious place for it), to chocolate bars (less logicial I would have thought, but Canadians love maple syrup) to baked beans (I kid you not) and even such culinary delights as "Maple chicken".

As Asterix might say, "these Canadians are crazy" (except he'd also have to add "Ces Canadiens sont fous" or the language police would get him. By the way I conjugated and spelt that correctly BEFORE checking which is more than I can do with English some days recently. Not that French is going to be much use in Malta, since Maltese really is some sort of bizarre cross of Arabic, Italian, and Klingon.

I really do have a thing about insulting small countries don't I? First there was a series of posts making fun of Irish people and their ridiculous sports, now I'm starting to pick on a country that's about the size of a postage stamp (actually, if we take the Vatican as the official postage-stamp sized country, then Malta is postcard-sized). I'm pretty sure the city of Auckland is larger.

While trying to check this, I found the following discrepancy:

The NZ treasury website tells visitors that NZ's areas is 103,000 square miles.
Lonely Planet claim it's 103,737 square miles.
Wikipedia and the CIA might think it's 111,984 square miles (although I can't be sure I converted 268,680 square KM into square miles correctly - I divided by 1.6 and then by 1.6 again)

Anyway, I'm going to play some Super Nintendo (I'm just one boss away from getting all of Donkey Kong's bananas back!) and then go to bed.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Well, I'm off to Malta at the end of the month. Assuming the job goes well, I'll more or less stop being a nomad. OK, fine, I'll become a settled person. That scares me more than moving half way round the world. That's kind of like meh, whatever, wake me up when we get there. But a real job, with an actual salary (and a pretty decent one, at least by Maltese standards)? That's the worrying thing.

Malta Fact #1 - Population density 1300 / km2, Netherlands population density 700 / km2.

Malta Fact #2 - Rabbit is the unofficial national dish.

Seriously, I'm not too fussed that they speak a language that's somewhere between Arabic, Italian and Klingon (well English is an official language too, so I'll survive) or any of that culture shock stuff.

But I'm getting a real job and will have to be responsible and stuff. It'll be fun - using my newfound innurnet knowledge and so forth, rather than just qualifying for a job by being a breathing biped.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

You want me to do WHAT with my coins?

I've collected about $60 worth of change (coins less than a dollar) over the last few months. I take it down to the bank (open 10:30 - 3:30 - wow what service). It's all nicely separated into envelopes so they can just weigh it and put electronic money in my account.

Except they can't. Apparantly I have to roll my coins. No, this doesn't mean I should see how they perform when dropped on their sides. In Canada's "High-Tech" banking world, they don't have coin weighing machines (which we had in 95 at the Kentucky Fried Chicken I worked at in NZ). So I got given a bunch of paper sheaths which I had to try squeezeing coins into.

Not fun.

So I am leaving Canada in protest.

Well that and I was offered a pretty sweet job in Malta. Details to come - haven't recieved the contract yet, but I was offered the job.

Most of my readers (mum and dad) already know the details. The rest of you will find out when I feel life sharing.

Dan (my flatmate) and I will be going to the CFL game on Friday - $20 for ticket, bus ride to the stadium, a beer and some garlic bread - ticket alone directly is $27 or more. If you're looking to see a Stampeder's game, sportsbars all over the city have this sort of deal.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's been a long week.

Let's not talk about it. Business is pretty good, I have more ideas than time, and most importantly, I'm enjoying myself... usually - there are frequent moments of frustration (caused mainly by client's this week, the laptop has been mostly behaving itself) but generally things are good.

I've started a little sideproject - People Buy That, a blog about all the Funny Weird Stuff out there. Two minutes a day (or less) out of my life, but hopefully it makes my visitors' days a little better.

In terms of real work, I'm also moving out of just being a content monkey and into a more general ecommerce role. This is fine by me.

Precious little going on really, this last week has been another one involving a lot of time in front of the computer. Just updating to reassure my faithful reader - I don't even deserve to use the plural any more - that I am still alive.

Monday, August 01, 2005

More Random Irish Bashing.

The title suggests that this post is going to make derogatory comments about Irish people (or at least Irish-Canadians). Well, that's true (when have I ever passed up an opportunity to insult anyone? It's also going to be about actual Irish bashing.

There was a Gaelic football tournament up in Edmonton this week, and although you're not allowed to tackle people (silly rule), you are allowed to shoulder charge them, and slap at the ball while they carry it. So, my natural defender skills (a polite way of saying that I'm large and good at getting in the way) were put to some good use.

As I've said before, it's a funny old game. It's not just that the rules seem designed to give someone familiar with proper English sports (like Rugby and Soccer-football) a headache. Gaelic football sometimes seems less of an athletic contest (although the good players are pretty skillful indeed) than an excuse for Irish people to indulge in two of their favourite pasttimes - disrespecting authority figures, and arguing with each other.

To make a broad generalisation, Irish people have a finely honed sense of injustice and melodrama. You can see this by the way that a missed call by the referee is treated as if it was the single worst thing to happen in any sporting event ever. It was hillarious, almost every free kick brought a storm of protest and counter-protest from anyone within voice-shot.

On the animated conversation scale, it was about an 8.3. For reference purposes, that's slightly above two french men talking about the weather (7.8 usually, perhaps a 8.0 if they are farmers) but a little less histrionic than a mexican soap opera (at least an 8.5, more if there's an evil twin involved). I would say it's roughly on a par with a Zairian peddler who has just been given a lowball offer for his wares (from what I remember of the few who were brave enough to face my mother).

The dinner at the Irish social club on Saturday night was a grand affair - boiled Brussels sprouts, boiled baby carrots, mashed potatos, roast potatos, french fries, roast beef and gravy, and some salad (easily the least popular item, and dripping with creamy dressing). There was also dessert (mostly very sticky and or creamy cakes and fruit pies crusted with sugar).

I am honestly NOT kidding about the menu. I swear.

It was good solid food, tasty and plentiful. They met my two main criteria for a good meal. The roast potatos were not quite the best I have ever tasted (my father would disown me if I disrespected his crispy roast potatos) but they were easily the best mass-produced spuds I have had.

After dinner entertainment consisted of three guys singing traditional Irish songs about British evilness (and not so traditional ones about (n)One Tree Hill). Because I am a polite guest, I resisted the temptation to point out after the second rendition of "Rifles of the IRA" that we won and the IRA soon won't have rifles any more (assuming they are telling the truth).

I am now convinced chronic lateness is a feature of any country colonised by the British. I think it's revenge. Just look - New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, India, Jamaica, etc, are all famous for being rather lacadaisical in their attitude to starting times. Canada isn't as bad, but only because they have been culturally colonised by the Americans who have a strong German influence (just look at what they find funny, and their penchant for uniforms).

We lost the final. I hate losing. Let's not talk about it.

There's a little bit of truth in the saying that as long as you can walk off the field knowing you did everything you could, then you can feel happy. As long as happy is defined as "not completely wretched", then it's true. It's still not fun though.

Anyway, I got stuff to catch up on.

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