Showing posts from 2010

Hideous Vs. Horrible

Just before Christmas, I was contacted by someone to send them a zombie gnome. I zombie up gnomes and garden rabbits to turn the cloying and trite into the hideous. As it turned out, I had three gnomes left: one very shattered, one cracked and one damaged. I explained this problem, then I tried to scare up a gnome. Much to my own surprise, I found one, zombied it up and shipped it off. The money dropped into my vacant PayPal account-- an account that sees too little activity. The buyer even paid me extra, so thrilled with the work.
I am handed a lot of things to fix that I would rather not touch. Conversely, there are a lot of things I want fixed that I can't fix. I find that when I can't fix something I try to compensate. I can't stop the cancer, but how about I drive you to ferry? You're relationship is ruined: would you like beer? I like to be able to mend stuff. But all things are impermanent: anything you fix will be wrecked again eventually.
This Christmas has fe…

Bell Has 1.3 Miillion Reasons To Stop Annoying You

I quit Bell Mobility a few years ago. Their service was lousy. Their customer service moreso. Several months ago, I started getting calls from Bell asking me to come back in some nearly indecipherable gibberish shipped via cheap VOIP from somewhere where the labour is even more cheap. This last week Solo started too. As it's also a Bell outfit, it's no surprise. I am close to ditching Virgin solely because of their close ties with Bell. Today, it was announced that Bell Mobility got slapped with a $1.3 million fine for their spamming practices. That doesn't mean they will stop, it just means they will try a newer and more slimy approach to get you to pay them money-- note "pay them money" not "use their services." You'll definitely pay, but you may get one successful call through their wireless tin-can network.
With the endless spam calls, I tried various strategies. The Do-Not-Call list does nothing. These calls are coming from an area that is outsi…

We're going to polls on April 12th, 2011

In the US, presidential candidates are selected late in the race. Considering the importance of the post, people get a small window of about three months to know who they're voting for. In Canada, with the parliamentary system, party leaders get to audition and snipe daily before they get their chance to run for the big chair.
In BC, we're in a different situation from the Canadian standard: the governing BC Liberals are going to anoint a new leader in February. The state of Liberal flux was going to hand the NDP the government on the next go round. But Carole "Anti-Gordon Campbell" James got into a quandary: who is she if her defining characteristic disappears. Sensing an opportunity to ouster Carole James, her caucus closed in for the kill. Carole James, as NDP leader, has not brought her party to power two times. In good conscience, she needed to step down after the 2009 defeat to pave the way for a leader who could give the NDP a victory. She clung to power until …

Happy Holidays From Endor

On December 14th, you can download a new adventure for The Force Unleashed II. In short, a Sith apprentice vs. Ewoks.

Five Elves No Waiting

Mayfair Mall -- No Riff-Raff Please

A friend told me a rumour: Mayfair Mall is booting some of its tenants. I was curious why and popped to the mall to check out what's up. I had to drive by the wrap-up of a SWAT team take down two blocks away. In the mall, police were prevalent looking at all of the shoppers searching for someone. Later came word that they were serving a warrant at the Traveller's Inn and it's unclear why they were combing over the mall.
35+ year old Mayfair Mall is the nearest mall to the troubled Rock Bay industrial area. It used to have a wide mix of stores: a meat shop, kitchenware, bookstores, toy stores, Woodwards and its food floor, pharmacies and clothing stores. That variety appears to be dwindling.
By January, Mayfair will have kissed good-bye to Build-A-Bear, Spencer Gifts and Blue Notes. Mayfair is opting to not renew their leases. Fans of Spencers Gifts have started a Facebook group. Mayfair Mall appears to be narrowing its focus to being a "fashion" mall of clothing st…

Congrats Justin Bieber

Bieber wins big at the American Music Awards

Hey, Victoria, What's Important?


Vote Yes Or No?

I am biased in favour of Voting "No" for the bridge project loan. Here's what the Yes and No vote says to me about the decisions being made when you go to the polling booth:

Vote No
Maybe you just want to see the bridge repaired.
It's not that you want to keep the old bridge, you just don't want to green light a $50 million loan because of its implications.
The replacement isn't costing $50-million. That's just the loan amount. It's budgeted at $77-million. Budget overruns are a given. This bridge could be $90-million or more. If you let them take out the loan, the City Council will take the in-for-a-penny approach. The extra millions will come from your pockets.This is your money and the City's decisions. Remember when they urged people to vote on the bridge design? Three viable candidate designs were foisted on us-- they purposefully omitted the repair option. The people spoke: they selected an option. Council took the second most popular option ins…

Yes: Victoria is Bridge Happy

Victoria is bridge happy. In its 150 years (since the Fort Victoria days), we've gone through 4 downtown bridges. Two (Johnson St. and Point Ellice) are still standing. One bridge is critical for our infrastructure (the Point Ellice Bridge aka Bay Street Bridge) and we're not talking about it. The Bay St. Bridge funnels natural gas, electrical, communications and industrial traffic. Johnson Street Bridge is the kitschy bridge that can rise or lower. It funnels traffic between the low-rent part of town and the downtown core. With one bridge key to the functionality of our city and one that's visible when you're a tourist-- we're zeroing in on the Blue Bridge.
For a long time I have involuntarily been helping the "Yes" campaign. All of the those bus shelter ads; and flyers and media blitzes-- I paid for those. As a taxpayer, I have been obliged to pay for the tens of thousands of dollars wasted on making the "Yes" side prominent and the defacto cho…

Yeah, We've Forgotten

Let's not forget our governments' long history of screwing veterans. In 1932 disenfranchised veterans from World War I marched on Washington in a ground dubbed "The Bonus Army."
While MacArthur, Patton and Eisenhower played roles in the drama, and this contributed to the political sunset of Hoover, FDR wanted to screw the veterans. When in office, Roosevelt turned them into workhorses as part of his overall New Deal plan to put people back to work. When 258 of the veterans-turned-workers died in a September 1936 hurricane, public sentiment shifted. This eventually resulted in the GI Bill of Right by 1944 (luckily passed in time for WWII veterans who were coming home). The effective reward for service resulted in the Boomer generation. World War II veterans were given education and home loans. This caused a bulge of post-labour workers with homes and it effectively created the "middle class". The Cold War sustained the military industrial complex and m…

Ask What You Can Do For Your City

Of all people, Gordo's brother, Michael Campbell put our social dilemma into sharp relief. In a recent radio column, he referenced JFK. Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country"-- in other words: the government isn't a rich uncle; you have a duty to your fellow man, the people around you and by extension your society and country. Kennedy saw that our gimme culture was breeding well fed, selfish people who wanted to take.
We expect sympathy and civility but we need do that for others. People are driving a mile a minute in a ton of metal and plastic. When you're standing on a wide sidewalk, you expect that a motorist shouldn't take a shortcut over a meaty speed bump (you). That expectation is a network-- it's only as likely to be received as it is to be given.
But instead, we are a consumer culture. The politicians who give us more get elected. Those who say that they will give you more for less, get el…

Gordon Campbell was Blackmailed

Harken back to when privateer Gordon Campbell solidified his commandeering of the Liberal party. When Campbell talks about vicious personal attacks on those near and dear to politicians, he knows first hand how it's done. He used Gordon Wilson's affair with Judy Tyabji to ouster the centrist Liberal leader and tarnish Tyabji. Campbell knows how much damage personal attacks can bring because he has waged decades of attacks on people in the province: politicians, business people who have stood in his way, and individuals who made the mistake of being too poor or in just in the way of the Liberal NeoCon agenda.
Campbell is a selfish micro-manager who does what he wants when he wants. Any decent politician would have resigned after being caught drunk driving. When he drove up to announce that the Coquilhalla toll booths were being shut down, the Ministry of Transportation and Highways had no idea this was coming-- even the toll booth workers in the background of his announcement di…

Who is trying to buy Britain?

This comes from Charlie Stross' site, but that site is crashing under heavy load, so I've reposted it here.
Did somebody just try to buy the British government? By Charlie Stross (Hat tip to [REDACTED] over on LJ for spotting this one ...)(DUE TO THE HEAVY LOAD WE'RE CURRENTLY EXPERIENCING, I'm going to disable comments for a couple of hours. Normal service will be resumed as and when the load drops below 50,000 readers/hour — cs.)Hansard is the official printed transcript of the proceedings of the houses of parliament — in other words, the working log of the British government. It is an authoritative primary source, and records every speech made in the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Interestingly, it also records words spoken under parliamentary privilege.So when an eminent member of the House of Lords stands up six hours into a debate and blows the gaff on a shadowy foreign Foundation making a bid to buy the British state, and this is recorde…

Is NaNoWriMo Important to you?

I have written three unsalable novels, two unsalable screenplays and one unsalable non-fiction book (Web development). I don't know how to write well, but I know how to write a lot.
Every year I angst for about 30 seconds that I am not diving into the NaNoWriMo. Maxwell Grant (one of my writing heroes) used to lap the NaNoWriMo by turning out two 60,000 word Shadow novels every month.
If you were an aspiring writer, what is more important to you? Accomplishing the goal of NaNoWriMo and completing a novel; or seeing what your friends are doing on Friday night via Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is worse than murder. The 500 million users expending a median of 10 minutes per day expend 126 lifetimes of time each day. If a car model used up 46,000 lives per year the CEO for that car company would be up on criminal charges.
To turn out 60,000 words, you need 60,000 "keeper" words-- words after typos and rethinks. When I write, I type at about 80 words per minute of which I end …

Live Local: Shoot Up Anywhere in the CRD

VIHA has launched a number of needle exchanges, similar to the outfit that was run on Blanshard and then proposed last year to share a building with a sexual assault centre.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority made the interesting move of concealing the location of these publicly funded needle exchanges. (more: CFAX news).
So, it makes sense that the needle exchanges won't operate out of a corner store. But it seems more likely they will operate out of one of the many VIHA offices in the region. These regions are handy: they are near your home. When you're sick, you already go to these centers. Snug over and leave some room for the junkie who needs clean needles. Heck, you should be really accommodating and just be ready to hand over your wallet: those IV drugs don't come cheap.

This is a partial list of potential needle exchange locations:

Esquimalt Health Unit
530 Fraser Street
Victoria, BC V9A 6H7

Peninsula Health Unit
2170 Mount Newton X Road
Saanichton, BC V8M 2B2

Saanich H…

Still want to promote your Etsy Site?

If you still want to sell on Etsy, you need to promote your wares. Here are 52 resources you may find handy. - Make your items some of your own 43 favorite things. - Get a blog and crow about your cool stuff. - Make some funky design and have them print it on stuff. - A great example of an arts nexus. - Less cool than it used to be. - Add it to the directory. - Add it to this other directory. - Make your own page in Facebook. - Photograph your stuff as you go.

Educators Haven't Learned Anything

Our daughter is in a split 4/5 class. There are two 4/5 splits in her school. My confidence is shaken in a school where they haven't grasped that 1/2 + 1/2 = 1. They really can take all of the Grade 4s from the two classes and put them in one Grade 4 class? Then, do the same with the Grade 5s? I honestly don't know why this is: I sit in the cheap seats and don't participate in the PAC (Parents Advisory Council).
My daughter has had some earnest teachers who seemed to really try to give her the best education possible.
In years past, I've come to know a lot of teachers outside of their teaching roles. My friend came from a family of teachers. My wife worked with a bunch of people who's spouses and their friends were teachers. Of these two samplings, what a bunch of bitter ambivalent people I've never seen elsewhere. It was like going to a Nirvana suicide pact clad in tweed.
I think the teachers' hands are tied are tied by the curriculum, cutbacks and the helico…

Whacky Manifesto

Last month, I posited in a discussion on logic that anyone who places rational thought as the cornerstone of their decision making, should off themselves because life is ultimately futile. I don't subscribe to that approach, but that seems to be how the logic train would run.
Before is a reproduction of what Whack job James Lee (Burnaby resident) says of the world's problems and his take on the solution.

The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:
1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions cont…

Personalization Has Run Amok

Sunday morning, we were leaving the grocery store. This moron and his mate in a small black car eased into three small car spots. By parking at a right angle to lanes, we was able to use three small car spots with his single small car. He got out. His wife got our with the couple's Starbucks cups. He went to the trunk, fished out his reusable bags (aw... he's fallen for Thrifty's greenwashing). Then they traipsed into the grocery like all was right in their world.
And why would this be wrong? After all: he wanted three spots and grey haired baby got three spots. He personalized his parking preferences.
You go to Starbucks and you can personalize how much foam, de-caf, half-caf, room for cream, hot, cool, lots of water, no-whip, extra-whip, double shot, yadda yadda. Long gone are the days of getting a cappucino or a latte: you can have it exactly like you want.
On the roads, we've been lopping out lanes that can hold lots of cars capable of holding four or more people in f…

Are We $10 away from Solving Homelessness?

The question was Tweeted "vwould (sic) you support a regional levy (10$ per household) to help end homelessness?" to the Victoria people.
That's one of those great questions: "Would I pay $1 to win $1 million?" Duh! Of course I would pay $1 to get a million. Moreso, I would pay $10 if that was all that it took to end homelessness and the suffering of the homeless. But just as I'm not going to make a million-to-one return on my dollar, $10 isn't going to end homelessness and it's ridiculous to think so.
Homelessness is like the common cold. There are a hundred varieties so one solution isn't going to do it. As I said before, there are the dilettantes-- children of well-to-do locals who are downtown because it's hip (everybody hates a tourist). There are dilettante homeless: those who summer here like its the soup kitchen version of the Hamptons. There are the mentally ill: budget cuts and the mainstreaming of mental illness has made institutio…

Make Millions In Minutes-- Sign Up Now!

The title is a little hyperbole but it's close to the claims I'm getting in from these spammers/scammer/shrewd businessmen. One I saw this morning: Mike Filsaime mentored one of these characters to a product launch that netted $250,000 in a week. Really? I'm mean: really?
If it's possible to make $250k in seven days, then everyone should be doing it, right?

So here's the challenge. Make me rich through online marketing, guys. Take me and mold me into a millionaire.
- I write about programming, Drupal, Cthulhu, polymer clay, fiberglass, geekdom (eg. Star Trek), Victoria current events, dieting and cooking. It's what I know about that I want to write about.
- I don't have a book. Well, to be technical: I wrote three unsalable novels, one unfortunate screenplay, one teeny cookbook, one massive IT book and a full novel that reads "All work and no play makes Jack a Dull boy" repeated 7600+ times.
- I don't have a website. Again, to be technical: we have…