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Showing posts from August, 2010

Personalization Has Run Amok

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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…

Why Etsy Sucks

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*** DISCLAIMER: I tried and left Etsy some time ago. The recent experiences speak not to Etsy, but to the dynamics and shortcomings of Etsy's model ***

I fight crickets. Crickets are that sound you hear when nothing else happens. Comedians hear it when they suck. I hear it when I put something out there and no one notices it. For example, over a year ago, I began re-imagining lawn ornaments as zombies. I dislike lawn ornaments, so I thought it was a befitting response to give the critters an undead patina. In the last year, I sold one, gave one away and then a month or so ago, I got a request to send out another one-- for cash! I mailed it. Supposedly, the address was incorrect, so it meandered back. Canada Post wanted to charge me to send the item, and they wanted to charge me to get it back. I sent it under a rate to be delivered in 5 business days. It took 15 business days to wander back. I was able to argue into not paying to get back what Canada Post failed to deliver. I heard…

What the Walmart is your problem!

Walmart, not beloved at all, now has a new purpose: you can use it as a profane word.
Examples:

What the Walmart is your problem?

You can stick your opinion in your Walmart!

I got Walmarted by a bunch of sailors on shore leave.

What the Walmart is that?

Oh, Walmart me!

Predator Stalks Quadra-Hillside Area Targetting Boys

This came from a wall post on Facebook. I thought it was important that this information "jump the wall":

"some creep in town tried to snatch my little buddy [Name Omitted] the other day , mom and dad are not happy and neither am I.I hope someone out there finds him before I or his parents do... "

This morning around 11:30, my son, [name omitted], and his friend were chased by a car, while walking. The man in the car got out, & attempted to abduct them {it seems} but thankfully the boyz were together and ran as fast as they could away..the man got back in his car and continued to chase them. While the car chased, [name omitted] friend pulled out his cell and called 911, which spooked the driver so he took off!

If you are driving around today..or walking, please be on the look out for a bright green {almostneon} Civic type, 2 door car. Man was tall, had blonde hair tied in a ponytail & brown eyes. this is my baby...my love the police station @ 250-995-7654 quot…

Top Ten Teas

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I realized that I like tea. I may be a tea snob. Here's my top ten teas. I like them hot and iced. Best of all-- I like a strong cup of tea poured over a cup full of ice.
Japanese Green TeaRed RooibosEnglish BreakfastOrange PekoeJewel of India (from Silk Road)ChamomileEarl GreyOolongApple TeaJasmine Tea

Nanaimo2Victoria : Dead Cars and Happy Bicyclists Get a Police Escort

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Traffic was backed up for hours on the single highway that goes south on the island into Greater Victoria. The record heat was compounded by traffic moving from 10 to 30 kmh down the highway. The net effect left many cars overheated and left for dead on the side of the road. There are claims that this was because of a poorly planned bike event. The "Nanaimo to Victoria" (N2V) charity ride run that was even given a police escort so that it could occupy the whole of the southbound route.

I guess "sharing the road" means something different to a bicyclist. As motorist, it means I'm supposed to accomodate those on bikes. As a bicyclist, it means "Get off the road-- I have sense of self righteousness and your vehicle uses gasoline."

If your car was one of the ones that paid the price for this charity, here's a list of sponsors you can thank for helping to make this all possible:
La-Z-BoyOak Bay BicylesPenninsula Co-opOld Victoria Water CompanyHarbour Side…

Why Aren't Bikes Licensed?

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There are more bicycles on the road than there are motorcycles. You can find them anywhere: on highways, side roads, foot paths and sidewalks. In Vancouver, 1600+ bicycles are reported stolen each year. In the 1920s, you didn't need a drivers license nor did you need your car licensed. Cars were uncommon, so there was no need to catalog automobiles or vet their drivers. As the volume of wheels on the road rose, licensing came into play. It's about time this happens for bicycles.
I'm not talking about requiring insurance: if a bicyclist injures themselves that's their own matter. I'm not talking about licensing bicyclists: many of the people who bicycle are unable to pass any other sort of driving test, so it would be unfair to bar them from cycling. I'm just talking about making bicycles non-anonymous vehicles.
If all bikes needed a legitimate license, then stolen bikes would either pack the same stolen plate making detection easy; or they would need a new plate …

Why haven't you joined the Pirate Party?

You need to join the Pirate Party of Canada.
Don’t take the “Pirate Party” as a gag party, like a modern day version of the Rhino Party. Look at some of the party names: “Canadian Conservative-Reform Alliance Party” (CCRAP) or Social Credit (was that a Facebook version of Visa?) or the PDA (“Progessive Democratic Alliance” not “Public Display of Affection”).
The Pirate Party isn’t just about piracy or the freedom to get movies from Bit-torrent. It’s about our future-- it may be about the survival of the species and our planet. I kid you not.
Intellectual property-- the concept that an idea is like a physical creation that is boxed; or reproduced and sold for money; or owned by one person at a time-- it’s all a faulty concept rooted in a time when intellect was misunderstood. Those obnoxious ads that runs in front of a video nowadays ask if you would shoplift? Of course you wouldn’t: taking a physical object deprives someone else of that physical property-- that is how property works. Loo…

Go Green Not Blue

With all of this hooplah over the Blue Bridge at the foot of Johnson Street, I have to ask why? As in "Why are we not decommissioning the Johnson St. Bridge?"
For a long time, Greater Victoria has been on a vendetta against the car. Esquimalt Road lost lanes. Bay Street lost lanes. UVic has been slowly turning parking lots into buildings. Our city needs to go Green and get rid of the Blue Bridge.
The Johnson Street Bridge facilitates a tremendous amount of automobile use. Repairing it will cost a lot of money. Replacing it will use up a huge amount of steel, concrete and it amounts to massive exercise in carbon escape.
The City of Victoria turned from its pattern of maintenance expenditures in 2007 to spend just a fraction on the bridge as it aged. The City has the right idea: let it rot. Make a reasoned guess as to the remainder of its lifespan. Then start doling money on the bridge that is key for infrastructure and transport: the Bay St. Bridge.
If you think the idea of de…

Meatheads Mar VEMF

For the last several years, I've been going to VEMF-- the Victoria Electronic Music Festival. It was great when it was at Market Square: the space was a well with great acoustics. When it was moved up to Centennial Square it was okay. I liked the irony that the derelicts who nearly lived in Centennial Square were pushed out by a bunch of 20-somethings, loud music and a big beer garden.
This year was a lot more meathead-centric. I couldn't quantify it this year at first. It felt like a different mix. The beer garden was full of morons in trucker hats who probably didn't know the difference between Moby and Orbital. A friend of mine was nearly pushed into the fountain went two yayhoos were carousing with each other.
It turns out it wasn't our imagination (from the TC):

Victoria police arrested at least 10 people in response to 35 incidents in and around the event at Centennial Square. There were 10 fights, seven drug overdoses, three arrests for intoxication in a public pl…