Friday, July 30, 2004

What about my nose?

(BACKGROUND STORY: I was flipping through the channels, and passed Sharon Stone's biography. They were talking about some surgical procedure she was undergoing, and she said "...and I sincerely believe in my heart that God was with me."

But don't you believe that God is everywhere? Isn't God, by definition, omnipresent?)

God is like your nose: wherever you go, your nose is there, and it always hears what you have to say. Well, it doesn't actually hear you, but you know it's there, so you like to pretend it hears what you say. You like to think it helps you get through life.

Of course, if you are in a real tight crisis, you'll talk directly to your nose, and say, "Please, nose, help me through this," when there is nothing that your nose can really do. This is unless your crisis is that you can't get your glasses to stay on your face, in which case your nose might help.

And then, when you are surprised, or hear something outrageous, you say "Oh my nose!" But of course everyone has a nose. You believe that your nose is the same nose that everyone else believes in. But it's really your own personal nose, even if you don't want to admit it. This is why when somebody else says "Oh my nose!", you assume that they're talking about your nose. You don't respond, "Your nose? What about my nose?" No, you don't do that.

Now, you don't want to really admit that your nose will be everywhere you go. I mean, everywhere you go. Sure, if you need a little help or luck, you hope your nose will get you through it. But you still have a convenient tendency to sometimes "forget" that your nose is there and that it's judging you. You never find yourself with a very close friend and say, "I can't tonight, dear, because my nose is watching."

Your nose tells you what is right and wrong. Don't bother that it's never spoken to you directly, but it's given messages before to very powerful people, and your nose's message has gotten to you through these people, somehow. Your nose also gives you signs, and will point you in the right direction in its own subtle way. How you interpret these signs is up to you, but your nose would never lead you down the wrong path.

There's also some people out there who don't have a nose. Or, they like to think they don't have a nose, but you know they do because they're human, and you can see it plainly on their face. You don't know who these people are, though. It's not like you go around asking strangers, "do you believe in your nose?" That's just strange. You assume that they do, and pretend like they do, and hope it never comes up. They're not going to shout in surprise, "Oh my not-nose!", so it's pretty safe that you won't have to worry about finding out.

You might admit that there are groups of people who think of their noses differently. Their noses may be more broad or narrow than yours is. It's hyprocritical, of course, because you know that everyone has the same nose. These other people just don't realize that their noses are really like your nose, not like the ones they describe.

You might see one of these people who is doing something wrong, and you might tell them, "You shouldn't do that, that's a sin, and your nose will punish you for that!" You don't really think of the times when other people say this to you, and you think, "No, not my nose."

And even though your nose is a loving and caring nose, you have to be a good person. You have to be kind to your nose, and respect its wishes. If your nose says that you shouldn't do drugs, you know full well that it's a good idea you listen. You have to be kind to other people, because they will tell their nose about you, and you want to be sure that they are saying good things.

This is because your nose has a bad side. You've never seen it, but you know it's there. Bad things have happened to you, or maybe you've seen bad things happen to other people, and you know that it's because they didn't listen to their nose. You never wonder how your nose causes these things, but then it's best just to hope they don't happen to you.

After all, you are consoled by the fact that your nose is always there, even if you don't always remember. You know that your nose will be with you through those hard times, and that you'll thank your nose when you have a very good experience. So remember to talk to your nose, and be a good nose-fearing person. It will reward you.

- RG.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Life is a waste of time (diary)

Someone pointed out to me today that the pamphlets I made for an event my group is holding and had 1000 printed professionally do not show the location of the event.

I had to make a stamp out of those annoying things where you have to assemble the individual rubber letters, and stamp all the remaining brochures (over 600!). That took me at least an hour.

I was hoping to go out to the east end of town to do some business, but it will have to wait thanks to all these hassles. It looks like tomorrow will be another long day.

BTW, I don't know why the doctor wrote "mono" on the blood test form, but after numerous calls to his clinic and $160 worth of drugs later, I found out that he (as well as my GP, who I also saw in the same timespan) prescribed me drugs for my asthma and allergies, not for this 'disease' I thought I had.

A hundred and sixty fucking dollars for allergy pills! (and nose spray, and steroid puffer).

I'd better make sure I don't breathe on any olympic athletes, for fear that they might get disqualified!

I've lost my train of thought. Not that I've lost it, just it's at the end of the line, and I don't have a transfer (aren't analogies wonderful!).

Anyway, I got home from cycling a while ago, and am considering taking a shower (I will be going back out for a Pathway Patrol at six, and will likely just get sweaty again. I have to change anyway.

I hate things that go wrong. Fuck them (not literally). I push myself too hard and make too many commitments.

I also say random things about myself to complete strangers. Remind me to make a "100 things about me" list sometime. I'm sure I'll be able to find plenty of accurate, non-related, coherent items (insert eye-rolling here).

Something inside me is stopping me from ending this post. It stopped being interesting at least three paragraphs ago. I'm just too tired to stop. No, it's that I can't think of a good way to end it.

Family Guy is coming back. The Ottawa Citizen referred to it as "Family Man", as an accidental Political Correction in the headline. Ha!

That's it. I promise.

- RG.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Mono-cycle (diary)

I went to a local clinic to find out whether I've just got really bad allergies, or if it's something worse. The doctor gave me paperwork to get bloodwork done, and it seems he suspects mono. I suspect it is not, as I've had "not-mono" before, and I'm not exactly the prime candidate for "the kissing disease".

Hell, I haven't even kissed much ass (figuratively, of course) any time recently.

I have an appointment with my GP (rather, her replacement while she's on holidays) tomorrow, and since my Student Health Plan only covers prescription meds I buy at the campus pharmacy, I'll have to get the pills there. (I couldn't get the doctor to look at me during that appointment because he can only tend to one ailment per visit, so I would have had to schedule a second appointment, and I'm seeing him to get an Rx for something else. Stupid red tape.)

Nevertheless, I was able to respond to a letter to the Citizen and attend a meeting via speakerphone (that's dedicated for you, eh?).

Apparently, some jackass opened his car door without looking, and she was unable to avoid it and collided with the door (she referred to this as an accident, but it was clearly preventable on the motorist's part). He then went to a payphone, got back in the car, and left without even offering help. In addition, a bunch of other jackasses on foot, bike, and car passed with no concern for the injured cyclist.

This is a case of hit-and-run (albeit a strange usage of "hit"). If someone is injured, it must be reported to the police, and all participants must stay on the scene. I sure hope that she got his licence plate number and that she reported him, but I don't think she got that far.

Ooooh, I'm so angry.

I hope I get better so I can go cycling again and help further the cause of cyclists.

- RG.

moan.... (diary)

My allergies were a real bitch yesterday, and today.

At least, I hope it's my allergies. My stupid allergy medication wasn't working yesterday (It says to take 'on an empty stomach'. Like fuck I'll ever have one of those!), so I took some decongestant nose spray. That cleared my congestion, but gave me a runny nose. Desperate, I took some non-non-drowsy benadryl, which nearly knocked me out, but I had a meeting to get to, so I toughed out the drowsiness.

As I left that meeting on my bike, my water bottle was empty, and my throat dried out. It is still dry now. When I got home, I took another benadryl and fell asleep.

I woke up at 2 a.m., freezing, and found my temperature was 35.07 degrees celcius. I got another blanket. After I woke up for real, my temp had gone up a bit, but has since gone back down. That fucking chainsaw outside isn't helping.

I didn't take that stupid allergy medication, but instead took some non-drowsy Dristan in hopes it will work better than the group of other drugs I took yesterday. I also took some Acidophilus that my grandmother gave me. They say it has some bacteria that's in Yogourt that eats up histamines or something like that, but takes a month or so to build up. Sounds weird, but I've tried everything else.

I don't know if I'm picking up the dander from my Dad's dog, or if it's environmental, or if it might even be the toxins in the fabric softener (I've heard horror stories of people who couldn't figure out what was causing their mad allergy symptoms, only to try not using fabric softener and they all but went away). This means I'll have to clean all my clothes. Goodbye Velveteen rabbit.

I'm going to see a doctor to find out if this is in fact allergies or if I've got some terrible condition--I'm not going to sit through this misery just to find out it was something else I could have fixed with drugs.

- RG.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Some good pranks... (diary)

I don't have much to bitch about, other than not having enough space on my handlebars for all my gadgets (plus my light mount prevented my computer from making contact with the base, so I lost some information). Other than that, coming down Somerset/Wellington/Richmond at 10:30 p.m. on Sunday was pretty darn sweet (30+ kph!)

So instead I'll tell you a couple of pranks I would never actually do (because I'm too damn P.C.):

This first one I got from an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies (I swear I was just channel-hopping!). Go around asking for donations, and when someone writes you a check, tell them to make it out to the "Centre for Attainable Social Housing", or some such similar thing. Obviously, they are not going to write the whole darn thing out, so tell them to just use the abbreviation: C.A.S.H. There's money in your pocket! (Note: this is illegal in at least one way, so don't actually do it - see what I mean about being PC?!)

The second one is get a yellow cycling jacket. One of those durable yellow ones that looks like the one the police wear. Then get a Canadian flag iron-on patch (they only come at tourist shops, so they're expensive), and iron it on the side. It's not illegal--it's patriotic!

Okay, then get an iron-on transfer (I don't know if that would work, it might destroy the jacket) and in big block letters, write "POLICY". Then all you have to do is lean against a lightpost, obscuring the "Y", and people will think you're the police! (again, actually posing as a police officer is an extremely illegal and dangerous thing to do, especially if you're in the cop-hating side of town).

But know this: the police actually sell baseball caps in their gift shops that say "POLICE" on them, and presumably it's not just for your shelf (i.e., they presume you will wear it). So long as you don't actually try to enforce (or "encourage obedience of") any laws, and you don't tell anybody you're a police officer, and answer honestly if someone asks you if you are a police officer, then I don't really see anything illegal in wearing such a hat. I do sometimes late at night when I'm on the bus.

Of course, that isn't to say that it isn't necessarily illegal to assume that people will think you're a cop, even if you don't explicitly say so; I just don't think it is (and I'm not the final word on that).

So anyway, uh, don't do anything I said here...unless perhaps you think you can defend yourself in court...reasonably. It's just a couple of musings I've had that are, well, amusing.

- RG.

Zero divided by Pi (diary)

That's right...nothing again.

Okay, sure, I went to a cottage and stuff, but nothing much actually happened (nothing worth bitching about, at least).

I went to get my hair cut today, and the lady put some really smelly shit in my hair (well, actually it was on her razor) that affected my asthma...but it wasn't so bad that I feel I need to bitch about.

Also at the mall, I got supper. It was close to closing time, so I got all the sweet & sour pork that was left (which was quite a bit). I didn't eat all of it, but nobody else would have, either, so that's fine.

Coming home from the mall, I encountered a few cars, none of which signalled. I find it a bit ironic that the only person who signals is a cyclist.

Man, I really wish something would happen so that I could bitch about it!

The Ottawa Sun published an article that essentially says "not enough people are scared by our obsessive fearmongering of the bike paths!" They also invariably refer to the pathways as "bike paths", even, as in this case, when they are reporting on the activities of non-cyclists. Fucking stupid Sun. The editors must all suffer from an incurable case of the Mean World Syndrome. I'm sure more people genuinely read Playboy for the articles than the Sun.

I'd complain more about the Sun, but I have the good fortune not to read it, so I don't know enough about it to give it the full critique it deserves. But of course, even if I could, I would hope that nobody reading my blog entry would be able to relate to it anyway.

Man, that's pretty disappointing. Nothing much of note happened this whole weekend. I guess that's it, then.

- RG.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Someone is watching... (diary)

[Note: I had written this entry before, but then I accidentally opened another page in the same window and lost all the information before submitting it, so it will not be as good as it was the first time around. I hate that...]

I got a comment on one of my blog entries, and it resulted in many mixed emotions (to which I should add anger for having lost the original response to it!). Here is what that comment said:

Krista said...

You posted on my BLOG the other day, so I decided to take a look at yours. OMG!!! You are hilarious. I have read through all your posts, and you are one of the(unintentional) funniest people in the world. Thanks for the laugh, I needed it. Keep it up, I will definately keep reading. //K


Now, because I'm Canadian, I was instinctively insulted by this. The whole point of having blogs on the internet is so that you can post things and think that other people are reading it, not so that you can post things and people actually do!

But anyway, I got over that. I then was curious about some of the things Krista meant. I'm a very analytical person. In fact, I put the "anal" in analytical (but not in a sexual way). What, exactly, is it that Krista finds amusing?

Of course, as Professor Heisenberg would tell you, simply by knowing that I am being observed I will change my behaviour. And although I may not be an atomic particle, I do know that I act differently when I get attention (I am usually more of an ass).

But then, knowing what certain people find interesting may lead to my posts catering to what they want to read, and not what I feel like writing about, in which case my entries may not have their certain on ne save pas that people like Krista find "hilarious".

Perhaps I could take it to a point where I encourage others to discuss. Then I would know that (or if) other people actually are reading it. But then, that would be more like a chatroom, and not like a blog. To me, a blog is like a personal Bah! That's stupid.

Then again, I don't really need to encourage others to comment on my posts. I should write what I feel like writing, and if others feel like responding, let them.

So I guess what I am saying is that somebody has read my posts and intends to read more in the future, because that person finds my posts "hilarious". Fine. I plan to post on average every day, except for the next two, because I'll be away. But I am not going to force myself to, much less commit to it.

Okay, this post has gone long enough. I'm going to end it with a sense of totally wasted effort. Maybe a few hours from now I'll square my shoulders, and start on up again (obscure Douglas Adams reference).

sigh (rolls eyes in boredom)

- RG.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Nothing (diary)

I just wanted to let everyone know that nothing much is happening.

I've got a Pathway Patrol today if the weather holds, and I'm giving blood tomorrow.

But really, nothing is happening. I think that once this entry gets sufficiently buried, I will change it into something more interesting, like a "contact me" entry, or a "100 things about me" entry.

I have yet to set up links on my sidebar, but am too fucking busy to do it anytime soon.

- RG.

Mattel Steals More From Children (commentary)

If you've seen today's paper, you'll notice that a little girl has won a prize of $1500 and a special edition 45th anniversary doll from Barbie for designing some new doll outfit.

I find this deplorable, that companies are getting their customers (especially ones who don't get any prize money but are still required to forfeit the rights to their submissions) to give them free product development, and spend only $1500 plus change to get a new product and a bunch of free advertising in the media. How many millions of dollars in revenue is Mattel going to make off of this new product, and how many hundreds of thousands are they going to save in advertising by having the media "report" on this "contest"?

Not only that, but then they are going to get the same children who lost out on this contest to pay for one.

No Logo.

- RG.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

long days... (diary)

Last few days have been busy. I've been doing more paid work, and it's just one of those weeks (where you have five meetings scheduled in three days, and one cancels on you without telling).

I also missed a doctor's appointment today. They'll probably stick me with some fees.

I may reconsider my choice to donate blood this Friday, though I expect things to wind down after Wednesday.

Too much stuff to talk about, and it's probably all boring, so I won't.

- RG.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Something happier (diary)

Note that I have added an image to my profile. It looks exactly like me, except for the age, weight, hair presence (head and facial), and glasses-ness.

I have noted that many of my recent posts have been negative or angry, and talk about such topics as things I hate, things that frustrate me, things that are stupid, etc. I have decided I'll write about something happier.

Are you familiar with the Mean World Theory/Syndrome? It essentially states that if people are exposed to unproportionally high amounts of violence on TV and in the media, they will act in society as if there actually is that much violence, creating an atmosphere in which that violence is more likely to occur. (Yes, I do find it ironic that I start a 'happy' post by talking about something as depressing as Mean World Syndrome)

By extension, if everyone you see on the street either doesn't look at you or gives you a 'mean' look, then you will believe that everyone hates you, that you live in an unfriendly place, or something similar. Subsequently, you will not smile at others, and they will also feel this way.

Well I have the opposite. Often times when I'm going around town quickly, I will paste a solid frown on my face and go to wherever I'm going as quickly as possible. But there are some exceptions.

If someone looks at me (and they are not in a car) and is frowning, I automatically smile. Similarly, if I am walking or on my bike, I will smile and nod at those cyclists and pedestrians (and joggers) I pass. I also always smile to the bus driver, and usually greet them as I pass by.

When I do this consciously, it acts on the same premise as the mean world syndrome: If I am friendly to others, people will perceive society to be a friendlier place, and I will have more friendly experiences with others.

A case in point of this is that I was cycling on the pathways a while back with my Dad, from whom I inherited my stolid facial expressions. I was cycling in front of him and I smiled at every passing person, and many times they smiled back. Although he is not the kind to smile at strangers (or even at all in most cases), I could see in my rear view mirror that my Dad saw these smiling strangers and smiled back at them.

So where did I pick it up? I have to give all credit to the Pathway Patrol. When you're on a patrol, you are encouraged to smile at people you meet or pass, and say 'hi'. This has conditioned me to essentially be a more friendly person. Go figure!

If I were preachy, I would say, "Try it! The next time you're out on the street or on the path, smile at people you pass by, and you'll feel happier!" but I won't because I'm not into telling people what to do and I think that it's corny.

- RG, a leader in social conditioning.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Loose ends (commentary)

Twice I have left blogs half-finished. One was the thing about stupid advertisements, and today's post about why Rogers frustrates me.

The other TV ad that I think is completely stupid shows two scientists performing a blind test on a subject for a specialty iced coffee for a company I don't intend on promoting here.

Once the subject chooses the advertised company's iced coffee, the scientists try to take it away from her, and she struggles to keep it from them. The premise is, of course, that she likes it so much that she will not give it back.

But why the hell would they want it back?!? Once you have served someone a drink, and they take a sip, why the hell would you want to take it away from them. Are they planning on giving the rest to the next test subject? Yeah, that's sanitary!

Then there's Rogers.

When I bought my new cell phone from them after losing my previous one, they tried selling me one that was on the "new GPRS network". This cell phone was supposed to have better reception (despite the fact that my old Panasonic TX210 already had excellent reception).

But the new Nokia 3595 was total crap! Shortly after buying it, I could be downtown, in an elevator in the middle of a building, the reception would be fine, but if I were at home (and my home is not in the boonies), even on the top floor, I would be lucky to get one or two bars of reception (out of about seven). My old Panasonic had reception in my basement!

More recently, Rogers Hi-speed Internet has changed their email system to a Yahoo service (exclamation mark omitted intentionally). There was absolutely no warning that they would do this. They make you have to change email account settings, only this did not initally work for me. After spending about half an hour trying to find the right settings, I was still unable to access my email, so I tried using the webmail, which required me to give Yahoo all sorts of my personal information.

I tried calling their customer disservice to get help, and the automated message said essentially, "we're not going to give you customer service for your email, because we've put help pages on our website, so go there." I hung up, went to the website, and all the help pages EXCEPT those for email were working. So I called them up again, and they gave me some 'help' and I thought I had it fixed, but it still wouldn't download all my email.

I later found that they have enabled spam protection (finally!), but they did it so that my options were
(a) enable bulk protection so that they mark junk email as spam and move it into a folder, thereby preventing the messages from being downloaded from the server, and getting an error every time you try to check your email (and not being able to check for false positives unless you also log onto the webmail), or
(b) disable bulk protection, meaning they don't mark the messages as bulk and you have to use your own spam protection.

IMO, they really fucked it up, and I gave them a mouthful on their feedback page.

- RG.

Companies I now officially HATE... (announcement)

I suppose that in addition to the two coimpanies I will describe below, I also hate companies such as ExxonMobil, Microsoft and Wal-Mart, but perhaps not officially (yet!).

No, the ones that I officially hate are ones I have actually used, and their services/products have completely screwed me over. (and after Blogspot messing up a few times, I'm thinking of adding it to the list too!!!)

The two companies are Rogers and Corel. More specifically, Rogers Wireless, Rogers Hi-Speed Internet, and Corel Draw.

Two boxing days ago, I was at an evil big-box computer supply store and bought a copy of CorelDRAW Essentials for $150. I assumed that $150 was a significant amount of money, and since the box was new, so too was the stuff inside. I later found out that this was actually just a re-packaging of CorelDRAW and Corel PHOTO-PAINT that
were literally two versions old.

I installed the software, registered it, and having no projects to make with it, left it to sit.

A couple of months later, I came back to do some work. It was probably a pamphlet or something. After a few minutes of working, it crashed. Then whenever I tried to save, print, or publish to .pdf, it crashed. I downloaded the patch, which effectively did nothing. I tried to use the free online support, but I found that
that had expired one month after I registered. I emailed them, and they responded, but whatever they said didn't help either.

I later found out that the motherboard on my (father's) IBM NetVista was faulty, as the capacitors had 'exploded' (in the words of the Nerds On Site guy). Although IBM had issued recalls for similar models with the exact same problem, they wouldn't fix the problem (actually, we had had many problems shortly after buying the computer, but they didn't find this cause at the time, and by the time I found out what the problem really was, the warranty had long expired, and it probably isn't worth replacing the mboard). Okay, better make that Rogers, Corel, and IBM.

I later installed CorelDRAW Essentials onto my new laptop, which AFAIK does not have a faulty motherboard. The fucking program still crashes. I have gotten around the problem by going through the following process:
  1. Open the program and the document I'm working on

  2. Do one thing

  3. Save the document

  4. Wait for CorelDRAW to crash

  5. Repeat

Okay, I'm getting tired and bored. I'll talk about Rogers later.

- RG.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Good stuff on TV (diary)

There have been a couple of good documentaries this past week on iChannel. I suggest that anyone who has digital cable or satellite order this channel.

The two documentaries were both about smoking. One following a study in Britain on the medical benefits of marijuana (in a mouth-spray format), and another on the problems people have faced with smoking, including learning to talk without a larynx, the economic and health problems faced by poor countries, and interviews following those who quit (including the infamous cigarette-smoking man from the X files, who is now smoke-free).

Apparently, Southeast Asian countries have been pressured in the past by the US Trade department into allowing cigarette ads and western cigarette companies into their markets. But when asked why the US trade department doesn't let the same countries ban cigarette ads, the Trade representative (admittedly, this looked like the interview was done a while ago) said that it would constitute unfair competition, and that they wouldn't want to impose our values on their culture! As if!

Also, on the subject of medicinal marijuana: these people in the pilot study in Britain took marijuana in a mouth-spritz format and dosed themselves so that there was enough to stop the pain, but not so much that they got high (which they said was not a pleasant experience). Nothing else had helped these people ease their pain.

I have noticed that people with long, painful diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis tend to be advocates for either legalized medicinal marijuana (that's easy to access) and for euthanasia (or both). It seems that we (that is, government regulators) won't let these people ease their suffering by using drugs that we are afraid of, but we also force them to suffer painful lives and not end them. I say that these patients should be telling the government--literally-- "give me marijuana, or give me death."

Now, of course, I'm not referring to all, such patients, only those who are unable to control their pain through legal methods and/or want out.

When marijuana is compared with euthanasia, I don't think it's really that frightening.

- RG.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Control-alt-freak, or why I'm RealGrouchy (diary)

I found out today that I didn't get the job I had applied to.

Oh, well...

I actually would have found out a week ago if I hadn't accidentally moved the e-mail telling me I didn't get the job into my SPAM folder. That's what happens when you get 100 spam a day.

Well, my spam filter (PixByte antispam, a freeware) usually gets about 85% of it, but I still have to move the rest into the spam folder manually. Since I get very little legit mail, checking mail for me is usually: (1) let the computer automatically identify 85% of my email as spam and automatically move it into the spam folder, then (2) move the rest of my new messages into my spam folder.

But getting back to the job (and yes the following is related). If there's one thing I've learnt from many years of psychotherapy/psychiatry, it's that I am a control freak, and my biggest cause of stress is not knowing what is happening.

So, for example, a big cause of stress was not knowing whether I got the job (I was the same way when I applied to university, especially since I had applied to only one!). Now that I know I didn't get the job, a big cause of stress is not knowing what the heck I'm going to do now.

There's an opening coming up with the organization I already work for, but...well, let's just say that it's been hard to keep that position filled for very long.

I'm also bitter about a newsletter I was sort of co-ordinating for said organization. The plan was for the editor to collect the submissions by June 25, and have the newsletter ready for me to take to the printer yesterday (Monday), so it would be ready by the end of the week to be mailed out next Monday. Sure he got it to me ELEVEN AT NIGHT! I don't know about any 24-hour printing companies, do you? (professional ones, not do-it-yourself-ers)

I also had to get the editor to make some changes, and I emailed those changes to him, and called him to make sure he got the message, only he wasn't home. I also had another thing I needed to get printed that I already had ready, but I decided I'd wait until I got the edited newsletter. I called him at 15:45 to follow-up, and he said he was working on it and would get it to me in 15 minutes. He got it to me at 16:27. Although I was already downtown, I still had to copy it to a CD and take it to the printer.

I called the printer at 16:40 to find out when the closed. Five o'clock. Fine, I thought, I just had to rush.

I arrived at the printer's offices at ten to five, and they had already closed!!! Note that they said they closed at Five o'clock, not ten to five. I called another printer that was tied with this one for the best prices in town, and they also closed at Five (and by this time, it was five).

So now I have to go back downtown tomorrow morning (hopefully after they open, but that shouldn't be a problem since I'm not a morning person) to bring in these documents that will hopefully be ready in time.

So you see, it's not because I'm a bad person, it's because all sorts of shit just happens to me that I'm RealGrouchy. Maybe I'll tell you a happy story sometime.

BTW, I sent an email to Marketplace about my CD-pen fiasco. Hopefully, they'll take it up and look further into the matter.

- RG.

Some very stupid ads... (commentary)

I have seen a number of very stupid advertisements recently.

One of them is for a solar cell that plugs into your car or ATV (etc.) to keep the battery charged throughout the winter, being sold by Canadian Tire.

Now I'm not too opposed to the product itself. It's rather clever (as much as I love to see a car driver stranded).

But the advertisement, set just after the Spring thaw, shows the 'Canadian Tire guy' telling his neighbour (or friend, or whatever) about his "new" solar thingy, which kept his ATV charged over the past winter. Which is it? Is it new, or did you just use it for six months?!?

Then there's the CD pen that I bought. I had bought some CD-Rs (for professional, legal use), and in the fine print on the back of the jewel case covers, it said not to use alcohol-based pens when writing on the CD labels. So I checked out the pen that I thought was our CD pen (I wasn't sure because it had been moved and it was not clearly written on the pen itself). I ended up searching online for the serial number, and lo and behold, it was alcohol-based.

So I went to the mall (Grand & Toy to be specific) to get a new CD pen that was safe to use with these CDs. One pen advertised "Safe for use on CDs" on the carton. I looked to see if it was alcohol-based, but it didn't say (and the store clerk certainly didn't know), but I bought one anyway (though the one I bought did not come with the carton, but it was the exact same pen).

A quick search later online, and it, too was alcohol-based. So I called up the pen company's 800 number. I asked them, why do you sell an alcohol-based pen as being safe for CDs, when some CDs (at least the ones I had) should not be written on in alcohol-based ink. Their reply was an expected, "well, we can't guarantee they're safe for all CDs..."

So I called up the CD company, and asked them, this pen says it's safe for use on CDs, but it's alcohol-based, and your CDs say that I can't use alcohol-based pens on them. Their answer: don't use the pen.

This is stupid. If a pen is going to be advertised as safe for use on CDs, then it should be safe for use on CDs!

Anyway, getting back to television. There's this ad for some sort of pickup truck where they are driving around throwing frisbees, er, flying disks to each other. What the bloody f***! What's next? An SUV commercial where people drive around with canoes tied to their vehicles, and they call that canoeing?

Grumble grumble.

- RG.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Stupid WAN! (diary)

My laptop for some reason can't understand the simple command to recognize and connect to my WAN connection and ignore my neighbour's (we live in separate houses, but it still tries to connect).

I've already changed the channels, but that hasn't worked. I put a makeshift reflector on the router's antenna so that hopefully it focuses more of the signal from one end of the basement to my room on the second floor. I also set up WEP (wired equivalent protocol) because the computer wouldn't connect automatically to an insecure network.

Grumble, grumble.

I read about thirty more pages of No Logo. It made me really angry, as usual, because the part I'm at talks about corporate infiltration into schools and University campuses. Evil.

I finally installed the free expansion pack to Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. There was supposed to be an online component to the game but they couldn't get it to work right, so they gave us this expansion instead (rip-off--especially if you include the $250 in computer upgrades I spent just for this game, on my Dad's desktop that I rarely use since I got my laptop!)

Oh, well...

- RG.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Two minus two is... (diary)

...nothing. That's what I've been doing since my last blog entry.

I'll be doing my first real official Pathway Patrol of the year, and almost nothing will stop us (okay, maybe heavy rain).

I've been working on the brochure for my organization's annual fundraiser, and CorelDRAW has been crapping out as it usually does.

I haven't heard yet about that job, but they said that I would hear either way, so it's probably because they have to make important decisions, like how big a chair they will give me, or how much money I will get;)

Other than that, it's been just checking out some of my favourite websites.

Until something happens,

- RG.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Oh yeah... (bitching)

The stupid thing in today's paper is the verdict--well, actually the punishment--of the friendly-fire pilot.

He was told by the controller to hold fire, then said "I'm being fired at, I am attacking in self-defence."

Who does he think he is, the Lone Ranger? (On a side note, you should notice that most U.S. heroes, real or fictional, act alone and independent of the law, whereas Canadian heroes, if there are any, are usually reputed for working with, on, or for the law)

The judge blasted him by saying he used this as an excuse to "wage his own war" (which I agree with), but the guy must have had some sort of Strategic Missile Defence, because he only got hit with a $5600US penalty. Sure, that may be one month's pay, but I mean, shit: does that even cover the cost of the warhead he used, much less the lives and pain of the victims?

Personally, I don't care about the fact that the victims were Canadians. I care about the fact that innocent people were killed by some renegade pilot. In fact, if this happened to non-US-Allies, do you think this would have gotten any attention at all? I'd bet it happens all the time.

- RG.

so, yeah... (diary)

I had fun yesterday teaching kids the science of cycling safety at a science camp, and I think they did, too. I made sure I had lots of prizey-things to give them, as well as helmet posters and little info packages.

I was surprised, though. It turns out, the previous day they had visited the exact same site that I had gotten some information from--I was telling them about how many kilometers you could go on a banana, and one of the kids just spits out the exact numbers! Quite surprising.

I called my Dad to let him know I was coming home, but I stopped by the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre to say hi to the Pathway Patrol coordinator first. After a few minutes, my Dad called me asking where I was, because he was waiting to go.

...and I was like, "Go where?" Apparently, there was a swimming party at my Aunt and Uncle's place, which was a lot closer to the school where I gave the presentation then my home or RKLC is. So with my trailer on my bike, I went all the way back and met my Dad there.

Not much else. There was something stupid in the paper today. I'll post when I can think about it. Actually, if you want to learn about the Senate, and the arguments for and against an elected Senate, or if you want to know about Dominik Hasek, the newest Ottawa Senator (wink), you should pick up today's Ottawa Citizen (or go somewhere where you can read it for free).

- RG.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Another song... (diary)

I wrote another song today.

Not on purpose, I just did. It's not a funny song, so I won't post the lyrics.

It sounds like a serious song, and the lyrics could easily be interpreted, but they would be interpreted wrong, because they really have no meaning.

That's how I write songs; some interesting little couple of lines come into my head somehow, and I work from there. Most often they don't make it out of the shower, but I decided to write it down for the future.

My serious songs often have a depressed, and/or desparate aire to them. My humourous songs tend to be bitter, malicious, or ironic. I think this is mostly because these types of songs are easier to write (I mean, how many books don't have any of these elements? Okay, decent books...)

I suppose this is also because I don't really care for writing songs that are all lovey-dovey.

My most popular song I wrote with a friend on a band trip to Austria. The song was called "get out of my face". Everyone thought it was funny...the first few times we sang it.

Anyways. I should probably do something a bit more constructive, like research for my talk on the science of cycling safety. (as you can tell, I totally suck at conclusions)

- RG.

Saturday, July 03, 2004

meh. (diary)

So I got a call yesterday from the Citizen's letters section saying that they are "considering my letter for publication." Having had eight letters printed in that paper already, I know this means "we're probably going to print it, but we won't say for sure so that you don't sue us." It should be printed in the next couple of days.

The cable running to my bike computer from the sensors broke (the handlebars must have twisted too much the wrong way and it just yanked the cable), so I had to go to the bike shop to order a new base-cable-sensor (28 bucks). While I was there, I bought a new helmet.

I'm amazed at how much helmet technology has improved since my last helmet. They actually have a free-floating plastic strap system that holds on to your head (like Hard-hats) that adjusts to literally grasp your head. You can turn your head upside-down and shake your head (lightly), and it won't come off--without the straps!

This is far superior to the previous system, where you had to try to get foam pads that will get the helmet to fit properly (mine never could because of the shape of the helmet). For comparison, think of the old system like wearing a hard, clunky barrel, and the new system like wearing lightweight, breathable shorts with a drawstring.

The detachable visor is also much better. Instead of before, where velcro stickers kept it on (or at least were supposed to), this new kind clips into brackets that are actually moulded into the helmet, not attached later.

As a promoter of safe cycling, I would definitely suggest getting this new kind of helmet.

Actually, any helmet that is older than five years (there should be a sticker inside with the manufacturing date) should be replaced. The foam material will get more brittle over time, rendering the helmet useless during an impact. This process can be accelerated if the helmet is left in the sun (not unlike how newsprint turns yellow).

Nothing else special has happened. I got groceries yesterday (with my bike, of course). I think it was a new record of $65 in my two panniers.

- RG.

Friday, July 02, 2004


Balance is restored.

After punching out a letter to the citizen (on a similar topic to the one I was going to write, but in response to a different article) and sending it off, I phoned OC Transpo's Lost and found line (613-563-4011) and they have my camera!!!

Happy happy happy happy happy happy!

(for those of you who like those ugly smileys, you can imagine that I put some in there)

I haven't heard back from my editor about the article, but I'm not going to care about it very much right now.

I have to call the person at the science camp that I will be giving a talk on the science of cycling on today, then research for that talk, and hopefully everything will be back in order.

It's off to Heartwod House to pick up my cam...lalalala.

(then back home to lose it again--not!)

- RG.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! (diary)

(CAUTION: This blog entry does not follow any logical progression, and may lead to--hey look! That dog has a bushy tail!)

If I believed in some form of higher power that was capable of directly affecting my course of life (i.e. a "God"), then I would think that that power HATES ME right now.

Of course, the recent series of stressful events is just a statistically valid anomaly in my schedule that has caused a coincidentally high number of unfortunate failed outcomes in various manners. It's not really that things went poorly, it's just that a number of unfortnate things happened, and I didn't get the regular "everything's going smoothly and you're on time for things and things are going the way you are expecting them to and you have energy to do the things you want to".

Although my recent job interview went well, and I had an uneventful dinner with my Aunt, I was unsuccessful in acquiring sufficient content for an article I was assigned.

This failure on the article may have been caused by the fact that the thing that the government was supposed to have done that I was to be researching was in fact a public consultation over a month ago where they proposed doing this thing. It wasn't until after I conducted two interviews over the phone and a national holiday came around that I realized this. It also didn't help that the deadline was said national holiday.

I also was scheduled to go on a Pathway Patrol, but ended up late (thank you OC Transpo!), although the door to the community centre was closed anyway. My partner also didn't get a hold of me because I didn't year my cell phone ring as I raced to get there. I eventually met up with him but we didn't have all the gear so we improvised...

I also lost my digital camera. Twice (in two days). Luckily, I found it - it had fallen out of my pocket as I got into my Aunt's vehicle at home. But sometime between leaving the house, getting on one bus, transfering to another bus, and getting to the U of O campus, it fell out of my pocket AGAIN. I am happy that most of the important pictures on there I already had copies on my Laptop (which I haven't managed to lose yet), but still, the camera cost me about $450, and the card alone (a 512mb SD card) cost about $300.

I think I'll buy an external hard drive to back up my laptop...

Needless to say, I called OC Transpo to report it lost, but I'll have to call again tomorrow (on a non-holiday) to their lost and found line to see if some kind soul will have found it. Luckily, if they don't report it, they'll have a bitch of a time finding a battery charger or an adapter...I'll have to keep an eye out on the "found" pages of the Citizen.

I was fairly lucky that I chose to record the interviews for that article on both my camera AND on one of my PocketPCs. I was able to make a transcript off the PocketPC version.

And in case you're thinking, "Well, you seem to have money to buy all these can probably afford to just replace it," you're wrong. I have a very meagre income, and I expect to not have to buy any gadget X after already having bought one.

But I already miss my digital camera, and may have to replace it, even if that does mean a bit of a hole in my pocket. But I am saving up for a few things:

  • Laser eye surgery (probably sometime next year)

  • Insurance costs for car (I'll have to bitch about this at some later date)

  • Gear for my Bike (new headlight, helmet, seat/seatpost

  • The book, Divorce your car! by Katie Alvord

  • Some sort of GPS toy for my bike

  • External hard drive (to back up laptop for when it gets lost or stolen)

Other than food and maybe a couple of movies, that's about all I'm really going to buy over the next year or so. Well, that and regular expenses, of course.

This is why I call myself a post-consumer. I don't like to buy things just for the sake of buying it. (Okay, I suppose 'functionalist' or 'utilitarian' would do just as well, but this has an aire of I'm-better-than-you that I like) I also try to make use of things for as long as they will last, or try to buy things that will serve me for a long time (which is why I bought very little when I was in China!).

I'm tired. I will be writing a letter to the Citizen, but can't tell you more about it because of that whole anonymity thing...I think I'm alienating myself with that. All these other blogs have bunches of friends who know each other's name, but here's ol' RealGrouchy, who for all they know may be some weird 50-year-old stalker (who also attends university?!? and volunteers for community safety organizations?!?)

But, seeing no reason (or pressure) to not remain anonymous, I shall continue in this manner.

It rained today, very hard. I believe that this is a result of my feeling like shit. Happy Dominion Day!

- RG.