Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why news media must be public (commentary)

A renecnt advertising campaign that reeeeeally bothered me was CPAC's "We're better because we're independent" campaign. I only read about it in the paper, since I don't watch tv. However, the article explained that the spots featuring Tom Green (they would have gotten Rick Mercer, but his CBC contract wouldn't allow it!) claimed that CPAC was more reliable (than CBC, I would presume) because it is "owned by a group of cable companies" (I'm paraphrasing).

Uh, yeah. Rogers and Bell and Global. They don't have any interest in public policy whatsoever, do they?

Just now, it clicked for me: I was watching reading the director's introduction to the movie WAL-MART: The high cost of low price", which I was given a copy of recently. I had also just finished watching the producer's interview with Lou Dobbs on the website.

The introduction made a reference to footage of WAL-MART CEO Lee Scott that they had "secured". This reminded me that to use a media corporation's broadcast, you need their permission. Such permission means that the corporation can decide who they want to use their footage (e.g. of announcements, speeches, etc.). This gives them a way of being biased (i.e. not independent) towards the people they report on by only sharing the material with producers they know will use the footage in the way they want it to be used.

The only solution to avoid this conflict is to make all of their footage available for free, and the closest I think that we have is the BBC, which has opened up its entire archive for download on the internet (although I've never personally dabbled with trying to get a rebroadcast permit from any media company).

Ironically, the BBC is not, as CPAC put it, "independent". Go figure.

- RG>

Friday, October 28, 2005

More trees, less Bush (commentary)

While playing online backgammon the other day, someone commented on my username (which combines "realgrouchy" and "canada" in an entirely unimaginitive way).

Their comment was, "What do you have to be grouchy about up there? At least you don't have Bush."

As much as I hate to chat while playing online games (after all, I don't go into other people's chatrooms and start playing backgammon), in this case I couldn't help but give a clever and concise reply à la moi:

"His foreign policy."

- RG>

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Executive decision (announcement)

After a discussion with my style consultant, I have decided to grow my beard out.

- RG>

Friday, October 07, 2005

Bush diagnosed with Schizophrenia (commentary)

Shaath, now the Palestinian information minister, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God'".

"'God would tell me, 'George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan'.

"'And I did. And then God would tell me, 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... ' And I did.

"'And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, 'Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East'. And by God I'm gonna do it'," said Shaath.


... and then God said, "George, you're putting too much pressure on yourself. Go take five weeks off, and start paying yourself more."


Need I say, 8P.

- RG>

Ahahahahahaha.... but seriously, drop the tariffs (commentary)

Okay, so Paul Martin is talking to a bunch of Wall Street peeps about the US softwood lumber tariffs, and guess what he says:

"These tariffs make your lumber companies happy - American consumers and workers, not so happy,"

Next, he'll be meeting with the leaders of the Canadian Media Guild to tell them that this whole strike thing is putting pressure on CBC managerial staff!

- RG>

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Professor Phlox (comment)

Lol. I have a philosophy prof who reminds me of a combination of French Stewart (eyes) and Dr. Phlox from Star Trek: Enterprise (mannerisms). It's about the only thing that keeps me awake in that class...when I am awake.

- RG>

Friday, September 09, 2005

Yahoo! still hasn't forgiven Dixie Chicks



As you can see here, Yahoo! still hasn't forgiven the Dixie Chicks for their anti-war stance. While they have put links on the names of the other artists performing at an upcoming Katrina-relief fund, Yahoo! has opted to not let news readers easily search for stories related to the Dixie Chicks.

Although some of the other artists may indeed have been against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Dixie Chicks were put front and centre, and many media outlets decided not to play their music. Yahoo! obviously does not want people to know this.

...also, this is all speculation on my part...

- RG>

Thursday, August 18, 2005

"Israeli troops storm Gaza Strip synagogue" (commentary)

Gaza Strip synagogue, eh?

Those Jews seem to have it pretty good. I should head out to Gaza sometime to check ou their Strip synagogues.

- RG>

A slight redemption for Rogers (commentary)

I got my Rogers cellphone bill for the last couple of months from my Dad. Although they charged me 30 cents per minutes for calls over my allotted time, this included the incoming calls I got from Turkey and Texas. I'm glad I didn't have to pay an arm and a leg to receive calls from my family.

That said, Rogers is still a bunch of Fuckheads.

- RG>

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Two weeks... (diary)

I have a job coming up that will start in two weeks, and I have just negotiated a romantic relationship that will continue upon the other party's return in two weeks.

These are two things that have been on my list for a long time. I am really happy (except that I just got out of a 3-hour-long budget meeting, so I'm tired as shit).

I believe I'll go home, then go out riding.

- RG>

Monday, August 08, 2005

I am angry.

...very very very very very very angry.

People are not doing things they are supposed to be doing.

This is totally pissing me off.

- RG>

Friday, August 05, 2005

Clever thought. (scan)

It's been in my pocket for a while, but I finally scanned it in. (Aug 11)

The second bit there is just a note to self.

Sorry blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Dear Texas Legislator(s)... (scan)

Sorry blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version.

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Letter to a writer (scan)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Sorry blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Wow. Just Wow. (commentary)

Google never ceases to amaze me.

If you haven't seen Google Maps before, it's this awesome online mapping tool. Unlike other maps, you don't click on a little arrow and wait for the new map to reload, you just click on the map and move it around.

Anyway, one of the interesting features of this map is that not only can you view a standard 0nline-type map, but you can click a button, and you can see a satellite view of the area that you're looking at.

They have since revamped this so that you can see the satellite map with an overlay of the streets and streetnames. It is absolutely awesome.

Now if they can only include bike routes...

- RG>

Friday, July 22, 2005

Now That's an editorial! (scan)

I'm really taking advantage of this whole image-upload (and scanning capacity) thing... Remind me to rant about bottled water, if I haven't already. I'll probably use the ol' typewriter.

To view image, click on it. If you're using Internet Exploder, you'll have to hover over the image and click on the 'expand' button to view full size.

Sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Typewriter online?

I don't know if I mentioned it here yet. Maybe not.

At the Great Glebe Garage Sale, I purchased a typewriter. I then decided to type my posts on the typewriter, then post them to my blog.

Only, I didn't know how to do that. That didn't stop me from typing them, though.

Well it turns out that now I can apparently upload pictures. So I'll try that and see how it goes. I'll slot them in to when they should be (since I put a timestamp on each entry).

[Update: I have uploaded the images and put them where they're supposed to be. Just skip down past the next two images, or click on the right on entries labelled (type) or (scan).]

- RG>

I'm such a wonderful person (diary)

For a while now, I have been wanting to try a new chinese food restaurant that opened up across the street from my office.

Today, I went in and asked if they had a take-out menu I could take with me. They said they didn't. Being the resourceful technophile that I am, I photographed their menu to take it with me.

Then I got cocky.

On the computer at my office, I typed up the menu.

Then I formatted it into columns, in your typical chinese-food-restaurant-take-out-menu foramt. (The first draft accidentally contained the obligatory spelling and formatting mistakes)

Despite the fact that I still didn't (and still don't) know what the name of the restaurant is, I printed it out and brought it with me. I showed it briefly to the server/owner, and placed my order.

When I was done (a very good meal, too) and paid, I went over it with her so I could clear up some of the details. She hesitated a bit when she asked me how much I wanted to do this, and I replied that a free lunch one day would be quite enough. She was very happy.

I explained to her that as a member of my community, it is in my interests that her business does well. Especially if I want to be able to go there for lunch in the future.

Coincidentally, while I was eating there, I got a call from an old professor of mine, who wanted to hire me to show her how to put her course material into PowerPoint (she had previously used many, many handwritten overhead sheets).

All I can say is that what goes around, comes around, and good Karma certainly goes around!

- RG>

Friday, July 15, 2005

Yet Another Way to Totally Freak People Out (scan)

To view image, click on it. If you're using Internet Exploder, you'll have to hover over the image and click on the 'expand' button to view full size.

Sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

An unfortunate event (type)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.
Sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Terrible Joke (type)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Sorry blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thought ofthe [undefined period of time] #8

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.

New blog entry number three ... (type)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

Sorry blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken word version.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New BLog entry number two: (type)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.

Thought of the [undefined period of time] #7

A friend: I put two and two together and...
Me: Sometimes two twos are just two twos.


[Previous undefined period of time: 25 days, 23 hours]

Monday, May 30, 2005

My New Blog (type)

NOTE: To read this, click on the image. Those of you viewing in Internet Exploder will have to hover over it and click on the 'expand' button at the bottom right of the image. This will be the case until I can figure out a way to directly integrate it.

sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.
sorry, blind dudes, you'll have to wait for the spoken version.


Time for this blog entry is approximate. Sometime between May 28 and June 1.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Oprah, the lovable harpy

My roommate left Oprah on the TV. It's something about a woman with no face.

Get this: totally awesome:

Oprah asks her: "What was it like facing that in court?"

Get it? Facing? No face?

Oh, the hilarity!

Oprah must be like snickering to herself.

...don't get me wrong. She's still a bitch for giving out cars.

- RG>

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Newest in the War for Corporate Proliferation...

I visited my aunt the other day, and noticed a notepad on her fridge.

A WAL-MART notepad.

I knew that she shopped at WAL-MART. That is not the surprise. The surprise is the corporate evil that it is spreading.

This particular notepad, which is in French, is called, "Coin gourmand", which literally means "greedy corner".

Along the two sides of the front of the list are 2cm boses with images of various name-brand products, such as Coca-Cola, Oatmeal crip, and Cheez Whiz. At the bottom of each box is written "Quantity _____". There's nothing like paying more for extra advertising, isn't there?

I should backtrack.

Good books from evil sources

For "Christmas", my dad's girlfriends' siblings gave me a total of $45 in gift certificates to Chapters (yay, big box store!)

I found this to be a stupid idea for a present (I would have settled for nothing, really), as I am an university student, and have enough shit to read that I don't have the time or energy to.

Eventually, when I finished bombing my classes (with contributions from the abovementioned dad's girlfriend), I went to this oversized store and looked at what social-environmental books there were.

I settled on a book by the Sierra Club's Watershed Media called "Paper or Plastic" with some sort of subtitle. I also bought "In Praise of Slow" by Carl Honoré, which I haven't started yet.

Anyway, this book "Paper or Plastic" led me to understand that despite drinking my Caffeine-free diet Coke from aluminium cans, which are 100% recyclable, they still require raw aluminium to produce, as there are high consumption rates and only moderate recycling rates. In addition, lots of energy is spent re-processing the aluminium, as well as in the form of fossil fuels to transport the cans of mostly water.

Don't get me started on bottled water.

So anyway, as I gradually finished my stash of canned evildrink (I am not opposed to drinking it from fountains, as this is derived from more concentrated syrup, despite Coke being evil), I switched to No Name grape drink from concentrate and Orange Gatorade.

The problem is, going from drinking a litre or so of sugar-free beverage a day to a litre or so of mostly sugar and water a day (not to mention the Aspartame withdrawal) has caused my body to get really really fucked up.

I am very very tired, nauseated, and some other things. Now I don't know what I'm going to drink. I might have to make my own stuff. Plus I still have this container of sugar-drink mix.

Evil Corporations whoring other Evil Corporations

So anyway, getting back to this WAL-MART shopping list.

Another thing I learned from "Paper or Plastic" is that big chains (of big stores) like WAL-MART require items to be packaged in a particular way such that the goods are difficult to steal from their very large stores.

Very often, this requires the use of unrecyclable plastic blister packs that are many times the size of the product itself, and are hard to open and can cut the consumer with its sharp edges.

Companies that sell products to such large stores are required to bend to the stores' demands, because then want to get into the gigantic market that it entails. This will likely lead to the product line being converted entirely to this type of packaging.

Even when this type of packaging is recyclable, it still requires the municipality (or whatever jurisdiction) to pay to collect the packaging and send it to be down-cycled into materials for a lesser product. (Unlike aluminium, plastic from raw petroleum products cannot be recycled into the same type of plastic). But this just enables such overconsumption.

Companies that don't give a fuck about where their products' packaging ends up are usually rewarded by companies like WAL-MART, such as by featuring them on "Greedy Corner" shopping lists.

These companies are the same ones that spend hundreds of millions of dollars of advertising, and pass the cost on to the consumer. This is why store brands (like No Name) can sell similar products for much much less.

One final bitch
It is a well-established fact that WAL-MART's advertising is misleading. It leads low-income customers to believe that they are getting the best price that they can.

However, WAL-MART will feature one product per aisle, and sell it at a very low price. Many of the other (perhaps more popular) products in that aisle may in fact be much more expensive than at other stores. Even when it does cost less than the same product at a different store, a name-brand version of the same item at a different store would probably cost less.

This is, in part, why WAL-MART and its blind disciples are a bunch of (to borrow a friend's epithet) fuckheads.

- RG>

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Thought of the [undefined period of time] #6

This rush hour thing is terrible. I wish all these car drivers would use the freeway.

[Previous undefined period of time: 20 days, 2 hours]

Rubella outbreak in Southern Ontario

I heard on CBC radio about five minutes ago that there is a Rubella (German Measles) outbreak in Southern Ontario. It is apparently localized in a religious sect of some sort.

Radio report: "About half the students in the school--about 300--aren't vaccinated against the disease because of their religious beliefs"

Me: "Well, that's natural selection for you. Try arguing against that!"

(Yes, I'm evil)

- RG>

Friday, April 15, 2005

Thought of the [undefined period of time] #5

There is a fine line between loving your country and fucking it.

[Previous undefined period of time: 10 days, 20 hours]

Thursday, April 14, 2005

How to fix a sweat (diary)

Today, I think the only thing I broke was a sweat.

It wasn't on account of the weather, or of me being overdressed. It was cool and I wasn't wearing too many layers.

I was coming home along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway on my bike (Southbound) tonight at about 10:30 or so, with my bright lights on and all sorts of gear on me, when I saw another cyclist ahead of me. This was at about Third avenue, and he was about a block ahead of me, with his dinky red rear LED flashing behind him.

I was trying to decide if I should cut across Fifth avenue to the other end of Queen Elizabeth Driveway. This would enable me to determine whether this was actually faster than taking Queen Elizabeth for longer, but with fewer (actually no) stops. I would just have to see where he was once I got to the other end.

I decided against it because I had a good speed going, and had no idea whether I would see him on the other side anyway, or if I would recognize him. So I followed him, and eventually caught up with him by Landsdowne park. But I had a trick up my sleeve: instead of following the road and going up the hill like he was planning on doing, I chose to duck down onto the pathway, which was near the canal, and therefore fairly level.

I turned on both my 10W and 5W front headlights, in case there was anyone else on there, and I kept my speed at about 30kph. Nobody else was on there, as I expected at that time of night.

I also kept in my mind that I would eventually see him at the other side, and wanted to make sure that he was behind me when I did. I emerged at the Bronson Avenue bridge and crossed the road diagonally, as there were no cars to obstruct me. I looked in my rear view mirror, and saw him a hundred metres or so behind me. His front light was as dinky as his rear one was!

I kept up the pace, and noticed that it was slightly uphill towards the Dow's lake Pavillion. I noticed this because my legs were getting tired.

As I came to the lights at Preston, I noticed the green light was a bit stale, but the white 'walk' symbol was still illuminated. I ended up passing the intersection before the amber hand started flashing, despite my hope that a red light would cut the other guy off and I could rest.

So on I started up the Prince of Wales hill, my legs already beginning to ache from keeping the other guy behind me. When we passed the intersection at the John Carling building, I noticed that he had closed in on me quite a bit--maybe 20-30 metres between us.

I didn't want him to pass me, so I stood on the pedals and started to crunch. A tip I read in Bicycling magazine is to alternate crunching a high gear while standing, and pedalling a low gear while sitting, in order to rest different muscles at different times, and increase your endurance. This I did, and it seemed to have paid off.

Coming down the other side of the hill, I saw he was much further behind me than before. His dinky little front light looked like a keychain ornament at this point. I planned ahead and got on the path at the last possible point--so I wouldn't have to worry about those poorly-built crossings that aren't quite level. This would take me straight through on a dirt path towards where I was going.

He had the same idea. I don't know if he was just following me, or if he did this too. Anyway, I didn't see him anymore once I turned onto the dirt path. I continued towards home, with no red lights to stop me. I slowed my pace so that I could calm down a bit, and pulled into the driveway.

I put my bike in front of the shed, and took off my pannier. I headed towards the front door to get the key to the shed from inside. On my way, I saw him pass by a cross street.

I tried to think of something to say, but not too derisive. I eventually shouted, "Thanks for the adrenaline!" although I think he was too far to hear me at that point.

Anyway, I had fun on this trip. When I finally came inside, my heart was still going fast, and I had to take a couple of puffs for my asthma. I peeled off my jacket, because I had broken a sweat. And I felt good, because that was the only thing I broke today.

- RG>

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Bow down to Über-FrankenStereo (diary)

I am in a good mood. After a while of toiling and a few bucks on connectors and cables, I have finally created the awesomest stereo system known to man. Very cheap man. Unlike Cockeyed.com, I will not actually describe in detail what the end product is until the end. Scroll down if you like.

I started with the following, which I took with me when I moved out of my dad's house:
- A turntable (late 1980s?)
- A stereo with CD, Radio, Cassette, RCA Aux input, and speakers (non-RCA) (1990s)
- Another stereo with a turntable, Radio, RCA Aux input, and 8-TRACK PLAYER!!! (1975)

There were the following problems:
- the belt from the drive motor to the turntable (1980s) seemed to be loose, as it would slow and speed up.
- the turntable did not have a pre-amp, so I had to turn the stereo (1990s) volume up very loud to listen to records, and it sucked.
- the turntable on the stereo (1975) was not working properly and I could not repair it (especially after I took it apart and had extra pieces left over after I put it back together!)
- I didn't have RCA-to-RCA cables to hook my stereo (1975) into the aux input of my other stereo (1990s)

I eventually noticed that I could remove the turntable from the stereo (1975), and that the two were connected with a power deelie and two RCA adaptors.

I went to an audio store (mom-and-pop type with lots of old phones in the window) to see if I could get a replacement belt. He said he couldn't find one of a similar size, and that I should bring in the turntable to make sure that this was the problem, because the cables cost $10 each (yikes!). I also picked up a 3ft RCA-to-RCA cable ($4.99) and an RCA-to-1/8" stereo cable ($5.99, more on that later).

A couple days later, I took another look at the turntable (1980s) and put a strip of electrical tape around the drum to tighten the belt. It seems to have worked. I also took the other turntable off the stereo (1975) to plug the turntable (1980s) into the jacks. Unfortunately, both were male ends. I would need connectors.

I also looked at the 8-track player. Like the 1990s turntable, there was a drive motor connected to a larger rotating drum with a cable. This cable was stuck to the two thingies, and broke when I peeled it off. I fashioned my own cable out of old bicycle tire and some #10 staples. The 8-track player was now turning.

To test the sound, I plugged the stereo into my laptop's microphone jack using the RCA-to-1/8" cable. After a bit of figuring out what plugs into where, and turning my microphone volume on (important step), I was able to listen to 8-track cassettes for the first time. The three cassettes that were in the box of the stereo are all variations on "best disco hits" (I can at least attest to them being disco...). There was a bit of wackiness on account of the cable being held together with staples. Oh well.

The sound on this, though, was absolute shit. 25 years of corrosion didn't want to come off easily. I went to the nearby audio shop and picked up some RCA connectors (a pack of 4 for $2.99), some isopropyl alcohol spray ($5.99), and some electrical tape (didn't actually use this, so I won't count the price). At the counter, I bought some chocolate-covered almonds to support child rape or something like that ($2). The guy said that there was a student discount, but on looking at the receipt, it looks like he didn't give it to me. Fuckhead.

I connected the turntable to the stereo and found that it did have a built-in pre-amp, as I suspected. I plugged the thing into my laptop and started playing music, and had a bite to eat (This is where the chocolate-covered almonds came in). However, after a while, I noticed a loud humming. I played around with the output plugs, but eventually it wouldn't give up.

Figuring I should try plugging it into the stereo (1990s) aux input to see if this would help it, I did so. I regretted getting only the 3' cable and not the 6' cable because my stereo (1975) was on my bed and my stereo (1990s) was on its stand in the middle of my room. No room to walk. Anyway, the loud noise kept coming back.

I seem to remember eating at this point. Maybe I had supper at this time, or maybe I just ate twice. I tend to eat a lot, despite my slender profile.

When I came back, I said fuck it and listened to a cassette in my stereo (1990s). I realized that the volume was really loud, then noticed that the volume knob on my stereo (1975) wasn't all the way up. When I put it up and adjusted the knob on my stereo (1990s), the sound was much more manageable.

I put the other two RCA connectors on the end of the 1/8"-RCA cable so that I could plug the cable from the stereo (1975) right into it (and have a longer cable). This would enable me to record from turntable and from 8-track. Très cool.

So here's the cost:
Laptop (already had)
Stereos and turntable ('stole' from parents)
RCA cables: $10.98 + tax
RCA connectors: $2.99 + tax
Spray cleaner: $5.99 + tax
Parts for 8-track belt: negligible
Chocolate-covered almonds: $2
Total cost of project: $24.95

With this, I will be able to copy all of my (and my friends') records into digital format (once I figure out how I'm going to do this. I am hell bent against buying software).

Yay.

- RG>

Monday, April 04, 2005

Thought of the [undefined period of time] #4

The first--and only--mistake a man can make is to try to figure women out.

[Previous undefined period of time: 5 months, give or take]

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fools Inbox

It might be that I woke up earlier in the morning and checked my email, but I could swear that on today, April Fool's Day, that I have fewer spam in my inbox.

A pleasant surprise, that's for sure!

- RG>

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A step forward (commentary)

I whipped off another letter to the Ottawa Citizen yesterday, and noticed a change in their letters policy.

In the past, they wanted exclusive rights to print your letter.

Now, they are saying that the copyright remains with the author, but they (and their buddies) are free to print and reproduce it.

I think this is progress. Now if they would get rid of that stupid subscriber-only content on the website and make it all available.

- RG>

Monday, March 07, 2005

Next, they'll ban makeup (bitching, commentary)

Lawmakers in Illinois want to ban 'eye jewellery'. Not that anyone in the midwest would have to go anywhere near that far to be considered strange, however.

"I don't think anybody should be messing with the eyeball," Democratic Representative Kevin Joyce said Friday during a procedure to have his cataracts removed and shortly before scheduling an appointment for laser eye surgery.

Proponents of the law posit that it might possibly somehow lead to medical problems, especially if tools are sanitized with toilet water. They also cite the unrefutable slippery slope phenomenon: if we tolerate moderate forms of deviance, it will most certainly lead to more crime and abuse of innocent children.

So what other reason might there be for the government to introduce this legislation? Well, if it causes medical complications, it will cost the taxpayers to pay for their healthcare.

Sorry, what's that? There's no universal health care in the US? People have to pay for their own treatment?

Right. Moving on...

The government's case is a very strong one, as we should always fear things that are new and potentially unboring. People who attempt to install eye jewellery should be charged with a felony offence.

Of course, most people who would do this would probably already be criminals. It's not like any medical professional will go anywhere near it, since some other doctors have suspiciouns that it might lead to disease. But since it's illegal, nobody would ever do this sort of thing untrained and uncertified.

So this means that people will have to revert to the preexisting legal method of getting metal in their eyes: handguns. Obviously, it is safer than having a 'jewelerry professional' insert metal into your eye, because it is legal.

Shrapnel from mortar shells and landmines are also exempt from the proposed law, in order to prevent US soldiers in Iraq from being charged as felons.

- RG>

Thursday, March 03, 2005

When cold and windy isn't so bad... (diary)

I haven't posted in a while. Lots has happened. You probably don't care anyways, and it would be a long, complicated series of bitching that wouldn't be of much interest to you anyway, so there.

I was skating on the Rideau Canal last night (as a paid skate patroller). It was dark, and winds were 35kph gusting to 50kph. The snow was drifting across the ice in the most interesing way. It was like shadows creeping across the ice, or like the northern lights.

Pushing against the wind was very hard, though. I liken it to how I imagine uphill skiing to be like. However, when my partner and I turned around, the wind was strong enough to push us all the way across Dow's Lake (about 1km) at a decent speed, without us pushing at all.

Then, because you're out in the middle of a frozen lake, there's little light, so you can look up and see the sky. It was so clear and beautiful. I recognized the big dipper and polaris, and for the first time, I recognized Orion.

On one night a couple of weeks back, there was a full moon and a clear sky. It was such an incredible sight.

I thought for a minute that this must be what it would be like to live in the far north. But I realized that the romanticism of it would wear off after a (very short) while.

And just like that, I have completely lost interest in this topic. My attention span is officially seven minutes.

- RG>

Friday, January 28, 2005

Smoker (diary, bitching)

At my office, at the elevator, this morning, there was a guy in the elevator with a lit cigarette in his mouth.

(For those of you not from Ottawa, it is illegal to smoke inside any public building, and in most cases, within nine metres of main entrances.)

So as he left the building, I gave thim the look (the bad one). He turned and said "what are you looking at?" I said "You!"

In retrospect, I realize I should have said something more like, "You, fucker!" or "You, jackass!" But at least I got my point across.

I will continue to hate him.

- RG>

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A haiku

Loneliness; solace.
Unmade footprints in the snow
Continue for miles.


For the less poetic:
Too late for the bus.
It's a fucking long walk home
In the goddamn snow.

- RG>

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Beautiful Sight (diary)

One day a couple weeks ago, it was cold and foggy.

I was taking the bus downtown, and I peered out the window, to find an incredible sight.

With snow on the ground and ice on the Ottawa River, and with a white foggy sky, it was impossible to see where the water ended and where the shore and the sky began. I could see the trees on the near side easily, but only faint shadows on the far side of the river; quite different from what you would see in a blizzard.

The image of the forest and hills on the opposite coast seeming to float in midair was absolutely spectacular and beautiful.

I thought I'd share it with you to keep it from being lost.

- RG>

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Simplicity (wanderful)

I am feeling a bit philosophical, and this might sound a bit preachy. That said, it's wise words.

Beware simplicity, it is deceptive.

A simple solution works only for a simple problem. When tried on a complex problem, a simple solution will only create more troubles.

There is usually a problem with everything. If you don't know what the problem is with it, then therein is the problem. Similarly, if something seems easy or too good to be true, then it's because of your perception of the situation. You are missing on some part of it that would make obvious the flaws in the simple choice.

Simple objects are flawed. We do not posess the power to create simple machines to perform tasks; we must create complex machines that malfunction frequently. Our complex machines are composed of many parts, each of which is necessary to the proper function of the whole, and each of which is vulnerable to cripple it.

Only in nature is there simplicity, yet this, too is deceptive. Anything natural seems so simple. A small animal. An insect. A plant. But look at it more closely, and think of all the components that are in its design. Think of all that this creature can do, yet it appears so simple. That is because it deceives you.

Even water seems simple, yet it is not. It freezes and thaws, rises and falls, countless times. It metamorphises and crystallises. It nourishes and cleanses. Its incredible chemical properties make it so that it can do this. Were it not for the hidden complexities of water, life might not have been able to evolve. Lakes would freeze from the bottom up, and be unable to thaw from the top down. The world would be a cold and truly simple place.

Go out in the world and watch. See the birds in the trees, or the hustling people parade randomly through town, each following his or her simple goals, not realising how complex they really are.

Consider the consequences of every simple action. Does it have any consequences? Is it a simple action? By considering the consequences, are we making this simple action complex? Then it would not be as deceptive.

You might find that instead of questioning simplicity, it is better to accept complexity. Though one path may seem faster, by taking the longer one you avoid the hidden traps of the simple one. It may seem that you have lost time by taking the longer option, but in the end, time is only as you spend it, and you can make only one choice.

Though the complex may seem deceptive and cryptic, this semblance prepares you for twists and falls. If you always opt for simplicity, you become blind.

- RG>

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Every day, your hands come into indirect contact with 30 penises (bitching)

Apparently, it's true. Every time I go for a piss, I remember this and wash my hands.

However, there are some bathrooms where this is nearly impossible to do cleanly.

For example, and the Rideau Centre in Ottawa, there are some bathrooms where the water only flows if you're pushing this stupid button on the tap. This makes lathering difficult, and it also allows for transferrance of germs through touching it. There are no paper towels to act as a medium.

This makes it very icky. Very, very icky.

I am sure that the number of penises you indirectly contact is much higher if you touch these taps than if you didn't (well, in the men's room, at least. I don't know how many women touch themselves in the bathroom).

I plan to write a letter to the Rideau Centre, and also to Dr. Robert Cushman, the City of Ottawa's chief Medical Officer.

- RG>

I hate the current exchange rate (bitching)

So I sell something on Ebay for $77US, and how much does it translate to in CDN$? Eighty-four dollars. Eighty-four dollars!

What a piss-shit exchange rate!

OTOH, I like the fact that we are pwning the US currency.

I haven't been blogging lately. I really don't care. Sue me. You'll lose.

On another note, I am currently in class. Go wifi!

- RG>