Autonomous Source

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November 30, 2006

Max's 'alien' period

My children are artistic geniuses, as I have documented before. Lately their works have gone from the typical 3-year-old's scribbles to more representative works of art. Talia draws people, as any normal child would, but Max draws... aliens!

Lots of them. All the time. Nothing but. Over and over and over again.

If my life was a horror movie, he might be foreshadowing something...

I think it'll be, umm... Dion!

Those wacky Liberals are gathering in Montreal this week to pick the new leader. I haven't been following the race as closely as most political watchers, but hey: I scan the headlines every day and have a blog! That makes me extremely qualified to throw my two cents in.

In my opinion, the choices are pretty meagre. Michael Ignatieff is the only one who has the makings of someone who could last at the job for more than a couple of years, but his image has crashed and burned in the past couple of months. Even though he's got the most delegates going in, he's lost the big Mo and doesn't have a chance. All of the others, except Rae perhaps, will be unable to win the next general election and will have the distinction of being the first party-chosen Liberal leader that never became Prime Minister.

So with Iggy out of it, there's only three candidates that have any hope of taking the prize: Stéphane Dion, Bob Rae, and Gerard Kennedy. Kennedy can be dropped from those three immediately. His weak French and lack of support in Québec (except from Justin Trudeau -- an albatross) disqualify him. He won't be the second pick of too many delegates' because of this liability. So it's down to Rae and Dion.

Rae has been riding the Mo for some time now and I think it's about to shake him off. He's still got some baggage from his bad old days of running Ontario into the ground, plus there's the fact he's a new Liberal. Charming delegates onto the second ballot will be a lot harder with that background.

That leaves Dion. He's got a reputation for being squeaky clean and nice -- not great attributes for a party leader, but people are not always thinking with their heads at a convention. And he's from Quebec, which is always an obsession with the Liberals. So what if he can't speak English? Neither could Chretien. My prediction is that he'll come out ahead in a squeaker over Rae.

Paving the way for a Conservative majority.

November 29, 2006

Getting funky

What the hell has happened to this blog? My readers want to know. Just yesterday I received this comment on a post from someone named 5homebusiness:

Very interesting website. Keep up the outstanding work and thank you...

i am collect any idea of home business, if you have - please, add to my cat! Thank you!
Home Business
No, thank you 5homebusiness! I will definitely be adding to your cat! Your kind words are appreciated.

That's what I like the best about the interweb. That feeling of community! Each day I receive dozens and dozens of personal emails offering to titilate me, make me more virile (as if that were possible!), or make me rich. But despite all these helpful friends, I've fallen into a bit of a funk lately. I've found it very difficult to scratch together enough will to write anything, and even when I've started I find it too easy to say, "who cares?" and walk away from it without finishing.

This funk's genesis is threefold. First, I'm getting a little frustrated in my job search. You might think an electrical engineer in 'hi-tech' Ottawa would have little difficulty getting employment, but you'd be wrong. I've applied to umpteen dozen positions that I would be suitable for, but have had no luck getting even an interview. After sending out so many CVs and cover letters and getting no response, you start to question your value as a person. It would be nice if the HR departments of these companies could send out a note when the position was filled, thanking you for your effort. It would be a message that they respect you and treat you seriously. But of course they don't. One HR person I talked to (after I called to ask what was going on) confided that they had a person in mind before the position was even offered. The job posting was just a phoney corporate ritual. He couldn't understand why I was offended by this information.

The second reason is children's daily attendence at school, starting last September. Although I certainly complained about having to look after them -- and they are a major handful -- they gave a purpose to my day, and to my life. That's what I did: I was a stay-at-home dad. Maybe it wasn't exactly what I wanted to be, but it was something -- and now it's gone. They're still keeping me very busy, but our collective cultural superego is telling me that as a educated male, I should be working at an office and bringing home a paycheck. My wife is telling me this too.

Third, the weather has just sucked around here lately. I'm not much of an outdoors person, but by my reckoning we've had almost no sun in two months. Ghod, it's been grim. It's been a grey and damp autumn and I don't know how much longer of this I can take. But I don't see a tropical vacation for me on the horizon.

So there it is. I know there are many people in worse straits than me, and I have so much to be thankful for. But that doesn't innoculate you from catching a funk. I know this stuff is pretty dull to read about, so I won't be making these whiney pity posts a regular part of the exciting Autonomous Source experience. But I just had to get this out there so I can start my process of de-funkification. This blog will return to its regular state (whatever that is) shortly.

November 07, 2006

Cheating at Candyland

My daughter has developed an annoying obsession with the introductory boardgame Candyland. For those not lucky enough to have played this challenging game, it works like this: Draw a card. It will have either one or two coloured squares on it. If one square, move your piece to the next square of that colour, if two, move to the second square of that colour. There are also a handful of 'special' cards that move you to the corresponding space on the board. First one to the candy castle wins.

There is absolutely no skill required. The cards tell you what to do, and no choices are necessary. If all goes well, no one gets sent back, and no screaming sessions erupt, the game can be over in five minutes. If not, well... the game will probably never be concluded.

I've found myself having to cheat at this game a fair bit lately. One child winning the game too many times in a row is not good. Myself winning too many games is not good. Any child nearing the finish line and getting one of the 'special' cards and having to move back to the beginning is really not good. So I must intervene. Luckily the cards have been so bent and mangled I can recognize each special card from the back. Through sleight-of-hand (three-year-olds are very easy to misdirect) I can bury a bad card or promote a good one. My guilty concience is plaguing me; I have to confess: the game is fixed.

People who think this is wrong obviously have no children. It's not that they never lose -- they do. And they've come a long way in learning how to deal with it. But I've found too much reality does not improve family harmony.

If Talia has worn out the patience of others she will even play Candyland by herself. Here's a video of that, hosted on Youtube. Unfortunately, the audio and video are quite out of sync. If I'm going to put up more videos here, I'll have to figure a way to fix that.

November 01, 2006

It's too late guys...

You should have stayed in school...

(via LGF)

Things I've learned

Wrapping a string of red Christmas lights around the bowl you use to hand out treats looks really cool. Unfortunately, the heat from the lights turns the chocolate bars inside into soup.