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November 13, 2007

A Funeral for Autonomous Source

Most blogs just fade away. The bloggers lose interest and post less frequently, and the readers drift away to find livelier destinations. Eventually their hosting is canceled, the URL is taken by squatters, and all that remains of a person's thoughts and their passions is some residue on the Wayback Machine.

Blogs are going to die. There's no avoiding that. People change, their responsibilities change, they want to move on. It happens all the time. But I don't think people should let their abandoned blogs live on as undead internet orphans. They should kill them; and show them no mercy. If they make it quick there's no pain. Then they can have a funeral for their blog, raise a glass to its memory, bury it and move on. That's what I'm going to do.

I've mostly enjoyed working on this blog, and I'm proud of the writing I did. When I look back at things I wrote in my 20's and early 30's, I frequently cringe. But nothing in the archives of this blog has that effect. I've never deleted a post and I stand proudly behind it all. There's some great stuff there that can still make me smile.

As I was staying home and looking after my children, the blog became an important outlet for my creative energies. It was a doorway into a community and was a place to air my frustrations. After a day of chaos, it was nice to have at least created something -- a post! -- that had a semblance of permanence and was the product of intelligence and inspiration. It was important to have something interesting to roll over in my mind as I wrestled with the many more mundane matters that required my attention.

As Captain Destructo and the Mistress of Chaos got older however, life became much less mundane and my intelligence and inspiration were now always in demand. Blogging became more difficult -- and more frustrating. Even with various schools and daycares taking them off my hands for very welcome breaks, there was less free time and more interruptions.

As well, I was trying to communicate more complex ideas and frequently I found myself unable say everything I wanted. Blogging can take a lot of work if you want to do it well. I'm a harsh critic of others, but I'm much harder on myself. I want to be able to back up my claims and not just throw out gut opinions. And that requires research.

Simply put, I've been wasting too much time and energy on this thing. Even when I try to ignore it, the blog still has a claim on my thoughts and distorts how I interact with the world. And if it isn't the blog, it's the blogosphere. I've spent far too much time monitoring the war of words about the war, or capitalism, or political strategies, or whatever. But no more. It's over. Hugo Chavez, Stephane Dion, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Jeffrey Simpson are not going to be in my thoughts. I'm not going to read long comment threads arguing about geo-political events.

I'm not abandoning what I believe in. I'll still browse the blogs and scan the papers. I'll still work with the local Conservative riding association. And I'll still continue to share my opinions and thoughts with acquaintances. But those things are not going to be a big part of my life.

I'm 42, my kids are moving into school full time next year, and I've got to move on. I'm going to concentrate on things I have influence over and that are important in my life: my home, my family, and my friends. And myself. The business idea I mentioned a while ago still has possibilities -- or maybe I'll just get a job. It would be so relaxing to be sipping coffee in a cube again...

So. Grab a shovel and toss some dirt on the grave. Or just spit on it, if you like. Raise a glass and make a toast, or roll your eyes and walk away. I'm done here, and though there's so much left unsaid, it still feels good.

Here's a goodbye song that is almost too apropos:


This blog will lie in state for a couple of months, to be eventually replaced by a valuable resource in aid of those suffering the heartbreak of erectile dysfunction.

UPDATE (two days later): Thanks for the kind words. There certainly is an element of attention seeking in blogging -- and in shutting it down -- so it's all very much appreciated.

The transition to the new lifestyle is not going as smoothly as I hoped. I'm still battling the urge to call "bullshit!" on stupid things I read, and still spending too much time reading unimportant stuff. But I'll get there.

I appreciate the offers to post on other blogs, and I may make use of them in the future. But for now I'm on the wagon.

Aaagh! I'm blogging! Now I gotta go do penance...

October 24, 2007

Vipers?

I thought I was destined to meet my end through killer bees. Nope. It's the viper pit for me.

But maybe Viper's are not always fatal...

October 19, 2007

Why do I do this?

Right now, a pear-shaped woman in stiletto heels and tight, low-cut jeans is battling a four-year old. He's screaming at the top of his lungs and trying to bite the woman, while she is screaming back at him at a slightly lower volume. Luckily, they are all of ten feet away from me, so most of their noise is lost in the deafening ambient sounds of the fluorescent chamber I'm imprisoned in.

Yes, I'm at the McDonald's playroom again, and my keyboard is getting greasy. The Mistress of Chaos is pulling apart her burger looking for her pickle, and Captain Destructo has just removed his socks -- in clear violation of the Playroom rules -- so he can more effectively climb the slides and cause a collision.

But it's pouring outside and they're having a great time. They've spontaneously merged with the other children into a giggling, marauding pack that is rushing through the playstructure, back and forth, up and down, sometimes attracting a new member, sometimes losing one to the grasping hand of a parent. All I can hear is squeaks and shrieks, thumping and laughter. With so much fun going on, I can count on them not eating much of their food. And that's a good thing.

October 08, 2007

A very, very, very good idea

Glenn Reynolds just tosses this out:

I think that everyone should pay at least some tax, and it should vary each year with how much the government spends, and should be enough to give people an incentive to care.
Possibly this might break the strange mind-block that many people have about government spending. It's not the government's money they're throwing around. It's your money! If something like this was in place, people might not be quite so enthusiastic about all the spending announcements the politicians make -- especially around election time. The would know that they will really be paying for these targeted boondoggles come tax time.

A law that would reduce the incentives for politicians to overspend would be miraculous. But what party would be foolish enough to propose such a thing?

October 05, 2007

Gnotalex goes electric

Give the man a hand!

October 04, 2007

Okay, what's with the Candyland obsession?

Over the past couple of months, I've had hundreds and hundreds of hits to this blog coming from Google looking for... Candyland pictures. You know, I wrote piles and piles of great stuff a few years ago when I was optimistic and enthusiastic about this whole blogging thing. I can look back at that old stuff and I still think it's pretty good. Yet this is my final legacy on the internet?

October 03, 2007

Stuff & Things XXV

The situation: My wife has left me for the more needy residents of Iqaluit. On cue, the Mistress of Chaos came down with a nasty cold, keeping her out of school and awake at night. Captain Destructo is still healthy, biding his time until Talia recovers. I had a blood test this morning that required me to fast for twelve hours, forcing me to delay my mandatory morning cup of coffee. As a result, I have a splitting headache that numerous pain relievers have not been able to vanquish. It is cold and blustery outside. The Devil Dog is barking repeatedly whenever a couple of leaves drop past a window. This is not helping my headache. The kids are downstairs watching more TV than is good for them. I am slumped in front of the computer, not working on an exciting new priority, but wandering about the interweb. Here's a partial itinerary:

  • A New Brunswick blogger named 'Spinks' has completed his list of the 101 people who are screwing up Canada. It's based on the Bernard Goldberg book 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, and probably a similar ideological position. 2006 Most Annoying Canadian winner Jack Layton only comes in 27th so obviously this Spinks guy doesn't know what he's talking about. But there is a certain overlap between his choices and the 2006 MAC nominees.
  • Squeak has still not returned home. Normally I would only be moderately concerned, but there have been a number of cat-nappings in the Ottawa area recently, and the note that the loony or loonies responsible sent to one of the owners suggests (to me, at least) they might be from my area:
    The note accused the couple of neglecting the pet, saying Slim was "unbelievably matted" and thin and suggesting the cat was now better off.

    "He is now fed all natural organic cat food.... He lives in the country on a lake with a sweet female cat. He is so incredibly happy and healthy now.... Obviously I have no intention of returning him to the city streets to be neglected again."

    Nice. The CBC has a photo of poor Slim.
  • TCS Daily has a nice piece on the US Justice Department's dismantling of the idea of 'Net Neutrality'. Obviously, they read the irrefutable demolition of the idea on my blog last year.
  • Is it time to start to feel sorry for the Liberals? Oh, no no no. This is much too entertaining. Prominent Liberal on the net, Jason Cherniak:
    What did all the complainers do? They made the memo public! They got just about everything that they asked for, yet still it was not enough. You know what? I'm sick of them. I'm sick of their tactics. I'm sick of their stupidity. I'm sick of their inability to do their jobs. The goddamn National Executive is responsible for PRIVATELY organizing the party. Whoever leaked Jamie Carroll's memo should have the words "STUPID FUCKING IDIOT" engraved on his or her tombstone.
    Engaging in public infighting with other party members because they took their infighting public. This is just too much fun.
  • A trio of good articles on the Opinion Journal site today:
    • First, another reminder of where Putin has taken Russia, and where it's headed.
    • Secondly, a detailed summary of the principles, the history, and the results of the 'neocon' movement. The clever people have decided that their ideas have obviously been discredited, but the show isn't over yet.
    • As if to support that contention, the third piece argues that things are much better in Iraq than most people know.
  • You may have heard that there are problems with the Canadian health care system. If you haven't, David Gratzer will refresh your memory.
  • Of course, The US system is a mess too. But Max Borders explains that the causes are not what Michael Moore would have you believe.
  • Okay, the pizza is here. And I managed to prevent the dog from killing or frightening away the delivery person! Excellent. Time to serve my children what we call 'surfing pizza'...

October 01, 2007

Oooh! How sinister!

Crack investigative journalist Glen McGregor of the Ottawa Citizen has blown the lid off a story that will rock Canada's political world. Apparently -- and make sure you're sitting down before reading this -- back in May a partisan Conservative blogger won a contract to do communications work for a federal Conservative MP. And to this day she has managed to help herself to an astonishing $350 from the hard-working taxpayers of this country! Obviously this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's clear that all Conservative bloggers must be getting these types of sleazy contracts for writing their evil propaganda, because -- well, why else would they do it?

Personally, I'm outraged. To this day, no one has offered me any money!

Other facts from this eye-opening story:

  • Tintor's blog is "strongly opinionated"!
  • She "is also the past president of the federal Conservative association in Davenport"!
  • Her blog "is listed on the web page of the "Blogging Tories," a collection of conservative Internet commentators"!
  • "Some Liberal strategists grumble that the Tories use sympathetic bloggers to provide political spin"!
  • Tom Flanagan (Canada's Karl Rove) "cites in particular two members of the Blogging Tories, Steve Jank [sic] and Stephen Taylor, who write highly partisan blogs on federal politics"!
Do I have to draw you a map?

Seriously now, does anyone doubt there's an overlap between grassroots activists (like bloggers and riding association members) and the staff of various MPs? Is McGregor saying that if you are interested in politics and write about politics, you are ineligible to work in it? There's always the possibility that the government may reward a hard-working 'volunteer' with a high-paying, perk-laden, seat-warming job -- like, say, a spot in the Senate -- and I hope our press watches for these kinds of abuses of power. But you need to provide a little more evidence of a connection than the vague insinuations McGregor provides.

Ironically, most political blogs would be embarrassed by the lameness and pathetic research of this 'news story'. I certainly hope MP Peter Van Loan does nothing to Ms Tintor's contract on the basis of this nonsense.

August 28, 2007

There's no place like home

The plan was to leave Fredericton and just go as far as Quebec City on the first day, but the lure of getting home encouraged me to continue and we made it home in just one day. It took exactly thirteen hours -- including three hour long stops -- to make it. I drove the whole way, and was probably passed only a half dozen times by other cars. We were also blessed by the fastest passage through Montreal ever.

We couldn't have made it had Captain Destructo and the Mistress of Chaos not remained in their mild-mannered secret identities for most of the ride. They were terrific. I was surprised.

It was nice not to worry about the blog for a couple of weeks, but now I'm itching to get back at it. I'll slap some photos up soon, and then will get back to my role as Canada's most beloved blogger. But give me a day to unpack, mow the lawn, shop, go through the mail, and find the one cat that is still missing.

August 09, 2007

Outta here!

Well, that's it. Tomorrow my family and I head out on the open road in the Improbabus. We don't know where we'll wind up or what we'll do. We're just going to throw caution to the wind and see where the open road takes us. We may go East, we may go West, or we may even go South. A week from now we may be crossing a desert, or climbing a mountain, or lounging in front of a pool in Las Vegas. There's nothing like the excitement of the unknown.

Of course, there is a small chance that we may do what my wife has planned: drive to New Brunswick to spend a week in a cottage by the ocean, followed by attending her brother's wedding. But I'm sure I can talk her out of it.

Either way, posting will be infrequent. More so, I mean. Here's a last photo of my traveling companions, taken during a hike the other day. I'm sure they're going to be perfectly well-behaved.

Right?

August 08, 2007

Stuff & Things XXIV

  • I haven't done one of these S&Ts for over a year. Today seems like a good day to renew this once popular Autonomous Source feature as I've found a bunch of interesting things to read lately and haven't the time to comment on them all in detail. This interweb thing is great!
  • To me, an individual's first responsibility is to look after himself. Too bad then that in Canada we have to trust our health care needs to the government. Lately, the Tories seem to be fishing about for visionary project they can put their stamp on. Might I suggest freeing the provinces to experiment in new methods of delivering health care? Rebecca Walberg of the Calgary herald has a detailed and concise article on the need for more private involvement. Guys, take note. And this American take on the Canadian system from City Journal is also worth a read.
  • The Daily Express has a great piece on the steady flow of young, educated Britons emigrating to the rest of the Commonwealth. The article sort of dances around what the reasons are, but the comments on the article sure don't. I've met quite a few recent immigrants from the UK in the past few years and they are all in awe of how wonderful life is in Canada. This won't stop me from continuing to complain about things, however...
  • On a somewhat related note, Theodore Dalrymple gave a speech in Halifax this year on the topic of cultural confidence, and the text is available online. He touches on something that I've been musing about a bit lately: When and why did Western Civilization stop believing in itself? For Dalrymple, he ends the speech on a fairly positive note. (via Daimnation, by way of Blazing Cat Fur collected from Opinions Canada.)
  • Unfortunately, it looks like South Africa is following Zimbabwe's lead in destroying their country. Are they fifteen years behind them? Ten?
  • Do you love Opera? Me neither, but I found this article on the modern trend of 'updating' operas to make them 'more relevant'. You know, by having the characters masturbate on stage, take drugs, torture, rape, murder or make trite jokes about Bush. It's a pretty long piece, but well researched and well written.
  • Is that all we got? Is that a wrap? Hmm, seemed like there was more. Okay then, 'til next time...

August 01, 2007

The Carnival Of The Politically Correct

The Mayor of Mitchieville has managed to corral enough bloggers to declare the Carnival Of The Politically Correct. Representative of the submissions, Steve B lays down the current state of the world before getting around to listing the simple solutions to fix it:

Now, we all know that in this world, there are just two kinds of people: 1) Those who value the environment, those who understand the danger of global warming and capitalist over-consumption, who understand the felt-needs of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, and are willing to provide whatever entitlements and social programs are necessary, regardless of the drain on the economy, and then of course there are: 2) Earth despoiling christo-fascist hate mongers who wait for a Rapture so that they can escape a raped and despoiled Gaia, leaving the rest of you losers here to burn.
Unfortunately, I was unable to contribute as an unfortunate accident has left me with the tragic inability to speak in politically correct cant. I admire those who do though. Fenris, you're a treasure to the world and your tear-drenched keyboard should be enshrined in a museum after you're composted. (Hey! Maybe I'm cured!)

July 31, 2007

I'm just greedy, I guess...

A minor new addition to the blog template is a wishlist. Scroll down and look to the right and you'll see gifts you can buy me to make me happy. Just one of the important services this blog provides: a way to simplify Christmas shopping for my loved ones and many admirers.

It's a little sparse right now, but it will fill up. I want lots of stuff. I like stuff.

July 09, 2007

Back from Mitchieville

I had a fine time visiting the Mayor's realm this weekend. I haven't time to write much on the subject right now, but the live-blogging post over at Mitchieville is the definitive record of the events of the night. Thanks go to the Mayor and Nikita for the hospitality, Reg for some delicious snacks, Mike for the entertainment, and Fenris for his inspirational words and coffees from Timmy's. Thanks must also go to no-show Jay Jardine for funding the bottle of scotch that was consumed.

To find out what happened to Fenris' shirt, go to the extended entry...

Continue reading "Back from Mitchieville" »

July 03, 2007

'A freaking trooper'

Yes. That's me.

I'll be making a rare public appearance in the town of Mitchieville this coming Saturday. The Mayor is hosting a bash that promises to be epic. But there are still coveted invitations to be had. You too may be able to say, "I was there!" to your grandchildren. Contact the Mayor at his site for the correct protocol to gain admission.

June 23, 2007

That's about right

My blog's suitability for minors:

(via Mitchieville)

May 02, 2007

Mission Accomplished!

Spam has finally been defeated on this blog! Using the free service Akismet, spam that was a torrent only a few days ago has been stopped cold. I am confident in declaring I will never have to worry about spam again.

Yeah right. But it's been flawless for the past day, stopping an abundance of spam that otherwise would have got through. I haven't seen any false positives yet, but if you get a message while commenting that your comment is being saved for moderation (read: thrown in the junk bin) let me know and I'll rescue it and try to figure out what went wrong.

UPDATE: I know this is of absolutely no interest to anyone, but I cannot overstate how wonderful blocking all this spam is. This is a sample of the type of crap that has been hammering this site, and probably any other blog you might visit:

It was like cleaning out the Aegean Stables to get rid of this stuff. And now it's stopped. I'm free!

April 23, 2007

Spam Storm

I've had to drastically ratchet up the spam filtering of this poor, almost abandoned site because of an intense and unrelenting barrage of spam. There are few regular commenters left anyways, so it won't affect anyone.

It strikes me that this is all Google's fault. If their algorithms refused to increase the page rank for links that were placed as spam, there would be no incentive for these scum-sucking bottom-feeders to pollute the web with their crap. How many hours do most bloggers have to spend shoveling out this garbage? Maybe a class action lawsuit is in order.

UPDATE: Gah! Even with my filters set to the max, I can't stop it. I don't understand how Movable Type can't recognise that the same URL in the same comment arriving 5 times a minute is SPAM. *sigh* All commenting has been shut off until the dirtbags hammering me get the hint.

UPDATE II: Most of the spam is directed to pages hosted on University sites -- no doubt illegally. I have contacted the administators of those sites to get the pages taken down. That's what you get if you mess with me, spammers...

UPDATE III: Hooray! The spam spill has been cleaned up! Most of the Universities I contacted have replied and have taken down the linked pages! A tiny victory against the forces of chaos has been achieved. Comments have been reactivated for those that wish to congratulate me...

UPDATE IV: Perhaps I was a little too harsh at condemning Movable Type's spam sniffer. My junk folder contains an awesome 13,000 junked comments! Needless to say, cleaning that up by hand would have been impossible.

April 16, 2007

Remember fisking?

Fisking used to be all the rage in the blogosphere, but it's been a dying art form for the past couple of years. Mostly because it's generally done in a pretty lame manner. But Tim Blair is trying to keep this vital part of our culture alive:

"I don’t like global warming,” Alyssa continues, her eyes huge and serious behind her glasses, a stardust of freckles across her nose, “because it kills animals, and I like animals."
So do I, little one. That’s why I own a barbecue.
RTWT.

March 07, 2007

Blogging into the wind

The blog sucks. I know. I know! Despite the pointlessness of it, I'm going to give my reasons. Yes, this is another blog post about why I haven't been blogging. There's really only four causes:

1) Captain Destructo and the Mistress of Chaos. Add this term to your list of euphemistic phrases: spirited child. A spirited child is:

more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic.
In other words, more crazy. In less enlightened times -- when people didn't have to be so careful about 'labeling' a child and hurting his or her self-esteem -- these children were probably considered to be possessed by the devil and were dealt with appropriately. But now the treatment is subtle behavior modification involving gentle praise and rebukes. Frankly, I think an exorcist would be more effective.

We have two 'sprited children', and the infuriating properties of their condition are magnified by this. When in full insanity mode, they lock minds and pay no attention to anything but each other. They shriek, giggle, babble, tell absolutely terrible jokes, and basically try to speed up the entropic process that will lead to the destruction of the universe. It can be a little stressful.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want them any other way. But I could use an off switch. Or at least a mute button.

2) Apathy. I'm having a hard time working up much concern about the problems of the world when I have things closer to home to deal with. Let me try again for old times sake:

Things suck, and people are still stupid.
That'll have to do for awhile.

3) The Editor. Yes he's back again, though in a somewhat different form. I'm looking for a job now (not so much for the money, but as part of a program of stress-reduction) and I worry what some HR person is going to see when they google my name. I'm not worried enough to go and change anything I've already written -- I have no regrets about anything on this blog -- but just thinking of someone misunderstanding what I want to write has made it more difficult to commit any new words to the internet's permanent record.

4) Burn out. I'm burnt out. I need some down time. Yes, I know I'm unemployed, but you don't know my kids...

So the question is, can this blog survive these challenges? It's impossible to say right now. There is some hope that issue one is starting to resolve itself, which would also ease issue two. But until issue three is resolved there will be very little of the sharp political commentary that is this blog's proud heritage. So for now, I have enacted a new editorial policy: no political crap. Cool stuff, self-indulgent observational nonsense, kids stories, and consumer reports will be be the focus around here for the time being.

Issue four will hopefully be ameliorated with some well deserved R&R that is coming up. First, the wife and I will be leaving for New York for four days starting tomorrow. Without CD and TMOC! We'll be staying at the fabulous Royalton near the theatre district. We're probably going to eat at some fine restaurants, go to a few swanky clubs, and catch a show or two, but I'd be just as happy staying in, watching TV and drinking weak American beer. (I hear Zima is da bomb!) The weekend after that I'll be in Toronto attending this wild party, and two weeks later I'll be free for a whole week (!!) as my wife and her mother bravely volunteer to endure seven hours on a plane with my spirited children to take them to Vancouver. I can't wait. I'm going to sleep in 'til... nine o'clock! I'm so excited!

So. Autonomous Source is not dead. Not yet anyways. There are still some feeble vital signs.

This public service message has concluded. We now return you to our regularly scheduled test pattern....

February 06, 2007

Darcey starts a journey

I doubt there's anyone (that isn't a friend or family member) that still bothers to read this blog that doesn't also read Dust My Broom. It's a fairly popular Canadian conservative-ish blog started by Darcey, an oddball Metis engineer and amateur nudist. The big news is that, with almost no warning, he claims to have given up his possessions and to be starting a walk across Canada.

I don't really know what to make of this. I met Darcey last summer and really hit it off with him. He would hit it off with anyone; he's an honest, generous, gregarious guy with a genuine interest in other people. But I also sensed a bit of recklessness to him that could be easily uncorked. So when I read one post from him talking about taking a handful of magic mushrooms, and the next about how he's given away all his possessions, it's natural that I worry.

Still, I wish him the best. And I hope he comes to his senses.

Darcey, if you have a mid-life crisis to deal with, just buy a Harley or take up sky-diving or something. It may seem like freedom to live the life of a wandering mendicant, but there is no escape from the tyranny of your body's demands. Remember that a place of your own with running water, heat, and a fridge is a tremendous freedom in itself.

I hope to hear some news from you on your blog soon. I also hope I'm misunderstanding your intentions. But if not, here's a song I think is pretty apropos. It's from Canadian prog-punk band NoMeansNo. If they make a movie out of this foolish plan of yours, I hope it goes on the soundtrack.


UPDATE: Apparently it was a short journey. I am now much more at ease.

January 24, 2007

Don't follow this link

I can thank Gnotalex for the loss of this morning to idleness. Terrible thing, idleness, always stopping me from being the effective achiever I know I am meant to be.

Anyways, if you do not want your day to me mired in idleness, DO NOT follow this link. I'm warning you!

And if you do follow it, I'll bet you can't get to level 39 like I did...

January 19, 2007

Bob's back!

Somehow I missed this, but Bob Tarantino of the defunct Let it Bleed has had a new blog up for a couple of months. I always enjoyed his no-nonsense take on the issues and his ability to neatly eviscerate the columns of the wackier contributors to the Star and Globe. He was always one of my higher priority reads. It's good to have him back.

January 16, 2007

Three years of Autonomous Source

Three years ago, I wrote the first memorable post on this blog: Test. From that simple beginning this blog has grown into one of the most important, well-read, and influential Canadian blogs that I have ever been a part of.

It's been an up and down ride. There have been periods of extreme activity, and there have been some nasty funk-induced ruts. One of those ruts almost metastasized into full-blown blog paralysis this winter, and it took a great deal of effort to build a bit of momentum and get it moving again. It's too early to declare victory, but so far the signs are promising.

I've never been clear on what this blog is about. I have many interests and not so much focus. So you never know what's going to turn up on this page. But after reviewing the thousand or so posts I've written these past few years, there are some topics and themes that come up regularly. Here are the primary ingredients in the Autonomous Source stew:

  • The Kids: I love Captain Destructo and The Mistress of Chaos more than I ever thought it was possible to love something. But they also drive me absolutely batty. I write about them to remember their antics and to ease some of the tension they cause in my life.
  • Canadian Politics: I'm politically active in the Conservative party at the local level. That doesn't mean I support everything the party does, but I see them as the best of a bad lot. I find it's more useful to work for my beliefs (smaller government, more individualism, less identity politics, freer markets) within an organization that has the opportunity of doing something about it than to slouch on the sidelines and bitch. But I don't always get what I want.
  • Free Market Economics: The heart of capitalism is that two people (or two corporations) can make a free, uncoerced exchange and each feel that they are the better for it. As a result of millions and millions of these exchanges, the world grows richer and people are better off. This seems so obvious, yet so few people understand it.
  • Fighting Tyranny: The history of the world is packed with brutal regimes that ruled with terror and the threat of violence. The relatively free societies we live in today are fragile exceptions to the rule. I believe we have the duty to try to spread this freedom when possible and support it in places where it is under attack. That's why I still support the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. I am absolutely flummoxed by the supposedly caring people that want to throw the people of those countries to the wolves.
  • Junk Science: Superstitious beliefs are still commonplace in this age of reason. They're just given a scientific veneer. I occasionally try to do a bit of sanding to get to the truth.
  • The Lying No-good Media: The modern news media is very susceptible to bias, herd-thinking, sloppiness, and corruption. I have been known to be somewhat critical of it.
  • Neat Stuff: I love video games, music, art, nifty web pages, movies, and comic books. Well, the good stuff anyway. And when I find something I love, I want to share it with the world. This blog is my conduit.
The successful blogs are those that manage to specialize and become nexus points for some particular topic, no matter how small. That's never going to happen around here. I will keep on writing about whatever half-baked topic flits through my mind for as long as this blog exists. I appreciate everyone that drops by, and especially appreciate those that link and comment.

Okay, that's enough for now. Time to get back to real life...

January 07, 2007

New email

Be advised, merchants of pirated software, incest foot-fetish porn, herbal erectile-dysfunction remedies, and penny stocks, that I have a new email address. It's not that I didn't appreciate your endless offers and come-ons, but I was finding it too difficult to find my legitimate correspondence. If you really feel you must contact me, the new address can be found on the right. Thanks for your understanding.

January 05, 2007

Welcome to the world!

Congratulations go out to the Latin American correspondent and his wife on the birth of their hairy baby in Sao Paulo.

Sorry -- on the birth of their baby, Harry.

Good work folks! Keep 'em coming!

December 03, 2006

Who will get the last word?

A trivial post at Andrew Coyne's blog simply announcing who won the leadership convention has morphed into a rock 'em-sock 'em debate over the validity of the greenhouse effect. There's over a hundred comments so far, and yet there has been no agreement. Imagine that! Some well reasoned arguments have been advanced by both sides, but they've been mixed with lots of nasty ad hominum stuff as well. Which makes it so fun to read.

UPDATE: Now what to do about Afghanistan is being debated. I'm glad these guys are working so hard to clear these issues up.

December 02, 2006

Comment confusion

I have discovered that Movable Type has been stashing legitimate comments in a folder and not telling me about them. It has been doing this all the while it has been publishing very some obvious spam. It seems that MT 3.2's super-duper spam detector is not quite as amazinig as advertised.

My apologies to those that commented and had their words lost to this bug. I've allowed the comments from the last week to go up, and hopefully fixed the problem.

October 30, 2006

Near death experience

It was all very odd. I felt at peace. I felt a depth of comfort and contentment I've never before experienced. It was a warm, relaxing sensation that pulsed through me. There was a delicious bubbling sensation in my brain that made me smile broadly, verging on the precipice of an intense bout of laughter.

All around me was black, except for a bright spot off in the distance. It called to me, inviting me to even greater levels of pleasure -- pleasure I could not imagine! I moved towards it. The anticipation was intoxicating. I was moving faster and faster and the light was getting brighter and brighter! But just as I was about to merge with the light, something happened -- something terrible! It started receding! I stretched out my arms, but it was too late. I was crashing, coming back to reality. My surroundings changed and I experienced a sense of devastating loss. True freedom, pure freedom, was snatched away from me, and I was once again mired in this earthly, hostile place.

This blog is not dead. Unfortunately for me.

October 02, 2006

Blast off!

The voting for the Most Annoying Canadian got off to a huge start today, thanks to an early couple of links from Darcey at Dust My Broom and The Shotgun. Daimnation! and Small Dead Animals soon followed, and the traffic through this normally quiet site became immense. I don't think the carpets in the foyer can ever be repaired.

But it doesn't end there. Tomorrow I'll be appearing on Craig Bromell's show on Toronto radio station AM640. No doubt they're shocked that Charles Adler has been accused of being annoying and will try to intimidate me to get me to remove his name. If you want to listen to me try to avoid being tongue-tied in front of an audience of thousands, tune in tomorrow just after the 11:00 news.

UPDATE: I'm also going to be on Roy Green's show on CHML AM900 in Hamilton just past 10:00 this morning. Oh, what am I gonna wear?

August 23, 2006

So long, Brian

Brian Neale of Nealenews has decided to hang up his hat, call it a day, and 'spend more time with his family'. He's retiring from the business of linking to the news. Or so he says, anyway, he faked his site's death once already, two years ago, so he may still be back.

For a long time, when visiting his site I could be reasonably assured that there would be a story -- and usually a Canadian story -- that would interest me. I could also be assured that there would be at least one story about reality TV shows. It was a quirky site that had an important place in the Canadian blogosphere and I'm going to miss it. Now I'll have to check in on the CBC and the Toronto Star myself. What a drag.

August 19, 2006

Spam filters relaxed

Since moving to Movable Type 3.2 a month or so ago, my terrible, terrible spam problems have disappeared. The hundred or so notes from various bottom-feeding scum that greeted me in the morning are no more. But then again, so are any legitimate comments -- except from Chris Taylor, who bravely endured the dread Typepad registration system.

I got an email from a world renowned blogger yesterday complaining how my site had turned into an unfriendly fascist gulag, unwilling to allow free expression. He had a point, and so I've decided to lower my defenses slightly to see what will happen. No longer will approval from Typepad be necessary to post here, and for now, I've stopped moderating new comments. I still have a few defenses in place; hopefully they'll be enough.

July 30, 2006

This is the life

A beautiful day, a gin and tonic, my slick new laptop to blog on, a comfy chair and groovy tunes. And no kids.

UPDATE: I guess I got a little too comfortable to do any blogging...

July 10, 2006

Must be tertiary syphilis

I'm so glad to have had the chance to meet Fenris Badwulf in Toronto before he went completely insane. But then again, I somewhat regret not meeting the individual who wrote this:

Accept the smoke of burning airships with your morning Tim Horton coffee and donut. Let cougar women feast upon the sexual delights of fresh trained eighteen year old soldiers. Say ‘Welcome’ to the business opportunities of total war. Make a service contract offer with The War God.

Soon, you will have a comfortable air raid shelter. The government will give you a coffee machine, and donuts after each large city wide attack. It will have running water, electricity for your computer and air conditioner, and recycled air out of the deepest sewers. What a deal! You will be as safe as a mushroom. You will be the man with the car and the hot chick when the lights go out and city evacuates during the attacks from the city melting machine from beyond Pluto.

Sound the War Timpani! Honk the Clarinets! Pummel the Tamobrine Ensemble! Let the fearsome roar of our Castanetes sound across the land as our invincible squares of pikemen and dashing halberdiers move to subjugate new territories for our mutual economic benefit. Hurrah for Monopoly Capitalism!

Yes, This Country is assembling a pre-emptive planning sub-committee (ex folio ut nil captum barbarorum) for the aggressive reconnaissence of the least outer and greatest inner parameters of the projected problem exploration grouping. Our Enemies are Doomed!

It'll all be over soon.

July 06, 2006

You Tubed

Here at Autonomous Source headquarters, we're always on the lookout for the latest blog fad so we can jump on the bandwagon too. Lately it seems that embedding other's YouTube videos on your site is all the rage. It's wrong to fight these things; better to just go with the flow...

The first amusing video is from a Japanese game show, or perhaps a morning show. An annoyed monitor lizard must decide which maiden's headgear he wishes to devour. Why can't we get this kind of stuff on Canada AM?

The next selection is from the most significant rock band of the 20th century, with a video for the song that changed the world. It's 1976 -- Can you handle DEVO?

Johnny Knoxville is now a Hollywood mega-star, starring in such timeless films as The Dukes of Hazzard and The Ringer. But before he was a household name, he abused his body and his dignity for a show on an obscure cable channel. This is possibly the funniest thing you will see in your lifetime:

YouTube has people creating their own original content, not just sharing the contents of their old VHS tapes. This one is pretty popular. (Okay, it's not completely original...)

And finally, nostalgia. If you're a Canadian of a certain age, this video will bring back lots of old memories. If you're not, it will be a pointless waste of two minutes of your life.

Okay, that's enough for this week. I reserve the right to do this again, for as long as this fad continues.

June 19, 2006

Canadian Blogfest '06

Well, Darcey, Ian, Les, the Zerb, and Right Girl have already offered their accounts of what happened that night, but I think they all may have been drinking heavily and got a few things wrong. So it's up to me to offer the definitive account, so that when the Post Office gets around to making a Heritage Minute spot on the event, it'll be accurate.

We met at Fiddler's Green, a Irish-ish Pub in the center of Boystown, Toronto's answer to Castro Street in San Francisco. For some reason, I had the address wrong and wound up wandering Church street looking confused for some time. Now I'm generally a flashy dresser (see the photo below to find out just how radiantly cool I was that evening) so I caught quite a few deep searching glances being directed my way. As a man, I wasn't used to it. Now I can understand the uncomfortable feeling of vulnerability that women in wet T-shirt competitions must bear.

I arrived fashionably late, and was introduced to about twelve people, only remembering the name of Right Girl because she was introduced to me last. Her -- husband? boyfriend? -- who goes by the name of Must-Control-Fist-of-Death and some of their groupies were also there. Others present were Mike, Lisa, and Mapmaster from the London Fog, some guy with a mustache that I unfortunately forgot the name of (it may have been this guy), Kate from the Last Amazon, Darcey of course, and Publius from Gods of the Copybook Headings.

Arriving even later than I were Ian Scott, Bob Tarantino of the defunct Let It Bleed, Les from Spiderman's Web, Chris Taylor and his girlfriend (whose name I also forgot), Fenris Badwulf and the Mayor from Mitchieville, a few frequent commenters that I didn't know, a deranged electrician, and the Zerb!

For those of you unfamiliar with my blog, I must mention that Antonia Zerbisias won my prestigious Most Annoying Canadian competition for 2004, beating out the highly annoying Canadian Tire Guy and even Sheila Copps. Had I known she was coming I would have had a trophy made to present to her. But at least I got this photo of us together:

Photo by Right Girl, who will never be another Annie Leibovitz.

Conversation never stopped, though I have few strong recollections of topics. Fenris and the electrician told some stories of what goes on in Big Box stores that are definitely not Wal-Mart in the middle of the night. A secret society was formed. (Whoops! No it wasn't.) Sweeping generalizations were made. Autobiographies were told.

Alcohol was consumed. This I'm pretty sure of. I myself drank plenty of beer, a couple of Rusty Nails, several single-malt scotches, a Johnny Walker Red (this after Chris Taylor spoke of his contempt for it), more beer, and later some red wine. All this over the course of ten hours. I may have been a little tipsy at moments in the evening, but I couldn't catch Darcey:

With Darcey is Kelly, our tireless server. I have similar photos of Darcey groping many other women that evening, but I'll keep them private if I'm well compensated.

We left sometime around midnight. I must respond to this comment by Ian:

It was finally time to end the gathering - and after another whisker rub from Darcey, we all walked off to wherever we were going - not sure where Bruce ended up… not sure I should even ask.. but - isn’t it ironic that it was the libertarians who were helping the "law and order" conservatives be personally responsible for their actions??
I think he's referring to Darcey's and my plan to walk the streets... with open bottles of beer in our hands!! Mapmaster and Lisa were the libertarians who tried to dissuade us. I couldn't believe that Toronto was that much of a police state. I figured that if we walked down Church Street amongst all the colourful folk there, no cop would dare stop us -- especially with me wearing such a fabulous shirt. But they were very adamant and we relented. (And who is Ian calling a "law and order" conservative?)

I also have to respond to this from him:

And Bruce is a funny and interesting guy! But, his wife might want to give me a call so we can discuss some weird fascinations he seems to have with certain parts of Toronto.
I really don't think being interested in going to a gay karaoke bar for drinks at midnight on a Saturday is a 'weird fascination'. It's perfectly normal curiousity.

Lisa, Mapmaster, Darcey and I joined Kate at her home, where we continued to converse on many different topics. Until 3:00 that is, when I realized I was the last one talking and everyone else was nodding off. I excused myself and made my way to my hotel, which was thankfully right around the corner.

Thanks to everyone for a great evening, and I will definitely try to make it again should another one get planned. Give me a little time to recover, though.

Autonomous Source version 3.0!

Okay, that's enough mucking around with templates. My upgrade of Movable Type is complete. Comments and trackbacks have resumed!

Actually, everything isn't done yet, but most of what is left is just fine tuning and a major blogroll update, and I'll get to that soon. It's good enough for now.

It doesn't look like much has changed, but since the style sheet has changed drastically between MT 2.8 and MT 3.2, I had to do everything all over again. Underneath the hood, the database has changed to MySQL (which will be handy if I ever finish that PHP book I'm reading), and spiffy new spam protection has been added. The spam was the reason I upgraded -- I was getting over a 100 a day. Let's see how long it takes them to bust through now.

Okay, I gotta take the kids out shopping. Blogging will resume this evening.

June 18, 2006

Yes, it was a hoot

I think. I'm really hope so at least, because I'd hate to think that I didn't have fun and still have to bear this extrordinary hangover. Wow.

I'm just checking out now and heading for the train station, so I don't have time for a complete recap. I'll try to slap a couple of photos up soon. It was great to meet some of the people I read each day, especially as we hit it off so well.

Okay, I gotta go catch a train.

June 16, 2006

Heading for the front line

Today, I'm heading for the violent center of the terrible insurgency that threatens our nation: Toronto, also known as the center of the universe. It will be a little risky, but I want to see for myself what is happening rather than listen to the words of the lying media. Is our cause there hopeless? Or is there chance that someone from a party other than the NDP or Liberals will win a seat there one day?

I'll also be attending the 'Blogfest' happening there Saturday night. Guest of honour is Darcy of Dust my Broom, who will be joined by the best bloggers in the Canadian blogosphere -- plus me and Ian Scott. There is the possibility of it being a hoot.