Autonomous Source

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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.

September 10, 2007

Dimming the lights

This blog will get even quieter for the next little while as my new and improved priorities take up the majority of my time. I need to focus, so I'm ditching my distractions -- and this is a big one.

I hope to come back in a week or two (or three) with some interesting news, but until then Autonomous Source will be silent. I know it's traumatic for some of you, but I have no choice, sorry.

June 23, 2007

That's about right

My blog's suitability for minors:

(via Mitchieville)

December 26, 2006

Jack takes the prize!

I should have announced this much earlier, but better late than never, I suppose:

Jack Layton is 2006's winner of the Most Annoying Canadian!

(Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap!)

(Picture shamelessly ripped off from Le Cornichon.)

With 37% of the vote, Jack dominated this competition from the beginning, handily beating other annoying Canadians such as David Suzuki, Belinda Stronach, and Colleen Jones. I suspect the timing of the vote may have had some impact on the results, as Jack had been making noises against the Canadian mission in Afghanistan during the beginning of October. If the 2006 MAC voting was being held today, perhaps Gilles Ducheppe or Stephane Dion would have taken the prize. But no matter, Jack is richly deserving of the award, and the people have spoken.

Happy Boxing Day!

Ok, so I missed Hanukkah and Christmas -- this is all I'm left with. So I sincerely wish everyone a happy, safe, and memorable Boxing day!

This blog has been in a bit of a quiet period, I know. I'm not sure of what the reason for this is, but I have hired a top team of blog recovery specialists to try to rejuvenate this sad little page. If that doesn't work, I may just have to get off my butt and put a little more effort into things. Or I could just shut the blog down and allow the bottom-feeders to turn autonomoussource.com into an intoxicating one-stop-shop for herbal erectile-disfunction remedies.

But, no. I can't let that happen. The thought of the the internet without my vague meanderings and useless links is too depressing to contemplate. It's my duty to get out of this funk and get on with it. Or maybe not -- we'll see. But first I have some unfinished business to wrap up...

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.

October 03, 2006

So much for my future in radio

I can't say my first interview went very well. I missed part of some of Roy Green's questions and detected a strange quaver in my voice. But just as I was starting to warm up they pulled the plug on me for my insufferable lameness. Oh well. But I was surprised by how I was trashed by him and Charles Adler after I was on. I missed part of it, but I heard a comment comparing the list to something a 'seven-year-old' would create. They disputed many of the nominees and accused me of being an attention-seeking nobody. Whoa! That hurts!

Hey, this is just a small blog for me to goof around on. I spend very little time on it or even thinking about it. I've got no aspirations and generally avoid the various tools available for promoting blogs. The nominations for the list were mostly picked my readers, if there's a problem with them, blame them. It's fun that I have a momentary moment of (very minor) fame, but a little frightening too.

This is the internet. Content is ephemeral. Getting offended by a name on the list, or by an omission, is silly. Radio is ephemeral too. I shouldn't let this bug me.

UPDATE: I did much better on AM640. The vodka shots helped, I think.

September 06, 2006

Most Annoying Canadian Update

My thanks to the people who made nominations for this year's Most Annoying Canadian competition, and to the other bloggers that helped me spread the word. From those nominations (and a bit more thinking on my part) I've added a few more candidates into the race:

But I'm still sure there are some hard-working and very annoying Canadians that are missing. It would be an affront to them to be overlooked in this very prestigious contest. I'm especially interested in those that the Canadian 'left' find annoying (and why). As well, if any of those proposed are not annoying, I'd be glad to hear of it. Avril Lavigne, for example, I threw on the list knowing next to nothing about her. Annoying or not? I need to know.

Nominations will continue to be taken until the end of September. By then, I hope to have finished reading my book on PHP and MySQL and have a super-secure method of tabulating votes in place.

June 01, 2006

Hibernation

As you may have noticed (if anyone is still checking in), the blog has been pretty quiet lately. It's not because I have nothing to say, but because I have little time in which to say it. There's been plenty of work around here, the kids are extremely demanding, and I'm spending my time on some other priorities. As well, there are some other things going on in the family that I don't feel like getting into right now.

I am not going to shut down however, as I've enjoyed the work I've done on the blog when the juices were flowing and would like to get into that groove again. Hopefully in a month or so I'll relaunch the site, refreshed and energized.

For now, comments and trackbacks will be shut off to stem the incredible flow of spam onto my old posts.

I'll leave with a photo of the kids as they work to prevent me from building their ultra-cool play structure. See you soon.

May 10, 2006

Stuff & Things XXII

  • Apologies for not completing my last Day in the Life. It's still in the pipeline, but has been delayed due to the intense craziness that has buffeted this household in the past week or two. You have no idea.
  • Max has been growing into a bit of a TV-obsessed lunatic over the past months and I've been letting him. But it has to stop, so I've cut him (and her) off cold turkey for a while. This is almost as much of a punishment for me as it is for them, as I don't get a break from them. The whining for TV has at last died down now, but they have found new ways to drive me crazy. Right now Max is running around the house using the BBQ tongs to grab things. Books off the shelves, toys, pillows, the cats' tails. Talia has just discovered how to walk on her heels and needs me to continue to express amazement. (Lookit Papa! Lookit!) She thinks I should enter her in a talent show just like they had on Spongebob Squarepants.
  • Looks like that housing bubble has finally popped. I've been reading The Housing Bubble Blog for the past couple of weeks and it's been running all kinds of news about the complete turnaround in housing prices all across the States. I'm sure it's happening here too; my neighborhood looks like there's an election going on between the Century 21 and ReMax parties.
  • Hey! Gold is around $US700 now. I seem to recall advising my readers to buy a little more that a year ago. Just sayin'.
  • Okay, I intended this to be a bit longer, but I have no more time for chit-chat. There's a couple of things that require my immediate attention...

April 28, 2006

You can't shut down freedom of speech

Apparently there is a massive denial of service attack underway against many Hosting Matters blogs. The attacks originate in Saudi Arabia and have shut down many of my favourite blogs.

I have a suspicion that this is in retribution for the promotion of the dread Mohammed cartoons that so inexplicably excited some people a couple of months ago. Just in case it is, I have just one thing to say:

Delays

The second half of DITL VIII will be delayed until I figure out how much of my wife's hard earned cash must by handed over to Sucking Central and its equally grasping subsidiary in Quebec City. I must say that doing the taxes in Quebec is exciting because every second calculation on the federal form is calculated differently in Quebec. I think it's part of that distinct society thing.

Anyways. My wife's head will explode with stress if I don't finish this soon, so I'd better get back to work...

March 22, 2006

Pull up! Pull up!

Whoa! That was a close one! I just nodded off for a few moments and woke up to find my blog in a tailspin! I think I have it back under control now.

I haven't been on the web for a few days as I worked on a few things around the house. And in that time I received 700 spam emails in my inbox. Many are to notify me that I've won another European lottery or are from some financial institution wishing me to 'update my account information', but most are notifications of new spam comments or trackbacks to the blog. It's such a chore to wipe this stuff off the site. One of the major deterents for me to sit down and blog is facing this vile stuff and scrubbing it off. I'm going to have to try to upgrade my blog software again. *sigh*

Okay. Now that I've regained level flight, where should I go? Well, first I've got some cleaning to do. Then maybe I can produce some Lileksian drivel about how I'm spending my days with the kids lately. My horizon has moved much closer in the past few weeks, so I don't care to write about anything beyond my little world, though that may soon change.

I've delayed enough. Now it's time to hold my nose and face the muck...

March 09, 2006

Bad to worse

In the future, when children start coming down with some new illness developed at the biological weapons development lab otherwise known as 'daycare', parents will be able to take a sample of the bug, drop it in their personal pharmaceutical lab and have a preventative medicine prepared right away. But those days are a long way off. I could only wait helplessly for Max and Talia's latest cold to come for me.

And what a monster it was. I haven't been this miserably sick since... well, since the last cold they gave me, back at the end of January. My wife never seems to get them. I think doctors have some secret medicine that they keep for themselves. They can't let it get into the hands of the public or they would lose their power.

Anyways, that's why there's been no posts. I'm just too miserable to care. But I'll be back, lemme just have another nap...

February 22, 2006

Stuff & Things XXI

  • Cats in Sinks in the site to go to if you want to see high-quality pictures of cats in sinks.
  • Mark Bourrie has rolled over for Warren Kinsella. While it's probably the smart thing to do, I'm a little disappointed. I'm also pretty disgusted with Kinsella. What a thug he is.
  • Amazing aerial pictures from Mexico city. The thumbnails don't really capture how amazing they are -- run the slideshow. (via Samizdata)
  • The Enron Trialwatch blog is doing an excellent job covering the trial of Ken Lay's misdeeds. Lay's defence will be fun to watch -- he's not denying knowledge of was happening as the company collapsed, but claiming that his actions were perfectly legal. And maybe it'll work! Legal or not, they certainly were immoral. He sold $70 million of his own stock to Enron (!!) just before it declared bankruptcy and was flailing about with cash flow problems. Sort of like handing a drowning man an anchor.
  • Kitten War is a site where the cutest kitten wins. Make sure you vote for my cat Squeak if you see him (as a kitten).
  • Kate at SDA has a timely post about Nazi influence on scattered German communities before WWII.
  • World of Warcraft has borrowed the Google Map API to create a zoomable map of their virtual world. If you look closely here, you can see Boney Bruce endlessly slaying zombies and ghouls in the Eastern Plaguelands.
  • There's lots more cat pictures at Cute Overload.

February 16, 2006

They Live!!

Three blogs from the graveyard pull themselves out of the ground to blog again. Welcome back Canadian Comment, Debbye, and Anticipatory Retaliation!

February 15, 2006

Blogging is a dangerous game

An Ottawa blogger named Mark Bourrie wrote these words about a month ago:

Kinsella

Yet another Warren Kinsella quote today in the National Post, this time about Tory strategy at the end of the campaign.

Kinsella, who hates Paul Martin much more than he loves the Liberal Party, seems delighted in the destruction of Martin's government. He hopes to have his own flagging political career revive when there's a Liberal leadership change.

It's not going to happen. Both Liberals and Tories now know that Kinsella's loyalty is to Kinsella.

And they remember Kinsella was executive assistant to Public Works minister David "I'm entitled to my entitlements" Dingwall. Kinsella was the guy who foisted Chuck Guite on the bureaucracy. He [Bourrie has since changed this word to 'Guite'] was a key actor in the sponsorship kickback scandal. And that scandal is about half the reason Paul Martin is on the skids.

And now this blogger is being sued for $600,000. It seems Bourrie and Kinsella had an antagonistic relationship on the web, and Kinsella saw these words as an opportunity for revenge.

The funny thing is that I was starting to enjoy Kinsella's work, and was looking forward to his new column in the National Post. But now I remember why I used to loathe him. His supposed efforts to 'clear his name' are just dragging it deeper into the mud.

Luckily Bourrie is not giving up without a fight. In fact, he's countersuing for abuse of process. It's pretty clear Kinsella suffered no damages from Bourrie's blog and is just using the law as a weapon to punish a political opponent.

Bourrie is accepting donations for his legal defence. I think I'll toss in a few dollars once I figure out how this Paypal thing works.

UPDATE: The Ottawa Sun has the story. (via Nealnews)

February 13, 2006

Valentine's Day Post: Forbidden Love

Even with my dim awareness of popular culture, I have come to understand that there is a much-discussed movie that deals with the topic of forbidden love. There is much public smugness on how tolerant everyone is, when ten years ago they would have thought a movie like this was just icky. But there is another kind of forbidden love that still cannot be discussed except in whispers. Those same smug people cannot bear to even think about it, or else this cutting edge film, There She Is!, would be looking to win a few Oscars too. It's rated for all ages, but be warned, some may find it rather perverse.

February 03, 2006

This round of links is on me!

January was a bit of a test for me as to whether I could keep this blog running. The demands of my children, coupled with my chronic apathy were making me wonder if it was worth the effort it took to keep scrubbing the spam off and occasionally adding some new content. Results? I did pretty well, getting a couple of links to Nealenews and managing to write almost once a day. Good for me! Yay! So I guess I'll keep this thing going for another few months at least. That'll be about when my next crisis of self-doubt will hit.

But that leaves me no excuse for not updating my links. Some blogs have gone to that great 404 in the sky, some have been reborn, while other new (or new to me, at least) pages need a link. Time to hit the blogosphere refresh button. Here are the new additions: Peaktalk, John the Mad, Joel Fleming, Hacks and Wonks, Dodgeblogium, Frost Hits the Rhubarb, Tart Cider, Dose Magazine, Conservative Life, Quotulatiousness, A North American Patriot, Musing, ThoughtsOnline, Ranting and Roaring, Grandinite, Agam's Gecko, Girl on the Right, King's Perspective, Conservative Hipster, Accordian Guy and Just Between Us Girls.

I'm expecting hours of enlightening enlightenment from each of these blogs, and I'm sure I won't be disappointed. And reciprocal links? They're always appreciated. As a stubbornly unaffiliated blogger, my status in the TTLB Ecosystem has taken a tumble in the last year. One day I hope to evolve my way back to Adorable Rodent, but for now it's just a distant dream...

January 07, 2006

Weirdness is as weirdness does

Mike Campbell has infected me with the 'Five Weird Things' blog virus. It requires me to confess to, well... five weird things about myself. I would have thought this would be easy, but because of the first item on my list, it wasn't.

  1. I am not very weird. My image of myself is that I'm very different from my peers, but I'm unable to exactly pinpoint why. One day I hope to have the resources and freedom from societal pressure to be eccentric in a flamboyant way, but for now it's only a dream.
  2. I am extremely disorganized. This has dogged me all my life and I don't think it's going away. My 'workshop' is a disaster area that I enter only to throw something in that I don't need right now. My desk is cluttered with crap with only a small free area to allow me to move the mouse. My bedside table, my wallet, and my pockets are filled with papers and small objects that may possibly have once had a use somewhere in this world. Any surface I pass frequently winds up playing host to even more junk. And my computers are the worst. Programs I've installed but never use have icons littering my desktop, and my music, photo, and video files are squirreled away in directories with no rhyme or reason. I have no use for bookmarks or address books, and my mail program has one folder with a hundred zillion emails in it. But I'm working on a new system...
  3. I have a hang-up about punctuality. Despite my disorganization I am always on time. And perversely, I expect the same from others.
  4. I have very little interest in Sports. Everyone I know seems to be tied up in sports in some way. Not me. Any enthusiasm I show when watching sports is usually feigned, and I can be extremely creative in inventing excuses to get out of playing them. But I may be able to get into golf....
  5. I am contrarian by nature. Wherever the crowd is, I'm not. I question axioms, challenge conventional wisdom, and sail into the wind. Coupled with an inate stubborness, it has frequently made my life difficult. It wouldn't be so bad if I was right a little more often.
So that's it. I'm required to cough on five others to keep the pyramid going, but because of my contrary nature I'll only inflict this on three: Publius at GOTCH, gnotalex at the Blog Quebecois, and my friend Hugh at Dose Magazine (no relation to CanWest's non-college college paper), to get this rolling on the other side of the Canadian blogosphere.

Hitting the refresh button...

I realize my blogroll is a bit antiquated. Blogs have died, moved, and new and interesting blogs are sprouting all over the place. I am in the process of refreshing my blogroll to more accurately reflect the blogosphere as it is now, rather than what it looked like a year ago.

I am also working on a new process for cold fusion. I can't say which project I'll finish first...

December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

The lameness will continue until moral improves...

December 27, 2005

Filler

Do these stoopid things really count as a post?

I am Rickets. Hear your bones go boing.
Which Horrible Affliction are you?
A Rum and Monkey disease.

December 09, 2005

Something's gone wrong again

And again, and again, and again...

Blogging has been light non-existent this past week because I've been working on the website for Lawrence Cannon, the Conservative candidate in the Pontiac. If you are reading this soon after I write it (or perhaps even days after I write it, God forbid) you will get a FILE NOT FOUND message. This is because I foolishly chose CYBERUS ONLINE to host the site. They are also know by their other name, THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

Let me back up. Last week, after much indecision, I was given the chance to work on the website. Before that, it had been a static -- though slickly designed -- site, but it was understood that we would need to be able to update the site with news as it came in. I planned to install Movable Type, and build the site around English and French 'news' pages.

So the first thing that went wrong was that the site was already hosted on a Windows server. Getting the software to work on it was possible, but only with cooperation from the host administrators. After many tugs on their chin, they decided not to help, because they didn't want to risk their other customers sites by installing some software they had not tested.

Fair enough. A setback, but not devastating. Time had been wasted, but it was possible to recover. I decided to move the site to a Linux based host. And I foolishly chose THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

Here was my reasoning. I figured they're local and small. I had never transfered a domain before and I wanted to be able to talk to someone if something went wrong. They were charging far more than the big internet hosting companies were, but I was willing to pay that if I could get some hand-holding if I needed it.

I had my account quickly. I set up the site and waited until late at night on Wednesday to tell the internet gods that lawrencecannon.com has a new home. I had heard that sometimes there are little glitches in the process and wanted them to happen when there were as few witnesses as possible.

So. Thursday morning. I call up the site and see an Apache error message saying, 'File not found at www.partypigs.com port 80'.

Huh?

I call Cyberus (THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD), and after finally getting someone to talk to, tell him what I see. He gives me the whole song and dance about how it sometimes takes awhile for DNS to propagate throughout the internet. "I know, I know, but what about this partypigs thing?"

"Well, sometimes weird stuff happens," he said in a knowing voice. "I'm checking your site and it's working here. Give it an hour or two, and I'm sure it will be working where you are." And then he went back to his solitaire game.

He was lying. It was NOT working where he was because they messed the set-up of their name server. It was not working anywhere. He lied because he was working for THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, and that, apparently, is their policy. In the afternoon I called again and asked what was going on. "It's in the queue." "It's been escalated." "Your call is important to us." "It's our top priority." Finally, I gave up at 10:00 last night, fuming.

This morning, more of the same. I won't bore you with all the details, but in the numerous calls I made I found new and clever ways to use basic curse words that I'd never considered before. I also tried to be reasonable and understanding. (It could work, couldn't it?) But still nothing has happened. I see this as a simple problem that is entirely their fault, but they seem to feel it's something to stick in a 'queue' to be tended to by their 'skilled technicians' only when they're good and ready. That's because Cyberus Online (and by extension, their parent company Cybersurf Corporation) is THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

It's almost 4:00 now. I'm going to call them again. What are the odds that this stoopid, stoopid problem will spill into the weekend?

UPDATE: So I'm talking to poor-hapless-help-desk-geek number 8, when I get an email. Oh, it's from THE WORST INTERNET HOST IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD! What can it say?

It's an invoice for hosting charges. That part of the company still works.

Number 8 tells me he sat in on a phone call to the Cybersurf office in Calgary and that they will get to work on the problem. Ten minutes later, the site is up. Hooray!

Maybe the problem was political. There's no Liberals in Calgary.

November 24, 2005

Well, that was fun...

After much, much cursing, I am back to where I started with this blog. Upgrading to MT 3.2 is not as painless as some of their documentation suggests. The final straw was after their export tool only exported half my posts (without giving me any indication of this) and the import tool refused to import them. Rrrr. I still want to upgrade, but I'm going to have to be better prepared next time. But I'm not even going to think about it for a week.

Welcome back spammers! It looks like you still have a home here...

November 22, 2005

Still here

And still possessing some measure of the urge to blog. But the present setup of the blog has become irritating to an unacceptable degree. I am being deluged by spam from some of the crudest bottom-feeding scum that exist on the internet. And if you've ever taken a wrong turn on the internet, you'll know how just how crude that can be. They've become much more creative (read:irritating) at how they tag my website with their garbage, requiring more and more of my time to get rid of it. I'm sick of it, and it makes me sick of the blog.

But there is hope. Movable Type has a new -- and free -- version that promises effective spam prevention. I have no shortage of faith that the bottom-feeding scum will find ways around this, but it has to be better than what I've got now.

So I'm updating the software that runs this site. And I'm probably going to make numerous mistakes that will take me a while to nail down. I ask the few readers I have left to be patient as I work on the renovations. Be back soon, I hope.

November 12, 2005

More apologies for the lameness

Blogging has been curtailed lately mostly due to that damn game (and the kids, never forget the kids). BoneyBruce has become much more powerful and can travel throughout much of Azeroth without fearing for his life. He's even taking on dragons:

Okay, it's not a dragon, it's a dragonkin. And if I didn't have four other players backing me up I'd be an undead smear on the stone floor. But still, BoneyBruce is now starting to become an undead warlock to be feared.

And thus I compensate for the ineffectiveness of my own life.

Blogging will continue to be lame this weekend our family journeys to Montreal to see the Santa Claus parade, eat dim sum, and watch some football. Back Monday. I hope.

October 21, 2005

Stuff & Things XX

  • I'm still alive. The blog has suffered, true, but I've been overcome with my responsibilities for the past few weeks. Not only do I have two extemely active two-year-olds to care for, I am responsible for the upbringing of a level 46 undead warlock and a level 15 tauren shaman. Forgive me, I will try again to build some momentum.
  • Speaking of the dread MMORPG, the Daedalus Project is a great site that looks at the psychology of these games. This is sure to be a big field in the future.
  • One of the complaints I hear often about the fact that some people get much of their information from blogs is that they are isolating themselves from other points of view. A quick scroll though Bob Tarantino's Let it Bleed should convince them otherwise. In the past couple of weeks he's looked at (and ripped apart) the thoughts of Alexandre Trudeau, Noam Chomsky (in great detail), Heather Mallick, Jeffrey Simpson, and Rick Salutin. I'd nominate him for the most prestigious blog award I know of, but he's already won it.
  • This video (warning: weird) didn't make gnotalex's weekly film fest, but it should have.
  • "Iraq's a disaster! Iraq's another Vietnam!" Blah, blah blah. This is the hidden message woven into any 'news' article I read nowadays. Even a successful election wasn't enough to dampen this tone for more than a day. For a bit of balance, read this to find out how much confidence those closest to the conflict, the Iraqi people, have in their future.
  • While I'm on the topic, check out Christopher Hitchens' puncturing of another great media myth: that of 'bitterly divided' Iraq.
  • This is a great article on stupid European anti-Americanism. It sounds very similar to stupid Canadian anti-Americanism. (via Canadian Comment)
  • A new social consciousness is arising in my household. Talia challenged my authority with a defiant, "It's not fair!" the other day. I suspect I'll be hearing it lot more in the future.
  • My local do-nothing-backbencher-for-life Liberal MP has managed to get his name attached to a growing scandal. Good for him! I never suspected him capable of such a thing. Maybe he's cabinet material.
  • In the new information age we're living in, is there really any reason for the newspaper to print pages and pages of stock mrket prices? Does anyone get their investing information there anymore?
  • Our new Governor General wants to be Canada's Oprah:
    I intend to devote myself to promoting and multiplying actions that help to create a broader dialogue among us, a still-deeper understanding of what we are collectively.
    I suggest she host a CBC afternoon talk-show featuring different special interest groups each day to 'dialog' with. (via the London Fog)
  • Mark Steyn has frequently commented in passing on the slow-motion train wreck tht is modern Russia. In this article he looks at the country in depth. It ain't pretty.
  • Do you realize, that if present trends continue, you will be able to buy a completely new variety of toothpaste each time you need some for the rest of your life? I bet you didn't realize it. Aren't you glad you have me to point these things out? C'mon, I'm looking for meaning in my life...

Break time's over -- back to work!

Yeah, yeah, I was just goin'....

September 25, 2005

Ten reasons for this blog's lameness

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Talia
  3. The Editor
  4. Microsoft
  5. Goddam blog spammers
  6. Max
  7. A crushing sense of ennui from recognizing the ultimate futility of everything I do
  8. Spider solitaire
  9. Max & Talia
  10. Sudoku!
Once I get these things under control, this blog will be back to normal. A couple of weeks, tops.

August 23, 2005

The Editor came back, the very next day...

I was evidently too confident that my harsh measures would have been enough to permanently rid me of The Editor's presence. Like some particularly powerful Buffy foe, he has risen from his grave and returned again to torment me some more. And as he's justifiably angry at me for my treatment of him, he's not being quite as easy on me as he once was. To the right you can see what he looks like. As you can imagine, having him in our home is quite unpleasant. It's a full-time job cleaning up the bits of rotting flesh he drops.

We've determined that we'll have to find ways to accomodate each other in the future. Over the past week, we've been holding meetings to try to find a compromise arrangement that will reduce the current level of friction. As a start, I've agreed to not kill him any more, and he's agreed to occasionally let me write something. But we still have much to work out. It would be a lot easier to get this done if we weren't continually interrupted by shrieking toddlers every five minutes. But we're confident we can find a solution.

But that will happen another day. Yesterday I arranged for him to "win" a all-expenses paid Carribean Cruise, so right now I'm blissfully free of his presence. He's away for the next ten days. How shall I spend the time?

He didn't notice that it was a all-male Carribean cruise before he left and, as he's a figment of my subconscious, I certainly hope he has a lousy time.

August 13, 2005

Exciting new feature! Google guestmap!

Through Gnotalex at the Blog Quebecois, I have learned of a new, way-kewl-but-completely-unnecessary blog adornment that all the hip blogs will soon be sporting: the Google guestmap. Of course, I had to have it for my site. A link to it is on the right at the top of my sidebar. Currently, the icon representing me is looking pretty lonely, but soon I'm sure it'll be joined by icons representing both of my regular readers. Remember to zoom down before placing your marker; I'd like this map to be as accurate as possible.

August 09, 2005

Head out on that highway...

We're putting the Improbabus to its first significant test over the next few days as we take toddler one and toddler two on a road trip. We're visiting a friend's cottage in the backwoods of Ontario, and presently have almost completed our preparations to go. Preparing two little people to live temporarily outside of their home rivals an amphibious landing in the organization required. But my wife is a miracle worker; with luck we'll get out of the house tomorrow by noon and be there by sundown. Will it be Max or Talia that first says, "Are we there yet?" I'll let you know on Sunday.

August 07, 2005

Zero

When I started the countdown ten days ago, I wasn't sure what would happen when it reached zero. I knew, however, that something had to happen to this blog, or it would just fade away. Some bloggers give up their blogs consciously and announce their retirement and make their goodbyes, but others just let their blogs drift into oblivion without even realizing it. That's what was happening to Autonomous Source. I was finding it easier and easier to ignore my blog, and wasn't really enjoying working on it. I gave myself ten days to work on the problem. At the end, the blog would either be revitalized or taken to the glue factory.

To help towards revitalizing it, I had the editor killed. Again. The editor was the undead ghoul that lived in my superego and mercilessly critiqued everything I wrote -- usually with the cutting taunt: "Who cares?" He constantly smothered ideas before they had a chance to develop and guided me towards mediocrity. He's dead for sure this time, I think. A stake to the heart took him down, after which he was decapitated, his head boiled in vinegar and his body burnt and buried at a crossroads. He's not coming back again. Really. I hope.

With him dead, I hope to write more about what's interesting me at any moment, not what some subconscious hack thinks I should be writing about. That means more about the kids, crackpot economics, movie reviews, random thoughts, and links to oddball cool stuff I've stumbled across in my infrequent surfing adventures. I'll still interested in Canadian politics, but mostly I'm pretty disappointed in it right now, so I'll probably be restricting my blather on that topic. I also may be a little more inconsiderate of the views of my readers. The editor had me worrying about offending some people and prevented me from writing on some topics. From now on I'll be writing what I think. Maybe. We'll see what happens.

I've also buffed up a few things on the page, but not as much as I'd have liked. I actually toyed with the idea of overhauling the whole page and giving it a crisp new look, but that just ain't gonna happen. I remember the headaches when I set this thing up originally, and don't want to go through it again. Beside, I kinda like the present look. A pleasing layout encourages me to write, for some reason.

I've added a few new blogs to the blogroll. The old roll was a little stale, and now I have some interesting blogs from a wider range of the political spectrum. It doesn't mean I agree with them, but I'll be looking at what they have to say. I hope to read most of them regularly, but time for me is in short supply right now.

Time is the biggest roadblock this blog's continued existence. Max and Talia are extremely demanding of me. The days go by with one crisis following quickly on the heels of another. It's busy, busy, busy around here, and thoughtful blogging just doesn't fit in very well. I've determined that trying to write in the brief moments of calm is a recipe for insanity: I'm inevitably interrupted and always wind up frustrated. I've decided I won't be doing it any more. Writing will be confined to evenings, nap-times, and the two days a week they're at day care.

I want to keep this blog going. I have no delusions of becoming a famous writer, but I want to have something to show for these years that I'm spending away from the workforce. Sure, two smart, healthy, confident kids are great, but it doesn't compare to an archive of blog posts about Paul Martin, the American trade deficit, the Most Annoying Canadian competition, and the Teletubbies. So Autonomous Source is now officially out of stasis, hopefully I can find the enthusiasm to keep it alive.

Thanks for reading. I appreciate every hit, link and comment (well, except for the spam). I couldn't do this if there was no one paying attention, so thanks for spending a bit of your time checking out what I have to say.

July 31, 2005

Yeah, but you should've seen the other guy...

A very determined pitbull (is there any other kind?) has an encounter with a porcupine. Quills fly.

I found these pictures on a bulletin board recently, and sure enough, Snopes already has the background to the story:

Inca apparently did not know when to quit when she encountered the porcupine on Victoria Day, May 23rd [2005]. These are the pictures the vet sent before the long (and expensive) procedure to remove the quills. She had thousands of quills, and her tongue was so covered, she could not close her mouth.

It was pretty scary at first. She is doing okay now, but looks like a World War III survivor as they had to cut some out in places, stitched between her toes, and many quills bled on removal.

Here are still quills buried in her, but they should work their way out over time (I pulled four more today). She is on antibiotics and pain meds and thankfully is doing quite well. Maybe she was showing off for her new boyfriend, Rocky, I don't know; but he only got a few in him, which friends were able to remove. Ike, of course, had better sense.

I sure hope that the Queen of Quills has learned her lesson...

July 08, 2005

Take a trip

I must have read on a dozen blogs about how cool Google Earth is. It's all true. Google Earth is damn cool. Downloads of the necessary software were blocked for a while, but have now been reopened. I installed it yesterday and have spent a couple hours playing around with it. It's impressive that they've started filling in the international locations. When I discovered Google Maps six months ago, most of the hi-res locations were in North America. Now major cities all over the world have been added -- such as Buenos Aires. Here's a view of the Recoleta Cemetary I visited last month:

Google Earth aims to give you a real 3D view of the world. You can zoom in and zoom out of any location, but also change the pitch and direction of your view. It's crude now, but you can start to get the sense of where they're going with this project. Google aims to create a database that contains a complete 3D image of the world. Cities like New York now have buildings mapped in:

They're just grey blocks now, but you can virtually roll down the streets and get a sense of where you are. Someday the buildings will be 'skinned' correctly, and if we have a pipe fat enough to receive the data and a computer powerful enough to display it, we'll have a virtual New York on our desktops. And a virtual London, Paris, Tokyo, Baghdad, Buenos Aires, Toronto and Ottawa too.

Way cool.

July 04, 2005

Breather

I attempted to break my blogjam (Great term, eh? Just thought of it this second!) this morning by writing about the Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Arab Libyan Popular and Socialist Republic's thoughts about African Aid, when I was distracted by tending to my children. Talia was wandering barefoot through the yard in her litle pink dress, and was looking to get into trouble. Max was busy taking water from the wading pool into a little cup, carefully pouring it into a watering can -- so carefully he only spilled half of it in the process -- then taking the water can to the other side of the house to water a small patch of grass. Soon I was talking with them and having a real conversation. They're little people now, with real thoughts and ideas. They tell me things, ask me things, and like me to show them things. They're fascinating, and so much fun to be with (well, most of the time.)

And then I went back to trying to finish the post -- and it seemed like the most pointless exercise in the world. Who cares? I mean, who really cares?

Well, I do. Still. But I'm going to give up writing about it the rest of the world for a while. (Not that I've been doing such a great job lately.) For the rest of the summer this blog will be mostly quiet, with just a few stories and photos of the kids to break the silence. I need to concentrate on a few things around here so I need to simplify my life.

Okay. Right. Now I'm going...

June 23, 2005

Finally! Now I can see clearly!

Turning forty inspires a man to stop and take a hard look at his life so far. This sort of critical introspection isn't easy, but it's necessary in order to gain a deeper knowledge into one's character, learn how to be a better person and make the best of the second half of one's life.

I turned to the Hello Kitty psychology test to guide me on my personal journey of discovery:

It's true. I'm always over-expressing and causing others unhappy. And I'm stressful easily. Admitting a problem is the first step to resolving it...

(via Beautiful Atrocities)

June 22, 2005

In the mail

(I've always wanted to write that!) This week I received a copy of a psych text titled, simply enough, Children, which was co-authored by Heart of Canada's Theresa Zolner. She included an old blog post of mine in the book to illustrate a 'father's attachment' and sent me one of her author's copies in appreciation.

I'm guessing the book is for undergrads because of its accessible and easy to read style. It starts at the beginning, explaining what children are and where they come from, before moving on to the things that you really need to know, such as why toddlers need to throw everything in the toilet, and how to get them to stop shreiking after their sibling pinched them. This book has saved my life and deserves to be on the shelf of every parent.

Thanks Theresa!

June 20, 2005

Music tag

Shannon at Shenanigans arranged a Ottawa bloggers get-together last weekend (captured by intrepid reporter the Phanton Observer), the least I can do to repay her organizational abilities is to respond to her music tag. The person who created it has no originality, however, it's almost exactly the same as the book tag that went around earlier. Oh well, let's see...

1) How many music files are there on your computer?

According to that little Windows puppy, 3953. That's rather a lot, I think.

2) What was the last CD you bought?

Get Behind Me Satan, by the White Stripes. For 29 Argentine Pesos. It's pretty good. (How's that for a detailed review?) I'm rediscovering rock music again after spending a couple of years lost in the electronic/trip-hop/lounge/jazz ghetto. Thievery Corporation's ponderous and preachy The Cosmic Game made me realize how sick of that stuff I was.

3) What song do you have playing in ITunes?

ITunes? What the heck? Like all real men, I use Winamp for all my digital music needs. Playing right now is Doo Rag by neo-boogaloo jazz band Galactic. Previously was 4 Dead Monks by alien trip-hoppers Red Snapper and on deck is Ain't Gonna Work Today by relatively unknown country superstar Junior Brown. I have a bit of a strange mix going tonight.

4) Which five songs mean a lot to you?

Come on. This question should be, 'Which are your favourite five albums?', which would give far more insight into whether the blogger was a person who's opinion you could trust, or just some bozo you'd prefer having nothing to do with. Who listens to songs, anyway? But I'll try to answer the question...

  • On The Outside by Oingo Boingo. The ultimate song about not fitting in. Which is how I felt in my early twenties. (And still do, to a certain extent...)
  • Musical Key by Cowboy Junkies. A beautiful little portrait of a happy home life. And it fufills my manditory Canadian content requirements for this list.
  • Monday by The Jam. My wife made a mixed tape for my when we were first dating, and this was the first song. It never fails to remind me of those days.
  • La Habanera by Yello. This is the first song off the album One Second, which was played way too often during the two months of summer a friend and I shared an apartment in downtown Winnipeg. Good times...
  • I Will Survive by Cake. This song is one I associate with the group of friends that turned up at the wedding in Buenos Aires. I dunno why -- I just do. And it's a good song (yes, I know it's a cover).
Okay, that was exhausting. I'm going to skip handing out this punishment to five others. This virus deserves to be eradicated. But if a good music quiz comes along, I'm in.

June 02, 2005

Been politely requested to contribute

There's a funny new blog-based internet virus going around. I caught it from Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings, but it seems to have been spreading itself for awhile. I tried to follow the chain of blogs back to its source, but after about 15 blogs my only link was to the blog Minivan Mom, but without the direct archive link. Any other internet researchers are welcome to continue the trail from there, but I'm working on a dial-up connection right now and have had enough. I think it's pretty fascinating how the idea has propagated itself. It's very synaptic.

Anyways, the virus is a 'book tag', requiring the blogger to answer questions on their reading habits before 'tagging' five other bloggers to do the same. Publius, who tagged me, and many of the other bloggers whose lists I've read are serious reading people, with big serious books on their lists. But I have a confession to make. I just don't read books anymore.

I often start books but I rarely finish them. At one point about a month ago I had a dozen books on my bedside table that I knew I'd never get around to finishing, so I just cleared them off. It's not that I didn't want to read them. I love and crave information of all sorts, but I just haven't got the attention span I used to. It's not just because of the kids either, this started before they came around (though they haven't helped.) A medical friend even suggested I might benefit from Ritalin. (No thanks.)

But I'll take up the challenge anyway:

Number of Books That You Own: Dunno. I read a lot when I was younger and still have the books in boxes in the basement. I'll never sell them, but bad 70's sci-fi in paperbacks is not something you want on your bookshelf either. Five hundred?

Last Book Bought: Time Out Buenos Aires. Barely had time to flip through it.

Last Book I Read: Hey! I read a book recently! It was Flashman and the Tiger by George MacDonald Fraser. I read it on the interminable flight down here to Buenos Aires. You can't go wrong with Flashman.

Five Books that mean a lot to me: I don't have my bookcase handy so there may be something I've forgotten, but off the top of my head (and in no particular order):

The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. This is a very unique collection of stories featuring two 'constructor robots' who are friends and jealous competitors. The stories are wacky science fiction fables with a deep philosophical foundation. It's a madly experimental book with some truly dazzling writing, I can't recommend it enough. It's my opinion that Douglas Adams pillaged this book for ideas in his works, but he's bread and water compared to Lem's eight-course meal.

The Importance of Living by Lin Yutang. A great book telling why you should take things easy and concentrate on enjoying life. Sounds pretty boring or obvious, I know, but Lin Yutang writes with a lot of wit and wisdom and is a pleasure to read. And he's funny.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. This book is not about 'economics' as it's usually studied, but neatly summarizes the basis of what's called the Austrian School of economics. It looks more at why people do things, and looks at all the consequences of an economic exchange. And the conclusion is that government almost always (or is it always?) messes things up. I used to write posts called 'The Lesson not Learned' on my old blog, dealing with applications of the book. Here's one dealing with what happened in Argentina of all places...

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. Great adventure. Great characters. Read all 21 books in the series.

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. A lot of people have pointed to Hayek's Road to Serfdom as a book that shows how socialism leads to fascism, but I learned that lesson from this book. I know I wouldn't have the patience to read it now, but I read this when I was about twenty and it killed any lingering left-wing ideals the education system had instilled in me. The book was written in 1960, and since then I think the general understanding of what the Second World War was about has drifted. Read this and find out the dangers of the great technocratic state.

Now I will politely ask some other bloggers to answer the same questions. Hmm, gotta find some that haven't already been tagged...

Blair at Italics Mine,
Shannon at Shenanigans,
Theresa at Heart of Canada,
Debbye at Being American in T.O., and
Essay at Stupid Angry Canajun.

Look at that, all female bloggers except for one token male. I've still got no email right now, so I can't notify them about my polite request. But everyone reads my blog everyday, right?

Okay, I've spent way too much time on this -- time to go eat some more beef...

May 31, 2005

Where this blog is going

Long term: Damned if I know. I write about what I'm interested in at any time on this blog, and that's something that's constantly in flux. I wrote about economics when I started blogging, drifted towards the war in Iraq and the US Presidential election, and lately I've dedicated it to running the Liberals out of power. By this time next year, this blog could have a heavy emphasis on Buffy the Vampire Slayer memorabilia. Who knows? I've contemplated trying to focus my writing on a few select subjects, but I know I'd never be able to keep it up. I lose interest. The voice in the back of my head starts saying, "who cares?" whenever I try to write about something I'm not passionate about. So it'll stay the unfocused hodge-podge it is today.

Despite this lack of a center, my readership has grown. My goal for the blog when I started was to get 100 hits a day, and now I get at least 150. This may be due to more and more google-hits from my ever-increasing archives of content, but who cares? A hit is a hit. I've even managed to evolve up to a Marauding Marsupial, thanks to many other kind bloggers who've linked to me. (To those other bloggers that have made it here: how long does it take for the plaque to arrive? I still haven't received mine.) I appreciate those links and generally will stick up a reciprocal link (and use it!) when I become aware of them. (It would be nice if more bloggers did this. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Glenn Reynolds...) But I'm happy with the synaptic connections I've formed with other blogs and am in no danger of throwing in the towel any time soon.

Still, I'm not quite satisfied with the quality of the blog lately. I think it's lacked a bit of polish and shine. It just may have something to do with the two little people taking up so much of my time. I've never been so busy in all my life! My blogging was a little better a year and a half ago when they were less mobile and demanding, but now the 'terrible twos' (times 2!) are preventing me from sharing the true depth of my wit and wisdom with the world. But they can't stay raging narcissistic lunatics forever. Autonomous Source can only improve.

Short Term: This blog will be taking a two week detour to attempt to break out of the rut it's in. It will become self-indulgent and possibly artistic, and will not mention Canadian politics. I'll see if I can write when I don't have Max and Talia to worry about, or if I'm just using them as a convenient excuse. Tune in (later) tomorrow to find our what I'm talking about.

May 29, 2005

It's on the internet, it must be true...

It's still under construction, but you can now buy tickets for the Paris to New York trans-Atlantic undersea train. Check out their way-cool website (en français).

May 19, 2005

Tequila will ease the pain

Scientists are still in the dark as to how its wonderful properties work, but tequila has been shown to numb the painful effects of life's little disasters. Many studies -- similar to the one conducted in my basement this evening -- have shown that tequila can induce strong feelings of apathy and detachment from events that would otherwise be disturbing or depressing. This new feeling of apathy allows the inbiber to 'get on with his life' or just sleep dreamlessly and without grinding his teeth. This marvelous and miraculous liquid is widely available, and is strongly recommended to those who have recently experienced a great disappointment.

Spider blogging

I was just outside splitting some wood, when I discovered the biggest spider I've ever seen. Naturally, my first thought was to share it with the blogosphere. It was inside a rotten log and somehow it survived the axe blow. Spiders give me the creeps. Brrr.

I don't care if you've seen bigger. This is Canada, not South America. We're not supposed to have any ookey creatures like this wandering around in the wild...

May 08, 2005

Science news

A new element has been discovered! And Canada is the world's leading supplier! Too bad it's not good for anything...

A major research institution has just announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named ‘’Governmentium’.

Governmentium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of four years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each re-organisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as ‘Critical Morass’.

When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element which radiates just as much energy, since it has 1/2 as many peons but twice as many morons.

(unashamedly ripped off from Samizdata)

May 03, 2005

Updated status indicators

The Blog Status Indicators I introduced last year have been very useful. No more inane posts apologizing for not posting. (Or not as many anyways...) But they didn't quite capture the range of attitudes I have towards my blogging. So I've updated them with new and more colourful descriptions. I'm also a little better at using my art software so they look quite a bit better.

Once again, feel free to use them (or just the idea) for your own blog.

May 01, 2005

Stuff & Things XIX

Special weird links edition! I gave the politics a rest this weekend and roamed aimlessly through uncharted territory (for me). Here's some of the odd stuff I saw:

  • Here's an interesting optical illusion. It somehow short-circuits your peripheral vision.
  • Horrible, horrible dancing. Horrible, horrible singing. Neither should be missed.
  • A very nifty Google game. It shows you 20 images and you have to guess the keyword that summoned them. Very slick.
  • I linked to Magical Trevor last year. There's a sequel.
  • A very elegant little game that will take up too much of your time: Gridlock.
  • Art: Hey you, in the red truck, shave your mustache!
  • Just in time for Episode 3 (though it's probably been around for ten years) -- ASCII Star Wars! You have to TELNET to towel.blinkenlights.nl. (And I'm not going to explain how to telnet...)
  • Here's a clever and well-edited video of various women getting, erm... an intimate waxing. It's actually quite tasteful and safe for work. And it's funny too. (Bit of a long load though...)
  • Ahhh, to be young and stupid again. You will either be horrified or wildly entertained by this clip, depending on your gender.
  • This archive of Chinese propaganda posters is absolutely wonderful. I just love this stuff.
  • And finally, Nintendo: acappella style.

April 29, 2005

Set blog to 'neglected'

My wife has temporarily relocated to Montreal this weekend, so I'm on full-time toddler duty. The blog will be put on hold during that time so that I don't go bananas. (Nothing worse than having all these things you want to say but no time to say them. Better to not even try.) I'll leave with a picture and a thought. The picture:

The thought: Don't you just hate taxes? We're still in shock here over this year's brutal bloodletting. Ugly, ugly, ugly. Oh well, I'm sure the government knows better how to spend the money than we do...

April 28, 2005

A new galaxy in the blogoverse

You may have heard that Arianna Huffington is creating a 'super-blog' for various celebrities to sound off on the important issues of the day. It sounds pretty hilarious to me. David Carr at Samizdata is betting it'll be a 'target rich environment'.

Waiting for its launch on May 9th is going to be difficult, but luckily there's a brief preview available:

A New Kind of Communication, posted by "Huff" on Mon May 9 at 09:07 PDT
Instant, interactive, intelligent, informed; reaching out across the political spectrum. What? Did everybody forget their passwords already?

comments 0 :: trackbacks 0 :: post a comment

I can't think of anything to say, posted by G Paltrow on Mon May 9 at 09:21 PDT
Arianna: its rlly uncool whn my cell rings during pilates. i said id post whn & if i had something to say. rt now im just too busy. stop bugging me.

Gwynniex

comments 0 :: trackbacks 0 :: post a comment

Another Cutting Edge Contribution, posted by "Huff" on Mon May 9 at 09:23 PDT
Cantankerous, unafraid and always outspoken, that's Gwyneth (Paltrow) to a tee! You can expect to be hearing a lot more from her on Huffingtonpost.com, on a whole variety of subjects!

comments 0 :: trackbacks 0 :: post a comment

Does anyone know how to get red wine stains out of a wool carpet? posted by NORMAN MAILER on Mon May 9 at 10:14 PDT
I'm screwed if my wife sees this. I'm not even supposed to drink in that room. I've been scrubbing but that just seems to spread the stain around. A quick answer would be most appreciated.

April 23, 2005

Filler

I've seen this quiz on at least a half dozen blogs so far, so I'm required to do it as well. But I think I'm the only one that came out French. I'm so ashamed -- but I like cream sauce!

Continue reading "Filler" »

Stuff & Things XVIII

  • Wizbang has put together a concise biography of Ted Kennedy. It's amazing how this guy has managed to stay in the political spotlight as long as he has. If you want to read a less sordid bio, Beautiful Atrocities has one for Betty Page.
  • Can the mindless adolation of the mass-murdering Che Guevara be made as socially unacceptable as racism is now? It's something worth working towards.
  • Andrew Coyne's column today in the Post uncovers the real motives for the Wire Brush's infomerical the other day. He's knows he can't really delay an election; he just wants to move the principal election issue from the corruption scandal to the Tories' intransigence. The fact that it drained the oxygen from one of the ugliest allegations against the Liberals so far -- that they traded nominations to the judiciary for help getting elected -- was just a bonus.
  • Victor David Hanson has some lessons from the War on Terror so far.
  • An autoshow in China. With car babes!

April 07, 2005

Fun while it lasted

And there’s no more swimming in a guitar shaped pool,
No more reporters at my beck and call,
No more cocaine it’s only ground chalk,
No more taxis, now we’ll have to walk...

But didn’t we have a nice time?
Didn’t we have a nice time?
Oh wasn’t it such a fine time...

The Jam -- To Be Someone.

March 31, 2005

Cross-pollination

Time to add a few new blogs to the blogroll, and cut a few that I haven't been reading or have gone to that great 404 in the sky. This time the new blogs were plucked from the Canadian Red Ensign bloggers. I've contemplated joining them a few times, but I'm not a joiner by nature -- thus the name 'Autonomous Source' -- and have again decided not to. I'll remain unaffiliated for now and earn the right to call myself a Marauding Marsupial the hard way. But there are some interesting blogs on it and I've grabbed a baker's dozen to add to the Autonomous Collective. They are, in no particular order: The London Fog, The Last Amazon, Shiny Happy Gulag, Rempelia Prime, North Western Winds, The Files of the Phantom Observer, The Tiger in Winter, Nathan's Updates from Seoul, Turning 30 and a half, Tipperography, Myrick, Abraca-Pocus, and BumfOnline.

I'll be popping in on them from time to time and damn well expect to be entertained.

March 28, 2005

Beautiful

It's not too often that you find something on the internet that really makes your jaw drop. This is a very evocative and melancholy little piece that really shows what can be done with web design. For those that work in an office, it's slightly pornographic (though very tasteful) and there is music. It really has to be seen: Grandfather's Girls.

And be careful turning those pages!

(via Beautiful Atrocities)

March 27, 2005

Happy Easter

(Shamelessly swiped from SondraK, who found it who knows where...)

March 24, 2005

Our car-buying odyssey ends...

...With a Honda Odyssey!

It's a pretty nice vehicle, and I got a surprisingly good deal on it. (Well, I think I did anyway. The dealer may have a different opinion.) But I'm pretty happy with it. 15 cup holders! Now we're living large!

Hopefully this will be the last big purchase of ours for a while. In the last couple of months we've also bought a new digital camera, a new TV, a DVD player, a new wireless router, a new laptop computer, Kindermusik lessons (not cheap!), airline tickets to a far-off destination, and a giant order of various media from Amazon. Funny thing about spending -- once you start, each purchase gets easier instead of harder.

But we're all through now. We've got everything we need. We're content. Really.

March 23, 2005

Comments fixed (I think)

One of those slippery spammers snuck a bogus URL into one of their spam posts that, after added to my blacklist, caused all attempts at writing comments to get a 'questionable content' error. Of course, no one informed me of this until today, so I had assumed all my posts were being met with nothing but yawns. I think it's been fixed, but if you get one of those errors and feel your post is completely inoccuous, send me the error message and I'll see if I can fix it. I apologize to all those whose comments were lost. I really hate it when that happens...

UPDATE: Of course, it wasn't just real comments that were being blocked, it was also the spam. Two minutes after I fixed the problem, more spam starts rolling in. Grrr...

But it could be worse... :)

That wacky God!

Arriving via email:

A man walking along a California beach was deep in prayer. Suddenly the sky clouded above his head and, in a booming voice, the Lord said, "Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish."

The man said, "Build a bridge to Hawaii so I can drive over anytime I want."

The Lord said, "Your request is very materialistic. Think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking. The supports required to reach the bottom of the Pacific! The concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of something that would honor and glorify me."

The man thought about it for a long time. Finally he said, "Lord, I wish that I could understand my wife. I want to know how she feels inside, what she's thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says 'nothing's wrong,' and how I can make a woman truly happy.

The Lord replied, "You want two lanes or four on that bridge?"

March 20, 2005

The cure for blogger's block

A new logo! I hope so, anyway. The theory is that just as a new school year with new school supplies creates the illusion of a fresh start where anything is possible, a new logo gives this tired old blog a fresh look that will inspire me to insightful commentary and witty prose.

But the new logo looks too small and empty. And it's kinda lame too, isn't it? I mean it's Krazy Kat -- didn't the intellectual obsession with it die in the seventies? Just what am I trying to say with this logo?

Oh well. I'll change it in a month or two. For now I (and my remaining readers) will have to suffer.

March 10, 2005

To blog, or not to blog?

It's March, but outside it feels like January. We should have puddles, birds, and that fresh, organic smell (which is probably thawing dog poop) that says Spring is on the way. But instead we have a deep freeze outside, cutting wind, and way too much crunchy, squeaky snow. There's no way I'm going anywhere without warming the car first for 10 minutes. Rick Mercer can bite me.

Blogging has been sporadic lately. This has mostly been due to household logistics. I had no laptop, so to plug into the blogosphere -- either to read or write -- I had to isolate myself in the messy room, otherwise know as the 'den', where I could interface with the Frankenstein's monster of spare parts that functions as my other computer. It's been pretty difficult to arrange, so the world has been deprived of my wit and wisdom for the past couple of weeks. But now that I've finally got my hands on my new toy, hopefully that will all change.

But there's another reason things have been slow lately. (And there's another another reason too, but I won't get into that right now.) I've been wondering whether to keep this blog going. Two great Canadian blogs, The Smug Canadian and Trudeaupia, have shut down in the past couple of weeks, and I'm wondering whether I should join them.

Blogging can really take a significant part of my free time away. Writing takes effort, and effort takes time. Perhaps even more distracting is that it alters the focus of my life. After blogging for some time, a filter has been built into my perceptions of the world. When seeing something new, reading a news story, or just thinking about something familiar in a fresh and interesting way, I immediately try to fit this information into fodder for the blog. I can't help it. The problem is, this process cuts off the further explorations I might have made had I not immediately started planning how to distill what I'm thinking into prose.

But blogging has its benefits too. I get a feeling of accomplishment when I've written something I'm proud of. It gives me an outlet when I feel powerless and isolated. And it plugs me into a community of interesting people.

For now, I've decided to keep it going. I've been pretty happy with the readership I've built up, and enjoy participating in my insignificant way to the weird synergy of the blogosphere. Besides, I'm already paid up for a year and half for this domain name. Quitting would be throwing that money away! But I will be taking breaks every now and then where I won't even think about blogging. It's good for the soul.

February 27, 2005

And the lameness continues...

Ever have one of those months?

Still sick. Still mired in a technological no-go zone. And anytime I try to write, it comes out sounding like the earnest musings of a sensitive 17-year old. Something's wrong, and I hope it goes away soon.

At least I got a new camera, a nifty-squiff Canon S60. It's a great camera, but this miasma I'm enveloped in has prevented it from taking any good pictures. Over a 100 shots taken, and this is the best one of the bunch:

Okay, that's not quite true, but this shot of Max and Talia being indoctrinated into our modern commercial culture is one I'm not sure I want Mama to see...

February 24, 2005

Greetings from the plague house

Posting has been minimal due to illness. The cold I complained about a few days ago has decided to take up permanent residence in my sinus cavity and, well, I'm feeling a bit miserable. The kids have been miserable too, as they're also still sick, so it's fun, fun, fun around here. As well, I still haven't cured my wireless network weirdness, so I can only blog when holed up in the basement. Things will be slow for awhile until these issues are resolved.

February 17, 2005

Best. Blog. Ever.

An evenings entertainment: Get a few friends together, have a few drinks, then load this blog and take turns reading the posts. Make sure to read them in funny voices. A sample:

THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS
KING WINKLES CALLED THE COPS! HE CALLED SUPER MOP-TOP ON THE PHONES! HE WAS IN THE BOAT. AND HE CALLED THE EMERGENCY CREWS! THE CREEPS RAN AWAY!!! THE DOGS WERE YELLING AT THE CREEPS TO GO TO THE WIGWAM! THEY ARE IN TROUBLE!!!!!
And the weird thing is, read enough of them and the posts start making sense...

(via Beautiful Atrocities)

Stuff & Things XVI

  • The faulty technology miasma that's followed me around for the past week has been getting worse. Not only has my TV been destroyed (OK, Captain Destructo knocked it over, but it didn't have to break), my digital camera died, and my car expired, but my wireless router has become just a regular router (making my laptop useless and depriving me of email) at the same time as my DSL link decided to become super-flakey. It's very frustrating when the things you depend on don't do what they're supposed to. I better stop whining and finish this before I lose my connection...
  • To celebrate our country's decision to chain our economy to the sinking ship known as Kyoto, I've added a great blog dedicated to debunking all the Chicken Littles to my blogroll: Climate Audit.
  • Speaking of dubunking, Wizbang has the real story on some Greenpeace propaganda about an Argentine glacier that showed up on Drudge yeterday.
  • The WSJ had a spooky piece about how wacky things are getting in Turkey.
    Perhaps the most bizarre anti-American story au courant in the Turkish capital is the "eighth planet" theory, which holds not only that the U.S. knows of an impending asteroid strike, but that we know it's going to hit North America. Hence our desire to colonize the Middle East.
    Sounds as bad as France...
  • One of the mothers at our daycare told me she heard Steve from Blue's Clues was dead. He's not. Whew!
  • Gnotalex at the Blog Quebecois links to a site that maintains links to security cameras from all over the world that haven't been password protected. I find this strangely compelling...
  • Kate at Small Dead Animals looks at the stupidity of an owner who's English Setter went bad. I find it hard to imagine; our English Setter, Musette, is the world's gentlest dog.
  • I was going to write a big review on Half-Life 2, but it isn't worth it. Nice gameplay, terrible story. The whole game you just kill lots of stuff with no choice in what you do. At the ending -- when you hope they might answer some of the questions you have -- they just throw more bizarre and stupid stuff at you and just end it. Max Payne was way better.
  • Andrew Coyne is back to his blog and is posting his columns there. The latest looks at the ridiculous condition of federal-provincial relations. It gives me hope that there's no way they could but together a childcare plan everyone could agree on. Unless they just pour the cash in such great quantities that no one could resist, I suppose...
  • A quote at Samizdata made me think of the Liberals and their grand plans:
    In any society, the main function of government is to provide status and incomes for the ruling class. However recruited, the members of such a class will be motivated by a disinclination to earn their living by voluntary exchange, or by a delight in coercing others, or by a combination of the two. Its size and activities will be determined by the physical resources it can extract from the people, by the amount of force it can use against them, and by the nature and acceptance of the ideology that legitimises its existence. None of these factors by itself will be decisive, but each is a necessary factor. Change any one, and the working of the other two will be limited or wholly checked.

February 11, 2005

Grow solution

Okay, I promised I'd post the solution to Grow, and here it is. I didn't figure it out myself, of course, though it might have been fun if I had the time. I found it through the miracle of Google at this blog. Block out the following text if you want to know how to reach 20,000 points:

Put the parts in in this order: SPHERE, CUBE, EGG, HILLS, LADDER, PIPE, PROPELLOR, WHIRLWIND, COG, DISH, NOZZLE, TV.
Note that the perfect solution isn't the only interesting result. For example, if you move the whirlwind up in the order, you can turn the mountain to a volcano, which has some pretty funny effects. There's probably other weird stuff still to be discovered.

February 10, 2005

New email

My old email address was a toxic waste dump and had to be abandoned. The spam was just getting out of control. The new address is listed to the right -- nothing says class like your own vanity email domain.

UPDATE: I can receive mail, but I can't send it. *Sigh* Something's wrong, but I'm sick of wrestling with this thing right now.. I'll fix it tomorrow.

UPDATE 2: Okay it's fixed. Had to write the support guys. Obvious solution, the SMTP port had to be set to 587 rather than the standard 25. How could I have been so silly?

Can you believe I've got spam on the new account already? Those email address harvesters decoded the code I tried to disguise my address with on the right and started spamming away. I've since replaced the text with an image that looks just the same. Hopefully that will prevent any more bots from putting me in their databases.

February 09, 2005

Flash fun

Grow is the strangest flash game I've ever come across. In it, you must drag objects into play, which then interact with each other in strange ways. The object of the game is to do it in an order that will maximize growth. Each object can only be brought in once. Play around with it, and tune in tomorrow, when I will reveal a solution!

January 28, 2005

Stuff & Things XIV

  • I know the blog status bar on the right has said I'm 'occupied by real life', but actually I've been highly avoidant of real life. Mama and I have been sucked into the Buffyverse after having snapped up post-Christmas deals on DVDs. And I've divided the rest of my free time between Half-Life 2 and I am Charlotte Simmons. But the blogging will resume. Sometime.
  • Václav Havel -- who would really make a fine UN Secretary General -- has an op-ed piece in the Miami Herald on the eagerness of the Europeans to obey the anti-democratic whims of dictators. In this case, Cuba's:
    It is suicidal for the EU to draw on Europe's worst political traditions, the common denominator of which is the idea that evil must be appeased and that the best way to achieve peace is through indifference to the freedom of others.

    Just the opposite is true: Such policies expose an indifference to one's own freedom and pave the way for war. After all, Europe is uniting to defend its freedom and values, not to sacrifice them to the ideal of harmonious coexistence with dictators and thus risk gradual infiltration of its soul by the anti-democratic mind-set.

  • Blogging Axiom: warning of a decrease in posts actually increases the number of posts. The Smug Canadian demonstrates.
  • Authoritarian regimes with lots of free cash are dangerous. The Daily Standard looks at how Hugo Chavez is supporting terrorism and destabilization in South America.
  • Air Canada has the absolute worst e-commerce site I've ever seen. I tried for over an hour and a half to order tickets on it and it kept choking at different parts of the process. I wanted to reach throughthe computer screen to throttle someone. I finally went and called them on the phone, and was done in ten minutes -- five of them listening to an automated message by a woman with the world's most irritating voice tell me how wonderful their online reservation system was!
  • Roger L. Simon writes on the 'insurgency' in Iraq and suggests if this is the worst they can do -- if they're really going all-out right now to kill anything that moves -- they're not very powerful. I expect the violence on voting day to be much less than the defeatist media is predicting, and I really hope I'm right.
  • Speaking (writing?) of the Iraqi election, The new Friends of Democracy site is a great place to get news.
  • There's a blogger get-together tonight in Ottawa. I have been granted permission to leave the house and make a rare public appearance. But come early; I will only be signing autographs for the first fifteen minutes.

January 17, 2005

Stuff & Things XIII

  • This has been widely linked to, but if you haven't read it yet this condemnation of the media's role in Iraq by a soldier is well worth reading.
  • Chrenkoff provides another long post of the good news from Iraq that is mostly unreported.
  • The Washington Post has a good summary of the growing threat of populist socialism in Latin America and the rotten prospects the Bush administration has in dealing with it.
  • It looks like Sgro's accuser has a bit more of a shady past than he let on. Of course if he was prepared to bribe a government minister, nobody should expect him to be a saint...
  • I went ahead and bought Half-Life 2 anyway, despite the fact it makes me queasy. It may be quiet (well, more quiet) around here until I finish it.

January 12, 2005

Weee!

I've added a randomizer to the sidebar pic and the catch-phrase under the logo. Big excitement, right? Sometimes you feel like writing, and sometimes you feel like fiddling with nerdy stuff...

The slogans are a mixure of old lines from the blog, unattributed quotes from smarter people than myself, lines from songs, phrases from toddler culture, or quotes from the Big Lebowski. I'll add more when I get around to it. The photos are mostly from the history of the blog, but some are just thrown in for the hell of it. Okay, okay, I gotta get to bed...

December 27, 2004

Strange people out there

I like to check my referers sometimes to see where visitors to my page are coming from. Many of them are from Google, some of which are the results of some pretty strange searches. Things like "girls in diapers" or "mango boy" I might be able to understand, but today someone stumbled onto my site looking for "John Ralston Saul on Gwynne Dyer". Ugh! I can't bear thinking about it, and can't even image looking at pictures of it...

December 16, 2004

Stuff & Things XII

  • Mark Steyn takes some time out from his time out to pick on environmentalists. And why not? It's easy and fun!
  • I've always loved the 20th century rococo architecture of Antoni Gaudi. Here's some great photos of a Gaudi inspired building in Japan.
  • The quotable Victor Davis Hanson:
    Hitler, like bin Laden and his epigones, was the problem, not us. The only difference is that our grandparents knew that and we don't.
  • Tim Blair has enabled trackbacks. That's good.
  • I've been called "consistently intelligent and insightful". It's about time someone noticed.
  • For those of you who are economic girlie-men like me, this piece on the US trade deficit by Steve Stein is a must read.
  • Don't let Bush win! Roger L. Simon links to a report showing how 'humanitarian' organizations (including, of course, the UN) are undermining the attempts by the Iraqi government to conduct war crimes trials. Real sweethearts, these guys are.
  • A computer horror story. And it could happen to you.
  • Max has developed a fetish for trucks. He'll just be standing there, doing nothing, when he starts saying, "Tuck. Beeeg Tuck. Tuck!" Talia, on the other hand, is exhibiting the first signs of an obsessive-compulsive disorder by demanding very frequent hand washings. The joys of children never end.

December 13, 2004

Can someone come dig me out?

A few days ago, I slipped on some ice in the Loblaws parking lot. I was holding my little girl at the time, so I wasn't able to break my fall. I landed on a low metal shopping cart bumper and it knocked the wind out of me and bruised my ribs. Very painful. Well, I thought it was healing, but today everything seized up, and I can barely move without absolute agony. What a drag it is getting old.

We got a big dump of new snow last night, and it's still coming down. I had planned to shovel out the driveway today while the kids scampered and played in the snow beside me, but instead, we're all camped out in the basement listening to Alec Baldwin narrate Thomas the Tank Engine. Soon we'll be completely buried and my wife won't be able to get in. Any kind readers with a snowplow live nearby?

UPDATE: Never mind, I sent Max out to take care of it.

About time he started pulling his weight around here.  And Talia can make dinner...

December 09, 2004

Was it something I said?

I just noticed that Ghost of a Flea has delisted me from his blogroll. And I have to say... I'm a little hurt. The only possible thing I ever said that could of offended him was when I mentioned the public disagreement between his blog and Heart of Canada. But I don't think anyone's that sensitive. Maybe he just doesn't like kids.

Blog linking etiquette has not (and probably never will be) formalized, but I think dropping someone that links to you, comments on your blog occasionally, maintains output, and occupies a similar political, cultural, and geographic space is, well... kind of rude. But that's just me. It's his blog and he's entitled to do whatever he wants with it. But he won't get any more votes from me in any internet popularity contests.

November 27, 2004

Havel for Secretary General

There's a movement growing to recruit Vaclav Havel for the position of UN Secretary General when Kofi Annan is finally handed his fat pension and pushed out the door. I can't think of a better person to save the UN from collapsing the way the League of Nations did than him. He has a reputation for honesty and integrity like few others on the international scene and strongly believes in the type of internationalism the UN represents. But he's also is a realist. He's a strong advocate of freedom who understands the importance of standing up to tyranny. He would be the only person that would be able to convince the democratic nations of the world to gradually remove their support for the corrupt status quo they've defended for too long.

It'll be a tough job -- and he might fail -- but someone has to do it. And I just don't think Bill Clinton has it in him.

(Cool banner by the Silicon Valley Redneck)

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds borrows Jaeger's clever headline to write a piece supporting Havel for the WSJ.

Most Annoying Canadian Update III

There's less than a week left until the Most Annoying Canadian final round. Can you feel the excitement? It's... it's... intoxicating!

The second round has had great response -- much better than the first round. So far we have the Helpful Canadian Tire Guy with a commanding lead, followed by Antonia Zerbisias, John Ralston Saul, Jean Chrétien and Naomi Klein. But the positions have been constantly changing. No one is yet assured of a position in the final (except the HCTG. He's a machine!)

At the suggestion of a reader, I've decided to let Carolyn Parrish 'cut in' and take one of the starting gates for the final. That means one of the ten that would have made it in to the final using the initial rules will have to be dropped. That person will be the one with the lowest percentage score in their respective vote. As things stand, it will be David Suzuki (9%), though it could be Naomi Klein (10%) if her share of the vote declines. Changing the rules in mid-contest is a serious step, but I think the tremendous burst of annoyingness Ms Parrish has displayed in the past couple of weeks justifies it. Let's see how she does against the more well-established annoying Canadians.

So. One more week until the main event. And then a month until we finally find out who's the Most Annoying Canadian. The suspense is almost unbearable! Isn't it? No? Well, okay then...

November 24, 2004

Stuff & Things XI

  • Ralph Peters says Bush has got to be tough with Putin (who's really the one behind this) over the election fraud in the Ukraine. There's more interesting background by Wretchard over at Belmont Club. It looks like both Europe and the United States are in agreement not to accept the results.
  • The WSJ asks: why is there so little outrage over the silencing of an artist through violence?
  • Victor Davis Hanson writes movingly about the real humanitarians in the world today.
  • The Smug Canadian points out that fighting with automatic weapons is not as easy as it looks on TV. You should probably at least play a few games of CounterStrike online to see how quickly you can be killed before you go up against the US Marines.
  • How bad is Chirac? Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has compiled a handy clip'n'save guide to all his (known) acts of treachery and deceit.
  • The Incredibles is the best movie I've seen in years. It's a near perfect blend of action, humour, characterization, story, and style. It was even very popular with the critics.
  • Sick of being hassled for registration info when you try to view a story on a Newspaper's web site? Try Bug-Me-Not!
  • Andrew Coyne continues to battle for the right to ride a bike without a helmet. I couldn't agree more.
  • Blog Wars! Heart of Canada (representing the W League) is feuding with Ghost of a Flea (representing the Red Ensign Bloggers). I'm going to be boringly Canadian about this and refuse to take sides. But it is interesting to watch.
  • Dana at Canadian Comment links to a fascinating article by a doctor working with the dregs of society in the UK. He muses about the Frivolty of Evil.
  • Yeah, I'm feeling a lot better now, thanks. I just wish I could talk without breaking into a coughing fit.

Learning on the job

Blogging has been sparse for the past week or so. Things have been hectic around here and I've been battling the effects of the worst cold of my life. The complex cocktail of drugs I've been taking has robbed me of any intiative or inspiration to write something interesting. Until that changes, I'm forced to borrow other's content to pad the blog. Here's some more 'photo funnies' of someone learning an expensive lesson in physics:



November 15, 2004

This is kinda cool

One of the fun things about having a blog is that if you create something amusing or interesting, and have a minimum threshold of readers, your work can get amplified by other sources. A juicy post from an insignificant blog can be read by tens of thousands within a day, if it gets a push from the right people. It hasn't happened to me too often (and never in a very big way), but when it does it's exciting. Even though my blog is still mired in lameness right now, the Most Annoying Canadian competion has gained this sort of momentum. So much so that it's even broken the bounds of the blogosphere, thanks to a link on NealeNews and many widely-visited blogs. I'm going to be interviewed on a Calgary radio talk show this afternoon. Surely a publishing contract and a cross-country speaking tour are only a matter of time.

It'll be at 4:00 Eastern and you can listen to it on the internet by following the link on the top left of their page. But you probably shouldn't. I don't want anyone to hear me choke...

UPDATE: I didn't choke too bad, but possibly I shouldn't have been so wired on coffee. They said my site name wrong at the beginning but I corrected it and enjoyed a measurable (though not spectacular) spike in hits.

UPDATE II: It seems most of the new visitors voted for the Helpful Canadian Tire Guy, because he's shot into a commanding lead in the poll.

November 10, 2004

Gloating is healthy

The Dissident Frogman releases a fresh animation to rub a few people's noses in it (push the red button).

Oops

You really have to be careful when choosing a daycare...

November 04, 2004

Ailing despot news

Tim Blair reports:

Yasser Arafat's condition is improving. He's now in a coma.

If his condition worsens, Yasser will survive.

November 03, 2004

Stuff & Things X

Special Election Edition!

  • I listened to a bit of CBC's As It Happens tonight. Here's the abridged transcript: "Arrogant... Supreme Court... beholden... evangelical Christians... unilateral... abortion... draft... abortion... 100,000 dead... reckless... quagmire... gay rights... abortion... uncooperative... far right..."
  • 'Soros said that he plans to enter a monastery for a time because he will need to contemplate what is wrong with the people of this country.' Hmm, couldn't be people like you who think they know what everybody should do, could it?
  • James Taranto rates the best and worst of the campaigns.
  • Jaeger at Trudeaupia has stopped writing about goats in Saudi Arabia long enough to write some intriguing thoughts on the election.
  • Alice Bachini at Samizdata has some helpful thoughts on the greater victory we all share in Bush's win.
  • Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities lists the winners and losers in this election. (He's wrong about Moore, of course.)
  • I like maps. This is an interesting one.
  • Michael Totten has a roundup from blogs that opposed Bush. My favourite -- 'Daily Kos: It's clear the Democratic Party as currently constituted is on its deathbed. It needs reforms, and it needs them now. Quite frankly, the status quo simply won't cut it. Howard Dean for DNC Chair.' Yeah, that'll help...
  • And speaking of the anti-Bush forces, Iowahawk has some friendly advice for them:
    Finally, celebrate your accomplishments and keep yourself focused on the future. Despite the election setback, you're part of a massive intellectual movement that has attracted the support of important thinkers from Noam Chomsky to Howard Dean to Brad Pitt. This is real revolt -- a people's revolt that will continue to grow, as long as people like you stay committed to the anti-Bush cause. And if you ever find yourself waivering, just look in the mirror and tell yourself, "I am still revolting."

November 01, 2004

Spam gone wild

Every morning my first tasks are to get the kids up, change them, get them dressed, make them breakfast, get them in their high chairs, help them eat without making too much of a mess, clean them up, get them out of their high chairs, and clean up the floor and chairs.

After that I mop out my blog for any spam that might have shown up overnight. This is a pretty easy job, thanks to MT-Blacklist. It blocks those that have spammed before and provides a quick and easy interface for destroying the new stuff. Some days I have no spam in he morning, but on others I've been hit with hundreds (really!). I've often wondered what my blog would look like if I let the spam accumulate.

And now I know! Gnotalex at Blog Québécois has a less obsessively hostile relationship to the spam that shows up on his site. You might even say he's quite charitable towards it, giving it a safe home and helping the Ukrainian p0rn sites that put it there increase their page rank. Check out one of his old posts to see what happens when spam is given free reign.

This is not to suggest that Blog Québécois is a bad site. In fact, it's an Excellent website, very informative. Keep up the excellent work.

October 31, 2004

A gold star for Heart of Canada

I am consistently amazed by the quality of content that is available in the blogosphere. People devote enormous amounts of time and energy towards something that will only earn them a bit of recognition, if that. This is the mark of good art -- people doing things not for money or to pad a resumé but because they enjoy it and want to interest and amuse others.

I am even more impressed by those that do things that are unpleasant for themselves, again purely for the benefit of others. By plowing through Sheila Copps' new book and reviewing it, Theresa Zolner demonstrates her dedication to her readers. I mean, I can't get through a column by Sheila, but Theresa managed a whole book! If she hadn't, we wouldn't have this revealing insight into Copps (backed up by evidence):

Then it occurred to me what the real intent of the book probably is: the book is a campaign for Sheila's idea of Canada and, ultimately, a campaign for Sheila. Ultimately, the book is political show-and-tell, which helped me to sort out something puzzling about her passion for Canada. Sheila Copps is passionate about her vision for this country, I think, because I believe Sheila Copps is a Marxist. She never says that in her book, but, indirectly, she does, and that is what frightens me about Sheila's vision for Canada.

Did Theresa enjoy reading it? What does this line tell you?

I started writing "G's" in the margin every time I saw a statement that made me gag...
All in all, an interesting look into one of the most annoying minds Canada has ever created. Thanks Theresa. For your bravery, you've earned a coveted Autonomous Source Gold Star!

New! Blog Status Indicator

My urge to blog varies from day-to-day. Sometimes the stuff just pours out, but at others my material and motivation have dried up. And when my posting is weak, I feel the urge to apologize and explain myself. Which is kind of stupid.

But now, with my new Blog Status Indicator, visitors will be able to accurately gauge my mood and the chances for new posts. Here are the five levels:

Feel free to use these graphics for your own blog.

October 23, 2004

Stuff & Things IX

  • Victor Davis Hanson, a great writer on military strategy, lays down what's wrong with Kerry's political strategy and why he can't win.
  • Another heavyweight, Thomas Sowell, savages Kerry on the issues.
  • Perhaps you saw the novelty story last week on a study that said Republicans have better sex lives than Democrats? Here's some additional facts from the study that didn't make the news.
  • Colby Cosh suggests all good Canadians who want to humiliate the CBC vote for Don Cherry as the Greatest Canadian. He's got my vote.
  • Lileks says parenting is a job. Who knew?
  • Opinion Journal has a great editorial on how well things are going in Iraq.
  • "We heard that Castro fell," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Thursday. Asked whether the United States wished Mr. Castro, 78, a speedy recovery, he replied: "No."

October 22, 2004

I love eggs too

When one person links to 'something cool', I probably won't look. But if two do, it's probably worth it and I'll check it out. This egg video is definitely worth it.

(Thanks to Lileks and Tim Blair.)

October 18, 2004

Amusing

This is funny.

(I realize this is a lame post. But if I didn't post it, I'd have posted nothing -- which is even lamer. And it is funny...)

October 14, 2004

Burned out

Perceptive readers of this blog (if there are any left) may have noticed a distinct air of lameness has overcome this space. I've become uninterested in trying to capture any of the partially formed thoughts that have been flying through my mind lately and hammering them into something coherent. As well, the kids have been steadily increasing in craziness and any free time I have is better spent relieving stress rather than increasing it.

But fear not, my friend the Latin American correspondent is in town this weekend and we have arranged a men's retreat to restore our frayed spirits. About eight of us will be getting together in a cabin to burn incense, bang drums, and read poetry. There will also be the ritualistic consumption of alcohol and the telling of rude stories. There may even be some golf. I'll be back Monday.

UPDATE: There was a request for baby pictures. I can accommodate that. This is what happens to the kids when I leave them in their mother's care for over an hour.

October 11, 2004

Debbye's back

After a long, long absence, Debbye Stratigacos has resumed her blog. She was one of the first to link to my blog and she gave me some words of encouragement when I was starting out. I can't say I really understand her explanation for why she disappeared, but I'm glad she hadn't been taken away by white slavers.

Good to have you back. Don't let those Torontonians get you down. The rest of Canada doesn't like them that much either.

October 07, 2004

Defending the blogosphere

I started writing a response to this narrow-minded article in the National Post the other day, but was too distracted, apathetic (and confused) to finish it.

The article is another manifestation of the big media 'blog backlash'. In the last few months the general public has become more aware of the blogosphere. During the US political conventions, bloggers were given reporter's credentials and the mainstream media (MSM) aired a number of, "Look! Bloggers! Aren't they cute?" stories. They could afford to look down on these 'pretend journalists' with their little web sites -- they still had control of the agenda. The National Post even created a 'Blogger's corner' where they reprinted some material from these unimportant hacks (without paying them, of course).

But then the CBS forged documents scandal was revealed by bloggers, and people started noticing the fast turn-around time and research capabilities of this new medium. Its distributed nature allows thousands of people working independently to chase down every different angle on a story faster and more accurately than a 'professional' news organization. Lots of useless information and dead-ends are created in this process, but the iterative connectivity of the blogosphere automatically brings the most important facts the greatest attention -- and all without an editor. More news junkies have started tuning in to the new medium and some in the news business are starting to feel a little threatened.

I meant to fisk the article properly, but Theresa Zolner of Heart of Canada beat me to it. I'd do it again anyways, but I'm too unmotivated, disconnected and overwhelmed to bother. Go read what she has to say. There's some good comments as well.

September 24, 2004

Stuff & Things VIII

Photo used with permission of the owner.

September 19, 2004

It's the New Style

Well, I'm back. It's good to take time off from blogging every now and then. After I go at it for a while it starts to become part of how I see the world. Everything I see, everything I read, and every little idea gets vetted to see if I should fit it in the blog. It all gets a bit tiresome sometimes. It's nice to put it out of my mind.

But at the same time I realized blogging is a useful way for me to release some creative energy that doesn't otherwise have an outlet. Most of the time I'm talking only to my little balls and chains and they don't really appreciate my wit and wisdom. Maybe no one else does either, but at least on the internet I can pretend.

I spiffed up the template for the blog over the past two days. I was really, really getting sick of the old look. The new style is a little simpler and a little classier, in my opinion. I've tested it on Netscape and IE at both 800X600 and 1024X768 and it seems to work fine. If you have any problems please let me know. The logo was done using a progam called The Gimp, which is a very powerful (and free!) graphics editor. I found it on the wonderful Pricelessware site. I'm just starting to figure out how to use it and will probably replace the logo with something cooler in a month or so.

Okay. Now I guess I should go write something...

September 13, 2004

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I've been busy, busy, busy since we got back. Mostly it's been social duties, but for the rest of this week there's lots of housework to be done. I'm also a little burnt out, so I'm going to take a week off from blogging.

I know some people that read this blog don't read too many others. Before I go, I'd like to suggest to those people to check out Mark Steyn's column on how Dan Rather's attempt to use fake documents to smear Bush was exposed by a bunch of guys sitting around in their pajamas. It's not getting enough press, IMO, and if you're just reading the paper or watching TV to get your news, you may not have heard about it. There's really too much to say about this -- if you want to find out more, hit almost any blog on the left and they'll have interesting comments and links on the subject.

I'll leave with a photo. You get three toddlers for the price of two this time. Caroline is almost the same age Talia and Max and was up this weekend from Noo Yawk city. It was quite a lot of fun having three tots running around here...

September 09, 2004

Google game

Gnotalex at Blog Québécois has discovered a new internet game called Google talk. It works by taking an seed sequence of words and searching Google for where this string has been used and what the most likely next word is. Then it does it again. And again. What wisdom does this internet oracle hold? Here's what it said when fed 'Bruce Gottfred is':

Bruce Gottfred is an involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscle that does not have a TV in your home! May be a Hard- Wired Reward.
It's all true. I am a hard-wired reward.

Another anniversary

In a couple of days, we'll have the anniversary of 9/11. Three years ago something happened that changed the world forever. But al-Qaeda was also busy two days earlier than September 11th, 2001, when they murdered Ahmad Shah Massoud in Afghanistan.

Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities has a brief biography of this great man and credits him with helping to bring down the Soviet Union.

September 07, 2004

Stuff & Things VII

  • Someone at The New York Times put a deep dent in his expense account and paid a visit to Nunavut (registration required). He proceeds to call the Inuit 'Eskimos' and wave around a few tidbits of anecdotal info to try to convince you that mankind is doomed.
  • I can't believe I'm agreeing with something written by odious cartoonist Ted Rall over James Lileks. Rall rips apart the overrated Art Spiegelman and calls him a posturing, self-promoting phoney. Lileks said yesterday that Spiegelman is "brilliant" (though politically stupid -- which is true). Lileks is wrong; the only decent thing he's done is Maus, and that was only good because his father's story that it was based on was so powerful. But I've read much of his other work -- and it's pretentious, self obsessed drivel.
  • I didn't bring my dictionary up here so my spelling would probably be terrible if it wasn't for the presence of my wife watching bad TV as I write. She can spell anything -- and never makes mistakes. Thanks, Sweety.
  • I posted some photos of Iqaluit last week that showed it to be a terrible mess. This weekend there were a number of Inuit women out working to clean it up. It looks a lot better now, at least down on this side of town.
  • The last Economist had an article by a woman from the Carter Center justifying their endorsement of Chavez's win. Aside from some of the weasel-words used (the government "largely" agreed to their demands), she also claims that they statistically analysed the many coincidences in the voting patterns and found them to be within the expected range. However, the professor who she quotes on this now tells a different story. Many more questions on the validity of the election are raised at the Devil's Excrement. I can't understand why there's no real media scrutiny of this story.

September 05, 2004

Comments fixed

Once again, my comments have been screwed up for a few days. The problem with depending on external tools for your website is that if they go down, they take other things down with them. I've removed the Junkeater spam fighter, and now everything works again. Hooray.

August 30, 2004

Stuff & Things VI

  • Samizdata has a good discussion on the libertarian merits for the liberation of Iraq.
  • Bush futures have recently taken a big jump. Interesting.
  • I don't know how I managed to use the internet before I got my high-speed connection. This dial up surfing is like swimming through molasses.
  • I've been watching (far too much) CNN to see what's happening with the Republican Convention. They seem to be following the CBC strategy from the last Canadian election to help their guy win. They're grilling each Republican they interview about gay rights and abortion and slyly suggesting that the 'moderate' speakers headlining are the false face of the party.
  • Luckily, I'm not limited to them. CPAC is forwarding the C-SPAN coverage, and it's just the raw feed, no spin, no ads. Right now I'm listening to all the delegate representatives tell how great their states are and how they pledge their votes for Bush. TV has a powerful ability to bring you to another place, but it's so seldom used. It's refreshing.
  • I've been unable to find tonic water in Iqaluit, so I've been forced to experiment to find something to drink my gin with. Gin and ginger ale is pretty good; I was surprised.
  • The WSJ is also very disappointed with Jimmy Carter's performance in Venezuela.
  • I've got a bunch of photos of Iqaluit to put up, but I think it'll have to wait until tomorrow.

August 28, 2004

High school photos update

Flea's triple-dog dare to post high school photos has gathered a bit of momentum. Chris Taylor has a good rundown on those who've taken up the challenge. I don't think anyone has a picture worse than mine though, but maybe I'm overly self-critical.

Flea has also put up his grade nine photo to satisfy the terms of the dare.

August 27, 2004

Technical difficulties overcome

Well, we're here. The last time we arrived in Iqaluit, the cable was out. This time, the phone was out -- much worse for me because I was cut off from the internet. How was I supposed to find out what was going on in the world without all my blogs? I've been suffering through withdrawal, but finally, at 4:00 today, my connection to the world was restored. It's hard to believe some people actually get their window to the world from such sources as CNN or CBC Newsworld. They trickle out information at such a slow rate and with this constant tease to what they'll tell you later -- it's unbearably frustrating. Without the the random access of the internet I'd go mad. More so, I mean.

Travelling with toddlers is not easy. We were lucky though, the last row of the plane (both sides) had just one passenger and he offered to trade with us. We had all of six seats just for the four of us -- and a bit of space so they could move around. Max and Talia were very good for most of the flight; we kept them occupied by feeding them things they love and by pulling surprise toys out when they were getting a little rangy. They didn't sleep like we had planned, but they were cheery, so it was okay. But in the last half hour they lost it. We were descending and they were having problems popping their ears. They'd been trapped in the same place for three hours and they'd decided they'd had enough. They cried and screamed the whole way down. When the plane finally stopped moving, Talia conked out and couldn't be woken for a half hour.

We're staying in a cluster of townhouses known as White Row. It's pretty old, and is considered a bit of an eyesore -- even for Iqaluit. But now it seems there's plans in store for this site. So I guess we're living in a condemned building.

Once we settled in we went out shopping. And we ran into Canada's only real super-hero. I'll write about that tonight.

August 24, 2004

Portrait of the blogger as a young nerd

The Flea has dared bloggers to post their early high school pictures. I have bravely decided to take up the challenge. Here I am, in all my glory, sometime around 1980:

I looked even worse in junior high...

Luckily, I don't have a scanner and was forced to use my digital camera to bring this stunning image to you. The bluriness has eliminated my acne and pubescent upper lip fuzz, and somehow some colour was added to my creepily pale skin tone. I think I was aiming for that stylish Adam Rich look.

I hope I'm not the only person who dares to do this.

Of course I look pretty cool now...

August 23, 2004

Think twice...

Paul Jan� has found a site that catalogs the horrors of bad celebrity plastic surgery. (The example he highlights will be giving me nightmares for some time.) I just spent some time paging through its archives and was shocked and amazed. I especially appreciate how they highlight an awful, but all too common tragedy, grapefruit sized fake breasts on twiggy women. Brrr!

And hey! Isn't that John Kerry? What's he doing here?

August 22, 2004

Stuff and Things V

  • The War Nerd has another column up, on someplace you've never heard of where Russia is acting as the good guy. Check this guy out, he's sort of a cross between Robert Kaplan and P.J. O'Rourke -- but more cynical.
  • Lots of things are happening in John Kerry's extended Vietnam flashback, though you wouldn't know it by reading the papers. Check out the Captains Quarter's for the latest developments.
  • Patrick McClarty gets mad mad mad at the 'champagne socialists' for ruining Vancouver Island and encouraging head-in-the-sand thinking on complex issues. They infest Chelsea too, Patrick, but I've managed to make peace with them. I just wish the local grocery stores weren't crowded with all this 'organic' food...
  • Mark Steyn also takes a few shots at them (the ones in Hollywood that is), and he never misses.
  • Bob Tarantino lacks the finesse of Steyn and instead goes postal in the editorial offices of the Star and Globe. Whatever gets the job done.
  • Hey! I got a mini Instalanche the other day! One tiny, insignificant link (that's me in the brackets), and still hundreds of people followed it. I am honoured, I really am.
  • Thanks to those who added me to their blogrolls last week. More people reading my page gives me the incentive to keep writing -- and if I keep writing, someday I might create something worth reading.
  • I've writen about what a strange show the Teletubbies is. Well, it's nothing compared to BoohBah, by the same creators. It's a wonderful, revolutionary show for kids but would no doubt be eagerly appreciated by the guests at your next pot party.
  • Being a Bush supporter in Canada is a little bit uncomfortable. Hugh Segal feels my pain.
  • Mama, Papa, Max and Talia will be heading off to adventure later this week. And the adventure will be blogged -- stay tuned.

August 16, 2004

Quote of the day

From Jackie D of Samizdata:

The real question is this: How many innocent people have to die after spending six years on the sofa, eating unhealthy food, defecating and sitting in a mound of their own filth before we put big business in its place and tell these fast food and junk food companies that they cannot continue to run roughshod over the public?

August 15, 2004

Stuff and Things IV

  • This week's semi-amusing tagline provided by Samizdata.
  • This has got to be the coolest background gif I've ever seen. I'd redesign my site around it, but then everyone would be too mesmerized to read anything I wrote.
  • I'm writing these S&T entries because some stuff is so trivial it doesn't require a full post. Plus I like using roman numerals.
  • Having trouble understanding all those corporate scandals? Then you need a handy chart.
  • The really creepy ignoring by the mainstream press of John Kerry's Cambodian fibs is only going to hurt them in the long run, argues this essay in the American Thinker.
  • The Dissident Frogman has another hard-hitting propaganda animation on his site. Very much worth seeing.
  • Mama and Papa are out to a formal event at the Chateau Laurier this evening. If I get three requests in the comments for it, I'll post a picture of me in my monkey suit and her in her slinky dress.

August 11, 2004

Stuff and Things III

  • Paul at Wizbang sums up the latest developments in the blogosphere's continuing efforts to figure out what John Kerry was up to in Vietnam. I'm linking to this because I'm seriously creeped out by the mainstream media's efforts to look the other way on this story.
  • New webpage clutter of the week -- a guestmap! All the cool blogs are getting them. Let me know where you're visiting from.
  • A photo journey through my hometown, Winnipeg. What? That doesn't excite you?
  • Mama and Papa are heading to Montreal for a couple of days, so there will be no blogging 'til Saturday. Max and Talia will be in the kennel looked after by their uncle and his girlfriend.

August 09, 2004

It's raining blogs

I've been adding some new sites to my blogroll lately. It's been quite some time since I did it and things were starting to get stale. Since the blogroll pretty much serves as my bookmarks, now I have some new people to read. Today was a big one: nineteen new pages.

The best way to find blogs worthy of reading is to look through the links of another writer. You want to pick someone who's very intelligent, has a deep understanding of a wide range of topics, and has their finger on the pulse of the internet's greatest thinkers. But I picked Gnotalex of the Blog Québécois instead.

Looking through someone's blogroll is like sifting through their junk drawer. There are some treasures that are obviously worth saving, but also some stuff that you can't imagine why anyone would keep. I'm sure mine is no different. I looked at every link he had, and inconsistently applied an imprecise formula to them. No Michael Moore cheering or mindless Bush-bashing. But no Ann Coulter shrines or tirades against gay marriage either. Using the word 'rant' in the blog description is an immediate disqualification. Good design and frequent updates are a plus. Once-a-weekers and reporting only on the same-old-same-old are minuses. And I came out with nineteen.

So now I'm going to hit the new links on my page, magically summoning some of them here (through the magic of referrer link tracking) to find out who linked to them. Who will be first? Who's the most desperate blogger of the nineteen?

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the winner could not be determined. I was away for most of the afternoon yesterday and my tracker only stores the last 20 hits. Normally this would not be a problem, but Google has been sending me visitors by the truckload interested in spoilers for The Village. Next time...

August 08, 2004

Stuff and Things II

  • Wretchard at Belmont Club has written a great summary on the latest developments in the War on Terror and gets a little philosophical about the meaning of it all.
  • Victor Davis Hanson psychoanalyses the Europeans. Maybe a little unfair, but a fun read.
  • David Janes actually goes to see The Manchurean Candidate (unlike me) and gets whiplash from his eyes rolling back:
    The US in the Manchurian Candidate in a perpetual state of fear and military clampdown due to constant terror attacks; Muslims are regularly lynched by mobs US citizens, just like after 9/11. Still with me? You get the idea. Hillary constantly spouts Republican-style rhetoric about security, strength, and foreign folks shouldn't be killing us and other related nonsense, but it's quickly revealed just to be a scam so that Halliburton can make more money.
    Greg Buete at TCS adds more thoughts.
  • Captain Ed gives a detailed update on the Swift Boat Vets vs John Kerry. CNN has studiously ignored this story -- but you can find out what's happening in the blogosphere.

August 05, 2004

Essential Lileks today

Not only does he patiently explain the trials of the stay-at-home parent, he deftly fisks some pretentious pseudo-anarchist drivel. Not that that's such a hard thing to do, but it's fun to read.

August 03, 2004

Thanks for telling me...

Since I installed my spam fix a week ago, I've received absolutely no comments. I figured it was because no one liked me and I had a crappy blog. Well, that's part of the problem, but it's also been due to a bug I introduced when I tried to get rid of the old spam protection. Finally someone had the courage to tell me about the problem, and it has been corrected. I'm sorry for the potential posts that have been lost, it won't happen again.

Readers are invited to shower me with the love that the technological glich had blocked. Better late than never.

July 30, 2004

Exciting new feature!

Well, for me anyway. At the bottom of the left column you can now find out what kinds of horrible noise I'm forcing my poor kids to listen to. I got the idea from and reverse-engineered the work of Austin, the Transplanted Texan. (Thanks guy!) This RSS stuff is kinda cool, Ill have to look into it some more and see what other stoopid, pointless stuff I can add to my blog...

UPDATE: Well, that didn't last very long. Audioscrobbler seems to be out for the count and it's absence messes up the loading of this page. They mentioned they were going to be listed in the next issue of Wired, so maybe they just got flooded. That's the problem with these nifty free internet services -- they're just held together with chewing gum and bandaids.

UPDATE II: It's working again. So this wonderful new feature is once again enabled. Let's see how long they can keep it going...

July 29, 2004

Taking no prisoners

Paul Jané at All Agitprop, All the Time... (when did the name change?) has been blogging at a furious pace for the past couple of days. His targets have been Dear Leader, the Fat Bastard, the French, the two Johnnies and others. Well worth a look.

July 28, 2004

Under Attack

I'm under assault by an extremely nasty porn spammer. Evidently he's found a way to get around my meager defenses. Over 500 stoopid comments so far. I've deleted a bunch, but they're coming in faster than I can kill them. I'm going to install MT Blacklist tonight, and I hope it can get rid of this crap retroactively. I should have done this a long time ago...

UPDATE: Wow! This is really great! I'm free and clear! I'm back to my normal zero comment state. This is an absolutely amazing and essential tool for Movable Type bloggers. And so easy to install.

July 16, 2004

Moving Target back up

My old site on Blogspot has been decaying for a while now and I was starting to get a little worried. The server I had the pictures on had changed its protocol resulting in a formating mess and loss of content. I wanted to keep it these posts and pictures for the future, but I didn't want to go back into Blogger and fix everything.

Luckily I didn't have to. With HTTRACK, I was able to download all the pages into one directory with relational links. Then I just had to find the missing pictures and do a bit of editing to make it all come together. The pages are now hosted on my own web domain, so if Blogger disappears tomorrow, I won't have lost anything. HTTRACK is a good tool to take a look at if you just want to backup your web content on your own computer too.

So all the archived Moving Target pages on the left have now been refreshed, if anyone wants to take a look at them. Pictures after Max and Talia's birth, my trips to Iqaluit and Argentina, and numerous inane ravings are all neatly arranged for posterity. Go have a look.

July 15, 2004

Stuff and things

Some interesting things I've been reading:

  • Charles Krauthammer writes a good piece in Time musing on why the French are being such unreasonable bastards (even for them). It's not pretty.
  • Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata writes about the possibility that oil is not a biological residue but a geological substance -- and that there's lots more of it. I'd heard a similar theory years and years ago and it made a lot of sense to me. The best thing about the theory? It really annoys the environmentalists.
  • James Lileks has discovered a great piece of anti-communist agitprop from the 60's. The author learned about the glories of Soviet revolution firsthand, so he knows what he's talking about.
  • Victor Davis Hanson is seriously grumpy. A historian that has understands the big trends in our civilization, he is not impressed with the self-inflicted blindness that infects our culture. He's usually pretty cool and patient in his writing, but here he just gets angry.
  • Anti-Americanism is the new religion. Check out what's been happening at the World AIDS conference.
Okay. Maybe I'll find the time and energy to write something of my own soon.

June 22, 2004

Sparse

Also: lame, unfocused, boring, quiet, pointless, disappointing. If my thesaurus was nearby I'd find other words to describe my blog lately, but that would require me to go looking for it. And you can't find anything around here right now.

Each day, these toddlers of mine suck up much of my free time and prevent me from adding anything significant to this blog. It won't last forever, f course, but right now I feel a little out of control. My work on the local campaign has kept me pretty busy too. But that doesn't mean I don't have anything to say. Here's some of things that would have been written over the past two weeks if my kids would just calmly play with their toys on the floor and not require constant stimulation from me. Some of them might even have been interesting:

  • A rant on biases in the media.
  • A thoughtful examination of the two different philosophies of threat management, prevention and deterence.
  • A Lileksian discussion of my humiliating encounter with the new, automated, do-it-yourself checkouts at the supermarket.
  • Fiction! Murder in Teletubbieland, the story of the gruff but endearing DI Albright's investigation into Dipsy's murder. I think the NooNoo did it...
  • A discussion of how the growing anti-American obsession of watchdog groups such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace will weaken the causes they claim to care about.
  • Another rant about the biases in the media.
  • Musings about how allowing private health care providers will cause government spending to go up -- by removing some of the rationing of service that goes on now.
  • Gushing praise for what is probably the best kids movie you've never heard of, My Neighbor Totoro.
  • Yet more complaining about media bias.

Who knows, I might still be able to write these pieces in the near future, but I doubt it. I dream of the days -- coming soon, I hope -- when I'll be able to close a door to a room for a couple of hours and type away in peace. But trying to write standing at the kitchen counter while two little people clutch my leg saying, "Uh! Uh!" (translation: 'Up! Up!') is not much fun. So the blog will be sparse for some time, I'm afraid, but I'm not going to give it up yet.

And they're still be pictures. Like this one, which holds many thousands of words, I'm sure:

What's going on in this picture?  Write an essay to describe the emotions on the children's faces and speculate on what is happening.  You will be graded on your use of language and imagination.

June 14, 2004

The party's over

Well, it was fun while it lasted. Time Magazine has noted the blogging trend, so I guess this fad is over. Maybe I should set up an internet TV station now. Yeah, like I've got that much time...

June 01, 2004

Carnival of the Canucks #20

The latest Carnival of the Canucks, a roving Canadian blogworld cross-pollination initiative, is up over at Circadian Shift. I only mention it because my poor, insignificant blog is one of the many featured. Go, and marvel at just how many blogs you've never heard of are out there, and what ideas people free of editors can come up with.

May 28, 2004

A man and his hole

I've always admired those that are able to indulge in some bizarre obsession despite the frowning disapproval of their spouse, friends, or law enforcement agencies. This is such a story.

May 27, 2004

The dangers of Photoshop

It could happen to you.

(Thanks to Rene.)

Aw. Looks like someone was starting to get worried about bandwidth charges and put up a password block. To make it up to you I offer Panda Golf.

You like cats?

Then you must go to this page, and keep hitting the next cat link. I'm not sure why, but after about ten of them I was laughing harder than I had in years. Really. I'll have to get Squeak, Samba, and Pico in there sometime...

May 25, 2004

Andrew Coyne is back

Andrew Coyne has turned up after almost a month's absence. But there's no apologies for those who lost sleep worrying about him, or thanks for the the faithful who held the candlelight vigils. Pretty shabby return from the dead, if you ask me.

May 20, 2004

Comings and goings

Paul Jané at Frozen in Montreal and Bob Tarantino at Let It Bleed are back from their holidays and posting rapidly to make up for their absence. Tim Blair has ended his month-long hiatus after only 6 days, and is also laying down some good stuff.

Andrew Coyne is still missing, however. Over three weeks now, and he didn't even leave a note saying he'd be away. The only clue that he's even alive is those mysterious columns that appear twice a week in the National Post. In the comments section of his last post -- some fluff about hockey -- a strange internet phenomena is occuring. Loyal readers are engaged in a cargo-cult like ritual of pleading, rationalizing, and dreaming of his return. There's well over a hundred comments now. I can't wait to see how this turns out: will their faith be rewarded?

April 24, 2004

A gold star for Let It Bleed

Good job!  But don't let it go to your head.After much deliberation, I've decided to award Let It Bleed with the first Gold Star, an infrequently occuring or soon to be discontinued feature at Autonomous Source that gives a cheery 'thumbs up' to what I consider to be underappreciated work. Let It Bleed deserves this because of the stellar job Bob Tarantino has been doing at fisking the daylights out of some of the more addled columnists from the wacky side of the political spectrum that write for the Globe and Star. I assume his work is underappreciated because of the few comments his site gets, but he has been invited to join The Shotgun so perhaps his star is rising.

Fisking is hard work. I've tried my hand at it myself, and found it to be an intensely frustrating experience. The world view of these people is so alien and far removed from reality that (for me) correcting their commentary requires correcting their ingrained pre-assumptions, which requires detailing the real nature of human society. Which is quite a slog.

Bob makes it look easy. He skewers the shrill Heather Mallick, smacks down the Mike Moore wannabe Rick Salutin, and demolishes the oblivious Haroon Siddiqui to the point where not one stone is standing on another. And if Gwynne Dyer sticks his head out of his gopher hole, BAM goes the hammer.

Keep up the good work, Bob. I'm glad someone is countering the nonsense these papers' peddle, even if it's just on a blog.

April 08, 2004

I'm still alive

It's been difficult to get around to posting lately. Max and Talia have been sick and have just been weaned, so they're pretty cranky. My energy is low, so when I get some free time I just want to vegetate. Things are picking up though, and I hope to find some time to string some words together sometime soon.

March 31, 2004

I'm gonna wash that spam right out of my hair...

I discovered some spam in my comments about a month ago and was a little alarmed. They appeared in posts that were a little old and so escaped my notice. Such stoopid spam too -- what the hell are 'penis-pills'? Would anyone be attracted by such a cheesy come-on? I blocked the IPs of the senders and thought no more about it.

But yesterday I discovered I was again infested with this crap, again in my old posts. One post had 15 ads for herbal viagra and orgasm cream. I blocked the IPs again but doubted it would do anything. I had to stop it for good.

I found this page, which has suggestions and links to useful tools. On that page is a link to Junkeater, which I've implemented. It forces the commenter to copy a string of digits from an image -- something a spam 'bot would find impossible. Junkeater was designed for guestbooks on homepages, but works for Movable Type blogs as well. The instructions on how to do that can be found here. The only bit that wasn't too clear was in the setup. Everything refers to the 'guestbook' rather than the 'blog'. I just entered the blog URL where it wanted the guestbook URL, and the comment URL for the post URL and it worked fine. You'll have to edit the comment template and the individual entry archive template to get it to work.

We can beat spam in our lifetime, I believe it.

March 17, 2004

More filler

It's filler time again! Debbye Stratigacos has a nifty new Movable Type site on which I found yet another of those ubiquitous political personality tests. How could I resist? Here's how they describe me:

You advocate a large degree of economic and personal freedom. Your neighbors include folks like Ayn Rand, Jesse Ventura, Milton Friedman, and Drew Carey, and may refer to themselves as "classical liberals," "libertarians," "market liberals," "old whigs," "objectivists," "propertarians," "agorists," or "anarcho-capitalist."
Drew Carey?

Next time anyone asks what my politics are, I'll tell them I'm an 'agorist'.

March 15, 2004

The editor is dead

I was forced to kill the editor the other day. For those of you who knew him, I can assure you he felt no pain. The cause of death was a blow from a blunt instrument to the back of the head (a candlestick ... or was it the lead pipe?). He never saw it coming and was dead before he hit the floor.

One of the great things about the blog world is that for the most part, there are no editors. Writers don't have to follow a style sheet, write as if your readers mainly consist of nervous and prickly 40-somethings, or call terrorists 'militants'. They call the shots and can do whatever they want.

Except that they can't. Most bloggers are concerned about how many hits they get. They (okay, I) want readers. To get readers I feel I must write about topics that interest people and bring them back for more. I don't remember putting out a want-ad for an editor, but one day I noticed I had one -- and he was dictating content to better suit an imagined audience. His influence was minor at the beginning, but over time he started killing posts before they were finished, and making all kinds of unrequested suggestions. Just before his death, he was squeezing the life out of this blog. Posts that made it to the web had been drained of any interesting point of view and had acquired a slight 'dittoish' stench. He had to die. I have no regrets.

The problem with these types of editors -- born in some dark, insecure part of the super-ego -- is that they don't stay dead. Days, weeks, maybe months from now, his arms will force their way out of the dirt and pull his body out of the ground. Then he'll find his way back to his old station, hunched over me as I write, breathing down my neck, and wearing that same disapproving frown. And this time he'll smell bad. I'll just have to be vigilant.

March 09, 2004

A blogless week

I'm going to take a week off from writing this blog. My batteries are low and I haven't been happy with what I've been writing lately. There are things building up around the house that need doing, I've got a few outside projects that need some attention and Max and Talia are keeping me too busy the rest of the time.

Anyways, I gotta go. Back in seven days.

March 02, 2004

New Template!

Wheee! There's big excitement here today as I initiate a whole new era in this blog's distinguished history. The washed-out colours of the old style were bothering me, and there were a few annoying bugs I wanted to get rid of. I've been beavering away at this new style-sheet for a month now and I figured I should just turn it on and stop fussing with it. So whaddya think? Michelle says it makes her eyes hurt. My supportive wife. If anyone else has similar comments they can keep them to themselves.

Okay, it's not perfect. It's not the way I wanted it to be, but you have to compromise when dealing multiple fussy browsers. If I ever get around to reading some of the HTML sites I've bookmarked I may get around to fixing a few things (such as the archive pages), but for now this is the new look.

UPDATE: Just noticed that on Netscape the archive pages are messed up. Not so you can't read things, but it just looks just amateurish. Arrgh. I'll fix it later.

February 26, 2004

Spirograph!

Most people of a certain age have had experience with Spirograph. It's largely been forgotten now, other than the occasional hip pop cultural reference. An entire generation has missed messing around with this wonderful toy.

But no longer! Thanks to the brilliant coding of Anu Garg and the sleuthing of Gnotalex at Blog Québécois, I am able to offer you this java Spirograph!

Continue reading "Spirograph!" »

February 23, 2004

In a trough.

The road of life travels over rolling terrain. There are peaks from which you can see long distances, plan where you're going, and get an idea of how everything fits together. And then there are troughs where all you can see is your local surroundings and all that matters is whether your shoelaces are tied. The last few days I feel I've slid down into a trough, and as a result I've found it very difficult to write about bloggy subjects. I'd like to write about Paul or Ralph or Belinda, but they're really not in my field of view right now. I haven't been reading the paper very carefully and have been very negligent in reading some fine blogs. Things have been very locally focused.

I went to a nice wedding the other night, but everything else has centered around keeping my kids from screaming too much and trying to keep on top of things around the house. Max and Talia have colds and are teething at the same time. As you can imagine, they're not very much fun to be around right now. Max is now crying after a lengthy thirty minute nap so I'll quit whining right here and go get him. The only way out of a trough is to start climbing. Normal blogging will resume shortly.

February 10, 2004

A reason to be smug.

The Smug Canadian (or is it the Non-Smug Canadian?) is celebrating the birth of his first child. Though he only had one, it's still a great achievement -- Congratulations!

He named his daughter Ada after the first computer programmer. Or so he says anyway -- it's also the name of a programming language. But as a nerdy choice for a name, at least he doesn't go as far as this guy.

Best wishes on the future.

February 06, 2004

Filler

The kids are being especially clingy today, yet I feel I must feed the blog. Here's one of those fun but gimmicky web things I found on Frozen in Montreal: a map of countries I've visited:


Create your own visited country map

I had the idea that I've travelled quite a bit. Looks like there's still lots more to see.

February 04, 2004

Perfectly skewered.

Tim Blair puts a couple of another blogger's posts together and destroys him. Oh, the humanity!

January 29, 2004

Nice one...

Samizdata links to a great quote:

God made the 20th Century to teach us that the notion that things work better when experts plan them is a fallacy. It's a pity that a hundred-million or so had to die to illustrate the lesson. But now we got it. Right?
- John Weidner
I got it, but I'm afraid some of the class wasn't paying attention.

January 26, 2004

Under construction again

I'll be messing with my blog's templates again tonight. I'll try not to make any changes that will damage the fabric of the universe.

Update: Back to square one. I learned a few things but also came close to losing my sanity. I had it working and looking good in IE6, but when I tried it in Netscape -- Aargh!! But I'll be back.

January 25, 2004

Caution: geek at work.

My current style sheet for this blog creates some problems when viewed on the buggy browser (also known as Internet Explorer 6). I've tried to correct them and have received some good advice (thanks King of Fools!) but it looks like it's hopeless. I've picked a new style from Movable Style and will be tinkering with it for a while until I get something I'm happy with. If things look like crap, it's because I'm still working or I have no taste.

Update: The bug that is bothering me is the inability to select text accurately via click-and-drag. I've seen this bug on a few Movable Type pages but I wanted to get rid of it on mine. It seems though that Microsoft has already thought of all the ways I tried to thwart them and was ready for me. I'm giving up for now but will try again.