starting-blast landlocked

Category: WTF

Stick a fork in this one. He’s done.

I can’t honestly look in the mirror and say I’ve heard it all, but I can at least say I’ve heard a goodly chunk of it. I don’t think, when the expression “stick a fork in it” was invented, the folks doing the inventing particularly had their minds all that close to the gutter. I mean, I could be wrong–sexual twists have been around for probably very nearly as long as sex, so it’s entirely possible. Or, at least, if it wasn’t before, it is now.

An elderly Australian man ended up in hospital after he jammed an entire 10 cm fork inside his penis for “sexual gratification.”

The bizarre medical emergency at Canberra Hospital was outlined in a paper in the International Journal of Surgery Case Reports.

“A 70-year-old man presents to the emergency department with a bleeding urethral meatus following self-insertion of a fork into the urethra to achieve sexual gratification. Multiple retrieval methods were contemplated with success achieved via forceps traction and copious lubrication,” the paper reads.

I’m trying to figure out which is more disturbing–that this actually happened, or that he wasn’t the first or only one to wander down that road the really, really wrong way. I’m also trying to imagine exactly how something like that could do anything other than, you know, hurt like hell. But then, some folks are into that kinda thing, so whichever. This particular folk, though? Yeah, he’s done. But hold the fork.

Fifty shades of gone.

So I take an age and a half off blogging, again, and that’s the best thing I can come up with? See also: why I shouldn’t take an age and a half off blogging. But since I did, and then I came up with this, I might as well do something useful with it. How about highlighting why it is you shouldn’t take seriously everything you read? Because clearly, taking everything you read as seriously as people in London clearly do results in a call to the fire department because you wanted your very own Fifty Shades of Grey award. The fire department, however, strongly recommends that maybe you should just not.

“I don’t know whether it’s the Fifty Shades effect, but the number of incidents involving items like handcuffs seems to have gone up,” said Third Officer Dave Brown. “I’m sure most people will be Fifty Shades of red by the time our crews arrive to free them.”

Since 2010, London firefighters have treated almost 500 people with rings stuck on their fingers, nine with rings stuck on their penises, and one man with his penis stuck in a toaster.

Rescue crews also helped five people with hands stuck in shredders and 17 children with their hands trapped in toys.

And now we know where today’s education system has lead us. For future reference, when the general rule is “do not try this at home”, they’re probably not kidding. Then again, I suspect neither is the guy with the toaster wang–anymore. Any guesses how many shades of gone in the head you’d need to be to consider some of these an option? I’ll give you 50.

Ottawa loses its mind. Again.

One of the things I miss when I’m behind on things is local braindeadness. Particularly local braindeadness to the tune of let’s screw with traffic more than normal because speeders. So I missed it when Ottawa’s council decided it would be a mighty fine idea to experiment last summer.

People don’t like to slow down in residential areas. This is a problem not just in Ottawa by any means. But Ottawa has decided to take it to new, interesting and quite probably moronic levels. Rather than posting signs warning of the speed limit on residential streets on, you know, the side of the road where–really, who knew–signs of any variety belong, they’ve decided they’d be more beneficial if they were right smack in the middle.

Now, I haven’t seen any major headlines of massive pile-ups on some of these streets where that was going on, but I’ll let you just rifle through any number of the several million possible scenarios wherein this proves to be an absolute dog of an idea. The signs were supposedly spring-loaded, so they could right themselves should a driver end up running them down, which tells me they’ve at least entertained the idea of one of those scenarios already. And yet, this is still a thing.

They say if the experiment goes well, they’ll make a return to doing exactly that starting this spring and on more streets. I love this city, don’t get me wrong, but christ jesus could we maybe talk about something that takes a tiny bit more thought? Like, let’s say, an actual police presence on problem streets? You know that expression there’s never a cop around when you need one? For validation of this expression, consult this brainstorm. Although I suppose if an accident is born out of some driver not expecting a sign to be straight in his path, that’d be one way of solving that problem, at least. But I kind of figured our government would be slightly better at not just replacing that problem with a higher priority one. That’ll learn me.

Taking weight loss to entirely legal levels.

I’ll admit to having had a temporary fascination with shows like Biggest Loser. It used to be a thing I did on a weekly basis–have the local relatives over, we’d do the supper thing, and because I was the one with the cable, there’d be Biggest Loser on in the background. Largely because it was an occasional source for a meal or two the next time we met up, but admittedly also because evening TV otherwise sucked around that time. No one actually expects the folks who do these types of shows to cling tightly to whatever weight they’ve lost after they leave, mostly because hey, life happens–you’ve got work, or school, you’ve got kids, you’ve got obligations or whatever, and can’t actually put in the time they do for these shows on strictly working out and the like. That was a thought I had, anyway. A heartfelt thank you goes out to the folks what run shows like this for quickly disabusing me of that notion.

Apparently, they have it in the contracts you sign with them that you’re not actually allowed to gain pretty much any of the weight back that you’ve lost while on the show, whether you can actually help that or not. Well, okay, you can, but if you do, you’re officially in breach of your contract. Yes, even if you put in 40 hours then spend another 40 chasing around a bunch of kids during an average week. And, if you’re Tara Costa, who apparently actually won one of these here competitions, that lines you up for a pretty heavy lawsuit on exactly those grounds. Because, you know, having gained at least some of the weight back you thought you’d nailed down before isn’t annoying/frustrating/headaching enough.

Look. I get the cover your ass mentality these companies need to come off with. I mean they’ve provided you with suggestions, tips, the occasional kick in the ass, whatever so that you’ll lose the weight. So naturally they have a vested interest in making sure the weight stays lost. But, and I’m not saying this applies to her specificly–the article I linked to doesn’t exactly go out of its way to get her take on it, if most people go through the trouble to lose it just to have some of it come back, my guess is they’re already giving themselves a kick in their own ass. Kicking them in the wallet for breaking their agreement with you isn’t exactly going to motivate them to straighten up and fly right, now. And my guess is there’s probably a few folks who’s minds just changed on signing up for a thing like this. Stick with training programs at the gym if you must. At least they won’t sue you for backsliding. And hey, you can actually figure out how to pull off the same damn thing while dealing with life. Most folks wouldn’t need a contract for that.

I’m, too sexy for this job.

I’ve heard of a lot of people who’ve left a lot of jobs for a lot of reasons. Some of them common sense, some of them a little out there, but vaguely inteligent. And some of them just plain out there, full stop. but the award for most origional excuse for leaving the workforce goes to Laura fernee, who has decided she’s just too damn good looking to be doing that whole working thing.

Laura Fernee told the Daily Mail her most recent job was in medical research, which she started in 2011. Fernee has a PhD in science and started in the workforce in 2008.

“The truth is my good looks have caused massive problems for me when it comes to employment, so I’ve made the decision that employment just isn’t for me at the moment,” the 33-year-old told the paper.

Her solution? She’ll just exit grasefully, and let someone less attractive fill her spot while she focuses on, uh, being just that damn good, I guess. I wonder if the Daily Mail caught up with her parents at all. If they had, perhaps they might want to ask how they feel about supporting their way too amazingly gorgeous daughter’s $2000 designer clothes habbit, among other things. And if ever they get her or them on TV, they might want to run the interview by some background music. Because really, every supersized ego needs a theme song.

Screwing up our kids, one school policy at a time.

Maybe this is what happens to folks like me who tend to keep somewhat of a hold on some of our parents’ opinions while very slowly developing more of our own. I mean that’s possible, right? So when my parents taught me things like I don’t have to put up with it when some other moron’s being a jackass, and I passed that on to people I’ve had a hand in helping out here and there, that’s normal, you’d think. Well, I’d think, anyway. But then along comes the apparent trend in schools to take being a kid–and not just being a kid who’s parents had the good sense to give a backbone to–away from the kids, and suddenly some of my opinions on the outside looking in seem a lot farther from the politically correct standard than they maybe should be. Well. There just went my parent of the year award, if I can ever get to qualifying.

When I was knee high to a grasshopper, it was perfectly normal to spend recess, or even 5 minutes before the teacher came into the room, playing stupid little war games with nothing more than my imagination and whatever vaguely useful objects happened to be in reach–well, when we weren’t chasing each other around the playground, tackling each other, throwing snowballs at each other and just generally doing what, you know, kids’ll do. I mean if you’re 6 years old and bored enough, a cardboard box can just as easily become an airplane as it can a fort, so it could happen that a couple kids decide to have themselves a shootout with nothing more than pencils for guns, and imagination for ammunition. People thought next to nothing about it 20 years ago. And why would they? No one ended up hurt, and when it was actually time to get down to the business of being bored to death for the day, things–eventually–calmed down and the teacher had the class’s mostly full attention. Today, pencilguns are every bit as illegal as their much more dangerous, much more real counterparts, and a kid with a pencil and an imagination is a kid with a suspension from school for such extremely imaginary violence. Because kids today don’t think in terms of cowboys and indians, or cops and robbers, you see.

That, in itself, would be news to me. But trends don’t get to be called trends for staying still and not gradually moving from the stupid to the braindead. So let’s take the imaginary shootout situation, and stick it in a back corner of your mind for 10 seconds. A kid shows up to school with a very much not imaginary knife. He takes to bullying another kid, ends up pulling the knife on him. There’s a third kid, we’ll call him Briar MacLean, with a front row seat to the happening. Now, Briar’s one of these kids who’s parents had the good sense to give a backbone–remember I mentioned that earlier? So rather than do the stupid thing and ignore what’s going on and go about his business, or the expected thing and run away to tap the teacher on the shoulder who was on the other side of the room doing something that was not, in fact, breaking up a situation and beating the crap out of a kid dumb enough to bring a knife to school in the first place, Briar steps in and gets between the two. And for his troubles, he gets himself a nice little slap on the wrist and a don’t do it again. Not, I’m assuming, that he’ll actually listen to the warning considering it wasn’t his first, but that they’ll try, repeatedly, to train kids out of doing things like that should probably be seen as slightly more of a problem than the folks making the decisions seem to want to pay attention to. Telling a kid that putting your foot down is highly inappropriate and that they should instead be running and hiding behind someone else, who’ll be more than happy to put their foot down on that kid’s behalf, ends up creating adults who would much rather tattle to someone else and have them speak up rather than handle a situation on their own. Which, in turn, comes with a whole host of its own issues that the folks behind these zero-tolerence policies don’t seem to have been made very much aware of. And yet, they’re still popular.

Also popular, but not nearly as much yet–they’re trying, I’m sure–is the zero-tolerence policy from the other direction. take, for instance, a school who’s kindergarten class is not allowed any physical contact of any shape or form, at all. Holding hands? Not allowed. Playing tag? Nope. But at least no one’s being threatened with suspension for breaking the policy. that, as it turns out, is left to other schools–who have no problem picking the ball up and carrying it along. Which, as you’d expect, results in a 6-year-old being suspended for kissing a girl on the hand, or a highschool kid being tossed for giving his teacher a hug. All things that come extremely naturally to *most* kids, if they haven’t been given a very good reason not to look for such things before they’ve gotten to school–see also: every kid who’s ever had physical contact used against them. And the school’s saying not unless you want a kick in the ass.

So now, you’ve got kids not allowed to use their imaginations, or stand up for themselves–or anyone, really–or generally do things that any normal human being, be they a kid or otherwise, would do and expect the people they’re around to do. And folks wonder why kids, teens, young adults and the like grow up with some of the issues they do? It’s human nature to touch, and be touched. And I’m not even talking sexually–a pat on the shoulder, a hug, whatever. That’s normal, I always figured. And now you’ve got people in positions of authority telling your kids, if you touch this person, even playing, or even in comfort, you potentially get to sit out the school year–or, at least, a couple days of it. And you have it stuck on your record, as hand-kisser did, that you’ve been called out for sexual harassment. So now, the kid who’s done the deed has it in his mind that it’s inappropriate, even if the other kid is perfectly fine with it. And you’ve got it in the other kid’s mind that it’s not appropriate to want such things to begin with.

And when these kids hit their teens, and start doing all the things teens do that everyone knows teens do and no one knows how to stop, these same people get concerned when little missy so and so decides screw you, he looks cute and I’m damn well gonna sleep with him. Or you’ve got someone putting a hand on someone else’s shoulder, like you do for support and all that, and the touchee turns around and screams sexual harassment (could happen). And this is somehow the fault of either the person doing the touching for expecting things to be just fine, or the person being touched, for flipping out–when in all likelyhood he/she has been taught to do exactly that.

Kids grow up with anxiety issues, social disorders, whatever. They grow up desensitised to things that any normal person would consider, well, normal. Natural, even. And they take it to either one extreme–it’s only sex, it’s not like I want a relationship with him/her–or the other–don’t touch me, don’t hug me, don’t come near me, don’t put yourself anywhere near my personal space–and the natural instinct for these people is to shame the first extreme or slap around the person who unintentionally happened to offend a person sitting on that second extreme. It’s not, say, to maybe take a look at where these ideas would come from, or how a kid could come to the realization that any amount of physical contact, be it intentional or otherwise, is somehow supposed to be offensive to the sensibilities. Instead, people create policies that enforce ideas like that, and then are shocked–shocked, I tell you–to learn that the kids who were most likely to run into that rule are probably now the adults most likely to develop at least a small handful of issues in at least a small handful of the areas those rules hit on. The idea of someone you’ve known for years hugging you is uncomfortable? Probably goes back to something you were trained out of as a child–unless that person happens to be a grade A creeper, but then you probably wouldn’t have known them for years. You have absolutely no idea what to do with a physical, slightly intimate but nowhere near sexual connection? Probably because you’ve had your hand slapped growing up for even daring to entertain such horrid thoughts.

Physical contact is normal. Perfectly so. Hell, they didn’t pull the thing about Italians giving even friends they haven’t seen in a while a kiss on both cheaks out of thin air, you know. People cuddle together for warmth and survival in emergencies, sure, but also because, hell, it’s more comforting than just wrapping yourself up in a blanket to stay warm if you just so happen to have the option. It’s human nature. And when there are no rules, when there are no expectations that people know how to turn that off, where there’s no one playing monitor to make sure all of that stays as far away from the situation as possible, those behaviours are going to show up. It makes no difference who disapproves, or how many school policies come to play and try to shut that off. All those policies do is screw up our kids. And when our kids grow up to be equally screwed up adults who wouldn’t know what to do with a significant connection to another person if you handed them an instruction manual, policies like that–in schools, in workplaces, in society in general–will more than likely be the reason. Not, as it turns out, that it will prevent people who figure they know better from pushing for more and thus proving my point.

We all screw up our kids in our own, unique ways. This is true. But I’ve yet to hear a parent giving their kid hell for hugging his/her sister, or friend, or cousin, whichever until they’ve stopped being upset. I’m actually surprised I’ve not seen anything yet about a school suspending a kid for doing the same–again, with their sister, or a friend, or whoever. But the way things are heading now, I wouldn’t expect it to take all that long for something like it to show up. And that, more than just about anything a parent can legally do, will screw the kids up but good. And all of that, in the name of political correctness. Score one for the good guys. the rest of us, however, will be over here picking up the pieces if you need us.

H2O is wicked evil dangerous! Related: the US education system strikes again.

I know, old story is old. But on April Fool’s Day, the last thing you probably want to be known for is being a town full of fools. Which probably means the last thing you want to do is flip your everloving lid when a couple of morning show DJ’s make the announcement that dihydrogen monoxide has been reportedly leaking from area taps and residents should use caution. And yet, in fort Myers this past April, the locals up and did exactly that, with the station they were on immediately and indefinitely suspending the DJ’s in question for broadcasting that water has been detected in the city’s water supply. And there was at one point discussion of possible felony charges for calling in a false water quality issue–further cementing that the administration in the fort Myers area is officially no more qualified to run the city than any of the folks happening to have called the thing in. Folks, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Yes, even people who’ve been put through the US education system. And then some fool or fools go off and pull one of these and all that doubt just kind of takes off in that there other direction. I mean I get these two got all technical fancy on you. And sure, okay, they maybe aughta not do that, or maybe be a little more gentle about it–you’re new to all this, I can see. But isn’t that why folks like the guys at Google invented things like, you know, Google? When in doubt, look it up. Or better yet, take 5 seconds and glance at the calendar already. And for the sake of all things sane, don’t dare let any of that dihydrogen monoxide get anywhere near you–it may very well impair what’s left of your otherwise amazingly good judgement, and well, we just can’t have that. You’ve already been doing so well.

Case for designated driver? Made.

so. You’re driving down the road, minding your own. Your significant other is in the passenger’s seat. One or both of you’s been feeling the urge pretty much all freaking day. So rather than find a spot to pull over, or better yet wait until you’ve gotten where you’re going, you decide you maybe might aughta just take a little care of things right the hell there. I mean why not? You’re a relatively safe driver, right? You can multitask. right?

This florida woman figured that was about how it worked, anyway. And it worked pretty damn well for her. right up until she multitasked herself right into someone else’s house. Lucky for the house its occupants weren’t home–and neither passenger nor distracted driver were killed–but she drove through two rooms of the place before one or both of them clued in that, uh, this ain’t road anymore. I expect to hear of at least one road safety organization taking up the call and putting out an advertisement. “Be safe. Find a designated driver. Don’t dip and drive.” Thanks to these two, their case would already be made.

20 absolutely ridiculous government shutdown pick-up lines.

I’m as much a fan of poking a government on its way off a financial cliff in the eye as the next guy. It’s actually a personal hobby of mine. So I was about knee-deep in all manner of government shutdown tweets. Most of them were snarky. Some of them were even funny. None of them were nearly as left field as the Ottawa Sun’s 20 government shutdown pick-up lines. I’ve omitted the “funny” from their title. Because no.

Aside from actually somewhat improving the song, I got nothing. There’s 19 more just like that one in the article. You’re trying too hard, Ottawa Sun. You went for funny and came back with ridiculous. but, A+ for effort. Cash it in somewhere special.

Back to school, the hard way. Or, who’s bright idea was math anyway?

So let’s see. The last time I thought about educating myself, I ended up chasing Everest College around in a near to endless circle and wound up right back where I started. That is, no closer to being educated and no further ahead with working with the school on making things workable so I could get me educated. The entire point? I wasn’t entirely impressed with the way Algonquin wanted me to go about getting escentially the exact same education. I’m still not overly impressed, but given I’ve been in neutral for the better part of too long already I’ve about run out of options.

I’ve been looking for a way to take the skills I’ve already got in the sysadmin realm and put them on paper, more or less professionally, while at the same time probably picking up a few things I don’t already know. Like, say, why anyone in their right mind would choose to run a corporate website on any version of Windows Server, but you’ll have that. Both Algonquin and Everest offer escentially the same course, with at least moderately close to the same results. The key difference–and it’s a difference I’m still having more than a little difficulty wrapping my head around–is the course at Algonquin not only has a math prerequisit, but also runs a single, solitary math course in the first semester of the program. To what end I haven’t a clue, but beyond the first semester I’ll very next to likely never open a math textbook again in my life. That is–unless I plan on following through on my threat and adding some variation of programming skills onto what this program wants to teach me (Can we say professional student, anyone?).

When I brought up that situation with the guy what ran the course at Everest, even he seemed a bit confused by the requirement–you’re not designing the circuitry, for crying out loud, you’re just piecing what’s already been designed together and making sure component A plays compatibly with operating system B. Escentially a more hands-on perspective of what I used to get paid to do, more or less. And I sure as hell didn’t need math to do it then. But, Algonquin seems to have a different opinion on what it takes to be the guy what fixes their equipment, so we do the dance and hope for the best.

And that’s pretty much why, barring a complete failure of just about everything between me and the college campus, on October 15th I get in line for my very own generous helping of brain damage. The first step is to go through their academic upgrading course, because not thinking I’d need to see myself going back to school 10 years after leaving highschool and not figuring the world would escentially implode economically speaking, taking my job right along with it, and knowing you pretty much didn’t need a whole huge heaping helping of extra education beyond a decent ability to learn quickly while sidestepping from one problem to the next meant I got the hell out of highschool at the first chance handed me. It also meant I didn’t see a need to take a math course in my final years–I took an extra English instead so I could graduate when I was supposed to. Awesome decision then. Probably not so much now.

So I finalize things for my upgrading this week. Then, it’s the sit back and wait game until my course actually starts. And between now and then, I’m sure the idea will hit me at least twice. Who’s bright idea was math anyway?

Because who needs building codes, anyway?

Beautiful thing about those there developing countries. Development isn’t just restricted to their economy. their regulations are also up for negotiation. So if you play the right cards and/or know the right people, you can get in on the ground floor of even that platform. What does that mean? Well, lack of common sense is perfectly excuseable, for one. It becomes perfectly fine to say you didn’t know you needed fire exits. Or even a decent sprinkler system. I mean–everything will take care of itself, right? People know how they got in–they can get out just as well. Well, except for when the 3 extra floors you probably shouldn’t have built come back to bite them, but who’s counting? Clearly not the two Bangladeshi business owners and one from Brazil who figured this was an awesome idea. I wonder who a guy’s gotta sleep with to land a gig like that. I could use the money. Building codes? So 90′s.

Excuse me. You dropped your filter.

I like to think I know an unfiltered brain when I see one. I mean, I aught to–I’ve been one on more than a couple occasions. Pretty sure my membership in the unrestrained club’s a lifetime one. So when May and I were sitting on the bus coming home from an appointment, and the guy sitting across from us turned to the woman next to him–someone I’m assuming, based on the fact she hadn’t so much as acknowledged him until then, didn’t know him–and began what was apparently going to be a conversation whether she wanted it to be or not with “you’re probably wondering what happened to me”, to say I was surprised would more than likely be a small exageration. I did have to say something to May though, if only to try stopping myself from cringing so bad somebody at the back of the bus could have been clued in there was a problem on creaper transit.

I couldn’t be exactly sure how interested she was in this guy’s life story. For that matter, I couldn’t be entirely sure he was addressing her–his conversational tone was a couple knotches above conversational. I could be very sure though that neither May nor myself were wondering what happened to this guy–particularly after he was quite insistent that no no, we could sit right there next to him (thanks, but I like the view from just about anywhere you’re not a whole lot better, pal). And when, whether she was interested or not, he started to explain how he was hit by a bus either last week or the week before (it changed depending on which part of the story he was telling), and going into great detail about how he’s been in and out of hospital since then and all that, I could be slightly more sure that any interest the person he was actually talking to might have had in his life story was quickly switched out for some odd brand of politeness that somehow prevented either her or pretty much anyone else in earshot from punching him in both kidneys on principle. I honestly have no idea how that conversation ended–he was still going on when we got to our stop, but I can only imagine his poor captive audience filed it under “reasons to get a freaking car” and then tried very hard to put as much distance between herself and that conversation as humanly possible.

I have little to no TMI filter. Which, as it happens, is a very good thing–since apparently people I barely know occasionally feel the need to tell me things most people would find way TMI and probably just as many would slap you stupid for asking. Junk like that doesn’t bother me. Odds are you’ll be more embarrassed for saying it than I’ll be for hearing it. But here’s the thing. I usually at least somewhat know the people who end up doing that to me–probably a part of why it doesn’t bother me (the other part being I will probably never have any reason whatsoever to have need for about 95% of the potentially TMI, so it gets filed under “interesting, but useless”). And it usually happens on some kind of messenger, or through email, or–albeit less often lately–in a phone conversation. You know, an environment of somewhat relative privacy–NSA notwithstanding. This guy’s sitting on a public bus, in front of God and everyone, unloading the trials of the past week or two (again, depending on which part of his story you pay attention to) on a woman he’s never met, who’s name he probably has never heard, and thinking she–or anyone else who can hear the conversation–will actually take notice for any longer than it takes for them to get to wherever it is they’re going. I don’t have much of a filter, but I’m fairly sure he dropped his. I wonder if someone’s told him.

Consider this, if ever you happen to need a hotel.

I get paranoia. I don’t get it, insofar as I understand it, but I get it exists. And I get it exists to quite probably the most unjustifiable levels in about half a forever. There’s probably about half a dozen diagnoses that could cover it. Perhaps if a few of them were applied at just the right time to just the right people, we wouldn’t have yet another list from the Department of Homeland Security on just what to look for in a potential terrorist while you’re doing exactly everything a good non-terrorist is supposed to do during your hotel stay. Which, apparently, includes such sound advice as to keep a lookout for anyone who might be leaving their vehicle unattended too close to the hotel–without, you know, defining such critical language as “too close”. Oh, and be careful how much you don’t use the hotel-provided telephones or wi-fi. Oh, you’ve got your own cell phone? Don’t wanna pay the too much for in-house net? Terrorist!

Fortunately, the article also provides us with a handy dandy little instruction set so we don’t end up on the DHS’s not loyal enough list, presumedly while we’re keeping an eye out for folks who might not know better. Which is good, since my own attempt at doing same got about as far as “loyal citizens stay the hell home”.

So, to be a standup, non-terrorist citizen, here’s what you need to do:

Pack for two weeks if you’re staying for two days. Park your vehicle a safe distance away from the hotel, perhaps across the street or at another hotel. Leaving your vehicle dangerously unattended, walk directly through the main entrance with hands open and displayed in a non-threatening manner.

When registering, present as many forms of ID as possible. Be sure to mention where you work EVEN if no one asks. Brag if you have to. Hand out business cards to the staff. Let the desk clerk know that your stay here is no secret and that your room number should be given to anyone who asks, including those who don’t ask. When asked if you have a room preference, answer with a bright, but unfrightening, “I’ve never had a ‘preference’ in my life! I’m easy to please and an American citizen!”

Head directly to your room, carefully avoiding eye contact with doors marked “Employees Only.” Immediately unpack all of your luggage. Make several phones calls using ONLY the in-room phone. Call the front desk several times so as to avoid appearing suspicious. Return to your unattended vehicle and clone yourself using existing, but non-potentially-dangerous technology. Make no sudden movements and keep your ID and passport displayed prominently. Return one of yourselves to your hotel room, again using the front entrance in a non-threatening, flag-waving manner.

Stay in your room. Use the provided wi-fi. Avoid sites that use any form of encryption. Be careful not to stay in your room too long. When venturing out for something to eat or a non-suspicious conversation with the suspicious staff, avoid stairwells, hallways, exits/entrances, and connecting roads. On second thought, just stay in your room. This will make it easier to avoid being caught up in the middle of a personnel shift change.

If you must leave your room, smile and wave at each and every security camera. Lift your shirt to display lack of weapons, explosives or identifiable scars and tattoos. If purchasing anything from the hotel, use only credit cards, checks or DNA. Return to your room using the most surveilled route. Use the in-room phone to order room service. Turn down the delivery when it comes, stating that you’re trying to keep visitors and deliveries to a minimum. Apologize for not having any cash to tip with, but explain that this lack of cash directly contributes (not monetarily, of course) to the safety of everyone in the hotel. Repeat this apology to housekeeping when they arrive, being sure to answer the door before they get to the second knock. Try to ignore their just-out-of-earshot griping about having to clean around the scattered contents of four large suitcases. Smile in a non-threatening fashion and shrug as if to say, “LOOK AT HOW MUCH I DON’T HAVE TO HIDE.”

If you find that, despite your careful planning, your stay is going to be extended indefinitey, switch hotels. Pack all of your belongings carefully. Police the room for any stray socks, unused condoms or stealable toiletries. Turn the coffee maker OFF (if applicable). Leave in an unhurried fashion, but don’t dawdle. Return to your attended vehicle and (most likely) dead clone. Drive to another hotel, preferably one a non-suspicious distance away and repeat the process. Once you return to your hometown, turn yourself into the nearest authorities for a thorough post-travel debriefing.

On second thought, I don’t care if loyal sitizens stay home. The smart ones who’d rather not deal with Homeland Security sure as hell do. I’ll be cancelling my not fully formed vacation plans now.

Dear Amy. It was a wrong number. Signed, God.

Most of you have probably already seen some variation of this. The owner of Amy’s Baking Company, in arizona, figures cooking is what she was born to do. She remains so convinced of this that she started, with help from her husband, a restaurant. Just one problem. Pretty much no one who’s ever been there, including the staff, agrees. That hasn’t stopped her, of course, from proclaiming this precisely what God intended her to do–and creating no fewer than a dozen lables for everyone under the sun who’s ever disagreed.

So when Gordon Ramsay, of Kitchen Nightmares fame, agreed to do an episode about her restaurant, she took it as a sign from God. Sheff Ramsay, she said, would prove all the hateful haters who hate dead wrong. Except, of course, for that small part wherein just no (note: Long video is long. It’s why we’re not embedding it here, thanks much.). Instead, everything folks were saying was wrong with this restaurant suddenly became wrong with this restaurant on national TV–and, now, on Youtube. And her reaction? Just keep screaming, screaming screaming. then play the appology card and announce the grand reopening. Because, you know, that works so well.

It must absolutely suck to go for a PR boost like that and have it absolutely blow up in your face. I mean not that I’d know, not being brainless enough to 1: continuously bang my head against a thing I just plain suck at and 2: nearly strangle myself with denial of the reality that I really do suck at it. It’s why you don’t see me anywhere near the kitchen in any capacity but the helpfully helpful. But you do have to wonder at what point it becomes apparent that God’s calling for you might have been a wrong number. If you’re Amy, it might aughta think about being somewhere around now. Mostly because I’m sure even he’s running out of ways to tell her.

Brought to you by a long weekend with time on my hands.

So, I’m sitting here nomming on supper, and a thought sort of pokes me in the eye. Well, okay, there’s also that one that says I’ve done this whole neglect the blog thing again, but that one’s always there. Especially when I find things to mock, put them aside, even download local copies of mockables just in the event they run off, then promptly forget to set aside the time to mock. But this one, just for the sake of being there, decides there will be no forgetting to write. And, well, far be it from me to ignore, well, me.

I now have proof. We, as a society, have blown right past screwed and are cruising for a permanent spot in hell. And the fool doing the driving’s got a piss poor sense of irony. Let’s line things up.

  • First, a near strike by workers at the LCBO, that only comes to a miss at a little bit past 10 on Thursday night. Keep in mind, they don’t call this May 2-4 weekend for no damn good reason–there’s drinking involved. Lots of it. Well, unless you’re me (I should really fix that). So a strike, by the only folks in Ontario legally allowed to sell anything other than beer, on the weekend where a lot of people tend to go through a lot of anything other than beer, tends to be a wee bit problematic. More than a few people more than likely spent a chunk of Thursday emptying out the store before the boozepocolypse. Which reminds me–I expect to see that $50000000000000000 noted in a much smaller budget shortfall, Ontario government. Lowering the provincial half of the HST wouldn’t hurt either.
  • That was the warning shot. Then, on Friday morning, most of the province–and apparently as far out as Cleveland–was earthquaked. Measured around 5.2 at its center, so the folks say, with a 4.2 aftershock about 10 minutes later. No major damage, but then, that wasn’t the plan. That was strike 2.
  • Strike 3 happened in Toronto. No, I’m serious. And it’s been happening all weekend. And it’s not about to blow over, on account of the guy at its center’s up and stuck his head in the sand. No, he will not be named. He need not be named. It explains itself.

Strike 3 Image source: Toronto Savvy

You’ll note I’m staying clear away from anything involving Ottawa, senators, Ottawa Senators, and things named Duffy. These misformed beasts can be lumped together under the heading of collateral damage. Not that the train wreck we get to watch now isn’t damage enough all on its own, but you’ll have that. So where does that leave us? Welp, if the conspiracy theorists are right, next comes the firing squad and folks sitting on disability support get a special spot at the front of the line. Me, I prefer to look at it from a different perspective. We’ve all got a one-way ticket straight to hell. Bright side: someone else is doing the driving, so if yall don’t mind too terribly, I think I’ll go get started on the drinking. Hey, it’s cheaper than moron insurance.

Search query, or dating ad?

And sometimes, I keep things around simply because somewhere out there, there probably is someone desperate enough to have tossed this into a legitimate dating site’s search system. With, er, probably about equal results, now that I think of it.

Nov 5 10:52am: hot ass pembroke ont

Somehow, pal, I’m pretty sure this is not the EHarmony you’re looking for. Nice try, though.

If you used any of these passwords for, well, anything, please deposit your user’s license.

It’s a little late for best/worst of 2012 lists, but no one ever said I stuck to a schedule. Besides, this one amuses particularly because, well, server admin. So it’s kind of a big deal, if you get me. And also it beats the royal hell out of an entry wherein Amazon tries screwing folks over twice just for fun, which is probably nothing new by this stage. Of course that could also mean I’ll have nothing to write about in a day or two and get back to that one, but hey you’ll have that. As for now, you’ll have the worst passwords of 2012.

Like one of the commenters to that article, I’m very glad–and yeah, okay, a little surprised–that “admin” isn’t on that list. Personally “master” is almost as bad, but considering how many people almost never actually change the default passwords to things, and those default passwords are remarkably insecure as it is, that’s a thing. Equally disturbing is that passwords like “Jesus” actually exist and don’t cause impressive amounts of damage to the folks what use them. My personal favourite on that list is “welcome”. Why? No, as in, why in the hell? As a password, even if it’s an absolutely brainless password, that doesn’t make sense. As in any. As in at all. As in please, just stop doing anything computer right now, and go back to pen and paper. Typewriter, even. It’s safer. Plus I won’t have to fix you later.

Related: If you use a thing I maintain and have a password remotely close to any of these, I’m probably gonna wanna have a conversation with you. Of course by the time I find this out you’ll probably be wanting to have a conversation with me about exactly how it is we’re gonna unbugger the crap somebody who got hold of your password buggered while you were too busy up in the weak sauce–which will make the conversation I want just that much easier to have. I like it when things work that way. Of course I like it even better when the passwords belonging to folks I fix don’t end up on one of these lists, but hey, you can’t have everything. Just remember to leave your user’s license with me when you’re done and we’ll all be fine. Or better yet, just change your bloody password.

I’ve been outsmarted by educational stupidity.

This has been sitting over here since October, because I just, honest to goodness, could not find an appropriate way to mock the hell out of it. Even now, I’m having trouble stringing together a post that adequately describes the level of stupid that pours out of this article. This hot little mess has managed, I have no idea how, to overpower my ability for mockery. And all it took was a school teacher, an iTunes account and a topless photo of–I’m going to guess–herself to do it.

Because in 2012-2013 all the cool kids are doing it, a school in Anderson Indiana has taken to issuing iPads for staff and, presumedly, student use. At some point, this particular school teacher came into possession of–or, more than likely, was involved in the creation of–a neck-down photo minus a shirt. I’m guessing the photo was of this teacher, but the article isn’t altogether clear on that part. This teacher, at some point after that photo came into existence, had the school iPad at home for whatever reason. When it came back to the school, that photo was on it. And when some of her students, who presumedly had entirely legal and not quite so pornographic/sexual reasons for making use of the iPad, came across this photo, they were suspended.

And the common sense part of my brain just caught fire. I get 0 tolerence. I don’t think 0 tolerence is overly helpful, but I get the idea behind it. And I get the idea behind a school taking a position this one did on illegal or at least otherwise questionable images in the hands of kids. But, see, here’s the thing. The kids didn’t exactly go out and capture this image themselves–either from the wider internet or snapping the shot directly. That much was already easily established. And yet, rather than firing the teacher who stuck the image on a school issued iPad, they suspended the students who found it. And in so doing, very quickly proved a match for my ability to properly lable the stupid.

It’s entirely possible the teacher didn’t know what she was doing, or maybe didn’t quite grasp the notion that when she hooked a school issued iPad up to her computer, with her iTunes account and other such info on that computer, she would more than likely be syncing everything she’d normally have on her own iThing to the school’s iPad. That wouldn’t be a far stretch to make–Apple’s rules for what will and won’t sync depending are more than a little convoluted at times. But if anyone should be nailed for it under a 0 tolerence policy, you’d think–be it intentional or not–the teacher would be the one to buy it. But then, this is probably why you don’t work for this particular school. At least we can hope the teacher will be just a tad bit more careful next time. Or, in Andersonspeak, maybe now those kids’ll know better than to go looking at random pictures on a school iPad. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me either.

Friends don’t let friends rent from Paramount Properties, part 2: this is not the apartment you’re looking for.

This is the second in a series of posts on why Paramount Properties in general, and Greenbank towers in particular, is bad for you. If you’re contemplating a move to Ottawa, or moving from somewhere within Ottawa, this company should be avoided at all costs. For more information, beyond what will be in these entries, just ask.

Moving into a new place is hardly ever fun. there’s the making sure you didn’t leave anything behind in the old place–I’ve done that about half a dozen times already, the making sure you’re not having to chase half your services all over the countryside and then some, the criss-crossing–and, subsequently, the uncrossing–of just about every scheduling wire known to exist, and all this before the first week of your move is over with. The last thing most people want to be adding to their laundry list of moving related foolery is the nailing down of your property manager so you can therefore nail down an equally lengthy list of problems with the new place that need to be addressed–especially when most of it was supposed to have been addressed, or scheduled to be addressed, already. That was us, at around the beginning of October.

the fun actually started before the official moving day, although most of that fun was–surprisingly–out of the property manager’s hands. Before we could move in to the new place, the guy what lived there needed to get his crap and get out. Problem: he had no bloody idea when he’d be doing exactly that. He’d give the manager one date, then change his mind a day or two later. So actually finalizing things was a bit of an exercise in migraine. Still, we knew there’d be problems with the apartment–mostly because we were warned the guy what lived there before us had absolutely no problem whatsoever with not, you know, looking after the place.

When we went in to see the place, to say it was a bit of a war zone was putting it nicely. The door to our storage room was off its frame, and leaning against the wall inside the storage room. Several–meaning most–of the light switches were missing outright their fixtures. there was a hole in the wall of one of the bedrooms. Closet doors were damaged. The screen to our patio was off. The place needed desperately to be painted (that part they told us before we moved in). The list goes on. We were told, before we even moved in, that either before we moved in or shortly after, the property manager would get someone in there to fix things up. Promised, even, that yes, manager lady knew it’d be a wicked hot mess, and it’d be taken care of pronto. It’s why we had no problem signing paperwork, and making arangements so that when, finally, the place was actually vacated, we could move our crap in.

Due to the nature of how things ended up happening, we didn’t get moved in until the day before someone else was scheduled to move in to the old place. So naturally, they didn’t have a whole heaping helping of time to go on a fixy fixy binge before we got our hands on the place. Not helped by anything was the fact when the guy what used to live there took off, he took the keys for the place with him–so priority numero uno became let’s make it so we can actually, you know, lock the place when we leave. That part, at least, we didn’t need to go chasing a fix for–swap out the locks, bring the lock from the old apartment down to the new one, replace the lock on the old unit, bing bam boom have a lock see ya later. It was the rest of it that we got to go fishing for.

The day after we moved everything in, I went to the rental office myself. Here’s the laundry list, in its finalized form. You said it was bad, you were right–this is how bad. They’d get someone in this week, manager lady told me. As soon as humanly possible, but we’ve had a lot of moves, she said, so you might need to wait a bit. We waited a bit. The week, if we’re being honest. No one came knocking. we still had a hole in the wall. We still had no storage room door. Oh–and we found a couple more surprises to add to the list, which was done when I went to ask manager lady why that list hadn’t been touched yet. I got much the same, complete with an I’m sorry I thought it was done already, and she’d have it taken care of this week, as soon as possible but definitely this week. Not holding my breath, and the thought starting to nibble at the outer edge of my mind that we’re kind of pushing the boundaries of legal territory (keep in mind, by this time we’d started speaking with a lawyer due to the last episode), we were prepared to have this drag out until we found somewhere else to move to–we’d started looking pretty much by this point as well, largely as a result of part 1. The money we paid into that place, and it looked almost like someone decided to throw a going away party, then went away before the cleanup crew got there to bill them.

A second week went by. No repair person. No phone call about a repair person. Supposedly the repair person was telling folks he’d been by, but the state of the apartment said no he damn well hadn’t. This time, manager lady was prodded in writing. We got the same general response back. Now, this *was* getting into legal territory. Legally, the landlord has about 2 weeks to address any concerns or issues with the apartment after a move. They were pushing three. And in writing, that was pointed out to them. Once again, repair person would be by this week, as soon as possible. No, that wasn’t going to work. Not unless there was going to be issues upon issues. Repair person was going to be by no later than the next day, or holy hell would there be issues upon issues.

Repair person indeed *was* by the next day. And, much to my shock and amazement, most of what was there actually did get fixed. Somewhat. We had a door to the storage room again. We had working closets. He had to replace the screen for the patio–but we had a screen for the patio. We still had a hole in the wall, but he did come back later on to fix that. Oh, and proper light switches for a change. Well, mostly. He ended up not fixing a few of them, as we’d find out later on, but by then we’d just given up on the whole idea. The place still hadn’t been repainted, which was the one thing they wanted to do shortly after we moved in–because, they told us, this is what they do with all their units in between tennants and if they had the time, it would be done already. And there were still a few things on that list that just generally went untouched, but again, we’d given up with chasing them for it. We were done with this hot mess, whether it was done with us or not. As it turns out, that was probably the smartest move we’d made since this entire soap opera started–we’d see proof of that shortly after we’d moved everything out of that unit.

Paramount Properties, and Greenbank Towers, talked up a good game. But where it came time to translate that into actually getting things done, they passed the buck, dragged their feet, and generally just put off what, at the end of the day, we were paying them for. If they even had documentation that said we were in there to have these things addressed, almost no one read it–confirmation came again after we moved everything out, and will be explored in another entry. They’ll tell you what you’re hoping to hear, show you a sample of the things you’re looking for. But after you sign the papers and everything’s settled, Paramount Properties is not the apartment you’re looking for. In a future entry, Paramount finally starts to show us what they’re all about, for real–and we get the feeling we’re not *really* as welcome as they tell you you are. But as for now, two very good reasons to maybe bump Paramount Properties down a knotch or 5 on your list of possible living arangements. You can, and should, do much better. I’ll even give suggestions, if asked. No one running a business this shot deserves your, or anyone else’s, money. Not even sweet-talking ones.

Friends don’t let friends rent from Paramount Properties, part 1: The Rent Kerfuffle.

This is the first in a series of posts on why Paramount Properties in general, and Greenbank towers in particular, is bad for you. If you’re contemplating a move to Ottawa, or moving from somewhere within Ottawa, this company should be avoided at all costs. For more information, beyond what will be in these entries, just ask.

I’ve been around the block a time or three when it comes to apartment shopping in Ottawa. Almost always, the top 5 includes at least one building from Paramount Properties. Everything about them from the outside looking in sets off at least a dozen awesome alarms. The places are usually fairly decent, the staff will usually let you play 20 questions, it’s kind of like you’re dropping in to say hello to a friend. Then you go and move in.

Due to situations with the former roommate, I had to go on a hunt for an apartment in July of last year. Due to some very interesting cock-ups by that self-same former roommate after becoming my former roommate, there suddenly became an opening. It was sharing an apartment in Greenbank towers, a property owned and maintained by Paramount. I moved over there, with May, at the end of August. We’d already made arangements to move at the end of September into a larger apartment (she had a one-bedroom at the time), and the folks over there seemed perfectly fine to go about the idea. About a week after I moved in, things got nifty.

Paramount Properties allows you, like most places do, to set up preauthorised debit for your rent–the better not to have to chase down your landlord with your hand out and beg them to find 2 minutes to take your money, my dear. For 3 months, that system worked as designed. From June, right through August (remember, May had this place before I moved over), there be no problem. Come time for September, there be problems. Rent is due on the first, and usually comes out by then. It being we were dealing with a weekend and labour day and the like, we expected to maybe see it come out a little later. So by about September 6, it still hadn’t come out. We go tap on the property manager–the second one in a year, but I’ll get to that in another entry. “Hey, manager lady? Take your rent, please.” “We’ll take it,” she tells us. “Holiday and whatnot. It’ll come out, promise.”

We give it until around the 10th or 11th. Tap tap tap. “Hey, manager lady? You still haven’t taken our rent.” “It’ll come out. Give it a bit.” “Look. We have it. It’s like right here. Paying you will take 45 seconds. Then it’s done.” “We’ll take it out. Just what with the holiday and all. Give it a bit longer.”

It’s the 15th of September, by this point. Legally, we’re now officially late with the rent. Not a good place to be, if you’re us and in the middle of a lease and not planning on packing up and moving right the bloody hell now and three quarters. We’re getting a little bit twitchy. We go back to the rental office. “Okay. Look. It’s been two weeks. We’re staring at the prospect of being branded late. Take. Our. Goddamn. Rent.” “Yall have automatic debit. It’ll happen. Put your bank card away–we’ll take it. I’m on the phone with the guys what handle that today.”

By this time, we have school things starting up, so our time, energy and money is about to be diverted to much more fun and interesting prospects. Of course, by this time, tuition money hasn’t come in just yet, so part of that diverting is to invent varying degrees of financial creativity so as not to end up needing to slap a deferral on top of everything else education. We gave up trying to prod the landlord at this point. They’d either take it, or they wouldn’t. And if they didn’t, it would become part of the diversion–they’d just have to wait their bloody turn, now. We had things to do, and just ran out of time to sit on a property manager. So we up and went about our business for the rest of the month. No word from Paramount. We paid what needed paying at the beginning of October. We paid the rent on the new place in the beginning of October–I’ll get to the issues with the new place in yet another entry. We didn’t set the new place up for automatic debit, given the issues we ran into in September–which hadn’t yet been resolved by then, so to avoid a double payment coming back to bite us later, just no thank you please. That was done. No mention of the rent for September, which we still didn’t see come out. We weren’t bringing it up again, and neither did they. So the rent money went temporarily to tuition.

First two weeks of October, we didn’t hear a word. We were getting things sorted out for school, and getting ready to head out of town for the Thanksgiving weekend. Chasing a landlord who we’d previously offered to pay was not exactly up there on our priority list. So we did what we did and would circle around to that hot mess later. Except they circled around to us first. And, on the 15th of October, they started making noises about rent we hadn’t paid. Not rent we’d offered to pay and they’d asked us to wait on–but rent we hadn’t paid. The back and forth went on over the phone initially, with Paramount deciding on the 15th that yes, we owed rent, and yes, we’d pay at least half of it right then and there. Being not made of money, being that the month was half over, and being that we had school to pay for, oh–and being that we’d already made several attempts to pay them, we didn’t have that money handy right then and there (see: schooling, paying for). And this is around when we learned our property manager had amnesia.

The conversation started out innocent enough. Just calling to let you know we don’t have your rent for September, all that lovely stuff. We asked what happened to Paramount taking it out of the account. They tried and couldn’t, says manager lady. Maybe we should get hold of our bank, just in case something went sideways on their end. Hey–it’s happened before, so I was willing to give Paramount the benefit of doubt. That, was a mistake. In the span of about 10 minutes, we learned 3 things. Thing the first: your bank logs *everything* under the sun–whether it’s a successful something under the sun or not, so if John Q. cheapy says he up and tried charging your face off, and he did actually up and try charging your face off, the bank can usually tell you he tried–and why he didn’t succeed. Thing the second: The folks over at Paramount aren’t very good liars–they didn’t do a damn thing, and it showed after the afore mentioned 10 minutes (to cover our asses, we called a second time with pretty identical results). Thing the third: It’s been an aweful goddamn long time since I’ve had to, but I can still call someone out left and right if and when I need to–especially if you’re gonna decide today’s an awesome day to screw with me.

So it’s back to Paramount we went. Hey, lady? Yeah. About that problem at the bank. Feed me another one. Then, it got interesting. She still insisted there was a problem taking rent out in September. I should probably point out none of the info changed since August–when they were perfectly capable of making money disappear. She still insisted that we pay at least half of it right then and there (see also: money, not made of), and wasn’t entirely all too excited about the prospect of backing down from that–or being told that she’d get rent money whenever we get tuition, since the former had to go to cover the latter and, since they weren’t altogether too concerned with taking the former when it was due, they could damn well wait now. But the really fun part’s what happened next. Like it was a thing she practiced in the mirror that morning, and completely with a straight face, she said we should have made alternate arangements to have rent paid in September. Now, I’m gonna let you stop right here and go read a couple paragraphs up. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

May and I both thought she might have been smoking something. We both explained to her, more than once, that we tried paying the thing directly–in bloody september. And, taking care that our poor manager may be suffering the early onset of amnesia or something, we reminded her that we approached her in september on a few occasions to pay the thing manually. We reminded her that she up and said no. repeatedly. We reminded her we persisted. And, we reminded her she still said no. She was highly uninterested in hearing any of it–going so far as to say we knew this needed to be paid, and this was our responsibility. Uh. Yeah? Whatcha think we were trying to do, here, chicken little? We certainly tried not to keep our money.

It got to the point where property manager wanted a sitdown with myself, May, her, and her manager. Both she and her manager were still under the mistaken impression they’d be getting money from us. Since now we were over a month late, and we weren’t overly large fans of what we were apparently heading into, before we did anything else we decided to go legal. Not full on legal, per say. But lawyers were contacted, advice was saught, and decisions were made. We put everything in writing, in an email to the folks at Paramount–specificly, to the property manager with a copy sent to her manager. We explained this is what we were told, this is what we responded with. We were told to wait, we offered to pay it manually, and we were still told to wait. Repeatedly. And it was explained to them that, on the advice of a lawyer, we wouldn’t be attending that there sitdown meet and greet. Oh, and by the way, you’d still be getting your rent money as soon as tuition funds come in and not a minute sooner, but thanks for trying.

They backed down almost immediately after getting that email–only mentioning the outstanding rent once, at the beginning of November, and being pointed right back to the email we sent them (see also: amnesia, suspected). And, when tuition funds came in later on in November, we gladly went back down to the rental office, and this time, manually paid the damn rent. But by then, they’d cluster fucked the situation so badly that we weren’t entirely sure they wouldn’t pull something similar in 6 months. Any trust, any professional level of respect, that might have been there beforehand was shot. They got crooked, and when they were called on it, they got greedy. And when they were called on that, they doubled down–there was no room whatsoever for the possibility they screwed this one. They flopped, then tried pinning the blame for the flop on us.

That wasn’t all that lead to us deciding not only to never rent from this company again, but to make as many people aware of this company’s business practices as humanly possible. But, it was a mighty fine start. And by the time anything else happened, we’d already decided we weren’t sticking around there any longer than we had to. In the next, hopefully not quite as lengthy entry, another significant contributing factor. How to ruin a professional relationship in 30 days–by not actually dooing your job.

Hi, there. I’d like to return my iNotepads.

Every so often, you’ll hear something about somebody somewhere going into a situation thinking they’re getting an iPad, and coming away from it with the iShaft. Most of the time, it’s because some fool with a lack of any kind of attention span decided to buy the thing from some other fool with a lack of morals–leading to the amusing, if supremely unfortunate, side-effect of fool numero uno walking away with a mirror for the low low price of the going rate for a used iPad. But what happens when the iScam goes corporate?

If you answered something along the lines of Wall Mart gets conned into selling a box of notepads for the going rate of an iPad, then you’re probably the idiot what made it happen. Or your news and my news come from the same place. Whichever. As it happens, the box in question was supposed to be a returned iPad that was packaged in the proper box, professionally and everything, and apparently flagged to just fly right on past any quality control verification at the store in question–because it wouldn’t occur to a customer to maybe try getting a refund on their rather expensive electronic device while still sort of casually holding onto the offending electronic device. Wall Mart initially denied that there was a problem, but when the media decided to start poking around, they figured now might be a fine time to go seeing if maybe there was, you know, a problem. So now they’re reviewing surveylence video to see if they can find the guy what did the return–good luck, if the customer service desk at that Wall Mart’s anything like the ones in, uh, any Wall mart I’ve ever been in. Meanwhile, I’d be putting a rush on that exchange. The warranty on those iNotepads isn’t exactly iron clad.

In which there is a god. And he plays for the wrong damn team.

I take it all back. Every, single, goddamn word. I accept what the 80 million Christians who’ve been trying to convert me have been saying since the first time I asked one of them what the hell he was smoking. God does exist. There is physical proof. But does it seriously have to wear Senators colours? Hey–it came direct from Siri. How wrong can it be?

Readers of the RSS or email variety will unfortunately need to click over to the website to have a listen–Youtube has yet to invent a technology that lets you play it from your client of choice. Blame Youtube. Or flash. Or both.

There is a god. And if there is a god, it plays for the Ottawa Senators. And if worshipping God means worshipping the Senators, Christianity has just lost me forever. As in, I can’t even hear you now. That kind of following just is not physically possible if you’re me. Or any proper fan of anything that isn’t the Ottawa Senators. Divine intervension or not, just no. But hey, I’ll watch him and his team get stomped out of the playoffs any day.

Semi-related: I have just answered why it is the Leafs haven’t seen playoff action since 2004. Damn you to hell, God. Just damn you to hell.

Edited to add: So apparently the email utility I use strips flash content. Nifty. things to note for next time. Take 2, this time with flashy goodness.

Garlic ice cream, anyone?

Garlic is awesome. Ice cream, in small doses, is awesome. Put the two of them together, though? Suddenly I’m not so sure. That’s what’s being done at a restaurant in san Francisco, conveniently enough called the Stinking Rose. That recipe, just in case you completely lose your mind and decide to maybe DIY this bad idea, is online–along with a theoretically much better idea for garlic soup. Hey–at least the soup has stuff that, you know, actually goes fairly decent with garlic. If someone actually tries this, do feel free to let me know if it actually is as bad an idea as it looks on paper. I’ll be over here, taking care of a mashed potatoes and garlic craving.

And now, a Canadian conspiracy theory.

Have I mentioned that I do love a halfway decent conspiracy, if the theorist behind it puts just a teeny tiny little bit of thought into it? No? Well I have now. The problem with most theories, a la the type you’ve seen in the last few years from south of the border, is they’re pretty grounded in somebody’s imagination. They don’t even really claim any starting ground in reality, beyond whichever news story they’ve picked up on to remind folks their theory still exists. It’s how you end up with things like Sandy Hook was all about banning guns, or your various incarnations of the 9/11 inside job theory and whatever other crapola folks decided to attach to it–complete with the theory that 9/11 wasn’t actually a terrorist attack.

Not to be outdone, somebody’s decided to give “Conspiracy Theory Canada” a shot–because, you know, everything’s original up here if we just slap “Canada” on the end. And they’ve sent me my very own not so personalised copy. Up side: at least this one starts off somewhat grounded in reality. Wanna see how long it takes for the train to jump that track, though? Keep reading. Oh, and “Leon”, if this wasn’t the result you were hoping for, please feel free to try harder. A little sanity might go a long way.

Here’s the reason the supreme court found in favor of alcoholics and drug addicts as being disabled. 1. In 1995 when Mike Harris made a public statement that all ODSP recipients were lazy drug addicts and alcoholics he had to retract his statement. Now they found a way to make it real!

Hey, not bad. Relevant case law, plus the statement of the guy what provoked it. Decent starting point. Just one problem. It doesn’t exactly exist–or, at least, it doesn’t exist in any medium that can actually be referenced. Probably why you didn’t provide a reference, would that be about right, Leon? That’s okay. It happens.

2.Once the supreme court decision was made Community and Social Services Madelene Meuller what ever the F her name is was able to work with other policy makers to determine a way to help with the NWO agenda of a cashless society…they always work from the standpoint of getting the most vulnerable first. They were able to merge OW/ODSP recops and then classify all of us as being incapable of handling our own cash.

I must have missed getting that letter. Since, you know, I’ve delt with ODSP on more than half a million occasions. Still do, in fact. Yeah, they’ve got their issues–and I’ve called the now former minister of social services out a time or two for those issues (You can read everything I’ve put up here on this page). Oh, the two programs share an office in some cities, sure–for the record, that doesn’t include Ottawa based on my few visits there, but if that’s the new definition of merging I think somebody needs to call up Oxford right quick. Again, good try, but it kind of falls a little bit short.

If you noticed they brought out in 2012 the new food card to OW recips! They can only spend it at certain stores and only on food…talk about removing dignity? wtf! Then in the new year 2013 Tim Hudak piece of discriminatory scum…announces that he wants to implement the food card to ODSP recips too!

Um, waitasec. What? No. Yes, the conservatives proposed a food only debit card in 2013. But 1: it was for welfare recipients, not for ODSP. And 2: it was a trial baloon. One not too dissimilar to the foodstamps program in the US, if my reading of it’s correct–oh wait, now we’re getting into the motherland of conspiracies. I should probably point out that trial baloon’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of floating–but for much more, how you say, sane reasons. I have a few of them, but they’re for an entry where Leon doesn’t get my full attention. Sorry. Okay, next.

We will live in slums, eat GMO foods, where second or third hand clothing and basically dissolve into the Canadian governments planned and insidious genocide on disabled people.

… AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND on your left, reality’s exit sign. That didn’t take long at all. New World Order, government going all exterminator on its population for sport, the type of class warfare only really seen in the movies–all in one not very well constructed sentence. And no supporting evidence. Awesome. Also: if you’re on ODSP and can aford to buy entirely natural/organic/green/whatever the hell you call it food, you’re either getting way more than you’re supposed to be from ODSP or lying. Sorry, but that shit’s bloody expensive.

What amazes me is that; no one stops to think that many disabled people and their families paid into this system of support for decades and this is what we get when we need to collect? All I can say is; people working in government are fucked! and if we don’t look out for each other we’re fucked so there needs to be a group of ODSP recips that will get together in each area and begin to plan heavily for the time the sheep are brought to the slaughter.

That exceedingly loud sucking sound you hear is the last vestages of sanity leaving the argument entirely on its own, drifting somewhere between nonsensical and fiction–and having the door to both slammed on its nuts. Yes, yes, the government is the enemy. We hear it every 6 months or so–again, from the other side of the 49th. Thing is, they at least try to prove their point–complete with actually, you know, including some variation of verification, even if that verification comes from a fellow crackpot who’s got none of his own. All that’s missing from this mess is the class favourite–the media’s got everybody so bloody brainwashed that none of this shit’s allowed to see print, lest somebody up and get arrested, killed, or both at once. Oh, yeah, and quick everybody get your guns. But I guess some nutter stateside has a copyright on that. But copyright is government, and down with government–so come on, Leon. Where’s the blame for the media? Oh–I get it. They paid you off, right?

Yeah that must be it. Tell ya what. I’m no publisher, but I’ll see if I’ve got a contact for one. This could be a best seller. Spruce it up a little, add a bit more depth, throw in a plot twist or three, you could make millions. Then you could get off ODSP and no longer be on the government’s hit list. Or, in the alternative, you could just call the institution you ran away from and let them know you’re ready to come back home. A smart man would do that second one. I’ll see you in Chapters.

Beware corporate spying from China! … Or maybe not.

I’m going to blame the fact everything these days seems to be political when coming out of the US, even if it really doesn’t need to be. Because honestly, that’s about the only reason I can think of for a congressional committee, based on not much other than it wanted something to generate headlines, to go into an investigation having decided two Chinese telecom companies were involved in some high level spying–and improvising a report to say as much at its conclusion. The committee, investigating companies Huawei and ZTE, pretty much said the two companies were allowing the chinese government to use their equipment to hide trojan horses (escentially, software and/or hardware backdoors) that would allow the government to gain access to sensitive information, or to use that hardware to launch a cyber attack–basicly, bring down any service or website they so choose. Rather than coming up with some veriety of proof on their own, it was left to Huawei and ZTE to escentially prove they weren’t.

Leaving alone the fact it’s virtually impossible to prove the nonexistence of something–people have been trying to do that with religion for an age, and leaving alone the fact that not long after the release of this report, the whitehouse came out with its own and cleared the company, the question has to be asked. Did anyone on this committee happen to maybe consider that pretty much everything tech these days has spent at least some time in China before making it to wherever it’s now being used? Did no one maybe bring that up to the committee before they got the idea to hey, let’s go ahead with this investigation and see what sticks?

Of course it may be that, you know, being vaguely technical-minded that explanation comes far more natural to me than it would to, say, a career politician in his 50′s. But you would think that, you know, if China was actually on the lookout for ways to accomplish something like that, there’d be ample opportunity for them to do so without needing to expect that of one or two of their own companies who happen to have a market in the US. And you’d think at least one of these politicians, in their 50′s or no, would have somebody vaguely technical-minded on their staff who’d speak up about it. Of course the fact that they might not may very well be why we have things like this in the first damn place. at which point, look for one of those folks to be made aware in the near future that Apple makes pretty much all their iThings in China–well, until some point this year, anyway. I wonder how long it’d take for that investigation to unfold. Oh, wait–US companies with Chinese interests good. Chinese companies with US interests bad. I forgot that’s how these things work these days. Silly me. Oh well. The thought was fun while it lasted.

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