Smacked by

I love breaking in a new server. It’s kind of nifty cool. What’s not so nifty cool about it is breaking in a new server when you kind of need to move some of your production stuff over to it, like, 5 minutes ago. That’s where I spent the last week or so. Everything I maintain directly, for my own benefit–or, now, for May’s as well–has a new address. Unfortunately for everything I maintain, that new address apparently used to be owned by someone with a less than stellar performance record. So when it got handed to me, I got to find out just what *not* to do as a sysadmin. I mean I knew most of it already from dealing with previous sysadmins, but that’s a rant for when I’m less than sober.

I’ve been used to the standard problems with email, especially with email coming from a new–or in some cases, previously used–IP. Hotmail doesn’t like recently asigned IP addresses, AOL tends to throw a bit of a hissy, and most smaller services tend to temporarily fail mail coming to them from new servers on the first pass–they call that greylisting. And then there’s the odd duck who decides “Oh, you’ve never had this IP before. I’m just going to pretend I don’t know you.”.

I can deal with that. It’s called just keep queueing up the mail, and eventually, they’ll like you enough that a metric shit ton of it will hit them in the box. But this one’s new, at least for me. Apparently, is not actually a strict blacklisting service, a la SpamCop. It’s an IP reputation tracking service, whatever the hell that means. Which, again, is awesome. Until you start to factor in, uh, companies will permanently (as in, 5xx error) reject mail from your server if senderbase doesn’t like you. Which is all well and good and amazing, if you’re the lazy type. And here’s a fantastic little kick in the teeth to go along with the kick in the geek nads. They don’t actually give you a whole lot of info on how, exactly, you’re supposed to *improve* your server’s reputation, so companies who use them don’t permanently reject your face off–especially when the only way I know they track such things is when companies receive email and report such things to them. So you’re sitting there, trying to figure out exactly what in the 7 levels of hell you broke when you set up your server, and all you have to go on is, well, this.

2012-08-14 11:41:59 1T1JFP-0006mG-18 ** R=lookuphost T=remote_smtp: SMTP error from remote mail server after initial connection: host []: Your access to this mail system has been rejected due to the sending MTA’s poor reputation. If you believe that this failure is in error, please contact the intended recipient via alternate means.

Helpful. Really. Extremely Now, uh, kindly tell me how I’m supposed to get in touch with the moron who says so so I can point out to ’em that, hey senderbase guy? Yeah. IP’s a week old from where I’m sitting. Little help? Nah, I didn’t think so. And that’s where it sits. About 20 minutes on Google tells me, uh, not much. Apparently your IP reputation’s supposed to improve over time, but since everyone I know tracks that kind of thing has apparently blocked my face, I’m still curious how that happens. Unless senderbase just occasionally develops amnesia. Which, I suppose, is possible–they don’t say. So I’ve been smacked by, and the only counter is, uh, an unknown variable. God I’d love to be that lazy with this server. But I’m not paying to do it.

Hey look, Ottawa can actually compete with Toronto on something!

Nevermind that what they’re competing for is second place on the “most expensive city to rent” list. We can actually compete! Toronto still has the upper hand on us so far (we’re number 3), but we’ll handle those bastards. Just like Ottawa’s hockey team handled Toronto–oh wait. Nevermind. Neither city can touch Vancouver, which is either wicked awesome for us or wicked crappy for Vancouver, but when a tiny little closet with a bathroom (they call those bachelor pads) runs just about as much in 2011-2012 as my 1-bedroom started at in 2006, and the actual buildings themselves haven’t really changed a whole lot since then, somebody up in here has a problem or 5. But we’re competing with Toronto! Go Ottawa go!

Turning free speach on its head: rant about anti-piracy laws, go directly to jail.

I suppose I should maybe stop doing this, lest I end up in the cell across the hall, but hey–they make this shit easy. What’s the quickest way to make damn sure you land yourself a 2 year prison sentence for running a website? Vent about the site’s most likely shutdown and your having been charged with copyright infringement. That did it in Alexandria, Verginia, at least–where after posting online about her having been convicted, the former owner of found herself with a free place to stay. I’m not even going to get into the hipocricy of a country that will criticize China for putting folks in jail for ranting against their laws turning around and doing the same thing. If it were any other topic of conversation, and someone had taken issue with it, any judge in his right mind would have slapped them down and called it free speech. But because “OMG PIRACY!”, the rules change. Folks, this combined with my post from earlier should more than explain just what lengths of ridiculous the copyright/piracy-minded have to stretch themselves to to make their point–something they still haven’t really managed to get entirely down pat just yet. So now, she’s in jail, piracy’s still illegal, and we’re still no closer to a viable alternative to it. But it’s for the artists, you know. Yeah, those artists.

Why does the TSA do this to themselves? Anyone know?

I really meant to do *this* forever ago. But really, it practically mocks itself. The TSA’s good catches of 2011–every single one of them being things that would have been caught and taken away pre-9/11. Well, everything dangerous, anyway. They didn’t start getting quite that paranoid until recently. Just how paranoid?

TSA confiscates a butter knife from an airline pilot. TSA confiscates a teenage girl’s purse with an embroidered handgun design. TSA confiscates a 4-inch plastic rifle from a GI Joe action doll on the grounds that it’s a “replica weapon.” TSA confiscates a liquid-filled baby rattle from airline pilot’s infant daughter. TSA confiscates a plastic “Star Wars” lightsaber from a toddler.

Feel safer yet, US folks? No? Well, okay. How about now?

Of all the many complaints about airport security and the TSA, one of the most common is that they make little distinction between plausible security threats and passengers unlikely to be doing anything wrong.

And a recent incident in Wichita, Kansas has reinforced that argument, as a four-year-old girl was apparently subjected to a humiliating ordeal after she hugged her grandmother while she was waiting in line.

The girl was accused of having a gun and declared a ‘high security threat’, while agents threatened to shut down the whole airport if she could not be calmed down.

When asked about the overbearing treatment the girl received, a TSA spokesman did not apologise and insisted that correct procedures had been followed.

Keep going, TSA. Sooner or later, you’re bound to catch you a terrorist. Hey, maybe you can put that on 2012’s best catches list. Or how about just admit your system’s a little tiny bit busted? Yeah, somehow I didn’t think so.

Another vote for piracy, from the completely legal-minded.

Remember all those miniature essays I wrote about folks not seeming to be able to wrap their heads around exactly how easy it’d be if they really wanted to prevent piracy of anything from movies to software? Yeah, those posts. The ones where even the TV stations themselves don’t much get it. It would seem you can add to the list, the major sports organizations (I’m looking at you, MLB).

Your average American’s got two things going on on Christmas day. They’re eating way too damn much, and probably watching either football or basketball. Or both, if you’re some folks. An author over on Techdirt wanted to be one of those folks. Here’s the catch, though. As always happens, the gatekeepers said thanks, but no thanks.

Like many of you, I made the trek with my girlfriend to my parent’s house to exchange gifts, eat too much food, and sit around with my family and friends talking as the television sat in the background displaying football and basketball. As the night progressed, the food cooled, the board games became boring, and the way my family slings around red wine resulted in the urge to go home early in the evening. Since my girlfriend was kind enough to drive us home (sober, of course), I was free to do what I wanted in the passenger seat.

And what I wanted to do was watch sports. The tail end of the Bulls game was still on. The Bears game would shortly follow. Sports on radio never did much for me. I wanted to watch. So I yanked out my smart phone and checked out the NBA site, the NFL site, and the sites of our local television stations. What I found was what I expected: the local stations didn’t offer any streaming of the games, but the NBA and NFL have their versions of mobile streaming packages which generally start right around the $50/season mark. This gets you access to their respective broadcasts (not the local ones).

Enter a problem easily solveable by pirates, as the article explains. But I’ll pause there just for a minute. He’s already got a cable package, presumedly. Were he already at home, he could plunk his ass down in front of the tube, flip to the local station, and catch the broadcast that way, at no extra charge. He would probably even, though he doesn’t say so in the article, not mind paying a little bit extra just to get that same broadcast on his phone. But the NBA and NFL have their own ideas. What he does say, though, is he’s not out to avoid being nagged at by advertizing–he’d have it easily, and the leagues wouldn’t be responsible for it.

Here’s my question: why is any of this necessary? With that same smart phone, I could have gone to one of dozens of websites (evil, evil websites) that would simply stream the games I wanted directly to my device for free. More to the point, they’d stream the local broadcast that I wanted, complete with commercials. Why wouldn’t the major sports leagues do the same thing? If advertising is still the major money-maker for professional sports (and, along with merchandise, it is), why wouldn’t they want to increase their reach by offering their own free advertisement-laden stream? Coupled with location identifiers, I’d think the leagues could partner with local broadcasters to make sure that people were getting the same geographical broadcast they’d get watching at home. Again, the same commercials can be in place, so what’s lost? Why charge me $50 a season to watch the game on my phone or tablet, but not levy that same charge for watching on my television? It’s the ads that matter, isn’t it?

And, as he somewhat sideways eludes to, had he done exactly that–gone to one of those evil websites that would have given him exactly what he wanted exactly how he wanted, he’d be among the masses the very same leagues accuse of depriving them of their advertizing dollars and causing all manner of horrible evil bad things to happen to innocent children. And yet, you can probably guess exactly what he did. Rather than let you, have this.

And so we get back to the start of this piece, in contrast to Mike’s message of masses saying “no” to those who impede technological progress. Because in my case, driving home that blustery Christmas night, with only thoughts of Derrick Rose and Brian Urlacher in my head, I felt no urge to say “no”. I only recognized one sentiment as I glanced over the league’s packages for streaming and then turned to one of the evil, horrible, death-enducing sites that gave me the stream I wanted just in time to see Derrick Rose drive the lane and score the winning layup to beat the Lakers: I don’t need their packages.

No one needs their packages, necessarily. Not as long as the same damn thing can be obtained at a cost no different than it would to watch the same broadcast at home. The leagues already make mega cash off advertizing. Plus I’m fairly sure they all have their own TV channels now, which means more mega cash from cable and satelite subscribers. But they’ve joined everyone else in the recent trend of charging multiple times for the same content in a slightly different format. No, you don’t need their packages. And neither do they. The sooner they realize that, the more willing their fans would be to fork over more of their money. Now which league’s gonna go first?

In which the job market tries my patience. New catch word: trilingual.

For at least the last few years, even in the private sector Ottawa’s favourite word has been bilingual. And no, sadly, they don’t mean *our* bilingual (*), as much as myself and Shane would really, really love it if they did. Escentially, it means two things.

By law, it means you must be fully fluent in English and that other, Quebec-centric language. Yeah, that one. Occasionally, it means English and some other language, like for instance, Spannish–who the hell offers official services in Spannish, in Canada? It also means positions I’m otherwise fully qualified for–hello, jobs so damn similar to the one I was booted from in 2008 it’s not funny–become so far above my pay grade it’s almost embarrassing to say so. Yes, I can fix your computer. Yes, I can even take your static HTML-based website (yes, some companies still use those) and turn it into a dynamic, blow your socks off accessible, website in any language and on any platform of your freaking dreams–and probably customize the thing to boot, without knowing a damn thing about the specific ins and outs of that language (go open source technology go). But I can only speak one, much more widely used, language. Yeah, sure I’ll wait for you to call me. What, no call? Oh–you hired the French-speaking guy who has no idea what WordPress or even PHP is. Gotcha. But at least I got this nifty little thanks for coming out letter. I’ll add it to the pile. See, employment insurance folks? I *am* looking for work. Here’s all my “thanks for applying but we don’t want you” emails.

Folks have stepped up their game in this area now. Where you could get buy if you only survived on two languages, in the last couple weeks I’ve seen a growing number of trilingual positions. Usually, again, the first two are obvious–the legally required ones. But that third, who the hell uses it officially in Canada language–again, usually Spannish–makes itself known. And again, positions I could nail in, say, 2008 or earlier? Yeah, those ones? Thanks for coming, but can you please leave? It’s what lead me to apply for a position completely out of my field, with a company who’s interviewing/hiring practices give me cause for concern–that’s an entry for later.

Guys. You’ve got a ton of qualified people hanging about. Most of them probably more qualified than me. A few of them even used to work with me–and, at last report, were still looking. Only problem? I can count on one hand how many of them speak two languages, nevermind three. And you’re not even asking for folks who can speak the secondary language some of these people can. That’s just asking for a tool with decent linguistic skills is all that is. And half of them probably still don’t speak *our* second language.

(*): I speak English, and Clue. Sadly, as far as employable folks go, I’m probably in the minority–at least by legal standards. As far as folks who’re actually employed? That second language is endangered–I’m looking directly at you, Rogers.

That personal data you just handed to Facebook? Trade secret!

I absolutely love Techdirt. Mostly, because they’re usually the first ones to break a story that, well, could really use a bit more exposure. Like this one, in which an advocacy group based in Europe is trying to find out what Facebook holds of your personal information, and what they do with it. Except, well, Facebook isn’t cooperating.

The group’s founder, Max Schrems, received a reply to his request for the data Facebook held about him in the form of a CD-ROM storing over 800 pages. But
looking through them, Schrems noticed that important information was missing, and so contacted Facebook again, asking for the extra details. But
Facebook refused

And why, pray tell, would Facebook do such a thing? Well, Facebook was asked.

To date, we have disclosed all personal data to which you are entitled pursuant to Section 4 of the Irish Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (the Acts).
Please note that certain categories of personal data are exempted from subject access requests. Pursuant to Section 4(9) of the Acts, personal data which
is impossible to furnish or which can only be furnished after disproportionate effort is exempt from the scope of a subject access request. We have not
furnished personal data which cannot be extracted from our platform in the absence of disproportionate effort.
Section 4(12) of the Acts carves out an exception to subject access requests where the disclosures in response would adversely affect trade secrets or intellectual
property. We have not provided any information to you which is a trade secret or intellectual property of Facebook Ireland Limited or its licensors.

So, basicly, Facebook will give you any and all information you ask it to, about you–except that which is covered by intelectual property–read: copyright–laws or which is considered a trade secret. So much for personal information being, well, personal, hmm? And folks wonder why I have such an opinion on internet privacy.

Giorgio Mammoliti on Toronto: We want to be our own have-not province!

Toronto has all manner of somewhat decent hockey teams–hey, the Leafs aren’t in last place yet, okay? But I’d still rather gouge my own eyes out with a pitchfork than consider living there. One of the reasons for that would be city councellor Giorgio Mammoliti, who’s recently made headlines for suggesting that Toronto should become its own province. Let’s put this into perspective just a little. Toronto’s previous mayor, David Miller, pretty much spent the hell out of what money he got from the province of Ontario–and some extra, just to make sure he got it all. Current mayor Rob Ford is insisting he can cut spending, and all he’s managed to do is cut his support–in more than half, actually. Oh yeah, and Toronto’s still spending money like it’s going out of style. So why does councellor Mammoliti want Toronto to be its own province, you may ask?

He told the Toronto Sun he is frustrated federal and provincial governments aren’t doing enough for municipalities.

He maintained if Toronto was a province it would qualify for transfer payments from Ottawa.

So, basicly, if toronto was a province, the rest of Canada would have to give them more money they likely would have just as much (read: absolutely no) trouble finding things to do with due to the way equalization’s been set up, and the fact they’re bleeding red out both ends. Yeah, tell you what. No. Spend a few million less, then maybe talk to us about separation. Quebec could use some company on that front. Or better yet, just get rid of Giorgio Mammoliti.

Methinks Vancouver’s been making use of their own, probably clean, crack pipes.

You’d think a supposedly progressive city who prides itself on having the best rehabilitation programs in Canada would be trying to put them to good use as widely as possible, and for as many situations as possible. As it turns out, they’d rather that if you’re going to kill yourself, you do it safely. So rather than using their safe injection sites as a path to redirect users to rehabilitation so they’re not escentially sucking off the government while making themselves stupid, they’re doing things like implementing plans to distribute clean crack pipes to users. So, basicly, yes, crack’s illegal and will probably kill you–but here, have a free pipe on us. You might as well not get sick doing it. Nevermind that you’ll probably be in the hospital after using it, but hey, at least it won’t be because you caught something off someone else’s, you know. If that’s what folks are calling progressive these days, give me good old fashion conservatism any day. At least it’d mean your taxes weren’t going to support the habbit of someone who probably doesn’t pay any. Now. Any other city wanna take over as tops in rehabilitation? Vancouver’s just slipped a little.

More on Ontario’s choice between the same, the same, and the same. Rent increases!

So yesterday, partially inspired by a conversation I had with Trish and Roger over the weekend, I explained–not for the first time–in detail why it is this provincial election thing just isn’t doing it for me. And why the federal election–only a few months ago, for the record–did only slightly more than that for me. And now, or rather a while ago, the 3 leading parties have produced another in a long list of reasons for yesterday’s entry–in the form of their reaction to this year’s rent increases. Back in August, an increase was granted of a maximum of 3.1%, or higher than any previous increase since the late 90’s or early 2000’s. The basic reaction of all 3 major parties? Ow, that sucks. The liberals are making noises about reexamining the legislation after the election, with not much in the way of actual specifics on what they’d change. The conservatives are making the same noises with the same kind of specifics or lack thereof. And the NDP’s just making noises–I think they just like to hear what they sound like, personally. Meanwhile, those of us who can’t aford to buy a place to call home and don’t want to live in mom’s basement have been forewarned to hang on to our wallets–it’s about to get wicked nifty not so cool. This happens a lot in recent elections–an issue comes up that’s got a pretty significant enough number of people pissed off, and gives anyone with half a brain cell a golden opportunity to do something–oh, I dunno–different with it. Then, within a few days of it being talked about, all 3 parties come out with an answer at the same time, and all 3 parties escentially flop it. And all the while, folks get ready to have less money to hand out to everyone else who’s bills are going up. If our choices are going to be widdled down to the same, the same and the same, do I really need to know which one wins?

Attention politicians: we’re electioned out.

This has definitely been a year. Earlier this year, several municipalities held their own elections–including the Ottawa area. Then, not long after that wrapped up, the federal election. Which, it should probably be pointed out, was pretty much being squared off for during the municipal ones. And now, for the majority of the next couple weeks, several provinces are going through their own elections–including this one. And there’s been a common theme to most if not all of them, that I’ve noticed. With the exception of one or two issues of the week, you’ve got a choice of the same, the same, or the same, optionally with slightly differing levels of snore. In Ontario, the federal government run CBC has opted to broadcast the season opener for this year’s hockey go round instead of the results of the election in this here province. Because, hey, it just isn’t all that interesting this year. Hey, guys? That’s a hint. We’re kind of electioned out. Can we get back to running Ontario, and the rest of the country, now? That’d rock.

You’re guilty of piracy, whether you’re a pirate or not.

Reason number 874329701 why antipiracy laws 99.9% of the time don’t actually do a damn bit of, well, what they’re supposed to. Industry and political officials assume you’re guilty, even if you don’t actually know exactly what you’re supposed to be guilty of. Take a case in france, for example, of a 54-year-old teacher who had his internet access revoked after blowing through their 3-strike policy. His only real crime, according to info available? Not knowing how to secure his wi-fi. And, for not being entirely that technical, rather than give the guy a hand with it, France disconnected him. Meanwhile, the person(s) doing the piracy over his network? Off they go to find a coffee shop to sit in while they download the latest episode of House or something. Yep, you won that round, government of France. Guy who owns the unsecured network sure got an education. Too bad it wasn’t what you thought it was.

Awwe, no more free porn for the TSA.

Remember all those folks who swore up and down they needed to actually see the naked body to confirm whether or not you’ve got something on you that could potentially go boom, stabby or otherwise do very bad and not very nice things to the general population of an aircraft? Yeah, um, no. But hey, at least they’re owning up to it now. Now, if they’d just knock it off with the whole telling us sexual assault’s A-okay. Yeah, didn’t think so.

Shaw pulls a Rogers, doesn’t get nearly the same attention.

Remember when rogers first started screwing around with bandwidth restrictions, then proceeded to launch their own online on-demand video service and, escentially, flipping customers off with it by not exempting it from existing bandwidth caps? Yeah, I figured you would. If not, refresh thyself. Then, read this. Clearly, it’s monkey see, monkey do in the Canadian telecom industry–and, clearly, Shaw has very good eyesight. Again, reread that first link. Except, replace Rogers with Shaw. Where’s the CRTC on this, again? Oh, that’s right–they’re just now getting around to calling bullshit on Bell, 3 years later. Well, I tried. Now, back to pirating CSI.

Value your privacy? Reject sexual assault? You’re under arrest.

Anyone miss the good old days when 95% of the mockery *wasn’t* caused by the US or Canadian governments? Tne Transport Security Administration (TSA) apparently doesn’t. In round 8975641 of the government versus your right not to be randomly groped before you can go on your way, the TSA steps up their game to include inventing a charge and arresting a woman. Her official charge? Disorderly conduct. The actual charge? Refusing to let a TSA agent give her daughter a pat-down.

“I still don’t want someone to see our bodies naked,” the mom is reported to have replied.

As for the pat-down option, the police report states that the mom didn’t want her daughter to be “touched inappropriately or have her “crotch grabbed.”

TSA agents say she became belligerent and verbally abusive. The woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

Suddenly, I feel a whole lot safer should I ever lose my mind and decide to fly into the US. No, wait, that’s not entirely accurate–that would be relief. Relief in not ever actually planning to fly into the US. Yeah, that’s it.

Music Canada: not much about music, or Canada.

So you’ve probably heard mutterings in recent days about an organization going by the name Music Canada. You’d think they’re an advocacy group for Canadian musicians, wouldn’t you? In an alternate universe, you might be correct. In this one, though? Nope, it’s only the Canadian Recording Industry Asociation renaming itself. This post is just writing itself using bits and pieces of other posts. Like this one. And this one. And probably several others. Ah hell–let’s just chalk the whole thing up to different name, same organization, same good screwing. Cover all the bases? Yeah, I think so. Music Canada? How about no.

Once again, laws against distracted driving don’t do a damn thing.

Almost as routine as the argument against so-called piracy are the arguments against so-called distracted driving. Calling your boss to let him know you’re stuck in trafick and some moron behind you hits you? Well, you shouldn’t have been calling your boss. Letting your girlfriend know you’re 3 blocks away and to please for the love of cheese be outside and some fool runs a red light? You shouldn’t have been on your phone. So the law says, anyway. How about instead, we take some friendly advice from the Ottawa Sun’s Brigitte Pellerin and shove the blame for it right in the face of the ones actually responsible–the idiot drivers.

Some people out there (though not, obviously, you personally – my readers are way smarter, taller, and better looking than average) are such bad drivers
that they don’t need distractions to be a menace to others. They just need to be placed behind the wheel.

Some other people, by contrast, have no problem driving properly while making a quick call to their husband so he knows what time I’m coming by to pick
him up from work.

Which is escentially the meet of the issue right there. You’re going to have awesome drivers, and you’re going to have morons. Put a cell phone in an awesome driver’s hand, or have the radio on in the background, they’re still going to be an awesome driver. Take the phone out of the moron’s hand, or mandate he turn off the radio, he’s still going to be a moron. And then we’ll end up with laws against talking to passengers while driving. And they’ll still be slapping the wrong people on the wrist for the wrong reasons. And getting escentially the same result. Yeah, texting and driving, or talking on the phone and driving, whatever it may end up being, probably isn’t the safest thing you could be doing. But rather than finding and ticketting everyone and their mother for a quick “I’ll be there in 5 minutes” phone call, Pellerin has another suggestion for local officials.

Instead of making sure I’m not reapplying Burt’s Bees or arguing with Lowell, what the nice officer should do is check that I’ve had enough sleep or that
I’m not on some mood-altering drug that might affect my concentration. I’m not talking about booze or pot or crack here. I’m talking about the legal medicines
Canadians gobble in astounding quantities.

And, just to illustrate her point, she asks some pretty interesting–and I’m assuming rhetorical–questions.

Nobody’s at their best when tired. But some people are so sleep-deprived they are in the same situation as a driver who’s drunk. Shouldn’t there be some
law against driving while sleepy? How about driving while on Prozac?

And does everyone who takes allergy medication follow the advice on the box that says it’s better to avoid driving?

Tongue in cheak, perhaps. But she makes some very interesting points–particularly in terms of just how dangerous dashing off a quick text while behind the wheel is in comparison to driving while tired. And yet, as she points out, the police don’t check for that–they’re more concerned with whether or not you’ve been using that phone sitting on the console beside you. Now, maybe I’m a little backwards here–that’s entirely possible, but you’d think these other folks would be more of a concern to local governments. I suppose, if only it wasn’t all about a quick cash grab.

Attention Brian Coldin: the rest of Central Ontario doesn’t want to see what ya got.

Before I go tearing into this guy, I’m first going to say right here I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with what people choose to wear–or, in some cases, not wear–on their own time, and in their own home. In fact, if some people knew how I dressed when I’m not planning to go anywhere, they’d probably have some not so pleasant names for me–and I’d probably still promise to maybe eventually find 30 seconds to care. But there’s such a thing as being presentable in public. That does not, contrary to the beliefs of some, include presenting yourself, sans clothing, at an A and W drive through where a teenager happened to be working.

In this case, Brian Coldin runs a noodist resort in central Ontario, and thought he might go grab himself a burger from the A and W not entirely too far away. Only problem is, well, his idea of appropriate atire stopped being appropriate when he cleared the border of his resort. He pulled up, placed his order, and gave the poor girl working drive through a little more than she probably wanted to look at. And now, he’s trying to have the laws changed in such a way that showing up at somewhere like a drive through sans any kind of clothing is perfectly acceptable.

Okay, referring back to how I dress at home, I have absolutely no problem with somebody who wants to go around their own place with absolutely nothing on–I personally wouldn’t go strictly and completely no clothes, but I get why some people would. And that’s perfectly fine–in your own home. But, really, if I’m going out somewhere–yeah, even a drive through, I’m damn well finding a shirt and a pair of freaking pants first. Yes, even if it’s mid-June and too goddamn hot degrees outside–just because I’m perfectly comfortable doing it doesn’t mean the several hundred people I need to interact with in a typical day out are going to be–or should be expected to be–comfortable seeing it. But then, I’m also used to the general rule of no shoes, no shirt, no service–but that’s just me.

You don’t go to work on a typical day expecting to see a naked dood–or chick, for that matter–pull up to your window and hand you payment for a burger he or she produced from–I won’t even guess where. In fact, we put people in jail who usually carry that expectation in public–usually because it leads to something else a little less innocent than hoping to see a lot more than a little skin.

A small note to mister Coldin. I don’t care how naked you want to be or for how long. Neither does this judge. Neither does the rest of central Ontario. Just do it on your own property, for cryin’ out loud–just because we don’t care doesn’t mean we want to look at, or serve, random naked dood from local naked people resort. And if, by accident, you actually win this case, I seriously hope to see a lot more “No shoes, no shirt, no service” signs. Otherwise, my out to dinner outfit–and I will still wear an actual outfit–will include a bottle of disinfectant. Just sayin’.

Canada’s democratic process not democratic enough for Brigette DePape. Or the PSAC, apparently.

On May second, Canada went through its most recent election. Canada’s conservative party, which despite popular belief up here is far less conservative than the US conservative party, was elected to government. Fairly, insofar as a system can be fair without offending Quebec, elected in a majority of communities across Canada. In most cases, that would be enough to satisfy even the most politically active–democracy is democracy, win or lose, after all. Unless, apparently, you’re a former senate page named Brigette DePape–or Marcelle, as her press release identified her. Then, democracy is only democracy if the guy you voted for wins. And to prove we just weren’t democratic enough for her liking, during the throne speech to open this session of parliament, the senate page turned senate protester. Her reasoning? Well, after she was fired, she educated us.

Marcelle had served in the Senate as a page for nearly a year, but she decided to take action a few days ago because she said Harper doesn’t reflect the majority of Canadians.

“Harper’s agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation,” Marcelle said.

She added that the government is “blowing billions of dollars” on fighter jets and corporate tax cuts, but ignoring important environmental issues like climate change.

But since Harper recently won a majority, Marcelle said that staging “creative” protests is the only way to fight back.

“I think that Harper’s agenda is so damaging that it called for something that is different,” she said. “I think we really need to take action.”

Ms. DePape continues, informing anyone who’ll listen that we could benefit from our very own version of the Arab spring. There’s a comment in here somewhere about just how ridiculous and, dare I say, out of step a call like that actually sounds in Canada of all places–you know, one of those places where people in the midst of their own Arab spring come to and enjoy the very thing she’s telling us to protest. I can’t put it into my own words. Instead, I’ll borrow from this opinion piece.

DePape called for a “Canadian version of an Arab Spring.” That’s right, we should all take to the streets and demand free and fair elections — you know, like the one we had on May 2. Now you’d think that a college student would know that we enjoy the freedom and system of government that thousands of Arabs are fighting, and dying, to achieve. But she somehow thinks that our first-past-the-post system invalidates the entire democratic process. I suppose we should expect contradictions like this from someone who professes to support democracy, but took a job in the unelected Senate.

Thanks for that, Jesse Kline. When asked what kind of people would support such a poor, misinformed soul, you need look no farther than the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), who was gracious enough to offer her a job. Oh, and Michael Moore–yeah, that Michael Moore. Maybe I’m the odd man out or something, but when Jack Layton, also known as Mr. “Harper Is Evil”, says himself what she did was wrong, that should say something.

This kid comes out of the University of Ottawa, lands herself a pretty nifty job for a university student while she’s attending, then turns around and does something like that. And all because the party she voted for wasn’t elected, so clearly there’s no democracy here. A little advice for Ms. DePape, not that she’d take it. What you’re protesting? Yeah, that thing over there? That’s what the Arab spring’s all about. Please, for the love of chese, do a little research before somebody protests the kind of education people are getting at Ottawa U these days.

Share a Netflix subscription? Go directly to jail.

The good old Recording Industry Asociation of America (RIAA). Screwing their fellow man since it became profitable to screw their fellow man. In the latest episode, the RIAA has decided you’re infringing on copyright by sharing your subscriptions to services such as Netflix or your favourite music service of the week with family or friends. They’ve introduced a bill in Tennessee–quickly signed by the state’s governor, of course–that would see sharers of such ultra valuable material slapped with jail and/or fines. The article, posted over on Techdirt, rightly points out this is an excellently wonderful way to encourage folks to skip the payment options and go right to yanking the stuff for free–which, for those keeping score at home, is exactly the kind of thing they’ve been spending a large amount of the time since the Napster showdown trying to put a stop to. I launched into a debate over on Toronto Mike’s blog on the issue of stealing versus purchasing. And posted a metric ton of entries over here about it. I have no problem doing the former. Things like this? Yeah, this would be why. Thanks, RIAA. No, really. Thanks. For not much.

So much for fair play. Thanks, Ontario soccer league.

Remember when you were always being nagged at to play by the rules or you’d wind up watching instead? Anyone? There are 10 girls on one local soccer team who won’t be getting that lesson–and 10 more who probably wouldn’t mind if they did. After using a player during the season who wasn’t listed on the team’s actual roster, the Louis Riel Rebelles were shocked to learn they’d been disqualified from the tournament that was taking place this week. So shocked were they, and so put out in disbelief that such things would actually be frowned on, the school took the league to court–and, surprise, had the decision overturned. The decision came down only a few hours before the tournament in Hamilton was to begin. The team they replaced? They got to find out after already sitting in Hamilton for the games. Ten grade school girls got to hear from their coach, “Thanks for coming out–oh, and by the way, you’re not playing today. The court said so.”. Fair play? Not in this league. So another group of kids gets to learn all about our definition of follow the rules, and they all lived judicially ever after. Way to go, Ontario.

Capital Taxi just gained and lost my business in the span of a week. Good job, boys.

Capital Taxi, a local company here in Ottawa, came recommended from a few folks we know around these parts shortly after we moved up here. I suspect those folks will be reconsidering their choice after the events of the last week. It all started on Tuesday, when a local blind man was out with his wife and son taking care of the business your typical family would need to take care of–grocery shopping, running to the bank, all that lovely shtuff. The cab driver, who has not been named but who drives taxi number 637, was dispatched to pick up the family and take them home. Upon seeing the young man’s cane and sun glasses, the driver proclaimed he doesn’t pick up disabled people. David Labrecque ended up finding alternative means to get home. As for the driver? I made some calls, as did Shane after writing his own post on the subject, and got very little actual response. The company wouldn’t Id the driver, or comment. The on-duty dispatcher didn’t even know about the issue, or so they said. And of course, nobody knew the mysterious driver of taxi number 637. So I left a call in with the Ottawa bylaw office–to which they had yet to respond–for the relevant information on the driver in question. And then, the decision came down–the anonymous cab driver would lose a day’s pay. No, sorry, he had already lost a day’s pay having had to attend the investigation. Capital Taxi would be doing nothing further re: this issue. This stuff can’t be made up.

The Ottawa bylaw request is still pending–and will be followed up with on Monday, first thing (somebody should probably remind me). There will also be an open letter in the near future, addressed to the Ottawa Sun, Capital Taxi, and in true James open letter format, posted to this blog. Hopefully, that open letter will include the name and relevant information of this mysterious driver, identified only by a number |(cab number 637). In the meantime, local readers are strongly advised to stay as far away from Capital Taxi as humanly possible. If left with no other option besides Capital Taxi, local readers are encouraged to put off what needs doing until another option who isn’t Capital Taxi presents itself. Capital Taxi, you have just lost my business. And I’m only just getting warmed up.

The latest thing to be made politically correct? Sexual assault. Thank you, TSA.

I’ve mocked the Transport Security Administration before. Strangely, doing so has resulted in less of an uproar than mocking ODSP folks. Of course, it also hasn’t changed much. In this most recent case, the TSA continues to insist it’s perfectly A-Okay to be very intimately groped during a preflight search–in spite of the fact if they’d done it outside of a security checkpoint, the groping officer would be sitting on the other side of some very thick metal bars right about now. Now, though, it’s not just A-Okay. Now, it’s apparently the politically correct thing to do. Want proof? For that, I take you to Texas, where the government there has threatened to make these pat-downs illegal in the state. In response, the justice department has equally threatened to ban all flights out of Texas. Yessir, you just read that correctly. Don’t approve of the searches? Tough cookies. You either start approving or don’t fly out of texas. They started approving real fast. Way to go, TSA. Just way to go. Anyone else want another reason to take the bus?

The NHL doesn’t believe in free advertising, threatens a Montreal restaurant with $90000 in damages.

I’ve never been to a shawarma restaurant. Nor have I ever had shawarma. Hell, before I moved to Ottawa I’d never even really heard of the stuff. But I’d still support a restaurant of that variety who wanted to stick up for the home team–yes, even if the home team was those bastards from Montreal. The NHL has a different take on it, apparently. One such restaurant near the Bell center thought it might be fun to hang a poster with a cartoon character in a Canadians jersey slicing shawarma with a sword, with the phrase “Go Habs go!” underneath it. The NHL sent him a letter indicating he was in violation of copyright, so the restaurant owner painted over the Canadians logo. They sent him another, indicating the phrase “Go Habs go!” was also trademarked, so he painted over that. He eventually just took the sign down. You’d think that would satisfy the NHL, right? Clearly, you don’t know comissioner Betmman. Instead of being satisfied they’d finally intimidated a local restaurant into not giving the team and the league some much needed free advertising, they rewarded him by demanding he pay $89000 to the league, or $1000 per day of the sign’s existence.

I’ll be the first to say it aughta be illegal to support the Canadians. But then, I’m a Leafs fan–I can say that. But to take it to this level, and claim copyright violations over something that would very obviously be fair use if Canada had a fair use clause, just smacks of “I don’t care”. The team was, and I have to hold my nose to type this, actually doing well, but still couldn’t be hurt by a little extra free advertising. The restaurant was in close enough proximity to the arena that supporting the team, whether or not the owner of the place is a diehard fan, makes perfect business sense for the restaurant and perfect PR sense for the NHL and the Canadians. And instead of recognising that, the NHL slaps a local restaurant in the face and sends a shakedown notice–compensation for using a logo and a phrase they say is trademarked (I’ll believe it when I see it). Now tell me Canada doesn’t need some serious copyright reform.


Moving is almost always a 2-week exercise in waiting. Sometimes, it’s even a 2 month exercise in waiting. There’s the waiting for the approval in the new place. There’s the waiting for the confirmation the new place won’t fall down around the previous tenant’s ears before he moves out, nevermind before you move in. There’s the waiting on things to finally cancel themselves out at the old place so you’re not paying for phone or electricity services you’re not gonna need anymore. There’s the waiting for confirmation you’ve got your vehicle of choice ready to throw your entire life into the back and hope like hell it comes off that vehicle in one piece. And there’s the waiting to see how long it takes before multiple people blow a blood vescel with the help of the company renting you the afore mentioned vehicle containing your entire life. That was escentially last weekend for me.

I finally got the approval for the apartment officially, and subsequently blogged–again–about it. Which meant in about 45 seconds, everything and its dog got cancelled, transfered, delayed until its effective cancelation date, packed in a box or otherwise done away with. So all we had to do was the easy part–pick up the UHaul trailer, load it, get it to the other end, offload it. Easy, right? Except for those parts where it wasn’t.

Because of scheduling issues with the primary driver, we had to have someone else go pick up the trailer on Friday. Now, standard procedure would be the thing passes at least one safety inspection before it’s allowed to leave the lot, nevermind any last minute checks that get done as it’s on its way out. Standard procedure. Unless, apparently, the trailer’s being rented in Petawawa. It got to my parents’ place, where it would be spending the night until we were ready to use it, initact. Well, mostly. The primary driver did his usual run around to make sure everything was appropriately glooed in place the next morning, and discovered it was obviously put through its safety inspection pre-departure by someone who just so happened to be nearly as blind as me. There were no working clearance lights on the trailer. Not overall a huge matter–they aren’t exceedingly used for a whole lot anyway. But, there were also no working break lights on the trailer. Yeah, as you could probably guess, that posed a small problem. So we were shoved 4 hours behind schedule while that got looked into. No huge dealy, really–we still got loaded that day. And the garage we took the trailer to was more than willing to bill UHaul directly for the repair work–an offer, I have to admit, at which I spent the rest of the day snickering. So we get everything to Ottawa, it’s intact, and the trailer hasn’t blown itself to pieces inexplicably. Cause for cellebration–which we did after everything was offloaded. But not before we made an attempt at taking the trailer to its final resting place–well, as far as we were concerned, anyway.

See, the thing about being in Ottawa is there’s half a million UHaul locations capable of receiving vehicles like this between here and the east side. The bad thing about living in Ottawa is there’s half a million UHaul locations who could easily decide they don’t want to let us make them this trailer’s final resting place. We were given the address of, what we would later find out was a small little convenience store type dealy or something. That convenience store type dealy just so happened to be registered UHaul location, so UHaul told us “Yeah, sure, go ahead and drop off that trailer over there. They won’t mind.”. They did. And made it very clear they did. Which prompted us sitting in their parking lot while my father, who happens to share my name and can do things like this, called up UHaul and unloaded with both barels. The end result was spending a few more minutes at $1.40 per liter driving across town to their primary drop location for the Ottawa area, and finally getting rid of that trailer.

So, we eventually got everything loaded. We eventually got the trailer tossed somewhere that isn’t attached to the back of one of our vehicles. And smartly, UHaul hasn’t as yet tried to turn around and bill me for their failed safety inspection. And all it took was the twisting of approximately 3 arms, and the smashing together of the equivalent of two heads. Not bad for a weekend. For the right price, UHaul. At this whole organization and basic covering your ass thing? UFail.