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.

The conspiracy theorists have found me. And ya know what? They’re kind of adoreable.

There’s whacky, messed up spam, there’s loopy conspiracies, and then there’s whacky, messed up spam dressed up to look like loopy conspiracies. I’m used to hearing all about them on TV, or the radio, or reading about them in $newspaper–see: Alex Jones, meltdown of. But this is the first time I’ve ever had one sent specificly to my email address. I mean hell, they didn’t even bother to do me the courtesy of slapping it into the contact page. It must be wicked major important then, right? I mean, only hugely important things get flung directly at my email address–and without any real delay at that. Nope, sorry, try again. It’s just a random American nutbar stalking me. How boring. Bright side: in so stalking me as this particular nutbar chose to, he/she/it more than happily self-mocks. But here–let me help out where I can.

In which James is clearly not supposed to move anywhere, ever.

When I started this blog, I had no idea I’d end up moving to Ottawa. Meaning at all. And yet, I’ve officially been here twice–and every move has been quite the adventure. When I moved the first time, the hour and a half drive on a good day became the 4 hour drive in a snowstorm. Moving back to Petawawa, we were soked to the skin before half the truck was unpacked. Which made hauling boxes and the like into the apartment an exercise in timing. Moving back to Ottawa presented its own issues, most of those logistical. And, naturally, most of those could have been avoided if–no, nevermind, that train left ages ago. Moving in September presented yet more logistical–and logical–difficulties. Not to mention took way longer than ever it should have (for the record, the next person who tells me we can move sans Uhaull gets a UKick squarely in the UFace). Shockingly, moving in October, to the apartment we’re in now, was a breeze. Well, after trying desperately to work out the finer points of logistics on that end and having half of them fall apart on contact. The majority of the huge crap was moved in only a couple hours. And, well, after the help left, we handled the rest.

So fast forward to this month. I may have mentioned–at least in passing on Twitter–we had another move pending. The reasons are plenty, and they’ll make the blog when the smoke clears, but suffice it to say things went from awesome to suck in 5.2. So yesterday and today, we took off to poke around the new neighbourhood. Y’know, do the old fashioned let’s see where this goes, what this does, and exactly how painful getting from $home to $place will actually be. And today, it decided to be minus cold while we did it. I should probably point out it was fairly well above freezing this past weekend–and just barely at freezing yesterday. So today’s sudden dive was a particular act of cruelty. Or, as I’ve decided as of 5 minutes ago to declare it, mother nature’s little warning shot. Staring at temperatures right now makes me very glad we did our poking around earlier this morning–for folks familiar with the measurement, it’s -15 C.

We’re doing it again next week, largely because–hey, it gives us a chance to figure out how best to get ourselves lost when trying to get somewhere simple. And I’m trying my damnedest to not even think right now about exactly how far away from freezing–on the absolute wrong side of freezing–we’re supposed to get just in time for us to go about doing exactly that. And from this, I can draw only one conclusion. James is not allowed to move anywhere, at least in Ottawa, ever. It’s just not natural. And if, on whichever day we actually decide to start haulling things over to the new place, everything goes to hell, I’ll have my proof. And I’ll still be incredibly pissed with mother nature. Which, I’m fairly sure, is exactly how she likes it.

Guns, CSI, murder novels good. World of Warcraft bad. got it?

Oh, I wish I could have come up for air long enough to snerk at this when it actually happened. But I was tailspinning all over the place trying to catch up from previous tailspins all over the place. So I completely missed–or rather, set aside and completely forgot about–the ascertion by the Maine republican party that, uh, playing World of Warcraft is evil.

The republicans trotted this one out against democratic senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz, and backed up their attack with comments they pulled off a forum –presumedly for world of Warcraft players–from a few years ago in which she said she liked to poison and stab people. So suddenly, according to the republicans, they were running up against potentially the next psychopathic mass murderer–because, you know, every mass murderer has at some point played a game not too dissimilar to World of Warcraft. And here’s the snerk factor.

The republican party, when they’re not championing all manner of constitutional rights violations (Warrantless wiretapping, anyone?), is only slightly less ridiculous a defender of the second amendment than the NRA. It’s why John Q. Crazy can and has gone to the nearest gun show and come home with a semi-automatic. Couple that with the fact we’ve got shows like CSI. Also add the fact even kids’ shows now are considerably more violent–or, at least, more graphic about that violence–than they were, let’s say, 20 years ago. And, just because it’s there, let’s add one more thing. Murder novels and the like–who’s violence can be as detailed in text as any violence in, say, WoW can be in graphics. If you’re of the right mindset, some of the going reading material out there could serve a dual purpose–an entertaining/interesting novel, and a how-to manual on creatively causing all manner of damage. But World of Warcraft is wicked evil cruel and all manner of generally not recommended. Clear things up any for ya? Even if the NRA would very likely be in agreement? Well, okay then. They tried. And as for that election? Yeah, uh, about that. Clears things up for me, if nothing else. World of Warcraft good. Maine republicans bad. Yeah, that looks much better. Now, I think I’m missing CSI.

The ISP who stole Christmas?

This would have probably been better timed last week, but I was in the middle of 80 million things last week. So, have it this morning instead.

I haven’t been a TekSavvy customer for several years. But, because I can, I still keep up with the community of folks who still use them–and those who’d love to. It was while trolling that community that I tripped and fell over this. In case you don’t feel like going clicky, have a paste.

ruined xmas.. ty tek sav soo,.. as a single parent to three kids, all they wanted and i could afford for xmas was internet service. I checked out tek sav. as seems like a good thing ? i checked the website to confirm service was available in my large centre (whitby ontario). i called the number and again they confirmed the install and availablilty. they sent me an invoice, and welcomed me to the tek sav. family in emails. i paid the invoice and modem costs, and was promised install for dec 28 2012. xmas morning all that was under the tree was a posterboard with Internet written on it by the kids. tek savey was delivering the connection dec 28, so they told me repeatedly. on dec 26 i get a phone call, saying, opps.. service you ordered, paid for, and we confirmed several times is not available in your area. then i recieved an email confirming me cancelling the service that i never did get. i had to break the news to three teens that this company, that claims to be different, better, dependable, and no nonsense, let us down with false promises. so after let down i say, do i get my money back ? they say maybe, after i send back the modem i did not recieve yet. dec 29 i go to post office and refuse delivery of modem as per their instructions. so now i sit and wait for some promised refund so i can actualy try to get serive elsewhere, and deliver the xmas gift that never was yet. thank you tek sevvey for wrecking a large part of our xmas. thank you for the let down due to your incompentance. i understand if service is not available in our area of 180,00 people, what i dont understand is why your website said sure, you took my money, made promises, made commitments, and then said oppss.. not our fault. i sent emails and i just get,.. opps not our fault. well the fake comitment that service was available in my area was not the fault of the grinch, but rather a compant that seems not to know their ass froma hole in the ground. i am not bitter, i am hurt that a company that promotes itself as caring, and you will be looked after seems to not give a rats ass

So, in summary: You broke Christmas! You bastards! No biscuit! Okay, that was much easier than I thought. Oh and, just so we’re clear, activation and the like with TekSavvy can easily come to a couple hundred bucks on an easy day. That’s a couple Christmas gifts in my family. Ah, but then again, we already have internet.

Proof positive: the thought of a man named Bush with the nuke launch codes? Least of your worries.

For pretty much the entire duration of Bush Junior’s presidency, the running joke had to do with who in their right mind would let him anywhere near the launch codes for the US’s nuclear missiles. That was a favourite dig from pretty much anyone who didn’t much care for bush just based on the fact he was a republican, even before he started pulling completely brainless stunts that actually gave people reason to have a major problem and a half with him. As it turns out, that’s kind of the least of the US’s security worries. What people should have been getting twitchy about after all were the guys what were supposed to be actually paying attention to all things nuclear. Maybe if they’d done something a little closer to that, the facilities what house the things would be just slightly more resistent to 82-year-old nuns and their handyman friends. And if you thought that’d send any government official worth his salt out shopping for a new contractor, boy are you in the wrong universe. What they do, instead? Well… uh…

A Department of Energy report (PDF) on the incident found ‘troubling displays of ineptitude in responding to alarms, failures to maintain critical 2 security equipment, over reliance on compensatory measures, misunderstanding of security protocols, poor communications, and weaknesses in contract and resource management.’ The contractors have been put on notice, (PDF), but they still have the contracts.

And that, folks, is national security taken seriously. Although, I guess with all those terrorist children the TSA manages to stop, they can place a little less importance on, you know, securing the shit the terrorists might actually have it in their heads to get after. Yeah, why not? Let’s run with that. Because quite honestly anything else just makes my brain wanna supernova. And I’m gonna need that for later.

I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas?

Ottawa’s weather paterns are doing it to me again. there was actual, honest to goodness white stuff on the ground 3 days ago. There still is–in places. But largely, thanks to some nifty shifting in temperatures, the majority of that white stuff became very incredibly wet. to the point of there was a rather impressive river out in front of this building when walks were needing to be taken. Environment Canada’s recent forecast says the majority of Canada will have a very green Christmas this year. Apparently somebody somewhere is dreaming of a wet one. And that dream’s coming true. They’ll just have to move to Ottawa.

Well slap me in the face and call me a terrorist–I’ve mocked the government on twitter.

The US army has apparently been borrowing the Transport Security Administration’s (TSA) definition of a terrorist. That’s the only explanation for why use of a social network, like Twitter, could be considered a sign of radicalization. Also, apparently, so could complaining about bias, or even if you’ve changed your choices of entertainment recently. come on, Steve and Carin— you guys weren’t always into the comedy scene. I knew it. Also on their list: being frustrated with mainstream ideologies. So yeah–all those entries up here mocking the governments on both sides of the border? Yeah. Should probably delete those. And their asociated tweets. Oh, and the conversations on Twitter I’ve been involved in re: certain government policies–ah hell, I should just delete my twitter. Or the US army could just, you know, stop copying the TSA. So where’s that delete button…

The dog phobia days of apartment living.

I’m a huge dog person. Always have been. I grew up with and around them, raised and trained one of my own from 6 weeks, and now am raising a second with May–who also happens to be a huge dog person. So this apartment building was, in that respect, a perfect fit for us. Very relaxed pet policy, and no shortage of places to take the pups for walks or other reasons. The people? Could use some relaxing.

I took Lacey on one of those afore mentioned walks for other reasons yesterday, and both leaving and coming into the building, I must have ran into at least 6 people who have a decidedly very large issue with my admittedly a little hyper, but ultimately harmless, dog. There’s a family with a rather large dog issue on this floor–actually, pretty much across from the elevators. Which, escentially, means especially in the mornings, we try and time our taking the pups out to avoid them. Because not doing so produces a reaction not entirely dissimilar to one you’d see on, say, Nightmare On Elm Street. If the dog even looks in their direction, they wig out. Backing away, occasionally screaming, and generally proving that not every grown adult is physically capable of actually acting like a grown adult. Also somewhat amusing in that even if I make the dog sit, the very act of whichever dog I’m walking doing exactly that prompts them to hit the cieling. If they and we are destined for the same elevator, I’m expected to hold the dog back until they get on the elevator, and–if they can get away with it–to wait for the next one. I’ve decidedly been doing a significant amount less of that, however, simply because–hey, pet friendly building. Dog who’s most deadly weapon is occasionally her morning breath. Chill.

While that’s the most consistent example, it’s not the most recent–or the most amusing. As I said earlier, I ran into a few while taking Lacey on one of our little walks yesterday. One of them was already on the elevator when it got to my floor, and it was heading for ground level already. We got on, as we normally do, and this lady backs herself into the corner of the elevator opposite where we are. She stands there, sounding like she’s about to burst into tears right there on the spot, while I make sure this particular elevator is, actually, going to drop me off where I need to be dropped off. It was, which only confirmed she was going my way. So logic would dictate since we’re only another 5 floors up that she just stay put, right? Of course if she did that, there wouldn’t be a need for mockery–so we’ll just leave our logic at the door, kay? Kay.

No sooner am I away from the door and getting Lacey into a don’t you dare move because I’m not extracting your nose from the door position, then does this ladey make a run for it. Out the door and across the hall just before the door’s about to close. Pretty sure she didn’t actually go into the apartment across the hall with the rest of the phobia clan, as we were just heading downwards when the elevator next to us opened. So she very likely ended up on the main floor at the same time as me and the dog for about 5 seconds anyway. Objective, failed.

Now, I get that people have their reasons for being afraid of dogs. Even to the point of going out of their way to avoid them. I don’t question that–hell, to each their own, I say. But here’s the thing. You live in a building with over a hundred other people. Quite a few of them, if our occasional nosing around the building is any indication, are dog owners. Said dogs, unless they can fit in the palm of your hand, will likely need to be making regular trips outside. That, unfortunately, means you’re likely going to be sharing some common ground, at least temporarily, with something that goes woof. Knowing this as you likely, hopefully, do, why would you 1: act all surprised/shocked/horified/traumatised every single time a dog gets within 20 feet of you, and 2: put yourself in a situation, in this case a building, that pretty much guarantees 1 is going to happen with some degree of regularity? And why would you, having put yourself in that situation and knowing precisely what that situation is, expect the people with the dogs to go out of their way to make sure you’re not put in that situation?

I can be accomodating. I can, out of respect, minimise the dog’s interaction with you–yes, even if the said interaction would usually be limited to trying to lick you to death anyway. what I cannot do, or rather will not do, is shift my entire routine–and the dog’s with it–so as to avoid you even having to tolerate that minimal or nonexistent interaction between you and dog. I have a problem with 10-year-olds that think it’s funny to send random elevators to just about every floor in the building–especially if one of those elevators happens to be requested to take me somewhere, like to ground level with a dog that needs out–but I’m not going to insist you keep your kid on a short leash until I’m safely on the main floor. to do that would be absolutely ridiculous, and I’d expect no less than half a dozen people to call me on it for that very reason. People’s reactions, in this building at least, to having to breathe the same air as a dog for as long as it takes to drop a few floors are equally ridiculous. You are in a pet friendly building. That means there are pets. Probably lots of them. If you don’t approve of this, then pick a less pet friendly building. Your right not to be traumatised does not trump my right to do as I please freely, with or without something firry attached to my wrist. You do have the right not to be offended, but please, don’t be offended somewhere else. There are things that need doing and you’re kind of in the way.

Useless Sack of Bull, or why USB is of the devil.

I pretty much live on USB. Have for half an age. Kind of a requirement with about 90% of what I do. I have 3 external drives, all of them USB. I have an admitedly not used printer. That’s USB. The keyboard is USB. The mouse, if I’d gotten it back from the former roommate before he started being a tool, is also USB. The new wireless card (more on that below) is USB. Oh and I have an iPhone. that’s USB if anything useful needs to happen. Basicly, USB runs my life. Which is awesome, squared. At least until it decides to stop working. Which brings us to today–well, yesterday now.

I got my hands on a wireless N card a bit over a year ago, since the card this machine came with was trying real hard to head maybe in a that-a-way type direction. When I got the card, the N wireless standard was still fairly new–so new it was still considered experimental. The card did what it was supposed to, for the most part. But recently, especially when doing fairly network intensive things like copying files from one system to the other, I started pushing the card’s limits. And it started pushing back. Dropping connections, sometimes not actually picking the connection back up, and once requiring a restart to actually fix the thing–I’m somewhat blaming windows for that last one. Productivity doesn’t really get to happen if you have to check every so often to make sure your system didn’t drop your productivity on the floor halfway through. So yesterday, since May and I wanted breakfast anyway, we figured we’d bounce off a restaurant and land at Staples. So we did, and I grabbed a USB wireless card. I’m getting a little low on ports, as is she, so we grabbed a couple hubs to go with–nothing fancy, just your basic 4-port jobs. Brought them back home, then figured we’d relax a bit before I started setting things up. It was only gonna take a few minutes, but it didn’t need to get done right away–most of the intensive stuff could wait a couple hours. So I put it off until yesterday afternoon, then decided I’d take the couple minutes I’d need to actually get things set up. It was gonna be quick and easy. Slap the hub in place, slap the card in the hub, install both, go on about my day. Yeah, about that.

The USB hub installed no problem, once I figured out what the hell the extra cable was for. The card? That took a little convincing. Well, and a CD–really, who the hell packs driver software on a CD anymore, D-link? But then the fun popped in and said hi. The instalation of either card or hub, or both, caused one of my external drives to hit the deck. It was recognised, but you couldn’t actually *do* anything with it without getting permission and I/O errors up the wazu. Weirdness squared, since nothing I’d done went anywhere near the drive that gave me the fit. Oh well, you’ll have that. So figuring what was just your typical Windows wonkyness, I hit the restart button. Hey, they aren’t kidding that 90% of problems with Windows can be solved, at least temporarily, by a restart. This one slid itself neatly into the 10% that couldn’t.

I brought the machine back up, went to call up the problem drive. “Windows can’t find l:”. Wait wait what? Oh no you didn’t. “My Computer” tells me nope, that drive ain’t showing up. Different letter, maybe? Windows develops amnesia sometimes. Nope, that doesn’t do it either. Alright, let’s drop into device manager and see what ate itself. Oh, well that’s cool. Where my external drive should be, there’s an “Unknown Device” staring at me instead. Oh and hey look. Uninstalling it and reinstalling it? Still an unknown device. And Windows ever so helpfully informs me that a USB device attached to this computer has malfunctioned and could not be recognised. Where’s my vodka, again?

I fought with that for several hours. Then, when I thought the system might be in the process of unscrewing itself–it was taking longer than usual to restart, which it usually does if it’s attempting to self-correct, I took the opportunity to throw myself into bed for a couple hours and allow my brain to recover from its partially liquified state. Should not have done that, for the system, it done fooled me. It came up just fine. I could, again, sort of see that there was a device there. But it was still an unknown device. Well hey. It’s something, just not what I’d call progress. So, alright, whichever. USB sometimes has its preferences. That’s fine.

I’d shuffled things around in the back of the machine so I’d have room to put the hub without killing me, and that required shuffling the drive over a port. That could have possibly screwed things up. Okay, we can fix that. Yank the hub, stick it in one of the vacant ports in the front of the machine. Move the drive back to where it used to be. Hey look–I have a drive again. We’re in the clear, finally. That only took far too long. So I started to set things up the way I had them before. That meant queuing up the several downloads I have going in the background. So I did that. “This drive has been removed. Please reattach the drive.” Oh really.

turns out, universal plug and play means you must reorganize everything, if you’re going to reorganize anything–clearly, this is what they meant by “play”. That’s what my computer was trying to tell me, when it decided this time I didn’t have a j: drive. I most certainly do have a j: drive, but my fixing of the l: problem made everything go pair shaped. Oh, and Windows decided I didn’t have an SD card reader either–fair enough, since I never used the thing anyway. Like the first drive did before, both of these showed up as unknown devices when looking. Well, hell. I didn’t want sleep anyway. I did want caffeine, though. And vodka. Definitely vodka. So it was do this dance again and see what turns up. Exactly how I invisioned spending my first 24 hours with new hardware.

Once again, into device manager. Once again, play the uninstall reinstall game. For the sake of the card reader, it was also hit up Dell’s website for drivers, just in case a simple reinstall fixes its wagon–it didn’t. Well bloody hell. And the drive in question didn’t move once during the entire arangement of getting everything else to work. Windows just decided it wasn’t gonna play. Oh, and it was *that* drive’s turn to have malfunctioned and not be recognised. this is getting hella old, Microsoft.

Again, do the poking around, figure out where it’s brokoen. Again, curse when the thing that’s broken won’t fix when you shove it into place. So, I did the next best thing. I pulled *that* drive out of the port it had been sitting in since that drive existed, and slapped it into the USB hub alongside the wireless card. And didn’t the damn thing spin up, be recognised and do anything I damn well please like it’d spent its entire life exactly like that. “Show you what’s in your downloads directory? Sure. Here you go.” “Hold very still while your torrent client re-checks every single goddamn file I have because my disappearance threw it for a loop? Whatever you say, boss.” Yeah, screw you, ya something something something.

So now I have 3 working USB drives again. Plus the working USB hub and wireless card I wanted to have in the first damn place. Still don’t have a working SD card reader, but I’ll worry about that if and when I need to. I’ll probably do a system restore at some point if only to see if that puts it in a position to maybe self-correct and undo the mass confusion, but as for right now? The damn thing works, I’m braindead, and I think there’s a sub or two calling my name. Oh, and the next time somebody tells me USB is extremely easy to work with, I won’t be held responsible for any pain caused to any USB stick regions.

frat parties just ain’t what they used to be.

God, we must have been the dullest college/university types ever growing up. You know, with dedicating the entire first week of school–or sometimes longer–to drinking, and the occasional initiation prank/hazing. Oh and let’s not forget the ACDC you could hear from halfway up the hall. That’s nothing these days. Alcohol enemas are in, now. Yes, okay, so maybe they blow you way past what would be considered the impaired driving limit. And sure, old Xander over there ended up in the hospital. But damn what a drunk he had on when he went! I mean, it could be worse, right? It’s not like he had himself a liquid nitrogen cocktail or anything. And hey, he kept his stomach. That’s a plus. Yeah. On second thought, blasting ACDC until the folks on the floor below me come knocking sounds like an epic idea. At least if I hit the emergency room, it’s for reasons that make sense–like I had my teeth knocked out for blasting ACDC. See? Boring.

Why I should probably give up on Simply Hired.

Shortly after I lost my job at Dell, I jumped on to every job advertising bandwagon going. Canada’s Job Bank. Indeed. Eluta. Hell, even Kijiji. They used to land me quite a few halfway decent interviews. In recent months, though, at least some of them have gone quite down-hill. Which leads to ads not unlike, well, this one, from Simply Hired.

Asdf at Gimpy (Ottawa, ON)

I’m thinking it may be time for me to toss Simply Hired off to one side. In other, related news, does anyone need a geek?

This month’s Facebook cop: your local judge.

I’m still catching up on mockery from September. It’s what happens when life tosses me a curve, followed by a fastball, followed closely by a change-up. But, that having been said, I’m not sure if Paula Asher or the judge in her DUI case is the bigger moron. Yes, driving while drunk is idiotic. So is laughing about it on Facebook. Then again, so is ordering someone to delete their Facebook account for laughing about it. She posted this on her Facebook page after being convicted.

“My dumb bass got a DUI and I hit a car…LOL”

For that, the judge ordered her to delete her account. She ignored him, and for that, she got slapped with jail time. In a stupid contest, I’m not entirely sure which one of them would come up a winner–or whether or not winning would imply the winner was more or less stupid than the loser. But, if she’s got a functioning brain cell, she’ll decide to post about her next stupid stunt on Twitter. Judges don’t tend to spy on that quite as closely yet.