Monday, March 31, 2008

On Chain-letter questionnaires.

Speaking of being honest and forthright...

One thing I am absofuckinglutely sick of are those bloody chain questionnaires that well-meaning friends and curious acquaintances seem to mail me.

It got to the point where I was getting at least one a day, and the old "You didn't answer my questions!" email when I deleted their stupid little quiz.

So, I've decided to be a complete bastard when answering. I received four identical quizzes from four well-meaning friends, so I answered them all the same distasteful, disgusting, insensitive way...

Here we go:

1. In one sentence, explain yesterday:
I woke up at 7am, had half a litre of Wild Turkey for breakfast, watched a Swedish-made porn film from 1975, had a two hour nap, made lunch, played video games until supper, then listened to my iTunes collection until bed.

2. What made you smile today?
The thought that most people will achieve nothing in their lives.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
Strangling bunnies with concertina wire.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
Masturbating with coarse-grit sandpaper.

5. Something that happened to you in 1985?
During a particularily bad bout of pneumonia, I coughed up a bucketload of slightly bloody sputum during my 6th grade French class.

6. Last thing someone else said to you?
Do you have any spare change?

7. What was your answer?
I punched him in the throat.

8. Worst thing currently on television:
My nosy neighbour's head. That, and any form of CSI.

9. What was in your e mail today?
Spam, African Dictators offering me money, and porn.

10. How many different beverages have you drank today?
Bourbon, water, Coca-Cola, and Dot 3 brake fluid.

11. What is your favorite part of the day?
Waking up to a new day of mischief and mayhem.

12. Your current To-do list?
Buy bleach, sharpening stone, and black hooded robe.

13. Where is your best friend right now?
In several shallow graves.

14. What color is your toothbrush?
White with bloody bristles.

15. What are you wearing right now?
Blood soaked jeans, combat boots, brass knuckles, and bunny ears.

16. Any plans for Friday night?
Oh do I ever.

17. Least favorite place to shop.
Any place poor people or suburbanites shop.

18. Things you bought today?
A one-way ticket to Hell. First-class.

19. Last gift you received?
A bottle of Plymouth Gin and a night of unbridled passion.

20. Who gave you that?
A married ex-girlfriend.

21. What made you sad today?
I ran out of Bourbon.

22. What can make you happy?
Civic irresponsibility. Or Bourbon. Or both.

23. Beauty is:
only a surgical procedure away.

24. Describe your key chain:
Two pieces of wood connected by two feet of piano wire

25. Where do you keep your change?
In my pocket. I rattle it around
loudly, and claim I don't have any when asked.

26. Are you happy with your life?
Heh heh heh. Yes I am.

27. What are you thinking of now?
A certain female acquaintance I'd like to bang.

28. Person you trust the most?
Me.

29. What day is it today?
Today is Setting Orange, the 17th day of Discord in the YOLD 3174.
Fnord.

30. What are you going to do after this?
Continue to work on my plan for civic irresponsibility.

----
Hopefully, this staunches the flow for a while. I answered honestly on a number of questions. I'll leave it to the reader to decide which ones.

Friday, March 28, 2008

On being honest and forthright

Today, my boss learned (the hard way, I might add) not to ask me questions unless he really wants to hear the answer.

I had my (supposedly) annual performance review today. All went well until he asked me the following question:

"CJ, where do you see yourself in five years time?"

Without batting an eyelash, I answered, "Sitting at a cafe in Luxembourg with a married German woman with whom I'm carrying on a steamy affair."

After a minute or so of stunned silence, he asked me if I was serious. I looked him straight in the eye and told him I was deadly serious (which, incidentally, I am.)

"So," he cautiously asked, "can I take this to mean you don't intend to be with us in five years time?"

Smiling, I replied, "Not unless we open a European wing of the company, with a branch in Luxembourg."

Suffice it to say, the review wrapped up shortly thereafter.

Still got a raise, which is good.








Thursday, March 27, 2008

...and another step forward...

I managed to get Amelie (my Powerbook 1400c) working again while on my coffee break.

For the time being.

Hopefully things keep working, 'cause I want to hit the cafes (and Sal's) this weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

So, back on Sunday, I decided to devote more time and effort to my many 'net related projects (such as my blog).

Naturally, disaster occurred.

The battery I bought for Nadia (my beloved Powerbook G3 Lombard) arrived from China dead (Must have been Tibetan). Then, my Powerbook 1400c (aka Amelie) quietly passed away on my desk at work yesterday.

Looks like I'll be digging out Raven, my trusty ol' Powerbook 5300, for mobile blogging again... at least until I can track down a new battery for Nadia.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

On Boredom and Lofty Goals, part one

As some of you already know, I am absolutely in love with this bloody city.

As such, I am semi-active in civic-oriented web forums, am on mailing lists of several special interest groups/advocates, and of late, have been doing a little independent research on Winnipeg.

It's this research that helped alleviate the boredom this weekend.

My family, for reasons not readily discussed here, had our annual Easter dinner yesterday (Saturday). So, with nothing open and nobody else around, I was stuck at home all day. After leaving a trail of smartass comments on the web forums I frequent, I shut my iMac off and walked over to my bookshelf, grabbing the first book that caught my eye.

The book? "Juba", by Michael Czuboka.

Took me a few hours (and two litres of Dr. Pepper) to read through, but an interesting read it was. It is a semi-official biography of Stephen Juba, who was mayor of Winnipeg for over twenty consecutive years ('56-'77). He was certainly a colourful character - like him or not - but his term as mayor is essentially a history of what I'd call "Modern Winnipeg". So many things happened during his reign (The Floodway, Disraeli bridge/freeway, the "New" City Hall, the Pan-Am games (1967), the amalgamation of outlying cities and municipalities into "Unicity") that it's hard to overlook his impact on the city.

Being somewhat of a LRT/subway advocate, I was especially interested in his vision for a monorail. It seemed almost tailor-made for the city: running on cheap and locally-generated hydroelectricity, as opposed to fossil fuels in the middle of a global oil crisis; running above ground at the second-storey mark, it would virtually eliminate costly expropriation, and would not be hampered by road conditions (especially in the winter).

Unfortunately, however forward-thinking the monorail was, it was doomed from the start. Thanks in part to our backward thinking city councillors.

But I digress.

I've developed an almost insatiable thirst for all things Winnipeg lately. Partly inspired by fellow New Winnipeggers Mr. Christian and Mr. Point, I've been out-and-about, taking pictures of buildings and landmarks around town, and have been doing a goodly amount of reading on Winnipeg history in general.

Another book I've been reading lately is "Winnipeg 100: 100 Year Pictorial History of Winnipeg". It's a great photo album depicting Winnipeg from its infancy in 1873 all the way up to the then-present day of 1973 (coincidentally, the year I was born). It's fascinating to see my city taking its first steps, learning to walk, growing up, and settling into the sort of morbidly obese, directionless, atrophied, and blind form it has taken.

I want to take it upon myself to become Winnipeg's seeing-eye dog. To put it on a strict no car(b)/no sprawl diet. To get the blood (people and dollars) flowing to the atrophied areas. To give it a kick in the ass (or electric cattle prod) to start it moving (and thinking) forward again.

I also want to help bring the issue of light rail transit back into the spotlight.

In Winnipeg, the car is king.

To me, that king is Louis XVI.

Frequently Asked Questions (updated 03/21/14)

I've had a few people emailing me with the same damned questions over the last couple of weeks years, so I thought I'd put together a mini-FAQ in order to better serve my not-so-adoring public.

Q. I love your nickname! Are you really a conceited jerk?
A. Yes, for the most part.  It's all about me, baby.

Q. Are you a sociopath?
A. No.  I have been given a clean bill of health in that regard.  I just don't like certain types of people or personalities.

Q. Are you single?
A. No, I'm happily married.

Q. Why does the title of your blog include a version number (4.0, 5.0, etc)?
A1.  I have a nasty habit of becoming bored and/or disenchanted with blogging (and the internet in general) from time to time.  When this happens, I either go on a hiatus or end the blog entirely.  I invariably end up regretting this decision and start it up again.  The version number indicated the number of times I've done this.
A2.  Someone (likely a self-appointed blogging expert) once told me that the average "readable" lifespan of a blog is only a couple of years.  I tend to enjoy mocking convention, so each revision marks the end of one lifecycle, and the beginning of the next.
A3.  Each revision is a chapter in my life.  As this is largely a personal diary I've posted to the web, if you were to read my blog from the beginning to the end, you'll notice that I've changed a number of times since 2006 (or 2002 if you read my old website www.conceitedjerk.com before I started here).
A4.  I switched to a different site/blogging system (Tripod, Blogger) or changed its format, and revised accordingly.
A5.  All of the above.


Q. Who is this Nadia?
A. Despite my referring to Nadia as "her" or "she", Nadia is a "what" and not a "who". Nadia was my beloved Macintosh Powerbook G3 "Lombard", who has since been retired.

Q. Why did you nickname your house the Palatial Mattrèssor Manor?
A.  It amused me to do so.  I live in a hundred-year old house in the working class section of West Kildonan, so my house is anything but palatial.  In fact, it is really showing its age.  The Mattrèssor part stems from an old alias I used to use, Airt Mattrèssor, which itself stems from an in-joke between myself and my friend Dean Koshelanyk (aka deank).  On Knew Winnipeg Dot Com, a now-defunct Google Group which was the precursor to The Winnipeg Sandbox Forum, Dean was trying to type a sentence containing the words "air mattress or" but somehow it came out "airt mattressor"... which I thought sounded like the name of a "Latin Lover" type character from an old black & white movie.  So I added a grave accent and adopted it as my nickname with the tagline "I am Airt Mattrèssor, billionaire playboy".

Q. Why isn't your blog (or your website) updated more often?
A1. I don't have much to say.
A2. I did have something to say, but someone else has already said it better, and I hate being a "me too".
A3. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ get the lion's share of my attention, along with any thoughts that might have turned into blog posts.
A4. I'm busy drinking.
A5. I have an active social life away from my computers (less so since the wedding), interacting with people in person rather than electronically.



Q. Why don't you allow comments on your blog?
A. Because frankly, I don't care what you think.  Most internet commentors seem to be either loathsome trolls, racists, or are just plain ill-informed, and I refuse to deal with any of that shit on my own blog.  The only feedback I'm interested in is guitar feedback!

Comments are however allowed for Blogger/Google+ users. I won't allow anonymous comments because I believe everyone should have to sign their name to what they write and take responsibility for what they write, instead of hiding behind the relative anonymity of the Internet like the spineless fucking cowards they are.

I'm also tired of spammers.  I don't have a lot of free time to spend deleting spam.  I also have little to no time for (or interest in) engaging in debate on anything appearing here.  I'll clarify statements I've made and will make an attempt to answer relevant questions when I have time, but don't expect to have any sort of discourse apart from that.

Unlike some people, I don't spend hours upon hours on my computer every day.  I'm an adult, I have an adult life, and adult obligations outside of the internet.  I have no time for book-smart pseudo-intellectuals whose social consciousness was formed by the Internet.

Q. What, exactly, is your blog about?
A. The focus of my blog is broad, and vague.  It's about nothing, and everything.  Mostly, it's about me, my experiences and observations, and a bit of (anti-)social commentary.

Q. Why don't you write about something constructive? Like politics or current events?
A. I write about current events as I experience them; I will not quote, reference, rehash, or reinterpret newspaper or news site articles (or worse, someone else's blog) for my own purpose. There are plenty of other local blogs do cover politics et cetera better than I care to do.  To me, politics is a fool's game. We seem to deal with the same shit over and over again, regardless of who is in power. Even with fresh faces in the political scene, nothing ever really seems to change. It's always the same old arguments repeated ad nauseum. Frankly, politics makes me want to hit people... ditto for issues like city planning, urban renewal, and rapid transit.

Q. Don't you ever think before you post?
A. Rarely, if ever. I prefer to use my blog as a spontaneous, off the cuff, knee-jerk reactionary outlet, as it captures my true feelings concerning a particular subject at the time of posting. I prefer this method and I find it's a great deal more honest, and not peppered with half-assed rationalizations and/or justification. My motto has always been "Justification is for people who lack conviction".

That said, a lot of my writing has a moral buried somewhere within. Sometimes it's obvious. Sometimes it's not.  Sometimes I'm wrong.  Sometimes I'm not.

Q. Why do you name your computers?
A1. Short answer? I'm completely mad.
A2. Long answer? It's a holdover from my Project Planner/Implementation Coordinator days at a previous job as a warehousing/logistics specialist, where everything was assigned a project name by the higher-ups. This practice, which I was forced to use, soon carried over to my life outside of work, where I used it when working on several similar computer projects at once.

It all started when I did a buyout of several dozen identical computers from a failed dotcom. I wanted to tailor specific machines for certain tasks, while I fiendishly experimented on others. It got to the point where I was unable to keep track of what I was doing on which machine, so I started designating or "naming" my machines and writing a project manual on each in order to keep track.

Desktop machines and servers were named after cities or countries, while portables and laptops were typically given women's names (as in "my girl friday").

Q.  Why do you feel you need to write multiple paragraphs when a single sentence will do?
A.  Just to screw with you.  Attention spans are getting shorter, and people nowadays don't seem to want to (or know how to) wait.  I'm not shortening or condensing anything I write.  If you want to hear my message (such as it is) you will work for it.

Seriously, though, I wrote freelance for a number of years, and I'm used to padding my word-count.

Q.  How much of this blog is factual, and how much is made-up bullshit?
A.  All of it.