Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Explainable Absence

(migrated from my Tripod blog on 11/05/2011)

I'm sick again.

I've come to the conclusion that my immune system is much like the Canadian Forces:  poorly funded and ill-equipped to defend such a great home.

In my case, my diet plays a large part in the weakening of defenses.  However, a little over a month ago, I decided to step out of my rut and make a few (wholesale) changes.  First off, I've cut down my pop (and alcohol) intake by a good 70%, and scaled back on the coffee as well.  Secondly, I've taken a long, serious look at what I've been eating.

I made the decision then to slowly "go organic".  Maybe not 100%, but a significant portion of my diet will be organic in a few months time.

As the Universe enjoys toying with us mortals via synchronicity, something else happened around the same time that made me want to stick with my new plan...

I found my soulmate.

Longtime readers of Conceit and Sociopathy's comment section will remember a certain young lady named Priestess Yemaya or Metis Butterfly, an old friend of mine from our wild/crazy/drunken/released-on-own-recognizance-with-a-promise-to-appear days.  Well, long story short, we met for coffee at the beginning of November (originally so I could buy a few boxes of Girl Guide cookies from her group) and have been dating ever since.

As it turns out, the Priestess had also made a vow to "go organic" a while ago, and we've been learning together.  She's introduced me to a number of little shops and eateries around town that I otherwise would have ignored, in parts of town I would rarely go... which is sad, because some of these areas (Westminster/Wolseley, etc) are perfect examples of Walkability which, as someone with an interest in urbanism, are eminently desireable.

Where am I going with this?

Well, this will mean one of two things.

A) I'll have new inspiration and new experiences to write about, and will blog accordingly
B) I'll be too busy living, loving, and learning, and thus have neither time nor inclination to write.
Personally, I'm trying for "A" but we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Feel Like You Need a Shower?

(migrated from my Tripod blog on 11/05/2011)

So, today was the big day.

Today we went to the polls and cast our ballots to elect (or re-elect, as the case may be) Winnipeg's new mayor and City Councillors.  You did get off your lazy, cynical ass to vote, didn't you?  Didn't you?! 

Truth told, I know a few people who didn't, and have gotten wind of a few more who say they are abstaining from the vote for whatever reason.  I don't think any less of these whiny self-righteous cocksuckers individuals for not voting, that's their cop out decision, and I'll respect that. I have to admit, when it comes to mayoral candidates, pickins' is slim
I voted, and I did so happily, despite the nasty weather and nastier virus I'm currently battling.

"Why are you so happy, then, Mr. Jerk?" you may ask.

Well, I'll let you in on a little secret:  I don't care who wins the Mayoral race.  I don't care for the job our Mr. Katz has done of late, but I don't have much faith in his competitor(s), either.  I'll stop short of saying something cynical like "We're fucked regardless of who gets in", but I have a gut feeling we're in for a rough couple of years.

"Then why, pray tell, are you so happy?" you may ask again.

Simple.  If it weren't for lousy local politics, our local blogging community would have nothing to write about... they'd all start writing about random, pointless crap, and I really hate competition. 

Seriously, though... While I have no real faith in the Mayoralty, I do have faith in one of the candidates running for City Council in my ward.  I know the kind of work this person has done for the community, and know they'd be the right person to represent our ward... so I got out of my deathbed, trudged the three blocks in the howling autumn gale (uphill both ways, shoeless, carrying my elderly neighbours on my back) to the polling station, and lent this person my support.  I wish them luck.

I also wish my pal Dean Koshelanyk luck... he's running for Councillor in Point Douglas, right next door to our ward.

Anyhow, I'm getting less coherent by the minute, thanks in part to the over-the-counter cold-and-flu medication I'm taking, so I'll wrap this up now.  I shudder at the editing I'll need to do tomorrow...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Stripped Bare

(migrated from my Tripod blog on 11/05/2011)

Acting on a suggestion from Mr. Point (and because all the other bloggers are doing it), I headed down to 272 Main St this evening after work, with camera in tow.

"Why?", you may ask.  Why, to see the Scott Block, of course!

After several decades of hiding its true face behind ugly white slats*, it has been revealed to the world.  The Scott Block's façade has been laid bare for all to see.

View of 272 Main St from across the street

 View of the South side of 272 Main St.

Mounting brackets for the cladding

Mounting brackets closeup

I don't know about you, but I much prefer the original façade over the white slats any day.  The Scott building is going to look great when the restoration is complete.

See also:
One Man Committee (*from whom I stole the link to the MAIN272.PDF)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

To a New Beginning

(migrated from my Tripod blog on 11/05/2011)

So, here we go again.

In deference to my Web 2.0 readership, I have set aside a bit of storage and bandwidth to bring you the reanimated version of my old blog, Conceit and Sociopathy.

When the Blogosphere is full, the Dead will walk the earth.

Seriously though, I've had a couple of people mention that they'd like my page a lot more if it were more interactive... like my old blog used to be.  As I hand-code my own HTML, and as my skillset isn't at the level where I can add such things myself, I decided to take the easy way out and use Tripod's built-in Blog Builder as I did on two previous occasions (Dove's Society Page and the Thugs' site, longtime readers will remember!).

It ain't pretty, but it's functional.  You can leave comments (moderated, of course), and there's a handy RSS feed too, so update your blogrolls, folks... I'll be doing the same in the next couple of days.

Before you ask... no, this doesn't mean the rest of the site is dead.  All the truly interesting stuff will be available solely via the original index page.

Speaking of interesting, I found another batch of old content from years gone by.  I came across an old 1Gb hard drive that I'd yanked from Raven, my old Powerbook 5300.  I'm currently going through it, and there's a couple of old chestnuts I think should see the light of day again... specifically a couple of pieces that will be of interest to a certain girl living in Belgium (hi Krstjan!)

At any rate, I'm debating whether to migrate Conceit and Sociopathy's content here, or to the main page's commentary section.  Either way, it'll require a bit of work.

Speaking of work, it's getting late.  Time to hit the sack.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Door Closes, Another Re-opens

Today marks the final day, the final post on Conceit and Sociopathy.

I haven't had the time to update regularily due to work and other endeavours (and am getting sick of deleting all the spam from the comments section), so I've decided to pull the plug for good.

Goodbye Web 2.0, it's been a slice.

From here on in, all my crap (writing, photography, and a few upcoming surprises) will be posted on my old website at, or my new blog at Excuse the mess, we're undergoing renovations to serve you me better.

I'll eventually migrate all this blog's content over, but that'll happen when I get around to it.

So long, folks. Thanks for putting up with me for the last few years!


(edit 5/11/10: comments are now closed. Fuck you, spammers!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Third Time's a Charm!

She's back.

It took me a year and a half, but tonight (after two hours of work) I finally repaired my Powerbook G3 Lombard.

My beloved Nadia is alive and kicking.


Nadia died (for the second time) in December 2008.

I remember it was on a Saturday morning. I was browsing eBay and checking the soccer scores online when the phone rang. A friend of mine wanted to meet for breakfast, so I quickly checked the bus schedule and made my way out the door. I left Nadia on, and let OS X's Software Update do its thing. After a half-hour had passed, Nadia went into "Hibernate" mode.

She never woke up.

I tried everything in my power to get her to boot. Tried resetting the Power Management Unit, tried zapping the PRAM settings, tried pleading and swearing, all to no avail.

I took the laptop apart a couple of times, to look for any obvious problems and found nothing. After a couple of weeks of researching, poring over repair guides, and asking around on Mac forums, I gave up. Nadia was put in the Lab along with all the other machines in need of repair. The Pile of No Return, as it has since come to be known.

Fast forward to today.

I've been wracking my brain trying to fix my Compaq Armada (aka iBludgeon) since it died last week. I've managed to get the thing to boot off of floppies or CDs, but only if I remove the hard drive. Remembering that I had a nice 60Gb drive sitting in Nadia's lifeless shell, I made the decision this evening to donate some of Nadia's organs for transplant purposes.

I was removing her hard drive when I noticed a tiny broken connector on Nadia's sound board.

I remember I'd been having trouble with Nadia's speakers before she died... then it hit me like a ton of bricks: the power switch on the Powerbook G3 Lombard is also routed through the sound board!

Son of a bitch! Could the solution be that easy?

I grabbed the spare non-working Lombard I'd bought solely for its battery and tore out its sound board. I slowly and carefully took Nadia apart, removed the old sound board, popped the replacement in, put her back together, powered her up, and...

"Startup Chime"

Yup. It was the power switch after all. Somehow it must have come loose or broke during our travels.

The hard drive whirred to life and booted into OS X. Guess that settles that!

I've spent the last hour checking her out, making sure everything does what it's supposed to do. The internal PRAM battery is dead, so she's not keeping date & time current. The main battery is depleted, hopefully it'll still hold a decent charge. The speakers work well (listening to Luxuriamusic as I write this), and overall Nadia seems ship-shape.

I have my mobile blogging machine and Girl Friday back again.

Hopefully for good this time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sometimes the Voices in My Head Are Right

You know, it's my own damned fault.

I usually ignore those voices in my head, they tell me things I dare not repeat. But damn it all, this time, they were right.

"Don't do it, CJ," they plead, "You're just gonna screw it all up!"

"Nonsense!," I exclaimed, "We meet the system requirements, there's no reason this shouldn't work!"

Famous last words. Especially when a Windows product is involved.

Sure enough, the Blue Screen of Death popped up on my laptop screen... and the system shut down.

And wouldn't reboot.

The monitor's "soft-adjust" app conflicted with something else I had running (likely my webcam suite) and caused the BSoD... which in turn wiped the boot sector of my hard drive.

Thus my $10 laptop became a $10 paperweight.

But let's backtrack a bit.

I bought the laptop in question (a Compaq Armada 1750 I soon nicknamed "iBludgeon") for ten bucks back in the fall. I spent a couple of weeks locating a few things I'd need to get it going (hard drive caddy, power cord, etc), all of which were found easily and inexpensively. A couple of days later, the unit was good to go.

Since then, the laptop has been used for the sole purpose of controlling my Ten-Tec RX320D software-defined radio. It performed the role admirably, and using this combination I was able to pick up shortwave stations I am normally unable to receive on some of my other radios.

After a while, it seemed that the laptop was being wasted in such a role. I could easily cobble together a more powerful desktop system to take its place, and free iBludgeon up for more portable use. With my schedule the way it is, and with Nadia a long way from being fixed, I decided to use iBludgeon as my new mobile office, photography, and blogging machine.

Indeed, I've spent the last month loading iBludgeon up with my Office suite, camera software, photo printer suite, GIMP graphics editor, and a few other apps I felt I needed. I bought a Wireless-G wifi card on closeout for $30 at Staples on Thursday, and I even found my old webcam and installed that!

Life was good.

This morning, while checking on an eBay auction, I came across a docking station for the laptop. I snagged it for a fiver (plus $30 shipping), and sent payment as soon as the invoice hit my inbox.

"So," I thought to myself, "This is good. I can leave my photo printer, Ten-Tec radio, and USB 14-in-One card reader hooked up to the docking station instead of constantly connecting and disconnecting everything from the laptop whenever I want to go out."

Which is cool, because it's a pain in the ass to constantly connect and disconnect everything... I know from experience.

I was in the process of cleaning off my office desk when I had an idea. The docking station has an external monitor port... and I have a nice widescreen LCD monitor that's been sitting on my other desk unused since my Linux box died.

I checked the monitor's manual, and sure enough, iBludgeon met the requirements... 200MHz processor, Windows 98 through XP. I'm running Windows 2000 SP4 on a PIII 850 (running at 700MHz).

This should work!

Monday, March 29, 2010

On the Road Again, I Just Can't Wait To Get On The Road Again

It's been eight years, but I will soon be mobile again.

My life being what it is these days (hectic), I felt a vehicle was becoming a necessity.

I parked my car for the last time the day I bought my house. The car ran, but needed a fair bit of work... at a time when money was tight owing to my first mortgage. I told myself I'd fix the car the minute the money became available.

It never did.

Every time it looked as though a few bucks could be spared, something would happen. The cats got sick, fridge conked out, computer died, furnace crapped out, had to post bail, etc. It never failed.

It seemed as though I'd be riding the bus forever.

That all changed when my friend decided he and his wife were buying a new car.

He joked about using his car, a four-door '91 Dodge Spirit, as trade in on a newer model... or calling one of those "$100 for vehicles - running or not" places to take it away, or even calling one of those "Retire your Ride" programs.

Well, after being informed there was a bit of a wait involved vis the "Retire your Ride" folks (who are fucking swamped, incidentally - one towing company was told they'd have maybe 600 cars all year... they just hit 2300 by the end of February!), it seemed he'd be opting for the trade-in route. Problem was, he wouldn't get much for it.

Never one to pass up an opportunity, I pounced, "If you're just getting rid of it, Hell, I'll take it!"

"Huh?" he replied, "Are you serious?!"

"I'm dead serious," I told him, giving him my I'm Dead Serious look, "How much do you want for it?"

"Well, er," he stammered, "I'll have to talk it over with the wife and we'll let you know."

"Great," my inner cynic bitched, "Something you can't give away suddenly becomes something of utmost value in a heartbeat just because someone wants it. How typically Winnipeg."

So, the asking price became the object of much speculation 'round the hose shop for the next few days. One said $3500. Another $2000. I myself figured $1500.

A week after our initial conversation, he had an answer, "$500."

My inner cynic was wrong for a change. How about that?

He and his wife had literally just bought a car from another of the employees at work, in fact, he'd be driving it home that day... and told me I could take his car right then and there, so I could take it in for the safety inspection (and mechanical inspection, too). I made the appointment for later that week, and was told to keep the car as long as I needed.

So, for one glorious week, I was mobile again. I would arrive home at 5:25 instead of my usual 6:30. I could sleep in for an hour in the mornings. I didn't have to limit my grocery purchases to what I could carry comfortably on the bus... and I could make my usual Saturday rounds in three hours instead of seven!

Funny, the things you take for granted... I've had time to work on my house, time to do my usual chores, and even had time to myself!

So, Friday rolled around. I dropped the car off at my old mechanic's place. Turns out he retired years ago, but his son was running the business. I gave him the keys and my business card, and walked to work.

11am came the phone call.

"Shaun, have you bought this car yet?" he asked.

"Nope," I replied.

"Thank God," he said.

Now, you know it can never be a good sign when a mechanic breathes an obvious sigh of relief.

"Ouch," I winced, "That bad?"

"Yeah," he laughed nervously, "I started tallying everything up, but stopped counting at $1200."

"Fuck!", I laughed, shaking my head, "That bad, eh?"

"Yeah," he laughed, "and that's just so it'll pass safety."

"So," I added, "I'm looking at a lot more to have it run well, then?"

"Pretty much," he sighed.

I laughed, but I was dying inside. Gone was the massive time-savings. Gone was the sleeping in. Gone was the convenience factor. Dead was my dream of a road trip to the east coast. Back was the bus and foul-smelling homeless bus shelters downtown. Sigh.

I walked over to his shop on my lunch hour with my head hung low. We went over everything on the inspection sheet, discussed a few things, and he made a comment that stuck with me...

"Yeah, I wouldn't recommend spending the money to have the work done. This'd be a perfect job for a backyard mechanic though..."

Oh shit. That was the wrong thing to say to me. Me, an Aquarian hacker with actual mechanical experience, who works in an industrial/hydraulic hose shop... and who enjoys a Herculean challenge.

But more on that later.

I walked into my friend's office (he's also my boss). I closed the door, sat down, and said, "Sorry matey, the deal's off."

He looked at me as though there could have been no other possible outcome.

We went over the list, and I gave him back his keys.

That should have been the end of it. Should have.

But the mechanic's words echoed in my mind... haunting me, tormenting me, like so many ghosts from my past.

At night I dreamt about it. The black spirit of that blue Spirit invaded my sleep with peals of cruel, mocking laughter.

"Fiiiiiiixxxx meeeeee," it wailed, "Wheeler, you must fiiiiiiixxxx meeee... driiiiivveee meeee! We are onnnneeeeee! Ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaa!"

I started to feel like the protagonist in Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. After a few restless nights of wrestling with the idea of buying the car anyway, warts and all, and fixing it myself, something hit me.

I already had my Lenore.

The same Lenore I parked in my garage for the first and last time in 2002. The same '86 Daytona Turbo Z I could never find time or funding to fix. The same car I cruised in, raced in, got laid in, etc. If I'm toying with the idea of fixing a vehicle, why don't I start with the one I already own?

I have the means, the ability, and now finally the desire to bring the ol' girl back from the dead a second time.

I started working on her tonight. She'll be done mid-summer.

Will I take the bus again?


(Yeah, like you didn't see that coming!)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Picture of a Cat Won't Purr

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it's a poor substitute for experience. A travel epic is not the next best thing to being there.

Several years ago, I was invited to take part in a survey. I would be paid $100 for participating. All I had to do was answer these few simple questions in an online quiz to see if I were eligible. Like a sucker, I bit.

A phonecall came the next day. The person left a message telling me I was in, and to call them at this number first to verify my interest, and to let me know the time and place.

Even after verifying, I still wasn't sure if this was on the level. I kept expecting to be asked for my credit card info at any moment. But true to form, I decided that the best way to find if you're walking into a trap is to try to spring it.

Unfortunately, it was legit.

I was asked to sit in the waiting room with a few other people, and we helped ourselves to the plate of wraps and cans of pop that had been provided. When the time came for the survey, we were sat in assigned seats and given a sheet of looseleaf and a pen.

The survey was sponsored by an unnamed group involved in domestic tourism. We were called together at this particular time because we all fit a specific demographic: the Virtual Tourist.

According to our survey results, we were fond of learning about other cities and countries, reading up on famous places and landmarks, even reading about other cultures, but less inclined to go out and experience them in person.

Guilty as charged.

After a while, we all got the sense that the sponsor was interested in how they could entice us homebodies into travelling.

Fair ball, I thought. I'd rather they ask me outright rather than mining my personal data and monitoring my activities.

I made my thoughts known in the most constructive manner I could. Everyone did. By the time the survey was over and the hundred bucks collected, my interest in travelling was rekindled.


Fast forward a couple of years to July, 2008. I've just returned from a business trip to Edmonton with the boss. No sooner do I return to work, when there's an email in my inbox. It was from one of the outside salesmen at head office, giving me my itinerary and confirmation details for my flight to Mexico in January. It seems I'd been invited to attend the company's biannual sales meeting.

Mexico was a blast. Two hours of meetings, and four days of sunshine, sand, surf, Sol beer, and Tequila. Going through my DVD's worth of holiday snaps this morning brought it all back in living colour... the hot sand, the cool surf, the annoying American retiree who thought he could make himself more readily understood by speaking louder and slower, the taste of the beer, I could even feel the terrible sunburn I suffered.

Before we arrived at the resort, the boss and a few others advised that, if I wanted continual good service, to carry a stack of American dollar bills for tips, giving one to the waiter after every second or third drink. Leave it to me to inadvertently find a way around that...

On our outing into town, I decided I had to have an authentic Mexican soccer jersey. I managed to find a little shop that carried jerseys, and a Barcelona jersey caught my eye. Not Mexican, but what the heck.

#10, Lionel Messi. One of my all-time favourite players.

Right next to it was an Atlas Guadalajara jersey, which I liked and thus purchased.

I wore the Atlas jersey to the hotel's lounge after dinner. The boss pointed out that the staff were staring and pointing at me, smiling. When it came time for refills, I slipped the waiter a greenback.

He refused.

"Oh, no thank you, amigo!" he said, "It is our pleasure!"

Turns out, Atlas were the favourite team. Who knew?


That was a year ago. I remember it as though it happened last week. Going through my pictures brought it all flooding back. In this respect, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

But if I were to look at these pictures without context, without having experienced them, they would be worthless. The pictures worth a thousand hollow words.

So, put away your books and turn off your computer.

Get out there and experience different places. Get out there and experience life.

A picture of a cat won't purr. A picture of the surf won't get you wet.

Friday, January 29, 2010

What's Old is New Again!

Well, OK... it's still old. Eight years to be precise.

The first stage of The Resurrection is complete. My original Anti-Webpage is back online in a minimal capacity.

Click here for details.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vintage CJ: Is there a Doctor in the House? (11/25/2005)

Found this one a while ago, reprinted here (again) for an old friend who just re-discovered me.

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Originally published on update #106, 11/25/2005, reprinted by special request

So, I've added another alias to my repertoire. In addition to Conceited Jerk, Kotatsuneko (which rarely gets used anymore), Dezorian (on certain mailing lists and newsgroups), Pope Antiquitus I (my Discordian name), and Royal Bastard, I am also known as Dr. Turnip Q. Moron on ********** Groups (the "Q" stands for Quinine, the ingredient that gives tonic water that awful taste!).

The good Doctor first came into being one cold February morning a couple of years ago. I was registering an operating system (Solaris 7) online, and I didn't feel like using my real name (although for some unfathomable reason, I used my actual address). So, I used "Turnip" for the first name, "Q" for the middle initial, "Moron" for surname, and "Dr." for salutation (I'd originally intended to put "Ms.", but the mouse slipped). So I hit "send" and my newly formed identity's personal information was sent to the manufacturer.

A couple of months later, I received a letter in the mail. It was an application for a credit card, addressed to Dr. Turnip Q. Moron"... It started out with "Dear Dr. Moron," and frequently called my alter ego by first name.

"Turnip, you won't find lower interest rates on any other card..."

The introductory letter was a right hoot to read! I was in tears for hours from laughing so hard! It was pretty obvious that the letter had been completely computer generated, and it's likely no human checked the thing... print, process, put into envelope, send. No humans required, the perfect model of industrial-commercial efficiency.

I blame the human element, however, for the doc not receiving any telemarketing calls. Someone has to check those lists! Although if he did receive a call or two, I imagine I'd handle them with my usual lack of decorum, and an impenetrable, indeterminately foreign false accent:

Doc: 'Allo?

Operator: Good evening, how are we doing this evening?

Doc: I am fine.

Operator: Good. My name is Janet, and I'm with Meiwaku Research Associates. Am I speaking to Turnip Q. Moron?

Doc: (angrily) Whaaa? Moron?!! Ees pronounze MORONE!!! How dare you!

Operator: (mortified) Uh... oh... my goodn- errr... I'm terribly sorr--

Doc: (yelling into earpiece) I don' wan' to hear eet! (slams phone down)

Oh, the fun I could have...

Incidentally, meiwaku means annoyance in Japanese, which, as I'm sure most people would agree, suits telemarketers to a tee. I swear, these people come from the same rung of Hell as salespeople, prop comedians, labour unions, communists, and drunks on the bus.

That's why I love Caller ID and voice mail ;)


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Il Ritorno del Bastardo

It's the Second Coming.

As some of my Facebook "friends" know, the return of my old website is nigh.

Tripod and I have "kissed and made up"... I've re-registered my old domain name and left hosting duties to them for the time being.

The reason for this is simple: I've had a number of works that have been in the "planning stage" for far too long (some for years), and it's time they were unleashed upon an unsuspecting public.

"So, why don't I post everything here?", you might ask.

Because I want complete control over the look, feel, content, and architecture of my site, that's why. I want everything concatenated and amalgamated on one site, not spread out over YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, iTunes, etc... "Your One-Stop Sociopathy Shop".

Of course, having a full-time job and active social calendar means the transition will take just over a year. I'm doing everything by hand (html, CSS, etc) and not using someone's bullshit "content management system" app, nor paying some designer or consultant to do it for me. I mean, why pay some nerd top dollar to design a lousy site for me, when I'm just as capable of throwing together a lousy site on my own for nothing?!

I mean, really!

Conceit and Sociopathy will continue unabated until the transition is complete (a year-and-a-half tops).

Conceited Jerk dot com will be open during construction as of February 1st of this year.

So, another holiday season has come and gone.

Thank God.

While this season wasn't as hectic as in years past, and while Christmas shopping this year was markedly uneventful, I am still glad it's over.

But, I did get to see family members I don't normally get to see, so I suppose that's a plus.

New Years' Eve was great... as some of you know, I acted as bartender at my friend's party. He'd hired a professional bartender originally, but the gentleman had to back out a week before New Years, owing to family problems.

With a few days to go, and the prospect of getting another bartender at such short notice being laughably bad... who ya gonna call?
He offered me a hundred bucks for my services. They'd supply the booze. He also told me that the attendees will be his wife's friends, co-workers, and acquaintances, most of whom are snobby and condescending.

He told me to "feel free to be as abusive as I want with people". I told him that if that were the case, he could keep his hundred bucks... I'd do it for free. Nothing like getting to sharpen my claws on people who think they're better than me.

Alas, they were all quite polite, charming, and very interesting to talk to. Most were surprised to find that I'm not a bartender by trade, and that I was doing this simply as a favour for a friend. I omitted the particulars of the arrangement, however...

Received overwhelming (and a tad embarrassing) praise for my top-secret Martini recipe, which I unveiled shortly after midnight's champagne was gone.

All in all, I had a great time, met a number of great people in the Condo Crowd, and made a couple of new friends. I had a better time tending bar than I would have had I been a guest, though. You gotta talk to the guy who has the booze, and he in turn has to respond.