Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Gonna shop in the States

Well...the Canadian dollar just hit 104.92 cents US! I have already ordered things from online, US sources, meaning I have saved approximately 4 cents on the dollar. Plus the simple fact that things are STILL CHEAPER IN THE US! For instance, a couple of months ago I purchased a pocket book. The back cover lists the following: $7.99 US/$11.99 Cdn! If I purchased this book in the States it would cost me about $7.60 Canadian...a savings of more than 4 bucks.

So...with Christmas coming up, I am going to take a trip (whether by car or by internet) to the States to shop. If I spend $500 on Christmas gifts I can still save $24 just on the exchange, not to mention the already built-in cheaper prices.

Other people are doing the same thing, and Canada Post can't handle the increase in mail traffic.

Sharon Budnarchuk, co-owner of the independent Audrey's Books in Edmonton, said she is selling U.S. books at the lower American rate until Dec. 31. She hopes the move will help Audrey's keep its customers.

"We were starting to worry because of what was going on at the store where our customers were looking at every price and leaving it saying, 'We are going to look around.' We know exactly what that meant. They were going online," she said.

"They tell us, 'This is not fair. Our dollar is worth more.' Consumers have had enough."


Heh. Screw retailers. Viva free trade.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Would this be wrong?

I was reminded of a conversation I had with someone several months ago regarding hiring practices as they pertain to gender.

I mentioned that if I were looking for someone to take charge of a large multi-million (or billion) dollar project, one that would take an estimated 1-2 years to complete, I would not hire a woman of child-rearing age unless I knew she intended not to have children. Sounds terrible, right? The PC section of your brain is now in overdrive? To be fair, I wouldn't hire a man if I knew he was planning to take a year or so off in the middle of the project for any reason (paternity leave, sabbatical, etc.). I would need someone for the length of the project. That simple. However, the minute you mention "woman" and "pregnant" and "not hire her" in the same sentence, all hell usually breaks loose.

The same goes for a position which requires a lot of expensive training. Why would I train someone as a fighter pilot (which could cost a few million bucks depending on the complexity of the aircraft) only to have (nay, expect) that person to leave for a year, or more, once training is complete? You could replace "fighter pilot" with "firefighter" or "police officer". Same question applies.

On the subject of firefighters, too many times I have read about the double-fitness standard that is being used to have a more "gender-balanced" firefighting force. Excuse me? When I am stuck in a burning building and need a firefighter to carry me down several flights of stairs, I want to see a big, burly guy who can bench press a pickup instead of a 5 foot 4 inch woman who only had to pass a dumbed-downed, simplified fitness test. Sorry...I know it sounds sexist, but Jesus. I weigh over 200 lbs fer crissakes. And yes, there are women strong enough to pass the regular test, I am sure, but these would be few and far between.

It seems that common sense has been left by the wayside in the quest of "gender equality". So much so that any discussion of the qualification of a candidate for any position cannot use gender, when in point of fact it should be a consideration.

Monday, October 22, 2007

BlogRush and hardcore porn!

A couple of months ago, I signed up for Blog Rush, a free service that markets itself as "The fastest and easiest way to instantly drive a flood of targeted readers to your blog...absolutely free". Sounds nifty, doesn't it? I heard about it through a post in September by Kate over at Electric Venom. Less than a month later she dumped them. She hadn't noticed any traffic increase at all.

I had forgotten all about BlogRush until this morning when I received an email from them stating that my BlogRush account had been rendered inactive because my blog "did not pass [their] Quality Review criteria". Not that I really cared one way or the other, but I am curious as to what criteria upon which I failed. Here is their complete list:

BlogRush Quality Guidelines:

- The blog contains unique, quality content that provides opinions, insights, and/or recommended resources that provide value to readers of the blog. Articles, videos, public domain works, press releases, and content written by others are okay to be used on the blog, but the ratio of unique content should far outweigh content from other sources.

- The blog should be updated on a regular basis (at least several times a month) and should not just go a few months between posts.

- The blog should already contain at least 10-12 quality posts. New blogs with very little content will not be accepted.

- The blog's primary contain must be in English. BlogRush is currently not available for non-English blogs.

- The blog should not contain an excessive amount of advertising and links and very little actual content. The focus of the blog should be quality content.

- The primary content of the blog should not be "scraped" content from other sources and/or script-generated pages for the sole purpose of search engine rank manipulation. The focus of the blog should be quality content.

- The blog's content (or advertising) should not contain any of the following types of content: hate, anti-racial, terrorism, drug-related, hacking, phishing, fraud, pornographic, nudity, warez, gambling, copyright infringement, obscene or disgusting material of any kind, or anything considered illegal.


Okay...so let's review...starting with guideline #2. I do publish several times a month, but I will admit not that often. So, perhaps it's this one?

I have no advertising links, nor scraped content from other sources.

I don't think my blog contains "...hate, anti-racial, terrorism, drug-related, hacking, phishing, fraud, pornographic, nudity, warez, gambling, copyright infringement, obscene or disgusting material of any kind, or anything considered illegal". But I have to tell you, THAT sounds like a fucking interesting blog. Wow. Could you imagine? All those vices in one blog would make for some wickedly funny reading, don't you think!? I mean, it may be revolting and disgusting, but WOW!

So I think my next post will be about a jewish hooker who's high on crack, naked, covered in shit, and playing a high stakes poker game against Al Qaeda suicide bombers, who raised funds for their explosives by selling pirated versions of Vista, enticing stupid people to give them their bank card PINs, selling fake Rolexes, and writing a shitload of bad checks. If she loses, she has to have sex with a group of small-dicked KKK members who will tattoo a swastika on her ass. If she wins, she gets to bomb Muslims back to the dark ages. Oh wait...that would be redundant.

Think that would be too offensive for BlogRush? I mean, I bet it would generate way more traffic than they do.

Too funny.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Post-surgery

Well...

I had my laproscopic surgery on the 10th. In and out...no issues. The doctor also fixed up a slight umbilical hernia I had, which is great...but, of course, that is where I am experiencing the most discomfort (and bruising). I have never had surgery before (unless you count having my tonsils out when I was 5), so I have no idea if any of this is normal. They assure me it is. I assumed bruising...I didn't assume the odd shade of puce.

On another note, I am so glad I live in a country that pays for this. I cannot imagine how much this would have cost in the US.

Going through the surgery was relatively stress free, and I was in and out in less than 4 hours. It's the recovery combined with my ongoing house cleanup/renovations that is driving me nuts.

On Thursday, the guys came to install my gutter toppers and they did a great job. The n Friday, both the flooring and furnace guys showed up at the same time. My new bamboo floors were delivered and my new furnace and humidifier installed. Sweet. Except they forgot to restart the pilot on my water heater. So, here I am trying to squat down when I can barely move to re-light the pilot. It doesn't work ('natch). So I call the company from which I rent the water heater. They tell me that, yes, they can fix it, but the next appointment is not until 5:30-9:30PM on the FOLLOWING NIGHT! To me, renting a furnace means immediate repairs when needed. I told him that I would call them next week and get them to remove my water heater. Heh. That'll piss 'em off. Eventually, I got the thing started on my own (yay).

The next morning, the flooring guys return...they want to install the floors. Um...I specifically told them that they could NOT come that weekend...and there they were. 8:00 AM sharp. Nice.

Next steps: called 1-800-GOT-JUNK to come and clear some old crap out (sofa, old washer and dryer, etc.), get a quote on drywall repairs and painting, and then get the ducts clean. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Angry Penguin


Wow...two blog posts on the same day...look outside, quickly...pigs have GOT to be flying...

Swiped this pick from Terminally Incoherent. Too funny, given my blog name...gory though

Home Renovations and a potential Money Pit

I own a house - I took ownership on Sept 14th. The house already had a new roof and all new windows, which is great, and a remodeled kitchen. It does, however, need new flooring throughout (even the aforementioned kitchen), a new interior paint job, and a new furnace (the current one being about 23 years old). I have budgeted about $23K for the work.

One of the prime attractions though was the size of the backyard and the huge gazebo with a natural gas fireplace and a hot tub! The backyard needed about $5K worth of cleanup since it was a proverbial jungle of weeds and shrubbery. Various animals have made their home there, include voles and a fairly ornery gopher I like to call Norman (gratz to anyone who gets THAT particular obscure reference). But the hot tub has a leak in the pipes that needs fixing...my hope is that it's a pipe at the pump and heater, else I am in trouble, since the rest of the pipes are inaccessible. Sigh. I don't think they can replace the hot tub as it would entail removing a gazebo wall. Double sigh. I can't imagine the cost involved. It would have to be in the 10s of thousands, for the new hot tub and the gazebo wall.

The gazebo has a trap door which, when opened, exposes the main pump/heater and associated pipes. THIS is where I hope to find the leak. First though is to clean up what else the trap door exposed. Namely, mice had made their home in the insulation surrounding the area, which means I have chewed up foam and some dead, dessicated mice. Fun, eh. I have to clean that up, reinsulate, and block access to more mice. THEN I can clean the tub (since it's filled with mice droppings amongst other dirt), then fill it. Hopefully, the leak is at the exposed pipes.

Now I know why I prefer buying a brand new house. It's actually less work :)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The end of PC Gaming?

Since its release, 2kgames Bioshock has been dogged with a bit of controversy. The problem stems from the unannounced installation (stealth install) of a piece of DRM crap called SecuRom, which forces an online activation before you can play the game. Sounds fine, right? But wait, what if, in 5 years, you decide to play the game again and need to re-install your perfectly legitimate copy only to find that the online activation server is no longer operational? Well...you now have a $60 useless disc. As well, this software only allows 5 activations! If you reformat your harddrive, buy a new one, etc, and you use up the 5 activations...tough. You can't play the game.

Here's another kicker. If you are running Microsoft's Process Explorer (used to be called SysInternals Process Explorer) SecuRom won't allow you to START the game! Their response to a questions about this was:
'Process Explorer' has dumping capabilities as well as registry monitor / file monitor capabilities. This could be used to trace the behavior of SecuROM.

Therefore, we do not allow the game to start when this software is active.

We have no immediate plans to allow this software in the future.

Best regards,

SecuROM Support Team
SecuROM on the web: http://www.securom.com
or via e-mail: support@securom.com

Are you freaking kidding me?

I have never been a fan of any copy-protection scheme for software, even the "you must have disc 1 in the drive before you can play your game" kind. In fact, I recently purchased a copy of F.E.A.R. and once I installed it, I immediately downloaded a No-CD Crack, so I don't need to use the disc to play. Screw them. I paid for the game, and I don't want to have to keep putting the disc in the drive every time I start it up. I have done that for every game I have ever purchased (Morrowind, Oblivion, Prey, Doom, etc.) that required that kind of "copy-protection".

So...what will be the aftermath of 2kGames decision? I won't buy the game until they come out with a DRM-stripped version. Otherwise, bite me. Apparently, the same DRM is installed when you download the freaking DEMO! What a bunch of idiots.

If this continues, it will do 3 things...

1. I will stop playing PC games.
2. Since I won't be playing PC games, I won't need a Microsoft OS (XP or Vista) and will then have no reason NOT to switch to Linux.
3. Since I won't be playing PC games AND I won't be running a bloated Microsoft OS, I won't need to upgrade my PC as frequently.

So who is the winner here, other than me and the makers of Nintendo Wii and XBox 360 (which is, ironically, MS)?