Saturday, June 28, 2008

On Cool Drinks and Lost Blogs

Looking for a suitably cool libation for tomorrow's Euro 2008 final between Germany and Spain, I hit everyone's favourite Illuminati oracle, Google, for a few recipes.

I was specifically looking for something involving alcohol and ice cream, something that would be on par with last update's bourbon & coke float.

I found the perfect drink, in the guise of Der Glaciermeister.

I'll have to wait until tomorrow to try it out, as I'm right low on Jรคgermeister.

On another note, it looks as though two of my favourite blogs have gone the way of the Dodo.

"Diary of a Metis Priestess", my friend Jillian's blog, has disappeared. I imagine she's killed it off in favour of her Livejournal blog instead... Such is life.

I've noticed Mahmoud Ahmedinejad's blog has disappeared as well. Ah well, it hasn't been updated since December 2007 anyway, so I imagine he has more pressing things to do - like run his country.

One of these days, I'm going to search out more "official" blogs from world leaders.

** EDIT **

I stand corrected! Ahmedinejad's blog hasn't gone anywhere! My bookmark was woefully out of date!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

On Summer Heat and Ingenuity

Nothing like a hot, humid day to bring out the inventor in me.

I've been out-and-about all day today, and am too fucking tired and hot to walk to Mac's or 7-Eleven for a Slurpee.

So, with no electric fans in the house, and my central air conditioner being out of commission, how's a guy to keep cool?

Put on a pair of shorts? Done! Take off my shirt? Done.

I'm still too hot!

Well, how about making myself a drink?

I'm still on antibiotics, so martinis are out.

Let's see, checking the freezer, I still have a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream left. Still have a bit of Coca-Cola left... Why not make a float?

What the hell, I still have a mouthful of Wild Turkey left in the bottle on the counter... that shouldn't be enough to react with my medication...

So, I made myself a bourbon and coke ice cream float!

Not bad, if I do say so myself! I must remember to make more of these when my prescription is done and the antibiotics have left my system.

OK, now raise your glasses. It's time for a toast...

Here's to a long, hot, humid summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Political Punditry and Web Forums

So, I paraphrased Jello Biafra on a certain web-forum I won't mention, and ended up being called out on it via an anonymous email.

The email, which I won't print as it was pretty vulgar, essentially told me I was an idiot, and how, if I didn't like how things were done or are being done, then I should (and I quote verbatim) "get off my fat ass and run for mayor".

Ordinarily, I don't lend a great deal of credence to emails such as this, especially when the author hides behind the anonymity of the internet and easily obtained (and disposable) email accounts.

But this time around, I thought I'd have me some fun.

After firing back a snotty reply, asking the dolt if he'd bothered to read the followup posts I made (where I explained why Jello Biafra's ideas weren't practical), then advised him to at least forge the headers of his "anonymous" email so his IP address couldn't be discovered (evil grin).

(Incidentally, mate - you might want to fix up your resume and cover pages, if you want to be taken seriously by a potential employer. Especially the one in Edmonton you bookmarked on Workopolis. Oh, and never, ever state your religious beliefs or SIN number. Also, you might want to clear Internet Explorer's cache directory and cookies - the missus might not like all those porn sites.. and for the record, I don't have a fat ass, and don't ever piss me off again!)

So, thinking about mayoralty again, I hearkened back to the days when I first discovered our friend Mr. Biafra.

It was 1993, and I was really into punk rock, and started taking an interest in politics. I came across Biafra's spoken word album "I Blow Minds for a Living", and loved every second of it. I especially loved the part where he talked about running for mayor of San Francisco, and all the ideas he had for making the city a better place.

I played it for my buddies, and we started joking about me running for mayor... so we drew up a platform that was sort of similar to Biafra's, but more tailored for Winnipeg life. Of course, fifteen years and several million dead brain cells later, I don't remember any of it.

So, to fill the twenty minutes I have until bedtime, I'll draw up the things I'd do if elected:

Bring LRT or a subway to Winnipeg (a given, considering my affiliation).

Implement a moratorium on Surface Level Parking lots downtown.

Work with Council to implement (and enforce) harsher noise bylaws, especially concerning car stereos and backyard/patio parties after 10pm.

No longer allow parks, streets, and squares to be named after celebrities who no longer live here, or after people of dubious accomplishments.

Work with the province to develop a series of grants, etc, for people or developers who want to build in-fill housing in the core areas of the city, and tax the shit out of anyone contributing to urban sprawl.

When that fails, jokingly suggest we draw up our battle plans for the annexation by force of Headingley, Stonewall, Oak Bluff, St. Francois-Xavier, etc, since we seem to be heading that way anyway.

Personally lead the movement to lobby the provincial and federal governments to bring back the stocks & irons for young offenders. Also, provide locally-grown produce to be made available for purchase for the sole purpose of throwing at the aforementioned young offenders.

Eliminate the "special" constables of the various BIZ groups, to be replaced by community-led initiatives. Work with the Winnipeg Police Service to provide even better training and support for neighbourhood watch (and similar volunteer groups).

Oh, and raise applicable taxes to pay for everything, but make sure the people are getting their money's worth.

Of course, it looks good on paper (er, screen), but how to implement...?

I'll think of that later. Right now, it's 10:15pm, and past my bedtime.

On one's dim sense of self-preservation

My mouth almost got me into trouble today.


Around noon, I headed over to 7-Eleven for some supplies. I needed a Coke, bag of chips, and some ice cream so I could watch the Germany - Turkey match this afternoon (I'm on antibiotics, so no alcohol for CJ!).

As soon as I reached the parking lot, a brand new, gleaming Hummer pulled in. It had black tinted windows, a satiny pearl paint job, lowrider suspension, spinner rims, and chrome everything. I slowed my pace down, so I could get a good look at who came out of the driver's seat.

A tall, skinny guy, probably late twenties/early thirties, got out. He was wearing a grubby "wife-beater" shirt, a dirty orange baseball cap (backwards, of course), and filthy cut-off jean shorts.

I couldn't contain my laughter - I laughed so hard, people inside the store stopped what they were doing to see what was going on.

"What the fuck is your problem?", the guy asked, "What's so fuckin' funny?"

Still laughing, I replied, "You have the money to buy that pink monstrosity and the gas to fuel it, but you can't afford a decent wardrobe?!"

The only reply I got was a shocked "Fuck you!". No macho posturing, no thumping of chest, no threats, only mild profanity.

I was a tad disappointed.

I caught up with the guy in the checkout line. He shot me a look and quickly turned away without saying anything.

So, I did what I figure I ought to do - I tapped him on the shoulder.

And apologized.

"I'm sorry mate, I was just being an asshole," I said, "Can I buy your Slurpee for you?"

"Uhhhh... yeah!" he said, "That's cool!"

So I did.

Sometimes, I can be a real jerk.

The countdown is on!

Only six more days until the start of Retrochallenge '08!

While I admit I've been preoccupied with one thing or another, I've managed to do a little preparing for this year's competition.

As I mentioned before, I'll be using my three favourite TRS-80 machines for the contest. As I'll be away on business for part of July, I've decided to bring Gibraltar (my TRS-80 Model 100) along for the ride, to take notes, write reports, and even to create spreadsheets when needed.

I have also picked up a few extra accessories that'll help me achieve my goals. First and foremost, I bought a copy of Lucid, a spreadsheet program on an Option ROM chip (takes no memory!) along with a couple of freeware apps to convert Lucid spreadsheets into Visicalc or CSV format for use with my other machines.

Secondly, I picked up a Tandy Portable Disk Drive 2 and a copy of TS-DOS on Option ROM, so I can now keep my files on disk instead of on the Model 100, thus freeing up my limited RAM.

Also making a comeback this year are the Acoustic Couplers for Gibraltar's built-in 300 Baud modem! I can't wait to tie up a public payphone again this year!

As for my specific plans, I'll go into detail on my official Retrochallenge '08 page located on my website.

Clock is ticking... I can't wait!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On cure being worse than disease

So, I've been sick all week.

I've come down with a nasty cold, and have been trying to fight it off since Monday. I toughed it out, though, and went in to work every day this week (as I'm on vacation starting June 23rd).

Friday, with no sign of my cold letting up, I decided to head over to Misericordia Hospital for a "quick" three-hour checkup.

Sure enough, the doctor tells me "You have a cold, Mr. Jerk" and prescribed some vile medication.

The stuff knocked me on my ass for the rest of the evening. It's the same reaction I had last time they gave me this stuff - well, almost... at least I didn't hallucinate this time.

I had some bad hallucinations last time I had this particular antibiotic... my GF at the time came over to find me curled in a fetal position on my bed, blankets over my head, shivering, and muttering something about "robots" and "balls of light". It was (apparently) quite the scene. Couldn't convince the doctor to extend my prescription indefinitely, though...

Speaking of disturbing...

I gathered up some strength and hopped a bus downtown yesterday. After hitting Into The Music for a few CDs, I decided to walk over to Second Cup at Darwin's Corner for a cuppa joe.

Now, ordinarily, my walk would be interrupted several times by panhandlers asking for me for money...

Would you believe, not ONE panhandler was in sight along Portage (or in the Exchange, for that matter)?

Not a one.

Thinking to myself, "CJ, this is odd,", I looked a little more intently. So, I headed over to the St. Regis Hotel. Hmmm, none of "the regulars" were at the bus stop.

OK, let's head west a block, to the benches near the Radisson... wow, the "fab four" are nowhere to be found. MTS Center? Nada.

OK, Maybe I'm on the wrong side of the street...? So, I backtracked to Portage and Fort, crossed over to the north side of Portage, and again began heading west.

OK, I'm at the bus stop in front of the Currency House. Not a single panhandler. Hmmm....

How 'bout in front of Manhattan Bistro? There's always someone on the bench or in the planter there! Nope, not this time. Wow... Mountain Equipment Co-op? Nope. Air Canada building (aka Panhandler Mecca)?? Not a soul.

OK, now I'm getting worried. Seriously.

Portage Place? The Bay? Nothing.

Seriously, this is weird...

I head north again on the south side of Portage, all the way back to Fort, thinking I may have missed one or two.


Then it hit me... the Skywalk! Yeah, there's always some of 'em in the skywalk! So, I entered Winnipeg Square through the Fort St. entrance, only to find that part of the mall was closed for "renovations", which is bullshit - they were pumping water from the mall! How do I figure? Well, remember what I do for a living (I sell industrial hose & fittings)! There was a Hi-vac truck outside with its pump going full-bore, several hundred feet of water suction hose laid throughout the concourse, and a little bit of water being discharged onto Fort St.

Later, on the bus ride home, I saw a couple more Hi-vac trucks (from Waterous Systems) running hoses into the Bank of Montreal building on Main St. I'm thinking the concourse saw a little flooding? Perhaps a water main break?

But anyway, back to the panhandlers...

I managed to find my way up to the skywalks, and headed clear through to Cityplace. Again, not one panhandler!

So, back through the skywalks I trudge, back to Fort St, where I went down to street level. Once on solid ground, I walked west along Graham back to Cityplace, thinking I may find someone at the bus stop there. Yeah, there's always someone there!

Well fuck me, not one panhandler.

This is freaking me out. Trying to come up with some rational explanation for the lack of indigents, all I could think was "the red-shirted Reichspolizei" must have rounded 'em all up so they wouldn't pester attendees at the Jazz Festival!

Not likely, as the Human Rights watchdogs would (rightly) be all over them, but it's particularily disturbing because that was the FIRST EXPLANATION THAT POPPED INTO MY HEAD! And I'm not normally a conspiratorially-minded guy!

So anyhow, where was I... oh yeah, Graham ave.

I pass by the Cityplace SLP, and notice a familiar form down the street. Sure enough, one of the mainstays (the younger guy missing his left hand) was in his usual spot - sitting down in front of Hull's Books at Carlton and Graham, his ballcap in his hand.

I dropped a fiver into his hat.

I never thought I'd be relieved to see a panhandler.

Hell, I never thought I'd be so worried that I'd actively seek out a panhandler.

Life's funny that way.

Friday, June 13, 2008

That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore...

I've dropped the title "Spirited Lethargy" from my as-yet-unrecorded podcast.

Had I recorded it when the idea first struck me, I could have capitalized on the "Spirited Energy" backlash... but like any true lethargic worth his salt, I couldn't motivate myself to do it and so its time has come and gone.

I'm trying hard to come up with a new title, but I'm not having much luck. Some ideas I've floated around in the past:

Bloody Knuckles - the name of a radio show I was planning to do a few years ago. A live forum whose premise was "Have some respect for a workin' man", and would be written for people (blue collar workers mostly) who work in the service industry - in my case, an industrial hose shop - and our daily interactions with lousy customers.

Sledgehammer Subtlety - another one I was toying with. I had a bit of a reputation for being obstinate, and would (metaphorically speaking) bludgeon people until they saw things my way. A former employer once described me as being "as subtle as a sledgehammer"...

Fortified With Iron - another blunt object reference. To scare one of my employees into behaving himself back in the day, I fashioned a nightstick/tonfa out of some black iron pipe fittings and jokingly threatened to "beat some performance out of him". The joke was that I was now "fortified with iron"...

Any of my faithful out there have any ideas...?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Something old, something new, and something postponed

It's gonna be a busy couple of months.

I'll be taking a break from all my creative projects for the summer, including the Spirited Lethargy podcast.


Simple. Euro 2008 is taking place as we speak, so that'll have my attention for much of June. I'm also trying to break my previous record for most money spent on Guinness in a one month period: $420 during the 2006 World Cup... I'm only at $60 so far - and far off-pace :( I could try to make up for lost time tomorrow, but I'll be attending the Iron Maiden concert, so no futbol & drinking for me.

The final week of June will be spent getting ready for this year's Retrochallenge, in which I will participate. For the entire month of July, I'll be living my digital life using nought but three of my old Tandy/TRS-80 machines from the early to mid 80's. Apart from a couple of minor issues I'm having, I should be able to make a go of it. The real challenge will be remaining productive while on a business trip to Edmonton halfway through the challenge.

Why do I do it? Because I can... and because I subscribe to a minimalist philosophy when it comes to computers and their functionality - that simple is better.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spirited Lethargy Update

Sorry folks!

Have to push the inaugural release of Spirited Lethargy back another week or so.

Apart from a few technical difficulties, I spent the last week-and-a-half focusing on more pressing (personal) matters which I don't care to discuss in detail.

The gist of it is:

1. I'm getting sick of women

2. I'm bored of my job

3.. My house is driving me nuts

4. Computers are really starting to piss me off

5. Downtown Winnipeg, my "second home" for the last twenty-three years (been hanging out there since I was twelve) is really starting to annoy me.

I think it's time CJ took a vacation...

Just an FYI, I won't be updating for about a week or so. I'm gonna borrow some studio equipment from my ol' man and record my podcast the old fashioned way.