Friday, September 26, 2008

Dignity or Albatross?

Conceited Jerk Dot Com is no more.

I finally pulled the plug on my website.

I let the domain expire, and summarily deleted all the online content.

It's all gone now.

I had to ask myself some tough questions lately - am I ever going to finish the work I started - all those GIF animations, picture galleries, articles, commentary, etc, I had yet to upload? Is my site ever going to relive its early turn-of-the-millenium glory days, or will it constantly be a digital albatross around my neck?

Ultimately, I decided to let the site die with some degree of dignity.

I'm a little saddened, as it was my "baby" for many years, a labour of love that garnered hits from all over the world (but mostly from my usenet and ICQ friends). But, over the last year or so, I realized the site would never regain its momentum, and its moment had passed. It's time to move on.

Conceited Jerk Dot Com
"Welcome to the Darkest Corners of my Mind"
2000 - 2008

Service will be held at on September 26th, 2008 at 8pm. Wake to be held immediately thereafter. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation of patronage to your favourite watering hole.

Note 9/28/08: was a separate site altogether, and had nothing to do with this blog. This blog will continue on unabated, so quit celebrating.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Has it been a year...?

Where does the time go?

I'd like to take a quick break from my hiatus to belatedly congratulate Cherenkov on The Peanut's first anniversary!

Now raise your glasses for a toast:

Here's to Cheren - may he always have something to write about!


Friday, September 19, 2008

On Shifting Priorities

I've finally found my calling.

It's something I've been involved with in the past, and have only just realized I have a real future in this particular field (even with my current employer!). It involves a few of my interests, a few of my marketable job skills, and more than a couple of my personality traits... plus I get to use my brain and manipulate other people, which is always fun. It also doesn't involve being an IT drone, either, which is a definite plus!

However, I won't go into specifics just yet ;)

With that in mind, I'll be going on hiatus for the next month or two, as I have a lot of research and planning to do. Meaning I won't be blogging, surfing, or visiting the many forums I frequent.

Excluding Blog Action Day, of course! I plan to be around for that!

See you around!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008/09 Football/Fußball Predictions

So, the new football season has started, and this time - even though it's waaaay too early to tell - I've decided to make a few unqualified predictions as to who'll meet whom in the finals, and the eventual winner. (Note: These predictions are for leagues I actually follow)

English Premiere League:
Arsenal v. Liverpool (Liverpool)

FC Bayern v. Schalke (FC Bayern)

La Liga:
Barcelona v. Sevilla (Barcelona)

UEFA Champions League:
FC Bayern v. Barcelona (FC Bayern)

These predictions are subject to change in a few months, as the seasons progress. Of course, don't put any money on my predictions, you'll likely lose your shirt as I have absolutely no expertise in this regard!

Luxembourg Wins One!

Image Copyright © Getty Images

The Luxembourg national team have won a World Cup qualifying match during my lifetime! Woohoo! Details can be found at the UEFA website here.

Good luck, boys! I know it's a longshot, but I hope to see you in South Africa in 2010!

Subtle Hint

I've opened my big mouth and said more than I should have to certain people, and have gotten myself involved more than I want. Most of you know what I mean. So before I help make matters worse, I will apologize and am now declaring neutrality. Don't bother leaving comments on the matter.

Good day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

On the Deghettoization of Downtown Winnipeg

According to a recent article in the Winnipeg Free Press, the Radisson Hotel has been sold.

To someone who'll do something with it. To someone who'll turn this oversized ghetto hotel into a bonafide destination. To someone who cares.

Now, I'm aware the "ghetto hotel" comment will no doubt upset some of my regular readers and friends - as by own admission, the hotel is rather nice inside - but hear me out.

The Radisson is probably the most prominent hotel (if not building) on the strip, meaning it's a high-visibility building. With me so far? Good. So, when your most prominent buildings look like this:

Photos Copyright © 2008 Conceited Jerk Creative Media

What does that say about your downtown? What does it say about your city in general? To an outsider? To someone who lives here? I'll tell you what it would say to me upon first impression: We don't care about our downtown.

Of course, we all know that's not true. Our downtown has generated a lot of interest of late: a few new businesses have opened, there has been some new development (Hydro building, etc), and it seems to me that more people are coming downtown. Heh, and people other than myself are complaining about the amount of surface-level parking lots!

But we live here. How would someone from out of town, who has made all his/her accomodation arrangements online (at $130 a night minimum) react to the boarded-up or missing parkade windows in what is supposed to be a business-class hotel? I'd turn around and find other accomodations - the Fairmont, for example.

The Radisson may be nice on the inside, but on the outside, the place is an eyesore and a disgrace (or, for the benefit of those whose pants are hanging off their asses, it looks all "ghetto 'n shit"). Granted, it's "just the parkade", but appearance is everything! It's been over a year since a windstorm knocked windows out all over Downtown, yet somehow all other building owners managed to replace them. The City and/or the Downtown BIZ should have been all over the Radisson's management to repair the windows and clean the place up, because the boarded up look helps bring down the area.

Sorry for rambling - "Downtown" has always been a touchy subject with me. But I digress.

If Leo Ledohowski's track record is anything to go by, I think we're in for something great. I used to love going to the Northstar Cinema (used to be in the lower level of the hotel) back in the day, and would love to see the hotel become a destination again. Link it up with CanadInns' other ventures nearby and you'll accomplish just that.

I can't wait to see what's in store!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years On

September 11th, 2001

Image taken from The Black Day

In memory of all the lives lost in this tragedy.

Conceit and Sociopathy would like to advise that any "9/11 Truth" or comments about conspiracies will be deleted.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

On Falling Productivity

Just caught this on the CBC website:

"Canadians were less productive in the second quarter of the year, the third consecutive quarter of negative growth and the worst performance in 18 years, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.
Canada's national statistical agency said the country's productivity shrank by 0.2 per cent in the April-to-June period. The weak performance represented the third straight negative quarterly showing for this key economic indicator."
So, on a whole we're less productive, eh?

In my own case, I attribute a downturn in productivity to one thing or another, some days I spend more time there than I do actually working!

'Cause, hey, ya gotta have priorities!

On Inattentive Transit Operators

I've noticed a disturbing trend lately.

I've noticed it happening over the last month to month-and-a-half. At least twice a day. In fact, it happened FIVE TIMES on my ride to work this morning.

I've noticed bus drivers failing to stop to let passengers off. They'll either miss the stop completely, or they'll slam on the brakes just after the stop - sending any unfortunate souls who happen to be standing onto the floor.

Sure, I could understand it if the passenger rang the bell just before the stop, but nine cases out of ten, this occurs with ample time for the driver to stop.

I've also noticed drivers simply not stopping at all for people standing at the bus stop. This doesn't happen too often, but I did notice it this morning. Poor guy was out in the open, clear as day - you'd really have to be daydreaming to miss him - but the driver failed to stop.

Now, I know Winnipeg Transit has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately, and there are a lot of new, inexperienced operators out there. Hey, we've all been the new guy (or gal) and there's always a learning curve. But (there's always a "but"), the problem isn't limited to the newbies. I've noticed more and more of the regular, long-serving operators making the same mistakes.

What gives?

Some of the incidents I've noticed can be chalked up to plain ol' inattentiveness, others to carelessness, and a couple to honest mistakes. What I don't get is why the incidents seem to be increasing?

Are our drivers overworked? Stressed out? Inexperienced? Is it merely human error?

I only ask, because I'm getting a little tired of the sudden "panic stops", hard braking, and the fact that I ended up wearing my coffee this morning.


For the third time in the last ten working days.

That Settles That!

The reading audience has spoken!

The question was "Should CJ enable comments for everyone, instead of limiting them to those with Blogger accounts?"

The results were a resounding 71% in favour of leaving things alone
, so comments will stay the way they are - only those of you with Blogger accounts will be able to leave comments here on Conceit and Sociopathy.

For those of you who are unhappy with the results, I'll say what I'd normally say after an Election:

Maybe next time you'll vote!

(and a big "Thank You" for those of you who did!)

Monday, September 8, 2008

On Where the Grass is Greener

I've been thinking a lot lately - of pulling up stakes and moving.

Yeah, I'm bored with my life again, and I've been feeling the urge to really shake things up - and for a change, I don't mean martinis!

Firstly, I've been toying with the idea of selling the house and "going condo" - apparently now would be a good time to do it - but would need a convincing argument before I'd commit to the idea, regardless of what the CBC tells me...

A condo, as far as I'm concerned, is a novel idea. It's like an apartment, but you own it, can redecorate and remodel to an extent, and your neighbours in the next unit aren't "welfare cases" (as a friend of mine so eloquently put it). Add to the pot the fact I absolutely loathe yardwork, and a condo sounds pretty good.

Of course, taking the "condo fees" into consideration, it would probably be a tad cheaper if I kept my house, fixed it up, and hired a groundskeeper... or got married, had children, and paid them an allowance to do the yardwork... but I digress.

(Incidentally, are there any attractive, employed, drug-free single women out there? Age is not a concern, provided you're between 30 and 40-ish...)

My upcoming trip to Toronto also planted a few seeds in my already fertile mind... while I'm wandering aimlessly through T.O., why not check the job market? Apply to a few places now, and do interviews while I'm in town? Sure, it'd work, provided any such job would pay enough that I could enjoy my current standard of living (if not better) - yet somehow, I don't see that happening.

Besides, I've never been to Toronto, and can't be sure I'd want to live there never having visited first... So, this evening, I consulted my erstwhile sounding board - exgirlfriend Gail, who has been living in T.O. for nearly a year.

"Knowing you, CJ", she said, "You'll love it for about a year, maybe two or three, before getting sick of it."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"I ain't telling," she teased, "You'll see when you get here in a few weeks".

"Well," I thought to myself, "Maybe this ain't such a good idea..."

Besides, as bored as I am with work, I really do like my job and couldn't see myself leaving. The company has been good to me for the past (nearly) eight years, and I really can't complain.

Hell, Winnipeg's been good to me, too, and even if I left, I'd probably hear it calling me back within a year, maybe two or three...

Now if only our Mayor and Premier hadn't opted for Bus Rapid Transit...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

On Hypercaffeinated Market Saturation


We're getting a new Starbucks location downtown. How many is that now, thirty? It's like a baristic version of carpet-bombing - they just keep dropping them in a given area until we submit to their marketing savvy...

Yes, as a matter of fact, I DID mean to get myself in these shots...

OK, so I'm exaggerating. There are really "only" four or five Starbucks within a six block radius, but I digress. However - if you were to add the number of Starbucks locations to the plethora of other cafes and coffee shops downtown, the total would be somewhere near my figure of thirty.

Now, don't get me wrong - CJ likes his coffee, but do we really need that many cafes downtown? REALLY? Suppose it's what the market will bear, and people vote with their feet and all that crap, but c'mon already! How different can the coffee be from cafe to cafe?

The one good thing about having so much selection in coffee houses downtown - it's pretty easy to find a quiet spot to sit and sip a good dark roast, while working on my laptop and watching the people go by...

CJ's note: I don't want this to sound as though I'm picking on Starbucks or cafes exclusively - other companies are just as guilty, such as the Golden Arches and Tim Hortons to name but two...

Friday, September 5, 2008

On Dubious Distinctions

So, it appears Winnipeg is on the verge of losing two of its more dubious distinctions.

Mayor Sammy has revealed our city's new motto, "Heart of the Continent", which led to all manner of coronary jokes in the lunch room today (Are traffic jams now considered clogged arteries? When inclement weather shuts the city down, are we in cardiac arrest?).

With our new motto in place, we are no longer known as "One Great City", instead we are labelled with a broad geographic generalization...

On another note, it appears Winnipeg will soon be losing its title of Car Theft Capital of Canada, at least if the police have anything to say about it. This is a good thing in my eyes (even though I don't drive), and I hope we lose this distinction for good and are able to improve our image in the eyes of fellow Canadians...

These two little tidbits, while not earth-shattering news, certainly got me thinking... we have a few other distinctions I'd love to be rid of as well, most notably the title of Child Poverty Capital of Canada, but that's a story for next month...

I'd also love to be rid of the unofficial title of "Mosquito Capital of Canada" as well. Probably won't happen in my lifetime, but hey, I can dream!

On Foreign Elections

So, am I the only one in Canada who isn't following the US presidential race?

Am I the only one who doesn't care?

Seriously, nobody around here gets excited when there`s an election in Ecuador, Mexico, or the UK... Hell, we probably wouldn't have heard much about the elections in the Ukraine a few years back if Viktor Yushchenko hadn't allegedly been poisoned by agents of Moscow...

I'm hearing it everywhere - on the bus, at work, at the pub, everywhere. I even heard some dolt on the bus this morning exclaim (quite proudly) that McCain is going to do great things for this country, and that Obama doesn't stand a chance, that he's voting McCain all the way. I laughed out loud when his seatmate reminded him that he (the dolt) was a Canadian living in Canada. The look on his (the dolt's) face was priceless.

I also love it when people who can tell you all about the US Presidential race have no idea who their MP (or city councillor) is, let alone to which party they belong. And you know what causes this?


People watch far too much TV. Far too much AMERICAN TV. So much so, some people evidently think they ARE American (not that that's a bad thing - if you're in the US!). It's as though the whole Presidential race is the next American Idol-type reality show (So You Wanna Be The Next President?), trotting out the contestants (candidates) week after week, convention after convention, city after city, on every channel every hour of every day, eliminating contestants state by state until you get to the final two on each side, whereby the final four (the winners on each side, plus their runners-up) battle it out to see which party rules the roost for the next four years.

Politics as prime-time entertainment. That's a scary fucking thought.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

And another thing...

... if I read (or hear) the word "chillax" one more fucking time, I am going to hit someone!

On Winnipeg in the Fall

It's getting coooooool...

Yes, back are the days of 6°C mornings and 28°C afternoons, where wearing a coat in the morning means carrying it around all afternoon...

I know I'm in the minority, but I always look forward to Autumn, or more appropriately "the two weeks of Autumn we get before it starts to fucking snow". Not that I have anything against Winter and its -30°C temperatures mind you, I just prefer Autumn.

'Tis also the season for increased ridership on my morning bus - Red River College is back in session, and I found myself fighting to get a decent seat. Ended up sitting on one of the side benches at the back, which is a bitch when you're trying to work on your laptop (you'd think people would watch where they're going and what they're fucking doing). Fuckin' brats and their lack of spatial awareness... put down that cellphone, take off your backpack, and watch where you're fucking going!

(Ahem) Sorry, for a second there I was "back in the jungle"...

In any case, I've added a poll off to your right. Please take the time to vote.

As I mentioned before, I'm tweaking the site little by little, trying to jazz things up a bit (God knows my writing won't save it), so for the next little while, don't be alarmed if the place looks a bit different each time you visit...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

On Word of Mouth

As some of you (the ones who haven't been trying my drink recipes) may have noticed, I've slowly been adding blogs to my blog-roll.

I've slowly been checking out other blogs in the vast blogging community (I loathe the word "Blogosphere"), and will be adding some of the more interesting ones as I find them.

I've found a few in the Blog Action Day participant list that I'd like to check out, but there were two others that were right there under my nose the whole time - Alex Reid: Canadian Citizen at Large, and DeanK's brand new blog, Diary of a Mad Mad Man (both are fellow New Winnipeggers). I recommend (order) you check them out!

In addition to adding to my blog-roll, I'll also be fooling with the layout, adding a few things and trying a few other things out, too. So don't be surprised if things look a little different every other day...

Monday, September 1, 2008

On Broadening One's Dipsomaniacal Horizons

It's been bloody hot here the last couple of days.

The temperature hit 31°C on Saturday, and 29°C on Sunday - add in the humidity and it's almost unbearable... stifling, to say the least.

So, as you can well imagine, it makes a man thirsty.

With temperatures like these, it's important to keep one's body hydrated, so plenty of water is needed. Thing is, water, while good for you and all that, just ain't satisfying. Granted, sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade add a bit of flavour (and electrolytes) to the mix, but is that the first thing you reach for after an afternoon of yardwork in conditions that rival Hades?

Hell no, you reach for a beer, gin-and-tonic, or something of that nature!

In my case, Saturday evening was spent on my porch, listening to Luxuriamusic and sipping a few martinis. A long day of labour in the hot sun called for my own private recipe (one I will share with you some day), and it certainly did the trick. But after six or so, I grew bored of this recipe and decided to try something else (my Aquarian "hacker mentality" applies to mixology, too!).

Opening my liquor cabinet (an old buffet table I scored at Value Village for $15 a few years ago), I found my selection has dwindled over the last few weeks. Let's see, I have six varieties of Gin but only half a bottle of French Vermouth... a few bottles of various liquers, three varieties of Vodka, half a bottle each of Cointreau, Creme de Cacao, and Blue Curacao, and a quarter-bottle each of Campari, Wild Turkey, Tiramisu, and Chivas Regal. Throw in the mouthful of Jägermeister in the freezer and pickin's is slim.

Not good.

Where's the Navy Rum? The Italian Vermouth (red and white!)? The Rye? The Irish Whiskey?

Where are the staples, God damn it?!
After chiding myself unmercilessly for a few minutes, I made one last martini (plain ol' gin and vermouth) and left myself a note to hit the LC on Sunday.

While at the LC, after grabbing my aforementioned staples, I wandered over to the liquer section. I thought to myself, "CJ, remember how bored you were of our secret Martini recipe last night?"

"Yeah," I replied, "Why?"

"Don't you think, maybe, just maybe, you might want to experiment a bit?" I asked myself, "Try something different?"

"Not a bad idea," I told myself, "I almost regret killing you slowly with this stuff!"

"No prob," I replied, "We weren't ever going to be anything more than an obscure blogger anyway..."


So, after what seemed an eternity (but really only fifteen minutes), I was finally able to decide on a few different liquers. I walked away with a bottle each of Amaretto Di'Saronno, Galliano vanilla liquer, Jägermeister, and Starbucks Coffee liquer.

Not a bad haul, if I do say so myself!

Spent much of yesterday (Sunday) finishing my yardwork - that is, until the wasps got so bad, I had to run inside. Got stung a few times, so I ran inside to apply a little alcohol. Not to the wounds, mind you...

Not wanting to rush into anything with hitherto unknown liquers, I opted to start slowly. I made myself a reg'lar ol' Vodka martini (3oz Stolichnaya vodka, 3/4oz Noilly Prat vermouth, no garnish), but added a splash of the Di'Saronno. Not bad!

Went down a bit easy... but could still be better, so I changed it up a bit and went with 2-1/2oz Stolichnaya vodka, 3/4oz Noilly Prat vermouth, 1/2 oz Stoli Vanil vodka, a slightly bigger splash of Di'Saronno, and shaken like a motherfucker...

Wow. Gotta r'memb'r thish one.

Aft'r fou of dese, I tryed one more cuncockshun (heh heh hee, did'ja catch that?) Da final reshippee ov da ev'nin' wuz much like da first one - 3oz of Stole-dis-vodka, 3/4oz of Noyeeee Praaa vermoooooth, a splish-splash of Deeee Sar-oh no!, and a splash of - stop fuckin' laughin at me! - da Gal-e-anno vanillilla (or as my mekshikan frend sez - vaniiiiyyyaaaa!).

Da's all fer now. Sumbuddy put da room on 78-speeeeed an I'm movin' like I'm on 33-1/3...