Friday, May 30, 2003

The Word Blues

I'm in MS-Word and I'm trying to insert a Section break (Next Page). I select Insert > Break, select Section type: Next Page, and click OK.

But instead of inserting the break I clearly asked for, I get a Section break (Continuous). I try repeatedly to insert what I want, and it consistently doesn't deliver. I then try to access the header/footer of the new section, but Word refuses to let me proceed beyond Section 3.

Argh. Stupid, frigging, piece of !@$#@#$%@#.

When I think that Billzebub Gatecifer wants us to pay a monthly/yearly subscription for this crappy piece of software, it just makes me want to spit, curse the unholy skies, or write an angry letter to my Member of Parliment.

Or could it be that Mercury is in Retrograde again? Figures.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

Winding Down, Speeding Up

Things are winding down at the contract I'm working on right now and I'm on my final month. I'm bidding on a contract for another client, but I'll be hearing if I get that one any day now.

If I don't get it, I'll be pounding the pavement again looking for more work. The market is getting better, inch by inch, and more opportunities are cropping up every day.

The problem is that the competition is still quite fierce. There are still lots of lay-offies looking for the next table scrap and they're willing to take virtually any offer to get off the pogey.

It's an employer's market nowadays, making it tough to get the renumeration that I deserve at my current career level. A headhunter friend of mine showed me the contracting rates for the last two years (with an internationally known computer firm). The hourly rate has dropped by $15 from 2002 to 2003 for the same position.

That's partly because of the suffering market and that's partly because employers know that people are more desperate to work.

A few years ago, I would easily refuse to work for rates that did not meet my standards. Contracts abounded, so if I turned down one, another would turn up soon enough. But now I'm finding that I need to bite the bullet and accept lower rates in exchange for Money Now instead of Money Much Later.

Fortunately, there's still hope. According to my headhunter contact, the firms are realizing that they really are getting what they pay for when they gouge their service suppliers.

It's just a question of doing what we can, being creative, being persistent, and holding out until the market improves.

Staying positive, keeping an eye out. Who knows? If I keep with it, I may be able to achieve that Publishing House dream I had ever so long ago.
The ONE time I don't stay until the end...

Please tell me the guys at Dork Tower are kidding...

If not, that'll be me in the final frame. Argh.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Here there be spoilers

When I went to play Domaine a few weeks ago, the owner of the place stated right at the beginning "I have not seen The Matrix, so if anyone mentions anything about the Matrix in my presence, I will take all their life tags and kick their sorry ass off the site! No saving throws!"

I've been thinking about the Matrix movie and a few of the teaser secrets that were thrown in, so I would like to present my theories and put them up for discussion (the Pawprint whore that I am).

Therefore, don't read my Matrix Theories if you've not seen the movie, nor should you read the comments (if I get any).

You've been warned.
Odd Thoughts

The fact that necrophilia exists doesn't bother me as much as the fact that it happened so much that the medical community had to come up with a name for it. Why couldn't it have been that one isolated case back in 1947?

This is the kind of week I'm having. We need more sun, less rain.

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Matrix Beloated

Don't get me wrong: I enjoyed the new Matrix movie, but it didn't wow me like the first one did. Then again, how could it? There was no real mind-boggler this time (except for one that I'm theorizing about, but I won't spoil it here for you).

But I'm still chuckling over what Scott had to say about Ubisoft being the server host for the new Matrix Online game (May 15th, 2003). Good one Scott!

Friday, May 23, 2003

The Scammer Returns!

I haven't seen him yet, but an acquaintence of mine mentionned that my Favorite Scammer is back in town.

I haven't seen him for over a year now, so I had hoped that he either scammed the wrong person or straightened up and flew straight. So much for the positive hopeful outlook.

By an odd coincidence, my friend had discovered my blog and the Scammer post a day after she had been scammed. She thanked me for setting her straight, but too little, too late.

Apparently, Scamboy has now staked out his territory down on Crescent and Ste. Catherine street and is claiming to be stranded in Montreal from Ireland, that the airport lost his luggage, and could you please spare a bit of money so he could spend the night at the YMCA instead of on the street?

My friend completely fell for his story and gave him a few dollars. Her boyfriend was almost considering going to the bank to pull out more funds, so convincing is his performance.

I'm going to have to start bringing my digicam so I can get a photo.

Montreal has some professional panhandlers on these streets and there are a few interesting rumours going on about their lives.

The guy who begs down in front of the Pharmaprix apparently owns a bar in Laval. The One-Armed Man who squats in front of the Paramount theatre has been spotted several times with a cell phone. The White-Bearded guy with the bags on his feet who is often sleeping in front of Ogilvys is rumoured to own a pad in the Plateau.

With stories like these, and scammers like that, it makes it increasingly difficult not to become cynical and uncompassionate in this city. How are we supposed to want to help our fellow humans in need when you have miscreants like these feeding off our natural generousity?

Although it drives Drew crazy, I still feed expired meters whenever I have a spare quarter (giving the guy an extra 10 minutes). But even that act has been modified lately: if the car looks too expensive and too new, I'll feed the meter of the cheaper car with the rust.

I'm fighting it as best I can, but the Cynical City Blues are gnawing their way through.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Is blogging on the way out?

As is happening at Blork's blog and noticed by Blork, the visits to this blog have dropped considerably in the past month or so (by over a dozen). Are people discovering the outdoors or is the blog phase moving on?

Truth to tell, my recent blog entries have lost a certain pizzazz. I'm finding it more and more difficult to write meaningful entries.

Or maybe I'm focussing too much on the details. I don't think I'll be giving up on the blog just yet, but there's something niggling at me from the collective subconscious.

Or maybe the blog just needs a new coat of paint.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Dumb Move, but it was still Sweet

So I got through my first weekend of Domaine and came out on top. I was going to say "smelling like a rose", but that would be a complete lie. Lack of deodorant helps add to the genuine medieval feel.

My character's name was Valentino diCarpacchio (picture to come soon), and yes, I was able to keep my fake Italian accent going the entire time. The role-play was great fun and I managed to make a few solid game contacts during the weekend.

But the most memorable part was my first "death". I was walking alone with Miranda the Healer who just radiates an aura of trust about her (in real life, Miranda is played by real-life friend Belinda), so I thought nothing of it when she said "Valentino... that's a very interesting sword. May I see it?"

"Of course Miranda," I replied, handing it over. "It was hand-crafted by my Uncle Gustave and the scarf around the hilt belong to my Mama diCarpacchio."

"Really?" she looked at me with a glint in her eye. "You know... I'm going to share some advice with you. You should never, ever give your only weapon to a stranger." WHACK! WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

And that was it... she killed me with my own weapon. Miranda is one of the few characters that actually does not carry a weapon and she killed me with my own sword.

The beauty of that move still blows me away.

Monday, May 19, 2003

Get Pepsi... Go Blind

I just noticed that they started up the Pepsi points campaign again. You remember that surely... you buy a can of Pepsi, get a point, collect your points, and redeem them for cool prizes.

I remember the original ads. The TV spots said if you could save up enough points, you could buy a Harrier Jet. Then some entreprising young lad actually collected enough points (no purchase necessary) and demanded his Harrier. There are several pages on the Net about this, but I haven't been able to find out how it ended.

So I checked the website (no Harrier this time) and read up on their catalogue. They've got a Sony CD player for a mere 1000 points. Sounds sweet... Drink Pepsi, collect points, listen to tunes. A steal, right?

I never said I was good at math, but a quick calculation tells me that You'll have to drop $1000 in Pepsi to get a $200 CD player. Even if you go for the 2 litre bottles, that's still 500 bottles of Pepsi.

So get drinking! If you drink one 2 litre bottle of Pepsi every day (and collect the 2 points), in a little over 15 months, you'll have a nifty Sony CD Player.

BTW, the contest ends on September 8, 2003 (just under fourth months from now). So that's more like four 2 litre bottles a day. Yummy!

You'd better hope it has anti-skip, 'cause you'll need it to listen to your tunes while you're trembling non-stop from the intense Sugar Shakes.

But I'm sure your sex appeal will continue to rate high in the 16 to 25 age bracket.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Stop the Presses!

I'm saddened to hear that film great Robert Stack has moved on to that great Unsolved Mystery in the sky. I happened to read this on Yahoo News that must've just published it. I know this because they put the timestamp right below the headline.

However, I had a bit of a chuckle when I noticed that the headline read as follows:

Untouchables' Actor Robert Stack Dies
4 minutes ago

Talk about having the story ready when you need it!

As an aside to the previous post, here's some great animated shorts on the web that you should see (in addition to the Animatrix):

Meet the Millers (hosted by Icebox)
Thugs on Film
Outback Attack (a bizarre Survivor spoof) (by
AtomFilms (check out the new Wallace & Gromit episode!)

That should be enough to send you in the right direction.

And did you hear? The forecast for the next few days is sun, sun, sun! This weekend of camping should be a great success!

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


If you haven't heard, the Animatrix is a set of Matrix prequels directed by American, Japanese and Korean animators. They give some of the backstory that leads up to the first Matrix movie. All four episodes are out now and a DVD with all nine episodes will be out in June. I'll start saving up now.

Well it looks like Charlie-of-the-Voicebox has decided to jump on the animation bandwagon and provide some Animated Angels of his own. Unfortunately, no one save Charlie thought this was a good enough project to participate in. The Voicebox holds its own in this animated episode, but the rest of it doesn't hold (retain) much water.

Okay, granted, Charlie's Angels was never meant to be edgy. But if they had just tried a little harder, they could've had something that made us look forward to the movie instead of counting seconds on a clock.

Hells Bells... maybe they could've convinced someone to even say something while fighting bad guys and being dressed as a mermaid, Dorothy of Oz, and some kind of Dominatrix. How does that blend into anything? Where did they get their camoflage training? From Zsa Zsa Gabor School of Subtlety? Just once, I would like to see a henchman actually hit something he was shooting at. And where did they get that villain? Was he discovered in the wilds of Hawaii, thinking he was still on Magnum PI set?

I was hoping this would get Drew excited, but alas, we'll just have to watch the trailer again.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Lord of the Bog

Argh... will it ever stop raining? Spring is spring and all, but I'm going camping this weekend and I'd rather not find that my tent has seeped into the semi-solid ground overnight. As a compromise, I wouldn't mind if it rained all week as long as it doesn't rain from Friday to Sunday. The camping ground is soaked now, so more rain or not makes no difference.

So I've pretty much gotten everything I'll need for this first edition of Domaine (the Live Action Role Playing game (LARP)). I already had the sleeping bag and sleeping mat, but now I had to purchase a tent. I ended up getting a four person tent for $100 (it was on sale, reduced from $200) at Canadian Tire. I tried setting it up last night in my living room. It's huge! I'll have lots of room to store my things and sleep comfortably. And if I ever go camping with anyone, I'll still be set.

I also picked up the clothing I'll need for my costume this year. I'm starting a new character, so it's a whole new wardrobe. Well... I'll be recycling my green medieval shirt, but I'll also be wearing my black medieval pants, a sleeveless knee length leather jacket, and a poofy hat. Now I need to get some buckles for the jacket and something to hem the sleeves, and it'll be ready.

I would like to add some studs to the costume, but the studgun is $50. A bit too pricey at the moment. Maybe one of my seamstress friends has one I can borrow for a later game...

I'm glad I'm not going on a long hike. All this gear is heavy!

I'm going to focus more on my roleplaying this year, now that I'm not overwhelmed by the intricacies of the game. I'm going to make a point of talking to everyone, try to get more involved in the subplots, and accomplish my secret mission. All the while trying to maintain a fake Italian accent.

But... rain rain go away // Come on back another day // Just not a weekend in May // This I pray // Rain Rain... Go Away!

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Long Goodbyes

We had to say good-bye to two friends last night (Enrique and Arnold) who will be working in Burkina Faso (of all places) for the summer. They'll be back in three months, just in time for the third game of Domaine.

There were five of us saying good-bye to two. We were all there, standing in the lobby with our coats on, making nervous conversation, not wanting to leave. Finally, Arnold broke the tension by saying "I hate long good-byes." We laughed, hugged, and went on our way.

Three months will pass by quickly, I know. They'll be back before we know it and we'll still be able to have some summer fun.

Have a good time lads. You'll be missed. See you in August!

Tuesday, May 06, 2003


I was having lunch with my teammates and I tried not to sit next to this one girl, but it was impossible. Gritting my teeth, I sat and tried to make pleasant conversation. It was tough.

This girl seems to have a problem with relating to what other people are saying. It's not a language issue; it's an attention-span problem. She was asking me how the storytelling concert went on the weekend, so I was in the middle of telling her about it and how I was going to apply for the Yukon Storytelling Festival in July, when she piped in and said "Have you heard of Nokia cellphones?"

"Uh... yes," I stammered.

"Well everyone thinks they're Japanese, but they're not." She stops, looking at me expectantly. This was my cue, apparently.

"Where are they from?", I ask confusedly. I'm wondering how this relates to the Yukon Storytelling Festival, but I'm biding my time waiting for the connection to reveal itself.

"They are Finnish, although they are also made in Sweden." She uncrossed her arms, satisfied, and reached for a dinner roll.

That was it. This little tidbit is what she needed to tell me, although it had absolutely nothing to do with what I was saying. There wasn't a two minute pause between the conversation here... She was listening, riding the coattails of what I was saying, and then threw in something entirely unrelated. Where do I go from here?

Who comes up with these expressions? And more to the point, why do people use them? I think that we need to find these people, fit them up with some electrical equipment that provides a small electric shock, and zot them each time reality debunks these expressions.
  • Honesty is the best policity: I used to believe this classic, but I've also learned that Honesty can be used as a weapon. Just because you think you're being honest, that doesn't give you the right to say anything that pops into your head.

    Honesty must be tempered with compassion. You may say you want honesty from other people, but you are probably not prepared for the unfiltered barrage of honesty that people can inflict upon you. Besides, just because someone is being honest with you, that doesn't mean what that person is saying is true or right.

  • One size fits all: whether you are reading this the label of a bathroom plug or an article of clothing, it really means One Size Fits One, So You'd Better Hope You Fit The Average Size Our Marketing Department Came Up With.

  • The client is always right: sometimes clients don't know what they want. If you are the professional, sometimes you must tell them what they want, show them the possibilities, guide them to what they truly need. If the client tell me he wants the body of a document to be printed in 14 point Arial italics, it's my job as a qualified professional to guide him down the path to what he truly wants.

  • Nobody reads the manuals: I could go on about this for days, but as I said to a snarky tech support guy: "Every time your phones don't ring, that's when a client found the answer to his question in the manual."

Ye Gods... I'd be going through Red Zot buttons by the truck-full.