From the monthly archives:

June 2008

rhubymapleleaf
Rhubarb’s first boat ride and first Canada Day were negatively overshadowed by the fact that Dave was the first mate.

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Very happy to report that I spent a good hunk of the weekend on the boat which is now in the water, on a working lift and attached to a sturdy dock. It was a painful odyssey but one we have to repeat each year or until a lot of money is invested in a more automated launch system. The pontoon boat (PyeSeas 2)’s stereo has an input jack perfect for an iPod, and there was much wave bobbing done in time to Coldplay’s new album, Viva La Vida.

Although they’ve become hugely popular internationally, like some kind of U2 for the next generation, I will always have a bit of a soft spot for Coldplay as I was a very early adopter and evangelist for the band. I’d never gush about them today the way I did 8 years ago as I have my indie-dignity. Not to be confused with Indy-dignity which I realize is a bit of an oxymoron. My favorite song off the album so far is “Lost”, and although there’s no proper video for it you can watch Chris and the boys performing it now in Barcelona while he dances around like one of the Thriller zombies on methamphetamine.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqwRWaDw6Ig[/youtube]

Listen to the recorded studio version here, and if you’ve already purchased the record tell us what you think. My take is that’s it’s an unexpectedly solid piece of work and in the last week it has sold over 300,000 physical CDs and become the best selling album in iTunes’ 5-year history – not that being solid really has anything to do with what the flocks of sheep decide to buy. The band’s puzzling choice for a first single, Violet Hill, is about as enjoyable to listen to as Freddy Kruegar defacing a chalkboard, but dittys like Strawberry Swing, Yes and 42 more than make up for it.

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The Office: The Canadian Version

by Dave on June 24, 2008

in Canadiana

Slowly, slowly we’re improving our lot around these here parts. The weekend before last Janet, a neighbor and I cleared out on of the basement room, which is actually about 80% “finished” (drop ceiling in place, drywall and mudding done, painted) with the exception of carpeting. We then proceeded to turn it into an office, complete with a wireless printer and two separate business landlines for Janet and myself, and I’m beyond happy that we did so.

Above my desk there’s a photo collage I made last year one day when my internet was out. It’s a Concord collection featuring high school friends only, and using my new printer I plan to make “Best Buddy” and family versions. To the right of the window is the “Gord Wall” where I’ve hung some of my Dad’s plaques and accreditations and I gaze up at it whenever I feel my attention span waning. His inspiration for going back to school? My Mom getting pregnant with me. The man went from a steel mill monkey to a marketing executive with a college degree in a little over a decade and is my professional inspiration.

IMG 1923

For several years the room had been crammed with a disassembled pool table, furniture and a ton of other things no one had gotten around to dealing with. We cleared out the adjacent utility room, put in shelves there to make better use for storage, consolidated and moved everything out and then set up what is turning into a pretty sweet space. The couch you can see is a big pullout so the room will eventually serve double-duty as a guest room. We don’t like to confine elderly relatives or anyone above the age of 40 to the Winchester. So you can breathe a sigh of relief, Sully. I wish I’d taken “before” pictures as the transformation is complete and amazing. Above you can see my little corner of productivity and below you’ll gasp in awe at Janet’s. This is where the magic happens and the Pye siblings bring home the bacon.

IMG 1924

The rug is comprised of these floor tiles we found at Canadian Tire and I am picking up another batch today I ordered so that we can finish off the entire room. We were only able to do half as they didn’t have enough in stock. Sam the neighbor who now works with me will be setting up the right hand desk this morning which is actually the other half of mine until he gets his good one from his old place in Ottawa. The window looks out onto the lake and the air which drifts in and then gets distributed by the fan is good for the brain.

IMG 1925

It’s a big space so there shouldn’t be a problem with background noise if we’re both on the phone at the same time. Notice our office assistants and particularly Shepherd’s new anti-bark shock collar which is like the size of a car battery. I have since removed it as it seems to have served its purpose rather quickly. There’s definitely no danger of Shep becoming a Spiderman villain, to put it mildly. The middle of the room is currently reserved for DVDs, a dog bed and some EZ-chairs. We may eventually put a TV and a conference table in here as well. Lotsa room.

IMG 1926

And of course everyday after lunch we break for a rousing game of “Shepherd Checkers”. The blue chair you see above is Boss’ favorite and I moved it in near me especially for him. The room stays nice and cool so the puppies love it and the rest of the basement looks great as we sorted, cleaned and consolidated it all at the same time. This time next year I think it’s safe to say that the large room outside of the office will be carpeted, ceilinged, wired up and playing host to a home theater, dart board, bar and an inter-family lake pool league. It’s coming together. Slowly, slowly catchy Rhuby.

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George Carlin worked furiously right up until his death from a heart attack yesterday at age 71. The word “retire” wasn’t in his vocabulary, and it’s a vocabulary that was impressively extensive. This is a brilliant bit that I heard on the radio this morning and wanted to share. Godspeed, Mr. Carlin.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCljFYn3zTY[/youtube]

“I’m a Modern Man”

George Carlin, November 5th, 2005
Beacon Theater, NYC

I’m a modern man.
I’m a modern man.
I’m a modern man.
I’m a modern man.

I’m a modern man,
A man for the millennium,
Digital and smoke free.

A diversified multicultural postmodern deconstructionist,
Politically anatomically and ecologically incorrect.

I’ve been uplinked and downloaded.
I’ve been inputted and outsourced.
I know the upside of downsizing.
I know the downside of upgrading.

I’m a high tech lowlife.
A cutting edge state-of-the-art bicoastal multitasker,
And I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

I’m new wave but I’m old school,
And my inner child is outward bound.

I’m a hot wired heat seeking warm hearted cool customer,
Voice activated and biodegradable.

I interface from a database,
And my database is in cyberspace,
So I’m interactive,
I’m hyperactive,
And from time-to-time,
I’m radioactive.

Behind the eight ball,
Ahead of the curve,
Riding the wave,
Dodging a bullet,
Pushing the envelope.

I’m on point,
On task,
On message,
And off drugs.
I got no need for coke and speed,
I got no urge to binge and purge.

I’m in the moment,
On the edge,
Over the top,
But under the radar.

A high concept,
Low profile,
Medium range ballistic missionary.
A street-wise smart bomb.
A top gun bottom feeder.

I wear power ties,
I tell power lies,
I take power naps,
I run victory laps.

I’m a totally ongoing bigfoot slam dunk rainmaker with a proactive outreach.
A raging workaholic.
A working ragaholic.
Out of rehab,
And in denial.

I got a personal trainer,
A personal shopper,
A personal assistant,
And a personal agenda.

You can’t shut me up,
You can’t dumb me down.
‘Cause I’m tireless,
And I’m wireless.
I’m an alpha male on beta blockers.

I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever.
Laid back but fashion forward.

Up front,
Down home,
Low rent,
High maintenance.

Super size,
Long lasting,
High definition,
Fast acting,
Oven ready,
And built to last.

I’m a hands on,
Foot loose,
Knee jerk,
Head case.

Prematurely post traumatic,
And I have a love child who sends me hate mail.

Please read the rest here (it’s long and he had amazing memorization skills) or watch it above.

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Appetizer: If you could live on another continent for 1 year, which one would you choose?
I am a “North American” in the truest sense anybody can be, as I am now unofficially a dual citizen. I love both countries, and would gladly bear arms on either of their behalfs because I am not a liberal, but the one other country I would (and already have) live in for a year is England. I love the music, movies, comedy, authors and pop culture in general of Old Blighty and have since I was a kid.

Soup: Which browser do you use to surf the Internet?
FireFox, 100%. I love the plugins, particularly AdSense Reader, GMail and GReader Notifier and “Copy as Plain Text”. The only exception is that I have to use IE for Quickbooks, and there’s even an FF plugin that allows you to assign specific sites to open only in IE and it does so in what looks exactly like just another FireFox tab. I suppose I should link to all of these for you, but you’ve got Google on your side, kids. I have work to do.

Salad: On a scale of 1-10 how much do you know about the history of your country?
A lot – I took several American history classes in high school in Massachusetts – a great place to be studying U.S. history because it has seen a whackload. I also had to brush up bigtime back in November prior to my citizenship test. As far as Canada goes I have been given (thanks Kate) and purchased an impressive stack of history books as I absolutely love the subject and obviously wasn’t here for the rudimentary Canuckian high school classes. The story of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and also text that challenge the myth, have been especially fascinating for me thus far. I went to a party in Ottawa a few weeks ago where the majority of the attendees were government employees spanning a wide range of departments and I asked them slews and slews of history-related questions. Particularly about how the intelligence arm of the RCMP split off into the CSIS in 1984.

Main Course: Finish this sentence: Love is…
Elusive, confusing, insanity-inducing (I speak from experience) – and that’s what makes it simultaneously wonderful and the worst thing in the world.

Dessert: Have you ever been in or near a tornado?
I’ve been in vicinities that have been warned several times but I’ve never been in actual danger or seen a tornado with my own eyes. The best story I can tell you is that of “Lost Lake” here on the Big Rideau. It’s not actually lost, nor is it a lake, nor is the area officially called “Lost Lake”. It’s spoken lake lore more than anything at this point. It’s a hard to find little inlet that was hit with a tornado back in the 70s. A woman was killed while sleeping in her houseboat, and you can still see enormous scars in the foliage where the twister twisted on through. I can find no mention of it online so I’ll take some photos the next time I sail past (the boat goes in the water tomorrow morning!) and get some more oral history from my neighbors. I hope to also get some serious sun, as my farmer’s tan is ridiculous and my arms look like candy corn.

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It’s 11 o’clock. Do you know what your search results are? It’s also 2008 and any potential employer in any industry who is seriously considering hiring or even giving you an interview is going to do one important thing first. Google you.

I was recently asked to guest post for a Boston-based search marketing blog and I have to tell you – I feel a little like Jay Leno must have before he took over for Carson full time. As I typetty-typed away, and attempted to be jaw-droppingly clever, I realized that with a slight spin towards the stupid the topic I had chosen could be extremely helpful to my friends, family and 6 other loyal readers. Pay attention, Mom.

Social media is a double-edged sword. A tri-cornered hat. A coat of many colors. Like a bag of wild squirrels. Strike that last one. You have sites like FaceBook and MySpace for social networking. Then you have sites like Digg for social voting. Then you have sites like LOTRO for social exile. And amongst the multitude of other classifications under the main umbrella you have business networking sites. Hang up your Scrabulous games and annoying FunWall forwards for an hour tonight and build yourself a profile on Plaxo, LinkedIn, Spoke, Ziggs and all of the other social business sites I’ve listed here.

social-media-nonos

Sharon works well as part of a team“.
Enrique Gazpacho, trainee manager – Stinky Cactus Bar

Or by all means – ignore me and have the next HR person that leafs through your resume looking at your 1998 Cancun wet t-shirt contest indiscretions twenty seconds later. I don’t do this for a living or anything.

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I just read an article on CNN entitled “Fifth severed foot found on Canadian coast“. It gave me pause for thought, as you might think, and I read through it in its entirety. Basically there is an island in a normally very peaceful and picturesque coastal area of British Colombia that seems to attract floating tootsies. Here are the poignant bits…

  • Since last August, a total of five severed feet have washed up on the same small island near Vancouver.
  • The first four were right feet, this one was left. Daniel Day Lewis could not be reached for comment.
  • Some locals think it’s a serial killer.
  • Some locals think it’s due to gang violence.
  • Some locals think they are the remains of several men who were killed in an airplance crash shortly before the first foot was found almost a year ago.
  • Although tests are underway, there have been no DNA results to link the owners of said feet or establish identity.

These are all terrific theories, my brethren with badges to the far West – but I already covered and predicted these very events in your specific area several months ago. Let me save everyone on Westham Island, or the “Canadian Amity Island” as I am going to call it, some valuable time. Your suspect has a beak, tentacles and a penchant for ink. And I’m not talking about tattoos.

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mexican-half-ton-month

Manuel Uribe, the world’s heaviest living man, has one wish for his upcoming 43th birthday; lose enough weight to be able to walk his fiance Claudia down the aisle. And also to actually have a fiance named Claudia.

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These Ontario deers will be the death of me. 3 times I have had them dash in front of my car since I’ve lived up here and 3 times I narrowly managed to avoid the collision. As it tends to do, my luck ran out Monday night.

A big ass Bambi’s mama doe ran right out in front of me while I was on a dark rural highway going the speed limit (thank God. For once.) of 80km which is about 54mph. I went from bopping along to Feels So Good by Mase like it was 1998 again to violently slamming on the brakes as its head hit my left headlight before the whole beast went below the car and tore up the undercarriage. Deer was spit out into the woods and not seen again, but I doubt it survived.

I found part of my wheel well 25 feet behind the car (it was pitch black – I have since added a flashlight to my auto toolkit) and put it in the trunk. I walked back a little further and squinted for the deer but I could hardly see my hand in front of my face. It was eerie and incredibly reminiscent of the opening scenes of most horror movies. I won’t even mention the blood. But only because I don’t have to. I have pictures.

IMG 1918

Talk about remote – I was at the side of the road for an hour and not a single car drove past. Friggin’ spooky and my thoughts turned to the as of yet undiscovered communities of Kingston-area Sasquatch more than once. After slowly attempting to drive about 5 feet and hearing a loud scraping noise, I scooted under the car and tucked the torn edge of the plastic undercarriage cover under another part and drove very slowly, finally making it home around 2 a.m. My ABS light was on the whole way home and Tuesday morning I discovered a lot of loose wires hanging down from the engine block, so I assume there is some serious electrical repair needed in addition to the nonsense underneath.

IMG 1909

So yeah – That was the 4th time in the last year a deer has run out in front of my car. I bought these deer whistles that you attach to your bumper which supposedly scare them away as wind blows through them a few months ago but never stuck them on. Wicked smart. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration there are about 1.5 million car accidents with deer each year that result in $1 billion in vehicle damage, about 150 human fatalities, and over 10,000 personal injuries. So have a think about that the next time you give a hunter the evil eye. Deers: So cute. So, so very stupid.

IMG 1921

I’m sad about the car but grateful I walked away. The damage has not yet been fully assessed as I wait for a call back from the insurance company. The bumper is covered in blood and hair and was definitely pushed in before popping back out – but the “krinkling” is very minimal. Aesthetically, the car got off extremely lightly and the Charger will charge again. Like the Light Brigade. Eventually I’ll add my photos to this post but I gots to get to work now because my deductible is $500. Poppa needs a brand new insurance company.

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Not to be Confused with Mojito

by Dave on June 10, 2008

in Animalistic

Do you think that if a genie or some kind of forest gnome approached you and granted three wishes you’d opt for the eradication of mosquitos as one of your selections? I would. Obviously several species of bird and a few other animals down the chain would become extinct immediately, having suddenly lost a major food source, but still – I hate the little fuckers and I want them wiped off the face of the Earth for good like the DoDo.

World peace, fame and fortune are all well and good, but the gnomes are usually sticklers about the three wish limit. So mosquito extinction, fame and fortune would be the order of my special wish day. We hosted a Spanish exchange student named Maria for a couple of months back in high school and I remember her and her friends were horrified at the mere concept of whiny little bastard insects that not only suck your blood but replace it with a poison which renders you itchy for many days afterwards. I even remember the funny way they pronounced the word: mossh-kee-toes – always with a disgusted grimace on their faces. Apparently they don’t exist in Spain – correct me if I’m wrong. And then send me an immigration document.

What a glorious thought. A world without mosquitoes. Depending on the time of day I can be surrounded by 10 of the horrible things about 30 seconds after walking out my front door. If I’m trying to get some work done I usually lather up in repellent, take my chances and deal with the resulting bite pains and neck scratching. I took a good look at my arms tonight while sitting at my desk deciding what to write about and realized I look like I’ve got some sort of pioneer smallpox. I have been bitten so many times since the snow melted and the bastard bugs appeared that I hardly even notice it anymore. I’m like one of those rattlesnake preachers: “Repent or face eternal toe knuckle itchiness!”

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Monday’s Quotelet: I Share the Road

by Dave on June 9, 2008

in

mexico-bike-race-accident
Mexican motorists’ adoption of the dedicated bicycle lane law was slow at best.

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A pal ‘o mine has just launched a website designed to create a petition against, and awareness surrounding, a proposed internet tax which could be implemented shortly after the election in November. McCain has already denounced it, and I imagine Obama will follow suit – so it’s not really a dividing issue. Still, you should be aware of it and I hope you take the time today to sign your name.

internet-tax

The tax will actually be aimed at ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and they will no doubt pass those additional monies on to you – their customers. So you’re not only sounding off on a current event, you’re helping to ensure your internet bill doesn’t suffer a considerable increase about 6 months from now. It literally takes seconds to contribute a signature – Mr. Zarrella strove to make it as simple as possible. Your email addresses will not be sold, distributed or otherwise spammed in any way. Do it today, and keep your many hours spent on YouPorn.com as inexpensive as possible.

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Hot Scum

by Dave on June 5, 2008

in Canadiana,Pye in the Face

It’s been awfully quiet around here this week, and I’m not too certain why. My head wasn’t in the game, I suppose. I am trying to eliminate a lot of the things I spend time doing that don’t make me money. Silly websites, controlling Nico Bellic, Forensic files, etc. This is all in the hopes that I will spend said time doing constructive things. Working on sites that may actually make money someday or already do, yard work, walking the puppies. I think authoring this website, as scattered and therefore un-monetizeable as it is, falls into the latter category, as it’s the closest thing to a head-shrinker I’ll see round these here parts.

This reminds me of a post I wrote about three years ago, which I can’t seem to find for the life of me, where I spoke to my blog as if I were a douchebag boyfriend. “You’re my blog, baby. And I love you. Don’t listen to them busybodies down at the hair salon. I’m not going anywhere, baby… cause I love you.” Well tonight I’m that same scumbag slinking back to further ruin the life of the naive young lass. “It won’t happen again, baby. I’ve changed, baby – I’ve changed!”

I haven’t changed, and neither will Lorenzo. Truth is – it’s getting hot. Damn hot up here and I think I’ll be spending a lot more time at the computer over the next 4 months. People think Canada is cold. Well it is – a lot frickin’ further far North than I currently live. In Southern Ontario it’s no cooler than the hot asphalt of the North End between the months of June and October, and I don’t do well in the heat. I sweat like a fat person. OK, like a much fatter person. So I’ll be inside quite a bit, in the cool air of the basement office I plan to construct this weekend, and therefore a little more prolific. You lucky people.

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