Unique Facts.

I created an Amazon Wish List for myself to help me remember stuff I want to remember to buy at some point. Sadly, I do not own a “cam”, and thus cannot be a “cam whore” and expect lonely, creepy strangers to buy things for me. My burdens, they are many… (I do find it fantastic that one person can have multiple wish lists.)

However, there’s a category for “Unique Facts” about myself. What the hell am I supposed to put in there? Help me out here, people. Make shit up for all I care. Long as it’s “unique”.

Body Thing.

Eternal blessings on the head of Jo for passing this along.

The Lemon Frog Shop.

In an alternate universe where I am tall and skinny, I would never wear anything but the black-and-white Harlequin catsuit (oh, sorry, “Body Thing”) from the first picture, and those badass white boots from the fifth picture. And the fish necklace. And the newsboy cap. Goddamn.

“…bonded polyester wool-look Jumpers”. Orlon. May God have mercy on us all… 😀

Two companies enter. One company leaves.

At this point, most people with even a vague interest in technology or business, at least those who ever crack a newspaper or RSS reader, have at least heard about the ongoing RIM vs NTP battle. I pretty much leave it to people more invested, or interested, than I am, but I gotta say, this article was awesome: Patently Absurd.

It’s got more backstory than any coverage I’ve read to date. Andrew said it was a four-page monster spread in yesterday’s Globe. Really, it’s a dramatic epic of 80s evening soap opera proportions. I have my own opinions on things, but they’re unimportant.

What I find most fascinating are the cultural “tells” inherent in the story. For example, along with complaining about the weather and putting way too much stock in hockey games, Canadians cling tightly to Tall Poppy Syndrome. (Sorry, Australians, you name it more readily than we do, but it’s definitely a cultural aspect in which we are similar.) RIM has gotten most of the bad press and badmouthing in this case, and I am convinced a good part of it is because there is only one “winner” in the case. The story takes pains to show both Mike L and Mr. Campana having similar origins. Hardworking geeks with a passion for invention. However, two roads diverged… Mike L spun his passion into a multi-billion-dollar company, and Mr. Campana… didn’t. And on top of that, Mike L and Co. haven’t had the “humility” to apologize for success. To offer to share their good fortune. To acknowledge the value of the competing claim by refusing to say their work and accomplishment is worth any less than anyone else’s. Hell, Mr. Campana’s premature death makes the fight now for his family’s sake. It’s the stuff of PR dreams… or nightmares.

Additionally, the story shows what we shall call… geek priorities (works for engineers, too, though they’re typically geeks as well). Geeks want to work, they want to tinker. To build, invent, get it working, then make it better. They don’t want to worry about paperwork or making nice with suits or listening to lawyers or crafting “vision” or “spin”. And a lot of RIM’s mistakes in this case reflect that. The mistakes have been chalked up almost invariably to arrogance. And I’m sure there is some. Great things are not built by average or unambitious people. But there are many kinds of attitude, and some of them are obscured by the pervasiveness of cynicism.

I also find the fairly frequent use of the word “bully” or “bullying” in the coverage entertaining, because, as noted, the main characters in this story are geeks, and who gets bullied more often or mercilessly (at least in youth) than geeks? My God, geeks who become bullies? Could there be any greater social treason?! Geeks are supposed to look out for each other! 🙂 Oh, wait, this story is taking place within the Thunderdome of business. And the bigger the business, the more scarce the sense of community, cameraderie, or mentorship you typically find. (At least in my experience.)

And so, at the end of the day (or lawsuit), I don’t think RIM is going out of business any time soon. I think very powerful people (and overpaid execs, and gadget junkies, and geeks…) will remain CrackBerry addicts. I think Sherry will still run across Mike L in socks and sandals in the unidentifiable tinkering doodads aisle at Canadian Tire. I think a lot of rich lawyers are going to get very, very rich. I think that smoking will continue to kill people – like Mr. Campana. And I think that governments and the legal system will continue to be slow and cumbersome and will continue to displease most of the people most of the time.

Wanna bet a patent on it?

I don’t really know what to write here…

One of the main reasons for the longevity of my enamoured relationship with the internet is that it’s always handing me something new, or at least a new way to look at things I already know. It also offers up fantastic people-watching and all the opportunities for psychological analysis that a girl could ask for.

Over time, internet technologies become faster, more efficient, and more functional. Online dating appears to be no exception. I don’t recall it being quite so… pragmatic. It seems to be down to a science now. Though I notice the attempts at sneaking Hotmail addresses into ads hasn’t gotten any more sophisticated. Alas, the only science I was ever much good at is biology, so it’s going to take me some time to figure this out. (Do I even want to?)

I had mentally compared what I’ve been seeing to a business deal, or an interview. But that isn’t quite right. In a business deal or interview, there are a lot of non-verbal cues and unspoken analyses and whatnot, same as in navigating the waters of online dating, but there are also a lot of questions you can’t legally ask. Not so in online dating. You might offend someone, but really, anything goes. You want what you want, be prepared to pony up the goods (in this case, information).

It’s more like giving blood. I show up to donate and they can ask me anything about my background that they want. What or who I’ve put in my body. Where I’ve lived. How I’ve earned a living. What I might have contracted or been treated for. I’ve not only been asked similar questions online by people I’ve never met, I’ve been handed all kinds of opinions and unsolicited advice on my choices in life. (Fyi, 99% guys do not understand remaining friends with exes, and they will think that means you’re still hung up, and they will be threatened.) All I can say is, thank the deities for my love of dork factor. I don’t get any sense of goofiness in the initial conversation, it ain’t going anywhere.

Of course, photos speed up the selection/discard process. Which is fair enough. We are a visual species, and it’s the main factor in the basis of attraction. It’s also, of course, the first place you find lying. I don’t remember so many guys posting pictures of their torsos only in the past. Yes, you have abs. And appear to spend more time on hair removal than any woman I know… Much entertainment is to be found in the choice of photo. Frequently crude cropping takes places, and so fragments of ex-significant others and/or offspring can be seen. That never stops being funny. 🙂

The pithy one-liner intro has lesser importance, though for some people it can be a good sorting criterion. For example, if you’re me, anything with egregious spelling or grammar errors or the use of abbreviations of the “how r u 2day?” variety is an automatic discard. I mean, I date geeks, I expect a certain lack of spelling expertise, but communication style says a lot about who you’re dealing with. Almost no one has a good opening line.

Of course, you can get a better idea of someone once you actually get into the profile, but really, by the time you start reading, your mind is already 99% made up. (The preset questions are just confirmations, really. Sorry, fat chicks.) Besides, most of the profiles? Boring. So. Very. Boring. Did you know everyone is honest, open, outgoing, average, and likes fun? Movies and bottles of wine are very popular. Did you know everyone is incredibly athletic and fit? Did you know that if you admit to not being the same you will not exist? I feel terrible for all those lonely hot people.

To date, I’m not sure what a better dating option is. Moody and difficult, and antisocial as I can be, I don’t actually like being single (though really I should be pretty good at it by now). I’ve never had friends or family try to set me up with someone they know. But hell, my own mother has told me I’m intimidating. Plus, see “sorry, fat chicks”. The kind of guys I like? They’re here. On computers. They don’t like bars any more than I do. They tell you to volunteer at something that interests you. I do. There are very few men at the Humane Society, and among the volunteers the males are young enough for me to have birthed them. Maybe if Larry and Sergei get bored they can turn their attentions to how to introduce introverts to each other.

Random photo goodness.

cooter6 license plate

I’m not sure what the more immediate question is here: “Why?” or “There are potentially at least five other “COOTERS” out there?” (Which would lead back to: “Why?”)

pigy bank

This is my piggy bank. He’s badass. Even if you can buy him at Chapters. And he comes in blue.

cat destroyed feather

Sadly, this is what passes for play in my bed these days… 🙂

Address to the Haggis

So Robbie Burns Night was a lot of fun. Good food, good company, good whiskey, way too much dancing.

So this was the night’s schedule:

evening's festivities

Hosted by this guy: Stefan Schuster

Yes, that’s a man in tartan vest and proper socks and… shorts. He’s also the head dude of An Quaich.

Oh, and this guy hosted, too. He’s supposed to be Robbie Burns – get it?

Robbie Burns' ghost

And here are our hosts together, doing a bit of their charming, sexist banter… wasn’t that a treat!

Stefan and Robbie

And clearly my photographic abilities last night were so good because of this:

table of glasses

That’s three shots of scotch and a glass of a rather unusual but tasty zinfandel (that had a certain “dirtiness” that went well with whiskey…)

And while the scotch was the pivotal element of the evening, supposedly, we can see here in his surly countenance and death grip just where Andrew’s loyalties lay:

Andrew with wine glass

How he was supposed to properly smell the scotch with those tiny nostrils, I have no idea. It was entertaining enough watching him try to stick his nose in the glass. (Fortunately, the wine glasses were about the size of his head, which made appreciation of the bouquet pretty easy.)

The piper was an intense dude. Fortunately they occasionally gave him a break by letting the dancers dance to… Great Big Sea?

Piper

There was a lot of dancing. Starting with this:

Hoochie dancers

Yeah, I don’t get it, either. Especially when they started rolling on the floor. But that was just for starters…

Swiss Chalet waitress dancer

Your guess on the Swiss Chalet waitress dancer is as good as mine… We had a bit of drag king action, though, too….

Sailors dancing the hornpipe

Eventually things got more traditional… For a very long time…

sword dancers

Eventually we ate. Quite tasty, guinea hen and haggis. Don’t like haggis. Too “organ-y”:

dinner - hen and haggis

And to cap it all off, an artsy shot: single malt by candlelight…

single malt by candlelight

The evening began amusingly – the piper was practising downstairs and blocked me from getting into the ladies room. So I went into the men’s, much to the amusement of the kitchen staff. The actual Scots in the room were pretty testy about how the host was pronouncing Scottish words. For the record, it’s “Dum-FREES”, “bard”, and “Rab”. Heh. Mr. Burns had nay accent ta speak of, but he was a good sport. I TOTALLY want to stab a haggis now. The whiskeys we sampled were pretty clearly chosen to appeal to the curious drinker, rather than the seasoned scotch afficionado. The first and third had no peat to speak of, and the middle one was not so infused that I couldn’t drink it. No Islays. We met an older couple when we were leaving, and I believe he was the former Convenor of An Quaich, and he said he’s got a collection of 86 bottles of single malt – none of which are available in Canada. Good on ya. I wouldn’t want any of them. 🙂 The evening closed with an impromptu singing of Auld Lang Syne.

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

In honour of that which I will attempt to eat this evening…

Address To A Haggis

Robert Burns, 1786

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!
Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o’need,
While thro’ your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An’ cut you up wi’ ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin’, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an’ strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi’ perfect sconner,
Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither’d rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro’ blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll mak it whissle;
An’ legs an’ arms, an’ hands will sned,
Like taps o’ trissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o’ fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer
Gie her a haggis!