London Ontario Canada

July 7, 2011

Telephone Should Be An Essential Service

On Monday July 4th my phone, internet and cable were disconnected. I listed them in order of importance. My phone is connected to the intercom five floors below. I cannot buzz anyone up, nor can I call for an EMS if there is an emergency. This leads me to think a phone should be an essential service.

Cutting off the phone is also a dumb plan because now I cannot even talk to Rogers if I did in fact want to make everything right with them.

I lost my services primarily because I cannot afford them. I allowed to reduce them to make them more affordable. My services also went up about $70, making catching up a lot harder to do. Rogers. Do you know them? If you deal with them I strongly advise you to shop around for another service. Any other service. If you are a lawyer type, I strongly suggest you pay attention. I am sure there is a class action lawsuit in there somewhere. I’ll sign up.

Rogers has a strange way of billing their packages. My last package was basic phone with 1 feature, ultra highspeed internet (more for the 80gb cap than the speed) and VIP cable because it includes The Leafs channel and The Golf Channel. That package, with a 30% discount for 3 years given after the last time I tried to leave, cost about $125 a month. (If you are with Rogers and have been for a few years, call and make like you want to reduce or give up services or whatever works to suggest you might be bailing, and they will offer you 30% off. Maybe just calling and saying you know about the 30% will work)

That $124 is for the package.

Here’s how Rogers gets evil and perhaps illegal. At some point Rogers decides to take away your package. You still keep all your options, even the ones you didn’t want but took because they were in the package, but pay for them individually. That is how my bill went up $70 a month. This can almost be accepted if they told you as soon as it happened. I know they can because they can tell me daily what my bandwidth usage is and send a pop-up message on-screen to tell me when I hit 75%. The worst part is that one cannot reduce services (like drop cable) for a few months so as to catch up with the bill. The debt grows faster and options for making it manageable are only available when you have a zero balance. Something in that business model is not right.

I have lived here for over 13 years and this is the 1st time I have been cut-off, but not the first time I have been in debt to Rogers. This debt is a few hundred dollars less than the last time I came close to a total shutdown. In fact, I should still have services but I missed a step. Based on years of experience I thought I knew they system. First they would call (maybe mail something but I don’t read Rogers mail because it is always just advertising. I got bills online) and a recorded message would say to call Rogers. When that call is made, that starts the clock. If you ignore that call (a few times a day) eventually you will get a notice hand delivered saying to pay up by a certain date (often days after notice is given) or be disconnected. This is where you would call Rogers and make arrangements to pay down your bill. You promise to pay specific amounts on specific days. Usually it is more than you can afforded and sooner than you can manage it, but at least it’s a final option. I missed the notice step or they stopped doing that.

I did get a visit from Rogers on Monday. I was heading out, the phone rang indicating someone was buzzing up. I answered and the voice said Rogers. I suspected it was the notice and said “I’ll be right down” and was answered with an “ok”. As usual I took the stairs down and when I got to the lobby there was nobody there. Nobody was outside and I saw no signs of a Rogers van. I went back in and the elevator was on my floor. Did he go up? I called the elevator and waited. When it arrived there were four people aboard. Three I recognized. There was a guy with a clip board. I made eye contact and got a blank stare back so up I went. Nobody upstairs so that was likely him. No waiting required, I took the elevator down again to meet the same results as the first time. Nobody and no sighting of a service van.

Perhaps I should have spoken to the man with the clip board upon first sighting. In my defence he didn’t look like a Rogers guy. He wore worn shorts and an untucked, unkempt short-sleeved shirt and the paper on the clip board did not have a Rogers logo…or any logo for that matter. I waited around a bit and still no sighting so I went to the store as I originally intended before he buzzed. I figured I’d get home and find the final notice in my mail slot or stuck on my door. Sometimes the just stick them up by the buzzer panel. I suspect with the intentions of embarrassing you in front of your neighbours. There was no notice anywhere to be found. What was to be found was no phone, internet or cable.

I have since gone to my neighbours and called Distributel. I have heard good things about them and intended to call them next time my Rogers bill was at a zero balance. Odds are I wouldn’t though, because I would be complacent. I am telling you now not to be. Switch away from Rogers asap. If not just to save money, then to send a message that their gouging won’t be tolerated. The bandwidth caps alone should be enough to sway you. They charge $5 for each gig over the cap. Do they credit you if you are under? Of course not.

With Distributel I will be getting highspeed broadband (through cable not phone) internet with unlimited bandwidth and a phone service with all the features for under $70 including HST. There is no contract and no hidden charges. $57.40 plus HST and that is all.

What will I be missing? Cable. Distributel does not do cable and I am facing North so cannot use any dish services. I can watch movies and TV shows online, just not “live” and Netflix is only $7.99 a month. I will miss watching Leafs games. I’ll miss watching them a lot. That is about the only bad hit in all of this. I know I can pay to watch them stream but it wouldn’t be the same as the familiar telecasts I grew up with. I’ll figure something out by October 7. If I switched my ISP I could have retained my phone number, but since I was out of service I have to get a new one. I also have a new email. That makes for a lot of changes to logins and contacts, a lot of which I will forget about. I guess if I forget to tell someone my new addy or phone # they’ll track me down. I can look at is as way of cleaning out unused services or people long moved on.

This is a blessing in disguise, so I tell myself and my son repeatedly as we live out the next couple of weeks awaiting Distributel’s equipment and technician (they Rogers technicians, oddly enough). It is a kind of house arrest with all services taken. With the flick of a switch life changes, but I’ll write about that later.

July 3, 2011

About A Guy On A Plane With a Scorpion

Filed under: World — Tags: , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:38 am

Yesterday a friend was telling me about a news story she heard about a scorpion on a plane. Her view, plus our extrapolated views had us laughing a lot. Eventually I Googled it and clicked on the first link I found. I felt fortunate to have found Jeff Ellis himself telling his story. If you want the true story, after all, just go to the source, right?

 

Watching this, my friend kept saying “this isn’t how I heard it”. She had heard, and we both imaged, a bit more freaking out and chaos. As Ellis tells it, and he should know, it was just a minor inconvenience. This got us to talking about “news” and how easy people can change it in the retelling so we looked at another random report to see their slant.

In this video there is an entirely different view from the girlfriend at the 1:05 mark  (but watch the whole thing). This story also goes on to say that a scorpion is not the only stowaway reported and they have video proof. Apparently a menagerie of  critters have attempted to get a free flight, including a penguin, cheetah and otter. Go figure. What happened to passenger screening, eh?

The differences are not hard to understand if you go back to the ending of the Ellis video. It clearly states he was well compensated by the airline. He appeared to be quite the happy camper. I am sure by now this “generosity” has reached the girlfriend and other passengers as well. I wonder what the cap is on this airline’s budget for avoiding bad press?

Here’s another soft version I found. It is an animation video of said event. I include it only because I liked the animation. There are quite a few stories and later I’ll look for blogs from other passengers if any are available. (feel free to link to any in the comments section) to see what other views I can gather. Here’s the Google search on Jeff Ellis Scorpion in case you want to look into it further.

All this got me thinking of the news and how so few stories are actually reported unbiased. Our news has become editorials. We have to read 4-5 different articles from a wide variety of sources just to begin seeing all sides. In my opinion all sides should be investigated before a story goes to print. Leave the speculation, self-interest, and plain bullshit reporting to bloggers. By the end of this my friend and I were talking about the movie Wag The Dog in which a Hollywood war is produced and shown as fact to cover up a President’s misdeeds. Since watching that way back when, I have had a great distrust for the news and what they present as fact. Sure it was just a movie, but real life is often much stranger than fiction, and history has proven that politicians and the press have few limits when it comes to making the masses accept their point of view.

If we want to educate ourselves and be current with events we cannot blanket the media with distrust, but a strong dose of skepticism is not a bad thing. “I read it in the newspaper so it must be true” are words that should never enter your mind.

July 2, 2011

The Storm

Filed under: Uncategorized — thatguyinlondon @ 7:49 pm

The Death Of A Friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — thatguyinlondon @ 12:29 pm

Last night my 13 year old cat passed away. I had just seen her yesterday and she seemed fine. She was rolling in a sunny spot looking all kitten-like. She had runny eyes and I wondered about that but gave it little thought as I was more wrapped up in me. I have to imagine she passed in peace, maybe with Canada Day fireworks as a send off.

I was lost as to what to do. Without calling to find out I knew I could not afford to have her body disposed of in a legal fashion, yet do not own a shovel or more importantly a backyard, which is where I would prefer to lay her to rest. My thoughts of borrowing a shovel and finding a secluded wooden area conflicted with my fears of being caught and arrested. It’s sad that the right thing (legal) is the most expensive. It is no wonder crimes are committed. For the purpose of this public writing, let it be stated that I have found a way of laying Lucy to rest without breaking the law.

It is odd. My mom passed away after a long bout with cancer. Maybe because it was expected or maybe because of my personal view on death, but I did not shed any tears. She was at peace, finally, after years of suffering. Yet, I shed tears for Lucy. It wasn’t because I loved Lucy more than my mom. That I know. Perhaps it was the suddenness of it all. There were no warning signs. There was no period of philosophical thought and mental preparing a long illness offers.

My son is away for a week visiting his mom. I didn’t know if I should call or not. There was no bringing her back and no need for him to end his vacation early and share in my sadness. Then again, if I didn’t call it opened the door for the wrong decision. I called but he was still asleep. Another dilemma. Should I have her wake him, or wait until later? Again, my choice would be to wake, and again if I was wrong in my choice there was no taking it back. I had her awaken him, we talked a bit and agreed there was no need for him to come home.

I am in a strange head space right now. Death does not generally effect me. It is the circle of life some say. Shit happens, other say. It is what it is, I say. If there are souls or spirits they are long gone by the time the carcass is found. A body is a body. It will decompose in time. If there is a spirit it will go to where it is meant to go regardless of what actions I take. Any actions we do take are for ourselves and the living.

Lucy is gone. Though she was not the friendliest cat in the world she was a part of our household and will be missed. Sam the dog and Minnie Mew our other cat do bot seem to be effected at all. I find that odd, but again, it is what it is. Rest in peace Lucy. I hope we helped make your time on earth pleasant.

June 25, 2011

if I WON THE LOTTERY

Filed under: London — Tags: — thatguyinlondon @ 10:28 pm

Earlier this Saturday I had a single $10 bill to my name. I spent $5 at Price Choppers for a can of ravioli ($1), a tomato for a sandwich ($0.52), a 1.5L tub of maple walnut ice cream (only $2, bargain!) and a pack of hotdogs ($1) for my dog Sam. I also bought a 371ml thingy of Irish Cream coffee flavouring ($1.99) so I can tolerate instant coffee. I then spent the last $3 on a Lotto 649 ticket for tonight’s $11 million draw.

(cue in dream-like music) 11 million dollars….what would I do with it?

2 million would go to my existence, calculating 50K a year for 40 years, assuming I live to be 95.

2 million would go in trust for my son paying him 50k a year when he is 40. Prior to that he would still live with me and go to school and/or work.

1 million would be there just for me to blow.  I think I’d take a buddy to Vegas to see if I really could do well as a professional poker player, I’d travel a bit or maybe just buy into a golf course. I’d give a bunch away just because I could.

That leaves 6 million for a dream I have been harbouring for about 10 years. It would be called The ******* *** Foundation, named after my son. This foundation would be a benevolent organization with the sole purpose of helping those in need. Not just the poor. Say someone had the dream of starting a small business but couldn’t get the capital. My organization would give it to them. Give it, not loan. There wouldn’t be a whole lot of  red tape and delay, they’d just get it if the idea sounded like it stood a chance. All the Foundation would ask for was say 10% of net profits…forever. If the business fails we lose, if it succeeds the Foundation gets money into the kitty. I am sure money could be raised with fundraisers and stuff like that too. The Foundation would build/buy residences for the homeless and poor. Scattered in all areas of the city so as to NOT create a ghetto, with rents geared to income with a reasonable cap so if successful people wouldn’t have to move if they didn’t want to. It would offer clothes for job interviews or tools for employment. It would offer food and showers for those who needed them or whatever was leg up was needed.

To slow the influx of the needy moving to London or people lining up for assistance there would be one simple rule. Ask and you will not get. The Foundation would have a team of trusted people out and about seeking out those in need. Sure the plan is flimsy. It’s only a dream after all, but if I had the money I would “waste” it trying to make it work. If nothing else it would employ a lot of people (staff) who would be paid well, but not outrageously and all would get the same no matter what their position. By today’s standards I’d say 30K a year plus housing.

Overall I would like to create a for profit organization with a working model that would put so-called non-profit organizations to shame. A 6 mil opening donation helps, but hopefully it would be self-sufficient before that money ran out.

Jobs. I’d want to be in the job making business. I’d want to be in the helping people business. Most of all I’d want to be in the “see you assholes, this is how people with money should conduct themselves” business.

Oh sure it’s all easy to say. I haven’t won the money and odds are strong I won’t. Still, if I had a shitload of money it would stay in London and help Londoners without interference from City Hall. Maybe I’d even be able to help the whole city by just paying some tab the city incurred so they wouldn’t have to gouge it out of the citizens.

Look, it’s just about time to check the ticket.

Oh yeah, and I’d have a job for  my Twitter friends I have not yet met and anyone who posts a comment on this blog. :P

Okay….so what would YOU do?

June 23, 2011

Stuff I Meant To Type But Didn’t and Carfree Saturday

Filed under: London — Tags: , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:44 am

I got this title from another potential blog title that passed through my thoughts: Tweets I Never Twittered. I think of my best mega-favestarfest tweets when I am away from the computer, like when I am in the shower. By the time I get back to my chair the tweet is gone. The same thing goes with blog posts. I think of some brilliant topics and even write them in my head; usually when out walking. By the time I get home, like the shower tweets they are all fragmented or gone. I posted the Tweets I Never Twittered title on Twitter as a “Working blog title” tweet, so maybe it has already been published. I should Google that to see how many people thought about it before I did. Whatever, original thought is very, very rare.

Yesterday the first Tweet I read was about George Carlin. It was something about if he were alive he’d own us all on Twitter. It didn’t take a mental debate to agree with that sentiment. Yeah, he’d own. The point is my first thought was, George Carlin is dead? I praise all your respective Gods for Google. A quick glance showed he died on June 22.  That worked in my favour. I had yet to read the news (I include blogs when I say news) so how was I to know he died that morning? When I Google I am lazy. I just scan with my eyes for keywords in relation to whatever I am trying to research. In this case it was the day, not the year so I missed the 2008 bit. So,the tweet was an homage. Well played, sir. My 10 minutes of confusion was for a good cause.

Carfreefest <– Look, I added some colour. Go me!

My plans and intentions for Carfree Saturday were to go down early, help out some, then meet up with the twitter pack and hang out through the evening’s entertainment. On Twitter, the MET was giving away table space and I thought it would be cool to hang a @thatguyinlondon #freegolf sign, just to engage people in conversation. That would have worked, I think. Instead I felt I need more purpose than that so I figured the #freegolf would be what got the most attention, so I called the course and got a bunch of pamphlets, passes and trinkets. I packed up a bag and bussed my way downtown.

Let me interrupt with this. I got off the bus at Richmond and Oxford to transfer onto a bus going south on Richmond. There were two there and another pulling in as the light finally changed. I was weighted down, I couldn’t run and all three buses pulled away before I got there. I looked back up Richmond and there wasn’t another bus in sight. I still had an hour on the transfer so stuck it in the schedule sign for someone else to use and walked. That’ll teach ‘em!

Back to Carfree. When I got to the MET I strolled around and started getting the idea that it was not a golf venue. It was arts and crafts, design and not sporty at all. Nothing wrong with that, bu I started getting the feeling of not fitting in. But, I said I’d be there so I hunted down a person in charge. I was shown a table at the front by the door, not far from a band performing. An electric band. It was around 1pm and they were finishing up around 3, so I went off to offer my services to the festival saying I would return.

There were two duties offered to me. One was manning the information booth, the other was to go to a side street location and keep an eye out for trouble. There was something about liability and spotters were required. That sounded helpful so I asked for more detail. There wasn’t any. I asked what would I do if there were trouble and was told to let her know. How. I asked. run a few blocks and tell you? Yes, was the reply. I opted out of that one. I didn’t want to be a mannequin for the sake of satisfying an insurance company. Besides, if there were trouble, there are plenty enough cell phones the proper services would be notified long before I schlepped 3 blocks to say call 911. I took the Information Booth gig.

This too was right beside a band. At first the band played classical and all was good. Then a solo acoustic guitar player/singer. That was good too. Then it got electrical. Though the bands were excellent and I enjoyed watching them, they made the giving of any information impossible.  That duty became more of making sure the programs and pamphlets didn’t blow off the table. Someone had tapped them down, but there must have only been the slightest breeze so they did so lightly.

The loud music didn’t start until about 4:30 (I had completely forgotten about the MET and #freegolf) and I spent my time standing and foisting programs upon people. Most shied from my offering until I said “free program”. When I first walked by the booth I just glanced down to see what it was about. There were no indications it was an Information Booth or that the stacks of weighted down papers were programs. I swear, my first glance made me think of those gas providers that go door to door selling service plans. I think it was the colour of blue mostly, but also the sense of shadiness by not being obvious of purpose.

I met a few Twitterers. That was really exciting and welcome. I must say though, that few looked liked there pictures. But to be fair, Twitter avatar pictures are quite tiny and my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I met one Twitter that I had wanted to meet for a long time. He was one of my first”local stranger”  follows. The bummer part of that was I barely remember. I didn’t even know I had met him until he tweeted that it was nice to meet me there. You can imagine how embarrassing that was. I didn’t admit it. I covered and said it was nice to meet him too. It was. I do recall the meet in a hazy fashion. We were both on our way somewhere with purpose, so it was very brief. In hindsight though, I wish I knew it was him I was meeting when I did. I would have changed my priorities and spoke more.

Around 4:00 I was joined in the booth by Gina Barber. We talked local and provincial government until the bands began to play. It was a great pleasure meeting her and talking with her.  I think if not muted by the band, we could have talked all shift. I would have liked that.

Sometime around six, after Gina had left, a couple came to relieve me of my duties. I schlepped my 50 lbs of golf literature back to the MET to find it was closed. Ooops. I hope they weren’t counting on me. Not that I can see why they would. But I did say I would be back and I was disappointed in myself for possibly disappointing someone else. I took my poundage back to the booth to stash it under the table. Armed with my camera I wandered about. I saw the water park for the first time in ages and thought it a great scene. It was a hot day, and though late, much fun was being had by a good number of people.

I eventually went back to the booth and the couple left early. They were not so keen on sitting in a booth that served little to no purpose. I stayed there until 8 or so. I liked it there because even though I wasn’t serving a purpose, I had the sense of purpose. I had a perceived reason to sit there, as opposed to wandering around aimlessly. The closure of the booth was when my day/night started to fall apart. I had intended to give away the bulk of the weight I was carrying. That never happened so whatever I was going to do I had to do with about 50lbs of weight digging into my shoulder and amplifying the force of gravity. It made me think Roy McDonald must be a very strong man.

My new intention was to pass time until 9 and go see Fusion Forge (?) in front of the Bell Building. My wandering led me to Snoop Dogg’s encampment. I was surprised by the level of security. Everyone was being physically searched. Quite thoroughly, too. The whole stage area was blacked out by fence so those without a ticket could not steal a glance. It was only a 7 or 8 foot fence, so standing on a curb and tip[ toes afforded a peak. I shot some pictures with my camera held high. I would have snapped quite a few good ones had it not been for the cursed setting sun. Of about 50 shots taken, maybe three really turned out. None of Snoop. All this lasted maybe 20 minutes. I walked up to Vic Park to see the Kid’s Expo. It was wonderfully quiet and cuss free, compared to Snoop up the street. There was a woman singing onstage with a cute little girl, maybe 5 years old, dancing about. I watched for a while and wandered on.

It was now about quarter to 9. I had yet to hook up with anyone. I was tired from carrying the weight and standing at the far northwest corner of Vic Park. To the south, a  goodly number of blocks, was the Bell Building and the musical blacksmiths I was interested in hearing. To the north, quite a few more blocks was home. I rationalized that by adding the walk back south and north again to where I stood then home, was likely farther than just walking home from there. Being without cash or bus ticket I knew I was walking. So that’s what I did. I schlepped that weight on my tired frame to Adelaide and Huron. For the rest of the night I tried to talk myself into going back after lightening my load. The tweets I read made me feel I was missing out on a lot of fun but my energy level, or inspiration level was too low to get me up and out. Regret is too strong a word for this occasion, but I do ponder that I made the wrong choice. It seemed a day full of them beginning  with thinking I needed more than just me to justify standing in the MET. Just me would have been a better fit without the golf trappings. Just me could have talked about Twitter, social media and golf just by using the #freegolf hashtag. Lesson learned. Next event I will go unencumbered with gear or preconceived plans. I’ll just go, and go with the flow.

Blogs in gerneral:

I read a lot of blogs. Most inspire a lot of thought. That is a good thing. What I find most blogs lack is a “READ” button. That read in he past tense as in I have read this blog. As far as I can tell, on most blogs, the only way to acknowledge reading it is to leave a comment. Sometimes I am not ready to comment or have nothing to say. Still, I want to let the blogger know they have been read and their efforts are not futile. All I am suggesting is a wee counter button, clickable by all, whether registered or not. This blog doesn’t have one. It has a STATS page with counters, but that counts bots as well. So if you do read this and other blogs, take the time to type at least: Thanks for sharing.

My last blog post was a train wreck of an idea. Well, not the idea itself but the presentation. I tried to be cute and creative. I guess I better stick to plain and simple. I’ll repost that concept in a separate blog later and hopefully do so without garnering emails that say simply, “Huh?”.

I have yet to read my emails or Tweets so have no idea what today holds for me. Now seems like a good time to do that. Cheers.

June 20, 2011

Exposing My Hidden Agenda

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 1:48 am

Catchy title. I wonder what I’ll do with it? I often don’t know what I am going to type until I start typing. I opened this page to talk about my GREAT BIG IDEA for municipal (at least) “community engagement”. hen I got sidetracked while opening this blog editor. I got thinking about Carfreefest last weekend. I gotta’ type about that before the thoughts drift a way as I suspect they will.

Digressing further….thoughts are such fleeting little things. Not all may be as brilliant as one (me) might think; some are just undeveloped. I figure if I toss enough of them out, some may stick. If I toss out thoughts to those with the ability to act on them, they may take them and run. Fair enough. It’s the thought that counts. And hey, even thoughts that aren’t so brilliant have value. Provoking thought is fine by me.

So what about this hidden agenda thing? Later…..

I am a guy without much of value, yet I have this major league jones on for giving stuff away. Now all I got are my thoughts, concepts, ideas, ramblings…whatever you want to call them. I have been often criticized for giving away thoughts and/or not putting a value on my time. Putting a value on our time takes away from giving, from helping and from being a community. Yet, we all have bills to pay.

Hidden agenda is just about here.

That all said I am going to charge for my time for this formulating concept I have. The initial disclosure is going to be limited to 5 people. My fee will be a meal and three pints of beer (may be substituted). How these five decide to cover the fee amoungst them is entirely up to them. If five cannot be achieved the fee fall upon four, three,two or one. Less than one and the event will be cancelled.

Preview: This concept revolves entirely around community engagement. Maybe a bit of taking over the world, but that would be after four pints.

Here’s the hidden agenda bit, if I haven’t lost the thought I had when I started typing this.

Virtually everyone has some kind of hidden agenda. I do too. My agenda for selling my time is to get people’s attention. In this case five. Are there five people out there willing to take a chance that I might actually have something to say in my round about way? Part of my agenda is to draw attention to community engagement.  I picked the meal and beer thing because the people I am interacting with seem to have a penchant for such places. I can’t argue with them. The meat of my hidden agenda is that I don’t really have a hidden agenda. If you want to know why I am doing what I am doing ask. If I know I’ll tell you. Maybe I latched on to the whole transparency thing and maybe I am getting carried away with this whole community engagement stuff.  My bottom line agenda with nothing hidden is to make an honest and open positive difference. I cannot do it alone and cannot do it with five, but it’s a start.

Date of meeting TBA.

 

June 19, 2011

Making Fun Of Netiquette

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — thatguyinlondon @ 9:32 pm

I was reading a blog or news post and in the comments was someone linked to Netiquette and/or Netiquette.net. I am not sure why but I went to have a look. Listed were a number of social media “rules”. The first was to always proofread and spell check. That seemed reasonable enough. I don’t do that so I didn’t click and read. Near the bottom of the list was one titled “Never Send Email at Night”. That was interesting enough to click and read.

It went on and on about how if you send an email between 10pm and 6am people may think less of you because of some wonky lifestyle. The article goes on to imply that anyone not asleep during those hours is somehow not trustworthy. Their lifestyle is in question. Not sure where Netiquette came up with this. That may have been true maybe 50 years ago. Now hours mean nothing. It’s a 24/7 world and people have to work regardless of what the clock has to say. As if that wasn’t enough to make me wonder why I was still reading I came across a great little gem. Meaning to type email, the Netiquette author typed emal. An innocent enough typo, unless your number one social media blunder listed is proofread and spell check.

I would have just commented on the website but there wasn’t a comment section. I could have posted on their wall in Facebook but it was either disabled or you had to LIKE the page and that wasn’t going to happen. They are on Twitter but I had more than 140 characters worth of fun to poke. Besides that, if I tweeted about them they might tweet back and I am not sure I want that either. So I blogged. My blogs allowed comments. So if Netiquette wants to comment they can feel free to do so.

I really should be posting this at some ungodly hour since I didn’t proofread it either, but now is now and that is when I post. One of the social media MUSTS was be honest. How honest is it to time sending emails so you trick your readers into thinking they were written at a reasonable hour?

June 18, 2011

The Perils of Not Getting Out Much

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 10:01 am

I don’t get out much. I am not a total recluse, but my sallies forth are limited to walks, the dog park, Timmies, Price Choppers and the occasional errand elsewhere. And golf. Let’s not forget that! I used to get out all the time. There were periods in my life where out was where I spent most of my time. Being in (home) was only for sleep, changing and parties. Oh yes, thatguy was once a partier. Every bartender knew me on sight and it wasn’t a bad thing. Those were the good old days. Or were they? I spent money as fast as I got it. That is pretty much the same now, only then it was booze, dining,booze and parties and booze, now it’s rent, food and Rogers.

I smoke. Yeah, I know it is the worst but it is also the deepest rooted of all addictions. So when smoking in bars was banned I pretty much quit going to bars. Eventually I pretty much gave up drinking. (if you are buying I’ll rarely turn one down, but a lot of food can be bought for the price of a beer) Bars, drinking and smoking were the biggest part of going out.  And dating. I gave that up long ago too. As far as dating and the whole spousal unit thing goes, I just can’t play the game. I don’t get the rules and trouble usually ensues. Best to leave that stuff up to those who can handle it. I bowed out of that game years ago with only a few regrets.

This weekend requires me to be out all day Saturday and again all day Sunday. I am so totally unprepared. My son lost my messenger bag, so I have nothing to carry my stuff in. And of course today I need to carry lots of stuff. The best I have is a cloth shopping bag. It will be clumsy and oh so not fashionable. I have absolutely nothing to take as a lunch except bread and butter, with empty pockets and no cash until Monday. No bus ticket either, but I would have walked anyways, I am sure. This sin’t so bad for Sunday. That day I will be acting as Marshall (no 10 gallon hat or six shooter, so I hear. Damn!) at River Valley Golf Course, up near St. Marys. I can mooch grub and water from the clubhouse and pay them when they pay me. Saturday (today) I will be downtown all day and into the night. Or so goes the plan. It is a good opportunity to be out. I don’t want to miss it. This is where I wonder about food and water. Oh, I’ll manage. John downstairs at the variety store will front me, but I hate asking.

Getting out. That’s the hardest part. Look, it is 9:28am and I have yet to shower. I do not have a mobile device, so tearing myself away from the computer is harder than for most. The hardest part of getting out is knowing I will be away from all my comfort zones. I’ll be out there. Out there where anything can happen. I have ventured out a few times recently. I survived and so did those I encountered, as far as I know. I had fun too so I don’t know why the procrastination persists. Must be that comfort zone thingy.

I have pledged to help at the Carfreefest downtown today. It goes all weekend, but today is the day I’ll go. Not sure what helping I’ll be assigned. I’ll push for clean-up since that is what most dislike the most and it doesn’t matter to me. I saw on Twitter where the MET was giving away free tables space (that must piss off those who paid). Years back I would have jumped on that, as I was always selling something, but when I read it I couldn’t think of a thing to do at a table. My first thought was to sit with a sign saying “ready for hire” or some such job seeking slogan. I quickly put that aside; the MET probably wouldn’t have gone for it. I got to thinking of how I cannot manage to give free golf away on Twitter so I wrote to the Met saying I could engage people at a table talking about golf, specifically the Twitter #freegolf hashtag I have been tossing around. But really, is that much of a table? Then came the final product idea. I called the course and asked for brochures, scorecards, discount coupons, green fee fact sheets and whatever other promo hand-outs they had.  They delivered and even threw in a shirt.  Now I have stuff to put on my table. Professional looking stuff. :)  My intention is to make a sign saying:

@thatguyinlondon

#freegolf

and just going from there. #freegolf didn’t work on Twitter. It went mostly ignored which surprised me. I am told it is because people are suspicious of “free”. I switched “free golf” to “$20 golf lessons” but that still didn’t get any attention. Some say because I do not charge piles of money, “customers” don’t put a high value on my expertise. And rightly so. I am not an expert but figure I can certainly give $20 worth of golf instruction. The whole “free golf” thing is two-fold. The main reason is so I can get to the course. You drive, you golf free. Simple as that. The offshoot advantage is I am trying to find people who never golfed at River Valley before so I can introduce them to the course, and hopefully they’ll return….often., making a win situation for the course. Having the owners know it was because of me they got new golfers cannot hurt my image, either. How can I give free golf when I am dirt poor? I help the course with online stuff like Facebook and Twitter. In exchange I can golf for free. Since I don’t have a car, I get another free round for my driver. If they come out under the auspices of golf lessons and want to pay me, that’s fine too, but I do offer a money back guarantee. :)

Yeah, so like I was saying. I am getting out today. First some strolling. I’ll check in  at the Met. Do some work then sit at a table and talk golf for a few hours (at least). I was told my spot was right by the door so I can act as a greeter too. Maybe with that on my resume Walmart will be interested in me. For the evening I hope to have hooked up with a group and catch some of the entertainment. It looks like a full day and I am sure I should be getting ready for it, not sitting here typing about it.

I hope to see you….out there.

June 16, 2011

Did you see the game? It was a riot!

Filed under: Hockey — Tags: , , , , , , — thatguyinlondon @ 9:41 am

The 2010/11 Stanley Cup Playoff Season has come to an end. Congratulations to Boston. I am a Leafs fan.  I  “never miss a game”. Once the Leafs are out I cheer the East. I have a wonky philosophy that if the East wins, the Leafs could have won if they made the playoffs. My overall view is any given team can win any given series. The only thing I am really sure of is that one team will win. My most favorite moments of the Stanley Cup final game is the hoisting of the cup. Man, those are some happy lads.

The riot.

Let me go on record by saying it was indeed a terrible, tragic thing. Not a single soul, including perpetrators, are feeling good about it.

Unfortunately, it was inevitable. It is not Vancouver’s fault. It was the crowd. You put that many people together, add alcohol, add a contentious issue and presto, you have a riot. In this case the issue was a game and win or lose pockets of riots were going to happen. That was a really big crowd, so the odds were up.

I was in Toronto in ’92 when the Jays won the World Series. As soon as the game ended we headed out to Younge Street near the Eaton’s Center (right downtown). They said the crowd went as far as Bloor. Looking north you could see the crowd thick going up the hill. At one point we found ourselves in the middle of the throng. I had little control on what direction I went. I HAD to move with the crowd. We slowly worked our way west and it took a few blocks to escape as far as the sidewalk. If the shit hit the fan, I would have been in the middle of it. I do not recall if there was a riot, but you can be sure there was violence. In that crowd people were also carrying signs for or against the Separation Referendum. There was plenty of fuel for a number of fires.

This could have happened anywhere. It has. We cannot blame Vancouver. Every crowd, everywhere is going to have pockets of assholes. In the future, when condemning the riots, say “rioters” not “Vancouver”.

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