Personal Crap

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Meaford, ON, Canada
A big lover of all types of media, from Movies to Video Games, Books to Music, Television to Stage.



Okay, here's the deal: Blogger has been having problems with their counters as of late, specifically with those blogs marked as having adult content. Now, this particular blog was marked as adult content since it is written as a train of thought, including all the rotten language that flows through my head constantly :) As a result, I marked it adult for that, not for having pornographic photos all over the place. So, simply put, be aware that there is language on this blogsite, and if you are offended don't bother complaining because I wrote this so that you'd know it before reading, and it is your fault if you don't believe me and decide to possibly get offended anyway. If language of a vulgar nature might make you upset, go read something by Disney.


Sundays Are For Writing

...or so it seems for me.  Just polished off another post for the Autobiography blogsite, so please take a gander.  Also posted a bit of news and such over at the Television site yesterday, but it wasn't worth mentioning until I had more to write here in the first place.  Links are there, as usual.

Want to give a shout out to my cousin, Jennifer, and her daughter Sarah.  I hope everything is on the upswing, and I miss visiting you.  Keep me abreast of what's going on, if you can, and I hope all improves greatly A.S.A.P..

Catch you later, dudes and dudettes.


Another Friday

Greetings all.

Still awaiting the results of our appraisal in order to move the mortgage to a different company.  Hopefully we'll have news soon and our lives can start moving forward again.

Also, posted a new entry regarding my family when I was young, and my first memories as a child.  That can be found at the Autobiography blogsite.  Did I happen to mention that the idea for doing an autobiography blog came to me when I was trying to take a nap due to exhaustion from this fucking heart condition I have?  No?  Well, now I have.

Anyway, if I post anything else today, I'll mention it here.  For now though, I'm off to entertain myself with games.


Start Of Final Blog

That does sound ominous, doesn't it?  Almost as though this is my last writing...well, it isn't, so cut that wishful thinking shit out right now!

This is just a notification that my fifth and final blogsite is now up and running, with an introduction to what it is and why it exists.  The title of the blog is An Autobiography Of Some Random Guy, and is meant to be a record of my life experiences.  From my first memories, to what happened last week, I am hoping to put my entire life up on this blogsite, so that at least there will be something of me that lasts beyond my least until our robot overlords eliminate our access to the internet.

Until that fateful day, however, I will chronicle an average person's life, mine, and hope that someone out there deems it worthy to be read.  If not, at least my history will be out there as long as the site is active.

Later, Good Readers.

Happy Thursday

Actually, I feel extremely blah today.  See, was going to the dentist yesterday and I decided that my left knee was feeling just a little too happy about itself, just a wee bit too I decided to pile-drive it straight down into the driveway on my way to the taxi.  Scared the hell out of Andi and the cab driver, let me tell you.  Now, however, my knee doesn't feel quite so happy-go-lucky, so I win.  You hear that, knee?  I WIN!!!

In other news, my mouth feels like it got beat up yesterday, but that part is understandable.  Somehow through the pain I have managed to post more movie news and rumours over on Real To Reel, so feel free to follow that there link.

Haven't heard any fallout from yesterday's post, so either nobody is reading it or my viewpoint is more popular than I thought.  Think I'll choose to believe the latter, no matter how far-fetched it seems.

Today also marks the official signing of the mortgage over to a new company.  No word yet on the appraisal giving us extra funds in order to get rid of some of our outstanding debts, but at least the mortgage is being transferred today.  At noon, papers arrive for me to sign, and all is done.  Then we'll see what First National has to say about playing ball with us when we shove the bat up their asses.

Other than that, today is just another random day, with flurries and snow and a whole host of other stuff I'm not going to miss one iota when I'm living in the Dominican Republic.  Honestly, the next three years (if I survive that long) can't pass by fast enough for me.  Have a day, everyone.


Another Game Review On Confessions, And Teenage Sex!

Just posted my thoughts on "DC Universe Online."  Not as favourable as I would have liked it to be, but truthful over and above everything else.  As usual, follow the link to the blogsite via the title, Confessions Of An Achievement Whore.

A comment on my "Global Pussification" post reminded me about an aspect of it that I totally forgot to mention, that of the idea that medals for winners are a horrible idea for children, that everyone should get a medal because they participated.  Fuck that action.  Could you imagine how well that would go over at the Olympic Games?  For that matter, reverse it - how are today's children going to feel when they don't get a medal simply for participating in an Olympic event?  Or probably that's too high-faluting for today's kids, so let's put it in real terms:  You don't get a paycheck just for appearing at a job interview.

I really can't understand the logic behind parents these days.  Not all parents, just the ones who are vocal about how dangerous life is, and how we should never discourage children from accomplishing anything.  Why not add the fact that we should also never push them to deal with disappointment, failure, sadness, or loss?  After all, everyone will become a great author, actor, dancer, astronaut, President...and they'll never have anything bad happen because humans live forever and never fail at anything!  How can that message possibly backfire?

Seriously, I have some very liberal views when it comes to certain things.  Like sex.  My children are going to know all the ins and outs, pun most certainly intended, at a young age.  Like, before they are 10.  Why so young you ask?  Simple:  Studies have shown that young girls are not only developing younger, they are also having their periods younger, and are becoming sexually active as young as, wait for it - you got it, nine years old.  No kidding.  So, I figure, if they can do it, and they are in danger of getting pregnant while doing it, they should be fully aware of all of it before trouble comes a-calling.  My planned method of teaching them about it will be controversial, but given that pornography is so prevalent in society now, regardless of whether I censor it at home or not, the likelihood of them seeing hardcore penetration at a friend's house, a library, at school, etc.. kind of makes me feel that if they are going to be exposed to it, at least have them learn about it in a controlled manner with the ability to ask important questions on the spot.  Same with having sex - if they are going to do it, I'll provide the bedroom as well as the contraception.  I would never urge them to do it, but if they are going to do it, at least make the environment as safe (in every way) as possible.  Would I rather have them watch it on a computer monitor or try it out themselves before they even get to high school?  Well, neither, actually, but that isn't the world we live in, and burying my head in the sand won't change that.

If you think I'm overstepping some boundaries here, ask yourself this:  Do you have any friends/relatives who were given a sample of beer when they were under-aged?  I was, by my father when I was maybe 7 or 8.  Do I drink beer now?  Not unless I'm already so far in the bag that I couldn't care less what the alcohol I'm imbibing tastes like, and that doesn't happen often at all.  Now, drinking underage is a serious offence, and some would argue that drinking when in single digits age-wise is totally irresponsible...however, I argue that I was in a safe environment, surrounded by people who (said that they) loved me, and I'm not a heavy drinker now (I can honestly say I've been actually drunk, I mean bad, exactly 4 times in almost 40 years).  If you don't think this is a good comparison for allowing teenagers to have sex in their bedroom in their own home with protection, think about them getting arrested for fooling around in a car and then having to consider the pros and cons of adoption.

No, I want my kids to learn about all the bad things I can possibly conceive of (yup, pun intended there too) at home, with my wife and I, with frank and open discussion as early as possible in their lives.  I also want them to learn some self-defence at a young age too, so they can fend off anyone trying to make any of these bad things happen to them against their will.  I am nothing if not a realist, and all the soccer moms in the world couldn't stop me from believing, plain and simply, that children are a parent's responsibility, for good and for bad, and they must be taught about all things bright and beautiful - and most things foul and frightening as well.  Not to deter them from ever drinking, having sex, or even smoking - no, I'd never force them to not do anything as long as it would not hurt anyone else.  I just want them to know fully what real life is all about: Unplanned under-aged pregnancy, drunk driving, throat cancer and traumatic head wounds.

Bring them up aware, never have a scare; raise them unprepared, horrors everywhere.  That's my child-rearing motto, copyright forthcoming.  As usual, angry comments welcome below.


Oscar Nomination Morning

Greetings all.  Just dropping in to remind those of you who are of an awards-show bent that this morning the nominees for the Academy Awards are announced, at 8:30am Eastern.  As of that time, I will be starting a Real To Reel blogsite post, and as soon as it is done, the title will become a live link to the list of who's up for the Oscars this year.

Otherwise, enjoy your Tuesdays, one and all.

Oh, and I did post more rumour information yesterday on the movie blogsite, but can't remember if I posted a link to it here or not.  If not, sorry about that - if I did, then ignore this message.


Too Early For Thoughtful Blogging

Once again, I am awake at a ridiculously early hour, for no reason other than bad dreams and bad back.  I need a new mattress and a psychiatrist like Dr. Drew to get me through.  Unfortunately, I'm not a recovering addict, and I don't have a few hundred dollars just lying around waiting to become something soft to lie down on.  More and more, I think that a person my size is doing themselves a disservice buying an Ultramatic adjustable bed, because when you get right down to it, it really is just a flexible board with a mattress on top.  It really would be the same if I just put the mattress on the floor, since the lack of any kind of springs is what is killing me.

Every time I am awake this early, I swear I can feel the strain it puts on my heart.  These are the hours that my CHF really worries me.  For those just joining the blog, CHF is short for Congestive Heart Failure, which is a fancy way to say my heart has grown so large that it is inefficient at pumping blood throughout my body.  My heart is larger than a canned ham.  Not familiar?  How about two big cans of apple juice standing side-by-side?  Does that put it in perspective?  Anyway, it really sucked turning 30 and knowing already what the most likely thing to kill me was going to be, and now I'm facing down 40 ten years later and things have actually gotten worse overall rather than improved.  I'm facing more stress now than when I was diagnosed, I'm getting way less rest than when I was diagnosed, I am confined to my home tons more than when I was diagnosed, I get way less 'incidental exercise' than when I was diagnosed, and since I learned of my disease I have watched my support drop to that of three people, one of which I hardly communicate with.  Each and every one of these factors, according to my doctor and everything I've read, is extremely vital to my putting this behind me and surviving.

What really fucking sucks is that every time I have a slight pain in my chest area, mainly from my left side, I wonder if this is it, is this the start of the failure I've been waiting on for a decade?  Try living life with that kind of burden hanging over your head.  I feel like a very specific hypochondriac, who only worries that he is dying every time his chest goes thump.  To top it all off, and to me the worst two things about the entire situation, are that I feel like an enormous burden to the two wonderful people living with me, and my depression (caused by all this shit) makes me constantly lash out at them seemingly for no reason whatsoever.  I spend so much of my time apologizing and wishing things were different...

Anyway, I'm sure I'm alienating anyone who is actually taking the time to read this, so I guess I'll bugger off and play some of my Big Fish Games titles for the next few hours.  Maybe go back upstairs after the rest of the household is awake, so I can stay out of everybody's way.  Probably the best way to live my life nowadays.  Take care, Good Readers, and I'll try and get out of my funk for you for next time.


Hits Down On Themed Blogs

Kinda gets me down when I write big articles and such on my other blogs, but this one is the only one I can count on to get good hits on a daily basis.  Maybe I'm just not writing about what people want to read about, and certainly I haven't gotten any comments on the other blogs yet, not really.  So, would someone let me know what it is they want me to be focusing on?  That'd be a big help, thanks.

Meanwhile, things are kinda slow today.  My movie blog is anticipating the Oscar noms on the 25th, the television blog is virtually unread after I reviewed five of the newest shows, and my videogame blog can't even get people interested in the Nintendo 3DS.  Here I thought these topics were current, but I guess there are better online outlets for the news about this stuff, and I just don't have enough loyal followers being entertained by my efforts.

Regardless, I have posted some more movie rumour tidbits on the Real To Reel site, so if interested please go check that stuff out.

Maybe because this is an adult-warning blog, I should be posting stuff that actually requires the warning?  Let me know folks, I certainly have those resources...until next time, take care.


Dominican, Ho!!!

Okay, so it isn't as though we're gearing up to actually head to the Dominican today or anything, but today is a pretty big day around here.  I'll get to that, and a new post, in just a second.  First off, I'd like to say that finally, for the first time in a week, I slept all the way to 7am!!!  Three cheers for me!  Okay, enough of that, on with the news.

The reason I'm saying today is a big day is due to the fact that we have an appraiser coming to the house today, in order for us to get our mortgage moved to a different lending institution.  Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but when you combine lower payments with extra funds to eliminate some of our debts, PLUS the added bonus of finally being able to take the old mortgage company, First National, to court via the Ontario Ombudsman, and things are certainly on their way to the tropics.  My favourite part is being in a position to screw First National to the wall for all the bullshit they've caused us in the years since my father died.  Can't wait to ream them like they've reamed us, because we're going to be getting money back from those assholes, let me tell you.  I'm not going to get into details, just in case including their name in this post draws them to this site and they read this, but suffice it to say they're going to get everything they have coming to them, and we're going to make it hurt.  A lot.  No lube.

Other news today is that I have just posted a review of five of this season's newest shows, and that can be found over at Telly Vision.  Agree or disagree, feel free to post comments or write to me with thoughts.  I know there are readers out there, just wish they'd let me know they exist!

That being said, have a good day - oh, and if you are in the Toronto area, get anything you need to do outside done today, because the weekend is going to be a real weenie-shrinker, so bundle up!


3DS Stats And Information

Greetings all, just letting you know a new post on Confessions is available, all about the March 27th release of the Nintendo 3DS.  Everything you need to know about the system will be found there, including some Nintendo history many of you likely never knew (or cared about!).

So, head on over there, and I'll catch up with you again soon!

The Rumour Boat Is A-Float

Another ridiculously early morning.  Good thing the fish be a-biting!  Lots of movie rumours to be caught today, over at Real To Reel.  Just make sure to take Gravol before climbing aboard, the seas are rough out there.


Happy Humpday!

Wish it was meant in a totally different way, don't you?  I think it should happen.  I think there should be a holiday just to allow everyone to have sex with anyone they choose to, no recriminations, no guilty looks the day after, just a great big celebration of people flopping around on top of other people, no questions asked.  As long as the interaction would be consensual from an orientation standpoint, and showers and contraceptives were provided for all, everyone of age would get to enjoy at least one partner of their choosing over the course of a given day.

Ah, if only I ruled the world.

Anyway, there is a new post on the gamer blogsite.  Enjoy.


Global Pussification

You know, there should be a law that simply states anyone who doesn't have to work so early in the morning must be kept asleep by Morpheus until a reasonable hour, at least until the sun is coming up or something.  This 'getting woken up by horrible dreams and rotten mattress conditions at 4:30am' bullshit simply has to stop.  Seriously.

Bygones.  So I went back and re-read my first BGJ blog entry just now, because I was at the dentist yesterday and the receptionist was chatting with my wife and I about cleanliness.  She sounds like she is coming down with a cold, and she got on the topic of always washing her hands and using those damn hand sanitizers that you now see all over the GTA as a result of the SARS scare we had a few years back.  This is one of those things that sets me off, so you Good Readers get to hear my wrath.  Thou hast been forewarned.

First off, where the fuck are all these wonderful new diseases coming from?  I have an opinion, but think about it for a minute: For readers over the age of thirty, think back to when you were a child.  Now, how often did you hear about kids collapsing due to a peanut-related allergy?  Think hard now, think really hard.  I know I never heard of it.  Sure, there was a kid in one of my years of education that couldn't eat peanut butter, but there was no peanut-free notifications all over random food packaging, there just wasn't.  How many hepatitis B commercials did you see on television when you were a kid?  Are you certain they were there, and maybe only your parents noticed them?  Fuck no, they weren't there, they weren't anywhere!

I have been seeing commercials recently, always featuring young women saying they couldn't be at risk from some disease due to their age, or having only one partner, etc..  The disease they're talking about is so new to my knowledge base that I can't even remember what the hell it is called.  What I'd like to know is, if this is becoming an epidemic so seriously that it warrants a commercial on television urging women to get tested, why the hell is it that we are just hearing about it now?  I'm not the only one who is asking this question; Scott, Andi, people I've talked to when I actually do escape the confines of my house, all of us are wondering when this wonderful new threat to our planet's women came from, and why it is so serious right off the bat.

Well, I happen to believe that I may have an answer:  Global Pussification.  Not a real term, you say?  Not even a real word?  No, it isn't, but maybe I just created my own new term in response to all the new threats we keep seeming to stumble over.  See, I think I know the reason these new diseases are coming to light all of a sudden, and it is our own fault as a society.  SARS scared the shit out of a lot of people, and so people went apeshit crazy trying to do the one thing doctors kept spouting off about at the time: Wash your hands, avoid the disease.  Now, since then, there have been studies that have shown that hand sanitizers don't effectively thwart a cold or the flu, and are good mainly for stopping a gastrointestinal disease from taking hold.  This means that most people are using the stuff for no good reason, and are thinking that they are protecting themselves when they actually aren't doing a damn thing to fend off the bugs they have been using the stuff for because of uninformed doctors repeating what someone else said, just to make sure they are still in the loop.

Don't think that happens?  Look at the idiots who don't get their kids vaccinated because a fake British study (yes, fake, it has been disparaged by many scientists, doctors, and the study itself has been proven false) has told them that vaccines cause autism.  Jenny freaking McCarthy has become a champion to people who don't bother to do any research beyond reading what 'true stories' are written on the internet, when the real information is right there to be easily found.  Don't believe me about the easy?  Here come the links:  Time Magazine, 2002;  National Academies Press free online book, 2004;  Los Angeles Times article about three cases thrown out of court, 2010.  I had to do exactly one search one Bing and one on Wikepedia (the Wiki link is directly to the article) to find all of these pages referenced by just one article.  That's how hard it is to find proof, not stories from some random guy in Nowhere, Nebraska, who knows a guy that knows a guy, actual proof that this is bullshit.  Yet parents are still fighting the knowledge that an ex-Playboy Bunny couldn't be more wrong about her cause, verifiable proof found here.

What this all boils down to is that parents are more willing to argue the merits of a proven fake study than to actually give a shit about their child's well-being, and yet they are doing everything else possible to protect themselves from a world that isn't out to get them.  Let me go back to the hand sanitizer thing.  People are using this stuff constantly, and fending off quite a variety of virus-causing bacteria (just not the ones they think they are fending off), but doctors are now aware of what I thought would be an obvious truth:  The human body has an immune system, and it is trained to eliminate viruses.  Like an army, that immune system needs to fight off stuff in order to get good at it.  If the immune system doesn't fight anything, just like an army, it gets fat and lazy...wait a gets unused to doing its job, and when a real threat comes along, one that kicks down the walls of a puny hand sanitizer, suddenly the immune system is completely outmatched and the Nazis take over France...just a moment...and the body falls to a disease it might have been able to protect against if it had ever had the opportunity to get stronger in the resistance department.  Just like France during WWII, the body's defence system is like the Maginot Line - if it had been finished (if the body would learn to protect itself properly) the Germans would never have been able to sweep through Belgium unimpeded (the body would not die due to whooping cough or measles, both of which are easily avoided by taking the exact same vaccine that dear Jenny says causes autism). 

All this means is that the worries of the world are causing more problems in the world.  Global Pussification.  We get wimpier, and the bullies, which haven't really changed, get harder to take down.  Again, think WWII.  America was all about isolationism, and it took a major attack to wake them up to defend themselves and help save the free world.  How many adults and children have to die before the general populace wakes up and realizes that protecting our children and ourselves to the extreme extent we are doing so is going to ultimately lead to a quick downfall?


Why I'm Upset About The Golden Globes

Morning everyone.  Before I go off on my rant, I just want to once again wish all the winners of last night's award ceremony success and happiness with all their future endeavours.  I have singled out my personal favourites on my movie blogsite Real To Reel, and my television blogsite Telly Vision.  I harbour no ill will to any of the filmmakers or actors who have created the movies and television shows that were applauded last evening, and am thankful that the industry is still providing entertainment for those who enjoy their offerings, myself included.

That being said, I'm fucking pissed that "The Social Network" won Best Picture - Drama.

Let me explain myself:  Facebook, the website whose creation forms the plot of the movie, is responsible for the breakdown of human interaction that allows for people to commit the kind of acts the United States saw in Arizona last week.  Ignore the fact that Facebook breaks up marriages, ignore the fact that viruses are poised there waiting to pounce on your computer if you add the wrong application, and ignore the fact that identity theft has become much easier since the site was founded.  Hardcore users of Facebook disconnect from other people so much that it can most likely be compared to the kind of training armed forces go through to de-humanize the enemy before going into battle.  With no real interaction, other people become more of an idea than a reality, and the mind can become accustomed to no longer separating reality from the computer screen.

I am not suggesting that this phenomena has been documented.  I am also not suggesting that Facebook in any way contributed to the attempted assassination of the Arizona congresswoman, or the murder of anyone at her meet-and-greet.  What I am saying is that Facebook, and other websites like it, are contributing to the overall disconnection of people from other people.  It is easy to say that these social sites bring people together, but at what cost are they doing so?  There are articles online, very easy to find with Google or Bing, from all over the world talking about divorce rates, a decline in human interaction, identity theft, and the change sweeping the planet in regards to how we talk and relate to one another.  Cell phones also contribute to this phenomena, allowing people to text instead of talk, and to some extent e-mail has added to it as well.  They are all methods of convenience, but they also make things undeniably impersonal, whether they are designed to or not.  Want to break up with someone?  Text them the news, avoid a messy confrontation.  Want to proposition someone for sex?  Take a photo of your genitalia and fire it into the stratosphere.  Want to incite someone to do something drastic to a public figure?  Make a few violent-sounding tweets and post a website with gun sights over various districts, 'targeting' them.

It all links together, and in my mind giving the Best Movie nod last night to a film about how wonderful the leading contributor to this degeneration of interaction not only condones it, but it also will increase the speed at which it happens.  I'm guilty of using Twitter; I tweet my posts so that I can grow my readership, and I'm sure that I am contributing to the problem along with everyone else.  However, I've noticed something the last few days.  I follow a few emerging models from the UK, girls who for the most part are trying to get their pictures in ZOO Magazine, and a lot of them are suddenly stating in their tweets that they now, just now, have Facebook pages.  Now, these girls didn't wake up yesterday and suddenly become aware that the site existed, nor did they decide just the other day to become models.  The buzz around this film, and maybe even the film itself, is pushing Facebook into the public eye more than it had been there before, and people are joining it in a new wave.  These models just happen to be the way I'm noticing it, that's all.  And yes, I am following these girls because I like looking at boobies.

Thanks to Meddy Ford (@meddyford) for tweeting this photo.

Anyway, keep in mind that this is how I see the world around me.  That is the reason that this particular bit of writing isn't going to be found on the Real To Reel blogsite, even though it pertains to a very specific movie indeed.  You read my blogs, you get a dose of me with every entry.  If you disagree, I welcome e-mails and comments, feel free to do either.

Until next time, Good Readers, keep an eye on your anti-virus software and your credit card numbers.

(Update: Just finished the second half of my CoD: BO review on Confessions.  Check it out.)


Snow Slowing, Real To Reel Heating Up!

Hello again, Good Readers.  Just dropping in to let you know the second part of my 2011 movie picks is live, and can be found at the Real To Reel website.  The posts are kind of long, even though I truncated my comments, solely due to the sheer volume of titles coming out this year...and I only got through July in the two posts!  The rest of the year will follow closer to the summer, so I'll keep you posted on that.

For now, however, let me know what you think of my choices, and I'll respond dutifully!  Have a good day!

Real To Reel Posts For A Snowy Day

Morning all.

Today, the snow has inspired me to write about my choices for the upcoming year in film.  Don't know how the two are related, but there you have it.  Anyway, head to the Real To Reel site and get reading; the second part will be live sometime either later today or tomorrow, and I'll put a brand-new post here to direct to it.  Enjoy!


First On The List Of Useless Companies: Rogers Canada

Good morning/afternoon all.  If you can't tell by the title of this post, I'm fucking furious.  So furious that I am changing cable companies as soon as our term of service ends.  The company is not a secret, it is Rogers.  Now, I don't have anything against their Internet service, but their phone service is crap, their cable services are crap, and their billing department is handled by people who don't know their asses from their elbows.  This is not going to be a pretty post, it is going to probably be more expletive-filled than previous posts, and you have been forewarned.  I am sick of being treated like shit by this company, and if I can't get satisfaction in any other way, then I shall eviscerate them publicly.  The worst they can do is bitch and moan, because I am only telling the truth.

Since we switched from Express Vu by Bell to Rogers (due to the lousy billing department at Bell), we have had nothing but problems.  Literally, from the first week, in February 2008, we have had problems with their equipment.  Their PVRs, and I mean that multiple because we went through over ten of them, do not keep recordings, do not keep schedules in order to do recordings, and like to show that they are recording things when they in fact are not.  We have missed many hours of programming in this household due specifically to the fact that the PVRs provided by Rogers are, at best, cheap crap.  We had a PVR from Bell - never missed an episode of anything.  For the years we've been with Rogers, we have had the box replaced, we have had our signal strength increased, we have had technicians come to the house multiple times, we have had the trunk line our house is connected to checked repeatedly, and we have had nothing change the fact that the box constantly drops scheduled recordings, adds up the number of recorded shows saved on it incorrectly, and basically makes whether we can watch a show the next day that we have tried to save to the hard drive a total crap shoot.

After all this time, we have finally gotten the newest box, as of a few months ago, and the problem, though lessened, still persists.  We lose a lot less shows than we had previously, but we have had multiple shows across a number of channels be self-interrupted and then re-started in the middle of their recordings.  We have been told that a lot of our problems are coming form the networks that are originating the broadcasts of the signals, but wouldn't one of Canada's major cable subscription services (if not the largest) be able to communicate with them and get the problem fixed?  Wouldn't you expect that, since we're paying about $150 a month for this shit?  Why the fuck are we paying so much money, only to have unreliable equipment take away exactly the things we are paying so much to view?

Now, on top of that, their billing department has decided to start causing us grief.  We don't argue how much we owe to the company for the services we enjoy, but we do argue when we make arrangements for payments and the company decides that, even though they have assured us that the arrangements are fine, to disconnect our services, even partially, due to lack of payment.  I'll give you the entire scenario:  Andi makes arrangements on Monday to pay $493 on January 31st, the next time our ODSP (Disability) gets deposited into my bank account.  They say no problem, all is well.  Wednesday, our television service is truncated to only include the most basic services, to the point that we can't even watch stuff we've already recorded on the PVR.  I call them, and they say that the arrangements aren't good enough, they need $76 to put the premium stuff back online, and another hundred next Friday, $177 on the 31st, and $453 by February 10th.  If I give them the $76 and agree to this entirely new payment arrangement, we're good.  So, I give them $76 out of our ODSP, which is gone off my credit card within an hour (it is credited to our Rogers account within 10 minutes), and the stations are back before I'm off the phone.  In other words, when they want their money, they take it IMMEDIATELY.

Now to the good stuff.  Andi wakes up, hears what's happened, calls Rogers.  She is speaking to someone on the phone, and I need to pick up the other line because she is getting how it went down wrong.  While I'm on the line, not swearing at this fucker for being such an asshole, Andi asks a simple question: When will a manager be available to talk to us?  This bitch says that there isn't a manager available, but she is not willing to talk to us when we are both on the phone.  Are you fucking kidding me?  I state, truthfully (the tape has already been reviewed, and I'm being 100% truthful in this entire story), that I haven't sworn or yelled, Andi hasn't sworn or yelled, we have not spoken at the same time or interrupted each other, and yet when she is asked a simple, straight-forward question she refuses to answer because two people are on the phone?  We get no answer - we find out later she had muted the call, and was sitting there listening and not responding.  this is how the fucking customer service in the billing department at Rogers is trained, to treat people like shit because they don't feel like helping today.

Andi called the Ontario Ombudsman, who got in touch with Rogers and reviewed the notes on the file, the tapes of all three conversations (the one where Andi made the original payment arrangements, the one when I called and paid them $76, and the one with the muting bitch), and got angry.  Turns out the first person Andi spoke to never put the notes on the account!  Additionally, they never should even have spoken to me about anything due to the fact that they have in the notes that I have my heart condition.  Finally, the cut of our services should never have happened because the arrangements that were recorded but never entered on our account were totally valid and enough to take care of things without any interruption of any of our services.  He credited our account $100, told us that the $76 would be put back on my credit card the same day, and was so frustrated about the situation he was stuttering when he told Andi this news.  Now, you'd think that'd be the end of it, wouldn't you?  Well guess what?

As of 11am on Friday, today, the money is still not back on my credit card.

It seems Rogers is very quick to grab money from people who are doing the best they can with the hand they've been dealt, but they don't like admitting an error on their part and return the money as they are supposed to by order of the Ontario Ombudsman.  Andi just got off the phone with them again, and they are swearing up and down that the money has been put back on my credit card, but I am on the phone with Visa at the moment, and according to their automated voice service it is not there.  Should I assume Visa is lying, or Rogers?  Any votes?  (Update: Visa says they have no information on any transaction, but that it can take 3 to 5 business days for them to credit the account once it is already done at Rogers' end - you'd think that with them knowing we're on ODSP they'd take the time to actually call Visa themselves and get it done immediately, you know?  Since it is their error all the way around?  Fat fucking chance)

The upshot of all this is that we are going to be moving our cable to another company (probably Bell) by the end of February (see, we can't just cancel Rogers, they need 30 days they can grab one more month from consumers who don't know about this little pile of shit proviso they have) and with any luck, all of our problems in this matter will be solved once and for all.

Happy 2011 everyone!  Same Shit, Different Decade!


Couple Of New Posts Today

Morning all, two new posts to share with my loyal readers (reader?) today.

Have a new Real To Reel written already, about the dreaded double-dip and special editions of movies on DVD and Blu-Ray.  You can find that by following the usual link provided.

Am also planning on throwing a new Confession up today, not sure what it'll be about, but I'm sure it'll be worth reading.  Since I'm the author, I can assure you that I am totally unbiased in any way.  Regardless, when the link becomes active the post will be ready, so check back for that.

Nothing to rant about today, unless you count being fucked over by Rogers yet again.  At least, almost fucked over - Andi called on the Ontario Ombudsman and let's just say that shit got sorted out pretty damn quick as a result.  We're done playing softball with these ass-clowns, and I don't think they're quite ready for our fastball yet.  Too bad, we're switching cable to another company come the end of February, and all will be well.  Unless, of course, they commence the dick-sucking pretty quickly, but I don't see that happening.

Anyway, check back for that active link, and I shall chat with y'all later!


Sad Tribute To Great Hero

Please take a moment to read my latest Telly Vision post.  Got sad news a couple days ago, had to get my thoughts around it before writing about it.

Might be back later today with other posts, guess we'll all have to wait and see.


Monday's Big Posts

Going to do something really interesting here.  See, today I'm home alone, as I will also be on Wednesday of this week, and as a result I'm planning on doing a big post on each of my themed blog sites today.  However, instead of posting here repeatedly to update the fact that another post is ready to peruse, I think I shall instead post all the links here and now and simply make them active once I have a post finished and up for viewing.  How does that sound to everyone?  Good?  Glad to hear it.

So to that end, I shall tell you that as I write this post, today's discussion of movie sequels is already up for reading on Real To Reel.  There will also be a post on what television shows get watched on a weekly basis on Telly Vision, and I will be discussing the merits of older videogames versus newer titles in Confessions Of An Achievement Whore.  When the sites are ready, the blog titles will become links, so just check back or refresh this page occasionally to see what's done.  I guarantee that all three will be available by 6pm Toronto time.

While you are waiting, I'll provide you with a video to pass the time.  Can't remember if I posted this one before, but no matter:  This is Rhianna and Andy Sandberg as Ronnie and Clyde.


Macleans And Best Friends

Good morning, way too early.  I wish I could get a new mattress, just so I could get through the night without waking up at a ridiculous hour feeling worse than I did when I went up to bed the night before.  Oh well, eventually things will change, I hope.

People I have talked to have remarked that they think the living arrangement in this household is a bit strange. The consensus has been that it is weird to have what they know is a common-law (for now, it will become permanent in the future) marriage, and also have a housemate living down the hall three metres from our bedroom door.  If these people knew the entire story, they might not see it as strange at all.  To that end, I'm going to explain - but why now, why am I suddenly in the mood to divulge such information?  It all started when I came downstairs this morning (at the stupid hour of 5:50am).

I don't use the upstairs bathrooms in this house.  Odd statement to start off this writing, but might as well get into it at the beginning.  See, when Andi wasn't here, sleeping in the same room as me, I had the habit of using the ensuite in my bedroom in the morning before coming downstairs and in the evening when going to bed.  The main bathroom upstairs I only really use when bathing/showering.  In fact, even though we've been here for almost five years, I can count the number of times I've used the main bathroom upstairs on my fingers and have almost an entire hand left over.  Anyway, since I use the 'guest bathroom' for most of my daily goings-on, I keep my taking-a-break reading material down here too.  This morning, I was in the loo and started flipping through this week's issue of Macleans.  For those not in the know, it is the Canadian equivalent to Time magazine.

The article I was glancing at was discussing how recent drunk driver accidents which involved people accidentally killing their best friends in a crash often have the family of the best friend pleading with judges for leniency in their sentencing.  Some of these families feel that the person responsible for killing their son or daughter are so close to their family as to be regarded as another family member, and a harsh sentence only serves to draw out even more pain over what was so obviously an accident.  One guy went so far as to say that his best friend, that person in your life who knows you better than you know yourself, who remembers things that even you don't, he's lost that forever, and the family of his friend agree that this is punishment enough.  It got me thinking about Scott, the circumstances that brought us together as friends, and the fact that I've been mentioning him occasionally to people I've met, and here in this blog, and nowhere have I really discussed who he actually is.  I'm going to rectify that right now.

I met Scott in high school.  I attended Wexford Collegiate Institute, located on Pharmacy Avenue just north of Lawrence Avenue in the city of Scarborough, a suburb (essentially) of Toronto, and which later simply became part of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area).  I was in my third year of high school, so that would make me thirteen.  It was the fall of 1986.  I, simply put, was a geek, long before that meant anything to do with computers, long before that meant anything to do with being cool in a scientific capacity.  No, I was pathetic.  I was dressing the way my mother forced me to, I was wearing my hair the way my mother forced me to; in short, I was a completely reluctant mama's boy.  I hated it.  Anyway, I had this cassette tape that I was given by some chick named Heather Irwin that I was totally trying to fuck that summer, and given that she was the town slut, she didn't take much time to get to know much about me.  She was much more interested in trying to take my virginity, something that was ultimately thwarted by, you guessed it, my mother.  Anyway, as a result of this relationship I came into possession of this tape, "Deepest Purple: The Very Best Of Deep Purple."  Now, I didn't know what type of music it was, but from reading the inlay of the tape I knew it wasn't for me.  I went to school and looked for someone to try and sell the tape to.  Simply put, I was an innocent jackass geek.  Thanks, mom, hope you burn in hell.

I was standing outside my Film Arts class when I noticed this guy with a Walkman strapped to his melon.  He looked kinda scruffy, wearing one of those t-shirts that were popular with anti-social head-bangers back then -  you know, the type with white sleeves and a great mock-up of whatever robotic demon lord was worth the greatest shock value to the 'straights.'  I'm pretty sure that it was Eddie doing something wonderful in the name of Iron Maiden that he was wearing this fateful day, but what I remember most was the red plaid lumber-jacket.  That was all I needed, this dude was a metal head, so I tried to sell him the cassette.  Instead, he asked if he could borrow it, listen to it, and decide if he liked it enough to pay for it.  Of course, in my naivety, I never thought for a moment that he would take it home, record the entire tape to another, and then return the next day and say the music wasn't his type and give it back to me.  That is exactly what he did do, but somehow from that our friendship was born.
Over the rest of our high school years, Scott and I spent a lot of time together.  We skipped class a lot, found ourselves playing cards in the cafeteria or Dungeons and Dragons in the halls around the campus.  Turned out that we had a lot in common.  We had the same sense of humour, we had the same taste in books and film, and those things we didn't have in common we began to influence in the other.  It was Scott who eventually got me into heavy metal, and got me to start realizing that I could be more independent of my mother's influences.  Thanks to Scott, I started to buy things for myself with my money instead of spending it on trying to buy friends, and waiting for my mother to buy me stuff.  Bought my very first video game for the NES as an indirect reflection of Scott's influence, a title called Dragon Warrior.  Trust me, it wasn't available for only $0.24 when I first bought it.  Scott and I talked nightly, wrestled at the bus stop while I waited for the Lawrence 54 to get me home, and caught an awful pile of movies together, some that even now we are the only people we know who has ever seen them.  In fact, we spent so much time together that for a while his folks thought that maybe Scott was gay.  For the record, he's almost afraid of seeing his own penis, never mind that of someone else.

Most of all, in those days, Scott was the one who kept me away from home when I needed it most.  I could virtually always call him up on the phone, tell him I needed to get the hell out of Dodge, and we'd be meeting at the Victoria Park subway station within the hour.  We'd go downtown, wander around, see a movie, check out books at the World's Biggest Bullshit (that's the World's Biggest Bookstore for all you virgins - used to be a bowling alley, two floors tall), and basically pass time so that I could get my head back together before venturing back into hell at 23 Denham.  Scott went shoplifting with me when that became the thing to do; Scott too wrote an essay for the courts when we got busted for shoplifting from The Bay at Scarborough Town Centre (I got cocky - and I STILL don't own the "Small World" album from Huey Lewis and the News).  Yeah, we were really close.  And then I graduated high school and went to University.

Scott still had a year left to go at Wexford.  See, even though we're the same age, I skipped ahead in grade school, so I graduated a year before he did.  Add to that the sudden thrust of me into a new situation, the need for a part-time job, night classes, shitloads of studying, and discovering that occasionally I could find women who would allow me to put my penis in them, and my plate was pretty much full.  This was unfortunate in many ways, especially because as far as I know, during that time was one of the few instances when Scott could have needed me to support him through a tough ordeal.  I don't have license to get into any details regarding that, except to say that he has never since then allowed himself to have a deep relationship with any woman, and I wish I had been there to help him through what happened.  Regardless, for two years there, we were not in touch.  I knew where he lived, I knew where he worked, but we just kind of fell away from each other as people tend to do.

Personally, I changed over those two years.  A lot.  I mean, I grew my hair, grew a moustache and beard, became my version of the rocker I used to hang around all the time with, and got heavily involved in Drama (originally my major was Poly Sci, in prep for a career in Law, which my mother wanted.  I chose to take a Drama class in order to acclimatize myself for speaking in public in that capacity.  I liked it so much that I dropped all my other courses, spent ALL my time backstage and on stage for that year, switched my major and moved into residence in my second year of classes - my parents never even noticed I had moved out for a month after I had done so).  I was not myself when, on a whim, I walked into the Coles bookstore in Eglinton Square to see if Scott still worked there.  He was there, took a look at me, did a double take and then goggled over what I had become - a long-haired metal head.

We started hanging out from then on, him coming up on weekends to play games and stuff in my room at the University (sacrificing cookies in order to satisfy the gaming gods when attempting particularly challenging bosses), stuffing ourselves with Creamy Bacon Carbonara and a pound of bacon every Saturday after heading downtown and grabbing breakfast at the old 54 Diner under the Bloor-Yonge intersection.  Over time, I got kicked from the University due to standing up to a professor who was dead wrong about something, and her purposeful sabotage of my mark in her class as a result, and Scott and I made plans to move into an apartment together.  We did so, but that year neither of us was ready to change the way we lived enough to accommodate the other's needs, and so he moved out after a year, and I went on my way as well a month or so later.

The two of us kept in touch after that, but only intermittently and over the phone.  I don't know how much he'd say the same for himself, but I personally needed to mature a lot, and did so by going though a period of working for my bitch mother, and then starting and failing a store.  When I found myself forced to move back into the house at Denham (minus the bitch mother, who by this time was fucking my so-called adopted brother in Campbelford), Scott and I began to tentatively re-build the friendship that was so seriously strained by our year being in each other's faces.  We began to once again do the weekend thing, but this time it was at his place rather than mine, for by this time I actually had wheels.  We had a great time, playing through the original Silent Hill, he doing the killing, me figuring out the diabolical puzzles.  Things had fixed themselves and, barring a practical joke gone wrong, we were right as rain.

Things took a bad turn for Scott not long after that.  He had been working in the mortgages department of CIBC for a few years by that point, and they were trying to force him out before he had been there long enough to be eligible for certain benefits.  They did so by increasing his workload to an impossible amount, and thus succeeded in being able to fire him for not keeping up.  Scott spent a year on unemployment, taking the first real break he had ever had since high school, and spending a lot of time with me.  Unfortunately, during that time he couldn't find anything he cared to do, and when the unemployment ran out he was going to lose his apartment.  It was a fairly shitty apartment, but it was his and I felt for the guy.  I had gotten married earlier that year to my first (ugh) wife, but it didn't stop me from getting Scott to move in while he got back on his feet.  He did so, and the wife left once I was diagnosed with the heart condition.  This left me, my father, and Scott in the house at Denham.  Scott eventually did find work in the motorcycle retail industry, and he has been happy as a pig in shit since doing so, despite the first place he was at closing down without warning one day, and him scrambling to find another job in the industry, which he has at Kahuna Powersports at 5243 Steeles Avenue West (west of Weston, on south side of Steeles).  He's the manager of the accessories department, upstairs.

My mother died in 2003, but that wasn't before she switched the ownership of the house into her name behind my father's back.  As a result, the guy she'd been fucking decided he wanted to sell the house in 2005, so we had to find a place fast.  I found the house we're in, in Ajax, and in August we moved.  The following Spring, Scott spoke to his father on the phone (his folks had moved to Nova Scotia after the kids had left the nest) and was worried because he didn't sound like his usual self.  He got worried he wouldn't see him again before he passed away.  I took it upon myself, heart condition and all (diagnosed in 2002, remember), to drive him out to see his folks in August of 2006.  The day after we got back, we were hanging in our pool, and my father went to do something on the driveway of the house.  He fell, bumped his head pretty bad, and his immune system went to fix that problem, leaving the as-yet unknown cancer he was carrying to go through his body like a wildfire.  He was given until early 2007; he died at midnight on October 6th, 2006.  Since then, Scott has been covering the mortgage on this place, while I've been trying to put the pieces back together.  My heart condition has made it impossible for me to handle stress, so most of the big decisions have been left to others for the last five years.

Andi answered an ad we had put out to find a housemate to ease the costs of the sudden financial elephant we found ourselves under, and we've been together since about four months after she moved in.  We plan to marry, and we all plan to be in the Dominican Republic in the next few years, as soon as possible actually.  Scott has stated repeatedly that he has no intentions of buggering off and leaving me this mortgage to pay, and thusly we have the living situation that we have.  I wouldn't trade Scott for all the rest of the friends I had in high school combined, and consider him my brother after all that's happened over the years.  I love him dearly, as he is (in the words of Jay, of Jay and Silent Bob fame) my heterosexual life mate.  This post is in tribute to him, and if he ever wonders what I think about him, this will be on the intertubes until the world comes crashing down around everyone's heads, so he can always look here to figure it out.  The bitch.

Anyway, tomorrow I'll be posting at least one entry on my other blogs, probably one on all three (not the same one - I'll post one entry on each of the blogs, you know, based on the theme of each particular know what, shut up and wait until tomorrow).  Until then, Good Readers, have a good day.  I know I will; Scott and I have some CoD planned...


Corrie Street Delay Irks Canadian Blogger

Hello again, Good Readers!  Just letting you all know that over on my Telly Vision blog there is now an article about the 10 month delay between the British and Canadian air dates of Coronation Street episodes, and my thoughts on the subject.  Take a gander by following the link, and have a good day!  I'm off to the dentist yet again, if I can survive shovelling all this snow that has fallen overnight and this morning without my heart condition making me keel over and die on the sidewalk!  Yay!


Telly Vision Up And Running

Okay, the new Television-themed blog is available, and as usual can be found by following the conveniently placed link, right over here.  Hope you all enjoy it!

That's all the new blogs for now, we'll see where things go from here together.  Whenever anything is posted on any of them, this blog will direct you to it, I promise.  Until I write again, Good Readers, have a spectacular Friday!

New Achievement Whore Post

Just passing through, letting my Good Readers know that there is in fact a new post on my videogaming blog, which, for your convenience, I have linked to here.  Hope you all take a read at it and send me comments about what you want to see/hear about on that page.

About to start work on the Television blog...will be up and running with a break-the-ice post as soon as I can manage, at which time I will post again here to announce it and link to it, for all the lazy folks who'd rather know where things are online, rather than spend days hunting for some random page. 

Stephen Colbert Coincidence

Just as an F.Y.I., Stephen Colbert had as a guest last night the scientist who has been responsible for reversing the ageing process in mice, just as I was discussing in a previous blog post.  See, I do in fact have my information correct, so there.

Also, am planning on whipping up a third blog, based mainly on Television and such, from the tech side to the viewing side.  Probably talk about stuff getting cancelled way too early, to shows that I wish were dead and gone.  After all, I do have my opinions, and where better to toot my horn?

This blog here, as stated previously, will be the catch-all for anything I want to discuss that just doesn't fit into the other pages.  Across all four (for now) blogs, I'll be writing regularly, but not necessarily daily, so if a day goes by without a post on ANY of them, don't fret.  Chances are I'll be back with a vengeance very soon.

Will post later with a link to the T.V. based page.  Until then, Good Readers, try and enjoy your day without me.  I know, I know, it's very hard to do, but give it a shot, okay?


Movie Blog Up And Running

Started the movie-based blog just now, just getting it ready for posts.  You can link to it here.  Not much there yet, just as there is not much at Confessions Of An Achievement Whore yet, but that will change rapidly as days grow into weeks.  Patience will win out.  Noises off!

New Blog Available

Greetings all.  New blog opened up this morning, about my video gaming history, and where things have come from and are going in the future.  You can find it all at the new blog, Confessions Of An Achievement Whore, linked here.

Hope everyone is having a good day...I'll be back when there is more to relate.  Gamerscore, ho!


Big Change A'Coming

So, I went to the doctor today, and we had a talk.  We talked about me exercising with the 360 Kinect, we discussed my trying to get a new mattress so that lying down in bed would stop making my back worse, and we also touched upon this blog.  I told him about the lack of response I've been getting from it, and he suggested I try a different approach - and I think I'm going to do just that.

As a result, over the next few days/weeks, I'm going to create multiple blogs on a variety of different topics.  I do not know exactly what the subjects will be, but I do know that each blog will be devoted to that particular subject and nought else.  This specific blog will remain open for business, but will be filled with whatever doesn't go into those other blogs, as well as listing updates of those other blogs.

Additionally, I will post each and every update upon my Twitter, which you can link to via!/gutrend.  This will allow you to see everything I have to say, both small and large.

Also, one last thing:  I won't be blogging each and every day on each and every blog.  In fact, there might be some days I post nothing on any of them.  So be it - follow along and you'll keep up to date with everything I'm writing.  I can say for certain that one of the blogs will be about my novel writing, just to keep Marigold quiet.

Later all.

Nobody Reading - Should I Keep Writing?

Well, took a look at the last couple of day's worth of people looking at this blog.  At least, page hits on this blog, I know that coming to the page doesn't necessarily mean actually reading it.  Anyway, I see that I have the daily two hits from South Korea (no idea why people or person in South Korea is reading me daily, but considering it is a consistent daily two hits it pretty much has to be deliberate), and a few from the States, but nobody from Canada is reading this.  Now, given that I've told the few people I care about that I'm writing this thing, and all of those people but one live in this country, getting no hits from Canada is like getting a kick in the groin.

So, what that ultimately means to me is that nobody really gives a shit if I keep writing or not, so this purposeful posting daily bullshit I've been forcing myself to do appears to be a total waste of time, just like my last blog was for a bunch of people who could have really cared less.  I tweet the hell out of this, but can't even get people at CTV who have made a huge error in judgment to look at my writings.  Ultimately, this seems like just a big waste of time.

I get e-mail notifications when a comment is left on any post I've written, and as of now I'm not going to bother doing this on a daily basis unless I have reason to believe there is at least ONE person willing to step forward and tell me they want to keep reading.  I'll even re-post my e-mail here for a direct response: is where I'm found.

If I get no comments or contact or anything, I'll still write here, but it will only be very intermittently, and I am going to tweet this, so we'll see if anyone wants this or not.  Either way, the posts are here and I'm not removing the blog.  See you later, or not, it all depends, doesn't it?


What I'd Do With A Lottery Win

As those of you in Canada may be aware, very recently there was a $50 million jackpot in the Lotto Max lottery.  Anyone who buys a ticket for these things can't help but imagine what they would do with the winnings, should the 1:14 million shot pay off in their favour, and so have I done many times over.  What I'd like to do now, on this snowy Tuesday, is do what most people never do and commit my plans to this blog so that, if the bell ever goes off for me and mine, my plan will be here for all to see and I can prove I'm a person of my word.

Or, it can be a good laugh when I blow it all on Tootsie Roll Pops.

Now, there are three scenarios I'm going to cover here.  First, when the Lotto Max gets to the $50 million mark, they spin off additional prizes of $1 million each, so scenario #1 is a $1 million win.  Now that the big payout has been won, the next draw is for a still considerable $23 Million, and that will be scenario #2.  And, of course, #3 would be if we had won the whole damn thing.  Now, a lot of people might not think that what you do with the money would change very much depending on the amount, but as you'll see I feel it will, and I really have given it a LOT of thought.  You have to cling to something when you are in my position.

So, first up, a $1 million win.  First things first, we pay off the mortgage on the house, get all three of us clear of all debts, and catch up on our monthly bills.  After that is done, we are still sitting on about $700,000.  From there, we take a trip to Calgary and pay off Lillian's mortgage.  Don't know if I've mentioned Lillian yet, but she is one of my dearest friends, and the only person I've known in my life to care enough about me to continue a long-distance friendship.  Many say they will, only one ever has.  For that, she gets her mortgage taken care of.  Since I don't know the value of her house, but do know the type of person she is, I put that cost at around the $200,000 mark, leaving us with half the winnings at this point, $500,000.  This is when we start planning for the Dominican move.  This scenario includes selling off the now mortgage-free house in Ajax, without bothering to really fix the place up, since it will all be money in the hand.  Since we're not positive how much the sale would give us, we'll just add $300,000 (the current low-end for this area) to the pot.

We've already been looking for places down there, in preparation for talking to realtors when we are getting ready to actually make the move, so that we know way in advance what we can expect for the amount we are willing to spend.  Without the lottery, we've been figuring on getting a place around the $100,000 mark, which if you can believe it will get us a place larger than this with an in-ground pool and more land (our house was $260,000 when we bought it).  With $800,000 in tow, we'd probably only aim for something in the $200,000 range, but then we would alter it with another $100,000 by getting geothermal cooling installed, multiple solar panels to take us off their semi-reliable power grid, and ensuring the fastest internet, most reliable cable, and strongest windows and roof we could buy down there, so that if the island does get hit by a hurricane (no direct hit for decades now) we'll be as safe as can be.  We would also be ensuring that we have enough room for at least one other couple/friend/family could live with us as per space requirements, ensuring that Andi's father could move down with us if he wanted, and this would be in addition to space already planned for visiting vacationers, such as Lil and Tim.

We still have to furnish the place, so we'll take another $100,000 to move us and do that right, leaving us $400,000 to go into the bank down there, gaining 28% per annum, and allowing us to live comfortably off of it probably for the rest of our lives.  We would also be giving about $50,000 to a charity, the one that was recently featured on CTV News, because they actually traced where the money donated went and it really was used to provide the means to live a life to a family without.  Since most charities can't prove what your donation actually does (some have more than a third of donations go into advertising, and at least one cancer-based charity is using more than a third of all donations to sue other charities for stealing their slogan, I shit you not), we refuse to donate to ANY charity other than this one.  If you are interested in which it is, e-mail me or comment below and I'll fill you in.  We can live quite wonderfully off of the interest from $350,000 CDN in a Dominican bank, and life is good.

So, that's the $1 million scenario.  If we were to win a $23 million lottery, things change a bit.  First off, the charity gets a cool million, no question.  See, it isn't as if we don't care about others, buy we've been without for quite a while too, so with a lower amount we have to look to ourselves more first.  Then, we pay off all our debts up here including the mortgage, Lillian's mortgage, etc..  The first big difference between the $1 million scenario and the $23 million scenario is that in this one we don't sell the Ajax house towards moving to the Dominican; instead, we sell the Ajax house and buy a Viceroy-constructed home to the northwest of the city.  It will be here for visiting my cousin's family, any of Andi's relatives, and I will use it to enjoy the hell out of winter because I plan to place it right in the snow-belt.  I've always loved winter as a season, and this will ensure I get the best out of it when I choose to:  A nice big plow for the driveway, a truck with the best winter tires on it, a huge fireplace and lots of windows, what could be better?

Of course, with such a much larger payout, our plans for the Dominican change as well, mainly in the size of our home, and the space for our guests.  I think we'd ensure an actual guest house for people visiting, complete with full kitchen, so that we can all have exactly whatever together time we want.  For example, if people come to visit and Andi and I have a child throwing a tantrum, off they can go and relax somewhere where there isn't food being hurled at a wall.  And for rainy days, a connecting tunnel can be there to get from building to building with no trouble.  I'd also heavily invest in a domed room, accessed from the main house but not located too near it, complete with provisions for a long stay.  For what purpose?  To watch those tropical storms from, of course!  Safe, secure, fully stocked, and with nature's big show roaring around me, that would be spectacular.

Once all is said and done, we'd probably still be sitting on $15 million or so, so now the travelling begins.  I personally have countries I'd like to see before I die, and Andi does as well, so we'd be doing a fair bit of getting around whilst our homes, both Canadian and Dominican, were being built.  Given the cash, we'd bring the kitties along with us on private flights, and have a grand time.  We'd visit the following locations, in no particular order:  Venice, Rome, Paris, London, parts of Poland, parts of Germany, parts of Austria, Cairo and the Giza area, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, parts of New Zealand, Las Vegas, Calgary, Vancouver, Newfoundland, Tokyo and Bangkok.  Not all at once, mind you, but without missing a one and spending as much or as little time as we want at each.  Some of them are obvious as to why we'd go, but some are more unusual, but that would be the itinerary.  Oh, and we'd visit lots of lighthouses, for my Andi!

When all is said and done, that would still leave us at least $10 million for banking purposes, giving us zero worries for the rest of our lives, and that ultimately is what we'd want from our jackpot.  As for the third scenario, it would just be the same as the second one, except with maybe a more extravagant lifestyle at home.  After all, when it comes right down to it, there is really only o much money anyone can really spend.  I mean, without being a complete asshole, and getting stupid shit just to say you are rich.  No, I'd be happy with putting huge amounts in the bank to ensure that the family I have is well taken care of for generations after I'm gone.  Oh, and with $50 million I'd be certain to give more than just $1 million to charity.  $5 million sounds right.

Now, all we need is to buy the winning ticket, and all this can happen.  If we don't, at least some of the things we've planned will still go our way.  We will still be moving to the Dominican, after fixing up and selling this place.  We'll still try to ensure a guest bedroom for family and friends to visit.  And I'll still dream of what could be with luck, timing, and a bit of good fortune.  Everyone needs a dream, right?


Trip To The Dentist Slows Blog Posting To Crawl

Okay, so maybe it is a little over-dramatic, but I just had my teeth cleaned for the first time in about eight years, so I'm a little sensitive.  Point is, I have no idea what to write about because I can still feel that damn probe going around my lower incisors, vibrating and tearing all the scaling off of them.  I'm going to be sensitive to breathing in and out of my mouth for the next two days, for crying out loud!

So, thusly, this post will be short, sweet, and cavity-free...for now.


CTV's Canada's Worst Driver Season 6 - Epic Fail!

We have this show here in Canada, which goes back a few years.  Called "Canada's Worst Driver," it showcases people who have been nominated by their friends as being really horrible on the roads and highways of this country.  They get these people together, take them to a location in South-Central Ontario (just north of Toronto, usually), take away their driver's licenses and get them taught basic driving techniques and rules.  They are then tested on a weekly basis by driving through various courses to determine how well they've picked up new and better driving habits.  The person who has improved the most each week 'graduates' and receives their license again and are allowed to go home.  The final person still in their 'driver rehab' course is considered Canada's Worst Driver for that season.

As a small note, this is not to be confused with "America's Worst Driver."  That show is built upon the principle that watching people make asses of themselves on public roads is funny, watching people unable to complete driving tasks on closed courses which are not actually able to be completed by ANY driver is hilarious, and that destruction of a vehicle at the end of an episode is necessary to keep an American watching the screen.  Point of fact:  You have yet to see any of the hosts of the American show even attempt to complete any of the tasks they ask the participants to perform, and there is an obvious reason for that which is clear if you watch the show for any length of time.  They literally make some of the challenges impossible to succeed at.  One of the challenges is to drive through a series of staggered gates with water tanks on either side, which will fall if the car clips the side of the gate.  Trouble is, we actually saw a car go through the centre of the gate and hit BOTH water tanks on either side of the gate AT THE SAME TIME!  In other words, the car itself can't fit through the gates without hitting the sides, meaning that the challenge simply can't be done successfully - so what are the participants learning?  Oh, yeah, almost forgot, they don't actually attempt to teach the participants anything in the first place!

On the other hand, the host of the Canadian show, Andrew Younghusband, attempts each and every challenge before any of the participants do so, and there have been a few times where he has performed less than stellarly.  Yes, I do in fact know that stellarly is not a real word.  Additionally, there have been times that the courses have been modified to suit the inexperience of the drivers after he has completed the course, to ensure the participants have a fighting chance at getting it done safely and correctly.  Finally, instead of destroying a vehicle each episode (for no apparent reason other than to say "You suck, but you, you don't suck as bad, so you can keep your vehicle"), the participants are judged by actual people who know what they are about, including a former race car driver, a psychologist, and a former officer of the Ontario Provincial Police.  These people judge who goes home, and cast votes along with the host to make that determination.  They also watch each and every bit of footage taken when the challenges occur, so they have an unbiased view of how they did, as well as being at least partially responsible for the teaching of the driving skills that will allow them to succeed in the first place.

Now that my rant on the differences between the original Canadian version versus the inferior knock-off American version is over, we'll move on to the reason this post exists in the first place.  This is going to degenerate into a rant, and will be the very first time I have ever said anything publicly that denounces the CTV Network, so be forewarned:  Swearing will occur, and if this gets read by the right people (I'm going to tweet it directly to CTV once I'm done), it should get someone angry other than myself.  Thus endeth the disclaimer, proceed at your own risk.

I'm going to set up what I viewed during Season 6 of this show, concentrating on two of the show's participants in particular, Lance and Dale.  Now, before I get into this too deeply, let me explain that neither of these people live or drive in the Toronto area, as have some horrible drivers of past seasons, one of which actually came from the area we live in specifically.  This is not my complaint, nor does it feature in my complaint.  It's not that easy.

Lance, the show's official 'winner' started off the season by saying he had only just gotten his license to drive.  He then exhibited many occurrences of crying due to stress when behind the wheel (on a closed course, please take note), vomiting due to the stress of trying to complete these challenges (again, these are closed courses), and this did not occur once or twice, but with every single thing he was tasked to do while in the 'driver rehab' facility.  Dale, on the other hand, was all too eager to get out there and drive.  I'm not sure where Lance was from (I believe Alberta, in the Calgary or Edmonton area), but Dale I remember being from St. Catherines, which, while not part of the GTA, is part of the Golden Horseshoe, as the area wrapping around the west end of Lake Ontario from Toronto to Niagara Falls is known.  I strongly remember this for reasons that will become apparent shortly.  Dale has had her license for I believe upwards around the thirty year mark, and none of her family will allow small children to be driven ANYWHERE by her.  This is due to the fact that Dale doesn't know basic rules of the road, like stopping at stop signs, or don't hit other vehicles when driving.  I shit you not, she hits things like she's in a fucking bumper car.  But, I digress.  The point is, when these two participants are on the show, they are to be learning basic driving skills and then applying them in order to improve their driving.

Now, from the above paragraphs, I would like to draw your focus to a couple of details:  Lance just got his license.  When stressed Lance throws up and/or cries behind the wheel.  One of the judges is an ex-OPP officer.  Dale doesn't know basic rules of the road.  Dale hits other vehicles constantly.  When the show begins, the participants have their licenses taken away from them.

We are now going to the meat of the matter.  The final challenge, to sort out who will actually be crowned the worst driver for each season, is a drive following directions through an actual city, with actual traffic, where the participants are expected to actually obey the law whilst operating a motor vehicle.  This season, it was Niagara Falls they were driving in.  Yes, that Niagara Falls.  Center of tourism for Southern Ontario.  One of the modern wonders of the world.  Honeymoon capital of North America.  In other words, Good Readers, there is going to be traffic.  And if you know the layout of Niagara Falls at all, you know that the Niagara Parkway is a two-lane road that follows the banks of the Niagara River right alongside the length of it, from Fort Erie where the river starts all the way to Lake Ontario where it ends.  That's one lane in each direction, by the way, it isn't a highway - except when actually IN Niagara Falls, where it is two lanes each way.  In other words, the road is as close as you can get to the Falls without getting out of your car, and the second lane furthest from the Falls is usually for entrances and exits from the myriad parking lots in that area, plus people often slow down in the lane closest to the Falls for a quick look (that'd be one lane out of the two heading north and one lane from the two heading south, north to view the Falls, south to park to view the Falls).  In other, other words, THERE IS MORE TRAFFIC ON THAT STRETCH OF ROAD THAN ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE TOWN OF NIAGARA FALLS, BUT ONLY TWO LANES ARE ACTUALLY MOVING AT A REGULAR SPEED AT ANY GIVEN TIME.  Oh, and for shits and giggles, this is where they start their driving test.

First off, we have Lance.  Lance turns on to the Niagara Parkway, drives about two minutes or so, starts hyper-ventilating, has to pull over, has an ambulance called for him, and can't complete the test.  Dale does the entire test, but during it finds herself literally driving into oncoming traffic when she goes through an intersection from a left turn lane.

Dale is asked to please get retested before driving again, and is sent home with her license.  She does not get retested and is on the road again immediately.  Lance 'wins' the crown of Canada's Worst Driver, is given his license back, and sent home, where he continues to drive.

Now, who else sees the problem?

Here's my personal irritation involving Lance:  Where the FUCK did he get his license?  Part of the licensing procedure in Ontario (and I assume, the rest of the world!!!) is to drive in traffic, and this fucker can't even turn into a slow-moving roadway without requiring an ambulance?  There is an ex-OPP officer right there watching this shit unfold, and he doesn't question the fact that he had to do a road test, something the guy seems completely incapable of performing, in order to get licensed in the first place?  Nowhere does anyone say they'll be investigating the licensing office he got it from, nowhere does anyone say that it seems a bit fishy that this guy is allowed to drive on public streets when he is clearly incapacitated by doing so.  Lance is given his license back, no questions asked, no psychological therapy required, just off you go and have fun.  Oh, but this isn't the worst of it, not by a long shot.

Dale, the runner-up if you will, is a major threat on the road.  We watched as she headed merrily down the street on the wrong side of the road, and did not realize it in any way, shape or form until she was TOLD by her passenger (who was the damn HOST OF THE SHOW) that she was on the wrong side of the road!  This person actually got WORSE at driving as the show progressed, all the while swearing that she was 'seeing the light' and 'would never make the mistakes she used to now that she knew the right way to do things.'  And finally, here's the kicker:  At the end of one of the episodes, when she was interviewed about how she felt she had been progressing through the rehab, she was asked point blank in front of the panel whether it was possible she had hit someone with her car in the past and never known she had done so, to which she answered that yes it was completely likely that this had happened.  Do you follow me?  She herself thinks she might have HIT a HUMAN with her CAR, and DOESN'T KNOW IT!!!

Now, I've watched previous seasons, and I have actually seen Andrew Younghusband cut a license in half, effectively removing that person from the road until they get re-tested.  Where were the scissors this season?  And more to the point, you have a driver who admits to probably (her words) being a hit and run driver, and you do nothing to require her to be re-tested, you just ask her nicely to do so?  When she didn't, and went back to driving, what did the show do?  Put a tag at the end of the show saying she didn't, isn't that funny, ha ha ha!  Well, here's the big question CTV, and you might really want to think of this.  If Dale proceeds to kill someone with her vehicle, given the fact that you had her license and the apparent right to stop her from driving until forced to take another road test, does that not in fact make you at least partially liable?  The fact that you have an ex-OPP officer on your panel means that you know what is right from wrong, and given the footage shot I can't believe that someone, anyone, from the Ministry Of Transportation wouldn't agree that she should be re-tested given her total lack of interest in the law.  Driving is a privilege, not a right, remember?

I have written to CTV Globemedia Communications regarding this, sent on December 14th, 2010, and have yet to receive any response whatsoever.  I certainly hope someone sits up and takes notice now that I've posted it here, but it means tweeting this repeatedly and getting CTV to see what they might be responsible for in the future.  If the argument is that the MTO isn't involved with the show, given the subject matter, I'd like to know why the hell not?  It is all well and good to do a show that is horribly bastardized by the States, but to let a genuine self-admitted threat back on the roads without even a slap on the wrist?  When it could result in a death?  And allowing someone to drive with major psychological problems, throwing his obtaining his license legally into doubt?  I sure as shit wouldn't want to be the person responsible for making THAT decision.

I liken this to a bartender serving a drunk, knowing full well they are going to drive home.  In fact, I'd honestly rather be on the road with someone who is slightly over the legal blood/alcohol limit than with Dale.  At least with the drinker, there is a chance you won't hit anything.

Safe driving people - they are out there, on the roads, with YOU.


What I'm Looking Forward To In 2011 (and two things I'm not)

Happy New Year to all those who celebrate it!  Happy Saturday to all those who don't!  Happy whatever day this is to you if you don't follow the Gregorian Calendar!

Yup, it is now 2011.  As promised yesterday, I am now going to post what I am looking forward to for this year.  See?  Depressed house-bound people can look forward to things too.  Honest!

First off, on a personal note, I'm looking forward to being able to fix up my Kia Sportage, get insured again, and be able to drive and get out of these walls.  Nobody is going to write a Hollywood blockbuster about this, but it is my first wish and desire for the new year.  The next personal item is my weight.  As I have mentioned earlier, I am overweight.  Actually, I am what doctors and physicians consider 'morbidly obese.'  That's a great one, isn't it?  It has morbid baked right into the title.  I feel that even if I lose a hunk of poundage, I still wanna figure out a way to keep the morbid part in my general description.  Just to keep the rubberneckers at bay.  Like, "Hey. there's morbid Dave, best stay away from him," and such.  Now, the obesity (that part I can lose) is contributing to, but not the cause of, my heart problem.  What it is also doing is killing my back, making me not sleep, and having me up at whatever soulless time it is in the morning that I am writing this blog.  There's more, but I'm not going into it here.  I now have almost all the Kinect games that focus on weight loss (last one is on its way via Amazon), and am planning to see my doctor soon to discuss which to start with and get a whole plan worked up.  So, no resolutions here, just looking forward to driving and getting more active at home.

Now, on to the good stuff.  It has been brought to my attention that I missed out on one major media type yesterday in my look back over the previous year, and that was books.  Well, allow me to rectify that:  I cannot state truthfully that any books from last year affected me in any way whatsoever, except in the small sense that they made me wish I had money to spend on them.  I am a reader, a voracious reader, and I have a couple of magazine subscriptions that just started in December, but they are really cheap in comparison to the latest books.  There are books I am planning to buy, but I have to budget for them.  Therefore, I read nothing new last year that hadn't been released in previous years.  This year, however, there are a few titles I am planning to grab up.  Terry Goodkind's latest "Sword Of Truth" novel for example.  The late Robert Aspirin's final "Spellsinger" title.  The late Robert Jordan's final three "Wheel Of Time" titles, finished posthumously by an author his wife chose after his death at his request.  There might be others, but I'll learn about them as I go.  That should satisfy this particular omission from yesterday's post.

Movies I'm interested in this year are numerous, but there are a few huge stand-outs that I'll mention here.  "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part Two" is my most highly anticipated movie for this year.  You may have noticed that I did not include Part One on my 2010 list, and this is simply because as far as any loyal fan of the series is concerned, the movie ain't done yet.  Kind of like the "Kill Bill" titles - until the second half is complete, the whole movie hasn't been seen yet.  Anyway, that comes out on July 15th.  Other titles I'm looking forward to include:  "Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" on May 20th, "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon" on July 1st, and "Thor" on May 6th.  All these dates are current North American release dates, just so you know.  One other title I'm looking forward to has to be "Paranormal Activity 3" which is aimed at October 21st., and for more info about why I refer you to my previous blog entry regarding the horror genre in general.

Musically I'm only looking forward to the new Lonely Island CD.  Again, I don't keep current with music, but I do pick up songs here and there.  Haven't checked to see if any of my favourite bands are releasing anything new this year other than these guys, so I'll have to wait and see.  Check in with me again at the end of 2011, and we'll see if I had any new revelations.

Video-game-wise, there are a couple of titles that have me curious this year, but one in particular is the only title worth speaking of:  "The Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim."  With a release date of 11-11-11, I have a long damn time to wait and anticipate, but it will be worth it.  For those of you in the know, you understand fully why.  For those of you not in the know, this game news is the equivalent of watching the first two movies of the Peter Jackson "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy, being told that there will NEVER be a third in that trilogy, waiting five years with constant denial from the company that made the movie that there will EVER be a third movie, and then out of the blue getting news not only of there being a third movie in the works, but a release date and a teaser trailer as well on the same date.  Oh, and if "The Lord Of The Rings" doesn't float your boat, how about if James Cameron had zero plans on a sequel to "Avatar?"  No?  How about no intention of releasing the last "Harry Potter" movie?  The last "Twilight" movie?  I give up - if you still don't get it, ask one of your friends who actually owns a soul.

As far as television goes, as usual I am looking forward to the award season starting later this month (like next week!).  As far as I know, there aren't any special mini-series or movie events that I'm excited to see.  I am looking forward to a couple of new shows starting in the next couple of weeks - "The Cape" comes to mind, as does "Perfect Couples."  Other than that, just the usual fare, as far as I know.  Of course, as I mentioned in my "Corrie"-based entry, I'm looking forward to the 50th anniversary week to air here in Canada, but that won't be until September-October, so I have a little wait for that.

So there you have it, what I'm looking forward to this year.  Oh, and those two things I'm not looking forward to?  Well, one would be an all-out war between the United States and her allies and China and her allies over the ongoing strife between North Korea and South Korea (Don't think I mentioned it before, but do you know the Korean War - the one the T.V. show "M*A*S*H" took place during - has never ended?  They only signed a cease-fire, and the war is still ongoing.).  The other is almost as horrible:  On April 28th, 2011, I turn 40.