Monthly Archive for December, 2006


Today we cleaned out the fridge. Many bits of nasty old leftovers, all flushed down the garbage disposal. Found a large chunk of lasagna that neither of us would dare to eat. I pushed it into the disposal in two fairly large chunks. With the disposal turned on and water running in, I heard a pop and suddenly felt something wet on my feet.

Lo and behold, disgusting water is pouring out of the cupboard doors and onto the floor below the disposal!

The drain pipe clogged up, and the pressure from the garbage disposal blew a compression fitting apart. My cupboard was sprayed on every surface with a disgusting mess of ground-up moldy old lasagna and other even older things I couldn’t identify. It was pouring out on the floor, getting everywhere. And it looked, I swear to God, exactly like puke… an inhumanly large volume of puke, all over the walls of the cupboard and the kitchen floor.

As I slowly sponged it all up into a bucket, I knew in my head that it wasn’t actually puke… but my stomach still wasn’t none to happy. In such a situation, sympathetic puke becomes a distinct possibility. Fortunately, it didn’t happen.

Christmas song for cat-lovers

On the first day of Christmas my kitty gave to me
A poop in the box

On the second day of Christmas my kitty gave to me
Two lumps of urine
And a poop in the box

On the third day of Christmas my kitty gave to me
Three slimy hairballs
Two lumps of urine
And a poop in the box

Ok, that’s all I’ve got.

Hmm… just realized that I based the last line of each verse (“And a poop…”) on the somewhat non-standard metre of the Bob and Doug McKenzie version (“And a beer… in a tree.”)

UPS “Brokerage fee” class-action

Apparently a guy in British Columbia has filed a class-action lawsuit against UPS, for the ridiculous “brokerage” charges they demand from the recipient of any US->Canada shipment. Frequently the brokerage fees will be more than the shipment is worth.

Unfortunately, the case is in BC only at this time, but if one starts up in Ontario, I’ll be there. Those bastards have fucked me one time too often.

FedEx used to be better, but they started doing it too (I guess they could smell the money too). The only viable option remaining is the regular postal service (which charges a flat $5 for the same service). That is cool, I’ve had good luck with simple US Postal Service shipments of CDs ordered from the US. But some stores refuse to ship that way.

I want to buy a Technivorm coffee maker, only available from the US, but haven’t been able to figure out a good way to do it without paying off those gangsters. I think there may be an option whereby I drive to a customs office and clear the package myself. That would likely cost me more in gas than I save in brokerage fees, but it would be worth it.

Update: Man, close to 200 comments so far, almost all of them from very angry people. I’ve have since learned more about doing your own customs clearance, including some relevant information straight from Canada Border Services Agency.

Spam: will it ever end?

It has been observed by many people that spam levels have shot up tremendously in the last half year. Largely due to bot-nets of cracked Windows PCs, which tend to make the older spam-fighting mechanisms like server blacklists ineffective. And largely image-based spam defeats heuristic analyzers like Bayesian filters.

Somehow even email addresses that I hardly ever use, and which were formerly completely spam-free, have started getting spam. I figure somebody I know must have got their computer 0wned. Crap.

I wonder now… will we ever really find a permanent solution to the spam problem? The alternative is too terrible to contemplate. Will I have to spend spending the next 30 years deleting 50 stock pump-n-dump spams every day?

Is this what Hell is like?

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Sabrina and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in Toronto last week. We saw them last year too, and enjoyed it quite alot. The same again this year.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Toronto 2006Trans-Siberian Orchestra, for those who haven’t heard of them, does a bunch of classical music, Christmas songs, and original instrumentals driven by weedely-deedely electric guitar. You may have seen a video circulating around of an amazing Christmas light display on a house, synchronized to music. Guess who wrote that music…
The show was substantially similar to last year’s. The first half of the show is a connected series of songs telling a sappy Christmas story, joined by bits of narration by a deep-voiced guy straight out of some classic Christmas TV special. The story was the same this year, as far as I could tell. We don’t really enjoy that part of the show quite so much.

The second half of the show is when they rock out, with heavy-metallized classics and cover tunes. We love this part of the show.
Throughout, they put on the most elaborate and expensive light-show I’ve ever seen.

We took a bunch of photos with our Blackberries, which are naturally crappy, but at least they give a flavour of the experience. The best of them are here in my gallery.