Mississauga is, I think, a city much like Los Angeles – or at least the Los Angeles I imagine. It’s a mound of buildings raised where highways cross paths like tangled string, roads all six lanes across. Where one drives everywhere, and everywhere is built for one to drive to.

I remember New York from travelling there, and how different it was. I’ve never lived in a place the majority of people simply have no need for a vehicle of their own, but it seemed like everyone was going somewhere by subway, or by bus, or on foot. The legion of taxis take over the streets at night – one doesn’t need a car. And in that way, it seemed like everything was connected by bloodstreams of transit. It seemed like everyone was entangled that way.

Mississauga has no connections. We collide at shopping malls and faceless big-box stores. We murmer apologies, bumping elbows. We get into our cars and go our separate ways. Only the poor take busses – one knows income level that way. You aren’t rich enough to own a car, or two.

I live in a basement apartment in the knowledge that it would be entirely possible to never interact with my community at all. In New York, at least our bodies interacted, even if we didn’t like it. In Mississauga, I go from the sanity of my dwelling to the sanity of my car to the sanity of my work and back again. My blurry-faced neighbors do the same every morning. I know when they leave for work, but after that they are lost. They come home, and are lost again.

Something tells me that Mississaugans watch a lot of television, if just to have a window into outside, if only to see other people. We are safe, I think, and rather dead.

Guns in Canada.

This post is about Canada. Well, mostly. You interested Americans can hold your noses and persevere or just walk way. Either one.

Anyhow, I have something to say: you are being systematically lulled into false sense of security, while at the same time goaded into a false sense of fear.

How many times have you heard a police officer on the radio advising you to just give up in the face of criminals? If they want your phone, give them your phone. Or your wallet. Or your car. The police will catch them, and you’ll never have to worry about it. There’s the false sense of security. In reality, chances are that the police won’t find the guy that ripped off your wallet – better chances than that they will find him – and you’ll be left without your dignity and your wallet.

Notice who’s telling you this? That’s right. The police. Now, it may sound like some good logic – after all, whose car is more important than their own bodily safety? But remember this if you remember nothing else: a collective of people formed into an organisation will without fail do what organisations and organisms do: attempt self-preservation and self-propagation.

Imagine that no-one resisted crime. Ever. Criminals roam the streets without fear unless there’s a cop in the vicinity, doing whatever they will, whenever they will. The police and courts – both arms of the government, I might add – are the only bodies standing in their way. Amidst millions of lambs, thousands of wolves, and even fewer sheepdogs. Crime will necessarily increase because the police can’t be everywhere, and crime is suddenly easy. There’s no challenge to it. Just don’t get caught, and you can nock over every 7-11 you like, because all the 7-11s are run by sheep.

But you’re not a sheep. You’re a human. You have remnants of the dignity of God in you. Why would you let the police tell you to be a sheep? How would that end up? Well, look at what we have now in Toronto: crime on the increase and calls for more funding for cops and more cops on the street. Calls for more money to be shot into the arm of the gun enforcement people. There are alway more police. Ever notice that? Always more.

The problem is for you – the sheep – is the government has taken all your tools away. Would you like to shoot your attacker? You aren’t allowed to carry a handgun. Would you like to beat your attacker with a pipe? You’ll be sued or charged, either way. Do you want to stab him in the face? You’ll be tossed into jail.

Let me swerve for a minute – do you know why the founders of the US were so adamant about the right to carry arms that they even included it in the consitution? It’s quite simple, really. It has nothing to do with the rights of individual human beings. It had everything to do with the overthrow of a corrupt government. The founders of the US wanted to make certain that its people could – should the Union ever grow corrupt itself – overthrow the government and start afresh just like they had against the British.

Is it a co-incidence that you can’t own the majority of military weapons in Canada, and that procuring a firearm is exceptionally difficult? Is it a co-incidence that should you purchase a gun your purchased will be tracked? No. Maybe on an individual level some politician thought it would be a good idea that guns be tracked so they could be more easily investigated if involved in a crime somewhere, but on a grand oranisational sense, this is pure self-propagation.

Guns simply must be outlawed and controlled and tracked and demonised because the government would have no-one but itself in control of the means of its own destruction. People with guns must be watched, but they must also be few. There will never be a civil uprising in Canada, no matter how corrupt or undemocratic our government becomes, simple because no one has the tools.

It’s just the government, and the criminals, and we’re all sheep caught in the crossfire. Think about it.

Some stuff I found on my hard drive.

This is going to be a bit of a longish post. But hopefully – now that you’ve come back from voting – you need some relief. This is what this post is for.

Some One-Liners

Guests who kill their talk show hosts. On the last Donahue.
9 out of 10 doctors say the 10th doctor should mellow out.
“Alex, I’ll take ‘Things Only I Know’ for $200”
All those who believe in psychokinesis, raise my hand.
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
Corduroy pillows – they’re making headlines!
Death called while you were out, so I gave him your pager number.
Help Wanted: Telepath. You know where to apply.
Sheep don’t fly so much as plummet.
“My greatest fear is that no one will remember me after I’m dead.” – some dead guy

This is a dog getting all up on someone’s grill.

If I Ever Become an Evil Overlord…

My legions of terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box.

I will not gloat over my enemies’ predicament before killing them.

When the rebel leader challenges me to fight one-on-one and asks, “Or are you afraid without your armies to back you up?” My reply will be, “No, just sensible.”

When I’ve captured my adversary and he says, “Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?” I’ll say, “No.” and shoot him.

After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.

I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled “Danger: Do Not Push”.

I will not order my trusted lieutenant to kill the infant who is destined to overthrow me — I’ll do it myself.

I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum — a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.

I will be secure in my superiority. Therefore, I will feel no need to prove it by leaving clues in the form of riddles or leaving my weaker enemies alive to show they pose no threat.

I will not waste time making my enemy’s death look like an accident: I’m not accountable to anyone and my other enemies wouldn’t believe it.

I will make it clear that I do know the meaning of the word “mercy”; I simply choose not show them any.

One of my advisors will be an average five-year-old child. Any flaws in my plan that he is able to spot will be corrected before implementation.

All slain enemies will be cremated, not left for dead at the bottom of the cliff. The announcement of their deaths, as well as any accompanying celebration, will be deferred until after the aforementioned disposal.

My undercover agents will not have tattoos identifying them as members of my organization, nor will they be required to wear military boots or adhere to any other dress codes.

The hero is not entitled to a last kiss, a last cigarette, or any other form of last request.

I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

I will design all doomsday machines myself. If I must hire a mad scientist to assist me, I will make sure that he is sufficiently twisted to never regret his evil ways and seek to undo the damage he’s caused.

I will never utter the sentence “But before I kill you, there’s just one thing I want to know.”

When I employ people as advisors, I will occasionally listen to their advice.

Lucas, destroyer of my childhood. Internet, destroyer of Lucas.

The Pastoral Search Committee

In our search for a suitable pastor, the following scratch sheet was developed for your perusal. Of the candidates investigated by the committee, only one was found to have the necessary qualities. The list contains the names of the candidates and comments on each, should you be interested in investigating them further for future pastoral placements.

Noah: He has 120 years of preaching experience, but no converts.

Moses: He stutters; and his former congregation says he loses his temper over trivial things.

Abraham: He took off to Egypt during hard times. We heard that he got into trouble with the authorities and then tried to lie his way out.

David: He is an unacceptable moral character. He might have been considered for minister of music had he not ‘fallen.’

Solomon: He has a reputation for wisdom but fails to practice what he preaches.

Elijah: He proved to be inconsistent, and is known to fold under pressure.

Hosea: His family life is in a shambles. Divorced, and remarried to a prostitute.

Jeremiah: He is too emotional, alarmist; some say a real ‘pain in the neck.’

Amos: Comes from a farming background. Better off picking figs.

John: He says he is a Baptist but lacks tact and dresses like a hippie. Would not feel comfortable at a church potluck supper.

Peter: Has a bad temper, and was heard to have even denied Christ publicly.

Paul: We found him to lack tact. He is too harsh, His appearance is contemptible, and he preaches far too long.

Timothy: He has potential, but is much too young for the position.

Jesus: He tends to offend church members with his preaching, especially Bible scholars. He is also too controversial. He even offended the search committee with his pointed questions.

Judas: He seemed to be very practical, co-operative, good with money, cares for the poor, and dresses well. We all agreed that he is just the man we are looking for to fill the vacancy as our Senior Pastor.

Thank you for all you have done in assisting us with our pastoral search.

The Pastoral Search Committee

Two words: Robopope. No, wait. One word. Yeeeeeah.

Final Exam
Instructions: Read each question carefully. Answer all questions.

Time limit: 2 hours. Begin immediately.

History: Describe the history of the Papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially, but not exclusively, on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.

Medicine: You have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture until your work has been inspected. You have fifteen minutes.

Public Speaking: 2500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.

Biology: Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the English Parliamentary System. Prove your thesis.

Music: Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.

Physchology: Based on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability, degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the following: Alexander of Aphrodisis, Rameses II, Hammuarabi. Support your evaluation with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate references. It is not necessary to translate.

Sociology: Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

Engineering: The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes, a hungry bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel necessary. Be prepared to justify your decision.

Economics: Develop a realistic plan for refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist Controversy, and the Wave Theory of Light. Outline a method for preventing these effects. Criticize this method from all possible points of view. Point out the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer to the last question.

Political Science: There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects if any.

Epistemology: Take a position for or against truth. Prove the validity of your stand.

Physics: Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.

Philosophy: Sketch the development of human thought. Estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.

General Knowledge: Describe in detail. Be objective and specific.


He Who Dies With the Most Toys Is In This Blog Post

7th Day Adventist
He who plays with his toys on Saturday, loses.

It is not possible to know whether toys make a bit of difference.

Toys with batteries are surely a sin.

They were our toys first.

There is no toy maker.

All toys are just fine with us.

Once played, always played.

Branch Davidians
He who dies playing with the biggest toys, wins.

He who dies with the most toys, wins.

He who denies himself the most toys, wins.

Church of Christ
He whose toys make music, loses.

Church of Christ, Scientist
We are the toys.

Everyone gets the same number of toys, and we kill you if we catch you selling yours.

Once a toy is dipped in the water, it is no longer dry.

The toys made themselves.

Toys are a figment of your imagination.

Greek Orthodox
No, they were OURS first.

Hari Krishna
He who plays with the most toys, wins.

To heck with the rule book!? Let’s play!

He who plays with bags of plastic farm animals, loses.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
He who sells the most toys door-to-door, wins.

Every boy can have as many toys as he wants.

Just play with them.

He whose toys can talk, wins.

There are many toy makers.

The doll is as important as the dumptruck.

Let me borrow that doll for a second.

Tr4sh = p0wned, n00b!

dan (there ya go)



Now that I’ve said that, let me ask you all a question: what’s a good thing that happened to you this weekend that you didn’t deserve?

dan (YES)

In Google news…

Google was asked – along with other search engines – to produce search logs by the Justice Department of the USA. It refused where the others did not. Anonymous though these logs may be, the Justice Department is not trying to use them in a criminal case; quite the opposite, they’re attempting to use it to re-evaluate a child porn law that the US Supreme Court already struck down once as unconstitutional.

What bothers me here is that US Gov’t is constantly trying to do this. Something going wrong? Let’s declare war on it! But as always, they fight the war the wrong way around and screw a lot of things up – personal privacy rights, and let’s not mention the fictitiously-propped-up War in Iraq.

How should they do it? Well, accept the freedom of speech for a second, as most Americans accept it. It basically means that you can say anything you like, no matter how stupid, with very few restrictions. Probably the only time it can be violated is when freedom of speech violates an even more sacred tenet – like the right to life. Thus, no yelling fire in a crowded opera house.

That means, of course, that you can’t just pick and choose who does and does not get it depending on your view of right and wrong. That means – among other things – that people must allowed to post porn on the internet, along with pictures of planets, dissertations on wireless networking, and rants about the evils of cellphones.

Now, whether or not porn should (for instance) get its own top level domain name, or whether it should all be sequestered to one metaphorical section of the internet isn’t my arguments. If this aids parents keeping their children away from porn, then certainly. But see, that’s the thing – this isn’t a governmental and regulatory problem.

It is, of course, a moral problem, as always: certainly, accessability is a gating factor, and the internet is the ultimate in ensuring accessability . But the heart of mankind – and not just men, you hear? – is geared toward the seedy. You want to save the internet? Save the people that use the internet. Until that time, government will merely intrude more and more into your life and mine all the time weeping, “oh noes what about the children!!!1!”. And many of you will as always be moved by the rhetoric until you find your own ankle-irons beeping softly in the background.

Repeat after me: the government is not responsible for the children. You are. If you were good parents, the government could just get their damn fingers out of your house and leave you alone. Sound harsh? It is.

And once more: the government is not responsible for your life. You are. If you weren’t stupid, the government wouldn’t have to stop you from jumping off bridges.

dan (acerbic today)

OpenBSD 3.8

So the other day I decided to brave the dark waters of BSD, and I ordered the OpenBSD 3.8 release on CD. I took a stab at it last night, and this morning.

I have to say a few things: the ports collection is very nice. I mean, apt-get is nice, but the ports collection in very nice. A breeze, in fact.

Well – a breeze. Nothing about OpenBSD is a breeze unless you’ve been using *nix for a while. I haven’t. I’m learning as I go. The best I’ve ever done before was install Damn Small Linux and Ubuntu, and even then I only ever had to build anything from scratch when it was a totally wierd-o package that no one had heard about.

dan (isn’t this fun!)

Some info for your security.

This link (http://pgl.yoyo.org/adservers/) is probably something you should look at, just so you know. Very useful thing, and something that’s come in handy around the office.

Now if there was only a way to remotely admin the host lists on ten different Windows computers.

Edit: did you know it’s nearly impossible to block msn.com with the hosts file? I dare you: try it. You can block their CSS directory and all their ads, and you can block Hotmail and the Passport service and MSN Webmessenger, but strangely, not Msn.com. Now, I don’t want to be all conspiracy theorist about this, but isn’t it interesting how the people that run MSN also made Windows? Huh. Strange.


Hey ho techno.

I’ve come to think that technology is largly a neutral thing, at least when it comes to happiness. Is my life any better because I can use the internet? Or has the intrusion of the internet into every sphere of my existence taken away whatever happiness it could afford?

And with every action there is a reaction. Technology eliminates human jobs, but at the same time creates more of them. Probably in some similar proportion as yesteryear, some are smart labour and some are grunt labour. It’ll always be that way because some people are acclimated to mind work, and others are acclimated to physical work. Few, both.

I live longer, but am I happy? I have the time to ask this question now. I don’t have to fear neighbouring tribesmen and their ravages. Disease is mainly a thing to fear in my elder years. I’m fitter, happier.

But am I happier? Our age, as always, has created the perfect word as an answer: “Meh.”


A Cynic’s Guide to Dating, Part the Fourth

Yes, it’s time to return to the trough that is dating, once again shove our muzzles in, and peruse the slops like a blind psychic reading the entrails of a rabbit. Really, I think I’ve said all I could possibly say right there, so the rest of this is just gravy. So please don’t take what I’m saying too seriously, unless you’ve never heard any of this before, in which case Welcome to the Internets!!!!11

This short Guidepost is brought to you by a) the moronic inanities of men, and b) the inherent dishonesty of women. Also, by the breakdown of the finely tuned “codes” used in previous generations to communicate with the opposite sex ones intentions. Let me explain. Let’s say that over the centuries – and in Victorian times in particular – a man tells a woman that he’s in the mood for love when he carried a bloodied wombat on a red string while whistling “Amazing Grace”. Just for example. Then along comes the Sexual Revolution (my pet name for a bunch of idiots making our oh-so-modern world a tangled ball of emotional yarn without rhyme or reason) and the Sexual Revolution has slogans like, “Look ma! Burned my wombat!” and “Emancipation for string!” Suddenly there’s no bloodied wombat, perhaps a good thing, but there’s also no replacement. It’s not like it was “Out with the bloodied wombat, in with the three-colour-card system!” No. Nothing. So here we are with a world full of emotionally bumbling men and emotionally guarded women playing Emotional Bumper Cars. Or, more vividly, Emotional Electric Chair.

See, I was talking a girl friend of mine, and she was telling me about the somewhat awkward attentions of some guys in her life that just don’t seem to get the point that she Just Wants To Be Friends. I know, some of you are already questioning her idea that men can be Just Friends with a woman, but let’s say for the sake of argument that we’re in a parallel universe where such things are indeed possible and moreover actually happen. Let’s say that there’s a fellow whose attentions are somewhat questionable and altogether too frequent not to warrant a second glance. The girl, however, is a “nice” person (which in woman code means that she doesn’t actually say to the guy what’s on her mind but instead attempts to get the point across with an awkward process scientists have names “osmosis”) and doesn’t want to destroy their friendship as it is. She decides to cut their conversations short on trumped-up excuses, beg out of meeting Question Mark on all but the most convenient of occasions, and generally treat him as if he were just indeed a casual friend.

The wildly inevitable happens. Yes, you all know this because you’ve all either done it or had it done to you depending on your specific genitallia. The guy just doesn’t get the point. At which point the girl is thinking to herself, “My, Question Mark is denser than the air at a Texas Chili Convention!” and the guy is thinking, “MUST. TRY. HARDER!”

What follows, then, is a way for you to short-circuit this merrygoround of emotional stress, and save yourself a lot of time scribbling on your blog about your merrygoround of emotional stress. I’ve tailored these sections to both sexes separately. So, if you’re a guy, read the section for guys. And if you’re a girl, humour me and read the section for girls even though you, of course, already know everything there is to know about guys and girls.

For The Ladies

1. Is this worth the trouble? Is it? Is this male so integral to your existance, would you be so forlorn, lost like a small puppy in the middle of highway without him, that he must be a large part of your life? Or are you just there because you think it’s polite? I’ll save you the trouble of lying to yourself and tell you in large letters PROBABLY NOT. Got that? Cutting a guy down to a casual friend may seem a horrible thing to do, but think of the blog posts and the songs and the amount of time he’s going to spend just thinking about you! I, for one, don’t want to read his blog posts or hear his songs or have to soothe his singed feathers after the flamethrower of your supposed indifference chars his dreams of happiness. Because I’m not gay that way, and I don’t like feathers really at all.

2. Can you be honest with a guy? No? Then you’re not really good friends, are you! But if you can be honest, be honest. Is saying, “Hey, I’m probably crazy, but I’ve been getting this vibe from you…” going to make things incredibly awkward for a few moments or maybe days? Yes! Was it incredibly awkward before? Yes! What’s the difference? Nothing! If he packs up his bags and leaves for Indiana – providing, of course, that you don’t live in Indiana you poor thing – well, you’ve lost some awkward. If he sticks around, he’s either moronically persistant, or good Friend Material.

3. Make some girl friends. You know, the kind you can have sleepovers with and have pillowfights in your jammies with or make cookies for me with? It’s not as hard as you think. After all, you all have ovaries and wild hormones that make you want pickles in the middle of a night on Friday so long as they’re not the sweet kind! so there’s a place to start.

4. If you don’t want to do the whole “honesty” thing, or make female friends because you’re afraid of scratchmarks, and you are interested in another guy, talk with him dreamily of the guy you are interested in. He’ll get the point, and if he doesn’t, hey look! THIS PAGE IS FOR HIM.

5. Lastly, here are some cues to know when a guy might want to break out the diamonds and go all Sleepless in Seatle on you. Does he make a joke and then look at you right away to see if you laughed? Does he neglect other friends for you? Will he do anything, no matter how irrational – including but not limited to those pickles – for you? Has he said so? Do your mutual friends caution you about being around him too much? Does he cry like a gunowner in Australia when you leave the room? Does he write you long, involved emails, letters, songs, or make scrapbooks featuring mainly you and the things you like? Does he do all of these things? Take a hint, ladies. Take a freaking hint.

For the Men

1. She’s probably not going to be honest with you. Women don’t like to be vulernable to just anyone, and honesty is in the last analysis vulnerability. In fact, no human actually likes being vulverable to another human being. It means you can Get Hurt, which to a woman can scar her mentally for years and years and cause her to live in a shack in the Sierra Madre eating jackrabbits. Do you want that? (Hint: no.)

2. Does she nix your plans to see or talk with you a lot? This is a signal. Does she avoid flirtatious behavior around you? This is a signal. Does she talk about another guy a lot? This is a signal. Did she just tell you she’s not interested in dating you? This is a signal.

3. Stop trying so hard. Really. Suck it up. If you’re not getting any good signals back, this is not your cue to redouble your efforts. There is almost nothing you can do, short of being yourself, that will persuade a woman to love you that way. If it’s not happening, chances are it’s not going to happen right now.

4. Does she have someone else that you know she’s into? Back off. If he tells you to back off, back off. Take that Hummer and just back it right out of that parking lot. You won’t impress her with your maturity by, after finding out exactly what’s going on, confessing to her that you think she’s the hottest thing since the shuttle re-entering earth orbit and that you’d like her to have your babies.

5. Does she have a lot of male friends? If so, chances are you’re just another in the lineup, and when she thinks of you, she thinks of a pretty nice guy. Those, my friends, are the words of doom. Very few women actually look at a Pretty Nice Guy and say I want HIM!. Let me explain something to you. Women are not stupid. They are not stupid. Well, some of them think that London is the capitol of New England, but the balance of them are probably smarter than you and possibly even me. If a woman has lots of male friends, she understands darn well that the one she actually wants to have buy her nifty presents and eventually marry her is going to need a few extra signals on the side. She gets that. If she treats you like every other guy – and follow me here, this is very, very tricky – you probably are, to her, just like every other guy.

There you have it. Not complete in any sense of the word, but all I care to write right now while the subject is fresh on my mind. Girls, can you be honest? Guys, can you pick up signals? Of course not! Girls will never be honest, and guys will never pick up signals, and finally, we’ll all just proceed down the path of torment to our final resting place in the tar pits of broken hearts. But some of you, I hope, will take an inspirational message out of all this. Some of you will go bloody a wombat. Some of you will be honest.

I will, in the meantime, ice my aching fingers.


Curled up with a good book…

Finally, The Prince of Nothing Book 3 is out in all its glory… and I bought it today. Blows my food budget for this week, but frankly, I’ve been waiting for this for a very, very long year and a half. So if you wonder what I’m doing this evening, I’m reading “The Thousandfold Thought”. And thus far, loving it.