Friday, September 30, 2005

This could be bad

Some guys came into my apartment and replaced the toilets and showerhead. Apparently they're water saving or something, but aren't supposed to have any of the common problems associated with low-flow fixtures. Problems such as no water pressure and needing 12 flushes to get the job done, small things that never fail to get people riled up.

I haven't had a chance to use any of them yet, so I can't comment on how well they live up to their claims. I'm really hoping they don't annoy me.

Speaking of annoying things, I wound up being 20 minutes late for my speech appointment today. A bus broke down downtown, and mine got stuck behind it. There was no room to pass and the driver of the tow truck made sure to go nice and slowly to inconvenience us all. We wound up stuck behind it until Hurdman station, 10 stops away.

Naturally I had to wait for the 85 there, so that made me even later. I'd complain about the Transpo service, but it's way cheaper than driving.

Changing gears slightly, I went drinking last night. The Society for Technical Communication had a wine and cheese at the Dow's Lake Pavillion, and all us technical writing students got to go for free. We got a free glass of wine and all the goodies we could eat, and after a while they opened up the cash bar. Dow's Lake obviously isn't a big party spot because they only had 2 kinds of beer, Coors Light and Blue, and technical communicators don't seem to be much for parties, because everybody was gone before it got too late.

At the end there were 4 of us tech writing students left, so we walked up Preston to Pub Italia (I think that's the name but I forget. Something Italia anyway). We were only going for one pint, seeing how we had places to go and we were already half in the bag. I had a Hoegaarden just to be completely out of synch with the season, and I was happy to see nobody at the table ordered a mainstream beer.

The conversation was good, shifting through all kinds of topics, and I got to talk like a pirate about text layouts. Seriously, say the word "kerning" like a pirate. It sounds completely piratey. Kerning is the spacing between letters, if you didn't know, so now you have a new word to throw around. Say it like a pirate for bonus points.

I think that concludes my last two days of activity. I started laundry when the guys were replacing toilets on my floor and went to Tim Hortons while the washer was going. I got back and started the dryer, but left my jacket in the laundry room. I didn't realize it until I was going up past the 3rd floor, so I figured I drop off my detergent and go back down to get it. When I got to my floor, the toilet guys were still hanging out in the hall, and I didn't want to look like an idiot in front of them so I just left it down there. My plan is to get it when I take stuff out of the dryer, and I really hope it's still there...

Jacket update: It was still there

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Do my homework

I have a major assignment coming up and I need some ideas. I have to do a "description of mechanism" for some device, and I have no idea what to write about. It has to be an object with two different parts, each of which has to have 2 sub-parts.

That's not a very helpful description, which is why I'm having trouble coming up with an idea for it. The best I have so far is a can opener, and that's boring and will likely be done by somebody else anyway.

I'm not really looking forward to this assignment. I have to describe every aspect of this object so that somebody who's never seen one before can just read my document and understand what it is and what it does. Time's running out and the harder I try to decide what to write about, the less I manage to get done.

Update from the Tim Hortons Inspiration Journal:

I went to Tim's before class today, and while I was there I started sketching ideas for the device I'm going to make up for my proposal. I had a bit of trouble figuring out how it should take input, and I came to the conclusion that it would either need a scrolling wheel or up and down buttons for selecting a route, and a toggle button for changing the direction. I wanted to put a keypad on it, but there's no way I could do that and still make it small enough for the average person to want to carry around.

I had a good idea of limiting the routes you can select to the ones that go by the stop you're closest to, but I figure that setting up a system that reports that info to the device would be more work than I could possibly expect for a pilot project. Every stop would need a transponder of some type, and every device would need a way to process that information. Having a processor in the device would probably kill the batter life and make it more complex than it needs to be. Right now it's about as complicated as a calculator and has storage for all the valid routes and their directions, information that it scrolls through with either the buttons or the wheel, depending on which input I decide to go with.

I got a lot of work done on it, and I think I can start to focus on the actual writing soon.

Earth-shattering news

I rented a locker. It's on the third floor of the tech building and I'm really only going to use it for storing my jacket when I wear one. I'm sure I'll eventually find a use for some storage space, but until I do it's a coat storage.

So yeah, locker. Woo.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Oh the humanity

This weekend was Homecoming at Queen's, and once again I went and slept on Kevin's floor. I don't know what I'm going to do if he graduates and moves away, unless I get a job that will let me afford a hotel room. I'll worry about that later.

I went down on Friday just after noon. The train ride wasn't bad, and I listened to music the entire way. For whatever reason they didn't check our tickets until we were almost to Gananoque, so if I was going to Brockville I could have ridden for free. Too bad I wasn't going to Brockville.

I got in to Kingston around 2:30, and got in touch with Kevin. He told me he might be able to get his mother to pick me up, but not for a little while. I got on the bus and prepared for the long, twisting ride to campus. Route 2 now runs from the train station to downtown via the most winding, convoluted route I've ever seen a bus take. It's insane. I don't think it stayed on a street for any more than 2 stops, and it wound and weaved its way through every subdevelopment in the entire city. Eventually Kevin called me and told me to get off at St. Lawrence College, and they'd pick me up there. True to their word, they pulled in right behind the bus and we were off to the LCBO.

We reached an agreement for the purchasing of alcohol. Kevin would buy the beer at the LCBO, and I'd buy the beer in pubs and bars, up to the point at which we'd be even money-wise. It worked out pretty well, even though we only wound up drinking half of what we bought. Just too much else going on to finish it all, and neither of us can drink like we used to. Saying that makes me feel depressingly old.

Our LCBO tally:
  • 2 6 packs of Vex for Kevin's housemate

  • 1 6 pack of Big Rock Traditional Ale

  • 1 6 pack of Big Rock Warthog Cream Ale

  • 1 6 pack of Big Rock Grasshopper Wheat Ale

  • 1 6 pack of Hoegaarten

  • 2 bottles of Monty Python's Holy Grail

  • Total: 26 bottles of beer, 12 bottles of fruity crap, $74

The Holy Grail (actually spelled with the Gr crossed out) was something we bought purely because of the bottle, and the name. The tagline claimed it was "Tempered over burning witches", and we honestly couldn't turn that down. We should have, because it was possibly the nastiest beer I've had in recent memory. Not as bad as Trois Pistoles, but close.

After getting the beer, we went out to get some dinner. We were going to go to Leonard cafeteria, but they weren't letting anybody in on cash, and Kev's meal plan only lets him get in. Dejected, we went to JJ's and made plans to meet Kev's brother there. He goes to Laurier but always seems to show up at Queen's whenever there's a party going on.

On the way there we took a walk up Aberdeen, to see it before the inevitable destruction it would endure on Saturday night. While there somebody saw the Senators patch on my jacket and proceded to tell me in no uncertain terms that they sucked, so I rationally informed him that he was the one who sucked. I'm not sure what he yelled at me after that, but it wasn't very nice, so I told him to respect his elders. We were out of earshot by that point, so I don't know if that shut him up or not.

I always wonder what it is about that patch that brings out every Leaf fan's internal asshole. Anywhere I go in it I get angry people yelling at me, and only rarely a note of encouragement from a fellow fan. Are the Leaf fans so fragile in their belief that they have to lash put at anyone showing support for another team? Does a rival make them feel so threatened that they have to try to destroy it, no matter what the cost?I really don't get it. If I see someone wearing a Leafs jersey, I don't see the need to yell at them. Steve wears a Leaf hat all the time, and I don't mention it. I might give my Leafy friends a verbal shot now and then when the Sens beat them, or when we're talking about hockey in general, but there's absolutely no reason to yell at people who support a different team. Can anyone give me some serious insight into what drives these people to anger?

Anyway, at JJ's we ate mass quantities of meat and poutine, got bothered by some drunk old guy, and then ran off to the Bands Centennial Reunion. This was the less formal version of the Centennial Gala in March, without dinner but also without a dress code or $100 admission charge. No free wine though. Good times were had by all, I caught up with old friends, talked to people I haven't seen in 5 years (most of whom remembered me despite only knowing me for a few months). There weren't really a lot of highlights, but it was a solid block of good times.

I meant to go to Mosie's kegger that night, but I got sidetracked by having beer at Kevin's place and the promise of DDR with Greg. There was beer and DDR, but Greg had gone out somewhere else and disappeared for the night. Regardless, we drank, danced, and watched Robot Chicken, showing it to Matt and Cat for the first time. It's tough to judge reactions, so I'll assume Matt loved it and Cat was deeply distrubed by it. Or at least moderately disturbed. Maybe.

As a sidenote, DDR isn't nearly as fun when you play it on a console. The floor pads they have for it don't stick to the floor, so the entire thing moves under you, making it impossible to stay centred. With the arcade game the dance pad is built in to the cabinet, so it's always where you expect it to be. I guess you could look down to see where the pad's moving, but then you'd miss at least a few steps, bringing disaster.

DDR has no right being as fun as it is.

After dancing ourselves into a paralytic coma (the beer helped too), everybody went to bed. I slept until a bit after 11, ate some Chunky soup, and then Kevin and I went off in search of a marching band. There was no sign of them on Union, which struck us both as a little odd. By our calculations they should have been going by right when we got there, and we needed to meet them to get tickets for a bunch of people, myself included. We dedcided to head back towards campus in case they were just running late, and ran into Greg and Jay outside of 204 Union, our old house. Well, Jay's old house, I only lived there for a summer. We found out the Bands had gone by about a half hour earlier, much to our shock and awe. We had a beer under the big tree, and I found a football ticket on the ground. I think a drunk frosh engineer dropped it, but he was nowhere in sight. Silly purple kid.

Ticket in hand, we walked to West Campus. Our friend Neil has an apartment on the 11th floor overlooking the stadium, so he was hosting a party for people who couldn't get tickets. Kev and I said we'd go up after the first quarter, and then at halftime we'd all go to the Ports. The plan worked out exactly like we said, after the first quarter we went up there, and after watching the halftime show (and the hundreds of engineers who rushed the field for no reason) we left.

The Ports was as busy as we expected. In addition to the regular Saturday crowd of sketchy townies, and the regular Homecoming crowd, there was also a large number of Bands alumni cluttering up the place. You don't go to a bar after every home game for 50 years without forming an attachment to the place, so just about every former Bandsie in Kingston was there. They had roped off a portion for the Bands to occupy whn they got there, and fitting everybody into the other half of the bar was a really tight fit.

Things went perfectly though. People had beer, the pipers played tunes, some people sang dirty songs, I hung out the window to talk to Boehmer (hanging out the window was new, but I always talk to Boehmer), and things got progressively drunker until the Bands burst forth from the back door in all their sweaty, kilted glory.

Hanging out and lots of drinking followed, the second years got their crests, the pipers and drummers played tunes, Hunkin flirted with girls many years younger than him, and I managed to get out of there without buying a drink for anyone except Kevin, evening up the tab in the process. Huzzah! Eventually Kevin, Boehmer, and I left to get some pizza, and we bid a fond farewell to the debauchery.

Boehmer didn't seem as amused by Robot Chicken as we expected, aside from the Voltron/You Got Served bit. (Voltron, represent!) We headed out to see how much of a madhouse Aberdeen was, and we got stopped by the police before we could even get onto the street. They looked worried, and I heard rumours of the riot squad being on call in case things got ugly. Since they were expecting things to turn bad, they got bad. Then they got worse.

I left well before it happened, but sometime in the evening a bunch of people flipped a car, stomped it to the ground, kicked it to pieces, and then lit it on fire. I don't know how long it took or who was involved, but it's sad affair. Kevin said it was the first time he'd ever felt ashamed to be a Queen's student, and I have to agree with him on that.

Apparently the mood of the crowd never felt happy, but was angry all night. I'm no expert on crowds, but I can tell the difference between a happy crowd and an angry one. A happy crowd can turn into an angry one without much provocation, but an angry crowd will only ever get angrier, until it becomes a mob. I have no idea of the crowd on Aberdeen turned into a mob, but I suspect it did, at least for a little while. People have been laying blame on the crowd and on the police for using bad crowd control methods, but I wasn't there so I can't comment.

Today was uneventful. We played some video games, got some coffee, walked among the ravaged remains of Aberdeen, and then went back to Kevin's place to play more games. A lot will be said about the mob and the destruction, but I already know that nothing will be said about the cleanup. Groups of students were out in the street sweeping up broken glass and garbage, seemingly of their own volition, taking responsibility for keeping their neighbourhood looking good. If that bit of responsibility gets washed aside in a sea of bad press, then I'll feel justified in taking the time to point it out. Residents of William St between University and Aberdeen are good people who care about their community, even if nobody else will recognize it.

After all that, I took a cab to the train station and came home. I didn't party quite as hard as I normally do, but I don't regret it. I felt good enough in the mornings, I didn't feel sick at any point during the festivities, and a lot of people remarked on how good I looked. I lost over 50 pounds since I left Queen's, and it really shows. The only real change I made was that I quit drinking, and it was funny to tell people that when I had a beer in my hands.

Next year's Homecoming could be a completely different animal. Something is going to change, and there's a chance Aberdeen could get completely barricaded off. If it does, the party will either go somewhere else or spread out. Which effect is better? I don't know, and someone else can figure that out. I'll be figuring out where I'm going stay, if I decide to go.

Anyone want to split a hotel room in 06?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Stupid msn

My msn keeps disconnecting and reconnecting. It's going offline at a rate of once a minute, but never for more than 10 seconds at a time.

It's very distracting to see my entire contact list flash from white to black and back, and I'd really like to know why it's doing this. It was fine for a while, then all of a sudden it's Disconnection City.

Wish more of my friends still used ICQ. It's always online.

Things are falling into place

Homecoming is this coming weekend, and my preparations are coming along nicely. My train leaves at quarter to 1, and I'll be in Kingston around 2:30. That works out nicely because Kevin is done class at 2:30, so I won't need to sit around with my luggage waiting for him. I'm sleeping on his floor, which is why I'd need to wait for him.

Activities are already starting to come together. There's the Bands centennial party on Friday night, and after that there's a kegger at Mosie's place that resumes in the morning (presumably with pancakes added), and then the football game and the Ports. I'm going to try to buy less drinks for people this year, last year I ran low on money and had to budget myself earlier than I should have. I figure Saturday night will be spent in ways that I won't remember.

My train back to Ottawa leaves around 5:30, so I'll be depending on someone to get me out the door and onto a bus sometime before then. Hopefully I'l be able to do it myself, but I'm no good at predicting hangovers.

That said, there's still a few problems. I just now got my speech therapy appointment rescheduled, so that's one thing off my list, but there's a major one looming. The train station is at the end of the line for the 95, the busiest bus in the city. I've never seen one that wasn't completely packed, and I avoid them just because of that fact.

I'm going to be riding the 95 in the middle of the day with luggage. Everybody is going to hate me.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sidebar fever

I changed some stuff on the sidebar. I hadn't updated the Posts People Like section in forever, and I'm not sure it was doing anything bu taking up space, so it's been removed. If there's a public outcry I'll bring it back.

In other news, I added Jordan's blog to the links section. We were friends in first year, then sort of drifted apart. He emailed me the other day and told me he had a blog, and found mine while looking through random ones. Like a bolt out of the blue.

In one last bit of news, I finally got around to removing Mark's blog from the sidebar. He hadn't updated in a year and his domain expired a while back, so it was long overdue.

I think that's everything I did over there. Nothing new has been going on in my life, so this post is purely administrative.

A day without internet

My internet disappeared today, and stayed away until just a little while ago. I have no idea why it stopped working, but eventually rebooting the router got it functioning again, thus saving Christmas. The end.

It wasn't all that bad because we had to drive to Quebec to pick up my sister. She's visiting friends and flying back to Calgary on wednesday, but had no way to get from Montreal to Ottawa on her own. We met her in Hudson and came back here, had dinner, and then she got picked up by her friend.

In the time tht wasn't spent travelling, I watched TV and played EarthBound. I stopped playing it last summer, so I had almost no memory of where I was or what I was in the process of doing, but I figured it out fairly quickly. I forget what all my items do, so there's going to be a fairly long period of reaquainting myself with the inventory, should I continue to play.

EarthBound, for those who don't know, is an RPG that was released on the SNES. A lot of people love it despite its admittedly poor graphics, because of the inventiveness of the story and combat system. Each character has very different combat options, from regular attacking and magic to praying, copying an enemy's attacks, and spying on an enemy's weaknesses. Just about any item can be used in combat, often with very handy effects (I like the slime generator, which sticks to an enemy and renders them immobile).

The damage system is another great aspect of the game. Your hit points are displayed as a set of numbers on wheels, and when you take damage it counts down instead of subtracting it all at once. This gives you some leeway because you can take critical damage and still get off your planned attack or heal before the character dies, or even finish the fight while the damage is still ticking away. Healing works the same way, so your health can be bouncing up and down constantly all fight, which does make combat a bit confusing, but as long as it's counting up you have nothing to worry about.

I can only recommend getting EarthBound for an emulator, since buying a copy of the game on ebay will run you over $100. A lot of people love this game, so prepare for a bidding war.

Friday, September 16, 2005

This is no good

I've heard rumours of an impending strike by OC transpo. They better not, because there's no way I'm walking an hour each way to get to school.

Speaking of buses, I've noticed that I get really dizzy on the bus. On my way out to the Rehab Centre today I really thought I was going to be motion sick. Luckily the feeling went away, but I was still dizzy for a while afterwards. Same on the way back home, I'm sitting here typing and the room is spinning ever so slightly around me. And no, I haven't been drinking.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Glad I took the bundle

I recently downloaded a new version of Winamp, and it came bundled with a song by Alkaline Trio. I finally got around to listening to it, and I like what I hear.

Moral of the story: Never turn down free music.

Crisis averted

I suddenly became a genius and decided on all the stuff I had to do. Go me.

Two updates on my search for the reason why Tim Hortons inspires me. I tried some social experiments to see if it was just coffee that got me going, so I bought a coffee at the cafe in the tech building and found myself with absolutely no motivation. Whether this was the setting or because I was with people is as yet unknown.

Today I went to Tim Hortons and got my notebook out before I had any inspiration, and I managed to write a bit about my thoughts at the time, and started jotting down some details for a story. I've had these ideas bouncing around in my head for a while, and I'd like to maybe do it in comic form, but I have yet to start practicing my drawing. Maybe I need to find another place to inspire that to happen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tough call

For one of my courses I have to write a proposal for an idea of my own creation. It has to have a clearly defined audience and be written to appeal to them, even if they might be hostile to the idea. I have a plan to propose some sort of device to signal bus drivers to wait a second so you can catch the bus (seeing how 2 pulled away from me when I was just about to get on).

My problem is, the audience I'd be writing it for (OC Transpo) isn't the one that will benefit from it (bus riders). I'm having trouble coming up with reasons why OC Transpo should bother with this system since people are going to take the bus regardless of if they miss one now and again.

Customer satisfaction? Nobody likes the bus, so that won't change much. Increased revenues? Bus traffic might not increase, but they could make money selling the device as a separate service. More people per bus? That could be argued to be more effecient use of bus space and related to fuel costs (so they aren't running nearly empty buses), but I'd be reaching. Improved public relations? It would have prevented me from getting pissed off at the bus driver twice, so I guess that's a good point. Prevention of bus-chasing accidents? I'm not sure that ever really happens, but it might prevent a lawsuit someday.

I haven't decided on an implementation of the device, so I can't list the downfalls yet, except to say it'll probably be fairly complicated. Lots of buses travel into the same places, so targetting the right one will be a tricky issue, one I'll probably bypass by having a route selector on the device, which could work like a garage door opener. Just point and hit the button, and a light pops up in the dashboard telling the driver to wait a second or two.

At any rate, the proposal idea is due on Thursday, and I have to have decided on my audience and why it benefits them by then. Hope I figure sometihng out.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Twice in one day

I missed two buses within 10 minutes of each other earlier today. I meant to take the 86 to school, but it came as I was getting off the elevator. I could see it stopped down by Baseline, so I just barely missed it. I quickly decided to take the 118 since it goes to the same place, and I set off for Baseline.

The bus got there just as I was rounding the corner, so I started running to the stop. In a scene right out of Friday, it pulled away as I got close to the door. I stood there staring at the back of the bus in disbelief, idly wondering why Ottawa bus drivers hate me.

Some guy saw the whole thing and pulled over to offer me a ride to the next stop, but I decided I'd just take the next 86. I thanked him, but it didn't occur to me until later how uncommon a gesture that was. Heartfelt gratitude for you, sir, though you may never read this.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Take a look at the state of the internet. I mean, really. What do you think of it? Is this a place you'd be proud to call your home, a place where could honestly say "this is nice"?

If you're like me, you've come into contact with things on the internet that you feel have no right existing. I won't list them, for you know what I'm talking about. Sites that scare you, people that scare you worse. Discussions of things that cause you to feel sick to your stomach.

It could be pornography, it could be internet standards, it could be proper pet care techniques. I'm not here to pass judgement on what you read, but rather to offer a way to help alleviate your suffering.

The problem with the internet is that there's no accountability. People can do whatever they like and no laws of man or country can stop them. There's absolute freedom, yes, but at what cost?

That's why I'm announcing my candidacy for President of the Internet. Through stable regulation and honest, effective leadership we can turn this reeking cesspool we call an online community into something we can all be proud of.

Imagine, all top level domains under one regulatory committee, which would do nothing but issue and maintain domains. All servers standardized to a level where downtime is unheard of. Stabilized fees for all providers based on their size, and no extra charges for bandwidth when they get linked by a Fark or a Slashdot.

A place where all residents can say to others "I am an internet user, and I'm proud of it". There is a place for everyone in my vision of a new internet, from the holiest church-goer to the most depraved deviant, from the most technologically adept to the modern luddite. You will be able to see only what you want, through proper regulated site filings and effective filters that will stop the flood of potentially offensive material to those who don't want to see it.

By regulating how the internet works, we can reinvent it to work for everyone. An online country, free of the boundaries of physical space, all people united in their desire to make the world a better place.

As President, I would be accountable for all concerns about the Internet. From the day to day operation to concerns about content, I will be the last word. My authority would be derived from you, the citizens of the Internet, and my government would be selected from your ranks. Together we can make a system of laws that are fair, that allow the people the freedoms they currently enjoy without encroaching on their rights.

There are personal rights which are unmutable. The right to life, to choose, to have your voice heard, to ignore those you choose not to listen to. The right to do what you want with your Internet and not have anyone tell you you can't.

Would the government of the Internet be above those rules? No. The government would be held to the same laws that govern the rest of the internet. Laws that are free of moral or religious bias, that affect only the operation and funding of this fledgling nation and protect its people from harm.

The date for the election has not been set, but it will come. When it does, you will know. It may not be announced, there may not be organized voting, but you'll know when the time comes.

When it does, do the right thing. We're all in this together, and we can make something of it.

Thank you.

Shake some action

Thanks to a suggestion from Kirkey the ever-drunken evil genius, comments are word-verified, so hopefully that'll be the end of all this silly spam fuss.

I also turned anonymous posts back on, so all you non-blogger members who want to leave me hilarious and useful comments can now do so again.

As for the title of this post, it's the title of the song I'm listening to. Shake Some Action by Cracker. It seemed fitting, seeing how I'm doing stuff.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A radical idea

Would anyone care if I just disabled comments completely? I don't get very many, and anybody who would be leaving one already has me on msn and has my email address.

If nobody minds, I'm just going to turn them off. Sunrise, sunset.

Prediction: spam about bowling shoes.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Bus drivers are jerks

Not all of them, but one in particular. I was going out to the Rehab Centre for a 2 o'clock appointment, and I decided to take the 86 to Hurdman station and transfer to the 85 there. The plan was going perfectly until I actually got to Hurdman.

The 86 and 85 both pulled in at around the same time, the 86 right behind. I got off and walked towards the 85, when an incredible thing happened. Incredible in the bad way.

Right when I was about to get on, the doors snapped closed, and the driver pulled away. I know he had to have seen me running alongside the bus, but he didn't care, oh no, he didn't care one bit.

I had to wait for the next one and as a result I was 10 minutes late for my appointment. All because of a bus-driving jerk.

New blog game! Guess the spam content!

I predict that this entry will recieve a spam comment advertising an online casino of some type.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

This time, it's personal

Lousy comment spammers. I've turned off anonymous posting for comments. Sorry, legitimate anonymous posters, but the bastards have forced my hand. It's a losing battle, and I have a sad feeling it won't be enough in the long run.

I'm shaking a fist in the air.

New project

For a while I've been feeling inspired to write stuff while at Tim Hortons. I've wondered why that is, and why the inspiration dries up as soon as the coffee is gone, but I never really sat down and tried to determine just why that is.

That is changing. From this moment on, whenever I feel inspired to write while at Tim Hortons, I'm going to catalogue my thoughts. This is an effort to understand my own motivations, but I have no idea if there will be any point to it.

Earlier today, I wrote the following in my notebook:

Tim Hortons and inspiration

I do most of my writing with a cup of coffee nearby. Usually this is at home, and I don't write all that much. Less often it happens at Tim Hortons, and I never find myself without something to write about.

What is it about this place that inspires me? Is it the smell of coffee and baking? The familiar decor? The sense that I'm supposed to be here (as a Canadian I should stay here all day, but that's impractical)?Or is it something completely different?

As of right now, 1:19 pm on September 7, 2005, I am in a Tim Hortons in Ottawa, Ontario, near the campus of Algonquin College. I have about half a cup of coffee left, black, and just beginning to reach the temperature where it's just hot enough to not chug it. Babbles of conversation are filtering in through my headphones, but I can't make any of it out.

I'm no closer to figuring out where the inspiration comes from, but I was inspired enough to start cataloguing it. Every time I am in a Tim Hortons with my note pad, I will describe my feelings of what I should be writing. This time it was the idea to keep track of this, with the end result of learning why I write here.

This is a grand project, and I hope I can maintain it.

I also wrote a list of random thoughts I had while waiting for class, but I'll save them for another entry.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I am not selling out

I got an advertising comment on my previous entry, so I'm just going to post in no uncertain terms my policy on advertising.

If you haven't been in contact with me about advertising, I don't want it. Google ads are there because I want them there. Comment ads will be deleted from now on. If you aren't an advertiser and you see someone spamming up my comments section, please let me know.

Thanks to Kev for bringing it to my attention.

I know I could turn on that word verification system, but that's a barrier to posting comments, and will be annoying for everyone else. So, ask my permission to advertise, or go away.

Let it ride

My dad and I went to the casino in Gananoque after my grandma's birthday dinner. It was kind of spur of the moment, so we didn't consider the fact that it was Saturday night on a long weekend. The place was packed, but I quickly found a seat at the $5 Let It Ride table. I then proceeded to clean up.

for the unfamiliar, Let It Ride is a poker-style game. Players are dealt 3 cards and use the 2 dealer cards to make the best 5 card hand they can. Betting is done before the cards are dealt, and consists of 3 separate bets of at least $5 each. As the hand progresses, you can take 2 of those bets off the table, and if you win you get paid for each bet still on the table. The first bet can be pulled back right after you receive your cards, and the second after the first community card is shown. Following the second round, you tuck your cards under the last bet (I don't know why exactly, it's just what they do), and then the second community card is shown. Each player's cards get turned over, and payouts are given for each bet they left on the table.

It's a fairly simple game, and it depends on the luck of the draw a bit too much to make it easy to win at. The payouts are pretty good, and if you pull back both bets you don't lose too much. Simply put, if you're getting the cards, you're going to walk out of there with a lot of money.

After I sat down, my first hand was a pair of 10s. I tucked my cards under my last bet right away, and won $15. The second hand gave me a pair of aces, and then the first community card was another ace. Three of a kind pays 3:1, so I won $15 per bet, and I had all 3 out still, so after two hands I was up $60. I probably should have quit then, but I decided to see what else might happen. I went on a bit of a losing skid, eventually getting dangerously close to my original $40, and the point where I'd be losing money.

My luck turned around again soon afterwards, when the dealer turned over a pair of 10s, so everybody won. Not long after I started getting dealt pairs, and soon I had doubled my money. Dad wanted to leave then because he'd hit a streak of bad luck at the blackjack table, so I walked out with $80, nicely doubling my money.

It would have been nicer if it was a little more, but I'm not going to complain.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I have a bus pass

After living in Ottawa for a year, I finally have a reason to need a bus pass. So, after waiting in line for another long period today (on my day off, no less), I got a student OC Transpo card, and later on got my first ever OC Transpo bus pass. I can go anywhere in the city now. I'm unlimited in my travel opportunities.

Freedom. Absolute freedom.

Freedom follows a schedule.