Friday, January 08, 2010


Not really but here goes. I had my fancy new sofas delivered yesterday. Beautiful rich matching leather sofas. Since today was garbage day I needed to get the old ones to the curb. So I posted a Facebook message letting my neighbours know that if I didn't get help to move them to the curb for pickup they would sit on my porch indefinitely and lower all of our property values.

I got some funny comments, but also got help to drag them to the curb for pickup. Now we have a rule here for garbage collection, you can leave large furniture items but they count towards your 2-bag limit. Since I don't want the two bags of garbage I have sitting all week I actually dropped the sofas off in front of my neighbours house.

He spends the winter in Florida, so obviously has no garbage so his two-bag limit is fair game IMHO. I will send him an email message and picture indicating some jackass had dumped furniture on his front lawn. :-)

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


This is weak but it is all I have for today.

Zillow, which is some kind of Real-Estate site, released a survey last week which asked hundreds of Americans who their most and least desirable neighbours would be. Leading the pack was the Obama Family, with Ellen DeGeneres tied for second place next to Sarah Palin. Least favorite was Nadia "Octomom" Suleman followed closely by John & Kate Gosselin and Sarah Palin (who is clearly a polarizing figure) in 3rd place.

From the surface people could think the least favorite choices are showing a bias against large families, but I suspect the real bias is against annoying parents of large families.


Funny thing... we had another outage (same @#$%ing server) on Tuesday and guess what? Everybody was talking. Tickets being opened proactively, IT and Operations and Client Services, and Resource all engaged. Issue resolved in 5 minutes and then about 20 minutes of post-op to determine WTF is going on and to make sure it doesn't happen again today.

Do organizations need to fall on their face on occasion in order to keep on their toes?

Monday, January 04, 2010


There are thousands of Management self-help books out there. I have never been a fan of any of them. The few I have read all are filled with the same kind of Dr. Phil brand of common sense wisdom that makes me think "Seriously... what kind of Manager doesn't know that?" Now I'm not about to go on a rant about what really makes a successful Manager, or a successful company for that matter. What I can rant about is what guarantees failure... poor communication.

As an example it is after 10pm on a weeknight and I am stuck on a conference call trying to figure out why a serious tool outage that impacted hundreds of my employees and my biggest client started at 5pm wasn't reported to anybody who could actually do anything about the issue until 9pm.

Turns out it was some kind of server issue (I'm no IT guy that is just what an IT guy claimed was the root cause just now on my conference call). A quick refresh of something and we were back online, but the fact is that a dozen different "leaders" (and I use that term loosely) sat around assuming that someone was working on the problem already.

Nobody communicated anything, via phone or email. Nobody reached out... nobody asked the questions that needed to be asked. Everybody stuck their heads in the sand and pretended the problem didn't exist and went about their day.

Hell, I didn't leave the office until 6:30... and nobody even knocked on my door to say "Hey I think somethings not right with... yadda yadda"

@#$% me gently with a chainsaw!

Sunday, January 03, 2010


The Christmas Holidays are over and I'm back to the grind tomorrow. It will be a bit strange actually going into the office after spending the last two weeks "working from home". I have to put that in quotes because I found myself very easily distracted these last two weeks. Sure I attended conference calls, worked on reports, spoke with service delivery teams and attended to client needs as they arose... but I also took lots of breaks to watch movies, play video games, and work on some odd projects around the house.

One thing I've learned is that if I am going to be working from home more frequently I need a dedicated office space. I've got the laptop and wireless, so I'm not exactly tethered to the desktop PC that just happens to be in the same room as the TV and the Wii. More then a few times I was sitting on a conference call muted and had to turn around to my two daughters (8 and 3) and ask them to take it down a notch. I'm thinking that we will convert one of the spare bedrooms into a dedicated office space for me. That way I can head upstairs, close the door, and actually get some work done. I can also get a tax deduction on the square footage of the room if it is in fact a dedicated office space.

Space isn't an issue, as technically we have a 5-bedroom house and have two spare bedrooms. One is currently converted into a play-room and homework room for the girls. Its complete with TV, a huge selection of movies, all their toys, shelves of books, and a homework desk. I love having that room because it keeps the rest of the house free of "kid clutter" (mostly). The other spare bedroom is actually functioning as a spare bedroom. I'm thinking a small desk and swapping the double bed for a sofa-bed would be perfect. That way we still have somewhere for company but I get the dedicated office space. The room is on the small side, so adding a desk to the current setup may not be very practical... unless I can find a really cool small desk.

We did some shopping on boxing day, and at some point this week two large, matching, 100% leather sofas will be delivered my living room. The wife and I finally broke down and bought some new furniture. Frankly I should have done it a long time ago. We have two very beat up (as in they wouldn't look out of place in a frat house) old second hand sofas that I got about 5 years ago in the living room. These are the kind of sofas you see on garbage day outside someones house and think "WTF... someone was sitting on that yesterday?"

I make good money in the day job, have zero consumer debt (pay off credit cards every month), own both my vehicles, etc. Really the only debt we have is the mortgage, and I can count myself lucky that unlike many people in the current economy, my house is still worth much more then I owe on it. That all being said, I am still far from where I would consider myself comfortable. I'd rather have more $ set aside for retirement for starters. My "portfolio" is non-existent but one resolution for 2010 is to change that. One thing I was not going to do was buy a couple cheap-ass sofas that will look like crap in a few years. Instead we dropped several thousand on some very nice sofas that will still look great in 20 years.

Pulled down all the decorations outside today and had packed up the interior stuff on Saturday so the house is back to as normal as it gets. Winter has finally arrived with a vengeance and before spring I have a few house projects to work on (finish restoring and painting the banister and baseboards being the largest). I like indoor projects like that to keep me busy until things get nice again outside and I can get back in into gardening, landscaping, and having the nicest lawn on the block.

Not much of a "neighbour themed" post today, I'll do some research for funny stories later this week.

Friday, January 01, 2010


Ten things that I heard enough about in 2009 and hope to avoid hearing about in 2010 (Alternate Title: Good Luck With That)

1. Teabaggers: Morphed from a small group of truly dissatisfied Libertarians to being a corrupted cesspool of sore loser Republicans, racists, and the criminally insane. So stupid that they still don't realize what the @#$% "teabagging" means. Or they are trying to 'take back the word' the way gays did with queer.

2. Sarah Palin: It would be bad enough if she was just another @#$%ing idiot trailer park hick who not only doesn't read but takes pride in being ignorant. What makes it worse is that she is celebrated as some kind of bastion of individualism because of that. Since when did we consider stupidity a strength and not a weakness?

3. The Public Option: The debate over the last 6 months only proves that American health care is @#$%ed beyond belief and can't be fixed. All I can hope for is to protect what we enjoy in Canada and keep that disaster on the other side of the border.

4. Biblical Literalism: @#$% You! Claiming the world was actually created in a week and is only 6000 years old is the equivalent of saying the earth is flat or denying the holocaust. Faith should be the lifeboat you hold on to in the dark times when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life, is elusive. It is not a free pass for stupidity.

5. Glenn Beck: I heard that he raped and murdered a young girl back in 1990. He also won 'Misinformer of the Year 2009' and is a big fan of Vicks VapoRub. His mother must be proud.

6. Tiger Woods Sex Life: I already know more about it then I want to and I really don't care. He wants to be shit on by a German midget while snowballing with that is fine with me. That being said, WTF was he thinking? Some of the girls are quasi-hot, but damn, most of them were second rate cocktail waitresses and then you have that skanky (as in filthy cum-dumpster) porn star Jayden James. Dude you have more $$$ then the Catholic Church. They have high-class call girl rings if you just want to get yourself off while on the road.

7. Michael Jackson: He is dead so hopefully when the vultures stop fighting over his remains we can go back to remembering the amazing songs he gave us in the 70's and early-80's. There was no doubt he was a great entertainer. He was also a child molester, a drug addict, schizophrenic and a poster-boy for what happens when the Hollywood cult of personality chews up a child and spits them out a destroyed man.

8. Minority Governments: Harper please just call an election and Iggy please just keep doing what your doing now (as in failing to properly communicate or connect with voters). Harper can do a fair amount of damage over 4 years that will take some time to be undone but I can live with that. The positive side is that your currently muzzled Evangelical back-benchers will be sticking their feet in their mouth so often Canada will finally see that you are the leader of a bunch of fringe religious nutbars masquerading as a Center-Right party.

9. Climate-Gate Emails: Wouldn't it be great if once, just once, the mainstream media actually engaged in real journalism. No suck luck. Thankfully we have YouTube and the fact that real experts are able to publish true investigative reviews of the controversy. Which is exactly why Net Neutrality is so @#$%ing important.

10. Birthers: They are so stupid I can't even think about a witty sarcastic comment.

Happy 2010 Everybody!