Waiting for Juan

As I mentioned yesterday, Juan is due to make landfall in Nova Scotia around suppertime today. Right now, the easterly wind is 33 km/h (21 mph) gusting to 46 km/h (29 mph), which is windy but not outrageous. Landfall is expected at Halifax or about an hour west near Mahone Bay. With high tide coming shortly after landfall, the storm surge could even affect Halifax Harbour and downtown.

I fully expect to be without power for a while tonight. I hope the Bar Hopper stays in Moncton tonight rather than drive into the storm. And I hope the night won’t be too wild for BeeGoddessC, who’s spending the week with a longtime friend in a cottage on St. Margaret’s Bay (yes, just west of Halifax)…

Duh!

I didn’t realize there were $1 coins in circulation in the U.S., which look like the Canadian loonie. It’s not unusual for U.S. coins to slip into the currency in Canada, and we just use them at face value. But this week I was handed my first U.S. $1 coin, which I spent a few days later at a nearby Subway. I should have insisted on it really being worth $1.38.

Spectacular September

It dawned on me today, on my way to my neighbourhood corner store, that September here this year has turned out to be more like August. How unusual it is to be walking to the store on September 27th, wearing shorts and sandals. It’s been in the low- to mid-20s (or 70s for those of you in the U.S.) most days this month, when normally by this time of year we’d expect highs in the mid-teens (low- to mid-60s F). But you’re not hearing me complaining, that’s for sure.

One of the effects of this mild September is that the leaves, particularly in the city, show few signs of wanting to change. There are exceptions, of course, but I’d say we’re a good 7 to 10 days behind schedule. I suspect the peak this year might even come later than Thanksgiving weekend. (Click on this image; I love the way the red leaves are meshed with the green ones.)

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia is awaiting a direct hit from Hurricane Juan tomorrow. It’s expected to make landfall near Halifax as a Category 1 hurricane, which is what Hortense did on the evening of Sept. 14, 1996. Environment Canada didn’t seem particularly concerned about this until the latest forecast, which is showing Juan taking a more westerly path, closer to Halifax than expected earlier. So, 50 to 80 millimetres of rain, and winds gusting to 100 to 150 km/h: sounds like fun!

I remember with Hortense that it was the rain and wind in front of the storm that was particularly striking. As soon as it made landfall at Sheet Harbour, some 100 km east of Halifax, all became eerily calm. I thought it was because we were in the eye of the hurricane and should be expecting more after the hiatus, but no. The storm just petered out upon hitting our rocky shore. Perhaps the terrain here is equivalent to a kick in the teeth for Cat 1 hurricanes.

More Outrageous Spam

Kirsten has just written an entry about a spam message she received today in the comment section of her MT-driven blog. I received the same message. For a second I thought about blogging about it, but then I decided to simply delete the message and move on. I had already forgotten about it when I came across Kirsten’s entry about it.

This got me thinking about something. (Uh oh.)

Five years ago, Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen argued “The Case for Micropayments” as a measure to improve content on websites. Many have been the critics who have dismissed his suggestion as unworkable and counter to the spirit of the Internet (i.e., that it should be free). Of course, there’s been this long-standing misunderstanding of how the word “free” is to be understood when referring to the Internet. It should be about freedom, not price; free flow, not gratis.

For websites, there’s already an understanding that there’s a financial cost for bandwidth. For $X per month, my Web hosting provider gives me so much hard-disk storage space, access to utilities, and an allowance of so many gigabytes of traffic to my website. This last point is bandwidth.

I know that perhaps no one except me would agree to it, but if it could be made workable, I wouldn’t mind paying $.01 or $.02 for each recipient of my outgoing messages if this fee would make the cost of spamming prohibitive. Think of it as the cost of a postage stamp. And maybe a well-tuned system would allow some kind of override over time for addresses that have proven themselves not to be the source of spam.

Nawh… This would probably never work. But it seems to me that one way of discouraging spam might be to make it too costly for a common spammer to send a message to 50,000 e-mail addresses, yet keep the cost for legimitate senders of e-mail messages well within an affordable range. At the same time, I can’t help but be pissed off at spammers for getting me to think up such a preposterous idea. They’ve abused and ruined such a convenient communications tool.

Beyond Expectations

I had Indiana Jones over for supper tonight. As usual, when he rings from the lobby downstairs, I buzz him in, unlock the door to my apartment, and resume whatever I’m doing (usually cooking). He entered with a white plastic bag in which there was an envelope and a bottle of wine. “So what’s this?” he asked. “A peace offering?

It took me a second to register what it was, but yes, it came from my Big Fat Swedish Neighbour. Indeed, I spoke to the supers and they suggested that they should go talk to him, my letter in hand. Obviously they gave it to him, judging from the note that came with the bottle of wine.

26.09.03

Dear Maurice,
     I am sorry. I am utterly sorry. I had no idea of the amount of sounds you heard from my apartment. I feel exposed, naked and completly ashamed. You know more about me than some of my friends. I feel so awful. Saying “I am sorry” just isn’t enough.
     Actually, I am grateful for your letter. I completely agree with all of your comments. I am so thankful for your patience. You see, I too am an un-confrontational person. But, I am a sensitive person. And I feel so terrible at what I have put you through. I am so humiliated that I cannot even obtain the courage to show my face to you, as I know you are a decent and kind man.
     No, I am not making adult movies (joke!). Yes, I masturbate often, and often while on the phone. As you already know this, I may as well admit it. I am just so ashamed that you had to hear it. Believe me, Maurice, if I had know just how easy it is to hear everything, I would have not been so vocal.
     You will be happy to know that I will be leaving on Monday, I will not return until February. And when I do, rest assured that your peace and quiet will remain intact. I will take great care upon my return here, to obtain a quiet living situation.
     The “humming” you have heard, is probably due to my ceiling fan. I will no longer use it. 🙂 If I need to record, I will gladly discuss it with you in advance, so we can perhaps arrange a time that would be convienient for you. No more cookoo clock! 🙂 Umm… As I love to listen to CBC Radio, I will listen at a lower volume. OK, I am sounding silly now! Enough of that.
     I hope this gift will help smooth things out a little. I love this wine, and I hope you will too.
     Once again, I am grateful for your letter and I am deeply sorry for all I have put you through.

Sincerely,
Neighbour
555-1212

Floor me or what! He even gave his phone number this time!

On the one hand, I can’t help but think I struck just the right tone in my letter. On the other hand, and in the spirit of saying it and holding no grudge, I don’t want him to stew more in his humiliation than he clearly already has. So my plan is to go knock on his door before he leaves Monday and offer a handshake.

And now I’m not counting the hours to Monday afternoon, nor am I dreading his return in February.