(Re)Discovering a Whole New World

For a lark, I’ve been checking out a few dating sites lately. I mean, if more than a lark comes out of it, then that’ll be fine, too. Meanwhile, the eye candy doesn’t hurt. But so far, what I’ve been finding most interesting is observing how some guys behave on these sites. Moreover, I’ve been fascinated by how the online world continues to lend itself to a lack of reasonable etiquette. I’ve observed this many times before in blogs and discussion forums, but seeing it in place where the mask can so easily be pulled off the ol’ Lone Ranger is still a little startling to me. (Just call me naive.)

Some guys provide no profile information; others just telegraph stats (37, 5’11”, brown/blue, 7.5uc); still others give complete essays. The tone runs the full gamut from bitter to cheery. Many provide pictures—some face shots only, some anatomy shots only, and some a combination of both. On one site in particular, there’s even a system in place to permit the webmaster to verify that the pictures are authentic. However, many don’t bother going through the process, which on that site immediately raises suspicions on the “poser’s” legitimacy.

Just as bad as posting unauthentic photos is posting authentic but flattering photos that date 10 years or more. If I were to post a photo of myself from 1992 or 1995, you’d have no trouble recognizing that it’s me, except that my hair was a deep auburn back then and now it’s indisputably silver. And I know I have wringles now that I didn’t have back then. Even on a photo from four years ago, like the one on my profile, I look a bit different than I do today. Not that you can tell from that photo, but I had man boobs back then and I don’t now. 🙂

My trips in this online world have also forced me to look up a bunch of acronyms I never encountered before: PnP, BB, and so on. I have to admit I’m surprised at how many are seeking BB or, if you prefer, unprotected/unsafe sex. For some, it’s a (warped) political statement, while for others it’s simply a “preference” thing. But I still don’t get it in this day and age.

Etiquette is also really weird. Like a beach buddy of mine often says, “Just because I say ‘hello’ to you doesn’t mean I want to fuck you!” Similarly, online, it can be difficult sometimes to simply pay a compliment without it being interpreted as anything more. There also seems to be a lot of judgement coming from guys who are undeniably very fit, whereby those of us who aren’t (and constitute the majority on the planet) are dismissed as not caring about themselves. And then there’s this whole notion of “not being into BS and headgames,” which frankly leaves me perplexed as to what that really means. I mean, do you think anyone would proudly profess being into BS and headgames? Moreover—and I think this is more telling of my lack of connection or circulation—what exactly is meant by “headgames”? Is it a caution against superficiality? Could someone who’s a bit more cerebral be unfairly be dismissed as playing head games? Anyway, I’m not trying to play dumb, as I think I have an idea of what’s being referred to, but it seems like a huge blanket statement spewed out by guys who, for good reasons or not, come across as quite jaded.

In closing, I won’t give you the details, but I actually had a middle-aged British guy request a picture of me in a certain situation. After throwing up a little in my mouth, I respectfully refused. But I saw absolutely no need to insult the guy, especially one who’s so far away. I just told him it would never happen. He accepted my answer and moved on …thank gawd!

Cheap for a Reason

Maybe there’s a reason a place like Future Shop can sell you a computer for well under $500. The reason, my friends, is quite simple. It’s because such computers simply don’t work.

I still don’t regret my move downstairs back in March. But the one (and just about only) thing that hasn’t worked out is setting up my office in the smaller bedroom. The sunlight is too direct and I have to close the blinds all afternoon until sunset if I plan to work in there, and opening the door to the balcony—a necessity to let in some air in the summer—also lets in too much sunlight. The brightness glares on the monitor and it gets too hot in the room. Also, I’d like the flexibility to change rooms once in a while to break the monotony of “computer = go to the office.”

I have the perfect alt.home.office set up in my living room, but the problem is that I don’t have a computer there. Well, I do, but it’s a mid-1990s dinosaur whose operating system is (get this!) Windows 95. I don’t even know why I keep the damn thing.

Ever since I’ve moved in here, I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a router and a really cheap computer for my alt.home.office, but I’ve been reticient to make the move due to cost. Lately, however, Future Shop has been advertising a computer with a flat computer monitor for $699. I checked out their website and found there were even cheaper deals if I didn’t mind recycling my old monitor.

So off I went to Future Shop this evening with Stephanie, and while I was looking online, she found the computer I had spotted earlier online for $60 less than what’s posted online: not $409, but $349! I mean, fuck! Even if it’s slower than or not as good as my main computer, who gives a good goddamn! It would provide the change of scenery I desperately need.

I bought extra RAM and a router, and before the mail-in rebates (about $100 in total) but with taxes, I spent $630. I got home, excited at the prospect of setting up my new computer (minus the router, which Steph will help me with tomorrow). But it didn’t go well. At all.

The first time I turned it on, it churned and churned for what seemed like foreover before it finally just seized. The second time, it booted as far as the manufacturer’s preliminary set up program, but after I pressed “Next” on the second screen, it churned a bit and then started to reboot. Although I found that odd, I figured it might need to do that and the third time would be the charm. But no. Three or four times I reached that second screen and it would reboot again. Then finally, Windows spewed out one of its infamously unhelpful error boxes—something about bad memory 30958x;j on 12sdg4w8 cannot “write” to memory. So, before I take the computer back to Future Shop tomorrow, I’ll ask Steph to double-check the RAM she added for me. Maybe IT’S bad and causing the grief, in which case I’ll only need to replace it and not the whole computer. But for some reason, I suspect the problem is with the computer.

So all this to say that perhaps the reason why a place like Future Shop can sell you a computer for $349 is because said computer doesn’t work. Which is a pity, of course. And a pain in the ass. If you can’t deliver goods that work at that price point, then don’t bother getting people’s hopes up. I wasn’t expecting a killer gaming machine. I wasn’t even expecting something better than my two-year-old TextStyle1. I only expected a computer that worked reasonably well.

Nothing Is Obvious

Recently I wrote about my reaction to Newman’s Mulroney tapes and how, despite still not liking the man, I do see him differently and perhaps even more favorably than before. Now the news is that Mulroney is suing Newman, essentially disputing ownership of the tapes and how any profits from them should be distributed. It’ll be interesting to see where this suit goes and observe the public’s reaction to it. Something tells me that if the matter were left to the court of public opinion, which alas is seldom fair, Mulroney wouldn’t get much sympathy even 12 years after leaving power. Certainly Trudeau was in better shape in that court after that amount of time; his (probably ill-guided and stubborn) pronouncements on Meech Lake and Charlottetown had more resonance than Mulroney’s a short while ago when he praised the Free Trade Agreement on its anniversary. The Ontario Superior Court will, as it’s bound to do, have to stick to very narrow legal arguments on whether or not Newman really is in breach of contract.

The CBC’s Post-Lockout Decline

I used to prefer the CBC’s suppertime news (Canada Now) and really missed the program when it was off the air during the two-month CBC lockout. But now I have to admit that I much prefer the CTV Evening News. For one thing, more than half of the local half-hour of Canada Now is dedicated to softer “human interest” stories, while CTV’s fare is more robust. But what really has my knickers in a knot is how Canada Now, particularly the national half-hour, has about as much time for commercials as it does for news. When CN started a few years ago, the local half-hour had two two-minute commercial breaks and the national half-hour had none. Then the national had one. Then two. Now I think there are at least four. The program has become unwatchable!

I wonder how many people have noticed this shift since the CBC lockout has ended.

It Must Be Nice…

…to like Christmas so much that you can’t stop yourself from putting up your decorations immediately after Hallowe’en. People in a house on Brunswick Street here in Halifax go completely to town with decorations each year, and early, too. It’s quite garish. And although much more subdued, other people down the hall from me have had their decorations up since the weekend. But as much as I’m no fan of Christmas, I have to admit that the pretty lights do serve a purpose during this time of year when it’s so grey and the days are so short. This evening we’re on the mild side of a nasty storm that’s bringing tons of rain and winds gusting to 100 km/h (62 mi/h), and somehow the pretty lights seem like the equivalent of putting your hands on your ears and singing, “La, la, la, I can’t hear you!”