A Theory as Good as Any Other

Yesterday or the day before, someone who frequents my Web host’s discussion forum posted a question about an e-mail problem one of his/her client was having with Outlook Express. It wasn’t anything like the problem I have with one constituent of my largest client, except that her problem, too, seems linked to Outlook. So I replied to the forum poster about my experience, and how the only solution in my client’s case, although it defies logic, is to delete and re-create her account on the mail server.

As I was posting this reply, I was thinking about how it’s been MONTHS since my client experienced this problem. But, unfortunately, I didn’t knock on wood as I thought this. And lo and behold, who should be calling and e-mailing me in a panic this morning!

So after investigating, I realized that the solution would be the same illogical process. I then sent her a voice-mail and e-mail message to confirm what I had done. Her reply—and theory—is probably the most credible so far: “I think it’s just Outlook’s way of keeping the communication open between us.”

For every rotten or difficult client one can have, there are a dozen kind and understanding clients like this one. And that’s good.

Conrad Black

About the only thing I can think of saying about Neo-Conservative Asshole Extraordinaire (and former Canadian) Lord Conrad Black is “Ha! Ha!” (as the Simpsons’ Nelson Muntz would say). This is a guy for whom, I’m sure, Margaret Thatcher was the subject of many masturbatory fantasies.

Well okay. I have one more thing to say. Has everyone noticed how these really odious right-wingers, particularly those in the U.S., are crashing down in flames these days? And in truth, it feels so good to see the Conrad Blacks, the Barbara Amiels (Black’s wife) and all those of their ilk finally getting their own after they’ve been so damn smug for all these years while being such spectacular crooks and liars. I just hope that ordinary, conversative-minded people everywhere realize and finally learn that those they supported and idolized with so much gusto all this time would just as soon take all their candy and, while they’re at it, slap them in the face with the greatest contempt.

A First!

I’m 40 years old and this is the first time I celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. Indeed, yesterday was American Thanksgiving, whereas Canada’s is on the second Monday of October, when Americans celebrate Columbus Day. Of course, the reason I celebrated U.S. Thanksgiving is that we have an American among us. For me, the MOUNDS of mashed potatoes were by far the best part—thick, rich, wonderfully carby mashed potatoes. The last time I ate mashed potatoes was …well, Canadian Thanksgiving! 🙂

Highs and Lows

Funny how even analysts can’t explain the fluctuations in the price of gas.

Here in Halifax, the price for a litre of regular unleaded peaked in early September after Hurricane Katrina at $1.39, which for a U.S. gallon (not factoring in the currency difference*) translated to $5.26. Then it slid gradually afterwards. In late-September, when I was visiting my brother who lives on the border to northeastern Maine, it was $1.17 at the Esso station around the corner from his house but $0.96 just 12 kilometres down the road in Hamlin, ME. By mid-October, the lead news story on CTV was how gas dipped below $1.00 (i.e., $0.99.9) in much of the Maritime provinces. And last week in Halifax, it reached $0.89, which, let’s face it, is 50 cents per litre ($1.89 per U.S. gallon) less than the September peak. Now it’s back up at $0.94, so the game of “Do I Fill Up Now Or Do I Wait In Hopes It Goes Down Again” has resumed.

* The Canadian dollar has been steady at 83-85 cents U.S. for much of this year. Exporters hate it, but ordinary Canadians love it because they can afford to visit the States again, and Canadians buying services from the U.S. aren’t feeling the pinch of the historic 62-cent low of 2002.

(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!