Month: May 2004

Saying nothing with a lot of words.

Now this is some impressive dot-com doublespeak. “Our role is to enable the utilization of a convergent team of multidisciplinary media talents to be focused on any appropriate activity that integrates the best aspects of the Internet with offline activities to create a holistic approach to certain strategic objectives.” Said by Peter Paul, the former co-founder of Stan Lee Media, who will be going to trial in September on charges of securities fraud and conspiracy.

The company was once valued at $350 million, but only ever made $1.2 million in revenues (while losing $18 million that year). The stock reached highs of $30.00 before crashing and being suspended at .13 a share.

It’s yet another example of the spectacular dot-com flameouts of the 90’s. I lost a job in January 2001 from dot-com blowouts (mind you, I was planning on tendering my resignation that week, but was advised not to off the record because they knew we were all going to be packaged off).

I think what’s truly sad is how burned Stan Lee got by the whole experience, to the point where his new company “POW Entertainment”, the producers of Stripperella and MTV’s “Who wants to be a SuperHero?” doesn’t have a web site.

There’s a cool book about Stan Lee’s life, which includes his time at Stan Lee Media called; Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book, which I plan on adding to my summer reading list.

Give them what they want

I’m going through my logs lately, and I see that a ton of people come to this site. May saw around 500 people view this page, now that’s nowhere near the couple hundred thousand people who read my weekly TSN.ca column (which I haven’t written in about two weeks), but it’s still a significant number.

Earlier in the month I migrated to Blogger’s comments system from the HaloScan one that I was using. Since I moved though, nobody’s commented on anything.

What’s up with that? Is there nothing on here that anyone wants to talk about? Am I no longer giving the people what they want?

What would you like to discuss?

My logs say that people are looking for info on TiVo Canada, they’re searching for wrestling stuff (you’ll find that at TSN.ca, not really here), and they’re looking for comic talk. Anything I’m missing?

Is Andy Kaufman back?

Would the real Andy Kaufman please stand up? Supposedly Andy Kaufman has re-appeared 20 years after faking his own death. The statute of limitations on faking your death is 7 years according to him, and that’s well and gone. He’s also claiming that his mother didn’t have sex until well after he was born.

Tounge, meet cheek, you’ll be firmly planted there.

It amuses my bouche though. Well played AndyKaufmanReturns weblog. Well played indeed.

The Standards Police will get you!

I got this in the Tech E-mail inbox today at work;

Question From: Timo(XXX@???.com)

Question:

Please Check these results, they are pretty bad:

[LINK EMBEDDED IN E-MAIL]

Another:

Hmm:

“The maximum number of errors was reached. Further errors in the document have not been reported.”

[LINK EMBEDDED IN E-MAIL]

I contacted you a few years ago with this type of information and never got a response. Sounds like you never learned! Sorry to be blunt but I love Canadian content but hate it when it’s not presented properly.

I hope someone reads this and says “Perhaps we should look at this”.

I think all disabled people in Canada and around the world would be appreciative!

Thanks for letting me vent,

Timo

Thanks Timo. I really appreciate your e-mail. I can’t tell you how much this helps me. I’ll just go ahead and tell everyone that we’ve gotta stop updating the damn “sports scores” and “sports news”, so that we can all get right on to the important business at hand…making TSN.ca standards compliant.

Listen, you won’t find a guy more willing to make a site standards compliant, but I’m realistic. The powers that be don’t care that the site is standards compliant, they care that it works in their browsers (it does), and that it has the latest news (it does). Standards compliance is a “nice to have” if I can get it done on my own time, in between other projects…you know, like making sure the system all works right.

To all of you who would like to send a similar letter to any organization, big or small, may I make one suggestion?

Don’t.

It doesn’t help anyone, we’re all aware of our deficiencies, and could probably point 100 more out on top of the 10 you point out. Not only that, but you have no idea what kind of conditions we’re working in, or what else we’re trying to do (or the fact that we’re building a whole new standards compliant, CSS based site behind the scenes, but Rome wasn’t built in a day…at least it wasn’t built properly in a day).

Your arrogance isn’t helping anyone, and if you were in my position, where you were one of a team of THREE PEOPLE who build and maintain TSN.ca right now, or the fact that a year ago my team got cut in half due to budget cutbacks, you’d see that we’re already fighting an uphill battle.

Cancelled one deal, did another

Well I got an e-mail from Barnes and Noble last night saying that my order was being delayed because the massive hardcover collection will now be coming out June 11th.

Fortunately TalesOfWonder.com is offering the same deal, only they’re selling the original hardcovers! I cancelled my order with B&N, and placed an order with Tales of Wonder.

One happy camper coming up!

Amazing deal on Ultimate Spider-Man

The online comics community is up in arms over a deal that Barnes and Noble is offering, The Ultimate Spider-Man collection, 992 pages, collecting the first three Ultimate Spider-Man Hardcover trades, which comprise three years (or 41 issues), all for the price of $34.96 US, (plus $6.00 shipping to Canada).That’s a freaking amazing deal. Of course retailers are (understandably) upset because this is being offered only at Barnes and Noble, and comic retailers are complaining that it’s unfair.

Now I love my comic store (insert plug for ComicsNMore.com here), but I just ordered this comic because that deal is just too damn sweet to pass up. The Canadian retail on the hardcover is $74.95 according to the jacket, with today’s exchange rate, I’ll be paying $60.00 including taxes.

People are arguing online that this is unfair, but I have to say that I think differently. I’ve bought the individual comics, I’ve bought the trades, and now I’m buying this hardcover edition. It’s been a year since the last hardcover came out, stores have sold as many of them as they’re going to. What’s the big deal? Thousands of people will buy this in Barnes and Nobles stores because you know it will get huge promotion for the Spidey movie. Some of those people will want to read more, and might search out a comic store…that’s good for everyone.

That’s my opinion anyway…maybe I’m just rationalizing.

Moving on up…

Or as the case may be…moving on down. Charlene and I are moving from our current apartment to a smaller, one bedroom place for four months. Our landlords told us last weekend that they’re expecting, and that they’d like to start renovating our apartment in September in order to prepare for the baby in November (they’re due November 6th). Fearing delays, or even worse, an early delivery…Char and I decided that we’d get out of dodge. I’d rather look for an apartment for four or five months than need one for two weeks.

So, we put out the call, and Charlene’s friend Joanna has kindly offered us her basement apartment. We’ll put most of our stuff in storage, and live with just the essentials for the next few months.

I started sorting stuff this weekend, figuring out what I could sell, what I could chuck, what I need to live with, and what I need to store.

There’s gonna be a HUGE yard sale in late May at our place!

Nose punchings

[Gets on his soap box]
Just to let everyone know, I didn’t grow up under a turnip truck. I actually worked in construction, on new homes no less, for 18 months in the days of my youth when I learned what it means to be a man (with all thanks to Led Zepplin). I am aware of the fact that any number of factors can contribute to our closing getting put off…neither Charlene nor I are dumb.

Contractors strikes, bad weather, a fire, flood, collapse, our foundation could cave in, the inspectors could declare the house unfit, the wiring could be bad, the drywall could fall down, a bird could nest in our furnace, a protected indian burial ground could be found in our backyard or a full sized T-Rex could rear itself out of the neighbouring Deer Creek and trample our house like a flattened pancake.

I get it.

So why is it that every single conversation I’ve had with people about our house goes like this;

“So you bought a new house? When do you take posession?” Me; “October 12th”, person; “Pshaw, you’ll probably be delayed. Everyone I know has been delayed.”

My usual response is “Well, our builder has a good reputation, they even sometimes close early.” From now on though, I’m just going to punch people in the nose. No warning, nothing. The combined negative vibe from the rest of the world is going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby we do get delayed, and end up moving into our place in January 2005.

I for one don’t relish fighting that damn T-Rex, so as my mom once said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.”

When someone has bought a re-sale home, I have never once said “Oh, watch out for termites, dry rot, backed up pipes, grapes in your drains, dead bodies in the walls, mice, rats, gnats, explosive gasses, carbon monoxide, falling roofs, or Mexican hissing beetle infestations.”, so give us a break already.

[Gets down off his soap box]

Our Dirt

Goodbye dirt, hello BASEMENT! That’s right, our dirt is no more, replaced instead by a basement! Tribute, our builders, have put in about 20 foundations so far, there are about a dozen houses framed, and more coming all the time.We dropped by yesterday, and the foundation had just been poured earlier that day. The next step will be for the forms to come off, and the dirt to be back-filled around the foundation. We’re probably another month away from having a frame, but that will go very quickly.

We’re just a little over 5 months away, and everything looks like it’s going according to plan…but all is not wine and roses in our world. Our landlords who live downstairs are expecting a baby in November, and they would like to take over the whole house, meaning we may be out on our ears! We’re going to look for something, and probably just put most of our stuff into storage, and just live like paupers for a couple of months. In the end, it may end up saving us some extra money, which will put us ahead when we move in, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.

We’re doing really well on our savings plan, and are $5,000 away from our goal of 25% down. At the rate we’re saving, we should have the entire amount by mid-June, and everything we save after that will be gravy.