"Save Joey’s Christmas" sale update

The “Save Joey’s Christmas” sale went spectacularly yesterday, raising almost enough money to cover my January rent. Coupled with a couple of contract opportunities that have been dangled in front of me (and look likely to go through, but you never know), it looks like Christmas will be happening after all. Thanks to everyone who bought something!

There are still a number of books for sale as well as the music software Logic Audio Platinum 4.5 and Reaktor 2.3. I’ve also added two new books: Python Essential Reference (second edition) and Python Developer’s Handbook. If you’re looking for discount geek books and software, be sure to check out the sale. Remember, all proceeds go towards saving Christmas.


Yes, there actually is a greeting card for every occasion

The Reverse Cowgirl’s Blog pointed me to Fires of Darkness, “a ministry for pornography addicts and the people who love them”. Among the many things you can find on this site — including a painful-sounding novel called Fires of Darkness — are e-greeting cards that you can send. I absolutely love this one:

Photo: e-Greeting card from depicting soft-focus rose on piano keyboard. Text reads 'Forgive me for introducing pornography into our lives.'

You know you’re living in the postmodern era when it’s difficult to tell inspirational material such as this from parodies.

I think someone should make a card that reads “Forgive me for bringing soy milk into our fridge”. My housemate Paul would owe me at least a dozen.


The “Save Joey’s Christmas” Sale

Problem number one:

My former roomate owes me a lot of money for back rent, the largest domestic phone bill I’ve ever seen, half a year’s worth of groceries and other miscellaneous expenses. Let’s simply say that the figure we’re talking about here covers the purchase of at least one Segway. Said former roomate is also in financial binds of his own, so the chances that he’ll be able to pay me sometime soon is pretty slim.

Problem number two:

My financial situation isn’t all that hot. Absorbing the roomate’s costs while being unemployed, then being employed by a company that ran out of money and now owes me back pay wiped out my savings. The job search isn’t moving quickly enough; I’m either getting rejected or sitting in waiting-for-second-interview Hell. Accordion playing is actually covering my groceries at the moment. I don’t want to have to pay rent with my credit card.

Problem number three:

Christmas is coming up. I’d like to at least be able to buy a present for this little fella:

Photo: Aidan in his cute Roots hat.

That’s my Godson, Aidan William deVilla-Choi. If a kid can’t expect a present from his Godfather, what’s the point of going on?

The solution:

The “Save Joey’s Christmas” Sale.

The former housemate left a lot of stuff at the house, and he has authorized me to sell it in order to raise money and help pay off his debt to me. If you’re looking for inexpensive presents to give to geeky friends this season, or if you’re a geek who wants some nice books or toys, you might want to check out the sale. I’ve priced everything quite comptetitively. The list isn’t complete yet — I’m going to add a few more items later on today.

All proceeds go towards saving my Christmas. You’ll get nice stuff for low prices, and I won’t be reduced to giving out sexual favours in the bus station in exchange for free cheese. And isn’t that what Christmas is all about?


Still no joy in mudville

Just heard back from my placement guy: made the short list, but didn’t get picked. The employer chose someone with less technical skill and seniority, but who had more experience with enterprise development. On a brighter note, the employer said “keep an eye on that Joey guy, we might need him later.”

I guess that’s the price you pay for seven years’ worth of very interesting, very offbeat development work: when the only stable employers are mondo enterprise customers (those links are just examples — I haven’t applied to any of them), your experience comes up short. I’ll still take seven years of looking forward to going to work every day, adventure and a little uncertainty over Dilbert-land and slightly increased job security.

I figure it was also my time for a dry spell — up until now, I’ve been extremely fortunate: every job interview I’d ever had resulted in my getting hired.

And so the job search continues.


We’re back!

The Adventures of AccordionGuy in the 21st Century and everything else under the domain “vanished” off the ‘Net for a short time starting Sunday morning. A file on a Web server in Seattle blew itself to pieces, and a lot of web sites hosted by my Internet service provider were suddenly “turned invisible”. The appropriate people have been yelled at, and the porblem has been fixed. Good thing, too — the resume section of this Web site has been very helpful in my (still unsuccessful, but improving) job search.


Party like it’s 1999: The Shift "State of the Net" party, part 1

The annual Shift magazine “State of the Net” party took place last night at The Guvernment, a large warehouse dance club complex by the lake, just east of Accordion City’s downtown core.

(Yeah, I know, silly name. There’s sillier: the part of the complex where they hold concerts is called Kool Haus.)

Our cab pulled up to the entrance at about 10 o’clock. The word amongst the club kids was that the Guvernment has spent dump trucks of money on renovations, and it was readily apparent from the outside. The facade had a fancy new paint job and they’d installed a large number of spotlights and a some kind of projection lighting system that flashed a kaleidoscope of Shift magazine logos on the club’s east wall. The place looked like a scene from a movie or a beer commercial; they’d certainly put a lot of effort into the part of a club that people ignore before they get in and are to drunk to notice when they leave.

There must be a fashion magazine — or perhaps a cloning facility — for bouncers. They’re starting to look alike. If you’ve been to a club lately, you probably know the look: a barrel-chested build, hair either very close-cropped or cleanly shaven off, goatee or van dyke beard, black boots, black pants, black jacket and either a black or white shirt. If it’s cold out, they throw on either a black baseball cap or black toque. With the advent of cheap two-way radios, many of them sport those earpiece/microphone combos, which makes them look like paramilitary operatives from an action film.

A line about thirty people deep were presenting their paper invitations to one of the bouncers. I’d signed me and my guests onto the guest list online, so I had no such paper. No problem, I thought, they probably have list of signed-up guests printed out.

I walked up to one of the bouncers.

“I’m on the –” I started before the bouncer interrupted.

“I believe you. You and your friends can come on in.”

This was unusual for a Shift party. During the heyday of the dot-com boom, they took great pains to keep the uninvited out and I had to take great pains to secure enough invitations for me and my friends. Even during the recent 10th anniversary party only a couple of months ago, you couldn’t get in without an invitation.

“You’re not going to check the list?” I said. This would’ve been a dumb move had I not been on the list — asking the gatekeeper to double check my bona fides after I’d scammed my way in — but I was a legitimate guest and had nothing to worry about.

“No. If you’re not on the list and you show up with that,” he said, pointing to the accordion, “I figure you’ll be thrown out pretty quick. Get in.”

Very well, then.


"Go to Saudi Arabia, and it’s the first country to the left."

Simple directions to Iraq…if you’re flying east from North America, and if you know where Saudi Arabia is.

A common refrain by everyone living outside America is that Americans know very little about the outside world. Even here in neighbouring Accordion Country — often referred to by its nickname, “Canada” — the apocryphal story about American tourists coming in the middle of July with their skis and parkas to Toronto or Montreal still makes the rounds.

Of course we wouldn’t be telling these jokes if our American friends didn’t keep providing us with the material. A recent National Geographic survey found that 6 out 7 Americans in the 18-to-24 age group couldn’t locate Iraq on a world map, and an equal percentage couldn’t locate Iran. Only 17 percent could locate Afghanistan.

Closer to home, 1 in 10 couldn’t locate the US on a world map. Even when asked to locate places within the U.S., the results were pathetic: half of them couldn’t locate the state of New York.

Less flag-waving and more atlas reading, people!

[Thanks to Metafilter for the link.]