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September 2005

Making life even easier

My local ISP, Sympatico has the following offer:

Instead of making a trip to the library, the kids can look up anything on the Internet. But because their information needs to come from a reliable source, we got MSN PremiumInternet Software. It comes with MSN Encarta® Premium, an authoritative online encyclopedia, and other great features. Now the kids can take care of their homework without even leaving the house!

This is so wrong -and I just don't mean the grammatical error.

Party game

I printed out a suggestive ad for a different sort of event, faked a handwritten note on it between the hosts, and left it in the bathroom. And then waited to see who would read and comment.

My assumption is that people do snoop, and they would love to comment, but no one wants to be first. 

I started off with the paper folded, under a small glass vase - but still with a cheeky view. No comments. Then, after a few more "users" visits, moved the vase. Nothing. Then unfolded in plain view. I was ready to tape it to the mirror next, but the hostess saw it there and brought it out. Laughs all around, people had noticed it, but reluctant to comment of course. Helps if the hosts are good sports (they were, and threw a great party).

I like the suggestion noted here about party snoopers, stuff a bunch of marbles in the medicine cabinet and wait for the trap to be sprung.

BTW - I think we will be going to MLO November 12.


I had never been, and ended up there twice last week. A group of us get together every few weeks for drinks and dinner and conversation. Some from an Utne discussion group, some from Mensa, some from Place Bell, and various links. We used to be called Wednesday's at Woody's, but we had issues with the cooking - or lack of it. Got tired of sending the wings back so they weren't pink. So - we moved just up the street to Griffins for a while. Was nicer food, service seems to vary depending which of the blond clones you get. After the renovations, menu fancier, smaller portions, higher prices, same spotty service. We won't be returning - place seems quite empty lately so maybe others have noticed. We headed across the street after dinner and found where some of the crowd has gone - Big Daddy's Crab Shack. Packed with singles - 30's to 50's - all looking to bump uglies. And the name refers to the menu, not to STD's. More beers, some great people watching - even got my ass slapped by a babe. But so did everyone else she passed - should have called her on sexual harassment I guess.

Moved on to Maxwell's across the street for dancing (and more beers). Only three of us left by then. me, Doug, and Lynne.We decided to finish the evening at The Lookout in the Market - because it's an interesting place. It's on the second floor, balcony overlooking the antics on the street, loud dance music, and the floor filled with dancers. Mostly guys - it's a gay bar. Fine by me - some of my best friends are Mensan's.

A friend asked why we went - if it meant anything about us -nope, not to me. I'm OK with myself, going in "those places" doesn't reflect on me - I enjoy the great music and exuberance. And don't have to talk hockey (or the lack of it) to the guy next to me at the bar.  Bunch of us used to go to Frankie's (on Frank St) years ago late in the evening - because it had a free pool table that was always empty and a friendly comfortable bar. I rarely get hit on -probably less than a woman in a straight bar. Was even safe at Mr. Leather Ottawa competitions - although I did bring a girlfriend for insurance. That was a fantastic party - most of the audience dressed for the night (or undressed), competition events were inventive and exciting, dance after was fantastic. Loud trance music, flashing lights, fog - and of course the dancers. We ended up in a threesome (dancing) with a huge bearded Scotsman -naked above the waist except for nipple rings. Wearing a kilt and boots. And under the kilt? Nothing except a ring! He had so much fun flirting with my lady friend he decided he must be a closet lesbian.

But I digress ( a lot!) second Lookout was Saturday - went to Festival Lumiere first with a friend to experiment with evening pictures. Some good shots of lanterns, and  aerial dancers. And on to Lookout, as my friend knew someone doing performance art thing there. Which turned out to be a very tall skinny guy, dressed in a filmy green dress and wig, with make-up and a five o'clock shadow. Not very impressive next to the two cabaret stars of the evening, Ditzy and Titsy. Now THEY were a performance.

We noticed a lot of girls on the dance floor, 4-5 young girls, all dancing together, loving the music, in all likelihood straight and there because they won't worry about guys hitting on them. The young studs are all to scared of their own sexuality being questioned if they go in there.

A friend (female) confided to me that she wished she could find a gay guy friend here - hugs and friendship without any strings. I heard a bit on the radio the other day about a woman in Toronto that had no friends that liked to hug and cuddle (dump the friends?) so had gone last year to New York to a snuggle/cuddle party. Where, basically, you wear comfy clothes and hug and snuggle for the evening with a room of strangers. No sex, no groping, just snuggles. Apparently they're in Toronto now - not sure if Ottawa is ready for it yet.

Do you have worms?

Ah, what memories of childhood that brings back. Seems that was the first thing a mother thought of when faced with a fidgety child.

No, my comment was tongue in cheek, I meant computer worms of course. More of them in the news, the latest targeted to Windoze 2000 systems. What often happens is Microsoft finds yet another security flaw so dutifully releases a patch and the "hole" it covers over. Someone reads about the problem and figures out a virus or a worm to exploit it. Whether you're affected usually depends on whether you've applied the patch. And therein lies the snag. Used to be these people took months to write their code to attack your system. Then it became weeks. Now it can be a matter of day.

Microsoft has tried to automate the patch update process, but some people don't do updates ever. Perhaps they'd prefer to not let Bill Gates access their system whenever he wants. Maybe they have an illegal version. They may not do backups either - they're the hardest hit - as are their friends. I had a friend a few years ago like that -not only did her computer send out SPAM, but it faked my email address! So I got lots of angry emails from people on her address list, accesing me of infecting their systems. Her excuse? Too busy to upgrade her system. Others are part of a corporate network where updates and patches are controlled by the IT group. Unfortunately, the group often needs a few weeks to assess the impact of the patch on their specific configurations, and coordinate a roll-out strategy. In the meantime -systems get infected and bring the whole network down. When I was in that situation a few years ago I ignore the rules and enabled firewalls and did the updates on my own - but many employees aren't foolhardy knowledgeable enough for that.

But enough for now - I'm feeling fidgety and need to head off downtown looking for adventure