Thursday, March 31, 2005

Form an Eiaml I Got

You may have already seen this but I thought it was neat.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The
phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch taem at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a
wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be
in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it
wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey
lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Such a cdonition is
arppoiately cllaed Typoglycemia...

Amzanig huh? Yaeh and yuo awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Shareholder Meeting Delayed

Toronto – Last night’s shareholder meeting of Irascible Inc. was delayed when J., a partner in the business, was unexpectedly drawn away by a family emergency. Reports indicate that a squirrel had somehow become trapped in the attic of J’s in-laws. For some inexplicable reason the in-laws were unable to deal with the situation themselves and J was conscripted as animal control.

After the short delay the meeting progressed as expected. Excess peanut butter, surplus from trap baiting, was then provided as an accompaniment for the beer.


Monday, March 28, 2005

Home Game

It amazes me that even after I tell people that I played poker full-time for a year I still get invited to home games. I guess it just looks so simple on television; people must think to themselves, “hey, I can do that too”. Whatever the rationale the invitations come.

Friday I went over to an acquaintance’s place and played in a small stakes no-limit game that has been running every month for the last couple of years: $40 buy-in, historically players win or lose up to about $100 in an evening. My chips increased steadily over the course of the night and I won over $300, establishing the new record for winnings.

Apparently I will be invited back. Silly people.

Anyone else need a chair filled at a home game?


Wednesday, March 23, 2005


My father needs a new computer and it just so happened that a friend of my sister's fiance constructs them for really good prices. Now my father knows next to nothing about the specifications of what he needs so I've been forcibly conscripted as a go-between in the whole transaction dealio.

This should've been a very simple task, low on the frustration index. But no, somehow it gets dragged out, I get pestered constantly and my irascibility had begun to show. Finally, the order is in, everyone seems to be happy and then...

Yesterday, the computer was supposed to be picked up and delived to my parent's place. I'm busily working away and getting stressed out by a bunch of crap when my IM (set to busy) pops up.

Sister: ben, when u r around let me know what parts for the computer u still need. As far as I know Dad just has a monitor, right?

Sister: Fiance is gonna pick up the other parts so just let me know. thanks!

Me: huh? I thought dad gave you the specifics. What the heck do you need now?
(don't bother me, I'm irascible and busy)

Sister: do u not need a keyboard or speakers?
(patronizing?, a tad of guilt thrown? and I don't need anything, it's for dad)

Me: talk to dad. I'm busy. I thought a keyboard was included. Scratch that I don't care. Talk to dad.
(no really, you've know me your whole life you should know by now that I'm irascible)

Sister: never mind, sorry about trying to help out. we were going to get that stuff ourselves but i dont want to create any more problems for u
(oh yes, that's definitely guilt)

Me: thanks bye
(don't bother throwing guilt, I'm not listening. nah, nah, na, na, nah)

Now she's not talking to me. Funny how even though we're both adults (at least physically) this childish sibling crap rears it's ugly head every now and again.

Time to consider apologizing and start walking around on eggshells for a while.



Monday, March 21, 2005

Lost In the Supermarket

How in the hell does one shop for a lawyer?

Although my legal needs may become more complex at present they're pretty basic: I need a corporate lawyer with expertise in software. Throw in some intellectual property, a little tax strategy and a competitive rate and I'm a happy camper.

They all look so similar on paper and there's just so many of them out there.

So many.

I'm lost.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Optimizing Irony

From an email I sent today:

"I need your advice on something. One ball captain to another.

I know there's snow on the ground but I'm just about to send out the first ball email of the year. Problem. I've a major roster decision to make. One of our biggest bats happens to be "difficult to get along with", as was succinctly put by another team member. This person has been the focus of a number of personality conflicts both within the team and within the league at large. I'm thinking of cutting him. I've talked to a number of the other players on the team and no one will rigorously defend him. They all have said "Either way, it's fine by me. It's your call."

Like them I'm sitting on the fence. He's a pain in the ass (and a bit of an embarassment) but his bat would be missed."

The recipient of this query is not only another captain and a friend but also the one involved with the worst of the personality conflicts within the league at large - our player at one time tried to pick a fight with him.

I will likely abide by the recommendation I get in response.


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Don't Be Fooled

I’ve so much to say but so little drive to say it. Just watching the evening news usually gives me about three different things to rant about yet I just can’t get around to it. And in other aspects of life well…

I think drive must be parceled out in discreet, finite amounts and frankly, I’m using it up elsewhere. In lieu of a personal post I present to you a short excerpt of a book I just started and am enjoying immensely.

From Fooled By Randomness (Second Edition) by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:

…the description coming form journalism is certainly not just an unrealistic representation of the world but rather the one that can fool you the most by grabbing your attention via your emotional apparatus – the cheapest to deliver sensation. Take the mad cow “threat” for example: Over a decade of hype it only killed people (in the highest estimates) in the hundreds as compared to car accidents (several hundred thousands!) – except that the journalistic description of the latter would not be commercially fruitful. (Note that the risk of dying from food poisoning or in a car accident on the way to a restaurant is greater than dying from mad cow disease.) This sensationalism can divert empathy towards wrong causes: Cancer and malnutrition being the ones that suffer the most from the lack of such attention. Malnutrition in Africa and South-East Asia no longer causes that sense the mental probabilistic map in one’s mind is so geared towards the sensational that one would realize informational gains by dispensing with the news. Another example concerns the volatility of markets. In peoples’ minds lower process are far more “volatile” than sharply higher moves In addition volatility seems to be determined not by the actual moves but by the tone of the media. The market movement in the 18 months after September 11, 2001 were far smaller than the moves that we faced in the 18 months prior – but somehow in the mind of investors they were very volatile. The discussions in the media of the “terrorist threats” magnified the effect of these market moves in peoples’ heads. This is one of the many reasons that journalism may be the greatest plague we face today –

Don’t be fooled by the book’s title it is a very thoughtful and entertaining book.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005


worrisome saffron
imminent dehydration?
oh, asparagus


Friday, March 11, 2005

Blue Sky

I love blue sky thinking. Whether or not concepts are adopted they certainly are excellent brain fodder.

I normally enjoy Fareed Zakaria's weekly articles in Newsweek. This one Imagine: 500 Miles Per Gallon really spoke to the eco-friendly freak that lies beneath my free-market exterior.

And Would you pay 5 cents for a song? To me this makes a lot of sense. I'd likely spend even more on music. Maybe it'd even help get the music industry out of trouble.

Ahh, but it takes a lot to overcome the inertia of "but that's not how it's done."


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Half Asleep

Woke up this morning and my hair seemed to be channeling The Flock of Seagulls circa 1982 way more than usual. Played with the amorphous mass that I call my lid a little and realized it was actually pretty malleable. Hmm. The “just out of bed look” being in vogue maybe I should go into hair products with drool as the secret ingredient.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Version 1.0

I'm over at the Icicle Fief today singing the praises of Douglas Coupland's, Microserfs as part of Icy's fabulous "Fief Reads".

Come on over and take part in the discussion.


Friday, March 04, 2005

(Imaginary) Photo Essay

In this spirit of celebrating the banal, as the blogdom so often does, I present my imaginary photo-essay of this corner of the blogosphere:

Radmila – leaning back from her computer laughing. A cigarette burns away unattended in a nearby ashtray. A glass of wine (or steaming cup of tea) sits beside the computer. In the background The Mister looks over from the open refrigerator bemused, but happy that Rada’s happy.

Dantallion – Out walking the dog (?) at the same time that others in the neighborhood go out. While the dogs frolic in the snow he amiably chats with the other owners, somehow making the frigid winter in Montreal seem like a warm place.

Ice Queen – Dressed for work, dropping the Ice Prince off at school. A complex emotion plays across her face, puzzled, worried and relieved all at once. Hootchie Mama is also there providing contrast to Icy’s comportment and balancing the image.

SisterStacey – At shimmying practice. A Degas-like image, without any retouches.

Mikevil – I thought the image conjured in this post was perfect. Well before the idiot said something anyway.

Crabby - Curled up on the couch with a book, a blanket, and a beverage unwinding after work. A cat admires her from the armrest on the far side of the sofa.

Lynda. - Splayed across her bed, paying no heed to the chaos that is her room languidly she peruses a book while one finger wags in time with the music playing on the stereo.

Me – Hmm, so many choices, perhaps sitting at the corner of Adelaide and York in front of the Strbucks with Stephen. Beside us suits are out for a smoke and the couriers are gathered, chatting waiting for their next delivery. A cigarette hangs from my right hand as I talk animatedly about something.


Thursday, March 03, 2005


Last night I was out at a bar when an acquaintance opened up a portfolio of his work that he’d brought by. In a previous incarnation he’d been a graphic artist and had recently taken up the craft again. He was very proud of the current piece he was working on, a digitally reworked photo of his wife, transforming a photo of her into a Klimt-like vision, albeit with pastels rather than jewel tones.

Although well executed, I just didn’t get it. His wife is a former model with fantastic bone structure but the treatment didn’t seem fitting. She’s recently fully recovered from a battle with cancer and this was the first time I’d seen her with the spark in her eyes since undergoing treatment. Perhaps it’s just me but I found the return of her laugh and regained ease much more beautiful than the imperious, idealized version he was creating.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Email can be so annoying. Well, that and the people you are corresponding (is this the correct word?) with can make the medium frustrating. It probably shouldn’t be surprising but I’m (finally) starting to understand that I must vary my writing style according to the recipient in order to elicit the desired response. What’s bothering me at the moment is the tendency some people have of giving partial responses.

I send out something that requires the answer to more than one question and in the reply only one of my queries is addressed. (Not to say that it’s necessarily answered, but that’s a whole new rant.) How one specific question seems deserving of a response yet others are left ignored like the smelly kids at the school dance baffles me.

Apparently, the liberal application of question marks is insufficient to clean up some of my queries and make them presentable. After the phenomenon of selective response reoccurred a number of times I started using other beautification techniques to draw attention to the wallflowers of the class; perhaps repetition, numbering or even BOLD CAPS would enable the shunned inquiries to be deemed danceworthy.

Enough of the silly metaphor.

One person who I correspond with will only answer the last question asked so I only pose one query per email. Short attention span I guess. Well, that or they really like getting email.

My annoyance with the email exchange with one person lately has been getting the better of me. First I number my questions. They reply and answer some but inexplicably not the others. I then cut & paste the previous email, removing the questions that got replies and resend. I know I’m badgering; just the learning curve of effective communication can be so frustrating and yes, I’m Irascible.

Any particular email annoyances/strategies?