Tag Archives: ish

Dead Robot’s Best List of the Decade


Here are my faves for the last little while:

Tying the knot. For better or for worse, it’s been fantastic having someone who has your back. And keeps your back warm at night. I’m (still) in love and don’t see any foreseeable end to this love affair. I keep playing the night he asked me over and over in my head: the warm(ish) summer night, the fire, the stars. He prefaced his question by saying he had honourably emailed my mom and dad, asking if it was ok to marry me. Which leads me to…

Camping. Getting out there was fun. My tastes in how I spend my weekends have changed, but I’m glad I experienced a couple summers of sleeping under the stars. I’ll never forget Stumbleina and cleaning the pool at 7am.

Travel. I think I’ve travelled more in the last decade than any other time in my life, even when I lived in England. I’ve been to Mexico, Vancouver, Florida, Quebec, Vermont, The Caribbean, Belize, and even places closer to home, like Niagara Falls, which have given me so many great memories (and 90% of them are due largely to SharkBoy dragging my ass out into the world) but the couple that stand out are: coming through the gates at Magic Kingdom at DisneyWorld as a steam train arrived at the station and a parade started simultaneously – Seeing the Main Street, the characters happily singing and dancing and the damn castle made me lose my shit. I was 12 yrs old again. I still choke up thinking about it. And I’ll never forget riding the zip-line through the Belize jungle – being terrified by heights, but determined to do this thing, I had nervously stayed at the back of the pack to let everyone else go first. After the safety orientation, the guide suddenly reversed the order of our pack, making me the “scream-like-a-girl” first to experience the thrill. Thankfully I didn’t chicken out.

My Dad’s 65th, 70th and 75th Birthday parties. The man knows how to throw a party for himself. (I know “65th” was back in the late 90s but it needs to be addressed – order your guests to arrive in white and wear cream.)

Improv Classes. I loved getting up in front of people and making them laugh. Though it didn’t take off (purely because I hated trying to compete with the other frail, gigantic egos in “the biz”), I did manage to do one stand up set in front of total strangers and hence, “stand up comedy feature – UNLOCKED!” (as they say in video games).

Getting fired from Rogers iMedia. The first time I’ve ever been “let go” dropped me into a couple years of depression but the other side was so gratifying. Every skill I use today I learned there from Dimitri (who, sadly doesn’t digitally create stuff anymore), but I’m glad I didn’t stay, contract or otherwise. You can’t have light without dark.

Working as a film extra. In my post-Rogers money pit, I signed up as an extra for various TV/Movie/Tax write off productions in Toronto. Most notably Queer as Folk, where I learned that behind the scenes can be funnier than the shit they put in front of the camera (see the show “Extras” – I actually got to live it). Best moment on set was doing a scene with my Dad as my brother delivered lines on the show “This Is Wonderland”. You can see my hand holding a file in front of my father’s face in one brief moment.

Various Games. On various platforms. I will never forget spending an entire day (we’re talking a solid 9 hours) on Grand Theft Auto IV with Vancouver Mike as we dived into McCain’s fudge and ice cream dessert and enough pop to drown a whale. I’ll not soon forget firing up Katamari Damanci for the first time and being blown away at the craziness. I also recall wasting hours of my life with SharkBoy as we tried to out-do each other, crash-wise, in Burnout: Revenge. Nor can I forget the sumptuous art of BioShock. But I have to say that Uncharted 2 has been a pinnacle game for me in my last ten years – incredible graphics, tight game play interspersed with fantastically acted cut scenes. Lastly, how can I forget this Christmas miracle:

Best Movie. So difficult. I’ve asked Shelly and she’s come up with this list, in order of fave to least. You’ll note that a couple blockbusters from last week are not on purely because I want to get past the hype before deciding:

  1. Ratatouille
  2. Up / Wall*E (tie)
  3. Chicken Run / Kenny / Children of Men (Foreign movie three way tie)
  4. Sunshine
  5. No Country For Old Men
  6. The Dark Knight
  7. The Incredibles
  8. District 9
  9. Moon
  10. The Watchmen

In all, the last ten years have been fun. As I slip into my midway point of my life (assuming I’ll live to 90 or so) I can only speculate what the future holds for me, like a drunk Dianne Warwick Psychic Hotline operator:

Cyborg parts! Love Triangle with a hologram! PS4! Apple iSlate! Singularity Parties! Surgically attaching toe webbing! Belly Mouths! And finally Cat IQ upgrades!

I want to wish you all a Happy New Year!

The Lesson: First for Everything

Personal Bits

Two upper middle class, housework-shunning, career women sit down to lunch, order martinis and the topic of their children come up. A common complaint is discovered and a plan is hatched.

When I was 13 (ish), my mother announced I would be going out on a date. Imagine the internal spit take that generated. My mother… the matchmaker! I was appalled for a moment at the thought of her talking about my inability to socialize with strangers. And my social ineptitude… Wait… What? With a girl?

Holyshitwaitaminnit… A date with a girl??! Would I have to kiss her?

At this time I had already had sex with a man. I knew it was right, my hard wired brain was just doing what it was genetically told to do. But somewhere in my chest, a voice said “Oh fuck it! Give it a whirl!” So when you hear earfucks saying “Gay is learned!” or “Gay can be behaviorally eradicated from your system!” punch those fuckers in the nuts for me. It makes me physically ill to think that people can “cure” you by rote (or disfiguring electroshock). I digress. I decided to give it a whirl, despite the huge fear that was in my goolies.

She was my age and slightly gangly and while she was not the most popular girl in school, she was smart. Near genius smart for her age. I was more intimidated by that, than her sex. My mom stood just outside of earshot (which, by the way is physically impossible) while I made the call:

“Hello Dorcas…?”

Let’s stop right there. I am sure the reason Dorcas was so intelligent and wise beyond her years was purely based on the need to constantly explain to people her name was not a vehicle for child-like slurs. Get it out of your system now, I’m sure she had heard them all well before she was 5 years old in numerous playground and recess gatherings. Dork Ass; Door Knob; Dork Face; Dumb Ass etc. Years after our date, I had seen her verbally rip the skin off of some drunk fucker who called her out about her name, during a illegal teen drinking party. While her words were venomous, her eyes were dead set and almost blasé. She had her name defense response honed to an art.

Of course, her name was the first thing we talked about on our date. I thought I asked politely but my question still riled her. “It’s from the bible,” she told me, “Not that I’m religious or read it at all.” We then tore into how embarrassing our mothers were: from naming conventions to matchmaking. We were friends then.

But throughout the evening there was a voice in my head. “You gonna kiss her when this is over?”

I admit that the night was a blur. I do know we went to Star Wars. I do remember her telling me that hand holding was not required. I do remember at the end of the evening, after walking her home, standing at her door, (thankfully without any parent in view – we lived in an age when 13 year olds could walk the streets unattended) we did kiss. I think I kissed her teeth.

We became friends after that. Like “holy Christ we will never, EVER talk of this again” kind of friends. When Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back came out, we went on another “date” much to the amazement of our parents. I remember my Mom reeling like being hit by a slap when I mentioned Dorcas and I were going out on another date, three years after the last. We laughed hysterically at the end of the evening when I kissed her hand.

Two upper middle class, housework-shunning, career women sit down to lunch, order martinis and awkwardly avoid talk of their children.

It Ain’t Pretty


…but it might save you money/ink if you use it.

Ecofont is an Opensource font (donations are accepted) for all platforms that, according to SPRANQ, should reduce your ink usage by 20%. How? By inserting tiny holes in a thick-ish Sans Serif font.

The logic is there but why not just reduce the font size in all your printing? Or turn off “BOLD”? Admittedly it would work if you’re printing a lot of banner/header style type and don’t mind about typography, but I’m not convinced.

Lay Down Sally


So the last couple days have been shitty at work. Wait. Let me refine that:


Ah, how firm and absolute words are when you capitalize them.

Wednesday, last week, I was informed that I would have to let one of the design team go in my department (new readers to Dead Robot should know I’m a team leader of a graphics department at a large-ish travel wholesaler). I wasn’t surprised by this. A constant barrage of bad news nightly consisting of economic doom and gloom steeled me to this event. I have watched the company’s website hits drop off and I knew that translated to a slump in sales. Plus the fact that the owner would walk the halls of the office with a face like a cat’s ass.

I made my recommendations as to each staff’s workloads, attitude and abilities and then left it with upper management to decide. Not to be a martyr but I even suggested my position be shitcanned, which was met with a “We’ve invested too much in you” kind of comment. Nice! The next day, Thursday, I was told which would be leaving, but they’d be let go on Monday, in the morning. Whuh? Not Friday? I shrugged and then asked if I could be present for the despicable conversation. I then spend the next couple days pretending to be upbeat and happy while inside, I knew we were letting go one of the more funner people in the department.

Just before Xmas.


A hero is me.

Monday comes and I am working hard and didn’t notice the unlucky person getting called away into the marketing manager’s office – people are in and out of our cube constantly so I missed them walking past my desk. When they came out of the manager’s office, freshly unemployed, I didn’t notice them grab one co-worker and leave the cube. Frankly it happened so quick I thought they were discussing something over a smoke-break.

The manager then calls me into their office and informs me that they had done the deed and all was ok. As “ok” as can be.

I stammered. “You did it already?”

I leave the office and find this person already gone. No goodbye, no explanations, not even a look in the eye.

I wasn’t happy.

Then an hour later we are informed by email that our company has applied for “WorkShare”, a little known mini-bail out package where most of the staff drops to a 4 day work week with their wage adjusted appropriately. Staff then can claim some measly percentage in Employment Insurance back (I’ve always laughed at the doubleplusgood think of the name of our UNemployment insurance program), something like 55% of the day’s wages. While it’s not much, I bless the socialist lefty that thought that program up. However, I am unable to work part time and claim it, creating an almost English DHSS-style catch 22. If I work part time, I don’t get EI, but I get taxed to the same level as the EI benefit. I don’t work I get EI and play video games and generally not contribute to anything other than a Homer Simpson-esque rut in the couch.

So with two swift kick to the nuts I am left with less money, a demoralized staff who weren’t all that moralized in the first place and an opportunity to work at Starbucks one day a week.

Yay global economy!