A1 Great! Part lies, part heart, part truth, part garbage.

you don’t make friends with salad

There is a quiet that falls over my little piece of the South Keys neighborhood at lunch time. All the daycare ladies have taken their yelling at the children inside, and there’s no lawn mowing, no hammering or paving or sawing or any of the other noise making that people seem bent to do for the benefit of themselves and to the detriment of everyone else within earshot.

It’s a great time to fire up the barbecue, throw one of my favorite burgers on there, and stand on the deck, taking it all in for a few. Then, after lunch, a blog post. Why not?

  • Creepy, crusty, crumbling. What is it about abandoned amusement parks? I guess anything that was just left as-is, as though it was never even important in the first place, seems remarkable to me. Add to this the effects of time, and I think we have a pretty neat place to look inside.
  • Speaking of abandonment, this discussion on Ask Metafilter is pretty interesting: Should we try to reply to all Facebook posts? I’ve worked on a couple of social marketing projects where the entities in question have struggled with what it is they’re trying to do on Facebook or Twitter, knowing that they “should” have a presence but failing at actually getting beyond the we-have-one-but-now-what phase. Free advice: yes, reply to every post, and if your company haven’t posted something – anything – in a week or more, you’re doing it wrong, no matter the circumstance.
  • The long autumn of Roger Federer. The only thing I miss about having cable television service is live sports. My hockey needs are more or less covered by the grey-market streams one can find online, but the leisure of flipping on a sports network to catch some tennis or soccer at non-peak hours is not easily replaced, and I haven’t seen a live match in ages. Then again, I’ve always held that a habit of watching TV in the morning is a strong indicator that your life is pretty fucked, so I know I’m better off without. (See also: TV Raises Risk of Health Problems, Early Death. Who wants a free month of Rogers Cable? Anyone?)
  • What photo sharing app should you use? My tweeps know I’m an occasional picplz user, and yeah, I’m totally a thirty-something drunken Android user. Typecast again!

Lunch finished, now I’m looking ahead to dinner. Sandra’s lemon onion chicken: one medium onion thinly sliced, a large clove of garlic, juice of two lemons, one tablespoon of grated lemon zest, a half-cup of olive oil, half-teaspoon of thyme, one teaspoon each of dried basil and salt, pepper to taste, and let’s say three chicken breasts. Mix, marinate in the fridge for a while, then grill. Thanks Sandra!

on the menu this evening

I don’t mean to tell you, esteemed A1 reader, that you don’t know how to make a great burger – you’re awesome at everything. We all know it!

But if you haven’t been making your burgers the Bay Area way, well. I humbly suggest you give Chris’ Bay Area Burger a try. Seriously: basil. Do it. Do it tonight.

You’re welcome.

here i am, here we are

Five years and a day ago, the mighty A1 Great dot com was launched, with dignity and aplomb, the same traits you have come to know and love around these parts. Happy birthday!

Having just left my best-paying job, to that point, managing a dealership for TELUS Mobility in a most excellent fashion (more lucrative than you might expect due to commissions and raises every six months, and if TELUS wasn’t fucking their dealers – and clients – left and right these days, ownership of such a franchise might still be a career path to consider), I was embarking on my first real attempt at ‘working from home’, though the stay-at-home-dad role was pretty intense at that time. We were still about a year away from any real sleep, though we had recently found out that the kid was suffering from reflux, so hey, we’ll just prescribe some prevacid and that’ll be that! We were so ready to believe…

There’s a book waiting to be written around this topic, no doubt. How To Make Your Special Needs Child Just Fucking Sleep For More Than An Hour So You Can Feel Like Not Driving Off A Bridge Into A River Every Day. I have come to know a couple of people who would be looking for signed copies, bless them. Perhaps only a pamphlet, though, because here’s the full text: drugs, surgery. Better drugs than prevacid, that is. Better surgery than eardrum removal, even if you can’t wash for a month.

What were we talking about? Five years ago, right – then I met Stuart while testing out electric bikes in Vanier, and I offered to do some stuff for his little NGO startup, and made a button – two, actually. See?

One Change - simple actions matter One Change - simple actions matter

Not much more happened after that.

Here’s a few of my favorite posts:

  • Hello green water. I have seen no evidence of four and a half year old mutant me-s around this area, though they just knocked a bunch of trees down around there, so there may yet be time to make some freakish discoveries.
  • Listen to your BOB FM. I found Jon on Facebook! Still no Randy.
  • Adventures in Ottawa South. Stuart claims not to remember this meeting. I don’t remember the names of the people who owned the house. I do remember the overdone hamburger off the grill, but it was my fault, I was late. Oh well.
  • No cancer, no glory. I am still pissed off that I came second in that contest.
  • Always ready to help. I remain unable to understand why some of my most longstanding and trusted friends, who I hold in high esteem and whose intelligence and good taste cannot be called into question, continue to choose to live in the United States.
  • Just like that. Marking my father-in-law’s sudden passing, and holding forth on my own family experience at the time. We’re better, I think, though some are still very insecure about the family dynamic. What can you do? Only so much time to go around, both on the calendar and cosmically speaking.
  • The luxury. Resolutions for 2007! Learn to drive: well, maybe one day, but it’s not looking good. Tattoo: birthday gift, 2009, so that was only two and a half years late. Ice skates: 2010, three years later. Sounds about right.
  • Press one for inglesh. This was really just a dig at someone annoying who I used to work with. Feels good!
  • Hold up. More vitriol. I really hate the whole “Earth Hour” idea.

Of course, one must consider one’s audience. Turns out that my favorites are not your favorites: since 2008, the most popular posts here are about setting your own player images in Pokerstars, being thankful at Christmastime, that sublime combination of a good buzz and good music, something I posted only two weeks ago, and the time I met the Barenaked Ladies and got them to hold lightbulbs. Whatever, people!

Thanks for reading, eh?

the high price of low living

We found last year’s paper cupcake holders in the back of the cupboard yesterday, and deemed their quantity not enough to get us through today’s festivities. 89 cents for seventy five, large size, Reynolds brand, purchased at Bulk Barn. This year? $1.09 for fifty, same stuff, same place. Seems like one heck of a markup in only a year’s time, but I guess they had to pay for that flash website somehow. (Why Bulk Barn needs a flash website is beyond me.)

Anyway, all this is an excuse to announce that it’s my birthday this week, and the sixth annual family get-together will be semi-rockin’ the backyard here in South Keys this afternoon. The cupcakes are ready, and a cold Corona is at my side. This twenty-ninth year of mine has led me to developing a taste for both red wine and coffee, and although I’m still not sold on beer in general, I would agree that this particular beer (with lime, of course) is fine for a sweaty day such as this.

Still haven’t sorted out my verb tenses. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the internet. Half of you people probably can’t even read this.

It seems as though there’s a bit of a party spirit in the air out there. I suppose it’s Game Three night, and the people are looking for patios. More power to ’em. And the more people we have hoping for no rain out there, the better it is for my gang of twenty or so, coming over to enjoy the day chez Dan.

Today is not my actual birthday, mind – that’s Tuesday. But it’s close enough for burgers, cupcakes, beer and presents. We’ll be doing mojitos a little later on. If you were in the market for limes today and found quantities lacking, I accept full responsibility.


I have been accused of not offering enough entertainment on this internet webpage over the last several days. Not too busy with professional obligations around here, so I have only excuses to offer in my defense. I think they’re not too weak, though. For instance:

  • the family weekend came and went, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. Looney tunes talk was kept to a minimum, and I got to have a burger at Quinn’s, which is fine by me.
  • we still haven’t prepared our house for sale, so there’s been painting going on. Oh, how I hate painting. One day, when I am made of money and have finally found the home we’re going to live in for twenty years or so, I will hire decorators and painters and they will do it all. I look forward to the time in my life when there is No. More. Painting.
  • oh, and I feel a cold coming on. I am developing a habit of getting terribly ill around Christmastime, and it looks like this year’s dose comes a little early. Just like last year, in fact: I got a little sick about two weeks before Christmas in 2005, and then was walloped by the real thing a little later. Health safety tip: don’t shake my hand if I meet you somewhere for now.

Next: trials and tribulations with loyalty and retention people at my favorite wireless company. A new toy is in the offing!