Archive for January, 2006

Here’s a new downtown club to avoid

January 31, 2006

My girlfriends and I all decided that it had been much too long since we’d gone out dancing together so we made plans to hit up a club downtown on Saturday night. We’d heard that Century Room was a new club in the very happening king west area, so we’d decided to check it out and went early because we hate standing in line.

The first thing we hear the bouncer announcing to the crowd that was already starting to form was that Saturday night was “guest list only” and there was a strict “25 and older with ID” age limit. I hate when clubs pull crap like this because it was clearly a huge lie. All we had to do was go up to the bouncer, bat a couple eyelashes and the velvet ropes parted. Also, none of us were over 23 and they looked at our IDs.

If you’re going to create an image of exclusivity for your club, do it right. Don’t advertise your party on Saturday nights, then tell people when they arrive that you can’t get in if you’re not on “the list”. It just pisses people off, so when you do eventually let them in they’re all in a crabby mood. Also, charging $20 to get in and $7 for mixed drinks and not even giving people a place to sit down if they’re not getting bottle service, isn’t going to keep people coming back. Also, some better music would have been nice too.

I did have a good time that night, but it had more to do with the people I was with than anything that Century Room offered. I’m predicting that this will be one more club that won’t last long.

I still stand by that fact that the only place in the city worth paying $20 to get in is This is London.

Aren’t they hot?

The Blink Don’t Wink™ Campaign

January 26, 2006

I don’t think I’ve ever received a wink from another person (mostly men) without recoiling in horror and/or disgust, so reading this post from Slava’s blog and the article it’s referring to made me fall on the ground laughing.

Cheatsheet to bypass IVR

January 26, 2006

Usually if I’m taking the time to call your company’s toll-free number it’s because I’ve scoured your website and the answer I’m looking for is not on there and I need to speak to a real person. I love that someone took the time to compile a list of how to get a real human operator on every imaginable IVR system in the States. I wish one of these existed for Canada.

Disappointed

January 24, 2006

By the way, thanks Oshawa, for coming through in yesterday’s election (that was sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell). Like I said, you can’t expect much from a fairly sizable city with a higher “skid” to “regular joe” ratio than most small towns in America.

Crazy people make my life more interesting

January 24, 2006

I take the Go train in and out of Toronto to get to work every day. It’s generally uneventful, but occasionally people do things that make me laugh out loud or roll my eyes or fall into a gaping-mouthed stare, you know, totally inappropriate public behaviour. I’ve recently noticed that people are getting entirely too comfortable taking the train. There’s a woman that gets on every morning, sits in the same place, her hair still wet, who puts on all her makeup on the train. I’m not just talking lipstick and a little powder she fully gets out her foundation, puts it on a sponge and gets down to business. I walked by another woman this morning plucking her eyebrows. I once saw a man clipping his fingernails and those things were going flying. Ick.

My favourite though is the Jesus lady. Every morning she’s on the bus that shuttles people to the station, reading her literature on finding Jesus and chatting with herself…maybe with the lord. As if that’s not enough to make me think she’s out of her tree, yesterday morning I witnessed her reciting a poem she’d written to a total stranger. I overheard the whole conversation about the story behind the poem (it was about the arctic) and the ensuing conversation over whether the word “chilly” or “snowy” would be more appropriate in one line, watching as the other person made numerous attempts to change the subject to no avail. It was agony not having someone sitting next to me who I could snicker at this exchange with. Oh well, I usually only see her in the mornings and at least it wasn’t me who was subject to it.

So I’m on the way home, I’ve got my sudoku out, trying to ignore everyone around me for the next 40 minutes, when I hear “now do you think ‘snowy’ or ‘chilly’ is better? because another lady told me that I could use either but I just don’t know because you know there are places that have patches of snow but there are places that have patches with no snow you know in the wintertime the sun never comes up and in the summer it never goes down that’s why they call it the land of the midnight sun….” I witnessed her accost no less than 5 people on the way home asking the exact same thing. By the time I got off the train I wanted to poke my own eyes out. Or better yet, her eyes. Or better yet, just grab her scarf and wrap it really tight around her face a few times.

Some people don’t deserve to be let out in public.

As goes Oshawa so goes the nation

January 23, 2006

I read an interesting article in the Toronto Star this weekend about the upcoming federal election. Apparently a lot of voters in the Motor City are as of yet undecided, and we’ve become the “Ohio” of this election. Ok, let’s be honest here. I’m from Oshawa, it’s where I was born and raised and eventually came back to after spending my university life in the big smoke, so I feel as though I’m a bit of an outsider, maybe with a bit more perspective, but still feel as though Oshawa is my home.

There’s a reason why people call it the Dirty Shwa. I’m not sure that this is the best group of people we want deciding the future of the nation. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of wonderful and very educated people that live in the shwa (my family included) but I’ve met a fair number of folks that don’t understand the world going on outside of the walls of the factory.

I don’t want to delve too deep into politics here, but if anyone in this city has any hope for the future, they’ll do what Buzz says. Don’t screw this up Oshawa.

We have money!!

January 20, 2006

Just a small victory from the front lines. Not that I know much about what goes on behind closed doors with the lawyers from Microsoft and J.L. Albright, but I guess all of the legal details have been figured out and we’re actually going to get a bit of coin from JLA to buy some servers that allow more than one person at a time to access our site! We’ll maybe even get some office space of our own so we can stop using all of VFM’s resources (where we’ve been working from since June). Woooohoooooo!!! This is where all the real action starts. Not to mention the real work. There probably won’t be any more jetting off to Europe in the near future 😦

Sometime next month we’ll be getting even more money from Growthworks, the other VC firm we’ve been working with.

A Million Little Lies? Who cares?

January 20, 2006

My sister received the book “A Million Little Pieces” in her stocking at Christmas and after returning from Europe I picked it up and have been reading it on the Go train for the past couple days on the way in and out of work. There’s this huge controversy going on over this book at the moment, so let me give you a little background. The book is considered a memoir and supposedly a real story about the months that this guy spent in rehab after being officially the most messed up person you’ve ever heard of in your life. Excerpt from the back of the book:

“At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his four front teeth knocked out, his nose broken, and a hole through his cheek. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for 10 years, a crack addict for 3, he checked into a treatment facility shortly after landing.”

So this guy is seriously f**ked up. In walks Oprah, who absolutely dies for this book he’s written about his life. She makes it one of her book club books, has him on the show, gets all teary and melodramatic about his story, etc. etc. Basically makes his book a number one seller (after Harry Potter, of course).

Recently, someone tipped of the smoking gun to look for his mugshots. Here’s where it gets interesting. The smoking gun basically finds out that a bunch of stuff in the book is fabricated/greatly exaggerated, writes an enormous article detailing all the stuff they have researched to be a load of crap. Now a bunch of major news sources are picking up on the story and it’s headline news. They’re dubbing him “The Man who Conned Oprah,” people are wailing “oh, the injustice!” “I thought it was real!” It’s absolutely hilarious.

I hope it is all lies. It really has no bearing on how much I do or do not enjoy the book. I still squirmed in my seat reading about his double root canal with no anesthesia and felt sorry for him and adequately grossed out when he’s describing his daily vomiting of blood. It’s a great read. I think everyone who read it got what they needed from it, which was to make their own life seem much better and to be entertained for as long as it took them to get through 430 pages.

Good for him if he did con Oprah, someone needed to, she’s been conning the public for a while now into thinking she’s some sort of humanitarian instead of just an entertainer (that’s a whole other post). I’m sure this whole caffuffle is doing nothing but good things for his book sales and seriously, who would have read the book at all if it were classified as fiction? Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that it was actually him that tipped off TSG. Good for you James. Keep up the good work. I always love a good con story.

Life in an internet startup

January 18, 2006

I think I’ve decided to try to keep up the blog now that I’m back in Toronto, I mean it’s not every day that a recent university grad gets to play this big a role in an internet startup. It seems as though every time I explain exactly what I’ve been doing since graduation to anyone already in this business I seem to get the same reply: “Are you joking? Do you know how lucky you are?”

If the last month has proven anything, it might just be that this may turn out to be one of the most interesting experiences of my life, regardless as to whether this venture turns out to be very successful or a “spectacular failure” (to quote Rick). I think this might just be a really fun ride.

So I’ll try to update this as often as possible, and keep you entertained with random observations about daily life when developments on the business front have slowed to a crawl. Enjoy.

Pictures

January 10, 2006

I’ve finally posted some pictures, but just to warn you there’s about 500 of them. If you look at them in album view it’s pretty easy to get the gist of each city by just looking at the thumbnails and not having to click through all 500.

I’d like to direct Slava’s friends and family to the Nice album where there does appear to be a bloke that looks surprisingly a lot like Slava on a table-top having a wonderful time dancing with 2 girls. But the resemblance is probably a coincidence, Slava would never do anything like that.

Take a look