Wednesday, November 30, 2005

With the successful passage of an unprecedented non-confidence motion on Parliament Hill, Canadians take to the polls yet again, faced with a rare winter election campaign likely to be full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. All indications are that when the votes are counted on January 23rd, things will be pretty much where they are now: the Liberal Party forming a minority government in a precarious alliance with the socialist New Democrats, and the Conservative Party left leading the opposition with the separatist Bloc Quebecois in tow. Thus continues the regionalized political morass that formed in the wake of the ’93 election.

From nearly every observer’s vantage point, the prospect of a return to the ol’ days when political giants like Mackenzie King, St. Laurent, Diefenbaker, Trudeau, and Mulroney presided over the Dominion atop broad national parties and large parliamentary majorities is slim to none. The regional blocs of the West, Quebec, Ontario, and the Atlantic Provinces, seem to be almost permanently stuck in place, with party allegiances firmly entrenched, as evidenced by the electorate’s reaction to the infamous Gomery scandal. Despite charges of corruption, bribery, kickbacks, and gross fiscal mismanagement levelled at the Liberal Party by an independent inquiry, voters still appear willing to support them, particularly in the vote-rich party stronghold of Ontario. Such curious behavior by the electorate is a scathing indictment of the Conservative Party’s inability to capitalize on gaping Liberal vulnerabilities, and may be further proof of my "Mass Hysterical Lunacy" explanation for Canadian voting patterns of late.

To break the regional stalemate and usher in a new era of majority government rule, one of two things has to happen. Either the Liberals or Conservatives must choose a charismatic leader who can appeal to a wide swath of voters across all of English Canada, or the separatist sentiments in Quebec must somehow subside, thereby weakening the Bloc Quebecois’s appeal to French voters. Of course, I would put odds on the former rather than the latter, though I’m hard-pressed to find anyone on the provincial or national political stage at the moment who a majority Canadians would find eminently palatable.

Then again, I could be wrong. Who knew Kim Campbell would be all the rage for a few months in ’93?

In economic news...

US 3rd Quarter GDP growth revised upward to 4.3% despite the devastating hurricane season.

In a word, Wow.

Monday, November 28, 2005

More Fiddy on W:
50 thinks the president is "incredible ... a gangsta." "I wanna meet George Bush, just shake his hand and tell him how much of me I see in him," 50 told GQ. If the rapper's felony conviction didn't prevent him from voting, 50 said he would have voted for Bush.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government is considering banning Fiddy from the country on the grounds that he glorifies gun violence.

Oddly, Viggo Mortensen’s visa application was granted without objection. Hmm…

Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm at a loss for words with this one. Really, what is there to say?

It begs the question, though: What's more disturbing? That the former Defense Minister of a G7 nation warned of an impending "Intergalatic War" with extraterrestrials, or the fact that his words were greeted with a standing ovation by an otherwise "intelligent" audience?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Asinine Media Quote of the Day:
"If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective."
Not only did Chris Matthews try to make a case for moral equivalence with blood thirsty Islamo-fascists, his did so while standing on foreign soil, specifically the uber-liberal main campus of the University of Toronto. Is it any wonder why MSNBC's Hardball continues to lag so badly in the cable ratings when its host makes statements about the War on Terror like this one?

Friday, November 18, 2005

For those of you who are wondering how my options trading model prototype is doing, you can track my progress at OpenPortfolios.com.

Some of you may recall a blog entry from January of this year, where I made the following resolution:
I firmly resolve that this year I will come up with a concrete plan to put my career on a new and exciting course.
With all the bustle from my real estate moves and my office closure I haven’t had much time to dedicate to fulfilling my resolution. Until now, that is.

After taking stock of my career and doing some much needed introspection, I have decided to submit an application to graduate school, specifically the Master of Science in Information Management program at Arizona State University. It’s a 12 month evening-only program designed for working IT professionals who wish to further their careers in the area of information technology management. Overall, it seems to be a good fit for me, as the admissions committee is looking for candidates with several years of tech experience and some business background, either from an academic or professional environment. For someone like me who’s looking to move away from the day to day minutiae of systems coding, this sort of program is ideal.

The more I think about the prospect of going back to school, the more I’m convinced that there may be no other time like the present: I have relatively few responsibilities (i.e. no brats to feed and clothe), I have plenty of free time on my hands, I just bought a new house that is essentially worry-free for the next few years, and now that I’m a permanent resident of the US I don’t have to get a separate student visa to study while I work. I’m seeing very little downside in this option, which is more than I can say for the many other things I’ve thought of venturing into the past few years.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Where do European “progressives” get the nerve to lecture America on the preservation of civil liberties when stuff like this, and this, goes on in their own backyards?

Repugnant as Nazi and Communist sympathizers are, do they really deserve to be locked up for simply harboring such abhorrent sentiments?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

By the way, here's the lazy bastard I have to share my office with everyday.




Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Now that I’m mostly settled into my new house, I’m finally able to reflect on what it’s like to work from home full-time, as I’ve been doing so for roughly the past two months.

For most people the idea of working from home is a dream come true, and to a great extent I would have to agree. A typical day for me starts around 7am, when I roll out of bed and walk to my office, still in my sleep clothes and sporting a nasty case of bed-head. I check my email and field a few calls from my clients and colleagues and generally go about my work day as I would in my old office downtown, except for my slovenly appearance. I don’t remember the last time I shaved, though based on length of my patchy whiskers I’d say it was probably last Tuesday morning. I take sporadic breaks throughout the day to make lunch, or have a snack, or do a couple of quick chores. Then I wrap up around 4-ish, walk the dog, drive to the grocery store, watch some TV, etc. You know, whatever strikes my fancy.

Sure, there’s some downside. The lack of direct human interaction on a daily basis can be difficult, particularly when a simple problem that would normally be solved by hauling a few co-workers into a quick meeting now requires a carefully coordinated conference call. There’s a loss of camaraderie, too. We had a pretty tight team in the Phoenix office. Though most of my colleagues were at least 20 years older than me, we all got along very well. After a while, communicating with them solely via email and the occasional phone call gets annoying, especially after I discovered that some of those people who explain themselves so well verbally can barely write a coherent sentence.

As you can see, my work from home experience thus far has been very leisurely, though that may not be typical. In my case, my employer rushed headlong into the decision to close the office and send everyone home without adequately planning for tracking work hours or project completion, or coaching people on appropriate time management. We all seem to be following a very loose honor system that is just ripe for abuse. Not that I’m complaining, of course. I will confess to padding a few hours here and there. (I am writing this blog entry on “company time”, after all.) Knowing that some of colleagues are swamped with work, there’s definitely a sense of niggling guilt in doing that so readily. I’m trying my best of ignore it and enjoy my down time.

Adding to my lax schedule of late, my primary client, to whom I’ve been almost exclusively dedicated for the past 3 years, recently underwent a major shake-up. All of my primary contacts in the senior management ranks have either quit or have been forced out of the company, leaving several projects I’d been working on up in the air until the new replacements get a handle on things. As a result, I have spent most of the past couple of weeks answering simple questions about system functionality, rather than concentrating on time-intensive systems design and development. Like I said, not that I’m complaining. I’m just wondering when the deluge is finally going to hit me.

There is word that my company is on the verge of signing a massive deal with a firm that is about 10 times the size of my current client, and I’m supposed to be the point man on the systems integration. If and when that deal closes, I’ll probably be so busy that it will be a year or more before I have another lull like the one I’m in now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

...and it's the Republicans who are racists?!

In a related item...

Fiddy Cent has W's back. Peace out.