Ranting and raving and carrying on

Just a few random thoughts about random stuff. Warning - may contain profanity

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Location: Toronto-ish, Ontario, Canada

Just a guy... Bit of a geek, but who isn't these days?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Travel - good, bad, indifferent

With my new job (not all that new, I've been here 2-1/2 years, to the point where some people consider me to be a "primary source" for advice and information in the department), I don't get to travel as much as I used to. In 2009 I spent a day in London (Ontario), last year I got to Montreal for a week, and this year (so far) I've spent two weeks plus two days in Montreal again. I'm poised to go to Singapore (yay!) in September for two to three weeks, although I won't really believe it until I'm collecting my luggage from the carousel at Changi Airport.

I get asked sometimes if I miss all the travel from my old employer. My answer, to be honest, is "yes and no". On the one hand, it's great to see new (and historic) landmarks, eat interesting food, meet new people, and go shopping for products that don't even exist in this country. On the other hand, when you reach a certain age you do start to wish for a bit more stability in your life, and I think I reached that age a couple of years ago. I could probably handle the travel if I was home one to two weeks a month, but my old job was pretty much continuous travel.

So, if anyone wants to hire an IT Security Expert / IT Auditor with ten years of experience, for a position that is say 50% travel (plus or minus) to strange and interesting places, let me know. It helps if you're also offering lots of money, by the way. :-)

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Internet civility?

LJ appears to be caught in a massive DDOS attack, and has been unusable for several days now. I might have to start posting over here again.

In the meantime, I wanted to point out this article, "Six ways to bring civility online". There's six great rules here to remember in order to not be a douche-bag on the Internet:

  1. Remember that there are real people on the other side of the computer.
  2. Never say something to someone online that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face.
  3. Use your real name.
  4. Sit on it.
  5. Or don’t respond at all.
  6. Say something positive.

Some good stuff there - too bad most people won't obey these rules. I know I've broken a couple of them now and then. Of course, I also have a meta-rule, "Stay out of the comments", which avoids much of the need for the above, when I remember to follow it.

On a related matter, this is why you shouldn’t try to argue on the Internet – the “backfire effect” ensures that nobody is going to listen unless they’re already convinced you’re right. Most tellingly, people tend to reject science if it doesn’t support their beliefs:

Geoffrey Munro at the University of California and Peter Ditto at Kent State University concocted a series of fake scientific studies in 1997. One set of studies said homosexuality was probably a mental illness. The other set suggested homosexuality was normal and natural. They then separated subjects into two groups; one group said they believed homosexuality was a mental illness and one did not. Each group then read the fake studies full of pretend facts and figures suggesting their worldview was wrong. On either side of the issue, after reading studies which did not support their beliefs, most people didn’t report an epiphany, a realization they’ve been wrong all these years. Instead, they said the issue was something science couldn’t understand. When asked about other topics later on, like spanking or astrology, these same people said they no longer trusted research to determine the truth. Rather than shed their belief and face facts, they rejected science altogether.


Friday, February 25, 2011

What's the worst that could happen?

I just finished reading Tim Ferriss' book, "The 4-Hour Workweek". Highly recommended if you are stuck in the rat-race. One of the things I took away was "What's the worst that could happen?" We all live with horrible, un-named fears about losing our jobs and so on. However, in modern society, there's a "social safety net" designed specifically to catch you should that happen. And, if that failed you, you probably have family or friends who could help you. Furthermore, if you've got a job now, you can probably get another one, right? At my current job, a co-worker left suddenly (and apparently involuntarily) in the middle of last week. As of today, according to LinkedIn, he's already got a new job - his severance package from our workplace probably hasn't even expired yet!

Move beyond your fears, and you'll begin to see the possibilities.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Oh, is this thing still on?

Seems that Google has finally let me claim this blog. I might post here from time to time.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Don't cry for me, Argentina

Yep, I'm in Argentina - Buenos Aires, to be precise.

Here's a cool fact - Argentina is something like the third-largest beef-producing country in the world. Which means beef (and associated products) are cheap. You can get a good steak dinner for the equivalent of a few bucks US$. "Associated products" means leather - they have to do something with the outside of the cow once they've eaten the inside, right? Anyway, I got a black leather trenchcoat for 700 pesos (less than $250 US) here, which is damn good considering how much leather it takes to make me a trench coat (I'm a big guy). Leather also includes some of the more interesting products of the leathercrafter's trade, such as shackles, ballgags, and whips. Hehehe. Enough said.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Still here...

Still in Singapore, too. Found out my flight out of here, coupled with my flight to Argentina, gives me about 3 hours in Toronto total. Given that it takes half an hour to reach my house from the airport (assuming no traffic), and that I need to be in the airport a couple of hours before departure, I won't be getting home between these two audits, which sucks.

On the other hand, I'm going to Argentina, and I've just had 4 weeks in Singapore (well, 3 in Singapore, 1 in Hong Kong), so maybe I should just shut up about how much my life stinks, eh?

Anyway, Singapore is pretty cool - if you like shopping, it's basically heaven. I picked up a pair of black Converse hi-top sneakers here for $50 Singapore, or about $35 CDN (compare with about $85 CDN back home). And yes, I'm sure they're really Converse - I bought them at the Converse store where I was all but ignored by staff wearing Converse shirts. There's other deals to be had here - if you can afford the airfare and the hotel. Of course, you could probably save a lot more by not paying the airfare or hotel and just shopping at home, but what fun would that be?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

No excuse for it...

I'm a lazy sod. I mean, I was off work for an entire month in December, and I still didn't update this frigging thing. That sort of sucks. I have started another blog, over at Livejournal, you can click here to view it. Between that one and this one, maybe I can keep one of them updated semi-regularly?

So what's going on? Well, I'm in Singapore right now, in the middle of another audit. I'm going to Argentina next month, so I will have hit every inhabited continent except Australia by the end of February.

Also, I majorly screwed up at work last month - I ran my first audit, and completely dropped the ball. There's checklists for the audit leader to use before the audit, during the audit, and after the audit. Well, I followed the checklists pre-audit and during the audit no problem, but as soon as I sent out the final report I completely forgot about the third checklist - a whole bunch of work didn't get done, and then I dropped off the map work-wise, so my boss couldn't contact me to tell me I was missing stuff, so she had to do it. She was pretty cool about it when I talked to her, but it was a major fuckup on my part.

I've been thinking about my job lately anyway, and I've realized that this is not what I like to do. I don't like rating other people's work, I want to get out and create new stuff. I was happy as a technical security specialist in my previous job, because I got to invent stuff and solve problems. Now all I do is criticize other people's work, which majorly sucks. I think it may be time to move on soon. I only have 9 months left in the assignment, but I'm not sure if I can wait that long. Besides, as fun as it may sound, continual travel is a complete nightmare - I had to overcome a 13-hour time difference in one day on this trip, and going back I'll have one day (maybe two) to overcome the time difference in the other direction.

I don't know, maybe I'll just call a corporate headhunter and see what they can find for me. Bleah.

The other crappy thing is I've basically lost my military commission - I haven't contacted the unit in about 4 months, which effectively makes me AWOL. They won't arrest me (I think), they'll just drop-kick my ass out of the army completely.

I dunno, the first couple of weeks of this year it felt like I was trying to pick up the pieces of my life out of a pool of molasses or something - really depressing and lethargic. I think I'm doing a bit better now, but we'll see.