Monthly Archives: November 2008

US Govt. proposes new 2009 bailout for themselves, to pay for 2008 bailout.

Seriously though, I wouldn’t be surprised. See below. Yes, the pie charts are to scale. Someone has gone ahead and converted the big scary numbers of this bailout into an easy to read pie chart. Now you have something to show your kids!

Before you get too carried away in exasperation over the blood pie of death omen shown above, you should keep one thing in mind: Like all the other projects being compared here, this is not money that has disappeared into thin air. It is essentially an investment, and investments are supposed to actually make money.

In reality, government projects don’t yield very good returns. Most people consider the Iraq war, in particular, a completely unnecessary waste of funds. But there’s always two sides to the coin. There was an asset here, and that asset was not democracy. So, if the US succeeds in its epic quest for spreading freedom and unicorns across the globe, one could actually refer to this particular investment as profitable.

Much the same way, this bailout is an investment into the banks, and it includes purchasing their assets and equity. It is entirely possible that a recovery will ensue, the banks will regain prosperity, and the government will get their money back with interest. Of course, it’s also possible to set your own house on fire by using extension cords.

One of the intentions for the bailout was to initiate a speedy recovery for the financial system, simply by injecting money into the pool (there is also the suggestion that it injects “hope” and “confidence”, when in reality the effect is more like “chronic depression”). Needless to say, that ship has sailed (into Somalian seas, after which it was immediately taken over by pirates).

This is where one would like to say, “Who knows? Obama became president. Anything is possible!”. Yes, Obama is president. Yes, it was awesome, inspired the world, and brought thousands of kittens back to life across the universe. But there is a limit to how much he can really do. If Bush simply maxed out the credit cards, Obama could cut them up, and rebuild credit. Unfortunately, Bush had no credit limit on his card, and ended up spending enough money to take all the banks out of business. Your move, Obama.

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House of Dare 2008 Megamix

As most of you already know, I’m a huge fan of house music. Back when I was in Waterloo, my brother and I would often pull together playlists of the best music we could find for that season + genre. This time around, I used Traktor to mix the tracks into a set. There is a bit of a hitch on transition somewhere in the middle (got a phone call), but with Traktor you’re mixing it live, so life happens.

Anywho, here it is. Feedback is always appreciated.


Here’s the direct link in case you wanna download it: Link

AT&T: The bigger they are, the harder they fail

A little over a year ago, I sold my soul by signing a 2-year contract with AT&T. In retrospect, I made a fatal error in not having contractual rape protection beforehand. Here’s the deal:

My phone now turns itself off at will. If i put it on my pocket, it might turn off. If i put it on a desk, it might turn off. Basically, the vibrations caused by me typing this sentence may well have turned it off. It was a good phone, a simple Sony Ericsson phone whose sole purpose was to make phone calls. Despite the overwhelming majority of “smart” phones owned by every single person around me, I managed to hold off till now. Unfortunately, my phone’s inability to satisfy its minimum requirements of being on have forced my hand.

So I decided it’s time to drop the bills and get a new one. I walk into an AT&T store and tell him I want a new phone. I’m looking at the new blackberry which just came out, the Bold. He then asks if I am already on a contract. I gladly respond to his query, informing him that I am an existing customer with AT&T. My assumption is that, while I may still have to sign a new contract to get a discount, being an existing AT&T customer is a benefit here. Ah, my naivety.

AT&T Guy: Sorry, you cannot buy the phone.
Me: What?
AT&T Guy: We are not selling the phones to existing customers. Only to new customers.
Me: Why?
AT&T: It’s a new phone. Only new customers can buy it.
Me: Why?
AT&T: That’s just how it works. You might be able to buy it when it is not as new.
Me: When will it be “less new”?
AT&T: Umm. Maybe… in a month?
Me: Why a month? What is that based on?
AT&T: It’s just the policy.
Me: …
AT&T: ..
Me: Listen. My phone is broken. I need a new phone. Can I buy another phone? What about the iphone? That’s old now. Can i buy that?
AT&T: No, that’s still considered new. You can’t buy that till your contract expires…. *checks stuff*… which is May 2009.
Me: But the iphone has been out for a month.
AT&T: It’s just store policy.
Me: …
AT&T: ..
Me: So let me get this straight. If I wasn’t already with AT&T, I could buy a phone. But since I am, I cannot buy a phone.
AT&T: ..Yes.

At this point, I leave the store, still in utter shock as to what just happened. AT&T actually refused to take my money. I walked in with a bag of money, showed it to them, and said please take all of my money because I have no use for it, and then they said No. I’m still shocked.

I then called AT&T customer service and the guy on the phone seemed pretty understanding of my situation. He said he dealt with this kinda shit all the time, and had a great solution. I was all ears. His solution was that I sign another 2-year contract for an additional line at $9.99 a month, and use that new line to get the phone. Seriously. This was his “inside method” to get me my phone. I get to pay $240 over 2 years for a line that no one will use so that I can save $200 on the phone. Freaking genius. I asked if I could sign a 2-year contract for a new phone, and have the 2 years added on to my current contract (which is gay, but at least satisfies their interest to have me finish my initial 2 years). He said No. Awesome.

All in all, I’m not really sure what to do now. 6 months is a long time, and I kinda do want an email phone now. But the Bold is too expensive on its own ($550), and paying $399 for an iphone i would normally get for $199 makes me want to shoot things (by things I mean AT&T, and by shoot I mean stab in the face). I guess I could also just use one of the temp phones I have lying around for 6 months. I just find it so fundamentally retarded that they are refusing to take my money. How is that ever, under any circumstances, a smart business decision?


It’s a beautiful day.

It’s finally here. The day we’ve all dreamt about. Barack Obama is the next president! I’m so proud to be living in the States right now. I’m so genuinely happy to be part of this event. It’s something I and many others will remember for the rest of our lives. My belief in the general sanity of the American people has been restored.

One thing that has become clear is that Obama’s presidency will probably take away from the overwhelming success of political comedy. Shows like SNL, The Daily Show, and Colbert Report will no longer have an endless supply of ammo with which to entertain us. Sometimes their jobs were just too easy. No editorial or literary genius was required — Tina Fey could simply quote Palin’s words line by line and it would make a great skit.

If you stop and think about the ramifications of Obama becoming president, you will quickly be overwhelmed. Putting aside all the positive changes his own policies will bring about — the side effects are going to be powerful in their own right. The general reaction to Obama’s victory across the globe has been overwhelmingly positive. It is very heartening, and to a large extent, a relief. Finally the reputation of the United States will get some healing. The world may finally avert its course toward global hatred of America.

Along with the dominoe effect of global perception comes the internal effect of national perception. Students, lawyers, writers and people from all industries suddenly want to go to Washington. They want to be part of this government. They want to contribute. This sort of spirit has not been seen since the days of JFK. It is something that should be converted into direct action — and as a friend of mine pointed out, the onus lies on Obama to direct people by providing specific calls to action. Obama has an army of people willing to do anything to fix this country. It is so wonderful to know that he is just the man to lead them.

We all watched this election very closely. All the articles, interviews, debates, and the speeches took our attention for many months now. Today, I learned that Edward Norton has been documenting the Obama campaign trail for years. He has kept his production company’s work a secret, to avoid fueling the “Obama is a celebrity” bullshit angle. I personally am a fan of Norton’s work, and I am really looking forward to this film. It should be an excellent relation of one of the most inspiring stories of our time.