Free Money, Free Reviews, and Free iStuff

It seems that everyone is giving things away this month.

I recently received a free review from Mr. P at CASH for COMMENTS.  All you need to do is leave 5 useful comments on his blog site and let him know, and he'll review your site as well.  This is a limited time offer, though, so the sooner you can get paid the better.

On the topic of free things, it seems that an anonymous person in Japan is leaving money in men's washrooms all across the nation.  Over the last few months, people using public washrooms around government office buildings from Hokkaido to Okinawa (which is practically one end of the country to the other) have found money individually wrapped in the traditional Japanese paper with the word "remuneration" handwritten on the outside.

There are several theories about the unknown benefactor who leaves messages saying "please be happy", but no concrete information.  If I happen to find one of these envelopes after moving to Japan, I think I'll consider it a good luck sign and hang it on the wall.  Not because it's usually good luck to find money, but because this person has put quite a bit of effort into spreading a little bit of cheer across an entire nation.

And finally, Mr Gary Lee's free iPhone contest is certianly earning lots of attention, and his new Golf Equipment venture at">TARGET="_blank"> seems to be doing well, also.  I wish him lots of success with this, and I'm sure that the golf site will be the go-to place for all things golf in a short amount of time.  There's still a few weeks left to get in on the iPhone contest, so head over to Mr Gary Lee's site and sign yourself up.

8 Things You Might Not Already Know About Me

For several weeks I've seen this meme get passed around the blogosphere, and I was both glad and disappointed when I wasn't tagged to be next, considering how (now) every blog that I regularily read has shared their 8 things.  However, with a tag from Rob, I guess it's time to air some dirty laundry.

How this works:

  • Each player must post the rules to begin the meme

  • Each player starts with eight random facts about themselves

  • People who get tagged must blog about their eight things and post these rules

  • At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names

  • Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog

Simple enough, right?  Well, in no particuar order, let us begin:

5. I am addicted to DDR (Dance Dance Revolution).  Although it doesn't look like it, I play this game for at least 14 hours a week, with many games being played on "Heavy x2".  I have dance pads at home, and there is nothing better than an hour of non-stop DDR followed by a hot shower to put even the worst days at work behind me.

8. I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, living in places such as Georgetown, Hamilton, Caistor Centre and Jarvis.  At 22, I moved to British Columbia in search of a new perspective on life and a chance to clean up my past mistakes.

7. Although I am a computer programmer, I have always wanted to be an archaeologist and astronomer (yes, both).  Human history fascinates me on so many levels, and the stars capture my imagination in very mathematical ways.  I can't look at human bones without wondering what life was like several hundred (or thousand) years ago, and I can't look at stars without seeing the absolute mathematical beauty that is found in Hawking's, Einstein's and Newton's equations.

3. I used to drive, but switched to public transit.  I loved driving when I lived in Ontario.  The big open road and soothing sound of the engine (I rarely listened to music while driving) often helped me relax after a long day.  However, the cost of fuel and my unnecessary pollution of the atmosphere forced me to change these ways.  For the last five years I have been able to get to almost anywhere I've needed to be with my $95 a month bus pass and, while I might spend an extra 20 minutes a day taking transit instead of driving, I see no reason to purchase a car for my remaining time in Canada.  That said ... I will be considering an ultra-efficient car in Japan.

6. I was ... umm ... "involuntarily sodomized" by someone I had respected and trusted a few weeks after my 19th birthday.  To this day, it is the only thing that gives me nightmares.

1. I am allergic to horses (and potentially other animals) despite the fact that I spent much of my childhood growing up in the country.  After 15 minutes in close proximity of the horse, my vision will degrade and eventually disappear.  Blindness is scary, so please protect your eyes.

4. I am the eldest in my family and have two brothers and six sisters.  Most members of my family are quite loud, however, my voice cannot rise above "normal" volumes.

2. I don't like wearing clothes, but I love wearing suits.  I can't explain this any further ... it's just one of "those things".

So there we go.  Eight things in no particular order.  Unfortunately, I can't think of eight others who have not already taken part that I could possibly tag, so I'll invite my good friend Yuni into the meme and let anyone else who hasn't yet taken part to link back to me.

Here are some of the 8 Things memes from other sites that I enjoyed:

Ms. Danielle's - 8 Quasi-Interesting Facts About Ms. Danielle: A Meme

Mr. Gary Lee's - 8 Fun Facts About Gary Lee

Rob Neville's - Catching Me With My Drawers Down (Not literally, I hope)

Spud Oregon's - 8 Facts About Spud and Friends

The 21st Century: Humans Emerge from Pre-History

Throughout known human history, we have defined periods of time with accomplishments.  In the 19th century the industrial revolution was in full swing for many westernized nations.  The 20th century bore witness to the birth of countless new technologies and a better understanding of the universe around us.  And as for this, the 21st century, we might remember this as the century humans first emerged from pre-history.

The BBC has recently published an article by Charles Stross positing a future where all human experience is recorded on devices the size of a grain of sand.  While this sounds a bit far-fetched, the technology is not quite as far-off as people might expect.

In the last 50 years we have become quite accustomed to using computers as record-keepers.  Thanks to Moore's Law, these devices tend to double in speed and/or price every 18 months.  The main idea behind this trend being the number of transistors found in manufactured microchips.

But a similar trend has been happening with storage devices, where we've been able to store twice as much data on a device of the same size at roughly the same rate of time.  Our ability to utilize this storage space is also keeping up, considering TITLE=" - A ZetaByte By Any Other Name ..." HREF="" TARGET="_blank">we're approaching a ZetaByte of storage and this number is poised to explode as even more people become connected and sharing knowledge and media.

People are using the cameras on their phones more and more, and many of these are able to record video.  It will only be a matter of time before these units are "always on", recording everything we see and hear in a given day.  And with storage devices able to contain more and more data all the time in a smaller footprint, we're reaching the stage where we'll never need to delete anything ever again.

The article explains that there are going to be some huge legal, ethical, and privacy issues connected with recording this much data, let alone sharing it; but considering how we (as a species) reacted and adapted to the first generation of internet, the next generation (the under-18 crowd) seems to be taking what we've learned and running with it.  We're moving ever closer to becoming a real global community.  Our social networks stretch across the globe and back again.  Privacy is something now reserved for the bathroom, and intimate moments with loved ones.

So we will no doubt find answers to these privacy concerns, if not hugely debated compromises to the matter.  The flood gates have already been opened a bit, and there is no closing them again.

But how far can we go with storage?  Eventually we'll reach a limit thanks to the laws of physics.  With our current understanding of the universe, we will not be able to build anything with components smaller than a single atom.

But just because we can't yet comprehend how to make something smaller than an atom, doesn't mean we can't use these particles to our advantage.

One option considered was the use of a carbon crystal.  Created and edited by nano-robots, these crystals could be created an atom at a time.  The number of atoms found in one gram of such a crystal could contain more data than one person would be capable of filling (with our current file sizes and encoding technologies).  Heck, if we could learn how to read and write data in this fashion, we would be able to store the sum total of all data recorded in 2003 on a single grain of sand.

Looking at the price trends associated with hard drives and flash media, we're only a few years away from storage media being so cheap that we could record seemingly everything that happens around us.  Our GPS coordinates, images of our surroundings, the audio we're exposed to ... the list is endless.  The current storage requirements to do this would be about 10,000 GB (ten TeraBytes) a year, which is expected to be about $25 CDN by 2017.

Hopefully by this point we would be able to have portable devices that would be able to record all of this information constantly, and index it in such a way that we could recall any detail within the space of a few seconds.  One of the examples that was mentioned was for students to not worry so much about taking notes, but instead focusing more on understanding the lessons.  They could then later review the class and take notes as required.  This would be an incredible tool that would improve the quality of education a hundred-fold for everyone that was serious about learning a subject.

We can't even imagine the potential this kind of technology would have.  The uses are too varied.  But one of the most positive benefits of this will be what's left behind for historians.  If we could record all of our experiences, then we would leave a treasure trove of information behind for future generations.

A few weeks ago I had made mention that TITLE=" - An Eternal Web Presense" HREF="" TARGET="_blank">I didn't know anything about the members of my family from just a few hundred years ago.  Countless lifetime's worth of knowledge and experiences have been lost, closing the windows to where we came from.  But if future historians have the ability to look back into our lives and see everything from the mundane cubicle work to the exciting treks through our lush forests, we can ensure human history is never again lost or forgotten.

For the first time ever, we would be able to see what it means to be human at a certain point in time and from various different perspectives.  Once we reach this point, the historians might reclassify everything up to that year as "pre-history".

Blogging the Movie

Just when it seems that there's been a movie made about everything, the Sneaky Bastard makes public his intentions to film a movie about 10 bloggers.

I'm not sure what it is about this idea, but I have this strange sense of excitement about it.  Perhaps it's because I will actually be able to relate to the people that are chronicled in the documentary, or perhaps it's because this is the first time I've heard of such a film.  But then of course, the word "documentary" is enough to get me excited most days alone, regardless of the subject ....

With Paperplane Productions producing the video, Mr. P (a.k.a. Sneaky Bastard) will scour the earth in search of 10 bloggers that blog everyday to ordinary people.  These can be the authors behind popular, new, professional, personal, rambing, random, adult, elderly, and niche sites.  If there's a category I missed, that's okay, because he's looking for those, too!  The key is to have a story that the world will love (or hate) to relate to, and Mr. P will fly to anywhere in the world to let you tell the tale.

At the moment, there is no way we can apply to be a part of the documentary, but if you keep checking his Blogging the Movie site, the instructions will soon be posted.  Chances are that a contest will be posted and people will be invited to submit their sites that way.

Personally, I hope it's a contest where readers vote for the winners.  People could post their site, and if visitors think that the site is worth a mention, they give it a point.  Not only would this have the potential to save Mr. P countless hours of labor, but it would give the blogging community as a whole the opportunity to play a role in this film about their world.

This has the potential to become one of the biggest contests the blogosphere has ever seen, so stop by and check it out.

Landing Examination Procedures for Japan Changing

This has been in the works for quite a bit of time, but it's finally coming to pass.  When arriving in Japan, foreigners will be required to be fingerprinted and photographed as part of the entry procedures, and this is going to come into full effect in November of 2007.  There are exceptions to every rule, of course, and this law is no exception.  People who will not require the ink or picture include persons under 16 years of age, people with special status of permanent residence, and people performing actions which would be performed by those with a status of residence, diplomat, or "official government business".

I guess it wouldn't be a good idea to fingerprint and photograph Prime Ministers and Presidents as they came to Japan ... it just wouldn't be very diplomatic :P

Luckily, the fingerprinting will not require actual ink and paper.  Instead there will be digital scanners at the immigration officer's desk.  The whole process takes less than 30 seconds.  Some travellers aren't too keen about this change in policy, saying that Japan is intentionally treating all visitors as potential terrorists and invading our privacy by recording and storing this information.  I'm not sure where they get this idea, but I think Japan has every legal right to record this information.

Passports can be forged.  Government issued IDs can be forged.  Heck, everything that would identify us as a responsible citizen of the planet can be forged, giving not only terrorists but other criminals the ability to pass themselves off as law-abiding citizens as they go from country to country.  One of the hardest things to alter would be our fingerprints and external appearance.  This change will give the law enforcement agencies a better tool to capture potentially unwanted visitors before they can do harm.  Law abiding citizens should have nothing to worry about.

People who refuse to be fingerprinted or photographed will be ordered to immediately leave the country.  I'm not sure what policies might be in place for people who wear religious headwear (such as hijabs), but I'm certain that there are regulations in place to handle this while still respecting a person's right to practice their faith.

More information about this can be found on the Japanese Government's "Channel 61" service (click "Landing Examination Procedures for Japan" on the right side) as well as in this updated document outlining the Law for the Partial Amendment of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

We can see that it's only a matter of time before this becomes the norm when entering any country, I just hope like heck we don't find out in a few years that people can have the same fingerprints (with over six billion of us, you'd think this might happen, though).

What do you think?  Is Japan going too far to protect their borders?

Heroes Shouldn't Always Come "Free of Charge"

It's usually common sense to make sure we're prepared before embarking on a journey.  Most of us wouldn't go to the corner store for milk in our underwear, and most of us wouldn't ride a bicycle in the fast lane of a national highway.  Yet oddly enough, some people seem to think that it's okay to embark on a trek while being ill prepared to handle the potential dangers.

Last month an inexperienced and ill-prepared hiker was rescued off the West Coast Trail by a Canadian Forces helicopter.  The man was 21 years of age and injured his knee on the 75-kilometer trail.  A Cormorant helicopter and crew was then dispatched from the Canadian Forces Base in Comox (on the east side of Vancouver Island), and they spent 5 hours (at approximately $16,000 an hour) on the rescue mission.

Two days later, another Cormorant spent four hours resucing another hiker.  I can't be the only one that thinks the costs involved with the rescues are high enough to warrant at least a partial reimbursement from the rescuee. 

The planet is full of trails that have varying degrees of difficulty, offering remarkable vistas and a greater appreciation for the environment we all share.  Many people who really enjoy these hikes often have a bit of training (be it formal or informal) to handle different situations that might arise while trekking in the wild, and many have an appreciation for routes that are too difficult for their current experience level.  However, it seems that at least three times a week, people who believe their the next Edmund Hillary bite off way more than they can chew and need to call for a rescue.

I understand that "stuff happens", and that when we're out climbing a steep incline or scaling a particularily enticing rock-face that we could lose our footing and injure ourselves pretty good.  For the people that do need rescue services, I'm glad we have the heroes in place to come to our aid.  However, when I read articles in the Vancouver Sun that talk about how five American hikers went into a cordoned off surge channel and had to be rescued for a cost of $40,000+ ... I'm left wondering who's actually paying these bills.

Parks Canada has a $20,000 rescue fund to cover the West Coast Trail for 2007.  Park users do not have to post a bond or contribute to rescues.  So this means that if one single hiker requires the services of a military helicopter for rescue, the budget for other resuces are pretty much shot.

So far this year, rescue services have been called out for such stupid antics as walking up slippery terrain wearing flip-flops, people venture into the wild wearing little more than swimwear, and others stray several kilometers off the trails while thinking that a cell phone is all the safety equipment they might need.  I'm not the most intelligent person in the world (some of my posts on this site can certainly attest to this claim), but even I know that cell phones do not have an unlimited range.  When venturing out into mountains or ravines, or other such geological formations, radio frequencies tend to refract to such an extent that mobile phones are pretty much useless.

I'd like to see some of the more unprepared people billed for some of these rescue services.  There are plenty of insurance agencies that do offer hiker's insurance, and this is certainly an option for people who just can't get enough of the outdoors.  I don't think we could realistically charge someone $16,000 an hour for a rescue attempt, but a 1% fee would make many people think twice before doing something they're not prepared for.  If I happen to be climbing a mountain and injure myself severely enough to warrant an $80,000 rescue, paying an $800 service fee is something I would consider acceptable.

If I wasn't prepared to shell out that kind of cash, then I'd just stick to the safer trails.

What do you think?  Should all rescues be completely free of charge, regardless of how a person arrived in their predicament?

Still Zune-less, So Perhaps an iPhone

It seems I didn't win Ms. Danielle's Zune contest with the prize going to Enkay (congrats, Enkay!), but there's still hope that I might win something that can play mp3s a bit longer than my wore out iPaq.

Mr. Gary Lee is giving away a free iPhone in exchange for some links to his internet marketing site and his new Golf Equipment project at  Just to make things a little sweeter, Pink Deals is promoting a free online coupon, bein a $250 Gift Card for signing up for an title=" - American Express Deal">American Express Business Gold Reward card.  Unfortunately, I can't apply for one of these (since I'm Canadian, and leaving the country soon), but for my American readers, this is a good opportunity to get something back for signing up for a card.  Heck, if nothing else you could have the card for a month, purchase $250 in lunches, then pay the bill with the gift card and cancel the account :P

The contests held at Mr. Gary Lee's sites tend to attract lots of attention, so there should be some great turnout for this prize.  Considering how the iPhone will not be fully functional in Japan, I'll promise here and now to give the phone away in a contest of my own should I be the lucky winner.

Here's hoping I win ....

The End of the Penny?

Following the lead of countries like Australia, Canada may consider ditching our lowest denomination coin; the penny.

MP Pat Martin is drafting a private member's bill to kill this seemingly useless coin, and it seems to have a large number of people talking.  What I find interesting in the conversations at the neighbourhood coffee house, though, is that there is no clear direction as to whether people think this will be a good thing or not.

To get around the problem of what to do when your coffee comes out to $1.77, Martin proposes a rounding system akin to the method found in Australia.  Everything would be rounded up or down to the nearest nickle (5 cents) when paying with cash.  Debit and credit purchases would continue to work with full cents, and gas companies would continue to charge in tenths of cents.

This reminds me of the tactic that my family used when playing Monopoly.  The $1 was useless when you landed on property, so everything was rounded up to the nearest 5, and the $1 was dubbed the $1,000 bill.  It was a great system ... since I was more often than not the one with the Monopoly at the end of the game.

But some people think this is some sort of twisted socialist plot.  One person at the coffee shop today seemed to think that gasoline companies would actually change their pricing to work in 5 cent increments (which would likely cause Canadians to take up arms at home for the first time since the Battle of Stoney Creek).  Others believe that by scrapping this coing and saving the $30million annual production costs, we could put that money towards some worthy causes such as education or health care.

I believe the greatest benefit of this draft bill is not what the bill proposes to do, but instead the discussions that are ensuing because of it.  There are some pretty surley people that sit at some of my favourite coffee shops and they have very unique perspectives on the situation.  My favourite, of course, being the suggestion that rather than ditch the penny, we should introduce a new one that is worth 1/10th of a cent.  This way when we go to buy gas, we're not losing out to the rounding that happens at the pump.

I highly doubt this bill will pass even first reading at the Parliament, but the discussions should be lively.  I believe that if the penny is truly going to be eliminated from the market, then the market needs to first kill it silently themselves.  Many places offer club cards that offer instant discounts on products.  If the cash machines were configured to ensure the final sale was a nice round figure that eliminated the need for pennies, then they wouldn't need so many.  Banks wouldn't have to order the same quantity, as stores would undoubtedly rarely require more than a few rolls a week.  And consumers would have fewer pennies to squirrel away in buckets or jars in the house.

What's your take on the situation?  Would the elimination of the penny benefit Canadians?  If nothing else, it would speed up the supermarket lines as people no longer fish out eight pennies from their pockets.

Give a Man a Fish ...

We've all heard the saying before:  "Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day.  Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime."

An anti-poverty group in Vancouver has challenged our local politicians to spend two months living homeless on the streets of the Downtown Eastside to see what it's like to be poor.  Never being without a reason or two for why they can't do something, the city councillors and Mayor Sam Sullivan are feverishly offering reasons why they can't take part in the latest reality TV show, Survivor: Vancouver.

But all jokes aside, I don't think these elected officials should have to spend their summer wearing the same pair of ratty clothes, and squatting behind garbage bins to relieve themselves.  Even if 50% of the politicians took part in this challenge, it wouldn't be a realistic experience.  The media would be all over the positions of the participants, and I'm sure that reporters or camera crews would start to share meals or even purchase the occasional latte in exchange for an interview.

And what result would come from this?  More funding for our poorly funded programs?

Seriously, it doesn't matter how much money we throw at people.  All we would be doing is creating a two-tier welfare system.  Instead, what's needed is not for the councillors to show they can step down off the social ladder, but for them to demonstrate how downtrodden people can take a step up on it.

Employers are looking for people all over British Columbia.  Alberta is willing to take the most rookie person and train them for a high-paying skilled labor job.  According to a 2005 survey conducted by the Social Planning and Research Council of BC, there were 2,174 homeless people in the Greater Vancouver region, which was almost double the count just three years prior.  Considering how this report is two years old, and the trends discussed within, we can assume that there are now approximately 3,400 homeless or incredibly poverty-striken people in the city.

In my treks downtown and around the areas where homelessness is more often felt, I see that many of these people are relatively young (under 40) and physically capable of working some sort of labor job.  With proper meals and the basics of shelter, many of these people could easily regain control of their lives.  The problem is, the tools to do so are not easily available when you're that down.  I've talked to several of the younger people who hold up signs saying "Hungry" and even shared the occasional lunch with them when downtown, and each one tends to have a similar story.  If they could get back on their feet, many of them would.  There was only one that refused to get back into the workforce because he didn't want the government to continue deducting his wages for the back child support payments he owed.

To this end, I'd like to see some institutions and progressive employers propose challenges of their own.  Only this time, the challenge would be given to the homeless and destitute.

It would be along the lines of: We'll give you a job for eight weeks, and arrage some temporary accommodation.  if it works out, we'll make the job permanent and you can start looking for a place to live full time.

Now, I'll admit that some jobs pay so poorly that it's often better (from a financial standpoint) to be on welfare, but I believe that people who are prepared to work hard (if given the opportunity) will be able to feed and house themselves.  Homelessness is something that's been around as long as civilization itself, and there will always be those that refuse to do anything for themselves, believing that the government (or society, or some diety, or whatever) owes them.  If that's the lifestyle they prefer, then we can't force them to change.  But we can offer an olive branch to those that truly want it.

The goal here should be to make poverty history, not to use it as a guilt-trip against others who have achived success in their lives.

Admitting Our Faults

We humans are an incredible bunch.  When we put our minds to a task, anything is possible.  And though we all have the capability to accomplish great things in life, we also have our faults.  These can limit us, or propel us to new heights.  I am a firm believer that there are no good and bad traits in a person.  It's what we do with those traits that make them good or bad.

Now, before admitting four of my many faults, I'd like to say that this is my entry for Nick's Most Evil Blogger contest at  The winner of this contest will score themselves either a Nintendo Wii with 2 extra controllers (and Nunchucks) as well as the addictive Mario Party 8, or a Microsoft XBox 360 Elite System with a copy of Forza 2.  The contest has been extended to August 4th (or thereabouts), and it will be interesting to see what kind of participation will happen.  Not too many people are comfortable talking about their faults, and fewer still want to have those issues broadcasted to the entire globe.

So what are my failings?  Well, similar to Nick's post, I have a temper (but it's getting much better), a small lack of self-dicipline (but Reiko keeps me in check), and a tiny amount of pride to contend with (by tiny, I mean my ego is the size of the moon sometimes).  So rather than repeat them, I've supplied four other faults that I contend with on a daily basis.

I'm highly opinionated.  We all have our opinions on subjects, but I can be as stubborn as a mule for many things when I think I'm right.  Heck, even after I'm proven wrong I will still keep my feet firmly planted on a subject.  What I don't understand, however, is that I tend to examine matters from as many angles as possible before forming an opinion.  It should be a simple matter to re-examine those matters and allow a more dynamic opinion ... but oddly this doesn't happen very often.  I'm working on it, though.

I have a very low opinion of self-worth.  This tends to clash with the huge ego I can have, however, the two are locked in an eternal battle much like Loki and Biel.  Friends have found that when my self-worth is at its lowest, it's best to just stay away.  While at the same time, when the ego is at it's highest, it's best to either burst the bubble (letting the low opinion regain a bit of control) or avoid me outright.  This trait is the one that upsets the most people (myself included), as it's the most unpredictable and most annoying.  For years I've tried to keep the this in balance with ego, and often times it can be done.  Hopefully as I edge ever closer to 30 this will become less of an issue.

I am very tightly wound.  Being the first born and a classic Type-A personality, I am a very high-achieving workaholic that thrives in environments that allow me to multitask on several projects with tight deadlines.  People who stand in the way of my tasks tend to earn a spot on my "temporary delay" list, where I will intentionally delay their future projects as a form of silent retribution.  I also tend to contain quite a bit of "free floating hostility", which often results in some explicit language or throwing objects.  That said, I will never ever hit people or animals, nor will I damage something I do not own.  Even in moments of absolute rage I will retain an amount of control over my actions.  I am an adult and fully accountable for my behaviour, after all.  This is something I've struggled with all my life, and while I am not as physically violent as I used to be, there is still lots of room for improvement.  Luckily, Reiko helps with this quite well ... I don't think she even realizes it....

And finally, everything has a comedic value.  This stands in stark contrast to the last point, and it's probably the sole reason I'm still alive today.  I've learned to laugh at everything around me, even my own rages.  Quite often I have gone from throwing a pack of Mentos across the room to fits of laughter as the little mints explode in a thousand pieces and the packaging disintegrates from the sudden deceleration.  I find that the more stressed I am, the more things I find funny.  The only time this fails me is when something has upset me far faster than a quick mental rebuttal can difuse it.  Laughing when times get tough is a great way to relieve stress, but I'll admit that I need more control over this.  There are times when I can start laughing at a situation and the people around me get even more upset because they feel I'm not taking the matter seriously.

For the record, Mom, I'd like to say that the time I had that 8-inch spike go through my shoe while carrying a 50 kilo block of wood, I was laughing not because it was funny, but because I had the uncontrollable urge to.  Seeing a long metal shaft coming out the top of someone's footwear is always good for a laugh, even when your mother is less than 2 meters away screaming in terror :P

So there are four of my many, many failings.  Sometimes I wonder if Reiko knows what she's getting herself into ... with TITLE=" - Wedding Date Set" HREF="" TARGET="_blank">less than 10 months until our wedding, will she decide I'm more trouble than it's worth?  Hehehe, I hope not :P

Did I miss any faults you think should have been included?  Let me know and (if I agree....) I'll add them to the list.

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