Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When a Child is Born

While you're all waiting for The Pedaling Prince's Podium to premiere, here's a little "Christmas Treat" for you:



For those of you who don't know I sing, check it out! For those of you who do, check out the video; that's GarageBand the application I use for all my recording and mixing. :)

This particular song will be the first track of a CD I'm producing as a Christmas gift for most people on my list (money is extremely tight this year so at least this way I can give people something personal and meaningful without breaking the proverbial bank :)).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mountain Fries

Well, now that Blogspot is allowing much more flexibility in blog format I think it's time to give The Pedaling Prince a long overdue face-lift; now this is more the way I want it to look. :)

Anyway, today I'm here to talk to you about a new "chip wagon" that opened only a few days ago; it's called "Mountain Fries" and it's located in Downtown Sydney on Bentick Street across from the Bargain Shop next to Club 55:


View Larger Map

I usually use Bentick street on my way home from work (usually after I leave Subway) and recently as I passed I smelled the delicious smell of french fries. I followed it and found Mountain Fries.

Well, that particular day I had already eaten and was too full to try anything. I had intended to try something there this past Tuesday on my way home from work but unfortunately I got sick and was out of work for the past two days. However today, on my way home, I again smelled the intoxicating smell of cooking french fries and remembered, Oh yeah, Mountain Fries; I gotta try them out. Having already eaten a light dinner, I just had some of their french fries.

I kid you not: these were the best french fries I've ever had. Anywhere. Bar none. They were just crispy enough to have good texture yet tender enough to be just this side of melt in your mouth. They were almost (but not quite) sweet to the taste and were delightfully (and surprisingly for greasy food) satisfying to the stomach. The most impressive thing, though, was that, unlike most chip wagon fries, there was not a single burnt fry. Not one.

The most unusual feature of Mountain Fries, however, is something that I, as a person who very rarely carries physical cash, really appreciate; unlike every other chip wagon I've ever visited, they actually accept Interac direct payment, Master Card and Visa. Actually (and I'm going to have to ask them about this, out of curiosity) they also take Canadian Tire money in multiples of 25 cents. Now that is a wide variety of payment options!

Their menu is also unusually impressive for a chip wagon, even including an impressive array of options for vegetarians (all prices include tax):

Cold Sandwiches
  • Non-Toasted BLT $2.50/$3.50 (Half/Whole)
  • Turkey Salad $2.50/$3.50
  • Egg Salad $2.50/$3.50
  • Ham & Cheese $2.50/$3.50
  • Roast Beef $2.50/$3.50
  • Turkey $2.50/$3.50
  • Turkey Bacon $3.50/$4.50
  • Non-Toasted Club $3.50/$5.00
  • Tofurkey $3.50/$5.00
White, Whole Wheat & Multi Grain Breads available

Hot Sandwiches with Fries
  • Turkey $7.75
  • Roast Beef $7.75
  • Hamburg $7.75
  • Tofurkey $9.25
Fries
  • Home Cut Fries $2.75/$3.50 (Small/Large)
  • Poutine $4.50/$5.50
  • Works (Chili, Cheese, Sour Cream, Bacon, Green Onions) $4.50/$5.50
  • Veggie Works (Cheese, Sour Cream, Tomato & Green Onions) $4.50/$5.50
Hot Dogs & Hamburgers
  • Hot Dog $2.50
  • Veggie Dog $3.50
  • Hamburger $3.50
  • Cheeseburger $4.00
  • Veggie Burger $4.00
  • Veggie Cheeseburger $4.50
  • Sausage on a Bun $3.50
Soup & Chili
  • Vegetable
  • Soup of the Day
  • Chili
All soups $2.75 for small, $3.75 for large.

Besides all that they also offer:
  • Nachos $5.50
  • Veggie Nachos $5.50
  • Potato Skins $5.50
  • Corn on the Cob $2.25
  • Baked Potato
    • With Cheese $2.50
    • Sour Cream & Chives $2.50
    • Bacon/Cheese $3.25
    • Chili/Cheese $3.25
  • Extra Gravy-Brown, Turkey $1.00
  • Extra Cheese $1.00
  • Extra Bacon $1.00
  • Extra Chili $1.00
Beverages
  • Coffee/Tea $1.50
  • Pop $1.50
  • Water $1.50
  • Red Rain - 250 ml $2.75
  • red Rain - 1 lt $3.75
  • Floats $3.75
  • Flavored Drink Free
Now here's a menu section you don't ordinarily see on a chip wagon (at least around here):

Dessert
  • Jello $1.50
  • Jello Pudding $1.75
  • Jumbo Freezie $1.50
  • Popcorn $3.00
  • Cotton Candy $3.00
  • Ice Cream Cone $2.00/$3.25 (small/large)
  • Sundaes, $3.50/4.50; available flavors:
    1. Butterscotch
    2. Chocolate
    3. Strawberry
    4. Blueberry
    5. Cherry
Both sundaes and ice creams are nut and gluten free.

Finally, Mountain Fries even has its own "house specialty" dessert:

Mountain Tracks $5.00
  • Deep Fried Dough
  • Whipped Cream
  • Chocolate Syrup
  • Maraschino Cherry
It's available in all the same flavors as the sundaes are. It doesn't sound particularly healthy I'll admit but, then again, neither is your average fast food burger, either. Chip wagon food is like any fast food; it's about taste, not nutrition. Even so, the fact that they're trying so hard to cater to the vegetarian market actually does render their overall menu significantly healthier than the average chip wagon's.

If those fries I had today are any indication, and given the absolutely astonishing variety on their menu, this place is destined to become the best chip wagon in town!

I'm going to continue to try out items from their menu every day or two and, each time I try something, I'll report back here about it. So keep an eye on this blog for further reports! :)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Pharisee Back in the Saddle

On December 7, 2008, Riin Gill's rabbit Rudy died. I wanted to express my condolences but wasn't sure if I should. I asked my friends; they all agreed I should. This was unusual on two levels. One, most times my friends would recommend I avoid contact with her; this time they actually thought it was a good idea. Two, every one of my friends agreed; usually, I would get differing opinions. So I wrote a simple note of condolence; we all thought she'd appreciate it.

Four days later, she castigated me publicly on her blog for my act of kindness. In doing so she snapped me back to my senses because in that moment I realized that, despite appearances to the contrary she so carefully cultivated in the public eye, she has no concept of compassion. The woman I'd fallen in love with was at best an illusion, at worst a lie. I haven't written a posting about Riin since that day and I thought I never would again; there was nothing left to say.

Until now.

The fact is, I still have my own regrets. Riin may have been manipulative, selfish and sometimes cruel but I was not blameless; I made my share of mistakes, too. Most of them I've long since made peace with but one regret I've carried with me all these years was the fact that my influence drove her off the saddle of her bike.

I try to encourage people to cycle, not discourage them. My opinion of her personally notwithstanding, it always bothered me that I was part of the reason she gave cycling up. It bothered me so much that initially I desperately tried to get people she knew to talk her out of giving it up. I realize now I had no business doing that but at the time I was in a desperate state of mind and felt like I had to do something; that was all I could think to do.

However, I eventually realized there was nothing I could do to get her back in the saddle if she didn't want to go. This is the only thing about Riin I still feel pangs of regret about to this day. I always thought this would be a cross I'd have to bear for the rest of my life. It's been almost three years since she last rode; I figured, if she hadn't gotten back to it by now, she never will.

I don't check her blog very often anymore. Once in a very long while I'll think of it and poke my head in just out of curiosity. Well I did that a few days ago and discovered a posting she made almost a month ago. "Punk Pin Cushion on Wheels." Hm. She still has her predilection for whimsical titles, it seems. I was skimming it when the second paragraph, a simple four word sentence, caught my eye: "I rode my bike."

Most of the time I honestly don't care anymore what Riin Gill does (which is why I check her blog so rarely) but this, I must admit, I am genuinely happy to hear. I suppose I'll still feel some regret for the three years she spent off the saddle but at least, in the end, she got back on, and every time anyone puts their butt on a bicycle seat (especially one who actually knows what they're doing in traffic, as Riin always did), well, that's always good news.

As I expected, she took several swipes at me in the entry. To her credit, however, she did not call me a "stalker" for a change; she called me "controlling." Well you know what? That charge I'll plead guilty to. I've always been like that; it's something I learned growing up. Every single member of my family, in one way or another, was controlling and manipulative. Not that they're bad people; it's just that, like me, they grew up with that behavior and thought it was normal.

However, in the interim, I've learned to recognize this flaw in my character and, like my homophobia of my younger days, I've fought hard to change it. In fact, it was my breakups with Riin, and later Lisa, that finally shook me to my senses and made me realize this was a flaw in my character that I had to deal with.

This is something I still struggle with. I still feel the urge to be controlling, particularly when I think someone I love is going to get hurt. However, most of the time now I work out my urge to control in fantasy or in writing rather than actually trying to control the person. Like my homophobia, which is now totally a thing of the past, I hope I'll eventually not even have these controlling urges but, for now, I just have to watch myself and make sure I don't act on them.

Now the question that I can't help but ask myself is this: is the fact that Riin is going back to cycling a sign that maybe she's starting to learn from her mistakes as I have?

I can't know for sure but somehow I doubt it. Her biggest problem, by far, is her lack of compassion; it's been my experience that if you haven't learned compassion by the time you're 30 or so you never do. Also, as her friend M pointed out, Riin can't admit to making mistakes in the first place; it's hard to learn from mistakes if you don't acknowledge them.

This is unfortunate. Riin does have it in her to be a better person. Though she does not feel compassion she understands the concept at an intellectual level which suggests that perhaps she could learn it if she wanted to. The problem is in order to be truly compassionate she'd also have to learn self-sacrifice, the concept of accepting some personal discomfort for the benefit of someone you love; this is something that is beyond her comprehension.

There have been many times in my life when I have accepted significant personal suffering, occasionally even risks to friendships, even my physical safety, to protect the people I love; that is the essence of compassion.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition defines "compassion" as, "Deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it." Riin does have a "deep awareness" of the suffering of others but she lacks conviction in her "wish to relieve it." She'll help you if it doesn't cause her any difficulty but the moment it causes her even the slightest pain she instantly turns her back on you.

I was in deep trouble in my relationship with Lisa and didn't realize it. Now, it wasn't Riin's responsibility to get me out of that (she couldn't help me if I wasn't prepared to help myself which, at that time, I wasn't), but it was her responsibility, as my lover and my friend, to tell me the truth about the trouble she could see me in. Surely she must've seen it; she even witnessed Lisa assaulting me with her own two eyes on more than one occasion.

She didn't want to tell me the truth because I had always said Lisa and I were a "package deal," that she'd have to accept both of us or neither of us. Now of course that meant that telling me the truth about what Lisa was doing would've risked our relationship, yes, but if she really cared about me she would've taken that risk; when you really love someone, it's their happiness, not your own, that's the priority but, to Riin, everything is about what makes her happy, not others.

In the end we lost the relationship, anyway, because Riin and I would never have worked if Lisa had stayed in the picture. If Riin had had the courage to say that to me it probably would have caused us pain in the short term but, in the long run, I think we would have come out stronger and survived but, to do that, Riin would have had to experience true compassion; she would have had to truly understand how I felt and loved me enough to take that risk.

Actually, now that I think about it, the best thing Riin could've done was to say, "I'm leaving you unless you leave Lisa." She had a right to do that. I was choosing to stay in an abusive situation; that didn't mean she had to. Chances are saying that would've ended our relationship in the short term but, in the long run, when I finally hit bottom and lost Lisa (which was inevitable anyway) Riin could have been there to help me pick up the pieces.

Does that mean she should've sacrificed her happiness entirely? No, of course not; like I said, getting away from Lisa and I was, in the short term, the right choice on her part. It was the fact that, in the end, she abandoned me completely that demonstrates her total lack of understanding of what "compassion" means. If you're unwilling to accept any suffering, or take any risk, to help someone then you don't truly understand what compassion truly is.

Or at least that's the way it seems to me, looking back on it. Could I be wrong? Could Riin be genuinely compassionate somewhere deep in her heart but, because of some emotional baggage I don't know about, is simply averse to taking the risk she might get hurt helping someone?

Maybe.

I always try to keep an open mind. I have learned from my mistakes. I'm not totally dismissing the possibility that Riin may have, too; it's just hard for me to believe. I have to admit, if Riin actually dropped me a line tomorrow and said, "I'd like to find out where we both went wrong," I'd be willing to have a dialogue with her. At the very least it'd give me the opportunity to apologize, perhaps even atone, for some of the mistakes I made.

Of course, in order to do that, Riin would have to have enough compassion to recognize that I might, in fact, have learned from my mistakes in the past three years... so I don't foresee Riin seeking me out any time soon...

Yeah... that's probably for the best...

Well. It seems she can still stir a little emotion in me when she talks about me, even after all this time; I went way off on an unintended tangent here. I guess I really do love her. Well, the illusion of what I thought she was, anyway.

Either way, my thoughts and feelings about her notwithstanding, I am genuinely happy to see the only cyclist I ever knocked out of the saddle back in the saddle again.

I genuinely wish her luck.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Lonnie's Vlog!

A friend of mine, Lonnie L. Jones, apparently inspired by other vloggers (including myself I'd imagine ;)), has started a video blog of his own! Here's his first posting:



It started with Jon Paula who inspired me to start a video blog and now it's inspiring my friends to start them; have I started a trend here...? ;)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vlog

Inspired by Ideo Productions president Jonathan Paula and his new personal video blog The World According to Jon (check it out; he's an interesting guy! :)), I decided it was high time for me to bring my tired old blog into the 21st Century and start a video blog, or vlog as its known. :)

I'm not going to abandon traditional blogging; the bigger, more complex ideas and events I want to talk about I'll still do in writing. However, vlogging is so much easier than writing and fun to boot that I'll probably be doing a lot more entries here in the form of embedded YouTube videos. I figure I'll reach a wider audience here insofar as some of my friends say that they don't have time to read my blog; videos are much faster and easier for those with limited time, too.

Here's my first "official" entry in my new vlog; it's called "Sleep Talking:"



And here are the entries I did before "officially" launching my video blog:

"25 Facts"



"Antique Appliances"



"iPad"



See you out on YouTube! :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Zoom Zoom

OK. This rain sucks. I'm sick of rain.

That's it. I give. Enough with the bike; time to get a car.

Yes, it might surprise people to know I'm not a total car neophyte. I grew up with an uncle who absolutely loves his cars so, listening to him and observing him over the years, I think I've learned enough about them to pick out a good one. :)

I need something reliable and fuel efficient. Ideally I'd like to have an electric car but something tells me trying to get something like that around here might be a wee bit problematic, at least if I don't want to have to wait. I think I might get a Honda. My uncle would probably say Toyota but a friend of mine has a Honda and I gotta say I love the idea of that digital speedometer in the dash, directly under your view of the road; easy to keep an eye on in my peripheral vision. :)

I wonder how early the Honda dealership on the way to work opens? Maybe I could swing by there on my way in to work; that way I won't have to walk all the way. Wish I could ride but I was involved in a near collision with a duck crossing the road Wentworth Park on my way home tonight. I managed to miss the duck but drove the bike into the curb, then pretty much flew face and eyes right down into the frickin' pond. Front wheel's pretty bent up.

Don't worry, I didn't get hurt too badly; just some road rash on my shins and some very wet, gooey clothing (what the hell's in that water, anyway?! :P).

Hm. Y'know, if I'm gonna get a car, I might as well go whole hog and get off this vegetarian kick. Now that I have a car, I'll be able to go to Mickey D's drive through and make a pig of myself if I want to; as Crocodile Dundee points out, no one'll ever see me making a pig of myself if I'm safely in my car. :)

I wonder what color I should get? I used to like the idea of red but I don't know; it's OK for a bike but on a car, meh. Not my taste. Black? Too hard to keep clean. I'm thinking purple. That or hot pink. Something that'll grab attention so cyclists'll see me coming; given the way most cyclists drive their bikes around here that'd probably be my only hope of not having some idiot barreling off the sidewalk and right over my brand new hood...

Of course, the parking lot at my building here is pretty full; not sure where I'm gonna keep this thing. Hm. Maybe I should move. With a car, I could conceivably move to Antigonish and still be able to make the commute back and forth to work. In fact, I think that's what I'll do. That way, I'm close enough to my friend Rob to go visit him more often while still close enough to Sydney to stay in touch with my friends here! Sweet!

Yup. That settles it. Once I get my new car, I think a hot pink Honda with blue trim, I'm going to start apartment hunting in Antigonish. Find a nice basement apartment, preferably without any windows; that should make it easier to sleep through the day on the weekends if I feel like it.

Oh, wait a minute... I had an even better idea! Get a Winnebago! Perfect! Then, wherever I go, I could take my whole home with me! No more rent to pay! Woo hoo! A big, hot pink Winnebago with blue trim and purple awnings! Or better yet maybe I could convert an old school bus into livable space! I've heard others have done it. Well, it'll be a b*tch to park but, then again, more room than a Winnebago...

Hm... if I'm going to go that far, I might as well go whole hog; I wonder if Acadian Lines has any old motor coaches they're not using anymore I can get for a good deal? Now that would be like having a small house with me wherever I go, and once you get the hot pink paint job on that no way anyone's gonna miss me coming! Hell, that might even be big enough for entertaining! Put in a bar! Better go check with Mike Holmes on the building codes that apply to motor coaches...

Oh yeah! And Acadian lines is open at 6:00 AM! Plenty of time to get down there and buy my dream vehicle and still have plenty of time to get to work!

Well that settles it. Bye bye bike, hello motor home converted motor coach, hot pink with blue trim, purple awnings and green tinted windows with a full bath, bar, dance floor, two bedrooms, BluRay DVD home theater. This is gonna be awesome!

All I need to do now is get the funds. So, if you're reading this, please help me out and give generously; just send your PayPal payments to aprilfools@ifellforit.org. I think $500,000.00 should be enough; I think I have enough time to raise that much before hell freezes over on April 1, 2012...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Enough is Enough

I just published the following status to my Facebook profile:
I promised myself I'd never drink again but last night after a hard day I thought, "Ah hell, three beers can't hurt." Yes, they can when they're Faxe 10%. So I'm stating here for the record that I'm following a good friend's example: I am QUITTING drinking as of NOW. I hope stating this publicly will force me to stick by my word lest I be made out a liar. The religious among you, please pray for strength for me.
I really feel ashamed of myself. I promised someone important to me that I'd quit drinking and I didn't. Not that they asked me to quit or anything; that was a promise I'd made voluntarily. But still, I did promise. Last night, they were trying to talk to me and I couldn't even focus on what they were saying. My God I had no idea only three beers could hit me that hard, even at 10%; I'd never had them with so little in my stomach before. :(

I've tried to quit twice before. The first time I succeeded for several months so I know I can do it but, honestly, come the weekend, I just don't want to. The only thing I like about my life right now are the wonderful people in it. Other than that, I'm nowhere near where I want to be. I do the same thing over and over again every day Monday to Friday, I hate this time of year weather wise and I've got a mountain of credit card debt. It's hard to even get out of bed in the morning.

Every Friday, the hardest day of the week, I always look forward to that beer, thinking it'll help me unwind. It does at first but then afterward, when it wears off, it leaves me more depressed than when I started. Worse, if anyone happens to call me while I'm still under the influence, I end up making a fool of myself. My friend last night was getting pretty frustrated with me. I can't remember what we said but I do remember having trouble following the conversation. :(

Enough is enough. This has got to stop.

Now before anyone suggests Alcoholics Anonymous, that was my second attempt to quit. Honestly, I resented the idea that I'd have to spend hours at AA meetings for the rest of my life just to fight this. Whenever I resent something sooner or later I rebel against it. So that won't work no matter how good the program is.

So let me try this:

I broke a promise to my best friend last night because, honestly, I thought I could get away with it. I hadn't mentioned it to anyone else; it was just a promise I made privately to them so I thought, No one will know. I figured they'd never ask so I wouldn't have to lie about it or anything but, when those beers hit me so hard, I couldn't hide it and my friend knew. It felt awful to let someone important to me down like that.

I figure, if I state this out in public for everyone to see, I won't be able to do that anymore; I won't be able to think, No one will know, because now everyone knows. If anyone even so much as spots me going into the liquor store, automatically right there I let everyone down without having taken a single drink. If I'm in a bar chances are I'm there for an event where friends will be and, again, people who know me will see if I buy a drink. I can't get away with it anymore.

No matter how much you love someone, sooner or later you let them down. I let someone down last night I never wanted to let down; I cannot let that happen again.

The religious among you, please pray for my strength in the traditions of your personal faith. The non-religious, just be there for me. Don't shame me; I feel guilty enough. Just, if you see me doing something I shouldn't be, just walk up to me and remind me of my promise. I know from experience, when I know I'm letting someone down, it gives me the strength to stop. So just letting me know you're watching me is all I need.

I never pray for myself but I'm going to post this one here; if you're Catholic, or if you simply like this prayer, feel free to say it for me:
Glorious St. Rita, Patroness of those in need, your intercession with our Lord is most powerful. Through the favors obtained by your prayers, you have been called advocate of hopeless and even impossible cases. St. Rita, humble and pure, patient and compassionate lover of Christ Crucified, we have confidence that everyone who has recourse to you will find comfort and relief.

Listen to our petitions and show your power with God on our behalf. Obtain our petitions for us if they are for the greater honor of God and for our good. We promise, if our petitions are granted, to make known your favor and to glorify God for His gift. Relying on your power with the Merciful Savior, we ask of you:

Protect and guide John Archibald Ardelli. Please grant him the strength to face life without the crutch of alcohol. Grant those he loves the wisdom to know he loves them, that his broken promises not to drink are due to his own weakness not because he does not love them.

By the singular merits of your childhood, obtain our request for us:
  • By your perfect union with the Divine Will.
  • By your acceptance of troubles in your married life.
  • By the anguish felt at the murder of your husband.
  • By the surrender of your children rather than have them offend God.
  • By your miraculous entrance into the convent.
  • By your daily penance and fasting.
  • By your courage and joy in bearing the mark of the Crucified Savior.
  • By the Divine Love which consumed your life.
  • By your devotion in receiving the Blessed Sacrament.
  • By the happiness you felt in leaving this life for union with Christ.
  • By the example you have given to people of every state of life.
Pray for us, St. Rita, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Heavenly Father, in Your infinite love and mercy, You heed the prayer of Your beloved servant Rita. You graciously grant favors through her intercession which are considered impossible to human skill and effort. Relying on her compassionate love, we ask You to assist us in our trials and difficulties. Let unbelievers know that You are helper of the humble, the defender of the weak and the strength of those who trust in You.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Model Antique GE Fan

When I was a little boy, I used to love watching electric fans spin (most children, I find, love anything that turns, which is probably why mobiles are such an effective attention grabber for infants). Lately, while poking around on YouTube, I've begun to revisit my old fascination with electric fans only now my fascination is more with antique fans as I view most modern appliances as unreliable plastic garbage.

I talked about my recent fascination with antique appliances recently on YouTube (and took the opportunity to show off my antique blender in the process):



Tonight, I was exploring the YouTube account of an antique appliance enthusiast known as 1944johndeerel and I came across this gem:



I have got to have one of these things; that'd look so sweet on my desktop at work! The only problem is I have no idea how to find this thing; no matter what I put in a Google search all I get back are actual antiques that run on batteries not this cool little replica. Not that I'm not interested in getting a genuine antique fan; I am (I'll probably be getting an antique stand fan for my living room for this summer) but this tiny replica would be perfect for my office.

Does anyone out there have any idea where I might find this thing? If so, please let me know!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Is It a Good Idea to Flag This?

I've been cyberstalked a few times in my life.

The first time was back in 1998 when a Dark Crystal fan from my Crystal Corner group harassed me both on my old personal home page and the group. It got bad enough that Yahoo! Groups (then ONElist) deleted both of our accounts because of our complaints. He claimed I said many things I didn't; this is the reason I now archive every E-mail I send (I currently have sent mail archives going back to March of 2000).

Another time has been extensively chronicled on this blog. In brief, a troll posted harassing comments on my blog and threatening comments on Riin's. Eventually, when I captured the IP address, the police were able to trace the stalking back to a former co-worker who apparently took exception to my ideas on love and romance, particularly polyamory, and decided to "teach me a lesson." She backed off once she realized I was tracing her but not before I got her name. :)

Cyberstalking can be scary but mostly it's just frustrating. The Internet makes it all too easy to be anonymous. Yes, it's possible to trace a stalker's IP but, unless your stalker is stupid enough to send you an E-mail or something, it's hard to get an IP particularly if your stalker only harasses you by comments on your blog or YouTube account (though, if you're reasonably tech-savvy, you can still capture a stalker's IP with web traffic tracking services like Statcounter).

Jonathan Paula, producer of my favorite YouTube series Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? and the show's stars Jory Caron and Riley McIlwain, are currently being cyberstalked. Someone on YouTube has taken a dislike to the microwave show and has been "flagging" the videos for "inappropriate content" for minors. There is nothing inappropriate on the show whatsoever; the flags are solely for the purpose of harassing the show's makers.

Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? recently celebrated the completion of the show's 200th experiment:



In the annotations on the above episode, you'll see Mr. Paula announce that the show has been flagged so much lately that it's in danger of being flagged off YouTube entirely; that's how bad their situation has gotten.

Mr. Paula is a YouTube partner which means he actually makes revenue from the viewing of his videos; false flagging robs him and his coworkers of revenue. This revenue isn't just "mad money" for him and his friends; this is their full time job as he explains in the Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? behind the scenes special here:



What this amounts to is this stalker is, for all intents and purposes, "docking their pay." Mr. Paula has been attempting to deal with the situation but apparently YouTube's response has been less than supportive and it seems to me the more he complains about the flagging the worse it gets.

This dovetails with my own experiences. Stalkers do what they do to try to provoke a response from their victims; the more you respond the more they do to provoke you. I think, as a short term solution, Mr. Paula should stop mentioning the flags. Doing so is a bit like trying to put out a fire with gasoline (and he and his friends know a little something about putting out fires on the show ;)); it only makes the situation worse.

So what should he do? Well, I've never had a "partner" account with YouTube but given how customizable the channel seems to be I imagine you can add HTML code to video descriptions. Mr. Paula might want to consider installing Statcounter into the description of each new video of the show from now on; that way he can capture the IP address of the person responsible for the flags.

Once he has the IP address, he can file a complaint with the police. A subpoena can be issued to the Internet Service Provider who can then, using the IP, date and time the stalker connected, identify the perpetrator. Once they know who it is, Mr. Paula can press charges under
Chapter 265, Section 43 of the General Laws of Massachusetts for stalking.

I'm going to send a link to this blog entry to Mr. Paula so he can see this suggestion. Mr. Paula, if you're reading this, if there's anything I can do to help just let me know.

In the meantime, I urge all of you reading this blog to go check out Is It a Good Idea to Microwave This? It's thoroughly entertaining, particularly the later seasons, and it could use some supporters right now. Subscribe, rate and enjoy!



I think I'll add these guys to my regular prayers to St. Rita as well; my religious readers, whatever your faith, I urge you to do the same.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Dilemma

I have a dilemma.

The Cape Breton Stage Company is looking for submissions for their 2010 season. Since seeing their truly phenomenal Halloween show Tales from the Bottom of the Well last year I've wanted to submit a play for them to perform. I had intended to write one for this year's season but, two days after Halloween, a major event happened in my life that's kept me pretty busy; I haven't had time to write. Now the deadline for submissions, January 15, is less than a week away.

I thought I'd have to wait until next year. Then I realized I actually do have one work here, a short film screenplay, that would adapt very well to the stage with only minor changes; I could easily have an adaption written for the deadline. Perfect solution, except for one thing:

The screenplay isn't mine; it was written by Riin Gill.

You might wonder why, given my current feelings about Riin, I would want to work on something written by her of all people. Well, despite my current contempt for her and the difficult feelings the story itself stir in me, the truth is it is excellent work; it deserves to be performed. Yes, it is that good in my opinion.

The fact is, Riin never even copyrighted this work and precious few people have even read it; I could just as easily adapt it and take full credit for writing it and no one would be the wiser. But I can't do that. As a writer myself, I respect the work of others. I cannot take credit for someone else's work; if I'm going to work with someone else's work I need to have their permission just as I'd expect someone working with my work to seek mine.

Therein lies my problem: how do you get permission to work with the work of a writer who refuses to speak to you?

Honestly, I doubt Riin would even care; she even said herself, "You should still do the movie . . . I'll [even] donate two skeins of yarn if you give Happy Fuzzy Yarn a credit . . ." (the main character is a knitter). Mind you, I doubt she'd still be willing to donate any yarn to the project but, as to the play itself, I don't think she cares what I do with it. Still, I don't know that; I'd be a lot more comfortable if I had her explicit blessing to do this.

Anyone have any thoughts on what I should do? I need to figure this out before the January 15 deadline.