I just lost an hour and a half of typing towards a post on the past couple weeks, the podcasts I listen to, and reflections on my iPod Touch. I was in the process of adding pictures when Firefox decided it would be a good time to crash.
I am pissed. I am getting sick. I am going to bed.

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On how to screw up trust: Booster Events and Flanvention 2

So pretty much anyone who’s been around me in the past two years (and many who haven’t) knows I’m a huge fan of the shortlived Joss Whedon TV series Firefly, a scifi-western that was later turned into the feature film Serenity. Here are my first impressions of both the show and the movie.
Well, shortly after the theatrical run of Serenity ended last year, a convention devoted to all things Firefly and Serenity, The Flanvention, was held, put on by Booster Events. It was a great success, with a full schedule and many high-profile guests. Here’s a review, and some pictures.
Anyway, this year rolls around, and the sequel to last year’s event is planned: Flanvention 2. Fans went online and purchased their tickets, and soon all 500 spots were sold out. Everything was looking peachy until Nov 28th, when Booster said there was a possibility of the event getting cancelled due to financial trouble. From Booster:

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – Boosters is experiencing financial difficulties. We are doing everything in our power to facilitate Flan 2, but at this point, it is uncertain that we will be able to obtain financing in time for the event. We will update you daily in the Flan 2 forum. Anyone with airline tickets who might want to cancel, will need to do so immediately. If we are unable to obtain the needed financing by Friday, Dec. 1st, the event will be cancelled.

Dec 1st rolls around, and Booster says this:

Flan is a go. So much has happened, it needs a proper explanation. Following the convention, we will publish a State of the Union to clarify what happened, where we are, and settle the many misconceptions floating around out there.

That is, until about 5 hours ago, when they posted this note:

Booster Entertainment apologizes for the great inconvenience, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Flanvention is cancelled. An official notice will be posted within 10 days.

Keep in mind, the conference was set to start tomorrow.
Attendees are probably finding out about this RIGHT NOW, as they step off the plane and arrive at the hotel. Fan-written blog Whedonesque is covering the debacle (see also The Flanvention Helpline). I feel badly for everyone who was duped in this. Booster owes them nothing less than a full refund and a big apology.

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Lease renewal nonsense

I just got the yearly lease renewal notice in my door. Not only are they going to raise my monthly rent by $39 without any (stated) reason, but there’s also a note, a couple paragraphs later, that says: “the above rates do not include additional fees, such as pet, storage, parking, etc…”. Sorry, what? Parking? Parking has always been free. So I’ve left them a message about that. Hopefully it’s a bit of extra stuff from the form letters of the company that just acquired the property.. we’ll see.
Time to research apartments again.

An open letter to Florida Power and Light Company

Dear FPL:
I really like your new Sunshine Energy program. By paying an additional $10/month on top of my energy bill, I ensure that 1000 kWh are injected into the grid that were produced using so-called “green” methods such as solar and wind-turbines, regardless of how much power I actually use. This money not only pays for that electricity, but also goes toward building environmentally-conscious energy-generating infrastructure.
You know what else would help the environment? If you only sent the opt-in notices to people who weren’t already subscribed to the plan. Granted, the number of people not subscribed probably still far outweighs those that are, but all it would take is a simple cross-reference with your customer database. In fact, give people the option to just receive their statement, and the FPL newsletter, “Energy News”. Every month when I get my FPL bill, I throw out credit card offers, ads for SurgeShield (FPL’s surge protection service), and other promotional goods.
I love the Sunshine Energy program; not many utility companies provide such an option and it feels good to know I’m helping build a more sustainable society. Let’s just take it one step further.
Best regards,
Krishen Greenwell
Sarasota, FL

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Software developers will understand this probably a little better than others — you know how, when you leave a bunch of files open on your computer, things can get kind of unstable?
Well, that’s kind of how I’m feeling at work right now — I’m the computer, and my tasks are the files.
Okay, that was a little far fetched. But it seems like lately, I’ll be in the middle of one thing get asked to drop it and concentrate 100% of my time on something else. Here’s the thing… I have no problem adding tasks to my plate. That’s fine. Just adjust the schedule accordingly and be clear about how it’s going to affect deadlines. As it is right now, things just get pushed “off the radar” and get left dangling. Aurggh!!!

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Subjectivity of the Law

[picture: picture of jim's camera taking a picture in boston pizza.  dec 2002]
Quick entry tonight, since I really should be sleeping right now. Watched Star Trek: Nemesis tonight at Cam’s. It’s the first time I’ve seen the Next Generation crew in anything for a while. I’m not a huge trekkie, but I did watch the majority of the Next Generation series. I’ve seen two episodes of Deep Space 9 and one of Voyager, but in that short time I’ve given them they didn’t manage to hook me. Enjoyed the film — was kind of shocked to find out Brent Spiner (who plays Data) actually co-wrote the screenplay. That’s kinda cool.
Anyhow here’s the question of the day. Would you agree that driving a vehicle when you’re sleep-deprived constitutes impaired driving? If yes, then how do you deal with the fact that another form of impaired driving — driving under the influence of alcohol — carries a stiff penalty (a fine/jail time and impounding your car for 30 days in BC, a US$10,000 fine in Florida) whereas driving sleep impaired does not? Both put the lives of others besides yourself at risk.
I think there should be penalty for driving when you’re sleep impaired, but the question raised is, how does one measure this objectively?
One idea would be to have the driver rate his or her own fitness to drive. During a conversation with Cam and Melissa this evening I suggested a sort of “contract” the driver enters when they want to turn on the car, say, a button labelled “Yes, I am fit to drive a vehicle in my present state”. If the driver were to get into an accident and this button were hit, the consequences of the accident — say the type of insurance coverage you’re eligible for — would be different. I think the button would be somewhat difficult to implement in practice though — it would lose its meaning once people start hitting it via muscle-memory.
What do you think? Should drivers be held accountable to the same consequences for all forms of impairment? Why or why not?

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My Hotmail account

Can you spot the one legitimate message?

If you want to get a hold of me, using my “alumni” address is about 4-trillion times more reliable.

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¿ la folie… pas du tout

So there’s a film festival going on here that started on Friday night; it’s in its fourth year of existence. It’s fighting a reputation for being just a big posh gathering that focuses more on bumping elbows with celebrities and rich art-snobs than good film.
That being said, last night I went to see ¿ la folie… pas du tout (“He loves me, He loves me not”), and it was great. It’s an exploration of subjective storytelling. I’m not at all that good at summarizing plots — imdb is good for that sort of thing — but suffice it to say it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it a lot. Go see it if you get the chance!

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Quick Rant

Went into Target today to apply for one of their credit cards. None of my Canadian credit counts down here, so I have to start with department stores.
This involved filling out a big form with my address, social security number, birth date, home phone, work phone, previous address, and other details. My application was rejected because I didn’t have a US driver’s license with a picture yet. That’s fine, I didn’t meet their requirements. But then they wanted to keep my rejected application. *That* I had a problem with. They said they’d keep it in their safe for me. I said that I wanted it back. They wouldn’t give it to me. I asked why, and the best answer they could give me (and believe me, it’s not very good) was that it’s store policy. Ugh.
Meta-rant: I never had any rants before I started blogging.

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