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The Three Times I Was on TV

Paul Ford just wrote a very good guide to being interview in the media. He makes some excellent, excellent points, it’s really amazing how much of it hits home for me. It got me thinking about mistakes I made long ago when dealing with media stuff.

I started 2 blog-hosting sites, Pitas.com and Diaryland.com, in 1999 and they got big quite fast, because this was the time blogs started exploding, so I wound up getting approached by the media a fair amount for at least a year or two. One thing that’s really amazing about how reporters work, that I didn’t realize until I saw it in action, was that I could go for 2 months with no stories mentioning me or my sites, but as soon as one was published, I would invariably get a bunch of reporters phoning/emailing me immediately, to be interviewed for some extremely similar story they just decided to write.

Anyway, every time I showed up in a print story, they misquoted at least 1 thing I said, and quite often it was the dumbest, most pointless misquote possible. In these cases, the misquote wouldn’t change any part of the story, but would just irritate me, like I’d think “Why did they say Italian restaurant when I clearly told them Mexican?” or something (not a real example). One time the Globe and Mail did an article about a certain Pitas blog on their front page and they called it a chatroom, after I had quite clearly explained to the reporter how a blog is not anything like a chatroom (and this was way past the point where anyone should have made this mistake).

I wound up on TV three times, and they were all huge disasters. I’m going to write them out in what I think the actual order was. I’m not 100% sure on this, but it doesn’t really matter much.

One

There was a Canadian show called Shift TV that I think was based on a sort of WIRED-like magazine called Shift. I think I was interviewed for the magazine over the phone with someone, and then some time later, I wound up on this show. I was living in a basement apartment in Toronto at the time, which constantly looked an absolute fucking slob and spaz lived there (not sure why), and I remember that when they contacted me and said they would come to interview me where I live, I just said “okay sure”. It didn’t even occur to me that I should remove the 20 empty pop bottles that were all over the counter and the top of the fridge, or replace the lightbulb in the bedroom that burned out about 1 month after I moved in and I never fixed.

The crew was supposed to come over at 11 in the morning, or something like that, but they phoned a couple of hours early and asked if they could just come right over, and I said “okay sure” and hopped in the shower. This is why I think Paul’s article is so good, because it tells people “hey take a second to give the media an answer, and you’re allowed to say no”. I was never intimidated by the media, but I’m just the kind of guy who generally goes “Oh sure, whatever works man”, and I also don’t really think about long-term like “Hmm, what if I wind up being interviewed with soaking wet hair that needs to be cut, looking pale as hell, in a weirdly lit shithole apartment and then they for some reason replay this show 3 times a week for SO LONG”.

I guess these days maybe people are smarter, and not just big idiots like me who go “Oh uh TV crew coming over whatever” but anyway I will say this: Thank god Youtube wasn’t around and that show seems to have shuffled off into obscurity.

Two

There was some Canadian TV channel called.. I think TALK TV maybe? It was around for a couple of years, and there was a very nice lady on it who was a Pitas user, and she hosted an hour-long (if I recall) show where people sat around on couches and talked about the Internet (sidenote: She went on to be a Muchmusic personality and then I think politician??). So anyway, someone from her show invited me to come on and talk about blogs.

The line-up was the host, me and some Toronto lady who had a blog (and I want to say maaaaybe there was a fourth person but probably not so I’m going to go ahead and write as if there wasn’t.) I remember that the other guest had already been on the show, or maybe some other show on the same channel, and after the show, I saw her trying to kind of work one of the producers and get them to feature her down the road on future shows.

This show was live, and there were some bullet point topics, and one of them was about some lady who had just been caught in what may have been the very first “I have a kid with cancer” hoax in the blog world (here’s the Wikipedia for it). I had followed along with the story a bit as the hoax was unraveled, but I wasn’t very interested, and I kind of felt like the blog had been suspect from the start. The host and the other guest, however, had apparently been die-hard readers, and during the show, they talked about it in detail.

I want to add that when I’m just sort of sitting around in a group discussion, I think I tend to smile and look cheerful, especially if I happen to be mentally zoning out of the conversation. It’s kind of a conscious thing so that I don’t appear hard-faced while I’m losing interest. (I want to add I also smile and look cheerful when I’m part of a good conversation, so if you’re talking to me and you see me smiling, don’t worry, you are interesting as hell and I would never tune out).

So long story short, my only remaining memory of this whole show was watching a repeat of it on TV later, and right at the part where the two ladies were talking about how devastated when the blogger’s (fake) kid had died of (fake) leukemia, and how much they had cried, the camera cut to me, zoned out, face covered in a big old shit-eating grin, for no reason. Good stuff!

Three

This was a 1 or 2 minute taped human interest piece on Global News, a traditional nightly 6:00PM broadcast. I don’t even remember where they interviewed me (probably my crappy basement apartment), or what I said, but I do remember that I looked really terrible (as always), and that after the piece finished, they cut back to the anchors, and the lady (I forget her name, she was the anchor for years and years on there) made a really nasty comment like “Wow a bunch of people sitting around on their computers writing about their lives, sounds like they need to get a life”. I’m not getting the exact wording right, but also not really exaggerating, it really was about as nasty as that. I actually am 99% positive she said “sounds like they need to get a life”. It was bad enough that as someone who would make fun of bloggers regularly, I was still like “wow what the fuck”.

 

A friend’s parents videotaped this broadcast for me, and when I saw them after it aired, they just looked at me and didn’t say anything, kind of like “oh shit what do we say to this guy in this situation, he just got humiliated on Global TV” hjahaha.

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Eating in Nashville

I just wrote this blog post title, and then I realized it sounds like that song “Walking in Memphis”. Then I wanted to change it to “Eating in Memphis? Hell No, More Like Eating in Nashville!”, but I feel like people won’t find that as funny as I do.

I also realized this story happens 45 minutes south of Nashville, but now that I’m singing “Eating in Nashville” in my head, to the tune of “Walking in Memphis”, I’m not changing it. It’s called integrity, look it up on dictionary.com sometime why don’t you. Anyway back to the story.

When I was a kid, our family went to Tennessee, and we ate at a place called Miss Mary Bobo’s, which is an old, historic boarding house in Lynchburg, TN, right beside the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I went back to Nashville in 2016 with my family, and I said hey, we should eat there, it’s cool.

I checked and it was still open (although now it’s owned by the Jack Daniels company). At one point, I checked to see how far it was from Nashville, and I made the rookie non-American mistake of typing “Lynchburg” into Google Maps. Turns out, that term is not even close to specific enough, there are something like 7 towns called that.

I made an appointment (you pretty much have to) and a couple of months later, we wound up at the restaurant. The way Miss Mary Bobo’s works is that when you go, you’re seated at a communal table that seats maybe 10 or 12 people. There is a set selection of food that is brought to the table, and everyone passes it around, as if you were at a family dinner. The meals vary depending on the day, so once you get there you might find out you’re having ribs, fried chicken, pork, etc. They have southern side dishes that also vary, and I think that every meal has a serving of fried okra and whiskey-infused baked apples. The food is amazing, I love it so much. They have this fudge pie for dessert some of the time that I still think about.

While you eat, there’s a host who sits with you and tells historical stories about Lynchburg, Jack Daniels, the boarding house, etc. This part is good, and it’s fun to sit with strangers (usually in groups I assume) from different places, and have a chat.

I’ve gone twice as an adult now, and the second time, we sat with a group of 5 older people who were on a months-long trip together. There were four siblings from one family: 2 women (one of which who had her husband with her), and 2 twin brothers, who happened to have a birthday the day we were there.

One of the twins found a way to mention several times that he had had a good life and was more than happy to die anytime. He seemed fairly healthy for his age, didn’t seem very overweight, sick or weak, but he did talk a little quietly, and boy was he eager to pop off. The others kept reminding him that he had to live at least long enough to see his youngest granddaughter graduate from high school and he grumblingly agreed, kind of “Oh yeah, okay okay”.

The first time I visited as an adult, we sat with four extremely fun, older black businessmen. They were joking around with each other and making the occasional reference to how drunk one of them was going to get later that night in Nashville, and how he had a girlfriend there. This part of the story actually really, really frustrates me, because I remember I made a really good joke to them about how drunk this guy was going to be, and how he was going to get lucky, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. I really want to repeat the joke and brag about it, because I was super happy about it, and I never make good jokes. I also want to brag because it also got a huge laugh from these guys, probably because up until that point I think most of my conversation had been stuff like “So how far was your drive to Memphis?”

Anyway one fun part of the meal was when one of the guys asked the host “So how did this town get called Lynchburg?” and she sort of froze, then went “Oh hmm, good question, um you know what, I just don’t know!”

Then there was about 30 seconds of silence, and she added “Actually, I do know there was a very prominent family in the early days of the town who were named Lynch, I wonder if that had anything to do with it”. Everyone kind of nodded, but I am positive every single adult at that table was thinking that this lady was making this up. I assume the kids were still trying to figure out my joke about the drunk guy getting lucky. To be fair, it’s a believable cover story, but she played it too dumb by acting like she wasn’t sure if those pieces fit together.

I just Googled it and found a couple of interesting web pages, and of the 7 towns named Lynchburg, 5 of them are either like “Uhh we don’t know” or “Oh yeah, guy named Lynch, it was totally because of a guy named Lynch”, and only Lynchburg, Missouri flat out says it was obviously named after the many lynchings there.

When you look into it some more, Lynchburg, Tennessee has a few possibilities of how it got its name:

  • Named after a “Judge Lynch” who ran a vigilante squad.
  • Named after a “small, weakly” man who administered punishments at the town whipping post.
  • Named after a different Lynchburg.

First of all, the first two of those are a bit better than “there were a lot of lynchings”, but not really admirable. I do kind of admire the strategy of saying “Ohh uhhh… yes we had a whipping post and public whippings but umm.. the punishment guy was small and weakly? Does that help???” The third possibility just sounds like a line from the Simpsons or something to me.

But if you do find yourself anywhere near Lynchburg, TN, I do highly recommend checking out Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House. Really, really good food, and quite a unique atmosphere. Tell them I sent you. They won’t know what you’re talking about, they serve something like 150 people a day.

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Youtube Idea

I don’t think I’ll ever get around to doing this, so I guess I’ll just write it here: You know how Youtube channels sometimes have celebration videos like “woo we got 5000 followers, wow!” and whatnot – I think it’d be funny to create a channel, and make the first video one of those, pretending to have gotten 500 subscribers. A week later, do one for 2000, then a week later, another for 10,000. Keep doing for this for a few months, then upload a video saying “I’m so sorry about what I said in my last video, it was so far over the line, and I’ve been advised by the authorities that I need to take it down, and any other videos where I said similar things. I know a lot of people unsubscribed, but I want to apologize to all my fans and let them know I’m seeking counselling, both legal and spiritual.”

Or whatever, something like that. The important thing just being that there’s a channel with all these videos celebrating all their subscribers, but then it looks like almost all of them unsubscribed.

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adoshif

One time, I was moving, and I found notebooks of lyrics from my high school band. They weren’t emotional or anything, but still so, so bad. For about a day, I thought about how badly I needed to erase their existence, in a way that could not be reversed. I cut them into tiny pieces of paper, scrambled them up, then made four piles, and put one in each of my pants pockets.

I had to do errands at a few places, each 5 or 10 minutes apart from each other. At each one, I found a trash can and threw out a pile of the scraps of bad lyrics. At one place, a Canadian Tire, I saw 2 trash cans, so I put a pile in each.

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One of the Worst Topics for a Blog Post

I think back when blogs were conquering the Earth, a common slam on them was that a lot of people would just write “Sorry I haven’t updated, I will soon!”, and then maybe a little more detail, but not much. I keep holding myself back from doing that, because I have been meaning to update, but I never have a ton of time.

I started my little side business selling camera film in Canada, and originally my idea was just “Hey, it’s a pain to buy this stuff here, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel this way, so I’m going to start a little online store, and it won’t be too much work, and who knows, maybe it’ll take off after a year or two”, but things went a different way. The store has become much more popular than I expected, much quicker. I’m spending a lot of time importing merchandise, shipping orders out, re-stocking, etc. It’s fun, but unexpected.

I’ve always loved the idea of having a small, well curated online store. For some reason, it appeals to me to create a really well done online store that looks really nice, has a lot of detail, but doesn’t necessarily sell much. I tried doing this a little bit about 10 or 12 years ago, but back then I had to write the software myself, and it took a lot of time. Nowadays, you can get something together much quicker, although there’s still a lot of work to do an decisions to make.

There’s one online store idea that I’ve always wanted to do, but it always seemed to be too much work, because I’d have to go buy some boxes, figure out shipping rates, buy packing tape, etc. Now that I’m actually boxing up orders and shipping them regularly, I might actually do it.

The idea was to create an online store where you’d visit, and there would be a webcam pointing at a single book, streaming constantly. That would be the only book for sale, and there would only be 1 copy, and when somebody bought it, I would walk over, move it out of the way, and put a different book up for sale.

I was thinking that I could call it The World’s Smallest Online Bookstore, but I’m not 100% sold on that name. There seem to be a few actual brick and mortar businesses who call themselves the world’s smallest bookstore, and I imagine if I searched hard enough, there has to be someone using that as the name for their online store.

Interestingly, the main result I get for the world’s smallest bookstore is a place that closed in 2016 and was about 2 hours north of Toronto, in the Kawartha region. I really like that area, and I usually go to Bobcaygeon once a summer, so I wish I had known about the place before it closed, it looked really cool. The article I linked is a very good read, it’s at least looking just for the picture of the signage.

Toronto also used to be the home of The World’s Biggest Bookstore, which I went to many times from when I was a kid onwards. It closed a couple of years ago, which wasn’t incredibly surprising. Turns out that occupying a huge chunk of prime downtown real estate is only good when your industry is booming.

Here’s a little history of good and bad times to be a small or big bookstore, decade by decade:

1980: Huge brick and mortar bookstore: Awesome, profitable idea.

1980: Huge online bookstore: Bad idea because online doesn’t exist.

1990: Huge brick and mortar bookstore: Still looking good!

1990: Huge online bookstore: There is some online, but still a bad idea.

2000: Huge brick and mortar bookstore: I think this is still okay.

2000: Huge online bookstore: Oh yeah baby.

2010: Huge brick and mortar bookstore: Yeah, not looking so good.

2010: Huge online bookstore: Oh yeah baby.

2020: Huge online bookstore: This went so well the founder started a literal spaceship company.

2020: Tiny webcam-powered online bookstore: Wow this went even better than expected, and after 3 years, I am happy to announce that I have purchased 2 spaceship companies.

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The Hidden Danger of Cryonics.

All the smart transhumanists and futurists are really into cryonics. If you’re rich, it seems kind of like a no-risk situation to have your body frozen after death, with the hope that scientists will figure out a way to bring you back to life eventually. Worst case scenario, the power grid goes out for an extended period of time, your body thaws out, and roving bands of wolves eat you, right? Maybe not. I mean, that’s pretty bad, I don’t want to get eaten by wolves, even if I’m already dead, but I have another problem here. I’m going to go into it in a minute, but let me just say, I didn’t live my whole life just to wind up wolf food. There’s lots of animals out there the wolves can eat, I don’t care how hungry they are. I wish a wolf was reading this so I could yell at them, but I accept that only humans and spambots are reading this, so let me get back to cryonics.

Okay, so let’s say you’re a rich guy and you want to get your body frozen after you die, and you set it all up. First of all, I have to admit, I have no clue how it works, but I assume you probably need some special equipment. I’m specifically picturing a huge Coleman cooler shaped like a coffin, filled with ice.

This is an illustration I made to show how I picture it. I wasn’t sure who to photoshop into the cooler, so I asked on Twitter who was the person most famous for being dead. Joel Potischman said Archduke Ferdinand, and I immediately decided to use him, and I definitely didn’t have to look up his Wikipedia to remind myself who he was. I’d also like to point out that I was only able to find a painting of him with no lower half, so I photoshopped a sensible pair of brown khakis onto him.

Okay, so picture you’re this guy, dead and in a huge cooler. First of all, I assume that once you get old you’re going to have to hang around the cooler all the time, probably keep it filled with ice, so already the flaws in the cryonics plan are showing up.

But my main problem is that, okay, let’s say you get frozen up really hard, and you last for 50 years in some cryonics facility. One day, they cure death, and they figure out how to fix all your cells and bring you back to life. Here is my concern: Isn’t it perfectly logical that the people who work at the cryonics facility are probably going to just use you as a slave or something? You don’t have any money and they have a business that suddenly had to spend a whole bunch of money regenerating a bunch of old dead guys. This is how the conversation will go:

You: Guys, nooooo, I don’t want to be your slave”, you’ll say, “I thought you cared about life extension and science!

Cryonics guy: That was my great-grandfather, I just inherited this place. This place sucks ass, my cousin inherited a gas station.

You: What about my family?

Cryonics guy: Oh good point, hold on, let me phone them.. Hey guys, your rich great-great-grandfather woke up and he’s probably going to want all his money that got passed down to you guys? What’s that, I should keep him as a slave, and also have sex with him? Okay thanks, bye.

You: Did you actually call them, I don’t know what a phone looks like now.

I’m tired of writing this blog post. I really burned myself out with that incredible Photoshop work.

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New Site – I’m in the Business of.. Film?

I’m in the film business. I know what you’re saying: “What?”. I am saying the same thing. But uhh yeah, I am running a little online store selling film. Camera film. Photo film. You know the stuff. The site is called Buy Film Canada.

The main deal is that my biggest hobby is film photography, (which is on a general popularity upswing lately), but it’s a little frustrating if you live in Canada, because there just aren’t quite the options as in the USA for buying things. Cameras, film, etc. cost a lot more here than in the USA. I’ve always really liked the idea of having a good online store, but I never have anything to sell lately, and I decided this was a good spot to start one up.

It’s taken longer to get going than I expected for various reasons, but I guess that’s just how everything in life is I guess. I’ve done various online commerce things over the years, although not for quite a while I guess, and I was reminded of a few things.

The one thing that I already knew, but I’ve had to explain to a lot of people, is that one of the bigger hassles in running a business involves dealing with suppliers and getting merchandise. The problem manifests itself in different ways, depending on what you’re selling, but it is always more of a hassle than you expect.

In a lot of cases these days, people buy stuff from China (possibly custom made, possible something already being manufactured), and get it shipped over here. When you first look at a site like Ali Express or DHGate, you see all this stuff listed and the interface looks somewhat like Ebay or Amazon – just enter your quantity and buy it. People who have dealt with it, though, quite often have very frustrating stories about how late things came, how different the merchandise was from what they expected, how long they had to wait for samples, whatever.

In my case with the film, I had a few challenges. The first was that creating a relationship with the Canadian distributors is not a piece of cake. Before even approaching them, I suspected that they probably get inquiries from photographers who just want to buy and stockpile 200 rolls of film at a cheap price. My suspicion was definitely correct, and I had to go through a definite process to get an account setup. I was not remotely surprised at this, but it seems like a lot of people I talked to said “Oh man you’d think they’d be eager to sell you a bunch of film!”

Apart from that, there are some distributors that I can’t even get in touch with, even after emailing and phoning and leaving messages. This is something I’m sure I can get worked out now that the site is up, but it’s interesting.

Anyhow, none of this is a problem. You can always find alternate distributors if you look hard enough, and I’ve got the site up now and my only real hurdle is just selling enough of this film. I’m making a pretty small markup, and offering free shipping over a certain order size, so my only real worry is making sure I actually make a profit on the site haha, but whatever.

Okay that’s all, I’ll try to update here with stuff unrelated to that store soon. I was thinking of creating a standalone blog that basically documents the process of setting up and running an online store, instead of sticking all that info here, what does everyone think, should I do that? Or post it here? Or just shut up? How about I shut my mouth? How about that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Domain Name Decisions

So, a quick thing: As I mentioned in a couple of earlier posts, I’m starting a little online store, and part of the idea is that I’m selling a type of product that isn’t that easy to get in Canada as in the USA. You can buy this type of product at some stores, but not a ton, and in a lot of cities and towns, your options are very limited. There’s no really good (ie. reasonably priced) way to buy online from a Canadian company, so a lot of people are stuck ordering from the U.S., and paying import fees and border fees and whatnot.

So since I’m mostly concentrating on Canada, I think it’s important that the store’s name communicates that. A lot of the value the store gives is that I’m shipping thiese items from inside Canada, which should make things faster, and cheaper. I bought the following domains:

buyXXXXcanada.com

buyXXXX.ca

buyXXXXcanada.ca (just backup for the .com version)

and just plain buyXXXX.com was already taken, and I’m sure they want $20,000 or something for it (the XXXX is a common 4 letter word).

Hey you know what, I just got curious, and I phoned the company (Afternic) who owns the .com version of it, and asked how much it was, just for the sake of this blog entry, and they wanted $9999. I talked to the guy a teeny bit, and I think I probably could have negotiated this a lot lower, but I honestly don’t know what it’d be worth to me – would I pay $500? Maaaaaaaaybe, but I don’t know if I’d get a huge return for that price, even if the store does well and lasts a long time. So the price is, predictably, way too much for me, but really, it’s not as insane as you might expect. Actually let me go on a tangent here:

There are big brokering companies that buy a huge amount of domains (this one mentioned they have 11 million on hand), and then sell them, and it’s interesting to me that the prices are not always nuts. I’ve phoned about a couple of other domains in the past (also just for curiosity), and they’re never as bad as I expect. The big domain broker companies obviously have a decent feel for how much people might actually pay, but if you ever approach just some random joe-schmo who owns even a mediocre domain you want, they always think they’re going to get $50,000 for it, and I think maybe sometimes (but very rarely) they do. I think it’s less and less common though, and I would bet if you saw a chart of domain prices, it’d be steadily falling.

I don’t have a ton of domain selling or buying experience. I’ve always been very, very interested in the whole field, but I’ve only sold one domain. It was a 5-letter, made-up word, and I owned the .com version of it for 8 or 9 years, but never did much with it. Then, in 2012, a guy emailed me saying he wanted to buy it. I think we had a brief exchange, then weren’t in touch with each other for 6 months, at which point he came back and was more serious.

The guy wouldn’t tell me exactly what he wanted it for, but he did say he was just some random guy with a business idea. I did as much digging as I could, and I couldn’t find anything to suggest that he was actually a front for some big company that could pay me a lot more, so after a bunch of negotiating, he agreed to buy the domain for $1250 (I think his initial offer was $250 and my first counter was $2000). When he finally launched a site, it did indeed turn out that he was just a guy with an interesting product (some kind of mask to help you sleep if I recall).

I own Pitas.com and I’ve never, ever received any remote interest from anyone in buying it. I have never tried to sell it, but I imagine if I did, it wouldn’t be that desirable – what would possibly go there? Years and years ago, I looked up a bunch of fast food names, and none of them had anything up other than “Domain For Sale” notices. Hotdog dot com, Hamburger dot com, Hamburgers dot com, Chickenwing dot com, etc. – I’m sure they were all registered a long, long time ago, but none of them have ever had anything interesting there.

This is actually what I find very frustrating about the domain name business: For the most part, it seems like there are a huge amount of domain names for sale, and so, so, so, so many of them just sit around forever, unused, because nobody really needs them. Having a great domain name is nice, but as people become more web-literate, and also just type business names into Google more, the value is less and less.

I think as the general value of domain names goes down, the amount of people looking to buy “special” (anything over $100) ones also goes down, so the domain brokers are relying even more than ever on making all their profits from fewer and fewer sales. This means that when they actually have a potential buyer on the hook, they’re going to want to get the max value from the domain the customer wants. I’m not explaining this well I don’t think, but anyhow yeah, it’s too bad. There have certainly been times in the past where I’ve wanted a certain domain name, and phoned, fully knowing that they’re going to ask for $3000, and fully knowing that I would never pay over $200 for it, but also knowing that nobody else will ever want that domain, or do anything with it. So it just sits there and is never used.

Anyhow, back to my little store: I don’t actually mind, in this case, that I can’t get the buyXXXX.com version of the name. It might actually be a good thing, because just owning buyXXXX.com doesn’t actually signal that I’m focusing on selling to people in Canada. It might be nice if I ever branch out and really start trying to market outside of Canada, but I don’t really anticipate that happening; it’s definitely not some goal I have anyway.

So I had to make the decision between buyXXXXcanada.com and buyXXXX.ca and to begin with, I went with the .com version, and I set up the commerce software to go along with it, and had the whole store set up there.

But then, I really got thinking about which of the two is better, and it was very, very tough for me to decide.

On one hand, the longer domain is a .com, and it also has the Canada keyword inside the name, so if you’re a potential customer and you see that name, it will signal you right away that it’s a Canadian business.

On the other hand, the .ca name is shorter, and a bit catchier. It also feels a little more like an actual brand name, just a little less generic, you know? It doesn’t have Canada in the actual domain name, but I do think that here in Canada, people are quite used to .ca domain names, and I think that on first encounter, having .ca in the domain might be just as good a signal of “Hey this is a local business” as having Canada. If you read any article on domains, they always say something like “The dot com name is king!”, and I still mostly agree with that for a lot of websites, but I think people outside of Canada probably have no clue how common and accepted .ca names are here. I don’t think the idea that people will go to the .com version by accident is that big a deal here.

So, in the end, I went with the shorter buyXXXX.ca name, but I’d definitely like to hear any opinions from people reading this. Heck, it’s not too late to switch if I’ve made some huge horrible mistake haha! (Although I think that even if I picked the wrong name, it’s unlikely it would be a really catastrophic mistake – maybe it makes a 2% difference to traffic/sales long-term or something).

Okay, so this was 1400 words on “I chose between these 2 domain names, but I’m still not 100% sure I was right” haha, which is kind of par for the course on this blog. I have a few upcoming entries, and I’m very close to actually launching the store properly, at which point I’ll actually talk about what it is, link it, etc.

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More About Reality Simulation Theory

I think I wrote about Simulation Theory a while ago on here (oh yeah here it is, I forget what I said). Basically, it’s the idea that maybe our whole world is a simulation,and it’s been getting so much press for the last year or two. One thing I love about it is just how corny it would be if it turned out to be true. Guess what guys, the meaning of the Universe and life and everything? It’s a plot twist that you already saw in some of crappy-ass science fiction a while ago.

There is one really great thing about simulation theory though: There was a New Yorker write-up on Sam Altman (young woke VC) a while ago that just casually mentioned “two tech billionaires have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation” as an afterthought. That wasn’t even the whole sentence, it was the end of a sentence; there were 26 words that came first. It’s like if one of my regular boring posts here was like “So I bought one of the ketchup bottles that hotdog stands use, and it really does make a difference, I know there should be no difference, but I swear I can taste the difference when I eat the hot dog; I’m in a consensual relationship with a talking frog” and then just dropped the subject.

Last year, I met Nick Bostrom, who popularized simulation theory, but I only talked to him about superintelligent AI and totally forgot to ask him about the billionaire thing. I still remember the exact place I was, twenty minutes later, when I suddenly remembered it and went “FUCK” on a (fairly deserted) sidewalk.

Marc Andreessen, who is quoted in the New Yorker article, follows me on Twitter, and I’m so curious about this billionaire thing that I did something I almost never do, and Direct-Messaged him a question, despite having never actually chatted with him on there previously. I’m always wary of bugging famous/popular people who follow me, because I don’t want them unfollowing; I figure it looks good if someone comes across my profile and sees the “these people follow Andrew” bit and it’s a bunch of good tweeters. Anyway, Andreessen didn’t give me any info, he just said that a credible reporter had told him that, but he had no knowledge of it. I assumed that’d be his answer, but I had to check.

I think the general consensus of who the billionaires are tends to include Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. Both are billionaires, and closely connected to Altman. Musk is is a founder of OpenAI, along with Altman, and became rich as a founder of Paypal, along with Thiel.

Peter Thiel is basically the Darth Vader figure to Sam Altman’s Luke Skywalker. Altman was Thiel’s protege, and they both became unimaginably wealthy and powerful, but one turned to the bright side (Altman fighting to save humanity) and one went bad (Thiel spending millions of dollars to stop us from ever seeing the full Hulk Hogan sex tape). They weren’t brothers like Vader and Skywalker, but listen, this analogy is falling apart, I totally lost focus on this one, I’m honestly concentrating most on just saying shit about Star Wars so I get more comments on my blog. Anyhow, those guys know each other, so people assume it’s him.

There’s definitely a movie script in this whole thing. Here’s how I picture it, and for the sake of clarity, instead of saying “John Smith (a Sam Altman type character)”, I’m just going to use real names. But if you’re a producer, director or studio executive reading this, and you want me to make it into a real movie, just get in touch, and I can change the names to fake names and write the full script, in return for like a million dollars or something. Also, I’m going to put the actor name after the character name, but if you see “John Smith (Ed Norton)”, it doesn’t mean that the character is named John Smith Ed Norton and has brackets around his last name.

BREAKIN’ OUT (SIMULATION GAMES) script outline

The movie opens with Nick Bostrom (Samuel L. Jackson) giving a talk at an unspecified TED Talk-like conference. The camera pans across the crowd and we see two men nodding along: Peter Thiel (Danny Glover) and Sam Altman (Donald Glover).

Cut to the hallway after the talk. A reporter (Taye Diggs) approaches Bostrom and asks whether he really believes we live in a simulation. Bostrom adjusts his Kangol and smiles. “Listen Smales, I read your blog. I like your blog. We all like Benicetobears, but you got to stop asking me these tough questions”. The reporter, Andrew Smales (again, played by Taye Diggs) winks and says “can’t stop, the truth is in my blood”.

Bostrom begins walking down the hallway, and is approached by Thiel and Altman. “Bostrom, just ze man we were looking for” Altman says in a thick German accent (is this correct?). Bostrom looks puzzled. “Can you break us out of the simulation?” asks Thiel. Bostrom chuckles, and adjusts his Kangol. “Hell no motherfucker. Nobody can break us out of the simulation, hell, you’d have just as much chance asking me as you would..” he looks around randomly “.. as you would asking this janitor here” he points to a janitor and as the scene fades out, we see a close up of the janitor (Kevin Hart) cocking his head, as if he just thought up a cool plan.

Next scene: We’re in the fancy office of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Peter Thiel is having lunch with Elon Musk (Dwayne Johnson). A secretary knocks at the door and says “There are two scientists who want to see you, but they don’t have an appointment”. Thiel says “Send them away” but Musk raises his hand.. “No, no, wait a minute Pete, this might be a laugh, let’s have a little fun with these guys, really give them the business!” A wry look crosses both their their faces as the secretary exits and says “The guys will see you now”.

The janitor (Kevin Hart) enters along with another man (J.B. Smoove). They’re carrying large folders.

Actually, I’m going to cut this off right here. This is what they call “a taster” in Hollywood, and I don’t want to give the whole thing away. Suffice it to say, the janitors turned con men quickly pull one on the billionaires, and wind up living high on the hog, pretending to work on breaking us out of the simulation, while having all sorts of hijinks. Little do they know that one tenacious blogger – who looks a lot like Taye Diggs – is on to them, and will stop at nothing to figure out JUST WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON!

Breakin’ Out! In theatres………………………….. soon??????????????????????