Archive for the 'wordpress' Category


the day the lolcats died

If you’re like me and woke up feeling rather clueless because you couldn’t tell the difference between a SOPA and a PIPA so you went to Wikipedia to get some info and found a black page with the ominous message that the Intrawebs as you know them will be forever damaged but why should you care because you’re not living in the USA and have never had a congressthingy to write to…

…the following video lays the issues out very clearly.

I was going to join the bandwagon and black out this humble blog for a day of protest, but unlike them and other heavyweights like Wikipedia, I’d rather have a laugh instead.

This guy’s kind of out of tune, but he’s funny:


2010 blog year in review

After weeks weeks of not posting a thing, I now discover that has taken over this blog.  Or so it seems.  Perhaps it’s their way of reminding me to get my blogging ass back in gear, but some bot over there has seen fit to mail me a ready-made Year in Review post.  Perfect for a bone-lazy blogger like me who’s been wondering when, if ever, that urge to post regularly will ever come back.

Who knows?  Happy New Year anyway.

Snarky comments  in bold are mine.


The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

The Blog Zombie Meter reads: Putrefaction stage

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 110,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 5 days for that many people to see it.

I’m sure each would demand his entry fee back.  As for the posts themselves, if you were to print out every post in 10-point and glue each word together, you would have enough to string from the Statue of Liberty’s base up to her armpit.  Aren’t stats meaningful?

In 2010, there were 53 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 374 posts. There were 143 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 30mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

Troll comments deleted: 13.  Spam referral links: countless.  Estimated date WordPress will do something about spam links: whenever.

The busiest day of the year was February 15th with 647 views. The most popular post that day was Are we raising our kids to be wimps?.

Go to freerangekids for the answer.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were, WordPress Dashboard,, and

See how important it is to comment on blogs and leave links back to your own on forums?

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the queen, horses jumping, naked 13 year old girls, swallows, and snake head.

That list is so embarrassing, I almost left it out.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Are we raising our kids to be wimps? August 2009


Europe’s largest-circulation newspaper runs photo of naked 13-year-old June 2008


Queen Elizabeth Foundation email scam reply December 2007


10 things I learned about skating in Holland January 2009


How we nearly tripped over a headless snake that had swallowed a dog whole March 2009

Wow, wasn’t that fun?

WordPress.  The blogging platform that’s so good, it writes your blog for you!


Still more facts and opinions about Canada

Enjoy Canada Day!

Or else.

Carrying on the annual lettershometoyou Canada Day tradition, we now present – for the fourth time – 10  facts and opinions about my Home and Native Land.

1.  I am in Canada right now!  Not only in Canada, but in Ottawa, the nation’s capital.

2. I have never been anywhere near Ottawa on Canada Day.

3. The Queen of Canada is also in Ottawa today as part of a nine-day Royal Tour.  As I make last-minute changes to this post, the Queen is standing in front of the Parliament Buildings as a band of Mounties in full-dress regalia plays O Canada.  To an expat American on a trip back home, this would be like being in Washington, DC on July 4th listening to a stirring speech by a resurrected George Washington.

4. The Queen of Canada does not have a beard, despite appearances as shown on the only photo posted on this blog without attribution… in other words, stolen.  So sue me. encourages you to copy stuff these days anyway!

5. Nobody has ever attempted to walk backwards from the Skidegate, Queen Charlotte Islands to Come By Chance, Newfoundland.

6. Sorry, as of four weeks ago, Queen Charlotte Islands is now officially known as Haida Gwaii.  Prounounced Hide-a-gwei, it really means “cold and wet as fuck.”

7.  Canada’s coastline is the longest in the world at 208,080 kilometers.  About 5km of that is swimmable for seven days in summer.

8. Poutine, a rich, gooey mess and major contributor to the crisis in Canada’s healthcare system, was invented in Drummondville, Quebec.  Or somewhere else, depending on who you’re talking to.

9. I will not be enjoying poutine as I used to do when living here.  I’m also dragging around about 20 fewer pounds.

10. I must return to the CBC coverage of Canada Day. So no 10th fact or opinion this time.

09 front page fun

Go on, admit it.  If you’re a sluggo blogger like me trundling along with a few hundred hits a day, it’s fun to see your stats suddenly rocket skyward, if only for a little while.

The new front page at featured a photo from and link to a recent post about breaking my skates while playing hockey, and the view count went a bit nuts.

It lasted about 24 hours and brought in about three times as many visits this humble spot usually gets over a single day.  A few of the newcomers even left comments, which are always welcome.

What’s weird is, I’m not sure why the editors at picked that particular post.  Was it just dumb luck?  Nothing else better out there? Because I can point to dozens of others I’ve churned out over the last couple of years which are more deserving.   Better writing, punchier photos, more interesting content…to me, at least. 🙂   But they never made it to the front page.

I’m not complaining!  But if anyone at is reading this, can you let me know how you choose posts for your front page?  Does anyone else have a clue?


Search this!

Doctor, I said on my last trip to the shrink.  My wife has histrionic personality disorder.

What makes you think that?

Last night while stoned on camel dung hash she kept repeating, How do you get this damn thing to stop blinking?  She was trying to figure out how to make her Tamagotchi have sex.

Is she American? he asked.

No, I said.  As a matter of fact, she thinks she’s Queen Elizabeth, queen of fucking everything.  My wife whips me when I disobey, too. Imagine – she has me whipped bloody!

Maybe she’s the self you have to live with, he said with a sigh.

What do you mean? I asked.

Well, he said, shifting in his seat.  Look at Charlotte Roche, author of Wetlands.  She once wrote a book about Angela Merkel naked in the sauna.  Like some landscape artist on crack in London, it was a surreal collage of naked pictures of girls with tube breasts, American females totally shaved in German saunas, pictures of zoo animals with buggy eyes copulating while making screaming granny sounds, nude klingons, photos of naked ladies and girls from Squamish, sex in wheelchair pictures, photos of spanking all over Europe, ending with helpful tips on how to make your own shank out of a toothbrush and things to alleviate cramp.

Look, I said, I couldn’t care less about Charlotte Roche’s chaotic nightmare, saunas or Angela Merkel’s butt.   I’m worried about my wife!  Just the other day she came out with: I’m so British, I shit the queen!

Perhaps you should bring your wife’s cuddly butt into the office next time, he said.

I would, I said, but it might be easier to drag her to a cave dwelling in Capadoccia or skating on canals in Holland.

Hmmm… let’s deal with your wife when the time comes.  You aren’t thinking about quitting blogging are you? he suddenly asked.

What? What gives you that idea?

You, Canadian skier Ian, may be the author of more than 300 posts ranging from chess and Hitler to Dutch canal winter skating,  but you’re starting to look like a Canadian idiot.   An EasyJet crashing into Big Ben wouldn’t make half the mess this blog is turning into.  You’ve got everything from how to make a bike look crappy and the dangers of ipods in saunas all the way to 12-year-olds buying condoms and a nude olive run video clip.

Besides, you hardly ever post lately, and when you do, it’s some take on something that happened 30 years ago.

Don’t give me any of your putrid paranoia! I said. I never set out to write the definitive answer to everything like some Greenland girls’ nude blog.  Those are just search terms that landed here!  And it’s not just text searches, either.  Most of them cough up photos via google image searches.

Really? he said, perking up.   You mean if you post photos, and stick tags on them, they will show up in searches?

Sure, I said.  Everyone knows that, even Derbyshire nude grannies, Canada’s most toxic waste dump/flute player or a jobless bum.  Besides, the less often I post, the more hits I get.  Go figure!

Well, he said with a sigh.  The hour’s up.  Same time next week?

Why not? I said.  I hope by then you’ll have done something about the reading selection in your waiting room.  Monocle Magazine is shit, and the “little red book” of Mao, 1968 is really out of date, don’t you think?  You should subscribe to magazines that answer life’s imponderables, things like what if the world stops spinning, or is nine too young to have a baby?

No way, he said.  To pass the time in a waiting room, it’s much better to read all about camel penis and skunk families in Montreal while peeking at pictures of mausi naked.  Her oldest got sprayed by a skunk, you know.

Just in case you’ve never read my sidebar, every line in this post is drawn from a search that coughed up this blog – most often as an image search.


Hamburg Spring Derby: more than just horses jumping around

I’m really grateful to our daughter for introducing us into the world of horses.  She’s got a horse to take care of at nearby stables, sharing his care with two other girls and getting riding lessons on him three times a week.  I show up when I can to poke around, take a few photos, and marvel at what I can discover about a creature that always belonged to another world.

Today I went a little step further into equestrian culture, tagging along with wife K and the little red-haired girl to the Spring and Dressage Derby, an 80-year-old Hamburg tradition.  We rode our bikes through the sunshine, bought some standing-room tickets, met the girl’s friends, found a spot on the shady side, and settled in to watch the jumping.

I’d watched riding on TV and always found it a bit boring.  Unless you’re there, you don’t feel the thud of the hooves pounding the grass, see the puffs of dirt kicked up, hear the horses snorting, the riders shouting, the crowd falling silent as as the horse approaches that final hurdle, then bursting into roars of approval as a rare perfect ride comes to an end.

They billed it as the most difficult course in the world, 1200 metres with 17 obstacles including two water jumps, three back-to-backs obstacles, and a frightening, near-vertical wall that led to the disqualification of at least a half-dozen riders as their horses went twice to the brink and balked.

This rider went down the wall and through the course beautifully, despite losing points for knocking over a couple of bars.  If you listen carefully, you can pick up wife K’s commentary.

Note to self: pick up that HD video camera you’ve been wanting ASAP.

I’ve not used the wordpress photo gallery feature yet.  Maybe it’s time.  Here goes:


Notice to UK internet providers: ban this!

It’s a funny thing about censorship. Ignore something you find distasteful, and the rest of the world probably will too. But turn around and ban something on Wikipedia, and you can be sure the world will sit up and take notice.

So all you idiots at the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation who thought you were doing the world a favour by getting UK internet service providers to block access to a photo that’s been around for 32 years, will you please censor this post? You’ll have to ban access to, too, I suppose, but if that’s what it takes to make sure people can’t make up their minds for themselves what they can or cannot see, then so be it.

Of course, I have to provide something you twits think is worth censoring, so here it is: a link to a photo on an album cover that was released in 1976 and which you saw fit to censor from Wikipedia.

Guys, I hate the exploitation of children as much as any sane individual. I hate the idea there are children out there right now as you read this who are having their photo taken – or much worse – by people who don’t give a shit about them, who see them as a commodity to be exploited until they’re no longer of any use, tossed aside until the next crop comes in.

What the hell, there are plenty of street kids out there, the supply is limitless. Judging by the number of weird searches that for some reason turn up this blog, so is the demand.

And I realise, too, that there are laws against child pornography, its consumption and distribution, two things the Internet renders practically effortless. And that there are even newspapers out there – Europe’s top-selling Bild Zeitung for example – who sometimes don’t really look too closely at the age of the naked girls they stick on their front pages.

I also find the album cover distasteful.

But by choosing to tell 95% of UK internet users they can’t have access to even one page on one of the Internet’s most active websites, you’ve now called much more attention to that photograph than it ever would have received had you just ignored it.

As this article at The Register points out, the page in question is now among the most popular on the English-language version of Wikipedia.

But thanks, anyway. Growing up in a culturally and economically deprived Canadian backwater in the 1970s, I somehow missed out on it the first time around. Then again, I wasn’t a fan of sleazy German heavy metal either, so perhaps I just skipped over them on a rare trip to a Vancouver record store.

In fact, by 1976 the only chance I’d ever had to even glimpse anything close to what’s on that album cover was the time my friend Mark and I snuck under the floorboards of the girls’ changing room at the town swimming pool one summer afternoon to ascertain whether our schoolmate Lisa McC. was growing roots or not.

Oh, and I’m sure the Scorpions thank you too. Though the cover’s been changed, that same album is available at on CD. They’ll appreciate the extra royalties.

Update:  The Internet Watch Foundation has now – five days later – decided to lift their ban:

The procedure is now complete and has confirmed that the image in question is potentially in breach of the Protection of Children Act 1978. However, the IWF Board has today (9 December 2008) considered these findings and the contextual issues involved in this specific case and, in light of the length of time the image has existed and its wide availability, the decision has been taken to remove this webpage from our list.


Dr. Seuss asks Roald Dahl: whatever happened to The Leaky Brain?

The other day I searched in vain
For some sign of The Leaky Brainthe-leaky-brain-call-me

This lady, see, was so much fun
Among my reads was number one

The first I’d go to in my reader
Some days I’d wish I could go meet her.

But then one day near end of summer
She stopped posting.  What a bummer!

Did she get a fake ID
And go to live up in BC?

She failed to leave a mail address
Along her sidebar.  Such a mess!

I wonder if she’s still alive!
Not long ago she did survivethe-leaky-brain-acrobat-photoshop

A dive into the world of porn
We all laughed.  But then one morn,

She up and left.  Came back no more,
She only left an open door,

For comments still come far and wide
Though nowadays no source of pride.

Oh I know.  Just let me guess…the-leaky-brain
She’s found those candies in her dress

But choked on one while a-composing
Another post that’s based on hosing

Hunky guys who wear no shirt
Just another daytime flirt.

Or did those strippers she made fun of
Catch up with her and give her some of

That rice that she was yelling for?
Tell me please.  It’s such a bore

That I can’t find my Leaky Brain
Since she’s not here my life’s a pain.

Maybe she’s in North Korea
With Kim Jong-Il, caught diarrhea

Or is she now a Twitter victim?
In two-line bursts, her wit and wisdom

Lost among the pointless chatter
Of many things that do not matter.

Then again, she is a teacher.
Could it be that, like a preacher,

She had to keep her nose quite clean
Until the day her blog was seen

By the chairman of the school board
Who looked unfavour’bly toward

A teacher unafraid to show her cooter
Instead of teaching kids computer?

Although some blogs have had a boost
From their authors getting dooced

It seems our Leaky Brain has flown
Leaving me to sit and moan.

The web is full of jokes and stuff
Crap and garbage and plain fluff

‘Tis rare originality
Pokes through all that banality.

So if you find The Leaky Brain
The one whose drips were quite insane

Tell her to send a signal flare
Some sign of life.





How do you tell your wife you’ve been unfaithful?

I wasn’t going to write this.  Maybe I thought that by making absolutely sure there were no traces of it left anywhere, that she would never notice it happened.  But it happened, there’s no denying that fact.

So now I’m left with the question: how to tell her?  And maybe more importantly – when to tell her?  You can’t say the timing right now is the greatest.  Here I am about to ride off west to spend the weekend with a bunch of bloggers in Bremen, and I leave her behind with this?   But then again, when is it ever a good time?

Maybe I could just post-date the timing this post is to be published.  That’s an idea.  I’ll be a 60 miles away in another city when it’s posted.  Seems like a cowardly thing to do, though.  I should be able to tell it to her face.

Than again, what of the repercussions?  Will things ever work as smoothly again?  Will there always be a sticking point?   I could say yeah, I’ll never do it again.  I learned my lesson.  It was stupid, I was stupid, the whole thing was stupid, stupid, stupid!

Too late for that.

You know, it all started innocently enough.  An email here, a chat there.  Then a blog post or two.  Pretty soon I was going back for more – thirsty for more.

It lifted me up – what can I say?

I feel bad about it, but it’s done and there’s nothing to change that fact.  Nothing to do but own up to it.

Own up to the fact that I was unfaithful to the vow we made to each other.

The vow we made when we first bought it to honour and cherish our Sony Vaio laptop and to never drink coffee or anything else while anywhere near it.

Fuck what a mess.

Stepping onto the balcony carrying my second cup of joe I somehow stumble over the sill.  Trying to steady the cup on the saucer I lunge forward, sending a jet of coffee Splat! Right onto the keyboard.  Couldn’t have hit it better if I’d stood right over the thing and poured.

I yank the plug out right away and flip the thing over as coffee drips from the keyboard all over the placemat.  While it’s upside-down I have the presence of mind to stop swearing and hit the off button, then rush back inside to grab a roll of toilet paper and get to work drying it off and then trying to clean the recesses between the keys.

Lucky it’s a beautiful morning and the sun dries it out pretty well.  Must have, because it’s been plugged in while writing this and it hasn’t fried out yet.


The bearded queen that’s always on top

Regular readers may be excused for not knowing what the hell I’m talking about when I say that this blog is really two blogs in one.

On the one hand, it’s the nearly 200 posts since mid-January, 2007 that have come barking down the WordPress puppy mill at this address, along with the various pages and fiddly sidebar doo-dads few bother to click on but have come to expect when you stumble upon an everyday non-stick, peel-off, biodegradable, low-calorie passive-aggressive blog such as this.

On the other hand, there’s one post that regular readers have probably forgotten but which sets itself apart from the rest. One post that almost since its completion one cold, dreary day back in early December last year has drawn more than 200 times the hits, generated more comments and attracted more meet-’em-in-the-park crazies than nearly any other you’ll find here.

It’s the one making fun of some scam email where the so-called writer poses as a representative of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation, an organisation that does various good deeds for needy people in more places than I care to mention or bother to link to.

On the face of it it’s really hard to figure out why it’s so popular. One read-through and you think…meh. The concept’s been done before, and the jokes? As a great man might have said:

Sir, your post is both funny and original. Unfortunately, the original parts are not funny, and the funny parts are not original.

Seriously, I consider it a mediocre effort. A far cry from the gut-splitting one-liners I’d imagined coming up with as I got the idea for the post cycling home from work.

So what’s bringing them all in?

Is it the scandalous depiction of Canada’s beloved sovereign wearing the unmistakable facial attribute of a male, hinting at what might lie below?

Or is it the mistake in the headline? In another brilliant example of my aversion to research and chronic state of sloth, I adopted the scammer’s mistake by leaving out Elizabeth’s all-important apostrophe-s in the headline. So for months Google has been coughing up that post as high as the highly-coveted Number One Result Position when searchers wrongly type in Queen Elizabeth Foundation.

Not bad, eh? Try it yourself and see. Type in Queen Elizabeth Foundation into Google and see what you get. Do it many, many times and maybe you’ll help push it back up from the number three where it is now. 🙂

Speaking of bizarre visitors, I’m sure you aren’t one of them, but some guy calling himself a private investigator and who lives in his mother’s basement in Toronto definitely is.

Sans-merde Sherlocque really didn’t like the off-hand way I told a commenter that the stupidest thing anyone could do would be to send the scammers any money.

Of course he had to point out that it’s your identity they’re after, and in no uncertain terms in subsequent comments made it plain that I am indeed the lowest form of ill-informed pond-scum ever to disgrace the Internet, and furthermore … Well, at this point my eyes kinda glazed over, but you can take a look for yourself. For maximum impact, read them all.

I dunno – maybe I was a little too polite to him? He says he’s a fellow Canadian, after all.

Perhaps on a flight to Hamburg this very minute. Whoa.

The banner photograph shows the town of Britannia Beach, BC, Canada, where I grew up. It's home. But I don't live there anymore.

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britbeach / at / yahoo dot ca

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A few reasons why I sometimes get homesick

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and one last factoid about me: according to these people, i can type per minute

OK, that wasn’t the last thing on the sidebar, but this is: