Saturday, August 30, 2003

Overheard on the bus

Two girls had seat-sandwiched a young man in the bus: one was sitting next to him and the other sat in front of him, half-turned around to look him in the eye. The two girls were very smartly dressed, prim and proper. They had the tell-tale knapsacks and black name plaques pinned to their blouses: Christ Commandos from the Mormon Church.

So of course, I sat next to them and listened. The conversation was light and cheerful.

Girl1: So like, the Gospels, y'know? They've got all the answers to the questions you could ever ask. It's good stuff.
Girl2: Some people, like call themselves Christian, but they don't even follow like the 10 commandments from God, y'know? Not all of them. Sometimes not even some of them. Whatever!
Guy: Well... they can be difficult to follow sometimes. That doesn't mean you can't be a good Christian.
Girl1: Oh but it does! You must do as our Lord says is you want to get into heaven. Giving yourself to Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, right?.
Girl2: We're in service of Jesus and we're like so very happy. Praise be to the Lord!
Girl1: When the second coming of Jesus Christ happens, you'll want to like be ready.
Guy: When is that supposed to be?
Girl2: Well... according to God's holy word, there will be signs all around us.
Girl1: And not all bad ones. Some signs will be good. But the world will be very wicked.
Guy: Worse than now?
Girl2: Much worse than now. Super wicked! If you think this is bad, wait until you see what's in store for us in just a few years. It's all in here (she held her black book aloft and thumped it lightly).
Girl1: One of the Good Signs will be that the Word of God will be accepted everywhere. We will have missionaries in all countries preaching the Good Word.
Guy: But that sounds like something you'd want... Why would Jesus have to come then? What would it accomplish? I thought he was coming to save us from evil.
Girl1: Well uh... he is! But... er...
Girl2: Marcie... isn't this our stop?
Girl1: Why yes! Yes it is. Sorry... we have to go now. May God bless you and keep you. Bye!

Gods be, like praised, y'know? Rock on, you Bodacious Beings of Divine Do-rightedness.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

The Girl's have Got It On

It was Anastastia's b-day last night (the big two-nine!), and since she shares my compunction to do something special on the actual day of it, we hit the town with Ursula and Monique. It started with pints of the fine raspberry ale at Brutopia, moved on to spicy Mexican fare at Mexi's, and then ended with a rousing rendition of a variety of covered tunes at the Vocalz Kareoke bar.

Anastastia has recently introduced me to the joys of Kareoke, but we seem to have this weird tradition. Before we get to the bar, we decide to pretend like we're visiting tourists from Ireland. We both speak with the brogue, sing with Canadian accents, and give each other names like Rory/Seamus and Molly/Maggie. I can tell you right now that French-Canadian DJs have a really hard time pronouncing names like Rory or Seamus.

At one point over dinner at Mexi's, I suddenly realized that I was the only guy in this gaggle of women when they started discussing the pros and cons, as well as the distinguishing features, between G-strings and Thongs.

Apparently, the main difference is in the size of the strip of cloth that rides up your rear. If I recall properly, G-strings live up to their stringy reputation and the cloth is quite thin while Thongs are about an inch wide.

During this whole conversation, I'm just working quietly on my fajitas, downing the sangria, and thinking "Think unsexy thoughts. Think unsexy thoughts." It almost worked.


Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Work and Timing Blues

I just learned an important business lesson: never buy the farm until your Sure Thing (tm) is a Signed, Sealed, and Delivered Thing (tm).

About a month ago, I "secured" a two-month contract with a client. We impressed the client, he picked my company over three others, and we would start work in a week. Yay, I thought. This contract will give me the opportunity to get a laptop. So I placed an order for a Dell laptop

So the week passed and then there was another slight delay. "A couple of days," my client assured me. No biggie. Then the days turned into weeks until it was a month later already and we still hadn't gotten started.

Until this morning when I got word that the client has decided not to take the documentation offer. Just like that... the contract dries up. And Bing Bong! There's the Purolator guy with my $2000 laptop paperweight.

Oh sure... I need a laptop for my business anyways. I'll find another contract and then having a laptop will be a handy thing. I just wish the timing would've been better, is all.


Sunday, August 24, 2003

First Date Etiquette

In case any of you, gentle readers, are even remotely considering dating me in the coming years, I would like you to take note of the following pointers so we can avoid a bad first date experience.

Normally I wouldn't spell it out this way, mainly because I thought it would be kinda obvious. But considering the last few dates I've been on, there's a trend forming and I'd like to nip this in the bud.
  1. I know I'm a gregarious type, but don't leave it to me to make all the conversation.

    Contribute to the conversation so that I can delight you with my witty repartee and unique colloquialisms. Sitting there patiently and quietly is flustering my internal dialogue machine. Input! Input!

  2. If you manage to contribute to the conversation, please try to keep it positive and entertaining.

    I really don't want to hear about how your uncle has this projectile vomiting problem, how you hate your grandmother, and if your ex calls you one more time to locate his old porn tapes, you'll just plotz. Save this conversation for when I'm ready to mire myself in your personal affairs.

  3. Dating in your 30s involves dealing with second hand children, so I've come to terms with that.

    However, while we are sitting in a relative empty pub, please don't list all the expletives your son heaped upon the pitcher when he beaned him with that softball. The barman is looking at me with a "I'm calling security" look on his face.

  4. It wouldn't be a horrible thing to ask me some questions about me occasionally.

    I know I look really interested on how you saved $500 on your last washer dryer combo from Brault and Martineau, but I'm really only weathering the storm until more interesting topic comes up and/or you'll actually show some interest in getting to know me better.

    Actually, I'm dying to tell you how I changed a light dimmer all by myself and I didn't short-out the cat or set the drapes on fire in the process.

  5. Turn off your cell phone.

  6. Please take it as a compliment if I offer to buy you a drink. I actually only offer to do this to people who's company I enjoy.

    I know that you are an independant woman with her own cash-and-carry issues and chances are your credit rating is sparkling compared to mine, but I'm not expecting easy access to your nether regions for the price of a drink that involves an umbrella and a green swizel stick in the shape of an arrow. Get over yourself.

  7. The first date is always slightly awkward, so if you're not feeling scads of chemistry right off the bat, don't worry about it. It doesn't mean we're a bad match, nor does it mean that you're wasting your time.

    If you're having a good time and enjoy my company, that's what the first date should be about.

  8. And if you've already decided that I'm not your type, you can still make the effort to make the date pleasant.

    Chances are that I'm not a horrible person to be spending your immediate time with, so please try to make the most of it. I know that's what I am trying to do.

(Note: I wanted to come up with an even 10, but this'll do for now.)

There you have it. Now go buy me some flowers dammit.
Winston, I'm down with yo white ass!

I think it was Winston Churchill who once said that it was extremely satisfying to be fired upon without result.

Given the events of the past week, I must say that it is also extremely satisfying to have my detractors misspell the insults they attempt to heap upon me.

Case in point, I was called an "Idoit". I am now expecting such classics as Jurk, Fubbon, Bassterd, Moreon, and Sun of a Beach.

Somehow, death has lost its sting.

Friday, August 22, 2003

The Games People Play

I've never been a huge fan of Twister, myself. My limbs just don't bend that way and I'm usually not physically up to the task of supporting three other drunken people while teetering on two hands and one leg. There must've been a gym class I missed.

So no, I don't think I'll be getting into the Twister Bedcover, thanks. It's just a little too obvious, too Austin Powers somehow. Besides... How am I going to get sweet lovin' if I've knocked myself out after falling out of the bed during one ill-placed Yellow-Right Hand?

I've already had one unfortunate incident involving almost falling out of the bed while entangled with my partner. What you must understand is that my mattress sits on a flat plank of plywood (no boxspring), so it tends to move around (I'm always having to recenter it).

My bed is near the window which also has a heater right below it (I get the warm air in the winter and a cool breeze in the summer). I leave a three-foot gap or so between the edge of the bed and the window so that I can physically get back there when I must.

During one particularly passionate tussle, I failed to notice that the mattress had shifted its way too far over the gap. When we moved over to that section, gravity took over and the mattress flipped up, pinning us both to the window.

After what seemed like an eternity, and some carefully negotiated moves, we managed to get the mattress flipped back down. We lay there for a few moments, looked at each other, looked at the window, looked back to each other, and exploded in laughter.

I'm so glad I don't have to deal with paparazzi. I probably would've knocked the latest "Lady Di and her torrid affair with Elvis" off the first page of every tabloid in the country. I'm not even going to imagine what the headline would've said.

(thanks be to Toast for the original link)

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I haven't got time for the pain... Oh wait a minute... I've got 10 seconds... Ow!

I was supposed to start a contract two weeks ago and my client is still dragging his feet. Argh. This is the part about contracting that can be difficult: The Wait.

I've got a second contract starting this week though, so in a fine old medical tradition, I've caught a cold right before my first day.

Since Toon Boom, I've been doing this steadily for every new job/contract. I'll be fine for months, and then right before the first day, I'll get the telltale tickle in my throat and achy muscles. I tried to scarf down some Vitamin C, and sometimes that works to stave it off, but not this time.


So now I've got the soup on the stove and surrounding myself with some comfort food. Hopefully, I can push this stuff off before I have to meet my clients this week, if they ever decide to finally meet with me.

*poot*snuffle* Pardon me...

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Now that's what I call a segueway...

Speaking of honesty, whaddya think of the new digs?

Monday, August 18, 2003

Honesty is the Best Policy?

The topic of honesty has been coming up lately, both in real life and online (see Dez's take on it here), so here's my two cents. On my end, I try to be as honest as possible, but that doesn't mean I don't occasionally stray from the truth (within reason).

We're taught at a young age that Honesty is the Best Policy, but as we get older, that Policy seems to get more and more restricted. Most of us tell little white lies all the time (usually to spare others or ourselves unnecessary pain), while others turn lying into a full-contact sport. Sometimes people can feel that being honest unburdens them with any associated guilt, even though this usually means that they've heaped it upon another person.

But worse still are those people who actually stick to this Honesty Policy to the letter. Some people use the Honesty Clause to justify anything that comes out of their piehole, turning Honesty into a weapon. Just because you really think something, being honest about it doesn't give you the right to attack people with it. For an exaggerated vision of this, rent Liar Liar starring Jim Carrey (and stay for the bloopers at the end).

Yes, I'm slightly overweight. Yes, I'm undisciplined. Yes, I can use poor judgement at times. Just keep your unedited honest opinions to yourself until I ask for them, and even then, use some common sense when delivering them. And this doesn't only apply to negative feedback. There is also a problem with being too honest about your positive feelings/thoughts. It's always a judgement call, so exercise your judgement.

I've been faced with cases like Dez's, dealing with a friend with a questionable haircut. If the person comes to me and asks "What do you think?", unless I'm certain that they're not looking for positive feedback, I'll try to stay on the cautious side and try to find something positive to say about it ("Er... that's quite a new look for you! It'll take some getting used to..."). Then I'll see how my friend reacts to this before I tell her she looks like she's been attacked by a hoard of wild boars.

I've found that when it comes to being honest with your friends, there are always degrees to consider. If it's a minor point, maybe you can be semi-honest and provide more support to your friend than blunty honesty. Sometimes it's better to save your blunt honest for more serious issues (like personal safety).

There's also an important distinction to make here between Honesty and Truth. Just because someone gives you their honest opinion about something, that doesn't mean it has any value. It's always important to consider the source of this opinion when assigning its value.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Blackout Edition

Since the Sympatico servers are not back up and running yet (due to the blackout plaguing parts of North America), here's my temporary solution to my design problem.

Some of the graphics may not work, but you don't come here for the pretty pictures, do ya?

Friday, August 15, 2003

Blackout Blues

Although Montreal has stayed relatively unscathed by the blackout (although I did lose power for a couple of hours yesterday), I guess the server that has the blog's style sheet must be in Ontario somewhere.

You're all seeing me in my knickers! Shield your eyes!

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Barenaked Blog

OOOoooh... In trying to discover when the Barenaked Ladies will be back in town (or at least nearby), I discovered that they have a blog!

I saw BNL a couple of years ago when they played the Molson Centre (now the Bell Centre) and it was a great show. I have a few bootleg MP3s of theirs and the improv that goes on at these shows is unreal.

Yeah yeah... I realize this makes me a bit of a barenaked groupie. So sue me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Parallel lives and Electricity

I'm not sure why this is, but Nick and I seem to be living similar lives. I read his blog and think "Oh yeah... I had something like that happen to me too."

This almost-incident took place many moons ago in my first apartment in Montreal (in Dorval). In those days, I had a pet turtle I kept in a tank. I have since released the poor creature to the wild. It will no doubt appear when I least expect it, mutated to the size of a jumbo jet, and seeking to consume me whole whilst I calmy snorkle the barrier reef.

But I digress.

I was chatting on the phone with a friend, we hung up, and then I placed the phone on the edge of the tank. Of course, as I walked by the tank, the phone was knocked into the water and settled gracefully to the bottom.

Without thinking, I plunged my hand into the murky depths to retrieve the phone and the insanity of what I was doing hit me. I thought "If someone calls me now, I'll be electrocuted."

I successfully removed the phone without a problem, but this is just typical of the types of things I am wont to do. As a friend once remarked "I'm amazed nothing has killed you yet!"

As am I.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Resounding Chamber

Since I've put on a bit of weight, my snoring has gotten worse. I know how painful it is to be forced to listen to this nasal operatic: there have been many Hotel rooms during family vacations that have had their wallpaper ripped down during my Dad's rumbling inhalations. I have even woken myself up with my own snoring.

Like father, like son, I guess.

What's worse is that my snoring starts almost immediately. My various bed-partners over the years have reported that the rumbling can start scant minutes after I have kissed her goodnight and closed my eyes. I have long sinced learned not to awaken the next morning and exclaim "I slept like a stone! What a good night's sleep." A sound beating usually follows, either by pillow or by brow.

Oh... and quoting the Discovery channel on how snoring is an evolutionary perk because it kept wild animals away from your ancestral caveman's family will NOT win you any ground. I've tried it. Several times. No go.

There are a variety of ways to interupt the cacophony, including:

The Shoulder Shake: place one hand on the up-turned shoulder blade and shake slightly until the offending noise ceases. You'll get about 2 minutes of silence to get to sleep before the earthquake starts again.

Poking in the ribs: when the Shoulder Shake doesn't work, it's time to get physical. This will awaken the subject more completely, and you might get some mumbled cursing, but you'll get about 5 minutes of silence. You can expect an argument in the morning punctuated by the defensive "I can't be that bad". Mental Note: using that line never gains you any ground in an argument.

Pinching the nose for a second: Drew reports that she very nearly kicked me out of her house in my knickers when I tried this on her. An ex-live-with girlfriend used to do this with me and she always said it was the most effective because I didn't wake up and the snoring abated for longer. Then again, I was convinced at one point that this girlfriend was trying to kill me in my sleep, so maybe her character reference isn't the best.

Now there are all sorts of products on the market that are supposed to silence the snorerer (I like the Golden Silencer myself... Very James Bondish). And I think there's some kind of surgery that muffles the engine, but I don't know anybody who has actually had it. Would it be covered by medicare? If not, I'd rather spend the money to straighten my teeth.

I know, I know... I'm a bevy of imperfections. It's part of my charm.

So until we figure out someway to kill the sleeping roars (and I've tried a variety of ways, believe me), please buy some earplugs and be patient with us. We take no pleasure in knowing we've kept you up half the night, but warning us "Don't you DARE snore tonight" is just setting us up for the fall.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

"I don't know how he does it, but he just does."

So I just spent the last five days on a camping trip in Ontario and I loved it! The camp ground had a pool, a firepit, a beach, a man-made lake, and lots of open space. I spent most of the days just relaxing with friends, attending workshops, or in the water. The beach was great, but the lake had snapping turtles in it so everyonce in a while, you'd feel something very solid and round attacking your legs. Swimmers were often heard to yelp suddenly and thrash about for a few seconds before moving on to another spot.

Needless to say, I didn't strip down and skinny dip. No need to offer visible bait to some beasty's snapping maw. In the lake, I mean.

Once of the highlights of the weekend was a challenge laid before all of us men. There were to be a series of tests to determine our prowess as men, as hunters, as the providers of our tribe. These tests included a race across the lake, spear-tossing, arm wrestling, and bagging a mate.

That's right... one of the tests involved going into the main campsite and bringing back a girl. We could use any means necessary to entice this lady to accompany us, but it had to be someone we didn't know, who didn't know us, and we couldn't explain why she had to come. The first three men to bring back their ladies received points, but if you couldn't get back quickly enough, there was a way to still get points.

So I tore off into the campsite looking for someone to fit the bill. Unfortunately, many of the girls were already spoken for and I knew the others, so I had to go deeper into the campground. There I spotted a comely lass and very politely requested her presence. Her generousity knew no bounds and she agreed.

We were then sprinting across the beach to the designated area. I could see that most of the men had already returned when I suddenly remembered the other condition that would secure me at least 10 points in this contest. I turned to my companion and said "By the way, it would really help me if you were naked by the time we got to where we're going."

"Okay... no problem!" she replied and proceeded to remove her skirt and, with my help, she removed her top. We sprinted the rest of the way and crossed the finish line.

Once the judges had tallied up all the points, the ladies were released from their duties and sent on their way. I kissed my thank yous to my lassie and promised to find her later. She smiled and made her way back to the campsite.

I didn't end up winning the Manly Contest, but I walked away proud with my 10 points. Along with the Men's Rituals that we participated in, which reminded us that we were men and allowed us to contemplated what that really meant, there was a battle between the current Stag King and his usurper. It started at one end of the lake and finished at the other end. As the two contendors fought, the rest of the tribe of men came out of the forest and followed them as they fought, chanting and witnessing.

Finally, when the champion rose from the ground, we carried him a-ways and the women rushed forward to greet the new Stag King. He gave us a stirring speech about our responsibilities as men in our own communities, which gave me a bit to think about later on (and I'm still pondering).

I had plenty of other interesting and spiritual experiences over this five-day pagan festival known as the Kaleidoscope Gathering, but you'll just have to ask me about them the next time you see me.

Gotta love those pagans... never a dull moment.