Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Timely Rant

I’m very particular about my being on time (not to be rephrased). Especially in circumstances that would have a person or event made wait for my arrival. The rationale behind it is very simple: I hate waiting for others so why would I want to make anyone else do so? It’s just being considerate. It’s not hard. So why do so many people have problems with it? Some people I know actually sound proud when they tell me that they are routinely late. I just don’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always on time. Being late for a party or event where no one is waiting for me, hey no big deal. Sometimes I just can’t guarantee when I’ll show up (e.g. a meeting that goes until it goes), but I’ll warn people ahead of time. Occasionally being late just can’t be avoided; traffic jams, subway breakdowns, etc. happen to everyone now and again, the key is now and again. Whatever the cause, if I’m ever late I get stressed and feel guilty all the way to the meet up.

Maybe it’s my problem, perhaps others don’t mind waiting for others. Depending on the circumstances while I’m waiting I’m often worrying about late party’s safety, bored out of my tree, put in an uncomfortable situation or anxious that plans weren’t communicated effectively. Why would I want to put anyone else through that?

To me it seems that lateness a symptom of selfishness and lack of consideration or is my rationale flawed? How can anyone be proud of their impunctuality?

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Monday, September 27, 2004

What me worry?

Pillaged from here (which of course pillaged it from somewhere else)

People who keep diaries are more likely to suffer from headaches, sleeplessness, digestive problems and even social dysfunction, according to a small British study. Elaine Duncan of the Glasgow Caledonian University and David Sheffield of Staffordshire University compared 94 undergraduates who were regular diarists with 41 non-diarists. "We expected diary-keepers to have some benefit, or be the same, but they were the worst off," said Ms. Duncan, who presented the findings to a British Psychological Society meeting. "You are probably much better off if you don't write anything at all."

Holy generalizations Batman! Perhaps we should ban all other kinds of writing as well just to be safe. What a bonehead. How do these people keep employed or get grants in the first place?

Anyhoo. Now ignoring that “small”, in “small British study” is likely a euphemism for worthless, statistically insignificant piece of crap, should we bloggers have any reason to be concerned?

For an experiment why don’t we compare what I wrote about events Friday in my blog versus what I would have potentially written in a journal style diary.


Friday September 24, 2004

Dear diary,

Morning – Interspersed procrastinating with some actual work. Got some good advice from blogosphere on potential Ottawa trip. Decided to bail.

Afternoon – Went golfing in the hinterlands w/ Dad, understand more and more why Twain described golf as "A good walk spoiled."
Got home, message waiting from Granola Girl. Call her back. F**king machine AGAIN. F**K.

Evening - Go out to grungy bar for beers w/ Couple. Begin to realize why I don’t hang out with them more often.

Have interesting run in w/ woman on streetcar

Play pool w/ sister and her friends. Play well, win more than my share of games.

Granola Girl didn’t call back. Sigh.

Goodnight Diary.



Would the entry I selected to blog about have even made it into a journal? I think it’s the most interesting thing, yet as far as journals go it was such a small part of my day and perhaps wouldn’t have been mentioned. Some days are far more mundane and banal than this one. I can only imagine having a string of them and writing: got up, worked, watched TV went to bed. That would be depressing even if your inner life wasn’t. At least with a blog you can write about the news or pop-culture or whatever stirs you that day.

In addition to more latitude in format, blogging is interactive. I appreciate all my comments and sometimes even get good advice in them. A diary is so solitary perhaps those that write them just don’t think they have an audience for their thoughts.

Back to the "researcher's" conclusion about being better off not writing - all in all I'm far more concerned about idiotic, non-meaningful studies coming off as being conclusive and affecting the habits of others than I am about those that write diaries. In conclusion I find that morons like Ms. Duncan would be better off if they gave up on academia entirely.

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Sunday, September 26, 2004

Bumming Smokes

Friday, just before midnight I was waiting for the King streetcar while puffing away on a cigarette. There’s one other person waiting at the stop with me, a blond, normal looking, 40ish woman who shows some signs of having lived a hard life. I notice her wander out into the street momentarily, eager to spot the next streetcar. On her way back to the safety of the curb she notices my cigarette and politely asks if I can spare one. Getting a smoke from me in such circumstances is normally a 50/50 proposition but her soft manner wins me over and I pass one over to her.

While lighting her cigarette I ask if her mini-adventure to the center of King St. yielded any information about the next streetcar. Though a simple “no” would have sufficed, she took this as an opportunity to tell me about her day. Brimming with exuberance she tells me she had just that day finished the chef program at a college down the street. Initially, being from T.O., I worried that I had (yet again) inadvertently engaged some crazy and would regret initiating contact until one of our rides was over. It soon became apparent though, that her excitement was genuine and she simply needed to share it with someone. She was on her way over to her “man’s” place but just couldn’t hold in her happiness. She asks for a congratulatory hug, which I gave her, and we continued to talk and share in her joy.

The streetcar arrives; we get on and end up standing beside one another midway back on the half-filled car. As we travel along she relates how unexcited her friends and family seem to be no matter how good her job prospects appear and also how much she appreciates me being happy for her. (It comes out in print odd, but it seemed so genuine) She hugs me a few more times and gives me a chaste kiss on the cheek just before she gets off at her stop.

I don’t know who got more out of our exchange; she may have liked having my ear to bend but through her sincere, simple warmth I shook off a little of that standoffishness that is so typical of people in T.O.

I think the chances of bumming a smoke from me have just been raised to 70/30.

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Friday, September 24, 2004

Minor Dilemma

I’m supposed to go to Ottawa for a wedding reception-like party this weekend. RSVP's were made and plans were made ages ago for me to grab a ride with a friend of mine who is also attending. All was fine and dandy until late last night when I found that for some reason transport and lodging got shuffled around and I’m now slotted to go and stay with Friend and his SO. If you recall SO is a chatterbox that somehow manages to press all the wrong buttons with me. Egad, 5 hrs in the car each way with this person, plus spending time with them Saturday through Monday. I don’t think I can take it without blowing my cool in a major way. If I do explode it could have lasting repercussions with Friend.

Fun, fun, fun. So now I’m left with the options of:

Finding alternative transport/accommodation – I wouldn’t have accepted the invitation in the first place if this were the case. The added expense, time, and annoyance just wouldn’t have merited attending. I'd also have to come up w/ an excuse for why I wasn't going in the car.

Suck it up and go – 70% chance of irreparably damaging relationship w/ Friend

Bailing – I’m sure to offend the party’s hosts and the couple who the party is for. They’re not that close and would likely forgive me.

Any advice?

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

9 Types

One of my biz-school buddies swears by the enneagram test at 9types. Just 9 categories, that’s worse than a horoscope, it could apply to just about anyone.

My results: I got postive numbers in only three categories. In descending order: Reformer, Leader, Thinker

So I’m sceptical but I like taking tests, damn, it does fit.

What type are you?

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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

1000 Words

Well, I've written likely over 1000 words about baseball and/or the people related to it. So although I won't indentify any of the characters here's this year's team photo.

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Good News

I’m a bit of a news junkie. I routinely read the G&M, Newsweek, and The Economist. I really like the differing perspectives these publications offer on current events. In addition, I catch various newscasts and regularly watch the evening news on one of the major US networks. With all this input I’m still surprised where I find some of the more interesting ideas. For example, John Doyle’s Column of television in today’s G&M was excellent. The superficial topic deals with CBS’ recent gaffe and subsequent apology about the network’s “scoop” regarding documents about Dubya’s National Guard service.

An excerpt from the article, that night's broadcast was“a half-hour package of news that, apart from the the CBS News apology, painted a picture of a United States embroiled in a horrifyingly complex and bloody struggle in two areas of the world, battered by hurricanes and floods at home, and facing the return of a disease that should have been defeated years ago (rickets)…. While the cable prattlers (Fox News, MSNBC, CNN etc.) crowed about (CBS’ mistake) it was actually CBS news that was busy showing Americans the explicit results of the invasion of Iraq and reminding them that some Americans are no more healthy than the poorest of the poor in the Third World.”

It’s for reasons like these that I consume so much news. You never know where you’re going to find the good stuff.

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Monday, September 20, 2004

Trading Tales

Sunday night was the season ending banquet for our baseball league. Needless to say Monday morning I was pretty very hung over. Unable to accomplish much in this state I often try to make sure that others do as little as possible too, so I walked over to the financial district and proceeded to pull one of my buddies out of work for coffee and a chat.

My friend wanted to hear all the gory details behind my unusually grey skin tone and groggy demeanour. He’s all settled down with a wife, kids and a home in the ‘burbs and loves to hear my wacky tales. Perhaps he lives a little vicariously through me or maybe my stories just remind him of the nuttiness that he used to get into before he settled down, perhaps he will even tell us himself, he visits the blog here on occasion but has yet to leave a comment.

Anyhoo.

I tell him the story. It’s a long one; many sub-plots, twists, turns and good gossipy bits too. A half-hour or so later, just as I’m getting to the end of the tale one of the main characters, Krazy Kourier Girl, shows up on her bicycle and fills in some of the details that were lost to me in my giddy, stumbly, drunkeness the night before. Thank goodness she did; even I was becoming somewhat incredulous of my own story.

When I’m finished he relates his own little story about how he fell asleep while watching the television the night before. He’s a good storyteller and I likely won’t do the tale justice, but bare with me. He’d been sitting with his dog curled up beside him on the couch, getting bored by the football game. The dog is snoring away, but providing some warmth and proving to be an excellent armrest for the hand that’s holding his beer. My buddy dozes off and awakes shortly after, surprised to find the beer unspilt, in the hand that’s on the dog. He takes a sip, replaces his arm, watches a bit more of the game and falls asleep again. This dozing, waking, sipping (one) beer cycle takes the next 4 hours and finally the beer is finished and he heads off to join his wife in bed.

Maybe you have to know him and the dog, but I found the story really charming. I love trading tales with him; always getting a little slice of how other people lead their lives. I guess that’s why I enjoy the blogosphere too

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Sunday, September 19, 2004

a-bitchin'

For whatever reason I just can’t seem to put coherent sentences together this weekend. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to say, it just that it comes type, type out like a report. One of the things I started writing about was my belated thoughts on Canadian Idol. I ended up spending so much on fifty-cent words that I wasn’t going to have anything left for drinks tonight. Ick. So instead I’ve resorted to a rant; the words always seem to come much easier when I’m a-bitchin’.

I’ve returned to go on about my bank fetish and lay in about this article in the weekend G&M

Notice how the author can contradict himself in subsequent paragraphs. He warns about the difficulties in expanding into the US market and then lauds TD for recently doing buying BankNorth. Yeah, spend money because you’ve got money. Idiots. Increase your dividend and be done with it. What does it take to be a stock analyst for this paper? Obviously not any conviction to your ideas. He does however, defend his lack of conclusiveness by stating how difficult it is to pick stocks. Well then what the hell is the purpose of your article and why do you have a job? Thanks a lot. Risk in the stock market, who knew? Bonehead. There are many more idiotic statements and non-sequiteurs to go on about but I’m spent.

In conclusion, TD is overpriced relative to BMO and RBC and the G&M needs better talent. If you're feeling risky buy puts on TD and calls on BMO.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

Misc.

A line caught from Momento, a movie I haven’t seen, “It’s beer o’clock and I’m buying.” Damn, but I gotta use that line before I die.

Name That Tune: The techno yet lo-fi soundtrack to Telus’ current pyschedelic lizard commercial with Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong as a lyric. Yeah, I had to write that before I died too. One more thing outta the way. If anyone knows the track’s title it would be appreciated.

Johnny Ramone has died. He will live forever through his music. RIP

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Woo-ee-oo

Woo-ee-oo, I look just like Buddy Holly…

Well not so much; no more so than any other guy with a slim build, brown hair and glasses; certainly not more so than those consultant types who all seem to wear glasses with those chunky frames. But for whatever reason the silly Weezer song has been stuck in my head all morning; well that’s wrong too, it’s not entirely stuck, the song has been leaking out with garbled lyrics and the seemingly random notes that typify my “singing”.

Oh, oh, and you’re Mary Tyler Moore
I don’t care what they say about us anyway


My intent this morning was to compose a post in counterpoint to all the mushy stuff that’s been going on in this section of the bogospheric orchestra; perhaps an opus to bitterness about being on my own or maybe a dirge for one of my three significant (2+ years) ex’s. I just can’t do it. It’s not for a lack of material, the thematic ingredients would seem to be there; I just can’t seem to muster any bitterness. It’s always been hard for me to sustain any sort of grudge.

I don’t care ‘bout that.
I don’t care ‘bout that.


Sure I’m missing having somebody to be all mushy about but I just can’t get riled up about it. I’m simply happy for all of you out there who have such wonderful things to say about your partners. Ah, it was a silly idea in the first place to try to be bitter; who knows I may actually learn something from all this mushiness too.

Silly idea. Silly song.

Woo-ee-oo, I look just like Buddy Holly…

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Where I Was 9/11

During the first few weeks of September 2001 my brother and I were both staying at my parents place north of T.O. We had both just finished biz school that spring (odd timing yes, a story in itself); I was in interviewing purgatory while he was in town briefly before starting a consulting gig in NYC. The morning of the 11th I was sleeping-in when my brother risked waking me (always a dangerous task) to fill me in on the first impact.

The family gathered around the television, watching replay after replay, seeing the first and then the second impact from new angles and perspectives as new footage became available. Whether stunned by the situation or still groggy from sleep, while watching the day’s events unfold I had a bit of a time-slip. For a moment I thought my brother was still working for his previous employer, an investment banking firm whose offices are right near the WTC, in between the towers and the NYSE. Just like the others being interviewed on television that were overcome by concern for the welfare of their loved ones who worked in the towers or the vicinity, I was momentarily consumed by worry. Thankfully it didn't last long as when I turned my head, there my brother was, sitting on the sofa beside me. The relief that spread through me at that moment was so intense that I started to shake and had to leave the room. I even feel echoes of that relief as I write this.

It may be entirely selfish not to focus on the others that died that day but my main memories are that wave of relief and then later sitting out on my parent's veranda with my brother listening to the eerie silence of that day just being thankful that he was there beside me.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

9/11

I’m surprised the grim anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was not more prominent in the paper today. Perhaps it’s too early in the morning and I’m not thinking clearly but I think that this is the “Where were you moment” of my generation. There are other events that are candidates but nothing was so universally shocking and had such a profound effect on our day-to-day lives. The others that come to mind: John Lennon’s death, Ben Johnson winning gold (briefly, Canadian only), and the Challenger disaster certainly pale in comparison. Is this your “Where were you moment”?

"Where I was" story to follow later this weekend or Monday.

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Friday, September 10, 2004

MIFFed by the TIFF

If the amount of press it gets is any indicator, the Toronto International Film Festival must be the biggest event the city sees each year but does anyone really care about film festivals? I know no one who really gets into it and camps out to see three films a day. As far as the TIFF goes, my industry friends are only concerned with schmoozing opportunities and free booze. The press must just be happy they have something to write about.

And what’s all the buzz about for the “parties” associated with the event? Ooh wee! You get a chance to line-up for a chance to get into an overcrowded bar and perhaps get a passing glimpse of a celebrity in some roped off VIP area. There are even “how to” and etiquette guides dealing with celebrity encounters in today’s G&M. Sounds pathetic to me.

I’m especially pissed off that today’s paper noted two of my haunts as “gritty bars” that offer good chances for celeb spotting. What the f**k? Now they’ll be overcrowded with gawkers hoping for an off-chance of spying some star or starlet. Don’t waste your time and ruin my night out, just stay home and watch the local news or rent a movie where you’ll be sure to see them. F**k, now I have to cross those off my list of possible destinations for the duration of the festival.

At least my local, The Bar, wasn’t noted and some watering holes will have extended hours – I just hope it they won’t be too packed with celebrities and those that hound them for me to enjoy.

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

Anti-social, me?

Don't Trip
You will be smothered under a rug. You're a little
anti-social, and may want to start gaining new
social skills by making prank phone calls.

What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
brought to you by Quizilla


Anti-social? Me? No. Well maybe a little. In an effort to fit in a little better I've posted up my quiz results. Hey, all the cool kids are doing it.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

This goes, right?

Having gone through my teens and twenties wearing variations of the Queen W. uniform (i.e. loads of black, lots of jeans and T-shirts) I’m a late starter when it comes to dressing myself age-appropriately (whatever that means). Living with a few women along the way has helped out my wardrobe somewhat but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Recently I got a couple of new shirts tailored to fit my rather unusually lanky frame. Damn, but they look fine. This could become an expensive habit; I may not be able to buy off the rack again. No matter what the mirror says my wallet keeps telling me that ignorance in this matter was bliss.

If I’ve missed out on shirts for this long, it makes me wonder what else am I doing wrong. Perhaps I’m a candidate for one of those makeover shows. (NO, that’s not a hint)

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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Death Knell

*WARNING* dull, whiny, finance post *WARNING*

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later but now a date is set.

I spent December 01 – June 03 developing this idea. I talked to venture capitalists, regulatory entities, exchanges, patent lawyers etc. trying to bring MY concept to fruition. Eighteen months. For eighteen months I lived and breathed the business plan. I tried my Frankensteinian best to breath life into this monstrous idea to no avail.

Being such a large task there was no way I could do it alone. Trying to get funded in Canada was a nightmare and there was only so much banging my head into a wall that I could stand. F**king, goddamn, risk-adverse, conservative myopic bastards.

It was all about time to market and my frustration trying to raise capital was compounded by finding out that a prominent economist had gotten a grant from Congress to do work on the same idea. Enough was enough and I finally decided to let it go.

Giving up on this, which had become so dear to me, was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Letting it go was the beginning of the end, eighteen months of effort come to naught. The death knell has now been sounded. Although I've known all along that this would happen there still is a feeling of loss.

I've a new, far less ambitious idea that I'm working on. Cross your fingers for me; I don't want to go through this again.



I'm thinking about sending out an "I told you so" note to all the people who doubted the idea or wouldn't back it. If I do I'll have to wait a while until my frustration and vitriol subsides a little before I write it; don't want to burn too many bridges.

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

What If?

I’ve been following the lead up to the US election and frankly I’m dumbfounded by how different things work in the US and Canada. I could enumerate the many disparities I’ve noted but I’ll stick to what is most striking to me; that after such a huge clusterfuck in Iraq, both by declaring the definitive existence of WMD and the inability to create an even momentary peace, that the governing party has even the slightest chance of getting re-elected. How, HOW, is it possible that the party led by the same person that directed their nation into such an ill-advised, blood-soaked quagmire can even have a chance. Boogles my mind.

Time out. Calm down. OK, here goes.

Recalling that even with a leadership change (a sure way to deflect the target of some anathema) that the sponsorship scandal almost dethroned the liberals earlier this year, let’s play a game.

Imagine the Canadian federal election hadn’t been held earlier this year and instead was scheduled for the first Thursday in November. Further, imagine that the sponsorship and gun registry debacles never occured but that the governing party in Canada (which one is irrelevant) had endorsed the Iraq invasion (not beat the war drum) and continued to spend money and lives in an effort to make good on their mistake. What possible chance would they have of getting re-elected?

I say none. Zero.

A) Do you agree or disagree? If you agree move on to part B. If you disagree please explain your rationale.

B) What is the root of this difference between the electorates in the USA and Canada? I don’t get it.

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Hurry Up Already

About my brother's upcoming wedding; for whatever reasons they’d decided to set a rather early date in November and intended to keep the number of people down to a very intimate twelve. My brother’s future in-laws, although originally from New York, have retired down to Florida and so plans were made to hold the wedding down near where they live in the Sunshine State.

I bet this comes as a huge surprise but (drum roll) plans have changed. Mother-in-law-to-be booked a hall that holds up to 90 people. A bit cavernous for a twelve person wedding, no? The rationale given at the time was how nice the venue was, what a beautiful view it has of the ocean etc. The hall’s selection had nothing to do with potentially expanding the invitation list, nothing at all. Sure. Of course the list has since grown and now it appears that the venue selected may not be big enough. Egad.

Many of the new additions to the invitation list include parents’ friends or are intended to reciprocate for previous weddings they had attended. How does this make sense? Who’s wedding is it anyway? Why do parents get to invite anyone? Well if they are ponying up some cash, well maybe then I can understand. A bit. What’s with this reciprocal deal anyway? Should I stop attending weddings if I’m potentially unwilling to invite them to my wedding, if I ever have one? Bullshit.

Oh, I did mention it being held in Florida but did I say South Florida? As you must know, recently a hurricane passed through and another is on its way. The hall and the future in-laws survived the first storm largely intact and if the forecast path of the next one is accurate should likely weather the next one as well. Having Acts of God threaten to derail your wedding plans isn’t really the best omen, thank goodness neither family seems to be superstitious.

Now to the important stuff, how does this whole rigmarole affect me? Is my brother going to ask me to be his best man? Am I obligated to say yes? If he does am I obligated to ask him to be my best man if I ever get married? First there’s the whole encyclopaedia of rules about the invitations now this, what’s next? How does this crap work anyway? Why is it that wedding etiquette is so freakin different than normal matters? Yeah, yeah it’s an important day. Yadda, yadda, yadda, I’m so not listening. No wonder there are so many books written on this crap. I haven’t read them and never will. I have enough trouble keeping up with manners and etiquette in a daily context; if I screw up an extra few dozen times over the course of my life because of weddings it’s not going to affect my eligibility into the Em.ily Post Etiquette Hall of Fame.

Next is the question of whether or not I should bring a date. Hmm. Let’s run a cost/benefit analysis. The girl I’d bring is a whole bundle of fun and would certainly liven up my time down south. Trouble is, she’s a bit of a loose cannon and could prove disruptive. Her attendance would also preclude any potential hook-ups. Perhaps I should do some reconnaissance on the guest list before I make a decision on this one.

The biggest impact on me is the dissipation of parental pressure this marriage is causing. This is the first time my folks have been able to get rid of one of their three children in a large public ceremony and I’m hoping it gives me a long respite from the nagging and dropped little hints that never seem to stop. My parents’ real goal is Grandchildren. Hopefully my brother and my sister-in-law-to-be will have kids sometime soon. If they do I’ll owe them BIG time.

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Good Match

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it or not but my brother got engaged this spring to this girl he’s been dating on and off and on again for a few years. Other than the foot and a half height difference they seem like a good match; they’re both Wall St. types, straight-laced without being too anal retentive, kind, good-hearted, and very much in love.

A story about it tomorrow.

What do you think makes a good match?

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Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My Own Medicine

There's this other girl in my baseball league that's been after me for a while. I don't think she wants more than a bit of fun but I've been spurning her advances for some time now. She's cute and all, just not my cup of tea.

Late in the afternoon yesterday my phone rings and it's this girl. Guess what? She has tickets for the Jays game that night and asks if I want to go with her. If I wasn't already busy and still feeling under the weather I might have went. Hilarious, a dose of my own medicine

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