Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mixed Bag

I had a very pleasant weekend. Nothing really all that eventful to go on about so instead a mixed bag of things that made me giggle.

Pit Bull owners and supporters of the breed staged a rally to protest a potential ban of the breed in the province. The rally was well attended by humans, unfortunately owners were asked to keep their dogs at home. Hmm.

Sheila Copps, who to me has epitomized all I hate about Canadian politics, has released a new book “chronicling” her time in government before being ousted by current PM, Paul Martin. As expected, it is by all accounts really just a splenetic, vitriol filled effort of self-promotion and petty vengence. How shocking. The book was apparently written without research or even notes, and is drawn entirely from Ms. Copps' "memory" (I use the term loosely). The G&M's editorials have been lambasting her for the last few days. I just love it. I wonder what the reaction to a "book" like this would be south of the border. Would it become fodder for smear campaigns or merely generate a tidal wave of litigation that would wash away Copps' savings and hopes of ever returning to politics? Pathetic.

Who knew, Presbyterian is an anagram for Britney Spears? Now that's mixed up.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

in progress

The following is the text of an email exchange I'm having with a friend. We are relating our respective stories of last night in installments; it's just cut and paste with names changed really. I'd love to include his story as well but then I'd have to tell him about the blog (and get permission, of course).

Tues. after the Sox tied the series up at three games a piece I go up to the computer. Over the past week I'd tried to get Granola Girl to come out and watch a game with me and was thinking of firing off an invite via email to watch game 7. While mulling this over an email arrives from her (a rarity in itself) poking fun at an email I sent days earlier that derided the Sox chances after being down 2 - 0. Hmm. Perfect opportunity. I quickly fire off a marginally witty reply, trying to set up a meet with her for yesterday. About 20 min. later the reply comes in - maybe. She's got volleyball or something and had planned to watch the game over a beer with them. Fine. I've been through a couple of maybe's already with her where she didn't even call. Like you (although to a lesser degree) I was getting fed up with the whole maybe thing. Perhaps she too, was one of those people that just couldn't say no. Ack.

Anyhoo. I take her response as a "no" and go to bed, intending to reply to her in the morning.

The next morning I craft a reply, basically twisting her arm to come out. I don't really have any faith that this will work, but hey, it's worth a try. The day goes by and there's no response. After dinner I take a shower and as I'm taking the 3.5 seconds in takes to throw the bit of product in my hair that keep my mad scientist-like lid from turning into a frizzy halo, my phone rings. Knowing that I'll be unable to catch it in time I let the call go to voice mail. Within a minute I check the message: It's Granola Girl, she's been at work all day unable to check email and she sounds a little pissed that I didn't get back to her. I'm to try her at work or leave a message at her home telling her where I'll be so she could (potentially) come by. I try work first, no answer, so I leave a message on her voice mail at home. Even with this call her having left me hanging in the past is fresh in my memory, and I have doubts whether or not she'll show.

So I get to the bar and hook up with Ed, who has girl trouble of his own, naturally. While the pre-game's on we talk for a bit, get each other up to date on our stories and shared a few laughs. As we're gabbing the text message you sent came up on my phone; I just laughed. I read it to Ed. He said, "fair enough" and laughed too. There was no speculation; we both knew what the better offer was.

GG shows up just before the game starts. This in itself is surprising as she keeps relating to me stories of how notoriously impunctual she is. She sits down and the conversation flows (like cold beer after a day shagging flies). Much of the talk is about baseball but topics also venture into politics and other potentially dangerous arenas. Again surprisingly all is cool. Politically, we seem to be on the same page, if in different paragraphs.

The game progresses and all is cool and groovy. Being a huge Boston fan, GG's exuberant about the results. I go out for a smoke when Damon hit the second home run and I could hear her cheers from the street.

The game gets a little lopsided and Ed bails; a little to get us alone, a little because mutual friends are down the street at this club for the after-party of the launch of a film-fest that one of them is heading. The dynamic between GG and I changed and the pace of conversation slowed down. This is odd because although engaged in talking, Ed wasn't the centre of things. I've got some guesses why but nothing concrete. Anyway, GG's in the middle of a long work week and was showing signs that she needed to get to bed.

After the game ends we call it a night and prepare to part ways. Although I try, I just can't get a read on her body language. She's tired and it shows. I'm just not sure if it's been a long day or if it's me. As we'd discussed, I'd resolved to wait to make a move until her intentions become clear; and they certainly weren't last night. There were a few moments there at the end where I thought she might be receptive but I bail and give her a hug and take my leave of her.

After I'm left with this feeling that I just didn't do or say the right thing. If I were to grade my "goodnight" performance I'd give myself a barely passing grade. I think I'll call her up at work today and see if a little extra credit work will improve my mark.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Cheers To the Abnormal

In the past I’ve made mention of the distance people keep between themselves in Toronto. Although I realize that this makes the city a colder place I, in my own way I am party to this; I hate when people, through mere geographical coincidence, somehow think that they have a right to know what’s going on in my life. When the artificial boundaries this aloofness creates are crossed I often wonder if the transgressor is trying to get something from me or merely crazy. Well, crazy may be a little strong, but in Toronto it certainly is abnormal.

Apparently, this cynicism, mistrust of others, aloofness or what-have-you is not limited to Toronto. Exploring these artificial barriers a Montreal artist, Iwona Majdan, has embarked on The Dinner Project; a very, very cool experiment in you can read about here or in the G & M here.

My own mistrust of others was again recently challenged. Last week a buddy of mine, while at a deli he had started to frequent nearby his workplace, was accosted by his server. The server, whom he had only spoken to twice, insisted that he come by a party that she was having Saturday. Unsure if he should attend a party held by a potentially insane woman he invites me along. I guess that if I agree he’s got some protection or at least the reassurance that he isn’t the only one nutty enough to attend. We thrash the idea around a little, weighing our options but the prospect of (the promised) single women and sense of adventure win out and we decide to make an appearance.

The party itself was a little odd but we both had a good time. There was some decent conversation and the promised eye candy abounded. Sadly the Sarah Silver.man type (sans foul mouth) that I was interested in was taken and the Budweiser girl, complete with silicone enhancements, wouldn’t quite come around and see all the merits of my friend.

With my buddy still welcome for lunch at the deli, we left just in time to catch last call on College. We wrapped up the evening with a toast to "crazies" like out host and talking about how nice it would be to have more odd invitations like this. Cheers to the abnormal.

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Monday, October 18, 2004

Choosing Words With Economy

The Economist polled a bunch of economists on the Presidential candidates' economic platforms. Kerry fared much better than Bush. The article is unavailable online but the survey results can be found here.

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Friday, October 15, 2004

Since We Last Met

My oldest friends and I are finalizing arrangements to meet up next weekend. There are 4 of us that have been friends since Grade 6, egad more than twenty years ago, and we still get together en masse about twice a year. Though things have become more regular, in the past there have been some times where we’ve fallen out of touch for extended periods.

It doesn’t happen with this group but I’ve always hated that awkwardness that results when you run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time and they ask what you’ve been up to since they last saw you. Which novel do you want? It takes me a thousand words to explain Thanksgiving dinner and you want a synopsis of the last two, five or ten years of my life? Right. Almost as dreadful is out of politeness being expected to reciprocate and ask them the same question. I always cheat a little and ask instead, “so, what are you up to these days?”

Perhaps it’s just me that has issues with queries like this, maybe others have stock responses like, *make funny face, drop voice ½ octave, tilt head side-to-side* “yeah, met spouse through friends, bought house in ‘burbs, had 1.6 kids, golf twice a week, worked up corporate ladder so now I’ve a cubicle with a window.” But I’ve never really settled down and there have been very few constants so I just don’t have that kind of answer in my repertoire.

Somehow, no matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen the guys, I never get that icky feeling; conversation just seems to flow. Things are rarely pressed and if so it’s always done with the best of intentions. Yeah, I guess that’s why we’re all still friends. Obviously, I’m really looking forward to seeing them

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Thursday, October 14, 2004

Blogger's Block

What to write about?

I watched the debate last night while flipping back and forth with the baseball game. Plenty of material there but nothing I really care to go on about. While watching last night I entirely forgot about the 4400, airing on Space. I’ve watched the first 3 of 5 episodes and now I’ve missed the fourth. I could blather on about how good the mini-series is or wonder if it’s really worth now catching the finale next week. F**k.

I loved John Ibbitson’s column in the G & M this morning. But the newspaper’s site has now made much of the content premium only and I couldn’t provide a link. This itself is annoying enough, but not really worthy of a post.

The content of the article provides plenty of inspiration. Perhaps, too much. I’ve difficulties focusing on what I really want to say. It starts “Because democracy is flawed, the federal government must lie to the Canadian people about the size of the annual surplus. It has no choice.” Does one focus on the inherent failings of democracy? How lacking in intelligence or exceedingly myopic that the average voter must be to require this kind of deception? Is this deception truly intentional and if so really warranted? Whether or not the ends justify the means? Aaagghh.

I also spent about an hour agonizing over a four sentence long email. Pathetic.

Ah, I got nothing.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

No menu jokes, please

For me, Thanksgiving celebrations have been very unpredictable over the last few years. My brother has lived in the U.S. for 6 of the last 8 years so often the family will go back and forth between holding the dinner on either the U.S. or Canadian date. There have even been years where we’ve had Thanksgiving twice and one occasion where it skipped over it entirely. Due to this and other uncertainties, as of Friday evening, I was still unsure about my plans for the weekend. That night I got a call from Krazy Courier Girl, inviting me to a Thanksgiving dinner with her friends at her apartment Sunday. She is a confidante of mine and knowing about the whole Granola Girl saga encouraged me to bring “a date” as well. Having resolved to let her come around to me, if anything between GG and I is to happen, I had no intention of giving her a ring.

Lo and behold, Saturday afternoon GG phones me up and inquires if I’m available that evening. Even being the notorious last minute planner that I am when it comes to my free time, I couldn’t break plans for the evening so instead I asked if she’d accompany me to Krazy Courier’s the next day. She asked whether this was a “date” thing and if the attendees would be predominantly couples. While answering the latter part of the question (no) I, perhaps unwisely, avoided the former. Whether or how my response mattered, what I said was apparently the right thing as she then quickly said yes.

After talking for a while and making meet-up arrangements, I needed to get going and thus began the verbal disconnection dance. While waltzing around, trying to find a good note to end our conversation on I mention, “I’m just not a phone person.” She replies, “Well, at least we have that in common.” Huh? What about the litany of things we’ve discussed in the past? What about baseball, for goodness sake? She may love the game even more than me. Anyway, although she’s coming along I leave the call somewhat more perplexed than before.

Sunday afternoon as I’m heading over to play a pick-up game of ball she calls me from her work to finalize arrangements. As she may not be able to be ready by the time guests were asked to arrive she asks if I wouldn’t mind waiting for her and being a little late as “it would be fun go (or was it,to enter?) as a couple.” Hmm. As it happens she gets out of work early and heads over to join in for a few innings with the pick-up game I’m playing.

The game breaks up at the right time for us to get over to Krazy Courier’s pad with a just comfortable margin of time to spare. As usual many of the other players at the game are mutual friends of ours and inquiries are made if we are coming for drinks. We individually demur, not indicating that we’re off doing something together, but the crowd is dilly-dallying and time is becoming shorter. Eventually, being such a stickler for punctuality I, as discreetly as possible, suggested that we should be leaving. After saying our goodbyes to the others we head off to her car where she mentions, “I bet they’re doing the math right now.” No kidding, the whole league loves to gossip. What did she think would happen?

After relating all this detail, I’ve surprisingly little to say about the dinner party itself. It was a load of fun: good food, copious quantities of drinks, interesting conversation; it went swimmingly really. As different members of the party came over and sat with us topics of discussion varied widely, but were always engaging and when left to ourselves the liveliness of the conversation was undiminished. There were a few times when GG complained about how her stomach hurt from laughing so much. Oh, and at one point mid-way through the evening she mentioned that she had broken up with the boyfriend a couple of weeks ago.

At about two in the morning, although the party showed no indication of letting up, GG was showing signs of fading. I volunteer to walk her the few blocks home (about 1 subway stop). She readily accepts and we soon begin to say our farewells and make an exit.

The walk to her apartment was pleasant and (sadly) uneventful. I was distracted (or drunk) enough that our arrival at her place took me by surprise. While she’s thanking me for inviting her along and for having such a great time I can’t get her telling me some weeks ago that were she to find herself single that she would need some space for a while afterward and so, for better or worse, left it up to her to make a move. Yes, I’m kicking myself for that. Leaving details aside, there was a certain amount of awkwardness involved in our parting and things were left unsaid (and undone).

I trundle back to the party and at the door Krazy Courier accosts me for all the details. Of course, she berates me and my lack of initiative and gives me a lesson on how to covertly grab a girl’s hand. The party is still in full flight and continues until six in the morning when the neighbours start banging on the walls. Somehow in my drunkenness Krazy Courier convinces me to stay over and I end up (platonically) sharing a bed with three girls. I would’ve settled for just one.

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Thursday, October 07, 2004

100% Organically Written

I understand that the English language is a bastard child (check out The Story of English). I also get the fact that the language owes much of its vibrancy to its mutability, but some of the changes people try and implement really piss me off. Recently, Mikevil briefly discussed the idiocy of an alternate spelling movement and Ice Queen touched on the stupidity of Biz-lish but what’s getting my boxers in a bunch lately is the appropriation of some terms for uses that add nothing and merely obfuscate.

One term that’s being irritating for a while is “organic”. The term is likely derived from: in a manner similar to that of an organ or an organism. Taking this rationale it follows why the study of carbon based compounds is called Organic Chemistry.

Recently the term has somehow been co-opted into meaning grown without using pesticides or fertilizers that are not of animal or vegetable origin. A stretch for sure but even so, why is this necessarily better? How is this essentially a good thing? I guess if botulism, ricin or anthrax were added it would still be “organic”. Really all farming is organic, it’s all carbon-based organisms. When we start growing silicon based life then maybe it would have a meaning. Stupid redundant term.

Organic has also been used in a business context. I’ve been to biz-school and yet I can’t find any meaning that this is supposed to adhere to. Well I guess if the intent is that an organic business either grows like an organism or its structure resembles an organism it would likely be correct. There are so many different kinds of organisms and ways that they are constructed and grow that I’m sure an analogy could be made to one of them (amoeba? tube worm? bee hive? badger?) however, the variety is so great the term becomes meaningless to anyone except the author. Yes, I’m organically writing this post. Ack.

Finally, in today’s G & M some twit described T.O.’s police chief Fantino’s apparent transistion into a kinder, gentler administrator as an “organic transformation”. What the fuck does this mean? Poncey buzzword addicts, stop using words like this that have many (apparent) uses, so many of which are contradictory. Egad, the terms cease to have any meaning

Don’t even get me started on “natural”.



If anyone knows of a good etymology site, please pass on the link.


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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Arm Twisting

One of my oldest and best friends has started a blog. He hasn't posted anything substantial yet so do me a favour, go by his blog and hassle him give him some encouragement in his comments.

He's my favourite target person to drag out of work and I see blogging as another great opportunity to prevent him from getting any work done. Come on, go ahead pester him. It's a ton of fun, you'll see.



Thanks so much to everyone who went by and left a comment. I'm still all a' gigglin'.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Running Mates

Does anybody really care about tonight’s vice-presidential debate? It’s not like the VP generally has any more influence over government policy than any given cabinet member. It seems to me that running mates are not chosen so much for skill or talent but rather as foils to the presidential candidate. Whereas Cheney is the straight-man to Bush’s flip cowboy, Edwards is the energetic, youthful charmer to Kerry’s staid, sober academic.

So is whether you appreciate the Republicans’ Abbott and Costello more than the Democrats’ completing-the-square routine really important? Why don’t we examine the real sources of influence – I think it would be much more enlightening (and entertaining) to have a debate between the spouses to the candidates. There have been many debates of this type I’d love to have seen in the past (i.e. Hillary Clinton vs. Barbara Bush) but this year’s ticket may have the most potential of all. Would Ms. Heinz-Kerry’s firebrand technique be able to melt the ice-maiden visage of Laura Bush? Would H-K’s off-the-cuff style get her into heaps of trouble? Will Mrs. B ever break out of the dutiful wife role and actually express an opinion?

VP debate, yadda, yadda, yadda - The real running mate’s debate, now this would make engrossing, important TV.

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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Importance

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. A selective synopsis of what’s been going on:

a)The regular baseball season is over both for my league and for pro-ball. There is a gap in my free time that needs to be plugged.

b)I’ve a number of friendships in transit; some waxing some waning, a mixed bag for sure. Plenty of material for blogging, I just can’t get myself to write about it.

c)Things with Granola Girl are still in limbo – although we still often talk, I’ve basically given up trying. If something happens cool, if not oh well.

d)My business partner is slowing down progress on our project. His reasons are valid but it doesn’t stop my patience from being tested. Nah, that's all wrong. It's not his fault at all. Things just aren't going fast enough. Dammit.

e)I’m really not happy with either of the presidential candidates south of the border and favour Kerry just because I don’t want to have to witnesses Dubya’s smirking mug and listen to his patronizing voice for another 4 years. Pathetic reasoning I know, it’s just the deciding factor for me.

So I’m going through this and some other stuff, thinking about what to write a post about and then today:

John Cerutti aged 44, the colour commentator for the Jays games on Sportsnet, died of natural causes. He was a former pitcher for the jays and an excellent sportscaster. I’m just blown away how a former athlete, who I enjoyed both watching pitch and listen to cover games could just drop dead. Just like that, gone.

A fellow I play pick-up ball with has started this charity, for very personal reasons. We went out for some drinks Sunday and we talked some. The fund’s named after his wife, it’s self-explanatory.

Anyway, I’m, just not up to elaborating on any of the petty stuff that’s going on with me. Though I’m self-absorbed enough that I’m sure it’ll seem more important in a day or two.

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