Friday, November 29, 2002

The money shot
Navigated over to the Sun website to check out the latest Page 3 girls, (yeah, yeah, so shoot me). Anyhow, there’s a fantastic space shot of Mt. Etna blowing her lid off the coast of Sicily.

Another reason to pick up after myself
My cat has the runs. No big whoop, she’s a pretty clean cat. I guess, though, that accidents will happen. Stumbled out of bed this morning (well, rolled onto the floor is more like it). Navigate through all the clothes strewn on the floor, mentally tell myself that I really should fold them some time, and make my way to the kitchen. Brew myself a bowl of coffee, feed the cat, scratch my crotch, regular morning ritual. As I get back to my room, rummage around the clothes for something to wear, when I realise that, right next to one of the laundry piles, Frances has left a little gift. God, and I nearly walked right through it.
At least it’s better than the corpses of birds scattered all over the apartment that she used to bring in, accompanied with blood splatters, but it’s still not something I enjoy waking up to.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Took the day off yesterday in order to have my regular check-up. This usually involves the old blood samples taken in the morning, followed by a quick meeting with the doctor: take off your shirt, breathe, turn your head to the side and cough (I’m joking about that last one). I’ve noticed that the waiting rooms are becoming more and more busy, the beds are crowding the hallways, the folks at the reception are nasty hags (but then, they always were; there’s nothing compared to a government job).
Since I’m considered a “special” case, however, I have been advised to always go to the front of the line, and to not wait with all the others. So, although most folks will have taken a number for the phlebotomist and have been waiting in this crowded room for at least two hours, I can stroll right through, go to the reception, tell them who I am and be served right away. Funnier still, in an ironic way, is that most of the other folks in the waiting room are at least, at least!, 30 years older than I. I can often feel holes being burrowed into the back of my head by these sexa- to octogenerians who wonder why this young whippersnapper doesn’t have to wait. I was even yelled at last time by this elder lady who thought I was cutting through.
It’s such a strange, yin/yang sort of feeling; cutting in front of all these folks can feel disrespectful, but then it’s better than sitting with them, hearing them constantly complaining and thinking to myself that they had it better in the ’70s and ’80s, and knowing that part of the reason why our health-care system sucks today is because it was abused by the preceding generation or three.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Old friends
Near my old apartment, there lived a much-older couple who used to shuffle along the sidewalk, backs bent with. They would walk their little dog, one of those annoying little anklebiters that seniors enjoy having around. The most charming aspect of it was the old man always wore Vans sneakers, the kind worn by the post-grunge, skater crowd. I always wondered what their lives had been like, growing old together like that. In such a bad-ass working class neighbourhood like St-Henri, no less. Even in their 80s, there they were, taking walks together, every day, obviously comfortable with each other. Never saw them speak to each other, but words are probably unnecessary at that point.
At some point this past summer, K & I didn’t see them anymore. I doubt that, at that point, the one would probably not be able to live without the other.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

Should I stay
Or should I go? Some friends were over last night for our weekly bouldering session. The conversation, as it often does, led to folks talking about upcoming trips they were going to take. My regular climbing partner, in fact, is taking off for several months to the southwest with her sister. Yeah, I’m jealous. Anyhow, they’re taking off for Mexico in a few weeks, and will be joined there by S for Xmas. I’m more than happy for them, but then S asked me if I wanted to join her. Oh, cruel world, being invited down to Mexico to be with three single, attractive women and, for the first time in many, many years, my mom has organised a family Christmas thingy, for which I’ve already confirmed. I am so tempted to blow off the family. Filial duties...

Update: I was talking with the maternal unit on the weekend, and I happened to let drop that, “Hey mom, guess what? Three rather pretty, single women have invited me to spend the holidays in Mexico with them. What do you think about that?” to which mumsy replies, “Well, I hope you told them that you can’t go.”
Thanks mom.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Ah, feels like old times
Come into work today, determined to be my normal, cheerful self, to be a good machine not unlike all the other peons here. Look around, say good morning to all the ugly beautiful people, only to see a lot of them looking downcast. Layoffs. Ten percent of the company, meaning about 100 workers, a lot of them project managers or other people who have been here over ten years. My co-workers are sitting around, gossipping, wondering if any of us will get the axe, which, surprisingly, none of us do.
Then, of course, there’s the general assembly (just like school!) where, surprise surprise, the CEO is simply talking about a restructuring, that he’s really sorry to have people go, we have a rosy outlook, bla bla blech. I’ve lost count of how many of these same speeches I’ve heard over the past few short years.
Strange, though, I have a couple of friends taking off for a few months on a road trip, so being laid-off myself wouldn’t have been so bad; grab a dufflebag, throw in all the underwear and socks you have, maybe a pair of shorts and pants, and west coast here I come. Alas, tis not to be.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Too drunk to fuck?
I can’t tell whether this nerf dildo is for real or not. If it is for real, then why? For training purposes? To remind you of your (ex-)boyfriend who always came home too liquored up to fulfil his “manly duties”?
Damn my innate innocence, unable to see through a joke.
(Thanks to Here Kitty Kitty)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Too much information
Vegging at home last night, I turned on to Fear Factor. Never really understood how difficult some of the physical tests can be, but am often amazed that folks will willingly participate in the gross eating contests. Regardless, last night’s contest involved ingesting ten slugs and then dringking a shot of cow bile. (Who comes up with these, I’ll never know.) The first woman gets going, with accompanying requisite camera shots of retching and heaving. Completes the task and then states, “Ugh, the slime covers your mouth and the taste stays there. It’s like having a condom in your mouth.
Hey, thanks for letting us know. If there’s ever been a better defense for bare-backing, I don’t know what it is.

Monday, November 11, 2002

Colour me blush
Saturday, it being one of the nicest days out in almost two weeks, I decided the best place to be was at a dusty, dirty climbing gym. Anyhoo, I’m climbing with a friend of mine, when a youngish-looking fellow comes in. He’s hanging out for awhile, and wanders over to where D and I are climbing on the lead wall. I strike up a conversation with him, along the lines of “don’t trust the ratings here,” “the trick is to follow the same-coloured holds,” etc. He proceeds to ask if I can give him a belay on the lead wall. Um, sure, but normally you need to have passed a course at the gym. I head over to ask a gym worker if it’s cool for the guy to climb with me, and the gym worker gives me a wry smile, saying something like, “Yeah, we’ll let him climb.”
So the guy, who introduces himself as Nick, ties in and begins to climb the hardest route in the gym. Um, I tell him, maybe that isn’t the best route to warm up on. Doesn’t matter, the guy makes it up a certain distance before peeling off. Yeah, he admits that the route was harder than he expected. He starts off on another climb, and just dances up it. He comes back down, and we get to talking. It turns out that he’s from Halifax, does a bit of low-level climbing around there. Just bought a nice little inexpensive house on the waterfront, where he lives with his wife and toddler. In Montreal to visit family.
I don’t think more about it until D comes up and asks me if I know who the guy is. I don’t really, just that he’s a strong climber. No shit, says D, he’s Nick Sagar, only Canada’s best climber, and one of the best in the world. Okay, that would explain a lot. This is a guy who climbed El Capitan in a day. Who has set routes that haven’t been repeated by anyone else. Whose wife is one the strongest climbers around as well. And me asking him if he knew how to climb on lead and that maybe he should start on an easier route.
Gads, that’s like me telling Jimi Hendrix that perhaps the “Star Spangled Banner” probably wasn’t the best song to improvise on.

Thursday, November 07, 2002

Last week, I gave a co-worker a copy of some training material I’m working on. He, in turn, gave me a document to edit and proofread. I came in Monday morning, edited his work (and, btw, I thought you needed to know how to spell to do this job; I guess I was wrong), and handed it back to him at the end of the day, two days ahead of the deadline. Meanwhile, he’s holding onto my document. No problem, I figure he’s busy. I was wrong.
We had a meeting this morning, the co-worker, our department manager, and me. I’m thinking it’ll be a sit-down thing where we’ll hash out the finer points of the document. Silly me; shit-head co-worker simply let me keep on working a whole week, me polishing this work that was actually 180º of what was decided recently, without my knowledge. So, shit-head co-worker (shcw) pulls out my work, and pretty much tells my boss that I’ve totally fucked up for the past two months. I just sit there, looking for a hole to crawl into. “Hey, thanks pal. Great team spirit.” The worst part of the encounter was when shcw has the gall, the temerity to point out that, “turn around time should be quicker”?!
I am so out of here the first chance I get.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Okay, you’re real men. You can stop now
On the bus home from work last night, sitting at the back, two guys were having a conversation. Just your typical career trimardeurs, heading home from their gigs at the post office’s central sorting warehouse. However, Charles Bukowski they were not. Talking at each other in the usual I’ve-got-a-penis-so-I-know-everything sorta way.
Whatever. At a certain point on the bus’ path, one of the guys rings to get off so, in keeping with the “kicking it real in the 514” mode, the two knock fists—you know, knuckles on knuckles—in their inane innate form of salutation. But no, a simple tap wasn’t good enough for one of the guys. “C’mon, harder.” So, they knock fists harder. And harder. And harder. And harder. And harder. Ten, fifteen times, these two are just whaling away at each other, fist on fist. The sound of bones, flesh, knuckles compressing under this assault was nauseating. Finally, another co-worker of their’s, sitting next to me, reached over and tried to stop them, which they finally did, but only after a few more whacks at each other. The one guy got off the bus, the other just sat there, proud as a peacock. Nothing like a bit of the ultra-violence for male bondage bonding, now is there?

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I feel dirty just thinking about this
The Olsen twins like watersports. Yeah? Well, so does Ashley MacIsaac, but I’m sure not in the same way. I especially love this line: We couldn’t resist going hands-on with the Olsen twins. Who comes up with this stuff anyway?

Monday, November 04, 2002

Finally got around to brewing a batch of coriander/orange Belgian ale yesterday, similar to a Hoegarden. I had already propagated a batch of yeast several days previously, leaving the slurry in the fridge in order to prevent the yeast from eating up all its nutrients. The problem is, when you mash beer, the liquid at the end is usually around 150ºF, and you can’t pitch the yeast until the liquid is at about 75ºF. So, being lazy, I simply put the bucket of beer outside, intending to bring it in before I headed off to bed.
Unfortunately, I fell asleep and only brought the beer in this morning, and the liquid’s temperature was at around 30º. Threw the yeast in regardless, and hopefully I’ll have 5 gallons of tasty brew in time for Xmas.

How not to run a sale
Received an email ad last week that stated that a local outdoor store was having a Halloween sale. The catch was that, in keeping with the Halloween spirit (no pun intended), only orange and black items were on sale, and 30% off at that. Having misread the ad, I thought the sale was on items with orange and black tags. Wrong; in fact, only items that were either orange or black were on sale. This I found out only after S. and I arrived there; we decided to head down since S. is going off on a six-month climbing road trip to Mexico and the western states, and she needs to get geared up.
So, we’re at the store, thinking that it isn’t that great a deal after all, when we realise that, hey, sports equipment sure does tend to have a lot of black in it. S. ended up spending about $300 on a sleeping bag, some camming units and a climbing top, all the while saving about $200. As we were leaving, I spotted a headlamp that I’ve been meaning to buy for awhile, which was, you guessed it, orange and black. The funniest part of the trip was that the salespeople really weren’t given any directions from the owner, and so couldn’t really refuse our pleas for a rebate whenever we pointed out that something had one of the essential orange or black colours in it.
So, if anyone needs gloves or mittens or anything warm for the coming winter, just remember that this is the final day of the sale.