Wednesday, March 30, 2005


I really have to learn how to write less in a post.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A 60-second Physics lesson.

I've been jonesing for a class to teach lately... so I'm going to take it out on y'all. Enjoy.

It seems normal to think that a heavier object falls faster, even if you can clearly parrot what you learned in school: All objects accelerate downwards at the same rate, regardless of their mass. But if you were to drop a bowling ball and a feather, this situation would run counter to the previous blanket statement. And then you'd say, My teacher was a worthless, lying sack of shit.

Well, think of it this way, Chester.

As an object falls, it feels two separate forces — gravity pulls it down, but air resistance pushes it back up. You've seen that clip (here; AVI, 2.2 MB) of the astronaut on the Moon, an airless place, dropping a hammer and a feather, and they hit the ground at the same time... but we live on an Earth with air (thankfully), and that don't ever happen.

But what if you had two bowling balls, one solid and one hollow? They'd be the same size and shape, and since air resistance depends on how rough and large the surface of the ball is, that'd be the same force, too. Would they fall at the same rate?

No, seriously, think about it. It's not a situation you'd encounter every day, that's for sure, as heavier things tend to be bigger than light things. (Unless you're a Styrofoam salesperson.)

But, chances are that around your house/apartment/room/disaster area, you have two remote controls for things that are roughly the same size and shape, but one is heavier than the other. Hold them both over your bed at arm's-length, drop them at the same time, and see if the heavy one hits first. (If you don't have remotes, I'd guess cans of food would work well, too. Try to pick a huge one — stewed tomatoes comes to mind — and a tiny one, like tomato paste. They'd be basically the same smoothness, and aren't too drastically different in size, but they should be different enough in mass for our little experiment.)

Go ahead and try it. Then think. (Which is probably something you were asked to do very little of in Physics class, if you took it.)

(Well, Physics classes not taught by me, that is.)

Monday, March 28, 2005

A few things.

Easter weekend was delightful. As Ryan noted, Erin and I were treated to a lovely two-plus days of meat, beer and movies (some of which I slept through) out at the cottage. Mercules navigated the twisty dirt roads with ease — I honestly never knew roads could be that twisty and crazy anywhere in North America... just build them flat and straight like they do at home! — and the walk on the lake ice on Saturday night was acoustically interesting.

I spent most of the weekend reading through the latest Rolling Stone, which is pretty entirely a collection of elegies for the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. It's something like forty solid pages of text with very few ads, which took a surprising amount of time to get through, but well worth it. (Sorry, you're going to have to wait until next week to find out which rapper shot which other rapper in the past little while.)

I also started and finished Thoreau's A Plea for Captain John Brown, which is a moving and thoughtful quasi-memorial for the man who some suggest instigated the Civil War by declaring a guerilla war on the U.S. government in the late 1850s. (Read about Brown here; it's really a fascinating story. Oh, and be sure to nose around Project Gutenberg to get all sorts of literary classics for absolutely free. What a deal!) Next up: Civil Disobedience.

Finally, Blogger is being a bitch about working with Firefox YET AGAIN; unfortunately, I've had to stoop to using IE to post/comment. (I've also noticed lately, through experimentation, that IE doesn't support the admittedly-obscure HTML Q tag, or in an external stylesheet, the not-so-obscure width property for the body element.) Oh, Bill Gates, you so crazy.

One last thing... according to that quiz that's going around, my brain is 53% female and 47% male. Go figure.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Dear neighbour to the south,

You're truly one of a kind. Priceless.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Look the hell out.

I'm telling you, this Jeremy Bonderman guy is gonna be a superstar. He's 22 and mowing down major league hitters. I'm 27, and what am I doing? Writing dick-jokes.

(Well, I guess I'm endeavouring to save the Ontario educational system, too. So that's something.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Words are fun.

Do you know your homonyms? How's your vocabulary? Take the test here. (My results are here.)

English Genius
You scored 93% Beginner, 100% Intermediate, 93% Advanced, and 83% Expert!
You did so extremely well, even I
can't find a word to describe your excellence! You have the uncommon
intelligence necessary to understand things that most people don't. You
have an extensive vocabulary, and you're not afraid to use it properly!
Way to go!

Thank you so much for taking my test. I hope you enjoyed it!

For the complete Answer Key, visit my blog:

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 35% on Beginner
You scored higher than 73% on Intermediate
You scored higher than 48% on Advanced
You scored higher than 87% on Expert
Link: The Commonly Confused Words Test written by shortredhead78 on Ok Cupid

Monday, March 21, 2005

We have a winner.

The 2005 Award for the Cereal Foodstuffs Spoon of Choice is...

Yes, in a nail-biter, the delicate teaspoon emerged victorious over its gigantism-addled tablespoon cousin, 5-4-1. It seems as if my parents raised me alright after all. Well, except for the vicious beatings with a sock full of ball bearings.

It begs the question, though... how many crazy things did you grow up with thinking they were completely normal, but no other sane person seems to do? I'll give you an example (the person shall remain nameless): A friend of mine had always had ice cream served in mugs, as opposed to bowls, and when s/he had a guest over and presented the delicious dairy product to him/her in a mug, the guest naturally asked, "What the hell are you doing?"

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Fridays are cool.

This term, as was the case last term, gives me Fridays off from classes. That makes Thursday a festive day, and there's no better Thursday than St. Patrick's day. However, aside from a single pint of Trad in the afternoon with Tammy — apparently drinking during daylight hours is a new thing for her — no alcohol was consumed. This pint may or may not have made my Quantitative Research Methods class more interesting than usual.

What did set my synapses on fire in that class was a brief reminder at the end that we've got to get going on our final projects, which basically means taking a set of data (preferably public-domain) and doing something, anything to it to draw conclusions. My prof even suggested something baseball-related... which got me thinking, natch. The decline in complete games in terms of the increase in home runs? Comparing attendance figures with runs scored in the NL vs. AL DH era? Hot dogs sold as a function of team record? Ooooooh, the possibilities are endless. But I'm a geek like that.

In other news, the cereal spoon race has come down to the wire. I'll leave voting open until, let's say, 9:00 am EST on Monday, March 21... for now, here are the early results:

Teaspoon (4): Leanne, "Troubles," ECB, Eve
Tablespoon (3): Erin, Tammy, Ryan
Other (1): Kelly (fingers)

Like they say in Chicago... "vote early, vote often." Granted, this ain't the American Idol, but at least I got better pipes than William Hung.

Finally, if you're looking for something to watch which induces massive belly-laughs, I've posted a couple of Will Ferrell as Robert Goulet clips here. Watch and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Thank you, coffee.

Copious quantities of caffeine have a way of setting my brain ablaze. Thus, the three cups I've had today (after not having any for nearly a week) made me hyperobservant, as it usually does. So, here goes.

Once in a while, I get a confluence of ideas that just seem to all fit together. I had one of those today while exiting the north side of the JDUC. Coffee in hand, good song on the headphones, on the way to a GW writers' meeting, to hang out with what could be the funniest bunch of goons this side of the Continental Divide and toss around article ideas. It occurred to me, through this perfect storm of factors, that yes, I'm "Living The Dream."

It almost feels like I'm cheating, it does. Granted, I'm not making too much money this year... but really, after I pay off my car at the end of May, my monthly expenses will decrease significantly. And I know that, at the end of this little Peter Pan-like sojourn back into the warm cradle of postsecondary education, there'll be a job waiting for me on the other end, should I feel the need to go back. (I'm about 75% certain I will... I actually do enjoy teaching quite a bit, and I'd like to think I'm pretty good at it. And having a little disposable income isn't bad, either, although I'm not really a big spender anyway.)

I'm not really sure what else I have to say about this. It's been pretty bitchin' so far, and I have about a year and a half to go. I think I'm getting around to doing the kinds of things I missed at Waterloo the first time through... it's odd, when I was there, I was all focused on getting out and getting on with things. I suppose my sights were set too far — as Ferris Bueller said:
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Please provide your input.

Responses to this question will be counted and compared. Whichever side comes out on top, that's what I'll go with for the forseeable future. And here's the question:
When you eat breakfast cereal (presumably out of a bowl), do you use a small or a big spoon?

I grew up using a teaspoon, because that's what my parents used. But I've noticed over the past few years a bunch of people using a tablespoon, and now I'm worried I've been doing it all wrong for decades.

So, tell me what you've used, and the winner gets to be my weapon-of-choice as I attack my next bowl of corn flakes.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Hallmark, get a load of this.

Oh, the crazy holidays they come up with...

Apparently March 14 is Steak and BJ Day.

I had no idea.

Monday, March 14, 2005

An "Ownership" Society.

It's a political/sociological rant. Read it if you like here.

George W. Bush bandies about the term "ownership society" pretty casually these days. Shoot, it seems to be a pretty central to his whole outlook on life. Said Dubya on June 17, 2004:

...if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America, and the more people have a vital stake in the future of this country.

That sounds fine and dandy. If you own a house, chances are you're going to take care of it a lot better than if you were just renting it. Makes sense.

But, in Dubya's own simplistic black-or-white, "with us or against us" kind of way, he's dumbed-down an issue which is a lot more complex than it initially seems. What if you don't have any money, so you can't own stuff? Then what kind of stake do you have in the future of the country? And does that mean richer people have more say? It's almost like...



Rich people like... the captains of industry? Business types? High-rollers like CEOs of multinational corporations? Friends of Bush/Cheney/Rice?

Aha. Maybe it is a black-and-white situation after all. It's just not the one that's being mass-marketed to the teeming masses.

I can't remember who the guest was recently, but in an interview on the Charlie Rose show, he talked about Dubya's big push toward the privatization of their Social Security system. (If you'll kindly recall, the Reform/Alliance party floated this plan for CPP in the late '90s before the tech bubble burst. Funny how you don't hear that much anymore up here.)

The interviewee mentioned the fact that, right off the top, if people were to invest into these "personal savings accounts" (or something similarly-sounding), brokers' fees would take 15% right off the top. Think about it... all that money sailing right into the Social Security system, and stockbrokers not getting a penny. Gah! It's almost enough to make Milton Friedman squirm like an illegally-held "enemy combatant" at Guantanamo Bay after being forced to stand for hours upon hours as a form of torture.

So now, instead of your money being backed by the awesome might of the U.S. government — it's pretty big and powerful, y'know — you're now hoping the company into which you've put a good hunk of your life savings doesn't go all Enron on you. Living on pins and needles, watching the stock ticker at the bottom of the screen on CNBC, crossing your fingers that the CEO won't make off with your retirement dollars to the Cayman Islands.

Ownership, eh? Who would own that money? Certainly not you, my friend to the south.

Well, maybe if you had what Lincoln called, in his Gettysburg Address, a "government of the people, by the people and for the people," instead of a crazed group of insular wack-jobs so far removed from reality they have their newspapers read to them, you would.

Hey, I'm not saying we're any better up here — we have our problems, too, and lots of 'em. But I think our approach involve a little more balance and a bit more sanity. Y'know, polite and nice. Canadian.

Overnight follies.

I know what you're thinking. "Hey, look at the time of this post. Why is J up so early on a Monday morning, given his schedule?" Well, friends, I haven't been to bed yet, and I'm going to see how long I can hold out.

Yesterday/last night/this morning was a marathon session for GW. Co-pinch-hitting for the illustrious Tammy were myself and another writer, Ross, on copy-editing duties. I definitely have a new appreciation for the job... sure, it may be a late night for a writer to be there until 2 in the morning, but whenever writers get done, then they're layout, and you have to read the whole paper about three times over, including right at the very end.

This week was particularly disorganized, too, for a lot of reasons... so stuff would get sucked into a black hole for a little while. Not fun, but necessary, unless you want the thing to look like an all-night hack-job. Which it was, to be honest.

So now begins the grand experiment. I'll carry on with my day as per usual, and I'll see how far I can get without any sleep. Should be interesting.

Update: I went to bed not long after 9:30... I figure, "Why fight it?" Then I got up around 2. So yeah, the experiment was an abject failure.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Concert of the Year.

Thursday, May 12.


The Mars Volta.

Toronto's already sold out. Email me before Tuesday.

Friday, March 11, 2005

A confession.

I talk to myself.

Yeah, I know, we all do it — "Oh, c'mon, silly Jeeves, where'd you put the starched shirts for Mr. Witherspoon-Smitherman?" — but I think I probably take it to a whole new level. I mean, how else am I going to practice kooky voices and impersonations?

I was in my kitchen a few minutes ago, and I'm not sure why, but the phrase, "Don't be so stooo-pid," as it would be spoken by Rosie Perez, popped into my mind. Maybe I saw/heard it in a movie, on TV, or somewhere... but it seems like the kind of line she'd say. And I can hear it pretty exactly in my head, too. Why it sprang to mind, I'm not sure... but there it was, taunting my vocal chords.

"Can you nail the line, J?", it seemed to taunt. "I bet you can't get the back of your tongue in the right position to mimic her unique voice's tone, and the Puerto Rico-cum-Brooklyn accent's going to eat you alive."

I had to try it out a few times to get it right, natch.

As I opened the door of my apartment into the laundry room, I found myself practicing said line. I then thought, "If someone else is in the house right now, they're going to think, 'J's really a raving lunatic. Either that, or J's banging Rosie Perez, in which case, way to go.'" Fortunately, when I glanced up at the area where J&J hang their coats, they were both gone. Close call.

I feel sorry for my future life-partner, I really do.

Fold, stuff, seal, peel, stick.

We're putting together this little symposium in early April. Everyone's welcome, it's free, and we'll feed you — no foolin'. Anyway, I'm in charge of putting together the invitations, so today's been form-letter copying and envelope stuffing and label printing and such things of that nature. Reminds me of my first UW work term, where I did this for probably a good solid six days... they were paying me not-bad coin (for a co-op student) at the time, so I didn't mind. Plus, I got to hone my Word and Excel and VBScript skillz.

Tonight's the GW Science Fair. I'll probably be co-presenting the crappiest eggplant catapult this side of the Mississippi. The plan is to launch the eggplant to hit a target of a rasterbated pineapple, or perhaps Bob Saget.

KEXP is presently playing Sloan, but it's bad Sloan (i.e., post-1998). Grr. Kinda like when radio stations only play "Hard To Handle" by the Black Crowes, while that band has dozens of far superior songs like "Wiser Time" and "A Conspiracy"... basically, the entire Amorica album, which I shall now play forthwith on my home Compact Disc-playing unit.

Speaking of albums, if anyone is a Citizen Cope fan and wants The Clarence Greenwood Recordings, let me know and I'll get it to you. I originally liberated it from the GW office, and it's just not really my cup of tea. Sorta like tea itself. Nevertheless, if you want it, it's yours.

Now back to the peeling and the sticking.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

List 'em up, bastards.

Three songs with which you're currently infatuated. Go.

Elvis Costello - Radio Radio
The Pretenders - Middle Of The Road
The High Dials - Diamonds In The Dark

Now you.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

International follies.

"There's no such thing as the United Nations ... If the U.N. secretary building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

John Bolton, the Bush administration's nomination as, you guessed it, the U.S.'s ambassador to the United Nations, in 1994 at a panel discussion sponsored by the World Federalist Association

Folks, I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

All about the tuneage.

Warning: this is all about music. Some of y'all obviously tune out when I go off on a rant on this subject, so for those people, you can just high-tail it outta here and get back to your goat-porn. Thanksabunch, losers. Now, onto the news.

Picked up the new Mars Volta album on Friday in TO. Wow. WOW!!! Frances the Mute is even more frantic and frenzied than De-Loused in the Comatorium, and I didn't even think that was possible. As Rolling Stone put it this week,
the Mars Volta's second album is an exhilarating transgression: concussive, nonlinear rhythms; mad-dog guitar algebra; bloody-nightmare suites sung in bilingual free-verse. In short, the beastly spawn of Radiohead's OK Computer and Rush's 2112.

In short, it combines two of the most brilliant albums of the past forty years into one stupendous package. And it cost me the grand total of ten bucks. (Well, plus tax.)

On April 3, the Weakerthans and the Constantines are playing a show here in town somewhere. Anyone want to go? I'm going to be in town that night after all; despite my best efforts at obtaining Tiger tickets for the following day, it appears that Opening Day is plum sold-out. Should be some solid Canadian rock 'n' roll going on.

Speaking of Canadian bands, the same Rolling Stone, when reviewing the latest album from Stars (they're from Montreal), asks, "Is Canada the new Sweden?" Duh, RS, thanks for finally noticing your talented northern neighbours. Not only are we the world's best at hockey, we're not too shabby with a six-string either.

In other news, I've added a song to the list of tunes that cause me to dance around my apartment like a fool with the shades drawn: "Take Your Mama Out" by Scissor Sisters. I also like to play guitar along with that one; the A#7 is a lovely chord. I believe this brings my list of danceable tunes up to seven.

Monday, March 07, 2005

What have you done?

This is ridiculously long, yet fun. Feel free to repost and respond if you like. I've done things listed in bold so far. Click here to see the list in full.

And yes, there are better things I could be doing right now.

(Fixed a few grammatical mistakes and corrected a couple of items on March 8.)

1. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long, and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg
20. Slept under the stars
21. Changed a baby's diaper [not yet, but probably soon]
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you weren't ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
40. Seen a total eclipse
41. Ridden a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 10 provinces + 3 territories
50. Gone waterskiing
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe
58. Taken a road-trip
59. Been rock climbing
60. Lied to a foreign government's official in that country to avoid notice
61. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
62. Gone sky diving
63. Visited Ireland
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Benchpressed your own weight
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving
75. Got it on to "Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theater
80. Done something you should regret, but don't
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who's not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favor of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Swordfought for the honor of a woman
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn’t have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River
104. Been on a television news program as an "expert"
105. Received flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don't remember anything
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a cheque
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read - and understood - your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
128. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
132. Called or written your MP or MPP
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
134. …more than once? More than thrice?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Seen two or more oceans
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone's heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job
148. Won money on a T.V. game show
149. Broken a bone
150. Been photographed naked
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 160 km/h
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Ridden a horse
158. Had major surgery
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
164. Visited more foreign countries than Canadian Provinces
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. ...and gotten 86'ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was
184. Taught yourself an art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
187. Skipped all your school reunions
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested

Brevity has never been a strong suit of mine.

From now on, I promise to make these things as concise as possible. I don't want to read through long-ass diatribes, and I'm sure you don't want to, either.

So, long story short...

1. The car's fine. Topped up the coolant and she's running like new. Even got halfway decent gas mileage on the 401, running between 120 and 130 most of the way (which is a touch on the fast side for me). For the amount of money I paid, I should freakin' hope so.

2. Had a nice time at the brother+sister-in-law's place last night. Hooked up their Sympatico DSL Basic, lounged in the hot tub, saw the nursery, and checked out the latest ultrasound. We think it might be a boy; at any rate, in or around May 17, I will become an uncle.

3. Spent quite a few hours at GW today; dumped off my stuff at my apartment after driving five hours, read the news a bit, and went to the office. Makes for a long day.

4. I'm quite solidly hooked on "Radio Radio" by Elvis Costello at present. Soooooooo catchy.

See? Concise. Maybe there's hope for me after all.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


Earlier today (i.e., Friday afternoon) I finally picked up my car from Addison on Bay (AOB), and with taxes it came to the whopping sum of $1558.14. I noted to the cashier-lady that this was roughly equivalent to four months' worth of university tuition in a graduate program in education. I don't think she really fully grasped that concept the same way I did.

Now comes the interesting part. Actually, it's not so much "interesting" as it is "rage-inducing infuriating." If you're me, that is.

An old friend of mine from UW days now lives in Stouffville; I hadn't seen her in over a year, so we made plans for me to drive my now-functional car up there and meet her for dinner. (The aforementioned town is about a 30-minute drive from the northern extremities of Toronto, if you're not familiar with the area.) I hit the highway and things were going well, car-wise, although I understandably was not up to 100% confidence in my wheels just yet. Had dinner, shot the bull, noted the large number of stars in the sky up there, and hopped in the car to come back.

Between Stouffville and the 404 — about a 10-minute drive — I had a shit-fit when my god damn low coolant light came on AGAIN. The same light I just paid a full god damn term's tuition fee to have quelled. Forever. But yet there it was, winking on and off at me perhaps a dozen times on the 45-minute drive back downtown, telling me that, nope, this car ain't dependable yet, not by a longshot.

At which point I started cursing at the top of my lungs. (It was a good thing it was nighttime, so no one could see me turning purple with fury, and I wasn't carrying any passengers to subject to the tirade.) I don't do this often; I'm a pretty even-keeled kind of guy, almost to a fault. This is because I usually interact with people who are somewhat capable of doing their job. But not AOB, apparently.

So here's what I'm going to do. Tomorrow morning I'm calling up said dealership and telling them the following:

When I give you sixteen hundred dollars to do a job, I expect it to be done right. But apparently you slobs can't fix a fucking car. So, here's what you're going to do. On Monday afternoon, I'm going to go to the Pontiac dealership in Kingston. I will have in hand the receipt from all the shit-calibre work you did on my car this week, accompanied by a signed letter from you stating that any repairs necessary to get this car back to pristine condition will be paid for, in full, by Addison on Bay. You will also pay to give me a car to drive while the work is being done in Kingston, hopefully by people who know the difference between "fixing a problem" and "taking my money and shoving me out the fucking door with shoddy workmanship and empty words."

Here's the thing. Tomorrow I'm scheduled to be in Woodstock, visiting my brother and his wife (who's seven months pregnant), and my parents who have just returned from Florida. I'm going to be driving this "car" on the 401 for approximately 550 km between now and Sunday afternoon (TO to Woodstock, then Woodstock to Kingston). I am not sure if this car is going to explode in one of several no-man's lands along said highway. I am also not sure if this thing will ever be fixed properly.

The only thing of which I'm sure is that I'm not paying another dime to fix it. She's AOB's problem now, folks.

Alright... so this morning I just talked to the AOB service department folks (I believe it was someone named "Ken"). He said my engine "burped" an air bubble, and coolant rushed in to take its place. If top it up, it should be fine. Common problem.

Yeah, we'll see about that.. I'm being skeptcial, as you might well imagine.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot... Friday's score was Tigers 3, Phillies 0. Two games, exactly one (1) run given up by my boys. A 2-0 Tiger team. Life is sweet.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Detroit 9, Philadelphia 1.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod... it has begun.

Spring has sprung, folks. While it may feel like -19°C tonight with the wind chill here in K-town, the Tigers are 1-0 in sunny Florida after handing the Phillies their asses on a plate. Jeremy Bonderman was so good, he got an extra inning of work; shoot, the guy's 22 and already has "ace" written all over him.

Sorry. I know I shouldn't be this giddy. Hell, I even love my Canadian winters. But this is just... well, let's just say there's anticipation in Tigertown for the first time in many, many years, and I can't wait to see how things turn out.

(I don't remember my dreams these days... but about a year ago, I remember dreaming about a day playoff game at Comerica Park. I was watching it on TV, and the announcer said something to the effect of, Good afternoon, everybody, from beautiful Comerica Park here in Detroit. This place is buzzing, folks, with the Tigers' first playoff appearance since 1987. A capacity crowd is on hand to watch these surprising Tigers extend their Cinderella season, and continue this amazing run they've had since catching fire after the All-Star break. Manager and Tiger legend Alan Trammell has done wonders with this club, taking them well beyond anyone's wildest expectations. Now, let's get a look at that starting lineup, brought to you by Chevrolet. Mmmm... I can almost taste it.)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


Education is less the filling of a vessel than it is the lighting of a fire.

For those of you interested in a-learnin' and a-schoolin'... discuss.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The hits just keep coming.

Addison on Bay:
Well, J, we have your engine apart and everything's going well. Yeah, there was a visible crack in the headgasket, so coolant was burning internally. But it should be done by early Wednesday. By the way, the water pump also had a problem, so we'll replace that too. We won't charge you labour for it, but the part is another $180.

My response:
It'll never be any handier to replace than it is now, eh?

My real thoughts:
I'll give you three cases of beer to take the thing out back and burn it for the insurance money.

Another expense not exactly budgeted-for when I left my job. Looks like dinner tonight's going to be "bowl of snow." Again, I mean.