Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On Band-aid Solutions

I was in a bad mood on my way to work yesterday.

Shortly after getting off the bus, I stepped in a rather deep pothole (remember, I'm still half-blind), twisted my ankle, and fell onto my knees - scraping them against the jagged edge of the pothole and gouging them rather badly. Tore my jeans pretty badly, too.

After cursing a blue streak as I limped the remaining block to work, I happened upon one of the pothole patching trucks making its rounds. Too late for me, my friend!

So, I stopped for a second, turned around, and walked back to the pothole... just in time to see the patching truck vomit its black asphalt into the hole, filling it rather messily. The street looked like a filthy checkerboard of grey and black... old patches, new patches, more deep potholes, and barely any real concrete showing.

I looked at another particularily deep pothole and thought, "You know, if this pothole were a gouge in my leg, I sure as Hell wouldn't trust a band-aid to fix it, I'd get it cleaned and stitched up."

Which brings me to my point: our inner-city streets need more than just a band-aid solution.


(CJ's note: This is a work-in-progress. I'll expand upon the point in a day or so - my train of thought has derailed. Please refrain from leaving comments on this piece until it's done!)

Monday, April 28, 2008

On posting on a regular basis...

I just noticed something...

I've posted more during the course of April than I did all last year.

At least I can honestly say it hasn't been an issue of quantity over quality...

Well, OK, ONE more thing....

Have to break my self-imposed exile again...

All I can say is, "Wow, what a weekend!"

Went to my cousin Kristi's wedding social (briefly). Caught up with some family members I haven't seen in years. It was great. Only had two cups of beer-flavoured water (Budweiser) at $4.50 a pop...

Sunday was great! I watched Bayern Munich beat Stuttgart 4-1, maintaining their place at the top of the Bundesliga. It was a great game (Schweinsteiger virtually owning the midfield, Ribery with two great goals in the space of one minute after being subbed in), but I was a little sad to see Stuttgart's Ludovic Magnin leave the field due to an ankle injury (Stuttgart being my "other" favourite Bundesliga team).

My parents invited my brother and I over for an "early supper", as they had a surprise for us. I was secretly hoping they'd won the lottery or something, but no such luck. After dinner, my dad presented me with a Bayern Munich jersey he'd bought on eBay! Very cool!

Shortly thereafter, my mom asked what my brother and I had planned for the rest of the evening... when we both replied "just relaxing", she pulled out two tickets for the Kids in the Hall show that was playing that evening!

The show was great, mostly new material with a few old favourites thrown in for good measure. Could have done with a few more skits, but all in all it was well worth the price of admission.

(Wore my jersey to the show and caught a few comments about it, too!)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two little bits before I return to exile...

Little bit of childishness at City Hall the other day, a scuffle in the sandbox, if you will.

Ordinarily, I'd pay these little outbursts no mind, but this one got me riled. I won't go into specifics, but the Reader's Digest condensed version of the story is here.

Personally, I think Mayor Sam owes someone an apology. I'm not the only one. Questioning the hiring of someone with dubious qualifications is one thing, making a personal attack is another.

A fellow Winnipeg Blogger and New Winnipegger has started a petition to get Mayor Sam Katz to apologize to councillor Jenny Gerbasi over the incident.

Check it out here, and please sign if you feel an apology should be forthcoming.

And, in other news, my copy of ImageFX arrived today!


Spirited Lethargy

I'll be taking the next week-to-ten-days off.

No blogging, no New Winnipeg, nothing.

Partly because I need a break from things, but partly because I have several things to do outside of the net.

Also, I have a few new ideas germinating in my head, and don't want any outside stimuli to affect their growth. Specifically, I'll be working on the inaugural episode of "Spirited Lethargy", my podcast which I hope to have "ready for primetime" by the middle of May!

That, and there are a few soccer matches I have to watch!

In the meantime, feel free to peruse my older posts... some of which I've been surreptitiously editing under your nose!

See you in May!

On African Democracy

I have a sinking feeling things are gonna get real ugly for our friends in Zimbabwe...

The CBC has the story here.

Is Mugabe the new (albeit less colourful) Idi Amin, as one of the people commenting on the article inferred...?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Well, this is getting me nowhere fast...

Hmmm, I'm not having much luck today...

I'm sitting at the Second Cup at Darwin's Corner, having a large Paradiso Medium, and trying my damnedest to get Nadia (her first day out with her new battery) to connect to the Rogers hotspot.

I keep getting "Service is initializing. Please try again later" messages in my Safari, and "page load error" messages in Seamonkey. I'm guessing I'm not going to be able to connect. None of the staff are much help, either.

Looks like Pastry Castle is going to be seeing a lot more of me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Cycloptic Dilemma

I lost a contact lens to freezing rain this morning.

I decided to take the #77 bus to work this morning, which is what started this whole... business. As such, I had to walk the four blocks directly into the wind. Two blocks in, at my halfway point of Powers and Kingsbury, a gust of wind blew the icy pellets right into my face.

I have a pretty good idea what it's like to be sandblasted.

After wiping off my face, everything looked out of focus. Turns out, the ice pellets had hit my face at just the right angle and subsequently knocked my contact lens right out of my eye.

Ever try to find a small, clear object in a pile of melting snow?

I gave up after about a minute.

So, now I have to go through the entire day with one good eye. I hope to Hell I don't have to make any hydraulic hoses today...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On Thinking Big and Starting Small: Becoming One's Own Brand

I was invited to a seminar tonight by a co-worker/buddy.

It was interesting, for an MLM seminar. I'm more than a little skeptical about the product and the organization, and everything they presented I'd learned in my Intro to Business course during my brief stint at Red River Community College in 1992. But that's not the issue here.

No, I actually came away with something.

Well, perhaps more appropriately, I had an epiphany. This organization (which shall remain nameless out of respect for my friend) teaches one leadership, how to mentor, how to build one's self up, how to set and achieve goals, and more importantly how to build up the product, market it, and sell it, recruiting new members into the organization. Sort of how Amway or similar organizations work.

So, somewhere between the presentations and the hot brunette a couple of rows ahead of us, I had my moment of clarity.

Why do I need to sell your product when I can build myself up and become the product? Become the brand?

I already have my goal set, so step one is out of the way. I have the product (this useless drivel I've been spewing for over a decade), and I have the brand (my nearly sixteen year old nom-de-plume Conceited Jerk). And I have a small user base (you readers) already installed that can be increased with a little effort.

So, how do I increase the user base? By improving the product and having it sell itself, basically. As I don't actively promote my blog or abortive attempt at a website, all the hits I get are via word-of-mouth (hyperlinks, etc), through search engine hits, and from people who know me through web forums or the usenet.

How do I improve the product, then?

By giving people something interesting to read, see, hear, or experience. My perspective on things? Sure, but in what area?

Winnipeg Issues? Galston's got me beat. Ditto The Black Rod.

(Rapid) Transit? Nuh-uh. Jim and the gang have it covered.

Winnipeg History? Can't beat Mr. C.

Other newsworthy items? "Cherenkov is smarter than I am".

In the end, I decided to stay with my blog's original focus:
Everything. And nothing.
Whatever's on my mind. Whatever's happened to me that day. Whatever's pissing me off. Whatever.

ImageFX will be here soon. I have a ton of pictures to process. I have audio recording/editing software for my Macs.

There will be a podcast.

There will be graphics.

There will be changes.

There will be CJ.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

On Modern-day Marxism

Reading through the new threads on a certain Winnipeg forum today, I was reminded of the days I spent working at a certain farm equipment manufacturing plant in the 90's.

Firstly, I'll let you in on a little open secret:

I absolutely hate unions.

Don't get me wrong, I acknowledge (and greatly respect) some of the good things unions have done in the past. Thanks to unions of days gone by, we have strict workplace health and safety laws, laws governing wages, limits to the amounts of hours one is required to work, holidays and vacation time, etc. If it weren't for the unions' dedication to their membership, we'd have none of these things today (Solidarnosc!). Plus, they kept the Bourgeoisie and Capitalist pigs in check, which is cool. (I'm kidding, incidentally.)

The key words in the previous paragraph are "unions of days gone by".

In my own union experience, it seemed that all the union did was "protect the dogfuckers". In my years at "the plant", it seemed the place was really run by the lazy assholes who had so much seniority they were nearly impossible to get rid of. Whom I've seen file a grievance against their foreman for being told to "quit fucking around and get back to work" (they won the grievance, foreman got disciplined. Stupid.). The guys who piss around all day, doing little work, but who'll bitch and whine if they don't get their twice-yearly raise and five-week vacation.

We got word, two years after I started, that we had to lay off a few people, 150 to be exact (Guess who was Number 150?). I almost cried tears of joy when I was laid off with no recall date. I soon found another job in a non-union shop that I really enjoyed. Was there for five years before that company left Winnipeg, thus forcing me to look for another job... and I swore I'd never work another union job again.

So, about a week later, I had a job interview near "the plant". Interview went well. Stupidly, though, I'd locked my keys in the car - or rather my dad's car, which I'd borrowed it because mine was in the shop.

My dad also worked at "the plant". He was management, therefore, he wasn't involved in the strike that was taking place at the time. So, I decided to grab my dad's keys from him. I walked the block to the plant, and the strikers (most of whom knew me) let me through without incident. Went to Security, paged my dad, shot the shit with the security guy who remembered me, got my dad's set of keys, and left.

On my way back through the picket line, some union stooge stopped me. He was a guy I didn't recognize, and I knew virtually everybody there... He grabbed my shoulder hard and said "So, you get hired or not, you fuckin' scab?".

I could see a couple of my old line-mates from back in the day move toward the guy. I shook my head "No", so they wouldn't intervene.

I smiled, dangled the keys, and said,"I'm just getting my keys from my dad."

"Oh yeah? Who's your dad?", the turkey said.

"Oh, you wouldn't know him," I answered," since, being a professional striker, you don't even fucking work here!"

The boys from my old line started laughing, not surprised I'd figured out who (and what) this asshole was.

The guy let go of me. He started turning purple, as if he were just about to go ballistic...

"CJ used to work here," came a voice from the crowd, "He's telling you the truth."

I looked over to see "Fred", one of the guys who was on my line originally, but had been elected Union President shortly before I got laid off.

"He's a good kid", Fred told the agitator.

The guy didn't pursue the issue, but instead tried to explain to me in the most belligerent manner, about how they're gonna win this one, going on and on about how the company is no longer in complete control of the plant, that "we're costing them $250,000 every day we're on strike", NDP this, NDP that, and so on. The guy was turning a nice shade of red, and the veins in his forehead and neck were popping out...

After about five minutes of union diatribe I started getting a bit testy. Then nasty.

When he stopped to take a breath, I pounced.

"So," I started, "What you're telling me, in your roundabout way, is that you prefer a system in which the workers control the means of production?"

As I suspected, he didn't get the reference. Fred, however, did, and gave me the "don't do it!" look.

"Uhhhh, yeah," the agitator smiled, "I guess I do! That's what we're fighting for here today."

"Well, that's not a new idea," I explained, in my best poker face, "in fact, that very concept was brought forth by someone famous. A very famous philosopher, in fact!'

"Oh yeah?", the agitator asked proudly,"Really"

I nodded. Fred covered his face with his hands, shaking his head in disbelief.

"And who would that be?", he asked.

I yelled "Karl Marx, you fucking commie!"

The poor guy stood there dumbfounded, while Fred collapsed in hysterics. My buddies didn't really get the reference either, but thought my calling the guy a commie was funny. Everyone else wondered what the Hell was going on.

"CJ made (the agitator) look stupid!", one of the boys answered.


I was bought a lot of beer that evening... apparently this guy had been annoying everyone.

* Now, before any of you pro-union types start leaving me threatening comments, I'll come clean and tell you I don't really hate ALL unions, just the "Local" I was in. Even then, it was the union itself (and not the membership) I hated. The whole rather than the sum of its parts, if you will. I disagreed with so many things (jobs postings filled by seniority rather than ability, union defending criminal behaviour by members, turning a blind eye to other things, etc) it wasn't funny. Maybe my experience was the exception, not the rule. But I'll never know personally, because I'll never work in another union shop again. I'm sure unions are still fighting the good fight and some may actually have their memberships' best interests at heart. And they're still keeping the Bourgeoisie and Capitalist pigs in check. At least the ones who haven't moved their operations to India or China, or the developing world...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

... and speaking of not-so-modern technology...

I was out-and-about Saturday afternoon, with my Powerbook 1400 (aka Amelie) alongside.

Deciding I needed a caffeine fix (c'mon man, it had been a whole hour since my last cup!), I popped in to Pastry Castle for a cappuccino.

I grabbed a seat near the window, powered Amelie on, and went to place my order. Shortly after the owner brought me my frothy fix, I felt a presence next to me.

"What are you using for a battery?", asked the voice.

I turned to the left and, lo and behold, there was a gentleman, say late thirties/very early forties, standing next to me.

"Uh..." came my witty reply, "the one it came with..."

"Wow," he said," and it still holds a charge?"

"Yup," I said, "although I suspect it was a replacement somewhere along the line..."

We got to talking. Rick, a university prof and writer, has had a Powerbook 1400 for ages and loves the thing. I let him know that new batteries are still available from places like Wegener Media and Powerbook Guy, and that there's still a sizeable community of people using older hardware in this day and age.

Shortly thereafter, he realized he should probably get back to his female companion and promptly excused himself.

After he left, I chuckled quietly to myself. Rick was the third person that day to strike up a conversation with me after seeing my old Powerbook.

All three people were familiar with the older Powerbooks (and other computers in general) and weren't surprised to find that they are still capable machines in this day and age. I think they were more surprised that someone (me) was actually making the effort to use one...

It's like the old adage, "It ain't what you got but how you use it..."

On not-so-modern technology and financial waste

Well, I blew a whole pile of money on old computer stuff again. At least it's stuff I'll actually use...

I picked up another battery for Nadia (one that was guaranteed!), so I will once again be able to use my most powerful Powerbook on the go again... blogging and pestering the good folks of New Winnipeg wherever there's a wifi hotspot!

Also picked up the current release (4.5) of ImageFX Studio, the graphics software I use on my Amiga. I've been using ImageFX 2 for ages now and absolutely love it, so I figured I may as well upgrade to the latest version (and support one of the few companies still supporting the Amiga). It supports a lot more hardware and file formats now, which is a plus since I'm using a lot of previously unsupported hardware and file formats now. The fact that it can use Photoshop Filter Factory filters is a plus, too.

Of course, having a 14-Karat gold pen doesn't make one a better writer... neither does having the latest graphics software make me a better artist (or photographer... or designer...).

But as they say, practice makes perfect. I hope to have something interesting produced in the next couple of months.

Now, if only I could find a cheap Toccata card for my Amiga 2000, I could finally do that regular podcast...

Friday, April 11, 2008

On Modern Technology and Natural Selection

I've renamed the intersection of Edmonton St. and Graham Ave.

I'm calling it Darwin's Corner.

Why? Well, a funny thing happened on the way home from work today, something that had me thinking that Winnipeg's gene pool could use a little chlorine...

In the ten minutes I spent at the bus stop at the southwest corner of the intersection, I saw three different people, at different times, walk in front of a moving bus.

All three were crossing against the lights, when the bus had the right-of-way. None of the three were watching where they were going.

All three were too busy texting on their fucking cellphones to watch the road.

In fact, while one was trying to run north across the street to avoid the eastbound bus, he almost got hit by a westbound bus. Then had the nerve to gesture at both bus drivers, as if they were at fault. I felt like kicking the guy's ass for being such an idiot.

But it's not for me to decide.

If it weren't for the trauma and repercussions that would ultimately befall a bus driver (or truck driver, etc) and their families (and those of the victims), I would almost pray for a few of these jaywalkers to be hit and killed by large moving vehicles. If only to serve as an example to others... and a reminder that common sense really ain't all that common.

Call me callous, call me heartless, report me to the CHRC (heh), call me what you will. I truly believe that sometimes we need to have a bit of "bad" in order to bring about a greater "good".

Think how many people had to die before we, as a people, realized that we probably shouldn't have the radio that close to the bathtub...

On why my posts usually start with "On"

Someone asked me recently why I start the majority of my posts with "On".

You can thank/blame Nicolo Machiavelli for that. His classic, "The Prince", flawed as it is, is one of my biggest literary influences. In fact, it's what got me interested in writing as well as politics!

In the edition I have, most of the chapters begin with the word "On", however subsequent translations use the word "Concerning" as opposed to "On". Others use "Of", instead of "On". I like "On" because it requires less typing than "Concerning".

So, essentially, I'm imitating my biggest influence.

The way he described his daily life while in exile sounds a lot like my typical day:

"When evening comes, I return home [from work and from the local tavern] and go to my study. On the threshold I strip naked, taking off my muddy, sweaty workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, and for which I was born. And there I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives of their actions, and they, in their humanity reply to me. And for the space of four hours I forget the world, remember no vexation, fear poverty no more, tremble no more at death; I pass indeed into their world."
Having said that, I don't think Jimmytufish, Rosencrentz, Monominto, and Grumpy_Old_Man (of New Winnipeg fame) would appreciate being called "the ancients"... ;)

On Monopolies and Ignorance

I overheard something on the bus today. Something that made me laugh out loud.

The two ladies in the seat in front of me were discussing their shopping philosophies. One was going on and on (and on) about the great deals she found at Wal-Mart.

The other lady started spewing anti-Wal-Mart rhetoric - from the crowds, their unfair business practices, unfair labour practices, and their near monopoly on consumer goods, driving local business under, etc.

"I shop", she said with a sort of arrogant snobbery, "at The Bay".

I just about spewed my coffee all over them. Oh, the irony!

The Bay, also known as The Hudson's Bay Company, is the ORIGINAL corporate monopoly! It was THE Wal-Mart of the Seventeenth through early Twentieth centuries in North America - well, the (good) part that became Canada, anyway - before anyone knew what a retail giant was.

But, speaking of customer service, the phones are ringing off the hook again here at work, so if you want more of the Bay's storied history/checkered past, check out this link for starters.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Office Politics and Hierarchal Structure

There's been quite a change in the warehouse since my promotion from Warehouse Manager to Inside Sales a couple of years ago.

I turned over command to the next senior employee, and he did a bang-up job, keeping things running fairly smooth, and kept the employees in line.

However, the last few months have been insanely busy, and as a result, performance and productivity dropped off sharply. As overtime hours started accumulating, tensions from our overworked staff began to rise. Absenteeism climbed, and productivity as well as accuracy dropped further still.

After a couple of weeks of listening to customer complaints (which begat outside salespeoples's complaints), the boss had had enough.

The following Monday, the boss demoted our Warehouse Manager, and promoted one of his better workers (a lad of 19) to the position. Eager to get started, the lad implemented a number of sweeping changes.

Changes that didn't sit well with others.

Chiefly, the less experienced members of the staff.

That was a month ago.

Today, one of the aforementioned staff was on my bus on the way home. He was quite candid about the sweeping new changes his new boss was implementing. Changes that, much to my seatmate's chagrin, I wholeheartedly endorsed.

I explained to my cohort that his new boss was a great worker, knows his stuff, and knows how things work around the shop. He's smart, adapts well, and learns quickly. However, he's never been in a leadership or management position before, and has a lot on his plate. We're in our busiest season at work, and he's not going to have a lot of time to learn the finer points of management. He needs to learn to balance productivity and morale.

With that in mind, I added,"Despite his inexperience, he's still your boss, and you will do as instructed."

When my cohort opened his mouth to protest, I reminded him, "Remember, the warehouse is not a democracy."

"Yeah," he muttered, "it's a dictatorship run by a littl-"

"NO!", I interrupted, in my most booming authoritarian tone, "It's a theocracy, and I AM YOUR GOD!"

Which illicited a shocked giggle from the college girls sitting behind us.

Ah, the non sequitur... it's all in the setup.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On vagrants and beggars

I'm getting sick of people asking me for money.

No, I'm not talking about the government, bill collectors, or the "evil" corporations flogging their Chinese-made wares, I'm talking about the bums downtown.

I can always tell when the Social Assistance cheques are out - the bums have cigarettes.

So, for a few days each month, I can walk around downtown relatively undisturbed.

But then, mere days later, the same faces keep coming up to me;

"Can ya spare a smoke?" or "Got any spare change?"

Today was no different.

As soon as I got off my bus on Isabel at Sargent, a gaggle of vagrants came up to me wanting cigarettes. "Sorry, I don't smoke," I replied politely. "Well, fuck you!" came the reply.


Which put me in a foul mood by the time I got to work. As I'm normally in a foul mood at work, nobody noticed.

So, after an insanely busy (but good & productive!) day - nine hours of constantly ringing phones - I was exhausted, and more than happy to see five o'clock roll around.

No sooner do I get off my bus and walk a block east...

"Hey buddy, do you got any change?"

(sound of CJ snapping)

"Buddy, I just worked my ASS off for nine straight fucking hours! Why the fuck should I support you because you won't get up off of yours?"
Wisely, he walked away without saying anything.

I felt a tad guilty, as I am well aware some people are truly in need.

Guilty, that is, until I saw the same guy an hour later carrying a half-empty mickey in one hand, and a cigarette in the other.

Sometimes, we unfairly stereotype the indigent and homeless. Sometimes those stereotypes are bang on.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On Post-Victual Lethargy

Good God, am I stuffed!

I've just finished dinner - an iceberg lettuce salad, two gin martinis, and half of a very large 4-cheese/meat lasagne.

I can barely move. It's as if someone has drained me of my energy. I don't even have the strength to leave stupid comments on New Winnipeg!

To top it off, the lasagne is sitting rather heavy in my stomach - almost as though I'd swallowed a cinder block.

Perhaps if I washed it down with a couple more martinis...?

Even if it didn't work, I'd be too happy to care ;)

Monday, April 7, 2008

On verbosity


It's only the 7th day of April, and this is my 11th post this month.
That's the most I've posted in a single month since I started this blog.

Guess I have a lot more to say now that I have a new lease on life.

On fashion and impressionable young people

Ok, kiddies, it's time for a lesson.

The long coat has been worn for centuries, nay, millenia, by people from all walks of life. Kings, Queens, Emperors, the clergy, soldiers, labourers, spies, everyone.

Image source: Wikipedia

I myself have owned several long coats in my 35 years, and have been wearing them since I was twelve years old. While I've owned military-surplus longcoats, greatcoats (as pictured above), Pea coats, and even a couple of Burberry coats, my personal preference is for vintage brown leather trenchcoats.

Where am I going with this? Well, as per usual, I'll answer with a story...

So, I'm walking around downtown Saturday afternoon, on my way home from Polo Park, when I pass by these two girls in their late teens/early twenties near The Bay. As I walked past, one of them asked me:

"So how much do clothes cost in The Matrix?"

(Which is apparently, as a friend told me later, a line from some stupid movie that came out a year or so ago.)

Without batting an eyelash, I turned to the girl, smiled, and said, "Well, nothing! If you think about it, it's not real money!"

After a couple of seconds of stunned silence (and a couple of nervous giggles from one girl), I added, "Now, do you have any other immature questions, or may I continue on my way?"

I got a sheepish "Sorry, sir..." as a reply.

"Ahhhh, don't worry about it," I laughed, "I'm just razzing you! Have a good weekend!"

"Uhhh... you...too..."

I think I inadvertently scared them... which is funny, because I was only joking around. Had I been in a bad mood, they really woulda caught a blast...

If this story has a point, it's that long coats have existed for centuries. They weren't invented solely for that 1999 Keanu Reeves yawnfest. If you think otherwise, perhaps it's time you turn the TV off, step away from your computer, and pull your head out of pop culture's ass.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

There's gonna be an "accident"...

My TV is pissing me off.

It started displaying nothing but "snow" two minutes before my soccer match (Bochum @ Bayern Munich) started. It's now fourteen minutes into the game, I've missed what is supposedly a "great goal" against my team, and it's STILL displaying nothing but snow.

Nothing seems to be working... the TV has always done this, but usually clears up after about a minute or so. It's now been fifteen.

I've been waiting for this match all week.

If it hasn't cleared up in the next few minutes, there's gonna be Hell to pay!
**EDIT 11:56am **

Well, shortly after I hit Ecto's "Publish" button, I gave the TV a good beating, turned it off, then turned it back on. It learned its lesson, and gave me no trouble for the rest of the match.

And what a match it was! Lucio opened the scoring with a great goal, then I got to see my favourite player (Franck Ribery) score a great goal on a penalty kick, and also witnessed another favourite's first ever Bundesliga goal... congrats, Christian Lell!

My FC Bayern won 3-1. Shorthanded, I might add (Mark van Bommel was sent off in the first half).

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Would you believe...?

I swear I saw Bastian Schweinsteiger on the #18 Riverbend bus today.

Image source: Wikipedia

Well, it wasn't really him (no such luck), but someone who looks a lot like him. The real Schweinsteiger would be in Germany right now (and not Winnipeg), preparing for his next match.


Image source: Wikipedia

Friday, April 4, 2008

Man, I gotta go into politics...

Just saw this on Cherenkov's (a fellow (New) Winnipegger) blog:

If Winnipeg politicians attracted that kind of woman, I'd be running for public office...

On yer bike!

It's getting to be that time of year again.

No, not another dissertation on gradiose home renovation plans.

This time, it's about cycling.

If the weather is nice this weekend, I'm gonna drag the ol' bike out of the garage and go for a ride. It's an old mountain bike I received when I was 12, and sat in my parent's garage since I was 16. So, after 18 years, last year I dragged it home, replaced the brakes, tightened an loosened a few things, and gave it a few test runs.

One of the gear shifts is fucked, so I'll have to replace it - probably better to replace both.

We'll see where we're at tomorrow.

(to be continued...)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

On Cause and Effect, part one

Perhaps getting in touch with my inner Belgian last night wasn't such a good idea after all.

I'm sitting here at my desk, with the phone a foot away ringing off the hook.

God damn, my head hurts.

Only 5-3/4 hours to go...

That's one thing I like about alcohol... while it opens doors into your subconscious, freeing the long-suppressed person that is YOU, and makes you feel, think, or say things you normally wouldn't... it also knocks you to the ground and repeatedly slams your head with that door against the door frame...

That's my comeuppance.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Since I'm on my fifth bottle of Gulden Draak in about an hour and am quite loaded, I've decided to come clean on the questionnaire I "answered" a couple of days ago.

I was telling the truth on the following questions:


As for the answer to #27 - I won't divulge of whom I was thinking. Since a few of my female friends and acquaintances read my blog (and send me those fucking questionnaires to begin with), I figured I'll keep 'em all guessing...

... and the horse you rode in on!

Look people,

When you've ordered parts from a company, and the parts had to be ordered in because they're a non-stock item, a special order, or are backordered, remember the following piece of advice:


Got it? Good. Now here's another little tidbit of advice:

Most of our customers are absolutely great and I love dealing with them. But there's that 1% that are just knobs. It's that 1% at whom this little missive is directed.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job. However dealing with people who can't fathom that some things are out of my hands and blame me for anything that's gone wrong REALLY PISSES ME OFF. (And before anyone says "Oh, they're not mad at you per se, they're just mad", I say Bullshit. Some of them had the gall to say I personally dropped the ball, which was only true in one instance. And I made up for that.)

Another thing that bugs me? When our in-town customers phone their couriers to tell them to pick up at our place BEFORE PHONING US TO SEE WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE THE ITEM(S) IN STOCK. Then bitch because they're out $15 for the courier's RUSH service when we DON'T have something in stock. You get what you fucking deserve.

In case you haven't noticed, I've had a lousy day at work. It seems that every member of that 1% phoned us today.

Suffice it to say, my bottle of Gulden Draak is tasting pretty good right now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Discourses on Livy

So it has begun.

Plans for my royal visit to Europe are a box of rolled nickels closer.

I've started putting money into my "Luxembourg Fund", and at the rate I'm going, I really will be sitting in a cafe in Luxembourg within five years. I even have a married German woman in mind (See answers 19 and 20 to my questionnaire below)!

Europe has been my goal in life for several years now. I've been studying, researching, and planning my trip, but I can never seem to raise the money. Well, all that changed today. I've dedicated the many 7-Eleven Double Gulp cups-full of change to my trip, and after an hour of counting, have $120 towards my goal.

The next fundraising event? Selling my car for parts, then holding a garage sale to get rid of a bunch of clutter, then selling a bunch of my more obscure/rare computers on eBay. Paring down my video game collection is also a possibility...

As for where in Europe? I'm planning to visit places that are sort of off the radar of typical tourists. Luxembourg is a given, as I've had an inexplicable fascination with the Grand Duchy since I was eight or nine years old. Belgium is a possibility, too, unless they separate by the time I get there (in which case, I imagine I'd be visiting Flanders and/or Wallonia). I want to visit Germany, too, and maybe Austria and Holland. Liechtenstein and Switzerland are a must.

Gotta hit Scandinavia, too. Norway's sounding good (Oslo and Bergen stand out), maybe Sweden or Denmark, too. Finland? Why not?

May even visit my ancestral homelands of England and Northern Ireland.

Places I'm going to avoid? Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Cyprus, too. Why? Everyone seems to want to go there. Although I may visit Turkey (Istanbul, not Constantinople), maybe Andorra or Gibraltar?

Time and money permitting, some Eastern European countries have caught my eye - Slovenia for example. Romania sounds cool, maybe Poland and Hungary?

Guess we'll see how much I can save. There's more to see in Europe than my three week vacation time will permit.