Monday, April 30, 2007

Way Cool Shades

I have clip-on sunglasses. Or rather, I had clip-on sunglasses. I had a few pairs, but I always seem to lose them, or break them, or something or other which renders them useless.

So, for the past year, I’ve been squinting while my retinas have been burned to a crisp in the summer’s sun.

Today, I got some new sunglasses. No more clip-on lenses, these are real cool Jack Nicholson-type wrap-around sunny spectacles.

They are UVA and UVB filtered lenses, so they protect my eyes from the blinding sun spots I see. What? You don’t see them too?


I got them on my way to the gym after work today. I managed to wear them for the remaining 15-minute trek to the gym. And wouldn’t you know it, when I left the gym it was dark.

Damn! I wanted to show off my new sun glasses to the world.

And tomorrow’s forecast calls for rain. Sucks – I won’t be wearing them again tomorrow either.

But at least I won’t go prematurely blind because of the sun’s evil tanning of my eyes. And I don’t have to squint to see that pole right in front of . . . HEY LOOK OUT!

Guess he wasn’t wearing sun glasses!


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Home Renovations Really Really REALLY SUCK

Some people are really handy, some people aren’t.

I’m of the later – I’ve always sucked at home renovation projects. I’m a great cook – or so I’ve been told – I know my way around technology like the back of my hand, and I’ve got a great sense of humor.

But when it comes to doing anything construction related I suck big time.

When I got two massive air conditioning units, I had to pay to have someone install them into my windows. To put together my box bed, I had to get my dad to help put the thing together. And to get my brand new drapes up, something which most people seem to do with ease – I still haven’t got them up.

Well, that may change soon, as I sit here typing this blog, I’m waiting for the building super to help out – he said he’ll be up tonight.

Still, I wish I was handy. It would be nice to be able to go out, buy something for my place and badda-boom-badda-bang I put them up lickety-split. I’d have more cool stuff if I knew installing it wouldn’t be a pain in the ass. I’d put up more art and paintings, hang some wind chimes, maybe even put up a ceiling fan.

All of these things come with instructions, but it doesn’t matter. I suck at home renovations.

Hammers and nails fear me more than I fear them – I’m that bad with tools.

From now on, I think whenever I purchase anything that requires assembly, I’ll plan ahead and figure out who I can pay to put it together. Or maybe I’ll just stop buying things which require assembly or installation. If I can’t use it right out of the box, it won’t be bought.

Unless I decided to go all out and sign up for part-time classes on home renovations. That might be the answer. I enjoy learning and might even be able to become useful around the house.

Hmmm . . . that may just be the answer – then I could get my own home renovation show on television and prove to the world once and for all that even the least competent handyperson can become a whiz with a power saw.

Power saw?


Those things can be dangerous. It’s all fun and games until you lose a body part.

Maybe I’ll just stick to cooking.

Meatloaf anyone?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Boys of Summer Are Back

I was watching a Toronto Blue Jays game on television with my dad tonight. It brought back memories from long ago. I used to be a big Blue Jays fan – I’d watch every game, keep up on all the vital stats, even the player gossip.

Back in those days, the outfield consisted of Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Mosby and George Bell.

George Bell had the one of the worst tempers in the game, but he was a player’s player. He was an amazing left-fielder, able to catch almost anything coming his way, and he could hit just about anything coming his way at the plate.

On the in-field, I remember John Olerude at first, Tony Fernandez at shortstop, Roberto Alomar at Second and Kelly Gruber at third-base.

Remember during a world-series game, when Kelly Gruber slid into home-plate, landed on his chin, and knocked himself out? I do – I was that much of a fan.

Then there was Dave Stieb and Tom “the terminator” Henke. Dave Stieb was an amazing starting pitcher – when he wasn’t pitching no-hitters, he’d always go all the way and throw an entire game. Tom Henke was the ultimate stopper – he closed out most of the games, to ensure the winning game didn’t become a losing game in the final innings.

Those were the days when Ernie Witt was the catcher, and Jimmy Williams was the manager.

Watching the game tonight with my dad, I saw old Ernie Witt – he’s now a coach!

It is good to see Ernie Witt is still active with the organization, but kind of sad too. There hasn’t been a winning team like those in the late 80s and early 90s since.

Toronto sucks as a major sporting city. Our hockey team – The Toronto Maple Leafs – haven’t won the Stanley Cup in my life-time, and they probably never will.

I have a theory, that if the Leafs were to win the Stanley Cup, the earth would suddenly stop spinning. It just can’t happen.

Well, it could, if the Leafs ever spent the money on good enough players, instead of the crap they have been for the past oh – 40-years (they haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1967).

We have a great basketball team – The Toronto Raptors. But I never could get into that sport. I went to one of the home games, and with all the video displays, flashing lights and matching music, I felt I was in the middle of a video game, not a basketball game.

What we need is another World Series in Toronto. We need to bring back the old players and get them up to top shape to win it for us.

Maybe this year the Jays will be able to go all the way – but then again, people say that every year about the Leafs. And the Leaf’s haven’t won the ultimate Canadian hockey trophy since the 60’s!

I originally lost interest in the Blue Jays during a bitter baseball strike in the 90s. The players walked and management refused to negotiate, so for several months – if not most of the regular season – there was no baseball.

At first I sided with the players – they were my heroes, always bringing in the runs when you need them most. But as the strike went on, I realized that these guys were making more money in a day than I’d ever see in my lifetime, and they were earning that money playing a game.

If I could earn millions of dollars playing a game – WOW – I wouldn’t go on strike demanding more money. Hell, I’d play harder, and enjoy myself.

Since then, I haven’t been much of a follower of the game or the team. But after watching a bit on television tonight, I actually started to find myself getting back into it.

But then, I got back to thinking how these guys are younger than me, earn more than I’ll ever see in my lifetime, and probably don’t care about the game – they just want more money to play a kids game.

Wish I got paid to play a kids game.

Who’s going to pay me to play in their sandbox?

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Joy of Renovating

Watching those home renovation shows on television is fun, and always makes sense. The skilled hosts make everything look so very easy.

Just measure, cut and screw to the wall – done!

Not so easy in real life.

This past weekend, I tried installing new drapes with my dad. I already had an I-Beam metal drape rod across my living room, but the drapes I bought are insulated. So these drapes are thick and heavy. Means we have to add extra supports to the rod, to keep it from coming out of the ceiling.

We got all the right parts, and my dad started drilling holes in the ceiling. He got the parts into the ceiling, but they wouldn’t stick – they kept falling out of the holes he had drilled.

We did everything right – supposedly. We drilled pilot holes, installed plastic plugs, and even tried using concrete screws – nothing worked.

My dad drilled three different holes, none of ‘em worked. Just ended up with a pile of ceiling materials on my floor, drapes hanging off my couch, and the burning sun shining on in.

It wasn’t an easy, fun and quick experience like they show on television.

Granted, me and my dad aren’t Jon Eakes, and this isn’t This Old House. Still, when they show something on the Food Network, I can pretty much figure it out and replicate what I see. Cooking is easy and fun. My famous steak stir fry I stole off of the Food Network.

But when it comes to pillaging ideas off of HGTV on construction – even something so simple as putting up drapes – it all falls down.

It is really frustrating because we really did try hard – very hard, we were both exhausted from our ordeals. We were sweating and covered in junk from the ceiling and all the parts we were moving about.

Oh well – there is always another day. We’ll try again tomorrow. I got some advice from one of the supers in my building, and we’ll try again and see what happens. Who knows, maybe tomorrow I’ll have nice window coverings on my massive windows.

Or, I’ll just call a pro from one of those television shows – if they can do it on television, they can do it in real life. Right?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Spring Er Ah Summer Is Here

There is nothing more Canadian than talking about the weather. We all do it – and not just for small talk in crowded spots.

Dave Phillips is a name every Canadian from Coast-to-Coast-Coast knows all too well. He’s the guy from Environment Canada always talks about weather phenomena in the media.

Our weather is very wild and free – much like Canadian society is. In winter it is too cold, in summer it is too hot, and the rest of the time it is just too something or other else.

Today, the temperature soared for the first time in six-months to over twenty degrees – we went up to 21C!

It was awesome – just like a pleasant summer’s day, without the leaves on the trees and the green grass.

Wait a minute – whatever happened to spring?

It’s been cold, damp and chilly this “spring.” We’ve even had snow flurries and even snow that stayed on the ground – remember that snow day the first week of April?

Hasn’t been much of a spring – but hey – who are we to complain, summer is here.

I think?

Who knows how long this bout of sunny summer-like weather will last? But at least it is going to last all weekend – or so says the weather person on TV.

I’ve already taken out my deck chairs and placed them on my balcony – hope I didn’t “jinx” it by doing that. I’m hoping to sit on my balcony and soak up some sun, fresh air, and just relax, in our first weekend of warm summery weather.

Whatever you do – do it outside this weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sometimes I Just Shake My Head and Wonder in Bewildered Aw

The marketing team at work never ceases to amaze me. They seem to know how to work the system so that they continue to have cozy jobs, despite completely useless at those jobs.

Today, I was on the phone for twenty minutes, listening to excuse, after excuse from the marketing manager, about why she didn’t need to have anything to show for her countless work.

They have been supposedly working for several months on a marketing push, they even sent out an email not once but twice last night to everyone in the company telling them that these new marketing materials would be launched in May.

Great I was thinking to myself, as we need some of those new marketing materials for a training initiative on May 11.

But after my phone call, it turns out that only the mock-ups will be launched in May. Though clearly the emails don’t mention the word “mock-up” or “prototype” or any other indicator of preliminary stage of development.

The two emails that were sent, one was sent to correct an error in the first. And these emails were both sent to everyone at the company, including our over 700 sales representatives, the company executive team, and its board of dictators – whoops – I mean directors. Yeah, that’s what they prefer to be called.

When the monkeys are left to run the shop, all you get are bananas. Must be a lot of monkeys at the executive level, as the marketing team has been allowed to continue to slide into disarray for some time without any consequences. The marketing managers are still in their lofty windowed offices, and the vice-president of marketing and sales is still enjoying the benefits of both title and position.

Yet the marketing team doesn’t seem to be able to do much of anything in my short stint with this contract. Well, that’s not true – they are great at blowing budgets.

The marketing team blew their entire budget and then some in less time it takes a McWorker time to flip your Big Mac. They are actually over budget by $500, 000 – yeppers, that’s half-a-million dollars!

Maybe the marketing managers are blowing more than just budgets, because they don’t seem to care about the fact that they aren’t producing, while wasting away the company’s fiscal resources.

You’d figure if they went over budget by $500,000 big ones, they’d actually have something to show for it. Maybe a corporate video, a few handouts, hell, even a Post IT note with an IOU from their ad agency promising something big and fancy – something worth more than $500, 000.




All I got from my conversation with the marketing manager was a lot of excuses, worried exchanges when I started questioning her timelines and deadlines, and then a lot of feeble attempts to get me to not mention this to anyone else in the company.

And she was so slick too. She’s a pro when it comes to crying the innocent whilst guilty game.

“Oh, I thought our meeting was tomorrow?”

No, you emailed your confirmation for today’s meeting this morning – don’t you read your own email?

“Oh, that’s not what I was told, we were told that our marketing pieces were just nice to have’s for the training,” Kristen the marketing moron – I mean manager – yeah, that’s what she likes to think she is – says.

As soon as I started mentioning how I’d have to confirm everything she was telling me with one of the executives, she started to come up with reasons why I shouldn’t bother.

“Don’t worry, we’ll talk to her.”

“You don’t want to get involved in this mess, we’ve been going back and forth on this for ages.”

I bet you have – you’re great at evading and deception marketing moron – whoops – I mean marketing manager – but low on actually producing.

I just shake my head and wonder how these bozos managed to stay on in their jobs for so long. Don’t the hire-ups care about their company enough to want it to succeed? Don’t they see the waste, the lack of commitment, the lack of – well – of marketing?

Don’t they?

Like I said, the marketing managers are probably blowing more than just budgets to keep their nice cozy and very cushy gigs.

To bad all the execs are men, I’d love to make money for nothing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Running About the Office

As those who follow this blog often – all three of ‘em – LOL – know, I joined the company running club.

Today was the second week for the club and it feels so invigorating to be a participant. I love to work out – I usually hit the gym at least three times per week.

While at the gym, I always do a cardio program. Sometimes I go onto the treadmill, sometimes one of the many different types of elliptical (cross trainer) machines. I usually spend 45-min to an hour on these machines.

The running club is a different animal to tame. It is running out doors, rain, snow, sleet, hail or shine. We haven’t had much shine today, mostly clouds and some rain. We got lucky today though, it didn’t rain while we were out running.

Still, it has been a bit chilly, at 5C – normal highs for this time of year are 13C.

But it is still amazing to get out and run right after work. My job is so very stressful lately. Poor planning has led to far too many rushed projects. Rushed projects aren’t ever completed to 100 percent satisfaction. No one is perfect, so nothing one creates can ever be perfect. But when you rush through something instead of taking the time to do it right, you make more mistakes than had you done things the right way the first time around.

So, I get frustrated easily at the office, as we’re constantly under the gun, because of bad planning – or more likely no planning whatsoever.

By hitting the pavement with the running club, I’m able to be in a social environment with my co-workers, and for a change, not be under the gun rushing through something I’d rather not.

It is an excellent stress reliever. I feel so much better leaving the office after a run. That’s important, because on days when we don’t run, I often leave the office shaking my head, wondering why am I still doing this thing?

Work is good, it pays the bills and that is pretty important. I also work to learn and grow personally and professionally.

Rushing through my work doesn’t aid in my professional development. I already know from far too many years of experience in the field, that rushing is due to lack of planning. And when you don’t plan, you plan to fail.

So it looks like my professional development and growth is going to come from the running club. It won’t teach me any new computer skills, and I won’t get a bonus out of it. But at least I won’t go postal. At least I don’t think I will . . . where’s my . . .

Who knows, maybe I’ll actually be able to get through this contract thanks to the stress relief of the running club. If it wasn’t for the running club – and this is only our second week – I’d probably have done up a resume and started handing it out in a seemingly never ending struggle to find a decent place to work.

Well, maybe not just the running club. The people at work are very nice, and I think they generally mean well. Just they don’t plan to well, and in my books, that’s bound to hurt them more than me in the end.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Something Old Is New Again

My black leather jacket has been lying around my home for the past three or four-years. Ever since the zipper broke and I got a salt stain in the right-arm sleeve, I have just been too lazy to either replace it, or get it fixed up.

Well, my trusty old brown leather bomber jacket was starting to show the signs of wear and tear – complete with holes in the arms, right through to the skin. So, I decided to go out and get my black leather jacket fixed up.

Both jackets are old. My brown sheep-skin leather bomber jacket I had way back since high school – probably over 15-20-years ago! My black leather jacket is newer, but still not new, I got that probably seven or eight-years ago.

I tool my black leather jacket into the cleaners last week and got it back today. WOW! It looks like a new jacket.

The zipper works perfectly, and because I had it dry cleaned, it is all shiny and new looking. I swear it even smells like new, fine Italian leather!

I was amazed when I picked it up – it is awesomely new like.

Originally my black leather jacket set me back over $300. To get it looking like new only cost me about $100 and some change. Well worth the investment of money and time – it took ‘em 10-days to get it back to me.

I feel so “cool” in my black leather jacket, black toque, black leather boots, and black leather gloves! All I need is a Harley and I’m cruisin’.

This got me thinking, wondering what else I have stored away in my closet which can become useful and new again, with a little time and money?

It is far cheaper to get things cleaned and repaired, than to buy them new in the stores. If they were unable to clean my jacket, or fix the zipper, I’d probably buy a new one. My old brown bomber jacket is sadly being retired this year.

The holes in the arms are too deep and big to repair. And it is worn so badly, it could easily be worn by someone who was homeless.

That brown sheep-skin bomber jacket has served me well. I went to high school in it, university and even college. It served me in the army while in my “civvies” in the winter and it has even been worn to family and friend’s places many times over. That jacket has seen everything I have for the past 15-20-years.

But out with the old, in with the almost new.

Where’s that black leather jacket? I feel like going for a walk
to show it off!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Secret Foot Masseuse

I’m about to share with you the greatest secret to taking care of your feet – I call it my personal foot masseuse.

When I was in the Army, they always made a point of telling us to take care of your feet.

“Always take care of your feet,” they would tell us on long marches and hikes through the brush. “If you lose your feet, you’re a goner.”
When you are a foot soldier, your feet are your black Cadillacs – that’s what we call ‘em – black Cadillacs. They are so called these, because we all wear black combat boots.

And it is true, if you lose your feet out in the field, you might as well have been shot in the head. If you can’t out think your enemy, at least you can out run your enemy – unless you have foot rot. Then you are in deep trouble.

So, what is my secret to taking care of my feet?

It is pretty simple – just put the plug in the tub while showering and let the water build up around your feet and ankles. The warm soapy water cleans the feet, and the heat from the water soothes even the toughest of toes.

I learned this in the Army, but ironically, not while I was on duty. When I was off-duty on leave for Xmas vacation, I was staying in a hotel near my family. The bath tub in my hotel room at first didn’t drain properly – all the water would build up as if it were plugged up. They later came and fixed it, but I wanted a shower right away – traveling for several hours by train makes you want to just dive into any pool of water to get refreshed.

So, as I showered, the water pooled by my feet, eventually overcoming them and giving them a deep foot massage and bath – all in one! When I came out of the shower, my feet were probably the most relaxed part of me.

Since then, whenever I’m really tense, or have sore feet from being on them all day, I just plug the tub while showering. Works every time.

They teach you plenty in the Army, but sometimes the best things come out of pure chance discoveries. Like my personal foot masseuse.

Friday, April 13, 2007

My First Webcam

Moving into the technology era, I finally got a webcam today. Now I can show my ass to my online MSN buddies with the best of ‘em.

Well, I don’t know if I’ll be doing just that – maybe – depends on my mood ROTFL.

Technology has moved us forward in many ways, even our language has changed. We understand what ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing) means, just as we do what WEG (Wicked Evil Grin) or :) means.

Blogs allow us to share our inner most thoughts to the world, chat rooms allow us to virtually meet new people, and webcams allow us to share our smiles and tears with our instant message friends.

I like my new webcam – the Logitech Quickcam Deluxe. It even has something called “Intelligent Face Tracking” which I’m guessing means no matter how much I roll around in my chair, my face will always remain in the video frame.

I wonder how that would work if I pointed the webcam out the window and shot down at the city below – what would it track?

People? Cars? Clouds?

Maybe I’ll be able to catch solar eclipses, meteor showers, and shooting stars? It would be cool to use this new gadget for security too – focus it at my home and watch a live feed from anywhere there is an internet connection.


Technology is tres cool.

The only thing I didn’t like was the setup of this new webcam. I had to run the software twice to get it to work properly and it still needed a push from me. I had to grab the drivers off the internet, despite having a disc from Logitech that came with the camera.

Still, it is a pretty cool camera – video is clear at 640 by 480 pixels, and it can do still images at 1.3MB pixels – so it is one of the higher end cameras. Even has a built in microphone, which I am still trying to figure out.

Windows doesn’t recognize the microphone in the camera – just the camera.

But that could just be Bill Gates ROTFL at me for not buying one of his company’s Microsoft MSN Live Webcams.
I was shopping around and saw the Logitech, the MSN, even the BENQ webcams. All looked fairly impressive, but with Microsoft’s MSN webcam offering the same features as this Logitech one, but at almost double the price, I decided to go with the Logitech camera.

Microsoft is way too powerful anyway – they run 89 percent of all the computers on Earth. That’s a pretty scary factoid when you consider everything is computerized these days.

My first computer mouse was a Logitech three-button mouse. I remember it well, on the IBM PCjr. Remember those wonderful computers? Back in the day, they ran at a whopping 4.77 MHz – these days computers run 400 times as fast!

Still, in those early days of the computer era, we didn’t have webcams, chat rooms, blogs, or chat room lingo. We did this the old fashioned way – if you wanted a picture of the person you sent a message to on the computer, you’d take a picture with your 35mm camera, get it developed and letter mail it to them!

Technology has come a long way – indeed.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

My Friday, Friday, Saturday Theory

Today (Thursday) is Friday. Friday is Friday. Then comes Saturday and Sunday.

Pretty simple theory uh?

See, tomorrow (Friday) I have off – so today (Thursday) is my Friday. Then the rest of the days just logically flow, to make it back to work on Monday.

Clear as mud?

I began this theory over the Easter Weekend – Good Friday was a holiday. So, the Thursday before the Friday was my Friday. Good Friday was – well, on Friday – duh. And Saturday and Sunday were their respective days, leading up to Monday.

I tell this theory to many people – yet they don’t quite get it.

I don’t know why, I think it is pretty simple.

There seems to be a special “feeling” which I just can’t place into words on Fridays. It is the end of the work week, everyone is rushing around trying to wrap up work so they can leave early and begin their weekend.

Remember that feeling you’d get as a kid, on the last day of school before summer vacation? That’s the same feeling ya get as an adult at the office on Friday. There, I managed to put it into words – I must be a writer worthy of my quill . . .

So, when you have Friday off, you “feel” this way on Thursday because it is your Friday.

Now that you understand that “feeling” you should be able to grasp:

Today (Thursday) is Friday. Friday is Friday. Saturday and Sunday follow leading up to Monday.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Snow Rise

Living way high atop the city in a high-rise apartment has its advantages.

I can see the whole world from my home – from the lake in the south to high-rise office towers in the north, I have the best view in the city.

I am so high up, that I can – and do – go out on my balcony sans clothes – no one can see up here. I’m too high for even the cleverest of peeping toms. I think – gulp!

I also see weather. It is really amazing to watch as a storm front comes rolling on in. I usually see the storms about 15-30 minutes before they get here – which is probably more accurate than the local weather station!

I’ve noticed something too – snow falls UP.

Really – it does.

As I sit and type this, the snow is flying up – not down.

Or at least it looks to be flying up – it really is falling down, but at this height I’m actually inside the snow cloud. So, I’m seeing the snow rotate within the cloud prior to its decent to earth below.

All snow is, are tiny water droplets that combine together when frozen into flakes – hence the term “snowflake.”

These snowflakes are created when the water droplets rotate within the wind pattern of the cloud. As they get tossed about through the colder air, they freeze and other water droplets “stick” to them. As they continue to stick, they form the various snowflake patterns – that’s why they are so random. The more frozen water droplets, the heavier the snowflake becomes, until it gets too heavy to be carried by the cloud’s wind. That’s when the snowflake falls down, through the cloud and eventually to earth.

The life of a snowflake – pretty cool uh?

And I get to see snowflakes being made, from the comfort of my own home. I love living up high in the clouds!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Waste Not Want Not

My apartment building recently implemented a new recycling program. Actually, they have always had recycling here, just the bins were not labeled so I never knew where to put my cardboard, glass, tin cans and other items.

Not any more – the new system takes it all in one big bin!

I was amazed and somewhat confused when I got the memo from property management. It says they have three big new bins to toss our recyclables, and these three bins take all materials.

Growing up, I was the first generation to have recycling. I remember when the garbage truck would come, and just pick up anything tossed on the curbside. Then in the 1980’s, thanks in part to the environmental movement, they introduced the Blue Box program.

I remember getting home from school to sort everything before taking it out to the curb on Fridays. I had to separate white and colored paper, tin cans, colored and clear glass, and plastic bottles and jugs. The worst was having to bundle newspapers – that took forever, and then tying them together with twine.

I was on the environmental action committee in high school, and after school we all got together and took out the giant blue boxes for recycling. Back then, the schools only recycled pop cans and tetra packs (drink boxes). So, we’d take out these big containers on wheels, and wheel them to the curb once a week for pickup. We did that – us the students and the teachers – not the janitors. These days, that’s part of the regular routine of janitors and other maintenance staff – but back in the day when recycling was new, no one else was doing it.

Sorting was and always has been a big part of recycling. Until now – the new recycling program here at my apartment building requires no sorting of anything. Really.

I went down there today and there were three big blue bins. Each one had the same sign on it – they all took exactly the same stuff! All of the cardboard, paper, glass and plastic all goes into one of the three big bins! No sorting required.

Apparently, the sorting takes place at the processing plant where all this stuff goes. That is really cool and says we’ve come a long way since those early days of recycling.

Recycling is a good thing – for the planet and for us. By recycling old materials into new ones, we reuse these materials instead of simply throwing them out.

I’ve always tried to recycle at my building as much as I could, but it has been hard. The blue boxes were not labeled, so everything was in all of them, so I always just placed my recyclables next to the boxes, hoping they found their way.

The property management has told us specifically, in writing not to do this. And we shouldn’t have to – the new blue boxes are clearly labeled and they take everything.

Still, someone moron did just that! When I was down at the bins there were newspapers bound and tied left next to the bins. It wouldn’t have taken much effort for these morons to have untied these newspapers, and fed them into the more than accommodating bins.

I guess some people never learn – or more likely – they just don’t care.

I hope they have a security camera on these bins, so they can catch the culprits and give them a good lashing with a sharp pointy stick.

I’ve also started to replace all my light bulbs with those high efficiency low voltage energy efficient bulbs.

As a light bulb burns out, I replace it with one of the new low voltage ones.

You know what, they are brighter than the old incandescent bulbs and may actually last longer. So, I save energy and money, as I don’t have to replace them as often, all while enjoying a brighter home.

I’m liking this new environmental technology stuff. Advances in technology make it easy to be environmentally-friendly, and that is really amazing.

Though I still look back and remember fondly my days on the environmental action committee way back in high school. We did a lot of hard work, often it was dirty work too. We not only took out the blue boxes, we had to clean them up after pickup. The cunk that builds up from about 2,500 pop cans (some still with pop in them) is quite disgusting. We lovingly called it neutral-sweet-sludge.

But, we also had a lot of fun back in those days. We’d create displays and have banners and hold car washes and other fun things to promote environmentalism.

Ah, car washes – those were fun. Especially when you squirt one of the girls with the hose and her top goes see-through . . .

But that’s another story.

Friday, April 06, 2007

How to Win a Lottery

Everyone has some gimmick or gadget to come up with those magical numbers winning big prizes.

Some people play birthdays, anniversaries, and other such personal numbers. Others spend thousands on books and seminars claiming to have discovered the secret formula to calculate those winning numbers.

My way of winning? Just don’t enter.

Seriously – don’t enter to win. I did just that this past Thursday at work.

The social committee was raffling off Easter Egg gift baskets. Each basket had chocolates, other candies, toys and other cute items. To win, all you had to do was get a raffle ticket from someone on the social committee.

While the social committee was handing out these tickets, I was in a meeting. Go figure! I’m always working while others are at play.

During my meeting, someone drops one of these baskets on the desk in front of me and says “smile for the camera.”

I’m thinking it was for the other person in the meeting – but it turned out I had won the basket.


By NOT playing!

Someone had placed a raffle ticket on my desk while I was in my meeting. They had announced the winning raffle ticket numbers, and one of the baskets remained unclaimed. So, someone thought about checking out the ticket on my desk – and well – by not playing I won.

So, for all those spending ten, twenty, even a hundred dollars per week on lottery tickets, here’s my advice – don’t! You stand a better chance of winning by not playing.

I did.

And hey, I didn’t charge you a small fortune to learn my lottery winning secrets!

Don’t ya feel better now?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Budgeting Blues and the Dinkuses Behind ‘Em

Those who follow this blog regularly know I’m pretty happy with my current gig. They have shown an outstandingly amount of good will, caring, compassion and wisdom with us low employees.

They have thrown expensive dances at exclusive executive clubs, have fun days organized by the social committee, even toss in exceptional leaders to run the joint – or so I thought.

My manager is exceptional and my team second to none. We have an amazingly strong work ethic, we get along like family, and we are all knowledgeable in our areas of specialization. We are an amazing team – probably one of the better teams I’ve been a part of in all my working life.

BUT – unfortunately, just as you sink into something good, reality has an awful way of rearing it’s ugly head. Not all the teams are quite as well led or staffed.

We just got word today that the marketing team has over spent their budget – again. Last year, the marketing team over-spent their budget by $500, 000 – that’s half-a-million big ones!

This year, the marketing team has apparently blown their entire budget for the year, in under four-months! They have spent an entire year’s worth of funds in the first quarter of operations!

Now, you’d think a well managed company would take some sort of action to prevent this pattern of fiscal mismanagement to stop it dead. Nope, no action against the offender was taken – she even got a bonus last year for a job “well done!”

The exact same manager who blew the half-million last year is the exact same manager who blew her entire budget – and then some (she actually over-spent this year) in under four-months!

I’ve worked at some pretty big name companies and if a manager or anyone with monetary responsibilities for that matter – blew it all so quickly, there would be no questions asked – that person would be let go immediately. They probably would even be sued for misappropriation of funds, harm, and a bunch of other things which company’s have the ability to sue their former employees for when they jeopardize the operations of the regular course of business, the credibility of the management team and the financial credit records of the corporation as a whole.

None of that has happened here. And it doesn’t look like it will happen either. The manager is still in charge of her team, and worse – still spending money she doesn’t have.

In fact, the really bad news in all of this is my team’s budget has been slashed by one-third to pay for marketing’s misuse of funds. We had a budget approved for specific things – all of which are important to the proper continuous operations of the business. We were doing our jobs, within our budgets and then all of a sudden, because marketing got away with breaking their budget last year, they did it all over again this year – taking away our operational funding which we were well within.

Life isn’t fair – but when you let the monkeys run the shop, you end up with bunches of bananas instead of useful, profitable, business operations.

My question – why is our vice-president or worse, why is the president allowing this monkey to run the marketing shop?

Do they really want to turn a company which has been in business since the 1960’s into a banana republic? Do they care so little about the daily operations, they are willing to let major wrong doings go unpunished?

I know they probably have bigger things to worry about – like next year when marketing spends so much, they don’t have the funds to cover it.

Oh wait, that hasn’t happened – yet.

But it will, if the monkeys continue to run the shop.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Best Part of Easter

The best part of Easter is Good Friday – not only is it a day off work, but after today, I don’t have to ever hear – “oh, I can’t – it’s lent.”

We all make sacrifices in life. Just like that Rolling Stones song, you can’t always get what you want.

However, some people sacrifice things for the good of their faith. Some won’t eat meat on Friday’s leading up to Easter, some won’t drink pop, and some won’t even have sex. Give up sex?!?! Come here. . .

WHALLUP up-side-the head!

What the hell were you thinking?!?!?

I don’t give anything up – for one thing I’m not Catholic – but if I did, I wouldn’t give up something I enjoy.

I know, the whole point is to give up something you enjoy to show your faith.

Well, I guess I just don’t have very much faith in faith.

I always believe in the power of me. When I do something right or wrong, it was because of my doing that something – not some unknown element in the universe from some supernatural omnipresent being.

Still, I have to congratulate those that can maintain their sacrifice – it can’t be easy in a world where everything is so easily available.

Imagine giving up sex, only to accidentally flip past a porno on TV? That would test even the most hardcore faith seekers. Or even more common, giving up chocolate for the month, and passing by all those chocolate Easter Eggs at the corner store every time you buy milk.

Maybe that’s a sign of faith in of itself – chocolate Easter Eggs! I always wondered why you could only get these yummy candies at Easter. Now I know – it is to tempt faith! Those that give up chocolate are constantly tested by having to pass these jewels up!

I get it – I really do!


But see my point?

So you gave up chocolate, sex, meat, pop – whatever – for a whole month. Good for you – but what have you learned?

You will probably be enjoying your banned substance soon enough, thinking “wow – I did it!”

The real test would be giving up your banned item for a year – now that is a true test of faith. Imagine giving up sex, chocolate, meat, pop – whatever – for an entire year!?!?!

A whole year of not having sex?

I bet road rage incidents would climb through the roof, people would be less friendly in general, and we’d have a population decline.

Is that really a good thing – just to prove your faith?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Running with the Work Bunch

One week to go and then I’ll be running with the work bunch!

I signed up for the running club at the office. The running club is a small group of about 20 people, composed of fitness nuts like me, and others just trying to lose weight by doing some exercise after work.

We go on our very first run of the season a week today!

I’ve been on social committees at work, but never a running club. Usually I get my exercise at the gym. I’ll still hit the gym on a regular basis, but now I’ll have some extra cardio in my routine – thanks to work.

The running club allows for more than some fresh air and exercise. It is also a great way to get to know some of your colleagues outside the normal nine-to-five office environment.

Who knows, maybe my next raise will come because I had to give mouth-to-mouth to the company president!

Naw – that probably won’t happen.

But it is a great way to get to know fellow workers in a non-threatening, fun atmosphere.

I just hope I can keep up – I haven’t run outside in ages. I hit the treadmill and eclipse machines at the gym on a regular basis, but running outside is different.

Cardio machines at the gym help propel you alone, at a steady, even pace. There is no steady even pace outside, with pot holes, cars, bikes, pedestrians and other obstacles to avoid, you are constantly forced to change pace and cadence to keep up.

Also, the running club is set to run rain or shine – it’ll be interesting to see who shows up when it rains. I’ll be there – I’ve run in the rain, in the snow, in ice storms – I’ve had my fill of running in bad weather. After a while, you don’t mind it so much as see it as more of a safety concern to watch for – running on ice is not recommended.

One week today I’ll be running with the office’s running club!

I can hardly wait.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Scrubbing Bubbles

A few months ago I saw an add for something that actually looked like a really cool new product – the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner.

This new product essentially sprays cleaner around your entire shower and bath after each shower, soaking the entire area until your next shower. When you shower next, you rinse the dirt and grime away, and then the cleaner will spray again after you shower, to create a never-ending cycle of automatic cleanings.

Pretty cool idea to anyone who has ever had the joys of cleaning their own shower and bath by hand. It is a laborious task, involving lots of back breaking scrubbing, bending and the potential of slipping and falling.

So, when I saw this nifty idea advertised on TV, I just had to get one.

Problem was –it wasn’t anywhere to be found! I checked out grocery stores, drugstores, hardware stores, even dollar stores – nope, nadda nothing.

What good is a new product if you can’t even find it?

That was a few months ago – hell it was probably before Xmas.

Today – SUCCESS – I found this cool product. I ran into the local grocery store where I usually shop to grab some tin foil – and there she be!

I was amazed and awe struck – literally. I had just been in this very same grocery store a couple of days ago to do a major grocery shop and it wasn’t there. They must have just got them in today – my lucky day.

And they were cheaper than I expected. The add on TV said they retail for about $40, the price on the sticker said $24.95 – so I picked one up and brought it home.

It was really well packed, good and tight. But it was also easy to open – a note to any product manufacturers out there to follow. So often when I buy something it is so tightly packed, I risk damaging the product with scissors, knives or whatever else I need to pry off the wrapping. But this product was logically packed and easy to open. And yes – the batteries were even included!

It is simple to use, it just hangs on the shower head pipe, with a bottle of cleaner in it, run by a battery operated sprayer.

It says to run it on a wet shower, so I ran my shower for the five or so minutes it took me to read the instructions and assemble the unit.

Then I ran the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. It ran and now my shower smells all fresh and clean!

It says it takes several uses to get it sparkling clean – so I’ll have to get back to you on how well it works.

But so far, I’m pretty happy with it – now that I have found it.

I had given up looking for the thing, as it wasn’t in any of what one would assume would be logical places for it to be.

Not even Canadian Tire – I checked there too. Good ‘ol Canadian Tire should have any cool new products for cleaning a bachelor’s home – it is the perfect “mans” store.

It is – where else can you buy tires, power tools and Twinkies?

But that’s another blog for another day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Passing Fake Gas

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you know about the constantly rising prices of gas.

Gas has been hovering around the Loonie/litre now for some time. People are complaining that they are being ripped off.

And they are right.

The big oil tycoons aren’t losing their shirts over their over-inflated gas prices. They are just getting better at coming up with reasons why the price is always up.

Yes, they had a fire at one of their refineries – but I bet that was just a brief bump on the pump prices if any.

Manufacturing gas shortages which really don’t exist is probably the work of the evil minds that run the gas companies. They figured people were getting peeved at the cost of gas, and so they needed a better way to justify their gouging practices.

So, we have a gas shortage.

No we don’t.

We’re just not able to prove ‘em otherwise – yet – so the price of gas rises.

If there really were a gas shortage, the big oil tycoons would be investing heavily in alternative energy sources like solar, wind and hydrothermal power. See, big business usually wants to stay in business, so the solar winds (so to speak) were blowing in another direction away from their current product (gas and oil) than they would be looking at other ways to earn a living.

But, the big oil tycoons aren’t looking into these so-called “green” alternative energies, so that indicates they know they won’t be losing their businesses over some shortage. Hence – no shortage!

What we need are governments to step in, investigate and find out for themselves that there really isn’t an oil shortage. Then, they can prosecute these bastards for ruining our economy.

Oil and gas runs our Western world.

We may think it only affects us at the gas station – it actually affects us all.

Truckers must pay more for gas, so they in turn charge more to deliver products. So, everything we buy goes up – groceries, fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy products, clothing, pots and pans – everything.

Oil and gas prices also affect many other things. It may cost more to produce products for companies which use gas-powered tools. Naturally they pass this cost onto us – the cost of these products goes up. So then we get a double whammy – it costs more to produce the product and it costs more to deliver that product to the stores for us to buy – and we the faithfully loyal dump-ass consumers pay for it all.

Oil and gas barrens are like the big banks – greedy, evil and rotten down to the core. It is one thing to look after your business interests and ensure profit. It is quite another to gouge those depending on your products and services with artificially created price hikes just to park another BMW in your executive parking spot.

I don’t know about you – but I think from now on I’ll walk.