Tuesday, April 28, 2009

...been distracted

by lots of things, like work, swine flu, new music...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I just ate half of one of those damned stickers on fruit. I guess I forgot to remove it and suddenly, only half was left. I am thinking about starting a petition to eliminate these annoying things. After all, most cashiers already know the codes for common fruits and vegetables. Why do we need stickers on fruit and vegetables!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Damn those Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses

I feel like I am being pursued by troops of religions zealots everywhere I go recently. They come to my door; they accost me on the streets; they interfere with my life. At least I get to direct some hostility towards them when they attempt to capture me in their tentacles.

Like the other day, when it was clear that I was busy doing stuff at the front of my house and was engaged with the coming and going of people. Two brain-washed instruments of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints interjected themselves into my personal space, asking if they could talk to me about shit. No way, dudes. I should say that I appreciate what the Mormons have done for Genealogy, though I disapprove of the reason behind these initiatives.

On the weekend, while walking away from a birthday party with les enfants, three well-dressed Mormons set upon me. Being someone that does not carry a gun, I had to try to talk my way through it, trying my best not to get them angry, lest they attack. I considered playing dead, but I couldn't remember if that worked for Mormons or the Jehovah's Witnesses. I also considered making loud grunting noises, hoping that such an action might scare them off. One has to be careful, for I have heard that they can spit venom into your eyes.

And then, this morning, on my way to work, an ancient pair of Jehovah's Witnesses approached me. It looked like the pathetic duo was simply lost and needed directions. I am happy to give directions, or make up something that sounds plausible, but then, the geriatric man unfurled his copy The Watchtower, like he was trying to interest me in illicit pornographic materials. Sadly, it was a copy of something that is not good enough to grace the bottom of a lizard cage.

So, now, I am considering compiling a list of the most offensive things I could say to these and other religious groups. If you know of any, please tell me. In the meantime, the next time I am offered a copy of The Watchtower or Awake!, I am going to reply with one of the following:

"Why, thank you very much! I am out of toilet paper!"
"Sorry, I gave all of my money to the Mormons."
I will utter the name Jehovah 237 times.

Of course, if it's the Mormons, I will have to say something like:

"When will incestuous lovers Donny and Marie be promoted to Sainthood in your church?"
"Orgazmo was the best movie ever made!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Loblaws is not Green

I am ready to ditch Bell Mobility because it is over-priced and unfriendly. I looked around at tons of plans, both prepaid and monthly, and my conclusion is that they all suck. Canada is probably the most expensive place on the planet for cell phones plans. There should be a new carrier in Canada, hopefully by next year, so I decided to stay away from monthly plans that tie you down for 2 to 3 years. The good thing about monthly plans is cheap phones; the bad is the monthly costs. The good thing about pay-as-you-go is all of the free stuff, like voice mail, call display, etc. The bad news is expensive phones. So, I had an idea.

President's Choice Telecom (Loblaws, in other words) has a very cheap pay-as-you-go option. It is operated by Bell Mobility. A light bulb went off in my head. "I'll switch to PC, keep my cell phone, and keep my eye out for future deals." Foiled again.

It seems that one must purchase a new phone to use PC Telecom. I had a circular argument with the Customer Service person about this. She insisted that the phones are different. I insisted that the Bell network protocol is CDMA, or Code Division Multiple Access. If that describes the Bell network, it also describes the PC network because, as it says right on the page: "Services provided in PC mobile coverage areas by Bell Mobility."

The turnover in cell phones is insane. People keep upgrading and chucking the old ones into landfill sites. This makes no sense to me. Surely, if Loblaws wanted to be a good corporate citizen, it would permit the use of compatible phones. But, we really know that it is all about profit.

I rarely shop at Loblaws because it is expensive and inconvenient, but I think I might change the rarely to never, if they can't accommodate a simple request. I am awaiting a reply to a message I just sent, but I have no expectations of success. Too bad for them: they have lost a potential customer.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Facts on Farts

After yesterday's lengthy post, what else could I post but something about flatulence? Facts on Farts is funny. It has well-written answers to several of your burning questions about farting. I realize that I promised never to write author post on this topic, but shit happens.

Monday, April 06, 2009

On Jacket Holding, Photography, and the AGO (very long)

Imagine being told that you are holding your jacket improperly while perusing the art on display at an art gallery. That happened to me on Saturday, when I finally managed to check out the renovated AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). But first, this other AGO story:

I knew that I wanted to take photos of the Frank Gehry makeover, so I made sure that I familiarized myself with AGO's revised photography guidelines. My reading of this policy boiled down to this: you can take photos of lots of things, as long as it is not an installation or piece of art. Let's avoid, for the moment, the crazy and indefensible argument that there are copyright restrictions that prevent the gallery from permitting photography of its exhibits. Wait, let's not avoid that. Let me say that the AGO has no idea what it is talking about. Photos of exhibits for personal use or for criticism or study cannot be restricted by the copyright act and it is clear that this policy is really concerned with profit-making motives, from sales of postcards, etc. I have taken photos in the Met and MOMA with no problem at all. Clearly, there needs to be a no flash and no tripod rule.

Maybe this is a good place to mention that the current admission costs are crazy. $18 for an adult? I think that if the AGO lowered admission prices, they'd get more visitors. I might go more often.

But, back to the story. I took photos of the barnacle staircase, Walker Court, and the Galleria Italia, as permitted, even though the latter contains exhibits, which contravenes AGO's own policy! Whatever. After peering out a window, I turned around and saw a colorful wall. Here is part of it:

A security guard ran over to tell me that this was off limits to photography. Now, I took the photo because I thought it was an interior design element. Turns out, it was art. Who knew? After all, it fit the wall perfectly, and even continued into that little space above a door frame. In other words, it looked like wall paper. Which leads me to wonder why so many installations at the AGO are designed to perfectly fit available space. As such, some seem like artificial creations. I wonder about the idea of creating a piece of art to fit a gallery space exactly, like this one.

Anyway, Mr. Security gave me the lecture, which I already knew, but the dude wouldn't accept my explanation. He just kept going over it and over it. When he finally stopped talking, I ran ahead and to catch up with my two friends. Imagine my surprise when I saw people snapping photos left, right, and centre of all manner of exhibits, throughout our stay. The difference is that they all had point & shoot digital cameras or cell phone cameras. No security intervened. I even saw people in tour snapping photos with not a single word from the tour guide. These days, if you have an SLR, you are either a terrorist or some sort of copyright pirate.

I guess I should also point out that I had no intention of running around photographing every piece of art, but I would have taken shots of two or three things, if I could have, but that's it. I was there to look at the art, not photograph it. By the way, have you seen that advertisement for Prince Edward Island (or some other Maritime province) on TV that features the interior of AGO in contravention of AGO's stated policy? I guess if you have the cash, then copyright really doesn't mean anything.

So far, not so interesting, right? Well, two hours later in some other part of the gallery, a different security guard informed me that I was carrying my jacket improperly and in such a way that might "impact the art." Jesus! I passed numerous security personnel and no one had made such a comment. This guy clearly has issues. Besides the fact that I had never ventured close enough to accidentally come into contact with any art, I am a grown man and quite aware of my personal space. I considered insulting his shoes, but decided to continue on my way to a section with less anally-retentive, less authoritarian security guards.

But, back to photography. I would have thought that the AGO would relish the idea of someone posting a story on the web about a recent visit to the gallery, maybe with a few images, to show the world how wonderful it is. That would be good (and free) publicity. Instead, the AGO just makes a few people angry, who then write posts like this, which is bad (and free) publicity. If you follow the link to the photography guidelines, you will note that many of the comments are from people pissed off by the policy.

I am not sure what was worse: the restrictions on photography or the ludicrous jacket carrying policy. Whetever the case, it will probably be a while before I am ready to return and confront the praetorian guards.

(Oh, and I didn't mention the other incident, mostly because this is way too long already).

Friday, April 03, 2009

One-Day Conference

I guess this is a good thing to do on a rainy Friday. The bad news is that I am all wet, because of my lousy rain gear. I hopped on my bike in the light rain, and, a few minutes later, it felt like I was riding in a shower, albeit a cold one. All of my clothes were completely soaked when I arrived and I spent some time using a hand dryer in a washroom in an attempt to dry myself out, but to no avail. It had no effect at all. Yet, slowly, I am drying out. I hope this does not lead to a cold or something worse, like death.

Now, I guess I should pay attention.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Two Funny Statements

1) From the almost-four-year-old:
I dreamed I ate a fly's nose last night.
2) From the almost-eight-year-old, upon seeing a cartoon featuring an old white man as American President:
They have some old strange white guy as president! Change it Barack!