Category Archives: The Bad

Water, Pancreas and Goo

Personal Bits, The Bad

Yesterday was a long day.

My iPhone pinged with an incoming email, right by my head, on my nightstand, waking me / not waking me enough to get my mind working at 4am. I thought “Well, I better look at it!” I grabbed the phone and opened my emails…

Da sent out an message saying he had just called 911 to take him to a hospital. He wasn’t sure which one but he’d let us know. His pancreas cysts were acting up again and he had been in pain for two days.

This thing again, I thought. I rolled over onto my back and laid there wondering if I should get up and try to hunt down which hospital he was in. After 30 min of alternating between being the good son (yelling at myself to get up and get on the phone) or being the bad son (trying to get back to sleep), my bowels won out. I hoofed it to the loo.

While sitting on the throne, one of the cats groggily came into the bathroom and mew-ed at me as if to say “Look. I’m going into the tub to drink some water!” (the cats demand a slow dripping tap to drink from – take THAT environment!). George Hamilton jumps into the tub and from behind the shower curtain, lets loose with louder meows. I crane my neck around the wall to see that the tap wasn’t dripping. I finish my biz and stand and flush. The horror commences. The sound from the toilet tank was like a inter-dimensional mucus monster materializing through a swamp. The toilet roared and kakked and the bowl didn’t refill with water (thankfully the biz was gone though). I try opening the tub tap which resulted in chest-wound sucking sounds. The rest of the sinks in the apartment responded in kind.

I poured the cat a bowl of water. Best I could do, George Hamilton, sorry.

Bad son won out. I got back into bed and manage to catch another 15 min of sleep. When we both woke, I told SharkBoy of both problems. As we shuffled around the apartment trying to decide what we should do, one of the taps gasped a horrific gasp and then started to sputter water like a drag queen asked to check her mink stole. But it wasn’t actually water…


From the faucet came this orangey brown liquid that deposited sand like granules all over the tub. The other sinks were spewing out the same sludge. At least we had water! We ran it for a while with no reprieve from the brown.


After a while, SharkBoy discovered that there was clean water coming from the hot water tap, probably from the hot water tank that was unaffected by the pipes that delivered us this goo. We quickly hopped into the tub and took fast showers. Whore’s Baths, really.

After a while the cold water came back to it’s clear state but I made the mistake in brushing my teeth in it too soon. My mouth still tastes like swamp today.

The resulting day of an early trip to the hospital, Apple store visit (to sign my work contract) revisit to the hospital, trip to Da’s to get supplies/books/toiletries and back to the hospital, left me utterly wiped.

When we came home from hospital last night, we immediately turned on the kitchen sink to see if all was better. For some reason was only running at less than half pressure and had this coming out of it:


It ran like this for about 15 minutes then went clear. Seems ok this morning but still very slow.

Dad is ok. He’s bored but had a bad night sleeping but he looks a lot better than he did yesterday. Doctors will be keeping him until Monday and will be poking and prodding his gut on a regular basis. News as it happens.

Losing Face(book) Again

Distractions, The Bad

I tried before but now I’m pretty much made up my mind. Especially after reading this article. I’ve decided that I get enough ads directed at me through unpaid subscriptions to online/real world endeavours. Hell just visiting any Google enhanced free web page and I get Toronto/Gay/Gamer/robot centric ads yelling at me for attention. You’ll notice I’ve removed the Sociable widget/toolbar at the bottom.

Look, I love internet trends and memes. They make me happy and make me feel like I’m on the bleeding edge of cool. I tried FB and with limited success I witnessed a page view spike over here on when I vented my posts over to my Wall. I’ve come in contact with some missing friends and made a couple new ones too. Win/win! But there comes a time when juggling three digital online presences gets a bit much (four if you count Flickr, but who likes a silent mime in the social world, eh?). Between Twitter, FB and this site I manage to cross pollinate each with a singe touch of a button, but in the end, most of my readers get hit with three similar announcements about one upload. Because I don’t want to spam my readers and friends and I prefer to write and create rather than regurgitate I’ve chosen to drop the least creative outlet – Facebook. Twitter and this Blog win out, I’m afraid. And Twitter ain’t all that attractive too – I think it promotes poor grammar/spelling but I can’t deny it’s compelling immediacy.

In the end it comes down to redundancy, really. I’m tired of trying to keep up with all the social and just want to focus on the me for now. I hope you stay and read on (You can RSS feed the home page easy in Firefox/Google Reader) and ultimately keep on being digital.

Marry Me Jon Stewart

Tech, The Bad

You’ve probably heard by now that my favorite tech site Gizmodo got their hands on the next generation iPhone months before it was to be announced. Much hullabaloo on their methods of acquiring the device, much hallyballoo over giving it back. It’s returned without comment (in a bag). Love them or hate them, Gizmodo’s mandate is to report (albeit in a goofy, juvenile way) upcoming new gadgets and the next big thing and that’s exactly what they did, so I can stretch my moral tidiness over how the phone got into Giz’s hands. The “fact” that the phone was acquired legitimately through someone who “found” it doesn’t bother me because I don’t know the whole facts, only Giz’s side of the story – and Apple ain’t talking. Even when they posted the name of the engineer who lost the phone (if that fact is true) for all to see I didn’t think that amoral – that was an inevitability, someone else would have found out and would have broadcasted it. No, Giz lost me when they dissected the phone and posted pictures of it to the web. That smacks of corporate espionage and was utterly unnecessary. To do it to a prototype is just tossing sand in Apple’s eyes. Then for a week they wrote article after article justifying their actions.

Not cool.

Apple is now firing shots across the bow of Gizmodo in the form of police action (they’ve called in a brand of cops called REACT that deal specifically with computer crimes), which involves kicking in doors of journalists (albeit goofy, juvenile journalists) and possibly illegally confiscating their computers.

Not cool. This whole thing is becoming a quagmire. And not in a giggity way.

Once again, Jon Stewart wades into the whole mess and sums up my feelings so succinctly I want to follow him around so I can be his human footstool. Video here not surprisingly on GawkerTV (Giz’s parent company). As usual Jon holds up a mirror to Apple and reveals its sometimes super ugly craggily face.

PS: I love the “hand crystal” reference to the Apple Store. Exactly how I felt during my last interview (which by the way, probably won’t go anywhere since, after stating in my online form application, 2 written applications and verbally to the People Person that I can’t get time off from my current job to accommodate them, they still managed to called me in for an interview in the morning, which I declined, which I was told 48 hours ago that they’d call me in 24 hours to reschedule).


Knuckle Under

The Bad, Toronto, You Stupid Dick

While walking along Carlton on my way home I espy a car stopping for a red light across the street. There’s a parking ticket flapping crazily in the wind under his wiper, complimenting the massive dent-gash on the driver side.

I consider that the driver probably doesn’t pay much attention to …much. I start the Speculative Bitter Machine in my head and wonder if the driver’s life is full of mea culpas and “Its not my faults”. I imagine him getting out of a parking ticket in front of a judge by feigning a diabetic faint. Or not paying his taxes. Or kicking a puppy.

I look up from the gash to see who I’m judging: a man with his finger two knuckles deep into his nose. His dark eyes wander from the dash over to where I’m standing. Our eyes lock. His finger exits his nose hole. He wipes his hair with same hand. Our eyes are still locked in this briefest of moments.

I can’t contain my disgust. Coupled with the fact that I’ve pre-judged him as being lazy and ignorant, I feel the need to comment.

I American Slow Clap, also known as The Golf Clap*. That is, to clap slowly, sarcastically, steadily and loudly, while tilting your head in such a manner that says “Really? Honestly? …really?!” SharkBoy and I call it American Slow Clap because we kept on seeing it in movies where Villains do it just after the Hero expositions his plan to overcome said Villain.

The driver sees me. “Fuck off!” he yells out his (partially closed) window at me.

*Edited because Jim M knows much more about shit than I do.

Knock Knock… Housekeeping

Celebs and Media, Tech, The Bad

I just went through my blogroll and cleaned out a few Celeb blogs I stopped reading (bye, Thomas Dolby) and added a couple more. I blame Twitter for the waning list.

If I’ve removed yours you’ve either haven’t updated in 3 months or I have a shaky hand and deleted it by mistake.

And whoever signed me up for a Topsy feed… Sorry. I’ve classified you as trackback spam. Get a real RSS feed.

Oh and HOLY CRAP! Someone Gmail me now and you’ll be MR/MRS 10,000!

Lifeline Drags Me Down

The Bad, You Stupid Dick

You may recall that due the economic melt down last year our company threw us a lifeline – we were asked to go down to a 4 day work week and on the fifth day, don’t work at all. Our income would be supplemented by the government run Employment Insurance program. We got 55% of our wage for that unworked day back to us but we were not allowed to take on any part time jobs or such while we were on our government sanctioned day off. Just sit there and do nothing.

I heard and obeyed. I jumped through the paperwork hoops and followed the instructions and gladly took the pay/activity cut. I played video games and worked as a volunteer on a few websites.

Flashforward: It’s time to do our taxes and my accountant points to an empty box on the T4 slip (the slip of paper that reports how much money I made on EI). That empty box is how much money the government took off each Insurance paycheque. It’s empty -zippo paid. You’d think the government would either tax that or not let it be included in your claims due to the hardship it represents. To recap: The government took no money from the money it gave to us for not losing my job.

In doing so, and according to some loophole, I owed close to $1000 in income taxes this year.

Thankfully I still have my job!

When people say EI is broken I say “No shit!”

And before you comment “At least you still have your job!” I’ll just say that I’m very upset that the money I expected back (owing + what I expected = negated completely) was suppose to go to a summer vacation, so any silver lining you try to slap on this fat pig of a cloud won’t cheer me up. This summer will be as lean as last summer. Eat my corn riddled butt, government!

Up For Adventure

The Bad, Travel

I’m going to relate to you a tale of intrigue and danger. A tale so Bourne Supremacy that you will urinate in your pantaloons, right where you sit!

During our recent cruise, after our tours and such on the island of Dominica, SharkBoy and I decided to wander the markets close to the dock and look for loud Caribbean shirts for the dress up dinner.

Know my state of mind at this moment of shopping: I just drove through some pretty depressed areas around the island. I witnessed people in less-than shack like accommodations by the side of a dusty mountain road. I saw armed security guards shove back riotous cab drivers a few hours before, shouting their displeasure at the shore administrators who would not let them near the ship’s disembarkation area. I felt guilty.

As we’re looking at shirts, a woman comes up to me and she casually asks “Can you go buy me two bottles of “RED” over in the duty free? Since I’m a local, I’m unable to buy it.”

Poor dear, I thought. And agreed. She handed me the US dollars (exactly $32?) and I wandered over to the shop. SharkBoy reluctantly in tow.

We find the bottles and I take them to the cash. The clerk asks for my ship pass.

Alarm one. I’m tagged!

The clerk takes my pass and enters it into the computer. My name comes up. She types something. My bowels turn to ice. I realize too late that I am recorded into the ship’s system that is somehow linked to this shop on shore and they know I am bringing liquor on board. Which I won’t be. Too late to cancel the transaction, I take the two Johnny Walker Red bottles over to the stall. As I approach, the woman yells over the heads of her customers, without making eye contact at me, “Pretend you’re shopping and leave the bottles behind.”

Alarm two. SharkBoy takes off like a lightning bolt.

I begin to think this wasn’t a great idea. A paranoia flows over me like a wave on a nice white sandy beach. I wonder if we’re being watched by any number of armed guards that patrol the streets. The thought that she herself might be a plant for the police slams into my head like a tour bus full of fat New Jersians.

Calmly, I bend down to look at a trinket near the front of her stall. I place the bag of liquor on the ground and pick up a carved mask. “How much for the mask?” I ask.

I’m fully expecting an extremely low price since my life and safety has been compromised by her seemingly innocent request. “Mask?” she says.

“Mask!” I repeat. I point.

“Maa– OH! Face!” she says a bit too loudly like she’s not sure where this game of intrigue is going to go. “If you wanted the face, you should say face! $25!”

I’ve seen better acting at a 9th grade winter pageant.

“Oh ok, thanks” and I walk away, sans bag. I’m pissed she didn’t give me the maskface at a good price. I’m too frightened to barter, regardless.

As I head for the mouth of the alley I’m waiting for the restraining hand on my shoulder, the shout to stop, the bullet in my back. It doesn’t come. When I finally meet up with SharkBoy again he’s got the lie all worked out: “You went to an internet cafe and it was stolen from you as you checked your email.”


Oddly enough, when I boarded the ship, nothing was said by the guard on the check in computer. Later we had 45 minute wait before we sailed form Dominica and every time the ship announcement bells went off we jumped, expecting a call to guest services to explain myself.

Nothing came of it. And it will never happen again, I assure you.

The War On Tea

The Bad, You Stupid Dick

Earlier this week I Twittered that Starbucks new full leaf tea tasted like getting tongued by Gene Simmons after he ate a burnt woodland creature. I have to retract that as that the new Barista at my regular coffee jag gave me “Awake” tea in error instead of my regular Earl Grey. Starbucks Awake tea is awful. Trust me.

But the sadness continues. They’ve discontinued their regular tea line and replaced all of it with the full leaf teas. I’m only mildly grumbling about that. It’s a lateral change in my mind – I’m sure on some suit’s desk in Seattle there’s a calculator flashing a big number indicating how much the company will save if they omit the tea leaf cutting and drying step. Whatever. The taste is different, not bad, not better, just different. That’s grumbling point number one.

Number two is that they’re upped the price of tea AND are now charging for two bags if you purchase a Venti tea, even if you only want one. Why are they suddenly doing this? Two tea bags are way too strong! Especially full leaf tea!

The manager of my regular Starbucks was very apologetic. After 6 years of service they know me well. He actually winced when he suggested I take the extra tea bag with me, out of cup, or start purchasing cheaper Grande cups of tea instead of my regular Venti. I just opted to pay the Venti price and take one bag.

From a distance I can hear a calculator laugh at me.

Please don’t make me go back to Tim “Green Tea?” Hortons…

Visit Exciting Cabbagetown!

The Bad, Toronto, You Stupid Dick

Here is my copy for the local BIA’s upcoming flyer, to drum up interest in the Cabbagetown area. A place in which I live.

rotted-cabbageCabbagetown – Discover It!

Shop Cabbagetown! With over 200+ stores in our village you’ll be sure to find all your Chinese knock off needs! Visit the stores you have to push past cheap crap merchandise to actually get into the store to shop at! It’s quaint! It’s like the shop owners are saying “this is the shit we wish you’d steal!” After the boutiques, why not visit the Frills de Non Food Emporium where the ever beautiful check out staff will berate you for losing your wallet, or ignore your very presence by holding lane crossing conversations over your very head! Duck and cover!

Meet the Locals! Stop in at the hub of activity known as “The Laundromat!” where the sign outside proclaims they expertly handle Jambo sized loads! Feel free to eavesdrop on the colourful twosome from one of the many halfway homes, as they discuss how difficult it is to find “good cigarette butts” these days because everyone is cleaning up after themselves! Laugh at the antics of the Scooter Family as mother, daughter and other daughter try to negotiate the tiny corridor of washers in their three electrified scooters… at the same time! Swear words and hilarity ensue!

Street Performances Nightly! Got your dancing shoes on? Great! Because the night is the best time to evade punches at the streetcar stop as you defend yourself from fat bastards who insist on slurring your sexual orientation (regardless of what it is). Watch as they boozily toss punches like Mardi Gras beads! You’ll get caught up in the fun and become the show as people stop and stare at your street adventure! I hope you like to Tango, because this is going to go on every time the EI cheques come in! If dancing isn’t your forte, why not just people-watch from a safe distance (The Annex?) at the fine establishment that serves up the city’s cheapest draft beer and some chemical enhancements, if you know the right person to ask! Sing along with the decades old songs that get croaked like a liquored up frog, well past the 11pm noise bylaw – Wee! We don’t care if you live near by! You should be partying too!

Cabbagetown Festival Got something to sell fresh of a missing skid from your brother’s uncle in law’s shipping company? Hungry for roasted corn? And more roasted corn? Did we mention roasted corn? You can get it all and more at this yearly community event! Hundreds of homes open up their front lawns to the area’s largest garage sale! Get a scoop on what your neighbour thinks is re-sellable – like an open box of Q-Tips! Or Atari 2600 cartridges of Frogger! (Not open to people who live above stores in the BIA area)

What are you waiting for? Cabbagetown is waiting for you!

Unconditional Fail

The Bad, Toronto

Green pass cardBetween Bathurst and Spadina Streets, on the north side of College Street, there are 21 restaurant/cafes of various states of trendiness. I counted this morning while walking to Aunties and Uncles for breakfast (nice food, wasn’t all that impressed with the service) and while I counted I made note of how many of those 21 have Health Code inspection violations: little cards in their window with check marks beside PASS, CONDITIONAL PASS, or CLOSED.

Out of the 21 foodies, 10 had “Conditional” passes, 9 had full passes, one had no check mark and one restaurant didn’t have their sign displayed in the window (which is against the law).

The City of Toronto website posts the infractions on their site but they’re not linkable. Searching on “College”, “Conditional Pass” and a full year from July 08 to July 09 comes up with 47 infractions either active or in the past year, with 23 of them between Spadina and Bathurst. These postings are as current as can be in a city strike – the user has to click an acceptance that the information might not be accurate before searching. But within this search criteria, half the length of College street violations are within the Annex area.

50% seemed like a high number to me. I imagine the inspector was having a bad day with the spouse, screeching into their cell phone as they go from door to door and harshly marking down each incredibly minor infraction just because they were in a bad mood:

“(Shouting down a cell phone) Honey, stop calling me at work! No I will not call the school… (to a waitress) Did you wash your hands? (to the phone) No! I know you wash your hands because we pay so much for fucking Williams-Fucking-Sonoma soap… (to waitress) Not you. (to phone) You! Yes you! What is he doing now? Locked in his room? (to waitress) Way to wipe that counter with that rag! (to phone) I said ‘rag’. Not to you! But I think you are! (to waitress – ripping off a fine notice) Clean up your fucking act (to phone-exiting) You too!”

Probably not, but still, 50% over a solid “city block” area certainly makes you wonder.