Tuesday, November 29, 2005

dinner with supermodels

Lastnight, Paul and I went for Cuban food at an amazing little place in the Chueca. Shortly after we arrived, two of the tallest, most impossibly-good-looking people EVER came in... a man and a woman. They were so tall and so perfect looking, Paul and I decided they had to be models. The guy was literally one of the most beautiful people I´ve seen in person. He was wearing a Dolce & Gabbana shirt with Huey, Dewey, and Louey on the front. They took the table in front of ours.

As if that wasn´t enough destruction, they were soon joined by more and more beautiful people. They were all smoking and drinking, and I realized in horror that my jacket, which I had hung on the wall, was now buried in supermodel jackets. I briefly considered leaving it there... passport, wallet, and all.

We had our food (I ate all my carbs, despite what I was looking at), drank our daquiris, and hung around long enough to verify that they did, in fact, eat something (and not just smoke and drink).

Oh, and later lastnight in the Eagle, I met a really nice flight attendant from the States and finally did bad. My mojo´s back, baby! (What is it about me and Europe that I only seem to hook up with Americans?)

Monday, November 28, 2005

can Europe please stop smoking for one second?

It´s official: I love Madrid. I love the architecture, the osos, and the round Spanish asses on the hordes of HOT men EVERYWHERE. But Pablo is very dissapointed in me, because I´ve apparently lost my mojo. I have not had "the sex" since being here. Oh there was a darkroom trist at Cruising, but that was really more fun for the "coke can" than it was for me. (Jason, you know what I´m talking about? Dr. Brad?)

The peak was at a bar called Paso where I was simply stared at by several patrons. Unfortunately, there was so much cigarette smoke that after 45 minutes without a hazmat suit, I had to leave. Upon exiting, a tall hombre grinned at me and said loudly, "Toro! Toro! Toro!" FINISHED! I managed a "buenos noches" and a blush but left.

Madrid out... Mloyd

Friday, November 25, 2005

I got schtuck at Schiphol

OK! Nightmare trip so far. A snowstorm descended upon Pearson as I was waiting for my flight. Over 2h late taking off. And, at some point KLM decided to become Martinair and cram about a million seats into a 747-400. I thought I was going to die. Knees jammed into the seat in front of me. Zero room. 4-year-old kicking the seat behind me for the entire flight. (Oh, except for when she fell asleep on our approach to Amsterdam, and failed to wake up despite the plane being struck by lightning 3 times.)

By the way, I never have to take one of those parabolic flights that they use to train astronauts. I (and the rest of the jam-packed flight) experienced a couple of zero-G moments trying to land at Schipol. The pilot had his work cut out for him. It was one time in my life that I wasn't stressed out by applause at touchdown. This guy earned it.

Of course, I missed my connecting flight to Madrid.

2.5 hours of waiting at the transfer desk and I'm on the 4:15 p.m. flight to Madrid. I'm really glad there were no flights that left while I was waiting in the transfer area. That would have really sucked.

Three calls to The Westin Palace Madrid (7.40 Euro), and I think I might have successfully left a message for Paul explaining that I'll be late.

Anyway, I have to go get something to eat now (it's 12:33 p.m. local time). But before then, I have to go on seatguru.com and find out if the nice (I'm being serious) KLM agent upgraded me to business class on the Madrid flight. I'm in 6C. Think good thoughts for me!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Goodbye forever, Midtown Saturn Saab!

There's a certain peace that comes over me when I realize I can just walk away from a stressful situation. Pull the cord on the emergency chute. This is the type of calm that settled over me tonight during a careening ride through rush hour Toronto traffic in a beat-up Beck taxi--a ride paid for by my car dealership; no doubt because I got General Motors Canada involved in a little "disagreement" about the latest service incident with my car. Tonight, I decided, is the last time I deal with Midtown Saturn Saab. I can pay this ridiculous bill, walk out the door, and never come back...

I blogged about these car troubles on the 16th and the 19th. The trouble on the 19th (howling noise from engine; fluid leaking out) turned out to be a loose power steering hose, right under the top radiator hose. The very radiator that the dealer did a flush & fill on last week. No, I know. Completely unrelated.

I was informed of this over the phone this morning. In addition, I was told that since the problem was unrelated to the previous service, the dealer would no longer be covering the cost of the tow (as promised on Saturday morning). "I really fought for you," the service rep said, "but the manager won't budge." Then he launched into yet another pitch about how I should disregard the manual's recommended oil change intervals (16000 km regular use; 8000 km severe service) and get the oil changed today (5956 km after the last change). Do these people work on commission?

I said I'd call back. But my next call was to GM Canada. They heard the story, and requested a faxed copy of the Nov. 16 repair order. This afternoon, GM called me back. After speaking with the dealer, it seemed there was a "miscommunication" about who would be paying for the towing charges. Midtown would pay for the tow as promised, and GM would try and get Midtown to come down a bit on the current repair price.

So I cabbed up to the dealer, paid the $102.81 bill, and left. I won't be back.

I wish I didn't care about cars. I wish I didn't care what kind of car I drive, or that I felt the need to own one at all. Earlier tonight in the stinking taxi, I looked out the window and watched the traffic beside me on Mount Pleasant Road. Two gorgeous E-class Mercedes-Benz, followed by a Pontiac Montana. All three drivers were getting from A to B. The Benzes had gleaming, crystal-like headlamps and pretty gauges casting attractive glows on the drivers' faces. The Pontiac needed a wash. My mind drifted to the recently-announced massive layoffs at General Motors. Too many cars being produced and then sold at cut-rate "employee" discounts. Cars are a disposable commodity, I thought. They're like microwave ovens, or cordless telephones, or widgets.

Anyone want to buy a widget? It's all up-to-date on its service!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tori does Cyndi

a sampling of Tori Amos' cover of Cyndi Lauper's All Through the Night, Royce Hall Auditorium, Los Angeles, April 25 2005

Jason and I are seeing Cyndi Lauper in concert on December 6th! Although Jason makes fun of my fondness for Tori, he seems to forget that he liked Armand Van Helden's 1996 remix of "Professional Widow"--in fact, I think he even owned a copy. This was back when Jason was into dance music. Now he's into early-bird specials and online spades with other seniors.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I give up

Wednesday, November 16th: I bring the car home after paying a $2800 repair bill. This morning: I go to use my car for the first time since Wednesday. After starting the engine, I notice a howling sound. It doesn't go away. I decide to try and drive (slowly) to the dealer, but the howling sound becomes a screaming sound if I touch the steering wheel. I turn the car off. The engine has seemingly barfed yellow-green fluid (coolant?) onto the pavement. I go back inside, call the dealership, and speak with the service manager. He agrees to pay for a tow truck.

This post is in case anyone was wondering why I entitled my blog I always win.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I love Saab. I hate Saab. I love Saab. I hate...

$2807.14 is, for me, a lot of money. It's four months of rent. It's roughly my annual grocery budget. But today, that is the amount I spent getting my Saab fixed.

What started off on Friday as a trip to the dealer to repair a fault in the alarm system ended up being a whole bunch of service that:

a) the car needed
b) can be viewed as preventative
c) would have cost me a great deal more on separate trips (think disassembled European car engine, then think $109 hourly shop labour rate)
d) the previous owner (who leased the car from the very dealership I bought it from) neglected to do *

My horoscope for Friday said that I shouldn't buy anything. Perhaps that's why I nodded and said yes--with what I'm guessing was a glazed look in my eyes--to all of the service items. It was one of my Mary Richards moments. You know--where she looks at the price of the meat, rolls her eyes, and tosses it in the shopping cart.

It's ironic that I drive one of the safest vehicles in the world, yet fantasize that a flying truck tire or a nice rock outcropping will put me out of my misery... I should be driving a 1988 Ford Tempo with no airbags.

* Apparently, if you lease a car, you don't have to give a flying fuk about doing stuff like scheduled maintenance. Of course, if you skip the maintenance and the car is damaged as a result, you're up the creek. But if nothing bad happens, you can return the vehicle after your lease is up and, in concert with the dealership, royally screw the next guy. Caveat emptor!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

oh that Francine!

I love my Francine Smith on American Dad. In "Francine's Flashback" (aired in May 2005), she gets freaked out by her own pubic hair. "Who fired the gardener?"

But it was in this week's "Stan of Arabia - Part 2", that she really earns my respect. At the end of her rope and fed up with living in Saudi Arabia, she does a song & dance number in a bazaar, stripping down to her undies and singing about how the country is only fun if you're a man:

So if you've got a vagina, a vulva, a clitoris, and a labia
Stay the hell away from Saudi Arabia!

I wonder if Seth MacFarlane will soon have to go into hiding like Salman Rusdie did...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Monday, November 07, 2005

separated at birth?

I have often thought that CNN's Jack Cafferty and Sam the Eagle from The Muppet Show were very similar. Senior, learned voices struggling to be heard in a din of youthful boisterousness. The types who would be most apt to remind us that having no knowledge of the past dooms us to repeat it. Clucking their tongues in disapproval. My heroes!

In James Wolcott's column "Flooding the Spin Zone" (Vanity Fair, November 2005), Jack Cafferty is given the props he so justly deserves. Analyzing the coverage of hurricane Katrina, Wolcott examines CNN's new program The Situation Room and my Jack, writing that Cafferty's "ire showered the mediascape with volcanic ash." Jack'll call the world on its bullshit, that much is for sure. Wolcott continues his dissection of Cafferty and in particular his pairing with Wolf Blitzer ("inspired casting") by writing that "Blitzer maintains a lack of affect whatever Cafferty's provocations, blinking at plausible intervals as Cafferty drives the argument downfield with an eloquence to match his ferocity." (emphasis mine)

I love Jack Cafferty. In my fantasy world, he'd grow to be hundreds of feet tall and, with his giant foot, squish Bill O'Reilly like a bug.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

my head nearly exploded

I have a bit of a thing for cops. When I consider what happened to me today, I'm surprised I didn't drop dead.

There was a police protest march in Toronto this morning. Unfortunately, its start point was right where I work. I pulled into my usual parking lot. There were already lots of police officers milling about. I waited behind a couple of other cars and finally pulled up to the cashier's booth. He said, "I'm sorry, parking today is for police only. Go to the next lot." By this time, there were vehicles behind me and cops on foot everywhere. I blurted out, "you mean I can't park here because of this bullshit?"

That's when one of the nearby officers' ears perked up.

"What do you mean, bullshit?" he asked.

I glared at him and powered my window up.

So now I had to do a three-point turn and exit. This wasn't easy, because the enormous outdoor parking lot was now spilling out cops heading to the protest.

Have you seen pictures of drivers on country roads surrounded by livestock? That was me in my car, having to (non-agressively) sound my horn to get the cops to move. It took forever to get out.

I parked in the next lot and walked down the street to work. This is when I started to notice that they weren't all fat middle-aged cops like the one who called me on my remark. In fact, there were tons of young, hot, buff cops. My head was reeling; I tried not to stare. Some of them were wearing cologne; the smell of freshly-showered men washed over me in waves.

By the time I got to my office, I had to close my door and put my head down on my desk for a few minutes.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"Grow up, Heather! Bulimia is so '87!"

Here's Flitsee and Jason discussing the takedown of Ooh La La and Jason's new blog:

  • unfamiliar with this GenX cultural landmark? click here
  • screen captures courtesy of How