Friday, December 18, 2009

R.I.P. SAAB

I'll love you forever.

GM, you suck. You left the brand to grow dusty on the shelf, where it atrophied and ultimately died.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

misogynistic doosh begets misogynistic doosh


Roth's hometown (Morrisville PA) is not in the southern US. The last time I checked, if you're north of the Mason-Dixon line, you're in the north. (The article can be found here.)

Whatever. I still cringe when I hear "I Love College" — just as I cringe when I see/hear/read about Eminem. Despite Roth's claims in ILC ("I love women" and "don't have sex if she's too gone"), the video has a fair share of misogynist imagery. And I've read enough about his other songs to conclude that he has a lot to learn about how to treat women with respect.

Oh, and Asher? Putting two condoms on is not* an effective means of protection.
*http://www.nyu.edu/shc/promotion/condoms.dental.dams.html
http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/1139.html

Saturday, May 23, 2009

how not to cope with unemployment

I went on a spending binge this week: $683.54 on credit. To put things in perspective, I have no income at the moment. My entire severance went into an RRSP back in December. Since my layoff, I've been living on my vacation pay payout, a non-registered mutual fund, income tax refund, and credit. My EI benefits will kick in next month; until then, things are pretty lean.

Why, then, am I spending like a drunken sailor in port?



I'm a gay man, so shopping is pleasurable. Groceries are a necessary purchase; many items were picked up at sale prices. The "personal care" category was high this week — I needed sunscreen, which isn't cheap. I broke my Ray-Ban Aviators, so I replaced them with a less-expensive house brand.

Justifying the rest of it becomes difficult. Could I have waited to buy the new Tori Amos CD? Probably not. But I also bought CDs by Alphabeat and P!nk, and the new Stevie Nicks concert DVD.

I washed my car twice — I'm convinced that maple sap is harmful to the finish.

I set up my balcony and bought some plants: one tall oleander and some herbs (cilantro and Italian parsley). At least I can eat the herbs.*

I ate fast food twice — a definite no-no. Chalk it up to emotional eating...

Where I fall down is my Sunday trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake. I was with some monied gays; it was very hard to keep up. I should have stayed home... but at least I realized that the guy I had been going out on dates with (the most monied of the gays) was totally wrong for me. For $146, I got a great dinner, a lot of ice wine tasting, and insight. Valuable, valuable insight...

* never, EVER eat oleander. It is one of the most poisonous plants in the world.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

10 years ago

downtown Seattle from the ferry dock at Bainbridge Island, March 31 1999

On March 30 1999, I flew from Toronto to Seattle to start an exciting chapter of my life: an internship at the head office of the company I worked for. It was a big deal for me. Not only was I hopeful about where the internship might take my career, but I had always been envious of my high school friends who bravely went on student exchanges. Here I was, jetting off to a city I'd never been to before, and living with people I had never met.

My company's legal department determined that I didn't need a work visa. Instead, I'd apply for entry under a provision of NAFTA. I had full references and documentation; still, I was nervous clearing U.S. customs at Pearson. Before my car service arrived to take me to the airport, I took an Ativan.

I sailed through effortlessly.

My Air Canada flight to Sea-Tac will likely remain one of the most pleasurable I've ever taken. Relaxed from the Ativan — and helped along with a couple Canadian Club — I looked out the window as the ¼-full A319 chased the setting sun to the west coast.

After arriving, I took a shuttle downtown. I checked in to a hotel for my first two nights (staff rate, of course). The next day, I took the ferry to Bainbridge Island and back, taking some pictures along the way.

I explored Pike Place Market and went to the original Starbucks. I met some of the people (friends of friends/ coworkers) I had remotely connected with, and got a preview of the apartment I'd be sharing in First Hill. (I had placed an ad in The Stranger weeks before.) Fortuitously, my new room-mates had been seeking a temporary third occupant for the exact date range I was going to be in Seattle. Meeting them, I instantly felt at home.

I started my internship on the first of April, 1999. It led to a brief-but-unsuccessful stint as a magazine editor the following year, and — after returning to my hotel company with a bruised ego — another temporary placement with the Canadian head office in 2003.

I love Seattle. The friends I made there remain dear to me, even after a decade.


taken from the Washington State ferry, March 31 1999

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

graphic

In a graphic display of vulnerability and weakness, I called Stephen on March 10th. In tears. I hadn't heard from him since his expressway breakup phone call, and I lost my shit. He talked me down from my emotional ledge, and we're in occasional contact now. Healthy contact. His perspective: things are parked, but not over. My perspective: I'll probably never forget that he chose career over love. I'm going out on dates with other guys, but it might be too soon.

In a rare moment of clarity and focus, I decided on an action plan for returning to school (and ultimately work) — graphic design. I'm working with my Second Career counsellor to get everything in place. With any luck, I'll be starting a 28-week program at a Toronto graphic design school in July.

So, despite my unemployed status, my time is taken up with research and prep work.* I'm behind in my blog reading. (Sorry.)

* oh, who am I kidding? I'm still addicted to television, Internet gay pr0n, and Facebook

Friday, March 13, 2009

never trust a paper placemat

I could never remember my Chinese Zodiac sign. A couple of years ago — while engaging in emotional eating at Mandarin ("Gung Hay Fat Choy!") — I looked up my birth year (1970) on the paper placemat. "Neat!" I thought. "Year of the Dog... I like dogs!" I took the placemat home, clipped out my sign, and put it on my bulletin board.

This morning, my friend Penelope sent me a link to a "birthday calculator" website. Just for shits & giggles, I plugged in my d.o.b.

SHOCKER! I'm not Year of the Dog after all... I'm Year of the Rooster! 20 minutes of Internet research confirms that I am, indeed, a cock. I was born in early 1970 — before the switch from Rooster to Dog.

I now have to re-evaluate my entire life. All of those failed relationships with Snakes and Dragons? Bah! Folly. That cool, Aquarian distance I'm sometimes guilty of exhibiting? Replace that Dog trait with the eccentric, loner-ish tendencies of the Rooster.

Year: Feb 17 1969 – Feb 05 1970
Associated Element: Yin Earth
Heavenly Stem: 己
Earthly Branch: 酉
Associated Animal: Rooster



Uh-oh... flashback! Something tells me that I conveniently "forgot" I was a rooster... As a redhead, I think I went into denial: "I can't be a Rooster! That's just way too much red!"

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I will never watch BSG again

Stephen (the guy I was seeing; the one I so foolishly thought I was going to marry) ended things this morning. Over the phone. While he was driving to his eighth straight day at work.

I've been robbed of the dignity I would've had by ending things first. We've had many problems in our very short time together. From early on, I found it difficult to adjust to his unpredictable and erratic behaviour. On our second date, he said "I already know how I'm going to propose to you." On our third date, he (jokingly) said "I know it's early, but will you marry me?" I laughed it off, but later that evening, I did tell him that I loved him. He responded with "I think I love you too."

He had a business trip to the UK after our third date. He called me daily. One evening (while drunk), he said "I do love you, you know that... right?"

He was honest from the beginning about his shortcomings: he smoked too much pot, he was terrible with money, he had a bad history with infidelity... I took these things in stride, knowing that no one's perfect.

The high point was reached on my birthday (January 30th). He took me out for an amazing dinner, and told me repeatedly "you're the best thing that's ever happened to me."

The bloom was off the rose in early February. Stephen had a doctor's appointment, and I met him afterward for lunch. His doctor had noticed a mark on his hand and decided a syphilis test was in order. "Don't worry babe," he told me. "If I have syphilis, it would be like the immaculate conception. I had almost no sex last year." He started to pull away from me after that point. Two weeks later, he called and told me that the test was positive. I couldn't get an appointment with my GP, so off to the free clinic I went. After enduring that humiliation — and post-exposure prophylaxis for syphilis — Stephen called and dropped another bomb on me: he was sure he contracted it in the UK.

Monogamy is tricky at best in the human mammal; it's almost non-existent among gay men. But it was way too soon for this problem to pop up on the radar.

While I write this, I'm fighting the urge to put my feelings down on paper, tuck it into the shoebox full of his stuff (including souvenirs from England and the first season of BSG), and drop it off at his house. I want to be the bigger person, and not act out of spite. I want him to realize that he let a quality, husband-material guy slip out of his hands.

Stephen introduced me to BSG, but I will never be able to watch it again. I will always associate it with him. The sombre, haunting intro music goes through me like a knife. I can't take the darkness, the death, the fear...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Battlestar Galactica

The guy I'm seeing lent me the first season of Battlestar Galactica (including the four-hour introductory miniseries) on DVD. Last night, I watched the "Six Degrees of Separation" episode, which (according to the DVD) originally aired on February 18, 2005. I'm four years late for the party, but fervently enjoying it.

One reason I didn't pay much attention to BSG initially: snobbery. When I surf-landed on it years ago, I picked up on some cheesy Canadian production traits that led me to dismiss it. The series screamed "low budget" to me at the time, due to the prevalence of pegboard in the set construction. Even now that I'm hooked (pardon the pun), the pegboard still makes me cringe.

Another minor annoyance: the accents. XO Tigh speaking with an immediately recognizable Canadian accent gives me cognitive dissonance.* No disrespect to Michael Hogan intended; I think he's a fine actor and a total DILF. The same goes for James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar. The British accent is often used — perhaps over-used — as a device for quasi-villainous / outright villainous characters; I think it could have been left out here.**

My bitchy snap-judgements aside, I'm totally in love. One major reason: the incredible Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin. The character's health issues resonated with me.

The fine man-candy doesn't hurt, either: Jamie Bamber and Tahmoh Penikett are gorgeous.

Now if only the writers would stop inserting variants of "frak" into every third word of the script...



SPOILERS IN THE FINE PRINT!

* even if Colonel Tigh is from the Thirteenth Colony / Earth, I still think the Canuck accent is distracting
** more on the accents can be found here and here

Monday, February 02, 2009

Matt Light? WOOF!

Good LORD this man is hot (dancing football stud on the left):



Matt Light plays for the New England Patriots. I don't watch football, but I pay attention to the Superbowl ads the next day. I had no idea who Matt Light was until this ad. Damn! He even has his own charitable foundation.

HOW HOT IS HE? Jeebus! And he can dance! I wonder if he'll do Dancing with the Stars one day.
















I am in bear heaven.

WHAT. A. MAN !

Thursday, January 15, 2009

yet another reason the CRTC is laughable

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, in an 'effort' to help Canadians avoid unwanted telephone calls from telemarketers, created the National Do Not Call List last year. I am so glad I didn't sign up. Global News is reporting a major flaw with the list: it is ridiculously easy to pretend to be a compliant telemarketer, pay $50, obtain the list, and start bombarding people on the list with calls.

What a fucking joke. I've been pissed at the CRTC ever since the early 1980s, when my isolated northwestern Ontario town finally received two extra tv channels from a private company. Granted, the service was outside the law, but when you're a kid and you only get one tv station, you don't care about legality. You're forever scarred because all the cool shows you were watching on WGN Chicago and a major movie network are yanked away from you... and you're back to Three's Company reruns on CBC.

Seriously, are monkeys running this stupid government bureaucracy?

Friday, January 02, 2009

update

A lot has happened in the past month. On December 2, 2008, I suddenly became jobless after my employer of 13.5 years eliminated my position. This is a good thing; I was not at all happy in my job, as indicated by several previous posts on this blog. I'm signed up for Employment Insurance, and registered in a provincial government program called Second Career. I have my first appointment with them in a couple of weeks. It's time to give my career a soft reboot. Or reinstall my career's OS.

I travelled a lot in December — trips that were arranged before I got the axe. I was in San Francisco from the 6th to the 11th. I just love it there. The trip was inexpensive, because it was on frequent flyer miles and hotel points.

I was in Florida over Christmas, visiting my snowbird parents. They're in central Florida, amid plentiful orange groves, cattle ranches, and surprisingly hilly terrain. The distance from the ocean was more than made up for by the enormous outdoor pool at the resort. I spent a lot of time swimming, and reading in the shade.

In between California and Florida, I had lots of errands and tasks to take care of. Unemployment is a lot of work! Luckily, I live in a rent-controlled co-op, so I was able to get a rent subsidy which really helps me in this transition period. I also have a new financial advisor assisting me with the numbers.

And... tonight, I met the man I'm pretty sure I'm going to marry.