Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
I recently got a series of calls from a vaguely-real collection agency. They told me I owed the City of Ottawa $71 for something I never paid in the year 2000. I called the city, they had no idea what this agency was talking about. Either way, the statute of limitations on debt collection was six years back in 2000, and it’s two years now. So there’s no way. Of course the company kept calling me anyway, making up some crap about the statute of limitations no longer applying. I kept ignoring the call when it came, sometimes three times a day. My wife was getting the same phone calls, about a nonexistent debt from 2005. Only hers was for $4,000!
Last week I tried a new tactic. I answered the phone. I explained to the lady on the phone that the city of Ottawa had no idea what this debt was, and since the collection agency couldn’t explain it either, I was operating under the assumption that it was bogus. I went on to explain, calmly and (very) slowly that since the statute of limitations WAS up, and they could do nothing to me or my credit rating, that I had no intention of ever paying. She said they would keep calling.
So here’s what I did – it seems to have worked. I explained my plan, very slowly. I said “okay, you keep calling. And I’ll keep answering. And I’ll continue to explain things to you the way I have today. After all, I’m around in the daytime, and it’s quite easy for me to put you on speakerphone and continue with my cooking or my workout. I have all the time in the world. Now, let’s say that I keep you on the phone for five minutes a day. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you make twelve dollars an hour. I will keep answering until I have used up eighty dollars of your company’s time, chasing me for the $70 you pretend I owe. This will take you exactly eighty phone calls. And at five calls a week, you will be at $80 in man-hours within sixteen weeks. At the end of those sixteen weeks, we will begin again. And I still won’t pay.”
It has now been nine days. And they have not called back, even once.
Friday, May 11th, 2012
I went to the Ministry of Transportation office yesterday to take the written M1 test so I can ride a Roadster in the Motorcycle Ride For Dad, coming up on June 2nd. I went with Sam from sales because she is going to be doing the same thing.
Pretty short line, pretty easy test, I was in and out in just a few minutes. Sam, however, was delayed – because when can TWO people BOTH go to the Minstry of Transportation and have a smooth easy time? Never, that’s when.
So, with some time to kill and my stomach growling, I looked about for sustenance. In the waiting area, there were a few vending machines. I bought a Snickers bar from one vending machine for $1.25, and a Pepsi from another one for $1.00. These, I thought to myself, were reasonably priced vending machines!
Next to them, there was another vending machine, selling the study guides for all the driving tests you can do while visiting the Ministry. In fact, the only place to buy those books was at the vending machine. This may have seemed inconvenient or even infuriating to some people. Like the guy in the business suit who became rather contentious about the subject. But I thought it was a really terrific and convenient idea for people who;
a) Needed one of these study guides
b) Didn’t want to speak to any actual people, and
c) Had $20 or $30 in loonies in their pocket
Sam was further delayed. I went for a walk. I got to the Mac’s way down Walkley, and thought about buying another Snickers bar, having developed a taste for them in the last half hour. At the corner store, the very same bar cost $1.65. The Ministry has very reasonably-priced vending machines.
I still had nothing to do, sitting there with my new M1 license in my pocket, some brochure about something, and time to kill. So I went to the bathroom, you know, for something to do.
The Ministry of Transportation (or MOT as the cool kids and the signs in the building call it) bathroom is that kind with no door so no one has to touch a gross germy door. Of course, when you have no door on a bathroom, that means you have to do something so that girls can’t peek at the guys and I can’t peek at the girls. So the entrance to the washroom is a mini-labyrinth where you follow the tunnel around until you are inside.
Now, when I emerge from the mouth of the mini-labyrinth, I feel like I should be gazing upon a bathroom of great splendour. Maybe movies have created unreasonable expectations in me, where labyrinths lead to pleasure-domes, expansive brothels and David Bowie’s castle. Needless to say, I was disappointed that this one had just one toilet and just one urinal.
That being said, there were five people in there. Which meant three of us were waiting. Finally, I got the stall. And it truly was a stall, as it could have housed several horses and a feed trough. It was huge! Which was comfortable for me, for a minute – but not for those waiting. And since all the MOT does is collect people who have to wait for things, I assume there is always a lineup in there. Maybe they could just cut down on the size of the stall and add four more toilets? Or eleven more urinals? Just a thought.
I guess while I was contemplating this esoterical dilemma, Sam’s delay ended and she left with her M1. And I wandered around aimlessly for a while with my ride gone. Which meant that I fit in with the rest of the folks in the MOT, an endlessly, aimlessly wandering mass of humanity waiting for the bing and their number to be called. Then Sam came back for me and I went home.
Wednesday, October 5th, 2011
I have discovered my new favourite youtube channel. Remember that Taiwanese site that made awesome animations of notable events in the news? It’s like that…and it will be my favourite for at least another week, so I thought I’d share it with you now. I give you…the Bad Lip Reading channel!
Friday, January 21st, 2011
My wife has been having a recurring dream where I’m Ray Liotta in Goodfellas and I keep running around the house getting her to flush cocaine down the toilet. She wakes up sweating and freaking out and looking for helicopters in the sky until she realizes that it was just a dream and the SWAT team is not about to kick in the door. This has happened several times in the last week and I thought it was because she fell asleep one night watching Goodfellas and it stuck with her.
But I now have a different theory. I walked gingerly downstairs this morning when I woke up, and I heard a disembodied voice coming from somewhere in the dark. I stopped, and the voice stopped. I waited for a while, to see if the voice would return. But it didn’t. Until I moved again. The voice clearly said “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse”.
It turns out there’s a good reason. We bought a little Don Corleone bobblehead Godfather doll for one of the kids for Christmas a couple of years ago. I no longer remember which kid, because whichever one it was put it on top of the TV and it’s stayed there ever since. It used to say “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse” only when his head bobbled. But now it appears the battery is running down. And once every hour or so, he’ll speak up again. This is very clearly audible only with the TV off and the house dead silent in the middle of the night.
I know, The Godfather is not the same as Goodfellas. So the dream doesn’t exactly match the disembodied voice. But I think the influence of one on the other is still undeniable. And it’s the disconnect between Godfather and Goodfellas that is the ONLY thing keeping me from finding a doll that says “I’d love to have a threeway” once an hour on the hour. I’m thinking it will probably work, but there’s a slim chance it could go horribly wrong.
So in the meantime, I’m not telling her about the Godfather bobblehead, and I’m continuing to sympathize with the freaky dream about once a week. And laughing about it when I’m alone. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out just how to subliminally implant the right ideas in my wife’s head while she sleeps.
Friday, August 20th, 2010
Before I go away on vacation, I thought I would write a post plugging a few things. Since it’s going to be the top post for a week…first, I’m still soliciting donations for the Drop Zone in September, when I will be scaling the Delta Hotel tower to help raise money for Easter Seals and kids with disabilities. Several people have already donated generously, and so it now occurs to me that I can’t back out if people have donated money. So I may as well go for as many donations as possible. Just click the image of big-fat-me on the right hand side of this page.
Also, go check out Eliades Ochoa at Barrymore’s tomorrow night. A true music legend, part of the Buena Vista Social Club, tickets are only $45 each, and there are still plenty available. www.ticketmaster.ca
OK, that’s it. Back in a week.
Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
Muffin was a dog. Not a good dog – she was old and cranky and sour and barked at everything. But she was my dog, and she had cancer, and I’m very sad today. My wife took her in yesterday to be put down, because I was too big a sissy to be there. Apparently, most of the people who go in to have their pets put down are women, because men are too emotional about such things. Who would have thought?
I strived to make her final day a good one. I tried to cripple a squirrel so she could finally catch one, but she wasn’t really able to run any more, and squirrels no longer interested her. I thought about killing that crow that makes fun of her in the back yard, but because Muffin was no longer barking I couldn’t tell which crow it was. And even though she had stopped eating, I gave her bacon so she could lick the grease off it.
We inherited Muffin about four or five years ago when her owner died, and she has been good for the family. About six months ago, she survived our first death panel, when we decided that paying a ludicrous amount of money to fix her teeth was a better option than not. Now though, she had cancer in her mouth, and it was spreading rapidly. We discovered it on Friday, and by Monday it had grown noticeably, and she had stopped eating and being feisty and obnoxious. She was 16 years old, she’d lived a good life, and she will be missed by our whole family.
Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
This woman was later picked up by police, after fleeing the scene. Robin made fun of me for my parallel parking at a Sens Mile event last week. I got nothing on this.
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
While we all wildly celebrated Canada’s remarkable victory in the gold medal hockey game, a few miles away my Grandpa was in his hospital room with his children. They had the game on, of course, in his room. Mom told me that he looked up at one point, during a commercial, and said “that isn’t hockey”. The next day, he told my aunt that he wasn’t going to stay at that home any more. It was time to move on, and he was going to pack his bags. A few days later, he was gone, having lived an incredible 97 years. I spent the weekend in Vancouver, attending the memorial service and spending time with my family, learning things about Grandpa that never ceased to amaze me. Here is his obituary, as it was printed in the Winnipeg Free Press:
LORIMER, WESLEY – Wesley Crawford
. Lorimer O.M. has died after a long and distinguished career in education. He was predeceased by his wife, Myrtle, in 2005 after a long and happy marriage of 65 years. He leaves three children, James (Nancy Sewell) Halifax, Rowland (Anne Carscallen) Coquitlam and Elizabeth (Betty) (Larry Dyke) Rutherglen, and grandchildren Eric, Stefan, MifAnne, Conor, and Julia. .
Born 19 April 1913 in Regina as the first of a family of five children, Wes lost his mother at age seven. The family was taken to England by his father. He and his father soon returned to Regina, where they were later joined by Wes’s siblings to live in a “shack on the prairies” on the north edge of the city. After high school Wes went to Normal School where he met Myrtle. He began teaching in the middle of the Depression in 1931 in rural schools in Saskatchewan. In 1935 he was appointed as a teacher in the Public Schools in Regina where he later became a vice principal. Nine years after they met, Wes and Myrtle finally could afford to get married, and did so in Regina June 28 1940. It was the last day of school, and once they were married Myrtle was forced to give up her teaching job. In 1942 he joined the RCAF for training in navigation and became a navigator. He served as an instructor in navigation in Western Canada and later as an administrative officer.
Following his discharge from the RCAF at the end of the Second World War he was appointed to the staff of the Moose Jaw Normal School. During his service there he obtained leave and with DVA assistance attended Teachers College at Columbia University, New York. Having previously obtained a B.A. and a B.Ed. at the University of Saskatchewan he graduated from Columbia with an M.A. and an Ed. D. Later during his career he received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba. In 2003 he was honoured with an appointment to the Order of Manitoba.
In 1949 he was appointed to the Winnipeg School Board as Director of Research and became Superintendent in 1953. He moved his family to Churchill Drive, a new suburban street along the Red River in a neighbourhood where he and Myrtle made many lifelong friends. It was at this time that there was a tremendous expansion in school enrollments – Winnipeg’s schools grew from 30,000 to almost 50,000 students by 1967 when Wes was invited to become Deputy Minister of Education in Manitoba. He and Myrtle celebrated Canada’s Centennial by building a dramatic modern home overlooking the Red River with the street address of 100 on Agassiz Drive. After service as a member of the Universities Grants Commission he became Chairman and retired in 1981.
During his career Wes had many opportunities to travel and to participate in the work of Canadian educational associations and bodies often serving as chair. One major appointment was as a Commonwealth Fellow which entailed a three month visit and study of education in Australia and included visits in Japan and Samoa to study educational television. In 1975 he was a member of a team to study education in China.
After retirement Wes and Myrtle fled Winnipeg at the end of October annually, usually just in advance of the first snowstorm of the season, and made their home in Maple Leaf Estates, Port Charlotte, Florida. There Wes enjoyed a lively social life with friends and neighbours, as well as visits from his family and beloved grandchildren. In Winnipeg Wes’s artistic side found expression in metal sculptures which decorated their home and the lawns around their house. Some are still to be seen in the University Heights area; others are now in Halifax, Rutherglen ON and Coquitlam.
Only when health concerns caught up with them did they leave behind their treasured Winnipeg home and move to Coquitlam where they lived close to son Rowly and Anne who gave him unstinted love and care. In his final years Wes experienced the decline of old age with acceptance, and in his last days he told his family that he was packing his bags and getting ready to move on.
He left us with his version of a verse from Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar:
Twilight and evening star
And after that the dark
May there be no moaning at the bar
When I embark
A memorial service will be held at First Memorial Funeral Services, 1340 Dominion Ave., Port Coquitlam at 2:00 pm, Saturday, March 6, 2010. A subsequent memorial will be held in Winnipeg at a later date, between the snow and the mosquitoes.
Friday, February 26th, 2010
I’m watching Canada-Slovakia right now. It’s 3-0 at the end of the third. My sister and wife have both passed out entirely on the couch, so I am writing in my blog during commercials and intermissions. I weighed in today, lost another three pounds (thanks, Wii Fit!) and I am down 10 overall. But that puts me in 4th place in the workplace fat-loss challenge, behind Kalum, Mary and Diane. I’m not that worried about Diane. It seems to me that she could lose maybe 5 more pounds, and after that she will be translucent and fade away to nothing at all. But even if that is the case, I have two more people to beat.
The Wii Fit isn’t really doing it for me. It’s just now becoming a decent workout, and now I sweat enough to feel like I’ve been doing something worthwhile. But I need something more. So I have signed up for a half-marathon on May 30th, at the urging of our cute little midget-sized promotions co-ordinator, Esther. We’re going to have matching headbands and outfits, and run together with a few of her friends who are apparently even smaller. So it will look like Gargamel running with the smurfs.
Tomorrow, I start at 2 miles, working my way up, week-by-week, to 13 miles by May 30th. I hope. I really hate running. I hate it. I used to run 10 km every morning with the rowing team for a couple of years, like ten years ago. And I hated every minute of it. But I’m doing it because I want to win this challenge, and beat everyone in the office.
This morning, Gabriel’s Pizza came by the unveil the Doc and Woody pizza for this year – which is the same as last year. But Cory made me my own, personal, diet pizza. Broccoli, tomatoes, onions and low-fat cheese. And some other stuff. It was still delicious, because Gabriel’s is still the best pizza in Ottawa. I ate the whole thing, four slices. Then I ate a slice of the Doc And Woody pizza too. Then I ate a piece of cheesecake and had a pepsi. By the way – Gabriel’s has cheesecake! When you order a Doc and Woody pizza for the gold medal game on Sunday, ask for the cheesecake. It’s good.
At any rate, I decided to re-weight myself after eating all that pizza and cheesecake. Our sales rep, Emily, is my weight-loss mentor, since I won last year’s challenge. She told me I wasn’t allowed cheesecake, but I ignored her and ate it anyway. Esther was there too, she told me I shouldn’t have that fifth piece of pizza, because we were going to be doing this running thing. I ignored her too. Then I weighted myself after I had eaten. In about 20 minutes, I had gained 2.4 pounds. I thought that was pretty cool.
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
OK, since that last one (which I thought was pretty cool, thank you very much) made your head hurt, we go back to youtube for a true classic…I give you Utah Senator Chris Buttars! The 1:15 mark is a pretty solid place to start.