Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Question of the day

What's the best costume you've ever worn/seen for Halloween?

Spouse and I dressed up as nerds for a couple years and had the greatest time walking around being the ugliest, nerdiest guys. When we lived in LA, we'd stroll Santa Monica blvd (a Southern California tradition) on Halloween night with a hundred thousand other revelers. Each time we'd see other "nerds" we'd run up and geek out with them. Good times.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Health is hard to come by

It's the time of year for sickness! I shouldn't have been so surprised with the proliferation of cold medication commercials of late. Sometimes I imagine I'm immune, or that I can "will" myself not to be sick. This doesn't work. I wish I could call in sick, but then I woudn't get paid. Sigh.

I saw the doctor last week for my sleep issues. It has taken me four tries to see the doctor (they forgot me in the waiting room once, and the other times they were closed or had a three hour plus waiting time) and when I finally did, I got treated with suspicion. He prespcribed me a month of pills and said that if I needed more, I'd have to see a shrink. (this is not a deterrent for me, what better than to sit around talking about oneself?)

I didn't really feel "cared for", and the doctor basically wagged his finger at me with his words. He obviously doesn't know the depths of my aversion to doctors, and at the same time reinforced same.

I'm the guy who put his toe back into its socket himself, and never went to the doc for pain pills.

I didn't mention that though.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday before Halloween

This is in the heart of downtown Montreal. Though there are skyscrapers all around, I managed to find one vantage point without them visible. This little park and cathedral have been looking very Halloweeny lately, what with the falling leaves and gloomy weather.

We keep showing the apartment and people continue to say, "I want it!" We reply, "Okay, just fill out the form so we can check your references and credit and it's yours." The people leave promising to fax the form to us while assuring us there is nothing tawdry on their credit, and then they never send it. There was one girl who said, "Well, I had a problem with (cellphone company) so I decided not to pay them." Spouse and I both thought the same thing - so when you have a problem with us, you will decide not to pay? She never sent the form anyway.

Yesterday, we finally got prospective renters who actually filled in and faxed us the application. Two twenty year old working girls who are moving out of their parents' houses. They both work at banks and possess credit cards. Tomorrow we'll know if they are in good standing on their cards and rent the apartment to them. This could be very good news.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kind of a gloomy Saturday around here

I'm getting a little behind in everything. See, I've taken on new contracts (can't say no to $ opportunities right now) that require preparation and more of my already limited free time. I may have to skip a day blogging here and there, simply for lack of time (please, no cheering at this news). Have I mentioned that I must take the 5:30 bus on Friday mornings and haul my ass out to timbuktu for a 7am class where the only coffee available comes from a vending machine with a thimble sized cup, all for the bargain price of sixty cents? No? It's a gift, lemme tell ya.

What's shocking is that the 5:30 bus is FULL. I get on at the beginning of the route, but by the 5th stop, it's standing room only. Who knew there was so much life going on, what, all these people got up at 4:30 like I did? Half the seated passengers sleep while the others chat vivaciously, having bonded over time on the same bus everyday. I read the paper.

This weekend is rainy. I have extra work to do and we have to show our old apartment again (it's still not rented). Also, I'm coming down with something. While this is not media alert news, it is the facts. Peace.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Pissy morning

The frequent flyer program for Air Canada, called Aeroplan, has just sent out a mass email detailing upcoming changes to their "loyalty" program. In a nutshell, not only do you have to have "activity" on your account at least once a year, but also that the miles you earn now will expire seven years from now.

I can understand the first requirement, and it is easy to satisfy, what with the credit cards and adjunct businesses offering miles for using their services / buying their products. In fact, it seems to be more the norm than the exception in the air miles business.

The second part though is incomprehensible to me. Well, actually that's not true, it's a money grab. At the expense of loyal customers. I sent the following note to Aeroplan to express my displeasure.

I received the new guidelines for mile expiration. My question is, "How does it make business sense to tell your customers that their loyalty only counts for 7 years?"

If I were to want to save up for a first class round trip Europe flight with my miles, I would not be able to since I only travel twice a year or so. I'm seriously thinking of going back to Northwest airlines whose miles don't expire as long as you have activity in your account.

I'm quite disappointed with this news, and I'm sure that I'm not alone.

They replied that they were having trouble with this feature of their contact page and said that I should call them. What for? There are plenty of other carriers that fly out of Montreal. Maybe it's time to switch to Westjet. Well, that is after I accumulate enough miles to drain the account (in a year or two.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

TMI in pictures

Enough of the clamoring for Half-Nekkid-Thursday shots.

This one is spouse approved because it is "artistic".

Okay maybe I exaggerated a bit about the hairiness.

Happy HNT!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Cosmic joke

Saw a guy on the subway yesterday morning (pre dawn) playing a fighting game on some kind of hand held gaming contraption. And though I couldn't hear the sound effects, piped as they were to his head, the graqhics were so, well, graphic that the blood apeared nearly to fly off the screen. I supposed he was imagining some surly coworker to pummel in the game. And I had to wonder about a man who spent his free time dismembering others, however virtual.

I thought about it all day. Where does this desire come from, the zeal for aggression, the goal of absolute power over others? Is it instinct? It's not my instinct, but I wonder if I'm more the exception than the rule. If it is instinct, which we could substantiate with innumerable instances from history, then "being civilized" goes against our root nature. Civility would mean stamping down these instincts, or perhaps keeping them while masking them on the outside. It does seem that the most successful in our society are aggressive and attain power over others while appearing to be on the "up and up". Survival of the fittest comes to mind.

If males crave battle and power while women yearn for companionship, the whole setup is really a big joke. I hope (insert creator label here) is laughing, because it really is quite funny. If we look at the behaviour of children whose instinct is to grab and hoard, I think you'll find that adults' don't lose this instinct, they simply hide it and "control themselves". Maybe if we accepted that as a species, we are both selfish and violent, we would better be able to understand tragic events as "natural".

And in the end, we may just be fucked. So enjoy today while it lasts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Question of the day

I'd had one of those mornings, woke up late, rushed around to get ready, cut myself up shaving and nearly missed the bus. But once I was on the bus, I noticed the cheerful expressions on the passengers faces, so many smiles on this bus, and I quickly forgot about my harried departure from the house.

Then I had an itch on my neck and I reached up to scratch and blood stained toilet paper tumbled to the floor. See, I had had so many nicks from shaving that I put two panels of toilet paper, one on each side of my neck. And then I forgot that I had placed them there. Must have looked like I was trying to staunch the blood with a feminine pad. Now these panels were floating down to the floor, in what seemed to me to be slow motion. From there on out, I refused to look at anyone on that bus, and when I came home that day, I had a mirror to install at the front door to prevent other such mishaps.

And you, an embarassing experience you care to share? We've all got them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Rotation, alignment and balance

Tire changing sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn't it?

We had some time to relax yesterday. No visits (which is a bad thing considering we still have a two bedroom apt available) and no calls. We were able to have breakfast out with a friend, take the dog for a walk in the park, putter, and do a little household cleaning. In short, a regular Sunday. It's just that we haven't had one of those in a couple of months, so it was like a gift.

I made a couple videos too, though I can't show one or spouse would murder me. (It was a stealth video of him washing the dog in our shower. He still doesn't know I took it, tee hee.)

This one's for Ed.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Letting myself go

I worked out for the first time in 5 weeks yesterday. I haven't skipped workouts for such a duration in, well, forever. This morning, my chest and arms are carpets of pain. I've learned to appreciate this pain, as it usually indicates some kind of gain. Five weeks of atrophying muscles did make me weaker, but oddly, not flabbier. That would be because I've lost a good 10 pounds at the same time. My secret? Gut-wrenching stress to remove hunger. Try it, it works!

In other physical news, I've fallen out of a decades long habit. Manscaping. You know, the trimming (not shaving!) of unruly hair about the body. Sure it's vain, but no more so than a lady who plucks her eyebrows. Anyway, as I said, I've let things slide and now "down there", I have a thicket befitting of Liberace's head. The goods aren't quite entirely obscured, but with perspective, the merchandise appears, shall we say, more inferior. And my tits look like two sand dollars on a dirty barber shop floor. Quite fetching. My armpit hair is macramé -able length, and my happy trail is so bushy it protrudes between my shirt buttons.

At least spouse isn't complaining.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rude awakening

At 5:30 this morning, we received a knock on our door. We didn't hear the knock as we were sleeping and all, but the dog did. It was the barking that woke us (and I imagine the other sleeping tenants in the building.) It was lap-dancer paying his rent.

This guy knows the rules. You see, you can't really do anything about tenant problems without adhering strictly to guidelines imposed by the rental board. This is the government body that regulates rental properties. It is only after 21 days that the owner can go before the board and request a hearing for expulsion. He must know that, since today is the 21st.

And no, we can not charge a late fee. Looks like we're stuck with him for now.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Feeble snippets

* Every time I work on these snippets, I think, "Who cares what I think."

* Having control over your life is an illusion, albeit a comforting one.

* Useless things: fear, anger, self-pity and regret.

* The more you "need" to win the lottery, the less you should participate.

* Why, if the plural of woman is women, do we change the pronunciation of the first vowel? Shouldn't it be spelled wimmen?

* In the end, it will be ego that destroys the world.

* Lately, I've really been wishing that I could replace my emotions with indifference. Is there a pill for that?

* I had one of those dreams where you stop and go, "Hey, wait a minute, this could be a dream I'm having. (pinching arm) No, no this is real alright."

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Because I'm not up to it today. See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Some people will say anything to get you off their back. We've been trying to get Pascal to pay his rent, which he has in dribbles and bits, always with a sob story and a promise of "tomorrow" for the rest. Twice now on the phone, he has claimed to have the rest of the rent, and then when we knock on his door, he doesn't have it. Last night it all came to a head.

In my mind, it's our job to make him uncomfortable until he pays. So each day, we either call or knock on his door to "remind" him of his obligations. Since he lives directly above us, it's really quite easy to know when he's home and when he comes and goes because WE CAN HEAR HIM. So last evening, when I arrived home, I knocked on his door and there was no answer. About ten minutes later, I hear his door close upstairs and steps coming down the stairwell. The fucker was hiding when I knocked! So I opened my door as he was trying to skulk out and he claimed he'd be right back with the rent. I rolled my eyes at him and said "Uh-huh" in the most sarcastic way I could. (Oh and this is after he claimed to have the rent already in an envelop, and could he just leave it under our door mat. We declined this method of him paying and said we'd like it in person thank you. He thinks we were born yesterday.)

Festering with anger over his repeated lies and broken assurances, we discussed our options. Then we heard him come back home at 10 so Serge called him.

"Stop bugging me every five minutes. I don't have it!" he (in what might be his first truthful statement) cried.

"Stop telling us you have the rent if you don't have it!" Serge barked back at him.

"I already have parents, I don't need anymore," he groused.

"Stop acting like a child then," Serge said.

And then he slammed the phone down and stomped around his apartment impetuously for the next hour.

If only he knew how "nice" we really are. We are very understanding if you're straight with us, but the constant lying magically turns our hearts to stone. I'm sure it's hard for him, he's not that hot for a lap dancer so he probably earns much less than his hotter colleagues and his roommate split on him without paying his half of the rent. And now we are bugging him daily about it. I wouldn't want to be him.

Still, I'm not going to subsidize him with my pity. I just want him gone now.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Question of the day

The first time I can remember being sick was as a wee child, maybe two years old, after eating a lunch replete with green bell peppers. The subsequent vomiting made such an impression on me that I spent the next 30 years unable to eat them. I wouldn't even eat a pizza with peppers on half of it (or picked off) because the smell alone would send me gagging.

I finally got over it and will now consume them cooked. (Raw is still inedible.)

What is the one food you hate so severely that the mere sight/smell/mention of it makes you cringe?

Monday, October 16, 2006

It's not all bad

Yesterday as we were running around like headless fowl, and answering dozens of apartment inquiries, I said to spouse that we could just "decide" that all of this was fun. It was the first time he laughed in days. We kept chuckling the rest of the day at the "fun" we were having.

We've shown the studio apartments downstairs to lots of people, and one of the first things people notice is that the bathroom is not a closed room. Consequently, we have had a couple of amusing remarks from the looky loos.

"Dude, if I have my girlfriend over, how am I going to take a shit?"

"I guess I can't go crap if my friends are over."

"Where's the bathroom?" (he didn't even notice the toilet in the corner, and then when we pointed to it, he gasped)

So yesterday, we went and bought rods and curtain panels to install around the toilets so that some semblance of privacy could be had. Sure, the noises and smells will still have unfettered access to the unit, but no one is going to see you wiping.

Then we showed the apartments and 4 people decided they wanted them. I guess enclosing the toilets was the magic missing ingredient. It won't be a done deal until signatures are given, but I'm hoping. Then just one more apartment to find renters for, and one problem renter (payer) left that we'd like to see get out.

I know I've gone on for weeks about this stuff, sorry, that's just my life right now. It'll change though, because if there's one thing you can count on, it's change.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I think we live in flake land. We had five visits lined up yesterday, two were late and three didn't show up at all. We tried something different this weekend, we asked the prospective renters to visit at a convenient time for THEM, and they still don't bother to come. Is it just a pastime like ding dong ditch? Schedule apartment visits and then flake on them? Weird. (In the way discovering a turd in your bed in the morning is weird.)

Would that sunrises would pay the bills. The guy upstairs hasn't paid his rent yet, and with the three empty apartments and flakiness, the fear is all around me looking for a crack in my armor. This usually happens at about three in the morning, when I wake up and upstairs guy decides to do his laundry. My mind swirls with hate and fear and sleep is unreattainable. Today, we have to confront him again.

And that welfare girl? Hey we do have a heart. We set up a time for her to look at the apartment, and you guessed it, she didn't show up. Like Woody Allen said, 90 % of success is showing up.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another gorgeous Saturday sunrise

I think once things get sorted out, I'm really going to dig living here.

Friday, October 13, 2006


* Apparently, fish do feel pain.

* Never buy any kind of tape at the dollar store. It will always vex you later.

* I am a junior, thus my father shares my name.

* If Pluto's not a planet, what are its three moons revolving around?

* Here's a little secret about me: I score poorly on reading comprehension tests. Moreover, I usually disagree with what I'm told are the correct answers.

* Stupid people leave messages like this when looking for an apartment:

- Hi, my name is Jack, I'm calling about the apartment. Please call me back. Thank you. (What's your phone # numbnuts?)

- (squalling babies in the background) Hi I'm very interested in the apt for rent, I'm single and have three kids. I'm on welfare, but I can borrow the money for a deposit. Please call back at xxx-xxxx.

- Um, uhhh, I'm calling on the apartment, because well, um, uhhh I need one. (Heavy sigh) My number is xxx-xxxx.

* With troubled times comes learning. Lately I've learned that no matter how busy I think I am, I am always capable of accomplishing more.

* If facts can be misleading, why do we give them so much credit?

* I bet you can't say the name "Peggy Babcock" three times fast.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bath balls and rubber

Spouse and I had a moment of discord over the weekend. Throughout all of this saga, we have been each other's support, but amidst all the stress, we were bound to snap at one another eventually.

He had prepared a bath and placed candles around it. We were going to take our first bath in years! (Our last place only had a shower.) As we nestled into the tub together we started talking about the flaky renters and how we should proceed. And somewhere in there I said, "You need to grow some balls."

Yes, I can be a vicious son of a bitch too. It should be no surprise that bathtime ended rather abruptly. I really blew that one.

He did, however, produce the balls of which I spoke and phoned the leaseless (deadbeat) tenant to tell him he had 24 hours to pay or we'd empty his apartment of his things.

The tenant showed up a half hour later with a check. We were mollified although the check couldn't be cashed until Tuesday, after the holiday weekend.

Whaddaya know but the guy showed up at midnight Monday night and moved all his stuff out.

I smell rubber.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Living in perpetual angst

2 months ago, we started to look for an investment. Little did we know that we'd move to a new place and disrupt our lives so fundamentally. They say it's good to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. Okay, maybe, but it sure isn't feeling good.

It seems like we've been waiting perpetually for the other shoe to drop and we're in Imelda Marcos' closet during an earthquake.

I suppose with 7 (gasp) rental units, this would be expected, the constant running after the late paying renters and all their "concerns".

When I used to wait tables, I could leave work and completely forget about it. Now, I feel like this "business" we've embarked on takes up all my brain's real estate making me distracted at my job, unfocused at home, and banal on the blog.

Fried, burned out and broke. Plus it's Wednesday. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Question of the day

Of all the courses I've ever taken from elementary to University, the most useful class I ever took was 7th grade typing. As I recall, I couldn't get into my preferred electives, so I chose typing as the booby prize. But the teacher was good - and ruthless. I didn't like him which is why I can't remember his name. He MADE us learn even if we didn't want to. But I can safely say that now, it is the one skill that I appreciate daily. It is amazing to me how many people use the two finger method. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

What about you? I know that the Calculus, History of Slavic Civilization, Costume Design (I was a drama major haha) and Civics classes that I took don't really come into relevance much in the day to day. What class do you most appreciate from your educative history?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving slash Columbus Day

Last night the little couple from France came up and asked to get out of their lease. In a stunning move included in the chapter "how not to be a landlord", we acquiesced saying only that they were on the hook until we found someone else. They're kind of nit picky anyway, so it's not all bad news. Oh and they saw a mouse. I guess we have mice. Great, now I have to murder creatures.

I could get all worked up about things around here, but then I remember there are the daily sunrises. I spent my adolescence in a room that had a sunrise view. I grew to loathe that sun, even going so far as to put velcro strips around the window and affixing an opaque vinyl sheet to block out all light. But now, the daily sunrise is like a gift, unfolding and changing imperceptibly until it crowns the horizon. So easy to be grateful when viewing such majesty.

I ran across the street to capture this more unobstructed view than we have from our patio. It's funny, it really is hard to tell a sunrise from a sunset in a photo, isn't it?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sky talk and riddle answer

Here's a live view from the patio this morning. I can't wait for the top of that center tree to lose its leaves. That mountain in the distance is about 20 miles away. So grateful I am for this big chunk of sky I have to look at now. Oh and incidentally, I would define sky as "everything that appears above you while you are outside looking up on this planet". If you are up in the space shuttle, do you consider yourself to be "in the sky"? I don't know. But the stars are certainly in the sky.

Spouse and I and Mother in law spent all day yesterday fixing up our old place, cleaning and painting. We've got to go back and finish it today. Two prospective renters are coming to look at it at 3, so it would behoove us to get going asap. (I just wanted to use the word behoove, otherwise I would have dumped that sentence)

Okay, the answer to yesterday's riddle. The one question that you could ask either guard in order to accurately know which door leads to heaven is:

"If I were to ask you which door leads to heaven, what would your answer be?"

Truthtelling guard always tells the truth, and lie telling guard couldn't answer with the lie he would say if asked that question, so he "lies" which makes him reveal the true door to heaven.

Enjoy this wonderful autumn day!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A riddle

Imagine you've died and awoken in a room with 2 doors. One of the doors leads to heaven and the other leads to hell. Neither door is marked. A guard stands next to each door. One of the guards always tells the truth and the other always lies. You are permitted to ask only one question to one of the guards before choosing a door to go through. What is the one question you could ask to be sure that you will know which door leads to heaven?

Friday, October 06, 2006


* People are like mushrooms. All mushrooms share similarities though still exhibit wide variations. You've got black, brown, white. A few are magical, many delicious and still others deadly. Sometimes they grow on you.

* Quebecers eat more Kraft mac and cheese per capita than any other society in the world.

* Cancer is just your own cells turning against you.

* I just learned of a small religious cult here in Montreal whose leader claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. I wouldn't mind chatting with this fellow.

* We all long for a quick and painless death when the time comes yet most of us wouldn't have the cajones to ensure it. (a gun to the head for example)

* I was accosted by a religious fanatic the other day. For ten minutes she worked on me to accept Jesus Christ as my saviour. I marveled at her zeal.

* Jobs you've got to wonder why people are drawn to: proctologist, embalmer, roofer.

* There is no knowing, there is only believing.

* I don't understand faking an orgasm. It's like faking eating or faking shitting, I mean what's the point?

* In Japan, the terminal patient does not know his/her condition. The family is told and it is up to them to reveal or conceal the news. Tradition dictates that it be concealed most of the time.

* Define "sky". Not as easy as it seems, is it?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Wednesday sightings

Today I saw a woman struggling to walk. The excess lard from her thighs appeared to have descended and collected around her ankles. The tightness of her black dress testified to what must have been a morning workout for her. As she boarded the bus, her face, full of sigh, looked beseechingly around. I gave her my seat.

Today I saw a girl, hair in pigtails and rings hanging from her nostrils. She was reading "Remembrance of things past".

Today I saw an old woman, old as a redwood, singing a song in the metro corridor. Her voiced crackled and sputtered, nearly masking the melody completely. As she stood there swaying with her eyes closed, strangers placed coins in an old hat placed before her on the ground.

Today I saw a woman chastising her child in the stroller. As the child's voice rose, so did the brusqueness with which she pushed on the stroller. In the end, fear took over the child, and he fell silent.

Today I saw a woman in her car putting on makeup with one hand and holding a cellphone to her ear with the other. She was steering the car with her knee.

Today I saw a woman, statuesque in the park. Standing on one foot and with her hands clasped together, she stood immobile for two minutes. I know, because I timed it.

Today I saw a woman crying. It felt like the whole world was crying. I don't even know why she was sobbing so, yet I was still moved to tears. Pain is universal.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More whining

Pornstar is awol now. This would be great news if all his stuff weren't clogging up OUR garage and OUR basement. We call, he doesn't answer, we leave messages, he doesn't return calls.

So we changed all the locks.

Oh and three of the four tenants all came up with excuses why they didn't have the rent yet. Here are the three excuses:

1. My roommate didn't get his unemployment check.
( We replied that your roommate isn't on the lease, so it's not our problem, it's yours.)
2. I twisted my ankle.
( Do you need a ride to the bank?)
3. I made a mistake and misbudgeted.
( Okay, it happens, but it's not a great way to start with the new owners.)

Looks like we have to brush up on our "tough love" skills.

I'm having a heck of a time getting caught up on blogs and finding time to write anything of note. Bear with me during this transition period.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Moving recap

It rained all day the day we moved. Despite several calls to and assurances from pornstar about move day, when our truck arrived at the new place, all of pornstar's furniture was still there. They were moving the old fashioned way - with borrowed vehicles and labor from friends. They all treated us quite frostily and complained bitterly about "having to move". When we tried to commiserate with them, (you know, since we were going through the exact same hell that is moving) they insisted that their misery was more severe. It was a tension filled afternoon, needless to say.

At the end of the day, all of his things were out of our apartment, but the garage and patio were still full of his stuff. Promises were made to come back on Monday to finish. I can now say that that promise was broken.

But I didn't forget about you guys. I made a video at the end of moving day. We were pretty punchy.