Thursday, October 30, 2008

She's gone

This is the last picture I took of her. It's also the spot where she passed away peacefully, serge and I holding her and crying. It was a very nice thing for her that she didn't have to go to the vet's office where she would have been trembling and upset. Once the vet left I sobbed uncontrollably for a long time. Woke up in the night to do it some more. And just posting this is killing me. I just can't believe my friend is gone. Goodbye Sara, you'll never die in my heart.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This and that

I had a terrible dream at the beginning of the night that wrought havok on all the other dreams. I smoked a whole entire cigarette in the first dream, and enjoyed every drag. Then the awful guilt of having thrown away the quit. Then the resolve to get right back on that horse. On and on through the night remorse and resolve and the knowledge that now that I've cheated, it will be that much easier to cheat and "just have one" in the future. When I woke up in the morning I was dancing with glee, yay, I didn't smoke, it didn't really happen, I'm still a non-smoker, HALLELUYA!

Speaking of horses to get back on, I've yet to stop into the market where the robbery occurred last week. On the weekend, I drove to the fancier market and even then I was eyeing the situation at the cash registers. Tomorrow I keep telling myself, I'll go back in again tomorrow.

I was all confused when I saw so many people on Facebook had the middle name "Hussein". Really, I had talked myself into the reality that lots of people must choose that as a middle name and I just didn't know it since we rarely share our middle names with others. (Mine's Jesse by the way.) Then I googled "middle name hussein" and got the answer. It's people protesting the whacko labeling of Obama as a terrorist and thereby proclaiming their support of him. Interesting. Still, I think I'll just keep my own middle name. It's truly sad (as opposed to just sort of sad) that people are passing judgment on a person because of a middle name. Now if we were in elementary school.......

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday movie

Oh it was such a good movie. I had been wanting (past perfect progressive - remember?) to see it and finally did yesterday. I'm glad I went because it won't be in the theaters much longer, in fact, I was the only patron in attendance at yesterday's matinee. Vicki Christina Barcelona was such a delight. I think now that Woody Allen has realized he doesn't need to star in his own films that they are better. And though I don't think it dislodged Hannah and Her Sisters from the perch of "my favorite Woody Allen film", it's probably a close second. He writes real life fairy tales. Fairy tale because the characters are always so unfettered by things like working for a living and instead focused on the nature of their hearts. Real life because he writes so truthfully about the inability to define love and the inexplicability of the behaviour induced by one's heart. Also, this one had a narrator. I've decided I like that device. Anyway, as soon as it finished I was tempted to stay there and watch it right over again.

When I arrived at the theater I inquired if coffee was available at the concession stand. The nice girl informed me that it was available and then added that it wasn't very good. I stood for a moment wondering why she would say such a thing. I asked if it were permitted to bring a coffee in from outside. As I recall in the states, this is verboten. She lowered her voice as if to tell me a secret and said, "Yes, yes you can. You can bring anything in." So I went across the street to Starbucks, merely because it was the closest, and procured a grande corsé, then because "anything" was still banging around in my head, I grabbed a date bar. Still, I felt a little guilty when I went in with the coffee (I had discreetly put the date bar in my coat pocket) but then assuaged my guilt by remembering the $10 matinee pricetag. I remember paying seventy five cents for a matinee as a kid.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Blogger changed how the photos upload so they aren't in the order I wanted and I'm too lazy to fix it. We went down to the old city and old port to see our friend's booth at the, we dubbed it "the festival of sacks of garbage", recycling show. This is in the old city and we discussed whether those were Halloween decorations or Xmas decorations or both.

Here we are in front of the Science Center where the event was held. All I think when I look at this picture is teeth whitening.

The last burps of fall colors. What a fantastic season it has been for the colors. It's lasted nearly a month.

Dan mentioned that my neck is aging. Thanks Dan! Here you can see why he said that. In the background is our friend the artist with her art pieces created from waste.

It was a picture postcard day. Such a gift!

We stopped at a little cafe and had a snack. I had a warm almond croissant - heaven. This is a friend who came with. I loved the mural in the cafe and took this interesting (if I do say so myself) shot.

I thought the macabre display of skeletons in cages was scary.

The boys. I felt like I was a bit of a snow white. I'm a foot taller than them.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend update

It rained all day yesterday. I love days like that because it makes staying home and cozy totally guilt-free. "Shame on you for not going outside on a beautiful sunny weekend day," doesn't apply to days like yesterday. In spite of the rain, we rented the studio apartment that has been advertised for the last two weeks. He's a university student here from France for the next few years. He was very respectful and serious looking and his parents are funding it all. Here's what's funny. Everyone we've shown the apartment to has had to have been prepped first about the smelliness of the apartment. Remember stinkyman lives there. We've had a dozen visits and several interested parties but when we offer the apartment to the interested party they have changed their mind. Except this kid. So when he came over to pay half the first month's rent and sign the lease, I thought he stank. A different stink though. You know there's BO, or pit stench and then there are other body odors. His was the one where you don't wash for a few days but you've nonetheless sweat a few times. It's what I think of as the fermenting sweat smell. I sometimes smell it on kids. At least it wasn't fermenting crotch smell which is only slightly better than the "didn't get it all when I wiped" smell.

Is it time for breakfast?

We're going to the old port today to see an exhibition that our friend is participating in. She's an artist who creates her pieces from recycled junk. It's supposed to be sunny and almost 60 degrees, in other words perfect. Have a lovely Sunday peeps.

Friday, October 24, 2008


* We had snow Wednesday morning. Instead of the usual leaping of my heart, I had a decided sadness. There really are more months of snow here than without.

* Why do we tolerate a taxation system that taxes money both when you earn it and when you spend it? Even if you acquire real property, you are taxed forever more just for being the "owner". Oh and if you save your money, inflation is a very effective tax as well.

* The new "Tivo" type box we have has changed my life. I watch nothing but pre-recorded programs and never have to suffer commercials. The Ellen Show is my new guilty pleasure. (My favorite part is when she dances with the audience near the beginning of every show.)

* Why does ABC call it "World News Tonight" when it's nearly completely news about the US.

* I'm wondering now if it's that the media shows little about news from abroad because US citizens don't care, or if they have created the not caring since it's far cheaper to do stories from home than abroad.

* I passed the St. James Hotel yesterday since I was teaching in the adjacent building. I had no idea I was less than 100 feet of concrete from Madge when I saw the crowd assembled to possibly catch a glimpse of her. She's here for two Hard Candy shows. I tried again to get tickets but failed. I guess I never will. I'm not paying a scalper for a ticket. Scalpers are scum and should be put out of business. (Why respect an occupation when there is no valuable measure of accomplishment or production.)

* I felt such love for everyone the other day when they commented on my big drama of the week. It's so amazing how a couple of sentences from a not-really-stranger-but-sort-of can really lift a person's spirits. I feel so grateful for it. Thank you.

* It's getting to the point where I don't want to watch the news anymore. It's either politicians or economic meltdown. Nothing else seems to be getting through.

* Every day central banks and economists are pontificating on the future growth of various economies. This is about as believable as a headline that starts with "Psychics predict..."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

This n that

Those of you who know VUBOQ know that he's into making pottery lately. Well, he decided to give some of his pottery away, I can't remember why exactly, to be a fabulous individual perhaps, and invited readers to specify something they'd like. Well I wanted the pencil holder since my setup was so mickey mouse. So here you see the new, one of a kind, hand-made pottery pencil holder. And then because he is so giving, he threw in a coffee mug that he made as well. I am at this very moment enjoying my joe in that cup. (I'm wondering if the dishwasher is appropriate for the cup now. )

I told my story to everyone yesterday. They were all surprised that you can rob a supermarket with little or no consequences. It's interesting to talk about because the students had their own stories of robberies to tell. And we agreed that you never know how you will react in such a situation until it happens. We also knew that the thing you clearly should have done, like me trying to trip the guy instead of tackling, is only apparent after the fact.

Yesterday the dog was better than I've seen her in months. I came home from my last class and spouse said the same thing. Lately we arrive home and she remains a lifeless lump only lifting her head to see who came in. Yesterday she was her old self excitedly greeting us when we came in. Spouse even said, "We can't take her when she's like this." Oh and he found a mobile vet who will come to our house when the time has come. I'm glad, I don't want her last waking moments in a place she hates more than anything.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It all happened in two minutes

I'm writing this pumped full of adrenaline. I just went to the supermarket to buy some dog food and you know, I was thinking about how maybe it's the last dog food I would buy and then trying to erase it from my mind because I just hate going to that place. I got in line at the express lane and saw the Enquirer, funny how I never noticed the Enquirer here before, but there was Oprah on the cover with a very unflattering fatty picture of herself and something about Stedman, what he's gay now, who knew......I refused to pick up the rag though, honestly you will not see me actually reading such a thing. I stood feeling irritated at the guy in front of me as he fished coins out of his pocket to pay for his gallon of water. He was probably homeless I figured, but that doesn't excuse you from not being prepared with your money when it's your turn. A young guy got in line behind me with sunglasses on, what a loser I started to think and then thought "shame on me" for being so judgmental today. It's only because my dog's dying that I'm feeling so cranky I told myself. Finally it was my turn and I paid and as I was walking out, I stopped to look at the credit card application for the market, see I've been thinking about switching since the "miles" card I have seems like such a scam what with the annual fee and the difficulty of actually being able to use the miles. Then I heard some hubbub and I turned to see the guy who had been behind me in line running toward me and the exit with a wad of cash in his hands. I instinctively tried to block his way. I did not see the knife in his hand. He seemed not to believe my audacity when I lunged for him and he gave me his best punch in the chest but I gave chase. He tried to break through the window pane to get out while screaming at me to get out of the way. With all my might I threw the cans of dog food at him but he ducked, I missed and he got to the exit door and took off across the lot. I didn't go after him and he was clear across the lot before an employee went after him. The cashier was in tears and the homeless guy, who oddly was still milling about, started telling me how stupid I was, that the guy had had a knife and I was lucky he didn't cut my throat. I clutched my chest and lifted up my shirt to make sure he hadn't stabbed me without me realizing it due to shock. Thank god he hadn't . And what a moron I truly am, I started to think. But it wasn't really rational thinking, it was just instinct. The me I don't even know simply said, "No, you will not do this."

I waited around while the manager was calling the police and when I heard him say, "What? The police don't come for a robbery?" I decided to go home. They don't need any witnesses if the police aren't coming. I'll tell you this, the robber and I shall never forget each other's face.

I'm sure it was drugs, what else would drive someone to rob a supermarket like that? The cashier said she thought he got $80. In a way, I kinda feel sorry for him. On the other hand, I think he might have fractured a rib or two of mine, it's really tender and painful now.

When I got home, the pile of cigarettes beseeched me from their perch on the counter but I stood strong. I acknowledged the desire for a cigarette and then reminded myself that the way I was feeling would not be altered by having one. So I didn't. Woo-hoo for me.

I've got to stop moaning about having nothing to write about. I don't like how the universe is answering that particular gripe.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still plugging along

She's about a hundred years old in dog years. Every time I play with her spouse reminds me of this. She doesn't seem to be aware that her body is falling apart and still enjoys playing our game of me grabbing her maw and her trying to playbite my hand. I think she sees it as a cookie getting game since after a few minutes of playing it, she'll stop and run over to the pantry and stare at me until I go over and give her something. It's true, she has me trained. I took her out for a walk on Sunday. I really think it was her last one. She just loves being outside amongst the world of smells but her feet drag and trip her up all the time. This week she gets whatever she wants. And ten thousand kisses.

She really hates the camera though. Every time I try to get a picture of her, I have to hide the camera or she'll immediately turn away and skulk, tail between the legs like it's some kind of torture device.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Serge used up the rest of last weekend's turkey last night. He made a "hot chicken" except with turkey. Peas are essential for this recipe. Twas delicious. I'm shocked (looking at the picture now) I finished it all and had a bowl of ice cream after. There's always room for Rocky Road it seems.

He cracked me up too yesterday when he referred to the band "the barnacle ladies". I asked him if he was sure of the name of the band as I hadn't heard of it before. Then it dawned on me. "Do you mean Bare Naked Ladies?" Indeed, that was what he meant.

It's a very busy week for me so it should be an easy read around here. Short and sweet. Happy Monday all. (FYI, I wheedled one more week for sara, yay.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Crappy weekend

Sunrise yesterday was gorgeous. It was all downhill after that though. We took the car in to get the oil changed and to have the winter tires put on - about a sixty dollar job. They called us shortly after to recommend fifteen hundred dollars in repairs. The car isn't even worth that. We agreed to eight hundred in repairs, but I think we're going to look for other mechanics since I saw "six spark plugs" changed for $101 on the receipt. They ended up keeping the car all day which thwarted spouse's plan of taking the dog for the final vet visit. See, I'm mentally okay with the final vet visit, and logically it's not such a bad idea, it's just that when I let my mind envision those final minutes, I fall apart and think, "I can't."

Also, the french girl never called back to take the apartment so we're back to square one. We've decided to wait until stinkman is out to re-advertise because the stench is really off-putting and the prospective tenant will always remember that - no matter how clean we get it before they move in. We'll just show it once it's clean and eat the $20 a day it costs us to have it empty.

Em called me up a few times yesterday. She's battling the fact that people are really putting "Yes on 8" signs around town. She wants to come up with some kind of slogan to go along with the "Yes on 8" that she can use to make people think. The first one she pitched was "Yes on 8 - the crybaby vote" which I thought was too obscure. I was thinking more viciously like "Join the haters, Yes on 8" or "Christ is watching you have sex, Yes on 8" or "The only place for homos is Hell, Yes on 8." As I explained to her, it's probably a lost cause. Every time a vote on this issue has been put before the populace, the gays lose. Why? Because we represent a single digit percentage of the population. The courts are there to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority, which is the only time we gays really get an equal footing (in America). You know if we had to pick just ONE type of scissors to be sold in the marketplace, and put that to a vote, of course right-handed scissors would win the vote. Same thing here. After this though, the courts will no longer be able to protect us since the discrimination will be codified into the constitution. Even Obama is against us and that makes me sad. I watched this horrible video (warning, if you're like me it will make your blood boil, also have you seen a more obvious closet case?) used to promote the passage of prop 8, and when I watched what they were describing as abominable ( a child coming home from school with a book depicting different types of relationships) I thought, "So what? What's the problem teaching children about reality?" But apparently this is very damaging to the children. Cue the sigh heard the world over.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Too many smells

I got this shot the other day when I was downtown. I liked the way the Mount Royal colors were visible between the skyscrapers.

I didn't even notice I was blond in that twenty five year old picture yesterday. I was a towhead all through my youth and then it turned brownish in the winters and finally stayed brown in my 20's. I only dyed my hair twice, once with my father if I recall correctly, and it came out orange which thusly led to the second dying. Somebody has a picture of that somewhere but I don't. Also, I noticed that I had rubber thongs except not the kind that are so ubiquitous today with the anchor between the large and second toe. Even then I had an aversion to flip-flops.

Ugh, I think we're going to have to get Sara some diapers. She seems to leak urine all the time now. It ends up staining and accumulating even though it's usually just a drop or two at a time. Imagine a living stalactite in a cave, slowly oozing water. After a while it stinks, like sweaty socks fermenting. I keep thinking my feet are smelling and then realize it's her stinky bed. (which we keep washing) Can't see, can't hear, can't hold her pee, can't walk without stumbling, trips and falls frequently. I'm not rattling a sabre but someone else around here is. In fact, he made some fact checking calls yesterday. I know it's inevitable but I pleaded for at least another weekend.

We showed the apartment yesterday. We had put a note on stinky man's door two days prior alerting him to the visits scheduled. He never saw the note because he never came out of his dungeon to see it. So he was surprised when we went in thinking he was out of town. God did it reek. We had to give a little pep talk to each visitor before we went in promising that it would be totally disinfected. One of the people we showed it to actually gagged several times while we were down there. The good news is that it looks like one of the visitors wants it. A nice girl from France. I think the french are used to funky smells, as she didn't seem too bothered by it.

Here's wishing you a stench free weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Memory box #3

The summer of '83 my high school buddy and I drove across the country. It was a month long trek that we had planned and saved up for. If I recall correctly, we both saved $1100. I had a little pickup truck with a camper on it with a bed and kitchenette. No toilet. We stayed at campgrounds and in big cities we just parked on the street and slept. I wonder how much a trip like this would cost nowadays? Triple? Quadruple?

When spouse saw this picture he said, "Gawd, you still have that shirt!" He's incorrect as I have a similar shirt now, but I think it's funny that he thinks I've been wearing the same shirt for 25 years. Now, how many of you can say you've had your rump in four states at once?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fine, I'll weigh in

Persuasive writing is not my forte, but here goes. You were perhaps intrigued as I was when you saw the story of the Catholic priest Geoff Farrow. As you may know, Father Geoff has lost his priesthood in Fresno because he refused to toe the church's line and urge his congregation to vote yes on Proposition 8 in California. If you don't know about this story, read it starting here. I don't really like how this battle in California has become fodder for the rest of the country and since Californians should be voting for themselves I hate the fact that the Mormon and Catholic churches (based in Utah and Italy respectively) are trying to influence the outcome. These organizations should not be influencing the media exposure on this issue (by funding numerous ads). On the other hand, I want to believe people are adults and can decide for themselves rationally. You know, like you and I would. Would you, as an adult, let even your parents dictate to you who you must vote for? Of course not. So in a way, it's no harm no foul. Anyway, back to the father. He has been defrocked even though he's really doing what Jesus would do, and everybody knows it. (If indeed there was a Jesus.)

I have deep and immense admiration for father Geoff, what he has done is stand up for what's right even though the consequences have been predictably swift and harsh. 50 years old and immediately the church has yanked his health care. Those are some nice open-hearted people right there. It truly boggles my mind and makes me realize my refusal to be confirmed all those years ago was the right decision.

Back to prop 8. Look, I was born and raised in California. It's my home even though I've settled here. I've settled here to make a life with a partner in a society that does not say, "your kind of relationship is invalid." Here, we are married, and maybe it's just the city mentality, but it's no big deal, no one bats an eye. Au contraire, we make life interesting. In many circles we are revered. If there is anyplace in America that could turn out to be truly all inclusive, it would be California (or NYC or Key West but these are merely cities). I urge Californians to defeat Proposition 8, a proposition that if passed essentially enshrines a second class citizenry into the constitution. If the state is involved in issuing marriage licenses and church and state are separate institutions, then the church should have no say on the matter. If Prop 8 is passed, California will be in the business of discrimination. Please don't let that happen.

Update: Donate to the cause.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


So stinky weirdo guy is really moving out at the end of the month. He told me he's either going to Vietnam or Costa Rica. What I thought but did not say was, "Oh fleeing the country eh?" Well good riddance even though he was a pretty good tenant. What I mean by that is that he paid his rent and was only late the last couple of months. Anyway, what that means is that it's time to field calls for new tenants.

Here's the ad.

I don't know what it is, but every person who calls asks a question that is clearly answered in the ad. I always politely say, "As it says in the ad......." to answer their question. Also, and this irritates the hell out of me, they want to change something before even coming over to see the place. My favorite is, "Are you willing to bring down the price?" Um, we've had 20 calls in one day, I don't think it will be necessary. My other favorite was, "It's furnished but are you going to change the furniture since it's used?" Um, no. You can sit on a chair that other rumps have sat in.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I stayed up past my bedtime too

It was a lovely evening. She doesn't look 40 does she? I swear we are all looking younger than people used to. I remember seeing people in their 40's as a kid and thinking they all looked like my grandparents, (who were in their 40's then) in other words, old. Someone at the party refused to believe I was 43 and wanted to know "my secret". The only possible answer I could give was genes. After all I don't watch what I eat (much) and I smoked like a chimney for over 20 years. Still I loved being asked that question. You can blow sunshine up my ass anytime.

We all had to stand up and introduce ourselves at the beginning since it was a mix of her family and friends and colleagues. (I'm an old colleague.) We also had to say what our pet name was since Marie likes to use nicknames for people. When it came Serge's turn, he said his diminutive name was "the ball". Oh how some of us roared. Then we had to explain the story to others.

Today I'm making a turkey dad-gummit. Serge said "Again?" when I announced it. I had to remind him that the last time I made one was last thanksgiving. I also told him that when the interval was one year he doesn't get to say, "Again?" Whiny bastard. He's going to eat turkey and like it. It's turkey day here and that's what I'm doing. I better get cracking on the 15 pound bird.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend fabulous

Sometimes I think I could be sustained on sunshine and beauty alone. I dragged Serge out to the gardens yesterday as we are having a climatically fabulous weekend.

He made lots of faces before I finally got a good shot of him smiling. He doesn't care so much about the foliage as he's far more interested in architecture.

In fact, he took dozens (more) pictures of the stadium even though he's already rendered in in 3D and put it on Google Earth. I liked this shot with the Olympic rings and the extinguished torch.


The last weekend with trees like this. I'll be back with more fall foliage pics next year.

We are enjoying the long weekend even though we fret over Sara. We realized that if we still lived in our second story loft, Sara would have been euthanized by now. She hasn't been able to navigate stairs for some time now. Last time she almost broke her neck. No way we would have carried a 65 pound dog up and down the stairs three times a day, rain or shine. Here, she can go outside on the patio to do her business, but if we do go for a walk, I have to push and hold her hind legs to come back in (four stairs) or she will attempt it, fail and fall head over rump backwards. She's done that twice so now she's not allowed to try alone.

I watched an interesting video yesterday morning about how "money" comes into existence. Money in the present system really represents debt. The trouble is there is not enough money in existence to cover all the debt plus interest. The only possible endgame is a total collapse. At the end of watching I am convinced that banks should indeed be nationalized as that will be the only possible way to avoid complete disaster, if it is even avoidable.

Better spend it now while it still has value!

Friday, October 10, 2008

No time

But I wanted to show the sign that made me burst out laughing yesterday. They're looking for a boss boy part time on weekends. I wonder how much a boss boy pays? And really? You need a resume to get a job busing tables?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Posted on the quitnet

Here I am 100 days under my belt and I'm granted the elder label. It certainly doesn't feel like I'm an elder, much like I don't feel my 43 years of age. After all I still laugh at farts and burps. But since I'm an elder, ha ha, I get to dispense a little advice to those following this road to smobriety. It's not easy, but it's easier than yesterday. That's the principle truth I can pass on. Each day really does get easier, maybe infinitessimally so, but as in so many efforts that are worthwhile, progress is sometimes agonizing. I can tell you this, at 100 days I am no longer in agony.

My smoker's history is nothing new. I started when I was 18 because my friends were smoking and because of my perceived invincibility to anything an adult warned me of. Now I tell all the younguns to never start smoking because as hard as it was to start (and it was! I remember "practicing" every time I drove somewhere because I felt like an idiot if I took a drag and coughed in front of my friends) it is a thousand times more difficult to quit. I have had a few semi-successful quits (oxymoronic, that). Once, and this is so lame, I quit on my birthday. I don't remember which birthday that was though I want to say 23, and of course it was the worst birthday ever. I quit cold turkey that time and on my subsequent birthday "rewarded" myself with permission to smoke a cigarette. Within a week, I was a smoker again - a whole year down the drain. I have quit more times than I could easily keep count of, probably a dozen or so. You know you're a chronic quitter when relatives roll their eyes at your next quit announcement. Why didn't they stick? Most of the time I gave myself permission for one cigarette and that always led to more. This time, I understand that I can NEVER take another drag off of a cigarette again. Ever. If I do, I am a smoker again, because the evidence is now overwhelming that I am a nicotine addict and always will be. I always thought that I couldn't quit smoking if the spouse didn't quit too. We quit together in the past and I always blamed spouse's failure for my own. But that is giving someone else the power, and that I will no longer do. So spouse goes on smoking, in fact the filthy things are sitting right there on the counter any time I want one, but I don't because I know I will only be hurting myself and why would I want to do that? I love myself.

A culmination of things caused me to quit this time. My grandmother smoked into her 40's and quit and she is going so very strong another 40 years later. I made a pact with myself long ago that if I hadn't quit by 42, that that would be the final year. The final quit. So that has been percolating in me since my last 5 month long quit failed a few years ago. And this combination of attitude shifts makes those cigarettes on the counter no more interesting than the tile itself.

My longest quit was that cold turkey birthday quit and lasted a year. Every other time, I used some sort of program. Patches, Zyban, gum (shudder), and this time I used the inhaler which I had gotten used to from taking on long flights. I didn't follow the directions, after all the directions never worked for me in the past, I listened to my body and after 25 days I had had enough of sucking on the inhaler and stopped. I didn't like still being addicted to the nicotine and I felt like the longer I strung that out, the longer I was going to be a slave to those cravings. This is what has worked so far for me, your mileage may vary.

The quitnet, though I'm largely a lurker here, is invaluable in that it is a place I can touch base with other individuals experiencing what I am. Friends and family get tired of hearing how you're cranky because it's day 4 or day 10 or day 44. Really, really tired. But here at the quitstop, you can always get inspired and bond with others on this golden road to liberation. Because that's what it is, a liberation from slavery. Slavery to the cigarette so much so that everything you plan is colored by the need to accommodate it. Freedom is all we quitters have to gain. Keep the quit!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Well our tenant is still here but his car has disappeared. Whatever occurred occurred while we were at work. I figured something would happen yesterday because it was street sweeping day and I was right, too bad I couldn't watch it.

Hey look Iceland is on the brink of bankruptcy and their currency's value has fallen in half. Sounds kinda like Argentina at the beginning of this century. The whole problem with money is that it is only as real, or as valuable, as people believe. If people stop believing the money has value, it won't, regardless if it's in the bank or under the mattress.

I have never done well in the stock market and the last straw was a couple years ago when I had to take a 9k loss on a 25k investment for us to buy this place. Ooh let me go check..... if I had waited and sold today, I'd be out 3k more. Even google isn't impervious. Everything is losing value because everybody thinks the economy is going tits up. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy due to the mentality of the herd.

You never hear about the economy in the middle eastern countries where interest is forbidden. If credit is so darn necessary, how does an economy with no interest handle credit? I'm probably naive but so suddenly curious.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Enjoy some pictures will you?

It was a splendid sunny day yesterday, so I took a walk down to the botanical gardens. I was surprised to see monarch butterflies. The insects will all be dead shortly as freezing temperatures arrive.

There seems to be a lot of reds and yellows this year as opposed to orange.

All the never-wake-up berry trees are laden with fruit. I thought these looked just like tomatoes, or an old fashioned pin cushion.

If this were a puzzle, it would be difficult to get all the red part done.

I don't know, I just thought the olympic stadium looked like the stairway to the clouds.

This puzzle would be even harder.

The Japanese gardens always calm the soul.

Even the ground littered with leaves reminded me of a painting.

Walking home.

A collage of the walk. The fall foliage cycle happens so fast. In two weeks, most of the trees will be bare. I recommend paying attention.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Throwing crap at the page

This is for Java. I saw the pretty pinky sunrise coming so I threw on clothes and walked over to the bridge with the tripod yesterday. The sunrises are steadily marching to the right.

Unbelievable but true. In case you didn't click the link, it's for the new "cooking with testicles" cookbook. I bet now you'll click the link. Hey, maybe it's time to recycle excreted matter too. I mean hey, my dog eats shit, the flies eat it, it can't be all that bad right?

I actually started writing 19 for the year on a check I was filling out yesterday. That my friends is a farting brain.

The stake-out continues. They are not there 24/7 though. They leave for lunch or to tow cars periodically. I don't get it, they must get some kind of reward for "catching" him. They are not police guys, they are tow truck guys. I don't know why they don't just tow his car. It's all very perplexing. So far, the guy downstairs has been holed up for 48 hours. I'll keep you posted.

Remember how I moaned about the chamber of commerce networking mixer? Yeah, I got a call from the college wanting to know if I'm available to give an evening course.

I knew it! When I worked at the Ritz Carlton and the gaggifying motto was "Smile, you're on stage," I learned that even fake smiling puts one into a better mood. Apparently it is impossible to feel sad while doing a big fake smile. I know it IS possible to feel animosity while smiling, as that was something else I learned at the Ritz.

Have you done this? It's really funnier if you do hairstyles of the opposite sex. It's good for wasting an hour of your time.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Landlord diaries

So remember last month when I thought our tenant was disappearing after not being able to pay rent? No? To refresh - we have a guy in one of the furnished studios who has been here for over a year. This is the guy that hangs around with the dregs of society, had his car stolen last year, and has been looking more and more haggard this year. He goes to Toronto once a month "on business" for a few days and from what I can tell, he spends the rest of the month holed up in the basement here. We have no idea how he gets his money. He's the one with the raucous BO, and appears to own two outfits. Anyway, he finally came around and paid his rent last month and even paid us on Friday for this month telling us that it was his last month here, though he would confirm that later this week. That brings us to yesterday.

As I was running out to do some errands, I noticed a paper under the windshield wiper of his car. One of the crack whores he entertained last month had left a couple hand written notes in the mailbox last week and I thought it might have been a note from her. I just had to Gladys Kravitz it and have a look. As soon as I bent over to look at the paper on the windshield, two guys jumped out of a big tow truck and accosted me, "Do you speak French?" "Is this your car?" I answered yes and then no and told them to ring the tenant's bell at studio #2. I knew he was inside (but didn't say so) because I had just seen a pizza be delivered to him. He didn't answer. The note was actually from the police. Apparently he fled the scene after crashing his car into something. The men showed me the accident damage on his car and they told me that they had to wait for him until he showed up.

This morning they are still there. Yes, there is a stake-out at our house. We don't want to get involved, so we're not, but I have a feeling that he's going to be moving out a bit sooner than the end of the month. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Consciousness percolating

It's so nice to wake up in the morning these days. For the better part of 20 years, I'd woken up in a state of withdrawal, the need for nicotine spurring me from bed towards that glorious first cigarette of the day. Now upon waking, I tend to lie there and let the newfound consciousness percolate. Sometimes I even fall back asleep. Sometimes too it's the explosive turdification waiting to happen that propels me from bed. But I suppose that happens to all of us.

I saw a ridiculous ad for Stephen Harper (the prime minister of Canada) showing him being a dad. Like that was it. We are in an electoral campaign and his cuddling with his kids seems to be the point of the commercial. Um, excuse me, it's really not all that hard to become a dad. And how does that make you a better leader? It's nice that he has had the right to build his family. Too bad he would like our right to build a family rescinded. Fucker. He won't be able to though, even if he wins a majority. (Which sadly seems more and more likely.)

It's funny when the whackos talk about the "gay agenda". Ha! Get three queens in a room and you'll have three different opinions on matters. What they are really showing us is that THEY have an agenda. See, when they talk about us trying to "convert" the children and get gays elected into government, they are showing us that those are the things that THEY ARE DOING. When they accuse us of trying to pervert the world into our way of life, they are admitting that it is exactly what they would like to do. Funny ain't it?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not worried

Ack and a half I have nada to say. I could talk about the weather (splendid and fall-like) or the monster BLT's we ate last night (my mouth just gushed saliva remembering it) or the nervousness in classes I'm giving in the financial district (the hot-shots are especially so) but I'm not going to because I was able to sum them up parenthetically. It really HAS been interesting working down there this week, there is palpable fear in these people's eyes. Where I'm working, there are men charged with "managing" the portfolio for the "social security" of Quebec. There is a giant cube suspended above a huge open-aired atrium that houses the trading room. This is where a cadre of day traders attempt to protect and grow the province's collective nestegg. Apparently the atmosphere in the cube is beyond grim. Is there anywhere to make money these days? That is the trillion dollar question.

They told me I was lucky since we're invested in real estate. That the REIT funds have been going up because in hard economic times, there are fewer homeowners and more renters. And that I have nothing to worry about. I countered with the fact that Montreal experienced a huge surplus of rental units in the early nineties with nearly 30 % inoccupancy at one point. They said it would have to get "really bad" before I had to worry.

And how about you? Are you worried? There's really nothing any one of us can do and I remind myself of that often and then I can just kind of watch from the sidelines excited to see how the plot will develop. I have formidable penny pinching skills too, so I'm really not worried. Except when I read the doom and gloom articles. Or like the other night when they showed the homeless tent city in Reno. Dee pressing. Okay I suppose I've rambled on quite enough. And here I thought I had nothing to say. Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Loyalty cards?

I pulled out the coffee cards from my wallet. I think the whole loyalty card concept has the opposite effect on me. Yesterday was embarrassing as I pulled them out to search for the one for Marcellos and dropped them. The cashier was nice though and laughed and said, "Drink coffee much?" The other patrons waiting to pay for their coffee didn't join in the laughing. In taking this picture I learned that I have two freebies coming to me. Also that there's too many darn cards in my wallet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This n that

Spouse tricked me into going to a networking meeting yesterday at the chamber of commerce. I don't have a whole lot of faith in these types of events because everyone there is really looking to get business. It's like a whole roomful of sellers and no buyers. It actually wasn't unpleasant as they plied us with wine and did little activities to maximize our opportunity for face to face introductions and business card exchanging. It was a little like speed dating. Sheesh there were a lot of bankers there. They REALLY WANT TO HELP GROW OUR BUSINESS! Uh-huh and what's your commission on that? I suppose I shouldn't be cynical, you never know where your next client will come from.

I've spent some time this week refreshing myself on things I learned in high school economics class. I read the entire entry on the great depression on Wikipedia. You probably should too. I really see no reason why we couldn't revisit a similar scenario and if you read about the times leading up to it, the roaring 20's, you will see some very eerie parallels. Still, I remember the '87 stock market crash and the savings and loan crisis. I remember my bank failed but my accounts got shifted to another bank. That was about the total impact of the "crisis". So I'm not too worried yet. Now I'm off to read about the paradox of deleveraging. Happy happy hump day all.