Rant


Here it is, the long awaited second excerpt from the pseudo-memoire I have been working on for what seems like an eternity. By presenting it like that, I sound like I actually have a following or a fan club but I am pretty sure that’s not exactly the case. Needless to say, here it is —

It was my second date with Distracted and for some reason I didn’t feel as excited to be hanging out with him as I remember myself being the first time. To be honest, he didn’t even look as physically attractive to me tonight as he did on the first date.  These feelings, or lack thereof, I believe were definitely result of his overwhelming stench of desperation for attention, yet disinterest in making any kind of effort. His “I’m bored” text messages every other night for the past week and a half were getting irritating. What grew to be more irritating was the fact that he never suggested we hang out anytime he sent one. It appears as though he figured bitching to me about having nothing to do was a good enough alternative. In my view however, this isn’t exactly the best way to get someone to hang out with you, or me to at least. Last time I checked when you were interested in hanging out with someone, and you have confirmed that the person you want to hang out with is also available you generally use that window of opportunity to ask if they would like to hang out with you. Maybe I am the only one who sees the logic in this, but I am pretty confident I am not alone. I can only begin to imagine how much fun initiating sex with him could be.

I may sound like a giant asshole when I say that because there could be several reasons someone would be reluctant to ask someone else out, simply due to things like fear of rejection or past mishaps. I, for one, can relate. I suck when it comes to making myself fully available to someone else because I’ve been burned but I acknowledge it and try to keep myself in check. Regardless, I have a theory that, as a man, you should exude some kind of manliness within the first couple of dates anyway, and being whiney about boredom, of all things, without having the balls to simply say “Hey let’s hang out”  if that is what you are interested in doing, isn’t exactly hot. As part of this theory, I also think that men are more aware of whether or not they are interested in continuing to pursue someone because women are the type who will, more often than not, always agree to a second date. My theories could very well be part of why I am still single, but I like to think of it as a fool proof system for weeding out the men who aren’t serious enough about dating me, and I am just not convinced giving  the man the responsibility to ask for a second date is too much to ask. I also pretty well lay out my theory to all the men I go on dates with so they know what I expect,  if anything it opens a good forum for debate. If that level of assertion from me is intimidating to them then I have an issue imagining us having any type of future together anyway.

Needless to say, there we were, finally on a second date, sitting at the pub having a blasé conversation about our days while he mulled over the menu. His lack of decisiveness while sitting there just trying to choose something off the menu began to irritate me too; I began wondering if this man could make any decisions in an efficient manner.  To make matters worse, while we sat there on this second date all he could seem to pay attention to was providing commentary to the various sporting events on the televisions surrounding us. I understand men enjoy sports, heck I don’t mind watching them either, but I don’t think I am alone when I say it is pretty bad practice to pay attention to everything except your date. A few dates down the road, or one day when we are hanging out on the couch at home, feel free to make all the sports commentary you like. Second date rule of thumb, I would say maybe make more effort to have conversation and get to know your date better. To make matters worse, he even went as far as pointing out a girl standing at the bar and commented on how manly her body looked – at least he didn’t tell me how hot she was right?

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As a western Canadian who spent the majority of my youth in French school I had a much better appreciation for the French Canadian identity than many of my fellow westerners ever did. I enjoyed the once a year Carnival celebrations where we circled around troughs of ice at the cabane à sucre to get our maple syrup on a stick, ate poutine in the cafeteria all week and listened to luberjack-esque men playing French Canadian folk music. I even argued that it would be quite upsetting to see Quebec separate if ever a referendum produced that consensus from the people. Blame these sentiments partially on the fact that I love history and rich culture; in my mind having this whole other Canadian identity and second language made Canada seem all the more intriguing. I probably even, as a young and naive socialist adolescent who had yet to discover reality, liked the idea of their “hippie” protesting past.

Today, I still appreciate these things to an extent, but I have grown strongly in favour of putting Quebec in its place, and I was likely one of many who rejoiced in the fall of the Bloc Quebecois last federal election. I never understood how a separatist party was ever allowed to participate so significantly (or at all) at the federal level, but it happened, and for far too many years. I have additionally grown to dislike the fact that there is such a hate on for the west, and specifically the west’s economic strength, when that is what largely funds those in the east — it’s like me mocking my employer all day and still expecting to have a job, usually this would be unfathomable.

What really pisses me off though, is the current student protest against the $1625 tuition increase over the next 5-7 years BS that is going on. Quebec already pays some of the lowest tuition in the country, and mostly thanks to the money the west sends them. I realize education is important, and to some degree I do believe it should be more available to anyone who would like to further their education. I however don’t think it should be free, I already know how little kids I went to university with on their parent’s dime cared, I could only imagine what it would be like if the government was picking up the tab. I do agree that post secondary is pretty expensive but it is what it is. Let’s face it, we don’t live in France where we are taxed out the huzzah to offset costs of these big ticket items and at the end of the day, I don’t want to fund some asshole who thinks becoming a professional student is a good career path, especially since the government allowing him to do so affordably enables him to live off the rest of us, who actually work, for eternity.

I wasn’t from a wealthy family and my parents were not able to pay for my education so I did what many do, got loans! Oh my gawd!I think I actually appreciated the whole experience more too as I knew I was responsible for paying back the money I was borrowing and it was a constant reminder of why I needed to do well so I didn’t have to do it again, and double my expenses. On that note, what makes this whole protest even more irritating is that the current tuition rates I have seen range from $2000 to about $4000 a year for Quebec residents. 6 years ago when I started university I paid over $5000 and the increases through my 4 years there ended at my paying just over $7000 a year in 2010. In just 4 years, I saw an increase in well over what the students in Quebec are protesting against and I was already paying more than they pay for their tuition now. Don’t think I ever enjoyed the fact that my tuition increased, or that I didn’t feel some angst, I just see this whole situation in Quebec very disheartening. People who have it good, tend to find more flaws in what they have rather than appreciate it, and that sucks, especially since it is now getting even more out of control than it was in the beginning.

When protests become violent, people get injured and property gets destroyed, you really start to distract people away from what you are really there for. Heck, the fact that you are disturbing the peace and vandalizing the city just increases spending of tax payer dollars that would potentially be helpful for going towards your “outlandish” tuition fees. Seriously, get a fucking grip! Often times youth empathize with youth movements, and in general people with like views will empathize with movements they see demonstrating a fight to express and or protect those similar views they share. This protest however, from what I can see, doesn’t have many youth outside of the group in Quebec who are trying to hold on to their idea of a utopic world supporting them because we live in the real world and we know how much more difficult it is for us with the higher tuition and cost of living out west, but guess what — we managed. It’s even more disgusting that they have the gall to insult fellow students who are choosing to go to school during these protests because they actually care about getting their education.

In my view, for those Quebec students who want to run around half naked sporting body paint and chanting at people you should grab a ticket to Shambalah or some other like festival in the forest. Can greater Canada take a referendum to decide whether or not we want to kick Quebec out? I’d love to see how much tuition would cost them as an independent nation.

Everyone who even knows me a little bit knows that I don’t particularly enjoy the suburbs. This is not to say that I think they aren’t great for certain types of people, however I am not that certain type of person. I am also only one person which doesn’t make living in the middle of nowhere in a bigger house all  by myself seem appealing. The inner city vs. suburbia debate has recently come up among my friends and I, specifically those who are half married and looking to do the next logical thing according to societal norms — up-size and move to the burbs.

I do think we are very fortunate to live in a country where we have the opportunity to live in single family homes with little plots of land but I also think that most people who seek to sprawl into the suburbs are incredibly materialistic. I know a large amount of single people, or couples without kids that live in huge houses out in the burbs, and for what? More space to accumulate junk? Access to all the finest department stores and chain restaurants? Long drives every day to and from work? Yeah, totally makes sense to me. Intentions of building a family in their 5-10 year plan makes sense, sure, but a lot can happen in that time, including a lot of expensive cab rides back to the burbs while you try to live out the last bits of your youth in inner city establishments.

Yes, some of those people likely work close to where they live, which then make them living that far more logical. It is mostly the people who work downtown though, or anywhere remotely central, who live in the abyss of suburbia that I don’t understand. To the argument of moving to the suburbs for your family, there are also many inner city and less remote neighbourhoods with much to offer for families. I also tend to enjoy the look of an established neighbourhood that has trees and homes that weren’t slapped up to fulfill the demand of the boom. Additionally, what kind of character do most of these “new builds” have? Not everyone is a character kind of person granted, but I personally don’t like living in a box that looks like everyone on the block’s box. Did I mention the fact that I don’t particularly like the idea of living next to an old landfill? Yay, your view won’t be obstructed by any construction in the next few years, but sadly because your backyard is an old dump.

I also find it entertaining that a good amount of these new neighbourhoods feature “lakes”, nothing like a man made lake to attract the Calgarian masses. I personally enjoy the natural river that runs only a few blocks from my cozy inner city apartment. Oh, and I especially enjoy the variety of establishments within walking distance that I have to choose from on any given night if I want to go out. Even though transit is well established around here, I love the fact that I can choose not to wait around for a bus or in traffic, get my cardio in and walk to and from work. The best part? I usually walk past all of the traffic.

It has been mentioned that if I wasn’t single I would probably feel differently towards the suburbs because the inner city is better for single people, and although I do agree that the suburbs would be hell for a single person with no baby buggy and golden retriever to take on weekend strolls, I don’t see myself ever wanting to live so far away from reality. My sentiments may be result of never actually living in a suburb, as I grew up in a fairly inner city neighbourhood and then just moved closer to the core as I got older, but none the less I am just not sure I understand the suburban craze. Bigger, cheaper and further away doesn’t sound like a deal to me, if I was looking for space and distance I would live on a farm and even then, when did we all feel it necessary to have bigger everything? I barely enjoy cleaning my 675 square foot apartment, let alone a 3 story 2000+ square foot single family home.

I am a pretty big fan of spelling words properly, using correct grammar and making anything I write look and sound half decent. Partially due to the e-world we live in and from experience working in a very specific industry I have noticed that there are an astounding amount of acronyms being used today. Furthermore, conjunctions are popping up all over the place. Why does everything have to be squished into one word? Why are people always looking for shortcuts? In my opinion, acronyms and made up 5-in-1 words are butchering our language as we know it. No, they don’t evolve it. No, they don’t make communication easier. Often times people start getting confused just trying to figure out what you’re trying to say. If you ask me, they actually regress us as a society —  if we aren’t careful this trend will consume us and we will all sound like our primitive ancestors who had little to no vocabulary.

By all means, if you want to be all “old school” again and sound like a high class ape, go for it! I prefer the “old school” styles of the romantic period and enlightenment when spoken language was eloquent and lovely to listen to or read, but hey, that’s just me!

Below are a few of my favourites –

tbh – “to be honest”
Seriously?! This statement, as I traditionally knew to use it, was meant as a way of showing sincerity. How does one imagine sincerity is possible when you can’t even seem to find the effort to spell the two 2-letter words and one 6 letter word it takes to flipping compile such a phrase? Also, you don’t need to “to be honest” intro everything you say, generally speaking when you tell me something I’m going to think your more or less always being honest with me?

Example of proper use :
“What did you think of my dress last night?”
“To be honest, it looked a little tight.”
NOT
Facebook wall post – “tbh you’re rly pretty!”

lol – “laughing out loud”
I don’t care if your internally or externally laughing and this most definitely isn’t supposed to take the place of period at the end of every sentence you text me. Also, this is really awkward to hear in real life, and by awkward I mostly mean stupid.

There is no proper use for this.

tbc – “to be confirmed”
I get that “tbd” (to be determined) is a popular workplace acronym and I accept it as so since it won’t be changing anytime soon. What I don’t need though, is someone using another acronym to represent the same thing a commonly used acronym is already doing. I worked as a summer student for the university faculty of medicine which happened to be apart of the conglomerate of buildings that make up our local hospital. Also apart of this conglomerate there is a building called the “Tom Baker Cancer Centre”. When my boss asked me to check the location of a meeting he was supposed to attend I told him “Tom Baker” as the meeting appointment listed TBC. He looked at me like I was crazy and wondered why on earth he was supposed to be going there for a meeting. I assured him that was what the appointment listed so, off he went. Needless to say my boss missed a meeting and I looked like an idiot.

Just don’t use it, or clarify which one your workplace is following?

Shitpoo, cockadoodle, sniffon, etc.
Do you actually want to tell people you have a shitpoo running around your house? I realize this is now what most new-wave pets are being called but shame on whoever thought it would be clever. Again, not hard to say “shih tzu poodle cross”, and, I feel like it even sounds a little better. There comes a point when people don’t even know what breeds you have mashed together and need to ask for clarification anyway.

Not sure what to suggest but imagine how bad it can get if we keep going down this path?

So I am finally all moved in… to my mom’s house.

I am quite confident that I have had the worst first time home buyer’s experience ever. I keep wondering why I don’t have a reality show yet, at least I could be making money off of my plight.

I thought I had everything sorted, after my landlord notified us he was going into foreclosure I acquired a realtor and got to looking for places to buy right away. I had my difficulties with the first realtor and rid of him. I finally found an amazing realtor and we had found what I thought was the perfect place for me. My offer was accepted after a few counters and things were moving along well. The final day of finalizing document review and financing, a grueling period might I mention, CMHC failed the building in an inspection and refused to ensure me and my mortgage. Needless to say that meant it was back to square one.

We continued our browsing and the awful prospects made the whole experience all the more depressing.

Around the same time I viewed the place that fell through I saw another unit I liked but wasn’t in love with the neighbourhood. I went for a second and third viewing of this unit over the course of a week and started to outweigh my options. I realized the neighbourhood is up and coming so it would be a wise investment and the unit was perfect. I put in an offer. Another counter offer game and I found myself the pending owner of another property.

Things were looking up with this one, even got it for less than the first, but the asshole seller’s realtor kept taking his sweet time to send documents for us to review and anxiety started to kick in. He even went as far to mock my realtor on his very public facebook page. Despite all of that the documents came and I began reviewing them. Many issues addressed throughout and no maintenance documents to follow up. We request more information and that is when things quickly went downhill. It was like pulling teeth to get any help or any information and when they finally claimed not to have service records I decided to pull the plug — like I am sure most would. The pleasant seller’s realtor decides to continue being an asshole none the less especially now that I have backed out claiming we need to “hurry” to sign the cancellation forms so he can find a “serious purchaser”.

I don’t know how much more serious you can get when you put a significant deposit down and spend days reviewing mundane and ill written documents?! Living back at home is easily the greatest motivating factor in finding a new place now, I sure hope this process is over soon.

Since no one had any tips for me in the previous post, my experiences since then have given me insight and I will give any of you first timers out there some advice instead:

1. Don’t feel guilty for reading the fine print.
2. See 10 or 10000 places, don’t settle, but don’t have impractical expectations.
3. Cosmetic issues (paint, counter tops, etc.) shouldn’t always be a deal breaker — location, layout, etc. are the more important things to worry about.
4. Look beyond the current owner’s decor.
5. Open cupboards, closets and inspect everything you can.

Lately I have been finding it really hard to get service, let alone good service. It feels as though people have an increasing sense of entitlement and things like getting paid for their services, tips, etc. are just expected, forgetting they actually have to do something for it.

For me last week was a super bad week for customer service and I really started to think about how annoying one person’s ignorance really can be. Sadly though, what is the solution? I don’t know if there is one.

First it started with the awful bank teller I had the misfortune of dealing with twice in a week, then it progressed to crappy transit services (aka lack there of) and continued on into terrible cafe workers who spoke French to each other the whole time people stood around waiting for service not realizing I speak the language and they were being incredibly rude towards everyone around them!

It is too bad that you could have great service at 9 out of 10 places you visit but that 1 that is awful will be the only one you remember. I tend to think I am a very pleasant customer to deal with I always smile, and genuinely make conversation with the person on the other side to pass the time, provided they seem interested. When I get brick wall, horrid treatment off the bat, or even none at all, I think it is absolutely unacceptable. I feel so strongly about the need for improved customer service skills I decided my pent up anger towards the lack of it last week should be shared with the higher ups of the respective companies. Needless to say it worked somewhat, and I got a free coffee and 300 airmiles as compensation; decent apology but the point is, people need to change their tudes and businesses should not take their clients for granted.

The moment I saw the news release about the death of Osama Bin Laden I felt sick. It is somewhat morbid in my mind that a nation is rejoicing and celebrating the fact that they found and murdered a man who, yes was no saint, but was still a human being.

“Justice served” or not it makes me sick to my stomach to see “civilized” people actually parading in the streets and full out cheering as if someone had won something. I don’t believe this war on terrorism has any winners. This incident just triggers further inflated American machosim throughout the country. The discovery and capture of Bin Laden should have been a sobering moment not a shit show display of arrogance in the streets. Now don’t get me wrong in thinking I am upset he has been captured or killed, as I understand the situation was likely an “us” or “them” type scenario, but I just don’t see how anyone can feel so empowered and proud. I see this as a way to fuel the anti-American fire among those who were Bin Laden supporters and although it is fantastic that there is no longer a need to worry about a dangerous man, he was one man among many with the same ideals.

Although it is still contested among various groups that Bin Laden or al-Qaeda were even responsible for the tragedies of 9-11 I understand the events were devastating. I do not reject that 9-11 was horrible or that the people who were behind it are equally horrible, but I still don’t see how those who were affected by 9-11 can feel as though they are any better people than the terrorists who caused it when they can say and support equally blood thirsty sentiments. Many seem to only see the outcomes of these tragic events and the conflicts that have arose around the world, and not how they have developed. People aren’t born blood thirsty and malicious, they are forced into that way of life due to circumstance and desire to change unfavorable conditions in their own lives. America is and has been known to be a terrorist nation by all definitions, they’ve been in the wrong throughout recent history as much as people and groups like Bin Laden and al-Qaeda have been.

I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King

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