Monday, 29 April 2013
Some people clearly have an over-inflated sense of self-importance. Compounded with ill-placed snobbery just makes these people insufferable!
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Light Classic series is intended to make classical music more accessible to the masses. You can rest assured that if you buy tickets to a concert from this series, you will not be listening to some obscure, weird, dissonant piece by Ravel. As a result, these concerts are usually comprised of pieces that are commonly heard in pop culture…you know…tv shows, movies and advertisements.
A month ago, I attended the From Mozart to Sibelius concert. The woman sitting in front of me was the epitome of insufferable! First, she talked during the performance. Because, you know…an afternoon in Roy Thomson Hall, listening to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is like being at a Metallica concert, where NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU talking over the music. And, oh, her insight was just OH SO PROFOUND!
At the intermission, she stood up and loudly exclaimed to her husband and son that Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 was “too romantic.” Too romantic?!? It’s Rachmaninoff!! What was she expecting? A war march?
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she committed the greatest cardinal sin (in my book) ever.
She talked over the Mozart piece.
Mozart. It’s Mozart. HOW DARE SHE TALK OVER MOZART!?!?!
I so desperately had to fight the urge to kick her in the head. Lucky for her, I have excellent self-restraint. And her behaviour didn’t just annoy me. It’s not that I am some kind of classical music snob. Her whole family found her to be obnoxious. Her husband ignored her and passive-aggressively glared at her every time she leaned in to talk to him. Her son went so far as to shush her, and later he put his palm up to her face when she tried to talk to him.
I’m always happy to see lots of people attending TSO concerts, but people like her really should just stay home. Honestly, if she don’t want to be here, then she shouldn’t have come. She was literally ruining it for everyone else. While I don’t expect everyone to adore classical music, if certain individuals are only coming to the concert to appease their date/family, then at the very least, they should not be rude. Other people paid for tickets too…and they didn’t pay to listen to ignorant whining.
On a positive note, it was quite the full house. There were so many children and teenagers gushing about how much they enjoyed the concert, and how excited they were to give a standing ovation. That more than salvaged my day.
The world needs more Mozart. And more Joshua Bell (com'on...you knew I was gonna say that ).
I will admit, I don’t hit the bar scene much anymore. It’s more because I can’t be bothered, and less about the “I feel old” shtick. And maybe it’s a bit of Mark Twain-ism.
But while I was in NYC, I did head out to Third and Long to watch the Rangers vs Habs game.
When I arrive at the bar, my friend, PS, was already there. He bought me a beer and we started chatting. After a few minutes, I noticed that the guys behind him kept checking me out. But it’s a bar, it’s dark, and the female to male ratio was pretty dismal, so I didn’t think anything of it.
After a minute or two however, there was no avoiding it. One of them interrupted our conversation and asked if we were together. PS very quickly dismissed such insanity. And the following conversation ensued.
Dude: I want to test out a pick-up line, if that’s ok.
Dude: This is the situation. I’d go up to a guy and a girl in a bar and ask, “Are you going to fuck him tonight? Cuz if not, how about me?” What do you think? Will it work?
Me: *deadpan* Well, it really depends on the girl. If you’re just looking for some action, that might work. If you’re looking for a girl you can take home to Mom, then probably not.
Dude: *slow nod* You know what, that’s a pretty good qualifier. I like that. So how about if I said, “Want to go for shrimp scampi?”
Me: You mean, specifically shrimp scampi?
Dude: *intent staring* Yes.
Me: *uneasy* Uhm…I guess if she’s not allergic then it might work.
Shrimp scampi!? Seriously? Is that supposed to be a euphemism for something? I looked it up in Urban Dictionary, but I don’t think he meant this:
shrimp scampi, noun.
overly bronzed female whore bag with blonde hair that is at least 12 shades of blonde. usually gorges herself on shrimp scampi covered in caesar dressing and white wine before passing out on couch. has herpes and open ended prescription for valtrex.
Example: look at that shrimp scampi over there. she's dressed like she wants to get fucked in the alley.
At this point, PS ushered me away and we found a good spot to watch the game. To be honest, I have no idea if that guy was genuinely soliciting an opinion, hitting on me, or just being “funny”.
Thursday, 18 April 2013
I get it...you don't love the Habs. I have no issue with that. I don't require that everyone else like the Habs. And living in Toronto means there are a lot of people in my workplace that don't like the Habs.
I don't let anyone knock my team or my hometown to my face. You wanna be an asshole behind my back, go...do it. I don't give a shit. But if you insist on rudely bashing them to my face, it's probably not in your best interests to do so...WHEN *YOU* NEED *MY* ASSISTANCE.
Coworker: *points to my Habs magnet* You have some dirt on your whiteboard.
Me: *fake laugh* I'm from Montreal.
Coworker: You could've switched to the superior team. Leafs are kicking some ass right now.
Me: Right. With that playoff spot you don't have.
Coworker: You converted to the better city. Montreal is a hole.
Me: Get out of my office.
Coworker: But we have a meeting.
Me: Not anymore.
Coworker: But I need you to consult on this issue.
Me: Not anymore.
Coworker: I'm serious. We really need your expertise.
Me: Maybe next time you'll think before opening your mouth.
Coworker: There's no one else we can ask.
Me: Actually, the correct statement is now, "There is no one" you can ask.
Coworker: You're not going to help?
Me: I strongly suggest you delegate your inquiry to a peon and have them come see me. Because you and I are done talking. GTFO.
I'll admit...this was not exactly a shining example of professionalism. But you know what...I'm done putting up with other people's rudeness. You want my help? I don't ask you to beg or grovel. Some basic respect is more that sufficient.
Monday, 08 April 2013
If you're into UK politics, conservative politics, or just politics in general, you'll know that this woman's name sparks very strong reactions at the extreme ends of the conservative-liberal spectrum. People either hate her or love her.
But I'm of the school of thought that unless that person was truly evil, when they pass on, you should remember their significant contributions to world that made it a better place. Or even if they didn't succeed in making it a better place, remember the ways they tried.
Margaret Thatcher's regular work hours in the British Parliament were well before my time. She resigned from office before I was even born...I think her resignation was even before my parents got married. And I didn't know much about her until I was in Grade 5, collecting random facts so I could kick ass at W5H (it's a general knowledge competition for elementary schools in the Toronto Catholic District School Board...I was team captain at my school for 4 years). While math, science, and literature were usually my topics of strength, it was at that time that I started developing a keen interest in British and Canadian politics.
I don't think I ever really embraced Margaret Thatcher's policies or views. But there was always something about her that prevented me from disliking her. I shouldn’t say “something” since I know exactly what it was. She was a woman of great determination and personal fortitude. She was not one to be trifled with. And despite all her flaws and failings, she did the best that she could with what she had and pulled Great Britain out of the darkness into which it had fallen after WWII.
Let’s not get into the particulars. This is not intended to be a blog post to bicker about what you liked/disliked about Margaret Thatcher. It's about what she meant to me. So I’m separating her politics from her personal attributes. Anyone who would call her a weak, unremarkable pansy is clearly not being objective.
She showed the world that a woman can be a leader. Not just the leader of a team. Not just the leader of a country. She was the leader of Great Britain – one of the most powerful nations in the world (and before you argue, recall how much of the world was, at one point, a British colony). She also wasn’t the leader of Great Britain at the height of its power. In fact, she was the Prime Minister of Great Britain at one of its low points in history – arguable one of *the* lowest. Despite these immense external challenges, she had the added hurdle of being a woman at a time when equality for women was still in its infancy.
What’s important to me in a discussion about Margaret Thatcher’s life is that she blazed a trail through one of the most arduous and damaging of social thickets. It’s politics, which is inherently ugly. It’s public, which is daunting even for the most outspoken of us. And it was on the international stage. There aren’t many women who can say that they were able to achieve what the Iron Lady achieved in an environment that was even half as challenging (and I'm not talking about the trials and tribulations of individuals with a tough life...I'm talking about widespread, permanent, societal impacts).
So on this day, when I learned of the passing of this very significant role model, I will share a conversation I had with my mom when I was 14 years old.
Shortly after I graduated from elementary school, my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I said, "I want to be Prime Minister of Canada."
My mom laughed and very seriously said, "Little girls don't become Prime Minister."
I very sternly and sharply responded, "If Margaret Thatcher can be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, then little girls can grow up to become the Prime Minister of Canada."
Baroness Thatcher, I thank you for this.
RIP, Iron Lady.
Side note: I have since changed my mind about becoming the Prime Minister of Canada, but that is neither here nor there.
Sunday, 07 April 2013
I haven't become vegan, but sometimes, I make vegan dishes. I love me a good hearty steak, but sometimes, it's nice to have something light.
This is a quick, comforting bowl of soupy noodles. And the best part, it's easy to make a single serving.
I didn't have any mushrooms, but I would also add a quarter cup of sliced, button mushrooms to the soup. If you wanted to make a vegetarian version, you could drop an egg in the soup to give it the egg drop effect.
- 1 layer of Thai vermicelli (the brand I buy has about 4 layers per pack)
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp red miso
- Sirracha (optional)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, slivered
- 1 hot house tomato, cubed
- 5-6 leaves of fresh, chiffonade basil
- ½ a green onion, slivered
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Fresh lemon zest, to taste
- Soya sauce, to taste
Put vermicelli into a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Remove vermicelli when softened and shock in ice bath.
Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a sauté/frying pan. Just as the garlic starts to brown, add the tomatoes. Season to taste. I use a pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, and a bit of oregano. Once the tomatoes are softened and a bit caramelized, set aside.
Dissolve miso in the 2 cups of water (add sirracha if desired – I added ~1 teaspoon) and bring to a boil. Place the drained vermicelli into the boiling soup for a minute or two to warm it up, but don’t let it boil because it will disintegrate. Remove the vermicelli from the soup and place it in your serving bowl. Add soya sauce, green onion, basil and lemon zest to the vermicelli. Add the tomatoes and garlic to the soup and bring to a boil. Pour the soup over the vermicelli. Add lemon juice and serve.
Friday, 15 March 2013
Guess what! It's almost Easter. And where does an ex-pat Montrealer/Toronto party girl go for Easter? Why NEW YORK CITY of course!!
And what's a trip to Manhattan without a good party!
So, NYC Habs fans, this is what we're gonna do. On Saturday, March 30, while all other Habs fans around the world tune in to watch the Rangers play the Habs in the Bell Centre, *we* are going to rock the house at Third and Long (523 3rd Ave at E 35th St). Put on your Habs shirt, your Habs jersey or just grab your Habs toque. We're gonna put on our game face and cheer le Tricolore to victory!
When you get there, ask for Curtis and tell him you're with the Habs party. I guess if you want, you could say that you're with me, but you may want to whisper "cokeaddict" like a secret code word. You might get some questionable looks or thrown to the ground by police if you shout it out. In an ideal world, you'll tweet me at cokeaddict in advance so that I can let Curtis know that you're coming and we can save you a seat. I could do a twtvite or Evite, but that just seems like overkill.
Saturday March, 30 6pm
Third & Long
523 3rd Ave at E 35th St
Secret Password is "Go Habs Go!"
Just kidding. Just tell them you're with the Habs party.
Spread the word.
Bring your friends.
You can bring your Rangers fans friends,
but they have to be nice people.
Otherwise, forget it.
GO HABS GO!!!
Wednesday, 06 February 2013
Remember that report I wrote the day before the Mayan apocalypse? The one that I said was a work of art? And I’d be pissed if the world ended the next day rendering my report useless? It’s STILL pending on my boss’ desk. -_-
I should just go over his head and give it to someone who will grant me authority to make magic happen.
*grumble grumble grumble*
Thursday, 06 December 2012
My boss has this problem...I often refer to it as separation anxiety, because it seems like he can't last 10 whole minutes in his office without saying, "cokeaddict, can you come over here?" or "do you have a second?". So obviously, I go over there, on the off chance that it's important. 95% of the time it ends up with me, sitting in his office, doing abso-fucking-lutely NOTHING, while he's checking is email, making phone calls, or muttering to himself as he edits some document on his computer. After sitting there for about 20 minutes, he'll talk about some non-work related nonsense (but don't worry, nothing harrassment worthy) for another 20 minutes, before FINALLY getting to the subject of why he called me over. He's really good at wasting my time. And I get very aggravated about it. I always tell him, "Only call me over if there's something you want to talk about immediately." Yeah...he and I clearly have a different definition of "immediately."
After one of these gloriously productive interludes this morning, just as I'm walking out of his office, we had this conversation.
PHB: Are you working on anything important?
Me: No, of course not. Why the hell would I be working on anything important?
PHB: Ok, so maybe try and find something important to work on.
Me: Oh no, I can't do that.
PHB: Why not?
Me: I've already filled my quota of "important things" for the week.
He knew I was being sarcastic, but honestly, considering how much of my time he wastes, it's a miracle I get anything important done at all.
Tuesday, 18 September 2012
I knew this would happen. Even as I detailed my personal opinion on the matter, as I tried to be fair and objective, I knew that there would be a lock out.
And I have every intention of staying true to my word. But I'd like to add a few qualifiers.
Many things have happened in the negotiations since I first posted my demand that the NHL and NHLPA hammer out a deal without a lockout. I'm not going to blame *all* the owners, but I am blaming the ones fueling Bettman's steamroller.
While I personally believe the players demand for more than half of hockey-related revenue is completely ridiculous, I'm more mad about the owners sticking it to the fans. It's a bit of math. It's ±3%. Even if it was ±10%, I'd say they should be able to solve this without a freaking lockout. Sign the Collective Bargaining Agreement for all the other terms and leave this one to be discussed WITHOUT HAVING A LOCKOUT! This is money. It's ONLY money. It's not a change in the rules of the game. So that means the games can be played. The terms of this revenue sharing crap can get signed in November or even March and it shouldn't affect the season.
But no. Bettman insisted on a lockout. He didn't even TRY to negotiate up until the 11th hour so that the season could start on-time. In fact, he flatly refused to talk the full 24 hours before the deadline. This is bullshit. THEY ARE ALL MULTI-MILLIONAIRES!! IN SOME CASES, BILLIONAIRES!! They're not blue collar automotive workers. If the CAW can negotiate up to the very last second...SO CAN THE NHL! They can even afford premium coffee. So WTF!?
At present, I side with the players, even though mathematically and economically, I think they're demanding more than is fair. I'm siding with them because the NHL could've continued their negotiations with the NHLPA without fucking over the start of the season.
So Gary, you will never see another cent of my money because you messed with my game one too many times...with CANADA'S GAME!!! I don't take shit from ANYONE. I sure as hell am not going to start taking shit from you. I told you to go fuck yourself last time. After 6 years, I let Canada's Olympic gold and Halak coax me into coming back. However, this time it's different. There are no principles to this lockout. So...long as you're at the helm, it's doubtful that another Olympic gold+star goalie combo will bring me back. I don't think even a Habs Stanley Cup will bring me back. You shot yourself in both feet. I hope you and the league suffer greatly as a result of this. It's all that you deserve.
Monday, 27 August 2012
It's easy to vilify Gary Bettman because...well...simply...he's a villain. And it’s easy to side with the players, because, quite frankly, we like them better. But if we all close our hearts and hold our passion for a just a second, and look at this objectively, maybe you’ll be able to understand why I don't side with either of them.
I’ve been called a “casual” fan, even by people I like, because I decided to boycott the NHL after the last lockout. I’m not a “casual” fan. I was NEVER a casual fan. I’m not obsessive with the stats, but I’m as passionate about the game as the stereotypes of Canadians say we are. But when you grow up in a poor Canadian family, and you know how hard it is for your parents to come up with a dollar to make ends meet, how can you not be disgusted by this “labour” dispute?
The players are not miners, sent into life threatening situations to scratch out a living penny by penny. They are athletes receiving MORE than a comfortable compensation TO PLAY A GAME. I’m not saying hockey isn’t dangerous or rough, but they’re receiving PLENTY of highly specialized medical attention and LOTS of money. Even the young’uns are earning six figure salaries. HOW MANY OF *YOU* EARN THAT?!!? And how long do you think it’s going to take for you to get there if you’re not making that kind of coin now?
Granted, there are things to consider…like the fact that they can’t keep play pro hockey until they reach the legal retirement age of 65. So their timeframe is compressed and you could argue that a six figure salary for ~20 years is on par with an average salary paid out for 45 years. But many players are making more than a 6 figure salary. Many (I'd say most but I didn't check) of them are making 7. And unlike the days of old-time hockey, the players can easily establish a very lucrative career AFTER they retire from hockey. You’ve got sportscasters, analysts, product spokespeople, and Battle of the Blades, etc. Look at P.J. Stock. He was a mediocre player at best, and he's endorsing Depends in addition to sportscasting! I’m sure both gigs pay well. But even without any post-retirement career prospects, the players are earning more than enough money. Labour unions were intended to protect their members from exploitation. You seriously think the players are being exploited? Can someone exploit *me* like this?
However, I’m not blaming the players for everything. It’s very common to want more money. I mean, hey, if someone is willing to pay $2-3 M/year for Komisarek, then that’s what he’s worth (strictly from a business perspective). It doesn’t even matter if he sat on the ice and threw pucks at the net with his hands. If they’re willing to pay him that much, then he deserves it. Let me remind all the Habs fans that are siding with the players…you whine and scream about Gomez, but it’s THIS environment that enabled his agent to score such a kickass contract. I would trade spots with Gomez in a second…and I wouldn’t care if the entire fanbase hated me.
You can go ahead and insert the standard arguments of the evils of Bettman and his merry band of oppressive owners. You can say that they players deserve more money than them. But you know what…you’re wrong. There would be no league without the owners. They players only have teams to play on because the owners put out the money up front. The owners bear ALL the risk of an unsuccessful season. Players are paid as per their contract regardless of how the business side of the team performs. When there’s a media firestorm because of insane fans (I’m looking at you, Montreal), who bears the cost? It’s not the players. You can say the owners can’t survive without the players, but that’s bullshit and you know it. They simply would not be in the business of HOCKEY, but you can be damned sure they’d be in the business of something else. However, if your passion is to play pro-hockey, and if there is no league and no one is willing to bear all the costs and risks of creating and maintaining a league, you would probably only be playing passionately as a gym teacher. So all that is to say, “No…the players do not deserve more money than the owners.” The players bear none of the business risks that the owners bear. Even the occupational risks of injuries is financially borne by the owners (and their insurance companies).
Which brings me to my views. Despite all the arguments for or against, I do not support any one party more than the other. In fact, I don’t support either of them. And this is why.
This is essentially an argument between multi-millionaires. This is not a problem of being unable to find common ground, putting each party at risk of some kind of financial disaster. The dollar amounts being negotiated clearly show that no one is at risk of going bankrupt or starving. But both parties are staunchly refusing to be reasonable. And it’s only the people who have no direct say, the people that give them this money and this power, that will be most affected. Yes, the fans.
After the last lockout, I boycotted the NHL. I’d had enough. Not because I’m a “casual” fan, but because I will not tolerated being treated this way. There are people who do backbreaking work for many hours each day, that then go and spend it on these selfish, spoiled, uncaring corporations and divas. While I’m not exactly a labourer, I work harder per dollar that I earn than any athlete and any team owner. So, if with all that money they can’t settle it without taking it out on the fans, then they don’t deserve fans. They don’t deserve my love or my money.
Six years I boycotted the game. And were it not for the Habs’ Cinderella run, led by Halak, following the high of our two 2010 Olympic gold medals in hockey, I can guarantee you, I would still be boycotting right now.
You can rush to side with the players if you want. Or side with the owners. Do whatever you wish. But siding with either of these parties will only lead to more heartbreak because regardless of the outcome, as the fan, you will get hosed. Until the fans firmly show that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable…until we tell them that they don’t deserve our money, they will only continue to disregard us. Because, if it isn’t yet obvious to you, the group with the most say (the owners) only care about the money. If you’re still willing to give it to them after a lockout, then they have no reason to fear using a lockout.
I don’t particularly care who backs down. I don’t care who “wins” the negotiations. As long as they settle everything before the deadline and this doesn’t go to lockout, then I’ll stay in the game. If these people can't sort it out because they’re too busy frolicking in their money to give two shits about the fans (the people who gave them that money), well, then they can go fuck themselves. I’m out.