April 25, 2015

You Can't Handle The Stink

Yesterday I had the opportunity to live out every lawyer's dream. To stand in a court room and boldly defend my rights and freedoms in dramatic fashion not unlike Jack Nicholson in that Tom Cruise movie about needing someone on a wall. You know the one.

Flashback to July 2014 when I find 2 trumped up parking tickets on the car. One is for having an incorrect plate, the other for parking longer than 3 hours. I'll spare you the details but trust me - they're bullshit tickets. So I opted to fight the oppressing bastards and have my day in court.

I arrive at the Scarborough court room amongst a hundred other people with the same idea. Right off the bat, the prosecutor says to everyone that they'll reduce any fines by 1/3 if you plead guilty, which is fine by me. See, at first I had thought my tickets were a total of $80 which are worth fighting in my view. At closer inspection they totalled  $60, so it's getting close to the point where it's not worth the hassle.

Anyway, even though I took the express deal, you still have to sit and listen to the judge go through the details of everyone's case. The shifty looking paralegals get first priority, largely defending new Canadians who don't speak English. One guy gets up with his paralegal and the judge goes on and on, only to reveal that the original ticket was for $15. Fifteen. I wanna strangle this guy on principle.

This shit never happens in real life.
But wait, there's more. As I sat waiting for my name to be called, a creeping stench wafted it's way into my nostrils. I then realized I was smack dab in the middle of the kind of mosh pit you never wanna dance in.  Think about any movie you've seen set in 17th century medieval England, where the peasants with black teeth throw rotten vegetables. Over fifty years ago man landed on the moon, yet some members of the human race have yet to discover basic hygiene.

And so it went. As things droned on, I looked at the bored-looking judge and wondered if she was thinking about the time she was a young bright eyed lawyer, ready to Erin Brockovich the shit out of any asshole who got in her way. Is this how she figured her dynamic legal career would end up?

In any event, my name was finally called.  I noticed earlier that when one guy was called up, he bowed when he approached and left the "presence" of the judge. Not only that, but he even walked backwards before turning around and leaving. What the hell is this? Game of Fucking Thrones?

But, I get it..it's meant to be symbollic, respectful and such. Fair enough, but then I also noticed the defendant's podium with a bible, where you're supposed to place your hand on it and swear to some Marshmallowey-white man in a robe who lives in the clouds. Maybe I was over thinking things, but this reminded me of the dangers of Dogma, and since I've already cut the deal with the Prosecutor, I figure I'm just gonna go up and be polite, but no bowing crap.

In the end, my tickets were reduced to $20. But then I start thinking and pull out a calculator. Let's add up the cost of being away from work, the cost of gas, the aggravation of everything, and then add $100 for the stench...

In the immortal words of The Clash, I fought the law, and the law won.


April 21, 2015

Tim Hortons Tales #2,356

You've gotta hand it to Tim Horton's. Since there is such a cross section of people that frequent it, the joint is like a bubbling cauldron of awkwardness and misadventure.

Today's tale is subtle, but a classic. As I was in line this morning, there were three or four people waiting for their bagels or breakfast sandwiches to be made. At the best of times this can be a chaotic ritual, given how busy T-Ho's gets.

So there was this one guy who looked like he just rolled out of bed from a trashcan. I'd say he was about 45, with greasy unkempt hair, dirty oily hands, rough and ready clothing and a wild-eyed look about him. Next to him was this pretty young blonde woman about 25. The server announces that some kind of bagel is ready and the dirty dude takes his sandwich, but he stays since he's clearly waiting for another item. The server then brings up a couple of more items, none of which belong to the blonde woman. At this point, it's become clear that there's been some confusion - the young woman's sandwich is MIA. She proceeds to enquire about the fate of her breakfast, and the server says she's already brought that particular item out....which is when it became clear that Fleabag McGee mistook her bagel for his, and has had his greasy mitts all over it for about a minute.

I look at the young woman the instant she realizes what's what. She was trying to be polite, but for a split second she flashed a look of  deep, deep disappointment, only to be replaced by disgust when the guy handed the sandwich back to her.

In the end, at least the woman can tell the story about the day she went for breakfast at Tim Horton's, patiently waited in line for ten minutes, paid for it and as she walked out the door, threw it directly into the trash.

April 17, 2015

Chewie still can't afford pants

Indeed - that new Star Wars trailer is certainly something the neckbeards can rub one out to (and probably have three or four times already).

Sorry if that sounded harsh. But you gotta give credit to Disney, Lucas et al for giving generations of fans exactly what they want. Star Wars is very much the gold standard of movie franchises, and it's even more impressive given how it went off the rails for several years.

I was watching clips of the fan kick off event in Anaheim, and the one thing that struck me (other than feeling kind of sorry for people who camped outside a convention centre the night before to get in), was the sheer glow you could see in the faces of the newest cast members. Hamill, Ford, Fisher - during filming they more than likely had a few late night cocktails with the new cast (well maybe not Fisher), and told them that life, as they know it, will never be the same.

April 15, 2015

I've Got A New Complaint

Not exactly new, but it's related to the unending self-centredness you see from people every day.

This morning while driving in to work, I stopped by Tim Horton's and decided to use the drive-thru since there were only one or two cars in the queue. At most drive-thru's nowadays, before you scream your order into the metallic squawk box, there are trash receptables. Great idea right? Well they are, in theory. Theory doesn't always take society's ass-clowns into account.

As the car in front of me inched forward, you could see him or her gathering up stuff to dump into the trash. Now, there's about 3 or 4 feet between your car and the receptacle - if you have a coffee cup to discard, I'd say you've got a decent chance of hitting your mark by tossing it, especially since these bins have been engineered for the lazy ass bastards of the world.

But if you've got three large drink cups, a few styrofoam containers, napkins and other loose debris all in a large paper bag, throwing it from your car is probably not the best idea. So as I sit and observe this, out of the blue I see this sizeable McDonald's bag fly out of his window in the general direction of the bin. It smashes into the almost full receptacle and cups and trash bounce back and onto the ground.

So at this point, my thinking is..admit you're a jackass, put your car in park, open your goddamn door and put the crap in the bin.  But no, not this guy. He just rolls along merrily to place his order which will result in more trash he'll be missing the mark on tomorrow. As I roll my car forward, I hear the cacophonous crunch of plastic bottles and styrofoam containers underneath my tires. I open my door and the ground is completely strewn with trash.

To me, karma is as fictitious as sasquatch, but at times like this I wish karma stepped it's ass up and taught pricks like this a lesson.

April 13, 2015

Odds And Ends

They say Toronto is like a city within a park, and based on the sheer quantity of raccoons living life large in Hogtown, it stands to reason. I'm actually ok with raccoons and other creatures that live around us. After all, they were here first.

One or two summers back, I accidentally left the glass patio door open overnight, with only the screen door separating the great outdoors from the living room. Hobos aren't a problem as there's no easy way people can access the backyards in the area. But in the middle of the night, my lovely wife woke me up having heard something downstairs. I sat up, turned on the bedside light, powered up my laptop,  checked Outlook calendar and noticed it wasn't December 25th, so that eliminated Santa as the interloper.

I handed my wife a golf club and dispatched her to see what the ruckus was. You know, something something equal rights. Ok ok, so I head downstairs and I see the screen door is wide open. As I reach the bottom step I hear a frantic scurrying and sure enough, a sizeable raccoon flies out the door into the night. Turning on the lights I realize it must have smelled the cat food through the screen door, and it made quick work of it, leaving an empty bowl and about a hundred random kibbles leading to the backyard.

Iggy threatening to cut me if I didn't
keep feeding him.
But more recently, throughout last summer and this past winter, we've had another regular visitor - a very bold and curious squirrel. We even gave him a squirrel name: Ignatius Rothchild III. The pretentious name fits, because my wife began purchasing various types of nuts for him, making him a high-roller amongst his squirrel counterparts. In fact, after a while, I noticed Iggy would show up wearing a monacle and a tiny tuxedo.

So as the weeks and months wore on, we'd throw out some nuts for Iggy when he'd climb down from the trees and peer into the house right in front of the patio door. Tough grind for these creatures over the winter months, so we offered a little help. But, just like Puff The Magic Dragon, inevitably the day came when Iggy came no more. I suppose he moved on to greener pastures and we wished him well, and not long after that, a different squirrel started to come by frequently.

Yesterday I took advantage of the gorgeous weather to initiate a thorough clean up in the backyard. I swept up leaves, scrubbed and polished the barbecue and uncovered and washed all the patio furniture....which is when I found Iggy.  Hidden away on one of the patio chairs, covered by the table itself, there he lay. And on the chair right beside it, there he lay as well.

Now you understand the meaning of this post's title.

April 8, 2015

What Will You Do?

The braniacs at NASA have just predicted that we'll have proof of alien life within the next decade.

Given my extensive knowledge of the universe based on 4 years of high school science, I was fairly certain this would happen within my lifetime. But with the rate of technology increasing exponentially, it doesn't seem far fetched that we'll have hard evidence by 2025. So the question is, how will you react? Will your belief system be shaken to the core, or will you openly accept this new step for mankind?
People like the dude on the right are
the ones you should  really worry about .

I actually look forward to the ensuing gong show. It will be like watching the ultimate societal train wreck. Will there be mass suicides? How quickly will stock prices of gun and ammunition companies go through the roof? How long will it be before we have a reality show featuring the first person to have sex with an alien? And, how will the religious folk handle it?

What's also interesting is whether or not we'll come across alien life less or more advanced than us. Given earth's relatively young age and the millions (billions?) of planets across the galaxies similar to our own, we should expect the unexpected. Will they be a hostile species looking to exploit earth's resources, or will they be benign 9 eyed jelly-fish creatures who have been sitting back and allowing us to find our own way?

In my view, it's just silly to think "if" we'll eventually make contact, and any way you cut it, it will be the most important step in this planet's history.

April 4, 2015

I Notice Your Home Smells of Feces

Of course, that's the comedically genius bit of dialogue uttered by Homer Simpson when he visits chimpanzee saviour Jane Goodall's house.

I had a similar experience yesterday as my lovely wife and I decided to take a stroll through our neck of the woods. Not that our entire neck of the woods smells of feces, but one corner of it does - namely the barns at Riverdale Farm. To the uninitiated, Riverdale Farm was Toronto's first zoo and is nestled within Cabbagetown. Nowadays it's basically a quaint little spot with 2 cows, 4 or 5 sheep, a horse, 9 ducks, some pigs, 6 roosters and a rabbit or two. I made those actual numbers and animals up but you get the picture.

It's a nice spot to visit when out for a walk which we often do, part of the reason we love our neighbourhood. You're smack dab in the city but you can escape to a bit of quiet greenspace, not to mention the associated history. On our way back we even passed by the original home of magician Doug Henning..at least I thought it was his house - it might've just been an illusion...

Riverdale Farm is immensely popular with locals and suburban visitors alike. Admission is free and it's a nice spot for families with little kids. They get up close with these animals, and parents can use the experience as a life lesson of sorts. "See this chicken Billy? You ate his brother last night."

Much like American Psycho's Patrick Bateman:
Lovely on the outside, revolting on the inside.
The barns housing the majority of the animals are the most popular spots, and you see happy kids and adults oohing and awwing at the freshly-squeezed baby lambs and pigs every spring. These barns are the originals and very old fashioned full of hay and antique farming equipment and such - very quaint. Yesterday when I was there though, I felt like stopping for a second to make an announcement to the 20 or 30 people there at the same time I was: "Um , excuse me everyone - Hi..yes, hello..thank you..um..is it me, or does is smell like shit in here?" You know, just to get a reaction. In my view it really is quite fascinating how everyone simply pretends that it doesn't smell like shit. I think what probably happens is people stroll in from outside, get hit with that scent, think something like "Jesus Christ it stinks in here!", but just sort of look the other way.

Something tells me people would react differently if that same odour hit them when they walked into a boardroom meeting or a restaurant.

Maybe I'll try that theory out sometime.