From Hero to Zero (An Instant’s Blink)

April 30, 2008

All right.  This post is very upsetting.  It also represents one of the first times I am launching a direct personal attack on someone with whom I am personally acquainted.

A little bird told me Robin’s are wimps.  They inspire confidence with their proud, red-chests, then disappoint you when they choose not to live up to it.  We’ve been Rooked by the Robin.

My wife is pregnant.  She’s due in 6 weeks.  There is a baby shower this weekend.  Her father has chosen not to attend.  Why?

Simple.  There was an ugly divorce over ten years ago.  The father can’t get over it.  He is full of piss and vinegar.  He kept a big, thick journal full of all the nastiness which took place during the divorce.  Rather than letting it all go and moving on with his life, he prefers to pull out the journal and stoke his fire.  He loves telling everyone (strangers too!) all about how much of a nasty person his ex-wife is.

“She’s not even human.”  That’s the popular line.

Keep in mind – the father has remarried & has had another child.  So he’s moved on with most aspects of his life, except for his hatred toward his ex-wife.

His new wife has mental problems (I think!).  I fear she suffers from undiagnosed schizophrenia.  Suffice it to say that she does everything she can to push everyone away from her and her NEW family.  She refers to her sons (from another marriage) as monsters.  She has kicked all children (other than her new daughter) out of her house.  She yelled at me in front of 30 people at one of their (weird) family functions.

This is strange.  They weren’t speaking to my wife before we met.  However, once they became aware that she was involved in a serious, mature relationship, they invited her back into their home.  I was the HERO who brought them all back together.  They would be proud to have me as a son-in-law.  I was the best, in their eyes.

That all suddenly changed one night last October, shortly after we learned about the pregnancy.  I expressed some sensitivity towards my wife’s Mother’s (the Ex) feelings.  Well, they would have none of it.  If I didn’t know that Mom wasn’t a human being, then our relationship was based on lies and would never last.  They couldn’t believe I would care about Mom in any regard.  Blah, blah, blah.

Anyways, the night didn’t go well after that.  I won’t be pushed around by anyone.  So I stood my ground, defended the sanctity of our relationship & in doing so, mortally offended that crazy bitch’s lack of sensibility.

Since then, the invitations to dinner have stopped – we were there briefly for Christmas, the Superbowl, then Easter (three weeks after the actual Easter).  I was yelled at during the Easter party!!  That’s the most attention either of us have received from the step-mother since October.

At this Easter party – there were a whole bunch of people we’d never met before.  Neither Dad nor step-mom introduced us to anyone.  Neither of them asked or commented on the progress of the pregnancy.  It was also my birthday, which was completely ignored until I was three feet from leaving, at which time the Father gave me a bottle of Crown and wished me a Happy B-day!

Anyways – here’s the point:

The Father has decided not to attend his daughter’s baby shower because the ex-wife, new boyfriend & former mother-in-law will be there.  The step-mother can’t attend because she is working in a government office on a Sunday afternoon.  I don’t even think I should have to comment on how unrealistic this seems, but we don’t care, we don’t really want her there anyways.

His excuse for not being able to attend is the trouble he’s apparently experiencing trying to find a babysitter.

Well, wait a second.  He received the invitation a month ago (or more!).  If he ever entertained a thought of attending, he would’ve made an effort to find a babysitter at that time.  He didn’t, which indicates he never planned on going.  He’s just playing some stupid game to make himself feel/look better.  It’s so see-through.

The saddest part is – the father is a really nice guy.  I know he loves his daughter.  I know he wants to know his granddaughter.  But his new wife is mentally ill.  She won’t let him.  Well, hang on, “won’t let him” is not the best way to describe what the father lives with.  He can do whatever he wants, provided he is capable of enduring the incessant nattering from his new wife.

She will lay into him, rag on him, nag, nag, nag, until he finally gives in.  She won’t relent until her point of view is accepted as reality.  I’ve seen it in action.  He’s inadvertantly told me about it.  I know it to be the truth.  So, after nearly ten years of marriage, he’s finally figured out that the best thing for him to do is avoid her ‘wrath’.

For this reason – he is a wimp.  I feel sorry for him.  He is losing the most important things in his life trying to keep her happy.  He is tossing his own happiness into the black-hole of her misery.

The long-term ramifications of his actions are clear to me.  He won’t have a relationship with his grand-daughter, which is precisely what step-mom wants, and this will hurt him.  Step-mom will not hold, touch, see or meet our daughter until she receives professional psychiatric attention.  She is not a grandmother & will never be in a position where she could act like one (if she even could).

So…sorry, but we don’t want to invite negativity into our daughter’s life.  Shit, she will experience enough of it just by growing up.  I don’t ever want to have to explain this to my little girl.  I don’t want her to know that her grandfather’s a puss & that his wife is a hateful, spiteful, unreasonable wench.

I am so friggin’ mad that he could do this to his daughter.  I am so friggin’ upset that she was hurt by him in this way.  I know, come Sunday, his absence will hurt my wife.  She will conceal it & try to make the best of the situation (as she ALWAYS does), but her day has been ruined.

There’s no gift he could give (or send) that could make up for what he’s taken away.  I don’t think he understands that.  I don’t think he understands that when he met me, he met someone who is stronger, feistier and more righteous than he could ever be.  I won’t let him forget this.


Fine Gold Jewellers (potential scam)

January 24, 2008

For Christmas & Anniversary (expensive gift!) my girlfriend gave me a ring, white gold, really nice, but a little too big.  Free sizing with purchase, though.  We brought the ring back to the store (Fine Gold Jewelers) for a fitting.  They told me it would be a day or two, or a week!  Pretty definite timing!

A week goes by and I don’t hear anything.  Another week goes by and I still don’t hear anything.  We go into the store (two weeks to the day I dropped it off).  They don’t have it.  Store manager tells me he’ll call Head Office and let me know status the next day.

I get a call on Monday morning.  This particular ring cannot be re-sized, so they have to cast a new one & that’s what was taking so long.  They would have the ring on Tuesday night.  I was busy, so didn’t go until last night.

The Retailer pulls the ring out of the envelope and my immediate (Blink!) reaction was – this is a different ring, smaller.  I tried it on & it didn’t feel the same.  My girlfriend & I find the original ring in the display cabinet.  It’s more lustrous, larger and thicker.

It turns out that they cast a smaller ring – 1mm in width and 1mm in depth.  And…why wasn’t it as lustrous?!  I don’t think it was the same quality metal.

So, I THINK this is the possible scam.  They sell their product at 50% off & offer free fitting.  When they ‘resize’ the item, they ‘shrink’ it down in an attempt to regain some value from their sale price.  Their mistake in this case was trying to do it on someone who has an uncanny ability to recognize size, distance, dimension, etc.

I have to wait another week for another new ring.  We’ll see what happens this time around.

In the mean time, I thought I would do a web search on this particular retailer.  Lo & behold – there is a 2002 ruling by the Competition Tribunal concerning the deceptive marketing practices, which cost the owners $25k in a single fine.  The nice thing about that link (above) is that you can view the original (signed) documents regarding the ruling against Fine Gold Jewellers & The Diamond Co.

Apparently, they have a perpetual 50% off sale, but the original list price is inflated (meaning the retailer does not sell any products for the pre-sale list price).  The regular price is the sale price.  The pre-sale list price was doubled (roughly!).

BEWARE– if you’ve ever purchased anything from this retailer and had it re-sized (or whatever), try to compare it to the original you purchased.  Check the display piece for the product you purchased.  There is a possibility that you did not get what you purchased.

Passport Canada (Serious Security Breach)

December 8, 2007

As an addendum to the post about Ontario Driver’s Licences, new security features & encoding citizenship information.

Read about how critical personal information was available to the web-viewing public on Canada’s Passport website.

And the government (doesn’t matter which level!) thinks it can provide security.

High-Tech Ontario Driver’s Licenses (Another Sham)

December 7, 2007

Ontario released it’s new high-tech driver’s licence today.  It is supposed to be much more secure than existing licences, with new security features like:

  • A two-dimensional barcode
  • Rainbow printing
  • Raised lettering of the licence’s number, signature and date of birth  
  • Just wondering – aren’t all bar codes two dimensional?  Every one I’ve ever seen has height and width – otherwise there wouldn’t really be anything to scan.  But the other features sound secure…I guess.

    But here’s the kicker – the Ontario government is hoping that US Homeland Security will allow the new (secure) licences as legitimate travel documents (in lieu of passports).  However, in order to do so, citizenship information must be encoded onto the driver’s licence.

    Whoa!  Let the profiling begin.  For instance, the government could analyze traffic offences vs. country of birth.  Insurance companies might figure out that certain countries produce poor drivers for Ontario conditions and surreptitiously hike rates.


    The government (specifically, law enforcement) could generate a list of all driver’s from Iraq, Iran or whichever country might be defined as a threat (?!!) to the west and do what?  I don’t know, but the fact that a list such as this could be generated is frightening.

    Not sure it’s a good idea to lump most (all) personal information into a single source.  We’re worried about identity theft and the solution is to put more information in one place?!  That’s kind of like grouping all the planes at Pearl Harbor into the centre of the field.  It solved a small problem (local sabotage) and opened the door to a much greater problem (bombs from the sky).

    Just a few passing thoughts.

    If you want to read the full story.

    Once I had a bunch of moral fibre (but it went through my system pretty quick)

    November 7, 2007

    I don’t know the first thing about seconds.  The truth of the matter is I like throwing Frisbees to myself.  I love the dignity of the parabola.  The golden equation, the sum.  Some is too much.  Chocolate smiles too sweet to smudge with a touch.  Lick it, lump it, like it.  When did fudge become a mistake to make?  I rub my eyes full of glittering flies.  Blue.  Electric.  Eclectic, almost like electric if you don’t pay attention.  I’d be surprised if most people’s attention could span a puddle. 

    We’re getting Googlephrenic.  The idea of disgoogleplexia is heightened by infinity plus one.  The numbers never end.  There is nothing but empty space.

    I wonder if they’ll ever have McDonald’s Restaurant theme parks for all the little chubby kids.  Eat your shorts for good, nutritional Christian values.  It’s not supposed to make scents, but it stinks no matter how you slice it.  I recommend using your hands and ripping, but that doesn’t always work out for some of the saucier things in life. 

    What can you do about googlephrenia?  I don’t know, Google it.  The spinning wheel, karmic in nature, stops on a dollar.  Bits of a puzzle up the barkers sleeve.  Religion is so medieval.  Shit.  Think of something else.   You know what I meme? 

    Know, no, I mean, now, how brown cow?  If they made chocolate milk, I’d be sucking those teats ’til the farmers came home.  I don’t want to offend Hindus.  I rather like the art.  Beautiful intricate colours.  I don’t know anything about famine, except for the guilt I feel from cheating on the thirty-hour version.  Fuckin’ charity, what is it these days?  A corporation under a different guise. 

    Shit stinks.  I think that’s why we call it shit.  We say so many things smell like shit, but they don’t really all smell exactly like shit, not even all shit smells the same.  That would be weird.  What would the world be like if we spoke with our mouths, but ate with our bums?  The food court would be a lot uglier. 

    What does crude mean to you?  What does rude have to do with crude, other than the price we pay?  I’m on a plane, wake up snickers, I have a sweet suite to suit all my wants, but none of my needs.  All these weeds.  How is cleanliness close to godliness?  Priorities ward back, beckon thee to reckon thee. 

    A yahoo is a beast of burden, a human slave to horses.  Is this what you want?  Horses are fleet of foot.  We’d be too, if we stayed on all fours.  That would be strange, huh?  Quadrupeds, eating out of our asses.  At least there’d be some time when we weren’t talking out of them.  Too many people talk shit.  Not a bad breath statement.  I might have something to say about that, but I locked all the workers out of my olfactory.  Commie bastards.  None of them can play the drums worth a ruble. 

    America is going down with their dollar and sense.  If life without a gun in my face means death, then death it is, ’cause you can’t control anyone or anything for long.  If I’m going down because of you, I’m taking you too.  Ya dig? 

    I once had a nightmare about digging holes.  Each hole was assigned an numeric value, more like an algebraic equation.  The nightmarish was that no matter how many holes I dug, I couldn’t surpass a certain sum.  I woke up sweaty and terrified.  I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night.  2001 was on TV.  I should give that movie another shot.  I was in a poor frame of mind.  I shouldn’t live with regret, but that would mean I’d have to forget.  What?  Not sure.  No matter how much I forget, it never changes the regret.  Some things are carved into bone. 

    Once I had a whole bunch of moral fibre, but it went through my system pretty quick.  That’s the title.  That’s how things are named in these here parts.

    Funny thing is I don’t know what’s mine and what belongs to someone else.  I don’t know if plagiarism applies to a memory without footnotes, end notes, ibids or et als.  We’re all crazy.  We can’t agree on cake.  I like the icing that gives you a cocaine like sugar high.  You know the icing in which you can crunch the granules of sugar.  Still mostly empty space.  Hard to picture.  Harder to imagine.

    All apologies and a thousand more, but I’m still going to slam the door.  I don’t want to see you anymore.  You’re a whole other whore.  None of this real.  Nothing I feel.  The opposite of love is indifference and I am finally indifferent.  It doesn’t matter, because matter is mostly empty space, like an excuse.  No substance other than forgetting.  I’ve lost count of the leaves in the trees, but the planes are lining up ninety seconds apart on the skyway.  Nothing is forever, not even energy as we know it. 

    The truth of the matter is that I like white chocolate cake with my name scrawled in sweet icing sugar.  I have a big belly.  So there we are…word count 856.  666+190.  I wonder what the six-hundredth and sixty-sixth word was?  I should’ve paid attention.  My attention span is a short toothpick bridge.  Everything is a joke, especially this, that and the other thing, like an algebraic equation for holes, the variables are yours to tell.

    Business & Religion

    September 20, 2007

    Moral question – what happens when someone’s religion interferes with your business?

    For instance, I have a supplier who failed to meet their commitment to deliver to me by a certain time – first it was yesterday afternoon, then by 10am this morning, then by 1pm, then 2:30pm.  I gave them the benefit of the doubt and arrived at 3pm.

    The job was still not finished and no one was actually working, most of the staff were busy praying.

    I respect people’s choice to believe in something – I don’t care if it’s religion – but if the choice interferes with thier ability to fulfill business commitments, then how understanding should I be?  Not at all, some, a little bit, completely?

     They made to commitment to me.  They blew it because you were busy praying for ‘whatever’, presumably a better ‘metaphysical life’ or ‘afterlife’. 

    Ironically, thier non-action in their ‘actual life’ may have a practical cost that will directly influence their material well-being.  I may be less inclined to use this supplier in the future, not because of any religious affiliation, but because their ‘word’ is unreliable.

     Funny someone who is pious enough to pray daily would inspire so little ‘faith’ in their ‘word’ (commitment).

    Business and religion do NOT jive, unless you’re in the very profitable business of religion.

    And this is what it boils down to – people don’t think they need to BE pious if they are ACTING pious.  Respect thy neighbor, only if thy neighbor is me!

    You have to do more than put on a minx coat to be a minx…you know what I mean?!

    How would you feel if someone failed to fulfill a commitment because they were busy experimenting with mathematics (or some other hard science unrelated to the business at hand)?

    You’d be upset because it’s a waste of your time. 

    And science MIGHT actually have something positive in store for humanity, the Universe or something.  I’m not convinced ‘religion’ can make the same positive claim!

    The Downside of Balconies

    September 16, 2007

    I live in an apartment building.  It’s nice, quiet & there aren’t too many bad apples in the building.  Well, except for the people who live above us.  They sweep their balcony over the edge and onto ours!  At some point in the summer, either a dog or a human urinated over the edge, stinking up and staining part of our balcony.  But the event that broke my silence was about a week ago.

    I woke up and went outside for my coffee and cigarette.  After a few minutes, I realize that I am almost resting my elbow in some orange gunk.  It was kind of like carrot soup.

    Someone had vomitted over the edge.  I was on the verge of doing so myself!  I fancy myself logical and deductive.  I examined the dispersal of the ‘vomit splatter’.  Our balcony had one concentrated spot.  The balcony below had two, but close together.  The balcony beneath that one had two – these ones spread out even further.  And so on.  I think four balconies were affected.  None of them had the one concentrated spot.  It must’ve come from the balcony directly above.

    Further to this – they had a mop resting over their railing for the better part of a week afterwards.  Someone cleaned up a mess up there!

    Since then, they have not apologized.  They have not offered to clean up the mess.  Nothing.  I find that very rude.

    I offer the following picture as proof that this is a true story.  Beware…this is a picture of vomit.