June 2006

Cup of Soup

Tue, Jun 13, 2006

Wear Sunscreen

Remember that article/song about a phony valedictorian speech with lots of unrelated but memorable bits of advice? "Don't worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum." "Don't be reckless with other people's hearts; don't put up with people who are reckless with yours." "Be kind to your knees; you'll miss them when they're gone." That's an especially important one.

The other day, however, I discovered one bit of advice given was quite a bad one: "Throw away your old bank statements."

I recently received notice that my business-related GST payments were in arrears, apparently by well over a thousand dollars. I knew this had to be in error, so I called to find out. I made one, two, three different calls, received many a busy signal, and was put on hold several times before finally revealing that a payment nearly two years ago was lost in bureaucracy. Following instalments were then "corrected" and shifted to account for the missing payment, putting two years of records into a complete mess.

I searched for forms and receipts, anything showing proof that I had made that payment, when I pulled out the old shoe box of bank statements. There, in November of 2004, listed a cheque cashed in the exact amount I supposedly owed. Ah ha! Victory is mine!

If I had followed Mr Sunscreen's advice, I would have a very difficult task proving myself, and would likely need to forfeit nearly $1500. So here is my counter-advice to all of you: "Don't throw away your old bank statements, because the government is full of dolts, no matter how noble you think they used to be."

Thu, Jun 15, 2006

Dinner Out

Last week I had a dinner date go horrendously, horribly wrong. While, in actuality, it went horrendously, horribly wrong for my accompaniment, and I was merely an indirectly affected observer, you can still use this tale as a lesson on how to prepare for the worst for any evening plans.

First, to clarify, it wasn't actually a date, because my accompaniment was merely an old friend, and it wasn't actually dinner, because... well... why don't I just tell the story...

I have been living solo in my own place downtown for nearly six months now, and coincidentally, so has an old friend from high school. Despite living in the same complex all that time, and chatting online on a regular basis, we had yet to actually see each other in person. Last week, we were to correct that little oddity. Meet up, go for dinner, chat the evening away, and catch up on all that has transpired over the years.

Threats to the plan arose the day before the meeting. She messaged me to tell me that, BTW, she had just now broken up with her boyfriend of many years, and so will likely be in a sour mood when we meet the next day. I offered my comforts and condolences, but noted it could be a simple opportunity to keep her mind elsewhere.

The next day, hours before our get-together, another friend contacted me with the opportunity to introduce some dramatic foreshadowing to the story. A few were going to a movie that night, and she was asking if I wanted to join in. I explained that I had previous plans, but added - jokingly - that if it were late enough, and my plans went disastrously wrong and ended early, I would join. She said they were thinking of an 8:00 show. I responded with perfect dramatic timing.

"That's a bit too early. It can't go that disastrously."

Dun dun dunnnn....!

My friend arrived for our meeting, she met the bunny, complimented me on my home, and then noted that she had just sold her unit because she hated everything about the complex: the unit, the builder, the management, the streets, and everyone she's met. Basically, the exact opposite of my experience. Throw in evidence of her mood of the past day and references to balling her eyes out, and it made for a somewhat uncomfortable ten minutes of conversation.

Then her phone rang.

"Oh, it's my brother," she said. "He has class downtown on Wednesday nights and usually likes to park here. Excuse me."

As she answered the phone, I tended to Benji, stroking his fur and giving him a hearty scratch on his cute little bunny head. The last thing I heard from my friend's conversation was a hurried "I'll be right there", and she hung up.

"They have to put my dog down!!" she cried.

As I pondered how tragic such an event must be, I also pondered how much worse it must be when your company is, at that moment, cuddling his own beloved pet and making silly bunny motions.

I ineffectively attempted to console her once again as she departed to tend to her family matters. I closed the door and stood still, quite in shock at the level of disaster of the evening's event, and how quickly it came to an end. I believe the only way it could have been worse was if I had killed her dog.

I stood there a few moments more, confusedly asking the bunny if he had just seen what I had seen. He made no discernable response.

I then joined my friends at the movie, much to their suprise, and with plenty of time to spare. Coincidentally, we saw "The Breakup". It wasn't that good, and it definitely wouldn't have been good if my neighbour-friend had come with me.

Sat, Jun 24, 2006

Summer In The City

Sitting on the patio with a beer, enjoying the fresh air.

Benji leaps for joy in the fenced-off area; space to roam, and traction to run.

Chatting with neighbours as they walk by. "Look, it's a bunny!" they say. "He's so cute!" When everyone on the block has a cat and a dog, it's good to stand out.

Cycling to the Music Garden.

Watching World Cup soccer in HD at all hours of the day.

Força Portugal!

Driving up Dufferin St in a sea of flags of Portugal, Italy, England, Brazil, etc., etc.

Moving from the heat and humidity of the city to the brisk chill of the rink.

Earning another hockey bruise in a well-fought win.

Driving the Indy route while it's stil open to traffic.

Munching on Oreos, scratching bunny's head.

Bunny yawns.

Lather, rinse, repeat with great variation.

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