In retail, there are always going to be returning customers. In some cases, those customers are good ones who you don't mind seeing again. In other cases, you rue the day they stepped into your store and singled YOU out for psychological damage.

When I left Kingsway the first time, I was giddy at the thought of potentially not seeing these people ever again.

Now that I'm back? Guh.

I had the misfortune of seeing the two banes of my former stint at KGM enter the store today.

The first is Judith.

Judith is a paraplegic in a wheelchair. And she can't talk properly. And, I'm sorry, but every time she comes in these days, my blood turns to ice.

Because she'll ONLY deal with me.

AND because I can't communicate with her. (And if you know me, you KNOW how much I have the need to communicate. And how it frustrates me if I'm not able to.)

AND because it takes three hours to figure out what she wants.

AND because she's only going to return it the next day. And take ANOTHER three hours worth of time.

So I end up going into the backroom afterwards, ready to cry. Or scream. Or drink copious amounts of alcohol. Or all three simultaneously.

(Heh. Just picturing myself trying to hold down liquor while screaming and crying. Which makes it look like I'm gargling whiskey, for some reason...)

Judith came in today, and ever since I came back, I try to pawn her off on someone else in the store. Just so I don't. Because my patience is a fault in this case.

So today, it was Nathan's turn. I started becoming all busy, filling out waybills and rushing to the backroom. Answering the phone at every opportunity, and keeping talking into the phone after that person's hung up, so I can keep the illusion of "too busy of Judith" alive.

And I shoved Nathan her way.

After a while, he came up to me, and said, "Do you know this person?"

I tell the dead phone, "Hold on for a sec." And I nod at Nathan, still doing anything else to occupy my time.

She wheels over. "Aaaaaio. Aaaaaio." (Kyle. Kyle.)

"I'm busy, Judith. Nathan can help you just as well as I can."

She asks me, in her non-vowelled speech, about "movie machines," which I find to be DVD players.

I turn to Nathan. "Nathan, can you show her the portable DVD players?" And go back to work.

He sells her this small DVD player for $90. Which *I* strap to the back of her wheelchair.

And she asks ME a question, which takes ten attempts at deciphering.

I end up selling her a extension cord and a longer video cable, after about half an hour of trying to decipher what she says.

And I was right up beside her, and could sense the stench of the bile she coughs up. Almost twelve hours later, and I'm STILL retching over it.

So I send her across the way to buy a Lion King DVD. (Unfortunately, my constant attempts at breaking the Judith code back a few years ago makes me the only one who can really understand her on staff. And if *I* am the best shot at understanding her, it means I'm stuck with her a lot.)

And I go in the back room to vent.

Nathan's saying, "Dude, you deserved that for shoving her off onto me."

I look at Nathan square in the eye. "No, I don't. I put up with her for two years. I've paid my dues. THAT'S why I avoid her."

He looks astonished. "Oh. Two years? Okay, then..."

A few hours later, a Chinese man pokes his head into the store. "Kyle! Kyle!"

I furiously look for keeping-busy tasks. Damn. He comes directly up to me. "You're back here now! When did that happen?"

I mutter, "June."

This gentleman called me up a lot when he had problems figuring out how to locate his DVD player icon on the laptop sold by my manager at the time.

And so I became his computer help, receiving incessant calls asking for help. It usually led to tears of frustration and me yelling into the phone.

When I left, it wouldn't have been a problem. Until he somehow learned that I went to Bonnie Doon.

The phone rang one day.

"Good afternoon. RadioShack, your answer store. Kyle speaking."

"Kyle? Kyle!"

My heart sank. After I got off the phone with him, I immediately called up Kingsway.

"All right. Tell me the name of the person who gave out my new location to this guy. And that person will die at my hands."

So, yeah. Hopefully, this rant will help me ease out the frustrating time that today was. Good thing I'm doing stock at the toy store tomorrow, and then on my way to Jasper for the weekend.

Thank god. A break.

* * *

And man, looking at that last post, I really need to clean up my living room if I'm seeing that much stuff...Milk carton beside the couch? Must. Clean.

In parents news, mine are bringing me a dishwasher. Whoo! Another modern convenience I will cherish again!


Following a meme...

Interesting experiment for you to try out: (from this journal I found, who, in turn found it here.)

All The Brand Names I Can See While Typing Without Turning My Head:

Ocean Pacific, Compaq, RadioShack, Panasonic, Minolta, Canon, Reese's, Memorex, Fujifilm, Pepsi, WWE, Microsoft, Fox, Shoppers Drug Mart, Sony, Nintendo, Sears, EMI, Coca Cola, Nabisco.

When I look around the room, I quickly glance at Dairyland, Samsung, Snapple, Sprite, M&Ms, Black & Decker, Dell, Warner Bros (through DC), Marvel, Telus...

(Heh. For even MORE fun, let's see all the brands that have websites attached to them...)

Wow. Pretty scary, that. Stupid branding. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bed. Still tired from last night's inventory and subsequent day at work.


Inventory Rant

I'm going against every instinct right now. Because I shouldn't write when I'm angry.

But it's currently 2:46 am (since I'm disregarding DST for the time being) and I just got back from eight hours of counting crap.

AND I have to be back at the store at 10 am tomorrow.

So I get about six and a half hours of sleep. Where I survive on about eight, and thrive on ten.

Even though we have a few more people than last time show up for inventory, it still took us a while to get the first batch of counting, because there were some people who have never done an inventory.

When we WERE done the first count, I wanted to leave so I could get some much needed sleep.

Jeff asked me if I could stay a bit longer. I said I'd rather catch my bus.

He said my last bus would leave at two in the morning, so could I stay an hour later?

I grudgingly agreed. Because I was tired and am too stupid to realize that the bus stops running from Kingsway to Southgate at 12:45. But goes North for another hour.

In fact, D! and I were burned by this last week. But, I was tired and stupid.

When I looked up the bus schedule, I just yelled, "FUCK!"

Nothing I could do other than wait for Jeff to give me a ride home. So I put on my headphones and started looking for wrong counts. (Thank God for Andre 3000's The Love Below)

Jeff saw that I was all quiet and counting. He told Martin, "Hey, he looks like he's doing all right. He's still counting, and he doesn't look mad."

Martin said, "Don't approach him. He learned that he missed his bus by staying late. He's pretty pissed."

What can I say? Even though I was pissed, it was better to listen to Outkast and just do work. Sulking and complaining wouldn't have done anything.

But, time for bed. So I can actually function tomorrow.

And, Dev, if you read this, I might be a bit late for Kow today. 6 pm is kind of hard to make when I work until 5:30.



My evening with Justice, better booking, and sweet hiphop action...

Spent an enjoyable evening with Justice last night.

It was supposed to be Dev, Astro, Justice and me. Unfortunately, Dev got sick, and Astro had forgotten about an evening at home with the wife.

So, just the two of us. I showed him my new place (we hadn't hung out for over a year), we watched some stuff off of my computer, we took off for some food and drink, and them played some multiplayer Gamecube madness.

We had fun even with meeting some people on Whyte, begging for money (of course). We thought these two people would hit it off fabulously together, one having just arrived from jail, and another who could do one-armed pushups.

They could go into the panhandling business together! Pushups and stories about jail.

Just one of the reasons I don't like to go on Whyte after dark. (Well, that, and the way my interpersonal dynamics with strangers completely went downhill after the assault...)

But, always a fun time when I hang out with Justice. And hopefully, it won't be another year before the next time we meet...

* * *

Paul Heyman's back in the WWE! WHOOOO! (This is the point where all you anti-wrestling heathens can scroll down to the next bit.)

It was a long time coming, with Heyman taking a break from on-air appearances. And he had a falling out with the powers that be, so his role in the fed was cut quite considerably.

But now he's back as Smackdown's General Manager! And already, the stories are improving.

Only one MacMahon on Smackdown, now. So a lot less of undeserved non-wrestler storyarcs. And not a hint of sewage jokes, like the past few weeks between Eddie Guerrero and the Big Show.

Nope. Just good ol' wrestling and old-school mentality.

Heyman books a match between the Undertaker and the combination of Brock Lesnar (WWE Champion) and the Big Show (US Champion). The stipulation is that if 'Taker wins, he gets to choose his next match.

So after the Undertaker pins Big Show, Heyman comes out.

"Oh, I'm so sorry! My first day on the job, and I make a mistake. I forgot to mention that this is a best out of three falls!"

He starts the match back up. 'Taker manages to get the two opponents counted out. He wins the second fall.

Heyman: "Oops! I did it again! I forgot to mention there are no countouts!"

Match starts back up. Big Show brings out a chair and hits the Undertaker with it. Undertaker wins by DQ.

Heyman: "Where is my mind today? I forgot to mention: no DQs!"

Match starts up again. 'Taker realizes that there is no DQ, so he uses a foreign object against both Big Show and Lesnar , and then wins the match.

AND there's nothing Heyman can do about it. Because no stipulation he threw on conflicted with a previous one. And it worked out logically.

Brilliant booking. Other than the Undertaker taking out the top two champions on Smackdown. So it has a bit of a way to go. Still, big improvements...

* * *

Picked up the new Outkast disc last night. Whee!

I love the way that these guys don't play by the hip hop rules, per say. They tend to experiment, and go out into new directions.

The new album, The Love Below/Speakerboxxx is both members putting out solo albums, and releasing it as a two-disc set. Some great stuff on there, including Andre 3000's "Hey Ya," a whole riff on the Beatles and Motown.

My only beef is that the last album by Outkast I picked up was their greatest hits album. So it was the top of their game. Some of the tracks on the new album don't quite measure up to the greatest hits. Which is understandable. But still...

* * *

Got to cut it short here, as I have to book for inventory at work. Fun times! The choir's Hallowe'en party on tonight, and I get to count how many batteries are missing. Wheee!


Two interesting developments, and a loss...

Yesterday, Jeff figured out a way to make me freak out completely:

Offer me my own store.

Not was the assistant manger, like I've decided to go for. The manager of my own store.

I was scared. And sweating. And thankful. But scared.

I declined the store. Jeff told me to convince him why I wouldn't go for the opportunity.

I guess I value the bit of free time I currently have too much, to manage a store where I'd be most likely working a lot more. Especially over Christmas.

Even if I had a bunch of staff like Nathan. Even with a whole bunch of help from Jeff.

I'll just be too busy with other stuff right now to take over a store.

Although I was amazed that Jeff and Mitch would think of me to take Westmount over, oh, say, all the assistant managers in the area.

Looking back on it, I think I would have taken a Rogers AT&T store if I were offered it, though...

But RadioShack? During Christmas? God, no.

* * *

I was over at the house last night, watching some more 24.

When Dev went to bed, Canton and I were watching a last episode before we called it a night. With ten minutes to go, I paused it to go to the washroom.

I do my business, and open the door. I said, I OPEN the DOOR! Stupid door! Why won't you OPEN?

Try as I might, I can't get the damn thing open.

Canton comes and tries to help me. We take the doorknob off. Try to tinker with the bolt mechanism. No dice.

Dev comes out. They're both trying to figure out what the problem is. I can't hear a thing, because the fan and light are wired into the same switch. The only time I could hear them talking is when I turned out the lights.

They pass through a set of needlenose pliers. I try to jimmy open the mechanism. Nope.

We consider taking me through the second story window. Not the greatest of plans, but.

OOH! The hinges! So I try to take the hinges off with the pliers. A bit of soap, and conditioner later, I get a hinge off. The next one comes pretty easily.

Hinges are sort of rusted to each other, so it takes a bit of manwork on Dev and Canton's parts to take the door out.

After half an hour, the door is off the hinges, although the house's landlord will most likely have to replace it. It's a little splintered at the knob and hinge areas. And they'll need to replace the rusted hinges and mechanism.

Stupid house.

Axler comes in to see me in the open doorway, and asks why we didn't try to pick the mechanism open. Once he sees how rusted it was, he just sighs and nods.

Yup. Stuck in the bathroom for a half hour. Always fun times at the house. Especially when I start yelling, "I'm stuck in the bathroom! Call my dad at CTU!"

* * *

Two days ago, I went to work, and brought my gloves just in case. (It's getting chilly here in Edmonton.) Or, at least, I brought my gloves with me on the bus. And promptly forget them there.

Damn. Those were some $40 gloves I got about five years ago. And they were nice and big and warm.

Looks like I'll be shopping for a new pair in a bit. Just another thing to buy when I've got money NOT earmarked towards rent.


Odd Transformations 7, and Hostage Pants

It's a dream like today's that makes me wish I'd either a) stop dreaming stuff like this, or b) stop jotting down stuff like this.

My dog was hurt. Bad. As in, he had some sort of disease or flesh-eating bacteria or something. I remember seeing him in the dream, and from then on, having to not look Piers in the face, because it was too traumatic.

My grandma's cat was suffering from something similar. I took them both to a vet, and they said it was terminal.

I remember asking if I sacrificed the cat, would my dog be well again?

And Caboodle was back for a cameo, trying to pet "Puppy." Which I couldn't allow, due to how bad the dog was sick.

Yipes. Why must I have traumatic dreams about Piers? This is the pet I've loved the most.

It's bad enough that he's got one eye these days, and that I haven't seen him in about two years.

Sigh. I miss my dog.

* * *

So I was doing some laundry on Saturday night.

My dress clothes needed to be cleaned for this week's work schedule.

When I was leaving for some hangout time with girlone, I couldn't get my laundry into a dryer. So I left it there.

Sunday, I woke up feeling horrible, and so I didn't go in to work. It was kind of a good thing, since I didn't have any dry dress clothes, and because I needed the rest to heal.

On Monday, I dragged myself to work regardless, and woke up early to put my stuff in the dryer.

Which is when I realized that my landlord locked the laundry room on Sunday, and hadn't been back to unlock it.

So all the was between me and dry clothes for work was a locked door.

My pants were taken hostage by my building.

Luckily, I was able to find a clean pair of pants and a clean shirt. And I scrounged up a mismatching but clean pair of dark socks.

Today, however, my laundry's going to be dry!

* * *

I had a fun talk with my friend Cricket last night.

Her MSN name was "I eat monters, burp!"

Which, of course, as I knew, was from a Dennis Lee book I read from a LOOONG time ago (and had the album on reel-to-reel). (Well, actually, I thought it was Robert Munsch at first, but Cricket corrected me.)

So it turned into a talk about favourite stuff from our childhood. Good stuff...


Dream Job

Yes, this would have to be my dream job.

Time to move to California.

And what the HELL was up with my dream about the musical and Nicole Kidman down a few posts? (10/07) Was I on smack?

Note to self: Stop dreaming those sorts of dreams.

I'd say something about just not writing down these dreams, but it's good in some respects to do that. Otherwise, they'd just leave my mind while I'm on my way to work. Although, it would make for a few less emails asking why I'm so screwed up...

Listening to: Outkast's new single (well, Big Boi's, anyway), I Like the Way You Move.

Reading: Some of Dave Sim's Cerebus (mostly Church and State). Finished House of Leaves.

"It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Ranting..."

Picture the title line being sung to the tune of that well-known Christmas song, and you'll have an inkling of what I am about to go off on...

Yesterday was October 17th. Halfway through October. Two weeks before Hallowe'en. (Or, as I like to call it, "showing MFJ the subtleties of Jago family dynamics in action in a car heading to Jasper") Two months and one week before Christmas.

While I was running through the Bay en route to my store, I noticed that fake evergreens were placed everywhere. And there were ornaments on them.

Fuck. The mall has entered Christmas Overdrive.

My least favourite place to be is a mall during November. Because you can't escape retail's golden quarter. Every store will make sure that customers know it's time to hock their life savings to buy gifts for those special someones.

I love Christmas. LOVE it. It's a time where I can get together with family members I rarely see, and just have a good time with my loved ones.

I avoid malls like the plague during Christmas, usually taking three hours of one night to buy gifts and never coming back into the stressed-out environs of the concrete mass of retail goods.

It's kind of hard, though, when I work in a mall. The past three winters, I've worked in malls. So I grind my teeth and try to ignore it.

"Try" being the key word. It'll be a long two months.

* * *

Went out and improv'd last night. I enjoyed it immensely.

I was hoping I'd be able to make a team up with Dev and Canton, since the teams we assemble will be with us for the long haul.

Unfortunately, Dev was working last night, and Canton had tickets to the Eskimos/Blue Bombers game.

So I arrive at the theatre, figuring out if I wanted to go on a team, or just play in the elimination round.

I ended up on a team with Randy and Paul (the Wombats). And we had fun.

And we won. Whoo!

My fave scene from last night had to be the Shakespeare scene we were given.

Randy asked for his character's tragic flaw. "A lisp!"

So the way the scene played out, every citizen of the country (well, Randy as the king, and me as his servant) spoke with a lisp.

I ended up trying to mispronounce as many S-words as I could. "Sthall I sthlay him, sthire?" Etc. It was one horrible Daffy Duck/Sylvester cartoon, diction-wise...

It was revealed that it was a curse on the land that was broken when we slayed a demon.

So I tried it out. "Sally sells seashells on the seashore. My liege! It worked!"

The audience of six (sigh) seemed to enjoy themselves.

So an open invite to all my readers (who aren't already involved in Survival): Come see some fun improv comedy on the occasional Friday night! Dev, Canton, D!, Marauder, and I are all there busting our humps for some laughs, and it would be a shame to see the troupe die due to no audience.

I can give you details to shows as they happen.


Odd Transformations 6, hurting my ass, and the stupidest character on TV...

Dream from this morning:

I was with a group of friends, from all different aspects of my life. I recognized some people, others were just bit players in this dream, I guess.

We were taking a walk through some neighbourhood, and this girl that I have a thing for and some random jackass, who have been flirting ALL evening (you know when you have definite emotions happening in dreams, even when the dream starts halfway through? That's the thing here. I only recall this dream starting at this point. It's assumed they've been looking at each other for hours beforehand...) lag behind.

I get jealous.

Yes. Even my subconscious is against my lack of romance, apparently...

We start jibing the new couple, and I keep my jealous nature inside.

We go back to this house/public hall, where spatial relationships do not stay constant. Doors which SHOULD lead to such room, end up leading outside, etc. (I blame House of Leaves for this. Stupid subconscious assimilation of my reading...)

We start drinking in the main room of the house. At this point, all in attendace are guys. I recognize Sjoberg as well as Random Jackass. The party gets rowdy. I sit in a chair beside the front door, pleasantly under the spell of a few drinks, keeping to myself.

Cops come in. Smalltown cops, who decide to flaunt their authority. Sjoberg does not take well to this at all.

The cops start roughing up my friends. I keep seated, not wanting to draw attention to myself.

The cops are done beating up my friends. They're leaving, and one of them says something stupid as a farewell line.

I pipe up. "Was that supposed to rhyme?"

Their attention shifts to me. A beat passes, and then I bolt, the cops in pursuit.

We're running around the house, I look back, and the lead cop's got a glass jug of Kool-Aid, yelling how he didn't have time to prepare the torture he had planned for me (involving some of his bodily fluids), and how he'd have to improvise.

The last thing I remember before I wake up is the glass jug shattering around my legs, and my legs getting pretty torn up.

* * *

Was invited to a post-Thanksgiving meal by girlone, a gathering of a few friends at the Party House.

Delicious meal made by girlone and Kristus - Lasagna, caesar salad, garlic bread, and pie. (Sorry about all the mushroom remnants on my plate, dear. Not a big fan of that vegetable.)

Took some good pics of Caboodle, and just enjoyed the company of my friends.

The Jahns' came by, and JJ and I decided to take some pics of me and her wrestling. Well, *I* decided, and JJ played along.

So I gave her a Rock Bottom. Well, a few of them actually. Now I'm not for violence against women, but I'm a big fan of the wrestling, and JJ humours me by locking up with me in the ol' squared circle. Or living room, or outside, or wherever...

And we had to get the pics correct, and so I drove her into the couch a few times for the best visual. And then from HER angle, etc.

But the pics look pretty cool. Especially from her angle.

From my angle, it COULD be a Clothesline from Hell I'm giving her, instead of a Rock Bottom.

From the other way? DEFINITELY a Rock Bottom.

And I decided to pull a thigh muscle doing it. Yup. I hurt MY ass making sure that JJ doesn't get hurt after driving her flat onto a couch.

The things I do for comedy...

* * *

Is it just me, or is Kim Bauer 24's stupidest character? It's gotten to the point where she makes the wrong move on purpose just to get into more trouble. (This post is spoiler-free, JJ!)

These days, Canton, Dev and I make fun of her whenever she's on screen.

"Help! I've got my head caught in a bannister! Call my dad at CTU!"

I predicted she'd fall off a mountain, while Stan thought she'd be mauled by a bear.

Nope, the truth is much, MUCH stupider...


I am a hockey GOD!

Pulled into first place in the store hockey pool.

While Jeff has a pretty impressive selection of players, I'm just getting the goals more frequently.

At last count, with four days into the NHL season, here are the stats:

Jeff: 8 goals, 18 assists, 1 goalie win, 1 goalie tie

Me: 11 goals, 10 assists, 2 goalie wins, 1 goalie tie

(You score 2 points for a goal, 1 for a tie, 2 for a goalie win, 1 for a tie, and 4 for a shutout. Stupid Cechmanek was NOT in the net when the Kings got a shutout. No points there, dammit...)

The next guy is 11 points behind us.

Lord of the hockey pool. At least for today...

Life is good.

Reminiscences with a very old friend...

After a LONG night at work (Went in for six hours to renovate some walls) last night, it was a welcome change to have Thanksgiving dinner with my friend of 12 years, Heath, and his new girlfriend Pam.

Last time I saw Heath was a year ago, when he came up to see Kow perform at Northern Harmony 2002.

It's nice to see things don't change much, as was evidenced by Heath yelling at me through the closed doors of the store.

After a delicious dinner, we sat on the couch, and talked.

I feel sorry for Pam, who had to sit through a crapload of "Ooooh! Remember when we did that thing with so-and-so?" and then Heath and I laughing our asses off, while trying to explain the story behind that gem of a joke.

And there were a lot of things that Heath brought up that I had totally forgot about, such as the "Mister Flat Five" solo I was gypped out of back in Grade 12, because my voice decided to take a long extended vacation.

Or the parody of Guys and Dolls' "More I Cannot Wish You" that Heath, Shauna and I wrote back in Grade 12.

(Story behind this: I was in a jazz choir back in high school, one that was probably in the top ten in Canada in terms of quality for a few years, anyway...

We had gone to the Rocky Mountain Music Festival held in Banff and had Phil Mattson (one of THE vocal jazz arrangers in the world today) listen to our performance.

He came in to our workshop afterwards, and said, "It's so nice to not have to deal with the usual things a vocal jazz group usually have problems with. There's nothing I can really fix with your performance. Let's just sit and talk."

So we were talking to PHIL MATTSON!!!! about vocal jazz. And we were just awestruck.

Here was a guy whose songs we memorized, whose arrangements were notoriously hard, but sounded SO beautiful when done correctly, saying that we didn't have to worry about anything to change during HIS arrangement, and just talked about how we felt about music. One of the best musical moments of my life.

The next year, we got a copy of a song he was arranging (More I Cannot Wish You) before it went to the publisher, just because he wanted us to be one of the first groups to perform it.)

I remember the song WE wrote went a little something like:

Velcro I will miss you, you can do such neato stuff
Like tie my shoes and keep my zipper up
Velcro I will miss you, for you're awesome, swell, no guff
My leggings won't ride up...

Afterwards, the three of us took a walk down Whyte Ave.

I get to see him tomorrow, before he goes back to Prince Albert. Whoo!

* * *

Kit, thanks for the invite to last night's dinner. If I weren't up to the elbows in Panasonic video wall parts, I would have been SO there.

ESPECIALLY if pumpkin pie was on the menu...


Celebrity Rebublicans, Pools, and a Must-See Movie...

And so begins a new era in California politics when it was announced that Arnold Schwartzenegger will be the new state governor.

Granted, the vote on recalling Gray Davis was very close (something like 53% for, 47% against), which doesn't surprise me at all from what I know of the American voting process.

From all I've seen of elections down south, there is something that will never change: 45% of the voters will vote Republican, and 45% will vote Democrat. No matter who is on the ballot, if the Republican candidate is Jesus Christ and the Democratic candidate is Pee-Wee Herman, this ratio will always stay the same. ALWAYS.

So there's only a 10% margin out there who actually change their vote depending on the circumstances. And this margin is always who the candidates actively campaign for.

So the 45% Republican block voted for the recall (since a GOOD Republican would never think twice about voting a Democrat out of office), as well as an extra 8% of the swing vote.

8% of a voting public who were either caught up in a celebrity governor possibility, or who were stupid enough to endorse throwing out a governor who was voted on by the majority of Californian voters the first time.

I have two things to say on this:

1) If you voted the guy in, DON'T complain about what you get. You made the bed, now you should lie in it...

2) If the reason you were angry at Gray Davis was due to the overwhelming debtload he incurred and the crippling power outages, why would you ever actively endorse throwing some many millions of dollars on the costliest election in California?

2a) And why wouldn't you recognize the the federal government is to blame in some respect? Since they were the ones who decided to deregulate the power industry, which lost revenue for the state, as well as let the corporations throw the state into blackouts...

I'm just wondering how long it's going to take the Republicans to realize they have a governor on their side in name only. I mean, Arnold stands for a LOT of things that the G.O.P. hates.

I'm sure the only reason they voted for him is because it makes their party look good.

Eurgh. it's going to be a long four years in Sacramento...

* * *

I decided to join a hockey pool in the store that Jeff was organizing.

Now, while I am somewhat interested in hockey, I'm mostly a stats guy. I don't like watching the sport until playoffs hit.

Still, I like to think I know a bit about my picks, since I do follow the statistics.

And so, yesterday, after a long morning at work (Regional Manager visit, so I was there at 7:30 am), five guys decided to spend the afternoon doing the draft, in between helping out customers.

So there was a lot of, "Okay, Kyle's done selling that cell phone. Let's go to the back and get the next round done..."

I like to think that my unorthodox style of picking helped me out some. I decided to take a goalie in the first round, since my theory is, there's a crapload of good forwards, but a great goalie is hard to get.

So I picked Martin Brodeur first.

I was able to get a few good picks in (not such a hard thing with only 5 people in the pool): Paul Kariya (Colorado), Mats Sundin (Toronto), Ryan Smyth (Edmonton), Brett Hull (Detroit), Scott Neidermeyer (New Jersey), plus a whole lot more.

I think I did a pretty good job, considering I have no clue what I'm doing. I chose my second goalie on how frustrated I was when I heard his name out loud. ("Cechmanek SAVES!" was a mantra that haunted me and Canton whenever we played against Philadelphia in NHL 2002.)

I found this kickass website that does EVERYTHING in terms of pool stats...and for only two dollars! Whoo!

So how the hell did I become such a hockey nut in two days? A $125 pot, I guess. And competition...

* * *

Saw Jack Black in "School of Rock" this evening.

SUCH a good movie. It starts off with Jack Black being his Tenacious D persona, a jackass wannabe rock star.

When he needs money, he steals a substitute teaching job from his roommate, and thinks of it as a babysitting job, not wanting to teach the kids at all, until he finds out they can play music very well.

It turns into one of the best family movies I've seen in a long, long time.

Mostly because while Black is his usual hilarious self, he's not afraid to let the kids take center stage.

And the kids are great! All the rock music the kids play are actually done by the actors, and it's amazing how good these 10-year-olds are.

I saw the movie with Marauder and Dev, and all of us are now raving about it hardcore.

A movie I very highly recommend. Even if you're not a big Jack Black fan.

Listening to: School of Rock, an original song off the movie's soundtrack; Immigrant's Song by Led Zeppelin.


Wedding Angst, Thanksgiving Dinner and a New Hire...

So my cousin Colin's getting married next month, and I'm going to Jasper with MFJ for the wedding.

First of all, Colin's only a year younger than I, but I still feel that as the eldest of this generation of Jago relatives, that I've failed in some way for not being the first one to get married. Or, you know, even GET a girlfriend. (I hear that it's helpful to get a fiancee BEFORE the marriage part...)

I dunno. Maybe it's because I'm 26. Or because I keep on seeing people get married. Or maybe because I'm getting old. In any case, makes for some mixed feelings about Colin and Joanne.

And MFJ said that if I didn't get a date for the wedding (which isn't looking likely), she'd be willing to act as an escort. Have I touched on this before? (Yes, I did. August 28th, towards the bottom of the previous page... Gee, thanks, me. No probs.)

She's cool with it, and Dev's cool with it, and I'm cool with it. It'd be a lot less of an issue if it were in town, though, instead of a long weekend in a resort town.

Kind of daunting if I were asking someone I was interested in. "Hey, babe, I know it's kinda a weird first date, but want to go to Jasper for a weekend? For a wedding?"

But since MFJ and I are good friends, it's not a big deal, I guess. At least all of us are cool with it.

* * *

Looks like I'll be getting to have Thanskgiving dinner with Heath this year, since he's coming up for spend time with his Edmonton girlfriend.

And he's cooking a turkey, something he's never done before.

It reminds me of this one time when Heath, Rich, Perry, Kingston and I made a huge dinner of ribs and steaks at a place Heath was housesitting in either Regina or Saskatoon.

I was in charge of the garlic bread.

It was a good time, and a huge meal for five strapping young (20) lads. One fun evening, although I didn't think of it until Heath gave me the invite to this one...

* * *

Have a new hire, Amanda at work. She started today.

So far, she seems like she'll fit in.

I was doing some work at the computer for Jeff, who wanted me to proofread a letter he was sending to Rogers AT&T. (I am Jeff's goto guy for writing.)

Every time Jeff went by, he'd punch me in the shoulder, earning threats that I could, if he wanted, make the letter a incoherent mess of swears and gibberish.

So he's leading Amanda to the back, punches me in the shoulder and mentions, "It's tradition to punch Jago in the shoulder." (Did I mention I have an abusive boss?)

So she punches me. Hard.

"GAH!" I yell.

Later on, I'm taking lunch in the back room, and Jeff, Martin (came in on his day off to do some errands), Nathan and Darren are all in the back as well.

Amanda comes in. "Hey! Why are you guys all allowed to hang out in the back room? Why not me?"

Me: (looking dead serious) "Oh, maybe because we're all male?"

She glares at me.

Man, mock angry glares, unprovoked attacks...It's like I'm working with MFJ...

* * *

I've pretty much figured out my position at RadioShack.

I tend to be the old veteran, but also am the very sarcastic know-it-all.

Since I have so much experience, and know how to do alomst anything asked of me by my bosses, I can afford to be the flippant one.

Chris, my old manager at Bonnie Doon, used to mutter that I was karmic retribution for all his misdeeds in the company.

For Jeff, it's usually a matter of saying, "You know what? You can really be annoying at times. You REALLY frustrate me."

I figure that I'm more along the lines of the slave that Roman authority figures would have at their sides to keep them humble. The ones who kept on saying, "Thou art NOT a god. Thou are mortal."

Yup. That's pretty much me in a nutshell. Always there with the ability and opportunity to take someone out at the knees with my sarcasm...


Odd Transformations 5

Woke up in the midst of this dream (or selected highlights that I can remember):

There's a street fair in Moose Jaw, or a place that has similar geography. While this is going on, I'm participating in a 50's style comedy musical a la Bye Bye Birdie, but featuring time travel for sure, since I was able to go back through time to fix the end of the story.

Canton and Astro were definitely featured actors along with me, and there was a lot of dancers, to the point that they had some guys in drag to boost the numbers.

After leaving the show, I go back out to the Moose Jaw environment where I find Laura, MFJ and Dev. We talk for a bit.

Instead of going out to a cast party, I decide to hang out at Kit's house and interact with the party via Messenger. I definitely recall corresponding with Nicole Kidman, who was at the party...

I ask if the run of the musical ended today, or if it'll go on until Thursday. This is apparently bad, since I've got choir on Wednesday that I, along with Canton, will have to skip.

The dream ends with a VERY precocious Caboodle, who has gone beyond mere words and can speak complete sentences. And she's 22 months old.

She gets injured due to our roughhousing, and I spend the end of the dream taking care of Caboodle and wiping the blood away from her forehead.


Oh, that wacky gubernatorial.race...

I went over to D!'s place last night to watch some Smackdown. Befor the show came on, D! was watching the Game Show Network's "Who Wants to Be the Governor of California," the first (I kid you not) game show featuring candidates from the election. Six candidates: A porn starlet, a frat boy, a crazy old man, a performance artist who only wears blue, the son of a basketball player, and Gary Coleman.

And the prize was a campaign contribution.

I was shocked, but then I thought, "You know, that's a pretty good way to feature some candidates, who wouldn't get time in the media to actually distinguish themselves..."

So D! and I found the porn starlet to be the most annoying, because she kept on jumping up and down, and just acting like a porn star, not a candidate.

And sometimes, there is such a thing as too much boob...

Good idea, but, yipes. There are some crazy, attention-starved people running...


Geeking out.

After choir today, Dev told me he had broken down and bought the second season of 24, one of the best-written dramas on television. The continuity on the show is simply amazing, with the entire season taking place over one day.

AND the villains aren't written like total buffoons.

It makes me with that a similar approach was taken by the WWE in their storylines.

Just give the audience credit, already...

So, Dev and I walked MFJ home, picked up some snacks, and dropped on the couch, ready to watch the DVD.

Last year, when we watched the first season, it was the bunch of obsessed geeks, watching the television like our lives depended on it.

Canton would let out these gasps of "eek!" as well as pretty much screaming like a girl whenever any plot twist jumped out at us.

So Canton was on his computer, and he asked, "So you guys are watching 24?"

"Yup," Dev and I said.

"I'm going to my room, then. Catch up on some reading."

Seven minutes later, he comes out of his bedroom.

"I hate you guys. What's happened so far?"

So, we watched the first three episodes. When Jack shoots an informant for a big trial coming up to get over good with a terrorist, my jaw dropped.

"You know, George," Keifer Sutherland said onscreen, examining the body, "you're just the kind of guy who doesn't like getting his hands dirty...

"Now, I'm going to need a hacksaw," he finishes, staring at the corpse's neck.

I love this show...

* * *

Verbal exchange of the day:

Jen, our stock girl, said something sarcastically at the store today.

ME: "Wow. Jen's becoming quite the sarcastic girl today."

TERRY: "Well, a healthy amount of sarcasm each day tends to make your bones strong and healthy."

ME: "No, Terry, I'm pretty sure that's milk, not sarcasm."

TERRY: "Oh, right. I always get those two mixed up..."

* * *

Reading: House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski; as well as Book Five of The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan.

I also finished up Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden recently.

Listening to: My mix CD I made a few weeks back. Doris Day, Stevie Wonder, Steve Burns, WHAM, and a bunch more stuff...