Monday, February 28, 2011

Neighbour #3: Denied

It is 6 pm. Home from work and having just eaten, I am napping on my couch, wrapped in an afghan blanket, with the iconic local news show, Compass, on TV. This is a ritual.

There is a faint knock at the door. Guess who.

Of course, it is my neighbour. First thing he says is, "hey buddy, I know I owe you $10". Then he launches into a request to use my computer to download an MP3 off his iPod.

Bad move. First, it is generally unwise to disturb Nap Time, especially with something overt like knocking on the door. Second, now you want to escalate this budding friendship by entering my space and using my computer.

Negative. Thankfully, I was sufficiently irked that I didn't give in to country, folksy civility. Screw you, buddy. You aren't getting in my apartment and you aren't using my computer. I told him something about being concerned about viruses (not exactly plausible) and held my ground.

To his credit, my neighbour, a lumbering giant of a man, is kind-hearted. He backed off immediately and disappeared down the hall.

As I returned to my couch, I thought I heard him talking to someone else (did he knock on another door?). Heaven help us.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Missed Opportunities

This is mostly a self-directed vent.

For a venture that remains shrouded in secrecy, I had a personal goal of being recognized by a local radio/TV station within 6 months.

This past week, at the 3 month mark, I scored an interview. I still can't believe it. It is really great news.

It has not aired yet but, alas, I didn't nail it. My voice will be ok, and I didn't say anything too crazy, but I missed a huge opportunity.

I wasn't funny or colourful in any way. I just answered questions earnestly, as though I was 8 years old. I didn't give myself the liberty to (a) take a chance and go "out there" or (b) ask permission beforehand if I could ham it up. Given the subject matter, the interviewer was probably mystified, since the topic involves humour. What's worse, is that I didn't give credit to some key happenings involving social media.

I was a smiling zombie.

As is well-documented on here, when I don't do well in public speaking, I brood for a very long time (months, years). It is vaguely similar to suffering a defeat by the nefarious Jim G.

In my defense, I have a lot going on. I am trying to finish a tech article, and on that day, I was supposed to be interviewed by a local magazine for some tech stuff. That interview evaporated but on that day it seems like I had to be in 4 places at once.

Small consolation, now. The interviewer even said (beforehand) that we could do multiple takes! I guess I clammed up when the microphone was on: 'tis a pity because that's when it counts.

Oh well. We'll see what happens.


ps. More to come after the news comes out...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Neighbour Redux

My neighbour dropped by today, interrupting my train of thought while sequestered, writing an article.

The good news:
  • He mentioned the $10 he owes me, even though said he would have it tomorrow. This shows a cognitive cohesion that spans conversations. I am impressed.
The bad news:
  • He asked for a lift downtown. He was very friendly and polite, but essentially was asking "can you drop everything and give me a lift?". For some incredible reason, I complied.
The weird news:
  • This guy claims to be a major Nascar fan, and has been down to a race in the USA (with his mother). However, he didn't seem to realize that he was visiting while the Daytona 500 was on TV. (It is the start of the season, and a big deal for fans.) I even asked him about it. His answer made no sense.
  • In his defence, Nascar races last 4 hours. I've heard jokes that even rabid fans can go out and do errands/chores and come back for the ending. (Contrast this with F1's efficient 90 minute races)
I do not want this to be my latest Apartment Saga. I don't want a new friend, or at least not this guy. No more taxi rides. Just keep the $10.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Neighbours and Nutjobs

The new apartment is working out pretty well in the winter:
  • the blast-furnace thermals of this building, pure torture in the summer, are now comforting, given a -25 C windchill
  • someone else worries about the snow in the parking lot
Interestingly, a recent turn of events involves my next-door neighbour. I ran into him in the laundry room the other night. He rambled on many subjects, including a trivia night that he ran recently at a club. He asked me the final question:

Two goalies have won the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP in the playoffs). Name them.

I guessed Ken Dryden and, after some thought, Chris Osgood. He beamed, "You got it!". Great! I haven't lost my hockey mojo.

Well. I looked up the answer later. Chris Osgood did not win the Conn Smythe and there a dozen goalies who have won the Conn Smythe award.

Our new friend is a few steps short of a staircase, I'm afraid.

All the more interesting: on Valentine's Day evening, he approached me in the hallway and asked me if he could borrow $10. He had a story about his stranded girlfriend. Though weird, he struck me as honest, so I lent him the cash. He promised to pay me back by Wednesday night.

I write this on Wednesday night. We'll see what happens. I am skeptical that he will remember but I am certain that he will try and mooch something else soon. I wonder what the look on his face will be when I remind him that the juice is already running on the $10 (a gambler's term for interest).

Friday, February 11, 2011


I remember watching The National on CBC, about 3 weeks ago. Two pundits, from Egypt, were predicting the future in their country. The younger said that this would be their Berlin Wall; the older felt that things would change slowly, over years.

The younger woman was spot on, as it turns out.

Today, I think about the young street vendor in Tunisia who set himself on fire, out of rage and humiliation. Tunisia is not Egypt, but one can draw a straight line from that act to today's stunning events.

Mohamed Bouazizi
could not have had any idea of what he would start. I wonder if he does now.