Friday, March 30, 2007

heart of darkness, Mumbai 2007

I suppose it serves me right for reading the Report on Business that came with the Globe and Mail that some friends brought home today, but my god!

There is an article in the latest issue about a Canadian hotel magnate named Kurtz Izzy Sparks, and how he's building a Four Seasons monstrosity in Mumbai on the border of some slums, and how he'll be charging $400 USD a night but paying $200 USD a month to employees, and what a great business case that is!

And there is a photo of sweating Indian workers in tattered workpants and dusty undershirts who are constructing the hotel, and the article EVEN COMMENTS ON HOW THEY DON'T WEAR HELMETS OR STEEL TOED BOOTS, you know, no safety standards, but treats this fact as a curiosity and not a horror. The article looks at the whole thing from the angle of "the challenge of leveraging business opportunities in the developing world".

The article describes a recruitment seminar, and notes with admiration how a Four Seasons executive announced to throngs of would-be applicants "We are about luxury". (It is important to make very clear the level of quality that will be required from employees.) If hotel guests want to go for a run, they will be shuttled past slums (perhaps in a windowless van?) to a guarded racetrack a few blocks away.

Think of the challenges, folks. I mean how on earth can they have a showered-daily uniformed bellhop who can be sure to speak English (without too much of an Indian accent) when this vulnerable hotel chain, they have such a weak pool of uneducated slum-dwellers to draw on? (Oh! The challenges!)

UPDATE: I think I'll get some quotes from the article up here so you get the truly rancid taste in your mouth. There is also a photograph of Mr. Izzy Sparks himself, standing proudly on a vast, perfectly manicured and pesticided lawn (I think an apt symbol of the forced prostitution of Izzy's Planet Earth -- shaved snizz, poisoned veins and all), gazing off into space like the manly visionary he surely imagines himself to be, chains of man-jewelry around his neck (the kind that will no doubt morph, in the afterlife, into the Jacob Marley variety), loud Hawaiian-style shirt billowing lightly in the breeze.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

more phlegmy than phlegmatic

In these circumstances, the trick is to:
  1. fill a stainless steel bowl with boiled water
  2. sprinkle in a few drops of tea tree oil
  3. stick your head over it
  4. cover your noggin and the bowl with a towel
  5. breath as deeply as you can - haul that stuff deep into your lungs and relax even as you begin to suspect that your face is about to melt off

The other trick is to not overwork all week and then have ten people over for the weekend for a massive impromptu Thai curry and multiple bottles of wine sleepover. Do you know that one?

In other news, I found a replacement for the Rat at last. And guess what!? Although I kind of had my eye on anything but a Honda Civic hatchback, I wound up with a Honda Civic hatchback! I blame my deep reluctance to change and the capriciousness of the used car market this week. This slick, rust-free seven-year-old ride is already pimped out: it has power steering, tinted windows and a spoiler - you know, for when I am driving in the Fortune Indy 500 or whatever those races are called, and I need a spoiler to keep the back of my car from flying off into the stratosphere due to sheer torque or powerforce or spacemagic. (I never took physics.) I was told that the mini-spoiler is actually to keep crap from spraying up on the back window in inclement weather, but I know better.

Anyhow, despite this apparent flashiness, the car doesn't have power windows or cruise control or any of that (which is just more stuff that can break). It also meets my requirement of being a gas-sniffer (better it than me).

Now do yourself a favour and go read about sharks and dolphins.

Monday, March 26, 2007

a correction

An early birthday present! I was way off base about Ratt, apparently. We all were.

Roo, fallen behind on my Banjeroo reading, but thought I'd mention that the photo you posted looks nothing like the original Ratt, who specialized in Glam Bluegrass. It's been photoshopped. Here's the actual photo.

Best regards,
The Dude

Sunday, March 25, 2007

bobbbobobobbbbbbob BOB!


Well, so what's the deal with Bob Wiseman? I dunno, go ask him. All I wanted to say is I've been listening to his music and enjoying the general tomfoolery for a loooong time. Yayayayayayay Bob Wiseman.

What a great lark for me that Bob himself commented on my blog (a couple of posts ago). I'm excitable. It made me jump around. Then I called my friend in the UK and gave a message to her husband demanding that he tell her about it, because she was out.

My friend Mike who is a huge U2 fan is now hoping that if I mention U2, Bono will come forth with some friendly remarks.

Well, I'm waiting. In the meantime, avail yourself of some Bobbbbbbbbbb. To me, it's sort of like taking a really high quality multi-vitamin and knocking it back with some super tasty beer, then riding a pony who is gentle but spirited. Fun and good for you and not quite what you were expecting.

through a glass darkly, but chuckling the whole time

I give you A Copper Cylinder.

This first post may prove to be the only post from John White, another friend of mine who is trying to be anonymous out here in the wide world of the weinernet, but I'm hoping there's more.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

music I am currently playing repeatedly

A few weeks ago at a great little live music joint in the countryside near my city I heard Beirut played between sets of Bob Wiseman. (BOB FREAKING WISEMAN!!!!!)

So having recently become enamoured of the Beirut album Gulag Orkestar, I was going to post the youtube video for "Scenic World", shot in a Sweet n' Low factory -- but it has since been removed or made private or something. Seems this song is becoming some sort of hit, but I like to narcissistically pretend that I just found it myself independently and am the only one playing it my car (yes, still the Ratt, I give it up in a few days) and singing at the top of my lungs. So go listen to it on the Beirut myspace page linked above instead.

If you're wondering who the hell Bob Wiseman is, go check out his site (linked above) and maybe even email his mom. Here's a little Bob video for you as well. And his blog.

Friday, March 16, 2007

goodbye, Rat! hello, Ratt!!!!!!!

Thanks for working together to make this happen, Sgazzetti, The Dude, and Mike!

And blackbeltbarrister, thanks for reminding me of how much I love doing high-speed hand-brake turns in freshly fallen wet snow. Yeah, I'm almost 34 and I do doughnuts in the parking lot. I'm a jackass, what can I say?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

adieu, Rat! hello new iPod!

Miracles happen! I just sold my 15-year-old car! As is! For 500 whole dollars! After full, open, almost inappropriately enthusiastic disclosure of how crappy it was! Including sending these pictures to the purchaser of my wheel wells, which have been clearly gnawed on, savagely and unrelentingly, by the Winter Roadsalt Monster and his little friend Gross Neglect:

And the crack in the windshield! Which has always struck even the most stout-hearted passenger with twinges of uneasiness, or more commonly, terror:

It's sort of hard to see there, but really, that thing always looks like it's about to shatter into long shards and puncture a lung if I brake too hard. It's almost two feet long.


Dear Red Rat,

I used to call you the Red Rocket (unimaginative, I know), and then the Red Rooster (a little better), but most of my friends know you as The Rat. Once a cute 1992 Honda Civic hatchback, you aged poorly, going from being like a cuddly panda calmly munching on bamboo shoots in a verdant eastern forest to being like a mangy, flea-bitten, beady-eyed scavenger of the seediest, filthiest urban gutter. Skittery and unpredictable, you were a car people would approach with disgust and enter with revulsion. You made people uncomfortable no matter how short or long the drive.

Oh, it's easy to rhapsodize. I never really knew when, say, an axle would snap, like that one time, with three friends in the car, and your front driver side suddenly collapsed on itself, just as we were about to pull onto the high-speed boulevard. I appreciated the timing though. Thanks for letting us live.

I'll be frank. I won't miss the way you always have a wet floor on the driver's side, even on hot, dry days, so I've had to roll up my pants when I drive you no matter what. I won't miss the way you would momentarily silence the stereo every time I shifted gears in very cold weather. I won't miss the way your headlights sometimes just stay on for a while when I've turned them OFF and removed the key from the ignition.

What I will miss is how you could carry an entire futon, or a Christmas tree, or, for that matter -- about 10 crates of books, 2 rolled-up carpets, a microwave, and a huge backpack full of camping gear when I was moving by myself and couldn't afford a truck. I doubt I'll ever have such an ambitious little car again.

Fare thee well, Rat! Let's hope your new owner soups you up and makes you look like this, the car you always dreamed of being:

(Forget the boring utility of helping a girl move apartments. Let some young man with mad skilz in auto body work take you cruising for chicks up and down the main street with dazzling new tinted windows and "ground effects".)


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

to the power of two

Just had two dear friends (brothers) from Edmonton visit me. They never read this website, or at least I don't think they do. I think it's because they have better things to do than sit in front of a computer; that or I swear too much. (Shocking though it may be, some of my friends are very wholesome.)

Other than getting to have these two super fun guys to hang out with all weekend, the best part was that one brought his fiddle and the other brought his banjo. That's all anyone really needs I think. (In the only good Peanuts cartoon ever, Linus muses that new born babies should all be issued a banjo at birth to help make life more tolerable. I'd only add that a FIDDLE with a banjo would help make life fantastic.)

Making music is hard for me sometimes because I can be so self-conscious in performance and undisciplined in practice; and I've buried myself in so many other things this last year that I've really neglected the old sweet banjer.

Hearing them play reminded me to GET ON IT.

asleep at the wheel

Yeah, I know. Go watch this then:

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

time to post one from the sent items folder

Hey! World! This is the kind of email I wrote in my early 20s!

Date: Wed, 7 Feb 1996 16:48:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Roo
To: Adam A.
Subject: and then the beast said "eat me instead!" and so they all feasted while the old men stripped to their knickers

hey there i did not mean to disappear, but the facist assholes that run this joint ran me right out of my month's quota of free hours on the modem. so i am at school now, ususally there is such a wait and it is impossible to do this everyday. i guess i should just buckle under the pressure and go down to the computing building and fork over the cash...

what a scam. my hours are renewed feb 15. this sucks this sucks. i hate them, but i love you baby, baby buttcake.

i am stalling on thinking about anything serious for a while. my courses are rocking along this year. the last two papers i wrote, i got a 97 and a 95. what the fuck. either i am a freakin genius or standards are dropping faster than your panties in a dance bar. i mean they were *o.k.* but they weren't all that.

so i don't know what i am going to do exactly for the spring break but i am thinking of daytona beach or baja, where i can get a nice tan and get bitten by a shark. but all i want are babes babes babes, preferably one who is muscly and very very good at volleyball and tanning. i just want to have fun ya know? party party party.

actually i am probably going to prince george. i don't know if i told you that. but i have some good friends there and they will take care of me and i will be able to get amazing amounts of work done and go x-country skiing. i knoiw this becasue i cvisited them before. i am just looking forward to leaving vancouver for a short while. i love it here but need a little break in the routine. the folks i know up there are of the brilliant sort and i will be able to suck their brains for ideas that i will be able to pass off as my own at a later more convenient date, that is how i get 95's you know.

did you get the tape from my sister yet? now would be a strange (though not necessarily bad) time to get in touch with her because a friend of hers just died of menigitis, not the contagious kind. it happened monday or something, so she is really wrecked. and my mom too, because it hits her close and hard when someone near her kids, and near her kid's age dies.

so if you get a really bad headache, take it seriously.

had a bash at my house on satuyrday. i have had this hideous cold for quite a while and was in no shape to be hosting a party, but it was pauls birthday. anyway it was a huge mess by the end of the night and i went to bed before about ten people because my body was so tired and just could not hack it. and you know what? i come upstairs the next morning at like eight or nine and voila, it is clean. kitchen livingroom spotless. couldn't believe it. those drunken bastards did it all, isn't that truly wonderful?

anyway, i will try to get my hands on a computer sooner next time. i put tin foil on my teeth today to make them look silver, i used the wrapping of a kit kat bar.

love from me

Monday, March 05, 2007

Better than Ghostly Beautician or Children Under the Bus but the same idea

I was going through old emails again. They're pretty great. Because I just can't even face writing about how shitty my day was, I'm going to cop out and post a few:

Date: Tue, 15 Nov 1994 10:29:25 -0800 (PST)
From: monika
To: roo
Subject: i'm at a complete loss


you will be assimilated. you will be had. you will become a part of the future genereation mimics like everyone else at ubc. ha ha. your time of mutation is scheduled for fri day evening at 7:54pm. enjoy the trip

My little sister never really knew how funny she was:

Date: 17 Nov 94 19:13:30 EST
From: Sister
To: Roo
Cc: Brother
Subject: Darlings out west, I love you

Darlings out west,

How are you all doing? I hear that a) Roo is busy and b) Roo is busy. So busy, in fact, that I had to a phonebill larger than any other. Paul seems to have taken your place in my heart for long distance therapy. (You know Roo, when I call at 3am sobbing, Paul is my new savior, and a darn good one, I might add) Anyhow I leave this message with with some exciting news: I just finished a fabulous film and I love it. We overdubbed the voices in Japanese and wrote English subtitles. THe sound track was written by me and it is fabulous. It is about a top secret file containing the formula to turn this robot girl back to her original human form. You will all love it. It is my best yet!!! Better than Ghostly Beautician or Children Under the Bus but the same idea.

Did you guys hear? My room is an entertainment station. i've got nintendo, vcr, tv, stereo, video attachment, and cable in my own bedroom. HEEEEE. you may think "spoiled brat" but I got it all myself. Alright, i'd say my message is long enough. See ya.

Roo - did you hear i almost got raped by the guitarist in [name deleted] the skater/punk band I saw two nights ago? Funny story.


Date: Sat, 14 Jan 1995 20:47:18 -0800 (PST)
To: Roo
Subject: 31490 needs all the help it can get





Friday, March 02, 2007

so so so so so so good

I think I mentioned this once before, but cross-country skiing is how I get through the winter. I mean look at it! Zooming around on snow! It's awesome.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

the alpha vs the omega

I know someone who is always trying to get me to go to the Alpha course, because she knows I'm fascinated by faith and religion. I couldn't be less interested for two reasons: 1) My family motto might as well be: "We aren't joiners." 2) Give me a fucking break.

In discussing this Alpha course thing with another friend, I joked, "Sign me up for the Omega course. I hear that there's more drinking allowed on those ones, and you can sit around and listen to music as you wait for hell to envelop you."

I thought I just made it up, but as it turns out, there already IS an Omega course, (and it doesn't sound like much fun at all -- even though it momentarily sounded okay when I thought that it might be run by the International House of Pancakes, aka "the other IHOP").

Nevertheless, maybe I'll start my own. The food will be delicious, and each week we'll walk to a different park and hang out, sometimes (or always?) with beer or wine, (though nobody will be required to drink). On the agenda, things like daydreaming, making each other laugh, maybe ad hoc poetry slams, feeding the ducks, kicking around a soccer ball, and occasionally not showing up at all because you need to stay home and do laundry.