Archive for June 2004

Zatoichi

Saw Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman a couple weeks ago. It’s enjoyable, a lighthearted, mindless samurai action flick.

Littered throughout the movie there are these interesting “cutscenes” (for lack of a better term) where the extras are doing their thing to the beat of the quirky, instrumental soundtrack. For example, Zatoichi is walking along a dirt road, and there are three guys raking a field with hoes. They’re all raking to the beat of the various instruments though. If I were more musically inclined, I’d actually be able to describe it better. You’re probably better off seeing it for yourself. Here are some torrents if it’s not playing in your area.

The end of the movie also consists of an almost 2-minute scene with all the characters tap dancing in wooden Japanese shoes, which is again, kind of strange, but interesting to see.

Anyway, as we leave the theatre and are walking along Cumberland, these two guys are walking behind us, and one says to the other, “I love how all that percussive dancing is a… simile… for how one person’s actions don’t really mean anything.” Tim and I both turn to each other and exclaim, “WTF?“.

Honestly, sometimes I wonder whether there are thousands of unemployed general arts majors sitting in coffee shops around the city, spouting crap like that and patting each other on the back all day long. I can’t believe my hard earned tax dollars help subsidize people like this. Now you know why I’d never vote NDP, I don’t want to encourage them. I don’t think there’s anything I hate more than a lazy ass that mooches off others.

Why has my god forsaken me?

I swear, I must have offended the gods of transportation. I’ve been innundated with annoying little transportation mishaps for the past few weeks. Case and point:

May 31, 2004
I don’t hear my crappy alarm clock, so Bonnie and I miss our 7:15am flight to New York (EWR). Luckily, Air Canada has 6 flights to EWR daily (all of which are booked full though). They’re willing to put us on standby, and we manage to get on the next flight out.

Unfortunately it’s a tiny airplane, and there just happen to be several families on board, each with children in what looks to be the 16 to 24 age range. There’s one particular large fella sitting behind us – if he was pretty he’d be a poster boy for American Eagle, complete with wide cargo shorts that go past his knees, artificially distressed logo t-shirt, and mesh trucker cap. Throughout the flight he can’t stop laughing like a jackal, singing along to the tunes on his iPod Mini, and calling to his friend 5 rows ahead (who conveniently ignores him). Meanwhile, his mother sits a few seats over and doesn’t say a word, preferring to bury herself in some women’s magazine. While waiting for our checked baggage at EWR, the annoying guy’s father shows up to meet his family, and suddenly it all makes sense. The son is a carbon copy of the father. I wonder how the mother/wife puts up with the two jackasses.

Suffice to say, I have a new alarm clock.

June 1, 2004 – 9am
The bus to Woodbury Commons doesn’t show up. Upon phoning them, they report that their bus driver is sick. Fine, ShortLine it is.

June 1, 2004 – 7pm
The bus back to New York City stops on a street that no one has ever heard of. ShortLine it is again.

June 13, 2004
I somehow pick up a nail in my passenger side rear tire, in a position that makes the tire unrepairable (though I don’t find that out until after mounting the donut and driving to Canadian Tire – it’s a Sunday, so all Honda dealers are closed). I mount my winter tires on the rear axle and drive back to Waterloo. On the plus side, I’ve become a pro at changing tires. Given a decent jack, a long steel pipe, and a torque wrench, I can change tires about as quickly and comfortably as I can swap CPUs in a computer. In some ways, changing tires is even easier, it doesn’t require as much finesse.

June 15, 2004
The dealership in Kitchener assures me they’ll replace the tire with an identical OEM one, which is the only reason I agree to be gouged $189 for a single mediocre tire. After all is said and done, it’s not actually identical. The OEMs are Michelin MXV4, the replacement is a Michelin MXV4 Plus. The non-Plus one is apparently discontinued. The tread and performance characteristics are clearly different, though in practice I probably won’t notice. Still, if I had known beforehand, I would have bought 2 better tires for the same price and had them replace both the rear ones.

This is exactly the reason why I’ve mentioned before that I like people who are anal-retentive at their jobs. People say things like, “I want to find a good doctor/mechanic/contractor/etc.” In all of these cases, I think that “good” is actually synonymous with meticulous and anal-retentive. Unfortunately, traits that are not common enough in people on the job. To a certain extent, I find that the whole M&AR thing happens naturally for people who really enjoy their jobs. I guess that just goes to show how few people there actually are in this position.