Friday, July 28, 2006

Indefinite vacation

I'm back from California! I fulfilled most of the requests and had a great time, both indoors and outdoors. But more on that later. On my first day back at work, I was laid off.

My boss sat me down in his office shortly after I arrived and gravely explained the financial disaster the business was now mired in. Never has an employer faced such an understanding and pleasant employee while giving said employee the heave-ho.

The giddiness I felt as I gathered up my plant, George, was comparable to Maria dancing in high altitudes while singing at the top of her lungs. I'm unemployed! Oh happy day!

My financial situation is now unstable and job searching is a grind, but, now, I can conduct my search without having to keep an eye out for the boss.

And there are two things that I can continue to enjoy, thanks to binding contracts: unlimited public transit and unlimited gym access. Like a caring friend, I'll be checking in on everyone I know along the subway and bus lines, probably around dinner time. Like a prison convict, I'll be pumping iron for lack of a better option.

And, of course, I'll be blogging. Blogging like a mofo. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hasta la vista, baby

The cycle of job searching, looking busy when your boss catches you job searching, and exercising like a convict can be exhausting. It's time for a vacation. I'm going to California, baby!

I have never been to California because it has always represented the opposite of how I see myself: tanned, blond, and ripped. But California has a huge population and, apparently, a segment of them are nerds. I go to San Diego for Comic Con 2006, the largest comic convention in the world.

I plan to spend about a day at the convention centre looking at comics but what about the rest of my time in California? What to do?

I welcome suggestions on what I should do in California. All suggestions will be taken as directives, which I will follow then write about the experience and aftermath on a future blog.

Here's hoping I don't end up racing down a freeway in a white Bronco or get my ass kicked by the LAPD. As California Governor Arnie would say, "Chill out, dickwad."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Lock up your daughters

Borat, the movie is coming to screens Fall 2006! Check out the website of 'Kazakstan's number one reporter' for more information.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Even more chit chat fodder

Work is really slow and my job search is even slower. The stress of possible unemployment feels like heart burn...oh wait, that is probably what it is. In the meantime, here's some more interesting tidbits from my former customs broker.

What goes around, comes around
A major Japanese software-services company intends to hire 2,500 people in India in the next two years as demand for its services increases. Meanwhile, the leading Indian software exporter announced it will hire as many as 10,000 people in China in the next three years to make up for shortages in talent in India.

Look like a cheap, tacky tourist
Tourists checking onto hotels in Naples this year are to receive an unusual gift as part of an innovative scheme to protect visitors from watch-snatchers. Each guest will find a cheap plastic watch by their beds emblazoned with a motif of either a pizza or Mount Vesuvius with a request to leave expensive watches in hotel safes.

Your love kills the environment
Imports of cut flowers to Britain produce emissions of at least 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide according to new research. This is raising a new issue called "flower miles", the term for carbon dioxide emissions released by planes bringing in thousands of tonnes of cut flowers to the country. Between 2001 and 2005, the volume of cut flowers imported from Kenya, which supplies more than a third of Britain's cut flowers, increased to 18,700 tonnes from 10,000 tonnes.

1.3 billion with jitters
So many of China's middle classes have begun drinking cappuccino and caffe latte that the country's labour ministry has declared an official skills shortage. About 10,000 trained coffee makers and servers are needed in Beijing and Shanghai alone according to a government survey. There is no lack of barmen and waiters looking for good jobs but most of them have never made a cup of coffee in their lives as China has traditionally been a tea-drinking country.

Expensive porn
Kenyan officials have complained that African Internet users pay on average 50 times what U.S. surfers pay which makes it hard for the poorest continent to become competitive in a global economy. U.S. users pay about US$20 for a gigabyte of data a month, but Africans pay about $1,800 for the same amount.

Lots of action in the Philippines & Colombia
The number of children in Japan has been falling for 25 straight years. Children and babies now make up 13.7 per cent of the population. This is even lower than other aging societies, including Italy (14.2 per cent) and Germany and Spain (both 14.5 per cent). Countries with relatively high 14-and-under- ratios include the Philippines with 34.7 per cent and Colombia with 31.7 per cent.

Yoga on a plane... and mountain
A California retiree has been persuaded by her architect to buy a junked jumbo jet and turn it into a mountainside house. The wings of the 747 will be made into a roof, the nose into a meditation temple and the remaining scrap will be turned into six more buildings including a guesthouse, yoga studio and caretaker's cottage.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day

In the international community, Canada tends to be treated like the nice but neglected family member, especially in comparison to a flashier country like the US.

But when I think of Canada, I think of:

  • nudity and swearing - in Canada, you can see nudity and listen to foul language on your television without censorship. And not just in the middle of the night. We're talking middle of the afternoon or even primetime.
  • liquor - the beer is supposedly stronger in Canada than in the US. That means a rosier outlook on life and in underlit pickup joints across the country.
  • hip adult contemporary - when Americans become adults, they are expected to listen to Jewel, 'soft country', and 'smooth jazz'. Canadian adults can still retain a hip vibe by listening to Broken Social Scene, Metric, Stars, and Arcade Fire. None of these bands are to my taste but they do reek 'grown-up cool'.

Happy 139th Birthday to Canada. Here's hoping that oneday, we become a country that no longer needs to compare itself to its neighbour to have an identity.