“If you don’t hear from me by the weekend, you should break into my apartment,” I told BeeGoddessM in a brief phone conversation at the beginning of this week. “I could be sitting in a corner, rolled up on myself and rocking.”

Well, the fact I’m writing this blog entry right now proves that I didn’t end up that way. But indeed, it was a terribly gruelling week at work.

What happened is that I assumed my new responsibilities at the day job. For whatever reason, we all thought it would start with a trickle of incoming questions. Instead we got a deluge — at least for one person (namely me) handling it all. I’m so glad I didn’t waste any time beforehand preparing stock answers for anticipated questions, because, for the most part, we didn’t get the kind of questions we thought we would.

Fortunately, the influx slowed down by the end of the week and that gave me a chance to reflect on what my new responsibilities will entail. Some situations were real eye-openers. If getting some answers is difficult for someone like me who’s within the company, then imagine how hard it must be for those who aren’t. So, my job might bring me to make recommendations for improvements. I’m not saying that my advice will be followed, inertia, turf sensitivities and complicated procedures being inherent to large organizations, but 18 years after earning my degree in PR, I might be closer than ever to applying what I learned back then. And I’m getting to help adapt and shape something that’s totally new to my area of the organization, so that’s the fun part of any challenge.

That said, I’m thinking about how there are only 13 workdays left for me this year and my fill-in is nowhere in sight. But that’s not for me to worry about, and trust me, once I’m with El Poema, I won’t be worried about it.

Got Off My Tits! (The Saga Continues)

Okay, so it’s the weekend and I didn’t expect that I would be removed yet from the calling list of the company I e-mailed yesterday (per my previous post). But the phone rang again tonight around 7 o’clock, and there they were again! They’re driving me crazy!

This time, though, I decided to be more persistent and even tried to leave a message on ANYONE’s voice mail, but to no avail. So, I did a bit more research and found the company’s non-toll-free number and even the extension of the privacy officer. And this time I left an emphatic message: “Please, please, PLEASE remove the number 902 555 5555 from your list RIGHT NOW. You are calling way too often and have reduced me to never answering my phone. I can’t WAIT for the national do-not-call registry to be enforced in this country. Good night.”

Important research to allow companies to offer me better products… Feh! Kiss my faggy ass! Make it sound like it’s all about me when really it’s all about companies wanting to make even more obscene profits and flood the market with even more “stuff” we’ve managed quite fine without until now.

That’s right: You’re not improving my life one iota. In fact, you and your ilk are making it worse by turning a formerly useful instrument, namely the telephone, into a source of constant aggravation. And I’ll be damned before I get rid of my landline just because telemarketers are forbidden to call mobile phones. I know people who’ve done that and I can’t blame them, but I refuse to follow that path. You’re the ones who should change; not me.

Get Off My Tits!

Unsolicitated phone calls and e-mails. I hate them! The former have brought me to stop answering my home phone; the latter clog up my inbox and probably drive my Web host insane.

I don’t know what brought to open up one of the spam e-mails (subject being “Hi” and McAfee having marked it as spam). It turns out it was one of a million e-mails for Vi*gr* or a lookalike. This one killed me, though. “Even if you have no erection problems Vi*gr* would help you to make better sex more often,” it explains. And it ends with this claim: “the majority of men after taking this medication were able to have perfect erection during 24 hours!”

I laughed out loud. First, “to make better sex more often” reminded me of Costas in Shirley Valentine, when he proposed to “make fuck” with her. And then, thinking of a 24-hours erection, I said to myself, “That’s some serious edging session!”

But the thing is, I do hope they mean that the men could achieve numerous “perfect erections” over a 24-hour period and not that they had a “perfect erection” FOR 24 hours. Because there is such a thing as priapism, you know. Just sayin’. A 24-hour hard on is just NOT a good thing!

Meanwhile, as I’ve written above, I’ve stopped answering my home phone these days. Yes, there’s the fact I spend my entire workday on the phone and I can’t stand another call after that. But it’s also because the vast majority of the calls are “spam calls” and I figure friends or family will leave me a message.

For instance, in a span of about 4 hours today, I got 3 such calls that I know of (since I was out during part of that time). Thanks to dialing *69, I figured out the first one came from this call centre. I dialed the number and, after finally being offered a chance to leave a message requesting that my number be taken off their list, I landed in voice-mail jail. But then I noticed an e-mail address in the “Privacy” section of their website and, against my better judgement, I fired off this e-mail.

To: Assholes
From: Me
Date: Nov 24, 2007 1:50 PM
Subject: Please Remove from List


It’s because of outfits like yours that I don’t answer my home phone anymore.

I must say I’m nervous even to e-mail you, thus providing you an e-mail address. I tried to have my number removed by phone, but of course “that user’s voice mailbox was full.” That certainly raised you in my esteem …NOT!

*PLEASE*: Immediately remove me from your call list. Clearly you already have my name with this e-mail, which is one bit of info I’m loathe to give you, and the phone number to remove is 902 555 5555. The last time you tried to call me was Saturday, November 24 at around 1:40 pm Atlantic time. However, you also called sometime last week (I recorded your number through *69 but, unfortunately, failed to note the date and time).

Hoping you’ll NEVER call me again…

I did the *69 thing after the second call, but could hardly understand a word of their voice-mail message, let alone the company’s name, and wasn’t offered an option to have my number removed — at least, that I could understand.

Finally, *69 after the third call gave me a number and a relatively prompt offer to select 1 to have my number removed. I followed the instructions and, upon completion, heard, “Please allow 4 weeks to action this request.”

Four. Fucking. Weeks. Plus I hate it when “action” is used a verb. I hear such turns of phrase at work too often and I cringe ever time.

I admit that I feel sorry for those who work in such call centres. Those who work in outgoing centres have to contend with unpleasant people like me who curtly ask them to have his number removed from their list and refuse to explain why or engage in any kind of conversation except to achieve the result I desire. And those who work in incoming centres are in an environment whose stress is second only to that experienced by air-traffic controls (or so some studies suggest). I feel sorry because I’m having to shoot the innocent messager. But I don’t believe the pitches and surveys are important enough to turn the sound of a ringing phone into a sound to be dreaded.

As If It Were Water

For a guy who freely admits being thrifty if not downright cheap, I’ve been spending quite a bit lately. But the fact of the matter is that most of the things I’m getting or paying for these days have been due for replacement for a while or have become due just now.

Wallet— I have no idea how long I’ve had the same wallet. None whatsover! All I know is that it’s been falling apart for some time, and recently it dawned on me how pathetic it has become. So, I finally replaced it last night. When I pulled some cash from the old one to pay for the new one and jokingly remarked about the state of the old one, the young lady behind the counter laughed and said, “That’s such a MALE thing. The wallet falls apart: get a new one. All the socks have holes in them: get a big batch of socks at Wal-Mart.” I mockingly bowed my head in shame and said, “You sure have my number!”

Doc Martens— Similarly, I have no idea exactly how long I’ve had my Doc Martens. All I know is that I’m the polar opposite of Imelda Marcos: one pair of sandals, one pair of winter boots, and the pair of Docs. Although my current pair is in pretty good shape considering I’ve had them for at least 5 or 6 years — Docs are indestructible — they are starting to fray. So, after months of thinking “I have to get a new pair of Docs,” I finally got that pair today.

WWW I have a whack of Internet domain names coming due soon. Hard to believe it’s been 5 years already…

— There’s another significant purchase I made this week, but I can’t talk about it right now.

— I asked El Poema what his mother might like as a Christmas gift from me — perhaps something that can’t be got or easily got in Mexico. The best suggestion he could make was authentic Canadian maple syrup, pointing out what I already knew: there’s not much you can’t get in that megapolis that is Mexico DF. Would you have any better suggestions if I told you that she’s not one for anything fancy?

— I also have car-related expenses I’ve been putting off, including having the winter tires installed now that the snow is starting to fly.

Puerto Escondido— And finally, the Christmas on the beach getaway for El Poema and yours truly is booked and paid for as of overnight. Appropriately, we first talked about this trip on the first snowy day in Halifax, and it got confirmed on the first REALLY cold day in Halifax. The price tag on the return flight and four nights’ accommodations in Puerto Escondido for both of us is almost the same as my return flight between Halifax and Mexico City, but it will be SO worth it.

We were unable to get a straight answer from the place we wanted to stay in Zipolite, although we suspect it was probably already booked. Getting the package we chose instead was quite a ceremony, though. I make a lot of purchases online, but this Mexican company was the worst and most confusing I’ve ever had to deal with, and it had nothing to do with the language barrier since El Poema quickly took over. Although he admittedly hates dealing with money matters, he came close to throwing in the towel at one point: “Going to the beetch is supposed to be easy, not like this!” He was particularly pissed at how we’re being flown to Huatulco, some 80 km east, when no mention of this fact is made on the outline of the package, although transportation to and from Puerto is included. What I find interesting in hindsight is that Huatulco is closer to Zipolite than Puerto.

The Life in My Palm

The other day I decided on a whim to go to Sears to buy a bottle of cologne that I think is becoming my signature fragrance now that my original fragrance hasn’t been available in Canada for several years now. I had no idea I had chosen to go when some kind of promotional carnival was taking place in the cosmetics department. But because I made a purchase, I got a free palm reading. I wouldn’t pay for a palm reading by someone I know nothing about, but where this was free…

His reading was sufficiently off not to warrant a second thought. He saw me surrounded with a lot of kids in the future stemming from a significant relationship, which of course is as likely to happen as it’s likely I’ll become the Pope. But other parts of his reading were intriguing or pretty accurate.

— My 30s were clearly turbulent and challenging, but I’m out of the woods now, especially professionally: I’m doing what I’m good at and being rewarded for it in numerous ways, including being recognized.

— In the love/romance department, my line is straight rather than curvy, suggesting I’m very cerebral rather than sentimental when it comes to romance.

— However, the deep crease on the side of my palm below my pinky suggests that when I commit, I commit deeply and completely.

— Health-wise, I’ve made very good and significant changes and continue to stick to them, but could do even better with more effort.

— I’m not much of a businessman.

A relationship “in the last 4 years” is the one. He seemed to think that relationship goes back about then, not more recently. I don’t see that as being at all right. That would bring me back to the middle of the Indiana Jones days…

Then again, why am I bothering analyzing a freebie I wouldn’t recall in a few months if I wasn’t writing about it right now? Besides, he assumed the feminine when speaking of mates. But I must say I’d be curious to get a “real” reading done by someone whom I didn’t assume from the get-go is a prankster.