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friday favourites 10.06.11 [the un-favourites]

the difficulty in seeing the bright side of things is that, if fate punches you in the eye often enough, your vision becomes extremely limited. that's me this week. and normally, because i think it's healthier for me and for those who come in contact with me, i try to maintain a cool, balanced perspective and remember that, even when things suck, there are reasons to be happy. i don't do this because of a desperate "stuart smalley"-esque [although it apparently worked for him] need to convince myself that everything is ok, but because i think it's way too easy to become bitter, self-defeating and angry. and it's way too easy to miss things that really deserve to be savoured. there's a lot of subtle emphasis on the importance of not enjoying life too much- a suspiciousness accorded to any activity that doesn't carry the stigma of work and sacrifice and i personally consider that insidious characteristic to be behind a lot of ugly realities we all have to bear with.

but some times, one just has to take stock and say fuck all the happy things.

seriously, i've just had one of those weeks where it's really difficult to take a moment to think about positive things, because even the most positive things seem contaminated by the slimy muck of the rest of the world.

let's start with unemployment. i've been looking for work for about six months- i toss that figure out, because it's apparently at that crucial point when employers start to assume that you've passed your best before date and that there must be something wrong with you. i'm glad i found that little tidbit of information out this week, when there's absolutely nothing i can do to get around it. i have a decade or more of experience in my field [marketing], sterling references from past employers, a proven ability to adapt very quickly to a wide variety of industries. you'd think that something would turn up.

these things take time, of course [although they're apparently supposed to take six months or less], but it's still pretty frustrating, particularly when prospective employers treat you rudely. yes, it happens. and every time it happens, i make a mental note that the next time i have to hire someone, i am going to be on my best behaviour, because there's really no excuse not to be.


i suppose it also helps if, when you're working with an agency [although my last few jobs have come that way, i have supremely mixed feelings about them], the person who serves as your contact takes the time to note pertinent details on your file. i find out this week that one of the main agents i've been dealing with accidentally wrote down my minimum salary requires down as being $10- $15k per year higher than they actually are. i'm not going to say no to anything higher, but it would be nice if i weren't being automatically dropped from consideration because of false information.

and on a related note, i think that one of the very worst things about being unemployed is seeing some of the driveling idiots who do have jobs. witness the case of krista erickson, an employee [i'm not going to taint the profession by calling her a journalist] of sun media, who decided she was entitled to demand a refund for all arts funding by attacking canadian interpretive dancer margie gillis.

the temerity of a woman who worked for years at the taxpayer-funded cbc demanding a reckoning of what an internationally renown arts figure has done to justify the $1.2 million [over almost fifteen years beggars belief. i vote that, before she is allowed to say another word about the arts, krista erickson be forced to pay back her gross earnings from any work she did for the cbc. let her stand behind her convictions.

and speaking of women who are an embarrassment, there was one story that i did consider using as a "friday favourite" this week, but then reconsidered.

as you may have heard, american leader historian politically-inclined celebrity sarah palin received a harsh snub from former british prime minister margaret thatcher, who not only refused to meet with her, but refused to do so because such a meeting would be belittling for the "iron lady". belittling.

the face of hope?
ok, it's kind of hard not to admire thatcher's ability, even when filtered through a press flak, to speak pretty damn plainly, but for crying out loud how low has the world sunk that margaret thatcher is one of its bright spots????

this is the woman who seemed to believe that privatising every government holding in the united kingdom would cure cancer. she made humping the leg of u.s. foreign policy popular before tony blair brought it back with such vigour [including supporting such peace-loving regimes as the khmer rouge]. and, lest we forget, the poll tax... 

suddenly, looking at the political landscape, the old girl doesn't look so bad anymore. public debate has deteriorated so spectacularly that it doesn't even matter that the bulk of thatcher's policies were pretty inhumane and reprehensible, because the people, the thinking people, long only to hear the voice of someone who can construct a simple sentence and who shows some semblance of an education. far from being a favourite, the fact that this was a highlight for me this week actually makes that world seem all the more miserable.

and just to underline that sense of unabated misery, this week saw the deepening of a rift between videotron and me- something i was hoping to avoid in light of my atrocious break-up with bell canada. things started out really promisingly with videotron. they were helpful, they were pleasant to deal with and their service was no-hassle. that's really all i ask of my internet, cable and telephony: lack of hassle.

unfortunately, something has gone wrong and, as any good businessman will tell you, you learn what a company is made from when something goes wrong. briefly, someone was able to access my account and vastly exceed my data transfer allowance for the entire month. this has happened for several months in a row, despite the fact that our internet habits have not changed. our equipment- the computers and the router we use to allow both computers to access the internet simultaneously- are secure. that's not just my opinion- the equipment is secure according to the standards that videotron laid out.

after weeks of back and forth between videotron customer service that have probably taken a few years off my life, i have hit a brick wall the likes of which i have never seen. when i tell videotron that the equipment under my responsibility was secured and that highly risky wi-fi was never used or even enabled, i get the standard line that our usage is what's recorded, so we must have done it. we haven't. believe me, i'm aware of the amount of data transfer that's gone on in this house. it isn't us. but according to videotron, it has to be us because, if our equipment is secured, there is no other way that our account could possibly be accessed. how's that? let me tell you exactly what i was told by videotron customer service:

the videotron network is 100% secure.

yes folks, that's right. hackers can take down the pentagon, the stock market and satellites in space, but they cannot compromise the integrity of quebec's cable provider.

what's worse? not only to they refuse to admit that there is even the possibility that the fault is theirs, not only do they aggressively assert that i am either lying or uninformed [believe me, the politesse drops in a hurry when you start to stand up for yourself and show some knowledge of how internet connections work] but their solution to prevent the problem from happening again is to try to sell more services to customers who are already being gouged for services they aren't using. if you want, they'll sell you products to improve your computer's security, not that they say it will actually help, because if they saud that, it would imply some level of responsibility.

towards the end of today's installment in the soap opera, i finally asked what notice i had to give if i wanted to terminate my contract with them. [i asked this because of the duplicitous actions of bell, of course] and the person on the phone- the individual who averred the apparent hack-proofery of the network- told me that there was no notice required. and, in obvious reference to bell's policies, he added "we're not that kind of company". ah yes, videotron, i know you're not that kind of company and that was always one of your strengths in my eyes, but leaving the guy who beats you for the guy who cheats on you and gives you the clap isn't really a step up.

believe me, if i ever get within spitting distance of the person who has been using my account on alternating monday nights to transfer more data than i do normally in three months' time, it'll be on my friday favourites as a hall of fame entry. until then, i guess i'm in the market for a new date to the telecommunications ball.  

normally under these circumstances, i would try to get all my frustrations by writing and, indeed, i've tried to do that. i'm sensitive about my writing. the fact that i've posted it here represents a big leap for me, because i was, for a long time, too insecure about it to share it with anyone. i'm flattered when i get positive reactions and i welcome constructive criticism, but apparently god hates my writing.

in the midst of some lightning storms this week, we lost power for a short time. i had the piece that i was working on open and, although i auto-save pretty regularly, things do sometimes go wrong. and indeed, i lost a few pages of work that i'll now have to try to recreate as best i can.

was what i was doing that bad that it had to be struck down by a literal bolt of lightning? [and, might i add, that's a pretty hackneyed tool. i mean, show some creativity in your wanton destruction.]

shouldn't you have to have achieved a certain level of success for your work to get people [or deities] that pissed off?

and, when you were applying the celestial eraser to the text, did you have to make it so that it saved the bloody blank page space but not the words on it? i mean seriously, did you want me to be able to see clearly how much i'd lost by having these strange blank pages inserted at the bottom of my text?

i'm going to make myself stop there, although let's just say that i could go on for a while about things that have made the last few weeks really hard to bear. the worst part about all of this stuff is that none of it on its own would be so horrible, but it's the idea of compounding, of being kicked when i'm already pretty far down, that seems really unfair. my mother's response when i'd get truly miserable about the inequity of the world would always be to shrug and tell me in a perky voice she seemed to reserve for these occasions "well life ain't fair". i hope that she meant that i shouldn't dwell on such things, because there was no point. unfortunately, it had the effect of making things seem worse and to this day, every time i feel like something truly unfair happens to me, i hear that phrase in my head and i sink even lower.

there are always good parts and i hope that those people who are responsible for bringing good things in my life will forgive me for being a little bit of an ingrate this week.

but in the interests of trying to keep chins aloft, here's the kitty pic of the week.

sometimes, we all need a helping hand


J-37 said…
"leaving the guy who beats you for the guy who cheats on you and gives you the clap isn't really a step up."
Love this so much!

as long as you're here, why not read more?


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

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