Friday, June 19, 2009

:: Power and Influence ::

About five weeks ago, I had to work a Sunday shift, filling in for our usual photographer, who had the weekend off. Midway through my shift, I made a quick stop - for five minutes, tops - at a local sports facility. This particular facility was in a town that lives and dies on pay parking. However, because I was only running in quickly to see if anything interesting was going on, I did not feed the meter.

Besides, I've been working here for more than five years and rarely paid for parking, and had never gotten a ticket (which I was actually quite proud of, and I bragged about it often to co-workers).

Karma, of course, is a hideous bitch, and sure enough, I received a parking ticket approximately three minutes after I left my vehicle. Total fine: $30 if paid within a certain timeframe, and it doubled to $60 if you took too long.

Regardless, I tried to pay the ticket online later that day, but the bylaw officer had obviously not processed it yet, and therefore, I could not pay up.

No big deal, I'll pay it on Monday, I figured.

Of course, I spent the rest of Sunday and most of Monday stewing about my ticket situation, and my Monday afternoon - spurred on by a co-worker or two - I decided that, no, I was not going to bow down, take my lumps and pay the $30 fine.

It was only three minutes, I re-iterated to myself. And then, as far as justifications go, the kicker - I was there in my role as photographer for a small community newspaper, and therefore, doing a service to said community by attempting to take photos of its fine citizens, so how dare they insult me with this?!

Professionally speaking, it was as close as I've ever come to a Do you know who I am?! moment. Frankly, I'm surprised it took that long to occur. But occur it did.

With rebellion in my heart, I downloaded the required paperwork to launch my official appeal. I filled out all the forms, and under reasons for appeal, I described my case in detail, giving them my "community service" spiel, and then some.

Then I faxed in the form, and I waited. And waited.

Two days ago I received in the mail a letter from the city stating that I now owed $60 because I took too long to pay. This of course, comes despite never hearing back from the city regarding my appeal, one way or another. Certainly I couldn't be expected to pay a fine before my appeal was approved or denied, right?

Now I was actually angry, so I did what I had been encouraged to do weeks earlier but hadn't, instead saying it was a "last resort" - I went right to the top. I emailed the mayor.

Now, this wasn't just some random wahoo calling the city's top politician to vent (well, it was...) - I actually do know the mayor, and we get along very well. She likes me, so I knew I had a shot. I explained the situation, and that I wasn't trying to weasel out of a ticket, merely trying to get it reverted back to $30 status.

This afternoon I received an email from another city official. He had been forwarded my query by the mayor, and explained that, upon investigation, "it appears no appeal of the subject parking ticket was ever received and no record of any fax appears to exist."

Hmmm, how curious. He continued...

"My first instinct is to allow you additional time to pay the lesser fine, and re-file your appeal. However, considering the circumstances, I will instead simply cancel the ticket."

Translation: I really want to fine your whiny ass, but the mayor won't let me, so instead she's making me cancel the whole fucking thing. So congratulations on being a dick. Enjoy your $60, asshole.

I win.

You'd think I'd learn a lesson from something like this - perhaps in the future I'd be sure to put sufficient money in the parking meter instead of blatantly thumbing my nose at the law.

You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.

All this has taught me is that if you have enough money, power or influence, or simply know the right people, you can get away with anything.

Friday, June 12, 2009

:: Twizzlers, hormones and sad songs by Bryan Adams ::

Kristyl's last day at work was yesterday, and she is now on maternity leave for an entire year. And, while it sucks that I will now have to go on coffee runs on my own for the next 12 months, I'm pretty sure it was time for her to go. Her hormones were getting the best of her, to say the least.

Case in point: Last Friday at the movies, for opening night of The Hangover (which is awesome, by the way)

Christene and I walk into Colossus and see Kristyl and Jason. Kristyl looks a little rattled. Naturally, we ask why. Apparently, on the five-minute drive from their house to the theatre, she cried twice.

Once because she saw a mom walking on the sidewalk with her young daughter, and a second time when a particularly moving Bryan Adams song came on the radio. I'm not even kidding.

Then, once we're seated, this....

Kristyl: Jason, if you're going to get snacks can you get me some Twizzlers?
Jason: Uggh, I don't wanna pay six bucks for one tiny pack of Twizzlers. I asked you if you wanted to bring anything before we got here, and you said no.

Whoa. (To be fair, the outburst was sort of "fake-rage", but still...jesus christ.)

Jason: Fine, I'll get you some Twizzlers!
Kristyl: Or if there's something better, get that instead.
Jason: Well what do you consider better?
Kristyl: Well, if there's chocolate raisins...
Jason: It's a movie theatre – of course there's going to be chocolate raisins. Which one do you want?
Kristyl: Twizzlers then.

Then, after 10 minutes in line, Jason returns with Twizzlers for his lovely wife, and some popcorn, too.

Kristyl: You know, Nibs would've gone a lot better with popcorn.
Jason (looking at Christene and I): You've gotta be fucking kidding me. This is what I live with every day.

Friday, June 05, 2009

:: At least she's honest ::

Yesterday, upon walking the quaint streets in the lovely little town in which I work, I came across two women, walking and talking together. They were both in their mid-20s, looked pleasant and well-adjusted enough. Even stopped to pet a friendly dog that was tied to a mailbox outside the post office.

Nice people, I thought.

Then I walked closer and, as I passed them, overheard one girl say to her friend...

"I'm not one of those people who says, 'Oh, I just hope he's happy.' Look, I don't hope he's happy. I don't hope he's happy at all. I want him to get fucked. And then after he's done getting fucked, I want him to get hit by a fucking bus or bit by that fucking dog of his."

Yikes. Bitter, much?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

:: Random things I thought you should know ::

I don't have much in the way of a topic for today, but rather a collection of snippets for your enjoyment – including a couple quotes.

At The Keg, when I left excess crab bits in a few of the claws...
Christene: I'm so disappointed in you.
Me: Yeah, get used to saying that.

Christene: Your hands are really soft today.
Me: They aren't soft – they're very tough and masculine!
Christene: Oh, well I meant the tough kind of soft... like shaking hands with an axe.

At breakfast on Saturday, Kristyl asked me what our plans for the rest of the day were. I said we had nothing to do. Then Kristyl decided to be helpful:

Kristyl: What do you crazy kids have planned for tonight?
Me: Nothing.
Kristyl: Oh, well you should go and have some big seafood feast for dinner.
Me: Nah, don't feel like it.
Kristyl: You could go to the Richmond Night Market. We should all do that one day.
Me: No, that sounds terrible. I don't want to spent one half of my weekend nights at some crappy market buying shit from Japan and eating noodles.
Kristyl: Well, you could go buy a 40 of rum and go to a foam party!
Me: OK, you aren't really helping anymore.

Now, I have a complaint (I'm sure you're all shocked).

For starters, in town this week, there was a Greenpeace protest of a local grocery store. They were protesting against its seafood-buying practices or some such nonsense - the reason doesn't really matter.

What matters to me is how they were going about their business. Yes, they were well-behaved and polite, and didn't cause any great scene (which makes for a pretty shitty protestor, if you ask me), but what bugs me most is the way that they looked. Three or four of them were dressed up in huge, gaudy, bright tropical fish mascot suits, complete with cartoony eyes.

They looked campy and ridiculous, and I, for one, would not take them seriously in the least if I had come across them that day. I mean, in addition to the fact that they carried no big signs to explain what the fuck they were there for, they basically looked they were a promoting Finding Nemo 2: Gill's Revenge.

I don't know if the cartoon eyes on the suits were supposed to make the fish look cute, thereby convincing people not to eat them, but it failed. I mean, had they been wearing cute puppy costumes, I probably could be sold on the idea of not eating puppies, but it's a god damn fish.

And everybody knows fish don't have feelings.

C'mon, Greenpeace, you're supposed to be the experts at this shit.