Gee whiz, some people really like watches.

I wear a watch at work. When I first started this job, I bought what I considered to be a relatively expensive watch. I got it at The Bay and it was originally $250 but with all the various sales they always seem to have going on, I paid about $100. I had the thing for about five years, and then one day at work I noticed my wrist felt different — I looked, and the watch was gone. I searched my home and workplace and car and everywhere else for a week but never found the damn thing.

Crestfallen, I finally accepted my fate and went shopping for a new watch. I settled on a cheap ($50) Timex thing at London Drugs. I no longer wanted a ‘nice’ watch, I just wanted one that would do the job and looked acceptable. This piece of junk worked alright up until last week when the backlight feature stopped working — now I can’t read the time in the dark, which isn’t really essential but it is definitely nice to have.

Since I can get by with it as it is, I’ve just been casually looking for another watch on the various used stuff sites. Most of the stuff on there is trash but holy doodle, I also see a surprising number of $1,500 watches, and even some $5,000+ ones. It makes me wonder, who cares that much about a watch, and why?

I think that, for wealthy men, watches must be like diamonds are to wealthy women, in that it’s a fancy-looking status symbol you can wear. I don’t think anyone who buys them can really tell the difference between the ‘rich prick’ watches and the London Drug specials — they probably just think that if they paid $5000 for it, it must be a fantastic watch. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was built with the same crappy parts as all the junk watches out there.

I’m not saying all expensive watches are trash. On the contrary, I bet their backlights don’t die after five years of light use. I just can’t imagine who can justify spending that kind of money on something they probably don’t truly appreciate. I guess if you’re flush as fuck and money is no object to you, then why not piss it away on fancy watches? I don’t know that I’d do the same but to each their own.

goes around

That sure went nowhere fast.

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Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

awkward-funny-family-vacation-photos-porn-shoot-beach

I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

i hate the plastic wrapper del monte puts around their organic bananas

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I don’t understand why Del Monte insists on wrapping its organic bananas with a plastic label. I buy organic stuff because I want to less shit being put into the world on my account, and this plastic wrapper negates that effort. The plastic wrap at the top of the bundle also sucks. It seems like common sense to me that they should be using a biodegradable wrap.

I emailed Del Monte about this a while ago and was re-directed to Del Monte Fresh. Apparently they are two completely unrelated companies that have nothing to do with each other — bullshit. I wonder what kind of stupid loophole they are exploiting with that little maneuver. Anyway, I was given the email address of someone at Del Monte Fresh so I politely let them know my thoughts on the topic. That was at least a month ago, and no response yet. Not even an automated ‘we have received your email’ response. Fuck.

Maybe I should start some kind of petition to attract attention to this. I know it’s not a huge deal, that there are countless other sources of waste plastic far more egregious than this but this one bugs me because I deal with it on a regular basis, and it seems counter-intuitive to the very nature of the product it’s being used on. Most companies catering to pretentious environmental twits like myself have the sense to package their stuff in a manner that appeals to the consumer — recyclable material, compostable material. So why isn’t Del Monte Fresh doing it?

Money, I’m sure. God damn money.

i want to be broke

twice in the last 6 or 7 years, i’ve become what i consider overweight. what do i consider overweight? i could see in the mirror that my gut was sticking out, and my pants were getting tighter. to me, that’s overweight. i wasn’t a blimp or anything but i could see that i was starting to pack weight on, and that’s enough for me to want to do something about it.

the scale confirmed my fears, of course. while my adult weight has fluctuated between 180-190 lbs, it was only recently that it crept up to 200 lbs. both times that this happened, i simply cut back on junk food (i have a deep respect for cookies and chips), started eating smaller portions in general, and did a bit more cardio exercise like running and biking than usual. within a few weeks, my body went back to the shape i liked and my weight dropped down to 190. hooray, all is right in my world again.

but i’ve been thinking about why my weight has slowly become a minor issue for me, and i actually think it’s because i’m no longer poor.

hear me out, you treasonous infidels: when i was in my early 20s and first moved out, i didn’t have a lot of money so i bought the cheapest food i could — i learned that fruit was a much cheaper snack than chocolate-coated granola bars or any of the tastier, less healthy options. the same thing applied to cereal so i usually opted for corn flakes or red river — the ultra bland healthier stuff. i never bought cheese because that was WAY too expensive, and on and on. i never overate either, since that would obviously cost more. it’s no surprise i was pretty skinny for all of this.

but as i’ve gotten older and made gradually more money, i’ve gotten into the habit of treating myself to whatever i want, whenever i want. i can now afford whatever guilty pleasure i want when i get groceries, i can buy baked goods every time i work, i can get greasy pizza for a snack when i’m doing errands in town. it doesn’t have a visible impact on my bank account anymore so there has been no incentive to deny myself.

therein lies the problem. i’ve reached a point where i can financially afford to always say ‘yes’ to myself, and it has made me soft.

on-his-23rd-birthday-at-764-pounds-346-5-kg-robert-gibbs-says-he-is-a-prisoner-in-his-own-body-source-kpix-cbs

not THAT soft

the funny thing is that i frequently think about this idea in terms of artists and how shitty most of them get once they make it big. i think metallica is a perfect example of how a hungry young band can create important, powerful art when they have nothing, and how the success of that art can lead to the band becoming complacent or self-indulgent. artists have to be careful with success because it can be such a double-edged sword. no matter how successful a band becomes, i think it is of utmost importance that they preserve the fire that made them so great to start with — they need to stay lean, stay hungry, so to speak. i think about that all the time.

despite being acutely aware of this idea, i too fell victim to it (in a physical sense, obv). it’s incredible.

the good news though is that i’m aware of all this now; i’m lucky i caught it early, and i’m lucky i’m already back down to my fighting weight. now i just have to learn to live every day like i’m broke again.

metallica_in_1985_by_x_ploder-d5tfw0z

stay lean. stay hungry. stay broke. it’s actually better that way.

banks suck

long ago, i banked with island savings credit union. i was a kid then and didn’t care much about that sort of thing. once i noticed the $10/month they were charging me, i took my money elsewhere. because let’s be clear: banks profit off of the money you keep with them by investing it, so making people pay for that like it’s some sort of privilege is fucking wack. on top of that, i met with ISCU’s financial advisors a few times and they were utterly useless.

so i took my personal banking to coast capital savings, which had free personal savings and chequing accounts, hooray. that was all well until recently but i’ll get to that shortly.

jenn and i kept a joint account with TD for about 7 years and it was mostly fine, except for the US cash accounts which are inaccessible while in the US, rendering those accounts totally fucking useless. but then i contacted TD with a concern i had about what they were investing our money in. i said that it was a serious issue to me and i would be willing to take my money elsewhere if i wasn’t satisfied with their response.

their response was, essentially, “sorry to see you go.” they didn’t even try to fake an attempt at assuaging me, they just opened the door. they did, however, offer a few small details about their investment practices so i emailed them back and asked for some clarification on said details but the only response i got back was, “we can’t talk about that.” so i emailed them once more and asked why they brought it up in the first place if they can’t talk about it. i never heard back.

so i stayed true to my word and closed our joint bank account with TD and moved it to coast capital. i set up all our mortgage and insurance payments and whatnot to come from the new joint account. i felt good about making the switch.

then i got a call from scotia bank (who handles our mortgage) to say that something was wrong on TD’s end and i wouldn’t be able to pay our mortgage from our new account until TD sorted their stuff out. i spoke to TD, they said everything was fine on their end and scotia bank was mistaken. so i called scotia bank back and they said the girl who had called me must have been wrong. everything was fine.

ok.

then today i went to pay my credit card online and i noticed that our mortgage payment didn’t come from our joint account. it was taken out of my personal chequing account — coast capital fucked up the forms they gave me when i set up all our new automatic payments.

i shouldn’t be so shocked at how fucking incompetent these giant money-handling agencies are, but i am. it seems like every bank i’ve ever dealt with is basically a car coasting downhill with no driver. the slants and curves of the road seem to keep the car mostly on track, with only the occasional scrape of bushes and small trees. and to them, that is good enough.

and this experience doesn’t even take into account the debacle jenn and i encountered when obtaining a line of credit with scotia bank last summer. that was one stunning, abysmal failure after another. after we finally got it sorted out, we swore that as soon as our mortgage is up for renewal, we will run screaming from scotia bank and never look back.

i guess we’ll end up taking it to coast capital so they can fuck up some important forms for that, too.

in a few years after a few more experiences like this, i’ll probably just end up squirreling all our cash under our mattress like the old timers used to do.

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“keep your paws off it, you son of a bitch.”

tired of not being retired (at age 36)

i had the last week off of work. not for a vacation, it’s just the way my shifts were allotted, but it was fantastic nonetheless. i had a lot of great sleeps, got lots of exercise in, started work on fixing up our travel trailer, helped jenn with working on her horse trailer, played a lot of tetris…nothing to write home about but just having the freedom to do that kind of stuff at my leisure was so lovely. and it got me to thinking how much i look forward to retirement.

i plan on retiring ASAP.

i think a lot of people would roll their eyes at that kind of statement, like ‘dream on’ or ‘you’re a lazy sod’ or ‘yeah, you and everyone else.’ but not having kids and having a dual income household certainly makes early retirement financially possible, and i don’t think it’s a lazy pursuit at all. in fact, i think it’s a great one. what’s the point of living if not to enjoy our time here? if busting your hump is the only thing in life that you enjoy then fill your boots i suppose, but i don’t believe that all the workaholics in the world are that way because they like it. i think they’re usually like that for a number of unhealthy reasons — guilt, lack of self awareness, poor relationships with their spouse, etc.

i even used to be a bit of a workaholic myself. then one day when i was trying to decide if i should take yet another shift, jenn said to me, “no one ever died wishing they had worked more.” that really hit home for me. i like making money and being financially comfortable but i don’t want to get hit by a car, lay dying on the side of the road, and have my final thoughts be, “oh no, i should have visited russia when i had the chance,” or “i shouldn’t have worked christmas day last year. it would have been nice to spend that last one with jenn.” there needs to be a balance between making a living and actually leading a life that i love.

as much as i like my job and most of my co-workers, i like sleeping in, road tripping, camping, watching the chickens in the yard, working on old cars, and hanging out with friends way more, so working takes a definite back seat to all the rest of it.

that being said, i really need to get over my fear and get to russia sometime soon.

Photographer

i want to see this, bad.

i don’t want to steal music anymore but $10 is a lot for 8 mp3’s

i just found a new artist that i’m pumped on. it’s author and punisher and it’s really slow, heavy, industrial nihilism. riley described it as ‘joyless’ and ‘anti-humanism,’ which i thought was apt as all hell. here’s one of their tunes.

now, i’ve been thinking for quite a while about the state of the music industry and illegal music downloading. i totally oppose illegal downloading because i know how much work goes into writing songs, recording them, and getting them out to the public. it’s bullshit for anyone to invest that much time, money, and effort into something just to have every motherfucker take it for free.

but i’m cheap, and this is the way the world has been working for quite some time now, so i’ve been doing it too. i’m one of the motherfuckers, and i’m ashamed of it and want to change.

so after getting so psyched on author and punisher, i thought this is a good opportunity to start paying for shit i want. besides, since no one has to press CDs and artwork and ship them around the world, an album’s worth of music should be substantially cheaper than it used to be. plus most of the music i dig is not associated with fat cat record labels looking to recoup various investment costs through bloated pricing. double cheap, right?

well, i just checked and to download author and punisher’s melk an honing album, it’s going to cost me $10.16 canadian. with no physical printing, no shipping, and no big labels behind it, that seems like a lot to me.

ebenezer-scrooge

too much!

i guess i always bought used CDs, which were substantially cheaper, and that was many years ago so i guess i need to account for inflation too. shit.

i need to sleep on this one.