Archive for July, 2011

RANT #19: Hands-Free Soap Dispensers

Guys, I have a really insignificant gripe for you tonight:

Hands-free soap dispensers. What the fuck is up with those things?

Yes, they’re a lot of fun to play with, and yes they make a lovely foamy mess everywhere, but I’m still not happy about their existence.

Here’s the thing: Hands-free dispensers were created to prevent people from touching filthy soap pumps.

Picture this. You’re in the dirtiest bathroom of all time. You go to wash your hands after a satisfying dump, and notice that the soap pump is covered in piss, and shit, and semen. But whatever. You use it anyway, thus covering your already dirty hands in piss, and shit, and semen.

Tell me, kiddies, after using this filthy soap pump, what is the next thing you do?


Unless you’re the sort of person who takes stupidity to new heights, the first thing you do after using any soap dispenser, hands-free or not, is wash your hands.

Meanwhile, you’ve got those fuckers from Lysol saying “Soap pumps have 100 trillion different types of bacteria on them, each of which can kill you in 20 different ways. IF YOU LET YOUR CHILDREN TOUCH SOAP PUMPS, THEY WILL DIE.”

Long story short, hands-free soap pumps are the third greatest scam of the 21st century, behind only the stock market and electric cars.

One Last Hurrah

Well, tomorrow I shall embark on what is likely to be my last go-around at the ol’ Mporium. Aside from the fact that I’m getting too old to be working at a high school store, this is the final year for all of the good coworkers there, which makes it the perfect time for me to get out as well.

As far as part time summer jobs go, this has been a pretty good gig:

  • Flexible hours
  • Vacation time on demand
  • Minimal supervision by management
  • Easy work
  • Plenty of time for socialization, both with coworkers and customers
  • The thrill of causing other people to spend hundreds of dollars unnecessarily

Really, the only drawback is the pay, which is shit. But it’s the price I pay for all the above perks.

I think I’ll be a bit sad when it all comes to an end on September 1st, but I’ll let you know when we get there.

Well, that’s what I get for feeling invincible, I guess.

My outlook for the next year is looking slightly less sunny after the events of the last few days.

First, I received an email from Chestnut, effectively saying “Whoops, we fucked up. As a result you have a choice between downgrading your room size or keeping the same room size but moving to a graduate floor.” It’s very annoying when someone gives you a choice between two unappealing options, isn’t it?

This one bites, as I was really looking forward to having the same room again. Not because I need a big room to survive. Just for the familiarity more than anything. I was looking forward to feeling like I was back home at school next year, that’s all.

“But you could still have the big room if you wanted!” You might say. “They’ve given you the option!”

Yeah, but not really. I learned from last year that the people on your floor are more important than anything else. Graduates are not good people to have as floormates. They’re law students, med students,  masters students, and PhD students. In other words, people that will have a lot of work, and hence, not a lot of time for things that aren’t work. Plus they’ll all be about four years older than me. Effectively, it’s like your mother saying “You could have this cheesecake that you love, but I’ve made it with sawdust this time.” No thanks.

So, I’ll be in a smaller room next year. To try to salvage my position, I’ve requested that at the very least they place me on the same floor as some of my old compatriots. I feel like I’ve earned this small favour, having willingly (albeit begrudgingly) downgraded my room, but we’ll see if the Powers That Be feel the same way.

Then, during course selection, I discovered that my Plan A (International Law) and Plan B (Canadian Foreign Policy) courses were already full, so I had to go to plan C (Canadian Federalism).

This is somewhat annoying, since I had an excellent start time this year, well ahead of most of my friends, and yet courses were still already full by the time I was allowedt to select them. This means that my third year courses were poached by 4th year students, the bastards.

(I call them bastards now, but I’ll surely be doing the same thing a year from now).

The silver lining here is that my schedule now works out perfectly, with no useless one hour or two hour gaps between classes. I have classes from 10-2 on Monday, 2-4 on Wednesday (switching to 10-12 in second term), and 2-6 on Thursday, with Tuesdays and Fridays off. I still have two hours left to book, so I’ll try to book those for around 11-1 on Tuesday if possible, since a three day school week would make me too lazy. Assuming all goes well, I’ll only have 1.5 early classes this year. And 10 AM really isn’t all that bad.

So yeah, while neither of these inconveniences mark the end of the world as we know it, when life is going well I’m always wary of the first signs that Fortune has switched allegiances.

Over The Hump

It’s hard to believe, but we’re only just over halfway done with Summer ’11. Classes don’t start until September 12th, so we’ve still got over two months to go.

I can’t help but feel that summer has already peaked, however. It’s easy to see why. The first half of summer ’11 featured a three week tour of the Northeastern US and two weeks in Spain. Plus I had the great pleasure of watching the Canucks lose in the finals. It would be damned hard (or just really expensive) for the second half of summer to top that.

Honestly, I’m kind of ready for school to begin again. Course selections begin in a few days, and the process of going through all the courses and deciding which ones to take has really put me in the mood to start the school year. I want to go back to Chestnut, see who will be back on my floor (if anyone), and go back to being up until 4 AM talking about nothing and everything at the same time.

It’s good that I feel like this, I think. I haven’t been this optimistic school since 2008. The only side effect is that the more optimistic I get about the school year, the more pessimistic I get about what’s left of summer. I haven’t written it off or anything – Aruba will be great, and surely there will be other awesome moments which will come out of nowhere and take me by surprise – it’s just that I’ve kind of accepted that the best days of Summer ’11 have already passed.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

…And Back On!

I have returned. Again.

Don’t worry guys, this time I promise to stick around for a while.

Well, for six weeks, anyhow. Then I’m off to Aruba.

So, how was Spain? Awesome, thank you for asking. It was my kind of vacation: The kind that’s spent doing absolutely nothing, day after day.

I woke up, ate breakfast, and then sat outside reading in the shade for an hour or two. Then maybe we’d go to the local grocery store to buy supplies, or to the pool for a quick dip, or drive down to the beach, or play Pokemon cards. Then in the evenings we’d go out somewhere for dinner. Maybe to the Italian restaurant, maybe to the Asian Buffet, or maybe to a seaside restaurant if we were at the beach. Then we’d go to Lo Maribu, the local bar, for a drink and perhaps a few games of dominoes before returning to the villa for a game or five of Gin Rummy.

Did I see the great sights of Spain? No.

Did I take in a wealth of Spanish culture? No.

Like I said, it was a vacation for doing absolutely nothing, and that’s just how I like it.

The family that looked after me were all very friendly, which was a relief. Not that I expected them to be otherwise. It’s just that as a dude, there’s something genuinely intimidating about going to meet a woman’s parents on a different continent where no one can hear you scream.

So yeah. Awesome vacation.

The actual journeys to and from Spain were less enjoyable. I laid out my hellish journey in the previous blog, and it was just as painful as I imagined it. The epic layover in Madrid was made even more painful by the fact that my flight to Alicante was delayed by an hour. I was completely burned out by the previous night’s flight to Madrid, and having to wait eight hours for a one hour flight was a draining experience.

The flight back was better, though still painful. I had to wake up at 4:30 AM for a 7:00 flight to Barcelona. My layover in Barcelona was three and a half hours, which wasn’t too bad. I boarded the plane on schedule at 11:10, but the plane sat immobile for a while. The pilot eventually told us why we weren’t moving: Some fool had put the fuel on the wrong plane. By the time everything was sorted out, it was almost 1:30. Two hours of sitting on the plane not moving were followed by a nine hour flight, for a total of eleven hours on the plane. Not fun.

And now I’m home, and life should start returning to normal soon. My body is still in the wrong time zone, as I woke up on the wrong side of 6:00 AM this morning and was unable to get back to sleep. I’m not tired though – just out of sync. I’m sure that will correct itself within a few days.

Let summer ’11 roll on!