McDonald's and the Kids

A notable quote happened upon us one late night ...

"McDonald's is okay, [because] they give water to kids."

- R in his drunken stupor

I suppose he meant (without explaining) that at least the "big, bad McDonald's" offered water as a beverage option to the most loyal of its customers: kids. I mean, at this point, he was six pints into Christmas Eve and definitely completely out of his tree. I didn't feel the urge to correct him, and point out that I have almost never seen any child take Ronald McDonald on that offer of fresh water instead of the tasty soda pops given in those Happy Meals.

I should mention that this quote occurred very very early on Christmas morning, and only some ten minutes after we had dressed his passed-out body up in high heels, a shawl, a purse, then painted his toenails, posed him holding a hairbrush and brandishing various hotel room items (seemingly) up his butt. And I have photographic evidence to show our glee.

But for the record, his own girlfriend was the mastermind behind all of this. I just had the shutter finger.

Holiday Side Effects

Bah. Humbug. I don't love Christmas as much as I used to, and I never believed in Santa Claus -- even before I knew that he couldn't exist. Before I could look up the mathematical calculations, before I could read poems about other people's investigations, before we could even use NORAD to track Santa's alleged whereabouts.

But it'll all be over in a day. And the mad rush to the malls won't be for last-minute gifts that you swear you would get done early, but end up doing on December 24 every year anyhow. No, the rush will be to the Boxing Day sales, and to the returns / exchanges counters instead. After all, what the heck are you going to do with that wool-knit reindeer sweater that's two sizes too big? Or with that tie imprinted with someone else's name on it?

On the other side, I take this chance to enjoy some of the random little acts of kindness and selflessness that people feel compelled to grant around this time of year. Little things like giving you returns or doing little things for complete strangers (ie: me) ... just under the simple guise that "it's Christmas". It's a refreshing change from the regular rat race of the get-out-of-my-way-if-you're-not-doing-something-I-can-benefit-from world. It's just noticeable that people are more cheery around Christmas; reap the benefits of that!

And while the cheery mall choirs and carols might be nauseating to some, I find that they do kind of put a chipper mood in me. Blinking lights, a little egg nog or "special Christmas punch", some repetitively mind-numbing Christmas chants, and I'm suddenly a slave to the spirit of commercial subliminal messaging.

So This is Christmas?

I woke up late this morning, had my soy milk and my kashi whole-grain high-protein cereal with skim milk, watching 30 minutes of Balance TV talking about ergonomic chairs and the ironic evils of sugar-free sweeteners. I assembled the oil heater and moved it to the study room. I started another DVD for backing up to my harddrive, and sat at the computer to add more music to my iTunes library and check my emails.

It wasn't until I saw an IM buddy's status message that I realized that today isn't just another day: it's Christmas Eve. And still, it doesn't feel any different than any other day. Any other cold day in Vancouver. At home. Totally un-Christmas-like.

Merry Christmas to you all, hoping you're spending it with friends and family and loved ones, close to you in body or in spirit. Share the love.

(And the candy canes, share those too. Oh, and be liberal with the gravy already. And pass that Toblerone over -- break off your wedge and pass the rest on over! You're not the only one craving sugars on the Atkins / South Beach / low-carb diet, you know.)

The Feeling of Skin on Skin

Put your legs together, so they're touching. You see, as a man, I wear pants or shorts that almost always go past the knee. But ladies have the option of skirts and dresses, and it only dawned on me the other day that this is an even bigger difference than I had previously given credit to.

I mean, when you women wear skirts or dresses and you sit crosslegged, your legs touch. I mean, they touch each other. Like, skin on skin. Men never get that, because there are always two layers of material between our thighs (one layer on each pant leg). So to be sitting in public or wherever, and having your own skin touching you; I wonder what that must feel like.

Thought just popped into my head like that, without warning. Huh. And I haven't even had any egg nog yet.

I Finally Heard It

So I'm landed and settled back at my parents' place for the holidays, and I'm kickin' back in the living room. I flip on the ol' idiot box to catch the 10 o'clock news. And then I heard it.

"... help them 'oot'."

The newscaster said "out", and I heard it as "oot". I mean, I don't suppose she says it in any manner different than I might have said it too, but I was pretty sure it sounded like "oot". I sat there, rather shocked that I had flipped sides. I couldn't believe it.

It was slow and subtle, but it's starting to happen: I'm starting to speak American. Luckily, I'll have a few weeks here to fix that right up and get my Canadian pronunciations back!

Things Left Undone

I'm going home today. And though I'm happy to head home, and had the chance to catch up with friends who live in the SFBA, there are a few people whom I would have really liked to see one last time. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. And as I leave here indefinitely, I can't help but feel that there are many things left undone, many words left unsaid.

Squeaky Clean

That's four times in the past two weeks now.

I'm sitting there in the restaurant, minding my own business, with my purchased (or to-be-purchased) food. And I'm eating it. I'm not being gross, nor am I being obnoxious, and I believe my etiquette to be completely acceptable.

But somehow, the cleaning crew takes my dining experience as a cue to begin cleaning. And I mean more than just wiping the table next to us. They embark on major industrial-strength cleaning tasks like:

- pushing all the chairs together at the food court
- scrubbing the table feet with a brush and soap
- vacuuming the floor around us
- sweeping dust and other air pollutants

I mean, come on. These are rather respectable establishments, so it's not necessarily some ghetto joint. But a little respect please? Why be doing the cleaning in and around me, while I'm eating??

The Spirit Awakens

It's December. About 3 weeks to Christmas, but probably about 3 weeks after stores and malls have prepared for the Christmas rush. So we're kind of at the psychological halfway point in terms of the buildup to anticipating this holiday event.

Some years, my Christmas spirit ramps up really soon, and by the time December 1 comes along, I'm in full gear and all jolly about the season. Some years, it takes right up until the days before Christmas before I start feeling that emotional inkling (and then it's kind of too late to enjoy it before you have to endure the craziness of Boxing Day). More recently, I experience the latter -- maybe I'm just getting jaded about the existence of "magic" that will miraculously save/uplift us all. Sad, no?

Maybe I just need to play "Sleigh Ride" more on my iPod. I'll do that on the way to work today.

Shhh ...

Sorry for the longer silence. Things are happening. Will tell you about them later. :-)

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish

This sealed the deal after a conversation that surprised him.

This is to formally notify you that I am resigning from The Company. Friday, December 17, 2004 will be my last day of employment.

I made this decision as a personal strategic career move. It's been a great pleasure working with you, with the impressive team at The Company, and I enjoyed representing the company. I wish you and The Company continued success! I'm sure that in this small world, we will no doubt cross paths either professionally or personally.

Please feel free to call on me if I can help over the next short while to ensure a smooth transition.

I just realized today that I had never before this resigned from a company. Usually, the contract time was up, or that the dot-com went belly up. It's a neat experience -- and definitely liberating.

But I think I ruined their weekends. Oh well.

Move It ... II

So, in the first stage of moving, out goes all the stupid things:

- clothes that don't really fit anymore, but you keep around just because it seems wasteful to throw it out
- anything that you don't even really use anymore, but you keep around for the same reason as above
- little odds and ends that you collected from other people with the thought of "oh, this might come in handy one day" but never has

And when space/weight is at a premium, you start to have to cut out things you'd like to keep, but can't really:

- extra furniture
- clothes you wear once in a blue moon
- books that are useful as reference ... or will be one day, someday
- food that you bought at Costco and still have 75% of left

And when the timing of the move comes to a close, you realize that what you thought was just a few minutes left of cleaning here and there actually is more like 4 hours of cleaning. This is, of course, mostly because your roommates had already moved out and left anything they didn't want, which means you have the whole apartment's worth of crap to clean out and throw out.

At this point, the final stage of moving kicks in: you take a large box (or bag) and start piling all the "miscellaneous stuff" in there. These are, of course, things that have proper places, and are put all in a single box even though they have nothing to do with each other. You'll also find that this box really could be thrown out, but again, you can't bear to.

At some point, sentimentals will have to be given up (in favour of essentials), but I haven't really gotten that far yet. Those are in a special little box of their own.

Not His Intent

"Well, I'm not here to mooch. I'm not a mooch."

- R, as he left with bags of stuff from my apartment

In an effort to clear out this humble abode (or ex-abode), I've probably showered my friends with tons of unexciting household items. Clorox ReadyMop, dishwasher liquid, scouring pads, plungers, guava juice, cans of sweet corn, tuna, and chicken (not all together), iron skillets, frozen gourmet burger patties, coat hangers. Everything that doesn't find a new home to use them will be trashed now. Things not worth moving/keeping, yet too wasteful to throwaway, and still not really worth the hassle of trying to sell.

My place is starting to feel empty. Just memories are lingering now. A lot of memories.