03/28/2004 - 04/04/2004
When Renny and I were at Chapters last weekend we saw The Gum Thief the latest book by Douglas Coupland, which is about people working at Staples. Here is a description from the book jacket:
"In Douglas Coupland’s ingenious new novel–sort of a Clerks-meets-Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf–we meet Roger, a divorced, middle-aged “aisles associate” at a Staples outlet, condemned to restocking reams of twenty-lb. bond paper for the rest of his life. And then there’s Roger’s co-worker Bethany, who’s at the end of her Goth phase, and young enough to be looking at fifty more years of sorting the red pens from the blue in Aisle Six."
Yesterday in the lunchroom at, yes, Staples, I saw The Gum Thief on the table. 'Ashley' had written a note to 'Bob' telling him about the book. 'Ashley' and 'Bob' could easily be 'Bethany' and 'Roger'. I picked up the book and started to read...
"I work in a Staples. I’m in charge of restocking aisles 2-North and 2-South: Sheet Protectors, Indexes & Dividers, Note books, Post-It Products, Paper Pads, Specialty Papers and “Social Stationery.” Do I hate this job? Are you nuts? Of course I hate it. How could you not hate it? Everyone who works with me is either already damaged or else they’re embryos waiting to be damaged, fresh out of school and slow as a 1999 modem. Just because you’ve been born and made it through high school doesn’t mean society can’t still abort you. Wake up.
Let me try to say something positive here. For balance.
Staples allows me to wear black lipstick to work."
That's pretty brutal, but I think that description could apply to any retail store or fast food restaurant. I suppose Staples just stands out as an easier target than most because the products being sold are really mundane. The employees at Best Buy or Chapters probably aren't much different but high-definition TVs and books have more entertainment value than binders and pencil sharpeners.
Reading the first dozen pages of The Gum Thief really motivated me to find a better job
After work I stopped off at the LCBO across the street to buy some beer. That LCBO has a better beer selection than anyother store I've ever seen. It was fantastic. They had lots from local craft brewers. The Guelph/Waterloo area is pretty good for that.
Behind me in line were two guys a couple years younger than me. The friendly cashier who I had been talking to me carded them. One had ID the other said
"I don't have ID"
"Cause I'm not 19"
"Well that's a problem. Legally you shouldn't even be in here unless you're with your parents"
So of course they had to leave empy handed. Everyone else in the store had a good laugh at their expense on their way out the door. I'm not sure why those idiots thoughts they would get away with it. The younger one clearly was not legal.
Alright, because I was mentioning it to Matt and Neil eariler, here is a link to an essay in which it is postulated that the comic strip "Marmaduke" serves as an elaborate rape fantasy. Convincing? Possibly. Entertaining? Verily! I'd explain, but the essay does a much better job than I ever could.
Also, new MONDO articles are up, new ones are coming next week, blah blah blah, you guys should write some stuff, you know the drill...
Hey guys, I know I've talked to a few of you about these Obay ads. I liked Neil's hypothesis that it was actually a mind control drug and Obay was "kidding on the square". A google search doesn't reveal anything official except an Ottawa version of eBay. The ads, though, seem to only be appearing in Toronto. A few independent commentators have done some speculation and research, the best I found being this:
The Torontoist take makes a lot of sense. In two weeks I guess we'll know. Obay has done a very good job at getting my attention, whatever it is.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Family Day concept. Personally, I think we should make up the economic shortfall the holiday brings by selling naming rights to corporations. So we could have Coca-Cola™ Presents Family Day or Family Day: Brought To You By The Good Folks At General Dynamics™.
Switching gears, Neil and I came up with this t-shirt idea which I think it gets the message across:
Anyway, because this isn't random enough if you like politics and cooking then you may like this epic 90-minute cooking challange slash political debate slash snark. Actually only the first half is cooking and the politics, the second half is people eating the food while criticizing it. The first half is more interesting.
Here are some (10 secondish) excerpts:
Spencer Ackerman after explaining what it was like to be a teenage vegan and why he gave up said veganism.
Ezra Klein describing Orange County. (I don't know if I'm selling these well, they're actually really grip).
Oh, and isn't this the greatest start to a comic? (though I don't know about the rest...)