Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Mysteries of Leaving Messages

In the past two weeks, I have been trying to contact three different offices (2 school, one doctor’s) for various reasons. These offices have completely abandoned the old “stay on the line and someone will pick up in a minute” routine, favouring leaving a message as the only option.

I haven’t received a call back from any of these. I’m dumbfounded, and rather than call again and leave a bunch of angry messages, I’ll hypothesize and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Possible Reasons Why No One Has Called Me Back:

1. I have a lisp that only comes out when I’m on the phone, and no family member has ever said anything about it, nor can I tell. Therefore it sounds like I’m saying “No, it’s cool, don’t call me back please” instead of “please give me a call back! I’ll be here! Waiting!”

2. Every time my message is being heard on the machine, someone slips over a stray power cord and falls on the “delete” button before I’m able to recite my phone number.

3. There is a secret hierarchy of area codes, and 416-ers are always called back promptly, 647-ers are laughed at left to rot. (Yes. I have a 647 number. Don’t talk about it, it’s a sore spot.)

4. The office workers are so used to deciphering heavy accents and mumbled words that my clearly-spoken phone number has thrown them astray.

5. My phone is broken and will only let through the most annoying and nosy telemarkers.

6. The person listening to my message used to date someone with the name Michelle and it hurts too much to listen to the rest.

7. My phone voice is so beautiful and professional they think it’s a recording/robot and are too annoyed/scared to call back.

8. There is a secret code embedded into the robot message heard when you first call the office. I did not mention the secret code in my message.

 9. April Ludgate interns as a phone answerer at all three of these offices.

I have no idea. In all honestly, I don’t know why I haven’t gotten a call back. Is it normal to have to wait two weeks for something like this?

My English Class Supplement: Ferris Bueller’s New Ad

How much did you groan every time your English teacher would request an analysis of vague symbolism in an old book? I remember a good hour-long rant one of my more eccentric English teachers went on about the snake-clasp belt buckle in Lord of the Flies. Of course, I hated it at the time, but now that I’ve been out of school for a year and out of English class for two, I miss it. I miss weaving my words and creating connections between any two seemingly unattached things or events, and getting an awesome mark for it.

So, hey, why not write about Ferris Bueller?

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard that Matthew Broderick has starred in a Honda commercial as Ferris Bueller. If you haven’t, well, here it is: (and please, get Twitter or something. It’s 2012!)


If you haven’t seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I have to question why you’re even here and not crying yourself to sleep or something. Go watch it, you will thank me later.

Let’s see. The original movie has Ferris skip school to spend the day in downtown Chicago with his friends, after taking his friend’s dad’s 1961 Ferrari GT.

This commercial features a friend-less Matthew Broderick jump in his super-cool Honda CR-V and spend the day by himself while avoiding his boss.

Well, we all know that getting old sucks. Really sucks. Are we supposed to believe that this is some awesome sequel to the best movie of Broderick’s youth? Are we supposed to appreciate the throwback, and idolize the actor and his rebelliousness now?

He trades this:

For this:

And these:

For…well…a big stuffed panda bear(?)

Shall we even get into how this is a complete sell-out?

So, kiddies. Don’t grow up. You will lose all your friends, have a mid-life crisis where you think buying a reliable compact Japanese SUV is the coolest thing you could do, and will let corporations pay you money to sell out your old dreams and ideas. You will supplement your misery by occasionally skipping work and desperately trying to re-create the spontaneous adventure of your youth, but all alone.

Or maybe you’ll just have some fun driving your cool new SUV around the city. Whatever.

Life’s too short to overanalyze.

Okay, I guess I’ve lost my touch.  Good thing I’m not going back to school for literary analysis.

Tree Planting?

In an effort to avoid going back to my old job by any means, I applied at almost every single listing on the Toronto Library “student summer job suggestions” page. Almost every summer job imaginable, that I could do with my clothes on, got an application from me. This included a reforestation company.

Yesterday, I received an email back asking if I could set up a phone interview. (Phone interviews=no sweaty handshakes!) So I googled a little about the job, because reading over an entire job description before applying is clearly too difficult for me.

Basically, I’d be committing to spending two months sleeping in a tent without internet access (le gasp!) or even 3G. Even any phone service, for that matter, is obsolete. Apparently they drive you into town on your day off (work 5.5, get 1.5 days off) so you can call home. Once a week. What is this, 1950? Oh, and the place is probably 5-8 hours away from my house.

Hyperventilating  aside, there’s something kind of nice about the opportunity to rid myself of these devices. How many hours have I wasted messing around online when I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet? (Hint: it’s 11:14am on a Saturday and I’m writing this from my bed.) How often do I have my nose buried in my phone, what am I missing from the real world?
Does anyone even remember how to entertain themselves without a computer, phone, television or video games anymore? We spent 3 weeks in a cable-less, phone service-less (well, at least for me, since Rogers is the worst company in the world, but that’s a whole different post) house in PEI last summer. Even then we had my 13″ laptop and some Harry Potter DVDs, thank god.

But for two months? Yikes.

At least I look great in plaid.

And then there’s the other facts. You get paid per how many trees you plant, not hourly. Some rookies who go up and quit after a week wind up owing the company money,  since you have to pay a daily fee for camp costs. A lot give up.
Then there’s the physical strain, since you have to carry all the little seedlings in bags around your waist. 6am is wake-up call. SIX AM. Even when I was scheduled for 6:45 shifts at my other job, I would roll out of bed somewhere around…oh…6:30?

I just can’t figure out if I’d be good at it or not. If the no internet/phone thing didn’t drive me insane outright, would I be able to make a decent amount of money?
I’m an efficient person. I’ve been told this many times. The secret to tree planting is refining your movements so they are purposeful, useful, and minimal, or so I’ve read. I’m pretty damn good at that. Anyone who’s ever seen me work a cash register knows that.
But then there’s the times where, after 2 hours of watering plants in 40 degree heat, I’d be all “what is this shit I want to go die” and slow down to a snail’s pace. Planting 2000+ trees a day seems a little…depressing.
I’m also actually pretty weak sometimes. I have blood sugar issues and feel faint easily, which gets super embarrassing and kind of dangerous if I’m alone.

Even though the idea of being able to make a semester’s tuition in 8 weeks is attractive, I think I might just send back a “thanks but no thanks, I’m a city girl and I always will be.”
I’m pretty sure they don’t want that one person on the bus who keeps going “Aww, is that a town? It’s so cute! Look how little it is!” Guilty.  

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of January 24, 2012

Today was a very strange day, but an interesting shake-up to my weeks of job-less mediocrity.

The Good

I somehow secured a position as a “field marketing director” on a short contract with a local event company. I will basically just be distributing little displays of brochures for the Weekend to End Women’s Cancers all around town, chatting with small business owners to get them to allow me to set one up on their counter. It is not sales or fundraising, and I am not metaphorically handcuffed to a cash desk all day, so go me! It’s actually an amazing cause, and last week I even filled out the volunteer form. If you have never attended anything like this, go. It’s amazing how supportive everyone is. I’ve volunteered/participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure numerous times, and it’s just a great time for an even better cause. You won’t regret it.

Image courtesy of the event website

The Bad

After applying to a bunch of jobs on Kijiji yesterday, I received an email this morning from one of the more promising, yet vague positions. “Accounts receivable with little experience,” the ad requested. Perfect for me! I have done tons of order entry, quotations, invoicing, etc and this was a great way to expand on my knowledge.

Well, the email described how I would be sent cheques to my home, and my only job was to cash them and wire the money to this “company,” while keeping a percentage for myself. Seriously? Is that not one of the sketchiest things you have ever heard of? A quick google search tipped me off to how this is a common scam. Basically, they send you bad cheques and you don’t find out until after you have wired them the money, so the onus falls on you. I couldn’t even find them on the BBB website. After a quick domain search, I discovered the company was based in California. I forwarded the email to the FBI. Take that, suckers.

I kind of wanted to troll them back and say “So, how do you know I’m not going to steal the company’s hard-earned cash?”

The Ugly

The boyfriend, who parked outside for 40 minutes while he quickly ate and got changed between school and work, got a parking ticket for $60 bucks for being too far on the sidewalk. I understand the sidewalk rules, but Toronto parking ticket prices are insane. Reading over some forums about fighting traffic tickets, apparently you can get $450 tickets for parking in disabled zones and whatnot. I mean, I understand disabled zones are necessary. But…$450?

Bonus Round: The Just Plain Weird

As I do every morning, I walked upstairs and plopped down on the couch with my laptop. This couch faces the big wall-of-windows that gives me a view of the somewhat-busy corner we live on. 20 minutes into my productive Facebook-creeping, I see two Toronto Police cars pull up, two officers and a police dog get out. They were coming up my walkway!

I opened the front door, and the officer asked me about any cars parked outside or weird noises. I hadn’t seen anything (although I wish I had. My superior skills for recognizing car makes, models, and details would have had that case solves in an instant, if that didn’t make me look too suspicious.) They then spent over half an hour photographing something at the foot the city-owned grass and questioning the other neighbours.
I still have no idea what happened. Nothing else seemed weird, I looked down the street and there weren’t any clearly vandalized places or anything. This is a neighbourhood filled with seniors and young families, so it’s not like we’re used to grow house busts or anything, like some other parts of Scarborough.

January 24th, you will forever be the most exciting day an unemployed 19 year old has ever experienced. Good job.

September Can’t Come Fast Enough

Alright, so I keep having horrible dreams about my old job. Unless I find a new place to work, I’ll have to go back there in March. I don’t know what I’ll do if they won’t let me change departments. I can’t do cash anymore. I just can’t. I’m sick of others’ disorganization affecting my job, and I couldn’t do anything about it. At least when you water plants all day, no one can yell at you about returns (well, for the most part.)

There’s a bunch of government programs to set students up with public service summer jobs, but unfortunately I don’t qualify as a “student,” even though I’ll be in school in September. Whatever, government. Whatever.

Even temp jobs require experience! I’m trying to word my experience on my resume to be a better description of what I really did at my jobs, but I worry they just see the word “cashier” and ignore the rest. Actually, I set up appointments, followed up with product requests, directed phone calls, taught managers/supervisors how to work the computer system, set up accounts, etc. It was much more than just scanning the item and taking the money.

I hate this generation. In my parents’ day, when they graduated from high school in the early ’70s, there was no problem getting an entry-level office job. It was expected. Now Wal-Mart requires 3 interviews. Receptionist jobs require a bachelors degree. It’s insane.

Can’t it just be September so I can go to school? Hopefully I can get a job on campus. Hopefully.

I don't even want to start a countdown of the days. It will just be depressing.

I suppose I’ll have to go through and re-word all of my biographies and “about me” now that I know what I’m doing. Super fun!


A Weekend in Quebec

This gallery contains 8 photos.

This past weekend, my parents and I went on a mini-road trip to visit a university in Quebec, 8 hours away. We stopped over and spent Saturday in Montreal before continuing onto Sherbrooke, 2 hours east, for Sunday. Although there … Continue reading