Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Fiscally Unsound Misadventures of Richard Liang

Another call this morning for Richard Liang: this time, from HSBC Mastercard (with whom I have no connection, of course). The guy on the phone this time was particularly aggressive, definitely more so than the other people who come a-calling for this guy.

This is probably due to the fact that he owes them over $22000. Sweet Jesus.

Current Music: The Shins - Know Your Onion!

What's Wang This Week

I got a cell phone yesterday. I was going to get one on Friday night, but I went into a store called Berkeley Cellular or something and asked for a prepay phone, and the guy wouldn't let down trying to get me to sign a contract, so I can get a phone for free. I then told him that there was a pretty cheap phone on the T-Mobile website, and he looks on the website and he says, "No, I don't see it here." Then I leaned around and looked at the monitor, and there it is, right in the middle of the column: he says, "Oh, you mean this one." Yes, I meant that one. "Yeah, but this phone... sucks. It's way too basic." Great, thanks. In order to extract myself from the situation, I asked him for a pamphlet and left. I didn't go back there yesterday. In the words of Stewie Griffin, you came on a little strong, there, buddy.

In other news, I got a cell phone yesterday, and if you want the number let me know. However, don't call it, because it's a prepay phone.

My car key vanished and I have no idea how. I got up to my car door a couple of days ago, and went to open the door, but the key was gone. None of my other keys were missing. Okay, so I guess it broke off, but the strangest part is that the key was connected to my keychain via its own tiny keyring. But the keyring is still there, completely undamaged.

I have three theories:

  1. it broke off;

  2. the mice under the floor of the house have found a way through the walls and gnawed through it in the evening while I didn't notice; or

  3. the world's biggest asshole thief happens to live in the area and/or go to Berkeley, reached into my pocket without me noticing, removed the car key from my keychain in the most difficult way possible leaving the tiny keyring, then slipped the keychain back into my pocket without me noticing.

If my car is missing tomorrow with only a piece of paper that says "LOL pwnes j00" sitting in its place, I'll know what happened. Maybe I should get a Club.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Post-election day special! Featuring: Random quotes from my past, provided without context #33; bi-weekly Man vs. Clown! link-dump; WWTW

Random quotes from my past, provided without context #33

I'd rather be discriminated against based on the colour of my skin, and save $50.

-- Derek Tsang

I couldn't have said it any better myself

I have always been a little ashamed of being the least politically aware of my friends. I vote much like I live; very routinely. I don't think I've ever not voted NDP, be it provincially or federally. Beyond just that, I tend to also know very little about the candidates: until yesterday, I knew nothing about the Gomery commission, and I still know remarkably little. I voted for the NDP candidate in my riding without knowing anything beyond the fact that a) she is an NDP candidate, b) she looks like a dude (thanks Victor). I have an idea of where the parties stand with respect to social issues -- well, that's a lie, all I know is that the Conservatives aren't progressive.

Then again, I do still have my opinions on the uninformed electorate, and I don't want to be one of them. For example, I was poking around James Moore's website yesterday, and I came across this on his blog:

When someone says "I'm voting for Harper because the Liberals are brutal. I mean Gordon Campbell is destroying B.C." Is it okay to go ahead and thank them for their support?

I couldn't have said it better myself. (Hey, that's the title of the post!) At least I'm not that dude/chick.

My disappointment at the new Conservative government is thus tempered by the knowledge that I have no idea what I would have done were I truly and deeply informed. Everyone seems to know about it, though, even here; at least three people asked me about the process, and I explained as best I could from my memory of Socials 7/8/9/10/11. One thing I do know, though, is that I miss the old PC party. I might have one day voted PC in good conscience. They were, you know, progressive. Now, instead, when that day comes maybe I just won't vote. (I almost didn't this time, of which I'm embarrassed. In my defence, I wasn't sure what I would have to do to procure an absentee ballot, which combined with my end-of-holidays laziness to almost keep me from voting.)

But I did, and I hope that I always will. Why? Not only because I understand my role as a vital cog in the democratic process, but also because there are perks to voting, and also to voting NDP. Peter Lynn over at Man vs. Clown! has this to say on the topic:

If you're Canadian and eligible to vote, make sure you get out to the polls today and vote. If not out of any sort of civic duty, then do so simply because it purchases you the right to bitch about the results. I say this as an NDP voter, of course. No matter what happens, I'll be saying, "Don't blame me! I voted for Layton."

(Also, as he explains in the comments, he enjoys the added perk that when someone inevitably tries to explain the electoral process to him and how he didn't vote for Layton, but for an NDP MP candidate, he can fire back that he lives in Toronto-Danforth, and don't you have egg on your face.) I couldn't have said it better myself. (Hey, I did it again!)

What's Wang This Week

How much did you pay for your Canucks tickets?

I paid $17.

One time last year, I went to a residence hall for dinner and took advantage by eating 6 separate desserts (after eating two main courses). The fact that I wasn't seriously fucked up for the rest of the night was a warning sign to me that I had better clean up my act. I think it was the low point I needed to shake me up. I think I may have hit another such low, as yesterday, inspired by Alton Brown's episode on fried chicken, I bought 10 pieces of fried chicken (for $6.99! Could you honestly say no to such a deal?), ate four, and put the rest of it into the fridge. Why? I wanted to see if fried chicken was good cold. Today I had two more pieces for lunch, and two more pieces for dinner. I feel like the biggest, most disgusting slob in the world.

On the bright side, Church's chicken is pretty good cold.

Current Music: Jason Collett - Fire

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Note to self

It's Dunning's birthday.

Current Music: Frank Black - Stupid Me

P.S. 250th post!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Now hear this

Three things:

  1. If anyone was even considering visiting me during my Spring Break, you have one week to contact me and finalize plans. Otherwise, I am booking my flight home.

  2. If all goes well, I will be going to see the Canucks play the Sharks in April. I think it's only fitting that I buy a Canucks jersey before that. I would also like one with a name and number on the back, of course, but I'm having trouble deciding on which name and number.

    Mattias Ohlund is a great player and that's the one I've wanted for a while. However, he's young enough that he could be traded in a couple of years and then I'm like those people wearing the #96 Bure jerseys. Ooh, sorry you paid for that.

    Trevor Linden's jersey will never go out of date. Also, there's a possibility that there will already be pre-made Linden jerseys available for cheaper than the $160 USD an Ohlund jersey will cost me online. However, he's no Mattias Ohlund.

    What do you think?

  3. What do people use these days: DVD+R or DVD-R? Does it even matter?

Current Music: My Morning Jacket - Z

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Note to self

Birthdays happen every year.

Current Music: Wilco - Kicking Television: Live in Chicago

Attention Richard Liang

For the last several months, I've been getting phone calls from various creditors. While I know I have a tendency to owe people money (sorry Thomas and Galen), I'm certain that I do not owe Discover Card anything. I also don't I hold any account with MBNA. Yet they keep calling.

Apparently, my number comes up first on a big online telephone book in a search for "Richard Liang", which makes me The Internet's Foremost Richard Liang in some respects. (Typically I'm outstripped in the Google searches by a very good youth badminton player in BC somewhere; however, he probably still lives with his parents, so bully for me.) While this is a goal of mine, the problem with it is that a 60-year-old man named Richard Liang living in Danville owes money all over town. Why these people don't have his phone number on record, I don't know; I can only assume that this guy sold his telephone to pay some kind of gambling debt.

Most of the phone calls tend to sound like this:

[phone rings at 9:30AM]
Me: [groggy] Hello?
Creditor's agent: Hello, is this Richard Liang?
Me: [still groggy but trying to sound polite] Yes.
Agent: Yes, hello Mr. Liang, I'm with [creditor].
Me: Uh, hi.
Agent: I'm calling about the outstanding bill you have with [creditor]...
Me: [interrupting] I don't have a Discover Card/MBNA account/[connection with creditor].
Agent: [pause] Is this Richard Liang, living in Danville, [state that is not California]?
Me: No, I live in California.
Agent: And you don't sound 60.
Me: I'm not.
Agent: Alright, well I'm very sorry, I'll remove your number from the system.

That's typically the last I hear from these very nice people, which is kind of sad -- some of them seem fun.

MBNA is the most recent. I came back from holidays to find 8 messages on my machine, all from very pleasant-sounding MBNA agents. Since it was a long weekend, I didn't want to call any of them back. Over the weekend I had unpleasant thoughts about my credit rating being decimated due to some 60-year-old compulsive gambler (and how I might then exact revenge). Assured by the very nice fellow from MBNA who woke me up today, this will not happen. So, I will stow the piano wire for now and instead issue the following open letter, which I can only hope that Richard Liang will find (although he probably won't, having likely sold his computer to finance his gambling problem):

Attention sexagenarian Richard Liang of Danville: Please pay your fucking bills and get a damn telephone.

Richard Liang

Current Music: LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Moment of clarity

In the last five minutes, I have gone from holiday mode to business mode. It's time to get shit done. I'm ready to go back to California.

And not a moment too soon.

Current Music: The Police - Synchronicity II

Friday, January 13, 2006

She was a day tripper

I'm very sure I saw Brooke Burns in the backing karaoke video for "Day Tripper" on Saturday.

That's her.

It took a while to figure out it was her. I knew she looked familiar and kind of like Rebecca Romjin, but not Rebecca Romjin. Later, I remembered that she hosted a "Fear Factor"-type show, but then I forgot about it. But I found out.

As a young and fledgling actor and/or model, where on the career totem pole is an appearance in a karaoke video? For a Beatles cover band (which we saw a couple of in those videos), it might be right up their alley and a good laugh, but for a real actor or model? How much does it pay? (Not nearly enough, says Jeremy.) I imagine it's somewhere below playing a cadaver on CSI and somewhere above appearing in a local car dealership ad.

Current Music: Wolf Parade - It's A Curse

Thursday, January 12, 2006



Thanks Steve for the link to Google Video.

Current Music: Rod Stewart - Handbags and Gladrags

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Attn Messr. Funnell, Mmes. McKerricher & Tse

I'll be on campus tomorrow. Will YOU?

It's funny because it's true

Over at Man vs. Clown!, Peter Lynn says:

As a rule, the people who say, "We always talk about the weirdest things!" usually don't.

A certain ex-girlfriend of mine falls under this category. Moreover, when I actually talked about the weirdest things I could think of, she looked at me like I was an idiot. Sad, really. When I put it this way, it's a miracle I stuck with it as long as I did.

But when I think about it, I'm not sure I would enjoy being put in that position. Okay, so suppose I have a girlfriend who I think is totally gonzo. On one hand, I have a girlfriend; on the other hand, I think she's totally gonzo. When I put it this way, it's a miracle she stuck with it as long as she did. So yeah, that was a healthy relationship.

I think from now on I will rule out anyone who habitually says things like "We always talk about the weirdest things!" or "I seem shy, but when you get me going you can't shut me up!". But I must also rule out those who say things like "I highlighted my nosepad indentation" or "I shook down my keyboard and put the contents into a locket for safe keeping".

This is quite the highwire act.

Current Music: The Arcade Fire - Funeral

Sunday, January 08, 2006

And don't get me started on directing

Over lunch today:

Grandma: You know, you think that actors have it good, but they do a lot of work, you know.

Me: [confused] Yeah.

Grandma: It looks easy, but you have to have a lot of skills. Piano playing, swimming... you have to do it all.

Me: Right.

Grandma: You might think that they make lots of money, but it's not easy.

Um, okay.

Current Music: The Who - So Sad About Us

Friday, January 06, 2006

What's Wang This Week

Maybe it's just because of all the holiday specials, but MuchMusic fucking sucks these days. Has it always been this bad? I remember that when I was younger, I could come home after school/class and there'd be a good, steady stream of music videos. There'd be the occasional show, like Spotlight, but those mostly centred around playing videos. I used to turn on MuchMusic and expect to see a few bands I hated, a few bands I liked, a few hot chicks, some Nickelback, you know.

Now I turn it on and it feels like about 60% of the time, I get "Video On Trial", which is the absolute worst. Instead of videos, we get this insipid tripe consisting mostly of stupid talking heads. Not interviews with musicians, no: totally marginal comedians, recognizable primarily from milk commercials and pre-movie advertisements in theatres; professional wrestlers; and Toronto-area media critics, all pretending that they're on "Remember the 80's?", only with music videos instead of the 80's. Who are these fucking jokers? Everything they say is completely played out and a waste of broadcast bandwidth. It doesn't stop there -- no, then there's the shows with the VJs themselves taking potshots at celebrities. And they keep showing the same stuff over and over and over. Where are the videos? I think the only time I've actually seen good, proper music videos just for the sake of music videos was between 2 and 3AM. Even Spotlight has become a 15-minute segment where they play one, maybe two videos.

This is terrible. This is what people say MTV has become, and it's sad that MuchMusic -- which had made a reputation as a music television station that still plays music television -- has sunk to that. In happier news, Burger King offers both a baked potato and a side salad as side dishes in their combos now.

In other news, I was at Future Shop a couple weeks ago and noticed that they had a bin full of double-pack DVDs (two for $25! What a savings). Most of them were dross, but there were some movies I wouldn't mind owning. The bundles mostly had some logic behind them. For example: the Steve Martin family comedy "Cheaper By The Dozen", bundled with the original version; "Star Wars I" and "Star Wars II"; "Man on Fire" and "Die Hard". Some of the bundles' logic was a bit tenuous, with a "Dr. Dolittle"/"Garfield: The Movie" doubleheader, and "Fat Albert" and some other movie starring only black people (I don't remember what it was, but I know it wasn't "Barbershop" or "Barbershop II"). The one that stumped me, though, was the bundling of "Elektra" and "Dude, Where's My Car?" What's the thread there?

Current Music: Rod Stewart - Handbags and Gladrags

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2005, recounted in the form of the most memorable meals of the year

7) The Burnaby Hilton with my parents and sister, July (?)
Non-stop... everything. Well worth $25 (but maybe not $35, I'm very sorry)

6) Memphis Blues with Monika, Victor, Thomas, Will, Regan, Cecile, Jowen, Derek, Jeremy, Ed, Galen, December
The Priscilla Platter isn't as impressive in person as it is on paper, but still.

5) Bear's Lair with Dave, Frances, Brad, Sebastien, April (?)
Dave and I shared twelve fucking awful White Castle burgers. And they were cheeseburgers, so Dave had to go un-kosher for them. Fuck, that was awful.

4) In-N-Out Burger with Dave, Frances, Kasper, October (?)
Kasper was blown away by the size of American pop. Also, I got my burger with the onion whole for the first time.

3) Deluxe Moderne Burger with Cecile, January

2) The Keg with Billy, Catherine, Balin, Thomas, Regan, Galen, Cecile, Jeremy, Joyce, Victor, Derek, Maryam, Adam, Steve, Graham, Jowen, Ian, Caity, Dave, Eric (and I may have forgotten some people -- please remind me), July
The steaks were uniformly overdone. On the plus side, many many people were there.

1) Memphis Blues with the LUGs, January
Four people and the Elvis Platter... now that's a meal. A real meal should leave you in pain.

Current Music: Wolf Parade - Shine A Light