I’m plagued by deadbeats.

First, the former co-worker who still owes me money from last year’s DefCon conference for the hotel and food.

Then, the housemate who failed to pay rent, ran up the largest residential phone bill I’ve ever seen, moved away and asked if he could move back if he landed a job in Toronto.

Then, the company that owes me six weeks’ worth of back pay but still needed me to do a lot of stuff.

Then, [Update October 31, 4:45 p.m. EST — okay, he paid up.]

I am sick and tired of people abusing my goodwill and generosity.

I’m coming after all of you, and I promise that I will make your lives so miserable that you will cry yourselves to sleep and wet the bed from your nightmares until you pay up.

You fuckers have been warned. Pay up.


Last Call for the BamBoo

Accordion City’s venerable BamBoo Club, a long-time fixture on Queen Street West, is closing its doors for the final time tomorrow night. It’s long been the home of live world beat music, great Thai and Caribbean food and for providing weekend-like drum-and-bass nights on Monday and Tuesday evening for those of us who work in the bar/restaurant service industry. The wall mural is already gone, and the rest of the club disappears after tomorrow night.

If you live in Toronto and have enjoyed the BamBoo over the years, be sure to catch it one last time. I’ll probably be there tonight along with some of the Thirsty People of Toronto and tomorrow night with the Sunni Choi Girlz.


B minus 6 days, P minus 10 days

I’m less than a week away from being thirty-five. The actual birthdate’s November 5th, Guy Fawkes Day, but the party’s taking place on Saturday November 9th chez moi. So far, 44 people have said “yes” to the eVite (and more than those who respond always show), so it looks as if this may be the record-breaking party for this house.

You don’t have to bring a present if you’re attending the party, but if you must, you can check my Amazon wishlist to see what kind fo stuff I like. If you can help me stock the bar for the party – beer, wine, or liquor — it would be appreciated. If you’re a musician, feel free to bring an instrument!

For my birthday, I’ve decided to adopt some new expressions: “Do an old man a favour” and “Make an old man happy”. As in “Do an old man a favour and get me a beer, please?” or “Make an old man happy and have dinner with me, won’t you?”

I rather like the sound of that.

Lyric time!

It Was a Very Good Year

Music and lyrics by Ervin Drake

When I was seventeen,

It was a very good year

It was a very good year for small

town girls and soft summer nights.

We’d hide from the lights on the village green

When I was seventeen

When I was twenty-one,

It was a very good year

It was a very good year for city

girls who lived up the stairs

With all that perfumed hair and it came undone

When I was twenty-one

When I was thirty-five,

It was a very good year

It was a very good year for blue-blooded

girls of independent means

We’d ride in limousines,

their chauffeurs would drive

When I was thirty-five

But now the days are short,

I’m in the autumn of the year

And now I think of my life as vintage

wine from fine old kegs

From the brim to the dregs

It poured sweet and clear

It was a very good year

For you young whippersnappers who don’t know how this song goes, you can check out this Windows Media file. It’s the Robbie Williams/Frank Sinatra version, taken from Robbie’s album, Swing When You’re Winning.


Saturday, part two

Some more photos from Saturday night.


About a quarter of Peter’s loft space was used as the dance floor. Music was provided by — of course — a computer playing from a selection fo MP3s while a laptop hooked to a projection TV showed images such as those shown below on the wall closest to the dance floor:

Peter was kind enough to post the entire set of projected images here.

Whenever you see something like this, you know it’s a good party. I’m playing Nine Inch Nails’ Closer in this shot.

Stabby the Spider. Stabby was a large decoration positioned in the back corner of Peter’s loft. Peter’s trying to think up some way to re-use him for the Christmas party. Perhaps he could paint him brown, give him a red nose and call him “Thalidomide Rudolph”.

Charles the butcher

Meeeeeeeeat! At last, a role that Charles can really sink his teeth into.

Human veal! Not even Cabbage Patch Kids are safe from the carnage.

The butcher’s now in some kind of fugue state. “Nobody make eye contact with him, and we’ll be fine…”

Paul arrives

You may already have a costume at home! We’re in “saving money mode” right at now, but Paul takes martial arts. One quick change into his gym clothes and presto-change-o — instant costume!

The Drunken Master is back! “Damn, this Canadian beer is strong…”

The ladies! The ladies!

Rowr! Leia went as a very sexy cupid, handing out cards which you were in turn supposed to hand out to whomever you lusted for.

Ashley, Suzie and Leia. They spent a lot of time on the dance floor.

“Who, sweet innocent lil’ ol’ me?” Sandra, you’re not fooling anyone.

Sandra tries on the hat.

Suzie and Kate.

When costumes collide, part two. Trysh to Kate: “I’ll get you…you and your little dog, too!” That’s not a flying monkey in the background, that’s Eric.

Me and Trysh. This shot was taken at the Velvet Underground, where we arrived at around 1:30.

Trysh tries on my shades.

Return of the Jedi

The award for most effort put into costume goes to… this guy, who cut his hair — originally waist-length — just to get the Obi-Wan Kenobi look just right.

“Obi-Wan” bought the lightsaber from one of those online places that makes replicas that are very faithful to the movies, right down to the glow. Unfortunately, the flash on my camera makes the saber appear white; it actually glows blue.

The dance floor at Velvet Underground. A lightsaber is handy for clearing out some space to dance.

Trysh tries the lightsaber on for size. Mind you, that’s not the proper way to hold a real one — at least not if you want to keep your fingers.

My new lightsaber/accordion style is unstoppable! “Begun, this squeezebox war has.”

All right, all right, I promise I won’t sell any more deathsticks! Who let the Jedi into the bar?

Saturday, part one

Earlier that evening: Drinks with Diane Duane

Peter Morwood’s new computer. Taken at the Masquerade Bar, BCE Place, early Saturday evening. The glowing green thing just to the left of the keyboard’s left edge is a Bluetooth card.

Early Saturday evening, I met sci-fi/fantasy/animation author and fellow blogger Diane Duane, who was passing through Accordion City, for drinks. She showed me her husband’s new computer, a Sharp Mebius laptop.

Never heard of the Mebius? That’s because it’s not normally available here in North America — the japanese market has determined that we’re not interested in incredibly skinny laptops with DVD-RW drives, built-in 802.11 and Ethernet and cool design (they have determined that we want all the tentacle porn we can eat, however).

Diane picked this up for her hubby at Dynamism, a New York-based company that specializes in bringing the latest and greatest Japanese electronics to North America (I’d love one of their tiny Ericsson cell phones!). Although it’s a Japanese computer, it has a standard QWERTY keyboard that has the Roman alphabet in large characters on its keys, as well as Japanese characters — you’ll feel like a console cowboy punching deck in a William Gibson novel using one of these.

I’ll write a little more about my meeting with Diane in a later entry.

Party at Peter’s place

Peter Timofjew, one of the kahunas behind the social group/drinking club/bunch of troublemakers Thirsty People of Toronto, held a Hallowee’n party last Saturday night. He’s the first set of pictures.

Party at Peter’s! The party took place at Peter Timofjev’s place, a large warehouse loft on Adelaide Street, in the heart of Toronto’s club district.

AZN GANGSTA, YO. I should be cast in a movie with Chow Yun-Fat.

I used to go for more elaborate costumes in my younger days, but I’ve given up on that in more recent years. For the past three or four years, I’d simply throw on an apron and chef’s hat as go as “Chef” from South Park. This year, I toyed with going as Angus Young from AC/DC, or perhaps as “Manila Rice”, the Filipino answer to Vanilla Ice. Instead, I went as “Random Hong Kong Movie Gangster”. Rob loaned me his “Tom from the Chemical Brothers” yellow shades. And then I messed up the look with the hat.

Matt “Black Belt” Jones and I agree — your best clubbing outfit is an old tuxedo or equally formal black suit. You can wear it traditionally with a shirt and tie, as I did, or tieless with a black shirt, or go all Man from U.N.C.L.E. and wear a dark turtleneck with it. I went trad and wore a raffish (well, in Asian clubbing circles, the tie is actually understated) gold tie and white shirt. The suit’s a 10-year-old hand-me-down Hugo Boss courtesy of Dad. We should all have such generous fashion plates for fathers — thanks, Dad!

Stop, collaborate and listen! Since I wasn’t going as “Manila Rice”, I lent Rob my American flag rugby shirt and skull pendant.

Rob got some coloured hairspray, but it didn’t work quite as advertised. Instead of making his hair platinum blond, it just made him look older. Very distinguished, though.

One cranberry juice and raspberry vodka, please. Eric did an excellent job slinging drinks and even managed to squeeze in a couple of chances to carouse and dance during the few lulls at the bar.

It’s good to be the king. Peter, the host, is flanked by fellow Thirsty People of Toronto members Trysh and Sandra.

When costumes collide! Charles once again shows off his gift for facial contortions.

I’m a little too busy to post right now…

I’m in the middle of answering e-mails from recruiting agencies, who seem to have recently taken up asking candidates essay questions. It feels like midterms all over again. I’ll post once I’m done.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

Hallowe’en: The Preview

The scene: Outside the Velvet Underground dance club. It’s now the second time it’s been 1:30 a.m., but it’s eastern standard time now.

The four of us — two arm-in-arm pairs — walked up to the entrance where the bouncers were turning away people.

Bouncer (to another group): Sorry, we’re not letting anyone else in right now.

Person from other group: But what about “spring forward, fall back“? It’s not last call anymore!

Bouncer: Yeah, but we want to keep the numbers down. We’re all working an extra hour tonight and we’re tired.

The other group walks off.

Bouncer (to us): Sorry, nobody in right — [recognizes me] — yo, you got the accordion?

Me (turning around to show the accordion on my back): Right here.

Bouncer: How many people with you?

Me: It’s just the four of us.

Bouncer (holding open the door): Cool. C’mon in.