Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

They weren’t kidding when they said "at cost"

The club called Shmooze (is the misspelling intentional?) that I mentioned in this entry really did sell booze at cost last night. Between the hours of 5 and 11 p.m., cocktails were priced at CDN$1.25. For my friends who live outside Canada, that’s just over 92 cents U.S., .80 Euros or just over .55 British Pounds.

The night got even cheaper as it wore on, because the accordion is a device capable of turning music into free alcohol. More on this, and The Great White Collar Socialization Experiment later.


The photo for "Best. eBay auction. Ever."

eBay has since taken down the auction for the phone I mentioned earlier. However, having guessed that the photo might not meet with eBay’s approval, I saved it. Once again, I must point out that although it’s only slightly racier than photos you’d see in MAXIM, it may not be safe for your workplace.

Come to think of it, I could’ve saved the entire page. Well, I got the important part, anyway.

It Happened to Me

I don’t want to kill the Buddha, just this one Buddhist

If you meet the Buddha, the saying goes, kill him.

(Want an explanation of this saying? Check out the sidebar at

Big City Buddhism — the new-agey North American variant of Tibetan Buddhism — is the equivalent of Born-Again Christianity in the deep south, which in turn is like that low-rise jeans/thong underwear combo: fashionable, but stupid. Big City Buddhists are slightly more annoying because it’s currently the hip religion. Even Chinese hipsters are getting into it, which I suppose is sort of like the “wigger” phenomenon in North American suburbs.

My own philosophy for religions and ethical systems is pretty much the same as my philosophy for time-management systems, exercise regimes, diets and standards for computer programming:

  • Pick the one that’s right for you.
  • Stick to it like glue.

(Come to think of it, that’s an approach that could be considered Buddhist.)

Last night, while doing a little “cafe coding” at Tequila Bookworm — yes, the cafe where Worst Date Ever started and where I met the New Girl — some guy struck up a conversation with me because he noticed that I was reading a copy of Tricycle, a magazine that calls itself “The Buddhist Review”. It’s a good read; I especially like the interviews with people of all faiths where they talk about how their belief systems intersect with Buddhism (it reinforces my belief that our commonalities as human beings far outshine our differences).

We got into a conversation and at some point, I referred to Buddhism as a religion. I forget that this tends to annoy pedants and newbies and especially the pedantic newbies.

“Buddhism is not really a religion per se, it’s just that our limited Western understanding paints it as such,” he said, with a rehearsed cadence-free delivery of a half-awake Catholic reciting the Apostle’s Creed on autopilot at too-early-considering-the-night-before Sunday Mass.

“Except for the bit where it has gods, monks, spirituality, reincarnation, a Golden Rule, codes of conduct, and some kind of cosmic scorekeeping system.” i replied. “You’re like some bald guy saying ‘It’s not a toupee, it’s a hair replacement system‘.”

If your brain is loaded with blanks, I always say, do not shoot your mouth off.

“You just say that because you don’t understand the Asian mindset,” he retorted. He was a pasty caucasian, whose skin I could’ve used for testing the white balance on my digital camera. I, other the other hand…well, I think this photo will explain my incredulity at his remark.

I stared at him long and hard for a moment, seeing if the penny would drop.

“You’re Asian?” he asked weakly. “I thought you were Hawaiian.”

I’ve been getting mistaken for that lately.

“Oh…it’s just that…”

Oh shit, here it comes, I thought.

He then said those four stupid words. Those four words that drive me bonkers. You probably have guessed what they are already:

“…you speak good English.”

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH. I hate that line more than anything. It’s crypto-racist binary bullshit, with only two possible pigeonholes for my existence: either I’m some bucktoothed fresh-off-the-boat coolie or I’m an Asian Uncle Tom, a banana — yellow on the outside, white on the inside. Even close friends of mine have pulled this crap on me. It’s a game I’m not allowed to win, and for that reason, I refuse to play.

Once we got that little issue straightened out, I left him with the URL for a recent article by Patrick French, in which he throws a little metaphorical cream pie at the Dalai Lama’s face. After all, it was my turn to annoy him.

(The article originally appeared in the New York Times, just in case you thought it was merely the obscure writings of a crank with a website and a grudge.)

I really should stop hanging out at Tequila Bookworm. The place is a moonbat magnet.

It Happened to Me

Why am I not making an offer on the house, you ask?

A lot of people have asked this question, so I thought I’d answer it here: the asking price — $CDN679,000 is at least $150,000 too high. Eileen and Richard, my sister and brother-in-law, whom I consult on all yuppie-flavoured issues, couldn’t stop laughing when I told them how much the landlord was asking for the place. Not only are they experienced house-shoppers, they also know my house well; from August 1999 through July 2001, they lived there with me.

Yeah, it’s nice, but it also suffers from best-house on a bad street syndrome: many of the other houses on the street are pretty ramshackle, poorly maintained and total firetraps. There are better deals in up-and-coming neighbourhoods (downtown Chinatown is dying as everyone migrates to uberswanky suburban Chinatown, home of monster-size homes and the largest Chinese mall in North America).

And so, the house hunt begins.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

"Reclaim the Streets" or "Drinks at Cost"?

I am presented with two diametrically-opposed social opportunities tomorrow night.

The first is Reclaim the Streets. Long-time readers of The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century may recall my blog entry covering last year’s events in both words and pictures. Essentially a done-without-permission street party, Reclaim the Streets is about organizating to celebrate without the requirement of corporate or governmental approval. In spite of my annoyances with the fact that a lot of attendees seem to be living out their long-repressed rebellion-against-mommy-and-daddy fantasies, I actually believe that Reclaim the Streets is important, necessary and is one of those things that makes the city interesting.

Since tomorrow is the last Friday of the month, the Critical Mass bike rally will also be taking place. Since the meeting place for Reclaim the Streets — the bike courier cafe on Temperance Street near Yonge — is also the meeting place for Critical Mass, I suspect that the two events will be merged.

Since I already attended Reclaim the Streets last year and have had enough of Critical Mass the way it’s done right now (long story, to be covered later), I don’t think I’ll be attending.

I will instead be opting for the white collar route. It’s part of an personal social experiment, which I will talk about at greater length at some later time, perhaps tomorrow.

My co-worker Darryl tells me that a club called Shmooze (yes, they misspelled the word, which as a schmoozemeister offends me to no end) is having its first “at cost drinks” day this Friday — tomorrow. That’s right, on a Friday night, typically one of the “big money” nights for any club, they’re selling drinks at cost.

Shmooze is in the yuppified clubbing district, and it shows on their website. The rather cheesy ad copy — in their “top ten reasons” to go there, the site lists reason number one as “a roomful of like-minded downtown professionals to hang out with” — is clearly geared at people who are, depending on your point of view, “working professionals” or “yuppie scum”.

Some of you may be reeling in horror, to which I say, “But hey, CHEAP DRINKS and CAREER WOMEN!

As I said earlier, it’s part of a personal social experiment, the theme of which is “No Scrubs”. More details later.

If you’re in Accordion City and interested in checking out this place tomorrow night, phone, or drop me a line either via email or in the comments.

Recommended Reading

The lyrics to Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent. Okay, this particular song is a bit colder than the message I’m actually trying to convey, but think of it as an appetizer for tomorrow’s entry.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

The Word on the Street Festival

It’s that time of the year again: The Word on the Street festival takes place this Sunday in several cities across Canada: Accordion City, Vangroovy, Calgary, Halifax and Kitchener!

This is The Word on the Street’s fourteenth year of hosting a giant celebration of books and reading. here in Accordion City, the festival takes place in the trendy Queen Street West neighbourhood, which is closed to traffic for a seven-block stretch between Spadina and University Avenues. Publishers, from huge companies with their hardcovers to indie outfits with their photocopied-and-stapled chapbooks will have their wares for sale, often at discounted prices. Authors will take the stage, read passages from their works, answer questions and sign autographs. There will be a number of special events, including lots of things for the kids to do and see.

The Toronto Word on the Street is located near lots of good places to grab a bite to eat: Queen Street West itself, downtown Chinatown, Baldwin Street and King Street West. You might want to consider spending the afternoon at Word on the Street followed by dinner out (may I suggest Korean Grill House?).


Best. eBay Auction. Ever.

The actual item up for bid the eBay auction in question is ordinary:

Motorola V60i cellphone <AT&T only>

Brand new and in the box still!!! AT&T Digital multi-network phone, battery, charger and headset. Look stylish using this sleek and compact aluminum finish phone. Have fun with 3 built in games. Stay connected with up to 4 hours talktime and 192 hours of standby time. 32 built in ring tones. Text messaging. Voice activated dialing.

What sets it apart is the photo. (Warning: Slightly racier than what you’d find in MAXIM. May or may not be safe for work.)

My reactions:

  • “Have fun with three built in games”? I only see two! (Someone on IRC said “The third game is out-of-frame”.)
  • How much for just the cradle?

(Thanks to pr00f for the link.)