You knew this was coming. I did as well. 

Try as I might, study the menu, work faster, smarter, or slower, more cautious, it wasn't working. There was no way it could work.

The week before, turning, my back twists, lower back. Sunday, barely unable to get out of bed. Monday, very slightly recovered.

The job, nothing but stress and anxiety, you see it in the mannerisms of those who've somehow managed to fit in, the swish, swagger, effeminate manners - even affected by the straight lads, the "stoop" - shoulders hunched - the physical symptoms of having being "broken", the "Knowing" of the menu - that this morsel has 3 bites, this tid-bit has 4, the continual reprimands - about offenses you see everyone around you committing - wine glass - filled too high - not high enough - the constant querying of the Chef, because under no circumstances do you promise anything to the customer that he has not approved - and - when not reprimanding you he reprimands others in your presence - for filling your shot glass too full, for answering a question...

It's feudal - this - the managers, Chef, eat at a common table, many courses, dirty plates left for the servers to clean, to see how "the other half" eats.

Contrast this with your overcooked pasta in oil, and the same bloody salad day after day. 

So, after another intolerably long night of perpetual reprimands and bitchy behaviors I'm done. Chef agrees. 

He's a short man, who - through a triumph of will has realized his every ambition, but - this with everyone that has served being squashed underfoot. It's feudalism, he will accept you as a subject - but you must accept him as your Lord, these are not human relationships, or like none that I am familiar with.

I have never hated a job so much in my life, or been so relieved to escape. 

But now, what next?

We will see.

This job. It's built into it - a staff meal, consisting of a bit of salad, and a pasta of different shapes tossed in oil. 

The contrast between what the staff are fed - and what the customers eat - is huge. It's an abyss, a gulf, a chasm, and the meal, it's a way of reinforcing it. This food, you wouldn't feed it to dogs, yet - 

Well, it's war, really.

And the service - the maitre-d breathing down my neck the whole night, telling me I'm not keeping up, if I just offered water to a table and they declined, and he - on my heels, offers and they accept I'm at fault. Everything is my fault. I can't tell if he hates me - personally - or this is just the "break your will" portion of it. Every night I expect to be fired - and - really, apart from the immense financial inconvenience - I'd be grateful. I cannot recall a job I've hated as much as this, that so preoccupies me with the despair of having to go into work. Better, by a long shot - to work at a Denny's or Smitty's than here. 

My section - 3 tables. 2 deuces, 1 four top. They're drinking - each of the deuces spend upwards of $1500. The four top - in excess of $4000. It's spending money for the sheer joy of spending money, there is no correlation with a real-world economy, no amount of "foody" justifies this - every course left partially unconsumed, the wine, the liquor goes. 

This - I would once have considered $150, $200 a pretty good "date night", but here - well, that gets your coat checked. It's - quite literally - a full order of magnitude above anything I've experienced.

So you struggle on, night after night, hoping it either gets easier, or just ends. My preference - well, I know - the end would be a damned sight preferable - but - I need wheels and so I would prefer to drive onward, as I still apparently have a little too much baggage. 

And everything I eat here, everything within a 10 block radius of the hostel, the Subway, the Donair, Pizza, Tacos, Pub-grub, it's all the fucking same, taste, texture, Soylent Green, and I find myself staring down the countless rats that run down the alleys, big ones, juicy, is this the reason everything here is so bland, food flavored like the weather, is this what they're serving? Who knows, it wouldn't be a surprise, really, at this the end of days.

I've come to the conclusion I hate Vancouver. I don't know why, the weather, buildings, slums or wealth, there's no single thing I can put my finger on, only that I hate it. I try to imagine improving it - maybe if I found a permanent place to live here, or a job I enjoyed more, but even if I were independently wealthy, a gentleman of leisure, nothing would improve it. Nothing would make it better. And I don't know why that is. 

So get to work, make the best of a bad situation, set the target on the end of May, I need a jeep, a great metal detector, $10,000 Fisher or Minelab, a pocket full of cash and an off-road map to the Yukon, this city has been it's own adventure of sorts, only one I rather haven't enjoyed and I need to find some new adventures more to my taste...

This appeared on my "Yahoo News" feed today - admittedly a dubious source, but the Telegraph, from which it's reprinted, is less so.

Anyways - link via the Telegraph:

Now, searching for the full article (sans-paywall) I'm unable to find it, and a surprisingly low number of results for the search. Already the "leak" is being scrubbed from the internet. 

The fact that as soon as it's reported it disappears in my mind - at least - in a large part substantiates it. The fact that bad information (think "Ivermectin" and "Drink Urine") is always readily available is a testament to Big Brother's rewriting of the past. 

Image: Osama Bin Laden

In which I write everyone's favorite advice columnist.

OK. I've been on a few internet dates. I confess this with the same reluctance I would admitting to masturbating, adultery, or excessive drinking and drug use. 

This is a list of some of my best -- AND WORST -- dates ever. Note that you gotta go on a lotta dates to get this kinda list, this kinda discouraged. And my online dating thing has been sporadic - an every few years kind of thing at best. Some of these dates go back 10 years, others are a little more recent. And to answer any people who might argue "It beats hooking up at the bar", well, you don't have to hook up at the bar, and at the bar you can see what your getting...

Anyways - apologies to the countless normal, decent dates that I went on but just didn't hit it off with. Memory is selective, it tends towards the extreme, and in this you will find the extremes...