Friday, December 24, 2010

Dear Mom.

Dear Mom,

This will be my 6th Christmas without you and I just wanted to let you and the universe know how much I miss you.
I miss buying our tree at the market and in later years, going out to cut it down ourselves.
I miss decorating it together while we listened to Johnny Mathis's Christmas on vinyl.
I miss buying you gifts.
I miss making biscuits on Christmas morning.
I miss the way you made me feel each and every year.
I miss being that special.
You loved me in a way no one else ever will and my heart feels broken this year without you.
All I want for Christmas is a hug from my mom.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


A facebook friend of mine recently had a baby. I refer to her as an FB friend because I haven't seen her in at least 10 years and if I were to pass her on the street I wouldn't recognize her. And, let's be honest, even if I did happen to recognize her I would most likely avert my eyes as I couldn't handle a "what's new?" conversation after 10 years. What's new? How about fucking everything, for starters.
What's new? Pff. Please - do yourself a favour and come up with a more interesting line of questioning. How about the following:
  • what's the best thing you ate recently?
  • do you think Frodo should have kept the ring and ruled all of Middle Earth?
  • don't you think vegans are silly?
  • what's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam? cause I sure as hell don't know.
  • what the eff is catsup?
Or my favourite, one reserved for people you haven't seen since you were a kid:
"You happy with the way your life turned out?"
It's both heavy and comical and can be taken either way.
But I digress.

So there I was, calming stalking people I would run away from in real life when I happened to notice that this FB friend had recently had a child. I clicked on the photos. 77, to be exact. Hell, I had nothing else to do. I clicked.
Smashed baby face.
Tired looking mother.
Swaddled baby. Yes - things were looking par for the course.
There he was - fresh from the womb, slimy and bloody, cord still attached. Open legs in the background. The miracle of life in the foreground. I debated whether or not to pass out. Instead, I stupidly kept clicking. And this is what I gleaned from the experience:
I can be a very harsh and judgey person. If she wants to put up bloody photos of her new baby for the whole world to see, who am I to bitch and moan about it? However, these albums need to have a warning at the beginning - "WARNING - the photos you are about to see are very, very personal and shouldn't be viewed by those with sensitive gag reflexes."

Another friend of mine recently admitted to having received photos of a live c-section. Read: stomach being cut open, baby being pulled out. She barely knew this woman yet was staring at her insides. It's too much. What happened to boundaries?

Now I should be the last person on Earth to prattle on about boundaries having just recovered from the worst hangover of my life but let me just leave you with this: the miracle of life is just that, a miracle. It's also pretty damn special and sacred and if I haven't seen you in 10 years, I shouldn't get to see something that incredibly intimate.
Thank you, however, for getting my thoughts going.

Monday, December 7, 2009

VW - Continued

For those who have been following Joe's Volkswagen escapades, there have been some "developments" - read: more uselessness.

Ladies and Gents, I give you Joe's ( most recent altercation with the "professionals" at VW:

Monday, December 7, 2009

VW response

I just got a callback from the Director of Service at Volkswagen Centre-Ville. If you have no idea what I am talking about, please read this. I must say, I was not prepared for the hilariously incoherent conversation that I was about to have.

Much like Adam, this gentleman has no professional telephone etiquette. He announced his name and did not wait for me to acknowledge him or that I was free to talk. He jumped right into a nonsensical proclamation that he fluently speaks 5 languages. Good for him. He then proceeded to tell me that he had spoken to Adam and that Adam concedes that he had not provided me with his best level of service. He then started mumbling incomprehensibly about not being able to undo anything. I sat back and tried to figure out what he was trying to say. At one point, we had the following exchange:

VW: 'When a child is a born it is either a boy or a girl.'
Me: 'What?'
VW: 'There is nothing you can do.'
Me: 'What?'

He then descended into more undecipherable nonsense that I did not care to decrypt. He did, however, make the extremely generous offer of fixing the Passat for the new owner. Effectively, he offered to repair something that he was already contractually obliged to fix. What a guy.

When he was finished speaking, I protested his total lack of offering a proper resolution. I told him that I did not think much of his attempt at a reconciliation and that he was not making me ease my stance against the dealership. Much like Adam, this gentleman was not a fan of letting anyone other than himself speak. I had to bully my way into the conversation only to to calmly mention that I was not willing to close the matter, especially not after this show of utter uselessness. When I told him that I was going to escalate this issue to the owner of the dealership, he confidently said: 'Go ahead. He can't do anything to me'. Wow.

He mentioned that he was not going to help me at at all and then ended the conversation.

Normally, I would not bother taking this matter further. Honestly, after sending out the letter and lodging a complaint with the service director, I would have felt comfortable knowing that I had done my part in trying to prevent another poor Volkswagen owner from experiencing the same frustrations. Now that I have gone through the first escalation without even a simple apology, I am going to spend even more time and effort publicising this. I urge anyone who is reading this story - and is in any way compelled by it - to please forward it to anyone who may remotely care. Feel free to link to it in your blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. Better yet, please give me ideas on how to pursue this.

All I wanted was a sincere apology. I hope that someone at Volkswagen has some sense to provide me with one. And soon.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh VW - What's Your Beef With Semantics?

I drive a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta. After what happened to my friend Joe, I am seriously considering getting rid of it.

If you will, Joe's most recent blog entry:

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


There walks a little man among us (in the metaphoric sense). He works for Volkswagen. Below is a letter (written and registered) that I just sent to the head of customer care for Volkswagen Canada. I can't remember ever being this angry (at something other than iTunes, that is):

Note: names have been changed.

Mr. John Doe,

Unfortunately, I am writing this letter in response to a negative and generally unacceptable experience that befell me while dealing with a Volkswagen dealership recently. I do not often take the time to offer any praise or criticism of services that I receive; I am a very busy person (as I am sure you are as well), so I am usually able to shrug off sub-par customer service and usually chalk up any negative experience to anomalous behaviour. The same can be said for the occasional times that I receive exceptional service - I never take the time to acknowledge the efforts being expended on my behalf. This is something that I am trying to change about myself. It is with the former in mind that I am writing to you today. It would be remiss of me to allow the events of November 30, 2009 to go undocumented and I am hoping that my exposure of this problem will prevent any further Volkswagen customers from feeling as slighted and disgusted as I did after dealing with one of your representatives.

On November 30, 2009, I dropped my 2004 Passat GLS 1.8T off at Volkswagen Centre Ville, Montreal, Quebec for a routine 64,000km service. In addition to the check-up, I instructed the service representative that my passenger-side seat heater was no longer functional. (I should add that I had dropped my car off at this very dealership a few months earlier to have this very same problem repaired. Upon delivery, the service representative told me that it was repaired. It was not. And has not functioned since). I also alerted the service representative that the car made an unusual sound when the car turned to the extreme left. When asked to replicate this sound, I rapped my fist lightly on the counter and said that the front left of the car made a rhythmic clicking or banging sound. He assured me that he would have the mechanic investigate. He took my keys and told me he would call me. I never asked for his name.

At 3:52PM that afternoon, my cell phone rings and I answer. I hear a gentleman on the other end announce that 'Adam' is calling. I ask him to repeat himself. 'Adam', he blurts out, increasingly frustrated. Thinking that this is a wrong number, I ask him to further identify himself. He then tells me that he is calling from Volkswagen Centre Ville. Despite his unconventional phone etiquette, I am happy to hear from him. I ask if my car is ready. He says it is but there are a couple of issues. Firstly, he needs to order a part to repair the seat heater, which should arrive within 3-4 business days. No problem. He then mentions that his mechanic was unable to reproduce the clicking sound that the front of my car makes when turning to the extreme left. He claims that his mechanic performed a thorough road test and he did not experience anything abnormal. Strange, I thought to myself. The noise is persistent, loud and unmistakable, I proffer. Adam became defensive and told me that if I was unhappy with this, that I could come down to the service center and show him how to reproduce the sound. However, he continues, I would need to arrive before 4pm. It was now 3:58PM. This felt like an unreasonable and decidedly convenient deadline for him. When I told him this would be impossible given that I do not work less than 100 feet from the dealership, he said that there was nothing he could do. Fine.

I arrived at the service center at about 5:15PM. I approached the gentleman who had helped me in the morning. This was indeed the very same Adam with whom I had spoken on the telephone. He proceeded to explain the work that was performed and how it was invoiced. (I should mention that the warranty on my car is valid until December 28, 2009 - the car was purchased new from Volkswagen in December 2005. I assume that this is not insignificant). When I asked him again about the clicking sound, he again confirmed that the mechanic had not heard a clicking sound and that this was stated in the report. He then looked up and said that the mechanic had, however, heard a fairly loud knocking sound coming from the front of the car when turned to the extreme left. Yes, exactly! That is the sound that I was complaining about. He confirmed again that his mechanic heard a rhythmic knocking sound that emanated from the exact same area while performing the very same task that I was describing. When I asked him if he had fixed the issue, he looked at me like I had grown an arm out of my forehead. He said no. He told me that I had mentioned nothing about a knocking sound but rather had been explicit that the sound was of a clicking nature. I stared at him in stunned disbelief. I thought he was joking. I laughed and asked him again. Again, he stood firm. I then asked him if it was possible that the knocking sound that he was hearing was the very same sound that I was referring to. Impossible, he said. I told him that I had arbitrarily selected the word 'clicking' when pressed to describe the sound; I again pointed out that I had banged my knuckles on the counter to mimic the beat and volume of the sound. Not being an expert in phonetics or the seemingly invaluable role that they play in automotive mechanical diagnosis, I told him that it was strange to me that the inference of a rhythmic clicking sound could not be reconciled upon hearing a rhythmic knocking sound. Especially when the sounds emanate from the same place at the same time! He said that this was not possible. I protested his incredibly literal interpretation of the symptoms and told him that I was shocked that he could not admit that my description matched the symptom. He decided to talk over me.

I immediately realised that I was in the midst of an impossibly ridiculous conversation with this gentleman. I was trying to get him to accept that a click and a knock could be synonymous to a person who knows nothing of car mechanics. He refused to accept this notion, continuing on his escalating rant of 'a click is not a knock'. I realised that this conversation was going nowhere so I tried to change the tack. He refused to let me speak, continuing with his mantra. Flabbergasted by this childish behaviour, I tried to complete my transaction. Again, he would not let me speak by continuing to remind me that a clicking sound is not the same as a knocking sound. When he finally paused long enough to let me speak, I asked him what it would take to fix this so-called knocking sound. He said it would require the replacing of a ball bearing and would take a matter of minutes to complete and was fully covered by my warranty. When I asked him why he hadn't performed this upon hearing (and diagnosing) the knocking/clicking sound (seeing that my car is still under warranty and he is in the business of repairing cars, supposedly) he told me that I had not reported a knocking sound but rather had told him that I had heard a clicking sound. Again, I am stunned. When I asked him why he had not fixed the problem regardless of the hilarious inaccuracy of my complaint, he told me that he was not in the business of fixing all of my car's problems. Admittedly, I know nothing of cars but I know enough to understand that a service centre at a Volkswagen dealership is, in fact, very much in the business of fixing cars - especially those manufactured by Volkswagen.

Aghast, I calmly told him that he was not representing himself or Volkswagen Centre Ville very well. He now raised his voice to an interrupting level and had the attention of all the employees and clients in the service center. I told him that it appeared to me that he was providing me with sub-par customer service and this whole ‘click vs knock’ argument appeared to be a ruse to avoid fixing my car. With my warranty set to expire in 4 weeks, it seems a little convenient that he was unwilling to perform any work.

Suddenly and before he would allow me to finish my sentence, he told me to take my business elsewhere. Let me repeat: after he so rudely refused to assist me with repairs that he is contractually obligated to perform and after insulting me to my face and embarrassing me in front of a full room, he tells me to leave and to never come back again.

I have to admit that I was stunned. In all my years of being a functioning member of a consumer society, I have never been asked to take my business elsewhere. He threw down my report and turned his back to me. This silenced me permanently. I will not be told twice. I paid my bill and left the property. I waited for half an hour before calling back and asking to speak to the service manager. I was redirected to a voice mailbox and left a detailed message. I am still waiting for a callback.

It is very important to note that I informed Adam that morning of the pending sale of the Passat to a private buyer (this transaction will be completed on December 1, 2009). I can only assume that I received this poor level of service due to the fact that Adam perceived me as a departing client, a person who has ended his Volkswagen ownership career, as it were. I also believe that Adam was trying to deflect responsibility of fixing this issue by hoping that the new owner would service the car elsewhere. Or better yet, hoping that the new owner would return once the warranty had expired so that he could charge for the repair. I find this type of behavior inexcusable and deplorable.

A happy 4-year relationship with Volkswagen Canada was irrevocably poisoned by the behaviour of a single representative. After having spent in excess of $40,000 on my Passat over the last 4 years, I find it unacceptable to be told to take my business elsewhere by an incompetent and decidedly rude service representative. So yes, I will be taking my business elsewhere. And, hopefully, the business of all my friends will follow.

I would like to be kept informed as to how Volkswagen Canada intends to address this matter. I have been driven into a state of unbelievable irritation and total remorse at having to deal with such an individual. It reflects very poorly on both Centre Ville Volkswagen and Volkswagen Canada.

A disgusted, dissatisfied and wholly unimpressed former customer,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've reached the point where some changes need to be made and I'm having a hard time disciplining myself. A few months ago I met a wonderful man who made me so happy that I no longer had the time or the desire to take care of myself properly. I felt too good! Fast forward a few months and I've come to realize that it's easy to lose sight of yourself when you're blinded Sounds too cliche but there's some truth to it. Last year I made some seriously positive changes in my life because I felt so awful that I needed to fix myself. How to maintain or motivate oneself when you already feel good?
Ultimately, what goes up must come down so here we are. Don't get me wrong, the only place I've come down to is reality, a reality where I need to exercise and eat well and keep my house tidy.
Allow me to air some grievances:
  • I haven't done any exercise in I don't know how long. The odd walk here and there doesn't add up to much.
  • I am now dating someone who loves to eat as much as I do. Neither of us is thin. The annoying part is, my pants are muuuuuuch tighter than his. Stupid man metabolism.
  • My job is unfulfilling and dull.
  • My house is filled with unopened mail. How did I let this happen? And I can't just recycle it because it's full of sensitive banking material. Who else has an unopened mail problem? I feel like I need to outsource a shredding company to take care of this one for me.
  • And what of my blogging?
Enough ranting! I'm notorious for empty promises - how many blogs have I written stating that I would write more? Too many! So....what's a monkey to do?
If the rain allows, today I'll go for a walk on the canal. I'll have a sensible lunch....I'll try really hard not to eat the coconut cream pie in my fridge....and tomorrow I'll let you know how the pie defeated me.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I've gone and done it again. What's that? You got all hammered. smoked 10000 cigarettes and lost your voice? Yes. How did you know?
My body is trying really, really hard to send me a message. 2 weeks ago I partied too hard and have had a sore throat ever since. Now I've got a sore throat AND no voice. What's next? An amputation - a lobotomy? A lobotomy might be a good idea, however. It might curb my need to abuse myself.
When I turned 30 last year I lost my voice for an entire week. So far I'm on day 2 of no voice - I wonder is this stint of shame manifesting itself in no voice has that kind of staying power.
In an effort to right my wrongs I spent all day yesterday lying down. I brought out the air mattress and the duvet. I took my pants off. I popped in "The Two Towers." I had a can of cola, a glass of Orangina, a bowl of popcorn, 2 remotes, 2 phones, 2 cats and my computer. And let me tell you - I had the BEST DAY EVER. Things got a little lame when I started watching "Jumanji" - I hear that's what you watch when you've hit rock bottom.
I've got room for 1 more in my nest - who's in?

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Dudes. I have been the WORST blogger of late. I've been avoiding my blog like some scorned lover. I can't look it in the eye, I feel guilt when I think about it, I rationalize that it's probably better off without me, that someone else will give it the love it needs. Then out of nowhere I'll come up with some A-1 material (usually while smoking joints) and think to myself, "yes. yes that's good, that will be tomorrow's subject, tomorrow's post will be the one to catapult me into the blogger hall of fame." Lo and behold, tomorrow arrives and I repeat the same process. I make excuses, decide that watching 8 hours of 30 Rock is a decent alternative, that 10 hours of sleep a night is the bare minimum. So I apologize to all of you who have actually missed me and my thoughts - I am a bad, bad blogger.

So what's new? Here are some of the highlights:
  • a recent meal at a very fancy Cabane a Sucre - merci, M. Picard
  • a trip to Toronto where Charmaine and I learned that the best way to eat is usually the cheapest way
  • heartache and confusion re: a dear friend
  • an upcoming visit from a piece of my soul, Mlle. Smiley
  • dinner tonight at Liverpool House for Joe's birthday
  • embarrassing text messaging with a local gastronomic figure (like, embarrassing.)
  • realizing that hardcore partying ruins me for at least a week
  • blissful sleepovers with a new friend
I'll be better. I promise.