||Monday, October 20, 2003
A perfect example of how letting people off the hook is not an effective method to induce behaviour modification
There are obvious perks of renting videos from my friendly neighbourhood Convenience Store: being only 2 minutes away from my house, it definately fits the 'Convenience' bill. Secondly, Variety Stores have a small but uniquely specialized selection. When I go in there I don't have to worry that I'll end up spending an hour wandering around aisles trying to find the 'perfect' nights diversion, I simply have to decide between Gladiators (not to be confused with the slightly better known Gladiator) or that old popular favourite, Zulu starring Michael Caine (?!? I can only presume that the owner is a fan of this film).
There are other perks; thanks to my local convenience store, little things like 'Video Late Fees' no longer concern me. Last week I was sent on a mission by Marianne to and rent Down With Love. I discovered several months ago that as long as I rent videos from the store while the very nice bald tattooed guy is working I will seemingly never have to pay a late fee. (Don't worry, I'm not incriminating anyone, everyone that lives in this part of Ontario is bald and tattooed, I swear.)
I admit that once in a while I would return a video a day or two late, but I wasn't always asked to pay a late fee, until out of guilt I admitted to the nice bald tattood guy that the last video I had returned had been late: "Ah!" he said "You're a good customer and you've always been on time before this- it's no big deal, I'll just void it."
I think that the nice bald tattood guy is one of those people that is just too nice to risk the awkwardness that might be caused by having to tell me that I owe an additional $4.25 on my last rental. Or maybe he figures it wouldn't be good business, who knows. In any case, it's a perfect example of how letting people off the hook is not an effective method to induce behaviour modification; I contemplated returning all my videos on time from then on in appreciation of getting let off the hook, but did I? Of course not! I've hardly returned a video on time since! I''ll admit I've even pushed it to 2 or 3 days to see if he'll let me off. Like I said, he's a nice guy, and he always let me off.
Another benefit of convenience store video rentals is that they don't feel impelled to adhere to the 'rules' to which larger video stores must. I came upon this realization after looking for a copy of The Hours that I'd seen at the convenience store the day before on the shelves at the 'real' big name Video Store Chain store. As the manager explained to me, video distribution companies send out copies of new releases to stores early, with the agreement that they won't be put out on the shelves for customers until the Tuesday of the next week: "They'd better hope that the area distributor doesn't find out, that's all I can say!"
Long and Short; if you just have to see Gigli before its scheduled december release date, I strongly suggest that you make a special trip to Georgetown Ontario on Saturday December 6th. I promise you, it will be worth it. (email me for directions to the store)
The verdict on Down With Love? It had some terrific seamless CGI recreations of early 60's New York, but while I share the creators obvious enthusiasm for Pillow Talk which never fails to induce in me a blissed out state of ironic joy - I'm just not sure if it was really wise to expend so much effort trying to recreate it. Peter Bradshaw's review in The Guardian puts it much better than I could:
The idea is to revive the Rock Hudson/Doris Day pillow-talk comedy in Uber-pastiche form, adding yet more archness and irony, while subtracting any innocence or unassuming charm that might conceivably have made you feel affectionate about it in the first place.
I wasn't going to comment on this item from the Georgetown Police Blotter, but I can't resist the article's title:
Frizzy-haired man scares teenager
This article from my local paper is a couple of weeks old now, but it's classic Georgetown:
Police report a 13-year-old girl was walking along 15 Sideroad near Belmont Blvd. when she was approached by a man in a vehicle. Police say the man stopped the vehicle, got out, and walked around the back of the vehicle where he confronted the girl by looking at her, but said nothing. The girl was scared and ran to a neighbour's home.
Too little information is provided for me to make a real fair judegement on this, but I have to wonder, as I often do, is this really newsworthy, even for a newspaper where lost Dogs regularly make the front page? Are we protecting children and adolescents by putting this stuff out there? Or are we instilling an unwarranted feeling of paranoia of men who don't know how to use hair products properly?
Nevermind...I know the answer already: "Well, I'm very happy that you're willing to risk the safety of my child! Why don't you try being a parent! If paranoia means that I might an save the life of my child then risk the chance that I might be labelled as a 'paranoid' by some malcontent any day. Plus, don't you think the police know what they're doing? Are you a detective, are you detective Alan all of a sudden? Oh no, hold on you're - you're - an artist you say? Why you must be really qualified to pass judgement on what does and doesn't warrant being an article in the local press. That gives me a great idea, we can just replace the whole Halton Police force with you and your friends, and we'll see just how well you do, and you can run the newspaper while you're at it if you're so smart, how would you like that, eh?"
See, I'm sorry I said anything now.
posted by Alan
Friday, October 03, 2003
A trip to Nova Scotia...
Marianne and I returned last Sunday from a weeklong trip to Halifax. We pulled into our driveway back in good ol Georgetown Ontario at about eight pm; and only a few hours later one of the worst hurricanes in the last fifty years struck the southern shore of Nova Scotia, while we were safely nestled in our bed. Id watched a TV news report on the Friday before wed left with an forecaster from the Canadian Hurricane Center explaining that a small Hurricane was tracking towards Halifax. Although I wont go as far as saying it was being downplayed, I didnt get the impression that people were overly concerned: As long as it hits in the morning, at low tide, we should be fine, although were not certain at this point whether this will be the case. If it hits at high tide, will we have to worry about a Surge. I have to admit that Id wished that we could stick around for a couple of days, ostensibly to enjoy our vacation a little longer, but in the back of my mind was the desire to experience a real Atlantic Storm, I figured it would just be a really good show, and not particularly nasty, especially considering the way the Hurricane that we'd all been bracing for in Toronto just a week before turned out to be not that much of a big deal. Obviously, once we started hearing reports on Monday morning of the destruction that the Hurricane Juan had caused I wasnt regretting having to leave to town earlier than I would have liked.
Only now am I starting to get a full picture of how severe the storm turned out to be. I heard bits and pieces on the drive into work on Monday morning: It hit late on Sunday night, at exactly the worst time, just after High Tide, and boats had been thrown onto the shore by the ocean or sunk, wharfs had been lifted up and destroyed and worst of all, two people had been killed. When I got to work, I called Marianne to talk to about all the damage, and she filled me on some details too: the wind had whipped boulders the size of Garbage Cans on to the shore; the Bluenose II which wed just seen the other day while in Lunenburg, had been destroyed. I found I late that it had been put in dry-dock before the storm but looking at the pictures like this make it easy to understand how she might have thought it had been destroyed. Just days before the storm we'd been walking around and admiring Public Gardens, which was horribly decimated by the storm, as reported on by Colleen Jones in this CBC video. As the gentleman says in the report, just before he has to pause because hes tearing up: The public Gardens will never be the same.
Im sure its some kind of normal effect of disaster that after the event, even the most banal comments can seem prophetic. As I walked with my friend Julia from Argyll St. towards the harbour front on the Friday night shed commented that she remembered how tiny the pine trees by Halifax wharf had been before shed left, close to 20 years ago, and how huge and beautiful they'd grown in that time. Many of the trees blocking roads and sidewalks and smashed into the sides of homes and roofs of cars now were five times as old as that! We spent the evening having drinks at a harbour-side patio when I called her to find out if she was okay(she was) she informed that the spot where wed been chatting is now completely smooshed and all the windows behind where wed been sitting smashed in.
Given that our cottage was in Indian Harbour just metres from Peggys Cove Im sure we would have had to evacuate had we stayed a couple. Here are some drawings that I did of the Harbour and St. Margarets bay from the deck of our cottage. I can only imagine what kind of condition there are in now. Julia told me that depending on how things go she might make a trip out later in the week to Peggy's Cove and give me an update on how it looks.
In my head, the city, and the cottages where we stayed, are the same as when we were there, just last week. I have this tendency to believe that before anything really bad happens, that somehow, you just know when the shit is going to hit the fan. But, of course, you dont. Things just change. The gods of disaster and death are seldom polite enough to give you any warning.