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But wait, there's more.

There's just no polite way to say "Buy me things", is there?

Join codebastards, I dare you. Remember, codebastards are us.

I'm baded and jitter. So are these people. (And why not follow the previous, next, or random links?)

Need a band name?

Doug vs. Japanese Snack Foods: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

rant is where the heart is

diaryland: sirilyan.diaryland.com: entry for 2003-12-07 (17:37)
In which our plucky young hero could get used to this.

So, the party.

I had the intention of forcing myself to talk to strangers. I didn't really know anyone from the GTABloggers community, nor did I know our gracious host. The plan was simple: buy a sub-$10 gift for the gift exchange, buy a bottle of the vodka for my drunkening, make some macaroni casserole for the potluck. Show up. Talk with lots of people I don't know. Don't alienate myself.

So I'm out at the Eaton Centre, where over the course of a lot of storegoing and browsing I notice that all the mall's inventory can be divided into two categories:

  1. Things that suck, that I would be embarrased to know I had brought to a gift exchange even if there was no way someone would learn it was me.
  2. $10.01 and up.

Finally, I give up on Category 1 (quirky, interesting, and kitschy) and Category 2 (quirky, interesting, and cool) and go for Category 3 (useful). My quest ended in Sears where I picked up a $8 pepper mill. Everyone loves pepper, right? Right? I would take that gift if I was offered it, really...

It's on the way back to Dundas station that I notice there's no phone in my pocket.

Oh, fuh, I think to myself. Yes, I actually was so annoyed and/or tired and/or panicky I couldn't be bothered to get all the way to the end of a four-letter curse word.

But hey, no reason to panic, I say to myself, panicking. When I get home, I make several desperate phone calls, in the following order:

  1. "Hi, Rogers? Can you block my cell phone? It got lost last night in a taxi."
  2. "Hi, Sam? Did I leave my phone at your place last night?"
  3. "Hi, every taxi company in the Yellow Pages? I think I lost my phone last night."
  4. "Hi, Toronto Police Service? I'd like to report a lost or stolen phone."
  5. "Hi, Rannie? Is it okay if I don't bring some food? 'cause, see, cell phone... No, I'm still coming. My phone won't get any less lost if I stay home."

Now take a moment to figure out how much money you would bet that after all that, my phone turns out to have been in the pants I'd worn to Sam's party all along. Go and pick a nice big round number. I emphasize "big".

So, with my gift crammed into a LCBO bag (I also had no time to wrap it), I hoof it out to the subway, and there to the streetcar (airport to the rocket, taxi to the airport), and finally I arrive at Joey's place. You know the Simpsons where Selma and Troy McClure get married, and when she finally sees his apartment, with its weird-shaped aquarium and eggshell chairs she exclaims "It's so modern, it's ultramodern"? It'd be a lot funnier if that was how Joey's place looked, but instead it was just plain old non-kook modern.

Some of the folks I got to meet:

World-weary jet setter Gary and his girlfriend. When I mentioned that I had grown up in Cape Breton, Josie said "Oh, that's interesting. Someone I work with is from there too. I saw her around earlier..."

Toronto's hardest working cartoonist.

A disorder of some kind.

And someone who tapped me on the shoulder and said "Doug? Doug Sheppard?" Did I recognize him? Of course not. The first and last time we'd ever met in person had been back in the late 80s. So why was I able to say "Oh my God... David? It's been years!"? This is why. I live in the future. Not only that, but the aforementioned coworker-of-Josie, Jacqui? Is the same Jacqui from way back when too. The world is small, about which see more below.

Oh, and Meryle. You know. Meryle.

The gift exchange went poorly for me. Stripped of my cell-phone adventure context, the LCBO bag full of pepper mill just looked kind of sad. It was the neglected gift, the ugly duckling that nobody knew was a peppercorn-grinding beautiful swan. There is a Christmas tale in this somewhere. ("Yeah," Kat said later. "It's the story of how appearances matter.")

The best part, though? This being a blog party, of course there was a lot of technical discussion, and Joey and I ended up talking about language choices. "Yeah, I respect Python but don't actually love it yet," I said. "And PHP's interesting. I once maintained a pretty big site with it, but I wouldn't do that again."

"What was the site?"

"Oh, you probably haven't heard of it. Waiting for Bob. It's an online comic I wrote a few years back."

Joey blinked. "Like... with Caf-B? You're Doug?" (I had to call Kat to inform her of this, and since I was drunk and everything seemed like a good idea at the time, I invited him to leave voicemail. The email from her this morning had the subject "Uh? I mean, eh?" Gotta love it.) I showed off a few of my favorite strips, to general approval.

So. A bunch of cool people, some random encounters from my past, and a coffee mug (that I left behind by mistake, please don't hate me, Brett, I'm gonna swing by and get it)? Not bad for a Saturday night in Toronto Accordion City.

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