February 20th, 2014


Time passes strangely

Saturday, I went to do my volunteer tutoring, but the library was closed for renovations. I had shown up a few minutes late, and my student had already left upon learning that it was closed, so we didn't have a session. So, I went downtown to Bakka Books and got some reading material.


I then went to the historic St. Lawrence Market, and met up with Sandy at 1 PM. This is a huge brick hall with a high ceiling, full of lots of kiosks selling foods and handcrafts. Sandy is interested in making soups from marrow-rich bones full of fatty acids, so we looked at all the butcher shops. I didn't know that meat from moose, caribou, bear, elk, partridge, and other wild game was for sale for so cheap in the city. They also had kangaroo meat, which reminded me of my trip to Australia to visit Phred-chan.


We wandered across the street to the indoor farmer's market. I picked up a huge tub of honey, similar to the buckets of honey we used to get from my great-grandfather's farm. Sandy got a container of bee pollen - it's apparently rich in minerals, and tastes like smoke-flavoured honey. We talked and talked and talked as we walked. Then we sat down in a Japanese restaurant, and talked and talked more. The waitstaff kept coming by and seeing if we were done, but we were so busy talking that it took hours to finish.

It was getting cold, so we thought we'd go sit and watch a movie. I gave Sandy some of my aluminized-mylar emergency blankets. As we walked north to the theatre on Carlton Street, we passed them out to underhoused people. They all seemed grateful, which is disturbing - a piece of plastic shouldn't be making such a big difference in their lives. I now only have one left out of the case of 120 - time to order more.


We arrived at Carlton Street after most movies had started, so we went to the Loblaws in the old Maple Leaf Gardens. We bought coffee, and sat and talked and talked while sitting up on the second level. I don't remember what we talked about - it was mostly inconsequential things - but time flew past. Soon, it was time for the next movie showings.


We watched the Lego Movie, which was interesting and fun. Both Sandy and I had grown up with fake Lego offbrands rather than the real thing, but we both appreciated the movie anyway.

After the movie, we still wanted to talk, but we were both tired, and my throat was sore. Eight hours had passed, but it felt like less than a single hour. We hopped on the subway, and parted at Bloor Station.

I really enjoy spending time with Sandy.
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My integrity has a price, and it is $11,000

My retirement funds (meagre as they are) are handled by a major financial company. I caught them repeatedly advertising for unpaid interns, giving them "valuable experience" instead of minimum wage, in violation of provincial law. Despite repeated promises to obey the law and stop exploiting young, desperate unemployed people, they couldn't help themselves and ran the same ads again and again. So, I told them that I couldn't deal with a company that behaved like that, and said I wanted to take my retirement investments elsewhere.

So, last Thursday, I met with my financial adviser. He said that he respected my decision, and that I had the right to go elsewhere if they failed to meet my expectations of ethical and legal behavior. He had drawn up the paperwork, and all I needed to do was sign on the line next to the X. Oh, and the company would charge me a small amount in back-loaded fees if I signed. Slightly more than $11,000 in fees.

I then said that I would give them one last chance to fix their behaviour. It wasn't because of the money, but because he was such a good, trustworthy adviser that I couldn't bear to go to another company. He said he was glad that I was so forgiving, and that I was willing to work with them to help them become a better company.

Now I feel dirty and unclean.