Irrational irritations and other Unnecessary Issues (29/3/16)

So, Canadian coins are a little stupid. So are American coins, since they’re basically the same (aside from the fact that the Yanks haven’t gotten around to getting rid of the penny or the dollar bill like normal countries), but I live in Canada and use Canadian coin to give Canadian change to Canadians so this is going to be a more specific rant about Canadian currency (Canada!).

I don’t have a problem with the one and two dollar coin. Those are fine, and I’ve even gotten used to calling them loonies and toonies. They’re a good size and feel pretty substantial. Good shit. No, I’m talking about the silver. Well, technically I’m talking about the nickel-plated steel, but silver sounds so much cooler. Anyway, there are two things that piss me off in particular: size discrepancies and making change.

Size-wise I am of course talking about the nickel and dime. Why the bloody fuck is the Canadian ten cent piece so much smaller than the five cent piece? Why is the more useful, more numerous larger denomination the more inconsequential of the two? I don’t know why and, quite frankly, I don’t want to know. What I do want to know is why you haven’t changed this Canada? Is it because they’re basically the same size as the American nickel and dimes and you’re worried that it might hurt tourism if you got your own currency Canada? Is that it? You don’t want to confuse poor American tourists? Well guess what, Americans don’t fucking care. The smart ones expect foreign-looking coinage in foreign lands and the stupid ones are too mesmerised by the fact that you have your own currency at all to care. Make your ten cent pieces bigger!

As for the second item on the list, making change, you need to ditch this whole ‘quarter’ nonsense and pick up on the Australian and New Zealand system of having a twenty and fifty cent system. Yes, I know it means printing a whole new coin (is it still printing if it’s not a note or bill, or is it called, like, stamping? Stamping new coins? Forging new coins? Can someone google this for me?) but guess what, you’ll need fewer coins in the system because shops, restaurants banks will need fewer coins in the till. Let me explain. Let’s say you need to give someone seventy cents change. Now to do that in Canada you need a minimum of four coins, two quarters and two dimes. In Australia on the other hand (with a fifty, twenty, ten and five cent piece available) you need a minimum of just two coins, a fifty and a twenty. And Australia beats or breaks even with Canadian on all but two occasions, twenty-five cents (a single quarter in Canada, a twenty and a five cent in Australia) and thirty-five cents (a quarter and a dime in Canada, a twenty, a ten and five cent in Australia). All the others are either ties or Australia wins. Need to give someone ninety cents? In Canada you need a minimum five coins, in Australia you need a minimum of three. Forty cents? Three in Canada, two in Australia. Fifty cents? Two and one. Less coin, more easily broken. Ipso facto, quarters are stupid as well.

Now, do I believe that Canada should change its money on my say-so alone? Of course I do. I’m fucking brilliant. But do your projections, work out your costs, mine your data. You’ll see I’m right, and you’ll regret not listening to me sooner. Because I’ll already be gone, back to the sunburnt land and our superior, grown-up currency!

Seriously though, loonies and toonies? Perfectly acceptable currency, very functional and I like the fact that you’ve given them nicknames. Also, thank God you got rid of the penny. Man, fuck the penny.

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Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (2/2/16)

Jumping right into it this today, I’d like to say that one of my biggest pet peeves when I’m serving/waitering/bartending is customers who leave their shit in the way when I’m trying to put a plate down in front of them. It drives me absolutely (but still politely) mental. I’ll be approaching with three or more plates spread across my two hands, the customer will see the approach and put their phone or drink or faberge egg down in front of them, exactly where I intended to put the plate down. Then there’ll be this awkward moment where they just stare at me vacantly, waiting for me to place the food or whatever in front of them while I desperately (but still politely) try to indicate through limited body language that they need to move their phone, drink or faberge egg out of the fucking way.

Yeah, I know it would be faster if I simply asked them to move the obstacle away from the drop zone, but people always look really embarrassed when they need to actually be told they’re inconsiderate morons and that might affect my tip (not to mention there’s no challenge in just saying it out loud). More than likely though it’ll be whoever they’re dining with will notice the obstruction and be like, “Mom, move your phone,” or “For fuck’s sake dad! Put the goddamn egg away! I know you like to show it off but it’s very fragile and I doubt anyone here actually appreciates the exquisite Russian craftsmanship.” There’s an awkward laugh, maybe an apology and I thank them and (much more quietly) God because that one plate resting on the bare skin of my forearm had been sitting under the heat lamps for fucking ages and I could feel my flesh cooking and I’m extremely grateful to be able to put the bastard down and fang it back to the kitchen to run my arm under some mercifully cold water.

Thing you have to remember is that tables at most restaurants where you’re paying less than a hundred dollars a head for a main and single drink (another thirty for desert) is that they’re trying to maximise seating, so tables tend to be small. And small tables very quickly become cluttered. We do our best to keep clearing things up, and generally uncluttering, but we’re not about to start grabbing personal possessions and moving them without your permission and we’d like to minimise our contact with whatever you’re drinking out of (for your sake, as much as ours). We also don’t always have an arm free to move obstructions out of the way. So, when you see your server/waiter/foodrunner/bartender striding over with arms full of succulent morsels, do not just drop whatever you’d been distracting your hunger-ravaged mind with in the space in front of you. We need that space. Put it in your fucking pocket or handbag or whatever.

You shouldn’t have your phone out at the dinner table anyway. That’s fucking rude.

Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (5/1/2016)

Happy New Year everyone! And welcome to 2016. Hopefully it’ll be better than 2015. Well, I had a decent year last year (the excitement of moving to another country and all that) but it seems that much of the world seemed to have a pretty shitty time of it, with the terrorist attacks and police shootings and Donald Trump and more than a couple of natural disasters and endless civil war and all the places failing to handle the refugee crisis (Australia included, but I’m looking at you large swathes of Europe. Germany’s cool though). Others had a decent year as well. Change of leadership in Canada seems to spelling good things, everyone around here seems pretty excited. Change of leadership back in Oz as well (the lion got the boot and the tin man took over). Change of leadership in Myanmar. But regardless we should always hope that tomorrow is an improvement over today. ‘Cause that is progress and we don’t want to stop progressing no matter how great things are.

Anyway, NYE has come and gone and there’s plenty to get irritated and outraged about (unnecessarily of course). Like all the end of year “best of…” lists. And “worst of…” lists. And “I think I’m creative so I’m still gonna make a list but I’m gonna give it a stupid theme, ‘cause that’ll be hil-ar-i-ous!” lists. Or people talking up their New Years Resolutions. Or other people talking down New Years Resolutions in general ‘cause they aren’t into that conformist bullshit, man. What’s really getting to me this year has been the number of Facebook and Instagram posts talking about how this year is going to be all about themselves.

It’s the weirdest fucking thing. Like, they’re posting these pseudo-profound sounding statements and e-cards with “I am going to invest in myself” and “It will all be about improving myself” with the odd hint of “in loving myself more I will be able to love others better” on a few rare occasions. That last one’s got the air of “so I’m not going to be a completely selfish bastard.” Because that’s what a lot of these posts seem to be implying. That they’re going to be selfish bastards this year who only give a fuck about their own improvement and well-being.

Here’s the thing though, I know these people aren’t. I wouldn’t be friends with them if they were. Christ, who would? I mean, it’s something I saw a lot of in the tail end of 2015, posts on Facebook and Tumblr telling people to worry about themselves first and other people second. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing considering the number of anxious and generally-in-a-bad-situation people there are who need the boost to their confidence and self-esteem. Funny thing is a lot of those people making those posts are the types who very obviously care about the confidence, self-esteem and mental well-being of others. Certain irony to that, yeah? What’s more, saying that you’re going to take the time to work on your own physical and mental health is great, people need to do that regardless of what time of the year it is.

But please, for the love of all that’s holy, don’t do this by bragging about what a self-centred arse you’re planning on being. ‘Cause I know you’re not a self-centred arse, but others might not.

Irrational irritations and another unnecessary issues (22/12/15)

Christ, it’s almost Christmas. Doesn’t really feel like it, if I’m to be perfectly honest. None of the usual stuff I’m used to on the other side of the world. It’s cold instead of hot. People are starting to talk about the upcoming Superbowl instead of the Boxing Day Test. Everybody’s eating Turkey, instead of chops, snags, seafood and all the other things that you toss on a barbecue. Everyone seems a lot more concerned about what Jesus would and would not approve of. I kinda feel like he wouldn’t approve of the narrow-minded view most of those people seem to think he’d have. Then again I come from a culture with a different perspective on the holiday.

Might actually snow on Christmas day. I’ve never had a white Christmas. That’d be pretty cool. Something that’s the same on this side of the ocean as it is on the other?

Christmas crowds. Fuckin’ nightmares, aye? I think the problem is that what happens around Christmas is you have thousands of people who don’t normally leave the house, or their very small circle of safe and comfortable spaces, suddenly forced to join the rest of society. And they just don’t have a bloody clue what they’re doing. It’s like how weekend rush hours are always so much difficult and frustrating than weekday rush hours, ’cause so many of the drivers only drive on saturdays and sundays so at the very least don’t have the etiquette down. And like weekend drivers, many Christmas shoppers cause unnecessary delays, slow down traffic and create bottlenecks.

Working hospitality you see a bit of it, and more. Lot of people are attending Christmas, holiday and end-of-year parties that don’t go out a whole lot. They aren’t used to not being dickheads towards staff, not understanding how bars and restaurants work and not understanding how to tip properly. I haven’t had to deal with it much but a lot of people I know have. And it’s annoying to hear. Because a lot of this shit should be common knowledge, but apparently isn’t. Ehhh. That’s life.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to mention today. ‘Cause it’s the holidays and I’m feeling lazy. So I’ll be finishing by saying that if you’re joining a Christmas crowd and you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing, look for people who do and try and copy them. Might make life for the rest of us a little easier, so is worth a try. Do it for Jesus.

Anyway, happy Christmas or whichever holiday you happen to celebrate. The Hindu festival of Holi kicked off recently, and looks just beautiful. If you aren’t celebrating a particular holiday, have a great time anyway. Talk soon.

Irrational irritations and other unnecessary issues (27/10/2015)

G’afternoon everyone. Getting right into today’s topic I’d like to talk about bagels. I bloody love bagels, those dense doughnut-shaped buns that form part of a balanced breakfast for millions of people everyday. Wonderful things. My basic breakfast consists of eggs, cheese, tabasco sauce and, of course, a bagel. But that’s really only since I moved to North America.

They’re not a huge thing in Australia. I mean, they’re around, you can definitely buy them. It wouldn’t be that hard to find a cafe that sells breakfast bagels filled with ham and cheese or other time-of-day appropriate fillings. But they’re not common like they are up here in Canada and the USA. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, of course. I haven’t seen the kind of variety in Canadian breads that I’d expect in an Australian bakery or supermarket. Like I don’t see focaccia or pita or Lebanese bread (fuck I miss really good Lebanese bread). And you’re probably more likely to find crumpets or (ahem) ‘English’ muffins on an Aussie table. But we don’t have a lot of bagels back home. And bagels are awesome. I just ate one before coming here to write this. It was delicious.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that when I go home, eventually, in like a year or something, I’m gonna have to find a new source of bagels. They’ve been one of the best parts of moving to Canada, and I don’t think I’ll be able to give them up. Complain as I might about North American domestic beers and the lack of good Thai and Indian restaurants around, well, I can’t complain about their bread choices. Because bagels are amazing. Think I might go eat another in a moment.

So not so much an irritation today (though it might turn into that if I travel somewhere else and there aren’t any bagels), but that’s why we have the other part of the title. Tried to think of something Halloween related to talk about (I carved a pumpkin last night!) but couldn’t. So just think about how terrifying a world without bagels would be.

I fucking love bagels.