Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Now Showing - Stephen Fry's "The Secret Life of a Manic-Depressive"

This is the first part of 14 - two one-hour episodes - of a marvellous programme by Stephen Fry.

Highly recommended.
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So Long Sam The Record Man

Toronto's iconic "Sam the Record Man" location at Yonge and Dundas is closing; the store has been operating in the same location for 70 years. It was then that Sam Sniderman decided to supplement the radios and record players his parents sold with a small selection of records. Within a few years they'd overwhelmed the sales floor, and the rest (well, after June 30th anyway) is history.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAs usual they're blaming file sharing for the closure, but...

I once worked at a Sam the Record Man, the location in downtown Vancouver. Management chaos is more like the real reason.

At that point, two of Sam Sniderman's kids were running the business. Jason and Lana. Jason's picture is next to "scatter-brained" in the dictionary, and Lana was a stone-cold bitch. She called the store on my first day of work, announced herself rather haughtily - by her first name only - then asked to speak to the manager. When I asked what it was in reference to, she said: "Lana Sniderman?"

Word around the company is that she'd fired people for less; at the time I thought I was lucky that she didn't fire me. Given subsequent events I'm not so sure.

I don't believe Lana and Jason ever spoke to each other, judging by the number of times they would call the store individually for the same information. The regional rep was allergic to innovation, and so on. I fought a three-month-long uphill battle to get permission to clean the years of filth and fingerprints off of our bins.

My two years at Sam the Record Man were possibly the lowest two years of my life. Even though I was working in a hip, downtown store and in a long-term relationship, the store was a cross between a slave galley and junior high and the boyfriend was a control-freak without the capacity for compassion.

I think I called in sick more than I went to work; most days when I didn't go in I barely got off the sofa. The workplace was toxic in the extreme: bullying managers, crappy pay, and I never could get breaks (not even bathroom breaks), etc. The only days I went into work at all were the days I wanted to steal CDs from the promo box.

In 2000 I was finally fired for stealing CDs from the promo box, made to pay for the stealing everyone else (including one of the managers) was doing from the stock, and I have been harassed by my former co-workers ever since, as recently as April of this year. Crime doesn't pay, kids. In fact, it follows you around forever. Nowadays I don't even take an extra packet of ketchup from Wendy's unless I'm certain to use it.

So no, I'm not sad to see the end of Sam the Record Man. I buy my DVDs and CDs now at London Drugs, HMV, Future Shop, Best Buy, or A&B Sound. Despite claims by Sam's that the Internet is ruining music sales, there are more places to buy CDs now than there were when I finally escaped from retail hell.

As usual in the case of a failed business, I suspect the real reason was to be found in the Head Office rather than on the sales floor.
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Salma "The Mammal" Hayek: Hopefully It's Twins

It seems like this photo was all over the Internet today; far be it from me not to hop on the web-wagon.

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Just in case I have any straight guys reading this blog (it could happen) I figured if I threw them a bone maybe they'd return the favour. I have always dug this little pocket Venus for sticking it to anglo Hollywood, producing her own movies and all that.

This photo adds a whole new layer of fascination, though. I swear, the breasts do nothing for me, but just look at them. I mean, really look at them. It's hard to look away, isn't it?
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"La Vie en Rose" In Theatres June 2007

It turns out my aversion to attending movies alone will have to be foregone. In amongst the shallow trench filled with dreck which is the summer movie season is this shining jewel.

Marion Cotillard's performance seems more like a seance than acting, such is her resemblance to Edith Piaf. The trailer gave me chills; I guess I should wear a sweater to the movie.
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