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Sunday, July 30, 2006

RETALIATING

"The pen is mightier than the sword."
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Baron Lytton 1803-1873 "Richelieu" 1839 Act II, sc ii

(Yes, that's the same guy who penned the now-famous first line "It was a dark and stormy night.")

I've always found it easier to compose the written word rather than the spoken, although I am known as having the "gift of the gab" too. But when I'm angry and really upset, it's sometimes hard to say exactly the right thing, especially when I am livid like I was over getting the eviction notice. It took me a few days to calm down, and by then I'd picked up the forms for filing for an arbitration. Once I got them, I focused on what I wanted to say about these sleazy landlords, and to provide proof and contact numbers of a couple of other evictees -- tenants, like me, who had been long-term residents in good standing, who were kicked out on the pretence that the landlord (or family members) were going to move into their suites. They're using the same scam to evict me when it's pretty clear they are hoping to re-rent for more money. However, I've got all my facts and figures straight now and they aren't going to get away with it if they try. So I had two pages of comments about them on the arbitration papers which I filed the next day and picked up yesterday with a copy to serve the landlords.

Meanwhile, I have already found myself an absolutely beautiful suite to rent and I'm pretty sure I'm going to get it as it's a friend's suite. A bit expensive, but in doing my research I realize this is now the going rate. (Of course the landlords want to kick me out so they can up the rent!) So...it was with great glee today that I served the papers. At first I was a bit worried as they are illusive people. I know they live in the building, but not exactly sure which suite. The address they gave on the eviction notice as the 'address where they can be "contacted and documents served" is a non-existing suite number, just a mail box. But I did my sleuthing work today. Thought I caught the husband in the garden but he'd disappeared by the time I got downstairs. Next, we listened for the garage doors to open (easy, as they are just below my balcony). I had earlier checked the underground parking and noted that theirs is one of the only vehicles parked down there amongst the piles of discarded furniture, boxes and old mattrasses. (They people have turned this building into a pig-sty!) So I rushed downstairs to the basement and caught the whole gang of them coming in with their groceries. They looked surprised to see me. Heehee. I just smiled sweetly and handed Pussy Cat the envelope.
"Here, this is for you!" I said, and rushed back up the stairs.

I'm certain when they read the copy of what I wrote to the arbitrator they are going to be furious (too bad! It's all the truth!) and I am now looking forward to my day in tenants' 'court' to see what bold-faced lies they try and tell the adjudicator. (I was there with Sofie when they evicted her and it was sickening to hear Pussy Cat, putting on her sweet innocent face, insisting that she was going to move into the suite. She never did, of course, so Sofie was awarded an extra two months rent.) I'm hoping this is what will happen next and I have two other tenants who have promised to keep me informed.

In the meantime, I'm now looking forward to vacating this place. Although the rent is going to be somewhat higher than I had hoped to pay, the new suite has many amenities besides being in a secure and well-kept building. I just couldn't consider moving into another cheap place which would likely be infested with roaches and mice and rowdy neighbours and nasty landlords. Been there, done that! Now it's time for some luxury in my life! So by mid September I hope to be out of here!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A RANT ABOUT WAR

"It is easier to make war than peace." Georges Clemenceau 1841-1929 "Speech" 1919

I am not, nor will I ever be, a supporter of Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians. And this new war they have provoked, though it seems six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other is, as usual, only serving to harm and kill thousands of innocents as well as displacing the Lebanese (a lot of them Canadians) from their homes and families. This is wrong!

I am currently involved in a 'war' of my own, as of Sunday night when I was rudely disturbed after spending a peaceful and happy day, by the Dragon Lady and Pussy Cat, her ever-so-sweet and two-faced daughters who served me with an eviction notice. There reasons? Dragon Lady wants my suite. I was livid and let them know as much. This is not the first time these devious avaricious bitches have served eviction notices on long-term residents of this building. This time, it happened to be my turn. It should have been no surprise as ever since I first laid eyes on that weasely little woman I knew she was greedily eyeing my apartment.

I first met Dragon Lady in the spring of 2004 when my then landlord (another smooth, sly Chinese man) was touring groups through the building -- mainly requesting a peek at my suite because he said it was the nicest -- pretending they were people from the bank coming to take a look as he was supposedly applying for a mortagage loan. I noted immediately how she kept coming back to greedily eye my suite, and I instantly got bad vibes from her.
They proved to be Liars, all of them!

Following this, there was a brazen daylight robbery on the third floor. Three suites were broken into and a great many items stolem. The landlord was in the building as was another Chinese man on the roof. There were no signs of forced entry. When the manager was informed of the thefts he shrugged it off. A week later we get a notice that he'd sold the building. The Dragon Lady was the new owner and the first thing she did was evict three tenants, one of them a long-term tenant (over 20 yrs) and one of those who had been robbed, on the pretext that family members were moving into their suites. (They never did!) Neither Dragon Lady or her husband speak a word of English so from then on we were dealing with her two young college-student children, Pussy Cat and her equally sly brother. It was all trouble from the word 'go' and has never let up, ending with me being served with this eviction notice.

So, I'm off to 'war' armed with a request for arbitration and twelve pages of recorded complaints and letters from 2004 til now which I have against the managers (most of them never resolved). I will not go quietly from my home. Except for 1 year when I moved out to share an apartment with a friend (bad idea!) I have lived here since 1994. And because I know it is their usual tactics, to oust the long-term residence (except for a Korean family, all were Caucasians and replaced by more Chinese) or to vacate and up the rent because these are dishonest people who have no scruples or ethics are are greedy as sin.

If this sounds faintly racist, well perhaps it is, but with just cause. Yes, I do have lots of other Chinese friends and in fact worked for a year in a Chinese daycare Centre. But these are likely mainland China people who come here thinking they can bend the laws and do as they please -- anything to make a buck. I doubt they are even good Buddhists or they would know that this kind of behavior will provoke bad karma.

Anyway, no matter what I intend to come out a winner and thankfully I have lots of backing from friends. And, in the long-run, no matter what the outcome, I know I'll be better off away from this toxic situation which has been brewing for the last two years. Just the sound of that woman's voice turns my stomach and the sight of her makes me cringe. Evil and nasty is the best word for it. So, I'm going to get my mojo working and put out the Evil Eye. It is I who will be the winner in the end, because harming innocent people can only result in downfall of the perpetrators.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

MORE ABOUT THOSE INDELIBLE DESIGNS

"WHERE TATTOO HORROR STORIES COME TO DIE"
That's the title of a news article I happen to run across yesterday. Reminded me of the blog I just wrote questioning the sensibility of tattoos -- mainly those massive body-covering ones that I'm seeing so often these days.

Well, for the record, here's what a local doctor has to say. He's a specialist in eliminating body art and sees up to 30 patients every day who want their tattoos removed. Several examples are given of the various people and types of tattoos he's been asked to eliminate which included one about a man who was brought in by his irate wife after he'd gone to Las Vegas and returned with a tattoo of a breastacious woman on each arm. The laser doctor also tells of a local gigolo who tattoos his name on the butts of his women conquests. Sort of a 'brand', like you'd brand a calf. What happened with a heart encircling dear old "Mom" that men (usually sailors) used to sport once upon a time before tattooing became 'fashionable'.

It costs a lot of money to remove unwanted body art and takes several treatments over a period of over six months to get rid of them. Usually it costs ten times what the tattoos cost and could run as high as $37,000 to get large tattoos removed. Patients are put under a local anesthetic and a laser is used to break down the ink after which the body's white blood cells disposes of it.

Sometimes it isn't successful. Johnny Depp simply altered "Winona Forever" to read "Wino Forever" when he split from the actress some years ago. Angelina Jolie was left with an ugly smudge when she tried to have Billy Bob's name erased from her arm.

Still want to go under the needle just for the sake of a current fad?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

THE ILLUSTRATED LADIES

Tattoo (Tahitian 'tatau 1769) an indelible mark or figure fixed upon the body by insertion of
pigment under the skin.

Summer's here and it's beach time again. With everyone wearing scantier clothing I've been noticing the large number of people who are sporting tattoos. A few years ago it was mostly ankle or upper arm tattoos or small illustrations but it's kind of shocked me this summer to note the number of young women who have their entire arms and upper torsos and legs covered with illustrations. I can't help wondering if they've given any thought to the future. In observing the changes in my own body over the years, the loose flesh, sagging muscles, I can't imagine how hideous these tattoos are going to look in twenty or thirty years.

Twenty or so years ago when tattoos were usually only a guy thing, my beautiful young daughter came home one day with a rose tattoo over her breast. I have to admit it was tastefully done and at least in a location that could be easily covered if necessary. Shortly after though she announced she was getting a second tattoo and that was probably the one time I begged her not to. Of course her retort was "It's my body and I'll do what I like" so she did, and came home with a small unicorn on her upper shoulder. It turned into somewhat of an embarassement though when she was invited to be a bridesmaid at her friend's wedding and realized her tattoos would be visible. She also felt embarassed about having her Grandpa, a Baptist minister, see them. Some time later, a friend's young daughter was remarking over these tattoos and I heard my daughter say "Don't ever get a tattoo, Tay. You'll be sorry because you can't remove them." Sure enough several years after that she had to pay a lot of money to have the unicorn redyed as she was unable to remove it and it had faded into an ugly mess.
Nowdays those little tattoos of hers are pretty insignificant when you see the massive illustrations some of these gals are sporting. Most of them are not attractive, some are black dye and rather ugly and even the coloured illustrations, when they cover the entire arm to the wrist are excessive, in my opinion. I think it's a turn-off even to see men so heavily tattooed.

I recall noting on a trip to Morocco a few years ago, that the married Berber women have a line tattooed down the centre of their face from brow to chin. I suppose women in our culture would think that simple 'mark' to denote 'married' is barbaric. To the Berber women it's probably considered beautiful. In the Arabic and Indian cultures henna markings are fashionable and some of them I've seen on the hands and feet of women are quite gorgeous. But they're not permanent and are usually part of the marriage rites or other ceremonies.

A woman I know went and got a ladybug tattooed on her ankle as a 70th birthday present from her daughter. I thought that was a rather sweet idea, even considered getting the star of Macedonia tattooed on my ankle or shoulder. But somehow this summer, observing all these illustrated women I'm getting turned off the idea of permanently marking myself.

Remember that movie "The Illustrated Man"? Every tattoo on his body told a story of some adventure he'd had in his lifetime. I wonder what significance some of these massive tattooes have for the young women who are sporting them? I wonder, in a few years, if they will regret having them?