Monday, March 31, 2008

My Case of The Mondays

Yack-fest 2008 continued last night, prompting me to call in sick to work and sack out on the couch like a total stupor as soon as a I got home.

See, I'm the kind of guy that even turns up for work twenty minutes after he was praying to the porcelain goddess, just so as to not overly inconvenience anyone.

Thankfully, Bossman D felt bad enough that he came in and covered my shift for me. Thanks again D!

So I figured that with there being nothing left in my system and a full night of absolute comatose sleep behind me, I would wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated. Uh, not so much.

I'm feeling like Ron Livingstone in Office Space, except I don't hate work - I hate my immune system.

Attempt at Food #1 didn't go so well, so a phone call was placed to work.
(Sorry Lois - thanks for covering for me.)

A shower didn't improve my well-being either.

All that was left to try was more extended time on the couch. So I popped in Season 7, Disc 2 of Friends and...

It's like this disc has magic sleeping powers over me. This is the third time in two days that I've tried to get around to watching "The One with All The Cheesecakes" but I never seem to make it passed "The One with The Holiday Armadillo."

I'm proud to report that Attempt at Food #2 has thus far been a success; you usually can't go wrong with Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup and Ginger Ale by the gallons. That being said, it's still relatively early.

No matter how I feel, I need to be at work bright and early tomorrow morning. Otherwise, I'll look like the guy who is done in three days and just doesn't want to show up for his last week of work and that is certainly not the case. Honest.

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

Oh what a busy week it has been...

1. Remote Blogging - Not My Cup O' Tea
This installment is coming to you from the Health Sciences Library at Memorial University. Sarah's working on a project and since I need to get this done, I figured doing this now would be more productive than spending the next thirty minutes reading up on my Tar Heels victory at ESPN. That being said, this feels very strange. There are a bunch of people around, I don't have my folder full of pictures (hence the lack of Albert's presence this week) and I'm dressed, as opposed to being decked out in my housecoat and woobs. And for the record, my cup o'tea is Tetley's Jasmin Green Tea with nothing added.

2. Trendsetting - The Bad
Back to back Sunday's wrapped around the toilet bowl, puking my guts out. Unlike last Sunday, today had nothing to do with consuming an entire bottle of Vodka free from mix. This time, the cream that was just a little off - though well before the expiry date - got the best of me. Hopefully, this trend ends real soon.

3. Trendsetting - The Good
Got the mohawk shaved off today - I'm getting my professional headshots done tomorrow and the mohawk just wouldn't be a good look. That being said, the three-year-old boy in the chair next to me loved it and made the woman doing his hair turn his chair so he could watch me get my head shaved. Apparently he requested a mohawk when his parents brought him in. To this kid, I was a fashion icon, if only for the three minutes it took to remove my stripe of hair.

4. So Guess Who Is In The Final Four?
The North Carolina Tar Heels... BOO-YA! My boys played real well last night, fending off a pesky and impressive Louisville team that cut a 12 point halftime lead to zero before Psycho T & Co. put the game on ice down the stretch. Next up, the winner of the Kansas v. Davidson game today.

5. Tourney Tidbits
a.) Stephen Curry will be a solid pro and yes, he will find a way to get his shot off. He's Rip Hamilton, minus the facial hair and Hannibal Lector mask. This kid has ice water in his veins.
b.) As great as Kevin Love has been - and he has been outstanding - I just fail to understand why a guy who cannot be stopped down low insists on paying outside as much as he does. Yes he can make the three and knock down jimmies, but he's unmatched in the block, so why not just keep going to the well?
c.) I still don't like Memphis. I just can't see them winning it all, probably because if I were on the opposite sideline, I would foul the shit out of them and take my chances with them at the line. 65% cuts it against the boys they've beaten thus far, but it won't work against any of the remaining teams.

6. Transfer Completed
Monday, I found out that the job in London I was told would be there for me wasn't really there for me. If you're a regular here you read the rage the following day. Tuesday night, I vented to my boss. Wednesday, he got on the phone and got the job done. I'm officially still Rockin' the Block, at least, until something better comes along. Shhhh - don't tell them though, okay?

7. My New Celebrity Friend
As I mentioned a couple Sundays back, Michael Musto, the Village Voice celebrity / gossip columnist, replied to a little email I sent him stemming from his Musto on Lohan on Monroe photo shoot. This week, I got to thinking he would make a great interview for the next issue of Passion - our Celebrity Issue - so off went another email. D'you know what? He's in, no questions asked! The idea hasn't gotten approved yet and even if it doesn't, I've got a new celebrity friend to bitch about Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears with.

8. April Is Going To Suck
Being home will be cool, but being away from Sarah for a month will blow. Not that I didn't know this would be the case before, but it's just so much closer now. We're both being awful sooky with each other, wanting to spend as much time together before our thirty day hiatus begins and that only makes it worse. But it's only a month - we managed the two months at the start of this relationship without any hassles; a month should be a breeze, right?

9. Tomorrow is Opening Day
Honestly, I'm not as pumped as I thought I would be. Technically, the season began this week in Japan and the Braves and Nats kick off the North American regular season tonight on ESPN, but tomorrow is Opening Day for the Jays and well, this year is already shaping up a lot like last year. BJ is hurt, so is our third basemen, Boston is a juggernaut and New York is New York. Plus, the Satan-less team in Tampa looks better than ever before. Thankfully, Baltimore is going to be horrible, so the Jays can't finish worse than fourth. How's that for early season optimism?

10. Business is Picking Up
Of course, the start of the regular season means a return to routine posts on Bugs & Cranks, not just about the Jays, but baseball business in general. The Epic posts have started to flow more frequently and have been garnering a little linkage as of late, I'm a lock for the next issue of Passion (Thanks Nicole... I won't disappoint!) and journeying back to Ontario can only mean increased exposure and opportunities too. Toss in the screenplay that started coming to life earlier in the week and the writing agenda is getting pretty packed. That being said, should anyone from the Kitchener Record be perusing this prose, there is always room to cover sports for your fine publication, so make sure you call me.

Have a great week everybody. Five more shifts and nine more sleeps until I leave the island...

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Return of the Nomad

I'm not sure who does more traveling around, me or the Travelocity Gnome?

I know he goes in style far more frequently than I do, but on the whole, I think I pack the bags and ship out on a more regular basis.

Ten days from today, I jump on a plane to fly back to Ontario, stopping over at Faye's in Cambridge for a couple days before setting up semi-permanent residence in London for at least three months. After that, who knows?

While that doesn't sound all that bad, this is just the latest addition to a travel log that has been running from Day One.

  • Born in St. Catharines, Ontario on October 30, 1978 (Write down the date and send gifts)
  • 3 houses in 6 years in St. Kitts, only one of which (Forrester Road) that I remember
  • 2 years in Amherstburg, a small little hamlet outside of Windsor.
  • Off to Chatham for five years - Grades 3 to 7
  • Summer Rental in Ancaster while we found place in Hamilton the summer after Grade 7
  • Hamilton Mountain for grades 8 through 10
  • Downtown Hammertown for the rest of high school
  • 1st Year: Residence at Waterloo like everyone else
  • 2nd Year: Off Campus - Yonge Street, a great house with some great people
  • 3rd Year: The Old Folks Home on Erb... HUGE Apartment + 2 obnoxious cats
  • 4th Year: Old Folks & Roslin - a midseason trade sent me down the street...
  • 4th Year Summer: Back into Res while running the Conference Center
  • Home to Faye's, newly relocated to Burlington... for a month
  • Up to Barrie - live with Faye vs. start paying my own way was an easy decision
  • Moved in with Katie for two months, then back to Faye's
  • Down to The Whelan's just outside of Hamilton for six months
  • Back to Barrie and eventually in with Beast for ten months
  • Off to The Collins' for three months
  • Up to Midland to run Sha-Na-Na's... and live above it
  • Met a girl and moved to Newfoundland, where I've had three addresses in 16 months
Damn that is a long list!

Needless to say, I'm a little bit used to all this packing and stress and moving and whatnot. Sarah is a different story.

She hates this. It drives her insane. It makes her crabby - very, very crabby. But she knows it, so it's okay. When she needs a break, she takes a break... or just goes and screams somewhere like I do at work every once in a while.

As it stands now, we're pretty much done. Most of the stuff that is coming is packed and we're living out of suitcases from here on out. We've even relocated to the living room couch - a bed that replaced the sold to Calvin futon - for sleeping, just so we can have all the linens packed. That's how soon this travellin' man gets back to travellin'.

In an ironic twist, Garry - Sarah's dad who I was going home early to spend a month living with sans Daddy's Little Girl - has been called out to Vancouver for a job for the first two weeks that I'll be in London.

So much for bonding...

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Stakes Is High
Artist: De La Soul
Album: Stakes Is High (1996)

Just as Common paints a picture of the progression of Hip Hop with the seminal I Used To Love HER, De La Soul does the same for the members of the rap game with the title track from their very much underrated 1996 release.

As a matter of fact, De La Soul as a whole is very much underrated. I got a chance to see these cats live in London (England not Ontario) a couple years back and it was one of the best performances I've seen. Stakes ended the show.

The song deals with what De La Soul saw as a decline not only in hip hop the music, but hip hop the culture at that time. Twelve years after being released, it's sad that many of the things Plug One and Two talk about over Plug Three's beats still are relevant complaints about hip hop today:

Gun control means using both hands in my land

I'm sick of bitches shakin' asses
I'm sick of talkin' about blunts,
Sick of Versace glasses,
Sick of slang,
Sick of half-ass awards shows,
Sick of name brand clothes.
Sick of R&B bitches over bullshit tracks,
Cocaine and crack
Which brings sickness to blacks,
Sick of swoll' head rappers
With their sicker-than raps
Clappers and gats
Makin' the whole sick world collapse

Loving to love mad sex, loving to love guns
Love for opposite, love for fame and wealth
Love for the fact of no longer loving yourself, kid

I say G's are making figures at a high regard
And niggas dying for it nowadays ain't odd
Investing in fantasies and not God
Welcome to reality, see times is hard

Honestly, tell me these lyrics don't translate to the state of the rap game today? All the same stereotypes and shortcomings delivered a decade ago are maybe even more prevalent and relevant today.

Some people may call the lyrics of this song sour grapes; pointed retorts to those that made it to the mainstream and big dollars from a group that seemingly plateaued in the middle. Personally, I don't think that's what it is. To me, this is a three guys seeing what they love being marginalized and materialized and voicing their displeasure with it.

In short, this is what we need more of in hip hop today.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

What Did You Say?

I've enjoyed my time out here, but I wouldn't say I loves it. I wouldn't say I hates it either. I wouldn't say either of those things because they are not grammatically correct and make my ears bleed every time someone says them.

My Ontario homecoming is less than two weeks away and while there are a number of people and things I am certainly going to miss, the frustrating bastardization of the English language is certainly not one of them.

Yes, everywhere has their own little dialect that produces strange contractions and slang, but nowhere on Earth is quite like Newfoundland.

If someone is victorious over another in a competition, what would you say he/she did? They beat you, right? Nope, not here. Here, they bet you. Seriously, bet.

What's the plural of you, used to describe a collection of people? It's you, no? No, it's yee. Yee, as in "Do yee have that movie?"

Adding an "s" to the end of things isn't unilaterally acceptable either, as in the loves and hates example that batted lead-off for this rant. It also doesn't work in the following forms:

  • I gots that at home
  • I wants to see that
  • I eats there all the time
Like I said earlier, I understand and accept some of the regional slang and speech, in so far as it has been used so much around me that it doesn't have an impact on me any longer.

Yes B'y is now an acceptable positive response to a statement or question.

Whattaya At? - while I still have no idea how it means "What's Up?" - is commonplace and occasionally even rolls off my tongue from time to time.

Its cousin from out around the bay "Where Ya To?" however has never and will never be part of my lexicon, as no part of that phraseology conveys the idea of "Where are you?" to me.

And for those that are wondering, "out around the bay" is basically any place that isn't the City of St. John's. See, you either live in "The City" or "Out Around the Bay."

The unfortunate thing, and I say this with the utmost love and affection for my Newfie friends and readers, is that to "a Mainlander" like me, even the smartest person on the island sounds a little slow uttering some of these words and phrases.

Mind you, it's not your fault.

It's what yee were taught and yee had no say in what yee learns in school. Dats just how it is b'y.

Ah Newfie-isms... how I won't miss yee.

One last thing - it's a can of pop, not a can of drink. You don't ask for a glass of drink, you ask for a glass of something specific - juice, pop, water, booze, whatever. Not drink!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Rundown: I've Had A Bad Day or Two

Starting with this post, I'm getting my ducks in a row and hammering out as much writing and work from this computer as possible on a daily basis, because this is what makes me happy (aside from Sarah, puppies, babies, great movies, better books and sushi) and I'm sick of being miserable.

That being said, we're doing some cleansing today.

Warning: I'm getting real serious and personal here, so if that's not your bag... vamoose!

Five Worst Days of My Life

5. Kicked Out of University - May 1999

You think telling your parents you failed a course is hard? Try telling them the school they're paying good money to send you to has kicked you out entirely. Fuck me did this day suck. I managed to drink and party my way to a low enough average that the school didn't even want my money... and then I had to fess up to it to the 'rents. The old man told me I should just get a job in one of the Hamilton steel factories because that was all I would amount to anyway. Faye told me to stay home, go to Mac and get coddled. I moved back to Waterloo in September, worked for four months then rattled off sixteen straight months of school with a 71% average to graduate in June 2001.

4. Grandma Kyte's Funeral - November 2005
Bad for so many reasons, first of which is having to say goodbye to someone who was very, very important to me. My Grandma was crazy - she drank, she smoked non-filtered cigarettes by the truckload, she cursed more than I do. She was the best and I loved her dearly. This day gets extra awkward points for being a Kyte Family Function, meaning the extendeds whom I hadn't seen or spoken to in some time. Oh right, there was also some real nice Phil Time too.

3. The Night Before My Uncle Jack's Funeral - January 2004
That night, I decided to have a sit down with the old man after around a year of not speaking with him, wanting to get everything settled and start building something new. My cousins were never going to be able to speak to their father again and I didn't talk to mine by choice and that was ridiculous to me. So I tried... and failed... miserably. When conversations end with the one person (my old man) hollering at the top of his lungs (in public too) for the other person (me) to "Go Fuck Yourself," it's not really a very good evening. I've said seven words to him since.

2. Two Sunday's Ago - March 9, 2008
My brother ended a conversation with me in the same manner as my old man did, telling me to "Go Fuck Myself" and the worst part of all? He sounded just like the old man always did - He's right, you're wrong and if you can't see that, why bother with you? I got one brother and I don't want to lose him the way I have lost my old man...

1. Divorce Announcement - November 1999
See, I contend that it sucks more at age 21 than it does at age 6, because at 21, you know what all the problems they're talking about are. When you're younger, you can't comprehend these things and eventually it just becomes the way things have "always" been. Learning there was a whole lot of lying going on throughout your formative years really sucks balls. At least, to me it does.

* * * * * * * * * *
"Do it now 'cause tomorrow ain't promised today"
- Christopher Brian Bridges... Stand Up!

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Know Which Dwarf I Am...


I'm at that point where I'm just tired of everything.

I'm tired of being a moron who wastes a great night out all dressed up with his girlfriend getting shitcanned and announcing to a room full of strangers that, "I'm Spencer and I'm awesome because I have a mohawk!"

I'm sick of busting my ass at Blockbuster effing Video for the last nine months to find out that that transfer they assured me would happen whenever I wanted to move back to Ontario isn't as assured as originally advertised.

I'm pissed that I've spent countless months talking about all the ideas I have for a book and a movie and writing and haven't done shit about it. Not one single word.

I'm grumpy as fuck and d'you know what?

It's about goddamn time too!

Reaching the point of total and utter frustration moves you in one of two ways:

  1. Prolonged periods of laying on the couch in the fetal position watching old movies and crying
  2. Sitting at this computer every spare minute I have either trying to find a better job that shilling movies or writing the book / movie that will make me never have to shill another movie ever again.
I'm not much for the fetal position, so starting NOW, the search is on for a different job and the writing starts first thing tomorrow morning.

Schedules. Routine. Habit. Timelines. That is the only way these ideas that have been bouncing around inside my head for the better part of the last year are ever going to become whatever they are meant to become. I just need to sit down and do it.

No more Baseball Mogul 2008.

No more three hour cycles of The Score.

No more laying around watching old movies.

Writing, writing and more writing.

P.S. You don't want to mess with Grumpy... consider yourself warned.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. I Can't Drink Any More
There was a time when a night like Saturday wouldn't have hurt me one bit come Sunday morning. I would have gotten up, grabbed some Mickey D's and chilled out on the couch nursing a very small hangover. Instead, I got my ass kicked. Still got the Mickey D's, still sacked out on the couch all day, but the hangover was gigantic.

2. Done
With Saturday producing the Sunday that it did, I've decided to hang up the drinking on a fairly permanent basis. A couple beers here and there with the lads or over dinner or whatever is still very much happening, but bender nights are now thing of the past. Not remembering isn't a badge of courage... it's a sign of stupidity.

3. Stylin' and Profilin'
From the pictures I've seen, I looked good Saturday night. Like real good. Ron Burgundy "Hey everyone. Come see how good I look" good. Then everything went blank and I couldn't tell you the rest... stupid vodka...

4. Two Weeks
As in, I'll be home in... Crazy! Time has flown by and there is a bunch of stuff still needing to be done around the house, but flights are booked, transfers are in place and a week hanging out in Cambridge with Faye is the first course of action when I get home. Book your visits now!

5. New Province, Same Job
The transfer mentioned above is in fact a position with Blockbuster in Ontario. Responsible Spencer - the sober yin to Saturday night's hammered yang - decided that a crappy job that pays the bills is better than no crappy job, so I'm heading home to Rock the Block.

6. My Bracket Is Broken
It was shot right out of the gate. I had USC going to the Elite 8, Arizona making a trip to the Sweet 16 and a host of other scenarios that certainly haven't panned out. One thing I do still have correct though... UNC winning this whole damn thing. Tell me they haven't looked better than everyone else?

7. Remember Boyz II Men?
Man, those kids from West Philly were awesome. What has me extolling the talents of Nate, Shawn and Wanya? They were on Don't Forget the Lyrics and goddamn they had a lot of hits back in the day! Motownphilly, End of the Road, On Bended Knee, I'll Make Love to You... that joint with Mariah before she went crazy. Where are groups like Boyz II Men today? We need another Boyz II Men.

8. Pretend Blue Jays in Familiar Position
Third place in the American League East. Good to know that even baseball simulations have the Jays as paper contenders in the AL East.

9. Now That I've Staved Off Death...
I got a ton of writing to do. The Jays season starts soon and they have been busy in the last couple days - GO CHECK BUGS & CRANKS PEOPLE - Epic needs a post or two in the next couple days and we all know this blog doesn't write itself. A trained chimp named Vincent K. Monkey does it. I pay him in bananas.

10. Gotta Love That Picture From Yesterday! (Scroll Down In Case You Missed It)
Seriously, even I can't manage to get that hammered. When you get so drunk that you strip down to your thong and crash on a picnic table, ass out for everyone to see, you need to put down the Canadians and pick up a bottle of water.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

10 Things - Postponed Due to Hangover

It's not quite as bad as I'm sure the girl in the picture felt, but still, sitting upright and thinking just isn't going to work today.

Check back tomorrow - I should be better by then.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Change Clothes

Yeah, I'm channeling Shawn Carter here alright and with good reason.

The man the world knows as Jay-Z is a fashion icon and someone that a lot of men out there could stand to pay a little attention to, not just on wax either.

Some time ago, Mr. Beyonce Knowles decided to trade in the throwbacks and crooked hats for dapper duds and double Windsor knots. The uniform of white sneakers and white t-shirts, on top of wife beaters that Talib Kweli speaks of in "Get By" used to be the daily attire of Jay too, but somewhere along the way something changed.

The lead single from his outstanding "retirement record" The Black Album and title of this missive serves as an infommercial on attire:

Ma, I don't shop what the rest buy
Oh no Ma please respect my
Jiggy this is probably purple label
Or that BBC or it's probably tailored
But y'all niggas acting way too tough
Throw on a suit, get it tapered up, and let's just
(Change Clothes and go...)

So why am I sharing all of this with you?

Tonight is Sarah's Nursing Ball, a chance for her and those in her class to dress it up and have a nicely dressed night next to equally elegant significant others. We're dressing up and stepping out tonight...

Last year, I was the envy of the other boyfriends in the room, as Sarah is the greatest girlfriend a man could ask for an okayed my wearing jeans, sneaks and an untucked dress shirt under a jacket...

Yep, this time last year I was sporting the Douchebag Uniform. I told you I was a culprit too.

So when we hit the mall a couple weeks ago to pick up gear for tonight, I started with pieces - a great pinstriped vest, crisp white shirt, dynamite black tie and some sweet grey wool pants. I thought I was set. Then I watched Revolver.

"See? Everyone always looks good in a suit," I said as Jason Statham and his Turtle-less entourage stepped from an elevator in one of the opening scenes. Since then, all I could think about was suiting up for the evening, styling it up even more than originally scheduled. And that is just what I'm going to do tonight.

Black Pinstripe - three piece - freshly clipped hair, clean shaved and ready for pictures.

I joke about my metrosexuality on occasion and am an admitted fashion fan. As such, I want to pass on this nugget of advice to any and every man who has stuck around and gotten to this point of the prose:

Whenever you can - dinner out somewhere, drinks, a date or a party like I'm hitting tonight - style it up as much as you can.

ZZ Top wasn't lying all those years ago; every girl is crazy for a sharp dressed man.

(The love of shopping has returned... you've got a sidekick if you need one Newt!)

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: What's Going On
Artist: Marvin Gaye
Album: What's Going On (1971)

Some artists don't need any introduction.
Some songs don't need any explanation.

Can you believe that Motown Head Berry Gordy didn't want to release this song, claiming it was "uncommercial" and wouldn't sell? Marvin refused to record anything else until this song was released.

It's been 24 years since we lost Marvin. I would argue there hasn't been anyone to come along since who comes close to the brilliance that Marvin delivered and for me, this is the epitome of Marvin's greatness.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Down, Countless More to Go

I've got some sad news for all the celebriholics out there. What's a celebriholic you ask?

celebriholic (sell-eb-ra-hall-ick) - noun: a person who is addicted to the daily happenings in the lives of celebrities; devote followers and readers of Perez Hilton (pictured) and Us Weekly, to name but two.

You can cross off your list of daily Internet gossip stops because they've pulled the plug and I can't tell you how ecstatic that makes me.

Now, regardless of what their statement says, they pulled the plug because they're constantly getting their ass kicked by but still, one less piece of tabloid trash in the world is a victory for those of us who could care less about Britney, Paris, Nicole and the drama between Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt.

Speaking of Spencer, if I ever happen upon that douchebag in this lifetime or the next, he's getting a shot in the nuts for ruining our name. He's the most famous "Spencer" of this generation and he's making the rest of us look like tools. People hear Spencer, they think cheating dickwad and that ain't cool. We need another Spencer Tracy. I'd even settle for another Spenser for Hire.

Unfortunately, even with going the way of the dinosaur there are still waaaaay to many minds rotting on the celebrity gossip and nonsense that has become mainstream media fodder.

If we stop paying attention, they'll all fade into obscurity... and the world will be a better place.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Rundown: Worst Sequels Ever

So I was clicking around ShowHype this morning and came across a story that made me cringe.

Apparently, some Hollywood movie exec thinks it's a good idea to make another Boondock Saints film. Please just shoot me now.

Don't get me wrong - I love the original. What's not to love?

  • Two brothers executing bad guys in the name of the Lord
  • Billy Connolly as their unstoppable, ultra-dangerous hitman father
  • A Ron Jeremy cameo
Oh right, I remember now... TROY DUFFY!

Duffy wrote and directed the original, as he is set to do with "the sequel" and was also the subject of the documentary Overnight, a kind of reverse rags to riches tale where Duffy goes from having a $15M budget for the flick with Miramax to making the movie for far less than that and alienating everyone around him during the process.

Everybody deserves a second chance, with some obvious exceptions (Charles Manson...) but I just know that should this long-rumoured sequel actually get made, it'll destroy the legacy of a film countless people love. Kinda like the rest of the crap in today's installment of The Rundown.

Worst Sequels Ever!

5. Anything Without The Original Stars
I covered this a while back, but just to refresh your memory - if the original cast doesn't want to reprise their roles or the storyline doesn't have any tangible connection to the first film or both... pass. Seriously... pass!

4. Godfather, Part III
The movie on the whole is good. Not great like I & II, but good. The ending though? Ending it that way? C'mon! This is Don Corleone we're talking about here. You can't have it end that way... why couldn't we have just left things the way the were after Part II? Fredo's gone, Michael is the Cappo di Tutti Capi and no one wants to eff with him, Sofia Coppola doesn't make her acting debut... we didn't need this movie.

3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Honestly, T2 was awesome. Arnold wasn't The Governator, Edward Furlong wasn't a complete waste of talent douchebag and Linda Hamilton was scary/sexy as Sarah Connor. But twelve years later, did anyone care what the hell happened to John Connor? Didn't think so...

2. Rocky V / Rocky Balboa - Double Feature Fecal Matter!
As hokey and ridiculous as Rocky IV was, we all loved it. Admit it. You loved it. I loved it too. It was a perfect culmination of Rocky's career. Hollywood pissed all over Rocky's legacy by having him manage then street fight Tommy "The Machine" Gunn in Rocky V. I refuse to comment on the hopped-up on HGH version of "The Italian Stallion" from Rocky Balboa.

1. Slap Shot 2
Slap Shot is the best sports movie ever. All the names of my fantasy hockey teams each season come from this movie - the Charlestown Chiefs, Denis Lemieux, Reg Dunlop, Old Time Hockey, Eddie Shore. It's golden! So who the hell thought it would be a good idea to bring back The Hanson's, stick'em with Stephen Baldwin, a female coach and the Harlem Globetrotters on Ice to play against? Who makes these decisions?

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Five Years Later

Did you know that Thursday marks the Five Year Anniversary of the United States' entry into Iraq?

Five years!

What has changed in that time?

Yes, Saddam Hussien was found, tried and executed. But here is the thing to me:

Nothing has changed since his death. If anything, he has become a martyr and the push against the US occupation of Iraq is even greater.

It scares the hell out of me to have heard John McCain make his "100 years" speech a month or so back. If he makes it to the White House, I can assure you there'll be at least another four years, that's for damn sure.

Two questions that have always been prominent in my head since the outset of the Iraq War. As we approach the five year mark, they still remain:

1. Why are they there in the first place?
2. When is enough enough?

How many lives must be lost, on both sides of the battle, for this to end?

Sadly, I don't think anyone knows an answer to this.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Breaking News: Hell Has Frozen Over

It must have. How else do you explain me being home already?

Normally, I would be at work now, but there is a first time for everything and the first today is that despite an undying love of making money and staying open when everything else in the city is shut down, we closed the doors at The Block and packed'er in early tonight.

The severe winter storm that is ripping through St. John's and supposed to continue until sometime tomorrow evening got me home for a little extra couch time and a few extra hours of sleeping in the morning too, since being at the store at 9 AM has about as good a chance of happening as me seeing green grass anytime soon.

Thought I would pass along the breaking news. Time to watch Jon & Kate Plus 8...

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Remembering Waterloo

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

This is a bittersweet day for me every year because back in the university days, St. Pat's was the best day of the year and each time it rolls around, I get a little misty eyed over the boys, the beers and the best times ever.

So today, our first St. Patrick's Day together here at iBlog, I'm going to tell you about those days gone by and why a reunion is a must. Sit back, raise a pint of the dark and drink it in.

This one is for Pauly, Stu, Tommy and Irish.

* * * * * * * * * *

Big greasy fry ups at the house to start the day. Paul rocked the fry pans, I answered the door. Everyone was welcomed. Everyone showed up.

First pints were at 7:30 AM and weren't optional; you're spending St. Pat's with us, you're doing it our way.

Year 1 we had to stand in the cold outside of Failte, the little pub up the road from my house, waiting for the doors to open so we could wrestle for seats.

Year 2, they opened the doors early, escorted our group in and presented us with our now customary position along the back wall. The biggest bench in the bar, prime real estate. The only group allowed to run a tab.

The table of old men behind us throwing Lucky Charms and bars of Irish Spring, antagonizing the youngsters then raising a glass. A couple even stopped by to take our ladies for a dance in the over-crowded aisles.

Great food, all day - Potato and Leek soup for lunch with a thick slab of bread for dipping, fish and chips or Sheppards Pie for dinner, all homemade and the best I've ever had.

Pint after pint, with a shot of Tullamore Dew mixed in every once in a while.

The band - the same band as always though their name escapes me now - playing the old classics and some quality new stuff too. They did the best "High and Dry" this side of Thom Yorke and The Boys...

Smokes in the bitter Waterloo cold on the tiny upstairs patio or the equally little deck out back.

Standing in line for the pisser, talking to everyone and anyone who walked on by...

The owners coming round for a sip and a sing, thanking us for making their place our place each and every year.

Everyone from school who came by for a drink, knowing that Failte with The Boys was a must on St. Patrick's Day, if only for one drink.

* * * * * * * * * *
We've drifted apart over the years; lives, families, opportunities taking us to different corners of the globe.

But every year on March 17th, we reunite in our memories and over emails, raising a pint to the best days ever.

Pauly was first this year. I followed suit. Tommy's yearly update and remembrance will come later.

Stu is globetrotting, but I know he's raising a glass. Irish is too, on both fronts.

"I miss ya boys and I miss those days. A reunion is a must."

That's all that needs to be said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone.

To the best friends and best times a man has ever had... Cheers!

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

Been another interesting week...
Here is what I learned...

Atonement: Good Movie... Really Fucking Slow!
I won't give anything away, other than the pace. Turtles move faster than this movie and it's only two hours long. It's not like some three and a half hour epic or anything like that, which actually makes it worse. The problem is you can't walk away because it is a really good film.

2. Moving Day is Getting Closer
Funny how selling and shipping out the two main pieces of your living room makes packing that much easier. Since Calvin was coming to pick up the goods he overpaid for, we had to have them ready and that meant packing. Now, we're three weeks away from moving and have nothing but clothes left to deal with for the most part. This makes Sarah very happy.

3. Winter Isn't Over
We got dumped on today. It's expected that we're going to get dumped on tomorrow too. And all week. For everyone who said it looked like winter was coming to an end, punch yourself. Then come shovel my car out.

4. My B&C Colleagues Are Baseball Nerds Too!
A handful of us are taking part in a What If? Baseball League, where we've drafted the best possible versions of our teams from 1982 to Present and set out to decide who reigns supreme. Since the season kicked off Monday, my inbox has been flooded with bitching and whining about the less-than-accurate ratings players have, how there is no way Team A would ever sweep Team B and on and on and on. It's nice to know I'm not alone...

5. "I'll Win This Again"
Sticking with Fantasy Baseball, I just thought I would make it even more official than the ridiculously cocky team name above and tell everyone who cares (and all of you who don't) that I will be winning the Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball league I am in with my buddy Sab, his friends from Sudbury and a couple guys from the casino. Updates coming every Sunday once the season starts.

6. I'm Giving Myself a Promotion
Instead of being a once a week contributor at Epic Carnival - it was twice a week but I ixna'ed Press Coverage Mondays - I'm going to become a more regular (read: 3-4 times a week) contributor. Why? I got paid more money for three months of work there than I made all last year at Bugs & Cranks. If I triple my output, I triple my money. If I triple my money, I'm that much closer to staying home and doing this full time.

7. If You're Making Homemade French Fries, Stay Away from the Yukon Golds
They don't crisp up very well. What they do manage to do well is retain oil and form into a big, greasy mound of potato in the bowl I was intending to serve them in. Too bad too because I made an awesome spicy ketchup to dip them in and everything.

8. North Carolina Wins The Tourney
I knew this at the start of the year actually, but since today is Selection Sunday, why not make the announcement now? Psycho T & Co. will bring another NCAA Tournament Title back to the Dean Dome after The Madness. And yes, I'm willing to bet on that.

9. Even Though I Don't Deliver The Mail, I Still Might Go Postal
If another person drops an F-Bomb on me when I'm just trying to do my job, I'm going to lose it. Nothing kicks off your Sunday at work better than having someone go on a rampage over the phone about how I should have called him sooner to remind him that the movies he rented needed to be brought back...

10. Best Stumble Upon Find EVER
Every so often, I click the old Stumble! button on my toolbar. 9 times outta 10 I get crap. Every once in a while I get something good. And then there is this - Proof That Girls Are Evil. BEST. STUMBLE. EVER.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Attack of the Cheap Bastards

Over this past week, I have been privy to a rash of ridiculous activity by the common sense challenged segment of our society who think that rules and pre-established pricing applies to everyone except them.

The fact that everyone - well, almost everyone - wants something for nothing is not a new nugget I have just recently gleaned. I used to work in a casino; everyone who sets foot in there is looking for as many free handouts as humanly possible. Heaven forbid they spend some of their money on a bite to eat or a beverage or something other than the one armed bandits...

I know money is tight and everyone wants more than whatever amount they have. That part makes sense. What doesn't make sense is people's unrealistic expectation that for some unknown reason the regular policies and prices out in the world don't apply to them.

When a photographer quotes you at $100 per person for grad photos, emailing her back informing her that you only want to pay $100 for two people is pretty stupid. You're already getting a deal, yet you want to pay half the price of everyone else. Why? What makes you so special?

You can't do this type of thing in a restaurant. There is no telling the waiter that the fillet is overpriced at $35.00 and asking him to see if you could get it for $22. Sure you can, at the other restaurant down the street...

I'm going to give everyone who ever rents movies a little tip here - at least 1/3 of the movies in the store are absolute crap. If it didn't make it to theatres, stay away. If it stars a rapper or former wrestler, stay away. If you've never heard of it at all and no one in the store bothered to use one of their free rentals on it, there is a good chance it is horrible.

That being said, if you're stupid enough to spend your money on one of the above mentioned items, why in the hell should I have to give you your money back when you realize you fucked up? That's not part of the agreement, no matter how good a customer you are.

And for the record, everyone thinks they're a great customer. Guess what? You're not. You're a pain in my ass.

"I didn't like this game. Can I get my money back?"

I don't like my job. Is someone going to give me back the eight months I've spent there listening to this crap on a daily basis? No? I didn't think so.

In all honesty, I could go on for hours.

If I wasn't afraid of getting (a) punched in the mouth - which I assure you is bound to happen one of these days - or (b) fired - I hate it, but I need money too! - this is how I would handle these situations:

Ask the person where they work.
Ask them if I can come in and have something free from them.
When they say no and/or ask why, provide their same lame-ass excuse and wait.
Repeat until the point is made or the customer finally just walks away.

How wicked would that be? Just watching someone stand there trying to figure out what in the hell I was talking about. But think about it. It is unilaterally valid.

I can't go into a clothing store and ask for a refund because the shirt didn't look good on me or someone didn't like it.

There is no telling the car salesman that you're only going to give him $20,000 for the $35,000 car.

Hell, you can't tell the minimum wage warrior at Tim Horton's that you're only going to give him $1.55 for an extra large double double. You can give him your $1.55 alright. D'you know what you'll get? The large coffee you can pay for.

Nothing is free in this world. Why in the hell do you think that applies to everyone but you?

You bunch of cheaps bastards!

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Sunday Bloody Sunday
Artist: U2
Album: War (1983)

When the message of a song can still be applicable 25 years after it's initial release and morphed into a message for the entire world, not just the groups it was originally speaking to, then you know that song is something special.

This is one of those songs.

The current incarnation of U2 isn't nearly as high up on my charts as the U2 of old. Bono has too much on his plate now and the music that used to define them has become a secondary or maybe even tertiary focus.

But this is old school U2 at their best.

The unforgettable guitar riff. The military cadence of Larry Mullen's drumming. The poignancy of the lyrics, which still today echo a sentiment that extends beyond two Bloody Sundays in Irish history.

In the linked clip, Bono famously introduces the song saying, "This is not a rebel song."

No, this is an activist song. This is a song of someone tired of seeing the violence and destruction that our world has to offer. This is a song that could very well have been written about Darfur or Iraq in recent times.

And the battles just begun
Theres many lost, but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

I'm actually surprised this song hasn't had a comeback of sorts over the last few years, because truthfully, the lyrics are wholly relevant today. They are relevant every day that people die senselessly out of hate and bitterness and prejudice.



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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Question of Anonymity

How in the hell does a blogger relieving his identity make front page news on Sports Illustrated? Granted, it's on but still. This is ridiculous to me.

If you've been visiting this site for any length of time, you know how I feel about anonymous commentors. If you're new here, welcome and let me sum it up like this:

If you have something you want to say, feel free, but hiding behind a veil of anonymity is a wuss move. It's like talking shit behind someone's back but not having the stones to approach them face to face. No one has to agree with all my opinions (and there are many) or thoughts, but if you've got something to say, why not identify yourself? What is the harm?

Richard Deitsch spent two pages discussing the unveiling of Jason McIntyre as the man behind The Big Lead, a popular sports blog her on the Interwebs. Personally, I think it's a joke. Not in a funny ha-ha way like he's not the real guy doing the writing. More in the "Who really gives a rat's ass anyway?" sort of way.

I look at it like this:

If you're not willing to stick your name (and perhaps face) next to the things you write, it detracts from your credibility, at least with me. Anyone can sit behind a keyboard and have ideas and opinions about thousands of things - like me - but doing so without exposing yourself to feedback and criticism is chickenshit.

Unless you're moonlighting on the internet and slagging off the people you work for or doing something nefarious, why conceal your identity? It's one thing for Clark Kent to keep the fact that he was Superman under wraps, but the mysterious identity of the guy who writes gossipy, sarcastic sports bits on the 'Net... not so much.

I just don't get it. I mean, this guy has now revealed himself and, not coincidentally, is looking for freelance writing opportunities while doing The Big Lead full time. Personally, I'm of the belief that attaching your name to the project from the jump would have done more for your future endeavours than blogging anonymously until reaching "The Big Time" and then pulling the old "Surprise! The phantom dancer is I, Bart Simpson" act.

Or maybe I'm an idiot for sticking my neck - and face and name - out there alongside of my opinions every day.

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The Rundown: Casting Call

Making fun of Tom Cruise for auditioning potential spouses got me thinking...

Who would be on my list?

A few caveats first:

  • Their current relationship status doesn't matter.
  • Pregnancy isn't a stumbling block either; Jessica Alba doesn't appear because she let some doofus named Cash knock her up.
  • Age is but a number, except when it's under the legal limit. You won't see any "Teen Starlet X when she turns 21" on this list. That's just creepy....
Now that we have that out of the way, onto the list.

Top Five Wife Audition Candidates

5. Alicia Keys
I've been in love with A-Keys since I first saw the Fallin' video on BET when it was a Rated Next cut and played three times an hour. How could you not be? She is insanely talented. I'm one of those people who finds playing an instrument sexy. Not so much if you rock the tuba or something, but tickling the ivories is a whole 'nother story. You know she wrote "No One" about me right?

4. Tina Fey
Smart, funny, sexy in that "I'm just who I am and don't really think of myself as sexy so that makes me even sexier to a lot of people" way and mysterious too. I wanna know the story with the scar on her face. I know I could Wiki it or find it on the Interwebs somewhere, but I would rather have Tina tell me about it over dinner. Since that'll never happen, I'll Wiki it later...

3. Natalie Portman
I know most women hate being referred to as "cute" but if the shoe fits... Shaved head in V for Vendetta? Cute. Short hair? Cute. Long hair? Cute. Curly in-between-lengths hair in Garden State? Cute. Plus, she's brilliant. Seriously - she graduated from Harvard. Super smart, super talented, super cute. Easy choice.

2. P!nk
I'm telling you right now - I will fight any one of you out there who has a bad word to say about Alecia Moore! I'm not even kidding. From back in the day when she actually rocked the pink hair and sang R&B tracks to this very second, P!nk has been near the top of my list. Anyone who is 100% comfortable with who they are is aces in my books. P!nk does P!nk and that is sexy to me. She speaks her mind, does what she wants and makes no bones about it. Doesn't hurt that she has a couple killer tattoos inked into a beautiful frame either...

1. Diane Lane
If things don't work out with me and Sarah, I'm going to make like Anton Chugurh and hunt down Llewlyn Moss myself. I know where to find him too - nestled in bed next to my woman! Damn you Josh Brolin! She loses some points for once being married to Christopher "The Highlander" Lambert, but makes those up easily with her performance in Unfaithful. Seriously - every guy reading this right now needs to watch this movie. She's smoldering. Under the Tuscan Sun just gets her bonus points, not that she needs them.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Don't We All Audition Spouses?

Last I remember, that was called dating and almost everybody does it.

Personally, paying for sex and companionship got boring - and expensive - so I quit doing that years ago and forayed back into the auditions.

First dates are interviews, subsequent dates, should you make it through the screening process are auditions. Am I the only one who knows this?

The longer you last in a relationship, the more auditioning you're doing. Think about it. You start off easy enough, getting through simple things like dinners and nights out with friends, then maybe step it up to meeting the parents and family. If things are still going swimmingly, you move in together. And d'you know what that is? A test run to see if the two of you could survive living together as if you were married. D'you know what another name for a test run is? An audition.

As we speak, I'm auditioning for the lead in The Sarah Cole Story. I think I got the part, but one slip up somewhere and she could be sending out a casting call.

We all audition spouses.

So how come everyone's favourite Scientologist and President of the Brooke Shields Fan Club Tom Cruise is catching so much grief?

For those with their fingers as far away from the pulse as possible, reports have once again surfaced - as they did years ago when Tom was jumping on couches first proclaiming his undying love for Kate - that the current Mrs. Cruise wasn't even on the Medal Podium when Tom originally began his search for a wife.

As it goes, the top three were current Mrs. Ben Affleck Jennifer Garner, Scarlett Johannson and Jessica Alba with Joey Potter sitting fourth. Jen had no interest in the part, nor did Jessica and Scarlett bolted once she got to the Hollywood Scientology Center, which left Tom down to the young girl who famously gushed about her childhood crush on Maverick the Last Samurai.

Now, I agree that you, me and nearly everyone else on the planet don't actually audition candidates for the role of husband or wife, but this is Tom Cruise people. He can't be expected to date like everyone else. He doesn't have time for that. Between trying to reach a higher level of enlightenment or whatever the hell the goal of Scientology is and getting his hair done, who has time for dating?

So he took the Hollywood route, literally. Katie came in, read for the part and Tom knew the minute he saw her tape that she was "The One." What a nice story to tell Suri one day...

"Mommy was actually Daddy's fourth choice, but the first three weren't crazy enough to take part is this little charade to conceal Daddy's homosexuality. So after I had her run some lines and consulted with my publicist, we decided Mommy was the right person for me to stand beside in pictures and pretend I love. Then our agent told us we should have a baby to make our relationship look even more real and nine months later, you were born. We named you Suri for the extra attention a unique name brings."

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Monday, March 10, 2008

The Bullshit Button

Meet The Bullshit Button.

It's purpose? To act as a symbol of my disapproval with something, anything, that you and I all know is, well, bullshit.

Someone calls Tom Cruise the Greatest Actor of his Generation. Bullshit Button.

Britney Spears claims she's a great mother. Bullshit Button.

People argue that No Country for Old Men isn't a great movie. Bullshit Button... and we're fighting.

Got it? Good.

So why introduce my latest inspirational device here at iBlog to you today of all days? Because The Observer posted a list on their website yesterday listing "The World's 50 Most Powerful Blogs" and guess who didn't crack the list?

Bullshit I tell you!

I get 30 hits a day, from two different countries and have 35 loyal supporters (or friends on Facebook who feel sorry for me) and yet I can't manage to beat out the World of Warcraft Insider blog or Stylebubble, where some chick named Susie Lau confesses about her consumerism? Complete and utter bullshit.

Maybe we need a format change here at iBlog.

Maybe instead of my musical preferences, movie reviews and the occasional social commentary I should just start tossing up pictures of celebrities with MS Paint scribblings all over them...

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. My Brother is Engaged
"Pistol Pete" popped the question to his girlfriend Brooke upon her return from a Dominican vacation. I'd like to congratulate them on this event in their life and wish them all the best now and in the future. No date is set as of yet.

2. My Brother and I Aren't Close
It sucks when you learn about your brother's engagement via a mass email. Sucks isn't the right word; hurts is the word. Realizing that you're no longer important enough to warrant a personal email, yet alone a phone call, from the person you idolized until you were twelve hurts.

3. Michael Musto Cares About His Readers
After penning my Musto on Lohan on Marilyn piece earlier in the week, I sent a quick email and link to the Village Voice columnist, just because. Saturday morning I read an email from Musto, thanking me for my message and piece and sharing a couple of laughs over the "bimbettes" of the world. Michael Musto is good people!

4. Still Waiting
Conversely, Kevin Smith has never once replied to anything I have sent him. Nor has Jayson Stark, the ESPN Baseball writer who agreed to an interview with me for Bugs & Cranks during the season last year. He said yes, I emailed questions, he got ghost. Michael Musto wouldn't do a thing like that to his readers...

5. Job Hunting Isn't As Bad As I Remember
I applied for two jobs this week - the one with The Score that I've told you about before and one as a Sports Reporter with the Kitchener Record, a daily newspaper where I went to university. In previous employment searching experiences, it wasn't this prosperous. Normally I don't find anything and get discouraged. This time, I actually think there is a chance that I get a job I enjoy. Imagine that!

6. March is a Busy Month
Somehow, it's March 9th already. My flight back to Ontario is exactly one month away. Zero packing has been done, we've got three weekends booked solid with events and there is that little inconvenience known as work that I still have to attend five days a week until I leave. This could get hectic.

7. There Is An Easy Way Out of Customer Disputes
Use big words. When people want to argue with you about stupid things like $2 Restocking Fees on movies, use the biggest words in your vocabulary when answering them, even if you use them improperly. Most of the customers won't know the difference and if you can do it with an even temper and a straight face, they'll just let it go and be on their way. I had some fun with this one last night...

8. Peter Cetera Was Right
Saying "I'm Sorry" or some variation of such is really, really difficult for a lot of people. I mean, no one likes to admit they were wrong, but if you made a scene, dropped a couple F-bombs on minimum wage employees who were just doing their job and then realized you were the one who had made the error, don't you think you could say, "Listen, sorry about the F-bombs. My mistake" or something like that? At the very least, don't call and tell me you found the movie in question under your couch and then proceed to question why we never reminded you about it not being returned...

9. One Free Jose Reyes Bobblehead Doll Coming My Way
One of the perks of preparing merchandise for rental is five finger discounting some of the little flyers and inserts that are inside. Major League Baseball 2K8 came with a website for the bobblehead in question. I've placed my order and am now accepting offers for this little piece of memorabilia. How much you give me B-Rad?

10. Me and Shopping Are No Longer BFF
I know how incredibly gay that sounds, but at least it is past tense gay... not that there is anything wrong with that. See, I used to be a shopaholic, sending whatever money didn't go towards bills went to buying things. No specific things, just things. We went shopping Friday night for some new clothes for YT and it was somewhat painful. I used to walk in, find what I needed instantly, try it on and roll. Now, I stagger around the store unsure of everything. Even picking out a black tie was a bit of a chore. I guess it's a good thing - saving money and all that - but still, part of me is a little sad...

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

And Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Broadcast

For those of you wondering last night where the Soundtrack cut for the week was, I do apologize. I know Erin wanted to know what song she would be adding to her iPod playlist this week and since Newt's new favourite album is Mark Ronson's Version, I know he's at least interested in my musical choices.

Obviously, yesterday's post never materialized.

I had to go buy some new threads. I dropped $200 on clothes for the first time in ages...

Then came dinner - Thai Basil Shrimp and Peppers over pasta with a nice bottle of Two Oceans Semillon Chardonnay.

No Country For Old Men (and a glass of Bailey's on ice) rounded out the night.

To all those who haven't seen the film yet, don't worry, no spoilers here. To all those who have, I'm going to need to know what you thought at some point. Why? Because if you're to be counted with the growing number of people I've had staggering through Blockbuster lately saying how much they hated No Country and didn't get it, we're fighting.

This movie is pretty much perfect.
Josh Brolin? Perfect.
Tommy Lee Jones? Perfect.
Javier Bardem? PERFECT.

The Coen Brothers created an absolute masterpiece with this film, which I suppose means that Cormac McCarthy wrote an absolute masterpiece of a book.

All the big things - casting, locations, design, etc. - were done perfectly as you would expect, but for me it was the little things that were subtle and pitch perfect that made this film that much better than so many. Coyly working in what year the movie is set in without flashing it across the bottom of the screen or having a single character utter the date... awesome.

I've heard people complain about the ending, that they didn't understand or that they should have done something different.

No they shouldn't have. The ending was perfect. The whole damn thing was perfect.

Makes me wish I had seen it before the Oscars. D'you know what my picks would have ended up?


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Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Bombs Over Baghdad (B.O.B.)
Artists: Outkast
Album: Stankonia

I was a fan after "Player's Ball." I became a bigger fan with Southerplayalisticadillacmuzik and ATLiens. The haunting chorus from "Elevators" still runs through my mind from time to time:

Me and you.
Your Mama and your cousin too.
Rollin' down the strip on Vogues.
Comin up slammin' Cadillac doors.

Then 3000 and Big Boi dropped Aquemini and I was hooked. For once The Source got things right handing over 5 Mics. "Rosa Parks" and "Skew It on the Bar-B" are still two of my favourite tracks of all time. They had a constant fist fight for top spot in my Outkast rankings. Until this song dropped.

If "Faint" is my angry song, this is my energy song. It should be everyone's energy song. If you put this song on and don't immediately start moving, your significant other needs to dial 9-1-1 because in all likelihood you are dead. It's that damn good.

The jungle-inspired, up-tempo beat is all over the place. It's the music equivalent to the Phoenix Suns 7 Seconds or Less style of basketball. Come out of the gate hard and fast and don't stop until we're done. 3000 counting in the song even serves as the musical tip off.

Nestled into the frantic pace and sonic boom of music are two quick verses. While each member only runs through one verse each, both make sure to drop some gems in their bars:

In-slum-national, underground
Thunder pounds when I stomp the ground (Woo!)
Like a million elephants and silverback orangutans
You can't stop a train
Who want some? Don't come un-pre-pared
I'll be there, but when I leave there
Better be a household name
Weather man tellin' us it ain't gon' rain
So now we sittin' in a drop-top, soaking wet
In a silk suit, tryin' not to sweat
Hits somersaults without the net
But this'll be the year that we won't forget
- Andre 3000, Verse 1
Make a business for yourself, boy, set some goals
Make a fat diamond out of dusty coal
Record number four, but we on the road
Hold up, slow up, stop, control
Like Janet, Planets, Stankonia is on ya
A movin' like Floyd commin' straight to Florida
Lock all your windows then block the corridors
Pullin' off on belt 'cause a whippings in order
I like a three piece fish before I cut your daughter
Yo quiero Taco Bell, then I hit the border
Pity PAT rappers tryin' to get the five
I'm a microphone fiend tryin' to stay alive
When you come to ATL boi you better not hide
cause the Dungeon Family gon' ride, hah!
- Big Boi, Verse 2

Big Boi's verse is one of my favourites of all time. Dropping the Janet Jackson reference, "pulling off the belt cause a whippings in order," and the "Yo quiero Taco Bell" all in the span of one verse? Bonkers.

What I love most about this track though is that the masses missed it. Single #2 from this album was "Ms. Jackson" and that one put Outkast on the Mainstream Map. From then on out the got the love they have deserved from the starting blocks. Speakerboxxx/The Love Below followed, as did a very well earned Grammy.

Acting has become an interest to both Big and Dre over the years and it might not be able to be called a secondary interest any longer. Both are focused on their craft and doing good work. Okay, Dre is doing good work; Big made Who's Your Caddy?

Break up rumours follow wherever Outkast goes and never seem to go away, despite how hard Big Boi always tries to convince everyone that they're baseless. I don't know when it's going to happen. What I do know is that it will be a sad day for music. Thankfully, this song is sure to remind me of the greatness of Outkast for years to come.

Power Music. Electric Revival.

That's what the choir is chanting... I thought you would want to know.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Musto on Lohan on Monroe: Priceless

Village Voice columnist Michael Musto has hit an undeniable home run.

Earlier in the week, the long-time columnist lampooned Lindsay Lohan's New Yorker Magazine homage to Marilyn Monroe with a photo shoot of his own and it is quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen in the last couple of months. It's funnier than Sarah Silverman Fucking Matt Damon or Jimmy Kimmel Fucking Ben Affleck. Well, so long as you're not Lindsay. Or Britney. Or Paris. Or their fans.

Besides the priceless photo shoot, which has Musto mimicking Lohan's poses and showing off his man-boobs, their is an accompanying essay that is one of the most on-point commentaries that I have heard on this current generation of sexed-up, boozed-up, panty-less starlets to date. One of the first few sentences of this piece sums it up perfectly for me:

Whereas yesterday's sexpot Jane Fonda had to apologize just for saying the word cunt, most of these refreshingly shameless bimbettes are only sorry when you can't see theirs, even if the exposed pubes give the lie to their natural blondeness.

The natural blondeness line is outstanding in it's own right, but the Jane Fonda bit is the part that resonates with me and should with everyone else too. While I don't advocate dropping the C-Bomb on television (using it in the privacy of your own home is perfectly fine though...), how is there an uproar that the Monster-In-Law used the word when we get weekly photographic updates on the vaginas of these pseudo-talents? I'd be more worried about the message the Anti-Underwear Squad are sending to my kids than I would be about Fonda using a word they've undoubtedly heard around the school yard a time or two. Besides, it's not like anyone who hasn't heard or used the word cunt a time or two in their lives even watches AM programming anyway...

The Lohan photo shoot, from which the above picture is from, works not only as a useful image for this piece, but also another point of discussion to the sheer lack of creativity and unoriginality of these "bimbettes" as Musto calls them.

Calling something an homage is a nice way to say you're stealing their idea. When in doubt of what to do, pay tribute to someone else's work by doing a complete and total knock-off, cashing in while you can. Britney has always tried to be Madonna and Lindsay now wants to be Marilyn. Here's a novel idea, be yourself. Oh, I'm sorry, you have to know who you are before you can start actually acting like an autonomous individual instead of a pre-programmed, pussy-flashing, washed up by 21 waste of time. My mistake.

A big round of applause for Michael Musto for showing off his unflattering bits and making an excellent point while garnering some great laughs on the side.

As for LiLo et al, put on some panties, use your abundant talents and do something productive. And just to be clear, by "abundant talents" I don't mean your tits. And a homemade porn tape doesn't count as productive either, no matter how much money it would fetch you.

Novel idea of the day: Throw on a shirt and maybe do a little acting. You remember acting don't you? It's what you used to do before you became a boozy train wreck.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Rundown: The Other Guys

How many hours do you think Robin spent on the leather sofa, bitching to his shrink about how he could be a full-fledged superhero on his own and that he didn't need to play the back to Batman all the time?

I'm guessing it was a lot. Hell, it was probably his shrink who told the original Robin Dick Grayson to give up the Robin schtick and bust out on his own as Nightwing. You think Batman missed him? Nope, he just grabbed some other kid looking to play Richie Cunningham to his Arthur Fonzarelli and gave him the old unitard to put on. Next thing you know, brand new Robin.

But as craptacular as it very well could have been being Robin for all those years, Robin had it great compared to the Second Fiddles that make up today's Rundown.

Top Five Other Guys...

5. Marty Jannetty
For my wrestling historian readers out there, I offer up the other guy from the former WWF Tag Team Champs The Rockers with Shawn Michaels. One minute, you're flying high as one of the top tag teams in the business, the next your partner drops you like a bad habit, superkicks you through a window at Brutus' Barber Shop and goes on to become an icon in the business. You, you bounce around failing to maintain continuous employment in the ring and still to this day the only time you're around the ring it involves Shawn Michaels in one way or another. From now on, can every "other guy" who doesn't make it be referred to as having perfectly executed a "Marty Jannetty" or what? Tell me that doesn't work...

4. Philip Michael Thomas
Anyone under the age of 24 has no idea who I'm talking about. Hell, that number might even be too low. But anyone who was around for Miami Vice knows PMT as Ricardo Tubbs, the horribly dressed "Other Guy" to Don Johnson's horribly dressed Sonny Crockett. Don Johnson went on to have a fairly successful career. Philip Michael Thomas starred in a couple Made for TV movies, recorded a couple albums and got fired from the Psychic Friends Network and replaced by Ms. Cleo. Fuck...

3. Art Garfunkel
You can't have a salute to "The Other Guy" without the best other guy of all time. Art Garfunkel doesn't deserve to be placed on this list or any list like it, but he always ends up here. Why? One, his name is Art fucking Garfunkel and that alone is good for a laugh. Two, Paul Simon kept (keeps) putting out really good music and any time one half of a tandem does great things, someone always ask, "What happened to The Other Guy?" Art Garfunkel is The Godfather of Other Guys.

2. Alex Winter
I know what you're thinking... Who? What about if I said "William S. Preston, Esquire?" One half of Wild Stallions? The other half being Keanu "Theodore Logan" Reeves... It's Bill of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. You think this dude sits at home sometimes wondering how in the christ Keanu Reeves went on be a ginormous movie star when he basically always has and always will just be Ted but in nicer clothes? What a kick in the nuts that has got to be. The two of them were on equal footing at the time they made this movie. Keanu has gone on to be a horrible actor who gets paid really, really well. Alex? The last movie credit on his IMDB page that isn't marked as "TV Gangster" or "Subway Passenger" came in 1999. Bogus!

1. Andrew Ridgeley
Barely anyone knows him by name because it's far easier to just call him "The Other Guy from WHAM!" When that is how you're commonly referred to, top spot on this list automatically belongs to you. Ridgeley also gets this spot for being the only person on this list who you could tell right from the outset that he was destine for that role. Everyone else was on equal footing at some point, even Art Garfunkel. Okay, maybe not Philip Michael Thomas. Not Ridgeley either though. George Michael was the star all along. You know you're the King of The Other Guys when you're the inspiration for a movie about "The Other Guy" from that 80's Pop band. Pick up Hugh Grant as Andrew Ridgeley in Music & Lyrics tonight and make it a Blockbuster evening!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Telephones: You Remember Those Don't You?

For the first time in ages, I'm dropping two posts in one day. I hadn't planned on doing so because, well, I'm lazy and one a day seems like enough work to me, but then the phone rang and stupidity provided me with inspiration. Actually, stupidity has been a great source of inspiration from the get-go. Thanks to all the dumb-asses out there. Don't forget your helmets!

Anywho... Sarah is organizing getting grad photos done for the people in her nursing class that are interested and has apparently been emailing with this one studio that shall remain nameless. Not because I'm afraid they'd sue - I'm still penniless - but because it's not important. So the woman on the phone explains that she and Sarah have been emailing back and forth and she was looking to touch base with her when she remarked:

Whatever did we do before we had email, you know, to get in touch with people?

Somehow she was floored when I mentioned this new-fangled invention called the telephone.

Oh, you must be far younger than me because I would never have called.

Uh... what?

It's not like the Internet has been around for centuries and before that we were still sending messages via smoke signals or anything. Had this been 1987 and Sarah been working on the same task, all that would have changed was that her initial contact would have been on the telephone instead of the computer. What is so hard to comprehend about that?

I've never been one who fell for the propaganda that all this technology that we have at our fingertips is slowly making us a more stupid society - I actually think the exact opposite - but this lady is starting to make me want to examine the data myself. Well, her and all the mouth breathers who stroll the aisle of Blockbuster every night looking for the best genetically, altered, killer animal and insect movies.

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Sandra Bernhard Isn't Dead?

Wow, you really do learn something new everyday.

The totally irrelevant Bernhard is one of the females featured in the April issue of Vanity Fair as they pay tribute to the Funny Girls. Did someone forget to tell Vanity Fair that it's not 1992 or were they set on 12 ladies and couldn't think of anyone else, so they gave her a call?

Seriously, the rest of the collection is perfect and we'll get to them in a second, but Bernhard, what the fuck is she doing in there?

She was barely relevant when she was a recurring character on Roseanne. D'you know how long ago Roseanne was? So long ago that it's not even in syndication any more, that's how long. She's a loud mouth with the biggest lips in the world, but other than that, nothing. Wasn't Elizabeth Banks free?

Like I said a earlier, the rest of the ensemble is dynamite:

  • Sarah Silverman (pictured above riding the porcelain) is probably the most famous right now, especially after her totally awesome birthday present to boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel. Although, apparently Kimmel has someone on the side too.
  • Tina Fey, of Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls and 30 Rock fame
  • Amy Poehler, the constant Robin to Tina Fey's Batman*
  • Jenna Fischer, Pam from The Office
  • Kristen Wiig who played the smart-ass E! Executive in Knocked Up
  • Leslie Mann, who you'll know as the drunk chick who barfed all over Steve Carrell in The 40 Year Old Virgin
  • Plus Susie Essman (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Chelsea Handler (E!'s Chelsea Lately), Maya Rudolph (SNL), Amy Sedaris (Strangers with Candy) and Wanda Sykes (Chris Rock Show)
* What is the female equivalent to this? Batman & Robin just sounds wrong here, you know, with them having vaginas and all. Although, Robin was sackless too.

Anyway, there is an ulterior motive to my name dropping the entire group from the VF shoot...

It's so you can start paying attention to these insanely talented and funny people and stop with the Dane Cook already! Seriously, Dane Cook couldn't hold Sarah Silverman's bra. Or Tina Fey's panties. Ah, Tina Fey's panties...

What was I talking about again? Right, funny ladies. Check'em out backstage at the shoot here.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Picture Says It All

Until further notice, posts may be a little slower in appearing here on iBlog since I'll be trying to type with my fingers crossed.

The reason for my appendage bending is that earlier today I put the finishing touches on my audition/application for Dream Job #2, the position at The Score Television Networks as an On Air host I first told you about Saturday.

As expected, my brother was more than appreciative of the head's up on the opening and less than cautious in his optimism about being the successful candidate for this opening. From where he's sitting, the job is his; no others need apply.

He has, however, been kind enough to extend to me that should I fail to get in on my own merit - which, if things go according to what he believes is karma I will - he has offered to do his best to get me a job there too! Wow... thanks Pistol. You're so swell. Sorry, that should be swollen, as in your head you freak!

Anyway, nearly three decades of sibling rivalry aside, regardless of the outcome this is a big step. There have been lots of times where I have said I was going to put together audition tapes and just never managed to get off my lazy ass (Much Music VJ Search... twice!) and I have reversed that trend with this one. The demo reel is done and on it's way to Toronto as we speak.

From here on out, it's outta my hands. I've done my part and I did it to the best of my abilities. Now, we wait, fingers crossed.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. Sports Overkill Can Happen
I never would have imagined that I would ever say that there was too much sports coverage, but watching the coverage of the NHL Trade Deadline this past week changed that for me. Sweet Jesus did they over do it! All three networks ran 12 hours worth of television that amounted to three discussion worthy deals and a bunch of junk.

2. The Keg is Still King
My buddy Deuce had never been so we went one night this week. Can you imagine that? Never having experience the goodness that is The Keg? I know there are fancier, even more impressive steakhouses, but for a chain joint, The Keg kicks ass. It is a close second to sushi on the "Where do you want to go for dinner?" answer list.

3. Australia is My Wine Country of Choice
Enjoyed a bottle of Deakin Estate Cab with dinner and I must say, it's yet another Australian wine that was rather enjoyable. While I'll always be a proud supporter of the Niagara Region Wineries, between Lindemans, Wolf Blass, Yellow Tail and now this one, Australia is presenting some nice options.

4. Into The Wild is Really, Really Good
Listen, to each their own when it comes to Sean Penn. But do yourself a favour and pick up this movie when it comes out Tuesday. Or downloaded you pirating bastards... just watch this film. Emile Hirsch was outstanding as Christopher McCandless and the cinematography is incredible.

5. Speaking of Great Performances...
Benicio Del Toro is brilliant as a recovering heroin addict in Things We Lost in the Fire. It was a heavily dramatic weekend here at the house as far as movies goes, but both were very much worth it. Del Toro is one of those guys who I almost forget about until I see him do something like this and remember how awesome he is. Then again, how could I ever forget about Finster? I'll flip ya, flip ya for real.

6. I'm A Big Old Geek - Sports Edition
Since having seven - count'em seven - fantasy baseball teams lined up all ready for the upcoming season isn't quite enough, I dropped $20 on Sports Moguls Baseball Mogul 2008 simulation this week. You know what's better than running a fantasy team for a season? Building a fantasy dynasty that can play until the cows come home! And Chalk, if you're reading this (which I know you are), you'll be proud to know that I'm playing as your Devil Rays...

7. I'm A Big Old Geek - Writer Edition
D'you know how I spent my Friday night? Sitting on the couch reading a 375 page textbook on screenwriting. Mind you, it doesn't hurt that I felt like ass all day, but yep, nothing spells loser like a quiet Friday night on the couch reading. When did I become so old?

8. I Got My First Ever Radio Shout Out
Earlier in the week, my Editor-In-Chief over at Passion Nicole Chrysostom-Murray did a radio interview with a station in Montreal and happened to make reference to the talented writer in St. John's a couple of time. Yes, I know I should act like I've been here before Chalk, but screw it... I like being a giddy little school girl with this stuff! Peep the interview at the Passion website.

9. Triumphant Return Countdown: 37 Days
No, I'm not excited much.

10. We're Getting A Dog
Sarah's decision, not mine. Not that I'm not very much in agreement with this, but she just informed me that it's not up for debate. Once we get home, we're getting a dog. Name: Balls. Gotta love it...

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