Monday, June 30, 2008

2 AM and I'm Wide Awake

If we're being 100% accurate, it's 2:05.

I've been sitting here at this computer for the better part of the last hour and a half, after having laid in bed for an hour without so much as closing my eyes.

I watched a webisode of MMA Live @, played a little simulated Blue Jays Baseball and checked the usuals about three times each before deciding that an early morning iBlog post was in order.

Life has me awake at 2 AM on a Monday morning, one where I will be up at 5:30 with Sarah and out the door an hour later with Luke in tow.

Right now, all I can do with my life is sit and wait. Those of you who frequent the site know all about my inability to grasp the virtue of patience.

I'm dying to see the Bugs & Cranks stats for June, knowing that my SI linkage for The Thieving Bastards along with some solid numbers from various other pieces has me in a good position to make some coin for the first time in a long time. But those numbers are still a couple days away.

Those two jobs I mentioned in 10 Things are running through my head, as each is an opportunity to make something more of the situation I am currently in. Unfortunately, I can't force people to return my emails or let me know where I stand in the hiring process.

Ideas and stories and projects rattle around in my brain until they reach the "How do I get it out there?" stage where the answer is always "I don't know."

My eyes are wide open and my mind is racing.

Today is going to be a long day...

Continue reading ...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. If I'm There, The Blue Jays Lose
I've gone to two Blue Jays games this year. Both times, they've lost and not heartbreaking, one run losses or anything like that either. We're talking "you know the game is over by the fifth inning" type losses where you stick around until the final out to hold out hope for a comeback even though all you know you're going to get is stuck in traffic. Further research is required though...

2. Want Wedding Info?
Check Our Website
Instead of doing work last night, Sarah and I spent the better part of two hours building our wedding website. We'll be using it as our information center for all things wedding related, so if you want to know what's going on, read some stories from us or just look at some pictures and find out where we're going, drop by, fill out the Guest Book and enjoy.

3. Workload Increase
Ask and ye shall receive, I suppose. After being doled out one whole shift this week at Montanas, I talked with my managers and let them know that one shift wasn't going to cut it. Checked the schedule for next week and what do you know? Six shifts. Time to make me some money!

4. Speaking of Work...
Still awaiting word on a couple jobs that I applied for earlier in the month and lemme tell you how agonizing it is sitting here checking my email 496 times a day without any responses. One is the ultimate writing gig for a guy like me and the other is a full-time gig here in London that would pay pretty well for something I could do with my eyes closed. I'll keep you posted.

5. Luke Has Betrayed Me
My sidekick has abandoned me. He is officially Benedict Arnold, having switched sides and joined forces with Sarah. I'm still the one he comes to when it's time to wrestle or play "The Bite Game," but other than that, he's her dog now. What caused the change? They have a mutual affinity for sleeping as much as possible. Getting out of bed in the morning lost me my dog...

6. Seeing Francis & Sandra Leads to Car Problems
It's pretty shitty, but every time we visit with my best friend and his wife, something happens to the car we're driving in. It was leaving dinner with his family (including his missus) over Christmas when I battering rammed Bambi and now this past Monday, more vehicular issues. Twenty minutes into our drive to the booming metropolis of Beamsville, the muffler stopped doing it's job. After the noisiest drive in the history of drives, the fine folks at Honda informed us we need around $750 worth of work done on our $2500 car. Moral of the story - We're never seeing Francis and Sandra again!

7. Directionally Challenged, Part I
On our way back from the Honda dealership trip mentioned above, Sarah and I got separated. She went one way, I went the other. Unfortunately, she was the one who knew where she was going. Can I just say that feeling lost and having no idea where you are going is one of my least favourite feelings in the world. Sarah got home and MapQuest'ed my location; basically, I went the complete opposite direction. To my credit, I did find my own way home, thank you very much.

8. Directionally Challenged, Part II
I'm off work today. We're supposed to be going to an Engagement Party for Sarah's friend Erin who is getting married this September in Ottawa. The party was said to be somewhere around Cambridge. At least, that was what Sarah thought. Tottenham is nowhere near Cambridge. This is what happens when two girls who grew up in Vancouver haphazardly discuss party locales in Ontario and neither really looks at a map or the directions. Five hours of round trip driving for three hours of a party just didn't seem like a logical idea. So now I'm sitting here writing to you while Ponce de Leon does her homework on the bed.

9. I Know I Just Said This Yesterday, But...
I still can't get over the fact that (a) someone let Verne Troyer tape them having sex with him, (b) people are actually interested in seeing such a video and (c) someone let Verne Troyer tape them having sex with him! Didn't they see The Surreal Life where he rode around on his scooter loaded, pissing in the closet and groaning like an injured animal in his sleep? Fuct... we're all fuct!

10. Website Coming Soon
Me and my man Newt have gotten together to build a new site. More details to follow...

Continue reading ...

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Plucked from the Headlines: Verne Troyer Stops Sex Tape

For the record, Verne Troyer is the given name of the vertically-impaired gentleman who is most known as Mini-Me from Austin Powers, pictured on the left.

With that cleared up, the question that needs to be asked is, "Are you effing kidding me?"

I'm not saying little people can't do the nasty - everyone can and should - but there are a couple serious problems that need to be address here:

Are you prepared for the forthcoming Nuclear Holocaust?
This is the only way I can see this story / situation being (a) newsworthy and (b) of interest to anyone who doesn't spend their entire day staring at their computer screen in the dark basement of their mother's house with their shorts around their ankles.

How screwed up are we?
We're at a stage now where people are actually interested in a Verne Troyer Sex Tape? Really? I know the answer to this is, "Spen, do you know how many hits 2 Girls, 1 Cup got?" and that explains how messed up our entertainment / voyeurism compass truly is these days, but damn.

You know it's going to be released for sale, right?
The only reason this thing is being stopped is that Troyer hasn't lined up a way for him to get some fat stacks into his little hands off of this a la One Night in Paris. Once he gets the legal work done, you'll be able to get a hold of this thing for the low, low price of whatever it costs to rent a movie from your friendly, neighborhood Skin Flick Store.

* * * * * * * * * *

If you value your eyesight, do not - I repeat DO NOT - Google or YouTube 2 Girls, 1 Cup.
If you ignore my warnings, welcome to the world where everything else isn't nearly as gross as 2 Girls, 1 Cup.

Continue reading ...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Nod Factor
Artist: Skillz
Album: From Where??? (1996)

A few weeks back, when I first moved here to London, my friends Mark & Shelby-Jai took me out for dinner and drinks. It was a Saturday night and we ended up at The Alex P. Keaton or The APK as it's more commonly known.

Saturday night's at The APK are Old-School Hip Hop nights. I know, I've told you all this before. What I didn't tell you was that the first joint Mr. DJ dropped was one of my all-time hidden gem classics, Nod Factor by Skillz.

I'm the one dude in Canada who bought this album. Seriously - if you look up "CDs That Bombed" in the dictionary, there is a picture of this album cover. It sold like four copies, which was insane because this song is nuts and Skillz is great on the mic.

Long before Kanye was putting together some quick-witted rhymes and dropping lyrics that you never would have thought up, Skillz did the same thing with Nod Factor. Here's just a sampling of some of the brilliance:

I be blowin up spots like I was sendin out mailbombs

My track packs enery like nuclear reactors
I be Mad Skillz and this be the Nod Factor

I'll fuck your career like the cast on Diff'rent Strokes
no joke..I see airlines and start aimin rhymes
My shit will have hard niggas in Soul Train lines
bumpin wit this big black broad named Belinda
oh you rappers don't say jack
and walk quiet like a ninja

I perfect raps stick in under your skin
either your noddin by now
or your dead or a mannequin

After this single came out and the album tanked, Skillz fell off the face of the Earth, at least commercially.

He's an underground star, gaining acclaim for his yearly Rap Up tracks which he has been doing annually since 2002.

Skillz is also a ghostwriter - penning pieces for some of the biggest and best in the business. The only person who has ever admitted to having used Skillz for his skills is P. Diddy. In his song Ghostwriter, the names of all the artists mentioned is edited out, but others who have been tied to Skillz talents include Mase, Jermaine Dupri and Foxy Brown to name three.

After hearing it at The APK two months ago, this song has been in heavy rotation once again. It reminds me of what I always loved and still love about Hip Hop - smart, sharp lyrics with a tight beat.

Hip Hop needs more tracks like this and more Mad Skillz on the mic.

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Rundown: TV Crushes

I have no idea where this theme for today's Rundown came from.

It's not like I've been watching old episodes of Saved by the Bell or Married...With Children or anything.

I was walking over to Angelo's to grab some dessert and BING!

We all had those television characters / actors that we absolutely loved growing up. They were everything you ever wanted in the future Mr. or Mrs. Whateveryournameis. If you're anywhere near the same age as me, prepare to fondly remember the fictitious females you fondled yourself to...

All-Time Top Five TV Crushes

5. Kelly Bundy (Christina Applegate)
The slutty future Veronica Corningstone came into my life right around the time I was realizing exactly what a slut was and what purpose they served. Needless to say, as a horned-up adolescent, I fell in love instantly with her big hair, small IQ and casual attitude about putting out. Needless to say, using phrases like "putting out" kept me from touching an actual breast until I was... well... nevermind.

4. Kelly Taylor (Jennie Garth)
Dispute this all you want, but I discovered Beverly Hills 90210. At least at John Uyen Elementary School in Chatham, Ontario I did. And just like every other guy my age with good taste, Kelly Taylor was the object of my affections. Donna was too dippy, Brenda was a Minnesota transplant and no one was interested in Andrea Zuckerman, except for same people who found Kimmy Gibbler from Full House attractive. Nope, it was all about Kelly Taylor even though she was the only woman in the history of television to live in California yet remain freakishly pasty.

3. Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Amber Thiessen)
Beautiful? Check.
Athletic? Check.
Frequently wore cheerleader outfit or gym attire? Check.
What was not to love?

2. Samantha Micelli (Alyssa Milano)
Ah, Samantha Micelli - the first love of my life. A 8 1/2 x 11 poster of her stolen from Jennie Bishop's Teen Beat Magazine hung in my locker from Grade 4 until I left for Hamilton at the end of Grade 7. Something about the tomboy attitude mixed with the "you can tell she's going to grow up to be hot" looks worked wonders for me. Sadly, Alyssa Milano has grown up to be a C-list movie star who goes through baseball players like a hot knife through butter...

1. Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar)
Go back and look at the picture that leads off this piece one more time... it's Winnie! I betcha Kevin Arnold is kicking himself now huh? Winnie was awesome. She was everything you could want in a woman - smart, pretty, didn't cramp your style, knew you needed time to hang out with Paul Pfeiffer and always seemed to end up being there for you, even when you dated Becky Slater just to make her jealous. You're the best Gwendolyn Cooper!

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good Day / Bad Day

Today should be a great day.

Later this evening, I'll be doing a phone interview live on the air of Mohawk College Radio, FM 101.5 in Hamilton, talking about my work at Bugs & Cranks and the Toronto Blue Jays. This is something brought to me, as opposed to something I petitioned and lobbied for like the Drunk Jays Fans podcast.

Instead, the highs of doing this interview are being stifled by self-doubt and wondering if I'll ever get an opportunity to take this passion I have for writing, communicating and making people think to the next level.

Today should be a great day, but it's not.

What do you do when you don't have the background most people look for in the field you want to pursue?

Writing came to me long after university did and has nothing to do with the Psychology degree with a Minor in Human Resource Management from Waterloo that sits in a storage facility with the rest of my mother's things.

Blogging - be it here or at Bugs or Epic - does not carry the same weight as "traditional media," although it very much should. Maybe that's the opinion of a blogger searching for a breakthrough, but maybe it's the truth as well. I don't know.

Magazines fall off the face of the Earth.

People who you're emailing with about opportunities just disappear and stop emailing.

Applications and submissions go unanswered.

Worst of all, I have no idea if I actually have a talent for this or not. I think I do, but what does that mean? Millions of people show up to American and Canadian Idol convinced they are the next Kelly Clarkson or Chris Daughtry when they clearly shouldn't have made the trip.

I have no idea where to go next.
I know what I want but I have no idea how to get there.
I don't even know where to start.

Man I hate days like this.

* * * * * * * * * *
After-Post Thoughts
Having re-read this piece, I can see how some might think it is a cry for acceptance - me wanting someone to rub my bottom and tell me I'm pretty as I would say.

It's not - This is just how I vent and get the frustrations out... and this is what is frustrating to me today.

Continue reading ...

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin: May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008

American comedic legend George Carlin passed away yesterday at the age of 71.

While most people reading this will know Carlin from his roles in our lifetime - as Rufus in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure or various parts in Kevin Smith's Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl - it's Carlin's stand-up work were he became a household name.

His "Seven Dirty Words" routine is legendary, having been the focus of Supreme Court debates which resulted in his act being censored for the airwaves due to the people who might be listening.

The first ever host of Saturday Night Live - which he performed high on cocaine for a good solid week - Carlin is one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all-time. Only Richard Pryor had more of an impact than Carlin and that's saying something.

Some amusing anecdotes from the career of George Carlin:

  • Played the role of "Mr. Conductor" on Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends
  • He's the voice of Fillmore, the VW Microbus in Cars.
  • He had survived three heart attacks (Stubborn bastard!)
George Carlin was a true comedic legend; he spoke about things other people wouldn't and marched to the beat of his own drum from the very beginning.

My only question now is did the man who built a routine around the Ten Commandments and Religion being bullshit end up in heaven or in hell?

Rest in Peace George...

Continue reading ...

10 Things I Learned This Week

This edition is coming to you far later than usual. Normally, Sunday's are an early morning type of day where I rattle this bad boy off somewhere around noon and the spend the day vegged on the couch. That didn't happen today, obviously.

Instead, I slept until somewhere around 1:00, went and got some Whopper World and another season of Friends with Sarah and crashed until heading to The Cookhouse. Now home and cooled, glass of Carolans in hand, we're ready to rock.

1. Tipping Isn't Rocket Science
Somehow, no one in the city knows how to tip. For that matter, no one who comes to Montana's whatsoever knows how to tip. There are the occasional exceptions to the rule, as always, but for the most part, I've spent this weekend being "7% Spence" and not due to poor service. For the record, 10% should be a bare minimum... tipping the tax is always good form and anything above that is aces. Leaving me $7.50 on a $100+ bill after I sang "The Montana's Birthday Song" to your 7-year-old daughter is just ignorant.

2. That Being Said, Business Has Been Good
The downside of working almost every Saturday and Sunday is that, well, I'm at work until 10 every Saturday and Sunday so there isn't a lot of time to do other things. The good thing, though, is that I've been doing real well lately. I've learned that the quicker I turn over tables, the more money I get (I never said I was bright people) and on those nights when I have a crappy section, I just serve the crap out of the tables I have. It's nice when a weekend of work can pay for a week of fun.

3. Let Fun Week Begin!
This week is officially Fun Week - Sarah and I have six of the seven nights off together and we've got some plans lined up for a couple nights already. Dinner and drinks with Francis and Sandra in Beamsville tomorrow night and the Jays game Friday, perhaps with Bucky and Beast. Worst case, we've got killer seats (Thanks Chris!) and will enjoy a little street meat pre-game before taunting Chipper Jones with calls of "Laaaaaary" all night. There are still some openings if anyone is looking for something to do this week...

4. New Project: The Love of Sports
Signed on with another site this week and I'm pretty excited about it. They remind of Bugs when we first started - very ambitious, great idea and no pay to speak of. Oh well, Bugs has worked out pretty damn well thus far, so why not roll the dice with another site during it's infancy?

5. Restaurant Etiquette - A Public Service Announcement
If you want your food forty-seven seconds after you've ordered it, go to McDonald's. At Montana's, we actually cook stuff from when you order it, so when you ask me three minutes after I've finished taking your party of 15's orders how much longer the kids burgers are going to take, don't be surprised when I give you the "Are you fucking kidding me?" stare...

6. Wedding Plans Have Hit a Snag
Apparently the resort we want to have our wedding at doesn't have year round flights in and out. Additionally, someone very important to the festivities can't come until after we've originally thought of having the event. Needless to say, a trip to the travel agent is on the docket for later this week... Details to follow.

7. So Much For My NBA Finals Prediction
Stupid Boston Stupid Celtics.

8. Nearly Two Years In, I'm Finally Going to Meet Sarah's Brother
Tim is heading this way in early July and after 23 months of dating his sister, we'll finally meet. We've talked a couple times and I know we have several things in common (love of soccer, Guinness, making fun of Sarah, etc.) so it should be all good. Plus, his coming means a trip to Wonderland and lemme tell ya, I love me some Wonderland. If anyone wants to go this summer, lemme know!

9. Cool Hand Luke Was Made For Us
There has never been a more perfect dog for the two of us than our newest family member. My sidekick sleeps all the time, will eat damn near anything and is super cool. See? Just like me and Sarah...

10. The Jays Are Screwed!
I came to the revelation a while ago, but the removal of John Gibbons for the triumphant return of Cito Gaston (???) showed me that the Jays have officially Jumped the Shark for the season. Much more on this topic at Bugs & Cranks, of course.

Continue reading ...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

As Promised...

Feeling kind of crappy today, so I'm going the easy route and hooking you up with a long-awaited picture of Cool Hand Luke.

Sarah took him up north last weekend with her dad to go sailing and the little freak show loved it.

He really is the most adorable dog in the world.

As cute as he looks here, you should see him when his under-bite exposes his fangs... he gets a little Canine Elvis thing going on...

My right hand man is zonked out on the bed next to Sarah right now and that's precisely where I'm heading too.

Hopefully a return to full health is in the cards for tomorrow and 10 Things...

Continue reading ...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Angels
Artist: Robbie Williams
Album: The Ego Has Landed (1999)

I had to let some time pass in using this song since that kid on Idol with the crazy dad sang it. But in all truth, this is easily one of my All-Time Top Five Songs. I know - took me a while to get here...

The connection to this song starts with the connection to the artist.

There is something about Robbie Williams that just clicks with me. Maybe it's the cocky, devilish-grin demeanor that you see on stage and TV that is replaced by an often-times crippling self-doubt and worry about success. Or maybe it's struggling to find your own voice for a few years before striking a chord and moving forward that does it. Whatever it is, I get Robbie Williams.

(Note: If you're at all inclined and want a good read, pick up the Feel by Chris Heath)

While I love almost everything the guy has done, what makes this song the #1 on the list and a lock for my ATT5 is how different it is from most of the other Robbie Williams material.

There is no pomp and circumstance, no flashy stage show that you can see in your head as the song plays, Robbie bouncing around the stage as the ultimate performer. Alright, so there is a little Robbie Williams in the linked clip - but it's Robbie Williams for chrissakes... that's what he does!

Unlike last week's entry, we've got some lyrical content working here too.

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won't break me
When I come to call she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

I've got a couple angels in my life and I know that the "whether I'm right or wrong" line is 100% true with them.

Sometimes, you just find an artist that you connect with.
Sometimes they've got one song that speaks to you more than others.

This is how it is for me, Robbie Williams and "Angels" and I hope you enjoy it.

Continue reading ...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Next Week Is Wide Open...

Rolled into work last night and took a look at the schedule for next week.

Let me preface what you're about to read with the fact that I took Saturday and Sunday off because we've got personal commitments on Sunday.

One shift.
Three hours.
Friday from 5:45-8:30.

What a bunch of bullshit! So I gave the shift away.

Why in the world would I sit around all week to go in for one, three hour shift on a night Sarah is off?

So that means next week is going to be a week of getting out and having some fun! Sarah is on Days Wednesday and Thursday, so we're actually going to get some quality time together.

She's on nights right now so days off are spent sawing logs with Luke... then I go to work an hour after she gets up.

But next week, it's all about getting out and having some fun, albeit it as inexpensive fun as humanly possible since I'm not making any money...

Book your visits now!

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Rundown: Latest Developments

I know that - for the most part - I use this blog on a daily basis to keep you updated on what's going on in my life and my head, but it's time for a Rundown and well, there is just a bunch of crap to full you in on, so here we go...

Top Five Recent Developments in the Life of E. Spencer Kyte

5. I Showered Today
Just thought I would let you all know that I'm not always a dirty, stinky bastard. That was only yesterday.

4. Sarah's Next Schedule Kicks Ass
Starting in July when she moves to General Surgery, her schedule will be two days, two days, five off for the rest of the summer. How awesome is that? We're going to get to have actual time to spend together through July and August. It'll also give us a chance to go visit people and spend some time preparing for this Engagement Party that's coming up.

3. I Still Have No Idea How These Things Work

By these things, I mean the Engagement Party. We keep getting conflicting reports and conflicting points of view. Register for gifts, don't register for gifts. We need an MC, we don't need an MC. Have a bar, don't have a bar. So far, the decisions are at register, no MC and some booze... I'll keep you posted.

2. No More Nomad
For at least the next eight months, we'll be staying in London. Sarah has an opportunity to get onto a floor that she really loves (Labour & Delivery), I've got a good thing going with my schedule at Montana's and the dynamics of living here with Garry are pretty solid, outside of Cool Hand Luke still barking at him whenever I'm around. So instead of packing up shop and shipping off somewhere new after our September sabbatical in Vancouver, we're staying put and worrying about moving post-wedding.

1. R.I.P. Passion Magazine
After six weeks of waiting around wondering WTF was going on, I finally got an email from one of my peeps at Passion last night. Actually, he used to be at Passion. He's not anymore. No one is. They're right back where they we this time last year when I was first scheduled to come on board. Positives - four published pieces and some quality exposure. Negatives - they still owe me for all my work and I think the chances of me seeing that green are slim and none.

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Writing When There is Nothing to Write About

Today is one of those days where I'm pretty certain that I'm not going to shower.

Actually, let's just go ahead and make that a 100% guarantee right now - I will not be showering today. There is no need, seeing as I don't think I'll be leaving the house other than to walk Sarah to work avec Cool Hand Luke.

That's just the kind of day it is today... a lazy bastard day.

For once, it's seasonal outside, if not on the cooler side of seasonal and the overcast skies and cool breeze coming through the window kept me in bed later than normal. Whenever that happens, the whole day is usually a write-off and today is no different.

I've been up for two hours and done absolutely nothing, save for brushing my teeth. Showering is one thing, but having stank breath is just nasty...

Anywho, I seriously have done SFA today, outside of flipping a couple emails to a couple people to meet deadlines, but the leg work on those pieces got done last night. So really, I've got up, clicked the mouse a couple times and that's about it.

To properly illustrate just how lazy a day it is around this house - the dog is still sleeping. It's 11:30 in the morning and my usually hyper-kinetic, barking at the wind, freakshow of a dog is assed out on the bed next to Sarah.

Viva la lazy!

Continue reading ...

Monday, June 16, 2008

On The Air with The Drunk Jays Fans

So there are these jackasses known as Drunk Jays Fans who have a little website where they claim to be smarter than you and more drunk.

They're definitely more drunk, but the smarter part is questionable.

Why am I mentioning some other site?

Shameless Self-Promotion!

They tape a podcast every Sunday night at The Score Studios in Toronto and last night, around the 30 minute mark of the program, an articulate, well-spoken and far less intoxicated guest joined the program.


The highlight has to be the Jack Handy-esque reading of one of my posts from last week. For a bunch of guys who have made no bones about their disdain for me, my writing and this blog itself, they sure did send a whole lot of free exposure my way...

Thanks boys... let's do it again some time!

Click here for the whole show - by the way, steer clear if you don't like the swearing...

Continue reading ...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. Never Strain a Muscle in Your Chest
Unless you want to know what having someone kicking you in the same spot over and over and over feels like. I have no idea how I managed this, but I've done something to something in my chest and it effin' kills. Breathing hurts. Sleeping is damn near impossible, at least comfortably and there is only so many Advil you can take in a day. Off to the clinic tomorrow...

2. Spencer Kyte - Podcast Guest!
Later on tonight, I'll be taping my podcast debut with the guys from Drunk Jays Fans and lemme tell you - it's not going to be pretty. Saying we don't see eye-to-eye is a bit of an understatement. We're like Israel and Palestine, except without the suicide bombers. It'll go up on later in the week, so be sure to check it out...

3. Best Horse Ever
I got home from work last night in time to watch the North American Cup, one of the premiere harness races around and witnessed the sheer dominance of Somebeachsomewhere. "The Beach" is an absolute machine - 8 for 8 so far in his career - and beat everyone last night with minimal urging. Word from my harness connections is that this might be the best horse ever. Sadly, no one outside of the harness racing industry has any idea what I'm talking about.

4. Sad State of Cinema
Frequent follower Newt left a comment yesterday about have free movie passes that he hasn't used in over a year. Sarah and I copped some a couple weeks back too and so far there hasn't been one movie where we've thought about using them. What does that say about the movie business? There is nothing I want to go and see, even when it's free.

5. Where My Newfies At?
The Blockbuster Crew has been curiously absent around here as of late... whatta ya at ladies? I need some updates and info on what's going down out there! That goes for you too Deuce!

6. I May Become a Beer Snob
The days of Coors Light and Canadian and everyday, run of the mill beers may be over for me. I think my beer snob stage of life is about to begin. Went to a get together last night with a pack of Mill Street Stock Ale - loved it - and was provided with the best tasting beer I've ever had. It's called Innis & Gunn - it's Scottish, it's aged in oak barrels and it is outstanding, well worth the $3 a bottle you pay... I don't think I can ever drink anything generic again.

7. Good Times, Good Friends
Hung out with my friends Mark & Shelby last night and have to say that I think this is one of those friendships that is going to stick with me for a while. D'you know how some people are just good people? That's them. Plus, the currently refer to Sarah as Polk-a-roo since they have yet to meet her and that kills me.

8. I Was Thinkin' Arby's
So I indulged for the first time in years the other night. Lemme tell you how good it was! Curly fries are always awesome, but the two Beef n' Cheddars that I hammered back... MAN! Is it just me or does cheese sauce make everything better?

9. Wallets: Still Used or Have We Moved On?
I barely ever carry one. Sometimes when I do need it, I've left it at home and I don't even have a "proper" wallet. I use one of those fold in the middle, slotted card holder jobs... What do you think?

10. Happy Father's Day!

Continue reading ...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Not Happening

Remember The Sixth Sense? That shit was awesome.

Creepy little Haley Joel Osment seeing dead people, Bruce Willis dead all along and we never knew it. Hell, even Donnie Wahlberg was awesome in that flick!

D'you know what wasn't awesome?

Pretty much everything M. Night Shamallamadingdong has done since.

Unbreakable has it moments and will be forever burned in my head from Kanye rapping "Unbreakable, whatchu think they call me Mr. Glass?" on Through the Wire, but other than that...


Signs was horrible.

People made too much of The Village and I don't care what anyone says, I knew it was set in modern times. It's M. Night Shyandmighty - of course there is going to be a crazy, twist ending!

I didn't even bother with Lady in the Water.

Why all this M. Night talk?

His latest flick The Happening opens this weekend and looks absolutely brutal. The premise - from what I can gather from trailers and previews in theatres? Plants that make people kill themselves...

Are you kidding me?

Dude should have hung it up after Sixth Sense; pulled a Robert Forrester on the film industry... leave'm wanting more.

Instead, he stuck around and now he can't give it away.

Good night, M. Night.

Continue reading ...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Artist: T.I.
Album: Urban Legend

This is my personal party starter! Click the link, listen to the song and try to tell me it's not insanely infectious.

Welcome back - good luck getting the song out of your head now...

Before I break into the song, I'll Tip's extra-curricular activities out of the way:
Yes, he's currently on house arrest pending gun charges.
Yes, he's been to jail for drug related issues.
Basically, he is the epitome of all Hip Hop cliches.

Still, this isn't about Tip Harris (Real Name? Clifford...), this is about this song and how goddamn dynamic it is.

Here's the thing - anytime you sample Jay-Z, you're going to get my attention, so when the "What More Can I Say" sample kicks in off the bat, I'm listening.

From there - sonic chaos!

Swizz Beats produced this track and - for me - it's his best track to date. Ruff Ryders Anthem is a close second though.

Stop. Drop. Shut'em Down Open Up Shop. Whoa. No. That's How Ruff Ryders Roll.

Sorry, where was I?

This song is a narcotic to me - it get jacked every time I hear it. A good mood becomes a better mood and bad mood disappears as soon as I hear whistles. From there on out, I'm wired.
We used to play it at the start of every night at Sha-Na-Na's in Midland before people showed up as a way to get fired up. The Miami Heat then stole it from me for the NBA Finals...

There isn't anything overly compelling lyrically in this track - it's mainly T.I. letting you know that he's back (from jail) and that he still has skills.
This song isn't here for lyrical content, it's here for energy and how amped it makes me.

I'll put it to you this way - a couple weeks ago when Sarah and I were going on a road trip, I put together a couple mix CDs for the car, one of her songs, one of clutch hip hop that I love.

Guess what the first song was?

Continue reading ...

How Hard Is It?

Welcome to something new we're going to try here from time to time.

No, I'm not replacing Soundtrack of My Life. In fact, today's choice cut will be coming to you a little later, so don't fret.

How Hard Is It? will be a new, randomly occurring rant from Yours Truly whenever someone neglects to do something that is fairly routine.

Today's example: Returning Messages

I'm in the process of coordinating an interview for a new freelance job that I'm hoping to make a regular pay cheque.

The interviewee just happens to be a life-long friend, so getting him on board initially was easy. Getting a time and date to complete the interview, on the other hand, has been like pulling teeth.

Why? Because he won't return my messages.

How Hard Is It?

We're all super busy and it doesn't have to be right away or anything, but there is no way that in the last four days he hasn't checked his email or the messages on each of his phones. Yes, I've left messages at all three places... the piece is due on the 25th...

Here is how the process works:
Someone leaves you a message, you get back to them. Simple.

Even if it's a "I don't have time" or a "I need to cancel," get back to me so I know what the hell is going on, instead of sitting here impatiently waiting by the phones (yes, plural) for a call so I can then drive an hour and half to get this done on my one day off this weekend...

I understand that I'm being a bit of a brat with this one, because it is a friend who is doing me a favour by agreeing to the interview in the first place, but still. He gets the free publicity from an interview that will be easy as pie (umm... pie...) and I get a place in another magazine. Everybody wins.

At least, everybody could win if someone would just pick up the damn phone already!

Continue reading ...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Things Are Coming Together

I have to tell you - I'm really liking this new schedule that I'm on.

With Sarah being on days and the canine presence that lives in our room waking up somewhere around 5:30 every day, I generally start my day at around 6:30.

Coffee in one hand, Cool Hand Luke in the other, we walk Sarah to work and head home to truly begin our day. Just like Sarah, we too are still asleep as we walk to the hospital.

From here, things generally fall into a set routine:

  • Crossword in the London Free Press
  • Upstairs to the Office
  • Check both my Hotmail Accounts and my Gmail account
  • Read Bugs & Cranks
  • Change my Fantasy Baseball Lineups
  • Check Facebook
  • Read ESPN and SI
  • Check in here to see if anyone commented
  • Quick re-check of Hotmail, Facebook and Gmail
  • Sporadically check a couple other sites found in my list
  • Write for whoever I have to write for that day
All that is usually done before 10 AM, which is just about time to take Luke for his second pee break of the day and when I need to reheat the coffee to get my fix.

By the time noon rolls around, I've generally got everything that I need to have done for the day crossed off the old list and have some time to kick back, watch TV, wrestle with the dog and relax before shipping out to work.

And even work fits into things pretty well.

Gone are the seven and eight hour days of sheer boredom at Blockbuster. In their place are quick 4-5 hour shifts making people laugh and hanging out at Montana's and I have yet to start a shift before 4:30 in the afternoon...

I'm averaging about $10/hour in tips per shift, which really isn't that bad and the violent tendencies that highlighted my time at Blockbuster have subsided. I still get a little pissy from time to time, but it wouldn't be me if I didn't.

Once I'm through the door, it's shower, eat something quick, watch a little TV, do a quicker version of the morning computer routine and battle it out with Luke about getting into his pen to go to bed for the night.

I'm getting seven hours of sleep a night, writing more than I ever have before, enjoy my job and am making extra money on top of my pay cheque.

Life... she's good!

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Rundown: You Better Be There...

As mentioned yesterday, there is an Engagement Party happening this summer for me and the missus. I told a couple people about it earlier in the week and after completing work on the invitations yesterday, I riffled off an email to the rest of my peeps to accumulate the Mailing Addresses necessary for sending out invitations.

Note: I can't invite you all... we're running on a tight budget here people! It doesn't mean I don't love you...

Anywho, in the little more than a week that it's been since I started prepping people for the #1 event on the Summer Social Calendar, the positioning for presumably skipping the shindig has already begun. My mother even wavered a little...

This is not acceptable. There are only a handful of reasons that we'll accept for you being a No Show and here they are in today's Rundown.

Top Five Acceptable Excuses for Missing Our Engagement Party

5. You Live Really Far Away
Really far = Newfoundland, BC, Alberta, Korea, England... places like that. Flights cost a lot of money and we'd understand. If you currently live outside of the above areas, you better keep reading if you're thinking about not making it this summer, especially considering Deuce is going to try and make it in from St. John's for this bad boy...

4. Pre-Existing Plans
My friends Paul & Cori aren't going to be able to attend because it's Cori's Mom's 50th (Happy Birthday Dale!) and they've had a party in the works for some time. Summer vacations fall into this category as well. However, work does not count as a pre-made plan. Book the day off - or two days if need be - or switch with someone and get your ass to the party.

3. Freak Accident
If anyone can understand that accidents happen, it's me and Sarah. Christmas wasn't that long ago. Vancouver got ousted because of an appendectomy and our planned drive back to Newfoundland got changed into a flight home on Christmas Eve because of The Bambi Incident. Shit happens, we get that.

2. You Actually Don't Like Me
I don't think I'm the only one in the world who has a wrong impression about some people. There very well could be some people out there that I consider to be my friends that receive invitations who actually dislike me. I have that kind of personality. I know this. Just do me one favour? If this is the case, tell me, so I can add you to my "Who To Kill When I Take Over The World" list. Notice I said "Me" and not "Us" - most everyone likes Sarah!

1. Depression Due to Lack of iBlog Posts
Obviously, I'm going to be fairly busy during that week. At least, I think I'm going to be fairly busy during that week. Chances are that I won't be chiming in here every single day as per usual and I know how much some of you rely on this to help get you through the day (Newt...), so it would be understandable if you're too sad to leave the house. Then again, you'd be coming to see me and I'm even more entertaining live!

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Today Kicks Ass!

I do a whole lot of complaining on this thing.

I bitch about Dina Lohan's shitty parenting skills. I complain about various jobs and co-workers. I whine about my personal relationships and I've griped about pretty much anything and everything that has ever caused me frustrations in the 200+ days since iBlog went live in November.

Today - no bitching.

Today has been an awesome day.

Let's start with the fact that our dog - my sidekick - Cool Hand Luke is becoming the best dog in the history of dogs. He's getting used to the house and his new family and now even sleeps in his pen without so much as a single bark after he goes down. No more of this getting up at 5:30 crap like last week.

After taking him for his morning constitutional, I stepped into a kitchen smelling of freshly brewed coffee. I've detailed my coffee obsession / addiction a couple of times here, so I'm sure you can understand how much I enjoy just walking in to a steaming hot cup of joe.

Quick jump on the computer to see what happened over night. Updated the fantasy baseball teams - 3 in first place, 1 in second... out of four teams - and Facebooked a little before grabbing some breakfast and deciding on the course of action for the day.

Let me pause for a second and say this: Luke has also helped me get my ass in gear each morning. Once he's up, he doesn't relax until he's gone out, so the only option is to roll out of bed and take him out. By the time we get back, I'm wide awake - he goes back to sleep, the lazy bastard - so I usually start on my work for the day. I get more done now before noon than I ever have before in my life.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

#1 on the To Do List today was to get our Engagement Party invitations done, so Sarah and I sat down and hammered them out. Two things: (1) my opening line idea of "It's a Celebration, Bitches!" didn't get the votes required to make the invite and (2) I have no idea what the hell an Engagement Party is.

Prepped and printed, we moved to Task the Second - fixing the ceiling fan in our room. Over the weekend, Sarah and I put the stupid thing up because, as noted last week, it's insanely warm in these parts. You would think that somewhere in the instructions - which we indeed followed - they would mention installing the remote control sensor. You would think that, wouldn't you?

Since they didn't, we had to take everything down, put that stupid thing in and then put everything back up. Sarah came down and flipped the power and... nothing. We needed batteries for the remote to make it work now that we had it installed properly. We eventually found one and the fan works perfectly. Maybe I'm handier than I think.

Our next item of business was getting the car re-inspected. Yes, I said re-inspected. Apparently a lot of people commit insurance fraud, so since we bought the car second hand and at a lower than book price, we had to head out to some shop so they could take a few pictures of the car and make sure we weren't going to try and scam them down the road.

From there it was off to the vet, as Cool Hand needed his rabies shots and a general check-up. The little dude was awesome - he doesn't bark or anything when he's around other dogs and he barely winced when he received his shots. Good boy Luke!

Luke's oustanding performance made a trip to the pet store an absolute must, so Sarah ducked in their while I grabbed fixings for dinner next door at A&P. Fresh buns, a thing of gravy, cheese curds and... dammit! I forgot the ground beef. Seriously - we're making burgers for dinner and I walked out of the grocery store without picking up the main ingredient. Sarah went in and got it so I didn't have to feel like even more of an idiot.


Homemade burgers are one of the best things ever. My homemade burgers are even better than that. Lean ground beef, steak spices, Worchestersheershire Sauce and a handful of the cheese curds smothered in Canadian Club Honey Garlic BBQ sauce. Mmmmmmm... Did I mention the side of homemade poutine? In the words of Rachel Ray, "Yum-O!"

Watched a little PTI, answered a ton of questions on Jeopardy and now I'm sitting here watching the Jays and...

Home Run Vernon Wells!

The great day continues...

Continue reading ...

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Next U.S. President (& Why Canadian Politics Sucks!)

Barack Obama has a 50/50 chance on becoming the next President of the United States.

I think it's more like 65/35 myself, but you never know.

How could Americans possibly want four more years of Republican rule? YIKES!

Obama secured the Democratic Party Nomination last week and got the full backing of his former adversary Hilary Clinton Friday when she called an end to her campaign and encouraged her supports to shift their focus to ensuring that Barack Obama makes it to the White House.

Words do not describe how excited I am right now about the political climate in the United States. In turn, they also do not do justice to just how craptastic I think the Canadian Political picture is.

This time next year, we could be discussing the first African - American President. Ever. Take a couple minutes to soak that in.

Whether you're American or not or an Obama supporter or not, the fact is that you're a living in an historic time. This is something that they will be teaching our children in History Class years from now and we're getting to witness it first hand.

Conversely, there is absolutely nothing of consequence happening on the Canadian Political landscape.

There are no inspirational leaders, no historic changes becoming strong possibilities, nothing.

We have a minority government for what feels like eternity, meaning very little actually gets done in Parliament, as Stephen Harper and the Conservatives cannot risk losing a vote and getting ousted from office.

Instead of taking aim on improving our country, our political officials take aim at one another's flaws and shortcomings, while failing to acknowledge or address their own while they're at it.

Don't get me wrong - I love my country and know that anywhere in Canada is far and away a greater place to live than anywhere South of the Border.

But man, what I wouldn't do for a candidate like Barack Obama to come and re-energize the Canadian Political scene...

Continue reading ...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. Having a Dog is...
Super fun, always amusing and somewhat tiring. It's full of early mornings and collecting poop, but totally worth it for the smile that comes to Luke's face when you give him just a little bit of attention. Plus, it's pretty cool having a sidekick.

2. Why Wasn't I Waiting Tables All Along?
Well, for starters, I couldn't even manage an interview to be a server out East, but now that I'm home and passing out plates at Montana's, I wonder why I even wasted a couple weeks at Blockbuster in the first place. The hourly wage ($7.60) is a little short, but when I can smash out 5 1/2 hours last night and make $10+/hour in tips, everything tends to even itself out.

3. Take Your Complaints Elsewhere
I'm the new guy, not the complaint department. This has somehow escaped some of my cookhouse colleagues who chose to unload their frustrations and frazzled minds on me during my shift last night. I don't care how rattled you are or whether you didn't want to serve people on the patio. If you're mad, talk to the manager, not me. I could care less.

4. Writing, Writing and More Writing
I've cranked out a lot of material over the last seven days: a full slate of posts here, an Epic piece that'll be posted tomorrow, five different Blue Jays articles and my initial assignment for Trot Magazine. That's fourteen pieces over the last week! Crazy thing is, I'm still looking for more...

5. Triple Crown Let Down
Big Brown's bid to collect the Triple Crown ended with a last place finish yesterday in The Belmont. A huge longshot (38-1) named Da'Tara collected the win. Big Brown's trainer Rick Dutrow didn't have much to say, in part because he was still pulling his foot out of his mouth after saying a win for his charge was all but assured.

6. No One Believes I'm 29
Person X: How old are you?
Me: 29.
Person X: Fuck off! Really?
That is how every age related conversation goes for me... and I love it! I'm pretty sure that my inability to grow a proper beard and the fact that when clean shaved I have the second biggest baby-face in the world (next to my brother) has something to do with it.

7. Random Facebook Reconnects
Had my most random Facebook moment in some time Friday afternoon. A guy that I was friends with in Grade 2 and 3 sent me a message, doing the "Are you the guy who used to live down the street from me?" When I confirmed that I was, the Pultizer Prize winning response I got back was, "Crazy." That was it. Pretty much pointless...

8. I Still Don't Pay For Movies
When I told the people at Blockbuster here in London I was leaving, everyone told me I was crazy giving up my ten free rentals. Aside from the fact that driving across town to work in the most boring store in the history of stores had no appeal to me, getting free movies wasn't a big deal either - we've got an unscrambled dish. I've been watching all the movies I missed during my last few weeks at Blockbuster, without the hassle of stupid customers and long hours. Allow me to recommend Lars and the Real Girl and Charlie Wilson's War. Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman are terrific as usual.

9. Sarah is a Handier Man than I
There has been a ceiling fan sitting in a box on our floor since Sarah arrived. Earlier this week, when the humidity finally reached the unbearable level it will remain at for the next three months, we decided the fan had to go up. And by we, I mean Sarah. She took it out, she read the instructions, she assembled it and she mounted it to the ceiling. I took my turn every so often, only to step off the chair (until I broke it) or ladder cursing. She handles the handy work, I handle the decorating... that's just how we roll!

10. Fearless Prediction: Kobe & Co. Will Win It All
I don't care that they're down 0-1. I don't care that Paul Pierce came back from being shot in Game 1. Wait? It was only a knee injury? Could have fooled me... None of that matters. LA has The Zen Master, the talent to win on the road and, most importantly, Kobe Bean Bryant. As much as I don't particularly like him, there is no denying that Kobe is awesome. He was off in Game 1, but he'll make adjustments and come back even stronger tonight in Game 2. If LA wins this one, they might not have to head back to Boston...

Continue reading ...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

I Wish I Was In Newfoundland

Being back in Ontario has many positives - better job prospects, more connections, more friends and family to see - but this week, it's revealed one glaring negative.

There is no ocean for me to go hang out at and it's got me missing Newfoundland some bad!

It's been sweltering here over the last week, each day mugger than the one before it with no real end in sight. The summer is going to be long and hot and humid and there is absolutely nothing in London that can help combat the forces of nature like there was in dear ol' Newfoundland.

Last summer, I was spoiled. I'll admit it.

Not only does Newfoundland have reasonable temperatures all summer long - unlike the blistering 31 degrees it was here earlier in the week - but there was also the ocean just outside my front door.

Ah the ocean. How I miss thee.

A three minute walk from my house (technically Andrea's house, but whatever...) and I could be standing on the shores of the Atlantic, a nice cool breeze always blowing in. Walking an extra ten minutes meant being at the cool little hideaway beside The Dobbin's house where we camped on Cinco de Mayo last year, easily one of my favourite places on Earth.

It's June 7th. The Weather Network says it's 27 outside and feels like it's 34. Thirty-four!

Oh how I wish I could standing at Middle Cove Beach, looking at the icebergs, basking in the 8 degree weather of St. John's, if only for today.

Continue reading ...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Don't Panic
Artist: Coldplay
Album: Parachutes (2001)

Just like I said earlier today - I don't care what any of you think of Coldplay. I like them.

This is one of those songs that has become a personal favourite through the memories and images it brings to mind whenever I hear it. Unlike some songs that resonate with me because of the instrumentals or the lyrics, this song is one that works on a totally different level for me.

This song makes me think of Garden State.

And just like I don't care what you think of Coldplay, I also don't care what your personal views on the film Garden State are, simply because unless they are that "Garden State is an outstanding movie with a killer soundtrack" than you're wrong.

The minute I hear the first bars of this song, images of Zach Braff and Natalie Portman race to my head and I smile, because G-State is one of those weirdish little movies that I clicked with right away and the fact that it's not some monster hit makes it even better. I like having little gems lots of people have never discovered...

But it's not all Garden State induced love.

For me, the last three lines of the song are what cemented it's place in my personal soundtrack:

Oh, all that I know,
There's nothing here to run from,
Cause, yeah, everybody here's got somebody to lean on.

The first two stanzas of the song are Chris Martin lamenting the fact that we're all done for and then this... and it's the truth.

No one is ever truly alone and no one is ever completely done for.
Running doesn't solve the problem and you've always got someone you can turn to for help.

I've been there - countless times - and yeah, life can be real shit some times, but, when you stop and weigh it all out, there really isn't any need to panic, ever.

Great movie tie-in and a simple message to carry-on? Works for me...

Continue reading ...

Rollin' the Dice

Yesterday, I said I should go out an get the Chinese symbol for patience tattooed on my left wrist, since I don't have any and the last time I tattooed something I had none of on my wrist I ended up, well, here.

Across my right wrist, in freehanded black and white script is the word Freelance. I got in on a Wednesday evening in April 2005. How it got there not only proves my lack of patience, but also that you can do anything you set your mind to.

In April 2005 I was unemployed. Had been for months. Zero prospects on the horizon.

I had a Psych major and an HR minor from Waterloo that I had no intention of using and had spent the better part of the previous five years as middle management for a government agency that paid me well but offered very little in the way of transferable skills. At least, that was how the people on the other side of the desk interviewing me always saw it.

The one thing I did have was a script.

See, I had written a screenplay over Christmas. I had just broken up with my girlfriend of eight months, was broke and needed somewhere to lay low, so I took refuge in the warm confines of my mother's house and her fully stocked liquor cabinet.

The script was horrible - formulaic, self-referential and predictable as hell - but completing the process showed me that I had a talent for writing. Sure it was bad, but how many people can sit down and fire off 100+ pages in a week? And if I could write a screenplay, who was to say that I couldn't write other things?

Other things became sports, as a job posting for an up-and-coming magazine based out of Toronto went from being a pipe dream to a potential reality in the span of three weeks.

Much like I still do every day, I was checking the Craigslist job board and saw a posting for writers. Still in keeping with current traditions, I flipped a quick fact-finding email to the address and expected nothing.

Twenty minutes later, I had added a guy named Frank to Messenger and we spent hours talking about this magazine he was starting and my role on the writing team. Everything sounded great.

A week later, I was in Toronto, first meeting with Frank and then sitting down at The Score with Cabral Richards* - Cabbie on the Street - to discuss his involvement in the project. Anyone who had Cabbie ready to contribute had to be legit.

The next week, my friend Chrissy and I had tickets to Coldplay at the ACC. Say whatever you want about Coldplay - I've liked them from the beginning - and no matter what Judd Apatow says, liking Coldplay does not make you gay.

Anywho, we get down to Toronto, grab dinner and a drink and walk over to the ACC. Stand in line, get to the front, guy takes our tickets...

"These are no good," he says, little scanner thingy in his handed.

"Sorry?" Chrissy nervously asks, knowing there was no way she bought counterfeit tickets from Ticketmaster.

"They're for tomorrow night. Not tonight."

Embarrassed as fuck, Chrissy stepped out of line. I followed suit, equal parts amused and annoyed. Now what the hell were we going to do, half-ass dolled up for a Coldplay show that starts in 24 hours?

"We should go get more tattoos?" I offered. The more applied to me, as Chrissy had never felt the needle.

"I'll go with you, but I'm not getting anything," she replied and the new plan of attack was laid out. All we had to do was find a tattoo shop.

We finally found a place willing to let us in the door way out in East Jesus, Nowhere. Everyone else was closing up or not interested in the $100 it would take to make my idea come to life. Lazy bastards...

After riding the couch in the waiting room talking to the owner and everyone else hanging around the shop - I'm convinced that if I came off as a douchebag they would have told me it was a no-go and sent me out the door - I jumped in a chair, rolled up my sleeve and told Anthony the plan.

"I want the word Freelance in script across my wrist," I confidently pronounced.

"How come?" shot back the second man to puncture my flesh with ink.

"My brother's name is Lance and he's up in Kingston at Millhaven doing a nickel for assault and," I couldn't get the rest out without starting to laugh. Thankfully, Anthony did too. "Actually, I want to be a writer and this is going to serve as my motivation and my daily reminder to keep writing."

"Nice man. I like that," he replied. With that, he pulled out a fine tipped marker, sketched out some lettering and went to town on my wrist.

Hugs and hand-pounds were exchanged, my wrist got all taped up to make me look like I had just tried to kill myself and we were on our way.

The next night, we saw Coldplay from the floor.

A couple days later, the magazine project was put on hold. That was two years ago.

But I had my tattoo and my tattoo was my motivation. I couldn't end up as some doofus with a tattoo that makes no sense, so I kept writing. I wrote almost every day, even when their was nothing to really write about.

It would be another nine months before another opportunity came my way.

That was Bugs & Cranks.

The rest is history in the making...

* this was how I came to meet Cabbie and since then, we've done an interview for B&C and remain in touch... that makes two good things that came out of the failed Frankly Sports project....

Continue reading ...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Missing Virtue & A Future Tattoo

D'you see that symbol?

The one on the right.

Yeah, that one.

It's the Chinese symbol for Patience.

I need to print a giant poster-sized version of it and hang it in my makeshift office here in the house. Or maybe I should tattoo it on my left wrist. The one on my right seems to be working out so far*...

There is no question in my mind that I am, by far, the most impatient person I know.

I want instant reactions, instant acceptance and instant gratification.

None of this wait two weeks, let me think about it and you'll thank yourself later bullshit.

I'd much rather thank myself right now or not thank myself at all thank you very much.

Problem is I have no control on the world.

Being a writer - and one just on the cusp of some success - makes the patience problem even more pronounced because no one ever gets back to you right away, about anything.

Story pitches sit in email Inboxes for days on end, as do assignments submitted in advance of deadlines. People must think keeners have busy lives and responding to their early submissions can wait because they're busy doing something else long before it's due...


We're sitting here wondering why in the hell it's taken you so long to get back to us with some feedback, seeing as we got you what you were looking for a week before you had asked us to.

Job applications don't even get looked at until after the competition closes and that's usually at least a week away.

And don't even get me started on Passion Magazine, who have once again taken the summer off to drive me totally insane by refusing to return emails and keep me abreast of where things stand editorially.

Patience is one virtue I certainly don't have. Good thing I doubled up on humility...

* tune in tomorrow for the full story. See how I'm doing that? Keeping y'all who don't know coming back for more... Tricky huh?

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Rundown: Dog Owner, Day One

Yesterday night we picked up Gizmo.

On the car ride home, we decided going with Luke, as opposed to his given name of Luka, makes some sense for right now while he gets used to us as his new parents. Plus, I can call him Cool Hand...

In the 15 hours that Luke has been our dog, there have already been some incredible discoveries and like any proud parent, all I can think about doing is sharing them with anyone and everyone.

Top Five Cool Hand Luke Revelations

5. He Doesn't Like Garry
I can't tell you how shitty this is, but every time Luke sees Garry, hears Garry or even thinks about Garry, he barks. Okay, so I'm not sure about the thinking about him part, but the other two are 100% true and it's brutal. Like this morning, Luke's totally wrapped up in drinking his water, Garry walks in the room and WHAM! Water dish goes flying, water goes everywhere and Luke starts barking like a mo'fo... not cool. Funny, but not cool.

4. We Need to Buy Stronger Toys
His original owners gave us some toys when we picked him up yesterday. Two squeak toys and two "tug-o-war" toys. All that remains is one tug-o-war toy. The little bastard just destroys everything. It's like he has razorblades in his mouth. The two squeak toys got the stuffing pulled out of them before he actually ate the squeaking part. As for the one tug-o-war toy, the braided rope has been saw apart by the sharpened fangs of our new pet. We're off to buy him some cast iron chew toys this afternoon.

3. Sleep? What Is This Sleep You Speak Of?
Sleep is what Luke does when we're hanging out downstairs watching a movie, as was the case last night. Flipped on Lars and the Real Girl (loved it!) and he was quiet as a church mouse, laying on the arm of the couch at my side. Stayed there while we watched Iron Chef: America too. The minute we come upstairs for bed? ZING! It's play time fuckers! Wake up! I wanna do shit! Let's go! Why you laying down? An hour later, around 2:15, he finally knocked it the fuck off and went to sleep... until he woke up at 5...

2. Luke is My Dog
Sarah and Garry have already copped to it. The little fella follows me around everywhere I go. As we speak, he's laying on the bed behind me just staring at the back of the chair, wondering when I'm going to stop doing whatever useless thing I'm doing that has taken my attention away from him. It's nuts. Sarah is down in the kitchen eating breakfast. You would think he'd be down there trying to sucker her into giving him a little taste of her bagel. Not Luke, though; he's rolling with me.

1. I Have Balls and Luke Is Jealous
Cool Hand has been castrated and in the 15 hours we've had him, he has attacked my balls 47 times. He roots at them with his nose, punches them with his paws when he's trying to get into my lap, stands on them regularly enough that I know it's not an accident and just generally goes after them whenever he can. May I also mention that Sarah and Garry find this to be the most hilarious thing in the history of the world, our new dog trying with all his energy to stuff his head down my basketball shorts... Maybe he's gay?

No pictures yet - but rest assured, as soon as we put a couple on the computer, you'll see his little underbite on this post.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How Did I Never See This?

I've been busting my ass at this writing thing for nearly two years now and only today, sitting in the basement, being a lazy bastard watching Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Tour: The Movie did I realize the parallels between stand-up comedy and freelance writing.

Listen - I never claimed to be smart.

The movie itself was meh; some funny bits, some useless bits, overall a 6 out of 10. Listening to one of the comics (Sebastian Maniscalco) talk about how once the tour was over he had to go back to waiting tables and how much that was going to suck balls was just like BING! The light bulb finally went on.

Again - I never claimed to be smart.

Shitty day job to pay the bills? Check.
Would much rather be doing the thing you love than anything else? Check.
Parents a little bit disappointed when you wanted to be a starving artist? Check.

Sarah even decided that I'm the "nicer, more cleaned up" version of one of the guys on the tour, John Caparulo. I gotta say that I think she's right.

We both swear about as often as we blink. We visited some friends yesterday afternoon and it was the hardest thing I've done in a while going and hour and half not swearing because their kids (6 and 2) were in the room. Honestly, if I could, I would use fuck every third word. I'm not fucking kidding.

Then there are the obvious physical similarities. Cappy is the dude pictured above.

No, that isn't me.

I'm not the only chubby, baby-faced white guy who wears his hat a little bit crooked and all bent to shit.

Anyway, I don't know why I never thought of this before and why it strikes me as such a revelation now that I'm been smacked in the head with it, it just does.

Maybe it's seeing other people with passion for their craft who have busted ass and grinded away ending up with varying degrees of success that's hitting me, making me feel spurred on and validated in my decisions.

Or maybe I'm just over-analyzing because the movie wasn't that good to begin with...

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

Mid-week we thought there was no chance the cutest ugly dog in the world would be joining the family, as all we had heard was that the kids were having a hard time with maybe losing the dog. Sarah even took to looking for other dogs. Then, the email came... Gizmo the Jug is coming home!

2. Bugs & Cranks is Dead
Our site has been down for the last three or four days and it feels like something is missing from my life. Our head honcho Jesse is doing some upgrades and changing servers, so I know we'll be back in business shortly, but with B&C down it takes two parts of my daily computer routine out of the picture - checking Bugs and my Bugs emails - and since I'm all about routines, this has thrown me way outta sync.

3. Best Customers Ever
So we were swamped last night at The Cookhouse - as was to be expected - and I managed to get the Best Customers Ever... at the same table no less. Susie Rottencrotch was kind enough to order absolutely nothing from our actual menu; everything had a variation to it and her 4007 pointed, smart-assed questions really made my night. What made it even better was Jimmy Tattoo, another guy at the table objecting to paying for a beer his friend drank earlier in the evening when it mistakenly showed up on his bill. Really? You can't drop another $5 to cover your buddy's beer? DOUCHEBAGS!

4. In Truth...
Montana's has been pretty solid. 99 out of 100 customers are really understanding on nights like last night, as they seem to know that going out for dinner on a Saturday night between 6 and 8 means you're waiting at least 30 minutes for your main.

5. Apparently I Still Live In Newfoundland
It's June 1st in Ontario, a time usually marked by ridiculous humidity and "sweat from breathing" heat. In the words of Dr. Evil, "It's frickin' freezing!" Overcast skies, monstrous downpours and winds that make you feel cold to your bones have been the dominant weather system of the last three days, making London more like St. John's.

6. My New Addiction
Joining cigarettes and coffee in the Spencer Kyte Addiction Portfolio is crossword puzzles. We get the London Free Press delivered to the house every day and every day I make an attempt. Mondays and Tuesdays are generally fairly easy and completed in full in no time. Wednesday is a little harder, but Thursday is easy-peasy since it's Pop Culture stuff. Friday through Sunday, however, is another story entirely. I got seven clues today... for now.

7. Smartest Purchase Ever
Sarah and I each have new Starbucks travel mugs. Not the shiny silver ones that leak and spill and what have you; mine actually looks like a Venti cup, except bigger. Since purchasing them a week or so ago, we've barely gone to Starbucks. Instead, we make our coffee at home and head out the door. This may sound basic to some of you, but considering we would usually drop $20 a week on coffees and treats at The Bucks, forking over $25 for these two mugs has been a wise investment.

8. Number of Months Home: 2. People Seen: 0.
This is what happens when you're all growed up and life happens. Our best laid plans were to move "home" and use our days off and free time to tour around visiting old friends and catching up. So far - bupkiss - and I don't know when that is going to change. It's looking like weekends at The Cookhouse are going to be a regular thing and since weekends are when everyone else in the world has time off, well, you see where this is going. Time to get creative and get down to Hammertown and area for some visits...

9. Faye is Retired... Again
Gotta love my Mom! Early last spring I got a phone call that basically went, "Hi Sherm. Guess what? I'm retired!" Just like that - gave her two weeks notice and that was it. She spent the summer doing the things she loves most: being a grandmother, golfing, sitting on her deck staring at the water and even took to meeting a gentlemen friend. Near the end of the summer, she was ready to go back to work, so she did, taking a 9 month contract back with the OLG in Brantford. That contract ended this week. Once again, Ol' Faye is retired... Lucky bitch!

10. Happy Birthday Cori!
My former housemate and close friend Corrine Rae (Lawrence) Empringham is celebrating her birthday today. Actually, the celebration was last night, but her actual birthday is today, along with three other Facebook friends (Ziz, Marnie and Chach Machado), Alanis Morissette and the venerable Morgan Freeman. Happy Birthday to you all!

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