Friday, October 31, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Artist: Jay Z
Album: Bad Boys 2 OST (2003)

This one is long overdue.

To have not dropped a Jay-Z track on the soundtrack in the first year was a mistake, since there are very few in the business whose music I enjoy and who I respect and admire as a person more than Jay.

I'll put it to you this way: I have his first album, Reasonable Doubt, on vinyl and still in the wrapping because I think when all is said and done, it will go down as one of the seminal hip hop albums of all-time and Jay will be bestowed with the title of Greatest of All-Time, unlike LL Cool J who just claimed it for himself.

As for this song itself, all I can say is that it's dirty.

The beat, delivered by Pharrell / The Neptunes, is infectious and will stick in your head for hours. It's 4,000 times better than the initial Excuse Me Miss and contains another of my favourite lyrics ever when Jay drops:

This ain't Chris Rock bitch
It's the Roc bitch
And I'm the franchise like a Houston Rocket
Yao Ming (Nawimean)

When you're tossing references to 7'6 Chinesse basketball players out in your tracks and they flow without any hiccup... retarded!

That's not the only set of rhyming cuplets delivered that have me loving this song though, as the whole thing is littered with well put together concepts, quick wit and Pop Culture references, which makes this song kinda like me... HA!

Sick with the pen, nigga
No physician in the world can fix him
No prescription, you could prescribe to subside
His affliction
He's not a sane man, he's more like Rainman, twitchin'

Anyway, as I said off the top - this one is long overdue and there are certainly any number of track by Shawn Carter that could have very easily ended up in this piece. Or I could have just put the entire Black Album...

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Come Back Tomorrow...

Listen - I ain't doin' shit today...

It's my birthday - my champagne birthday at that - so I'm taking the night off to play some poker, hang out with the sleepy little dog and watch some Grey's while Sarah is at work.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new soundtrack song for the One Year Anniversary post.

Until then - have a drink for me!
* * * * * * * * * *

For anyone who is wondering - turning 30 is no different than turning 29... it's just another day folks.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Rundown: First Year Favourites

I got no idea where the time has gone, but Friday will mark the 1 Year Anniversary of this blog.

Since beginning last Halloween, there have been 336 post written on this site (including this one) which is a pretty healthy number if I do say so myself. It's been an absolute blast so far and I'd like to think that being here and doing this everyday has not only been a great help to me as a vehicle for improving my writing, but it's also been both educational and entertaining at times.

In fact, that's going to be the new description in the title box: I Blog Because I Can - Quality Canadian Edutainment!

Anyway, I thought I'd use today's Rundown to look back at the five posts I've enjoyed the most over this year. Whether it's because of what it means to me, the number of comments and discussions it got started or just because it was totally retarded and kept me laughing.

Since I'm showing you mine, it means you have to show me your's later... deal?

Top Five First Year Posts
The second post in the history of iBlog, this one not only kept me laughing for hours after I finished because I'm very much that guy who laughs at his own jokes, but also became fairly topical shortly thereafter because Memorial University was actually trying to bring Douchebag Dane in for a show. Needless to say, I let everyone and anyone know how much I despise the unfunny funny man.

I made fun of a lot of customers from my various places of employment over the course of the last year, but this one was easily the funniest. Dude came into Blockbuster out east looking for porn and when told him to go to Jumbo across the road, he scoffed as their selection wasn't up to code. Absolutely hilarious...

3. Anything About Britney or Lindsay or Megan Fox
Not because I get to run a picture of a scantily clad skank to draw in the casual surfers who Stumble Upon site, but because these ridiculous tramps always - and I mean always - provide some kind of material to write about. I mean, I know it's usually them being totally moronic or breathing our precious air. Plus, I would bet that I've written more posts about them combined than anything else. I'm too lazy to actually count, but feel free if you'd like.

These pieces have been special to me not only because I love writing about music and they help shed a little light on my inspirations to all of you who read this site, but because I've helped turn some people onto new bands and songs and music and that is awesome. Newt loves Mark Ronson and out East my girl E used to have a Spencer Playlist on her iPod consisting of all the Soundtrack songs. That's the ultimate right there as far as I'm concerned.

These three posts are my favourites because of everything surrounding them. The sudden illness and passing of my grandfather back in May made me reassess some things in my life and take stock of what is really important. Sadly, it took his passing for me to realize just how important and influential he is in my life. I also really enjoyed getting the opportunity to introduce all of you an incredible man.

There. You've seen mine... show me your's in the comments section!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dishonour Roll: Britney Spears

Congratulations Brit - you're the first person to ever end up in the Dishonour Roll twice!

Originally making an appearance alongside the other members of her freakish family back when the world first learned young Jamie Lynn was all knocked up, the former Mrs. Federline make a return on the heels of me spending the afternoon on the couch feeling like a sack of garbage.

See, if I was well and not - I'll spare you the graphic imagery - I wouldn't have been watching the MuchMoreMusic Top 10 where her latest "Womanizer" landed at #3.

Now, I could very much make an argument for her place on this list because of how annoying the song itself is and how Britney sounds more and more like a robot / computer with each passing album, but I won't. Besides, if people got on the Dishonour Roll through crappy music, I would have to resurrect the DR on a permanent basis and it's a lot more fun surprising Smashly with random posts like this.


Brit-Brit lands on the list because of the video.

After a handful of years where no one would touch her with a ten foot pole and she looked like she was on the verge of one of the greatest celebrity meltdowns of all-time, she has somehow made like Lazarus and gotten another opportunity at a career and the spotlight.

What is her opening move?

Getting bare ass naked throughout half of the video!

I mean, a round of applause for dropping the extra lbs you were packing back in the Trailer Park Trainwreck days, but couldn't you have gone another way with this?

I'm not saying skirts to the ankles and fully buttoned shirts are in order, but you've got kids of your own who are look at you as a role model now and your opening salvo is laying on a bench butt naked?

Put some clothes on woman and do something meaningful for once. Take a page out of the Angelina Jolie Handbook.

Remember when Angie was totally crazy, looking like a vampire super model and passionately kissing her brother at the Oscars? She too married a total loser at one point - Hiya Billy Bob!

Then, she realized no one would ever take her seriously in her career or in general if she was a freak show her entire life. She made Beyond Borders, found something she was passionate about, dove in head first and now look at her...

She's great! That could be you Britney, but no, you'd rather dance around like a skank continuing to offer an unfortunate image for your children and others to look up to.

And for the record - we all get an assist on this one for actually paying attention to this freak show... way to go us!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Journalism Job Hunting

Sarah started work today and being the supportive future spouse that I am, I got my lazy ass out of bed at 5:45 with her and drove her to work. I know - I'm such a great guy!

This also means that I have to take myself back out to the booming metropolis of Cranbook to pick her up and while it infringes on my Monday Night Football viewing, it also gives me an opprotunity to once again try to make it as a real life writer.

One of the stops I will be making this afternoon - along with one to the RCMP (nothing to worry about), Starbucks (coffee and WiFi) and Staples (makin' copies) - is to the Cranbrook Daily Townsman.

A friend of mine in the newspaper business once told me that starting at a small daily is the way to break into the business and they don't get much smaller than this - payed subscribers total 3800 according to the very modest website.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do more than just drop off a resume. Ideally, I'll get a little face time with someone and be able to explain my background and my ideas and what I think I could bring to the operation.

Most likely though, I'll be dropping off a resume and my clippings and waiting on a phone call or email, which I guess is better than nothing.

The Townsman isn't the only avenue I'm exploring either.

I've been trying to break into the online MMA arena in the last couple weeks and have had some contact with the people at 5 Ounces of Pain, one of the best MMA sites around.

No guarantees, but they've answered my emails and seem genuinely interested in adding more writers. For now, The Love of Sports remains my personal MMA outlet but that might have to change in the future.

As with absolutely everything around this joint, I'll keep you posted as we go.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

Week #1 in the new digs has been hectic, entertaining and a little nerve rattling at times. It has also been educational and here, as always, is what I learned.

1. A Bar is a Bar is a Bar
Filled out all my Kelsey's paperwork Wednesday and dove in head first working a training shift Thursday. Low and behold, pouring beer is the same in British Columbia as it is in Ontario. Who'da thunk it? Right now, the place is a ghost town, but I'm getting hours and that's the key for right now. The people will come... hopefully.

2. Making Sushi is Easier Than You Think
So we learned last night and let me tell you, it was delicious. An old friend of Sarah's and his girlfriend gave us the tutorial and helped us down the loads of rolls that amounted from four of us spreading rice on nori for the better part of an hour. Now, our rolls didn't look quite as nice as the ones you'd pay to have made for you at your local sushi bar, but this was our first time. Like everything else, the first time is kinda dicey and you get better with every try.

3. Stuff Everywhere
The truck arrived yesterday afternoon with all our goods and now there is stuff everywhere in our condo. That's not such a bad thing, except that, well, where the hell do we put this crap? With the landlord's gear still sitting around here for another week or so, it's kind of hard to fully establish our setup with bedrooms full of furniture and cupboards full of leftover food. Good thing we never eat at the dining room table - it's now become the storage center.

4. Still...
This place is really starting to get that home feeling. The kitchen is full of our stuff, the dog has finally realized that this is his house and not just some place we're shacking up for a week and we're all ready to get started on the office once the bunk beds go. We've got the new desk, some artwork for the walls and a whiteboard so we can continue to pretend that we're an organized couple that adheres to schedules.

5. UFC 90: Letdown
Not only did I have a horrible night predicting the fights - I think I managed three winners on the whole card - but to have the Anderson Silva / Patrick Cote fight end the way it did was an utter disappointment. Cote became the first man to make it to the third round with "The Spider," only to blow out his knee advancing on Silva to open the round. One thing everyone needs to take away from last night though is that Thiago Alves is legit! He hammered Josh Koscheck from start to finish.

6. No Word of a Lie...
There are deer everywhere. I know I've mentioned it over and over and Sarah has started to think I'm a total nutcase because I'm so fascinated by these stupid creatures, but they're literally everywhere and it still amazes me. They don't even flinch when you approach them. In fact, they turn and face you, sizing up whether they want to take you on or not. I need to get over it and I know it, but for one more week, I'm still awestruck by Bambi's peeps roaming my neighbourhood.

7. Smoke Free
10 days, no darts. That's the longest stretch in some time and I actually haven't had a single moment where I've thought, "You know, I wish I had a smoke right about now." Not one. How awesome is that? Now I just have to get back to the exercise portion of things and we'll see if I can't shed this spare tire that resides around my midsection.

8. The Big 3-0 Doesn't Bother Me
I was asked last night if I'm nervous or scared about turning 30 on Thursday and I thought I would share my answer with you here. I've got the girl of my dreams, a career aspiration that I'm passionate about, another job that I actually enjoy that keeps some money coming in, a great dog and a killer place. I actually love the way my life is right now and hitting some supposed aging milestone couldn't change that.

9. Back at the Virtual Felt
Since we're not quite at the point of setting up the office - stupid bunkbeds - I've taken to wasting time back at PokerStars on Sarah's computer. Cool fact: she installed it herself because the future Mrs. Kyte likes her some poker too! Seriously, I got me the best woman in the world - we spent the afternoon unpacking watching football and the WSOP.

10. We're Watching 13 Going on 30
Honestly, I love Jen Garner; she's cute, she's fun, she's usually entertaining. This thing? Horrible. Might actually crack my Top 10 for Worst Movies Ever. Cute little premise, but I mean really... horrible. This is me returning the favour for an afternoon of football and poker.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pretty Busy Saturday... Not Sure If We'll Have Enough Time

Today is my Frank the Tank day.

Well, I don't think I'm going to be jumping on a beer bong later tonight and eventually ruining my relationship with Sarah, but still, we've got a pretty big Saturday planned.

First of all, our stuff should be here within the next two hours. That means that before noon today (this was written at 9:30) everything we've been waiting for will get here and we'll have a living room full of boxes that need to be unpacked.

The arrival of all our stuff leads to the second activity of the day - returning the rental car. Our stuff includes our car, Vic, so we won't be needing the 2000 Taurus we're been spinning around for the last week and change, so we'll drive into Cranbrook to drop it off and get Vic his first taste of BC roadways.

Since bombing into Cranbrook actually takes around half an hour, you don't go into town and not get stuff done and we're no different.

Groceries were grabbed yesterday, but like everyone else we tend to forget things everytime, so we need to pick up some steaks for later in the week. We also need to grab some goodies for tonight too.

See, after only a week in town, we've already got friends!

Actually, Sarah has a friend and he and his girlfriend have invited us to dinner at their house. We're making sushi!

They've lived here for a couple years and Sarah has literally know him her whole life, so we'll be picking up a couple bottles of Sake and Pinot Grigio to bring with us and who knows what happens from there...

One thing is for certain: there'll be no streaking since Kimberley is small enough for everyone to know everyone else...

Regardless of how the night ends up, I'm looking forward to our nice, busy Saturday.

Continue reading ...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Artist: Rage Against the Machine
Album: Evil Empire (1996)

Ever had a song stuck in your head for an extended period of time?

Welcome to the song that's been stuck in my head since the middle of September.

Ever since we spent the night in Vancouver having dinner with Tim and Tania and playing Guitar Hero, this track has played over and over and over in my head. We have a video on our camera of Sarah and I trying to complete the song. Unfortunately, Sarah drops the ball, but that's neither here nor there.

That being said, Guitar Hero may have lodged this song into my memory bank as of late, but it's not responsible for my Rage love.

I actually don't know where my love of Rage came from, since I wasn't a fan of their original album when it dropped in '92 and never really spent any time listening to anything of their's extensively even after this album came out in '96. I was just so emmersed into hip hop that I couldn't identify that the mix of Tom Morello's awesomeness on guitar and Zack de la Rocha politically-tinged lyrics was an outstanding mix of the things I love about music.

Thankfully, I removed my head from my ass long enough somewhere along the way to realize that Rage really could be (and now is) one of my favourite bands. Or at least they were, before they broke up and everything.

While the lyrical content - dealing with the military-industrial complex that the band saw as prevelant during the mid 90's - is laced with terrific references, including one to a book everyone should read (Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451), the biggest reason everyone, myself included can identify and remember this song is Tom Morello's mesmerizing guitar riff.

That's also the reason it ended up on Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and embedded in my brain for the last six weeks.

And just to prove it's awesomeness, the link in the title is of the full Tom Morello Battle / Bulls on Parade expert performance from GH3... enjoy!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Silent Bob Returns!

I've already mentioned it briefly in 10 Things last Sunday, but the truth is that this flick is in need of a full day's dose of recognition.

Zack and Miri Make A Porno marks the return of Kevin Smith to the big screen for the first time since Clerks 2, at least in the director's chair. While he's dabbled in acting (Catch & Release) and done some television work (Reaper), behind the camera of his own film is where those of us who love him first fell in love.

There are a lot of things about this movie that I am really geared up to see.

First, it's Kevin Smith, so you know there is going to be the smart-assed, sarcastic, off-colour comedy you come to expect from Silent Bob. I mean, lest we forget this is the man who penned the line, "My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks" for his cinematic debut.

Second, Seth Rogan and Elizabeth Banks sound like a winning combination for me. While I am always worried that the Funny Guy of the Moment is going to crash and burn when we least expect it, I'm leaning more towards a future project being Rogan's shark-jumping experience. And Banks, the book store girl from 40-Year-Old Virgin amongst numerous other things, is absolutely hilarious. I mean, she asks him to rinse her hair with poop water in the trailer.

The third one is a serious fanboy interest.

Zack & Miri marks only the second time that Kevin Smith has gone without his alter ego and pot smoking partner in crime Jay in a movie. While Mewes still has a role, it's as a character more so than the "just play yourself" role of Jay he has become known for. The first time he tried this, 2004's Jersey Girl, Smith was met with not so warm reviews to say the least.

While I still stand by the fact that Jersey Girl isn't as bad as everyone thinks - it's got Carlin in it... how bad can it be? - I'm willing to acknowledge that having a serious success outside of the Jay & Silent Bob is of the utmost important for Smith and his credibility in the industry and with the audience as a whole.

Personally, I think Zack & Miri will be that movie.

He's sticking to what he knows best (comedy), has a solid cast with a bankable lead and a premise that isn't all that unbelievable while still being exceptionally funny. I mean seriously, tell me the thought of getting into porn hasn't crossed your mind once or twice before? They make great money... or have sex with a lot of skanky bitches!

Regardless of whether you've considered porn as a profession or not, if you're a fan of Kevin Smith and his movies, the long wait for his triumphant return is just about over.

If you're not a fan, stop coming here.

(Just kidding... but really, why don't you like him? Fat boy is funny!)

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Rundown: O-VER-RATED

Spent last night finally watching There Will Be Blood.

I don't see what all the fuss was about.

Daniel Day-Lewis was really good, same as always and the cinematography and score were both really well done, but for me, this wasn't a movie that deserved all the hype that it received during the past Oscar season.

Of course, there are a lot of movies like that.

Today, we'll take a look at five of them from my list.

5 Painfully Overrated Movies
(Movies that got a lot of publicity and accolades that didn't do it for me at all...)

5. Punch Drunk Love
Paul Thomas Anderson just doesn't do it for me, save for Boogie Nights and this one tops Magnolia and last night's choice in terms of his flicks that got a lot of love, that just didn't do it for me. Maybe I just didn't get it - or any of his flicks for that matter - but it was just sort of a long winded excuse for Adam Sandler to be strange. Feel free to clarify this one for me... I just didn't get it.

4. Mystic River
This one pains me because I love the source material (it was a book first) and Gone Baby Gone proved last year (two years ago?) that Dennis Lehane's work can translate well to the screen. This wasn't one of those times. Sean Penn, while still as good as always, scored this Oscar out of being skipped for Dead Man Walking and it just missed for me. Making it worse is that Clint Eastwood was behind the camera and I normally love everything he does. Not this time.

3. Eyes Wide Shut
Not in a million years did this movie have a chance at success. Tom and Nicole together in Kubrick's last pic, one that delved into the taboo and was shrouded in secrecy. Ultimately, this was one big ball of awful, aside from the nice little debut of Leelee Sobieski who has since fallen off the face of the Earth.

2. Lost in Translation
I was most definitely lost with this one. My gut tells me that part of the praise came from the director's last name (Copolla) than the film itself. Murray and Mrs. Ryan Reynolds aren't a pair I can believe as sidekicks ever, even if they're connected in boredom and loneliness in Tokyo. In real life, Murray's character would have been hitting the sake and spending a lot of time at the massage parlours while ScarJo wouldn't have tagged along in the first place. I mean really, would you follow Giovanni Ribisi halfway around the world?

1. The Crying Game
Remember this one? Boy George appropriately sang the theme song for this big ball of hype that amounted to this: the chick isn't a chick at all... it's a dude... OMG! I know it came out before we were a more open minded society and it's British and they're traditionally more tight assed than us, but still, this movie got far more publicity than a mediocre movie deserves.

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here's A Better Idea

Reports indicate the NHL is considering putting a second NHL team in Toronto in the future.

To be blunt, the notion makes me sick.

Not just because I grew up in Hamilton and had my hopes of an NHL franchise in my backyard dashed a number of times or because I have an absolute hatred of all things Maple Leafs.

No, the idea of a second team in Toronto is ridiculous to me because cities across Canada that have, could and would support an NHL team are ignored completely while craptacular US cities like Nashville and Atlanta refuse to support teams.

Instead of giving a great place like Winnepeg another kick at the can or returning a franchise to Quebec City, the NHL would much rather make like the NBA has done in Los Angeles for years and have two teams calling Toronto home.

Of course, all of this has to do with finances, as Toronto could very easily support two teams and those poor Buffalo Sabres couldn't lobby against the efforts like they have in Hamilton as no one from the Niagara Region is going to drive two hours to Toronto when they can jump across the border and watch better hockey at The HBC.

The name being tied to all of this is Research in Motion millionaire Jim Balsillie, a man who a couple years back the NHL (read: Gary Bettman) basically instructed the owners of the Nashville Predators not to sell the franchise to. Now that teams, including Nashville, continue to struggle and the economy has taken a serious downturn, the NHL is ready to welcome Balsillie and his millions into the fold with open arms and a team in the biggest hockey market in the world.

While I have written at various sites about how much I would love to see the NHL have a stronger Canadian presence, this isn't what I had in mind. Although Toronto may have the best attendance and merchandise revenues around the league, they also have a long history that contributes to their ridiculously loyal fanbase. A second team in the city may not be the same cash cow as the Maple Leafs, except that everyone who can't get tickets to Leafs games would now have another option.

Instead of bringing a second team into the city that thinks of itself as the center of the Canadian world, why not branch out and grow the game in other markets or return it to cities that loyally served the NHL long before guys with deep pockets decided hockey would be a big sell in Nashville?

I mean really, you could stick a team out here in Cranbrook and they would draw better than the Atlanta Thrashers!

Continue reading ...

First Snow, Tepid Tubs and The Deer Hunter

Woke up this morning around 8 and looked walked onto the balcony to enjoy the crisp morning air.

The first thing I noticed was the pond in our backyard had developed a frozen crust on top of it that reflected the sunlight incredibly. It also may have signaled the end of my quest to find out what the little creature that I see swimming around in there daily is until a warm stretch comes along.

An hour or so later, it happened.

The first snow of the year started.

It didn't last long - 30 minutes or so - and none of the flakes remained once they hit the ground, but still. Normally, having even a glimmer of snow before my birthday would make me sadder than Red Sox fans on Sunday night, but this year, I honestly welcome it.

Everything out here is absolutely breathtaking and a layer of snow is only going to make it even prettier.

* * * * * * * *

You can stop being jealous of the hot tub now.

Last night, looking forward to a quick dip and instant warm up, we fired up the tub and...


Not literally of course, but there is something about stepping into 90 degree water at 10 PM in nothing more than my Nike basketball shorts is not really what I was looking forward to.

Instead of investigating, we went to bed and cranked up the temperature of the water.

Thankfully, when I lifted the lid this morning, the temperature read 104 and the display said ready.

Not much better than a nice warm tub watching the first snow...

* * * * * * * *

Cool Hand Luke is no longer.

He's now... The Deer Hunter.

We went for a walk the other afternoon and decided to let the little guy off his leash for a good run. Only trouble was, we didn't notice the couple of deer grazing in the trees off to the left.

Not only did Luke immediately make his way over towards the deer, he proceeded to follow the lead pack up the mountain. And I'm not exaggerating about mountain here either - we literally live in the middle of the Rockies and our stupid dog ran about two miles up the side after some deer he thought would make really great playmates.

Problem #1 - the deer behind Luke who chased after him and nearly stepped on him in defense of the pack.

Problem #2 - the little monster now pulls stronger than ever whenever he so much as thinks he sees a deer.

Most of the time what he thinks is a deer is really just a leaf or a tree or nothing at all, but we're stuck getting our arms ripped out of their sockets because chucklehead wants a new playmate.

Stupid dog!

Continue reading ...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bloggers in the Press Box

Here's one from the headlines that is near and dear to my heart.

Over the last few days, there has been a lot of discussion of bloggers being allowed into the Press Box at sporting events. All of this stems from a post at Covered in Oil, an Edmonton Oilers blog where one of their writers had a little run in with the Oilers Media and PR Departments. The story has now garnered huge coverage and since I'm not one to keep quiet, I figured I'd chime in on this one too.

Taking the situation at it's most basic - should bloggers be allowed in the Press Box - there are two ways to look at this issue.

The first is that many professional sports teams have extensive coverage through the Mainstrea Media already and there is only so much room in the Press Box. Or so I've been told.

Then there is the issue of blogging in general. Some people recognize it as a legitimate form of media and have embraced bloggers as part of the system. Others, however, think we're a bunch of hacks and over-zealous fans who just run on at the mouth about our favourite teams.

The truth is we're both and that is where the problem lies.

Physical capacity of Press Row aside, the way people view blogging is a big part of what is keeping the medium from being accepted across the board as a legitimate and vital part of the media. The other part is that anyone, literally anyone, can start a blog and write whatever they want, for better or for worse.

I've been a part of the blogosphere for nearly two years now and have been lucky enough to be a part of a number of sites. Between Bugs, Epic and The Love of Sports, I've seen some outstanding writing and I've seen some horribly bad writing that sets those using the blogosphere as a tool to furthering their careers back a hundred years.

But here's the rub: None of this is ever going to change.

There isn't going to be some United Nation of Bloggers established where a declaration of etiquette and what can and cannot be written is declared officially. You'll always be allowed to write whatever you like, but there is some personal acceptance that needs to be undertaken by my fellow writers out there.

You want access to the Press Box? Do things the right way.

Write like you're writing for the biggest publication in the business and present yourself accordingly. The guys and girls from The Sun and The Globe and every paper in between can't curse and swear, insult players without reason and are held accountable for what they write.

If we're to ascend to that kind of level in the future, we have to hold ourselves to those standards as well.

Furthermore, remember where you write.

The sad truth is that we're not at a point yet where blogs are accepted on par with MSM and only the big guns are going to get the access we so deeply crave. I've dealt with this first hand, having been turned down for countless interviews over my two year tenure at Bugs.

Regardless of how great I think the site is and how credible I believe my writing to be, if the Media Relations Department of the Texas Rangers feels I'm not a big enough fish for Josh Hamilton to talk to then c'est la vie.

* * * * * * * *

The thing that frustrates me the most from this situation with the guy from Covered in Oil is that he's decided to pack it in until further notice. WTF?

Instead of sticking your tail between your legs and packing it in because the Oilers didn't like the way you were doing things in their Press Box, why not use this as the outstanding publicity it is, grow your readership and prove your value?

This is one of those times when, if it were me, I'd put everything I have into showing the Oilers and all the people who are now paying attention that I have more than enough talent and legitimacy to not only be writing, but be welcomed into the Press Box on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, we're still a ways away from being recognized as real writers universally and some people aren't willing to accept that and stick it out.

Fortunately for you, I'm not one of those people... I ain't going nowhere!

Continue reading ...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

You know it's been a busy week.

I know it's been a busy week.
Let's get right to it then, shall we?

1. Not Having Stuff is Weird
The movers came and grabbed up all our things on Wednesday and we're not going to see until sometime late next week or later. While that doesn't sounds all that bad - it's only a week, right? - the truth is that this is totally awkward. And it's not just my computer that I miss. While it's the one thing I miss the most, we're 86 books and movies and blenders and blankets and just about everything else and it's so strange.

2. "Quiet Makes Me Angry" - Cool Hand Luke
Most dogs bark at noises and Luke is no different there. However, the little monster also has a serious aversion to silence. The peace and quiet of the night drives him insane. Pitch black outside, so quiet you could hear a pin drop and what does the pug do? Jump out of bed barking at the top of his canine lungs. You know what makes it even better? The doofus just lays around sleeping all day when he should be up and active...

3. This is the Year I Write My Book
Mark my words: by this time next year, I will have completed my first book. I have to. I've spent the last three or four months with a highly marketable and entertaining idea rattling around in my head and later today, I'm sitting down to start the writing process. As with all the other projects in my life, I'll keep you posted.

4. I Wish Bunkbeds Were Pieces of Adult Furniture
Night one, we slept in the beautiful king sized bed with the fancy sheets and 47 pillows and blah blah blah blah blah. Night two, we rocked the queen sized lower level of the bunkbeds in the guest room and I can tell you that we'll continue to sleep there until the unit is moved out of here at the start of November. Not only was it so much more comfortable, but it also feels like a fort and really, who doesn't love sleeping in a fort? Forts rock and so do the bunkbeds.

5. After Six Weeks, I'm Finally Watching Some Football
The Spencer who used to buy NFL Sunday Ticket every season would kick my ass if he knew that it's taken me six weeks to finally get around to watching a full day of football. I've caught one early game, bits and pieces of a late game and sections of a couple Sunday and Monday nighters, but never a full day. Today is that day.

6. Breaking News: Big Cities Aren't Everything
Who would have ever thought that I would be the guy wondering why I didn't move out of the big city sooner? The truth is, until you've been outside of that type of life, you don't know what you're missing and what you can do without. I don't know that I'll ever need to live in a big city again. That's how much I already love it out here.

7. Regardless of Today, the Red Sox Deserve Everyone's Respect
Love them or hate them, you have to admit this team is outstanding. The comeback against the Yankees a couple years ago was incredible, but if they manage to pull this one off against Tampa, it might actually be better. They were down seven runs with seven outs to go and now they're one win away from another World Series appearance.

8. Finally There Are Some Movies I Want to See
Outside of seeing Burn After Reading while we were in Vancouver, there hasn't been a movie out in the theatres in some time that I have been waiting to see. The last one was Dark Knight and that feels like it was forever ago. Now, finally, there are some flicks I'm dying to see. Rocknrolla, Zack & Miri, The New Bond... even Body of Lies. Guess who is going to the movies for his birthday?

9. About That...
Eleven days until the Big 3-0. The Champagne Birthday. I don't know what everyone gets so worked up about with turning 30. I'm not fussed about it at all. It's not like I'm turning 50 or anything.

10. Three Provinces, Seven Months
Newfoundland in April, BC in October and Ontario in between. If anyone ever thought I was just exaggerated when I describe myself as a nomad and tell them I've lived at 30 different addressed, this should be all the proof they need.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Maybe Now You Can Get Back to Being Awesome

In another one of those news events that you can file in the "Water is Wet" category, the announcement came out earlier this week that Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting a divorce.

As a longtime Guy Ritchie fan, all I can say is "Thank God!"

Before "The Material Girl" came into the picture, Guy Ritchie was on the fast track to Awesomeville.

Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels was a monster. People (read: guys, mostly) absolutely loved it and it was the catalyst to successful careers for both Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones.

And then came Snatch.


Everyone who was worried about the sophomore jinx found out real quickly that there was nothing to worry about in Camp Ritchie.

It's one thing when you get a whole bunch of big timers to be in your movie, but many a movie loaded with stars have tanked at the box office.

Snatch was not one of those movies.

Guy Ritchie was at his peak. He was so incredibly wicked that he could marry a broad like Madonna.

Then it all went south.

Swept Away is quite possibly the worst movie ever made. I honestly can't think of anything else made by an accomplished director that is worse.

I'll put it this way: Waterworld is 300 times better than Swept Away.


There was a glimmer of hope with the extremely delayed release of Revolver to DVD. While it was a fairly odd flick, it was gangsters and guns in true Guy Ritchie fashion and showed that he hadn't completely lost the plot.

His latest, Rocknrolla, which opens next week, looks to be a full-fledged return to Ritchieville and I couldn't be happier.

Dude was set up to be the director that made movies guys everywhere looked forward to seeing and instead, he became Mr. Madonna.

Now that she's moved on to A-Rod and Guy is readying for a monster divorce settlement payday, hopefully he can get back to making bad ass movies and being awesome.

* * * * * * * * *

One of the most painful parts of moving is the first grocery shop.

We did our's today.

$280 and that's without buying any kind of bullshit. Just flat out groceries that we needed in this place.


God damn that's a lot of money!

* * * * * * * *

As promised yesterday, here is the video walkaround of the new digs.

The Guest Room is always open...

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Hello Kimberley!

Having just arrived here today, I figured we'd skip the soundtrack for today (I'll rock a tune tomorrow for all the diehards... Newt!) and give you a quick tour of the new digs.

Warning: This video contains one bad ass condo that I am now calling home and will surely make you hate me. It also includes a cameo by Cool Hand Luke and the future Mrs. Kyte.

* * * * * * * *

The video - which would have made you all fill up with bitterness upon seeing our new surroundings - was just too big to upload onto the page. I'll re-shoot one tomorrow and keep it a little shorter and we'll get it up here in the next couple days.

* * * * * * * * *

We've been here for the afternoon now and here is the run down of the digs and the town of Kimberley.

  • Already rocked the hot tub and it's as awesome as would be expected
  • Deer roam wild here... on our front and back lawn... scores of them... this might be dangerous... for them!
  • Been to work and I don't start until Wednesday, which is nice. There is also a distinct possiblity that I will be able to take the ski lift up the hill and walk home every day. Now I just have to figure out how to get down the hill without concussing myself

In short, this place is awesome. I already have the relaxed and focused feeling that hit me when we landed in Vancouver and anticipate it will be even stronger here, since everyone seems to say hello when you pass them in the street and traffic consists of four cars...

Ladies and gentlemen, we've found our paradise!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

So Long Ontario

Sweet jesus this day has taken a long time to get here!

After nearly a month of hanging out in anticipation, today is finally the day where we jump on a West Jet Plane and leave Ontario to start our new adventure nestled up to the Rocky Mountains in Kimberley.

Actually, we're spending the night on my friend Tommy's floor in Calgary first, but you get the picture.

Truthfully, I need this day. Well, I need two days from now, when we've gotten to the condo in Kimberley, checked out the town and I have checked in at work, so that I can start to get back to the routine that I desperately need to keep me from feeling all melancholy like I have been for the past week.

Not being able to do the things that I love to do (read: writing on a regular basis) makes me all weird and tired and grumpy and it really does suck to be around me. Up until a couple weeks ago, this summer had a great flow to it where everything fell into place nicely and I was happier than a pig in shit.

Now, I just kinda feel like shit.

While it doesn't help that I have a cold and try to hack up a lung every morning, being out of my routine is what drags me down more than anything. It's not that there hasn't been time to write, it's just that there is always something else that has to be done and when it rolls around to free time, I just want to crawl onto the couch and crash.

I'm hoping that getting all this moving crap over with - FINALLY - will get me back on track and typing up a storm real soon.

If not, at least I'll have a hot tub with a great view to lounge around in!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Clothes Off!
Artist: Gym Class Heroes
Album: As Cruel As School Children (2006)

You know that scene in Knocked Up where Seth Rogen's character says he's pretty sure that he and Vince Vaughn would be good friends? That's how I feel about Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes.

While the chances of that actually being true - or ever being tested - are somewhere better than me winning the lottery, that isn't saying much. So for now, I'll continue to fly my GCH support flag proudly.

Like anyone who knows the name of this band, I got my first taste through "Cupid's Chokehold," with the difference being that I kept listening and realized that these guys are pretty much the epitome of what type of bands and musicians and music I love.

There is parts of everything in this track - a hilarious sample of a cheesy 80s tune, some quick lines that you may not catch the first time from Travie, a hook sung by Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy (Yes, I still like Fall Out Boy) and the video kicks off with the boys rolling to the casino as "Viva La White Girl" plays.

As a point of interest to perhaps no one - the white girl is Ms. "I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It" Katy Perry, Travis' girlfriend.

Back to our originally scheduled program...

These guys are basically a band that just loved doing what they do and don't take themselves too seriously. Anyone who has dance battles against Panic At The Disco dressed up as animals in their video obviously is up for a laugh, especially at themselves.

Lyrically, I love Travie because while there is a ton of humour in what he says, you have to appreciate the flow. He's not some Young MC delivering nothing but corny lyrics; he's making you laugh (maybe) by dropping well conceived, quick witted lines.

Now here's another barn burner for the slow learners
Put your helmets on and take a seat on the short bus
Next stop, right around the corner from your momma live
No turning back so you better buckle up
Shit, don't be concerned with mine
I feel like a Speak and Spell way I got you learning my lines
Fine, pull the string, replay that shit
I change my name to "did he really just say that shit?"

The other reason I have been in the corner of Gym Class Heroes since I first latched onto them is Travis' openness about his addiction to opiates.

I don't have a lot of bookmarks on my computer - mainly sports stuff for work and fantasy sports stuff for play - but one thing I do have saved is Travie's Blog. He doesn't say a lot very often, but anyone who is willing to be 100% truthful and upfront about the challenges he's faced and the battle he is fighting is good in my books.

Plus, he loves The Wire. Enough said.

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Has Facebook Jumped the Shark?

Some of you out there who hate the social networking supersite will say that it was never relevant in the first place, but millions of user can't be entirely wrong.

I will say, however, that with all the new applications and new look recently unveiled, I'm starting to wonder if Facebook's time has come and passed.

Case in point - Blabble.

The picture of my beautiful niece Gracie Lou is my first foray into the tool.

The premise of it is quite simple really: you can now add speech bubbles to any picture in your photo albums. So instead of just having the caption you could always use, now you can have each person saying something.

Neat-o, hey?

Not really. It's kind of overkill to me.

In fact, many of the Facebook changes over the last couple months seem like bad moves to me and have lessened my time spent there, as it has many others I suspect.

Instead of being an entertaining interaction tool to keep in touch and stalk old girlfriends, now you get spam wall posts, advertisements out the yin yang and notifications of notifications that you already received notification about.

My Facebook Fan Page was a casualty of war a couple months ago and with the dwindling amount of time I spend on my actual profile page these days, it may go the way of the dodo in the very near future as well.

As always, I love to hear your thoughts on this...

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Rundown: Doubling Up

For my last day at Montana's today, I switched a shift around with my friend Boogie and worked a double.

Instead of having to work two days this week, the laziness kicked in and I figured rocking two shifts today while Sarah was writing her Nursing Exam would be easier than working another one tomorrow night. Plus, if it was real busy, I would run the risk of missing Grey's and that just isn't going to happen.

Working a double also got me thinking about other "doubles" out there and seeing as today is Wednesday, the idea came to me to list off my favourites for you in the strangest version of The Rundown yet.

All-Time Favourite "Doubles"

5. Double Dragon
Not the crappy movie version with Charlie Salinger from Party of Five and the guy who plays "The Chairman" on Iron Chef America, but the video game that inspired it. Anyone near my age remembers this bad boy and should remember it fondly. Two brothers, trained in Martial Arts, roaming the streets kicking ass and taking names. I pumped a lot of quarters into this game over the years.

4. Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese
If you're going to do grease, you may as well do grease completely and this my friends is the mother of all grease burgers... and it's so good. Save the sliced onions for someone else and give me half a pound of Grade G McDonald's Grey Beef in a box big enough to hold my super sized fries. Yes, I am a fatty.

3. "Double Trouble" - The Roots featuring Mos Def
Long ago I told you about my love of The Roots, the baddest hip hop band on the planet and current touring partners of my boys Gym Class Heros. This track, off the Things Fall Apart album, is dynamite and contains one of my favourite repeated lines in the history of hip hop: Either stand tall or sit the fuck down. You've been told.

2. Double Rye and Ginger
Why have one shot when two is better?

1. Tim Horton's Double Double
Double cream, double sugar, double delicious. Though I've strayed away from Timmy's a bunch over the last few years - Starbucks and making good ass coffee at home generally wins - there is still nothing better than a perfectly made Timmy's Double Double. At least not when it comes to this list...

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Proof People in Hollywood are Retarded

It's been reported that Disney has agreed to pay Johnny Depp upwards of $60M to reprise his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in a fourth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Um, why?

At The End of the World didn't leave any lingering questions or unfinished business after three very long hours and both Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley aren't expected to have any part in the film.

So basically, Disney is going to through more money than any studio has ever thrown at one actor to bring back a character that they'll have to create something brand new for and go from there.

I could see it if it was just a regular movie, but this is the Pirates franchise we're talking about - and Disney for that matter - so you know there are going to be FX out the wazzu on this one and a budget somewhere, I'm guessing here, in the $200M range.

Yes this has been an absolute cash cow of a franchise, but you have to expect that people are going to tire of the same old routine at some point and start looking for something more than pirates.

Like ninjas. Everybody loves ninjas. Make a ninja movie. That I'd go see.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

You have to know that I've been super busy if I skip my two favourite days to post on this site - Wednesday's Rundown and Friday's Soundtrack.

Shit is hectic people, but it comes to an end soon and we'll get back to business as usual.

Here's the week that was.

1. Most Uncomfortable Feeling Ever
No, it's not sitting in the backseat of the car while Sarah and her mom have an argument 25 years in the making, although that was pretty awkward too. It's been trying to sleep over the past week with these neck muscles of mine. No idea what I did, but since Monday they've been tighter than (fill in your joke of choice here). Just when I thought it was getting better, I spent last night tossing and turning until 2 AM before deciding to go into a coma courtesy of some muscle relaxers. Maybe I should get this looked at.

2. Kimbo Sliced
While it wasn't against Ken Shamrock as it was supposed to be - Shamrock got a cut warming up and couldn't fight - the mistake I called earlier in the week at The Love of Sports came to fruition as Seth "The Silverback" Petruzelli knocked Kimbo out in 14 seconds Saturday night. To quote The Hives, "Hate to say I told you so...."

3. Speaking of the CBS MMA Show...
If they keep running with these Saturday Night Fights cards, they need to hire me as the play-by-play guy. Or at least hire someone else. Maybe someone with a little MMA knowledge. They could even let Canadian Mauro Ranallo run with it since he's part of the broadcast already. Regardless of who they pick, it'll be better than Gus Johnson because after last night's "This is the greatest upset in the history of Mixed Martial Arts" call, homeboy needs to go.

4. How 'Bout Them Cubbies?
This is what happens when 100 years of misery and a spectacular regular season collide. Three straight to the Dodgers and you can make it 101. I kind of feel bad, but also like a bit of a genius too, because all season long on the Bugs & Cranks Top 30 I've been sending in comments wondering how the Cubs were going to screw this up. Pair this with the Kimbo thing and people might start to think I know what I'm talking about a little...

5. You Want to Charge Us How Much?
Thursday I had an estimate done for moving all our stuff across the country. The guy was Johnny Anectdote; everything he said had some story to it about his dogs or his neighbour or his friend. It took him 30 minutes to leave after a five minute walk around checking things out. Anyway, we don't have much stuff - no furniture, just "contents" as it is called and buddy guestimates it at 1500 pounds or so. I think it's less. So Friday I get an email from him containing the quotes. Where in the hell do you think I have $4500 stashed away to spend on moving you dolt? And why did you call me and chat me up for 20 minutes Saturday after I told you I got the quotes and would get back to you later?

6. Ready to Go
If we could jump on a plane tomorrow, we would. Nothing against anybody here, but we're ready. Since we've known for a while now that this was what we were doing, every day we're still here leads to more questions that we're sick of and a mounting frustration that people won't just leave well enough alone and stop pushing us about where we're moving, how we're getting there and whether we'll have the resources to succeed in Kimberley. Honestly, I'm nearly 30 and have done this a time or two - I got this. You can stop giving us your opinion now.

7. My Brother Learned a Lesson This Week
Turns out Pete was having one of his "Feel bad about the Old Man" moments this week and gave him a call. Much to no one's surprise, Phil is still playing the pariah card while wallowing in self-pity, clinging to the "we turned our back on him" belief. Five years after I learned it, Pete learned that there is no point - the old man is a lost cause and not worth the energy.

Note: I don't need the "Are you slagging your dad on your blog again?" comments... it's my blog... I'll talk about whatever I want...

8. I Got Paid!
No, Passion Magazine didn't come out of the woodwork and hand over a cheque for the four articles I've published, but Canadian Sports Magazine came through. Internet work aside, this was my first actual pay cheque for writing. Part of me wanted to get it framed and mounted, but I'm broke as shit so I bought some groceries and a pack of smokes instead.

9. Hard to Plan a Wedding...
When the people at the resort don't get back to you. Seriously. I've emailed them a bunch of times wondering about my man Deuce being able to come due to his severe allegries and I've gotten nothing back. Surely they're busy and I can appreciate that, but really, the least you could do is answer an email once in a while.

10. Sorry in Advance
Posts are probably going to be a little sparse over the next couple weeks, much like they have been since the Vancouver trip. It's just the price of doing business - everything has to be packed and as much as I want to get here everyday, more often than not there are other things that take precident. But that doesn't mean I don't love you. Like I said at the top, we'll get back to the daily delivery once we get set up in the new place.

Until then... I'll miss you!

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Name Is Spencer and I Have a Problem

I am seriously addicted to the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

All I want to do is immerse myself into everything I can get my hands on that deals with MMA.

The last two books I've read?

A Fighters Heart by Sam Sheppard and Title Shot by Kelly Crigger, both dealing with people becoming deeply involved with the world and culture of MMA.

I write at least one post a week for The Love of Sports that has something to do with Mixed Martial Arts, whether it's a preview of an upcoming card, profile on a fighter or an editorial on Saturday's Kimbo Slice v. Ken Shamrock bout like the one currently posted.

My current computer addiction of choice is World of Mixed Martial Arts by Grey Dog Software. Basically, I play Dana White (pictured) in a fictional UFC. It's like NFL Head Coach for MMA junkies like me and I can't get enough of it.

It's not limited to the UFC either; my thirst for knowledge and information encompasses all the US-based organizations, operations running out of Canada, the various incarnations overseas and in Japan, everything.

My favourite show isn't even on TV; it's MMA Live, a weekly Internet show from ESPN.

And don't forget Operation: 185, my workout regimine that will be rekindled once we set up shop in Kimberley. That too is MMA-based.

Hell, I even watched - check that - suffered through Never Back Down the other night on PPV because I (1) couldn't sleep and (2) it's about MMA.

When you're willing to watch really bad movies just because they have a remote connection to something you enjoy, that's when you know you have a serious problem.

And that's why I say to you, "My Name is Spencer and I'm an addict."

Hi Spencer...

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