Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas... Not Halloween


Just because the guy playing Santa Claus at the mall and his various "helpers" get to put on costumes and play dress-up this time of year, doesn't mean that normal, everyday people should follow suit.

We have a "holiday" for that, Halloween.

If you missed it, too bad; there are no do-overs.

Someone needs to have told that to the mid-20s girl Sarah and I just saw walking down the street as I drove her to work. Apparently, she missed the memo.

Much like Australian pseudo-celeb Sophie Monk above, this poor girl was sporting a white halo and a pair of white wings... on top of her jeans, beige sweater and a giant misunderstanding smile.

See - she thought all the people driving by looking at her were discussing how adorable she looked and what a great idea it was.

Unfortunately, there were thinking the same thing as Sarah and I:

What the fuck? It's Christmas - Not Halloween.

I know it doesn't snow out here, so it can be a little confusing.

Hopefully, someone bought this genius a calendar for Christmas... and maybe a mirror, you know, so she can see how ridiculous she looks before she leaves the house.

Happy Ho Ho Everyone...

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I So Confused

D'you know what my new favorite thing this holiday season is?

Constant job postings for positions that either (a) don't exist or (b) aren't being hired until 2010.

Nothing like giving a guy a glimmer of hope only to kick him in the crotch shortly thereafter.

The same restaurant here in Victoria has officially posted - on the Services Canada Job Bank - the same position three different times in the last four weeks.

I've applied... twice.

Last week - the second time I applied - I sent my resume via email to the contact person, since going into the restaurant and speaking with one of the managers didn't seem to work.

Wrote a charming email (as you would expect) and even reminder her how easy it would be to remember my name, as her last name is Spencer. Witty, I know.

The result? Nothing...

So I just got off the phone with her, seeing as said position is once again on the Job Bank. Turns out they're just collecting resumes and have no real idea when they will actually be hiring.

Here's a novel idea - instead of posting that the position is needed to start immediately, hows about mentioning that you're just collecting resumes so I don't think I am the least skilled waiter in the world or my references are sabotaging me for their own amusement!

Also awesome is the always enjoyable, "Gimme a day or two to talk to our Front of House Manager and I'll get back to you" I've also received from another restaurant who has numerous postings littered all over the web.

That was a week ago.

What makes it all the more pleasurable is that I currently work with said GM's close friend who knows I've applied and desperately want to stop working nine hour shifts picking produce. Nothing makes me feel all the more wanted than knowing the GM and his friend have discussed me on a number of occasions only to have my phone consistently not ring.

Boo - urns!

Continue reading ...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oprah Quits... But Not Until Next Year


In all honesty, I've been meaning to write this one for some time.

As many of you know, Oprah has announced that she is ending her show to concentrate on other projects. As you also know, the announcement came with a "at the end of next year" attached to the back end.

Basically, Oprah is giving everyone ample warning that she will be leaving, so they can get their lives in order to carry on without her... and shower her with praise and affection for the next year.

While that is not the real reason, it certainly seems that way, and has for every celebrity and athlete who has done the same "this is my last year" farewell tour over the span of my life. I just don't see the point of announcing you're leaving a year in advance other than to drum up recognition and attention.

A gazillion people already watch Oprah, so it's not like those of us who don't routinely tune her in each day are suddenly going to stop what we're doing and watch her show this year.

She's not moving to a remote island, never to be heard from again; she turning the lights off on her show to focus on her television network... so she's still going to be on TV.

So what is the real motivation behind giving everyone the head's up?

Personally, I think part of the answer is that last show of each month will become some overblown excuse to give everyone in the audience a bazillion dollars worth of merchandise because "it's my last January show ever."

The Oprah's Favorites shows have always astounded me in the same way Extreme Makeover: Home Edition drives me nuts.

If you can convince that many companies to give away that much crap a couple of times each year, couldn't you be giving it to someone more deserving and needy that an audience full of suburban homebodies?

When it comes to calling it a career, I'm a John Elway kind of guy; go out on top, but do it without a big farewell tour.

Don't hold a teary press conference three separate times blubbering about how you just don't have it in you to play football anymore or give your fans a year to shower you with affection before you go.

Walk off into the sunset and let the adulation follow; otherwise you end up having 13 "Farewell Tours" like Cher... and that doesn't look good on anybody, not even Cher.


Continue reading ...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tiger Woods: Great at Golf, Stupid at Life


Everyone else in the world is talking Tiger right now, so I might as well chime in too.

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game.

He's the first billion-dollar athlete, has endorsements out the back nine, an impeccable smile and it seems about as much smarts as a sack of marbles.

This will not be a lecture about infidelity; the shit happens and that's life. It sucks, I don't condone it, but such is life.

Instead, let's focus on how cosmically retarded a mistake this is for Tiger.

First off, look at Elin.

If you're married to some horrible hosebeast with wonky eyes, a collection of some'r teeth and more facial hair than you have, seeing what else is available at least seems somewhat understandable.

However, when you're married to a smokin' hot Swedish chick who you were set up with because she used to be Jesper Parnavick's nanny, you're not going to be trading up any time soon.

Cheating on a woman as ridiculously attractive as Elin Woods (nee Nordegren) is like marrying George Clooney and then having an affair a few years in...

Two - you're worth someone in the neighborhood of a bazillion dollars.

D'you know what happens if she decides your philandering ways are more than she cares to put up with anymore?

You become worth closer to a billion dollars because she's getting a large portion of whatever isn't protected in a pre-nup and so much money every month that you'll need Brinks to drop it by the house for her.

Now, going from a bazillion to a billion isn't the end of the world, I'll admit, but I got $27.00 to my name and couldn't imagine parting with $13.50, so half a bazillion has got to hurt a little.

Comment the Third: You're Tiger effin' Woods!

Seriously - if just about every unknown schmuck in the world who runs around on the missus ends up getting caught in one way or another, how in the fuck did you expect this to end?

The chippy (chippies?) on the side we're just going to say thanks and laugh about it over wine with their friends, never expecting a dime?

Are you kidding me? You're Tiger effin' Woods... if you accidentally brushed against my wife's ass I would be trying to get a couple hundred grand out of you, so how much do you think the side bets are trying to score now?

Maybe instead of spending so much time on the practice range, Tiger should have, I dunno, smartened the fuck up...

Cheating is wrong and bad and shitty.

How he possibly thought this would end any other way is beyond me.

Somewhere, he accountant is ready to drive Tiger's balls... and I ain't talkin' golf.

Continue reading ...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Night Raw


No, this isn't a post about wrestling and the WWE.

This is an uncensored vent session from the frustrated guy on the other side of the keyboard... consider yourself warned.

* * * * * * * *

As much as being unemployed sucks, being under-employed sucks more.

Starting tomorrow, I'm the newest member of the afternoon shift at Islands West Produce, picking orders in a freezer to be shipped all over the island.

It's an honest day's work for solid money... and there is nothing outside of the steady paycheck that has me interested in the least.

But there is nothing else out there and that is painful.

Me, my university degree and countless years of experience - both managerial and front line - can't get a job outside of the brother of a recent acquaintance helping me out because he knows I'm in a pinch.

There is no "office job" to magically go find as some people have pondered, and restaurants and bars are cutting staff, not hiring, since people aren't going out nearly as much any more.

Even the goddamn Brannigan's around the corner that has like 14 tables and was advertising as hiring hasn't called me back, that's how grim the situation is for me these days.

While I've finally got my foot in the door with a solid company in terms of my writing, the $20.83 per article I receive isn't quite enough to retire on. Not to mention the fact that until that first paycheck hits the bank, it's all just promises and they've been broken a time or two already in my writing career.

Brutal.

All I want is an opportunity to do what I'm clearly good at and earn a very modest living doing so, but that isn't happening.

Neither is the all-time backup plan of waiting tables and slinging drinks.

Neither is friggin' Blockbuster goddamn Video or anything else.

So I'm picking produce in the freezing cold and I'm none to happy about it.

FML.

Continue reading ...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. Post #600

How insane is that?

This post marks the 600th time I've sat down to share my thoughts with you on something completely random and the fact that we've reached yet another landmark is crazy to me.

Not that I didn't think I could actually do it, but really, getting to 600 posts without having taken an kind of massive hiatus in the middle is impressive to me.

More impressive is that some of you have been reading since the first week. Words can't express how appreciative I am...

2. Big Day for Tim & Michelle

My brother-in-law and his girlfriend officially took possession of their house last Saturday (yes, I know that makes it a thing I learned last week...) and celebrated by getting engaged!

Congratulations!

Couldn't be happier - they're a great couple and quickly becoming two of our best friends, so getting to hit up their wedding sometime next year (or whenever) and having them relatively close by is outstanding.

3. No Smokes in 5 Weeks

I didn't want to say anything until I had passed the one month point, then I was too lazy to write last weekend, so now we're at Week 5 sans darts and I'm pretty damn proud of myself.

For the most part, it's been fairly easy; only a couple moments here and there where I've thought a smoke would be fantastic, but to be totally honest, I haven't really noticed.

No special gum, no silly patches and no conversations with my doctor. Just good old fashioned will power...

4. Funny People: Not Over Funny

Judd Apatow tried to make a funny and touching movie (at least that what it seems like) and kinda missed the boat on both.

There are some funny moments and some touching moments, but after 140 minutes of watching Adam Sandler and Seth Rogan hang out together, I was left thinking that they should have either went full-on funny or full-on touching, but not tried to do both.

The potential was there, but it seemed to all kind of miss the mark as a whole.

That being said, Apatow is a massive success and I'm douche who rights a blog that only 43 people read, so who am I to judge?

5. Everywhere We Go, Bad Waitresses Follow

Going out with Tim and Michelle must set off some kind of bad waitress beacon because each of the last couple times we've been out, the service has been brutal.

Between giving us our bill the minute we decided to take a pause from consuming mass quantities of booze to, you know, breath and last night's all-around useless waitress, we need to stick to staying in and getting sloshed.

Last night's server was a gem, kind enough to ask if we wanted beef on our nachos only to return 17 seconds later to double check that we said yes, which we didn't, then have the aforementioned unwanted and unserved beef show up on our bill.

Additionally, a vodka water with a lime apparently means vodka, water and a splash of bar lime with a lemon wedge.

Most traumatic of all? I can't get a job as a server to save my life right now...

6. But I Can Haul Produce!

That sounds like the career path of choice for right now, since it's the only career path being offered to me. Maybe it's the right way to go.

Full-time bartender at Kelsey's turned into mostly working as a server and not accumulating enough hours over the year to even qualify for Employment Insurance, so truly guaranteed eight-hour shifts five days a week will be a nice change of pace.

Besides, I won't bitch about having a better way to do everything like I always have working in restaurants and bars since I don't know the first thing about hauling produce.

7. I'm Now a Classic Radio Station Guy!

When I jump in the car now, I don't find the local pop station or the local rock station. I tune to Jack FM or a classic hits station that plays the stuff I grew up on...

How did this happen?

The stuff I grew up on is supposed to still be the cool stuff and what everyone is listening to. Flipping to the local pop station proves that is untrue, as my music doesn't involve computers digitally serving as every artists' voice like it does now.

Jay-Z is right: Death to Auto-Tune!

Continue reading ...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Down With the King


Song: Down With the King
Artist: Run DMC
Album: Down With the King (1993)

The fact that it's taken so long to get to Joseph Simmons, Darryl McArthur and the late Jason Mizell is ridiculous, considering how constantly I rip on the current state of affair in hip hop and the lack of talent taking up residency sitting at the top of the charts.

While their legacy and importance in the music world becomes less known with every Reality TV show starring Rev. Run or his off-spring or one of their songs gets remixed into a dance track by Jason Nevins, the fact is that hip hop wouldn't be where it is without Run DMC.

Before mash-ups became fad-tastic and rap-rock like Limp Bizkit sold millions, these boys hooked up with Aerosmith for "Walk this Way," forcing themselves into the mainstream. The rest is history.

This song was chosen because it represents the last great track by a legendary group, as the trio's final album Crown Royal failed to produce a memorable hit. Additionally, it features great verses courtesy of Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth (two of my faves) and the song is still absolutely awesome more than 15 years later.

Sorry for being so late...

Rest in Peace JMJ



Continue reading ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This Is Where I'm Going to End Up...

I'm not even joking right now... how sad is that?

In all likelihood, I will be taking myself out to every fast food joint in the neighborhood over the next couple of days and dropping off resumes, because it seems that despite a University degree, outstanding communication skills and a wealth of experience, I can't get a goddamn job.

Now, it certainly doesn't help that there is the square root of fuckall out there on the market right now, thanks to the miserable economy and the fact that there are more people than ever looking for jobs in the service industry as a result, but still...

D'you know I applied back to Blockbuster the other day?

Submitted a resume to be Assistant Manager of Off the Wall at the Mayfair Mall? It's a goddamn 'tweens clothing store... that's how desperate I am right about now.

What makes it all the better is that you and I both know what I should be doing with my life - writing - but there ain't nobody hiring in that industry either.

Sure there are lots of places willing to give me exposure and a couple of bucks here and there, but for the most part, the money isn't there and exposure doesn't pay the bills.

Better still are the people who simply won't return your emails.

I'm not talking about companies or business that I've riffled off unsolicited emails to; I'm talking about the friend of a friend who works for a local newspaper who said, "Sure, have your friend email me, no problem," only to refuse to email me back answering any of my questions.

Why say yes in the first place?

Honestly, this blows.

If you're reading this and you know of a job opening anywhere in Victoria, British Columbia, let me know.

Doesn't matter what it is any more... I'm interested.

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Missing: My Wedding Ring (Updated)


Sadly, there is no reward because I'm broke and unemployed, but the positive is that if it's found, you'll still get to enjoy my witty banter here on iBlog.

If not, there is a distinct possibility that Sarah kills me.

I knew I should have followed my man Ty's lead and put it on a necklace that I never take off. Although, I don't wear a necklace and if I did, I'd probably take it off every day and still end up losing the damn ring...

Took it off to do the dishes last night - I'm domestic like that - and haven't seen it since. Could have sworn I put it in my back pocket before I plunged my hands into the soapy depths of the sink, but apparently not as my ring is nowhere to be found.

Time to turn this place upside down and see if we can't avert disaster - or at least postpone it until Sarah gets around to reading this post later tonight... damn supportive wife having iBlog as her homepage!

Check back later for updates... and wish me luck.

Update - 8:48 a.m.

After an exhaustive twelve-minute search, the crisis was averted.

In addition to discovering my ring in the cushions of the couch, I also found three pretzels, two Skittles and an questionable peanut that I fed to the dog.

Nothing like getting the old heart rate pumping to start the day!

Continue reading ...

Good Day vs. Bad Day


It been a while, I know...

Today was supposed to be a good day.

When I went to bed last night, the plan was for today to be a productive and meaningful day, as the last few have involved me feeling craptacular about my lack of employment and inability to earn a living doing what I love.

Everything started out aces; woke up feeling refreshed, found out I was going to interview rising MMA star Jon "Bones" Jones (not Jon Bon Jovi as Ashley thought I said on Facebook) and Sarah even called early into her to tell me she'd be home sooner than expected.

I should have known something would go wrong.

Got the call to pick Sarah up - my current job is that of a chauffeur (not complaining, just stating fact) - go to start the car and ... dead battery.

Awesome.

Even better, today was the day Sarah decided to leave her cell phone at home. Do you think she could possibly remember my new cell number? Of course not.

Knocked on the neighbor's door, ask him to gimme a boost... didn't work, though he did drive me to pick up Sarah.

What should have been a 20 minute excursion took the better part of two hours, nearly $200 courtesy of a new battery and sucked all the wind out of my sails to the point that going to drop off resumes went out the window in favor of a little time on the couch with three of my favorite people: Sarah, the dog and Ronald McDonald.

Judge me all you like - I haven't smoked a single dart in over a month and that far outweighs an afternoon pick me up courtesy of the Mickey D's pick-up window.

One extra value meal and two episodes of Criminal Minds later, I was feeling about average.

Then I got to call "Bones" Jones... back to good.

Without question, this kid is going places in this sport; he's confident, but still humble, immensely talented and surrounded by a great group of people.

Watch him do his thing next Saturday against Matt Hammil on Spike TV.

The day got back to great courtesy of a superb spaghetti dinner made by my lovely wife and now it's time for a little dessert.

From good to bad and back to good; it's been a weird day.

And no, there is no real reason for the use of Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes other than (a) I love ninjas and (2) I love G.I. Joe.

Besides, one is good, the other is bad... it fits.

Continue reading ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here's to the Straight Sell!


There is something to be said about straight-forward, unambiguous marketing and advertising.

In all honesty, we need more of it.

As entertaining as selling Viagra through a series of vignettes about antiquing gone wild, there is surely a set that wonders what has replaced the excessive exploring for old artifacts in these people's lives and what it has to do with a little blue pill.

There aren't many of those questions when it comes to Plan B.

Seriously, it's one of the most authentically named product on the market today.

Nothing flashy or designed to move more units here, just the truth: Plan A didn't work out, time to move on to Plan B.

Brilliant.

The only way this works better is if they called, "Holy shit we should have used a condom / what if it broke? / I can't get pregnant" pills, but that wouldn't fit on the box.

Even the more colloquial name "the Morning After pill" gets the message across without much confusion. If you have to ask, "the morning after what?" you don't need to know what the pill is for, simple as that.

Cialis is certainly an interesting name, but would you have any idea that it helps The Little General stand at attention if no one told you? Even the commercials don't make it perfectly clear.

While we're free to assume that the couple who is currently ignoring their flooding front yard, the turkey burning in the oven and the overflowing bathtub are off makin' with the love, until they turn up on screen with shit-eatin' grins on their faces, they could just as easily been slaughtered by a serial killer.

Though, why would you make a commercial about that? Also, I think I need to watch less Criminal Minds...

Happy Thursday, chuckleheads...

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Rundown: Cool Dead People

There is this really weird trend I've noticed over the last number of years.

Any time a celebrity dies, famous people everywhere suddenly start popping up yammering incessantly about how much they loved So-And-So who just kicked the bucket.

Today, we're running down the five most instantly adored and collectively cool dead people.

Top 5 Super Cool Dead People

5. Michael Jackson

Despite the fact that he has always been "The King of Pop," before he passed this summer, the only people who would align themselves in the corner of Jackson were those who resembled the zombies around him.

Michael Jackson was poison. If you don't believe me, ask Chris Tucker. Since co-starring in Jackson's "You Rock My World" video back in 2001, the only times we've seen Chris Tucker were in his contractually pre-determined recurring role in the Rush Hour series and his mug shot from a 2005 arrest.

Now that he's dead, everyone has a story to tell about their favorite Michael Jackson song and how much they're going to miss him and what a wonderful blah blah blah blah blah.

Give it a couple more months... it'll pass.

4. Kurt Cobain

Consider this a preemptive strike, as the Cobain remembrance celebration hasn't officially kicked off as of yet. But trust me, it will.

How do I know this? Simple - a movie is in the works. As of last reports (read: rumors) way back in March, Canadian Ryan Gosling was in the lead to play the suicidal singer of the band that begrudgingly brought grunge to the masses back at the start of the '90s.

If a movie does come out, expect the "I miss Kurt so much" madness to begin en masse, despite the fact that no one outside of my man Newt has held a conversation with me about him in close to five years. He's off the Pop Culture grid, but not for long...

3. Marilyn Monroe

Here are the facts: Marilyn Monroe was sexy, banged JFK and sang him that naughty version of Happy Birthday with his wife sitting next to him, easily one of the most awesomely awkward moments in the history of the world... if you're JFK.

Did you see me mention anywhere in their that she was a dynamite actress? Nope, because she wasn't, yet millions upon millions of young starlets talk about how they idolize Marilyn and want to follow in her footsteps.

You mean with the dying way too young and being immortalized by Elton John until he can re-record the song and cash in again when someone else of note dies?

If you want to be a great actress and pattern yourself after someone from that time, at least pick someone from that era with actual chops like Shelley Winters, she of the two Oscars and countless accolades.

Otherwise, you're simply picking the awesomely dead pretty girl that everyone adores for no reason other than everyone adores her. Seriously - do you think anyone born after 1980 can name three Marilyn Monroe movies?

2. Ray Charles

Hear me out: while his dead-cred is no longer riding high, the singer's death sparked a biopic that earned Jamie Foxx an Oscar and somehow, despite no one having mentioned the album all year prior to his passing, Charles' Genius Loves Company cleaned up at the Grammy Awards.

Rolling Stone Magazine listed him at #10 on the 100 Greatest Artists of All-Time. 10!

Sad that I know this off-hand, but the horribly bad joke in She's All That where the two popular artsy girls tell Rachel Leigh Cook's character that she should kill herself because her art will be appreciated more post-humously is kind of true...

Dying gets you fans!

1. Johnny Cash

With Ray at #2, you had to assume The Man in Black would be topping the charts.

For the ten years before Johnny Cash died, not once had I heard anyone my age mention their affinity for his music, including the hundreds of country music fans I grew up around in the horse racing business.

Hell, they needed an explanation when the champion horse one year was named "A Stud Named Sue" because they had no idea where it came from. That how little Johnny Cash had registered.

He started earning some cred with his remake of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," but shit took off when he stopped breathing.

Everyone was a massive Johnny Cash fan. Walk the Line won awards galore and people everywhere were singing Cash at karaoke, though it was almost always "Ring of Fire."

But now, time has passed and so has the adoration.

New celebrities are coming up dead every day, ready to become super popular again and reignite their fame from the grave.

Who will be next?



Continue reading ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Originality is Dead: I Have Proof!


There have been a number of occasions over the two-year run of iBlog where I have slagged Hollywood for their general lack of creativity when it comes to television and films.

From everything to horrible reality shows featuring Jackson siblings you don't care about (and may never have heard of before... I'm talking to you Jackie!) or talk show hosts becoming judges on singing competitions (even So You Think You Can Dance would make more sense), everything to this point has just been about my elitist view that Hollywood simply doesn't have the right creative people around to cook up fresh, new ideas any more.

Yes, part of it is that I wish I could write movies or television shows or whatever because the stuff they are making is crap. There... I said it... happy?

Anyway, when it comes to the film industry, website /film.com has come through with my evidence!

We're a solid nine-and-a-half years into the decade. D'you know how many of the Top 50 grossing movies of this millennium are original works?

Nine.

Nine, as in, "I can count them all on my hands!"

They are: Finding Nemo, Kung-Fu Panda, The Incredibles, Hancock, Ratatouille, The Day After Tomorrow, Madagascar, Monster Inc. and WALL-E.

How Hancock made that list absolutely astonishes me; I guess some people really love Will Smith.

Anyway, the remaining 41 films are all based on previous material of some kind. There are adaptations of television shows (The Simpsons Movie), books (LOTR Trilogy), comics (Spiderman, Iron Man, etc.) and sequels, which could maybe get a pass in my books, but still.

Even with the sequels to films like Shrek and Ice Age off the list, we're still talking about more than 75% of the films on the list being spun from the original ideas of someone else.

What is even more alarming than the number of knock-offs and new interpretations hitting the list is the alarming lack of quality original material for actual living, breathing actors.

Apparently, only animation studios can come up with their own ideas that are unique and entertaining for people, as all but two of the aforementioned nine films are animated features.

Perhaps I am being too picky; some of these sequels and retreads have actually been pretty good, but if we're being honest and I had a choice between a new spin on the telling of a familiar tale and sitting down to watch an well-crafted original work like The Usual Suspects or Seven, I'm taking the originals every time.

Tell me what you think: is creativity on hiatus in Hollywood or have we simply gotten to a point where people want remake, refried, retread entertainment more than having to think about something new?

Continue reading ...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Michael Died... Let's Do a Reality TV Show!


Pictured are the good old days of The Jackson 5, one of the greatest groups in the history of music.

Yes, they were that damn good.

You know the one in the front - that's Michael, back before the skin treatments, countless surgeries and prolonged coverage of his death on CNN.

But can you name the other four Jacksons?

Interestingly enough, most people will probably remember Tito for the sole reason that his name is Tito and there weren't a whole lot of kids on your block named Tito. At least not where I lived.

The others are Jermaine, Marlon and Jackie, and they're coming to A&E with replacement / other brother Randy.

Yep, this is what our world has come to.

The most famous of the five-some dies, cable news channels cover it ad nauseum and the other members of the family find some way to capitalize on the coverage with a Reality TV show courtesy of A&E.

Awesome.

"Hey, Michael died and they're covering the crap out of it. We're pseudo-relevant again. We should reunite and do a cable TV show about it!"

Yeah, because that's always a good way to cash in on the remorse people feel over the passing of your incredibly talent / exceptionally odd brother.

Seriously, what the hell is A&E thinking?

How could the home of such insightful and educational programs as Dog the Bounty Hunter and Gene Simmons: Family Jewels sink to this level...

What's worse is that the only thought running through my head right now is, "If this show was on TLC, would Kate Gosselin be the new host?"

This is our world people... celebrities are dead, their less-talented siblings are stars and Kate Gosselin is the most famous women in North America.

Somebody shoot me.

Continue reading ...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Empire State of Mind

Song: Empire State of Mind
Artist: Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
Album: The Blueprint 3 (2009)

This song is just too damn good to ignore, regardless of the fact that it was only a couple weeks ago that "Run This Town" off the exact same album made an appearance in this section.

Jay-Z becomes the first repeat performer in the Soundtrack, something I have been diligently trying to avoid. Not because it's Jay, but because there are so many talented artists out there with great songs that inspire me and move me that I've never felt the need to double up.

Honestly, I could fill this column with about six or eight artists and feel good about it. Some of you could probably name those six or eight artists if you tried.

All that being said, this song is too much of a monster to not give it the attention it deserves.

Mommy took a bus trip and now she got her bust out,
everybody ride her, just like a bus route,
Hail Mary to the city your a Virgin,
and Jesus can’t save you life starts when the church ends,
came here for school, graduated to the high life,
ball players, rap stars, addicted to the limelight,
MDMA got you feeling like a champion,
the city never sleeps better slip you a Ambien

Seriously - who else is ending a banger with a rhyme about sleep medication that works so perfectly?

This one is an all-time selection for me, Top 5 material.

Hip Hop isn't dead, you just gotta wait for the quality to come out.



Continue reading ...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Congratulations - You're Forever Izzie!


Being on a popular and successful television show is one of the aims of every working actor out there. Nobody wants to be that person who always has a new pilot in the works and might be getting a deal on ABC for a mid-season replacement show.

Of course, there is a downside too.

Why don't you give Jason Alexander a call about it? Maybe the entire cast of Friends could tell you a thing or two?

And now, you can add Katherine Heigl to that list.

From now until the end of time, every appearance of Katherine Heigl in a major motion picture will be the equivalent of Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens playing the role of the smart, blonde female lead.

Case in point, The Ugly Truth.

For the record, avoid it like the plague. Bad doesn't seem like a strong enough word.

Anyway, despite only watching Heigl and Gerard Butler go back and forth on film two nights ago, I can't tell you the name of Heigl's character.

Why? Because regardless of whatever her name was, she was Izzie, playing the part of a character in a very mediocre movie.

Now, this has happened to countless people in the past, including the poor souls mentioned off the top. I mean, Matt LeBlanc has officially fallen off the face of the Earth because he will forever be Joey Tribiani, and nothing he does will ever change that.

For Heigl, it's going to take a dramatic departure from every role she's ever played for people to not see Izzie Stevens starring in another craptacular romantic comedy coming soon to a theatre near you.

I say blood-thirsty serial killer with short dark hair and all goth'ed up on Criminal Minds...

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Rundown: Hot? Really? I Don't See It

So last week in The Rundown we broke out a list of five sneaky hot celebs; stars who you don't use a variant of the word "hot" to describe and who aren't revered for their style or look or wardrobe or anything like that.

This week, we shift gears, going from the hotness that slowly creeps up on you until you realize, "Wait a minute... Tina Fey is smokin' hot!" to those who just don't quite do it for us, even though a whole lot of people are really, really interested.

Everyone has their own tastes and that's cool, but we're amazed that so many people can be wrong about the ladies and gentlemen on this week's list.

Honorable mention goes to Owen Wilson based on the fact that if you have to use the word "character" to describe someone's attractiveness, as in, "His face has character," it's the polite way of saying, "he's not that good looking but I like him anyway."

On with the show.

5 Un-hot Hot Celebrities

5. The Olsen Twins

Nothing like a pair of emaciated sisters with greasy hair, dark bags under their eyes and a bazillion dollars in the bank to kick of a list!

While many still turn to them as style icons and countless frat boy freakshows continue to hold out hopes of Olsen Twin triumph, the truth of the matter is that heroin chic hasn't been chic in some time.

Somehow, these style icons haven't caught on. Someone get these girls a box of donuts and a good night's sleep!

4. Gerard Butler

I love the guy, but let's be honest: he's no better looking than millions of men out there. In fact, I would wager that if you were to walk down the streets of London (England, not Ontario) or Sydney (Australia, not Nova Scotia) or Dublin, you'd find yourself a handful of unknown Gerard Butler's of equal attractiveness.

Why? It's the accent; a decent looking guy with a great accent is always far better looking. Hell, a lot of questionable looking bastards with great accents have done quite alright for themselves over the years if we're being truthful.

Bottom line: I'd be way better looking with a cool Irish accent.

3. Sarah Jessica Parker

Ah.. Horseface. Sorry, but it's true.

While Sex in the City was a solid show and Carey Bradshaw was an interesting character, Sarah Jessica Parker was running third in the "hottest women on SITC" contest, only topping the redhead and that isn't saying much.

Kristin Davis owned the crown and super-cougar Kim Cattrall took second simply because you knew that she would show you 327 new things a night once the bedroom door closed.

Some days, SJP can look great. Others, she resembles Seabiscuit and that nullifies any good days in an instant.

2. Robert Pattinson

Seriously... WTF is it about this guy?

The greasy, disheveled hair? The pasty, white skin? The constant look like he's gotten three hours of sleep in the last week combined with the forlorn doe eyes?

Honestly, cheer up emo kid, it's going to be alright! You're making a trillion dollars doing some horrible acting (from what I've heard, seeing as I'm still boycotting Twilight) yet you can't comb your goddamn hair?

Someone needs to explain this one to me...

1. Lady Gaga

This is a slam dunk if ever there was one.

For starters, she's a classic butterface... though you would never know it since there is always some kind of mask / screen / mesh / metal covering all or part of her face.

Toss in 97 pounds of makeup, including 53 pounds solely used on her eyes and those absolutely ridiculous outfits we've all seen her in since she unfortunately fell into a laps last year and you get the picture.

I won't even begin to discuss the bullshit she calls music either.

I've shown you mine, now you show me yours: tell me who makes your list in the comments section.

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dishonor Roll: Kate Gosselin

After listening to her bitch and moan and whine and complain and give cliche answers and make herself sound great and wonderful and willing to do anything for her kids, it's time for Kate to make her appearance on the Dishonor Roll.

First, I will say this: I have no side in the Jon vs. Kate debate; they're both camera-hungry and should stop for 97 seconds and remember there are 8 kids who need parents more than millions of tabloid-loving freaks need gossip.

That being said, I don't know if there is anyone in the world right now that I want to choke more than Kate Gosselin...

What kills me is that when the show started, Kate was the quintessential stay-at-home mom, right down to the stay-at-home mom wardrobe and haircut. She was raising eight kids, so wearing sweatpants to the store made sense...

Now, I would bet the idea of sweatpants would repulse her, because she's "Kate Gosselin: Television Star" and KG:TS doesn't wear sweatpants.

She also doesn't voice any accountability for what has transpired in her life over the last couple years and while she looks into the cameras with big doe eyes and says that she'll do anything for her kids, I don't see her rushing back to a hospital to resume her career as a nurse...

Instead, she talks about having her own show with TLC, guest hosts The View, does these little one-on-one interviews and is completely oblivious (it seems) to the fact that as much as her husband is a bit of a douche, she's right up there with him.

After all, she made the guy change his career to be home more with the kids so she could go out and become a celebrity. She can say she was providing for her family all she wants, but there is providing and there is loving the attention being KG:TS delivered and methinks the latter was a more powerful draw than the former.

Just once I want to hear her say, "Man, I was a bitch" when she's watching clips of talking to her husband like a four-year-old in Toys R Us or any of the other times it happened.

Or cop to enjoying the fame. It's okay. I'd enjoy the fame too. Maybe not to the point of making my significant other get hair plugs, but still...

Jon is a doofus; he's wearing way too much Ed Hardy, taking bad advice from shady lawyers and just being a general goober, but at least he's out there admitting he's made mistakes and fessing up to being a goober...

Kate just smiles, dabs at tears and wonders why all this horrible stuff has happened to wonderful little her... so now she's on the Dishonor Roll.


Continue reading ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The First Step Towards World Domination...

Say hello to the latest addition to the Mixed Martial Arts team at Heavy.com!

That's right, yours truly has found himself a job writing about Mixed Martial Arts and it actually pays something... crazy, I know.

Of course, there have been other "paying" jobs in the past that ended up paying me in pocket lint, but this one is a much more reliable venture, having been around for an extended period of time and coming to me courtesy of a guy I've come to trust in the business.

Now, this certainly isn't going to be "stay at home and never serve another plate of fries" type money, but it's a start. You've got to make your first buck before you can make your first million, right?

That being said, it's money and money for something that I've been doing religiously for the last five months pretty much for free, so there is no denying that it's an improvement. As great as exposure and opportunity is when it comes to the business of writing, exposure and opportunity with a little something something in the bank account each month is certainly a much more appetizing idea.

The move to Team Heavy as I'm going to call it will come with a little bit of a shift for Keyboard Kimura; some of the more regular pieces and top tier op-ed stuff will get moved over to Heavy, but that doesn't mean K2 is going the way of the dinosaur.

After all, I have a serious addiction to (a) the computer, (b) writing in general and (c) reading my own work and thinking how wonderful it is, so you know I'm going to find a way to keep spreading myself ridiculously thin and writing in as many places as possible.

But Team Heavy becomes the primary focus... so be sure to check out the site and find my work... all 37 of you.

Continue reading ...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Going Grumpy

That's me - third from the left, or second from the right if you'd like.

At least, more and more that is becoming me, a more distinguished gentlemen who surely has a choice opinion on everything from President Obama (good) to Kate Gosselin (not so good) and everything in between (varies depending on the topic).

What's interesting (at least to me) is that I'm increasingly becoming someone I never thought I would become; I'm that guy who shakes his head at innovation and says things like, "We didn't have that when I was growing up."

Holy shit sports fans... I'm a Grumpy Old Man.

I fully realized this last night when a commercial for some new car came on and details the features found inside the vehicle.

Seriously, do we really need a 40-gig computer in a car now? Voice-activated GPS? Digital radio that syncs up to your iPod or home computer so you can listen to only the music you want all the time without the annoyances of talking or commercials?

I know? What 30-year-old in his right mind doesn't want this stuff?

Well, me, if you decide to count 31-year-olds in the above category.

When I was growing up we had maps and tape decks and radio stations that either played great music or had amusing DJ's (but not both), not built-in DVD players and some robotic women telling me to turn left in 800 metres.

Honestly, have we really become that lazy that we can't put a CD into a CD player or have whoever is riding shotgun desperately trying to find where we turn left to get to the mall?

We've literally innovated everything imaginable... except the things that actually matter.

Cars are now entertainment centers on wheels with computerized everything, but we can't put new computers in schools. That would cost too much money.

Millions of dollars have been pumped into making cars safer, cooler, more entertaining, but access to life-saving technology like an MRI and CAT scan still cost all the money in Scrooge McDuck's money tower and take four-to-six months before there is an opening.

I know I have been harping on this a lot lately, but it's because I just don't understand...

As cool as cars are these days - and there are some pretty kick-ass options out there - couldn't we be innovating something a little more important than a Ford Focus?

See?

I'm going grumpy...

Continue reading ...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Baba O'Riley

Song: Baba O'Riley
Artist: The Who
Album: Single (1971)

Honestly, if I have to explain why this song is making an appearance on the Soundtrack, you hate music.

Without question, this is one of the most awesome songs ever and the fact that it took me nearly two years to get around to including it is ridiculous.

For the few who have no idea what song I'm talking about, does it help if I mistakenly refer to it as "Teenage Wasteland" as so many often do?

Enjoy the song after the jump... Happy Friday.



Continue reading ...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blogs About Dogs and Unreturned Inquires


This is my dog, Luke.

If you've been here before, you've heard a thing or two about him. Little man is my canine sidekick and I wouldn't want it any other way.

As it turns out, Victoria has a pretty healthy pug population; from Chili upstairs to the two puggles who avoided Luke like the plague at the Dog Park yesterday, they seem to be everywhere, including in the newspaper.

Well, at least on the newspapers website.

Adventures with Ollie is an entertaining blog written by Adrian Chamberlain, chronicling the hilarity and odd moments that are present through his pug, Ollie.

In just over a week of being here and knowing about the blog, both Sarah and I are fans. Additionally, I'm jealous as hell.

Seriously, the guy is living my dream; getting paid to write about the ridiculous things that his overweight animal companion does on an irregular basis. All that is missing for his situation to turn into my version of paradise is a bottomless keg of Guinness and a plate of chicken wings.

What makes it all the more awesome for me - and yes, when I say "all the more awesome," I mean "a massive kick in the cujones" - is that this is the same newspaper who wouldn't even send me a "thanks, but we're in no way interested in your thoughts on MMA" email when I inquired about doing some pro bono blogging for them before moving out here.

The Adventures with Ollie blog certainly gives me hope that one day I will be able to fully live the dream, spending my days in my sweatpants while making money for my trivial thoughts on everything from the latest Kate Gosselin to the Georges St-Pierre signing a sponsorship deal with Under Armour Underwear.

It also makes me want to tear my own eyes out, since blogs about overweight dogs dressed as bees for Halloween gets coverage galore but the fastest growing sport in the world can't even get me a "piss off, rookie!" response...

Maybe I should write more about Luke and less about Brock Lesnar?



Continue reading ...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Rundown: Sneaky Hot

Obvious beauty is just that - obvious.

We all know why legions of young men drool over Megan Fox and countless women wish that George Clooney would decide to settle down with them, if only for a night.

They're the textbook definitions of hotness and no one is debating that fact.

Personally, as much as I'm a fan of each of those individuals - yes, both of them; Clooney is a good-looking bastard and I'm okay with admitting it - I'm even more a fan of those who are Sneaky Hot.

What is Sneaky Hot, you ask?

It's those people who have a definite appeal, but don't necessarily jump to mind right away when someone asks, "Who is the hottest person on the face of the Earth?" Keep reading if you need examples.

The Sneaky Hot Rundown

5. Patrick Dempsey

Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Sheperd has always been a good-looking guy and he's a perfect example of someone who is sneaky hot.

He doesn't have the "make your boyfriend mad" looks / cockiness combination of co-star Eric Dane's Mark "McSteamy" Sloan, but he's got good hair, a soft voice and a confidence about him that makes a large number of ladies wish they needed brain surgery.

4. Jenna Fischer

If you watch The Office, you know her as Pam. If you don't watch The Office but have a wife who subscribes to Self, you know her as "Holy Shit! That chick from The Office is sneaky hot!"

The truth about Jenna Fischer's covert hotness came out in the horrible Blades of Glory, where she slutted it up a little as the sister of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler's all-too-close sibling skaters.

Now, the truth is very much out there, so while "Pam" may be sitting around in frumpy blouses that show off about as much as a moron at a church gathering, Jenna's got herself a nice little figure and a place on many a man's Sneaky Hot list.

3. Lauren Graham

Yes, Lorelai Gilmore is on the Sneaky Hot list and if you have a problem with it, go rent Bad Santa and call me in the morning.

Personally, I think it's the smirk. There's something a little bit naughty behind that coy little smile... and I like it.

2. Aaron Eckhart

If you can pull off both the long-haired, fully-bearded biker dude with the heart of gold named George in Erin Brockovich and the sharp-dressed, killer-grin-flashing fast-talking Nick Naylor in Thank You For Smoking, you win.

Eckhart is the quintessential Sneaky Hot guy; good-looking, but not a model, funny, charming and seems like a cool enough guy that we'd let him talk to our girlfriend / wife without thinking anything of it...

Until they run off to Maui together the smooth bastard.

1. Tina Fey

Yes, the picture gave it away. I don't care. Tina Fey is the epitome of sneaky hot.

The first thing you say about her isn't something about her looks; it's that she's funny. In fact, her looks might not even be in the Top 5 other than a remark about that scar on her cheek she acquired as a child.

But underneath the funny and the 30 Rock and the scar and the dead-on Sarah Palin impersonations, Tina Fey is a little pocket rocket of Sneaky Hot goodness.

Who makes your Sneaky Hot list?

Continue reading ...

Monday, November 2, 2009

There is Hope for the Future: Harvard Class on The Wire

It's been a long time since I talked about my favorite HBO show that hasn't aired in a couple years, mainly because I'm in serious withdraw and need to get my hands on Season 4 and 5 to complete my collection.

If you still haven't found time to check out The Wire in any way you can, do it, because it's incredible.

How incredible? Incredible enough to become the basis for a class at Harvard.

Now, some people are going to think what I am going to say in this post is ridiculous, and that is perfectly fine; I don't expect everyone to agree with everything I say. That being said, reading about the introduction of this class gives me hope for the future.

William J. Wilson, the professor who will be offering the class, offered this explanation for using the program as the basis for a course at the Ivy League institution:

I do not hesitate to say that it has done more to enhance our
understanding of the challenges of urban life and the problems of urban
inequality, more than any other media event or scholarly publication including
studies by social scientists.

While some may think that it is impossible to learn more from a fictional television show, the truth is that the things happening right now in our world are far better teaching tools than anything you can find in an antiquated textbook.

The world is changing rapidly and discussions of the ills that infect our society cannot be found in the history books; they are modern problems that need modern answers and to be discussed without pretense, which is precisely what The Wire did with urban life for five years on HBO.

Though I agree with Santayana that "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it," I am more inclined to see the problems affecting our world right now be taught, studied and dealt with than worrying about what could happen in the future or what took place in the past.

What good is learning about wars that took place decades ago when poverty, drugs and crime cripple communities every day and go undiscussed? Instead of learning about the sociology of ancient civilizations, why not study the societies right outside our windows?

Is a class framed around the struggles portrayed on a television show the answer to the challenges of urban life?

Probably not, but at least Professor William J. Wilson and Harvard are willing to take a real look at the question...

Continue reading ...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. Our Movers Suck!

First, they agree to a date for pickup. Then they tell us we're going to have to change that to accommodate their schedule. We sort things out, come to a compromise and our things get put on a truck.

Seven days later, they're still not here and the phone call we were told we'd get today as an update still has materialized.

For anyone out there considering a move, especially one of a great distance and with time constraints, this is why you pay the extra money to go with one of the big boys... you get your stuff when on time.


2. Maybe We Shouldn't Travel

The more I think about it, the more I realize that every trip we plan to make has some element of frustration beyond the usual, acceptable "sat next to a guy who smelled funny on the plane" type of annoyances.

In the last two years, we've had an appendix up-end Christmas in Vancouver, a collision with a deer derail a road trip back to Newfoundland, headaches galore with our wedding in the Dominican and the current travel situation that has us living like squatters with nothing more than an air mattress and the clothes on our backs.

Something tells me we need to take a break from trying to go places and just enjoy exploring the surroundings of Victoria.

3. Trying to be a Better Person

I've had a lot of windbags chiming in on pieces over at Bleacher Report lately, launching personal attacks at me and others just for the sake of having something to say, and I just don't get it.

What good comes from pissing in someone's cereal or calling someone "trailer trash" when you actually know very little about them? We're all guilty of it at one point or another, myself included, but I'm doing my best to stop. I really just don't see the point.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions and can think whatever they want about just about anyone. But if all you can add to the conversation is namecalling and nonsense, why open your mouth in the first place? Because really, none of us are perfect...

4. Liking Victoria

This is exactly the type of city for me; lots to do, the things I like and want in close proximity and plenty of space and scenery to enjoy all rolled into one.

Instead of having to drive 30 minutes to buy clothes from the terrific trio of Zellers, Wal-Mart or Superstore, I can drive ten minutes, roam through all kinds of quality stores in the mall and pick up a Starbucks while I'm there... stopping on the way home to grab some sushi.

I get why some people love quiant little places like Kimberley as much as they do; it's a great town, just not for me. I need life, some traffic and options on every corner and so far, Victoria is coming through in spades.

5. Future YouTube Sensation

One of these days, I'm going to bring my camera outside and tape Luke wrestling with Chili, the pug from upstairs.

It's priceless and if David After the Dentist and Charlie Bit My Finger can become YouTube sensations, than Pug MMA can certainly follow suit, especially if I can capture the times that Chili bites onto Luke's chubby little cheeks and starts dragging him off the concrete and back onto the grass.

Seriously, it's hilarious... you'll see.


Continue reading ...

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Second Birthday, iBlog!

Somehow, I've been writing this bad boy for two years as of today.

The more amazing thing - besides the fact that I've actually managed to do this for two years without quitting - is that there have been 580 posts, including this one. Considering that there have been 730 days since this undertaking began, 580 posts is pretty solid.

But enough with the statistics, this is about what Year Three will bring... hopefully.

For starters, a return to the daily ridiculousness that iBlog originated as back in the days of being based in Newfoundland and making fun of Blockbuster Video customers. While I'm no longer at both, there is no shortage of stupid people and sarcastic comments available in Victoria...

Secondly, and this one is more a Spencer thing than an iBlog thing, a move to a more permanent position the keyboard, as opposed to finding a way to fit in a daily iBlog post around "a real job" and all the other volunteer work (read: MMA writing) that currently makes up my day.

Three - less posts about me, my trials and tribulations and the mundane existence that is my life as a struggling writer. Let's be honest: there is only so many sad bastard, whoa is me post that anyone will come back for and the 37 of you who hang out here regularly have got to be pretty damn tired of it by now...

After all, I've been droning on like this for two friggin' years.

Thanks for sticking around with me all this time... now it's time to eat some cake!

Continue reading ...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Settled Into An Unsettled Situation


So we've landed in Victoria, found our place and spent the better part of a day dealing with the wonderful situation that is being completely unsettled.
Honestly, we shouldn't have spent those extra two days in Vancouver, as there is just so much running around that comes with moving to yet another new house that needs to get done, that getting here Monday afternoon would have made much more sense.
Good ol' hindsight...

The Positives
  • Landlords are great, as is their dog Chili; he and Luke are already best friends
  • Starbucks is around the corner - perfect distance to be a reward at the end of a walk...
  • Sushi joints everywhere
  • Internet and such is all set up and super fast
  • House is going to work just fine, once our stuff arrives
The Negatives
  • Stuff isn't here yet, so we don't know for sure if everything is going to fit
  • Car needed fixing the minute we got here; nothing like an unexpected $300 to kick off a move
  • Chapters is miles away
  • Uncertainty doesn't sit well with the missus, but she's doing okay
The most interesting bit of uselessness thus far has to be the design of our suite. Monica, if you're reading this, do not take it as a slight on you and Derek... like I said at the start, you're awesome.
But whoever turned this basement into a rental unit was certainly smoking some crack when they decided it would be a good idea to leave half a staircase intact in the middle of our main living area.
The ceiling is all closed in, you can't see where the rest of the steps would lead, yet we've still got ten steps leading to absolutely nowhere taking up what would be an ideal place for our big-ass couch in the middle of our living room.
I suppose I could use them to do step aerobics or something...
Hopefully, everything gets here on Saturday as scheduled, so Sarah and I can get stuff organized and I can spend Sunday alternating between unpacking and watching football, because you know the TV is going to be the first thing I hook up.
If not, be prepared for a whole lot of entries here on iBlog, because there is only so much time I can spend staring at the stairs...

Continue reading ...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. Last Major Move

Not because I've suddenly been offered a job with a reasonable salary or because we know we'll fall madly in love with Victoria. No, this is the last major move because packing and hauling ourselves across this great country of ours is getting ridiculous.

Though it took just five hours worth of work to get 2/3 of the house parceled and packed yesterday, here we are today hoping that the movers tell us they're coming Tuesday or Wednesday so we can avoid the remaining 1/3.

At this point, I might be willing to pay for someone to come finish the job. Let me know if you're interested.

2. Suddenly Popular

Always amazes me how months and months can go by with little to no social activity dotting our calendar, but as soon as that final week in town rolls around, everyone wants to have dinner.

Not knocking having dinner with friends (or having friends at all for that matter) but how come you want to hang out now? I mean, we had an entire year to do stuff and now that we're super busy getting packed and cleaning the house, we need to hang out?

3. I'm Becoming a Coffee Nerd... and I Like It

Remember how I used to make fun of people who order grandiose concoctions with half this and no that and a shot of something else with their coffee?

Yeah - I'm that guy now and I don't care. The days of packing back super-fat coffees at Starbucks are over. If I want to indulge in something other than good old-fashioned java, it's now a No Fat, White Mocha, No Whip with a pump of peppermint.

Delightful!

4. A Welcomed Hiatus

With all the packing and moving and planning and roadtripping on the go right now, writing has taken and will continue to take a backseat.

As much as I thought it would drive me insane, I actually quite enjoy it. Not rushing around during the day to squeeze in a column here and an article there; it makes taking afternoon naps a lot easier.

For now, I'll write whenever inspiration / desperation hits me and chronicle some of our journey out to the island, but until we get settled and the new world headquarters of ESKimo Enterprises opens it's doors, I'm on hiatus... and I love it.


Continue reading ...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Breakeven

Song: Breakeven
Artist: The Script
Album: The Script (2008)

In a very mellow, laid-backy kind of mode right now, having finished work and getting ready to make yet another move. As such, my musical focus has shifted to some cooler, more melodic stuff in the last little while and one of my discoveries has been this song by The Script.

Now, it certainly helps that this track comes on at work three times per shift, force-feeding it to my eardrums for continued consumption, but then again, so does the new Nickelback and you don't see me dropping that in here now do you?

I can't lie either - part of my attraction to this song is the sing-ability factor: for me, if I can rock out with a song and not sound horrible singing along with it, I'm automatically going to like it a little more.

Instead of being a slow, melancholic break-up song, there is some tempo to this track despite the lyrics about a relationship ending. It sounds like an Irish Jack Johnson break-up song to me and as I enjoy all of those elements individually (Jack Johnson, Ireland, break-up songs) mixing them together works very well here in my books.

Chances are The Script will fall off the face of my musical Earth once this song fades from my memory, but that is the nature of the beast that is the music industry right now. I can't honestly think of a recent act that has work their way into my regular rotation as of late, because bands and artists just don't make continual great music the way they used to anymore.

But for now, these three Irish boys with the catchy break-up song are on the top of my charts and rocking the Soundtrack of My Life.




Continue reading ...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Rundown: I Used to Love Them

Remember that musician or group you used to really loved until all of a sudden they became the bane of your existence?

Everybody has them; bands that you couldn't get enough of that now make you think about jamming a screwdriver in your ear every time you hear one of their songs.

That's what we're talking about in today's Rundown.

Top 5 Musical Acts I Used to Love , But Now... Not So Much

5. The Black Eyed Peas

They're pictured for a reason, people and the photo couldn't be more apropos.

Will.I.Am and little Ms. Fergie Ferg are pretty much the only members of the band who do anything meaningful, while Taboo and apl.de.ap hang out in the background, cast aside and forgotten, just like the street cred they used to have.

Seriously, back when they began, with track like "Joints and Jams" and "Weekends" featuring Esthero, I loved me some BEP. But since Fergie came into the picture? Non-stop commercial nonsense

I gotta feeling alright - if I hear that song again, my feeling is that I'll barf on the spot.

4. Pearl Jam

Man, this one just depresses me.

Pearl Jam was so effin' awesome when they first came out, it would have been nearly impossible for them to keep it up all this time. As we all know - perhaps not, I shouldn't assume - they couldn't keep up the awesomeness and fell into Binaural / Riot Act period.

Thankfully, their new single "The Fixer" is winning me back over and they should be removed from this list in the future.

3. Nickelback

While it might embarrass some to admit they once liked Nickelback, I'm man enough to say I once did. "Leader of Men" is a great tune.

The first time I heard "How You Remind Me" I absolutely loved it and made everyone I know listen to it whenever it came on. Two weeks later, it was always on.

Nine years later - NINE YEARS PEOPLE - they're still always on the radio and their songs still annoy the bejesus out of me. Change it up already.

2. Bon Jovi

Remember when Bon Jovi was a rock band? Yeah, I miss those days too.

"Living on a Prayer" and "Wanted: Dead or Alive" are still chart very highly on my all-time favorites list, but have you heard there newer stuff? Count yourself lucky if you haven't.

Nothing like going "New Country" in your old age...

1. Eminem

Seriously - whiteboy was transcendent when he first burst onto the scene with The Slim Shady LP.

When no one thought he could follow it up, he deliver The Marshall Mathers LP and smashed everyone with track like "The Way I Am" and "Stan" that were just too damn good for anyone to ignore. Since then, it's been nothing but nonsense.

While previous efforts always featured one "funny" Eminem song - tracks like "My Name Is" and "The Real Slim Shady" - they were always followed up and surrounded by strong efforts that may not have been as commercially-viable, but carried weight with fans.

Now all we get is garbage like "Just Lose It" and "We Made You."

I ask this with all sincerity: Will The Real Slim Shady please stand up?

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Attack of the Green-Eyed Monster and His Collection of Baseless Accusations

Unfortunately, the green-eyed monster I speak of is not the lovable Mike Wasowski from Monsters Inc. I'm speaking, of course, about jealousy.

There are some things I'm going to have to accept (and I truthfully already have) if I want to make it in the writing business. First and foremost is that not everyone is going to like my work. That one I came to grips with long ago.

The second is that there are always going to be jealous people out there. I'm not saying my work is worthy of jealousy - a collection of monkeys chained to typewriters could do just as good a job as me - but some people are haters and feel the need to piss in other people's Corn Flakes.

Such was my day yesterday.

As mentioned the other day, I was recently moved into the #1 position in the Bleacher Report MMA writer rankings, a position that holds less value, power and merit than being the pie eating champion at the local country fair; at least that guy gets a trophy... and pie.

While there is a certain intrinsic satisfaction and feeling like my efforts are being recognized, believe me when I tell you that I haven't let the ranking go to my head.

Honestly, how could I? It's a subjective ranking on an website, not a proclamation from the New York Post that I'm the greatest writer in the world.

Anyway, when I went to the site to post the day's article, there was a message in my mailbox. When I opened it up, the green-eyed monster jumped out, wielding a collection of baseless accusations as his weapons.

The quick and dirty version is this: the author felt compelled to tell me that he - a man who can't spell properly and is a big fan or piss-poor grammar - believes that I am a hack, a plagiarist, have a stupid name, cheated my way to the #1 ranking, am incapable of writing as much as I do and myriad other insults and allegations.

Did I mention that at no point in the three months that I've been on Bleacher Report had I said more than twelve words to this Gomer before receiving his love letter?

Like I said up front, I can take the not liking my work. even from someone who believes enough is spelled "enuf" and thinks it's "rediculis" that I write as much as I do.

What I refuse to accept are douchey morons who feel the need and desire to make baseless accusations about people - in this case me - then quickly remind me about Freedom of Speech.

After a long and drawn out day of nonsense, this guy was classy enough to offer up $10K for me to pick an arena or gym where he would meet me to prove that a martial art I trained in years ago (tae kwon do) is useless.

Seriously, this is the idiocy that follows me around.

I know I shouldn't let it get me worked up; Sarah and I actually talk about it every time something like this comes up, because I take it very personal and I shouldn't.

What can I say? I'm working on that part.

But there is something about people just randomly making statements and claims about another person that rubs me the wrong way. Not so much that this tool thinks I'm an 18-year-old rich kid with a stupid name and massive inheritance coming my way, but the general idea of things - the idea that you can just say whatever you want about someone without repercussions.

That's not how I live my life and maybe I'm thick for not understanding how others don't do the same.

Jealously and envy aren't my style, but I guess they're something I'm going to have to get used to, what with being a useless, plagiarizing hack and all.




Continue reading ...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Passing the Big, Fat Buck

"It's not you - it's your metabolism."

I heard this slogan for one of the umpteen million weight loss programs out there last night, as their ad showing before and after pictures of success ran on my television.

Now, I can't remember if they were hocking pills, drinks, injections or snake oil, but I do remember instantly writing down their slogan while trying desperately not to piss myself.

While I certainly shouldn't be surprised that some company has gone this route, what with Acid Reflux having graduated from a pain-in-the-ass that makes you pop a couple Zantac and deal with to a full-blown disease, this one certainly takes the cake.

Umm... cake.

D'you know why I'm tipping the scales at 210 pounds? It certainly isn't because of my metabolism...

It might have something to do with the general lack of exercise, piss-poor diet and enjoyment of smoking, not to mention making like the fat kid in the picture two times over every time I hit the Golden Arches.

Here's the truth: while genetics certainly play a role in a person's weight, so too does chowing down on more fast food than fresh vegetables no matter how many times you get a Diet Coke with your combo.

But outside of the hyper-healthy screaming freakshows on The Biggest Loser, no one wants to tell the "slim challenged" set that they had anything to do with being the weight they are.

So they blame genetics.

Or your metabolism.

Or work, family life, a lack of time, opportunity or just about every other variable imaginable.

Don't worry, it's not you: your metabolism is to blame.

Now drive a block and a half to the corner store and pick up a 2L of Diet Coke, two bags of Doritos and a couple of Snickers to make yourself feel better.


Continue reading ...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. They Invented Shovels for a Reason

So we got our first set of snowfalls this week; nothing massive, but enough for the complex groundskeeper to have to do a little bit of snow removal. With the stairs covered in snow, I fully expected to see him, shovel in hand, taking care of the early white annoyance.

But that would only make sense. After all, why should I expect said lazy, useless groundkeeper to do anything the right way after watching him take four days to mow the grass all summer? Even though shovels were designed specifically for the purpose of snow removal, do you know what this rocket surgeon was rocking?

A leaf blower. You read that right - a goddamn leaf blower. Needless to say, the stairs still have snow caked on them.

2. Even Luke Isn't Interested in an Early Winter

Though he quite enjoyed playing in the snow last winter, like us, the canine component of the house was thoroughly unimpressed with the snow that fell this week.

After about two energetic frolics through the fluffy, white powder, Luke had had enough. He sticks to the road and concrete as much as possible, lifts alternating paws out of the cold when he is forced into the snow and has no real interest in spending more time outside than is absolutely necessary.

Basically, he's the canine equivalent of yours truly.

3. There Are Some Awful Football Teams This Year

While I completely enjoy quiet Sundays on the couch watching football while Sarah slugs it out at the hospital, what's a brother gotta do to get a decent game on the television? Why in the name of all things holy would I have any interest in watching the Oakland Raiders?

Option #2 for an early game was Dallas at Kansas City, which is marginally better than watching the Raiders, except that I absolutely hate the Dallas Cowboys and listening to Troy Aikman make excuses for his former team.

Detroit actually looks decent compared to St. Louis, and don't even get me started on Cleveland and Buffalo... yeech!

4. The Blueprint 3 is...

Insert your own superlative of choice: awesome, dope, bananas (B-AN-AN-AS), classic, dynamic, whatever you'd like.

I know I told you all about it a few weeks ago when "Run this Town" appeared in the Soundtrack, but the fact that I went out and actually bought the CD should tell you the level of smooth this album possesses.

"Empire State of Mind" is ridiculous.

5. Making Moves, Part 193

It probably seems to you that ever week is met with a new update on the status of my writing career, but the truth is that every week offers something new.

For one, the Keyboard Kimura interview curse was broken last night at WEC 43 when Scott Jorgensen dropped Noah Thomas in the first round. Add to that someone new taking over the top spot on the Bleacher Report MMA Writer Rankings (read: little ol' me) and the fact that I am in the process of interviewing Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida, and I'd say there has been some new things learned on the writing front this week.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone... enjoy the turkey sweats!

Continue reading ...