Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Picture Says It All

From a work perspective, the picture couldn't be more appropriate.

None of this should surprise me, mind you, since having everything going well in my life is like Ralph Wiggum failing English... unpossible.

Nope, got the family thing down, got the house, got the dog, all that is great.

Work? Work sucks, on all fronts.

Anti-Ski Season has begun in earnest at Kelsey's meaning I have no shifts. Zero. Not a one this week. I had one, but it was on Monday, you know, when I was still in Ontario. Awesome.

Now I knew that spring - slash - summer would mean a decrease in customers and therefore hours, but five hours a week just doesn't cut it. I know they'll be more down the road a couple weeks from now and that's great, but in the meantime, there are some hard pills to swallow.

Like the fact that I was hired as a full-time bartender. I'm basically a casual server right now, so this stings.

Not as much as seeing the mouth-breathers who clearly hate their job getting four shifts a week while I sit by the phone hoping someone comes down with the Swine Flu so I can work a couple extra hours.

What makes it all worse is that The Love of Sports looks like it's coming to an end too.

The paycheck that was promised when I took on the editorial position lasted two months and now we're at another "crossroads" with a directional change impending. That change is to less content and more of a focus on mediocre shit from what I have seen since I came home from the Dominican.

Neither of which are very appealing to me at this stage of my stagnant career.

The only good thing, the one silver lining, is that I will have a load of free time on my hands from the looks of things. Time that can be used to finally get off my ass and get a book proposal written and sent off to every publishing house in the country, as well as some in the nearby States like Montana and Washington.

And as if the day didn't suck enough before, we forgot to take the garbage out when we ran into town to get the mail and Senor Pug Dog destroyed another green garbage bag all over the kitchen.


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Rundown: Dominican Delights


Back on the scene, married and re-energized to write like a madman after nearly three weeks away from the computer and communicating with the masses through this here blog.

A much longer, much more detailed account of the trip will be coming in the next couple days - and the pictures will be coming to Facebook sometime soon too - but seeing as it's Wednesday, I figured why not recap five of my favorite memories from our travels.

And yes, that is our main pool... so awesome!

Top Five Dominican Moments

5. The Rainstorm
Tuesday afternoon, the clouds were rolling in and the waves were getting higher. Everyone else cleared out of the ocean. Deuce, Bucky, Sarah, Tim, Michelle, Jena and I stayed put and had the best afternoon of the trip. I mean, we're already wet, so what's wrong with a little more rain, right?

4. Jena's Fire Face
When Dominican bartenders light shit on fire, stay away. I should have known better, as fire shots through a straw are never a good idea and they're even worse when they involve 151 Proof rum that tastes like gasoline. I got one taste of the diesel and had the barf reflex activate. Jena, on the other hand, down most of her shot with straw, then picked up the scalding shot glass, put it to her lips and had the last remaining drops of booze ignite all around her face. No injuries makes this story awesome!

3. Negotiating 101 with Lance Doucette

Just plain awesome. Deuce doesn't smoke and can barely keep a cigar lit for longer than two minutes, which makes this all the more entertaining. Nothing like spending an hour smoking a man's products - for free - and trying to rake him over the coals for every last penny when you're already getting what sounds like a pretty good deal.

(Original quoted price: 325 a box. Bucky paid 180 twenty minutes earlier...)

Gimme 165.
Deuce: 162... yeah, I'll go there.

Priceless. Turns out the boys got hosed, but still...

2. Starting Out with a Bang!

So the boys got loaded right off the plane. Rules stipulated that a Do Not Disturb sign on the door meant stay out. Too bad neither of them actually put it on the door. Deuce literally crashed at Jena's (about 24 hours after meeting her... awkward...) while Bucky slept by the pool under lounge cushions until about 2 AM when he figured out their room was totally empty. Just plain epic.

1. Seeing Sarah for the First Time on Thursday
You'll see the pictures later and the whole event was awesome, but the image of my wife coming down the stairs looking radiant will forever be etched in my memory.

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

iBlog is on Vacation

We're outta here tomorrow and that means that I won't be posting anything for the next couple weeks.

What can I say - there is no way that I am blogging while I'm away on at my wedding and on my honeymoon, so you'll just have to wait until I get back.

Pictures will hit Facebook as soon as I get them on the computer and I'll be sure to tell you all about it in the first post post-wedding.

Have fun fuckers... see you when I'm married!

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life

One Mic
Artist: Nas
Album: Stillmatic (2001)

Nas is a tough one for me.

On one had, there are tracks like this and "One Love" and "Ain't Hard to Tell" and "If I Ruled the World," joints that are pretty close to perfection.

But then there is a bunch of crap out there too, so I never know where to stand when it comes to Nasir Jones.

Truthfully, Nas is a dichotomy to most everyone in the hip hop world: he's shown over and over again that he is one of the most gifted MCs and writers around, but sometimes he'd just rather be "lazy" and do something easy.

This track is the former.

I love how it just constantly builds to energy. You get lulled to sleep by his lazy flow and then... sirens, energy, and fierce rhymes get you going only to slow back down to the Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight" sample this song is built on.

Still, you gotta give respect to someone who has been successful and meaningful in the game for as long as Nas has and there is enough quality in the vaults to make me want to go see him at Rock the Bells this summer in Vancouver.

Serious - Nas, Common, The Roots, K'naan... how could I not go? Anyone want to come with me?

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Well, It's Finally Happened...

Billy Bob Thornton has officially gone totally fucking crazy and not in the drooling and babbling way. He's on the whole "serial killer with cold, calculated answers and cryptic stares" type shit that scares the bejesus out of me.

Mr. Slingblade was on the CBC show Q with Jian Ghomeshi and turned in a truly creepy performance. The appearance was to promote his band Boxmasters and apparently, BBT instructed the show's producers not to talk about his "other career," you know, the whole acting-directing-writing thing that made him famous in the first place.

So, Ghomeshi barely touches on it in the introduction, because really, "who the fuck are The Boxmasters and why would I care if I didn't know it's Bad Santa's band?" and Thornton proceeds to answer questions like a complete moron.

Eventually, they discuss his frustrations but it doesn't solve much of anything really. He leaves his bandmates to play an acoustic set for the show and the looks on their faces is priceless. You know they have to be weighing the benefits of having this jackass in the band every day.

"Well, we get some press and opportunities because we play with Billy Bob, but the guy is a total douchebag. What do we do?"

Here's what you do: find a new drummer and let The Astronaut Farmer go back to making shitty movies and getting divorced every two years.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Rundown: Shut Up Already!

In life, there are those things you come to hear over and over again.

Parents telling you to eat your vegetables as a child, warning you that masturbating will make you go blind, instructing you to stop picking your nose ... you know, that stuff.

Once you hit adulthood, it really doesn't change. Sure, maybe it's not your parents anymore - maybe it is, I dunno - but there is still a long line of people telling you the same crap you've heard over and over and over again to the point that it makes your ears bleed and thoughts of grabbing an uzi and bell tower cross you mind.

For me, this is a regular occurrence and I thought I would share with you today.

Top 5 Things People Need to Stop Telling Me

5. Making a Living as a Writer is Hard
This is one of Sarah's mom's favorites and lemme tell you how awesome it is to hear. One, I'm the one who has been slaving it out for the last two-plus years trying to make some in-roads. Two, I've done better in two years than some people, so gimme a little credit. Three, you think I don't wish GQ would call and offer me a six-figure salary? Stop beating a dead horse already...

4. That's Just the Way the Schedule Worked Out
Schedules don't work out. They don't create themselves. Humans make them and can do so in whatever fashion they like, so telling me that the schedule just didn't allow for me to have any shifts this week is crap. You didn't schedule me. You scheduled the guy who called the office cursing while hammered at two in the morning and the chick who everyone hates and steals from the company as routinely as she can, but not me. Good thing I've been working hard all winter long...

3. You Say That Now, But Wait 'til You've Been Married for Ten Years
Ten years from now, I'm still going to love Sarah immensely. I'm still going to take care of her when she's sick. I'm still going to want to spend days off with her over anything else in the world. That won't change over time. Just because your marriage did, doesn't mean my marriage is going to. Besides, can't you wait 'til after I'm married to start raining on my parade?

2. You Should Quit Smoking
No shit. But here's the thing: I don't really want to all that much, so why don't you stop telling me and I'll go have a smoke. I know the health risks, I know the stigma and I know how much I enjoy lighting a cigarette six or eight times a day, so fuck off. I'll quit on my own terms whenever I decide. Until then, leave it alone.

1. We're Going to Pay You, We Just Can't Right Now
Ah yes, the greatest line of crap I've ever heard. Everyone has the greatest intentions, but their bank accounts are usually empty. This one actually feeds into #5 really, because if all the people who have said over the years that they're going to pay me or we're going to make it rich every came through, #5 wouldn't be an issue. Alas, no one has really come through consistently yet, so I'm still broke and doing what I do for love and a fleeting hope of one day getting paid.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Am a McFatty

So we had to go into Cranbrook today to do some running around and when the question turned to, "What do you wanna get to eat?" McDonald's was the easy choice.

Honestly, I don't care how bad this makes me sound in today's health conscious times, I fuckin' love McDonald's.

Living in Kimberley actually makes me love it more, because unlike all those years of living in fairly close proximity to a store, it has become a luxury item once again and each trip becomes more than a meal. It becomes a feast.

Case and point, today.

Most normal humans purchase a meal and are happy with that. Some supersize the bad boy and score themselves a few extra fries and more soda to wash down the greasy goodness.

Me? I go full on Fatty McSnack. McChicken Meal with the world famous McDonald's orange nuke juice and two - not one, but two - double cheeseburgers.

Sheer greasy delight.

Of course, the downside is that it's been six hours since I ate and I'm still not hungry, not to mention the fact that I'll probably be able to shit through the eye of a needle at forty pace come tomorrow morning.

But none of that matters when you're standing in line at the Golden Arches...

All that matters is the deliciousness!

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Cusack? In Fernie?

So the other week when Sarah was coming home from Vancouver, she was excited to tell me that she saw my hero, my cinematic idol, John Cusack, strolling through the Calgary airport.

Pretty cool, I must say. So far I've been limited to seeing Ken Dryden and a couple other hockey players over the years. I'd have tackled Cusack. Seriously.

Turns out, he wasn't just up here for the weather; he's shooting a movie in Fernie!

All of an hour and a half away from me rests Lloyd Dobler, Rob Gordon, Martin Blank and Craig Schwartz. You know what this means, right?

Sure as shit we're making a trip to Fernie one day this week. Not that we ever needed an excuse to head in for some serious sushi, but the possibility of a Cusack sighting makes it all the more worth it, especially seeing as it's really nice out and we can still drove home in the sunlight now.

Maybe he'll be on our flight to Calgary on Sunday.

I'd go over and say hi.

We'll strike up a conversation about film and writing.

He'd buy me a beer and I'd invite him to lunch.

We exchange numbers and promise to work on something together.

Me and my best friend John Cusack.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. Am I Unemployed?
Honestly, it feels a little that way, seeing as I worked three shifts at the bar this week and have only one this coming week. Granted, we're closed tomorrow and I've booked Sunday off for our trip, but still. Seems we planned this vacation at just the right time.

2. One More Game...
My Tar Heels have made it to the National Championship game and history is on our side. They crushed Michigan State on the same floor at the start of the year and while MSU was without one of their starters, he doesn't contribute the 30 point difference in the final score.

3. One More Week...
Then we leave for Ontario, do some shopping, do some relaxing and then head South. After all the headaches and all the frustrations, it's nice to be this close to everything finally coming together and working out. Sadly, I won't be able to let you know how it all turns out until after I get home.

4. I Know I Had a Fiancee Around Here Somewhere
Sarah and I have been on complete opposites lately and I barely get to see her. It's weird; we say hi in the morning when she gets off nights and bye in the evening when she's heading back in. Other than that, she's sleeping when I'm up and vice versa. This is another reason this vacation is so needed... I need to spend time with the wife!

5. How Am I Going to Leave This Dog?
With Sarah and I being on opposites, me and Cool Hand have rekindled our best friend relationship and I have no idea how I'm going to go without my ridiculously cute and entertaining Pug for almost three weeks. Any suggestions?

6. People See What They Want to See
Seems I pissed off a good portion of the population of Kimberley this week by calling out the city on their lack of support for Relay for Life. What's funny is that I didn't say anything about previous and current volunteers or claim all the committee members were behind me on this, but that seems to be the overwhelming reaction. Oh well, it makes writing this week's piece a little easier since I now need to clarify that the column is and always will be all about me.

7. How Bad Is It That I Can't Wait to Go to Chapters?
Seriously, outside of the twenty minutes I spent shuffling around one of the locations in Calgary when I was there a couple weeks back, it's been six months sans Chapters and I'm dying. All I want to do is compile a list of books to read, get a venti from The Bucks and rock the comfy chairs for an afternoon. I don't care if we do anything else while we're in Ontario, so long as I get my Chapters fix.

8. Are You Sick of Social Networking Too?
Remember when Facebook came out and we were all addicted? Are you over that too? Don't get me wrong, I still check it a couple times a day, but I don't poke people, I barely have any friend requests anymore and I don't miss it at all. Same with Twitter. I can't get into it. I'm just done with computer friendship and personal life notifications. Call me, email me, write me a letter...

9. Spring and Summer are Going to be Gorgeous
I don't know this for a fact, but judging by today, I'm going to love being here this summer. It's gorgeous - shining sun, probably not that hot since we're up in the mountains, great natural scenery and golf courses galore. Only detraction is the stupid deer... they aren't even back out en masse yet and I'm already angry with them...

10. Some Good TV Coming Out
A couple new shows I'm looking forward to debut this week. Southland and The Unusuals are both cop shows, but they're very different and both very interesting to me. The bad guy from SWAT is in The Unusuals and Ryan from The OC stars in Southland. Too bad I think they're on the same night...

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Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Plan of Attack

I make a lot of lists.

In fact, I have a white board in my office that is designated specifically for that purpose, to write down all the shit that I want / need to do in the future.

Right now it's blank; I'm on pre-holiday holidays and not doing anything much above the daily requirements until we get back from getting hitched. Then it's on.

See, I know I've talked a lot of shit over the years about all the grand schemes and ideas and plans I've had of how to make it in this business and get myself to the next level, but like 95% of the people out there, I haven't been so good with the follow through.

That changes once we get back. In fact, it already has started, as one of the things on my list was a return to iBlog with the same passion and daily drive that made it your favorite place to stop by for the first year.

I've also gotten the go ahead to pitch any ideas I have to that MMA magazine I was telling you about earlier in the week, so that's a start. While I certainly will continue being the MMA guy at The Love of Sports, getting my name in print in the industry is always priority number one.

But there is more and I'm not aiming small.

I'm going to keep pushing the MMA side of things, hopefully lining up a big interview for when we take our trip to Albuquerque in November and exploring any interest TSN might have in ramping up their coverage of the fastest growing sport in the world.

TLOS is going to get a major jolt as well, as a chunk of each day will be spend promoting the site everyone and anywhere possible, not to mention my return to Bugs & Cranks and hopefully, the unveiling of a little project that has been in the works for some time.

But for now, I'm heading back to the couch. It's Final Four time kids and I don't start work for another three hours ...

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life

Re-Education (Through Labor)
Artist: Rise Against
Album: Appeal to Reason (2008)

I'm in an anti-establishment, anti-conformity mood right now and Rise Against is the perfect soundtrack.

This week, I wrote a piece for the local paper condemning the City for failing to endorse the Relay for Life charity event I am volunteering for, saying their lack of willingness to support the event at the time we're allotted is unbelievable to me.

The response has been equally unbelievable. People want me to resign, to apologize, to be tarred and feathered because I voiced my opinion - one that is correct and valid to everyone who stands back and thinks about the issue clearly.

I won't do it. I don't succumb to pressure very often, I don't regret what I said and I will never fail to stand by the words that I write. This song and the quote at the beginning of the video aptly convey how I'm feeling right now:

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable."
- John F. Kennedy

For me, life is a quest to make the best of whatever situation I am given and when people try to tell me to do otherwise, they're pleading to deaf ears.

There is only one way that I know how to do things - my way - and I'll be damned if I'm ever going to change that part of me, especially not when it comes to my writing.

Discourse isn't dangerous; failing to listen and see all sides is.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Strange How This Always Works

My life really does have an odd yin and yang to it.

Whenever something good crops up, inevitably something bad follows right along after it and vice versa.

I'm not going to go into details about the bad, because I have too much respect for the people it involves, but what I will say is that things are a lot like Passion Magazine once again and that effin' sucks.

But, just as I was down in the dumps about that development, along came an email from the editor of an MMA magazine to say that he liked my work and looked forward to getting more submissions from me in the future.

The moral of the story: crappy 80's sitcom theme songs are always right...

You take the good, you take the bad and there you have The Facts of Life.

Whatever happened to Tutti and Jo?

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Rundown: Favorite Friends

Some of you may know this and some of you won't, but I'm a major, major fan of Friends. Major to the point that Sarah and I own every season and keep them on in rotation whenever there is nothing else on the go.

Put it this way: we've already ran through all ten seasons once since we've been out here and we're on Disc 2 of Season 9 right now.

Seeing as I watch so many episodes a week, I thought today I would narrow down my list and fill you in on my favorite episodes. Everybody has favorites and these are mine.

Top 5 Friends Episodes

5. Any one with flashbacks to Fat Monica
I know how horrible that sounds, but you can't tell me that Courtney Cox in a fat suit isn't funny. Whether it's the episode with Dr. Boring or visiting Ross at college, Fat Monica is always enjoyable.

4. The One with the Male Nanny
We have adopted the name of one of Freddie Prinze Jr.'s sock puppets as the reference to whichever member of the house is being a grumpy bastard. That person is automatically The Grumpus...

3. The One Where No One is Ready
Nothing beats Joey decked out in all of Chandler's clothes doing lunges.

2. The One with the Ultimate Fighting Championship
Some of the best lines ever come from this episode. My two personal favorites:
(1) One day, kids are going to argue about who would win a fight, me or Superman. I'm not saying I can beat Superman, just, you know, kids are stupid.
(2) See this circle I'm marking, this is my Circle of Terror.

1. The One with the Embryos
The game for the apartment is easily the most entertaining episode in the history of the show. Big Fat Goalie. Maurice, Space Cowboy. Ms. Chanandeler Bong. Need I go on? I think not.

Now your turn... tell me your favorites.

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