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!

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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...

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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.


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.

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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.

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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 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?

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Oh Sweet Nuthin'

Song: Oh Sweet Nuthin'
Artist: The Velvet Underground
Album: Loaded (1970)

No, I'm not going to regale you with a diatribe about how awesome The Velvet Underground or Lou Reed in particular are, were or always will be. They're a great band, but not my everyday cup of tea.

This song, however... absolutely timeless.

My first introduction to it was actually through a good friend, a dude named Stu Reed who used to deliver this classic at coffee houses and open mic nights when we were in university, often mixing in member of our group as the people to say a word for. The number of times I've had the shoes taken right off my feet is actually somewhat staggering.

It also helps that this track is featured in High Fidelity and on the very excellent soundtrack for said movie; it might be the best overall soundtrack put together, offering diversity of styles and paces of music, just as you would expect from a movie about a book about a record store owner.

But the thing with this song is that it's one of those sneaky songs; it fades out of memory for extended periods of time, until I hear it again randomly and remember just how much I love the mellow sadness of this song.

It popped up in the highly recommended Away We Go last weekend and I've known for the six days since that you'd be hearing it here today.

Hope you like it.

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creativity is Dead (Yes, I'm Going There Again!)

I meant to address this a long time ago, but WTF is Ellen Degeneres doing as a judge on American Idol? I was under the impression it was a singing competition and therefore having individuals with experience and knowledge of the music industry would be beneficial.

The answer to my perplexed question is that Ellen is a ratings boost and that is really all that matters to Fox and the Idol team. Who cares that she will have no actual technical insights to offer, thereby perfectly filling the vacated shoes of Paula Abdul.

In the bigger picture of things, this is another indication that creativity is currently taking a dirt nap.

The initial incarnation of Idol was outstanding because it was new and fresh. As we roll towards season ten, the only thing new and fresh about the show is Degeneres, who will most likely just be the host of the Ellen Show sitting in a chair on Idol. I look forward to Simon wondering what is wrong with her when she gets up mid-song to begin dancing through the crowd.

Minor Idol reboots aren't the only indication of creativity being on hiatus in Hollywood. In addition to the multitude of mindless reality shows that are flooding the airwaves - if you have more the six kids, TLC will give you a show - to the rash of vampire / occult-ish inventions popping up everywhere, originality is no longer a prerequisite for programming.

The ironic thing about all this is that the level of talent trending towards the small screen is greater than ever; more and more accomplished and credible actors are ready to make the move to television thanks to stalled box office numbers and shrunken salaries, but the vehicles they're offered are CSI: Atlanta and NCIS: Los Angeles.

But it's not as if movie execs are helping the situation any either, with further installments of already dead franchises - they're making another National Lampoon's Vacation movie - and the always popular "reboot" like the one being offered up to Predator, the majority of the material is either formulaic or forgettable.

Nothing like another romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock and / or Ryan Reynolds to drive people into the theatres...

With few appealing options out there, people are going to have to start reading for pleasure again.

D'you hear that Hollywood?

You're making people read!

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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Rundown: The Anti-Hero List

Sometimes in movies, the good guy isn't really a good guy; they can actually be bad guys or just regular guys and that's fitting, because life isn't always black and white enough to clearly delineate the good guys and bad guys.

Personally, I'm a huge fan of these kinds of characters - flawed individuals that you route for regardless of the situation. Whether they remind us of ourselves or are simply too compelling to truly despise as clear cut antagonists often are, there is something more enjoyable about a quality anti-hero than a cookie cutter good guy. At least in my books.

On that note, welcome to today's Rundown.

Top Five Cinematic Anti-Heroes

5. Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

John Cusack took Nick Hornby's record store owner and gave him life on screen, creating a first rate anti-hero out of the relationship sabotaging Rob Gordon.

No one caused Rob's problems; he brought them unto himself by being afraid of his relationship and unhappy with his station in life. Raise your hand if you know what that's like.

For the record, my hand is raised... and I'm guessing at one point or another in your life, you should have been raising your hand too.

4. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

Let's get one thing clear: robbery is against the law and in the real world, those who commit these crimes are not the type of people you openly route for.

That being said, it's damn hard to not cheer fro Paul Newman and Robert Redford in these titular roles when the chemistry and charisma they exhibit ranks right up there with the best in movie history.

3. Nick Naylor, Thank You For Smoking

Aaron Eckhart's character in this way too under-watched flick is the chief lobbyist for the tobacco industry, a villain if ever there was one. He's the guy who tries to convince people that there is no actual proof that smoking causing cancer and things like that.

The problem is that he's so damn charming and easy to like that you can't help but root for him, even though he spends half of the movie (and the book from which it was adapted) looking for ways to promote smoking, like having movie stars smoke more in their films.

You want to beat the hell out of the anti-smoking guerrillas who kidnap him at one point (sorry if I just spoiled part of the movie, but you should have seen it already) despite the fact that we all dislike the real life version of Naylor, the guy who spins research into a favorable light for "Big Tobacco" to help them make money off misery, addiction and possible death.

2. Hannibal Lector, The Silence of the Lambs

He is a murderous cannibal who eats his victims, yet we're still completely enthralled with Anthony Hopkins' on screen creation. Admittedly, I laugh at the brilliance he displays in escaping confinement so that he may go out, kill and consume Dr. Chilton, the arrogant and off-putting asylum director.

Creating a monster that audiences can become at the very least ambivalent to incredible, and Thomas Harris accomplished just that in the novel, while Hopkins more than did the same in the film.

In fact, he did it so well he took home an Oscar for the role.

1. Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Can a figment of your imagination be an anti-hero? I would say he can when that figment is as entertaining and enjoyable as Brad Pitt's frantic fantasy character from Edward Norton character's mind.

He does deplorable things that we laugh at, like pissing in the lobster bisque and splicing shots of big hair nutsacks into kids movies. Ultimately, he serves as the vehicle for what would be the destruction of the entire financial system the country operates on.

And we love him the entire time.

Who is Tyler Durden? The greatest anti-hero of my cinematic generation...

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kevin Smith Needs to Shift Gears

As a lifelong Kevin Smith fan - or as long as one could conceivably have been a Kevin Smith fan - this one is going to catch some people off guard.

The truth of the matter is that the man who brought us Clerks and Chasing Amy needs to switch gears and fast, because his schtick is getting stale, even to me.

I say this after reading a NY Post story about Smith extolling the virtues of smoking weed frequently, saying "What you want to do is what I did, build a movie empire and, at age 38, smoke it all away."

Yes, there is some sarcasm and humor in there, but after more than a decade built on dick and fart jokes, maybe it's time to grow up Peter Pan.

I've been hopeful for Red State for the last two years despite not being a big horror movie guy. Basically, I'll give anything Smith is creatively involved in (read: wrote, not so much just directed) a chance, especially when it draws inspiration from crazy fundamentalist pastor Fred Phelps.

If you're ever feeling down, check out Phelps' Wikipedia page, laugh at the sheer retardedness of this man and his followers and realize life could be a whole lot worse... you could be Fred Phelps.

Anyway, Red State is no closer to being made now than it was two years ago when Smith first announced the project and while I enjoyed Zack & Miri Make a Porno, let's be honest: it was a fairly lame movie all things considered.

While his earlier works were awesome - brilliant blends of comedy and real life that showed, at least in part, what real friendships and relationships are like - Zack & Miri was a chance to make a movie about making porn and let Mewes walk around naked at times.

Next up, the transplanted Jersey Boy steps behind the camera to direct A Couple of Dicks, a comedic cop caper starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. Yes, it's as bad as it sounds...

I used to want to fight anyone who said Kevin Smith was a hack and there was nothing remotely entertaining about his films.

While I still think his work to date is pretty solid, it's time for a shift in directions Silent Bob or else I'm going to have to start agreeing with the people who wonder why I like you so much, and I don't want to have to do that.


Continue reading ...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Signs of The Apocalypse

The world is coming to an end, just as pictured above.

How do I know this?

Not because the Mayans said that 2012 would be the last year existence and someone has made a very big budget movie out of the premise that is coming to theatres soon.

No, I have other reasons.

Jon and Kate Gosselin are two of the biggest stars in the world right now, that's reason #1. Here are two people who are ostensibly famous because they had six kids at once and have eight kids in total.

Wow... too bad my great grandparents were born when they were. They had 11 kids and surely would have made for some quality TLC programming.

Next, we're a nation of hypochondriacs or at the very least, pansies.

Acid reflux isn't a disease like the latest commercial for a "cure" tries to convince you. Polio is a disease. Cancer is a disease. Diseases can't be cured by a pill you can buy off the shelf at your local drugstore.

Acid reflux is a pain in the ass reaction to hammering back way too much spicy food or what causes Ashley Simpson to sing the wrong song on Saturday Night Life, but it is certainly not a disease.

DeVry is now a university. While it used to be the place you turned when community college wasn't even an option, now you can roll into one of forty thousand former DeVry Institutes in the world and get the same degree I spent $10,000 earning at the University of Waterloo.

Granted, I didn't work all that hard and couldn't tell you where my actual degree is right now, but still, DeVry is not a university.

Lady Gaga is one of the top-selling artists in the world, everything is created so that it can be used or viewed on your iPhone, and they now how shows to discuss shows after the initial show is aired.

Seriously, is there really a need to have a bunch of people sitting around, talking about what just happened on The Hills or The City or The Bachelor?

How else do you explain it than the coming of the apocalypse?

It's either the apocalypse or we're slowly becoming a nation of complete morons.

Either way, I hope it ends soon.

Note: sorry we're so late today... the Internet has been being stupid around here lately. Won't happen again.

Continue reading ...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. A Few Less Headaches

Moving is a stressful process, so it was great to get a couple of the headaches out of the way earlier this week by finding a place to live and discovering that we have pretty solid landlords who will be living above us with their pug named Chili.

Additionally, getting great reviews of the neighbourhood from friends and family that have frequented Victoria over the past few years helps too; nothing worse than thinking you found a great place to live and ending up in a stinkhole.

Now all we have to do is coordinating getting everything out there with spending a couple days in Vancouver.

2. My Time Will Come

I'm still super impatient, but this week yielded a couple great interviews and a few chances to talk to people in the MMA industry, reaffirming my belief that writing about the sport will eventually become my sole career.

It was great to hear "Showdown" Joe Ferraro echo some of the thoughts and feelings I have, both about the growth of the industry and future opportunities, as well as some fighters to keep an eye on.

There is no better way to know you're on track than to have someone who has made it that you look up to and respect saying the same things as you.

3. I'm An Uncle Again!

Charlie Olivia Kyte was born on Wednesday and I'm happy to report that both mother and daughter are doing well.

I would have told you sooner, but no one called to tell me... not my brother (the dad), not my mom (the doting grandmother), no one.

How can I be out of the loop inside my own family circle?

4. Step-Mother-in-Law

Additional congratulations go out this week to my father-in-law Garry and his now fiancee Theresa. While step-mother-in-law is easily the most awkward title a person can hold, T is awesome and I'll be happy to spit out that mouthful of a moniker over the coming years.

These two are actually nauseatingly cute; they text each other all the time, talk three or four times a day and are like school kids around each other, all giddy and silly and in love... makes me sick!

Congratulations guys... may I suggest somewhere warm in the winter for the wedding?

5. Dedication is For Suckers... Sometimes

I like to consider myself a hard-working guy and someone who does whatever is needed of him at work, covering shifts, doing the little extras and all that stuff that should get a person ahead.

Turns out, I was just a chump.

Back to the slower season and what has my hard work through last ski season and all summer gotten me? Wednesday and Thursday days on the bar, where a grand total of 23 customers could possibly turn up.

The guy who left for the summer gets more shifts than me. The woman who works "when she needs to" gets more shifts than me and the one who showed up loaded every weekend all summer long gets more shifts than me.


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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Highly Recommended: Away We Go

Did you like Juno but get sick of all the "honest to blog" slang?

Then go rent Sam Mendes' latest Away We Go, starring John Krasinski of The Office and Maya Rudolph of Saturday Night Live fame and enjoy.

For starters, can I just say how awesome Sam Mendes is? Honestly, the guy is just stellar.

He's directed five films: American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Jarhead, Revolutionary Road and this one.

Let's see, that's incredibly awesome, awesome, pretty awesome, haven't seen it yet but the critics said it was awesome and instant Top 10 awesome.

This film is equal parts smart and smart-ass, and littered with great performances by Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Josh Hamilton, while Rudolph and Krasinski are a perfect offbeat pair.

Or as she describes them at one point and I have now officially adopted for Sarah and I, "I think we might be fuck-ups."

I don't roll out the Highly Recommended segments that often, but when I do it's with good reason.

Rent this movie. Put down that copy of Observe and Report or whatever other crap has come out that you were thinking of watching and watch this movie.

As always, you can thank me later.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life: Drive

Song: Drive
Artist: Incubus
Album: Make Yourself (1999)

Not sure how I've neglected this song and this band for this long.

Sidebar: that's a lot of this'es...

Without question, I'm one of those people who flocked to Incubus after hearing "Drive" for the first time. More correctly, I saw the video and loved it, downloaded the song and still enjoyed it after multiple listens and subsequently searched all of Barrie for the Make Yourself album.

In one of those fortunate break situations life occasionally throw our way type moments, I was "forced" to buy the double disc version which came with a four track, acoustic album of four of the big songs from the record. I suggest you find it if you like Incubus.

Anyway, this song was right up my alley and remains there to this day. Acoustic elements, tight musicianship, great vocals by Brandon Boyd... what more do you need in a chill out song?

Since then, I've been into Incubus, liking them even more when they replaced departed bassist Dirk Lance with my man Ben Kenney of The Roots.

Maybe "Megalomaniac" will show up on this playlist somewhere down the road...

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mats Sundin: Underachiever

Yesterday, Mats Sundin announced his retirement from the NHL.

Immediately following his announcement, the stupidity began.

Canadian sports networks ran tribute pieces, playing up his numerous accomplishments and heralding him as a Hall of Fame lock.

Two things instantly came to mind:

  1. The NHL Hall of Fame inducts just about anyone, so he probably is a mortal lock
  2. I have as many Stanley Cup rings as Mats Sundin

There is no question that Sundin was a gifted offensive player; you don't average a point per game over a 1300-plus game career by fluke.

But Bernie Nicholls averaged a point per game too and I don't see anyone lining up to enshrine him.

Had Mats Sundin played the majority of his career in Phoenix, Anaheim, or Carolina, he'd be looked as a player who excelled individually, but never managed to get his team over the hump. Why that changes because he played in the epicenter of hockey in North America is beyond me.

Not once did Sundin carry the Leafs beyond the Conference Finals; his greatest leadership display according to The Score Television Network came when he scored a late goal to force overtime against Carolina during the 2002 Playoffs.

Under the bright lights of the biggest hockey market in the game, Sundin's exploits on the ice were intensely scrutinized and with good reason; for all the accolades people want to bestow on the Swede, there was only one 100 point season.

He topped 90 points just once more, and only cracked the 80 point plateau four additional times. To keep the comparison going, Bernie Nicholls netted 70 goals and 150 points in an NHL season, topping the 100 point mark once before that and collecting two more 90 point campaigns as well.

It's fitting to me that his greatest triumph on the ice was winning gold at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

When surrounded by superstars, Sundin produced just as he did throughout his NHL career: eight points in eight games.

No rings, no Finals appearances and not once close to a scoring title, Hart Trophy or All-NHL First Team.

Just point per game production under the brightest hockey spotlight around.

At the end of the day, whether you want to admit it or not, Mats Sundin was an underachiever.

Happy Retirement, Mats.

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