Sunday, December 26, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

why i love craigslist

Marty Jannetty, is that you?

cold feet reality

It kind of all hit me for real while I was having a beer at a show at Cagibi. It wasn't anything sung in a song that made me take notice and it certainly wasn't an alcoholic epiphany that opened up this suppressed railway of thought either. Funny enough, it was a set of cold feet that made me realize that I've come back to the worries of yore: the anxiety and restlessness that possessed me on my move out of Yellowknife and down here.

Cold feet.

I'd kind of slept-walked through the day: got up late, saw a flick, ate a burger. My buddy Chocolate T told me I didn't seem myself - I'd heard that from a handful of people the past month or so. I was tired and feeling reclusive. I went off to the show, even though I wasn't really up for it. I kind of wished that I had a giant beard, like Pacino did at the end of Serpico, so my eyes could poke out of the fur like a periscope and I could watch what was happening without being detected. I would have fit right in at the Ground Zero of Montreal Hipsterdom too.

Before this starts to sound like an emo song, it's not that I didn't want to talk to anybody, it's just that I didn't feel like I had anything to say. I moved into my own place about a month and a half ago and that means a lot of time by one's self. A friend wrote me and said you are confronted by your demons in a live-alone state because it means you have a lot of time to think. That's really the last thing I need.

I have had a lot of time to think about what has gone wrong in the past few months. For one, my two best friends in Montreal - my two former roommates - had a spat and the house was disbanded as a result. Being who I am and trying, in my own way, to do right by both of them - or maybe to avoid conflict - I played Switzerland and kept my distance. I went home to sleep that last month and that was pretty much it.

Now, I don't really see much of either of them and when I do, some resentments seem to crop up or linger behind the scenes. That's mostly my fault because I find that I don't want to deal with any of this and that's maybe because Montreal has really been a fantasyland since I arrived just over a year ago, with only a backpack full of clothes and books and a sleeping bag purchased in Iceland.

I hit the ground running and saw and did something new every day. Everything in the city was new too and so close and fascinating. Saw a ton of shows. Ate amazing food. Went to some great - and some ridiculous - parties. Hung out in parks and on rooftops and skating rinks. And met new people all the time. I had the same story: just moved here on a whim, looking for work, etc. I fell into a great group in nearly the exact apartment I'd dreamt about living in, while pondering life pessimistically in Yellowknife.

Life was grand. It was new and challenging. It was starting from scratch.

But like the Roots best album, Things fall Apart. People started to leave. I found a job. Money got tight, as I started to live on my income and not my Visa. Free time shrunk. Energy got zapped. Fought with friends. Stress. Got sick of my job. Wanted something else. Got static. Had weekend rut - and hangover gut rut. Lost creativity. Pay Check. Broke. Pay Check. Broke.

Cold Feet.

Back to the cold feet. Like I said I realized, for the first time at that show, that my feet were cold and that they shouldn't be cold. I'm wearing some black Pumas that aren't equipped for winter. (I'm sure they'll somehow rust, with the amount of salt the city unloads on the sidewalks and streets.)

But the point is, I was discomforted by my cold feet. A year earlier, I wouldn't have noticed them - or if I did, I would have shrugged and sucked it up, because I was in no position to do anything about ameliorating the situation. "I need a job! Feet, you're going to have to wait until later."

Is it possible to feel worse knowing that you can better your condition? I'm less happy the more comfortable I am. Is that weird? I enjoyed living unsustainably, trying to pull myself up onto the ledge. It was exhilarating. Everything I worried about was legit. There was no time or room for idle anxiety. Now I'm on that ledge and I'm twiddling my thumbs about what ledge I should move on to. I've found a job, I've got a roof over my head, I've made friends, but now I hate my job and I'm living by myself and I have had some friend drama and so as much as I tried to fight it, it looks like real life - REAL life - has finally infiltrated Montreal. I'm back to stressing about a satisfying job, finding a spark and I'm spinning my tires about how to go about doing all that.

I want to be dependent and I'm getting there, but it doesn't feel like I'm gaining maturity. Is maturity really about knuckling down, planning, getting real and doing something about something? Am I confusing it with something? Why should deciding on a future be accompanied by so much negativity?

Or am I just thinking too much?

Note: I wrote this at a Second Cup beside a chick who was griping about THE EXACT SAME SHIT with her friend. I found her totally annoying and self-obsessed and enthralled with the sound of her own voice. Heh heh heh.... errr... self-FAIL!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

a funny thing happened on google

I'm back in job search mode. I suppose I'm always in job search mode, but as happens at least once a month, a few lousy days at work and a few hopeless looks at the bank account have galvanized whatever energy I have to scouring through the craiglists, kijijis, workopolises (workopoli?) and jeffgaulins of the world to find myself something more satisfying, gratifying and... er... lucrative.

Over the past few months, I've consistently sent out cover letters and CVs and consistently got no response or a 'no' response. It's a drag, but the job market for Anglos is competitive in Montreal and, as Sir Smoke-A-Lot once said, "I understand."

However, after not hearing back about a position I was actually kind of qualified for and one I figured I'd at least get a call about, I thought I should check something out that had been bugging me for a bit. Call it paranoia or maybe careful, but I did a google search of 'herbiberous' tonight, just to see what kind of ridiculous statements and examples of poor judgement I'd let loose on the blogosphere and I wanted to see if any of them tied back to my actual name. Keep in mind folks, a lot of the things I write here are done in frustration, in jest or in a state of semi-intoxication and I imagine, at times, it's difficult to tell if something I've put on here is serious or not (and more often than not, it's not.) Really though, much of what I end up posting here isn't fully digested and instead of ridding myself of a consistent idea, I usually spend a lot of time wiping up a messy, ill-conceived thought littered with cornels of tangents that I can't ever remember ingesting (poo analogy: check!). If I was a potential employer and I read some of the things I've written on here -- there really is a substantial amount of this blog devoted to feces and masturbation -- I might hesitate to call this gentleman up. I've heard stories about hiring managers using facebook/google searches to vet candidates, so I wanted to see what kind of damage I'd done to my name and, as a consequence, my job prospects by having literally posted so much crap on the internet.

Not surprisingly, this blog appeared, as did an old myspace page. A little surprising was the amount of nerdy and angst-filled youtube -- and many other message board -- comments I stumbled upon. Maybe surprising isn't the best word. Embarrassing. Yes. Definitely, embarrassing. I suppose I'm probably the only guy in the world who uses the handle 'herbiberous.'

I was glad that the search - or at least the basic search that my limited computer skills enable me to conduct - did not link 'herbiberous' to my real identity.

Something odd did come up though. I found an interview with the band Surfer Blood (aka Montreal Bachelor Party 2010 Alumni) and shockingly 'herbiberous' was involved:

Three things:

1) Laziest interviewer ever?

2) What a poorly put together and haphazard comparison. If I knew the comment would have been picked up for an interview, I would have put together an 800-word treatise on their surf-and-sun sound roots, which would have been nearly unreadable because of the hyperbole.

3) Am I entitled to some kind of compensation? If time is money, I definitely dispensed some money coming up with that hybrid-sound-comparison on youtube. It caused me great anguish (Please disregard Three Things: No. 2.) If royalties aren't likely then, do I get to at least put an interview with Surfer Blood down on my CV?

Friday, December 3, 2010

wind up radio sessions

If you're coming through old Montreal, gimme a jingle so we can meet up so we can catch up and have a few laughs and bust each others' balls and get something to eat and we'll head down to make sure we're in line to buy tickets to the place where we're able to get a few drinks and have some more laughs and bust some more balls and chat with some chicks and eventually check out the wise old gents (work father-figures) from the Wind Up Radio Sessions.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Immodest Proposal

It is a sad sight indeed to walk around any major city in our country and find the streets and side-streets and sidewalks littered with vagrants, seeking drink or fighting off sobriety, pleading and prodding for the change that jingles through our pockets. I think it is agreeable by all that this tremendous number of homeless is a grievance to our present deplorable democracy. We all struggle to make ends meet as we make less and less at work but pay more and more for the most basic of amenities, and not only are these vagabonds literally doing nothing to help us and the economy, they are actually a tax on it.

They ask and beg of us and they do indeed take from us, through our feudal payments to the federal government. These donations are ladled out to a long line of social handouts like addictions counseling, find work programs and affordable housing. It is truly disgraceful and discouraging to think of what our hard-earned pay is promoting.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years upon this subject, I have found the only possible recourse to eliminating this embarrassing homelessness problem: encouraging it. While this may seem preposterous on the surface, it is indeed true that not until we are all homeless, will we be rid of this type of despicable homelessness.

While I have illustrated that homelessness is a deadweight on us all, perhaps if we choose to view it from a different lens, we can see how homelessness can be used as a positive force. It appears we have spent ourselves into our present predicament, where individuals and cities and countries find themselves deeper and deeper in debt. We are over-consuming and perhaps we are doing this because we are trying to keep up with our overproduction, which our economy greedily and constantly demands. The homeless are not interested in this at all. If we all went homeless, would it not follow that we would consume far less and, as a result, become no longer enslaved to overproduction. Our systems would become more honest and sustainable.

With less production, people will start earning less money, so there will obviously be a decrease in tax dollars in the public purse, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The greedy politicians charged with dispersing these funds would then be forced to spend our money wisely. Surprisingly, they would actually do a good job of this, while still thinking about their own interests. They’d have to keep spending money on infrastructure, lest their roads start falling into disrepair. Remember, these politicians will be the only people making any significant money and therefore the only ones able to afford to drive automobiles down our highways and byways. The politicians would have to dispense less to please lobbyists and would have to take fewer, and less elaborate, tours of foreign nations on business or else they would have to sacrifice the communications networks that would let them contact these lobbyist friends. They would be forced to forego the fee-hungry consultants and do their own work so they could pay the doctors that keep them in health, the teachers that taught the doctors and the tradespeople who built the schools, the hospitals and their very own homes.

By going homeless, we would force our government to pay only those professions that were absolutely necessary. It follows that there would be far fewer police and nearly no bankers to speak of.

We can actually thank the big banks for giving us a head start on this homelessness initiative. With the toxic mortgage crisis forcing millions to foreclose on their homes, the banks created a new, growing legion of homeless people.

As a by-product of our ‘going homeless’ we would have no trouble hitting our greenhouse gas emission targets. Let’s face it, homeless people can barely feed their dogs: they aren’t buying cars, taking extravagant vacations in jumbo jets or even heating a house. Who ever heard of a homeless person with a home? We would reduce our carbon footprint and be heralded by the international community.

Homeless does not mean hopeless, either. Once homeless, there are still many ways to succeed and survive. For instance, these days I must search in earnest to find a discarded pop can or beer bottle on the street when, in my youth, they adorned sidewalks and alleyways like dandelions. This is due to the recycling policies we have that pay people to pick up these items. By incentivizing the return and recovery of aluminum cans and glass bottles with nickels, dimes and quarters, we solved the environmental problems these objects once presented.

To think what we could do if we gave a monetary value to fast-food cups or cigarette butts. With job security where it is today, I would not hesitate to say that armies of casual, temporary and on-call workers – fed up with their meager pay and sporadic hours cooped up in front of a computer in a recycled-air office tower – would start roaming our cities with bags and tack-sticks to collect garbage so they could feed their families.

And the homeless actually wouldn’t be homeless after a short time. Homes boarded up and deserted after the mass exodus, would become reinhabited by responsible squatters. There are successful and well-documented instances of this in Buffalo and Detroit – cities particularly bitten by the recession. People can live safely and content in a home they don’t actually pay for. Every tenant learns a trade to fix up the dwelling and they earn their own way in the home. Just think of it: entire neighbourhoods would be revitalized and reinvigorated with energy and hard work. Subdivisions in suburbia would become self-sustaining communities, with a burgeoning new, hands-on labour class emerging where citizens have a renewed sense of purpose. Since so many over-priced stores would have gone out of business, resourceful residents would scavenge through the city and return with new pieces of furniture to add to their flourishing homes. And artists would be freed from their nine-to-five, or seven-to-seven, or on-call slavery to produce the works they’d always had locked up inside but never had the time to develop.

All we have to do to solve our problems and truly get ahead and succeed is to swiftly ditch everything we own and go live off nothing. That’s our only solution.

Unless, that is, you are prone to pessimism: because if some rich so-and-so has already figured a way to incentivize taking rusted, discarded cans off the ground and turning them into currency, then surely that person will surely figure a way to take homeless people from the streets and recycle them back through the machine to make them profitable once again.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


The Madafakaz.

Go see these guys. They play with leotards over their heads like old-school bank robbers. I've seen them a couple times and the energy is crazy because they start kicking and pushing each other over while they play. Their stuff reminds me of Huevos Rancheros, but a little grittier and less polished (other than this track.)

I haven't seen them a while. I just had an oogle on google and saw that they played at L'Esco Bar tonight. Nards. Next time, I suppose. (It's too bad... their myspace page used to stream songs recorded at a live show and I like those a lot better than the glossed-up album versions.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

the squirrels are trying to tell me something

The days are chillier and night seems to come so dark and so early to my my office tower window that sometimes it shocks me. Not only do the years seem to slip by faster with each birthday, but these days! They barely start before they're over.

And it's been 'chilly' for a while now (although, my people in Yellowknife will not find it funny that I'm calling 0C chilly and I don't blame them.) It's also been a month since I've walked home from work with any sun. But these aren't the hints I'm using as evidence that the summer is now doing its best impression of the Yellow Pages or the physical map in the face of google ubiquity... and by that, of course, I mean it's becoming a thing of the past.

It was apparent today, as I walked through the park, that winter - in its snowy, frozen guise - is knocking on the door. And it was the squirrels - or lack of them - that showed me.

Squirrels are a little different here in Montreal than elsewhere, I've noticed. They are bigger and they are crazy and they seem to be everywhere. You'd think we were living in some post-apocalypse sometimes, the way these maniac rodents pounce on garbage bags and dive into garbage cans, ravenously ripping through bags to find some sustenance.

I once had lunch on a patch of grass near work and watched a squirrel hanging from a tree on its hind feet. His head was dangling down, arms were splayed out and his back was pressed against the tree. We wondered if this thing was dead and someone had nailed it to the tree. Nope. About five minutes later, it stretched up and ran away somewhere.

I've watched a squirrel cling motionless to the side of an apartment building for minutes at a time, trying to figure out how he was defying gravity. I've watched with amusement as two squirrels chased each other around the truck of a tree, each squirrel's tail just barely staying out of the other's grasp, like a perpetual carnival game. A squirrel ate my poutine in Parc Lafontaine a few weeks ago. And then he called over his friend and another. Soon there was an army hungry for the stuff.

And that's what I've become accustomed to when I walk through the park now. One curious squirrel will scout me. If it is comfortable with me, or if I'm eating something, it will follow and soon others will take notice and they'll do the same and before you know it, a whole gang of them will be chasing me through the park, waving up and down fluidly as they do.

It freaked out my mom when my folks were down here a few weeks ago. My dad started making squirrel sounds - tiktiktikitiktik - and he chuckled as squirrels, who were focused dead set on finding a nut, put up their heads, craned to see where the sound was coming from and then started to come toward us like he was a pied piper. He soon had 20 of the little suckers trailing him.

The squirrels really are furious here, but today, they were all gone. I walked through the park and there was nothing scurrying around. There were no scuffling leaves. The dogs didn't even beg their owners to unleash them, since they'd realized there was nothing worth chasing out there.

I guess all the squirrels must have decided it's time to pack away for the year. They must know something we don't.

This summer was so long and so hell hot - for me at least - that I can't fathom that this same place where I laid in puddles of my sweat for four months will be frozen over for the next five. I'm not mentally prepared for winter and snow and ice.

But the squirrels are and I guess I'm going to heed their advice.

I'll let you know how long it is until we are covered in snow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Deerhunter in the taillights

I checked out a Deerhunter show about a month back with Patch and some buds and never got a chance to write about it. Days and time have been spinning past me like a warp-speed carousel, so there isn't too much I can recall, other than Bradford Cox was a sound alchemist with his pedals and self-recorded harmonies. He hit you like a wall. What else? The bassist looked like he was actively trying to get fired from his job. He showed no emotion. Nothing. It got to the point where my buddy the Lazer couldn't enjoy the show. He wanted to go up and punch the guy because he was consciously trying to look so indifferent.

Anything else? Oh yeah, we were standing outside the venue - La Tulipe - after the show. A couple of us were leaning on a van and then all we hear is "fuh dump-duh" and the van shakes a bit. We didn't think anything of it until Patch comes round to tell us that some guy got hit by a van. I walked around the van we were standing by and, sure enough, there was a guy (or girl, I couldn't see) under a coat and a blanket with people telling him (or her) to stay calm and relax. Shit. It was bad. Or it seemed bad. My immediate reaction was the person was dead, because, from what I saw, their face was covered with a blanket. From movies, I assumed that meant they were dead. There was a huge dent in van that had hit the person.

We were all a little shocked.

If anyone knows what happened to that person, please leave a comment.

Either way, great show, but the crowd was a little dead, probably because the bassist sucked the life out of them. (He also fucked up the bass line in 'Nothing Ever Happened.') We went to la Banquise for poutine afterwards, marking the third time me and Patch consumed the stuff in less than 20 hours.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

life in a nutshell

I'm nearly all moved in and life is nearly back to normal. Nearly. The fridge is still lazy - it keeps its contents a little cooler than lukewarm. The oven is still odd - if you turn the stove up too high, the top, broil element comes on. And the place still smells... odd. But I'm cleaning furiously like Howard Hughes is about to move in, the heating, electricity and internet accounts are all changed over and the overall home is starting to take shape.

My folks are coming in tonight though, so the sleeping situation is a little shady. I've got a borrowed air mattress in my room, which I lay upon in a sleeping bag with a broken zipper. The stress is palatable. My ex-roommate said she would lend me a mattress while my parents were here, so I grabbed a hockey bag that I figured would hold it and set down to the old apartment.

The walk took longer than I thought. About 25 minutes or so. I walked into the apartment too stressed and too time-pressed to really feel nostalgic. I helped take a gigantic TV to the curb and then set about rolling the malleable mattress up to shove into the bag. As I found, it wasn't going to happen. After about three frustrating tries, I finally was able to stuff one side of the mattress into the corner of the bag. The mattress was about two-feet too wide to fit completely within the bag. I probably would have gotten this before I'd started out, but I was in too much of a hurry. I took the bag straps and Scotch-taped them together before having my one genius idea: I unlooped all the keys off my key-ring and fed each strap through the ring to hold them together.

I kissed my ex-roomy goodbye as people do here and walked down the stairs to unlock my bike, which I'm happy to say was not stolen this summer - probably because it's had a flat tire that I unintentionally neglected to fill.

And I was off, with the most awkward object slung over my right shoulder and a bike with a flat, being guided by my left-hand. I couldn't figure how to transport these two things simultaneously. The road sloped down to Amherst from St. Hubert on Lagauchetiere, so I just hopped on my bike and took the three blocks, trying not to ram into cars. At one point, I dipped to the right and my wheel frame screeched against the pavement. I got off fast and started to walk the bike again.

Now I had to get from Amherst below Rene-Levesque to Gauthier, which is just south of Rachel and east of Papillon. This is about a 25-minute walk, uphill. I was afraid if I was too aggressive with the mattress, it would fall out of the bag and make it impossible to carry. I couldn't turn back because my ex-roommate had set off for work. So there I was, stuck on Amherst outside the CBC with no idea what to do.

I tried to balance the mattress on the bike seat. No dice. It kept falling off. I tried to jam the mattress through the frame of the bike. Not happening. It wouldn't fit. I heaved it up on my shoulder, but it was fucking up the pinky I broke five years ago on my right hand and it felt super uncomfortable. I dropped it down and stood there, open to inspiration.

I imagined what I looked like to the people who drove by. I could picture people in their homes, watching me out their windows with a cup of tea, entertained by this guy who just couldn't figure out how to carry this stupendously clunky mattress in a hockey bag. They probably watched me like a scientist does an agitated animal test-subject trying figure out how to get food out of some jimmy-rigged experiment.

I tossed the bag over my back again. Whichever way I chose to grab the bag by the straps though, the mattress portion would hang lower and I'd fret that it would slip from the bag.

By this time, the old blue mattress had accumulated some dead grass and leaves. I was sweating with the effort and a little uncomfortable by the predicament I'd allowed myself to get in. People walked by me and looked at me with a bit of a chuckle, as they watched me struggle with my situation.

I'd basically become the human equivalent of a three-legged dog.

Finally, magically, I discovered another strap on the bottom of the bag, which was there perhaps to let the bag's owner hang it up from the top after a hockey game or something. I fit my hands between the four-inch strap and whipped the bag onto my back and slowly made my way home.

I'd have to stop every few minutes to catch my breath and massage some blood back into my fingers. On the second occasion, with the way that people were looking at me or crossing the street before they had to pass me, I got the impression that people thought I was homeless. (You should all know that I'm not the... um... sharpest dresser.) They probably had every right, too: I was standing with a dirty mattress covered in dead leaves, stuff in an old hockey while a bike with a flat tire leaned on my leg.

Self-consciously, I took out my iPod and made a show of myself searching for a song - even though the battery was dead. I put the headphones into my ears and set back off and I didn't stop once until I got home... where I bumped into the old lady 'concierge,' who said the landlord would probably replace my fridge.


P.S. Underrated cool thing about Montreal: A lot of the womens' bathrooms are identified with the word 'Dames.' I know it's French for ladies, but still, I always imagine it's 'dames' the way Capone probably said it in Chicago back in the day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Massive, COLOSSAL, kind of funny waste of time

Because my Jacob 'Party Boy' drama wouldn't work as a written story...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

end of the night

As a child of divorce - metaphorically speaking - I was showered with a new Expos hat gift. And ever since I've started wearing it, I've been mistaken for 'someone I know.'

Tonight, at The Books show, a girl tapped me on the shoulder. "Dave?"

The other day, at the Viau Metro, the STM worker behind the bullet-proof glass demonstrated that he was somewhat human by joking around with me a bit. I was gobsmacked (as Lazer-by would type) and then the Metro guy said, "J'm'excuse. J'pensai que t'etais quelqu'un que je savais."

I enjoy this newfound anonymous oblivious celebrity.

Quick Notes (because I know you are all studying or about to sleep or pregnant.):

- I was at a club tonight and dancing with a couple of girls and 'Hard to Explain' by the Strokes came on and I started to get 'er goin, but the girls didn't react... they didn't know the words... they didn't know the song...

Sad, I know... but it came out in 2001. Damn, where did time go? (As I learned tonight, at The Books show, Meditation is an anagram of 'time in a dot' or 'a dot in time.') I think I need to readjust my expectations.

- By the way, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is the Double D Tits...

- Go see The Books. Don't be illiterate. They're very, very good and the music is very unique and sincere. It's an experience. Vancouverites, if you don't check them out, you have no excuse...

Friday, October 15, 2010

awesome band name #11,345

While I sat oblivious in an office tower today, as Mother Nature threw down trees and torrents of rain, I came across a neat little item -- or company name -- from British Columbia, which just might be the best band name I've come up with on this here doohickey:

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...

The Jealous Fruits.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

exit scene cast of characters

At some point in my apartment in the past month, fecal matter hit a spinning air circulator. For reasons I don't feel like rehashing and because I wanted to stay out of things, I decided to move out of my beautiful home and from my two best friends in the city.

I feel many things about this, but I don't think this is the proper forum to talk about the most important thoughts I have.

So I will talk about the trivial ones and the ones I will feel a sort of surface nostalgia for: the riff-raff that I'll miss, walking from the Metro station home every morning, every night and any time in between.

I'll miss walking past the guy in the cafe on St. Hubert and St. Catherines who can be counted on to be on one of the computers taking pictures of muscle-men on youtube with his camera. Godspeed, sir.

I'll miss the Tommy Chong-lookalike who wanders along meaninglessly with his head leaning forward, pushing a tiny dog in a kid's stroller.

I'll miss the enormously tall Sudanese brother with the tiny head, who wanders the park around the station selling drugs. He reminds me of one of those shrunken head guys from Beetlejuice. The guy is like 6'8, but I feel like a preschooler could palm his dome. I used to look at him and wonder how anyone so awkward and harmless looking could do what he does, until I saw him lose it on a guy who didn't have any money and now I keep my distance.

I'll miss the morphine freak, who still makes appearances every now and then. She looks puffier than she did when I met her a year ago, when I moved to town and bought her a coffee at the same cafe on St. Hubert and St. Catherine. She told me she had to apologize to the lady behind the counter, because she'd been kicked out earlier that week and she'd thrown things and yelled at her.

I'll miss the guy with the long white hair, who walks around like he's just killed somebody. I used to find him fascinating when I moved here because me and a friend had plowed through Twin Peaks and he is the spitting image of Bob.

I'll miss being accosted for weed by thugs every time I enter the Metro.

I'll miss the wound-up-like-a-toy junkie walk, the random drunken freak out on a telephone booth, the legless, hopeless cigarette smokers, the blazee busts outside the Metro station, the homeless sleeping outside the heating vents.

I'll miss walking past the lines of cabbies, smelling like cheap cologne pulled from a magazine ad, arguing about their fares, while they wait forever for a passenger.

I'll miss walking past the bus station and the couples crying or kissing and travellers taking in their first breath of Montreal and a hippy packing a surfboard into the back of a cab at the start of winter.

I'll miss the music or the spoken word wafting out the windows of L'Escalier.

I'll miss the syringes and vomit and piss and turds on the street because it reminds me of home.

I'll miss what has become the backdrop, the setting and the scene and what really is the ubiquity and consistency that has made up the first year of my life in Montreal.

At least at my new place, I'll be a five-minute walk from the best poutine in the world.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Job of the Day

Avoid scams and fraud by dealing locally! Beware any deal involving Western Union, Moneygram, wire transfer, cashier check, money order, shipping, escrow, or any promise of transaction protection/certification/guarantee. More info

American man Looking for a great massage and host (Montreal)

Date: 2010-10-09, 10:42AM EDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

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  • Location: Montreal
  • Compensation: to be discussed
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PostingID: 1997108260

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


There are times when I marvel at how some people on this spinning blue sphere are able to sleep at night. Pedophiles, rapists and televangelists are the usual groups that come to mind as falling into that category of should-be insomniacs, but after an unfortunate incident this morning, another group of people come to mind: petty, private police.

I was running about 10 minutes late for work this morning. This summer, I've walked every morning, since, from front-step to building lobby, it's about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the jump in my step, the heat and humidity or whether my stomach persuades me to grab a bagel and coffee along the way. As I wasn't going to arrive on time by walking today, I decided to take the Metro. I've used the train maybe a dozen times this summer on such occasions. I opted not to buy monthly Metro passes in May, June, July, August and September to save the $70 per month and because I didn't think it was necessary, considering that my walk to work in Montreal is actually shorter than it was in Yellowknife, by some nautical miracle.

Today, when I arrived in my tiffy at the underground ticket booth, I found no surly, French-Canadian old-timer to greet me with his/her practiced annoyance. I'm talking both sides of the booth. And it wasn't like the STM worker was standing around talking to a bus driver and pretending to ignore you like normal or that they were unwrapping their sandwich, oblivious to the line-up of people awaiting them. There was no one in there. Torrents of people were pouring out from the turnstiles, as the 9:15 am train had just arrived and dumped off loads of eager students to the Universite de Quebec a Montreal campus at Berri-UQAM. Past this stream of people, I saw a small logjam at the automated ticket machine and so I did what any rational person would do when running late and confronted with my situation: I jumped the gate.

Bad idea.

Immediately, some gigantic bald black dude, who must have been a Montreal Alouette, undercover in a blue dress shirt, grabs me by the arm and tells me I have to stop.


He talks into his radio and within seconds, there are two doofus STM transit officers on the scene, dressed all in black, with big puffy vests like they are expecting to be called into SWAT duty, who start giving me sass about not paying.

I've been in Montreal for a year minus three days and I have jumped the turnstiles TWICE! Two times! I told that to the doofuses, but they didn't care. I offered to pay them the three bucks I had in my hand (the ticket is worth $2.75) and they shook their heads and started giving me guff and prodded me for my I.D. No warning. Nothing. Ticket. I told them I was running late and that they had to be kidding. Really though, what was I to do?

I swear, it was entrapment. They'd rigged up this little set-up to nab folks like me. After about five minutes of standing and waiting, I saw an old, white-haired lady waddle back into her booth. The sting operation had proved successful. They'd caught me and an old Chinese guy who was pretending he didn't speak any French or English. I nodded at him in a show of respect.

The bigger, and predictably shorter, douchebag of the two STM numb-nuts, M. Chindaire (from what I can make out on my ticket) took my I.D. and then took 20 minutes away from me in order to write out my ticket. He took his time since he knew I was late for work. Unfortunately for him, he still fucked my name up, writing Willian as my middle name instead of William. I still may fight this thing.

Back to those transit officers: I really, truly don't know how they sleep at night. I mean, I'm not going to say that I'm changing the world with what I do at work, but at least I'm not consciously fucking peoples' days up and actually deriving pleasure from doing it. This M. Chindaire was delighting in my misfortune. I couldn't comprehend why. (A friend and I called him Const. Shortman Sydrome and Corp. Mywifes Acunt at work later for comedy's sake. I said he couldn't have a wife because no one could love him. Even his tapeworm had left him.)

But the people who work these jobs must either know that they aren't quite full-blown authority figures and repress it and power-trip, or they must be content by the misery they inflict over the course of their lifetimes. And why are these people always shorter than average? Can we get some sociologists to look into this, please?

Finally, Chindaire handed the ticket back to me and told me my options. There was no way I was paying the $2.75 in front of them (especially since a minute part of that might finance their miserable livelihoods) so I walked to work under a cloud of frustration.

All told, my walk to work cost me $214 today. Maybe Chindaire could have let me off with a warning, but he was obviously too cranky because he couldn't sleep with himself the night before.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Almost a month. Yowsers.

How do I reintroduce myself after such a prolonged absence?

I don't really have anyone to blame for the hiatus. Sure I've been working and it feels as if I've had a different guest every weekend and there has been a lot going on, but that shouldn't excuse me from scribbling nonsense onto this digital tableau every once in a while.

(Speaking of tableaus, or 21st-Century tableaus, don't you think we are going to look back at iPads in five or six years and just laugh. We'll kind of look around and ask what the hell we were thinking? Don't they seem bulky and sort of silly, like they are some uncreative compromise between a Macbook and an iPhone? Have you looked at a first generation iPod lately? They seem bulky and excessive and you almost tend to want to look at it with condescension. I feel that we'll all feel the same way about the iPad very soon, when there is some fourth-generation version of it that actually makes sense. The iPad kind of reminds me of the Segway.)

Anyways, I suppose the main reason I didn't feel like writing much was that I didn't feel very funny or at least that I'd be able to write anything funny. Any idea I came up with wound up circling back to some deep sense of nothingness. I think I battled away nihilism this summer. I'd honestly get up in my 40 C room panting and all-sweated-out and wonder if the impending day would be any different from the day that preceded it and then I'd wonder if it even mattered.

See, pretty dark stuff.

Not that I was depressed or anything, but the summer was just odd. I don't think I'm used to such heat and to a summer season that lasts more than a month and a half. In Yellowknife, you are conditioned to go out and take FULL advantage of every semi-decent day. In Montreal, you don't really have to because there is a steady stream of days that seem to go on for like four or five months. Yet there I was, rushing out to soak up every sun beam and I think I burnt myself out a little bit.

And I'm convinced my head shrunk this summer. I've got a full set of hair, which is probably the longest it's been in years, yet the hat I've been wearing for the past year can't seem to stay on my head. I wore it on gusty cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Iceland and during winter days on rooftops at work in Quebec City, but when I run across a street, my cap threatens to leap off my head. I think this fact bolsters my claim that my brain evaporated at some point this summer.

(By the way, I think government officials from the defense department should start studying the chemical properties at work on my ball cap. It does not get wet. Rain beads right off it. I'm not sure if it's a year's worth of living and hair grease and dive bars and snowstorms, but it's the most impermeable object I've witnessed.)

I'm doing well, but as I've previously mentioned, I think I need a change. It's not so much a change of scenery or career or anything, but I think it's mainly a change in philosophy.

It's funny how something small, said to you very innocently, can knock you on your ass and make you examine your life and the way you are living it.

Last week, I was having lunch with a couple buddies from work and the conversation turned to poop, like it seems to do at least once every noon-hour (I should say, 2-hour.) We were all talking strategies and making jokes until someone said that I take the stinkiest deuces in the office. I laughed, thinking this guy was just breaking my balls, until two of the other guys I was eating with piped in and agreed in all seriousness. I was shocked and after lunch I kind of became paranoid about my celebrity.

All of the famous stinky dump-takers I've known throughout my life - friends' dads, severely obese dudes at different job sites or tiny, junk-food fiend kids - had one common characteristic: they were all very unhealthy. At my computer desk, surrounded by cups of coffee and empty Pepsi cans, I resolved to eat better and live healthier.

Two days later I was using a friend's 2 for 1 Big Mac coupon at lunch. I tried.

Fun fact: A friend tells me when you are living healthy and eating well, a crap should require very little - to no - wipage. I think I've covered this on the blog before.

But no, I think with winter on the way, there will be less distractions and I'll be able to focus a little more on writing. Really, since my friend Eli quit work in August, I haven't written down a single idea. We used to exchange stories or rants each Friday. She was much better at doing that than I, but at least it forced me to write.

For now, on this here thingamabobber, I might just write self-obsessive tomfoolery to rid the detritus clogging up my neuro-pathways until a nugget of a concept can shimmy its way through to the surface of my consciousness. Seems kind of narcissistic, but hey, what's a blog for then?

And I'm really feeling energetic at the moment, listening to the new Deerhunter album, Halcyon Digest. The thought of picking up the album actually got me through the afternoon and I walked through a rainstorm to get it. It was the first real album I've bought in a long while.

I asked my big boss at work where the nearest metro was to the HMV on St. Catherines. She said Peel. I'm pretty sure I knew this, but I was so zonked from ceaseless callbacks at work that I couldn't think for myself. I got off the metro and got to street level and walked down to St. Catherines. I looked right and didn't see the store, but I walked on even though the sky had opened up and I got absolutely soaked and I kept walking and still I saw nothing. Shouldn't it be close? I cursed my boss under my breath. Why didn't I look where it was myself? Another set of lights and nothing. I kept going and no HMV. I walked like 12 blocks all the way to Atwater, pushing ahead irrationally until I stopped and snapped out of it. It couldn't be that far. I turned back. The rain had stopped. (Some homeless guy asked me for "change for a coffee." Who needs a coffee at 6 p.m.? I wanted to ask him)

I walked back to where I'd gotten on to St. Catherines and continued back East and there was the store, a block away.

I got home and made some pesto shrimp spaghetti and lima beans and tossed on the album and the soaker was worth it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

what if the neighbour's cat was god?

Our neighbour, I'm told, is an alcoholic. I've heard and seen some evidence to back this up. For instance, there is a hollow area running up from the basement of our triplex to the roof, where there used to be a chimney chute. It's situated just beside the bathrooms of the three apartments, meaning you can hear everything happening in the 'office' below us. Due to this unique architectural quirk, it is not uncommon for me to hear the familiar sounds of retching and vomiting as I get ready to shower in the morning. As well, I've been through the neighbour's apartment to take the fire escape to my place when I've forgotten keys and I've seen the collection of empty bottles. Also, someone who lived there for a time told me stories of his constant self-medicating with alcohol and other substances.

This is not being mentioned trivially because I'm judging him. Who am I to say how someone should live their own life? I only bring this up because he owns a cat, which I see outside our apartment at all times of the day and night. My thinking is that this cat roams around outside for most of its summer life because it may be forgotten or neglected by its intoxicated owner. Or maybe it's not, seeing as cats run wild here and the felines have their own daily and nightly dramas that play out on the street. (Last month, I awoke at 3am to a cat wailing. I stepped onto my balcony in my boxers and see it just laying there in the middle of the street, crying out into the night, while another cat stood next to it. I couldn't tell if it had just been hit by a car or had a train run upon it by the creepy cat standing beside it. I clapped my hands loudly and the sound reverberated down the empty street. The lurking cat looked up at me in a guilty way. I clapped again and louder it started to slink away cautiously. The other cat eventually stood up and disappeared into a bush.)

I'm not a cat guy at all and I'm not overly sympathetic when it comes to pets, but I've really grown fond of my neighbour's tabby. It's white in colour, with spots of grey and beige and if I had to guess, I would say it's spent 80 percent of this summer outside of its home. The only times I don't see it outdoors coincides with the time that the neighbour's daughter comes to visit him. My roommates and I have surmised that this cat probably belongs to his daughter.

Last night, I returned home from a friend's show and found the cat lying on the top step. This is its preferred resting place. I walked up the stairs and it didn't even move and barely acknowledged me. I sat on my top step and pet it for about five to ten minutes until it stood up, wandered down two stairs, looked at me sideways and then walked down the rest of the stairs and slid down under a car and was gone. I fished out my key, slid it into the lock and walked up the stairs into the apartment.

I went to bed and thought about the cat and how unaffected and almost divine it was as I pet it. It would blink slowly and it only turned to look at me as it walked away. It was then that a funny thought popped through my head: what if the cat was god?

What if this cat, which I've seen splayed out on the other neighbour's balcony, on window ledges and in trees, was watching me and judging my character? What kind of conclusions would it have drawn about me? What would it have seen?

I thought back to the various dozens -- or maybe even hundreds -- of times I'd seen it on the steps or on the sidewalk below our stairs and what I'd done. I think it would be safe to say that about 50 percent of the times I'd seen it, I was busy on my way to work or rushing off somewhere else and I barely paid it a passing glance. Maybe a "hey kitty," or quick rub from its ears to its back as I fit my headphones into my ears and tucked my shoelaces into my shoes and before walking away.

God would say I'm not very organized and not good with time-management.

A few other times, I'd seen the cat in some pretty dicey locations, like on a tree branch 10 feet off the ground, or on a ledge 6 feet from the top of our stairs on a second floor window. It would look at me as if it needed some help and I would reach out but not be able to get to it. Then I would pull out my phone, realize I was running late for work and figure, 'well, this cat got itself here somehow, so I'm sure it can get itself back to safety. I mean, they're cats and cats are freakishly agile.' I'd give it one last sympathetic look and then head off to work.

God would say that when I'm presented with a problem, many times I'm not willing to work sufficiently hard and sacrifice enough to solve it.

In a handful of instances, I've seen the cat laying up on the step below my neighbour's door, craning its neck upward to try to see if the neighbour was coming to open the door. It would look hungry or tired or thirsty and it would seem like it wanted to go inside and take a nap. Once or twice, the fur on its back would be knotted and clumped, like it hadn't been combed or groomed in a week. It would let out a few agitated meows. Unless I had to piss, I'd sit there and pet it for a couple minutes and if it really looked thirsty, I'd bring out a bowl of water. The cat would typically walk under my outstretched hand and I'd lower it and it'd keep walking until its tail passed under my hand and then it would turn around and do it again. When I would get up to go inside, it would look at me enviously. On the occasions I brought out the bowl, I'd put it beside my door and try to convince the cat to drink from it, but it wouldn't trust me for whatever reason and it would usually walk down the stairs and then under a car.

God would say that I tend to notice when things are wrong, but I either don't have the time or don't know the correct course of action to make things right.

The interactions with the cat these last three months really don't paint a pleasant picture of myself and I realize that my daily encounters with this pet showcase a general pattern of actions and behavior that were playing out in the rest of my life. This summer wasn't easy, for reasons I didn't really understand until I sat there stroking the cat in the dark, rubbing it behind its ears, while car horns and sirens echoed down my street as they maneuvered through the city scape.

Last night, I spent a lot of time with the cat, stroking and petting it until it had enough and went away. Perhaps it was surprised by this show of attention and affection because it's something I haven't demonstrated in the past three months. Maybe that's why it looked at me suspiciously as it descended the stairs. Maybe it had to go under the car to reevaluate its opinion of me.

God would say I'm starting to understand things a little better.

(Note: All characters in this post are fictional, except myself, the neighbour and the cat. *Rimshot*)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

no details

Very telling action concerning yours truly:

I had a $100 Keg coupon. I had the option of taking someone out for dinner or, selfishly, trying to eek out two steaks for myself on the coupon. Guess which one I chose?

So I was sitting at the bar eating steak #1 this evening, when the guy sitting next to me struck up a convo. He was an Anglo Montrealer and drunk and a regular and he wanted me to tell him a story. He bought me a shot of whiskey. I told him one about my childhood, growing up in Yellowknife and he said it was shit. And it was. I kept going with it and related a bit more about the city and my family and he was touched. He said he had wanted context and I gave it to him. Unknowingly, he reinforced a lesson I obviously haven't taken into consideration in this post: the reason stories connect with people are through the amount and depth of the details.

I left before I let him buy me more beer. He was lonely. His ex-girlfriend died two years ago from breast cancer. He sold everything to save her. It didn't work. He said he'd been occupying bar stools since, but he'd be starting his life back up this fall. I couldn't help but wonder if 'this fall' was last fall or the fall before. We spoke about existentialism. His faithlessness was real. He'd lost something. My faithlessness or what I take it as at the moment? Theoretical. I've never lost anyone very close to me, but still, I can't shake the feeling that sometimes you really do have to trick yourself to make believe that there is something really, truly meaningful in the everyday. I left before I could let him buy more into what I was saying or thinking at that time. It was probably for the best. For him.

I met up with my roommate on St. Denis for a beer and we talked about girls and then I went home. The homeless, surprisingly, were all resting up. They were asleep along Rene-Levesque in stairwells or beside fences. I started wondering if there was something important happening in the morning that they were preparing for. I picked up my pace a bit, before remembering that only crackheads walk nowhere fast. I slowed back down.

I got home and met my roommate and he'd just finished downloading the demo for NHL 2011. I was a little nervous about sitting down and playing it, knowing it would determine whether I would enjoy the next 12 months or not. I watched the demo video and we scrolled through the menus, listening to the game's songs, which we would know by heart and hate with all of our hearts in probably just three short months. I was reluctant to embrace this new thing.

Then we sat down to play.

Quick recap:

- The game is far more of a simulation than years previous. It's nearly impossible to hit. It's nearly impossible to make a clean pass. In other words, it's real hockey. I don't know how I feel about this right now, but I'm sure it will be fine in a couple of months when I'm used to it.

- There is a new face-off option, where you have to set up your player for a backhand or forehand win before the puck is dropped. Then there is a battle for it.

- Players sticks break on slapshots now. Players also lose their sticks. It's pretty neat. Again, this is an option I like right now because it adds to the realism, but I'm sure after playing this game for a couple hundred hours, a pattern will emerge with the stick breaks and I'll think it's stupid.

Monday, August 16, 2010

strokes of genius

In the last real post on here, I wrote about spiders. The cobwebs are accumulating in the corners of my room, between the bars on my balcony, along the steps up to the apartment and apparently, between the growing void between my ears.


1) I recently took out three CDs from la grande bibliotheque because I'm broke. I thought I'd take them out, burn them onto my laptop, burn them out on the CD player and then return them and take out some new ones. Well, four weeks go by and I wake up to a message on my phone telling me, in a French voice surely trained in a conservatory, that my CDs are a week overdue and I'll be subject to pay a late fee on them. I then left the house for three days, forgetting to bring them with me each time to drop them off - THREE BLOCKS AWAY. Turns out that it'll end up costing me just about as much to take out these three items for 'free' from the library as it would have by just buying them.

2) I wrote back in June that I'd be surprised if my bike lasted a week in this haven for bicycle theft that we all call Montreal. Well, here we are in the middle of August, and my bike is still straddled to the guardrail on the apartment steps. And this comes after my roommates' bikes were ransacked, with tires stolen and pulled off. The problem? I haven't ridden the thing for a month in a half. I noticed that every three days, the front tire went flat. I came to this hypothesis when I struggled up a small incline on the lowest gear, while a severely obese lady pedaled past me with minimal effort. Every morning, I wake up motivated to buy a portable bike pump as I walk past my ten-speed on my way to work. Every evening, I return having forgotten to buy the $12 object. I've probably spent $80 - $90 on single-pass Metro tickets over that time, when it would have been a minor-to-moderate bike ride.

3) I forget what else... Blame it on summer. On heat. On sweat. On the periodic existential ennui that strikes at least once a year and takes over every non-essential watt of brainpower.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

antoine dobson

My friend Eli sent me this tonight. I have been listening to the auto-tune version for a solid 15 minutes on repeat. I can't stop myself. It's genius.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Not much going on over in these parts. Nothing blogworthy, at least. Long, sweaty day on the roof, spent reading/coffee-drinking/napping/listening to the Osheaga tunes bounce off the institution beside the domicile. It was No-sheaga today, unfortunately. Finances.

Dog days of summer, I suppose. The kid is a little restless. He shaved his goat off. Just 3 a.m. chillin on the balcony now with the spiders, which are all passed out dead-centre in their webs. At least they've been working hard. Spiders and bees and fleas. Routine has set in HARD. An unsustainable routine, I will say, since sustainability is en vogue these days. Can't do what I need to financially in this routine, so I might need to break out of it. Don't know what that means or where that's going to take me. Haven't regretted a thing about the move out here, but at the same time, I haven't given it my all down here. Haven't pursued the dream, or what I think the dream might be. Been in a holding pattern. Summer ended two months ago, it feels. Lots of ideas, lots going on, no follow-through, no energy. Lots of work, but no hard work. No real work. No excuses though. No real ones, at least. No ridiculous, spontaneous summer nights chasing cosmic invincibility.

I realized again today that I'm someone who thrives with limitations. It was that way in creative writing class. The more boundaries and less license I was given with an assignment, the more creative and expansive I'd get. I'd take an idea so far that I would break the rules and I had fun playing with the definitions of the limitations I'd been given. Yet, when I was given free reign to write a story about anything, I'd be paralyzed by the infinite options offered by the empty, white page.

Montreal is that blinking white page. There is so much going on all the time that either I can't just sit at home and read a book or I feel guilty sitting at home reading a book. It's a Catch-22, really. I don't think I can pay off all I need to pay off here working where I work, so I think I might leave soon. But that means that I might not be able to take advantage of everything this place offers, so I go out and do as much as I can and try to do as much as possible, which makes me spend the money that I'd otherwise use to pay off what I need to pay off.

The spiders know they have to spin webs to catch bugs to live. The bees know they've got to pollenate and return to the hive. The fleas just turn into fleas from maggots and they're all good. Lucky bastards. They don't have VISA debt or student loans and they don't know that they are constantly getting older and that they're going to die one day. I'm on my balcony wondering what it is I've got to do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Why Hip Hop sucks in 2010?

Because it isn't this...

(I just hit 27 last week, so I'm old and entitled to feel a little salty.)

At work, the one and only Chocolate T Money and myself were talking about why we barely listened to hip-hop anymore. After a few minutes of pretendedly-unmonitored-by-supervisors conversation, we came to the conclusion that it sucks right now because it's all geared toward 14-year-0ld girls. We're probably just bitter dudes who are getting older, but seriously, can you tell me anything L'il Wayne or Drake could ever come close to this...

or this...

or this...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

doll-gs days of summer

You fucking disgust me... No, not you... just that thing on your hip... No, you're good... Real good...

I'm a little worried about what you are becoming, best friend of man.

Before I get started here, and because it might get a little heated and I don't want you to think I'm shitting all over you, I want to tell you that I am saying this because I truly do care about you. You are man's best friend. And I mean, if you're friend is turning into a totally pussy, you have to tell him, right? That's what best friends do, isn't it?

Dogs, you and I have shared some intimate and also not-so-fond times. I've been greeted countless times, when walking into a home, with your nose in my crotch. Have I scolded you or shamed you? No, I've laughed it off and even encouraged you to sniff others. I have had my leg defiled and treated like a new rubber sex doll in Davecat's home by some of you. Did I blow my whistle, kick you off and call the cops? No, I washed my pants. I've scrubbed your shit out of the floor, while you watched me with a puzzled and almost satisfied look on your face. Did I freak out at you? Yeah, I did. But those were the bad times and I've moved on.

What I need to tell you is important. Very important. Rexy, the time has come. Go grab some kibbles, drag your ass across the floor a few times and then come over here. We've got something serious to discuss.

You see, there are a number of your 'brothers and sisters' out there who are behaving in a very non-dog fashion. They are divas and pansies and it's getting downright embarrassing.

In case you have also become wussified, here is a brief history lesson. Your forefathers were wolves and foxes. They were hunters. Cunning survivors in the harshest of landscapes. They stayed alive through sheer intelligence and skill. Your more recent ancestors like huskies were some of the hardest-working, determined and noblest creatures to ever walk the Earth. St. Bernard's command respect in the Alps for saving people after avalanches, so cartoons tell me. Sniffhounds risk life and limb to put fugitives back behind bars. Speedy greyhounds give it their all to entertain our alcoholics, gamblers and degenerates at the races. Even coyotes and jackals are sly and resourceful creatures that have to hustle to put food in their mouths.

How far you have fallen...

Last week, on a walk home from work, I twice witnessed 'dogs' being pampered and treated in such a fashion that it would have made Old Yeller preempt his master and himself ask to be put down with the shotgun behind the barn. In one instance, a very unhealthy - read: through-the-floor-morbidly obese - lady was pushing her tiny dog in a homemade, customized dog stroller. This dog has a rich kid smirk on his face as he watched other dogs walk by. Just a few seconds later, another woman came cruising by on a motorized scooters, with one of those stupid, brainless fluffy white poodles in her lap. I haven't seen entitlement like I saw in that pooch's eyes since we drove through Malibu three years ago.

It made me think back to when I was in Baie St. Paul a few weeks ago and I saw this tiny little wiener dog shivering in this young chick's arms. I walked over to her and asked her what was wrong with the pooch.

"He doesn't like being outside."

He doesn't like being outside? You're talking about a dog, lady. How long has there even been such a thing as 'inside'? Shouldn't a dog's intrinsic essence predate the notion of 'inside'?

What would a Husky say to this dog? (Probably what a normal human would say to Davecat, I suppose.) He'd probably call it a brat, if he didn't eat it first. (I'm hoping no normal person would eat Davecat, lest you choke on his ponytail.)

And that's it. These dogs have degraded the term dog. When people think dog now, they don't think hard-working, regal, noble. They think cute, fragile, primp.

This is the reality of the situation, dogs. You have to share your namesake with these do-nothings that don't like being outside.

The dog is being besmirched. I blame it on the Taco Bell Dog. Ever since that little wiener started popping up on the TV slingin tacos, people have started to find these tiny dogs adorable. Nowadays, you turn on the television and you don't find a Lassie, you find Paris Hilton's purse-lacky wearing a pink tutu. They don't make Homeward Bound movies anymore. They make Beverly Hills Chihuahaus.

Dogs aren't supposed to be this small, people. The Taco Bell Dog was a fucking junkie, ferchrisake. Why do you suppose he spoke like he did? Dogs aren't that skinny and skittish. This dog was a fiend and he became a hero and a prototype. I see grown men walking these tiny purse dogs on leashes through parks now (and I keep praying for an eagle or hawk or some sort of prey bird to swoop down and take them away.) I'm sure these dudes are probably neutered too.

I call upon dogs - and I'm talking about real dogs here - to recoup the term and relegate all pampered, thump-up-butt dogs to the doll-gs category.

I will get the ball rolling for you since I'm sure it's difficult for you to access the internet right now.

You are not a dog if:
- you are a fashion accessory.
- you don't have to be taken for a walk every day.
- you don't enjoy being outside. (Can't get over that one.)
- you wear any sort of clothing (other than boots in the winter and maybe a bandana around the neck for an older dog. Shades are cool with me too.)
- you incessantly bark at other dogs or mammals that are at least 10 times your size from behind your masters leg. (Worst dogs in the world in my humble, tear-inducing onion.)
- you are bought and sold over eBay by someone living in a big city.

Please feel free to add to this list.

WHERE MY DAWGS AT!?!!?!?!?!??!?!?