Sunday, January 31, 2010

Making the world a better place: An End to Herbism

This is a note to all the Herbists out there: I will no longer tolerate any of the many forms of Herbism.

This is not a manifesto, because I have not yet figured out how to combat the vast amounts of Herbism that has been conditioned into us through the mass media. Instead, I will make the case that our society is indeed Herbist and that Herbism needs to end.

I've had enough, folks. I've been biting my tongue for too long.

Since moving to Montreal, I've met scores of people and consistently dreaded the most mundane ritual when it comes to introducing yourself: the actual sharing of your name. There is no problem with this when your name is Dave or Chris or George. But if you have a name like Herb, it can get a little tedious, especially with some French speakers who have difficulty with their 'H's. Erb? Kirb? Nope. It's Herb. To explain myself, I usually have to resort to naming off a famous Herb, but unfortunately, North American culture has not been very friendly to my namesake and the spin-off conversation usually devolves into something borderline humiliating.

Now if you weren't born a Herb, you will likely not understand what I mean here. But for all you Herbs out there, painfully, this is an undeniable part of your life.

Not only is the history of Herb dotted with questionable (and nerdy) characters and devoid of inspirational ones, but the name has also come to mean a lame, imitating dweebus within hip-hop circles. That hurts. Hell, even Trekkies use the term Herbert in an uncomplimentary way to describe people who are uptight, rigid and capable of only a limited thought process.

If you didn't know me and you only saw my name on a piece of paper, you'd think my two best pals were Garth Algar's dad Beev
and Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, ferchrissake!

This societal slandering of Herbs has gotten way out of hand. Truly.

You think I'm joking, don't you. You think this is another one of Herbiberous' old, humourous rants. You think I'm blowing this out of proportion. You think I have a chip on my shoulder and I'm overly sensitive. Well, I think not.

If there are Anti-Italian and Anti-Jewish defamation leagues, and groups that watch out for the interests of gays and lesbians, and associations which slam organizations for using derogatory terms that have negative racial or sexist connotations, then I believe I am within my rights to demand that the name Herb (and its subsidiaries Herbie and Herbert) no longer be dragged through the mud.

It is with this in mind, that I shall formally announce the formation of the International Reclamation Association for the Namesakes Herb, Herbert and Herbie (IRANHHH).

This has gone on too long. This aggression will not stand, man.

Before I perform any of my rehabilitative work, I feel the need to prove my point to all the skeptics out there. With this in mind, I give you my ten most egregious and downright disgusting examples of Herbism. (And I'll do it everyone's favourite way: a Top Ten List.)

See if you can recognize a couple of the distinguishing features of what historically constitutes a 'Herb.'

10. Herb Melnick

Herb Melnick

I would describe Melnick here as a quasi-Herb, where some subtle and subliminal -- yet powerful -- Herbism is at work. I won't claim to be a gigantic Two and a Half Men fan, but in conducting my research, I stumbled across this gem. On the surface, he appears to be a normal guy. He's even a doctor and I think he is dating an attractive woman in the show. But then the main characters turn against him and get him drunk. And in stereotypical 'Herb' fashion, he gets really drunk, really easy. Of course he does: he's a Herb.

Also, bonus points are awarded because he is obsessed with toy train sets.

By the way, I'm so disappointed in you Ryan Stiles. You were so lovable and harmless on the Drew Carey Show and Whose Line is it Anyways? Who knew you were a card-carrying Herbist.

For shame.

9. Herb Powell

I feel kind of let down by the Simpsons. Again, while Herb Powell was not your stereotypical Herb (he was a successful, self-made man), he was a loner who was jealous of half-brother Homer's family. He also, for some unfathomable reason, put his fortunes in the Home-boy's hands. I mean, that's not a particularly smart thing to do. That's not something a Steve or Dave or even a fucking Ronald would do. But a Herb does it. And then he goes broke, his life falls apart, he stops shaving and taking care in his general appearance. He even goes as far as trying to invent a baby translator, for frigsakes.

And again, Danny DeVito, what are you doing perpetuating Herbism? If anything, I figured a midget should understand the plight of the marginalized.

8. Herbie Popnecker


This is another Herb I discovered in my research.

Pretty incredible, right? Herbie Popnecker. I don't know where to start with him. It seems Herbs had a hard time in the 1950s, and as you'll learn later, they've made little progress since.

In his normal life, he's a typical Herb. Large glasses, bowl haircut, impeccably uptight dresser: all Herb staples. However, when he's a superhero, donning his 'Fat Fury' costume, he becomes a sort of Anti-Herbie. He becomes irresistible to women and famous throughout history and he understands the world and how it works.

While some may interpret this as a positive example of a Herb in the media, I am not so idealistic. I see this as some not-so-clever reverse-Herbism that, in fact, pokes fun and ridicules Herbs. Herbie's appearance doesn't exactly radiate cool (it probably perspires, if anything) and apparently he was also able to speak with animals, while he remained very terse with humans. Sound like a loner to you?

Extra bonus points: according to wikipedia, sometimes the women that swooned over Herbie would leave him for animals. Yep.

That just happened.

7. Herbie the Elf

Now I know some of you are going to yell and scream at me that this soft-spoken elf's name is in fact Hermie, after you go and consult google or something. But the internet didn't exist when I was growing up, and with Rudolf's speech-impediment from that damn rubber thing he wore over his nose, it sounded an awful lot like Herbie.

Herbie wasn't the worst guy (or wooden stop-motion animation character) in the world, but again, he falls into the loner category. No one understood him and his desire to cure inanimate toys of their dental afflictions. Something can be said of his rebellion, and how he leaves Santa's shop because he doesn't agree with their work environment. However, his best friend is a confused, adolescent reindeer and he looks like he spends a little too much time doing his hair. He may also use feminine products on his face.

6. Herbert Midgley


Nothing worse than a self-hating Herb. This is a real dude and I suppose we could call this guy an Uncle Herb. He describes himself as a nerd and he obsesses over his youtube popularity. He even bills himself as Nerd Herb.

He may just have to be my first reclamation project.

If I could speak to him directly (perhaps in Princess Leia disguise to appear more convincing), I would probably say something like this: "Come on, man. Have some respect. You don't have to be what the world tells you to be. Rise up! Put down your lightsaber, get yourself a haircut and maybe, just maybe, get laid."

Alright, this dude getting laid might be a little ambitious at first. How about a haircut and applying for a credit card so he can hit up a paysite?

5. Herbie the Lovebug

While it has helped repair the Herbish image somewhat that a healthy, pre-breakdown (and I reiterate... ahem... HEALTHY) Lindsay Lohan pressed herself all over Herbie's interior, I still feel some sting when I hear the words 'Herbie the Lovebug' because I was called that mercilessly when I was a kid. Yes, past trauma makes its way into slinginlingo. I'm sorry. Self-pity won't do anything for the cause, but I'm sure you now realize that, as a man named Herb, I'm conditioned to belittle myself.

Yeah, anyways, a car appears at number five. Might seem weak on this list, but they did pick the least ballsiest car to name Herbie. You won't be seeing any Ferrari Testerossas (named after testosterone?) or Night Riders named Herbie.

Beleed dat.

4. Herb Tarlek

We now enter the historically Herbist zone.

Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati epitomizes the Herbist sentiment. You all watched this show after school on CBC, don't lie. You know what this Herb is all about.

The guy can't dress. He's annoying. He fawns over every decent looking woman in the office, but they don't give him the time of day unless they are playing him for something. He sucks at his job and can't reel in big clients.

Occasionally, the audience is made to feel sorry for Herb.

Herb Tarlek is insecure but doesn't have a clue.

His antics put Herbs back at least thirty years.

Extra bonus points: the guy they got to play Herb Tarlek was named Frank Bonner.


3. Herb (from the Where's Herb Burger King ad campaign of the 1980s.)

This one caught me off guard a little bit. In conducting research for this post, I fell upon a very popular ad campaign by Burger King in the 1980s called "Where's Herb?"

Basically, the commercials centre upon the fact that Burger Kings Whoppers are so delicious and popular that the only guy in the USA that hasn't tried a Burger King burger is some out-of-touch loser named Herb.

See for yourself.

"Herb was unusual. Herb was different. Herb was never what you'd call normal."

Herb's father: "Herb, you're an nincompoop."

Of course, Herb looks like a total dweeb.

And here you go, for proof of Burger King's wish to dismiss and ostracize Herbs from the general population.

How much more Herbist does it get? You actually get a free hamburger if you aren't named Herb. We are told to be ashamed. To hide our Herbal Essence.

From now on, IRANHHH and its supporters are boycotting Burger King until we get an apology.

Extra Bonus Points: Look who it is, Uncle Herb Midgley playing up Herbist stereotypes. It's just sad.

2. Herbert Garrison

The final two on the list are pretty self-evident.

Herbert Garrison, the confused, reluctantly-gay-come-unapologetic-transsexual teacher.

I mean, I could go on. But really, if you're reading this blog, you've seen South Park and you know all about Mr. Garrison.


1. Herbert the Pervert

And then there is this guy. Just mean-spirited stuff from the Family Guy people, man.

A lonely old man who entices young men and children to compromise themselves around him.

Honestly, I'm really let down by South Park, but I'd expect this kind of shamelessness from Family Guy.

I'm pretty sore right now.

So do you still think I'm just a neurotic, bitter dude? Well if I am, there might be some conditioning at play.

Do you notice how nearly all these Herbs are portrayed as pathetic, lonely, personality-less people? There are no bold, heroic sports stars named Herb. There are no heartthrob Hollywood actors named Herbie. There are no iconic, world-bettering figures named Herbert.

While I'll grant there are a handful of historically respectable Herbs out there like Herbert Hoover, Herbie Hancock, Herb Brooks, Herb Caen and Herb Chambers (who I saw all over TV commercials and the Boston-area when I visited in September) the list is pretty barer than Herbert the Pervert wants a young boy to be.

We need some Herb heroes. We need some inspirational Herbies. We need a Herbert to look up to when all these images broadcast in our culture tells us Herbs should wear plaid suits and horned-rimmed glasses and should have a sex change or can never have sex.

Man, it's starting to get to me. I'm slowly turning into the stereotype. I have a blog for fuck sakes. What's next?

From on out, I will make it my mission to change the perception of Herbs for future Herbs. Who knows, maybe the day will come when a Herb is born and he can dream of becoming Prime Minister in a world where the deck is stacked against him.

Today, I make a vow that I will not sit quietly and allow the name Herb to be demeaned and ridiculed any longer. Whenever a Herb is given a swirly in a elementary school bathroom or shoved inside a high school locker, I'll be there to dry his hair or pick the lock. Whenever a Herbie appears as a hapless, hopeless loser in a sitcom, I'll be there to change the channel. Whenever a Herbert has his underwear pulled over his head, I'll be there to buy him a new pair.

We cannot stand by and let our fellow human Herbs be trudged upon in this way. A society is judged by the way it treats its loneliest, its weakest, its nerdiest and therefore, its Herbiest.

I call on all Herbs to put their mouses down, rise up, and oppose the constant messaging in our culture, telling us we must be Star Wars fans and perverts and loners.

Herb up!

chinese cornrows?

Went downtown today to purchase some respectable pants and a belt to wear to my new job tomorrow and ran into an interesting couple, leaning coolly against the walls of the Metro stop.

Now I've seen Asian dudes with small afros and dreadlocks before, in my past life as a Japanese tour guide. And it didn't strike me as odd one bit. But today, while his girlfriend defiantly -- and again, coolly -- smoked a cigarette in the subterranean building, I was graced with the presence of a Chinese guy wearing a poorly-fitting New Era cap over some impeccably braided cornrows.

Yes, cornrows. I couldn't stop staring.

I felt it was very... er... post-modern.

This city never ceases to amaze me.

dion phaneuf is a maple leaf


I wrote about the rough times Dion Phaneuf has been going through earlier this month. I guess getting traded to the Leafs gets added to list that. Ouch.

This trade is a little bittersweet though, as now I won't get to watch the Sedins and Co. light this emotionally crippled mini-Hulk up like a Christmas tree six times a year. And I'm a little concerned I won't hate him as much now, since he's so far away from my Canucks.

Oh well, I'm sure there will be lots to jeer about. Or maybe not. With the added pressures of the Toronto market, the relentless scrutiny and fickleness of the media there, I'm sure Dion will do just fine.

Heh heh heh. Yeah right.

Friday, January 29, 2010

there's no such thing as luck, chuck

Do you believe in lucky days? Or lucky months?

I'm not completely sure how I feel about luck right now. But the grayer (read: balder) I get, the more I feel that we have more to play in our destiny than chance ever does.

Now, I can tell you that friends of mine certainly don't feel this way. DA, for one, used to swear that a certain day of the year was cursed. I wish I could remember it off the top of my head, but I can't right now. Anyways, on this day, bad things happened to him: he'd get speeding tickets, or get into car crashes. Things like that. It got to the point where he wouldn't plan anything important on that day and he'd try not to leave his house and, if he did, he'd try to do as little as possible. If a test was scheduled or a job interview or something on that day, he'd freak out. And you know, his record that particular day really was convincing, but I'm somewhat sure his apprehension and almost invitation of negative energy would ensure that bad things would continue to happen for him. And to tell you the truth, they still do. Nothing but bad happens to DA on that day.

To tie this back into where I was starting off, I always kind of felt that way about January. Month number one of the year has always been the loneliest month for me. I think I've always been single and usually hurting about a girl in January, my dad had his accident in January and really, the coldest and darkest (remember, we have no Christmas lights anymore) month of the year has always seemed particularly cruel to me. Under DA's influence, I began to think something sinister was at work and that, perhaps, my Januarys (or is it Januaries?) were cursed.

When I got back to Montreal this year after Christmas, I kind of felt like January was going to once again kick my ass. I had no job. I had (have) large scale debt, which tends to happen when you go traveling for more than a month on basically a credit card. I was short on options and even shorter on self-confidence.

That first week I was low, mon. I sort of wallowed in self-pity. I thought about all the money I could be making in Yellowknife, and all the friends I had there and how fun the trip home had been. I thought about the skinny prospects of all the $9 per hour dishwashing jobs that I could fetch, because my French wasn't up to snuff and how many hours I'd have to work to pay off my credit card, let alone rent, the student loan, bills, cell phone payments and creditors coming out of the blue for unpaid indiscretions I'd made in my past. Like why were they all biting me in the ass right now?

I dwelt upon it. Money -- or lack of it -- obsessed me. And I felt powerless to do anything about it at the same time, as I applied for job after job and received nary a reply.

Pathetically, I was letting January get the best of me.

And then things changed. Kate showed up, out of the blue, in Montreal and we had a beer and a hooka and a lot of laughs. And then Sacha called me and we met up with Kate and went out to Igloofest and we met a bunch of sweet folks there. And we had a couple dinners at my place and my new roommate turned out to be a rabid NHL10 player and in a similar predicament to my own on the job front and we had some late nights battling on the XBox. Alex and I went skating and talked about how beautiful Parc la Fontaine was and I went and played hockey with the roommates and the neighbours. And I was contacted by News/North and they wondered if I could help them at a trade show for a couple days in Montreal. The boys decided to have Mindy's stag in Montreal and I started to get excited about seeing everybody in March. Then me and Sacha threw a party at my apartment and I was blown away by all the people that showed up and it was a sort of 'this is your life' moment, seeing all the people I'd met over the past 4 months. And while I was still stressed about work, I started to realize that, while work and money is important, having fun and being happy and staying positive is more vital. And I was picked right up. And Misanthrope gave me a pendant and kissed it and said I'd have a job in 7 days.

And then I went to Igloofest again that Saturday and it was a blast and after going skating again Sunday after a day napping on the couch, and a Twin Peaks session, I felt rejuvenated for the job hunt. And all the hopelessness I felt was gone, because really life, other than the financial situation, was sweeter than a sugar cookie.

I found a job on I'd twice applied on, and because my skill set seemed perfect for it, I applied once again and within 2 hours, I'd gotten a call back and had an interview set up for the next day.

Soumi took me downtown to get a pair of shoes for the interview, 20 minutes before I was supposed to be there. I bought the Pumas on my credit card, feeling guilty about running up another charge on the bloated VISA. I went to the 3-hour interview and was drained by the end, and then met Alex for a coffee and I sat uncomfortably in a pair of tight black dress pants I borrowed from my roommate, which I was itching to tear off like a kid does his church clothes.

But larger forces were at work now and things had turned around. You know how when you feel shitty and then you smile, even if it's forced, and you start to feel better? I think that happened in a bigger way.

I went back to the Puma store to return the shoes I bought because, in the rush, I had neglected to realize they were too small and after the long interview, my feet had become raw. After talking to the manager for a bit, he ended up telling me the store was hiring and he said I should hand in my CV. It was too much. And in the past two or three days, I've received a couple other enticing offers, some of which may come to fruition, I believe. I went down for another killer Igloofest session last night and smoked a shisha into the wee hours and talked about Quebec and the country with my people and some new friends.

Anyway, tonight I got a call from the company I interviewed with and they told me I got the job. I start on Monday. It's permanent. It's full-time. It's decent pay. I'm happy. Like Misanthrope had promised, I had a job 7 days after she kissed the pendant I'm wearing right now.

So I suppose I've learned that everything in life is about attitude.

And now, I guess, I just have to learn one more thing: how to wake up before noon again.

If I can master that, then I'll be gold.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

cafe characters

In the last month or so, as I spend the majority of each waking day searching online job databases and emailing and re-emailing CVs, resumes (what's the difference between a CV and a resume, really? I think people just want to sound smarter when they ask for a CV) and cover letters to anonymous companies with hidden email addresses and waiting pathetically for the non-reply, I've met some interesting characters at a few of the area cafes I've been frequenting.

Now I use the term 'meet' loosely. I haven't shaken anyone's hand or spoken to one of these people about politics or religion or any of those taboo subjects or anything like that. But I've seen these characters so often that I've started to understand them a bit, or at least I've become accustomed to their habits.

Here are some of my favourites:

Cafe Vienna, on St. Catherine's and St. Hubert, which is pretty much right in the heart of Montreal's 'Red Light District' -- and a scant two blocks from where I set my dome piece into my pillow each night -- has possibly the two most unique characters I've seen thus far in the city.

Me and my homeboy Pabs, during bouts of laziness, used to head down to the cafe for a drink, sandwich and salad every so often, and nearly every time, we could count on seeing the sweaty man on a laptop. Now, I'm sure you're probably saying, there are plenty of sweaty people on laptops. I mean, it can get hot and people perspire. It happens. Well, I agree to a degree, except I believe what makes the man hot and bothered has nothing to do with the level of the thermostat, but instead with the content of what he views on his screen.

Each and every time he's there, he is youtubing male bodybuilding competitions. He sort of looks away from his screen nervously every once in a while and even gave Pabs an uncomfortable look one time, when we walked past.

The really interesting thing about this guy though is not only does he spend hours on end watching these competitions, but every few minutes, he pulls out his... camera (you thought I was going to say something else, didn't you?) and takes pictures of the dudes on the screen. He then puts the camera away again. What's going on there? It doesn't even make sense.

Come on, that's a little kooky.

Then, usually seated two tables away from him, right beside the counter, is this beat-down looking guy with Anderson Varejao hair and tinted glasses, with a baby blue briefcase full of knick-knacks, which stays open all day, while he stares off into space cooly, in his long overcoat. The briefcase is full of all sorts of little every day things like lighters and sunglasses.

I've spent hours at a time writing up cover letters and such in that cafe and I honestly can say I've never once seen anyone approach him to buy something. The lady who runs the cafe, by the way, doesn't kick him out for some reason -- like she does everyone else -- and she instead holes herself at the back of the establishment in front of a computer, sometimes oblivious for five minutes as a customer waits confused at the counter for her help.

On that tangent: I am convinced that lady will either kill someone or be killed herself this year. I made that my bold prediction for 2010. Each hour I'm there, she throws out a drunk or an addict or some raving lunatic for loitering or swearing loudly or for passing out in a booth, and she's gotten very good at it. Sometimes these people return and then get kicked out again and then return and the confrontations escalate. I once bought this morphine addict a coffee back in October, and she told me she once threw a bunch of papers and a cup at the lady. When I bought her the coffee, the Mighty Morphine Addict Stranger tried to apologize to the counter lady.

L'Escalier had a few beauties today, too.

One guy, as Soumi pointed out, sat at a table in front of a briefcase of sunglasses and tried each pair on, one-by-one, holding a mirror up to view how they looked and then made flustered faces after each pair. There were only about six pairs in the case, but he must have tried on 30 sets, unable to make up his mind.

As this was happening, a bald guy periodically walked from his seat in the corner of the apartment-style cafe to the counter. He had a straw stuffed into his nose. When I got up to get a coffee, I watched him pick up the sugar shaker and dump a little lump of it into his palm. He then took his straw and walked to the corner seat. I returned to my seat and watched him snort the sugar up his nose, through the straw.

I wonder if he's trying to stop doing drugs and this act was like the smoker who needs something in their mouth at all times because they miss that part of their habit as well.

Anyways, this Montreal is not short on characters and it's no surprise that I'm really starting to fall for this city. Things have also started to pick up for me a bit and I guess you can attribute the decreased bloginess to the increased business.

Plus, I'm mourning the death of the Jersey Shore and simultaneously celebrating the magic of the Sedin brothers. I'll try to write a post about the Twins later this week.

Later gators and cross your fingers for old Biberous, who had a job interview today, and his sister, who left the continent tonight to go live Down Under for a while.

Love ya, Haze. Soak it up.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

it's hot... it's fire

It might as well be spring out here. The sidewalks are visible, the snow piles on the shoulders of streets are hard and chunky after thawing and freezing and thawing and the poor, poor squirrels are running around everywhere, crazy and confused, just trying to find a nut in the middle of winter.

I went out and played some hockey with my roommates the other day, but the weather was too nice and the ice was so soft it could barely keep itself together. It was a riot though, teaching my Lebanese roommate the ins and outs of ice hockey. She's actually a natural and has good instincts... well except for the time she skated into the net, leaned back to regain her balance until the large, regulation net started to teeter forward and fall and she ducked her head just before the three-inch thick crossbar came down on her face and would have took her teeth out. She laughed the whole time.

Still on the grind, whoring and what not, in the search for travaille. It's... er... going... I'm feeling like I'm a high school drop-out or something, sac de croustilles!!!! (Sac de croustilles is a French cuss I made up. Try it, it works. It means bag of chips.)

I'm starting to feel like one of those poor, poor squirrels, chasing that nut, buried deep below piles of snow. The similarities go right down the bushy face.

But self-pity aside, and in light of the temps, I'd be remiss to share this Lupe Fiasco track, which puts a little jump in my step every time I leave the apartment in the morning.

Even though the Enemy of the State mixtape -- and this track -- were released in 2009, I'm declaring 2010 the Year of Lupe.

Monday, January 18, 2010

why we love conan

I've been following the ongoing drama between NBC and Conan O'Brien and Jay "Snake in the Grass" Leno for the past few weeks and while I rarely watched Conan on the Tonight Show -- and thought it wasn't funny the few times I did -- I do sympathize with him just a tad.

I know, I know. Dumb right? The guy makes tens of millions to talk to famous people. Why should anyone care about this, when people are nearly killing themselves in desperation for food in Haiti?

That's a good point.

I don't really care. Especially since Conan will reportedly receive a $40 million buyout on Friday when he leaves the network.

While I do feel he never got a fair shake and his show was doomed to fail from the outset due to his appeal to a younger audience and not the old timers who swoon over Leno, I can't honestly write anything more about it because really, the story is a distraction from the real things that are happening in the world.


If you need a little picking up, here are some classic Conan sketches.

Three reasons why I love the guy.

Hit the link if the video doesn't load

Sunday, January 17, 2010

what year are we in, nokia?

After a few near flub-ups, I have to question the default words programmed into my Nokia cell phone's t9 register.

We live in a fast-moving world, where we take advantage of every shortcut. There are more demands each day and I find that leaves us focusing less and less on each of the millions of things we do. When in the past, we spent time checking and rechecking our spelling in letters, we now often our instant messages, texts and emails a quick, distracted one-over and then send them off.

When I first got my phone, my texts were -- in the words of Mike Tyson -- impregnable. I never made mistakes, but that was because the technology was new and because I didn't know immediately about the t9 shortcut. I typed everything out letter by letter, which was slow, but less prone to error. When t9 came onto my scene, it took a while for me to get the hang of it, but now I'm farting out texts.

With the new speed, however, comes new problems and I'm truly surprised there haven't been any major scandals based on texting screw-ups, so far.

Case in point, last week I left my skates at a friends place. She was headed over to my place later that day and I texted her to bring the skates over, but for some reason, the first word that t9 gives me when I type in the word "skates" is "slaves." Luckily, I caught the mistake right before I sent the text off. I almost wrote "can you bring my slaves over."

Now why the fuck -- and that's another beef. Why won't they program 'fuck,' 'shit,' 'douche' or even 'crap' in to t9. I use those words a lot and I hate having to manually type that fucking shit into my texts. Crappy douches -- does Nokia give you "slaves" before "skates." I live in Canada in the 21st century, not Alabama in 1830. Hockey is our national past time, for Pete's sake. Slave trading is no longer an acceptable profession. Seriously, when am I ever going to have to write someone about slaves?

You know it's going to get someone into trouble too. I guarantee it.

I could see myself, after a couple drinks -- when text editing goes completely out the window -- writing something like this:

"Had a great day. Got up early, tied up my slaves and just went wild. I feel so reinvigorated."

Come on, Nokia. Let's wake up to the 21st century.

old man luedecke has it right

It kind of fits that after the last post here, which illustrated the rapid transformation of this lowly blog-updater into the Duke of Duderness himself, that I'd extoll the virtues of a banjo-player who writes cathartic songs about quitting jobs and drinking beer.

I thought I'd missed him at Folk on the Rocks. It was a wildish weekend, with so many hugs and hellos that the music was to me, for the first time ever at that funnest of festivals, relegated to background noise. Also, me and Felch were commuting in and out of town several times a day -- in various states of sobriety (no driving though, folks!) -- for a fastball tournament, carelessly scheduled over the same weekend.

I remember breifly bumping into him at the Sunday after-party. I remember Drewsif Islam and Otis Dawgwood swooning over his performances. I remember feeling choked that I missed him.

So when I heard Old Man Luedecke was coming to Montreal, I made sure to get my ass a seat. And it proved a wise idea.

A few quick notes about the show:
-I can honestly say I've never seen so many horseshoe-shaped, bald patterned heads at a concert as I did last night. We sat behind the sound booth and it seriously looked like there were 20 Larry Davids sprinkled in amongst the audience. I kind of figured there wouldn`t be a copious amount of groupie coitus following a banjo tour, and last night confirmed that.

-Do you want to know how Habs-obsessed this city is? Like I said, we sat behind the sound booth, and while tinkering with dials and switches, the sound guy would look over at his laptop, seated on a stool beside him, every 30 or so seconds, as the score of the Habs-Sens game was constantly updating on When the Sens scored, he'd just stare at the laptop like it had betrayed him. At least two or three times during each period, another staff member would come by and look at the screen and, with the Habs trailing, the two guys would look at each other and just shake their heads.

-The sound in Petit Campus was as good as a friend had said it would be. The opener sounded like I was hearing him through over-the-ear headphones. It was a little surreal and the quality made the performance that much more intimate. The Petit Campus is a small venue, located just below a popular student dance club. As the night progressed, and the club filled up with youngsters, the bass started to bleed into the room unfortunately, until literally the metal ceiling panels above us started shaking. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM. All this during a banjo performance. Give the Old Man credit, though. He soldiered on.

-I had to laugh when we left the show. As I said earlier, the venue sits below a student club. Outside, there was a long line-up of very done-up guys and girls waiting to get in. I wondered what they must have thought when they saw the scores of white-haired people gingerly descend the stairs to exit.

As for the show, everything everyone had told me about Old Man Luedecke proved spot on. In true folk tradition, the guy is 100 per cent storyteller. I loved just sitting there, cracking up and then nodding in agreement with most of the words and phrases he sang. So often, you go to a show and there is so much going on that you lose focus on the actual song. Not last night. Just strong songs abut universal themes like love lost and finding purpose, but not in a romantic, pretentious way. I really enjoy how he writes these traditional folk songs, but dots them with all these observations about the conveniences/distractions of modern life, with cell phone and email references mixed in. I mean, one song is called `At the Airport` and he makes the observation that there are kisses there that you cannot believe. It`s perfect and so true.

So yeah, it was fantastic stuff and then we went down to a party that some girls me and the Sachmo had met the night before were having. We spent the evening prior at Igloofest, where we channelled our inner guidos and fist-pumped all night at an outdoor electronic music fest. I invented a new dance move, called the squid hand. I think a T-shirt is on the way.

This city has got the right idea. There is something to do every night.

At the start of the week, I`d been feeling kind of down. I mean, sometimes, not being able to communicate easily and adequately in French can give you a sort of inferiority complex. I was getting no feedback on jobs and I was feeling a little sad because my buddy Pabs moved back home and I felt a bit like everyone was busy with their lives and I was waiting for something to happen. (Luedecke had a great line about that. To paraphrase, `What is crazy? It`s behaving the same way and expecting different results.` Yep, the guy is sage-like.)

It had gotten to the point where I actually had a legitimate work day during a dream. Nothing exciting had happened. I just got up from bed, went to work and spent a couple hours putting together a story. When I told my roommate about this, he said my days were the opposite of a normal person's: where they go to work during the day and dream about doing nothing at night, I was doing nothing during my waking life, but working while asleep.

But then I lightened up a bit, because my roommate came back from Lebanon and she`s a light and I went and played some hockey with my other roommate and some neighbours and it was a total release and then an old friend called out of the blue, saying she`d moved to town and we had a beer and a smoke Thursday and then Friday we danced up a storm and I met a really cool crew, which is coming over for a little shindig at my place next week, and then another old friend called and he said he could probably find me a job, and then to top it off, Old Man Luedecke made all my insecurities and worries feel like they were normal and, in the big scheme of things, not worth stressing over.

I realized I had changed it up a bit and the results were different, and so the man's words hold weight.

So I`m spreading the word of Luedecke. Go see him if he comes through your town.

And yeah, it was a good week.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

if you're in the market...

On the job prowl again, hitting craigslists and kijijis and workopolises (or is the plural workopoli?) and the ground running. Selling myself to anyone who gives me an ear and talking about myself in glowing tones and all that demeaning stuff.

There isn't much to look forward to when it comes to job searching -- other than the job at the end of the tunnel, of course. But as a way to keep my spirits up, I've been making note of some of the bizarre postings I've come across in the past week or so. And because you have been such patient listeners and loyal friends, I feel I should share a few of them with you:

The adult industry in Montreal must be alive and well. How do I know this? (Don't jump to any conclusions, my pretties. I'm not desperate enough to start starring in snuff films... yet.) Seemingly every job board, other than the government sponsored ones, is littered with many, many very professional sounding postings seeking either sound engineers or graphic designers, communications managers or sales associates. Each job sounds like it could be for a law firm or NGO or something, except for one line that subtly lists as a qualification that applicants should be comfortable with adult material.

That leads me to wonder just how comfortable applicants should be around the material?

"Comfortable, but not too comfortable," I'll assume.

There are even more ads looking for 'nice' girls for 'massage parlors'. The ads ask for exotic girls and pretty girls of Chinese, Japanese, Eastern European or Brazilian descent, because I guess pretty girls give better massages than ugly ones?

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that there are more tugs going around in Montreal than a Halifax harbour.

I found one ad looking for girls aged 18 to 55 to appear in adults films. And if the would-be video girls potentially had any reservations about appearing on video, the ad offered them some anonymity to quell their worries: there was the option of wearing a mask.

And maybe my favorite of all: some guy is looking for an extremely specific and unique chaffeur's job.

Apparently he owns a van that seats 7 and he knows Montreal and Laval very well. What is he looking to haul around, you ask? Well escorts and dancers, of course.

I hope everything pans out for this guy, who is trying to make his dream a reality.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

worth the wait

Been waiting for months since the temps dropped below zero to lace up the skates on an outdoor pond here in Montreal and play some shinny. Well, I did just that today, making the 15-minute walk up to Park La Fontaine just off Sherbrooke, with my skate-kabab switching from hand to hand as I got closer, on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, with a sky just as blue as Yellowknife's cloudless winter days. It really was a Yellowknife sky.

I arrived to find a gigantic kidney-shaped outdoor rink, with people of all ages skating around slowly. There must have been a couple hundred people out there, and it looked as if the pond was a lake or river, the way it snaked away, out of view. Opera music wafted over the masses, from speakers attached to light posts.

I didn't see any hockey players though. A nice couple told me there were two rinks on the opposite end of the park. So I walked over and the gigantic rink just continued on and on and on, with park benches and even trees lined up down the middle of the ice surface, so those who needed a break could take a seat and chat.

I found the rink and laced up the skates. When I first got there, there was a backlog of players: probably about 8 or 9 subs on each side. I stuck it out though and gradually the numbers went down and you actually got into the rhythm of playing.

Probably since my second last year in Calgary, pond hockey has really been the outdoor activity that gets me through winter. It's unlike recreational hockey, where people take things super-competitively, but it's way more exciting than aimlessly skating around a pond. Granted, like everywhere else in the world, the games do have their douchebags, but that does little to ruin a good time, and it actually gives you someone to play a little harder against too if that's what you're into.

Well today, there were old-timers and kids alike. And a lot of girls. A team of girls from Brossard came down and after we played for a while, they asked if they could form one of the teams. So it was guys vs. girls and the teams were pretty much equal.

"Imagine that. In 2010," joked a dude who had quit smoking just four days prior. His first shift was about as long as it took someone to smoke a cigarette in -40C. Very quick.

And after a couple hours and making a few new friends, I took off my skates and then took off myself. And it was on the walk that I had a brief revelation (I'll call it a brevelation):

Since I've arrived in Montreal, I've found people dance like crazy here: after dinners, at parties, at bars, everywhere. I, on the other hand, don't dance. I've been telling people that I'll need to start dancing to survive here.

I don't know why I don't dance. It's probably because I'm just too self-aware and feel goofy doing it unless I really feel like doing it. It's the same reason I don't speak French with a French accent. It feels like I'm acting. It's not natural to me.

Anyways, on the walk home, I realized potentially that the reason I love pond hockey so much, is because I get the same feeling from it that dancers get when they are moving to music.

Bear with me for a second.

Dancing, they say, is the one activity where we actually celebrate that we indeed have bodies and we articulate and express ourselves by moving them around.

I find by stick-handling around the ice, by putting the puck in my skates then kicking it to my stick, or turning around to start a rush only to see someone coming and turning around again, or finding someone streaking and hitting them with the puck right on their tape, or putting someone inside out because you put yourself inside out, gives me the same high. I feel like I'm aware of each part of my body and how they all have to move together to make something happen even if I'm not thinking about it happening. It just happens, the parts work for themselves and I feel that's a lot like dancing. I don't need music because the rhythm is the game and the pace of it and the way it is played and you just become a part of it.

I think when I dance. I don't think when I play pond hockey.

That's why I love it so much.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

awesome band name #5,675

Just got home to see the Canucks put a whoopin' on the Desert Dogs. Man, those Sedins are magic. Love 'em. They're still so underrated too. I told a friend Hank was leading the league in scoring the other night and he replied: "Really?" I think these guys will get their due once the world sees them light it up at the Olympics.

Anyways, on the walk home tonight, I passed a sex shop called la Capoterie, which had, as a logo, a smiling condom, which in turn made me think of an awesome French band name: les capotes innocentes.

If you think about it, a condom never did anything to anybody. But what happens to it? It gets fucked and then thrown in the trash.

Just sayin.

From an awesome French band name to an awesome French band. I'd put this song up there in the top five or so songs I've ever heard in my life and remember listening to it the first time on my couch, with my dad of all people, on a lazy Sunday. We both didn't talk for the whole five minutes, except maybe at the three minute mark or so when my dad turned to me and said, "this is a pretty good song."

Here it is, in all it's glory.

Tassez Vous De D'la -- Les Colocs

And if you liked that, here's a live version for your aural pleasure.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

world junior madness

World Junior Championship hockey is the most exciting kind on the planet.


Do you know why it's predominately young people who volunteer to fight in wars? Because they don't know any better and they buy into national pride and patriotism and all that surface honour and prestige that comes with wearing their country's colours in battle. They haven't yet begun their own families and they haven't gone through any further formal education than the indoctrination that we receive in high school. They don't care why they are fighting and they think they are invisible and that's why they put themselves in harm's way.

To a lesser degree, that's why the World Juniors are so entertaining. Players routinely throw themselves violently at each other, without a smidgen of concern about what kind of damage that contact will do to their bodies. You don't see anywhere close to as many great hits in the NHL as you do at the World Juniors. It is young people representing their country.

It's end-to-end action. It's adrenaline. It's sacrifice. It's exuberance. It's talent and speed and grit minus the strategy and scheme that bogs down professional hockey. In the end, it's usually heart that wins it.

This year, we lost, after winning gold the previous five.

To tell you the truth though, I don't think we deserved it. The Americans were by the far the speedier, more dangerous team. The USA is producing a new breed of hockey player, in the Patrick Kane/Ryan Kesler mode. They are fast, tenacious, two-way, strong on the puck and skilled. I'm a little worried.

The Canadians aren't doing anything wrong, I don't think. We continue to pump out the greatest players in the world. Big, smart, hard-shooting kids.

Yet, this year, we didn't want it as much. Nothing against Eberle, Ellis, Kadri and the handful of gritty Canadians who came up clutch and gave it all they had, but as a squad, I felt the Americans were a little more desperate.

(Note: Mark my words Cormier (terrible choice for captain) and Pieterangelo won't do much in the NHL. Cormier made some awful decisions and Pieterangelo dogged it a couple times and I feel he just doesn't get it.)

I shouldn't say anything though. Tonight is the reason we watch sports. That was a GAME. It was unbelievable. If you read this blog, you will know how much I detest the word unbelievable, because it's so overused. But truly, I could not believe Canada came back from that 5-3 deficit, with just 3:30 to go. Eberle -- the Messiah, as he is known in Regina -- was a puck magnet and is some kind of special hockey player.

I should have believed though. They'd done it before. Shit, it was less than a week ago. But after two brain farts, and a quick two 5-3 deficit in the third, I was a little down. It was then that I texted Mindy, writing about my despair with Pieterangelo.

Mindy responded with two texts:

"Fuck Allen." (Canadian goaltender who looked shaky at best.)

Followed by:

"K watch Eberle."

And watch we did. The bar I was at, on St. Catherine in Montreal, was thoroughly in the grips of the Habs-Capitals game. I only went there because my roommate and his buddy were watching the Habs game at home and I couldn't convince them to watch the Canada/USA game.

When Canada scored in the first period, I would say about 50 per cent of the crowded bar cheered. When the Habs scored, it was like 75 per cent. I attributed the 50 per cent to the amount of Quebecers who wish to stay in Canada.

Now not to sound too judgmental, but since I've been in Montreal, I haven't heard nearly the amount criticism, debate or analysis of Canada's Olympic team as I would have anywhere else in the country. The World Juniors haven't received too, too much fanfare and reading message boards on hockey sites, I realized a great number of Quebec residents did not relate or care about Team Canada.

So I found it interesting as the Habs game ended -- in a loss -- and the Canada game took centre stage, the patrons of the bar started to follow the game and gasp or cheer with any scoring chance, penalty, save or goal.

A couple tambourines were going. We got down immediately in the third and the life went out of the place, but when Eberle scored his first -- the fourth -- the place went WILD!

Ole! Ole Ole Ole! Ole! Ole!

The bar was transformed, and regardless of ideology, we were all behind the Canadians.

My hands hurt from clapping and smacking the bar. I was seated next to an old man in Bubbles glasses, which made his eyeballs the size of potato chips through the thick lenses, who had steadily put back pitcher after pitcher in the few hours I sat beside him while watching the game. And I put back my few too, you best believe.

Stan -- short for Stanislav, I learned after the game -- the guy who I had yelled things like "Incroyable" and "Comment?" at during my fanatical ravings and he had just responded with a shake of the head or a raised hand, was finally getting into it. And when Eberle scored the equalizer, the place went off. I jumped off my seat. I wasn't the only one. I yelled. I wasn't the only one. There were hugs. Screams. Chants.

The power of sport.

Anyways, you know the story. We lost.

But after winning five golds in a row, I honestly think this is good for the World Juniors and Team Canada. We can't win every year. And really, 16-0 games like the one against Latvia aren't worth playing. I was actually cheering for Latvia in that game and, honestly, I was kind of hoping the Americans got up early against the Canadians tonight because I really believed the Canadians were going to blow them out.

It's a good thing we've got this rival in the Americans, who Mindy says have been cleaning up at the Under-18s the past couple years.

Nothing wrong with that.

Monday, January 4, 2010

no dion, no cry

It's been a tough few weeks for Calgary Flames defensemen -- and sworn enemy of slinginlingo -- Dion Phaneuf.

First, he got chirped by mild-mannered Henrik Sedin, eating his words after he roughed up the Swede earlier in the game only to see the Twins and the rest of the Canucks light up his Flamers for five consecutive goals that night. Then, he was vilified -- and rightly so -- for a cheap hit on Anze Kopitar that, luckily, was less severe than it looked. Add to that, he suffered an arm injury against the Leafs on Saturday and his name is currently being whispered as trade bait in the Ilya Kovalchuck sweepstakes, and it would seem that things are pretty crappy over at Camp Dion (Note: if Phaneuf did run a kids' camp, it would probably be attended only by -- to quote the Simpsons here -- "emotionally crippled Mini-Hulks".

Dion as a middle-schooler. "Can I borrow a feeling?"

Well, I'm not going to pretend I don't enjoy kicking this guy while he's down, so I would be remiss if I didn't note how jubilant I was when Steve Yzerman and the rest of the Team Canada braintrust stayed away from the Phaneuf Kool-Aid and kept the most overrated player and gigantic defensive liability and brain-fart prone goofball off the team.

A wrathful tear welled up in mine eye.

For added comedy, a gruff looking Phaneuf -- making his "Blue Steel" Zoolander face -- is all over Nike's new TV spot "Force Fate," which features a number of Canadian Olympians. The company probably was under the impression that he was a lock for the Canadian Team. Mmmm, sweet, delicious, maple-syrup with sprinkles irony. Can you taste it? Tastes great, n'est pas?

Instead of being annoyed when the commercial airs 40 times during each Hockey Night in Canada game, it will just serve to remind me of Phaneuf's snub.

phaneufsteamroller.jpg picture by jdbrightly
Quick Dion, what's 6 x 7? Nope, the answer is not steamroller. Sorry.

See, this is all that I need to be happy.

A while back, I once told somebody that I hated Phaneuf worse than I hated AIDS in Africa. Having mellowed a bit over the years, I can see that was a little a strong. Nowadays, if I had the choice to eradicate the world of Phaneuf or AIDS in Africa, I think I'd most likely choose AIDS in Africa. See, I'm maturing.

But yeah, it is great knowing that I won't have to feign support for Phaneuf come February. I'm sure it would have involved a lot of vomiting and drinking and cigarette burns on my arms. I swear, with Crosby and Pronger already on that team and with potentially a Phaneuf, I honestly would have found it hard to cheer for Canada in Vancouver.

So thanks, Stevie Y, for keeping the squad Phaneuf-free and for keeping me firmly behind Team Canada.

And Dion, like the hockey coach told Happy Gilmore at the end of the tryout: "Better luck next year."

Sunday, January 3, 2010

awesome awkwardness

Yesterday, I had one of those 'are-you-going-left?-I'm-going-left-oops-I'll-go-right-Shit-you're-going-right" moments while crossing a street in centre-ville. This usually happens to me a couple times a day. You know what I'm talking about. Those situations where you're walking down the sidewalk and look up to find someone coming toward you from the other direction and to avoid crashing into each other, you both go one way. Startled out of the hum-drum of standard streetwalking norms, you don't bump into each other -- there is an invisible air buffer -- but you stand face to face for a second, before politely trying to pass each other by both going left or right at the same time, and you get increasingly frustrated because you are not able to get by, like you're stuck in a computer glitch.

So why do I care?

Well what made yesterday's piece of social interaction noteworthy was the fact that the person I was locked in battle with sat on a motorized scooter, had wispy white hair under a fuzzy toque and he was grinning maniacally behind snowboard goggles like he was the Red Baron.


Cursing in French, he sped away, spraying slushy snow as he took the sidewalk curb in a tiffy. And I walked away with a satisfied smirk, knowing that somewhere on the planet, Larry David was nodding his appreciation.

In a completely unrelated tangent, I've been burning up Lupe's Enemy of the State mixtape of late.

Unfortunately, in high school I was voted the most Barry Horowitziest

missing: one jesus

For the past month or so, a naitivity scene has been displayed and illuminated outside the homeless shelter on St. Hubert and Rene-Levesque. In a box on a bed of hay, behind a pane of glass, Plastic Joseph and Plastic Mary knelt piously beside fidgety, naked Plastic Jesus, below a Plastic Solemn Saintly person while a Plastic Sheep stared off into the distance in the background thinking whatever plastic sheep think about. The lit up box was framed by a tree and various shrubery that were decorated with Christmas lights.

The whole scene felt out of place on the busy street, where people often stand for hours smoking cigarettes, wearing tattered clothes, waiting for the building to open to get a hot meal. Also, the set up was so cheesy that a couple of my friends had, over the course of the month, stopped and got a picture beside these famous plastic characters.

Well tonight, as I trudged my own path through the ubiquitous white in front of me as the skies dumped ungodly amounts of snow upon the city, I noticed with a chuckle that the glass naitivity scene box had been kicked in and Plastic Jesus, Plastic Mary, Plastic Joseph, Plastic Solemn Saintly person and even Plastic Sheep had all vanished through the hole in the glass.

Moral of the story?

Holidays are over, bitch.

Get back to work.

Friday, January 1, 2010

herbiberous gets preachy


Okay, so you're probably thinking, what is 'Earthlings' doing on slinginlingo? You're saying, 'Man, I come here for the Megan Fox topless picture (99 per cent of you) or the rants about trivial things (the rest of you lot) and I don't want to do any serious thinking or meditating on my lifestyle here.' And if you're really upset about this, you'll probably say something like Herbiberous, don't preach to me about the treatment of animals when I saw you eating a hamburger yesterday and swallowing it down with a glass of chocolate milk.

I admit, I did have a hamburger yesterday and you know what, I'll probably have one again sometime in the near future. But it will be a somber hamburger, now that I know exactly what I'm supporting and where the strip of beef has come from.

For the record, I have not turned into an animal activist or a bleeding heart or an animal myself. I haven't had the ghost of hamburger past, present and future visit me during the night or anything, but this shit is pretty staggering and after watching this video I felt I should at least embed it on the site on the chance that someone stumbling across it would be interested in watching it and learn about how brutally animals are treated in slaughterhouses, fur farms, laboratories and in countless other areas. I'm not forcing anyone to watch it, but it definitely aroused a lot of emotion in me and has made me at least reassess what I eat and why I eat it.

Now I know some of you are probably shocked right now, with that preceding statement that comes from a guy who routinely makes fun of vegans. But I completely understand now why they would make the decision to keep animals and animal products out of their diets.

Speaking for myself, I cannot be entirely sure how this will affect me going forward. I watched Super Size Me and strayed from McDonalds for nearly a year, before finally capitulating and downing a Big Mac while I was hungover. I now eat McDonalds far less, but I haven't been completely assuaged from ordering up some McFood. I've read Fast Food Nation and was disgusted by the treatment of cows and chickens and by the rampant diseases embedded in fast food and I have to admit that I've visited these "restaurants" far less frequently.

This film takes the next step. You can read all you want about slaughterhouses, but until you see a cow's jugular slashed as it writhes, dangling in the air from a hook on one of its legs, as its life sprays out of it, the brutality doesn't really hit home.

I think if we eat this food, we should at least see how it gets to us, because these days we are so detached from the actual process of killing animals for sustenance.

Again, I'm probably not going to become a vegetarian or anything, but at least I'm no longer ignorant and I know where my food comes from. The next time I eat meat, I will have to soberly acknowledge that I am complicit in the kinds of things depicted in this film and I will have to accept that.

I do know that I will no longer eat veal or foie de gras, which I just recently tried for the first time and found delicious.

The pictures in this film are intended to offend you, but I do believe that we should all see this so we are aware of just exactly what we are doing and we should not choose to remain ignorant just because we don't want to be offended.

However, if you don't want to watch it, just skip ahead.

There's a lot of wrong in this world and I don't know where to start, but at least being informed about what going on is a step.


Just a few things here in response to the film:
-I thought it was kind of goofy at first, but I think I'm completely onside with my bud the Dog Whisperer, who only eats meat if it's from an animal he has had a hand in hunting (wow, now that's alliteration, folks!).

-I do support the trapping of wild animals for subsistence purposes. The trappers in Canada's North should not be lumped into the same category as those who operate fur farms. The trappers North of 60 are feeding their families through traditional means, in areas of the country where there are literally no jobs.

-Also, I wonder why there is such a vitriolic and venomous attack against seal hunters in Northern Canada while there is so much atrocious and mechanized murder in slaughterhouses. I mean, the segment on the Kosher slaughter in particular made me want to vomit. I think priorities need adjusting, PETA people.

-I remember when the circus came to Yellowknife when I was a kid, my mom bought me a ride on the elephant and I was ecstatic (and nervous as hell). I rode it around the Yellowknife Community Arena parking lot. After watching this film, I feel so conned. Another reason to hate carnies.

-A couple years ago, I fulfilled a childhood dream and made a trip to Egypt to view the pyramids and Sphinx and temples which had awed me since I was old enough to read. On the fateful day, I haggled with a tour guide and found myself on a camel, wandering through the desert, toward the three gigantic Giza Pyramids. It was happening. It was surreal. I should have been shitting myself with delight. Instead, though, I could not get over how sick and sad looking the camel I was riding was. It farted and my guide whipped it. It teetered like it was going to fall over any time we went up an incline or down a little hill. It actually fell forward once and I thought I was going to be paralyzed. It kept stopping and then farting. And my guide gave me a stick and told me to hit it. I looked at it and I swear, it turned its head back to look at me and a tear rolled from its eye. I couldn't hit it. I just couldn't do it. So my guide gave me his horse and he took over the camel and beat the thing. And there were the pyramids. And the Sphinx. But my attention had been diverted to the camel who was wincing and farting and teetering and dying in front of me. It fucking bummed me out.

-I worked with a guy at Con one summer who had previously worked at a chicken slaughterhouse in Manitoba that supplied chickens for KFC. He bragged about the amount of chickens' throats he slit an hour -- I wish I could remember the figure. The guy, it should come as no surprise, was a complete asshole.

thank you, air canada

I just wanted to thank Air Canada for losing my bags on Tuesday.

Since the two large bags weren't sitting there, spinning around on the carousel after my flight, I had the luxury of taking the bus home without the hassle of having to lug the two giant sacks down the aisle, on and off the seats, then the two blocks home and up two flights of stairs.

The bags arrived on the next flight and, wouldn't you know it, were delivered to my doorstep later that afternoon.

No hard feelings. At all.

So again, I couldn't be happier that my bags were lost.

And that's the way I'm going to try to look at things from now on.