Sunday, February 28, 2010

big day

Been a busy week or so. Work. Work. Work. Organized a little writer's group that went really well Thursday night (more on that later.) Stress. Stress. Stress. Even got the ball rolling on trying to do some stand-up in the next couple weeks. Pumped. Pumped. Pumped.

But that's not important. What's important right now is the hockey game in a half-hour. The Patch sent me an email, asking me to blog about a line he heard in a country song, which went something like "I'll hate myself in the morning/but I'll be loving you tonight." While I don't have anything ground-breaking to write about that line, I will say that the lyric kind of sums up my feelings about what I'll be doing today when I wave our Canadian Flag. I hate Crosby. I hate Pronger. I hate Iginla. I'll hate myself tomorrow morning, but I'll be cheering for those three douchers today.

Sidenote: This is the biggest game of Luongo's career and I'm more nervous about what today's outcome will do for the Canuck's season and LOOUUUUUU's career. If he wins, he is no longer a guy who has won nothing and he is free from that stigma. He might start playing some carefree and inspired hockey and this could totally rejuvenate him. If he loses, he is still a loser and I bet he spirals into shitiness as the season wears on. This game has gigantic ramifications on the Canuck's season and short-term future, so I have way more invested in today's game than I normally would.

Alright folks, let's hope for the best.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

some good out of the bad

Hell of a game tonight. That's all I can say. We were the better team, but Miller played out of this world and Brodeur's brain ate some chili last night. That's really it.

Watched the game with a couple friends downtown and went nuts when Canada got it back to 4-3, but then my boy Kesler popped the prettiest empty netter I've ever seen and I sunk back into my chair. I wanted to get angry, but I couldn't -- it was a such a beauty goal, by my favorite NHLer. I wanted to say some nasty things about the US, but I couldn't -- there were two HUGE dudes from the Alouettes cheering for the Americans about 15 feet away from me. So I just sat back and tried to think of the good that could come from this game. When life gives you lemons, try to make them into some lemon-flavoured alcoholic drink, right?

And so here it is:

First off. It was was an amazing 60 minutes of hockey. So much action. Lot's of scoring chances. Some amazing goaltending. Some pretty goals. And really, the last 5 or 6 minutes was quite heavy on the drama, as Canada threw everything at Ryan Miller and he turned them away. It was an awesome game the Americans won tonight, and don't think the result won't generate more interest in this tournament South of the border. Upon getting home, I checked a couple of my favorite sportswriters' Twitter accounts and they were raving about the frenzy and emotion in that game. Bill Simmons called the game the "ceiling for sporting events in 2010" and even wrote about Kesler potentially winning an ESPY with that goal (it was a little surreal to read the football- and basketball-centric Sports Guy writing something about a lowly Vancouver Canuck). Jason Whitlock was also tuned in apparently and he wrote glowingly not only of the game itself, but the game of hockey in general and how no other sport can keep you on your toes like the last few minutes of a high-level hockey game. So that's good news, believe it or not. These guys will surely write columns about this game and that will, in turn, generate more coverage and create more excitement for this tournament -- and the NHL season when it resumes.

Second, as a Canucks fan, I think after tonight's game, we might be getting to see Roberto Luongo for the rest of the tournament. Brodeur looked distracted or retarded or something. He, along with the other old guys on the squad, didn't come through. I was critical of both Pronger's and Neidermeyer's selections to this team and I feel kind of vindicated now. They are both having sub-par seasons and I feel their spots could have gone to younger players. It's not like these guys are the charismatic or transcendent leaders that Mario or Joe Sakic or Yzerman were, so I don't see what they bring to the table. They were outplayed tonight. Big time.

But, on the glass-half-full-side, that meant some of the young guys shone and took their places. Drew Doughty was an absolute beast tonight. He's going to be a multiple Norris winner, easily. Johnny Toews was rock solid too and I feel like he's starting to turn into a big game player. And Rick Nash showed up and played a gutsy 60 minutes. Hopefully these guys get some more ice time as we get further into this tourney, and we see Pronger and Neids less and less.

Lastly, it was nice to see Kesler get some big time, international publicity. First there were his comments, which I completely forgive because this is entertainment and he's playing the villain, and then with that beautiful goal. I felt proud of his development as a hockey player.

And call me crazy, but I realized tonight that I'm a Canucks fan before a Canadian Olympic fan.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

reason 8,684 why i'm not a human resources guy

I find that most of the time, it's the little things in life that make me the happiest. A five-dollar bill in an old coat pocket, a couple of cold beers I didn't buy that are sitting in the fridge after a long day's work or a pair of new socks fresh out the bag are things that seem insignificant and petty and simple on the surface, but because these things are either so unexpected or just so perfect for the moment, the happiness they produce is about a million times bigger than their face value. Think of it in the 'Priceless' MasterCard kind of way, but instead of watching your kids first steps, my priceless moments are finding an extra roll of toilet paper under the sink when the roll is empty on the wall and I've just finished taking a messy one.

Anyway, another little thing in life that warmed my heart was (not surprisingly if you read this blog) an object I could depend on finding in the bathroom stall at work everyday. With so much to remember and trying to get back into the workday routine, I took solitary refuge in the refuse structure for five or ten minutes each day, with my head spinning and my hands on my well-creased dress pants. My brain was awash with so many codes and protocols whizzing around and I had nothing to bring me down. Then on my third day, I found a rolled up Montreal Gazette sports section jammed in a tiny gap in the door. I leafed through the thing while I did my business and after reading a column or two, I'd forgotten why I was stressed.

Each and every day from that point on, no matter the time, that trusty section would be there for me. And being without internet and cable at home right now, I'd read up on the latest Olympics developments and how our athletes were doing. It comforted me. It was a few moments of sanity and clarity in my days packed with new knowledge and money worries.

I started to rely on those flimsy 8 to 20 pages. I made sure to plan my shits so they happened at work. I thanked the Flying Spaghetti Monster that there was someone bold enough to take that section into the can each morning. I started to imagine what this hero did for a living and what kind of car he drove. Those times in the shitter were the highlight of my day.

That is, until somebody complained on Friday that the Montreal Gazette was disappearing from the lunch room. Instead of taking the complaint and dealing with it by monitoring the newspaper -- or just shrugging off the complaint -- the dedicated human resources company I work for sent out an office-wide memo that afternoon telling us to keep the papers in the lunch room.

I have never been part of an outfit like this. I thought they couldn't be serious. I even laughed when I read the email. Yeah right, like that would deter this newsprint liberator from spreading sports pages to those who are in the only frame of mind to peruse them.

I wasn't laughing Monday though, when I whistled into the stall and closed the door behind me, to find myself alone. I searched in vain for that sports section. Nothing.

It wasn't there on Tuesday. Or Wednesday.

Or today.

I feel as if a part of me has died.

I have one less thing to look forward to each day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

random thoughts

I spent a while trying to think of how to unify all these thoughts, but it wasn't possible and, more importantly, I wasn't being productive. Productivity has become my main focus these days. It's been beaten into me at work. Be productive. Be productive. Be productive. We actually tally every single task we do each day, and with each task being given a specific time-amount value, our daily productivity is measured on a spreadsheet. What's more, our final tally is divided by our productive time -- meaning time spent working, and not on lunch or pissing or shitting or training -- and we are given a production-per-hour number.

This is not healthy for me. I'm a competitive person by nature. I can't help but try to get the high score. I've been conditioned since childhood. I blame it on an overload of video games and professional sports viewing as a kid. I find I'm completely out of it at the end of the day, having neglected using the washroom each time I have to go or taking a glass of water here and there, as I push myself to best my previous days' score.

I'll let you know how this goes in a couple weeks.

Anyways, onto the random thoughts:

In honour of the Olympics, I will give you my podium finish for the strangest things I've seen in Montreal over the past 48 hours:

4th place: Walking to a friend's birthday dinner in the Plateau after work Monday from my office downtown, I passed a Starbucks where a guy was interviewing a girl for what looked to be a position at the restaurant. What was strange about this was the fact that for a solid two minutes, some dude was pressed against the window watching everything a little too intently. I thought for a few seconds that he was a manager, overlooking the interview process, seeing that he wasn't too shabbily dressed. But then I thought, why the hell would anyone supervise an interview through a pane of glass. And then I found it strange that the two people didn't notice the guy. Until finally, the girl discovered him -- and the guy followed -- and then the dude just walked away talking to himself. They continued their interview like nothing had happened.

Bronze Medal: Getting off the train today, I watched a guy walk at full pace into the turnstile at the Berri-UQAM stop. In his own daze, he had forgotten to take out his Metro swipe pass. He literally doubled over on the metal bar. He then swore, took a step back, pulled out his pass, swiped it and walked through. Like nothing had happened.

Silver Medal: I started taking a new route to work. Well not exactly work, but to the Metro station I walk to every day. I found a really neat breakfast spot that I'm going to have to try out, but I feel like I want to wait for summer because it just seems like it would be better in the summer. Anyways, above the breakfast spot, there are maybe three vacant apartments. I'm thinking they are vacant because the windows are open and every few seconds, a pigeon flies out, picks something off the street and then returns into the apartment. It's like they own the places. It's awesome, but surreal. I really hope for the sake of humanity that no one lives in these apartment.

Gold Medal: On my way to work Monday morning, I sat aghast while a granny-aged Hispanic-looking Asian lady picked and plucked her eyebrows with these sharp-ass tweezers while the train herky-jerked downtown. I mean, people were bumping into each other with each abrupt stop or start, and this lady is going about her business with a sharp metal object pointed directly at her eyeball. It gave me the fucking heebie jeebies big time. I guess that woman has been doing her brows long enough to feel comfortable in those kinds of conditions. But it was too much for me, so I moved to the far end of the train, in case that thing went through her eye and sprayed some of that vitrious fluid all over the place.

So she takes the gold medal in the strange things in Montreal event, which by the way, is probably a bigger accomplishment than you'd think. People here are generally 86 per cent crazier than anywhere I've ever been. Like I've said many-a-time, I think one thing that qualifies someone as being Quebecois is the ability to feel completely at ease about talking to yourself in public.

I've heard some strange things as well these past couple days. Someone I met told me that they had been given a ticket on the Metro because the hockey skates they were carrying didn't have skateguards on them. Also, I recently found out my roommate did the voice for the Sixth Sense kid in the Quebec-French version of the movie. He did it before he was visited by the Pube Fairy, of course. Also, his old man is the Quebec voice for Brad Pitt and a couple other big actors. Pretty wild.

Onto the Olympics. Man. I kind of felt in a funk because the entire time I was finishing my studies (yeah right) in Calgary, and I was working in Yellowknife, I had sort of seen myself living in Vancouver as the Olympics were going on. It was this weird goal I had. Anyways, I'm not. And although I really haven't been excited about the games or anything, I think it would be fun as hell to be in that city right now. Also, I do get sucked into watching the games every time they're on and unfortunately, my roommate forgot to pay our cable/internet bill, so I can't even keep up with what is going on. I didn't even see the footage of the luge guy until Monday. I'm disconnected, mon.

Saw a bit of the opening ceremonies. I felt bad for all those native people that had to dance generically while all the athletes walked out. I hope they have good agents. Also, I want to cop some Azerbaijan pants.

I love those things.

Anyhow, last night we managed to hook up this mini-TV into our cable in the living room and get a crappy Olympic feed that only played the Men's Figure Skating event. And you know what? I watched it for two hours and got sucked right in.

I couldn't help but think that a lot of those guys are like stunted developmentally. Not from a physical standpoint, but maybe mentally. I mean, there was this one guy from Belgium decked out in a skeleton outfit.

File:Kevin VAN DER PERREN EC2009 SP.jpg

A skeleton costume? For real?

I mean, I understand that it's all about skating a routine and becoming a character and everything, but this is probably the biggest moment of your life, your entire family and all your friends and their families and their friends are all watching you, and this is the culmination of your life's work and the most serious and important moment of your life... and you're going to wear a skeleton suit?

Pal, you're never going to have a bigger platform in all of your life and you go and decide to wear pajamas?

It's really the behaviour of a six-year-old. Does this guy need his food cut up for him in small pieces before he eats? Does he have a nightlight and need someone to check under the bed for him before he can go to sleep? Does he say 'lellow' instead of 'yellow'? I honestly wouldn't doubt it.

Also, I want to know how more people aren't getting hurt or killed in the biathlon. Really. You are giving people guns at the beginning of a race.

Think about that.

I'm sure if I ever took up that sport, I'd be tempted big time to pick off a couple of competitors ahead of me as I made my way toward the finish line. Now I'm not saying I would, but I won't lie and tell you it wouldn't cross my mind. And judging by some of the unstable cases competing in the Olympics (see Skeleton boy above) I'm surprised we haven't seen someone go Charles Whitman in a biathlon race. I'm just sayin.

And it's not like I think biathlon is uninteresting, but here's an idea to make it a little more exciting: give each competitor a revolver with one bullet in it, spin the cylinder Russian Roulette-style, and then set them off. The racers can use the bullet at any time, although they'll never know if their shot will count. Don't tell me you wouldn't watch this.

If you're not down with that idea, then what about turning the race into a paintball hybrid and the racer has to play dead for a minute or two when they get shot. That could still be entertaining.

And before I end this thing, I'm going to dust off the people I irrationally hate file and add another name...

Apollo Anton Ohno.

Oh man is this guy a douche. I can't even remember all the reasons I hate him so much, because it has been four years since I've had to tolerate his presence. But I'll give it a try...

First of all, that name! Apollo Anton Ohno. That screams someone who is desperate for attention and lacks personality (see the Basis of Personality post.)

Second, he was NBC's most marketed athlete in 2006 (or was it 2002) because he appears to have an edge. He was jammed down our throat and I remember him whining like a little bitch when he lost or something (definitely could not be true, but this is an irrational hatred thread.)

(I actually looked up what happened in 2002 and he made a big deal about this one guy passing him... yep, I am vindicated.)

Third, he was on Dancing with the Stars.

Fourth, he looks like a slightly healthier version of Michael Jackson. Just look.

Fifth, he's an American athlete and they are always fun to irrationally hate during the Olympics.

Sixth, there is this...

Definitely deserving of some irrational hatred, don't you think...

One more random thought: 70-year-old men should be barred from wearing suits and owning Blackberrys. People this age should care more about their grandchildren than lining their already fat savings accounts. In a nutshell, that's why our world sucks so much right now. It's all these self-interested, grey, old fucks who are making important decisions about our world, based on the brief timeframes of their lives, because they have nothing else at stake personally in the world. Financially wealthy, personally bankrupt.

Well Sheeeeeeeeeetttt... doesn't it feel good to get all that trivial detritus and irrational hate out of me.

Until next time, kiddos.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

the basis of personality (part one)

From the twisted mind of yours truly, here is the first bit of a story I've been working on. (When I told my friend the idea for this story, his response was: "You need to get laid, man.")

The Basis of Personality

The man was feeling down. He wasn’t feeling himself. He wasn’t feeling anything.

He threw his used Kleenex in the waste paper bin, which was filled exclusively with waded, wasted wipes. He rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. He washed himself slowly and gathered his clothes and then slipped them on and went to work.

After a mundane workday, he met up with his friend the scientist at a pub down the street from where he worked. The scientist was always coming up with hypotheses, like a good scientist should. The scientist loved to look at problems and the man was always happy to sit and listen to the scientist speak at length about whatever he was tinkering with at that given time.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the man told the scientist, waiting for the waitress to bring them their second round of beers.

“What do you mean?” the scientist responded with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I don’t really know. I just don’t feel like anything. Do you know what I mean?”

The scientist nodded the same way a shrink does when he’s listening to a patient. There was the show of concern on his face, like he was at the same time analyzing and sympathizing with the complainant. And of course, like any psychologist, he gave off the slight impression that inside maybe he was having a little laugh about the problems he was hearing. There was also a pint glass covering the bottom of his face, as he took a generous sip of the recently delivered beer.

“I just feel like a watered down version of myself,” the man said. “Like I’m not full of life. Or what’s the word,” he paused. “Vigor.”

“I see.”

“I’m just not making things happen. I’ve got no charisma. I’m boring to myself in conversation.”

The scientist put down his drink.

“I’ve noticed this, too” the scientist told the man.

“You have?”

“Yes, and it has gotten me to thinking.”

Somewhere inside the man, a flicker of excitement was lit. However, the man could not feel it, because he had been without feeling for some time.

“Is there something you can suggest? Is there something I can do? I really do hate feeling this way.”

“Well,” the scientist started, before again picking up his glass and stalling before taking a swig. He secretly enjoyed leaving people in anticipating.

“Well,” he started again, wiping some suds from his face. “Have you been masturbating a lot?”


“I asked you if you have been masturbating a lot.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see the relevance of that question.”

“You asked me if I could suggest anything to you and there is a theory I’ve been working on for a while now. But I can’t help you if you don’t answer the question.”

The man took a long look at the scientist before taking an even longer sip of his beer, which he nearly finished in the motion.

He put his pint down and answered, in a voice that was much quieter than the one he had been using previously.

“I suppose that yes, I have been masturbating quite frequently of late.” He stopped. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this and still, I don’t know what this has to do with anything.”

The scientist smiled. “It all makes sense then.”

“What makes sense?”

“Your loss of feeling. Or vigor as you called it.”

The man sat quiet, allowing the scientist to continue.

“Look, it’s all very simple. Every time you masturbate, you are jettisoning a minute part of your personality. “


“Not at all.”

“It is. It’s completely unfounded.” The man laughed. “I do enjoy listening to your work, but I must say, this time you are completely out on a iceberg.”

The scientist continued undeterred. “Take a quick peak around this bar. Do you notice anything?”

The man glanced around the pub. He saw a doorman with an especially long and thoroughly groomed beard, sitting sullen at the door. The waitress and the barman were laughing about something at the bar. She was touching the barman’s arm. A married couple sat at a corner table. The husband fiddled with his beer coaster and then started picking at the label on his beer bottle, while his wife texted someone on her phone. A young couple picked away at some nachos, and traded whispers into each others’ ears, bringing smiles to their faces

“I don’t get it,” said the man.

“It’s really all perfectly clear if you take a detached and scientific look at it.”

The man rolled his eyes, but did as he was told and looked around the bar again. Then he shrugged.

The scientist picked up his drink and finished it.

“I bet you I can tell you who is having sex here and who is masturbating. With 100 percent accuracy, no less.”

“I’m all ears.”

The scientist pointed toward the doorman, who was now thoroughly checking the IDs of a group of girls who had just entered the bar.

“You see that gentleman with the beard there?”


“He’s a masturbator.”

“How do you know?”

“Just watch the way he deals with those girls.”

The doorman took each piece of identification and combed over them far longer than it took to check a date of birth.

“He doesn’t know how to talk to those girls,” the scientist said. “He’s holding onto their IDs in the hopes that the girls will talk to him. He wants them to comment on his beard, which is quite the piece of work.”

The beard was impressive. The man had a goatee, but the beard portion extended from his face about a good six inches. For a man dressed in such shabby clothes, the beard was definitely the staple of his appearance.

The scientist continued. “What I would call that thing on his chin is a zero-personality beard. The man is not able to converse with people due to a severe deficiency in personality brought upon by his chronic masturbation and so, in order to gain attention, and a potential mate, he attempts to distract people from his shocking void of personality with his outstanding, meticulous and well-defined beard.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“Is it?”

“Yes, I think it is. A lot of people have crazy beards. None of those people are getting laid?”

“Think about it. Really think about it. Why would you need a crazy beard if you were having sex regularly? Wouldn’t it get in the way?”

The waitress came by and the two ordered another round. The man would hate to admit it, but the scientist had made a good point.

“I’ll get this one,” said the scientist.

(To be continued...)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

is herbiberous guilty of perpetuating stereotypes?

I should have known better.

After spending nearly a thousand words (or probably more) detailing the unethical treatment of Herbs in our society and talking about how damaging it is to keep the nerdy, loner Herb stereotype going, I may have been guilty of perpetuating one of today's long-held stereotypes and, in some way, further entrenching society's superficial view of the modern man.

Tonight after work, I caught myself walking around the neighbourhood supermarket with two frozen pizzas, a 2L Pepsi and a case of beer. Not exactly the picture of a renaissance man, I know. I sort of felt guilty, like I was undoing all the work that trailblazers like Jamie Oliver and other chefs supreme were doing to reprogram people and make them cognizant that young men are not all pathetically lazy loafers who sustain themselves on prepackaged food they put in and take out of microwaves.

But then I thought to myself, 'you know what, this is a special occasion and it's not like I do this every day.'

And that thought actually consoled me for a brief moment, until I reminded myself exactly what that special occasion was - I was inviting a couple buds over to play NHL10 on X-Box 360 tonight.

I suppose they are stereotypes for a reason.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

music tuesday

Been a little lax with the blogging of late. Busy with work and trying not to say something offensive that will get me fired at my new job with a human resources company. I find the best policy is not saying much.

I'm a little sad to be abandoning my comfortable little existential cocoon and venturing out into the rat race again and maybe that's why I've been leaving the apartment each morning this week to take the train with a lot of melancholy music bouncing around my brain.

They say melancholy loves company. So here you go.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

feminist case study

Went out tonight to Esco Bar (Pablo?) and saw Al's band, Light Bulb Alley, rock the shit. Stuck around and discovered my new favourite group in Montreal, the Motherfuckers, who play a surf-rock, vocal-less brand of music that brought to mind the best of mid-1990s Huevos Rancheros.

There were enough quirky characters and pretty girls at the gig to fill a visitor's log book tonight. I swear, if I keep updating this blog after nights like tonight, is going to start looking like a Tourism Montreal website.

Anyways, after taking my second or third piss in the makeshift (makeshit?) unisex washroom and walking past the makeshift line, I was struck with a little existential and potentially chivalry-killing conundrum for all the feminists out there.

The past couple weekends at Igloofest, where people use porto-johns outside, I've always been the courteous and chivalrous man and put the toilet seat down upon exiting, even if I used the little piss bucket on the side of the john. In a few instances when I put down the seat on the toilet I never used, I noticed the seat was drenched in piss splatter and being the chivalrous man that I've been conditioned to be, I made it my duty to wipe up the mad sprinkle with toilet paper, in case the next user was a nice, young lady and she had to use the seat.

And tonight, as always, I made sure I put the seat down when I was done using our porcelain friend.

But it got me thinking: feminists want an egalitarian society, where there is no difference between man or woman, right? So why do I feel like I'm doing a disservice if I leave the toilet seat up, but whenever a woman leaves the toilet, she feels no guilt about leaving the seat down.

I'm a dude. I have to piss. I want that shit up when I'm unbuckling trow.

Shouldn't a woman, in an egalitarian society, leave that shit up out of courtesy? Why is there a double-standard?

Like I said, I'm in a hurry. I want that shit up.

Ladies, I want you to marinate on that a little bit.

I'm just saying.

Note: In honour of the Motherfuckers amazing set tonight -- which included covers of the old Batman theme, followed by the Spiderman song -- I will leave you with some vintage Huevos Rancheros. They were a surf band based out of Calgary in the 1990s. I remember feeling so isolated and cut-off, listening to them in Yellowknife as a newly-pubescent and thinking, man, I wish I was part of that scene.

I'm so glad to be in Montreal right now.