Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

awesome band names #92,392 and #92,393

New post at threeheaded blog:


Except awesome band names:

How about Rockin Taco Party or Scintillating Scotoma.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

what the...


Like Razor said, "it's just for fun, chico..."

Sunday, July 10, 2011

find some v on craigslist?

Probably, but not here.

As the ad says, "cannot be used as a replacement for an actual vagina."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

the most interesting neighbour in the world

Granted, I've only been on speaking terms with him for the past month or so, but I'm starting to think my neighbour in the apartment here might just be the world's most interesting man.

I first got to know him one Saturday afternoon this spring, when Fitz, Tamoobs and myself stopped in at my place to grab a thing or two before heading out to (or was it back from?) the park. We were a beer or two in and Collective Soul-voice (which is the precursor to the Creed voice, which in turn spawned the Nickelback voice. Did the Metallica voice start all of this?) singing a few of their mid-1990s classics. We'd seen my neighbour on our way in and we did the perfunctory head nod. He lives above the street on the main floor and spends a lot of his time on his balcony.

On our way out of my place, Fitz is singing "'s the hu-world I-hi hu-know..." and my neighbour pokes his head out his door. We get outside and I'm talking about my stationary non-stationary bike and my myriad problems keeping the tire filled (yes, I've changed the tube multiple times and ground down the rim edges where the hole was.) My neighbour starts asking me about the bike and gives me his bike pump and tools and doo-hickeys galore, suggesting likely problems, and pointing out other issues on my bike, like he's inspected it multiple times. I should say, my neighbour is, I'd venture, in his late-50s or early 60s, and he speaks French with a thick Eastern European accent. He lends me all sorts of gear and I tell him, well, I'm kind of busy now, but I'll give it a fix tomorrow. He says he'll give me a hand and then he tells me, in French, "you know, I grew up 30 minutes from Dracula."

I laugh, but he's one of those guys that doesn't know when he says something funny - or else, he doesn't dispense with the laughs very easily. I tell him that's interesting, but we have to go. And we go and I thank Fitzy for singing.

I forget to get home to get a new tire for the next day and I don't see him for a while. When I do, we talk about my bike. He doesn't understand why I haven't fixed it yet. I can't give him a legitimate answer other than, I work, I play baseball, I hang out with my girlfriend and friends and... He shrugs and gives me more advice. He says he needs his bike to get to his girlfriend's place. "Ma blonde," he calls her in his accent. It sounds more like "moh blond." He says there is a guy - likely some enemy who has a crush on his girlfriend - who he knows has punctured his tires twice with a pin when he stays over at her place for the night. He is sympathizing with my plight. I appreciate that.

The next time I see him, he tosses me a new brake line for my back tire and gives me more advice. It's a Sunday afternoon and it's hot as hell and I go out equipped with a cold Corona, but inadequate tools to replace the brake line and it's humid and it's not happening. The tube in the tire is shot to hell again. Here I thought I'd remedied the problem after discovering two brand new tires lying on Sherbrooke the night before. My neighbour is watching me from his balcony the whole time. I can feel his eyes on me, but for some reason, I can't ask him for help. Once I find out that he's gone inside, I slink back in with my tire in my hand and drop it on the floor. My apartment now looks like the Yellowknife dump - ripe for scavenging. There is junk everywhere. Coolers, tents, bike parts, bed shrapnel, Christmas lights and a Christmas tree...

I go to my computer to watch a video on bike repair and my buzzer rings. I answer it and go to my door and there is my neighbour, dressed in his biker shorts and jogger's t-shirt, with a bike skeleton in his hand.

"Where did you get this?"

He was on his way to visit his 'blonde' when he saw a bike - minus its front tire - in an alley. He brought it back and was offering it to me. I laughed and grabbed it and added it to the collection. He said I could use his bike pump whenever. His son would be up.

I didn't fix the damn bike, though. I went to sleep, sprawled on top of my blanket in my undies with my fan billowing warm air onto me. The next night, I got home late and ran to the supermarket to get a frozen pizza and I walked by his apartment and could hear lively accordion coming from inside. I walked to where he wouldn't be able to see me - partly ashamed at still not having fixed my tire - and listened for a while. It sounded really good.

Tonight, I got home with some more takeout food and I saw him on his balcony, as usual. I asked him about the accordion and he said it had been him playing. He said his father was very good and that he had been taught the instrument when he was young. He plays now for fun. Of course, my French isn't the greatest, and his accent is one that I'm not used to, so I'm not entirely sure of all that he said, but the guy seems like he is full of stories.

His father died five years ago in Romania and left him a lot, including that accordion. Now this is where I can't tell you exactly what he was saying, but apparently, his home country wouldn't send him the accordion for some official reason. But he has a friend who is a judge and he got a special exemption from this rule and received the accordion.

He said he used to work in aerospace before he got sick. He said he's been in Montreal for 19 years and has never left the region - he has stayed within the area from "St. Hubert to Mirabel." He said he feels like an exile. He's only been home once since he left. Yet he has family here and different visitors all the time. He speaks a bunch of languages with these visitors. (Allegedly) he's got a more robust sex life than most of my friends, despite being old enough to be their grandfather in some cases.

I've talked to him a half dozen times and he's told me he comes from Dracula's land, he plays an accordion in the dark, he feels my bike pain and his tiny apartment is seemingly a storage space for bicycle-related gadgets and gizmos.

I told him we should have a beer on his balcony sometime. I want to confirm my suspicion that he might be the most interesting man in the world. He's definitely the most interesting person in this apartment.

Monday, June 27, 2011

productivity burps

Judging by where I woke up Sunday morning, it didn't figure to be a productive day.

After a Friday evening, where I imbibed a tad too liberally, I woke up in full-hermit mode Saturday afternoon and shunned invitations to pick up beds and watch fireworks, in favor of trudging down Papineau to Ontario to find some kind of nourishment before visiting my girlfriend's cat, which I said I'd do last week.

I found a delicious Portuguese bakery and, with corned beef sandwich, cheesecake and Coca-Cola in tow, I marched toward my destination, to visit a cat that had been meowing at passerbys at her window since being left to herself Thursday evening. When I arrived, the grey-black enigma, which has so far treated me in a very hot-and-cold fashion, followed me around like my shadow as I dumped some kitty chow into her bowl and blew my allergies into a kleenex in the bathroom and then turned the lights on. I laid down and started into my sammy, sharing pieces of beef with the culinarily curious kitty. I opened a book, stared at the words for five minutes, before opting for some Planet Earth. After the Future disc, I went to Great Plains and, after that, the Pole to Pole one and then Caves. I could hear the fireworks, but I didn't want to think about them or anything. I wanted to marvel at the world's greatest and most inspiring creations, while simultaneously retreating from them inside a small, black apartment with a cat that just wanted to lay next to something. (It's debatable whether I did more for the cat than it did for me.)

Nine hours of Planet Earth later: I woke up crusty-eyed (no allergy pills) and hacking, nearly fully-clothed (always too hot to wear a t-shirt inside here in the summer) sometime around dawn, on an improvised duvet, not meant for sleeping on. I laid there, reluctantly coming to terms with the upcoming day, debating whether I should turn off the Planet Earth menu, which ended up playing on a 15-second loop for probably about three hours. (At one point, I had each of the 18 shots memorized in sequence. These are things I probably shouldn't be telling anyone.)

After a day where I literally laid on a couch with a cat, I couldn't fathom how I'd be able to muster the energy to do all the things I had to do - ie. haul a bed frame home at noon, fix my bike tire... and that's it. That's the state I was in.

When the menu had driven me to my breaking point, I got up, turned it off, gave the cat one last pet and one last treat, threw on my shirt and hoofed it home. From there, I received a call from the Fitz, asking when I'd be by to pick up the bed frame. I called my buddy Jones and he said he'd be there at noon. I started off. I got there. We taped up the bed. Jones arrived and we hauled it painstakingly from West of St. Laurent, down Sherbrooke, to my place East of Park Lafontaine, to the amusement of nearly everyone we passed. That's how I roll. Stubbornly.

I was tired, but I felt good, knocking something so important off my list of ever-expanding things to do. Hey, it only took me 8 months to acquire a bed!

We called up Heee-Ren and went up to a Vegan spot to eat some lunch. (Who does this Herbiberous think he is? Don't worry, it gets better.) On our way up there, I spy a garage sale of sorts and say, hey boys, we should go check out what they've got.

Good call.

Turns out these kids are selling a record player. "How much?"

"Oh everything's cheap. Five bucks?"

"It works?" I asked, shocked.

"Yeah, I think it just needs a new needle."

Sold. I look over and beside the turntable, they've got a stack of records. Sgt. Peppers, Dark Side of the Moon, James Bond themes....

"How much for the records?"

"Cheap. 50 cents each," the chick says.

I look at the boys and we start to laugh. Score.

We throw her $15 and now I own a record player with a burgeoning record collection.

(Aside: If you're keeping track at home, this now means that I'm a fixed-speed bike and smoking habit away from becoming a fully functioning Hipster. Actually, I also need an ironic moustache, since part of my hermitude on Saturday morning had me shaving off my faux-handlebar nose-neighbour in disgust. I'm clean-shaven for the first time since before St. Patricks day. A girl at work called me "little boy" today.)

So, how's that for productive? We have a healthy lunch (for a change.) I had a vegan BLT, with the bacon substituted for bacon-smoked coconut chips. If you're through Montreal, check this place out - Aux Vivres. You eat these huge wraps and the food just floats inside you. You don't feel heavy at all.

With the boys heading off to baseball, I decide to try for a trifecta of sorts: let's get this damned bike fixed.

So I walk all the way from Mont Royal and St. Laurent to the Canadian Tire in Hochelaga. By this time, the chafe has set in. My inner thighs are like two slightly moist pieces of rubber rubbing against each other. My balls are sandpaper. I'm in pain. But I press on. I've been walking all day. I get to Canadian Tire finally at five after 5 p.m. and, somehow, on a Sunday, the store is closed. Shake of the head. Wag of the finger. Tears for the ballsack.

Oh well. I get home and have a rest and wait for Fitz to call, as he's got some more stuff for me. Eventually, he rings back at around 10 p.m. and I set out again and, after a glass of vino and a semi-goodbye, I'm back out the door with a electrical fan in my right hand, a plant in my left and a bookbag packed with various knick-knacks that I may never need.

I got home last night and dropped the new apartment accoutrement on the floor and I barely recognized my place. It reminded me of that skit in the Simpsons were Homer takes advantage of Flanders' financial troubles and buys all his furniture from him at a bargain-basement price and then he's sitting around outside, watching TV, drinking beers and BBQ-ing with Flanders' stuff. I'm living in the Casa del Fitzy, right now.

This whole episode taught me that life is all about balance. Well, balance for normal people. And for me too, in a way, in that I'll probably always wind up at some median level of ambition, energy, etc., but that I ride the peaks and valleys hard... and with a vengeance.

Sadly though, this story also illustrates that Montreal has lost another hero in the gradual, but seemingly endless exodus of great folks from the city. Fitzy and Tameens, I'll see you guys in July, but I've had a grand old time getting to know you guys over the last year or so. I'll tell you that in a much more intimate and slurred way this time next month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

awesome band names #18,939 and 18,940

I assure you that, at some point, I will respond to the Canucks playoff run. The post is coming but it's sprawling and it hurts - like a snake that just ate a hippo:

"Wait for it... wait for it... OH GOOD CHRIST!!!"

Anyhow, my boy Patch came up with an awesome band name the other day: Kinipshinfit.

He thought it was a good metal band name, but when I hear Kinipshinfit, I'm not going to lie, I hear Swedish dance-pop duo.

But I was just reading an article on colorectal cancer and came across a line that I thought would make an epic metal band name: The Fecal Occult Blood Test.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

there are things that happen...

You think I'm going to get on here to start huffing and puffing about my temporary disillusionment with the Vancouver Canucks and how it's turning a poor young-middle-aged biberous into a jittery, nervous, bipolarized crack pot, don't you?

Well, if I had any energy after last night's 8 - 1 fisting, I probably would have, but cooler (read: sweatier and better fed) heads did prevail and even though my emotional journey this last month would have made for must-read drama, I am far too friggin superstitious to get into any of it right now.

(Brief tangent: The old man and I speak carefully like polished politicians when discussing the Canucks' chances these days. Whenever I've been away from Yellowknife for any length of time, the Nucks have dominated our phone call conversations to the point where we'll argue for 30 minutes about whether we think Cody Hodgson is a defensive liability or not. (For the record: I say he isn't.) In recent calls home though, talk of the team is limited to a scant sentence or two: "We're in the Finals." "Yes, it certainly is exciting..." "Ah... (one of us will say before the other gets too worked up) but Boston has a good team, let us not forget." "Indeed." We both twirl the corners of our moustaches.)

So I'm left to shrug it off and hope for the best tomorrow night. I will say that I didn't do my part by getting obliterated at the Sports Station, like I did before/during/after games one and two, so I'll be pulling up a seat to one of their beer tap tables tomorrow night to muck it up for the boys. (Yes, beer tap tables. The taps are built into the table and you pay by fluid ounce or something.)

All I'm going to give you right now is my immediate reaction to Game 3:

"Shea Weber did have a beard."

And don't think I don't remember that Happy Gilmore, one of my childhood heroes, is a Bruins fan. Happy? We're on hiatus, brotha.

Don't take it personal. I had to boycott Neil Young during our San Jose Sharks series. And we're cool, right?

Note: The herbiberous beard is at shaggy, patchiness never before seen and, as a result, I've gained a new respect for bearded folk. Unless you've dealt with one of these things before, you have no idea how often you get sauce or crumbs or boogers caught in there and there's no way to tell they're there unless you get all Howard Hughes about it.

Rant time:

There are things that happen to you as you get older: you find yourself only thinking about sex around 4,000 times a day; your back is sore, but when you crack it, it's still not fixed; you can get boogers stuck in your beard; and, unfortunately, you start becoming a little too serious about your life and what you're doing with it.

Now, my hiatus with this blog has nothing to do with Happy Gilmore superstitions or excuses. It has more to do with my inability to process the past month or two into any relatable narrative, since I still feel weird about everything.

Here's an attempt:

Long story short: I went up to Fort Simpson, NT to work for my old newspaper company for two weeks and then went home for three days and it was there that I realized how much things had changed... or more accurately, how much life had gone on.

I felt like an obsolete data processor trying to deal with all the information I was being fed: houses, weddings, babies, projects. It was overload, but in a fucking awesome way really, in that I saw all my best and closest friends in the world - my brothers - becoming adults or, I should say, men.

I was so proud looking at Slader, with his baby girl (a future Canucks fan! kidding) splayed out on his stomach, while we watched hockey. Brook was barely six weeks old at the time and Slader looked like he'd been a dad for time eternal. We had two dinners at Mindy and Mindy's new house, which is a perfect spot and I was so impressed - even when Mindy showed off the entertainment centre he made in Charlie's woodshop. Patch made us a gigantic, improvised fish dinner from scratch that 10 of us couldn't polish off. Feltch was talking new house and relationship and dog and bringing over home brews. I seriously sat in awe at all of these guys, whom I inexcusably hadn't seen in more than a year, and how they'd grown and matured into these people.

I was only back for three days and I tried to have a good time and connect with everyone like the old days, but I felt really distant, in that I knew I would soon be leaving again with return unknown, without a suitable explanation as to why I was heading back to Montreal. I felt like it was the elephant in the room and I felt insincere, not being able to say why I was leaving all these people that I care about and who care about me, when I don't really have a career or something keeping me down here.

The thing is, I love Montreal. This city is what all organized conglomerations of people should aspire to become and I invite anyone to come visit me here. On a summer day, the parks are full of people picnicking, drinking beers and wine, the streets are closed for festivals, there are free shows and festivals everywhere and things are cheap. I've seen a ton of shows, ate some scrumptious food, met a lot of new people with wild interests from around the globe, including some like-minded writerly-comedy types.

Montreal hasn't lost its luster yet.

Since I've been back, I've wanted to start getting something going for myself down here, mostly fueled by my own dissatisfaction with my current work situation, but also, pathetically, in a small way in order to partially justify my move here. (A girl, who I had only met for one night, boiled me down to two words: "sensitive and restless." Yep and yep.)

Where this blog rant fits in? Because I've wanted to start freelancing stories or articles or whatever, I've viewed the blog as a roadblock, as a venue where I was writing goofy things for free that I could maybe pitch to a magazine or paper or website for some $$$ or at least publication. And that's what happened, really.

And you want to know what happened, really? I stopped writing altogether. This isn't to say that the last month has been a complete loss or anything. Quite the opposite, actually. I've met a girl who I'm really getting on with (and who I may be guilty of doing the 'don't talk about it' superstition stuff with) and it feels like I'm busy doing something every night/day.

But that writing stuff has dried up like a turd in the sun and that has got to stop.

And I know I shouldn't have to explain myself for what I want to do and I know all my buddies are happy for me, but because I am who I am and because I over think everything, I wanted to get this off of my chest. We'll always be brothers, brothers.

(And you have to put up with these crazy rants every once in a while on here. You should know that by now.)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Today is going to be sunny with a chance of showers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

thoughts that have possessed me today

Is there anything that screams 'I'm trying to be cool' louder than someone riding their bike with no hands?

Where did the last name Sexsmith come from? I've heard of blacksmiths and shoesmiths, but if you go back a few thousands years, were the original Sexsmiths a bunch of hoors?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

fast five: or ocean's eleven for dummies

I just got home from Fast Five and I've got to say it was the most entertaining movie I've seen in a while, in that it was so gloriously and rapturously terrible.

Basically, every incarnation from the Fast and Furious franchise reunites for an Ocean's Eleven style caper to steal $100 million of drug kingpin money from the heart of a corrupted and heavily protected police headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

The thing is, the plan to steal the money is atrocious (at one point, it involves getting one of the hot chicks to walk up to the kingpin and getting him to put his hand on her ass in order to get a handprint ID for a scanner replication later on) and the only thing more ridiculous is the fact that the gang abandons what they spend literally an hour of the movie doing to prepare for the heist to just wing it, video game cheat style by bursting though barricades and walls with an armoured truck.

It really was Ocean's Eleven for people with ADHD.

Vin Diesel and Co. also probably spent more than $100 million on cars, guns, warehouses, GPS-trackers, flights and a gigantic safe just to steal the $100 million.

In all, it was a beautiful, beautiful thing to behold.

And, thinking back, the only way the plot makes any sense is if you imagine that every time a scene ends or the camera cuts away from a character, they start doing crazy amounts of blow... I mean, Carlito's Way's David Kleinfeld type blow.

"Hey, we just stole four cop cars so that we can remain unnoticed... (SNIFF) but I bet you $1 million in money I don't yet have that I can beat you to the three of you to the next stop light."

"Hey, I'm the drug kingpin and Vin Diesel and his gang are being taken back to the US by the Rock and therefore they are now unable to steal my money... (SNIFF) but he burned $10 million of my money (by the way, I make $100 million a week) so I better ambush the FBI convoy and kill them and hope it doesn't somehow come back and wind up biting me in the ass."

"Hey, I'm Jordana Brewster's character and I'm pregnant... (SNIFF) and RAIL thin."

Honestly, I can't wait for the next edition.

Favourite lines:
The Rock, as the FBI Agent: "These guys are dangerous and for God's sake, don't let them drive cars."

Tyrese, after balking at the audacious plan and then hearing that the planned target is worth $100 million: "That's a lot of vaginal activity."

Vin Diesel, breaking up a fight between Paul Walker's character and a guy who looked like a cross between Zack Galifianakis and a UFC fighter: "Walk it off!"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

craigslist: why even bother?

I found this in the free section:

Who would want this? Really?

Nah, scratch that. I think it's more important to consider that there is someone in Montreal who thinks that there is somebody else out there who might desire a puzzle with 20 missing pieces. What kind of person could believe that? Probably somebody with 20 missing pieces, right?

Even more puzzling... here's the puzzle itself:


That's fucking horrifying! I was all set to go to bed, too. Now I think I might have to stay up and watch Happy Gilmore or something to distract me from the soulless doll visages that have been seared into my consciousness.

I'm wondering if there might be some mental illness involved in this posting. What kind of person openly tries to pass along something as useless, incomplete and borderline terrifying as this puzzle... and for FREE? Why waste the effort taking the picture and typing up the description. It's a demented puzzle and it's not even complete. This person could have used that 3 minutes for something more productive, like burning the flesh off the face of the last person who took a puzzle from him/her, in his/her basement with a vat of acid...

God, I love craiglist.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

quick thought to munch on

So so much happening around the globe and in the life of your friend here these past few weeks, but don't think I forgot about you.

To prove that, here is a little thought to tide you over with until herbiberous stops moving for long enough to spew out a few more words on where he has been this last month:

Without gravity, cups would serve no purpose at all.

True story.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

northern twist to musical staples part. 2

Like I think I mentioned some time earlier, I'm back North of 60 working at a newspaper and I'm calling people all day long in all sorts of awesome communities and, based on the workload and the amount of time spent on my lonesome, I'm developing a bit of that talk-to-yourself psychosis.

Anywho, there's a community just south of the the Mackenzie that I've called a couple times this week and each time I do it, while the phone is ringing, I start humming... "duh-da-da duuuh-da-duh-da-duh... duh-da-da duuuh-da-duh-duuuuh... duh-da-da duuuh-da-duh-da-duh... da-da-da-da-duh-duh-duh... Kakisa..."

Not ringing a bell? Just substitute Tequila with Kakisa

Don't these humans somehow look like puppets from Fraggle Rock?

Email to pops: game 5 round 1: vancouver 0 - chicago 5

I feel like a victim of spousal abuse. Why do I keep coming back?

I know we're still leading this series, but really... what the hell is going on?

As Andre 3000 once said: "stack of questions with no answers."

Sedins have to stop being little perimetre ninnies. Seriously, playoff hockey boys! Come on, now!

I'm just sad. And scared. I don't even want to talk about what could happen here.

Canucks' theme song these past two games:
I don't wanna do your dirty work no more

Good: Grief? Hodgson, Schneider

Bad: Feeling about this...

Pops... STAY IN AUSTRALIA! Seriously.

You don't want to see this right now.


Email to pops: game 5 round 1: vancouver 0 - chicago 5 (so far)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

a novel way to annoy

I've talked a lot about the frustrations I sometimes have walking around and being accosted by folks on the street/outside bus stops/in the Metro, coming up with elaborate stories and excuses for some of my hard earned pennies.

So imagine my shock (and amusement) when I got this plea as a comment in past post:

Get outta here!

This is the cyber-equivalent of the guy outside the bus station who says "I only need $2 more so I can get a ticket back to (insert city name)." And then you see him three days later, he tugs your shirt collar and comes up with the EXACT same story.

I bet you the person who wrote that comment did it from le Grand Bibliotheque on Berri and Maisonneuve. Just a hunch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Email to pops: game 4 round 1: vancouver 2 - chicago 7


First of all:
I just want to thank Jannik Hansen, Christopher Higgins, Max Lapierre, Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Burrows for being the only hockey players dressed in Canucks jerseys to show up at the United Centre tonight.

Second of all:

Third of all:
Everyone is going to jump all over Roberto Luongo after this one, but really I don't see it. I mean, he did let in 6 goals, but I don't see how he could be blamed for many of them.
First goal: Bickell makes a beauty move, out waits him and tucks the puck past his outstretched leg.
Second, Third and Fourth goals: Cluster-canuckle-fuck of Canuck d-men doing their patented, we-are-shook-let's-back-up-and-not-do-anything routine, screen him on three shots from the point or the slot.
Fifth goal: Nice move by Frolik on clear-cut breakaway
Sixth goal: Unstoppable one-timer by Sharp on powerplay.
Really, there is not much Bobby Lou could have done tonight... which isn't to say that I thought he played excellently or anything. He did that goofy, acting hurt thing at the end of the first and I'm starting to tire of it. Just play the game, Bobby Lou. This one wasn't your fault, though.

Fourth of all:
Sedins? Kesler? Edler? Where are you guys? I know it sounds crazy to rip on a guy with six points in four games, but Daniel and his brother Hank have had a pretty mediocre, heartless series. I'm serious. How many times did they give the puck away tonight? How many lousy passes did they make, or weak dump ins to change? I don't know if they were trying to match-up against another line, but they looked SOFT. And I've watched them game-in, game-out these past four years and one thing they aren't is soft anymore. I don't know what's up, but it looks like they don't want to take charge of this thing. And they are turning into HA-YOOOGE liabilities defensively.

Kesler, you've got to make something happen. You can't defer to other people. You're a star now. You've got to put the team on your shoulders. You're a 40-goal scorer. Start shooting.

Fifth of all:
We looked two-dimensional tonight, in the geological sense. The Hawks would blow and we'd fall over. That has to stop. We can't wait for the refs to bail us out, Obama-style. We need to work hard, grind and dig like we did all season.

Sixth of all:
Championship teams bury their opponents when they are weak... They don't dig them up and attach jumper-cables to their near-rotting corpses. God damn, we could have ended this thing tonight... Now stinky Kane and stinky Keith and stinky Hossa and stinky Campbell and stinky Sharp have their mojo back. Stinky Toews, too.

Seventh of all:
This hasn't been funny at all, has it? It's not intentional, I'm just wiped after a night of little sleep and a furious deadline day where I had to put a zillion things together for a newspaper and all I wanted to do was lay back and watch the Canucks oust Toews, Kane and those damn, dirty Hawks.

Eighth of all:
Canucks started doing that frickin thing where they just back up and keep backing up and let the opponent walk right in. Somewhere in Australia, a few of my old man's hairs went grey.

Ninth of all:
Something that really isn't funny: 6-pack of beer, 12-Pepsi, bag of chips, 2 apples, 3 bananas, 2L milk, box of Cheerios and a small tin of Nabob coffee = $53 in Fort Simpson. Yeah, I'd say cost of living is an issue in the North. By the way, I stood in line at the Northern store while a guy beside me put through his items. It was at $338 by the time I was gone and he wasn't even finished.

Tenth of all:
At least it's officially spring: The Canucks dropped a turn sandwich in the playoffs!

Good: Hansen, Lapierre, Higgins, Burrows and Ehrhoff (the only guys who showed any heart)

Need to get better: Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler (You guys can't be looking at other people to get the job done. This is your team... Wow! Who do I think I am, eh?)

Pops, I'm glad you didn't have to see this one. It would have ruined your vacation.

Punch a koala in the face for me, would ya?

Sleepless in Simpson,

Email to pops: game 4 round 1: vancouver 1 - chicago 5 (so far...)

Monday, April 18, 2011

another instance in the saxophone resurgence

As mentioned on this here blog - right here - Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Atlas Sound fame prophesied a reemergence of the saxophone in popular music.

Sax Roberts Band?

Eh? Eh?


Email to pops: game 3 round 1: vancouver 3 - chicago 2

Abridged version:

I apologize.

I was working tonight, covering an all-candidates (read: some-candidates) forum for an upcoming federal election that no one would vote for and that no one may vote in.

That's besides the point, but that is my point: you see, I was tied up at the meeting and recording the issues and trying to think up questions and by the time I got home, the first period was over. (There was a guy in the rec centre - where the forum went down - who was decked out in a Blackhawks uni and he told me we - as in the royal we, as in the Canucks we - were down 1 - 0.)

I got home, turned off my brain for two hours and watched the Canucks come back (it definitely wasn't storm back) and take the game. Sa-weeet!

Quick thoughts: I don't know how we are doing this but it's not like we are dominating games or anything. Sure, we have had a few good bounces, but that's not it either. I think this Canucks squad is just a group that buries and capitalizes on chances. On more than a half-dozen occasions tonight, Pat Kane or Pat Sharp or Frolik or Hossa could and should have potted a gino. But they didn't. And when Sammy had an open cage, he backhanded it home. No sweat. It's an opportunistic team, this one.

Anything else? I didn't think Torres' hit was too dirty, since the puck was there and it wasn't like Seabrook was hit from behind or had his head targeted. I think he just got caught - viciously - with his head down. This is one of those 'grey areas' that people who get paid a lot of money to talk incessantly on television go on about.

Good: Luongo (mostly based on what Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson were saying), Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson (why not? They are a pleasure to listen to - and I fully realize that Hughson is a huge Nucks homer) Canucks defensemen, Canucks' stick-checking

Need to get better*: Manny Malhotra

*Hallmark need-to-get-better style... you know what I'm saying.


Umm... Oh yeah.

Catch any big waves, Pops?

I'm sorry I can't write more, I'm tired and tomorrow is a big day.

Take care,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Email to Pops: game 2 round 1: vancouver 4 - chicago 3

Sweeeeeeeeet Georgia Brown!

Ooooh boy. Not going to lie about that one. I was a wee bit nervous there in the last six minutes or so. (I think 19,000 Vancouverites might have been too.) But, you know when you're fighting history and demons and bad voodoo and Kane's mullet, you realize things won't come easy and there will be a metaphorical wall that you'll have to symbolically break through.

As was beaten into us by the announcers (like social norms by society at a young age? Nope, that's terrible...) all night, the Canucks had surrendered leads to the Blackhawks in game two of the last two series and lost both games. You could feel Vancouver was battling that. You could just feel it. And when Danny scored that goal with 10 minutes left in the third, it was like everyone in the crowd just started to breathe again and it was just ubiquitous cheer in the building... until that little Pat-Kane-wannabe Smith scored. (Patch's new favorite player?)

I thought the Nuckskis did a good job of weathering that storm tonight. Even though you could see that the Hawks were going to throw all they had left at the Canucks, we were able to punch back enough - and land a couple knockouts - to keep them at bay. Man, metaphor overload. Get back to the real world.

Real world: Jannik Hansen was our best player again tonight. The Great Dane is just flying out there and he seems to be taking on some of the responsibilities that would have fallen on Malhotra's shoulders. Hansen's potting his chances, but not just that: he's murdering every Blackhawk who even thinks about touching that black disk and he's backchecking like a beast. (If I was going to use a literal BackCheck metaphor, I'd say his productivity was like at Uncle Jedidiah levels, for those of you in the know...) Man crush developing.

Raymond and Higgins were solid again, as was Kesler, who had a beauty shorthanded shift with Burrows in the second period. The chemistry is kind of off with Kesler and Raymond right now. Kesler is always looking to shoot, but when that line had success, he was more of the set-up guy. Raymond is always going to look to shoot and it looks like Kes is getting a little frustrated at times. I like when Maestro Kes Wes looks to pass though, because he rarely makes the wrong decision and he's got a knack at finding super-open, non-obvious teammates.

Burrows had an average game but - and I might sound crazy - I still thought the Sedins could be better. Granted, they combined for five points, so you can't really get on them, but they didn't seem to be clicking again tonight like they were for big stretches of the season. I'm not sure if it's because they're trying to be more physical, but when one Sedin has the puck, it seems to me like the other one isn't where the puck handler expects him to be. Also, they don't seem to be doing much in their own end, especially when Henrik just let that little Smith bugger pop the first goal out front tonight. If we're up 2-0 in the series with two games like this from Hank and Dank though, I think we're going to be alright.

Hodgson continues to impress, as does Glass. (Wasn't that one Hodgson shift with Daniel at the end of the second period fun to watch? Could Hodgson be a future fit for that line? He doesn't freak out and he's smart with the puck. He's good positionally and he has above-average hockey sense. Could be interesting.)

Defense played strong again, I thought, although they were responsible for that second goal as they got a little lackadaisical. (<---- Did not spell that word correctly without the spellchecker.)

Edler's been a beast and I'm so happy to have him back, but it was odd because every replay they showed of a Blackhawk goal, Edler was rushing to the shooter or trying to get in position. Oh well. Ehrhoff and Hamhuis were pillars back there and Salo, Bieksa and Ballard didn't make any glaring mistakes.

Luongo has had better games.... but he's also had far worse games (see: playoff history vs. Chicago Blackhawks.) I will take tonight's game, especially with our history against this Blackhawks team in game twos.

We didn't drop a number two tonight, so I'm elated.

Good: Hansen, Ehrhoff, Edler's physicality, Kesler's penalty killing, Glass/Lapierre/Oreskovich bruising

Bad: H. and D. Sedin defensively, Kesler-Raymond chemistry

Notes: I don't know how much longer Chicago's big dawgs (Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith and Sharp) can keep up these minutes. They've got to be wearing down worse than my ten-speed's back tire.

The announcers have been making a big deal about the Canucks' advantage in the depth department so far this series. (And man, I'm definitely not complaining about the announcing: Hughson and Simpson are the best tandem on CBC by far. If it was Mark Kelly and Kevin Weekes doing this series, I'd be rooting sweep... either team.) And then I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down the Hawks starting 12 forwards last year:

Byfuglien - Toews - Kane

Hossa - Kopecky - Sharp

Ladd - Bolland - Versteeg

Eager - Burish - Brower

JESUS! That's frickin deep. That's Mariana Trench deep. That's first Matrix movie deep. That's the reason why they won the two previous meetings vs. the Canucks. The deepness, bra. Chicago Deepdish.

Speaking of pizza, Mark Donnelly, have you lost some weight?

You be the judge:


2011 (FFWD to 4:04. P.S. Kevin Bieksa looks like a killer from 4:43 to 4:51)

Just in closing, I wanted to give props to Mr. Donnelly for his little signature on the last line of the anthem... I sing along to it every time: "We stand on guard... fo-ah-ah-oh-oh-or.... theee...."

And mad love to Richard Loney too. I feel like he'll still be singing the American anthem when I look like he does (and by the way I'm eating, that might not be too far off actually.)


uh.... oh yeah. Forgot again.

Hope you're having fun in Australia, pops. Throw a boomerang yet?

Give mom a hug for me,


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Email to Pops: game 1 round 1: vancouver 2 - chicago 0

I hope this makes sense:

I’m a devout atheist, a burgeoning cynic and someone who thinks voodoo and black magic and auras are for wackos.

However, I’m just about the most stubbornly superstitious carbon-based life form when it comes to jinxes and sports-viewership. Example? My old man and I used to dress my mom up in a Canucks jersey and seat her beside the TV on the couch during the playoffs because, we noticed, that whenever she was sitting there, we would score. (Unintended results? I’ve never seen my father more chivalrous. My mom’s tea mug would be empty and he’d see her start to get up. “No, honey…” he’d shout, jumping off the couch, “I’ll get it.” My mom was almost as disappointed as we were when the Canucks were bounced.)

Why do I bring this up? Well, I believe I am a Vancouver Canucks jinx. Yes, I said it. Whenever I write about the Canucks on this here blog, bad things happen. (ie. Bad things = Chicago Blackhawks.) I tried to write recaps for each playoff game for each of the past two years and, well, we bowed out like a page leaving the Legislative Assembly (obscure reference? Check.)

So why now, herbiberous? Why would you come back and start writing about the Canucks when you abstained all year – ALL YEAR – and they won their first President’s Trophy, as best team in the NHL’s regular season. Why would you tempt fate like this? Why would you pipe up, just as things are getting serious? Why would you perturb the team’s aura?

Well, you see how much nonsense this is? I love this team and I love writing about them and I’m not going to let some silly superstition stop me…

…err… actually, I think I’ve just come up with an ingenious loophole to, at the same time, talk about my squad’s run for Lord Stanley, while also appeasing the hockey gods. (I didn’t say I was a hockey atheist. I suppose I’m a hockey polytheist.)

You see, my old man, come to think about it, is in Australia, where it’s like 4 a.m. on Sunday or something right now. He’s in the middle of the outback. How is he supposed to keep up with his beloved Canucks? I don’t even think there are TVs in Australia. So, as a good son, I think it’s my job to let him know what happened and who looked good and who looked not so good.

Official purpose of blog post: To write my father an email about the night’s game. (If it is posted on this blog, well, that’s just a more public way of emailing I guess.)


Blackhawks again.

They look they same, but they just don’t look the same.

They’re missing that gritty, hard element to their team that murdered our defensive corps last time around. Not that I’m complaining. (And neither is Alex Edler.)

Tonight, I thought Bobby Lou played like a beast. And I thought he had to. No one has heard more about playoff failure that Luongo has and I thought that, although it was only one game, he answered some of his critics Рto use the clich̩ of our time.

That’s one thing that Canucks fans have to live with too: no matter how great our team played this year and how good we felt, someone would always take the wind out of our sails (man, another cliché) with the ‘they’ll choke in the playoffs’ retort.

Well, maybe that’s why I’ve stayed quiet for so long, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t get excited during that first period. I probably had the neighbours calling the police here in Fort Simpson, the way I jumped off the coach, squatted down low and let a yell go with my arms out, like Crosby did in overtime in Vancouver 2010. It felt like that goal was a good 12 months in the waiting.

Really though, thought the Canucks did a good job in the first, but really let the Hawks back into it in the second and were bailed out by some luck and some Lou for the rest of the game.

The new additions looked really ready for the playoffs. Higgins and Lapierre weren’t afraid to use the body and I thought Higgins, in particular, looked strong on the puck. Hodgson, despite my initial worries about him not being able to keep up in the playoffs, did not look out of place, as I think Craig Simpson mentioned, and I thought Raymond played a decent game tonight.

The Sedins had an off night, but I don’t expect them to on Friday. It looked like they wanted to play a more physical game – and I really liked how Henrik skated right into the crease at the beginning of the first and didn’t move until he was pushed away. The twins are like a highly calibrated instrument and when the parts are firing just a little bit off sequence, the effectiveness of the product is diminished. (For an example of that analogy, please see that analogy.)

While Kesler had a decent ten-minute stretch in the first, I thought he looked a little overwhelmed. He has a lot of responsibility on this team now with Malhotra gone and I felt like for the first five minutes and then for a good span of the rest of the game, he was floating and looking for other people to make plays for him. He’s got to be the hardest worker on the ice and hopefully that message will get pounded into him.

Samuelsson still scares the bejeezus out of me when he’s got the puck. I feel like someone could make a suspense thriller about him dangling and turning around in his own zone with the puck.

The defense didn’t make any huge mistakes and I thought Hamhuis, Edler, Salo and Ehrhoff stood out. I was shocked when Salo flew out for an open ice hit at one point and just prayed he would break in half. Appreciated Edler’s physicality too.

Best players: Luongo, Hansen, Higgins, Lapierre, Edler

Need to get better: Daniel and Henrik, Samuelsson, Burrows

Alright boys, 15 more!

Oh yeah, I mean.... How’s Australia, dad?

Anyways, take care,


Monday, April 11, 2011

village life

I made it back North of 60 intact.

Nothing of note on my way home, except that my delicious microbrew gift for the Minduses (Mindi?) was confiscated by Montreal CATSA screeners.

"Really, I can't bring this delicious microbrew six-pack through security? They're not going to blow up or anything."

"No, sir. I can't let you do that. You do have time to go back to the front counter and get them to send them separately. You do have time."

I had the time, but I didn't have the time, you know what I mean? Man, these terrorists are winning. They really are.

Spent a really nice day with the Mindys back home before setting out to Simpson, Sunday. I'll probably have something more substantial to write about being home when I'm home for longer than 19 hours. As it was, we just shot the shit and had some laughs like always.

I landed in Fort Simpson yesterday and the first thing I noticed was the trees. They're bigger than the standard NWT fare. I noticed them from the sky, actually, where each one looked like a single hair and, when, clustered on hills, surrounded by white snow- and ice-covered rivers, looked like small pelts of fur.

Got in and was greeted by the editor I'm replacing. She's been super friendly and even more helpful as I get back on the metaphorical horse here. It was funny, when we were walking out of the airport, she passed an RCMP officer who congratulated her. She smiled and thanked him back and I kept walking and thought it odd that someone would get praised about going on a vacation. A few seconds went by and I said that she must know everyone in the village by now - it's a village officially, not a town - and she responded humbly that no, she doesn't know everyone, but that the police officer had just congratulated her on her recent engagement. She pointed to her ring finger. I smiled and duly congratulated her myself.

"How recent?" I asked.

"Yesterday," she replied.

We drove back into town... er... I mean, the village, and stopped in front of a large, two-storey house.

"Here we are," she said and opened the door.

I've got to say, it's a magisterial office, or a Belinni sculpture of a workplace, if I was to steal a few words from Ray Hudson. It reminds me of a ranger outpost: it's wide-open and sparsely furnished, with but a few desks glued to the walls, a couple shelves holding up decades' worth of newspapers and a small, plaid-cushioned couch sitting in the corner. It's ideal, in a word.

Another thing I've noticed about Fort Simpson is the blue sky. Maybe it's the time of year, but I feel like the sun has this rejuvenating effect right now. This place has big windows and it's like the sun gets into every corner of the building.

One unfortunate part of the timing of this trip is that all the ice bridge crossings are closed or will soon be, meaning I won't get out to visit any of the surrounding communities, which are only accessible in the winter via the ice roads or in the summer by crossing the river in a ferry. I'd kind of pumped myself up to drive to some of the smaller spots, but I guess I'll have to do that some other time.

Anyways, life in the North, with its slower pace and tight knit communities, isn't all Wild Roses. Namely, the cost of living is high, but you forget that until you find yourself spending just under $22 for 2 AAA batteries, a small pack of Black Forrest ham and a 2L container of milk. Damn. There were $9 boxes of cereal and a 4L tub of milk was nearly $10, too. You forget these things when you leave and you realize why... it's for sanity's sake.

Also, I almost screwed myself tonight for dinner, since I'd started working on a couple things and it was quarter to seven before I'd realized it. My colleague asked if I wanted to eat some dinner with her and her fiance, but I said I'd just run down to the Northern store to get some food. She said it may be closed. I called and luckily I had ten minutes to get there.

I'd completely forgotten what it was like to be in a place where you couldn't access basic food items at any hour of the day or night. I ran down the street and got some brown beans, some green beans, some Ichiban packs, some bread and a couple of cans of peaches. Wait, does that even qualify as basic food?

I'm a little sleepy, so I'll just say that I've really enjoyed getting back into the saddle. I spoke to a judo coach about a clinic that he took some of his students to over the weekend. Actually, we first heard about it when we were at the school talking to some kids for a little feature that the paper does every week and these kids were all beaming and glowing and gabbing about judo. "Did you go to judo in Hay River?" they kept asking me.

I tracked down the coach - Okay, I'm lying. My colleague, who is like a regional encyclopedia, threw me his work number, home number and likely hours I could reach him. I tried him at lunch and she said, "I think he goes home for lunch," before adding (with effect) "if you look out the window, we'll probably see him drive by in a few minutes. He drives a blue truck." Noted - and we talked for a good hour about the program he wants to set up and how he believes the sport will grow in popularity, as it allows the kids to be physical, but in a heavily rule-based environment, while it also instills discipline and teaches leadership. He said, since the more experienced students mentor and teach the younger students, they gain maturity and learn how to guide and lead others. Another thing going for the program? It's free. And believe me, that's huge.

Like I mentioned earlier though, life isn't all Wild Roses. From what the coach was saying, it sounded like these kids had a transformative time: "I watched these kids come alive," he said - and the pictures he gave me from the event seem to indicate this. The sobering return home, though, was indicative of the heart ache that some of these kids endure.

While the kids were bubbling with pride in the car, eager to tell their parents about the fun times they'd had and ready to show them the silver participation medals they'd all received, the coach said that only one kid he drove back in his vehicle went home to a parent in the household: the other kids did not know where their parents were when they got back.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

home movies

During my summer in Iqaluit, a friend and I started talking about putting together a claymation movie. I wanted to document my fruitless fishing forays in a comical way and we began coming up with ideas for a plot... and music. I was staying in an apartment not far from the airport and my neighbour had an old electric organ that she let me borrow. I lugged the thing across the hall and into the apartment, sliding it up against the wall. I plugged it, super excited about coming up with a soundtrack for our little movie. I spent hours goofing around on that thing and, unfortunately, due to my almost-luddite-level ignorance when it comes to technology, what I have below is pretty much all that I was able to record. Since I didn't know how to record the noise I was making, I just used the GarageBand feature on my macbook to record the audio through my laptop's internal microphone. To play it back, I found it was best done using the iMovie feature, but I could only listen to it if I put actual movies alongside to accompany it, as the music would stop once the movie footage ran out. So I uploaded every last movie clip I had on my camera - the camera that can't record audio - and then I was able to listen to my 4:44-minute slice of schizoid heaven.

The claymation movie, like so many of the things I get excited about, never moved passed the imagination phase.

Tonight though, I found the original, for-recording-purposes-only video, and I honestly scratched my head/giggled hysterically while it played. There appear to be little snippets from Yellowknife, Grace Lake, Rossland, Iqaluit, Egypt, Chicago, London, Vancouver, Calgary, a couple some stops along the road... and a whole lot of me walking drunk with my trusty, beat-up, pocket-sized Panasonic.

Note: A couple of the movie files were corrupted, so I had to take a long piece from Egypt and sub in a shot of fireworks at a White Sox game and a ferry ride across the Mackenzie on January 2 in -40C.

Here it is:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

kids these days

Dispatches from McGill:

Last night at a show, I met a former McGill hall fellow (think dormitory RA) and got a brief and blurry glimpse into the drinking culture - and game of choice - of some of Canada's future leaders (or maybe, more accurately, the almost-grown children of Canada's current leaders.)

Apparently, when a group of McGillers get together, it's not to drink Millers. They have come up with a concoction/tradition called the BLC (or Big League Chug) and, from what I was told, this ain't your gramma's drinking game. (Ginochle? Vod-canasta? I'll stop...)

They'll take whatever they're drinking that night - rum, gin, tequila, vodka, sizzurp? - and pour six - yeah, SIX - shots of it into a cup and then top it off with whatever they were using as a mix. Then, BAM, down the hatch.

BLC, bitch.

Well, from what my source said, this appears to be the common chronology involved with the BLC: 1) kid will slam said BLC, 2) jump around hooting and hollering, 3) eventually sit down and get nauseous, 4) barf, 5) ask for another BLC, 6) repeat steps 1 through 5.

Also, I have heard that there are some that can only do a three-shot BLC and this is called a PBLC (you guessed it, a Pussy Big League Chug.)

A BLC ritual gathering is usually populated by males, but I guess the ladies do partake on occasion, as well.

Now we used to drink pretty hard in high school and college at times - I'm thinking Man Ram chugging mickeys back at the sand pits and the multi-beer funnels and keg stands - but what happened to a good old fashioned beer shotgun? It was dramatic, sufficiently macho and it got the job done - especially if followed with another and another.

This BLC seems a little like overkill to me and I'm thinking some of the girls - and guys- I used to party with would probably be spraying BLCs or PBLCs all over the place after a while.

Frickin kids these days...


PROOF! POOF! There's a facebook page!

According to the official BLC page, 71 percent of viewers are males... Food for thought

Sunday, March 20, 2011


The symbol of our generation is the empty plastic bag stuck on a tree branch.


It just dawned on me tonight that we can blame everything that's irreparably terrible with music on Cher. It's not that I heard a song of hers today or anything, but when I met a friend at the stinky Banana Republic earlier - hey, I know, totally douchey... and anytime I enter an establishment and someone is employed wearing a headset (and is folding clothes nonetheless) I know it's douche central - and heard nothing but lousy - and I'm talking lousy - dance R&B shit with autotune, I realized it was fucking Cher that turned that SHAT autotune into commercially viable music.

You all know that piece of garbage I'm talking about, 'If you believe in life after love'....

I would never defile this blog with that song. Come on now.

I posted the South Park version above. I think this video clip validates Matt Stone and Trey Parker for their good sense to lampoon autotune ten years before it started boning us dryly in the auditory ass.

WATCH. I called this post WATCH because I think Cher is so fucking horrible that we should start a charitable foundation called We All Think Cher's Horse-Shit and try to collect money to teach children that making music like Cher's is just a detriment to society.

For example: Elvis had an amazing career and then he made a song called 'Suspicious Minds.' In that song, he sounds EXACTLY like Cher. Shortly after he released that song, he died. Ergo, Cher killed Elvis.

WATCH 1, Cher 0

mildly innocuous yet bizarre homosexual song lyric by an otherwise heterosexual songwriter

1:24 (and a bunch of other times)- "I thought the Major was a lady" -- Paul McCartney

P.S. Good luck ever trying to get this song out of your head...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

random thoughts

My brother Slader just became a father yesterday, giving birth figuratively to baby Brooklyn. I say figuratively because Steph was the one to actually birth Brooklyn. Good work, Steph and I can't wait to see the little bundle o' joy.

One thing though, Slader: I think Brooklyn may be trying to tell you something. She decided to pick March 15, 2011 as her day of birth. Now, on the surface, that's an amazing day: the sun is starting to make real inroads into the day again, the Snow King Festival is in full force and, hell, the playoffs are almost at our feet. But, I have a feeling that Brooklyn is trying to tell you something by having picked March 15, 2011.

She's gonna be a Canucks fan, dogg. It's right there to see-din....

Brooklyn was born during the afternoon of March 15, 2011, when the Edmonton Oilers were dead last - DEAD LAST - in the NHL with 55 points and the Vancouver Canucks - for the first time in franchise history, this late in the season, I might add for gravitas - were 1st in the league with 101 points. If that isn't a message, I don't know what is?

Now when I told DA the news, his immediate reaction was that you were bringing Brooklyn into the world at the lowest point in franchise history so that she wouldn't remember these times and she'd only start to really get into things as guys like Eberle, Hall and Paajarvi were nearing their primes and Hemsky was in his, but I don't know if I buy it.

I think she might just be a Canucklehead. Don't take it too hard, Slader. It could be worse. She could be a Flames fan.

I'm kidding guys. Can't wait to see y'all.

With this in mind, here's a little random time capsule of March 15, 2011 - one day late...

GOOD: The seagulls are back. I always love the sound of seagulls in March. It means this shat we call winter is almost over. All that snow that murdered my shoes five nights ago has basically been eroded away to sad little outcrops of greyish-ice by two and a half days of WARM rain. Still, the City of Montreal managed to wake me up at 3 a.m. yesterday by clearing my street with alarms, loaders, snow-blowers, dump-trucks and flashing lights, even though it was raining and the snow was trickling into the storm drains.

BAD: St. Patrick's Day is approaching and one unfortunate symptom of this yearly pissfest in Montreal is how the McGill/downtown area is invaded by douchebag American 18 to 20-year-olds here on Spring Break. I've been here for less than two years and noticed that the young drunks are louder and more abrasive during this week/weekend than other times of the year. While I find it annoying to have to walk to work through the crowds of shade-wearing guys and girls -talking about even more inane things than I talk about - who hang outside the Hilton on Sherbrooke because they all have money and can afford to drop hundreds per night to get shit-tanked in a foreign city while they are in school, I can't fault them because, if I was 18 and could get drunk legally in an awesome student city three years before I could at home, I'd be there as often as possible.

Still doesn't excuse the douchiness.

GOOD: Nothing funnier than watching a down-and-out white gangster complain about his lot in life. Extra points if he's a ginger.

BAD: Nate Dogg died. He died of lung cancer, right? Yeah? Okay, so as a legacy project, his family should go back through his entire catalogue and edit every song he's ever done to try to persuade kids from smoking.

"Hey Hey Hey Hey......... Smoke-free every day."


GOOD: McGill girls. Seriously, I wish I'd come here for school. Like I said about girls at Columbia so many years ago (okay, 18 months) McGill girls have their own look: They are like between 5'2" and 5'5", with black hair and slightly tanned. I feel like I could point out a McGill girl from a suspect line just based on this stereotype. Yep, I'm officially a weird, old guy.

BAD: Losing that hour this weekend. Didn't this feel like the shortest weekend ever? Really, it was 5 p.m. Saturday before I'd even taken a breath. And that was before Spring Back.

GOOD: As a result of that lost hour, the days are ending later and I've actually walked home from work with the sun at my back a couple times this week. It's mad how amazing it makes me feel. It's bringing this weird kind of depth back to things, like I looked at an apartment complex that I walk by on Berri every day and it just looked different... like maybe it was the fact that I actually looked at it, instead of rushing past it in a cold hurry. Anyways, I'm about a month away from hanging out in parks again. I can't be happier.

BAD: CBC Montreal. I check out their website at least ten times a day at the coal mine and, lately, it's just been sad. They've had stories about the city going on a pothole blitz and it was one of laziest, most useless things I've ever read. It was like they rewrote a press release. And I've been applying there for every opening they have and can't even get a response and it just makes me sulk. Come on, guys. Give me a shot!

But today takes the cake: They had a BREAKING NEWS story about an earthquake striking the Montreal-area. We all know that earthquake stories are big business right now, but come on, this thing registered a 4.3. That's like a fart in a bathtub. We really are pussies here in Canada.

What's happening in Japan is horrifying. It really hits home, I find, because this disaster occurred in probably the most prepared and well-organized society on the planet and all the planning and precaution still couldn't forecast something of this magnitude.

When I saw the videos of the tsunami slowly but relentlessly invading the towns and cities in Japan, I couldn't help but think how small and trivial humans are in the grand scheme of the universe. A tremor in the earth just overwhelms land with water, carelessly and without reason, like a kid splashing around in a puddle and regardless of what we do, the wave can't be stopped and houses, cars and lives just get swept up in the ceaseless wave. It's just all so bizarre.

I've worked with a bunch of great people from Japan and I'm hoping that the situation quickly becomes controllable again and life starts to get back to some sort of normalcy again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

awesome band name #14,472

In honour of a drink I can't remember inventing, I hereby present awesome band name 14,472:

Shaken Jesus Syndrome.

dilla's motown beat tape is back up on youtube... REJOICE!!!

FYI: J Dilla's epic Motown Beat Tape is back up on youtube.

Some highlights:

CCR anyone?

Thank you, thePHATbeats, for posting these. I don't know why I didn't find this sooner. I've got to make sure I grab this CD wherever it's hiding the next time I get home because I can't be without it any longer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

twill anger a few

herbiberous is fully aware that he should not antagonize his friends living in an area where the thermometre sunk to -40C today, but...

he is going to...

I'm not lying when I say something like: I would prefer -30C right now to the snow storm then rain then snow storm then rain pattern we've been getting here. Keep in mind that I have holes in my shoes and every time I walk to work, my feet are basically reenacting that scene from Disney's Alice in Wonderland where that door knob chokes up water and drowns and Alice flows through. And just pretend that water is like slushy and icy cold.

I spend entire days with wet feet and, right now, I really just want to thank my heart for being strong enough to pump blood through to my feet to keep them warm and to keep me from getting sick.

Tonight, Montreal is a fucking mess. You're basically living out a video game walking on the sidewalks - and the less popular the street, the more difficult the level. You hop from ice chunk to bare sidewalk if you find a good street. You jump from puddle to deeper puddle on the shittier streets. Every dang crosswalk has turned into a minor waterway. I basically gave up at one point, walking home on Rachel, and started walking down the middle of the street, like I would have in Yellowknife. But I got honked off the road by waves of impatient motorists pushing up bigger waves of slush water and so I wound up in the murky, icy Parc la Fontaine sidewalk swamps.

This evening, we walked to a show to find out the show was almost over and so we walked to another show. I pretty much endured an hour long frozen soaker. I could tell that my feet were drenched, but I would keep from trying to drift into the puddles anyways to keep them from getting wetter and I could tell when I did soak deeper when my poor feet went from warm wet to icy-fucking-cold-wet.

Seriously, I'll take -30C over this. The ground is stable. It's predictable. You can dress for it. You can walk around. In the most articulate way I can put it, this shit sucks shit. Period. I just sneezed. Uh oh....

charlie sheen = chuck norris

Charlie Sheen's so hot right now that when he's literally on fire, flames jump off him to stop, drop and roll.


Monday, March 7, 2011

ottawa in 28 hours or less

Since it was kind of a tradition on this blog (man, am I getting nostalgic about a blog?) to have me come on here and write my impressions of a city after I visited it, no matter how trivial the observations and how tiny the sample size, I will give you my thoughts on Ottawa, after spending just more than 24 hours there this weekend.

Surprisingly, it was the first time I'd been out of Montreal since June and my first time out of the province since I was at the union of Mindy in Tofino. That's fucked!

I drove out with the Wind Ups for their show at Avantgarde Sunday night. I'm officially a roadie. We set off at 5 pm Saturday. I got home at 2:30 am this morning.

First, there may not be a more boring non-Prairie drive in Canada than Montreal-Ottawa. Especially in the winter. It's trees and snow and Petro Canadas, Tim Horton's, Ultramars and a restaurant named Herb's, out in the middle of nowhere. The Lazer says: "Is there a non-boring drive in Canada?" The answer: British Columbia and Southern Alberta from what I've seen. He's right.

Next, people in Ottawa are rule followers. They shovel their driveways immediately after a snowfall. The street we were staying on was a study in civil obedience, as even the scruffy neighbours next door, who were obviously still partying residually on Sunday morning, got out and did a half-ass clear job of their stairs and sidewalk. Our host told us that Ottawa was recently named the snitch capital of Canada, or more formally, a poll was conducted and people in Ottawa were the most likely to report their neighbours or coworkers to officials for doing something illegal. They were also the most likely to tell their neighbours to turn down music or complain about dog turds in their yard and things like that. Maybe to offset this, we drank and dashed at the one of the half dozen Royal Oak pubs in town. After being forced to listen to the same Taylor Swift - or was it Miley Cyrus? - song six times in a row (no joke) at a so-called Irish Pub, we kind of had enough. When the surly, track suited manager came to kick us out, we did as he said. No questions asked. It felt good.

I noticed something about the pub patrons that night though - and the breakfast patrons the next (er... morning?) brunch time at the Rochester Eatery - people in Ottawa kind of have that government kind of comfort and safety. They dress conservatively and sort of formally all the time, like they can be called into a meeting at any time. They laugh loudly and take pictures at pubs and make big deals about ordering - and drinking - shooters. Their lives are very easy, it seems. But it also feels like not much happens. Like a spark is missing. Like going to the pub is like putting on slippers and petting an old dog that lays at their feet. They have expanding guts.

There was a guy outside a bar who just started ranting to us, unsolicited: "I hate Ottawa. I want to go to Montreal. I've been here for ten years and it sucks. Anywhere you go in Montreal is packed." That's not true, we thought. Then we thought, why don't you go to Montreal? It's two hours away. He kept talking. "I'm from Haiti. I'm bilingual." Why don't you go to Montreal, we think. He talks about how everything is a party in Montreal. He asks where we are from. We say we all live in Montreal. He says "oh..." He stops talking for the first time. He puts out his smoke. "Have a good night."

Do I have anything else about Ottawa? Not really.

The Barefoot Hostel looked really nice from the two minutes I spent there drinking wine and warming my cold, wet feet on the heated floor.

Yeah, that's about it. I'd like to go back in summer. I'm sure I'd leave with a better impression. I hear there are less politicians around at that time of the year and therefore the douchebag-per-square-kilometre ratio would be diminished.

attaboy kes

Kes enjoyin some good za. Who cares if he's slumpin? What a guy...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Unless you're Charlie Sheen, I've come to realize that life always seems to find a way to level you out. If you're feeling too great, something will knock you down a peg and vice versa. I come to look at this as a universal law.

Minor example:
A friend had asked me to check the Smith Westerns show with her last night, but I felt I really needed to get some things done after a hectic two weeks. I came home feeling particularly zombie-ish, after another 8 hours at the coal mine, knowing that there was work to do. For instance, there were two years of income taxes to be submitted, some medical forms for prescription rebates that needed to be sent, an apartment that required tidying for a pending dinner guest (ooh la la) job boards that had to be searched, a bunch of story ideas that were asking to be hashed out, an even bigger pile of stories that begged to be completed, a few travel plans for upcoming events that required some coordination, and a future that probably necessitated a second look, if not a complete overhaul.

So like I said, there was work to do.

I made some dinner quickly and then set to filling out the tax forms until I realized that I didn't have my 2010 info printed off and - more importantly - I didn't have the tax forms. They'll have to wait. I then got out my prescription receipts - for the old foe, rosacea - only to discover I'd completely filled out the form I had to send in six months ago and forgot to send it. Since then, I had collected an additional $32 receipt and - again, more importantly - changed addresses. I'll need to get a new form so... that one will have to wait.

I then went onto the job boards and found the same old, rehashed, phony recruiter, analyst, marketing specialists jobs posted at each site and gave up.

I did find this beauty though:

Uncle Sam wants you... and your clarinet

Since I was on the computer, I thought, why not jot down some of the story ideas that were popping around in my head. Easy enough. I opened an old Word document called 'story ideas' and then added a few to the ever-growing list. These things are like seeds buried in a pot in a dark, dry attic. After seeing all these ideas, I lost hope and lost any energy I had to flesh out some of the partially-watered plants.

So what was I left with? My dishes? Meh... Make future plans? I think about those enough, so because I hadn't slept well the night before and since wanted to tire myself out, I grabbed my hockey skates and stick and set outside for Parc Lafontaine.

Now initially when I moved into this apartment, I was giddy in anticipation of a winter spent on the park's two rinks, as I would only be five minutes away. But with an upswing in general activity (and my hockey homey, Freduardo, also becoming increasingly busy and leaving me with no one to head out there with) I've only found the time to get out maybe a half dozen times. Due to this, every hockey outing has left me doubled over on the ice, sucking wind through burning lungs after only 15 minutes, while dudes twice my age skate circles around me. It hasn't been very enjoyable.

But last night, I walked over slowly, taking in the blue-nearly-black sky and the stars shining. It's sad how little I look up at the sky here in Montreal. The snow was hard from weeks of melting and freezing and melting again and dogs ran on top of it and then fell into it, as their owners stood laughing, smoking and chatting. It felt like I was seeing the park for the first time almost.

I put on my skates standing up and then joined a game. The first time the puck was passed to me, I gave it away immediately, because it had been a few weeks since I'd played. This went on for a while until finally I started to catch up mentally and then I started threading some passes and deking some guys and I got so into the game that I forgot to be tired and forgot to be winded and I forgot my job and my worries and I just played.
We went from four-on-four, to three-on-three, to two-on-two and eventually, taber-knackered (as the Lazer would say) we decided to leave. I was sweating buckets and was completely bagged, but I felt like I'd just had a full-body and mind massage. I felt the cold air on my throbbing face and it was like awaking completely into the moment. I wondered why I hadn't done this every night.

To tie this back to my original point, I got home, threw my skates and sticks on the floor and started at the dishes. Right away though, I felt that something was up. As I dipped my hands into the dishwater, I noticed that I couldn't see them if I kept my gaze at the tap. This temporary blind spot is the first warning I get of an oncoming migraine headache.

I hadn't had one in about a year and four months and I was surprised that my body would choose now of all times to give me one, but when I look back at my history, it makes sense. Whenever I'm stressed out and then I go and have a euphoric workout, my body completely de-stresses and that changes something about my blood pressure or blood flow or something, and that leaves me prone to these headaches.

Seeing as I had a really bad one about three years ago, where I lost feeling slowly from my left foot to leg to chest to arms to hands to face to tongue and had trouble forming a simple sentence, I took care to notice if any of those symptoms were reoccurring. My left foot felt a little funny, but I figured it was just from the hockey. I took a shower and that's when my auras (think of a blind spot that takes a weird shape and becomes like a greyish, twitching and pulsing puddle or blotch over your line of sight) went into full-blown mode. It was like I had the Northern Lights going off between my eyes and the world and I had to try to look through them. It's typically this part of the migraine experience that scares me most because I don't know what causes this to happen and the experience is completely debilitating since I really can't see. These auras were probably the worst I've ever had and so I made my way to bed and turned off the lights and tried to sleep before the pain hit. Didn't happen, when the auras started to subside 20 to 30 minutes later, the stabbing feeling had kicked in right behind my right eye, which is where it always happens. Last night, it was worse than most. It felt like someone was coring into my brain and then injecting something into it that was expanding that core. It felt awful and then I started getting nauseous. I started to recite easy to remember quotes or lyrics to make sure I wasn't having any of the speech difficulties. I was sweating and rolling around in bed and I couldn't take my mind off of the pain. I then decided to get an old movie - Donnie Brasco - that I can nearly remember word for word, and I put it on while turning my laptop screen off, so I would just listen to the movie.

I think I probably fell asleep at 3 a.m.

Anyhow, that's a long-winded way of saying that life always finds a way to sprinkle some bad into the good or give you some good when you're feasting on bad. This might be the only thing I am sure of in life. That's almost how I would define life. ie. When I start to get back into some kind of fiscal comfort and I start planning a short trip or a small purchase I need, a long-lost bill always arrives in the mail. "That's life," I think to myself.

Also, I probably wrote this whole thing because I might have felt guilty for missing work today seeing as I wasn't 'sick' in the traditional sense. I mean, I didn't get any sleep and my head still hurts, but I probably could have gone in if I needed to. Yet, I was sort of suffering from a 'migraine hangover,' where I wasn't really thinking clearly most of the day, evidenced by my foray out for some groceries, where I tried speaking to a grocery clerk in French and I found myself stuttering on a word for a good three seconds.