Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Forum

I've added a forum to the site, which you can link to by clicking on the little link to the right, beneath the Dark Quote. I've added the forum because I know I can have controversial opinions, and the comments section isn't really a good place to hold a debate. So, if you have something you want to say about one of my posts, or anything in general, feel free to do so.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Wacky Family Circus

Its been awhile, so its now time for some more
zany, whacky, koo-koo fun with the with
The Family Circus! Yay!

Death Be Not Speedy

I was a part of a funeral procession yesterday, and I'd like to take a minute to talk about what that is like. For people such as myself, the funeral procession is a solemn and dignified ceremony; the last earthly journey for the deceased. It is a respectful journey, with each and every individual car in the line part of a final honour guard. I can't explain exactly why I feel the procession is something sacred, but I do.

So, when some yabbo with no respect or class decides he's going to jam his way into the procession, it tends to boil my potatoes. To anyone who reads this who doesn't offer respect for a procession, I'd like to say a few words. First off, if you see a funeral procession, you should pull over, and allow it to pass. If you're in too big a hurry, at least turn off that street, and take an alternate route.

Perhaps the ceremony and dignity, the integrity of such a procession is meaningless to you. If so, then this is a pity. However, it means something to the people who are a part of it. Show them simple respect and courtesy, and don't drive like your regular self. A funeral procession is a last goodbye, its not some kind of deliberately placed annoyance designed to make you late and piss you off.

One individual in particular comes to mind. Not only did he jam his way into the procession, he actually tried to cut me off. I mean that - when he tried to get in front of me, my front bumper was past his rear bumper. I guess he expected me to panic and back off and let him in. Instead, what happened was that I sped up, forcing him to back off or hit me. I don't like bullies.

All the cars in the procession had their headlights and four-way flashers going. We also all had placards at the front of our vehicles identifying us as part of the funeral procession. So rude drivers cannot claim that they didn't know what was going on. By the time we were half-way to the graveyard, the procession was broken up in to five or six separate groups. We were no longer a part of a procession, we were no longer a part of the ceremony. We were no longer a part of the honour guard.

There were a few people - a few - who had respect. They pulled over and waited for the procession to pass. I appreciate that, as I am sure the close family of the deceased did as well. Sadly, there were only a few. I guess the world we live in is too "fast paced" and "modern" to take a few moments out of their busy days, with their "Internet" and their "iPod personal music devices" to show some respect for a dead man and his family.

So now a plea: If you see a funeral procession, be respectful. Pull over, or if you are walking, stop and bow your head, and allow the procession to proceed onwards at its slow, dignified pace. It might make you five minutes late, but it will make you a better person. Five minutes is a small price to pay for your own dignity, isn't it?

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tim Hortons

Sometimes, something as simple as a trip to Tim Hortons (a very successful coffee chain here in Canada) can be a surreal ride down What-the-fuck Lane. Last night, I went on just such a voyage.
I had never been to this particular Tim's before (the one on Canon Street by Stinson), and was heading home after visiting family. It wasn't too late, only about 9:00 pm on Boxing Day (a Canadian holiday that celebrates the fact that Christmas is over), as I walked in the door. The place was mostly empty, just two guys near the door arguing about jewelry, and four teenaged kids in the corner rolling up characters for a role playing game.
I walked up to the counter to greet my server, who was to say the least odd looking. She was very tall, gangly, and bony. She was in her late fifties, super short hair, and in my mind I immediately nicknamed her Stork Lady. I greeted Stork Lady, and gave her my order: an extra large, double cream, with an orange flavour shot.
She nodded, and turned to walk away. Then she stopped, and came back, and asked me the size again. I told her, and she turned, then turned back, and asked how many creams. I told her, and then noticed she was still standing there. I told her it was an orange shot, and she nodded and walked off to get my coffee.
She walked over to the machine, then stood and listened for about 2 minutes as 2 of her co-workers argued about who was supposed to make the sandwich for the guy in the drive through (apparently, no one had made his sandwich and he was sitting at the window for several minutes waiting). She decided after a listening in for awhile to make my coffee, and came back and gave it to me.
Stork Lady: What was your second order?
Me: I didn't have a second order.
Stork Lady: Yes you did, a coffee.
Me: All I ordered was a coffee. With an orange shot.
Stork Lady: Oh, I thought you wanted a coffee and a flavoured cappucino.
Ok, I don't know precisely where in our previous conversation she had heard the phrase "flavoured cappucino", but apparently she had. I corrected her, so she was off again to make my order a second time. As I waited, a second employee came up, a lady also in her late fifties whom immediately was named "Billy Goat Gruffer", due to her rather large and obvious white-haired goatee. Seriously, numerous, thick white hairs grew out of her chin.
Now, as an aside, as an employer, are you seriously going to hire a lady with a thick white beard? I'm all for equal opportunity, but its not like chin hair is a serious affliction. I mean, it can be cured with the application of a razor blade - a product easily obtainable in pretty much any store. It can't exactly help people's appetites to be confronted by a woman with the same facial hair as Shraggy from Scooby Doo.
So, Billy Goat Gruffer stood at the counter and looked behind me, and spoke. She said something about getting something done, and looked meaningfully at the person behind me. I turned to see who she was talking to, but there was nobody there. There wasn't even someone close enough for me to pretend she might be talking to them.

I then assumed that Billy Goat Gruffer was wearing headphones, and perhaps was talking to a coworker in the back. She was not wearing headphones. She continued her conversation with no-one as Stork Lady returned with my coffee.
Tim Horton's: each trip is a glimpse into Dali's subconscious.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Silver Tongue Strikes Again

My silver tongue - or in this case, silver fingers - has struck again.

Pat Robertson is, to say the least, a fascinating man. A self-proclaimed man of God, he certainly is more of an Old-Testament Godman. Not to long ago, Mr. Robertson called upon his government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Here's what Mr. Robertson had to say:

"If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go
ahead and do it."

Imagine, just for a moment, if a popular religious leader from another country - one with a demonstrated ability to lead millions of people - called for the assassination of the American President. I don't imagine the US government would take such a threat lightly. They'd probably declare a "War on Hate Mongers", to go along with the "War on Drugs", the "War on Terrorism", the "War on Christmas", and the soon-to-be-announced "War on Vague Concepts".

Recently, though, he managed to top himself. When the people of Dover voted out the School Board that decided to allow creationism - thinly veiled as the psuedo-scientific "Theory of Intelligent Design" - into their schools, Robertson was apparently upset. So upset, he had this to say:

“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover. If there is a disaster in your
area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city."

Wow. Pat Robertson speaks for God. President Bush only speaks to God. Robertson speaks for God. Pretty heady stuff. And apparently, God is more than happy to turn his back on his children - forgetting that whole bit about "infinite love and compassion" - simply because they don't want religion taught in school.

I would love to sit back and pen an intelligent and well-thought out rebuttal to Mr. Robertson's claims. Sadly, I can't, because in my opinion, you can't turn out an intelligent response to a clearly insane, idiotic bucket of bull semen. It's the equivalent of a trained debater being expected to dispute a claim such as "You're a doo-doo head".

As a Christian, one of my greatest balms in life is the mental image of men like Robertson, brought before God on judgement day. I'd love to have some tickets to watch that. Of course, God doesn't really approve of that kind of schadenfreude, so I'm not exactly as good a Christian as I should be.

But on the other hand, I can't recall asking anyone to kill another human being lately.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

God Vs. Darwin: Round II

Ok, like many people, I have been following the current debate in the US in regards to schools, and their curriculum. In particular, this is the debate between the teaching of the Theory of Evolution and the teaching of the Theory of Intelligent Design. Apparently there is a lot of debate, funded and spearheaded by Christan groups, as to whether or not the Theory of Intelligent Design should be included in school curriculums.

The fact that we are revisiting the Scopes Monkey trials proves just how far the United States has fallen backwards. We've had this debate before, and it was settled. Of course, some people can't jus take no for an answer, and like some kind of annoying persistent cat, keep batting at the issues and hiding behind psuedo-fact. The fact of the matter is, no matter what you call it, the "Theory of Intelligent Design" is nothing more than a blatant attempt to wrap religion in a scientific blanket.

I am a Christian. I personally believe in guided evolution. However, its not a matter of which theory you believe in, or whether or not you believe in God. Its a matter of identifying the core purposes of varying educational institutes. A school is designed to teach factual information; scientific study, empirical evidence. Where such proof is lacking, then teaching the currently accepted theories from the scientific community is also done.

A church (or a Sunday School) is designed to teach the tenents of a religion. To prepare the individual for a believed-in afterlife, and make them aware of the standards of behaviour that are expected of a follower of that church.

The Theory of Evolution, being a generally accepted scientific explanation for the state of living life today, is a suitable subject for schools. Sure, there are some scientists who debate the validity of the theory, but until such a time as a more scientifically supported theory is proposed, Evolution is all science really has.

The Theory of Intelligent Design is creationism. Just because they've removed buzz words and tried to spiff it up with a nice new psuedo-scientific coating, you can't disguise the fact that, at the core, the so called "theory" is based upon religious beliefs.

If schools can be expected to teach religious theory, then it is only fair that Sunday Schools and churches start teaching Evolution. Quid pro quo. Tit for tat. Now, I don't think any organized religion would ever even consider including Evolution pamphlets with their bibles, and I don't think that Chick Publications is planning any "So You're a Monkey's Uncle" fliers, so that's probably not going to happen.

So, to all those who are trying to force religion into schools: imagine how you would react if you found out scientists were trying to force your priests and pastors to teach Evolution? Or the true age of the Universe? Religion is important, which is why it is up to the churches to teach religion. Schools are not the place for religion. So piss off.

For another view on this (which is remarkably like mine, only better thought out and with less swearing), check out On Intelligent Design.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

TV People

Hurrah, and such. I now have Internet access at home. They were supposed to come next week, but as I mentioned earlier, they did not. I called up Cogeco on Monday, and politely informed them of my disappointment. The lady who I spoke (Karen) to was fantastic. She was honestly apologetic, and she took my feelings seriously. She told me what the problem was; apparently, I had been misinformed by the first lady I had talked to. My appointment had not been for last Saturday, but rather for yesterday.

Karen believed me, and she had them waive the service and set-up fee (almost $40.00) by way of apology. I was quite happy with this, as I can put up with a lot as long as I feel the company I am dealing with is willing to make amends for their errors. So, here I am, a week later, and I have Internet at home.

So now, here’s a long and weird story I wrote last week.

Legal Shit: The following is a work of fiction. Any similarity to any person or character, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and not the intention of the author. This work is protected under Canadian and international copyright law. Reproduction of this work, in whole or in part, may be done only with the express prior written consent of the author.


While their friendship was rather odd and completely erratic, Neil Wellington and Davis Wentworth could not be said to have had a unique relationship. Certainly, the relationship was peculiar. Davis was extraordinarily wealthy, and had been since birth. He possessed the unique calm and devilish superiority of those for whom money will literally never be an object. No matter how expensive his merest whim might be, it could be fulfilled by simply verbalizing the desire; someone would hear, and make sure it happened. Davis’s family was Genie-in-the-bottle rich; only this genie was not so miserly as to limit its beneficiaries to a paltry three wishes.

On the far arc of the pecuniary pendulum, Neil was from a very poor family. So poor, in fact, that it had subsisted solely on the income derived from the public welfare system for three successive generations. Neil was unlike his parents, and possessed an inner fire and frenzy, a burning desire for success that was welded inseparably to a near psychotic need for acceptance and love. Neil’s family was foraging-in-dumpsters poor; a family for whom “dumpster” was synonymous with the words “grocery store”.

The fact that the two were friends at all was largely considered to be vaguely surprising. The fact that they later decided to share the same dorm room at the university was widely regarded by friends, family and acquaintances as being pretty amazing, but hardly unique. While none of them had ever witnessed this particular combination of seemingly conflicting personalities and widely divergent socio-fiscal life philosophies in person before, they had most certainly seen similar parings on a number of different TV shows.

Because sometimes, TV people are more real than real people.

Neil and Davis were both, naturally, aware of their nearly-television-famous relationship. They enjoyed the notoriety that this reputation brought to them, and banked upon it, invested it, and turned it into a nearly infamous degree of fame on the local party scene. Once a month, on the 15th of each month (regardless of the day of the week upon which this date fell), the two would host a television-show themed party. Davis’ money paid for professional set designers, who would, overnight, transform their dorm room into the set from any one of a number of different TV shows.

Because everyone – everyone – has a deep and lifelong fantasy about becoming a TV person, and living out their life amongst the cast of a popular television show.

The first party thrown was the now-legendary The Odd Party. Davis, naturally, played the anal-retentive neat freak Felix, while Neil was a curmudgeonly and slovenly Oscar. Each stayed true to their characters for the entire evening, playing their roles to the hilt. They refused to break character for anything. In fact, at the end of the evening, Neil ended up having sex with a woman because she looked like the lady that played Oscar’s ex-wife on the show. Davis also stayed true to his character, and had unprotected anal sex with a 17 year old twink from New York.

As their local fame and reputation grew, the two grew even closer together. They became as brothers, and each confessed to the other their most secret shames. A true bond grows between men when they share these secrets – secrets that no other person alive knows. They trade trust, and vulnerability, and even a small portion of their individuality. They become something more. It’s the kind of relationship that makes the whole “blood brothers” thing (with it’s relatively wussy cutting and sharing of blood) look a bit silly.

Their lives had been perfect, but everything came crashing to a halt when Neil won the Power Ball Lottery. On Friday, he was checking the couch for change for coffee. On Saturday, he was now rich to the tune of 65 million dollars. A few days after cashing in his ticket (before the Lottery Company had paid out, but not before he had charged the limit on all of his credit cards in anticipation), he received a phone call from the Lottery Company. They wanted him to, if he would be so kind, come in and speak to their lawyers about an “unexpected matter”. They would say no more, which left Neil feeling as if they deliberately wanted him to be frightened and angry when he arrived at their offices.

Neil arrived frightened and angry, having never even thought to ask his own lawyer to come along. He was led immediately into a dark, wood-paneled office designed in precisely the kind of way that is meant to look old and venerable, but instead looks new and shiny, so ends up looking like some geeky, pretentious teenager pretending to be Moses.

“An unexpected matter has arisen,” Mr. Wolf introduced himself as he rose, guiding Neil to a chair at the head of the panoramic oak table.

“Yeah, I know that much already, buddy!” Neil complained, looking up at the lawyer. “So how do we go about turning the phrase ‘unexpected matter’ into some kind of phrase that makes some damned sense?”

Mr. Wolf glanced over at Mr. Hood, and was rewarded with a nod. Mr. Wolf sat down next to Neil, and looked earnestly into his eyes.

“Your ticket has been contested,” he said calmly.

“What? What? What the fuck?” Neil had apparently made the decision to bypass incredulity, anger, rage, and blood-thirsty rage and jump straight to barking mad.

“We understand that you are upset-”

“Upset? Upset? Do you think I’m fucking upset? Do you think Poland was upset to discover the Germans had come to visit? Do you think Caesar was upset when he was stabbed to death by 22 of his closest friends? Do you think-”

“Yes, yes,” Mr. Wolf raised his hand, stemming the flow of Neil’s ire, “I believe I speak for us all present when I say that we can dispense with the amusing analogies and safely assume that you are distressed. Now, perhaps if we are finished reenacting the first scene of Shakespeare’s little known and very obscure play Felonious the Whining Sprite Bitches on Endlessly about Twat All, we can move on to slightly more helpful discourse.”

“Yes. Well, fine.” Neil felt like a twat.

“Apparently, a mister Davis Wentworth has contested legal ownership of the ticket.”


“Yes, apparently he is claiming that it was he who had purchased the ticket, and that it was stolen from his night stand – along with an expensive gold watch.”

“Why? What? How?”

“I see our list of interrogatives has tripled. Very nice. At this rate, you’ll be able to ask complete questions by Thursday lunch.”

“Fine. God. Why would he do something like that?”

“You are aware of the enormous cash prize that belongs to the ticket holder, are you not?”

“What can I do?”

“Nothing, I am afraid, until the case goes before a judge. Which will take place by,” here, he paused to consult a few pages in a file folder, “March the 7th. A little less than 3 weeks from today.”

“Court? This is going to court? Is it a legal matter then?”

“The theft of a ticket worth 65 million dollars? Yes, I believe the police just might consider such a matter to be of a criminal nature.”

“So, are they going to arrest Davis?”

“No, Mr. Wellington. They are here to arrest you.”

The door to the office opened wide, admitting two uniformed police officers, who took up position on either side of the doorway. As they stepped apart, a man garbed in a long brown London Fog trench coat, a worn black two-piece suit, and wearing a black leather fedora, stepped into the room.”

“Are you Neil Allen Wentworth?” he asked.

“What’s going on here? I-”

“I ask you once more,” the man interrupted, “are you Neil Allen Wentworth?”

“Yes. And you are?”

“Detective Archer. You are under arrest. Come with me.”

Over the next few days, Neil had visitors from his public defender, his father, and an elderly man who claimed to be his priest. It was possible that the priest was telling the truth, Neil supposed, but considering the fact he hadn’t seen a priest since he was nine years old, there was no real way for him to know for certain.

From his court-assigned public defender, Neil learned that: (a) the police had found Davis’ gold watch in Neil’s briefcase; (b) Davis had hired a team of insanely expensive lawyers to assist the prosecuting attorney in court; and (c) as far as he was concerned, he was not really confident that they had anything even remotely approaching a chance for a “Not Guilty” verdict.

From his father he learned that: (a) pretty much all of the family agree that Neil was guilty – everyone except Nancy, and everyone knows that she refuses to vote the same way as her sister Susan; (b) it was a good thing that Neil’s mother was not currently alive to witness this shame; and (c) did Neil still have the phone number of that guy he knew who could get some good weed?

From the priest, he learned that he was going to hell. The priest said a lot of different things, and told a number of different stories, all of which ended with him going to Hell. The priest pointed out that his visit was more or less analogous with a doctor’s visit to the bed of a terminal cancer patient.

A day went by with no visits, because his public defender had an emergency court date to attend for another client. Neil’s ex-girlfriend had jumped on a Greyhound bus from her home over 700 miles away when she heard about his winning lottery ticket, but she had turned around a little over half-way there when she heard about the criminal charges. On the next day, Neil was told he had a visitor, and was taken to the viewing room. The inmates were seated in a row, separated by thin green privacy walls; between them and their visitors was a protective glass wall, with telephones provided for communication.

Neil blinked in surprise as Davis took the seat across from him. Davis picked up his phone, and began to move his lips. He waved at Neil, and gestured towards his handset. Neil grabbed it, and placed it to his ear.”

“Neil, how are you? Keeping that anus virgin territory, I hope?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Are you really that stupid Neil? It’s 65 million dollars.”

“But you … you don’t need it.”

“You’re right, I don’t. I don’t need it at all. After I win, I will forget about the money entirely. It’ll just fade into the pile.”

“Then why? What’s the point?”

“Because,” Davis’s eyes narrowed, and his face seemed somehow more intense, and he locked eyes with Neil, “I don’t like the idea of your kind with money.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?” Neil was simultaneously personally shocked and morally stunned.

“Your breed wasn’t meant to have money. When it happens, its an accident, a malfunction, a malfeasance, a malady. It’s the kind of illness that puts our society at risk. And it’s up to men like me to strike with surgical precision to excise such malignant tumours.”

“What do you mean breed?”

“Your kind, your ilk, your species,” Davis somehow made the last word sound as if it had more in common with the word feces than just the rhyme. “You’re a sub-par, sub-standard sub-species.” He did it again.

“We were friends,” an accusation.

“We were never friends,” Davis leaned back and spat on the screen. Neil watched the spit wad drip and slide slowly down the screen. “You were a pet. You were fine and fun when you were in your place. You were well-trained, and I could amuse my friends by having you do tricks. But like any dog, give it too much freedom and it starts to think like maybe its actually your equal. It forgets its place, and needs to be reminded again. Consider this your metaphorical swat across the nose with a newspaper.”

Neil sat back slowly, stunned, the phone sliding from his fingers. As the enormity of Davis’ words washed over him, his mind wandered to various scenes in the past in which Davis had provided monetary assistance. Phrases such as Don’t worry about it, I’ve got more than I can ever spend, and It’s just a few bucks, don’t deny me the pleasure of helping you out floated through his mind. He saw it all, this time from a different perspective. This time, it was not a supportive and caring friend doing what he could to lend a helping hand. This time, it was a dog owner, indulging his pet with an expensive toy or a fancy new food.

It made him feel unhealthy. It made him feel unclean. It made him feel like a whore.

“Well, Oscar, its not like I didn’t warn you,” Neil could hear Davis’s voice drifting from the receiver, doing his very convincing Tony Randal impersonation.

“What?” he asked sluggishly as he raised the phone to his ear.

“I always warned you Oscar, if you didn’t clean up your act, I would enact my revenge.”

“That was … a bit,” Neil whispered. “That was a fucking scene.”

“It sure was, Oscar,” Davis whispered back. “It sure was.” He hung up his phone, and blew Neil a kiss before turning his back, and walking outside.

Because sometimes, something slips, and we become TV people.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cranking Ward

After yesterday's mostly-fictional* account of my encounter with Bill Keane, I decided to share my entirely non-fictional account of my encounter with Burt Ward. Now Burt is the guy who played Robin on the 1960's TV series Batman. This show was a delightfully camp version of the comic book, and was satirical and hilarious. The best part was, Ward had no idea he was in a comedy, and played the role completely straight, which was the best thing he could have done (considering his relatively limited acting skills).

So, its about the early 90's, and I was staying with my friend Tom in Toronto. It was our intention the next day to attend the Auto Convention, because Batman and Robin (i.e. Adam West and Burt Ward) would be there in costume to sign autographs. While I had absolutely no interest in the cars (ok, so that's a lie, the Batmobile was cool), I did want to meet Batman and Robin, and get their autographs.

It was the night before the convention, and Tom and I were up late, goofing around. At about 3:00 am, I suddenly had an epiphany: if West and Ward were going to be in town, then chances are, they were probably staying in a hotel downtown! We immediately grabbed the phone book, and started calling hotels in the area of the Convention Center. We would call the hotel, and ask them if they had an Adam West or a Burt Ward in the hotel.

I tried a few properties, with no results. I called the Royal York hotel (I use their name here solely in the hopes of annoying them), and asked for Adam West: no luck. I asked for Burt Ward, and the guy said "Yes, we do have a Burt Ward staying here". I asked to be patched through, and much to my shock and surprise, the guy did so.

The phone started ringing, and I called Tom over, and told him I was getting through to Burt. I had no idea what to say to the guy; it was 3:30 am, what the hell was I going to say? "Hi, I like Batman?" Here's the conversation as it took place. Please note, when you see the "***", I have switched from my regular voice to my Riddler (Frank Gorshin, the real riddler, not that idiot Carey) impersonation. Also note, the phone only rang twice, so chances are I didn't wake him up.

Burt: Hello?
Ash: Is this Burt Ward?
Burt: Yes.
Ash: The Burt Ward? From Batman?
Burt: (Getting annoyed). Yes. Who the hell is this?
Ash: (*** - switching to Riddler mode). We're gonna get Batman, and put him in a pot of oil!

I then let out a long, giggly Riddler-laugh, and hung up the phone. And proceeded to laugh like a bastard.

The next day, Tom and I went off to the convention center, and got in the insanely long line to see Batman and Robin. The only line in the whole place that was longer was the line to see Morganna, the Kissing Bandit (a stripper who had gained brief fame for running onto baseball fields and kissing the players). Yes, after Batman, I did go stand in line for Morganna, and I met her, and I kissed her.

While we waited, Tom threatened to tell Ward that it was me who had cranked him the night before. I countered by threatening to tell Ward that it was the both of us that had called, and while I was speaking, it was Tom that had dialed. We reached an impasse, and decided and that it was best if we said nothing.

So I got both their autographs, each of them signing an original bubblegum card from 1967 (that Tom found in his attic - the guy who lived there before them just moved out and left them). I still have the cards, and they occupy positions of pride on my bar.

* The true part of the Bill Keane story is the fact that, as a child, I had a dog. Her name was Storm, not Lady.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Not Keen on Keane

Sometimes, people ask me "Hey, Ash, why do you hate 'The Family Circus' so much?". My response is simple: I don't hate 'The Family Circus', I hate Bill Keane. You see, when I was twelve years old, Bill Keane raped my dog Lady with an aluminum yard stick.

It was like any other summer's day; we were loading up the station wagon with warm, soft, gooey pies. We would do this daily, and drive off down to the homeless shelter. There, we would eat the pies while we gently mocked and teased the homeless people. My dad would always do this trick with a quarter on a string. He would drop the quarter into the homeless person's styrofoam cup, and when he would reach for it, he would punch him in the stomach for using styrofoam and polluting the planet. We'd all laugh, because it was for a good cause.

Anyway, on that day, I decided to stay home and keep my dog Lady company. You see, normally she would come along with us, but she was expecting a package to be Fed Exed from Singapore, and wanted to be home to sign for it. I stood on the porch, laughing and waving as my family pulled out on the driveway, then blew them a kiss as they turned around the corner.

Lady had already gone into the den to smoke her cigars and read the paper (she only smoked when Mother was out of the house), so I decided to climb up onto the roof to begin neighbourhood surveilance.
While some people think a standard Neighbourhood watch is sufficient, I much prefer to trust in the power of a pair of high-powered binoculars and my video recording equipment. Not only was my constant monitoring keeping the neighbourhood safe, but there was a surprisingly large number of homes where people never drew their curtains. I hadn't had to purchase any new porn since I was seven.

Up on the roof, I fired up the hibachi and put on a couple of souvlaki skewers, then settled down on my brown leather recliner, and began my vigil. I scanned the neighbourhood quickly, looking for any signs of malfeasance or nudity. I spotted a brown Ford Tempo coming down Canal Street, and zoomed in on the driver.

Ye gods, I thought to myself, it's Bill Keane! I was, at the time, probably the biggest Bill Keane fan ever. I had every "Family Circus" book ever printed, and also had a scrapbook filled with Bill Keane memorabilia: newspaper interviews, candid photos - even a lock of hair I stole from his barber!

Bill turned the corner, and drove onto Sanderson Avenue - he was coming towards my house! Not only that, but he was pulling into my very driveway! I was so excited, I nearly dropped my Clamato and Coke. I put my binoculars down, and ran across the roof to the access ladder. In my haste, I forgot about the piano-wire tripline, and tripped and fell off the roof. Luckily, I landed on a pile of feathers that we keep in the yard, next to the tar, just in case a Mormon shows up.

The fall did knock the wind out of me though, and I lay in the feathers, wheezing like some kind of asthmatic chicken fetishist. I think I passed out, because when I came too, I was naked. A quick trip to the clothes line had me dressed up once more (blue velour track suit with a red silk shirt), and I ran for the front door.

I was hoping that Mr. Keane was still at my house, but I was disappointed. His car was gone, so he must have driven off while I was unconscious. The front door to my house was open; in fact, it had been kicked off the hinges. I went inside, and found the place in a shambles. Bill had evidently been on a rampage. I picked up a small sandwich baggy which was lying next to the front door. It was encrusted with a white, powdery residue; apparently, Bill had been coked up. It could have been worse, he gets really nasty when he's on glue.

I began searching the house, and noticed the sounds of sobbing coming from the den. The door was open, and I came in to find Lady crying on the sofa. I comforted her, and we sat and talked. She told me what had happened: how Bill came in, his eyes wide in a cocaine-induced frenzy, the twin smells of vodka and pig semen blowing into the room every time he farted.

She pointed to the aluminum yard stick, and told me the sordid details. I'll spare you the graphic descriptions; suffice it to say that Bill Keane raped my dog Lady with that aluminum yard stick.

I tried to get revenge, but Bill was too smart. When I showed up at his house, hired goons beat the shit out of me while Bill watched and masturbated. I was defeated. I tried calling the cops, but when they asked him who had attacked my dog, he told them it was someone named "Ida Know", and they laughed and they laughed and they dropped the charges.

So now you know why I hate Bill Keane.

Monday, December 12, 2005

I Miss my High Speed Internet Access!

So, as the more Holmesian among you may have been able to deduce (by the fact that I did not post anything all weekend), the bastard cable guy didn't show up at my apartment on Saturday. I sat around between the hours of 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm, wasting my day, waiting for him/her to show up, all for nothing.

I'm not exactly sure what I might have done wrong to cause the cable guy to shun me so. Perhaps I failed to fill in the right form, or pressed the wrong button during the oh-so-convenient automated telephone sign up system (convenient for them, not for me). Perhaps I was supposed to sacrifice something personal to appease the cable gods. Oh, wait a minute, now that I think of it, I did sacrifice something - my fucking Saturday.

I've also been trying to plan a New Years party, but there have been some delays (due to issues regardig location) that have now, at last, been finalized. Sadly, I took too long, and two of my friends (Bernie and the Bear) have already told me that they have made other plans. I was saddened to hear this; to me, New Years has always been one of those holidays that us Improvisors spend together. Still, I understand that people can't be expected to delay their plans indefintley. They did tell me they might drop in after their other party is over, so that would be nice.

I've sent my invites out today, and hopefully its not too late for the others to attend. Fingers crossed and all that.

On Sunday, I went out for breakfast again with Bernie and Bear. I love these guys, as we can have some great conversations, ranging from scientific topics to modern politics, history, and more. Considering that they're a damned funny couple to boot, its a very enjoyable little breakfast tradition I hope will continue.

Sunday night, I went out to see Narnia. It was awesome, I loved it. Very true to the book (from what I remember); definitely worth seeing.
I did manage to get some writing done over the weekend - I produced about 6,000 words over three days, so I'm definitely happy with that. I've reached a stage in my novel where I find myself writing disjointed scenes, which will all be later woven into the plot line (or so I hope). Still, I'm definitely producing stuff I like, so I'm happy with my progress.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Old Man Winter can Kiss My Ass

As I stepped outside today, a blast of cold air swept across me. This gust of wind took one look at my winter parka, my large, thick scarf, my sweater, and my gloves, and laughed itself silly as it pierced through each and every layer. It proceeded onwards, like some phallically targeted groinal Cruise missile, and proceeded to freeze my testicles to ice. My testicles, naturally, reacted to this freezing deluge by immediately shrinking to the size of grapes (or, more accurately, raisins).

So I proceeded to my car, which had, predictably I suppose, been covered by a thick layer of frost. Much like Antarctica can be said to be covered by a thick layer of frost. Luckily, I have a window scraper thingy. Unluckily, its one of those cheap wooden ones that you buy at the dollar store. It serves well as a paint stir-stick, and does a reasonably decent job at removing thin layers of snow. As far as nasty, frightening hoarfrost is concerned, the tool was sadly inadequate.
After about 10 minutes of heavy scraping (which sounds like the S&M version of heavy petting), I had managed to produce a series of thin scratches and nicks in the frost, enough for me to see through if I squinted my eyes and turned my head sideways. The heater had been running in the car now for more than 10 minutes, full blast, which meant that the car was still blowing ice cold air (my heater takes about 20 minutes to warm up, which is very handy considering that the majority of my drives are 15 minutes in duration or less).

I got into the car, slamming the door against the artic gale that was trying to flay the flesh from my bones. I cursed the cold. I looked at my car's thermometer reading and discovered that the temperature outside was only -9 celsius. -9. That's not very cold. We will be soon dropping down to temperatures in the -20's, without even factoring in the wind chill.

I am so not ready for winter. If winter was a person, and that person was male, I would cock-punch Winter.
By the way, if you look carefully at the picture of the raisins above, you will see that they have all been the recipients of a chocolate snowflake.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Let's Improve Dumbledore

Do you hate the new Dumbledore? Do you hate his cringing, his yelling, his shaking of Harry? Do you long for the kindler, gentler Dumbledore? Ok sure, Harris is dead, but the new guy is an ass. If you want him replaced, follow the link below to sign a petition.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dumbledore is a Pussy

Ok, so due to some late timing, I ended up seeing Harry Potter 4 for the third time at the theatre again last night. I saw it the first time because I wanted to go, and some friends were going. I saw it the second time because my mother wanted to see it. I saw it the third time because I thought the movie I was there to see (Aeon Flux) started at 10:40 pm when in fact it started at 10:20 pm.

So, I saw the movie for a third time. What can I say? It doesn't really stand up to a third viewing. While the special effects are incredible, the writing and character dialogues seem weaker every time I see it. As much as I love George and Fred in the books, in the movies their dialogue seems hackneyed at best.

The next time you watch this movie, study the new Dumbledore. The guy is a pure pussy. I counted at least 7 different situations in which he flinched in evident fear - from fire, from loud noises, from the scary Krum and his school chums. You name it, it makes Dumbledore flinch. Now, compare this to only 3 flinches from Harry, and that little fucker had to fight Voldemort.
The big dance also bothered me a bit. Two of the four champions are Cedric and Krum. Now, we establish early on that both boys are at least 17 years old, perhaps older. When it comes time for the dance, Krum decides, that out of all the women at Hogwarts, he should invite Hermione. A 14 year old girl.
Cedric, being smart and handsome, also has his pick of eligable young women. He decides to ask Cho who is ... well, a 14 year old girl. Now, is it just me, or does the idea of a couple of 17-18 year old guys deciding to date 14 year old girls feel just a little creepy?

There are also a number of just plain foolish mistakes. Take for instance Harry vs. the dragon. He has the bright idea to cast accio (a spell which makes distant objects come to you) to have his broomstick come to him, so he could fly around the dragon and fetch the golden egg. So why the hell didn't he cast accio on the damned egg?

So, overall, its a fun movie and worth seeing, but someone really needs to start tooling the dialogue and story. And maybe cast some kind of magical de-pussifying spell on Dumbledore.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Missing in Inaction

I've been gone for a few days as I am currently without Internet access. Of course, I say that casually, as if it were of little importance, but for me being without Internet access is similar to an Amish person being without horse-access. Or being George W. Bush without access to the little green men in his head that tell him what to do.
I use the Internet a lot, as do most of us, for email, blogging, and such. I also rely on it heavily when writing. After all, who wants to suffer through the tedious process of dressing, going out in the cold, and driving to a library to do research?

Of course, I am suffering for good reason. I have moved to my new apartment, which I love, and have been having a great time. This is the first time in a long, long time that I have enjoyed the actual process of moving. The place is great, and it means a lot to me to have not only a place I love, but my privacy and peace and quiet.

I moved in on Friday, and met up with John (my landlord), who was finishing up by installing 2 smoke alarms and a carbon-monoxide sensor. I moved about 3 car loads when Ron, my upstairs neighbour and fellow improvisor, came down and offered to help out. I got him to help me with the heavy stuff, and managed to get almost everything moved that day.

Ron and I hung out afterwards, then I headed off to watch a friend of mine do stand up. Larry did an awesome show, and had the audience in laughter and tears (not crying tears, laughign tears) all night long. After the show, some friends came back to my place and we sat around and chatted and got pleasantly wasted (my friend Gary has nick-named my apartment "Ashterdam", as its one of the few places he can do this indoors).

After everyone headed out, I decided to try out my whirlpool bathub for the first time. Whirlpool bathtubs are incredible, and thats putting it lightly. I love these things! I loaded the tub up with bubble bath, assuming that the whirlpool jets would likely cause the bubbles to grow pretty high. I assumed it might be a problem, but I wanted to test the theory out, rather than be the wussy guy who was afraid to add bubble bath to his whirlpool "in case something bad happens".

Sure, the bubbles did get high, but it was pretty cool anyway, and no damage was done. Now that I am used to having a whirlpool tub, I don't know if I can live without one in the future.
Saturday was more moving (just a few boxes, a microwave, etc.) followed by a mid-day bath in the whirlpool (a great way to relax, by the way). Later in the day, some more friends dropped by (Kim and Peter), and we sat and had a nice chat. After they left, I went and had another whirpool bubble bath.

Sunday came pretty early for me - 10:30 am. This might not seem early to you, but I had been up until 4:00 am that morning, so it felt pretty damned early to me. It was Kim on the phone, asking me if I wanted to come out for breakfast. Even though I was tired, I really wanted to go out for breakfast, so I tagged along.

Overall, it was a fantastic weekend, and I love my new place. I may have an unhealthy addiction to whirlpool bubble baths, but apart from that, everything else seems great.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Don't Read This

There's are a large number of sexual slang phrases out there: Hot Carl, Philly Steamer, Dirty Sanchez, and more (if you really have to know what they mean, then google them). I've come up with one of my own that I would like to put out there. Please feel free to use this term, and spread it around to your friends, coworkers, and family.

Warning - what you are about to read is really, really, really fucking gross. If you are the kind of person who gets annoyed at people who use the word "cunt" lightly, then don't read any further, you silly cunt.

Chocolate Snowflake: In order for a chocolate snowflake to occur, a man must be having anal intercourse with someone (gender does not matter). After ejacualtion, he digs two fingers into the semon-filled rectum, and scoops out the contents. He then flicks his wrist, splattering the contents of his fingers onto the back of his sexual partner. The patterns created across the back are referred to as "chocolate snowflakes".

There you go. Told you it was sick. So, please be sure to spread this phrase around your local bars, hotel lobbies, street corners, churches and synagogues. If someone asks you where you heard such a disgusting thing, refer them to my blog. Thank you, and have a great cunting day.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Diet: Week Seven

STARTING WEIGHT: 281.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S CHANGE: - 3.6 pounds
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST: 23.8 pounds
CURRENT WEIGHT: 257.8 pounds

This week I was far from perfect, but much better than the week before. What can I say, when presented with slow-cooked peameal bacon, I have absolutely no will power whatsoever.

I have been managing to drink my water - at least, a fair bit of water. I probably put away 5-6 glasses a day, and that is really making a difference. I absolutely have to get back into the habit of keeping a journal - over the last few weeks I haven't been bothering to track my meals, and that's a big mistake.

Creative Spurt

I've reached a plateau in my work on Dragon Moon, mostly due - at least, so I believe - due to my incredibly high annoyance levels. As I've said before, as much as I love my job, there are stresses that come with it that tend to accumulate (much like squeegee people at particularly busy stop lights). Normally, that stress tends to just evaporate after work, because all I need is a nice quiet hour or so to myself to slough off even the worst of moods. As I cannot currently get this quiet time, my mood over the last week has been fluctuationg between mildly pissed off and psudeo-homicidal.

As my annoyance levels were running high, I promised myself that I wouldn't have to write anything again until after I had moved. I desperately need a healthy mental environment in which to create. Besides, I had also reached a point in my novel where I didn't have a strong idea of what was going to happen next. The first 25,000 words or so just poured out of me, because I had that part pretty much mapped out in my head.

So, I took about a 10 day break. Last night, I sat down and just decided to read what I have so far, and ended up putting in another 1,500 words or so, which pleased me. Rather than worrying about where the story was going or what to do next, I just expanded upon ideas that were already there, and added some good detail.

I'm still learning a lot about the writing process itself; the techniques that work for me, and those that do not. I know I don't respond well to pressure, and if I feel I have to write, I am much more likely to refuse to write.

I'm currently under the gun to finish transcribing my grandmother's autobiography for Christmas. I hadn't planned on doing it that quickly, but apparently it would mean a lot to her if it could be done for the Holidays. I love my grandmother very, very much (if you are laughing to yourself right now, you are a filthy, filthy bastard), so I am going to do my best to make sure that this takes place. Ideally, I will get it done and published online in time to actually give her the first copy of her book.

On the more visual side, please see the sidebar to the right, and check out some of my graphic art. Ok, so its pretty dark for the most part, but there is a lot of stuff that isn't too dark. :)

On the movie side of things, Craig and I are doing some great work on Backsliding. I like what we have so far; considering that I tend to be my own worst critic, I think that is saying something. Even if nothing ever comes of this, and the movie is never made, I will feel the time spent has been well-invested, as we have produced a truly good quality product.

The Dark Show is not going as well as I would have liked. There are four of us working on this project, and it becomes very difficult to get that many people together at the same time. I've pretty much put that script on hold for the holiday season, but we'll pick up after New Years. At that time, I'm just going to pick a weekly meeting time, and whoever can make it can make it, and we will just work with the people we have to get things done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Ok, so this definitely goes into the "I know this sounds made up, but it happened" category. One of my coworkers (for sake of her privacy, lets call her Daisy) was transfering a call for one of our clients, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Koontz. Now, for me, the first image called to mind by the name "Koontz" is a picture of the famed horror author. Apparently, this is not the first image that came to Daisy's mind.

When speaking to the new department (Mr. Koontz could not hear her at this point), Daisy said "his name is Mr. Koontz. That's 'Koontz', not that other word you might be thinking off". Now this caused me to chortle, because even to insinuate the "other name" I felt was a bit much.

She brought the client onto the line, then said "Thank you for holding Mr. Cunts". I kid you fucking not. Of course, everyone around her breaks up laughing, which causes her to laugh too. So from the client's point of view, Daisy called him a cunt and then laughed at him.

So the laughter rained down upon her as she tried to hide her embarrassment. Finally, when the room quieted down, I uttered, in a very stern and stentorian voice "Now, what have you learned?".

In other news, its only 2 more days before I move, which has got me pretty happy, I must admit. I'm in the process of trying to book Friday off so that I can get everything done during the day, and not have to move in the dark (which always makes me feel like some kind of brain-numbed burglar).

Monday, November 28, 2005

Quiff Self-Defence

As promised, today we will be discussing the best methods of self defence against a quiff attacker. As previously discussed, the quiff can be an incredibly difficult assailant to deal with, due to their natural defensive powers. The quiff is so incredibly pathetic that you just can't walk away from it, or treat it rudely.
When cornered by a quiff, most people just try to zone out, and hope that someone will come along and save them. As we have also previously discussed, no one in their right mind will knowingly approach a quiff, so there is no hope from that quarter.
Here is the sad but simple truth: There is absolutely no defense which can be employed against a lone quiff. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but I'm afraid that is the truth. The quiff is just too well-adapted to its chosen hunting grounds for you to be able to come up with a ploy that will work.
However, there is hope. While you cannot hope to escape a solitary quiff, a quiff can be defeated by introducing it to another quiff. Once the two quiffs are engaged in conversation, all you have to do is excuse yourself to use the washroom, and then run like the devil himself is after you. The two quiffs will lock into a conversation that will continue for hours and hours, freeing you - and those around you - from the terror of attack.
Below, you will find some factual information about the quiff, taken from my book "Quiff Hunting in the Modern Age".
Appearance: Sadly, there is no one established set of physical traits common to quiffs. Quiffs are masters of disguise, and blend into the surrounding crowds seemlessly. There are some subtle signs that the individual in question may be a quiff - such as a vague, lonely look to the eyes - but, while some quiffropologists swear by them, others disagree.
Habitat: The quiff has adapted to every known environment, and can be found on all continents and in all countries. All that is required for a quiff to survive is for there to be someone to listen to it.
Behaviour: A quiff tends to search out individuals - either singly or in groups - that it can engage in conversation. Typical opening gambits include phrases such as "Where did you go on holiday this year", "So, what do you do for a living", or "Does this look infected?".
Sub-Species: Quiffs are known collectively as quiffus dominatio, or "dominant quiff", due to their abilities to totally monopolize any conversation or social situation. The Retail Quiff (quiffus propola) specializes by attacking people in the services industry, who cannot flee them easily. While other sub-species of quiff exist, they have yet to be catalogued.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Advances in Quiff Sciences

Famed researcher Asher Hunter, a leading expert in the field of Quiffropology, today announced a breakthrough identification of a previously unidentified species of sub-quiff. For those who are unfamiliar with Professor Hunter's works, it was he who first successfully identified the hitherto un-named "quiff".

A quiff is a particular type of human being that has developed a unique defense mechanism to help it adapt to its living environment. Imagine, if you will, a strange person who approaches you in a bar, or on the bus, or waiting for an elevator, etc., to initiate conversation. This individual is in some way, shape or form, objectionable and is not, in a perfect world, someone with whom you would ever wish to initiate a conversation.

The quiff will usually begin its conversational salvo by asking you a relatively innocuous question, such as "So what do you do for a living" or "how are you". Invariably, the respondent will deliver a relatively short response, designed to be polite, but not to indicate any particular interest in continuing the conversation. Responses such as "I'm an accountant" or "Fine".

The quiff then ignores your response, and spends the next 15 gruelingly dull moments describing, in detail, their job and/or current state of health. They spare no detail, and reveal aspects of their life in sometimes brutally frank and inappropriate detail.

It is sometimes easy for the amateur to mistake a quiff for an asshole. After all, the asshole shares many of the same habitats as the quiff, and exhibits many of the same behaviours. Their colouration is also remarkably similar. However, the true expert has learned to identify the major markings of a quiff.

A quiff possesses a special scent gland that emits subtle pheromones that trigger their victim's pity sensors, and overload them with pathos. The quiff somehow seems too delicate, too fragile, and too emotionally vulnerable to escape. The victim sits quietly, nodding his head as he looks over the quiff's shoulder at the TV, hoping the quiff will eventually get the idea and just go away.

Once again, this simply play's into the quiff's preferred attack plan. As long as you are willing to sit quietly and give the quiff even the smallest whiff of attention, the quiff is happy to sit and talk, detailing exciting aspects of their lives such as the time the guy at the Horton’s gave the quiff change for a $10 when all he gave him was a fin.

At this point, all other individuals in the area have successfully identified the quiff by its attack patterns, as well as by the subsonic cries of distress emitted by the quiff's victim, as it constantly thinks to itself, over, Would you please just go the fuck away? Why can't he see that I'm not interested? Why won't he fuck off?

Once a quiff has been identified, no one - and I mean no one - will come near a quiff as it is feeding on its victim. The quiff's victim will sit quietly, wondering why no one - even the waitress - will come rescue him. This is because, were the tables turned, everyone knows that the victim would not have rescued them. Even your best friend in the world will suddenly develop the urge to go play a game of darts, leaving you to the quiff's un-tender mercies.

The quiff survives of a diet of concentrated pathos, generated by the individuals it manages to corner. As they require large amounts of this pity-power, it is not unusual for a quiff to feed off of one individual for hours at a time. After this feeding has ended, and the quiff has moved on, victims are usually considered to be irritable and slightly dizzy.

Tonight, I spotted a hitherto unidentified sub-specie of quiff. This is the Retail Quiff. The Retail Quiff finds its victims in positions of public service. People like cab drivers, or convenience store employees who, due to the restrictions placed upon them by their positions, cannot simply walk away from the quiff while it is talking.

They will stand there in a variety store for hours upon hours, talking to the poor, stunned individual behind the counter, and recounting in detail the time they had to go to the hospital to have a cyst squeezed.

Professor Hunter is currently pioneering new methods and defenses for use against the quiff. These techniques are still currently under construction, but results will be shared just as soon as results can be verified.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Diet: Week Six

STARTING WEIGHT: 281.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S CHANGE: + 0.4 pounds
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST: 20.2 pounds
CURRENT WEIGHT: 261.4 pounds

Well, I totally fucked up the diet this week. Last week, when I went to my meeting, the lady who weighed me forgot to give me a point-tracker for the next week. I knew I really needed that point tracker, but just couldn't find the time to get back in and grab one.

So, I went way nuts, and ate too much. There are various excuses, but it boils down to the fact that I lacked discipline, and paid the price. Oh well, its nothing that worries me overmuch. I'll just have to be more careful in the future.

I've decided to dust off my old Palm Pilot and use it to track points. I'm also going to program a points convert (where you can enter in the fat/fibre/calories of an item and figure out the points value). I searched online for one already written, but apparently WW searches these things out and threates to sue anyone who makes one available for download. What twats.

As far as the apartment is concerned, I have signed the lease, and I move in on December 2. I had some good news in the couch department: my sister has decided to buy a new couch, and is giving me her old one. This is a third-time switch, as my mother gave that couch to my sister years ago. I love this freaking couch, it is incredibly comfortable!

I surprised myself the other night. Apparently, I am suppressing and carrying around much more anger than I had imagined. I was at home, and I was walking past a table that was piled high with junk I needed to sort. Without even stopping to think about it, I grabbed the table and threw it across the room. It surprised me a bit, to be honest.

The lack of privacy where I am now is really getting to me. I like my job, but it can be nerve-wracking and annoying on the best of days. In order for me to be able to deal with this, I need alone time - a time for me to just sit, calm down, and not have to deal with people. I can't get that where I am now, as there is always someone around. I NEED my privacy, more than some people seem to be able to understand.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Hey You!

Today, I'd like to make some observations on the nature of art. Yesterday's post was a tad sentimental, so I don't want people to think I've gone soft, and am no longer an asshole, so this is a good rant.

I believe everybody - and I mean every freaking last stinking one of us - should be involved in some form of artistic creation. This could be writing, painting, sculpture, dance, improv, acting, architectural design, whatever. The form the art takes is of import only to the individual practising said art. The important thing is that we are each actively involved in the creative process.

Kurt Vonnegut said it best when he said "The primary benefit of practicing any art, whether well or badly, is that it enables one's soul to grow". Art is a way for us to expressing the inexpressible, of giving form and substance to that within us which cannot be expressed in any other way. Every human being - this means you! - has an expressive soul, one that needs to be explored and nurtured, and artistic creation is the best way to do this.

Children are all born with the intrinsic ability to express themselves artisticly. As children, we draw, we colour, we paint with our fingers. We do so because their is joy in creation. We do so because we lack the ability to express our inner selves in any other way. We dance when we want to, and we don't give a shit if anyone laughs at us because we look silly. We fully and completely embrace artistic expression as a facet of our being.

And then we go to school. Schools, obstensibly, are designed to instruct us, to nurture our strengths and strengthen our weaknesses. They tell us that school is designed to help make us whole and complete human beings, who are able to function within society.

Grade "A" pure fucking anus dribblings.

The average school cirriculum is designed to squash independant thought; to take interesting and unique individuals and make them indistiguishable from the vegetative mass sitting at the next desk. If you talk out of turn, you are punished. If you do things differently from your classmates, you are mocked. Schools themselves are designed to churn out the mediocre, colourless and pedestrian by-products they refer to as "Graduates".

So lets take a look at our artistic and clever little children as they enter the public school system. Kindergarten is pretty fun. We paint, we drink milk, we nap. Then we start hitting grade one. All of a sudden, our artistic works are now viewed critically. We are told what to draw, what to paint, what to make. Instead of being able to express your inner soul, you are told that today, we are all going to paint houses. And God help you if you're not in the mood to paint a house.

We are told that clouds must all be one shape. Yes, that one is a particularly bitter self reference from my own child hood. In grade 2, I was once given a C- on a painting because my clouds were thin and stringy, instead of fat and fluffy. Because all clouds are flat and fluffy, don'tcha know. The only thing that was fat and fluffy was that stupid fucking cunt of an art teacher.

Why do grade schools even grade art at all? How can we realistically expect that there be an absolute scale of artistic worth? What entitles a teacher to tell one child that their rendition of a doggy and a kitty is better than someone else's? Absoutely fucking nothing. There is absolutely no reason or justification that can be provided for grading art.

So most children lose their love of the arts in grade school. Even music. I love to sing, and I always have. But by grade six, I hated singing. Why? Because our douchebag music teacher (Mr. Henderson of Memorial Public School in Stoney Creek, Ontario, if you happen to be reading this, your are a myopic, dwarfish, destroyer of souls, you ignorat plebeian) forced us to sing songs that he liked.

Songs like "Someone's in the motherfucking Kitchen with Dinah". Fuck Dinah, fuck her kitchen, and fuck the nameless someone who likes to hang around kitchens. Songs like "Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill". What 11-year old gives a rats ass about an 18th century coal miner?

I once asked my teacher why we couldn't sing songs we liked, songs that were popular on the radio. He told me to shut up. Nice, logical, intelligent reasoning there, Mr. Henderson. You ass.

Here's another fun example. Before entering school, my nephew Clayton was a genius with sidewalk chalk. He would create these large, complex patterns, with swirls and whorls that are difficult to describe. All I know was, they were beautiful. Whenever he drew with crayons, he would create the same complex and lovely patterns.

When he entered public school, the teachers told him to draw a clown. Clayton didn't want to draw a clown. He liked to draw swirls and patterns, not things. The teachers used peer pressure on him. All the other kids are drawing clowns, Clayton, why are you being difficult? They brow beat him and pressured him so much that by the end of kindergarten, he refused to draw at all. He's never picked up a piece of sidwalk chalk since.

A wonderful and real talent was squashed by an ignorant and pathetic twat masquerading as a caring instructor. Why? Because she had to force the kids to draw what she wanted them to, rather than allowing them to express themselves. That, to me, is criminal.

So, we are born artists, and then our schooling squeezes that artistry out of us. Sure, some of us thrive in this environment. These individuals are either (a) so incredibly talented that even the teachers cannot squash their skill, or (b) sycophants who suck up to the teachers and therefore gain their praise, or (c) very popular.

After we lose the ability to create ourselves, we seem to lose the ability to objectively evaluate art. Rather than deciding for ourselves what is good or bad, we let the popular opinion sway our decisions. If a popular girl paints a mediocre painting, and an unpopular girl paints a good painting, who do you think is going to win the student-voting art competition? That's right.

Even after school, most art competitions are decided by nepotism and popularity. In the town of Gore Bay, for instance, the annual art competion is regularly won by the mayor's wife. In years where she comes in second, her daughter usually wins. Quel coincidence.

Take a look at plays on Broadway. The most difficult shows to get tickets for are the ones that are most popular. People want to see the newest and most popular show, and will pay ridiculous amounts (sometimes in excess of $800.00 for good seats), just so they can go to work the next day and tell their coworkers that they have seen the latest popular play. Its more about status than the actual play itself.

Now, I realize that there are a lot of people out there who practice art clearly because they enjoy doing so. If you are one of them, then good for you. If you are not, I honestly and sincerely urge you to do something. Anything artistic. Grab a pencil and draw, grab a paintbrush and paint, grab a typewriter and write. Dance, sing, sculpt ... anything!

You know you want to! There's something in you dying to be expressed, but you keep putting it off. You're afraid that if you get up and sing karaoke, people will laugh at you. You're afraid that if you write a story, no one will read it. You're afraid that if you paint a picture, no one will like it.

Stop thinking like that! When you create, create for yourself! Create because it expresses who you are. If other people don't like your creations, they can go fuck themselves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Bear in the Big Blue Cottage

I'd like to a say a few words about a friend of mine, a guy named Peter. I have to warn you folks, before we go any further, that everything I tell you about this man is true, and is free of hyperbole.

Peter is one of the most amazing guys I know. His nickname is Bear, and he deserves it. He's one of those big, tall, powerful guys who - despite his amazing girth and physical presence - exudes an aura of calm strength. He's a peaceful and caring man, not given to violence. He never uses his height as an intimidation tool, which a lot of tall guys do.

He's probably the single most amazing person I have ever met when it comes to just plain knowing shit. The guy knows something about almost everthing. He's an engineer, and teaches at a local university, so he's got the book smarts. He can do incredible things: add an addition to a house, plumbing, wiring, and more.

He knows cars. I just recently had a problem with my car, and he figured out what was wrong with it in about 20 minutes - in the dark. I went from having to pay about $200.00 to get my car repaired to a mere $60.00.

He is an avid science buff, and is well read in areas such as quantum physics, solar energy research, and more. I've never encountered a topic on which he cannot converse intelligently. He's also a whiz with computers, and knows how to buy them, build them, and repair them.

Pete owns a cottage, and every year he invites 40 or so of his closest friends (most of them improvisors) out to his place for the Labour Day weekend. We throw tents up in the big back yard, and sleep, eat, drink (a lot), laugh, and have an amazing time. The Labour Day weekend is my favourite weekend of the year, and we wouldn't have it if it wasn't for Peter.

I've watched him with his children, and he is a fucking awesome dad. He has been supportive and caring, and his children know how much he loves them. He nurtures without coddling, and challenges them without abandoning them to their own devices. If I had been allowed to pick my own father in this life, I would have chosen Peter.

So Peter, thanks for all your help, for your humour, for your friendship.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two in the Bush

Hey, you know what would be fun? Four more fucking years of George W. Bush. Heck, why stop at a third term? Why not allow Mr. Bush to be president for, say (just off the top of my head) forever? After all, there are all kind of naughty little countries out there that are just begging to have false charges leveled against them so that the US can declare war and take over.

Well, if Senators Hoyer, Berman, Sensenbrenner, Sabo and Pallone have their way, that's not just a scary little bed-time scenario. They are currently petitioning to have the 22nd Amendment repealed. You remember Amendment 22, don't you? That's that silly little constitutional rewrite that makes it illegal for anyone to serve more than 2 terms as president. You know, to prevent the possibility of someone like, taking over the entire country forever, and turning it into some kind of crazy theocratic dictatorship. Ha, heh, hey, like that could ever happen, right? Right?

So, anyway, apparently some people are so in love with the sterling work President Bush has done, they want to see him serve at least one more time. And after all, he has done a lot of great work in field testing new weapons, and even some old ones (after all, the US Army hasn't had a chance to use phosphorus bullets in a long, long time).

So, whether you support this maneuver or not, you have to admit, they're keeping it awfully quiet, ain't they? And why is that?

No Spoilers, Don't Worry

Well, I just came from seeing Harry Potter 4. I'll say this: See this Movie. It is good.

Now, having seen this fourth installment, I have this to say: As of this moment, publically and openly, in defiance of the Ministry, I openly and knowingly admit my committment and support of Lord Voldemort. I'm a Death Eater, and proud of it.

He's just too fucking cool. Plain and simple. They guy kicks ass, has a great look, and he makes sure shit gets down. He's a now man, a mover, a doer, a make-things-happen kinda guy. I mean, the guy fucking died, and it just like, slowed him down, you know?

Now Potty-Potter? Well, Potter's just ... well, a dweeb. He's not particularly clever, or cunning, or smart. He's not one of those "plucky buggers that really know how to put up a fight" kinda guys. He's a fucking magician, but not a particularly good one.

If it wasn't for this fucking prophecy, no one would even know the bastard's name. Oh, sure, he's good at Quidditch. Big fat hairy deal. My dad was kickass at pool, that didn't make him Mayor of the Fucking City. And the prophecy? Big whoop. We've got a prophecy too, you know, and Harry doesn't come out quite as well in the end. <--insert evil_laugh.mpg-->

Lets face it folks, Harry's a twat. He's a null, a cypher, a passenger with a cool scar. He doesn't even have any cool catch phrases. So far, the closest he has come to a cool catch phrase have been the brilliant gems: "What?", "Who?", and "Whazzat?".

Who amongst us, no matter how much we claim to love and adore "The Boy Who Lived" have not, at some time in our lives, watched him drift and bob meekly (like some sad and wet congealed lump of oceanic vegetation) into danger, only to see him rescued by a friend, or by a teacher, or by somebody's father, or by a random freaking passerby who just happens to be able to react, rather than just sit and blink like a brain-fart.

Let's face it, Harry has not accomplished a single thing unles: Somebody else did it for him; somebody else told him exactly how to do it; or pure dumb luck.

How many of you have screamed, at least in your minds, For the love of fuck, you little douchebag, fucking do something! I'm guessing all of you. Admit it. I mean, fuck, the little shit's got a wand, and yet 9 out of 10 times he doesn't even fucking think to use it. Here's a tip, Potter: If there's danger afoot, get your fucking wand out RIGHT AWAY, you little quiff! Do you ever? No, fuck, you leave it fucking holstered all the time. You're not Jesse Fucking James, you addlepated lackwit!

Oh, yeah, and the new Dumbledore is an ineffectual old fart.

So, considering that Potter has all the skill and wit of slightly moistened ball of cotton, I've gone over to the dark side. Voldemort offers power, corruption, money, and most of all, babes. Potter? Well, Potter's just zis guy, you know?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Pick Shurs

I've decided to share some of the photos I have taken over the years (God loves a digital camera!), so I'm starting from my earliest photos. These are a few of the pics I took when I went on holiday in 2001. We went to a place called Whitefish Falls, which is in Northern Ontario, between Sudbury and Manitoulin Island.

In order to be allowed to keep our dogs in the cabin, the poor bitches had to be caged. They didn't mind too much, because they were at the foot of our bed, and they did like sleeping together.

This is Foxy, my dog. Foxy was technically Heather's dog (my ex), but of course I love her just as much as I do Ayla. She is an amazing dog that we rescued from destruction. She's very beautiful, and I do miss her.

Our cabin was located on an island, away from the other cabins. There were only 2 cabins on the island, so there was great privacy. Technically there were 3 cabins, but the third was rotting and falling apart, so no one would stay there.

Here's Ayla, sitting at the end of the dock. That dog loves water so much, its unbelievable. I think she spent about 50% of her time outside in the water.

Here she is again in one of my favourite photos of her. She looks intelligent and intense, because I'm holding a stick up with my right hand, and taking the photo with my left. Ayla loves three things: Me, the water, and playing fetch. She was about 3 years old at this time, and could play fetch for 2-3 hours straight without tiring.

This is the cabin we were staying in. It had 3 bedrooms and a kitchen, but unfortunately no living/relaxing area. When booking, it never occurred to me to make sure the cabin had a living room, but apparently, you can't take anything for granted.

Here we see Ayla leaping from the dock to go after a stick. That dog could easily clear 20 feet of air, I swear.

Kelly (my sister) and her husband Dave resting on the rocks. Our front yard consisted of these windswept rocks, with no soft ground at all. However, the rocks were smooth and moulded, and extremely comfortable. They also grew quite warm in the sun, and were great to rest on.

Me and Ayla.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Crank Letter

Well, I went to Wendy's for lunch, and ordered a Mandarin Chicken salad. Like an idiot, I didn't actually check my order before heading back to work. When I arrived, I found my Mandarin Chicken salad to be completely uncontaminated by chicken.

This really annoyed me. I am a carnivore, and deeply and bitterly resent the fact that I have to eat a salad to begin with. To deny me my chicken ... well, that is an insult. So, I've written the company a letter. Not an email, an actual letter, which I am sending off to the company. If and when I get a response, I'll let you know.

Here's my letter:

November 18, 2005
Wendy's Restaurants of Canada
Consumer Relations

Dear Sir or Madam:

I have been a loyal customer of the Wendy’s chain for a number of years, and have always enjoyed my experiences at your restaurants. Recently, I went to your location at Harvester and Appleby Line, in Burlington, Ontario, for my lunch. I work very close by to this location, and eat there at least twice a week. As I said, normally my experiences have been very satisfying.

Unfortunately, my last experience at Wendy’s was not quite as satisfying. I refer to this as my “last experience at Wendy’s” because that is, in fact, what it was. At least at this location. There are numerous other restaurants in the area that are used to a higher standard of professionalism that will be more than happy to accept my business.

Over the last few weeks, I have found the level of service has been deteriorating, and my last visit was certainly a continuation of that sad trend. My salad was completely and utterly devoid of chicken, which I found quite surprising, seeing as it was supposed to be a Mandarin Chicken salad.

Considering this trend, I have decided to take my lunchtime custom elsewhere.

Anthony's Song

Well, apparently, I have the apartment. It's mine. I'm meeting the owner on Sunday to sign the lease. Its a nice place. Not huge, but its only me, so I don't need a lot of space. The rent includes heat/hydro, and the place has central air conditioning. It has new appliances, as well as a whirlpool bathtub. There's also a large storage room which, technically, I could convert into another bedroom if I so wished. There's also a fenced-in back yard, so I can let the dog out to do her business without having to take her for a walk (when it gets cold).

There's a park just down the street, so that's certainly handy. Right across the street there's a community center with a swimming pool. It will be nice to have a pool directly across the street!
There's a lot to love about this place; one of my favourite aspects is the living room. I swear it looks like it could have been the rec room for the Brady Bunch. It features wood paneling (tres chic), as well as a bar built into one wall. The bar also has a large mirrored wall behind it.

Even the door to the storage room has been covered by that weird-assed fake naugahyde shite that is used to cover the bar. The door is also padded, so if I am ever overcome by the desire to run head-first, full tilt into the door, I can do so without fear of serious injury. Seriously, the padding is like 8 inches thick.

I am really looking forward to this. Even the idea of moving seems thrilling and exciting, and normally I hate moving. I can't wait to start furnishing the place, slowly at first, considering I'm pretty much broke again. I'm looking forward to having some privacy; I'm looking forward to being able to write without constant interruptions.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tip or Treat

First off, my dieting update:


STARTING WEIGHT: 281.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S CHANGE: - 5.0 pounds
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST: 20.6 pounds
CURRENT WEIGHT: 261.0 pounds

I was quite pleased to see a weight loss of 5 pounds for last week; this in spite of my decision to have a nice big naughty plate of nachos on Friday night. I took some advice I was given, and that advice worked. If there is one thing I can recommend to someone who wants to lose weight, one piece of advice, it is this:

This is not bullshit. Drinking the water made a huge difference in my weight loss. In week 1, I drank 6 glasses a day, and lost 10 pounds. In weeks 2-4, I drank 1-3 glasses per day and averaged like 2 pounds a week. In week 5, I went to 3-4 glasses of water a day, and lost 5 pounds. Drinking water works, plain and simple.
The Weight Watcher's meeting itself was rather dull and unispiring. Because of my shift change at work, I had to come at a different time. The lady who ran this class was nice, but kinda had the stage presence of a slightly moistened carboard box, which was once used to store beige yarn.
After the meeting, I decided I needed a treat (treating myself is high on my list of favourite things to do, appearing right after sex). I've had a hankering (I use this word merely because you hardly ever get a chance to use the word "hankering") for bacon and eggs for several days. My friend Gary can attest to this, as I've been pestering him to come with me for several days.
I used to have a friend (my best friend since the age of nine) with whom I would head out late at night, and we'd go to the Fifth Wheel (a truck stop about 15 minutes away from my home) for a big breakfast. We didn't do this all the time, but at least once or twice a month. My friend has moved away to Kurzistan (or some such) and married a Russian woman, and now spends his time building orphanages. No shit. Who the fuck saw that coming.
So now, I have no late-night breakfast buddies. I decided to go by myself, and made the drive out to the restaurant. I grew up in these kinds of places, as my parents and grandparents have owned restaurants for decades. My first home was literally in a restaurant. I'm not sure exactly what age I started drinking coffee at: all I know is, as a kid, it was the only thing we served that I wasn't allowed to have, so of course its the thing I wanted most. I have been sneaking coffee ever since I was about four, when I used to take about 96 sugars.
Obviously, I have a great deal of nostalgia when it comes to these places. I brought a copy of Backsliding with me (a movie script I am working on with my amazing writing partner, Craig) so I would have something to do. Besides, to be honest, it felt kinda cool to be sitting in a truck stop at 9:00 pm and working on writing a movie.
My waitress came to my table (let's call her Flo, because according to the plastic brand over her left boob, that was her name) after about five minutes. Basically, the wait was almost, but not quite, long enough to piss me off. She offered me a coffee, which I gratefully accepted (it was delicious), and left me a menu.
When she returned, I told her I would like the Big Breakfast (hey, if you're gonna treat yourself, treat big), which consisted of 2 eggs (any style), 2 strips of bacon, 2 sausages, and 2 pancakes, as well as homefries. I asked Flo if I could substitute bacon for the sausage, because I despise breakfast sausage with an intensity normally reserved for telemarketers. She said it wouldn't be a problem.
When she read my order back to me, she said "4 pieces of sausage, no bacon". I corrected her, and she laughed and said "That's not what you said the first time". Now right away, I find this a little annoying. Even if I am wrong, just accept it and move on. But I wasn't wrong, because I HATE sausage; I wouldn't make the kind of mistake that would get me four sausages. After I corrected her, she scribbled out the order, and walked away muttering to herself, something I couldn't hear. It didn't sound complimentary.
I sat and worked on my script for awhile, and finished my coffee after a few minutes. I waited 3-4 minutes for her to come by so I could ask for a refill. Finally, she came to the table next to mine, refilled his coffee, then turned and walked away. All the time studiously avoiding making eye contact with me. It took about 10 minutes for my breakfast to be cooked, which was fine, during which time she refused to look towards me to see if I needed anything.
When she brought my meal, I asked her for another cup of coffee, which elicited a weary sigh as she walked away. She did bring me another cup of coffee. The last one of the night, as it turns out, because she disappeared for the remainder of my meal.
When she brought my bill, she dropped it on the table, and walked past quickly, without stopping to see if I wanted anything else. I sat for awhile, and worked on the script, and pondered whether or not to tip her. You see, the thing is, I like to tip. I've worked in restaurants for the first 20 years of my life, and I know what its like. Tips make a big difference, trust me on this. If you're one of those people who don't tip, I seriously urge you to change your ways, you skinflint.
So, I desperately wanted to tip. But this desire was at war with my general annoyance at the shitty service I had received. In the end, I decided that she would get nothing. I wasn't quite angry enough to leave the ultimate insult tip ... 1 penny. This is something you do to communicate to your server that, while you would normally tip, his/her abysmal service has resulted in this direct insult.
So, to Flo, a big fuck you. Fuck you for your crap service. Fuck you for making mistakes and blaming me. And Fuck you for making me feel bad about not tipping your rude ass.