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.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005



I consider humour and comedy to be a large part of my life - definitely one of my defining characteristics (along with intelligence, fashion sense, and a humble and self-effacing charm). My sense of humour is well-developed and defined, and I love performing improv, as this gives me a chance to exercise my comedic skills in a controlled environment.
Naturally, I didn't develop in a vacuum; there have been a number of influences that have had their jocular way with me, and have helped me develop my sense of humour. I'm listing these influences here, in order of importance.
Monty Python: No one else has influenced me more than Monty Python. Above all, my sense of humour, and indeed life philosophy, has been modified and nurtured by this fantastically talented crew. It was Python who taught me that there is humour in insanity. Who else would show you a forest glade, filled with peaceful forest creatures, and over the course of a show, blow them up, one by one, for no adequately explained reason?

They also showed me how humour could be blindingly witty and intelligent. I learned most of what I know about philosophy merely to be able to understand some of their jokes. I realized from an early age that I would have to learn a lot about the world around me, because you can't make fun of something you don't understand (well, ok, you can, but you're usually the one who ends up looking stupid).
From the ridiculous to the sublime, from the heights of intelligence to the bottoms of ridiculous body noise humour, Monty Python established not only the boundaries of my sense of humour, but also the zones, provinces, and territories.
John Cleese: My choice of John Cleese might seem redundant ... after all, I just talked about Monty Python, right? Well, not only was Cleese (in my not-so-humble opinion) the driving creative force behind the troupe, he also did brilliant work on his own. Fawlty Towers was a brilliant show, with intelligently crafted characters. One of my favourite bits was the hotel sign itself, which reads "Fawlty Towers". After a few episodes, the sign starts to change, and the letters rearrange themselves. They never reference this fact, and they never explain who is mysteriously altering the sign. Alternate signs read as follows:

1. Farty Tower
2. Warty Towels
3. Flay Otters
4. Fatty Owls
5. Flowery Twats
(this last one is fucking brilliant)

Mr. Cleese is also responsible for the brilliant "A Fish Called Wanda", which is second only to "The Princess Bride" as one of my favourite movies of all time.
Dave Allen: Dave Allen was an Irish comedian (geez, a lot of UK comedians here, eh?) who had a show called "Dave Allen at Large". I watched this show religously as a kid. It was a mixture of sketches, interspersed with Mr. Allen telling jokes, as he smoked a cigarette and drank his martini. Dave Allen had a wickedly dry sense of humour; he would tell the most amazingly hilarious joke, and rarely laughed or cracked a smile. If a joke was utterly hilarious, he might allow himself a rare half-grin.

Dave taught me the value of dry humour - if you crack a joke and laugh along with everyone else, that's one thing. But if you can crack a joke, and keep a straight face while everyone else is laughing their bags off, then the joke itself is somehow even funnier. I don't pretend to understand it, but that's the way it is.
Douglas Adams: Douglas Adams (hey, another Brit) is the author of the incredible Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (A Trilogy in Five Parts), a series of books that I adore. Not only are they hilarious, but they also contain cleverly concealed bits of philosophy and an intelligent world view. These books have not only helped form my sense of humour, but also my life philosophy. He is, naturally, one of the single greatest influences on my writing style.

The books were amazing. The British produced TV series and radio program were fantastic. The American-produced movie blows Arcturan Megadonkey.

Alan Alda: Yay, finally an American made the list! Alda, in his role as Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H had a huge effect on me as a kid. I learned a great deal about delivery and timing, as well as the strengths of silly humour and intellectual humour. Also, it was Hawkeye that first introduced me to the next individual on my list.

Groucho Marx: Good God, what can I say about this man? His wit was sharper than any other individual I have ever encountered. His wit was truly frighteningly sharp, and he could come up with some of the most incredible material you have ever seen. Even though those old Marx Brothers movies don't really stand up to today's society (which is sad), they are brilliant and incredible, and are definitely worth revisiting.

Batman: That's right, you heard me, Batman. Not the movies, but rather the incredibly funny 1960's TV show. This show taught me about camp humour. I found myself watching this show, and laughing, even though it appeared to be an action program. I realized right away that the humour was deliberate; they were gently making fun of this genre by indentifying and emphasizing its elements to catapult them into the realms of humour.

Camp is generally seen as a very sophisticated form of humour, which is probably why the majority of North Americans didn't even realize that Batman was a comedy program. Another good example of camp humour can be found in the Brady Bunch movies.
Peter Cook: Peter Cook could pour more derision and contempt into a single world than most people could put into an entire book. His sense of humour was so dry and brittle that it seemed like it could snap at any moment. And yet, he had an incredibly appealing sense of the ridiculous, and could be playful and light as well.

And now, finally, a list of incredibly funny people/troupes that I love. I can't say they were an influence on my sense of humour, as they came along too late, but still, they have created some of the funniest shite I have ever encountered.

Family Guy: Brilliant. Like Python, they run the gammut from low-brow fart jokes to eriudite social commentary. Watch this show.

Kids in the Hall: The Canadian Heirs to the Python legacy.

Soap: Utterly hilarious. They not only lampooned the soap opera standards, but also introduced much in the way of social commentary and intelligent discourse. This show, like WKRP in Cincinatti, was cancelled while in the Top 10, because of pressures brought to bear by the fucking Moral Majority. Fuck you, Moral Majority. I hope someone fucks you up the ass, and you go to hell as a sodomite.

WKRP in Cincinatti: Incredibly real and compelling characters, placed in situations that were simultaneously real and fantastic. Amazing writing.

Red Dwarf: The Brits are Back! Red Dwarf is a television show and a series of books. Similar to Hitchhiker's Guide in that it takes place in space, the show offers some brilliant writing and very memorable characters.

The Simpsons: You've seen it. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Creative Pause (Paws?)

I've found myself in a bit of a creative Sargasso. You see, I'm currently sharing accomodations with some people who, God love them, can be so annoying you want to smack them with a wet towel. People who cannot seem to understand the simplest concepts of privacy.

In this location, writing tends to be a bit of an annoying process. Despite my pleas, there there are various interruptions from people who can't seem to understand that writing is not like doing the dishes. You can't just stop, do something else, and come back in half an hour to pick up where you left off. For every interruption, for every delay, you lose material and ideas, which will never come back to you again.

When I am writing, I chafe at every delay. Each and every single interruption, even if only for a few moments while someone asks if I know where the TV remote control is, pisses me off to a huge degree. I have spoken to these individuals, and explained my feelings. And yet still, when I am writing, I am interrupted.

Why can't they understand even the simplest of concepts? If am I writing, don't talk to me unless it is an emergency. Do not knock on my door to tell me someone is on the phone for me. That’s why I bought a fucking answering machine. Do not ask me if I want a cup of tea. Do not remind me that tomorrow is garbage day. Just don’t fucking talk to me.

In fact, do not interrupt me unless my fucking cat is on fire (even then, you should try to put out the cat first, and if successful and the cat was only lightly singed, do you really need to bother me about it right now?).

So, when I found out about this apartment I'm hoping to get, I made myself a promise. I would not do any further work on my novel until I am in my new place. This might seem a bit extreme, but there was a reason apart from the annoyance factor.

In my novel, I have reached a point where I am unsure of what happens next. Everything I have written down thus far as been as a result of weeks of thought and planning before I sat down to write it. I find that I work best when I don't actively think about the work, but rather plot and plan subconsciously. I let things percolate and stew in my brain, and sooner or later I know it’s done, and I'm ready to start writing again.

Quite often, I dream of a perfect plot point, and wake up and hurriedly write down my notes before I lose the memories. Other times, I am doing something mundane (walking, driving, etc.) when an idea just comes to me, and I have to write it down or voice record it to make sure I don't forget.

So I am in one of those "building" phases. I do have ideas I could be writing, but I need to allow them to mix and mingle and process before putting them down on paper. Once I have moved, and I am afforded the inestimable luxury of privacy, I am sure it will be time to get back to the keyboard and start writing again.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Feelin' Like a Pool

As a part of my plan to lose weight and get healthier, I’ve decided to start swimming again. First off, it’s a great exercise, and a very effective way to get in shape and drop the pounds. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, I really enjoy swimming. It’s the one exercise that I love doing, each and every time. Thirdly, there’s a great pool just down the street, and more importantly, right across the street from the place I want to move to. Talk about convenient! If I get this apartment (still waiting to find out, btw), I can literally just walk across the street to go swimming.

So, today I went swimming. I got there early, and hit the water right at the pool opening time. I swam a few laps (ok, 2 laps) before getting tired, then rested and swam 2 more. As I’m gaining my breath, some more people started to come in, and they began swimming too. One lady decided to swim in the same lane I was swimming in, so I would wait patiently for her to get ahead of me, and then I would swim behind her.

She starts giving me dirty looks whenever we pass. So, naturally, I grin really widely at her and nod, hoping this will piss her off even more. Obviously, I’m doing something that annoys her, but I didn’t give a shit. The way I figure it, I’m probably disobeying some kind of unwritten pool rule about lane usage. However, she can see that I’m new here, and any idiot should be able to figure out that I might be unaware of this rule.

She was presented with 2 options. She could introduce herself, say hello, and gently and kindly explain the pool rules to me, so that I would be informed, and stop pissing her off. That’s the adult way. Or, she could just glare at me every time we passed, like a petulant, pathetic fucking child, which is the way she chose. So, considering that she was a irritable, dismal fucking bitch, I had no problem trying to annoy her further.

After I was done (for those of you who are interested, I did 6 laps in 10 minutes, and was exhausted) I got out of the pool. One of the lifeguards explained the pool rule for me (swim out in the middle lane, swim back in the outside lane), and I thanked her for letting me know.

The moral of the story is this: if you’re an ill-tempered, cantankerous old twat, you can just go fuck yourself.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Suck it Up

Last night, my friends and I used our karaoke powers for evil. Here's the skinny: There's a guy who comes to our karaoke bar who, for the sake of protecting the innocent, I'll call Jeff (Jeff is actually his real name; he's just not particularly innocent). Now Jeff is an ok guy for the most part - I used to like him. Sure, he's stupid (his IQ exceeds his belt size, but only by 7 points), but I can deal with that. And, yes, he's a drunk (during which time his IQ drops down to 3 points lower than his shoe size), but that's ok, I can deal with that. Oh, yeah, and he's a coke head (unless he likes to go into a one-toilet bathroom with 3 other guys for some other form of recreational activity). And while he is a passable singer when sober, when he gets drunk and coked up, he sings like an asthmatic Jabba the Hut. He also, incidentally, has the annoying habit of choosing to sing songs that I like, and doing them very, very poorly. For instance, he likes to sing the song Brandy by Looking Glass. When he sings the line "Brandy, you're a fine girl", the mental image that is conjured up by his tortuous rendition of the song is that of a toothless, withered hag, smoking a stunted black cigarello, with a tattoo of a dead fish on her stomach.

So, last week on our way back from the football game (Hamilton beat Montreal, proving inconclusively, and for all time, that I am petty enough to give a shit), Cokey McCokeHead (as I like to call him) takes my friend Gary aside, and delivers a warning. Apparently, "some people" at the bar are sick and tired of people in my group singing songs from the movie "Chicago". Apparently, they don't like that music, and wanted us to stop singing those songs.

Now of course, considering that I am a sensitive and caring individual, my initial reaction was "fuck you, you tone-deaf, dripping syphilitic twat". I spoke with my friends, and announced my intentions for the next week. It was my plan to sing nothing but songs from Chicago for the entire evening, and others indicated their plans to join me. You see, once I learn that something irritates a jerk, I like to make sure that I continue to do that something. If jerk's could produce pearls, I'd be rich by now.

So, last night finally came. Sure enough, Jeff was there, at the bar, pretty much already drunk by 9:30 pm. I was the third singer, and I got up and sang "All I Care About". Then Bernie followed, singing "When You're Good to Mamma", followed by Peter, who sang "Mr. Cellophane". Co-incidentally, all three of these songs come from the movie Chicago. It was a coincidence, I swear.

Apparently, Jeff stormed out of the bar shortly thereafter, and was heard to remark "I'm never fucking coming back here again." A comment which, by the way, was not greeted with any particular degree of dismay. In fact, quite the opposite.

The rules for karaoke are fairly simple. One of these rules is that you should always clap for other singers, no matter how good or bad they might be. Its nice to support people. Wait your turn. And one of the major rules is this: No matter how much you might hate a song, you have no right to dictate someone else's choice of music. If you don't like it, suck it up.

Fuck you, Jeff.

Now, on an unrelated note, Peter made a lady vomit last night. Well, when I use the term "lady", I actually mean "drunken bar fly". Barb is a regular at the bar, and possesses somewhat of an ... interesting personality. Our first encounter with her was when she informed Bernie that she shouldn't sing a particular song because it was about something dirty. You see, the song is about a pussy cat, who gets overheated, shaved, and soaked, and contains lyircs such as "hot, bald, wet pussy".

Now, apparently, Barb felt that these kinds of lyrics were certain to cause problems in a bar filled with truck drivers, factory workers, and cocaine addicts. Good people, but definitely not the kind of crowd that one might label as "sensitive". You know, the kind of folks who think its ok to: tell off-colour jokes in public; fart in an elevator; or punch someone in the face if he or she happens to disagree with your opinions on off-coloured jokes and farting.

Bernie told Barb that, as far as she was concerned, the song was about a cat. If she felt the song was about anything else, then that was just her dirty mind conjuring up images. I told Bernie that I would have just told her to fuck off, and that I'll sing about cunts if I want to. That's right, I said cunt. Suck it up.

So, back to Peter, and how he made Barb vomit. Peter likes to smoke cigars, mostly because he is just that kind of manly, mature male who likes things like cigars, motorcycles, and being spanked during bathtime. He has some rather nice cigars he picked up in Cuba, and headed outside to smoke one.

Now Barb was outside smoking a cigarette, and digesting her ninth vodka and orange juice (which was being kept company by 4 beers, a burrito, and 2 ounces of Norwegian semen), and she and Peter sat together. At one point in their conversation, she asked Peter if she could smoke his cigar. Peter assumed she was talking about the Cuban, and handed to her.

Later, Peter claimed that he wondered briefly if he should warn Barb not to inhale, but assumed that an adult would already know this. Apparently, this was not the case, as Barb inhaled, and immediatley vomitted onto the sidewalk/road (for those who are interested in this kind of thing, thats where I learned about the burrito. The semen, I just assumed). As she later claimed, the vomitting incident had nothing to do with the copious amounts of alcohol she had consumed, but rather with the harsh and nauseating sensations which accompany the inhalation of a cigar. Now I, for one, tend to agree, because she drinks like that all the time, and I've never seen her vomit before.

When I heard the news, I had to come outside to see for myself. Barb was standing a few feet away, explaining to everyone that it was the cigar, not the alcohol, and Peter was seated by himself, looking rather embarrased. I told him that, as far as I was concerned, the entire box of cigars had just paid for itself, which made Peter giggle. Then I told him I was serious, and that he could probably write the entire box off as an entertainment expense. This made him laugh louder, and he asked me not to make him laugh anymore, because he didn't want to upset Barb.

You see, Peter's that kind of guy. He's nice. And considerate. And I love him for it. Me? I'm an asshole.

Fuck you, Barb.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Dieting: Week Four

STARTING WEIGHT: 281.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S CHANGE: - 2.6 pounds
TOTAL WEIGHT LOST: 15.6 pounds
CURRENT WEIGHT: 266.0 pounds

I've had a fairly good week, diet wise, but there have been ... issues. I miss chicken wings more than ever. I've made a promise to myself: when I hit 240 pounds, I'm going to have a big plate of chicken wings - at least 2 pounds. That makes me happy.

House Hunting

So I find myself sitting back and ruminating (as in thinking, rather than cud chewing) about my life, and wondering how I got so lucky. Lately, things have been just going my way - at work, I received a raise, I got a great bonus, and (totally to my surprise) I now have a new schedule, and get weekends off.

In my personal life, things are also going well. Theatre Nefarious is taking of slowly, but surely. The screenplay I am writing with Craig is going beautifully, and I am learning a great deal from him. My novel is also going swimmingly, and I've so far produced just over 25,000 words.

To top things off, I may have found my perfect apartment. It was my intention on Tuesday to start driving around at random in various neighbourhoods, looking for those great, unadvertised properties that you sometimes find in a duplex or triplex. On Monday night, I was giving a friend a ride home when he told me that there were units available in the triplex he lives in.

I checked the first apartment out, and while it was a tad small and a bit odd (bathroom right of the living room, for example), it was certainly reasonably priced. We checked out the basement storage area, and Ron (my friend) told me there was an apartment in the back. I couldn't imagine wanting to live in a grotty basement, but he told me to reserve judgement until I had viewed the apartment.

He was right. The place is great - larger than the other, with a nicer layout. It's a bi-level, with the basement in the living room and the rest of the property on the first floor. Best thing is, the living room looks like the Brady's rec room - like something straight out of the 70's, including cheesy built-in bar. I fell in love.

Tonight, I will find out if the place is mine. I'm teaching a class first, and then heading straight over to talk to the landlord. If he likes me, and is willing to negotiate the price, I just might up end up with a new place to live.

Of course, there is also the adage warning agains counting chickens before they hatch, so I'm not getting my hopes up too high.

The Theatre Responds

So I got a response from the movie theatre today. I'll post it here for your amusement.

You recently asked Famous Players for a response to a comment or question you submitted in our Feedback Zone. Please click the link below, and youwill see our response. Thank you for taking time to share your views andfeedback with us.

I'm not particularly surprised. If you don't want to follow the link (or if it evaporates after a week or 2), here's what the message said.

Dear Garry,

Thank you for your email. We are sorry to hear that you did not fully enjoy the film "Doom". Please note that Cineplex Entertainment is only an exhibitor of films and has no control over the film's storyline or the work of the director. We suggest bringing your concerns about the film to the attention of the film's distribution and/or production company, Universal Pictures. In future, please note that our theatres do offer a refund of your ticket price within the first 30 minutes of the film, if the film is not to your liking.

Guest Services

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Night of the Living Rant

< ---!Begin Rant!--->

Ok, I have a few things that I would like to get off my chest. First, the movie Doom. If you have not yet seen this movie, then I urge you, for the sake of your very soul, refrain from doing so. To say that this movie was shit is to sully the good name and reputation of shit.

To begin, it was completely and utterly filled with standard bullshit stock characters, with no deviation, no variation, and no identifiable human characteristics. You could pluck any one of these characters out of the movie and plop it down into any other piece of crap without any real noticeable effect. Secondly, the movie almost mirrors the plotline of Aliens. Every beat is the same. While Aliens had some validity as a movie, Doom reads worse than the worst high-school amateur film production. The dialogue could have been generated by a fucking computer, assuming it was a particularly retarded computer.

When I got home, I wrote a letter to the theatre (which, in the interests of anonymity, will be referred to as Silver City Burlington, which is its real name). This is the letter:

I recently attended your theatre to watch a movie called Doom. While I found your attendants whimsical and charming, I'm afraid I cannot say the same for the movie. Doom not only failed to live up to my already low expectations, but also actually caused me to renegotiate my entire estimation of what could be considered a bad movie. While normally I might rate a move on a scale of 1 to 10, in the case of Doom I'm afraid the only rating that comes to mind is "suckass".

The movie was directed by Andrzej Bartkowiak, who, as far as I can see, probably never actually showed up on any of the days of filming. I prefer to believe that, rather than to accept the possibility that someone of even remotely human ancestry could regard that pile of vomitous celluloid pus as anything other than an abomination, better sealed in an iron safe, which was then welded shut and dropped off the side of a ocean liner overtop of the deepest sub-oceanic trench than to ever be shown to another human being again.

If, in fact, Mr. Bartkowiak actually did actively direct this movie, then I am pleased to announce that he has been voted in as the honourary King of the Suckweasels, and will hold the position for the rest of his life.

While it is normally not my habit to complain to the theatre simply because a movie they show is bad, in this case I simply had to make an exception. After all, if I order a meal in a restaurant, and it later causes me to vomit blood and shoe leather, I would definitely say something to the restaurant owners. While, in this case, the eye-poison that was Doom caused no directly visible physical symptoms or manifestations, it has, I suspected, polluted my very soul.

Yours sincerely,

Garry Sled

And now, ladies and gentleman, my next rant. This one is kind of a rant-by-proxy, as its about something that happened to my friend Anna. She goes to the McDonalds near where we work quite often. Now Anna is a bit of a weird duck (yes you are!), and she likes to have Big Mac special sauce (which, I suspect, is thousand islands dressing mixed with heroin) on her Big Extra burger.

Now, this is not a problem at any McDonalds, except for the one near our work. There, they seem to feel that the very idea of polluting the pure ambrosia that is the Big Extra by cross-pollinating it with Big Mac special sauce is not acceptable. In fact, they refused to do so when requested, stating that to add the special sauce to the Big Extra would somehow magically fucking transform it into a Big Mac. Despite the clear difference in (a) the size, and (b) the number of the burger patties. Oh, and the extra fucking piece of bun in the middle, you encephalic register monkeys.

So the staff there will only provide the Big Mac special sauce on the side. Clearly, if such an evil and vile act as violating the individualized Burger Sanctity of a specially designed, crafted, prepared and presented McDonalds burger is about to take place, the staff at the Burlington McDonalds clearly wishes to distance themselves from said act, and to register their vote of silent protest.

Clearly, people work at this McDonalds because they lack the organizational and professional skills to succeed as a newspaper delivery person.

< ---!End Rant!--->

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Theatre Nefarious Class

Theatre Nefarious (the Theatre Company that I am Artistic Director for) offers an Open Improv class every Monday evening. We had a great class on Monday; nine people showed up, which is a new record for our class. We’ve had some small class sizes for quite some time, but that’s to be expected. It takes time for the word to get out, and for people to get used to the idea, rearrange their schedules, etc.

When I took over as Education Director at the Staircase, the average drop-in class size was 5-6 people, but after a few months of consistently good classes, the numbers started to swell. We got up to the point where we were getting 15-20 people every week, and sometimes 20+. Definitely a nice problem to have!

I wanted a fast-paced class, as well as to work on a little long-form, free form improv. We did some warm-ups, then broke into a loose long form. Things went well, there was some funny work, but I really wanted to stress speed and fast edits. We then did an exercise to build speed, and tried some more work.

Overall, I think everyone was happy – at least, that’s what people told me. I think the class went really well, and I can’t wait for next Monday!

Bullshit or Not?

Ok, I recently sent a message to an incredibly beautiful woman on a dating site (yes, I am on a dating site. Fuck you. No, fuck you!). Here is the message, verbatim. Please read carefully.

First off, let me say Don't worry, this is not a "hitting on you" kind of email. There's way too big an age difference between us for that. But I just wanted to tell you that I think that you are very beautiful. the picture of you with the baseball hat is incredible, and captures a wonderful essence that goes beyond your physical beauty.

I am honestly not saying that to hit on you. Of course, I know by saying that that I look like the kind of guy who says "Hey, I'm not hitting on you" and then hits on you. But I'm not that guy. Honestly.

For real.

Ok, no matter how much I say I'm not that guy, the more I look like that guy.

But I'm not.

Ok. *ahem* Well, time for me to hit the old dusty trail ...

So now, here's my question to you. Was I hitting on her, or not. Please vote by leaving a comment reading "True" or "Bullshit" at the top of the message. Tune in at a later date to vote on the question "Is Ash doing this just to get more comments or not?"

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Search Engine Phrases

Search Engines are definitely useful. Hell, without them, the Internet would pretty much blow ass. One of the things I like to do for a larf is to check out the phrases people enter that have lead them to my website. I'd thought I'd share some of the better ones with you.

Phrase: melody grell blog breyer
Notes: As far as I know, I have never used the word "grell", prior to this, in my life.

Phrase: tim hortons fried or baked
Notes: I, for one, prefer to go baked.

Phrase: why dry humping feels good
Notes: I feel bad for the sad, lonely teen (or even sadder, lonelier adult) who typed this one in. Why? Because he/she is not terribly bright. It feels good because you're rubbing something up against your crotch, dumbass.

Phrase: males forced to pee
Notes: For the life of me, I cannot imagine a realistic situation in which a male would be forced to pee, apart from some comically ludicrous need to put out a fire. Even more alien to my thought processes would be the idea of going online to search for this kind of thing. If you want to watch guys pee, put a mirror on your watch and go to a public washroom, like my father did.

Phrase: my testicle pops out
Notes: Ha haa, haa haaah haaahhh eeeehhhh eeeh hhheeeh, snort, wheeze, giggle. Sucker.

Phrase: how to avoid heartattacks
Notes: Staying away from my blog would be a good first step. Oh, and stop eating handfuls of butter.

Phrase: how to clean eggs thrown at house off a window
Notes: This phrase is not terribly funny in and of itself, but I got a good giggle knowing that someone was searching it because they had eggs thrown at their window.

Phrase: lyndsey milf
Notes: Lyndsey is pretty hot.

Phrase: absorbine junior on genitals
Notes: Once again, the mind boggles as to exactly why someone is searching this phrase. Are they looking for a way to ease the pain, or some application tips?

By the way, not enough of you are using the Firefox internet browser. Its better than Microsoft's Internet Explorer (or, alternately, Microcrap's Intercrap Excrapper), its free, and using it pisses of Bill Gates. Three good reasons to give it a try.

And now, for my own amusement, a series of random words and phrases designed to piss off people who are searching for things online.

adult diaper rash
shaved testicles
poughty schoolgirls
free xxx hot action
george w. bush hot action nude hot tub party
mail order transvestite bride
pretty pussy cat in a tartan skirt

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Teeny Rant

You know that commercial for Bailey's Irish Cream, where a group of neo-nazi beautiful people sit around a campfire, burning marshmellows over the fire then shoving the flaming little napalm balls into each other's drinks? I'd like to be there, set a marshmellow burning, and jam it in one of their eye sockets, pointy stick and all.

With a little caption underneath my picture, freeze-framed as the burning napalm stick pierces the ocular globe, that reads "Sense of Acrimony".

Football Follies

For the first time in my life, I have attended a CFL football game - Hamilton Ti-Cats vs. some teame from Montreal. It was a great game, and Hamilton won (which was great, as its my home town), and a fantastic way to break my football cherry (a process which, thankfully, does not involve my anus and a football).

I attended the game with some improv friends, which naturally means I'm going to have a great time (apart from myself, there were Bernie and Bear, Gary and Laura, and Cory). Going anywhere with a group of improvisers is like traveling with a pack of drunken monkeys. With cell phones. We all won free tickets from a bar we do karaoke at (Matt's Sports Cafe on Upper James in Hamilton), and went together on the big yellow bus.

The evening started off at Matt's for a few pre-game drinks, then it was on to the bus for a few pre-game drinks. We stopped off the beer store for a few pre-game drinks, and it was at this point that I christened Wally (the owner/operator of Matts) as the Beer Fairy.

We arrived at Ivor Wynne Stadium, and found our seats with little difficulty. It was glorious weather, 15 degrees Celsius (about 60 Fahrenheit for those still clinging to an outdated and illogical temperature measuring system --- oooh, burn), and I found myself feeling perfectly comfortable in my fleece hoody (in spite of my sworn resolution to never use the word "hoody", I was just too lazy to type out "fleece sweater with a hood") and gloves.

At the game, the Beer Fairy handed out - much to our surprise - free martinis, and thus was re-christened the Liquour Fairy (a name which, yes, has other connotations, but still was deserved). The Liquour Fairy even handed out olives with his martini's. You know, its the little touches that make for a special occasion.

There's a number of fun things you can do at a football game that you can't do at, say, Starbucks. One of them is yelling out 'MONTREAL SUCKS' at the top of your lungs, which is something I did several times. Not that I have anything against Montreal, mind you, but rather just because its fun to scream and yell.

At the game, we met Pigskin Pete. He's an elderly, somewhat rotund gentleman (who, now that I think of it, is shaped like a football) dressed in Ti-Cat colours (Yellow and Black) and wearing a bowler hat. Everyone cheered for him, and he lead our section in a rousing cheer: "Oskee-wee-wee" (which, I believe, is Ancient Hamiltonian for "I've drunk too much beer and have to piss".

I had just as much fun cheering for Pete as the rest of the crowd. After he left, I asked Gary (the resident football expert) just who Pigskin Pete was. I assumed he was a radio announcer, or a player from the old days, or some such. Turns out, he's just some guy that's been coming to like every game since 1951 or some such. Something tells me that, if he was ever married, he has long since been divorced.

After the game, it was back on the bus and heading off for home. We sang some songs, had some laughs, and gave the finger to cars behind us. We decided as a group that mooning was not a good idea at the time.

Back home, we headed over to Gary and Laura's for a post-game relaxing sing-a-long and general chat session. It was a pretty quiet gathering, very relaxed. Luckily, I didn't stay up too late, so I wasn't dead tired today.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


In my series on my grandparents, I bookended the not-so-good with the best. I started with my maternal grandmother, who was my favourite female grandparent, and I am ending with my step-grandfather, who was my favourite male. After my parents divorced, my dad remarried, and I had a good relationship with his wife. In fact, we were closer to each other than I was to him. I'll talk about her some other time though; for now I will talk about Poppa.

Poppa was one of those men who just had something special. Its a quality hard to define, but you know it when you see it. He was intelligent, if unlearned. Anyone who made the mistake of assuming he was stupid paid the price of his razor wit, or became the victim of one of his pranks. He was a very capable man, one of those people who could build a deck from scratch but also figure out how to repair the television when it broke.

Now, you have to remember, when Poppa needed a deck built, he didn't build it himself. He had a tongue that would do Tom Sawyer proud. On so many occassions I watched him talk people into doing his labour for him. I was always so proud when he did that. The best part was, most of the time afterwards, the people who did all the work would feel like they owed Poppa a favour.

Considering he was so good at practical jokes, I once went to him for some advice. There was this guy see - Neil - at school, and I hated him. I asked Poppa what I could do to get back at him. His advice was simple: "Tell everyone his dick tastes salty". Needless to say, I didn't follow his advice.

He was a very strong man, moreso emotionally and intellectually than physically, and someone that I count myself lucky to have known. He died of respiratory difficulties, most likely brought on by a life time of smoking. I was with him on his last day, standing around the bed in the hospital room, with my stepmother and her sisters all around.

He told us that he could die happy if he knew that just one of his children would quit smoking, and learn something from his example. If his dying could save one of them this agony, then he would gladly take the burden. It was a very emotionally charged moment for me, and I realized that he was telling the truth. If he could go back in time 40 years, and someone told him that he could continue to smoke and die, but if he quit, one of his children would smoke and die, he would continue to smoke.

None of his children quit smoking. I can't for the life of me understand why. In the first place, I quit smoking to honour the man, and his wishes. Any time I was ever tempted to have a cigarette, all I had to do was remember Poppa, and I was no longer tempted. Secondly, the man was sick. Very sick. I never want to have to go through what he went through.

If he knows that I learned from him, and honour his memory, I hope that this thought makes him happy.

A few months after his death, I went to see a psychic (a friend was paying). Now, I'm not normally the type of person who goes to see a psychic. In fact, I had never seen one before, and I have never seen one since. I came in off the street, had never met the psychic before, and he had no way of knowing anything about me.

He told me that I had a guardian - a spirit of a loved one that stayed with me, and watched over me, and protected me. He then proceeded to describe Poppa exactly. His height, his looks, everything about him. He told me that he was smiling, and had his arms around me.

That makes me very happy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


STARTING WEIGHT: 281.6 pounds
THIS WEEK’S CHANGE: - 2.0 pounds
CURRENT WEIGHT: 268.6 pounds


Ok, so there’s this stoplight, right? It’s on Hamilton Mountain, at Upper Sherman and Mohawk road. Now this stoplight, like many others, has an advanced green signal. But unlike other, more sensible traffic lights, this freaking intersection keeps its advanced turn signal on 24 hours a day.

So if you’re heading west-bound on Mohawk road at 3:30 in the morning, and are unlucky enough to get caught by a red light at Upper Sherman, you will have to wait another 30 seconds for the advanced green signal for traffic going in the other direction. The advanced green signal helping out all the cars that aren’t there trying to turn. Because lord knows, if there were a car there waiting to turn, it would be utterly unable to do so thanks to the large lineup of vehicles, that consists entirely of my car and some bastard in a Volvo that’s 550 yards down the road behind me and won’t even make that light anyway.

The worst thing is, it’s been like this for seriously more than 15 years. You’d think that in 15 freaking years, some bozo in the City Works department would have noticed the light, and said “You know what? I don’t really think this intersection needs an advanced green signal between the hours of 1:00 am and 6:00 am. Let’s shut it off during that time.” I don’t know what they think; I can’t claim to be able to read the minds of civil servants. However, I am relatively certain that their thoughts are about neither civility nor service.

The universe has been fucking with me tonight. I’m doing pretty good about sticking to this diet thing. I’ve stayed within my limits, and I haven’t eaten a single chicken wing. Some people say, “Oh, just have one, that won’t hurt you”. Right. The problem is, it is actually impossible to eat only one chicken wing. Ask a quantum physicist, he’ll back me up on this.

Gary and I decided to go over to Matt’s Sports Bar, see if we could do some performance, sing a few songs, etc. Matt’s was closed, so I decided it would be fun to drive across the city to Cagney’s Pub – the pub my dad used to go to in order to drink and ignore his family. But I digress. We get there, and lo and behold, it’s freaking 25-cent wing night. Fuck me sideways.

I ignore the temptation, and Gary feels the need to point out the fact that it is 25-cent wing night, just in case I had managed to somehow miss the many signs, and what I needed at that moment was a gentle fucking reminder of yet another wonderful thing I can’t have because I’m on a diet. Then the waitress came over, took our drink orders, and she reminded me that it was 25-cent wing night.

Apparently, 25-cent wing night isn’t enough for Cagney’s. No, not by far. Thursday nights are $2.00 a pound wing night. No more tedious addition, a pound of wings for 2 lousy bucks.

I thanked the waitress, and informed her that I couldn’t have wings, as I was dieting. She suggested that I have the wings, but leave the sauce off. I kid you fucking not. I informed her that, in my opinion, it was not so much the thin tomato-based sauce that was the cause of problems, but rather the several long minutes the wings spent soaking in boiling hot fat.

Now to be fair, the annoying stoplight and the super-cheap specials on wings were the only really annoying thing that has happened to me tonight. I did a new piece of art that I really like, I added about 5,000 words to my novel, and I went out and saw a free comedy show at Slainte’s here in the city. Overall, a very productive and fun day.

But I wish somebody would fix that fucking stoplight.