Friday, December 09, 2011

Confidence Tricks: The MOVIE!

Hello all! I'm going to be filming my screenplay, "Confidence Tricks" in the New Year, and am looking for some help with funding. Please visit the link below, read/watch the appeal, and if you'd like to help out and offer your support, please make a contribution.

Also, please share this link with your Facebook friends, Twitterfolk, or anyone else you think might be interested. Even if you can't contribute financially, helping to spread the word is very much appreciated!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Piping Ceremony

Today, I did something good. Not good for the environment, or good for the economy, or even for the good of my fellow human beings. I did something good for me. Thanks to the support and encouragement of my wonderful friend Laura, and to the help and assistance of my good friend Gary, I attended my first Native Piping Ceremony today.

My day began early. Crazy early. 7:30 am early. You may not think that particularly early, but I normally get up at noon, so for me, it was early. I prepared for the day, and left the house bundled up in layers, ready for any weather. I literally had no idea as to the nature of the event what I was about to attend, and wanted to be prepared.

I arrived at Gary and Laura's promptly at 8 am. I met up with Gary and Laura, their son Dax, and our friends Chris and Alex. Our two car caravan was off, stopping only to pick up one more friend of Laura's along the way. We didn't have time to stop for coffee, so as you can imagine, my mood was one of hopeful anticipation mixed with ... well, whatever that feeling is you get when you hadn't had your morning coffee. Ah well, I thought. I wanted a Tim Hortons coffee, but sometimes you just don't get what you want.

We arrived at the lodge, which I can best describe as a really large tent. But instead of interlocking plastic poles and nylon strings, the frame was constructed of hand-hewn wood. The walls of the structure were made of tarp, overlapping to keep out most of the weather, yet open at the top, and with the occasional gap to keep the air fresh and pleasant.

Almost immediately, I was made welcome by our hosts, and offered a cup of .... Tim Hortons coffee. The universe provides. That first sip was bliss. We were made welcome and took our seats on a bench along the southern-most wall. I know it was the southern-most wall because Gary informed me that the entrance to a lodge always faces east.

A fire was burning in the center of the lodge, housed carefully in a deep circular pit. Despite the early-morning November chill the lodge was comfortably warm, yet the air circulated well and was never stuffy, smokey or uncomfortable. I noticed at the edge of the pit closest to the entrance there was what appeared to be a small shrine, consisting of a small stone, a hand-carved horse and a small sprinkling of tobacco.

There's no point in trying to describe the ceremony itself. I'm not that clever, and it's something to be experienced, not described. I have written and deleted this same sentence seventeen times in a row, trying to capture the essence of the ceremony, but it's pointless. All I can do is record my impressions.

The people. The people were welcoming, gracious, kind, polite, loving, caring, and above all - at least to me - exhibited a gentle yet irresistible sense of humour. There were a few moments of natural levity during the ceremony, culminating in a slight "slip" towards the end, that had everyone in tears of laughter. Even the gentleman beating the drum and leading the singing skipped a beat or two as he joined in. No one was embarrassed. No one was upset. The moment was accepted for what it was - a part of the natural flow of the ceremony.

The inspirational Josephine Mandamin
The lodge had a special guest that day, a beautiful, self-effacing woman named Josephine Mandamin. I had no idea who she was. I had no idea how incredible she was. I had no idea I should feel privileged to hear her speak. Once she began to speak, I very quickly learned how lucky I was to be there at the same time as Josephine. I won't go into detail as to who she is - as you can learn that at - but I will say I was totally enchanted and taken by her wisdom and humility, her gentle humour, and her strength.

After the ceremony was over, we walked across the street to a local recreation center for more information about Josephine and her works. There, I discovered that there would be a man from a reptile conservation center with a wide selection of animals to display; snakes, geckos, tarantulas, and even a large tortoise.

It was one of those days where things kept getting better and better. After enjoying Josephine's stories, and watching the kids handle constrictors and monitor lizards (and even checking out a few myself - having a tarantula in your hands is cool!) I discovered that they were going to feed us lunch. Soup, sandwiches, wraps, very delicious!

Then there were door prizes. Wait ... what? Door prizes? You invite me to attend your sacred ceremonies, you teach me, you entertain me, you feed me, and now you're giving away prizes? For FREE? This doesn't seem like a viable business model!

Because it's not. It wasn't about business. I'm still not 100% sure what it was about, but to me, the day was about unity over strife. Friendship over distrust. Shared laughter over shame. Sharing what you can, taking what you need, giving that which is needed.

It was a good day for me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

ROMINS (Reviews of Movies I've Never Seen): Fast Five

Fast Five is the fifth and, God-willing, final installment in the seminal "Fast and the Furious" film series. The movie tells the story of Armand Fist (played by Vin Diesel), a spunky young amateur masturbator who decides to enter the BNIC (Bukkake Night in Canada) held in Temiskaming Shores, Canada ("Temiskaming" being a Native word meaning "Mauling the Moose").

Known for his incredible dexterity and machine-like stroke speed, Armand (or "Fast Five" as he is known, due to his dextrous digits) must overcome the prejudices of his rural hometown of Splooge, North Dakota in order to become the cream of the crop. His first barrier to stardom is his girlfriend, Betty (played quite ably by television's Nel Carter) who's intense and constant desire for sex is a constant drain on Armand's stamina, and makes practicing next to impossible.

Bite Sarge's Salty Meat Stick
Armand finally is forced to flee his home after his father is convicted of baby battering. Armand is broke, but he manages to earn enough money for bus fare by slinging yogurt at a local restaurant. His big break comes when he is hired on as a celebrity sponsor for Old Sarge's Beef Jerky.

Armand makes his way to the BNIC, where he originally views others men as competitors only, but after striking up a friendship with Dick Juice, last year's winner of the BNIC (played by a pile of Johnny Depp's haircut clippings), comes to see men in a different light. Armand and Dick at first are enemies, but come to be friends after they realize how much they both love butter.

Watch for cameos from Shia Labeouf as Mr. Nononononono!, Renee Zellweger as a piece of discarded licorice, Jeff Bridges as Fluffy McNutbutter, and Natalie Portman as Squeegee Von Creamsicle.

Armand eventually wins the BNIC, and uses the proceeds to buy his girlfriend Betty a pearl necklace. I give this movie two thumbs up Julie Andrews.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Then and Now

I was browsing online today when I say this picture. Highly NSFW btw.

NSFW Accidental Wedding Photo

I thought, man, that pretty much sums up the differences between today, and when I was a kid. When I was young, if someone got drunk at a wedding and accidentally suffered a nip-slip, only one or two people would likely have noticed. They wouldn't say anything, but might keep the knowledge to hand if needed to get one over on you.

We just didn't have the technology to take her picture and get it on Facebook within 30 seconds.

So I guess, yeah, the major difference is, we were a lot more relaxed back then.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back Words

I have taken my back for granted. After all, it doesn't really make much of a fuss most of the time, and it spends it's time behind me, so it's not something I used to spend much time thinking about. Until the day my back decided to stab me in the ... well, in the back.

I had just shut my front door, and was turning away when I felt a spasm, a tear, in the small of my back. It hurt, but not terribly. At the time I thought, "Well, that was annoying", and then went back to ignoring my back ... for awhile. The pain kept growing gradually worse, much like Michelle Bachman's media presence. By the time I went to bed my back was big bucket of agony, making sleep very difficult.

I got out of bed at 8:30 am the next day. It took me about 20 minutes to do so. I had originally decided to just ride out the pain, but this had become impossible. I went to the Urgent Care center in Stoney Creek. Sure, St. Joe's downtown is closer, but the last time I went there was about 2 months ago, and the wait for a doctor was so long I still haven't had my turn called.

There was no one ahead of me at the hospital, which was nice. For the first time in my life I rode a wheelchair for real, because walking was a torment. Sitting hurt to, but nowhere near as much as walking.

The doctor was great, and gave me a shot of morphine to help with the pain. I have to admit I was disappointed ... I had heard so much about the affects of morphine, and all I got was mild reduction in pain. The doctor later informed me he had given me a very small dosage as this was my first exposure to the medicine and he wanted to make sure it didn't like, kill me. For my part, I wanted buckets full of the stuff to take the pain away. Oh well, I guess better safe and sore than pain free and, like, dead.

So now I'm on 3 meds - Oxycodone for the pain, cyclobenzaprine for the swelling, and Naproxen for ... oh, I don't know, let's say to prevent involuntary spontaneous decapitation. I shuffle around like a refugee from a bad zombie movie, and am pretty much confined to quarters for the next few days. The pain is still present, but manageable.

All in all, it could be worse. I could be Stephen Harper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

ROMINS (Reviews of Movies I've Never Seen): Green Lantern

Nel Carter as Green Lantern
Green Lantern is a fantastic, roller-coaster ride of a movie, starring television's Nel Carter as Bobby Greenpants, an average, everyday high school student and part-time cattle prod.

Bobby is living a do-nothing, go-nowhere life when suddenly everything changes. He meets up with The King of the Lanterns, played quite ably by television's Nel Carter. The King gives Bobby a choice: continue to live your boring little life, or take on the role of a super hero called the Green Lantern!

Of course, Bobby chooses the latter, as being normal sucks dirty donkey dicks. However, he should have asked some questions first, as it turns out his super power was to fill a lantern with his own mucus and then fire green snot-rays at bad guys. Effective, yes, but super, super gross.

Bobby is almost immediately attacked by his arch-nemisis (which is weird because before that moment he didn't even have an arch nemesis), the evil Kleen-X, played by television's Nel Carter. Bobby - now Green Lantern - barely escapes with his life. He limps off to lick his wounds and refill his lamp.

Meanwhile, Kleen-X goes after Bobby's high school sweetheart, Mary-Becky-Anne-Joe-Jenny-Kate-Ashley-Anne McGillicuty (played quite ably by - you guessed it - television's Nel Carter). Kleen-X kidnaps Mary-Becky-Anne-Joe-Jenny-Kate-Ashley-Anne and whisks her away to his secret hideout in the nose of the Statue of Liberty.

I won't spoil the rest for you, but rest assured the movie is filled with more action, romance, and mucus than any one human being could ever be comfortable with. Watch for cameos by Nel Carter as the Liberty Island Caretaker, Nel Carter as the Ferryman, Nel Carter as the little boy who can't spell "apples", and Nel Carter as herself.

I give this move three thumbs up Nel Carter.

Papyrus Air

I'm a member of a great film production crew called Yard Sale from Hell Productions. This year we entered the Hamilton 24-Hour Film Festival and actually managed to produce a fully-animated film in less than 24 hours. This took a lot of hard work and dedication from the entire team, but especially from the inestimable Mr. Craig Rintoul.

It stars the voice talents of Gary Reid, Erin Pratt and Asher Hunter and features the inestimable machinima talents of Mr. Craig Rintoul.

Each year the film festival presents 3 random elements which have to be incorporated into the film. This is to guarantee - at least in theory - that the film is produced in 24 hours and is not done earlier.

This year the offers were:
1. An abnormally large paper airplane.
2. Something significant had to occur in an reflection.
3. A line of dialogue. This year it was from the movie "Fatal Attraction", and the line was "Sure, bring the dog. I love animals. I'm a great cook."

Check out the video below!

My Boston Shirt

I don't actually look this good in my BOSTON t-shirt

Ok, so I have this shirt that says "BOSTON" on the chest. I like this shirt, because I bought it while I was in Boston on business.

Yes, I was actually in Boston, on business. How weird is that? It still freaks me out a little.

The company I worked for needed someone to train a classroom full of new hires. We have locations in Burlington and Boston. No one in Boston could train them as well as I could, so my company paid to fly me down and put me up in a hotel for 18 days to train them.

I am proud of that fact. I was good enough at my job for someone to be willing to pay to fly me to Boston rather than have someone there do the job less well than I would. They even put me up in a Westin hotel. Ok, the Westin isn't exactly Ritz Carlton, but it's a far cry from Best Western.

While I was in Boston I picked up a souvenir t-shirt that read "BOSTON" across the chest. I love that shirt. I'm proud of what it represents to me. Its not often that I succeed in the business world ... ok, so this was the first and quite likely the only time ... so it's nice for me to have a reminder that I had done so, if only once.

So the other day I was wearing my "BOSTON" t-shirt. For me, it was just another day. Unbeknownst to me, there was some kind of big hockey game going on. I was visiting friends down on Kennilworth and was standing on the sidewalk saying goodbye when someone drove by and yelled something at me from their car window.

I turned to my friends and said "Did they just call us prostitutes"? They said, no, they were yelling at me for being a Boston fan. I was a bit taken aback by that. But, I thought, no big deal. I said goodbye, got on my bike and rode home.

I was yelled at and honked at several more times on the way home. One guy gave me the finger.

It still surprises me sometimes that people take sport games so seriously that they can't imagine that someone else might not actually give a shit. Hockey is great, but come on, it's a game. You wouldn't yell at someone for wearing a Monopoly t-shirt, even if you preferred Clue, so why would you yell at someone for liking a different sports team?

It saddens me to think that some peoples' worlds are so small that they can't even conceive the notion that someone might actually wear a "BOSTON" t-shirt for reasons other than a silly hockey game. Not everyone has their emotions ruled over by the tyrannical random acts of fate that is represented in the outcome of a game.

So, if you ever find yourself getting angry at someone for liking something different than you, try to relax and enjoy yourself buddy. It's just a freaking game. Oh, and try not to burn your freaking city down if you lose. That shit's just whack.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Dear Tim Hortons Person

Here's a copy of a letter I wrote to Tim Hortons a few years ago:

Dear Tim Horton’s Person:

I recently had the misfortune of trying your new English Toffee Cookie. The experience was, to say the least, extremely disagreeable. I like your English toffee cappuccino. I like English toffee ice cream. It would therefore come as no surprise for you to learn that I like English toffee. It was, however, a surprise to me that I very much disliked your English toffee cookie.
The experience of eating one of your English Toffee Cookies can be referred to as unpleasant; in the same way that being buried alive under a pile of rotting dead toads can be referred to as unpleasant. It would be an understatement to say that your English Toffee Cookies are disgusting. It would be similar to referring to the bombing of Hiroshima as a “tad unpleasant”. If given the choice between suicide, and eating an English Toffee Cookie, I would, of course, eat the cookie. I’m not insane.
But I would seriously have considered the options.
If asked to explain the taste of your English Toffee Cookie to someone lucky enough to have never tried one, I would have to compare it to the taste of a dried sponge, soaked in perfume, and then baked to perfection in a compost heap. On the big list of Gross Things to Eat, it would fall squarely between “oil-soaked Styrofoam” and “your own anus”.
What, dear God, were you thinking?
I can only assume that someone was actually responsible for creating the English Toffee Cookie; most likely a mid-to-high level executive with more clout than working brain cells and/or taste buds. As all executives should be held responsible for their decisions, I suggest that this individual be dealt with in order with the magnitude of his crime. I believe a suitable punishment would be to confine him to a stalled elevator, alone with a flatulent Jehovah’s Witness, who happens to sell life insurance. For eighteen hours.
Then, please fire him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Mildy NSFW-ish Rant

Coffee FORTY

Factory Disgorged
Congratulate me, I just rolled back my 40th Timmies Roll Up the Rim cup today. As I was unrolling the rim, I was pleased to note that it was a nice, tight rim. Firm, but still yielding. In other words, a virgin rim.

Sometimes a rim rolls up a bit too easily, and you know someone's been there before you. Someone who shouldn't have been. The rolling is still fun, but you can't help but be a bit disappointed because its not the ride you were promised.

As I gently unfurled my nice, tight rim, I thought to myself, "Hey, rim, you'd better be a fucking big screen TV". But it wasn't. It was a coffee. Sadly, after rolling up 39 rims in a row for nothing, the fact that I had ACTUALLY WON A COFFEE felt, to me, just as good as actually winning the TV.

To be completely honest, I did not go 39 rims in a row with no winners. No, I only went 38 rims in a row with no winners.

That's thirty-eight fucking cups of coffee ... IN A ROW .... WITH NO WINNERS.

One-in-six odds my ass. How is 38 in a row even possible?

However, my 39th rim rolled back to reveal a donut, which, while technically a "winner", meant nothing to me as I don't eat donuts. (Much in the same way that I don't eat Elmer's glue mixed with high-fructose corn syrup and Play-doh).

I know, a prize is a prize, and I probably shouldn't complain, but fuck that. I'm from Hamilton. I've been drinking Tim Horton's coffee since I was fucking FIVE, and Tim Horton's should know I don't eat their donuts by now.

I know, a prize is a prize. Except it isn't. Anyone who's ever "won" a goldfish at a fucking county fair, only to discover that they now have to carry this damn living creature from ride to ride - because what's more fun that an open-topped container full of spilly water and a live fish at the carnival kids? - keeping it alive in 35 degree temperatures, keeping your sister from "feeding" it ice cream, only to have it die in the fucking car ride on the way home can tell you that A PRIZE IS NOT ALWAYS A PRIZE.

But rim 40 ... ah, that was a coffee. I won't say it made it all worthwhile, but at least it was a coffee. Which in the end, I enjoy. Which is really what its all about, I suppose. I guess caring about whether I roll up a winner or not is really only secondary to the primary experience I enjoy. I understand that it is silly to devote so much attention to what is really only an ancillary experience.

But still ...

Fuck you people who run Tim Horton's.
You'd shit on a buttercup
if given half a chance, you
collection of brain-dead twats.