Boys,

I really don’t know if anyone will ever check this again. Just in case, I wanted to write a little something.

So today I went to go and meet Alana at the airport. She was passing thought Toronto on her way to Ghana and I wanted to see her. She and I hung out for an hour-ish during her layover at Pearson. It was cool. That’s not what this post is about.

The post is about my ride home. I got on the bus, then rode to the subway. Normally when I commute I always plug my ears and brain into my ipod. For some reason, today, my book was enough (P.S. if you haven’t read The Omnivore’s Dilemma I strongly recommend it). After the bus I hopped on the subway. As I sat, waiting for it to start up, I heard a song playing. It was soft and pretty. I looked around for the headphones that were way too loud, but there were none. Then a looked to end of the subway where this little old man sat alone, playing his harmonica.

So… I stood up and went to sit beside him. I read while he played for me. It was perfect. So perfect that when he stopped playing I said “please don’t stop”. He smiled and said “I’ll only play if you sing… what’s your background.” When I told him, he played a Ukrainian song for me. I had never heard it, but then he told me the title… blah blah ramble. When he finished, he told me that it had been years since he had played, but today he just felt like it.

He told me this big story about love and family.

Not sure why I’m sharing this… just felt like it I suppose.

It was perfect.

Remember when we used to talk to homeless people… I think this reminded me of that.

Back to School10. Eat half his sandwich before you put it in his lunchbox. Other children will see this, and assume he is underfed at home, and must sneak bits of his sandwich in between morning classes.

9. Pour water inside his sock drawer each morning.

8. Help your kid with his “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” project. Include photographs of him in the tub, shots from your years in college, and clippings from supermarket fliers. Do not allow him to see it or have any input on it.

7. Buy your child a cell phone. Set the ring tone to Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. Call him several times during recess and lunch hour.

6. Build him his own unique binders. Use corrugated cardboard and yarn. Be offended if he does not like them.

5. Convince him he’s a terrorist and stands against everything you and his classmates believe in.

4. Tell him the truth about his teachers. At bedtime, remind him that the only reason his alien teacher hasn’t eaten his brain is because of the mystical powers of his cellphone’s ringtone.

3. Dip his lunchtime baby carrots in castor oil. Nothing ruins a school day like debilitating vomiting and diarrhoea.

2. Teach him the value of ethnic slurs.

1. Give a gift to the schoolyard bully. Print out a list of the softest spots on your child’s body. If possible, include an appendix showing which potentially embarrassing underwear your child is scheduled to wear in the upcoming month. Experientia Docet, kid.

THE END

–Nick

As many of the TV ads suggest, I usually try to get as much fibre as I can. I usually eat a big bowl of Mini-Wheats in the morning to get me off right (there is another way that can get me off right, but I wont get into those sticky details right now).

Anyway, as this is stirring in my stomach, I usually follow it up with a cup of ‘social’ coffee at around 9:30-10:00am. It’s called a ‘social’ coffee because I don’t really drink coffee, but since everybody in my office does drink, I tend to have one in order to go down to the coffee place with everybody in my unit and be somewhat social.

 

kellogs2005_01.jpg (Helps keep Yoda regular too!)

Mini-Wheats and coffee don’t sound like those explosive substances that have been recently banned on airlines, but they should. Many of you know that fibre can’t be digested and is quite the potent laxative, which is why your parents and grandparents have bottles of Metamucil on their counters. Coffee, for those that don’t know, is also quite a powerful laxative. Can you see where I’m going with this hearty mixture in my stomach?

To the bathroom is where I usually run off to, and you’ll usually find me in there at around 10:30-11:00am. Everything is fine until I realized that the building stocks it’s bathrooms with 1ply toilet paper.

  

This is a pretty big piss off as I’m sure many can attest. When wiping, there is absolutely zero absorption so if you wipe too quickly or with too much gusto expect the incidence of shit on your hand to increase exponentially. This is never fun especially when you are at work or in a public place (i.e. restaurant or dentist).

When a restaurant has 1ply TP, you can probably draw conclusions that: 1) they probably also cut corners on the quality of the food in order to save a few pennies, and 2) they don’t give a ‘shit’, literally and figuratively, about you and your comfort.

Over the past century workers have fought and have died for workers rights, and that’s why today there are rights and laws that ensure minimum wage, a safe work environment, and health benefits. But all those martyrs of the working class have died in vain since most of us have to wipe our asses with 1ply TP at work.

I really think that 1ply TP is stupid and should be banned. There is really no point to having it anywhere. People might argue that “It’s cheaper than the other types of TP and companies need to cut costs as much as they can in non-essential areas so they can be profitable”. WHATEVER! They went on the ‘cheap’ when building the Challenger spaceship and look what happened there. Moreover, my ass is an essential area, so don’t give me that crap!

 

-Vince-

 

I have been thinking about what to post on this blog and exactly what slant to exploit. When it hit me, I laughed and realized that a blog spot on a website might not be enough since I can probably write a book or six on the topic.

Most of you that know me are familiar with the fact that I hate many things on this wretched planet, which range wildly from babies and brightly lit spaces, to fat people and pompous police officers.

I think I’ve mentioned to some of you before, that there are two things that I truly despise: traffic lights that happen to be red when I pull up to the intersection, and those moronic people that try to sell you flowers while you are sitting at a restaurant or while socializing at a club or bar.

I will not start my first ‘blog-rant’ with a discussion of the two aforementioned topics, although just thinking about them makes me shake my head in shame and my fist in anger. These will be the topic of further venting. Today I will discuss a topic that has, only a few hours ago, lit a flame of raging proportions within my psyche.

I will express my dilemma in the form of a question: Why is it that people in this city think that the left lane is for casual driving?

Whether it be the 417 or any of the myriad of 2 or 3 lane roads or smaller highways, why must people insist on floating exactly on the speed limit (or lower!) while traveling in the left passing lane. Is everybody in this city driving stoned?

Those of you who have a driver’s license must remember those nerve racking days when you were 16 spent studying the province’s “driver’s guide”. Years after the written test and actual driving test, people can manage to remember many pointless facts, for example that “if you are at a four way stop and a police car, an ambulance, and a Canada Post truck are all at the intersection at the same time”, that the god damn Canada Post truck has the right of way since ‘nothing gets in the way of the Queen’s mail’. In reality, no four vehicles ever pull up to a four way stop at exactly the same time, let alone an ambulance, a police car and a Canada Post Truck. And if by some weird twist of fate, this scenario does play out in the real world exactly as described in the driver’s guide, I would let the police car go first and then bolt it through the intersection. Nobody uses Canada Post today anyway except for old people that don’t know what email is. But I digress.

It’s funny how most can remember that type of drivel but they can remember that you should not be driving in the left lane as it is for passing. The key word here being passing!

left-lane-loser.jpg(loser!!)

Another facet of the driving test and a social right of passage is the actual in-car driving test. At the time of testing, EVERYBODY knows that they can not linger in the left lane and need to get into the right lane as soon as possible (for those of you that have forgot, the right lane is the driving lane). If you do not get into the right lane as quickly as possible you stand to lose a whole bunch of points on your driving test. After the test however, most people tend to forget this little fact and eventually end up pissing me off while I’m driving behind them.

The longest period of time that I should be riding your ass in the left lane should be no more than 9 seconds. This is the time that Young Drivers notes as the frequency that one should check the development of traffic in their rear view mirrors. If you do look up and see someone wanting to pass you, you should get into the right lane and let them pass. If you look in your mirror and note that someone wants to pass and you continue to drive on in the left lane without increasing your speed, you are a moron and will receive my eye’s most angered set of daggers.

It’s funny how this phenomenon of oblivious drivers does not happen in any of the European centers that I have had the luxury to drive around in. This seems to be an Ottawa, or Canada in general, specific disorder.

If you feel like driving below or exactly on the speed limit, save your driving for Sunday’s and please don’t do it in the left lane. Leave that lane open for people that actually want to drive and get to their destination today rather than some time next week.

Until next time, remember, I hate all of you equally.

 

-Vince-

Well I certainly have not mustered enough thoughts to come up with an imaginative and inspiring blog entry. I will get myself on the list first while considering something more provocative. So instead I will delight you all with the newest and evidently latest in the tireless series of greatest videos ever.

his video is a single take, nothing in terms of specials effects, let’s have a go at it, thriller. The reason I like it is because it reminds me of videos in Nick’s basement.

Check out the video and decide for yourself.

jOn

You know, a lot of people pass around quotes in an office place. Forwarded emails, clever witticisms posted on the cork board, and touching pieces of wisdom designed to trick workers into thinking that the drudgery of office life somehow constitutes “a daring adventure.”

Clearly in the following case, however, one slipped under the radar. Get a load of it, if you can get through it before bedtime.

“You have to be willing sometimes to listen to some remarkable bad opinions. Because if you say to someone ‘That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard; get on out of here!’ then you’ll never get anything out of that person again, and you might as well have a puppet on a string or a robot.”

–John Bryan

Wow.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but pretty much the three dominating criteria for having a quote recorded, let alone passed along, are 1) brevity, 2) inspiration slash wit and 3) not being from a nobody. But damn.

This quote is the inspirational equivalent of polishing silverware. And it has as much wit as Ben Mulroney. Long, overly wordy, and drowning in its own message. Why not: “If you want to hear your ideas echoed all the time, then put your desk in a canyon.” Throw somebody’s name next to that, and you got yourself a quote.

Great QuoteStill stupid, I know, but at least it gives the same message in a fraction of the time. It’s basically getting so anything that is remotely forward-able will be forwarded just to shake things up. I propose the following for those of you who work in a similar place of business: begin writing your own inspirational quotes, throw fake names next to them, and post them on the bulletin board. And see if anyone notices.

Post-it notes, thumbtacks, pieces of Scotch tape: however you can get your message up there, do it. And you will see people applauding the inanity of it, remembering them for future reference and quoting them to their friends.

Worker 1: “Have you read any Sally Desglaw?”Inspirational Quote

Worker 2: “No.”

Worker 1: “She’s got this one great quote: ‘Live each day as if you’re eating a creamy tuna sandwich, and you love tuna.’ She’s got a good point. We shouldn’t always worry about ‘tomorrow’, now is the time to appreciate.”

Worker 2: “That’s fucking amazing. I’m writing it down.”

THE END

–Nick

toronto skyline

When I first moved to Toronto I began in the hardest conditions.  Homeless.  Jobless.  AND (here’s the kicker), the girl I came to be with, my reason for moving there, had just broken up with me.  I still have no idea why I chose to move there.  Maybe it was because I hoped that things with the girl would smooth out.  Maybe I had set my heart on the Toronto.  Maybe I needed a new city, away from a home that had changed without me.  Whatever the reason, when the plane dropped me off in Toronto I landed in a pile of shit.

For the next half year I would mentally and emotionally survive by truly appreciating every little glimmer of good frotune that shone through the smog.  Some days it was as simple as getting a free ride on the TTC (instead of walking for 2 hours to a volunteer job).  Some days it was a free meal prepared by a friend, or a drink bought by a stranger.  Some days it was finding a free concert by little kids trying to entertain passers by.  For 6 months it was those glimmers that got me through the days.

One such glimmer was getting a serving job at a REALLY great place.  The Cameron House  on Queen W in Toronto has been around for over 20 years and is a really great artists hangout.  It’s a small bar with a back room that always (every night) has some sort of live entertainment.  The nicest thing about the job (which payed poorly and forced me to work with a total dick of a bartender) was the fact that I got to listen to music every night that I worked.  I looked forward to every shift there. 

One night after last call, as everyone is starting to leave, Crusty Mc Asshole (our friendly barkeep) pointed at a guy who had been sitting in the back room and asked: “have you been serving that guy?”.  I nodded, and he asked “do you know who he is?”.  I shook my head.

ron 

Turned out the guy was Ron Sexmith.  When Crusty told me that I said “whothefuck is Ron Sexmith”.  He explained that he was a national treasure and blah blah blah.  “Sure” I thought, “whatever”.

 As the year went on I remember hearing about Ron Sexmith 2 more times.  The first time was when a friend asked me if I had heard anything by the singer/songwriter.  I said “no”, but very proudly related the story of how I had once served draft beer to the guy.  The friend asked me what I had said to Ron and I said… nothing.  In total disbelief said-friend told me how both Elton John and David Bowie had listed Sexmith as their favourite new songwriter. 

The second time was at a free concert.  Leslie Feist, was tuning her guitar, getting ready to play a song.  As she strummed and adjusted, she told the audience about how she got to play a duet on CBC radio with… Ron Sexmith.  She talked about what an honour it was to not only be in the presence of such a gifted songwriter, but also how fortunate she felt for getting to play with him.  

Cool.

For an entire year and a half after my serving a “national treasure” I didn’t make any kind of effort to listen to his music.  Then one morning as I was drinking my coffee, this video came up:

http://streamos.warnermusic.com/qtime/canada/ronsexsmith/sexsmith_allingoodtime_300k.mov

As the song played I couldn’t help, but listen to the words.  It was as if everything I felt at THAT MOMENT was being sung by Ron.  All of the hardships I had endured by moving were gone.  I had gotten a great job.  I had a beautiful home, and girl problems had pretty much faded away.  I was no longer focused on surviving the shitty days; I was enjoying the good ones.

That song captured the moment when I put a whole year and a half into perspective.

-step.