A few years ago, I was just hanging around the ex's place (back when she wasn't "the ex"), when her cousin came around the corner, wearing a Beatles T-Shirt.  I remember it pretty clearly - yellow with "The Beatles" in a faded red ink... the type face being the same as the one on The White Album.

Not realizing this girl was into, you know, good music, I kind of grinned.  "You like the Beatles!?" I asked, happily surprised.

"Oh yeah, I totally love the Beatles."


"I'm a huge fan.  Love their stuff."

"What's your favourite song by them?"



End Scene. 

I have to say, I'm so happy that the fad of wearing band t-shirts to look cool is on the way out.  There have been multiple times where I'll see someone wearing a misfits t-shirt or hoodie... and when I say "hey, the misfits - they're a good band, eh?" I get something like "who are the misfits?" or "I don't listen to them" in response.

The best moment was seeing Hillary Duff wearing a Motorhead t-shirt.  That blew my mind.

Five Reasons why Victoria is Awesome

Over the past little while, I've talked about my litle neck of the woods in a less than savoury light.  I've talked about the homeless, the weather, and so on, and so forth.  So, it might come as a surprise when I say that I love Victoria, and I can't think of anywhere else in the world I'd rather be. 

My friend Kittens will tell you that lists are the absolute best thing in the world (I'm paraphrasing, and exagerating, here, but I hope she'll forgive me).  She's usually right.  So, I figure if I'm going to talk about why Victoria is so great, I should do it in list form.  Here it is - five reasons why Victoria is a great city.  And these aren't your usual five (oo, great weather, small city that's just big enough that it's got all the important stuff, beautiful buildings, lots to do, cultural tapestry, blahblahblah).  Nope.  These are five reasons that only people in Victoria know about. 

1.  The Noodle Box

Located in the heart of Victoria, the Noodle Box sells some of the best food in the city.  Asian noodles, spiced to order, in a location that pumps trendy music and is always filled with the indy crowd.  If you go anytime during the lunch or dinner rush, you can expect to wait twenty minutes in a place that's standing room only - the place always seems to be packed. 

The place has some great touches - your "to-go" orders (and it's way too loud and noisy to actually ever eat there) come in great little to-go boxes with the company logo.  There is a wide section of imported beers and wines.  And, most interestingly, you pretty much have to eat by chopstick - the place doesn't have forks.  I took Kittens here once... and I'm absolutely awful with a chopstick.  I wound up using the thing as a spoon, and making myself look like an ass.  Good times.

I highly recommend the black bean garlic with chicken or tofu.  Probably the best thing in the world.  Especially if you have it with medium spice (not hot enough to kill you, but still hot enough you'll notice it).

2.  The Selkirk Waterway

The waterway is only a few minutes from my house.  A couple nights a week (weather permitting), this is where I go for my runs.  And it is the most peaceful place in the world, I think - imagine herons waiting in the water, the sound of waves gently lapping against a pier, and the smell of ocean water in the air.  If you go at night, and look down the waterway (to the left of the picture), you can see the lights of the parliament buildings. 

And during the day, the place is bustling with all sorts of government folks, rowing teams, joggers, and the like.  There are three cafes, two restaurants (only been to one, and only had a drink while I was there), spas, and more.

Oh, and see that tree, left of the chessboard?  That's where I had my faceplant.   

3.  Heckler's Bar and Grill

Okay.  I'm not a bar star, but this still has to be one of my favourite places in the world.  I mean, it's a sports pub.  But so many fun stories have happened there, that's it's wormed a place into my heart. 

The place looks like Cheers.  Only, with probably a dozen LCD TVs.  Playing multiple games.  And, during Canucks games, they pipe in the audio, give everyone free popcorn (!), and every table is assigned a player.  Should that player get a goal or a fight, that table gets a free pitcher of beer. 

Add to that wings night, comedy nights, band nights, the only pool table in the world that I don't suck on, waittresses who will give you free drinks, and a Poutine Wrap, and you'll see why this place is awesome.  They used to serve chocolate covered bacon, too. 

Oh, and you probably won't like the wrap, but you still have to try it.  I mean, it's a friggin' poutine wrap

4.  The Street Entertainers

Most of the year, you'll find street entertainers downtown.  During toursit season, the streets are lined with them - musicians, dancers, jugglers, comedians, painters - you can't walk down a street without seeing one.  And they get progressively weirder and more random - there's even a guy that dresses up like Darth Vader and plays the fiddle (pictured). 

Even during the off season, there are plenty of musicians out there.  Granted, many of them are down-and-out, but that doesn't mean they aren't, you know, great musicians.  My personal favourite was the guy that sounded like John Lee Hooker that used to play outside the Bay Centre.  Haven't seen him in a while, though.  Which is too bad - that man was awesome. 

5.  Bookstores

I'm a guy that loves bookstores.  And there are so many amazing, independent book stores in Victoria, it's amazing.  We have Bolen books (the largest independent book store in B.C, and one of the most dangerous places to take me, as I will spend too much money), Munro books (pictured; once owned by noted Canadian author Alice Munro), Russell books (Canada's largest used bookstore), as well as maybe a dozen smaller bookstores (my favourite being Snowden's Books, a cramped little place with piles of fringe stuff). 

The point being, if you love books (and I do), Victoria is the mecca of bookstores in Canada.  No doubt.

...Finkelstein? Really?

Tomorrow, I head into Vancouver with the Shlesbian, Squee, and the Shlesbian's boyfriend to catch a hockey game - Canucks vs. Sharks.  Hopefully, someone will bring a camera, and I can post the photos of the Sharks' inevitable win, and the bruises I get on my body for laughing in the faces of all the Canucks fans around me.

That's all cool.  What bothers me, though, is the fact that I *still* don't have a name for The Shlesbian's boyfriend!  I mean, that's a very lame nickname - it kind of gives him no identity of his own.  Like Matt Damon. 

However, I have a few names kicking around... most of which were just taken from random things that popped in my head while walking (which is, also, where most of my blog nicknames come from).  So, here's my top three list of nicknames:
  1. Finklestein (no idea where it came from)
  2. Autograph (based on an autographed Cheechoo card he gave me)
  3. Hot Wing (because he ate the Fuck Off Hot Wings and lived)
And I'm not really a fan of any of them.  Hopefully, something crazy happens in Vancouver that leads to an obvious nickname - I'm hoping for a hockey riot or for one of the more "colourful" residents of the streets to make a proposition.  I'll even settle for a fart joke, at this point.

Another Line from my Future Novel...

She stared across at me as I drooled over the pizza.  It was covered in pepperoni, italian sausage, and bacon.  Tomato sauce and grease sweated out of the cheese that blanketed the slice in a process not unlike osmosis. 

Summer just glared at me, her jaw slack, her brow furrowed.  I could see her vegetarian mind trying to process the degree of murder that went into the making of my lunch, and she was focusing on her ire. 

"Why can't you eat vegetarian?"  she said, hurt.

I, of course, had to speak.  "Well, technically, I am eating vegetarian."

"how can you say that!?  It's covered in pepperoni and sausage and-"

"Yeah.  The cow was a vegetarian.  The pig was a vegeterian.  And so on, and so forth."

I thought she was going to kill me.  Meat is murder, I guess.

Christmas Gift Ideas

I was hoping to avoid blogging about Christmas, just to be original.  Because everyone's doing it, doncha know.

You have the pro-Christmas people going on about the lights, the cookies, the presents, and the snow.  Or, if they live in the Pacific Northwest, the energy smart halogen lights, the fully organic cookies, the fair trade presents, and the rain. 

Then you have the anti-Christmas people going on about the waste of money, the rampant commercialism, and how much they secretly hate children.  I'm sure several anti-Christmas bloggers kick puppies whenever they get the chance.

You even get the non-Christians involved, people who either talk about how you can avoid Christmas altogether, or finding excuses for how you can celebrate Christmas and still be a devout Jew/Muslim/Buddhist/Trekkie/Level 29 Paladin. 

And then there's people like me, who write about Christmas because, well, they're suffering from intense writer's block and made the mad proclamation of "a post a day!". 

So, yeah.  Everyone's got some Christmas shopping to do.  And yeah, Christmas can be a little bit crazy in regards to commercialism.  So, I decided to do some net surfing to find a bunch of interesting gift ideas that are:

  1. Non-Corporate:  None of the gifts here come from a major corporation.  They are all from either indy folk such as you and I, or are related to a non-profit of some sort.
  2. Original:  no ties here.  I'm going for a wide range of "neat" stuff, as opposed to "gifts you can get any guy/girl/parent/etc". 
  3. Cheap:  Or, relatively cheap.  I'm poor, and therefore, cheap is awesome.  Right?
All that being said, here's a nice list of Christmas present ideas, all taken from the interwebs.  Enjoy, and I really hope it gets everyone's creative juices going.

Scientifc Culture - Wristlet
Ideal For:   Indy girls, cool geekettes, and fashionistas

So, as many of you probably know, my friend Kittens runs an online Etsy shop, under the name of Scientific Culture.  The site has a bunch of neat stuff - buttons, magnets, stuffed chlamydia microbes, finger puppets, and more. Then there's this Wristlet, a sort of mini-purse that would fit a cell-phone, camera, iPod, stuff like that.  Good, unique, and you're supporting an indy craftsperson who also rocks.  'Nuff said.

Plan Canada - Classroom Essentials in Sierra Leone
Ideal For:  The socially aware, girls you're trying to impress, the impossible to shop for.

I posted this on the blog a little while ago, but it deserves repeating here.  The basic idea is - instead of buying a present that will be unwrapped, smiled upon, and promptly forgotten, you spend the money on something that will positively change someone's life.  For a little over twenty bucks, this gift will help a child get an education in a war-torn country.  Plus, you get a card, so when Christmas comes, you can say "hey, you helped do something good".  Seriously, check out the site

The Silk Road - Tea Gift Sets
Ideal For:  Distant relatives, tea-lovers, and secret santas.

The Silk Road is a nice little tea shop in Victoria (although they do mail orders, for those out-of-towners who read this blog).  I've had a few of their teas, and I have to say - they're original, interesting, and always very good.  Not to mention the fact that the customer service in the place is amazing.  Their tea gift sets are mostly pretty cheap, with many falling in the under twenty dollar mark.  Gift sets are usually a fairly generic gift, so giving someone something a bit "off the mark" - like Indy-produced Tea - is a good way to surprise them.  Because, let's admit it, "Ethereal Garden" black tea is a hell of a lot more interesting than, say, a Toblerone bar. 

Cheap Ass Games - Dead Money

Ideal For:  Stocking stuffers, the slightly-geeky, and zombie lovers

So, Dead Money is a game under twenty bucks with full colour artwork, easy rules, and fast gameplay.  And you have to love the design mantra of the company - they make fun games that are usually under twenty bucks.  In fact, if you check out their site, you'll find dozens (literally, dozens) of games under ten bucks.  Order a bunch at once, and save on shipping and handling.

Victoria Salmon Kings - Hockey Tickets
Ideal For:  Sports fans, the "guy's guy", your boss.

You can get an adult hockey ticket to a home ice Salmon Kings game for around twenty bucks.  If you buy two (and you'll have to buy two - no one likes going to a hockey game alone), you'll spend a little under fifty bucks.  And, guess what?  You're supporting a local hockey team, and probably exposing someone to a side of "Canada's Great Game" they may be unfamiliar with.  Of course, if you're not in Victoria, this might not be an option, but you could always buy tickets to a minor league sport of your choice - almost every city has a minor league team of one type or another.

Red Hot Swing - Drop-In Dance Lessons
Ideal For:  Those who love to dance, those who love to watch people dance, and those love to be watched while dancing.

Okay, so this is an indy company that involves a few friends of mine - I'm sure you recall the whole "Swing Dancing" fiasco I mentioned a while back.  My initial introduction to these classes more or less involved a "help!  I need some male volunteers!" but I have to admit, I'm enjoying the classes - the fact that it has a fair share of cute girls doesn't hurt.  Anyways, while a six week course can be a bit pricy as a "Cheap" gift (Still worth it, mind you), there are "Drop-in" courses that are under thirty bucks for two tickets. Your recipients will learn enough to get started, and they'll have a lot of fun dancing with each other, and others.  Contact the website for details. 

Hockey Canada - Cribbage Set
Ideal For:  Card sharks, hockey fans, grandparents

You know what?  I love cribbage.  I really do.  I don't care if people say it's an old person's game - it's fun, it's relatively quick to play, easy to learn, and just generally awesome.  I also love the variety of crib boards out there - there are some super expensive, hand-crafted ones, and then there are relatively cheap, personalized sets like this hockey canada set.  And, the money goes towards helping a very good cause (hockey!  Wooooo!).  The site has a bunch of other neat stuff - most under thirty bucks. 

Graham Roumieu: Bigfoot - I Not Dead book
Ideal For:  Those with a lighter side, readers, and kids in big boy bodies.

I found this in an indy gift shop (called Oscar and Libby's) in Market Square on an outting with Kittens a few months back.  As she mingled about the store, I leafed through this book, and laughed my ASS off.  Seriously, I've never laughed so hard in a public place in my life.  Basically, this is a diary by Bigfoot, as he muses on life in the woods, corporate sponsorship, and park wardens.  It really is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and when you give it as a gift, expect frequent laughter and quotings from one page or another.  And, odds are, you'll read it before you wrap it, and then realize you want a copy for yourself.

Hockey news that matters

A few weeks back, I was in my pub of choice, talking to my friend, the King of Swing.  We were watching a Canucks game, and the topic came up on Gay Hockey Players - and, by extension, gay athletes.  Neither of us knew of any, but knew they had to exist in secret.  After all, the law of averages says they have to be there.  Playing sports doesn't make you "less gay", or anything stupid like that.

Turns out, there hasn't really been any openly gay hockey players.  How odd is that?  Well, it's true.  Until, a few days ago, Brendan Burke (the son of Maple Leafs' GM Brian Burke) openly came out to the press.  There was an article published on ESPN about it yesterday.  And, of course, the sports world is reeling.

Will this open a floodgate?  How will players respond to openly gay teammates?  And, you know what?  Turns out, no one really cares.  Burke, a team manager for a college-level miami team, came out to his teammates last year.  And the response?  Business as usual.

I imagine some people are wondering why I think this is big news.  After all, I'm not one of the people you'd think would care so much about this.  I'm not gay.  I've never been to a gay bar with friends, or even witnessed a pride parade or anything like that.  My level of support has generally been "I'm okay with your lifestyle choice," and not much more than that. 

So, why is it big news?

I keep thinking of the first black major league baseball player, Jackie Robinson.  Because, really, this is a similar sort of thing - the modern civil rights movement took a step forward yesterday.  It's a small step - Brendan Burke is only a 20 year old kid who will probably never play in the NHL.  But it shows that, hey, it exists.  So, yeah, it's a small step, but at least it's a step.

Weekly Haiku #3- road raccoon

road raccoon rushes
past a changing night streetlight
it just ran a red


Youtube eats up far too much of my time.  I spent a good ten minutes playing with this.  Funny, cheesy, and, um, really just cheesy.  But still pretty brilliant.

Pick-Up Lines

Yeah, I've failed at the pick-up line.  I suck at them, in fact.  So, I generally avoid them.  I've seen them work, from time to time... the King of Swing, for example, has used a few.  And my personal favourite was from the Faux Frenchman:

FAUX:  Hey, baby, wanna come home to my place?
GIRL:  Um.  I'm married.
FAUX: it a happy marriage?

Shockingly, it worked.  Word to the wise: don't hang out with the Faux Frenchman or the King of Swing for very long.  It will destroy your faith in humanity. 

I don't really have any pick-up lines.  The few I have used have been in ironic, joking situations ("excuse me, does this rag smell like ether to you?" or "you know, it only looks like I've been staring at you from across the room.  Actually, I just have a lazy eye.  Two of them, in fact."). 

And yeah, they don't work.  But they can be a lot of fun. 

A New Law #3

A New Law...
If an apartment dweller makes any sort of baked good that smells particularly good, and that smell permeates the entire floor of his or her apartment complex, that person is legally obliged to share said baked confectionary with his or her floor mates.
I call this the "cinnamon bun rule". Or possibly, the "tart tort".

An Open Letter to the Cute McDonald's Employee

Dear cute girl that works at McDonald's,

First off, I want to congratulate you on your cuteness.  I am not a frequent McDonald's customer, but from my limited observations, I have come to the conclusion that it has to be very difficult to look cute in an ill-fitting blue T-shirt, black dress pants, and the ugliest hat ever seen.  Plus, the grease that hangs in the air like humidity probably detracts from overall cuteness, in the long run.  So, congrats on that. 

No, really.

With that out of the way, I really do want to congratulate you.  You are, in fact, only the second person I've met at your particular McDonald's location that seems to have any sort of work ethic.  I am referring, of course, to the salad I ordered from your location yesterday, at around 11 pm.  You were obviously out of salad at that hour, and no new ones had been made.  Instead of saying "we're out" (which I have heard many, many times), you noticed it wasn't busy -it was 11 pm, after all- and ran into the back and made me one by hand. 

Not only that, but you did all the right things.  You said "hello" to me.  And you told me to "have a nice day".  Even though it was, like I said, 11 pm, I still appreciate that.  You did all of this while the guy that was supposed to be in the kitchen (ie, the guy who could have made my salad) was rapping along to the music playing, and your other co-worker hid around a corner and kept peeking out a male customer sitting at a table and giggling. 

Neither of them were very cute. Not at all.

I know it must be very difficult for a McDonald's employee, especially in this neighbourhood.  I imagine you get a lot of drunks, drug addicts, homeless, and generally violent people.  I've seen them at your location, in fact.  I know that people probably flip out on you for the most minor of mistakes - if the kitchen staff accidentally puts cheese on that "no cheese cheesburger", for example.  And I once saw a women scream at one of your co-workers because she didn't have enough money to pay for her meal... she was around fifty cents short. 

Of course, I am not like a lot of the people in this neighbourhood, but I often get lumped in with them.  So, I doubly appreciate the fact that you didn't treat me like garbage,  and actually went through the work of making me my caesar salad.  It was truly a grand gesture, and it really makes you stand out.

However, you forgot to give me croutons.  The nerve!  Obviously, you did this to make me look like a fool.  A crouton-loving, red-haired fool, and I do not appreciate your cruelty.  In fact, as soon as I saw your error, I threw my coat on, with the full intention of marching right back to your McDonald's and screaming at you.  Possibly while drunk and belligerent.  Forget my croutons, will you?  The nerve.  The umbrage! 

With my jacket and shoes on, I left my apartment in a rage.  And then realized it was still raining. 

So I watched Two and a Half Men instead. 

Crisis averted. 

The British Child Effect

If you've ever had a "horror movie marathon", you know that many, many movies use children to make things scarier.  Most of the scariest horror movies ever made (The Exorcist, the Shining, The Ring, etc.) have involved children as either victims, or the villain itself. 

There's just something about a child sitting by herself on a swing set in the rain, swinging slowly back and forth, that scares the hell out of most people.  I avoid playgrounds for just that reason.  Also, because I'm twenty-six, and people might get the wrong idea.  But I digress.

However, many horror movie makers have come to the realization that their films just aren't scary enough, no matter how many children they've thrown in their movies (I was always amazed the preteen Olsen Twins were never in a slasher flick.  Opportunity lost, I guess).  So, what do these film people do, to make their movie even scarier?

Simple.  Make the children British.

British accents are scary.  I mean, look at Hannibal Lecter.  Or, you know, James Bond.  It's scary stuff.  So, when you have a child, speaking all... British-y, it's just terrifying.  It's enough to make all of us North Americans, with our "normal" accents, to start shaking in terror.  Put that british child on a swing set in the rain, and you'll give the audience a heart attack.

And yeah, they really are that creepy in real life. 

A Victoria Tradition

So, there's this tradition among Victorians, and we're quite proud of it.  Being the smug little douches that we sometimes are, we partake in this tradition throughout the winter months.

It goes a little bit like this. 

See, we call up a relative living "back east", preferably in a city like Red Deer, Timmins, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, or the like.  We don't call anyone that lives in a place of perpetual winter, of course (like Nunavut).  That sort of defeats the point.

Then, as the conversation goes on, we subtly ask about the weather.  "What's it like over there, right now?"  And then, when they go on about six feet of snow, frozen corpses being fished out of ice banks, and missing the sight of the sun, we casually - non-chalantly, even - mention "Oh... it's about fifteen or sixteen degrees here in Victoria.... I went out wearing a T-Shirt today."

This has become a game so well-known across the country that I've actually seen in mentioned in books about the "Canadian Spirit".  One book even called Victorians "heartless bastards" for our smug enjoyment of the suffering of our countrymen. 

Turns out, karma likes to bite people in the ass.  It's been raining non-stop for seven days, it seems.  Right now, it looks like the movie The Perfect Storm outside.  Only, instead of a wet George Clooney, there's a wet native guy yelling at his dog. 

If you live back east, I can understand your urge to call some relatives in Victoria and tell them that, while it may be snowing where you live, at least you're dry.  Really, I can totally understand the urge.  But come on. 

Don't be a dick.

I wish I was big...

A few days ago, I was watching some show on the National Geographic Channel about dangerous Salamanders.  Imagine a guy like the Crocodile Hunter (only Texan), trying to find weird and dangerous salamanders.  And, every time he'd catch one, he'd lick it to test its toxicity. 

To each their own, I guess.

He started off with two mini salamanders whose names I now forget - one had teeth and no hind legs, while the second was pretty similar to the first.  The third was called a Hellbender and it was pretty awesome - imagine a newt about a foot long. 

But the best was saved for last.  The Japanese Giant Salamander.  An aquatic salamander around four and a half feet long

I was watching this, and I turned to look at my pet newt, the critter of unknown gender known as Winona Ryder.  (s)he was pressed up against the glass of her tank, watching the TV intently. 

I could almost see the wistfulness in her eyes.

I Wish I Was Big....

A quick note:

So, my last few posts have been a little "blah".  I seem to have spent a little bit of time griping about the conditions in my "fair city", and being all drab and pessimistic isn't really the point of this blog.  Really, that's what I do in the rest of my time.  So, I apologize for the last few downer posts. 

I blame it on the rain, and the near deluge-like conditions going on.  I have to say, it's getting biblical right now.  Seriously.  The guy next door is building an ark.

And filling it with transvestite hookers.  Actually, I should call the cops.  Some of them have kind of gone missing.  The street is lined with feather boas, and no one is there to wear them. 

Anyways, the point of it all is, I've written a bunch of upbeat (for me, at least) posts for the next week.  So this half-week of "man, Victoria sucks!" is officially over. 

The rest of the week is fully dedicated to "man, this blog sucks!"

Weekly Haiku #2 - victoria bums

each year they prosper:
vic bums, how they multiply
...while my wallet shrinks

Victoria, part two

Last week, my lovely little corner of the world was visited by Prince Charles and his wife.  You know, the guy with the big ears that married that horse-faced woman?  I'm sure you're familiar with him. 

Before he arrived, the police presence doubled in my fair city.  The homeless were shuffled off main sidewalks, and started camping in the areas around the city, rather than sleeping in bus shelters.  In many places in this city, you'll see a mattress underneath the shelter of a tree, or a tent in a field, surrounded by garbage.  But the cops came, and made sure those without a place to sleep moved just a little further down the road.

Of course, dear Prince Chuck saw none of that.  But he did get to see our nice little navy ships.  And he let the local children feed his wife a carrot.  They laughed, and made a comment about british dental hygiene.  Fun was had by all. 

The week is over, now.  And the police are gone.  And the homeless are back.  And I wonder - how much did last week cost?  And how were our lives improved?  Wouldn't it have been so much more worthwhile to spend that extra money used for a week of intense police presence to instead, I don't know, expand on homeless programs?  Drug treatment programs?

I'm beginning to find myself siding with the dirty soapbox hippies on the street corners, over my usual police sympathies.  And I really don't like that.  When the hippies start making more sense than uniformed officers of the law, there's a problem.  When the revolution comes, I don't want to be fighting on the side of the Tofu and Soymilk brigade.  But damn, the police are making it hard. 

November 16th

November 16th, 2009.  It gets closer and closer, every year.  I was hoping it wouldn't pop up until very late November, or even (God forbid) early December.  But, no.  November 16th.

What am I talking about?

John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over).  You know, that so-called "christmas song" that every charity uses this time of year to get you to spend some of your christmas money on a charity. 

I have nothing against the charities, mind you.  I'm just getting damned sick of that song. 


I had a huge post here, about my home city.  About how it is a city of two personalities.  A city of the rich alongside the streets of the poor.  A place where a homeless shelter is only a block or two away from a private superyacht moor.  A place where a denny's sits across the street from a posh mall.  Where everyone's concerned about the environment but ignore the people that sleep in bus shelters every night. 

It was a post about how much I love my city.  About how, even though there are a fair share of silly tourists, 99% of them are awesome, and make me love this place even more.  And how, each time they ask me to take a photo for them (and I've been asked twice this week alone, and it's the middle of november), a part of me feels pride that I live in a place that illicits such excitement.

But that post didn't convey the wonder I have for my home.  Neither does this one.  I guess I just wanted to say that, while I sometimes rag on my city in this blog (and other places), describing the homelessness, the police paranoia at times, the crime, the drugs, and the grunge, it's only because I know that everyone already knows about the beauty. 

The tourists stop and pose before the Empress hotel.  And the Parliament buildings.  And they bring those photos home and say "this is Victoria."

A little over a month ago, I saw a crazy homeless man screaming until he was beat red in the face.  And I laughed when I saw two japanese tourists snap a picture.  But thinking back on it, I wish more people would do things like that.  So that, when they go home, they can show a picture of a mentally unstable man in front of a grungy strip club and say "this is Victoria,  too".

Swing Dance; or, how Dave avoided breaking arms (this time)

Went swing dancing on wednesday, to help out a friend of mine (he runs the dance company).  I've never really swing-danced in my life, bar a two-hour intro dance when I was around seventeen or so (and everyone was listening to that Brian Setzer stuff).  I only dimly recall the experience.  I remember taking a one hour intro class, with the Shlesbian, and then the "real" dancing began.

All of my swing dance friends were busy throwing each other around in the air, and tapping their feet like they were spelling out morse code signals to the O.S.S. about secret nazi plans.  And the Shlesbian and I, being the only neophytes in the room, kept repeating those same few steps.  Until I decided to "spin" her.  And, um, somehow, I did it wrong.  Her arm locked, and I didn't realize until she was on her knees, going "ow ow ow".

"Um.  Sorry," I stammered.

"Ow, my arm," she replied.

"Yeah, um, I guess I don't know what I'm doing."

"I think it's broken."

There was a pause.  "I don't think we're swing dancers," I said.

"Me neither."

"Wanna just sit down and drink ginger ale?"


And, until last wednesday, that was the extent of my swing dancery.  So, when I showed up at the dance hall, I was understandably nervous.  Especially because I had missed the first class, and everyone was doing all those fun steps and awkwardly spinning one another. 

When we started going over reviews, I began to wonder if I could sneak out the back door.  While there were plenty of cute girls (and, being the single guy that I am, cute girls are the means for my existence, apparently), I felt like a total tool.  Especially because I kept messing up the most basic step, screwing up the rhythm.  It took me a while to realize that swing dancing is apparently based around dancing six beats to a music that counts eight beats.  Or, for drumming speak, swing dance is in 3/4 timing to music that's in 4/4 timing. 

Once I got that, I was caught up to the class.  And screwing up with the best of them.  And, best of all, I've yet to break anybody's arm. 

Things are looking up.

Holy Mackerel!

Okay, so I don't like posting about video games in this blog.  And this post almost carries on with that tradition.  Because what I'm posting only sort of deals with video games, and I think even Kittens, the most anti-video game person that reads this blog, will forgive me for it.

First, check out this link (or not). 

Basically, there's a software company out there that has made a video game controller that requires no hands - it is powered by your thoughts.  I kid you not. 

If you read the article, it explains a bit of the science, and how the reviewer was able to, using only his mind, levitate a box on a screen.  Or move it away.  And when he stopped thinking about it, the box would fall.  Granted, this is a pretty simple sort of gameplay, but think about it.  Someone is having an effect on his environment (even if it is a computer-generated environment) simply through exercising his brain.

This sort of thing, if you'll pardon the expression, blows my mind. 


So, I call up to schedule my interview.  And I'm cool as ice, man.  Totally professional.  Before the call, I ran about a million questions through my head, scenarios ranging from "hey, can you start right now?" to "why the Hell should I hire you, you de-flowered my daughter!"

The last one not being that likely, of course, but it's always good to be prepared. 

In the interviews that ran in my head, my prospective employer was a hockey fan, and we talked about the prospects of the canucks this year.  He was an avid fisherman, and I told stories about how I'm the worst fisherman in the world (but oh, how I love it).  He was a computer geek - hey, did I mention how I just beat the new Halo?  And so on, and so forth.

So, I call up to inteview.  And like I said, I'm cool as ice.  The receptionist seems nice, and I'm totally making a good impression.  Then, I get put forward to his voicemail, because he's at a meeting. 

For some reason, I start stuttering.  "Uh, hi, um, Al.  It's, uh, Dave Percival.  We talked on, um, tuesday about, uh, the position you offered.  And, um" and so on, and so forth. 

Answering machines.  The bane of my existence.

EDIT:  So, a few minutes after posting this (and, because it's post-dated, before it ever actually, y'know, posted) my interview was booked.  And I learn the place is a two minute walk away.  Booyah.

Tell your friends

So, while I have an interview scheduled for today, I've decided that work is tiring.  My goal?  Put a few ads on this blog, and charge people money to see it. 

But to do that, I need more people checking out this blog.  As in, less than twenty people on a regular basis does not a multi-million-dollar-blog make.  Unless I charge each of you fifty grand a year to keep reading. 

Somehow, I'm thinking I'd lose at least, like, half of my readership.  And since I'm one of those readers (and I can't afford the fifty grand), we're just gonna need to get more readers.

So, yeah.  Tell your friends.  Introduce them to the awesomeness that is my blog.  Indulge me, and feed my already massive ego. 

Edit:  For the record, I have no actual desire to place ads in this blog.  But yeah, tell your friends.  So I can charge you a fortune to read this blog, and live off the profits.  Ha ha. 


As a complete sidenote, I've figured out a few nicknames for the Shlesbian's boyfriend.  And they're all non-sequitors that will make absolutely no sense here, since I haven't really described him in either pictures or words.  But, here goes:  "Autograph", "Ballcap", "Naked Lunch", and "Captain Hockey". 

Okay, so I only added the third one because I had been reading about Naked Lunch of wikipedia last night.  But I also kind of think it makes a great blog nickname. 

I'm gonna shut up now.

Weekly Haiku #1 - Drunk on a Curb

So, for the next few wednesdays, I'll be off dancing, to help a buddy fill out a swing dance class he teaches.  Even though I, you know, can't dance to save my life.  I'm sure I'll have stories to tell here, once everything's over with and done.

I figured, though, to fill in the time, I'll post some random haikus, mentioning daily sights in the city of Victoria.  Things I see, people I meet, and thoughts I've had about our fair city.  Expect a new one every wednesday, for the next little while, at least.


a drunk, on a curb
mumbling to music unheard;
off-key.... off-rhythm.

A Conversation in Five Acts

A Conversation in Five Acts
written by David S. Percival

Dramatis Personae

Dave, a rather charming Canadian lad in his mid-twenties.  Distinguished by his frock of red hair, rugged good looks, and modest persona.  A classic everyman.

Tom, a twitchy, subservient sort, obviously a sidekick.  While intelligent and likeable, he is obviously a secondary character.  Oh, and since he's a sidekick, he's also probably ethnic.  Rules cannot be broken.

ACT I:  The Discovery

(DAVE and TOM are in the living room, when they come across the OBJECT, an eight-inch length of wood that has been banged up and obviously soiled.)

DAVE:  What the hell is this?
TOM:  Looks like... I dunno.
DAVE:  Yeah.  Hm.  It smells funny.
TOM (Takes a sniff):  It DOES smell funny.
DAVE:  Smells... familiar....
TOM:  Yeah, it smells like.... smells like.
DAVE:  My god.  It smells like penis!

ACT II:  Clarification

(The two look at each other, shock in their eyes.  TOM nervously nods.)

TOM:  It does smell like penis.
DAVE:  Indeed.
TOM:  Alarmingly so.
DAVE:  Quite.
TOM:  ...It stinks.
DAVE:  Yeah, it does.
TOM:  No.  Like, it really stinks.
DAVE:  Yeah.
TOM:  Well, my penis doesn't smell.
DAVE (A cough) Neither does mine.
TOM (pause):  Wait a second.
DAVE:  ...Yeah?
TOM:  You said it smelled like penis.
DAVE:  Yeah, so?
TOM:  But it doesn't smell like your penis?
DAVE:  No, my penis doesn't smell like that.
TOM:  Well, um....

ACT III:  Questioning

(TOM leans forward, a quizzical look on his face)

TOM:  Dave, how many penises have you smelled?
DAVE:  What!?
TOM:  You knew what it smelled like, but then said it didn't smell like yours.
DAVE: Um...
TOM:  So, how many penises have you smelled?
DAVE:  But... you knew what I was talking about! So-
TOM:  Wait a second-
DAVE:  -So I could say the same about you!

ACT IV:  Awkward Silence

(Awkward Silence)

ACT V:  Resolution

DAVE:  ...Let's never speak of this again.
TOM: Agreed.


(Note:  I don't know how I came up with this.  This is the sort of thing that will pop, unbidden, into my mind while I clean the house.  I apologize in advance.) 

Some Commercials.... and kittens.

Too many good commercials, too little time.  So, if you want to laugh, check out these links:

Laser Sword:  A lovely commercial in the line of "Must Drink More Milk" commercials.  Quirky and just plain awesome.  Watch how the scissors walk.  Pure genius.

Career Builder:  A superbowl commercial that represents a company that's probably having some trouble right now.  I mean, who would leave their job in this economic climate?  Right?  Um, right? 

Guiness:  Yeah.  It's offensive.  But it's awesome.  It was also banned pretty early on.

Cadbury Eyebrows:  I don't know why it's funny.  I do know you can watch it with the sound off, and you'll still probably laugh.  Or wonder if I'm on drugs for finding it funny. 

Mastercard:  An oldie, but a goodie.  And, of course, totally not actually made by Mastercard.  Interesting piece of trivia - my mother, of all people, recommended this commercial to me.  I think I need new parents.

Soccer Girls: Okay. Not really a commercial. And not really funny. But, um, DAMN. I am, by the way, opposed to the term "cat-fighting" in the title of this video. Really, it's just a bunch of competitive players being WAY too physical when they're losing a soccer game. Their gender has nothing to do with it.

American Express:  Another old one, and another credit card one.  But for a while, this was my absolute favourite thing on the internet.  I think I recommended it to everyone.  Including my dentist.  "he's the best... um, you're good, too!" 

Kittens:  Yeah.  It's not a commercial.  It's not funny.  But I still posted it.  Why?  Because, hey, you'd have a heart of stone if you didn't enjoy this video.

A New Law #2....

New Law Number Two:

If a car alarm goes off and is not stopped within five minutes, especially if the sun has already set, the public shall have the right to destroy said vehicle with any object on hand. 

Thus shall it be written, thus shall it be done. 

A Public Service Announcement

Yeah, I'm a big softy.  Bite me.

I'm seriously thinking about doing this for Christmas.

I'm Psychic:

Thursday, November 5th.  10 am. 

I'm stuck in an EI meeting, in a crowded room where perhaps thirty people are hearing a woman talk about our "rights and responsibilities as EI Collectors".  Mostly, she talks about services available to us, and what she'll do to us if we try to cheat the system.  I'm not going to go into details, here, but it involves a rake, a rubber glove, and a leather strap to bite down on.

As a responsibility, we are told that if we leave our region, even on a weekend, we have to inform our E.I. office.  If they deem we were unable to attend work because of this depature, we suffer deductions from our E.I. amount.  Now, weekends are free to us lowlife collectors, supposedly, but she makes it sound like leaving Victoria is a very dangerous proposition.

The whole time, I'm thinking... "I've got a hockey game soon.  Should I still go to Vancouver?  Are they gonna deduct money from me?" 

I'm running the numbers in my head.  It's during the weekend, and I'll be back the next day.  It shouldn't be a problem.  Is it a problem?  Am I gonna get burned, here? 

A second later, she turns to the group.  "Now, of course this is within reason.  Don't bother reporting to us that you're going to a hockey game in Vancouver on a weekend, and you'll be back the next day.  We don't care about that."

 Apparently, I'm psychic.  I transmitted my thoughts to the lady, and she responded. 

So, here goes:  this friday's lottery numbers are 08, 12, 17, 41, 48, 51.  I'm willing to guarantee those.  And if they don't win, I'll let you give me twenty bucks.

A rather angry rant. I apologize in advance.

So, I'm watching Hockey Night in Canada, and Don Cherry does his usual roll of those who have died in Afghanistan, which is about as heart-wrenching as it sounds.  Only, this time, in lieu of it being Remembrance Week, they show the face of every single Canadian that has died in Afghanistan. 

Yeah, that was harsh.  And as I'm watching it, I realized that every time they showed a woman, I made this face... a sort of surprise to see a woman in the roll, since they're not supposed to be front-line fighters.  Ha ha, right? (/sarcasm)

Flash forward to a few minutes ago.  Still watching hockey.  A Remembrance Week commercial rolls, and it ends the way these commercials always end - with a woman in uniform saluting.  And it starts the same way it always starts - with an ethnic canadian in uniform.

Remember that the first image and the last image are the "prime real estate" for any commercial.  By that example, we could conclude that there is a large percentage of ethnic minorities and women in the armed forces.

Of course, that's just not true.  And it makes me angry.

Not that the commercial acknowledges that women and ethnic minorities play a valuable part in our armed forces - they do, and I wholly approve their presence in these ads- but that an effort is made to up their presence for political reasons.

A few years back, I went to "navy days", a public event thrown by the navy to showcase their men and equipment.  Of course, the whole place was patrolled by armed guards, talking to the public and showing off their assault rifles.  And guess what?  More than half of these armed guards were female.

I was with my dad.  "Hey, dad... there sure are a lot of women in uniform.  I didn't realize they were that popular..."

"They're not.  Almost every low-rank woman was selected to work at this event, so that we'll look like we're more equal opportunity."

Apparently, the Armed Forces are all about equal gender opportunities, except when it comes to who gets to die and who gets to live.  Sorry if that sounds harsh.  But if you truly were an equal opportunity employer, you wouldn't force your minority members in the spotlight any time a camera rolled around.  The law of averages says that the first or last image in any of those commercials should usually be a white male.  Anything else is just political bullshit, and I think we can all agree that the big problem with Afghanistan right now is an overabundance of political bullshit.  

Van Canto... *sigh*

It's a well known fact that the internet gives even the stupidest, most pointless of websites an audience.  Case in Point.  What's strange is that the internet has segued into mainstream culture, meaning that films, albums, books, and art that would otherwise rightfully remain unknown are now receiving attention and air time.

This is a lowering of the bar across the world.  Remember standards?  Gone.  Unfortunately, ideas that should probably be left unexplored are put before us.  And, strangely, people seem to react to them. 

A few years ago, it was two "lesbian" Russian teens making out in the rain.  Remember that song?  For about six months, it was all the rage.  Then it was a bunch of, *ahem*, "ladies" singing about how your boyfriend lusts after them, while they're busily busting out of their top.  Class act, all the way.

Well, it's time for the new next big thing.  I give you.... Van Canto.

For those who don't click on the link (lucky bastards), allow to me to explain it.  It's a metal band, with five singers and a drummer.  No musicians.  Yeah.  All the music is done A Cappela.  Did I mention how they're all super clean cut and look like black-clad Evangelical youth with soul patches?  This band is more proof that we should have just turned Germany into a sheet of glass way back when, on May 8th, 1945. 

I mean, A Cappela metal?  With guitar sounds made by people?  How much do you need to drink for this to be a good idea?

A sociological discovery, Blondie, and the 1980s in general

Last week, a few days before Halloween, I found myself at the pub with a nice crew of people.  Squee, the Shlesbian, Squee's brother (and Squee's brother's girlfriend), and the Shlesbian's boyfriend (who really needs a nickname on this blog!).  We had a few drinks while watching the hockey game, and all was well in the universe.

Of course, every single waittress was dressed up in one costume or another.  I made a sociological revelation that night, which I will have to write an academic paper on, one of these days. 

See, it's a well advertised fact that there is a certain subset of girls that like to "sluttify" costumes, because this is the one time of year they can get away with it.  These girls leap at the chance to show skin, packing into skin tight nurse or cat outfits.  However, based on my observations, waittresses (who, if they want to make decent tips, make it a point to show a little leg and cleavage) do the exact opposite on Halloween - they "prude up".  I wholeheartedly approve.

Anyways, we were served by a waittress who told us her costume was a tribute to the 1980s.  How she was Debbie Harris from Blondie, who was "total 80s." 

"Um.  You know Blondie isn't really from the 80s, right?"


"The band broke up in, like, 1981 or something.  Their last hit was released in 1980." 

"Yeah, the 80s...."

I didn't want to get into an argument with a very nice waittress about this.  So I'm posting it here.  If a band's last big hit was in 1980.... they are not a "band of the 80s".  Just so you guys know.

This random blog post was brought to you by the letter H. 

More Cops in Victoria!

So, the other night, I'm on one of my midnight jogs.  An hour or so late.  It went fairly well - as usual, I ran to the last half of Abbey Road, and by the time I was done, my lungs were trying to crawl out of my throat so they could take a bath in one of the street puddles.

Completely winded, I sit down on a curb to catch my breath.  My ipod was on, but really quiet - after all, the Selkirk Waterway is not necessarily the safest place in the world after the sun goes down.  After a few minutes, I got to my feet to head over to Tim Horton's for a chocolate milk.  Before I crossed the street, though, an unmarked SUV stops and turns down my sideroad.  I ignored it, and kept walking.  Apparently, that was mistake number one.  And when the window rolled down and a crazy dog started snarling at me from behind,  pretending I didn't hear anything (my iPod's on, see?) was mistake number two. 

After all, look at what I'm seeing - an SUV, at 1 am, trying to get me to stop on a poorly-travelled side street, with a crazy dog snarling at me.  I think I had every excuse to keep walking.

Turns out it was a cop.  She got out of the car, yelling at me to stop, her hand on her gun (I kid you not).  So I did, turn around, and apologize, popping the ear buds out of my iPod.  I Gave her the "Can I help you, officer?" and relaxed body posture that you should always adopt when dealing with people in authority.  Of course, the fact that I was wheezing like an asthmatic in a smoke factory probably didn't help things.  I've dealt with police before, though, and they don't make me nervous (why should they?). 

But this woman ruined my streak.

She anxiously demanded to see what I had in my hands (my keys).  Then she started grilling me about why I'm outside this time of night.  Where I live, my name, why I crossed the road, everything.  And with every question, she got more keyed up, as if she knew I was lying, and is just waiting to catch me.  And her dog was picking up on her posture - a feral beast, obviously from the pits of Hell, doing it's best to burst through the window and help free my lungs from their prison in my body.  Her nature (and the fact that her hand was never more than a foot from her holster) started making me nervous.  I stuttered out my name.  I accidentally said I live on Burnside road, instead of Jutland - and then correct myself, which of course, looks like I'm lying.

When she eventually decided that I was, in fact, telling the truth (or she felt happy that she'd exercised enough of her limited power),  she told me I could head off, and strolled back into her car.  And then drove off to harrass someone else (I forgot to mention - before she headed down my side road, her car had been following a bicyclist slowly... I guess she decided to go after me?)

I made sure I remembered what she looked like, because I'm pretty sure we'll see her face on the news one of these days.  I'd put money that she'll panic and wind up shooting a completely innocent bystander.  Probably a dog-walker, or something.

Smells like Rick Astley

So, um, I came across this months ago, back when I was working in the office.  A co-worker heard about it on the radio, went to the website, and we spent the next four minutes staring, our jaws slack.  My eyes were dead.  And all he said was:

"What..... the..... fuck?"

The funny thing is, there are people who do this on youtube all the time... and Rick Astley seems to be a favourite target.  It's not hard to figure out why. 

Anyways, enjoy.  So friggin' weird.

one of these days...

If I'm ever in a band that has any success (which, of course, will never happen, but this is all hypothetical), I have just decided that I need to do something like this at least once.

This "concert" was really one of those strange events of music history that's been celebrated over the years - Hell, the Simpsons even did a take on it. 



My apartment as earwigs in it.  Obviously, they are coming in because the weather is dropping outside, and my apartment is warm.  But that matters not at all.   They are inside my apartment, and this is a very bad thing.

I am, for those who were unaware, terribly phobic of the little bastards. 

To the point where I have been debating just filling my bathtub up with hot water, and hiding out in there until, say, December, when all of the little freaks have died out, and the world is safe and happy again.

Seriously.  There is a dead earwig in my fish tank right now, floating face down.   I spent the last hour or so hoping my fish would eat the little bastard.  No such luck.  I wonder how I can get him out, without touching him.  Because, you know....


My Halloween:

So, for Halloween, I went as Frank Sinatra.  The reason?  I get to wear a suit.  I wasn't the only one who seized on this logic at the Dead Rockstar party (not that many people went as Dead Rockstars.... there were quite a few, ahem, slutty nurses).  There were guys going as Buddy Holly (suit with glasses), or just "guy in suit". 
A lot of people assumed I was the Shlesbian's Manager (she went as Bif Naked).  Sometimes, this worked for the Shlesbian's benefit (it kept weird guys from hitting on her), though it didn't always work in my favour (multiple times I was asked about her... and every time, I pushed her under the bus!). 

The party was alright.  I started hitting on a girl dressed as a clown, and things were going well, till the Shlesbian and I decided she had a boyfriend... and was just encouraging me long enough for me to like her friend - a lady dressed Cruella DeVille.  And while Cruella was nice, she was not really my type (I dunno why... she just wasn't). 

I wound up walking the Shlesbian home, and cutting through some residential areas to get home myself.  Of course, that just happens to be when the fun starts.

I dyed my hair black with this weird Halloween crap - and it was obviously fake.  I had a fake microphone on me.  It was two in the frigging morning.  But that didn't stop two seventeen year old gangsta wannabe asshats from asking me if I just got out of a board meeting one my walk home.  Yeah.  A Board Meeting.  Like I'm a friggin' businessman or something. Naturally, one of them kept talking about how much he "loves pussy".  And asked me if there was "pussy" waiting for me when I got home. 

Then he started giving me life advice.  Generally, on how to get "pussy'.  Apparently, my young casanova friend here had already "banged six pussies" earlier that night.  I generally just did the "yeah, mmmhmm" thing while walking.  His friend didn't really say much... he just kind of grunted along, a new age Beavis.

And of course, they walked me most of the way home.  Before they saw a young lady (who I tried to warn away with eye signals) and started their little rituals on her.  Amazingly, it worked.  She asked for smokes, they had smokes, and they started with their pussy-talk.  She was laughing with them.  Between the three of them, I think they had a combined I.Q. equal to a Big Mac

Geez.  That would be why I didn't get the clown.  I didn't call her a pussy.

Rookie mistake.