Weekly Haiku #20 - 300th post!

three hundred blog posts
poop jokes, comics, rants and raves
and awful haiku

Day As Night #14: I'm pretty sure this has happened to you...

Comic's up!  As usual, click if you want to read, and lesse who can name the movie first.  (Hint:  It's awful, and it's one of my favourites).

Music Mondays - I can't tolerate this

I was listening to the Manic Street Preachers the other day.  Particularly, I was listening to the song "If You Tolerate This, Your Children Will Be Next".  Now, I love how this song has been put together and arranged.  And the chorus, which consists entirely of the lines "and if you tolerate this, then your children will be next" is hauntingly amazing.

Unfortunately, the verses have no relation to the rest of the song, for the most part.  I mean, sad lines about an individual's life don't really mesh well with such a powerful chorus.  Except for the part "and on the street tonight an old man plays/with newpaper cuttings of his glory days", the rest of the song has no major tie to the chorus at all.  How lame is that?

In the end, it's just another song to be added to the list of tunes that just don't live up to their full potential.  Just off the top of my head, other songs that are unfortunately added to that list:
  1. Barenaked Ladies, "Call and Answer" (Reason:  takes too long to get to the end.  Needs to cut out a whole verse for the sake of brevity)
  2. Om, "At Giza" (Reason:  it's a super long, droning song that very slowly builds to a payoff, but while the payoff is powerful, it's not powerful enough to justify the buildup)
  3. Queen, "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Reason:  all those lame orchestral flourishes after the body of the song... the only song where the outro should ever be longer than the rest of the song is "hey jude", and that's a FACT).
  4. The Beatles, "I Want You (She's so Heavy)" (Reason:  there's a lot of noise and emotion in the song, but it gets repetitive.  I really think it needs an incomplete guitar solo in there... even just a droning single note or something, near the end - not like an increasing amount of feedback or anything... but it needs one more instrument in the last minute)
And the list goes on.  And on. 

It's a shame these guys never consulted me.  I mean, with my help, their songs would have been perfect.  Ah, well.  Their loss, right?

Sadly, this is a true story.

I have this weird habit - I'm always worried I smell.  If I'm in a room of twenty people, and someone smells like bad B.O., I'm convinced it's me.  Even though I know I've showered, have deoderant on, and have done very little in the way of exercise.

Sometimes, even when I know the smell isn't originating from me, I'm concerned that other people will think I was the culprit.  You know the situation - you're in an elevator, and someone lets out some gas.  I become super uncomfortable, and try to subtly suggest that I wasn't the one that farted.  Which, of course, is exactly what the farter would do.  As such, I'm not a fan of elevators... I mostly take the stairs. 

Enter today.  I'm in the backseat of the bus, coming home from a visit to the new special lady (we watched Have You Heard About the Morgans? or whatever the hell it's called... it would have been better if Ms. Parker was played by, well, about anybody else) .  Anyways, I'm sitting there in the bus, when I notice the strong smell of marijuana.

I don't smoke pot.  In fact, I've never smoked pot.  And yet, I found myself becoming more and more convinced that the smell was coming from me... and not the man in the tie-dyed shirt giggling at the pack of skittles he was holding.  I kid you not, here. 

So I'm getting anxious, looking around nervously, hoping to god the smell doesn't come from me.  It starts to burn my nostrils, and I become even more uncomfortable.  Did I smell like this at the new lady's house?  She must think I'm a total stoner!  Oh my god, I'm such a loser!  Why the hell do I smell like pot!?

Meanwhile, the aged hippy was staring at me, crushing a yellow and orange skittle together, in some sort of bizarre skittle courtship ceremony. 

Eventually, I couldn't take the agony of being in a room of people that obviously knew that pot smell was coming from me, and got off the bus a few stops early.  As soon as my feet hit the pavement, I smelled my pits. 

Nope... minty fresh.  I jumped in jubilation.  And shivered on the walk home.  When I got to the front door of my building, two men were on the front step, smoking.  As I approached, they opened the door for me.  One of them smelled like pot.

...damn it. 

Don't cry for me; I'm already dead

Once, way back when, I was a fairly normal guy when it came to eating food.  I would chow down a hot dog, have some french fries, and drink a buttload of diet coke to wash it all down.  I had frosted flakes for breakfast, a burger for lunch, and chips before I went to bed.  My big idea of eating "healthy" would be those rare occasions when I got a fruit smoothee or something - because, hey, it had a strawberry in it!

Yes, it was a wonderful feeling, being a member of the stereotypical guy club.  I burped with gusto, ate with relish, and used an expanding gut as a barometer of my success.  Life was good.  I was a happy camper pretty much all the time - except when required to go up stairs or steep inclines, run down a bus, or get up off the couch. 

As I've aged (some would say like a fine wine... others would point towards vinegar - the cheeky bastards that they are), my card-carrying stereotypical guy status has kind of faded.  I was aware of the trend a year or more ago, but I didn't realize I had left the club behind me until today... when I started putting away my grocery load.  Check it out:
  • Bulk granola (!), almonds, and cranberries
  • some white chocolate (for baking... you know, like a girl!)
  • a dozen fruit leathers
  • yogurt (with more cranberries!)
  • organic green pepper and onion (and yes, I'm aware that all veggies are by definition "organic", so shut up)
  • organic applewood cheddar cheese and some canadian provolone, as well as light cream cheese
  • fresh spinach
  • brown bread and whole wheat panini bread
  • organic vegetarian chili
  • freshly sliced deli turkey breast
In short, mostly healthy, responsible eating choices.  Even the cheese is responsible in my case - as a diabetic that burns fat incredibly quickly, the heavy amount of fat in the cheese is a god send.  Gah!

After looking at my super healthy pile of food, I shook my head in wonder.  I mean, how bad have I become?  No longer am I a card-carrying member of the stereotypical male club.  I'm more like a member of that "self-righteous indie hippy guy" club.  Expect me to start telling you about kafka and indie films any day now.

It's awful - I have energy in the morning these days, as opposed to a sour disposition.  I smile and laugh with my friends, and do not feel the slightest urge to "fist-bump".  And when I see a guy get clobbered during a hockey game, I don't cheer like a maniac - I say "oh, I hope he's not hurt". 

Don't cry for me, ladies and gents.  Because I'm already dead. 

Film Friday: Some Little Known Facts About Movies

Movies are great, especially if you are a trivia-orientated nerd such as myself.  Such movie fans can tell you with calm certainty that Harrison Ford only shot that dervish in Raiders because he had a stomach bug that day and wasn't up for the fight scene, or that George Lucas was forced to resign from the director's guild because of his decision to begin Star Wars with no opening credits.  These facts are, in fact, our bread and butter. 

If you watch a movie with me, I'll point out all those little factoids.  It is, in fact, quite annoying for average movie fans.  Personally, I think it makes me awesome... but most normal people would probably disagree. 

But I figured I would create a game.  Some of the following facts are true... others are completely bogus.  Some are urban legends, some are mistellings, and others are hard fact.  It's your game to guess.  Simply guess whether each fact is true or false.  I'll post the answers sometime next week.

Have fun!
  1. In that famous "deli orgasm scene" from When Harry Met Sally, the woman who says "I'll have what she's having" is actually Meg Ryan's real-life mother.
  2. During the chariot-race scene in the 1959 film Ben Hur, one of the stuntmen fell from a Chariot and was trampled by a horse. His death was caught on camera, and included in the final cut of the film.
  3. While filming Jurassic Park, critics pointed out that real-life velociraptors were only half the size of those depicted in the film.  However, before filming was complete, a velociraptor skeleton was found that closely resembled that in the film, and was nicknamed "Spielberg's Raptor". 
  4. While he played Indiana Jones' father in The Last Crusade, in reality, Sean Connery is only six years older than Ford. 
  5. In The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, all of the main characters spoke Italian in the scenes, and were overdubbed into English for the western release.  Clint Eastwood have to overdub his own voice back into English, being the first actor to ever do a voiceover for his own performance. 
  6. On the final night of shooting the film Titanic, pranksters mixed PCP (Angel Dust) into a clam chowder served to the cast and crew.  Over 80 people fell ill, many being hospitalized with hallucinations. 
  7. More money was spent on advertising and promotion for the film Animal House than was spent on the film itself.
  8. During the filming of Gladiator, new laws arose in Greece that prevented the use of animals in violent action scenes, causing those scenes to instead be filmed on a soundstage in Los Angeles. 
  9. There was a widespread internet petition to have the title of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers changed, as many fans unfamiliar with Tolkien's 1960s classics felt that the name was in poor taste (referencing the then-recent September 11th attacks). 
  10. Kevin Costner has no recollection of ever directing his box office disaster, the Postman.  He simply does not remember doing so, and would later claim he was on heavy painkillers and prescription meds during the entire production run of the movie. 

On the joys of 151.

I'm not much of a lush, but there are definitely times where I enjoy drinking.  As someone who is equal parts Irish, Scottish, German, and Native, I come from a long line of alcoholics.  And so, I have absolutely no problem with the occasional ingestion of alcohol.

Went out with the new special lady friend for her birthday last week, and we were having drinks.  It started with tequila shots - also known as "the super fun way to start a night of drinking".  I progressed to my usual rye and gingers, head already beginning to slightly swim. 

By the time we got to the club, I was in "Let's do shots of 151!"  Lady friend, however, declined.  So I did the shot on my lonesome.

For those that don't know, 151 is rum.  It's 75% alcohol.  It evaporates as you swallow it.  It kind of tastes like liquid fire.  As you swallow it, you feel like throwing up - and I have seen people do just that.  Yes, 151 is a god-awful drink. And it is awesome. Because it is also pure energy.  One shot of 151 is more than enough to get Dave on the dance floor.  Which is, in all likelihood, a crime against humanity.

Later, I shouted "Woot!  Time for another shot!"

I took it.  And sputtered a bit, but I was fine.  Lady Friend had a girl drink known as a "holy water" which looked like the blood of a smurf.

And then, later, Dave shouted "Time for another 151!" 

It went down like water.

Around that point, I knew I had made a horrible mistake.

Weekly Haiku #19 - This is basically how I got laid off yesterday...

sadly, you're fired
...now that you have some spare time,
you wanna hang out?

(For the record, I knew I was getting laid off in a week or so, so it wasn't a super huge surprise or anything)

Day As Night #13: Not Even Remotely based off a true story...

...okay, maybe it is.  Don't tell anyone... but I was pretty much this much of a dick in english class throughout high school.  Explains a lot, eh?

As usual, click if you wanna read.  And let's see if anyone can guess the movie I stole the images from? 

Music Mondays - The Mixed Tape

I love the movie High Fidelity. And I love the book, too. I believe I have mentioned this before. Numerous times.

One of the best parts is about making mixed tapes. The great thing about this part is, these rules (which may seem totally arbitrary) are rules I have been following since, well, before High Fidelity was ever written. And that book was written when I was, um, twelve.
The rules, for those that are interested:
"...a good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention... and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs, and, oh, there are loads of rules." - High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
I mention this because the day of the mixed tape is on the way out. iTunes and the digital age are leading to the slow death of the mixed tape. Now, when people share music, they are more likely to hand you a flash drive with every song by band X ever made - including rare B-sides and alternate cuts... along with about three gigs of other tunes. Whether or not this is a good thing, I'll leave up to you to decipher.
But I have fond memories of putting together the perfect mixed tape. Of trying to figure out whether it's better to start with the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Love Rollercoaster" or Beck's "New Pollution" before seguing into the always popular "Paranoid Android". Of slowly accruing a huge pile of CDs by your stereo as you figure out the times on each song so that as much of the tape as possible is used up. Of constantly saying to yourself, "I hope she likes this".

So, yeah. Mixed tapes (or mixed CDs) may be a dying fad. But I can guarantee you I'll keep making them. Call me a dinosaur if you like. I'm okay with it.

The Singer

A few days ago, I watched a swarthy Italian man singing like a gondolier in the middle of a crowded street in Richmond. He had a beautiful singing voice, and he sang some sort of Baritone Italian song, no doubt about rowing your little Gondola around Venice. Or Mussolini. Because those are the only two things Italians sing about, right?

Of course, he was singing this song in the middle of the day. He sang while crossing the street, while window-shopping, and while waiting for his bus.

And the funniest thing?

Not a single person said a thing. Nobody laughed and pointed. No one leaned over and whispered to a companion. Everyone just carried on, as if they were oblivious to the fact that there was a guy singing at the top of his lungs walking on by.

I can't tell if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. But I think it can be filed under the "Richmond is a strange city" category.

Not really a funny story, but still...

Thursday afternoon, I was approached by my supervisor with a simple request:  "Dave, we need a first aider!  Apparently, Money Mart is short first aiders... and I remember that you have your ticket... so could you be our first aider?"

A fair enough request, but one that instantly reminded me of a conversation I'd had with this exact same supervisor, almost two months earlier:

DAVE:  So, um, you just hired 60 new people.
DAVE:  And we're in a seperate building?
DAVE:  So, do you need me to be a first aider?
SUPERVISOR:  Nope.  We're all covered.
DAVE:  Are you sure?  Because we're in a seperate building, and you need an OFA 2 or higher for every fifty or so employees.  I'm an OFA 3, y'know...
SUPERVISOR:  No.  We're covered!
DAVE:  ...mm.  Okay.

Turns out she was wrong.  And I was right.  But since when am I the type to bring things like this up?  Okay, wait, don't answer that. 

Now, I have no problem being a first aider, and I said as much.  And then I became super serious.  The usual Dave-smile was gone, to be replaced by the face I like to call "Mr. Frownee McGee". I took my supervisor aside and gave her the "first aider speech", which went something like this: 
Listen.  I would love to be your first aider.  But remember, I'm going into a medical profession, so if I screw up here, it's my butt on the line.  I will be following all the rules required of a first aider.  That means I need the appropriate gear, and I will do the appropriate things.  I need to get ahold of official policies and gain access to certain things for me to do my job. 
Because it's a known fact that people like to appoint a first aider, and then completely ignore their needs.  I mean, why bother giving the first aider an appropriate kit if it costs money, right?  No one here is going to have a heart attack or anything, anyways.  And so, when the unthinkable happens, the poor first aider is stuck having to MacGuyver together a life-saving device with a pencil, a three-month-old twinkie, and a paperclip. 

All in all, though, the conversation went pretty well, and I was beginning to feel confident in my new position.  And then came the next morning... when this story became sort of funny.  See, I called up the head first aider of the office.  I was a bit concerned about a few things, including:
  1. I was a first aider that had no idea of company policy regarding incident filing or emergency procedures.
  2. I had no idea where the first aid room was.
  3. I had no way to get INTO the first aid room.
  4. I had a key card that would only get me into the elevator up until 6 pm, and otherwise, I was hooped.
  5. The kit in the easy tax office happens to be worse than the kit I take when I go fishing (which attaches to my belt, and includes a pair of pliers.  Think about that.) 
So, this guy is showing me around, when he leads me into the first aid room.  Then he reveals that he is only the administrative head of our first aid department, and has no actual creditation.  How does he reveal this?  With the brilliant observations he makes while in the first aid room.  Observations that are so amazing, they deserve some sort of comedy award:
  • (While pointing at a cylinder in a bag) "I think that's the oxygen, right there."
  • "Um, I have no idea what that is.  But I guess that's your job, eh?"  (while pointing at a red bag that is clearly marked "First Aid Kit, level 2")
  • "As you can see, that's a bed."
  • "I don't know why this sink is here, but I guess it is."
Seriously.  He said all that.  And we were only in there for about a minute.  Despite the fact that I was wearing my "tax clothes" (a mario t-shirt, a san jose sharks toque, and skate shoes) and he was wearing a suit, I wasn't the one who looked stupid in that exchange.  He also seemed to think it was unprofessional that our Bag Valve Mask was still in the wrapper (the funny thing being, I'm the only first aider in the building who is legally allowed to use a BVM, so why it was there in the first place is kind of a mystery).  It was an eye-opening experience.

On the plus side, I am now legally entitled to follow all of my sentences with the word "stat!"  I fully plan on abusing this privilege.


Film Friday: The Book was Better...

It's become almost a cliche - a movie comes out, and someone inevitably says "the book was better".  People scowl, and make faces.  And the speaker carries on, listing all the reasons why the book was infinitely better - until someone hits her with a hammer. 

(I saw a scene like that in a movie once.  Someone told me the scene came from a book, and it was better done there.  So I hit her with a hammer.  But I digress.)\

The thing is, though, I'm not sure I buy that line of reasoning.  I can think of quite a few movies that were better than the book.  Fight Club, for example, is infinitely better - even the author says so.  Philip K. Dick, while never getting the chance to see the final version of Blade Runner, was incredibly excited by the book, actually saying the makers had produced something that Dick had been unable to after decades of writing.  And let's not even talk about Jurassic Park, The Princess Bride, or The Lord of the Rings (cue nerd rage in 3.... 2.... 1....)

I bring this up because I just finished reading Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down.  Hornby, for those that don't know, wrote High Fidelity and About a Boy, among other greats.  And those two books were made into two brilliant films - High Fidelity is, in fact, one of my top three movies of all time

Both of those films, by the way, slightly beat out the book - High Fidelity just has some great poetic additions in the film (particularly the part where Rob starts talking about what he loves about Laura - watch that frigging scene!), whereas About a Boy's film ending costs a bit more for the character than in the book (Will remains a witness to events in the book, with his profound change being entirely internal, as opposed to Will having to make an effort to help someone else in the film). 

But after reading A Long Way Down, I knew that it would be a bad movie.  Why?  I'm not entirely sure.  I think it may have to do that there's really not much that happens in the story - it mostly consists of four people wondering about their lives in a sort of depressing manner.

See, the plot is basically as follows:  four strangers converge upon a rooftop known as a suicide point on New Year's Eve, each wanting to end their life.  Because they're all there, the "moment is gone", so instead they hang out.  And they start to look out for each other, talking each other out of ending it all - and start to put together why life is worth living.  It's a downer book, but also hilarious - it has some of the funniest scenes I've ever read.  Such as:
...I split thursday afternoons with a man called DJ GoodNews, who speaks to the dead, usually on behalf of the receptionist, the window cleaner, the minicab driver booked to take him home, or anyone else who happens to be passing through:  "Does the letter 'A' mean anything to you, Asif?" and so on.  The other afternoons are taken up by tapes of old dog races from the U.S. - once upon a time the intention was to offer the viewers the chance to bet, but nothing ever came of it, and in my opinion, if you can't bet, then dog racing, especially old dog racing, loses some of its appeal.  During the evening, two women sit talking to each other, in and usually about their underwear, while viewers text them lewd messages, which they ignore.  And that's more or less it.  Declan runs the station on behald of a mysterious Asian businessman, and those of us who work for FeetUp!TV can only presume that somehow, in ways too obtuse and sophisticated for us to decipher, we are somehow involved in the trafficking of class A drugs and child pornography.  One theory is that the dogs in the races are sending out encoded messages to the traffickers:  If, say, the dog in the outside lane wins, then that is a message to the Thai contact that he should send a couple of kilos of heroin and four thirteen-year-olds first thing in the morning.  Something like that anyway. 
While crude, it is the funniest thing I've read in years.  And would that ever translate well into a film?  I can't really see it - it would lose its appeal. And without the humour, it's just a book about four people talking about suicide, without ever actually doing it (see, it's kind of uplifting while also being a huge downer...) Some movies, I guess, should never be made into books.  Unfortunately, they often are.

Just look at the PostmanChildren of the CornThe Stand I Am Legend Starship Troopers

In those cases, yeah, the book was better. 

Please don't hit me with a hammer. 

How Dave made a total tool of himself...

There seems to be a trend lately, where religious zealots will walk up to me and decide I need "faith" in my life.  And these people have decided that it's perfectly okay to go up to me, and give me a little piece of bible tract paper.  It pisses me off for two main reasons:
  1. This person is basically saying "Hey, my way of life is right and your way of life is wrong, and I have actually gone through the cost and effort to print up these pieces of paper to show you just how stupid you are."
  2. This person has looked at me, and, entirely from my appearance (a fairly average 20-something) that I am faithless by his standards - I mean, how does he know I'm not already some crazy bible-humper concerned with getting in other people's business in order to "save" them?
Okay.  So that's where this story starts.  Flash forward to, um... tuesday (so, two days ago?  Can we "flash forward" to a point in the past?) I'm sitting in a waiting room, reading a copy of Hornby's brilliant Long Way Down when I hear a man shuffle up to me.  And then, he hands me a piece of paper.

"No, THANK YOU." I say, trying to hand it back to him.  But he's already walking away.

This ticked me off to no end.  I mean, high-minded preachers are bad, but to do so in a hospital?  Where people are sick, and often in a vulnerable bargaining stage?  How tasteless is that?  So I get angry when he starts walking away.  Angry enough to say again "Excuse me, but you can take this back," rather loudly.

Then I looked down at the tract, already getting ready to crumple it up.  It had some crappy little charm on it.  And the attached note read, basically:

"Excuse me sir, I am sorry to bother you, but I am deaf and have no means of making income.  I am selling these charms for $4, and if you could buy it out of the kindness of your..." and so on and so forth.  I think you get the point.

So, naturally, I'm feeling like a douche.  Especially when this man handed the charms to other people, who read it before making an asinine comment, and then looked up to glare at me.

And it got worse.  See, I had no money on me.  So when he came back, I had to give him the charm back, rather than pay him.  He looked at me foully, and shuffled off.  And I, obviously, felt like a total tool.   

Weekly Haiku #18 - The Luck of the Irish?

st. patrick's riots
foam sits in an empty glass
threats hang, unspoken

Day As Night #12: Worthless Filler

Another week, another strip.  The funny thing is, I actually have a bunch of scripts written up... but my upcoming trip tomorrow morning (I have to be up for 4 am!) means I have to post this.  Maybe I'll post another strip, later in the week to make up for it. 

As usual, click if you wanna read.

Music Mondays - A Flashback, if you will

Way back in the distant days of yore, yours truly was the guitarist in a band.  This fact has been mentioned a few times in the annals of this illustrious blog, but I shall leave it up to the reader to search for them.  Mostly because I am too lazy to dig up the links right now.

The fact is, we were an awful band that played lame metal songs, and we called ourselves "Charlie c-16".  Our favourite song to cover was the Deftones' "Be Quiet and Drive" which - despite one of a bazillion nu-metal songs of the late 90s actually holds up pretty well - wasn't exactly the hardest song to play... I think it consisted of about three chords and a few strummed octaves.

We had a couple of songs, mostly written either by myself or my buddy "nny" (in keeping with this blog's tradition of nicknames).  And they were all shit.  But at the time, we thought we were friggin' AWESOME.  And that nu-metal would last forever (thank god it didn't), and that our band was on the cusp of breaking and being amazing. 

I remember, at one point, having a conversation with my dad.  At the time, I was in douchebag-teenager mode, where everything my parents said was automatically wrong.  So I ignored what he said... but it came back to me, a few years' later.

"Dave," he said "I know you think this is the music you'll be listening to the rest of your life... but there will come a time when you'll grow out of this.  Everyone's music tastes change as they grow up... mine did, your mom's did, and yours will." 

Damned if the old man wasn't spot on.  To this day, I can't listen to a band like Slipknot without wincing. 

This post really has no moral to speak of.   Sorry.

Today is a day that will live in infamy...

My friends, it is a sad day in newtdom. 

Yours truly has lost the grand battle, to that lowest-of-the-low, kermit the frog wannabe.  Now, I could be petty and mean, and blame you all for not voting for me enough... which sounds like it could be a lot of fun. 

But I'm not gonna do that.  Instead, I'll be the better newt, and congratulate Trinity on winning the contest through his probably-underhanded means.  I'm pretty sure he cheated.  Or bribed the judges.  Or, um, something.

Work with me here, people.  Somehow, I am not to blame for my failure, which isn't really a failure, but is instead some sort of valiant effort.  You know... like in all those movies where the good guy loses heroically in the end?  Like how in Rocky, when Rocky Balboa loses the fight, but learns a valuable life lesson?  Or some of those other "lovable loser" movies.  Like... Saving Private Ryan... or Braveheart... or Jurassic Park (those poor raptors!)

So, there it is.  Take a long look at the banner ad if you're reading this, because it'll be going away for a little while now.  Because, for the next couple of months, this page will be Crazy Thoughts From a Crazy Newt Steve.  I'm working on the new banner ad today, and it should be up soon.

In all seriousness, though, it was a fun competition.  And maybe Trinity will offer a rematch next year or something.  Who knows?  Maybe next time, we'll round up some more newt blogs, and have a Battle Royale. 

And as you all know, Rocky wins in the second movie. 

Yeah, I'm a wanker.

I made an ass of myself the other week.  At work, on the phone, talking to a customer about his taxes.  Allow me to give you the rough script of the event.

DAVE:  So, what seems to be your problem today, sir?
GUY:  Well, you didn't claim my son as disabled, when he is disabled.  He's mentally disabled.
DAVE:  Oh.  (some clicking)  Ah, I see here on your forms that you did check that, but we didn't seem to do so.  It looks like we may have made a mistake, but I'll need to call the Canada Revenue Agency to verify your son is disabled...
GUY:  What, why?
DAVE:  Well, I'll be honest with you.  A lot of people claim their children are disabled to get the disabled child credit, when their kids are in reality perfectly fine and normal.
(long pause, as DAVE realizes that he has just called this man's disabled son a freak)
DAVE:  That is to say, um.....

I have a feeling that I shouldn't be allowed to talk to people.  Luckily, the guy seemed to like me for some reason.   But I felt like a wanker for the rest of the night.

Film Friday: What? You haven't seen....

We've all been there.  Talking to someone about movies, and you mention a movie that has become something of a cornerstone of pop culture.  And then the person you're talking to fesses up and says "Actually, I've never seen that movie".  Without thinking, you ask that lovely question:

"What?  You haven't seen that movie?"

If you're like me, you'll follow that question with something like "Did you grow up in a cult?" or "Were you raised in a cave?"  Because there are only a few reasons why a person has not seen Jurassic Park, The Sixth Sense, or The Princess Bride.  Hell, convicted felons who have been in prison since before the moon landings have probably seen these movies. 

This conversation has come up a few times in the last few weeks at work.  The first time it happened was when one of the supervisors, who is Chinese (though he's been in the country for at least a few years), had no idea what I was talking about when I started quoting Star Wars.  In fact, he had no idea what Star Wars was.  This blew my mind, because everyone knows that the chinese are nerds, and nerds love Star Wars, right?  Or am I unfairly stereotyping, here? 

(to be honest, he actually was a huge nerd.  And he did know Star Wars in the end, but had only seen one of the movies, in chinese, where there's a different title). 

Then it came up again later, talking to a guy who didn't own a TV, but loved movies.  As he told me during our conversation, he watches maybe five movies a week, and has been doing this for several months.  And yet, he had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  Or The Sixth Sense.  Or When Harry Met Sally.  Or Thelma and Louise.  Or Alien.  Or The Princess Bride

This depressed me.  and it's made me realize that there should be some sort of introductory movie package.  A list of movies that everyone has to see - a movie care package, as it were.  The way I see it, we gather up all these films, put them in a nice package, and give them away with every DVD player sold, as sort of a training set for first time film-watchers.  Not movies that everyone should see, but movies that everyone has to see.  Films that are referenced time and time again in popular culture.  A few movies  that belong on this list:
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Princess Bride
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Wizard of Oz
  • ET
  • The Godfather
  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope
That's my list for now.  I'm sure I'm missing some out, and I eagerly wait your additions.  Seriously, folks, let's put together a movie care package, so movie-goers everywhere will at least share a common starting place. 

Legless Hockey...

My mom called me up yesterday, wondering if I was going to tag along on her trip to Vancouver.  Y'see, my mom (and my sister) have absolutely no idea how to navigate Vancouver, and she wants yours truly to come along and help out. 
The whole trip is for my family's sake - seems my mom and sister (and myself, actually, but I'm just a carrier - what can I say?  I've always been a giver) have this rare disease.  It's not a serious disease, but there are only a couple thousand people in North America that have it, so the medical types want to get as much info as possible on it.  Which means my mom gets bumped to the head of the list in all sorts of tests she needs to get done, in relation to that ol' heart attack of hers. 

I'm just coming along to make sure they get to the hospital.  I suppose I could sit in the waiting room for seven hours, but... I don't wanna.  So, after dropping off my mother and sister for their fun day of getting poked and prodded by med students who have only a passing idea of what they're doing, I have about seven hours on my lonesome in the lovely city of Vancouver... and I'm trying to figure out how to kill my time.

Of course, Vancouver is still an Olympic city - though I have a feeling the Special Olympics aren't quite as exciting for most of the population.  Make of that what you will, but let's be honest - I think a lot of people have a harder time identifying with the gimps special olympians

Which brings up the question... should I watch a game of Sledge Hockey?  Now, I like hockey... and I want to support our canadian athletes, but... Sledge Hockey (or "Legless Hockey" as I've heard it referred to) kind of creeps me out in a way I can't really explain.  But maybe this picture will:

Am I the only one who is creeped out by this picture?

Now, I'll admit, after watching a couple games on TV, I'm curious about the sport... but it does give me the heebie jeebies.  And yes, I'm aware that makes me a bad person.  But I can't be that much of a bad person.

See, my beloved sharks are playing that day, too - in Vancouver.  And instead of watching the game, I'll be on the ferry back with a bone-tired mother and a cranky sister.  So, this awesome act of human-beingness outweighs the fact that I'm creeped out by the crippled. 


Weekly Haiku #17 - I cleaned my kitchen today...

oven cleaner fumes
...porcelain resurfaces
from buried years lost

Day as Night #11: I really don't know where I was going with this one...

This one was a bit weird.  I grabbed the pics before having ANY idea where I was going with it, and then just started riffing.  For a little while, it was going to end with a joke involving AXE body spray.  Or something crude involving masturbation.

Then I pulled out an obscure non-sequitr, and went from there.  Enjoy!

(As usual, click if you wanna read, and props to the person who names the film first... and you have to know this one!)

Music Mondays - "Wake Me Up" music

It's 7 am in the tax processing centre, and yours truly has volunteered to do "Data Issues".  For those not in the loop when it comes to tax-processing, "Data Issues" basically work like this. 

1)  We finish the tax file.
2)  The client somewhere in the country says "hey, I like this result" and collects his money.
3)  The file is sent to the Canada Revenue Agency, so that they can look over the results and send the big fat cheque to us.
4)  The file never gets to the Canada Revenue Agency, because something in the file is wrong.  As in, they spelt the name of the city wrong... or the area code doesn't match the city... or the postal code is wrong... or...
5)  A poor bastard is stuck having to fix the issue.

And so, at 7 am, I'm plogging through the work.  It's relatively brainless work, basically involving figuring out where the screw-up occurs.  However, to do the work, I have to sit next to "Woman with most annoying voice in the world".  Which is annoying.  Because, you see, her voice is kind of um.... grating?  If fingernails on a chalkboard decided to become a human being, they would become this woman.  And then say stupid things, like, "You go, girlfriend!".

Natch, I needed some music.  So I discreetly slipped on my iPod and started listening to the greatest pick-me-up album out there.  Or, at least, the greatest pick-me-up album on my iPod. 

Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

Don't ask me why, but there's something about an album entirely about death, madness, suicide, and corruption that just brightens me up.  By the time it ended with one of the greatest closing lines ever ("the sun is in tune/but the sun is eclipsed by the moon...." beats out every album, except for maybe Abbey Road's "and in the end, the love you take/is equal to the love you make"), I didn't care that horse-voiced woman was talking about how her truck was dying and that she wasn't going to pay for the parking tickets she so was so unfairly given because she parked in a no-parking zone that was clearly marked as such.  Or, at least, I didn't care much.

My mom has accused me of being a fan of music "to hang yourself to", and she's right.  The more depressing it is, the happier I am, for the most part.  That's probably not a good thing, eh? 

Comedy Gold.

Also... this cracked me up.  "Catchphrase!" "Accusations of your sexuality!"

"Inspiring final lines of a speech that douchebags will quote on their facebook PROFILE!"  "Cheer!"

I'm Having a Great Week...

I have a confession to make.

It's been a really good week on my end.  And, as such, I don't really have much in the way of snarky comments to make.  Or snide observations.  Or sarcastic remarks.  Hell, I'm even short on poop jokes and lame puns! 

Don't worry, I'm sure something will pop up in a day or two that will fire me up and get me blogging at full speed again.  Without a doubt, I'll get punched in the face by a drunk, or karate-kicked in the gonads by a homeless guy or whathaveyou, and this blog will be abuzz with rude comments to your heart's content.  And I have a feeling there's going to be some misadventures, tribulations, and errors made in the future that will satisfy your fiendish hunger for the comedy of errors that is my life.

Until then, though - I'm having a great week.  So piss off. 

The Blogoff - "Video Games Gone Wrong"

(here it is.  Round three of the ongoing war between yours truly and the rival impostor newt.  So, you should know the drill by now - read both entries, and then vote on your favourite.  The winner will be able to retain the title of "newt", while the loser will have to suffer with the title of "Steve" for all time.... or a month or so, whichever comes first.)

The Unfortunate Tale of the Chaw Lord

Today's topic is "Video Games Gone Wrong", and while I'm not really too much of a video gamer (I'll play a game here and there, but I don't really get super involved in them or anything), I do have a special spot in my heart for Halo.  There's just something special about a game that involves shooting people in the face.  Repeatedly.  So, when the topic was selected, I instantly knew I had to write a post about Halo.  And, when I think of Halo, I instantly think of the Chaw Lord.

Who is the Chaw Lord?  To put it simply, he is the awesomest Halo player in the universe.  Or, at least, the southern united states (as some looters were to discover).  Allow me to explain.

Way back when, I used to come home from a long day of work and unwind with an hour or so of Halo 2.  Now, for those that don't know the game very well, Halo 2 is a game where you get together a team of people, and do your best to beat another team of people into submission.  And a lot of the people you seem to be shooting at are twelve year olds who try to talk smack, but can't pull it off.

If you don't get a team together, you're randomly assigned a bunch of friend-less jerks, or those afforementioned twelve year old douchebags in training, and your team seldom works well.  It becomes in your best interest to get together a group of similary skilled individuals if you want to rock the various game types.

Different players have different skillsets.  Some people are excellent snipers, or rocket jockies, or combat freaks.  As for yours truly - you're looking at a highly proficient jeep driver (ironic, as I have no license in real life) and a strong defensive player.  I was also pretty good at trash-talking, which was one of those things that made Halo 2 super enjoyable. My skills, natch, made me a good addition to the team that assembled over the months of my semi-regular Halo 2 days.

We were led by... the Chaw Lord.

The Chaw Lord was, quite simply, the awesomest player out there.  He was good at everything, and led our group with respect and integrity.  He was also very skilled at talking trash, which seeemed to be the main requirement for being in our group (seriously:  it didn't matter if you could shoot straight, but if you could come up with a new way of calling someone a "dickhead", you were in... Halo 2 was where I first heard the term "Dangling Chad" and decided it was the awesomenest thing ever). 

Chaw was a deep-voiced southerner who would constantly berate the other team - "Grow some testicles, kid," or "What, am I playing Helen Keller?  Are you friggin.... Helen Keller?  Because you suck."  Or, my personal favourite "You don't fuck with The Chaw Lord". 

(oh, yeah... he always referred to himself in the third person.  Which was kind of weird.)

Usually, when we won, we'd sing some random song as directed by the Chaw Lord at the top of our voices, so the other team would hear nothing but rambunctious shouting until they left the lobby.  Because it's never fun to be serenaded with "Take my Breath Away" or "Tub-Thumping"  Once, after we lost, the other team pulled the same trick on us.  Chaw Lord quietly requested they be quiet a few times.  "Come on, I have something to ask you guys.  No, seriously, stop singing, please...?"

And when they shut up, to hear Chaw Lord's "Question", it was simply "I'm writing a paper on gay gamers, and I was sort of curious - what does a penis taste like?  I thought you guys would know." 

As they signed off, in a huff, Chaw delivered his motto.  "You don't fuck with the Chaw Lord."

I played on the Chaw Lord's team for about four months.  They were a group of people I had never met in real life, never knew their real names, and knew very little about in reality.  Yet, for a little while, they were people I knew quite well.  In between games, we discussed, well, things you would discuss with co-workers:  good movies, troubles at home, politics, and why twelve year old boys should be locked into a basement until they hit eighteen.  In short, we got to know one another.

Then Hurricane Katrina hit.  While Kanye was making ludicrous claims about George Bush, and George Bush was doing his best to prove Kanye wasn't a liar, we were all worrying about The Chaw Lord.  Because, as you can guess, he happened to live in N'Orleans.  Every day, he wasn't there.  The team assembled, anxiously inquired about the Chaw Lord's fate, and then would proceed to blow the heads off twelve year old kids from England. 

It got worse and worse.  There were some people who had Chaw's e-mail address, and they would send message after message - and get no reply.  Others checked his online history, using web magic.  We even had a hacker wannabe offer to trace his IP address and figure out what was going on at home - though we never got a reply.  Every day, though, I'd watch the situation in New Orleans and remember "The Chaw Lord is there right now."

We finally got ahold of him about three weeks after the Hurricane.  And he filled us on in exactly what he had been doing over the last few weeks.

See, when the floods had started, Chaw sandbagged the ground floor of his apartment.  How he had sandbags handy, I'll never know.  When the waters really started to rise, though, and reports of looters were everywhere, Chaw moved all his furniture upstairs and camped his family in the attic.  However, he took all the debris (crappy desks and couches and whatnot) and used them to barricade the doors and jam the stairways - a technique he picked up directly from yours truly, who would use crates and boxes to block doorways in bases while playing Halo

Then, Chaw took all his MREs (yes, he had military Meals Ready-To-Eat for some inexplicable reasion) and used those to feed his family.  And then he camped in a good sniping position during the day, waiting for the looters to come. 

Literally, he spent hours crouched in his building, waiting for looters to come into his crosshairs - another trick he learned from Halo.  One night, a bunch of guys came by on a motorboat - and then fled when The Chaw Lord opened fire ("they were just warning shots, but the pussy bitches didn't know that", we were informed).  He kept diring at those men until the boat disappeared down a flooded street. 

People say video games can instill violent behaviour in people.  And I used to argue against that incessantly.  But after hearing about the Chaw Lord, who used a high-powered rifle to take potshots at unarmed looters, and enjoyed this immensely, I'm thinking maybe video games had some part to play.  But I'd never say that to Chaw, of course. 

Because you don't fuck with the Chaw Lord.

Film Friday: Blow Your Mind? Seriously?

I've been kicking around on http://www.stumbleupon.com/ lately, which is pretty much the biggest time sink going right now.  I'll go "hey, I have an hour to kill", and three hours later, I'm still glued to my computer, reading obscure Star Wars trivia or listening to this random chick playing violin in a recording studio and making it awesome (wish I had saved that link!). 

I came across this list, titled "The Red Pill:  10 Films Guaranteed to Blow Your Mind".  And it's a pretty generic list.  I mean, Fight ClubThe Matrix?  Seriously?  

So, I figure I'll add to it a bit, and add ten more films that the author forgot.  However, I'll do it in a quicker format, and possibly sound less douchie.  Or so I hope.  So, without any further ado...

Ten More Films that Will Blow Your Mind:

1.  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind:  Ponders the nature of memory and love.  What attracts us to people?  Is it a character compatibility, or the nature of our meetings?
2.  Being John Malkovich:  A weird, existential comedy that is pure brilliance.  Plus, it has John Cusack.  I hear he's pretty good, y'know.
3.  Solaris:  Either the original, or the remake with George Clooney.  Another one that explores memory and the nature of humanity.  Very pretty. 
4.  Pay it Forward:  it isn't a mindfuck movie, but it is one that will change your perspective on life.  And the  original list had American Beauty... which, while great, lacked the impact of Pay it Forward.  So there.
5.  Bladerunner:  Seriously, how can you exclude this movie?  Bladerunner is the original "mess with your mind" film.  What is it to be a human?  What is the nature of memory?  How do we define morality?  Love?
6.  District 9:  First time I saw this film, my mind was thoroughly blown upon seeing the aliens living in squalor in a ship.  It's a great movie, where the humans are the ultimate bad guys, and yet the aliens are far from lovable victims.  Great metaphor for Apartheid that is, unfortunately, a little late.
7.  Gaslight:  An old film where a man tries to make his wife go insane.  He spends the whole film toying with her head, and nearly drives her nuts for personal reasons.  Kind of points out the thin line between sanity and little rubber rooms.
8.  Akira:  Too bad it was originally in japanese.  And, um, a cartoon.  Because it's a great look at how humans deal with power - our main character, Tetsuo, has godlike power... and he abuses it.  As we look into his past, we see how he's longed for affection and acceptance - and then we see how it plays out. 
9.  Contact:  Okay.  Everyone hates this movie because "you don't get to see the Alien".  Well, boo hoo.  It's not about Aliens, idiots.  It's about the role of religion in the scientific world, how faith interacts with politics, and how political systems and religious idealogies can get in the way of human progress.  Also, it's about how much Carl Sagan hates religion... and yet, the religious character is almost sympathetic...
10.  Groundhog Day:  I mean, how is this not on the list?  Seriously, guys.  I mean, really.  The fact that this film wasn't on that list actually kind of bugs me. 

Hooch Is Crazy

Way back when, my girlfriend at the time made me a pretty nice birthday present.  Matching T-Shirts - mine said "Hooch is Crazy", and hers said "Hooch IS Crazy!".  For those that don't get it, it's a reference from the TV show Scrubs.  And yes, you have to watch that video.  Because Hooch is Seriously Crazy.

Anyways, after the whole messy breakup, I figured this would be a shirt that I would be unable to wear.  Luckily, I didn't listen to that voice in my head.  Because, I discovered a secret - it is the best conversation starter shirt out there.  And here's why:

if someone recognizes the quote, they will inevitably approach me to discuss it.  And if they don't know the quote, they have to find out where it's from - leading to them to approach me to start a conversation.  Amazingly, this works with women, too!  There have been many times where I just happen to be wearing the shirt only to have a rather cute woman walk up to me to find out what the shirt is "about".  For a while, it was even on my plenty of fish profile... back when I figured Plenty of Fish was a good idea.  Before I made some unusual introductions.

A few days ago, during the celebration over Canada beating the U.S. in the men's hockey final in the Olympics, I was walking around Victoria chatting up an interesting li'l acquaintance of mine (and busily trying to guess her original first name).  The city was going nuts, with cars honking their horns and a lot of people on the sidewalk celebrating.  All of a sudden, out of the blue, a woman shrieks "Hooch is Crazy!"

Of course, I knew she was talking about me, so I turned and faced her.   She screamed it out again, and pointed me out to her friends.  "It's him, it's him!" she said, completely overjoyed.  "Hooch is Crazy!"

Without thinking, I lifted up my sweater, showing that, due to random chance, I just happened to be wearing the Hooch shirt.  Her and her friends broke into shouts of joy, as if they had met a random celebrity. 

Did I know these women?  Or was it my PoF profile?  I have no idea.  But it was definitely the most random moment of my week. 

Weekly Haiku #16 - based off a true story...

olympic riots
high fives from roller bladers
and drive-by flashings

Day as Night #10: Facebook Blues...

Holy god, this took forever to do.  I think I started at around midnight, and it's now 2:30.  My vision is kind of blurring, here.

As usual, click if you want to read.  And I think everyone can I.D. the movie, but still - points to the first to get it. 

Music Mondays - Dan Mangan, and why you should pay attention

A few months ago, the lovely Kittens and I happened to catch a musician by the name of Dan Mangan.  Now, if you click on that link anytime within the next little while, you'll see that Mr. Mangan has just recently appeared on the Today Show with that really annoying Canadian Slam Poet guy.  But, do not judge Mr. Mangan, because there is so much more to him!

When I saw him, I must admit I sort of glazed over - he was appearing in front of the crowds with just his own little acoustic guitar, and I was very much in a "I need a band" sort of mood, as opposed to watching what I saw as a glorified busker.  Kittens, however, insisted on buying both Mangan CDs, which was, in hindsight, an excellent idea. 

I fully admit, right here, right now, that I was wrong.  Make of that what you will.  I have listened to both of the Mangan CDs, and they totally benefit from a full band. 

Mangan is an amazing musician from my little neck of the woods, and we'll be seeing more of him. He makes acoustic music with a heavy dose of Canadiana, in all of its glory.  There are songs about shopping for music to impress women, coffee shop blues, road trips, and emotional distance.  There are songs of failed relationships, romeo and juliet mishaps, and more.  And it's all accompanied with a great pseudo country voice and perfect acoustic timing. 

Seriously - check out his site.  It's a very good time to check it out, considering all the free press Mangan is getting (funnily enough, I had the idea for this post in my head for almost two weeks, so I guess delaying worked out well here!).  Plus, there's some great free music downloads worth checking out. 

And then, of course, there's the video for "Robots", which is one of the loveliest songs out there, and something that gets caught in my head.  Plus the video is kind of, um, hilarious.  I mean, how can you go wrong with 80s gang wars, robot fighting, and a dude with a huge fro? 

You also need to check out "Basket", on the latest album.  It blew my mind after hearing it recently - though it does kind of suffer from "takes too long to end after the climax"-itis.  But, even with that minor glitch, it's still one of those songs that perfectly builds and builds up.  I'm putting it on the same level as Radiohead's "Climbing up the walls" in terms of sheer built-up tension, which is high praise indeed, considering it took Radiohead an entire ensemble to pull this off, whereas it took Mangan just an acoustic guitar and a voice.

If you're in BC, you owe it to check out Mangan, because he's our man!  And if you're not from B.C., well, shit, quit being such a friggin' elitist and buy his CDs.  Because, um, they're good.  And you'll like them.  Even if he's friends with that annoying Canadian Slam Poet.