The Day I Volunteered To Do Nothing:

Happy Apple invited me to a fundraiser event last sunday. Her work had long been committed to the cause, and so had roped Happy Apple in as a volunteer, and she asked me if I wanted to tag along. Not one to turn down some time in the sun and a chance to hang out with awesome people, I naturally agreed. Plus, that little unemployed gremlin that lurks in the back of my head figured I could put it on my resume under "volunteer activities", which is currently filled with, you know, lies.

It was a fundraising walk, with the proceeds going towards helping "end global poverty", which seems admirable enough. Happy Apple and I got there fairly early, and found ourselves in loose-fitting teal shirts and hanging around her co-workers, saying "hey, how can we help?"

We said this for about half an hour, before I finally just decided to take action and start helping. I did this by moving plates... until I was told that they wanted the plates in the original spot, so I had to move them back. Then Happy Apple's boss showed up and said "I don't need you guys until later. Go on the walk, have fun!"

And so we did. We were some of the few volunteers who actually went on the walk, and it was refreshing. When we got back to Beacon Hill park, ready to volunteer our services, we found Happy Apple's boss.

"How can we help?"

"Well, grab some food, and see me when you get back. You should eat first!"

So she let us in front of the line of hungry walkers, and we got pizza and curried rice and ate away. After we finished, we lurked around Happy Apple's boss, waiting for instructions . There was already a lineup of other volunteers, looking for work.

Finally Apple looked at me. "I don't think she needs us."

"I agree. Wanna ditch this place and go to the petting zoo* ?"


It was the best volunteer experience ever. Because I got to feel good about volunteering my services for a good cause. I got a free t-shirt. I got something impressive to put on my resume. I got free food. And I did absolutely nothing to deserve it. And then I got to pet happy baby goats.

I should volunteer more often.

(*Not a euphemism. We actually went to a petting zoo. Get your minds out of the gutter)


This post?

yeah, it's fucking awesome.

An entirely untrue conversation:

"Hey, long time, no see. What's new?"

"Oh, just trying to figure out how many people we lost to the rapture."

"The Rapture?"

"Yeah. It happened last week. All the truly good christian believers went to heaven, and all the truly evil people went to hell, leaving everyone else behind." "

Oh, um. That sounds... hm. Did we lose anybody?"

"Not that I can tell. I think that means that all human beings kind of fall somewhere in the middle."

"Bet you the Christians don't like that."

"They're embarrassed that they didn't get raptured, so they're all hiding in their basements."

"...Thank God for apocalypses, eh?"

Holy crap, I have a cell phone

Fun fact. I'm a technophobe.

I realize that sounds silly, coming from a guy that blogs everyday. But it's true - I generally avoid modern technology. Until last week, I could count the number of text messages I sent on one hand. I don't own a microwave. I don't watch TV. Hell, I prefer to listen to music on vinyl, for god's sake.

And until last week, I didn't own a cell phone. And I hadn't owned one for more than five years.

See, I did own a cell phone back in the day (let's say 2004 or so). It was with Bell, and it was a Solo flip phone. I liked it well enough, although I used to get annoyed that friends would call me and hear a song play, instead of a dial tone - and the people at bell didn't get why I wanted that feature removed. They thought that all my friends wanted to hear Green Day before I picked up.

I assured them that was not the case.

However, I got rid of that phone years and years ago (let's say, 2005), when the people at Bell wound up being absolute dicks, as was the case with all cell phone companies back then. Also, being paranoid about turning your phone off while you were in class became very distracting, as my history classes all had a rule - if your phone rings, you owe the class donuts. I had to buy the class donuts once, all because my mother wanted to know if I was coming over for sunday dinner.

And so I went back to a LAN line, happy that the only time people could reach me was when I wanted to be reached. I never had to buy donuts again. And I still had access to a cell, because my girlfriend at the time carried one on her. And there was really no reason we both needed cell phones.

After the big breakup a few years ago, people kept telling me to get a cell. I went on plenty of dates, and saw a couple of people, all who thought it was weird that I didn't have a cell. Searching for jobs was weird without one, and even hanging out with my friends was sometimes complicated by the fact that I was cell-less. But I fought against it for years - one more piece of technology to carry! More stress as people contact you when you don't want to be contacted! Payment plans!

But, last week, I caved, and bought myself a shiny blue cell phone. An LG Rumour 2, for techies that are interested. You know who you are.

I've been texting like I'm trying to catch up to everyone else, or something. And using the thing like I'm welcoming myself back to the 21st century. I debated (and then declined) getting a twitter account. And I've already taken a few shiny photos, and I have no doubt that this blog will start featuring all sorts of blurry phone photos in no time.

You've all been warned.

Three Strikes

I'm on a dating site again, mostly just to kind of expand my options because I've kind of been a bit insular lately. The thing is, though, being on a dating site means that you get exposed to a lot of people who are nothing like you. But this is often coupled with the fact that you're on a dating site, and you sometimes just want responses - even if they're from people who are nothing at all like you.

Men are sharks on the hunt. We can't help it sometimes. But the "shotgun approach" is definitely popular on the sites, and it's something I try to avoid.

To keep that in mind, I have a simple rule - if a person gets three strikes against them from what they say in the profile, I don't talk to them. Not talking to them because of one or two things in their profile (unless they're really big moodkillers, like she's in prison or is a fan of Carrot Top) is a bit silly. But three is a good indicator that I won't get along with this person. Even if their profile picture is incredibly hot. It's served me well.

Here's just a sample of some of the things that I count as strikes, and a bit of the reasoning why. And, like spinal tap, this list goes to eleven:

  1. No Photo: No photo makes the guy in me a little nervous. It also shows that she's not really committed to it to actually upload something. I'm not looking for or expecting bombshells, but having no photo makes me assume the absolute worst. And that's no fun.

  2. Sex as an Interest: Guys are going to hit me for this, but girls that list "sex" as an interest get a strike against. Why? Because, while I love sex, I find that people that list it as an interest treat it as a be-all and end-all, and that's really not fun. Either that, or they're saying they love sex to attract guys (like the girls who say they're bisexual but aren't) - and girls that say they love something to attract others are not my idea of fun.

  3. Kids: Kids are a strike against, unfortunately. I mean, I love kids, and I'd date someone who had kids. But when someone has kids, I have to be a bit more considerate when entering into a dating situation with them - I have to have more in common. I don't want to enter into situation where I have to be responsible if it's just for someone I probably won't really connect with.

  4. Many Spelling Errors/Syntax Errors: One or two is fine. But if you have a lot, it's a strike against. This may sound stupid, but it's just like a resume - you're making a profile to reflect who you are, and if you're the type of person who doesn't really go over what you produce because you don't want to look bad in front of other people, you get a strike against.

  5. "I Love to Travel": I'm not talking about the people who say they enjoy travelling - who doesn't? I'm talking about the people who are 23 and have been to Australia, Thailand, South America, all over Europe, and that Denny's in Arizona that has the really good curly fries. It's a strike because, well, I'm not much of a traveller. And I'd hate to be an anchor.

  6. 420 Friendly: I don't do drugs. I have no problem if other people do, but someone who actively smokes pot enough to put it on a dating profile automatically earns a strike. Anyone who lists harder drugs are automatically deleted.

  7. Smoker: I dated a smoker once. She was very gross to kiss. I'd only ever date another smoker if she was awesome in every other way. So, smokers earn one strike. Maybe two.

  8. Bad Music: Yeah. Someone who has terrible taste in music earns a strike. But it has to be terrible. We're talking gangster rap, nickleback, emo punk, slipknot, stuff like that. Also in this category is the person who "loves all music". Because, when you love all music, you're actually saying you don't like music.

  9. Physical Issues: This is my catch all term for people who have a body that isn't really compatible with mine. ie, someone who is more than an inch or two taller than me, weighs a bit more than me, has some physical characteristic I find off-putting, etc. It's only one strike, because I'd date someone who was otherwise awesome even if she was an amazon. But anyone who says that physical appearance doesn't matter is a fucking liar.

  10. Short replies: What I mean here is, if I write a reply to her, and it's two or three paragraphs, I expect a paragraph back, at least. Not a text message. You can usually tell these people from their profiles, when they are unbelievably terse. It's a strike.

  11. Apologies: People that begin their profile with "I'm just checking out this site, don't really think it'll be useful" or something like that annoy me. People who apologize for some sort of character flaw they think they have annoy me (why apologize for your kids to people you've never met? I don't get it). So, yeah, strike.

Happened to a friend of mine:

True story.

A friend of mine was driving his truck and came up to a stop light. He stopped slightly too late, and his truck was about halfway blocking the crosswalk - there was still enough room to cross without having to cross into the other lane, so my friend didn't reverse or anything.

He was talking to his passenger when, suddenly, WHAM! someone walked, full speed, into the driver side door.

My friend rolled down the window, furious, because the speed at which this guy had hit the door was sure to leave a dent.

"What the fuck, buddy? Are you a goddamn idiot!?" He shouted, red in the face.

And that was when he realized a blind man had just walked into his truck. A blind man who was now apologizing profusely. Even though, in the circumstances, it was entirely my friend's fault.

Did my friend point out to the blind man that this was the case? Nope. He just graciously accepted the apology, and drove off when the lights changed.

My friends are awesome.

Weirdest Dream Ever:

I've had some strange dreams in the past. I'm usually quite good at having random, non-sensical tidbits that cause me to wake up and scratch my head. But a dream I had last week has to set some sort of recrod on the crazy scale.

I was job searching, and I got a job. It paid well, was a nine to five job, and had great benefits, so I naturally signed on. And found myself in a white labcoat with camera equipment. My job, apparently, was to film educational videos for mice, and then to record whether or not they learned anything from watching said videos.

And my very first assignment was to make a video showing young mice proper and healthy masturbation techniques, because people in the lab were worried the mice might hurt themselves.

I don't really know what to think about that. But it got weirder, because assignments two and three were odd, too.

I had to make a video teaching the mice how to speak basic phrases in spanish. And I had another one to show them the safe way to defuse bombs.

After they watched their videos, I observed them, to see if they were learning. They were not. Because they were mice.

So I got fired.

And then, I woke up.


Weekly Haiku #52 - Home

unwashed off-white walls

chipped paint and faded carpets

still, my happy home

Hey! A Drunk Blog Post:

The Sharks lost today. This sucks. I'm actually surprisingly bummed, considering that it's really just a case of a hockey team losing. But, well, I love my team, and I really had hopes they'd stop fucking the dog and make it this year. So, naturally, I've turned to alcohol for solace.

I'm drinking lamb's 151 and coca cola. But my fridge is very cold, and I'm drunk. So I'm having to open the coke with a pair of pliers. Which is probably a good idea to, you know, stop drinking.

But my mother didn't raise no quitters. So I'm busy killing my liver one poisonous shot at a time and listening to indie music on my awesome headphones.

And yeah, I'm drunk as I type this. I'm very eloquent when I drink, apparently.

I'm still in the safe zone, though. Because the 151 still tastes like poison. When it stops tasting like poison, I'll stop drinking. Because when that happens, you know you're fucked.

Dear Newt's Future Wife:

Hi there. How are you? I don't know if we've met yet. But if we haven't, hi, I'm Dave. People sometimes call me "Newt". Others call me "Wik". Others still call me "Fucking Moron", but those people are generally stupid. Generally.

Anyways. Allow me to tell you a story. It's going to be awkward, because it mentions the fact that I've had other women in my life besides you, which is apparently a no-no when you're married. But hopefully you're pretty awesome, and you can deal with it. If you're not awesome, well, Future Wife, that's very unfortunate for both of us, isn't it?

But I digress.

I used to have an old girlfriend who would go through my old blog and use it to get details on my life. And no, I won't give you the URL on that blog, so stop asking. This girlfriend of mine would then bring the blog up in random conversations, comparing things I was saying to her with what I had once said in my blog. Every past thought of mine, even the throwaway comments, were seemingly etched in stone in her mind, so that if I had made a stupid comment when I was sixteen about how I, say, wanted to pierce my eyebrow, it became an ironclad statement and one she'd bring up when I was, say, twenty four and bitching about all the idiots who pierce their eyebrows.

It was a pain in the ass, future wife. A real pain in the ass.

Anyways, when I started this blog, I vowed not to talk overly much about personal issues in my life, or go in depth over any woman I was at all "serious" about. I vowed it wasn't going to be a blog about Dave's life, and one of the reasons (not the only reason) was because, quite frankly, I was afraid it'd be ammunition used against me at some point in the future. Which says a lot about my writing style.

I was afraid that, one day, we'd have a perfectly normal fight about the hydro bill or pterodactyl porn you'd mention that "you never got this angry with >insert girl's name here< And I'd wind up stuck on the couch for a week, grumbling about all the stupid things I had once said.

I was, in other words, afraid of losing any future partner, even though I have most likely not yet met said future partner. Some may see that as kind of sad. I'd like to see it as a pragmatic, practical life decision. Others might just see it as all around wussiness.

But fuck those guys.

So, future wife, while you're browsing this blog, wondering what sort of guy your husband used to be, remember that while there are a lot really crass jokes, careless comments, and flagrant hipsterism, also remember that that's not all there was to your husband. Remember that this blog doesn't represent everything, and that if you want all that past information, you'll have to do the healthy thing, and ask me about it.

Also, Future Wife, could you do me a favour? Please be awesome. Because if you are, that'd be great. Also, if time travel has been invented, could you send me some awesome future diet coke? Because I'm kind of thirsty right now, and I hear that future diet coke is delicious.



Whatever the Hell Nickname I Go By

Aidan Knight

I'm gonna sound like a hipster here, but I saw Aidan Knight's very first live performance, and I've sort of been half-following him as he's moved on up among the ranks of British Columbia's folk scene.

It sounds hipsteresque, but it's entirely true, so shut up. I saw him at Rifflandia around two years ago, and I enjoyed his nervous quipping more than his acoustic riffs. I've mentioned it before - when it's just a guy and an acoustic guitar, I tend to glaze over.

Recently, I finally got around to buying some of his music via itunes, particularly the song "Jasper", and my mind was blown away. Think folk-like music, with driving rhythm lines accompanied by electric guitars that have a hint of old country twang, and you'll have the beginning idea of what Aidan Knight sounds like.

Also, he's from Victoria, which makes him doubly cool.

Not to mention that his album is a "pay what you want" scale, and it very much becomes worth checking out. I highly recommend giving him a listen.


The Sharks lost today. At this point in time, they need to lose only one more before they're knocked out of the playoffs, and the Canucks move on to the next round. The Sharks would have to win the next three games if they want to carry on. Which is possible, absolutely. But it's a fact that definitely makes me nervous.

Naturally, I decided to shave my playoff beard, in hopes of changing some luck. So, the beard's been trimmed, the neckbeard is gone, and the head's been shaven. I feel so much cleaner, you wouldn't believe.

Still, I'm terrified for tuesday. I don't like seeing my team lose in the playoffs, and the last few games (even the one in which they won, on friday) have been rather stressful. I've been on the edge of my seat for a week now.


Oh, insomnia.

For the last week or so, I've been in the throes of insomnia. As a long time sufferer, I don't really notice too much when I only log a few hours of sleep. It's when the patches of insomnia last for a week or more that I really begin to get cranky.

In other words, I don't get upset until after the sleep-deprived hallucinations start. Once Smokey the Mexican Raccoon starts telling me I should eat more Heuvos Rancheros, I know I'm fucked.

Take the other night. I hadn't slept much the two nights previous, and actually stopped drinking caffeine after 1 pm or so. I did a bunch of exercise, and had worked out most of the stuff that was causing me stress. I was dead tired, so when I crawled into bed, I had a feeling I'd get some much needed rest. I was in bed by eleven.

And got up at 1 am. And 2 am. And 3am. When I woke up at 3, I started punching my blankets, and moved from my couch (where I've been sleeping lately, for no real reason) and went to my bed. Where I slept until 4 am. I wound up getting out of bed at around 5:30, convinced that God hates me.

Either that, or he thinks it's funny to mess with my head or something. Sometimes, when I'm dying of sleep deprivation, I compare God to a kid on an anthill with a magnifying glass. This makes me laugh, until God responds by saying "oh yeah? Well, just for that, I'm going to send some police to your building at 4 am. How do you like that, fucker?"

Goddamn omnipotent deities. If only you weren't so mean. And also, fictitious.

Anyways, in that same one-week span, I've awakened in absolute terror, unsure of where I was and spending minutes - literally, minutes - trying to get my bearings. I woke up once convinced that I was sleeping in my apartment, but in some room I hadn't yet discovered, even though I've lived here for four years or so.

And then I've also had the usual dose of crazy and unnerving dreams, nightmares, and other random crap that does its best to keep me awake. Couple that with a whole bunch of worries guaranteed to keep me tossing and turning, along with diabetic low blood sugars that conspire to awaken me even when I do get to sleep, and it all contributes to a very unhappy Newt.

It's been a perfect storm of insomnia, and I am not pleased. Not one iota.

Unfortunate things that Dave Has Actually Said, part 3429:

"Hey, I saw the new Fleet Foxes CD on sale at Starbuck's yesterday."

"Really? It's out?"

"Yup. I was gonna buy it for you for your birthday, but then I figured you'd probably buy it before then."

"It can't be out yet, though! Are you sure it was Fleet Foxes CD?"

"Pretty sure, Dave."

"...but it's not supposed to come out until May!"


"Dave. We're halfway through May."

"Oh. Yeah. Right."

Hockey Stuff:

Wow. I just had something of a realization.

I've been a fan of the San Jose Sharks since the season after the NHL Lockout. The Lockout was in 2004-2005, meaning I've been following the team since 2005, and I've been a fan of the team since around 2006. This means I've been a fan of the team for about five years, give or take.

The Sharks turn twenty this year. Meaning I've been a fan of the team for about a quarter of their lifespan.

Just seems weird to think about, now.

The One

I'm not talking about the Matrix, either.

Although, really, when most people talk about "the one", they're talking about it in a romantic sense - they're talking about soul mates, life partners, and people you're legally allowed to eat brunch with. And, while that's part of what I'm talking about, it's not the whole picture.

I'm talking about the fact that, for my entire life, I tend to get fixated on a few friendships to the exclusion of most others. I tend to focus on one or two people. And, as I'm nearing thirty, I'm beginning to see that maybe that wasn't such a great idea.

I've been doing it since before I can remember, and I think it has something to do with the fact that my parents were always moving due to my dad's Navy career. It was just easier to make one or two friends, and pursue that friendship before all others, than it was to constantly make new friends who weren't gonna be around for that long.

All through high school, I'd have one friend above all others, a "best friend" that was like my right arm. Sometimes, I'd be the leader in these pairings; other times, very much the sidekick. But they were never friendships that remained strong for more than a few years - I'd always change before I let myself get too close, moving on to a new best friend. Often one who was completely different from the last.

This natural tendency of mine morphed a little bit in my twenties. Rather then applying it to friends, it began to apply to girlfriends, and soon I found that women were becoming the focal point of my life (aren't they always?). And that was all well and good.

But now I'm single again, and I'm beginning to think maybe one-one pairings, even in the form of long-lasting friendships, are not the way to go. I think Marcus, from Nick Hornby's About a Boy, has it right - groups are the way to safety and well-being, not pairs. They're much more stable, and they can handle the passing of a person much more readily. Groups are much more likely to hang around for a while.

But I've never been very good at being a part of a group. I've always been about those one-one pairings. And so I find myself, wondering how the hell you really integrate yourself into a group of friends. I mean, I have a group of friends, and I love hanging out with them, but I sometimes just feel like a witness, rarely like an insider. I don't often really relax around them and just be myself. I'm too damned anxious trying to make myself fit in to actually, you know, fit in.

Stupid paradoxes.

Weekly Haiku #51 - Roommate Hunting

search for a roommate

convince me you're not crazy

sleep with my door locked

on Death, Mourning, and Capital Punishment:

I've been walking the Galloping Goose trail a lot, often making the two and a half hour hike from Victoria down to Langford. I mostly just do it for the exercise, and the fact that there's something really calming about listening to the Mountain Goats on your ipod while walking down a lightly wooded trail.

On the trail, there's a wooden foot bridge over a large creekbed and waterfall, with the water pounding down so heavily that you will hear it even over your ipod cranked to the max. It's a very beautiful scene, marred only by a rusting shopping cart in the waters and an old graffitti-covered pipeline that crosses over the falling water.

It is also where, about a year ago, the body of a young teenager was dumped by two murdering rapist little fuckers.

I'm not going to go into the details of that awful crime, because really, it's over and done with, and this isn't really a crime blog. And I'm thankful for that.

But every time I cross that bridge, I see the memorial to that poor girl grow. I was on that bridge the day her murderers were sentenced, and there was a row of fresh flowers lining it. And since then, I've watched the memorial change.

There's always fresh flowers. There's a couple of teddy bears. Signed cards, soggy from the condensation in the air. Someone left a stack of arcade tokens scattered around, because he or she knew that the girl loved the arcade. And people even left change - loonies and quarters - and I take it as an amazing facet of human nature that no one has yet to take the money just lying there, out of respect for a dead human being they most likely have never met.

Whenever I begin to think about the terrible things humans do, I just have to think about that money lying there, untouched, on a secluded trail far from the eyes of others, for me to remember that humans are capable of great acts of understanding and empathy. And that, even when someone we've never met dies, we can still find ourselves mourning their loss.

There's something beautiful in that.

I think about this wonderful capacity for love and caring in the human heart. And then I compare it to what people said on the day those murdering boys got sentenced. Everyone cried out for a return to capital punishment. Some wanted those boys to "suffer like she did". And that brought me down.

Because we as a people are not those boys. We are not murderers. We are not rapists. And I've always considered that, the idea of "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" is an antiquated one that simply brings the masses down to the levels of the human excrement we're trying to flush away. Or, to use an old saying, an eye for an eye just leads to more blindness.

Lock them up, absolutely, but don't do it out of some misplaced sense to play god. Do it to protect the masses from people who have shown themselves to be dangerous. We must always remember that we are better than those scumbags.

We must always remember that we're the people who leave arcade tokens and teddy bears on the bridge - not dead bodies.

Mother Mother: Eureka

I've been putting this review off for a while, now. Mostly because, well, I've had no idea what to really say about this album. You see, it's very easy to get into this "black or white" mentality when it comes to music - the album is either good, or bad. But albums can not really be studied objectively, and something that one person loves could very easily be an album someone else hates. And both of those people can be absolutely right.

So when you review, you try to figure out how the album will be received by its potential audience, and compare it to previous works by the musician. You describe it, and then ultimately describe your own reaction to the piece, and hope that you shed at least a little bit of light on the work so that your readers can make an informed decision.

Here's the thing. I love Mother Mother. They are, to me, a rock-folk combination with such a degree of quirkiness and originality that they defy any form of explanation. They are a band that goes from singing about the meaning of life to singing about cross-dressing. They have lyrics as bizarre as "My daddy's got a gun, you better run!". And their albums wander, crossing into so many musical territories that you eventually give up trying to figure out what you're listening to and just lean back and enjoy the ride.

I have great memories of sitting back and listening to Kate trying to sing along to "Tic Toc" off Touch Up. And most of O My Heart has, at one part or another, been a soundtrack to my life. I distinctly remember buying a new pair of headphones a few months ago and having my mind absolutely blown by "Sleep Awake".

So yeah, I've been a fan of their work for a couple years now.

Their first album, Touch Up, was very much acoustic in nature, and while it was bizarre, energetic, frenetic, and quirky as hell, it was still an acoustic rock sort of sound for the most part. Their second album, O My Heart, was a bit more "mainstream", in that it had a more traditional guitar/bass/keyboard/drum thing going on, but the band still had that gift to play a few notes and have everyone know instantly "this is a mother mother song".

It's beginning to look more and more like Mother Mother want to reinvent themselves every album, because their newest, Eureka, sounds nothing like their previous two works. It is an album with a much more polished (I'd say "produced") sound. Many of the keyboard sounds harken back to the 80s New Wave movement, and many friends of mine have said it's very much an eighties throwback album. Even the drums have that over-reverbed sound reminiscent of, say, Phil Collins.

They're still quirky. They're still a unique sound. The problem is, that unique sound is no longer one that I enjoy. I'm not a fan of the eighties. I'm not a fan of the album's bassier sound. I'm not a fan of the tightened-up drums. Or of the fact that it sounds more like an album that's come out of a studio and less like the spontaneous albums that came before it. In short, I just don't like the album.

Does that mean it's a bad album? No, far from it. The songs are well-arranged, and still maintain that Mother Mother sense of quirkiness. The vocal melodies, particularly of the backup vocalists, have never been better. The sound is less guitar-based and utilizes much more of the band's multi-instrumental range.

A lot of people think it's absolutely great. Both Kate and Happy Apple are quite happy with it, though both also have a soft spot in their hearts for the eighties, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

Long story short, if you've liked previous Mother Mother albums, you may or may not like this one - it all depends on whether or not you enjoy the eighties.


I've always been a writer.

I learned to read before I was four years old, and even at that young age, I was devouring books. Rarely literally, although it did happen from time to time, and I'm sure there's still a staple or two rusting away in my stomach as a result.

I was always a story-teller - I'd make up all sorts of tales and regale my mother, my friends, and any other poor bastard unlucky enough to get stuck in a room with me. I'd write "novels" for my family - illustrated, of course - that were flagrant ripoffs of whatever book I was currently nose deep in.

I remember, very clearly, being in the second grade and writing a journal entry about pirates. It was, to be more precise, about lego pirates, which were, to me, the coolest thing ever. My teacher, a lovely woman who twenty-odd years later I still love dearly, wrote in my journal "this is really good! You should be a writer when you grow up".

I didn't know what she meant, and when she explained to me that people can have careers writing, I was hooked. From that day in grade two onward, I knew I was going to grow up to be a writer.

But you get older, and sometime about five years ago, I came to the realization that while I wanted to be professionally published, I didn't want to be a career writer. I had met enough writers to know that theirs was not a life I wanted to live. And by then, I knew enough about my writing style to know that making a career of writing would drastically shorten my lifespan.

See, when I write, like seriously write, I get very much into it. Every feeling becomes honed to a razor's edge, to the point where my skin feels like it's on fire. I put every emotion into my writing, so that by the time I'm done, I feel like I've ran a marathon. And since my stories are usually cynical and rather bleak, I am usually an emotional wreck after putting out a good dozen pages or so. The prospect of making a living by perpetually putting myself in that state of heightened melancholia was not one that interested me in the slightest.

But I still felt the itch to write. If I don't flex my writing muscles, as it were, I begin to go crazy. Or rather, crazier than usual, because let's face it, I'm already half baked. And that, dear friends, is how this blog was formed.

It was a chance for me to get the desire to write out of my system, without being done in a format that would force me to agonize over every word. And the desire was, hopefully, to have a product that I could look back on that would entertain me. And, mostly, it's fulfilled its purpose.

We see this in every form of artist. Graphic artists sketch every day, even if it's just some quick doodle in the margins. Musicians will play through scales, or even finger chords in the air when they're bored. Drummers are always tapping every surface available, and poets are busy smoking crack cocaine and trying to sleep with their cousins.

The point is, every artist has to indulge in their craft, even if it doesn't mean something, because that's who they are. I sometimes wonder who we are, as people, that drives us to do this. That drives us to create.

But I don't want to think about it too much, because I'm half afraid I'd figure out the answer, and ruin everything.

The Moon

I just got back from a long walk. I was kind of feeling down, having made a few mistakes as of late that I'd love to be able to take back. Naturally, I found myself walking down the waterfront. It was an overcast night, with gray clouds overhead that were so thick that they formed a ceiling.

And then I saw a flicker of light, a swirling circle in the sky. At first, I thought it was ball lightning, and I stared up in awe. It was the moon, flickering through the thin clouds, and it was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen. For only a second or two at a time, a spear of brilliant white light would stab through that blanket of night.

I stood, transfixed, staring up ahead, feeling less alone and less confused than I had in a long time. And I wanted to come home and write about it.

And then I stopped. Because I write a humour blog, and there was no way I could write about a beautiful moon cutting through dark clouds. I have a reputation to maintain, after all. I thought about this for a few minutes, staring up at that moon trying to break through, and I shook my head and said "fuck it."

I'm going to write about the moon.

And I'm going to write about the other crap that's been going on lately. I'm going to write about what I've been thinking about lately, and worry less about trying to make it all funny and whatnot. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be a bit more honest than I usually am on this blog. I've already written a few of the posts, and I imagine this sort of introspective phase is going to last until around the end of May.

Many, if not most, of them are the usual stuff you're used to. But some others will be a bit more thoughtful, and less worried about a punchline or funny observation. Just posts about the stuff I've been thinking about lately. Because anything else would be dishonest, right?

You've been warned.

It might make a few of you worried - don't be, because the storm has already passed over and you're just not used to me being introspective. And it might make some of you a bit uncomfortable, to see a guy who usually writes poo jokes and hipsteresque comments to be writing about slightly heavier subjects - and to those people, all I can say is, deal with it.

Because sometimes, a guy just wants to write about the moon.


Have you ever made a joke about yourself, and then the second after you say it, totally bring yourself down? I did it a few days ago.

"Hey Dave, your beard is really growing in."

"Thanks. I've been getting a lot of compliments over it, actually."

"From the ladies?"

"A few times, yeah. It's kind of nice."

"Yeah. Wonder what it is they like about the beard?"

"Probably that now, they can't see my face."


"ouch. My pride."

another (mostly true) story of Newt's utter ineptitude:

It's a well known fact that I get distracted by redheads. They are, to put it simply, my kryptonite, and when a nerdy little red-headed girl walks by, especially one wearing glasses and a geeky threadless t-shirt, I am powerless to resist.

This is definitely a character flaw of mine, because really, it shouldn't matter what someone looks like on the outside, right? It's all about what's on the inside, and while I mostly believe this to be true, I can't help the fact that I go nuts over those with a touch of ginge in the minge.

But this is a character flaw I'm going to take to my grave - as long as I'm single and "on the prowl" as it were, geeky red-headed girls are going to drive me absolutely crazy, and you know what? I'm okay with that.

Last night was kind of silly, though.

I was in a grocery store, waiting for Happy Apple to get off work so we could watch the Sharks game (by the way, can I just say? WOOT). I was browsing through the aisles, killing time, when along walks a fairly pretty blonde. One eyebrow raises. And then walks by my kryptonite, and my other eyebrow raises.

She had red hair. Hipster Glasses. A Big Bang Theory "Bazinga!" t-shirt. I'm pretty sure she also had arms, legs, boobs, and possibly even hands, but all that stuff sort of faded away, because I was floating in nerdy newt paradise. We would have beautiful ginger children and we would spend our days hiding in long shadows avoiding the sun and happily debating exactly when the Rolling Stones sold out.

I instantly tried to make myself look impressive. Males of other species puff out their chests to attract the ladies, or sing crazy songs, or beat up all the other males around them in a display of dominance. But then, males of other species are stupid, which is why my species eats those species.

Naturally, my mating display was a bit more advanced, and developed.

Nope, instead of any of that usual mating dance crap, I did what comes naturally to me. I grabbed a wedge of cheese and tried to look impressive as I read the label, as if to say "look at me, I'm important because I'm interested in imported wensleydale". I adopted my best pseudo hipster pose, and hoped for the best.

She actually came up next to me, gave me a friendly smile, grabbed another block of cheese (Lancashire, for those at home keeping score), and started reading the label. I was stunned - was my infamous "cheese gambit" actually going to pay off? Would this be the first chapter when I told our children how I had met their mother? I felt like a dog who had spent so long chasing ducks that, when he finally caught one, had no idea what the hell to do with it. I started wracking my mind for something clever and witty to say.

You'd think this would be easy. I write a blog that is, occasionally, "sort of" funny. So really, why shouldn't I be at least "kind of" funny on demand? But, nope. I just stood there, my cheese in my hand (not a euphemism!), wondering what the hell to do.

"Hey, look, we both like firm cheeses from England! By the way, do you wanna bang?"

"I think women who are tolerant of lactose are super sexy."


But I said none of those things, which is probably for the better. Instead, I looked over at her, and she turned to look at me. For a moment, we had eye contact, and my heart jumped up into my throat. Gorgeous green eyes behind thick-rimmed hipster glasses. Oh, the plaid collection this woman no doubt had at home, sitting next to her signed copies of albums by Broken Social Scene! Bestill my beating heart!

I smiled, and said, rather awkwardly, "Hey." The last time my voice cracked like that, I was thirteen.

She smiled back, just as awkwardly, and looked at her cheese. I got ready to press in for the finishing move. I think I was getting ready to go all out and try my "imported english cheeses" line.

Before I could say anything, though, her friend came by. The blonde grabbed my future red-headed wife by the arm, and said "there's no way you're buying more cheese, you'll stink up the place. Come on, let's go!"

My redheaded wife-to-be shrugged, put the cheese down, and left, blushing a deep crimson.

And before I could say anything more, my redhead walked out of the store. I wanted to follow, shouting shakespearean sonnets after her. But I didn't.

Because I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with Wensleydale.

Last Day at H&R Block:

"It's 3:15"

"Yes. What seems to be the problem?"

"I had an appointment for three o'clock."

"Right. But as you can see, her previous client is taking a bit longer. And it is the last day of the tax season, so you can imagine it's been a little hairy. I apologize for the wait."

"This is bullshit."

"I'm sorry. But she'll see you as soon as she can, and I guarantee it'll be only a few minutes once you get in there to get your papers signed."

"This is bullshit!"

"Well, it's the last day of the tax season, so everyone's leaving it to the last minute and we've been rushed. We booked your appointment so you could get your papers signed. You're the only person who's had an appointment booked for today, we're not supposed to book any on the last day of the season, but we figured we'd do you a favour. Like I said, it'll only be a few minutes."

"Bullshit. I have to be at the bank before 4:00, because I have to make my payment, and my bank closes at four."

"Your tax payment?"


"You owe money to the government?"


"...And you booked your appointment to get your taxes done only an hour before your bank closes, on the last day of the tax season?"


"um. Ok."




"This is bullshit."

"I couldn't agree more."

Weekly Haiku #50 - San Jose Sharks

go setoguchi

come out of the box and score

hat tricks forever

True Story:

I do enjoy spending time with Happy Apple. She's a great friend, she cracks me up, and we do seem to get into some crazy adventures. In fact, she has a knack for crazy adventures which I don't quite understand. I've seen her pick around fifteen four leaf clovers in less than twenty minutes. I've had crazy hipsters come up to us and start talking about Diana Ross while we backed away slowly, not making eye contact. And I've had semi homeless men showing us their DVD collections on the bus.

And this has all happened in the last month or so.

But there was a real interesting one last week.

We were hanging out with her roommate, who was trying to buy a birthday present for a gay friend of his. Naturally, we went to a sex shop on Douglas Street. Happy Apple and I kind of just browsed nonchalantly while her roommate excitedly went from shelf to shelf, talking about dildoes. Which was funny to listen to, because he was talking about sex toys in the exact same way some men talk about cars, or sports, or, say, guitars.

I didn't know it, but there's a lot that goes into making dildoes, and there's a lot that seperates them. I kind of just figured you made it about eight inches long, painted it black, and called it a day. But nope. There's a lot more to it than that, apparently.

Happy Apple and I just looked at post cards and made oral sex jokes. Because that's how we roll. We're very much WASPs, and that means being slightly uncomfortable around anal beads. So we make jokes.

Anyways, we were chatting with the owner, and had finished making our purchases (I bought a few postcards with the Beatles on them - nothing kinky!), when the door opened and this guy stepped in carrying around twenty bags. He had a shaven head and cratered skin, and looked for all intents and purposes like an extra from Trainspotting. He was kind of twitchy, and he walked over to the BDSM stuff and started breathing heavily while looking at whips and face masks. Real heavily.

The three of us were about to leave. "Please stay around for a few minutes" the woman asked us really quietly, fear in her eyes.

Happy Apple and her roommate left anyway. I had to chase them down, and after only about two seconds, we realized they hadn't heard her. But we all agreed it was the right thing to do to go back there and keep this woman company while Cracky McGee got all asthmatic over leather panties. It was like one of the last scenes from The Magnificent Seven, where they decide to go back into the town and blow shit up. Only, um, there were three of us instead of seven. And we weren't going back to a gunfight that would kill us all. And we weren't cowboys.

Okay, it was nothing like the Magnificent Seven. Shut up.

When we steped back in, he was wandering over the store, breathing heavily and getting more and more agitated. Happy Apple and I started rummaging through a sex book written by Mel from Flight of the Conchords (!?), while I found myself wondering what the hell I'd do if he started tweaking out or something. I think my plan was something like "throw that butt plug at his face and run" or something to that effect.

He continued to wander, tweaked out on godknowswhat. And then, after realizing we were not leaving, he scowled at us, grabbed his bajillion bags, and left. The owner came over and thanked us profusely, saying how magnificent the seven three of us were for sticking around.

Then we spent a few minutes talking about how Victoria is getting steadily weirder. I have to say, a sex shop that has a penny-candy style set up filled with flavoured and coloured condoms is an odd place to have a "the world is getting crazier" conversation. It's be like listening to punk rock at a tea party - there is no real reason why it shouldn't happen, but one could imagine it's not a frequent occurence.

I think, pretty soon, the city is going to be filled entirely with homeless people and drug addicts. I'm not sure, realistically, how this could happen, but it seems to be on the horizon. It'll be like Mad Max... only without the anti-semites.

Happy Apple shrugged the entire event off, and only an hour later she had almost completely forgotten about it until I reminded her just how strange it had all been. I think she's developed a tolerance for strangeness. Which makes me wonder:

What does that say about me?


Was doing some revamping of the ol' blog today, and noticed that blogger added a "stats" bar.  So I started looking at my "stats".  And they amused me greatly.  The main search keywords that bring people to my blog are, in order:
  • pterodactyl porn
  • magnets + haiku
  • christian hansen and the autistics
  • crazy newt
  • haiku fridge magnets
  • perils of anal intercourse (!?)
  • why do nhl not shave during playoffs
All I can say is.... hunh. 

Five Bands Everyone Needs to Listen To Before They Die:

  1. The Beatles

  2. The Mountain Goats

  3. Led Zeppelin (particularly Zeppelin I through III)

  4. Radiohead

  5. Mother Mother

On Headphones:

There are music nerds, and there are audiophiles. While there is often an overlap, this is not always the case.

There are plenty of music dorks out there who listen to their tunes through shitty computer speakers or bargain basement earbuds - I know, because I used to be one of them. Life was simpler then, but also sadder, because there was absolutely no colour in my life. Everything was in those old-timey sepia tones, and all I could hear was some guy playing ragtimey piano.

And there are audiophiles out there who really don't seem to care too much about music - I know, because I used to sell speakers to them so they could listen to Nickelback. Which I'm pretty sure should be a war crime.

I'm pretty sure those "audiophiles" were actually "people engaged in pyschological warfare with their neighbours". Because if there's one way to get Mr. and Mrs. Johnson to move, it's playing "This is How You Remind Me" on full volume with crystal clarity at around 11 am.

I'd change time zones. Just to be safe. At least until the U.N. makes Nickelback against the Geneva Conventions.

But I digress.

When I was working at Future Shop, I had a pretty good discount - I could buy every product at cost. Unfortunately, I was generally frugal with my money, spending it on christmas presents and, you know, food. I'd look at the expensive TVs, Blu Ray players, and the like, and sigh wistfully - to say nothing of the guitars. However, after a good six weeks of selling high-end headphones while knowing next to nothing about headphones ("Who would buy a two hundred dollar pair of headphones? They all sound the same!"), I finally caved and bought myself "a present".

I justified it as homework - if I knew a bit about the product, I'd sell more of them, right? Also, everyone was mocking me for my JVC GUMY earbuds, and I'm a slave to peer pressure.

I got a pair of Shure 750 Headphones, a beautiful gray and black combo that cost me around seventy bucks - with a list price of around $170. I felt like I was getting a huge deal - and this was verified when I got home and started listening to Mother Mother on damn fine speakers. I had one of those moments faithful people describe as "transcendant". I think if you gave all those uber religious people some good headphones and Dark Side of the Moon, they'd stop blowing up abortion clinics and heeding the words of Glenn Beck.

Good music could lead to world peace. Imagine the possibilities!

Here's the thing, people. Good headphones will change how you listen to music, because you'll hear things you've never heard before, even on songs you know forwards and backwards. After my expensive headphones, I went from always skipping The Beatles' "Sun King" to finding myself enjoying the crossfades in the latter half of the song. I started smiling when I could hear the slight fret buzz on most of the Dodos' acoustic songs. And I would grin ear from ear when I could hear a slight squeak from the drum's kick pedal on Mother Mother's "Sleep Awake".

I also found myself wide awake at 3 am a lot more often, but that's a small price to pay for musical bliss.

There's nothing quite like the range that expensive headphones give you. When you can hear the breathing of your vocalist, the full range of the guitars, the clarity of the bass line, and the snap of the drums, you're hearing the song the way the artist wanted you to hear it. And that's amazing.

Great headphones don't just let you listen to the music, though - they let you hear the space between the instruments, which sounds like some mystical jedi shit, but it's true, and you'll know exactly what I mean once you hear it for yourself.

Moral of the story? Suck it up, and buy yourself a pair of decent headphones. Sennheiser has some great ones in the $70-90 range that have some great clarity of sound and decent bass. And the Shure 750s and 840s are absolutely AMAZING, and I think even the 840s are still lower than $220 after taxes. You could really go nuts and get yourself a pair of Monster headphones, but they're just overpriced and really no better than the Shures. And then, of course, there are BOSE headphones, which are pretty amazing, too.

Trust me, it's worth it. If you like music, it's worth becoming an audiophile.

Unless you like Nickleback.

In which case, the U.N. is coming for you.

A New Hobby:

Buying vinyl records in thrift stores has become something of a hobby of mine. There's a certain thrill to leafing through stacks of old records, looking for those rare gems. And it's kind of enjoying buying albums you would never regularly buy, such as Styx's Kilroy Was Here, simply because "hey, it's only two bucks".

However, when the thrift store is run by a hipster in a bowler cap, with hipster facial hair and an atrociously garish t-shirt, the hobby really pays off.

Because there's nothing quite like having a man seriously explain to you why Billy Joel matters. His words, not mine.

I love this hobby.

Damn You, Coca Cola!

Two facts that you probably already know about me:

  1. I am a music nerd.

  2. I am addicted to diet coke.

The first is fairly obvious, even to newcomers at this blog. After all, about 90% of my blog writing is about music, with the other 10% divided evenly among dating, poo jokes, and apologies for not updating enough.

In fact, my music nerdiness has been getting worse lately. For example, only a few days ago, I was hanging out with a friend when I announced, for no good reason, "I like the band spoon, even if they are rather mainstream these days."

This caused her to look at me, shake her fist, and shout "hipsterrrrrrr!"

I'm inclined to agree with her, and I've been living it down ever since.

As for the second, well, I don't write about it much, but yeah, I'm very much a coke addict, and have been for more than half my life. Everyone knows me as the guy who is perpetually holding a can of diet coke in his hand. There were times where I was drinking two litres a day.

I've been cutting back recently, and even went cold turkey for a little while. And only a few weeks ago, I proclaimed "that's it... I'm quitting drinking diet coke."

Then Coke got evil. After all, they knew that if they lost me, they'd lose 38% of their canadian market share. So they had to hatch a scheme to keep me drinking. And they were quite fiendish - they struck where I was weakest.

Coke, you see, has a new promotion: buy a half litre bottle of pop, get a free itunes download.

An itunes download ranges from .99 to 1.29. A bottle of diet coke costs from 1.25 to 1.69, plus deposit.

So, by buying a bottle of diet coke, I product I already enjoy, I am also getting another product I consume fairly frequently (most of my music purchases are done through itunes). It's a twofer!

So now, every time I drink a bottle of diet coke, I don't feel ashamed. I just console myself with the fact that soon, very soon, I will be listening to a song I haven't heard yet. And that makes me happy.


Young men go through all sorts of crazy phases in their lives. Being capricious, whimsical creatures overburdened with energy and lacking in productive ways to expel that energy, they often find themselves engaged in all sorts of "learning experiences" that verge on the lethal.

What man in his twenties hasn't looked at a 40 oz. bottle of jack daniels and said "yeah, I could drink that"? Or looked at a one hundred foot cliff ending in a twenty foot deep pool and said "meh, I should be fine"?

I have done both of those things. I have also said such wonderful "manisms" as "guys, I'm not that drunk" and "come on, hit me with your best shot".


We young men find ourselves on all sorts of crazy adventures, often for absolutely stupid reasons. And I can't find a better example than the playoff beard.

For those not in Canada, here's the tradition: during the NHL Playoffs, you do not shave until your hockey team of choice has either won the Stanley Cup or been eliminated. Because this can mean sometimes more than a month of no shaving, it can often get very, very ugly. And yet, it's a national past time, and every year in april and may, you see all sorts of idiots completely unshaven, absently scratching at unfamiliar growth and apologizing for it every chance they get.

"Sorry about my face... it's, um, playoff season" they say, while avoiding the judge's gaze as they try to argue their way out of that DUI or fine for public urination.

I've tried to grow a playoff beard every year for the past four or so. Unfortunately, my team is the San Jose Sharks, so they've never been around in the playoffs long enough for it to matter. I usually get to the five o'clock shadow stage, and then loudly announce "how the hell did my team lose to the Anaheim ducks? Damn you, Emilio Estevez!"

But I think I know why they never made it very far. You see, I trimmed the beard. And I refused to allow the growth of neckbeard. Because who likes neck beard?

Communists and homeless people, that's who.

I didn't realize it, but I was cursing my team. So this year, I went full bore, and vowed to not shave - at all - until the Sharks either have the cup, or have died trying. And it's been brutal. Three weeks in, and I look like a homeless russkie begging for vodka. I am so fuzzy-faced, with a ginger beard, that Happy Apple has frequently referred to it as a "mane", and has recently dubbed me "Dandy Lion"

This is very unfortunate, and I've debated smothering Happy Apple with a pillow of some sort.

But it's too late for me to turn back. I have to ride this out, and hope for the best. Because sometimes, young men do stupid things. For no justifiable reason.

Besides, I could totally drink that.

Random Blog Info:

Just so y'all know, I added my gmail account to this blog. You'll see that there are now two contributors to the blog; these are both me. It's just that while blogger will allow me to redirect all comments to my gmail address, it won't allow me to log in with the gmail address.

This has a very strange side effect - if I'm talking to someone on gmail, and try to log into blogger, I get bumped out of gmail. And if I'm blogging and I log into gmail, I get kicked out of blogger.

This is really, really fucking annoying. So I just said "to hell with it" and added my gmail account to the blog. Expect to see many more posts from this "Crazy Newt" fellow.

You are now all informed.

May Playlist (broken links fixed!):

This month's playlist has been chock full of sad, depressing music, as well as a few mainstream blasts from the past.  And some happier tunes, to show that I'm not just about hanging myself.

And the mountain goats.  Always with the mountain goats!

  1. Imaginary Cities, Say You
  2. The Mountain Goats, Oceanographer's Choice
  3. Frederick Squire and Katherine Maki, Calling it Quits
  4. Ok Go, White Knuckles
  5. Cake, Italian Leather Sofa
  6. The Beta Band, Inner Meet Me
  7. The Beatles, Back in the U.S.S.R.
  8. The Who, Behind Blue Eyes
  9. Radiohead, Reckoner
  10. Forest City Lovers, Sea to Land