OK, So I’m Gonna Write A Book….. Here…… Now

I was in a crazy old German restaurant today, eating Schnitzel and catching up with a friend. The same friend who I blogged about who is an aspiring filmmaker, and I’m aspiring to become part of his entourage when he’s rich and successful. As of today, he’s still not rich, so I realized I can’t hold out for that, and I might actually have to get rich on my own. My education doesn’t lend itself to netting high paying jobs, so I realize that if I’m ever to reach lofty heights, I’m going to have to do a better job tapping into my creative abilities. At lunch we were talking about existing with moderate to considerable creative talents, and how it’s actually a real privilege, and shouldn’t be pissed away with laziness and fear. He’s made a few great short films recently, but he’d like to be able to make a full length film. I write a blog every week, but would love to some day write a book. We share these common desires to ‘live the dream’, which is a common thread that makes us great at motivating each other. I have a book idea, and I’ve even got it organized into separate ideas or chapters. It’s been sitting like that for years. He was a bit appalled that I’d come that far, but haven’t bothered writing it. He’s right. It’s just stupid.

My excuses are many, but my good excuses are few. I work full-time, I have a family, and I really enjoy sitting on the couch and watching a game, or listening to music. That’s how I unwind. When I do feel creative, I’ve always got a blog entry due, so I usually just pour whatever I’ve got into that. Which is cool, don’t get me wrong. Just not quite as awesome as writing a book. I haven’t written a book yet because I don’t have the discipline to do it. WordPress just sent me a reminder that I started this blog 2 years ago. I’ve made a commitment to this. Every week I’ve provided a blog entry. Even if it was a bullshit entry, I still did it. If I put that same time and energy into writing a book, I’d have long since finished it.

That’s when it finally occurred to me. Why don’t I write the book in my blog? I write the blog anyways. I’m always complaining about not being able to come up with topics. If I can write 20 chapters or so, I’ll have topics for the next 20 weeks. Then, I’ll have fulfilled my blog commitment AND have a book finished. I don’t want to go as far as calling this genius because it wouldn’t have taken a genius 2 years to figure this out, but it is pretty smart by my standards.

So….. Starting next week, I will write a book. One chapter at a time, and post it here on my blog. Can you wait until next week to find out what it’s about? No?? Okay, I need a few more words to get up to 500, so I’ll give you the concept.

I don’t really have a working title for this, but it’s meant to be a self-help book. An instruction manual on being ‘cool’. I know that sounds nuts (and how arrogant am I that I think I could be the person to write it?), but I think this is an important thing for everybody in life. I’ve always been fascinated by ‘cool’. How easily it comes to some, and how elusive it is for others. Impossible to define, and almost more impossible to achieve through conventional means. Some people dismiss it as a high school thing, but I believe that there is an ‘adult cool’ as well, whether it’s ‘water cooler cool’ or ‘hockey dad cool’, society has its pecking order of social acceptance, and it’s not to be escaped, so if there were a few easy steps to follow to improve your ‘cool factor’, why wouldn’t you? What are the qualities of cool that can be used no matter what your age or situation? Where’s the ‘How To Guide’? I am (right now) committing to write 20 chapters of ‘cool tools’ to help you in your journey to cool. Hopefully along the way I can help you understand why you might even want to bother being on a journey to cool, and most importantly helping you stay off that train that is headed in the exact opposite direction. A book for all ages, but written from the male perspective, but hopefully having enough universal concepts so females will enjoy it just as much. Perhaps by finally getting off my ass and writing a book, I could even increase my own level of cool.

Would you read this book? Well now is your chance! The foreword will be posted next week! Until then my lovelies, enjoy the holiday weekend! (Yes I just called you my lovelies….. how cool is that???)


The Anti-Bucket List

The greatest thing just happened to my writers block! I have to confess to you faithful readers that sometimes even I have absolutely nothing to say to anyone about anything. In the mornings when I sit here with my coffee, I manage to come up with something as I become more awake. In the evenings when I sit here with my wine, it just doesn’t come easy. So tonight, (and this isn’t the first time I tried this) I went to google to try to find generic blog ideas that I could effectively steal, and make my own for the sake of fulfilling this dreaded self imposed blog quota of one per week. You would be amazed to find out how completely useless this exercise is. It’s bloggers giving other bloggers ideas, but they’re not really ideas, they’re just a shitty set of suggestions about how to blog like….”Write about what you know”…. and…. “Talk about what you’re passionate about”….. I know that assholes!!!! I need a specific concrete idea like “Write about the time a seagull pooped on your shoulder”.

Then I found an actual blog that had actual blog ideas. 50 of them. Some of them weren’t half bad. I chose the Anti-Bucket list which is things I would never do in my lifetime. That’s easy. There’s lots of those, but how do I narrow it down to the most important or interesting ones? I went to http://www.bucketlist.org so that I could find out what some of the most popular bucket list items are, and now I’m going to spend the rest of the evening discrediting them and making fun of them.

1. Learn Archery

At first I thought this said Learn Anarchy which I thought would be fun, but I don’t think I will ever learn archery. I tried it in high school one time. I just remember my gym teacher saying “Keep your elbow straight”, and me saying “IT IS STRAIGHT!!!!!” It went on and on like that.

2. Buy the person behind me a coffee.

One of my pet peeves is people who use the phrase ‘Pay it forward’. They blog about it, they use it in their Facebook updates, they love to be in love with the idea of making the world a better place. Here’s an idea…. Just do what you’re supposed to do in each situation. No more, no less. If everyone does that, the universe will all fall into place. While you’re inside buying a stranger coffee, you’re probably double parked outside. Get a grip.

3. Bungee Jump

No thanks. Plummeting to my death only to not die (providing the equipment works) does absolutely nothing for me. Pure foolishness.

4. Go on an African Lion Safari.

No thanks. Sweating it up in the jungle with a bunch of predators who may or may not eat me depending on my luck does not sound appealing. I’m happy to look at pictures.

5. Collect a jar of dirt from every State.

Then what?

6. Swim with a Whale-Shark

Ummm no.

7. Have a mud fight.

Why on earth would I want to have a mud fight? I don’t like mud, and I don’t like to fight. I would like to have the opposite of a mud fight. What is the opposite of a mud fight? I believe it is eating croissants inside.

8. Attend a Masquerade Ball

I hope I’m never invited to one. I just feel like it’s way too much effort for the way I like to party.

9. Strap a Rocket to a Merry-Go-Round

That’s just stupid.

10. Paint a Mural

You wouldn’t want to see that mural. I can’t even draw stick figures well. It would be stick figures on the mural though. They’d be doing all kinds of random things. Kindergarten kids would do a better job. I think murals are fantastic, but you won’t see me create one.

Well that was a fun exercise. I have to admit, there were some pretty good ideas on that site, and I was hard pressed to find 10 I didn’t want to do, but if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s not wanting to do things :)


I’m Still Here

There are a lot of things that could have killed me by now.

My wife just showed me an article about the ’5 second rule’. I didn’t read it because I have to write this blog, and that wouldn’t have contributed to it, but she was telling me that there is scientific evidence that actually supports the ’5 second rule’. Her being a scientist, and me being someone who just might eat food off the floor, we have an appreciation for the fact that someone actually took the time to research this. I can’t comment on the article any further because I didn’t actually read it. My wife is the type that wouldn’t eat food off the floor, unless it was our floor, but it would take her longer than 5 seconds because I know her brain would run some sort of risk analysis before she did it. Me? I wouldn’t think twice. In my conversation with her, I confessed to eating food off restaurant tables frequently. In Diners, Fast Food restaurants, and shopping mall food courts. If a few french fries slip off my plate onto the table, I don’t hesitate. Consequences be damned. I’m still here.

Earlier this week a co-worker and I joked about being left in car parking lots as kids. My mom will read this blog and deny it, but I remember being given the option of sitting in the car when she went shopping. Not for a long time or anything, but as long as I kept the doors locked and didn’t open them for strangers, I could sometimes stay in the car and play with baseball cards. That stuff is a little more frowned upon now, but back in the day it was not a problem. The only issue with sitting in her car was that on a hot summer day, she had these horrible patterned vinyl seats. As the sun beat down on them during the day, they would heat up like a cast iron skillet, and if you were unfortunate enough to be wearing those high 80′s shorts (which in the 80′s I certainly did), you were going to get an imprint in the back of your leg, not unlike the guy in ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ when he was in the burning tavern and grabbed the hot medallion, and it seared into his skin. I can almost remember the sound of burning flesh on my legs. I also remember walking around for days with the pattern of her car seat on my skin, and being able to run my fingers along it like braille. I survived.

I was transported in a baby carriage that had what I can only describe as ‘shocks’ on the bottom to absorb the uneven sidewalk. I suspect I wasn’t the first baby to be pushed around in this thing, and it was worn in. I feel like if you hit a large enough crack in the sidewalk, that you could launch a baby 20 feet into the air with those loose springs. We didn’t use bike helmets when we were kids. I don’t even think they existed. Nobody used mouth guards when they played sports, you would just get your teeth knocked out. Food allergies didn’t exist the same way they do now. I don’t ever remember anybody seeming worried about anything I ate. If something was past the expiry date, you did the smell test, and if it passed, you were good to go. I’m alive.

I’m not trying to suggest all of that was better than being prepared, and padded, and safe. Just different, that’s all. Every generation has their exaggerated stories of having to walk through 50 miles of snow up to their eyeballs to get to school. They just get less and less interesting. When you’re the kid you roll your eyes every time your parents tell you those stories. Before you know it, you’re telling them, and you can’t believe how spoiled your own kids will be. By today’s standards I’ve done some things that probably aren’t too good for my health, safety or well-being. I’m still here though.


(Disgusting) Hopes For My Son’s Future

My son has picked up a few nasty habits in his 17 months on the planet. Or perhaps this is his natural state of being, and we as humans have to learn how not to be disgusting little germ magnets. (An aside in case he reads this in 20 years, Son…. I’m not calling you a disgusting little germ magnet…. but I totally could…. based on things I’ve seen you do… sorry…. if not for your mother and I….. and by that I mean your mother…… you would be completely filthy all the time……I’m just sayin’) I have a soft spot for my son though. Despite some of the verbiage surrounding my opinions on his hygiene, I only want the best for him in life. Son, the following is for you…….

I hope you continue to stick your finger in the cigarette burn holes in the fabric of life. Repeatedly! It means that you want to push the limits and continue to be unafraid in this world. Your curiosity to ‘see what happens if you do it’ will (get you in trouble usually, but) lead to adventure. It’s a good way to be, and if that’s going to be who you are, then be that person and don’t apologize for it.

I hope you continue to (figuratively) piss on your own face. The smell and discomfort of our own urine landing on our faces, possibly in or near our mouth and eyes, teaches us to be humble. No matter how successful you become in life (and I believe that you will be extremely successful), you should never get too cocky or arrogant because you never know when you will next ruin everything by urinating on your face. It’s totally cool. It needs to happen to keep us grounded.

I hope you continue to try to eat random things off the floor and other surfaces. It tells me that you won’t be wasteful and will try to get the most out of life. Just because that milk has been sitting out for 8 hours, and those Cheerios have been under the couch for 4 days doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t at least make an attempt to consume them. It might make you sick, but it shows me a willingness to be thrifty, and make the most of what you’re given. Finding treats in the couch cushion is also good training for when you’re a teenager, and you need to scrounge up some money. Couch cushions and coat pockets are gold!

I hope you continue to lick every surface you can get your tongue on. The world is yours to taste and savor. It means you will be open-minded. When you judge each surface on its own merit, and not assume that all surfaces taste the same, it teaches you to be tolerant and embracing of diversity.

I hope you continue to kiss the mirror when you see your reflection in it. You can’t love anyone properly until you learn to love yourself first. You come from a long line of proud mirror gazers, and I’m glad to see that the torch has been successfully passed.

I hope you continue to stare at women in elevators. Chicks love confidence, and while your ability to maintain eye contact through any sort of awkwardness is almost creepy, it works (as long as you’re really handsome) time and time again. If you could bottle that ability to effortlessly charm all the ladies that cross your path, we could get rich off selling that potion.

In short, just keep doing what you’re doing. No matter how disgusting some of it may seem, your old man will find a way to spin it into something good.


Thoughts And Rants In Jogging Pants – The 100th Post

I bid you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day indeed! There was a time when this post just wouldn’t have been written until later in the week because I was out at a bar celebrating a ‘drinking holiday’. Tonight, my son was not feeling well, and my wife was playing volleyball, so I am here cleaning up various pukey items, and waiting for the moment when I could finally pour myself a tall can of Guinness (didn’t even plan that, just happened to be in the fridge), and write my 100th post for Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants.

I believe in stopping to smell the flowers! There had to be a celebration of either 2 years a blogger, or 100 posts. This one came first, so we’ll go with it. Not to be weird or self-indulgent, but I’m actually pretty proud of this achievement. Since I started this blog, I’ve done a post every week with the exception of one. Regular readers know this, but my father passed away, and my son was born in the same week, so….. I had some stuff going on. Every other week, I’ve managed to contribute to this blog. I’ve never copped out at less than 500 words either. For a guy that’s never had a reputation for following through on stuff, this could represent a big change for me. Bigger and better things still to come I hope.

Speaking of copping out, I decided that particularly for the benefit of my newer readers, (but also for my own benefit, so I don’t have to burn a good topic this week) I’m going to list of some interesting stats about Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants.

- Being Canadian, I’m not surprised that the majority of my readers are also from Canada. Also not surprised that Americans came in second. England being third and Australia in fourth?? Yeah, they speak English, so it makes sense. India comes in at #5. That is awesome!!! I don’t know anyone in India, but someone over there is enjoying my blog, and I don’t know why it surprises me, but it does, pleasantly! Awesome!

- There is a way on WordPress.com here that I can see what people typed into their respective search engines to find me. Even though I paid extra to have the website thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com, some people just type those words into Google or whatever, and that’s cool. Some of the ones lower down on the list are pretty interesting though. I’m not suggesting people were trying to find my blog with this combination of words per se, but they did put those combination of words into a search engine, and proceeded to click on my site afterwards. My favourite being “Pissing In Jogging Pants While Sleeping”.

- I just wanted to send a shout out to my #1 commenter. This of course does not count Facebook comments, but actual WordPress comments. Tom Nardone is the guy who comments on my blogs most, and he is quite a talented blogger himself. You can find him at tomnardone.net. You may not agree with anything he says, but you will laugh, and you might concede a few points along the way. Tom, I know you’ll read this….. I DON’T DO THIS FOR ANYONE!! So, feel special ;)

TOP 5 MOST VIEWED POSTS

1. My Father’s Eulogy (I’m glad this was #1)

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/10/29/my-fathers-eulogy/

2. The Night My Father Died (curious that I’ve written 2 posts about him, and they’re my top 2)

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/10/14/the-night-my-father-died/

3. Mommy Porn (This was based on the ’50 shades of Grey’ craze)

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/07/02/mommy-porn/

4. The Popcorn Kernal Stuck In Your Teeth (I couldn’t even remember this…pretty good random bits)

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/06/04/the-popcorn-kernel-stuck-in-your-teeth/

5. Who’s That On Your Profile Pic? (Ranting against parents losing their identity)

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/05/21/whos-that-on-your-profile-pic/

I don’t know if those were the best ones, but I often am surprised by which posts get the most traction. Usually when I think something is totally amazing I hear crickets and see tumble weed. Then when I think something is mediocre, I’ll get lots of great feedback.

Finally, I’ll leave you with 5 of my personal favourites, but before I do…… I really just want to thank anybody and everybody that takes the time to read this blog, whether it’s every week, or just when the topic seems interesting. Without some of the feedback I’ve received, I probably wouldn’t have the energy or motivation to continue every week. Even though writing can be annoying, and make me feel like I’d rather stab my eyeballs out, I also really do love having this creative outlet available. It’s always more fun when you know people get to see it. So thanks again, and without further ado….

Five Fun Blogs That I was Going To Say Were My FAVE’s, But Then Couldn’t Commit, Because All Of These Entries Are My Babies, And You Can’t Play Favourites With Your Own Babies, Can You??????

1. No please, really…. inconvenience me!!! Life Is really all about you, I swear!

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/07/16/no-please-really-inconvenience-me-life-really-is-all-about-you-i-swear/

2. B.A.N. Boycott Acronyms Now

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/08/27/b-a-n-boycott-acronyms-now/

3. Dogs Don’t Like You

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2012/10/16/dogs-dont-like-you/

4. Robots Taking Over the World With Your Help

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/05/06/robots-taking-over-the-world-with-your-help/

5. Adventures In Loose Leaf Tea

http://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2013/09/10/adventures-in-loose-leaf-tea/


My Texas Mickey

I found myself telling this story more than once this week. At this late hour, I can’t even remember how it came up, much less how I told the same story twice. Did I force it into the conversation? I must have. Now I’m forcing it into my blog.

The story goes like this….. Once upon a time in my earliest of 20′s, I was invited to a Stag & Doe, or Jack & Jill if you prefer. If you’re not familiar with such an event, it’s a pre-wedding party for the bride and groom which for all intents and purposes is a cash grab, or more politely put, a fundraiser to help pay for the wedding. I have no qualms with these types of events because I like to hang out, eat & drink, and enter raffles. What better place to do that?

The Stag & Doe in question might have actually been the first one I ever went to. I wasn’t at the age where friends of mine were getting married yet, but I was at the age where I could drink legally, so that would have put me anywhere between 19-23. I don’t remember much about this party except that the items that were being raffled off were not as desirable as one would hope. There was however, a HUGE bottle of Canadian Club Whiskey. I could tell that whoever won that item would be the envy of every man there, and would be best served to high-tail it out of there before being asked to share. I never win anything (oh I remember how this conversations came up….. we were talking about the roll up the rim to win contest at Tim Horton’s and someone asked me if I won, and I told them that I never win anything which segued into this story), so you can imagine my surprise and elation when I won this Texas Mickey of CC Whiskey. The thing is I don’t drink Whiskey.

I just learned from the Urban Dictionary that they don’t have Texas Mickeys in Texas. Apparently it’s a Canadian thing. Go figure. So if you still don’t know what it is, picture a bottle of booze the size of a small child. It comes with a pump because you couldn’t actually tip it to pour or Whiskey would go everywhere. The name is a play on words…. Mickey being a small pocket-sized bottle, but everything is bigger in Texas…..it’s supposed to be funny. If you’re male and under 25, you want this as a strange status symbol of some sort. I had it, but Whiskey wasn’t/isn’t my drink. So how was I going to consume this much Whiskey?

One night a couple of friends and I got together to sort out my Whiskey problem. One of these friends was having a house party that was fast approaching. It was slated to be the highlight of the summer. We’d be drinking Whiskey, but how? We bought a bartender book, and tried to find some drink recipes that suited us, and we couldn’t come up with anything. So off we went to the corner store, and came back with a variety of sodas, mixers and fruit juices. Like a bad grade 11 science project, we started experimenting. The details got sketchy fast. We did settle on a drink, and I’ll share the recipe with you because the world needs to benefit from something I’ve done, and why not this?

Recipe for a Rye and Austin (my name is Ryan Austin…. this is supposed to be funny)

- Rye Whiskey (I’m not gonna tell you how much, I’m not your daddy)

- Wink (If you don’t know what that is, it’s a citrus soda bottled by Coca Cola. Drinking it straight will rot your gut, which I think is why it’s harder to find now, but it’s a great mixer)

- 2 kinds of fruit juice (the catch is that each juice has to contain at least 2 kinds of fruit, like Orange/Banana…..you heard correctly, 2 varieties of multiple fruit juices)

If you can even find these ingredients, much less mix them properly, then you will have tasted the greatest Whiskey mixed drink known (or unknown) to man! Drink Responsibly!


Lotion Commotion

I’ve sparked off a new debate! Challenging all conventional wisdom. In real life, nobody believes me, so I’m taking the debate to you, my readers…. 90% of whom might not even be real people for all I really know and can prove. If you are following my blog, then I feel that you are intelligent, sensible, and wonderful all at the same time. I don’t know why I didn’t just come to you first. Now, I’m not necessarily looking for people to agree with my argument. In fact, it might be more fun if you don’t.

Here’s the topic for debate….. I personally think that Hand and Body Moisturizer is as addictive as most narcotics, and regular use of it is detrimental to your existence.

I have absolutely no scientific evidence to support the above statement, and I’m way to lazy to do any actual research on it. The logic is sound though. I believe that your skin moisturizes itself. In certain climates like this extremely dry Canadian winter climate that I’m currently stuck in, your skin may not be able to produce enough moisture to properly protect itself. In these instances it totally makes sense to use a product like body lotion to help out your skin a bit. There are a lot of people who use lotion every day. Some even twice a day. My wife for example….(I wasn’t going to talk about her in this blog because of a ‘respect my privacy’ thing, but when I realized I couldn’t poke fun at the #1 lotion addict in my life, it made me sad, and less passionate about presenting the topic here. Then in a wonderful twist of fate, I asked her permission to talk about her lotion addiction, and she didn’t directly say no, so the topic is on the table as long as I was willing to present some of her counter points which I think is only fair). She uses lotion at least twice a day. She is a lotion addict. Now I should mention that she does have great skin, and often passes for 10 years younger than she is (or as she put it just now ‘I’m gonna look like this when I’m 70, what are you gonna look like hatchet face?…… I should explain that I have a ‘concentrate face’ which has me squishing my face together when concentrating, thus creating a permanent line between my eyebrows which my wife lovingly refers to as a hatchet mark), but she has a little secret, and it’s called addiction. To the general public she doesn’t appear to be an addict, but they haven’t been around for an episode of her suddenly and feverishly scratching her leg, and yelling ‘get the lotion, quick!!!’. I go and get her fix, but who knows how long until the next withdrawal. You would think that lotion twice a day would prevent such a thing.

My theory is that if you put lotion on your body too often to help with dry skin, then your body will stop producing its own moisture, ironically creating a dependency on the lotion which was supposed to be solving the problem (not unlike an addiction to painkillers). Somebody that uses lotion twice a day probably does so because their skin has already dried up from the first usage, and because their body no longer produces moisture, they have to put on a second dose. When I do actually put lotion on my body to combat my own dry skin, my skin feels soft for days, because I’m just using it as a little boost to augment my already ‘moisture producing’ skin.

My son is now the ultimate guinea pig. He gets lotioned up twice a day as per his mom, and various medical websites that I consulted. At just over a year, he’s not old enough to form his own opinion about how often he should have lotion on his skin. When he is old enough, it might be too late.

I have a friend who I play basketball with who only recently learned how to apply lotion to that hard to reach area on his back, by using the back of his hand. He claims that he’s never been happier with his lotion situation, and that he only uses lotion in the winter. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t put lotion on his hands, and washes them a lot. Even I would say that he could use some lotion on his hands. So the question came up….. ‘Why would you go to all the trouble to put lotion on your back, and then not put lotion on your hands as well (which is way easier)?’ His answer was that when his hands get itchy, he can just scratch them, but when his back gets itchy…… Interesting perspective. This guy uses lotion for the specific purpose of avoiding ‘hard to scratch’ itchiness, but general ‘easy to scratch’ itchiness is acceptable, because he can just scratch it. If I was a girl right now, I would say “Only a guy would do that!” As a guy, I understand.

I did say I would represent my wife’s opinion on this matter as well, since I brought her unwillingly into this debate. She would want the world to know that a lot of people comment on how great her skin is, and that she is often mistaken for being roughly 8 years younger than she is, which is all true. She gives full credit to her army of anti-aging creams and moisturizers. She is also militant about avoiding sun damage, and has the whole family (myself included) wearing the highest possible level of sunscreen, and claims that she is responsible for me not turning into a ‘Hatchety Leatherface’ as a result of these precautions. Just so I’m not tipping the argument too far into her favor, I will remind the public that she often suffers through what I would describe as ‘Lotion Withdrawal Symptoms’, or LWS as it will be called henceforth.

Now you’ve heard both arguments. What do you think?


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