Monthly Archives: April 2013

Orlando Babies

Orlando Babies would be a great rap name. So would Skilly Nelson, but that’s not what this blog is about.

I’m in Orlando with babies, and surrounded by babies. Like our pilot said when 60% of the people on the flight were lined up waiting to get their strollers and car seats…. “That’s Orlando for ya!!”

I have 3 things to comment on, all involving Orlando and babies in some way.

1. I was at Epcot Center today. For those yet to be enchanted by the magical perfection that is Walt Disney World, Epcot Center is one of their theme parks. I remember my first time going to Epcot Center when I was a kid, and it was an unforgettable experience as I believe all Disney Parks should be for all kids. Except locals I suppose. Perhaps it’s not such a big deal if you actually live in Orlando. I’m not ashamed to say it was pretty exciting to me as a kid. Today, as I walked around the park with my son for his first time, something struck me as kind of odd. Little kids seemed to be having meltdowns and freaking the fuck out on what I would consider an alarmingly regular basis. It would be fair to say that five minutes didn’t go by without some kid absolutely losing his/her shit at the park. I didn’t understand this. Kids…… This should be one of the greatest days of your young lives. Your parents probably brought you here at considerable expense. Most of the kids you know are playing around at home with their shitty toys, but YOU are at Walt Disney World, (dare I say) The Greatest Place on Earth (other than Las Vegas)!!! What in the hell is your problem?? What could possibly be causing you this level of distress?? Your parents flew you here, and this is the attitude you’re going to take towards today’s festivities??? If you want them to continue to take you places like this, you better cool out!! I don’t get these kids.

2. My brother and law and my niece walked into a short film that had some cast members from the movie ‘Lion King’. This was a big deal for my niece who is 2.5 yrs old, and is very familiar with The Lion King. I think Disney got us in there on some false pretenses however….. This wasn’t a sequel, or any kind of interesting follow-up. They had basically used the characters to do an environmental piece about how we’ve been ruining the world but ‘there’s still hope if we act now’. I felt manipulated, but I have to give credit where credit is due…… They have the undivided (maybe that’s not the right word) attention of the babies who are the world’s future, and instead of fluff, they’re teaching them to be environmentally conscious. Disney Guilt!!! Making the world a better place!

3. Out of respect for my son’s privacy I’ve decided not to say too much about him on this blog. Which is too bad. He’s quite a character. I could go on and on about him, but I’m trying to be original, and talking about your kids all the time is something that is done….. frequently…..which is cool, I mean we all love kids but…. I gotta go a different route……at least with this blog……you should know though that all I do at work is follow people around with my phone and make them look at pictures of my son……. They usually say he’s really handsome…… if they don’t then I say it…’s too short to be bashful….Having said all of that, here’s a quick story about my son.

He just turned 6 months old. We’re in Orlando like I mentioned, and the weather in Toronto has been shitty. We didn’t get a spring, it was just pissy all the time. I’m sure it’s nice there right now, since I’m not there….always happens. Anyways, I took him swimming for the first time the other day. 6 months old. I wondered if he would be scared, or happy, or annoyed, or surprised…..would he shit his pants???? So I took him down (he looked fucking adorable in his little swimming get-up, it’s just ridiculous…… see this is why I can’t write a parenting blog….because only in my mind would the words ‘fucking adorable’ come out, typed no less, so I could have fixed it and didn’t!!!) and walked slowly into the pool. The whole time I’m looking at his face for some type of reaction. I get nothing. Is the water too cold? Apparently not. Does he like being in the water? Who knows? This kid gave me a look that I can only describe as ‘disinterested’ for a full 30 minutes. I should mention that his face is normally pretty expressive, but he is hard to impress at the best of times. Swimming though?? How could you not have an opinion on that? We didn’t just stand there either. I was moving this kid around. I did everything short of submerging him at the top speed that still seemed reasonable. No reaction!!! Should I feel jipped as a parent? Isn’t this one of those parenting firsts that people always remember? I’ll always remember this, but not for the reasons I would have thought.

25 Random Things About Myself

My wife thought it was cool that her friend had once posted a list like this somewhere (Facebook I guess). I’m 10 minutes from missing out on doing my Monday blog, and I was sifting through notes to self on my Blackberry looking for inspiration. I write notes to myself now when I think of something that’s funny, or a good blog topic. I only started doing this last year. It’s a shame because I was coming up with great ideas for 37 years before that, and I can’t remember any of them right now. If I could give advice to a younger creative person, it would be to write down your ideas. You always think you’ll remember them later, but chances are you won’t. Especially if you’re a space cadet like me.

Anyways….. my wife rolled in 5 minutes ago and gave me a blog idea right at the exact moment that I needed one, and while it’s not an original concept, it’s different for every person that does it, since we are all individuals, and no 2 of us are the same (like snowflakes…… or scabs). What I like about it most is that it allows me to write without any continuity which would have required a lot more energy than I have, and I do love a good list, so without further mindless padding of the word-count, I bring you….

25 Random Things About Me

1. My name is Ryan. I’m 38 years old. I tell people that I popularized the name Ryan. If you’d like to refute that claim, go ahead and try to collect evidence. Think of all the Ryans you know that are over 38. Write that number down. Now think about the Ryans you’ve heard about that are under 38. I promise that there’s way more. Way more!! Why? I don’t want to appear arrogant, but the proof is in the pudding. Check the stats!!

2. I was a Boy Scout when I was a kid. I went to meetings hoping that a game of Dodgeball would break out. Sometimes it did. I used to be embarrassed about this. Now I’m not. I’m proud that I could go into the wilderness and survive for 3 or 4 hours, and I owe it all to the Boy Scouts.

3. When I was a kid I would drink a tall cold glass of milk when I got thirsty. Gross.

4. I have over 13,000 songs on my iPod. That’s a pretty serious music collection by most standards. I’m proud of this. I should have been a DJ. It’s one of about 13,000 things I wanted to do with my life.

5. I’ve worked as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant before. We only had like 3 or 4 customers that would come in during lunch hour. One girl always ordered chocolate milk (in a Chinese restaurant??), and I would run out the back door, across a busy intersection to the convenience store, buy one, run back, pour it in a glass, and bring it out to her. I did this every day. What can I say? She was a regular!

6. I am a sports fanatic!

7. I’m not anywhere near as judgemental in real life as I am in my blog.

8. I hate all new stuff that people like. I like all old stuff that I like.

9. You know when you’re a kid and people tell you that other people tease you because they like you? I never got that. Now that I’m older, I tease people because I like them.

10. As previously documented on an earlier blog or two, 6 months ago my father passed away unexpectedly 3 days before my son (his first grandchild) was born. That fucks with me every single day, and it’s every bit as bad as it sounds. Still, I consider myself incredibly lucky to have had him in my life for as long as I did. It was a privilege.

11. My wife, son and I occasionally have random dance parties when he’s in the Jolly Jumper. I don’t think I’m overstating it, but this kid is a dancing prodigy! If I put a Youtube compilation together it would go viral instantly. I’m sure of it. I respect his privacy too much for that though.

12. I’m a procrastinator. To prove this, I intentionally posted this blog on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. (See what I did there? I tried to make it look intentional that I’m a day late?? Like it was an example of procrastination?? Genius!! Oh….. you didn’t fall for it??)

13. My clothes have to match. They don’t have to be ‘in season’ or ‘in style’, but goddamnit they better co-ordinate because life is too short to wear a black belt with brown shoes.

14. When it was clear that VHS machines were on their way out, I started buying up a bunch of movies for cheap thinking that I would purchase one of the last VCRs ever made, and ride it out with my collection of awesome movies I paid almost nothing for. That hasn’t happened as of yet.

15. I think Twitter is the dumbest trend I’ve ever seen #justwrongonsomanylevels #dontreallygiveashitwhatpeoplehavetosayevery10seconds #yourfeedbackoneverylittlefuckingthingoutthereissounimportant
That being said, follow me @T_A_R_I_J_P! I will let you know every time I post a blog, and I will do sweet little else aside from the odd obligatory comment to make my Twitter widget on my blog page seem like there’s some action on it.

16. I’m having a difficult time coming up with 25 things because I just realized I could be blowing 25 potential blog topics by doing this. I’m going to have to make the rest of these more nondescript. Maybe like a generic internet dating profile.

17. I love to laugh.

18. I love long walks on the beach. This has to be my favourite dating cliché. Who says that? I mean, I know everyone does love long walks on the beach, what’s not to love, but how could that possibly be in the top 5 or 10 things you love to do.

19. I just wish Canadians and Americans would spell everything the fucking same!! Fuuuuuck!! I hate spell check on here. It’s American, but I instinctively spell things the Canadian way, but I have a lot of readers from both countries. It’s the same word idiots!!! Why could the forefathers not just have gotten together on this??

20. I love the Toronto Maple Leafs the way you love your oldest friend. You maybe don’t see each other all the time, but when they need you, you’re there. I don’t watch a lot of the games anymore, but when they make the playoffs (which they just did for the first time in 9 years), I’m there. By the way, before any Leaf fans come out of the woodwork and make ‘bandwagon’ comments, I’ve been following this team since Borje Salming and Ian Turnbull were manning the blue line, and Bunny Laraque was in net. I’ve watched every steaming pile of shit team they’ve ever put together. Don’t question my loyalty because I no longer watch them all the time. I did it for my own sanity!

21. I do have a soft spot for ‘girlie drinks’. They taste better, and I don’t suffer from the bullshit bravado that would have you drink hard liquor to prove you’re a man. You have to drink that shit for 5 years before it tastes good, and I don’t have 5 years.

22. I wear boxer briefs. I cannot imagine a scenario where boxers or briefs would be an acceptable substitute.

23. I had quite a few teddy bears when I was a kids. I know that’s not the manliest thing in the world to admit, but they’re stuffed animals….. cute and cuddly…. who wouldn’t like that??? Get over it!

24. My first part-time job was at KFC. Sometimes when you work at a fast food place, you get sick of that food. Many years later my eyes still light up when someone talks about the greasy heart stopping deliciousness that is Kentucky Fried Chicken. No I don’t know what the 11 herbs and spices are. I’m pretty sure it’s flour and the first 11 that you find when you reach into the spice rack.

25. I really did not know how hard this would be. I had to do it over 2 sessions. It made me realize that I don’t like talking about myself as much as I like talking about other people, and my opinions of their poor behaviour. That said, I hope you enjoyed this random little slice of my life. Who wants to hang out with me now? 😉

In My Dreams

In my dreams…. I’m a guy that gets up super early, goes for a jog when it’s still dark out, comes home, puts on a pot of coffee, reads the paper, and gets ready for work before anybody else wakes up. Then I go to work, and arrive 30 minutes before start time, and meditates until it’s time to work.

In reality…… I hit the snooze button at least twice after my ‘drop dead’ time for waking up, and tear ass around to get ready on time. I only shave twice a week. I tell people it’s because of sensitive skin, but in reality it’s because I’m typically left to decide between shaving and being on time for work as the higher priority for the day.

In my dreams…. I’m the guy in the Grey Goose commercial who’s sailing his boat out on the ocean near icebergs, and wearing white pants while shucking oysters and drinking vodka on the rocks, not to get smashed, but because I’m sophisticated enough to know the difference between Grey Goose and any other Vodka, and I just drink that shit straight because I can, because I have a boat, and the people I hang out with are that slick, and we all tie sweaters around our necks.

In reality….. I can’t afford a boat and I’m scared of drowning. What gets me excited (and always has) is a pitcher of beer (not just any beer…. I do have SOME taste), and a plate of chicken wings, hanging out with my friends in the lowest common denominator of sports bars hopefully with some godforsaken Toronto sports team finally in the playoffs on a big screen TV. I’m pretty simple at end of the day.

In my dreams….. I’m well read. I have a vast library of books, and I like to curl up on a Sunday morning with a good book and read the day away while it rains outside and a kitten snuggles up beside me and purrs. Biographies, fiction, cookbooks, and self-help books (because in my dreams I’m always trying to get better) etc. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

In reality……. If it’s longer than 3 paragraphs, good luck. I read blogs, but mainly because they’re short and I write blogs. I go to Chapters with my wife and buy a book on sale because it looks interesting, but I only read when I’m on a beach or an airplane, so most of those books have never been opened. The upside of this is that some people have commented that my writing style is original…. yeah no shit… I have no idea what it’s supposed to look like, so I just write like I talk. If I’d actually read a book, I’d probably try to write like an actual author. Sundays are spent napping on the couch in between football/basketball/baseball games on TV. I don’t like cats.

In my dreams….. I’m well-travelled. I’m the guy that was at the other table in the restaurant on Saturday, discussing the upcoming trip to Japan with his friends. He wasn’t Japanese though, he was just a guy that travels a lot. He spoke knowledgeably about what was there, and telling his friends where they could meet up and what they could do (because they both just happen to be going simultaneously, but not together??? I’d love to have that coincidence. ‘Oh, I’m gonna be in Japan next month… You too?? No way!!! We should meet up!!!). I would love to have a story to counter every travel story that someone told me. It would go like this..
Other person – Oh you should have seen how beautiful Amsterdam was blah blah blah
Me – I know…. I was there last week blah blah blah, and did way cooler stuff blah blah blah

In reality……. I go to Vegas a lot. Some of the hotels are designed to look like other places which I really appreciate, like Paris, New York New York, The Venetian. Now the upside is that I could totally write a Vegas tourism blog (there’s that idea again…. how do I manage to always work this in…. it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a real thing.) Otherwise, I watch some Anthony Bourdain shows and that’s about the extent of how cultured I am.

In my dreams…… I’m a rock star. I play all kinds of instruments effortlessly. I rock shows, make albums, even do session work for other famous artists. I appear in documentaries meant for the general public making a bunch of nerdy musical observations that only other musicians could hope to understand. I write tell all books about all the crazy hotel parties that I’ve been to, and name drop shamelessly.

In reality……. I borrowed my buddy’s guitar one time, and got a couple of books (which I don’t read) and DVDs meant to help me learn to play. I picked that thing up, and put my fingers in the (impossible) positions that represented basic chords, and realized ‘This hurts my fuckin hands!’

My Bloggiversary

This is my 51st blog. I’m kind of excited because it means ‘Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants’ is a year old. This is a big deal for me because I don’t usually have great success following through on these types of commitments with this type of consistency. A year ago I vowed to write a blog every Monday, and with the exception of the week after my father died/son was born (in the same week!!!!!) I have written a blog. It wasn’t always as amazing as I’d hoped, and to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t always on Monday (as recently as last week). Still, it’s been a pretty good experience. I’ve had a lot of great support and feedback (Thank you!), and it’s made me hungry to continue on and perhaps even start a 2nd blog. Maybe I’ll even write a book. More on that later.

At the end of a year it’s normal to take inventory and think about the year past and the year ahead. I’ve written a pretty rant-heavy group of pieces covering topics including but not limited to chain letters, dog imprisonment, record stores, shopping bag frustration, comb-overs, knitting and other hipster antics, crappy wedding songs and public transit encounters. I feel I’ve still yet to scratch the surface. I feel like there’s way more in the way of disgusting human behavior that I’m yet to cast judgement on. I think there is a world of stupidity that is yet to be made fun of. I know I have answers to some of society’s most burning questions, (like why are Starbucks drinks so expensive? I won’t make you wait for this….. the answer is that a cast of idiots think it’s the perfect place to stare at their laptop for 2 hours, and there are only about 12 places to sit in each one, so if they don’t charge enough, they’ll go out of business. This isn’t your living room or a library ya fuckin squatters…get a house!) and I want to share them with you.

What have I learned?

I’ve learned that not a lot of my followers enjoy sports blogs. I’ve learned that if you want to be featured on the WordPress ‘Freshly Pressed’ section, you have to do something different from what I’m doing (which is cursing, and not including pictures….. and let me say this about that….. I’m not a fan of pictures in blogs….. it’s like cheating…… you’re supposed to captivate your audience without pictures….. unless you actually took the pictures yourself, and it really pertains to what you’re doing like a food blog or a travel blog…. I suppose they would require pictures….. I’m just tired of all these blogs that have pictures that were taken off some other website just so you can have a picture….. but I do understand that more people read your blog if there’s a picture….. so maybe I’ll have to start including pictures…. and I’ll try to swear less in the new blog-year…… I didn’t realize until today how many of my Mom’s friends read this). I’ve learned that I need to read other blogs more, and be supportive of other people to even out my blog-karma. I’ve learned that no matter how awesome I think one of my blogs is, it will not get as many views or comments as one that I don’t think is as good which means one of two things…..Either I have no idea what people like, or people have no idea what I like. Or both. Or neither.

What are my goals for this Blog-Year?

I have 102 people who subscribe to my blog, meaning they get a notification their email every time I post. That seems like a lot, but I know there’s a lot of people who just wait for me to post it on Facebook or Twitter. So I could have more. I would like 1000 by the end of next blog-year. If I get up to 1000 subscribers, I will write a book. Only then will I know that I have a shot at selling 20 or 30 of them. If I can’t get 1000 subscribers to a free blog, then I won’t be able to sell a book anyways, so no real point in writing one. I could spend my energy doing something else. So if you wonder what a book by me might be like, then tell a friend or two about my blog. It’s really easy to become a subscriber. There’s a link on the right side of the page, and you just have to click it (actually there might be more to it for non-wordpress users. I suppose you’ll have to fill in your email address, but pretty easy as far as things go, and you can cancel anytime). I will also add a widget that tells you how many subscribers I’m at. I’m not usually a fan of the shameless self promotion, but nobody ever got anywhere without doing it, so tell 2 friends, and they can tell 2 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on (quick…. where was that from??? Was it a TV commercial??? I honestly don’t know, but I think it was an 80s thing.) To summarize, 1000 subscribers, I write a book, less than 1000 subscribers, no book! Then in my 3rd blog-year I want 1 million subscribers!! Anything less than that and we’re just fooling around.

Anywhoooooooooo…. I’d like to thank everyone who has read Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants, and provided feedback/encouragement/support. It’s way more fun to write when you know people are reading. I’ve enjoyed all the new blogger friends I’ve made, and I’m glad that my ramblings are serving a purpose (entertainment), rather than just annoying people. I hope that your morning coffee, or commute to work, or lineup at the bank, or late night glass of wine, or whatever situation you’ve been in that’s made you want to read this blog as been better for it. I’m honoured to have you as readers 🙂

Opening Daze

Yesterday was opening day for Major League Baseball. Today is opening day for my beloved Toronto Blue Jays. I (of course) have other commitments this evening, and will miss it. My family as a unit is at a stage in our technological evolution has not yet gotten a PVR for our TV, but seem to be above having a VCR for recording things. Therefore I will not be watching the opener this evening. I usually don’t miss it.

For those readers of my blog that don’t know me personally, you may be unaware of the fact that I am a die-hard Toronto Blue Jays fan. I like to keep sports out of my blog, and just focus on rants and opinions, but trust when I say that I could easily write a ‘Blue Jay Blog’ every day (time permitting). I use approximately 85% of my brain to think about the Toronto Blue Jays, and allot only 15% for all other facets of my life, which makes me seem a lot dumber than I am. The truth is I’m smart as a whip about all things Toronto Blue Jay related.

The Blue Jays have been around since 1977. I’ve been around for slightly longer. I have witnessed either in person, on TV, or on the radio just about every meaningful moment in Blue Jays history. I’ve watched them when they sucked as an expansion team. I’ve watched them when they were a good young up and coming team. I’ve watched them when they were back to back World Series Champions. I’ve watched them when they were a bunch of has-beens, and most importantly I’ve watched them miss the playoffs 20 years in a row. My interest never waned. They have flirted with success since then, but mediocrity has been their steady girlfriend for many years.

Finally they had the ‘off-season of a life-time’, and acquired a whole bunch of really good players to augment what was already a bunch of good young players. Now they are finally looking like a team that could win a World Series. I’m so stoked that I can barely contain myself. I want this. I need this. I’m as faithful of a fan to this team as anybody to any team. Need proof? Here are some of my random Blue Jay memories.

I remember Jesse Barfield hitting a pinch hit Grand Slam home run in 1982 against the Red Sox. It was the first pinch hit Grand Slam in Blue Jay history. I was too young to know what that meant (it sounded like a way bigger deal than it was, but we were an expansion team, so not that much cool stuff had happened yet), but I spent the 80s loving Jesse Barfield. I’m pretty sure I cried when he got traded to the Yankees for Al Leiter in 1989. Al Leiter the pitching prospect who was better known for his blister problems than any major league success (although in fairness Al turned out to be a pretty good pitcher). That summer I was playing tennis with a friend at the neighborhood tennis courts, when we looked over and noticed that Tony Fernandez was playing on the court beside us. We both collected baseball cards at the time, and how awesome would it be if we could race home on our bikes, and find all of our Tony Fernandez cards, then ask for an autograph. We achieved speeds that would make Lance Armstrong consider doping (wait a minute….never mind). We got back just as they were finishing up, and I asked Tony Fernandez for an autograph. As he signed it, I asked him if he thought it sucked that they traded Jesse Barfield. He gave me one of those cliché ‘it’s tough to lose a friend’ type of answers, but if you read between the lines, he meant ‘yes!!!! it sucks!!!!!’ Later that summer Fred McGriff was signing autographs at a car dealership. I went with a friend, and we lined up. Even though they had said only one item per person, Fred signed all of my cards (3 or 4). While he was signing, I asked him to try to hit a home run for me that night (in hindsight, who does that??? It’s not like he was visiting me in a hospital), and he said he would try. He did in his first at bat. By the end of the following year, both he and Fernandez got traded for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar which is arguably the greatest roster move in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays, because those were the two key players in our back to back World Series teams. Not knowing that at the time, I was pretty pissed off that the only two players I’d met both got traded, so I stopped trying to meet players.

Other items to consider as I profess my love for the Toronto Blue Jays…..

My mother baked Garth Iorg cookies. In 1985 when the Jays won their first division title, one of the newspapers was doing a thing where they asked players for family recipes, and published them. Garth Iorg was a 3rd baseman who had a son that year born in Toronto who was Canada’s shortstop at the World Baseball Classic this spring. I’m sure they’d both be stunned to know that cookie recipe became a staple in my household growing up.

I remember the day that Dave Stieb (who was my favourite player ever!!!!) pitched a no-hitter. I was at work and my friend called me to try to tell me without actually telling me that Stieb was pitching a no-hitter. You see, it’s bad luck to talk about a no-hitter while it’s happening, so he would have made up some code language to alert me to what was happening without actually saying it. Then I had to phone home, and get my father to tape the rest of the game for me on the VCR (man… i could really use a VCR today).

– I have a Frank Thomas game worn Blue Jays jersey
– I was in the Skydome watching game 6 on the jumbotron when they won the 1992 World Series. We rushed the field after. It was awesome.
– My parents were in the Skydome watching game 5 live when they should have won the 1992 World Series. They lost and their car got towed. It was not awesome.
– I was at the last ever game at Exhibition Stadium and the first ever game at the Skydome.
– I drove to Chicago with friends in 1998 to see Dave Stieb in his 40s attempt a comeback, and it was his first start with the team in 7 years.
– I’ve been to a spring training game in Dunedin Florida, and a minor league game in Las Vegas.
– I’ve sat in the booth with the PA announcer during a game eating his peanuts.
– I’ve played bare-handed catch with Scott Rolen (long story).
– I have autographed baseballs signed by Dave Stieb and Paul Molitor (awesome)
– I have an autographed baseball signed by Greg Myers, and a game worn Jacob Brumfield jersey (huh??)

(A lot of the above wouldn’t have happened without the help of a good friend who had a lot of access)

All that and I’ve only ever been to one opening day that I can recall. Slash of Guns n’ Roses fame did the national anthems on his electric guitar. It’s the first time I’ve heard the Canadian national anthem actually sound better than the American national anthem (which just seems to be a better song). I found it on Youtube. Worth having a look if you can appreciate a good guitarist.

I could write about the Blue Jays, and how our lives have paralleled for hours, days, years…. I will stop here. I hope all of you enjoy the upcoming baseball season regardless who you cheer for.