Monthly Archives: September 2013

Ridin’ Coattails

Ridin’ Coattails!!!! No, it’s not the name of my new rock band!! It’s a way of life. I can’t seem to get my mind off it lately. The recent success of a couple of my close friends has me re-thinking the way I’ve gone about my life. All this ‘going to work’…… all these ‘creative endeavours’ on the side….. What’s it all for?? Do I need this for my ego? My sense of self-worth? Let’s face it, I work for money. Now what if…. Just what if I knew someone whose career just blew up? Like an actor, singer, gangster or politician? Well they just might need an entourage, or at least one flunky to run around and do fun errands for them. The said individual might be in line for some decent renumeration, depending of course, on the success, and riches of the successful actor-singer-gangster-politician. In my short life, I’ve unfortunately never been in a position where I could even consider giving up my livelihood to be a member of a fun entourage that could live off the table scraps of the rich and famous. I feel like that is all about to change, and it has provided some clarity regarding my long-term employment goals.

I have a friend who recently directed a short film called “The Lamp”. First of all, it’s awesome! He’s awesome! It gets better. He hired my other friend to be the cinematographer of this particular film. This guy is awesome too! (As I writer I should strive to not describe two people as being awesome in the same paragraph, particularly in separate sentences….it would have been OK in the same sentence, like ‘these guys are awesome’, but the thing is, because they are both friends, and potential entourage havers, I don’t want to use different descriptors in case one seems better than the other, and then it looks like I’m playing favorites, because in reality I would be in either entourage if the opportunity arose.) I’m very excited this week. “The Lamp” has been selected for the Vancouver International Film Festival. It will be part of a ‘Shorts’ program called “Objects of Desire” running on October 3rd and 10th. This is big news!! Neither of these guys were doing this 2 years ago, and to be selected to a film festival?? Now I had never heard of the Vancouver International Film Festival before this, but I HAVE heard of Vanvouver, and I HAVE heard of Film Festivals, and I’m familiar with the term ‘International’, so I have no reason to believe that this isn’t earth shattering amazingness!!!!

Anybody that is an artist working in Canada knows that there’s no money in it, but I believe in long-shots. I believe that anybody can be a Drake or a Dan Akroyd. I also believe that you have to start ridin’ coattails early if you want to be a proper flunky. You gotta prove that you were with them from day one. I’ve not been shy about planting seeds for this either. I’ve made them both aware of my intentions. So much so, that I think I’ve been a little over-bearing. I’ve noticed that they are now both starting to leave about a 3 hour gap before returning my text messages, hoping I’ll stop being so creepy. I won’t stop though. Not until I reach the top. This is my new chosen career path!! Trevor Juras – Director Extraordinaire, and Othello Ubalde – Cinematographer Extraordinaire (again…. same theory as calling them both awesome, applies here as well), consider this my application form. When you guys get rich and famous from your considerable skill and ability, and you need someone to make Kool-Aid, shop for linens, fetch cigarettes, hire catering companies, play records, or even write a blog to increase your online presence……. I’d be happy to step in. I hope down the road, there will be pension and medical benefits involved, but for now I’ll work for beers.

I’m just kidding…. I have a wife and kid man, I don’t have time for that shit! All in all though, I wish these guys all the best at their first film festival, and continued success in the movie business. If you are curious at all about this short film, here’s a short preview.



So I texted Othello and Trevor a few minutes ago to get permission to show the link and drop their names. I always ask for permission before dropping names as a ‘respect for privacy’ thing. Funny that Drake and Dan Akroyd didn’t get back to me….. anyways, Othello told me that they JUST FOUND OUT they will be added to the ‘Toronto After Dark Film Festival’ coming up in late October. So it’s no fluke…. ‘The Lamp’ is doing big things! Hopefully I can go to this one! You guys need your shoes polished?? Need some Kool-Aid?? Let me know 😉 Congrats again guys!

Not Hot Beach Bodies?

There’s nothing like going to the grocery store to inspire me to write a Monday rant. There’s so much wrong with the world, and most of it in some way is going on at the grocery store. Could it be that the grocery store is a microcosm of our society? Shit, I could explain what I think I mean by that, but I don’t have a good explanation at the moment, and this post isn’t about grocery stores anyways, so I’m bailing on that concept. You deep thinkers out there can decide for yourselves. It’s 10:46 pm as I’m typing this. I gotta keep it simple or else I’ll get sleepy and won’t finish.

What went on at the grocery store today that could inspire a rant you say? Same thing that goes on at the grocery store everyday, but I usually don’t take notice. Perhaps I do, but maybe don’t always find it as offensive as I did today. To say its offensive is not to say that I’m specifically offended. I don’t offend that easily. I’m offended on behalf of society.

Why am I offended on behalf of society you say? I’m offended in general by gossip magazines. They’re always at the check-out in grocery stores. I’ve never purchased one, but I (like any other weak-minded soul) will check out the cover. There is a lot of information about celebrity weight fluctuation, marriage troubles, and not much else as far as I can tell. I don’t support this industry. I’m not saying that I’m better than anyone else for it. I’m sure there are industries that I do support that are worse than this. That said, I will look at the cover. I’m in the lineup at the grocery store, what else am I going to look at, chocolate bars??? We all know how that ends.

Today I got offended by one particular gossip magazine that I saw at the grocery store. It’s called Star Magazine. If you run out right now and get one, you’ll see the cover features “Best & Worst Beach Bodies”. This is certainly enough to pique someone’s interest. I almost don’t even have a problem with ‘Best Beach Bodies’ other than it being an invasion of privacy. At least there’s some positivity associated with compiling their best pictures of famous people at the beach. Do we really need ‘Worst Beach Bodies’???? I’ll give an example. They have a picture of Bruce Jenner’s son, and beside it, bold letters that read ‘HOT’. Beside that there’s a picture of Bruce Jenner, and beside it, bold letters that read ‘NOT’. Sooooo Bruce Jenner doesn’t have a hot beach body?? Bruce Jenner is 63 years old! Why would he have a hot beach body? More importantly who cares?? Even more importantly, does this mean that if you’re famous, and you don’t have a ‘hot beach body’, that you have to stop going to the beach?? Apparently it does! No wonder these poor buggers are always getting plastic surgery. No matter how washed up they get, there’s always the potential of them ending up on the COVER of a magazine in their bathing suit??? I think I would have been fine with a picture of his son, and a collection of other good pictures of ‘hot beach bodies’, but is there a new thing where you get ridiculed for going to the beach without a ‘hot beach body’? I would suggest that MOST PEOPLE do not have what would classically be regarded as ‘hot beach bodies’, does that mean none of them should go to the beach? That doesn’t seem right to me.

I know society doesn’t have too much sympathy for the rich & famous, and perhaps that’s why these particular magazines seem to be as successful as they are. I’m not too familiar with Bruce Jenner outside of his athletic notoriety. My understanding is that he’s the Kardashian kids’ stepfather. I’ve never watched that show (another industry I won’t support), so I have no idea how goofy this guy might be, but I don’t think it’s right for him or anyone else featured in that magazine to be ridiculed for what they might look like in a bathing suit. I also think that it sucks that they can’t just go hang out without being photographed. We’re the ones that buy the magazines, so we have nobody to blame but ourselves. It’s a bit disturbing to me, that’s all.

Vienna Calling

I love vacations. Especially vacations that involve travelling to new places. What’s perhaps even better is looking back on vacations you’ve been on. I can’t speak for everyone, but when I’m looking back on things, my imagination makes them way better than they may have actually been. I’ll be looking at pictures, and even if I was outside freezing my ass off all day, I’ll be like ‘Isn’t the snow beautiful?’ Even if I spent half the evening arguing with my wife, I’ll be like ‘Wasn’t that an amazing buffet?’

Last Monday my wife and I were having lunch, (just before my ill-fated trip to Teavana which I blogged about last week) and reminiscing about our trip to Vienna, Austria. It was our honeymoon after all (mind you, we took a road trip to New York and Boston, post-wedding, pre-Austria, and while we had a blast, we decided it was NOT our honeymoon). Vienna is a bit sexier to talk about from a honeymoon perspective, and neither of us had ever been there. In fact, we hadn’t been to Europe together at all. We decided to do it as a little mini-trip for 4 days. Loyal readers, let me assure you that this is the dumbest possible idea, and you should never try it yourself. It’s totally not worth the airfare or jet lag to only stay for 4 days. I thought there were a few things about Vienna that I’d like to share with you. Not that I want to turn this into a travel blog or anything, but I don’t have anything that I’m really fired up about right now.

– When we got to the airport after flying overnight on Austrian Airlines (which we liked), we had to go through customs. The customs officer looked at our passports, looked at us and said ‘have a good day’. I’m so used to going to the States and feeling like I’m one shifty look away from being strip searched. They didn’t even ask us any questions in Austria. Nice.

– The hotel we stayed at was a boutique hotel that we got a great deal on since we were travelling in their ‘off season’ for tourism. It would have been crazy expensive. We took a cab there from a train station. When we told the cab driver where we were staying, he practically BEGGED us to let him take us somewhere else. We didn’t let him since it was already paid for, but we were curious to know why. In his opinion, and the opinions of a lot of the locals, this hotel was an abomination, and he was just doing his part to try to steer business away from them. Here’s the thing….. it was the most gorgeous hotel that I’ve ever stayed at. What’s interesting to me is the difference in attitude towards old vs new that Europeans have as opposed to North Americans. I don’t mean to paint everyone with the same brush here, but Vienna is a city very rich in history, and architecture that is centuries old. Their idea of new, is restoring something old, and I get that. In North America we level old buildings to build new buildings all the time. There are some places that are well restored and historical, but they’re few and far between. I get that too. I just found it interesting that a new hotel with a fairly artistic design could be so offensive to someone. Pictures don’t do it justice, but I’ll include a couple.

Outside of the hotel at night.

Outside of the hotel at night.

Simple, yet modern and elegant.

Simple, yet modern and elegant.

From an inside lounge area at night looking out to the city.

From an inside lounge area at night looking out to the city.

– Something Vienna is definitely known for is the coffee shops. For every Tim Horton’s in Canada or Dunkin Donuts in the States, Europe seems to have a ‘one of a kind’, amazing coffee shop with incredible baked goodies. You almost can’t throw a baseball in Vienna without hitting three of them. There were no drive-thru shops that I could see either. The emphasis seems to be ‘come in and sit down… enjoy your coffee and cigarette, and leave when you’re ready’. A way different lifestyle than ‘hurry the fuck up, I’m late for work’. One I could get used to perhaps.

– Final thought was I wonder if I’ll hear any Falco on the radio. As a nerd for 80’s music trivia, I of course remember the Austrian pop star who’s most famous hit was ‘Rock Me Amadeus’, and his follow-up single ‘Vienna Calling’ (which I borrowed for this blog title… did anyone get that?) seemed to be the song that was going through my head for 4 days while in the city. Falco is the biggest international pop star to ever come out of Austria, and if you’re curious, I DID actually hear a Falco song on the radio while I was there. I was sad to learn that he had died in a car crash in 1998. R.I.P. Falco!!!!

Adventures In Loose Leaf Tea

There’s a situation that went down today which is kind of embarrassing. The word of my foolishness is fast spreading, and I need to get ahead of this by telling my side of the story via my blog. This definitely isn’t the coolest thing I’ve ever done, but if I can’t write about it, then there was absolutely no point in it even happening.

The afternoon started innocently enough. My wife and I were having lunch together at a pretty nice restaurant, and I remember that the beer I ordered had inspired a blog topic I was happy to have as it was already mid-day, and if you’ve been following me for a while, you know that Monday is blog day come hell or high water. That particular blog topic will now have to wait until next week providing I still remember it, but I will remember it, because I’ve written it down. Here. Just now. In this paragraph. When lunch was over, we were walking out to the car. My wife had an appointment, but we had 10 minutes before we had to leave the shopping area we were in. She had a store she wanted to go into, as did I. So we went our separate ways for a few minutes.

The store I wanted to go into was called Teavana. I don’t know much about these stores, but they seem to have been popping up all over the place. I’m a little out of touch with current trends, but I’m guessing the popularity of loose leaf tea is growing in these parts. As it should. We’ve recently acquired a Tea Press, and a few bags of different teas to try. It’s a bit of a nuisance to be honest due to the brewing variance between different types, but the teas I’ve tried have been really good, and I’ve gotten into a bit of a habit of drinking loose leaf tea in the evenings now. I can’t tell why I like this. Maybe because it’s a superior product, but sadly it’s probably because I just think it’s cool.

When I walked into Teavana, I saw their sample dispensers outside the front door. This was an outdoor mall, so the bees were going to town on these dispensers. I decided against having a sample. I went in thinking I would get a couple of new teas to try. Not because we need them. I have a few in the queue already, but I keep thinking ‘when’s the next time I’ll see a tea shop?’ even though I’ve been seeing one pretty much every week. The staff were friendly and eager to help me right off the bat. I told them the truth. That I was new at this, and looking to try a couple of new teas. I also mentioned to stay away from fruit/citrus varieties because my wife thinks they taste like “hot juice”.

I have to preamble this next part by mentioning that I’ve worked in Retail at various points in my life, and have a a lot of respect for a great salesperson with amazing customer service. You would think I’d be numb to this, but I see it done really well so infrequently that I’m actually quite succeptable to their charms, and will buy just about anything that they sell as long as I like the sales pitch. The guy at Teavana was amazing. He totally took charge and pulled out 4 of his favorite varieties. He started telling me about the different ones, and let me have a whiff of the aromas. One of them we’d already tried, and one of them didn’t smell that great to me, so I settled on the other two. I was kind of zoning out and looking around the store at all the accessories when he was explaining some of the teas. I could have sworn he said that one of them was hand picked by Monkeys that were trained by Monks to pick tea. I was caught up. These are gonna be awesome. Then the salesperson was asking if I wanted X amount in order to get a quantity discount. Again, not paying too much attention to the details of the transaction, but just taking in the atmosphere of the store, and thinking about drinking my monkey picked tea later on, I was like ‘yeah man, get me the quantity discount’. I was on some sort of purchasing high. I can only assume that people feel this way right before they buy fur coats. So he scoops this tea into a couple of bags while trying to up-sell me an airtight container, and a tea press and who knows what else. ‘I’m good man, just the tea’ I say, as I’m marveling at this guys sales techniques. He rings it in and says $201.00. Then it hit me…….WHAT IN GOD’S NAME AM I DOING BUYING $200 worth of tea??? I’m really embarrassed at this point, because my wife is now in the store, and I don’t know if she heard that, but as much as I love this guy as a sales person, I just can’t take $200 worth of tea.

To say I don’t know where it all went wrong wouldn’t even be true. I could act like the victim here, but the truth is, this transaction spiraled out of control due to my lazy mind thinking about things other than what I was doing, and while this guy did talk really fast, I was making no attempt to do a mental tally of the cost of this tea adventure. All I kept thinking was, ‘It’s Tea, how much could it possibly be?’ So I had to back peddle and tell the guy that I couldn’t take that much. I apologized and asked him to cut the quantaties in half so I could save face a bit. Unfortunately that still meant that I was spending $100 on tea which was still wildly unreasonable, but at this point I’d committed to it and was willing to take it as a loss. My wife was a good sport as the transaction was happening, because she would have been well within her rights to step in and get that total down to $40. She instead decided to take it out on me by laughing at me all the way home, and for the rest of the day leading up to this very minute. She’s told all of her friends about this encounter, and they are all having jokes at my expense.

‘Laugh all you want’ is my attitude. I’m going to be enjoying my monkey picked tea in the dark, by candle light, with cucumber slices on my eyes, listening to Miles Davis, basking in the unparalleled bliss that can only be achieved through purchasing $100 worth of loose leaf tea on a Monday afternoon. Any of you mouth breathing, simple minded, diet coke drinking haters that have a problem with that will never know the true secret to peace and happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not buying that?? Fine! I screwed up. The worst part is that through further research I found out that monkeys picking tea is only legend, and today just terminology for premium quality tea.

Get your laughs in.

Illustration of the legend of monkeys harvesting tea - from Wikipedia

Illustration of the legend of monkeys harvesting tea – from Wikipedia

Fan Of The Game

An Open Letter To The Drunk Guy At The Football Game……..

Dear Friend,

Yes I say friend, because after watching you make an idiot of yourself for the last hour and a half, I feel like I know you. Also, after your persistent attempts to interact with every single person in the stadium, I feel like you know me too. You probably know me as a quiet enough guy, who eats a pizza slice, and has a beer or two while watching the football game. I know you as a complete shit-show of drunk, trying to be a stand up comedian a few rows in front of me.

I shouldn’t be surprised that I saw you here tonight. It seems I see a different you, every time I go to a game, or a movie, or some sort of live performance. It’s the same role played by a different performer each time. This version of you is wearing a Calgary Stampeders jersey, so I already know you’re in my town cheering for the wrong team. Which is cool. I respect a fan that will travel to see an out-of-town game. You’ve got your sidekick with you too who is also wearing a jersey, also drunk, but only 75% as loud as you. Yeah, you’re the ringleader. The man with the plan.

Your style of experience disruption is probably my favourite one. You’re the guy that stands up every time something good happens to your team (it helps that you’re cheering for the wrong team, otherwise you wouldn’t stand out, and nobody would pay attention to you), and instead of facing the field, and clapping/yelling/cheering or some other fan-related reaction, you’re facing the fans behind you, and looking them in the face. Somewhere between the 3rd and 4th beer, you started to see warmth in their smiles. They started hanging on your every comment instead of looking at you with contempt or indifference. Even the females in the crowd started paying attention to you! Your team is even up by two touchdowns. Tonight’s your night bro! Now instead of standing up every 5 minutes to say something dumb, you just aren’t going to bother sitting back down because you are in such high demand…. people are dying to know what next bit of hilarity will escape your soul. You should be paid a commission for the amount of entertainment you add to the whole fan experience (You mean I get to watch a football game AND listen to this doorknob all night? Double bonus for me!!). If only I could be in the same row as you so I could have beer spilled on my head as you walk by. It would be so excellent if I could be close enough to give you a handshake or a high-five every time you said something awesome (which is always). I can only sit several rows back and quietly pray for MORE WITTY BANTER!!

Less Football, More You!

Yours Truly

The highlight of the night came when security finally came down to talk to this guy. I think everyone was dying to see him get booted, but when he saw security come, he fell in line and was quiet and remorseful. Then I heard a guy a few rows back yell ‘You’re sittin’ down now, eh Jackass??’

Is hilarity a word?