Category Archives: Rants

Ready For Life In 4K? Me Neither

I’m in a hotel room watching a 4K TV for maybe the second time in my life. At least I think that’s what it’s called. It’s an ultra high-definition TV set. I can say that much. What do I normally watch? Who knows? My wife knows, but she’s crashed out on the couch, and I’m not waking her up to ask. Let’s just say its high-definition. Maybe just not ‘ultra’ high definition. Anyone who will read this will range between knowing what the fuck I’m talking about and not knowing what the fuck I’m talking about, and consider me a part of the latter. All I know is that this TV is blowing my mind, as I’m sure it’s supposed to. Like when we first saw HD quality, or Blu-Ray, or colour TV instead of black and white, or black and white when we had only heard the radio. I look at this TV, and I don’t even think real life looks that clear. I could be mistaken, or maybe I need glasses, but I just don’t think that if I was looking at the same thing from the same distance right beside the TV, that the real life equivalent would be as clear. So mission accomplished, and mind blown.

Now how do I feel about this two beers into my evening? I don’t know. It’s impressive. Sometimes I ask the age-old question about whether we put the same effort into salvaging the planet, that we do into blowing our minds with new tech, would the world be a better place or not, but then people just give me dirty looks and call me a hater (which is the weirdest thing to say to someone who asks that question, but that’s what I usually get). Having 4K around isn’t hurting me, other than the odd sensation like ‘whoa, was that guy just there??? Oh wait, I’m only watching TV.’ Is it helping?

Here’s the thing. When I’m watching TV, I don’t really care what the front lawn looks like 7 houses down from the one I’m supposed to be looking at. I mean sure it’s nice to see someone’s hair standing up on the back of their neck during an intense moment, but if there are lice bugs clinging to the end of those hairs, I don’t need to know. If I’m watching Baseball, it’s disturbing that I know how many days of facial hair the beer guy has grown, that’s just too much detail. Like if someone holds up a newspaper in a scene, I think it’s pretty cool to be able to read a couple of other headlines, other than the one you’re intended to look at………but NOT THE FINE PRINT!!!! NOT THE FINE PRINT!!!! IT’S NUTS TO BE ABLE TO READ THE FINE PRINT…..FROM MY COUCH……I CAN’T EVEN READ THE FINE PRINT ON A PAPER HELD UP TO MY FACE……IT’S TOO MUCH!!! Ok calm down. It’s not that serious. Go buy one. It’s great. I say I won’t get one, but there’ll come a day when we just won’t be able to strain our eyes to watch anything else, and then there’ll come another day when 4K will be a steaming pile of shit compared to the new thing they invent tomorrow, so whatever.


Personal (And Not So Personal) Updates For Your Consideration

Says here that my last post here was in January. That makes this by far the longest Thoughts and Rants in Jogging Pants drought ever. Man, I used to do this once a week without fail. While I was looking back to see how long it had been since my last post, I glanced at the stats page. It kind of made me feel nice and I want to pass on thanks, should any of you be responsible for this phenomenon. This isn’t the most prolific and well-known blog out there, but despite the fact that I haven’t posted here in close to 3 months, at least one person has visited this site to read one of my blogs every day in the last month. That’s fuckin cool, I’m sorry to get swearing so quickly, but it just is. Makes me feel warm inside. Every day except March 20th. So uhhhh, where were you guys on the 20th, huh??? Not one of you could click over for 5 minutes??? 😉

There’s one post in particular that shows up in the stats a lot. I have NO idea why. I think it gets googled by total strangers. It’s called “Guys, Your Feet Are Fucking Ugly”, and I wrote it in July of 2014. Usually a post gets its most views the day or week it’s originally posted. To give perspective it got 42 views the day it was posted. It finished the year with 70 views. In 2015 it had 217 views, and mid way through April this year it’s trending way higher than that. I’m curious to know why. It’s sort of funny, but not my best work. If you feel like reading it, here’s the link https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2014/07/02/guys-your-feet-are-fucking-ugly/ According to my stats, someone looks at this almost everyday. So weird. Skip to the 3rd paragraph if you read it.

Also on the bloggy linky topic, I started contributing to another blog site called “Everything MLB Inc”. I blog about the Toronto Blue Jays once a week. I guess that’s why I haven’t been doing this blog. There’s a small part of my that always wanted to be a sports reporter or something like that. So for 2016 I’ll do it. I hope the Jays’ season is as magical as last year. If you follow another team, I can’t really vouch for this blog. I don’t think they have all their writers in place yet. Here are some links to my first few articles for those interested in Jays stuff. Close friends might enjoy how brutally inaccurate some of my predictions have been so far.
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/02/toronto-blue-jays-2016-projected.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/02/toronto-blue-jays-2016-bullpen.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/03/toronto-blue-jays-2016-lineup-breakdown.html
http://emlbinc.blogspot.ca/2016/04/blue-jays-week-1-update.html

The movie thing…… Some readers of this blog might remember me talking about acting in a movie last year. For those that don’t, here’s that story…..
https://thoughtsandrantsinjoggingpants.com/2015/09/06/that-time-i-was-an-actor-in-a-kick-ass-movie/
Anyways, the update is that we recorded some commentary for the special features last weekend, because……. apparently there’s a distribution deal in place that would see this film available for purchase this year at some point (we’re hoping soon). Where will you be able to get it? Can’t say for sure, but pretty sure there will be physical copies (DVD, Blu-Ray) available for online purchase, as well as being available in digital form (iTunes etc). Super duper stoked for this. Will provide details when I have them.

Now for my version of Batman vs. Superman. My 3-year-old son loves Batman. His aunt bought him a set of 3 superhero costumes. This box and it’s contents have been put to way better use than just about anything he’s owned in his young life. I would say about 60% of his days, he wants to dress up in a costume at some point. Not having siblings, and perhaps not wanting to be the only super-hero at home, he tries to get my wife and I to wear the other 2 costumes. He is ALWAYS Batman. My wife who would often be in the room with him playing while I cook dinner gets to be Superman, and I get stuck with Robin. I try not to take it personal, even though it’s ridiculous because I tower over both of them, but I’m a good sport so Robin it is. These are sized for toddlers. If I could box I would do so in the heavyweight category. The little Robin mask is stretched to its absolute potential just to get around my face, and after a minute or two the velcro just gives out and slingshots across the room. So fun. So my wife, who is smarter than me, has stopped dressing up as a superhero, sometimes even saying “no thanks, but why don’t you ask daddy?” I can’t say no. So more days than not, I dress up in a toddler sized superhero costume, although I’ve been upgraded to Superman. Sometimes we play with train engines, and sometimes we fight crime. Then, one day my son finally said to me “Do you want to be Batman????” I jumped at the chance! After all these months of having to play superheroes with lesser cool factors, I have reached the pinnacle of toddler sized superhero outfits. Yessssssssss……………………. Here’s the thing though……………….The Batman outfit’s got some stains on it, from a 3-year-old wearing it more than any other article of clothing. Yeah, they’re messy. Also, I’m back to having to wear a mask again. That mask is just as tight, but it covers more of my face and makes me sweat. That’s when I realized a HUGE and VERY IMPORTANT life lesson, taught to me by my own son…… We can’t all be Batman! Some of us need to be Superman, and others need to be Robin. Ponder that!


Talk About The Death Star Not Being Fully Operational

I watched Star Wars the other night. You know, the first one. No, not Episode 1. The first one which was Episode 4. The one from 1977 that got this whole thing started. It was called ‘A New Hope’, which I swear I only found out recently. We always just called it Star Wars. My wife bought be the DVDs for my birthday because it’s been a lot of years since I’ve seen those ones, and with the new one coming out now, I want to have the plot lines fresh in my mind when I check it out. I figure I’ve got a couple of months still because I don’t have the patience for crowds. I’m sure the movie won’t spoil in the meantime. I can ignore civilization until then.

I have a connection to that movie in that if I’m not mistaken, it was the first movie I ever saw in the movie theater. It’s also the only movie I ever went to see with just my dad. Meaning there might have been some family outings when I was young, but the two of us only went to the movies once. That sounds sad as I’m typing it, but it’s not. We did lots of things together, just not the movie theater. Sporting events was our thing. We watched a lot of movies together at home. RENTING movies……I know what we have now is way better, but can I just say I miss renting movies???? So my dad and I watched the first Star Wars movie, then known as ‘Star Wars’, now known as ‘A New Hope’. Why? I think we were in Niagara Falls or Buffalo, and I’m pretty sure my mom didn’t want us in her shit while she was at the shopping mall, so she must have given the orders for him to take me to a movie. Or maybe it was his idea, but she definitely gave the orders for him to take me away from her shopping situation. I’m guessing the movie had been out for a long time, or possibly re-released by the time I saw it because in 1977 I would have been too young to remember it. Whenever it was, it was really one of my earliest memories.

I had a few thoughts when I was watching ‘A New Hope’. Overall, I have to say that I still enjoyed it. I’ve never been too picky with special effects, so it didn’t bother me that those particular ones are outdated. I know they were really something at the time. A couple of things bothered me…..

– Why were Luke and Leia so pissy and bitchy with Han Solo?? Yeah, he was meant to be seen as a selfish character, but neither of them knew the guy for 5 minutes before they started in with their odd little snarky judgemental comments. I’d have been tempted to slap the both of them. Especially Luke. So whiny. That didn’t bother me when I was 5 years old, but it does now. It didn’t take Luke long after looking at his aunt and uncle’s charred bodies to just fly off with Obi-Wan Kenobi who he’d only met that afternoon. Spent the whole movie crying about “I wish Ben was here”. What about Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru???? They fuckin raised you!! Burnt to a crisp, and you act like you don’t give a shit? Then you have the nerve to get on Han Solo’s case because you think he’s selfish??? Where do you get off? (OK, this went off the rails…. calm down Ryan)

– I know there was some talk about the Death Star not being fully operational, but what’s with all the hallways that end in drops into the infinite abyss?? And the control panels with maybe a one foot platform to stand on around them. What electrician is going to be able to do work on these control panels?? It’s totally unsafe. Sure, we’re so concerned about the main characters who are trying to escape the Death Star, but what about its thousands of employees? It’s the employer’s responsibility to create a safe working environment for its employees. Humans, Droids, or otherwise. With the technology they have available, there’s got to be a better way to build this thing. I guess they all got blown up anyways. Nobody cares about that. So sad about Alderaan, but what about the innocent lives that were lost when the Death Star blew up? Not everyone in there was evil. Most of them were just like you and me. Working for some evil organization, trying to put food on the table. It’s a shame about the Death Star. Should’ve been better built though.


Thanks Dial!

I bought me a bottle of Dial brand shower gel. What an investment! Why Dial? It was on sale, and whatever shower gel is on sale when I go to the drug store has a leg up in being purchased. So much so that I buy 4 or 5 shower gels ahead of needing them just to get that sale price, but this isn’t about me being frugal or fiscally responsible, or anything like that. No. It’s about Dial. Dial has probably been sitting in a cupboard for a few months waiting for its chance, and it has arrived. So I reach into said cupboard, and pull out a very impressive looking bottle with a solution so blue I could only describe it as perfect. What’s on this impressive looking label I wonder? It says ‘sub zero’ and has a picture of a freezy kind of raindrop, but then in bigger, bolder letters it says ‘FRESH REACTION’. If you know me, you know I’m all about fresh reactions. In fact, I’ll bet I stood there in the store and looked at the different scents, and instead of smelling them, I judged them on the perfection of their colour, combined with the wow factor of their mission statements, and I don’t remember what the other ones said, but I can picture myself holding up this shower gel and thinking ‘hell yeah I want to cause some FRESH REACTIONs’, and then wasted no time in cashing out my purchases for the day.

Wanna know what else it says? ‘Micro-Infused Scent Technology’. What is that? Sounds impressive! The explanation below states ‘Specifically formulated to energize your senses and leave you feeling refreshed’. Cool! I’m buying this! Then it says ‘Non-Drying Formula’. What the hell is that forward thinking awesomeness??? Below it explains ‘Engineered with the right balance of moisturizers’. That’s fantastic. I don’t like to moisturize, and this will do it for me. Not only that, but it won’t OVER moisturize which I hate…. it is engineered with the right balance!! This is going to be the best $3 I ever spent. Then there are 2 more bullet points, but I realize they are just French versions of the first two. Slight downer, but I’m still pretty excited to get this thing home.

So today, just now in fact, I grab the bottle because it’s next in the queue, and I notice there are USAGE INSTRUCTIONS!! Oh, I better read these. Don’t want to fuck it up. This is just the best.
1. Squeeze out (of course, right?? I mean you would need to apply the gel, and you can’t do that if it’s in the bottle)
2. Lather up (ie you cannot just gel yourself up and become a ball of slime, that just won’t do. This unique product actually becomes soap sudsy if you move it around)
3. Rinse off (key final step, because how often do we forget, and just go to work with shower get STILL covering our bodies)

I think I do sarcasm well, but in case I don’t (or in case you’re in one of those countries that doesn’t understand that), I’m totally fucking kidding. In fact I find the audacity of Dial thinking I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to take a shower, upsetting and offensive. Honestly Dial, how desperate are you to find content for the front of your bottle, that you would actually try to instruct us how to use soap? Did your legal team make you do this? Were there too many instances of shower gel misuse? Was the customer service department flooded with calls from consumers who couldn’t navigate their way through using shower gel? It reminds me of those Disaronno commercials where that idiot bartender teaches you to make a Disaronno and Coke….’First you add the Disoronno……….’ I can figure out how to make a 2 ingredient drink asshole!!!!

But then, I’m of two minds about it. Maybe I should be thanking Dial. It is the responsible thing, right? I mean other than the super disgruntled like myself, who would really get offended by something like this? I know what you’re thinking…..just take a shower, man. You’re right. I’m just being difficult. I have a 2-year-old. Maybe he’d appreciate prominently displayed instructions. He’s never used shower gel before. People need reminders sometimes. We forget basic shit like the super obvious rules of the road, common courtesy, how to hold a knife, blah blah blah. I think it’s just time for me to clear my mind, and clean my body. Dial, I forgive you for being aggressively obvious, because you did give me some packaging thrills before that. I suppose if this Micro-Infused Scent Technology works the way you say it does, then you’re alright in my book.


WTF Toronto??? The Pan-Am/Kanye Edition

There is a petition in Toronto trying to stop Kanye West from performing at the closing ceremonies at the Pan-Am Games. Yes, the same city that voted in and tolerated Rob Ford for 4 years, can’t tolerate Kanye West for one night. Ughhhh, there is so much incredibly wrong with this, that it hurts my head, and I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s start with some background since my readers who don’t live in Toronto make up approximately half my audience according to WordPress statistics. The other half should already know the story…… The Pan-Am Games are currently being held in Toronto. Never heard of them? I wasn’t too familiar with them either. It sounds mean, but they are basically the red-headed step-child’ of the Olympics. Toronto very badly wanted to host the Summer Olympics, but were beat out by Beijing a few years ago, and we’re just not wintery enough for the Winter Olympics which are better off in other Canadian cities such as Calgary and Vancouver who have hosted in the past. So we got the Pan-Am Games. Cool! Why not, right? I think it’s good for the city, great for the athletes, and shitty for traffic, but not everybody can be a winner. Now you might have sensed that I’m not 100% into the Pan-Am Games as an institution, and the only reason for that is that it’s not the Olympics. In the Olympics, the top athletes in the world compete against each other, making it a must-see spectacle. The Pan-Am Games are a step or two down from that, and while some of the best athletes in the world are here, a lot of them aren’t. It even takes a backseat to the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in some sports. Plus it’s just North and South America participating. That said, it’s still pretty cool I think. I mean every thing sucks if you compare it to the best thing in the world, right? It’s still a good event worth having.

The sports that I follow are a little disappointing in terms of athlete turn out. I’m a big baseball fan, but it’s baseball season, so the best players have to go to their day-jobs, and we get to watch a mixed bag of minor-league players play for a medal. I’m a big basketball fan. It’s the off-season, so we should be able to have dream teams from each country here, right? No. Pan-Am is not a priority for the basketball community. I only barely recognize 3 or 4 names on the American team who probably have 500 players better than any of the ones we’ll see here. They’re treating it like a game of pickup ball on the driveway. Tennis is a sport I’ve watched a lot of. The three Canadian Men’s tennis players we sent are ranked 308, 459 and 540 in the world. Great opportunity for those guys, don’t get me wrong, but there are about 10-15 professional tournaments held each week all over the world that can draw higher ranked players than that. Pan Am is probably better for gymnastics, swimming, track and field and other sports like that, but I wouldn’t know if the top athletes in those sports are here or not. I don’t want to sound spoiled. It is still a really cool thing, but if people outside of Toronto have no idea this is going on, I wouldn’t be that surprised either.

Now Kanye West….. It was announced yesterday that Kanye West was slated to perform at the closing ceremonies. Cool, right? He’s a global superstar (and sorry to be the one to say it, but as I touched on earlier, I don’t know how many of the athletes here are global superstars, at least in the sports I follow), so we should be happy, right? No. Apparently this is so distressing to Torontonians, that there’s a petition to remove him, and the number of signatures keeps changing, but as I type it was up to 22,000. The news of his performance was only confirmed yesterday. This is mind-boggling to me. That we care so much about this. At a time historically, when inclusion and acceptance seems to be at an all time high, and all eyes are back on Toronto for the first time since the Rob Ford scandal, THIS is what we want to make news about??? We’re so bent out of shape that an artist we don’t like is performing at the closing ceremonies, that we’ll all sign a petition to prevent it? This saddens me somehow, but I think to gain further perspective, we have to do the dirty deed of finding out why people don’t like Kanye West.

1. He’s not Canadian. This is not the real reason, but it was mentioned on the petition, so let’s delve. In an article, they suggested Drake, Walk Of The Earth (I honestly have never heard of this band until today), Feist and Deadmau5 among others. First of all, let’s give the organizers some credit. It probably wasn’t that easy to find someone as prominent as Kanye. Maybe some of these people weren’t available either. Also, Pitbull is not Canadian, but I’ve heard nothing about us wanting him to not perform, so let’s stop pretending it’s about that. It looks to me like they are getting artists from some of the different Pan-Am countries, and I see nothing wrong with that. Why does it have to be an all Canadian affair? So it can be a snooze fest like New Years Eve at Nathan Phillips Square every year? I don’t think that’s what’s bugging people.

2. Canadians like polite people. Kanye isn’t that. He’s as arrogant as they come. If you aren’t really into his music, then it’s easy to dislike him for his shenanigans. It’s all very calculated if you ask me. He’s extremely self-aware. Just for a second I’ll compare him to Muhammed Ali. Most won’t like this comparison, because in hind sight, we only like to remember Ali as being the most entertaining boxer of all time (some say the greatest), and for what he contributed to the Civil Rights movement. Kanye so far doesn’t seem to have the same redeeming features. Ali was the master of selling a fight though, and he went to some pretty crazy extremes to keep people talking and interested. If it seemed to make sense to Ali that he would need to behave like a complete asshole leading up to a fight, he had no problem doing that. He could be super arrogant too, and at the time, not everybody liked it, but they also may not have understood what he was doing which was generating excitement. He was definitely ahead of his time. I’m not sure Kanye will ever be looked back on with the same forgiveness and adoration despite his misdoings, but make no mistake, Kanye IS DOING ALL OF THIS ON PURPOSE, and it’s working. You hate it because you know it’s true.

3. As much as most of his other antics are forgivable, people get really mad when he cuts of an acceptance speech at award shows. I’m with the general public on this. It’s just too much. I choose to ignore it, but some can’t. I will say this though. Beck was not hurt by that in any way, and I would argue that some people unfamiliar with his music probably gave him a listen after that. Oh and Taylor Swift??? Yeah, things worked out OK for her.

4. His music. I’m not buying this argument either. I know a lot about Hip Hop music, and I also know a lot about other forms of music. The people that question Kanye’s talent and artistry are simply people who do not know Hip Hop music. I know he’s an easy guy to hate, and there’s a lot of crap you can bring up, but as Hip Hop artists go, he’s just about as good as they get. He’s a phenomenal producer, and a compelling rapper. Self made as well. He got into the game as a producer making other people look good before his own career took off. The general public attacks this guy way more than the manufactured American Idol pop music that everybody seems OK with. It’s wrong. Say what you want about him being a douche, but if you can’t look yourself in the mirror and say that you are a knowledgable Hip Hop fan, than you shouldn’t judge him because he doesn’t play a guitar or whatever. People need to talk about what they know about. Listen, I’m not a huge fan of Rush even though I’m Canadian. I’m just not that into Progressive Rock, but I would never bad mouth them, or question their talent, or dismissively say ‘they suck’, because I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about. Rush is awesome, they’re just not for me. Kanye is awesome, he just might not be for you.

5. He married Kim Kardashian. So you take the prime ego-maniac of our generation, and marry him with the queen of reality television. That bothers people. Why? I know almost nothing about the Kardashians. I hear a lot of people say ‘That show is so annoying’. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen it. If you’re tired of celebrity gossip, then maybe you need to stop watching and reading celebrity gossip. It’s a choice. If you know too much about Kimye, it’s because you’ve chosen to. You are the problem. When I think of Kanye West, I try to think of him as an artist only. I could care less if he punches paparazzi or not. I know very little about his wife. That’s also no reason to not let a guy into your city.

So now we understand why Torontonians seem to dislike Kanye, and I’m OK with all of these reasons, but where you get off trying to tell organizers who shouldn’t play at events in this city? This is going to sound bad, but 95% of Torontonians wouldn’t give a shit about the Pan-Am Games if they weren’t here at this exact moment. Will you watch again in 4 years in some other city? Nope. While it’s great that you passionately support amateur athletics for a couple of weeks every 4 years, you really only do it so that you can feel good about your country when they win a medal. When these games aren’t on, it’s business as usual for 95% of you unless you have a relative or friend who is an amateur athlete with dreams of competing in something like this. You’re just enjoying the good times in your city while they last, because someone else went and did all the hard work to organize something great, and all you have to do is sit there and enjoy it. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even go see an event, but what a privilege it is for you to be able to, and after all those people went through all that trouble, you’re going to sit there on your couch and criticize their choice about who’s going to entertain you at the big party they’re throwing for you? Get off your high horse people!!! You’re embarrassing yourself and your city!


Billy Ocean Confessional

I got an iTunes GC recently. I’m a music junkie. This is absolutely the best thing to get me always. My nephew knows this and he’s not even 2 years old yet. He slipped it into my Father’s Day card. So I did a bit of iTunes surfing to see if there was anything I wanted. There’s always something I want, but I have to prioritize my wants, because I can’t buy everything at once. Unless there’s some new album that just came out that I’ve been dying to pick up, then it’s anybody’s guess what I might download. I decided my first item should be a Billy Ocean greatest hits album. This decision provides more questions than answers. I told my wife, and she said “You’re so weird.”

Of all the things life can throw your way, what could have possibly transpired in my life that lead me to purchase a Billy Ocean album?

If I could get the money back that I spent on music, I’d have a serious head start on retirement. Music brings me joy, so its money well spent. I wondered about the Billy Ocean decision. It’s been on my mind for a while. Is it time? Could I get away with just ‘Caribbean Queen’ and maybe one or two others, without picking up the whole album? The album was only $10. 4 songs cost more than $5, so I might as well go all in. Plus I didn’t know he had a ‘Long and Winding Road’ cover from the Beatles, and I wondered if it was good.

Would people think I was ‘weird’ for having this? Like if it came up on random play in the car and there were other people in the car, would I skip it, and just secretly enjoy it when nobody was around? I decided while dancing in the kitchen with my earphones on that ‘who gives a shit what people think about Billy Ocean, or about me for that matter?’ Getting older sucks, but as my ‘I don’t give a shit’ factor increases exponentially, I start to think that it has its benefits.

Is it that ever since I was 10 years old I’ve secretly always wanted to have the suave confidence to tell a woman to ‘get out of my dreams and into my car’? Who wouldn’t want to pull a line like that? Do people still even use pick up lines? I haven’t heard any in a while. Maybe this is something lost on the newer generation. I think it’s been unfairly categorized as sleazy. I would argue that if I care enough about you to be that creative, then it’s a thoughtful gesture. Right? Oh well, it was the 80’s, and if it doesn’t fly now, it must have then.

Billy Ocean was way cooler than Lionel Ritchie if you ask me. I would be way more embarrassed to have a Lionel Ritchie greatest hits album (who am I kidding? I have that too….. I have everything).

I’m 40 now. I used to listen to Public Enemy and N.W.A. I still do like that stuff, but old friends might be surprised to know just how much Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Steve Winwood and Bee Gees I listen to these days. I used to think that stuff sucked. Now I quite enjoy it, not to the exclusion of underground Hip Hop or anything, I just like it ALL. Billy Ocean too. It is not the most embarrassing thing in my collection. You know what?? It’s not embarrassing at all. What’s embarrassing is that I just swallowed a fish oil pill sideways and had to go in and ask my wife if I’m going to be OK. I’m finishing this blog despite my throat injury, because ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going.’

I think I just had to talk myself through it here. It’s not high school. Nobody cares what kind of music I listen to. I only think that people care, but the older we get, the more people are just happy to listen to whatever bullshit happens to be on the radio. That’s sad to me, but you know what??? “There’ll be sad songs to make you cry….. love songs often do….they can touch the heart of someone new…..saying I love you…..” Haha. I forced that in. Sue me.


Please Don’t “Say Cheese”

People love taking their pictures. Since digital cameras and more recently, high quality phone cameras, it’s been happening a lot more. What’s interesting to me is that the pictures themselves have been de-valued since it’s no longer such a hassle to get them. Take a shitty photo? No problem. Take 17 more until you get it right. Even the most stubborn purist would have to admit that digital photography has made things way more convenient. A lot of times you can close your eyes and tell how old the ‘photographer’ is by the level of investment they have in setting up the shot, and the people in it. With younger people it’s snap snap snap snap snap. The older people remember having a roll of film with 24 photos on it, and the cost and time of having that film developed, and the harrowing disappointment of that family photo NOT turning out, and that memory lost FOREVER!!!! You could almost expect 4 or 5 of those pictures to not ‘turn out’, but if it was more than that, you would definitely feel like you wasted your money developing that film. That’s why whenever you took a picture of more than one person, you would always ask them to say ‘cheese’ right before you took the photo, to ensure everyone had their best smile, and just maybe that would be one for the photo album. (The what?? say younger people).

I didn’t know what ‘cheese’ meant, I have to admit. I never thought much about it, I just did what I was told. Probably from the time I could talk. My two-year old son says cheese when I ask him to. I’m sure he doesn’t know why either, but he doesn’t question it, he just does it. Same with me, I just did it. Only recently did I actually get in front of a mirror and say cheese to see what would happen. Yup, sure enough, it made my face contort into a ‘smile like’ position. Whoever first thought of that was a genius. Especially in those times where it really mattered that all look good during a photo.

Here was the problem for me. I have 2 smiles. A genuine smile, and a ‘cheese’ smile. I don’t smile just for the sake of it. I wish I did. I know there are people like that, and they’re my favourite people in the world. They smile because they’re happy, or it’s just their go-to face for various situations. My go-to face is not a happy face. It’s not because I’m not happy, or because I feel like I have something different to prove. Trust me, I’d love to be a smiley guy. I have dimples. When asked to say ‘cheese’ ahead of a photograph, I typically give a fake smile. The world might not know the difference, but my mom knows, and so do I. I tried not smiling, or ‘smiling with my eyes’ for pictures, and that sometimes works, but most people look their best with a smile on their face, and I would say I’m no different.

How do you make me smile?

You have to make me laugh. Easy, right?

I’m a funny guy. I know you’re not supposed to say stuff like that about yourself, but I’m 40. I’ve been told by other people very regularly for many years. I’m funny, get over it. Not just funny, but when I’m on, I’m really funny. It’s a schtick I’ve worked on since childhood. It’s how I tried to fit in. Sometimes the dimples weren’t enough. I worked on it for so many years, that I don’t have to try anymore. I instinctively almost always know what the funny thing is to say in just about every situation. Ironically at my age, the best thing I can do is not say it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think it, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Wait a minute, if I’m such a funny guy, I should be smiling all the time, right? That’s where it gets tricky. I’ve heard (or said) it all before with very few exceptions. I need something fresh and unique, or to be taken by surprise. A lot of times, the things that make me laugh hysterically are said by people who didn’t necessarily mean to be funny. It just happens that way. It would be a lot to ask of someone snapping a picture to have some witty banter just for me, because I’m the guy in the picture who won’t say cheese. It would also be a lot to ask for 75% of the population to have a sweet clue on how to operate a camera before getting a bunch of people together for a photo opportunity, and having us hold the pose for 30 seconds (aka 5 eternities) while they figured out if the flash was on or not, so………….

I’ve come up with a solution. It works for me every time, and if you don’t find it completely disgusting, you’re welcome to use it.

I’ve spent years brainstorming with friends, a list of words that could be quickly said in exchange for a genuine smile. The rule is that it’s got to be 2 words, said quickly as one. The first word is the name of an animal. Stick to something cute enough that it could be a stuffed animal. The second word is typically slang for genitalia. This is partially for shock value. Picture people posing for a picture, and then shout

HORSE-PUSSY

That was the first one we ever thought of. We realized that if the first word was 2 syllables, and the second word was one that it had greater impact. Plus we’re Canadian, so the most enduring one, and less offensive than the first (just in case grandma is in the picture), is

BEAVER-DICK

It never fails. Even when they’re expecting it, they still laugh. Or maybe it’s just my particular group of friends that have a weakness for that. I can’t say for sure if it’s in fact ‘universally appealing’ or not. I encourage you to make up your own. Try to stick to the syllable rules though. Even though ELEPHANT-BALLS is hilarious to me, it doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely. The animal can’t be too fierce either. TIGER-NUTS doesn’t tickle the same way say PANDA-NUTS would. Also, respect your elders. Someone in their 80’s probably prefers Dick over Cock, unless it’s BUNNY-COCK which is so deliciously absurd that I’m sure it gets a pass from the silver-haired crowd. Wait until you’ve used all the obvious ones before you get into BUTTERFLY-SCROTUM, and remember that it’s too many syllables to use for an actual photo.

If it didn’t gross you out, I hope this helps with your group photos going forward. Feel free to leave me your own creations in my comment section.