Oh my god it’s been so long since I blogged that the layout of WordPress has changed. Too bad I hate change. Anyways, I scrolled through here to see if I ever told you about my 2nd short film called “Coffee Bikes”. I didn’t. I guess I opted for Facebook and Instagram instead this time. A picture is worth a thousand words they say. I should write about it, but I don’t have time and I don’t feel like it. Maybe I will some other time. If you want to watch it though??? That would be better than anything I could describe about it, so I’ll provide a link below. Let me know what you think.
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Random Thoughts On What Would be My Father’s 85th Birthday
My father would have been 85 today if he were still alive. What would we have done today? For sure a family get together. He would have wanted to see his 2 grandchildren. Maybe he would have come to my house. Maybe he would have still lived in his house. If he did, we would have gone swimming. Maybe I would have taken him golfing at some point in the last week. The heat has been ‘oppressive’ though. He liked to say that about the heat. Especially near the end. Especially as it pertained to golfing in it. He would have been 85 so we would have had to go easy. He would have only looked 75. I would have only looked 36. Maybe by now I’d be able to beat him. To be honest though, I’ve stopped playing, but if he was alive I probably wouldn’t have stopped playing…… I was talking about him with my wife this morning. It’s funny what people remember. I don’t know how it got to this, but I remember when I was my son’s age, and my dad used to come home from work. I used to drop whatever I was doing and run to the front door to jump into his arms. He was always clean shaven, always with a suit, and one of those beige overcoats. Still smelling a bit like whatever mediocre aftershave we got him for his birthday and a little bit like smoke, not because he did, but everybody else smoked inside back then, and it would get on his clothes. He looked official. He’d probably have a briefcase or some groceries in paper bags (that’s how old I am…. that wasn’t even to save the environment, that’s just how they bagged your groceries, but then plastic bags came out…. not all new tech is better). He would say “HELLO HOUSE!!”. He was friendly in a way I still can’t imagine. We’d go upstairs together and I’d sit on his bed and talk to him about sports while he got changed into what I can only describe as ‘business casual’. This man didn’t really wear shorts or track pants. He would put away his stuff so neatly (I swear to god if I didn’t look just like him, you’d never know we were related in some ways…..but in others…..), and then he’d pull a chocolate bar out of his drawer. Probably from Christmas or Father’s Day or something. It would be one of those big ass Fruit & Nut bars (Cadbury??). He’d break off a square and eat it, and if you were sitting there with him, he’d give you a piece too. Then he folded it back up and put it away for tomorrow. Who has the patience for that?? It was a small indulgence for a man who didn’t drink or smoke, but ate cookies like a fiend (not for mess like cookie monster, but the sheer quantity was unreasonable at times)…….. We went on a Sunday drive today. I used to hate that. My dad LOVED a good Sunday drive. All of us hostages in his car after going to Church or some other thing. He wouldn’t tell you where he was taking you, or when you could expect to return. You were probably wearing uncomfortable clothes, and there were no gaming systems or portable DVD players in those days. He was a country boy at heart that married a city girl, and stayed down here, but if he got a chance to look at some trees or horses or barns or something, he was doing it. He didn’t give a shit what we thought about it. Crazy thing is I love driving around now. I blame Covid a bit. I mean as a family we’ve become way more in-touch with nature as we stay as clear from crowded spaces as we can. There’s no denying it though. I like a good drive in nature. I don’t know how my son stands it. Every time I’m driving along some country road and I say “Look, Horses!!!”, I’m slowly becoming my father…….. 85 is a milestone birthday. I wonder if we would have tried to take him to a restaurant. Maybe a nice little patio. We took him somewhere nice on his 75th. I chose that day to give him a sappy card for the first time in my life. I’m famous for finding the funniest card possible for every occasion, and almost nothing is off limits (fart jokes, ageism) as long as it’s hilarious. I also get that I do that more for me than I do it for other people because maybe I find ‘tender moments’ uncomfortable, or maybe I just like a good laugh. For the occasion of his 75th birthday I decided to get a card that said a bunch of really nice shit in it. He opened it and read it, and he looked up, and he looked like he was about to bawl, and for sure if he did, I would start to bawl too, and we can’t have that, so I said something funny, and he laughed instead. PHEW! I know if you’re reading this in 2021, and you know my dad died a year later, you’re probably thinking ‘why didn’t you just have a cry with your dad in a nice restaurant?’ I can’t. I don’t know why. I’m sure it’s not healthy, but I just can’t. No regrets though. I’m glad I got the opportunity to get him the sappy card for once in my life, and I meant everything that it said, and he knew that, and that’s why he almost cried and that’s why I almost cried, and we both laughed it off like a couple of guys. It was perfect.
Enjoy your B-Day in heaven Dad! Hope the heat isn’t oppressive 😉
My Father’s Eulogy (2012)
Happy Belated Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there…..
A few days ago my wife was cleaning up in our office and she found some folded up papers that were my notes for my dad’s eulogy speech. I would’ve never thrown this speech out, but I didn’t exactly put it anywhere safe or memorable either. So it was a pleasant surprise to see it re-surface, and have a chance to read it to myself for probably the first time since I was in a church saying the words out loud. I had to do a Eulogy for my mother-in-law a couple of years later, and had the good sense to make it a blog post at the time (so the location of the paper version became less relevant). Interesting fact….. It is the most viewed blog post I have ever written. Even though this blog has kind of dried up in recent years, almost not a day goes by when someone doesn’t read that post. I couldn’t understand the phenomenon, so I decided to google ‘mother-in-law eulogy’, and it’s on the first page of results. I guess in laws don’t usually prepare the eulogies?? Anyways, my father’s eulogy never made it into blog form, so if you weren’t at the funeral, you never heard it (until now!!!). He died in 2012, 3 days before my son was born, so I was a little busy, as you might imagine (and trust me, you don’t want to imagine). It’ll be nice to post this and take care of this unfinished business.
Without further delay, here’s my portion of my father’s eulogy (my sister spoke before me….. I told her ‘you set em up, I’ll knock em down’ 😉 )
I’d like to thank everybody for coming in such great numbers and showing your support. I’m overwhelmed, but not surprised. As most of you know, my wife gave birth to our son, Ken’s first grandchild on Friday evening. They’re unable to be here, as they are recovering at home. My wife wanted to pass on a few sentiments. Even though her absence is understandable, it’s quite devastating for her to not be here as she loved my father very much, but she also wanted to than everyone for their support during the major life events that have taken place here.
When talking to people that have come out this past week, the one main theme that keeps coming up is that it’s such a shame that he didn’t get to see his grandson….. It’s okay to feel bad about that, but my father was the type of person that would have preferred a happy celebration of his life today. He was a happy, positive man that would always look at the bright side, and there is plenty of bright side. So rather than focus on what he didn’t get a chance to do, here’s what he did get a chance to do…….
- He got a chance to grow up in beautiful Muskoka, where the air is cleaner, the people are friendly, and now people pay top dollar to vacation there.
- He got a chance to play hockey, and was a good goaltender. His childhood teams in Bracebridge won the Ontario championships on two separate occasions. Coming from a small town, that was a big deal. When he went to school at Ryerson, his team went undefeated for an entire season and won the championship, then he ‘tried’ soccer, and that team won the championship in the same season, and he won Ryerson’s Athlete of the Year award that year. He is a 2-time Ryerson Sports Hall of Fame inductee, both as an individual, and as part of that undefeated hockey team. Last I heard, his picture is still in a glass case at the Bracebridge arena. Many people I spoke to yesterday that have known him for years said ‘I didn’t know Ken played hockey’, but he was modest… or like his coach said to me yesterday “He showed, but didn’t tell”. To put his hockey achievements into perspective for non-sports fans, most of the things I listed off had ’50th anniversary’ celebrations. You don’t celebrate something 50 years later if it wasn’t a big deal.
- He got a chance to marry the girl of his dreams and spent 47 years with her. They had 2 children who turned out alright.
- He got to travel a lot, and has been on many great trips to many great countries, and has friends all over the world.
- He got the chance to golf, which was his only real vice or indulgence. He didn’t smoke, didn’t drink, and didn’t spend money on himself, but he golfed. The powers that be blessed him with an ability to hit the ball 300 yards almost into his 70s. They didn’t necessarily give him the ability to keep it on the fairway, but that always gave him the chance to go into the bush and pull out half a dozen new balls to replace the one he lost. If you were on the course having a slow round, there’s a good chance he was out there in front of you (Just adding this, but he didn’t even need those balls because everyone people kept giving them to him for Christmas….. he literally brought them home, washed them off and put them in my golf bag *sniff*)
- He got the chance to be good to people. He volunteered his time. He used to help raise money for Unicef. Lately it’s been the church. He worked as a greeter, helped with the banking, and drove some elderly people around to appointments.
- If you were his friend, family member, casual acquaintance, or someone he just met randomly at the store, he was fascinated by you. He loved hearing about you, and it wasn’t an act. He was like that all day every day. He had a magical ability to make whoever he was talking to feel like the most important person in the world at that exact moment. You could be talking about a blade of grass, and he would hang on your every word. Imagine that was your father?
- He was loyal to everything and everyone he valued.
- He was meticulous too. Every job he did had to be done right. Even if he was serving us dessert. If he had to divide up a pie or cake, there was high level mathematics going on in his brain to make sure everyone received an equal portion. God forbid someone ask for a smaller piece.
- His Hellos and Goodbyes were legendary. If you came to the house, he was like a friendly dog, only he smelled better, but he couldn’t wait for you to get in the house, and when you left, he stood on the porch and talked to you until you almost had to cut him off. Then as you drove off, (Summer and Winter) he stayed out there and waved at you until your car was no longer in his sight lines. Every time! (Just adding this….. the last time I saw him was like this. My wife and I were leaving his house, and she must have been pregnant as hell, and I unlocked the door for her, but I didn’t actually go around and open it. He was mortified because he’s such a gentleman….. I was like ‘technology man….’ he didn’t like that, but we had a laugh. Then he waited until we were out of sight before he went inside. I never saw him again.)
- I can’t begin to describe what kind of son, husband, father he was, but based on what I’ve said, I’m sure you can put the pieces together. We’ve had a great life together.
My final thought is…… If there were such a thing as human cloning, and it wasn’t REALLY frown upon (this was funny because I was saying it in a church), I think he’d make an excellent prototype.
I would love to live in a world full of Ken Austins!
Acknowledging My White Privilege
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” – Desmond Tutu
I’ve wanted to write this for days but didn’t know what to write or how to write it. Still don’t, but I guess I’ll work it out as I go. I’ve done more listening than talking over the last couple of weeks. Ever since George Floyd’s death, there’s been an uprising. It’s overdue I think, but sometimes it takes something so shocking to really get it going. Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know what’s happening, and I’m not here to report the news. I’d be terrible at it anyways. I haven’t said much up to this point, on social media or otherwise. I feel like more listening and less talking has been a good way to approach it. Racism has always kind of sickened me. I have a lot of friends and family that are people of colour. I personally enjoy that kind of diversity, and I’m lucky to live in a place that has a lot of it. All of that said, how much do I know about it and how often do I have to think about it? The honest answer is not much and not often. That is a small part of what’s known as white privilege.
I’ve been trying to learn a bit more about systemic racism, and read a few articles and opinions. I never really thought that I was being part of the problem, but if I was I’d probably be the last person to know it. Even still, I don’t think I’ve been part of the solution either. When I read the quote at the top of the blog, it kind of impressed upon me that I need to say something. Just hanging back and keeping quiet isn’t making me an ally right now. I do have a blog! It has seen better days, more prolific entry habits, and readership for that matter. Still here though. While I don’t have lofty expectations for this post, I think I can get something important off my chest, and contribute in some pedestrian way to the ongoing conversation.
The thing I saw in every good piece of media I encountered on this, is that it would be a thoughtful first step to acknowledge my white privilege. I had a vague idea of what this meant, but didn’t fully understand it’s importance. I’ve always understood that I was less likely to get pulled over by the police, or less likely to be discriminated against in some other way. Digging a little deeper though, there are a lot of luxuries that we are afforded, that we take for granted, and most of us are blissfully unaware that it should be an issue for people of colour. From schools teaching our history, seeing predominately white faces on TV and in the movies, not being excluded from anything based on skin colour. There are probably thousands of little examples, but if they don’t come up in your life, you may find it difficult to notice it. It’s not super obvious like someone coming up to your door and giving you a bag of money because you’re white, but more that absence of certain bad things happening on account of you being white. So you wouldn’t notice it. Not noticing it is part of the privilege. Not having to act on it is also part of the privilege. One I can totally relate to. I haven’t marched at rallies, I haven’t really called out racist behaviour, and up until today, I don’t think I’ve ever said anything in my blog about racism. I’ve basically sat comfortably on the sidelines, and that’s part of my privilege as a white person (not proud of it, but just being honest). I can delete this post right now, and go watch TV, and nobody will think less of me. It’s not my fight, unless I choose to make it my fight, but I do have that choice. People of colour don’t have that choice. The fight comes to them whether they want it or not. They could use our help.
White privilege doesn’t seem to be as much about taking personal responsibility for a system that’s been in place for hundreds of years, or feeling guilty about your ancestors that may have been involved (I don’t think)….. It’s more about acknowledging that the system is there, and should be fixed. It’s about admitting there’s a problem. Does it solve anything? I don’t know, but almost any problem you can have in life can’t be fixed until you take that first step of admitting the problem exists. What if we all did it? What if we were all just more aware? It can’t hurt. Let’s learn from all of this.
So today, I take the very small step of acknowledging my white privilege. I hope that maybe someone else after reading this, might do the same. Don’t know if you have to do it in a blog, or on social media or in the presence of someone who might appreciate it, or just say it to yourself in the mirror. It’s the smallest of gestures in a way, but I think it’s meaningful.
Is a story about two love birds, who returning north from wintering in some favorable climate, find each other and begin their courtship. No online dating required. Just good old Duck Talk pick up lines. I mean they were probably flying when they met, what could you possibly say up there?
M – You’re hot
F – You look like you fly good
M – Wanna make babies?
F – You had me at ‘you’re hot’
Animal instincts take over, and they become a couple (actually animal instincts didn’t take over, they were probably running this scenario from jump). It must have been so romantic they way they gazed into each other’s eyes the whole time, and completely overshot Lake Ontario. Or perhaps they were looking for something a little more secluded. Or perhaps he told her he had a private lake. Probably that. First body of water he sees that doesn’t look like it’s spoken for becomes the private lake.
F – Cool lake. What’s with all the bulldozers?
M – Don’t worry about that baby.
So they made sweet love on their private lake, and began to build a nest. Not a lot of options for nest locations. This lake is a 5 or 6 day heat wave from not even being a lake anymore, it’s so small. That doesn’t bother them at all. They frolic around their little construction site lake, which is soon to suffer a fate, only foreman or contractor could predict. They don’t need it that long. How long does it take to make Duck Babies and teach them to fly? Can’t be that long!
Almost every day I go to visit them. Not only am I totally obsessed with their unique story, but I’ve been quarantining, and this is what qualifies as ‘getting out’ these days. I haven’t seen them in a while. I don’t know if the site didn’t work out, maybe too much construction noise. Maybe they found a better spot. Maybe they go out and grab dinner at around that time, because it’s usually 5pm, and everyone knows that Ducks eat dinner at around 5. Maybe shit just didn’t work out between them. After all, based on what I’ve said about them (and that’s all we have to go on), their relationship was kind of superficial. My Duck friends will be in my thoughts literally every time I walk past their home. I hope whatever has happened, it was for the best, and I wish my Duck friends well. We’re not really friends though, I just visit them sometimes, and I like to quack at them, but they don’t really quack back, but it’s cool.
“Oh to be young, and to feel love’s keen sting!” – Professor Dumbledore
Don’t Give Up Just Yet
I’m writing this during the COVID-19 crisis, but I want you to know that I would be writing this no matter what was happening in the world. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know this. These are really tough times though, so I’m going to aim for 20% less judgy to suit the occasion, plus maybe end with some inspiration as the title as probably lead you to believe, and I don’t want to let you down.
I’m at home with my wife and son, and once a day, usually after 4pm, we leave our condo building to go for a quick walk outside. Taking all necessary precautions mind you…. the precautions themselves rival the actual walk itself. I’ve found that my 7 year old son’s neck-warmer/scarf, which are loose on him, wrap around my head perfectly and make a nice tight impromptu mask. My favorite is the Pokemon one. I look super gangster when I go out, but possibly fun too. We take the stairs to avoid elevators, and we sanitize our hands as soon as we’re out of the building. We see a few people out there, but not a ton, and everybody gives each other space because they know the drill by now. It’s great. I need it after a day of home schooling, and cooking (like I always cooked, but we used to go to restaurants a lot… I’ve never cooked this much), and baking (I bake now…. surprise…..only loafs so far, or is it loaves? Spellcheck seems OK with either……I called my son a loaf this morning…… it was awesome, because I actually had a loaf within arms reach, and I grabbed it to give him the comparison. Are we still within the parenthesis here? Damn).
So, upon returning from our short journey, which had been made shorter by my son who notified us that he had to take a shit, I saw something that obviously prompted me to do a bit of writing tonight. There was a lady near the door we wanted to go in, smoking a cigarette, basically prompting us to go around and use the other door. Not because of the cigarette, but the 6 feet of distancing thing, so that was fine. The thing was, this lady was fully wearing a pair of pyjamas, and a robe overtop. Let me remind you that it was probably close to 5pm. So…… I have a few issues with this… where do I start exactly? I could just say ‘Put some damn clothes on’ and end the blog like that, but I want to drill down a bit if I may.
Let’s start with where I live. You could say it’s in the city, but you could also say it’s outside of the city. Depends on your perspective. Let’s just call it a no pyjama zone. If you go far enough out into the boonies, pyjamas seems to be an acceptable grocery shopping uniform, I’ve seen it (and been dismayed by it). If you go deep enough into the city, you are bound to see some pyjama’d folks that are either homeless, or in close proximity to a mental health facility. So they get free passes from me, that’s part of being in the city. My building though? Not that I’m one for a lot of rules, but couldn’t you throw on some track pants and a t-shirt before you came downstairs? Let me answer that for you! Yes you could! I know because I’ve done it, and it’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, I’ve never failed to do it. I always got a pair of pants on before going out in public. You’re welcome world!
Now speaking of my building….. I almost forgot to mention that all units in my building have balconies. Yes, there is a designated place for firing up lung darts while in pyjamas, free from the scrutiny of rotten judgemental bloggers such as myself. (Side note – Spell check is trying so hard to get me to spell pyjamas differently. Looked it up and it seems Americans use an ‘a’ instead of ‘y’. They’re in charge of spell check, but I feel like the ‘y’ makes it a cooler word, so I’m sticking with it this time. Sorry Americans, but I had your back earlier when I took the ‘u’ out of favourite).
So we are going through some challenging times with COVID-19, and I’m trying to decide if I give this lady a pass (as if it were up to me). It’s quite possible that this lady is going through some shit, and has zero fucks left to give at this exact moment. Like for example, if I found out she was a nurse or something, and she worked a 16 hour shift, and came downstairs for a smoke because she got better reception on her phone or something, I’d be like ‘as you were ma’am.’ What I really think happened though, is that some people that can’t leave their homes, are just PJ’d up 24/7. Totally plausible, and I don’t even think there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve drifted into the afternoon before getting my clothes on a few times since this thing started. Just never drifted outside without clothes, because I just think there have to be limits.
I think going outside in pyjamas is like waving a white flag. ‘I give up world! I don’t care enough about myself, or you to step my legs through a pair of leggings or shorts or something!’ I don’t like this. Call me old fashioned, but you’ve heard the term ‘Dress for the job you want, not the one you have’. Does it apply here? I dunno. I’m not saying we should be binge watching Netflix in dress pants or anything. This staying inside business has a uniform of only the most comfy gear. The thing is, we will come out of this one day. It will be time to face the world again some day. Time to interact with humans face to face some day. See family and friends again. I just don’t want to see the world give up. The road will be tough, but……..We are strong. We are better than this. We can conquer this….. and when we do……when we are standing on the mountain top, and planting our flag……we will be doing so…… with proper fucking clothes on. That’s all I’m saying
One Door Closes…. Another Opens
Gonna be home for a few days. Weeks even? Who knows? Corona Virus is a thing, and if you’re consuming this while it’s fresh, then you know more than you’d like to about social distancing. If you’re reading it years from now, congratulations, you survived. Here’s to hoping this is soon just a punchline to some shitty joke. In the meantime, what to do? Great time of year to watch Sports!! Hockey and Basketball playoffs coming soon, Baseball about to start up. What? They’re all cancelled? Oh man. Binge watching TV and movies I guess. What else? Good time to listen to music. I mean really listen. Like we used to. When we had those album covers we could read while the record was spinning. For me? Well I do have this blog. I’d argue that it’s at least 5 years past it’s prime, but hasn’t necessarily gone into retirement yet. Hey, if George Foreman could win the heavyweight title in his 40’s, I could surely get this thing chugging again. After all, my readers have nothing but time, and I have nothing but time. Surely my son, (who is soon to be bored out of his skull, if not already) would love to just give Daddy the kind of space he requires to do a bunch of writing every day….. NOT. Plus my wife needs the chair I’m sitting in to work from home. So there are obstacles, and my output over the coming weeks will be direct evidence of my resolve. So if this is the last you hear of me, don’t be surprised, but nevertheless, HERE WE GO!
What to write…. This blog in it’s prime was very ranty. I was younger I suppose. More full of piss and vinegar. I can feel myself mellowing. Not so entertaining. I could rant about social distancing. It would be so ‘of the moment’. To be honest though, I really feel like people were never quite designed to go through something like this. It will be very interesting to see how compliant the entire world will be simultaneously. I’m really not that angry with people right now. Again, if you’re reading this years from now, WE MADE IT!
Starved for something to write about, I thought about a prompt of some sorts that would ask me questions that I could just answer. Slight cop out, but should get me through my first session. I stumbled across another WordPress blog that had just such a list. I’ll attach the link as a shout out. It’s from 9 years ago, so who knows if she still writes or whatever, but I didn’t do too much research on the other, because I had to start typing. https://efcarletti.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/50-good-questions-to-ask-yourself-and-others/
I did not compare these questions with others on the net. I just committed to answering them. I have not even read them all. My answers will be below each question
50 good questions to ask yourself and others
1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?
I’m a giver of nicknames. Not always a receiver of one.
2. What books on your shelf are begging to be read?
‘Acid For The Children’ – Flea ‘Muhammad Ali – Through The Eyes of the World’ – Various…..Currently reading ‘The Beastie Boys Book’…. I never read, but this week I’ve read a lot.
3. How often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like?
I don’t. I guess I mind doodle? It looks crazy
4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?
I mind doodle lol
5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it?
Not sure. I feel like I could last a while. I think I would just develop other personalities and invisible friends and make the best of it.
6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away?
I save them, but never go through them. Maybe I will though.
7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know?
My mom. Sorry mom.
8. When making an entrance in to a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost?
Depends on the party and it depends on how I feel at the time. I’ve done all 3, but if it’s people I know well, I make my presence known, because that’s more fun.
9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be?
Humour lol. I guess that’s not the answer. I’d give up smell maybe?
10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror?
Couldn’t attach a number to it. Every time I pass one.
11. What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
That my face would ‘stay like that’
12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up?
I think I enjoy teasing people. I try not to be mean about it, or at least know ahead of time if the person can ‘handle’ it or not. I do it to my son. He hates it. I hated it when I was his age. I’d like to think that I’m preparing him to deal with it later in life when it’s not me that does it, which is possibly true. I think you need to learn to laugh at yourself. Once you can laugh at yourself, it takes the sting out of other people laughing at you. I think. Or maybe I’m causing mass psychological damage to everyone I know. Sorry.
13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know?
Jade (speaking of people I love to tease). She is the queen of intentionally doing ridiculous things, and feeling zero shame about any of it. For a couple of years we worked together and she was my boss. If I made the mistake of offering to go on a Starbucks run, I would have to rhyme off 7 obnoxious details about her drink like the amount of sugar or whip cream, and it was never just the standard amount. I don’t think she goes a month without doing something that by most standards is completely bizarre, and posting it on social media for all her friends to either lol, or eye roll at. Every pic she takes of herself has a Jade face, where she looks like she’s getting shot out of a cannon. She was a fun boss and good friend. When my father passed away, she would cook food, and bring it to my mom’s house (I don’t know if my mom even knew who she was). When my wife had to go to the hospital for a day, she insisted on ordering us a dinner from Uber Eats even though we hadn’t hung out a lot during that time. I’ll never forget those gestures.
14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections?
Wow. Like I said, these questions are from 9 years ago, so I’ll answer this one like it was 9 years ago. Every day. Toronto Star or Toronto Sun, Sports page, and whatever else I have time for.
15. Which animals scare you most? Why?
Rats are fucking nasty, I don’t know why.
16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on?
Depends on the day. Instinct is to avoid, but my learned behaviour is to engage head-on, after a cooling off period preferably.
17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savoured?
Somebody at work took me aside and thanked me for teaching them so much. That meant a lot.
18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will?
I always secretly admire people who can wake up in the morning, seem rested, and have a great breakfast routine, where they mentally prepare for the day. Oh and do yoga and or workout in the morning. When I wake up in the morning I push the snooze button 14 times, and fly through the condo like I’m escaping from a fire, and I’m at work with a coffee in my hand and a breakfast bar in my pocket to be consumed later, probably no more than 30 minutes after my head is still on my pillow
19. Are you a creature of habit? Explain.
Yeah. Maybe. No. I don’t know.
20. Are you high maintenance? Explain.
I would say no. However I offset that with being completely unreasonable over small details, so yes. (Just asked my wife. She spoke to me about it for 20 minutes, and says EVERYBODY thinks so.)
21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits?
Once or twice a week I play basketball against people that are usually 10-20 years younger than me. It takes me 2 days to recover. How much longer can I do this? I guess as long as the back holds up.
22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why?
I’ve usually just rolled with a few close incredibly long tenured friends. Shout out to them. Apparently I’m high maintenance 😉
23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others?
Both, but to build an empire, I need others to unleash the potential of me. I’m too lazy to do things alone. I need the right partnership to get shit done.
24. What’s a strange occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone?
I saw an alien spaceship land and……….I have a blog. If I witnessed a strange occurrence, you would know by now.
25. What do you think about more than anything else?
5 way tie and it depends on the day. Family/Friends/Work/Sports/Music
Well…. That’s 25 out of 50 questions. As my high school teachers would confirm, that gets me a D and a pass. I’ve learned some very important things here today. Talking about myself is exhausting. I am HIGH maintenance according to my wife and possibly many others. Blogging starts out fun for the first 300 words, and then gets sucky and boring past 1000.
Anyways… for those that read to the bottom. Stay safe and wash your hands 🙂 For those that don’t read to the bottom, stay safe and wash your hands as well.
That Time I Had My Own Cooking Show
As part of my get rich incredibly slow or possibly never scheme, I’ve decided to go after some of that YouTube money. You know the kind. The kind that kids get from opening boxes of toys, while other kids watch on TV…. or teenagers playing video games while other teenagers watch on TV…… or other random content creators that find something so niche to say or do on the internet, that millions of people need to see. They make that advertising money. Some of these people don’t even have to work anymore. That’s the easy-way-out scenario that I’ve always craved and dreamed of. The same dream that perhaps made me start writing this blog once upon a time. Slowly getting out of the blog game though. People don’t want to read. I don’t even want to read. If you knew how little I read, you’d be amazed at the hypocrisy of me being a blogger. So what then???
A lot of people say ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’. Ever since I turned 40, my new motto has been ‘Just because you shouldn’t, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t’. So with that in mind, I decided to start a cooking show. My collaborator is a chef. Another couple of buddies of mine do film stuff. Suddenly, this thing’s got legs and doesn’t seem so crazy. We call it ‘Cumin Beings’. It’s not like a lot of the cooking videos you see online these days, which are lots of recipes and food shots, but lacking in personality. I miss the old cooking shows where the host/chef would actually hang out with you and talk you through it. So much of what you see on TV now is the reality shows and the chef competitions. Those are fun too, but we were aiming for some edutainment. A little different, but still a little familiar.
So without going on and on about it, I’ve attached the link to episode one below. I hope you’ll watch it/dig it/share it. We’re already plotting to shoot a couple more in the near future. If you could help me get some of that YouTube money by spreading the word, I’d be grateful. Maybe won’t be able to quit the day job, but it would be cool to generate a budget to do more of these. I’ll let the universe decide. Enjoy! Recipes below the link.
4 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tbsp white pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp hot chili flake (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
3 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2-3 tbsp rub (see above)
1 cup maple syrup (REAL whenever possible)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Mix all ingredients together in a pot over low heat….stir frequently to combine flavours, 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool, then store it in the fridge.
1/2 medium head Savoy cabbage cut into fine strips
1/2 medium Spanish onion julienned
1 medium carrot peeled and julienned
1 medium Northern Spy or Russet apple sliced finely
1 tbsp rub
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to combine. Allow to marinate half an hour before serving.
That Time I Wrote/Directed/Acted In A Short Film Part 2
Tonight I will premiere my baby (Short film entitled ‘To Do List’) online for the world to see. By world I of course mean an extraordinarily small percentage of the population of said planet, but whatevs!!! I’m putting this baby to bed (Finally!). Not that it hasn’t been a thrill ride for the ages. It totally has, and its exceeded every one of my expectations. As fun as this has been though, its time to move on. I wrote a blog about it a while back. If you want to start from the beginning of the story, click and have a read. If not, I’ll summarize below.
I made a short film with zero experience, zero money, and a lot of help from some talented people. The film didn’t suck (which I hate to say was basically my objective, like “Don’t suck!” was a theme throughout), and upon completion, made it’s rounds on the festival circuit. I loved re-reading the above blog because I wrote it just after I found out I got into my first festival. I remember thinking that just one festival, no matter how small or remote or niche, screening my film would have been the most incredible thing. It made it’s world premiere at the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, which I was unable to attend. One of several that I didn’t go to for various reasons (most of which involved money or vacation time). It’s a strange feeling the night that your film is screening in some city in front of a crowd of people, and you aren’t there to see it. You might just be sitting on your couch drinking a glass of wine, and you look over at the clock and realize that there might be a room full of people in Portland watching you on a screen, and you are just sitting on a couch with no concept of whether they enjoyed it or not…..just drinking that wine. Alone. It’s a weird feeling.
A ‘not weird’ feeling is going to your first festival to sit in the audience and watch yourself on the big screen. That is Killer Kool-Aid, and I was able to do that in Boulder City, Nevada. On a separate blog site, I wrote this story about that experience, should you decide you want to go down that particular rabbit hole…….
Adventures At The Dam Short Film Festival In Boulder City
If you don’t, it’s cool. We won ‘Best Comedy’ there. It was the only award this film got to win, but considering I was expecting zero awards and would have been totally satisfied with just one screening, this was bananas. As obnoxious as it sounds, I now routinely tell people that I am an ‘Award Winning Director’ because I CAN. They say that just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, but I sometimes do…… because I can.
After that I got into a few more. We got to see it with some friends in Cleveland at the Short.Sweet.Film Fest, and I finally got a local screening in Toronto, courtesy of Cityflix. Finished off in Canada with a fun little Muskoka Trip at the Cinemuskoka Film Fest, and now I’m done! I’m happy. I’m grateful. I’m excited to finally share this with everyone. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go make another!
I just want to take the opportunity to thank everyone involved in the project. Talented actors, Jennifer O’Callaghan and Patrick McFadden. Cinematographer Othello Ubalde. Editor Trevor Juras. Justin Constantino and Victor Solla who helped shoot it. I’m glad we were able to make it happen, but it wouldn’t have happened without these people, their incredible talent, and generosity of spirit. I look forward to sending it out into the cold bizarre version of our world we call the Internet. Be gentle with my baby 😉
Here’s the link that will have activated by the time most of you read this.