Wednesday, December 29, 2010

:: Quotes ::

"I looked at his passport and his name was just a bunch of upside-down 7s and a smiley face." - Christene, trying to book an appointment for a new patient who did not speak English.

"Hey bitch, buy me a Bentley!" - Bucholtz, on what he'd say to try in an attempt to pick up Emma Watson.

"Kyle, don't say 'Big fucking dick' in front of children.... Kyle! Don't say 'Tranny with a big, fucking dick' in front of children, either." - Jeremy, thinking of the children.

"You aren't allowed to bring a date to your Christmas party because I know what happens when you bring a date to your Christmas party." - Christene, who had to miss my work Christmas party this year but, once upon a time, was a Christmas party date herself.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

:: Chris on Christmas ::

"You ever filled a stocking before? It feels like I just spent about $120 on absolutely nothing. I wish I was marrying a Jew." - text message I received today from my brother.

Monday, December 20, 2010

:: Wasted Talent ::

This year, I have discovered two things about myself: 1) Despite never really playing before, I am actually quite good at playing poker, and 2) I am also pretty good at picking football games. 

Now, I've played poker before 2010, obviously, but it's only ever been with my friends at 2 a.m. once everybody's schmammered, and I'd never actually been in a tournament. But then, in May – while on a golf weekend trip out in Chilliwack – I played in a 12-man tournament, and after slow-playing everyone to death (I'm rather conservative, it turns out) I ended up finishing second, and won $60. I also received a handful of compliments about how well I had played.

Then, last weekend at Davy and Colleen's, I lasted five hours and ended up sixth out of about 16 or 18, which is pretty not bad. And though I collected no monetary winnings, I did score myself a sweet consolation prize – a large bottle of Baby Duck wine.

Which brings me to my next thing: picking football games. 

I'd been in a million football pools prior to this year – although I've never done very well – but I'd never been in a pool like the one Chris, Me, Davy and a few others were in this year. In addition to the typical fantasy league, we also had to pick who we thought would win each game every week, and whoever picks the most correct games – no point spreads – by the end of Week 17, gets $60 or so. 

And while I was knocked out of the fantasy league in the first round of playoffs – losing to Davy on the last play of Monday Night Football, no less – I am doing quite well at this pick 'em business. 

I'm kicking ass, as a matter of fact.

Now, I know a decent amount about football, and I can predict the odd game or two, but this was the first time where I was forced – if I wanted to win – to pick a winner in each and every game for 17 weeks. 

Turns out, I'm pretty good. My success rate through Week 15 (not including tonight's Monday night game) is 99.1 percent.

Yes, 99.1. 

I am, in this part of my life at least, less than 1% away from being perfect.

Davy's in second place at 92%, but I've got a seven-game lead on him. 

So yeah, 2010 has been a pretty good gamblin' year for me. And what do I have to show for it? 

$60 – with that number jumping to a potential $120 – and a big bottle of $9 champagne*. Yep, I'd say I'm putting my newfound talents to good use. 

*I would also like take this opportunity to point out that, in my 167-person hockey pool run through my dad's work (it's a pick-a-player-from-each-box style pool) I am currently in first place. I'm only three up on second place, and a week ago had a 14-point lead, so these things change quickly, but still, I am in first place. Winner gets about $1,300. This is the same pool I won two years ago, collecting a cool, cool $1,600. 
:: The Way Kids' Brains work ::

I was in Wal-Mart recently, and as I walked past the pet supplies section, I heard a little kid – who could not have been more than five years old – tell his mom they should buy some dog food. 

"We don't have a dog," the mom replied, matter-of-factly. 

Then the mom dipped around the corner for a brief second, leaving the five-year-old kid standing there with his older brother, who was probably 9 or 10.

As soon as the mom turned away, the five-year-old instructed his older brother to grab one of the big bags of food (which the five-year-old obviously couldn't lift) and put it in their shopping cart.

"We don't have a dog," the older brother said.

"I know, but if we buy some dog food then mom will have to buy us a puppy to eat it!" the five-year-old genius answered.

I laughed and continued on with my shopping. Sometimes, kids are fucking awesome.

Monday, December 13, 2010

:: Scott the Super Villain ::

The following conversation took place via BBM last week, but first this: With his neatly trimmed beard, it has recently come to my attention that Scott bears a startling resemblance to Hank Scorpio - CEO of Globex Corporation, international/evil supergenius, and runner of Fun Runs.

Don't believe me? Well, take a look for yourself:

See? It's uncanny.

I mentioned this to Kelsey on Facebook the other day, and she in turn passed along my compliment/observation to Scott. The conversation quickly got away from us.*

(*Warning: the following is full of Simpsons and sports references. May fly over the heads of the non-obsessed.)

Scott: Nice Hank Scorpio reference.
Me: Thank you. Your resemblance is uncanny. Now just get yourself some moccasins and a business hammock and you're all set.
Scott: Will do. And I will take that as a compliment, (Hank) is a pretty cool dude.
Me: I would definitely take it as a compliment. Feel free to blow up a bridge, if people don't take you seriously at work.
Scott: I'm gonna take over the Eastern seaboard.
Me: Good for you. When you get home, there's gonna be an extra floor on your house.
(brief pause, for regular conversation)
Scott: Now Nick, I know that you wanted the Dallas Cowboys, but I hope this gets you one step closer to achieving that dream of yours.
Me: Aw! The Denver Broncos?!
Me: By the way, I love the fact that the whole team shows up on the Simpson's lawn. You think when Francesco Aquilini bought the Canucks, Hank and Daniel set up some nets in his driveway and played some street hockey?
Scott: Yes, they'd be in full gear, too.
Me: Absolutely.
Scott: Speaking of the Broncos, McDaniels fired today.
Me: Really? Wow.
Scott: Yep. Won his first six games, went 3 for 20 since.
Me: That is poor. Even the Maple Leafs think that's a bad record.
Scott: Yeah, even JaMarcus Russell has a better winning percentage.
Me: When asked to comment, Russell declined because he had his mouth full of cheeseburgers.
Scott: ..... and his hand was stuck in a bucket of KFC.
Me: KFC and performance-enhancing steroids. Steroids which - judging by his awful career - later turned out to only be Skittles.
Scott: He wanted to get in shape, so he drank nothing by milkshakes.
Me: Diet milkshakes?
Scott: Russell: "Oh, crap!"

Thursday, December 02, 2010

:: Two old people talking about TV ::

A few minutes ago, somebody here happened to make some exaggerated grunting noise for some reason or another. After said noise, another person said, 'That sounded just like that tool guy, you know, from that old show?"

She meant, of course, Tim Allen – he of the trademarked but lame grunting noise – and his old show from the '90s, Home Improvement. But she couldn't remember the name of it. Thankfully though, a third person decided to help.

And after a two-minute brainstorm/discussion – in which help was enlisted from at least 2 other passersby – this was the conclusion:

"Oh, I know the show – it was This Old House."
"Yeah, that's the one."
"It had that guy in it... Tim something."
"Tim Allen!" 

And then, as if a 3-minute conversation about a subpar, outdated '90s sitcom wasn't bad enough, this: 

"I like Tim Allen, he's really funny. He's like Bill Murray."

Now let's just back the Comedy Caravan up just a second (see what I did there? Home Improvement watchers will get it). Tim freaking Allen is not like Bill Murray.

Sure, Allen has his charms – he sometimes funny, and I usually like him (and I still love The Santa Clause). But he's not Bill Murray. Bill Murray is a comedy legend, whereas Tim Allen is so well-thought of by most people that his show is – as evidenced by the previous conversation – often confused with a long-cancelled do-it-yourself show hosted by Bob Vila. 

Bill Murray was in Caddyshack.

Tim Allen was in Who is Cletis Tout?

Tim Allen was in Wild Hogs.

Bill Murray was in Groundhog Day, Ghostbusters and The Royal Tenenbaums.

Rest assured, Tim Allen is not Bill Murray.

Even if hopelessly unhip 50-sometimes think otherwise. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

:: Black Friday ::

"Shoplifting is a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark." - Homer Simpson

This weekend, which technically began Thursday, is U.S. Thanksgiving/Black Friday (editor's note: Happy Turkey Day, American readers! All 4 of you). And because Black Friday is one helluva shopping day down south*, Christene left this morning, alone with her sister-in-law and a couple of her sister-in-law's friends, for the outlet malls of Seattle/Bellevue/Burlington etc...

(*Black Friday is to the U.S. what Boxing Day is to Canada, and it always struck me as odd that, here, the biggest shopping day of the year would come a day after Christmas, rather than before. I mean, how many times in your life have you heard somebody say, 'You know, we should just delay Christmas this year by a few days so we can buy all our presents on Boxing Day. We'd save a fortune!" Well, for all the problems America has - war, racism, real estate and economic disaster, the BCS – at least they've got this right.)

They return Sunday. Which means I am all alone – with the dog – for the whole weekend. Now, I could throw some wild and crazy party now that I am temporary sans ball-and-chain, but let's face it, that ain't gonna happen. Especially considering the weekend by myself got off to a helluva start at 6 a.m. this morning. After dropping Christene off for her shopping/shoplifting (probably) adventure, I came home to find the dog had peed all over his big dog bed (which he's never done) and also the floor.

A large portion of the floor.

Between keeping the dog from sitting in his own urine, cleaning the large area of pee-covered floor, cleaning the kennel and washing and drying the bed/bed cover, I spent an hour this morning cleaning up.

An hour I could've spent sleeping. Or planning a legen-dary shindig. But alas, everyone has hockey or work tonight and, quite frankly, I don't want to get up to much before my staff Christmas party tomorrow night anyway, so here's how my Friday is gonna break down.

I'm gonna go home, order a pizza, sit on the couch with the dog and watch the hockey game. And then when it's over, I'm going to load up the Wii and have a marathon Mario session – I have the newest Wii-version of Super Mario, plus the original, Mario 3 and Super Mario Land are all loaded on the machine.

Yep, I'm gonna live it up.

And hopefully when she's down in the States, Christene can steal me something nice. I'd love a copy of Bonestorm, but I'd also settle for Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge.

Friday, November 19, 2010

:: The Beginning of Asshole Chris ::

It's well established now, and something of an inside joke amongst our friends, that my brother, Chris, has a bit of a jerky side to him. Sure, he is for the most part a nice guy. But there's been plenty of times – after a few beers – where he's not so nice. Not towards us, mind you, but usually to complete strangers. Which of course, usually makes for big entertainment for the rest of us. 

This persona has become known as Asshole Chris, and nearly every one of us has a story. 

A few months ago, I tried to explain the Asshole Chris phenomenon to Christene, because she's always so damn adamant that this cannot be the case – "He's such a nice guy," she always says. And while I explained, I tried to think of how this whole asshole personality came about. 

Now, it's easy to assume that it came about as soon as he hit 18/19 years old and started drinking and going out to the bar. But in fact, I think the seeds were planted much, much sooner.

When I was 18 and Chris was about a week away from turning 15, the two of us went to the movies to see the South Park movie on opening weekend. Now, this was in the days when – for big movie openings – a theatre employee would introduce the movie and talk to the crowd before the film actually started. 

Before South Park, the employee offered some kind of prize – probably a free movie pass – to the person who could do the best Cartman impression. Even though it was a packed theatre, only one guy volunteered. So up he walked to the front of the theatre, grabbed the microphone, and did his impression.

It was not good. Awful, as a matter of fact. When his impression was over, the theatre remained almost dead silent – some people weren't paying attention while others were simply too polite to boo. 

Except 14-year-old Christopher. 

After about a one-second pause, he yelled out from our seats near the back of the room, "THAT FUCKING SUCKED!!" 

He got some laughs, some scattered applause and the rest, as they say, is history. 

But that was the start. 
:: Random school memory ::

Not sure why I thought of this today, but I'm going to tell you a story from my two years spent at Kwantlen University College (later changed to Kwantlen University, later changed again to Kwantlen Polytechnic University... just pick a fucking name and still with it, perhaps.)

In my second year there, I was taking political science class that I now rank as probably the second-worst class I ever took in university; the first being two-semester art/photography class I took at the University College of the Cariboo, which is now Thompson Rivers University (editor's note: can't any school keep its name the same?)

Anyways, this course was focused on Canadian politics, and was taught by a horrible shrew of a an old woman who had no teaching skills, whatsoever. Every class was the same thing – she'd throw some notes on the overhead projector, and we were supposed to copy them down. 

For three straight hours. 

(I've often wondered why she didn't just made 30 copies of these notes and hand 'em out to us, but then I realized – if she did it that much more efficient way, what would she do for the three hours of class time?) 

She was also a huge NDP booster/member, and being that it was a political science class, it gave her ample opportunity to espouse her left-wing NDP viewpoints and opinions. It was an election year, if I remember correctly, and at one point she even handed out NDP buttons to the entire class. Now, I'm not what I'd call politically active and while I don't necessarily dislike the NDP, I did not appreciate having paid for a class only to receive political propaganda. 

On this occasion, I declined said button. This upset her. 

A few weeks later, we were required to write opinion essays about a certain political topic. I believe I chose immigration. And because I enjoy playing devil's advocate (and being an asshole) I chose an anti-immigration opinion. I knew, as a staunch lefty, this would piss her off. 

So I wrote a well-reasoned essay, complete with facts, sources, footnotes, etc... and handed it in. A week later, it was returned to me with a large "FAIL" written along the top of the cover page. Underneath that was scribbled the following: "This opinion is wrong."

I was understandably pissed off. If she quibbled with my facts, my sources, my writing style - anything of the sort – and failed me because of that, well, what can I do? But to fail me because she did not share my opinion? Well, that didn't fly with me. 

After complaining loudly and, let's face it, probably pretty rudely, I left the class. The next day I went to whatever administrative body that handles teacher complaints, and explained the situation. I'd like to fill an official complaint, I said.

The response? 

"Don't bother. We have some many complaints against her already, one more is not going to make a difference."

In the end, I passed the course – I may even have got a pass on the essay in the end, I can't really recall – and I don't believe Mrs. NDP taught much longer, but still, this is the kind of education I got for the first two years after high school. 

(And truth be told, most of my university profs at Kwantlen were awful. For many, many reasons. But this woman was the absolute worst.)

Community college, FTW.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

:: Behold Frostillicus! ::

It's cold out today. Perhaps not as cold as a Kwik-e-Mart freezer (or Fort McMurray, for that matter, where I understand it recently snowed) but chilly nonetheless.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

:: A solution to the The Situation ::

Halloween is only a few days away, and it looks like Jersey Shore-themed costumes are awfully popular, which really shouldn't come as much of a surprise due to both the show's immense – if inexplicable – popularity and also the fact that douchebags of the world really like to show off their douchebaggyness (Ed Hardy shirts, after all, are not exactly understated).

I, of course, being of both good taste and a bad attitude, hate Jersey Shore. It's such a lowest-common-denominator show that it makes Rock of Love look like fucking Masterpiece Theatre. Sadly though, my hatred of the MTV program will do nothing to slow its popularity, nor the thousands – millions maybe – of Snooki and The Situation costumes that are sure to sprout up on the streets and at Halloween parties beginning tomorrow night.

All we can really hope for, I guess, is an increase in poison Halloween candy and firecracker accidents this year. Either that, or a bad batch of energy drinks and jagermeister.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

:: My dog, the jerk ::

Since getting our boxer-English bulldog cross, Gunnar, three weeks ago, I have mentioned to people, but not yet written about, his aversion for all things athletic. Yes, he's a boxer – typically a hyper breed, that requires much physical exercise. But he's also a bulldog.

A lazy, lazy bulldog.

And considering that I am, for the most part, a lazy, lazy person, we get along just great. (Minus the odd peeing on the carpet, of course.) But despite his dislike of walks – which in reality, might actually be of a love of the couch and lying down, more than anything – I still drag him outside every weekday morning at about 6 a.m., before I have to get ready for work.

Now, he doesn't usually do his business on these walks – he doesn't like to poop while on a leash, and by 6 a.m. Christene has usually put him out once already anyhow – and make no mistake about it, both of us would rather be sleeping, but I force the two of us to go outside because I think it's good to get some exercise, even 20 minutes worth.

And if ever I thought Gunnar's hatred of exercise was a mere coincidence, or a figment of my imagination, today sealed the deal.

Near the end of our walk, as we approached our house, I heard footsteps behind me. I turned around to see a middle-aged man jogging towards us, out for his morning run. As a courtesy, I moved over to one side of the wide sidewalk, and pulled Gunnar over, too.

But then, as the runner came along side us, Guns – who's normally pretty laid back, and pays no mind to anybody, except if they're playing with him – leapt to the left, directly into the runner's path, nearly tripping him into a nearby planter as a result. Neither dog or man actually got hurt, and the jogger just kind of laughed and kept on truckin' along.

And Gunnar went back to his somewhat-calm walk as if nothing ever happened.

Then we both went in the house and sat happily on the couch – me drinking coffee, Gunnar eating a bunch of dog treats.

I had to give him something, after all. He earned it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

:: Brain freeze ::

Yesterday afternoon, I sat at my desk and ate a big bowl of ice cream. Somebody I work with had bought a big tub of it, put it in the lunch room freezer and told some of us to help ourselves. I went and got some and came back to my desk.

Being that my desk is in a high-traffic area right near the lunchroom door (the office equivalent of getting a table near the washroom), there were no shortage of people – from other departments, and therefore not initially told of the ice-cream bounty – walking by and making comments about my ice cream.

This was incredibly annoying, as you may imagine. Then, it just got plain stupid.

Guy, leaving lunchroom: Hey, I didn't see any ice cream in there!
Me: Well, it's in there.
Guy: Where was it?
Me: It's ice cream, where do you think it was? I've give you a hint – it wasn't the microwave.
Guy: Weird, I never saw it.
Me: Did you look in the freezer?
Guy: Well, no, I didn't.
Me: Can't imagine why you wouldn't have known about it then.

These are the people I work with.
:: She was spouting cliches a mile a minute ::

I just overheard a woman on a phone call. In the span of no more than two minutes – and that's probably being generous – she said the following things about a person who was the subject of the phone conversation.

"She's bigger than life."

"She's got a mega-watt smile."

"She just lights up the room."

"She'd give you the shirt off her back."

So yes, this woman is probably a fantastic person – not to mention potentially topless – but what I am more concerned with is the fact that the person on this end of the line is apparently completely unable to form and express unique thoughts.

I mean, I work in sports, so I hear cliches all the time – about taking it one day at a time, giving it 110%, etc – but that's different. (I don't know why or how it's different, so don't ask, but it just is).

It's probably the same reason I hate – HATE – when I hear or read (lookin' at you, Facebook statuses) people spouting some cliche phrase and pass it off as wit or a deep thought*. It's not. It's lame, and does not make you intelligent. It makes you lame.

*Today's annoying example: Somebody on Twitter posted that lame quote about how "yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery and today is a gift. That's why they call it the present." Good one, jackass – real fucking original. You think that up all by yourself?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

:: You dial 9-1, then when I say so, dial 1 again ::

So apparently Halloween is a big deal here in Milner Heights, our home of two-and-half weeks. About every second house seems to be decorated up with stuff. I've never seen anything quite like it, actually, but then again, it's a relatively small area, so maybe that's why it seems like a lot.

Anyways, on that note, I was out taking Gunnar for his daily 6 a.m. walk (which we both hate, by the way - we'd both rather stay in bed, especially Guns... he's tough to get going in the morning, which I can appreciate.)

And about 8 houses up the street from us, I noticed one house with its two front windows all boarded up. At first, I thought that somehow these windows of this new house had been smashed, but when I looked closer, I realized that the way the boards were put up, I think they were meant to look haphazard and sketchy.

You know, for Halloween.

The trouble is, these boarded up windows are the only decoration - if indeed that's what they are - outside of the entire house. No spooky witches or other statues, no black and orange ribbons or anything. Not even a pumpkin!

So that being the case, I'm really not 100% convinced that this house is festive. I'd say there's a decent chance there's some kind of situation going on in there - perhaps the residents are boarding up to prevent some kind of zombie attack, I don't know. Or perhaps it's a murder scene. The possibilities are endless.

All I know is that it, on its own, it makes the house look like some kind of white trash murder scene.

Which may, come to think of it, be the scariest decorations on the whole block. Well played, weirdos. Well played.

Monday, October 18, 2010

:: Minor annoyance of the day ::

People who say they "seen" something.

For example, the woman I just heard, who told somebody that "I seen that yesterday."

No, you fool, you saw something yesterday. You ain't seen nuthin'.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

:: Delayed response ::

Witnessed a very Seinfeldian moment today at the office. However, unlike Seinfeld, the moment was annoying rather than hilarious.

More than two hours ago, one co-worker made some faux-angry remark about how, if our department kept screwing up – thus directly affecting his department – he was going to send some people after us/get us in trouble, etc.... It was said in jest, we all chuckled, blah blah blah, end of moment.

And then we all moved on with our days.

One guy though – who is something of a socially-awkward rube and has been mentioned here, here and here– just couldn't let the moment die. What he also couldn't do, unfortunately, was come up with an on-the-spot, witty remark. Like I said, he's not that quick.

So, two hours pass, and he wanders back to the guy who made the fake-threats, and said, "Remember earlier when you said ....." and then proceeded with his hilarious comeback that he'd spent two hours crafting in his brain.

Couple problems. The first of course, is that two fucking hours passed. But secondly – perhaps most importantly – is that his finely crafted bit of hilarity was awful. Like, one of the top-5 lamest "jokes" I've ever heard.

Worse than a "dad" joke. Hell, even worse than a bad "dad" joke.

And then upon the joke falling flat, he topped it off with what's sadly become his signature line: "Right? Riiiight???"

At this rate, all I can hope for is that he soon takes a new job at Tyler Chicken.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

"Dogs are like babies you can swear at." - Christene

Say hello to my little friend....

Monday, October 04, 2010

:: Banana thief ::

Tonight while out picking up a few groceries at PriceSmart, I saw a guy steal five bananas.

That's it. Five bananas. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I was in the self-checkout area, just about to leave, when through the open bay-doors walked a youngish guy - probably mid-20s. He proceeded to walk towards the produce section right in front of him. He walked past a few bins of fruit until he got to the bin full of bananas. He took a few seconds, sorted through the bananas til he found five suitable ones - in two separate bunches - then picked them up and walked out.

The trick to successful thieving, or so I've heard, is confidence. Look like you own it. This banana thief clearly had read the handbook - he owned those bananas. Owned them hard.

Still, I couldn't help but wonder just compelled this guy to steal bananas. Why not apples? Nectarines? Shit, why not just rob a cashier?

:: Definition of irony (sort of) ::

While sitting at my desk, which is adjacent to the lunch room, I was just forced to listen to two women, both in their late-40s/early-50s, bitch and moan – quite viciously, I might add – about their respective elderly mothers.

About how they try to run their lives even now; question their parenting skills; how they were terrible parents themselves and that's why all their children escaped and moved far away, and how all they do is complain and blah blah blah. It got so obnoxious and loud, I almost told them to shut up.

But I didn't. Because the thing is, I don't think these two realize that, judging by the way they just spent their lunch hour complaining and whining, in 20-30 years they will probably turn out the exact same way.

Old. Bitter. Angry.

That'll teach 'em for annoying me.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Sweet Fucking Jesus!"

When you get this type of reaction from your girlfriend upon letting loose a hellacious fart, you know you've done a good job.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

:: Louis CK stole my bit ::

I have a memo pad file on my BlackBerry called "jokes." It's where I write down, well, jokes (it's not just a clever name). More accurately, it's where I write down bits I'd use if I was ever to actually to do stand-up comedy.

Now, I may never do it... in fact, it is very unlikely because a) I'm still pretty shy and hate speaking in public, and b) I don't think I'm funny enough. I mean, I think I'm pretty funny, but as Jer once told me - "You're funny, but you aren't standup/joke funny. You're just funny because you have a blog where you write down all the funny shit we do."

Fair 'nuff.

However, I have a file on my phone - and on my computer - nonetheless. And you know what? There's a lot there, and I think it's pretty good. And the other day, likely because Jer and Katie just had a baby (Hank the Tank!) I was thinking about babies. And I got to thinking... why is it that the first time anybody mentions a newborn baby, one of the first questions a person asks is - aside from whether it's a boy or girl, and what its name is - is the baby's weight.

Well, it's because they're fucking babies... they don't have a lot else going on. What is a mother or father going to say about their new son or daughter, if not their weight, sex, and maybe how much they sleep, shit or puke... Anyways, I wrote a pretty good bit about it. It was pretty funny.

And then, last night, while idly flipping channels, I found Louis CK's HBO special, Shameless.... and he had nearly the exact same fucking joke.

And now I can never fucking use it on my eventual road to comedy stardom, all because of a balding, 40-year-old ginger who is quasi to moderately famous, and guest stars on shows like Parks and Recreation when he isn't busy talking about handjobs said it first.

You know, if I had my HBO special first, this never would've happened.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

:: Disneyland, passports, quotes ::

So we are back from our week in California, and needless to say, it was pretty awesome. Weather was nice and warm - too hot on some days, actually - and the lines at Disneyland weren't too bad, for the most part. It was one of our best vacations yet, even with a few bumps in the road.

Well, one bump, really - I lost my passport about one hour after landing in Los Angeles. I won't go into all my complaints about that - about the piss poor customer service from everyone from multiple people at the airline to the airport to the lost and found people... because I don't want to make it sound like I was miserable the whole week. Truthfully, I was only miserable for about one day, and for me, that's not bad.

In the end, I made it home without a passport somehow and that's the important thing. (sidenote: So much for that upgraded security, US and Canadian border services people. Nobody even asked me about my lack of a passport)

Anyways, here are some quotes (some old), anecdotes and other things from the past 2-3 weeks.

At the Fox n Fiddle, Chris is quietly trying to point out something to Ian (they were making fun of some random person, I think)
Sean: WHO WE LOOKING AT?!!!!!!!!

"Organic baby toys? Only the French would think of something like that. Babies these days are gonna be so weak - give 'em some nails to chew on." - Bucholtz, future father of the year.

"It's like Bluetooth for my nuts!" - Sean, during a round of golf, defending his way of peeing, which includes pulling his balls right out of his shorts, too. (Because the stability allows him to go hands free).

While discussing an infamous New Year's part years ago at Sean's dad's house...
"I've been trying to forget that night for seven years.... come to think of it, two days later wasn't so great either." - Chris

"It was dark, I was drunk, and I stuck my finger down her pants." - Sean, defending his actions during that same NYE party.

"I don't need to be reminded to laugh. I make fun of stuff every day." - Christene, on why she hates laugh tracks on TV shows.

"You bought camping groceries? What the hell for? All you need is a bag of salt, a box of beef jerky and beer. Either that, or a big box of Kentucky Fried Chicken." - Mo (Christene's dad) on camping necessities.

"I've been doing this thing now where I think before I say things." - Christene

"People like different things. You know, Nick likes sports and folding his laundry, and I don't like those things." - Christene, on differences.

Oh, and feel free to ask Christene about her initial reaction to Disneyland, upon walking through the gates for the very first time. (hint: she almost started crying, she was so overwhelmed). She hates it when I bring it up, but then again, she posted this so fair is fair.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

:: Shadenfreude ::

Shadenfreude is described as, to the best of my knowledge without actually looking it up, taking pleasure in other people's misery. You might be surprised to know that I do this a lot.

I bring this up now because at the moment I am sitting in the boarding area of the Bellingham Airport, waiting for my flight, in an hour or so. We got here early - go figure - and as we walked into the terminal, it was the last boarding call for a flight to Vegas. And there is not much funnier than watching people scramble to make their flight.

We saw, in a matter of just a few minutes, three guys race through the doors yelling "last three for Vegas! Last three for Vegas!" and also two older women get chastised by the employee at the counter for being late. They blamed the border lineups. They were awful this morning - we waited an hour; Peace Arch border was apparently a 3 hour wait.

But still, I have no sympathy for em, really. They knew they had a border to deal with, they knew - or should have known - it'd be busy on a Saturday morning. Leave early, like we did.

In the end, everyone made the flight, it seemed. Except about 10 minutes after the plane left, we saw two couples come in, late. They looked stressed, angry, frazzled and unhappy.

They missed the flight, and despite my jerky ways, I felt bad for them. I mean, I feel bad for anybody who gets Vegas taken away from them like that, whether it was their own fault or not.

As they frantically tried to rebook flights for later in the day, I heard the airline woman say the following:

"OK, there's four of you and we have four flights. I can get one of you on every one..... oh, and two of them are tomorrow. That'll be an extra $291.09."

That's when it became funny again.

(See you in a week. Disneyland awaits!)

Friday, August 13, 2010

:: Silent Agreement ::

Seth: What are you doing? 
Evan: Drilling holes.... there's two weeks left of school, fuck it.
- Superbad

Today is my last day of work before two weeks of vacation. Tomorrow, I leave for Disneyland. Needless to say, I am not working very hard today. I mean, I don't really have to – I did a bunch of work ahead of time to help out those filling my shoes in my absence, and there is no point in starting anything new because, well, there is less than two hours left in the workday, so what's the point? If I start something new and it doesn't get done by 5 p.m., then what? 

I realize this, and so does, I think, my boss. He often has a bad habit of assigning us tasks – even menial, quick ones - at like 4:52 p.m. I don't even think he does it on purpose, but today, for me, there has been none of these type of assignments since lunch. Instead, other colleagues are getting them put on their desks instead.

Because let's face it, if he gave it to me, it's not going to get done. Nobody even has to say anything.

He knows it. I know it. 

Now, let's just sit silently at our desks until the clock runs out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

:: Kill 'em with kindness... or cancer ::

I've been dealing with a lot of banks, lately. Too many, in fact. 

I'm currently in the process of switching banks from Coast Capital to TD, and then a third, RBC, is handling our upcoming mortgage. So, that's three banks with the ability to piss me off at once. And as everyone knows, banks have a way of pissing people off.

Also, and perhaps this is the most important point, anybody who knows me is well aware that it does not take much to get on my last nerve (See previous post, titled 'The Complaint Department, for further proof).

Anyways, the reason I'm leaving Coast – my main bank since I was eight or nine years old – is because they kept screwing me around and giving me the round-around when I tried to get the loan for my truck a year and a half ago. But secondly – and most importantly – they really jerked us around with the mortgage we almost had with them. I may have written about this before – it's probable, actually – but here's the Cole's notes of it: 

They approved our mortgage without problems about six weeks before the closing date of the deal. Then, four days before the deal was set to close, they said, "Oh, sorry, we finally got around to actually checking out the details, and we can't do it (for one pretty lame reason, but a reason nonetheless). I was furious not because they rejected it – there's lots of banks out there, after all – but because they waited 'til the last second and left us scrambling like idiots. 

So today, as I attempt to move my accounts, I went to Coast Capital – albeit a different branch than the one I'm mad at – to get some void cheques/banking info, which are necessary to make the transfer. 

The teller asked me, out of curiosity more than anything else, why I needed the forms. I said it was because I was closing all my accounts. 

"Oh, do you mind if I ask why?" she asked.

Oh boy, this was the moment I was waiting for. The chance for me to tell the bank – loudly – just how badly they had fucked me around, and that they could all go to hell. I didn't even care that it was a different branch, I was gonna let 'er rip.

I explained my reasons (politely, I may add. I was working up to the anger). And then, the real piss-off: the overly-polite teller agreed with me. 

"I don't have much dealings with the mortgage end of things, but you're right – they should've told you way sooner than that. I don't blame you for being upset," she said.

"No! You're supposed to disagree! I need ammo here! I want a fight!!!!" my angry brain screamed.

But I got nothing but pleasantries – a "sorry to see you leave" and a "have a nice day." Talk about taking the wind from my sails.

Anyways, with that out of the way – and more bottled-up rage than ever – I focused my attention on RBC. We need to finalize the mortgage and sign papers in a week or so, and my mortgage specialist – who had already previously disappeared for three months due to some type of medical leave – was, again, nowhere to be found.

I emailed. I called and left a message on her cell. I emailed again - this time a little more tersely, explaining that I couldn't wait forever, and that her lack of a response was unnerving, to say the least. Then I called again. And then one more time for good measure.

But still nothing. To quote noted philosopher Homer Simpson: "Urge to kill rising."

Finally, exasperated, I called the branch itself and complained. The woman on the phone apologized and said she'd get right on it. She said not to worry about it – she'd do all the legwork, get me an appointment and call me back when I had one. 

Not even 10 minutes later, I had an email from the formerly MIA mortgage woman. (What a coincidence.)

Again, I was ready to be angry. I opened the email.

"Hi there, sorry for the delay in getting back to you...." it read.

Damn right you should be sorry! 

"... but I just found out that my dad has been diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer, so I had to take a few days off in the last week."

God dammit. So much for being angry. I mean, I was still within my rights to wonder where the hell she'd been, but how can you possibly stay pissed off when that's the reason given? 

Now, the worst part – aside from the fact that some poor guy out there has a serious medical issue to deal with – is that I've still got all this pent-up anger and nowhere to unleash it.

Thankfully, we've got the first two games of our fall slo-pitch season tonight. The umpire at diamond 4 is probably gonna get an earful.

Monday, August 09, 2010

:: Best dream ever ::

I didn't sleep well last night, for whatever reason. I went to be really early, like 9-something, and then tossed and turned for hours. But when I did finally fall asleep for good, I had a pretty awesome dream. And the fact that I can remember it – I usually don't remember dreams – makes it even better. 

Here's what happened.

A bunch of us were all camping somewhere out in the woods. In bear country. There were, in fact, bears sightings all over the place. At some point in our camping adventure, Christene needed to get something from Sean's tent, and when she left, she forgot to zip the door back up.

And soon after, a bear got into Sean's tent and tore shit up. Pretty awesome so far.

Sean, of course, went nuts, and got really mad at Christene for leaving the door open (because, as everyone knows, zipping up a thin nylon door keeps bears out). Basically, he blamed her for the bear attack. Then I, of course, got mad at Sean, and we started arguing/fighting.

And here's where the dream gets really good. I won the fight when I, wait for it..... picked up a grizzly bear and threw it at Sean.

Yes, I hit Sean in the face with a bear. 

Take that, asshole. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

:: The Complaint Department ::

Last night, while sitting around making idle chatter with Christene, I rattled off – in the course of about 15 seconds - four consecutive complaints about completely different, random things. Christene stopped me before I could say anything else – which, let's face it, was probably about to be complaint number five – and marveled at the speed of which my complaints came. 

Not to mention the fact that I didn't even realize I'd complained at all. After awhile, it just becomes so common you don't pay attention. You know, like the Boy Who Cried Wolf but more angry.

"You should get a tattoo of a suggestion-box looking thing, and get the words 'The Complaint Dept.' written over top," Christen suggested. 

And while I probably won't get that tattoo, here's a list of things that've been pissing me off lately. 

1. The perma-garage sale on our street

Our next door neighbour is well, a li'l trashy. She is a single mom and lives in this house with her couple young kids – and despite the fact that she has no money, she refuses to get a job. Instead, she mooches off the system because, and I quote, "I just feel like it's more important to be here for my kids."

Commendable? Perhaps. But, newsflash, lady: Most of the day, your kids are in school. It's probably more important that they, you know, eat.

But anyways, rather than work like the rest of productive society, she spends her hours – hours which could be spent at a real job, remember – collecting free shit from road sides, driveways, and wherever else Craigslist tells her somebody is giving something away for free. She then takes the free garbage back to her driveway, where she has a garage sale.

Now, I've got no issue with garage sales - people have them all the time. But this woman has had garage sales EVERY SINGLE FRIDAY AND SATURDAY FOR FIVE CONSECUTIVE WEEKS. And this weekend will be six. Personally, I hate this mainly because a) I park on the street, and the never-ending sale means a never-ending stream of cars coming next door, thus making parking hard to come by; and b) get a freaking job.

I think by Week 3, it ceases to become a garage sale and becomes a business. If it wasn't for the fact that her kids would go hungry, I'd love to call the city and complain about an unlicensed business.

2. Whiny Facebook whiners

First off, I know that complaining on a blog about people who complain on Facebook is hypocritical on the surface, but here's the thing: When I complain, it's straightforward, angry, and often full of curse words. 

Fuck. Shit.  See? I can't help myself. 

Point is, when I complain – by whichever medium I choose – there is no ambiguity, no vagueness, and therefore, no reason for hundreds of people to ask "Ooooh, no, what's wrong?" just because your camera broke or think the world is against you or you "need a change."

Here's a change for ya: Shut up!

The difference, you see, is that I'm not complaining as a way to garner attention. I'm complaining because I'm an asshole and it's what I do.

Not everyone is like me, however. There are plenty of these attention-seekers. And while this is not exactly news to anyone with a Facebook account – friends lists are littered with over-the-top emo assholes, after all – it's gotten worse on my list of late. In fact, the next time I log in, I'm culling the herd of these people. (Note to friend's ex-wife: This means you. See the word 'ex'? This means I no longer have to pretend to tolerate you.)

Hmm, you know what? I guess there's really only those two complaints. Funny, I thought there was more. Oh well, I'm sure I'll come up some some more later. Either way, felt good to get those off my chest.

Have a good weekend, boys and girls.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

:: Open bars are dangerous, dangerous things ::

For those of you who weren't there, either because a) you live far away, b) you apparently had better things to do, or c) weren't invited because you are a random reader of this blog and don't actually know me (Hi, random person! Thanks for stopping by) I am going to recount, quickly, the mayhem that was Derrick and Angela's wedding on Saturday night.

The reception, for starters, was an open bar. This meant, unlike most gatherings among our friends where maybe a few people get drunk, others don't, some people don't show up, etc..., this one consisted of everyone but the two pregnant women getting on-their-face smashed. Just obliterated.

To recap:

- Kyle made fun of a guy who was wearing both suspenders and a belt. Guy got angry with Kyle. Kyle told him he was going to throw him down some stairs. Derrick makes Kyle apologize. Apology consists of "Yeah, I'm sorry man, but still, you're lucky I don't chuck you don't the stairs." Nice.

- Jeremy drinks approximately 13 bottles of red wine.

- Jenna and Kyle crash the (lame looking) wedding next door, just to dance. Jenna is approached by a bridesmaid who says, "Get out. The bridge doesn't want you here." Jenna calls her a bitch and invites her over to our fun wedding.

- At very end of night, Tara catches aforementioned bitchy bridesmaid trying to take advantage of our open bar. Bridesmaid is promptly given the boot.

- Jeremy temporarily passes out outside at a patio table.

- Chris, shitfaced, tells Jeremy and Katie - who were leaving and found Chris in the parking lot - that he's just gonna lie down for a second. Proceeds to lie down in a parking stall for a quick nap.

- Because Christene was too reluctant to dance with Kyle - or anybody at the time - Kyle decides to just dance on her, lapdance style.

- On the way home, at McDonald's drive-thru, Jeremy refuses to give Kate his wallet (Katie had no bank card) because that's "his money!" Despite repeated angry efforts, Kate is forced to pay for $8 of McDonalds with her Visa.

- After midnight, Jeremy discovers more red wine on our table. This conversation then ensues:

Me: Hey man, you sure you wanna more of that? I mean, you're already hammered. You're gonna be so hungover tomorrow.
Jeremy: Who cares?! Tomorrow's tomorrow, Nick - LIVE IN THE NOW!!!!!

- The next morning, I asked Jer if he wanted to meet us for breakfast/lunch. He'd already went for breakfast much earlier. "What in the hell were you doing up so early?" I asked him.

"Living, Nick. I was living."

That is my favourite quote of the whole thing.

Oh, and Jenna puked at Ricky's the next morning.

Friday, July 23, 2010

:: Best phone call of the day ::

I just got off the phone with an 85-year-old guy named Ken, who was an athlete of some renown in his heyday. Now, in this community, dealing with people in their 80s, 90s or 100s is common, and sometimes, well, it's tough. You can't understand them. They can't hear you. They're confused. You're confused. 

Often, it doesn't end well. So I was worried about this guy, who I'd never spoken with before. 

Turns out, I had nothing to be concerned about. He was awesome. Kinda gruff and crotchety, but generally nice. Then, he says this about the fact that I called his daughter's home line to speak with him, instead of his own (he lives in his daughter's basement suite):

"Yeah, I got my own line about a year ago because I was sick and god-damned tired of taking stupid messages for my grandson. I mean, Jesus, he's 15 years old – what in the hell do 15 year olds have to talk about that much, anyway? I didn't even think they knew how to talk on the phone – don't they just text nowadays anyhow?"

Then he explained why he moved into his daughter's house, from his previous place downtown.

"I decided to move here about five years ago, because I got tired of living by myself. It's boring, being alone all the time, you know? TV's not as good as it used to be – it's all this reality crap or cooking shows – so it gets pretty boring if you're by yourself."

This is exactly how I hope to be when I'm old.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

:: Voice of the street ::

This conversation took place yesterday evening, after I changed the radio station because the Beastie Boys came on the air – a band I do not like.

Christene: Good, I hate the Beastie Boys.
Me: So do I.
Christene: What can I say, I like my beers cold and my rappers black.
Me: What about Eminem? He's good.
Christene: No, I don't like Eminem – he's too damn whiny. He's always going on about "oooh, look at me, I'm from the streets, I'm from Detroit." Detroit? Well you know what? I'm from Surrey – now that's a tough city. Eminem wouldn't last one day in Cloverdale.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

:: Presented to you without comment ::

This reminds me of someone.

Enjoy your day, folks.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

:: All my hard work has finally paid off ::

Today at the office, we had a potluck lunch party for a woman who is retiring. Today is her last day.

Two things have come out of this. One, it has caused one noted office conversationist (guess which one! Hint: read the post previous to this one) to wander around the office, saying to every colleague over the age of 50 "Well, I wonder which one of us is next!?"

And two, it has made me reconsider my career. Not that I want to quit, mind you. But I would like to retire. Early. Like now. I relayed my career plans to Christene, because I thought she should be the first to know. After all, if I'm retiring at 29, somebody's gonna have to pick up a few more shifts at the ol' pancake factory.

Christene: You know, I think it is time for you to retire.
Me: I think you're right. I mean, I've worked my ass off for... 7 years. My time has come. I deserve this.

And with that, I relayed my intentions to my boss.

(To his credit, his only response was "Nobody else can retire on deadline." We spend a good hour-and-a-half of crunch time today eating cake and listening to heartfelt speeches.)

So I am retiring effective the end of today, 5 p.m. Here's how I expect my retirement to go: After spending Canada Day and Friday enjoying the fruits of my years of labour, I will then spend Monday re-evaluating the decision I have made (and the Funtastic beers I have drank!), and on Tuesday, just minutes before the office is set to open at 8:30 a.m., I will announce, Brett Favre-style, my triumphant return.

It is unlikely anyone will host a "Welcome Back" party for me (especially since I didn't get a retirement one), but I'm guessing that, even on Tuesday, there will still be some leftover cake in the fridge from today's lunch.
:: Conversation error ::

I know I've said this before, about a certain person I know, but in a vain effort to talk to somebody – Oh, please won't somebody pay attention to me! – asking a general, "So....?" without any follow-up, is not an acceptable way to engage somebody in conversation.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

:: Instant trade analysis ::

Yesterday, the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks traded Dustin Byfuglien and a bunch of extras, to the Atlanta Thrashers for a couple high draft picks. The deal was widely — and instantly – panned as awful for ATL, as it should be, because despite his playoff heroics, Big Buff isn't exactly a 30-goal scorer, and first- and second-round picks are a lot to cough up.

Not too much though, for Atlanta, where years of awful decisions don't get you fired, but get you promoted instead.

The trades sounds even worse when you consider that the draft picks Atlanta moved to Chicago are the same picks they got from New Jersey in exchange for their former superstar Ilia Kovalchuk. When you consider the two moves together, the Thrashers essentially traded a 45-50 goal scorer – not to mention team captain and face of the franchise – for Byfuglien, Ben Eager, Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors and a prospect who didn't even finish his last junior season because he attacked a guy.

Basically an all-star for spare parts.

And after hearing that, I think the trade with Chicago was summed up best by Chris, who said to me yesterday:

"Wow, that's like when we were kids and I traded your best hockey card for 25 shitty ones."

And you know what? It's exactly like that.

When we were kids, one day when I wasn't home, Chris traded my Ed Belfour rookie card – which at the time was probably worth $10 bucks (big money in a kid's world) – to some neighbour kid for a stack of shitty commons. I was not very happy.

Come to think of it, I still haven't forgiven him.

What a dick.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

:: Annoying, obnoxious... take your pick ::

Today at work, in the span of three hours, the same person has inexplicably spoken three times in an exaggerated faux accent – an accent I can only describe as Jamaica/Eastern European – has made four terrible puns that drew absolutely zero response from anybody (because we've learned to ignore him) and then, when he got zero response from said puns, he looked around everyone and said "C'mon! C'mon!" like a bad stand-up comic who wasn't getting the laughs.

(Each pun was set up the following way, as they all are... Somebody mentions something, and he responds with "So what you're saying is..." and that's where the awful play on words happens. It's awful.)

Also, he's burped at his desk about 16 times since 9 a.m., which is both classy and obnoxious, not to mention a little bit gross.

I just thought you should all know these things.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

:: I don't care ::

Facebook is a place for many things. For catching up with old friends and staying in the loop with current ones. For posting way too many pictures. For leaving drunken, non-sensical status updates at 3 a.m. For playing any number of awful games like Farmville of Mafia Wars.

Sadly, it's also for updating people on things that nobody gives a shit about or ever wants to hear. And after perusing my FB news feed in recent days and weeks, the following is a list of things I don't ever want to read in a Facebook status ever again, because I just don't care. And I'm sure nobody else does either.

(*editor's note: before the angry comments fly, keep in mind that, to the best of my recollection, none of these status-types were inspired by any of this blog's usual merry band of readers.)

Anyways... onward with the list. I don't want to read your damn status if it is about any or all of the following things:

1. What you had for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

2. What you are currently making, or about to make, for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

3. Reviews or predictions about how great any of the aforementioned meals are/were (unless you did something awesome like blow up your kitchen or burn off your eye brows).

4. Your daily itinerary. Nobody cares that you have to go to the mall, the dentist, then soccer practice.

5. The daily itinerary of your child. Even fewer people care that you have to take your kid to the mall, the dentist and then soccer practice.

6. Any posts about what your baby/toddler/small child just did unless it is actually interesting. ("Little Jimmy just sat on the TV remote... it was sooooo cute" does not fucking qualify.)

7. No updates informing the world about just how amazing your significant other is, and how you're just sooooo lucky to have them in your life and blah blahgedy fucking blah. There is no wiggle room on this one, sorry.

8. Political commentary of any sort, unless it's some kind of joke made at the expense of, or in reference to, some political figure or event. (this was inspired by one FBer who decided a status update was the appropriate place to declare that she "fully supports her MP, Libby Davies")

9. Intentionally misspelled words, ala LOL CATS, in some kind of effort to be cute.

10. The term FML.

So there ya go. In the spirit of co-operative blogging, once again feel free to add to this list in the comments section if anything springs to mind.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

:: Note to self - Pay Attention ::

On weekday mornings, I very rarely leave myself much time to get ready, because I'd much rather sleep for an extra few minutes. I usually shower the night before, too, thus giving me an extra 10 minutes of beautiful, beautiful slumber.

And, in my hurried state, I often leave "making lunch" until the last minute. And considering, in our current living arrangement, that contents of said lunch could be in any one of three fridges (kitchen, extra fridge in utility room, and a wildy-unorganized beer fridge in our basement), making lunch quickly is sometimes a challenge. Add in the fact that I'm a) still dead-tired and b) sometimes it's still pretty dark in the basement, and I'm lucky I eat lunch at all.

Cut to today: my usual five-minutes-to-go-before-I-leave lunch scramble, and I open the bar fridge to grab a Coke Zero. I grab a can, chuck it in my bag, and run out the door. 

At noon, I open up my bag to get my lunch, and there is no Coke Zero to be found. But what is there? Why, there's a Bud Light, of course. 

In my haste to get to work, and in the low-light of the basement, I grabbed a dark-blue can of beer instead of the black can of Coke. Genius.

I relayed this chain of events to Christene, and she said she's come very close to doing the same thing numerous times – and she wakes up at 4 a.m., so here chance of error is even greater, because, with it still dark out and the rest of the house still asleep, she does nearly everything in a dark haze, including trying to sort through a fridge that contains a scattered collection of Coke Zero, four different kinds of beer, Palm Bays, Gatorade, Diet Coke with Lime, Diet Cherry Coke, apples, oranges, and God knows what else.

But she's still never brought a beer to work. She did, however, offer a solution to my workday gaffe:

"You should shotgun it!"

Good idea maybe, but I think that kind of shit is frowned upon in an office setting.

Friday, June 11, 2010

:: Jump the Shark ::

A few nights ago, neither Christene nor I could sleep, and as often happens, we ended up lying in bed, talking about random stuff. And as often happens, that random stuff was mostly about one of our favourite things – TV. The conversation eventually turned into a Complete Guide to Popular Television Shows That Jumped The Shark. Honestly, we talked about it for at least an hour. This is why we work well together.

For the uninitiated, Jump the Shark – a term Christene and I use all the time, but we might be the only ones – is described as the following:

" idiom used to describe the moment of downturn for a previously successful enterprise. The phrase was originally used to denote the point in a television program's history where the plot spins off into absurd story lines or unlikely characterizations. These changes were often the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose viewership has begun to decline."

The term originated from an episode of Happy Days, when – with writers fresh out of story ideas – had The Fonz jump over a shark on water skis. The episode was absolutely ridiculous, and marked the beginning of the show's downfall.

So now, with that out of the way, here's the list the two of us compiled from our own television-watching experience. Buckle up, it's a long one (That's what she said.)

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

A great show, but it actually has two Shark Jumping moments. The first is one found in more than just this show – the quick-aging process for a young cast member.

In the series' later years, little baby Nicky Banks suddenly morphs from an infant to a four-year-old between seasons. (The fact that Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian had another child so late in the series actually smacks of shark-jumping just on its own, when you think about it. Hello, New Cast Member – another trick to revive interest in a show.)

A similar tact was taken in the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, where midway through the season, the youngest daughter, Chrissy Seaver, grew up about six years between seasons. And since we're talking about that show, the quick-aging-daughter wasn't, in fact, the show's Jump the Shark moment – we'll leave that to the time-tested method called, Introduction of a New Cast Member, one Leonardo DiCaprio, a poor orphaned, homeless kid.

Fresh Prince's second JTS moment, and this one is according to Christene: when they replaced Aunt Viv with Aunt Viv 2.0. (After the third season, actress Janet Hubert-Whitten was replaced by Daphne Maxwell Reid.)

The switch coincided with the arrival of Nicky, and the only reference to the character swap came in the Season 4 premiere, when Jazz says to Vivian, "You know, Mrs. Banks, ever since you had that baby, there's been something different about you."

Married... with Children:

I was never a fan of this show, and mostly just caught the late-night reruns, so this one is all Christene (even though she refused to write the following blurb herself. "Writer's block," she said. Pffft.)

In season 7 (the series inexplicably lasted 10 years) a new character, a boy named Seven, enters the show for a 12-episode run. According to IMDB Seven was "the young son of one of Peggy's relatives who is left with the family."

I don't know if he was meant to be a full-time character, but the fact that he lasted little more than half a season probably explains how much he sucked. Another website called Seven "the most annoying character ever to appear on Married... With Children." Considering that show was chock-full of annoying characters, this is saying something.

Grey's Anatomy:

I'll admit, I watched this show for one season – the first one – and one season only. I was sort of expecting it to be an E.R.-type drama, and when I realized it was simply a soap opera designed to brainwash women into thinking it was T.V.'s greatest creation – the same way women think the Sex and the City movie is Oscar-worthy – well, that's when I stopped watching.

As for a Jump the Shark moment, well, take your pick: When a new lead actor started getting written off the show every week – the black guy, the gay guy, the blond chick – or maybe, and this is my choice, the JTS moment came when a fucking ghost showed up. Yeah, I'd say that's the one.

The Simpsons:

Sure, the show is long past its seasons 3-7 heyday, but this show is still one of the smartest on TV, and still has it's hilarious moments – it's actually gotten better the last couple years, after a lull – and because it is the longest-running, most successful, best show to ever grace a television screen, I am not prepared to say it has ever Jumped the Shark.


Like the aforementioned The Simpsons, Seinfeld never Jumped the Shark either – it was too good, and it called it quits before it could get bad. Some argue that the series finale, where the group is arrested for "doing nothing" and then all the old characters are trotted back out as character witnesses at the court case, was a Jump the Shark moment, but it was the last episode of the whole damn show, and if they want an excuse to bring back the old characters, you damn well let 'em. Not JTS for this show, either.

The O.C.

Another bad show I'll admit to watching for a season or two, before losing interest. This one's JTS moment likely came when they started killing off characters – was Marissa her name? You know, that skinny annoying bitch? – and replacing them with other random people. For a show that was a pretty big success early, it really took a shockingly quick nosedive before being cancelled altogether.


One of the worst shows ever to appear on primetime TV, you may remember this show as a key member of the TGIF lineup. The Jump the Shark moment? Let's go with either the first time the theme song was played, or maybe when the "Baby-hits-the-dad-with-the-frying-pan" gag became a recurring them. Or maybe the true JTS moment came when some idiot TV executive decided that sinking millions of dollars into a show about animatronic/puppet dinosaurs was a good idea.

I hated that show.

Step by Step:

Another TGIF staple that tried to be a modern-day Brady Bunch, its' Jump the Shark moment is sort of twofold.

One, Christene says, is when the character Cody – who, if you remember, lived in a van in the driveway – was written off the show because the actor, Sasha Mitchell, was in legal trouble for smacking his real-life wife around. He was written off the show as "going to Russia" for some unexplained reason.

Then, in an continuation of the same shark-jumping moment, Cody returned briefly to the show a few years later for one of the final episodes of the series. In that appearance, he announced that he'd just "been on a road trip, changed his name to Steve," and oh, mysteriously and unexplainably "come into some money." So he pays Patrick Duffy and Suzanna Somers a bunch of money for letting him live in their driveway all those years. Then he's gone again.

Family Matters:

Another good TGIF show – I always liked this one when I was a kid – and when trying to think of its Jump the Shark Moment, Christene and I had trouble because, well, there were so many options: Steve Urkel's transformation machine (which turned him into ladies man Stefan Urquelle); Urkel moving in with the Winslows; the orphan boy 3J being inexplicably added to the cast....

There are so many options here, in fact, I'll just cut and paste the show's bio from IMDB and let you read for yourself. The whole thing reads like one big Jump the Shark moment:

"As the years went on, Urkel developed a special transformation chamber to allow himself to change into suave Stefan Urquelle, whom Laura fell for; it was a way for the nerd to finally win the object of his affection. Laura eventually got to appreciate Urkel's company, and eventually, fell in love with him. Carl was eventually promoted from sergeant to lieutenant, finally attaining the rank of captain. In later years, Urkel moved in with the Winslows when his parents abandoned him in moving to Russia (editor's note: What's with TV writers' infatuation with Russia? There are other "far away" places, you know...); and Carl and Harriet (long after their daughter, Judy, disappeared from the scene without explanation) adopted 3J, a local orphan who was friends with Richie."

(Interesting Family Matters' sidenote: Did you know that the actress who played daughter Judy – the one who disappeared with explanation from the show – grew up to be a drug-addicted porn star? She later appeared on Celebrity Rehab. Her list of credits on her IMDB profile takes a pretty stark, direct leap from "family shows" to hardcore porn titles. I find this hilarious.)

That 70's Show:

A classic example of a show that lasted one or two seasons too many, so this one's easy. The JTS moment came in the final couple seasons, when all the regular cast members left for greener pastures, and the show added an "Eric replacement" character named... well, I can't remember his name, but he sucked.

The Cosby Show:

This sums it up right here:

"At the start of season six Cosby believed that Keisha Knight Pulliam, as youngest daughter Rudy, had grown up too much to be considered "just cute" like she was when she started the series at age five. Cosby decided to bring in young Raven Symone, who was cast as the stepdaughter of Huxtable daughter, Denise. Symone was obviously trying too hard to be cute and came off more often as annoying. Two seasons later Erika Alexander joined the cast as Pam, who was taken in by the Huxtable family. With her came a slew of new characters to play her high school friends and before long the cast had swelled to over one dozen. With the arrival of Pam came the departure of ratings and Cosby decided to end the show at the end of the 1992 season, it's eighth."

[via Associated Content]

Saved by the Bell:

One answer: The Tori Paradox.

In the final season of the show, two main actresses, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and Elizabeth Berkley – whose boobs would later go on to great things in Showgirls – refused to sign new contracts for the year. So tough-girl Tori was introduced, and episodes featuring her alternated with already-taped episodes featuring the other two. No mention of Tori was made in the non-Tori episodes, and likewise, the Thiessen/Showgirl episodes never mentioned Tori. She must've been home sick from school those days.

Full House:

If you really think about it, there were probably a million Jump the Shark moments, but the easiest one is when they suddenly introduced those two stupid, shaggy-haired asshole twins to the equation.

For starters, they did the suddenly-age-four-years-in-one-offseason thing. And secondly, how many fucking characters did that show need? I mean, I know it's a full house, but c'mon – they had so many people living in that place, that when the twins came along, the show's producers suddenly had to have the Tanners discover that, "Hey, look – we have this giant, high-ceiling'd livable attic that's big enough for a family of four!" I wonder where that came from. I mean, did nobody ever go up there in the shows first six seasons?

(Also, how come Joey didn't get really pissed off when he had to move out of the basement so Jesse could have his stupid music studio down there? The man was 35 years old – you'd think he'd be a little more protective of his own space. Instead, I think he just moved upstairs next to all the stupid kids' rooms... not ideal.)

Boy Meets World:

Another staple of the TGIF lineup, this show starred Fred Savage's brother and that chick who played Topanga, who every teenage boy at the time thought was hot, even though she actually looked like fish.

This show Jumped the Shark when the group graduated from high school. To start with, Cory and Topanga got married and then most of the college episodes dealt with how they struggled to live on their own, but pulled through in the end because they love each other. Also, the series finale was ridiculous – it was the obligatory "somebody leaves town" ending (Cory and Topanga move to New York) but then, suddenly, Cory's older brother and also his best friend, Shawn, show up in the final scene and say, "Hey, we're coming too!"

And then they drive off up the road, as if all is well. Forget the fact that Cory and Topanga's apartment in NY probably isn't big enough for 4 adults – I mean, have to heard how expensive NY rent is? – it doesn't matter, all the friends are staying together. If the show continued as some kind of spin-off (Boy and Friends meet New York, perhaps) I'm sure Mr. Feenie would've somehow appeared as Cory's new bos, or something. I mean, Christ — the guy was his elementary teacher, elementary principal, high school teacher, high school principal, college professor and fucking neighbour.

And while we're tearing holes in the show (Which I actually did quite like as a kid, by the way) – does anyone else remember those episodes/seasons where Shaun lived with his tough-guy, mullet-wearing teacher for awhile? What the hell was that?

So, anyways, there's your recap. If you have any other shows in mind – and the corresponding shark-jumping moments – feel free to leave 'em in the comments.