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.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How not to be annoying...

There are plenty of ways, of course. But for starters, when somebody asks somebody else a question – keeping in mind that nobody asked you, you're just sitting nearby – do not butt into the conversation by saying, "Well the short answer is..." 

.... and then proceed with a really long fucking answer that, in actuality, doesn't answer the question at all, lengthy or otherwise.

And once your way-too-long "answer" is complete, certainly don't continue the conversation (long after everyone has moved on) by adding your opinions and theories on the matter to whomever is still within earshot. 

Because here's a short answer for ya: Nobody cares!

Friday, June 04, 2010

:: (Useless) Douche of the Day ::

A couple things that have been annoying me lately – all of which leave the guilty party up for Douche of the Day honurs (you know, that sporadically-awarded honour I first gave to this guy)

Anyways, Contestant #1: Somebody called me at work the other day, and after we chatted about whatever it was he called for, he gave me his phone numbers so I could reach him next week. So he leaves me his work number – no problem there – and then his cell. Only he doesn't call it his cell. No, he says, "Oh and this is my mobile."

Mobile? Really? I mean, really?

I know, it's an English or possibly European thing to call a cell phone a mobile, and that's fine – I have no problem with that as long as either a) you are in that country (or countries) or b) you are from that country and that's what you're accustomed to saying. 

But this guy is not English, and certainly not European – he's Chinese. And as far as I know, he's always lived in the Lower Mainland (I've spoken with him numerous times through the years, and I think this is true). There is absolutely no reason for this guy to call his cell phone his "mobile" other than to try and sound like a pretentious douche.

Contestant #2: This one isn't specific person, but a type of person. And I can't even take credit for it – it was first brought up by Mike at The Jerk Store. He hates people who talk about people playing poker on TV. And he's absolutely right. A couple weekends ago I was somewhere – can't remember where – and heard two or three guys debating their favourite players. Really? Favourite poker players? 

I like poker as much as the next guy – I've actually started liking it more lately, as a matter of fact – but I like playing, not watching. And you certainly shouldn't have a favourite. I mean, Christ...

Contestant #3: This guy isn't so much a douche as a guy who has wasted his youth. He is yet another guy on my Facebook friends list who is obtaining a post-bachelor's degree. Only this is a doctorate. Our very first Douche of the Day was a guy being knobby about his Master's Degree – go click the link at the top for a refresher, if you want – so with that precedent set, I've gotta include this guy, too. 

This new guy is someone I haven't seen since high school, and though I don't remember him being a douche, he was/is incredibly smart. He's 29 – same as me – and has spent the last 11 years in school. Fancy university back east, then a post-bachelor's degree run at a prestigious school in the States, and then, of course, studying abroad. Lives in France or some place. 

Anyways... though one could assume he's a douche candidate simply be virtue of his schooliness (yes, I'm inventing that word), he recently posted as a FB photo the cover page of his doctorate dissertation. And you know what? I don't really have too much of a problem with that because I imagine it's about 120+ pages and took the guy years to do.

He's proud of it. Fair 'nuff.

But then I read the cover page and finally realized what exactly this dude's been studying for a decade – which has presumably cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars. I'd never known before, but I thought it was probably some medical field (Not because it's a doctorate, but because I was under the impression he was a science-y, pre-med type of guy).

And the title? Some 3-line, two sentence, paragraph about the French Revolution from 1789-1792 (so not even the whole revolution) and its effect on international law. 

Like I said, douchey. 

And assuming this incredibly boring, scholarly dissertation is actually good – I'm sure it is, because he's a smart guy – do you know what he'll receive? 

His Doctorate of Philosophy.

You heard that right. Fucking Philosophy. 

I'm sure he'll get lots of high-paying job offers from philosophy factories with that in his back pocket.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

:: Lunch lady ::

Recently, my company reshuffled some of its operations, which meant we got a few employees in our office. 

One of them, a woman in her mid-40s, we all know, as she worked out of our office a few years ago. She's a great person – very bubbly, funny, and we all like her, and are happy to have her here. Trouble is, turns out she's a "lunch talker." And I don't mean that in a "she talks to you when you're both sitting in the lunchroom" kind of way, which of course, is perfectly normal.

No, she is a "lunch talker" because she just simply cannot walk past a person eating something without commenting on it. I guess that actually makes her a "lunch commenter" or a "lunch observer" but whatever. You get the point. 

"Mmmm... that looks good."

"Salad, eh? 

"Is it lunch already?

Aside from answering 'Yes' to all three of those queries, what else can you really say? It's just a case of someone wanting to make conversation for the sake of it, or because they just love the sound of their own voice, or both. 

And it's even more of a pain in the ass for me because at least three out of five weekdays, the desk at which I sit is directly in her path. I could probably avoid it if I chose to go hide in the lunch room, but don't even get me started on the conversations I'd be subjected in there*.

(*How bad is the lunchroom? If I have to do any prep-work or microwaving of my lunch – anything that will keep me in there longer than the two seconds it takes to grab it from the fridge and go – I wait until every last soul is out of there. That's how serious I am about avoiding this inane, uninteresting conversations. And if that means I have to wait until 2:30 to eat my lunch, so be it.)

So yeah, I'm in a bit of a pickle here. I'm gonna have to start eating lunch in my car.

Doors locked.