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.