Saturday, December 31, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 9

"I'M A MAN! I'M 40!"

In a hilariously noble act, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy defends – vigorously – one of his young players who he feels has been torn apart in one particular issue of a local newspaper. And don't worry if you're unsure which newspaper it is – Gundy brought it with him. This one of one of my all-time favourites.

Friday, December 30, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 8


Well, considering the last two days have featured press conferences most of you have seen a million times, I've decided to throw one in that perhaps is a little less well-known (although it's quite infamous in baseball circles). No video of this one – audio only – but it's still worth it. Former Chicago Cubs manager Lee Elia just tears into Cubs fans... it's vicious. I had to work hard to find an unedited, unbeeped version of this beauty.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 7


Another classic, courtesy of the National Football League. Former Arizona coach, lamenting the loss to the Chicago Bears. Turns out, he knows who they are.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 6


This one's a classic, and you've all no doubt seen it before – including in beer commercials. But it's too famous, and too damn good, to leave out. That said, I give you Jim Mora, former coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

(Speaking of which, Mora's question is one many around Indy will soon be asking again if and when Peyton Manning leaves town, either through trade or retirement. Man, they suck.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 5


Well, Christmas is over, you've survived Boxing Day, and are likely headed back to work after a few days off with your family and friends. What better time to remind you of one simple axiom to live by: "You play to win the game!"

You know, just in case you thought you played it just to play it.


Monday, December 26, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 4


As many of you are likely already aware, New York Rangers coach John Tortorella is a freaking snapshow – has been ever since he coached the Tampa Bay Lightning. And he's got an especially adversarial relationship with New York sports writer Larry Brooks.

So, today, on Boxing Day, I give you not one, but two, John Tortorella clips where he appears to want to throw Larry Brooks in front of a moving subway car.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 3


Merry Christmas! As today is the big day, celebrating the birth of Santa Claus (or something like that), I give you the cheeriest thing I could find: A WWF interview where Booker T calls Hulk Hogan a N---- and then instantly, as you can tell, regrets it.

(By the way, Mean Gene Okerlund was awesome in his day.)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::



This one isn't an angry freakout yesterday's Avery Johnson flip-out, but it's just funny. Shaq is one of the funniest athletes in, I would guess, the history of sports. This video's a little long, but it's got a lot of funny moments.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Because it's only a few days until Christmas, and because I have some free time, I've decided to give this blog's few remaining readers a Christmas gift over the next 12 days. But rather than the 12 Days of Christmas, I've decided instead to run down a dozen of the best press conferences/meltdowns in the history of sports in a li'l segment I've dubbed....

:: 12 Days of Awesome Press Conferences::

Day 1


NBA coach Avery Johnson, who I believe was coaching the Dallas Mavericks at the time, gets a little testy, and then downright weird, during an NBA Finals press conference.

Next up, Press Conference #11.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

:: Take notes, slackers ::

One of the things I dislike most about my desk at work is the fact that it's turned away from the front of the building, leaving me with my back turned to the rest of the office and thus susceptible to sneak attacks, or worse – the dreaded sneak "look-over-your-shoulder-while-you're-adjusting-your-fantasy-football-lineup-instead-of-working."

But the one thing that nearly makes up for this poor desk placement is the fact that it's near the back of the office. So on days like today, where I exhausted my work responsibilities by about 11 a.m., I can hear the company CEO's voice when he stops by for a visit.

And unlike the people up front, that leaves me plenty of time to open up five or six work-related programs on my Mac. Sometimes, if I've got enough of a heads-up, I can even type the first few lines of a fake email before he gets to my desk to say hello.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

:: Christene's new blog ::

I've been meaning to post this for quite some time, but keep forgetting, but in case anyone is interested – and really, why wouldn't you be? – Christene has a new blog:

You should check it out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

:: Being an asshole vs. financial savings ::

Almost every single day at work, between about 9:10 and 9:45 a.m., I walk to the nearby Tim Horton's with a few colleagues. We do this a) because we like coffee and b) because it gets us the hell out of the office for a few minutes, for a little mini-break.

We've had this schedule for about 2-3 years, and we like it. But of course, our schedule is by now well-known to the rest of the office, which causes conversations such as the following about once every month or so:

"You guys and your Tim Horton's runs... Ya know, if you drank the office coffee or brought it from home, instead of going there every day, think of all the money you'd save!"

And of course, this same exact thing happened earlier today.

Now, a couple things....

First, when the person who tells me how much money I could save if I could just control my caffeine addiction is a smoker, well... that's just the best. No matter how much I like the people I work with, I will never pass up an opportunity to call people on their shit. That means you, Smoky – next time you chide me on my expensive habits, I'd appreciate it if you did so while you were outside hackin' a dart. (Because I like irony.)

Secondly, don't tell me how much money I can save. Don't you think I know how much money I could save? I mean, I'm not an idiot. I can do simple math. Every time I go into Tim Hortons, I am not surprised that the employees there expect money in exchange for the coffee they hand me. Things ain't free. I get it.

I know that $1.78 every day adds up. But just because I'm aware of it, doesn't mean I want to actually do the math and be presented with the cold, hard numbers. Don't you think if I cared about the final tally I would've stopped years ago? It's not like I'll be shocked by whatever the actual number is, shape up and change my ways.

I'll probably just shrug my shoulders, offer a "Hmmph" and get on with my day, safe in the knowledge that at least I don't have a heroin addiction.

But let's get back to today, and my morning confrontation with Mrs. Math Whiz (who, by the way, smokes, and has delighted us with this same conversation numerous times).

"Think of the money you could save..." she started.

"Yeah, I know. I'd save a lot of money. But you know what I'd spend it on?" I said. "I'd take all that coffee money and buy the world's best earplugs, so I wouldn't have to listen to people tell me to what to spend my money on anymore."

"Either that, or maybe I'd take up smoking."

Saturday, October 01, 2011

:: Old School ::

This morning, I logged into blogger for the first time in quite awhile, and the log-in screens, dashboard etc had changed because, well, things change. Upon log-in, a pop-up officially, uh, popped-up on my screen, and asked me to click to use the new, upgraded, Blogger/Goggle interface, which I'm sure is sleek, streamlined and very innovative.

Trouble is, my blog is still stuck in about 2004 - I believe I wrote a post about this before. It's an old template, can't have subscribers or feeds or any of that fancy new shit. It's old school, and that's how I likes it.

But I'll admit, for a second there, when I saw the option to click the fancy "update" button, I felt kind of bad that I couldn't do it. Or, I could do it, but it would either have no effect or fuck things up something horrible.

But the feeling passed quickly when something happened that made me realize I'm not the only person in this house stuck in the early 2000s: An MSN Messenger message bubble popped up on my screen.

Yes, Messenger. (Actualy, upon further review, it was Windows Messenger. Even older!)

It was a work friend of Christene's, saying hello.

"Why is Messenger turned on, and why are messages coming through? Is this some mistake? Do you know this person?!" I asked, in disbelief.

"Oh yeah, that's (whoever) from work. We use Messenger at the office to talk back and forth when we want to make fun of somebody," came the reply.

Facebook chat. Text messages. GMail chat. iChat. Shit, quiet whispers are probably more "now" than MSN fucking Messenger. Yet that's how Christene and her friend roll, firmly stuck in a bygone era.

I ain't changing this blog yet.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

:: Long trips ::

"Trucking is brutal. You're just out there on the road, all by yourself. It's lonely, man. Thank God for satellite radio, but even satellite radio gets boring. After awhile, I just turn it off and drive in silence, and I sit and think of different ways I could kill people." - TO

Saturday, August 13, 2011

:: Some news ::

Why, hello there.

Betcha thought I didn't have a blog anymore - I forgot for long stretches myself, as a matter of fact. But, alas, I am back. I can't promise posts on a more frequent basis - because I'd definitely just disappoint - and I won't necessarily even try.

But I'll try to try. And that will have to be good enough.

Anyways... I know back in June, I said I would post something longer on the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup. I didn't write much then because the pain was too fresh, the wound too deep. And even though we're now smack in the middle of August, I still haven't brought myself to do it. Oh, I've tried - three or four times, at least - but when I actually get passed the first few paragraphs, all that pain and anger comes back.

So I'd stop, and promise to come back to it later. I still will - I promise (There's that word again).

But until the time comes that I can eloquently write about the biggest disappointment I've experienced in some time, let's talk about something happier: me.

Well, me and Christene, to be more precise.

We are getting married.

For real.

Yeah, I know. I'm a little surprised myself. Not sure how it happened really, but it did, and I am glad. I know it was out of character/out of the blue, because after she said yes back in mid-July, these were some of the reactions I got from people.

"What the hell?!" (Christene... rather than, you know, saying 'yes')

"Holy fuck, are you shitting me?" (Bucholtz)

"WHOA!" (text message from someone I cannot remember)

"Wow! I never thought you would ever propose! (Kristyl, who apparently shared this view with Christene.)

"It's true. I kind of thought you never would. It would have been OK. We have the house and the dog, and I just didn't think you would." (Christene, when questioned about the above sentiment)

So yeah, it's fucking happening, folks. Clear your schedules, warn your livers, and send the kids to the neighbours, we're coming home loaded!*

*Because we're getting married in Las Vegas.

The tentative date will be early November, 2012. Likely at the Flamingo Hotel. Sure, there are much fancier hotels, but Christene and I have been to Vegas a lot over the last 3 years, and we agree all the new uber-fancy ones, which glittery and nice, seem a little too... corporate, for lack of a better word. They just seem to lack a little (or a lot) of that Old Vegas charm.

And since Christene and I are both bigger fans of historic Vegas than new Vegas, the Flamingo it likely will be. It's the perfect combination of Old Vegas charm/cheesiness, location, price, and well, it's probably one of the few older hotels that doesn't have bed bugs.

So there's that.

Consider yourself invited. (No, not you.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

:: Tough Day ::

"Everybody is no-showing. Is there a white-trash convention today that I don't know about? Or a monster truck rally?" - Christene, complaining of missed appointments by her dental office's decidedly low-budget clientele.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

:: The Day After ::

I'm sure at some point in the future, I'll write something longer about the end of the Canucks' playoff run, the Game 7 collapse, and the riot that, quite frankly, I'm already sick and tired of hearing and reading about. But not today.

Today I don't feel like doing anything.

Today, I'm just so God damn sad.

Monday, June 13, 2011

:: End it Now ::

I can't take this anymore.

Can't take the cheering, the stomach knots, the eating, the drinking – Oh God, the drinking. I can longer survive through these ultra-highs and ultra-lows that come with having a team in the Stanley Cup final.

You think the players are tired after playing this long into June? Well, we're not used to having to cheer this long, either. And to be completely honest, I'm nearly ready for it to be done, as much fun as it may be. And make no mistake, it's been one helluva run.

But for the past two months, it seems like all I've done is eat pub food or pizza (or both), surviving on a diet of light beer, bring-your-own-appy platters and never-ending hope.

And when I haven't been eating or drinking – and watching my bank account dwindle as a result – the emotional strain has been too much. I can't sleep the night before games, I wake up early and with a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach on game days, and I can't focus on much else other than the game. And in the rare moments not spent thinking about Tim Thomas or the power play, I spend planning for the next time I'll be thinking about Tim Thomas or the power play.

Where are we watching the game? How am I getting there? Do I have to leave work early? How early? How will I get home? Who will feed the dog? Is Christene coming?

It's not just me, either. Just moments ago, I got this message from Meghan: "I'm trying not to hyper-ventilate. That's normal, right?"

Normal? Sorry, we gave up normal weeks ago. This is the Stanley Cup. This is Vancouver – normal doesn't live here anymore.

And as much as I've lived and died with the team through the last few months, I don't know I could handle a Game 7. I have enough reserve strength to last through tonight, but after that? Fumes.

Before Friday's game, I threatened the Hockey Gods to give us a victory. They politely obliged. And today? Today is not a time for threats - instead, I ask them for a favour:

Put me out of my misery. Let it be over tonight, in Boston. Let me spend my Wednesday evening with the TV off; let me take my dog for a long walk; let my bank account rest; let me go to bed happy, not nervous. Let my liver have a lunch break – my heart, too.

Please, Hockey Gods, let me live my life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

:: Weather for Winning ::

It is cold and overcast today - very un-June like, and I just had this conversation with my brother.

Chris: This is good weather for a Canucks' win.
Me: I don't know what the weather has to do with anything, but I'll agree with you.
Chris: I just figured it'll be a cold day in Hell before the Canucks win the Stanley Cup, and it's pretty cold out.
Me: Good point.
Chris: Yeah, the Canucks aren't going to win on a sunny day. That just would never happen.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

:: A post in which I threaten and possibly anger the Hockey Gods ::

There has to be a way, right?

This won't happen to us again, this losing, not now, after all this. After all we've invested – emotionally and financially (because those car flags ain't cheap). No, it cannot be.

Yet, I fear it is. I hope I am wrong.

If you have to ask what I'm talking about, well, then you probably won't care about the rest of this column. But on the slim chance you'll continue to read, I'm speaking of the Stanley Cup. The Holy Grail.

And more specifically, I'm talking about the fact that the Vancouver Canucks – who just a week and a half ago were talked about as though they'd already won it – have lost two straight games, both badly, after winning the first two, both narrowly, and appear on the verge of blowing the best chance they've ever had to capture the trophy in question.

So yeah, I'm a little nervous and fear the worst. And I know Canuck fans are conditioned this way – as though we're Deloreans on an assembly line, destined for a few bright moments but, ultimately, failure. But for me, it's even worse because I am, when it comes to sports, a fairly pessimistic sort. Drives my brother crazy. Just ask him.

And here's the thing – I don't want to be this way. I hate it about myself and I really TRY not to be. Honest, I do. But sometimes I can't shake it.

Sometimes, after all these years, I wonder why the Hockey Gods – if such deities truly exist – refuse to give us Canucks fans a break. I mean, one Stanley Cup – just one – is that too much to ask? The Carolina Hurricanes have one, for Christ's sakes.

But before I delve too far into negativity, it must of course be pointed out that the Canucks are not losing this series, nor have they, in fact, trailed in a series throughout the entire playoff run. Not once. They are currently tied. And have two of three remaining games at home. They can still do this. Nobody said it was going to be easy; the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in pro sports, so it shouldn't be. And there are as many reasons to suggest they'll pull it off as they are to suggest they won't. I get that. I try to remind myself of that often.

And in the meantime, I hope.

I hope Roberto Luongo starts playing like Roberto Luongo – actually, I'd prefer he started playing like Tim Thomas, but I digress – and I hope the Sedins and Kesler and Raymond and the entire powerplay score a goal. Maybe 5 goals. Whatever, just put up a number.

I would love for all of those things to happen. All fans would. And when fans want something like that they often start talking about having to pray – literally beg and plead with – to the Hockey Gods for a little luck.

And fans being fans, we'll do whatever it takes to help sway said luck, as though our own personal actions will somehow affect the outcome. I put myself squarely in this camp, as irrational as it is. We wear our lucky shirts. We watch it at one house only, or switch to another friend's place after a loss; change bars, change beers. Sit in the same seats. Different seats. Stand up. Lie down. Hop on one foot.

Whatever it takes.
And we hope and we pray that one day the Gods will do us a kindness. Once, just once.
But here's the thing: 40 years of asking hasn't done us a lot of good. So yeah, I'm getting a little fed up. The time for asking is over. So here's this:

Dear Hockey Gods,
Throw us a fucking bone.

Or at the very least, just tell me what fucking seat on the couch I'm supposed to sit in Friday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

:: This is really happening ::

I know it's been quite some time since I posted here – I'd apologize for that, but I'm not sorry – and a lot has gone on in the interim. For one, I did in fact turn 30 years old, while in Vegas with my friends; Macho Man Randy Savage died; my dog spent the better part of two days throwing up, thus costing me a $515 vet bill; and most importantly – and these two things are likely related – the Canucks advanced to the Stanley Cup finals and the world, despite claims to the contrary, did not end last Saturday.

To be honest, the lack of Rapture came as a surprise to me, if only because, as I mentioned, the Vancouver Canucks are in the fucking Stanley Cup finals. If ever there was a reason to think all humanity was about to cave in upon itself, this may have been it.

At least that's how most fans here saw it, as we've grown oh-so-accustomed to failure, to bad things happening at the last minute; to shots ringing off goal posts and riots breaking out in the streets.

Yes Vancouver, it seems failure is what we do, what we've always done.

And while I'm loath to go all deep on y'all and suggest this somehow mirrors my life as I enter my 30s and leave my 20s behind – after all, I had a pretty good 10 year run there – there are a few similarities. Without getting into specifics, I had a few speed bumps in my early/mid 20s, a few spectacular failures – shit, I ended up in Northern Alberta for Christ's sake, pulling in a whopping $26,000 a year.

I look back eight or so years, and shake my head. Sure, we had a helluva time – a helluva time – but some of the things that went on, my god... well, nevermind. Said I wouldn't get into specifics, and I meant it. Doesn't matter though – most of you were there. You know.

But here's the thing – it got better. It is better. It's fucking fantastic, as a matter of fact.

I'm not the same stupid idiot I was when I was 22, nobody is. (Even Kyle said to me the other day, "Everybody changes. Look at me – if I didn't change, I'd probably have AIDS right now and be dead." I did not dispute his claim.)

So yes, things get better. And – now we'll just seamlessly move back into the sports realm here, if you don't mind – things seem to be getting better here, too. Vancouver pulled off one hell of an Olympic party last year; many said it was the greatest Olympics in the event's long history, and they're probably right.

The party went off without a major hitch, perhaps signaling for once and for all that we can have something good without blowing it. Everyone seemed to get along. Everyone was (mostly) positive. There were no riots.

And now, here we are, 15 months removed from that success, and 17 years after the last "success" of our beloved Canucks, though success of course is a relative term – the team did lose, after all.

But this time, maybe it really is different. Maybe, just maybe, it really is better. After all, the team itself is remarkably better than either the scrappy '82 squad or the team that, led by Trevor Linden, came one goal away from winning it all in 1994.

This year's team is expected to win.

And the difference between this team and other Canucks teams with similar expectations – those rosters of the early 2000s, for example – is that this time they're actually doing it. They're actually winning. Not the whole thing yet, of course, but still... those great teams of the 2000s were golfing by now.

I get the feeling that a lot of people don't know how to deal with such a phenomenon. I know I don't. I mean, we simply aren't used to this. There must have been some kind of mistake, right? Some kind of clerical error? We're in the what finals?

Since the Canucks punched their ticket to the big dance earlier this week, I've swapped many a text message with my brother, and most end – or start – like this.

"This is really happening."

Sometimes we'll talk about what we'll do if they actually win – what we'll say, where we'll be, or how much we'll drink.

But regardless of those finer details, Chris predicted there will be "mayhem." I agreed with him. There will be – not a replay of the Stanley Cup riots mind you, but a better kind. A happier kind.

Because this isn't 1994 anymore.

It's better.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

:: Three Oh ::

Growing up a Vancouver Canucks fan, I cheered for no one player harder than I cheered for Trevor Linden. It's why it meant so much to me, as a fan, to have had the opportunity to be in the arena the day the team raised his #16 to the rafters. (Part II here)

And while I'm not alone in my Trevor Linden fandom – in Vancouver, in fact, saying Linden is your favourite player has become more or less cliche, met by onlookers with sort of a resigned sigh. Of course he's your favourite, they say. Of course he is.

But though the memory of my own childhood is far from crystal clear, I think I first began to cheer for Trevor Linden because one day I noticed that his birthday, April 11, was just one day after mine. I probably read it on the back of a hockey card.

And for an eight-year-old kid looking for a hero to cheer for, well, that was more than enough.
So for the next 20 years I cheered for Trevor Linden.

It's funny, too, the way those small, otherwise insignificant details – like a hockey player's birthday – stick with you through the years, because even today, my frame of reference for time – for age - is Trevor Linden. It's just always been this way for me.

I'm turning 15? Well, that means tomorrow Trevor's turning 26.  My 22nd birthday? I'm sure at some point, it occurred to me that Trevor Linden was 33 the following morning. In fact, I know it did.

Sure, it's a little strange, but like I said, some times these things stay with you. (Just like, when I was a teenager, I'd see a street sign and compulsively count, in my head, how many colours were on that sign. Why did I do that? Once, when I was on an elementary school field trip, some kids on the bus made a game of it – who could get the colours right, the quickest. It stuck with me for years, and I couldn't shake it even though it drove me crazy.)

Funny thing about about age, about growing up, is that it gets everybody. Nobody's immune, and there's no stopping time, although people do their best – botox, plastic surgery, midlife crises – to slow it down.
"Nobody gets out alive," Jim Morrison once sang, and he's right. Time waits for no one, and is sometimes slows only slightly.

And the thing about growing up, is that the older you get, the more you are who you are. Esquire writer and blogger Chris Jones – one of the most talented writers on the planet (seriously, If you haven’t read The Things That Carried Him, you oughta do it quick. It didn’t win a National Magazine Award for nothing) – recently wrote about this exact thing. His point – and mine – is simply this: Doors close as you get older. Sure, great stuff happens too – lots of it. But when you are 13 years old, there’s so much open to you: You can dream and legitimately say, “I’m going to play pro hockey” or “I’m going to write a book” or “I’m going to be an astronaut” or that you’re going to move to Australia, or breed bulldogs, or whatever. Sure, you might not do any of those things. But the opportunity is still there.

But am I, at this stage in my life, ever going to play professional hockey? No. Could I move to Australia? Well, sure I could, but that astronaut thing is probably out of the question (And one bulldog is enough for me, thanks).

I never really bothered thinking of these things until recently, which I suppose isn’t that out of the ordinary. I mean, who really thinks about aging if you don’t have a birthday approaching, or perhaps one just disappearing in your rear-view? Really, though, it should have been clear to me for some time, considering my barometer for such things – Trevor Linden – has been too old to play professional hockey for three years.

We both started out so young, him 18, me 7. And as April 10th turned to the 11th, year in, year out, my hockey hero changed like I changed. I went from being a shy seven year old who ate only peanut-butter sandwiches, was afraid of girls and refused to wear anything but sweatpants, to a shy teenager who was slightly less passive, still afraid of girls, but was now OK with wearing jeans, to an adult who was less shy, still awkward and probably could’ve saved himself some mental anguish had he just stayed afraid of girls entirely.

Meanwhile, Trevor Linden went through his own changes, right in front of us all: from a baby-faced, relatively high-scoring hockey star, to the face of a franchise, to a pariah blamed for the team’s woes, to an Olympian, to an Islander, and back, eventually to a city icon. He probably wasn’t afraid of girls, either.

Then suddenly, the hero got old. Suddenly, he was a fourth-line part-timer with graying temples and a face that suggested he’d seen a few things.

Then he was gone.

Well, not gone gone, of course. He's still very much alive, and still very much in the public eye, with his new fitness business, his real estate projects and his many public appearances. But while he'll always be an icon in this city, he was no longer the larger-than-life superstar he had previously been. That part of him was lost, his skills having left him just like they leave every athlete as they age, no matter how they try to stop it, or for how long they deny that it's happening.

But watching him retire was definitely strange for me. There I was, a 27-year-old who had always charted birthdays by a hockey player I’d never personally known, who was born 10 years and 364 days before I was. Suddenly, this image of my childhood was 38 years old and retiring.

That was three years ago.

Today, I turn 30 years old. Trevor Linden turns 41 tomorrow.


And while I'm not afraid of turning 30 – If I really am what I am at this point, I’m more than OK with that - I guess it just makes me a little sad to think that if Trevor Linden is getting old, then I must be getting old, too.

Friday, April 08, 2011

:: On our way ::

Tonight after work, we're heading to Bellingham for the night, and tomorrow morning, we head to Las Vegas. On Sunday, while likely nursing a hangover, I will turn 30 years old.

Should be awesome. And a friendly reminder to any of my friends who are coming with us – counting cards is not illegal. It's only frowned upon. Like masturbating on an airplane.

See you guys next week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

:: I fully agree with the statement below ::

Next month, Christene and I are going to a boozeless wedding – a friend of hers from her old job is getting hitched. The groom is a pastor, the bride is also religious, so that's why there is no booze, as is my understanding.

And while I must admit never having been to a alcohol-free wedding, it's a Sunday brunch-style reception, so it's not like I'd be getting loaded anyhow (probably). So I'm cool with it, and understand. I like weddings in general – they're fun.

What's less understandable is the wedding I was at a few years back. It, too, was supposed to be boozeless, until the bride's family was convinced at the last minute that it was a poor idea expect people to come to a Saturday night reception without alcohol. Brunch is one thing, but a conventional, Saturday-night party, without some of Grandpa's old cough medicine? Not gonna work, I'm afraid.

In the end, it was an expensive bar, which didn't open til late in the reception, and most people left when the dancing started (Again, religious beliefs. For serious). So yeah, it was a little boring.

Today, I mentioned these things to my brother, who some of you likely know is getting hitched soon – next year, I understand. Anyways, this is his "vision" for a proper wedding.

"I never understand why people wouldn't want (booze). I want my wedding to be the biggest, best party of people's lives. I want every single person to wake up the next morning and forget whose wedding they were at."

So yeah, you want to be invited to that wedding. Take a memo on your Newton.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

:: Moving Day ::

Today is the dreaded day after my parents moved into their new townhouse (which is really, really nice, while we're on the subject). And as is the case on Day 2 of the move, it's the day when things start to get delivered and different companies start coming by – maybe you ordered a new couch, maybe your cable needs hooking up, or the builders are coming by to fix one little thing.

Or in the case of my parents, maybe all at once. Through a miraculous feat of scheduling, it's been a parade through their new place this morning.

I just had this text-message conversation with my mom:

Mom: All our deliveries are coming fast and furious! It's crazy in there! (Moms love exclamation points!)
Me: Oh really? What's come today?
Mom: Everything – Telus, Sears, EuroRite Cabinets, the people to install the vacuum... it's crazy.
Me: Jesus Christ!
Mom: No, he comes on Sunday.

My mother, ladies and gentlemen!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

:: Sometimes a bunch of pens is just a bunch of pens ::

To get to the washrooms on my office's floor, one must walk down a long hallway that we share with the other businesses on our floor. As such, you're bound to run into somebody you don't know and don't necessarily want to talk to, but of course, end up saying hello to/making small talk with. 

As you can probably guess, I hate that, because said conversations revolve around two things: 1) How 'bout this crappy weather, eh?!  and 2) This is such a looong hallway. (Seriously, the hallway length comes up more than you'd think.)

Today, as I reached the end of the hallway and turned the corner to where the bathroom door is, I noticed four pens lying on the ground. Four pens, that's it. Of course, some bozo I've never met has to – I mean, just has to – come around the opposite corner at the exact same time, also noticing said pens. 

I saw no reason to comment on the pens. They fell out of somebody's pocket. They're just pens. Big deal. Not so, however, for my new hallway friend. 

"Whoa, whoa whoa what happened here?!" he said in that over-exaggerated tone people use when they want to make a faux-big deal about something in an attempt to be funny. 

Now, I could understand this guy's remark if say, instead of four pens, the items on the floor had been a condom, sharktooth, vial of blood and a pen. But no, it was just four pens. That's it. The only way a stack of pens is remotely interesting is if it's an obscene number of pens; if 20,000 Bics lined the hall, I may have cared. But it was just four. Four pens. No shark's teeth.

I refused to take this fellow's bait. 

"Somebody dropped four pens, that's what happened," I deadpanned, before walking into the washroom to pee.

Mystery solved, douchebag.

Friday, February 25, 2011

:: Guns and Waffles ::

In recent weeks, ever since the countdown to Vegas has got into the 60/50-days to go range (I think we're at 40-something now, for those scoring at home) people have asked me what I want to do for my birthday itself - which is the first full day we're there.

Now, even though it's my birthday and this whole Vegas-for-my-birthday thing was my idea, I don't want to be the kind of person who says "Oh, well we all have to do this and then this and oh, then we're all going to do this, too!"

I mean, there's eight of us there for four days, and I'm sure we're gonna see more than enough of each other - mostly while shitfaced. And then I'm sure there will be other times when people wander off to do whatever they want.

When the 46 of us (it was 46, right?) went to Vegas last April, we did plenty together - gambled, played craps and then all hung out at ESPNZone for Colleen's birthday. And Christene and I actually went about a day and a half without seeing a single other person in our party (mostly because I was uber-hungover... 'twas not good). It was, in retrospect, a pretty damn good mix of organization and randomness.

That said, people have still been asking me what I want to do on my birthday. After careful consideration, I have only two requests for the day I officially leave my 20s behind:

1. I want to eat breakfast/brunch/lunch (whenever we wake up) at the Hash House A Go Go which is located at the Imperial Palace on the strip. I want to go there because I've heard people rave about it, and also I saw it on an episode of Man vs. Food. To put it simply, the food looks ridiculous. Like, enough to feed you for 4 days kind of ridiculous.

For example, take a gander of the following three photos from the Hash House. In order, they are photos of their pork tenderloin sandwich (yes, that's technically a sandwich... see the bun top?) fried chicken benedict; and chicken and waffles.

So yes, I would like to spend the first day of my 30s eating a disgusting amount of delicious yet terrible food. Because if your 30s are supposed to be about responsibility and kids and home-ownership and RRSPs, well I can think of no better way of saying "Fuck that" than by eating any of the three meals you see above this paragraph.

Oh, and there's one more thing, if you'll indulge me. I'd like to shoot some fucking guns.

You see, never in my 29 years on this planet have I fired any weapon stronger than a paintball gun, and while I have no intention of going on Ted Nugent on you, I would like to remedy that situation. Just because, well... just because. I propose we do it here - at The Gun Store.

(Now, I also realize that since my birthday is our first full day in Vegas, we may actually want to do other Vegas-y things on Day 1, so I'm OK if gun-shooting gets delayed a day or so. And if we do in fact delay, I suggest we fill the void by playing Beer Pong at O'Shea's. 'Tis a worthy substitution.)

So there you have it, folks. Guns and waffles. I am a simple man, and I don't think this is too much to ask.

Friday, February 04, 2011

:: 30 for 30 ::

Last month, Lanette – who turns 30 this year – posted a list of 30 goals she wishes to accomplish before her birthday in October. I, like Lanette, am also turning 30 in 2011, and while I am not scared of the big 3-0 either, it's probably not a bad fencepost at which to take stock of things and come up with some goals.

However, keep in my two things: 1) Lanette seems to be a much more professionally drive, goal-oriented, motivated person than me (case in point: one of her goals involves something called a vision board, whatever the fuck that is. Unless that means "get an eye test" you won't find that on my list.)

and 2) Unlike Lanette, who has eight months until the big day, I turn 30 in mid April, so I don't have a lot of time here, people. My goals, therefore, have been adjusted accordingly, although a few for later in the year still made the list.

So, with that preamble out of the way, I present to you, my 30 for 30 list:

1. Get my basement finished, or damn-near close to finished.
2. Install some shelves and cupboards in my otherwise bare, unorganized garage.
3. Find a new job, or get more serious about looking for one (ie: at least polish up the old resume).
4. Catch up on all the movies I want to watch. (Because I don't spend enough time on the couch as is).
5. Play in a poker game in Vegas.
6. Go on a trip. (Vegas already booked for my birthday weekend, so I'm one down already!)
7. Buy some bookshelves and a desk, so the spare room/office can be more than a storage pit.
8. Try not to meet any more people. Enough is enough.
9. Lose 15 pounds. (More is needed of course, but we've only got 2 months here, remember.)
10. Become more patient with my jerk of a dog.
11. Fulfill my lifelong goal of having a TV in my bathroom (see #1 in the list).
12. Actually win some money – however little – in Las Vegas for once.
13. Buy some more books for my Kindle.
14. Get better at Angry Birds.
15. Tell somebody off with a better line than "Fuck you, go to hell!."
16. Become a better beer-shotgunner.
17. Break 100 a few more times while playing golf.
18. Eat an entire large pizza.
19. Expand my drinking horizons to beverages other than simply beer and vodka.
20. Spend an entire day not wearing pants.
21. Screw it - spend two entire days not wearing pants.
22. Don't slack off. Follow things through right until they are finishe...
23. Find a good torrent site to illegally download ebooks.
24. Speaking of books, finish the stack of regular books I have yet to read.
25. Try not to get annoyed at Christene for leaving her laundry everywhere.
26. Continue being awesome.
27. Find out who the asshole is who keeps throwing garbage and apple cores into my backyard (and front sidewalk/boulevard, too), and beat them with a sack of doorknobs.
28. Fix the front gate latch.
29. Make fewer goals.

Friday, January 28, 2011

:: This is what I'm dealing with here, people ::

Last night, driving home from dinner, this is what Christene decided to talk about (completely out of blue, of course).

Christene: You know, I could've totally dominated on American Gladiators.
Me: Uhh... what?
Christene: American Gladiators. The show. I would've dominated. Especially the part when you hit the gladiator with one of those giant Q-tip things. I would've been like (insert whooosh-sounding sound effects and some arm movements)... I would've kicked ass, take that Lace!
Me: Giant Q-tips? You mean the joust?
Christene: Yeah, whatever it's called. I would've won. I'd have been good at that other thing, too, where they strap you in that harness and you jump from the different platforms - what's that, the gauntlet? (editor's note: it's not the gauntlet).
Me: Are you actually saying these words?
Christene: Yeah, why?
Me: You think you would've won on American Gladiators?
Christene: Yes.
Me: Is this the same thing as the time you told me you'd definitely win at beer pong because once your team won Elementary School Sports Day, but then you completely sucked at beer pong?
Christene: Also, when I was about 18 I won two out of three games of laser tag! I lost the first one, but then I came back and killed everyone in the next two.
Me: Seriously, this is what you're bringing to the table? Elementary school sports day and laser tag?
Christene: It's all I have!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

:: Injury, meet Insult ::

Remember this?

Of course you do - it was less than a month ago. And because it was only a week ago, it makes this story all the more hilarious.

Go read that (if you haven't already) and then come back. It's OK, I'll wait...... OK, you back now? Good. Here's the post-script to that story:

This week, my old strata council – the one that was rife with idiots, infighting, and low-income tenants – passed by majority vote to have the entire roof of the townhouse complex replaced. Yes, the very same roof that my $4,500 was being held in a contingency fund to help replace.

Since discovering that the roof needed to be replaced, the strata council had, approximately, 16 months – dating back to when I still lived there – to propose and vote on a special assessment to replace said roof.

Yes, 16 freaking months. Ten of which passed after I'd already moved out. And despite this extended period of time, when does this strata council finally get their act together enough to procure a "yes" vote?

Well, a mere 19 days after the deadline to spend my money had passed, of course.

One monthly strata meeting. Not even three weeks.

Ahh, what wonderful timing. Thanks for the cash, morons. Enjoy your new roof.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

:: Something is free in the office today ::

This morning, a large box of free tea samples – various types, brands, etc - showed up in our office. From a customer, or some tea company, or something... it's origins are not really important.

But the way people are crawling all over themselves for individually packaged, 25-cent tea bags, you'd think they were filled with gold. Since 8:15 this morning, people have been talking about tea. Discussing the various types in the box – green tea, vanilla tea, cleansing tea, some Starbucks' brand – asking where it came from, or debating loudly what types are best for what situation.

And just when the fucking conversations stops, some new person – someone blissfully unaware of this free bounty of tea – shows up and asks what the box of tea is all about.

And if that's not happening, the one person whose desk happens to be adjacent to said box – and is therefore is the self-appointed guardian of the tea – is wandering around the office, offering it to the people who were so unmoved by the free stuff to begin with that they never left their cubicles.

Listen, it's fucking tea. It's not new – it's been around since dates ended with 'B.C.' for Chrissakes – and it's not really that interesting, either. Get over it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

:: A long-winded post where first I get mad and then I get money ::

I thought for sure I mentioned it before on this blog, but a quick archive search turned up nothing, so lemme fill you in on something that I've probably already told everyone anyways: When I sold my townhouse last year - 11 months ago now - it sold very quickly (4 days), but there was, as there usually is, a caveat near the end.

You see, my place was 18 years old and - according to some - in need of a new roof. And as anyone who's ever lived in a strata building knows, that ain't cheap. The words "Special Assessment" are enough to make most condo/townhouse owners shit themselves. Because that usually means each owner is on the hook to write a big cheque.

Of course, at the time, this roof situation was relatively new and, I figured, months if not more than year, away. I really didn't think much of it, except to think that I was getting out at the perfect time.

Trouble was, the roof problem - and the announcement of said problem and a possible vote in the future - showed up in the strata meeting minutes. And any prospective buyer who is not mentally handicapped is, of course, gonna notice. But they made the offer, I accepted, and then handed over 2 years worth of minutes at once for them to read.

I knew it was a longshot, but I secretly hoped it would slip by them - I mean, really, one sentence in 24 months worth of meetings could sneak by ya. At first, as a day or two passed, I thought it actually had.

I was wrong, of course. The evening before subjects were to be removed - hours away, literally - they called my realtor with "concerns." They changed their offer and demanded that, though they would still pay the agreed-upon price, some of that money would be held in trust, and would be used to cover the special assessment that was surely on its way.

Now, I certainly don't begrudge them for asking for the holdback - it's common practice, and I would've done the same had I been in their shoes. (Either that, or I'd never buy the place at all, to be honest). So that wasn't what bothered me.

What bothered me were some other things. For starters, the way it was presented by their smarmy little realtor, who came into my home and gave us this "aw-shucks, they're tapped out and this is the absolute limit of their budget, they could never afford an assessment" speech. Total guilt trip.

Needless to say, I was not moved. (I'm sure you're shocked.)

If they couldn't afford it, then somebody else will, so get outta my house. I care not for sob stories.

And then, were their terms.

They wanted $8,000 in this hold-back account, and they wanted the holdback to last until the end of the calendar year, Dec. 31, 2010.

Yes, $8000.

Now, that amount was, to the penny, the exact amount that the special assessment was to be. (They called to chat with our strata prez, and this is what he told them. I called him and he said the same thing.)

So these assholes wanted me to pay every last dime of their brand new 30-year roof that they'd live under for, well, for as long as they damn well pleased.

Upon receiving this news, my realtor - a kindly, sweet, older guy who has probably never said a bad word in his life - turned to me and asked for my counter-offer.

"Tell 'em fuck you' - that's my counter offer," was my reply.

My nice, kindly realtor was taken aback, to say the least.

In the end, I lowballed 'em right back, and said they could have $1,000, and after some not-so-friendly back-and-forth, in the end we agreed on $4,500 because I just wanted it done. The end-of-year deadline also stuck.

And because that deadline was 10 months away, and I knew the roof was in need of repair, I basically kissed the money goodbye. My realtor suggested I do the same. And considering I was already making a good chunk of change on the house, I really wasn't that upset in the end.

I mean, I wasn't thrilled with how it went down - I felt like I got bent over a little bit, and didn't like the other realtor's smarmy ways, as I already mentioned, but still, it was done.

And then I moved to Cloverdale, and then finally into our new house, and had little to no contact with anyone who still lived at the old place, although the rumours trickled in. First, a few months later, my realtor called to say he'd spoken to a fellow realtor whose son lived in my old complex, and the money was gone. Assessment passed.

Then my day ran into the father of another guy who lived there - a guy I used to play ball with as a kid - and he said "Don't worry, you'll get it back. Nothing's happening."

And through it all, I just waited. Sort of hoped, but mostly didn't worry about it. The money's gone, I'd say, so stop thinking about it.

'Cept it wasn't.

First, there was a meeting that allegedly nearly ended in a fist fight, and a vote that got shot down as quick as it could be proposed.

(Funny sidenote: Apparently, the only pro-assessment person at the meeting - the only guy to really get up and give an impassioned "Let's just do it" speech, aside from council members, was the guy who bought my house. He, of course, was on the clock, although nobody else knew. He was, I was told, shouted down fast with cries of "Shutup, new guy!" which is truly fantastic.)

And then along came some more meetings, and after some research, it was decided the assessment would only be $4,500. Conveniently the exact amount they were holding back, which meant I was still out of luck.

Of course, because my old complex was run by a terribly dysfunctional strata council (complete with warring factions, and wasting time and effort on important issues like "where is the community snowshovel?") and there are a number of older, fixed-income seniors who can't afford assessments, that revised plan didn't fly either.

And then Dec. 31 came and went, and I immediately started making calls to get my money. If the other side thought I'd wait, or thought I'd forget, or thought I'd be lenient and sympathetic and making agree to some kind of revised deal, well, they were wrong.

I wanted my money, I wanted it right fucking now, and I told them as much.

Of course - of course - the other side stalled. My notary called their lawyers, they stalled. Called again. Stalled some more. But today, I called for an update.

"Your money is ready, it's at the other side's lawyers. We can courier it over and you'll have it on Friday."


So after all that bullshit, after their douchy realtor and their ridiculous demands, after the 10-month wait, and after meetings full of fistfights and leaky roofs, I get my money.

My only regret is that I can't pick it up from them personally. I would've liked them to see the little jig I would've danced in their courtyard outside their front door.

That'll learn ya, assholes.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

:: Somebody got their medical degree from Hollywood Upstairs Medical College ::

New Year's Resolution be damned, I am eating an Egg McMuffin this morning. Why? Because despite my annual pronouncement that "This is the year I'm getting in shape!", there was a 2-for-1 coupon in the paper, and my resolution this year is also to save money.

And hey, a deal's a deal. (And in my defence, I didn't eat both of them. I gave one to my boss.)

So as I'm sitting here at my desk, one of our company's sales reps walks by and says quietly, "You know, that stuff'll kill ya."

Couple things wrong here. First of all – shutup.

Even if I'm shovelling pure lard into my mouth, or shooting heroin into my veins, nobody – least of all, me – asked you for an opinion on my lifestyle or health choices. Nobody.

But while I am willing to concede that a) she was only kidding around and b) simply making conversation (which, by now, you should all know that I hate - see here, here and here if you are not yet entirely convinced) there is a bigger problem with her unsolicited health advice:

The reason she walked by my desk was so she could go grab her jacket off the coat rack.

Because she was going outside in the rain to have a smoke.

And if you're wondering whether or not I called her on this little bit of hypocrisy, well, you don't know me very well, do ya?