Monday, December 31, 2012


Okay, so here is some FREE advice regarding your new year's resolutions. Yes I am a giver.

This new year's holiday, let's all take a moment to reflect on how horrible we are as human beings. We've had enough! It's time to make some resolutions. THIS will be the year that we finally get our act together and lose the pounds, stop the smoking, the drinking, the bad habits, and finally do something worthwhile with our lives. Okay, okay... we all know it is a lie, but we still make the resolutions anyway. Why is it so difficult for some people to make new year's resolutions? Actually, making the resolution is easy—it is keeping them that seems to be so difficult. After all, you have one day to make the resolution, and then 364 days or so to continue eating cheezies on the couch while watching Wheel of Fortune. That's a lot of Fortune.

Well, fear not. I have the answer. I have decided that instead of making new year's resolutions that are going to be impossible to carry through on, such as exercise and eating properly, I will just make some new year's resolutions based on things that I don't do anyway. That's the key. You look like a hero even though you aren't actually doing anything differently. No one has to know!

Resolution: No more armed robberies.  You know what? It just isn't fun anymore. The guns, the frightened people... it just isn't worth it. Sure, I was banking $100,000 in a job, but was I really happy?

Resolution: No more dumping toxic waste into the river.  It was kind of cool the first few years I did it, but quite frankly, it is becoming more of a habit than anything I actually "enjoy" doing. It's easier to just bury the huge barrels of radioactive plutonium in the yard. Plus the drive out to the lake is just getting too crowded, what with the children playing and the people fishing for the mutant fish that now swim in the lake.

Resolution: Always wear clothing at the office.  This one will be tough to stick to but I just need to realize that not everyone wants to see me do data entry with no shirt on. I might still keep the housecoat and slippers on casual Fridays, but we'll take that on a week-by-week basis.

Resolution: I will let the police do their job.  Yes, a few weekends a year I like to drive around with a police scanner and show up at the scene of a crime. And then solve the crime. It's just something I've done ever since watching CSI. It's kind of "my thing". I get just as much fun out of finding "the real killer" as I do whipping off my sunglasses and yelling "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" in the Roger Daltrey voice.

Have a great new year and be safe.

Friday, December 28, 2012


People always whine about their "bucket list" - things to do before they die.  I'm among these whiny whiners—if you are sitting by me at a cocktail party, chances are good that you will hear me moaning about not going to the Taj Mahal or never throwing someone through a plate-glass window in a bar fight.  However, I am proud to announce that I actually knocked something off the bucket list: I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 feet.
I've always wanted to parachute at least once—well, I say "always", but really it was ever since watching "Band of Brothers" and watching the Allies jump out of the airplanes over Normandy.  Hey, D-Day looks cool!  Well, not the whole "getting shot at by Nazis" but the other part looked pretty cool.
I got the Christmas gift of skydiving so we were off to Sin City Skydiving in Las Vegas.
We met up with the van at Bally's and signed our 14-page waiver.  It says
Good times.  All aboard! 
Sin City Skydiving is located about 40 minutes outside of Las Vegas, right next to what looked at a Nevada Corrections Center.   Made sense—our chain gang of six people on the bus were quiet and somewhat remorseful as we rolled off the highway and past the prison.  We stopped at the rinky-dinky airport.  I expected to see a warden standing there, chewing tobacco and explaining to us that we weren't in "the world" anymore. 
I have to pull out the full disclaimer: this was a tandem jump, which means that some dude is doing all the work while I am just hanging there like a baby kangaroo at the zoo.  Which, by the way, is fine by me.  A couple people have said "doesn't it bother you to be strapped on to a dude"?  Not in the slightest.  For me, this is the only circumstance in Las Vegas where fully-clothed, big, strong guy is WAY better than little bikini lady. 
Sin City Skydiving was awesome—I used my joke for the one hundredth time on these guys and they pretended to laugh.  (The joke was "my Christmas gift is jumping out of an airplane, and my girlfriend's Christmas gift is throwing me out of the airplane.  The joke killed at tourists at Caesar's Palace, the Bellagio, and the hot dog guy outside of Bill's Gambling Hall.)
There were six of us total, but only four of us were jumping.  The other two were "watchers", standing there and worrying.  If you ever want to second-guess yourself, listen to these people.  They are coming up with all sorts of logical and completely rational reasons why I am in idiot.  Don't listen Wiebe!  You are the man! 
Two people jump in one plane ride, and I was in the second group.  So I had a half hour to sit on a couch, listen to Iron Maiden and watch a guy fold a parachute.  Dude knew how to pack a chute.  It was like a reverse clown car.  Big chute, little chute, littler pack.  I need this guy on vacation to pack my suitcase.  Unfortunately, my girlfriend became my caddy, and I used my nervous energy to constantly inquire about the status of my ballcap, wallet, ballcap, and wallet.  Do you have my wallet?  WHERE'S MY WALLET?  I switched gears at one point and asked about the passport.  Do you have my passport?  WHERE IS IT?  (It was back at the hotel and was encouraged to take a walk around the building.)
Finally the plane landed, everyone popped inside the building looking happy and I was teamed up with Mike, also known as the guy who knew what the hell was going on.  All hail Mike!  I put on a green jumpsuit, which instantly made me feel like an astronaut.  I did wonder, however, why Mike was wearing the helmet but I was not.  Oh well.  Details!  I was told a bunch of stuff but I stopped paying attention after "terminal velocity of 130 miles per hour".  I guess that if at that point we needed a helmet, I would just bend with the knees and everything would be fine.
I strutted out to the airplane, which is really just a glorified go-kart with wings.  They have removed all the seats and covered the screws with duct tape, so it looks like the result of me trying to make an airplane in the back yard.  We crawled in to the back and a little plastic rickity door closed.  This thing was rattling and shaking as we took off.  I loved it!  It was also really loud—the quarter-inch of PVC door doesn't really soundproof the engine.
It was an awesome 20-minute airplane ride up to 10,000 feet.  I was sitting in-between Mike's legs facing away from him.  I could feel him tugging at ropes and levers and pullies, checking that everything was okay.  I am a big fan of this.  Keep tugging.  You do what you need to do.  He pointed out some cool sights like the MGM Grand in the distance and a really neat solar farm near the California border.  Wow!  I was okay with the describing, but I needed to feel some tugging.  Keep checking! 
Twenty minutes is just long enough to lull you into a false sense of security.  Hey, it's just a plane ride!  I was looking around, enjoying life, and wondering when drinks were going to be served.  Mike ordered me to sit right on him and he linked us together super tight.  People will ask me "wasn't that weird?"
Well, he opened the door and everything changed.  Suddenly my legs were dangling outside of the aircraft and I was looking out at the world.  It was freezing, incredibly loud and windy.  So was it weird that I was tethered to Mike?  Hell no!  At this point I was ready to crawl inside his belly button if it was allowed.      
We rolled out the door and plummeted to Earth.  The free fall was about 30 seconds and it was absolutely ridiculous.  My adreneline gland was squeezed like a peasant hand-washing laundry.  We reached terminal velocity and I screamed but no sound came out.  I am pretty sure that bending my knees would not have saved me at this point. 
The chute opened and suddenly everything was calm.  It felt like we weren't even falling!  It was really quiet (we could use regular speaking voices) and Mike asked me if we wanted to do some spins and like an idiot I said hell yes! 
We were spinning in circles right above a highway and some power lines and loving every second of it.  We approached the landing zone and Mike instructed me to lift my legs, because we were going to land on my bum.  Well... yeah, I don't actually have a bum.  I'm what's medically known as "puny" or "wimpy".  So at the last minute I timed it just right so I scraped the ground with my feet and kind of sat / stumbled onto the ground.  About five seconds later the other jumper (a lovely lady from New York) landed in the other part of the landing area.  We were alive, we were alive! 
I totally recommend these guys if you are in the Las Vegas area and want to do something ridiculously fun and exciting.  The whole trip was about three to four hours (round trip including the drive) and it was worth every penny!

Friday, December 14, 2012


Being a writer and a Canadian, I am legally obligated to voice up with my opinion on the NHL lockout.  (The Prime Minister called me at home, during dinner, and demanded that I do my civic duty).  I have a number of friends who work for the NHL and I must admit there is nothing funny about being laid off, working a reduced work schedule or not making money because there are no NHL games. 

That having been said, the most common question I get is "how long do you think the lockout will last?" Actually, the most common question is "what's wrong with you? But we'll keep it to hockey). Well, that is a great question.  I am not in the swanky board room with the league and the players, sipping bottled water like a snob, so I have no idea.  But I do think that we are in for a long, long lockout.  Am I confident it will be resolved quickly?  No.  Do I think that hockey will be damaged as a result? Yes.  Do I enjoy asking myself questions and then answering them?  Absolutely.

Before I talk about the NHL lockout, let's look at the NHL in general.

The problem with the NHL can be summed up in a few bullet points:
  • Niche appeal
  • Television Agreement
  • Revenue Sharing
That's it.  I will discuss each of the following.  I have locked the doors and there will be a test.

1. Niche Appeal: Do you ever wonder why little tiny nations like Ecuador always kick Canada's ass at soccer?  They have about half of the population of Canada, and yet it seems like they are all kicking balls.  Specifically our balls on the soccer field.  Well, let's take a look at a map.  Ecuador is located in a part of the world far, far way, known as "nice weather".  It is so nice in that part of the world that they think "toque" is a funny word.  They don't own mittens.  Their cars start.  Other than the political unrest and the crushing poverty, many of these tiny countries are quite lovely. 

How many people in the world play ice hockey?  There's Canada, the United States, and Russia.  There are some northern European countries.  There's three dudes in Australia who broke into a penguin exhibit at the zoo.  That's about it.  Let's look at the U-S-A!  U-S-A!  Lots of hockey players come from the U.S.  But chances are good that the parts of the United States that have alligators and Confederate flags are not spending their evenings playing ice hockey. 

This means that areas in warm-weather areas like Phoenix or Atlanta really struggle to have a full house to watch guys skate and punch each other, and chances are that they
always will.  The NHL can work like crazy to increase the popularity of hockey in the sun belt, but it will go from a 2 to a 3, whereas cities in Canada are almost always at a 7 or an 8. 

This leads us to the next point...

2. Television Agreement: Let's continue with the soccer analogy.  Do you ever have that one weird friend, during the World Cup, who watches all the soccer games on TV and actually seems to care?  This is the person who is riveted to the TV even though Honduras and The Republic of Sweaty Island are tied 0-0 and sixty-five minutes have elapsed.  What is going on?  Are they insane?  Have they lost the remote?  Why are they sitting there?

Chances are good that the crazy friend is actually someone who has played soccer.  If someone plays the sport, chances are good that they will watch the sport (or at least tolerate it on TV).  This is not always the case, but it definitely helps.  They can relate to what is going on the TV.  This is the primary reason why I don't watch gymnastics during the Olympics.  I haven't done a cartwheel wearing spandex in many, many weeks. 

The NHL will never have a huge television like the National Football League. Did you know that an NFL team could sell no tickets for their entire season, and they would still make a profit?  That is how big their TV deal is.  It's absurd.  It allows a rinky-dink city like Green Bay (pop. barely 100,000) to compete with New York (pop. over 8 million).  By the way, this only applies to football - if all the New Yorkers grabbed baseball bats and walked over to Green Bay and got into a big fight with Green Bay citizens, eventually the New Yorkers would win and take all the Wisconsin cheese. 

3. Revenue Sharing: The NHL has done better at this over the years, but it is nowhere close to sharing revenues like the National Football League.  And what about other revenue that is not directly related to hockey?  Fans spend money on all sorts of things - beer, parking, beer, hot dogs, t-shirts and beer.  If you are in Anaheim and spend some money at the hockey game, chances are that you are helping out the Anaheim Ducks and no one else. 

There is a revenue sharing agreement in place in the NHL where the top teams will pool some money together and send it to the bottom teams.  But if that was effective, why are southern teams (Phoenix, Atlanta, Florida) struggling so much?  Revenue sharing helps, but having a hockey team in Florida is like opening up a KFC kiosk at a vegetarian convention.  Selling out of chicken isn't really going to be the big concern.

Bottom Line: The NHL has some problems.  Feel free to be depressed, but don't be so depressed that you start watching soccer on TV.  

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Three Things I Hate About Christmas

If baby Jesus were alive today, he would probably want to punch me in the mouth.  (Which would be hiliarious, by the way - a baby punching ME?)  Why would I make the baby Jesus so upset?  Well, I'm about to vent on why I hate Christmas.

Now, don't get me wrong!  I love the gifts.  They always say it is better to give than receive, and I agree - I love seeing the look of joy on people's faces when they are giving me presents.  It fills me with a warm feeling in my gut.  I don't mind when that happens - it is only in a crowded elevator that this could become a problem. 

So before anyone gets too outraged and decides to send their baby over to my house to punch me, let me just say that I like spending time with friends, I like giving and receiving gifts, and I like eating fruitcake.  Yes, I am the only guy who actually enjoys fruitcake. 

Reason #1: Christmas Music
Remember Paul McCartney?  If you were born in the 1960s, McCartney is pretty much as good as it gets.  The former Beatle came out with "Abbey Road" and it is one of the greatest rock albums of all time.  I maybe listen to it once or twice a year.  Let me repeat - this is one of the greatest albums, and I might listen to it twice.  So why am I listening to "Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time" 60 times at the mall? 

John Mellencamp saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.  Mellencamp is creepy enough without singing about spying on his mom.  Even the Boss, Bruce Springsteen, sings that "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town".  Come on man, just play "Born To Run" in the mall and I promise I will think of Santa as I air guitar.

Reason # 2: Charity
Now, hold on.  I'm not suggesting that we don't give to charity.  I am suggesting that you leave me alone at the RONA when I am trying to buy a piece of PVC pipe to stop my sink from leaking dark brown liquid.  Why publicly shame me because I don't want to buy the girl guide cookies or put the loonie in the Salvation Army bin?  I am not a horrible person!  At least that is what I want strangers at the grocery store to think.

Reason #3: TV Specials / Movies
There are only a certain number of Christmas TV shows and movies that are any good.  That certain number would be five: Charlie Brown Christmas, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, It's A Wonderful Life, Scrooged and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  (I have to put that last one in there or else angry townsfolk will throw empty beer cans at my house).  So why am I being bombarded by commercials advertising Blake Shelton's Christmas?  Or anything to do with Glee?  I don't want to see high school people singing pop songs.  I didn't want to see it in high school, and I don't want to see it now.  The worst part is that you can never criticize the shows because people will cry "what?  you don't like CHRISTMAS?"

I like Christmas just fine - I just prefer the log channel.

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Up & Running

Well hello!  I feel like a caveman who is peeking his scruffy head out of a cave.  Why are all these ape people walking around upright?  I guess I had better stand up too.  I finally have joined Twitter and started this blog - all in a shameless attempt to get people to buy my books.  Love me!  LOVE ME!

My website is and I am proud to announce that I have finally cranked out my novel that I have been "tweaking" for the past year.  More accuratey, my girlfriend and I bought a house last year and every waking moment has been spent ripping up carpet, painting, laying down carpet, and more painting.  Thankfully it is minus four hundred degrees outside, so no one can do any yard work.  I am hunkered down for the next six months in snowy Calgary and figure I should get busy writing.  So far I am up to about 200 words (including this blog entry).  Woo hoo! 

My book is available at