Sunday, March 31, 2013


          Living in Canada, there is a tradition up here that happens every spring.  “Spring” is defined as when the temperature gets above freezing for more than twelve consecutive hours.  If you see a puddle of water outside of someone’s home, chances are very high that it is now officially spring.
          The tradition that I’m speaking of is the Canadian custom of taking off clothing as soon as it stops snowing.  I was out driving around town yesterday and I saw shorts.  Keep in mind, it was about eight degrees out.  You still don’t need a refrigerator at this point—just find some shade by an evergreen and put your milk over there for a few days and it would be fine.  There is some unwritten rule that says that if you can bare some legs and the blood technically continues to flow to your extremities, then you owe it to yourself—and society—to walk around in your shorts, a bathing suit, or even just some underwear on your way to the grocery store.  Hey, I’m not wearing a winter jacket, so apparently pants are now optional as well.
          My neighbourhood still has large patches of snow around, although there is some sad, brown goopy grass poking its stubby blades through some yards.  This means that it is time to rake the lawn!  One neighbour is literally raking the grass around the clumps of snow.  Is this really helping?  Isn’t this nature’s way of telling you to go inside and watch Wheel of Fortune?  It always seems to be the seniors who are doing this—I’m not even forty years old, and I can barely muster the energy to glance out the window.  Meanwhile, there’s an eighty-five year old lady raking her front yard like my cat in the litter box.  Scrape, scrape, scrape—well, I think all of the brown goop (leaves) has been separated from the other brown goop (grass). 
          If I ever lived on a farm, I think that the rooster would eventually get on my nerves.  However, the rooster is doing its job—the sun comes up and this animal is screaming at the top of its lungs.  Okay, I get that.  We have a similar situation it the city.  I call him “motorcycle guy”.  When spring has sprung, it is now apparently time to rev the motorcycle in the garage.  Mind you, the bike is not actually making an appearance at this point—it is like the space shuttle.  The bike needs about four hours of preparation time in the garage first before “launching” at seven miles per hour onto the mud-puddled street.  Hey, is that Buzz Aldrin on a motorbike?  I sure hope so—that would be about the only situation where I would be okay with four hours of revving a motorcycle in a garage.  (Because then I would have an astronaut as a neighbour, and I would put the mail that was addressed to me in his mail box so he would be forced to come over to my house to drop off the mail and then I would invite him in and spend the next three days demanding to know if the moon missions were faked.  Or we could just watch Seinfeld reruns.)    
          The thing I don’t get about motorcycles is that they don’t do anything.  Even a tiny car can carry things—like groceries or supplies—from point A to point B.  But a motorcycle just carries the driver and maybe, sometimes, in rare instances, someone else.  There seems to be ninety minutes of preparation time, which involves a leather scuba outfit, cowboy boots, and often a helmet with the spike on top.  Okay Kaiser.  Let me stop you right there.  You can tell that the government is making the motorcycle guy wear the helmet and he doesn’t want to.  Motorcycle guy is like “alright, I will comply with your laws.  I will wear the helmet.  However, I will affix a huge spike on the top of the helmet, so that in the event of a crash, I will become a human javelin.  I may be safe, but if I stab enough people, there will be a new law passed that says all pedestrians must wear Kevlar body armour when walking down the street. 
          Body armour wouldn’t apply to the legs of course—it is spring, after all.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013


It's March in Canada and that means one of two things: either it is 15 degrees and sunny, or it is -15 and blizzarding like crazy.  I live in the prairies, and it happened to be -15 and blizzarding.  What is there to do on the weekend?  I could sit at home and drink, but apparently society sees that as a problem.  The next best thing is to go out bowling! 

First of all, I am not sure that bowling is a real sport.  It's kind of like golf in that there seems to be 95% technique and about 5% physical fitness.  Just like going to the golf driving range, there seems to be drunk people doing the activity better than me.  Huge guts and large green Shamrock hats seem to be okay and don't impede on anyone's ability to bowl.

I tried going bowling a couple of years ago and my girlfriend and I wound up going to a casino where we heard there was bowling.  Hey, it's a casino - home of the free watered-down drink and broken-down senior citizen playing penny slots for 4 hours and costing them a grand total of $3.00 in change.  How expensive can bowling be?

Well, my friend, the stinky old casinos run by rich old guys has changed.  We got to the casino and the parking lot was absolutely packed.  We parked down the street in some construction lot.  The five-minute hike to the casino through muddy earth was spent wondering if the car was going to be towed or just run over by a backhoe. 

We got to the casino, sweaty and out of breath, and found out that UFC was going on.  Not the big, televised event, but rather some local guys.  On one hand, I had to respect the crowd for supporting local sports, but on the other hand there was something weird about watching Jerry the guy who bags my groceries at Co-Op pummeling the swim instructor at the YMCA.  Anyway, we were on a mission to bowl.  We walked past the slot machines and blackjack tables and found the bowling alley. 

Keep in mind, it was just the two of us.  So when we saw $60.00 per hour, I was a little flabbergasted.  I'm not getting my bathroom rennovated or my transmission replaced.  I just wanted to throw a bowling ball into the gutter!  Good Lord.  We got out of there and wound up playing penny slots for a couple of hours.  The only down side was that I was out three dollars at the end of it, but I saw a lot of bells and whistles in the meantime. 

So, fast forward a couple of years later.  The bowling alley that we went to on Saturday night was absolutely packed.  It makes sense - the prices at the bowling alley near my house is actually quite reasonable.  They charge by the game, not by the hour.  The only down side to this is that there is absolutely no incentive to get your game done - ever.  People are running off to get drinks, go to the bathroom, who knows - maybe people are leaving and getting a pizza and coming back.  I have no idea. 

We got in around 8:30 pm and they had "Cosmic Bowling" going on.  Apparently even the people who run the bowling alley know that bowling is not exciting enough to just have bowling.  The 80s and 90s dance music is blasting and there is black light and laser pointers shooting around like crazy.  It makes it a little hard to concentrate, but that is okay - I was looking for any excuse at this point as to why I can't knock down all the pins.  It doesn't help that in 10-pin bowling, the ball weighs literally 80 pounds.  I was looking around for a bocce ball or maybe a couple of baseballs and trying not to notice that the drunk guy with the huge shamrock hat was crushing the pins and then dancing around.  

Let's Bowl in Calgary.  Good times.  I reccommend it.

Friday, March 8, 2013


I just got back from a great vacation in Jamaica.  We’re talking sand, surf, sun, and, of course, boatloads of food and gallons upon gallons of alcohol. 

I’m not sure I understand why there is the all-inclusive resort.  I mean, don’t get me wrong—I love them—you get off the airplane, put your wallet and your passport in the safe in your room and forget about them for a week.  I just think that having a mile of perfect beach, scorching sun and breezy tropical winds should be enough to entice pasty bloated tourists like me each year to leave my frozen wasteland I call home. 

“Hmm, there seems to be an island in the middle of the Carribean.  Let me look it up on the computer.  Beautiful weather... lots of sand and beach... If they have more than twelve pies, I will consider leaving immediately.”

The first and most wonderful thing that you have going for you at the all-inclusive resort is the free food and booze.  I happen to be a skinny guy but, gun to my head, I can pack it away.  People have witnessed my show at the Chinese Buffet and they brag about it.  At least that’s what I am telling myself they are doing as they recount the story to strangers and point in my direction.  Anyway, what is great about the food is that you can stack your plate up high with all sorts of exotic meats, ice cream, pie, pizza, more ice cream, fish, fruit, things you think might be fruit, and bacon.  I’ve come to realize that wherever you are from in this world, if you are visiting a resort, you will place salty meat on top of your plate.  I don’t care if there is ice cream under there.  The bacon is going on the top. 

Hey, if you don’t like it, then don’t eat it!  You aren’t paying any more for a huge plate of waste than if you are trying to be responsible.  Don't worry about making the waiter upset.  They love cleaning up your four half-eaten plates of papaya and pineapple.  You weren't sure if you would like the chocolate cake, so you only took three pieces.  They get it—the resort crowd is not the responsible crowd.  If they were, someone would eventually get out of the pool bar to use the bathroom.  I have yet to witness that. 

You see all sorts of interesting people at the all-inclusive resort.  I happen to fall under the “happy drunk guy who still thinks he is ten years younger than he is” category.  I’m in the pool trying to play volleyball against 19-year-old college students from Omaha.  I am not a professional volleyball player.  So I totally understand why I am terrible.  But here's my question: they don’t even have water in Omaha—at least I think they don’t.  So why are there Nebraska dudes with abs spiking a ball into my face?  It’s been ninety minutes since my meal inbetween lunch and dinner—I think I’ll grab a snack instead. 

Everything becomes a big deal on vacation.  Have you ever had a drink at your house?  Maybe you get home from a long day, and you are watching television, and you kind of walk over to the cabinet and pour yourself a drink?  No one applauds, do they?  For some reason, if you order a couple of drinks at 10:02 a.m., strangers are applauding and pointing.  Maybe they are doctors, or they happen to own shares in a rum plantation. 

The huge competitive tanners come out of the wordwork on these tropical vacations.  The minute people are at the resort, the shirt is off.  Boom.  Dudes are topless within seconds.  Women run like Florence Griffith-Joyner to their hotel room and spin around like Wonder Woman three times before dashing off to the beach.  It might take her four days to pack for the vacation, but within forty-five seconds she is on the beach, in a chair, facing the sun like a photo-sensitive Venus Flytrap.  We also need the US Magazine and the largest sunglasses that a human cranium can safely support.  I say good for you—it’s all anyone ever asks about after you get back from holidays anyway.
          Coworker: Where were you?
          Me: I was in Jamaica.
          Coworker: Where’s the tan?
          Me: I don’t want to get cancer.
          Coworker: I don’t see much of a tan.
          Me: I had a pretty good time.
          Coworker: So... no tan? 

By the way: how come at home I can make my bathroom towel last a month before it finally marches itself into the wash, and yet on vacation I am going through eight towels in one day?  They have a little hotel resort sign on the counter that says “save the environment, only put towels in the tub that you don’t want to use again!”  Well guess what.  Every single towel is going in that tub.  I’m breaking into neighbour’s hotel rooms, taking their towels, and throwing them in the tub.  The thought of even looking at a towel more than once becomes instantly disgusting.  I’m wearing the same T-shirt four days in a row, but I’m going through towels like toilet paper. 

Anyway, Jamaica is great if you like sun and nine meals a day.