January 29, 2015

Hobo Gauntlet Radio - Episode 5

Take a sonic journey through the decades of modern music that matters...to me. On episode 5 we'll hear from The Chemical Brothers, The Housemartins, Muse, The Stone Roses and Sisters of Mercy to name just a few.

And, get pointers about being the best possible Hobo you can, hear about why I have a dead body in my garage and learn about my hatred for certain foreign accents.

I'm currently having issues with my blog's audio player thingy, so listen online or download here, courtesy of the fine folks over at  Girth Radio.

January 28, 2015

SAS is employed by Habs fans

If you've watched a Toronto Maple Leafs game on TV, you'll notice one of their rinkboard sponsors is a company called SAS. But the business relationship goes beyond advertising dollars.

SAS provides "business analytics and business intelligence software" which is apparently heavily utilized within the Leafs organization.  Check out the photo I snapped downtown near SAS's headquarters. It's some kind of company shuttle. It's got Leafs branding and informs us that analytics is the game changer.  

This may be true, but the question is, in what direction is SAS changing the game for the Leafs?  

January 20, 2015

The Evolution Won't Be Televised

Think about how incomplete you felt the last time you left your home only to realize a while later that you left your phone at the house. Ever been out somewhere, went to grab your phone to check facebook, twitter or heaven forbid, make a call, and you nearly lost your shit because you hadn't a clue where the damn thing was?

It all started when it became commonplace for everyone to have cell phones. At first it was considered a luxury of course. As a kid I remember my dad had one of those vcr-sized phones installed in his company car, and I remember thinking I just wanted him to take us for a drive so we could call someone and look bad-ass doing it.

Later when everyone had a phone, I remember resisting the urge to have one on me constantly. I recall a bunch of us guys going out to some club or bar and I'd bust this one guy's nuts because he insisted on having his with him at all times. In my defense, my main reason for teasing the dude was a result of the douchebag aesthetic since it was one of those 3" wide phones that clipped onto your belt. Similarly, nowadays I would do the same with a dude I was out with if he wore one of those bluetooth headsets. He might be ready for that, but I am not. .

Bill Johnson on his cell phone, circa millions of years ago.
But things have changed a little since the early days. On my iphone right this second, I can watch live video of our planet from space. From fucking space.

Clearly, the advances and benefits are enormous. From emergencies to navigation to research to ordering a pizza without having to talk to some CSR, we've progressed enormously and this trend will continue, exponentially in fact.  Although Google has decided to stop selling their glasses, this is only a temporary blip - us soft mushy humans are still adverse to clunky wearables. Since many of us are already used to seeing people wearing watches, perhaps that's the direction we'll go. But I suspect the Next Big Thing will be when all this tech can be shrunk into a contact lense. Biotechnology is clearly the future and we've already seen it in the past and present, ranging from metallic hip replacements to artificial hearts to unbelievably advanced bionic limbs.

The average person might think we've completed our journey from star dust to single cell organisms to apes to humans, but they couldn't be more wrong. We continue to move forward and although the pace is picking up, it will still be hard to see it coming. The gap between machine and human is thinning. At first we'll still mostly be flesh and blood, but over hundreds and thousands of years, we'll eventually become something else.

As we should. 

January 16, 2015

At least he's not in Al Qaeda

In my work cafeteria this morning, I noticed someone had brought cereal from home in a tupperware container. Instead of buying a small carton of milk from the caf, the person just went to the coffee station and poured themselves a healthy amount from one of the large milk containers designated for coffee.
This is theft. Should I have said something to him? 

January 15, 2015

Smoking Is Good For You


January 13, 2015

Carmudgeon Factor High

I love this country. I love my parents for bringing me to this country. They're immigrants from Northern Ireland, and they had a choice of Australia or Canada when they wanted to get away from "the troubles" of that region in the late 60's. I feel the Australian accent is perhaps one of the worst on the planet, only to be outdone by the Scottish accent, so I'm glad I have neither.

But I hate, hate the cold in this country, and at some point I'll likely need to get the sam-fuck out of here. More than anything though, I hate that it can sometimes have control over me. I don't like anything or anyone having control over me.
Nah. I prefer Toronto in January.

On weekends I always go out to do something. Always. Whether it's going for a walk, a bike ride or just over to Crappy Tire, I like to get out on the weekend. But this Saturday, I didn't. The weather won, and it pissed me off.

So, the carmudgeon factor has been high over the last few days. I know it's only temporary and it will surely pass, but I know it's creeped into the work week too. Today, coming into work in a balmy minus 25, I heard someone around the office singing happy birthday to someone else, and I wanted to throw a stapler at her. Worse, she's the type of person who doesn't stop at the first verse. She thinks it's funny and creative if she goes on and on.

But ok, maybe throwing a stapler is a bit much. A live eel will do just fine.

January 4, 2015


The title of this post is a term that has never applied to me.

In theory, it should right? After all, I'm a man, and men are naturally supposed to be able to put up drywall or build a deck, right? When I was a kid, my very handy father did something that I could never, ever do. He converted our large unfinished basement into a fantastic social hub for our family....himself
The only time you'd see me like this is 
at a Halloween party
Sure, my brother and I tried to help, but we were useless for the most part. We just weren't very interested in different types of screwdrivers or wallpapering or stucco'ing a wall. It just wasn't in our nature, but that wasn't really the point of it all. Our father was trying to educate us about the basics so we could apply these skills later in life. Much of what I learned from my dad has helped me with basic household things, but only to a certain point - not due to his fine teachings, but due to my aptitude with such activities, or lack thereof. 

This speaks to the larger issue of the societal expectations placed on all of us. Historically, women were always supposed to look a certain way, get married, have babies and cook a mean pot roast. A career was always on the backburner. Now don't get me wrong - obviously if a woman wants to embrace this lifestyle nowadays, that's her perogative, but it shouldn't be an expectation. But to some extent there is still a stigma associated with women (and men in fact) who don't have kids or know how to cook, but that's just left over silliness from a different generation.

Likewise, there still are some expectations by society for a man to install a toilet or build a shed. After all, in a male/female relationship, the woman can't possibly be expected to take the lead on this sort of stuff right? Well, I for one reject it all. I ignore paper thin labels and outdated stereotypes and have long turned down the notion of what I'm supposed to do, or who I'm supposed to be. The reality is, however, that this is still a fundamental truth about society. Therefore many of us aspire to some so-called Gold Standard of what a man or woman is supposed to be, despite what they really feel or truly want. Of course, much like religious indoctrination, the brainwash began early and can be difficult to reverse.

In the end of course, the truth comes. And it can come at a cost to relationships, families and also innocent children. The bottom line is that if it feels natural for you to do x, y or z, then go for it. But if in your heart of hearts, something's just not right, it's in everyone's best interest to be honest. 

Getting back to the title of this post, when's the last time you gave your car an oil, lube and filter? Just Google it. It's pretty straight forward, so why not just do it yourself?  

Precisely. Let's leave handyman things to handymen.

January 2, 2015

There Will Be Vomit

You might recall a side story told by the lead character in the film Stand By Me. Sitting around the campfire, he tells the tale of Lardass, a local portly fella who gets revenge in a pie eating contest by puking all over everyone, leading to a Barf-A-Rama.

Truth is stranger than fiction though, because the Barf-A-Rama recently made a stop at the Hobo Gauntlet headquarters. Jones The Cat hasn't been feeling well recently - quel surpris - so every couple of days we get a little treat from her.  I like to think that she loves us so much she just wants to share the food we've provided for her, albeit completely digested and warmed up in her microwave oven'esque stomache.
Now where exactly did I leave my keys?

Now you know how you're out sometimes and you see couples wearing the same jacket? - it's an embarrassing thing really - it screams "hey look- we've got the same thing on! look at how in-love we are! Our individual selves are gone and now we've fused into one person!" Well, fortunately my lovely wife and I don't partake in such activities, but in the spirit of togetherness, she decided recently to join Jones The Cat by visiting the Porcelain Princess due to some minor ailment. (Now, if we could only train Jones to use the toilet bowl for these needs, we'd be cooking with gas).

Murphy likes to walk into the room at these precise times with his silly Laws (or was Murphy a woman?), so at around the same time we've got Jones coughing up a lung on the first floor while my wife has a face to face with the bowl on the second. When one is pre-occupied with such unpleasantness, one appreciates a friend or loved one nearby to soothe them. The question for me then - who do I attend to?  While Jones' body contorts and convulses, do I stroke her fur calmingly, or gently rub my wife's back towards the same objective?

In other news, I'm sleeping at a hotel this week.