February 28, 2015


As in, officially done with winter.

The last few months have been a shitstorm of miserable weather, and combined with the most stressful part of my work year and zero vacation, I'm gonna go ahead and tell winter to blow it out it's ass, pun intended.

March can't come soon enough, and even though it will still be cold and grey for a while yet, the psychological lift is very welcome 'round these parts.
"There is no such thing as small change."

February 21, 2015

Television I Don't Watch

Consumption of "television" has changed dramatically over the last several years, and not always for the better. I'm aware of a lot of the content  out there, but I watch very little. Here are some lowlights:

Two And A Half Men
This is the Nickelback of TV. I watched once for 5 minutes to see what the hype was, and it was like a hundred tiny knives jabbing me until I flipped channels. Very unfuny, seemed forced, and that old timey 3 camera studio audience production style just...bugs me. (PS - wasn't a fan of Seinfeld either)

Reality shows
Cookie-cutter scripted piles of horse shit mainly featuring self-absorbed douchebags, appealing to the gaping maw who get off on watching train-wrecks, faux or otherwise. 

Anything on TLC
Your life is sad enough when you're six hundred pounds. Now you're whoring your gelatinous ass out under the pretense that you'll be the next Wookie..er, no..a Wookie is from Star Wars..Snooki..i meant Snooki.  People watch this tripe because it makes them feel better, saying "well sure I'm fat but at least I'm not as fat as that guy!"

Television: Expanding minds since the 1950's

Aside from hockey, I've never really watched a single program on this network. I wish I could because I'd love to support Canadian content, but whether it's Rick Mercer or 22 minutes, it just ain't my cup of tea. Oh wait, I did watch The Friendly Giant on CBC when I was six.

Renovation, House Hunting and Cooking Competition based shows
Similar to the issues I have with reality tv, but  I don't need to be reminded that I'm about as handy as Rob Ford was a model mayor. I don't mind shows that tour actual restaurants like Diners, Drive Ins and Dives because these are authentic joints, but I can do without the cartoon-character hosts.

Do share some of your favourites..or not so favourites. Maybe on a future post I'll write about the programs I do watch, but that entry will be very short.

February 19, 2015

Hobo Guantlet Radio - Episode 6

Episode 6 features another eclectic mix of music ranging from Lemon Jelly to Propaganda, The Propellerheads to Tones on Tail, Cocteau Twins, The Pogues and a very special Hobo Gauntlet remix of a tune from Airborne Toxic Event. We'll also check in to see what the world of Science has in store for us, and as per Clefto's suggestion, I'll spin a guilty pleasure track. 

Thanks to Carson and the fine folks at Pacific Junction Hotel in downtown Toronto, you can stream or download all episodes of Hobo Gauntlet Radio at GirthRadio.com

February 15, 2015


Leaving out my so-called "professional" worklife, here is a list of jobs I've had. I've also included some positives and negatives of each.

  • + Free hot dog and coke at 9th hole
  • - Lining up along a wall at 6am to get selected by old white guys...you know..like a slave auction

  • + Little kid allowed to swing axe at stuff - what's not to like?
  • - The pay was an ice cream cone 

Newspaper delivery boy
  • + Independence
  • - 5am wake up to start prepping papers / collecting - some pricks would dodge paying by saying they didn't receive their paper

 McDonald's - Quarter Pounder grill
  • + Made my own (free) big macs with 4 or 5 patties and a hundred pickles on it
  • - You are coated by grease and smell like meat... all the time.
  • Bonus fact! I once had to dress up as The Professor character and along with others like  Grimace and Mayor McCheese, I was sent outside to greet kids, none of whom had ever heard of The Professor character

Coat check at Royal York Hotel
  • + Easiest fucking money ever
  • - 8am Saturday morning shifts after Friday night fraternity parties
  • Bonus fact! One older guy who worked there wanted me to "date" his wife

Security Guard
  • + Look tough in uniform
  • - Was told once to go look for a crazy hobo who was somewhere on the 10th floor of a darkened office building...who was armed with an 8 inch screwdriver

Private Investigator
  •  +Lived at a hotel in Ottawa for a summer, fantastic dough, killed many
  • - If people knew who I really was, could have been killed...by many

Retail sampler
  • +Met lots of chicks
  • - Standing all the time, pretending to give a shit about the product

Pizza delivery
  • +Free pies
  • -Giant risk of being shanked delivering to rathole apartment buildings

  • +Working outside in the summer
  • - Hard bloody work...outside..in the summer

What were yours?

February 14, 2015

Be My Valentine - Part 2

Peppered throughout my day yesterday I saw the end result of the collective male effort towards "le jour d'amour".  The eaton centre was full of teens as usual and since most 17 year old boys are broke, I saw a whole lot of young girls carrying a single sad rose. But, they still held it prominently upward. At my workplace, I saw a delivery guy bring in the most obscene flower display. As he was giving it to security, other women around oohed and awwed and wondered who it was for, trying to sneak a look at the recipient's name. That, in a nutshell, is valentine's day. It's all about the optics. Women producing physical evidence to other women that you are not some ratty old-maid.

But more importantly, part 2 of Be My Valentine is about my date with not one, but two men. See, originally, it was going to just be the 2 of us but that wasn't on because homophobia. We wrangled our friend to join us, and we met at the Keg Mansion bar for a beer. Shortly thereafter our vibrating ring went off indicating our table was ready. About 45 minutes later I pulled it out from the front of my pants and we walked downstairs.

My steak shortly before it arrived at my plate.
The hostess walked us into the main dining room and as we got closer to the table she had in mind,  my spidey senses began to tingle. Right beside us was a huge table of about 15 people, half of whom were toddlers. They too were recently seated and the children were already twitchy, so I politely declined, asking nicely "is there something else?".

We were taken to my favourite part of the Mansion. It's on the ground floor in the back, in a cozy area that looks like a little hidden library. So, we had some delish apps, talked about the terrifying state of the industry we work in, consumed fantastic wine and gorged on New York striploin.  Afterwards, a couple of nightcaps at my friend's house and the evening was complete.

Nobody made out with anyone, but I can't think of too many better ways to spend a frigid Thursday night in February.

February 11, 2015

Be My Valentine - Part 1

There are two Hallmark holidays in the year that I still actively participate in, but the one that falls on February 14th is not one of them. There was a very strange kid from my grade 6 class who would call it "valemtine's day". That same kid always had a ton of dandruff, which I thought was very adult of her for some reason, but I digress. Christmas no longer has the charm it once had for me, but there are still great memories associated with getting together so we still engage in those activities. The other is my absolute fave - Halloween.

I don't think many people would argue that the silliness around February 14th is a farce. A sham. A cash grab. This is why I'm having Valentine's Day dinner with a man, and possibly two. See, my lovely wife and I did a favour for a friend and minded his feline while he was away. As thanks he offered to take us to the Keg Mansion, a fantastic old Toronto house that now exists as a pretty decent steakhouse.  A week or so back the date was set for this Thursday, with none of us realizing the proximity to Valentine's day...which tells you a lot about what my wife and I really think about Valentine's day. But my wife is a busy bee (which is one of the things I love about her) so she cannot attend. But that's not the issue. The issue will be the potential madness of going to a restaurant Thursday night when a zillion emasculated men and their significant others will also be there, ready to present a teddy bear holding a heart. Now don't get me wrong. If this day on the calendar is something that a couple chooses to be important to them, so be it. It's as important to them as it's irrelevant to me.

So, I will report back after my Valentine's dinner date with 1, or 2 men. It's sooo exciting! I think i'll wear that little black dress...

February 10, 2015

Shank Bait

By now you're probably familiar with the term "clickbait".  These are essentially paid online ads that look like standard editorial articles, usually appearing at the bottom of 'net versions of newsapers and magazines. Some people inherently trust these since they appear on so-called reputable publications. As a result you're often tempted to click, given lucrative titles like "top 10 botched pet plastic surgeries" or "celebrities who eat play doh".

Recently I came across some bait myself, but not the online variety. 

Waiting for a streetcar the other day, all was relatively calm when all of the sudden all I heard was a blast of shrill children's christian music. Everyone around jumped, and looking behind me towards the sound, I see what I'm dealing with. Yes friends, it's yet another douchebag du jour.
I'm embarrassed we're from the same continent.

The dude is about 25 and he's got wires sticking out from his coat, which clearly are feeding into sizeable pocket speakers of some type. Either that or he's got a bomb. On his baseball cap in a gigantic font is the text JESUS SAVES. On his sweatshirt is some other ostentatious religious rhetoric. As the four or five people standing around look at him, he just glances back with a look in his eyes that tells you he knows exactly what he's doing.  But as people start to look away, I do not, and my cut eye lingers just long enough for this ass clown to notice.

Fast forward a few minutes to the arrival of the streetcar. The crowd approaches the front door and strategically, he shuts off the music. He then proceeds to put up his arm to hold the men back in a phony-ass attempt to suggest he's a nice fella - you know, doing God's work and controlling the crowd to allow women on the streetcar first. With this I give him another look, and he knows for sure now I'm onto him. Of course, by this point my irish blood is getting up, and fast. But, I make a split second decision  to let it go. Be the leaf in the stream, I try to tell myself. Be the leaf in the stream.

Onto the vehicle everyone gets. He and most others move towards the back, but I do not, as I sense what's coming next - I need to pro actively remove myself from this fool's perimeter. As I pay my fare, I say to the driver that he needs to stay alert as this guy may be trouble. Promptly ignored, I stand near the front and keep to myself. You can probably guess what comes next.

Now in a contained environment, the music is turned back on and the entire population of that streetcar flinches, startled. People start moving away from him - they too sense he's an asshole, and as they do, he says "sorry maam that you are not a fan of jesus's music".  I'll go on record to say that Jesus' taste in music is awful, because this horrific cacophany was nothing but a high-pitched chorus of kids singing trite verses about playing in God's land of love and plenty at a very high volume, in a shared, public environment. And by the way, let's be clear. People are free to believe in whatever the hell they want - that's their perogative. But, using religion as a thinly-veiled shield to be a dickhead is a different thing altogether.

So, the aural assault goes on. I continue to take the high road and don't confront the guy, because that's exactly what he wants. I turn to the driver and ask him if he is going to call the cops to deal with this. He just looks at me, and then looks away.

I believe in karma as much as I believe in unicorns, but if it does exist it needs to step up and give this gentleman a wake up call. Otherwise, sooner or later someone in the flesh and blood surely will, and it could get very ugly.

February 6, 2015

February 1, 2015

I'm An Adult Now

I try not to make a habit of it, but once in a while, I take part in some adult activities.

In a similar mode, years ago I went to a dinner party. I don't really understand dinner parties.  It was the first, and it will most certainly be the last. There was a guy wearing a tweed jacket and a tie. A woman was going on and on about her involvement in the PTA. Some other fella blatantly criticized the company I worked for by saying "your stock is dog-shit".

Last night however was time for another one of those nights. My lovely wife and I were invited to a neighbour's house for, and I quote: "drinks and nibblies".  I do appreciate the invitation, I really do. The folks invited were all intelligent, conscientous people and are generally trying to make the world a better place, starting with their own neighbourhood. That's nice. But, most importantly, they only live a few doors down so it's really fucking close.

We needed to prepare ourselves though. And when I say prepare ourselves, I mean cocktails. After all, a little pre-event lubrication goes a long way when contemplating the range of topics to come. Flash forward to 7:15 and the party is in full swing..literally. See, it turns out we've been invited to a swinger's party. When we walk in, our eyes will never unsee the horror of 7 people in their late sixties buck naked in a writhing ball of viagra-fuelled passion.
I thought it would be funny to bring a jello mould...laced with cocaine.

Well no that's not what happened, but the thought did cross our mind while having the cocktails earlier. Fortunately everyone at the get together had clothes on, with the one exception being the dog. There was, of course, that awkward moment when the dog should have been wearing pants. Awkward for everyone, that is, except the dog and I . The dog was like "yo what's up, check out my junk", and I thought it was bananas funny.  

 So, the wine flowed and the conversations ranged from the Harper government to the education system to the re-development of a nearby neighbourhood. There was a lawyer who was surprisingly not a douchebag. A university accounting professor who looked exactly like a university accounting professor. A retired english teacher who made me nervous about whether or not I was conjugating my verbs properly. A software developer who said life was really one giant algorithm.

So overall, I must admit that it went better than expected. I think that what it came down to was that these people were neither self-absorbed nor pretentious posers.

But, I'm still not ready to grow up.