March 31, 2015

That One Time I Watched Martha Stewart

The comedic roast of Justin Bieber may be too little too late for his career, but it's definitely the right thing to do. Can't beat 'em? Join 'em! Laugh at yourself and there's a sliver of a chance you'll earn back some respectability, albeit through the back door. One of the pioneers of this self-deprecating approach of course was William Shatner, who embraced his inner Captain Kirk- he realized that laughing along with the rest of us takes the sting out of it. It's also an excellent strategy if you've ever been the butt of a joke amongst friends. Since Shatner, David Hasselhoff has followed in his footsteps, as has Jean Claude Van Damme. Sylvester Stallone should probably do the same, and Arnie sort of does it.  

This guy was huge in '83. He's now District Manager at Denny's.
So it's a good strategy for Bieber. His original fans are now in their late 40's and today's 10 year-old girls are into something else..would that be One Direction? Frankly I haven't a clue but I've got a few suggestions for the name of the next cheesy pop act..these just roll off the tongue:

  • Instant And The Miraculous Spider
  • Silky Tambourine
  • Icicle Chaps Collaboration
  • Seven Fantastic
But I digress. During the Bieber roast, the hilight had to be Martha Stewart's bit - it was absolutely perfect, where she was actually making fun more of herself and those pristine lily white sensibilities. Surrounded by black comedians, hip hop megastars and celebrities, Stewart was given a giant golden Wonka ticket by guys like Snoop Dogg , Hannibal Buress, Kevin Hart and Shaq, where she was essentially allowed to use the N-word in a joke..and it worked. 

So, Bieber's time at the top of the charts might be over, not that I'm feeling too much sympathy for the guy as he's a mega millionaire. Today while listening to radio commentator Richard Crouse, it's been reported that George Clooney apparently made an interesting observation about stardom. He said that you often become frozen in time at the age you become a celebrity. Clooney was 34 when he was recognized as a bona fide star, so it was much easier to handle. Bieber on the other hand, was 12. 

March 27, 2015

Supermarket or Church?

Planes, Jays and Automobiles

1.The prevailing aircraft cockpit door policies among most airlines are a result of 9/11..therefore, the terrorists have won again no?

2. Maybe i'm over-thinking, or I'm a pervert, but don't tell me there's not one single mind at Rogers who considered that perhaps an element of the Jays' new social media efforts is inappropriate. It's a hashtag. Namely "#come together".

3. I was walking yesterday and got stopped by a film crew as they were shooting a scene taking place in a parked car. A dozen people with headsets stood around silently, blocking me from walking through the shot. I was told they'd let me through in 30 seconds. Four minutes later i said to some P.A. chimp..come on man..i gotta go. He whispered into his headset and shook his head, but then a more senior P.A chimp approached me and said she'd walk me through, but I'd have to remain quiet since they were in the midst of shooting a scene. I promised to do so but as I walked by the parked car I yelled "you're all a bunch a fuckin' slaves!".

That last part never happened but I wish it did. 

March 24, 2015

Just Follow The Rats

Whenever I take the ferry boat across Toronto harbour to Centre Island, I wonder about a few things.

First, I think about how long I'll actually be on the island until I've become utterly bored and realize I'm trapped, leading to the drudgery of waiting for the ferry back to the city. My university used to have island parties there as part of frosh week, and one time I fell asleep beneath a tree away from the festivities. I'd like to make it clear it had nothing to do with a breakfast smorgasbord of syrupy Durango Coolers at 8:30am (side note: my life is complete..I've finally used smorgasboard in a sentence).

Upon regaining consciousness, the party had ended and it was nearly nighttime, and I was this close to being forced to swim back to Toronto. Another way of saying that is I was this close to dying while trying to swim back to Toronto.

Another thing I think about while on the ferry?  Should the vessel begin to take on water and we are proceeding to sink, given this dire survival situation which passenger should I eat first? Oh sure, we're pretty close to shore in either direction and there would certainly be emergency personnel on the scene quickly, but it's still important to isolate and target where your next meal may have to come from. Watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom as a child has helped me in that regard, even though all those scenes were completely fucking staged.

That's me near the middle in the blue hat.
Ahead of resorting to dining on Karl and Mildred from Oakville however, I've heard that on large sinking ships in the past, one just has to follow the rats since they'll instinctively know in which direction to scurry to relative safety on the lower decks.

This theory appears to have some practical applications in everyday life too. I've mentioned this on this blog previously, but last summer I was in Dublin, and I really didn't like the idea of going on a traditional tour, yet I was interested in seeing some of the cool spots around town. So, I rented a bike and simply followed the unending stream of doubledecker tour buses. They go on a huge loop around the city, so if I got too far behind one and wasn't sure which way to go, I'd just wait for another. I could also stop and take in the scenery or take a break wherever I wanted.

Similarly this morning driving to work, The Man On The Radio Box said that there was a major traffic jam on my regular route - the northbound DVP - resulting from a couple of accidents. Heading eastbound on Dundas I confirmed this visually as I passed over the parkway. However, just ahead of me I noticed a taxi who was also considering the DVP, but then he quickly dodged left and right and left through a series of streets I didn't know existed. Next thing I know I'm on Broadview near the Danforth bypassing the terribleness to my left. I laughed and laughed and whistled a merry tune as I pulled into my workplace a full 5 minutes quicker than it usually takes me.

It put me in a fantastic mood since I was fully expecting an awful commute, and as I cheerfully ordered my coffee from the local Tim Horton's, I was extra pleasant to the staff members I encountered, and wondered who I should eat first.

March 23, 2015


Truth be told I've been somewhat negligent in writing much lately.

That's because I've been in prison.

Well no, although I recently watched a show about this horrific penitentiary in Siberia - yes - actual Siberia, where they stick Russia's most know, cannibals, serial killers and  any member of a Russian hockey team who's lost an international gold medal game. I think it would actually be kind of fun to visit this joint. Just let everyone out of their cages into one big gen pop room and fuel everyone up with the hardest vodka you can find. Who knows - just put a few hundred maniacs together and maybe they'd come up with something great. And just for shits and giggles, I'd lower a prostititute into the room on a platform like they did with that goat in Jurassic Park..let nature take its course.

Anyway I digress. The point is that I haven't written much lately because I've been laptopless. Mine has slithered off this mortal coil, and I must admit, it's been strange which illustrates just how much we've become addicted to the interwebs and such. And speaking of addiction, the downfall of my laptop can be directly linked to that online game I've played for the last year or so, Tanki Online. Several months ago I got annoyed playing it and closed the cover of the computer a little too aggressively, which jarred the latch mechanism, eventually leading to the wiring getting screwed up, leaving the keys useless.

The good news (or bad, depending on your perspective) is that I've ordered a new laptop and it will arrive shortly. This way I can resume regular contributions to the blog along with producing new episodes of Hobo Gauntlet Radio.

Until then, I'll just remind you sons of bitches who talk on cell phones while in a lineup at Tim Horton's that the world doesn't revolve around you, and holding up 9 other people behind you at 8:45am on a Monday makes you a prime candidate for a public shaming at best, and a moderately poisonous blow dart to the neck at worst. Smarten the fuck up.

March 17, 2015

I'm Afraid Of Americans

We're all familiar with the image of the stereotypical American. Loud, obnoxious, parochial.

Recently while waiting for my lovely wife at a local public house for our end of week Friday evening cocktail, I was sitting at the bar when a gentleman saddled up beside me. I would recognize a few of the so-called regulars at this establishment, but this guy was unfamiliar.

At about 6'5 he was (and I presume still is) very tall, about 60 years old and had a definite hippie look about him, given his relatively long hair and beard. Within a few moments of sitting down, he asked me how close we were to "the arena the Raptors played in". After scolding him and telling him "'s not an's a Centre..a Centre", I indicated that it was about a 10 minute cab ride.

This was a clear invitation to the dance. Not literally of course, but when you sit at the bar in a pub, it's expected that strangers may strike up conversations. Based on his question above, I correctly surmised he was from out of town. But there was something just a little bit different about this visitor.

Mike indicated that he lives in Cleveland and was visiting Toronto for no particular reason at all. He said that in a previous life he was "in the derivatives game".  I know as much about derivatives as I know about blogging, but the gist was that he was pushed out of the stock market business for some reason or another several years back -given that industry's history, who knows what nefarious activities he might have been involved in.  Regardless, he apparently did quite well and was now retired. He had never been to Toronto and on this journey, aside from stopping in Michigan for some antique furniture, he just decided to come check out Hogtown.

Not surprisingly, Mike looked exactly like this guy.
What was refreshing about Mike was that he was atypical of the American stereotype. He was relatively quiet, unassuming and not at all boastful. As one should do in polite conversation, we asked each other about our respective cities, although he was originally from Connecticut. We avoided talking about religion or politics, but I knew that even though Mike was a generation or so ahead of me, we'd likely see things along the same lines.

Before we made our way home, both my wife and I gave Mike the scoop on some of the best spots to check out while he was in Toronto. As we parted company, we said our goodbyes and he gave us a card with his phone number and address, indicating that if we were ever in his neck of the woods, call him up. He'd show us around and take us both out on his sailboat.

All in all, a pleasantly surprising chance meeting with one of our American cousins, but in reality, I know I'll never see Mike know..because Cleveland.

March 13, 2015

Why We'll Soon Be Extinct

Disregard my complete impotency with MS Paint which leaves me unable to rotate this image, but you'll get the point.  Pictured is what came with a a box of incense I purchased recently. Yes, those are instructions. Very detailed instructions.

March 8, 2015

Serviced on a Saturday

Not that kind of service you pervert.

Yesterday my lovely wife and I had the day to ourselves completely, so aside from some household chores, it was all about us. Around 1pm I dropped her off at the nearby Eaton Centre for one of those luxuries women don't mind overpaying for - a full service hair appointment. Wash, cut, colour, that sort of thing.

Meanwhile, back at the house I spent a solid two hours doing adult things, and when I say adult things I mean online gaming. I ranked up in Tanki Online and now I'm Captain Donkeyface8. Captain! It was one of those early afternoons where I just wanted to do nothing important ahead of embarking on one of our classic Saturday adventures that we've had to put off for a while due to various reasons, including the horrific weather.

So around 4 I hop on the streetcar and we meet up, making our way north to Toronto's Annex neighbourhood, a fine area I used to live in when in university. It's an eclectic neighbourhood full of shops, restaurants & pubs. Typically we'll stop at one of the few remaining bookshops in town, and on this visit it reminded me that I haven't read a book in about 3 years. Then, a necessary stop for another minor luxury my wife and I both enjoy. Incense. I've always loved it and burn it constantly, usually accompanied by some chill lounge background music and a relaxing candle-lit living room. In fact, we try to immerse ourselves in that sort of environment as much as possible. It's our nightly escape from the harsh world of work, traffic and self-serving jack asses we all have to deal with.

Refreshingly, this is the worst thing 
you'll read about in this post.
This incense purchasing expedition was different though. It was the equivalent of buying a new suit or a wedding dress. As we made our way to the full wall of 100's of varieties, the merchant politely, not aggressively, asked what aroma's or types we like. I wasn't even sure what to tell him, so he provided some categories ranging from heavy to light to flowery to woodsy to earthy and so on. We spent a good twenty minutes sniffing a multitude of styles, and ended up with a wide range, including herb and earth sandalwood, lavender and something called satya aastha. It was a very refreshing,  positive experience and I'd recommend the joint - it's called Piya's Boutique. This guy gave us nearly a 1/2 hour of his time for a sixteen dollar purchase. That's service.

Next up on our adventure, we decided it was beer o'clock, so we had a few familiar options but as we often do, we decided to try out something new. I spotted a place called Furniture Warehouse, billing itself as a "premium dive bar", which is something of an oxymoron, but whatevs. We sat at the bar and I ordered a Sapporo, my wife a special one of a kind Caesar which was quite delicious. It was described as "muddy" and came with 3 giant pieces of pepperoni and dill pickles. Fantastic. We didn't eat, but apparently everything on the menu is only $4.95, which explains why our drinks were slightly over priced.  But, aside from a bit of a douchey hipster bartender (the type who constantly wears toques half off his head, inside or out), it was a fun find.

Then, a quick stop at another Annex favourite: Pauper's. The gent behind the bar was a doppelganger of the ghostly bartender in The Shining. He was well dressed and rather ghoulish. But the service was prompt, the beer cold.  To wrap the evening, we arrived at our final stop - dinner at Southern Accent. I love this restaurant. It's cozy and eccentric with a menu of Cajun comfort food. I made a reso in advance, requesting a quiet corner, and they did not disappoint. We started with zesty piquant shrimp with little cornbread thingy's, and then the mains. My wife had Dauphine Street Cracker Catfish, and I the Jambalaya. The food was exquisite, and the service top shelf.

Here on Hobo Gauntlet, I often write about terrible experiences and selfish people, so it was nice..real nice, to be free of any of those situations on this Saturday in early March.

It was lovely being serviced on a Saturday. We missed it, and will visit again very soon.

March 6, 2015

A New Record

In the latest iteration of Tim Horton's Roll Up The Rim campaign, I have set an astounding new personal record. Of the approximately ten or so cups of coffee I've purchased, I've won an item four times, which is unprecedented. But that's not the record. That distinction lies with the fact that, of the four little winning tabs I've torn off the cups, I've lost every single one of them.

The cynic in me suggests that Tim Horton's feel my winning percentage is unacceptable and has snuck into my pants to retrieve said tabs, likely doing so under my desk while I'm at work. Which of course leads to the obvious lesson - never wear pants.