June 30, 2015

WTF happened to service?

Car windshield replacement
Call auto centre. Man gets angry. Says windshield place is next door. Sounds very upset with me and barks phone number at me. As I say thank you, I hear the phone slamming down.

Like the Honey Badger, Grover doesn't give a shit.

Patio door screen replacement
Home Hardware positions itself as friendly local store with good service compared to big box stores. So, I drop screen door at Home Hardware 9am Saturday morning. Man says he doesn't know when it will be ready. Says I will be called. I call late Monday afternoon to enquire about status. Man tells me screen repair man only comes on Fridays. I ask man why other man didn't tell me that, otherwise I would have went somewhere with faster service. Man says he doesn't know. I say to man - "ok so I can pick up my door end of day this Friday?"  Man says he doesn't know. Someone will call me. But if he comes Fridays, why can't I have it Friday? Man says screen repair man's wife died two weeks ago - doesn't know if he's still repairing screen doors. Solution - go to big box store.

June 26, 2015

Nice try Entertainment Industry

Out of the last 4 units of media entertainment I've consumed, I couldn't get through 3, and only remained in 1 due to being held emotional hostage.
The Purge 2: I didn't mind the first one. The sequel began smart enough and built onto an already creepy premise, but it soon spiralled into a hot mess of Mad Max fused with a zombie film.
Jurassic World: I wrote a post on my blog about this. Ninety-eight percent of the big scenes were in the seventy-five trailers you could not unsee anywhere. Characters were 1 dimensional and I 
actually said out loud "oh jesus come on!" during a particularly nauseating scene. See, we all grew up with this film so we're held hostage emotionally.  Slap the word Jurassic on a movie about donkey piss and we'll go see it.
Kingsman: Secret Service - I like Colin Firth - he had the early Michael Caine thing going on, but this turned into The Matrix, and I hate the fucking Matrix.
True Detective, S2,Ep1: Tried hard to be cerebral but was not cerebral. Just confusing. Can't get past the guy from DodgeBall attempting dramatic acting.
On a related note, if you watch Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, and then watch You Gotta Eat Here, you'll realize the producers of the latter have raped and pillaged the producers of the former. The only difference is you have an obnoxious American frat boy with a bit of charm in one, and a nerdy but polite Canadian with a bit of charm in the other.

June 22, 2015

Thank You Mr Ass Face

If you think the subject line sounds harsh, trust me, my first version was harsher. But more importantly, I want to thank Mr Ass Face for crystalizing something for me.

See, over the years I've had sporadic DJ gigs. I've spun at parties, weddings and bars. Mostly they've been personal parties where I play exactly what I want, for friends that I know who appreciate a similar vibe.  But in some instances, there are paid gigs I've had where you play exactly what you don't want, and that's fine of course. It's part of the business.

This weekend I had one of those gigs. It was at a bar in Pickering, a Toronto suburb, so that alone might tell you something. I was told the people who frequent the joint are folks in their 40's and 50's - the standard wasp types - so some mainstream party music from the 70's forward.

Upon arrival, there are only about 12 people in the bar. Upon setup, that number has dropped to about 6, including the owner who was clearly tipsy. This, my friends, does not bode well, and those numbers do not constitute critical mass for a party to break out.  But, whatever, the show must go on, so I start spinning and although not a dancing kind of evening, the people there are listening and I can tell they're into the music.

About 11pm four or five younger people show up - I'm guessing early 20's. They are in more of a dancing mood and they've added some spark. See this is part of what a DJ is paid to do. Go with the flow and create a party. Otherwise, you might as well just put on a jukebox.

A girl approaches me and asks for some Nicki Minaj, of which of course I don't have - remember, I prepared for a different type of audience. However, in that instance what a good DJ does is try to play something at least similar. Maybe that will get people dancing and get a party going. But in this instance, I decided to go one step further. Got on my laptop, downloaded Minaj on the spot, burned a CD and spun the exact tune she wanted.

It worked. Her and a couple of friends started dancing, so I played a couple of more similar, relatively modern hip hop songs to keep things going. It was 50 cent's In Da Club and some other shite I don't like personally, but it wasn't about me. Slowly, a vibe was building.

A few minutes later, the owner walks up to me and says, and I paraphrase. "You know what - this isn't a fucking nightclub. I don't like this fucking music, I don't like the language and I don't want this fucking garbage in my bar". He added a few more words that started with the letter N, so I'll leave that to your imagination.  I thought he was joking. He was not.

At the end of the day, he's the boss. Even though I'm doing my job as a professional by going with the flow to get a party going, it's his bar. For some bizarre reason (and I think alchohol played a factor), he figured that me playing a few hip hop songs meant that his bar was now labelled a gangsta-filled nightclub. Even when 98% of the music I've played has been exactly what's been asked, but instead, he focused on 10 minutes of hip hop.

As I said though, it's his joint. More than anything, it was his aggressive tone and language that really, really pissed me off.  He was incredibly rude and I didn't like it one bit. But, I still hadn't got paid, so I took the high road. "Ok no problem",  I say. "But just so you know, these were requested by the people who came in and wanted to dance, and they danced."

It was at that moment that things became crystal clear. I'll never ever DJ again at a venue that is not my style of music, my crowd,my vibe. It's simply not worth it. On top of that, I was set up to fail since this guy asked me to DJ when there was virtually zero chance of a successful night when 6 people are in the bar.  So, I'm sure you'll never know it Mr Ass Face, but thank you for helping me to have this epiphany.

The upshot? Never again will Kool and The Gang be heard when this DJ is at the helm.

June 15, 2015

Dick The Birthday Boy

Of Spoilers and Surround Sound

It's funny how you see tv show and movie reviews online prefaced by "spoiler alert" to warn readers not to go further if they haven't seen the show or movie.

In the case of Jurassic World, those types of warnings are absolutely unnecessary, because the massive marketing campaign has already done all the spoiling.

I stupidly attended a screening of the film yesterday. Stupid because it was rammed, and despite the promo telling people to shut the hell up during the movie, people still talked. Instead of those fantastic 5:1 movie theatre speaker systems, I got the 8:1 sound. The only audio I want to hear behind me are raptors creeping  through the bushes, not various comments from the ass hats all around me in the auditorium. If you're one of those people, just shut the hell up already.

But my bigger beef is with the fact that we are inundated with trailers weeks before the opening, which I understand is typically necessary to maximize opening weekends. I also understand that nobody forces me to watch them (although that can be tricky if you're caught off guard). But in the case of Jurassic World, it was like going to a huge thanksgiving dinner, where the appetizer was turkey and mashed potatoes. In a nuthsell, I had seen 98% of the movie  before I went to the theatre yesterday.

Hey Hollywood, if you slap "jurassic" on anything, a zillion people will go see it anyway, so maybe surprise me once in a while, and leave a little more for the actual movie ...will ya?

June 9, 2015

Now With Extra Cancer!

I Smell Like A Girl

One of these days in the distant or not so distant future, this planet will succumb to some catastrophic event, whether it be an asteroid or some other natural cause. This is why it's critical that the sharpest minds on earth start planning for future generations, who will eventually need to get out of Dodge.

In the meantime, the majority of us scuffle about living our lives in relative comfort. Global poverty is on the decline, and if you're fortunate enough to live in a country like Canada, most of life's basics are guaranteed to let you sail fairly comfortably.

This of course sounds great in theory, but the downside is that it has made us, as a species, very soft. Tom Hanks and his volleyball lasted 4 years on that island. I honestly don't know if I would have made it 4 weeks. Similarly, over the last few days I've experienced horrors worse than Nazi Germany.

If you have the ability to organize your survival gear and take a lovely
photo like this, chances are you're probably gonna make it.
Read the following at your own peril, but frankly, all you really need to read is the final sentence. So, it was my mom's birthday Sunday so I spent the night at her house. My plan was to leave very early the next morning because I had to drop my car off at the dealership for some basic maintenance ahead of a 4 hour drive we're taking later this week. However, on Monday morning, Murphy being the prick that he is, there was a complete shut down of the transit system, adding additional chaos to the commute that morning, delaying my ability to get to the dealership. Shortly after the shuttle service dropped me back at work, I got the call from the dealership saying that they'd need to keep the car overnight - the delay in getting things going that day meant the parts wouldn't be in until the next day. So, it was late Monday night when I realized that I didn't have some basic items that I needed. See, since I figured I'd have my car, I had left my overnight bag in the trunk, which included simple but critical items like a toothbrush, clothes, deodorant and a small handgun.

Exhausted yet?

As mentioned, I didn't connect the dots on all this until I got home late last night, which left me with few choices for preparing for sleep and going to work this morning. Sure I could have used my wife's toothbrush - after all - we're practically married. But I thought that would be impolite so I brushed my teeth with a pretzel. When it came to deodorant, it was a toss up between Lemon Pledge and some dandelions in our yard. But in the end I used something I found in the cupboard called Nature's Breath, or maybe it was Lady Of The Night. Either way, today I smell like a girl.

So, my point is how frazzled one becomes when a couple of basic things are taken out of the equation. Add a few unforeseen circumstances into the mix and we all might as well slowly walk into a lake. There's a great line in a Chevy Chase movie, Funny Farm, and I'm paraphrasing here, but Chase chastizes his wife because their furniture from their move hasn't arrived yet. He says "come on honey - 100 years ago the Settlers handled things easily enough. If they can do it, so can we."

"The settlers,", she replies, "lived to an average age of 35."

June 4, 2015

An Open Letter To Jack

Driving to work yesterday, I had a fun little interaction with a prick on wheels. The two wheeled variety. Let's call him by name. Let's go with Jack. Jack Ass.

See, Jack Ass incorrectly concluded that I had violated his asphalt real estate while driving by him, so Jack decided to spit on my car, which is when I decided to pull over and confront Jack.

Jack immediately pulls out a phone to film the entire incident, repeatedly citing "you can't split the lane, you can't split the lane." And you know what else you can't do? Spit on someone's car without expecting that someone's blood to get up.

Jack, I'm not a religious man, but I advise you to count your blessings. You seem like the antagonizing type who's done this sort of thing before, so it's only a matter of time before you come across a person who is just a little more volatile than me, and in the heat of the moment, between your bicyle and a vehicle, you will lose. Oh sure you could take legal action and would probably win some kind of cash settlement, which would allow you to spend the rest of your days gloating gleefully while sitting comfortably in your very expensive wheelchair.

June 2, 2015

Anyone Can DJ

As you're fully aware, Monday nights are clearly the biggest party nights in the city yes?

That's why I was happy to host the launch of Anyone Can DJ last night at Toronto's Pacific Junction Hotel. PJH, known affectionately as The Donkey, was rockin' for the inaugral event where anyone...umm..can dj. It's really quite simple. Think of it as karaoke...only way cooler.

Interested? Email carson@girthradio.com to book a slot.