Friday, April 30, 2010

An Exclusive Interview with the Office Scanner

I've been mentioning the scanner, I use at the office, quite frequently in my recent blog posts. My time with it has been my excuse for some rather short and inconsequential posts. I thought, since it has been given so many mentions, it is only fitting that I should properly introduce it. Tonight, I am going to reveal the first ever exclusive interview with the scanner that I use at work.

Me: Hello Mr. Scanner, is it okay if I call you that?

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Oh wow, I never knew you were a girl. I am so sorry.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Listen, I said I'm sorry. How was I supposed to know? You look like all the other scanners in the office.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Woah, you don't need to get so feisty. I usually can't tell the genders of dogs either, unless I look underneath them.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: No, that isn't one of my hobbies.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: I am not sure I like the direction this interview is going.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Hey, I said that I was sorry, okay.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Alright, so let's start over. How long have you been 'employed' at the office?

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: What? Really?

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: No, I have no idea if the photocopier is interested in you.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: I am not saying you aren't good enough for the photocopier. I don't even know the photocopier. Is the photocopier even a guy?

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: I am not saying that it does matter. I was just wondering.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Yeah, I think this interview may have been a bad idea.

Scanner: BeeeeeeRrrrrr Zzzzztttt Naaaaa Vrrrrmmmm

Me: Yeah, I probably should stop only getting 5 hours of sleep a night. I'll go remedy that now.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy 80th Nancy Drew

I am a day late, since Nancy Drew was published into existence on April 28th(1930). Of course, I am sure the actual idea of her existed long before that, so even that date wouldn't be her official 'birth.' I am pretty sure I never read a Nancy Drew book, and I was never even a huge fan of her male equivilents, the Hardy Boys. I can not deny the effecft she had on popular culture in North America. I know for a fact, that my mom owned several books from the series, and she was a major fan of hers. She would tell me parts of her faovurite Nancy Drew stories, when I was a mere little boy.

I really think that is the biggest contribution the character Nancy Drew provided. She was a strong female role model, during a time when most ficitonal females were either femme fatales or damsels in distress. She was a character of action and was highly intelligent. She didn't need men to help her foil the bad guys' plots. I am not saying she was the first strong female fiction character, because that would be a massive lie, but she was a strong female character during a chauvinistic age (it is more impressive considering her creator wasn't antyhing resembling a feminist -- for one, it was a guy). Nancy Drew would be a great symbol for what females were capable of and a ficitonal icon for the feminist movement.

Plus it was an action/mystery series for girls. I am positive that would have been a very rare thing back then. No shot against novels like "Little House on the Prairie", but those type of books were what was deemed all girls liked. As my mom proved as a little girl, some wanted action and adventure just like the boys had in their stories. Nancy Drew proved that there was a definite market for it, thus really varied the female literary options.

Even though I know very little about Nancy Drew, I can appreciate her place in pop culture and literary history. So, Happy Belated Birthday to you Nancy. You have had a good and impactful run.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Immediate Dreams and Goals After My 12 Hour Work Day. . .



But of course, I'll find a way to procrastinate from doing even that seemingly simple task.

Right now for example, I am not sleeping. You'd think if it was my lone goal for the remaining portions of my evening, that I'd quickly jump into my pajamas and slither into my oh-so-comfy bed. Yet I have not.

I will.

But I have not.

Oh sleep, we will be reunited very soon. Just not this exact moment. The internet has too many bright and shiny images to distract me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Don't Quit Your Day Job

When I am not spending intimate time with the scanner, or actually doing things with my family, or partaking in actual writing, or procrastinating from actual writing, then I am usually trying to peruse as many websites about writing as possible in my attempt to pretend to know what I am doing (it's fun to impersonate a writer at parties, you should try it). This is either websites/blogs written by professional writers, or websites with several job postings or a site designed to be a complete resource for new or veteran writers (Yes, I specifically posted these particular links to help out those wanting to find such sites); in my internet travels, I've quickly learned there is a vast amount of resources and advice for the wannabe career writer. As someone who would consider themselves at the very beginning of the starting point (meaning, I am miles away from even considering myself at a legitimate launching point), I think most of the advice seems to be very helpful. It would appear that most writers desire to help out their fellow person (especially the fledgling variety). The advice is often a mix of optimistic and critical, because it offers the hope of actually making a true career but also makes it clear it is extremely hard work to make an actual living.

I've also found advice that is outright harmful and destructive, and in some ways, completely unprofessional for a career freelance writer to give. This advice would be for the starting, wannabe writer to quit their 'day job'. I want to make it clear, that most freelance writers discourage a starting up writer to do such a thing, because dreams and hope tend to be a really poor way to pay for one's mortgage and groceries (and if you have a bank that accepts dreams in lieu of money then please refer me to this magical place because then, I need to rework my own mortgage). I could not imagine why any professional, free lance writer (or really any freelancer) would suggest to someone to quit a secure and decent paying job in order to begin a very insecure career in freelancing. As any regular reader knows, my biggest dream and goal is to become a full time freelancer, but I couldn't even fathom the idea of abandoning my current full time paying job in order to pursue it at this point (mainly because Emily has a really strong throwing arm and there is a lot of sharp objects in our kitchen). It is misleading and actually cruel for a professional freelancer to suggest one of the first steps for a beginning writer should be to abandon the security of a job.

I can see the reason for the advice and even why it seems appealing. If you throw away that soul sucking day job, then you now have way more time to write. Here is the scary thing, once you jump into a life of full time writing then it now has become your job. Which means you're expected to do a lot more than scribble a few words for an hour. Instead, you now have to be able to write from anywhere to 8 to 12 hours a day (as well, as likely do similar hours on weekends). What if after a few days, the hopeful writer now recognizes it isn't really all that much fun writing all day by yourself in your stuff home office (though, the person still likes the perks being able to wear their pink bunny slippers all day). Or maybe the person does realize they like to do nothing but compose an arrangement of words and phrases on their computer, but they still have other problems to worry about. First of all, maybe what they like to write isn't what anyone is looking for. The funny things about paid writing is, publishers, magazines, business and websites won't just pay for any pretty assortment of sentences. They are usually looking for a very specific things, which means if one wants to get paid then they need to write that specific thing. Maybe one will get lucky and they will find someone who is willing to pay for their article or prose or pieces of writing that reflect their own preferences. In all likelihood, if you want to make a a decent living as a writer then it is almost guaranteed you will sometimes have to write things that don't interest you(unless your name happens to John Grisham or Stephen King -- which if it is, not sure why you would want advice from a guy who only hopes to have a career as a writer). The reality is, to make a living as a writer means you aren't writing for yourself but rather, you're writing for your clients. Of course speaking of clients, if you are a starting out writer then that means you're probably spending over half your day actually trying to find clients. Even if you find clients, if you are a starting out writer then you probably don't have much of portfolio, which means you're more likely to get rejected then accepted at the beginning. Unless I totally missed the point during economics class, you can't pay the bills with rejection slips.

That entire rant was meant to show what the first few stages of a writing career will be like. This is the main reason why it is probably nice to have a financial back up, unless one enjoys the comforts of a cardboard box and Rat Dropping Soup. But I am sure someone out there will shout, 'If I have a full time job, then how I will I have time to write or find clients!!! Down with my job!!! And down with pants!!!' Now, I do agree with the argument against pants, but the rest is complete hogwash. The biggest advantage of any job that is freelance or where you are your own boss, is that you can set your own hours and decide how much you can/want to work. What this means for the starting out writer, is at the beginning they will be writing their articles and pay copy in the hours when they don't have their dreaded 'day job.' Yes, this probably means a lot less rounds of 'Frogger' (kids still play that right?) and viewings for the 'Golden Girls' (or something that is still on the air), but it also means that you still have a job with a consistent pay cheque while pursuing your dream.

I know that quitting one's 'day job' is appealing. I would love to do it this very instant. In the real world, such an action has pretty dire consequence especially when you don't have any back up. Instead, one has to the find the balance of working the secure job, while also finding time to get their dream job up and running. It is hard work, but that is the thing about dreams, it actually takes hard work to reach them. Every single famous and successful writer that I can think of, at one time had a 'day job' while also pursuing a career in writing. Which is why I find the advice of quitting your day job to be so dishonest and ingenious. It is dangerous because there are hopeful and wishful writers who will look at a successful writer and think, 'Well, they are making a beyond comfortable living while doing a job they love, and I am tired of flipping burgers, so I'm tossing away my apron for a keyboard because they said I should' (important to note, most estalibshments won't give you a keyboard with your job resignation). I really believe it is important to encourage dreaming and to give hopes to those pursuing goals. But I also think you need to not misguide people and give reckless advice disguised as professional.

I say all this, with full knowledge that some may be in a place where they can quit their 'day job' despite the fact they may not have a million dollar client lined up or even any promises for paying work. I am not telling people to hold on to a full time job while pursuing freelance work because I think it will make you a better person to work two jobs at once. Nah, that is walrus spit. Trying to get a successful freelance job up and running is hard enough, and if you can scrap the other responsibilities then of course it should be done (though, I am not condoning the life of a full time hermit -- still go outside and embrace sunlight). I only assume most can't afford to do it when starting out. Some people may actually have a spouse that makes enough to support the family on their own (or at least, one who agrees child labour should be brough back, and so the three year old is thrown out into the work force). Or maybe this person is one of the very few who actually has enough savings that he or she can do a really good Scrooge McDuck swimming in money impersonation. There are some that might have enough money where they can decide to take a year off work, and still pay for things like a mortgage and canned beans. If one has the money, then definitely take some time off work and make a serious run at trying to make freelance become a reality.

What it comes to, is one must make sure they have a plan. One must make sure they have things in place to remain fairly secure rather than throwing it all away on a whim. I am trying to make my dream a reality, but I don't want that pursuit to cause my entire family to live in some shoddily constructed fort down by the river (hmmm, that might be fun for a weekend). I fear that advice like 'quit your day job' is not encouraging one to have a plan or think things through. I am sure there will be a few who do find enormous success despite throwing away a secure job before they were ready, but I also know for a fact that more will be quickly scrambling to find food stamps and shelter from the rain. Whatever choice one makes, they need to make sure they are ready for the consequences, and have plans to keep their life relatively comfortable and happy.

And that my friends, is your free, unsolicited advice from wannabe freelance writer.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sounds I Hear in the Office

The scanner buzzes.
The computer hums.
The keyboard goes click-clack.
The stomach growls.
The male yawns.
The birds -- well, it is unknown if the birds exist, because they can not be seen or heard from the cavernous hole.
The halls remain silent.
The papers crinkle.
The scanner buzzes (again).
The male yawns.
The outside remains silent (or so it seems from this region).
The scanner buzzes repeatedly.
The male continues to yawn.
The head thumps.

So, these are the noises I hear. What do you hear?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ribs v. Wings: The Eternal Debate

Every once in a while (for some, that means every 2 hours or so), the majority of North Americans have a craving for some delicious and unhealthy bar-style food. When it comes to good bar food, nothing is better than the type you have to eat with your hands and make an absolute mess of your face. Because when you've already had seven beers, the best thing is to handle objects that are dripping with sauce and can easily slip from your grasps (and make you look like a Community Cable clown). When it comes to saucy foods that are definite no-nos when you want to look good on a first date (but are so tasty that you can't resist anyway) then it has to be ribs and wings. Of course, for ribs and wings to work, it must be absolutely engulfed in delicious sauces. Nowadays, it can't be any better to choose these messy and unhealthy food atrocities because there is literally over 50 types of different flavours you can choose from (though, most common establishments probably only have 5 or 6); this is very different from my high school days when you essentially had BBQ, Honey Garlic, and 'Have Snot Shoot From Your Mouth and Sweat Rain From Your Forehead' flavour. In Brantford, I know we have at least two places that specialize in wings and have a plethora of different kinds that range from Indian Butter, Cajun, Lemon Pepper, and even Cinnamon (and about 45 other kinds that I decided to skip mentioning). Though I don't know any places that specialize in ribs in Brantford, I do know there is countless bars that will serve various types, and outside of Brantford, there are several places known as rib establishments. This is definitely the age where you can enjoy the sinful. sloppy, bar foods known as ribs and wings.

But it leaves you with the question, which one do you choose?




Mmmmm. . . so tasty.

Of course, make sure you have a napkin available.

What do you mean that I should carefully screen my Google Image searches?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Carol, Carol, I Need to Talk to You About Pepe

The show 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' is one that is almost destined to be a 'cult hit' because it has very little chance of ever being a mainstream success. I say this because I have some confidence that a few of you have never even heard of this show (and mainstream success sort of dictates the majority knows at least the name). If you live in Canada (or at least in Ontario), I am pretty sure the show isn't available to you even if you have the most expensive cable package. In the the United States, I know the show is on the channel FX, which I am lead to believe is only available in about 60% or so of the homes in the country. Of course, with the internet, and lovely creations like YouTube, we don't necessarily rely on the television to provide the programs we desire. There is also the fact that seemingly every semi (and not so) popular show is now put in DVD boxsets (this show is included in that list), one really does have the opportunity to watch almost anything even if their country or region doesn't broadcast it on traditional cable. Of course, one isn't going to hunt a show down on the internet or the local HMV unless they have even heard of the show, thus why I brand it for the life of a cult show.

I haven't seen many episodes of 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' mainly because I find it a hassle having to scour for the episodes on the less savoury sites. I can't turn to the television because I don't believe it is available here, but also, I don't have cable (thus making its availability a mute point since it definitely isn't on the 6 channels that we have). But from what I've seen, I have found it absolutely hilarious. Maybe someday, I'll take money from Emily's purse so that I can buy Season 1.

This clip gives you a pretty good taste of the humour and flavour of this show. If you walk away form this clip thinking, 'I don't get it and I am pretty sure my brain might explode' then it is a pretty good sign this isn't the series for you. If you find yourself jumping on YouTube in a desperate hope to find as many clips as possible, then congratulations, you are one more step towards being like me. That fact may also make you feel like your brain is going to explode.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Now You're A Man

Back in the days that I dwelled at Slum House, we had a song that we all considered the anthem for the place. Any time the song was played, we had to instantly drop everything so that we could sing along and pump our fists to the beat (it's a good thing we rarely were carrying crystal glassware or babies -- some reason, neither frequented a placed called Slum House). This wasn't necessarily a song that most females would consider an anthem or want to rock out to (i.e. not the song we played when wanting to impress the ladies). It sort of bordered on being a little offensive (some might call it sexist because well, the lyrics are a little sexist). But for a place that was inhabited by a bunch of males in their mid 20s (and again the place was called Slum House), it was the perfect anthem.

Maybe I should actually mention which song this is? Well, it was a little diddy called 'Now You're A Man' and was played by a band I've never heard of since called DVDA (I can't bother googling to find out what that stands for). To give you an idea of exactly what type of song this is, it was the opening theme to a movie called Orgazmo. Yes, the movie was called Orgazmo. No, I've never watched it. Apparently, Orgazmo is some kind of superhero in a purple suit. That is about all I care to know about the plot. If the title isn't bad enough, the film was written and directed by Trey Parker. And who is Trey Parker, you ask? And if you did have to ask, then this movie definitely was not created for your pleasure. Trey Parker happens to be the co-creator of a little cartoon series known as South Park.

I think, that is enough info to give you an idea of what type of song was deemed the Slum House anthem. And now, since I am pretty excited that I actually found this song, I am going to present it for your listening pleasure. If you are holding a baby or a priceless vase, you should put them down. It is now time to pump your fists (or completely skip this video because my description alone offended you).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy (End of) Earth Day!!!

To celebrate this glorious day of Earth, I ate delicious chicken wings and gulped refreshing beer with my beautiful wife. I would say it was a Earth Day well spent. I also spent a large portion of the day with my close and personal friend, the scanner. I glance at the clock and realize my next date with him is very soon. Actually, so soon that I really shouldn't be awake right now and typing these very words. No, I should be in sweet, sweet, sweet slumber.

Yes my readers, this is about the third straight cop out post this week. I blame it on a life. Or at least, distractions that seem to be dancing all around me in this life of mine. Like tonight, I watched Survivor and The Office. I still can't believe I've been hooked by a show that I successfully avoided for about 10 years (Survivor). I have to admit the Russel character is very intriguing and I was quite impressed in how he completely owned poor JT. Though, it is looking like we've got an interesting conflict approaching between Russel and Pavarti. Two amazing manipulators and players who eventually will have to collide. As for the Office, C is for suspension -- who needs school when you have educational shows like that? It was another hilarious week, as it appears this series has really returned to greatness with this season.

You know what else is great? Sleep. I am going to do that now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This is Going to Sweep the Oscars. . .

I need to get up early tomorrow, thus sleep will win over any desire to rant (I promise, there is many a rants just begging to explodinate from this giant melon of mine). Instead of typing too many words, I am going to resort to ol' Youtube (my standby for when I've decided I posted too many pictures of my pets). Here is a hilarious video that any astute watcher of movie trailers will instantly recognize and appreciate.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Possible Defintions for Criticizer

This post is dedicated to my dear Irish American fiend. . . er, friend who questioned me on my word 'criticizer' from yesterday's post on Jennifer Knapp. Here are some possible definitions for the word that Dave may think does not exist.

1. When you disparage someone in a mean and heartless manner, rather than being one who reviews movies and music.

2. A person who judges and rates someone who measures people for rented tuxes or designer suits and dresses.

3. A small mouse that grows 50 times its size after eating radioactive cheese on Three Mile island.

4. A critic who must always carry around a synthesizer. Though before 1978, they were known as synthecizers. It was the late great Lord Sidious Sizer who changed the spelling, because he wanted to leave behind a legacy. Of course, nobody remembers who he was (no, I did not just make this guy up. Go look him up on Wikipedia, but wait until I get around to writing his entry).

5. A word that can't be found on Merriam-Websters online dictionary, but can be found on and the website 'Difficult Personalities.'

6. A word someone writes at 11:30 at night, when they don't think critics defines the people he wants to rant against enough.

7. A native of the Island of Criti who has perfected the art of cizing.

8. A person who finds fault in others, and severely and harshly exposes this apparent fault.

9. A Zombie that sparkles

10. A type of scissor that cuts into the very soul of a person (note to self: do not play with these type of scissors).

There Dave, I hope this is enough evidence that this word is real and should have been used in yesterday's title.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Outing Jennifer Knapp's Criticizers

On the weekend, I came across this article about Jennifer Knapp making a come back into the music business and also coming out about her sexuality. For readers who have never heard of Jennifer Knapp, she was a pretty big Christian music star, even winning at Christian music's Dove Awards in 1999 (which I guess, would be the Christian equivalent of the Grammys). After reading this article, which remarked a little on the backlash against Knapp being gay, I was curious to see what the general consensus was among either former fans or followers of Christian music. Now, personally I've never followed her at all, and I probably wouldn't even be able to pick out one of her songs from the radio, but I was saddened to read some of the responses from a significant portion of Christians (I want to clarify I'm not claiming these were the responses of all Christians). The negative feedback against Knapp could be categorized into three main opinions. First, there was a resentment that Knapp must have used 'Christian music' as a way to break into a niche market and gain some fans while not being a sincere Christian, which apparently is proven by the fact she is under a non-Christian label now. Second, there is a refusal to ever buy any of her albums again because she is a 'sinner.' Third, and last, the stance that Jennifer Knapp must have never been a Christian because of her now being an open gay. As I said before, I've never followed Jennifer Knapp at any point in her career and I know very little about her, but I still believe I can effectively respond to these criticisms and backlash.

I find it humorous that some would accuse Knapp of using the Christian music industry as a way to break in, and especially that their biggest proof is she is now under a non-Christian label. First of all, I don't think anyone can honestly challenge that her lyrics and Christian content was legitimate, because the creation of music is such a personal thing that goes deeper than what the audience hears or reads. Obviously, she was considered authentic enough to garner a huge following of mostly Christian fans, and she even won awards from Christian groups -- it seems clear that before now, there wasn't much question of her legitimacy as a Christian artist. The silliest thing about her being criticized about changing labels, is that it is quite obvious why it had to be done, and is also the same reason she disappeared from music since 2003 (and the same reason I am even writing this post). She is gay. The reality is, her coming out was going to create a huge backlash, and it was highly likely her label would have dropped her and Christian retailers would have refused to carry her albums. Anyone who is thinking reasonably about the situation, will agree that she had very little choice but to change labels. It is the simple reality of our society and how the majority of Christians feel about something like homosexuality (again, I want to clarify that I am not saying all have this view).

I find it sad, yet interesting, that a fairly large groups of apparent former Jennifer Knapp fans would go on record that they would never buy another album from her, since she is a 'sinner.' Maybe I was sleeping through church services far too often or wasn't reading the Bible close enough, but I was always under the impression that the Christian God saw us all as 'sinners.' So if one wasn't going to buy an album from a sinner,then that must mean this person wasn't going to be listening to any music. I am sure the response would be that this is a far heavier and vile sin (through my experience, Christians seem to see sexual matters as the most heinous, especially when outside of heterosexual marriage). Then again, I'm left wondering if I was listening and reading properly all these years, because I seem to remember the Christian God seeing all sin as equal. This would mean that things like losing your temper, not claiming all your income on your taxes, or even driving over the speed limit would be things that could be constituted as sin. I am not saying that I even consider some of those above mentioned to be bad, but if we are going to start labeling things as sin then you can't start leaving the 'smaller' stuff out (due to the whole all sin being equal). Of course, there are many other 'sins' that people struggle with every single day, some which they try to overcome while others are ones they are happily living with, but it seems rather unfair to struggle with 'sins' while also pointing out the flaws in someone else. Oh yeah, that reminds me of another sin, judging. The interesting thing is, Jesus talked a whole lot more about the evils of judging than he ever did about homosexuality. I know I mentioned that all sin is seen as the same, but if Jesus Christ is talking about one way more than the other, then it should give you an idea of which ones where seen as very detrimental and dangerous.

I know some are still stuck on the fact that she is gay. Maybe the even more 'sinful act' of being in an actual homosexual relationship. First of all, spending too much time on harping on her sexuality could risk one being judgmental. The even more important thing is, even if one wants to call homosexuality sin, it would appear to be a lot different than many others. Most sins would seem to be something that the committer could choose to do. Many would argue that isn't the case with being a homosexual (the ones who would say it is choice, are usually the same ones who are calling it a sin).

Is it a choice? The first thing that I would use to answer that question, is to ask if heterosexuality is a choice? Since I can't speak for anyone else but myself, I will look at my own foray into heterosexuality. Personally, I don't find myself waking up everyday and saying, 'Today, I choose to like boobies!' Basically, since I was a very little boy, I have always been attracted to girls. I've never had much interest in kissing a boy, or finding myself having to decide which gender I would like to date. I can't relate to a gays' attraction to the same sex, because I've never had that type of attraction. Speaking of attraction, I've never really found myself choosing or making a decision on who I am attracted to. I didn't just decide one day that I would find Emily attractive, but instead, it was something already ingrained in me. I found her pretty and there wasn't really any choosing about it. From my experience, people tend to be attracted to different looks or body types or kinds of people. I don't think any of those people really made a decision on the type they would be attracted to, but rather it was an attraction that came naturally to them. Using this type of logic, I find it hard to believe that homosexuality can be something a person chooses. Especially in Jennifer Knapp's case, I can't see why she would choose a lifestyle that jeopardized a successful career.

Finally, it brings me to the issue of questioning if Jennifer Knapp was ever truly a Christian because she is gay. I've essentially already addressed this in my previous paragraphs, but I'll try to pinpoint this more specifically now. The simple fact is, most of us are not Jennifer Knapp (and she is unlikely to ever see this rant). Which means, most of us really can't understand what she is actually thinking or feeling. We do know she was a successful Christian music star who then came out. We don't know how long she has been struggling with those feelings. We don't know if she ever felt massive shame about being gay. Quite frankly, we don't know any of those things. We all go on a journey that we call life, and we all wrestle with different feelings and emotions. But if you haven't ever had the experience of being in a religion that frowns upon homosexuality but also being a homosexual, than you really can not relate or understand what that person is going through. I know I can't relate to it, but I'm also not trying to declare what her true religious beliefs are, either. Being gay does not mean she can't still be a Christian or that she wasn't ever a Christian. I think, Jennifer Knapp said it best in the article, when she states this issue is between her and God. If one believes that God is the ultimate authority, then it should probably be left for him to decide if that person is still allowed to be part of the Christian club. As I've been told many times, the Christian faith can be a very personal one, thus others really don't have a place to decide where one stands in their faith.

I know there will be a lot of people that disagree with me or may be offended by my statements. I want to remind that the Christian faith is one of love. So even if you disagree with one's lifestyle, your first goal should still be to love that person and handle any situation in a delicate manner. After all, you're patterning your life after the man who hung out with thieves, prostitutes and drunkards (he didn't judge but he loved). I also understand that you may see homosexuality as wrong and evil, but you should keep in mind, of all the 'sins' it is one that does absolutely no harm to anyone else. Jennifer Knapp being gay will not cause your pants to catch on fire or puppies to explode. Nobody will be hurt by her lifestyle choice, but many could be hurt by a hate filled agenda that opposes one's rather benign lifestyle choice. I understand the argument may be that it goes against God's original design or that it destroys the sanctity of marriage. But I am also pretty sure that Jennifer Knapp being gay has not annulled my own marriage or anyone's, thus I don't see any harm done.

In the end, I can understand if one is bothered that their once favourite recording artist is gay. That person has the right to never buy one of her albums again. But hopefully, that person can leave it at that and not feel the need to spew anymore venom. After all, a loving religion works a lot better when it has love in it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sundaes Are Better Than Sundays

But that isn't to say that Sundays are not valuable and good things too. Especially Sundays that have wonderful weather and allow lots of time to spend with your family. And yes, a family can consist of a married couple and their two pets. Let's not be too picky about our definitions here. The best part of having pets instead of children is that they are less likely to have a debilitating drug habit that you have to sink thousands in for their recovery. Summit's nasty habit is that he tends to pop balls in less than five seconds after you've given it to him. Luckily, said balls are usually only worth a dollar from the dollar store or found in woods by the rail trail -- so it isn't the biggest loss in the world.

Back to my point, I love a good Sunday but on an average, a Sunday just can't compare with a good sundae. Though I am sure the very best Sunday ever can easily defeat a sundae in head to head competition. At this moment, I am not eating a sundae but I am eating ice cream, which makes for a good way to end this Sunday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cat vs. Dog

The Ultimate Battle

Though if you asked Summit, he would say they are only playing. If you asked Crosby, he would say it's survival. If you asked me, I'd say it is very entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, this Saturday most definitely was that. I had a lovely dinner with Emily at a Thai restaurant, called My Thai, and then, along with a friend we watched the film Time to Kill on our Blu-Ray player. Yes, I had to add that it was on a Blu Ray, because what is the point of owning toys if you can't brag about them?

My day was so entertaining that I ended up not finding time to do a blog, and now, my day is coming to a close. I hope your Saturday was a splendid one, and I'll be back here with more bloggy goodness tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Journey for the 'Original' Idea

I have recently been reading submission guidelines from several magazines, anthology groups, and book publishers. The recurring theme in almost all the guidelines are requirements that the author submit completely original ideas. Often they add that while traditional themes or story tropes can be used, they should be approached in a unique way. I understand the need and request for an original idea because nobody likes copyright infringement lawsuits, and the typical reader usually doesn't want to buy a book that is exactly like one they've already read except with a new title. But it does present the question of what exactly constitutes an original idea?

I know personally, the original idea has been something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I am typically one who usually has about six or seven story ideas swimming about in my head at a time. These ideas are not often fully fleshed out (hence being only ideas rather than stories), and sometimes they may not translate as well when I start to actually work on them. The one thing I often find myself obsessing about, is pondering if the idea is actually truly original or something that has already been formed into an exciting and readily read tale. I've read many articles about successful authors who find themselves thrown into a lawsuit, because some mostly (often) unknown author feels his/her work had been blatantly ripped off. Lets say that one day my dream is fully realized, and not only do I get a novel published, but it is positively consumed by the masses thus making it a bonafide hit. I now find myself with money to toss towards my mortgage and the purchase of dancing bears. Suddenly, Mr. Buzzkill arrived with his horde of demon lawyers, brandishing his 10 year old novel, claiming that I completely ripped off his unheard of masterpiece, and even accusing me of lifting his exact words from his text (such as 'the', 'a', 'or', and 'penguin'). I am left in a stupor only able to say words like 'duh' and 'uh' -- which may not be entirely different from now. My money is no longer tossed towards my pleasures but rather to fight my brand new nemesis. I would be lying if I claimed this is not a small fear that occasionally crosses my mind when I'm in a brainstorm session (of course, since I have absolutely nothing resembling a book to be published, it could be said I am getting ahead of myself).

It leaves me with the huge question, what exactly is an original idea? Are there completely original ideas that still exist? How much of a story really needs to be original? I look at some of the greatest works or some of the most successful stories (which can be a different thing), and I can definitely see pieces that contain common themes or characters or story elements. One may even argue that many readers like some of these recurring theme or elements, such as the love triangle or a young person who is destined for a great quest.

It is probably very likely that many of your favourite stories can not be considered 100% original with nothing borrowed (intentionally or unintentionally) from other tales. Shakespeare (who for the record, I completely adore) is considered one of the greatest and is the most well known playwright of all time. It is a complete fact that not a single one of his plays are an original story. Every single of his plays were either entirely based on an already known story or was borrowed heavily from a commonly known story of the time. Yet, he is considered one of the all time greats and his works are often used for archetypes for modern stories. In the defense of Shakespeare, he did make these stories his very own by adding a poetic flair that no one before or after him could succeed at. He was the master of the pen, and he made very memorable plays, but the reality is, they can not be considered completely original.

Even in modern times, many of the bestselling novels or the blockbuster movies are not completely original ideas. Avatar, which is now the highest grossing movie of all time, has been accused of essentially reworking the Poncahontas story. One of the best selling young adult novels Twilight, apparently is nothing more than Romeo and Juliet with sparkling vampires (and the lack of the main characters dying). You can also look at other huge hits like Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Road, Indiana Jones, or Weekend at Bernie's, then quickly realize they all borrow heavily from other well known works. You could leave out the names of the characters when describing these stories and the description could almost be perfect for another well known tale.

So, I return to the question, does a truly original idea exist? Or is it a matter of taking a well known story like King Lear, but this time its about manatees that live in space that have a craving for goat cheese (note to self, totally copyright this idea). Even a movie like Reservoir Dogs that was hailed as a truly unique film, actually contained a very common and unoriginal story, but was presented in a very unique format. It wasn't the story that was so groundbreaking, but rather the gimmick of presenting it in a non-chronological way (though in reality, this also was not the first creative work to do this). Then the very next film by Tarantino, Pulp Fiction, followed the exact same format and with a story that still dealt with the world of gangsters. I am saying this as one of the biggest fans of both movies, but they aren't completely original tales. Now, even the 'original' way of presenting the story is actually very far from being unique in cinema or even in novels.

In the end, it seems that one shouldn't really be so focused on trying to be completely original. Instead one needs to come up with an idea that sparks creativity and makes the writer want to take that writing journey to see where the characters and events takes him/her. Or maybe I'm just trying to justify my own lack of creativity and hackish tendencies.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Thursday Night "I'll Ask A Question Because It Is Too Late For a Rant" Post

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, then what kind of forest doesn't have animals with ears? Seriously? Summit instantly starts barking up a storm of fury if I let out a little toot, so there isn't anyway he or a similar animal wouldn't hear a crashing tree. Just saying.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Songs I Don't Want To Admit I Like But I Do

I've always had a lot of friends that really appreciate music, and some would be properly described as being passionate about their music. I'd go as far as to say some would even be considered music snobs, and would defiantly thumb their noses in the direction of any music that didn't fit their specific taste. I say all this, to make it clear that I am far from being such a snob, or one who isn't open to various types of glorious music. It also means that my tastes may not be as discerning and refined as some of my friends. But I still had to hang out with them and survive, so I may not have been as open about some of my less stellar song choices when around them. This has lead to me having a few musical favourites that I haven't openly shouted to the heavens for all to hear. This can be considered my very public confession of some musical numbers that I've very much enjoyed.

1. "I'll Be" - Edwin McCain

If one looked through my CD collection in the late 90s, this person would find an assorted collection of Grunge Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Rock Rock. What you would not find is Love Pop (a term I just coined this exact minute). This would be for two reasons, one, I wasn't really too ecstatic to pay to hear an entire album of such music, and two, I'm pretty sure my best friends would have stuffed me in the locker for such a music crime. Despite all these facts, this very lovey and extremely poppy (as in pop music, not the flower) song found a way to sneak into my brain. It has been there ever since, and cause me to have moments where I hum it through out the day (usually, when I think I am alone). The worse part is, I am positive the first time I heard this song was when I was watching an episode of Dawson's Creek. It is a good thing when I hang out with my friends now, there isn't usually a locker around, because I'd be stuffed for sure. After being stuffed into that locker, I would most definitely need a crying shoulder.

Edwin McCain "I'll be"
Uploaded by hdkpereira. - Watch more music videos, in HD!

2. "Follow Me" - Uncle Kracker

When I dwelled in the bowels of Slum House, there was one thing we all knew, and that was we hated Kid Rock. It was believed he, along with Fred Durst, was the epitome of the new Rapcore movement that we despised. We all agreed that no good could ever came from Kid Rock or any of his evil minions. No way, would we ever listen to any music by him or someone that was associated with him. We would rather soak ourselves in gasoline and then light a match, because torturous death was far better than letting his tunes waltz into our ears. Oh by the way, Uncle Kracker is a friend of Kid Rock, and was a part of his band, before he went out on his own. This was his very first single. No, I don't have a gasoline can nearby, and Emily doesn't let me play with matches.

3. "I Can't Help Falling In Love" - Lick the Tins

It is very likely that the majority of readers have never heard this version of the song until now. This song actually was at the top of the UK charts for two months in 1986. In North America, it landed a spot on the 'Some King of Wonderful' soundtrack, which is the only reason I know about this song. Of course, admitting that I absolutely adore the film 'Some Kind of Wonderful' would probably open me up to way more teasing than my open enjoyment of this song -- or the fact, I'm a big fanboy of '80s teen comedies especially the John Hughes variety (which the movie is both). As for my reason for liking this song, it is probably a combination of it being associated with a movie I beloved when growing up, and the sprinkling of Celtic rock in the song. I am a sucker for good Celtic rock (whatever that is). For the super observant, this is a cover of the Elvis Presley song that I danced to at my wedding, so now I have a totally new reason to appreciate this song.

4. "Baby, I Got Your Money" - ODB

If you are easily offended, or if you despise profanity, or not able to handle sexist lyrics, or do not feel like yelling, "Wow, I totally think less of Christopher for liking this song", then please do not click the play button on this video. Because this song is probably the inspiration for many conservative right or parent groups' vendetta against rap music. When they talked about music that was polluting society, I am sure this was at the very top of the list. The whole time people spoke out against the awfulness and offensiveness of this song, I was totally grooving to it. The interesting thing is that when I was the biggest fan of this song, I also happened to be the Youth leader at a church and was running a drop-in centre. Not really something I bothered bragging about to the parents, since I preferred they didn't see me as the spawn of Satan. I don't know how many times my roommate and I would close the door of our bedroom and have 'dance parties' with this song as the centerpiece. Yeah, I really dig this song but there might be a good chance you will hate it and hate me for liking it. So, don't hit the play button unless you know what you are getting into (if you do know, then we can groove out together).

5. "Safety Dance" - Men Without Hats

I lied. I absolutely never hid the fact that I loved this song. This was one of the first music videos that I ever watched, and I instantly thought it was one of the greatest creations known to man. The song is super catchy. How can you not love a video with a little, dancing jester? As a kid, I loved it because it reminded me of something out of one of the fantasy stories that I adored. I always imagined that right after the video, a giant dragon came in to burn down the village. But it was successfully defeated because the people had the power of dance. If you look down at me for absolutely digging this songs, then I only have this to say. I can dance if I want to, I can leave my friends behind, 'cause if my friend don't dance and if they don't dance, well they're no friends of mine. So there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Relationship with Jack Bauer is Bad for Your Health

I may not have been the most amazing boyfriend known to man, and I may never win the 'Greatest Husband Ever' award, but at least, I don't cause everyone I date/marry to die. You kiss Jack Bauer, you probably will be dead in the next 24 hours. Just ask Rene and Terri, which you can't because they are dead.

Anyway, 24 has totally been rocking the awesome for the last 4 or 5 episodes. This week had to be one of the fastest and wildest episodes this season. The season did have a small stretch where it sort of dragged but all in all, it looks like 24 will be ending with a super charged bang.

I was quite shocked by last week's ending, where they actually killed off Hassan. I was really questioning if they went to the climax a little early, but I learned not to underestimate the power of 24. They really outdid last week's episode with some doozy story advancements this week. Chloe is now the head of CTU. Rene takes a dirt nap. The president has to trust Charles 'The Evil Prez' Logan. I think, it is pretty clear we've got some super hot stories for the home stretch of 24.

I'm interested to see if Logan finds redemption or if he has an incredibly wicked plan in store for America. What is the master plan of the vile Russians? Speaking of vile Russians, that sniper really didn't know who he was messing with. Jack just wanted love, but the sniper sort of put the kibosh on those plans. Which means Mr. Sniper will be introduced to a whole new form of pain and suffering -- you know it has to happen.

As you can clearly see, I was rocked pretty hard by this week's awesomeness. I am pretty sure the rocking won't stop until we hit the finale in May. Great stuff from a series that some people gave up on a few years ago, but it looks like it will end with a blaze of glory.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Important Advice for Your Social Progression

Do not eat paste, even if it is in a delightful, colourful form like purple, red, or nacho-cheese. Even though some paste comes in a push stick, it is very important to remember it does not taste like a push pop. Mmmmm. . . push pops. I don't appear to have any push pops in the office, but if my memory serves me, there is a grape flavoured glue stick in Emily's supply box.

New advice: Don't eat paste/glue when people can see you. Also if you are going to fall into the temptation of paste eating, maybe you shouldn't blog about it.

Since you might feel ripped off by such a small blog entry, here is a picture of Summit and Crosby being best of friends (in Summit's opinion).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Summit: Carter Extraordinaire

Today, we took Summit to his first ever carting lesson. What exactly is a carting lesson? Well, it is where a dog (Bernese Mountain Dog to be exact) is taught how to pull around a cart. Why do you exactly teach a Berner to do such a thing? Mainly because that is what they were bred to do (same reason why I eat potato chips). Now, is there a major need to have a dog pulling around a cart in Brantford? Well, not really, but it does provide me a much lazier way to get beer and also, I think Summit pulling Crosby around in a cart would be the greatest picture ever. Besides those things (even with the first desire, I'd have to teach him to open a fridge first), there is admittedly little reason for Summit to be a cart puller. But it isn't so much the skill, but rather what the training provides.

There really are three reasons why we want Summit in cart training, and thus will continue to take him. The first being that it is yet another place for socialization, and as a puppy, it is great to get him accustomed to as many dogs and people as possible. Though in this case, it is only Berners that are there, but it is still more socialization than he would get in our living room. The second reasons is that once Summit gets over the whole, 'Oh no, this ghost wagon is hounding me wherever I go!" he is actually supposed to love carting and thus, we want to take him because it is fun. Finally, it yet another opportunity for obedience training -- or moreso, training and tips for his owners. Summit is already a pretty easygoing, smart and obedient dog, but I definitely see that every session he goes to as a benefit for all of us.

As for the events of today, Summit never got around to pulling an actual cart. Since he has never done it before, it was decided we probably shouldn't traumatize him immediately. Berners are known to not really like new things, thus the gradual approach is better. Summit definitely follows that trait. A few weeks back, our neighbours built a small play fort for their sons, since it was small, it was completely put up in an afternoon. So, when Summit was let out that evening after Emily came home from work, he saw this new contraption for the very first time. Despite the fort minding its own business and staying rather still, Summit proceeded to bark at it while running all around it. The next few times he went out, he would still give the fort a little growl, just so it knew who it would be messing with if it decided to move on to his yard. So yeah, he isn't such a fan of new things.

Today, the first part was designed to get him used to wearing a harness. Surprisingly, Summit didn't react to it at all. He was fine with running and playing with this new outfit on him. Then he proceeded to the dragging around of a stick which is part of the carting contraption. He didn't really seem to mind that either. So then, it was time to upgrade to a jug. At first, Summit didn't seem to like the idea of this magical jog that followed him everywhere. Eventually, he got used to the traveling jug. All in all, he handled it fairly well, even if he occasionally had to look back at it.

Pulling around a jug may seem like a rather silly endeavor, but it will hopefully get him used to the idea of an object dragging behind him that makes noise. Hopefully, he will eventually be ready when that jug turns into a cart. Well, the jug won't actually ever turn into a cart. It isn't really a magical jug. Hopefully, his jug experience will prep him for the giant object with wheels that will follow his every move. At the end of today's lesson, I was really proud of Summit. Yes, I was proud he was able to drag a jug around and not wet himself out of fear. It is called small victories.

Speaking of fear, Summit encountered a horse today, and actually, he did a good job of showing very little interest towards the encounter. This is good news because a few weeks ago, he proved to be quite the horse chicken. We were taking him for a walk when he discovered some horses on his travels. I am pretty sure he thought they were really ugly dogs on steroids. Since he is opposed to ugly and steroids, he proceeded to bark at them. They proceeded to stare at him. So, he continued to bark, but this time he barked while backing away. Then for the next ten minutes of the walk, he would constantly look behind himself. I am convinced he was trying to make sure they were not stalking him for the intent of devouring him. I think he still has nightmares of giant, mutant, steroid dogs that chase him in fields. But today, he at least did a good job of pretending he hasn't been haunted by the nightmares. Keep up the denial, Summit.

Today's take home lesson is that my dog will be a master carter, while also remaining a chicken. Sort of like me, except for that whole ability to cart thing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Bi-Annual Saturday Deep, Though-Provoking, Empowering Observation of the Day

Cheese makes almost all foods taste even better. Melted cheese often makes that food taste even more types of awesome. But adding cheese in any form does not make your furniture taste even remotely good. Though it does cause fellow occupants of your residence to turn several different shades of red, mostly the shades that symbolize rage. Unless the residence is a cat or dog, who then is quite pleased the cheese is easier to access. But they don't pay the mortgage, so their vote almost never counts. So, cheese adds little value to furniture.

For the record, I actually didn't have to learn this from experience, hence why it is a philosophical thought.

Um, here is a picture of cheese.

I wouldn't recommend eating cheese that looked like that, though.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Well, Maybe Not Everyone. . .

Before I started work this morning, I decided to send off a little e-mail to my absolutely lovely wife, because I am just that kind of husband (the e-mail sending kind -- though at least, this time we weren't in the same building). As anyone who has received an e-mail from me knows, I like to create random messages for the subject header. Since today was Friday, and I was overjoyed it was Friday since it meant I had a few days of not hanging out with the scanner, I decided on the title 'Working for the Weekend', because I was working, and the weekend was almost here, and boy, was I ever happy (and willing to work if it meant the weekend would come).

As I was ready to compose my e-mail masterpiece, I realized my e-mail title was also the title of a little '80s diddy. Since I didn't want to suffer the wrath of any classic rockers' legal team, I felt I needed to inform my wife the title was not original. Canada's own Loverboy came up with that title for their rocking song, which I think has something to do with work and weekend and love too. Since I know my wife is a little deprived in her knowledge of pop culture (she lived under a rock for the entire 80s -- though she was also 2 years old when this song came out), I felt it was necessary to send her a link to the music video of this rocking little 1981 number.

Of course, since I had to find a video to link to, it was only fair I watch the video too. Thus the reason this song has been bouncing around in my head all day. Since the music must be released from my head, I am going to unload it on to this here blog.

So now my dear readers, I present to you, Loverboy's 1981 classic 'Working for the Weekend.'

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Random Post of Randomness

So, I officially proved I will end up being one of those parents that panics once my child gets a runny nose.

But then again, who really wants their child's nose to run away?

Do not feed house cleaner to your pets. It doesn't make their breath smell better, but it might do a good job of decreasing the amount of pets you own.

To the techies out there, does Facebook have any application where after you post on your blog, the title and link comes up on your status, much like you can do with Twitterfeed?

I am very close to stopping the importing of my blog on to Facebook, especially since my last upload has been Sunday's post. It appears the Facebot is stuck in a building trying to push the pull door.

I asked this on Twitter but it is a really important question. Who would win a sprint between Fat Albert, Jabba the Hutt and Grimace? I have a feeling that Jabba's underworld connections may come into play.

Then again, Grimace has the entire McDonaldland team on his side. Don't mess with those crazy fries or the Burger Mayor.

I've won like 5 coffees since Roll Up to Rim has started. Is it sad that I am actually proud of this?

I actually planned to write a totally different and more coherent post tonight, but life wanted to occupy about an hour that was supposed to be for writing.

I'm thinking my 5am wake up is enough reason to end this blog. . . NOW!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Because Heart Attacks Were So Hard to Come By

Somebody forgot to tell KFC there was a new health kick. Or they mistook the term, and thought it meant you were punting thoughts of health into the sun to have a fiery death. Speaking of death, here is the abomination created by Kentucky Fried Chicken.

This, my friendly readers, is what is called the Double Down. Or also know as 'Heartache in Sandwich Form.' Though, I was always under the belief (the obviously mistaken belief) that a sandwich needed bread or buns or something that wasn't meat to contain the goodness. But KFC laughs at such notions, instead created a monstrous beast, which has never heard of things like bread or buns. This atrocity is two strips of bacon, two slices of cheese and a giant glob of special sauce sandwiched between two pieces of deep fried chicken. Yeah, I said chicken. Deep fried.

I am pretty sure, KFC decided they had way too many customers to handle, and they needed to find the quickest way possible to cut down their base. They looked at the most unhealthy things in fast food, like fat-a-licious bacon and clog-a-mite fried chicken. They thought their only choice must be to combines those vile concoctions and then throw out anything that might be mistaken as un-artery cloggy. Those arteries had to be clogged, thus everything fat had to be united into one mass monster.

Apparently, there is no set date on when this heart stopper slithers into Canada, but Americans get to stuff their arteries with fat on April 12th. Good bye America, it was nice knowing you. Canada, be afraid. Be very afraid. The monster will seek us next.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

RIP Chris Kanyon (January 4, 1970 – April 2, 2010)

Chris Kanyon, real name Christopher Klucsaritis , was found dead in his home in Queens, NY on April 2, 2010 of an apparent suicide via drug overdose. This is yet another wrestling tragedy, which is a term that has become very redundant over the last several years. It has sadly become quite common to see wrestlers in their 40s pass away. In this past decade there has been at least 10 well known wrestlers (meaning they have wrestled for the top companies even if non wrestling fans wouldn't know them) that have passed away in their 40s, and the majority have either been due to drug overdose or suicide. The unfortunate reality is this is largely ignored, because the ‘sport’ of wrestling is shunned my mainstream society because it is seen as a depraved joke, thus it is able to avoid any form of investigation or regulation (like what was happening in baseball or track and field).

At some point, I want to write a tribute and editorial type piece of the deaths of two of my all time favourite wrestlers that occurred in the ‘00s, Eddy Guerrero and Chris Benoit. I’ve avoided both because they are very emotionally draining and heartbreaking stories. In Eddy's case, it is a man who struggled with years of drug addiction and depression but was able to overcome it all after changing his life and finding religion, but unfortunately, his past lifestyle took too much of a toll, thus leading to his death (which has the added bad taste for me because it happened on my birthday). Chris Benoit is heartbreaking in a totally different way, because this was a man who seemed to be as stable and likable as any wrestle could be, but then on one fateful night, did the exact opposite of that by murdering his wife and son before killing himself. As stated before, there is countless sad tales that have occurred this past decade, where wrestlers I grew up watching and cheering (or delightfully booing) ended up dying at far too young of ages. But today, I want to focus on the wrestler best known as Kanyon.

The first time I remember seeing Chris Kanyon would be in late 1995 where he was part of a lower card tag team act known as Men At Work, along with partner Mark Starr. I remember thinking both had a great look and a decent amount of talent, despite being saddled with one of the most ridiculous gimmicks in wrestling (which is to say a lot considering wrestling’s history of stupid characters). The team was dressed up in jeans, work boots, a hard hat and a tool belt; as I am sure you can guess from that wardrobe, they were supposed to be construction workers. It must have been a down slope in the industry, thus they had to moonlight as wrestlers along with their day job. Anyway, on a few episodes, they would come to ringside during a match where they would readjust the turnbuckles with their tools, which causes one to wonder why WCW had not hired a ring crew that could take care of that problem before the show. Needless to say, the act was not a hit among the fans, and both guys were quickly repackaged.

Kanyon actually received an interesting second gimmick, where he was supposed to be a pit fighter from Bangkok with a dark and sinister past (which of course, would never ever be explained or disclosed). He actually wore a pretty elaborate and interesting outfit where his mask was essentially a skull and his suit was sort of a green skeleton (I am pretty sure it was inspired part by Skeletor and partly by Mortal Kombat which was huge at the time). Along with the unique look, Mortis had a large variety of wrestling holds to showcase that had never really been seen in mainstream North American wrestling. One of my friends, who was not a fan of WCW, would mention that he thought Mortis was one of the cooler things in the WCW at the time, then again, he also seemed to be a fan of a wrestler called Horshu (though, that was more likely just to annoy me). Unfortunately for Kanyon, despite having a cool looking character, WCW preferred to use him as a wrestler that would make others look good, and he rarely got many key wins. His entire run as Mortis, he only had one key storyline which was a feud with a wrestler known as Glacier, where they battled over his helmet (not exactly high concept or even interesting stuff).The sad reality is, the Mortis character actually was about 7 months ahead of WWF’s Kane, which was another supernatural masked monster-like wrestler (but WWF knew how to actually market Kane and made him one of the bigger stars in the late 90s). By ‘98, it was clear that Mortis was a flop and it was time to repackage him again.

After the end of Mortis, he started simply calling himself Kanyon (like Sting or Madonna, he did not need a second word to complete his name). He quickly adopted a shtick where he would ask the crowd, ‘Who was better than Kanyon?’ and the fans, because Kanyon was a bad guy, would yell back ‘Everybody’, but the arrogant Kanyon would ignore them and yell, ‘Nobody.’ It was a fun thing to watch, and Kanyon played a good arrogant but slightly dorky heel. Over the next two years in WCW, he mainly played the role of the goofy but arrogant lackey of a more over heel, he first allied with Raven and then was aligned with Diamond Dallas Page.

During his affiliation with Page, they formed a three man team along with Bam Bam Bigelow known as the Triad (because there were three, you see). Despite the rather dumb name, they made a pretty cool tag team as long as you ignore the whole ‘Yo Mama’ routine they liked doing before matches. During a time that WCW was almost completely unwatchable, the trio consistently put on the best matches on the show in their tag matches against teams like Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit or Harlem Heat. The trio only lasted about four months but they did get two World Tag Team titles out of the run.

Despite the charisma and wrestling talent of Kanyon, he never really got a fair shot at the top of the card in WCW. This was partly due to WCW rarely giving non former WWF superstars a shot at the main event scene, but also due to the fact he seemed to either be put in stories that fans didn’t care about or stories that where absolutely ridiculous (at one point, he was put in several weeks worth of hideous video sketches where he would lounge around a beach house with Raven and go out shopping for nice clothes – yeah, not sure how that promotes a wrestling match either).

In May of 2000, an angle played out on the Slamboree PPV that was supposed to be his chance to finally be elevated into the main event scene, or at least that was what fans felt after seeing the angle. In what was a visually impressive stunt, wrestler Mike Awesome tossed Kanyon off the top of a three tiered cage onto a gimmicked ramp. Though most knew it would cause minimal damage to Kanyon, it still looked really impressive and in the fake world of wrestling, fans were left to be believe Kanyon’s career had ended. In wrestling terms, this should have been an angle that lead to a big money feud, as Kanyon had good reason to want revenge on Awesome, afterall, the guy tried to kill him by throwing him off a 35 plus feet structure. For a month, Awesome bragged about ending Kanyon’s career while footage was shown of Kanyon, with a neck brace on, recuperating in a hospital. If this was milked for a few months, then sympathy would have really been on Kanyon’s side and many fans would have eagerly waited for his revenge. But at the time, WCW was written by an idiot who didn’t seem to understand simple wrestling logic and had no idea how to actually make money by drawing fans into matches they wanted to see. So instead, one month after the biggest angle in Kanyon’s life, he was wheeled out in a wheelchair to support his friend Diamond Dallas Page, who was trying to gain some vengeance in a match with Mike Awesome. During the finish of the match, Kanyon miraculously jumped out of his chair and attacked his best friend Page. So apparently, falling from 35 plus feet does not hurt you and the entire attack was some elaborate attempt to get Page to lose some meaningless wrestling match. Yeah, it made less sense than pet rocks, but as I said, the writer in WCW at the time was an idiot.

So, now it was obvious the next big match for Kanyon was to battle his former friend Page. So of course, WCW decided the best plan was for Page to disappear for several months while Kanyon impersonated Page. The gimmick seemed to go into the land of crazy, as we were to believe that Kanyon actually thought he was Diamond Dallas Page. At this point, the two angles that were designed to get Kanyon elevated had been forgotten, he was now a middle of the card comedy act. Page did finally return to WCW, which would make you think would naturally lead to him wanting to get revenge on the guy who pretended to be him, but by the time Page returned, Kanyon had already taken a hiatus from WCW.

At this point, rumours were that Kanyon was sick of his treatment in WCW, and was completely ready to jump to WWF. Though he eventually did end up in WWF, it was not until the WWF bought the WCW, when it was going out of business in March of 2001. It was at this point, that many finally felt Kanyon would get a fair shot because WWF was known for giving solid talent a fair shot.

Unfortunately, Kanyon had the misfortune of being a part of WCW when it was purchased and thus was part of the biggest flop in wrestling history, the WCW Invasion. It was a storyline where WCW was trying to take over WWF, but WWF didn’t purchase the contracts of most of the WCW main eventers, thus the team was mainly full of WCW midcarders and bottomfeeders. It seemed WWF had a problem of admitting WCW was on par with WWF, thus the entire storyline mainly consisted of WWF slaughtering WCW talent in matches, and this included the few WCW main eventers that did come to the company. And the only wrestlers on the WCW side that were allowed to look good, were actual WWF wrestlers that defected over the the evil WCW team. Needless to say, this was one of the most awful storylines, and the one of the major factors that stated pushing me away from wrestling. Yeah, I obviously care enough about it to write a massive post about it, but I haven’t watched the current product on a consistent basis for many years.

As for Kanyon, in the summer the Invasion angle wasn’t all bad at first for him. He did get to be the United States champion and the WWF world tag team champion along with Page. Both title reigns were incredibly short, and he only made it on two PPV shows. Kanyon eventually was relegated to being a comedy act again, and then completely disappeared from television after an injury.

The injury seemed to be the worse possible thing for Kanyon. Not only at some point, was it actually life threatening (he seemed to have suffered a staph infection after the surgery) but when he returned, he almost never made it on the two top prime times wrestling shows (Raw and Smackdown) but instead, seemed to be annexed to the much less watched Saturday late night program. He remained shunted on the low end of the shows until he was eventually released at the end of 2003. That was essentially the end of Kanyon’s run in the mainstream pro wrestling spotlight.

The years after, he wrestled for a bunch of small regional promotions, but it was obvious he was always trying to find a way to get back into the WWE (by that point it had changed its names from WWF). Then he suddenly made an announcement at a wrestling show, which many argue was a publicity stunt, where he came out and declared he was gay. He declared he was the first openly gay pro wrestler. Many saw this as an attempt to have a marketable gimmick that would catch the attention of the WWE and get them to rehire him. When it became obvious that he would be unable to get back into the company, he started appearing on shows like Howard Stern where he claimed his sexual orientation was the reason he was released. He was trying to claim the homophobia of the wrestlers and the boss were the key reasons he was dismissed. Of course, this argument ignored the fact that Vince McMahon's right hand man, Pat Patterson, was an open homosexual. Unfortunately, the whole experience made Kanyon look desperate and bitter. The last few years, not much had been heard from Kanyon, but family now reveals he had been struggling with depression (along with being bipolar).

Kanyon was a highly underrated wrestler, who was a very solid wrestler with innovative moves. He was such a talented wrestler that WCW used him to train all the celebrities that they often hired to do wrestling matches. When WCW wanted to go into movies, they used Kanyon as a stunt and wrestling adviser. It was obvious that Kanyon was respected and recognized as a talented wrestler among his peers and employers. It was just unfortunate that circumstances never allowed him to get a fair shot at being a top star in wrestling. One wonders if more success would have allowed him to fight off depression and allow for better mental health. Despite what could have been, Kanyon still had a very entertaining wrestling career. He will always be remembered as a very talented and highly underrated wrestler.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Jewel, Pop Star?

How did I never hear about the train wreck that was Jewel's foray into pop music? Apparently, in 2003, Jewel knocked her head really hard and started to think she was Britney Spears. She then released her first, and I am sure only, pop album. I didn't mind her original album, Pieces of You, back in 1995, but I never bothered following her much after that, since her music isn't quite my style. But I would have thought, despite my lack of Jewel fandom, I would have still caught a glimpse of Jewel's embrace of short term insanity. It may have been during a time I was venturing into the great north and was completely isolated from all things pop culture.

Anyway, here is a music video of her song Intuition, which I only discovered today but has apparently been around since 2003. I would say this may be the definition of career suicide (except she is now still kicking as a country musician). Unless you think a 30 year old doing a young Britney Spears impersonation is the ingredient for instant success. The saddest thing is, I am pretty sure this isn't supposed to be a parody of a pop song, but rather an honest attempt to break into the genre.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The Holiday Festivities Continue

I had an absolutely wonderful day with my side of the family yesterday. I enjoyed a delicious meal of turkey and played a rousing game of Balderdash. It was really nice being able to hang out my brother, who I haven't seen since Christmas. Today, we are venturing off to Toronto to partake in family fun with Emily's side. I am sure it will turn out to be just as rousing and delightful.

To properly kick off this Easter Sunday, I also orchestrated a Easter Egg hunt for Emily, though she was assisted by her loyal companions, Crosby and Summit. Though it seems I hid one Easter egg a little too well because it is still residing in its place of hiding. I just hope it is not discovered on a hot August afternoon, because melted chocolate goop is highly overrated.

Anyway, I am off for a day of revelry and glee, but I wish you a fantastic day too. Be sure you have yourself an orb shaped chocolate to celebrate the day. Or maybe two or three.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Today's Marvelousness Can't Be Ignored

Marvelousness. Does not seem to be a word but I still think it is a great descriptor for today. The sun is out, the heat is not raging, and the birds are performing a lovely melody out my window. In a very short time, I will be trekking over to the parent's place for a little Easter Family Extravaganza. Where I will successfully defend my World Board Game championship. As my reward, I will partake in a delicious Easter feast. Oh what a day full of marvelousness. I urge everyone to embrace the marvelousness that encompassing this entire day. I know I will.

Friday, April 02, 2010

What Is That, Summit Sees?

Summit seems to see something up ahead. It appears to be a long weekend,

How should one spend the long weekend?

Maybe you can enjoy some delicious fried Crosby?

Or is sight seeing more your thing?

Or would you prefer to just relax?

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good Friday: Does It Hold Value For All?

Tomorrow is Good Friday, which happens to be a day that holds a lot of significance and power to a certain portion of the world's population, the Christians. But what if your religion or belief system does not fall under the Christian category? Is it just another day? Well of course, most have the privilege of being able to stay away from work for the entire day, which obviously is great value for many. Any day that I can leave the scanner by itself, is a very great day for me. But if your non Christian, does this day hold any more value than just a simple holiday? For any person who does not consider themselves a follower of Christ, would this just be a simple holiday that holds no other significance other than a reprieve from work like some other holidays (Labour Day and Civic Day, I am looking at you).

I did a little reflection upon this holiday, which is a day that holds so much significance for a specific religious group. I started realizing that the power of this day can be shared by people who do not consider themselves to be Christians. Yes, the main point of the day is to honour and reflect upon Jesus sacrificing himself on the cross in order for the entire world to be freed from sin. And yes, someone who isn't a Christian would not be able to share the same thankfulness and blessings as a Christian would. But I do think they can still appreciate the deeper message and do some of their own reflection.

If you cut out the religious subtext, the overall meaning is one of sacrifice. It is about a man (deity) who put the well being of others before himself, and made the ultimate selfless act of giving his life for a greater good. I know, that is a notion that almost anyone can appreciate and be moved by.

For a non Christian, this can be a day that they reflect upon those who made crucial sacrifices in order to help others. It can be honouring people who they personally know, such as showing respect for a single mother who puts her heart and soul into her children's well being. This is also a day that one can reflect upon other great men and women who who put their own lives on the line in order to push a noble cause they believed in. It can be a time to appreciate amazing people like Gandhi or Martin Luther King who put a great cause way above their own well being, and who ultimately sacrificed their own lives because they refused to back away from what they believed in.

It can also be a time of self reflection. How can we bring out greatness and hope for others? What do we need to sacrifice in order to help and love others? It can be a time to realize that there are things that are more important than ourselves. It is a time to think and brainstorm how those important issues can be addressed. I am sure there are many problems or dilemmas in your very own area. They may be personal and relate to your own family or friends. Or it may be bigger issues that involve your community. The big question is, what will you sacrifice or do to make sure a good cause is fulfilled?

I ask this question without knowing an answer myself. I do look to the past and see the ultimate love shown by men like Jesus and Gandhi and Martin Luther King. I hope, one day that I can show just a small fraction of the love, courage and strength they demonstrated. So, on this Good Friday, I will use this day to reflect upon sacrifice and love. Most importantly, I will think of what I can do to demonstrate that type of love myself.