headphones

These days, many women walk around playing with their phones or other devices like they’re people with lives and interests and hobbies and friends. Often they’re wearing headphones, presumably listening to Lilith Fair playlists on Spotify or podcasts about diva cups.

This means they’re not interested in being talked to by men they don’t know, and you should leave them alone.

Or does it?

Some of these women might be in serious relationships or be lesbians or maybe they’re just not looking for anything right now. Some of them could be giant bees disguised as humans and to anger them might put you in danger of being swarmed by the entire hive. In any of these cases, particularly the latter, it’s probably best to just give them a wide berth and go on your merry way.

But a lot of women wearing headphones on the bus or at the mall or while out for a jog are just waiting for you to stop them and talk to them. Why? Because the headphones they’re wearing are actually cursed relics, and they’re completely bound and under a power other than their own. They’d welcome a confident, easy-going man coming along and motioning for them to remove their headphones so that he may talk to them. And banish the malevolent spirit inhabiting those headphones back to the nightmarish hellscape from whence it came.

What To Do To Get Her Attention

  1. Stand in front of her (with 1 to 1.5 metres between you). Any less than this and you risk the demon presence’s aural tendrils latching to your eyes and the tip of your penis and draining the life force from within you, leaving you a dried-out husk and it more powerful than ever before.
  2. Hold whichever blessed vestige you intend to use to quell her curse in a confident, easy-going manner.
  3. If she hasn’t already raised her unnatural gaze toward you, simply flourish the Sword of Magisterial Truth before the dead galaxies which were once her eyes, until they meet yours. Begin to chant your litany. She most likely won’t be able to hear you, but it’s just a way of showing her that you’re trying to wrestle her everlasting soul from the malediction which has plagued her lo these many years.
  4. Once you do have her attention, by proxy of the unholy horror whose grip she is ensorcelled by, continue your sacred invocation with renewed fervor. The profane demigod who is controlling her will undoubtedly assault you with a barrage of visions of your family being tortured and dismembered in ways so unimaginable and horrific that your overwhelming instinct will be to fall prostrate in supplication and surrender for eternity to the void. But do not let your confident, easy-going manner waver, this is just how many women play hard to get and test a man’s persistence.
  5. Once the terrible spirit begins to physically manifest itself, the battle is almost won. It is now time to use against it the sacrosanct items you have brought to dispel it from our dimension forever. Be mindful that some malicious deities’ corporeal forms must be pierced by a divine implement, while others can only be defeated by having their own magic turned back against them. If the latter is the case, make sure you have with you an enchanted mirror or crystal. Also, don’t forget to keep things flirty.

For example, in a shopping mall or behind a corrupted church where dark rites are frequently performed:

You: [Smile confident and easy-goingly] HEAR ME, GROTESQUE HELLSPAWN! I HAVE COME TO SMITE YOUR COUNTENENCE FROM THIS HALLOWED PLANE! BY WHAT RUBRIC DO YOU COMMAND YOUR CATASTROPHE?

Woman: Jessica.

You: [Add in some playful banter to get a spark going between you] COOL TO MEET YOU, JESSICA. I DON’T NORMALLY EXORCISE GIRLS WITH HEADPHONES, BUT YOURS ARE FIERY PILLARS THREATENING TO CAUSE THE FIRMAMENT TO CRASH DOWN UPON US ALL AND BEGET OUR RUIN.

Woman: [Possibly sputtering an incomprehensible guttural language, spewing thick noxious fumes] Hi.

If it’s clear that she’s interested in battling with you for the very future of humankind, sit and chat with her for a bit before getting her phone number and rending the fabric of existence to exile her malignant spectral puppeteer.

Common Mistakes That Guys Make When Approaching Women Wearing Cursed Headphones

  1. Not knowing what kind of curse they’re up against

One of the biggest mistakes guys make when approaching a woman wearing cursed headphones is not having done his research. Knowing the difference between an ancient Sumerian curse and an ancient Phoenician one can mean the difference between saving your town or having all the liquid in your body burst through your flesh in every direction at once. This isn’t amateur hour, so if you don’t want every child born on earth for the next two hundred years to be stunted goat-goblins, read your grimoires, guys. It’s all in there.

  1. Not being confident and easy-going

You should have a confident, easy-going manner.

  1. Taking “No” for an answer

Whether it’s winning a vicious confrontation with an all-consuming eidolon or winning the heart of a beautiful young woman, the key is always persistence. If she won’t take those headphones off, keep trying. Women are attracted to unwavering, borderline-threatening determination in men, and demons fear it. So don’t allow “no” to even be part of your vocabulary. Unless, of course, you’re uttering the phrase “erok aanul no fadeem kruul” as part of your cantrip to excommunicate a powerful apparition back to N’eleth Tul, in which case obviously the ritual won’t work without it.

With all these tips, you should be well on your way to seeking out and talking to women wearing cursed headphones and breaking the curses forced upon them. Of course, not every woman wearing headphones is wearing cursed headphones, but the only way to find out for sure is to get out there, be confident and easy-going, talk to them, and see what happens when you throw the mystical astral powder into their eyes that you obtained from that high-ranking necromancer!

Photo by cinnamon_girl via Flickr

Ed’s Note: In case you don’t know and think Johnny Scott has lost it, this article is a parody of a really terrible post on another site. We don’t want to give them direct traffic, but Google “How to Talk to a Woman Who is Wearing Headphones” and you’ll find it. Also, yes, Johnny Scott did in fact lose it a few years ago, but apparently has found it again. When we find out exactly what “it” is, we’ll let you know.

Cameron Esposito

Rushing from watching the fireworks at Montreal’s Old Port, I was almost late to Cameron Esposito’s show at Montreal Improv. I’m glad I wasn’t, because it was perhaps one of the most entertaining and different sets I’ve ever seen.

What do I mean? For one, you know how stand-up comedians usually try to seem candid because it makes their spiel more believable? After all, you are listening to a complete stranger telling you stories about themselves. You need to first care about these people, before you can even consider laughing at them. Even then, more often than not, the line between the stage and the audience remains very palpable.

Yet with Esposito, her attempts at connecting with the audience not only do feel real, I’m pretty sure they are real. Throughout the show, she talked with two members of the audience. Usually, when that happens, the comedian tries to fit as many jokes as they can about that person’s life. Esposito, however, seemed genuinely interested in what these people had to say, and actually listened. Now, maybe she was just that good at acting, but I remain convinced that it was all real.

For second, there aren’t nearly enough LGBTQ comedians represented at JFL. As far as I can tell, most comedians I’ve seen at JFL have been straight folks, and mostly guys. After a while, these stories get old, because straight love/sex stories are the only stories you hear in the mainstream. Most movies, most TV shows, most anime, most anything – straight stories are everywhere.

So I’m really glad I got to see Esposito at this JFL. She and her wife Rhea Butcher – who also happened to be the opener for Esposito – are really funny. Both of their sets have your run-of-the-mill “America is awful, Canada is so much better” jokes as well as really thoughtful rants/commentaries about gender, politics, and gender and politics.

For instance, one part of Esposito’s set was literally a speech about why Hilary Clinton is fit to be the next president of the U.S. – if not the best candidate the U.S. has seen in a while. I’ve seen many comedians during this year’s JFL, and Esposito was the first one to talk less about Trump, and more about Hilary. Admittedly, it was strange that she got so serious during a stand-up comedy show, but I think I’m into it. In fact, I really like it and I think more people should do it.

We always talk about how comedians are supposed to critique society, point out its flaws or whatever. This is what it should be like. Pointing out problems about society and making you laugh on the side – I might add that no hearing impaired people with terminal illnesses were insulted in the process (looking at you Mr. Ward).

Furthermore, the topics Esposito talks about actually challenge people’s perceptions and understandings. To take that a step further, Esposito and Butcher are launching a new show on Seeso called Take my Wife. Unfortunately, Seeso doesn’t stream outside of U.S., so we won’t be able to watch the show in Canada, but as Esposito puts it, “we don’t need [the show], because we accept people.” The accuracy of our positive verdict notwithstanding, it was really amazing to see a lesbian comedian feel free to make jokes about her identity, without having to fear any bigoted hecklers.

Then again, maybe that was because she was preaching to the choir and the people at the show were already the kind of people who know that gender is a social construct and sexuality is a spectrum.

After this show, I’m very confident that I need more Cameron Esposito-kinda comedy in my life. Funny but not trivial stuff. If we truly want comedy to be a type of subversive act that will mould society into something better, that’s what we need.

* Featured image courtesy of Just for Laughs

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Ahoy, mates! I welcome ye aboard the Swift Doom, the most notorious and feared galley on the Seven Seas. Yer all here because ye saw one o’ the want ads we posted all over the port, and in every ale house and brothel where a carousin’ scallywag can wet his whistle and whatever else he wants to wet! Yar har har!

O’ course, we also put up bulletins on the community notice boards and at the women’s resource centres. On this ship we don’t discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation. Many o’ our top officers are women, and we pay ’em the same as the men. None o’ this 70 cents on the doubloon nonsense! And ol’ Gibberin’ Thomas in the crow’s nest is openly gay. Though that doesn’t define his role or personality, I’m just mentionin’ it to illustrate a point. He’s a respected member o’ the team, and we don’t treat him any different. Arr.

If ye be a visible minority, we have many excitin’ opportunities fer ye in entry level bilgin’ and swabbin’ with plenty o’ room fer advancement. We here on the Swift Doom like to encourage diversity. Not like we have a quota or nothin’, but we pride ourselves on our multicultural hirin’ policies. Time off will be given on all major religious holidays, yar, and concessions will be made fer any cultural or ceremonial attire, as long as it doesn’t be gettin’ in the way o’ yer swashbucklin’! Yarrrrrrr har!

Now, speakin’ o’ swashbucklin’, we’ll be engagin’ in some rough and sometimes dangerous activities, involvin’ cannons and swingin’ on ropes and fightin’ off scurrilous knaves with our cutlasses. So it be important that ye tell us now if ye have any disabilities or medical conditions. Thar’s a place fer everyone aboard this ship, and the handi-capable are a vital part o’ our crew. We even got a substantial booty compensation plan fer anyone who’s crippled due to hazardous workin’ conditions. Just because we’re out there pillagin’ and plunderin’ doesn’t mean anyone has to be unsafe about it!

Oh, yar, and speakin’ o’ which, now would be the time to let us know if ye have any food restrictions or allergies. Once we set out to sea, it’ll be leagues before we’re able to stop somewhere fer soy or tofu. No worries about nuts, though, this’s been a nut-free ship fer nigh on to two score and seven. We be able to accommodate anyone needin’ kosher or halal meal plans, and fer any o’ you vegans, our cook, Big Stompin’ Bertram, makes a delightful arame and lentil salad once we get out to where the kelp grows thick.

Arrrrrrr, now if yer able to follow the rules o’ the ship, and not expose any o’ yer shipmates to problematic behaviour, ye’ll do just fine. But if ye be a troublemaker, well, yer punishments will be fierce. A spell locked away in the brig is standard, but fer particularly troublesome rapscallions a strongly-worded thinkpiece on the nature and effects o’ yer actions will be employed. And for the most heinous o’ offences, such as body-shamin’ a fellow matey, you’ll be forced to—and trigger warnin’ now, there’s going to be some frank talk about plank-walkin’—walk the plank!

So, if ye still think the pirate life is the life for ye, get yer blunderbussin’ arses to work with all the other scurvy dogs. O’ course, I use the term “scurvy dogs” as a colloquialism, there’re no pets allowed on the ship whatsoever. A bunch o’ us got allergies. Arr, that reminds me, no strong colognes or perfumes neither. We’re tryin’ to make this a safe, comfortable, inclusive space fer everyone!

Hoist the Jolly Rita! That’s what the Jolly Roger goes by since she began identifyin’ as female last year, and we all support her heartily, aye, so we do. Also there’s no expectation fer her to be jolly at all times. She may be our flag, but she doesn’t owe us anythin’. If she doesn’t feel like smilin’, there isn’t one o’ us who has a right to tell her she ought to be.

Now, get yer sorry deck-swabbin’ behinds into line, we leave first thing tomorrow after brunch! Big Stompin’ Bertram is makin’ gluten-free french toast and salmon eggs benedict with a spinach hollandaise!

 

Photo by Robert Pittman via Flickr

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So, you’re single. Big deal. Who cares? So what if all your couple friends talk about you when you’re not around in a concerned tone usually reserved for speaking about someone who just found out they have cancer. There’s no shame in being single. Be proud, you impossible-to-love loner weirdo.

But just because you’re single doesn’t mean you need to fall into bad eating habits in an attempt to fill the all-consuming void inside you. Microwave burritos, frozen pizzas, and potato wedges from the fried chicken shack down the street that’s been shut down four times already this year for health code violations are easy options when you’ve got no one to impress with your culinary prowess. But, come on, you’re better than this. That chicken place is covered in rodent droppings. They found them on the ceiling fan once. How does that even happen?

There are loads of great tasting, simple to prepare meals for one out there that won’t hurt your wallet, either. So, whether you just got dumped or you’ve been perpetually single for years, keep in mind that you’re fundamentally damaged and no one will ever be able to commit to a healthy long-lasting partnership with you because you’re incapable of being happy with who you are.

Wait, sorry, I meant to say keep in mind that a fun, healthy solo dinner is just a few easy steps away. Ignore that last thing. Anyway, here are a few of my favourites for you to try.

This first one is a regular in my meal plan because it’s so quick and requires so few ingredients. Start with one 1.5 litre bottle of wine (red or white, the recipe’s pretty flexible), and drink a third of it. Officially the recipe calls for you to drink from a wine glass, but that’s not required. I usually use a nice ceramic coffee mug, but you can use pretty much any receptacle you have on hand. Or just drink straight from the bottle. The recipe doesn’t call for any judgment. I once completed the entire thing using a cat dish because I ran out of clean cups.

Once the first third of the bottle is finished, the next step is to go outside for five to seven minutes and yell at something alive. It could be a stranger out walking their dog, it could be their dog, it could be a squirrel or a bug, the important thing is that it’s a living being that can comprehend on some level that you’re angry at life and you’re taking that out on it unfairly.

In a pinch, if you can’t find anything else, yell at God. Whether God exists, or is “alive”, is not for this recipe to weigh in on, but if you can’t find even a bird or something hanging around, God can be substituted.

Once you have shouted yourself hoarse, or the neighbours have dialed the police, return to the wine, and drink the next third. As you’re doing this, log into Facebook. It’s time to start messaging exes. Begin by telling them it was a mistake to ever let them out of your life, and things were so much better when you were together, despite all those things you said, you can see that now. You’re seeing things clearly for the first time. They were right this whole time, and you’re sorry for everything, especially that unfortunate toast at their sister’s wedding.

Switch gears very quickly at this point, telling them that they don’t deserve you and they’ll never find someone as good at oral as you are. Then preemptively block them, catch a bus to where they live, and take a shit right outside the drivers’ side door of their Optima.

If you’re already blocked by your exes, you’ll have to find a more creative way to get a message out. I put them into articles I write, because I know you’re reading this, Stephanie. I hope Brad knows he’s not just moving in with you, he’s also moving in with your borderline pathological trust issues.

The final step is finishing the last third of the wine. This will complete the meal with a lot of crying, perhaps a hole punched in the drywall or cupboard doors ripped off, and a good deal of speculation on who would attend your funeral if you died tonight. The meal is capped off when you pass out in the bathtub.

That’s it, I guess. I know I said I had a few recipes to share, but, well, life’s full of all kinds of disappointments, isn’t it? That’s what I was screaming about at that caterpillar after a third of a bottle of wine last night, anyway.

 

Photo by korafotomorgana via Flickr

sevensamurai

Day One

Seven Samurai (1954) Seven hired samurai battle a group of bandits to save a farm village. Widely considered one of cinema’s greatest classics, this is Kurosawa at his most masterful. Plus, I ate a total of three turkey sandwiches during the film. With cheese. A

Day Two

Sanshiro Sugata (1943) Even in his first film, Kurosawa’s striking visual style is on display, seeds of the hallmarks of his later films can be seen, and I texted this girl whose number I’d gotten at the bar the weekend before while I was watching. I ate some ice cream mid-way through the movie, but the girl didn’t text me back. B

Day Three

Sanshiro Sugata 2 (1945) This is the sequel to the one I watched yesterday, and it was basically more of the same. That girl still hasn’t texted me back, and I was watching my phone for the whole movie, so I would’ve seen it if she did. D-

Day Four

Dodesukaden (1970) A story of the lives of a community of people who live in a garbage dump. Pretty interesting film, and his first in colour. Like, look, even if you’re not interested, a text back is just common courtesy. D

Day Five

Stray Dog (1949) A rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen pistol, which is being used in a series of escalating crimes. Finished off that ice cream from the other day and didn’t leave the apartment. B+

Day Six

Dreams (1990) A visually stunning collection of vignettes inspired by recurring dreams from throughout Kurosawa’s life. I had a bunch of McDonald’s when I watched it because I got some coupons in the mail, and by the time the movie was done I could already feel the rumblings of some pretty horrific diarrhea ahead. C-

Day Seven

The Men Who Tread on the Tiger’s Tail (1945) Some guys are trying to sneak through the mountains dressed as monks for some reason? I don’t know, I fell asleep for a lot of this one. It was a great nap, though. B

Day Eight

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) A taut drama about a man seeking revenge on the high-powered bureaucrats who forced his father to commit suicide to cover up their embezzlement. I was sexting with an ex throughout most of this one, and then about two hours into its two and a half hour run I left to go hook up with her. A+

Day Nine

Scandal (1950) A damning portrayal of the invasive nature of the media. The ex I hooked up with last night said something about this mole on my arm looking bigger than it used to. Does it? I’ve been trying to figure it out the whole movie. C

Day Ten

Ran (1985) A sprawling epic about an aging patriarch and his three jerk sons who all won’t stop trying to kill each other. This is one of Kurosawa’s last films, and is his last period epic. The composition of each shot is incomparable, the colour is absolutely vibrant, and I had a burrito during it that was the size of a fucking newborn baby. A

Day Eleven

Drunken Angel (1948) An alcoholic doctor goes beyond the call of duty to try to save a young gangster from tuberculosis. Visually striking shots and powerful performances make this a gripping watch. All the stuff about doctors kept making me think about this mole, though. Is it bigger?? B

Day Twelve

The Lower Depths (1957) I texted an old nurse friend a pic of the mole. He said it’s nothing to worry about. Actually, what he said was to stop texting him, we’re not friends, in fact he wishes the mole was cancerous. It was a bit much. I mean, it’s been like six years since I slept with his girlfriend. Some people can really hold a grudge. My main takeaway, though, is that the mole isn’t a big deal. B+

Day Thirteen

The Most Beautiful (1944) I was feeling like kind of a fatso because I’d eaten a bunch of poutine earlier, so I decided to start working out while I’m watching these. I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical, and by the end I felt like a 90-year-old on his death bed. D

Day Fourteen

Rhapsody In August (1991) A Nagasaki family discovers an estranged relative and his family in Hawaii. There is a lot of talk about the atomic bomb. Richard Gere speaking Japanese was way too disconcerting. D-

Day Fifteen

Yojimbo (1961) A wandering ronin plays two rival gangs against each other to save a town from their grip. Got me pumped up to work out again. I did two sets of twenty sit-ups and spent so much of the movie on the elliptical that I could hardly breathe. So, as a reward, I ate grilled cheese sandwiches until I passed out. B+

Day Sixteen

Sanjuro (1962) The sequel to Yojimbo. So tired and sore from all the sit-ups yesterday I could hardly move. Had to pause the movie several times to poop, because of all the grilled cheese sandwiches. C

Day Seventeen

One Wonderful Sunday (1947) A melodramatic tale of a young couple trying to make the best of their Sunday date, despite only having 35 yen. Still not really feeling up to doing any exercise again. Maybe tomorrow. Yeah, tomorrow. And no more grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, I mean, I’ve still got some cheese, I should finish that off. Then no more grilled cheese sandwiches after that. For real. B-

Day Eighteen

Throne of Blood (1957) A re-telling of Macbeth, set in feudal Japan. I got really drunk during this one. A

terriblydrunk

Day Nineteen

The Quiet Duel (1949) So hung over. Is it me, or was this movie way too loud and bright? D-

Day Twenty

Dersu Uzala (1975) I saw a UFO! No, for real. It’s hard to describe, but it was this slowly brightening orb of light that got really intense and then slowly faded and was gone. The really weird thing, though, is that right where it had been in the sky, the clouds segmented into these perfectly symmetrical rectangles that were all geometrically sound and were equidistant from each other, like in a grid. It was weird, man. I’ve never seen anything like it before. B

Day Twenty-One

Madadayo (1993) None of the local newspapers would print anything about the UFO I saw. Like, I’m not expecting it to be front page news or anything, but you’d think they’d want to print a little something. It’s news, after all. It really happened. I did get a free tote bag and coffee mug, though, so it wasn’t a total loss. C

Day Twenty-Two

The Hidden Fortress (1958) Pretty sure Kurosawa just ripped most of this off from Star Wars? C-3PO+

Day Twenty-Three

No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) To be completely honest, I didn’t really understand most of this movie because I don’t understand Japanese. D-

Day Twenty-Four

Ikiru (1952) My cats were being so cute while I watched this, I started snapping a few pics of them and before I knew it I had over 50. It took me the whole rest of the movie to Instagram them all. Time to let the likes roll in. B+

Day Twenty-Five

I Live in Fear (1955) Got 12 likes!! B

Day Twenty-Six

Red Beard (1965) Seven more likes! A

Day Twenty-Seven

The Idiot (1951) It kind of hit me while I was watching this that I’ve been doing this every day for just about a month now, and I’m nearing the end. Can I be honest with you? For years now I’ve been adrift, my life all but meaningless, hardly having a reason to get up out of bed in the mornings, tilting listlessly from paycheque to paycheque and drink to drink. But watching these films has pulled my life into a direction. However trifling it may seem, it’s been a constant that I’ve desperately needed, and I don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s over. No rating, what’s the point?

Day Twenty-Eight

High and Low (1963) Things got a bit real yesterday. I’m feeling better today, and I’m confident that things will turn around for me soon. You never know what tomorrow will bring. B

Day Twenty-Nine

Kagemusha (1980) I finally beat the level in Candy Crush that I’ve been stuck on for, like, two years! B+

Day Thirty

Rashomon (1950) Rashomon is considered to be not only one of Kurosawa’s greatest achievements, but one of the greatest in the history of film. Its innovative camera techniques and use of multiple perspectives of the same narrative changed filmmaking forever. It was the film which launched Japanese cinema into world consciousness, and cemented Kurosawa as one of the leading figures in the medium not just at the time, but of all time. I don’t know, though, I was distracted by this really itchy mosquito bite on my leg that I couldn’t stop scratching the whole time. C

Letterman

We can all agree that late night talk shows are very popular in the U.S. and in Canada as well. For decades, there have been numerous talk shows hosted by different television personalities talking about current events in a humorous way and interviewing different guests.

Personally, I indulge in a little late-night binging myself every now and then, right before I go to bed. I guess it’s the combination of comedy and celebrity interviews that keeps me relaxed. But not all shows are alike.

This past Wednesday, I purposely stayed up to catch David Letterman’s final Late Show after being on the air for 33 years. Although the show has had high ratings throughout the years, Letterman has never seemed to interest me. Unless he has a guest on his show that I actually like, I’ll tune in; otherwise, I don’t find him to be all that funny. I’m more of a Tonight Show fan (since Leno, not Carson) and the current host, Jimmy Fallon, is one of my favorite comedians.

Fans of the show will miss David Letterman, his monologues, and the sound of breaking glass every time he would throw pencils and index cards (ok, I’ll admit that was pretty funny). But what viewers will miss the most is Dave’s Top Ten List, a regular segment of the show that consists of humorous topics. During Wednesday’s program, a star-studded cast, including Barbara Walters, Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Martin, took part in presenting the Final Top Ten things celebrities always wanted to say to the host (again, quite funny). 

So as Letterman says goodbye, America will be saying hello to Stephen Colbert, as he will be the one taking over the Late Show this fall. Once again, I don’t think I’ll be watching the show even with Colbert as host but I will tune in to the first few shows just to see what he will bring to the table.

However, I would’ve liked to have seen a new face enter the prime time slot. Perhaps a daytime TV host or a female comedian. Did CBS make a wise choice in picking Colbert? Or should they have gone with someone else?

Saint-Henri_Montreal_1859

St-Henri’s been getting me snickering lately, and I’ll gander you might agree. Folks have been trying to refurbish its tenement-of-yore, slant-floored, jute-insulated grandeur for a while. The speed of it is starting to show.

I remember 5-buck two-egg breakfast down at Restaurant Place St-Henri, with its onion soup-soaked “home” fries and its greenish eggs. What a rich, cultured scene! And bottomless, hopefully unburnt coffee, too. I remember hitting it nearly every morning, even when strapped, and all the other budget-prone freelancers in the neighbourhood doing the same—our own little wordless congregation. You could always get a booth, except on welfare-check day.

It’s been closed for a while – two years come February – and then John’s 2.0 burned / was burned down this summer. And as much as I’d love to hit Miracle Pizza every morning for a salmonella gamble, this all leaves fewer Quebie options to live by. This all used to be so cheap. Casse-croûte or die, but cheap.

Enter, as such, Midi 6—a tasty, not so expensive, or organized, or Quebie, compromise. It’s Saturday, so I’m hitting the undrinkable dark roast full tilt, caution to the wind. Three creams. Sugar. More sugar. Two eggs over easy, sausage and a croissant and all the coffee I can get down—$6,61 all in before tip.

As for the scene, the gentrifiers within earshot are rattling on about the hypoallergenic way to go, spoon-blitzing their irreverent offspring with gulps of organic purees. I’m also getting an earful of some young Dollard-seeming brunchers on about 30-day money-back guarantees, vacation accrual, and loud-mouthed Shoulda Switched to Telus and I’ve Found My Calling in Compliance boasts.

Everyone seems proper weekend pleased, on a wailer of a time. I catalogue factory-frayed stylings and the sight of sweatpants in public—taking notes on telling Montrealer allophone brain farts like “bang for your dollar.” It’s a little, pointless game; it’s a slow, late morning.

sweatpantsAll of them are so happy with it all I gather that I’m probably the ridiculous one. That the neighbourhood’s just moving on past whatever we thought it was. Whatever some think it to be.

For instance, after breakfast and a block over at the artisanal coffee beanery, the one-gear Fattal-ites are thinking up that the “real yuppies” are actually infesting NDG; that St-Henri is still, essentially, as punk as scabies. The steam wands of their smithy shall micro-foam on in resistance, and 3$ rooibos is about integrity. They sure seem pleased enough.

Meanwhile, cramping my eavesdropping style is a wild-haired, middle-aged behemoth, waiting out a French press in progress, who is railing on at the sweet quipster barista: “open your damn eyes!” the seas are death, the lizard folk, NAFTA, FATCA, the Military Industrial Food Complex (check your Eisenhower, please), the porcine gene pool!!!

It’s like a live-cast of a Rabble article, or my Facebook feed on most days. Yet another sample of the neighbourhood, he finally breezes on out of the shop, but only after having made everyone a little shushed. “Take it easy,” he says, baby smooth. A collective sigh. We are convinced.

All the while, I’m trying to polish off the end of David Foster Wallace’s “A Supposedly Fun Thing” essay—honing in long enough, here and there, to guffaw joyously at the “semi-agoraphobe” in him. He’s covering the Luxury Cruise experience aboard the “Nadir” megaliner, but barely leaving his room, and bingeing on Cabin Service. Last I looked back down, he had At-Sea-Cable on again, on his fifth whack at Jurassic Park, really empathizing with the raptors, trying like hell to escape all the “bovine” cruiserdom.

I’m trying to give him my undivided, but, you know, here’s the multi-ply kerfuffle I fancied I’d go out and probe. Hard not to look up; hard not to fret, or giggle. All this just seems to keep gusting along Notre-Dame, some westerly swindle. “Maybe it’s just you,” I think, to myself. “Take it easy,” I repeat.

Then “OK, let’s make some money!” blares serendipitously from someone’s VAIO—turned down in a panic, for shame. I gander it must be an endeared omen, right? I mean, what’s not to laugh at, right?

apo

To whomever finds this letter,

I do not know what will have become of the world as I know it when these words are found, or indeed if they ever will be found. But I feel it is my duty to record the horrors of the last few hours of the world as it was until recently known. In the hopes that future sons and daughters of this great Earth may learn from the mistakes of us, their cursed forebears.

It’s funny, in a macabre sort of way, that the end would be heralded in such a mundane way. No great trumpeted roar from the bowels of the planet, or blood-red comet slashing its way across the still skies. But a poster. A poster no different from any other poster you’d see plastered to the wall of a building, or stapled to a telephone pole.

A poster with band names virtually indistinguishable from those on all the other posters tacked up on the bulletin board at the coffee shop. Advertising a show at a tiny bar not unlike the tiny bars on the rest of the posters hanging in the entrance of the record store. With the same nondescript artwork, drawn by the same friend of the band, as the others in the crooked lineup stuck to the wall of the university hallway.

The posters appeared about a week and a half before the events of the night that civilization perished. Few noticed these grim harbingers, and those who did gave them little heed.

I admit, I turned a blind eye to what I now see as an unmistakable foreshadowing of destruction. Ravens, silent sentinels perching heavily atop each streetlamp post this grim mark was taped to. Strange, unsettling glyphs drawn onto the sidewalks surrounding the community events boards the ghastly prophecy was affixed to. A terrible hooded Facebook avatar offering up free tickets for those willing to part with their souls.

Even now, after everything I hold dear was lost or slaughtered, I still do not know whether the bands involved were somehow part of the plot for the world’s demise, or if they were unknowing marionettes guided into gruesome pantomime by a much more sinister hand.

When I arrived to the scene, I was asked by the gnarled, ghoulish gatekeeper working the door if I was on the guest list, which I was not. I still maintain that the cover I paid was the toll that saved my life that night, that all those who were on that list of the damned were destroyed. But saved me for what kind of life?

If my suspicion of the apocalypse had before been only a distant inkling, stepping into that dank bar turned it into a very real fear. An opening band mewled listlessly in some offensive tongue and lurched with shambolic determination toward something obscene only it could see. A member of one of the other bands hissed and spat venom at a bartender in dispute over a bigger bar tab.

And scattered in ragged clumps around the stage were stagnant-eyed patrons, absently gulping at drinks to dull their senses to the mounting onslaught of doom around them. Were they all, like me, morbidly drawn to this hexed gathering by some intangible force they were greatly unsettled by but too fearful of to disobey? Or were they all just friends and family of band members who weren’t quick enough to create an excuse not to be here?

I drifted amongst them with a growing sense of unease. I had a horrific moment when I came upon the merch table, and face to face with the hollow spectre tending it. A poor, wretched creature, girlfriend to one of the band members. No doubt once quite beautiful, now a shadow of a person, like a child’s crude Crayola approximation of what a human being looks like.

Her eyes were dead galaxies in which I could see the ghosts of every lively social engagement she’d passed up to sit disenchanted at the head of this table. Doomed to hawk misshapen idols printed upon t-shirts that cracked and flaked in the atmosphere outside of the boxes that had long ago become their crypts.

As I backed away slowly, almost paralyzed with disgust, I became aware of a burgeoning sensation of dread in my ears. One that spread like a ravenous cancer to my heart, and dropped with an uncontrollable messy splash through my anus. I knew with unassailable certainty that this was the end. I turned to see that which I already knew I would see. The main act had taken the stage. And, in a cruel knife-twist of brutality, had not done their sound check beforehand.

I tried to exit the building, but it was too late. I saw briefly through the closing doors that fire was already raining down upon the streets, and jagged thrusts of ice were erupting from sewer grates and manholes. The crowd inside was cheering now, a nauseating sound like a chorus of half-run-over dogs. The stage lights blazed on with hellish fury, just as the guitarist hacked out the first chord. And I knew then that all was lost.

What happened after that I cannot recount in this letter. To spare you, poor reader, and because the specifics of that horror are indescribable. The world was never again as it was after that monstrous night of cosmic abandon and indie rock. Few survived, and even fewer know what really happened.

I think I might be the only one who escaped ground zero unscathed. Physically unscathed, that is. The terrors are unrelenting in my brain. And so I leave this record. Before I take my own life to finally escape the rancid demons that continue to torture me.

So I ask any who may chance to read this to heed my tale, and carry forth my message. And that message is this: Jimmy, your shitty band really sucked Friday night and you’re really an asshole. Worst show ever.

 

Photo by FlickrDelusions via Flickr

 

 

bird

Autumn brings with it beautiful crisp weather and a magnificent change in the colour of the landscape, making it ideal for long walks in the park, or even just down particularly leafy streets. It also brings with it the seasonal migration of many kinds of birds and the trees and skies are teeming with all manner of species that we don’t see any other time of the year.

If, like me, you are an avid participant of the genteel pursuit of bird watching, fall is a time of year that compares to no other. I had the good fortune of being able to spend the entire day in the park yesterday watching my fine flying feathered chums. Here is a log of all the marvelous things I saw.

7:45am: The sun is just beginning to crest the horizon. Its delicate glow is penetrating, slowly dispersing the low hanging wisps of mist that gently swirl about the dew speckled grass, and, with the compassionate ache of a wearied mother tenderly slipping a blade between the ribs of her mortally ill child to spare him the horror of painful dilapidation, it stabs its warmth into the hanging chill of the pre-dawn murk.

Fuck this, it’s too early. The birds will still be there later. I’m going to sleep a bit longer.

9:21am: The sun is bright, and a cool gentle breeze is my companion. The park is starting to bustle with activity. There are tights-clad joggers, alone, in pairs, in groups. There are couples walking their dogs and children playing carefree in the leaves. I see at least one other bird watcher. He’s staked out in some bushes not far down the path from me. Though he seems less than equipped, wearing sneakers and a dark hoodie, with no discernible binoculars or bird checklist. But it’s not my place to judge the level of other bird watchers’ professionalism, and it’s nice to see another birder taking advantage of this perfect day!

Of course, it’s not the human activity I’m here to observe. And the park is alive with flaps and chirps. Besides the usual sparrows and robins, I’ve already spotted a Green Throated Thrush, a Hellman’s Dipping Piper, and three Grey Gorgecocks. It looks like it’ll be a good day!

10:56am: Wow, can’t believe my luck! I just caught sight of a male and female Spangled Heron doing their harvest dance! Not many people can say they’ve witnessed that!

I introduced myself to the other birder, in the hoodie. He seemed skittish and reluctant to talk to me. He said his name is Tom, but I practically had to force it out of him, and he wouldn’t ever look me in the eye. Haha, takes all kinds, I guess!

12:12pm: I can’t believe how great this day is going! It’s barely into the afternoon and I’ve already checked off so many birds on my list! I saw a flock of Stevie’s Crossbeaks and just now got a good long look at a Red Tipped Running Lark. And the whole time I was eating my lunch under a tree, I was treated to the beautiful song of a Smeckel’s Whistler in the branches above me.

I don’t think Tom is faring as well as me. In fact, I think this might be his first bird watching excursion. He’s scared off several rare birds as he’s skulked through the brush, as if he didn’t even notice them. And at one point he seemed totally oblivious to the Reticulated Mud Goose that was practically right in front of him. He seemed more concerned with a jogger who had stopped to tie her shoes. He was hunched over, and I don’t know what he was checking off in his list, but whatever it was it looked like he was doing it pretty vigorously. Maybe I should give him some pointers.

3:45pm: I think this is turning out to be the best day of birding I’ve ever had! I’ve waded with Marsh Hawks and heard the crying of an Orbison’s Blackbird and felt the spray of the Flaxen Ridged Sputterer. It’s a great day to be a birder. Well, at least it is for this birder. Tom’s luck seems to be getting worse. Last I saw him he was climbing up the riverbank, covered in mud. Must have taken a tumble. He might have hurt himself, too, because he looked to have a lot of blood on him. I would’ve offered him some help, but I’d just spotted a pair of Jameson’s Forktails and I didn’t want to spoil this great roll I was on.

7:20pm: It’s getting pretty dark now, and the park will be closing soon, but I’ve still got a bit of time to try to catch sight of a few nocturnal birds. I’m really hoping I’ll see a Diner’s Nighthawk. That would just be the icing on this already sweet day! I didn’t see Tom again for a while, and thought he’d given up, but just a few minutes ago I saw him by the fountain. It looked like he was trying to wash something.

9:35pm: Well, I must say that was a day that I won’t soon forget! I never could have imagined that I’d see as many species as I did! I can’t wait to tell everyone at the bird club about this at our next meeting. I bet they’ll be pretty jealous!

I can’t help but feel a little bad for my new friend Tom, though. It didn’t look like his day went so well. I have to admire his tenacity, though, he was still at it when I decided to call it a night. Just digging and digging this big hole in the ground. What a guy! Haha, that’s the most determined I’ve ever seen someone to spot a Silver Crested Burrowing Owl!

 

Photo by blmiers2 via Flickr

water

Few things have humankind dedicated more time and resources toward than the search for an effective hangover cure. It’s a testament to the complexity of the problem that after this long in the timeline of human development we still have not landed on something that really works. We’ve proven ourselves to be more than capable at creating stronger and more devastating hangovers, with inventions such as Jag bombs, beer bongs and family reunions, but the elimination of a bad hangover still eludes us.

But, while there is still no foreseeable cure, there are some actions that can be taken to relieve the symptoms. Clearly not drinking isn’t an option, so when you can’t resist the shimmering allure of that open bar at your cousin’s wedding or siren’s call of that bottle of navy rum hidden in the toilet tank at the office, here are a few tips that should help you minimize those next day aches and heaves.

First off, a huge part of what makes a hangover so uncomfortable is that all the alcohol you’ve consumed has caused your body a great deal of dehydration. So you’re going to want to drink a lot of water or Gatorade to take care of that. Make sure when you’re lying prostrate, trying not to move or hear any sounds that you have a ready source of water at hand. I’d recommend a hose, or at the very least tie a bucket to your cat and send her out to collect rain water.

Some people will tell you that the best way to get rid of a hangover is the old “hair of the dog that bit you” method of just starting to drink again. I can’t argue with the efficiency of this, but it’s a slippery slope. When does it end? I got really into this method a couple summers ago, thinking I would never have to deal with a hangover if I never let myself sober up. And, let me tell you, it works. But I figure I’m going to have to face sobriety sometime. I mean I haven’t had a hangover in two years, but I also used to have a job and a car and a home. And kids? I can‘t remember.

Anyway, those are the two solutions that come up the majority of the time you talk about hangover cures with most people. But I’ve got a couple more that I’ve discovered throughout my years that aren’t as well known and widely discussed.

Like adrenaline. Few things can blast the ill feelings of a night of hard drinking out of your system quite like it. But not just any adrenaline. Sure, bungee jumping or going for a ride on a roller coaster would offer some respite, masked robbery of a Red Lobster for some more beer money works satisfactorily too, but the real kind of adrenaline you need to crest that hill of nausea and shame comes from two and a half simple words. Auto-erotic asphyxiation.

Another really effective method is to be hit by lightning. This one isn’t as practical as auto-erotic asphyxiation, which really only needs a belt and a closet, because you need the co-operation of the skies themselves. But if you’re lucky enough to be caught in a thunderstorm during a hangover, climb a tree or stand in a field with something metal.

It’s important that it’s lightning, though, not just any electricity. Jamming a screwdriver into an outlet doesn’t have the same restorative power, and you’re likely to just make your headache worse. As an added bonus, one in every ten people who get struck by lightning develop powerful psychic powers. Or is it deep psychological issues? One of the two, I can’t remember. The good one, maybe. Only one way to find out, I guess.

Really, though, the only guaranteed way to beat a hangover is to not drink at all, and for a lot of people that would mean altering broader aspects of their lives. It’s difficult to be in certain situations and not drink heavily. Birthday parties, BBQs, orgies, concerts, parks, any kind of religious service, shopping, and bus rides longer than twenty minutes would all be next to impossible without the aid of enough alcohol to cause a hangover that could incapacitate a large elk.

Which is why there will always be need for good restorative tips. And I think you’re going to need one or two of these tips soon, if it took you even half the amount of liquor to get through reading this article as it did for me to get through writing it.

 

Photo by camknows via Flickr

suit

If there’s one thing people say about me, it’s probably “he’s a real dirtbag.” If there’s two things, it’d probably be that and something about owing them some money for drugs, or some drugs for money. And if there are three things people said about me, it would be those two and that I’m a dead man for sleeping with their girlfriend/sister/favourite member of Wilson Phillips.

Okay, so if there were, like, seven or eight things people say about me, one of them would be “he sure looks really good all the time. How does he do it?”

Well, as you’ve probably guessed already because otherwise this would be a really short article, I’m going to tell you. Tell you as much as I can, obviously. I mean, a lot of what’s going on up in here that gets the ladies damp and misty is genetics, and I can’t teach you genetics. Who am I, Gregor Mendel? That guy looked like a pile of crap. No one this good looking becomes a scientist. No, if you weren’t lucky enough to be born in a line of statuesque genetic lotto-winners with a marble-hewn dick, then you’ll need to dress yourself up a bit if you want to be less glaringly offensive to the eyes of those around you.

You’ve got to be in shape, first of all. And not just any shape, like a bee or a steamroller, a good shape. Like the shape of a human who’s physically fit. The easiest way to do this is to go to the gym regularly or get a job where you’re active, instead of just sitting at a desk all day, like a mail carrier or a piano mover or a mugger.

And eat properly, too. They say you are what you eat, so if you eat nothing but burgers and tacos all the time you’ll be a big sack of greasy meat. But if you eat a lot of salmon you’ll be flaky and people will choke on your tiny bones. The best way to judge your physical appearance (and you should be judging yourself, all the time) is to look in the mirror and ask yourself honestly if you’d have sex with you. Y’know, like, if you didn’t have to have sex with you because no one else will.

Almost as important as the shape you’re in is the clothes you wear. In fact, it can sometimes be more important. You could be lithe and rippling with muscle as a California jaguar on the South Beach Diet, but if you dress like Ed Hardy shit on you through Kanye’s slotted glasses you ain’t even making your mom’s best dressed list. It’s a good play to avoid current trends altogether, because often they’re just terrible fads and in a year or so you’ll see some old photos of yourself at a party on Facebook and wonder how you didn’t get beat up more times than you did.

It’s best to stick to keep it simple and stick to classic looks. Wear clothes that fit you well, dress in layers, rub your entire body with farm fresh, unsalted butter before getting dressed for smooth, slick mobility and that irresistible scent of Ma’s home-cooked cornbread wafting from your sweaty junk.

You don’t need to shell out a small fortune on designer brands, either. Thrift stores are a great place to find classy and unique clothes for cheap, or if you want to delve a little bit deeper, try yard sales. If you’re really ambitious, keep an eye on the obituaries every day and if you don’t have any qualms about breaking and entering or late-night digging you can get some real nice suits for free.

Piercings and tattoos should be kept minimal and tasteful. If you’ve got a tattoo of a band, any band, have it removed. Along with yourself. Into exile, away from human society. Tattoo sleeves are often mistakenly thought to signify that you’re tough and alternative, but really just signify that you make terrible decisions.

Finally, though no less important, is grooming. You’ve got the body, you’ve got the clothes, but you’re going to look no better than a filthy drunken Irishman if you’re not kept kempt. Keep your hair a reasonable length, whether it’s head, face or crotch. Snake oil or fish oil or really any oil from an animal with scales is great for keeping your hair thick and gives it a sleazy sheen that insects and trollops can’t resist.

Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, and really do a good go of it. If your mouth isn’t bleeding pretty profusely by the time you’re done, you’re not doing a thorough enough job. Mouthwash is tacky and leaves your breath smelling off-puttingly clinical, so I suggest a glass or two of white wine. It’s refreshing, and it gives your breath a charming bouquet. Don’t use red wine, it’ll stain your teeth and lips, and you’ve got enough red stains to worry about with all that blood.

Other than that, it’s pretty common sense. Make sure to shower at least once a week, keep your finger and toe nails as sharp as you can, and try to fit in at least four hours a week of anus strengthening exercise. And don’t forget to always wear your diaper. No matter how well you keep yourself and how well you dress and how strong your anus is, we all have accidents sometimes. And nobody looks good when shit happens.

 

Photo by paul goyette via Flickr

cats

It’s better to give than to receive, they always say. I’m not sure who “they” are that always say this, I think they might be Santa Claus. Or maybe the court system. The courts make me do community service all the time. Whoever “they” are, I have to admit, I never really understood that saying until recently.

I mean, you’d rather get a cool gift from someone like a set of steak knives or a crossbow than spend your hard gotten cash on a gift for someone else, right? Giving sloppy, disinterested oral sex doesn’t compare to receiving sloppy, disinterested oral sex, yes? That’s the philosophy I lived my life by for many years and look where it got me. I’m a sad, unfulfilled man who doesn’t get invited to birthday parties and who even Mormons with brochures won’t talk to. Or at least I was, until I discovered the purest gift of all: Giving.

It turns out there really is something to be said about this whole generosity thing. Giving for the sake of giving, who’d have thought? I always thought all those filthy hippies were just about awful music. Awful music and crabs. But then one day that all changed, like a strawberry alarm clock going off in my head, I suddenly got all that brotherhood of man bullshit.

It all started when I found a really nice looking gold bracelet in the hallway of my building. Obviously I was going to pawn it, I needed oxygen money for my recreational oxygen machine. But it was late, so I decided to wait until the next day.

On my way out the next day I noticed a poster up by the door in the lobby about a lost bracelet and a reward. I figured a reward was just as good as pawning it, and I wouldn’t even have to go outside into the fresh air, away from my oxygen machine. So I returned it. And I got a ten dollar reward. Ten dollars. I probably would’ve gotten at least a hundred for it if I’d pawned it. I might as well have gotten nothing. And that’s when it hit me. Like a rush of pure oxygen to my brain. That I had done something good for someone, for nothing.

It was unlike anything I’d ever felt before, and I began to crave feeling it again. I started to do good deeds for people anywhere I could find them. I helped a little old lady cross the street, and even when she became hysterical because she thought I was assaulting and robbing her, I persisted. I even called an ambulance for her when we’d gotten to the other side of the street and she collapsed. And the money she desperately thrust into my hands in an attempt to get me to leave her alone I used to buy beer for some teenagers.

Speaking of beer, I embarked upon the noble pursuit of being a designated driver. A grandly selfless gesture, that one, saying to a group of people, “go ahead, get as drunk as you want, make merry and bad decisions, but be safe in the knowledge that I will get you home soundly.” And as long as I stayed within my limit of nine beers or seven cocktails, they did. Minus the occasional dent or scratch on their vehicle. But what’s that, really, when compared with peace of mind?

Then I really hit on something. Nothing brings greater joy to someone than the safe return of a beloved pet that they had feared dead or eaten or worn as fashion. So, I began reuniting people in the neighbourhood with their cats. It was pretty easy to start scooping up these cats as I encountered them walking down the street and hang on to them until the missing posters started going up. The difficult part was keeping track of which cats I’d returned and how recently. People start getting suspicious if you return their cat to them more than once within a week.

I got pretty good at it after a while. I started keeping a chart of cats from around the city with photos and addresses and schedules for bringing them back. It was beginning to be a lot of work. Plus it was starting to get expensive looking after and feeding all these cats in the interim. And I guess some of the cats weren’t fixed and they were having cat sex constantly, and now there are these kittens too. It’s like a full-time cat shelter over here, so I decided if I’m going to keep doing this I need to start charging people. And things have really taken off.

Hey, twenty to adopt a cat, that’s a good price. And I’m a reasonable man, so if you can prove it was your cat in the first place I’ll give you two dollars off. The kittens I’m selling for $15 each. These are high-end kittens. And I’ve got a special promotion going right now, for $50 you can take home a pregnant cat. That’s four to seven cats right there. That’s a really good deal, man.

I’m the main cat guy in town now. I don’t just move cats anymore, I produce cats. I’ve built what you might call a cat empire. These cats ain’t got shots or tattoos or nothing, these are real, yo. Pure. Straight from the pussy’s pussy. No messing around with licences or permits or any of that official shit. Just straight cat. No questions asked. You want some white cat? Black cat? Some of that sweet motherfuckin’ calico? You come to me. Don’t be messin’ with those South Side motherfuckers. Their shit ain’t even cat half the time. I heard they cut it with vole.

 

Photo by harry harris via Flickr

skulls

Have you ever been fired from a job? It’s not a pleasant experience, let me tell you. Though it does get easier the more times it happens.

Myself, I’ve been fired from more jobs than I can count. Actually several of them I was fired from because I can’t count.

But one thing I can always count on is that no matter what job I find myself in, I’ll end up fired. It’s inevitable. Like the setting of the sun each day, or the rising of the sun each day, or the sun being right in the middle of the sky each day.

Whether it’s for something small, like stealing company funds, or something bigger, like driving a food truck full of cats into the side of a post office, my story always winds up unemployed in my underpants watching Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards repeatedly until my coffee table collapses under the weight of empty liquor bottles and my girlfriend leaves me because I’ve been watching Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards all day instead of taking her out for a birthday dinner. But how am I supposed to afford dinner for two? I don’t have a job. And I have to buy a new coffee table.

So how does one deal with the devastating and life-changing reverberations following a nasty job termination, you ask? Well, as someone who’s heard the words “you’re fired” more times than a lonely Trump-fetishist, I’ve long ago worked out a system for coping with it that I’ll now share with you.

It’s a three step system, three being the most mystical and powerful number in the dark arts practiced by the religious sect of which I’m an active member, and the horrific rituals of which have resulted in the loss of six jobs. But my four non-concurrent awards ribbons for Best Melded Anima in Show from the annual Soul Harvest Festival should make it pretty clear that it was worth it.

First off, it’s natural to be upset, so don’t fight it. Anger, sadness, despair and rage-arousal are all normal reactions to being let go. The important thing is that you channel these feelings in a productive manner. Starting a fire at your former workplace or defecating in or on your former boss’s property are not recommended as productive methods of coping with the situation.

Seducing and mating with the boss’s spouse or significant other is not discouraged, though the preferred way to work through these complicated emotions is to make the appropriate sacrifices and prayers that will result in his or her immortal soul being viciously tortured and devoured for eternity by the Putrescent Almighty, or the equivalent god/demigod in whichever religion you ascribe to (Jesus, Vishnu, Argus, Zarathustra, Phlim, Harkok the Wasteful, etc).

The second stage is acceptance. When you have worked through your emotional reaction to the job loss and allowed the truth of it to sink in without any further fighting against it. This is the most satisfying period of the entire process, so allow yourself to wallow in it for a little while. Let the tranquility wash over you in waves, let yourself let go.

Make sure that you give thanks to the hovering spectres of serenity for blessing you with this respite, lest they become spiteful and wreak nightmarish deformities and constipation unto your loved ones. Smear your naked, corporeal being with blood of lizard after drinking and regurgitating it. Never buy pre-regurgitated lizard blood, for it is a grave affront. If you cannot find lizards, or the pet stores start catching on to you, squirrel blood will suffice in a pinch, but you have to use twice as much.

The final stage is the progression stage, in which you move on to a new job, beginning the cycle anew. If the first two stages are completed satisfactorily you should be ready to get back out there.

It goes without saying that you must hurl guttural prayer into the Infinite Void of the Ravenous Leveler’s gaping maw as thanks for the strength to conquer this trial, but don’t be afraid to take some of the credit yourself. You did great, give yourself a pat on the back. Use the regular avenues to find a new job, local newspapers, Kijiji, reading the whispers of the Eternals in splinters of horse bones you’ve shattered with your Mallet of Turbulence.

Follow these steps, and before you know it you’ll be back out in the workforce, a productive and functioning member of society. And, when you do, could you put in a good word for me? I’ll send you my résumé. I’ve got a great reference from Gary, the highest ranking mage in our underground temple.

 

Photo by patman86 via Flickr

chinese

It’s that time of the week again, article time. Time for an article. Yup, time to write an article. Okay, here we go. Right now, let’s get the ball rolling. Ehh, you know what, I probably have time to masturbate first.

Okay. You ever get that feeling when there’s something you have to do that you have, like, a million other things you need to do, too? Like all of the stuff you’ve got to do suddenly has to be done at once and you don’t really get anything done? I guess that’s what they call procrastination. I don’t know if that’s, like, actually the definition of procrastination, but that’s pretty much what it is, I think. I wonder what the actual definition is. I’m going to look that up.

Merriam-Webster defines procrastination as “transitive verb: to put off intentionally and habitually” and “intransitive verb: to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done.” Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought it would say. No real surprises there. But, hey, what’s the difference between a transitive verb and an intransitive verb? I’d better look that up, too.

Oh, that’ll have to wait, though, my stomach’s rumbling. You know what, I had so much to do today, I completely forgot to eat. I’d better order some food. But what kind? I’ve got all these menus. Not pizza, I had that yesterday. And not this Greek place, they take too long to deliver. Maybe Chinese tonight. Wow, look at this menu. This is a lot of dishes. It’s going to take me a while to go through all this. What the hell is Moo Shi? Or Ho Fun? Man, I better Google this stuff. And check Twitter.

Okay, Chinese is ordered, Twitter is all caught up, and I masturbated once more. It’s time to get going on this article. Alright, here we go. Oh, wait. Oh, I think I might have to go to the bathroom. Well, it’s not pressing, but I feel like it might be coming soon. I’d better go sit on the toilet and play a few rounds of Solitaire on my phone until this works itself out. Can’t be too careful.

False alarm. I did win one of my eight games of Solitaire, though, so there’s that. And I played a bit of Candy Crush for good measure. But now it’s time to really get down to it and write th– oh! Chinese food is here!

Right. Now I’ve eaten, I’ve shut off my phone, I’ve closed Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve masturbated one last time. Though really, I did eat a lot of Chinese food. I should probably go for a walk or something to burn some of these calories off. I mean, those sweet and sour chicken balls are full of sugar. And nothing’s really as important as my health, right? And once I get a bit of exercise, the ideas will really start flowing. Okay.

Home from the walk, and I didn’t notice while I was in here before, but this apartment is filthy. I should give it a quick clean. At least give the floor a sweep and do the dishes. And I’m kind of sweaty from the walk, I should take a quick shower, too. Might as well cut these fingernails while I’m at it, they’re getting a little long. Oh, and that copy of The Dark Knight Rises finished downloading. All of my friends can’t believe I still haven’t seen it, I told them I’d watch it this weekend, so I’d better do that.

Also, it’s been a while since I’ve visited my parents, maybe I should take a trip out to see them first. And I still haven’t really responded to that weird guy with the top hat who challenged me to a balloon race around the world. I’ve always wanted to visit Spain, I bet I could squeeze in a quick trip there before I need to do this article. But my bank account is pretty dry right now, so I’d better get a good, high paying job to fund that, although I think I’ll probably have to do a few years of university first, so I’d better get on that.

And I don’t want to be too old to see my children graduate, so maybe I’d better work on having some kids. First, though, I have to find a wife. I guess I could set up an online dating profile, maybe do some speed dating? I’ve always imagined I’d fall in love with a beautiful woman who loves classic literature, so I’ll start reading some of that, too. Probably start with Don Quixote, then maybe The Brothers Karamazov and move on from there. Wait, first I’ll have to learn how to read.

Alright, this is getting to be completely overwhelming. If I’m ever going to write this article, I have to just calm down and tackle each of these things at a time, one by one. No more excuses. Just get on it. Now, where is a good place to start? Maybe masturbate? Yeah, I can handle that.

 

Photo by ginnerobot via Flick

amends

Alcohol is a weird thing. We like it because it loosens us up, tempers our inhibitions and makes it easier for us to deal with social situations that might be a little too overwhelming otherwise. We like that it makes us more fun. Or, at least, makes us think we’re more fun.

Alcohol affects people wildly differently. It makes some people want to fight. It makes some people want to fuck. It makes some people want to joust each other with lawn care equipment in shopping carts. No matter how it affects you, better or worse, there is one thing that anyone and everyone who has ever gotten intoxicated has experienced at least once: Regret.

Maybe it was something little, like telling an off colour joke at the office Christmas party that didn’t go over well, or getting unreasonably mad and yelling at someone for saying they don’t like Calvin & Hobbes. Maybe it was something big, like having sex with your sister’s husband, or driving your dad’s car off a pier. Maybe it was something really big, like taking over the music selection at a party and making everyone listen to a bunch of Doors songs.

Whatever it was, the awfulness of the next-morning hangover is compounded exponentially when you start to piece together what happened the night before and realize what you did. And that you’d better swallow your pride, like the eight shots of Jack you swallowed to get into this predicament, and apologize for it.

Apologizing for something you did when you were drunk can be an especially awkward apology, because in addition to the shame you feel about what you did, there’s already the built in shame that comes with just being that drunk to begin with, and the fact that your memory of it, if you indeed have any memory of it, is hazy at best, and you’re not really sure how bad it got.

So, with all of that in mind, I’d like to take the opportunity I have right now to apologize to some people for some of the stuff I’ve done while drunk in the last few years. I won’t mention any names, but you’ll know who you are.

Here it goes:

I am deeply regretful for my behaviour last night. I am sorry for arriving so late and for leaving so early without telling anyone. I’m sorry I disappeared for 45 minutes. Then came back soaking wet and got dirty water all over your carpet and couch. I’m sorry for urinating on the side of your house and off your balcony and in your potted plant and in the urn containing the ashes of whichever relative it contained. I’m sorry for forgetting which relative you said is contained in the urn on your mantel.

I’m sorry for forgetting your birthday. I’m sorry for passing out on your lawn. And your kitchen table. And the hood of your car. And in your dryer. I’m sorry for hitting on you shamelessly. In front of your boyfriend. That wasn’t cool. I’m sorry for hitting on your boyfriend shamelessly. And your sister. And your girlfriend. And all your girlfriend’s friends.

I’m sorry for accidentally urinating on your shoes. I’m sorry for accidentally stealing your shoes. I’m sorry for intentionally urinating into your shoes. For breaking that beer bottle on your kitchen floor, and that other one on your living room coffee table. I’m sorry for getting belligerent with your landlord when there was a noise complaint. I’m sorry for trying to hit your landlord. I’m sorry for hitting on your landlord.

I’m sorry for making you cry at your own party. And for getting the police called. And for daring your little brother to jump off the roof onto that trampoline. And for the hospitalization of your little brother. I’m sorry for hitting on your little brother.

I’m sorry I told you I’m in love with you. I am in love with you, but this isn’t the way I wanted you to find out. I’m sorry I lingered in that hug a lot longer than I should have. And for how much butt touching was involved in it. I’m sorry I ate more than my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I didn’t pay for my share of the pizza. I’m sorry I threw the pizza into the pool because it didn’t have the toppings on it that I’d wanted.

I’m sorry I flipped over the Scrabble board because you played a good word. I’m sorry I did that with the Monopoly board, too. And the Risk board. And the Sorry board. I’m not sorry I did it with the Settlers of Catan board. Though, seriously? You should be sorry for making me play that shit.

I’m sorry for defecating in your garage. That’s not acceptable, no matter how long the line-up for the bathroom. I’m sorry for those inappropriate phone calls. And text messages. And emails, Facebook messages, DMs, postcards, and the mural of us interlocked in the tender act of passionate love that I painted on the side of your parents‘ house. Marv and Judy were really cool about it, though. Tell them I say hi.

I think that covers everything. For now, anyway. I’m sure I’ll have to do another one of these before too long. I hope you understand and can accept my apologies and we can continue to be friends. Oh, and if you’re looking for an apology for something I drunkenly did during sex, that one’s coming privately in a binder in the mail. It’s a little too personal for this forum, and, frankly, the number of apologies I have to make for that couldn’t fit in an article of this length.

 

Photo by Johnny Scott

dogheaven

Hey, buddy. How you doing? Look, I think we need to have a little talk. I know you’ve been feeling pretty down the last few days, and that’s perfectly understandable. You lost someone really close to you, and grieving is very natural. But it’s not all bad. I want to tell you about a special place. It’s a place called Pet Heaven, and it’s where dogs and cats and all the other pets go when they die. Well, except that hamster you had a few years back. That hamster was into some messed up shit.

Anyway, champ, Pet Heaven is a wonderful, marvelous place, where all the animals frolic and play together. They all get along together, and there are always Frisbees flying and there are balls of yarn as far as the eye can see.

In Pet Heaven, the dogs have all the cats they can chase up all the trees they can pee on. And the trees are filled with as many birds as all the cats can eat. And for the pet birds, there are more bugs than they could ever dream of feasting on. There’s no pet bugs, though. Having a bug as a pet is just weird, and pet bugs go to straight to Pet Hell. Much like their weirdo owners go straight to People Hell.

So dry those tears, sport. In Pet Heaven, cans of tuna open just by looking at them with a smug sense of detachment. And of all the many things there are to lick peanut butter off of, none of them come with a troubling moral quandary. There is plenty of shit to roll around in, and you only get groomed if you want to. Also, the pet spas don’t have aggressively awful puns for names.

See, things don’t seem so dire now, do they, tiger? In Pet Heaven, the vacuum cleaner was never invented. Thunder sounds like someone telling you that you’re good and it rains Friskies and warm milk. You can hump anything you want without getting sprayed by water and when you give birth to a litter no one judges you, no matter how many of your babies you eat.

There’s nothing so pretentious and presumptuous as vegan pet food in Pet Heaven. In fact, it’s the personal, ironic Hell of the inventor of vegan pet food and every day his body parts are ground up to make extra meaty selections chow.

All the fish and turtles that have ever been flushed flow right on over to Pet Heaven. The fish swim free and boundlessly in sparkling, clear water without ever again having to breathe their own poop. The turtles bask in the sun-drenched rocks, drinking in the warmth and fresh air. Happily they nod to each other, fish and turtle, content because here there is no memory of being abandoned for a real pet.

It doesn’t matter if you were squished by a car, shot by mistake on a hunting trip, or starved because the neighbour forgot to feed you while your owners were vacationing in Spain, all pets are healthy and able bodied in Pet Heaven. There are no vaccination shots, no fleas and no big dumb cones to wear around your head. And your balls? Yep, right back where they’re supposed to be.

So you see, old chap, there’s no reason to be sad. As happy as all these pets were in life, they’re even happier now and we should be happy for them. Because there’s no happier place in the world than Pet Heaven. Do you feel a bit better now? From now on, whenever it starts to get you down, just think of all I’ve told you about Pet Heaven and that’s sure to cheer you up. Think of all the animals running and playing and being joyful. I’m glad I got to talk to you about this wonderful place, and that now you know where your grandpa went.

Photo by bunchofpants via Flickr