The “Link in Bio” Generation

Writing is a lonely experience for me. I sit at my desk in the middle of the night with the lights off, listening to the same song on repeat for two hours, while staring at a laptop screen, whose brightness is probably further deteriorating my already myopic vision.

It is a process that is rarely broken.

I can’t even listen to a podcast while I write because their voice clashes with the one in my head and I can’t pay attention to both.

It’s almost as if I’ve created a bubble for myself – a place where only I exist. Nothing is happening in the world, except for the movement of my fingers on a keyboard.

Are other people this particular? Or is this too Dan-Humphrey-in-Gossip-Girl for you?

Truthfully, I love it. Push come to shove, I could write at any hour of the day. But there’s something about the middle of the night. It gives me the freedom to say anything, uninterrupted.

It makes me happy.

When I hit “Publish” and go to sleep, that is my way of transferring my happiness to you – my audience. Though my name might be at the bottom, the blog post is no longer mine, it’s ours.

Words have the ability to bring people together. They just do.

Remember that, because now I’m going to go into a story that will probably be long-winded.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have my blog featured five times by WordPress, whether it was on Freshly Pressed or Discover. Then I’ll come on here and write a post about how I’ve been featured.

You’ll congratulate me in the comments, I’ll say “Thank you!”, and then wonder if I’m just spiking the football and rubbing it in people’s faces that I got featured again and my blog friends didn’t.

Though being featured is wonderful, I’ve never told anyone about the emptiness that comes with it.

The last four times I’ve been featured, there was a period of emptiness before I found any joy. How I found the joy differed each time.

The emptiness came from the fact that I didn’t know who to tell first, that I had been featured. I feel like we all have that person we’re supposed to jump around with when we get good news, I didn’t know who that was.

When I was featured the first time, I had that. I had all my friends from school who I was still in close contact with. There was immediate joy.

But then we slowly started drifting apart and a text message from me saying, “I’m getting featured on WordPress!!!” just didn’t feel right.

So I’d resort to a Facebook post and fill the void that way, by waiting for likes and comments. In 2014, likes and comments gave me the joy I was looking for.

You’re probably wondering, “Paul, don’t you have a best friend you can tell?” I do. His name is Chris and he also has a blog. Truthfully, he’s always one of the first people I tell, if not the first.

However, since he’s also a blogger, I feel like I’m telling one of my own. You know? The emptiness was only filled by telling non-bloggers.

Maybe I was desperate for recognition. Maybe I just wanted my words to mean something to people who didn’t read them on a regular basis.

Last July, I deactivated my Facebook account. Two days later, I was getting featured on WordPress for the fourth time. You know what I did? I reactivated my account, just so I could share my blog post and deliver the news.

Why? I had to fill the emptiness. I had to cast a net to look for validation from people who aren’t in the blogging world.

At that point, whether they liked or commented on my Facebook post or not, all I wanted was for them to read it. That’s how I’ve come to find joy.

Sad, right?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I let that status sit there for a few days before quietly disappearing from Facebook.

Jerry Seinfeld always mentions that he prefers to talk to comedians, over anyone else. I allows found that strange, until I realized how much I enjoy talking to other bloggers.

We just understand each other. It’s that simple.

Why can’t friends I know in real life be as eager to read my blog as strangers around the world? I mean, there are some friends who are. They’re reading this right now. But it’s a small handful.

So maybe that’s why I chase understanding from people who aren’t in the blogging bubble. Because if I can get that from “outsiders”, then I can truly feel justified in my accomplishment.

The joy never comes from being told I’m featured. Sure, the news always paralyzes me with happiness, but I’m talking about joy.

In this situation, I distinguish happiness and joy in this way: Happiness comes from within. Joy comes when I can share it with others. I don’t know if there’s a dictionary in the world that will support me on that, but no one reads the dictionary anymore, anyway.

The joy comes from people responding to my words, whether they leave a comment, or just think it in their head.

That fills the hole for me.

I have a Twitter account for this blog, though I’ve always been skeptical of its effectiveness.

Whenever I share a post on there, I never feel like I’m reaching anyone new. The only people I’ll reach are bloggers who already follow me on WordPress.

Then I tell myself that hashtags are pointless because you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Sure, people may look up a specific hashtag, but I don’t think many people do so with the intention of clicking a link and reading a blog post.

I may be completely wrong, and stop me if I am, but I feel like there is a lot of truth to what I’m saying.

We live in the “Link in Bio” generation. A lot of us are trying to promote something and send people to it. Our exuberant tweets and captions are over-exaggerated, as we attempt to do (in my mind) the near-impossible task of getting someone to click a link.

It happens all the time on Instagram.

There have been times when I screenshot the introduction of one of my blog posts and put it in my Instagram story. Then I’ll use the social media cliché, “Link in Bio”.

I can see how many people click the link. Maybe one person. Normally zero. That just discourages me from sharing anything again.

So this past weekend I wrote a poem on my blog. I was proud of it, so I took two screenshots and posted the whole thing in an Instagram story. Thus, deleting the need for someone to click on a link.

I don’t know how it went over. I don’t even know if people stopped to read it.

But I took solace in the fact that all the words were in front of them, and if one person read it, then I’d be okay with it.

I get it. I do. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked a link in anyone’s bio on Instagram. It’s not what I’m there to do. If a blogger has shared something, I’ll know to find it on their blog later.

I don’t mean to speak for everyone who tells others to click the link in their bio, but I will.

When we say that, we are optimistic that people care about us enough to read what we wrote.

At the same time, if no one clicks the link, we can lie to ourselves because it’s easy to say, “Oh, they were busy.” Or, “They didn’t see the post because of the algorithm.”

Am I wrong? I’m begging anyone to tell me I’m wrong.

That’s the end of my long-winded story.

So, here I sit in the middle of the night at my desk in the dark. This was one of the rare occasions when my music was on shuffle – not like it mattered, seeing as how I can’t recall any of the songs that actually played.

This is my bubble. This is where my happiness is born. In a few minutes when I press “Publish” and go to sleep, the bubble bursts and you’re all allowed inside, provided that you wipe your boots on the front mat, and you hand me a box of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies upon entry.

That is when I’ll find my joy.

This isn’t about stats. This isn’t about needing people to agree with me. This isn’t even really about me.

This is about words being unable to reach others because clicking a link in someone’s bio feels more like a strict command, than a well-intentioned recommendation.

Like it or not, this is the era we live in.

Welcome to the “Link in Bio” generation.

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A Letter To Paul

Dear Paul,

To start, I’d just like to confirm that this is not a letter to myself. You are a different person. You live in a different country. Can you confirm this?

….

Paul?

Blink 46 times if you can hear me.

I don’t think you can hear me. Or maybe you just can’t blink.

I’ll have to send out a Paul Call that only people named Paul respond to. It’s like morse code for people. Wait…morse code is for people…

PA PA PA PA AU AU AU AU UL UL UL UL 

Oh good, you replied. Yes, you are a different person.

We’ve known each other for almost three years, have you realized that? Three years of two people from different countries, named Paul, being friends with each other. For me, this is a record. 

I did some digging, with a shovel…okay it was a spoon, a plastic one…a plastic spoon, happy now? Anyway, while I dug, I discovered that you’ve left 280 comments on my blog posts over the years and the first one was in response to what colour the black and blue dress was.

I find that fitting. Not the dress, I couldn’t possibly fit in it. I’m like Yogi Bear, minus the wide knees. What’s the about? Wait, he also has really tiny legs. I don’t. Man, this comparison is awful.

For people who don’t know you, they should know that you put a lot of effort into your comments. Or maybe that’s just for my blog, in which case, everyone else reading this -whose blog you’ve commented on – is feeling ripped off. Oops.

But really, sometimes I’ll read your comments and can tell you’ve put more effort into them than I did in my post.

One of your comments was so good, that I posted it as a blog post so my readers could see your brilliance at work.

Your humour is so intricate and so very Paul-esque.

I try to keep up, but I can’t.

That line earlier in this letter about me digging…that was me trying to replicate your style of humour. I don’t think I came close, so I tried to make another quick joke by adding the bit about the dress not fitting.

Then it spiralled into Yogi Bear and now I’m thinking about picnic baskets.

I don’t know how you do it.

I think of myself as a funny person, but you’re a step above. Almost as if we’re in a bunk bed.

See, that was yet another failed attempt at me trying to match your level of humour, but I just made it sound awkward instead. 

Anyway, I’ve been a fan of your blog since I found it and still believe that you have one of the best blog titles out there – “In My Cluttered Attic”. 

To close off the cheesy section of this letter, I just want to thank you. Thank you for caring about my blog enough to spend time commenting. Thank you for your humour. And thank you for being genuine when the time calls for it.

I feel like that’s a universal “Paul thing”. We can be hilarious and witty 26 hours of the day, but when the time calls for it, we can be serious and thoughtful. Maybe people with other names can do that too, but whatever. This isn’t about them.

This is a Paul Party and there ain’t no party like a Paul Party ‘cuz a Paul Party don’t…don’t…uhhh what does a Paul Party “don’t do”? I’ve misplaced the handbook.

End scene.

Now let’s have some fun.

The topic you wanted me to tell you more about was, what it’s like being Canadian/American identical twins who lack a common bloodline and yet we both share the same heritage.

Well, bro. Can I call you “bro”? I mean, we are twins who were born in separate countries with different bloodlines, after all. 

I’m making an executive decision. I’m calling you Bro-merica. You can call me Bro-nada. It’s per-fect.

Okay, enough with the hyphens, Paul. (Talking to myself, not you). You may use as many hyphens as you want. 

Side note: Small tip to success in life: Always remember the three H’s of success.

Hydrate. Hyphenate. Hexercise. 

You’ll live until you’re 143.

Alright, back to the story of us being twins from different countries.

Well, it’s quite simple. We share a common name. 

But wait, there’s more!

Remember that time when you were a kid and you built that snow fort in your backyard? Me neither. Because you’re from California. 

While you weren’t building snow forts. I was. And one day, I dug a hole so far, that I found grass. Grass! Might as well have been China. It was upon that discovery that I realized I might have a twin.

You might want to read that paragraph again if it didn’t make sense to you.

So with that knowledge, I closed my eyes, filled my ears with snow, and said, “TWINKIE”. 

You know, the socially acceptable war cry when you want to find your twin.

And then the snow in my ears turned to water and I took that as a sign that my twin was out there in a much warmer climate than I. One that did not support snow. Hence the snow was melting.

Bam. Twins.

And that’s how I knew. My question for you is…how did you know I was calling out to you? Did your water freeze over?

Moving on.

One thing that interests you is Nepal’s non-rectangular flag. Because of course it does.

Kudos to them for being different, I suppose.  

Lastly, you asked me if Snidely Whiplash was his real name.

I’ll be honest, Bro-merica, I have no clue who you’re talking about, though the name rings a bell. We might be twins with the same name, from different countries, but our brains are not linked. I don’t have a USB port up there.

My brain only takes VHS tapes.

What?

Snidely Whiplash. Let me Google this before I become Paully Whiplash.

Ohhh I get it. He’s the archenemy of Dudley Do-Right, who is a Mountie.

This is a Canadian question and it went right over my head into the Atlantic Ocean.

No, Snidely Whiplash is not his real name. It’s just one of his many aliases.

He was previous known as Mischievous Monty, but Monty sounded too much like Mountie, so he needed a new gimmick.

Before he was Mischievous Monty (M&M) he was….wait, time out.

Can I just say that the word “Mischievous” is so difficult to type? Try it at home.

Before he was M&M, he was Thomas Tankerson, but then Thomas the Tank Engine became popular and he lost his steam.

GET IT? THAT WAS A TRAIN PUN.

His real name is Theodore Ravioli IV. He’s Italian. I know, you weren’t expecting that either, but my research doesn’t lie.

It just bends the truth until it’s no longer recognizable.

Well Paul, that’s all I got.

Again, thanks again for everything. I’ll see you at home for dinner. And by that I mean, I’ll eat dinner in my house in a different country and time zone, and you’ll eat dinner at your house in a different country, three hours after me.

This makes complete sense.

With maple syrup and beavers,

PA PA PA PA AU AU AU AU UL UL UL UL

Aka Bro-nada

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Viewing Notes: The Bachelor (Arie) Ep. 3

I was going to start this post by taking attendance, but I seem to have misplaced my attendance list. I’ll just assume you’re all here and no one is playing hooky this week.

~ “I’m emotionally and physically drained.” Episode 3 is off to a roaring start.

~ The girls are sitting on the couches and in walks Chris T. Harrison.

Chris Harrison Sleeve Update: Rolled Up!

He tells them there are 18 girls, which is too many, so not all of them will have a date this week.

~ Yes! We get the wrestling date up first!

~ Let’s jump in The Captain’s Speech time machine and go back to my viewing notes for Episode 1 when I said they were planting seeds for a wrestling match between Chelsea and Krystal for Episode 3. Am I smart or am I smart?

Except Chelsea isn’t on this date. But Bibiana is and she has beef with Krystal. So, ding ding, get in the ring.

C.T. Harrison is on the date with them doing commentary again. That’s two episodes in a row. This is officially a trend.

~ “Welcome to GLOB. The Gorgeous Ladies of The Bachelor Wrestling.”

~ This is a rip-off of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) on Netflix but I’ll allow it.

Oh hey, there are two ladies from the original GLOW (it used to be a real promotion) on this date.

Well aren’t I just 17 steps ahead at all times.

~ The girls are practising their rolls.

~ Arie has watched one “wrestling fight.” Oh this is just great.

Lauren B. is struggling because she’s laughing every time she gets kicked.

Bibiana is challenging the women from GLOW.

~ “Did your mom know how to spell when she gave you that name.” – One of the GLOW girls to Bibiana.

~ Am I allowed to laugh?

These girls are getting offended really easily by wrestlers who aren’t breaking character. I love it.

Tia and Bibiana are off crying in the corner because they don’t understand wrestling is theatre.

~ Tia and Bibiana are officially a tag team, in my books.

~ Their team will be called TBD. Tia B Determined.

Oh, NOW they’re giving them all a wrestling persona.

Maybe I’m 18 steps ahead of them.

~ They’re all changing into Halloween costumes now.

~ Bekah is a cat.

Bibiana is bridezilla.

Krystal is a cougar.

~ OH NO.

~ Arie’s first opponent is the Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King who was on The Bachelorette last season.

~ Listen, I’ve been watching Ring of Honor, Kenny King needs to work on his promos.

~ Tia is terrified that Arie is getting hurt. She still doesn’t realize that the whole point of wrestling is to not actually hurt your opponent.

~ Bekah vs. Maquel, who is dressed as a lunch lady, is the opener.

~ Bekah is whipping her, but Maquel pins her with a lunch tray.

~ That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Krystal vs. Jacqueline is next. Jacqueline can really bump (fall) in the ring.

 ~ Marikh vs. Lauren B. is next. Their match was a throwback to the attitude era. I’ll leave it at that.

~ Tia vs. Bibiana is next. What? They’re supposed to be a tag team! For the love of Edge and Christian (bonus points if you got this reference), have they already turned on each other? Tia wins by pushing Bibiana over.

~ Bibiana is a jobber.

It’s time for the night portion of the date and Arie says the wrestling part of their date made him uncomfortable.

~ Krystal and Bibiana didn’t fight. They must be saving that match for Episode 5.

~ Krystal steals Arie away and they start kissing.

~ And that’s it.

I don’t think I’m as high on Krystal as I was in the first episode. It’s not a good sign when you’re the person who everyone else in the house doesn’t like.

Bibiana has time with Arie and she starts talking about Krystal. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? You have like 10 minutes. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

~ Arie tells Tia she was an outstanding wrestler today. “You won”.

~ OH MY GOD, THE WINNER OF HER MATCH WAS PREDETERMINED, ARIE. PAY ATTENTION.

~ There’s the real world. There’s the wrestling world. And then there’s The Bachelor world. They aren’t somewhere in between. They’re somewhere off in the distance like a water fountain in the desert.

Back at the mansion, the next date card arrives. Lauren S. is getting a one-on-one date.

~ Twitter tells me that Bekah is 22 years old. Arie is 36. I’m not judging, I’m just saying.

~ Bekah Boop gets the group date rose and Krystal doesn’t know why.

~ #FakeSmiles

Lauren S. has packed her suitcase to go on her date today.

She gets a limo ride to an airport and is now hopping on a plane.

~ If this plane doesn’t have a salami and cheese spread like the plane in the last episode did, I’m going to be disgruntled.

~ There is a bucket of champagne on the plane. Consider me disgruntled.

They arrive at a winery. “This is a very Lauren S. date.”

~ Wait, Lauren S. refers to herself as “Lauren S.”? This is gimmick infringement! Blogger Chris aka my best friend (and his family) always refer to me by my full name.

~ Arie and Lauren S. are talking about their sleep patterns. Arie has started going to sleep earlier in the last 5 years.

~ This is riveting date conversation. Tell me how often you cut your toenails, why don’t you?

Oh, Arie has also started to wear Cardigans. Good to know.

Lauren S. claims to have forgotten how to get lost in the moment.

~ Normally when I want to get lost in the moment, I close my eyes and spin in a circle until I’m feeling dizzy and lost.

~ But I’m weird, so that might not work for everyone.

~ They’re at dinner now and drinking their 8th (give or take) glass of wine today.

“There’s power in problems.” – Lauren S.

~ “I’m, like, kinda freaking out.” – Lauren S.

~ Arie is eating his food! What!?!?! They never eat on this show! This is a red flag. It probably means Lauren S. is talking too much and he stopped paying attention.

~ That’s unfortunate. He probably sends her home at the end of the date. That’s why they showed us she was packing earlier.

Lauren S. is all over the place and she knows it, but won’t stop. I think she’s lost in the moment.

Back at the mansion is the final group date card.

~ The card says, “Love is ruff.” Bring on the dogs!

~ Annaliese is afraid of dogs. She had a traumatic experience in her childhood.

Wait a minute…Annaliese is the same girl who, last week, said she had a traumatic experience with bumper cars as a child.

~ Oh no. She told the producers wayyyyyy too much during casting.

~ I want her to make it to the hometown dates now. I want to see what her upbringing was like.

~ Lauren S. is wondering why the date has been a train wreck so far. My guess is it’s the cameras, and she feels the need to try and say something interesting every 2 seconds as to not come across as boring.

Arie isn’t giving her the rose. Told you. It’s all in the editing.

When one person dares to start eating their food on this show, that’s how you know they’re not interested.

~ Lauren S. doesn’t know why she couldn’t be herself around him. Don’t worry, Lauren S., it’s for the best.

~ At the mansion, they took her luggage away and the girls start sobbing.

Krystal eulogizes Lauren’s time in the house.

~ Caroline is annoyed by Krystal’s condescending manner. Oh snap, crackle, and pop.

~ Rice Krysties? That’s a bit of a stretch for a nickname.

~ Look out for the quiet ones.

~ Time for the third date of the night and they are in a park.

Arie has brought a bunch of dogs for the girls to work with before performing in front of an audience.

Oh no. A group project where one partner is a dog? Hahahahaha. Good luck exchanging texts.

~ Hey…hey…hey “the dog ate my homework.”

~ Sorry, couldn’t help myself. The situation called for it.

~ Annaliese tells a dog horror story from her past and for the second week in a row we’re shown more fake stock footage of a girl crying near a dog.

~ Apparently she was bit by a dog named Sunshine and she almost lost an eye.

Back at the mansion, my new favourite tag team TBD – Tia B Determined – want Jesus to take the wheel and are praying that one of the girls gets bit by a puppy. Amen?

~ No barkin’ way. Chris is there AGAIN to provide commentary. He definitely had it written into his contract that he wanted to be on more dates this season.

~ Chelsea is up first. Her dogs won’t listen to her and a little girl is crying.

~ I repeat: Her dogs won’t listen to her and a little girl is crying.

That is the best sentence I’ve ever written in my life.

Chelsea has backed off her villain gimmick she had going in the first episode.

~ Ashley and Jenna lose control of their acts.

~ Annaliese’s skit is about her being a pooper scooper.

Well, that was awful. The dogs didn’t listen. Probably because they didn’t have enough time to prepare. Or they never replied to their texts and emails.

~ Day has turned to night and Arie tells one girl (not sure her name) that in the last few years he’s dated people he knew weren’t ready for marriage as a defence mechanism.

~ Annaliese doesn’t like being on the sidelines. She doesn’t like dogs or bumper cars either FWIW.

~ She asks Arie how he’s been and he tells her some relationships are moving faster than others.

Translation: “I’m dating you, but let me tell you how I’m doing with the 17 other girls I’m dating.”

Chelsea interrupts them.

~ Becca calls Arie a dork. Arie says she looks really good in yoga pants.

~ And now they’re kissing. I’ll time it.

It lasted 24 seconds before the cameras cut away.

~ He gives the group date rose to Chelsea because she “really stood out”.

~ Arie needs to stop giving explanations for why he’s giving out roses on the group date.

~ Just shut up your mouth. As if your other girlfriends don’t feel bad enough.

~ It’s time for the cocktail party before the Rose Ceremony.

For the second time in this episode, Annaliese tells us her palms are sweaty. There is no vomit on her sweater, yet. She is not fully channeling Eminem.

Arie meets with Seinne first since she didn’t get a date.

~ Bibiana has set up a bed outside with a telescope.

~ She wanted to create something with a cabana theme that’s very private.

YOU’RE ON A TV SHOW. THIS AIN’T PRIVATE.

~ Hahahaha Arie walks outside with Lauren B. and they come across Bibiana’s set up.

~ They’re sitting on the bed. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE BIBIANA’S PRIVATE SPOT.

~ Hey man, Bibiana didn’t put up caution tape. There are no pylons. Didn’t even put up a scarecrow to keep others away. Nothing. Her own fault.

~ The tea kettle is about to hit the fan and I can’t wait.

Bibiana walks in on Arie and Lauren B. kissing IN HER “CABANA”.

~ Ok, if this little setup is a cabana, my bedroom is a yacht.

“The struggle is real.” – Bibiana

~ I’m laughing so hard.

~ “The devil is working OT, man.” -Bibiana

Oh, she’s a hoot.

~ Now Arie also takes Krystal and Bekah to her bed outside. This is hilarious.

~ Arie asks Bekah if she wants to get married.

~ Arie got moonshine and hay bales for Tia. That’s love right there.

This tag team of Tia and Bibiana (Tia B Determined) has quickly become my favourite duo.

Annaliese wants a kiss so badly tonight that she’s dragged him all the way to the top balcony of the house.

~ If this goes sour, look out below? Is that what I’m supposed to believe?

~ “I really wanted you to kiss me, but I heard the girls had to go in for the kiss first.”

Translation: “Your 17 other girlfriends told me their tales about kissing you. We’re on a balcony. Your move.”

~ “I just don’t think we’re there yet.” -Arie, turning down a kiss

~ It’s going down, someone is yelling timber.

~ Someone else is yelling “tinder”. Odd.

Annaliese is now crying in a washroom.

This situation is tough. You’re thrown into it and told you’re dating someone by default. But oh wait, there’s more! As in, there are 25+ other women also dating the same stranger you just met outside a mansion that they don’t own. But it’s fine. It’s not! Saliva gets shared. Stories get shared. Feelings get shared. Except when you’re on the sidelines. And when you’re on the sidelines, you end up crying in a washroom, unfortunately.

~ I don’t know if the people who go on this show realize that they don’t have to like the lead person. They all try and force a relationship, both the men and women. In reality, what are the odds that 30 people like the same person at the same time?

~ Arie now tells Annaliese there’s no future for them.

~ “When he sends someone home, it’s kinda shocking.”

~ Is it?

~ We’re on the 3rd episode and I’m not convinced these girls realize that only one of them “wins” in the end.

~ Rose Ceremony time, thank goodness.

Caroline gets a rose.

Kendall gets a rose.

~ Lauren B. has gotten a lot of air time this episode. She can’t go home yet.

~ Ashley gets a rose.

Lauren B. gets a rose. Told you in episode one, there’s something there.

~ Brittney T. gets a rose. She was quiet this episode.

~ Becca gets a rose.

~ Seinne gets a rose. Could you imagine he sent her home after not giving her a date this week? Twitter would’ve killed him.

Krystal gets a rose.

I’m getting nervous for my tag team of TBD.

~ And Tia gets a rose. Yeehaw!

~ Maquel gets a rose.

Jenna gets a rose.

~ Jacqueline gets a rose.

~ One rose left. I’m not ready for this tag team to split up.

~ It’s down to Marikh and Bibiana for the last rose.

Marikh gets the rose and the dream is over for Bibiana.

Oh man, this is like the time when American Alpha split and Jason Jordan had to go to RAW and he left Chad Gable on SmackDown.

~ Did anyone understand that?

~ Tia B Determined is no more. Now it’s just TD. Tia Determined.

See how that team name worked? I covered my bases. If Tia left first it would’ve turned into B Determined.

~ Again, I’m 33 steps ahead of this show.

~ “You can’t force something that’s not there.” -Bibiana

~ Amen.

Get it? Because Bibiana and Tia were praying earlier?

~ In the previews, Bekah asks Arie if he knows how old she is. Uh-oh here we go.

~ Hey! I said earlier, out of nowhere, that Bekah was 22.

I am now 47 steps ahead of this show.

~ And counting.

I’m done. See you next week. I might take attendance. Leave a comment below if you want to be included in next week’s roll call.

@CappyTalks on Twitter

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Mean Something To Me

Tomorrow is another day to keep
one more notch on our belt, one more mile in the jeep
and if you blink instead of wink
you may miss it all the same
excuse me, miss, I never got your name

These old days will make you walk instead of run
there is sand on the playground, but no one’s having fun
and the bell will ring
you’ll get up and move over
worry not, I’ll tuck away my four-leaf clover

There’s a hole in my pocket, there’s a hole in my hat
has my luck run away, will it ever be as good as that
but the sun comes up tomorrow
and the birds are singing the chorus already
I haven’t slept, the bed is kept, will somebody please hold me steady

All my life I’ve been flipping pages in the story
one day it’ll be read in English, like Tuesday’s with Morrie
and this frame on the floor will finally stop laughing
have no fear, the dust will clear
we’ll find our smiles in the mirror

Watch me count to five, watch me count to ten
is there a place and time, can you find me then
but I need these years to mean something to me
so I’ll bring the sand if you bring the clover
a symbol to cherish until this life is over.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Oh, the Sports You’ll See!

I’ve spent my entire existence wondering what my life would be like if I didn’t like sports. I still don’t have an answer. It’s a great mystery to me. Somebody get Scooby-Doo and the gang on line one.

How would I fill twenty-four hours in a day, if it weren’t for sports? I may never know.

When I was a kid, I’d fall asleep listening to sports talk radio at night, and I’d wake up to read the sports section of The Toronto Star. Sleeping was the unfortunate gap between the two.

My days revolved around me looking forward to 7PM and scheduling everything else around that magical time. Why? Because that’s when games would start.

I’d like to say that’s changed, but it hasn’t.

I remember back in first year university, a few friends were trying to lure me out to a Halloween party at the on-campus bar. Truthfully, I don’t drink, I’m not really a fan of parties, and Halloween doesn’t crack the Top 30 list of my favourite holidays.

But I couldn’t tell that to people I’d known for only two months. So I told them a different truth. It was, the Leafs game was on. Bam. My escape route. Sports. I wanted to watch the Leafs game.

Air Canada Centre

“Paul, the bar has plenty of TVs, you can watch it there.”

“No thanks, it’ll be too noisy.”

And in a nutshell, that’s me. The guy who would rather watch a meaningless hockey game in October, in their residence room by themselves, than go to a sweaty Halloween party at a bar.

The first sporting event I ever went to (at least, it’s the first one I remember) was in the late 90s. It was a baseball game at the SkyDome in Toronto.

I ate my McDonald’s meal. I stood for the national anthems. I got a mental image of the field, which I still have today. And then I fell asleep on my Dad’s lap.

I didn’t even make it to first pitch, which was scheduled for shortly after 7:00PM. They’d have to play the game and keep it down. Paul was sleeping.

Again, that’s me in a nutshell. Give me food, I’ll fall asleep. I don’t know where this “food gives you energy” myth comes from, but I’ve never experienced such a thing.

Maybe I’m just wired differently? Nahhhhh.

Watching a game on television versus being there in person, is two very different experiences.

When I watch on TV, my hand is held the entire time. Not literally, but in the sense that I don’t decide what I see or hear. I am guided through the entire experience.

The camera forces me to stare in a specific direction and the commentators force me to listen to their words. They tell the story. I’m just there to look pretty and eat chips.

When I watch a game in person, I can look anywhere I want. I can eavesdrop on a conversation behind me. I can watch someone walk up the aisle with food. I can use my nose to gage how tasty their food will be.

I can get distracted. I can miss a play. I don’t have the commentators in my head. I don’t have the “media storyline” imposed upon me. I’m told when to cheer. I’m pulled into doing the wave. I’m a far way away from my couch and an impromptu nap.

I’m surrounded by people who don’t wash their hands before exiting a public washroom.

Seriously, don’t touch anything at a sporting event. Just leave your hands in your pockets. Better yet, leave your hands at home. Saw them off at the wrist, leave them in a pickle jar, and put them back on when you get home.

I don’t say this as a germaphobe. I say this as a concerned citizen who has seen too many people pollute their hands and then place them on a railing or door handle.

Anyways, back to sports.

Going to a hockey arena or a baseball stadium was always a big deal to me, growing up.

I remember waking up one day and saying to myself, “Today’s the day. Today’s the big day!” as I put my socks on. I’m pretty sure I stole that line from an episode of Arthur. Nevertheless, I was headed to a sporting event that day and thought the quote was fitting.

I always like arriving early. An empty stadium with only a handful of fans in the stands is one of my favourite things in the world. If I could just bottle that feeling and make it last longer than twenty minutes, I’d be content.

Maybe it’s the anticipation. Maybe it’s the dimmed lights. Maybe it’s the serenity of it all – a great, big building with so much peace. Maybe it’s the appeal of watching a crew prepare the playing surface. I love that sorta thing.

Going to a baseball game and seeing the grounds crew water the dirt around the bases, had a huge affect on me as a kid. I’m serious.

I would play baseball in the backyard with my Dad, and on one occasion before we played, I started watering the grass. My Mom opened the window and asked what I was doing. I thought it was obvious what I was doing, but clearly she didn’t know this is what they did before baseball games.

I was told to turn off the hose.

Many years later I realized they water the dirt in the infield to limit the dust every time a player slides. If there’s another reason why they do it, don’t tell me.

Meanwhile, I was just water grass and making it slippery and uncomfortable for us to run in. Oops.

Every arena feels different. That’s one thing you can’t pick up when watching on TV.

I remember going to Maple Leaf Gardens before it closed. It was the only time I’d ever been there. It wasn’t even for a game. It was an open house. I ended up in the dressing room and still have photos of me in a Leafs jacket, standing in front of the stalls.

The place just felt special. It had an aura to it.

A few years ago, I went to an OHL game in the Niagara region, at the old Jack Gatecliff Arena. It was built in 1938.

In hockey, you’ll hear people refer to an arena as a “barn” or an “old barn”. I never fully understood what that meant until I walked into this arena. The smell met me at the door like a hug.

It smelled like an old barn. I finally got it. A mixture of popcorn, other food, and a warm blanket. That’s what it smelled like. I loved it. Three thousand people packed in there and watched a game.

Yours truly bought three 50/50 tickets at that game. They each had about an 8 or 9 digit number on them. The tickets weren’t in sequential order.

Why am I telling you this? Because one of my tickets came one number away from winning. ONE NUMBER.

Example:
The winning ticket number was something like 24567383
My ticket number was…………………………………..24567384

The last number was one away. Again, you can’t get that kind of excitement, or disappointment, while watching at home.

Over the last few years, I’ve ventured on road trips to stadiums in different cities.

In 2014, I attended the Winter Classic at The Big House in Michigan.

That last sentence meant nothing to 97% of you, so I’ll explain.

The 2014 Winter Classic.

On January 1, 2014, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs played a hockey game outside, in front of 105,491 people, at a football stadium.

I couldn’t feel my feet for five hours and I loved every second of it.

I don’t think I’ll ever go to a better sporting event, and yet, I was there when the Blue Jays won the division series against Texas in 2016. It was bananas. B A N A N A S. I don’t think I’d ever hugged more random drunk strangers in my life.

Two. I hugged two random drunk strangers.

That outdoor game in Michigan was unbelievable. Half the stadium was red, the other half was blue, and yet we all came together to sing Don’t Stop Believing.

The Leafs won the game in a shootout. I can’t tell you that I saw the puck go in the net, even though I was sitting at that end of the ice.

I saw Tyler Bozak come in on net. I saw him shoot. There was a half second delay…and then the crowd roared. That’s how I knew the puck went in. That’s how most of the crowd knew it went in.

It was the best experience imaginable. I walked out of there feeling like we had just won the last game of the season. No game after that could possibly be as important.

I don’t know how that game came across on TV, though I hear it made for great theatre. I’ve never gone back and watched it, outside of a few YouTube clips. I don’t want to ruin my memory of it.

Sports bring people together. You really feel that when you travel to a different city to watch your home team play.

In Cleveland, there was a sea of blue to watch the Blue Jays. I was apart of that.

Progressive Field in Cleveland

In Ottawa, there was a sea of blue to watch the Maple Leafs play. I was apart of that.

Ottawa

In Detroit, same thing.

You don’t need to ask someone their name. You don’t need to know what their life story is. You just need to see them wearing the same jersey or colours as you, and a bond is automatically there.

That is permission to give a high-five. That is permission to spark up a conversation during the game. That is permission to yell wildly, while in their presence. That is permission to jump around with them when you win a playoff series.

That is sport at its purest.

You know, I started this post by telling you that I don’t know what my life would be like without sports. And I don’t. I’m firmly in this bubble.

But when I look outside of this happy sports bubble, the world isn’t as happy. People aren’t as unified as two strangers at a sporting event who have to share a single arm rest for three hours.

There’s an unwritten rule when it comes to the arm rest. One person gets the front, the other gets the back. And if you take the whole thing, it’s only for a few minutes before giving it up.

I’ve become pretty familiar with the nuances of sporting events. Like the t-shirt toss. The whole thing is a farce, really. The entire point of it is to keep fans entertained and distracted, while the television networks have gone to a commercial break.

That’s it. They want to keep the energy in the building up and fill you with happy emotions that you’ll remember later. Unless you are a child, you’re not getting a t-shirt thrown to you.

It’s an elaborate ruse. Even if you’re an adult and catch a t-shirt, you’ll be shamed into giving it away to the closest kid.

Anyways, back to the “outside the sports bubble” thing.

Sports thrive off rivalries. We are told that it’s okay to hate other teams and their fans. So we do. But I feel like we do it in a civil way. It’s like a separate world with different boundaries.

If a player on an opposing team gets injured, the opposing fans will clap when they get up and head off. The rivalry is put on hold and respect shines through.

Sometimes I wish we could just grab that mentality, throw it outside the sports bubble, and hope it sticks. Alas, no. Debating is so much more fun, apparently.

Sports are their own story. And when the images are put with music to create a video montage, I’m all in. I could watch those on YouTube all night, and I have.

To me, it’s more than a game. It’s more than a simple competition between competitors. It’s not just about trades, or statistics, or rosters.

It’s about how it makes me feel. I wish more people could understand that feeling.

Sport is my compass. It is my alarm clock. It is my 7PM date. It is my bedtime story.

The frustration will take years off my life. The passion will give them all back. And the love will bring me back for both.

That’s me, in a nutshell.

What are you passionate about? What fills your 24-hour day?

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

What Do You Keep?

Why do we keep things?

Old birthday cards. Special coins. Trophies and ribbons. Books. Mini sticks. Textbooks. Notebooks. Hundreds of magazines. A CD “collection”. Tickets to sporting events. One lacrosse ball.

Oh, sorry. I seem to have made that list all about me, unless you have kept one lacrosse ball in your possession.

Those items occupy space in my room, whether they’re out in the open on a bookshelf, or hidden away in a drawer, closet, or shoe box.

In Grade 3, they had us put a bunch of memories into a shoe box. Imagine that. Our well-travelled and cultured selves – at the near retirement age of 8 – putting a lifetime of memories into a box.

I can’t remember what I put in the box, but I do know my mom put blue felt on every side so it looked less like a shoe box and more like the home that Eiffel 65 sang about in their song, “Blue”.

I kept the box and put things in it as I got older.

There are dozens of old tickets to sporting events in it, going back to 1998. I hate how most tickets are printed out on paper these days. I refuse to collect paper tickets. It’s just not the same.

Also in my blue box are old birthday cards. Why? I don’t know. Throwing out a birthday card just feels illegal. If you’re going to do it, do it without telling me – that sorta thing.

I haven’t opened the box lately because there hasn’t been anything to put in it.

I’ve always liked shiny coins. To me, a shiny coin was a sign that it hadn’t been in circulation for long, which meant it deserved a closer inspection to see if anything was special about it. If it was a commemorative coin, I kept it.

In 2001, there was a special design on the Canadian dime. For some reason, I decided it was my lucky coin. I remember putting it in my sock one morning before school as a good luck charm for my intramural hockey game that day. My team was in the finals.

I don’t remember the result of the game, but I remember the dime moving around my sock the entire time. I played the entire game wondering how weird it would be if I stopped playing, bent down, and pulled a coin out of my sock.

I never got the answer.

Unlike coins, I’ve never been able to shove an entire book in my sock. Granted, I haven’t tried, but am now seriously curious as to how it would play out.

I have a bookshelf full of books. That is a misleading statement, however. There isn’t much variety. I have most, if not all of A Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as most, if not all the Harry Potter books.

See, I don’t even know if I have the entire collection.

I don’t read books twice. I don’t see the point. Which means I haven’t cracked open A Series of Unfortunate Events since a Christmas holiday during elementary school. I went through those books so quickly during the holidays, and there always seemed to be another one that followed.

As for Harry Potter, I’ve read the first book and most of the second. That’s it. Somehow, I did a book report on the second book.

I don’t know why I have the series. Maybe I just think it’s a cool thing to have and I’ll get around to reading them one day? I don’t know.

Most of the books on my shelf ones I’ve read in the last three years. 98% of them can be found in the non-fiction sports section of your local bookstore.

I’ve run out of space. There are bags of books on the floor in a corner of my room, which haven’t been read yet. I don’t know where their final resting place will be.

What do you do with books you’ve read and won’t read again? It’s a great dilemma.

You don’t throw out books, I know that for sure. So what do you do with them? You keep them and call them a “collection”. That’s what.

I haven’t even mentioned the hundreds of magazines in my drawers, which were once on my bookshelf. I think I counted them once and the number was around 250.

All of them are sports related and can tell you the history of sport from the early 2000s up until around 2011.

I got tired of magazines, but I don’t feel like I can get rid of the ones I have. What if they become useful in the future?

What if one day I want to read them? What if one day I want to get into a stubborn argument with my future wife about how keeping 250 old magazines in the basement isn’t stupid?

I can’t rob myself of moments like that.

I never had the intention of building a magazine collection. It’s just something that happened.

In my closet are a bunch of old university textbooks and all my notebooks. There are even some old assignments from high school that I’m proud of. Sometimes I’ll read them and think to myself, “My writing style hasn’t changed at all. Is that good, or bad?”

I never understood how someone could throw all of their binders in a garbage bin on the last day of school. It never sat well with me.

Maybe I’m the weird one. Maybe keeping old notebooks from school isn’t normal. But the ink between those pages – I paid for it. I woke up at 7:00AM rolled out of bed at 7:50AM and went to get it. I worked for it. Why would I just get rid of it?

I understand that I can probably Google everything that’s in those notebooks, but then what was the point of going to school?

Let’s see, what else from that list at the beginning of the post, haven’t I mentioned?

Mini sticks (mini hockey sticks): A staple of every Canadian’s childhood. I will never be too old for mini sticks, even if I don’t use them because it’s too tiring to move around a carpet on your knees.

Trophies & Ribbons: I have trophies from five years of softball and ribbons from school. They’ve been on display for the last 17 years. Why? It’s what you’re supposed to do, right?

CD “Collection”: In my 26 years on this planet, I have owned 4 CDs. Is that a record? My first CD was a Jazz CD. It’s a long story.

One Lacrosse Ball: I went to a lacrosse game when I was a kid and a ball came into the stands. An older man caught it and gave it to me. It’s been on my floor for about 16 years and has put quite a nice little dip in the carpet. It’s also gone from a beige colour to dark brown/orange. I think of it as a science experiment.

You’re probably reading this post and thinking I’m a hoarder in training (HIT), if I’m not one already. I promise you that’s not the case. I just seem to be handcuffed by societal norms.

Books go on a bookshelf. Trophies go on display. Old tickets and cards go in a box. Lacrosse balls carve out grooves in carpets.

Societal norms, all of them.

Why can’t I just throw this stuff out? Why can’t I separate myself from them?

Is it because I want a tangible memory? Is it because I naively think I’ll need them in the future? Is it pride? Is that it? Am I just proud to have these things? Am I afraid of losing the past?

I don’t have an answer yet. Let me keep writing.

Peaking out from behind a counter in my room is a bristle board that was folding into a card. It was given to me by a group of friends who threw a goodbye party for me when I was graduating.

They put a picture of me on the front and wrote messages on the inside. Every day, I see that picture of me peaking out from behind the counter. I’ve only gone back to read the messages inside it a couple of times. It’s too hard.

I can’t throw that out.

This stuff means too much, but at the same time, it’s just too much.

I wake up every day and feel like I’m in a museum.

“Welcome to the Paul exhibit. Please keep your voices down, he’s resting. Ignore the slobber on his pillow. To your left is a book from 2004.”

And I already know I’m going to get comments at the end of this post with pieces of advice that I won’t really care for. Sorry.

It bothers me that I gave away a nice piece of art at a garage sale when I was a kid, just because I had nowhere to put it. Why didn’t anyone stop me? It bothered me even more that one of my neighbours bought it. I’ve never gotten over that.

It bothers me that I traded in my Game Boy Colour for barely any money. Why didn’t anyone stop me?

It bothers me to know that I’m bothered by this stuff. That I look back with regret for getting rid of things I should’ve kept.

But for every item I can’t yet part with, there are items I can’t wait to get rid of.

For some reason, I was collecting bobbleheads. There were a bunch of them sitting on my desk. Again, societal norms. You’re given a bobblehead, you put it on a desk. Simple as that.

And then one day, I realized I don’t actually care about bobbleheads, and threw most of them out.

I don’t really know what I wanted to accomplish with this post, other than to remove these thoughts from myself. Ironic, isn’t it?

Maybe by keeping these items, I’m giving myself an identity. Or maybe I feel like I’ll lose myself, if I lose these items.

No, that’s not it.

Perhaps I just want to feel connected to the things that used to be important to me.

Yeah, let’s go with that.

What do you keep?

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 47 Comments

Viewing Notes: The Bachelor (Arie) Ep. 2

Welcome back. I’m exhausted, so these notes will definitely be loopier than usual. Unless it’s a boring episode. Enjoy.

~ Arie is driving up to the mansion on a motorcycle. At this rate, he’ll be on a tricycle by Episode 5. They’ll have exhausted (that’s a double pun) all other methods of transportation.

~ Hey! It’s Chris Harrison and his sleeves are rolled up! This is a trend. His shirt also looks two sizes too big for him, as if it’s the year 2003.

~ Chelsea can’t wait to tell Arie why she’s so mysterious. Is she related to Inspector Gadget?

~ Becca gets the first one on one date.

~ Arie enters the house like a teenage pop singer, “What’s going on?!?!”

~ About twenty girls rush outside to watch Arie put a jacket and helmet on Becca. This is not normal. This is The Bachelor.

~ Arie has brought her to a house with a lobster spread. Yes, it’s a lobster spread. Don’t ask questions.

~ Designer Rachel Zoe is there! I don’t know who she is! Oh my God, is this a two on one date already?

~ It’s not.

~ Oh, Becca is going to try on a bunch of dresses and walk down a staircase in them while Arie sits on a couch and eats.

~ So when are they going to ask each other about their interests?

~ Not now! Arie just gave her high heels.

~ “When I met you, I thought this would be cool…to spoil you.” – Arie, the guy who paid for none of this

~ An ominous man with a briefcase has emerged from the bushes and is now ambushing them. Where’s security? Oh wait, he has earrings. It’s fine. Call off the drones. What the hell am I watching?

~ Oh, they’re kissing now. Must be The Bachelor.

~ Wait, it’s over? They did nothing.

~ Becca arrives back at the mansion with eleventy seven bags of clothes. The girls aren’t jealous. They’re hahahahahahahappy for her. Sorry, couldn’t get through that with a straight face.

~ What’s this? Becca is joining him for dinner? Oh, I get it. They wanted her to go home during the day so the girls could see all of her bags. If she snuck in the house at night, no one would’ve made a big deal about it.

~ “I was told you could fix my brakes.” – Becca

~ The next date card arrives and it is for Krystal.

Arie is going to date them one at a time, it seems. This season just got extended until 2019 because it’ll take that long to get through everyone.

~ Back on the date, Arie’s forehead is really shiny. I’m trying to catch the moment when it miraculous isn’t, which will tell me the Director yelled “cut” and the makeup artist went in there and dabbed it down.

~ Becca gets a rose.

~ Arie has one more surprise and it’s confetti? That’s not a surprise. A surprise would be a chariot ride through a McDonald’s drive thru.

~ It’s time for Krystal’s date and he’s taking her to his hometown in Scottsdale, Arizona.

~ Woah, hold the lampshade…on the plane is a spread of food that includes: cheese, SALAMI, strawberries, grapes(?), and circular biscuits that are good for nothing.

~ I’ll bet you $10 they feed grapes to each other, unless they don’t, then the bet is off.

~ THEY DIDN’T SHOW THEM EATING THE FOOD. I should’ve known. No one ever eats on this show.

~ Arie shows her the Pizza Hut he worked at when he was 16.

~ Now he shows her the high school he went to. Okay. He hasn’t been in high school in 20 years. Relax.

~ He’s taking her to his house now. This is too much.

~ They’re going through old photo albums, somebody stop this!!

~ After the commercial break, these two will be getting married.

~ Now they’re going through old home videos. Maybe they’ll get married before the next commercial.

~ Arie has now brought her to his parents house. And it’s not so they can trick or treat. Oh man.

~ “Heyyyy this is Krystal. We met yesterday. We’re getting married in five minutes. Wanna come?”

~ I joke a lot, but I like Krystal. She’s different than the rest.

~ “I just want to be like my older brother.” – The little brother who was paid to say that

~ And that’s the end of the first hometown date of the season. The next one will be in about two months.

~ Krystal isn’t close with her family, but Arie is close with his. #PlantingSeeds

~ Back at the mansion, the next date card arrives.

~ It’s a group date with 15 women. Ahahahahahaha.

~ So Becca and Krystal are 1 and 1A and everyone else is just there because you can’t have a TV show about a guy dating only two women for three months. That’s too creepy.

~ “I wanna know about your family life.” – Arie

~ Krystal’s parents divorced when she was young. She felt like her parents didn’t want her. She basically raised her little brother.

~ Emotional stuff going on right now.

~ Krystal gets a rose.

~ And for the first time this season, there is a private concert just for them.

~ The next day, the girls are trying to get details from Krystal about what happened on their date. They want to know, so they can be supportive and not jealous at all!

~ Krystal is being vague, as she should be.

~ On the group date, 15 girls are in a bus being transported to a dirt track. They each need a buddy; there will be a group of 3. If they split up at any time, they are to alert the teacher.

~ Brittany T. is “going hard in the paint” today. Alright.

~ “Today we are doing demolition derby. If your car stops running, you’re out.”

~ Someone is getting whiplash, I’m calling it now.

~ Tia from Weiner, Arkansas informs us that people back home do this. Annnnd we have an early favourite.

~ Bekah looks like Betty Boop. Thanks to Sharon for pointing that out to me, I can’t think of anything else when she’s on the TV.

~ Annaliese is bawling her eyes out. She’s terrified.

~ Annaliese has trauma from driving bumper cars as a kid and now we have some fake stock footage of children in bumper cars.

~ Jenny laughs at her trauma.

~ Arie now gives Annaliese the classic camp counsellor pep talk. “You don’t have to do it, but it’ll be fine. I’ll do it with you.”

~ Oh, by the way, this is exactly why Annaliese was put on this date by the producers. They definitely knew.

~ What in the world? Chris Harrison is there as a commentator! Because we needed a commentator?

~ Does Chris get paid extra for this appearance?

~ Chris just said this might be the first time Arie wins something on a race track. OHHHHH that’s a 5th degree BURN. I see you, Chris. Good one.

~ Bekah Boop: “Women are ruthless.”

~ I just looked up Arie’s racing career. He hasn’t raced since 2010. He was never any good. Actually, he was good in 2002. So 16 years ago, Arie was a big shot race car driver in a not really competitive racing series.

~ So he’s basically as successful as the Bachelor Canada guy was last season, when he said he was a former pro baseball player.

~ Spoiler alert: The Bachelor Canada guy didn’t pick anyone in the end. It was great.

~ 15 women are about to drive their cars at each other. Oh man.

~ Annaliese was playing possum. She’s crushing everyone.

~ Brittany T. is mowing them down.

~ Chris Harrison is actually a delight on commentary. Who knew? Man, the things he can do without a script.

~ It’s down to Seinne and Tia.

~ Seinne wins and Tia lets down all of Arkansas.

~ Because Seinne rammed her car into the other cars better than the 14 other women, she gets to spend time with Arie.

~ If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

~ In the evening part of the date, Chelsea swoops in and talks to him first.

~ Finally we get to learn why she’s mysterious!

~ She has a 3-year-old son, Sammy. That was the mysterious secret?

~ Nothing against Sammy, but I wanted something else.

~ Wait, in the first episode they showed her making a peanut butter sandwich. Sammy eats those at age three?

~ Also, aren’t peanut butter sandwiches basically banned from all school settings?

~ Seinne: “I lived in Scottsdale.”  Arie: “Youuu diiid?”

~ Seinne went to Yale and Arie barely graduated high school before working at Pizza Hut. Oh man, this isn’t going to happen.

~ Bibiana is mad that she isn’t getting any time and storms off to the washroom.

~ Arie and Bekah are kissing by the fire for about 10 minutes.

~ Arie is now handing out the group date rose and says Chelsea really opened up to him, BUT THEN HE SWITCHES COURSE AND GIVES IT TO SEINNE.

~ Are we sure Arie never went to college? That was a brilliant swerve.

~ Four girls didn’t get a date this week. Could they not have put 19 girls on the group date, instead of 15? I mean, once they got passed 10, it didn’t matter anymore.

~ “Hopefully you’re recovering from whiplash.” I KNEW IT.

~ Arie checks in on Brittany because she got hurt at the demolition derby. Oh did she? Thanks for showing us, editors.

~ She gets the award for “Most Hardcore”. I guess she did go hard in the paint.

~ Arie just stood up and banged his head into a chandelier. Ahahahahahahaha I do that all the time.

~ Arie has now snuck Bekah to the front of the house to kiss her again.

~ Bibiana is still feeling anxious.

~ Krystal is now fulfilling the role of “girl who has a rose, but still wants time to talk to Arie.”

~ Krystal interrupts Lauren B. and Arie. Again, we only get 5 seconds of Lauren B. on the TV with Arie. #Rhymes

~ Bibiana is mad now. She wants her time and she wants it now!

~ From experience watching this show, the people who always complain that they never get any time, are the ones the Bachelor/Bachelorette aren’t interested in anyway.

~ And now the girls are passive aggressively asking Krystal if she’s had time with Arie. Ohhhh the fake smiles.

~ Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, Bibiana has made contact with Arie!

~ “I do not know a single thing about this man.” -Bibiana

~ First question she asks is what breed of dog he has. BIBIANA WHYYYY

~ Krystal now tries to interrupt them. I wonder what producer told her to go do that.

~ To summarize: Bibiana is mad that a girl that Arie likes is taking away time from people like her, who don’t have a rose, because The Bachelor is a team sport and the girls are in this together! How dare Krystal try to keep Arie away from other women, who he may end up liking more than her! Share the love! There can only be 8 winners! Oh wait, there can only be one. Never mind.

~ Bibiana just told Krystal to meditate tomorrow.

~ If Bibiana goes home tonight, she also advises that Krystal sleep with one eye open.

These people are nuts. If you don’t like sharing one guy with 20 other women, WHY ARE YOU THERE??? WHY DID YOU GO THROUGH THE CASTING PROCESS??? YOU COULD’VE BEEN PLAYING HOP SCOTCH OR DOING PUZZLES. PUZZLES!!!! THEY CAN’T DO THEMSELVES.

~ Time to hand out roses.

~ Maquel gets a rose.

~ Jacqueline gets a rose.

~ Bekah gets a rose, what a shock.

~ Jenna gets a rose.

~ Mysterious Chelsea gets a rose.

~ Lauren S. gets a rose. I know nothing about her.

~ Tia from Weiner gets a rose.

Bumper car hater, Annaliese, gets a rose.

~ Honestly, the bumper cars were my favourite thing at an amusement park when I was a kid. They still are. I could spend all week doing just that.

~ Lauren B. gets a rose and her total amount of screen time through two episodes is now a whopping 18 seconds.

~ Kendall gets a rose.

~ Hardcore Brittany gets a rose.

~ Ashley gets a rose even though they haven’t talked a lot.

~ Marikh gets a rose.

~ Caroline gets the next rose.

Chris Harrison lets us all know there is one rose left because we can’t count.

~ Bibiana gets the final rose. Ha, who planned this? And of course she’s standing next to Krystal. Oh, TV.

~ Jenny is one of the girls who didn’t get a rose. She’s crushed because she has friends there.

~ And let this be a lesson to all of us – if you make fun of someone for being traumatized on the bumper cars when they were a kid, you won’t receive a rose from the bachelor. Capiche?

~ OH MY MORTADELLA SANDWICH THEY’RE GOING ON A WRESTLING DATE NEXT WEEK.

Thank you for reading. Bye.

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Leave It All Behind

Should’ve moved on long ago, but I didn’t know
Should’ve listened to the words I never heard
Should’ve just kept walking and forget to turn around
Because the words on the paper have gotten old
Maybe the ghosts read them to learn some English
They can talk like I do
Can talk like I do
Like I do
They can talk

Could’ve tried a little bit harder, I know
Could’ve looked the other way before today
Could’ve believed all the hype and gone to sleep at night
Let the moon find my room and rock me to sleep
Because the streetlights have reported me missing
They knew I was chasing a different world, around the world
I had to run after it
Had to run after it
Run after it
I had to

This the part where we turn around
Pick it all up and put it down
Crank the sound
And let ’em all know
We’re pound for pound
The best in the world
There’s no rest of the world
‘Cause the best in the world
Don’t rest
This is all in jest
Make a laugh, make a funny, oh look it’s the Easter bunny
Make it random, make it cool, make it to the pizza parlour after school
Bring a pencil and make a note
Never forget the first thing you wrote
The things I see are the things are write
And things I write are the things you see
Find the rest of me
It’s the best of me
I’ll get dressed and see
How it’s more than three years later
And I’m the only instigator
Find me another debater
I’ll build this pile higher and higher and make it straighter
So give it to me straight
I’m late, I know
But I have a lot to show and tell
So let me tell
So we can all feel well

Didn’t say what was wrong, but what was right
Didn’t ask for assistance despite persistence
Didn’t have anything to keep for my own
Now the faces don’t even move in the distance
And these goosebumps only come when I’m cold
Find me another blanket, this one is getting old
I have to move on now
Have to move on now
Move on now
I have to

I’ll pour this heart out on the nightstand because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll take these words and teach them gymnastics because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll bend the unbendable because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll win a staring contest with the sky because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll find a needle in a haystack because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll turn this into a story you can read later because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll enter this year with an empty backpack because I can
I’ll prove it
I’ll take a look back, smile and nod, and then leave it all behind because I can
I’ll prove that, first.

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Viewing Notes: The Bachelor (Arie) Ep. 1

Well, the time has come.

Feel free to park your high horse outside and leave your shame at the door because I’m back to recap another season of The Bachelor, with witty comments and astute analysis. Now then, let’s get this piñata in the air and start swinging!

~ The Bachelor this season is a guy named Arie. He’s a race car driver who finished 2nd on The Bachelorette, five years ago.

~ Now he’s back. And he’s in the driver’s seat. And he’s leading from pole position. And I’m peaking too soon on these racing analogies.

Arie now has a second career in real estate. He has a third career in staring out into the abyss from a balcony.

Back from commercial, it’s Chris Hand Gesture Harrison! The Host!

~ Now we’re meeting the women who will be “competing for Arie’s heart”. I just threw up.

~ First up is Chelsea, 29, from Portland. She’s a single mom.

~ Hold on, The Bachelor has gotten new graphics this year for the first time ever. They remind me of a high school PowerPoint presentation by a student who doesn’t want the class to stare at them while they talk about how setting influenced a character.

~ Chelsea is making a peanut butter sandwich. Now we see her out day drinking with her gal pals.

~ Do people say that? “Gal Pals”? I’m just trying to be hip.

~ Next is Caroline, 26, from Florida. She’s a realtor. Hey! That’s Arie’s second career. I ship them…I ship them…I ship them off to stare out over a balcony.

~ Next is Michelle, 23. She’s a professional photographer who likes shooting “happy couples”. That’s nice.

~ Next is Nysha. She just jumped out of an airplane. She must be a…Orthepedic Nurse. That’s exactly what I was going to say.

~ Next is Tia. She is from Weiner, Arkansas. It’s a small town with big tractors. Hark! She knows he’s a realtor, too.

~ Drink something every time someone mentions Arie’s real estate career.

~ Next is Kendall. She’s from LA and collects taxidermy. Ok.

~ Next is Bekah from LA. She’s a nanny. She also climbs walls.

~ Marikh owns an Indian restaurant with her mom. She’s ready for love but the right person hasn’t come along. Isn’t that how it works?

~ Oh, she said “ready for love”. Drink!

~ Krystal is a fitness coach. She’s passionate about nutrition. She volunteers with the homeless. I like her. Everyone else can go home.

~ My friend Sharon (long time reader of this blog/grilled cheese enthusiast) tipped me off that Krystal was one of her favourites. Good pick, Sharon!

~ Back from commercial, the first limo full of women is on its way to the mansion!

~ Meanwhile, Arie arrives at the mansion! He gets out of the car and stares lovingly into Chris Hand Gesture Harrison’s eyes.

~ As if he knew I was talking about him, Chris opens his arms as if to say, “You made it!”

~ They shake hands and bro hug.

~ Arie is nervous but excited. Aren’t we all?

~ Chris: “How have you not found love?” BECAUSE SOMETIMES IT TAKES LONGER FOR SOME PEOPLE, CHRIS. NEXT QUESTION.

~ First out of the limo is Caroline the Realtor!

She mentions that he’s a realtor. Drink!

~ “We’ll both be off the market.” – Caroline. And THAT is how you sky rocket up my Bachelor power rankings. You make puns that I would make.

~ She didn’t seem as robotic as most contestants normally are. She was actually talking like a real life person. Woah.

~ Out next is Chelsea. She tells him that there’s, “A lot to get to know.” Oh.

~ Kendall is next. Her hug game is strong.

~ Seinne is up next. She likes elephants. Hey, I like elephants. She gives him elephant cufflinks. Hey, I like elephant cuffli….actually, I’ve never thought about it.

Tia is out next and says “Weiner, Arkansas” right away. She gives him a weiner and says, “Don’t tell me you already have a little weiner.”

~ Hey Tia, I write the jokes here. Stop stealing my mustard. Get it? Like, thunder? But mustard? Because of weiners. Hot dogs? NEXT.

~ Bibiana is out next and she’s been thinking about him a lot.

~ Bri is out next. She’s a sports reporter but used to play softball. I just sat up in my seat a bit.

~ WHAT? That’s it? Bri got 4.678 second of TV time. Boo-urns.

~ Jenny is next.

~ Now here is Brittane. She makes a joke about a bumper sticker on a Ferrari.

~ Jacqueline is nervous…but on the surface she looks calm and ready? Nah, she didn’t.

~ Here comes Krystal. The current clubhouse leader. She’s a smile talker. I can dig it.

~ Krystal’s hug game wasn’t as strong as Kendall’s, but she can work on that.

~ Here comes Plane Jumper, Nysha. He hugs her. She goes in the house.

~ “He hugs her. She goes in the house.” – New Bachelor Tagline

~ And now we’re at the part of every premiere episode where the girls in the house can’t believe how many people are there. Guys, it’s the same number every season. Watch the product.

~ Here comes Valerie. He spins her around. She goes in the house.

~ Bekah arrives in a mustang. The girls rush to the window to see.

~ Weinerite, Tia, is only now starting to feel foolish about giving him a little weiner. ONLY NOW.

~ Out of the limo next is Jenna. Her hug game rivals Kendall’s. Her confidence rivals no one. I like her. She’s in my top two for now. Sorry, Bri.

~ Out next is television host, Jessica. Chris Harrison is probably wondering if he’s about to be replaced.

~ Jessica gives him a gratitude rock and hopes he thinks of her when he looks at it. Uhhhh?

~ Marikh tells him she wants some salt and pepper in her life. Well Marikh, you do own a restau….oh.

~ Olivia says she adored him on Emily’s season.

~ Olivia! Thou shalt not mention thy name of thy past love. Nay! -50 points for Gryffindor.

~ Becca has arrived and this is my friend Sharon’s other favourite. Alright, she’s cracked my top 4.

~ UPDATED PAULEADERBOARD: 1. Krystal; 2. Jenna; 3. Bri; 4. Becca

By the way, this PAULEADERBOARD is a play on the fact that there is a leaderboard in racing. Also, it’s a nifty way for me to say who my favourites are. The rankings can change every five minutes, depending on what they do or say. It’s meant to be fun.

~ Here is Lauren S. “Hhhow are youuu?”

~ Here is Lauren J. “Hhhow are youuu?”

~ Here is Lauren B. She doesn’t ask him how he is. By default. She’s my favourite Lauren. Welcome to the Top 5.

~ All the girls are freaking out that there are multiple Laurens.

There were three Pauls in my Grade 10 math class.

~ Here is Lauren G., you gotta be kidding me. That rhymed.

~ Make it five. Make it five. Make it five. Make it five.

~ Ashley arrives with a racing flag. Simple. Nice touch.

~ Brittany T. talks to him in Dutch.

Amber tells him she owns a spray tan company.

~ Ali asks him to sniff her armpit. She calls it a “Pit stop.”

~ Time out. I just pressed pause on the show. Okay. Alright. Stop. Ali, I was saving all of my pit stop puns for episode two, but apparently you SNIFFED that out. HOW’S THAT FOR A PUN, YOU PUN STEALER.

I even had a diddy all ready. “Are you down with PSP (pit stop puns)? Yeah, you know me.”

~ Ugh. I’m okay. Just a bit crushed. There’s also vomit on my sweater already.

~ The girls are just downing the wine left, right, and centre.

~ Annaliese shows up wearing a mask and calls herself the kissing bandit. Hold on one second. No one told me this was a mystery dinner! Now I’m excited.

~ Chris Harrison can be the shifty butler!

~ Bekah isn’t bothered by Annaliese’s gimmick. Bekah drove up in a mustang. Bekah is now posing like an emoji, with one hand out.

~ Someone is driving up in an actual race car. It is Maquel. “Sorry I’m late.” Nah, it’s cool.

~ Wowee, there are a lot of bitter Betty’s in the bunch right now. Fun!

~ Back in the Harrison Manor, the guests mingle. Unbeknownst to them, a murder has taken place! Oh no! Everyone scurries to take their seat as Christopher enters the room.

~ See, this show would be so much cooler if it were a mystery dinner. I made that all up.

~ “The older they get, the better looking they get.”

~ “They don’t make people like this.” – Brittane. Wait, does she know how people are ma…never mind.

~ Arie Arie Ossenfreeeee has entered the house.

~ Arie makes a toast and we are off and racing!

~ Chelsea steals Arie away. She just officially turned heel.

~ I was wondering how long it would take for me to turn this into a wrestling show. 58 minutes. It took that long.

~ Maquel steals Arie away and Chelsea complains to the girls that it was too early for someone to swoop in.

~ Chelsea is cutting the promo of her life right now.

~ “It’s so crazy seeing him talking to someone.” WATCH THE PRODUCT.

~ “When I found out you were the bachelor, I was super pumped.” Ah, there’s always one person who is responsible for saying that.

~ “If you can find love on Tinder, you can find love on TV.” – Quote of the year

~ Brittany takes him outside to race in mini cars. She wants a kiss if she wins. Annnnnd he wins the race. That backfired. Wait, they kissed anyway. That wasn’t the stipulation that was agreed upon!

~ Going to have to take this case to the FIA.

~ “His lips are like clouds.” They produce rain?

~ Brittany then tells everyone else she kissed him.

~ Here we go. Let the “I’m jealous, but I’m smiling” portion of this episode, commence.

~ One girl brought him a pizza, but I don’t know her name. She wins. Cancel the show.

~ Jenna is now massaging his feet. She’s bouncing from topic to topic.

~ Annaliese has taken off her mask and is actually sincere.

~ I don’t know what to think anymore. The editing of this is making me question my PAULEADERBOARD. Heck, I might scrap the whole thing altogether.

~ Chris Harrison brings in the first impression rose, does his patented hand gesture, and exits stage left. God, I want his job.

~ Amber doubles down on her spray tan business.

~ Chelsea is now questioning her decision to talk to him first. Now she’s going to talk to him again! She is a full blown heel at this point.

~ In wrestling, a heel is a person who is villainous, or the “bad guy”.

~ Chelsea steals him away from Krystal, who is the ultimate baby face.

~ In wrestling, a baby face is the “good guy”. The fan favourite.

~ I don’t want to spill the beans, but we’re getting ready for a Chelsea vs. Krystal match. The seeds have been planted. Episode 5, it goes down. Book it.

~ Oh hold everything.

~ Chelsea and Arie just shoved their mouths down each others throats.

~ Arie’s kiss count is at 2.

~ We might have to move up the Chelsea/Krystal match to Episode 3.

~ Tia from Weinertown, USA: “I’m a clown.”

~ Tia is just a fun person. There I said it.

~ Bekah takes him out to her mustang to talk. She asks him what are three things that make him excited to be alive. Oh no. He hasn’t been prepped for this.

~ “Excitement.” AHAHAHAHA.

~ “Pizza. You know, good food, good company.”

~ Hold the pepperoni. “Good company” is not the same as “pizza”.

~ Scratch that, it is. Pizza is good company. Carry on.

~ Arie grabs the first impression rose and gives it to Chelsea.

~ Oh man. She is about to receive “Shawn Michaels in Montreal” level of heat.

~ That is a nuclear amount of heat.

~ In wrestling, “heat” is hatred from the audience. So when the crowd is booing loudly, that’s heat.

~ Arie looks like the kind of guy who feeds bread to birds in the park, but forgets the bread at home, so he just sits on the bench for 10 minutes before heading home.

~ It’s Rose Ceremony time. Arie makes a speech.

~ “Tonight was amazing. I was blown away. It’s hard now because I need to send a bunch of you home. No hard feelings. Nothing personal. Except it is personal because I don’t want to marry you. Okay. Let’s start.”

~ Becca gets a rose. Sharon is happy.

~ Marikh gets a rose. She made a salt and pepper joke.

~ Kendall gets a rose. Probably because her hug game was so strong.

~ Lauren G. gets a rose from Arie. Ha, another rhyme.

~ Krystal gets a rose, obviously.

~ Bekah gets a rose. She’ll need a parking pass for that mustang.

~ Lauren S. gets a rose. She was the first Lauren to arrive.

~ Seinne gets a rose.

~ Caroline gets a rose.

~ Brittany T. gets a rose. She got the first kiss even though she lost the car race. The FIA is still investigating at this time. Everyone else looks tired, she came prepared for the first night all-nighter.

~ Bibiana gets a rose.

~ Annaliese gets a rose.

~ Valerie is freaking out because “he knows what he wants” and she “craves that”.

~ Valerie gets a rose! She can breathe again!

~ Those TV lights in that room must be so hot. Kudos to everyone in there for not fainting.

~ Jacqueline gets a rose.

~ Jenny gets a rose.

~ Lauren B. gets a rose! She was in my top 5, but didn’t do anything tonight other than not ask him how he was. Still think there’s something there. Hmmm. I’ll have to re-access.

~ Ashley gets a rose.

~ Girls who haven’t received a rose yet, that I remember: Maquel, Amber the spray tan owner, Sports Reporter and former softball player Bri, Tia from Weiner….

~ Tia gets a rose! That’s an upgrade from the mini weiner she arrived with. Hey, that was a thing. Don’t look at me.

~ Maquel gets the final rose! She came in the race car.

~ He sent Bri home. Well, my top 5 needs some editing.

~ Jessica is sent home.

~ Amber is gone.

~ And that’s it? Only three went home?

~ Amber is crying and is disappointed that this “risk” failed miserably.

~ Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because you won’t have to be embarrassed on national TV for multiple weeks.

~ ARIE JUST TOLD THE WOMEN THAT HE’S IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT. THAT WAS LITERALLY MY SECOND NOTE IN THIS POST.

~ Alright, time for some rapid fire final thoughts.

~ I like Krystal, but I don’t think she’s meant for this show.

~ Tia is goofy and that might get her all the way to the Final 4 because she’ll be different from everyone else and he’ll enjoy her playfulness.

Brittany is sweet, but I fear that her storyline this season will be “I got the first kiss but nothing ever came from it.”

~ Kendall – Hug game strong, man. Don’t underestimate it.

~ Bekah – I feel like she’s trying too hard to convince herself that she has a lot in common with him.

Lauren B. – My ultimate underdog. Was barely shown this episode but I like her. There’s something there. Trust me.

Chelsea – she’ll be the top heel of the territory and lose a “loser leaves town” match as a way to write her off the show.

Becca – she seems rock solid right now. My friend Sharon has her as one of her favourites, I don’t know if I’m there.

~ Maquel – I don’t know if the final rose on the first night is a bad omen or not. I’ll need to look at the stats.

My pick to go all the way to the end is Lauren B.

Here’s why:
1. She had a good limo exit
2. She didn’t ask him how he was, like two other Laurens did. Bam, she’s different.
3. The last time Arie was on this show, he fell in love with someone who kinda looks like Lauren. At least, the blonde hair is the same.
4. They didn’t want to give her too much air time yet; she’ll get all of it later on.

Final PAULEADERBOARD of the night:
1. Lauren B.
2. Krystal
3. Tia
4. Brittany
5. Bri (Quiet, I know she got sent home)

Alright, that’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. See you next week. This was exhausting.

@CappyTalks on Twitter

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Closing Act

Dear Readers,

For the last three hours, I’ve been trying to write one of those fancy year in review posts. I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’m a better writer after midnight, when the lights are out and I’m half asleep.

That being said, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for reading my blog. I never imagined having an audience full of so many characters. This blog is like a circus and each one of you are a critical act in the show. I love it.

Seriously though – your encouragement, honesty, and friendship means everything to me. Writing is easier because of all of you. I look forward to continuing to make you think, laugh, cry, and yell at me over never having eaten a taco.

If I ever find out that any of you have betrayed me, I will track you down in a comments section when you least expect it and serenade you with some Kelly Clarkson and/or Adele lyrics until I have successfully guilted you back into my circle circus.

Don’t test me.

To the readers who have yet to discover my blog, I shall welcome you with open arms, a juice box, and a bag of chips. You can choose the flavours.

Have a safe and happy New Year, and I’ll see you all back here in 2018!

Your Favourite Blogger,

Paul

P.S. Feel free to let others know what your circus act/skill is in the comments section below.

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