Viewing Notes: The Bachelorette Ep. 1

I’m back. You’re back. We’re all back. No need to ask why. So pack it up, pack it in. Let me begin.

~ The bachelorette this season is a woman named Rachel. Everyone say, “Don’t do it Hi, Rachel!”

Oh look, it’s host Chris Harrison! He uses the same hand gestures during every speech he makes. Watch for them.

Let’s meet Rachel! Yeah!

In the morning, she likes to dance down sidewalks. By day, you can find her in courtrooms. At night, she walks in parks. Lovely.

~ Rachel and her dog, who has a cast on its leg, board a plane and away we go!

Don’t pout too much about the dog, Meghan.

We come back to Mr. Chris who tells us Rachel has everything except love. Define “everything”, Christoph.

Let’s meet the guys via pre-made video packages. The macho meter is about to go sky high.

~ Sure enough, first up is a wrestler named Kenny. He has a daughter and no one attends his wrestling matches, apparently.

~ No Barb, I’ve never heard of him before.

Next up is Jack the Attorney. He has a dog. Hey wait a minute. Rachel is an attorney and has a dog. This has amateur matchmaker written all over it.

Here is Alex. He likes lifting weights and solving rubik’s cubes.

Mohit likes to dance with his large family in his small living room.

Lucas just broke the macho meter. I think he’s yelling “Whaboom” repeatedly. He’s also a rugby player. This should be a disaster.

Whacartoon.

Blake E. works out a lot and has a haircut from 1994.

Diggy from Chicago has a dog and 575 pairs of shoes. He wants to have children with Rachel.

If someone doesn’t say “Get Diggy with it” by the end of Episode 2, I’ll cry.

Josiah is a prosecutor. He’s been through a lot in his life. I’ll root for him.

Before Rachel meets everyone, she has to sit down with 7 former contestants from The Bachelor, who are just glad to be back on TV again after their Instagram followers plateaued three months ago.

Is this segment really necessary?

Oh hey, Kristina is there. I liked her. Everything’s fine. Carry on.

The guys are on their way to meet Rachel.

Rachel arrives at the mansion and Mr. Harrison greets her with the same smile, hug, and skeptical questions he greets everyone with.

“Let the journey begin.” Drink!

First out of the limo is Peter in a bowtie, complimented by sweat on his forehead, as viewing parties across the country scream “Aww he’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready.”

Here comes Josiah in a bowtie as well. Was there a memo? I think there was a memo.

Bryan the Chiropractor is out next and he immediately speaks in a different language. Fortunately, I can translate.

“If your back ever hurts, I can fix it. I also like pickles.”

Kenny the wrestler! I hope they go on a wrestling date. It’ll be a real slobber knocker.

Hey folks, that was a solid joke. Start laughing.

Rob the Law Student calls Rachel his first round draft pick! Buddy, that’s vague. You need to say “First overall pick”. The first round can have 30 picks. What’s wrong with you!?

THERE IS A GUY NAMED IGGY? THIS IS THE BEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN.

Iggy and Diggy bromance confirmed. Hey, they may even get their own radio gig.

Tune in to Iggy and Diggy in the morning on 104.7 The Blur.

Bryce the firefighter picks her up and talks to her like a bad guy in a bad film.

Steve Urkel just came out of the limo, slipped, went back in, and came out again as Stefan Urquelle.

Give this man the one million dollars, or whatever he’s there for.

“I’m here to teach you how to Diggy.” RADIO SHOW CONFIRMED.

Kyle shows up and shows her his buns. Okay.

Blake K. shows up and he’s this year’s version of Kristina. Too good for the show but still there anyway.

Male model Brady brings a chunk of ice and breaks it with a sledgehammer.

Kenny the wrestler on commentary: “Good God almighty, he broke it in half! Foreign objects are not apart of this match!”

Kenny better go far. I have about 58 more wrestling references to make.

I’m still reeling over the Family Matters reference. Fantastic. 10/10. Thank you, Urkel.

Dean met her already and meets her again.

Eric the personal trainer starts dancing with her.

DeMario shows up in a bowtie! I’m calling shenanigans.

The bowtie is this season’s version of the red dress.

DeMario is already in love and has a plan to elope in Las Vegas. Man, he just spoiled next week’s episode!

Oh stop it. Here comes a marching band. If Santa isn’t at the end of this parade, I’ll be upset.

I’m upset. It’s a drummer named Blake, instead. Way to ruin Christmas.

Sticking with the wrestling theme, I’m creating the first faction of the season – The Bowtie Bros.

“She’s wicked hot. Smart too. You don’t see that combo.”

We’re only 47 minutes in. I’m ready for the 7th inning stretch.

Here is Fred. I haven’t seen a Fred on TV since The Flintstones.

Fred Flintstone from the town of Bedrock, shows up with Rachel’s old yearbook. They went to school together over 15 years ago.

This is 98% of all people’s worst nightmare, right?

“He was a very bad kid.” No rose for you!

Jonathan heard she’s looking for a man who could make her laugh, so he recommended me because he’s quite dull.

Oh, his occupation is “Tickle Monster.” He’s far superior to me.

Lee comes out with a guitar and starts singing like an unsuccessful singer from Nashville.

Alex shows up with a vacuum because he stole it from the hotel he’s staying at.

Kenny the wrestler just called for a “Vacuum on a pole” match.

YES! There’s a ventriloquist(?) named Adam with a dummy named Adam Jr.

Please last at least 8 episodes. Please last at least 8 episodes. PLEASE LAST AT LEAST 8 EPISODES. I need this material.

One member of The Bowtie Bros has a whistle.

Out comes Matt in a penguin costume. He’s going to waddle right into her heart. Yeah, he has no chance.

An ambulance rolls in and out comes Grant with a cheesy line.

Anthony.

Jamey.

Jack. Another Attorney!

“You look amazing!” Drink!

I’m creating another faction called Law Law Land. All the attorneys will be in it. They will feud with The Bowtie Bros at the next Pay-Per-View.

Mohit.

“Sausage fest.” Drink!

Jedidiah. As in Jedidiah Jebediah Springfield?

Michael is 26 years old and a former basketball player. Translation: He played in college and barely got any minutes.

Lucas finally appears. Mr. Whaboom himself. Rachel looks petrified.

I don’t need to give Lucas a wrestling persona. He already is one.

Whaboom and Tickle Monster are going to be a tag team. Give me a few minutes to figure out their team name.

“Amazing.” Drink!

“She was too good for Nick.” These guys read my blog, don’t they?

Oh good, they’ve all arrived. She goes inside to make a speech.

“I know what it’s like to be standing in your shoes.” Drink!

“Cheers to no regrets.” You’ll regret that, Rachel.

Josiah steals her away first. The rest of the guys are shocked he did that because they’ve never seen the show before.

Dean and Rachel are now building a sand castle while wearing fancy clothes. Makes sense.

Rob gives her a “first round draft pick” fantasy card. ROB WE TALKED ABOUT THIS. It’s “First Overall” not “First Round.” Go home.

“What does love mean to you?” Deep question.

“An unexplained energy you just feel with someone.” Solid answer.

Uh oh, Adam Jr. the dummy looks bored. One member of The Bowtie Bros wants to give him time with Rachel.

ADAM JR. IS GETTING TIME WITH RACHEL. ALERT THE POLICE.

Adam Jr. scares her and Adam Sr. takes offence. He’ll cry later.

Fred was in 3rd grade, Rachel was in 8th grade. She was his camp counsellor. This breaks every rule a camp counsellor is told to follow.

Bryan the Chiropractor tells her he’s good with his hands. Fine. Great. But do you wet your hands before or after applying soap?

THEY’RE KISSING.

CHRISTOPHER HA…OH I’M STILL ON CAPS LOCK.

Christopher B. Harrison walks in and drops the first impression rose off.

The Bowtie Bros are already calling Rachel their wife. I don’t like this infighting, boys. Knock it off. You have a match against Law Law Land in three weeks.

DeMario asks her if she prefers N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys. Hey DeMario, since you like random questions, ASK ABOUT THE SOAP THING.

There are 30 men and only one bachelorette. In camp terms, a 6:1 ratio would be better.

Back to Whaboom – he screams “WhahahahahahhBOOM” while shaking his face. That’s why he’s annoying.

Whaboom and Tickle Monster will now be known as The Odd Toddlers. TOT for short.

Rachel doesn’t like chocolate! How honest of her!

One half of The Odd Toddlers just saw a shooting star. No one cares.

Blake E. doesn’t like Whaboom and thinks he’s just there to be on TV.

~ Ahahahahahahahaha oh Blake. They’re all just there to be on TV.

Herbert Hoover – the vacuum guy – is cleaning up.

One guy is growling on her shoulder.

Blake E. is calling out Whaboom for being a clown. No Blake E! He’s an Odd Toddler. Get it right!

More like Blake F.

“If she chooses Whaboom, we need to re-evaluate what we think is fly.”

I don’t think I’ve heard someone use the word “fly” in that context since 2004.

“Catch me outside, how bout dat.” Red Card. Leave the house immediately.

Kenny the wrestler’s ring name is, Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King.

“Are you down with PBP, yeah you know me.” – Kenny King, probably

Bryan the Chiropractor, who is good with his hands and shoved his face into hers, gets the first impression rose.

THEY’RE KISSING AGAIN.

One guy sees it and screams, “NOOO”! Top 5 TV moment of 2017, easily.

~ Time for the Rose Ceremony. I didn’t think we’d ever get here.

Chris wakes up from his nap and tells Rachel to say goodbye to people.

“Tonight has been a really long night. Thank you for your patience. Adam Jr. is creepy as hell. Whaboom needs to tone it down. As for the Bowtie Bros and Law Law Land, I can’t wait to see your match.”

Two members of The Bowtie Bros – Peter and Will – receive the first two roses. Obviously.

~ Iggy gets a rose. Waiting on Diggy now to keep the radio duo dream alive.

The third member of The Bowtie Bros – DeMario – gets a rose.

Tickle Monster gets a rose. Waiting on Whaboom to keep The Odd Toddlers afloat.

Pretty Boy Pitbull Kenny King gets a rose. My wrestling references live on!

Matt the Penguin gets a rose. Everyone who is sent home tonight will cry themselves to sleep for the next two months.

Josiah – fourth member of The Bowtie Bros, and secret member of Law Law Land – gets a rose.

Josiah will eventually turn on The Bowtie Bros, but shhh, no wrestling spoilers.

Camper Fred is wetting himself.

Diggy gets a rose! Iggy and Diggy live on! Diggy is also a Bowtie Bro. He’ll have to choose one or the other in the coming weeks.

Camper Fred gets a rose and Rachel will never get another job at a camp because of it.

Adam…just Adam. Adam Jr. is crushed.

Blake E. gets the penultimate rose.

Please be Whaboom. Please be Whaboom. PLEASE RACHEL. PLEASE.

Whaboom gets the last rose!!! The Odd Toddlers survive another week!

Rachel hates him so much, but the producers need him on the show for storylines. Otherwise, they’d have to use my wrestling storylines. And my storylines are too good for them.

Blake K. – I told you when he got out of the limo that he was too good for this show. At least he gets to go home early, rather than get strung along like Kristina last season.

Oh good, it’s over.

If enough people enjoyed this post, I’ll probably do it again next week. Ah who am I kidding? I can’t walk away yet. My wrestling storylines need to play out.

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Not That Person Anymore

Have you ever put on a pair of clothes, only to quickly realize they no longer fit? That happened to me a few weeks ago. It caught me by surprise.

My pants felt like I needed to shove a lampshade down them just to make up for the extra space. My dress shirt was big in the shoulders and no matter how much I tried to tuck the extra fabric into my pants, it wasn’t working.

For the past few weeks I’ve struggled with whether or not I was going to share the following with all of you. I’ve decided that I am.

My grandfather passed away at the end of April. I don’t want to share the details with you, or go through the memories I have of him and I. I’d like to keep those to myself.

So there I was, trying to fit into clothes I was going to wear to his funeral and nothing fit anymore. I’ve lost weight over the last few years, but still, I was caught off guard.

Fortunately, I can walk into a store and pick out clothes within seconds. I’m not the type of person to hum and haw over a shirt or pants. When I see it, I’ll know it’s for me. If I don’t see it, I haven’t found it yet.

At the funeral home, a slideshow of photos played on loop. You never know how much something meant to you until you see a picture of yourself in an old photo where you’re smiling from ear to ear. Those moments are everything.

The tears couldn’t be controlled that day. Even right now, I’m struggling.

Life goes by so quick, and I’ve only been here for 25 years. My childhood feels like yesterday, but at the same time, it doesn’t. It feels like someone else lived that life, not me.

No matter how many memories I conjure up in my head – the good and the bad – I’m not that person anymore.

I’m not the kid who tripped over a hula hoop on the first day of kindergarten. I’m not the kid who loved playing floor hockey. I’m not the kid who was picked on for reasons I’m still not sure. I’m not the kid who was always told I had a good head on my shoulders.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them. Whenever I see two people off laughing about something, I still worry they’re laughing at me. But they aren’t because I’m not that kid anymore.

I’m not a university student anymore, who at one time joked that he had too many friends. I’m not the first person people text anymore. I’m not the leader of a team. I’m not someone’s 2AM McDonald’s buddy. I’m not the guy in lecture who is dreaming about lunch. I’m not the guy who wears jeans once every four months.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, I’m all of them.

Jeans suck.

I’m not a camp counsellor anymore. I don’t have a group of kids who are happy to see me. I don’t have co-workers who, seemingly, became my best friend overnight. I’m not a fresh out of university person, who people have patience for.

I’m not any of those things anymore, and yet, again, I’m all of them.

Life is so weird. Who I am is constantly changing from year to year, month to month, day to day. Who I was five years ago is not who I am today. And there are days when I hate that. When I wish I could just stay in one version of myself and live it out forever.

In 2012, I had more confidence and motivation than anyone. It was me against the world. Now, I look at that person and see a stranger. I don’t know who that was. I don’t know where he went. I don’t know how to get him back.

That’s just the truth.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t know how good I am at something until someone else points it out to me. Because in my head, it just feels natural. It doesn’t feel like it’s anything special.

I remember one of my first days on a job where I just so happened to be working the front desk. Someone came in for an interview and I dealt with them accordingly. When they started working there the following week, they were shocked to know that I was new as well.

They thought I had been there forever because I was so professional. Meanwhile, I was scared out of my mind. But they didn’t see that. Only I did. And the exact same thing happened at another job. I was told I was doing a really good job, but in my head I thought I was a disaster.

Maybe I need to look at myself the way other people look at me because they see something different. They see something better.

Maybe I’m still stuck in a childhood mindset where I think people are just laughing at the way I walk or talk, or the things I do.

And the internet is full of motivational and inspirational phrases and quotes and I’m so sick of seeing them. Because we can like and retweet things all we want but at the end of the day all we’re doing is hitting a button with our thumb. That’s it.

I want words to mean something, so when you say something and I say something, we both feel it. We’re not just going through the motions of exchanging generic phrases.

That is who I am now, or at least who I’m trying to be. Someone who is unapologetic for the things I like. Someone who will be who I want to be, regardless of anything else.

Throughout the different versions of myself, one thing remains. Me. I am still Paul.

I am still the pizza-loving, sports-watching, pun-making, leaf-raking, book-reading, never-had-a-nose-bleed, always-willing-to-help-someone-in-need, guy. That’s me. That will always be me. No matter how much I may change.

Man, all this because a shirt and pants didn’t fit.

A special shoutout to a few people who’ve been really good friends to me the last few weeks. 

First off, Barb. You’re my blog mom. I don’t know what I’d do without your lengthy emails and attempts at using modern day terms. Thank you.

Meghan and Jess – Thank you for the music, laughs, and the nonsense we call “conversations”.

Chris – Man, you’re about 254 trillion tea and crumpets away (I was good at geography, trust that I’m right) but we’ve never felt closer. You’re the best. Use a comma every now and then, alright? Stay golden.

Neetu – No matter how far apart we get, I’m glad we always come right back around. Maybe one day I’ll like a song you send me. Until then, thank you for caring and thank you for your encouragement. Sorry my texts are always long. You love it, though. Right?

To the rest of you, don’t worry about me. Honestly. I just needed to get this off my chest in time for The Bachelorette Viewing Notes on Tuesday.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

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Bits and Pieces

Take a look
over your left shoulder
you’ll find me there
your worry holder
and I’ll be there
if you need me now
because if you need me now
then now will never end

It’s the little things
you hope to find
like chocolates
and an open mind
when one more thing
is never enough
it’s never enough
you can’t get enough

Find your song
on the radio
turn it up
and don’t let go
it can play us in
it can play us out
listen for your line
and leave no doubt

Watch the seconds
tick on your watch
the moments fly by
without a botch
are you worried now
I am worried now
the best are gone
but time goes on

Dip your toes
in the water below
the further we get
the deeper we go
if I start to go down
will you pick me up
who will pick you up
should we just get out

When you change your mind
and leave me behind
all I ask is
take me with you
and you with me
to the places where
we can never be
it will never be

Form a picture
in your head
of the people you love
before you’re dead
and hold it together
bit by bit
so we can hold it forever
piece by piece

So take a look now
over your right shoulder
you’ll find me there
your worry holder
and I’ll be here
if you need me now
because if you need me now
then now can never end.

The Runner and the Lover – Former Vandal (ft. Shelby Merry)

Now on Twitter: @CappyTalks

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Follow Me On Twitter

I’ve been thinking about creating a Twitter account for this blog for a long time. I finally did it.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Not only will my blog posts be posted there, but so will all my thoughts that you all love so very much. I promise I won’t make it boring, even if I ramble on about sports a lot.

I hope to share your blog posts there, as well. The “Retweet” button will get a work out.

Also, you can expect me to be annoying and remind you to follow me at the end of every blog post I write.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

Do it.

If I don’t follow you back, it’s because I don’t like you.

That was a joke. I’m sure there are other reasons.

Follow me on Twitter: @CappyTalks

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The Bags We Carry

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
He would park his car in the lot
and head inside with his bags.
Up and down the aisles he went
grabbing all the food he wanted
while striking up conversations
with whomever would listen.
He paid for his items
put them in his bags
and loaded up the car.
This was his routine.

Proud

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
his car broke down.
So he walked there from his house
thirty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
grabbing the food he needed
and greeting others with a smile.
He paid for his items
and put them in four bags.
This was his new routine.

Self-conscious

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
one bag ripped
and another got stuck
on his front gate.
So to the store he walked
thirty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
and out the door.
One bag in each hand.
This was his new routine.

Embarrassed

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
On one fateful trip home
a milk carton leaked
through one bag.
So to the store he ran
only twenty minutes away.
Up and down the aisles he went
a blur on surveillance.
He walked out with one bag
with less than he needed.
This was his new routine.

Ashamed

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
A little boy saw him and asked his mother
“Why does that man only have one bag?”
She looked at the man and said to her son
“I don’t know.”
The little boy looked at her and asked
“Can we give him some of ours?”
His mother said they could.
The man thanked them with a smile
and started walking home.
This was his new routine.

Intrigued

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
A little boy and his mother saw him again.
The little boy asked if they
could give him more bags.
Instead of responding to her son
the mother walked to the front of the store
and looked outside.
She turned to her son and said
“No more bags. There is a storm coming
we will invite him over for dinner.”
This was his new routine.

Hopeful

There once was a man who
went grocery shopping once a week.
He would park in the lot
and head inside with his
wife and son.
Up and down the aisles they went
striking up conversations
with whomever would listen.
They paid for their items
put them in bags
and drove home.
This was his favourite routine of all.

Happy

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The Blue And White

“Though the flame burns bright, in an instant it’s gone.”

A few hours ago, the Toronto Maple Leafs were officially eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Washington Capitals.

I am not mad. I am not sad. I am not heartbroken or numb. I am not going through the normal symptoms a fan experiences when their team has been eliminated.

I am okay.

This is why:

Let me take you back to May 4, 2004. On that day, the Toronto Maple Leafs faced the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6 of their second round series.

The Flyers had a 3-2 series lead and the Leafs were playing at home, trying to force a Game 7.

Where was I? I was on a four-day overnight field trip to the middle of nowhere, where I stayed in a cabin in the woods. I missed the game. I was not a happy camper. Literally.

At that point in my life, I was 12-years-old and already planned my days around watching sporting events on TV. I’d like to say that has changed in the last 13 years, but it hasn’t. So when I found out I was going to miss Game 6, I wasn’t pleased.

My only hope was for the Leafs to force a Game 7.

They didn’t.

I remember being told that the Leafs had lost in overtime and were eliminated. No one told me, but in my head, I already knew Jeremy Roenick scored the winning goal. A few days later when I got home, my premonition was confirmed.

I missed the last game of the season. I missed watching the raucous crowd. I missed seeing Darcy Tucker run Sami Kapanen into the boards so hard that he didn’t know where the bench was when he got up.

But I got over it pretty quickly. You know why? Because the Leafs always made the playoffs. And they’d be there the following season.

There was always next year.

Nope.

As it turned out, there wasn’t going to be a next year. The 2004-05 season was cancelled.

When hockey finally returned to my life a year later, the Leafs were different. They were old. They were slow. They weren’t good anymore. The playoffs were a mere suggestion, rather than a guarantee.

Mats Sundin eventually left and things got bad.

Being a Leafs fan was like being your own punchline. Wearing a Leafs jersey to school was no longer a sense of pride, but rather an invitation for others to tell you what you already knew – the Leafs sucked.

In university (circa 2010-11), I watched Leaf games in my room with other Leaf fans who resided on my floor. We left the door open so the rest of the hall could hear us scream when the puck went in the net.

We wore our Leaf jerseys to hall meetings at 10PM, just because. Don’t get me wrong, the Leafs still weren’t a good team, but that didn’t matter to us. We bonded over our passion and loyalty for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In 2013, the unthinkable happened. The Leafs made the playoffs for the first time since 2004. Finally, I could wash away that memory of being in the woods while the Leafs lost Game 6 to the Flyers.

And when they took the Boston Bruins to Game 7 and held a 4-1 lead with ten minutes left, I had never been so excited in my life. Oh my God, we’re actually going to win this series.

Oh. My. God.

Then it happened. Three goals by the Bruins. Tie game. Overtime on the horizon.

I felt sick. I probably would’ve thrown up on the spot, but I didn’t want to miss overtime.

Even if you don’t know what happened next, you probably do. The Bruins won the game in overtime. I was numb. I couldn’t move. I stayed on the couch for two more hours, unable to stand.

It felt like I was being hit by a bus, over and over and over, but no one was coming to my rescue.

Just when the Leafs had earned back the respectability they had lost since 2004, it was gone. All the jokes came back. The mockery came back.

“4-1” is all anyone had to say to a Leaf fan to get under their skin.

But it was okay. You know why? Because there was always next year. And the die hard Leaf fan in me thought this was the team I had been waiting for. This was the team that would make the playoffs, year after year, just like I had been accustomed to in the early 2000s.

It was all a lie.

They didn’t make the playoffs the following year. Everything fell apart. Again.

By 2014, I couldn’t sit through a Leaf game anymore. In my heart, I still loved the team. But they were hard to watch. That carried over to the following season.

The Leafs finished last in the NHL and (finally) received the 1st overall pick in the 2016 Draft.

Excellent. We could go through a proper rebuild – something we should have done when Sundin left.

Hello, Auston Matthews.

The Leafs went into training camp this season with no expectations. Actually, the only expectations were that they would be extremely young, inexperienced, and probably not very good.

They had more rookies in the lineup than I’ve ever seen in my life. The Leafs have never been good at developing prospects, so to say I was skeptical would be an understatement.

And then the first game of the season happened. Auston Matthews scored four goals against the Ottawa Senators and all my trepidations went away. The Leafs were back, baby. The Leafs were back.

But even then, I didn’t think playoffs were possible. And I didn’t even care about reaching the playoffs. I just wanted to watch a team that I could be proud of and see potential in. That’s all.

I got way more than that. This team became must-see TV. They were young, skilled, fast – oh man, were they fast. They were also extremely likable.

We had Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews singing “Livin’ On A Prayer” on the bench during a stoppage in play, like it was karaoke night and we were all invited.

We had Willie Nylander skating circles around opposing defensemen before making passes we didn’t know were possible.

We had Zach Hyman being a bull in the corners and scoring shorthanded goals. What? When have we ever scored shorthanded goals?

We had Connor Brown showing off his speed and scoring 20 goals while all the focus was on everyone else.

Nazem Kadri grew up. Tyler Bozak became a veteran. JVR did the shot between his legs thing a lot. Matt Martin was a bulldozer. Frederik Andersen brought back flashes of a former #31.

Behind the bench, Mike Babcock lured us in with his lovable Canadian accent. And high above the rink, Brendan Shanahan and Lou Lamoriello put us at ease every time they were shown during a broadcast.

At times this season I caught myself thinking, “How did this happen?” I came to the conclusion that it’s best not to ask questions and just go along with it.

This team, that no one expected anything from, made the playoffs. Their learning experience was about to go to the next level.

The Washington Capitals had the most points in the NHL this season and last. Welp. That being said, they are known for choking in the playoffs.

Well then, step right up, Toronto. And step up, they did.

After three games, the Leafs were leading the series 2-1. Late-season call-up Kasperi Kapanen was quickly becoming a fan favourite with his knack for big goals.

Oh, he is also as fast a Formula 1 car. That’s my scouting report, at least.

Kasperi Kapanen – the son of Sami Kapanen. Remember I said Sami was drilled into the boards by Darcy Tucker in Game 6, back on May 4, 2004?

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?

Anyway, the Leafs lost the next three games and bowed out last night.

But as I said, I am not mad. I am not sad. I am not heartbroken or numb.

I am proud. I am excited. I am optimistic.

The Leafs pushed the Capitals to the limit. And I know, that’s a terrible cliché that gets used too often in sports, but it’s true. Five of the six games went to overtime – all six games were decided by one goal.

What more could I ask for?

Over the last ten days, it has been so much fun cheering for this team and watching the young kids battle their facial hair challenged faces off.

The future is bright for the Blue and White. I can sleep easy tonight.

“Within my heart, above my home, the Maple Leaf forever!”

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From Within

I know you’re worried
I know you’re scared
trust me, I do
and I’m only saying this now
because there is a chill running through my body
which will not be ignored
so here it is
you will be okay

You know what you want
don’t lie to me
don’t lie to yourself
you know
you always have
and you picture it in your head
it lives there before you sleep at night
it wakes up when you wake up
it is your vision of the future
we all have one
I said don’t lie to me
even if it is just a dream
one full of question marks
it is there
isn’t it

There were moments when you sat
on the floor of your room
just hoping for a knock at the door
but it never came
and you wondered why
why couldn’t you be on the other side of the door
it sounded like fun
who doesn’t like to have fun
but there you sat
talking to yourself
talking to the presence in the room
hoping and begging
praying
praying for something more
praying for the fun on the other side
because you wanted this time
to be different
this was your time
it had to be

All of a sudden
the knock came
and you changed
that day
those few seconds
it happened
the day you were praying for
was here
you were finally you
the real you

You know how it goes
there are highs and lows
we all struggle at some point
look around you
you change
people change
and maybe that’s unfair
maybe that’s not what you want
maybe that throws you off course
but it is necessary
in order for the story to progress
page after unwritten page

You’re lost
but when haven’t you been
when have you ever been sure
when did you ever know everything
you haven’t
you won’t
you can’t

So what’s the problem
why are you frozen in time
are you so worried
about those around you
writing their book faster than you
is that it
a matter of penmanship
or is it deeper
do you feel unconfident
in your abilities
or in who you are
or even in your smile
is there something telling you
that you can’t
or is it just you

Because here’s the thing
no one can do what you do
that is why it is so hard
to see others
make things look so easy
because that is what they do
that is what they are meant to do
that is what their life is
and your life
is not their life
you were not meant to do
what they were meant to do

Your talents come naturally
that is why you can’t see them
you don’t think they’re special
you think they make you normal
you think they make you regular
like a bag of chips
but no one is normal
there is no such thing
your talents are seen by others
they are received by others
they are obvious to others
they make you who you are
that is why everyone who knows you
can describe you
because they see you
for you
while a mirror doesn’t know
the first thing about you
and that is the point
isn’t it

I know you’re worried
I know you’re scared
trust me, I do
but we’ll get through this
me and you.

“Something missing, left behind; search in circles every time I try…”
These Walls – Trapt

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Foggy Night

Dog in the fog
Where art thou
Find your way home
Don’t let me be alone.

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What In The World?

The world is a strange place. I have a lot that I’d like to say, so I’m going to sit here and write. You can either read all of this, or you can scroll down to the paragraphs that don’t seem as long as the others.

“Children are our future.”

I’m so tired of hearing that line. Not because I think it’s untrue. And definitely not because I hate Whitney Houston’s song. But because it is just so obvious. It’s like telling me I need oxygen to breathe. I know. Everyone knows.

Children can do no wrong, for the most part. They are the designated cute members of society who are normally running around with dirty hands and drool running from their mouth because they are laughing so hard.

“They’re just a kid”; “They don’t know any better”; and “It’s okay”, are just a few of the excuses given for their actions. They are untouchable. They are our future. We must protect them.

And then something happens. They turn into teenagers and become a blemish on society. All of a sudden they’re told to “Grow up” and “Stop acting so immature”.

What changed?

Is it because they’re now in high school and their teacher tells them on the first day that they’re going to be treated as adults now, but oh yeah, be sure to raise your hand when you need to go to the washroom and the teacher will decide if you can relieve yourself or not.

Woo, adulthood. #MadeIt

I look back on my elementary school days and a lot of questions pop up. What exactly were they preparing me for and why didn’t anyone tell me the meaning behind anything?

I mean, I get the whole learning how to read, write, and talk stuff, but what about everything else?

Kindergarten was all about “Show and Tell” and rolling in a barrel at recess when you couldn’t find a ball that could actually bounce.

In Grade 1, my report card said that I shouldn’t share my snack with others. Noted. But at least I was a pleasure to teach.

In Grade 2, my report card said that I socialized too much. I thought it was a compliment, until I told it wasn’t. Noted. But at least I was a pleasure to teach.

In Grade 3, my teacher told my mom that I took my time drawing out each letter in every word and that I should write faster. Noted. But at least I was a pleasure to teach.

To this day, whenever I’m writing something down, I always think I’m moving too slow. When I was in university, I would copy notes down from the board and look around to see if I was the last one done. I was normally one of the first, but I still couldn’t shake the “Write faster” comment from Grade 3.

Snacks, socializing, and write faster. That’s what was important?

In Grade 4, I received a C+ in Algebra. I didn’t even know what Algebra was, other than something that had to do with math. Again, I was a pleasure to teach.

In another grade (I can’t remember which), we were given a surprise math test. Every question looked like these three examples:

13    15     20
10     8      17

The only instructions on the sheet were, “Find the sum.” No one in the class knew what the word “Sum” meant. Isn’t that great? A test with instructions that included a word to which we didn’t know the meaning. It was like French class all over again.

I always found that tests never really tested what the students knew. Well, they did, to an extent. But a lot of the time, tests challenged us to do things we hadn’t learned how to do yet. Why? So we could show off our critical thinking skills.

I didn’t really get it. Now I do. But when you’re 12-years-old and are told you’re having a test in two days on the content you’ve been working on in the textbook, you don’t really prepare for anything else.

So when you take the children of the future and start treating them like adults after a two month summer vacation, and realize they are now teenagers who are developing a bunch of different attitudes, of course they’re going to look like an annoyance.

But it’s okay, because they’ll grow up in high school and take their college level classes and BAM, they’re ready for life after high school.

What?

Why are we asking 17-year-olds to decide what they want to do with their life and apply to schools based on that? We all know it’s stupid. And no one ever does anything about it. No one ever changes the system.

We sit in high school and memorize math equations most of us will never use ever again. Why?

I sat through two years of Science in high school. I did experiments. I memorized most of the Periodic Table. I analyzed my spit under a microscope. I did a presentation on the solar system. Not because I wanted to. But because I had to.

And I get it. Give the students a taste of every subject just in case something inspires them and they want to pursue a career in that. Fine.

That didn’t make me enjoy walking into Science class. I couldn’t wait for the bell to ring. That’s a problem, isn’t it?

At least say, “If you don’t see a career for yourself in this subject, this is why it’s still important.” Tell my 14-year-old self why. Because at that age, it just felt like a speed bump in front of lunch.

By the end of high school, I knew how to write essays and cite them using MLA format. I went on to university and was told on Day 1 that I would only be using APA format. Fantastic.

I don’t mean to bash the school system, but does it not occur to them to teach students about life? My Grade 11 Media Studies class was the only class where we ever talked about current events.

Every other class was as if there was no world outside of school. Maybe that’s why entering the workforce is known as entering the “real world” because the one we grew up in was so sheltered.

Sit me down and tell me about life. Don’t tell me the pretty picture that’s been painted for me since kindergarten. Tell me the challenges, so I can prepare for them.

Don’t tell me to take a career quiz and choose from a list of twenty jobs to decide what I should be when I grow up. Don’t tell me life is as easy as, “Get a job when you need money”.

There were people in high school who only got involved in clubs or student council because it looked good on a resume. They didn’t care to be there. They just needed something on a resume because that’s what the world expects.

You could be the best person in the world, but if you don’t have relevant black ink on your resume, too bad.

As for university, that is when you realize you know absolutely nothing and are forced to grow up.

That is where students are memorization robots. They learn everything they need to know for one test, and then they can forget it all as soon as they leave the classroom.

Survive and advance.

Moving on from schooling.

Politics. Yay. Hooray!

Politics has become such a joke. I can’t take any politician seriously, can you? Answer honestly. It’s almost as if politicians are in a world of their own and have no idea how to communicate with people anymore.

When they talk, it is so obvious that they are trying to appeal to certain demographics. Does anyone fall for it?

I like sports. If a politician mentions the local sports teams in their speech, is that their way of earning my vote? By finding a common interest with me? By making it seem like if we went to a game together, we’d have a good time in each other’s company?

It’s just all very insincere and phony. There is a lot of phoniness in the world.

Late night talk shows have been making Trump jokes every single night for the past two years. I stopped laughing at them a long time ago. Is this what people like? Is this the entertainment that people crave? Trump jokes?

Come on.

Humour is dead. I consider myself to be a funny person and I don’t have to rely on memes or political jokes to do it. What’s everyone else’s excuse? Oh yeah, they aren’t funny on their own. They need a crutch.

Many times, that crutch is used on social media.

Social media has brought out the worst in people.

I don’t know what I expect, but the amount of stupidity I see online every day continues to leave me appalled.

Someone passes away and random people will take it as an opportunity to make a joke or say something inappropriate. I witnessed it yesterday. It made me sick.

I read things online and I almost can’t believe someone would take the time to type out such cruel words and then hit “Enter”.

Is the “real world” just school on a larger scale? Do these people just want attention?

Why does everyone want attention these days?

I will see posts on Instagram of people posting two photos – one of them is “natural”, and the other is of them “working their angles” for the camera. Then the caption will be a nice long rant about how you shouldn’t believe everything you see on social media and be proud of who you are.

Excuse me? You’re the one perpetuating this unrealistic image in every single one of your photos, just so you can get popular and don’t have to get a real job because deep down you have no idea what to do with yourself other than take pictures of yourself.

Honestly.

Is everyone just scared? Is that what it is? Is that why everyone feels the need to fall in line and attach themselves to the latest trends?

I went through my first 12 years of school not being able to talk about baseball with anyone except one person. All of sudden, the Toronto Blue Jays make the playoffs for the first time in 20+ years and the entire closet is emptied with fans who must’ve been in hiding.

No, I don’t buy it. You thought baseball was boring just a few months ago. You’re only at the game because it’s a photo op. It’s a chance for you to fit in with what’s hip and cool.

Again, there’s a lot of phoniness in the world.

People worship celebrities, as if they are from a different planet and don’t breathe the same air we do. Sure, it’s great to have role models and people who entertain us, and inspire us, and all that jazz and hip-hop.

But calm down. You don’t have to reply to all of their tweets. You don’t have to bow at their feet. You don’t even have to run after them when you see them on the street.

Non-famous people are the ones who make people famous. It’s not them. It’s us. We are the ones paying their salary to play a sport in front of us. We are the ones going to see their movie. We are the ones buying their book. We are the ones watching their ridiculous television show.

We make them famous.

And in doing so, we look to them for guidance. We expect athletes to be at the forefront of movements and protests. We expect celebrities to speak out. We expect artists to send a message to the world through their music.

We expect all of this, as if we are incapable of developing our own thoughts. No. We have to look to our favourite famous person and see what they think.

We give them Saint status because their PR representatives have done a great job at convincing us they are exactly who we think they are.

We have to look at the guy who scores 40 goals in a season and grows a playoff beard, and ask them for their opinion. And then, like sheep, we follow.

Again, it’s an example of school on a larger scale.

The teacher leaves the classroom during a test and everyone starts whispering. “What’s the answer to #5?” Someone loudly whispers, “B”. The sheep circle ‘B’, not knowing it’s the wrong answer.

And in this world where we look to celebrities for guidance, we are constantly at the mercy of corporations who want nothing more than our money (and our email address, so they can bombard us).

Everything is an advertisement.

Buy, buy, buy. You need this.

You need to have luscious hair like the model, who just so happens to have a perfect smile, in the shampoo commercial.

You need this perfectly made burger and pristine, rectangular french fries.

You need the new smartphone because its screen is two centimetres wider and there is more storage and all the kids at school will have one.

It just never ends. And I know the economy has to keep spinning, but I can’t remember the last time someone was genuine when they tried to sell me something. Or when they made it seem like it was my choice.

Some stores will ask you if you want to make a small donation to charity, when you pay for the item you just purchased. And when you decline their request, it’s as if you just told a homeless person to go starve to death.

Don’t guilt me into donating money, especially when you ambush me.

That just feels like I’m being set up and judged.

Calendars will continue to turn and the world will enter the future faster than any of us can imagine. Heck, it’s already 2017. And as time passes, technology will continue to develop.

Back to the kids of the future for a second, should we tell them now that there won’t be any jobs for them by the time they graduate because adults are hell-bent on creating robots to replace us in the workplace? Or is that something we should tell them when they’re older?

Seriously, what is this deep fascination with technology? Oh yeah, to make operations more efficient and to save money. Got it.

Well where does that leave us? The people who had to choose their career at age 17 and were told the world was their oyster.

Maybe the world is not an oyster. Maybe the world is a minefield without a map.

Maybe our peers are the map, but the world has become so connected that we fail to make the meaningful connections we all need, in order to navigate the minefield.

Woah, that was deep.

And I’d like to think the observations I’ve mentioned here today, as well as the ones that have been festering in your mind, will all be addressed so we could all live happily ever after and sing kumbaya by the fire without the urge of posting a picture of it on Instagram.

I’d like to think that we all still have a lot to learn about the world and each other. And the only way to learn is to teach – we don’t need to be in a classroom to do that.

But I don’t know what the future holds. All I know is it will hold us.

And at one point in our lives, we were a pleasure to teach.

So, what in the world happened?

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Wash Away

Is it okay?

I remember the night – quiet, lonely, perfect
I remember the day – loud, busy, also perfect
And as I tried to walk around the puddles not yet on the ground
I realized one thing
The water had become blood
I always thought that was the worst day of my life
And it buried me
God, it buried me
But God has me smiling tonight
Because it took all this time for me to realize the truth
That was the best day of my life
I would give anything just to have a piece of it
It meant something to me
It was all I ever wanted
And everything I needed

It is now.

I took the smile over the file, every day
And on that day, when the final ones were handed out
The sky turned dark and I walked right into it
Quiet, lonely, but perfect
You couldn’t write it if you tried
Words don’t carry luck with them
But I did
Words don’t carry a blessing with them
But I did
I see that now
I am free
I see happiness in a moment I thought was sad
I am finally free
And I like it
I always will

It always was.

Song: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Atlas Hands

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