I Engaged My Core

Everyone always says you should engage your core, but they also say you should marry your best friend…..so, that’s confusing. Aren’t we supposed to pick one? Do they each get a ring?

In search of answers, I decided to do one of the two. I engaged my core.

Alright, before this takes a left turn into a cry for help sappy, “I Married Myself” blog post, let me extract myself from the hijinx of the introduction and clarify things for you.

This post is about exercise. And the ring I got my core is a hula hoop, but it’s a bit big.

Okay, that last sentence isn’t true, I just wanted to stretch the joke out further. As a warm-up. Because you stretch during warm-ups. IS ANYONE FINDING THIS FUNNY?

Last week, I completed a 30-Day Plank Challenge. It took me 34 days to complete because I had a few days near the end where I ate some big meals and the idea of doing a plank was about as appealing as kissing a toilet seat.

If you don’t know what a plank is, I’ll explain it to you.

Basically, you get in position to do a push-up, but instead of holding yourself up with your hands, you use your forearms and elbows. Then you keep your body straight, hold the position, and start sweating from places you didn’t know could produce sweat.

Too much information? Maybe. But no one is asking you to read this.

That’s a lie. Please don’t go.

You’re probably wondering how this 30-Day Plank Challenge came about because the last time I mentioned exercise on this blog, it was about how I had taken up running.

By the way, if you’re wondering how running is going – it’s not. It defeated me. I could never figure out the right time to run, or how soon before the run to eat, or what to eat, or how to properly pace myself so I wouldn’t be hunched over on a park bench after seven minutes.

It was torture. That said, I’ll give it another try next year.

Plank Challenge Origin Story:

Earlier this year, I came across a post on Instagram made by former Formula 1 driver, Fernando Alonso. It was a picture of a calendar, outlining a 30-Day Plank Challenge and how long to hold the plank position on each day.

I took a screenshot of it, thinking it would be a cool thing to try…eventually. I finally tried it in November.

As you can see, the final day of the challenge requires you to hold the plank for five minutes. FIVE MINUTES.

Do you even know how long five minutes is? It’s like three hours. That’s terrifying.

The first couple of days were okay, but I won’t lie, holding it for 30 seconds made my body shake. That made me nervous.

You really don’t really know what your core is, until you engage it. There’s a, “you think you know someone” joke in here somewhere.

As time went on, I seemed to be gaining stamina. All of a sudden, a one-minute plank was no big deal.

Going from 1:00 to 1:30 was intimidating, but whenever I faced those 30-second increments, I knew that if I could get through it, then the following day would be the same thing and I’d be able to do it.

Day 24 – the jump up to 3;50 from 3;00 was a painful endeavour, but I did it.

It was around this time where I started to realize that I was cheating. I wasn’t holding myself in the proper plank position the entire time. I was allowing my body to come up, like a tiny parabola, to ease the pain.

That was disappointing. I was a phony, but the exercise still hurt so much.

I don’t think I completed Day 29 (4:50) in one go. I was trying to use proper plank form to salvage my reputation, but kept giving out, so the total of my attempts eventually got me to 4:50.

For Day 30, I completed it in one attempt, while not holding the proper plank position the entire time. That said, it was still an incredibly painful five minutes. I could barely move afterwards.

Planking, in general, is a painful thing after a certain point.

My shoulders, of all things, were in a ton of pain. Also, my toes were wondering why I was making them bend like that for so long. My elbows and forearms hurt. My neck hurt. My stomach was screaming like it was in the mosh pit at a concert. Everything was awful.

I did the planks on a carpet. If you’re going to do that, I suggest not wearing socks. They’ll just make you slide around like a penguin on ice.

I had my phone out in front of me so I could watch the stopwatch slowly torture me. With that, I also played music. It took me about two weeks to find the perfect song for me and my core to dance to.

The song was, Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event. The song is about five minutes long and starts slowly for the first minute – which is when I didn’t really need it – and then picks up when I feel like I need to howl at the moon in pain.

Five Things I learned from this 30-Day Plank Challenge:
1. Time moves very slowly when you need it to move fast
2. Planks are painful
3. I can power through the pain if I tell myself I can
4. I ended up with rug burn near my elbows and didn’t realize it until yesterday
5. My arms got stronger

It was a painful and challenging experience, but I’m proud of myself, even though I don’t really know how long I can hold a plank without “cheating”. Maybe two minutes?

It’s kind of hard to know my body position from my own vantage point. Google has all these nice photos of people doing proper planks, but my eyes aren’t looking at me from the other side of the room. I can’t see what I look like.

Heck, I’ve always been confused whenever someone says, “hands should be shoulder-width apart.” Well, NO KIDDING. That’s the anatomy of a human body.

Anyway, feel free to try this plank challenge yourself and keep me posted on your progress. I know it’s a big commitment to engage your core, but you can always break up with it afterwards…like I did.

What, you were expecting a happy ending to this post? This isn’t The Bachelor.

Will you try this Plank Challenge? Have you ever engaged your core? Did you break up with it? Why does exercise have to be so painful?

Posted in Humour, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Driving Away With It

The Formula 1 season always goes by so fast, which is surprising to me because on the weekends when there is no race, it feels like the next one is so far away. I guess that’s why F1 partnered with Rolex to keep track of time and not me. It’s fine, I’m not bitter.

The season started in March, with the release of, Formula 1: Drive To Survive – a 10-episode Netflix documentary chronicling the 2018 season. It was fantastic and you should watch it, even if you’ve never seen an F1 race in your life.

You’ll enjoy it. Trust me. I have no motive to lie, nor lead you astray.

Yesterday, the final race of the year was held in Abu Dhabi. It doesn’t matter who won.

The season followed the same pattern that racing fans have (unfortunately) grown accustomed to over the last few years.

It goes something like this:

1. Someone blows away the competition during Winter Testing (Ferrari).
2. Teams show up in Australia for the first race of the season, full of optimism.
3. Look at how many cars are passing each other during the race!
4. Wow! There might actually be a battle at the top this season!
5. How about this midfield battle? Extraordinary!
6. Mercedes is still the best, but the other teams are closing the gap.
7. Why did I stay up until 3:30AM to watch this race?
8. A hodgepodge of celebrities show up in Monaco.
9. Why is Vettel doing that?
10. Why is Red Bull only good at certain tracks?
11. Lance Stroll finishes 9th and is really happy about it.
12. Ferrari better get it together before they fall too far behind.
13. SINGAPORE NIGHT RACE!
14. Alright, no one is catching Mercedes this year.
15. Kimi Raikkonen mumbles through an interview.
16. OH MY GOD A RAIN RACE!
17. Daniel Ricciardo’s car stops on the side of the road. He’s frustrated.
18. Yeah, Mercedes is going to win the constructors’ championship again.
19. Lewis Hamilton is going to win the driver’s championship.
20. There are seven races left and they don’t mean anything.
21. Oh, what’s that, they’re making rule changes in 2021?
22. “RACES WILL BE MORE COMPETITIVE IN THE FUTURE”
23. Now how will I spend my Sunday mornings?

So, if you or someone you know, want to become a fan of Formula 1, that’s basically what you can expect over the course of a season. Hopefully, that changes next year, but it probably won’t.

We won’t get real change until 2021, when the regulations change and the cars look different and Lewis Hamilton moves over to Ferrari.

At this time, I’m going to list each team and driver and say a bit about them. The number in brackets is where they finished in the team/driver standings.

If you sit through this and read all of them, you’ll come across some great commentary and jokes. 

MERCEDES (1)They won 15 of 21 races this year. What else is new?

LEWIS HAMILTON (1)
He is a six-time world champion now – one behind Michael Schumacher – and has one year left on his deal with Mercedes. I feel like Schumacher had to fight harder for his championships, but then again, I was a child so my opinion could be skewed. Apparently, Hamilton had two meetings with the Ferrari owner this year and there is a chance he goes there in 2021.

VALTTERI BOTTAS (2)
Driving the same car as Hamilton, he feels like the only hope racing fans have for any competition at the top of the driver standings. But cheering for him means cheering for Mercedes and that’s not fun.

FERRARI (2): There’s an episode of The Simpsons where Nelson keeps saying, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.” That’s the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Ferrari. I’m so sorry. But stop hitting yourself, Ferrari.

CHARLES LECLERC (4)
He’s just a kid from Monaco, living his dream of driving an F1 car at the age of 22. Good ol’ Humble Chuck. Alright, no one calls him that…yet. His future is bright, but if Hamilton becomes his teammate in 2021, the bulb in that spotlight will need replacing every day. I think that makes sense.

SEBASTIAN VETTEL (5)
With four world championships, he is one of the all-time greats. None of those have come with Ferrari, however, which must be frustrating because IT’S FERRARI. I feel like he needs a hug because he’s trying so hard to chase down a reliable, consistent Mercedes, with an, at times, not so reliable Ferrari. And while he’s doing that, Humble Chuck (is this catching on?) comes in and outperforms him in his first year with the team.

RED BULL RACING (3): Never the bride, nor the groom, yet always at the altar.

MAX VERSTAPPEN (3)
Formula 1 is returning to the Netherlands next season for the first time since 1985, which will be nice for all the Dutch supporters who, seemingly, travel to every race to cheer on Verstappen, while wearing bright orange t-shirts, so the cameraman can easily pick them out. Max is great, hopefully his car can be too.

ALEX ALBON (8)
He started the season with Toro Rosso, before swapping seats with Pierre Gasly. For his rookie year, he did quite well.

McLAREN (4): Welcome to McLaren, where the “L” stands for Laughter. (Not an insult)

CARLOS SAINZ (6)
Sainz, Sainz, everywhere a Sainz. This was his best season in F1 and I can’t say I saw it coming because McLaren was such a mess last year. He seems to have a lot of fun with his teammate, which always makes for wholesome content on the internet.

LANDO NORRIS (11)
He sort of became the unofficial mascot of Formula 1 this year. I mean that in the best way. In 90% of his interviews and social media posts, he’s having fun, laughing, and bringing  pure joy to a world where people tend to look very concerned.

RENAULT (5): You know what it is, black and yellow, black and yellow. Sorry.

DANIEL RICCIARDO (9)
I can understand why he left Red Bull, but I feel bad that he landed with a team that is never in contention for a podium. By all accounts, he’s enjoying being with Renault. I’m just selfish and want to see him with a top team, but that boat might’ve sailed.

NICO HULKENBERG (14)
Again, another talented driver with a team that just doesn’t have the car to compete with the top three. It’s unfortunate. Renault is replacing him with Esteban Ocon next year.

TORO ROSSO (6): I was just about to say how pleasing it is on the tongue to utter the words “Toro Rosso”, and then I search it on Google and find out they are changing their name to Alpha Tauri next year. So, that’s timely.

PIERRE GASLY (7)
He started the season with the parent team, Red Bull, but wasn’t performing the way they had hoped. So now he’s back with their B team, which is going to be named Alpha, and that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

DANIIL KYVAT (13)
Like his teammate, he also had his shot with Red Bull back in 2015 (at the age of 21) before being sent down to Toro Rosso the following season after four races. It feels like he’s in a really long game of musical chairs with Gasly and Albon for the second seat at Red Bull.

RACING POINT (7): I still refer to them by their former name: Force India.

SERGIO PEREZ (10)
He finished in the Top 10 in eight of nine races after the summer break. It was always hard for me to gage how good the car was because his teammate was consistently missing out on the Top 10.

LANCE STROLL (15)
He is consistently poor in Qualifying, which puts him behind the 8-ball, as well as about 16 other cars, come race day. That was a numbers joke. We’re here now.

ALFA ROMEO (8): Hold on, we’re going to have an Alfa Romeo and an Alpha Tauri on the grid next year? Can they just go back to being called, Sauber? You’re confusing the children.

KIMI RAIKKONEN (12)
He’s like the Jaromir Jagr of Formula 1, minus the mullet. Could you imagine Kimi with a mullet though? He’s old enough to be the Dad of at least four other drivers. This guy is going to outlast everyone currently on the grid, and he’s going to do it without saying anything any of us can understand. Never change.

ANTONIO GIOVINAZZI (17)
His teammate is a legend and his car is not the best – it’s 8th. Again with a numbers joke. Stop it, Paul. That’s TWO many. STOP.

HAAS (9): Well, at least they were the highlight of the Netflix documentary.

KEVIN MAGNUSSEN (16)
Look, I don’t have much to say about either driver. It wasn’t a good season for them, after coming in 5th last season. The car was not good. You can’t turn chocolate pudding into chocolate cake.

ROMAIN GROSJEAN (18)
This past weekend he said, “Let’s just say we’re looking forward to getting rid of that car and it won’t go into a museum!” I like that quote way more than I should.

WILLIAMS (10): Maybe next year.

ROBERT KUBICA (19)
The car was not good from Day 0 and was 3-4 seconds off the pace all year, but I’m glad Kubica got a chance to be on the grid again after a horrific crash in 2011 that partially severed his arm. He had signed a deal with Ferrari to race for them in 2012, but couldn’t. Next year, he is being replaced by a Canadian – Nicholas Latifi.

GEORGE RUSSELL (20)
In his first year in F1, at the age of 21, Russell out-qualified his teammate in every race. Granted, they were normally starting last and second last. He has a lot of talent, though, and at times, made the car look better than it was.

Overall, it was a ho-hum season with not too many memorable moments, outside of Vettel’s hissy fit at the Canadian Grand Prix. I’m so glad that happened in Canada.

I don’t know what we’re in for next season. Is Mercedes just going to drive away with the championship again by the middle of the season? Are teams holding back until 2021, when the big regulation changes kick in, or will next season be competitive?

I’m not getting my hopes up, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be excited to stay up until 2AM to watch the first race of the season.

‘Tis the life of a Formula 1 fan.

Thanks for reading!

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Not A Review: Jingle All The Way

I was going to call this a movie review, but I don’t trust myself to follow through and meet the criteria necessary to be considered as such, so let me be clear – this is a collection of words about a movie. Not a movie review.

Please don’t look at the tags for this post.

On Thursday night, I was looking through the TV Guide to see if anything interesting was on. And then I found it: Jingle All The Way. The 1996 Christmas movie that is considered a comedy, but makes me laugh for reasons other than the script.

Before I get into it, why in the world is the movie called, Jingle All The Way? Like, what are they jingling? I know it’s a line in a Christmas song, but this isn’t an Instagram caption. You can’t just mysteriously drop a lyric into the title of a movie and walk away. You actually have to have the movie match the title.

Could they not call it, Bad Dad & Sinbad? Honestly. I thought of that in five seconds.

The movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad. I will refer to them as Arnold and Sinbad throughout this post because I never really paid any attention to their actual character names.

For the record, Arnold plays Howard, and Sinbad plays Myron.

The movie begins with Arnold showing up late to his son’s Karate…recital? I’m not sure what to call it. It’s the thing where the kids get a new belt. Wikipedia calls it a Karate class graduation, so let’s go with that.

Arnold gets home and his wife is mad that he works so much and always misses out on things. His son, Jamie, gives him the silent treatment, so Arnold tries to make him laugh. What page of the parenting handbook is that on?

Realizing that his humour won’t win back his son’s love and affection, he promises to buy Jamie the one thing he wants for Christmas. Really, Arnold? Just one thing? What a cheapo.

The kid recites a TV commercial for a Turbo-Man action figure. Every kid is going to get one and whoever doesn’t is going to be a loser.

And that sets in motion the rest of the movie. Arnold doesn’t want his kid to be a loser, so he goes to great lengths to acquire a doll that is already sold out everywhere.

On some level, it’s sweet, I guess?

Then we find out that Arnold’s wife told him to buy the Turbo-Man doll weeks ago, but he didn’t listen to her. In fact, he probably didn’t even hear her because when his son told him about the doll, he acted like it was the first time he had ever heard about it.

To recap, so far: Arnold doesn’t listen to his wife, and neglects his son’s extra-curricular activities.

On his quest to track down a Turbo-Man doll, he runs into another Father of the Year (FOTY) candidate, who also hasn’t bought his kid a Turbo-Man doll yet – Sinbad.

Sinbad is a mailman and feels the need to carry his satchel full of mail around with him.

By the way, this is happening on Christmas Eve. In what world do they deliver mail on Christmas Eve? Also, Arnold left it to the final day to buy presents for his son? Sorry, a present. Singular. ONE.

Bad Dad & Sinbad (see, has a great ring to it) go all over town trying to track down any Turbo-Man dolls that are left for purchase. They find their way to a store at a mall, where each customer has to take a ball with a number on it, and if their number is drawn, they win the right to buy the doll.

By the way, there were like 54 raging lunatics at that store, trying to get their hands on this doll. Do these parents not plan ahead, or did they all miss a Karate graduation and are throwing a hail mary to win back their kid’s love?

Also, why didn’t the manufacturer of the Turbo-Man doll expect this much demand? Was this a sign of the times? 1996? Wikipedia says this movie was based on the sell-outs for: Cabbage Patch Kids, Furby, and Tickle Me Elmo.

Back to the mall.

Arnold’s ball bounces away from him because of course it does. It ends up in the hands of a little girl in a stroller, who makes “na na na boo boo” faces at Arnold. That just provokes him – he has a very short temper – and the chase is on.

Arnold stalks the little girl and follows her around an obstacle course before sliding into the ball pit and lunging at her.

Can we get some mall security? What’s that? We have mothers with big purses, instead? Well, alright then.

The Mothers of ‘Merica (MOM) take their swings at Arnold, like he’s a garbage can at an Astros game, as he exits the ball pit. And that’s it. They don’t confront him any further. They don’t call security.

Uh, what?

While all this is happening, back at the house, neighbour Ted is doing everything he can to steal Arnold’s wife away from him. Ted is recently divorced and has a son, who has a Turbo-Man doll sitting under the Christmas tree because it was purchased months ago.

Alright, so that means he bought the doll in October, or earlier. Why are you even saving it for Christmas? Just give it to your kid in October.

The neighbourhood loves Ted because he bakes cookies and has hot chocolate ready to serve on a tray. In their eyes, he is the most eligible bachelor on the block. And that might be the funniest thing about the movie.

Ted is a creep. The end.

Meanwhile, Arnold & Sinbad have made their way to a radio station because they’re giving away a Turbo-Man doll to the first caller to name all eight reindeer. They go in person because Sinbad broke the phone at the diner (they were commiserating, at the time), and uh, what are cellphones?

Arnold finds the Radio DJ’s booth fairly quickly. Is there no security anywhere in 1996? He breaks in like a madman and confronts the DJ, who is none other than WILLARD KRAFT with long hair.

That’s right, it’s the school administrator from the original Sabrina The Teenage Witch, which came out three months before this movie did in 1996. The more you know.

Anyway, Arnold names the eight reindeer and demands the doll. Sinbad enters the room and pulls out a “bomb” from his mailbag/satchel because they’re living in a crazy time.

This is how you know it’s peak 1996. The unabomber (guy who mailed bombs to people) was apprehended on April 3, 1996.

Arnold, being Arnold, tells Sinbad to “put that away”.

IT’S A BOMB, ARNOLD. NOT A CHOCOLATE BAR.

If you put a bomb away, it’s still a bomb. Granted, if it’s away, no one will open it and set it off. BUT STILL. Why is no one running out of that building yet?

Willard Kraft from Sabrina The Teenage Witch finally tells them that they don’t actually win a doll. They win a gift-certificate.

Way to go, Willard. The movie could’ve been over right now, but noooo.

The police have shown up, but Sinbad pulls out another “bomb” from his satchel and leaves it for the police to deal with while he escapes with Arnold.

Uh, hello? It’s 1996 and you’re letting two guys with a bomb just run away? YOU OUTNUMBER THEM. YOU’RE THE COPS. SET A PERIMETER.

I get that television shows with cops and detectives weren’t a thing in 1996, but come on.

One cop picks up the package, claiming to have been on the bomb squad, and declares that they’ve been duped.

And then the package explodes in his face because it just so happened to be an actual bomb. Oops? Don’t worry, he lives. Doesn’t even fall over, actually. And his cop friend makes a joke, “How many years on the bomb squad?”

So, it’s fine. Just another day on the job in 1996.

And then we get to the part of the movie where Arnold turns into Turbo-Man and rides on the float in the parade. Why is the parade a day before Christmas? I don’t know. Those road closures must’ve been a pain.

There’s a long fight scene where Sinbad becomes a Dementor (not the Harry Potter one) and tries to kill(?) Arnold.

Fast-forward a bit and Arnold picks his son, Jamie, out of the crowd and calls him up to the float to give him a Turbo-Man doll. Finally. Jamie can’t believe it and after a loooong conversation with Turbo-Man aka HIS DAD IN A COSTUME, Jamie says he wishes his dad was here for this.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME, JAMIE?

How do you not recognize your dad’s accent? How do you not recognize his face? He’s wearing a helmet with a see-through visor. Wake up, kid!

I didn’t find this part believable at all.

Arnold takes off his mask and the kid is just floored. Get this boy a chair, he needs to sit down.

By the way, no one in this movie ever looks cold. They’re in Minnesota. It’s Christmas Eve. People are wearing winter clothes, but more as an accessory, than a roadblock to frostbite.

Arnold’s son is wearing a winter hat that doesn’t cover his ears. This bothers me the whole movie. Are you trying to look like Joe Pesci in Home Alone? Is it a fashion statement? Is the hat too small? Ask for one for Christmas!

I don’t get it.

One of the main advantages of wearing a hat is that it covers your ears. Nope! Not this one. He wears it above his ears, which means his ears freeze, right? NOPE! His ears are zero shades of red, which means he’s not cold, which means it’s not cold in Minnesota on Christmas Eve!

Look, I realize this movie started filming on (checks Wikipedia) April 15, 1996 (a whole 12 days after the unabomber was caught, which begs the question, was the bomb scene in this movie too soon?), but can the actors at least pretend like they’re cold?

Throw in a shiver or a lip quiver during one of your lines. Put ketchup on your uncovered ears, so I think they’ve frozen over due to your own inability to properly wear a hat. Anything to make me believe you’re pretending to be cold.

Ugh.

At the end of the day, Jamie gives the Turbo-Man doll to Sinbad because Arnold is Jamie’s hero now.

UNTIL YOUR NEXT KARATE GRADUATION WHEN HE FAILS TO SHOW UP.

After all that. AFTER. ALL. THAT.

If you’re wondering what Arnold got his wife for Christmas, I’ll tell you.

He got her nothing. He forgot. He didn’t get his wife or son anything for Christmas, but at least his son isn’t giving him the silent treatment anymore, so I guess this movie accomplished something.

And that’s my movie review collection of words regarding Bad Dad & Sinbad Jingle All The Way.

Thanks for reading.

I forgot to mention, if this movie took place in 2019, every scene would have to be re-written, except maybe three.

Let me know what you thought of this post. Should I do more like it? Have you seen Jingle All The Way? Yay or Nay on Bad Dad & Sinbad as an alternate title? Anything else you want to say, go for it.

Posted in Humour, TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Toothbrush Triplets

That sounds like a good title for an animated horror film, doesn’t it? I always worry I’m putting my best – Grade A ideas on this blog and when the day comes for me to make money off them, I won’t be able to.

But I digest. And digress. On to the story!

It was time for me to replace my old toothbrush with a new one because it was old and not new. Wow, what a sentence.

I grabbed a new toothbrush out of the cupboard, which was the free toothbrush I had received at the dentist the last time I went. It was a reddish, pinkish colour. I don’t know. I guess it was supposed to represent gingivitis?

Maybe that was intentional, or subliminal, or accidental, or any other word ending in “-al” that fits this narrative like, abdominal. Okay, maybe not that one.

So, I take the new gingivitis-inspired toothbrush out of its little packaging and go put it into the toothbrush holder. It didn’t fit in the toothbrush holder.

I repeat, IT DIDN’T FIT IN THE TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER.

It was like finding a tea kettle that didn’t have an entry point for water. What’s the point?

The base of the toothbrush was too obtuse. I thought it was supposed to clean out the food, not eat it. Why was it so large?

My theory is, that because the dental office wanted their address printed on the toothbrush, it needed to be a bit bigger to fit the writing.

As a result, they made the toothbrush handle too big.

All I want in life is for products that are soulmates to work in perfect harmony with one another. Is that so much to ask? Why do you have to make things so difficult for me?

Can we get toothbrush manufacturers and toothbrush holder manufacturers in an email chain to prevent this issue? It’s not that hard. Let’s be smart about this. Please.

Clearly, I couldn’t use this “new” toothbrush. I’d have nowhere to put it when I wasn’t brushing my teeth.

My quest for another new toothbrush took me back to the cupboard, where I found five of them in a police lineup package. They were from Costco, apparently.

I picked out the one nearest the end because I couldn’t be bothered to be picky. So, my new toothbrush is black and orange which means it’ll be my least favourite holiday inside my mouth for the next few months – Halloween.

Yay.

Or should I have said, Boo?

I looked at the handle and it was small enough to fit in the toothbrush holder. The world was back to normal!

The next day, I go use it and as I’m brushing my teeth, something feels weird. And it’s not the, “Oh, the bristles go in this direction now” feeling that you get every time you change toothbrushes.

What’s up with that, by the way? Every toothbrush has their bristles angled differently. Is this a design patent thing, or have I been watching too much Shark Tank?

Anyway, I examine the toothbrush and lo and behold, two bristles are already falling out! It’s like a baby with a receding hairline. Those bristles are holding on for dear life, but as soon as I look away, they’ll make a run for it. I just know it.

What toothbrush loses bristles on its first use? Was it not in game shape? What’s the matter here?

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever had a toothbrush that has lost bristles. They all seem to hold on to what they got, it doesn’t make a difference if we make it or not, we got each other, and that’s enough etc.

Instead of playing Toothbrush Roulette and wondering if they’ll fall out while I’m brushing my teeth – and choke me to death – I just went ahead and ripped them out.

See ya, never, stray bristles!

I’ve been through three toothbrushes in the last 24 hours. Or is it teethbrushes?

Never have I ever (we’re playing that game now, I guess) had a problem with a toothbrush. All of a sudden, I have two?

I finished brushing my teeth and didn’t even trust that the toothbrush did its job. I looked at my teeth and wondered if they were actually clean or if the toothbrush sat out this session as a form of boycott.

I’m only partially kidding about that last sentence.

Heck, as I’m writing this, my teeth feel uncomfortable. 

THEN, I’m walking outside and what do I see on the ground next to the sidewalk? An empty toothbrush package.

I’m being haunted, mocked, stalked, and bamboozled by the toothbrush community. There’s no doubt about it.

The next time I brush my teeth, I’m going to need floss in my other hand just in case the toothbrush pulls anything and I have to break out the lasso.

Hey, it’s the wild, wild, west out here. You always have to be ready.

Complete side note: Last year (might’ve been this year) I was determined to brush my teeth using my non-dominant hand as a way to develop the other side of my brain. It was too hard and I quit. Also got toothpaste on my face. 

Have you ever had any toothbrush issues? Or is it, toothbrissues?

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

I Think My Favourite Colour Is Red

While doing “research” for this blog post, I uncovered some startling truths. But first, I must write a coherent introduction so I don’t just come out and scream, “THEY DISCONTINUED LAURENTIEN PENCIL CRAYONS?” and you all look at your screen as if I’m crazy.

Now that that’s out of the way….

THEY DISCONTINUED LAURENTIEN PENCIL CRAYONS?

That was the first startling truth. How do you discontinue pencil crayons? What will the children colour their pictures with now? OTHER crayons? Well, I guess. Okay, fine.

The second startling truth was that my non-Canadian readers might not have any clue what Laurentien pencil crayons are because they were (apparently) a Canadian brand.

I need to sit down.

Paul, you are sitting.

Well then I need to sit down harder. Whatever that means.

The next startling truth was a second-hand “startling truth” in that I saw it and knew others would be startled by it, so I felt startled.

And with that, I am hereby retiring the word “startled” from this blog post. May it rest in peace and NOT BE STARTLED ANYMORE.

Americans call them, “Coloured Pencils” while Canadians refer to them as “Pencil Crayons”. I’m pretty sure I knew this, but did my readers? DID YOU?

If you’re neither American, nor Canadian, what do you call them.

Anyway, Laurentien pencil crayons were a staple for elementary school kids across Canada. I think. I hope? Hey, they were popular at my school, so I’m just extrapolating across the country here.

I was never good at art, but those pencil crayons gave me superpowers.

They didn’t, I’m just being dramatic.

Let’s move on.

What’s your favourite colour? Surely, you’ve been asked that question before. It’s a question as old as colours themselves. And if you’re wondering how old colours are, look no further than when the first colour television came out in 1953.

By my lightning-quick math, colours are 66-years-old. They now get senior discounts at their favourite restaurants. Looking at you, Red Lobster.

(If the first colour television wasn’t in 1953, blame the internet for feeding me lies. LIES.)

All my life, I’ve claimed that blue is my favourite colour. Lately, I’m not so sure it actually is.

I think my favourite colour is red.

I grew up in a blue bedroom. Bedsheets are blue. Most of the local sports teams have blue as their primary colour. My birthday cakes would have blue frosting. I’m blue da ba dee da ba die, basically.

Now, I haven’t turned my back on the colour. I still like it. I just don’t know if it’s my favourite. Sometimes I look at it and find it a bit boring. Don’t tell it I said that. It’ll get blue if you do.

This is a very Paul dilemma, though.

It’s hard for me to pick a favourite when it comes to certain things. For instance, what’s my favourite sport? I don’t even know. I like all most of them. My answer is always, “It depends what time of year it is.” Even then, there are multiple sports going on at all times.

Favourite Food – Pizza.

Favourite Movie – Pretty much anything I saw before the age of 10.

Favourite TV Show – Can I list about 23 different shows?

Favourite Number – No idea.

By the way, I find it weird when people say they have a lucky number and then it just turns out to be their birthday. What’s that about?

Favourite Smell – I was a dog in a former life, so by default, I have more than one favourite smell.

It’s just hard for me to settle on one favourite thing. I’m an equal opportunity favouriter.

When it comes to colours, I’ve come to some realizations lately.

For starters, I always wondered why I didn’t like the Toronto Maple Leafs’ blue jerseys as much as other people. I’ve always preferred the white ones.

Is it because my first Leaf jersey, in Grade 2, was white? And di that set the trend for my second and third jersey? Or was it because, at the time, the white jersey was what they wore for home games, so that was the one to own?

Excuse me while I psychoanalyze my 10-year-old self.

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING, LITTLE PAUL?

I’ve always had a blue blanket on my bed, but when it gets cold, there’s a smaller red blanket (with squares that have other colours, too) that goes on top of it. So was that my way of telling myself that red was superior?

But then it gets tricky because when it gets colder than cold (Ice Cold), another blue blanket goes on top of the red blanket.

So what does that mean?

Answer: I’m losing my mind.

Kudos to the people who sleep with a comforter. I’ve never done it and don’t understand the concept.

Red Grapes.

Up until about four years ago, I was a green grape truther. Then, at camp, some of my campers would hand back their lunch containers with some food still in them, so I’d “chow down”.

Chicken burger day was the best. Pasta day was a close second, as long as they didn’t touch half of it. I would really have to supervise their eating habits that day, to ensure I wasn’t going to be eating pasta they spit back out, or touched with their fork for more than 6 seconds.

That was also when I learned to eat pasta with my fingers. 

But actually, they were good at eating their lunches and/or turning their food into a tornado that I wouldn’t want to touch, so it was rare I ever got anything worth eating other than a handful of grapes.

Red grapes were apart of most lunches. I had never really had red grapes before. I always thought they had seeds in them. I was wrong! These red grapes didn’t have seeds. They had love.

Okay, maybe that was the wrong word, but there’s no going back now.

And since then, I’ve been eating red grapes. Green grapes have been ghosted.

In other “red” news, I recently bought some Adidas pants. There’s a blue pair, but there’s also a black pair with red stripes…and a red pair with white stripes.

I’ve never felt spiffier than when I wear those red and white pants. They just turn me into a new person.

I am no longer just Paul. I am Paul, but with hand gestures when you say my name.

Try it now.

You all look ridiculous. Keep doing it.

The colour red just feels so much more vibrant and lively than the colour blue.

Red was the main colour of the university I went to. And what was the main colour of the university that was my second choice? Blue.

That’s some David Blaine level hijinx right there.

For intramurals, we wore red for two years. Then, we got shirts with our names on them and they were blue. Looking back on it, it was as if red was the colour we liked, but blue was the one we married.

Didn’t expect that kind of deep, intellectual thought when you first started this post, huh?

Last year, before the NFL season started, I was trying to find a new favourite team to cheer for. I was abandoning the New England Patriots, who wear blue, and was trying to find a team that spoke to me.

Eventually, I settled on the Kansas City Chiefs. They wear red.

Oh man.

Bought a new phone earlier this year. It’s red.

If you’ve ever seen the David Blaine Street Magic parody video on YouTube, I find myself making that face every time I type out one of these “I have a red ____” sentences.

So many red clues and not enough blues clues, if you know what I’m saying.

I could probably think of other instances where the colour red has infiltrated my life, but why creep you out further?

To sum it up: I like the colour blue, but I think I might like the colour red a bit more, but I’m not entirely sure, though I kinda am and don’t want to fully admit it even though I just did.

So I guess red is my favourite colour now. Wait, my Canadian guilt is kicking in.

Double WAIT. Red and blue make purple. I have many fond memories where the colour purple was present.

What the heck is going on here? I feel like I’m hosting my own palm reading. Tune in next time when I accidentally stumble upon my life expectancy, I guess?

I need to sit down harder. Again, not sure what that means but regular sitting is not working.

Is everything in the world just connected…like a colour wheel? Mind blown.

I’ve said enough.

What’s your favourite colour? Where is it present in your life?

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Defending Champions

The Toronto Raptors are raising a championship banner and receiving rings tonight ahead of the first game of the NBA season. They’re doing this, of course, because they won the NBA championship in June. That’s a thing that happened. I swear. I saw it with my own eyes. It happened!

It happened.

I’d like to say that the reality of last June has set in, but it hasn’t. The Toronto Raptors playing the role of reigning, defending, undisputed NBA champions, still doesn’t feel real to me.

This is a team I’ve watched since they played their games in a baseball stadium. Back then, it didn’t feel like they were eligible for a championship.

They felt like a jobber in professional wrestling – you know, the local wrestler who is brought in to lose a match in 60 seconds (usually less), so their opponent would look really strong.

Even when they were making the playoffs with Vince Carter, and then Chris Bosh, it felt like such an uphill battle. Those successful teams never lasted and it was back to the bottom of the standings.

Hence, the Atlantic Division was called the Titanic Division for a few years.

When things were that bad, the most exciting part of the game (for me) was when the team was down by 20 in the fourth quarter and the coach emptied the bench and put in players who rarely saw the court.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing what they do in their 4 minutes and 32 seconds of meaningless, garbage time.

But for the last six years, I’ve been spoiled with meaningful basketball, which culminated in an NBA championship four months ago.

If I keep typing that, it has to be true, right?

I’m so excited for this season. Yeah, Kawhi Leonard is gone, but his absence actually makes me even more excited. Is that sadistic?

I don’t think the NBA world knows how good this team still is, or that they have so many players who are only going to get better.

The Raptors are the best team in the league at developing their own players. I can’t wait to see the growth of the young players, who seem to be beaming with championship-level confidence.

Pascal Siakam is about to explode into superstardom.

OG Anunoby may just fool around and go win the Most Improved Player award this year.

If preseason is any indication (it might not be, but it probably is) Norman Powell is about to take that next step as an NBA player.

Then there’s everyone’s favourite undrafted player, Fred VanVleet, who will only continue to improve because he is Fred VanVleet and that’s what he does. Don’t question it.

I haven’t even mentioned Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, and Marc Gasol as veterans who 1) can still play; and 2) continue to share their wealth of knowledge – in multiple languages, no less.

Am I being biased? Yeah. But I’m also being truthful. There is a lot of talent on this team, and without Kawhi around, they’re going to have a chance to show it. All of it.

The player I’m really looking forward to this season is Terence Davis. He was an undrafted free agent, who played one game for the Denver Nuggets in Summer League, before the Raptors swooped in and signed him to a contract because of how impressive he was.

I watch him play and get Donovan Mitchell vibes. I could be very wrong, seeing as how I’m not an NBA scout, but that’s the player comparison in my head and I’m sticking to it.

I think if you don’t follow this team and just look at the names on the depth chart, you may be underwhelmed. I can understand that. Just know you’re wrong and will soon see how good the Raptors still are.

Will they make it back to the NBA Finals? I have no clue. I’m not blind to the fact that Kawhi put the team on his back on numerous occasions last season and his absence will be felt.

That being said, I’m still not afraid of any other team in the Eastern Conference.

People are talking about the Philadelphia 76ers as if they’re going to win the East. I don’t see it. If this were 2003, maybe. But they lost Jimmy Butler and added Al Horford and Josh Richardson. Fine, but tell me again why I’m supposed to fear them?

I just think people are sleeping on the Raptors (again) and studies show that when you sleep on a dinosaur, you get eaten, so…don’t do that. No sleeping on dinosaurs!

And so begins the 25th season of Raptors basketball.

This time, as defending champions.

Look ma, we made it.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Where’s The (Roast) Beef?

Last Monday was Thanksgiving here in Canada, which means a lot of people ate turkey until they turned into one. Not me. I’m always a turkey. No idea why I said that or what it means, but let’s keep going.

I don’t really like turkey, so my family gets roast beef instead.

Turkey is dry like a desert and drowning it in gravy will only be a mirage that will disappear as soon as it enters my mouth. I shouldn’t have to trick myself into thinking turkey is not dry. If gravy made everything better, then I’d put it on cantaloupe and eat that every day.

Cantaloupe makes me gag. Don’t know why, it just always has. It’s my kryptonite. 

Whenever Thanksgiving rolls around and people post on their Instagram stories a nice big turkey that they can’t wait to eat, I am unable to relate. Is their turkey not dry? Is there a secret I’m not aware of?

What are they tasting that I’m not? Is this like how dogs can hear things humans can’t? I want answers!

In different presentations, I do enjoy turkey. Sometimes my mom puts it in a broth and that is always delicious.

(Insert rant about how soup is just seasoned water. Not hating. Just saying.)

I also enjoy the turkey you can get at the deli and put in sandwiches – I eat that on a bagel with lettuce, tomato, onions, and sometimes cheese, multiple times a week. It’s delicious. Shoutout: Cuddy Montreal Smoked Turkey.

I like that turkey because it’s a wetter turkey. It’s a turkey that says, “I’ll play out in the rain without a jacket and wave my hair like I just dare care.” Plus I think it’s healthier than other deli meats. Don’t quote me on that, I’m just a Paul.

So, yeah. Roast beef is my preferred holiday meat.

When I was a kid, I always said my favourite food was pizza. And then in Grade 8, my Grade 3 teacher came into my class to drop off our time capsule that we put together five years prior.

Her first question for me was, “Is pizza still your favourite food, Paul?”

What? Is that my brand? Is that how I’m identified? How did she remember?

Apparently, in Grade 3, I had written on a sheet of paper that pizza was my favourite food and put it in the time capsule.

This is shocking to none of you, I’m sure. But in Grade 8, I felt attacked by this question. Just the way it was asked. As if I should’ve graduated to a more grown-up food to claim as my favourite, by then.

So for a few years I told myself that roast beef was my favourite food. How grown up of me! And it was. It is. I love it. The roast beef at Mandarin (maybe 6 of you know what this is) is my favourite.

But then I realized that pizza is my true love and I’ll name it as my favourite food even when I’m 100 years old, so it regained its position at the top of my food podium.

The roast beef we had last week was the best we’ve/I’ve ever tasted. It was just yummy in my tummy and I never wanted it to end.

I’d say it was restaurant-quality, but it was better than that. I’m going to start drooling any second.

If people enjoy turkey, they can enjoy turkey. I just can’t ignore how dry it is, even if it’s covered in gravy. It does nothing for me. I struggle to find purpose with it. Don’t worry, this post isn’t about to go down a philosophical road.

OR IS IT? This post has layers, okay. Pay attention.

Should I mention that I also don’t like ham, or would that be too many revelations? Oh well, we’re here now. I haven’t had ham in a long time, so I’m unsure of what I dislike about it, specifically, but I’m pretty sure I find it dry and salty.

Just like turkey, I like the ham from the deli, just not the big holiday ham that you cook in the oven and show off in photos, while it sits there, getting cold.

While I’m digging this trench for myself – bacon is good, but crispy bacon is disgusting. FIGHT ME. If I wanted to eat a shingle, I’d take a fork up to my roof.

I love lamb, though, if that wins any of you back to #TeamPaul.

To recap: I don’t like turkey, but I eat its cousin (turkey from the deli) multiple times a week. They’re cousins, right? Roast beef is simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone…I’ve gotten carried away here. Ham is just…ham. Bacon is good, but crispy bacon is ridiculous. Lamb, c’est bien.

Thanks for digesting this with me!

Let’s beef.

What do you eat on Thanksgiving, or other holidays where feasts are had? Do you also think turkey is dry? Should we form an alliance?

Bonus Question: What was your favourite food when you were a kid and is it still your favourite food?

Posted in Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

50 Thoughts XXIX

1. Technology is getting too complicated and unnecessary. I don’t want a new update every two weeks – I want it to be perfect the first time, and I want it to last for 20 years like my Nintendo 64.

2. I’m surprised people don’t make a big deal about the fact that our ears never stop growing.

3. When I wake up in the morning, I feel like there’s a half-hour window for me to eat or drink something, or else a headache is going to manifest itself and show up later in the day.

4. This little piggy went to market, whereas this little piggy went to Marquette. Just wanted an education, OKAY?

5. The song, “Welcome to the Jungle” is about 75 seconds too long. All the momentum in the beginning is lost halfway through and I just don’t care about it anymore by the end.

6. I’ve seen way too many people speeding through a school zone, lately. Are they having diarrhea in their pants, or are they just really stupid?

7. I try not to judge the people who order at the touch screen kiosk at McDonald’s because that might be easier for them. On the other hand, germs and stuff. Literally.

8. I’ve been saying the word, “shambles” for over half my life, but only now have I seen other people using it. I’d like a royalty every time it’s uttered.

9. I’m tired of tweets that end with, “That’s it. That’s the tweet.” Do something else.

10. Shiitake mushrooms feel like elephant ears.

11. If you ever wondered why chefs have prep cooks, it’s because peeling a clove of garlic is a nuisance.

12. Peeling a clove of garlic is like peeling a sunburn. Try it at home!

13. I don’t like being told to download an app.

14. It takes me a long time to find the emoji I want to use.

15. When people say, “Save your breath”, what they really mean is, “Don’t talk” because what are you saving your breath for? A 50 pack of balloons?

16. I do this thing where I lose two pounds and gain two pounds and lose two pounds.

17. I like when talk show hosts ask their guest if they’ll stick around after the break, as if the show hasn’t been carefully planned out for a week.

18. I find “stoop and scoop” signs funny.

19. NFL referees have too much of an ego to overturn pass interference calls, whereas CFL referees seem to have no problem doing it.

20. There’s so much outrage in sports about referees missing calls. Well, yeah. Standing on the field/playing surface isn’t the best vantage point.

20.5 I should do a blog post about this.

21. I like roast beef more than turkey.

21.5 There will be a blog post about this.

22. The internet is just a place where you learn stuff from people who Googled something before you did.

23. I thought El Camino was a nice follow up to the end of Breaking Bad, but about an hour in I was asking myself if  I was watching a movie, or just a really long episode.

24. I’d find it more suspicious if the chicken didn’t cross the road, honestly.

25. What if the internet stopped working and never came back? How would internet friends continue their friendship?

25.5 I feel like I just unleashed an existential crisis on all of us.

26. I will not eat pancakes at a restaurant.

27. Construction never really goes away. It just expands.

28. At some point, they have to create original movies again, right?

29. Do Americans know what Nanaimo Bars are?

30. Whenever someone calls me, “Sir”, I feel like I need to tip an imaginary top hat at them.

31. Sunglasses are the unsung hero of life.

32. We should not be afraid of robots rebelling against us. We can stop making them at any time. They can’t reproduce on their own. And, we can throw water at them. Stop worrying.

33. All Elite Wrestling is up and running with weekly Wednesday shows and it’s such a breath of fresh air.

34. Sometimes, answers appear when you stop asking the question.

35. “Running Up That Hill” is one of those songs that I’ll look up as many renditions to it as I can find because all of them are good in their own way.

36. The last season of Fear The Walking Dead was almost unwatchable. They’ve turned all the characters into soft, delicate flowers, when the situation calls for…NOT THAT.

36.5 This may also be a blog post.

37. As someone who was voted, “Most Likely To Be Prime Minister of Canada” in Grade 8, I think it’s time I released my official, unofficial campaign hashtag: #PrimeTime4Paul.

37.5 Now hiring a campaign manager for the next election cycle because the current one shall not be talked about.

38. I did a left brain/right brain quiz and it said I am Left Brain Inclined (63%) which means I prefer order and aren’t really creative. TELL THAT TO MY BLOG, QUIZ THINGY.

38.25 I feel like I’m an equal mix of left brain and right brain qualities, though, and lean toward the right brain more. Could just be my posture.

38.5 My university’s slogan was, “For Both Sides of The Brain” so I guess it worked in developing both of mine.

39. Life has spiralled into this never-ending game where we ask people younger than us if they know what something is (normally an item from our childhood), and then we laugh at them if they don’t, which only emphasizes how old we’ve gotten.

40. I’ve never had a lollipop.

41. At the end of every decade, I feel like we should get the option to go back and have a do-over.

41.5 It’ll be very Harry Potter-esque, where we’ll run into a wall at train station and board a train that says, “Next Stop: 2010”.

42. I’ve been holding a petty grudge against Domino’s Pizza since 2011, but a recent commercial on TV advertising a large two-topping pizza for $5.99 has slowly been chipping away at me for the last few days.

43. Some people walk through forests and think of it as a nice nature walk, whereas I can’t wait to get the hell out of there. Always feels like something bad is going to happen, like I’ll stumble over a dead body or be attacked by a family of squirrels.

44. There was a two-week stretch this summer where I was addicted to granola, and then I didn’t like it anymore.

45. Aliens probably don’t call themselves aliens. They probably think we’re the aliens.

46. Almost every week this season, there’s been a player on my fantasy football team who has provided me with 0 points because they’ve gotten injured.

46.5 I am a hazard to their well-being is the takeaway here.

47. My mom says I am Jimmy Kimmel.

48. Am I the only one worried that there will come a day when a sports team has retired too many numbers and there won’t be enough available for each player on the current roster, so they’ll have to use three digits or decimals?

49. I’ve been out of school for six years and still wake up thinking I forgot to hand in an assignment.

50. Good people deserve more recognition.

Posted in 50 Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Watching Big Brother

It’s been two weeks since Season 21 of Big Brother came to an end. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a very good one, which seems to be a trend in recent years. But I won’t stop watching. Why? Uhh….I’d like a lawyer if this line of questioning is going to continue.

Sorry, I’ve been watching too many crime shows lately.

Anyway, as someone who has watched Big Brother since its second season, way back in 2001, I can’t help but feel like the game has lost its edge.

For the uninitiated, Big Brother is a reality TV game show where 16 strangers (most of the time) are locked in a house without access to the outside world for three months. Each week, they have a competition to crown a Head of Household (HOH). The HOH then nominates two people for eviction. There is then a Power of Veto (POV) competition where the winner can remove one of the nominees from eviction, forcing the HOH to nominate someone else. And then someone is voted out at the end of the week. Last one standing wins $500,000 (in the US version, at least).

I don’t even know where to start in regards to how the show that tells us to, “Expect The Unexpected” has slowly lost touch with what it is. I guess it starts with the tone.

Back in the early seasons, the show was promoted as this house that is isolated from the outside world and a group of people must strategically plot to eliminate each other from the house.

The show felt ominous, dark, secluded, and raw.

Maybe a lot of that can be attributed to the “production value” of the early 2000s when reality TV was on the rise and people were so excited to watch “regular people” compete for money.

Somewhere along the way, the show transitioned into a, “we’re going to cast young people and make it seem like a party”.

It’s no longer ominous. It’s cookie-cutter, clean, and pristine.

You can see in the way the intro video has evolved since the beginning. Feel free to skip Season 1 – everyone tries to forget about it and sees Big Brother 2 as the real first season. The intro for Season 2 (:23 mark) is what I grew up with. Hmm maybe that’s why I have a fondness for the sound of violins…

For about the first 10-12 years of the show, it truly felt like the contestants were there to do anything to win. Everyone had a strategy. Everyone was lying. Alliances were broken. There were surprise evictions. It was great pandemonium.

Now, it just feels like they’re casting people who look good with their shirt off. They’re casting people who have never watched the show (more on that in a minute), and don’t have the first clue as to how to play the game.

Every year, there is an “old person” in the cast because I guess it’s funny to look in a room full of young people and see one person who looks like their parent?

Maybe it’s because I was a kid, but the earlier seasons felt like they had a wider age range. It wasn’t just a group of 20-somethings and an old guy. It was a mix of real adults and some young pups.

Twenty-somethings seemed so much more mature fifteen years ago. What happened?

I don’t care to see people on this show, who are only there to collect Instagram followers so they can post sponsored content. I already watch The Bachelor for that, thank you.

I mentioned that they cast people who have never seen the show. I think the excuse behind that is, “If they’ve never seen the show, they’ll be more likely to make moves that an experienced viewer would consider wreckless. Therefore, ENTERTAINMENT AND CHAOS!”

No. Just the opposite.

You get people who don’t know what they’re doing and just do what someone else tells them. They are basically furniture. It is infuriating.

You don’t see Survivor casting people who aren’t fans of the show. And what happens? Every week someone gets blindsided by their eviction because the players actually want to make moves.

The cast of Big Brother does a series of one-on-one interviews before entering the house, that can be found on YouTube. You can always tell who has never seen the show because when they’re asked who their favourite players are, they reply with whoever did well in the previous season.

Why is that their answer? Because before they enter the house, they sit in a hotel room for about a week, all by themselves. They’re in sequester. And the show provides them with DVDs of the last couple of seasons, so they can watch, kill time, and get an idea for what the game is about.

This is paralyzing the game, if you ask me. In recent years, we’ve seen a large alliance form within the first few days and it’s all the “cool kids”.

The only thing I hate more than large alliances is when they evict someone on the first day. That needs to stop.

This season, there was an alliance of eight. EIGHT. They called themselves, “Gr8ful”, while Twitter called them “H8ful” because they were bullies.

Last season, there was an alliance of six controlling things.

It’s just so many people. There are only 16 people in the house, so if you feel the need to get into an 8-person alliance in the first week, that tells me you’re really insecure about your chances of forming bonds and getting people to like you enough to not vote you out.

And because the 8 people not in the alliance couldn’t bond over their own “cool kid” vibe, they were kind of just there as leftovers, not really knowing what was going on.

When half the house is in an alliance, it makes for very boring and predictable gameplay.

You have HOHs who are too scared to ruffle any feathers, so they go with “what the house wants” and nominate two people who aren’t threats to win anything, just so they don’t have “blood on their hands”.

I hate that so much.

All season, they talked about not wanting to get blood on their hands. Hello? This is Big Brother! You’re supposed to get blood on your hands! You’re supposed to betray others! You’re supposed to lie!

But since they’ve only watched last season, which was all kumbaya, they don’t understand they’re in an environment where being ruthless is encouraged. Hence, they take everything as a personal attack.

I hate when houseguests get on their high horse and say, “I didn’t lie, I stayed true to myself” in their final speech, right before they’re evicted. Yeah, that’s why you’re evicted. See ya.

I also hate when they start their speech by thanking CBS for the opportunity, saying hi to their family, and telling the houseguests they had a great time and want to keep playing. STOP. Give a proper speech, built on reasons why they should keep you. It may not work, but at least try!

Somewhere along the way, the eviction speech lost its meaning and most of them think it’s an opportunity for them to give thanks and say goodbye.

If you’re not going on this show and trying to win, stay home. Do not occupy my life, three times a week, with your non-committal self. Play the game.

I don’t even know what the biggest game move of the season was this year. There wasn’t one. On top of that, the cast was so unlikable and they didn’t even know it.

There were some good people in the cast, like Ovi and Nicole, but most of the rest were just impossible to root for.

I miss what Big Brother was. I miss what it is supposed to be.

Production of the show has changed over the years, too. Small things, like getting rid of the key wheel at nomination ceremonies.

There was this wheel, it was like a Lazy Susan on steroids, that held every houseguests key, except for the HOH and whoever they nominated. The HOH would pull out the first key and say, “_____, you are safe.” Then that person would pull out the next key and so on.

It was so dramatic and built anticipation. Plus, you could play some psychological warfare by having someone pull out the key of their enemy and forcing them to tell them they are safe.

Now, there’s a “nomination block” with two keys. The HOH turns each one and their face appears on a wall to show they are nominated. It’s very lazy, I don’t care if it saves them time in the episode.

I miss how the host, Julie Chen, would interview the HOH in the HOH room on eviction night.

I miss food competitions, where they could only eat the foods they win.

I miss multiple competitions that have been gone for far too long.

There was one where they had to lay down outside, and whenever they thought one hour had passed, they had to ring a bell or something. Whoever was closest to being right would be the winner.

Maybe it wasn’t flashy enough for TV, but I loved it. Imagine trying to pass time in your head and guessing when an hour was up.

There was also one where you had to complete a certain task if you wanted to stay in a competition. Maybe you had to shave your head, or allow someone burn a piece of your clothing, or agree to be a “Have-Not” for the rest of the summer.

It was a competition that forced you to decide how bad you wanted to win and imposed real punishments on you.

Now, “punishments” are having to wear a costume for a week, or baking cookies whenever a noise goes off, or something else that isn’t so much a “punishment” as it is something to do in a house with nothing to do.

This show has a few endurance competitions every year, where they force the houseguests to hold on to something for as long as they can. Lately, it’s gotten repetitive, to the point where the contestants know what’s coming.

There’s always a competition where they stand on the side of a wall, but they just change the look of it based on the theme of the season.

There’s also one where they hold a rope and swing in a circle, as something hits them as they pass a certain section.

And all these competitions include having them doused in cold water, or paint, or something else that is meant to shock viewers. Those competitions go for an hour or two, which is far less compared to how long endurance competitions used to go.

I get it, the producers need time to edit it all together for the next episode and don’t want 10 hours of footage from one competition. But still.

I think my favourite competition in the history of the show is, “Pressure Cooker”. It hasn’t been around in a while, maybe since Big Brother 6. Until I looked it up, I thought it was called, “The Box”.

Essentially, everyone is inside the box holding onto a button. If you let go, you’re out, and must open one of the prize boxes which may contain a reward, or a punishment. However, you can only leave the box is groups of three. So if you’re the first or second person eliminated, you have to stay in there until the next person is out.

Here’s a look at it:

I think that competition went for 14 hours. Imagine that. And imagine being eliminated but being held hostage in there because you must exit as a group of three. I’m sure bladders were working overtime for that competition.

THAT competition is what Big Brother is to me. You want to be HOH? Let’s see how bad you want it. A simple task made difficult. Just hold a button for as long as you can.

It’s like an old school, “Last person touching the car, wins it” contest, but with higher stakes.

In recent seasons, the show has tried to implement twists by awarding players with secrets powers. They’ve all been a bust. The players tell someone they have a power and then get evicted before they can use it.

Or, the opportunity never arises (or they’re too chicken) for them to use their power, so it expires. As a viewer, it’s deflating when that happens.

It’s a reflection of timid gameplay where no one wants to make a big move because they assume they’ll be the next person voted out.

And then we get a season full of unanimous evictions and people just doing what the rest of the house does.

I want players to draw lines in the sand and I want the show to encourage that based on competitions and twists.

On the second season of Big Brother Canada, Ika had to decide between $5000 or giving the rest of the house letters from home. She made her decision in private (or so she thought) and took the money.

THEN SHE PROCEEDED TO BERATE THEM AND SHRED THEIR LETTERS WHILE THEY WERE WATCHING FROM INSIDE (unbeknownst to her).

It was an iconic moment and made her a legend of the game. You need to watch it.

I’d love to see a situation like that be forced upon the houseguests of the US version. Because as of right now, it feels like the show has gotten complacent and doesn’t really know what else to do.

They’re relying on the same formula every year and it’s not working.

I could keep writing forever about things like “jury management” and how a bitter jury is just proof that the players can’t acknowledge that lying and being deceitful is a part of the game.

I’ll end this by saying that Dan Gheesling and Britney Haynes are two of my favourite players to ever play. Dan was just brilliant and used every minute in the house to his advantage. He also staged his own funeral, which saved his game and is the best moment in Big Brother history.

Britney was really smart and knew how to navigate her way through the game. She was also hilarious in her Diary Room sessions, which I enjoyed because a lot of people are robotic in there and sound scripted.

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say. Thank you, YouTube, for having all these moments available for me to add in here.

Not to sound like a high school essay, but…in conclusion, I will always love this show and be a fan of great strategic gameplay, as well as players who can be funny and entertaining.

Here’s hoping Big Brother 22 will bring a house full of people who want to win and aren’t afraid to make big/any moves.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Not September

Did you ever stay home from school for three days in a row because you were sick? Then you go back on the fourth day and the random kids, who you weren’t really friends with, ask you where you’ve been all week, as if they didn’t already know.

Then your day of discovery begins.

You can tell someone has been sitting at your desk because your Duo-Tangs (do kids still use Duo-Tangs?) aren’t aligned to the right anymore. Your pencil is gone (someone needed it), your chair is different (someone switched it), and a block letter “S” (you know the one) has been drawn on the corner of your desk.

There’s also a wrapper in your desk for reasons I still don’t understand.

It seems to be a universal understanding that if you’re missing from school for more than two days, your desk becomes a garbage disposal.

Everything is different and all you want to do is blend right back in, act like you were never gone, and didn’t watch The Price is Right for the last three days, while eating lunch, and trying to remember what it’s like to breathe through your nose. Nope, not you.

Well, that’s how I feel right now, as I type up this blog post and publish it for all of you to read for the first time in over a month.

This feels a bit awkward, but it shouldn’t. It’s me. Paul. Cue the confetti the cannon!

Alright, that was a good warm-up. Let’s go.

My birthday was exactly a month ago. There wasn’t a blog post about it. There wasn’t a list of, “28 Things I’ve Learned In 28 Years” that I struggled to think of. My birthday just felt like another day this year, for a few reasons I don’t want to mention.

Did you know that unless you publicize your birthday on social media, no one knows it’s your birthday except for maybe two people? Try it at home.

I tried not to be bitter about it, but you don’t forget when people forget your birthday.

September has always been my favourite month of the year. Part of it is because of my birthday. Part of it is the weather. But a big part of it was it felt like the beginning of a new year.

I think having the school year start right after my birthday (sometimes the day of), played into that.

To me, September feels like January more than January feels like January. A renewed sense of purpose permeates my body and carries me into October.

I didn’t feel that this year. And, honestly, I had felt it less and less since I had finished school. All of a sudden, September was lacking everything I had always known it to be.

Part of me is in denial that I am 28. It doesn’t feel real.

And I’m trying to bite my tongue, or in this case, fingertips, and try not to say that, “I’m old!” because I know there is someone out there older than me who will just write in the comments section, “Oh Paul, you’re not old!”, and I’d rather not have to deal with that.

I don’t feel old. There, happy? My age just feels inflated. Swollen, even. Like it just got its wisdom teeth taken out. But not to fear, after a few days the swelling will go down and it’ll be 23 again.

Except it won’t.

I guess I’m just bothered by what the expectations are for someone who is 28. I’m someone who will try to find the joke in most things and oftentimes, I’ll share that on social media.

But while I do that, there are people my age sharing photos of themselves getting married, or buying a house, or getting engaged, or having a kid, or their latest vacation spot.

Side note: Why does it feel like everyone else is always on vacation? I swear, it’s like an international relay race. One person comes back from Italy and they hand the biscotti off to someone who goes to Paris, who comes back and hands the baguette off to the next person to go to Spain. It just never ends.

Can you not just stay home, sit on your couch, and watch football for ten straight hours on Sunday like me? What is in Paris that you can’t see on Google images?

That last line is tongue- in-cheek, but only if you have a problem with what I said.

Maybe I’m just wary of crossing over into the “bad Dad joke” lane of social media content too soon.

Or maybe I’m comparing myself to others, even though everyone says you shouldn’t do that because life moves at a different pace for everyone.

I know. I KNOW. I get all that. But that doesn’t mean we don’t compare. That doesn’t mean I don’t compare. It’s hard not to. Even if you shut yourself off from social media, you still know what people are up to.

And when you get to be 28, the comparisons are no longer about, “What did you get on the exam?” The comparisons are about life.

I can sit here and say it’s weird to see former classmates get married and have kids, but really, it shouldn’t be weird. Of course they’re doing that. They’re adults. They’re almost 30. So, good for them!

But then there’s me – feeling like I’ve been searching for a hot air balloon for the last few years and it’s nowhere to be found. All I should have to do is look up, see it, and let it carry me to where I want to be, but it’s not there.

Where the hell is my hot air balloon?

That’s an alternate title for this post, by the way.

And as I went through September, trying to find a purpose, I just felt overwhelmed by time. I felt like it had sped up on me, without warning. I felt betrayed by the calendar.

I felt trapped. Stuck. Buried beneath the days I’ve already lived.

Does anyone else just sit and recall random memories from their past that involve other people, and wonder if they remember those moments too?

I feel like I have a rolodex (kids definitely don’t use this) of memories that play in my mind like a screensaver. Whenever my mind goes stationary for five minutes, it takes over.

I’ve always had some sort of ESP, or premonitions, or whatever you want to call them. Lately, they’ve been quite strong? Busy? Active? Prevalent? Pick a word, any word.

A few weeks ago, I woke up with the thought that I needed to get my mom a new keychain. When I went to Ottawa in Grade 8, I got her a keychain with a Canadian flag and a moose on it that said, “#1 Mom”. I got one for myself that said, “Paul.” Cue the confetti cannon!

Sorry, did you forget I made reference to a confetti cannon at the start of this post?

Anyway, the letters on her keychain have been falling off one at a time for a while. This isn’t a recent thing, but I woke up that day thinking about needing to replace it as soon as possible.

Well, later that day, my sister (who was on vacation – it’s a global epidemic) sent me a picture of that keychain with my name on it and said, “Look what I found!”

She had no idea I had thought about that keychain that morning. I told her to buy the one that said, “#1 Mom”. She did. Bam. Keychain replaced in less than 24 hours.

Weird, right? Normal for me, though.

Want another story? Good because this blog post is off the rails.

Yesterday afternoon, I sang in my head, “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life.”

I don’t know why I was reciting the lyrics to, “Semi-Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. That song is not on any of my playlists. I don’t listen to it. I just have it lodged in my brain from the early 2000s. Outside of that, I have no connection to it.

Fast-forward to the evening and I’m watching an episode of The Good Place and doesn’t one of the characters start singing, “I want something else, to get me through this semi-charmed kind of life.”

Really. Can’t make this stuff up.

Sometimes I’ll pick up a book and read the next chapter without even thinking to myself, “I’m going to read now.” I just do it. And then something I read is something that could be applicable to my life at that moment.

Signs and hints and clues are everywhere around us, aren’t they?

Not to get all horoscopial (this isn’t a word) or spirituolo (neither is this) on you here, but whenever things like that happen, it makes me feel like someone is looking out for me and sending signals my way to say everything will be okay.

All I wanted to do in September was come on here and write about a bunch of things, but something kept holding the words back.

But, it’s not September anymore, so here they are.

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments