How We Say Hello

I was at the annual family Christmas party last weekend, which means the dessert table had more selection than most buffets and every cheese served as an appetizer came with a story.

But before all the food gets inhaled, you have to say hello to everyone. There were about 30 people at this thing.

It was like, Press Your Luck: Holiday Edition because you never know which relative is fighting a cold and is going to pass it on to you.

In Italian culture, there is a double-cheek kiss greeting that is normally done. That involves two people engaging in a half hug, before kissing the left cheek and then the right cheek.

I say “kissing” but sometimes the angle makes it so you’re making the smooching sound but not actually connecting with the other person’s face.

But all Italians are made differently and it’s hard to know which ones are going for the double-cheek kiss, and which ones are just giving a hug.

Sometimes, I’ll go in for the hug but the grip of the other person isn’t a “hug grip” it’s a “half hug grip” which means they want to do the cheek kiss greeting, so then I quickly have to adjust and play it off like my head didn’t already bypass their face.

I’m telling you, it’s so complicated and unnecessary.

Can we not just hug it out? Hold me for three minutes if you have to.

When I was a kid, I hated when older people did the double-cheek kiss routine with me because their thick perfume would always get all over my face and linger for the next three hours.

And there’d always be those who would say, “I don’t want to get too close, I’ve been sick for a week” and then lean in and transfer their germs to me, anyway.

Excuse me while I go Windex my face.

*Don’t use Windex on your face. That was a joke.

I don’t mind a good hug. Can we stick to hugs? That’s how I greet most people, if not a handshake.

With both those gestures, you kind of mime what you want to do and the other person complies. A double-cheek kiss is a hug that calls an audible at the last second, and if one person doesn’t know it’s coming, awkwardness ensues.

Yesterday, I greeted my Nonna with a nice big hug as I always do, but because of our height discrepancy, when she went to pat me on the back it turned into a few pats on the butt, as if I just hit a walk off home run.

That was a new greeting, but it was from Nonna and Nonna is the best.

Season’s Greetings – they can be complicated, sometimes.

How do you say hello? Do you hug? Is it an awkward wave from two feet away? A handshake?

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Posted in Humour, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

50 Thoughts XXIV (Holiday Edition)

1. When I was 5, I was coming out of a store at the mall with my mom, and Santa’s throne was straight ahead. We made eye contact and he waved at me. I waved back. If I remember correctly, everyone around us stopped and stared.

2. Back in the 90s, there used to be a show on TV where kids would call in and tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas. I never called in, but I enjoyed watching.

3. Every December, I almost get run over by a stroller at the mall. It’s a tradition like no other.

4. I have this theory that most people prefer to shop at the mall that is third closest to their house because the two malls that are closer are smaller and not as impressive.

4.5 Comment below to prove or disprove my theory.

5. If you’re going to be walking around a mall for four hours, does it really make sense to wear a parka, especially if it’s not snowing, and it’s not as cold as it could be?

6. Dress for the situation, not the calendar.

7. Eating breadsticks makes me hungrier.

8. I normally lose weight around this time of year, which I don’t really understand, but I’m not going to question it.

9. Is anyone ever dashing through the snow?

10. I had intended on doing a blog post called, “Lesser-Known Christmas Commercials” where I’d make up items and create commercials for them.

10.5 There was going to be a lottery scratch card called, “Cash 4 Wife”, where every card is a winner.

10.75 The tandem gift would’ve been called, “Wind 4 Husband”, which is just “fresh air” in a bottle.

11. Include batteries. Enough of this nonsense.

12. Tim Allen hasn’t aged since 1993. Maybe those Santa Clause movies were his way of admitting that he is Santa Claus, which is why he never ages.

13. There’s always one person at every holiday party who goes around taking pictures on an iPad.

14. In Grade 1, we made Christmas ornaments at school. I still have them. They’re a symbol of my peak as an artist.

15. My best friend has never seen Home Alone from start to finish. You think you know someone…

16. The Christmas stocking became popular when people realized it would serve the same purpose as a Halloween bucket, except you wouldn’t have to go to anyone’s house.

16.5 This may, or may not, be true.

17. Ribbon always gives me problems.

18. I need more details on what reindeer games are. Do they divide into teams and play European Handball?

19. Movies about Boxing Day should be sequels to Hallmark Christmas movies. Let’s see what these cheery people turn into when there’s a 52-inch TV on sale.

20. You’ve heard of online shopping? Well get ready for the next big thing – online Christmas parties! It’s basically The Sims but each person is someone you know.

20.5 This may, or may not, be true.

21. “What do you get someone who has everything?” is a question that needs to be retired.

22. Do you even lift, snow?

23. I have a theory that the kids who drink glue are the same ones who eat a handful of snow off the ground.

24. I once came across a job posting to be a mall Santa. They prefer natural facial hair.

25. Candy canes are too good to be seasonal.

26. The days between Christmas and New Year’s are always some of the strangest of the year.

27. Hey, remember when January felt like it was 70 days? How did we get to this point?

28. I peak at noon on Christmas before I need an afternoon nap.

29. Christmas songs are very repetitive. Flash your red nose when you notice a pattern in the next three thoughts.

30. Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock…

31. We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year…

32. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…

33. Charlie Brown and his pals are about 8-years-old and already have a Friendmas celebration. Where are their parents?

34. Every Canadian kid should experience a backyard/outdoor rink at some point in their childhood.

35. Shovelling snow is fun, unless it’s wet snow and ice boulders block the end of the driveway. Could turn shovelling into an Olympic sport, at that point.

36. Turkey is overrated. I’m sorry.

37. “I’m not apologizing to Buzz, I’d rather kiss a toilet seat.” – Kevin McCallister

38. Dasher – Sounds like a runner.

39. Dancer – Sounds like a dancer.

40. Prancer – Sounds like they have to use the bathroom.

41. Vixen – Sounds like trouble.

42. Comet – Sounds like double trouble.

43. Cupid – Sounds hopeless.

44. Donner – Sounds like a hockey player named, Don.

45. Blitzen – Sounds like they’re rushing the quarterback.

46. I miss the Iron Chef marathon that would be on the Food Network on Boxing Day.

47. Does anyone else specialize in sneaking treats home from a Christmas party via napkins, or just my family?

48. If you don’t have an Advent calendar, just open the cupboards in your kitchen until you find something. (I stole this from Instagram).

49. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever got was a Formula 1 toy racetrack. It had two cars and each had a controller, so we could race them. It didn’t last a long time before the cars built up too much fiction underneath them and had problems running on the track.

50. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of my readers! You’re the best.

Unrelated to this post, I just want to give a shoutout to one of my original blog friends from 2013, Jenna, who hadn’t blogged in a few years but is now back. Give her a follow, check out her latest posts, and tell her Paul sent you. Thanks!

Posted in 50 Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Computer Updates Are Mean

Check…check…check one, two, four. Is this thing on? If you can hear me, clap once. If you can hear me, clap twice. If you can hear me, invite me to your Christmas party so I can taste test your food and compare it to the food at other bloggers’ Christmas parties and write a review about it.

How cool would that last idea be? I would get to awkwardly meet all of you, not talk to the other people at your party, eat the food, and hide in a storage closet until I can leave. It would be a Nightmare on Elm 34th Street.

Anyways, this post isn’t about that.

If you’ve noticed me missing from WordPress for the last few days, there’s been a reason. And if you haven’t noticed my absence, shame on you!

Okay fine, it’s only been about 4-5 days, but in Paul years that’s about 83 years.

I think I might be on the verge of a rant right now, so make sure you’re ready to stop, drop, and roll.

On Saturday – maybe it was Sunday, I’ve lost track of time – I decided to install the latest Safari updates on my computer.

We live in a world of perpetual updates.

“Update this update to update the update you just updated because that update didn’t update properly.”

It’ll never end. Can we not make a perfect product and just let it be? I’m always wary of updates on my laptop or phone because I’m not convinced they’ll make anything better.

People like to say, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

What we should really say is, “If it’s not broken, don’t break it!”

Anyway, so the updates go through relatively quickly, but it was all a red herring. The internet did not feel like it had been updated. It felt like it had just sat in the waiting room of a pediatrician’s office and watched as sick children with sticky hands roamed around and touched every toy and fish tank in the place, as their parents sat idly by.

That reference was brought to you by my childhood. I was a perfect kid, so I sat still like a normal person, as the chaos around me ensued.

I’ve done computer updates before where it takes a few hours for my computer to adjust to the changes and get back up to speed, so I wasn’t too worried…

…until I tried to access WordPress and was met with a blank screen with a blue bar at the top, and the WP logo in the middle. It was like staring into en empty pizza box. Where did it all go?

I couldn’t access the reader, my stats page, my blog…nothing. All I got was a blank page with the logo.

I’ve seen that page before. It normally means that the page can’t load all the data properly, so it stalls. I imagine it’s like a clogged toilet.

Sunday comes and I’m out to lunch – literally, out to lunch – and don’t get home until later in the day. When I do, my internet is still slow and tracking the score of my fantasy football matchup became a frustrating ordeal.

Fast forward to Monday and I’m about to hit the panic button.

I still can’t get into WordPress! It’s the only website that won’t grant me access.

So I search Google, looking for some solutions. It tells me to delete my browser history and clear the cookies. I’m very good at clearing cookies (omnomnom), so I did just that.

BUT WHAT DID THAT DO?

It signed me out of WordPress.

Okay, fine. It’s not like I could get passed that blank page with the WP logo. Thou shalt not cross! I’ll just sign in again.

I go to the WordPress home page…click Log In…AND THAT STUPID BLANK PAGE SHOWS UP AGAIN.

So I try and outsmart the system. I type into Google, “WordPress Log In”, hoping it will take me directly to the Log In screen.

And it does! Success!

NOPE! In wrestling, this is called the “hope spot”.

The text box where you type your username/email was greyed out. I couldn’t click on it. I couldn’t type in it. I was stone walled. If only I had a chisel…but then I would’ve also needed a hammer, so this point is moot.

I was so frustrated, I could’ve kicked a bag of milk.

The worst case scenarios were going through my mind.

“Oh no, I’m going to have to blog via the app. What a nightmare, though I’ve been meaning to try it just to say I’ve done it once. But still.”

“What if I never get access to my blog ever again? I can’t start a new blog, every button I click just leads me to a dead-end page. My readers are going to think I died. What happens when I do die, 70 years from now? Who will tell them? How will they know?”

It was then I realized just how meaningful everything about this blog is to me. It’s as they say: You don’t know what you got, until an internet update takes it away from you for a few days.

On Monday, I decided to update my operating system to Mojave because when you’ve been burned by one computer update, all future burns are no longer felt. It’s math.

That update took about four hours. Say QUOI?

When the computer says, “About 54 minutes remaining”, what it really means is, “We’re lying to you and hope you take a four-hour nap, so when you wake up, it’s done and you don’t know it took four hours.”

The update finally completes and I should have this brand new computer in front of me. Nope.

It was slower than a mall walker who has given up on Christmas shopping.

I couldn’t do anything, without waiting five minutes for a new page to load. Scrolling through Twitter was impossible. WordPress still wasn’t letting me even see a log in page. It was a disaster.

Tuesday comes and I have had it up to HERE. I’m not normally an angry person. People often tell me they can’t picture me mad. My anger is normally directed internally, or at inanimate objects.

If I get mad at someone, they’re just going to get mad at me, and then nobody wins.

As my laptop was still trudging along slowly, I tried to think of a million ways to rectify the problem.

“What if I blow on the keyboard and dislodge some dust that may be under the keys?”

“Hmm…the back of the screen feels cold, what if I rub my hands on it to warm it up, maybe it’ll operate faster?”

That seemed to work! Before I knew it, I’m applying heat all over my laptop via my hands. Weird? Very. Effective? YOU BET’CHA. I was breaking new ground here.

But that only worked for so long.

“What if I sit to the side of my laptop, rather than directly in front of it?”

Wouldn’t you know it, the web pages started loading. It was as if the monkeys inside my computer were spying on me through the camera and thought, “He’s gone! Let’s move!” Very much like how the toys in Toy Story only move when people aren’t around.

“What if I go to that dreaded blank page with the WP logo and press refresh a million times?”

That didn’t work. I was probably 15 more clicks away from carpal tunnel.

By Tuesday night, I was missing my blog and all the bloggers I interact with on a regular basis.

In a cheesy sort of way, we’re like a family – minus everything a normal family does – and this is our house.

Just let me back in my house! I’ve already planes, trains, and automobile’d my way home. Don’t make me break a window to get in!

I tried to put positive thoughts in my head and told myself this won’t last forever and eventually, some day, I’ll regain access to a log in screen that allows me to type in the text box.

I don’t know if this is weird, but in life, I’m a big believer in the idea that we all have to see/go through/experience something before we can advance on to something else, whatever it may be – big or small. I see it as the universe revealing something to us.

Late last night, I gave up on clicking around the internet after I was finally able to update my fantasy football team. I went over to Netflix and watched Ellen’s new comedy special.

As I was watching it, I realized that she sets up her jokes and tells stories in the same sorta way that I do on this blog. The way she weaved in and out of sentences and threw in callbacks to something she said five minutes prior, all felt very “relatable”, which is probably why her special was called, “Relatable”.

And I thought to myself, watching this is the thing I needed to experience before regaining access to my blog. Is it crazy to think that? Absolutely.

Her comedy special ends and I click away to Twitter, or some other website.

Immediately, I notice my internet is moving at break neck speed. So for the 4508th time in four days, I go over to WordPress and click “Log In”.

AND IT TOOK ME TO A LOG IN SCREEN, WHERE I WAS ABLE TO WRITE IN THE TEXT BOX AND WAS GRANTED ACCESS TO THIS SITE.

It was a (6 days before) Christmas miracle.

As of today (Wednesday) my computer is back up to full speed, as if the updates didn’t turn it into a toddler trying to crawl through caramel.

It’s good to be back. Nay. It’s good to be home.

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

The Christmas Tag

Thank you to Becky at Strikeouts + Sprinkles for nominating me for this festive tag!

Rules:
1. Thank the blogger that tagged you and link their blog to your post.

2. List the rules in the post.

3. Answer all the questions asked by the blogger.

4. Nominate some other bloggers and provide them with 12 new questions!

Becky’s Questions:

1. Thoughts on Christmas lights staying up all year round?

You know what, I’m fine with it. If you remove the word “Christmas”, they’re just lights. Why does an illuminated front yard need to be a seasonal thing?

2. When do you start listening to Christmas music?

The snarky answer is: Whenever my ears come in range of it.

But really, I don’t seek out Christmas music to listen to…

3. When is too early to start listening to/playing Christmas music?

November 1st is definitely too early. That’s 55 days before Christmas and it’s not like there’s a huge selection. I’m all for listening to the same songs on repeat for long periods of time, but 55 days in advance is a bit much.

November 26th is a good day to start. You’re less than a month out and won’t peak too soon.

4. How do you do your Christmas shopping—in the stores/online/combination?

In stores. It’s the worst. I go in with a game plan so I’m out within two hours/need lunch by the end of it as a reward. Every year, I’m nearly hit by a wild stroller pusher.

5. What’s your favourite family tradition around this time of year?

Opening presents on Christmas morning. We all have our own “spot”. My spot is next to the tree and I hand out gifts/slide them across the carpet. Makes me feel like a curler.

6. Real or fake tree?

Fake tree.

What if a squirrel peed on the tree you picked out and now it’s in your house?

7. Favourite Christmas song?

“Jingle Bells, Batman Smells”. Not actually, though. I’ve just been looking for an opportunity to make that joke for the last two weeks.

I have a soft spot for “The Christmas Shoes” even though it makes everyone cry. I also like “Carol of the Bells” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

I think my favourite is, “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” by The Drifters, for many reasons. The first one being, it was in Home Alone, so the nostalgia metre just skyrockets.

The second reason is, my dad and I sing it year-round and create new lyrics for it every time.

For example, one of us will get going in the background with “Ba duh duh duh, duh duh duh duh duh…” and the other will make up lyrics like, “I’m dreaming of a large pizza, just like the one I ate last week…”

And then when the person singing background gets to the “Weeeeeeee” part, the song is over and we laugh about it.

The third reason I like the song is because of this video:

8. Favourite Christmas movie?

Home Alone. There is no other answer to this question. I recite lines from that movie at least once a week. I’m a pleasure to be around.

Honourable mention: All I Want For Christmas. I don’t know where it ranks for me, but I remember seeing it on TV all the time as a kid and liked it.

It’s about a brother and sister who try really hard to pull off an elaborate scheme that will reunite their divorced parents for Christmas. It worked.

It was filmed in 1991 which plays to my love of 90s shows/movies, but also, one of the parents in the movie owned a diner and I remember the burgers and fries looking delicious. That’s a big reason why I like this movie.

Anyone else seen it/can vouch that the food looked good?

9. What’s the worst Christmas present you’ve ever received?

Socks.

What am I going to do with socks? Wear them?

10. Who is the toughest person you have to buy for this Christmas?

There isn’t really anyone who is tough to buy for. It’s more like, there are no original gifts left to buy so it just becomes the same things every year.

11. Frosty the Snowman or Rudolph?

Gotta go with my boy Rudy. He’s a resilient leader, who benefits from being at the front of the formation, so he never has to catch any foul wind coming his way.

Frosty the Snowman will turn to water by March.

12. Do you have to attend any Christmas/holiday parties this season?

Yes.

Nominations:

My om nom nominations are: Ely, Sarah, Laura, and Catherine, and whoever else wants to do it, whether it’s in a post or the comments below!

Your Questions Are:

1. What do you eat on Christmas?

2. Do you like wrapping presents?

3. Do the other reindeer feel slighted that they haven’t been asked to lead Santa’s sleigh yet?

4. What’s your favourite tree ornament?

5. What makes a good mall Santa?

6. Favourite Christmas movie?

7. Have you ever snooped around the house for your presents?

8. Is an inflatable snowman on the front lawn really necessary?

9. Do you like when your gifts come in bags?

10. If it doesn’t snow on Christmas, is it still Christmas?

11. Have you ever returned a present?

12. Alvin and the Chipmunks have made a lot of money off of their Christmas album. If you were to make a Christmas Album, what would your hit single be called?

Posted in Awards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Please Like My Words

Who’s up for a field trip? Alright, everyone grab a buddy. If you don’t have a buddy, you’ll be paired with one of our parent volunteers. Single file now. No pushing, no shoving, no reaching into the person’s backpack in front of you for some goldfish crackers.

Today, we’re heading over to A Crack in the Pavement. The crack staff over there is headed by a man named, Bryan. A few weeks ago, he asked me to guest post on his blog and yesterday it was posted!

Yes, kids, we’re going on a field trip to read something I wrote! Eat your heart out, science centre!

While we’re there, I expect you to be on your best behaviour and encourage you to look around and give Bryan a follow. I hope I’m not ruining his reputation when I say he’s one of the nicest bloggers out there, who also happens to be a great writer.

It should be a fun, educational trip.

But before we go, does anyone need to use the washroom?

A Crack in the Pavement

Not too long ago I mentioned that Canada reminds me of that really cool cousin that you seek out whenever a family get together comes into play. Paul reminds me of that cool cousin and since he’s from Canada I can see now how it all makes perfect sense.

Paul is an observer. It is a rare talent that only a tiny handful can achieve. George Carlin was an observer and so is Jerry Seinfeld. Paul is in that mix where he is able to look beneath the surface of life and see the world in a special and honest way.

I’d like to take this moment to thank my good friend for being my host today. He is one cool dude.

Take it away, Paul.

“Please Like My Words”

Before I get started, I should mention that Bryan promised me I would become, “Rock star famous” as a…

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Survive and Advance

Let’s go back to this past Sunday. I rolled into the kitchen sometime around noon and made myself a corned beef sandwich on flaxseed bread for the fourth time in seven days. Actually, it could’ve been the fifth time.

I’ll check my stomach stats and get back to you.

I was preparing myself for an exhausting afternoon of watching football and freaking out over my fantasy football playoff matchup, which I told you about last week.

There would be pain, there would be suffering, there would be pain and suffering. If you get them together, it’s cheaper. #Discounts

Did that joke land safely, or did the parachute malfunction?

While I was gearing up for an afternoon of yelling things into the void of my brain, my fantasy football opponent, Cass, was doing (insert Cass-like tendencies).

This is the part of the sports documentary where we cut from me getting mustard on my chin, to a shot of Cass preparing for our matchup and talking about what it will take to win, and probably something about the Cowboys which we can cut in post-production.

Yes, this is a sports documentary. Well, not yet. Technically. But it might as well be. Have an imagination. Just go with it.

The 1PM games start and I am hot glue gunned to the couch, watching the Kansas City Chiefs against the Baltimore Edgar Allan Poe’s. That’s a thing, look it up.

The scoring in our fantasy matchup started slowly, as we both only had a few players playing. The rest were cheering them on from our virtual sidelines, holding up signs like, “You can do it!” and “The guy behind me can’t see”.

And then Saquon Barkley throws the first punch, on Cass’ behalf. It was only the second quarter of his game and he had 16 fantasy points, while my entire team only had 8.

Cut to a shot of me yelling “Nevermore!” as a rallying cry for the defences facing Cass’ players.

Again, that joke was hit or miss. 

As I’m messaging Cass my displeasure about Saquon, Rob Gronkowski decides to get off the party boat he’s been living on all season and scores a touchdown!

Gronk is not on my team! He had the best game of his season on Sunday. Of all weeks!

NEVERMORE!!

It’s 2:30PM and I need an oxygen tank, but instead, I find a bag of popcorn in my hands. How did it get there? I don’t know. Did I pull a Polkaroo and pull it out of thin air? Sure. Let’s go with that for the sake of the unmade documentary.

If you don’t know who Polkaroo is, feel free to Google it, though the results may scare you half to death. 

It was a bag of popcorn from Kernels.

Kernels – We make your mouth POP!

That’s definitely not their slogan, but it should be.

I ate half a bag. Salt and butter is very comforting. Babies get pacifiers, adults get popcorn. It’s science.

So I’m watching the Chiefs game closely because 1) they’re my new favourite team, and 2) I have three fantasy players on their team: Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Harrison Butker, the kicker.

I also have Spencer Ware, but he was on my bench.

What happens in the first half of the game? Ware and Hill get hurt. Ware is down on the sidelines, holding on to his shoulder. Meanwhile, Hill can’t put weight on one foot and is hobbling around.

I texted a friend, “This is the hill I die on.” Even in times of agony, I will find a way to make a joke.

Fortunately, they both returned in the second half, but for a while there this felt like the scene in Space Jam where 80% of the Looney Tunes roster is on the bench in agony and unable to compete.

And then there’s Harrison Butker. It’s Week 14. He’s missed one field goal all season. Well, how many field goals did he miss on Sunday?

TWO. TWO FIELD GOALS.

In the final cut of this documentary, we’ll say he missed three field goals and say, “Good things come in threes” but it’ll be ironic because it won’t be “good” at all. 

The second field goal he missed would’ve won the Chiefs the game. Instead, it went to overtime, which was a blessing in disguise because Mahomes threw the ball to Hill at least three times and padded my fantasy stats.

The 1PM games were over and I was a nervous wreck, even though I was winning by a few points.

The “Thanks But No Thanks” award goes out to Chris Godwin, who was targeted about eleventy hundred times in his game against New Orleans, but ended with only one catch for 13 yards.

I TRUSTED YOU.

(Insert shot of me yelling at the clouds)

Throughout the day, Cass and I messaged each other about how we were both losing our minds. There were 30 hours left until the end of our matchup and neither of us thought we were going to make it.

Fantasy football is not fun. It’s a juice spill that we walk through every week, which some of us slip in, while the rest walk away with sticky shoes.

Win or lose, no one gets of out fantasy football unscathed.

Is this too dramatic? Don’t care. All I ask for is a little support as I try and turn this into a sports documentary, okay?

Fast forward to Monday Night Football – Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks.

Cass had four players left to play, while I had two. I also had about a 35-point lead, which I didn’t feel safe with at all.

No lead is safe!

Anything can happen; anyone can win. Pro-Line.

That was actually their slogan. It’s a good slogan.

The football game started and I immediately conked out like a new born baby on a car-ride around the neighbourhood.

Good night, nurse.

I woke up just before halftime and the score was 3-0, Seattle. That’s it? Our fantasy scores had barely been affected.

Normally, games put people to sleep. Not this time. I put the game to sleep.

The second half didn’t do much to close the margin in our matchup. It was a very anti-climactic end to a tumultuous roller coaster ride. A part of me felt bad. I was hoping for a closer score – one that would be decided on the last play of the game, or something.

But maybe that’s the wannabe sports documentary director in me wanting a dramatic end.

The Battle of Bachelor Buddies (working title) came to an end with my team coming out on top. My reward is I get to do this all over again next Sunday against the first place team.

God help me.

Is it silly to get all worked up over fantasy sports? 100% yes. But competitive people can’t just turn that switch off and not care.

There is fun in the madness, you just have to look for it really, really, hard.

Anyway, when they make the documentary for this first round fantasy football matchup, be sure to watch it on TV and then buy the DVD, so we can make more money off it. I promise there will be extended features on the DVD, so if that’s not tempting, I don’t know what is.

I’ve gone on long enough.

Thank you all for going along with this.

Posted in Humour, Sports | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Under Where?

Listen, whenever someone starts a sentence with the word “listen”, that should set off alarm bells in your head that what is to follow will be something you don’t really care to listen to.

So if you haven’t turned back now, you either trust me, or are curious to see which rabbit hole I’m going to run down this time.

You’ve been warned.

Here in Canada, it gets cold at the drop of a hat. Literally, you take your hat off and you’re toast. If you live in Quebec, you’re french toast.

Should’ve turned back when you had the chance.

As fall slips into winter, my bedroom gets really cold at night. The furnace does nothing in my room. It’s like the Little Engine That Could’s alter ego – the Little Engine That Couldn’t Be Bothered.

So I’m forced to sleep under three blankets and hire an elf, who will pour hot water on my face every half hour throughout the night. Half that sentence is true. You decide which part.

Meanwhile, during the summer, my bedroom is an oven at night. There is no happy medium, and if there is, it lasts for about a week in September.

There were times this summer where I woke up in the middle of the night and thought I was in a microwave. I had to get up and fan cool air into my room with the door. Elfs don’t work summers, sadly.

I think I’d rather be cold and have to put on layers, than be warm and have no more layers to remove. That sentence was not meant to sound weird, but I think you get what I’m saying.

About a month ago, the three blankets weren’t doing anything and I was freezing. Not sure how it came to me, but I decided I needed to invest in undershirts because they would solve my problem, surely.

I’ve never worn undershirts – the tank top kind, at least. I’m a naturally warm person to begin with.

At school I’d wear an “undershirt” during presentations, which was a tight-fitting t-shirt, so sweat stains wouldn’t appear on my dress shirt as I stood in front of a lecture hall of 80 people. Everyone in the class employed that strategy. I guess we all had the same fear.

So a few weeks ago I bought some tank top style undershirts. At the “professional” opinion of my dad, I got size medium.

I put that thing on and felt like I was trying to squeeze my body through a straw. It was so tight, I was about four seconds away from a panic attack. Then I had to get it off, which was a Top 10 struggle of my life.

If scissors were near by, I would’ve cut myself out of it.

After switching over to a size large, I felt so much better. It was still a tight fit, but not the “Squeeze the blood out of my body” tight. A more natural form of tight.

I thought, “Undershirts are basically Spanx for men and they just haven’t told us yet.”

I haven’t gone a day without an undershirt in the last month. They are glorious.

Shoutout to Stanfield’s for making a great product.

I had to mention them in here, just in case they want to pay me thousands of dollars to be a spokesperson. I’m not angling for a modelling deal, I like pizza too much.

Plus there’s something about having my body on the packaging of under garments that weirds me out.

Posting photos on Instagram is enough judgement for me, I don’t need to be hanging in stores, or be the first thing people see when they open a delivery box.

This may be the weirdest post I’ve ever written. Let’s continue!

The undershirts solved my problems, until it got colder outside.

And then it hit me – I need long underwear. You can call them Long John’s, but I don’t know who John is. On Twitter the other day I called them thermal underwear, but I’ve since realized they’re not exactly that.

“I’m wearing my thermies!”

“They’re not thermal. They’re cotton.”

“Oh.”

This is way too much information.

I blame my grandfather for this idea of long underwear being in my head. Growing up, he’d always mention them and how warm he was. I’d always scoff at it and think they were something old people wore.

Well call me a senior citizen and prepare my 4PM dinner because I’m rocking the long underwear, courtesy of Stanfield’s. Forever angling for that elusive endorsement deal…

Note: I also blame him for getting me interested in wrestling. He’d always come over and explain everything that was happening, while I just stood there and nodded, having no real idea what he was talking about. I was still single digits in age.

At this rate, I’m going to be raving about pears in ten years. 

Back to the long underwear, though.

I swear, I feel like a new person. I’m not sure how I lasted this long without them.

My initial reaction was: these are leggings for men except it’s not appropriate for me to wear them outside without pants. Now I understand why girls always talk about how comfortable leggings are.

They are a total game changer. I’ve never been warmer, or more comfortable in my life. These last few nights have been some of the warmest in recorded history – for me, at least.

They are underwear, but with the comfort of pyjamas. And they say sliced bread was a brilliant invention. Ha!

If I’m honest, and oversharing, this undershirt and long underwear combination will come in handy in March and April when it’s not that cold and not that hot. Those sleeps are going to be glorious.

At this point, I’m afraid I’ve said way too much and delved into things you don’t really need to know about, but who cares?

I highly recommend long underwear for the cold legs in your life. You can thank me later.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to post this and go sit in a corner and try to forget what I’ve just shared with all of you.

Stay warm, kids.

Thanks for reading enduring.

How do you stay warm in the winter? 

Posted in Humour | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Fantasy Football Playoffs

If you were to put your ear up against the virtual door of my fantasy football team’s locker room, security would probably ask if you’re affiliated with the New England Patriots, and then escort you off the premise. But before they drag you away, you’d hear a room of players sitting in silence, cycling through a playlist, hoping to land on a song that would accurately define the mood.

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fall-
Hey now, you’re an all star, get your game on, go play
Hey now, you’re an…Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Jump up, jump up, and get down!
I’m a genie in a bottle
You gotta rub me the right w-

“Cut the music!” – Unidentified Player

Alright, so our locker room playlist is actually a jukebox from the 90s. What of it? This team is on a budget.

We use the jukebox as the lead blocker when we run the screen pass in practice. It’s only injured three players, if you’re wondering.

The fantasy football regular season is over. My team – Flea Flickers – started the season with a 6-1 record. Thank goodness, too, or I wouldn’t be in the playoffs right now.

I knew I wasn’t as good as my record said I was and had gotten incredibly lucky, several times, that almost all of my opponents had an off-week against me.

I wasn’t winning; they were losing to me. There’s a difference. But hey, a win is a win. After my 6-1 start, I went 1-5 the rest of the way to finish the regular season at 7-6, good enough for the 5th seed in the playoffs.

It’s safe to say my team thinks its February and they’re in Quebec City for Bonhomme Carnaval and are tobogganing down the ice slide. I don’t blame them, it’s fun and fast and a great view, even though it’s cold…FOCUS!

My team is slip sliding away, but all I need them to do is pull it together for three weeks, one week at a time.

Finishing the regular season in 5th, out of 10 teams, is the worst I’ve ever finished in any fantasy league. Granted, this is my first time playing fantasy football and this is the most competitive league I’ve ever been in.

There are many things I would do differently – the first one being a few of my draft picks.

I had the third overall pick, which I absolutely hate. I don’t want high picks because then I’m forced to go with the consensus picks.

Being new to fantasy football, I figured this wasn’t the year to “go off the board”.

Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley, and David Johnson were projected as the top three picks. Every article I read said the same thing.

After taking a week to acclimate myself with the current crop of players in the NFL, I was skeptical of David Johnson being a top three pick. He didn’t play last year due to injury, the Cardinals’ quarterback situation wasn’t good, and their offensive line was apparently not impressive, either.

Though his stats from 2016 were incredible, I wasn’t sure he would get anywhere close to that this season.

But it’s a top three pick, this is my first year doing this, I can’t make a bold pick right out of the gate, let me go with the experts. Maybe they know something I don’t.

I convinced myself that all the Cardinals QB had to do was throw a 5-yard pass to Johnson and let him do the rest. That let me sleep better at night.

So I drafted Johnson and what happens? He runs right into his offensive line for a gain of three yards. The QB hardly throws him the ball. The Cardinals are down by three touchdowns before halftime and running the ball is an after-thought.

THANKS.

Going into the draft, I wished I had a later pick in the first round because I had my eye on other players who were never ranked in the top three, but I thought would be good this season.

The first one was Ezekiel Elliott. I figured he would run the ball 25 times a game, get a touchdown here or there, and maybe catch some passes. I almost drafted him third, but was scared away when I saw he only caught 26 passes last year.

Lo and behold, he has 53 receptions this year! There are still four weeks left in the season! Arrrrggggghhhhh.

The other player I was thinking about taking was Saquon Barkley. I saw one picture of his massive legs and thought, that’s a thoroughbred right there. They’ll feed him (the ball) and take care of him. Then I thought, do I really want to hitch my wagon (I’m all-in on this horse theme, apparently) to a rookie? That’s a risk, isn’t it?

I talked myself out of it because he was only a late first round pick in mock drafts and I didn’t want to “reach” with the 3rd pick, I wanted a “sure thing”.

The other player I really wanted on my team was Christian McCaffrey because he was initially ranked 18th and that’s when my second pick in the draft would be. I had no clue who he was, so I did research and talked myself into it.

As the pre-season went on, it became clear that the secret about him was out and that he’d go much higher in the draft. Picking him 3rd overall would be ludicrous, surely, so I didn’t.

Currently – Barkley, McCaffrey, and Elliott rank 2nd, 3rd, and 6th, respectively, for fantasy points by a running back.

Needless to say, I am going into next year’s fantasy draft and I am taking everything they said I couldn’t have! Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. But I’m going to pick the players I want, regardless of where they rank.

I’ve yet to have a week where all of my starters put up a productive number. There are always some stragglers, who I should’ve left on my bench.

I’m the eternal optimist and the eternal pessimist wrapped into one, when it comes to fantasy. I hope my players will have a big game, but there’s always a voice yelling from the back of my head, “BENCH HIM! HE’S GONNA STINK THIS WEEK.”

And sometimes I think that voice is a sixth sense and will make a last second roster move, only to be burned by it an hour later.

No matter who you start in fantasy football, it’s always the wrong decision.

One thing I’ve struggled with this season is the fact that the NFL only plays on Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. That’s too much time for me to look at my roster and make changes.

I get fidgety and want to tinker. At times, I started players just because they played in the Thursday or Monday nighter and I wanted a reason to watch the game.

This week, none of my players play on Thursday, so I’m forced to wait until Sunday. I’m already going crazy and over-thinking my decisions on who to start.

You could say I’m taking this too seriously, but this is just who I’ve always been.

When I was in Grade 6, I was the captain of an intramural soccer team and got to draft my own team. It consisted of kids from Grades 4-6.

After the draft, I went home and wrote out line combinations.

LINE COMBINATIONS.

These kids were between the ages of 9 and 11, and most of them were merely a name on a paper – I didn’t know a lot of them. I’m pretty sure I looked them up in yearbooks to gauge their athletic ability and inform my decisions on who to slot in to which positions.

That’s me. The word “Captain” isn’t in this blog’s title by accident.

So yes, I may spend more time on fantasy sports than the average bear, but it’s fun to me. Also, stressful.

To make matters worse, I’m facing Cass this week. I did not want this matchup. I don’t know what matchup I wanted, but it wasn’t this one.

Her team has scared me from the start, even when it was 0-3, because I saw she was running into teams that had their best weeks against her, whereas I was running into teams that had their worst weeks against me.

My good start was a lie, as was her bad start.

I’m 98.4% sure, that many weeks ago I commented on her blog, or mine, saying I wouldn’t want to face her team in the playoffs.

AND. HERE. WE. ARE.

If my team loses, they’ll lose with class, and shake hands afterwards.

Then they’ll return to the locker room and crank the sad tunes on the jukebox, but it’ll accidentally land on “Good Vibrations” and then they’ll kick the machine, trying to get it to stop, but it won’t, so they’ll unplug it and sit in silence until I walk in and hand out orange slices.

It’s only Thursday. This is the state my mind is in. Help.

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Synchronize

They put a timer on us at the start
a lovely piece of hardware
next to the magnet of our heart
we may feel a push, but never feel a pull
forever spinning with the wind
careful not to spill a glass half full

They never said how long we had to wait
every day is one less
until the big hand lands on fate
we may always be late, but have sand to borrow
with the wind spinning forever
set your watch again for this time tomorrow.

Posted in Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Formula 1 Season Is Over

Another Formula 1 season is in the record books and Wikipedia pages. I don’t know how this happened. I don’t know where the time has gone. Only Rolex knows.

That was a timekeeper joke, for those of you playing along at home. Gonna be a long post if you don’t laugh.

It feels like just yesterday they were in Melbourne, Australia doing laps around Albert Park and Haas had their two drivers in P4 and P5, and everyone was like, “Crikey, those lads are gonna be competitive this year!” and Haas was like, “Blimey gosh darn fiddlesticks, we done did it now!” and in the span of two laps, both cars had to retire from the race because they were released from the pits with loose wheels.

Oh Haas, you comic relief, you.

I recently learned the proper way to pronounce “Melbourne” is “Mel-bin”. Impress your friends.

It was a fun season, but a bit underwhelming. There were hardly any races where rain was a factor. I was disappointed by that because I love rain races. Inject those into my veins.

I’m not talking about light pitter patters of spit falling from the sky. I’m talking about torrential downpours. Break out the old school monsoon tires!

This season brought in a few changes. For starters, the cars had a halo on them. The halo was a safety precaution put in place so the driver’s head would be protected.

I don’t think there’s anyone who thinks the cars look better with them, but I’m not going to sit here and say, “Let the drivers get hit in the head by flying objects, and let them scrape pavement if the car rolls over.”

My fear with the halo was always – how does the driver get out if the car is upside down? And we saw that transpire in the final race of the season yesterday in Abu Dhabi.

Nico Hulkenberg’s car did a barrel roll before coming to a stop upside down, against a barricade. He was fine and told his team over the radio that he was hanging there like a cow.

Do cows hang upside down? I’ve been thinking about it all day. I remember in the movie “Barnyard” some annoying kids would go “Cow tipping” and the cows would end up on their backs. I’m just going to assume that Hulkenberg got his simile from that movie. 

His car flipped over on the first lap and I let out an audible, “Woah!” Later on, my Dad joined me to watch the race and since I always record it, he asks me to rewind to the first lap or any incidents in the race.

So I go back to the start, telling him something happened. We get to the barrel roll and he goes, “Woah!”

We have an expansive vocabulary while watching sports.

Anyway, Hulkenberg was stuck. He couldn’t just crawl out of the car – the halo is too much of a detriment. He had to wait until a baker’s-dozen-worth of race marshals came over, put out the fire at the rear of his car, and flipped him over.

This was relatively easy, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a message from the Formula 1 Gods that something like this will happen again and it won’t be so simple.

Get it? Formula 1 Gods…Halo….the jokes are subtle today.

What if Hulkenberg had been injured? What if he were unresponsive? What if the fire had spread to the cockpit before anyone could reach him?

That’s a pretty terrifying possibility. He might as well be handcuffed under water.

The halo will save lives, but if a driver can’t urgently escape from their car in case of emergency, that’s a problem. I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m sure someone is working on it.

So that’s the halo.

Before moving on, I just want to say the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is one of my favourites. I love the track – it was always a joy to race in the video game.

I also like that it takes place at night. The cars looks better at night. Sports, in general, look better at night.

I just wish this race could be in the middle of the season because so much overtaking happens and we don’t always get that on other tracks. The championship is normally determined before the last race (except two years ago) and it’s a shame this race turns into a mere exhibition.

Yes, I realize the race schedule is predominantly determined by weather conditions and sending the drivers to Abu Dhabi in July would be like putting a slice of pizza in the microwave for 18 minutes.

Another change this year was the width of the tires.

It was one of the reasons why overtaking was so difficult. The other being the whole aerodynamic thing – the whole aerodynamic thing; brilliant verbiage – where the closer a car is to the one in front, the harder it is to pass due to “dirty air”.

These are things far beyond my basic level of expertise, but apparently the problems are being fixed for next year so the cars can do what they’re supposed to do on a race track – pass each other. We’ll see.

Even if there are more overtakes next year, there is such a gap between the top three teams and everyone else.

Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are at the top of the pecking order. You’ve got Force India, Renault, Haas, McLaren, and Sauber somewhere in the middle. And then Toro Rosso and Williams at the back.

For such historic teams, McLaren and Williams should be better.

Toro Rosso is essentially a developmental team for Red Bull, so there’s that.

Mercedes has won the Constructors’ Championship (awarded to the team with the most points) in each of the last five season.

Before that, Red Bull won it four years in a row.

This isn’t a sport that is big on parity. That’s always bothered me a little bit because I’m left to wonder if a driver is actually that good, or if it’s just the car they’re driving.

If you took a Williams driver and put them in a Mercedes, would they be competing for a spot on the podium on a consistent basis? Probably.

Yeah, it takes an abundance of skill and athleticism (believe it or not) to drive these cars, but the best driver in the world can’t make a tricycle go faster than a horse. Weird analogy, but go with it.

So that aspect grinds my gears a bit. I’d love if every car were somehow made equal and all 20 drivers could battle it out. That would be the most dramatic season in Formula 1 history…as I channel my inner Chris Harrison.

To close, I’d like to take a page out of Ted Kravitz’s notebook, so to speak. Ted Kravitz is the pit lane reporter for Sky Sports F1 and after every race he walks through the pit lane with his little notebook and says a few things about each driver. I think it’s brilliant, so I’m going to steal the idea.

Here are my thoughts on each team and driver. In brackets I’ll list where each team and driver finished in the standings.

MERCEDES (1) – Constructors’ Championship
They win too much. That being said, I do enjoy the interviews with Niki Lauda (Legend of F1) and hope he can return next season.

Lewis Hamilton (1) – Drivers’ Championship
He wins too much, but I also think he’s mentally stronger than everyone else on the grid.

Valtteri Bottas (5)
I always feel bad for the drivers who are second fiddle on their team. His race is normally compromised in order to ensure Hamilton can finish higher and maximize points.

FERRARI (2)
They started the season strong and then lost their pace. For the last two years, Mercedes has come out of the summer break guns blazing and Ferrari looks shell shocked.

Sebastian Vettel (2)
Vettel and Hamilton have won 8 of the last 9 Drivers’ Championships. Vettel’s flaw may be that he cares too much and when he feels Hamilton running away with the championship, he drives with extra urgency. And that additional urgency leads to things like breaking the weighbridge in Brazil (long story, don’t ask).

Kimi Raikkonen (3)
Kimi has been in an F1 car for over half my life. Either I’m old, or he has longevity. He mumbles a lot and often looks like he doesn’t care to be there, but yet there he is. He’s moving over to Sauber next season.

RED BULL (3)
I’ve never even taken a sip of Red Bull, but this team is probably my favourite along with Ferrari. They’re the alternative to what’s cool and popular and that vibes with me. Good Lord, I just used the word “vibes” in a blog post.

Max Verstappen (4)
He has a big future and I hope he can realize it without going to Ferrari or Mercedes. I like his gusto.

Daniel Ricciardo (6)
Can someone get this man a car that will finish a race? He’s too good to have been parked on the side of the road so often this year. He’s off to Renault, so I guess that means no more shoeys on the podium?

A “shoey” is when he takes off his shoe, pours champagne in it, and drinks it because how else would you celebrate a top 3 finish?

RENAULT (4)
They finished fourth, but arrived two weeks later – that’s my analogy on how big the gap is from third.

Nico Hulkenberg (7)
The best of the rest.

Carlos Sainz (10)
Like Hulkenberg, he’s held back because of the car he drives.

HAAS (5)
They’re a team that gets Ferrari’s hand-me-down’s. Next year they’ll probably have this year’s Ferrari.

Kevin Magnussen (9)
Again, if it weren’t for the car he drives, he’d be higher on the grid.

Romain Grosjean (14)
Not to be confused with the salad, you can find Grosjean anywhere between 7-15 on any given Sunday.

MCLAREN (6)
I was a Ferrari fan growing up and always saw McLaren as a respectable villain with a lineup of Hakkinen and Coulthard.

Fernando Alonso (11)
He drove his final F1 race yesterday, for now at least. He is the thread that connected the Schumacher era with the current one. When he won the championship with Renault in 2005 and 2006, it was the first time I found myself cheering for someone other than Ferrari. He always got the most out of his car, no matter how poor it was.

Stoffel Vandoorne (16)
When Alonso is your teammate, you’re going to be overshadowed. He’s moving to Formula E next year.

FORCE INDIA (7)
I thought they could make an attempt at challenging Red Bull this year, but they had their own set of issues and it never happened. Surprisingly, I am a fan of the pink cars. Sadly they’ll be gone next season, as they’re getting a new name and colours.

Sergio Perez (8)
Stop me if you’ve heard this before – if it weren’t for his car, he’d be higher on the grid. With a reliable car, he’s capable of a top 10 finish every time.

Esteban Ocon (12)
He doesn’t get along well with Max Verstappen. He doesn’t have a seat next season. Really tall.

SAUBER (8)
They receive their engines from Ferrari and starting next season, they’ll receive a driver as well – Kimi Raikkonen – in exchange for Charles Leclerc. No draft picks are involved in the deal.

Charles Leclerc (13)
I am all in on this kid’s potential. I can’t wait to see him with Ferrari next year. Leclerc versus Verstappen is the next era of Formula 1.

Marcus Ericsson (17)
I just realized we have the same birthday, except he’s older by a year. He’s off to IndyCar next year.

TORO ROSSO (9)
For the longest time, I didn’t realize “Toro Rosso” is Italian for “Red Bull” which makes sense because they act as the developmental system for the senior team – Red Bull. Silly Paul.

Pierre Gasly (15)
I’m nervous about his move up to Red Bull. Gasly (23) and Verstappen (21) will be a combined 44-years-old when the season starts next year.

Brandon Hartley (19)
How in the world is he 29-years-old?

WILLIAMS (10)
Oy, they deserve better than this, but somebody has to come in last.

Lance Stroll (18)
He’s the only Canadian on the grid and the first one since Jacques Villeneuve. Let’s just say I was a bigger fan of Villeneuve. Stroll is moving over to Force India next season because his Dad bought the team.

Sergey Sirotkin (20)
He recored 1 championship point in his rookie season. He won’t get another shot, as Williams is bringing in Robert Kubica and George Russell next year. Russell is 20-years-old.

And that’s it! Next year promises a lot of changes – I’m already excited.

Netflix filmed behind-the-scenes footage of this entire season and I can’t wait for that to come out. I think it’ll help introduce Formula 1 to a brand new audience while giving fans something they’ve never seen before.

Thank you for reading!

Until next season, I bid you a vroom vroom!

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments