First Time Watching: Back to the Future

It is no secret that I am not much of a movie-watcher. Movies don’t entice me the way television shows, or sports, do. Also, where am I supposed to watch movies? I’m talking about the “classics” that everyone raves about.

Watch this, watch that, watch the other! Okay, but how? Where?

A lot of the movies I have seen, I saw at school. Movies like: Remember The Titans, V for Vendetta, Rear Window, Rudy, and a whole slew of horror films in a Grade 12 Horror Fiction class.

I grew up on Toy StoryHome Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a bunch of sports movies. Oh, and whatever movies the Family channel was pumping out in the early 2000s.

I did watch movies at the theatre, sometimes, but I wouldn’t say I was there more than two or three times a year.

It’s been over ten years and I’m still mad they got rid of the Pizza Hut from the concessions. Do you know how perfect a personal pan pizza is in a movie theatre? It’s like water in a fish tank. It was meant to be. And they got rid of it.

I will always be mad about it.

In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered what I’ve been missing out on when it comes to popular movies. So, in an effort to squash my stubbornness and expand my knowledge in the world of theatre (pronounced in a pretentious manner), I figured I’d watch well-known movies for the first time and turn it into a blog series.

Because let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to put in the effort to watch these movies and not make some sort of show out of it.

Movie Zero in this “First Time Watching” series is Back to the Future because I am constantly hearing about how great it is, mainly from Aaron.

The other night, I watched it. I am not going to recap the movie; I am just going to share my thoughts on it, while referencing various plot points. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If not, stay for the humour.

Back to the Future is from 1985 and I love the way movies were filmed back then. Even movies from the 90s – there’s just a certain simplicity to them. Whether it’s the camerawork, scene sequence, dialogue, or images of a simpler time, filling the screen, I love it.

So, when this movie started out with the camera panning across a bunch of clocks, and a television set with a news report, on top of other things, I was hooked. I was in. It gave me a very, Honey I Shrunk The Kids vibe.

And then Marty McFly walks through the door and the camera doesn’t immediately pan up to show his face. They build the anticipation like, “Who is this person? Do these legs have a torso?”

I like when movies take their time and ease into things. Set the scene – don’t ambush me with characters right away.

It stunned me a bit when I found out that Marty was in high school, but I guess that just goes to show that even in 1985, Hollywood was casting twenty-somethings to play high school students.

Easiest way to avoid dealing with child labour laws.

There is a lot of signage in this movie, especially around town, which immediately told me that this was probably a movie I would have to watch many times, in order to catch all the little Easter eggs.

I appreciate that from a movie. It’s like a recurring revenue business model, but for films. Put a bunch of small details in every scene and people will be forced to go back and watch, over and over, to catch everything. It’s brilliant.

Marty’s dad reminded me of Mikey Day from Saturday Night Live. That nerdy and/or dorky outfit with big glasses and a nasally voice is definitely something I’ve seen him do on SNL.

Oh, and how 1985 of them to have a character named, Biff. Is Biff short for anything? Bifocals? The name sounds like the noise you make when the wind blows your hat off your head. I think that is cool.

2020 needs more Biffs. There’s an eyeglasses joke in here somewhere.

When I saw Doc Emmett Brown, I thought, “Hey! That’s Al from Angels in the Outfield!”

Angels in the Outfield is one of my favourite movies. I have it on VHS. The character, Al, was The Boss Angel. He showed up and wore an umpire’s hat that said, AL, on it. AL stood for American League, but he said, “You can call me, Al.”

If you don’t know baseball, that last paragraph sailed right over your head. It’s such a great movie moment and it makes me wish MLB umpires still wore hats that said AL on them.

Anyway, that’s how I knew who Doc was.

Doc and Marty are playing with their time machine Delorean in the mall parking lot and then, all of a sudden, THE LIBYANS roll up and start shooting at them.


This felt like a very bad wrestling stereotype from the 90s, or a Mad Lib gone wrong.

Libyans? Did someone misspell, “Librarians”, in the script? I was confused.

I found it funny that when Marty went back in time to 1955, the only thing they did to make Doc look thirty years younger was comb his hair and not rub it with a balloon.

Now, they obviously weren’t going to cast someone else to play the younger version of Doc, since he was a main character. And it’s not like it’s easy to make someone look thirty years younger, but I found it comical that they barely tried.

It was very, “I’m wearing a sports jersey for Halloween and calling myself a fan” of them. That level of effort gets a thumbs up from me, every time.

One thing that bothered me about Marty travelling back to 1955 was all the coincidences built into it. He was only there one week, but in that week, the clocktower was struck by lightning and his parents met for the first time.

What a week in history. What are the odds he’d return to that exact week?

Marty walked into a cafe and the high school version of his dad was sitting right next to him – come on.

Earlier in the movie, his mom said she and her husband met when her grandfather hit him with his car. Now we go back thirty years to that exact moment. Only this time, Mrs. McFly has the hots (can’t believe I typed this) for her future son, Marty, but doesn’t know it, because he is a high school student just like her.

It felt like an under the table incestuous storyline and the whole thing had a soggy cereal vibe to it.

There were multiple times where I found myself saying, “How convenient”. It felt unrealistic. The plot felt contrived. This bothered me for at least twenty minutes.

Then I realized this was a “me issue” and not a “them issue”.

The whole premise of travelling back in time was unrealistic, yet I didn’t question it. The whole part where Marty and his siblings were being erased from a photograph – limb by limb – did not bother me.

And yet I was hung up on the whole, “Marty goes back in time and just so happens to witness some really important events, all within a few days of each other?”

I was wrong to be hung up on that. As someone who watches wrestling, I have to suspend my level of disbelief a lot, in order for things to make sense. And that is exactly what movies demand of us, especially ones of the science-fiction genre.

So, I was wrong. And I realized I was wrong because I found myself having fun.

These convenient coincidences that Marty was facing – big deal. They were great. I was entertained by his efforts to get his mom to notice his dorky dad.

Sometimes, you just have to watch the movie and not ask questions.

Some other random things:

I liked the pacing of the movie – it was a very quick one hour and fifty-six minutes. I also liked how the movie seemed to be divided into sections. It made it easy to remember the sequence of events, as well as gauge how far into the story we were.

When Marty entered the cafe and asked to use the phone, they told him it was in the back. Cut to him holding the phone and flipping through a phonebook. All of that was great. I loved every second of it. Hook up phonebook scenes to my veins.

“Phonebook scenes in movies” might be the most random thing I like. They are the best.

The school dance scene where Marty is on stage and the people on the dance floor are like, “Yeah…I kinda like this…let me rock my head up and down…and start dancing like everyone else in the room.” I laughed. That scene is in every movie that has a school dance.

When Marty returns to 1985, he witnesses himself take off back to 1955 in the Delorean. Does this mean that this moment is constantly being played over and over? Are there two Marty McFlys now?

Does that make him a McDouble?

In the beginning, we see Doc shot to death by The Libyans (Librarians?). When Marty returns to the future, having warned Doc about such a possibility while in 1955, we see Doc reveal he was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Because I am me, I went back and looked at his clothing in the scene where he got shot and he is definitely not wearing a vest underneath his shirt.

Is that just a continuity error as it pertains to wardrobe, or was Doc not wearing a vest because he hadn’t been warned yet?

Was the scene Marty saw play out in the parking lot, when he returned from the past, a different variation of events BECAUSE Marty had gone back in time?

I think I know the answer, but I also think I’ve confused myself.

All in all, I liked the movie. Am I prepared to say it is one of the greatest of all-time? No. I would have to see it a few more times. However, I can see why it is so highly regarded.

I could also see it as a movie that raised a generation. If I were a kid in 1985, and I saw this movie, I would probably say it was one of my favourites.

Heck, that’s exactly what I’ve done with Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire. Those movies we grow up with always hold a special place in the nostalgia quadrant of our heart.

Don’t try looking for the nostalgia quadrant of your heart on a diagram.

This was fun! I already have a good idea what movie I’m going to watch next. So, stay tuned for that, whenever I get around to it!

If you would like to recommend a relatively well-known movie for me to watch, let me know in the comments below! Make sure it’s on Netflix, though.

Have you seen Back to the Future? What are your thoughts on it? What do you think of my new blog series, “First Time Watching”?

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Adults Are Children and Life is Professional Wrestling

When I was in elementary school, I viewed the Grade 7 and Grade 8 students as revered members of the student body. Their classrooms were in the air-conditioned wing of the school. They had their own field for recess. Their desks were stuffed with textbooks. They looked so wise in their graduation photos. They got to go on overnight field trips. They were tall. They were, basically, adults.

I had created this mystique in my head about them.

And then I got to those grades and my classroom was in the air-conditioned wing of the school. We had our own field for recess. Our desks were stuffed with textbooks. We looked wise in our graduation photos. We went on overnight field trips. We were tall.

Something felt off.

We were not the people I thought we would be. We were definitely not adults. We were just a year older than the previous year, sitting in a different classroom.

Surely, though, high school would be the land of serious and studious individuals, carrying around textbooks and worrying about the next test. Right?

In some ways, it was. In many ways, it was not.

They referred to us as “young adults”. The “young” shone through a lot. It felt like childish antics were on display every day.

University – I do not know what my expectations were. By this point, we were all adults. We all knew how to buckle down when we needed to.

And yet, I had so much fun. I felt like a kid, on most days.

From as young as five-years-old, I had this notion that, “By a certain age, I will be like this“. I am sure I am not alone in that. Call it the early days of us comparing ourselves to others, or using age as a guideline for where we should be in life.

One level of education after another, that notion was shattered.

I have come to realize that, in many respects, adulthood is childhood on a grander stage and the world is our audience.

Welcome to: Adults Are Children and Life is Professional Wrestling

What I ask of you, the reader, is to not take the title of this post literally, but take it seriously. I ask that you go along with me, as I lay out some scenarios and analogies, while bouncing back and forth between these interconnected concepts. So, pack a snack and join me on this journey of words.

Professional wrestling is all about getting a reaction from the audience. Whether they are cheering for you, or booing you out of the building, it does not matter. As long as there is noise, you are okay. Silence is death.

The bad guy (heel) wants to be booed. They will: insult your local sports team, refer to members of the audience as overweight, tell people to “Shut up and listen to what I have to say”, and then beat up the hometown hero.

The good guy (face) wants to be cheered. They will: give high-fives to fans as they walk to the ring, come to the aid of their friends, and challenge the heel to a fight.

It is crowd manipulation at its finest.

Take this general concept and apply it to life. Where is it prevalent?

Correct – social media. On social media, we play the role of professional wrestler and audience member.

One minute, we are showing off our muscles, the next minute we are yelling things with popcorn in our mouth. That was meant to be a comical statement, before I got to my actual comparison, but it is kind of true, is it not?

We say it all the time – Instagram is a highlight reel. We want to be liked. Literally and figuratively. We want to be cheered on. We want a crowd reaction. Our caption begs for it, sometimes. Even the struggles are twisted into a story of perseverance.

Classic, professional wrestling.

Then there are influencers. Hey, kudos to them for being paid to advertise products, or lifestyle. I am not hating. Make your money. I am just here to put in words what everyone is already thinking.

At its core, is “influencing” not a form of peer pressure? “Do this, buy this, be like this – everyone else already is.”

It is the adult-version of peer pressure, but because we are adults, we call them influencers, or salespeople, so it is okay.

Pfft, adults do not need to be protected; they are not children. Right?

And then there is Twitter.

Twitter, itself, is like a child that has been walking through mud all week at recess, but has never stopped to clean their shoes. The layers keep mounting, until the shows become unrecognizable.

In that forum, many adults take on the role of heckler. By doing so, the person they are heckling becomes the heel. It can turn into a mob mentality. People get so angry at a small collection of words and feel the need to yell back into the abyss.

he audience will support the people who support their opinion.

Classic, professional wresting.

Twitter can be used as Exhibit A for my claim that adults are children.

What do children do when they do not get their way? They whine. They complain. They argue. They yell. They cry. They want someone to feel sorry for them. They tell other people – or the other parent – their side of the story to try and win them over. They need an ally.

It is the ol’, “If I explain my side of the story, someone will agree with me” way of thinking.

Life is all about finding people that agree with you and sticking with them.

Sound familiar? It is Twitter. That is where adults reside – many of whom, express their daily disgruntlement toward anything, everything, and nothing at all.

Mad at a company? Tweet them. Tag them in the tweet. Let them know you are unsatisfied with their service. Shame them into telling you to send them a DM. And along the way, you let your followers know what you think of that company. You are swaying their opinion, if only a little bit.

Bam, we are back to professional wrestling.

Instead of sitting on the floor and crying until someone responds to them, adults go to Twitter. We like to complain, especially when we can make it mildly funny. That gets the “likes” and “retweets”.

Heck, we may even go viral! Oh, joy.

So much of Twitter is just the words we would say after, “Oh yeah, well…” during a battle of words with a foe.

Picture a schoolyard squabble between children.

“Your shirt is ugly.”

“Oh yeah, well your hat looks like it was in a puddle.”

“Oh yeah, well you are a puddle!”

Clearly, I need to brush up on modern-day schoolyard squabbles, but you get the point. There is a constant one-upmanship playing out.

On Twitter, the same thing is going on. No one ever admits they are wrong. No one ever changes their mind. There is too much pride at stake. There are too many old tweets that will become screenshots, should anyone dare to evolve their views.

Adults are children. Their actions may be different, but their behaviour is the same. It is, merely, manifested via an age-appropriate avenue.

Outside of social media, we see more examples to support my claim that life is professional wresting.

In wrestling, there is a saying that, “The title does not make the man/woman, the man/woman makes the title.”

Which is to say that it is the actions of the individual, that makes the championship important and prestigious.

Just because someone holds a championship belt, does not mean they automatically acquire attributes befitting of a champion. The powers are not transferred via osmosis. It is who they are, that makes the title mean something.

Are there world leaders who think that because they are the elected leader of a country, they can ignore the advice of their colleagues, and say anything they want?

I will let you answer that.

What about on a smaller scale? Do people give themselves a title, yet fail to put in the work that would make them worthy of it? Yes, all the time.

“Oh, I am a blogger!”

No, sorry, you post once and then go on hiatus for a year, before repeating the cycle. Do you really think you deserve that title?

Heck, I feel uncomfortable calling myself a blogger, or writer, at times. I do not feel like I am doing anything special. I am just writing words.

I went running about a dozen times (give or take) last summer and have not gone since. Does that mean I can call myself a runner? Or can I only call myself a runner if I exclude that last part about not running since last year?

Why are we so concerned with titles? To fill a resume? To stroke our ego? To make it look like we are busy? To tell the relatives something about ourselves during Christmas?

Deep down, we just want to be important. Is that it? Dig deep in your soul. Look in your subconscious if you need to.

Titles give us self-importance. They are things we can point to and associate with our identity. Professional wrestlers also have titles – nicknames, if you will – that are associated with their identity.

The Man – Becky Lynch.

The Legit Boss – Sasha Banks.

The Big Dog – Roman Reigns.

The Viper, The Apex Predator, The Legend Killer – Randy Orton.

The Reigning, Defending, Undisputed, Universal Champion – Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar’s mouthpiece – advocate – Paul Heyman, would announce him to the ring like that every single time during his championship run.

The more titles you put in front of your name, the more important you look.

Life is professional wrestling.

The global pandemic we currently find ourselves in has offered many examples that prove adults are children.

Remember when adults were hoarding toilet paper? Children do the same thing with crayons in the classroom.

Yes, the situations are vastly different. However, at the root of it is the mindset of, “I need this. Everyone else made need this too, but I am not sharing.”

Again – different actions, same behaviour.

Then there is this whole thing about adults refusing to wear a mask. The sheer defiance is Case 0 for “Adults Are Children”. No matter how many times you tell them the benefits of wearing a mask, they will not listen.

I feel like I do not even have to give a specific example of a child refusing to listen to instructions because this comparison is so transparent.

Insert an, “Oh yeah, well children are wearing masks while many adults refuse to” here.

What about quarantine? For a little while, people did really well at staying in one spot. Now, in some places, we see people acting like the pandemic is over just because they got tired of staying home.

They are out and about, frolicking in the sun, and mingling with strangers, acting as if the rules do not apply to them because they have chosen to live their life.

This is like a child in kindergarten who wanders away from the reading circle on the carpet because they cannot sit still. They want to do something else.

I may even be underestimating children a little bit. Perhaps, none of them wander away from the carpet because staying in that one spot is the best thing they could do at the moment.

Especially since it is probably a picture book. Even if one kid wanders off, they will turn around when the page flips, just to see the next picture.

A few days ago, a woman in Toronto entered a hospital and started filming, when she was told she would be turned away, if she did not put on a mask. She refused to wear a mask and was escorted out by security.

What are we doing here?

The hospital requires everyone to wear a mask because, let me just check my notes, oh yeah – we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Why do the rules not apply to you? What is it about putting a mask on your face, and protecting those around you, that makes you so mad? Why do you not understand?

The defiance is baffling to me.

And then to pull out your phone and film the staff – the heroes – thinking it will garner sympathy online. Talk about a power move without any batteries.

You would think an adult would be able to have a level of understanding and put aside their own beliefs. No. Could not do it.

We always hear that children do not know any better. Well, adults know better, and they still find a way to act like children.

If you are wondering why I wrote this post, then allow me to wonder with you.

At times, while reading this, you probably thought, “Not all adults!”, or “Not all children!”, or “Not all situations in life are akin to professional wrestling!” Or maybe you thought that adults acting like children could be a good thing times.

Yes, to all of that.

If any of you used the word “akin” in your inner-dialogue, I applaud you.

I think the point of this was to show that we are all the same – on some level – no matter the age, and that life is something we make up on the fly. Therefore, it is useless to set expectations or guidelines for ourselves based off of what someone else has achieved at the same point in their life.

Now, more than ever, it is so easy to look over into the next lane, and figure out where we measure up in the marathon of life.

That is a mouse trap.

Getting caught up in it, only plants a seed in our head and provides a false representation of what we can expect.

We do not know what it is like to be 20-years-old, until we are 20-years-old. We do not know 25, until we are 25. We do not know 30, until we are 30. We do not know 40, or 50, 0r 65, or 80, until we are those ages.

It is like buying a couch – you may have an idea what it feels like, but you have no clue until you sit on it.

The Smashing Pumpkins sang, “Time is never time at all, you can never ever leave, without leaving a piece of youth.”

Maybe the point of this is realizing that adults hold onto pieces of their youth – the good and the bad – and life is something we cannot easily predict for ourselves.

Thus, adults are children and life is professional wrestling.

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Get To Know Canada

Happy Canada Day, to those who celebrate. Canada turns 153-years-old today, so we’re going to need a cake that can hold that many candles. I don’t make the rules.

If any of you are confused, Canada Day is basically the Canadian version of America’s Independence Day.

Today, I figured I’d take it upon myself to teach all of you a few things about Canada. Consider this a crash course. I won’t cover everything, just the things that I think of off the top of my head.

I will be consulting Google to ensure I get things as accurate as possible. If I get anything wrong, I’m sorry.

Let’s get the dreaded political stuff out of the way first, so we can have some uninterrupted fun the rest of the way.

The leader of Canada is called the Prime Minister. The current PM is Justin Trudeau. He lives in a house that actually looks like a house.

Parliament Hill, located in Ottawa, is like a huge Hogwarts-looking building. That is where the federal government does its thing (for lack of a more appropriate phrase).

The main political parties are: Liberals, Conservatives, New Democratic Party, Bloc Quebecois, and Green Party. Each party elects their own leader.

On federal election day, there are 338 seats up for grabs. Each seat represents an electoral district.

So, on election day, the ballot we receive lists the candidates running in our local district. The ballot does not list the candidates running for Prime Minister.

Whichever party wins the most seats/electoral districts – their party leader is named Prime Minister.

It may sound confusing, but it’s quite simple.

Canada is made up of 10 Provinces and 3 Territories. The Capital of Canada is Ottawa.

The 10 Provinces and their Capital Cities:
British Columbia (Victoria)
Alberta (Edmonton)
Saskatchewan (Regina)
Manitoba (Winnipeg)
Ontario (Toronto)
Quebec (Quebec City)
New Brunswick (Fredericton)
Nova Scotia (Halifax)
Prince Edward Island (Charlottetown)
Newfoundland and Labrador (St. John’s)

The 3 Territories and their Capital Cities:
Yukon (Whitehorse)
Northwest Territories (Yellowknife)
Nunavut (Iqaluit)

Canada has two official languages – English and French.

Canadian English seems to be a combination of British English and American English.

We like to throw a “u” in words, like: Favourite, Humour, Colour, and Honour.

We spell Centre and Fibre, not Center and Fiber.

I promise you, we don’t say “Eh” as much as you think. Every stereotypical parody of a Canadian has us saying “Eh” at the end of every sentence. We don’t. We hardly ever do.

“Eh” is a sound that means we are asking for something to be repeated or explained, or we’re looking for someone to agree with us. It can also be used as a substitute for, “Huh”.

Example: “Nice weather, eh?” “Yup.”

In school, we call it Grade 1, Grade 2, etc.

In university, it’s First Year, Second Year, etc. I never referred to myself as a Freshman, or Sophomore. I’m sure some Canadians do, but I never did, and I never heard others use that terminology, either.

I call it a Washroom, sometimes a Bathroom, but mainly, Washroom.

We call it a Postal Code, not a ZIP Code.

Knapsack, not backpack. (Many say backpack, but I prefer knapsack).

Pop, not soda.

I found this one while doing research – do Americans know what an eavestrough is? It’s a gutter, but we call it an eavestrough. I didn’t know this was a (potential) difference.

We no longer have a penny because they cost 1.6 cents to make. We save $11 million a year, as a result. They stopped being produced in 2012 and were no longer distributed as of 2013.

Loonie: A gold-coloured, one dollar coin.

Toonie: A two dollar coin. The outside ring is silver, and there’s a gold circle in the middle.

I’m convinced these coins are an ode to the Looney Tunes, but I only thought of that connection right now, so who knows.

Yes, we also have nickels, dimes, and quarters. Queen Elizabeth II is on the face of each coin. She is Canada’s Head of State. You can Google this to learn more because it’s still confusing to me.

Our bills are plastic, colourful, and see-through in one section! We get wild up here. I also think the material of them (synthetic polymer) makes it impossible (near impossible?) to rip. I haven’t tried it, but they definitely don’t tear.

Five-dollar bills are blue.

Ten-dollar bills are purple.

Twenty-dollar bills are green.

Fifty-dollar bills are red.

One-hundred-dollar bills are brown.

Lacrosse is the national summer sport of Canada, while Hockey is the national winter sport. Those are official things.

Soccer is a popular youth sport. So is baseball, softball, basketball, and tennis. I’m probably missing a bunch. There is also football, though I’ve personally never seen a youth football game or practice, or anyone hanging around a field in football pads, for that matter.

Hockey is big, obviously. Learning how to skate when you’re a kid is like getting a haircut for the first time. It’s just something you do.

Backyard rinks are a thing in the winter.

Road Hockey was popular when I was growing up. I don’t really see kids playing in the street anymore.

Canadian Football 
We have our own football league – Canadian Football League – made up of nine teams. They are: BC Lions, Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Toronto Argonauts, Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Ottawa RedBlacks, and Montreal Alouettes.

The field is 110 yards, goal line to goal line. Each end zone is 20 yards deep. The field is 65 yards wide.

By comparison, the NFL is 100 yards, goal line to goal line. End zones are 10 yards deep. And the field is 53 yards wide.

There are only three downs in the CFL, as opposed to four in the NFL.

Each team must have a certain number of Canadians on the roster – I believe the minimum is 21.

College Athletics
Our version of the NCAA is called, U SPORTS.

That’s its newest name, as of 2016. Before that it was Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Before that, it was the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (CIAU).

Any way you twist it, it sounds a bit clunky.

My university didn’t have a football team, neither did my high school. Other schools do have a football team.

Money is not poured into college athletics in Canada the way it is in America. Our post-secondary “stadiums” are probably what Americans are used to in high school.

Outside of championship games, they aren’t televised, and don’t receive much media attention.

The Canadian version of March Madness (for the non-North American reader, this is basketball) is called, Men’s Final 8/Women’s Final 8. As you can guess, it’s an 8-team single-elimination tournament.

On the men’s side, one school – Carleton Ravens – has won 15 of the last 18 National Championships. You would never see that happen in the NCAA.

Tim Hortons is a popular coffee chain. Tim Horton was a hockey player.

You may know them as donut holes, or munchkins, but we call them Timbits because THAT IS THE LOGICAL NAME FOR THEM.

All-Dressed Chips are a Canadian delicacy. Their flavour is a combination of all the chip flavours. Hence, “All-Dressed”. I only figured this out a few years ago.

We also have Ketchup Chips, which I find disgusting.

We are known for our poutine – fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Again, I find it disgusting.

There are Beaver Tails, which is just fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail. Creative, eh?

In Ontario, our milk comes in a plastic bag. It also comes in cartons, don’t worry, but predominately bags. It’s not a big deal. You put the bag in a specially-made milk pitcher, cut the corner off the top, and pour.

What are known as Smarties in America, we call Rockets.

In Canada, Smarties are just a wider, and chocolatey-er (?) version of M&M’s.

We like maple syrup, but doesn’t everyone? Why is this a Canadian thing?

Sports Television
The Canadian version of ESPN is called, TSN – The Sports Network. You have SportsCenter, we have SportsCentre. TSN is owned by Bell Media.

Throughout the day, we’ll receive ESPN programming on TSN, like First Take, Highly Questionable, Around The Horn, and Pardon The Interruption.

We also have another sports network called, Sportsnet. We’re just oozing in creativity up here. Sportsnet is owned by Rogers Sports & Media (they just changed their named from Rogers Communications).

So, it’s TSN (Bell) vs. Sportsnet (Rogers).

Rogers owns the Toronto Blue Jays and keep all the games on Sportsnet.

Rogers also owns the broadcast rights to the NHL and is currently in the middle of a 12-year deal that expires in 2025-26. They purchased the rights for $5.2 billion. It has not been worth it.

This has left TSN with (about) half of Toronto Raptors games, a few regional NHL broadcasts, and some weekly NFL games as sources of major league programming.

TSN has exclusive rights to the CFL, and the marquee events in Curling, but still. Hockey is king.

I mentioned NFL games. Of course, we get Thursday and Monday Night Football.

Every Sunday, we can watch games on CBS, FOX, CTV, and TSN. CTV is a Canadian station that falls under the Bell Media umbrella with TSN.

One of the games on CBS always features the Buffalo Bills because they think we care. A lot of people do, but come on, Buffalo? The New York Jets are also shown a lot.

Sometimes, CTV will also decide to show the Buffalo game, and I hate it. The last thing I need is two channels showing the exact same thing.

I feel like FOX always shows the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, or another big market team.

CTV and TSN are normally pretty good at showing marquee teams, if CBS and FOX don’t. As a fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, I got to see almost all of their games last year.

Of course, outside of this, we can order the NFL Sunday Ticket package and watch every game.

Other TV
We don’t have a Canadian channel akin to CNN, that talks about politics and devastating news stories all day. We just have CNN.

In Southern Ontario, we have CP24 (City Pulse 24), which is an all-day news station, that always has the weather on the right side of the screen, news stories cycling through at the bottom, and an anchor in the upper left quadrant reading stories off a teleprompter, as footage is shown.

It’s not a debate platform with people on a panel. Opinionated people are not sitting there, critiquing political figures all day.

If you were to ask me, I’d say I probably know more about American politics than Canadian politics, just because I’ve seen and listened to more of it on TV.

We get America’s news stations. We watch their Late Night talk shows. We watch their election process, which is way too long.

We are well-versed in American culture. I don’t think the opposite is necessarily true.

“When America sneezes, Canada catches a cold” is a phrase most Canadians have probably heard, if not all.

Yeah, it gets cold here.

From the perspective of Ontario – January, February, March, November, and December are cold. April and October are fringe months, where you have no idea what season you’re going to get each day. May can also be like that.

June, July, and August are hot. September has comfortable, warm weather.

Up north, in Nunavut, the temperature can get to -30C in the winter, and sometimes worse. That’s -22F.

In Toronto, it’ll get to -20C. Personally, I don’t know if it’s that much different from winter in New York, Boston, Chicago, or Detroit, but I’ve only experienced Detroit and it was the same as here.

In the summer, it gets up past 30C. That’s 87F.

Drinking Age
The legal drinking age is 19 across Canada, except in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, where it is 18.

Other Things
Moose and beavers are not house pets. They are family members.

We say “sorry” a lot, especially when we do nothing wrong, or someone tells us to stop apologizing.

Going to university and college is a lot cheaper than in the US.

We use the metric system, which means we measure distance in kilometres and not miles.

Why do Americans call it a 5K race? Shouldn’t the distance be listed in miles? Do you guys secretly want the metric system, but are too lazy to adopt it? You can tell me.

I like to think that Canadians are friendly and polite, but that definitely doesn’t apply to everyone. We’re not a perfect a country.

We still have Toys R Us stores.


I feel like I covered a lot, but this only scratches the surface. Hopefully, you found this post educational, entertaining, and enlightening.

If you have any questions, or would like to add some things that I missed, leave a comment down below!

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

6000 Followers: A Blog Distancing Gala

Let me make one thing clear: this is not a party, it is a gala. There is a difference. If I call this a “party”, someone will inevitably make a noise complaint and shut us down. Whereas, if I call it a “gala”, we’ll be regarded as a group of individuals, just laughing and eating hors d’oeuvres served on a toothpick because “I can’t make small talk, I’m busy chewing” is the message we wish to send to most people.

Cheese cube, anyone?

Get it now? Gala – good. Party – not good. Pass it on.

Oh, and wear a mask, but not in a Masquerade Party way because as I said, this isn’t a party, it’s a gala. Also, masquerade parties never end well in TV shows, so let’s avoid that.

We’re in the middle of a pandemic that never ends, it just goes on and on, my friends. So, wear a mask and keep your distance from each other in the comments section.

If you must talk to each other, or me, do so from six feet away, or else.

Maybe we’ll get out some cups and strings and communicate with each other that way. This is a gala, after all.

Alright, is everyone clear on the arbitrary rules I just made up for this fictitious Blog Distancing Gala, celebrating 6000 followers on The Captain’s Speech? Good.

You all know how much you mean to me, I just said it last week in my post commemorating seven years on WordPress. Your support is very much appreciated and it’s because of you that I feel comfortable enough to write blog posts like this, where I know you’re all going to go along with my hokey premise of a gala and not question it.

Welcome to Guilt-Tripping 101.

Seriously though, 6000 is an intimidating number. And I know it’s misleading because 6000 people aren’t reading my blog posts. Not even half. Not even half of half. Not even half of half of half. We’re at 750 for those of you who don’t do math. And not even half of 750 read my blog.

Some blogs that follow me seem “questionable”, and others have been abandoned over the years.

It’s hard to see some bloggers leave their site to the tumbleweeds. At the same time, it’s an opportunity for me to discover new bloggers.

So, 6000 followers may not be representative of my audience today, but I think it represents most of the people who have come through this blog’s turnstile over the last seven years.

Why do any of you follow me? I’d love to know. Five pages, double-spaced. Do tomorrow. (Not a typo).

This blogging milestone is more about you, than it is me. I didn’t follow myself 6000 times. I can’t rig the numbers. All I’m doing is writing. You’re the ones who made the decision to follow me. Blame yourselves for this. My hands are clean.

Basically, This is your Blog Distancing Gala.

And no, I am not just saying that to excuse myself from any responsibility, should someone come shut us down and ask who’s in charge.

Nope, not my plan at all.

What I want this gala to be is, a version of my “Share Your Blog” post that I do at the beginning of each year where I ask you to introduce yourself in the comments and provide a link to your blog.

Do that here, if you may.

Whether you’ve been here for years, or this is your first time, leave a link to your blog. Talk about yourself, make a joke, go on a tangent about something, or vent about the world. Literally, write anything.

This is a gala, after all, not a party.

If you want to be formal and go with the traditional, “Hi, my name is ___ and I blog at ____ where I write about this, that, and the other. Check me out!” Fine.

If you want to be a daredevil and come across as if you’re yelling into a Pringle can because  the pandemic is driving you nuts, please be my guest.

Say anything you want, just leave a link.

I want this to be a gathering of bloggers who are looking to discover new bloggers. My audience is your audience.

And if your audience would like to be a member of my audience, invite them over to this Blog Distancing Gala. There is plenty of space.

Is everyone on-board? In that case, let’s all “Ahoy Matey” and get this boat out to sea.

That was an unintentional nautical pun, which will surely confuse newcomers into thinking “The Captain’s Speech” is about a Captain of a boat. You’d be surprised at how many people have thought that over the years.

Be sure to wear your mask, only interact with others in the comments section if you’re a safe distance apart, and let me know what hors d’ouevre your eating with a toothpick.

Again, thank you for your support and dedication to reading the words I write. You make this place a lot of fun for me.

Before we run out of food, let’s get this thing officially started.

Welcome to the first, and definitely last, Blog Distancing Gala!

Go forth and gala-vant.

Posted in Random | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 63 Comments


He is half man, half amazing. He is Air Canada. He is Vinsanity. He made us jump out of our seats, while he soared through the air. He put basketball on the map in Canada. He inspired a generation.

His name is Vince Carter, and after 22 years, his NBA career is over.

It was a career full of highlights, memories, moments, and talking points that have never gone away. My intention with this post and to share my thoughts and memories of my first favourite basketball player, as I weave in and out of specific moments in his career.


With the 4th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, the Toronto Raptors selected Antawn Jamison. With the 5th pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Vince Carter. A few minutes later, they were traded for each other.

And with that, the Raptors were in flight! Well, not entirely. Due to a lockout, the 1998-99 season didn’t start until February 5, 1999.

I was seven (and a half!) years old at the time. My main hobby was discovering as many sports as I could and teaching myself the rules, teams, and players, just by watching on television.

I was already a Raptors fan before Carter got here. I had a VHS tape of a game I had recorded. For some reason, I went back and watched it regularly, like a psychopath. The game was at SkyDome – a baseball stadium – and featured players like: Doug Christie, Dee Brown, Oliver Miller, and a young Chauncey Billups.

I’m feeling nostalgic just thinking about it.

At the time, I hadn’t figured out that the Raptors weren’t very good. It was just a game of basketball. You win some, you lose some.

I was so innocent.


On February 21, 1999, the Raptors moved into a real arena, suited for their needs – Air Canada Centre. The first game was against the Vancouver Grizzlies.

For some reason, the game was on during dinner time. I’m not sure what time tip-off was, and can’t find it online, but I remember sitting at the dinner table – between 5PM and 6:00PM, probably – with the TV on in the next room.

I would take a bite of food and stand up to see the TV. I didn’t want to miss a second.

It’s funny to me now because if there is a sporting event on during meal time, I’ll just eat in front of the TV. I have been that way my whole life.

Vince Carter scored the first basket in the new arena. It had to be him.


In the year 2000, the NBA brought back the Slam Dunk Contest as part of All-Star Weekend in Oakland – home of the Golden State Warriors.

Vince Carter was in it with his cousin, and teammate, Tracy McGrady. Also competing for second place were: Steve Francis, Ricky Davis, Jerry Stackhouse, and Larry Hughes.

Vince Carter’s performance put the Dunk Contest back on the map. It hadn’t taken place since 1997 because, as far as I can tell, players were running out of new tricks.

Well, Carter had his own bag of tricks. He was doing things no one had ever done before. It looked effortless.

The between-the-legs dunk is a visual masterpiece. I have a poster of it somewhere in an old magazine. What a moment. I can’t tell you how many kids attempted putting the ball between their legs, while jumping, on the playground.

In my final year of university, I had the opportunity to do a presentation on the NBA Slam Dunk Contest (Yes, this happened) and referenced the one from 2000 as a blueprint for what the contest should be, rather than what it had slowly devolved into – a contest full of props and gimmicks.

By the way, I just want to thank the Golden State Warriors for being apart of the best moments in Toronto Raptors history. You gave us Vince on draft day. You provided the setting for his dunk contest performance in 2000. And, you once again provided the setting for our franchise’s first championship in 2019. Thank you very much.


It was May 20, 2001.

The Toronto Raptors were in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal, on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers. The biggest game in franchise history.

That morning, though, Vince Carter was back at the University of North Carolina, attending his graduation ceremony – fulfilling a promise to his Mom.

Oh, the controversy. People still aren’t over this.

He used the team owner’s plane to fly between Philadelphia and North Carolina.

He asked all of his teammates if they had a problem with what he was doing. None of them did.

He returned to Philadelphia five hours before the game started.

One more thing – he shot 33% and missed the game-winning shot at the buzzer. The Raptors lost by one.

As a kid, I didn’t have a problem with what he did. I thought it was a cool story. As an adult, I still have a hard time criticizing him.

Yes, sure, fine – he should have never gone to graduation, and found a way to accept his diploma at a later date. I’m sure the university would’ve rolled out the blue carpet for him. As the most important player on the team, he owed it to his teammates to be 100% focussed on the game.

Having said that, I’m not mad at him for going. If anything, I’m disappointed in the team for letting him. They could’ve said no. A whole front office could’ve said no. The owner could’ve NOT PROVIDED HIM WITH A PLANE.

People always want to connect the graduation with his poor shooting performance and missed shot at the buzzer. To me, that sounds too simple. I’m not convinced it was a domino effect.

I rewatched that game a few weeks ago. At one point, late in the game, the announcers even said it didn’t look like Carter’s morning rendezvous had affected his play.

If you look at the Box Score, Carter played the entire game. He didn’t spend a second on the bench. Allen Iverson also played the whole game.

Vince Carter shot 6 for 18 (33%) – 20 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds

Allen Iverson shot 8 for 27 (30%) – 21 points, 16 assists, 4 rebounds

Allen Iverson didn’t attend a graduation ceremony that morning and had a worse shooting performance than Carter. So, what’s my point? My point is it doesn’t matter where they were the morning of Game 7.

“Oh, but if Carter had been with his team all day, he would’ve played better and they would’ve won.”

You don’t know that!

I’m not mad about how the events of that day transpired. I’m not blaming Carter’s trip to graduation for why they lost by one point. Sorry, can’t do it.

If they had been blown out, then I’d be all-aboard the blame train. But it was one point. Someone could’ve made a free throw.


Many assumed the 2001 playoff run was the beginning of a sustained period of winning for the Raptors. It wasn’t. By 2004, Carter wanted out.

The details of him wanting out have always been confusing to me. After all these years, I’ve heard things from, “Carter wanted to leave” to “Carter believed the team wanted to build around Chris Bosh instead” to “Carter was willing to stay, but the team had already agreed to a deal”.

I don’t know what the truth is anymore. But in the eyes of fans, Carter quit on the team.

He was traded to the New Jersey Nets in December 2004, for a whole lot of nothing. I didn’t understand. If you trade one of the best players in the league, you’re supposed to get a large haul of valuable assets. That is not what happened.

Vince Carter became Public Enemy #1.


Since we traded Carter within the division, we got to see him multiple times a year. His first game back in Toronto, April 15 2005, was mayhem.

The crowd was so angry. “They don’t hate nobodies”. And Carter was so good. He scored 39 points.

Here was a guy who made us fall in love with basketball, and before he could really accomplish anything, he was gone.

It hurt. Tell me how it couldn’t. Of course the entire fan base was mad.


Fast-forward to January 8, 2006. Vince Carter was back in Toronto, once again getting booed out of the building.

At one point in the game, he playfully slapped Morris Peterson in the face. Peterson slapped him back. It was all in jest. They were former teammates – friends. But the referee caught Peterson’s slap, not Carter’s, and tossed him from the game in the second quarter.

I don’t know how the crowd didn’t start a riot at that very moment.

I vividly remember watching that game. I was perplexed.

Carter had 42 points that night, including the game-winning three-pointer from close to half court. Of course. Jason Kidd jumped in his arms as if they won a championship.

NOVEMBER 19, 2014

By this point in Carter’s career, he was a bench player, and on his 6th team, the Memphis Grizzlies. He would play for eight teams over the course of his career.

On this night, he was back in Toronto once again. I had tickets to go to the game with a few friends, who I was going to meet there.

This was the first time I would see Carter play in-person. I never went when he was on the Raptors because….well, I guess I never asked my parents for tickets. I really don’t have a better reason.

For some reason, there was a blizzard that night. I got dropped off at the subway to take to the game. After a few stops, I started feeling sick and needed to find a washroom. Well, lo and behold, not every subway station has a washroom!

What kind of nonsense is that? I finally found myself at a Starbucks across from a subway station because that’s the best I could do. I was so sick, there was no way I could continue on to the game, so I got back on the subway and went home.

I’m forever traumatized by the words, “The train is moving at slower speeds due to inclement weather.” That’s the last thing I needed to hear.

That night, I was wearing my red Vince Carter jersey. I had planned to give him a standing ovation. I wasn’t mad at him for leaving anymore. I hadn’t been for a while.

Up until that point, Carter hadn’t been cheered in Toronto since he left in 2004.

And you know what happened that night? He got a standing ovation. I missed it.

I’m still so disappointed with how that night unfolded. I listened to the game in the car on the way home, and then in my room as I went straight to bed.


Vince Carter had such an impact on the next generation, but I don’t think anyone realized it at the time. Now, we see Canadians getting drafted into the NBA (top picks, too) and they talk about how Vince Carter inspired them to play basketball.

If there was no Vince Carter in Toronto – if the Raptors didn’t trade for him on draft day – do the Raptors go the way of the Vancouver Grizzlies and get relocated after a few seasons?

I don’t know. It’s possible.

If you were a kid in Toronto (maybe even Canada?) in the early 2000s, and you were interested in basketball, it was because of Vince Carter.

No one will ever forget that.


I don’t want to get caught up in the, “Should the Raptors retire Carter’s jersey?” debate. Nor do I want to get caught up in the, “Should he be the first Raptor to have his number retired?” discussion.

Both are foolish and people get way too mad at them.

Here’s what’s going to happen:

1. He will get a banner raised to the rafters and his number will be retired. The fact that people think that shouldn’t happen is idiotic to me. If we’re still sitting here, ten years from now, and Carter doesn’t have a banner, it’ll be the biggest embarrassment imaginable.

It’s happening, okay. He’s going in the Hall of Fame. We’re raising a banner. Get over the whole, “He quit on the team” thing.

2. It doesn’t matter to me who has their number retired first. People want Kyle Lowry’s jersey retirement to go before anyone else. Logically, that makes sense. He deserves it.

What if he has five or six more seasons in him, though? And then the ceremony would be the following season, at the earliest. We’re going to have Vince Carter wait until 2027(?) before we feel good about putting his banner up? Are we okay with that?

I don’t know. It just feels weird to me. Then again, I don’t care about “the order of banners being raised”.

The Raptors organization will make their own decision and we’ll cheer for the person, regardless of order. It’ll be fine, guys, I promise.


When you watch a Vince Carter highlight reel, there are so many dunks and plays that make you think, “Was anyone ever defending him?”

The fact of the matter is, he would just jump over people and put them on a poster, so they were better off getting out of the way.

He captivated a nation and, yes, it was a bumpy ride, full of every emotion between love and hate, but it was a wonderful ride. You can hate him for leaving Toronto, but you also have to love him for the things he did while he was here.

Vince Carter’s first season in the NBA started later than usual, due to a lockout. His final season in the NBA ended earlier than usual, due to a pandemic.

It cost him one last trip to Toronto, where he was sure to receive a loud ovation for the final time as a player.

To me and millions of fans, he will always be half man, half amazing.

He will always be, Air Canada.

He will always be, Vinsanity.

Thanks for the memories.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The People We Call “Blog Friend”

Happy Birthday to Blog. Happy Birthday to Blog. Happy Birthday dear, The Captain’s Speech. Happy Birthday to Blog! How old are you now? How old are you now? How old are you now? How old are you now? Are you one? Are you two? Is it a mid-life crisis you’re going through? Are you seven?

I’ll stop there before this gets weird and I start singing, “What’s your girlfriend’s first name?” to my blog. No need to embarrass it.

This blog turns seven-years-old today. They really do grow up so fast. Give me a minute to sniffle and fake cry.

Seven years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing in life. Now, I still don’t. But around 2:33AM on June 23, 2013, starting this blog felt like something I needed to do. Almost as if a divine force was leading me in this direction.

Since then, this blog has meant everything to me.

I was naive when I first started. I just assumed that I would post something, a bunch of random people would yell at me about it, and then I’d do it again, and so would they.

That is what I thought the internet was. A place where happy people were brought down by miserable people until everyone was miserable.

One of the first comments I got on my blog actually scared me. It was a nice comment. The person talked about things I mentioned in my post. I was terrified. Who are you and how dare you address me in such a tone? How did you find me?

You know the scene in Home Alone where Kevin hides under the bed? That is how I felt by that nice comment.

Silly Paul.

I never replied to it. I found it to be too suspicious. I didn’t even know if bloggers were supposed to reply to comments. There was no learner’s manual. I was new here.

No one told me there was a whole blogging community. Good thing, too. I would’ve probably thought it was the equivalent to a neighbourhood watch group, where we have monthly meetings and discuss disturbances in our comments section.

Heck, some of us do.

The first time I was nominated for a blog award, it took me a few minutes to realize I didn’t actually win anything. And then I stressed out over how I was supposed to nominate ten bloggers for the award, when I only followed seven.

Would I be flagged for failure to follow the rules of a fictitious award?

This was all new to me. Nowadays, I see so many new bloggers introduce themselves and say they’ve always thought about starting a blog and “finally got around to it.”

That was not me. I never thought about doing this, until (maybe) a week before I did it.

I have often wondered if the idea to start a blog was buried in my subconscious when I was younger. A few instances stand out to me as possible “seeds”, but how am I supposed to know for sure?

Eventually, I figured out what the blogging world was all about – it is an escape from the rest of the internet. What a delightful surprise!

No one was tearing each other down. No one was yelling. No one was being stubborn, obnoxious, or stupid. SOS, for short.

People were kind. They were supportive. They were attentive. They were caring.

Once I got past the whole, “Strangers on the internet are scary when they compliment my writing” thing, I started making blog friends.

I have come to realize that only bloggers can fully understand other bloggers. There is a common link between all of us, and I can see it in a lot of the posts on my Reader. It’s hard for me to put it into words, but it’s there.

It’s the “Blogger Gene” for lack of a more scientific/pre-existing term.

That gene is always visible when we share posts that tell a personal story of struggle, or fear of the unknown, but then we talk ourselves into finding the positive and end with a moral. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Those posts are really a letter to ourselves. They are the proof in the pudding – the raison d’être – for why we blog.

People who don’t blog may not understand why we share the things we do. They may think it’s a waste of time. They may see it as a chore to write for no reason.

There is a reason, though. Always.

One of the reasons I write is because there might be someone out there who needs to see my words. And I don’t mean that in a pompous way, at all.

I’ve received numerous comments over the years from people who have told me that something I wrote is exactly what they needed to read that day. Or that my blog acted as a nice distraction for them. Or it made them laugh when they needed a laugh.

I love being able to do that for people. I think a lot of bloggers do.

This is what is lost on other social media platforms, amidst all the yelling.

Here, it’s different. It’s a cult-like utopia, but not. It is humanity at its most patient and understanding.

We listen to each other. We take the time to learn about people from different countries, instead of falling back on the stereotype we’re supposed to have of them.

I am proud to say I have blog friends in countries all over the world. Getting to know people, who I would have never met otherwise, has been so rewarding.

Over the last seven years, the people I talk to on a daily basis has shifted. I find myself messaging other bloggers as often (usually more) as people I know in real life.

I should find this weird. I don’t.

Maybe there’s a greater discussion to be had here about how friendships are significantly aided by social media and that being with people, in person, isn’t the only way to develop a true friendship.

Who knew that liking and commenting on someone’s blog could lead to so much good? It’s almost as if being kind and supportive of people is the key to happy relationships between all of us.

What a concept.

There are some bloggers I can talk to as if I’ve known them forever, and yet we’re from different countries. I’ve learned that borders don’t matter; being a good human being is what counts. A sense of humour also helps.

I think we’ve all had that moment when we enter a new school and we’re trying find our group. You know, those people we get along with and can be ourselves around.

Blogging is very much the same way, except all we have are words and a profile picture. Somehow, that’s more than enough.

I started this blog after I graduated from university. I was missing my friends and it felt like there was a void in my life because no one really tells us where we’re supposed to make friends in the real world. Little did I know, it would be the internet.

We call each other blog friends, but there’s really no need for the word “blog”. We are friends. Family, to some extent.

Wait, I have an analogy.

We are like kids away at an overnight camp, coming from everywhere, but united in the same cabin. We play up the fact that we’re tired and want to sleep, but deep down we just want to talk and laugh a little bit longer because we’re having so much fun.

I am so thankful for stumbling my way through the doggy door into this really big cabin known as the blogging community. Thank you for helping me get my hind legs in, safely.

May we all talk and laugh a little bit longer.


Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 72 Comments

Cynicism, Racism, and Us

At times, it can be really easy to fall into a pit of cynicism and view everything as a veil, or a carefully crafted performance, that buries the truth under festive wrapping paper and a really big bow, so we cannot see the holes.


Note: This whole post is a slow burn, so stay with me. Stay engaged.

Maybe it is the elected officials – many of whom are speaking from a place of demographic appeasement. It is the, “What can I say, to make this specific group happy?” approach. It is not opaque, and yet it is presented as such.

“What do you mean I was not genuine? Read the transcript.”

Yes, the classic, “Shaking your head, while giving a thumbs up.” How very, “What, who, me?” of them.

We are supposed to believe the words coming out of their mouth are coming from a place of care and concern, rather than a specific filing cabinet in their head. We are supposed to look at their disheveled pandemic appearance and find it relatable.

Public figures try so hard to convince us they are just like us. And maybe they are. But they must realize that we are the ones who decide how relatable they actually are, not them.

Otherwise, it just feels like they are pandering. Right?


Maybe it is all the statements, released by every public relations department. We have become too smart for them. The wording – whatever. The timing – that is what we notice.

Oh, you care about this cause now? Why not three years ago? Is it because enough people got mad at you? Is it because the world is demanding you change your position? Do you actual believe in this, or is it merely to stop the bleeding?

I am looking at you, NFL. What took so long? Four years ago, you had a quarterback – the most important position in your sport – take a knee during the national anthem.

Colin Kaepernick. He was peacefully protesting police brutality, racial injustice, and systemic oppression.

And your response was, “Oh no, we can’t have this. It is disrespectful to the flag! To the military! Let us quietly blackball him from the league, so we don’t have a prolonged PR nightmare on our hands.”

Forget your hands; open your eyes and ears.

I guess that is what happens when you wrap your entire league in a flag – you cannot see the forest for the trees. You cannot see the human beings for the stars and stripes.

Every NFL offseason is met with, “Why is no one hiring a black Head Coach when there are multiple qualified candidates?”

Are we expected to believe the NFL has had a “Come to Jesus” moment and will finally do everything in its power – and they have a lot of power – to be a real ally for all of the black players, coaches, and personnel in the league?

Are league officials and owners going to be (secretly) upset when players take a knee during the national anthem next season, or will they be proud that they have people in their league who realize that what happens off the field is far more important than anything that happens on it?

I do not know.

Pulling the camera off of the NFL – what about when athletes release statements?

When an athlete makes a mistake, or “gets into trouble”, they put out a nice, fancy apology that, unless it is a screenshot from the Notes app on their phone and has numerous spelling mistakes, I am never convinced they wrote the whole thing themselves. Even then, I am skeptical.

But the apology is always a variation of the same three things.

1. Admit what they did was wrong.
2. Apologize to the people they hurt.
3. Talk about the steps they are taking to be better.

We have all seen that multiple times before. After a while, it starts to lose meaning because we see it as their ticket – a mere formality – to return to the game they love, rather than a sincere apology.


Maybe it comes from the fact that we are constantly being sold on something. You wake up every day to a bunch of new emails from those companies you gave your information to eleven years ago because you bought one item.

They hit you with the ol’ one-two punch.

They want to let you know they care about you “during these unprecedented times”, right before they try and convince you to give them your money.

How sweet, right?


Behind those emails is a person, or group of people, who put them together. They are just doing their job. Email marketing.

It is not just products we are being sold on. Go to your Instagram feed. Your friends are selling you on their happiness and grand life moments, which some try to offset with a short caption, as to not totally shove a sparkling rainbow down our throats.

Why? Because they know that we know, that they know that we know, that everything on Instagram is not always what it seems. And even when it is, it is hiding something they do not want to share.

We all know this. We all do it.

We all get on the social media merry-go-round and get off pretending we do not have to puke. Then we come back from the washroom after fifteen minutes and say, “Oh, there was a long line.”

Now, this social media example could probably be classified as skepticism, but would it be a hard leap to make to say that it conditions us to be cynical in other situations?

Perhaps? I do not have the answer.

Up to this point, I have outlined different ways in which we can be pulled down a pit of cynicism. And make no mistake, we get yanked down there. There is no step ladder or shiny sign that says, “Watch your step.”

It is easy to utter the cliché, “Don’t be a cynic”. Okay, “Don’t eat fast-food.” People still do it. You can limit how much fast-food you have, so maybe we can limit how much cynicism enters our psyche?

I agree – we should not be cynics. Smart? Yes. Critical thinkers? Absolutely. But to see the world as a place where someone is constantly running the play-action fake against us, is no way to live.

Think about this for a minute: Think about the communication between Them and Us.

Them are people in positions of power; people who have a following.

Us are, well, not Them.

We are a society that sees through fake. We know when someone is speaking from the heart; we know when someone is just looking for votes in the next election.

Politicians are very good at reading what has been written for them. Does it always translate well through the television screen? No. Sometimes, it comes off as insincere.

What is the solution? To go off the cuff? That could be disastrous. See: Exhibit D.

Perhaps, it would be refreshing to hear leaders in non-formal settings, talking like real people about relatable things like: sports, music, television shows, or food. Let us see a different side, to help quell our cynical reflex.

I mentioned email marketing earlier. The repetition and similarities between company emails is nauseating, no matter how well-intentioned they are.

It is like when someone sends you an email and starts with, “I hope this finds you well.” By the eighth time, you want to reply, “NO, I AM NOT WELL.”

We get so caught up in proper etiquette and niceties, that we turn everything into a cliché and forget there are other ways to greet the human-being on the other end.

All I am looking for is a real voice. I am not looking for a voice I have already heard a million times before. I have already developed a conclusion for that voice – give me something I cannot so easily disregard.

Does this make sense? Good.

What am I getting at? Where have I been slowly going with this whole thing?

You have all heard the name, George Floyd, by now. He was murdered by a police officer who would not take his knee off his neck. Three other officers stood by and did nothing.

I assume most of us have seen the video. I assume a lot of us did not find it shocking. That is the scary thing. We have seen this before in various forms.

Colin Kaepernick saw this before – he took a knee. How heartbreakingly ironic.

In the days following George Floyd’s death, there have been peaceful protests in every state, as well as all over the world. There were also opportunists, who took advantage of the ability to hide within a large crowd.

Windows were smashed. Cars were flipped. Fires were set. Retail stores were robbed – not even the mannequins were safe. More fires were set.

And where was the leader to calm the masses? Where was the person, who was elected to unite people in times when they were down? Where was the voice of love and compassion?

They were on Twitter making things worse. Of course. A tried-and-true hiding spot.

Racism is a massive systemic problem. It is not new. This did not just show up on our social media feed for the first time two weeks ago. We have always known it was there.

White people can never begin to understand what a black person goes through every single day. We can hear their stories, and our hearts will break for them, but to fully put ourselves in their shoes is impossible.

What we can do is educate ourselves. We can listen. We can stand with. We can speak up. We can call-out. We can do so much more.

As I said before, the communication between Them and Us needs to be better. Normally, it’s Them telling Us. Right now, though, it needs to be Us telling Them.

All of a sudden, every sports team, company, and anyone with a mailing list, has an opinion on racial inequality. Oh. Okay.

That was Us telling Them.

All of a sudden, we are seeing videos every day of police brutality and people in positions of power are taking notice. Oh. Okay.

That was Us telling Them.

By the way, why do the police feel the need to wear more equipment than Buzz Lightyear in football gear, when the protestors are not doing anything except standing there, chanting?

And what is with all the fences? And the dozens, and dozens, of armed personnel standing behind them? And why are they shoving elderly men to the ground? And why are they…this could go on forever.

Do the protestors have an invisibility cloak on top of a fleet of tanks, that they are going to break the fences down with? What am I missing? What are they afraid of?

Granted, last night, there seemed to be no/very little police presence at the protests.

Perhaps, that was Us telling Them, again.

It has been eloquently said that, “It is not enough to be not racist, you have to be anti-racist.”

Cynicism will say that racist people will not change. They may act like they have, to fit in, but deep down, they will always be racist.

Cynicism will say that systemic racism will never be toppled.

Cynicism will say that the police will never treat black people with the same respect as white people.

Perhaps, a pessimist may say all of those things, too.

But, I think it is worth trying to teach people another way of thinking. Another way of behaving. Another way of viewing people who do not look like them.

Equality should not be controversial. Equality should not be a debate. A hierarchy based on the colour of our skin should anger you, even if you are in pole position.

If we want people to evolve, we have to give them the chance to evolve.

The collective Us need to hold each other accountable.

As for Them – the public companies, leagues, and figures – we will be able to judge their commitment to their PR statements by observing their actions that follow.

If the NFL is serious about supporting their players, let’s see it.

If Drew Brees can, seemingly, change his stance over the course of 24 hours, let’s see it.

If politicians want to do more to help end racial injustice and racial inequality, let’s see it.

If police departments say they can do better, let’s see it.

This list can go on and on.

But, let’s see it.

It is easy to be cynical right now and think, “When the pandemic ends and life goes back to normal everyone will just conveniently forget.”

Let’s not be cynical. Let’s not forget.

Let’s be persistent.

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50 Thoughts XXXIII

1. Food trucks should drive around neighbourhoods but, instead of playing music to alert people, the driver uses a microphone to announce what foods they have onboard. Imagine hearing, “FRIES! PULLED PORK SANDWICHES! CAESAR SALAD!” coming down your street.

2. I didn’t want to bring it up at the time, but it felt like last week went, Monday-Wednesday-Wednesday-Wednesday-Friday.

3. Seedless grapes, that have seeds in them, have some nerve.

4. Libraries are great, but have you ever thought about how many people sneezed into the book you’re reading?

5. It bothers me when a famous person signs an autograph for a kid, but never looks at them.

6. I feel like we’ve been in the, “Vinyl is making a comeback!” phase for at least nine years.

7. Did Robin Hood’s friends ever call him, “Rob”?

8. I can’t believe I watched every episode of the musical version of The Bachelor.

8.25 The series they have planned for the summer better delve into the early years of the show.

8.5 I need a two-hour deep-dive into Jen Schefft winning her season, only to come back as the next bachelorette, reject a proposal from the guy she picked, and break up with him before the season finished airing.

8.75 2005 was the wild, wild, west in Bachelor land.

9. Everyone should know who Henry The Duck is, specifically the story: “Henry’s Important Date”. Look it up.

10. There was a play in the 2001 NBA Playoff series between Philadelphia and Toronto where Allen Iverson subtly dragged his pivot foot and moved about 3-4 feet without dribbling. Travelling was not called. No one noticed.

10.5 I rewound it four times just out of respect for the brilliance.

11. If you flip backwards through Instagram stories, you won’t see any ads.

12. The beginning of Jerry Seinfeld’s latest Netflix special is reminiscent of how Jeff Probst used to transport the final votes back to America in the early seasons of Survivor.

13. Why does America always have to declare war on everything?

14. Carlos Delgado’s swing was a thing of beauty. It had so much torque in it. I thought he deserved to be in the Hall of Fame, but I might be biased.

14.5 Look at his stats, though. Thirteen consecutive monster seasons. What more do you want?

15. My theory as to why the writers of Outer Banks named the main character, John B., is this: They wanted to name him Johnny, but that would come across as too childish. And since his antics could already be misconstrued as childish, they didn’t want to re-enforce that theme in our head. So, they went with John B. because it sounds similar, but the inclusion of the middle initial makes him sound like a historical figure from 1697, whom we should respect.

15.5 This probably isn’t the reason.

16. We need to bring back the phrase, “Good night, nurse.”

17. Social media is the day-to-day equivalent to a school yearbook.

18. It’s crazy how everyone has the exact same thoughts regarding IKEA.

19. I have lost about 4 lbs. since I started sleeping on the floor two weeks ago. I hope this doesn’t mean I have to start a fitness account on Instagram.

20. Dr. Phil is the most infuriating contestant on the celebrity version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION, PHILIP.

21. It is not a meal from McDonald’s unless there are fries. I don’t make the rules.

22. More people should start a blog. It forces you to discover things about yourself you never knew existed within you. Plus, you become friends with people all over the world which is cool.

23. I still sing the Mighty Machines theme song to myself.

24. My favourite display of team camaraderie was when most of the players on the Toronto Raptors wore purple headbands during the 2001 NBA Playoffs.

24.5 Just warms my heart.

25. Everyone thirty and younger is a kid and everyone older than that is a professional adult.

26. Is there a more unsanitary sport than baseball? From experience, your hands are covered in dirt the whole time, and if they aren’t, you make sure they are.

27. Life would be simpler if dust didn’t exist.

28. Shad Gaspard was a former wrestler for the WWE and was in a tag team called, Cryme Tyme. They were great. Sadly, Shad got caught in a riptide yesterday and when lifeguards went out to help, he directed them to save his son first. Shad is still missing. It’s a sad story, yet a heroic one.

29. I saw a person walk down the street in a zig-zag formation, as if they were a race car trying to warm their tyres.

30. How many words can you spell, using only the letters in the word, “Weather”? I got up to 18 in about 25 seconds.

30.5 Google says THERE ARE 111 WORDS.

31. The MLB on TSN theme song is my childhood.

32. My Nonna is so confused by my ankle socks.

33. I am forever in need of someone with which to play catch.

34. Karen, the neighbour in Dead To Me, is absolutely hilarious.

35. I looked up the main premise of Star Wars and, basically, it’s Mario saving Peach from Bowser, but with weird costumes. Who knew?

36. It is incumbent upon bloggers to introduce their readers to bloggers who don’t yet have a huge following. That being said, go check out Toni’s blog and give her a follow!

37. I am very satisfied with the winner of this season of Survivor. My pre-season pick to win came in second.

38. I am a big fan of commemorative patches on sports jerseys. The Maple Leaf Gardens – Memories and Dreams patch is one of the best.

39. There has been an uptick in the number of TV shows that have a “money laundering” storyline.

40. I tried ramen the other day, for the first time. My throat was on fire for 20 minutes.

41. The hope is that all the bad days prepare us for the good days.

42. Nothing gets people out of the house more than the presence of a fire truck on their street.

43. Can you have pomp without circumstance?

44. Remember when “Somebody That I Used To Know” came out and the song and music video felt like a glimpse into the future of the music industry? I think we were wrong.

45. Season 3 of Dynasty hits Netflix in four days. You should watch it.

46. Nocciola means “hazelnut” in Italian. Uovo means “egg”. This has been your Italian Translation of The Day. Now go make pasta from scratch.

47. I need more Japanese game shows in my life.

48. Vince Carter got so much flack for attending his college graduation the morning of Game 7 against the 76ers in 2001, yet in the fourth quarter, the commentators said it didn’t look like Carter’s play had been affected by his decision.

49. I would love to give a speech at a university/college graduation some day, just so I can avoid using every motivational cliché.

50. “I know there’s someone out there feeling just like I feel. I know they’re waiting up, I know they’re waiting to heal. And I’ve been holding my breath, are you holding your breath, for too many years to count?”

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Falling Asleep in 2012

I think most people miss waking up in a certain place, or year, or time in their life, but for me, I miss falling asleep in 2012. Is that a weird thing to miss, or are you just used to me saying strange things, that your red flag doesn’t even flinch anymore?

To be more specific, I miss falling asleep in the last four months of 2012, and the first four months of 2013. Just had to get that out of the way because my second middle name is, “Precise”.

Let me provide some backstory.

Before going away to university in 2009, I always went to sleep around 10PM or 10:30PM. Those times coincided with the conclusion of whatever baseball, hockey, or basketball game I was watching on TV.

That meant, I could listen to the post-game show on the radio as I fell asleep. I loved that.

When I went away for school, I thought I would carry on doing the same thing – in bed before 11PM, listening to the post-game show of whatever game had just ended.

Boy, was I delusional.

By the time I graduated, most people knew I would stay up late and frequently pull all-nighters to finish assignments. My philosophy was, “It doesn’t matter when you sleep, as long as you sleep.”

I was not dumb. If I was going to lose sleep in the middle of the night, I would take a nap in the afternoon when nothing was going on and lunch from the cafeteria was making me drowsy.

In sports, they call this “clock management”.

After midnight was my time to get things done because there would be no more distractions. Everyone else did me a favour by going to sleep, if I’m being honest.

Anyway, my hopes of an early bedtime weren’t just shattered because of my propensity for staying up late to do work. They were shattered in the first week of my first year, when I realized my radio didn’t have the same stations I had back home.

My Toronto sports talk radio stations were gone. Gone! No one told me this was a side effect of moving closer to Buffalo!

I would try to listen to other stations, but I could never find sports at night.

I think, for a while, I got comfortable with falling asleep without the radio on. I had never really done that before and felt very weird about it. So much silence in that time between putting my head on the pillow, and actually falling asleep.

That was probably one of the things that made me stay up later. I did not want to go to bed, only to lay there with my own thoughts for an hour. Let me utilize this time in a more productive way, that will ensure I don’t go to sleep until I am a blink away from conking out.

By 2012, I had made a full transition to listening to music while falling asleep.

I would, regularly, crawl into bed around 3AM, turn on the radio, and feel so at ease. It was always the same songs during the middle of the night. Heck, tt was probably the same songs during the day, too, but who’s keeping track?

Let me recall some of the songs that made those nights of sleep so memorable.

The Lumineers had two songs that often came through the radio – “Stubborn Love” and “Ho Hey”. I didn’t know who they were. It wasn’t necessarily the type of music I normally listened to, either.

And yet, I liked it?

They were good sleep songs, and I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way at all.

Ellie Goulding’s song, “Anything Could Happen”, was also popular at the time and got a lot of play on the radio.

Then there was the band, Fun, who took over with three popular songs: “Some Nights”, “Carry On”, and “We Are Young”.

Oh, and then there was Owl City. Hoo? Owl City. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. Their song, “Good Time”, featuring Carly Rae Jepson, was also apart of that nightly assortment of music.

There were more, but I can’t seem to remember them.

The songs I mentioned will always have a special place in my heart, even if they’re not all on my “Liked Songs” list on Spotify. Sorry. Think of it as friends growing apart, but still talking every once in a while, as if nothing has changed.

I often wish that we can pause time and stay in a place where we want to be for longer than we are allowed. Sadly, we can’t.

However, we can take memories and we can take reminders.

These songs are a reminder of who I was and how I felt during a time I truly loved. I am taken back to those early mornings in 2012 every time I hear them.

I am sure many of you won’t be able to understand being able to fall asleep to voices on the radio but, for me, it is something I have always enjoyed.

So, is it weird that I miss falling asleep in 2012?


It is weird that I wrote about it, though. I realize this now. Oh well.


Do you fall asleep with the radio on, or do you have to be in complete silence? Is there a time/place in which you miss falling asleep?

Posted in Life, Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

That’s A Stretch

I have started stretching before going to sleep. Nothing too extreme. Just the normal head-to-toe stretches you did in your Grade 9 gym class. Doing so helps prevent any injuries I may incur while doing the dangerous activity we all refer to as, sleeping.

What’s that? It doesn’t? Well, lalalala not listening.

A few weeks ago, I realized I was waking up with soreness. I believe, “general soreness” is the scientific term. It felt like I had a hip-pointer and I don’t even know what that feels like.

For a while, I have struggled with where to put my arms when I sleep. My bed is not big. There is nowhere for them to go. One of them inevitably ends up under my pillow, while the other one is nearby waiting to get tagged in.

So, I wake up and my arms are sore.

Not lately, though.

At this time, I will walk you through my pre-sleep stretches, as to sound like an authority figure on the subject. The words and descriptions I use may not be accurate, or what Google says, but that’s why words have synonyms.

Also, this is the closest I will ever get to explaining a workout (is that a phrase?) to anyone, so I am going to enjoy it.

Step one involves turning off the lights and opening Spotify to a song. Then I stand up and close my eyes because if the room is dark, what am I looking at anyways?

I start with my head. I look left, I look right. No dead skunk in the middle of the road.

If you did not get that reference, I probably sound weirder than usual. If you did get that reference, you get a scratch-and-sniff sticker.

Then I do neck rolls, which involves dramatically looking to my left and right, but only after my chin touches my chest. If you have stubble, it may get caught on your shirt and/or scratch your body, so suck it up, fruit cup.

I remember my gym teacher telling us to never roll our head backwards, so don’t do that. Don’t do a full moon Joe Louis. Only a half moon Joe Louis.

Next up are shoulders. I do about ten shoulder rolls forward. It feels like they’re on a rowing team. Then I do ten shoulder rolls backwards. It feels like a pirate ship is coming after their rowboat. Get back to the shore!

I realize that I am probably ruining your future stretching exercises, and for that, I am grateful. When you roll your shoulders, think of me.

Then I stretch my right arm across and support it with my left. After ten seconds, they switch. Then my right hand goes behind my head to touch my left shoulder. It’s like passing notes in school, but more obvious. Then my left arm sends a note back to my right shoulder.

The next exercise is arm circles. Hold your arms out to your sides, so you look like the letter, “T”. I’ll do small circles forward for the first ten, and then I’ll let them get bigger as I reach twenty, until it looks like I’m trying to fly away.

Then do it again with your arms going the other way.

Do not do this in heavy winds, you might get airborne.

This brings us to the hips. Put your hands on your hips, like you’re a superhero, or a cast member on a dating show. And then do circular motions.

In my Grade 9 gym class, we called this, “The Washing Machine”. So, do that. Don’t worry, we’ll Tumble Dry later.

Exercise is all about circular motion. Everything is either clockwise or counter-clockwise. If it’s counter-clockwise, it means you should’ve done it yesterday. Think about it.

After this, it’s time to tell the legs to do stuff. Touch your posterior (we’re being uber professional with terms today) with one foot and hold it there for 10 seconds, and then switch legs.

You can also stretch out your stance, so you look like an outfielder, and lean to one side and then the other. Doing so will do something, but you’ll never know what.

Finally, it’s time to get the feet involved. I just rotate them ten times each way. You never know when you’ll be running through someone else’s dreams, right?

The final thing I do is hold my arms up, like the contestants on Masterchef do when Gordon Ramsey says, “Time’s Up! Step away from the food.” You know the pose.

Then I’ll just shake my arms up and down so my hands feels like they’re going to fall off, but then the wrist pulls them back. Wrists are quite heroic.

Finally, I’ll stretch my arms up and try to touch to the ceiling, while Woody from Toy Story says, “Reach for the sky” in my head.

Then I’ll try and touch my toes, but my fingers and feet are like two north poles of a magnet.

If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll add in a few more stretches. One of them is I’ll pretend I’m a cross-country skier, but only move my arms and keep my body as still as possible.

I think it activates my core. Or maybe it aggravates my core. Who is to know?

I’m not sure if pretending to be a cross-country skier does anything. Maybe I should try it in a circular motion?

Within five minutes, or less, I’ve completed my stretches and can proceed to watch Netflix for the next two hours before actually falling asleep.

Since starting these stretches before going to bed, I don’t wake up feeling sore anymore. I should probably do stretches in the morning too, but I don’t feel like it.

I do a one-minute plank most mornings, and by the end of that I just want food.

I always hated stretching before gym class, as a kid. I thought it was a waste of time. What are they warming me up for? I’m not a bag of microwave popcorn. I’m a bag of Smartfood popcorn! I come ready.

Now I get it. They were preparing us for old age.

Anyway, this post turned into something I didn’t anticipate, which means I have material for another blog post related to sleeping, that you’ll see another day.

For now, though, I want to say “sleep tight”, but we just stretched, so I guess “sleep loose” would be more appropriate? That sounds weird, though.

So, go nestle your pillow.

Yup, that works as a blog sign-off. Just as long as you don’t think I meant “Nestlé”, like the food company.

Thou shalt not stuff your pillowcase with chocolate!

You will wake up with a stomach ache.

Do you sleep well? Do you wake up feeling sore? Have I ruined stretches for you, based on how I described them?

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