Thursday, July 20, 2006

Well he IS!

As of 5pm today, my little website represented the number one Google destination for "Superman is a prick".

Sometime the truth hurts. . . even a man made from steel.

Superman kicked my dog, too.
He's a dirty prick!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Spontaneous Bathtime!

In the category of "Unpleasant Ways to Get Wet Unexpectedly" comes this cautionary tale of driving with your window open.

There's few things I like better than the smell of a summer's breeze after a rainshower. Delightful. It fills my heart with all of the lovely thoughts and feelings that I never get in springtime because there's too much mud.

Until last week.

Driving along a freshly soaked highway, enjoying the romance of it all, I was abruptly sacked back into reality by a giant wave hitting me in the side of the head.

A wave? That's funny? I'm in Calgary, and it doesn't get much more land-locked than that.

Oh--it wasn't a tsunami! It was a massive road puddle splashed by a speeding motorist, sending the rain runoff across the median and into my window (and, as a result, into my underwear). How pleasant.

Had it been a tsunami, at least I would have had a good reason showing up at my next customer's bar totally soaking wet. And I could have probably done some quality looting on the way.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Truth in advertising.

Two nights ago I was leaving a beauty of a honky tonk bar here in Calgary when I bumped into a guy on the sidewalk who said:

G- "Check out what they're selling at the Sony Store across the street! Read the sign!"

I always do as random drunks ask, and this was my reward:

What elevates this sign mutilation from mediocre sophomorish humour to brilliance is the last statement: "Its so delicious".

Believe it or not (and you may not) but just after I took this photo a kid drove past on the street, stopped, leaned out his window and said:

C- "How ironic. I have vagina blood on my boxers right now."

We were Doubting Thomases, but the kid produced boxers which, sure as God made little green apples, appeared to have vaginal blood on them. . . that, or he had a serious bladder infection.

My newfound drunk friends took these bloody boxers and stuck them up on the sign; the kismet of the situation was too irresistible.

Folks, I could not make up this stuff, even if I tried for a month of Sundays.

Stampede Silouette.

When in Calgary, do as the Calgarians do.

. . . and that includes eating three squares of oil a day.

How to Fail at Dating.

I recently met someone of the opposite sex online.

I know--super-duper lame, but. . .

Over a casual drink, with no sparks flying, the subject of my failing marriage came up--fine--I'm happy to discuss it, for the sake of transparency.

However, sometimes one can be too transparent:

B- ". . .you know, truth be told, I'd still rather be happily married."
D- (silence)
B- "Uh, I know how that must sound."
D- (Uncomfortable silence)
B- "Shall I get the tab?"
D- "Yeah, I'm pretty tired."
B- "Yeah."

On a first (and last) date, there are only a few other statements which could bring the evening to a screeching halt:

B- ". . . Hitler had a few good ideas, though!"
B- "On my 2006 'To do' list is 'No more mind games--they hurt the ones you love'."
B- "Want to compare prior convictions? . . . You don't have any? Come on! Everyone has something!"
B- "Does anyone know that you're out with me tonight? No? I see. . . "
B- "I've always wanted to have a threesome--are you close with your mother?"

Having not dated in forever, I'm quickly discovering that I'm hopeless at it.
Oh--and under no circumstances should you wear a gold lamee unitard on a first date.

"Unitards do not show confidence or a sense of humour--they exhibit gross inadequacies. Now let's wrestle!"

Monday, July 10, 2006

How To Fail In Business

We've been getting a lot of hail in Calgary recently.

Two hail episodes ago I was stuck on a rooftop patio for a "Summer Solstice" party; it was me and a bunch of wine guys and gals. It was hailing cats and dogs, and of course I was the only dude without an umbrella. Because I'm just the beer guy, right?

Perhaps it was the pounding my poor brainbox was taking from the marble-sized hail that led me to choose, after 15 minutes of pretty steady precipitationl, to assemble an ice ball from my table top and throw the most perfect bean ball right at one of my retailer's head. Normally I have the worst aim in the entire world.
Couldn't hit the broadside of a barn.


This time, my ice ball connected perfectly with E's ear. She was that type of "surprised" that, if you read between the lines, was thinly veiled hatred. I felt bad. To make up for my poor choice, I threw a few more ice balls at the wine guys--and my aim, I'm glad to report, was flawless.

My arm was so red hot that an Italian guy I didn't even consider throwing an iceball at collapsed and started clutching his head, either out of fear or natural predisposition to melodrama.

. . . but at least Superman is a prick too. Hey Metropolis! Check out what kind of SPORTSMAN your precious Man of Steel is!!

Douchebag Anchorman

I recently did a "Cooking with Beer" demo for a Noon News segment, during which all the wheels fell off the wagon.

I had decided to make "Lumpy's Dressing", a very easy, very pleasant salad dressing I chose because of its bacon content. Worried that the studio burner wouldn't work, I pre-crisped some bacon; I figured that of the ingredients (fresh minced garlic and shallots, Steam Whistle, oil, vinegar, and bacon) bacon was the only real thing that presented a problem if the burner was MIA. Or the anchor Kosher.

Sure as shit, I get all my stuff arranged perfectly on the cooking set, pretty as you please, and the moment the camera turns on myself and the anchor, I discover we're up a creek:

A- "So, shall we get started cooking with beer?"
B- "I thought you'd never ask!"

(click. click. click. The dial on the burner was producing a spark, but no flame.)

B- "I'll willing to bet you a beer that this burner is out of gas."
A- (totally pissed off, no longer covered in a polite veneer)"Can we get someone in here to fix this!?"

That someone was the poor bastard standing just off camera--and he had nothing. His shoulders were shrugged, and his palms were turned upwards. Perfect. No problem. I've got the pre-crisped bacon!

I soon realised that, as a result of our little setback, my anchor buddy was now not interested in our cooking segment in the least. I was starting to sweat.

After miming the delicious smells and preparation of "Lumpy's Dressing" I poured it over the salad which A had, gracelessly, "helped" assemble. Moment of truth:

B- "Wow! This looks delicious! Would you like to try some?"
A- "No."
B- (at a total loss for words)"Are you sure? There's plenty for both of us!"
A- (firmly)"No."
B- "Oooooooo-kay then. . .more for me."

And with that I took the biggest forkfull of lettuce I could, and stuffed it into my mouth. I'm sure it looked worse than it sounds.

B- "Well, we've got a bit of time--how about we grab a Live Eye and head out to the parking lot? I'll do a burnout demonstration for the kids at home."
A- "No."
B- "Oooooooo-kay. Well, I made you this thank you card because my mom is watching by satellite; I didn't want her to think my manners had gone to pot since I moved out to Alberta."
A- "Thanks. That's sweet. Did you want to say 'Hi' to your mom?"
B- "Sure! Hi mom!"

Take me out behind the barn and shoot me.

My phone rang once I had finished packing up and was loading my truck in the parking lot. It was mom.

B- "Yello!"
M- "That guy was a total asshole."
B- "Hi mom!"
M- "Thanks for saying 'Hi'--your aunt E saw and she just called me and told me that she thought it was sooo sweet!"
B- "I try."

So, at the very least, it makes me look that much better than my cousins; I mean, when was the last time they said 'Hi' to their mother on teevee? Like, never.

The Restorative Power of Journey

I stopped at a liquor store the other day, and the middle-aged manager was feeling pretty low. Her store had just been sold from one chain to another, and the future looks uncertain. And the beer delivery had arrived, which meant a lot of heavy lifting on a lazy, hazy Thursday afternoon.

I hate to see people suffer.

So I asked her:

B- "Hey!"
C- (Long face, joyless eyes)
B- "You look pretty down in the dumps, C--would you feel better if I went out to my truck, pumped Journey on the stereo, and did a burnout?"
C- (brightening)"Yes."

And so let it be written, so let it be done.

I climbed into the truck and my stomach began getting butterflies--this would be my greatest burnout ever. It had to be.
Turn the key.
I adjusted the iPod, and rolled my clickwheel to Music:Artists:Journey:Don't Stop Believing. I pressed the UP arrow on my stereo until it read 32--it's maximum (who makes 32 the maximum?).

I glanced in my rearview mirror; C was waiting patiently, with a grin on her face from ear to ear. Anticipating the miracle--placing all her hopes and fears on the rubber wrapped around my American Racing rims.

B- "Come on, B! Do it for the Gipper!"

Place left foot on the brake.
Place right foot on accelerator.
Begin the 'teasing revs'.
Press Play/Pause on the iPod.

S- "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world. . .She took the midnight train goin' anywhere!"

I wanted to make the "boulevard" (as sang, "boul-eee-vard") know that I had been up in it.
And with that, I drowned Mr. Steven Perry out with the voice of an angel--my squealing tires desperate to grab the asphalt, but their failing tread unable to comply.

And in a cloud of blue smoke, I was gone.

S- "It goes on and on and on and on!"

The manager, from what I could see, was clapping and laughing like she was 16 again, and buying her first denim jacket with her waitressing tips.

. . .and at the Tim Hortons nearby, some men raised their coffees to me. As is custom, I raised my index finger from the wheel in a return salute.

"Journey needs Steve Perry, like Steve Perry needs a haircut"
Take that as you will.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

There's Something About Scary Mary

I have a housemate who lives, and has lived for quite some time, in the basement bachelour apartment in my house. It's a dark, dismal little cubbyhole fit for dwarves, spiders, and not much else.

Scary Mary, a late-fifty-something wire-haired woman of great personal acreage seems, on the outside anyway, to be someone terrified of leaving her home. Nearly all of her goods are delivered to her via a number of different men in cars, and she views most people with a very wary eye.

She spends some of her idle time poking peanuts through her wartime storm windows to the happiest squirrels in Calgary; the rest of her time, she spends trying to seduce me.

Or, at least, that's what i think.

Our first meeting was not long after I moved in. I had been warned that SM was a bit of a recluse, but I am so full of confidence in my charm that I saw her as more of a challenge than an obstacle. And I needed help turning on the clothes washer (it's a decommissioned coin-op with it's own set of quirks, you see).

Knock knock knocking on her door produced an awful lot of crashing about, and a nervous call to "wait a minute". More than a minute later SM answered the door, her massive corrective lens aviators riding low on her nose, a nice top, and the most moth-eaten pair of jogging pants--can you call them that when they clearly serve no such purpose?--barely covering anything. So dilapidated were these "pants" that she had to clutch part of a pantleg to cover her "bathing suit area"--even still, I saw a buffet of inner thigh that I would certainly not revisit for a second helping, regardless of whether there were popcorn shrimp or not.

SM- "I wasn't dressed when you knocked."
B- (in my head) "You still aren't." (Out of my mouth)"Sorry to interrupt. . . I can't work the clothes washer."

SM moves like those large-boned beasts you see moving around MacDonald's; they always seem to be falling forward, rather than walking forward, and as a result move in a series of small hard stomps.

After a helpful tutorial on the washing machine, SM got serious on me:

SM- "If you find me lying in the hall, don't worry--unless I'm bleeding. I have epilepsy."
B- "Should I do anything? Put you in a recovery position?"
SM- "Just leave me."
B- "Good to know."

Weeks later, SM furthered her seduction of B when she approached me, in the glow of basement twilight, to tell me:

SM- "After 11pm I have my bath, and usually don't have any clothes on when I go to my bathroom."

Her bathroom is by the laundry room, outside her apartment.

B- "Oh!"
SM- "So if you could not come down--I'm not dressed."
B- "I will avoid it at all costs--I promise."
SM- "Thanks."
B- "My pleasure."

I couldn't tell if I was being propositioned or warned. I've been treating it like a warning.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Closer to the Flame

I don't say this to brag, but yesterday I got a bit of unexpected action in my bathing suit region.
Unexpected, and somewhat unpleasant, unfortunately.

Cruising along the Blackfoot Trail, with its steady volume of traffic clipping along pretty well, I suddenly became aware of a crawling sensation working its way up my inner thigh. A creepy, crawly, squirmy sensation that, the instant I felt it, drove me to the edge of panic.

Clearly, there was an insect of indeterminate size working its way towards my family jewels; a prospect that, even though I haven't had much activity in the nether regions over the past half year, did not thrill me in the least.

I immediately began fumbling with my belt buckle like an adolescent virgin on Grad night who, as the result of some dry humping on a hotel pool table, is getting very close to having his first shared sexual experience solo.
The belt buckle beat, I went to work on unlocking my button fly--my driving had begun to suffer, but it didn't occur to me to pull over--THERE WASN'T TIME!--I had to get whatever it was in my trousers OUT (and by OUT I mean I wanted it done, like, yesterday).

Red light.

Thank God; I could use two hands on the rapidly developing situation in my pants. . .
. . . and that's when I heard a voice float through my open window.

A voice which seemed to float from somewhere above me.

A voice which was clearly addressing me:

V- "What year is that?"

With both hands busy pushing my trousers down towards my ankles, and my eyes fixed like a hungry dog on my thighs for any sign of life, I had two choices: look up and calmly answer, "It's a '68! Ain't she a beaut?"; pretend that I don't hear.

Ever the salesman, I looked up into the face of a plumber, who was peering down with admiration from his Super Hemi 4x4 Monster Machine.

B- "It's a '68! Ain't she a beaut?"
V- "She sure is. Where'd you get the paint job done?"
B- "Toronto. It's a beauty of a paint job, eh?"
V- "It's a beauty all right."

Traffic lights are always too long--this one was endless.
By the time the lights turned green, the only thing that had improved was my trouser infestation, which seemed to have solved itself.

Maybe the plumber had seen nothing, transfixed by the lovely chrome and lime green beauty that is my four wheels?

V- (as they pulled away)"Well--won't keep you from your business. Good luck with that. Har har har!"

No such luck.

And as I pressed the gas, I felt some squirming and fluttering down my right pant leg.
Son of a bitch!

It eventually turned out to be a moth.

I kept expecting to get an email sent to the Roundhouse outlining how someone had encountered a Steam Whistle salesman in a green truck interfering with himself on a 'family highway'. I would have blamed altitude sickness.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Viet Cong & Beaver Trapper: Brothers in Arms

On this Canada Day I thought that I would share an interesting encounter I had with a fella from Vietnam one summer while I was working in the States.

Waiting in line with this Kiwi I was working with, we were kidding around and he began to tease me about being a Canuck. A Vietnamese gent behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was Canadian (and I most certainly am).

V- "You know, we two have a lot in common."
B- "Really? Why do you say that?"
V- (conspiratorial look around)"We are the only two countries to ever beat America at war."
B- "How do you. . .you mean the 'War of 1812'?"
V- "Yes. During the invasion we learned about your war, and how you were outnumbered, and how you won."
B- "Geez! Most kids in Canada don't know much about the 'War of 1812'--I'm very impressed!"
V- "We knew that if Canadians could beat the Americans, then we too could do it."
B- "Hell! We whooped 'em! The White House is white today because we sailed down to Washington and burned it!"
V- "YES! We two share a bond because of this."
B- "I appreciate that."

I've always loved that run-in, because: 1) I'm a huge War of 1812 buff; 2) I've always felt kids in Canadian schools should learn more about their short heritage in Canada--farther back than WWI & Confederation (although I think WWI is an pivotal moment in Canadian history--so is, I guess, Confederation). I mean, here we have a guy half a world away who likely possesses more knowledge, albeit for propaganda purposes, about a key moment in Canadian history than most contemporary school children.

To me, that's something to be very proud of. In a dark moment in Vietnamese history, gallant little Canada was a source of light and hope.

Totally radical!