Archive for the ‘WordPress: 2012-present’ Category

November 11, 2019

The problem with trying to blog regularly is that you need things to blog about. I don’t do interesting things. This weekend, I went to a concert, which I’ll have to write about separately, but it’s one of those ones where I don’t really have much to say. Beyond that, I played some Pokémon Go, I went to yoga, I watched some wrestling, I read most of a book. I had a cat sleep on me for much of the book time and wrestling time. None of it is of interest to you probably.

Instead, let’s go back to last winter when I flew home from BC. My memory isn’t that great; I just told this story to Dave (of Ol’ Shitty Dick fame) at the time, and I never empty out my sent mail. I remember wanting to post it here but it seems I never did.

Looking back at this now, it’s interesting how certain constraints shape your writing. A higher-up at my work likes excessive commas, so I find them slipping into my personal writing too. Meanwhile, the phrase “likes excessive commas” would result in an email to Dave not being delivered because his work has an overzealous email filter and that phrase has the letters s-e-x in that order so the filter thinks it’s spam or porn or something. Similarly, emailing him has resulted in me often avoiding contractions because “but it is” works fine, but “but it’s” has t-i-t-s (with a space, punctuation, and a complete lack of prurient context, but still).

Anyway. I was in BC. My flight home was three hops. Victoria to Vancouver, fine. Vancouver to Calgary, fine. Calgary to Regina… I’m sitting in my window seat. This girl comes down the aisle, having trouble figuring out where she should be. It’s next to me. She doesn’t sit down so much as she falls ass-first into the seat, bodychecking me against the wall.

“I’m sssssssssooooooorrry,” she says. “Thass my fault.”

At this point, I realize she’s completely hammered, and there are no open seats on the plane, so there’s no avoiding this. I can either hate my life or try to find the comedy in this.

“You and me, we’re gonna have a discussion right away. ‘Cause we’re gonna get reeeeeeeeeal close.”

She continues along this line for a while. Tells me that she got the very last seat on this plane and that means God meant for us to be sitting together and that I’m her patron. I think she means “patron saint” but do not correct her. I mean, it wouldn’t really be correct either way. She goes for a handshake. I awkwardly reach across myself to shake her hand. She asks if she can kiss my hand. And does so.

I’m a big dude and plane seats are small, so I try to keep myself as compact as possible. She notices this. Tells me I need to let it all out. And demonstrates by grunting and slumping down in her seat and sticking one leg in the aisle, one onto my side. The visual is funny, at least.

I have, to this point, said very little to her beyond “okay,” “I’m good,” and “it’s all good” about a dozen times each.

I text Mika about my situation. Mika’s advice? “Don’t engage.” I was not given this option. My new friend has already suggested she might fall asleep on me. As that might be the best outcome for everyone involved, I said I was okay with this. She is delighted and calls me her big teddy bear.

My new friend looks up and down the aisle at all the passengers. “Man. So many stories in this fuckin’ tube,” she says. This attracts the attention of a flight attendant, who advises her to watch her language. She says she will. The flight attendant turns to leave.

“What the fuck was that about?”

The flight attendant turns back. Another warning.

When the flight attendant makes her next pass, my new friend tries to buy earbuds. But it is a tiny plane with no in-flight entertainment, so there are none for sale. This is a tragedy. I offer to loan mine but she won’t take them. I need them. Wouldn’t be fair.

Now the flight attendant returns. Two of them, actually. They ask if we are travelling together. I assure them we are not.

One of the flight attendants crouches down, and the entire plane goes stone silent. Everyone wants to hear this.

“We need you to know that we’re aware that you’re a little intoxicated,” she says. I almost laughed because there’s nothing little about this.

“Normally, we wouldn’t let you board,” she continues, “but-”

My new friend is quietly weeping. “You’re going to ruin my LIFE!”

“No, we’re not, we just need to know there won’t be-”

“You’ve got my life in your hands.”

“Okay, you need to not interrupt me. We need to know there won’t be an incident.”

“There won’t be, there wasn’t anything since the last time you talked to me.”

This goes on for a few minutes. We’re still at the gate, I should mention. Then we have to taxi over to the de-icer. And finally, takeoff.

My new friend is still crying softly to herself, muttering about how she’s dumb, so dumb, she’s not a drunk, she’s just a bad flyer and she had some shhhhhhhhhhhhhots and everyone on the plane is judging her. She alternates that with being angry about her treatment, saying “I paid $700 for this flight, I should be treated with some respect like the Queen, it’s not like I fucked the President.”

I don’t know how I was thinking “it’s not like I __________” would end, but it wasn’t that. Nearly lost it.

She switches back and forth between sad shame and indignation for a while. She mentions that this is the third time this month she’s had to make a last-minute trip to Regina. I ask why. She says that she had a car accident here 4 years ago and is contesting it. I’m not inclined to believe she wasn’t at fault but I might not be seeing her at her best.

Eventually, I offer up my earbuds again, and she borrows them. Watches a Netflix show. Most of the flight is uneventful. I collect my earbuds and we land.

Unrelated to anything else, the second we touch down, the guy across from us stands up to retrieve his bag, resulting in a flight attendant running over, yelling NO. NO. YOU SIT DOWN NOW. It was great.

They let us turn cellular back on and my new friend makes a call. Her phone was never actually in airplane mode, but whatever. Her ride is not at the airport yet but is on her way and they should meet “at the doors.” She gets off the phone. This is unacceptable. “Meet me at THE DOORS?! What the fuck, does Regina Airport only have one door?!”

I mean, technically no, but basically, yeah.

She then goes to unbuckle her seatbelt and discovers she was never buckled in.

“This wassssn’t my fault! They INTERRUPTED ME. I’m HONEST about this. I thought it was done. And it’s their fault. I paid $700 for this flight, and you see how they treat me, but when it comes to my SAFETY, does anybody care? Noooooooooooooooobody cares. And fuckin’ Air Canada, man, they WANT you to drink, they have all these places, they want your money, but then you see how they treated me.”

She’s not wrong about the number of places to drink at an airport, to be fair.

Anyway, she gets up and apologizes to me for being stuck with her, earning one last “it’s all good” in the process, and off she goes. Inside the airport, she heads straight for the doors. I guess she found them.

I meet up with Mika. “I have so much to tell you when we get to the car.”

As we’re paying for parking, I point out my new friend waiting outside. Another guy from my flight sees me doing this and has the biggest grin. He knows exactly who I’m pointing out and why.

We leave, and she doesn’t see me, but we can hear her yelling into her phone about her $700 flight.

November 7, 2019

It takes a lot for me to use this here blogging space for actual blogging and not just cross-posting concert reviews. But my therapist told me that I need to exercise a creative outlet more often than just (two weeks) after concerts, so here we are. Maybe I’ll start posting more regularly again. Maybe I’ll tell this one story and disappear for another few years.

I woke up this morning, and as I do on workdays, I got up, walked to the bathroom, turned on the light, and walked away. It’s too bright, first thing in the morning. Gotta let my eyes adjust.

I went to the living room and looked at my phone. I had one new text message, sent at 3:01 am, from my friend Dave. It read:

Ol’ Shitty Dick

That’s it. No context. No explanation why he was up at 3:00 in the morning. Just Ol’ Shitty Dick.

I could not handle Ol’ Shitty Dick. Not then. Not before showering, not before coffee. I put the phone down and set about getting ready.

Once at work, I tried to figure out what to do about Ol’ Shitty Dick. Was it a reference to something? It sounded vaguely familiar, but from where? Or was it just familiar because this is totally the kind of thing we’d text each other?

I replied as follows:

wake up

stumble to living room

look at phone

1 new text message

Ol’ Shitty Dick

received: 3:01 am

set down phone

walk away

Dave was confused. I thought I had been clear, but apparently not, so I explained:

Well

I got a text from you

At 3:01 am

That read, in its entirety, Ol’ Shitty Dick

And I recounted my discovery of this message and subsequent confusion

Dave denied sending any message, let alone Ol’ Shitty Dick. I sent a screenshot showing he had. He sent a screenshot showing he hadn’t. A stalemate. I briefly contemplated the existence of ghosts, but then thought maybe that Dave’s wife got up, sent the message, immediately deleted it from Dave’s texts, and went back to bed, knowing that she’d messed with both of us. But while Jen is very funny, this would require her to be funnier than anyone I’ve ever met. Not impossible but a high bar.

I did also consider doing just this from my wife’s phone; logging in as her, sending a weird text at weird hours to one of her friends, then deleting the evidence and denying all knowledge. Obviously, by virtue of posting this here, I’m now unable to do that. It’s a free idea for you, though.

Dave and Jen talked it over and thought it must just be some weird glitch. Which is what I’d say if I’d sent a prank text from someone else’s phone too. But like I said, it did sound familiar. I scrolled back through old texts, but made it to the start of April without finding anything.

Then I had a meeting. One of those ones that I didn’t really need to be in and they weren’t feeding us. Bored, I looked at Twitter, and Alex Goldman, co-host of Reply All, my favourite podcast, tweeted:

 

If you’re wondering if I DMed him about Ol’ Shitty Dick, of course I did.

This tweet had been up for an hour by the time I first saw it, and he was on the case. Lots of people had received random messages overnight. And when they could be identified, they all seemed to be from Valentine’s Day, nearly 9 months ago. Maybe I just hadn’t scrolled back far enough. Were Dave and I texting on Valentine’s Day? If so, about what?

Well, we were. We were talking football. He was telling me about the Toronto Argonauts’ latest signing: a defensive tackle named Poop Johnson.

Technically, it’s Cory Johnson. Nicknamed Poop. Because he poops so much. The source of the nickname isn’t really relevant to my personal text message situation but I figured you’d want to know.

So, yeah. We were making jokes about Poop Johnson. First name: Poop. Last name: Johnson. Or, to put it another way, Ol’ Shitty Dick. Of the thousands of texts I send or receive in a year, that was the one the system held onto. The one it saved for me. It couldn’t possibly have been more perfect.

October 4, 2017

Since I have this space, here are two thoughts for anyone who happens to see them.

1. A week or so ago, I woke up in the middle of the night. I was laying on my side. The covers were largely undisturbed. From the neck down, I was toasty warm. My head was on a freezing cold pillow. I had no aches, no pains. Hadn’t slept on any part of myself wrong. Didn’t have that late-night feeling of “I COULD get up and go to the bathroom but I’m too lazy.” Nothing. I wasn’t wide awake – just kind of drowsy. Before I fell back asleep, I realized that this was the most comfortable I’d ever been in my life. I’ll be chasing that feeling forever, but I figure it might be all downhill from here.

2. The other day, my wife was talking about a book that someone wrote near the end of their life. The theme was, in essence, “now that I’m nearly done here, let me tell you what I REALLY think about THIS fuckin’ guy.” I love this idea. I’ve had some anxiety around the whole “death” thing lately – I’m starting to realize I won’t likely be the guy who figures out how to avoid it – but this might make the whole process worthwhile.

February 1, 2016

Blogging on my phone. Too lazy to get to the computer. At least it’s a big phone.

Saw a Darth Vader humidifier at Sears today. Got irrationally angry. We as a society are not allowed to have any more new things. Why does this exist?

Switched from phone to iPad. Needed the keyboard. Keyboard only so-so.

Back to my point re: Lord Vader. Who is buying these? Either there are people in need of a humidifier who have thus far put off buying one due to existing humidifiers not being sufficiently Star Warsy, or they’re replacing perfectly good existing humidifiers to get these. Either way, there’s some questionable decision-making going on here. There are only so many Star Wars fans who are saving mint-in-box humidifiers, and only so many who have conveniently-timed broken humidifiers in need of replacement.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain. For as much as I would like to rid my life of Things, I do a very bad job of ever putting that into practice.

Plus, if they replaced the Darth Vader humidifier with a Big Van Vader model, I’d have to be tempted. At least it would be character appropriate.

January 31, 2016

I didn’t blog yesterday. This “blogging daily” thing is off to a fine start.

Not blogging at all may provide better content than one sentence about disliking Sex & The City.

I have an app on my phone that is a list of things I want to do daily. Building good habits, you know. The app keeps track of how many days in a row I succeed. It has been very good at getting me to floss, and I am very bitter that my dental hygienist hasn’t praised me enough for this. It hasn’t been so good at most anything else. I am to eat better, drink more water, and walk 10,000 steps a day. I also want to do my daily New York Times crossword and some Duolingo French practice, and take a daily picture of myself for an app that stitches them altogether into a little time-lapse video. And, now, blog. I can’t remember the last time I managed to hit every one of these in a day.

The combination of the new job and the weather has made the walking thing tricky. I don’t really have time for coffee break walks, and it’s too icy/sloppy to walk to/from work. These aren’t good excuses – I own a treadmill – but I’m looking forward to spring and getting settled into the job just the same.

I go to the doctor on Tuesday morning. I’m heavier than I was before Christmas and he’s gonna be pissed. I’m afraid of him. I should make up some dire symptoms to distract him.

January 29, 2016

After this week’s exposure to Sex & The City, I would hereby like to offer a formal apology to Girls, The Vampire Diaries, and any other television show I may have slandered over the course of the past decade.

January 28, 2016

I got one vote for “yes” and two likes. Good enough. Let’s see how this goes.

Right now I have to post some concert review scans. That’s how it will go for the immediate future.

January 27, 2016

Should I start blogging again?

Should I commit to doing it daily?

Do I need something else to fail at? Or, more likely, to succeed at for a week and then get bored with?

I have missed blogging lately. And I’ve especially missed blogging about useless things. I don’t even know how I feel about that.

Let’s say “maybe” and see what tomorrow brings.

(If I can get to a scanner, it will bring at least one concert review.)

Jian Ghomeshi, Part 2

November 3, 2014

I posted this at Keeps Me Alive on October 30, 2014 –  four days after the Ghomeshi story broke – and I decided I wanted a copy of it here. I don’t intend to update the links here any more than I already have, and the post at KMA has quite the extensive comment thread going, so maybe go read it there instead. This is just a copy in my own space for my own records.


I have two concert reviews to finish, but they can wait. Don’t they always?

Here’s a picture that I’ve already regretted posting once this week:

james-jian

That’s me with Jian Ghomeshi after a live Q taping in Regina last spring, done in association with the Juno Awards. I’m the taller one. Pinker in face and greyer in hair.

Making jokes is not helping in the way that making jokes usually does.

I’m not usually big into chatting with celebrities – I’m endlessly awkward and never have anything to say other than “durrr, good show tonight” even if it wasn’t a good show because what else am I going to say? I can’t usually come up with anything interesting and celebrities are surrounded by people who can.

But I really wanted to talk to Jian that night, because I wanted to thank him. Many years ago, I was big into his band, Moxy Früvous (shut it, Mike) and after seeing them for the first time, I wrote a review and posted it on the Moxy Früvous newsgroup, back in 1998 when newsgroups were a thing and I would sometimes finish a concert review within 24 hours. And then I received this:

i don’t often get involved in these things but i *had* to tell you that i LOVED your review of our Saskatoon show last week. You had me laughing out loud in front of my handy dandy laptop here in my hotel room in Edmonton. So thanks for being a fan of ours…i’m flattered when somebody so clearly smart and satirical enjoys our stuff.

There was more – a few jokes and points of clarification – but this is the part that I remember. I copied and pasted the above but could have typed it up from memory. If I hadn’t been a fan before, that would have done it – it meant a ton to me that he would take a few minutes out of his day to reach out. He was encouraging and funny and kind. I saw Früvous in concert a few times the next year; he remembered me and made a point of saying “hi” and chatting for a few minutes. It was important to me to stick around after the Q taping and let him know how much I still appreciated that.

I followed Moxy Früvous until they went on a hiatus which I think is now in its 15th year. I bought Jian’s solo EP, and listened to him from time to time on Q. I wasn’t a regular listener, but always enjoyed him when I got the chance. I remember when Billy Bob Thornton had his snit on the show, and reading comments online from Americans who were so impressed with how Jian handled the situation. Hell, I toasted the guy in my Toastmasters club, which might be the nerdiest sentence I’ve ever written.

And now we have this.

Aaron said that my comment on his post should have BEEN the post, but I disagree. It’s a big ol’ internet, there’s lots of room for anything we want to dump on it, so I’ll just make my own post, plagiarizing from myself wherever needed.

My initial comments:

I don’t know if anyone will ever know what happened apart from those directly involved, who may not say or even believe the same thing anyway. We’ll see what comes out.

I don’t have any problem believing that CBC would fire someone for a stupid reason, especially if it’s a highly-paid someone. I don’t have any problem believing that people get unnecessarily scandalized by other people’s sex lives. I know that vengeful exes exist. And if I wanted to destroy a celebrity’s reputation, this is how I’d go about it.

At at the same time, rapists/abusive partners are far more common than vengeful exes who make up stories. And if I knew I was about to have those accusations levied against me, I’d do exactly what Jian did. He sues the CBC, making the mainstream story “Jian vs. CBC” instead of “Jian vs. four women accusing him of non-consensual violent sexual behaviour.” He posts a statement before the news story breaks, painting himself as the victim with lots of “you’ll hear people say” this and that to try and colour how those claims are heard. He confesses to behaviour that most people wouldn’t publicly admit to – boy, that makes him seem like an (embarrasse d but otherwise) honest guy, doesn’t it?

I note that so far, no woman has come forward to say that she dated Ghomeshi and defends him, but who’d want to jump in on this? And anecdotally, I’ve heard all kinds of rumours about the guy for a long time, but rumours don’t mean anything, necessarily.

I hope that the allegations are untrue because 1) that kind of shitty behaviour shouldn’t happen (shitty in terms of the non-consensual nature; people can do whatever they like as long as all involved are okay with it) and 2) in my limited personal dealings with Jian, he was friendly, encouraging, funny, and kind. And shitty things feel a lot worse coming from someone you thought was one of the good guys.

Now it’s a few days later. There are now eight women who’ve come forward with accusations, including one who’s doing so openly. (Edit on 10/31/2014: make that two.) From the looks of the most recent Toronto Star article, several of the women independently corroborated the others’ details.

My thought that the lawsuit was intended to spin the story as Jian vs. CBC appears to be true, as Jian can’t actually sue the CBC for that amount, based on the terms of his collective agreement. He and his lawyers would have known that. But hey, it worked – when I was watching the CTV morning news on Monday, the story was all about Jian getting fired and suing the CBC. The Toronto Star article and the women it references weren’t even mentioned.

I don’t know how anyone can defend him at this point. And I don’t know how anyone cannot believe his accusers. Explain how you can believe that many women are just conspirators. Explain what could they hope to get out of this. Explain why women keep coming out of the woodwork to side with the accusers, but so far, nobody has said “yeah, I dated Jian – we did kinky stuff and he was communicative and caring and safe.” Explain the rumours that have been going around for years; things about inappropriate touching and an interest in inordinately young girls, and that dating him was not a good idea – rumours I had heard years ago. Rumours that Jann Arden and Tara Spencer-Nairn and Owen Pallett and Carl Wilson and Steve Murray had heard long ago. Explain the Twitter account that was posting accusations against Jian in April.

[edited to add: “but so far, nobody has said ‘yeah, I dated Jian – we did kinky stuff and he was communicative and caring and safe.’” Here’s Dan Savage with an interview with a woman who dated Jian and supports him: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/10/29/interviews-with-two-women-who-dated-jian-ghomeshi ]

I would love to believe Jian’s story, that this is all a smear campaign from a jilted ex. I want him to be who I thought he was and not who it seems he is. And if additional information comes to light, maybe posting all this will seem ridiculous. Maybe it already does. Maybe the possibility, however remote, that “several women conspired to destroy a star’s reputation and career” is the BEST-CASE SCENARIO says it all about how fucked up this all is.

I keep calling him “Jian” instead of “Ghomeshi” like we’re friends or something. And that’s the stupid thing – it almost felt like we were. Three or four emails and maybe 10 minutes of talking over a 15-year span will do that to a guy, I guess.

When I heard on Sunday that Jian got fired from the CBC, I set that picture as my Facebook profile pic. As the day went on, I became more and more certain that this would soon become a very bad idea. I swapped the picture out in short order, but I didn’t delete it – not from Facebook, not from Instagram, and I posted it here today. Partly, it’s the internet where everything lives forever anyway. But I think deleting the picture would be too easy. So you wipe him off the face of the earth. Pretend he never existed. Good news, ladies! We found the last Bad Guy that had infiltrated the Good Guy ranks and took care of him for you. All clear, shields down.

I’m leaving the picture up because it makes me uncomfortable because he was friendly, encouraging, funny, and kind. Because of what I didn’t see. Because of what I had heard and had excused away because it wasn’t provable (and, let’s be honest here, because it was unpleasant and inconvenient). Something to remember the next time I find myself thinking “that doesn’t sound like him” or “that’s not the guy I know.”

In the comments section of Aaron’s post, I started a reading list of interesting and important links. I’ll include it here, but divided into two batches (and may add more over time). The first articles are the “newsworthy” ones, for lack of a better word (it’s 2:30 a.m. as I finish this off):

The second list of articles are recommended reading:

WTF Search Terms: Ghomeshi Edition

November 3, 2014

Sorry for stealing your shtick, Mike.

I was about to upload my concert review for The Smalls (sorry, “the smalls”) and happened to notice the top search terms that are leading people to this blog:

search

Dang. Poor Martina Sorbara.