From the monthly archives:

June 2007

Call Me Vincent Vega, Eh?

by Dave on June 24, 2007

in

Vincent: You know what they put on French fries in Holland instead of ketchup?
Jules: What?
Vincent: Mayonnaise.
Jules: Goddamn.
Vincent: I’ve seen ’em do it, man. They fucking drown ’em in that shit.

I’ve been in Canada for almost 7 weeks now, and I’ve been keeping a mental checklist of the “little differences” that I’ve noticed to date. Although I’ve spent a lot of time up here over the last 33 years, I haven’t been fully immersed like this in over a decade. Here are some subtle little day-to-day observations I’ve been collecting.

1. Condiments: Vinegar and gravy are available absolutely everywhere. Swiss Chalet sauce is making a bigger impression on me than bathtub meth. You never have to ask for ketchup.

2. Traffic: Is awful. Toronto traffic is at the levels that LA is famous for. An enormous, sprawling city of highways and overpasses. You can traverse the 401 to the North, or the Gardiner Expressway to the South – but either way, unless it’s between 2am and 3:30am, you’re sitting bumper-to-bumper for hours.

3. Traffic Laws: You can turn right on a red light. Some States (Florida, etc.) allow this but it’s a no-no in Massachusetts. I love it. I get back little snippets of time that make up for some of the traffic jams.

4. HBO Surprises: One of the first things I did when I got up here was figure out which of the cable channels was linked to HBO so I could be sure to see the last episodes of the Sopranos. The channel in question is called MMX, and their programming is quite unique. You have all your first run blockbusters during the day, but as soon as the clock strikes 11pm Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban is replaced promptly by Saving Ryan’s Privates. I’m talking full-on, hardcore pornography on a channel that five minutes before might have been showing Entourage. It’s simply fabulous.

5: Pizza: Canadians don’t know what a cheese pizza is. I think ordering a plain pie must be some sort of taboo which is done in private clubs in North York. Bacon is a big seller. As is BBQ sauce, feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, hamburger and my new favorite topping – green olives.

6: Tattoos: Everybody has one.

I’ll keep adding to this list as I notice more of them. Feel free to chime in.

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Urban Skittles.

by Dave on June 22, 2007

in

Let me just preface this post by saying – at this day in age, if anyone did this to me, my friends or a member of my family I would chase them down and beat the fecking piss out of them on the street. Luckily, the show in question is filmed in Europe where people don’t sue you for belching in the same elevator as them.

In addition to its citrusy-flavored, strangely tasty, candy brand association, Skittles is an old European sport, from which Ten-pin bowling, Duckpin bowling, and Candlepin bowling in the United States, and Five-pin bowling in Canada are descended. I don’t usually copy and paste so blatantly from Wikipedia, but there was no way I was prepared to capitalize so many words in a sentence after 3 cans of Canadian.

Urban Skittles is the name given to one of the many urban sports invented by a character called ‘Neg’ from the worthwhile British comedy show, Balls of Steel. It involves running into a public place, usually a fast food restaurant, and screaming at the top of your lungs to “get down on the floor!” For every pedestrian who drops on their face, you get a point. I really don’t want to laugh at this. My second favorite Neg scene is definitely Big Stranger Rodeo.

There are roughly 12 recurring characters of which Neg is just one. If you liked, or were repulsed, by the Urban Sportsman you’ll also want to check out Bunny Boiler (a cute woman who blatantly hits on men while they are with their girlfriends), the Annoying Devil (a guy in a devil suit who spreads dog poo on crosswalk buttons), and Mr. Inappropriate (a dude in a suit who whacks off in variety stores, among other things).

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Searching For Peter Grumme.

by Dave on June 13, 2007

in Reminiscent

Once upon a time, if you wanted to find someone you’d lost touch with, you’d hire a private detective. In 2007, the first answer my friends and I came up with for this same task was: “Start a FaceBook Group!” That having been said, where the hell is Peter Grumme – a.k.a. Gummer?

Many people who visit this site won’t have any clue, or give a sweet frickin’ tweet, who Gummer is. Simply put, he’s a diamond geezer whom a lot of people would like to get back in touch with. In the age of FaceBook, and it’s fervent Canadian following, not being able to locate him is extremely frustrating.

I’m writing about this today because there are currently next to no hits in Google for Pete’s name. If he, or someone he knows, performs a related query anytime soon they’ll undoubtedly find this post, the FB group and then – salvation. Come home, little shaggy lamb.

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Oh What A Whack It Was.

by Dave on June 11, 2007

in Television

There are two camps of Sopranos fans making noise on the internet this morning regarding last night’s series finale. Like Marmite, Ovaltine, sushi or the Scissor Sisters – you either love it or you hate it. I fall into the former category. Although I had an “oh no Chase didn’t” moment when the screen fell quickly to black at the end, after some thought I calmed down. Like Sam Malone straightening the picture of Coach before turning out the lights on Beacon Street for the last time, it couldn’t have been concluded any better.

Carlo flipped, and ultimately even if Mink can win Tony’s case on the handgun charge there are some seriously rough waters ahead. Three of his best Capos are either dead or incapacitated and of the three remaining one is banging his daughter, one is named after Bobby Darin and one is afraid of cats. But there’s a lot of positives when you think about it that may carry the family through to a feature film, or at least comfort the average viewer who is miffed at the lack of tangible resolution.

AJ finally has his head out of his moonbat ass and is working with Carmine Junior on a movie. Meadow is going to be a lawyer at 170K starting salary and seems to have landed a decent guy in Patsy’s son. Christopher has been reincarnated as an orange tabby. Carmela is pressing on with her real estate development and Janice has 3 kids and Johnny Sack’s old house to be nutty in. And Tony – Tony is genuinely happy. Note the scene where he’s raking the leaves and he pauses to contemplate the back yard, probably thinking about his beloved ducks. Or when he grabs AJ’s hand in the diner at the very end. His closure with Junior in the state mental hospital. I think there were a lot of “finale-worthy” moments that the detractors missed.

Back to Junior and Tony’s scene in the ward. “You and my Dad, you used to run North Jersey.” “Did we? That’s nice.” Maybe it’s due to my current personal situation, but that exchange really choked me up. For all their past glory, and all the ‘respect’ they are supposed to command within their universe – at the end of the day it doesn’t amount to a hill of penne, and the mob simply doesn’t work anymore.

So what happened to Tony at the very end? I remember a scene from a few seasons ago where Bobby is intimidating a guy in a bar who owes him money. It’s the first time you ever see Bobby as anything more than Junior’s flunkie and you can trace his transformation from that specific moment like a road map. He tells the guy that when you get whacked, it just goes black suddenly. Much like the end of the diner scene last night. But I don’t think Tony is supposed to have been clipped in Chase’s final bow. No way.

The level of anxiety that was created in the final moment’s of the Soprano’s last episode was incredible. It was right up there with Henry Hill’s sauce and Carlito’s cousin’s beer cooler. Tony scans the room for potential leftover Leotardo interlopers and FBI goons. From the trucker, to the paisan, to the hip-hoppers, to the couple and back to the guy at the counter again. He’s out in public with his family, devoid of any crew and a sitting duck of the highest order – even with his back to the wall. That’s the life he has chosen and how he’ll have to live it long after we don’t get to follow along anymore.

For this long time Baba-Binger, last night was a calculated mix of both closure and speculation. I am glad Tony and his family survived, and I am especially happy that Paulie didn’t defect to New York – but we know that there can never be a happy ending for any of them. Whether we literally see Tony’s brains all over a big bowl of onion rings or are forever left to wonder exactly whatever happened to that Russian in the Pine Barrens.

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Coming Clean With A Guilty Pleasure.

by Dave on June 6, 2007

in Musical

Happiness for me today is my first listen of the new Queens of the Stone Age record a week before it’s released. Lovely, rocking stuff. I also snagged the upcoming Beastie Boys instrument album, The Mix Up. I wish they had vocals, and also weren’t flaming embarrassing bleeding-hearts, but it is a nice platter to play in the background while you work.

Catch me tomorrow when I’m listening to them both in the front seat of the soon-to-be-christened HMS PYE, and am most certainly not wearing trousers.

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Fighting Back The Cheezy Urges.

by Dave on June 6, 2007

in Canadiana

Downtown Boston was my home for almost 10 years. I had a car when I first moved there briefly, but got rid of it as parking was an expensive nightmare and I used it an average of once a month. Before that I lived in England where again, I didn’t need a car. Before that it was 1997 and I was bombing down the mean streets of Guelph in a 9-year-old Caravan (that I was happy to have). What I’m saying here is – I have never had a new car, a car I am proud of, or even a car that Jed Clampett would be caught dead in. Black gold… Texas Tea…

This morning I got a call from my Uncle to tell me that I was now the proud owner of the #1 car on my auction wish list. Like a bat out of hell, I set off to get a haircut for my Ontario license picture, get an Ontario license, open a bank account for insurance purposes, get insurance and then pester said Uncle to go and get the car – which it turns out I will get my mitts on Thursday.While happy as a pig in shit, I am choking back a few inexplicable urges that seem to somehow be associated with owning a cool car…

– I want to take pictures of it.
– I want to take pictures of it with me leaning against it, looking pensive. “You know how many people had to die for me to get this car, baby?”
– I want to take off my shirt, both of them, and lean against it looking pensive. Perhaps staring off into space stroking my chin. “Well baby, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles. I’ll send ya a postcard from Hell.”
– I want to drive slowly past high school parking lots at lunch time blaring Linkin Park’s new CD. They have a new CD, right?
– I want to park it in front of a strip mall convenience store on Friday night and smoke butts. Honestly, the shirt will probably be off again.

I’ll get over all of this, but there will be a period of adjustment. Bear with me, and to my Canadian friends – maybe just stay away from the house for a little while. I’ll figure out how to work the self timer and we can get on with our lives.

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Dead Bird Slash Mouse Saga.

by Dave on June 5, 2007

in Canadiana

Alone in a big four bedroom house is how I spend my days, working in Janet’s old room which has been converted into a makeshift office. I’ll be here at least another month, and the silence, after 7 years of living with roommates, is beautiful. All I have to do is look after the pool and keep the place clean should one of the real estate agents want to drop in suddenly with prospective buyers. It seems easy, and it was – until the most horrible smell infiltrated the top floor. We’re talking corpse-worthy, here. First 48, vaporub under the nostrils type smell.

The main realtor, Linda, is in constant contact with my mother who is 4 hours away at the lakehouse. Linda and my mother are convinced I’m going to leave a granola bar wrapper out, thus blowing a sale. So I am doing everything in my power to prove them wrong. So far so good. Needless to say, a gag-worthy, phantom stench is definitely a left turn away from the goal. I checked everywhere – the garbage, the cat litter, under the beds, the toilet tank, all of the cupboards, the attic. I settled on “dead animal” and started combing the vents and any other small place not in my pants that something small could get lodged in and then pass away.

I can obviously only drag this tale out for so long. I discovered the source of the stench while changing Boss’ food and water dish. I thought it was strange that he hadn’t been eating, but would never have assumed that some water from one half of his double dish got over onto the food side and created a nasty chemical reaction that would have make Louis Pasteur retch. It was retched, black and dark green and took only 3 days to manifest.

As soon as the offending goop was flushed – voila. The stank was gone, just like that, and I was able to leave for the weekend, secure in the knowledge that my house-sitting rep was safe. That is until I got home and found the pool had stopped filtering in my absence. You haven’t lived until you’ve stuck your hand in to a skimmer full of dead baby mice up to the wrist. But that is another story. That I may masturbate to later.

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The Belly Of The Beast.

by Dave on June 4, 2007

in Sporty

In the middle of all this “I’m so busy… Waaah – I’m moving internationally, change my drawers” bullshit, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. I get daily IMs and emails asking me why I have the fucking audacity to stop writing regularly. So, in spite of the imminent re-imagining of PITF, which is truthfully well underway and even paid for – I will continue to write. I am honored that any frigger still cares.

I am truly in the belly of the beast this eve. Less than 100 miles away lies the Capital city of Canada, my place of birth in 1973, whose Senators hockey team is in the running for the first Canadian Stanley Cup since 1993 – That’s 14 frigging years for anyone keeping score. For comparative purposes, that’s like the USA not being the champion of inventing chewing tobacco for almost 15 years straight. Brutal, I know.

The end of my Grandmother’s street (I am living alone at her house with Boss until it is sold) has “Bring it home to Canada, Sens!” written in children’s street chalk at the intersection. At least 5 out of every cars I pass have a little Sens flag waving out the window. Every time my beloved Uncle John and I meet for a beer, there are pubs full of Senator shirt clad fans everywhere. It’s a typically quiet and reserved Canadian event of incredible importance.

Anaheim is now ahead in the series 3-1 as of 5 minutes ago, and the series is returning Wednesday to California – which isn’t great for the odds. Home ice and one more win and it’s over. But I’ll be watching, and I pray for continued serendipity relating to my move home. Go Sens, and go my bid on a Charger tomorrow in the auction.

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