Wednesday, February 3, 2010

True North Strange and Free

Back in January, we started an all new morning show at Energy, and we decided to splurge a little and order the import host instead of the domestic.

Yep... we dun' gone and lassoed ourselves a Yankee... Chris Shine; hired out of Dallas, Texas, but born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts; I guess that means he's a calf-roping Patriots fan who'll eat a bowl of clam chowder while watching a Matt Damon movie... or something... (That's actually all pretty accurate with the exception of the calf-roping).

As it turns out, Americans are a lot like us... but after driving a car-less Chris to and from work for a month, I've learned there are a lot of very small and strange differences that make our countries so, well, different... eh?

One of the most dramatic has got to be the shoe thing.
Get this... Americans do not remove their shoes when entering a house!
No, for real. Carpet, hardwood or linoleum, whatever you've got lining your floor, they will drag their muddy soles all over it without a second thought.
Furthermore, Chris was surprised to learn that we Canucks remove our footwear, and the concept of the "shoe pile" at the front door of a house party seemed even more foreign... My mother would have a fit if I left my kicks on in the house, so perish the thought I say.

Again, it's the small things that are the oddest:
They have social security numbers... we have social insurance Numbers
They have zip codes... we have postal codes
They have the fourth of July... we have the first of July
They say 'zee'... we say 'zed'
They use fahrenheit... we use celsius
They have blundering Presidents... we have blundering Prime Ministers... And the Queen, which is odd to them.

Even the slightest variations in dialogue can raise an eyebrow; for instance, Americans don't use the term "grabbing a pint" in reference to grabbing a delicious frosty glass of golden brew. The word 'pint' throws them a bit.
However, they do have the privilege of purchasing that brew along with a bag of chips at 7-11... We do not.
However... they do not have ketchup chips... that doesn't really even the score of easy liquor access, but whatever, ketchup chips are effin' good.

Speaking of food, that's a bit of a curiosity too.
America... the land of bucket sized cups of pop (soda as they say), deep fried chocolate bars (candy bars), and cheeseburgers made with Krispy Kreme doughnuts (donuts)... does not put gravy on its fries. (I know, right?)

So imagine Chris's amazement when I told him about the most wonderful and delicious gift Canada has to offer to any sojourner from another land... Poutine!!!

Mmm... Just look at it... all gooey and cheesy and yummy and satisfying... How could this national treasure pass under the American radar for so long!? They embraced Avril Lavigne, didn't they? Why the frig haven't they discovered poutine yet!?

Something had to be done... so I took Chris out pour un dîner authentiquement Québécois (an authentic Quebec lunch) and insisted that he give the glorious creation a try.
Guess what... he loved it! So much so he texted me the next day to say he was craving more.
Hot damn! Not gonna lie... it kind've inspired me to open up a poutine stand in Manhattan. I could make a bloody fortune and retire early. It'll be gravy (ha ha)...

But by far the most amusing difference so far has been the geography lessons... Think back to your 8th grade Social Studies class, we (or at least, I) had to learn every state and every one of their capital cities. The Ameri-kids learn no such thing of Canada. For the most part, they don't even think of our country in terms of provinces and territories, each with their own traits that make them unique. We think of Texas, we think of guns and cowboys. We think of Boston, we think of tea parties and "Cheers"...
To them, we're simply Canada. One big overly polite neighbour (neighbor) upstairs that doesn't like to be a bother... and that's really not a bad thing at all.

Chris and I have become pretty good chums since he made the trek to our true north strong and free, so I've learned a few things from him in our time spent together.
I've learned that whatever country we hail from, we're all very strange creatures who do very odd things... like make condiment flavoured (flavored) snacks and put our feet up on the couch with dirty shoes on.
But I've also learned that we're really not that different at all when it comes to the stuff that matters...

Stuff like poutine... everyone on Earth can get together and enjoy a piping hot poutine... unless you're lactose intolerant.

Cheers to that Amigos!


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Open Letter to Heidi Montag

Dear, Heidi

Why did you mutilate yourself?

Did your face anger you in some way?

Perhaps you woke up one morning with a zit... but it was just a little annoyance you thought you could live with so totally no biggie. Then by the time you went for lunch it had swollen up into a puffy white sack of puss that embarrasses you and your friends in public...

Sure, Spencer seems like a grade-A pain the in ass, but he's not worth going under the knife ten times over... in one day!

Sister, listen... you're blonde, blue eyed, and you have a huge, well rounded... um... faith... you are (were) gorgeous, you have (had) an amazing job in L.A., and you've found the love (plague) of your life... what's to fix?

This is about attention, plain and simple. Attention from the media, attention from friends, and definitely attention from men.

Heidi, you're married, but clearly you love the idea of becoming a product for the masses... all 658 of them who went out and bought your CD... The CD you a spent a million dollars to have made.

I don't even want to know how much you blew on that chin reduction... etc...

Look Heidi... I don't know you, and you seem so very, very nice... just also a teensy bit insufferable. I think you need to step out of the spotlight for a while. Travel. Go shopping. Lay on the beach for endless days and for the love of all that is holy take the man-baggage with you.

Go live your life, have fun, and let your calling find you. You'll be so much happier.

Those 658 people who actually like your music, however... may not be.

Right then, all the best, and say hi to your mother for me.

Sincerely, Ian

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Well, another decade has come and gone... and so has a lot of our fancy techno-junk...

Remember when digital flip phones were all the rage?

Remember when shock-free portable CD players were a must have?

Remember answering machines? VCRs? Floppy drives?

Remember cube TVs!? (I do, but that's because I still have one)

The analogue era is gone, and we have officially entered the digital age.

From shopping mall directories, to pumps at the gas station, to the fridge in your kitchen, anything can be given a brain these days, and in the next 10 years the world will become a very different place yet again...

But for now, let's look back a the past ten.

The Huffington Post published an article highlighting 12 ordinary, everyday things that have essentially died off since the turn of the millenium.

Summing up how fast things change is enough to make you bust out a whaaaazzzzzuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup!?

12) Calling: Believe it or not, I hate talking on the phone. Chatting with callers on the radio is one thing, but when it comes to everyday conversation, as far as I'm concerned, if it can be said in a text, say it in a text. Nothing worse than mindless Hey how are yous?

11) Newspaper Classifieds: The only thing left in the classified section these days is job ads (targeted to people who likely don't use Craigslist) and "escort services"... I can only imagine whom they're targeting...

10) Dial Up Internet: It sucked. 'Nuff said... but the sounds are pretty nostalgic, no?

9) Encyclopedias: Why buy expensive books that take up space when you can just punch it into Wikipedia? There are so many articles on there that the odds of one being fudged up by a net surfing hoodlum are pretty slim.

That said, if you want your apartment to smell of many leather bound books... an encyclopedia set may not be all that bad...

8) CDs: I still use these, and obviously they're still sold in droves. But I think that's because what people are spending their money on is not the CD (They're just going to transfer the music on to their iTunes anyway). What people are still interested in buying in the new decade is real, tangible, cover art and liner notes.

You also can't display an iTunes collection on a rack in your living room. Many people enjoy that... my CDs, however, tend to wind up on the floor of my car...

7) Landline Phones: Hellooooooooooooo? Why bother? Unless you collect rotary phones... Which is kinda cool, I must say...

6) Film and Film Cameras: These seemed to die off relatively quick! It wasn't until computer software technology caught up with that of the cameras themselves that the digital revolution seemed to take hold.

It was only a few years ago that Kodak flaunted its Advantix brand film and cameras. The ones where you can choose different photo sizes, reduce red eye, etc... impressive features for film. But, um, digital does that too.

5) Yellow Pages and Address Books: Much the same as the classifieds, these babies won't truly die out until literally every home and every person has access to an internet device. Until then, grandma is still going to turn to page 675 to find the number for the knitting store.

(No offence 'Nan, I know how much you like your knitting)

4) Catalogues: Aside from Ikea and the Sears Wishbook... when was the last time you've ever seen one show up on your door? Nope, websites are the new catalogue. It's over.

3) Fax Machines: This surprised me actually. Fax machines aren't the rock star office supply they once were, but they're still very useful I find. Besides, these days they're easily integrated into printer/scanner technology... so it's really more of a "why NOT put it in?" kinda thing.

2) Wires: The more stuff we invent, the more space their wires take up. Granted, they're still cluttering up my living room. But bit by bit and little by little they are disappearing. Wireless internet is already king. And now you can even charge some cell phones wirelessly!

The Palm Pre, for instance, charges through a magnet in the back of the phone. I don't think it'll be too long before you'll be able to make toast on your roof.

But will batteries be included? If they are they'd better toss in a loaf of bread too. Extra incentive to buy!

1) Hand Written Letters: This, I consider somewhat of a tragic result of the advances in technology.

It makes complete sense why no one writes letters anymore, why bother when you can tweet instead?

But a hand written letter is something that will never die off completely. People have been writing each other for centuries, and to this day it's still a heartwarming gesture to sit down and scribble some meaningful words for someone you love.

It's just a humbling reminder that while all these crazy innovations have become essential cogs in the way we live... the power can always go out... but the written word will last a lifetime.

Happy New Year everyone!

I wish you nothing but peace, love and the upmost of joy in 2010 and beyond!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Balls

It's award season again!

This morning the Golden Globe nominations were dished out and for some reason Justin Timberlake was there to help do it...

JT- "I was in The Love Guru!"
Ian- "I know Justin, but that was a terrible movie"
JT- "Oh... I was in Alpha Dog..."
Ian- "I know Justin, that movie was okay, but Emile Hirsch and Anton Yelchin pretty much stole the show."
JT- "Oh... I was in Black Snake Moan"
Ian- "I know Justin... for about three seconds"
JT- "Oh... I'm dating Jessica Biel!"
Ian- "Atta boy. Here's a Grammy."
JT- "Thanks!!!! :D!!!!"

Anyway, here's a rundown on some of this year's nominees:


Best drama
The Hurt Locker - Haven't seen it, but hear it's amazing... good work HFPA, 1 point
Inglourious Basterds -Amazing film... 1 point
Precious -Kind've obvious, but it was a great movie... 1 point
Up in the Air - Not even out yet, which bugs me about these award shows... -1 point
Avatar - Not out... but I'm super excited to see it. So torn... 0.5 points

Best comedy/musical picture
The Hangover -Blown away by this one. Laughed every second... 1 point
It's Complicated - Meryl's in it... may as well toss it in the pile... 0 points
Julie & Julia - Meryl's in it, pile... oh, but it's good (I hear)... 1 point
Nine - Have YOU seen it? Because I have indeed not... at least Meryl's not in it... 1 point
(500) Days of Summer - Meh... 0 points

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Jeff Bridges, "Crazy Heart" - He's still at it, eh?... 1 point (for effort)
George Clooney, "Up in the Air" - Not out, looks good, Clooney is hit or miss for me... 0 points
Colin Firth, "A Single Man" - Not... out... but Tom Ford definitely is... 1 point
Morgan Freeman, "Invictus" - A. Maze. Ing. Can never go wrong with Mo-Free... 1 point
Tobey Maguire, "Brothers" - Toby creeps me out in the trailer, signs of a good actor... 1 point

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Emily Blunt, "The Young Victoria" - Obligatory period piece... 0 points
Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side" -Hey, it killed New Moon... 1 point
Helen Mirren, "The Last Station" -The Last what?... Never heard... 0.5 points for Dame Hellen
Carey Mulligan, "An Education" -Peter Sarsgaard makes robbing the cradle look classy. 1 point
Gabourey Sidibe, "Precious" -Duh... she nailed it... 2 points (extra point being it's her first role)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mo'Nique, "Precious" -Wickedly evil... but please shave your legs... 1 point
Julianne Moore, "A Single Man" -One of my all time favorite actresses... 1 point
Anna Kendrick, "Up in the Air" -Clooney's conquest BUT she grew out of New Moon... 1 point
Vera Farmiga, "Up in the Air" -Tough call, too much Clooney here... 0.5 points
Penelope Cruz, "Nine" -... 2 points... one for each chi-chi...

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Matt Damon, "Invictus" -Matt Damon can do no wrong... amazing performance... 1 point
Stanley Tucci, "The Lovely Bones" -Great story, movie looks... um... different... 0 points
Christopher Plummer, "The Last Station" -Did you know he's related to a Prime Minister? Huh... 1 point
Christoph Waltz, "Inglorious Basterds" -Phenomenal... 3 points (one for each language)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Sandra Bullock, "The Proposal" -They meant The Blind Side, right?... 0.5 points for Betty White
Marion Cotillard, "Nine" - 1 point... I just feel obligated...
Julia Roberts, "Duplicity" -Mr and Mrs Smith knockoff... 0 points
Meryl Streep, "It's Complicated" -It's Meryl, but we need to even the score here... 0.5 points
Meryl Streep, "Julie & Julia" -... 0.5 points... please don't ever do Mama Mia again

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Matt Damon, "The Informant!" -Go Matt! 1 point
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Nine" -Oprah hollerin' his name is still echoing in my brain... still... 1 point
Robert Downey Jr, "Sherlock Holmes" -Lurve RDJ, but this movie kinda looks like a stinker... 0 points
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "(500) Days of Summer" -That's the kid from Third Rock, right?... Good for him... good for him... 0.5 points
Michael Stuhlbarg, "Serious Man" -Never heard of the movie, but upon googling, I want to see it... 0.5 points

Best Original Song -- Motion Picture
"Cinema Italiano," Nine -Catchy, catchy, catchy... 1 point
"I See You", Avatar, performed by LEONA LEWIS -Is James Cameron trying to make her the next Céline?... 1 point
"The Weary Kind" Crazy Heart -Does Jeff Bridges sing it? CAN he sing?... 0 points
"I Want To Come Home," by PAUL MCCARTNEY, Everybody's Fine -*Kablamo* The movie is a bomb... 0.5 points for Paul
"Winter," by U2, Brothers -These awards are stuffy enough without Bono's ego on board... -1 point

Best Animated Feature Film
Coraline -All of these movies look adorable... points for everybody!!!... 1 point
The Fantastic Mr. Fox ... 1 point
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs ... 1 point
The Princess and the Frog ... 2 points (for Disney going old school)
Up ... 1 point

Movie Score: 37.5/50


You know what? I agree with every one of these selections... except House... Sorry, just not a fan.

Television score: 18/20

Best drama series
"Mad Men"
"House M.D."
"True Blood"
"Big Love"

Best comedy series
"30 Rock"
"The Office"
"Modern Family"

Best actor in a drama series
Simon Baker, "The Mentalist"
Michael C. Hall, "Dexter"
Jon Hamm, "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie, "House M.D."
Bill Paxton, "Big Love"

Best actress in a comedy series
Glenn Close, "Damages"
January Jones, "Mad Men"
Julianna Margulies, "The Good Wife"
Anna Paquin, "True Blood"
Kyra Sedgewick, "The Closer"

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Neighbours

I have some very eclectic neighbours in my building...

First there's the girl across the hall.
Filana is her name... Phillana... Fillanna? I barely know if I'm saying it right, let alone spelling it, but she's cool.
A hippy dippy kinda gal that burns incense, dances in the hall and leaves used books by the front door for the taking. She travels around Canada a lot working as a shaman of sorts; attending rain dances, midnight weddings in the bush, and many, many raves.
She offered to bring me some chili one night... I fear what kind of mushrooms she uses in the recipe... Still, she's good people.

Next, there's Crystal. I don't know if Crystal is actually her name, but she looks like a Crystal. Torn grey sweat pants, stained hoodies, and hair done up in a loose ponytail right on top of her head. She's the building drunk.
Occasionally we run into each other in the stairwell, and she valiantly slurs out some kind of attempt at small talk. It usually involves her former employer and how they're "huge jerks" (Crystal's choice of words is a lot more colorful).
She lives in an apartment smaller than mine. It's literally a little box at the corner of the hall right next to Fillana's place.
Her door is usually left open a crack which allows her cranked up music to be heard throughout the building. She loves everything from Kiss to The Jonas Brothers, and sings along with every track she plays...
It makes me kinda sad really. I mean, it's obvious she's an alcoholic with family issues. I base that on the highly audible arguments I've heard her have in the hall with the old man who delivers her rum.

Next up is my friend Heather...

This classy dame and I have been friends since first grade. We lived together in Edmonton for a spell and eventually both found our way to Calgary.

Then we found our way two doors down from each other... she lives down the hall right across from Crystal.

One night, shortly after moving in, Crystal stopped by her place to ask if she wanted to drink with her (Exhibit B in the alcoholism case).

This creeped Heather out and prompted her to cut me a set of keys to her place in case she ever got in "trouble".

Silly girl... she's more likely to get in trouble with yours truly... and she does.

No biggie... We cook food, drink wine, swap old stories, then hit the club from time to time... we're pretty much a pair of hip urbanites living our youth to the beat of the city. Coming from St. Paul, Alberta, this will always be a novelty...

Finally, there's the Gruesome Twosome.
Don't know their names, don't know their story, but I do know this... they have a LOT of sex...

Seriously... jackrabbits, these two.

It's a guy and a girl living together (I assume?) in the apartment that separates mine and Heather's; A mopey looking pair that have an affinity for extra-baggy jeans, wallet chains and KORN t-shirts.
Rarely seen, but always present. I've hardly ever seen either one of them leave the flat. But of the two, she tends to pop out more often.
Never for long though. She'll head out and come back about 15 minutes later with either pizza, groceries, beer or confectionary from 7-11.
As for him... I'm more likely to spot a Sasquatch doing his laundry down the hall than see him venture into the daylight.
Jobs? Doubtful... unless they're running some kind raunchy website out of their living room... which is frighteningly plausible.

There's three dead giveaways that these two are always lurking a wall away from me:

1) Movies: They own a sound system, and they have a taste for action flicks

2) Music: Surprisingly one (or both) of them is way into Three Days Grace and Evanescence... those KORN tees are a touch misleading that way.

3) The SEX!!! Lots of it. Morning glory, afternoon delight, and late night... um... escapades?

Usually the moaning and groaning on the other side of the wall can be drowned out by my television... but last night... last night was different.
Because it wasn't just moaning and groaning last night... something dark and dirty was going on next door...

I think there was a whip involved.

The cracking echoed in my dreams... *shudder*...

My neighbours... quite the motley crew... I think I'll bake them cookies for Christmas.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Totally Aliens

Something effed up happened in Norway this week...

Early Wednesday morning, while sipping their coffee, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes and mushing their kids off to school, folks from Harstad to Tromsø were amazed by a dazzling spectacle of light in the sky above.

An enormous glowing spiral appeared and rotated while a strange green beam shot out from its centre.

The entire show lasted around 12 minutes before dissolving back into the darkness.

Whoah... Move over Balloon Boy, because even if this IS a hoax... color me impressed!

Of course, my nerdy/awesome side is really hoping this is some kind of alien activity. A cross-dimensional wormhole opening up the heavens and linking us with an advanced civilization the likes of which our imagination can't begin to comprehend... or it might be some viral marketing campaign for "Avatar"...

... But sadly, the Russians are taking credit.

Suppoooooosedly it's some rocket thing they fired from a submarine that went the way of Amy Winehouse and became a cracked out mess in the sky.
Here's a smart British guy explaining how that's possible:

Thanks for that buzzkill... Rocket or not, I'm sure this thing is going to get explained away in the near future.
But in the meantime I'm working on how to greet our new alien overlords... Smile? Bow? Handshake? Would they have hands?

Damn, what should I wear?

Monday, November 23, 2009


If I were sitting in the audience of the AMA's, this would be my inner-monologue...
"Oh wow, what a fabulous night this is! There's so many celebs here. Sure was nice to see Janet back up on stage. Wonder how's she's coping these days. Hmm, I hope I have another drink ticket... I already lost one after bumping into Paula Abdul. Oh look, it's Adam Lambert! Did he WIN American Idol? No, no, it was the short one. Isn't he married? Yeah, I think he's married. Holy, that's some raunchy stuff happening on stage. Is that man on a leash?... Why is Lambert grabbing his head like that? Oh no... don't do it Adam, don't do it! Noooo!!.... aw, he did it..."