Yes, He Can

Just taking some time out from my awesome week and so far fantastic weekend to post something completely random …

One of my favourite shows – when I’m sitting at home long enough to watch a show – is So You Think You Can Dance? No, not Dancing With The Stars. The other dance show. With real people trying to make it in the dance business. (Don’t judge me.)

The new season just started, with Episode 1 showing the first round of auditions for would-be competitors.

The dancer below – this popper/contortionist dude named Robert Muraine – is, as the kids say, sick. Like, ridiculously sick. He’s about five steps away from ridonkulous, in the best way possible.

If I could encapsculate the good mood I’ve been in all week, maybe (just maybe) it would approximate what I felt by watching this guy.

Have a gander at the man they call Mr. Fantastic.

I hope you watched the entire thing. I have now watched this three times, including when I found it this evening on YouTube. And this just. Keeps. Getting. BETTER.

If you were a bad mood and are still in one by the time you finished watching this clip, you have a cold heart and no soul.

To quote judge Mia Michaels:


Indeed. Honourary Loquacious High Five, my man.


Le Sigh 2.0

In a recent post on her blog, a friend of mine lamented, “Why am I attracted to all the wrong guys?”

I commiserate with her. Not because I think I have the same problem. Oh, no, no. My issue is that I seem to be attracted to the guys whom, for some reason, I cannot have.

Ladies (and maybe gents), prepare to be dismayed. 

Today, I gotta rant. About a boy. And it’s gonna get neurotic.

I have this recurring (or ongoing?) crush on this guy, and it’s driving me nuts. I’ve mentioned him before, but I’m not going to go into the backstory here. I already did that last year. And it progressed into the summer. (Yes, I’m la-aaame.)

I thought I stopped liking him a while back. But I guess I was lying to myself. Again.

Before last Friday, I last saw him in March, at a friend’s birthday party. But then he went travelling for a while, so I didn’t really hear from him until mid-April, when I decided to e-mail him.

In my mind, I’m telling myself, snap out of it, because he’s typical of every guy I ever had a crush on – The Guy I Cannot Have – so why pine away over someone who is Just Another Friend? Especially someone I see only every two months on average, anyway?

But something in me can’t help but hang on to the threads of possibility. Even if I don’t see him for long periods of time, every time I do, it’s like it starts up all over again.

For instance: I went to meet him for dinner on Friday – purely as friends – and in my head I thought, It’s no big deal. It’s just dinner. Catching up. Shooting the shit.

But as I got closer to the restaurant, I started having this jittery feeling in my stomach – the one I’d get if I was going for a big test or a job interview.

And then my throat just suddenly went dry. My throat almost never does that.

It’s that ludicrous.

And then the other thing – not that I’m decent at being able to decipher people at all – is, I am absolutely no good at figuring him out. I can’t read him.

Like, in the past, sometimes the way he’ll sometimes squeeze my arm or wink at me, I’d be thinking, Is he winking at me? I – I think he did. Did he just squeeze my arm? I don’t see him do that with anyone else

So then I’m convinced – or, at least, the 16-year-old inhabiting my body is convinced – it’s somehow this thing.

For me the big part of this thing is our greetings and goodbyes. Usually it’s a hug accompanied with a peck on the cheek. I don’t just dole that shit out to anyone. If you get any sugar from me, it’s either ’cause you’re (a) a friend or (b) other – and I don’t think I need explain what I mean by “other”. 

Until last Friday. When we parted ways, we just gave each other a hug. Period.

Walking to the subway station, while I was numbing part of my brain by blasting music through my iPod (and thereby further damaging my hearing), the other part was like, What the fu- ? Wha? That’s it? Huh. I guess he was just being overly friendly that one time … or maybe he liked me way back, but he’s over it … Or maybe he’s just tired and has to get up early in the morning …

And on it went, to the point where the neurotic part of my brain has presently resigned itself to the belief that nothing will happen between us.

Yes. I am, without a doubt, socially STUNTED when it comes to this sort of thing. Sigh.

Maybe I should get out more, with different people. But it seems like so much work. And really? What good will unleashing me onto the general populace do?

Besides, if he actually liked me as much as I like him (as part of my brain would like me to keep hoping), he would have done something about it already, right? Something would’ve happened.


The older I get, the worse I get at this stuff.

I should just fill out my application for the nunnery and submit it. Like, first thing Monday morning. 


Not Much to Snort At

I wish I could say I was kidding.

While finishing up the last of my magazine on the ride down to work this morning, I came across a tiny brief about this Las Vegas company which wants to bring a new drink mix to Canada.

It’s not so much the fact it’s a drink mix … so much as it’s the fact that it’ll apparently give teens the chance to pretend they’re cocaine addicts.

Boys and girls, say hello to Blow Energy Drink Mix:

I am in no way trying to promote this thing (although just mentioning it here is probably giving this product more free advertising than it needs).

Nor am I necessarily of the opinion that kids who use this drink will start searching for the real stuff. I’ve had a candy cigarette or two when I was younger, but I never started smoking.

However, other people – especially those who are parents – may not see it that way whatsoever. And this is why I think this marketing ploy was downright stupid on the part of the company that created this product (and not “smart advertising” as the founder claims it is).

What are the chances that – at any time, while coming up with this ingenious strategy – the masterminds behind this beverage may have been high on coke themselves? Hmmm?

The company’s founder apparently has said there’s been huge interest from Canada on bringing this product over the border. At the moment, though, Blow Energy Drink Mix hasn’t been approved to sell up here.

If this is one of those promotional things some entrepreneurs do “for irony”, then I can’t wait until these jokers come out with their OxyContin sour candies … complete with a plastic toy gun and “fake” fake prescription pads.


An Old Friend

I was sitting at my desk last Friday, attending to the work-related task of the moment, when I heard my cellphone ring.

“Who on earth is calling me in the middle of the afternoon?” I muttered as I answered the call.

It was my friend Melissa, who lives in Ottawa.

“Guess what?” she asked.

Turns out that a mutual friend of ours – a dude named Chad, who I knew as a child in Scarborough, and whom she knew as a teenager in Windsor – had finally joined Facebook. She somehow discovered this and contacted him via e-mail.

“You should send him a friend request – you can find him in my network!” she said.

I thanked her for letting me know, and soon after I hung up the phone, I went into my account and I did. Probably within the hour, he accepted.

I have to say, he was definitely someone I never thought I’d hear from again.

We were neighbourhood playmates. I lived at the beginning of the street; he and his family lived all the way on the other end of the cresent. We both attended the elementary school across the street.

Back then, he was a skinny kid, with a wispy cowlick almost always sticking up atop his head. And I don’t remember for how many years this was, but until his family moved away, I suppose we were as thick as thieves.

My parents always remember the times he’d come over, ring the doorbell and ask if I could come out to play, to which my dad would sometimes reply:

“Chadwick, go home.”

Those were the days.

I never knew what had happened to him until one night – in the infancy of my university days – when my then-new friend Melissa and I were talking, and she just happened to mention my old friend’s name. I suppose it was my personal introduction to the “degrees of separation”.

In any case, back to the present. I had a nice chat with him over Facebook Chat (the newfangled things kids these days come up with!) on Sunday afternoon.

He still lives in Windsor, but longs to move to Anguilla. (His obstacles are finding employment and affording the expensive real estate prices.) He works part-time at a hospital – I’m assuming as medical staff, since he got his medical degree in the West Indies. He doesn’t watch or read the news; “ignorance is bliss”, he says.

And he’s no longer the scrawny, cow-licked kid I used to play and ride bikes with.

It seems we’re also two of a kind – we’re both the same age and still party a lot. What can I say? We both believe in being very social.

We got around to talking about the old neighbourhood. He said when he happens to be in Toronto (which he only does when visiting family, ’cause he hates Toronto), he sometimes drives past the old ‘hood for kicks. And he can’t help but think about how small that house seems to him now … how things seemed so simple back then, but how we were content with what we had. 

I actually miss those days from time to time.

We wrapped up our online chat shortly after and promised to keep in touch. I hope we do. It was nice talking to him again after so long. Besides, kindred spirits like that are hard to find.


Musings on The Mosquito

While reading the free commuter newspaper on the subway several Thursdays ago, I came across an abbreviated version of this Canadian Press story:

It’s a sound meant for young ears only, but the results could be sweet music to anyone dealing with troublesome teens.

A convenience store in a community just south of Edmonton is one of the first in Alberta to employ the Mosquito teen repellent, a device that emits an irritating, high-frequency squeal that’s audible only to young people.

A clerk at the Mac’s in Beaumont, about 20 kilometres south of Edmonton, says teens have quit hanging around the back of the store and being a nuisance to customers.

“Nobody can stand over there now,” said the clerk. “It’s working pretty good.”

Mac’s also uses them in several stores in the Vancouver area.

The shop is one of two Mac’s stores in the Edmonton area using the device. Doug Hartl, the convenience chain’s western Canadian security boss, says the Mosquito has been so successful that more are planned in the city.

“We’ll do it on a store-to-store basis where there’s a problem with kids congregating and causing problems,” he said.

To paraphrase some of the rest of the story:

The Mosquito – which is generally supposed to be inaudible to anyone over 25, but drives away anyone who can hear it – was developed in the United Kingdom, and has been around for some time. But distribution rights for North America were only acquired last year by a Vancouver-based company.

Each of the small units – described as looking like a six-inch cube – costs about $ 1,500, and a few other places in Edmonton and Calgary have either installed them on a trial basis, or have tested them out (as was the case in a junior and senior high school in Edmonton).

A spokeman interviewed in the article said the Mosquito has no long-term effects on people’s hearing.

But all that aside – how good an idea is it, really?

A few thoughts:

(1) Not to say that kids in Edmonton or other places out west don’t have iPods or MP3 players … but at one point or another, a lot of people have been on buses or trains, where kids who have music devices are blasting the music so loud, everyone within 15 feet or so can hear what they’re listening to.

What if the Mosquito doesn’t work ’cause these kids either (a) have their music blasting or (b) they might not hear it because, over time, listening to loud music has dulled their hearing?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter ’cause the people employing the Mosquito have it cranked loud enough to drive them away.

(2) Once upon a time, the Toronto Transit Commission thought playing classical music at select stations where large numbers of kids were known to congregate, would drive them away. And it did – for a while. Now kids just ignore it and carry on with their business. How do these storeowners know these kids won’t come back because they grow used to it or find a way around it?

Which brings me to …

(3) The story I read about the Mosquito, in the New York Times two years ago. It explains what happened when someone got their hands on the “yob repellent”, designed in Wales, and allowed some teenagers – through the power of the Internet – a way which allowed them to get one over on the very people trying to use it to drive said teenagers away. You can read about it for yourself here

I mean, this is what kids in Manhattan managed to do with it. What’s not to say it might eventually happen here?

I know I sound like a pessimist. I’m not. Nor am I necessarily anti-adolescent. But I don’t know if the Mosquito is so much a solution to the problem, as it is a short-term fix that kids may find a way to adapt to.

Just my two cents.

Still Alive …

I just wanted to apologize for the erratic posting lately.

Mainly it’s been work. Partly it’s been other things.

Right now, it’s me, physically. I’m now convinced my body is conspiring against me. Particularly on long weekends where there’s the potential to skip town for the opportunity to have a little change of scenery.

I should be wandering around St. Jacobs right now with friends. Instead I’m at home because of some sort of intestinal thing. (Don’t ask – I’ve no clue what it is. And don’t tell me how I’m always sick, either. I don’t want to hear it.)

Hopefully this clears up and allows me at least one day of this long weekend. But for the moment, happy Victoria Day weekend to those of my Canadian buddies, readers and fellow bloggers reading this … or not, if you’re smart enough to get out of your houses. Flee!

I’ll try and write something – or a couple of somethings – very soon.


As you all know, I’m a big fan and ardent supporter of the open-mic night Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids (or GRTTWAK, for short).

So it’s with a little joy that I tell you the latest.

To paraphrase an e-mail I received on Wednesday morning from my friend – and GRTTWAK founder – Dan Misener:

  • GRTTWAK’s next Toronto date will be Monday, July 14 at 8 p.m., in the Gladstone Hotel ballroom.
  • There is apparently now also a podcast, which features highlights from previous events.
  •  GRTTWAK is finally spreading the awesomeness. Ottawa’s first GRTTWAK night is scheduled for June 2nd at Velvet Room; Montreal’s is TBA … but it’s comin’.

Check out the Web site for more information on the upcoming events and the podcast, as well as the “rules and regulations”.

And then get into your attics and basements and start a-diggin’. ‘Cause this could be gooooood.

It’s Come To This …

When I updated my Facebook status Sunday night, I said I wanted a week full of accomplishment, promise and pleasant surprises.

It’s now Thursday. All I’ve really managed to accomplish is not to harm anyone or myself while at work.

But yesterday as I grumpily rode the transit in to work, the cloud above my head cleared – if only for a fleeting five minutes – while reading Maclean’s.

Helloooo, Adam van Koeverden.

You don’t get a Loquacious High Five, my cut, kayaking friend. You get a WOW.


If I was walking down the street and saw his image on a poster instead of in a magazine while sitting on a train seat, I probably would have walked into a mailbox or a fire hydrant.

(Believe me, the version of the picture in the magazine is waaay better. It took the only ounces of nonchalance and self-control I have on time-share, NOT to flip back to the cover page of the article and ogle for the rest of the train ride down. I had someone sitting next to me! How awkward would THAT be?)

I seriously don’t remember him looking like this four years ago in Athens. No, really. I don’t.

The article (and yes, I DID read it) says he’s very intense about his training, and comes across as a bit cocky. Well, hell. Considering he’s 26, trying to go for gold medals in August and looks like that, I do not blame him. I’d be cocky, too.

And this is why I now:

(a) will find it nearly impossible to boycott watching the Olympic Games in Beijing and,

(b) have personally confirmed why I only live for watching sports once every four years. Especially the ones involving men, swimming, kayaks or competitive rowboats.

“Unfinished business”, indeed.

Le. Sigh.

(Yes, I’m sad.)

Dad’s Musical Evolution

When I was little, it was country on 8-tracks.

When I was in university, it was reggae on cassette tapes.

Lately it’s been classic rock on the radio in my house.

Maybe he’s always liked rock. But for some reason, I’ve noticed all of a sudden, my dad has started listening to Q107 while he washes the dishes at night.

I wouldn’t say my dad’s taste in music is unusual. I’m sure lots of people’s dads listen to classic rock.

But when I hear it – and then associate it with the mental image of my dad in his plaid shirt and slacks, sitting somewhere, anywhere in our house – I somehow think it’s some weird phase he’s going through.

And if you ever had the chance to meet him – and got him to say more than three words to you – you’d know why I find this odd.

I dunno. Maybe he just doesn’t necessarily notice who he’s listening to. I mean, does he really know who Queen is? Or Ozzy Osbourne? Or Rush?

And did he just happen upon it the station by accident one day and decided he liked it? Or is it somehow symbolic of his mindset right now?

Ten years from now when I (hopefully) no longer live at my parents’ house, am I going to one day come home to hear him listening to hip-hop or house music?