Archive for February, 2013

I am turning 30 soon. I have no anxiety about that. What I do have anxiety about is the 30th birthday party my wife is planning on throwing…At least she knows me well enough to not make it a surprise, because surprises are terrible. Everyone hates them…No you say??? You love surprises….No you don’t…You know why you don’t?? I will tell you why. Pearl Harbor and the appearance of Janet Jackson’s nipple at Superbowl XXXVIII. See, I told you that you hate surprises….

My last birthday party was when I was 7 years old and it was held at McDonalds with all of my friends or maybe it was just every boy that happened to be in my class that year. For the most part that is how friendship works when you are a kid… So your best friend in grade 3 is not in your class in grade 4..?? You are dead to me…..So long buddy…maybe we will be bestest friends in grade 5.

McDonalds in 1990 was a magical place…..Looking for sarcasm??? None here. It is true, nothing was cooler than a McDonalds birthday party. You got the whole playroom to yourself. The playroom at that time was equipment with sharp, metal edged, death trapish rides that equate to childhood bliss. There was a button on the wall that started and stopped the merry-go-round that was conveniently out of a child’s reach. So if you were the child riding said merry-go-round you were stuck on it until you puked up your happy meal (toy and all) or you had been previously trained on how to dismount off of a moving wheel of death and were able to execute a perfect jump and shoulder roll landing yourself safely in the discarded old shoes in the corner. To top it all off, if you were the lucky birthday boy or girl (and had survived your romp with death) you were treated to a full tour of the McDonald’s kitchen operations and in the final leg of the tour were allowed to create your own sundae any which way you wished (extra pickles and sprinkles please!!). I have no idea if McDonalds still does this, but they should, because it was awesome. Another awesome thing about McDonalds in the earlier 90s was pizza. Anyone who wasn’t there is laughing right now; anyone who was there needs no explanation. The best pizza I have ever had in my life was in a little pizzeria on the beach in the Bahamas that made personal sized wood fired pizza….The second best was McDonalds in 1991. If you never got to experience this joy go to the Twin Pines Mall in Hill Valley. Hide in the bushes and wait for Marty to get out of the Delorean to check Doc’s vital signs. Sneak in the driver’s seat, set the clock according and put the pedal to the floor. When the flux capacitor starts glowing and you hit 88 miles an hour you my friend are moments away from personal sized pizza heaven.

That McDonalds party was my last birthday party. Because really, how could I top that?? Now that I am turning 30 my wife insists that I have a party with all my family and friends to celebrate the occasion. Celebrating a birthday always seemed odd to me. Have you really accomplished anything? Celebrate getting married, having a child, getting a promotion or watching a whole season of 24 in one day. Yes, these are things to celebrate! But a birthday…?? Maybe if I lived it a country with a fairly low life expectancy, then I could see celebrating a birthday (Yah!! I kicked famines ass and survived another year!!) I live a fairly low-risk lifestyle; it really isn’t too hard for me to make it another year. However maybe I am looking at this the wrong way…Maybe I shouldn’t be celebrating making it another year, but a celebration of surviving the last decade. I made it through my 20s and am a fairly well adjusted adult now with a wife, kid and mortgage. As my 20s come to a close maybe I should reflect a bit and decide if 30 is really worth celebrating.

I learned a lot in the last decade. I went to University in Toronto, studying English lit. I probably spend several more hours in barrooms then I ever did in a lecture hall. I guess you have to ask the question was spending tens of thousands of dollars on an education spent in a pub worth it. Yes. Absolutely. I spent many a day drinking away the hours in a campus bar with complete strangers of all different ethnicities, religions and creeds. I debated politics, gender issues, religion, literature sometimes jokingly and others in a much more heated fashion. And I am better for all of it. The truth is high school sucks for most people. Even the people who enjoyed it are still as pigeon holed in to stereotypes ‘Breakfast Club’ style as everyone else is. It isn’t until we go away and enter the pre-real world of college/university that we can look back and realize the all the bullshit of the last 4-5 years doesn’t matter. This is the time in your life when you can be who you really want to be. I experienced a lot of different things in this time, good and bad. Those first few years away from home shaped me and built the foundation of who I am today. I still look back on those days fondly….The ones I can remember that is. (Still not sure why I woke up in my dorm room bed one morning cuddling with a paper towel dispenser from a girls washroom……One day I will discover the truth…) When my daughter comes of age and starts to consider post-secondary options, I will strongly advise her to stay away from local schools. As hard as it would be to let her go, I know that moving away from home will make her a better, stronger person. I just hope to God that she doesn’t experience some of things I did…..But I want her to discover the best the world has to offer and a lot of the best things you need to find on your own.

After finishing school, I went even farther away. I got a loan, bought a car and drove across Canada. I had no job lined up and no real plans. I had just finished spending the majority of my life in a class room and needed to live a life of no restrictions for a while. I will save the stories of this road-trip for another time, but I would advise anyone to take such a trip. No matter what country you live in, you should discover it. Before you think of travelling abroad, travel your own country first. Take a friend if you can stand being in a car with another human for hours on end. If you can’t, do it alone. I spend 50 plus hours alone in my car, I went a little crazy, but it was fun and it forced me to meet new people in places I stopped. I know we are all well conditioned from a very young age that strangers are dangerous and are akin to the monsters in your closet. However if you allow yourself, you can meet some interesting characters and have some pretty cool adventures. Trust your gut. It is the best tool you will ever have. If someone doesn’t feel right, even if you can’t put your finger on it, avoid them. That said if you feel the urge to sit and have a pint with the old guy at the end of the bar that everyone else is avoiding, go for it. I bet you he has some stories that will blow your mind.

The best place I lived during my travels was Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. To this day I still believe it is the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It is an experience. If you can visit, you should. Be warned though the place does have somewhat of a Hotel California affect. I spent a year there and never got used to the fact that on any given day elk would be walking down the main drag side by side with people. It is unreal. However, it is also the place that I learned that you can have too much of a good thing, and your body can only handle so much of a ‘good time’. Up till that point I had been following the life plan of greats such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin (especially the Southern Comfort part) and Kurt Cobain (minus Courtney Love and a shotgun). Then I realized that 27 was only a few years away, and the aforementioned had a few problems in their 27th year. It was time to move on.

I came back home. It was time, and everyone has to come back at some point. I never planned on staying. Just a short visit, then off to the next adventure…that was the plan. What I did not know at the time is the next adventure would keep me there, and that adventure would continue to this day. I met my yet-to-be wife. Everything changed. I found myself wanting to stick around. We had a very, very long courtship….But when things started, they happened fast. It was only a week between our first kiss and moving in together. This would be the most important lesson I would get out of my twenties. If something feels right, don’t wait. Leap. Life is too short, and chances for life changing events are gone in a second. When your window opens you have to jump through, no matter what anyone says. My wife and I both jumped through that window without a tinge of hesitation or regret. We have been together for five years, have a newborn daughter and our adventure changes every day.

Rereading that last paragraph I think that maybe I shouldn’t give my wife such a hard time for wanting to throw me a birthday party. I guess I do have a reason to celebrate. I am not sure if the things I accomplished in my twenties are what I set out to do. I do know that I am proud of what I did accomplish.

In closing, I should say that it is good to have plans and goals. Just don’t set them in stone or be so focused on them you are closed minded to everything else. Sometimes the greatest things are the most unexpected. If I am walking towards a door and on the way another door is open, I am probably going to go through it, because who knows…something great could be inside like your soul mate, or even better…McDonalds’ pizza!

Later,

Jason – @gskewedview
P.S. I apologize for the majority of this not being funny….It was not my intention to get all serious on your ass….Cest la vie.

I don’t really buy into Valentine’s Day. Not that I don’t believe in love, quite the contrary, I just don’t like being told what to do. For that very reason I gave my wife chocolates and flowers yesterday (Feb 13th) because I don’t need a special day to buy her presents. I do it all year around. However, regardless of my feelings this day seems to have an effect on everyone I see. Everyone’s speed dial seems to be either turned up or dialed down today. Those who are in love are racing around to get the right gift, plan the most romantic evening or write a love poem equipped with all the beats of a Shakespearean sonnet (By the way, anyone ever try to write in iambic pentameter?? Seriously, try it, but don’t blame me when frustration leads way to questioning if you really love your subject enough to put yourself through migraine inducing torture). Then there are the other people who are slowed to a crawl today. The ones watching everyone else run around like lunatics. These are the people who currently do not have someone to make your own candy hearts for. Before I get to the point of this article, let me take a minute right now for all the kiddos reading to say that, no matter what you see today, it is ok to NOT have someone. There is nothing wrong with not being in love. Being alone is perfectly normal and natural and something everyone needs to experience. Don’t go looking for love, because you think everyone else is. Because, 1) Not everyone else is. And 2) If you go looking for it you will always be disappointed. Don’t worry, love knows where you are all of the time, it hasn’t lost you. It is just waiting for the right time to present itself to you. Be patient. Ok now that my dear Abby moment is out of the way, on to what I really want to talk about.

My wife makes fun of me when I cry in movies. Yes, I cry in movies. What you don’t? Go watch the scene in My Girl where Vada tries to convince herself that Thomas J is just sleeping after being stung to death by a bazillion bees….Go….watch it, I’ll wait…
……….

Still not crying. Ok you are dead inside. Let’s move on.

Yep. Death is sad. Although it is not the only thing that can make my face leak; the perfectly, romantic cinematic moment can also bring a tear to my eye. I would like to share with you my opinion of the single most romantic moment in the history of cinema. That moment my dear reader can be found in the 1988 ‘rom-com’ classic Die Hard.

Forget When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride or any movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Die Hard is the pinnacle of romance (although Joe vs The Volcano is a close second). There are many elements in Die Hard that make it a swoon fest, but there is one gut wrenching scene that serves as the definition of true love. The scene is question take place right after John Mclane (Bruce Willis) has to run across broken glass barefoot and finds himself making a desperate call from the bathroom while picking out shards of glass from his feet. If you ever wondered what Annie Lennox was singing about, you now know that it was in fact Bruce Wills who walked on broken glass.

The scene is nothing short of brilliant. While bleeding profusely from his feet Bruce Wills calls Reginald VelJohnson (because Family Matters……get it…?) At this point in the movie our hero is unsure if he will make it out alive, and ever get to see his wife again. (By the way, if you are wondering why I haven’t summarized the plot of Die Hard yet, which is custom to do if you are writing about a movie, I am not because it is DIE HARD! If you haven’t seen it….then I just don’t know what to say to you).

In between lighting a cigarette (remember when smoking was cool??) and pulling shards of glass from his bloody feet John relays to Al his doubts. He fears he will never see his wife again and wants Al to give her a message. Here is that message:

“Tell her that, um…She is the best thing to ever happen to a bum like me….She has heard me say I love you a thousand times…She has never heard me say I’m sorry….I want you to tell her that Al. Tell her John said that he was sorry.”

That is true love right there. Apologetic and self-deprecating. It doesn’t get any sweeter folks.

Don’t worry John see’s Holly again, because (spoiler alert) he saves the fucking day! Yippe-Kay-Yah! Isn’t that what true love really is…Someone who saves the day for you, each and every day…not just on February 14th.

So on this February 14th I would like to encourage everyone, single or committed to sit down and watch Die Hard. If you are with someone you love you will appreciate them more because you will realize that love conquers all…including Alan Rickman. If you are watching it alone then at least you will pick up some tips on what to do if you are ever stuck inside a Japanese corporate office that is overrun with German terrorist played by British actors.

Lastly, to my wife: I know that if I was ever kidnapped by Alan Rickman that you would also run barefoot across broken glass and kill a building full of terrorists just to save me. I want to tell you now, that I would appreciate that.

Till next time,
Jason – @gskewedview

In the wake of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision today to remove Wrestling from the core sports in the Olympics, I have felt compelled to write my own semi-relevant opinion on the topic. It is important to me because I have a deep love and admiration for pointing out other people’s stupid mistakes. Some may say I have an urgent desire to burn out other people’s candle to make mine burn brighter. Or I just have too much time on my hands.

But anyway….on to the IOC…

The decision made by the IOC today regarding wrestling was stupid. Wrestling is one of the oldest, if not THE oldest sports. It dates back 15,000 years as proven by cave drawing found in France (don’t believe me??…Hit up Wikipedia, because that is where I just stole that factoid from about two seconds ago. So you know that it is almost, possibly, could be potentially true). I am sure that right now oiled up Greek men are rolling in their graves at this decision.

While most of what I write may be bullshit, I do happen to know a thing or two about wrestling. Allow me to elaborate (or ramble on for a few pages, if we are being honest). My first introduction into wrestling came in the late 80s early 90s. It was not the Olympic or amateur sort, but the professional, tad bit more theatrical kind. Thankfully, unlike my peers and a generation of young fans I did not buy into the Hulkamania craze. Even in my youth I knew then that “vitamins and prayers” were actually code for slutty, untalented, bad driving offspring and sex tapes you couldn’t sell to the horniest of sheltered 12 year olds. In absolute truth I did not know that at the time (although I did suspect it). My hatred to Hulkamania came because my older brother hated Hulk. Simple child math, my older brother was cool, so Hulk wasn’t. Instead I became fascinated with his favorites: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, Million Dollar Man and most of all the late great king of the Slimjim himself ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage (can I get an “ooohhh yeeaaah”). Yes I will freely admit that many years of my youth were spent watching grown men wearing fluorescent tights and hiding male pattern baldness, jumping off turn buckles and flying off ropes. Occasionally I do still tune in, because frankly, it still entertains me. Simply put it is escapism. Although every time I do tune in I have to listen to my wife say: “And how is this different than Young and the Restless??” Then I try and explain, which does not go well. Ten minutes later we have to stop ourselves as we realize that we are debating which is a more pure art form: Professional Wrestling or Soap Operas. Obviously this can only be settled inside a steel cage match pitting Victor Newman against Cactus Jack.
I digress…..

My interest in professional wrestling led to my best friend and I wanting to try our hand at the amateur version. Of course our high school offered no such outlet, so we created a team (which I believe still exists to this day. I have no proof of this, but I like to think that it does). I should preface this portion by saying that I have that athletic ability of a very unathletic shoelace. Conversely, my best friend was a naturally gifted athlete and went on to do fairly well, but who cares about that. If you want to read about his achievements, go read his blog…Oh wait he doesn’t have one (Again, I have no proof of this, but I like to think that he doesn’t). So there I was, a scrawny 16 year old kid dressed in an unflattering blue singlet armed with only the athletic ability that God gave to Jared ‘The Subway Guy’ and a good understanding of what constitutes a bodyslam and a chairshot. I faired excellently…Even as I wrote that last sentence I could feel your doubt in me. And you are correct dear reader, I faired terribly. My first meet didn’t start well. They booking committee (probably not what it is called in amateur wrestling) put me in the wrong weight class. A lighter weight class you say…?? Of course not, our hero was put into the goliath weight class. As I stood toe-to-toe with the seething giant in front of me, I realized that there was no escape…The white circle painted on the mat prevented my retreat in all directions. Lurch lunged at me and the extensive amateur training I had, had over the last week and a half went out the window. I had to rely on instincts alone, and those came from hours and hours of watching and practicing pro wrestling in my basement. I side stepped him and wrapped my arms around the back of his neck applying a perfect (???) full nelson. I had him…and the giant was angry. I used my legs to trip him and we both went tumbling backwards in a heap. Somehow I held him down for the count. I was officially 1-0 in my amateur wrestling career. This would be my only victory in sports…ever. I lost my next 11 matches. I will save you the pain of hearing about it.

What I gained in that season of wrestling (there was not a second season for me) was a respect for the ancient sport. It is hard. Go find a solid wall and push against it as hard as you can for five minutes. How tired and sore are you? Now imagine the wall pushing back. Or imagine the wall throwing you on your head, driving your own knee into your nose and holding you there for a count as blood trickles into your eyeball. Trust me, it sucks.

Wrestling is the most basic, grueling and arguably the most psychological sport there is. At this juncture I would like to point out that speed walking is an Olympic sport. Yup. Speeding walking. Think about that. Well, I guess I have never had to wrestle my way to a missed bus.

Speaking of stupid decisions…..Emilio Estevez’s lack of screen time in Mighty Ducks 3.
Just saying.

Till next time.

Jason.
P.S. Follow me on Twitter….or don’t because no one else is. @gskewedview Just joined and either no one wants to talk to me, or I am not doing it right…Probably the former.

I know I am a little late to the party when it comes to discussing the whole apocalypse thing. December 21st 2012 has come and gone, and we are still here and we all learned that the Mayan predictions are about as reliable as using Wikipedia as your sole resource for that history paper due tomorrow.

I never really put a whole lot of thought into the apocalypse (other than to question the sanity of whoever gives the green light to all of the movies about the end of the world, and why won’t John Cusack hold up stereo in a real storm when the world really needs him…) I woke up the morning of December 21st, my first thought being – I woke up. That has to be a good sign. Then I turned on the TV. Yup. Australia still there. Next thought….Shit. I have to go to work. It can’t be a good sign (and I know I am not alone) when the end of the world can be considered a positive alternative to going to work. I went to work, came home to see my (at that point, very pregnant) wife, enjoyed a little holiday cheer, drank a couple Mooseheads, ate some good food, watched some bad TV and then went to bed. I then woke up again on December 22nd, and the thought of the apocalypse (which for the rest of this article will be referred to as “the apoc” because I hate spelling apocalypse…Even though I was an English major in University and paid good money to be able to write good (I mean well) I still can’t spell worth shit. You know you are a bad speller when spell check underlines the word in red and when you click on it, and it says ‘no suggestions’. I still have red pen nightmares from University…damn English profs and there undying need for grammatical excellence…but I digress and because this parenthesis has gone on so long that when I close it and finish my sentence you will probably not remember how the sentence began) was gone. In 2012 the universe held up a big middle finger to both the Mayans and Harold Camping (if you don’t know who Camping is, google him. He is a whole new level of crazy).

Then I went home today and something caused me to rethink my views on the apoc. I had been away from home for a few days. The night I left the massive snow storm that swept across Ontario and eastern Canada hit, and our house was covered. I could barely get into our driveway. Of course I could have shoveled, or I could get a good run and it, drive in quickly and hope to hell I can stop before my car lands on the cat sleeping on the living room couch. I managed to stop in time, and the cat’s slumber was not interrupted and most likely continues to this very moment.

There is always that little fear in the back of even the most optimistic person’s mind when you go away for a few days that someone could have potentially broke into your house and be hiding in your closet wearing your underwear (the ones with the holes in them) and be waiting to stab you with a coat hanger. I stepped out of my car, and my boot sunk down a good two feet. I took a few steps, thought about the best way to disarm a naked man wielding a coat hanger, and surveyed the yard. No foot prints anywhere. My house was safe. By my flawless logic I could tell that I did not have to worry about disarming a naked man with a coat hanger, because while crazy is crazy, crazy can’t fly.

With my mind now at ease, I made my trek to the front door. The light glass outer door could have easily weighed fifty pounds with all the snow piled up in front. Luckily I still had enough adrenaline built up from playing out the naked, crazy man fight in my head, to be able to heft the door open. As I went for the second door (which thankfully like all houses, opens inward. Which when you think about it, that sucks for security purposes. Anyone can easily kick open a door with a well placed boot beside the knob. This would be much more difficult, almost impossible if the door opened outward. Seriously…think about it) I noticed something wedged in between the knob and the door frame. I picked it up and unfolded the paper. It was a pamphlet from our friendly, neighborhood Jehovah Witnesses’. I skimmed through the pamphlet, which detailed how the ‘end was near’. Really? Did we not just go through this? Or are they recycling old pamphlets? I will admit I don’t know a ton about Jehovah’s, and even less because I never actually read the pamphlet that sparked this entire writing. I did get the gist of it; they like many other groups believe that Man’s time on this planet is coming to an end. I should say that I have no problem with JWs. I have no problem with anyone beliefs as long as it doesn’t harm other people or animals. If your religion calls for you to sacrifice a goat, I have a problem with your religion. Actually come to think of it I think I have less of a problem with human sacrifice than I do with animal sacrifice (because from my experience, most goats are cooler than most people). If your religion does call for a human sacrifice, I have a few people I could suggest. David Caruso for one, and the kid whole stole my Swiss Army knife on a sixth grade skiing trip for two.

Getting back to my thoughts on The Apoc, I don’t really care. I have too much to do in any given day (like write this blog) to worry about the world ending tomorrow and the potential judgment that follows it. If there is a higher power that wants to judge me, that’s fine. I will accept whatever judgment that God or the universe has for me…As long as I get to make a judgment of my own. As long as when I am done hearing my eternal fate I can make a final statement and call “bullshit” on all the hypocrisy that I believe to exist, I am fine to take the escalator of fate up or down.

After I have had my time to rant and rave I will ask one final question. To the creator I will ask, “Thanks for that big ass snow storm in February that kept the crazy, coat hanger wielding naked guy out of my closet. But I have to know, how the hell did the Jehovah get up there?”

Finally, I know I started this about ragging on ‘end of the world’ movies, but if you are going to see one, check out Last Night by Don Mckellar. Great flick.

Till next time I have something useless to say,

Jason.

As I make my first venture into the world of online writing, I had to take a second and remember what my Mother once told me about first impressions. Then I remember that my Mother was the same person to send me to my first day of kindergarten wearing a blue,red and green McDonald’s track suit with a yellow collar and cuffs. (There were pictures but I assure you that they are all collected, shredded and burned. So if you are ever in my parent’s basement and are in the photo cabinet there is no need to open the box of pictures labelled “1987”. Don’t do it.)

This is new to me, I can’t quite tell you yet what it will be about, hopefully it will just figure itself out. As for why I am doing this. The short answer would be for my wife’s sanity. Too often she is forced to listen to me rant and rave about things that annoy me, things that blow my mind or just that I am bored and want to talk so I will go on at lengths about things that I am indifferent about. I write this in part as a secondary outlet for my inconsistent, incoherent ramblings.

If you have got this far you are either somewhat interested, as bored as I am or you ARE actually my wife and I am making you read this! Nonetheless, I feel I owe you the courtesy of telling you a little about me.

I could begin by telling you about my aforementioned wife, but I won’t. Because I am afraid of her. Don’t get me wrong, I love her and we have a wonderful, happy and fulfilling relationship. However, I do hold the natural fear that anyone who sleeps next to a person should have. Any man who watched a news story in 1993 about a scissor happy wife should share this fear. That is unless you have some deep dark desire to star in the kind of porn movies that even disgust Ron Jeremy.

I could tell you about my new 3 week old daughter. I will refrain from that now as well, except to tell you that she is beautiful and perfect (except between the hours of 9pm and 11pm). I am just not ready to share her yet.

I could tell you about some of my past adventures including parking lot brawl with an Elk in rut in Banff, Alberta. Or I could relate to you the horror of being stranded in Wawa, Ontario (no offense Wawaians). At some point I am sure I will share the dangers of drunk hitchhiking in Toronto, but today is not that day.

Nor today will I share my interests with you, or my world views. I won’t tell you about books I like. I will not rant about how (even though I appreciate the forum of online writing) I would much rather write this by hand on a yellow legal pad and pin it to the bulletin board on the street in between battle of the bands posters.

Instead of all of those things, I believe the best way to get a glimpse into my soul is by my recommendation that you stop reading now go find a VHS copy of Point Break (then find a VCR) and watch it. Because Point Break is awesome.

Yep, Point Break about sums it up. And if you don’t understand that, then you will never understand me. And that is fine for both of us.

If you found this even mild amusing, please check back for more, because I have a lot more to say that you undoubtably won’t care about.

Till next time.

Jason.