I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Opinions are like assholes

Opinions are like assholes: everyone has one. The bigger the opinion, the larger the asshole. Although I have had rather big opinions, recently, that can't replace the fact that I am an asshole.

This week, there were two postings on my trip to L.A. What were supposed to be a series of lighthearted, fish-out-of-water stories have been (unfortunately) misconstrued as mean-spirited and malicious. That was never my intention.

These stories were supposed to resemble an Englishman in New York-style of trip - foreign man, foreign land - since all my life, no matter how hard I try to fit in, I was always a square peg in a round hole.

It should be said and noted that the people of L.A. were nothing if not welcoming and giving to a foreigner (and complete stranger), like myself. They made me a part of their group. They made me feel like I wasn’t as square as I believed. It felt like a much sunnier and warmer version of home.

And, in one fell swoop, I ruined it all by writing about how out of place I felt.

The greatest irony of this situation is I have been hurt so often, the bruises never seem to heal. I pledged to never do that to another individual. Now, in approximately 600 words, I have become a hypocrite.

The bridges that I built over the past year have not only been burned, but blown up to smithereens. And it pains me to no end they will never be rebuilt.

Whether the posts were deleted, these stories are ingrained in the minds of those who want to forget they ever met me, spoke to me, wrote to me, or even know my name.

No matter what I say, write or do, will be enough. They won't forgive me, and I don't expect them to.

As I sit here teary-eyed, I realize that there is nothing I can do. Nothing. It is beyond my control.

And, I am sorry.

Friday, May 26, 2006


What goes around, comes around what goes up must come down
Now who’s cryin’, desirin’ to come back to me…

Alicia Keys couldn’t have sung it better when referring to a friend or lover who realized their mistakes and wants to return to the ways of old.

Sometimes they’re welcomed back with open arms, and other times they’re not so lucky.

Years ago, I had a best friend who I’ll call BF. Since our families were close, we became fast friends. We were inseparable. We did everything together. If you ever needed to find Steven, there was BF, and vice-versa.

As we grew older, we grew further apart in small ways. The WWF and video games really didn’t interest me, and he didn’t care for classic cinema and architecture.

Then, in one fell swoop, the phone calls stopped being answered and the meetings – albeit awkward – were few and far in-between.

Suddenly, he wanted to be part of the “cool” crowd, and would do anything to join. I, being someone who was always on the fringes, didn’t really care about them because I could give some cred to whatever group I associated myself with.

BF changed clothes, hair, attitude and schools so he could be closer to my friends. He began to spread false stories that I (supposedly) told him, allowing my friends to call me at night wondering why he would say these lies. After consoling them, they realized I wouldn’t betray them like that. They trusted me and not him.

Soon after alienating his new friends and colleagues, he had no one. He was alone. It didn’t matter if BF couldn’t go outside, because no one wanted to play with him.

And, so, he came back to me.

It began with a few phone calls (I didn’t answer), then it was requests to go out (I never RSVPd), and finally, it would cumulate in a family dinner (I was cordial, and pretended to care, but didn’t give a flip about anything he said).

BF threw away a good thing when he had it, but never realized how he good he had it until he threw it away. But, now it’s too late. I have moved on and won’t come back, again.


What goes around comes around and bites you in the ass.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

My destiny is do I make you proud

Thousands of hopeful candidates, countless performances in front of judges and audiences, and painful, tear-filled eliminations, have passed by in the last few months in the quest to crown the next American Idol.

No matter which one of the final two contestants wins the title, they would have to perform their theme song/first single which entailed twinkling pianos, Up With People-style lyrics, a booming chorus, a large choir, and a bridge that softens up and crashes into the last (modified) chorus that allowed the singer to perform lyrical runs for the rest of the song.

Could one song make all the difference in determining a winner? Probably not.

Strangely enough, instead of singing like they’ve never sung before, Katherine and Taylor took this opportunity to make a lasting impression on the voting public in a passive-aggressive way (maybe they’re Canadians). No touchdown. No slam dunk. No hole-in-one.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you one winner and one (potential) has-been.

Katherine, Dark horse and the cherry tree – She said she chose this song to prove that she can sing top-40 music. Ok, if she believes this, then all the power to her.

Taylor, Livin’ in the city – He rocked the audience with his singing, although not so much with his dancing and fuchsia jacket.

Katherine, Over the rainbow – There wasn’t any ostentation with the arrangement or the singing. This performance was simple and classic.

Taylor, Levon – I never understood why he chose to sing this song and not one of his other (and better known) selections from the past season. Oh well…

Katherine, My destiny – The beginning of her first single started off well, but when she sang the bridge and ending chorus, she was already out of steam and her voice was straining to hit several of the high notes. Pretty song, though.

Taylor, Do I make you proud? – He sang his first single better than Katherine. It was a perfect (and ironic) song for the least likely of finalists to sing: a chubby, white-haired twenty-something who looks 45. He practically made the song scream, Hey, look at me, I’m on American Idol! Whoo! Soul patrol! Soul patrol!

Looking back at the performances and watching the reaction of the audience, there seems to be a clear winner for this season’s AI.

But, in the end, it doesn’t matter who wins because their success will be decided by the executives of the BMG marketing department – they are the svengalis who'll manage the future of these two singers for the album-buying public.


Ah, thankfully, I won't have to write about these people for a long time... unless they pop out a really shitty album.

Monday, May 22, 2006


The entrance of the building is covered with people and the circular driveway is littered with skateboarders, rollerbladers and the occasional person whipping around a Frisbee.

As I trek down the stairs and onto the sidewalk, my walk begins to develop into a slow jog, since I am meeting up with someone at UCC about a speech I’m helping to write.

DW is throwing a pigskin to one of two guys, placed in a triangle pattern around the driveway and I give him a nod which says, Hey, as I pass by him.

By the time I get to the street, I hear, “Hey, Steve, catch!”

Not knowing exactly what I heard, I turn around slowly and before I am able to react, I see a something brown coming towards my head. BAM! The football whacks me on my forehead and I fly backwards a few feet - both arms and one leg in the air - and land ass first on the ground.

Wanting to say something angry and insulting to the doofus who threw a football at me (or even to me), I formulize a pithy insult in my head, but it never materializes.

“Ow,” I say as I rub my forehead.

“Sorry, dude. Did that hurt?” I hear him ask as he runs towards me.

Since I am still on the ground, I look up at him and give him the evil eye. “Why did you throw that at me?”

“I thought you'd catch it.”

“What ever gave you the impression that I could catch it? Or would catch it?” I should’ve also added that I don’t play hardly any sports. “I don’t do football.”

“Sorry, dude. You ok?”

“Yes, yes, I’m ok,” I say as I wave him away from me, while rubbing my tender nether regions. “I have to get going…” I mumble as I walk away.

I don’t care for football. Throwing around a ball around, trying to get it from one white line to another, while teammates pummel into each other - I can’t understand the fascination that so many people have for the game.

And, this bump on the head isn’t going to help me love it even more.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Clive the Creator

Clive Davis is a legend in the music industry. He moulded the careers of single-monikered artists (Bruce and Aretha), resurrected the careers of others (Santana), and started off other performers on the path of greatness (Whitney and Alicia Keys).

Without him, these people wouldn’t be the entertainers the world knows today.

From his ability to listen to a diamond in the rough, to the polish required to achieve the sheen of a platinum record, there is a reason why he is known in the recording industry for having the magic ear.

On Tuesday’s American Idol, the contestants sang three songs: one picked by Clive, one selected by one of the judges, and one of their own choosing.

Tonight, song selection was paramount. Three contestants would become two finalists, and in approximately one week, America will have a new idol.

Would their songs make the difference, or would this be a singing contest until the end?

Open arms – Clive could’ve picked a more suited song to Elliott’s abilities. He sang the beginning quite well, but was off with the chorus (the lyrical switches were beyond my comprehension).
What you won’t do for love – White boy did soul and he did it well.
I believe to my soul – Elliott picked a song - that no one recognized - that fits the style of singing he’s most comfortable with, and immediately takes himself out of the competition.

I believe I can fly – The beginning was good, then she began to sing, while forgetting the fact that doing runs for the rest of the song isn’t the same thing as singing (and don’t get me going on how she attempted to mimic Mariah with her hair and hand movements).
Over the rainbow – The cash cow of songs. If she didn’t hit this one (which she did), then I would’ve personally packed her bags and kicked her out of the Idol house myself.
I ain’t got nothing but the blues – She sings another song out of her range and thinks she's done well for herself... until the judges smack the smile off her face with their comments on her performance. She did the sad face, ensuring her place in next week's finale.

Dancing in the dark – Although it was a second-rate version of the Boss classic, I still did the little dance at home.
You are so beautiful – A homerun of a performance that guarantees him in the final two.
Try a little tenderness – The equivalent of singing about babies and puppies and his fans ate it up like a malnourished female celebrities at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Since Taylor is an (inevitable) shoo-in for the final two, tonight’s show was about the future of Elliott and Katherine. Is it better to sing well on two unforgettable songs than singing badly on two memorable ones?

Who’ll rise? Who’ll fall? Who knows…

Monday, May 15, 2006

The elevator game

When riding on an elevator, there is nothing you can do except for look at the three walls, the ceiling, the doors, the floor, the buttons or the floor numbers changing.

Maybe it’s the awkwardness of the space that makes people feel uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s the awkwardness of the people that makes the space uncomfortable.

Either way, you’re not going anywhere except for up or down.

To pass the time, I’ve devised a game that entertains me during those confined moments in confined spaces. I want others to feel as uncomfortable as I do. Fuck. Why should I be the only one?

After my friend and I wait patiently for an empty elevator to take us down a few floors (she’s too tired from walking and carrying her bags and the stairs are not an option), a man rushes into the elevator before the doors close.

We’re pissed. We waited to have an empty elevator and then this douche ruins it for us. Time for payback.

“I am so glad the rash is clearing up,” I say just loud enough for my friend and the douche to hear.

“Uh…” my friend replies. She’s not sure where this is going and is a little fearful of where it’s leading.

“I think the cream is working,” I continue.

“Hmmm…” My friend looks at the numbers changing on the display.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s contagious.” The douche twitches. I’ve got his attention. My friend says nothing. She’s as uncomfortable as the douche is as she waits for my next line.

“If I touch anything, the rash can spread to others…” The douche takes a step to the side.

“That reminds me, which floor did I press?” I look over at my friend. She gives me the What the hell are you doing? Are you on crack? face. I smirk and turn around to face the doors. “I’m not sure. I touched all the buttons...” my fingers pass over the floor buttons. The words linger in the air.

Ding. The door opens and the douche races out of the elevator. He disappears in a cloud of smoke.

Looking over at my friend, she gives me a look. “Please, don’t do that, again,” she pleads. “I was as uncomfortable as he was.”

“Ok,” I raise my hands. “No more contagious diseases. But, you do have to admit it was entertaining.”

She says nothing as she walks out of the elevator.

Fine. Next time around, I’ll just pretend I have Tourette's Syndrome.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Normally, I don’t spend too much time in front of the mirror doing my hair in the morning. The daily ritual entails wetting my hair (I wash it the night before I go to bed), brushing the unruly spots, finger-styling the curls and waves, sticking a toque on (to settle any puffiness) and removing the toque when I arrive wherever I’m going.

Fortunately, those are the good days.

Unfortunately, there are more bad days than good days.

Today, I see a hair that is being exceptionally stubborn and won’t curl over my left ear. Using my index finger, then a few more, I try to move the stupid thing away. Any attempt is an attempt in futility. The fucking hair is protruding out the side of my head like… like a fucking hair that is protruding out the side of my head.

It’s time to pull out the scissors and slash the protruding limb. Snip, snip and it’s over.

The closer I get to the mirror with the scissors in my right hand, I notice something is amiss. The hair isn’t on my head, it’s on my ear. No problem; sometimes the bulb is a little sticky when it comes out of your head.

With my index finger and thumb, I make the pinching motion and try to pull off the imposing hair. What happens is the hair rises a few centimetres, and so does my ear.

Come fuckin’ on. This crazy fucker is over an inch long and is growing on my ear. No way!

What’s the fuck is up with that? Is this part of the quarter life crisis? You’re not sure about your scholastic choices, career, friends and lovers, so God makes hair grow on top of your ear – a fucking cherry on top of a calorie-laden cake, smothered in frosting and sprinkles – just to make your life even more pleasant.

Down go the scissors and out come the tweezers; one yank and it’s gone.

Now the coif is settled, with nary a hair out of place. Literally.

But, it could be worse.

I could be bald with hair growing on top of my ear.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

All shook up

With Elvis Presley being one of the most famous musical performers of all time (as well as the undisputed king of rock and roll), it came as no surprise to have the American Idol contestants choose from a selection of the hits from his extensive catalog.

What was a surprise was seeing the way Priscilla Presley’s face doesn’t move when she’s talking - it’s like she’s a ventriloquist’s dummy and someone's with a hand up her ass.

As the show continued, the more nervous I became. The competition is down to four people, singing their hearts out for a chance to perform for the legendary Clive Davis on next week’s show.

Inevitably, one of them would have to go home, and sadly it would probably be the one that should (deservedly) stay…

Song one – Jailhouse rock. The middle-aged fat women in the audience were eating this shit up like a bucket of greasy chicken with a side of potato wedges and coleslaw. No wonder there is an obesity problem in the U.S. They’ll chow down on any slop given to them.
Song two – In the ghetto. Very nice and nuanced performance that made forget about the KFC order earlier on in the show.

Song one – Suspicious minds. It was good, but I didn’t see the sparkle of previous performances. He’s slacking off like an A student who knows the answers to the final exam because he’s already taken the class previously.
Song two – A little less conversation. This performance could’ve been a little less monotonous. Just because he’s guaranteed a spot in the final three, it doesn’t mean he’s already won.

Song one – I can dream. Although the beginning was shaky, the rest of the song was enough to make everyone cheer in the audience. And I think it’s kinda cute when he puckers his lips and they begin to quiver whenever he sings the word “you” for longer than two beats.
Song two – Trouble. Yes, he is in trouble, which is why he sang like he has never sung before (and blew away the other three singers), but it's no guarantee he'll be around after tonight.

Song one – Hound dog/All shook up. Tommy Mottola was already planning on leaving his fourth wife to marry her, so he couldn’t care less that she forgot the words and bopped around on stage while singing off-key for two minutes. Talent is relative in this situation, unless you're married to it.
Song two – Can’t help falling in love. You know the judges didn’t like your performance when even Paula doesn’t comment on how good you look. Doesn’t matter, since whenever you do that "sad face" and the camera pans to your grandfather in the audience, you’re in like Flynn.

In the end, I’m all shook up because this contest has proven that no matter how talented you are, the most deserving person doesn’t always win… well, except for Kelly Clarkson, because no sane person in the world would’ve voted for Sideshow Bob over her.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bad day

Where is that knife when you need it the most?
You’re touching the blade and the madness is lost
Seeing the blue skies change to red
Knowing the good times make you dread
And you just can’t go carrying on…

You pick up the pills when you hit a new low
Washing it down with some booze that you know
The bag on your head is not that tight
So you’re falling asleep on early nights
And you just can’t go carrying on…


Cause you had a bad day
You’re feeling way down
Pick up a gun
And you’re looking around
You’re pointing it up
To shoot at your head
The bullet’s inside
And you’re wishing you’re dead
Had a bad day
Off from your high
Coming back down
And you’re outta your mind
You had a bad day
You had a bad day…

You wanna jump from balconies
Praying to God on hands and knees
And you just can’t go carrying on…


Ah, take me away...

Sometimes the rope isn’t long enough
And your feet go and touch the ground
There ain’t anyone to hear your cries
And your tears only muffle sound
Until you’re found…

Where is that knife when you need it the most?
You’re touching the blade and the madness is lost

Cause you had a bad day
You’re feeling way down
Pick up a gun
And you’re looking around
You’re pointing it up
To shoot at your head
The bullet’s inside
And you’re wishing you’re dead
You had a bad day
You've seen what you’re like
Your so many lows
So little highs
You had a bad day
You had a bad day

Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day
Had a bad day


The theme song for manic-depressives... or for anyone else who has heard the original version on the radio for the zillionth time.

And, yes, I admit it's not the best way to start off a week.

Note to self: happy post for next Monday.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Genuine plastic

Since the dawn of time, groups have tried to assimilate with others in order to belong and feel a sense of worthiness. Even after millions of years, no one has it down to a science.

If they did, do you think Adam and Eve would’ve been banned from the Garden of Eden? Uh, no. They would’ve ignored that snake and eaten some other friggin’ piece of fruit.

This history lesson does have a point. It’s leading me to the politics of personalities.

Behind every smiley face and chipper laugh there lies ulterior behaviours. There isn’t one person who is sunshine and lollipops, rainbows and everything, all the time. Even they roll their eyes (at least in their minds) at an incredibly groan-inducing joke.

Their pretence is a psychological defence. Be nice and others will want you. Be a shithead, and your chances dwindle. Chances are they’d rather be genuine plastic, even if it makes them wince on the inside.

Sadly, these behaviours are no more obvious than in the workplace.

And, here is where my crux lies: As grating as my real personality is, I am terrible at being fake.

I’ve tried to be nice. People thought I had ulterior motives.

I’ve tried to smile. People thought it was a smirk and was making fun of them.

I’ve tried to play dumb to make others feel smarter. People thought I was just stupid.

I’ve tried to flexible in every which manner possible (and believe me, there have been positions I never thought were possible). People thought I was showing off by thinking I was more capable then they were – they were right on this one, though.

None of the above has worked.

So, now I am back to being me.

Strangely enough, people are more receptive.

They stop by my desk to talk to me. They smile more often. They laugh at my bitchy jokes and comebacks. They want me to join their “group” after work.


You would think if you gave them what they wanted, they’d lap it up some undernourished dog, living in the street. But, no.

And, all I had to do was be myself.

Nothing fake. Nothing plastic.

Genuine me.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow

The actions of yesterday can have an effect on the events of today. If those actions happen to be erroneous in nature, they can beget a nuclear meltdown.

Kinda like picking the wrong song to sing on American Idol.

This week, contestants selected two songs using Billboard’s catalogue of charts: a song from the year they were born, and; a song from 2006.

Were songs from the past as good as the ones of today? Depends on the year. But, common knowledge does dictate that history is bound to repeat itself... especially with crappy songs and crappier singers.


1978 – On Broadway. A soulful take on a soulful song isn’t much of a stretch. A soulful take on a disco song would’ve kicked ass. Donna Summer, anyone? Maybe next week.
2006 – Home. Please don’t let the ironic song title ruin your chances this week. I don’t want you to go home.

1988 – Kiss. You chose this song? There was nothing better in 1988? Too bad. Kiss away your chances of staying.
2006 – Be without you. Your lower range is sometimes a little shaky, but overall it was good performance. You ain't Mary J., but you make a good Paris B.

1979 – Renegade. Perfect song and great performance, but your voice strains a bit when you reach for those high notes.
2006 – I dare you. Proof that you screamed your way through the song – your voice almost gave out twice. And, the song sucked. No songs by Creed on the charts this week?

1984 – Against all odds. Jeff Bridges and Rachel Ward would’ve certainly offed themselves if this was the rendition heard in their film. Wrong key and all over the place. And, stop smiling – it’s a serious song.
2006 – Black horse and the cherry tree. It was a good thing you were on your knees during this song (but the “dancing” needs work, white girl), because you better be praying to Jesus that voters didn’t listen to the first song you sang.

1976 – Play that funky music. Oh. My. God. Take me, Lord. Take me now!
2006 – Something. Simon was right saying it’s strange that a song that is 30 years old can be considered recent. Oh well. As boring as it was, it cleaned up the mess you made of the first song you sang. No bleach for my brain.

In the end, there were no serious disasters.

Okay, okay, one… no, two… all right, three of them.

But, there wasn’t a rehash of Chernobyl. It was more like Three Mile Island.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Basic instincts

Taking a quick glance at my clock, I realize I have a few minutes before my lecture starts. Before I grab my bag and run out the door, I think it’s best to make a quick change.

It still gets a little nippy when the lecture ends at 9 p.m., so shorts and a t-shirt are not akin to warmth. Into my bedroom I go, and don’t bother switching on the lights. I throw on the first pair of jeans I find and a jacket and head for class.

When I arrive, I notice the room isn’t as full as I expected. My usual seat at the front of the room is vacant, so I make my down to the front of the room, passing about 15 rows of seating.

The lecture starts and people continue to trickle in while the TA is doing his thing at the front. I am sitting upright in my chair, with my back slightly curved over the table top so I am able to write down copious notes on my clipboard.

As the class continues, my posture changes and I begin to slouch further down my chair. The clipboard remains on the table top, but my head rests on the top of the chair while my ass is about to slip off the bottom. My arm is stretched out across the table top and my legs rest wide open, making a V-shape.

Then something happens.

Since there is an air current that bypasses the front of the classroom, my legs begin to feel colder than usual. Crossing and uncrossing my legs - as well as rubbing them together like a preying mantis to create friction - doesn’t seem to help with the circulation or chill factor.

Holding onto my clipboard with my right hand, I run my left hand down my leg and back up towards the zipper. Something is awry.

With my index finger, I feel loose threads and then I touch skin. I continue on this path until I realize there isn’t a small hole in the crotch of my pants, but a large rip. If it wasn’t for the zipper and the double stitching near the back, the rip would’ve split the jeans in half.

What’s worse is that I’m not wearing any underwear and Johnny has come out to play.

My basic instincts of crossing and uncrossing my legs have led to me accidentally flash my TA for the past two hours. It’s too late to do anything about it, now, so I lean back and let Johnny play for a little while longer.

The lecture finishes soon after my discovery and I pack my bags (all of them), and head out of the classroom.

I’ve learned a lot today in lecture, especially that I never really cared for show-and-tell.