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

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Always the bridesmaid

At traditional weddings, the bride throws out the bouquet to a group of single women during the reception, and it is said that the woman who catches the bouquet is destined to be the next bride to walk down the aisle.

Each and every one of the other women wants the bouquet, but admits to defeat to the one who with the longest arms, or best reach. In the end, they feign happiness to the bitch that caught it with the whorish clothes and make-up, bad dye job, halitosis and a snaggle-tooth.

What women don’t realize is those pretty flowers aren’t about the promise of marriage, but the promise of possibilities and opportunities.

Being a man, I have never been in the bouquet toss, but I know what it feels like to have the promise of something coming towards me, while some unworthy opponent seizes it from my hands like the fucking jaws of life.

On more than one occasion, I have been runner-up to friends and others, beauty and talent, job opportunities and promotions, and height.

It is bothersome watching people who don’t do anything special to deserve much, have these things thrust at them. And, since they’re nonchalant about it all (they have to be since they already have it all), they just sigh and brush it off as if it happens everyday… which it does.

Smug bastards.

Coming in second sucks and sucks the life out of you.

You never get to wear the pretty white dress and tiara. There is no special treatment for you on the special day. And, no one tells you how beautiful you look even though they’re pretending not to notice you’re five months pregnant.

Instead you get to wear the fugly dress with all the pink ruffles and layers of tulle that make you look like two dozen ballerinas exploded all over you at a cake shop. And you get treated like shit because your skin is blemish free (due to the lack of pregnancy hormone fluctuations), your hair is perfect, and don’t need three seamstresses sewing you into something that is four sizes too small.

Fuck. Am I being punished?

I am always a bridesmaid and never a bride.

Note: Happy 34th, G.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Commenting on commentaries

With the upgraded versions of recent DVDs, there are multi-stage tracks of directors, producers, writers, and stars talking about their latest masterpiece.

“See, right here, we held the shot just a little bit longer to capture a moment of sexual tension.”

“I really didn’t think I could make the jump, but then I was all like, fuck, I’m not gonna be a pussy, so I went and did it.”

“No one ever gives the screenwriter any credit. Do you know how many times I had to rewrite this stupid scene to please everyone and the craft service people? Do you?!

But, sometimes the movies suck and you’d rather be watching something else, like a porno - you know, something with a plot, original art direction, pretty clothes, and first-rate acting.

Is it just me, but wouldn’t it be great to know what porn stars are really thinking while in a scene?


“Damn, my acrylic nail is loosening… I can feel it going, going… Well, there it goes. I hope she doesn’t mind.”

“It’s so small. It looks like a golf pencil. Should I blow it, or write with it?”

“God, I feel fat. Must get to the gym after this. Must do some weight… ow, what the fuck is he doing?”

"I shouldn't have had Taco Bell for lunch."

"Damn, did you have Taco Bell for lunch?"

“142… 143… 144… There are 144 ceiling tiles.”

“Awww, gross. Sick. I can still taste it. Fucking enemas.”

“Milk, eggs, bread, cereal…”

“Oh yes. Yes. YES! Keep doing that, baby. Keep on, keepin’ on. You know how to work it. Just a little bit more. To the right. A little bit. A little… Oh yeah, that's the spot…”

And, so on and so forth.


Of course, maybe they don’t think of anything, at all. Maybe they’re drunk or drugged up, and hardly awake enough to really do anything except for act.

Then again, I don’t think anyone really cares what they think, and they’d rather watch the fucking movie.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Poo and boogernuggets

With the grave injustices going on in the world today, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for many of us to lighten the mood. In all honesty, there isn’t a reason to.

But, sometimes there are certain instances where a memory triggers a response that can only be described as a case of the giggles.

To me, these triggers are the words poo and boogernuggets.

Why these two words?

They remind me of my youth.

In the time where we were not allowed to use swear words, poo was as R-rated as we could go without getting in trouble from the strict, Catholic schoolmarm. We didn’t want anything rapping at our knuckles.

Today, when I hear an eight-year-old yell out, “Oh my God, he pooed all over the place!” or if a British adult says, "You're such a poo," my lips form a smirk and I begin to giggle.

And, when some kid picked his nose and looked at his dried-up snot, the clusters resembled gold clumps that were tilled in the river - hence, the term boogernuggets.

It was a visual gag that grossed out everyone... especially if that kid ate them.


So, whenever I want to forget about the problems in society and have a little laugh, I think of these two words or say them out loud: poo, boogernuggets.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to use the bog and dig for some treasure.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Watch me dance

On the dancefloor, gonna lose it to the music
On the dancefloor, got my body, gonna use it

The words and music of this disco-inspired Kylie Minogue number throb through my brain whenever I want to move my body in a rhythmic fashion. Sometimes you don’t have the time or the place, but you have to make it happen.

At a typical wedding, the time is after the food is served and eaten, and the speeches have all been said, and the place is the centre of the ballroom.

When the dancefloor opens for business, it’s cha-ching for the movers and shakers. Unfortunately, most people perform the same set of steps: the side shuffle and the occasional hand raise and twirl for the adventurous.

I don’t dance like that.

Partly inspired from years of music videos and, most recently, So You Think You Can Dance, my moves are of a more - shall we say - entertaining nature.

When the beat drops, so do I.

From the booty bounce to the bump and grind, I do it all. Every move is dramatic and punctuated by a corresponding facial expression. After a few drinks, it gets more graphic. My hands move all over my body, through my hair and down my face. It’s not my intention to get attention in any way, but the music takes me an indescribable place.

But, not everyone is impressed.

Old people point and say back in their day people didn’t dance like that. Smug marrieds roll their eyes in disgust and agree to ask me to join them later on in their hotel room. People my age think I’m an attention whore. And, the bride and groom are wondering why they ever invited me in the first place.

Personally, I don’t care what they think of me. After tonight, the guests will never see me again. Oh what the hell, let them get a good look. Who cares about the bride? They’ve seen her all day, walking around in that dress, veil and bouquet. Now, it’s time to be entertained by something else.

Watch me dance.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Sweet tooth

Not being the sort of person who normally purchases sweets (which is ironic since, considering my bitterness, I should be chewing on as many sweets as any human with a dazzling set of chompers can), every once in a while I get a craving for a sugar rush that equals that of a four-pack of Red Bulls.


Walking through the grocery store, I look in my basket and notice even though I have the basics to keep me going for the rest of the week (bread, milk, Pepto, etc.), I don’t have anything for a quick snack.

After strolling around a few aisles, I find what I’m looking for in a chocolate-marble-swirl bundt cake. Perfect.

By the time I get home, I open up the package and cut a small slice while I’m putting away the groceries. Then, I go back and cut another slice. And another. And one more. Even though I have already had breakfast and lunch, the only thing on my mind is cake. And, there’s still dinner to think about.

In 10 minutes, ½ the cake is gone. M.I.A. Pas de gâteau.

It has to be put away, or else I will explode before the day is done. BOOM! Little bits of cloth and cake will cover the walls and floors of the kitchen, yet even in this state, I'll probably find a way to lick away at the leftovers.

Damn bakers. Why are they able to make something so tasty and addictive? Are they former drug dealers? Well, that would explain the need for a constant rush.

Even though I am a bitter person, for the right amount of sugar, I will definitely have a sweet tooth.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

They're gonna hate me

You only have one chance to make a first impression. Unfortunately, you should get two chances just in case you fuck up your first one.

One inappropriately-timed turn-of-phrase, and you’re a social pariah.

So, imagine what happens when a group of strangers already know of you when you know hardly anything about them...


On the way to the place of a friend of a friend, I look over at the driver and ask, “Do they of me, or anything about me?”

“I little, I guess,” is the response, eyes concentrated on finding a parking space in the neighbourhood.

Great, they’re gonna hate me, is the first thing that pops into my mind.

They have some general idea of me and it's probably the wrong one. They’re going to take one look at me and they’re going to hate me. I’ll give my people a bad name. Bad Steven. Bad, bad Steven.

Where's a tabula rasa when you need one?

After the initial introductions and trying to merge myself into the ongoing conversations, one of them asks me, “So, what do you think of us?”

“You know what? I really don’t have an opinion,” I reply, truthfully. “I know so little about you, that I can’t say anything, either way.”

His face reads as uncertain. He probably doesn’t believe me.

“In fact, on the way here, I kept on thinking that you’re going to hate me, that I’ll say or do something stupid and you’ll think, gaaah,” I roll my head back.


That’s what happens when you meet someone you don’t know, but know of. You have a predisposed impression in your mind that is a basis of their personality and you build from there. If the initial impression is good, there is a solid foundation to build a stronger relationship. If the initial impression is lacklustre, than it’s like constructing a house in a sandpit.

They know something about me, and I hardly know anything about them. Do the math, because I didn’t do so well in OAC calculus.

In the end, I don’t know what they think of me. I never asked. Even though I tried to fit in, hopefully I didn’t fuck up my first impression because I know I won’t get a second one any time soon

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Back to school supplies

Walking through Wal-Mart’s automatic doors, I am always bombarded by so many products that I’m surprised they’re not their own country. Talk about GNP.

As the masses pass by the main entrance, there are the aisles that promote the seasonal product. In January, it’s lovey-dovey for Valentine’s Day. In March, it’s eggs and bunnies for Easter. Etc. Etc.

Back to school time happens during the muggy month of August. You’ll find rows upon rows of pens and pencils, paper and notebooks, binders, calculators, extra strength Tylenol and Ritalin.

The image of mothers tugging at their screaming kids, pushing a shopping cart, filled with miscellaneous school supplies brings back memories. Or it does to the average adult since that never happened with me when I was a child.

Our shopping excursions entailed a small basket filled with one or two packages of 10 cent paper, a 10-pack of multi-coloured Bic pens that lasted for years, a white eraser, a bottle of Liquid Paper, and if I was really, really good, some new binders.

One year, my mother purchased everything using Canadian Tire money. That’s right, the store's currency – all of our supplies were paid with the Monopoly-ish moolah. And, being from a frugal family, if I accidentally lost or destroyed anything, I didn’t get anything else. That was the unwritten house rule: take care of what you got ‘cause you ain’t gettin’ any more.

So, I did.

I was so careful with all of my school supplies, I still have my first set of Crayola crayons that was given to me in senior kindergarten. Hardly ever been used. Pristine condition.

To this day, I still have most of my school supplies from grade school. Further proof that if you're taught something from a very young age (while instilling fear in your heart), it'll stick.

Which reminds me, anyone want some paper?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Strike a pose

When the makeup and hair is done, the clothing styled, and a bit of coke sipped, I walk towards the area where everything is set up. A fantasy photoshoot, starring me. My giddiness is only surpassed by my ability to take a dozen packages of diuretics within a 12-hour period.

The lights are adjusted and I’m told a few simple directions: Go over there and make the product look good.

A few moments after getting prepped in front of the camera, I imitate expressions and poses from major campaigns. The penetrating stare. The longing and wistful look. The arm reach. The over the shoulder. And my personal favourite, the broken rag doll.

“Stop hunching over. Stand straight up,” the photographer yells. “Straighten up!” Apparently, this isn't Italian Vogue and he’s not Steven Miesel.

“The light. Move towards the light. No, no, the key light. The key light.” What light? This shit you have on me is so fucking dark I can barely see anything. I want to yell back the key light can kiss my ass, but I don’t because it’s unprofessional and I don’t want to be known as Naomi Campbell Jr.

A few hours pass and the day is almost ending.

“Perfect. Yes, yes. More, more. More like that,” the photographer is excited. My back hurts and my legs are about to buckle from standing in the same position. “Ok. One, two… two more. Ok, we’ve got it. Thanks everyone,” he claps enthusiastically.

Everyone begins thanking each other for a hard day’s work. Air kisses and promises of drinks are flowing in the air like magic dust.

Someone taps me on my shoulder and tells me I can clean up. I throw off the car tarp I was under, let my eyes adjust to the light and walk to the prep area to remove the reminder of my day from my face.

Note: Inside joke. The point I'm trying to make is that I am so unphotogenic and unmodellike I can only be photographed if I'm completely covered with a tarp. I never said it was a funny joke, though...

Monday, August 21, 2006

I ain't no fuckin' bank

Sitting at the front of the coffee shop, S and I are able to see the passers by due to the large sliding windows. While people take to the pavement, we take to the dessert in front of us.

But, our break is interrupted by a dirty and dark-haired stranger.

“Hey, friend. Long time no see," says the man standing next to me. "How are you doing?”

Even though I forget names (I know too many Mikes, Johns, Jays and Jennifers), faces I remember. This man, I have never seen before. And, if I have, it must’ve been when I passed him on the street in a drunken and drugged stupor.

I put down my cup, turn in my chair, and look up at him.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know you,” I say in a courteous tone. Then, I turn towards S, and carry on with my conversation. She, on the other hand, continues to look up at him with fear and confusion.

“Hey, friend. Don’t you remember me?” He asks, undeterred, thinking I know him.

Again, I put down my cup, turn in my chair, and look up at him. Is he still here?

“I’m sorry," I repeat. "I. Don’t. Know. You,” I say in an even, clipped tone, not as courteous as before. Then, I turn towards S, and carry on with my conversation, again.

He doesn't move from his spot. After a pause he asks, “So, uh, do you have any money…?”

Ah, so that’s his reason for thinking he’s my long-lost friend. Dude, ya got a mighty big pair of balls to ask me for money in a private establishment. Friend, my ass. Ain’t no friend of mine has ever asked me for money. Oh, bloody hell no. I ain't no fuckin' bank.

Swiftly, I snap my head upwards, and give him the evil eye. As much as I want to say, You do realize that soliciting is against the law? Want me to call the cops on your skanky ass? I don’t. Also, I don’t want him to knock out my teeth, resembling the half-dozen he has in his mouth.

He takes the hint and walks away when I turn my back to him. S watches him walk away with the same expression of fear and confusion.

“So, as I was saying…” I continue, taking a bite out of my brownie.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Subliminal messages

Subliminal messages are used to trick our minds to unconsciously think of something without much thought. Sometimes it’s immediate, and other times it takes a while to process.


The conversation starts innocently enough. A little chatter about our day, what we did, what we’re planning to do - nothing out of the ordinary.

Then, the talk verges into another direction.

“I need a rolling pin,” says G, out of the blue. “I can’t find a rolling pin.”

“Why do you need a rolling pin?” I ask. Is there an intruder in the house?

“I’m baking cookies and I need a rolling pin...” the voice trails off.

This goes on for a minute while G looks for a rolling pin. Although G has a good reason for baking at 10 p.m. (an ungodly hour for hovering around the stove), I can’t think of another reason to remove the mixer from the cabinet, pull out some sugar, flour, milk and eggs … unless I’m friggin’ hungry.

And when it comes to food, subliminal messages are everywhere; and they're all about cookies.

Walking around my place, I’m constantly reminded of this. The old, dark-stained cabinets in the kitchen remind me of chocolate chips. The peeling paint on the walls is the colour of batter. The rocky foundation is similar to the crumbling sweetness of a cookie when it’s broken in half. Little hints here and there.


Maybe I shouldn’t bake, but renovate.

At 10:30 p.m., I start to make cookies. After all the preparations, the dough is placed in the oven. I’m giddy because in 17-20 minutes, I’ll have cookies.

The fragrant smell permeates several rooms. I walk by the oven several times to make sure they haven’t burned. To have one right now is beyond comprehension.


They're done! Sweet Jesus, they're done!

The trays are removed and the cookies cool (on the trays) for a few minutes. After that, they’re placed on paper towels - I don’t have cooling racks - to help soak up any excess fat.

A few of them don’t make it to the paper towels, though: two are gone in a few minutes, and by midnight, four would have disappeared.

Next time I chat with G, I have to make sure we talk about exercise.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Best Buy gets fucked by me

On the way to Best Buy, my blood is slowly boiling and my anger is in check. But, if anyone tells me that I can’t exchange this faulty merchandise, I am going to cause a scene.

The car stops in parking lot, and as I open my door, the receipt and plastic sheathing of the CD case fly out the door.

“Shit. SHIT!! Oh, fuck, fuck. FUCK!!” I yell out as I run after them, my door open and my wallet still inside of the car. They’re my only proof of purchase.

A green Mustang turns the corner and almost drives over me while I run across the parking lot.

Sorry! Oh, so sorry,” I hold up my hand as I’m crouching down on the ground in front of a 300-hp machine. “Thanks,” I say as I skitter back to my car.

With everything now inside of the shopping bag, I walk into the store, ready to confront the CSR who didn’t give me what I wanted yesterday.

“I need one of those stickers, please,” I tell the new greeter before she even opens her mouth. She passes one over, I stick it on the CD and thank her.

Doing my attitude stomp towards the customer service area, I see three people, but none of their faces belong to David, the representative who originally “helped” me.

Fuck. I am ready for a WWF match of epic proportions - a fight where only one of us is left standing (and it won’t be him) - and the fucker doesn't even show up. Pussy.

Instead, I get to deal with Carrie. And, judging by Carrie’s looks, it seems like this pugilist has seen the inside of a ring before. This should prove interesting.

“Hello, is there anything I can help you with?” she says, feigning politeness.

“Yes, there is.” I lean forward, one elbow on the counter.

She puts away the receipts, takes a step back and crosses her arms.

I begin by placing the bag on the counter and removing the contents.

“Ok, so yesterday I came in, the first person in the store, and purchased this CD,” I point to the CD on the counter. “When I got home, I opened it up and the CD fell out of the case. The case was broken. Whether it was already broken when it was made, or when it was shipped, it was broken. If you check out the other CDs on the shelf,” I point to a random spot behind me, “you’ll see that more than half of them are also cracked. Clearly, that’s not my fault.”

Her semi-pleasant face is gone. Now, she begins to stare me down.

“So, I brought it back to the store, told the rep what happened and he said he wouldn’t exchange it because it wasn’t the store’s fault. He said the only way to exchange it is if the CD was scratched. Fine. So, I went home, listened to the CD, checked online to verify the store policy, and even called the 1-866 number and even they - Chris at extention 10467 - told me I had a right to have it exchanged. I was also told the reason why David didn’t exchange it was because he didn’t want to.” I say these last three words in staccato form.

She looks at me, about to say something unpleasant, but I cut her off before any words form on her lips.

“Oh, and by the way, the CD is scratched.” I point to the CD. “Just so you know…”

She gives me a look, pulls out the CD from the case and looks at the underside.

“Would you like to listen to it and prove me wrong?” I raise an eyebrow.

She’s not even bothering to fight. So, she does what every smart weakling does, she gets someone else to fight for her.

“Uh, Warren, could you do this?” She places the CD back in the case. “I’m going on my break,” when she says, she takes one last look at me and walks away.

Warren, who looks like Seann William Scott (without the crazy facial expression) trades places with Carrie.

“You probably already heard all of that, so I’m not going to repeat it, again.” I say, tired of telling the same story so many times. “So, can you exchange this for me?”

“Uh, I think I can.” While he’s opening the case, I begin to give a condensed version of what happened. He nods, flips the case to the back, rubs his finger along the missing teeth, and closes the case.

He types on the computer for a few minutes, prepares the papers for me to sign, and I sign them.

Before I go, I have one more thing to ask of him.

“Just indulge me for a second and open the package. Just open it. Like that, you can’t say that I wrecked it and wanted another one.”

“Um, ok.” I’m sure no one has ever asked that of him, before.

He picks up a pair of large scissors and tries to slide it underneath the packing folds, at the edge. He continues to do this for much too long and I begin to turn up the crank on crankiness.

“To make it faster, pick up an X-acto knife, slide it along the side and pull off the sheath. It’s the fastest and easiest way.”

He looks up and isn’t impressed with my suggestion.

After trying to lift up a bit of the plastic, he rips off the sheath in eight pieces. Clearly, from the expression on his face, he’s proud of himself. He flips the case back and forth and sees that everything is intact. He closes the case and inserts it back into the bag with my new receipt.

“Thanks for that. The last thing I want is to come back with another broken case and have you think, This guy is fucked up.

“Well, we wouldn’t say that,” he says.

You may think it, though.

As I walk out of the store, I see the same greeter from yesterday. He gives me a look, like he’s seen me one too many times over the past couple of days. He smirks and I smirk back.

Best Buy tried to fuck with me, but I fucked them instead.

Note: Anticlimactic, n'est-ce pas? I wanted to cause a scene so badly, I went to Chapters and had one there, instead.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Best Buy can suck my dick

Tuesday is the day when new music releases are placed on the shelves for traditional consumers to snatch up, instead of downloading them onto their hard drives.

Today, Christina Aguilera pops out her Back to Basics album. Thinking of sliding that shiny piece of plastic into my player makes me giddy. I am already singing Ain’t no other man on the way to Best Buy.

After bypassing the insipid greeter at the entrance, I find the CD, realize I can’t get the free t-shirt with purchase (and getting pissed in the process), buy it and take it home.

When I open the case, the CD falls out and I catch it mid-fall. The inside of the case is broken and there are small bits of plastic swimming around, ready to scratch the CD.

Ain’t no other man wouldn’t complain. But, I ain’t no other man.

Rushing back to the store, I bypass the same insipid greeter and go to customer service.

“Hi, I was wondering if you could help me with something,” I smile as I reach the counter. I begin to pull out the CD from the plastic bag and he cuts me off from saying anything else before I place it on the counter.

“I’m sorry I can’t return it because you opened it,” he quickly says.

“But I didn’t do anything to it,” I reply. As I carefully open the CD case, I try not to let the CD slide out and I catch the small pieces of plastic which litter the inside. “It was already like this when I bought it. I didn’t wreck it.”

“Uh huh. We can’t return it.”

I’m getting a little pissed. Is this what passes for customer service nowadays? “What would make it returnable?”

“Only if there’s a scratch on the CD,” he says, a little haughtily.

“I have to take two hours from my day to listen to 2 CDs to ensure they’re not scratched?”

He nods his head.

“Yeah.” The pissiness is rising inside me.

“So, even though I buy this a couple of hours ago, open it, see that the case is defective, have the CD fall out and almost get scratched. But, I can’t return it because it’s not the manufacturer’s fault."

There's a pause and static rising in the air.

“But, the only way to find out if it’s defective is by opening the package, and I can’t do that because then I can’t return it.”

I let this thought linger in the air.

“You know that doesn’t make any sense, right?” I look at him and cock my head to the side. The CD will get scratched in a few days after opening and closing the broken case.

He just stands there, with the same, vacant expression on his face.

“Ok, right.” I put the CD back in the bag and close it. “Thanks,” I say between clenched teeth and turn on my heel.

Driving home in a mad rush, I check their Web site to prove this customer service moron wrong.

Online, their policy clearly states that CDs are returnable with the original receipt and packaging. It says nothing about opened or unopened packages.

To back up my case, I call the support line and Chris (the unfortunate soul who has to hear my case) tells me I am right and should get a straight exchange. I ask him what to do if that doesn’t happen, and he tells me to ask for the manager and make a "stink" (his words, not mine).

Tomorrow, I am going back to Best Buy and I am so going to make a scene.

And, I want that customer service representative to be there when his manager tells him to suck my dick.

Ain’t no other man, it’s true.
Ain’t no other man, you’re screwed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Kennel Club

From The Women to Mean Girls, the cinema has presented a wide range of back-stabbing bitches who use their razor-sharp wit to slash away at the self-esteem of their victims, making them feel superficially superior.

When I was younger, I used to think it was cool to talk about other people behind their backs. The little quips allowed me to vent personal frustrations on others. Making someone feel small made me feel big. And, I liked it.

That feeling quickly disappeared when someone heard something I said that wasn’t very nice. Although I made like a spin-doctor and denied, denied, denied, it was too late and the damage was done.

From then onward, I made it a point not to talk about anyone behind their backs - I tactfully do it to their face. They were people who had feelings, and people who have feelings can get hurt.

In other words, I grew up, became a better person, and realized that I wouldn’t want anyone to do the same thing to me.

Unfortunately, some people never grow up. Whether they’re 13 or 30, they’re members of The Kennel Club. It doesn't matter if they’re your friends or family, acquaintances or co-workers, and their knives are always within reach of their lashing tongues.

Sadly, these bitches always walk away with their tails between their legs, even after having stabbed others in the back. They can’t help it. Some animals are born cowards.

Pull out the blade, and stick it in my back. A little deeper. Come on, you know you want to. It makes you feel good, doesn’t it? Does it feel good to hurt me? I know how you like to…

Monday, August 14, 2006


For any vacation, it is necessary to pack the essentials of travel: tickets, passport, ID, money, clothes, toiletries, and miscellaneous things such as a clock and Pepto.

Since I’m travelling alone this time around, I bring with me a few photographs to remind me of home. They’re all of my family.

But, there is one photo that stands out from the rest. It’s a photo of my niece.

In all realities, there is nothing special about the photo. It doesn’t resemble a soft-focus, b&w shot by Bruce Weber, suitable for a Ralph Lauren campaign.

It’s a full-on shot of my niece’s face. She’s wearing a small hat that droops over one side of her head, a little t-shirt and a cardigan. She isn’t smiling, but looking at the camera with no particular expression that can be interpreted as anything.

What is special about the photo is the meaning behind it.

She doesn’t realize the impact she has on others. She’s not just a little girl. She’s a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, and more. She connects two families and their histories, and brings them into the future. And she’s unaware of the impact she has and the power that lies just beyond her world.

She’s one and everything.

Seconds before I fall asleep and turn off the bedside light, I look at her face. I can hear her giggling when I touch her button nose with my finger. And at that moment, she takes me back home.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Little Dog

A bunch of us are sitting around D’s dorm room, waiting for our parents to pick us up for the long weekend. Since the room allows for a view of the front courtyard, D and I sit near the window to make sure we don’t miss our rides.

Finally, a Buick rolls up the driveway and my parents exit the car and walk towards the entrance.

“Well, my parents are here,” I say as I get up and off the desk.

“Is that your dad, Little Dog?” D always called his guy friends, Little Dog, as a term of affection.

“Yup,” I reply.

“He looks like a Big Dog.”

“He is.”

“So, what happened with you?” D scrunches up his face in a look of confusion.

Good question.

My father’s physique resembled an athlete in its prime – broad shoulders, narrow waist, and long legs. With time and the love of sitting in front of the TV, he is no longer as trim as before, but his presence can still turn a few heads.

I, on the other hand, don’t look anything like my father. I am not as tall as he is, broad as he is, or as striking as he is. And after going through the Frosh 15 (or in my case, the negative Frosh 20), I am, at 120ish pounds, almost 100 pounds lighter than he is.

Even though little boys are supposed to grow up and resemble their fathers, you can imagine the disappointment of having a son that looks like the milkman’s kid.

Physically, the only thing I have going for me is a head of hair thick and lustrous hair, a set of thighs that can crack walnuts in half, and the ability to contort my body in ways that make Cirque du Soleil gymnasts want to plot my impending death.

Where did it go wrong? Blame it on nature, nurture, a combination of both, or none because I don’t know the answer.

But, it doesn’t matter if I look like him, or not. He’s my father and I’m his little bitch… I mean boy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The red carpet

The rich and famous have multiple excuses to walk the red carpet. Whether it’s for a movie premiere, or an awards ceremony, they’re always there, making their presence known.

There’s something in the air whenever the red carpet comes out. Magic. Your favourite celebrity exits their limo, stops for autographs, poses for photographers, and answers questions from reporters. All the while, their designer-clad feet never touch the harsh concrete because they’re resting on a plush ground.

Only celebrities (and their handlers) are able to do this. It’s an exclusive club, and very few people are asked to join - segregation of the new millennium.

The only way to sidestep this form of exclusivity is to create your own club. And, I've found a place that allows anyone to join.


While walking through one of my favourite department stores, I am bombarded by the perfume aisle. Rows upon rows of women (and a few men), waiting for someone to pass by, spritzing them in the eye with the newest scent, and while temporarily blinding a consumer, extolling the virtues of a light top note of gardenia and a bottom note of exotic water lily.

Before this happens, I make a right and a left and cut through the cosmetics section to avoid them. Right there, there’s a red carpet, 100 feet long, stretching from where I stand to the entrance of the mall. A personal invitation to join the exclusive club.

Within seconds, I am walking the red carpet.

Strutting with confidence - direct eye contact, shoulders back, arms at my sides, a slight bounce in my step, and a bit of attitude - all attention is on me. My clothes are the latest designer looks. Pausing every 10 feet, I strike a pose for the photographers in the stands to take my photo. People scream out my name as I wave to them. The perennially perky Mary Hart asks me how I feel at this moment, and I tell her, Incredible.

As I approach the end, my dream dissipates into the air like the scent of perfume a few feet away.

With one last turn, I look back at the start of the carpet and wish this time could last longer. It doesn’t. I have to move on. My time on the red carpet ends as I walk into the mall.

Note: After posting this, I realized this is my year-and-a-half blogoversary. Scary, huh? I'm sorry for torturing my eight readers for such a long time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tennis match talking

During a lively conversation between adults, a question or remark is normally served and the responses and reactions/opinions are volleyed back and forth.

Very much like a tennis match.

Being invited to the place of a friend of a friend, I have no idea what are acceptable topics for conversation. I have a few answers prepared, in case anyone asks about the weather or the economy. Beside that, nothing; no practice with my swing, or lunges for a stray ball.

While everyone is sitting in the spacious living room, they take the occasional sips of drinks and lobby conversation serves back and forth. It's fun to watch.

“Did you remember when…?” Whoop. “Yeah, but wasn’t that…?” Whoop. “I still can’t believe…” Whoop. “Wasn’t that the time when…?” Whoop.

My head snaps back and forth between the players, with whiplash-fast movements. It’s an exciting match. Like every spectator sport, you're sitting on the edge of your seat and want to get in on the action.

Only there's a problem: I don’t know how to play.

Since I don’t know what (or who) they’re talking about, I merely hmmm and hardly say a word. Why would I ask about them about who or what they're talking about? If I say something, I'll stop the game, dead in its tracks, I think to myself. It would be crazy to interrupt!

When someone turns towards me and comments on something, I try to answer as intelligently as I can. The feeling is equivalent to having the ball hitting the net, and having me run across the court to pick it up.

After the awkward pause, the game resumes and the players continue playing with their balls and racquets.

For the rest of the game, my reactions are of the spectator kind: the occasional head nods, and a couple of cheers from the stands.

In the end, I am pretty certain that I need to practice on my conversational serves.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mark my words

While looking at one of my favourite magazines, going through the articles and glancing over the pretty pictures, I come across an article that is so terribly written, I wonder if the writer had to fuck the copy-editor senseless in order to let it go through the way that it did.

Not only is the structure bad, the grammar is even worse. I’ve seen preschoolers do a better job at connecting random words to form sentences.

It all makes sense when I read the byline. It’s a name that I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a name that belongs to someone I worked with. It’s a name that drives me to the point of madness.

Last year, I was offered a position at a company to later have it rescinded and offered to him. When I accepted a short-term contract with the same company (yes, I’m stupid), I was made to rewrite pieces he worked on because he was “too busy with other clients” (a.k.a. doing Google searches for eight hours a day). When I was assigned work he couldn’t do/finish on time (see Google, above), I achieved amazing results in half the time that he would’ve taken (again, Google).

Yet, they let me go and he stayed on.

Now, as I look back on that experience, it bothers me to know there is a guy who has everything given to him on a plate, and he doesn’t need to lift a hand. And, when that plate isn’t to his liking, someone else is to blame.

He has to be made an example of the oafishness that exists in the workforce. Whether it is the lowly junior or the high-powered executive, their time will come when everyone discovers how incompetent they really are.

No matter what it takes, I will show everyone that he is a complete and colossal catastrophe.

And, I will win the fight.

Mark my words, bitch is going down.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Numbers game

Mathematics is the only language that means the same thing in every part of the world. One plus one will always equal two, no matter where it’s calculated.

The only time where numbers mean something else is when they’re equated with appearance – specifically height and weight.

People add a few inches to their height, thinking that taller people have it better than others. Of course, when they stand next to a tall person, it doesn’t matter if they claim to be 5 foot 7 (paging, Mr. Cruise), or 5 foot 10 (even with lifts, strategic supporting actor placement, and miniature staff, you’ll never convince anyone, Tom).

Yet, people will remove a couple of pounds when they’re talking about their weight. They claim to be a healthy 120, but you know the last time they hit that weight, they were still in grade school, having a bout of the stomach flu, while eating laxatives as meal replacements.

Why not be truthful for both?

Personally, I have always stated my real height and weight whenever someone asks, yet I always get different reactions for these numbers.

Compared to my ethnic brethern, I stand taller than them, even though people have called me short. At a lean 140 pounds, my body looks like a well-cut piece of brisket, but people have told me I’m bony, while others have discreetly mentioned I’m fat.

Too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat.

Fuck. Why did I ever take math?

It seems that I’m either too much of one, or not enough of the other. I can’t win at this numbers game! And, what’s really strange is that I’m not even playing.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pushing my buttons

Whenever there is a new gadget or electrical doodad in the house, I am always the one who is given the instruction manual (or Bible, depending on the complexity of the item), and told to read it – mi padre is too busy to read, being the “man of the house,” and all.

Inevitably, I become the one people come to when they have questions on what works and what doesn't.

But, even though there are some things in my parents' house that have been here for years, some people think they know how to use them only because they’ve been around for so long.

Like the VCR.


My father asks me to record something for him because he isn't home. Fine. I program his show in a few seconds. Because the VCR is connected to a television set that is connected to several satellite receivers (my father loves to watch sports), he checks the cable lines to make sure it would record from the correct receiver.

Everything is fine until it is time to watch the recorded program.

My father doesn't realize the number of steps required in order to watch the show I taped for him. Not only do you have to rewind the tape, but you have to change the switch at the back of the television, press the TV/video button on the television remote, turn off one satellite receiver, and press the TV/video button on the VCR remote.

While he sits on the couch, waiting for the tape to rewind, I notice that he didn’t press the TV/video button on the VCR (which is probably the most important button, next to play, that allows you to watch the show). I reach across the coffee table to grab the remote, but he takes it before my fingers wrap around the matte grey and black plastic.

“I need to press a button,” I say, pointing to the remote.

“What do you think you’re doing?” my father replies, looking at me with a strange expression on his face.

His hand grabs onto the remote for dear life. He who controls the remote, controls the world.

God, don’t worry," I roll my eyes. "I just have to press a button, or you can’t watch the show.” I open my palm.

“Don’t you think I know how to work this?” my father’s voice raises a few octaves. “This VCR has been in this house for years…”

“I know. But you still have to press that button to see the show–“ he cuts me off.

“This is my house and I can do what I want. Don’t you think you can boss me around. This is my house and these are my things,” he fumes.

“Yeah?” I ask, raising my voice. “Well, if these are your things, you should learn how to use them." I point to the remote and the TV. "Last time you didn’t even program the VCR correctly and you ended up cutting off the ending of your soap opera.” I emphasize these last two words and let them sink in because my father thinks soap operas are for women, although he watches several a day.

“Just because you’re young you think you know everything. You don’t know anything. I’m older than you and you have a lot more life experience…”

“Whatever,” I mumble, turn around and walk out of the room. “You may have more life experience," I point to him, "but you still don’t know how to work the damn VCR.” I wave my finger towards the tape recorder.

If he had read the instruction manual, he would’ve had a point. Unfortunately, since he didn’t even read the cover, his argument is weak.

It doesn’t matter, anyway.

He has to call me back to press that stupid button, knowing that even though he holds the remote, I hold the power.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The sound of my voices

It is a proven fact no two fingerprints are alike. With over six billion people in the world, that is quite a feat. Each person has their own person stamp on individuality.

The same can be said about our voices. From Barry White to Gilbert Gottfried, distinction doesn’t suffer from discrimination.


As I'm visiting a D's workplace, I talk to someone in the hallway before meeting up with her. The chat is nothing special. Short, polite.

While trotting down the stairs, I hear the quickening pace of someone running after me. It's D.

“Steven,” she says, almost out of breath, “I thought I heard your voice in the hallway and wanted to make sure it was you.”

“Is my voice that distinctive?” I answer, raising an eyebrow. There are hundreds of voices she hears on a daily basis, whether it be in person, on the phone, or on television. How can mine be so specific?

“Well, you are the only person I know that sounds like you.”

Interesting, but true.

Whenever I call someone, whoever answers knows it's me with the first words that come from my mouth. Whether it’s family, friends, or parents of friends, they recognize the timbre and tone of my voice within seconds.

Throughout the years, both my external voice and internal voice changed. One was due to puberty, the other maturity.

My external voice has the same range as before: from the lapses into foreign accents, to the various tones (screeches to a low and throaty laugh), it’s reminiscent of my youth.

The internal one is a whole other story: it's accentless, less lyrical and tonally flat (much like grown-up, rational thought).

When both of them come together, it's mind-clash.

This happens mosts often when listening to your voicemail message. Now that's unsettling. One is heard out loud while the other is inside your head. Do you really sound like that, or do you sound like the person you think you sound like in your head?

Personally, I couldn't care less.

I hate the sound of both my voices.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cheeky monkey

Researchers have noted that children pick up a lot of information (from language skills to basic behaviours) within the first two years of their existence. Whether it's nature or nurture, they're not sure.

They're also not sure where children learn their sense of humour...


While keeping an eye on my niece, I must always be aware of what she’s doing. It’s not that she disappears into the ether (which has happened before), but she enjoys climbing miscellaneous objects and clinging off them like a monkey-in-training.

The last thing you want is to have a child fall and hurt themselves. Talk about negligence. Note to the wise, never turn your back on a wandering toddler.

Today, as I chase her around the back patio, I listen to her screech as she scoots from me. I make scary ooh-ooh noises as I let her outrun me in a circle.

“Who’s a monkey, huh? Who’s a monkey?” I ask her.

“Grandma,” replies my niece, a little too quickly.

I stop dead in my tracks and howl with laughter.

Out of the kitchen, my mother yells out, “I heard that!”

“I didn’t tell her to say that,” I say, doubling over in pain. “Honestly, I didn’t teach her to say that. You heard me, I didn’t prompt her!”

It seems that my niece (who isn't even two years old) is already developing her own sense of humour. Strangely enough, it's very similar to her smart-ass uncle's. Cheeky monkey.

God, my sister and BIL are going to be very disappointed when my niece learns about sarcasm.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

It's an honour being nominated

During Oscar season, the nominated people do their rounds on various talk shows, hyping their projects, hoping for a little more exposure for the members of the Academy.

When it comes to the (dreaded) question on how badly they want to win the award, they always say, “It’s an honour being nominated,” while inside they’re thinking, I want that fucking statue.

For years, I have nominated people that I felt deserved recognition for their work (even recently - if you were wondering who nominated you, that was me). Whether or not others believed their work to be good is beside the point. In my eyes, they were winners.

Yet, I always feel a little sad that no one ever says anything about my work. It’s a little disheartening. Recognition is a sign of approval, like a nod of the head or a pat on the ass. True, I can nominate myself, but others think it’s very egotistical – some people do it all the time without any reprimands, though.

Someday, if someone ever does bestow a flicker of approval, I will lap up every ounce just in case it never comes again. Fuck, nominate me as the guy who nominates everybody else!

But it would be nice to be recognized, even once. If worse comes to worse, I’ll beg and bully for an award like the Weinstein brothers when they ran Miramax.

And, if I don’t win, I can always say that it was an honour being nominated.