Saturday, May 25, 2013

Selling My Body One Inch At A Time

I have been described as an introvert most of my life, which has always pissed me off. According to Wikipedia introversion is "the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one's own mental life... An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people.”

After lengthy conversation with my wife I realized that I don’t like being classified as an introvert because it tends to be seen as some sort of fault. If it’s so bad, just where is my disability parking permit, which I assume means I can park in the middle of the mall right in the line up to see Santa, or in the “As Seen On TV” booth during other seasons.

Just back it up next to the Veg-O-Matics

It’s not that I’m an introvert, so much as I don’t give a shit about most things. I have no passion about politics, I have my own thoughts and opinions, but not the drive to debate someone else about them. I used to do a lot of comedy around Toronto, and going to a party filled with performers always gave me a headache. I tended to hang with the non-performers and wished desperately to say “Let’s be truthful here. You aren’t going to come to my show, and I won’t be coming to yours. So let’s just stop talking about how great the process of building a show is.” to the other performers.

Umm... yeah. I'll have to check my calendar...

I think the place my introversion or nihilism has had the worst effect is when soliciting donations for various charities. As a child when the school would have kids go door to door with catalogs to raise money I would only hit up my immediate family and grandparents. That would get me maybe three orders for the cheapest things in the book. On the day the products arrived at the school for us to deliver to our customers I would be holding an automatic card shuffler and a candy jar with a cow on it, while other kids had garbage bags of shit and playing with their new Polaroid cameras they won for meeting selling quotas. I would win one of these for participation:

Look a skinned testicle with googly eyes!

A note to the kids out there:

A Polaroid camera was a magical device that required no cables, Bluetooth technology or a trip to the Walmart to print pictures. This technology was pushed off the market by the huge USB conglomerates in the late 90's.
Also Edgar Winters used it.

Recent charities I have tried to get sponsors for were simple things like Movember. A charity that raises funds for prostate cancer research by participants growing a mustache. I guess the idea is to look like an asshole in order to save one. I did this a couple of years ago and did get some criticism that it was a pretty easy challenge. My argument was that someone walking for an entire weekend or other physical challenge indeed have a harder time physically, but mentally mine was harder. Hearing the snickers and same joke, “When are you going to start growing it?” day after day.

Shouldn't I be dating Minnie Driver or Winona Ryder?
The best part of this charity was that it was quite evident I was involved, which meant asking people to sponsor me was unnecessary as they would just bring money to me knowing I wouldn’t be making a damned fool of myself for no reason.

My wife on the other hand is an amazing extrovert and A type person who isn’t afraid to corner people, turn them upside down and shake money out of them. I’ve watched in horror as she approaches people who weeks ago might have said in passing they might want a ticket to this fundraiser or might donate to that charity, and with the power of only her talking, reach into their pockets and remove money.

She never ceases to amaze me at her ability to raise money and work for charitable or community organizations. This summer she will be talking part in the Friends For Life Bike Rally riding her bike from Toronto to Montreal, a trip of 600 kilometer (or 160,000 quarts for American readers). I’ve watched her awaken early a few times a week to train for this event. This is normally a woman who actually sleeps through the entire “Curious George” soundtrack that resides in our alarm clock. Songs so annoying it makes me want to gnash at the clock with my teeth if it plays more than the sound of the CD loading.

She’s amazing and is working very hard. If you want to donate money to someone who is busting their ass to do an amazing feat, donate to her by clicking this picture:

Kicking Ass!

That however is nothing compared to what I am doing. I will be participating in the Ride for Heart on Sunday, June 2, 2013 in support of the Heart and Stroke Foundation. They have various lengths of rides on this day. I laugh in the face of 50 kilometers, guffaw at 75 kilometers. 25 kilometers, I take that very seriously. Hey, don’t forget to add on the 11 kilometers to get to the start of the ride.

The ride goes along the Gardener and DVP. Which of course, due to the Gardner's dilapidated state means I am taking my life in my own hands. I will also be taking my a five-year-old's life in my hands as she will be attached to my bike during this ride.

I'll be wearing a hard hat over my bike helmet.

My daughter will be on the trail-a-bike, that attaches to the back of my own old rusty bike, like a parasite on an already dying host. I call this contraption “The Wiggler” as every time my daughter decides to dance in her seat it makes me yell, “What the hell are you doing back there?” Which then makes her yell, “Look at me with no hands!” Which then makes me swing my head around to yell at her, “Knock it off!” Which makes the bike turn suddenly, which throws us off balance and off a cliff that magically appears on Dundas Street in downtown Toronto. 

Godammit! Stop that!

Though there will be no car traffic on these roads during the ride, I promise to swear and merge erratically as though there is. Perhaps you would like to sponsor me for every swear word I utter during the route, or better yet every swear word repeated by my daughter. Let’s say $2.00 a swear.

But really why sponsor me? Because I have incentives. Depending on the amount you sponsor I will write your name on a part of my body the day of the ride. Refer to the picture below for rates:

Legs- $20.00
Arms- $40.00
Face- $60.00
Forehead - $100.00
Ass- $400.00
Groin - $2,000.00

I will take a picture of your name written on my body the day of the ride and email it to you shortly thereafter as proof. A few rules: I will only write your real name (example: Jen Hendriks) not crazy made up names (example: Douchy Ballface). I will not accept group or corporate donations to reach any sponsorship levels including the coveted groin area. Though there is more than enough room to write your all members of your group, I feel that would be cheating. 

So please help me reach my goal by going to my donation page and shelling out some cash you cheap bastards.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cherry Poppin Daddies

I’m always on the lookout for good family activities in Toronto. Especially for the few weeks after the big Earth Day cleanup when my usual game of dodge the hypodermic is on hiatus for a few weeks. My wife suggested we go see the cherry trees blossoming at High Park.

High Park is a 400 acre municipal park in the west end of Toronto created in 1876. The name “High Park” was coined due to the shear number of hiding places for teenagers to hide and smoke up. The land was a bequest to the city by prominent 1800’s hippie John George Howard. Let’s face it, his name is only missing Paul and Ringo.

"Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

Before moving to Toronto and meeting my wife who is very knowledgeable about flower and fauna, my only real interest in cherry blossoms was the “candy bar”. A treat that was like biting through granite to get to a radioactive cherry. I grew up a block from the factory that made these, and you could find them littered on the streets around my house. Like a Wonka Chocolate Factory that just didn’t give a shit anymore.

This looks sexual, but also disgusting

A few years ago when my eldest daughter was little we went to see the trees that only bloom for a few days a year. The day was a cloudy and a little drizzly, but the trees were spectacular, the air fresh and the space free to run in. Not so this year. Much like Mecca there was a pilgrimage of thousands heading to the trees mostly for the Sakura party, a Japanese celebration and viewing of the cherry blossoms at their peek. The walking trails were crowded, the streets that cut through the park were lined with cars idling in traffic while small children hung their heads out the windows knowing that they were so close to fun, yet so far away.


We decided to skip entering the giant crowd to get close to the trees. As no one had eaten lunch it was decided to stop to eat our picnic prior to tackling and eating one of the many Japanese people there for the party. Besides they usually run away when you look hungrily at them and say “itadakimasu”. Damn my need to follow tradition.

"Can I get that to go?"

The picnic was very close to the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground, a sprawling structure that resembles a castle. There are many towers, slides and levels for kids to play through. Many of the little nooks and crannies are too narrow for even a svelte young man like me to fit through.

"Person who guesses how many Cheetos are in that bellybutton wins a kiss!"

This means that you can’t follow your kid through the roughly one block area of the structure. You catch a glimpse of your kid and then they are gone. Just as you are about to speed dial Liam Neeson, you catch another glimpse before, like a mouse in your pantry, she’s gone again. I wish to rechristen the playground “Panic City” as a result.

Like Game of Thrones for kids, with little less beheading and sodomy

I did try to follow my daughter once through the labyrinth under the structure but quickly got stuck a la Winnie-The-Pooh. She decided that one spot would be her “bedroom”.

With all the comfort of a labour camp

I found a brilliant way to keep tabs on my daughter while not nagging her to stay in my view with the added bonus of getting her out of the park to go home within the ten minute warning I laid out. I told her she was a Princess whose castle was being threatened by a evil dragon. She then endowed me as the King to help her. I agreed to be the King, but I had lost my keys and could not get in the castle as a result.

"Damn it! I wouldn't have lost it if you kids gave me a "World's Best King" keyring for Father's Day like I asked."

I then sent her on a mission to find a magic ruby that had been lost ages ago in a well made of tires (King Midas perhaps- huh? Clever? No? Shut up.). She ran off and came back with it. Then she needed the scepter that the magic ruby was to be set in, and that was in halfway down the slide at the far end of the playground. She ran off and returned saying she dropped the ruby part way down the slide and would have to go again. For a moment there I thought she was on to my game and trying to draw out her play time.
Slides are a playground's lower intestine

When she came back I told her she needed the help of an evil witch to activate the ruby, but not to worry because the witches enemy is the dragon so she would be happy to help, provided she be polite (always sneak a lesson in when possible). She could be located at at the top of the tower closest to the exit of the playground. Some of you may be seeing where this is headed... She did that and I told her she then had to tap the dragon with the ruby to change him from evil to good and save the castle. I gave a description of the dragon matching her uncle who I knew was napping outside the playground. She went and whacked him with a stick. Then I told her that since we were out of the playground we may as well head home. I’m not sure she’ll ever forgive her uncle for his betrayal. Better him than me.
And for those of you how are annoyed I didn't actually put a picture of the cherry trees in:

There you go fuckers. And you can thank Jennifer Hendriks for the awesome pic. I didn't take one single photo of the trees.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Slow and Steady Will Get You Trapped In A Clear Box

“You aren’t sugar, you won’t melt. Now get the fuck out of this house”
- my mother

As a child the weather never really stopped my family from doing anything. During a 10 day black out after the great ice storm of 1998 in my home town of Smiths Falls we still went ahead and did all the everyday things we normally did. You know, like stealing other people’s generators and whatnot.

Because I was a teenager and due to sense memory, I rubbed that branch until the ice melted.

I don’t recall using an umbrella until I was an adult or even having a rain coat. The latter may have been because I looked so damned good in denim jeans and a jacket.

Because everyone respects a guy dressed totally in denim, right? Also, are his pants unzipped?

As a kid I was outside most of the day. I remember scarfing down my dinner as quickly as I could so I could get back outside to play. It was awkward when I had a friend over for dinner and just ran outside while they were still eating. My girls are similar and are not accustomed to having a day inside. When they are in the house for more than a few hours they become human pinballs both physically and emotionally bouncing off everyone and everything.

That’s why last week on a morning that was particularly rainy and dreary I announced a snail hunt. The girls are obsessed with snails. We went out and immediately found about a dozen of them to put in a bug box. From here we went to the local drop in to horrify mothers who were attending a special kindergarten orientation day by shoving the snails in their faces to look at. Nothing makes me happier by the way then watching an adult be brave about these things in front of children. But I do enjoy any form of squirming.

At the request of the coordinator we set up at a small table and let the snails crawl around. It quickly became a makeshift snail info centre dolling out bad information like “They are worms with houses.” and handing out snails for small children to suck on.

"Those snails are wrestling." (snorgy)

This was followed by bringing them to school, where my oldest takes French Immersion. Quickly she learned a song about escargot. She told me the teacher didn’t seem very excited about the snails. Perhaps she was dégoûtant by them.

The next morning the snails were brought out and a city built by my daughter and her friend. They quickly lost interest and upon entering the empty kitchen I found snails crawling everywhere. Here are just a few of the scenes I witnessed:
That's french bread, also known as an Apéritif

Reenacting a scene from Lord of The Rings

Note the Star of David on this block of wood...

Not one, but two snail Jesus to honour Easter. What is the plural of Jesus? A flock of Jesus, A murder of Jesus? I just don't know.
Damn it! That's my morning vodka. I just can't get the day started without it.

Little did this Olympic high diver know that it was a salt water pool.
My snail just won't sleep it's crib. It keeps me up all night.

This snail questions it's purpose in life:

It did not seem to like the answer it came up with:

Alternatively, this well adjusted snail retired early and enjoys just rocking on the porch.
Damned kids sliming through my corn fields!

 As for what my youngest daughter was doing:

With those idiots distracted, I finally get the good toys to myself.