Say, are those tire tracks on your dog?

Well, everything is normal up here in the north. It’s started to get cold already, and by cold for you California types, that means that the average temp each day is right around freezing. The sun still comes out, though I think it’s only for like 2 or three hours a day.

These days I think that North is counting his lucky stars, seeing as how I ran over him the other day. See, I have started to take him with me on short mountain biking rides to help get him some exercize (read: wear him out so I don’t have to pummel him into submission) and he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it yet. It’s partly my fault since as a pup, I gave him an old bike tire as a chew toy. I’m sure you know what’s coming next. Usually he chugs along the trail pretty good, sniffing here and there, chasing various unseen, but smelt, vermin into the bush. Invariably though, he suddenly remembers, TIRE, and bolts out of the underbrush to attack one or both of the tires attached to the bike. Almost without fail, it is usually the front one, resulting in a near headon collision if I’m not paying attention. Well the other day, I wasn’t. I can honestly say that I am pretty sure that North had no clue what would happen whne he latched onto the front tire with his jaws, for if he had, I guarantee he wouldn’t have done it.

I can’t really describe the look of surprise on his face after the wheel rolled over his head, let’s just say it was sort of that look a dog gets when you pretend to throw the ball and palm it behind your back. Sort of a combination of stupification and amazment. I know deep down he was thinking to himslef, “Ooo, I hope nobody saw that.” Kind of like when us humans trip over that invisible crack in the sidwalk and go sliding down a busy street like Pete Rose headed for home, and then get up like nothing happens, meanwhile the skin (or lack thereof) on our hands and knees burns like it was on fire.

No, I can happily say that North was not hurt by his little tangle with a pedal driven vehicle. I know that his biggest concern was whether any of his ‘dog buddies’ saw it. Never mind that a bike just rolled over him, you still have to look good.

I myself was caught in that complex mix of emotions that often grip us in situations like these. First the intial concern for the well being of the victim, and second, the need to take in larger quantities of air to aid in the huge volume of laughter being produced. There’s nothing like living through a harrowing experience and coming out with a ‘what the hell just happened’ look on your face to evoke laughter in the observers of said incident.

It reminds me of a time when, on crutches with a bum knee, I fell off the front porch at the Youth Hostel, and, as I lay there I turned to see Lappo holding the door for me, with a laugh on his face, only no sound coming out. He had the classic, ‘I’m laughing so hard, I can’t make any noise’ in full effect – something I thought stopped with 6th grade sleep overs. It was then that I knew that this phenomenon occured in adults as well, although it usually took something on a much grander scale to incite it – usually the misfortune of others, or large amounts of a controlled substance.

I, of course, failed to see the humor in the whole incident until later. Lappo on the other hand, got it right away, and of course from then on, always felt the need to share the humor with others. This I didn’t always appreciate, for it made me the butt of the joke, and I also, as most butts of jokes do, ended up looking like a complete mallethead every time the story was recounted.

So, I guess the point is this, North is a mallethead. Although, I knew this before the run in with the bike, the whole episode just reaffirmed it. I had a hint before when he walked into the sliding glass door, but the run-over was irreversable proof. Of course, I take absolutely no blame for giving him the tire in the first place, for you see, I am a mallethead for having fallen of f the porch.

Maybe next time North will stay out of the way of the bike, but coming from a fellow mallethead, I doubt it.

Off the market.

Well, as most of you know, I am married now. So leave me alone. You needn’t tease me anymore, the deed is done.

It was nice of the Rope to fly the fellas up from the Youth Hostel so that they could be here for the festivities. It was good to see everyone again and drink too much beer. I really wonder about the future of aviation in this country when I see Ray drunk and gyrating like a fiend on the dance floor.

I don’t really have much to report. I sit here currently as the remnants of Floyd (all null and void!) bash against the outside of my house and my dog, North, chews on my foot, wondering if I can afford to buy the new Matthew Good CD now that it is out, being as how CD’s now cost an alarming 25 bucks each. I tell you, this is a crime. I don’t know what makes me more angry, the fact that record companies and retailers actually think I am idiotic enough to pay these prices or the fact that I finally buckle and go against my moral fiber and actually break down and buy their product. I’m thinking about opening up a cd store and selling all my records at cost. I won’t do it for the money, just to provide people with music at a price they don’t have to sell their car to afford. How will I make money you ask? Well I’m not in it for the money, but expenses coudl be covered by small donations of those who shop there and are thankful that they don’t have to pay the ridiculous full prices. Let’s just say all the cd’s would be labeled at cost and you are welcome to tack on whatever you feel is appropriate. Interested investors can email me.

I also want everyone to know that I am going to start my own awards show on tv. I want to officially recognize all the hard work and important significance of these mindless shows, so next year check your local listings for the Annual Awards Show of Excellence in Awards Shows. The show will hgihlight all the stupid speeches, fashion blunders and tone deaf live performances from the previous year’s award shows. Awards will be handed out to the winner of the nominees, which will be be picked at random, with absolutely no relevance to the category they appear in. The panel of Judges will be selected from a large pool of citizens that possess not only no special link to the awards, but have no idea what is going on in popular society whatsoever. Maybe we can get someone like Tipper Gore to head the inaugural judging panel.

So I guess that’s about it for now – on second thought, maybe I should just start my own cable channel. Hey it worked for Ted Turner. I can start a channel that airs only movies that I want to watch and no one else has ever heard of, 24 hours a day. That way I can spend lots of time and money to fill the airways with mindless dribble, thus making it even harder for people with programming that is entertaining or God – forbid, informative and educational, to even get their foot in the door. And when I run out of my own mindless dribble to broadcast, I’ll simply buy some from some other huge – out – of – touch conglomerate who has extra junk to sell.

There we go. Now I have outlined my plan for world manipulation – er, I mean domination. Welcome to the future of buKit communications, inc. You will all bow before me because if you don’t I’ll show Rollerjam 24 hours a day.

Manufactured creativity.

You know, I’m white. I can’t dance. I admit it. Oh, I like to flail around when I am by myself, but not in public, people would probably call 911 or something for fear that I was having a seizure. What’s my point? None, really, other than that I can’t dance. I guess that I like to listen to music that maybe really wouldn’t be considered dance music. Some of it you might ‘sway’ to, or ‘rock’ to, or even ‘put your fist through a wall’ to. I like a lot of different styles of music from reggae to thrash metal, in fact I really hate to apply ‘genres’ to this music because I pretty much can find something of merit in it all. Most of it anyway.

I can appreciate an individual, or group of individuals making an effort to write a song and play it to the best of their ability and take enjoyment in sharing that song with other, usually like minded, individuals. That’s pretty much what it’s all about.

I know, I know, you’re asking about my point again. Well, let me say a few things. Backstreet Boys. N’Sync. Now, before you dismiss my little discourse here as a wanton berating of said groups, read on. I am simultaneously in awe and loathing of said fellas and their music. I mean, you have to respect that they work their asses of learning all these moves, keeping in shape, singing and keeping up the touring and appearance schedules that they do. I am in constant amazement of the finely oiled marketing machines at work behind these and other similar groups. If you give them nothing else, at least acknowledge that they are clocking much bank. I’m sure that they’re nice guys too, and that they love their moms and don’t drink anything much stronger than lime kool-aid. It’s a good image, it’s good for the kids. Well I wonder.

Are we trying to raise a bunch of mindless savants that only listen and enjoy what we as a society have fabricated and force fed them? I mean does it even matter what the real story is? Maybe all the Backstreet Boys are actually ex-cons that got a liberty pass if they agreed to keep their noses clean, learn to hit a high C note, electric slide and told kids to stay in school. Has anybody thought about who they really are? Does anybody really care? Now I know that some of them actually do play instruments (although I wonder with what proficiency), but do they write these hit songs they sing? Do they choreograph the moves they make? Do they determine which markets the cd will be available in on which dates and for how much? In short, do they do much more than anything other than do what they’re told?

I can see the backlash coming from supporters already. Sure they do, they write songs they play instruments, they are involved in the business side of the biz. Sure they are, NOW. Once it gives them credibility, but when they started, they were just punk kids, like all the others that wanted to be stars. Somebody somewhere (Big Brother Management Co.) took advantage of that and molded them into prepubescent winning lottery tickets. for the most part, when it all goes down, they sound alot to me like, well, pawns.

I don’t know if I really want my kids worshiping some older kid who is just out making an idiot of himself without so much of a though of what it all means. These guys aren’t musicians, they are entertainers. While it’s not a bad thing, let’s not lump them in with the likes of the people who actually put meaning into their music by writing and/or playing their songs because they are expressions of themselves. Songs and music that asks you to listen to it and think, form an opinion, be it a good one or bad one. Let’s remind ourselves that music originated as a way to entertain, yes, but also, and more importantly as a way to tell stories and evoke emotions. I think we should re-introduce people to the likes of jazz, blues, the roots of rock ‘n roll in all it’s forms – even classical music (egad!). Even the Backstreet Boys and the like have roots in all this. We cannot loose our taste for or willingness to share music that is actually played and composed as opposed to programmed and mass produced.

But hey, that’s just my opinion, and If you disagree, well, you’re wrong. I’m outta here. I gotta go get my new Jordan Knight record autographed at the Super-Huge-Mega-CD-Store-that-only-sells-albums-from-the-past-year-and-a-half. That’s it retailers, don’t take a risk and actually go out on a limb and stock some older stuff for kids to discover, or God forbid throw in a record that wasn’t distributed by a company that has less than 23 floors of office space.

Rednecks and Ricky Martin.

Well, I was pretty sure that one of the reasons I moved up here was to get away from the sticky, lame heat in the summertime in Northern Virginia. Well I can honestly say that lately, it has been just as sticky and lame up here. Wouldn’t you know it, the one summer I move up here, all of a sudden there seems to be some sort of freaking anomaly that has made the weather here almost unbearable as well. Oh well, at least I don’t have to sit in the heat and smell the stink of the Youth Hostel as well, although on windy days I think I can still smell it from here…maybe it’s in my clothes.

I am steadily continuing with my better half to make all the nessecary wedding plans, which some of you may or may not know is a freaking Pandora’s box of it’s own. It seems that for every detail that is finally solidified, three more pop into question, such as ” What color do we make the silly string that’s on the car of the married couple? Should it match the groom’s eyes or the bride’s flowers? And what about the garbage bags in the reception hall? What color should they be?” At this point we should have just gone to Vegas and done the drive thru thing. Kudos to my friend Andy for having extreme foresight there…

I continue on my quest to try and understand the things that make Canadians well, Canadians. Let’s see if you can get your head around this one. The town I live in contains a plethora of businesses, all of which close at 5 pm. Everyone works until exactly 4:30 pm. That means that once you get off work you pretty much have no chance of getting anywhere you need to be before it closes. So what does everyone end up doing? They do it ALL on the weekends. You can only imagine what 800 redneck old people on the roads on a Saturday will do to one’s disposition. Ok, maybe this is a small town thing, not nessecarily a Canadian thing, but I don’t really want to argue semantics here. You guys can do that with Andy.

For those interested, my dog is doing well, and will be going to get fixed (ouch) soon. No more bang bang long time for him. He does continue to astound us with the depths of his stupidity, such as walking into doors, chasing his tail to no end, and choking himself indefinitely when on the leash for a walk. Did I mention that he starts obedience school in September? Oh yeah baby, I’m hoping that they will show me how to train him to fetch a sandwich from the kitchen like that dog on t.v.

I hear that they’re playing musical residents down there at the Youth Hostel. I wouldn’t worry. With Ricky being a former college student, I suspect they will have no problem finding any number of mindless frat idiots who need a place to put their beat up mattress, ghetto blaster, and ‘Girls of Budweiser’ calendar. MMM, high society living at it’s finest. Within a week or two, the 7-Eleven burrito wrappers should probably be three or four deep on the floor.

Well, I guess that’s about all I have to say for now. Domestic life up here is fairly tame, the only thing I really have to get mad about is the lame VJ’s and videos on MUCHMusic. If I see a Ricky Martin video one more time, I’m gonna be ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ while I’m putting my foot through the tv.

Hello all.

Things are going well here in the Great White North. Except that it is all wet. We got about 6 feet of snow one day, then it rained all day the next day. The snow melt combined with the rain got our house wet. On the inside. In the basement. Via a crack in the foundation wall. Let me paint a picture for you. Me, standing out in zero degree temps, snowblowing what could only be described as slush away from the house and digging a big hole against the house to patch the foundation. To say that I was soaked would be an understatement. I would like however, to thank Jim at Hudson Trail Outfitters in Fairfax for selling me the Columbia snow suit before I left. It made a HUGE difference. Thanks. You should all go visit him and tell him I said hi, and buy stuff. It makes him happy.

Let’s see, what else is new. I hear that another female (maybe a second by the time you read this) has moved into the Hostel. Don’t give up the fight boys! Don’t let them out number you, or soon there will be pastel towels in the bathroom!

I hear that mutual friend Lapo, has gone gay. It was bound to happen sooner or later, actually, I always knew that he had it in him. Quite literally.

I continue to make plans with Lyn for our impending nuptuials. I never realized how much stuff one has to buy to get married. Aren’t you supposed to get free stuff? It’s kind of like paying for your own birthday party. On a similar note, although I would love to have every one of my old friends at the event, I fully realize that for geographic and economical reasons, some of you may not be able to attend. The wedding is August 27th of this year. I’ll leave it up to you guys. If you would like to come, you are welcome. Send me an email and I will get you an invite and details on how to get here, cost, places to stay, other things to do while you’re here and other stuff. This way, I won’t be spending about 1000 bucks on invites that may only yield 3 attendees. Not that you all aren’t worth it. Haha. If you can’t come, I understand, but we simply can’t be friends anymore. Just kidding. We can still be friends, maybe, if you send a big enough gift.

I mentioned in the sidebar that this installment would contain a discussion of curling. Well, it would except that I still haven’t figured it out. I can tell you a few things about it though, and they are as follows.

1. This sport makes little or no sense to the untrained observer.

2. In light of point #1, I will still try to make some sense.

3. The game is played by two teams on ice, who slide rocks and attempt to get them inside a designated area to score points. Imagine shuffleboard on ice. Sort of.

4. You must yell a lot to play this game. The four players on each team are always yelling at each other. Words such as ‘heavy’, ‘hard’, ‘hurry’, ‘good’, ‘whoa’, and ‘clean’ in addition to others are thrown about a lot. At first, I found myself aroused hearing these words shouted at me, as I was watching womens curling at the time. I thought I must have stumbled onto some combination wintersports/adult channel and was hoping that up next would be the lesbian naked pairs figure skating. Then I realized, quite to my dismay, that they were using these words with regards to the game. What each word means in relation to the game is still somewhat a mystery to me. I still enjoyed the yelling though, does that make me naughty?

5. A game consists of what I have determined to be 8 or 10 ‘ends’ or periods, which makes no sense either. If you play one ‘end’, how can you play 7 more? Isn’t the ‘end’ the END?

6. There is ALWAYS curling on tv in Canada.

7. Curling on TV is habit forming. It sucks you in. There is no action, no fast movement, no snappy music, but it’s like falling asleep to the air conditionerit sort of hypnotizes you. It sends messages to your brain that say “Come. Sit. Watch me for hours. Try to solve the riddle that is curling. Do or do not, there is no try. I am the walrus.”

8. I, and you, are not smart enough to play this game. The announcers discuss strategy and positioning in terms that would make MacArthur drool. I assumed they were just banging rocks around, but OH NO, every bump has a purpose, every play a whole hidden agenda. You cannot be privvy to this information unless you are a player, and to be a player, you have to be a master of motion, dynamics, physics and chemistry. At first glance it looks like a bunch of goofballs throwing rocks around on the ice and yelling like idiots, but don’t be fooled, it is the majesty and the mystery that is curling.

Now, if there is anyone out there that is a curler (is that even the right term?), don’t take offense to my little dissertation. I am only one of the lowly ones, the ‘unknowers’ that don’t partake in your sport. I play hockey. Which in your opinion may be just guys skating around beating each other with sticks, but to me it’s so much more. To me it’s guys beating each other with sticks, but also swearing a lot and drinking too much beer afterwards. That’s what takes it to the next level.

For all of you back in the States, my friends that are reading this and are unfamiliar with curling, let me just sum up by saying this:

You’ll know as soon as I do. Until then, stay tuned as I will continue to report on the strange customs of your neighbour to the north. (Such as spelling neighboor with a ‘u’.)