Archive for October, 2009

Run free, wild snot! Run free!

Posted on October 30th, 2009 10 Comments

I finally managed to get my ass out of doors early enough this morning to walk instead of taking the streetcar, and I ran into a giant roadblock.

please walk in the street for your own safety, sir!

And that’s not even the worst of it. I initially woke up feeling a bit off  but I attributed that to a lack of sleep. By mid-day, I was suspecting the company pumpkin carving contest (we won!), had done me in. But at three o’clock, I excused myself and went home.

Now I’m panicking. Did I eat any pork recently? Oh my God! I had bacon for breakfast last Saturday! Islam and Judaism had it right all along!

If I’ve got the pork flu, it’s way too late for a vaccination. And one of my cubicle buddies had something unpleasant for the past few days; went down suddenly last night and never made it in this morning. :O

And *gasp* look at the lineups for H1N1 shots this morning!

i know you see him: mj jacket + sandals + socks = one classic original


Oh, wait, that’s just the starting spot. I followed the line down the sidewalk at right. It made another tight snaking pattern into an adjacent courtyard in front of Metro Hall, and wound it’s way back out onto the sidewalk.

no homicides ... yet

I took to the sidewalk again and walked to the end of the block, turned around, and started side-stepping in an ill-conceived attempt to montage the line:

if you see this, you need to scroll right!


In places where people aren’t obviously lined up, they’re just behind something. You can sometimes just make out their cute little heads poking up over bushes.

But most of them may be doomed because there are an awful lot people there and, according to some accounts, clinics are only managing about 20 per hour. People were being turned away in the hundreds yesterday because they hadn’t gotten in by the time the place closed. And, *chuckle*, people are not gonna be happy to hear that now there’s a shortage of the vaccine. Dopey bureaucracy may have killed us all.

It wouldn’t have made any difference for me. Whatever I’ve got has already made itself at home and a shot yesterday would’ve been too late.

All I have left now is a thermometer, electric heating blanket, and Oliver to apply pressure to the sore areas. Luckily I’d splurged recently and now have a healthy collection of tissue boxes (with soothing aloe!) to accompany these small comforts. Dear reader, the snot’s running wild and free tonight!

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Drinking with money-grubbing bankers

Posted on October 29th, 2009 4 Comments

Let me start by laying it all out on the table.

out in the open ... for me to steal!

The Macallan Scotch tasting that I was invited to yesterday was put on by word-of-mouth advertising agency Matchstick.  The idea behind hosting the event was obviously to provide some publicity for the whisky through blogging / social media / etc., but I want to assure you that it fell well within my guidelines for ethical and responsible shilling. The agency, insists that anyone attending their events is honest and upfront about it, and I wouldn’t have gone otherwise.

TCL isn’t about confessions or selling stuff, but it’s important that you know who was involved, and for what purpose. And that I’ve killed people.

There, clean conscience, ready to imbibe — just the way God wants it. :D

So, instead of just yammering on about booze, I thought that the best way to get into the evening would be to take you along.

great social lube

I knew bupkis about Whisky when I arrived at the swanky Yorkville hotel. I mean, I’d drank whisky before but had more experience with the sticky tape version of Scotch than with the liquid one. So the first thing that Mark, our host, did was to explain that whisky is Scotch, Scotch is whisky. Only Scotch proper comes from Scotland.

Next, he went on a jovial story in a heavy Quebecois about how thrilled that he, as an avid whisky drinker, was to land this job with Macallan. He really seemed quite pleased about it.

soon i will 'ave all your monees!

Mark looks a bit of a greedy money-grubbing banker in the photo above, doesn’t he? But no, he’s just genuinely pleased at the prospect of sipping on expensive whisky all evening; it’s glee.

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

It’s solo-sax-on-the-street time

Posted on October 28th, 2009 12 Comments

November’s just around the corner, and you know what that means: renewal!

After all, the word “novem” means new. Or nine, but that doesn’t make much sense so Newvember it is! I realize that it’s not exactly the month of visible renewal. It’s a month in which the last of the leaves reluctantly leave their perch in the branches to join their departed brethren below. It’s a time of year when I switch to the “Sentimental” category of my MP3 collection and consider taking up drinking hard liquor to match the ambiance. Yeah, it’s solo-sax-on-the-street time.


That leads me to the first change for which my friend Casie Stewart is responsible. She’s managed to land herself a gig with the social media people at MuchMusic/MTV/CTV.

city building

So congratulations, Casie!

According to the words I put in her mouth, I will never have to stand outside another CTV-run event like a common schmuck. Imagine, backstage passes to the MMVAs! No more standing around naked in the bushes outside of parties anymore.


And that leads me to the second change around here; I’ve decided to try writing in the morning rather than at night. I’m hoping this will give the posts a bit more clarity, less of that slobbering grunting quality. Also, I was recently invited to participate in a Whisky tasting by a local ad firm, and that’s happening tonight. Even if I manage to soberly comport myself (I don’t see those chances being high), I’ll still be getting home too late to think of anything interesting to say about it. And being able to pull strings with Ms. Stewart will probably mean more evening events like this.

We’ll see how it goes. This is my first morning post and I haven’t passed out yet, so we’re in strange new territory. This might yet work out, but as I’m getting light-headed, I won’t push too hard. How do people get up in the mornings?!

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

How not to eat infants in a civilized manner, part 2

Posted on October 27th, 2009 16 Comments

After reading yesterday’s post about the harrowing zombie situation in Toronto, you’re probably eager to discover how I escaped completely unscathed. After all, researchers have used zombie scenarios to predict the spread of H1N1, so I believe this information will be quite relevant even after the zombies have retired.

So where did I leave off yesterday? Oh yes, the zombies had me surrounded and I’d run out of people to toss in their path. The situation was getting really ugly:

no sense of personal hygiene

The great discovery happened when I pulled out my camera and started to take photos. I figured I could record my final few moments for TCL; become the first post-mortem blogger — I believe that would make for interesting content. But it wasn’t to be.

You see, it seems that zombies actually like to have their photos taken. Anyone in the crowd who happened to be brandishing a camera was given a wide berth and, often, cooperative smiles (or menacing grimaces – whatever the scene called for):

easy street, fellas!

And I feel that branding them all as brain-hungry murderers really isn’t representative of the zombie population. Being undead, apparently, isn’t enough to stave off the requirements of the workaday world, but the zombies seemed to take it all in stride. If it wasn’t for the homicidal tendency of ingesting live human brains, they’d probably make decent citizens.

cant txt. ded.

Haha! *insert social commentary here*

Speaking of commentary, who’s tailing the wag here?

leaving behind little zombie turds

That’s a little slice of a-okay, isn’t it? :D

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

How not to eat infants in a civilized manner, part 1

Posted on October 26th, 2009 13 Comments

A lot of people don’t know this, but Toronto has a terrible zombie problem. Most of the year they’re not really a nuisance; they pick through trash looking for brains and whatnot, but they mostly keep to themselves. But for the past seven years they’ve taken to the streets in an organized march.

Every year they keep demanding brains (like that’s gonna happen!) and better severance.
yeah, that "give him a hand" thing's been done to death. so's being "handy" to be around.

One of the things that shocked me about the whole thing was how punctual the zombies were. These days I’ve come to expect events starting thirty minutes to an hour late. But on Saturday, the undead were off and moving at 3:30 sharp.

Also shocking is the size of the demonstration, not to mention the aggressiveness of the group:

that's what you get for trespassing on ttc property!

I only escaped unharmed because of one amazing fact. That I will share with you tomorrow. You see, the march was so prolific, I simply have no choice but to milk it for two whole posts. Besides, some of the zombies put so much effort into the event, I feel it’s only fair to give them a little air time:

zombie? there's a visine for that!

One guess as to what this fellow was demonstrating for. Yup, brains. I don’t get it, are they that tasty?

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Regarding Mr. Chen’s justifiably chafed buttocks

Posted on October 23rd, 2009 2 Comments

It was a good, proper fall day today. Rainy, cold, dark and introspective. I’m all for days like this being declared municipal emergencies; everyone stay at home in your nice warm beds until the situation is alleviated! By order of the Mayor’s office!

I will do my duty, sir! Covers at regulation height!

Unfortunately, that never happens. The closest I came was pulling the somewhat ineffectual hood of my anorak over my head as it started to rain. As the excessive flap of the coat blocked most of my vision (either that or walk like a fully extended parachute in the wind), I found myself travelling in a very trance-like state. I could only see maybe one and a half meters in front of me, so I had to assume a certain attitude of resolution. Yes, a knife-wielding maniac may come screaming from an alley, and at that visual distance, I’m fairly certain I’d be dead. I had to resolve to be okay with that.

So I started to think about that vocation thing again. What, you didn’t think I came up with that just to fill up a post, did you? This is real angst! Jeez!

Okay, angsty; something I’d like to get resolved. So I must’ve had that in my sensory deprivation cloak with me on my walk home because suddenly I snapped out of my trance — something told me to look up, and what I saw looked awfully familiar:

all the rot just gets washed away!

Of course! I’ll become a thief!

No, not a common thief; I don’t want to abscond with bananas and gum; an international diamond thief  (I guess I could steal other expensive stuff too). A sophisticated gentleman cat burglar in the style of Cary Grant in “To Catch a Thief”, or  George Clooney in “Ocean’s Eleven”. Well, George Clooney in a few roles, but that one was especially well-suited. Flashy and always well-rested. *two thumbs up*

Oh, you’re probably wondering how I went from a Chinatown supermarket to becoming a thief. Sorry, let me take you back a little earlier in the day.

Over lunch, I read a Star story about a certain Mister David Chen, owner and proprietor of one ultra-ironic Lucky Moose Food Mart (pictured above; “lucky” moose on second floor). He’s being brought up on charges of kidnapping and forcible confinement because he tried to foil another robbery at his store.

The undisputed story goes that the thief was well-known and had stolen stuff from there (and nearby stores), numerous times. So, I guess Mister Chen wasn’t going to stand for it any more and when the thief dropped in to borrow a few other items, Mr. Chen and two buddies chased him down in a van, tossed him in the back, tied him up, and beat the snot out of him. Police found him tied up in some dank corner of Chinatown.

actually not as dank as some other areas

Well, yeah, that kind of is kidnapping. But somewhat understandable, I think. Mister Chen claims (and others corroborate this), that he had requested some sort of assistance from the police, but none was given. The thief was allowed to continue running around stealing stuff even though with his record, he probably shouldn’t have been out of a cell. Or at least some sort of supervised and controlled environment.

Another thing that I think Mister Chen is allowed to have a chafed butt over is the fact that his store is so close to 52 Division. Five minutes by foot, is my estimation.

But I’m not sure if I’d resort to grabbing someone off a street and mashing them up for stealing a few plants. Plus, it’s just so unimaginative. So generally speaking, I can see where the kidnapping and forcible confinement charges come from.

But what hit me over the head in today’s article was the fact the court made a bargain with the thief to testify against the store owner!

Yes – freakin’ – way.

The little scumbag got 30 days instead of 90 (and is apparently right back up to his old tricks), and in a complete reversal of roles, the store owner is now facing some serious charges. He could be put away with the thief’s help!

My idea doesn’t seem so crazy now, does it? As a thief, I could help put away the bad guys I steal from by testifying against them. I’ll hire interns for the beatings. And if I don’t get caught, I get to keep the loot!


I’m even thinking of leaving behind personalized, scented business cards of some sort, bearing a message of regret for their loss, but at least they lost it to the best; or something to that effect.

now they won't feel so bad

I’m gonna need a little work. I don’t even know how to properly pick a lock yet! I guess it’s hardcore training from here on in.

But don’t worry, dear reader. I’m keeping TCL in the back pocket. Hey, who knows, maybe it’ll be my daytime cover story. That’d be pretty cool 8-) George Clooney cool.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Vocation calling

Posted on October 22nd, 2009 3 Comments

I think that I may be having a mid-life crisis. May be.

The thing is, I’m not sure if it’s technically mid-life at thirty-five. Also, doesn’t that usually come during the marriage? And I have absolutely no wish to buy a flashy sports car, get hair plugs, or date younger women. Well, maybe that last part. But basically, I’m not exhibiting the standard signs of a crisis. Except maybe uncertainty about my job. No, my vocation; my calling.

This morning, waiting for the streetcar, I looked up at a window washer and seriously thought, “Could I do that?”

all your corporate secret are belong to us!

I think the main problem is that programming’s just not fun anymore. I’m not talking about sidebar widgets, but the everyday working-for-the-man kind of stuff. On a broader scale, I know that working for money always involves working-for-the-man.  The man has projects and ideas about how he wants those projects to act/look/feel/sound/touch/react/sparkle/etc. Sometimes, it’s hard to get enthusiastic about all those ideas. Sometimes they’re not really even ideas, just innuendo.

As I usually do in my darker moments, I found solace in the Toronto Archives. They revealed that my situation isn’t unique. That others have suffered as I have. That I am not alone:

hey! it's whipless wednesday!

Gah! That even looks like the office where I work!

Look at them, slaving away for that jerk back there, flipping through filthy mags and abusing himself. And back then, shackles came off only after the shift was finished, and the boss could fire you for anything!

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Formerly from the desk of Patrick

Posted on October 21st, 2009 2 Comments

Oops. I managed to delete this post.

No great story behind this, unfortunately. No lawsuits, no threatening phone calls, no late-night tech support, just a boneheaded click on the wrong button.

Now the comments below are completely out of context. Neat :)

So, sorry, but have a look at some of the other stuff around here. The archives in the sidebar at the right, I mean. Or do a search for a titillating term.

Filed under: B Sides

Gentle head shake for emphasis

Posted on October 20th, 2009 6 Comments

So I think this is the LG Fashion Week.

those columns aren't very practical

I gotta be honest with you, I don’t follow it too closely. I mean, I may not be that stereotypical sport-watching (unless you count Formula 1), beer-drinking (not averse though), guy who communicates through bodily noises (though I’m guilty of relaxing, certainly), but fashion is lost on me entirely. I firmly believe that heterosexual male genes do not allow one to comprehend fashion. The mind simply does not connect with it. Sure, it looks good on the girl, but in what way is it practical?

Will it keep my hands warm in the winter? Is it coloured neon orange so that in the event of an emergency I can wave it aloft to signal airborne emergency crews? Is it worth the money? Because I don’t need any tassels or doohickeys, and sure as hell no fluffy balls; I just want my money’s worth (and an extra pair of shoelaces). Since fashion is simply a word, a subjective concept like God or banana bread, it doesn’t affect the decision-making process.

And then there’s this:

psychotically calm

I don’t know how the women put up with this. When I sit down for a haircut, I’m expecting to be out in fifteen minutes. Chatter to a minimum – cutting of the hair is priority. These girls probably sit in those chairs for hours having crap smeared on their faces and chemicals tossed on their hair. I’d have a powder brush to someone’s throat in about thirty seconds.

I doubt there will be a repeat of last year’s humorously inebriated speech by Robin Kay, the president of the Fashion Design Council of Canada (and major Fashion Week organizer).  “[That] kind of bad behaviour is the equivalent of wearing a bad accessory”, said one of the event’s vice-presidents afterwards.

I really only have a gestural response to this one: *palm up, shrug, and “I have no idea” smirk*

I might also add: *gentle side-to-side head shake*; for emphasis.

The same could be said of the following item:

graveyard of failed scarves

You may have noticed that this doesn’t look much like Fashion Week anymore, but it is somewhat related. They’re trying to get me to call this “yarnbombing” after the graffiti word “bomb” (to paint), but I refuse to do it. It’s a bunch of knitted yarn tied a utility pole in a park for the purpose of beautifying it. I read about it in a Star article today which tried to equate the activity of affixing a knitted square to a fence, to spray-painting a wall in a dank, dark alley.

Don’t get me wrong, putting cozies on everything isn’t such a bad thing. But as many people (mostly ladies) who put their knitting and stitching up last year discovered, a little rain or snow will quickly give their good intentions the middle finger.

Just not practical.

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures

Full jibblies included

Posted on October 19th, 2009 8 Comments

I was the happy recipient of my first ever, bona fide media pass this weekend:

don't wear it out

Yup, that’s my real last name. Kinda underwhelming, huh? And you wanna know the strangest thing? Never did the kids tease me with Patrick Gay when I was young. Nope, it was always, “So did you score a hat-trick, Patrick?” “Hells yeah, dumbass,” I’d reply in my best Czech-English hybrid, “everyone in my country plays hockey like stars. Don’t you?”

I remember being friends after that.

Sorry, I’m getting off track. The point was that I was invited to come see an exhibit as a rep of TCL. I went disguised as myself; totally got away with it! Neat :)

This time, security apologized to me for asking me not to take photos. “Oh, sorry, sir. Wish they’d make those tags bigger!” “Hehe, that’s okay. By the way, I need to speak to your superior regarding your atrocious behaviour, swine!”

The power. *shiver*

I would’ve been very interested to see this exhibit anyway, so getting an invite was like a cherry on the whipped cream. With my favourite dessert underneath. Alas, I received no remuneration, alcoholic beverages, or comely female accompaniment, so I feel my hosts could’ve done better in those areas. But good on the Science Centre for inviting a good cross-section of media, even the little guys. *sniff*

And I must say, it’s really nice to be able to share a few photos with you, dear reader, in a much more relaxed manner.


Yeah, not that relaxed. But close.

This was one of those things where I just needed to move slowly and take photos of everything; no rush. The exhibit was all about athletics. Or love. Or something. I think. There were lots of smaller bits in display cases interspersed throughout that provided close-up details of something or other, and always in full colour:

is it still okay to make jokes about nicole ritchie?

Those are real human body parts, dear reader. Preserved for a good long time through a process called plastination. To sum it up, the sliced-up body part is submerged in acetone which replaces the water in the cells. Under a vacuum, the acetone boils off while a polymer (plastic) gets sucked in.  The cell walls are basically filled in with plastic. Then they add soul-piercing eyes:

hold me closer tiny danc-juureez! put on some skin or something!

… Continue Reading

Filed under: B Sides, Pictures