A conversation I overheard and didn’t like

Today I was sitting in a waiting room next to a woman who looked like a 50-yr old middle class broad that used to be hot and now she uses botox and a lot of makeup to try to keep looking hot. It wasn’t working for her. She and her lame friends were making lame “this one time in Cancun…” one-liner jokes [cue basic bitch laughter]. I knew right then I hated all of them. It got worse though. The woman in question said she actually did have a HILARIOUS story from Cancun, and it went like this:

She went to a fucking all-inclusive resort and got shitfaced. Some guy hit on her and she said, “I’m old enough to be your mother.” You just know she loved saying that, being past her prime but still being considered acceptable for a one night stand — as if drunks give a rat’s ass what they copulate with. I’m sure a recently deceased senior would suffice most of the time, if the lights were off and the poor old goat was still warm. Anyway, when she saw her husband next, the woman told him about how she had been so wasted that night but was careful not to mention the guy hitting on her. But a bit later, she told the unedited version of the story to one of her friends…and her husband overheard it! Oh my goodness, he was so MAD and JEALOUS about the guy hitting on her!! According to the storyteller, it was NOT a good scene between her and her hubby for a while.

What a shitty story — all-inclusive’s are boring. Going sunny places just to get drunk is boring. Getting the horniest you’ve been in 15 years just because someone hit on you is pathetic. Keeping secrets from your spouse is wretched. Spouses who get upset over non-issues are juvenile. And thinking all of this made for a good story is absolutely maddening.

So maddening, I had to share my misery with the world. There it is, folks. That dreadful conversation is now crystallized on the internet and in all of our memories. Hallelujah. Spread the pain.

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“Oh no god.”

I’m tired of saying and hearing people exclaim, “oh my god.” It’s one of those old phrases that most of us have adopted due to lifelong exposure to it, but when I think about how irreligious, agnostic, or straight up atheistic many of us are, it just doesn’t make sense to use it — if you don’t believe in a particular god, why would you ever cry out for one?

This is certainly the case for me, anyway. I don’t know exactly where I sit in the religious spectrum but I think it’s somewhere between atheist and agnostic, depending on how I feel at a given moment, so I want to make an effort to stop speaking as if I definitely believe in one.

So hey, if you see me widening my eyes and going “OH. MY. GAWD.” like a fucking valley girl, give me a smack and suggest I choose some other non-religious exclamation, like “my word” or “great tits.”

 

I don’t ‘get’ Home Hardware but I appreciate it anyway

Every now and then, I go looking for some kind of home improvement thing — a specific style of pier block, a weird size of metric screw, or in yesterday’s case, decorative incandescent light bulbs that have a flickering flame effect.

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You wouldn’t believe how hard these things are to find here.

I looked at the usual retailers — Rona, Canadian Tire, Home Depot — but none of them had exactly what I wanted.

Then I remembered: Home Hardware. Whenever I’ve been looking for something just slightly weird that the other places don’t have, HH has been my saviour. And surprise surprise, this was the case yet again.

That’s great, I’m very happy about it, but I can’t help but wonder just how the hell HH stays in business besides me buying something there once every year or two. It seems like they can’t compete with the bigger stores, but it also seems like they don’t quite try to. Every time I’ve gone into HH, it’s not full of carpenters or general contractors like Home Depot and Rona are. It’s full of men in their 50s to 70s who look like my dad — beards, messy hair, work clothes stained with paint — who are obviously just puttering on some little project at home.

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Like this guy.

Now that I think about it, I see a lot of guys that look like this in Canadian Tire too. So I guess that is HH’s competition, and Canadian Tire is obviously much bigger and more successful. So how does HH survive? How do they manage to continue on despite being the small store that no one I know ever thinks about? Who is shopping there regularly, and why?

I wonder if it’s for reasons similar to why some people prefer to shop at smaller grocery stores that cost more but look nicer and have more friendly, helpful staff. Maybe HH has the edge over Canadian Tire, Rona, and Home Depot in that department. Now that I think about it, of the few times I have gone to HH, the staff has consistently been great, while the opposite is usually true of those other stores. Hmmmm. Can the human touch be it? Is that the secret to this dinosaur’s improbable longevity? I should ask my dad why he likes HH.

Regardless, I’m grateful once again that HH still miraculously exists and has enabled me to obtain yet another obscure item. I may as well join the fan club and start growing my beard now.

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It’s actually kind of a cool old logo, too. Jeez, I’m really getting a boner over this place.

Chocolate diet

Sometimes I really wrestle with my job. I feel like a lot of what I’m paid to do is virtually pointless, and some of it is even completely out of line with my personal values. I won’t go into any great detail here but as a small example, my job creates a lot of waste — tons upon tons of plastic and that goes straight to the dump. I can’t condone that kind of thing with a clear conscience.

And when I think about other careers, I think of aspects of¬† them that I would have just as hard a time with. I think about border guards and how they have to strictly enforce laws that they must know are fucking idiotic — like the US treating grass the same way they treat heroin. I can’t imagine busting someone for having some pot in their car and making a big stink out of it when I don’t think it’s worth giving a moment of thought.

Or if I was a lawyer, I’d have a hell of a hard time representing some clients, and prosecuting others. If my gut or the evidence pointed to something other than what I was fighting for, I don’t know how I would reconcile that.

I just have a lot of problems with a lot of things people generally do, and that applies to careers just like it does to anything else. Maybe if I worked at some kind of recycling center, that’s something I would probably be able to get behind. Or better yet, if there was some way I could make a living by promoting anti-consumerism, encouraging people to use less of everything, that would be great. Or if I was a hangman. There are way too many people around so good or bad, guilty or innocent, I could certainly justify thinning the herd a little bit.

Realistically, there aren’t many options for a misanthrope like myself to make a buck and not hate myself and the human race even more in the process.

I should probably just go on welfare, stop reading the news, and never leave my house again. Like I always say, “if you can’t beat them, pull out of the rat race and live the rest of your miserable life in isolation.”

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The fire test: what do I value?

Yesterday a co-worker asked me what I would save from my house if it was burning and I could only grab a few things while I was running out. I’ve been thinking about it since, and realized a few interesting things.

One thing I became aware of is that we don’t have anything expensive or ‘nice’ that is worth saving based on monetary value. Our TV is the newest, ‘nicest’ thing we have but it’s also one of the cheapest and smallest on the market. Our computers are all old and worth nothing. I like the home stereo I have put together but it’s not made of any rare or expensive components. All our home appliances are old too. Same with our vehicles. We have lots of cheap, old stuff that works just fine. I like that.

So the first things I thought about grabbing — the things I felt a weird obligation to grab — are my old guitar and bass. But while I do really like both of them, it’s not like I couldn’t replace them. There are lots of other guitars and basses out there I’m sure I’d be just as happy with. Same with my amps and cabinets. I like them just fine but they don’t hold a special place in my heart. So nope, I wouldn’t grab them.

The first thing I thought of that I would actually want to save is: my toaster oven.

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This thing’s my star pupil, my teacher’s pet.

Yup, the very same toaster oven I blogged about here a while back. This thing was so difficult to find and get my fucking hands on, and it brings me so much joy not just when I use it but even when I just look at it, that this is probably #1 on my list of things I would grab in a house fire.

And that got me thinking about the other cool, semi-rare vintage stuff I’ve collected, and I realized I would definitely want to grab a few of those things too: there are the light organs (which I blogged about here), a few silkscreen pictures (which I also blogged about here), and a picture my grandmother painted when she was an art major in university (I blogged about my grandma way back when, here). I think it’s telling that I have blogged about most of the things that I would save.

I would also put our vintage microwave on the list except for the fact that it’s just too big and heavy to easily grab and carry out. Maybe if it was a really slow fire, I could justify it. It’s a rad old thing, and makes me almost as happy as the toaster oven.

I wasn’t sure how to end this post but I just thought of something that most commercial bloggers and instagram stars do, where they close their post with a question that encourages their audience to comment on the post. For example, if I were a savvy twat, this is where I would write, “what would you grab and save if your house was on fire?” Guess what. I fucking hate that stuff. What a sad, pathetic technique to lure people into a sad, pathetic online world where they feel like they’re genuinely interacting with the author of the piece and other readers when really, it’s a delusion. No one reads those comments. No one cares what the plebes think. And if your comment does get a ‘like,’ it’s only because all that takes is a tap or a mouse click. If it took any more effort, no one at all would ‘like’ it. It’s crushing to think of the losers who routinely bite at the ‘closing question’ lure of their internet heroes, and the dark souls who routinely set that trap for them.

And that’s why I won’t try to encourage anyone to comment on my blog. Doing so is like talking in a vacuum, just like I’m doing now. But I know that I’m talking in a vacuum, and I like it that way. Hmmm, maybe I should disable comments on this thing altogether.

Haunted houses, and a lesson in the value of heart

This Halloween, I volunteered at a haunted house in Glenora. It was my second year in a row helping out there, and I absolutely love it. There are a lot of things about this particular haunted house that I love.

First off, I just love the community of Glenora. It feels so ridiculously small town, even though it’s literally a five minute drive from downtown Duncan. The corner store, the hall, the beautiful old farms and houses, and the large parcels of land make it feel like a place that time has, luckily for Glenora, forgotten.

I also have a particular nostalgia for the Glenora hall. I remember going to and playing at all-ages punk shows there when I was a teenager. Those were thrilling times.

Regarding the haunted house itself, I love that it takes place at this hall in the seeming middle of nowhere. When Jenn and I first went to it as attendees four or five years ago, we almost turned the car around and left because it looked so sad — an empty parking lot with a few Halloween decorations outside the door of the hall. I was already embarrassed for the people involved, imagining them sitting inside with absolutely no visitors, bored and disappointed. I pictured their haunted house being nothing but bowls of peeled grapes (“these are the witch’s eyeballs”) and cooked spaghetti (“this is her hair”). I didn’t want to come face to face with such sadness. But we had driven to Glenora¬†just to see this damn thing so we prepared to give a half-hearted “ooohhhh, scary, haha” and get the hell out of there.

And then it turned out to be an excellent haunted house. It was full of enthusiastic volunteers and I was legitimately scared (ok, surprised or shocked are probably better words – regardless, it was very enjoyable) several times throughout it. And while the parking lot was never jam packed and there was never a lineup out the door, it maintained a steady clientele throughout the night. We left, very pleasantly surprised at what the adorable little community of Glenora had pulled off.

We went to it again two years later, and it was just as good. But this time, I was even more amazed because that same year I went to a big, fancy haunted house in Victoria that cost $10 or $15, had a 45 minute lineup, and was full of expensive and elaborate special effects, but was somehow just not that good. It was like they were trying to be flashy and impressive rather than creepy or scary, like they were leaning on their budget instead of focusing on the essential core components of a haunted house. Somehow, the sad, tiny, admission-by-donation-to-the-food-bank haunted house at Glenora hall was superior.

It wasn’t until this year that I was talking about this topic with some people when I realized that I think the reason the Glenora Haunted Hall is so great is because, simply put, it has heart. It doesn’t attempt to impress attendees with fancy robotics or professional-grade costumes and makeup. Instead, it’s just a bunch of enthusiastic locals who dream up some cheap, simple, effective, old-fashioned scares, and then execute them with great joy. It’s sort of like a piece of furniture that is handmade by a novice who obviously enjoys the process — it’s not perfect but it is so unique and has such character that it stands out as a very special piece.

If I could offer a piece of advice to haunted house proprietors everywhere, it would be: keep it simple, and keep it scary — just jump out lots, scream lots, surprise people lots. That’s the meat and potatoes of the haunted house. It works in Glenora so it should work for you too.

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But it doesn’t hurt if you also have a ghost that really knows how to groove.

Pre-post-event depression syndrome

I’ve written before about how depressing the days after big events like Halloween, Festivus, and Xmas are, what a letdown it is to have had a wonderful time and then be left wondering, “well, now what?” I’m experiencing that today, even though it’s Halloween day, and the fabulous night is still yet to come.

I think it’s because I’ve already done some big Halloween stuff that I was nervous and excited about — I played a Halloween show with my Misfits cover band on the weekend, and last night I volunteered at a haunted house. Plus I’ve been gorging on both classic and contemporary scary films and tv shows for the last few weeks, and Jenn and I had a nice evening of carving pumpkins a few nights ago. It’s just been a lovely Halloween season so far, so I guess my brain feels like it must be over now, and that’s why I woke up today feeling more or less aimless. I had to set my sights on cleaning the house like crazy just to stave off the miserable thoughts, like “only 53 days until Festivus.”

But those feelings can wait another 20 hrs before I’ll let them legitimately manifest. For now, I’m going to listen to Anthrax’s This Is Not An Exit one more time (this song has always reminded me of Halloween and I have no idea why — it’s also a fantastic yet totally overlooked song by an otherwise useless band so it’s worth listening to):

And then I’ll put on Usuper’s Skeletal Seasons record, just before I skip out the door on my way to the final night at the haunted house. Depression can wait, I actually still feel pretty fucking good today.