Wednesday, January 22, 2014

This is how winter should be.

That's right, you heard me.

You call it a "polar vortex," I call it "a regular god damn Canadian winter."

We've been spoiled, us southern-Ontarians, with some pansy-ass winters in the past decade. Is this directly related to my habit of leaving my car idling in the staff parking lot while I'm at work all day, and my hobby of burning vast quantities of Styrofoam out on the Leslie Street Spit, twice weekly? Perhaps.

You want a bullshit winter? Take the one we had a couple of years ago. A little below freezing, a little above freezing. Dancing around the zero-mark like friggin' Fred Astaire after a baker's-dozen Pomtinis. Snow? Barely any, then it's a grey, slushy, stupid mess. Then you get a little more, and it sort-of melts again. Lather, rinse, repeat, blow out brains.

But this... this is what January should be like. It was twenty-three-below if it was a degree this morning, I tell you. Had to dodge a wooly mammoth on St. Clair Avenue on the way into work. Potholes the size of football* fields. Children freezing into solid blocks of ice on their way to school. In short, it's the best winter we've had in a good long while.

The rest of our Home on Native Land makes fun of us, and rightly so, for being wusses about the cold. "Cold?", a Winnipegger might ask. "You call this cold? Why, we'd be out in our flip-flops in this."

...except Vancouver. They can go suck an egg, far as I'm concerned. (Enjoy those 60.2 hours of January sunshine on average, losers.)

In conclusion, there are 24 days until the Tigers' pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.
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* Canadian ones, no less.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Hey, J, what do you look for in a woman?

I know what you're thinking (mostly because I took a six-week course which showed me exactly how to do that) -- Hey, fella, how come you haven't managed to club a woman over the head, drag her back to your lair, make sweet love to her, and make her your bride?

Well, friend, I assure you I've accomplished steps 1 through 3 as described above many times. Many times. (Usually with your mom.) But that last step, that one's proven to be a doozy, and I'll tell you why: I'm fairly picky when it comes to women.

I mean, sure, you can have dinner with them a few times, take them to bed for the finest lovemaking they've ever experienced, and all that -- but if I'm going to spend the rest of my life with just one woman, I've gotta choose well. And, I have high standards.

Let me give you a little tutorial on exactly what I'm looking for. I figure it's easiest to go from the ground upwards, piece-by-piece, breaking down attributes in an informative, yet easy-to-read, manner. This is because I'm both logical and helpful.

1. Feet/Ankles
Winds these days are pretty gusty, so you've gotta make sure the woman you choose won't just blow over in a stiff breeze. Simple physics will tell you that the best way to solve this problem is to have big feet; the longer and wider, the better. Sensible footwear is also a no-brainer. High heels? That's a recipe for disaster, far as I'm concerned. Oh, and ankle-strength is paramount; I suggest looking for women who have played a lot of hockey, preferably goalie.

2. Legs (aka "Gams")
Look, you could try to seek out a woman who has thin, shapely legs. I can certainly see the appeal in that. But, it's a rookie move; strictly bush-league. This woman's going to be carrying your children around, both pre- and after-birth, and you're not going to want to trust your DNA legacy to a pair of popsicle sticks. Now, I'm not saying you should look for tree-trunks, but I certainly wouldn't fault you if you did.

3. The Hoo-Ha Area
I'm nothing if not a gentleman, so if there are any ladies reading this, I'll be sure to use carefully-encoded euphemisms to describe the parts of their anatomy they've seen every day of their existence. (You're welcome.) Basically, hair helps to trap chemicals called "pheromones" which are attractive to the opposite sex. So, logically, it stands to reason that a woman's funny-business should have as much of that decoration as possible, for maximum allure. Let the 1970s and their down-there-grooming practices reign yet again, I say! Waxing is for communists and metrosexuals, and I don't see them getting laid anytime soon.

4. Posterior (aka "Dumper")
Anthropologically speaking, a round behind is tightly correlated to full hips and breasts, which can more successfully birth and nurse a baby, respectively. (Yeah, I think I have that the right way around.) As such, I'll defer to the words and wisdom of a guy I was in residence with, in first-year of university, who was from England: "Gimme a girl with a three-stone* arse. That'll keep me warm in bed at night."
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* 1 stone = 14 pounds

5. 'Twixt Collar and Waist
They say a woman with curves is what you're shooting for. "They," of course, are the vast, unwashed masses, who buy things like Nickelback albums, chips with fake fat in 'em which give you the runs, and Toyotas. That's why you have to think outside-the-box here. It's like that movie Moneyball, where Billy Beane shopped around and found players who were great in unconventional ways. The result? The Oakland Athletics won the World Series seven times in the first decade of the 21st century. That's a fact, you can look it up.

6. Face (aka "Mug")
Symmetry reigns supreme here: it's a subconscious sign that she's disease-free and thus can crap out a bunch of healthy kids. I suggest bringing along pocket-sized mirrors to various nightclubs, house parties, and other assorted places where you might meet a woman (e.g. the bank, the dentist, the abbatoir). Check her facial symmetry subtly, though; you're going to have to be a ninja about this. I'm not saying you're going to nail the "hold it up to the midpoint of her face vertically and perpendicular to the plane of her cheekbones and then take it away quickly, evaluating the differences between the reflection and the real thing" move on the first try. You'll likely get punched. But, then again, like most things in life, practice makes perfect.

7. Hair (aka "Mane")
Is long hair more feminine than short? Blondes or brunettes? (Or, if you're feeling randy and don't mind a little syphilis, a redhead?) Do you like a Skrillex-ish hairstyle wherein part of one side of her head is shorn down like someone pulled a practical joke on her as she was passed out, drunk, after downing one too many whiskey-sours? Curly hair or straight? Are extensions alright? How about wigs? Do you just solve this problem and only pursue women with alopecia? Lots more questions than answers here, folks.

That about covers it, unless she's wearing a hat (no fucking hats, I cannot stress this enough). I mean, sure, it'd help if she had a fun personality, no serious criminal convictions, a rapier wit and the ability to read and write, but at this point, can I really be that picky?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Look out for one another, please.

It's always a shock when someone you know dies "before their time," as the saying goes. But when you learn that this person purposefully ended their life, that adds a new dimension to the sorrow.

I went to high school with J. We occasionally hung out in the same circles, saw each other at parties from time to time. He was a quiet kid, but almost always had this impish grin on his face, like you knew he was up to something. When he spoke, there was, oddly, both a playfulness and a wisdom to what he said; if he cracked a joke, it was likely to be one similar to what your parents might tell.

Naturally, when people leave home and go away to school somewhere, there's a tendency to drift apart. You meet new friends, they meet new friends, and like an oak tree reaching for the sky, your lives diverge farther apart, with more and more filling the space between you. So, I hadn't seen J since I was in university, easily... but his dad and mine went to high school together, and would run into each other now and again, and I'd get updates from time to time about what he and his older brother were up to.

The last time our dads saw each other was just before Christmas, and naturally when I visited over the break, I got another update. But, since I don't visit terribly often, my parents choose to use this time to update me on every single person I know, and many I don't. Oh, did I tell you Gracie McWhatsherface is in a home now? You probably don't know her, she's your grandpa's barber's cousin-in-law. So, you tune out. Hell, I even mentioned to them, after about the third hour of updates, "Hey, so, all I get when I come home is all this stuff about people I barely know. What gives?"

To be honest, I can't remember what my dad told me J's dad told him about what J was up to. I'd probably already tuned my dad out by that point, or was trying to do a crossword puzzle, or something equally inconsequential. But another old high school friend of mine called me up late on Friday night and told me the news, so I felt it proper to let my parents know on Saturday afternoon. They're going to the visitation.

Here's the point I'm trying to make. J was a pretty shy guy, and it's incredibly easy for people like that to fly under most peoples' radar. It's easy to forget about the quiet ones, and I'm probably as guilty of that as the next person (despite being a quiet person throughout most of high school myself). If there's someone you know who's a little on the reticent side of the spectrum, drop them a line. Give them a call, poke them on Facebook, do what ya gotta do. I'm not saying something like that could've saved J, but it certainly couldn't have hurt.