Back in 2012, I was invited to help out with a video shoot for the QX104 radio station here in Winnipeg. The shoot was a parody music video covering the NHL lockout during that year, and after working with the fun crew at the station I immediately knew that I wanted to get into radio. I also knew I already had a career, and it wouldn’t be an easy transition across, so I began to make some changes.
I joined the social committee for my company and started to emcee work events just to see if I could even talk in front of a crowd, which I could. Through social media, I hosted a charity event at Kildonan Place mall to see if I could handle public speaking, which I did. I even tried my hand performing stand up comedy on amateur night at a club here in the city to test improv, which was a lot of fun (even though I may have bombed). At this point it was 2013, and time to make the commitment to head off to school.
Funding and school, working a full-time job, and paying a mortgage were near impossible but somehow I found a way to get it all done. Along the way I met an incredible lady who’s been more than supportive during the journey. Now, finished school and about 1000 demo tapes in, I’ve found myself working for the very radio broadcasting group that got me hooked in the first place. I feel like for the first time, I’m doing something that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m somewhere that I can now entertain on a wide scale. I’m on a platform where I can maybe even make small difference in this world. My voice can be heard.
Alright. So by now, it’s pretty clear that I am a lazy human being. I’m not a fan of going in to work, doing house chores, or cleaning up after the fuzzy roommates. However, there are times when I can get so deeply involved into a project that I completely lose track of the relevance of the end result. This particular school project was one of those situations.
I’m currently taking a radio and television broadcasting course, and our latest assignment was to film a short cooking show aptly titled “In the Kitchen” for 10% of our final grade. We were broken up into groups of four; two off camera playing the rolls of director and producer, and two on camera playing the roles of host and guest chef. The requirements were to hit the seven minute in length mark, not to go over our $15 food budget, and to maintain conversational flow and instruction throughout. Naturally, we wanted to spice it up a touch.
After joking with the teacher about preparing pot cookies for the show, we had an epiphany – why not have a puppet host the show. I began to think of a perfect puppet host, when the obvious finally jumped out at me. Kermit the frog. Boom. Just…where to buy the puppet?
Now, I had no idea how much money buying a replica Kermit actually was, nor did I have any knowledge about sewing before I took on the task of creating Kermit from scratch. However after spending a bit of time on YouTube learning the ‘Henson Stitch’ and an hour or two in Fabricland, I spent roughly 15 hours creating the best thing I’ve ever made since that video where I set my kitchen on fire. And there, after skipping two days of work to complete my masterpiece, it was film day. There was just one problem…I spent all my time BUILDING Kermit that we didn’t actually collaborate any real scripting. So after seven minutes of ad-libbing a major project, this is what we came up with.
It’s date night. I’m cooking spaghetti. I’ve already left work early and grabbed all that I need from the grocery store, snagged a bottle of red wine from the liquor store and have showered up. Over text, I’m calm, composed and confident. Outside of my phone, I’m running around without a shirt on screaming obscenities to no one. I have a beautiful woman on her way over, and I’m frantically trying to vacuum pet hair off the floor and couches whilst firing up the stove and arranging all the ingredients for tonights meal. With only moments before her arrival, the sauce can finally get started. Just need to brown the meat. The meat. Oh God, where’s the meat..
Enter the fuzzy roommate. He eats my remotes, poops on my floor, and whenever I’ve JUST gotten into bed without fail he has got to go outside.
Not to place all the blame on him, his antics can largely be blamed on his upbringing. When he was merely 3 years of age, his adoptive mother moved out. This put a slight strain on the conditioning of his manners, and instead of playing the roll of a strict owner, the two of us would commonly stay up way past his bedtime together living the bachelors dream – eating pizza and drinking beer.
As time progressed forward, his obedience retention began to collapse. He began to make the transition from sleeping in his kennel to my bed, would beg more often for my food, and started refusing to get off the couch. One time – on Valentines Day mind you – he had the indecency to throw up in my bed and just walk away. Like he was disgusted by it. The little jackass even had the gull to give me a look as if to say ‘bro, you gonna clean that up or what?’
I can’t say he’s all terrible though. Granted his stubborn mannerisms, he has proven to learn methods that benefit him. For instance, once I came home and he once again crapped on the floor. Lucky for me, dogs are a pattern based species. So when he does poop, I’ll know instantaneously when I walk in the house as it’s always positioned within stepping distance upon house entry. Now, him and I both know that when he does this, I scream and he runs away. So generally he tries not to do it. This time though he must have really had to go. He took what I would call ‘the decoy shit’ in his usual spot – at the back door – which was very small. I saw it, muttered to myself, and cleaned it up. What I didn’t realize was that he left a turd the size of an infant at the front door. By the time I found it, he was already hiding in what I could only assume was the attic. And although I kept putting food in his bowl and it kept disappearing, I didn’t see him for two days.
So anyway, what happened to the meat? He did what any other dog of his capacity would do. He pulled it out of the grocery bag, sliced it open with such precision using what I could only imagine was an exacto knife and ate my $10 worth of raw lean ground beef. He then carefully placed the empty package into a seperate bag and put it beside the garbage can. I threw it out MYSELF unknowingly while trying to clean the house in a mad dash. I only realized all this after digging through the garbage and finding the bag with the empty meat package with the current date. And back to the grocery store I went.
I realize now that I’ve raised him to be what he has become. No one is to blame but myself. So where do I go from here? Well, I found refuge in taking the same course of action that any parent does when they have a delinquent child – simply have another. And now I have a cat. Now unfortunately for me, the dog has a bigger influence on the replacement child than I do. And even though I can’t prove it, I’m 99% sure he’s selling her drugs..
Dating. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the impeccably hopeless Hazard. His continuing mission? To explore strange new social situations, to seek out new women in new social circles. To boldly go where at least a few have gone before. Potentially many, although he doesn’t like to think about that…
At the beginning of every year, I have an optimistic view that this is going to be the year that I will meet someone and fall in love. I know full well that I’ll have to dive straight into the dating pond without water wings multiple times, and at some point I’ll find a compatible match. And every year, the same cycle occurs. I go on multiple dates with multiple new women, find ONE that I decide I’m head over heels for, and spend the rest of the year chasing after that one that I simply can’t land. Repeat.
So why is dating so tough? I think I’ve figured it out.
When I’m standing in the kitchen and my dog is looking at me from the couch, he stands up wagging his tail and gives me this toothy smile that I can only assume is welcoming happiness. However, once I stare him down and slowly begin to turn on my heels, his tails stops and he freezes in place. As I begin to angle my body towards the door, his face turns cold and his legs begin to tighten. I crouch slowly into a sprint stance and his eyes lock to mine. The second I take a step, he rips out a low bark and launches after me. For my pup is hard wired on an instinctual level to chase. And I am no different.
If I meet someone who’s extremely interested in me right off the bat, chances are I’m going to lose interest very fast. Consequently, if a girl shows some interest in me but doesn’t want to commit, chances are I’m already planning on making her my wife. If you’re following along, you’ve realized that this is BAD. So what chance at happiness do I really have with a mindset so whacked?
Probably not much of any.
To me, shopping for a compatible mate is like playing an old NES version of Mario. After the first few levels, it gets repetitive and boring. Like, I always find myself jumping over SO MANY OBSTACLES to impress the girl I’m out with, while at the same time shelling out my OWN collected coins to pay for our meals and drinks. And there are always these other goombas out to block you from getting your girl that you’ve got to deal with. And all this, just to find out at the end of the day that she wasn’t the one, and my princess is truly in another castle. It’s just such a hassle.
On some positive note, there is an end to Mario. It’s beatable, and I know exactly how it ends. Unfortunately, happiness is at the end of World 8 and I seem to be stuck somewhere between World 1 and a hard place. However if I’m going to play this crazy game of love I’m going to have to be patient. That, or invest in a warp whistle. Which is probably loads easier at this point.
Today was an exceptionably difficult day at work. I worked outside through rain tearing apart a deck, followed by some custom decorative work to a client’s ceiling. Did I mention that I’m an electrician? Ceiling work and deck building to a sparky is sort of like washing your heiny in the shower BEFORE your face – it’s just wrong. Needless to say when I finally got home from work, I wanted nothing more than to crack a beer and pass out on the couch in my underwear. My dog had other plans for me..
Being a dog owner takes a certain sense of vigor, or over the years you’ll be driven clinically insane. My immediate reaction was utter rage as I stepped into last nights wet sea food packages and avocado rinds, but after bellowing profanity in a voice comparable to that of Zeus, I had to laugh when I saw how bad the dog FELT. Oh, he was hiding, but like dealing with any 6 year old child you figure out their one and only hiding spot.
You know that moment where your dog knows they’re in the wrong? And they actually feel bad? That’s my favourite. Not only because it’s amazing to see another creature portray empathy to humans, but because it’s downright hilarious to screw with them. I’ll call out his name vigorously – nay, unremittingly and watch his ears slump back. Then I’ll ask the question he hates most in most pretentious fatherly voice I can conjure.. “What did you do?” This immediately triggers something in his brain that splits his motor functions down the meridian of his body, causing the left legs and right legs to walk in unison in a crablike fashion towards me. He’ll slowly sit beside me – never making eye contact – and extend a shaking paw in what can only be described as his method of apology. By this point, I can no longer contain myself. I’ll fall over in complete hysterics and convulse on the floor in laughter. And the dog finally understands he’s now in the clear.
The little mongrel has not only destroyed many objects in my house such as tv remotes, wooden baseboards, xbox controllers, window blinds and once drank my last glass of perfectly blended gin and juice. No bullshit.
And I know this may sound ostentatious, but he’s also a habitual cock blocker. Every time I have a woman over he jumps in between us on the couch. Of course the girl loves him. He’s adorable. And when he’s all up on the girl virtually hugging them with his paws literally around their neck, he’ll slowly turn his head back and look me straight in the eyes. That’s the definition of an asshole.
He has also ran away. Many times. Once, he made it all the way to the other end of town via cab. Sadly, I wish I were joking. This isn’t even the worse part. Once year during a dateless Valentines Day I let him sleep in my room and he threw up in my bed. Seriously. Who DOES that?
However, as much as a handful these jerks can be, we still love them. The dog is always happy to see me come home, he’s by my side for every movie I watch on the couch and can tell when I’m feeling down and need some company. As the years go on the bonds that have formed only grown stronger. To the benefit of both parties. As much as he has prevented me from getting close to women in my own house, he has attracted a lot over to us on the jogging path. And myself being a grouchy old man who hates to cuddle, he either lays at the foot of my bed or aptly leaves the room if I move around too much. That’s respect. In return, I pay for the pizza on pizza nights and keep him loving life with routine car rides. Although, those car rides don’t always end up how I intend them..
Hitting mid summer up here in Canada usually has three guarantees – finally a blast of warmer weather, mosquitos, and of course the beginning of vacation season. In my family’s household, vacation time usually meant a two week hiatus from our house and a long trek down the Trans-Canada highway to Radium Hotsprings in beautiful British Columbia – all except for me of course. I always stayed back as I had a job while my other four brothers got to ride along and play in the mountains. The years have since flown by, and now even the youngest brother earns a paycheck which means family vacations now only include mom and dad rolling down to the states in a trailer WAY too big for just the two of them.
Of course, leaving their estate in the hands of their vigorously apt sons always has a few rules attached. Unfortunately for my parents, my brothers and I are well versed in the dark art of sarcasm and debauchery.
Taking a wonderfully coloured handwritten letter from my mom, they took every line in its most literal form, completely abusing her misinterpretation of the use of quotations. And of course, I helped.
Parties were had, many games were played, Wednesday night was confusing and potted plants were virtually never watered. I frequently visited to check up on things and consume whatever alcohol they had taken from dad’s liquor cabinet.
However, in the end, we all managed to make a mad dash to clean the place up just before they arrived home. Not all of the notes content went to mockery, however. If there was one thing that we did learn as a team of Men in Arms, it was that mom was essentially right about the cooking. We cooked together, and we’ll be damned if we didn’t learn a few life skills along the way. Such as we so desperately need to marry women who possess talent in the kitchen.
Most aspects of our lives are dangerously relative to sports. Metaphorically speaking. For instance, if you’re the the dating type, you want to see how many home runs you can proverbially hit. Or in my brother’s case, how many times you can hit first base. Zing. Alternatively, or perhaps more literally, you want to hit that good ol’ retirement hole with as little strokes as possible. Still confused? Watch.
Sex could be compared to a football game. For arguments sake, the man plays the role of the quarterback, where the woman takes on the role of the coach. Now, the quarterback is the star player, however he still needs to please the coach. Or he’ll be benched. In a worst case scenario, the coach calls in the backup. And you really, really don’t want that.
Going out on a couples date night could be compared to a game of darts. To start the night, first you want to double up. After that, you want to strategically beat the other team in romance points before doubling out for the win. The prize? Bragging rights. I know, but let’s face it. Darts suck.
If you’re in a bad game of relationship poker and the game has lost it’s value? Throw down your losing hand and cash in your chips. Sure, you’ve taken a loss, but don’t invest the remaining chips you have in a losing game. Try the slot machines, it’s new and exciting. Take a gamble.
Even the small things like general game management could tie in to life. For a moment, view a dance club like a card game preparation. You don’t want to roll up to a group of girls without knowing how to deal with all the players. And don’t even think about hitting the dance floor unless you know how to shuffle.
Have an office job and want to take some time off work? Play it like a game of soccer. Show up well dressed and your hair properly groomed, and follow that up by faking an injury. I mean, really play it up.
Pessimistic with overbearing life issues? Neatly stack all your woes four levels high until they all just disappear.
OK, all I’m suggesting is to pick a sport that works for you and crush life with it. Find your game. Make life fun, because let’s face it – the last thing you want to do is attempt to play the football dating game and wind up excelling at solitaire.