30 Days of Write Day 6: The First Day of School

Note: I planned on posting this last night, but I was done in by crummy country internet service. Better late than never, right?

As I scrolled through Facebook today, I sat with a smile as I saw my friends posting pics of their kids heading to school. Some were heading to kindergarten for the first time, others were about to embark on their final year of high school. There were smiles on most faces, a look of trepidation on others, and I could almost hear laughing and the chant “WE’RE FREE!” from more than a few folks. Almost.

It made me wistful for my school days. It’s been more years than I or any of my friends would care to admit since we walked through our respective school’s hallowed halls. Two dozen years ago, I started the journalism program at Sheridan and met a group of people who proof the old adage that you don’t need to be blood to be family. But I digress.

I loved school, as evidenced by the fact I showed up at 6:45 every morning to turn on the lights (or so the joke went). I’ve taken two online courses over the years, a sports one from Duke and a mythology course from the University of Pennsylvania. I’ve tried to get into a few others, but for one reason or another, I wasn’t able to finish them.

On Monday, I go for number three. I’ve registered for another course from Coursera, and with this one, I’m focusing on an entertainment theme. If you read my Musical A-Z entry from a couple of days ago (and if you didn’t, why not?) you know that I’m a big fan of The Beatles. This new course, offered by the University of Rochester, is all about The Fab Four, from their beginnings in Liverpool and Hamburg through Beatlemania through the psychedelic era through Abbey Road.

It should be a blast. Am I looking forward to it? The answer is simple…yeah yeah yeah!

30 Days of Write Day 5: I’m Being That Guy


Late last week, the crew on NFL Network’s flagship morning show, Good Morning Football, discussed protocols for people participating in fantasy football drafts. Don’t be too much of a homer, don’t be an autodrafter, etc. The big one, however, was one that hurt me to my core:


I’ve always shared my picks, be it in a blog post or a column for the paper (yes, I actually wasted valuable column inches on listing my fantasy selections). It strikes me as a bad idea to break tradition now, so I’m not going to!

In our league, we retain two players from the previous season, and this year I hung onto QB Russell Wilson from Seattle and Cincinnati WR A.J. Green. It struck me before the draft that I’ve had Green in this league every single year he’s been in the NFL. I took a flyer on him when he was just a rookie out of Georgia, and he’s been one of my two keepers every season since. I must like the kid or something.

With those two players locked down, it was time to focus on the rest of the draft. I had the ninth pick in a 10-person draft, so I was able to draft two players almost consecutively each time it was my turn. Without further ado, here is the 2016 iteration of the St. George Vikings.

A.J Green, WR, Cincinnati

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans

C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona

Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

Tavon Austin, WR, Los Angeles

Cairo Santos, K, Kansas City

Carolina Panthers Defense

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit

Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville

Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota

Atlanta Falcons Defense

Charlie Sims, RB, Tampa Bay

I think I did alright. The NFL Fantasy “experts” love my Roethlisberger pick in round 10, but thought I reached for Austin in round seven. I think I can’t wait for Thursday night.

Are YOU ready for some football?

30 Days of Write Day 4: The Musical Alphabet

At some point last year, I started a Musical A-Z list, but it fizzled out around letter F. I’ve always meant to get back to that, so what better time than now, when I’ve got a month’s worth of content to suss out? Since it’s my list, I’m allowing myself to add two names to a few letters, simply because there is no way I can leave one of these two performers off…you’ll see what I mean when I get to B.

A is for AC/DC
Been a fan since I was young…this was a gimme.

B is for David Bowie and The Beatles
One of the greatest individual performers who ever lived plus one of the most important bands of all time.

C is for The Cure
The first band I ever saw live and the band behind Disintegration, one of my favourite albums ever.

D is for Depeche Mode
My favourite band ever. I’ve seen them 10 times over the last 28 years, including two shows in another country.

E is for Erasure
I had to show this dynamic duo…wait for it…a little respect *puts on Ray-Bans Horatio Caine style*

F is for Foo Fighters
I guess we know who the real talent in Nirvana was,  don’t we? *prepares for barrage from Cobain devotees*

G is for Garbage
Shirley Manson and Butch Vig. That is all.

H is for Hendrix, obviously Jimi
One of the greatest ever to strum a guitar.

I is for INXS
This was a hard one, with Inspiral Carpets and Imagine Dragons almost taking the spot. In the end, I had to go back to my 80s roots and pick the lads from Australia.

J is for James
A favourite since my college days, I had the privilege of interviewing singer Tim Booth before the band’s gig in Toronto in the early 90s. There’s SO much more to this band than Laid.

K is for Killing Joke
This was a tough one. There are many K bands I like some stuff from…The Killers, Keane, K-OS…okay, not so much K-OS. In the end, I went for the band with the most badass name,

L is for Lush
Another band I’ve loved since my college days…not seeing them is one of my big concert regrets.

M is for Muse and Paul McCartney
The only band that one day might challenge Depeche Mode for top spot. Arguably the best combo of audio and visuals I’ve ever seen live…even better than U2 and Pink Floyd. Paul McCartney is a living, breathing rock god, and it was an almost spiritual experience seeing him perform live.

N is for Nine Inch Nails
My mind was absolutely blown the first time I heard Pretty Hate Machine. I don’t recall seeing a performer with more on-stage energy than Trent Reznor.

O is for Oasis
One of the standard bearers of the Britpop movement. They could have been all-timers had the brothers Gallagher not been absolute dicks to each other.

P is for The Police and Pulp
The Police were the number one band on my musical bucket list to see, and having the opportunity to see them on their reunion tour is a memory I’ll always treasure. Pulp is one of those bands I can listen to no matter what kind of mood I’m in, and the fact their singer is in a Potter movie doesn’t hurt either.

Q is for Queen
Who else could it be?

R is for REM
This one took me a while to settle on. I was leaning at different times to Radiohead, Rise Against and Rage Against The Machine, but I once again leaned on my 80s roots and went with the best thing to come out of Athens, Georgia not named Herschel Walker.

S is for Suede
You know those bands that hook you the very first time you hear them? That was me with Suede and their song Metal Mickey. Their album Dog Man Star is, like the aforementioned Disintgration, one of my all-time faves.

T is for Thirty Seconds to Mars
This one came out of nowhere. I had heard of Jared Leto’s band, but it wasn’t until a trip to Michigan a few years ago when I truly became a fan. ESPN was using their song Closer To The Edge as their college bowl coverage theme, and I was sold.

U is for U2
You were expecting Ultravox or Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker? One of the biggest bands of all time, and one of my faves.

V is for The Verve
Richard Ashcroft and Nick McCabe. Man, what a combo. Those two are absolute magic together, and if you need conformation of that, go watch their performance of Love Is Noise from Glastonbury 2008.

W is for The White Stripes
It’s almost illegal how good Jack and Meg White are together. The opening to Seven Nation Army, no matter how many times I hear it, always gets the blood pumping. They’re just a fun band.

X is for X Ambassadors
Almost by default, but damn they rocked opening for Muse in January.

Y is for Yaz
Pickings were slim for Y, so I went with a band I loved back as a teenager.

Z is for Zeppelin…Led Freaking Zeppelin
I know I’m cheating by putting them under Z, but there was no way I could leave Zeppelin off the list. They have replaced The Police as my ultimate bucket list band.

So there we go…a musical trip through the alphabet. Tomorrow, I’m going to be that guy, even though Kay Adams told me not to be. I’ll explain more later.


30 Days of Write Day 3: The Taco Explosion

By popular demand *looks at Michelle* I’ve been asked to discuss a comment I made about a photo of Becky and I on Facebook. Here’s the picture in question:

Becky and I

My comment: Me and my amazing Becky at Mike and Kate’s wedding. Notice the strategic placement of the beer bottle, hiding the mess I made on my tie when my taco exploded.

Allow me, dear friends, to paint a picture with words. My rented suit was immaculate. My new tie looked perfect. I was a giant sweaty mess on account of my dear friends picking one of the hottest days in recorded history to get married on. Everything went according to Hoyle, and nobody melted. We survived pictures and then, after a much deserved beer, it was dinner time.

The food at the wedding was beyond compare. We took advantage of the various stations set up, including the taco station. I loaded up a pair of shells, one hard, one soft, and made my way back to the table. I had a speech to deliver in a few minutes, so it was good that I was going to have some food in me before I went up to make fun of my friend toast the happy couple.

As I leaned in to take my first bite of this delicious pocket of meat, cheese and lettuce (yes, me eating something green), something happened. I don’t know if it was a flawed shell of if I’m just too powerful for my own good (I think the latter, personally), but the taco exploded.

I had two jobs on the day in question: make sure Mike made it there in one piece and deliver my speech. That was it. You’d think I’d be able to keep myself taco meat free in the process, right?


Still, despite the catastrophe, the rest of the night went off without a hitch and I somehow managed to avoid getting any more food on me. I call that a win. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a Drumstick that’s going to melt and drizzle ice cream and peanuts on me to eat.

30 Days of Write Day 2: Currently I’m…

Day 2! Who’s sick of me already…show of hands *looks into the darkness* Good!

So as I was bouncing around the net last night, I landed on a neat image. It was a list of 29 things that someone could be doing at any particular moment. I gave the list a quick scan and saw a few of them wouldn’t work for me (I’m neither a scrapper nor a pinner, so those don’t apply to me) However, the rest of the list seems legit and I figure it might offer you awesome folks a little insight into me…whether you want it or not.

As those ultra-annoying clickbait websites might say, SOME OF THE ANSWERS WILL SHOCK YOU! Or they won’t, depending on how well you already know me. Allons-y!

Currently I’m…

Reading The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham

Playing Way too many different games on the Xbox, but mostly FIFA 16

Watching Doctor Who Series 5 before it disappears off Netflix

Trying To figure out who my keepers should be for my fantasy football draft on Sunday

Cooking Nothing…it’s bedtime

Eating A Titan bar, the Scottish equivalent of a Mars bar (very cleverly named if you know Mars’ moons)

Drinking Diet Dr. Pepper, naturally

Calling Dr. Love😉

Texting Nobody at the moment

Tweeting About Brock Turner and how he should accidentally be tripped into an open elevator shaft

Doing Whatever I can to get this done before midnight…you might say I’m trying to find a way

Going to bed sooner than later

Loving that I had a quick visit with my awesome brother and sister-in-law this evening

Hating that said visit was so short

Discovering that, based on their sports teams, Chicago really isn’t my kind of town

Enjoying the fact that college football is back with a vengeance tomorrow

Thinking that my little cat seems back to normal, and this pleases me mightily

Feeling Minnesota

Hoping (for) a spectacularly busy day at the shop tomorrow

Listening (to) Two-Tonne Skeleton by Royal Blood

Celebrating that we get a day off together on Monday…we’ve come to appreciate stat holidays!

Smelling If I said anything but coffee, you’d call me a liar

Thanking my lucky stars that Trump isn’t running up here

Considering how tired I am, why am I hungry?

Finishing this is satisfying, especially since I was under a bit of a time crunch

Starting to wonder how I went 45+ years on this earth without trying Portuguese sweet bread…nom!

30 Days of Write: Day 1

Hey gang!

When I wrote my entry about the Tragically Hip 12 days ago, it marked my first entry in this space for almost four months. During my absence, a lot happened. My last entry came on the day Prince died, and we’ve since lost Muhammad Ali and Gordie Howe, Gene Wilder and Mr. Fuji *shakes fist at death* There was an Olympics. I best manned my buddy’s wedding. I sold a lot of coffee.

What I didn’t do, however, was write. Sure, there were Facebook posts and insightful tweets, but there was nothing here. Today, I rectify that. For the month of September, I plan on posting something every day. I don’t know exactly what, but it’ll be something. Anything to keep these writing skills of mine honed…after all, I’ll need them in November for my third proper attempt at NaNoWriMo.

Today, for my first entry in 30 Days of Write, I want to talk about Teddy Bridgewater, quarterback of my beloved Minnesota Vikings. On Tuesday, Teddy suffered a catastrophic injury to his knee and won’t play this season. When I heard the news, how his teammates reacted to his injury, I was nearly sick to my stomach. Torn ACL, dislocated kneecap.

Devastating news to be sure, and certainly not just for Vikings fans. I’m thinking about Teddy. Here’s a young man, one who does everything right, cut down on a freak play. It hardly seems fair, no scratch that. It’s pretty goddamn unfair.

Coach Mike Zimmer said something in his press conference, something that really resonated with me. He said nobody is going to feel sorry for the Vikings, and that they would have to find a way to overcome this. Find a way.

Three little words. Eight little letters. One powerful statement. And going forward, my new mantra.

Can’t think of where to direct my story? Find a way.

Need to sell more coffee? Find a way.

Want to get more weight off and keep my blood pressure at the awesomely low level it’s at? Find a way.


It’s as easy as that…find a way.

Hip Hip Hooray!

The Tragically Hip

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with The Tragically Hip for the past decade and a bit. Perhaps hate is too strong a word…more like violent dislike. I made a completely rational (ha!) decision to stop liking a band that I spent much of my college years and beyond listening to, all on the strength of two songs that I didn’t like (Poets and Butts Wiggling if you’re scoring at home).

I was an idiot.

I’ve spent the last few months since Gord Downie’s announcement wondering how I could be such a dumbass. I mean, Depeche Mode and Muse and even David Bowie all have songs I don’t like as much as others, but I’d never entertain the thought dropping them from my musical rotation.

See what I mean about being an idiot?

Tonight, like most of Canada, I will tuning in to the CBC to watch their final show. I’m thankful the national broadcaster is preempting the freaking Olympics to share this event with the country. We all need a chance to say goodbye to this amazing band.

When I heard Jack Layton had died, I referred to him as a love letter to Canada with heartbeat. The Tragically Hip ARE Canada’s heartbeat. With apologies to The Guess Who and Rush, I can’t think of a band who means more to Canada than The Hip, and I don’t know that any band will, could or even should fill that void.

Thank you for everything, gentlemen.

For what it’s worth, my top 7 Hip songs are Bobcaygeon, Grace Too, Locked In The Trunk Of A Car, Wheat Kings, Nautical Disaster, Ahead By A Century and Long Time Running.

Enjoy the show, Canada!