Friday, January 31, 2014

My Loss Is Your Gain Part 3

Part 3 of my notes that would have eventually been my act, but it's not, so I'm writing it here.  Enjoy!  Or don't!  The difference here is that if you heckle me, you have to log in.  I still might not be able to find you, but I can certainly say blistering things to your username.  Very blistering.  Be nice.  Have a laugh.

My wife and I are new parents and we discovered something.  Nobody is as judgemental as new parents.  Parents in general are pretty judgemental, but parents with new infants?  We are the worst.  If you don't believe me, just go to the mall.  Any time you see two strollers approaching from opposite directions, all you'll see is smiles, nods, and thumbs up.  As soon as those strollers are past each other?  We all question every single decision the other parent has made, and I'm talking going right back to conception.  

But it's all right, because we are new parents, and new parents get to do that kind of thing with impunity.  Parents of older children do the same thing, but they don't say anything right out loud because older children will repeat everything you say, and at the wrong time.  You have a giant battle to get your kid to say "Mama" or "Daddy", and then they come out with "My parents say you're an unfit mother" when meeting your boss for the first time.

We loved the diapers with the stripe that comes up blue when your baby is wet.  You know what we've learned from this diaper?  Our baby has a wet diaper.  Here's some late breaking news for all new parents - your baby is wet.  If you have a baby, and they aren't wet, you've probably done something wrong.  If you feed your baby, and you should, it's part of the deal, you will have a dirty diaper.  I'm not saying that you're a bad parent if you need a blue stripe to tell you that your baby's diaper needs changing, but I am suggesting that you may be surprised by the microwave beeping.

And did you know that there is a diaper that will send you a text message or an email to let you know when your child's diaper needs changing?  It's true.  Who is this product aimed at?  If I'm far enough away that I need a text message to let me know that my baby has just wet her diaper, what exactly am I going to do about it?  Call my wife?  "Hi, honey, just wanted to let you know that the baby needs changing.  Oh, blue stripe?  Okay good."   I once went a week without answering an email from my boss - and I was getting PAID to clean up his crap!

I'm exaggerating of course - I wouldn't call my wife.  I'd forward her the text though.

Have you seen the movie "Babies"?  They follow these babies from around the world and it's amazing.  I really recommend checking it out, it's on Netflix (as of today).  There is a scene in this movie where a baby has a dirty bum and the mother wipes him off on her knee.  I don't know if that registered with you, so I'm going to say it again: ON HER KNEE.  Then she used a corn cob to wipe off her knee.  And then she registered the time and consistency in an app on her iPhone.  As a point of contrast, I got a bit of poo on my hand changing my daughter and I had to use CLR to make sure that I got it all off.  

Hope you enjoyed Part 3 of my MLIYG special presentation!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Loss Is Your Gain Part 2: The Return Of Jafar

No, Jafar is not returning.  That's a decades long inside joke.


Here we go.

There is something to be said about there being nothing new under the sun. For example, were you aware that there is a plan in works right now to make a new "Murder, She Wrote"?

This is a terrible idea.

I'm against this idea because "Murder, She Wrote" was a terrible series. I know that 10 year old me wasn't exactly the target demographic they were shooting for, but I still managed to catch a few episodes with my mother. I assume she had popcorn, because I can't really imagine why I would have sat through this show without some kind of reward mechanism.

"Murder, She Wrote" was on television for twelve years. It spawned a number of made for TV movies. It won Golden Globes and Emmy's. It was a veritable ratings bonanza (which is an amusing sentence because Bonanza!) that entertained millions of people every week. And I admit that if you only ever watched one episode of it, it could be pretty interesting.

But think about this: someone was killed in every episode. Sometimes it was someone that she knew, sometimes it was someone that she just met, sometimes it was just someone that someone she knew just met. She gets involved and starts asking questions to get to the bottom of the murder (because the police are also incompetent everywhere she goes). Occasionally, someone else gets murdered, upping the stakes for her to solve the case before anyone else gets hurt.

Every. Single. Time.

And what do all of these murders have in common?

Angela Lansbury was in the area. Sometimes it was in the town she lived in. Sometimes it was at a wedding, or a conference, or she was on vacation. But everywhere she went, somebody gonna die. Think about that. The woman was the angel of death. How many people died in Murder, She Wrote? Let's say that only one person died per episode. There were TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR episodes and FOUR made for TV movies. Do the math.

I'm not a genius, but there had to come a point where the following conversation took place:
"Wow honey, what an amazing wedding! I can't believe that our childhood friends, who are also our neighbours and business partners, finally got married! What table are we seated at? Is that who I think it is? Get the kids, don't look back. Run. RUN!"

Monday, January 27, 2014

My Loss Is Your Gain: Part 1

I missed the cutoff for the top ten in the CBC Open Mic contest.  I'm not bitter, not at all.  My fault - I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be and I misjudged the level of competition that would be gunning for it.  Ah, well, there's always next year!

Instead, I'm going to take the notes I was preparing for the show and turn them into posts.  I think, in a way, that's even better since I'm making almost $0.01 a day in advertising revenue so I need to entice as many of you to come back as possible.  I don't know how many posts this will come out to, it was going to be a less than 7 minute stand up set, but this totally appeals to my lazy side.  I'm thinking at least three or four articles.  Here's My Loss Is Your Gain: Part 1!

This is the script that I used for my entry.  I assume some of you didn't hear it on account of I'm not in the top ten.  But I'm not bitter.  I hope you choke on it though.

When it comes to shopping, I'm not what you would call a “browser”.  If I have to buy something, I figure out what I need, I go to the store that sells it, and then I'm done.
Most of the time, that works, but not long ago I see a store having a sale on leather jackets.  I've never owned a leather jacket and I don’t feel like a leather jacket kind of guy, but half off is half off, so I'm considering it.  I'm looking at these jackets when I hear one of those coughs.  You know the “-Cough- I can’t keep my feelings of disapproval to myself, so I need you to ask me why I'm making these noises that sort of sound like I'm coughing up a tiny angry kitten” kind of coughs. 
I look up and make eye contact, which is a mistake, because that’s as good as me saying “please tell me your feelings on my business.”    
She asks “you’re not thinking of buying that are you?” 
My response should have been “No, I just like to look at things that I don’t want.  It saves me money and makes me feel good about myself.”  But I'm a nice guy, or at least that’s what all my neighbours and family will say after they find the bodies.  So I say “Sure, why not?”
That was not the right answer.  She gets really worked up on the cruelty of leather and products made from animals.  She finishes with “Do you know how many cows died so they could make these jackets?” 
“All of them, I hope.”  I mean otherwise, that’s just evil.  Can you imagine if that’s how it worked?  Cows walking around with jacket sized cut outs in them.  Would it be worse to have one extra large jacket cut out, or like two smalls?  Would the cows that ended up in the butt-less chaps section get made fun of?   
Anyway, that was the day that I learned that when I shop online I can’t let my wife see what I'm looking at.

You know, now the more I look at that font, the more I like it.  Maybe I'll change the default for the site... Come on back, I"ll have more later this week!  I'll see if I can stretch this out to Feb 5, the date that I would have been on stage... you know, if I'd gotten in and everything.

Maybe a little bitter.  ;)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Last Day of Voting and I Have Another Project!

You have until noon today to vote in the CBC Open Mic contest, so go with your heart.  Just remember, a vote for me is a vote not for someone else, so while you'll be supporting my dreams you'll be equally crushing someone else's.  Have fun!

Additionally, I was contacted by the creator of a project called "A Rewording Life" asking if I would like to participate.  It's an interesting idea: take lesser used words and have Canadians write a sentence using that word in context.  For example:
"I eschew the cashew; I'm allergic, and it makes me ah-chooo."  Robert Hough
While I'm not getting paid for this, part of the proceeds will go toward  the Alzheimer's Foundation, so there is a certain altruistic appeal to it.  Writing one sentence is next to the least I can do (the least I or anyone can do, as always, is nothing).  One sentence?  I can do that in my sleep.

And I probably will be working on it in my sleep as I fret and deliberate on the many different possibilities for the word that I have selected.  I want it to be a funny sentence, but not funny-stupid but rather funny-clever.  And it needs to convey the meaning of the word itself, without just coming out and saying what the word means...  You can see the pressure that I am under.

If you have a moment, check out her social media sites on Twitter and Facebook.

It's almost 7 am and RG still isn't up yet.  Not that I'm complaining about a baby that sleeps through the night, but my morning goes so much better when I leave for work having gotten snuggles and a smile...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Competition is a good thing, right?

I've taken some time to peruse my competition for one of the spots in the upcoming Open Mic contest... daaaaang.  There are some crazy good people entering this year - and more than just one or two folks that have real stand up experience.  And by "real" I mean have done it more than twice in the last three years.

If you haven't voted yet, do it today!  Voting ends on Friday, January 24th. 

In non-comedic contest news, RG is officially over 12 pounds!  She got shots this morning (because we choose to believe in science instead of celebrity) and weighed in at over 5.5 kg (because we live in Canada but don't use the metric system for measuring our weight mass [all of my science teachers felt a disturbance in the force there]).

There is nothing quite so heart wrenching as holding your infant in your lap and distracting her while the nurse sticks her with a needle.  It took her about three seconds to work out that something was happening in another part of her body, figure out that it wasn't pleasant, and register on her face.  Ah, the betrayal.  I imagine I will get a similar look when I tell her she can't have a Barbie Hoverboard like all her friends have.  

Who am I kidding?  I'M getting a Barbie Hoverboard the minute they're available.  I mean, really, those things are going to be awesome.  

I'm writing this on Tuesday night, and the weather is calling for a blizzard tomorrow, so there's a chance that I might not have to go into the office.  It's a slim chance.  The office typically doesn't close until long after the city has been officially shut down, but there's a chance and if there's one thing I've learned from all the movies that I've watched (excluding foreign films) it's that there is nothing more powerful than hope.  Or the human spirit.  Or the power of the dark side.  Whatever gets me the snow day, I'm in.

Aaaaand it just hit me that it won't be that much longer before someone else in the house is cheering for a snow day.  

In non-infant related news, how much do I love shopping at Mark's Work Wearhouse?  I bought two pairs of pants and a shirt for $40.  I mean, that's Value Village prices without the Value Village smells!  I shop at Mark's because it makes me feel manly about my clothes.  I mean, sure, I bought chinos today, but they were right next to these crazy heavy duty coveralls that looked like they could stop a bullet.  The long sleeve t-shirt was opposite these insanely heavy duty socks that looked like they probably fired the bullet that shot the coveralls earlier.

I also bought a pair of green jeans.  I've never owned green jeans before.  I'm looking forward to insisting that everyone call me Mr. Green Jeans when I wear them.  I almost bought a pair of jeans that were a colour I would describe as almost-red-but-closer-to-weird-pink.  If they'd had them in my size, I might still.  There's no way that I'm going to be the "Cool Dad", so I may as well shoot for the much more achievable "Weird Dad". 

And I'm back to fatherhood again, so wrapping this one up for the night.

EDIT - It's now 6 am, and there is not a flake to be seen yet.  My dreams of the day at home have been dashed - dashed I say!

EDIT 2 - It's now 6:52 am, still nothing falling, and I just remembered that I'm going out for lunch to celebrate my co-worker's retirement... hope it's still on!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Voting Begins Today!

I have entered the 2014 CBC Open Mic Comedy Contest for the Hubcap Comedy Festival.

This will be my third time entering the contest - I missed last year because of my work schedule - and I hope I can get in again.  I am not very good at it, but it's a good experience.  Super stressful experience, but a good one.  Super stressful and sometimes soul crushing experience, but good.  Super stressful, sometimes soul crushing and deals punishing blows to your ego and self esteem, but... why am I doing this again?

Right, for the laughs.  Or the hope for laughs.  I hope that there will be laughs.  I hope that I will get some of them.

If you feel inclined to seeing me on the stage at a pub on a school night, cracking wise and hoping I don't forget what I'm going to say, then please throw a vote in my direction.  I promise that if you vote for me and I get in and you come to watch my set I will wave to the crowd in a general fashion that only you and I will know means "hey, thanks for voting me up here, you're a special kind of human being."

There are a LOT of entries this year, and be warned that some of the entries have not so safe for work content.  My entry is pretty small in comparison to some of these and it's only audio... fingers crossed!

Now my daughter is blowing spit bubbles again, so I must away.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Welcome DNTO-ers!

If you're reading this today, and you've never read anything here before, then it's probably because you heard me interviewed on Definitely Not the Opera on Saturday, January 18.  Welcome!

It turns out that the people that tell stories on the show are regular people that don't necessarily tell a coherent story in a linear fashion the first try!  Suffice it to say, we recorded a lot, and at the end I thanked everybody that I know that I have ever interacted with.  Sara did say that she might have to cut some of that out, so if you didn't hear me give you a personal heartfelt shout out, it's only because there were other stories that needed airtime too.  I would write it all down here, but you know, it was kind of a spur of the moment thing and I don't know that I could recapture the poetic magnificence of it with mere words on a screen.  Just trust me, it was beautiful.

If I sounded a little bit deeper and huskier than I normally do, it is because I am getting over a slight cold.  I normally have a voice that was once described as "dolphin-y".  The magic of radio is amazing.

And finally, if nothing in my story made any sense at all to you, and you spent much of your time wondering how it is that I managed to get through life this far without someone stepping in and making sure I don't injure myself - jokes on you!  I'm totally married.  To a real woman!  And she knows about it!

I'm happy you decided to drop by and check me out.  There are some funny bits around here.  Please forgive the fact that there were fewer posts last year than there should have been.  Honestly, there was a good reason for it.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adventures in Babysitting

Our first evening away without RG.

Not just our first evening away from her, but the first time both of us were not within ear- or eye-shot of her.  Is eye-shot a thing?  It sounds terrible, but conveys the idea.

My Lovely Wife's parents braved the weather to see RG and also us (we know where we stand in the pecking order).  While they looked after our tiny, helpless infant daughter, our plan was to go to an event sponsored by the company that is currently paying for most of the things that keep us alive (AKA the place I work).

What do new parents do their first time out by themselves?  Why, the same thing that new parents have been doing since time-immemorial.  We find other new parents, huddle together for security, and trade stories and pictures.

Here's how the pecking order of new parents (without children present) works (as near as I can tell):

  1. Anyone with a new born automatically gets super priority.  The newer the infant, the more attention you will receive.  
  2. Parents of all other infants are then allowed to speak, in birth order youngest to oldest.  If you should accidentally speak out of turn about your child when another parent of a younger child is present, you must not say anything new about your child until the parents of the younger child share a story or at least two pictures of their child.  You are then permitted to speak of your child, but only in a way that compliments the other child.  For example: "Little Jimmy has already found his thumb?  I certainly wish our Darling Rebecca had found her thumb at that age!"  
  3. Parents of the oldest child present must remain relatively silent until such time as all other parents have related at least one anecdote and/or picture.  They are then allowed to speak up about their child and how much they miss the time that the parents of the younger infants are in right now.
  4. All parents of older children must, at some point, say to the parents of the younger children "they grow up so quickly, you have no idea."  But only in a way that expresses fondness for days gone by and excitement for what they have to look forward to.
  5. You must look at the pictures and listen to all the stories of all the other parents. Furthermore, you must make the appropriate noises of respect for their amazing parenting abilities and awe at the wonder that is, without a doubt, sleeping soundly and has not given the babysitter any grief whatsoever all evening.  
  6. Only once you are alone with your co-parent (preferably in the car on the drive home) are you allowed to let slip your true feelings about what insane and terrible parenting choices everyone else is making in raising their little hell spawns, who will undoubtedly grow up to be a burden on society, leaving the future of our planet in the hands of your genius baby.
Big thank you to Nanny and Grampy for giving us the time to get away so we can truly appreciate how incredible our baby is!

Please note, I am absolutely NOT talking negatively about your child or your parenting skills.  I'm talking about those OTHER parents - I'm not naming names, but come on, really, you know who I'm talking about... Yeah, them.

Final note - We only called home the once to check that she hadn't accidentally swallowed all of the poisonous cleaners that we keep on the top shelf in the storage room in the basement.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

She's a good kid, but the things that come out of her mouth...

I am a fairly smart man, or at least I tell myself that while standing in front of the mirror at work.  I'm pretty good with cause and effect.

So why didn't I figure out that when your infant daughter is taking, say, more formula than she usually does in about half the time that she normally does, it does not mean that you should start bouncing her on your knee.  And even if I didn't figure that out, I SURELY should have understood that a good tickle session was probably not in order.

My first thought was "warm".  There was a warmth spreading down my arm that wasn't there earlier.  And it kept spreading.  My leg.  My lap.  It was about this time that the part of my brain that handles the images that go into my eyeholes sent me a message.  "White stream," it said.

On the plus side, we definitely know that that part of our baby's digestive process works.

All made up for tonight.  I was telling her the story of my day (because what better way to put almost anyone to sleep than to describe the intricacies of how you figured out how to create a macro in VBA that does 10 minutes of work for you in the blink of an eye?) and she was slowly nodding off in my lap.  I put her in her bed, and she smiled and rolled away onto her side facing away from me.  She stretched, then rolled back and looked at me and smiled. Then she repeated this process two more times before finally rolling away and starting to suck her thumb.

Seriously.  Cute.

Again, I don't mean for this to become a parent blog, but it sure is kind of leaning that direction ain't it?

I feel like I should clean this place up a little bit. Granted, having a newborn in the house is a great excuse for not paying attention to things like writing and blogging, but I've renewed my URL so I feel like I should get my $20 worth by giving the site a bit of polish.

Therefore, I hope you like this new look.  "New look?" you ask.  Yes indeed. Well, it's not very different from the old look.  I'm not very creative so I just use the templates provided by Blogger.  I could change it to something much more radical, but I'm pretty lazy as the sad number of posts on my site in the last year proves.  This new look is just new enough that I can feel good that I did something and now that I've written about it, it counts as post filler.  Huzzah!  Two birds with one stone!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It Definitely Was Definitely Not The Opera

There are times that I am glad that I'm married to My Lovely Wife.  Pretty much all the time actually.  Let me start again.

There are times when I am so thankful that My Lovely Wife said "Yes" at just the right moment that it makes me all weepy.  Take last Friday for example.  

I was at work when I got a call from My Lovely Wife letting me know that Sara Tate, a producer from CBC's Definitely Not the Opera, was trying to get in touch with me.  I wrote down the number and did a little dance (but only in my head, because I was at work and an office is no place for dancing... unless you're doing The Safety Dance! - only people that work at my company will truly get that joke, and they will all think it's as lame as you do).  I took a break and called her up.

Long story short, this was how I spent part of my day today:

This picture fails to capture the majesty and wonder of the recording booth I was in.
Just kidding!  It was very sparse and everything was painted that colour.  But there was some awe.
Also, picture is terrible because photographer is not photographer.
I think we ended up recording a little over half an hour, which could have been better except the cold that I thought I beat two weeks ago moved back into my throat.  Sara says I sounded fine, but if I say anything that was really absurd or embarrassing, it's because of the medication.  Hall's and Fisherman's Friends are potent.

Anyway, I want to say thanks to Sara for being awesome and fun to talk with and convincing me that I was doing fine (even though it took me a couple of minutes to realize that there was a button I needed to push to make my mic work).  I will update here and on my facebook if/when I have more info, but I assume that it'll be on at the regular time on Saturday at 1:30. 

I also bumped into Karin Reid-LeBlanc who asked why I hadn't entered the open mic contest.  I said that I am going to, but I just hadn't written anything yet.  She reminded me that the contest closes tomorrow.  So just before writing this, I submitted my entry for that too.  I'll keep you posted on that too.

And for those of you wondering why I started this post talking about how much I love My Lovely Wife, when all she did was give me a message... come on.  Like I need an excuse to say how great she is?