Category Archives: Personal Bits

Just things from my personal life

Get the Balance Right

Personal Bits 1 Reply

7:23am. GoodLife Gym at Bloor and Yonge.

I’ve just finished my workout by stretching my back in a chubby arc. I like doing that because in my head I’m hissing like a cartoon Halloween cat.

The stretching area is fairly busy and space is a premium. As I haul my girth up off my mat, a pocket bear approached me and asked if I was done with my meagre floor area.

“Yes!” I say and reach down to remove my water bottle.

Flash back to June 2010. Sharkboy and I are riding bikes along the Lakeshore and we come to a stoplight. Normal stuff. As soon as we stop all forward motion and my feet are firmly on the ground, there is a pause and I fall over. It’s an amazing site. Standing still, straddling a bike to on the ground in seconds. It looked like those collapsing horsie toys with the button underneath the stand but insert a bike between the legs. I wasn’t graceful going down. Balance and I are like diametrically opposite college roommates at the end of a long winter term – we get along for the most part but one of us pees in the shower.

Back to the now. 

As I reach down, the combination of just finishing 60 sit ups, 40 min of cardio and various other “Please keep me young” exercises messes with my inner ear so much that Balance kicks out the chocks that keep me upright and I stumble.

I stumble reaching for a freaking water bottle.

So graceful.

Restart, Reboot, Reset

Distractions, General, Personal Bits, Photography Leave a reply

This morning, as I was looking for an image to put up to Instagram I realized that I had not noticed the passing of the anniversary of my father’s death.

This did not make me sad at all.

Admittedly I’ve spent the last few years in a funk. This morning’s realization that I had not noticed his …er… death day?…what’s the opposite of Birthday?? …made me kind of relieved. Like I feel like I’m on the other side of grieving. I miss him daily but I’m not sad anymore.

What makes me real sad is the state of this blog. In a frustrating moment I tore everything down and replaced it with a arrogant photo blog theme thinking I was going to just post images.

What was I thinking?

Regardless, I’m “back” as it were. Thanks for sticking with me!

That Darn Coat

Distractions, Personal Bits 2 Replies

The phone rings, Mom picks it up.

“Rita! It’s Lidia. I need your help.”

Mom’s sister calls out of the blue, somewhere around the fall of 1980. She sounds worried. Scared. Mom talks her down, saying “Take it to a bank and then get a safety deposit box.”

A week later she’s on a train to Toronto. She arrives at her old home out by Keele Avenue and is greeted by Lidia and their mother. Grandmother is beside herself. After some reassurance from Mom, the three head out to the bank.

My mother is wearing her near-black mink coat. Grandmother was probably in her usual garb: understated Italian grandmother floral print. Lidia was probably in the same, but more youthful. The three enter the bank and are taken to the safety box area.

They open the box. Mom groans. It’s a pile of cash. A LARGE pile of cash. As an accountant, free range cash held in captivity is her worst nightmare. Grandfather, long before and during his Alzheimer’s attacks had been squirreling away money under the stairs in their home. For years. As Grandfather spiralled down the well of forgetfulness, Grandmother began to fear the box under the stairs, like an Italian Telltale Heart.

They decide to count it. After reaching some grotesquely large number, Mom stops and goes to find the bank manager. They need to deposit this money.

They’re ushered into a private room with a counting machine. Lidia and grandmother are sitting staring at the whirring machine, their faces probably drawn and long, like a wet cat. Meanwhile mother paces behind the manager, still in her mink. They count it once all the while explaining to the manager how this money came to be.

The manager turns to my grandmother and very pointedly says to her: “This is illegal, you know.”

Mom turns and says, “This is a deposit of our money. Money they saved honestly and are now putting into your bank. You have no right to speak to her that way.”

The manager says nothing more other than business transaction concerns.

My mother, just turned 80, pushes herself back from the table, having finished telling us this story. “She was really scared, that manager. I really scared her!” She says, proud of sticking up for her mother in front of a total stranger.

“Um. You know she was probably scared when she actually saw the money, right?” I say.

“How so?” Mom asks.

“Three ladies come into her bank, two generation of Italians, one wearing an expensive mink coat, and demand a large sum of money that materialized out of nowhere, be deposited into her bank?”

The punchline races along 30 years of time. Mom starts laughing. We all start laughing.


Happy Birthday Dad!

Personal Bits, You Magnificent Bastard 2 Replies

Miss you loads. Think of you all the time. I hope you’re having a good time wherever you are right now. Probably telling some angel what to do…

My Dad Was Awesome

Sensual Fruit

Celebs and Media, Personal Bits, Wide Eyed 2 Replies

Know that SharkBoy puts salt on his oranges. I thought that was weird when I first saw him do it. Now…

And in other news, another picture of my father living on if only on TV shows, from Sis-in-law’s medical drama in production:

To which my sister replied (somewhat truthfully)

I wanna see the scene where the discharged patient walks up to said counter and
says, “What do I do with this?”, pointing to the nasogastric tube still taped to his
schnoz. And the nurse reaches up and just rips it right out of his nose…

Did you see us!!??

Celebs and Media, Personal Bits Leave a reply

My attitude towards hospitals has change dramatically over the last 5 years. What was once a child like naivete, believing that these clean, organized buildings could save anyone’s life, has been eroded down to something akin to simmering distrust.

Today I got an email from my brother with an attachment that made my heart leap out of my chest.

He passed on a picture from the production company that is handling his wife’s latest TV show down in the States. She’s managed to convince someone in the graphics department to “name” a wing of the hospital after my father, where her drama takes place (trailer here). It’s a magnificent tribute:


My initial reaction was “Oh shit, that’s cool!”

Which immediately turned into “Fuck… No.” See, the memory of my father sitting impatiently in a hospital bed while he was accidentally misdiagnosed of sepsis still offers up nightmares and steep depression slides. Still to this day. After the shock of seeing my father’s name associated with a hospital, even a made up one,  left me gut-punched. But after the shock I was quite happy (What can I say? I’m Irish and ex-Catholic, I can suppress with the best of them). The picture lead me to this:

I remembered how my brother was one of the principals on a show called This Is Wonderland, and used his influence to get my father and I background actor jobs during a court room scene. We sat on that set for a good 5 to 6 hours under hot lights and peripherally watched as my brother acted his way through the scene. Near to the end of the shoot the director instructed me to interact with my father, pretending to be examining a legal document. We were exited. After a couple takes we were done.

I know Dad was utterly star struck. And very, utterly, completely proud of Michael. We drove home giggling like teens joking about how we were going to be discovered and our new found fame would garnish us popularity and riches. And boys.

The night of the airing of the show gave us both a wake up call as to how fame is fleeting. All you could see of us in the final cut was fuzzy shots of Dad’s head in the background and one clear shot of my hand. Briefly in frame. Don’t blink. I called Da right after the airing and screamed “DID YOU SEE US!!??” And we laughed.

This memory makes the above photo appropriate for me. It’s pretty amazing and I don’t care if it makes the cut or appears on screen. The thoughtfulness of it is greatly appreciated.

Thanks Morwyn!

Anatomy of a Vacation

Personal Bits, Travel, You Stupid Dick 6 Replies

Or… Refusing to Give The Fat Man Any More Attention

Okay so in the last week I’ve written nothing. I’m no going to force anything or apologize so you’ll just get this:

That’s right. We’re headed back next week to enter the bubble. We’ve been scrambling here at Dead Robot Heavy Industries to get ourselves prepared.

Last week the final cheque from Da’s estate came in and with it sitting in my hands I made a vow that I would not spend it on rent or food or any other items that we may use ordinarily – ESPECIALLY with a strike looming. Even more so, in fact. I truly don’t want any of Rob Fucking Ford’s machinations to affect or effect me. He’ll not get this money. No, a semi-evil corporation in Florida will.

So off to the internet! I spent days scouring for the best/cheapest time to travel and finally found that the last two weeks in January are extremely cheap for rooms/flights. After Feb 7th, prices jump up into that somewhat uncomfortable area. Finding a deal on WestJet Vacations (no this isn’t a paid post… I wish it was though! Hi WestJet Vacations SEO bot! Hi!) I had very little time to convince SharkBoy that we wanted …no… NEEDED to go back to Walt Disney World before this deal disappeared into the ether.

I knew that getting him into Vacation Mode would be difficult, simply because he was in Stress Mode due to Rob Fucking Ford. I had to move delicately. I start by small short emails to his work – three lines of text, like a carefully crafted Haiku:

Pop Century: Jan 24 to 31
Room, flight and park tickets: $1705
Car Rental: $80

Understandably he responds with strike news. But he asks about prices for Gay Days in May. The price I find for that weekend are painful. He tells me not to torture myself and stop looking.

I don’t give up easily and I keep it up. A few days later, while watching TV, I hand over my iPad with the booking on WestJet Vacations (Hi! How you like me now, WJV??) in it’s final stages. $1705 all in. Taxes too. He growls. Later, I hear the printer going in the office and he comes into the bedroom and tosses freshly printed booking inquiry sheets. The price at the bottom is $2350.

“See? You’re wrong. Expensive.”

“Oh bitch, it’s on,” I think and take him step by step into my plan:

  • We leave on the night of the 24th, so we’re only spending 4 vacation days and a weekend. Magic!
  • Since we only have 6 full days in the park we can skimp and only do base tickets. As you know, we’re pretty hard core. We know which park is open early/late and know exactly which one to hit for each day, with one extra day for repeats and the last day back at Magic Kingdom (a tradition).
  • Ditto on the food plan – they’d charge us for our “flying days”, one of which gets to WDW at 11pm, so PASS, thank you very much.
  • Rental8 dot com has some pretty cheap cars if you don’t mind slightly less polished service or cars.

I show him my iPad again after all this. I can see in his eyes I almost have him. I hit him with the a fore mentioned reasoning of “This money will not go towards the strike!” And the walls start to crumble. I say that we are exactly right in between our last vacation and our upcoming December vacation (give or take a month) so the timing is utterly right. He sits and starts looking into Extra Magic Hours (resort guests get in early or stay later at the parks) and certain dining reservations. I know we’re truly going when he maps out what day equals what park (Updated from the comments…):

  • Wednesday: Animal Kingdom
  • Thursday: Hollywood Studios
  • Friday: EPCOT
  • Saturday: Magic Kingdom
  • Sunday: Hollywood Studios (This may get replaced with a day by the pool and Magic Kingdom late. It’s on the fly)
  • Monday: Magic Kingdom for our hats

Before he changes his mind I pull down our change boxes and show him that we have already enough coin to be rolled for the cost of the rental car.

In the end, we booked it and are rarin’ to go. “Pull up 2, 5 and 7!” as they say at Test Track!

Admittedly I am feeling a twang of guilt for not saving the money, but I never wanted it in the first place – I’d rather not have it sitting around making me feel bad for not spending/saving it. I think this is right and I’m excited.

And so is SharkBoy – I just got this email:

Me: on our duplicate park days, I’m only bringing my small camera – compact and ready for action, not my Big Betty.

SharkBoy: Well, you be NoCameraBetty if you want, I’m not going to miss an opportunity, I’ll carry my big betté and you’ll be all blee blee blee bloo bloo bloo blee blee blee and I’ll be all click click click ooooo aaaaaaa click click click ooooo aaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaa click ooooo click aaaaaaa

Year in Review!

Distractions, Personal Bits, You Magnificent Bastard Leave a reply

Everyone is doing it! I will do it! You will read! You will be barely enriched! Read now!

One favorite post from each month:

I post my own text version of “It’s Gets Better”, purely because my voice sounds weird to me.

Even though I recap our Disney cruise and parks visit, I think my three stories for “coming out stories” were more interesting. Here’s my story of coming out to my Dad

Okay so I do talk about our Disney trip. Here I relate a magical gay moment with Josh and Sean at the Liberty Tree Diner.

I’m tasked by Nice To See Stevie B to try the Blog 64 Topics challenge. I don’t make it. But I do manage to like #6: A happy picture.

Probably the best surprise gift I’ve ever accomplished. SharkBoy gets a trip to Disney World and finds out the day we leave. I’ll probably never have kids and this was the next best thing to it. I will never forget his face that morning. Honourable mention

While away, postbear usually watches over our two feline treasures, which we’re eternally grateful for. When we get home, the apartment usually has some… new decorations… that take us a few weeks to find. He tells us we still haven’t found them all.

I start my AIDS Walk Stormtrooper fundrasing. In the end I made $2500 and wound up with blisters on my feet. I’d do it again in a second.

I mark the one year anniversary of my father’s passing, but I liked this day better.

Honourable mention: I also recount our trip to Disneyland/California with more pictures.

Fuzzbelly sends on prints of SharkBoy and I in our troop suits in honour of my AIDS Walk fundraising. I go all verklempt. He really is a great man!

Steve Jobs passes. I gush just a bit.

I notice that I’m writing less. Maybe 2 times a week. Is blogging dead? Or am I frustrated that this sort of shit can happen without me knowing?

I hate this ad. It’s gone, thankfully. But I like how I wrote about it.

There you have it. The last year in 12 links!

I hope the next year brings you happiness and bla and poo flinging monkeys with fezzes.


Bless Me Father

Personal Bits Leave a reply

Once, when I was in 6th grade and not having a good day at all, I was waiting in line for the bus home. I was attending St Mary’s School and was being put through the Catholic school system, all the while not believing one iota about Jesus.

Oh sure I had respect for religion back then, but I couldn’t believe the story of Jesus. I was brought up on a diet of science fiction and knew that magic was an illusion from an early age, even when pertaining to a guy who could make water into wine. I didn’t quite fully understand the whole “no sex” thing between the staff though. I did go to a progressive school that taught us minimum sex education from a priest (he once told the class that women’s breasts were a “wonderful thing”) but we didn’t get into any priest/nun abstinence details. So nuns, like women in general, were a mystery to me. Nuns more so I guess. I feared them.

I digress. My point is that I respected religion and the people who worked in that particular chosen career.

So back to me in line. I had a terrible day. I don’t know what happened on that particular day – maybe a jock told me I was a fag or I got beat up or something, but I was grumpy. I looked to the front of the line and there was Linda. Liiiiiinnnnnndaaa – said with an angry expulsion of air through clenched teeth. The popular girl who I hated purely because she was popular. I don’t recall ever crossing paths with her but I knew I hated how easily the teachers chatted with her and how many friends she had. Liiiiiiinnnnnndaaaah….

Linda was doing it again. Chatting easily with the Sister who was monitoring our straight line as we waited for the bus to bring us home from school. They laughed and smiled and as anyone who is already in a bad mood knows, that is like flipping a magnifying glass onto your already burning ant bad mood.

The bus arrives and Liiiinnndaaa flips her hair, picks up her books and boards the bus but not before saying “Goodbye Sister!” to the nun. The nun… her name escapes me but I swear to you this day that my memory has her at 6ft, 8in, 310lbs of solid muscle and possibly a gym teacher. I know it’s typical, but I can’t deny my memories. Maybe it was because I was slight in school. This I am firm on, in my recall of this nun: she was smart and would speak her mind. But that day I had forgotten all that, shadowed by my foul mood.

We start entering the bus. The nun is telling everyone individually goodbye, by names. With each name her voice is like a hammer in my head. “Goodbye Paul!” Will… “Goodbye Allison!” You… “Goodbye Donald!” Please…

“Goodbye Ted!”


I make it to the second step on the bus before I notice that I’m being stared at, that a collective GASP has been chorused and that someone just yelled my name.

Oh right. That wasn’t a good idea.

I return to the Nun to receive my punishment – a week of detentions.

I spend the week in her class and write stories about being sorry. I remember I write about kids who made me mad and added a few disjointed science fiction stories just for good measure.

The Money Men

Celebs and Media, Personal Bits 1 Reply

I really have to get Steve Job’s bio… quotes keep coming out that make me go…OH! I RELATE!

Like this one, which could totally equate to what’s happening around my office lately:

[Steve Jobs] has a theory about “why decline happens” at great companies: “The company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they’re the ones who can move the needle on revenues.” So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company’s daily life. They “turn off.”

Daily I have to defend design choices from managers who say “I know this business and I know what’s best… put a damn smiling kangaroo in a cartoon car into our ad!” The weird part is that this is becoming more and more frequent purely because our (and I am sure this is happening to a million companies around the world) are freaking out about sales.

When a manager calls up and asks for the internet on CD (Yes, one did), I want to go work for nobody.