Day 90 The Lingering Hug

Nothing Says ‘I Missed You’ Like a Long Hug

Yes, I am a hugger. Throughout my years of research and experience, I have identified the perfect duration of a friendly hug. Thirteen seconds! Now that might seem a little long for you, but embracing for that length that time moves past the personal walls we build up and touches on that inner psyche. It’s also a closeness that allows us to share a little body odor and maybe share the punchline to a joke, if you want to keep your inner thoughts hidden.

hand out candy for hugs
Of course if you can’t find friends to practice your huggin strategies on, consider handing out cute little ‘Hug Me’ candies to strangers. They may not be into a full hug, but with a pocketful of these sweets you should be able to get your fill of stranger comfort, and practice for your next friends get together.

Now you may have to work yourself up to the full thirteen seconds. Hugging someone for that long could seem awkward. Work on your routine. People always love compliments. Consider the lean in for a long sniff of their hair and ask ‘What kind of conditioner do you use? It’s amazing’. Maybe you are close enough with that acquaintance that after a few seconds you can give them a subtle peck on the neck. It doesn’t have to be a big sloppy kiss, just something simple to let your friend know that you really care. Mix up your hugging strategies and find what works for you and your recipients.

There might be the odd squirmer during the hug. You know these people already, so just make sure when you go in for the perfect hug you make sure they too are prepared too hug you back. To approach someone that still has those limbs pinned to their sides allows the hugee to break your grip with a simple shrug. A friend that raises their arms is committed, and there really is no way out. Thirteen seconds…stick it out people.

Watch the big UFC bouts tomorrow. Sure those guys in the ring are fighting for titles, but what is a ‘featherweight’ bout. My guess is there will be a lot of close proximity grappling, maybe some skin on skin contact, and certainly a bit of nuzzling. These guys might be demonstrating their fighting prowess in front of a huge audience, but ultimately they are demonstrating the essentials behind a loving long hug. Maybe you need another beer to really let that sink in.

So the next time you’re saying ‘hello’, don’t just offer a handshake…go in for the hug. With a little practice, you too can pull off the full and magical 13 seconds of bliss.


Day 89 Best To Keep Those Farts Held In During A Long Hug

Day 89 Let Those Farts Fly

Holding Deadly Gas In Just Ain’t Right

In advance of Melanie’s next karaoke night, and the fellow singers bound to be up on stage…I had to put this out there. The last time we went to this venue, there were some very large UFC fans that were obviously sampling the kegs all afternoon. These guys could barely stand up straight by 10PM, and when up on stage for their rather poor renditions of Bohemian Rhapsody, the CO2 in the gallons of fermented beverages consumed had to erupt somewhere. We were downwind.

farts on fire
Could this be a roadside warning of nearby spicy vegan restaurants? Maybe a fireworks store is in the area, and daredevils with a predilection for ass insertion of pocket rockets. Really, how many flaming farters does it take to warrant actual signage?

Now, I know as well as you that not everyone is a public farter. The petite and polite girl is bound to hold her farts in, if anything as a test of ultimate bowel control. With deep rooted fears of people knowing that she too might pass gas, her sphincter has been trained like an Olympic wrestler. That cabbage, kale and bean salad is no match for her intestinal clamping fortitude. Worse still, if she did let a little gas leak I am sure there would be some high pitched squeak. We know what a recorder sounds like…how about a piccolo?

Being this retentive just isn’t healthy though. The discomfort that comes only with gassy bloating is likely more embarrassing than a simple toot. You don’t want your friends and gossipy neighbors to think you might have a bun in the oven…or even worse, a the calories from a few tubs of ice cream stored around your midsection for reabsorption during that long winter nap. Ladies, just relax. Strategic release in small shots might be the easiest. Dropping a bomb might best be saved for when a large guy strolls by. The proper use of a patsy should be awarded a Brownie badge.

The next time you walk down the street, note that smokers in front of you don’t care if they pollute the air of anyone behind them. If you have a large stink emission to unleash on the world, maybe save it for near a toker. Regular release of built up gases ensure no stretching of your innards, and make room for more beer or ice cream.

So let ‘er rip. Sitting on a friends couch. Watching that latest blockbuster in the theater. In the car with family. Try blasting a steady controlled stream into the campfire for a little fireside entertainment.

It’s only natural.


Day 88 Never Pay For Parking Again

Day 88 Always Park For Free

Never Pay For Parking Again

Yes, I understand that parking money fills public coffers. Without meter maids sauntering down the street in their bulletproof yellow vests, our taxes might be higher and there would never be a parking spot in front of that ice cream shop I like. I do like ice cream.

do not pay for parking
I sure as hell am not wasting a quarter on an hours worth of parking here. I can get two sour gummy worms for that price!

Of course, when you want one of these meter maids…they are never around. Idiots that park at the bus stop should be shot, but I haven’t seen a pistol on even one of those ticket makers yet. You think the City could at least arm these individuals with a taser instead of a pen and blank ticket book.

And because you rarely see these people, you also must have figured out by now that meter maids don’t check the meters on Sunday nights. They have circuits around town. The city has figured out there are optimal streets to send their employees along, as well as the best times to send them out. Through carefully crafted algorithms, schedules are drawn up along with walking routes to cover when and where the highest frequency of parking violators fill the streetsides. Weekends and game nights…these ticket makers also like holidays, calling in sick, and watching sporting events…so chances are they aren’t walking the beat.

Where to park for free? Loading zones are great for downtown parking, just write up a quick note to say that you will only be 5 minutes. Maybe the meter maid comes by…and waits just to make sure you’re legit. Maybe not. If you do get stuck having to justify your temporary park job…you’re a writer and you needed to drop off some supplies…boxes of writing…you do this to feed your family, and with all those bloggers out there your little ones now eat Kraft Dinner 4 nights a week.

Even better, save yourself an old parking ticket. When you’re at a meter, just stash that ticket under your wiper to make it look like you have already been ticketed. Not only will the meter maid just stroll on by, but all the other suckers parking nearby might just be scared into plugging their meters full. If you don’t have an old ticket handy, just take one off an already ticketed car. There has to be one nearby.

I recently parked downtown for an hour…and didn’t pay the 5 dollars the meter was asking for. Instead I popped into a pub and had myself a pint…spending that money on beneficial liquids instead of fictitious parking.

So don’t be a sucker. Get yourself a carefully crafted Loading Zone note, and back it up with an old parking ticket. With these two parking essentials, you will never pay for parking again.


Day 87 – Winter Tires Are For Suckers Too

Day 87 All-Seasons are Designed for All Seasons

Winter Tires Are A Marketing Ploy

Rubber is rubber. Sure a sales guy is going to tell you about how a softer tire in the winter will stick better to ice. You know as well as I do that nothing sticks to ice. I can stick a tongue to a frozen pole, and that’s only because the thin layer of saliva is instantly transformed from the slippery liquid into temporary permanence with the chilly metallic structure.

winter tires are for fools
Instead of wasting that money on winter tires, pick yourself up a set of chains for those wintery conditions. They store better than winter tires, and make a nice jingling as you drive down the road…almost Christmasy.

The roads will never be like that tetherball pole in December. Your tires will never be tongue-like in appearance. Adding walnut shells, or ground up gecko feet will not help me when stuck in a snowbank. Studs, chains, a couple of floormats, or a AAA membership will though.

That’s why I stick to the All-season tire. If the material selection and design wasn’t suited for every season, including hockey, football, and tornado season, then how could they make the claim that these were tires suited for anything less? Engineers put their degrees on the line. Companies rely on sales year after year of reliable products. To put tires on the market that don’t perform as their type implies would be outright wrong.

I won’t lie. I have done the seasonal tire change in the past…two times. I was 16, new to the roads with a license acquired 30 days after my birthday… which means that most of my learning was done around Christmas. Being from a snow-filled land in Northern BC, studded tires were good for getting my car out of the ditch after doing donuts in icy parking lots. We were too young to drink, and gasoline was much cheaper back then…so why not. As for the second time, well…that spring those winter tires came off, mainly because I couldn’t hear the stereo when rolling down the highway because of those damn studs.

Now that I am a bit older, wiser, and experienced in how to drive these roads all year round…I know my tax dollars pay for road salt and snow plows. Those same dollars don’t pay for tire storage or twice a year tire swaps. Plus, when the roads are too bad to drive, maybe it’s better to just call in sick.

So don’t waste your money on winter tires, stick with the all-seasons. Focus on the road, and consider driving in slick conditions just another skill to master. If you need to learn, I teach on Saturdays.

Day 86 Feed The Birds Some of Your Hotdog

Day 86 Feed The Birds

Birds and Ducks Need To Eat Too

After a quick stroll down to our quaint little Granville Island for some ice cream and an aimless couple hours of strolling through overpriced souvenir shops, we stopped to sit and watch a few of the boats go by. It’s a Monday afternoon, so what else might actually be going on. I could be at work, but let’s just call today a ‘sick day’.

feed the rats squirrels pigeons
Aw, isn’t he cute. This is more of an action shot as the bird seemed a little hungrier than usual. I guess there weren’t many other individuals with bags of old bread down on the docks today.

Now there are a pile of great vendors to grab some fresh goodies from, which also includes some straight out the oven bread. With our grocery list firmly scrawled onto a sheet of paper, shopping commences…but only after we clear out the cupboards of our stale and near-moldy bread. Even a toaster on high and jar full of peanut butter can’t get me to eat any of that green fuzz.

There is no sense in just throwing the bread out though. Apparently the City is looking to start sending out fines for tossing food waste into the garbage, and although I might be inclined to test their enforcement policies…feeding the city critters might be just a bit more entertaining.

So we park ourselves on a bench and feed those birds. Flocks of them. Gulls, crows, pigeons all looking to fill their gullets. Tourists line up and snap pictures. Little girls scream with glee as a seagull the size of her snaps a crusty chunk of heel from her hand, maybe even catching the tip of her cocktail wiener sized fingers. If there were a few daring rodents out in the sunlight, we probably could have set out a few scraps for them. I am sure when dusk settles in, those crumbs in the cracks will also unmysteriously disappear.

Know also that instead of having the birds dig through the trash for scraps, you can fill their bellies in a clean environment. Sure they might be garbage pickers, but you can do your part to keep these birds healthy and always coming back…maybe with a few of their feathered friends.

Ponds would be less serene without flocks of ducks and geese. Old people would have far too much time on their hands if not for those brave waterfowl willing to hang around for the winters. So be sure to feed the birds.


Day 85 Cook Up One of Those Ducks On High, for Ultimate Crisp Moistness 

Day 85 Cook Everything On High

To Satisfy That Appetite, Prepare Your Food Quick

All of our burners have levels from low through to high. You have seen the settings, but ever think about it? A watched pot never boils when sitting on the stove at ‘low’. A frying pan with a couple eggs in it, veggies, and cheese doesn’t get any tastier when simmered on medium. To expedite matters, set your element to ‘high’ and get the job done.

flambe extra heat
This kitchen cooker has gone to the next extreme and lit the oil on fire. When the burner just can’t be turned up high enough…be sure to choose an ignitable cooking medium for that extra blast of heat!

Sure you might ‘love to cook’ but what you really mean is you like to prepare and consume food. The part related to standing in front of a hot stove, with hot bacon grease spattering against your naked skin…well it might be stimulating…but not and activity anyone wants to stretch out with a low heat level.

I know you have attempted cooking on the other dial settings, but really…what were you trying to accomplish. By setting the burner lower, did that really allow you time to cut up a few bananas to put into a fruit salad? Maybe run downstairs and grab the mail quick. The success of multitasking is a myth. Don’t piss around, just set to high and get that meal hot.

The oven might be a different story. I know putting a frozen pizza in at 500F results in a very crispy exterior and moist, maybe still frozen interior. A couple extra minutes in the oven and I think that might be the cause of the smoky summer sunsets we have, I did put a couple of those pizzas in the oven tonight…in case you were wondering about the reddish orange glow at the horizon. I do like my pizza crust crunchy though.

Sure, over the course of your food preparation days a few oils might smoke. There might be a bit of a charred edge around the pan. Any protein portions are probably burnt on the surface and gooey pink on the inside. I like a little tataki, and if you haven’t done seared chicken before…life is short…give it a shot with a small dish of wasabi and soy sauce.

Day 84 Celebrate by Overindulging 

Day 84 Eat Yourself Silly

Happy Fourth of July Everyone!

On this annual celebration of independence from the tyranny the British would have invoked on our American brethren, it appears fitting to best celebrate the day with fireworks, beer and a whole lot of food. Had the Brits continued to rule, I am sure North American culture would have been limited to tea and crumpets. To assert American individualism, the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is performed as an example of everything great about the USA…plus some flag waving and fireworks.

competitive eating
Last year when we popped down to Coney Island, seeing this sign was a bit of inspiration. Maybe there still is time for me to start working on food related competitions.

At 62 hot dogs consumed, it’s great to see that Matt Stonie didn’t overdo it and attempt to clobber the runner up’s past record of 68. Restraint is always great to build a little mystery when it comes to the final minutes…also it ain’t gentlemanly to ‘run up the score’. Matt and Joey have known each other for years, both on a friendly basis and through consumption competitions. Although on a world stage, with few napkins, these focused fighters knew what was is store and came out chomping!

Training for such events is intense. You think just having an empty belly and hefty appetite is enough. Time limits, expandable stomachs, and a gullet that never dries out also have to be factored in by these guys. Considering our bodies are resilient mysteries, these eaters have honed their craft and skills to compete around the country, and overseas, for the titles I thought I should be earning at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pies, donuts, corned beef, even cow brain tacos…if it’s edible, it’s worth competing over. I wonder if Rocky Mountain oysters have a record holder.

If you have hungry children, be sure to get them on board with competitive eating. I am sure Joey “Jaws” Chestnut will fight his damndest to earn back the praise and notoriety that comes only with this annual competition…but younger bellies and experimental surgeons willing to explore stomach expanding implants might make winning a little harder. Your kid might not be good enough for the NHL, but Major League Eating…maybe.

Sixty-nine hotdogs has held up for the last few years as the record beating goal, let’s see some new blood at the table next year…maybe even me.


Day 83 Those Discarded Butts Under the Table Are Because I Couldn’t Find An Ashtray

Day 83 The World Is Your Ashtray

Toss Your Butt Out the Window

I’m not talking about mooning your fellow commuters. No one wants to see your pimply white ass either pressed up against the window, or hanging out of it. I am referring specifically to your cigarette butts.

toss the butts
This is never an attractive feature in an automobile. Avoid this by tossing your butts out the window, and stick with a nice tropical scented air freshener…maybe coconut.

If you drive pretty much anywhere, and you…like me…enjoy a smoke while behind the wheel…you know there is only so much room in the ashtray. Those but-filled receptacles in the car are the last on my priority list to empty, therefore seem to always get filled way beyond capacity. Two butts on the way to work and two on the way home. Add that up over the course of a week and you can see the Japanese designers of these cars were not anticipating my lack of persistence in emptying my ashtray.

As a result, what am I supposed to do. I already see butts falling out of my Jenga stacked pile and onto the floor. If a few more of those tar-stained filters end up underfoot, it could be a safety issue. Maybe a few slip under the heel of my left foot and decrease my reaction time when braking for that kid running out from between a couple cars, or maybe that dog chasing an errant ball into the street. We can’t have that now…can we?

There is a solution. The next time you pull up to an intersection, have a look out the window and down around the median. Other smoking drivers have found the answer to their overfilled ashtrays is to just drop the butts into the roadway. You have a non-combustible environment, an endless amount of volume to fill up, and no need to smell those stale half-burnt cigarettes cooking in the sun on a hot day like today. Plus, your taxes pay for city workers to go around and sweep up the streets anyway…might as well keep those guys employed.

So avoid messing up your car by never cracking open that ashtray. Toss your butts out the window and let mother nature break them down with time. That ultraviolet light and acid rain will turn everything to mush over time. Trust me.


Day 82 Or Your Could Hide Your Butts Under the Doormat Alongside a Spare Key

Day 82 Leave a Key Under the Doormat

Let Your Company Come Right On In

It’s the travelling season, and many of us will be on the road to visit friends and family in far-flung parts of the province and country. Now while company may be enroute, we all have responsibilities as well which means waiting around all day for those dawdling relatives to finally show up isn’t the best use of time.

hide a key under the doormat
You wouldn’t guess it, but the key to this place is carefully resting in the painting on the wall behind you. No one would guess it, only because they are usually busy snapping Instagram photos of the doormat.

I recently wrote about leaving your front door open, but really that should be a practice reserved for when you’re at home. When you aren’t home, locking the door is of course necessary if you value anything inside.

So where do you leave a key? Under the doormat, maybe a planter, or above the door on a ledge. Airbnb hosts have mastered this technique of stashing keys in the most obvious of places for their guests. In fact, you could probably do a little research as to where your local BnB hosts might be, and start off on a treasure hunt. You know a key is there, it’s just a matter of sniffing it out. Next time you’re out for a smoke, have a look around. Maybe there’s a little ‘treasure’ just waiting for you.

Yes, I know there are these fancy bluetooth-enabled door locking devices out there…slowly whittling away the profits your hardware store was eking out cutting keys. The idea is great…if the batteries are charged and your arriving guests have access to bluetooth, data, and know how to work their phone. My grandma has one of these devices, but it must be a first generation iPhone. Communicating instructions on how to do this new-fangled unlocking process, with an incompatible phone, might just be a bit much for someone that saw the rise of automobiles and conclusion of the First World War. Keys she knows.

Keep it simple for your imminent company. Friends obliged to drop by and check on your place while you are away on a roadtrip now have access. Stalkers can slip in and bake you a nice tray of cookies. That drunken uncle has a place to pop in and have a shower. Hide a key in a convenient place for anyone to find. Keep the key to the liquor cabinet hidden though. Some things are worth keeping locked up.

Day 81 Instead of Keeping Your Company Waiting, Meet Them Downtown for the Fireworks

Day 81 Drive Downtown For Those Big Events

Relax in the Privacy Of Your Own Vehicle

It’s Canada Day here in Vancouver. Amongst the partially inebriated citizens weaving through the sidewalks and streets there also seems to be parades and a whole lot more in the way of store sales going on. I assume retailers are under the impression that the non-working public will also be in the vicinity of downtown, so why not separate those celebrating Canadians from some of their hard earned cash. It’s also a great way to move some that old red and white inventory.

Drive downtown for fireworks
I drove all the way in from the valley, and have been sitting here all afternoon and now these assholes feel they can just swoop in and snap a few pictures at the last moment, while blocking my view? Some Canadians are just so inconsiderate.

Now there are fireworks and parades going on downtown as well. To get a good spot for either event, you need to get down there early and set up camp with your folding chairs, hibachi, cooler full of beer, and maybe a barking dog to keep those other early arrivers at leash distance. Packing all that gear down doesn’t just happen with a backpack and a bus, you really need to work out the logistics and drive down with either a small pickup or a minivan. Obviously a vehicle with a little cargo room.

Now once you have all your goodies loaded up, driving downtown should be a breeze. Traffic? A few extra cars on the road, plus gridlock, doesn’t phase you because you have the comfort of your own endless supply of air conditioning and Apple Music which you can stream free…for the next three months anyways. Sit back, take your time…be courteous and let a few drivers cut in front of you. We have a holiday people, sit back and enjoy the ride.

When you finally arrive, it might be best to just drop off your passengers and lounging gear at your preferred viewing site. This is actually a good tip, since a full cooler of beer can be challenging to cart all the way from that parking spot you find. I guess that is why coolers now have wheels. Science and innovation working for the everyday man…I love it.

So parking…there is bound to be a few people that also have the same idea and drove downtown as well. Of course, with everyone having a day off to celebrate the nation’s birthday…any of those temporary 2 hour parking spots might be a little harder to come by…have patience and wait. Cruising the streets looking for a parking spot isn’t the best option. You don’t see hunters roaming through the bush looking for deer…they sit and wait…maybe even hide. Be a hunter and find yourself a good parking spot.

You’ve parked, you are settled…you finally have a beer in hand and you can relax. Enjoy these few moments before the crowd really rolls in. Fireworks…and bam, it’s all over. Gather up your belongings in the dark and haul all that back to the minivan. Maybe ask a stranger to help haul the cooler in exchange for a few of those unfinished beer.

And for the drive back, well just know that it might take a while. A great time to flick on sports radio and find out what all happened on the NHL free agent front. I should be home before midnight…if anyone wants to send me a text.


Day 80 If You Have Any Leftover Jello Shots, Feed Them To Your Passengers