What Should You Be Doing If Someone Is Taking a Picture of You – A Beginner’s Guide To Not Looking Like an Idiot



You need to know what to do if this happens to you – otherwise you’re going to look stupid and it’s going to be immortalized in some section of the Facebook data center. No amount of Instagram filtering or defensive “Haha I soooo wasn’t ready for this pictureeee <3” posts in the comment section will save you from this embarrassment. Let’s face it – you can’t have this, because the only thing that surpasses the number of hours you’ve spent looking at Facebook pictures of yourself are the hours you’ve spent crying in the mirror with Crest White Strips on your chompers. Stop crying, get a hold of yourself. You’re an adult. And that’s who this is for, adults – or someone around my age who’s still just pretending. Here is how not to look like a total dope when the local idiot shutterbug has to feed their demons.

1. You Aren’t In a Gang, So Don’t Do Anything Stupid With Your Hands. Idiot.

How many times have you seen someone on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or some other center for vanity making a gesture with their hands in a picture? Even if your answer is one, that’s too many and you need to unfriend that person right this instant. Your hands are always in the way when it comes to pictures – they always seem to require some kind of extra attention during the awkward three to five seconds between the camera being pulled out and everyone deciding who they can or can’t put their arms around. Of course, like the title mentions, there are also the urges to throw up some kind of gang sign, peace sign, point at someone, point at something, or whatever other immature setting you can twist your fingers and thumbs into. How about, instead of all this struggle and over thinking, just hold your beer, put one hand in your pocket or around your buddy/girlfriend/boyfriend/nearest chair and smile like you mean it. It’s easy, and you won’t have to untag yourself tomorrow morning while the running of the bulls takes place in your cerebral cortex. You’ll thank me.

2. The Duck Face: Only Cool If We’re Playing the Opposite Game.

I’m genuinely ashamed that I have to include this. You aren’t hotter with your duck face on. You don’t kiss anyone with your lips puckered like that. It’s just stupid, and stupid girls do that. Don’t be a stupid girl, or Pink will write a song about you before she continues fading into obscurity. There is an entire slice of internet pie dedicated to finding and rudely commenting on duck face photos. I mean, just do a Google search, and let me know how many times you see a positive spin on duck face. Is there a positive spin? What would thus unicorn of a spin look like? In some bizarre-o world, you could maybe spin duck face into some sort of representation of your youth, or maybe pass it off as a trend of the time – neither of which are true, making you a duck faced liar. Just don’t, don’tdon’tdon’tdon’tdon’t.

3. Don’t Be Shy About Touching The Opposite Sex.

Harder than it seems. Heh, sorry, snuck a boner joke in there. But honestly, a lot of people, both sexes, have trouble deciding things like where does this hand go? shoulder? Waist?! Oh my, how provocative a waist-hand would be in this photo. Imagine the FB comments. Me-oh-my. How much pressure should I apply? Do I wait for this other person to dictate what hand action we should be taking?

If you claim to have never wondered these things, either in your youth or more recently, you’re a liar. Not only are you a liar, though, you’re the kind of liar everyone hates. The lies-about-smoothness-with-the-opposite-sex liar. Instead, let me tell you what to do with your hands in a photo with a member of the fairer (or hairier, if you’re a woman reading this) sex. Guys, waist level, pinky finger on the belt, and no lower you little pervert. The camera should be able to see or almost see your finger tips around the side your hand is on. Ladies, do whatever you want because guys are pigs and no matter where your hands are we’re claiming we made it to second base and that’s all there is to it.

Now, go forth and touch each other in pictures, and all that.

4. Don’t Practice Smiling

People who practice their smile, first and foremost, are idiots. Don’t practice that. Your smile is best when you are naturally and genuinely enjoying a moment. This isn’t what you’re doing when you’re dropping it to Smack That in your washroom. Trust me. Just smile regularly like a normal person and enjoy the goddamn picture. This one time, in university, my roomie and I were creeping out some girl’s Facebook and he made a stout observation. You notice she looks the same in every picture? Ya, I did notice, because she’s preparing for pictures like Heath Ledger prepared for Batman. Too Much. This particular girl also looked the same direction in every photo, which is a pleasant seaway into my next and final point.

5. No Jockeying For Position.

Ever. I don’t care if there is a zit big enough to get the planetary vote before Pluto does – you stand there, zit out, and you smile like you goddamn mean it. No omgggg I’ll be on the other side hehehehe its my good side! Not only is it not mature, it’s annoying and everyone knows exactly why you’re doing it – they’ve seen the Facebook photo library, they know you have a zit, or a crooked tooth, or a butt-chin, or whatever is stopping you from being a confident adult. Cut it out. You aren’t fooling anyone, and Jesus Christ, isn’t it hard enough to keep a group of 4 or more people in one spot for a picture as it is? We don’t need to play Jenga with the people and hope the proverbial tower stands long enough for the flash to go off. Plus, INSTAGRAM – that shit will make you pretty, no problem.



RIMployees – Start Polishing Your Resumes

Before I start, a few things need to be mentioned/admitted:

1. I have no stake in BlackBerry’s success or failure, apart from being a resident of Ontario
2. I have no background in marketing, programming, mobile computing, or other discipline pertinent to this conversation.
3. I have owned and used a BlackBerry 9900 as recently as December 2011. I sold it for 250 dollars Canadian to eat up some of the cost of an iPhone 4S. A phone I’m still using.

Now some mentions:

1. As far as I can tell, RIM (now BlackBerry) was a failing firm at last glance.
2. RIM (now BlackBerry) believes they have a firm grip on the “professional” demographic of SmartPhone users.

BlackBerry, or RIM if you prefer, is going to fail. Here’s why:

1. The Business Professional Market – the one they already control – isn’t enough to keep the company afloat.

This is a point that isn’t up for discussion. RIM has been in dire financial straits for years. They’ve gone through restructuring projects, layoffs, and countless other insert boardroom jargon for fixing here processes. By their own admission, the company was in real trouble while controlling their core demographic. It wasn’t enough then, and it won’t be enough now.

2. To succeed, then, BlackBerry has to attract new users.

It can go about this one or more ways. It can draw users from existing smartphone market shares – that is to say, it can pull users away from Apple and Android devices back to BlackBerry. It can attract new users, those who have yet to enter the smartphone market. Finally, it can draw users who have been BlackBerry users in the past back to it’s brand from other devices.  To do this, BB 10 has to have features that will pull users through one of these avenues to a BlackBerry device. This means, since the business side is already locked down (right?), that BlackBerry is going for the casual user. A quick glance at the App Stores of Android and Apple tell us that the casual user is most likely to use Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and a few other apps on their phones. Herein lies the problem. BlackBerry, somehow, decided that the best way to attract these users is to provide the same Facebook, Twitter and other app experiences they already carry with them in their pockets, on an unfamiliar device, with a tired and likely mature hardware model, while excluding Instagram altogether. Like I mentioned, I have no background in marketing or the like, and even I can see that this is an idea destined to fail from the start.

3. New applications and Features Aren’t Actually New

Blackberry Remember? It’s called Evernote. BBM Video Chat? It’s called Skype. BBM? Whats App, Kik, iMessage, you name it. Even the auto populating “People” screen already exists as the Apple Contacts native application. You get the idea. Including them as native apps and giving them BlackBerry branding doesn’t make them original. Sorry.  I will give you, BlackBerry Kool-Aid enthusiast, that Screen Share is a nifty idea. I have one question though: Who is asking for this feature? I use BBM as an alternative to voice and video chatting. Every plan comes with unlimited calling and texting now, if I wanted to use one of those, I would. I’m using BBM because it isn’t voice and video chat. Why would you add that feature? It’s brainless. Screen Share, to boot, adds a sense of “Now I’m at the mercy of my colleague because he can do screen share with me on a whim,” that no one likes to have hanging over them. The features are neat, and it’s cool (I guess) that the tech can go in that direction, but it is counter intuitive and unnecessary in the contexts BlackBerry has introduced them.

4. Flow and Peek Aren’t a Thing.

How about instead of flowing and peeking, I just switch apps? Is it really that big a deal? This isn’t a big deal, period. Everyone has an app switcher on their phone. In fact, the Android app fader is a far superior concept in terms of app switching. The fader allows a user to reply to messages while still watching a full screen video. Peek and Flow don’t. That’s right, as in the past, BlackBerry shows up late to the party.

6. Predictive Text Typing Isn’t New

I can now slide up on a letter to create a word. You know what that looks like to me? A keyboard that is much too busy. Every phone has predictive text, and Flow (the typing mechanism) has been around for years. I don’t know how Heins is up there with a straight face, awkwardly clapping because no one else will start a sea of applause, claiming he has great new features on a new device. The whole thing just stinks.

7. Apart From These Issues , the Candy Bar Form Factor Has Reached It’s Maturity.

There just isn’t much more software can do with a 4 or 5 inch screen. Period. There isn’t really an argument to be made here.

Sell your BlackBerry stock. ASAP.

Election 2012: The Aftermath

Generally speaking, I’m not one to engage in any type of political communication. Most of us understand that we all have a voice and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but politics is one of those things that has the ability to make you hate a person in an instant. We all open ourselves up to criticism when communicating about sensitive subjects, so I am completely prepared for that. However, in the wake of the most important election of my lifetime; I feel the need to get some things off my chest.

The first thing I think about in relation to this election is the ungodly amount of money that has been spent throughout these political campaigns. Can we just pause for a moment and think about how many lives could have been helped with even a small portion of that money?  Or by how much our national debt could have been decreased? The candidates who have spent millions of their own money (thankfully their own) all for the chance to hold a political chair need to re-evaluate the importance of a dollar.

When are elections going to start being more about unifying our nation and bringing it back to the strongest in the world and less about personal preference and beliefs? It is sad that we’re still electing our political leaders based upon things that really need to be considered non-issues. The fact that a good percentage of our nation is still more concerned about making sure the gay community does not have equal rights than they are about our military, our debt, our educational system, etc. is astoundingly pathetic.  The fact that there is a population who’s only determining criteria is the color of one’s skin is disgraceful.  It is this type ideological bullshit that will continue to create such a strong partisan divide.

We, as citizens, basically tell our presidential candidates what they need to care about and what is the most important to this nation. They focus on the factors they know the American people will vote for, regardless of its relevance to helping better this country.  In reality, they need to be telling us what our biggest problems are and where our efforts need to be concentrated. After all, they are the ones with a top-down, holistic view.

Can our candidates stop using the campaign of “I’m going to appeal everything the last guy did”? Someone, anyone, tell me how this is a productive way to move a country forward.  This is a sure fire way to make sure that we never progress. When are we going to start working together rather than using each other as ammunition?  No one is ever going to agree 100% of the time, and different perspectives are what can produce the greatest results, but our political leaders being forced to win by way of slandering one another sets a terrible example for the rest of us.

I don’t care who you are, where you fall on the party line, what color your skin is, if you’re a man or a woman, or who you choose to love; I want to believe in the person who is leading my country.  You gain my vote by gaining my respect. You gain my respect by speaking from the heart, honestly and with conviction, by placing yourself in the same category as the rest of the citizens of the United States, and by defining what you will do for this country rather than what your competition won’t.  All I really want is a better tomorrow. I want to know that my future is bright and my children will grow up in a world of greater opportunity.

For those individuals who actually believe that the American government is conducive to and encouraging our population to be lazy, open your eyes.  The responsibility of raising our future generations to be productive members of society does not fall on the President, it falls on the parents.  If you think that collecting a small amount of money for food or for housing is a luxurious way to live, try it for yourself. The same people who are lucky to live in a country where we won’t just allow them to sit on the street and die, have nothing. They aren’t living in nice homes, dining out at restaurants, going on vacations, driving nice cars, buying new clothing, being showered with birthday presents, or doing any of the things that you probably take for granted at every waking moment. So before you’d like to condemn your fellow Americans who are less fortunate than you are, walk a day in their shoes.

A final note to everyone who still feels the need to complain about who sits in the oval office, unless you think that you can do better and are playing an active role in putting yourself in a position to do so, stop bitching. Unless you are part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

– JG

A Survival Guide for Entering Adulthood

Life has a lot of phases. One could make a strong argument that the period of time when we really have to grow up, when mom and dad cut the financial cord, when we are suddenly the only person responsible for ourselves, is the most important phase of life. It is here where we make decisions and pick a path that shapes our future as a contributing member of society. This is the phase where we sink or swim. Here are some things you’ll need to make through.


A good psychiatrist

Seriously, have one on speed dial. We all cross the post-graduate threshold with a superman cape on and think that the world owes us some kind of esteemed honor. I mean, we’ve made it through college with a degree and we’re alive! People need to be bowing to us. There’s a point when we all need to be kicked off our pedestal. The hard work has just begun; you have a lot more time to put in before you can expect to be treated like royalty. And even then, don’t hold your breath. An unbiased opinion calling out your flaws, challenging you to work on yourself and concentrate less on what’s going on around you is a wonderful thing to embrace.



You probably don’t even like wine. I don’t blame you – that boxed stuff (you know, where that bag you’re chugging came from) isn’t the best on the market. Don’t worry, you will. And you will learn that wine is an absolute essential for life. Step one; stop consuming whatever alcohol that is in front of you at world record speed. Step two; begin to taste what you are putting into your mouth. You see, the goal here is to enjoy. Step three; set some standards. Enough with buying whatever is the cheapest and has the most alcohol in it. After all, you are grown-up now. Wine is the most versatile and multi-talented inanimate object on the planet. It goes with anything and is appealing to people from all walks of life. I can think of almost nothing that compares to that end-of-work-day glass of wine.


A few good friends

Whatever you do, no matter where you are, no matter your relationship status, don’t forget your friends. Some friends will walk out of your life, and you will walk away from others, but hold onto the good ones. You never know when you’re going to need them. Truth is you need them all the time, sometimes you just need them more than others. So make time for your friends at the most inconvenient moments, take advantage of every opportunity to get together, have nights out reminiscing about old times, have sleepovers, get coffee, take road trips, make it work.


A sense of humor

Let’s be honest about this, we are just as awkward in our early 20’s as we are in early puberty. You thought the period of growing into your feet and ears would be the worst of it… wrong! Think about it. We’re learning how to hold our liquor, making bad decisions, embarrassing ourselves, “experimenting,” figuring out what “professional” attire consists of, gaining weight, losing weight, trying to balance a social life with the start of a positive career – we’re a mess! It’s like learning to ride a bike; we fall off, picking up a few blemishes along the way, before finally getting the hang of it. Sometimes the best way to deal with things is to laugh it off and chalk it up as a learning experience. And, please, don’t beat yourself up over something you wish you hadn’t said or done, we’ve all been there, let it go.



I’m not saying you need to have it all figured out, I don’t think I’ll ever have it figured out, but you absolutely need the desire to work towards something. You also need to be open to the fact that this something may, and probably will, change. It’s okay if you aren’t content with what is going on in your life. It’s not okay if you do nothing to change what you aren’t happy with. Life is ever-evolving and so are we. There is no greater injustice than to not allow yourself to follow your dreams, whatever the reason may be: because people won’t agree with it, because society won’t accept it, because it’s easier to stumble along the day to day grind. The people and things that matter will always find a way to creep into your life. We get one shot at this – do whatever it is you need to do to keep moving forward.

– JG

You’re All Just Pushing Buttons

This thing, it doesn’t work. This is your own fault.

As a whole, society is horribly underachieving.

We don’t vote (what do we have, like, 70% turnout during a good election cycle?). We can’t be left to our own devices on a daily basis because someone will undoubtedly kill, rape, pillage, loot, or [insert detrimental action here] before the clock strikes noon. Hell, we can’t even figure out that using a phone while we drive is a bad idea, so they have to make a law that forces you to pay attention while you navigate a 2 tonne death machine through the streets. Are we serious? In this day in age? We have all the tools in the world to educate ourselves, to pick our own paths, to make things better for each and every person in the city, and around the world, and we don’t. We just don’t because we’re stupid cavemen who, in something like a bajillion years, have only figured out that “HEY! Maybe we should think about not destroying the planet and each other in the process with every thing that we do every day!” in like the last twenty years. This begs the question:

Why in the name of Jesus the Raptor Wrangling Savior do you think these little buttons at the crosswalk actually impose your will on the rest of society?!

The simple truth is this: these buttons don’t work. They can’t. You need to hope, for your own safety and the wavering shred of faith you had left in humanity’s ability to make a sound decision that this little red light means absolutely nothing. Here’s how I know, though, that these buttons don’t do anything.

We All Cross The Street

Normally, I’d say we could have these buttons work in a few places – really busy intersections where there is only a little bit of human traffic. Or places where seniors need to get from one side of the road to the other, or the place where that chicken from all those HEY WHY DID THE CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD?! TO GET TO THE OTHER SIDE HAHAHAHA HOW FUNNY WAS THAT JOKE IN GRADE FOUR?! because we need so many more of those jokes. The thing is, we can’t even have it in these areas because there is the potential for the same seventeen year-olds who can’t remember to flush the toilet or might make fun of a blind person to also be at these crosswalks. These people have fingers, too, and as such we just can’t risk seventeen year-olds who insult the visually impaired and let their feces ferment controlling the flow of traffic. It’s a bad idea.

The Button Makes a Sound When You Press It

You might be asking yourself, “Hey, I like things that make sounds when I interact with them, why is this a bad thing?” You’re asking yourself that because you’re an idiot. Sorry if this is the first time you’ve heard the news. On the list of other things that make sounds when interacted with: baby toys. I’d keep going, except I literally can’t think of anything else that makes a sound (and lights up) as the only indicator that something is happening. Usually, we can point to something tangible (say, oh I don’t know, the light changing from green, to yellow, and then to red when you press the button at a crosswalk maybe?) that let’s us know whatever action we have just taken is having some actual effect in the real world. Instead, though, we get a click or a friendly beep, and that little red light you see in the main photo. This is because we’re stupid, as a whole, and these things somehow satisfy a need we have to know that Yeah, when I use my finger to push that button, cars have to bend to my whim. Again, if you feel you have this magic power, you’re stupid and should probably stay home.

The Flow of Traffic is Pretty Important

There are two things that have the potential to become a total nightmare that everyone has a hand in: The Political System, and Traffic. One is already a nightmare, the other is traffic and in it’s current state it’s nearly unbearable and so close to being beyond remedy that people are riding bikes because somehow your puny, pathetic legs will get you from point A to B faster than a four-door cash cow with a bitchin’ sound system. Thing is, we need cars to be the most efficient way of traveling, and there are reasons for this. We’ve poured ungodly amounts of money and man hours into building the traffic infrastructure – roads, lights, the machines that build these things, the guy holding the stop/slow sign, etc. It’s a two hundred year project that we’re still working on every single minute of every single day somewhere in the world – we can’t just abandon it now, at least not without a contingency plan. Plus, cars are a perfect mid-range travel option. Let’s face it, you aren’t riding your bike from Hamilton to Toronto if it’s at all avoidable – it’s too far, your bike can’t share the highway and no one who has places even a penny in the time is money ideal spends a whole day traveling  unless their part of some hair-brained hunger strike or something. You need a car for these types of trips. As such, with all sorts of cars on the road, we need traffic to flow properly so we can schedule things and use clocks for stuff. We can’t have drunk twenty year-olds touching buttons and then passing out in their own vomit on the corner. We just can’t.

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

This little tidbit from my pal Lord Acton is the only reason you need to understand if you don’t understand the other reasons in the least. The lights are going to change when the flow of traffic requires them to change – we use scales, timing with other lights, etc to determine when pedestrians can cross, and when they are going to have to stare mortality in the eyes and play some high risk human Frogger to get to the sacred sidewalk on the other side of the asphalt. If that button actually worked, everyone who decided that where they had to be was somehow more important than the general benefit of society would be crossing the street whenever they felt like and causing log jams all over our roads. Since someone, somewhere or some group of people knows that we are greedy, selfish and irrational, they make sure the buttons don’t give us this power. We wouldn’t know what to do with it.

Do me a favor: stop pressing the buttons. It’s embarrassing.

– JT



It Was Never About Football

I think I read somewhere, or heard from someone, or something, that a picture is worth 1000 words. Most of the time, having been in several pictures myself, I think this is true – pictures represent a ton of emotion. They might offer a glimpse into the future, or a peek at what something that was a part of our past. Whatever the case may be, I can speak with certainty about pictures in one respect, and one respect only.

They represent something important to you. Always.

That’s what makes this picture particularly transcendent, the important things it represents so fully. This isn’t an entry about the Tiger Cats, nor is it an entry about the CFL, or football, or even the stadium that we’ll be saying a final goodbye to very shortly. It’s an entry about what’s important. An entry about the fabrics that bind us together, that bridge gaps, that defeat and pummel and climb over and knock down and ignore and will have none of the traditional walls of society. Against all odds, these fabrics seem to be present more than anywhere else I’ve seen in Ivor Wynne Stadium. It’s a miracle, almost.

I’ve always said to my friends from out of town, that if you want to know what Hamilton is all about, if you want a genuine introduction to this city, it’s people and their passion, go see the Tiger Cats. There isn’t a better way to show someone the sort of people we are. In the stands, you’ll see three or four generations of fans, collars of different colors, white hats, blue hats, the rich, the poor and all the glorious inbetweeners this city has to offer. And for the three hours we spend together, for the three hours we sit on aged benches, gather at destroyed beer stands, ascend crumpling staircases in a frenzy, and adorn the black and gold with the sort of reverence usually reserved for Sundays, we are one. A city united behind fifty or so men trying to move a leather ball into sacred sod on either end of our stadium, in our downtown neighborhood, in our city. It’s heartwarming, it’s togetherness, it’s an intangible, whimsical feeling that can’t be duplicated.

It’s beautiful. It really, really is.

Take a look at this picture, and you’ll see much more than the smiling faces of two Tiger Cat fans. You’ll see what makes Ivor Wynne such a special place. You’ll see father – an 84 year old Italian immigrant, who shares his birth year with Ivor Wynne, and remembers fondly the times when the stadium was in it’s youth. You’ll see son, a 55 year old, white collar, father of two who enjoys the excitement of the stadium just as much as his old man. You’ll see two generations of Tiger Cat fans – both of whom remember the big time players, making big time plays, during big time games, 40 years apart. You’ll see two generations of Hamiltonians, one former steel worker who’s sweat and blood and tears and muscle and dedication helped build this city so many moons ago, one public servant, who continues to dedicate himself to deepening the roots that were planted on his behalf long before he was able to appreciate them. You’ll see two men who’s passion make it possible for my generation to enjoy the legend, lore and loyalty that this stadium, and this team, and this city has faithfully built around the black and gold. You’ll see an unspoken harmony made human through sport. You’ll see what so many Hamiltonians have been so fortunate to enjoy and embrace and live and breathe for so many decades.

You’ll see a flavor of perfection that only exists inside that stadium.

We are sad to see you go, Ivor Wynne – but you won’t take with you the memories of hugging strangers, the memories of feverish high fives with other tax brackets, or fever pitch cheers that only carry meaning inside your walls (but, my goodness, the weight they carry). We’ll take those with us. And we’ll remember them. It’s what we owe to you, Ivor Wynne, the very least we can do. We also owe you a thank you, a testament to everything this city is since 1930.


– JT

Work Etiquette

It is a sad reality that many adults need some guidance relating to proper behavior in a public setting. This is especially important at your place of employment as these are people you spend a lot of time with, and who absolutely judge you. The following is a non-comprehensive, yet very important, list of things you need to know about behaving appropriately in the work environment.

1. Do not leave your dirty dishes in the sink.
These people need to be caught in the act and chastised immediately. And don’t even bother asking “would you do that at home?” The obvious answer is yes, they do this at home. They are equally, if not more disgusting, in their own home than they are at the office. However, at the office this is unacceptable. If you have enough time to turn on the water and swish it around in your dish, you certainly have enough time to put some soap in there, give it a little scrub and then take it with you, back to your desk so you can take it home. Your crusty bowl that is now taking up the majority of the sink is a problem. It becomes a bigger problem as it fills with water and your left over food particles begin to float up and out of your crusty bowl further dirtying the rest of the sink. No one is going to do this for you, clean your bowl, and move along.

2. Use of the restroom:
Shit happens, pun intended. We all know this; it is simply a fact of life. If you are one of those people who arrives at work and immediately is in the bathroom taking a dump, you suck. This is acceptable in extreme circumstances, but if it is a part of your daily routine, you really need to be doing this at home. Moving on. Flush the toilet. If, after you’ve flushed, there is anything left, any sign of your debauchery flush the toilet again. Use the spray can of something that smells better than your shit. I don’t understand the “I don’t want to spray the can, then the next person will know I took a crap” thing. News flash: the next person will know you took a crap – mostly because the bathroom now smells like the indoor elephant exhibit at the zoo. At least, if you’ve used the spray as it’s intended to be used your co-workers will not be forced to try to hold their breath for the duration of their stay, which only always results in having to take a biggie-sized-breath of your stank air. Finally, wash your hands. This is basics, people.

3. Panty hose:
Did you look at yourself in the mirror before you left the house? Chances are you noticed when you put those panty hose on that you had royally fucked up and ripped multiple holes in them. Take them off. Do not spray your aerosol can of hair spray around the office; do not get out your clear nail polish. Even if you can mitigate any further damage, they are fucked beyond repair so please, just take them off. Believe it or not, your transparent legs on their own draw less attention than the contrast of your black, now porous, panty hose against your transparent legs.

4. Personal Conversations:
Email and text messages were practically invented for saying things that cannot be said out loud. You are in class, you have roommates, you’re in Starbucks, you’re in church, you’re in the library, etc. This is no different when you’re at work. Therefore, there is no real excuse that any of your co-workers ever need to hear one of your personal conversations. No one really cares how much fun you had getting blazed last night, how much you hate your mother-in-law, your baby talk to whatever flavor of the week on the other end, ok? If you need to handle a situation, go outside, go into the hallway, shut your door and speak softly, but please excuse yourself – we don’t want to hear it.

5. Storing your lunch:
There comes a point in life when you have to stop blaming your parents for not teaching you how to not be a total jackass. You are an adult; this is a matter of common sense, not solving the national debt crisis. There is only so much space in the community refrigerator. If your item requires ½ of the top shelf, bring yourself a cooler and a thermos and keep it at your desk. If you brought your lunch and didn’t eat it today, eat it tomorrow, take it home, or throw it away. How is it possible that since that day, you’ve brought lunch 10 more times, opening and closing the same refrigerator door every day without disposing of your rotten leftovers? There it is, in all its glory for all to see, now fuzzy and multi-colored, looking like a growing culture on a petri dish, and it smells. This isn’t how you get rid of your wife’s leftovers without offending her – man up, and manage your old food in the refrigerator.

6. Riding the elevator:
This is arguably the most uncomfortable part of your day – cramming into a small space with 15 of your peers for a joy ride into the gates of hell. It’s hot. People are breathing on you. It smells bad. I might pass out. It is pretty obvious when this elevator is full. Everyone inside is puffing out their chest, boxing out to maintain a comfortable amount of personal space, giving you dirty looks so as to scare you off from entering those doors. At this point you really need to wait the 45 seconds for the next elevator. You do realize that you’re going to work, right? Come on, you aren’t that excited about it, no need to cram onto this elevator with your morning smile, pastry, and oversized work bag. Everyone hates you. Take the stairs or wait for the next one, bitch.


Album Review – Lupe’s Food and Liquor II

The all-black F/L II album cover.

I’m a big Lupe fan so, as a disclaimer, this could be a bit lopsided – I’ll do my best. – JT

It’s really tough to tell someone what you enjoy about a certain song. It should be. Everyone takes something different from a track – be it a connection to a time in their past, a significant event, a significant other, whatever. Maybe you value music for what it can contribute to your life. You may enjoy being serenaded while you write or study, you might take pleasure in listening to some type of soulful ballad while preparing a gourmet meal, or while cleaning your room, or while dwelling on some soul sucking mistake you’ve made in your life. Maybe you need the goosebumps that come in the form of a blazing verse from your favorite rapper while catching passes before a big game, or you need the hypnotizing bass sequence to distract you from the pain in your hamstrings for the last kilometer of your run. The thing, for me, about Lupe Fiasco, is that I can pick any of his albums, and find a track that speaks to me in one way or another. This album is no different, and that’s what makes it worth a listen.

Like usual, Lupe separates himself from the status-quo in hip hop – leaving behind lyrics about big booties and moving bricks in favor of putting an eternal, internal struggle into words. He’s a fantastic story teller, and always has been. He’s especially potent on two topics – love and social awareness. He’s fierce everywhere else, too, but let’s look back at his catalog and reminisce a bit, shall we? On Food and Liquor, his debut offering (2006) he laments on the state of hip hop and society on Daydreamin’ behind a hook from Jill Scott that could melt ice cream during an Alaskan winter – beautiful. The lyrics are incredible, too, as he describes a music video environment and everything it symbolizes about society, contrasting with a sleeping infant,

Hold up your chain, slow motion through the flames
Now queue the smoke machine and the simulated rain
But not too loud, ’cause the baby’s sleepin’
I wonder if it knows what the world is keepin’
Up both sleeves, while it lay there dreamin’
Me and my robot, tip toe ’round creepin’
I had to turn my back on what got you paid,
I couldn’t see, had the hood on me like Abu Ghraib

On the same disc, he gives us a story about two youngsters smitten with their skateboards first, each other second, on Kick, Push.

Met his girlfriend, she was clappin’ in the crowd
Love is what was happening to him now, uh
He said I would marry you, but I’m engaged to these aerials and varials
And I don’t think this board is strong enough to carry two
She said “Bow, I weigh 120 pounds, now
Lemme make one thing clear
I don’t need to ride yours, I got mine right here”
So she took him to a spot
He didn’t know about
Somewhere in the apartment parking lot, she said
I don’t normally take dates in here
Security came and said “I’m sorry there’s no skating here”

Two for two.

In between that first album and this one, he continues to leave in his wake the wasted efforts of the cash and hoes demographic, all of whom fall victim to his witty wordsmithing without the same, overplayed and over exaggerated stories of sex and violence. Tracks like Superstar, Paris, Tokyo, Little Weapon, Letting Go, 2 Ways and an abundance of others work to maintain and push forward Lupe’s reputation as one of the best the genre has to offer.

Enter: Food and Liquor II – The Great American Rap Album Pt 1. The lead single from the disc is a flamethrower, Around My Way (Freedom Ain’t Free), and a narrative on social awareness and the state of constant war and social media paranoia the world finds itself paralyzed by. He doesn’t need to tell you at this point in his career, but he uses a sample from probably the best track the genre has ever seen (Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth’s T.R.O.Y.) as a friendly reminder that he can take even the most revered four minutes and forty six seconds and plant his flag on it to the benefit of music as a whole. He rhymes on the state of education, the mixed up priorities of government and the continued erosion of the middle class, firing off:

Cash rules everything around these n**gers,
as classrooms everywhere around me wither,
either you can be Mr. Burns or Mr. Smithers,
the tyrant or the slave, no where in the middle,
of the extremes of America’s dream
Freud fighting Neo, Freddy Kreuger refereeing

Imagine if Obama could put it so eloquently? He’d probably at least win a debate. On the other standout track from the disc, Battle Scars, LF flows on the remnants of broken relationships, insignificant fights he seems to wish he could rewind on, among other issues he’s faced with the opposite sex – both during times he was alone, or shared his life with a woman. It’s a track full of emotion, and it’s assisted with a booming chorus from Guy Sebastian – who I will be looking into, but hadn’t heard of prior to this track. Give it a listen – relationships are something everyone has dealt with at one point or another, and this one will have some bars for you regardless of your experience.

Is this Lupe’s best album? No. Front to back, I think every other album has actually been stronger than this offering. Most of the other tracks on the album won’t have you pressing skip, but they also don’t quite do Lupe justice given his track record. Certainly, I’d say that if someone were being introduced to this artist, I wouldn’t choose F/L II as the sample. That being said, I am a bigger fan of the two tracks listed above than I am of any other two tracks on any other disc he’s released. For a guy who is probably on his way to having seen his best days behind him, that’s saying something. Look for him to put a little more studio time into the next album, and continue to tell the stories that hip-hop so desperately needs to become a greater part of it’s narrative.


– JT

Why Do We Keep Lying To Our Children

As children, we are taught to listen to our elders. Therefore, we grow up believing almost everything they tell us… that is, until we know better. I’ll start with the most obvious – Santa Claus. Santa isn’t real. All adults and most children over the age of 8 know this.  Yet we continue to coerce our innocent little children into believing in this man who comes and gives them all kinds of presents on Christmas. Not only does Santa bring you presents, but we, as adults, will also hold this over your head all year: “you know, Tommy, Santa isn’t going to bring you any presents if you’re not a good boy… you will get a lump of coal.”

We convince children that he’s real and he has reindeer and a sleigh and comes in through your chimney. The story is actually kind of far-fetched. And then, when the time is right, we shatter all of your hopes and dreams. Not to be a total party pooper here, I enjoy Santa as a fictional character as much as the next. I just don’t understand the continued desire to spend so much time fabricating the story around him.  I mean, what’s the point, fun? Can we, as a human population, really not think of anything better to do for fun?

Santa can still be a fun way to celebrate the season, but children should know about and believe in Santa just as adults believe in Santa – as a part of the Christmas story, the season of giving, the Christmas spirit. Besides, this whole Santa thing sets a terrible example for our youth. First of all, we’re lying. Secondly, Santa is overweight and his favorite food is cookies.  Finally, it gives us a reason to further spoil our already spoiled tiny population. Why don’t we teach our kids what Christmas is truly a celebration of? That it’s not all about how many presents are under your tree, and that what’s really important is having time with family, friends, and loved ones. 

Santa isn’t the only culprit, however.  There’s the tooth fairy.  What? Why? Seriously, I don’t even understand the logic behind this one.  If you want to give your kid a quarter or a dollar for losing a tooth, go for it. But put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy will come get it. That is simply a practice in bad hygiene.

Oh, and then, the Easter Bunny.  There’s another one that truly has no point.  What’s the difference if the Easter bunny hides your baskets of candy or your parents hide your baskets of candy? Seriously, they are kids; they are getting candy, that’s all they care about. Not to mention, a person inside of a life sized bunny costume is one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever seen. 

Why can’t we start to make mommy and daddy the heroes instead of Santa and the Easter Bunny? I mean really, my kids are going to thank Santa, a guy who’s not even real, for the presents when I was the one spending months hiding toys from them, hours wrapping gifts, and risked my fresh manicure fighting other moms over that last Buzz Lightyear in aisle 10. Then, they hate me because I’m the one who breaks the news that the guy’s a dud. I don’t think so.

Beyond the made up holiday stories, there’s the old adages that for whatever reason just never die.  If you don’t eat your carrots, you won’t have good vision.  If you don’t finish your dinner, you won’t be allowed to have dessert.  If you don’t keep quiet, you’ll sleep in the garage.  You know, if you keep making that face, it will freeze that way forever. If you swallow that piece of gum, it will stay in your stomach for 7 years. Spike went to live on a farm with all of his doggie friends. The list is endless! 

Are these sayings some attempt to not deal with real situations with our children? We somehow think that telling silly stories will sway our children from behaving poorly? Why don’t we start with “because I said so” and they will understand why when they’re able to.  Life is real, life can be wonderful, life sometimes hurts, life isn’t easy and it isn’t always fair but we can and will deal with anything and we’ll probably have a lot of fun along the way.  It’s never too early to start learning these lessons.


How To Ruin My Morning – Construction

Orange and Black slice of Hell.

I’m not a construction worker. Nor have I ever been in charge of or overlooked a construction site. All I know is that if I see one more pylon creeping just a little too far into my lane, I’ll probably get my pitchfork and head for city hall. This is my gripe.

1. Pylons. Learn how to use them.

I understand the need for pylons. They’re orange, bright, and will stop the lemmings from driving off cliffs or into machinery on their morning commute. Putting safety first, good for you, ya big dope. What I cannot get my head around, though, is why in the name of the great creator you would use the Sasquatch-pylons to indicate to me the dangers I should obviously be able to see on my own. Natural selection isn’t going to work this way, guys, we need people to drive off cliffs when they aren’t paying attention. That aside, though, why can’t we just use smaller pylons? I say this for two reasons. First, in the event I have to swerve because the clown beside me is having a panic attack due to the compressed driving space, I won’t destroy the hood of my car hitting this 100lb plastic deterrent tool. Second, maybe with a regular sized tiny-lon, you might be able to keep the pylons on your side of the perforated-life-saving-lane-lines. I’m already driving dangerously close to the woman applying her lipstick and makeup while she cruises at 65 Km/H down the street in a school zone because dammit, my husband doesn’t think I’m beautiful, so that coroner damn well better, I don’t need to get closer to her because some orange hat botched the pylon placement while he giggled at a raunchy 7 AM joke about wives, or girlfriends, or whatever those guys joke about while they are stealing my tax money. Just figure it out and keep it on your side of the line, chief.

2. Hazard Lights.

Am I the only person who knows what hazard lights are for? No, I’m not. We all know what they’re for. Hazards. Hazard lights are for hazards. What a novel concept! What they aren’t for, is the dump truck full of god knows what kind of sedimentary rock with the driver who just needs to finish his phone call, and then just needs to finish his coffee, before he figures out what his next move is. I have to go to work, and so does everyone else. You already have your own little section of the road blocked off where you can have a party, or supervise someone else supervising the work that’s supposed to be going on – but isn’t – so use that to hang out and drink coffee and tell crude jokes. Not my lane. I need that lane to drive in – it’s what lanes are for, not stopping. All this information about hazards and hazard lights and lanes and driving and coffee is probably on Wikipedia, so this Tony driving the truck has no excuse. Educate yo’self, fool.

3. Police. Why are there police here, my God.

Cops are good folks, I know a few. They’re nice, they might let you slither out of a ticket (ooh! you slippery snake, you!) or let you touch their gun or something, I don’t know. Basically they’re okay. Except when they are on construction sites or in construction zones. Then, I hate them. They aren’t adding any value to this already fairly conspicuous cluster fuck, except those distracting lights everyone loves seeing first thing in the morning.

Average idiot’s inner monologue: Oh, police lights! I’ll apply the brakes liberally and take a look. It’s my duty as a citizen to be informed of this occurrence, and to discuss it further with my colleagues during the course of my workday. I’m doing right by society.

And, scene.

This person needs to lock themselves in a basement and eat KD until they are paralyzed by scurvy. On top of this senseless, downright embarrassing and obviously inconvenient rubber necking, we intelligent folks are left with a traffic jam that just screams “Everyone on the road today except me goes home and watches VHS tapes while they cook their gathered berries with fire.” Enough is enough. Pretend your rubbernecking habit is your bladder: control it, or live with the embarrassment of an adult that voids their bowels in public.

4. Sugar-Coated Traffic Updates

I know damn well what something moving slowly looks like. My brother moving with dirty dishes to the kitchen is moving slowly. Ketchup making it’s way to a slow death in the company of my french fries out of it’s bottle is moving slowly. Let me tell you something, though, former-cheerleader and overly bubbly traffic personality: traffic is at a stand stillnot moving slowly. If the annoying and sometimes insanity-inducing voice on the other end of my FM feed would just give it to me straight, I wouldn’t be so upset when my speedometer laughs at me while sitting at zero for extended periods of time every morning.

You said moving slowly. This is not moving.

I don’t know what I’d say instead – maybe something like “Well folks, hope you didn’t get the bladder buster today, you’ll feel like that piss sack is the size of a pea while you sit at a standstill this morning.” Or how about “Plenty of time to post an annoying status about the traffic this morning! Your ass isn’t going to be moving until Christmas, and even then you’ll be receiving a surplus of coal from that fat, red-suited home invader!” 

Sugar is for coffee – not for coating the traffic report. Got it?

That’s it. Happy commuting, kids.

– JT