Friday, October 30, 2009

Through the Eyes of a Hamster

There are some things I want to get off my fuzzy little chest now that you’re sitting still for more than five minutes. Are all teenage human females as restless as you? Sheesh.

Okay, I can live with the cage. Keeps me from being eaten by that unbearable waste of fur you call a cat. I can live with this wheel too, although I gotta tell ya…it got old in like the first five minutes. But wood chips?? C’mon, who the hell thought they’d be good for me? Look at my paws, does this stuff look comfortable to you?

I’m not sure how I feel about that magic talking picture box. You and your friends seem to like sitting on your bed and watching your favourite stories forever, but I don’t get it. All I see are human males and females getting all up in each other, cursing themselves out. Man, you guys have some seriously messed-up relationships. If I had a girl hamster in here with me right now I’d show you how it’s done. By the way, that 'people who think they can dance' show that you watch is okay, but for the love of God you have to do something about muzzling the French judge. When I stick my paws out of this cage I’m not reaching out to touch someone, I’m reaching for the mute button. Duh.

And whose bright idea was it to call me Susan? I’m a boy, or haven’t you noticed?

Anyway. Just want to let you know that I could use some more entertainment in this room. The most interesting thing that ever happens is seeing you yell at your brother. Oh, that and watching you and your boyfriend get it on when mom and dad aren't home. By the way they know, and after tonight your ass is grounded for a month. Apparently Kevin left his undies behind. Hey, I hear stuff.

So what’s that thing you’re chewing on? S..N..I..C..K..E..R..S. Not sure what that means but you seem to like it.

You gonna finish that?


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Moonlight bathes these worn tenements
Gray clouds receeded, marking rainstorm’s pass.
And I in torn faded jeans,
Weathered guitar resting in lap,
Keep vigil upon this towering web of stairs.
Your fire escape Romeo,
Futilely awaiting your return.

Was a time we'd have torn the roof off this place to get to each other,
Evading your father’s watchful eye
Mother’s vehement stare.
Chasing dreams like yellow cabs
We lived to make every corner a memory,
Stealing kisses and so much more
Down every backstreet we ran.

But those days have faded
Like neon signs in familiar places,
Having long since closed their eyes.
Where did we go?
Fell in love with a picture we painted
Of our lives together
Like watercolours on the sidewalk
Washed away
When the storms grew too strong for us to repress.

Light fog now rolls down this alley,
Ghostly shadows playing through billowing sidewalk steam.
And here, bathed in dim streetlights’ glow,
Awash in mist and memories,
I’ll sit and wait for you forever
In Brooklyn.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


"Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be."

-Karen Ravin

Giveaway Update

Okay guys, here it is. So far I have two entries for my giveaway. Two! The deadline's this Saturday, and some of you now are probably in the throes of preparing for Halloween parties etc., so free time is even more scarce.

I didn't want to have to do this, but you leave me no choice. I'm turning Marshmallow Kitty loose, in the hopes of guilting you into entering something. It's only one step above shameless grovelling, but that's only to be used as a last resort because trust me, it's not pretty. Although I assure you I'm very good at it. If you don't believe me ask Sandy.

So take a minute and look deeeep into his eyes. You're getting sleepy, veeeery sleeepy. (Meow). Now repeat after me, "I will submit something......I will submit something...."

Marshmallow Kitty thanks you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


“Does it ever get any easier?” the stranger sighed, staking claim beside me at the bar.
“It’s been a long day, a long tiring day” she said.
Letting her bags fall to the floor she kicked off her heels, reaching to rub ankles sore from hours of boutique therapy. But Jimmy and Louis couldn’t take the place of the one who left, his toothbrush still by the sink, few shirts left behind with cologne forever lingering. Pillow empty.

She flagged down the bartender and ordered her favourite Chardonnay, following the ritual of thousands who had come before. “Not much point” she thought, knowing she had drunk too much of this man to ever wash him from her veins.

Swirling the elixir in her glass, mesmerized by its dance she pensively tilted her head towards me, sweeping away a strand of hair covering one eye.

“So what’s your story?”
“It’s all good,” I feigned.
“It’s never all good” she prodded, breaking into a knowing grin.
“Not much to tell,” I answered evasively. “I just came here to unwind.”
After all, why give her even more to think about?

No names given throughout our conversation, none needed- I knew her all too well. The disillusioned heart, the restless mind. Second-guessing everything said or left unsaid. All forever regretted.
Downing the rest she glanced at her watch.
“Well this is me,” she announced and seemingly in one swift movement slipped on her shoes, collected her bags and with a smile was gone.

I silently wished her well, knowing that when my glass was empty and I’d left this place, our seats wouldn’t be still for long. Same scene, same stage.
Different players.

Intellectual property copyright Barry O'Shea. All rights reserved.

Blog Awards- everyone please read (a yellow rose traditionally symbolizes friendship)

"One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only an interest."
-John Stuart Mill

Hi guys,

When I do my shout-outs next week I'd like to add some of my fave pics from each of your blogs. However I won't do this without expressed consent, so could you please let me know whether I have permission to use yours. If so, please indicate if there are any you would specifically not want me to use. Whatever your wishes I'll respect them.

Hope everyone has a great day!


Monday, October 26, 2009

Coming Soon...The LIQUOR Awards

Hi everyone,

I may not be posting much this week, as I'll be feverishly preparing to present the LIQUOR (Life In Quotations Uberbloggers Officially Recognized) Awards. Beginning Monday November 2 and running for about two weeks I'll be recognizing those of you who have added so much to my days; from making me look at life differently, to giving me that extra bit of inspiration to just plain putting a smile on my face through your utter weirdness.

For those of you following (and a certain visitor/regular contributor from Hong Kong), I'll be putting the spotlight on one blogger at a time. Hopefully it'll generate a little cross-promotion. But mostly it's my way of saying, "You guys are the best!"

Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Proof I've Lost My Mind

Can I present this to you and possibly still be the same person who brought you several introspective posts earlier? In what may officially mark the devolution of my blog, I offer here some Halloween costume suggestions that no one but a dog owner will appreciate. Your dog sure won't.

So if you do decide to dress Fido up in one of these demeaning, torturous outfits don't ever turn your back to him again. Because he'll never forget it.

Sometimes "WTF" sums it up as well as anything.

Go ahead, try and milk this one. I dare ya...

This guy's getting fined for breaking New York's "No walking a dog in public with an alligator stuck to his ass" bylaw.

This puppy was cut from the cast of 'The Mod Squad' because they refused to pay his agent in Milkbone.

I find this picture strangely arousing. Is that wrong? :)

"Is that a banana on your weiner dog or are you happy to see me?"

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chris Botti in concert

I sit here with pen in hand on a cold, wet, windy Friday morning. The fireplace is going, soft R&B on the stereo with a steaming cup of Sandy's world-famous latte at my side. We're both off today, having taken in the Chris Botti concert last night at Massey Hall (Toronto's equivalent of Carnegie Hall or the Royal Albert).

The show began rather unremarkably, proceeding right into the music with little fanfare, which was fine by me. Chris was joined by Billy Childs (recipient of the 2009 Guggenheim Award) on piano, a bass player quite reminiscent of Will Farrell after a few hits of weed, a keyboardist, Mark Whitfield on guitar and my boy Billy Kilson on drums. (This guy's an animal, tremendous technique and one hell of a showman).

Although built in 1894, Massey Hall is a venue well-known for its acoustics. Notes seemed to linger long after Chris was off the trumpet, with a wonderfully sweet decay. He was joined by Sy Smith for a few numbers, notably "Good Morning Heartache" and Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love", which had a great groove. The Russian judges gave it a nine because it had a good beat and you could dance to it.

Just kidding.

Although the best-selling jazz artist in North America, Chris Botti comes across as tremendously accessible and down-to-earth. At one point a woman in the audience called out to him to come over to her side of the stage. He did, made his way down into the crowd and played to her. Later he asked for any kids taking trumpet lessons to come down to the front of the stage, where he spent a few minutes engaging them.

The highlight of the evening for me though was the theme from "Cinema Paradiso". I've always loved this piece, but to experience it live was a treat and quite emotional. Botti was joined on stage by reknowned violinist Lucia Micarelli. Four months earlier Micarelli suffered a devastating hand injury which threatened to end her career. But after surgery and extensive physiotherapy she returned stronger than ever. Dressed in a backless, black sequined evening gown with a plunging neckline that stopped just above the waistline, Lucia seemed an animated Venetian sculpture draped in delicate, cascading fabric. Simply stunning.

Violin and trumpet played very well off each other during this piece, like an auditory lovemaking session. It was a romantic, seductive, and very passionate peformance that left us both more than a little teary-eyed, and me with my heart swelling.
Phew, after recounting this I need a cigarette.

And I don't even smoke.

(Takes about six seconds for the audio to kick in)...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It just hit me that after having read the challenges that some of you are facing, I don't think I've written about what Sandy and I went through over the past year or so.

2008, how shall I put it, kinda sucked in some ways. From January towards the end of the year we were met with one challenge after another, and it seemed unrelenting. Here's how things played out:

-starting early January Sandy was in hospital for a broken finger (caught in a slamming car door), a fractured ankle and a chest infection. This all happened within a month.

-in April I had a serious car accident (I lost the Celica and was in physiotherapy for months). Over the course of the year I would experience a form of post-traumatic stress, the effects of which I think I'm still feeling.

-we had some financial struggles

-the bathroom in the basement flooded. Twice.

-in July my dad had a heart attack and subsequent quadruple by-pass. On the same day of his surgery Sandy got a call from the nursing home saying her mother was gravely ill. Within a week or so she passed away

-a friend in my club died in the Fall

-in May of this year they discovered two lumps in Sandy's breast. Thankfully they turned out to be benign.

-over recent months there was a threat of job loss due to downsizing

I realized that the only way to make it through all this was to keep our attitudes in check. I described it earlier as one thing after another. This could have been seen as a bad thing, but I chose to look at it as positive. Because these events were spread out somewhat it gave us time to deal with them as they came up. Collectively they would have been overwhelming, but we still would have faced them head-on because we had to.

Bad things will always happen, so will good things. Which of these you choose to focus on will largely determine how happy you are. It's your choice.

The picture at the top is for all of you who are facing tough times. Keep that fire, that fight burning inside you and don't give in. Ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fond Childhood Memories

Recently I asked for suggestions on what to write as I had drawn a blank. Cindy proposed I recount some childhood memories, rooms I was afraid to go into etc. I was reminded of this…

From the time I was a little boy until I was twelve years old my room was in the basement, which was partially finished. This was back in the days when my parents were still together, the house we lived in at the time was twenty or thirty years old. I’ve always been very independent and loved the privacy I was afforded.

One of my favourite activities was to scare the complete crap out of myself by sitting alone in the basement and watching TV in the dark. We had an old black-and-white upright console TV, which was about the size of a Volkswagen and weighed nearly as much. I think it pulled in a whopping two or three channels, but it was still a miracle of modern technology to me.

The basement was huge (as these things seem when we’re young), and resembled a dark bat cave. To an eight year old. I had no table lamp or some such to provide any ambient light when I watched my oh-so-scary shows and movies. As if being in total dark wasn’t enough, the basement windows were at ground level and the bushes used to tap, tap, tap menacingly against them. Finally to make things even creepier the upstairs floorboards creaked whether or not anyone was walking on them.

When I was sufficiently freaked out and turned off the TV, I had to make my way through the darkness to the distant light of my bedroom. Again I my room wasn’t furnished with a side lamp to provide any soft light, so I had to flick off the switch and make my way to bed in the pitch-black. ‘Making my way’ was invariably a ritual of a short run then a four or five foot leap into bed, because I always felt like there was something underneath that was going to grab my foot and pull me under. Funny enough that’s carried over into adulthood and I still feel like that sometimes.

Also, between one wall and the edge of my closet doorframe there was a wall space of about four inches. In the darkness of my room this seemed to be the darkest place of all, and sometimes I imagined it was the doorway into Hell.

Despite my overworked imagination I always slept like a baby. Man those were the good old days huh?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Two Worlds Collide (aka How I Succumbed to the 'M' Word) continued (still cutesy enough for ya?)

When I last left you guys I was relating the story of how I met my wife Sandy, panicking on our first date at the thought of being caught by mother bear and planning my subsequent escape. The story continues…

“…… But wait. Do I hear the floor creaking upstairs? Is someone awake?”

Nah there was no noise, I also threw this in for dramatic effect. Actually all is quiet upstairs. So I kiss her and stealthily sneak out of the house into daybreak. Putting the car in neutral, I coast down the driveway and start it on the street. To this day I’m not sure if her mom knew I was there. If she did I think I’d probably be speaking several octaves higher these days.

Over subsequent weeks Sandy and I dated exclusively and I was over every weekend. I don’t remember how it happened but in short time we began renovating the basement, where Sandy’s room was. I had a long drive back and forth between my home and her place and soon, much to her mother’s dismay, her father agreed to let me stay over on weekends. To make things even more interesting her dad’s room was above her bedroom. I don’t need to tell you the special challenges that brings, but needless to say we weren’t saving ourselves for marriage. There was also the time we got trapped in the bathroom together when her mom came down to do laundry. But that's another (delicious) story for another time...

During these renovations, I created and introduced my in-laws to Bartholemew, my flamboyantly gay interior designer alter-ego. For several months Sandy’s mom and dad were pretty much convinced I had flamingly gay tendencies. Most of that probably had to do with the way I flitted around the rooms, proclaiming in a very effeminate voice how thimply FABULOUS everything was and how thtunning the fabrics were the way they played off each other. Sandy and I were giggling our asses off, but I think her folks really did have their doubts about me. (And for any of you reading who are gay, no I don't think there's anything wrong with that. To each their own, I say).

However. Sandy’s father was very homophobic. Like, incredibly. So when the renovations were done and they gave me a microwave oven for my place as a thank-you, I didn’t help matters much by giving him a kiss on the forehead. I’ve never seen a man go so bright red and clench his fist so tightly before. Seriously.

Fast forward about five years.

We’ve had our own place for a while and the topic of marriage has been discussed. Sandy doesn’t want a long engagement so I decide to wait until the time is right before I propose.

Christmas Eve comes. I’m reading my card from her, and (as always) she’s written a beautiful note to me in the back. “Honey, I love you…blah blah blah. My life with you has been wonderful…blah blah blah…Will you marry me?”

Wait, what?? Where’d that come from?

Let’s back up a couple hours before this. I’m not usually one to want to drive around looking at Christmas lights. But for some reason I had to pick tonight as the perfect time to drive around the neighbourhood. Unbeknownst to me Sandy has this proposal thing planned, so she's been patiently sitting in the car internally bouncing up and down like a kid who's had to go pee for three hours. To make matters worse there aren’t many houses lit up so we spend quite a bit of time driving aimlessly around looking.

Oh, did I mention the neighbourhood is predominantly Jewish. WTF was I thinking?

Anyway. So she’s just proposed to me in my Christmas card. And how do I answer? Yes? No? Uh-uh. My response is, “When?”

“Whenever,” she replies. “Okay.” I respond and promptly down this big-ass Long-Island iced tea I’m drinking. For the next three days I walk around dazed, bumping into walls and not realizing when someone is talking to me. No joke. I’ve just committed to the ‘M-word’. And what makes it even harder to take is, I never got to do any of those crazy, unique proposals I had planned. No dressing up in gorilla suits. No surprise ring in the dessert. No skywriting.

But none of that matters, because after knowing each other for seventeen years Sandy’s still the love of my life. More importantly she’s my best friend.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Two Worlds Collide (aka How I Succumbed to the 'M' Word) (cutesy enough for ya?)

A few days ago I posted a request for suggestions on what to write about, as I felt I had hit a little bit of a dry spell. Melanie suggested I write about an interesting time in my life, so I thought I’d relay the story of how I met my wife Sandy. Looking back on it now some of it was actually pretty amusing.

When I was in my teens and twenties I used to hit the clubs with a very good friend of mine, whom I’ve known since high school. During this time I dated on and off, and although I ultimately wanted a serious relationship it didn’t seem to be in the cards. So my relationships were pretty casual and I resigned myself to the fact that I’d just have to be patient.

Time marched on and I turned twenty-seven. He and I were heading out to a club one night when he stopped to check his phone messages. Phone messages? Turns out he had joined a telephone dating service called Telepersonals. I listened to his messages and though, “Hmm, girls call you? How cool is that?” So I signed up.

Sandy was the first to answer my voice ad. We talked a few times, I dated other girls/women in the meantime. When we finally did get together, our first date was over lunch. I was working afternoon shifts at Bell Canada so I met her at her office. I’ll never forget, I was sitting in the lobby when a woman in a red power suit, blood-red lipstick and jet-black hair comes marching out. And I mean marching, like someone was about to get strangled. I remember thinking, “Oh please don’t let that be her. Please don’t let that be her.”

But it was her. “Oh God,” I thought. “kill me now”. Sandy wasn’t at a good time in her life. She was more than a little stand-offish around guys, and it showed. Her look said, “Okay I’m here, now impress me.” Lunch was awkward, the conversation strained. Months went by and I didn’t hear from her again; I just chalked it up as not meant to be.

Then one day I get a message on my phone, and out of the blue it’s her. She had misplaced my number (wrote it on a textbook which she had packed away when she moved). Our next date was awesome, and afterwards we went back to her place to talk (she lived with her parents at the time). I know what you’re thinking, but we did talk and that’s ALL we did. Honest. Would I lie to you?

So here we are face-to-face on the couch, Sandy with her back to the clock. Light starts to break through the window. “What time is it?” she asks. “6:30,” I reply nonchalantly . She’s mortified. “Oh God you have to go, my mom’s gonna kill us. She’ll rip your nuts off if she catches you here!” (Okay she didn’t really say that, I just threw it in for dramatic effect.)

But wait. Do I hear the floor creaking upstairs? Is someone awake?

To be continued tomorrow…

Friday, October 16, 2009

Summer's Swansong

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"

Well, I've reluctantly admitted to myself that summer's drawn to a close. I'm always in denial this time of year (hell, it's mid-October already).

So many great things won't be seen or heard until the warmth of Spring. Children laughing their way through sprinklers. Muscle cars, cheesy music emanating from ice cream trucks, the smell of barbeques. Sunbathing on the deck, drinks on the patio with friends, flowing breezy sundresses and all those things feminine and wonderful.

These and so many others are slowly being replaced with the necessities that Fall demands. It's time to break out the gloves and long coats. Which is a shame because there are some asses that simply should not be covered.

Did I really just say that?

For those of us not fortunate enough to live in a warmer climate, October's temperatures are here and they're unseasonably cool. Soon they'll drop further, accompanied by Fall's chilly wind. The kind of cold wind that mysteriously and very stealthily manages to get under your clothes and forces your happy parts to receed in to your body, where they stubbornly insist on hibernating for the winter.

Okay, for anyone who may be wondering this is an exaggeration. But it feels like that sometimes.

This weekend we'll be reluctantly putting the rest of our gardens to bed for the winter. So here's a quick look back on what was, and what will be again come Spring.

Sandy and I designed and built our deck on our own
last year. It took us all summer due to rainy weekends.

Lost (an open letter to all you twenty-somethings)


“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
-George Bernard Shaw

With increasing frequency I’ve either been stumbling across posts on blogs, or have been having great conversations with people (mostly in their twenties) who are facing tremendous uncertainty in their lives. As someone who's been through his twenties and lived to tell about it, I want to say a few things.

The general feeling I'm getting from some of you is that you feel unsettled, and more than a bit lost. Maybe you feel that your life is on hold, you’re not moving forward fast enough (or at all) because you’re already in your early/mid/late-twenties and you haven’t reached personal goals. Life right now isn’t what you expected it to be when you got here. You’re unhappy with certain areas in your life (career, family, relationships, finances etc.). As if the pressure you're under isn't enough, some of you also face it from family who are counting on you to rise to their expectations. Some days you just want to curl up under the sheets, wondering if it'll get better when you’re older.

Well, the discouraging and reassuring answer is there's no certain age that you'll stop feeling this way . I use the word ‘reassuring’, because you’re far from alone.

Your teens were a time of tremendous growth; that growth doesn't just stop when you reach your twenties. It simply takes on a different form. Trying to 'find yourself' is pointless because (whether you feel it or not) you’re constantly changing. I don't believe that becoming who you want to be is the goal as much as experiencing what happens along the way. How you handle things will define you.

It’s so cliché but so very true that life really is a journey and not a destination. Who we are is very fluid; we grow and stumble but don’t remain the same person for very long. Because we’re not supposed to. The uncertainty we face in our lives isn’t something to fear but something to be welcomed, and if we approach it with the right frame of mind it can lead to wonderful periods of self-discovery.

I won’t go too far here into the history of what I’ve experienced since my car accident last year because I’ve covered it on previous posts and with some of you through conversation. Suffice it to say I’m forty-four now and in many ways I feel I don’t know myself any better than I did when I was in my twenties. Sometimes I stop and question what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I remember feeling this way twenty years ago. How far have I come since then? This is a tremendously introspective time of my life. The hard questions can be scary because although in many ways I feel I have it together, I still don’t have all the answers. What I’ve come to realize over the years though is that it’s okay to feel out of control sometimes. We won’t always have all the answers, but I don’t believe we’re meant to.

I started drafting this post when my workday had ended this afternoon. Coincidentally I was right in the middle of it when a twenty-nine year old woman I work with dropped by to tell me about her "mid-life crisis" (her words, I had to grin). She married young, had a baby and is now feeling like she's missed out on some things, experiencing somewhat of a void in her life.

What I said to her, and I really believe this to be true, is that regardless of age, sex, career or social stature we're all searching to fulfill some part of our lives that seems lacking. No one is above this.

Through my teens and twenties (until I was twenty eight) I lived in a house filled with abuse and alcoholism. That situation seemed hopeless and permanent, but it did change. I know for some of you right now nothing seems to be going right. But this I can tell you, that which sucks now won't suck forever.

What you're going through isn't always easy, but it's a normal part of becoming who you are. Hang in, it'll get better.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Suggestions Please

As I reach the half-way point of writing my current post, I realize that right now I don't have a clue what to write for my next one. Sure I can find something, but I'm turning to you guys for ideas. What would you like to see me write about? If you can suggest something I'll take one or two that catch my eye and see what I can come up with.

Thanks guys, this might be interesting.


I read this on someone's personal blog, can't remember where I saw it but I thought it was pretty good.

"Ideal is one step before daydreams, one step after reality."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giveaway Contest Update

Hi guys,

Just a reminder the closing date for submissions for my giveaway is a little more than two weeks away. So far I only have one entry; I know life can get pretty busy so if you've written something previously (poem, short story etc.) it definitely qualifies.

Please e-mail submissions to me at by Oct. 31st, at which time one name will be drawn.

I love to read what each and every one of you writes on your blog, so I'd love to hear from you.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Weirdness at the Supermarket (aka "No Man's Land")

"I just remembered that time at the market
Snuck up behind me and jumped on my shopping cart
And rode down aisle five."
-John Mayer

I like to think of myself as a pretty forward-thinking guy. I hate stereotypes, don't believe in specific roles for men or women. I even prove this by doing 'uncool' stuff like vacuuming (which I enjoy BTW, although my therapist believes this is curable).

Still, it seems to me the supermarket is one place where guys are out of their element. I feel about as at home walking into my local grocery store as I would walking into a male strip joint (and for all my smart-ass friends, NO I never have).

I know some guys who actually enjoy grocery shopping. I can't really speak against that (goes back to the housework thing) although it's not for me. However being the only driver in the household I find myself accompanying Sandy when the need arises.

There seem to be certain rules that must be followed to have a successfully typical grocery run:


1. Make a list and leave off the one thing you really need. Make sure you wait until you get home before you realize you forgot it.

2. Spend twenty minutes compiling your list then leave it at home. Don't bother checking to see if you have it until you get to the store.
3. Bring this list with you then ignore it completely and pick up twice as many groceries as you planned. Wait until you get home before you realize you forgot the one thing you need the most.

4. When you're at home, wait until your toddler is in the worst, most foul mood possible.

Then, take him to the supermarket so he won't have that pesky temper tantrum in the privacy of your own home. (This is standard operating procedure in my town). Once you've dropped the groceries at home take your screaming brat to Walmart, then out to any restaurant nearby. Make sure you sit yourselves next to a couple who don't have kids of their own and are very obviously having an intimate conversation. Very obvious to everyone but you, that is. Because your devil spawn has corrupted your mind.

5. Oh here's a fun thing to do. Just for giggles, load up your cart with as many groceries as you can possibly heap in it and get in the checkout line. When someone with two items gets behind you, make sure you forget everything your parents ever taught you about common courtesy and make them wait their turn. After all they're 96, they should be used to this by now. Besides, do you really think they're in a rush to get anywhere?

6. Stay faithful to your local grocer. Don't stray and keep collecting those points, 'cause once you've collected a million of them you'll be able to save five dollars.


1. Make sure you run out of rarely-used items like cereal and blueberries but keep plenty of staples like coconuts on hand. (This happened today). You never know when an impromptu Hawaain luau might break out.

2. Make sure the expiry date on your blue cheese is clearly marked. Like anyone brave enough to buy cheese that's already blue is gonna care.

3. Ensure you only hire staff under the age of seventeen in your catering section. During the hiring process if a candidate shows any ambition or ability to think for themselves, send them elsewhere. You don't want to throw your patrons into pulmonary arrest when they come across someone who actually cares.

4. Train your stock boys to strategically place skids and displays of stock items in the middle of the aisles.

Give them an extra incentive to make sure the room around these monstrosities is at least two inches narrower than a shopping cart.

5. Place motion sensors in your produce section so the sprinklers will go off when shoppers reach in to grab the vegetables. In addition to ensuring your produce stays relatively fresh this will also ensure your patrons' hands are washed.

6. Play elevator music that the average person wouldn't be caught dead listening to. Throw one really great song that I love into that rotation and wait until it comes on before you page Latisha to Aisle 6 for clean-up. Oh, and make sure the person paging her doesn't speak a word of English and talks really slow, so I can miss as much of that song as possible. Yeah, that always makes my shopping experience more pleasurable.

Any wonder I don't enjoy grocery shopping?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"Write On" Giveaway- First Entry

Hi guys,

The first entry in my giveaway contest comes from Jon. His blog, 'Past and Future Tense' is an interesting read; I find it very introspective and recommend you check it out.

He wrote,

"...It is but a short poem but one that I don't mind sharing, though I make no claims on the accuracy of my style! It isn't as personal as maybe it sounds (and therefore I don't mind its use, if you wish!), though I have to admit the ambiguity was something I was hoping for.

All the best,
Jon "


To what the man should say
To what he thinks he should do
The shadow falls, the darkness comes
News sweeps in on the wires
He wonders what next will come
Where the dice will fall
Malevolently oozing it closes in
The dawn lies far away, the break out of reach
Maybe he'll leave untouched
Maybe the events will come home to roost
What will happen? Who would know?
What could happen? Who could know?
What damage has been done?
What damage is still to come?

Jon, thanks for your submission.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Six Songs Collide

This is probably the most brilliant mash-up I've ever heard. I first saw it mentioned on a friend's blog (hi Anna!) and had to check it out.
For those of you who don't know what a mash-up is, it's a composition of two songs or more blended together, usually with a vocal track from one overlaying the music of another.

Band is Norwegian Recycling.

Friday, October 9, 2009

You've Been Tagged!

Recently I got nailed for a tag by Melanie , now it's my turn to pay it forward. This tag goes out to the following awesome people in my blogging atmosphere:

No pressure guys, but I'd love to read what you have to say.

1. Do you have a nickname?
2. What is your best feature?
3. What one word best describes you?
4. What is your fondest childhood memory?
5. What hobbies/interests do you have?
6. What trait do you find most admirable in people?
7. What is your responsibility to the world, if any?
8. What is your biggest fear?
9. What do you do when you're bored?
10. What colour are your eyes?
11. What personality trait(s) do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?
12. What physical feature(s) do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?
13. What’s the strangest thing that ever happened to you?
14. What languages do you speak/read?
15. Who do you want to strangle the most?

These questions are pretty mild; you should have seen what got left on the cutting room floor!



Heart of a woman
Soul of a child,
Her shyness worn like a silken veil.
Sometimes sheer,
Sometimes concealing.

Innocent yet self-aware
She tosses playful glances over her shoulder,
Interest betrayed
By sunset's whisper
In her eyes.


Tempering curiosity with restraint
She cannot mask her inner Self,
So deliciously sweet
I can taste her in my mind.

Another from the past. I can't remember when, but I wrote this to capture the mystery I find in Woman.

Intellectual property copyright Barry O'Shea. All rights reserved.
Painting titled 'Reflecting' by Steve Hanks. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

When Good Cats go Bad

"Cats don’t belong to people. They belong to places."
- Wright Morris

I've put down my cup of tea. Averted my eyes from the television. Turned off my music so I can bring this frightening fact to your attention: that sweet ball of fur you call Snowball or Miss Tinkles is actually a vicious Agent of Death that is scheming to devour you the minute you turn your back.

God made cats cute to mask the true evil that lies within them. Unsuspecting, we live our days in blissful ignorance until...POUNCE!! They exact their style of feline justice on your ass for all the cutesy stuff you've done to them. I came to this horrifying conclusion when I started piecing together the traumatic events I've put my little guy Widget through, and realized my time is coming.

He's artfully calculating his next move, I know it. I've nibbled on his ears. I've dressed him up in a pink bow. I call him "Mr. Woo-Hoo Widgy Weasel Pants", and tauntingly refer to him as "Mr. Fuzzy Nuts" even though he's had them removed. I'd be pissed too.

Here's my case...

Exhibit A: even as kittens, cats know humans make tasty snacks. Look at him, sizing me up. Thinking, "He's only 5'11", I can take him. I think I'll start with the head first and chew my way down."

Exhibit B: the humiliating pink bow incident of '06. No amount of cat therapy can cure the effects of this one.

Exhibit C: worshipping at the green-eyed altar. Receiving backwards messages encrypted in the Devil's music, cleverly disguised as a Candian band's CD. Pure evil.

Exhibit D: now maybe it's just me but I don't think cats are supposed to make these faces. I've started making out my will, anyone want my David Hasselhoff record?

So if you ever find me half-devoured in my living room, look at that striped bundle of fur innocently rolling around on my floor. You'll know vengeance has been served.

I'm sleeping with one eye open tonight.

More Things That Make You Go Hmmm......

Okay guys, as promised...........

If I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman where the self-help section is, would it defeat the purpose?

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it a hostage situation?

What's another word for synonym?

Where do Forest Rangers go to get away from it all?

What do you do when you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

If a parsley farmer is sued, would they garnish his wages?

Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?

If a turtle doesn't have a shell, is he naked or homeless?

Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

If the police arrest a mime, do they need to tell him he has the right to remain silent?

Why do they put braille on drive-through bank machines?

How do they get deer to cross the road only at those yellow road signs?

What was the best thing before sliced bread?

Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

If one synchronized swimmer drowns, do the rest drown too?

If you ate both pasta and antipasto, would you still be hungry?

If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?

Whose cruel idea was it for the word 'lisp' to have an 's' in it?

Why is there an expiry date on sour cream?

If a Smurf is choking, how can you tell? What colour does he turn?

My brain hurts now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I've Been Tagged!


Cool, my first-ever tag. Thanks Melanie! I love this stuff and always welcome the chance. Here goes:

1. What books are on your favorite shelf?

My books are scattered around but if I were to get all them organized my shelf would have (amongst others):

-my thesaurus (over 1300 pages, very handy for writing)
-my way oversized coffee table book of Impressionist art
-Shakespeare's complete works
-Woman's Experience of Sex
-Blogging for Dummies
-Composing Digital Music for Dummies
-Titanic Illustrated History
-The Joy of Sexual Fantasy
-Larson's Far Side books
-various books about cars that I'll never be able to afford
-Byron's works and Dante's Divine Comedy (haven't bought them yet)

2. What DVD's are on your favorite shelf?

I can't really list too many b/c we have over 500 titles, sorted by category (comedy, Sci-Fi, Action etc.). Some of my faves:

-Batman series
-Terminator series
-Star Wars series
-Shawshank Redemption
-Die Hard series
-The Truth About Cats and Dogs
-Ice Age
-Band of Brothers

We don't have too many recent Blu-Ray titles as we're waiting for prices on Blu Ray discs to drop.

3. What are your two favorite cookbooks?

Whatever Sandy may have open at the time.

4. Select 1-3 recipes you would cook for guests.
If I could cook?


Filet Mignon

Creme Brulee

5. What will we be drinking that's available?

Anything you want. We have a well-stocked bar, wine cooler and espresso machine and love to entertain.

And 10 Secrets just because?

(Not all are secrets to those who know me)...

-I got so mad at a woman for blocking an aisle with her shopping cart in the supermarket that I pushed it all the way to the end of the store when she wasn’t looking. She was pissed. But the best part was I didn’t care.

-the only time I ever hitchhiked was in the countryside in total darkness. I had no idea what town I was in. Because it was in Italy.

-I once had a deer make its way into my first-floor office and up to my desk. True.

-I’ve been chased by a weiner dog. Sure, go ahead and laugh but this thing was rabid and could have devoured my ankles in an instant. Plus it was in Switzerland and Swiss weiner dogs are like, the worst ever.

-I’ve never watched a complete hockey game, drunk a whole cup of coffee, played golf, or seen the Wizard of Oz. Apparently most of the free world has.

-I once went up to a pregnant woman and asked her if she was seeing anyone

-when I did amateur stand-up years ago, I shared a stage with Russell Peters before he broke big

-I've had sex on the edge of a cliff, and while driving

-I've written raps for fun (most of which I wouldn't post here)

-when I was young I almost drown when I was learning to swim, because the instructor made me jump off the diving board into the deep end. They had to fish me out with a net. If I could have at the time I would have laid that m/f out like a throw rug.


-all songs from The Sound of Music, anything from Abba as well as the song 'Kumbaya' eat into my brain and I'd rather lay covered in honey on an anthill than listen to any of them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Back From the Tiesto Concert!

Last night was fantastic! I've never seen Tiesto live, but it was pretty much what I expected. The concert was scheduled to start at 9:00pm, we arrived at 8:30 to a massive, winding line-up outside the International Centre. It was a typical Canadian chilly fall night, but I don't think most people got the memo 'cause I haven't seen that much bare skin since the summer. No complaints, mind you.

Cut to the concert hall. Loved the layout! It was one massive dancefloor surrounded by concession stands for drinks, souvenirs etc. You could come and go as you pleased and still see Tiesto on stage. The only disappointment was the light show; it was far too laid back from what I'm used to. However the lack of pyrotechnics was probably due more to by-law restrictions, the light show due to limitations of the venue (it's first and foremost a trade hall).

Being a people-observer, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to the players that added so much intensity to the night. The crowd comprised of your typical concert-goers, high energy with a colourful cast of characters on the dancefloor:

-smoking guy
-smoking-up guy
-Mister "Sure-I-can't-see-where-I'm-going-but-I-look-way-too-cool-in-these-shades-not-to-wear-them"
-Miss "I-know-it's-October-and-ten-degrees-but-doesn't-my-ass-look-great-in-these-tight-shorts"
-Mister "All-my-clothes-are-in-the-wash-so-I'll-just-throw-on-whatever-doesn't-smell" (after all, it's not like there were any hotties around to look good for)
-Miss "Yeah-it'll-be-impossible-to-stand-in-these-shoes-for-six-hours-and-they'll-probably-kill-my-feet-but-damn-don't-they-make-my-calves-look-sexy"
-Mister "I-don't-see-any-reason-why-I-shouldn't-go-shirtless-all-night"
-Miss "I'm-too-sexy-for-myself"
-Mister "I'm-too-sexy-for-myself"

Special mention goes out to 'Number 7'. Dude the music was already at 150bpm, I didn't think it was humanly possible to dance at twice that speed. But you came alone and had a hell of time, so way to go!

For those of you not familiar with Tiesto and are curious, here's a sample:

It's been way too long since I've been on "The Scene". It was so great to be immersed in it again and I felt right at home.

DJ Ambiguous (I didn't actually catch his name) kicked things off with high energy dance tunes for a couple hours. Tiesto took the stage at 11:20 and everyone went completely ballistic. I've never seen so many camera phones in one place! For the next few hours he'd spin tracks off his new release "Kaleidescope", none of which I was familiar with as I haven't heard it yet.

Unfortunately we had to cut the night short as Sandy wasn't feeling well, but no matter. I was just so pumped to go and I was so grateful to her to come with me, because this is more my thing than hers. She's awesome. I'm hoping next year Tiesto will come back, also keeping my fingers crossed that Armin van Buuren comes to town.

I'm not sure where this puts my mid-life crisis, but it was reassuring proof to me that I can still party with the twenty-somethings and have a great time doing it.

It was a hell of a night!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Nice Find

Every once in a while I come across a song that makes me wonder why I've never heard it before, or why it isn't more popular. I chanced upon this on someone else'e blog (wish I could remember who) several days ago, and being the sucker I am for a nice ballad I was immediately hooked. I wanted to share it with you, so here it is.

The video may be home-made, singer's name is Karen Overton.

First 'Write On!' Giveaway ('cause really, who doesn't like free stuff?)

She doesn't know it yet but fellow BB Jennifer Fabulous has inspired me to run my first giveaway contest. This is new territory for me so I'm hoping I don't overlook anything. Here's how it'll work.

Contest begins today and runs until Oct. 31st.

Submit an original piece of your writing to me by e-mail at . It can be a poem, short story, anything you've written that has meaning to you. I'd love to post some of these, so with your entry please indicate whether or not I have permission to post it. If you haven't expressed so in your e-mail it will be kept private. You don't have to come up with something new, it can be something you've written previously.

Entries will be posted as-is with no editing, out of respect for your work. So please check for grammar ahead of time. Language will not be censored, however I do reserve the right to determine what will appear on my blog.

Using a high-tech system I've developed, each entrant will have their name written on a piece of folded paper. Multiple submissions are allowed, but only one entry will go in the draw per person. HOWEVER... if you can encourage any of your blogging friends to enter and they e-mail me a submission of their writing (also stating that you referred them), I'll put your name in as a bonus along with theirs. There is no restriction here; the more friends you have who enter, the more times your name will also be added. Please forward these contest rules to them.

Prize will be a Cross pen (blue ink, approx. retail value $26.00). The draw will take place on Nov. 1st ; one name will be drawn randomly and announced on that day. The winner will have the pen mailed to them, anywhere in the world.
I'm looking forward to reading your submissions. Please let me know if I've left anything out or if you have any questions or suggestions.

Addendum (added Oct. 15th): As I plan to run these giveaways from time to time over the course of the coming year(s), the winner of any giveaway will not be eligible for the next one in order to give others their chance to win.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My latest Whacked-Out Dream

"Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality.
If you can dream it, you can make it so."
-Belva Davis

Umm, yeah, I don't think so this time Belva. I had the weirdest dream last night. Most of my dreams are way out in left-field anyway; I never seem to dream about all the juicy stuff that guys (married or not) are supposed to dream about. Women? Nah. Fast cars? Nah. Women? Nah. Sports? Nah. Women? Nope.

Instead here's what my brain hands me.

Sandy and I are at a Martial Arts exhibition at some auditorium. The performers come out, and in a long line they all start doing synchronized Martial Arts poses. And they're really good, they're perfectly in time and extremely flexible.

And oh...they're toddlers! We're at a Martial Arts demo watching a line-up of frikkin' three year olds in white Pampers who could eat Gerber's and kick my ass in the blink of an eye. I don't usually type WTF because it's so cliche, but WTF is that all about? I don't even LIKE babies or toddlers. They scare me.

Actually, they scare the shit out of me because I don't know what the hell they want and they haven't developed the decency yet to learn the English language to tell me. It's like they just lie there, drooling and gurgling and pooing and scheming about how they're going to one day come to me in my dreams and totally screw with my mind. I can almost picture it. "Grasshopper, grab this soother from my hand."

Whether in Kung-Fu gear or not babies are just plain evil, I tell you.

If anyone has an interpretation for this dream I'd really like to hear it. WTF indeed.