Nov 2017 17

I think I’m hungry. Some observations while riding the TTC last night.

As I watched this teenage girl chew with her mouth open on the subway last evening, I’d never wanted a McDonald’s Filet O’ Fish so badly.

Her bad manners exposed her braces as she chewed, and the McDonald’s tartar sauce coated the tracks on her teeth. Which sounds gross, but she looked happier than I can ever remember being in my teens when music of The Smiths filled my head with loner tendencies and brooding.

Her and a girlfriend were sitting next to me on a crowded eastbound train around 7pm. Maybe about 13 years old and both of them were happily chomping on some McDonald’s they’d picked up. It was nice to see kids hanging out and having fun with each other rather than with headphones on, or their heads down on their phones playing a game – as is the standard it seems these days, even with adults.

By the way, I think the Filet O’ Fish sandwich is a very underrated item at McDonald’s. I order it a lot. I usually hold the tartar sauce and go over to the ketchup pump, open up the top bun and give it one good plop on there – sort of like how a I like my fish n chips.

Years ago I worked on McDonald’s in Canadian advertising and they said everyone has three items they rotate through. Usually you have one favourite and then two items that you cycle through when you’re switching things up. I think my 3 are: Cheeseburger (I can eat them like sushi), the Big Mac, and Filet O’ Fish bringing up the rear which I get a lot of heat for from friends who just don’t get the fish sandwich thing. Anyhow, it was nice to see someone appreciate the menu item as well despite the bad chewing habits.

Her friend was eating an interesting McDonald’s hack – a cheeseburger with two middle buns from a Big Mac on the outside instead of the usual bun.

After she finished, and was licking the ketchup off her fingers, she turned to the Filet O’ Fish girl.

“Oh man, you eat so slow.”

“What? (braces exposing the carnage like in ‘Jaws’) I’m just enjoying it.”

They bantered on about where they were going and who was going to be there, laughing. I wasn’t listening as much as I was just amazed at their optimism and energy. They were so engrossed in talking that they almost missed their stop, having to jump up and run out of the train as the door-closing chimes were ringing.

I didn’t just want their McDonald’s.

I wanted to be that age again.



Nov 2017 15

Day 8

Posted In Blog,The world

This week or thereabouts marks one-year of playing around with the electric bass, after a couple of decades of attempting and failing at the 6-string.

One thing I have realized in this year – learning to play better by watching and mimicking my hero, Floyd Pepper from The Electric Mayhem, was foolish of me since he plays left-handed.


Nov 2017 14

Into my second week of little-to-no advertising work duties. And I find my interests are shifting back to politics and geeky things like that. Here’s my meandering stream-of-consciousness piece on what I learned today about the upcoming proposed legalization of marijuana in 2018.

I am now against legalization of cannabis in Canada.

Yes, me. The guy who 15 years ago would happily disappear into my apartment on a Friday evening with a new Playstation game and a ziplock bag, and then emerge Monday morning wondering “Where the heck did the weekend go? Why don’t I have any friends anymore? And how do I get past that damn 36th level?” Ah, my careless misspent adult years.

Look, I was going to get addicted to video games with or without dope. Fucking ‘Galaga’ ensured that. But anyhow, I have been what I would call a ‘casual user’ of cannabis products since my late teens – with a peak in my late 20s. I don’t consider it a ‘drug’. It’s a plant. And my experience has been that it’s far less destructive in people’s lives than alcohol. Again, a longer conversation.

What I am against is not the use of marijuana and cannabis products, but rather the current proposed taxation and infrastructure systems being cooked up by the Government of Canada that will go into effect in July, 2018. If the Senate doesn’t block it, but that’s a whole other story.

One billion dollars per year. That’s the current estimated amount the government of Canada will raise with their proposed $1 per gram tax on cannabis products when legalized/controlled sales begin on July 1st, 2018.

Where that $1 billion of money is going to go is yet to be determined…

This feels like a tax-grab. If it isn’t, then why is the Government also going to tax medical marijuana?

I listened to a segment of CBC’s Metro Morning where host Matt Galloway interviewed Liberal MP Bill Blair, who has been given the responsibility of heading up the structure around legalization. He is also the former Toronto Chief of Police.

Among his comments…

“Revenue generated from this should be reinvested in research, in prevention, in public education, in treatment and rehabilitation. Those are the appropriate investments for this…”

“We are trying to bring in a system that will do a better job of protecting our kids. We are trying to bring in a system that is competitive with organized crime so that we might displace them from the market…”

Bill Blair says his primary responsibility, and why he took on this role, is to keep the children safe.

I need to do some more research on what the government is proposing. Certainly my experiences with buying marijuana are not everyone’s. But I’ve never had any experiences with dope dealers that felt like I was dealing with ‘organized crime’, or that I was ever in danger being in their presence. And if protecting kids is so important, why is the legal age minimum for purchase going to be 18?

When Bill Blair was asked if he would be a user as of July, 2018, he was quite firm that he would “absolutely not”. He has never had an illicit substance and continually called it a ‘drug’.

I don’t even have a video game system in the house anymore, and dope just makes me a bit (more) paranoid now, so I’ve pretty much quit – but I’m a big CBD user and proponent.

I’m all for moving forward on public marijuana use and recognizing it’s not ‘illegal’ to do so. But this approach, right now anyhow, smells duplicitous. And it’s interesting to see who is lining up to fill their pockets with the new system coming into place (I will be reading more on what Julian Fantino is up to). Seems like the best people to learn from would be those people who built the ‘system’ the Government says they are trying to replace. But those people are just being jailed and ostracized.

Drop the tax on medical prescription marijuana. It’s the first step to showing this isn’t what it seems to be – a tax grab.

Updates as they happen.

Nov 2017 08

A probably interesting-only-to-me day-by-day account of one freelance advertising copywriter’s transition back to civilian life as he takes time off, and gets back to writing other stuff as soon as he tackles a long list of domestic/life things to take care of.

So last night I was reminded that: after 6 months in ad agencies where life outlooks are liberal, language is shot from-the-hip, and there are no children present, I am not quite fit for normal, domestic-minded (AKA: vanilla), citizens yet.

What happened? Well, I was at my sister’s and in charge, solo, of waiting for my niece to arrive.  She’s 10 and was being walked home from Scouts at the nearby community centre by another kid, and said other kid’s father. Other kid’s father is apparently one of those adult helper Scouts whose titles slip my mind right now but are things like: Blue Owl, Wise Sensei, or Aged Cheddar.

Anyhow, doorbell rings – niece isn’t entrusted with house key, yet. I open the door to see my niece and her friend, both in Scouts uniforms. And…  Aged Cheddar in adult Scout garb.

ME: Hello niece!

NIECE: Hi Uncle!

Niece’s friend introduces herself. Good handshake. Nice, polite kid.

AGED CHEDDAR: Hello, I’m (AGED CHEDDAR’S NAME). Nice to meet you.

We shake. He seems like a very decent man. Kind eyes. Hint of English accent. 

ME: Thanks for walking her home. So niece, did you learn those Scout things tonight like I told you to?

NIECE: Like what?

In hindsight, I now know she was hoping I would just stop talking at this point. But I’m too me. Sorry, niece.

ME: Oh, y’know. Life skills. Like… throwing an axe. Or, how to pick a lock.

NIECE: Oh, Uncle. No, I told you. We don’t learn that stuff!

Aged Cheddar’s kid’s eyes go wide.

AGED CHEDDAR: Those… are interesting life skills you describe. Not sure where they’d need those.

ME: Oh, you just never know. Right?

Nodding. Silence. 

AGED CHEDDAR: Well, daughter. Um, don’t you have homework to do?

SPAWN OF CHEDDAR: Nah. Only a bit.

AGED CHEDDAR: It’s getting late. We should go do it.

More handshaking. More nice to meet yous. They leave. Niece and I go into the house to see if the dog and guinea pig will play together.


My acclimatization to this planet will be slow.









Nov 2017 07

Until I get fully free of advertising commitments (finishing up a project from home for a couple of days), I’ll just give interesting-only-to-me updates of how my transition back to civilian life is going. Then onto some real writing, hopefully.

So, I must be easing back to whatever mindset I was in back in April before returning to contract advertising work. Cause this morning on the dogwalk, I made mental notes to email my city councillor and the Mayor about the lack of SmartTrack progress, and the need for a GO Stop here at the bottom of Roncy. Also, I was outraged to find a lack of diversity in the people depicted in a piece of advertising mail I got from a Canadian Retailer. More on that one later, as I’m investigating.

Also, noticing there aren’t enough hours in the day to really get stuff done.

I have no idea how my neighbour, with 2 young kids, functions at home. Cause it’s taken me over 2 days to do a load of laundry. Respect.

Stay tuned. Sadly, no Cheetos Corn Twists for breakfast today.

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