Jan 2017 19

So, there is a growing call for a boycott on this movie ‘A Dog’s Purpose’, to be released tomorrow.

Maybe you’ve heard about it? Certainly the uproar about it is giving the movie more buzz than it ever would’ve generated on its own. Based on a bestselling book (that I haven’t read), the movie is apparently the story of a dog who is constantly reincarnated and I guess gets to be owned by Dennis Quaid at some point. I admit, my plot summary may be off a bit. It’s kind of secondary to this rant.

Anyhow, video has surfaced that shows a German Shepherd on the set of the film, being forced into a body of water that simulates turbulent waters (I assume). The dog is like, super freaked out, as they try to force him into the water, and then when he is in the pool he is swimming around terrified. PETA is calling for a boycott on the film.

And here’s what ‘rustles my jimmies’ (as a friend says).

Look, I have no problem if PETA says “Don’t go see this film and this treatment of animals is wrong”. They’ve earned the right to say that. They champion animal rights and actors who have supported PETA certainly walk the walk and don’t just talk the talk.

But here’s what I call bullshit on. Most of the people I know who are saying they won’t go see the film (on social media), and that this is wrong aren’t animal rights activists. Sure, they’re dog lovers maybe but did all of them suddenly become vegetarians?

Look, complain about the treatment of this dog all you want. Yes, this dog looks scared and it’s shitty to watch. But if you’re gonna get on your soap box about ethical treatment of animals – you better not be wearing leather, any cosmetic products tested on animals, or be eating them.

Think about it.

That’s all I have to say about that.

I had chicken for lunch, by the way.

And I wasn’t going to see that movie anyhow.

Jan 2017 16

Continuing with ‘my favourite Canadian commercials ever’ theme, no list would be complete without including this epic spot.

Long before I was in advertising, or even thought I wanted to do this, this spot was already a legend. I may have paid more attention to it because I knew my mother had some kind of connection to the Prairies that I wouldn’t understand until I was in my 20s and learned about her life.

I don’t know much about its’ production or credits other than Bill Irish was the director, but it seeps with nostalgia, Canadianism, and a sweetness that today would be made fun of.

I guess what I still like about it is that the world has become so cynical and this spot is just so straight up sincere. A simple story, beautifully told. Big cinematic feeling and photography. And great performances. We’ve all had a ‘bike story’. It may not have been a bike that you wanted, but you know the feeling.

Jan 2017 10

If you’re trying to give up red meat over the course of the next year, I’d advise you not to go with your friends to The Keg for dinner in the first week after New Years.

It was a big test for me. I love a good steak. And I’ll admit that ‘The Rexdale’ in me loves going to The Keg. Growing up, The Keg represented the unattainable. It was out of our family price range. ‘Steak’ was the Salisbury kind from a Swanson TV dinner, and dining out in style was Swiss Chalet. Yes, I drank the sauce bowl. Judge all you want. But once I was making my own paycheque (and soon parting with it quickly, as is my style), The Keg was one of the first things on my ‘to blow my money on’ list. I know there’s Harbour 60, Barberians, and Morton’s and so many other ‘high end’ places. But nothing gets my inner carnivore going with a Medium Rare or even dripping Rare, like The Keg.

Long story why I’m giving up red meat. I’ll save it for another time but it’s not to avoid a triple bypass or anything. Although those, I’m sure, suck.

Anyhow, what’s the point of my story again Andrew? Oh ya. Advice.

So over dinner, a friend asked what I was up to, professionally, these days. I told her that I was considering taking on a project but wasn’t sure I really wanted it. It had potential, but there were a lot of red flags already and I hadn’t signed on. I was mulling it over. Which is pretty cocky of me, I admit.

This is what she said…

“Andrew. Every time you say ‘no’ to something you don’t want, it gives the universe a chance to give you something else that you really do.”

 

I ordered the Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna.

And I didn’t take the project.

 

What are you going to say ‘no’ to?

 

 

Jan 2017 09
Recently, I asked a friend why they quit social media. I think we meandered from the topic before I got an answer, but then I saw this and it made sense. Even though I didn’t write it, I feel it, man… I mean, I don’t want more time to run. Makes my knees hurt. And I have very flat feet. But time… I don’t need more of it. I think I just need to refocus it. Couldn’t we all?

 

 

Credits:
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative directors: Chris Groom & Antony Goldstein
Creatives: Stefan van den Boogaard, Tim Arts
Motion designer: Alex Bernard
Editorial company: Joint

 

 

 

Jan 2017 07

1/7

Posted In Blog,The world

I Googled my mom’s obituary the other day. Took a break from Googling ‘Star Wars spoilers’, ‘apocalypse’ and ‘Scarlett Johannsen possible divorce’. I had to. Cause honestly, I couldn’t remember what day she died. It’s not exactly something I want to remember. I knew it was in the first week of January, but wasn’t sure which day. Amazingly, it’s been seven years today.

So I dug into my ‘writing vault’ this morning and found how I chose to eulogize her the following week. Here’s what I said about ‘mom’. I had no idea that in the following months, I would really get to know the person behind that title. I only knew the tip of the iceberg at the time. It’s a long story after this. One that took me out to Victoria, B.C. in an SUV, with her ashes and my dog in tow, to visit places she grew up – and people and places she never even talked about. Tellingly, I mention nothing about her suffering as a Japanese-Canadian affected by the 1942 displacement. Because I didn’t know anything about what she went through at the time. That greater understanding of her, and of myself, came on my trip… 

This is the first time I’ve read this in seven years. In an effort to put more of myself out there in writing this year, here it is, as read from the original at St. Luke’s United Church on Sherbourne … 

 

Stubborn.

Sarcastic.

Champion nagger.

Terrible hugger.

Yes, these things were all said to describe Yuki.

Unfortunately it was me who said them at various times in my life.

 

However, those of you whom I’ve been very privileged to talk with this week have described her in other ways …

 

Like … Little spit fire.

Great fun.

So fashionable.

Lovely singing voice.

Always had some boyfriend on the go – yes dad, you got a fox.

And one great lady.

 

 

So before I share with you how I’ve chosen to celebrate her and say goodbye, I’d like to talk about this dichotomy of a person and just what I will remember about this wonderfully complex lady Yuki, that I got to know as ‘MOM’.

 

 

I’ll remember that she was short.

Yes. That’s right. I said it.

There aren’t many people in the world I can say that about, but I could say it about her.

But she certainly carried herself like she was 6 feet tall.

 

My dad recalls a story where a car gently rear-ended the family car at a stop light. My mom jumped out of our car, approached the offending car and chewed out the driver so badly that he held his hands up, begging for mercy and probably wishing he had perished in the accident. But there was no stopping 4 feet 6 inches of pure Yuki. She was a force.

 

 

I’ll remember her love of music. She played a furious piano and her second language was sheet music. She loved singing in the choir and I’ll remember how much she loved Christmas for the hymns.

 

She also had let’s say, an eclectic taste in her singers. Polite term.

If the artist was male and of the crooning variety, she was in love with them.

Johnny Mathis.

Engelbert Humperdink.

Simon & Garfunkel.

Frank Sinatra.

Elvis. Nat King Cole.

Liberace (okay, he didn’t sing)

She loved them all. One time I tried to break the news to her that perhaps most of the male singers I just mentioned wouldn’t exactly, um, reciprocate her love for them because they were on the ‘other team’. But it didn’t matter.

She also developed a love for… ugh… The Lawrence Welk Show.

And I would bug her about it. Cause I liked to bug my mom – and it’s a crappy show let’s face it – I even said some things about Lawrence Welk being a Nazi sympathizer just to really get her. But she was undeterred in her love for that show.

 

 

I’ll remember she was a great skater. Helen Hall recalls spending their lunch hours on the ice rink near the Art Gallery. And I’ll remember her amazing jumps and spins. There was also her famous backward skate, which I know my dad must’ve enjoyed.

 

I’ll remember her cooking.

For instance, I give you her recipe for roast beef.

 

Ingredients, one beef roast. So far so good, right?

One length of string to tie around it.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cook for 5 hours, or until any remaining moisture disappears.

 

There was also her infamous Lead Cake. AKA: The case of the missing baking powder.

 

But I will say there were Easters, Thanksgivings, Christmases and birthdays where everything went right and not only did we enjoy a delicious Turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy but extended family like Judy, Manolo, Helen Hall or Verna would come over and leave full and happy. She really knew how to bring her game for a special occasion.

 

 

She loved animals. There was Buttons the family dog. LESSON TO ALL YOUNG PARENTS HERE: Don’t let your 7 year old name the family dog, people! Anyhow, she loved that dog. As our long time friend Jane pointed out this week my mom didn’t walk the dog, the dog walked her. GASP GASP GASP. No human could boss her around. But the dog could.

There’s also Harvey, the black squirrel that she’d leave nuts for in the backyard. Survivor of a cat mauling. A picture of Harvey is still in the family picture album.

 

But that was mom. She rooted for the underdog. She didn’t like the bragging type or the flashy. No time for the overly-vain but lots of time for those with honesty and integrity. After David Letterman was recently revealed to be a philanderer she wrote next to a picture of him. BOO! Bad man. BOO! Brenda and I found that one last week and it was nice to get a laugh from beyond from her.

 

Yup, mom was quite witty. She told an ex-girlfriends father (who’s an ex-girlfriend here!?) that she and my dad didn’t have a lot in common when they met. He said ‘Well you grew together!’ and she quickly responded with comic-timing I still aspire to — ‘We didn’t grow together, we fought together’.

 

 

She may not have said it enough dad, but she adored you. Let’s face it, you don’t move to Rexdale unless you really, really love someone. Like dad, I love you but I wouldn’t move to Rexdale for you. Sorry man. Allergic to bullets.

 

I’d see how much she loved you when you’d put on your Julio Iglesias records on weekend mornings and try to get mom up to dance. She didn’t like Julio Iglesias, but I’d see the twinkle and amusement in her eyes as you’d try to entice her with your fancy latin dance moves.

She loved you. It’s why she took care of you. And I hope you know you were the best thing that ever happened to her, and vice versa.

 

I’m sure my mom wants me to wrap it up. You all know, she wouldn’t like being the center of attention. But of course, I always did know how to aggravate her and I think it’s because she knew we’re a lot alike. Which I don’t mind so much anymore. I call it the Yuki in me.

So here’s my last story before I wrap up. It’s the first time I can remember thinking “This person called Mommy is great!”.

I was must’ve been pretty young, 3 or 4. And my mom and I were downtown together, right around here. Maybe we even visited here, who knows?

Anyhow, we had gone to a lunch counter at Carlton and Yonge and mom had bought me a new can of SuperFoam too no less! Basically a can of kids soap in a shaving cream can with Batman on the can. Batman ruled.

We were on one of those old red subway cars – where you could open the windows – seriously – and see the tunnel whizzing past. Don’t know why, but the lights would go on and off occasionally.

Cool, but also a kid’s nightmare since – did I mention I was super afraid of the dark?

We’re standing and I’m holding my mom’s hand staring at my SuperFoam can.

The lights go out and I freak for a moment. But then I do remember looking at my mom’s hand as I was holding it and looking up at her. I must’ve been really small to be looking way up at her. And she looked down and smiled. And I remember feeling “What’s there to be afraid of? Where else would I rather be than with my mommy?

And the answer was nowhere.
Thank all of you for all your support the last week. My mom sure knew how to pick her friends. Huge thanks to St. Luke’s. And I just want to say thank you to my sister, Brenda. I’m so thankful every day to mom for bringing you into this world. It would be a lonely world without you in it. Mom would be glad we worked together so much this week.

 

So before I go, back to my original question. How have I chosen to say goodbye to this person? This 4 foot 6 giant in my life.

 

I had a crazy idea earlier this week and backed out. But then last night, I found a letter mom wrote to me in University.

 

She wrote to me that in life, if someone is just being unique, she liked that in a person. And then I knew I had to do the following.

 

So mom, this is for you. And I apologize to the rest of you if this seems inappropriate. But I really think I owe this to her from the heart after making fun of her favourite show, for well, my entire life, really.

 

Here’s how your youngest kid, the weird one, has chosen to celebrate you and say goodbye.

 

 

SPOKEN: AND A ONE AND A TWO…

(closing theme for ‘The Lawrence Welk Show’ lyrics)

(SING LOUDLY, DAMMIT, ANDREW!)

Good night, good night until we meet again
Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen ’til then
And though it’s always sweet sorrow to part
You know you’ll always remain in my heart

Good night, sleep tight and pleasant dreams to you
Here’s a wish and a prayer that every dream comes true
And now ’til we meet again
Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen

 

Goodbye mom.