Cluster Muck 2020

The world is an absolute mess. Uncertainty has spread across the globe and as a whole humanity is dived on the issues.  Some deny anything is wrong, some don’t see the current pandemic as seriously as we are being told, others are just trying to follow the logical steps to prevent the spread be it staying home or taking precautions. I won’t go into a lot of my personal feelings on 2 of those groups, if you know me you can probably guess.  I will however say that as a member of the later group this is like watching a suspenseful movie and trying to guess “who done it”, except we can’t just turn it off this time.

I’m at home, have been for a while. My wife, 4 kids, 4 cats and myself and we are all getting by better than I had thought. That isn’t to say everything is peaceful and mellow, we all have our trails and tribulations. The animals in particular are dying to get us out of their way, all the activity has them sleep deprived with only 15 hours a day of peaceful rest.  The kids are learning to adjust to this new online learning model and some are doing better than others while I am sure their teachers are struggling just as much with trying to adjust the teaching style.

For me I am finding that the worst part is being stuck in my own head some days. I got most of my social butterfly energy out years ago and honestly don’t mind the limited contact right now, that might change as this continues but for now I’m okay with it. Inside my head however a lot of life choices get reexamined and very few of them see the positive so far. I would bet I am not alone on this right now, maybe not you dear reader but maybe so. Let’s not get muddled here, I can’t say I was screwed over at any point or there aren’t a lot of really great things and people in my life. just that certain things seem like I could have done something different to improve things. Maybe I gave up too soon on something (like this blog), maybe I didn’t give up on certain other things when I should have, two career paths literally don’t exist anymore. I stubbornly refused to get a formal post secondary education as I would be entering into a great deal of debt and had absolutely no idea what I could maintain an interest in long enough to get through, I didn’t want to be paying that debt with a job that had nothing to do with it like so many others. Still don’t to be honest with you my friends. The reality is what I want doesn’t always get in line with what my responsibilities are, I bet a bunch of you can relate there too. Does this sound like a mid life crisis with out the sports car and mistress? Well yes, but I am not a car guy and I love my wife.

This is starting to sound more like a sob story than I intended, sure I am venting and trying to knock so rust of my keyboard but the rent is paid, the fridge is full and we are a healthy household with no extended family in too much danger as of yet (knock on wood). I hope you can say the same for those things. The days I struggle most I find it is easy to slip into a binge watch or snappy mood. I have tried a few projects, search an online course to better myself that holds my attention (nothing yet), I read a bit when I can keep my focus and my lawn looks pretty good right now. I have reached out to friends I don’t see much in the best of times more often, enjoyed a group video chat or two and tried to step in a a tutor with the kids but lets be honest I never put enough energy in to school and suffered for it so now I just try to learn with them when I can.

I don’t know when this will all subside or the changes it will bring across the globe, aside from travel getting to be a bigger pain in the ass. I do know that right now there are a lot of different stories and opinions. I hope you and your love ones are well. I hope that you are able to over come any dark times and days. I hope you all reach out if those days and thoughts go from dark to black. I hope you find way to come out of all this ahead. I can’t think of a better way to put it really than to quote Red Green “We’re all in this together, I’m pulling for ya.”

Or The Chest To Pin It On

As I write this I am sitting in my truck on the way to Lillooet from West Kelowna, no I’m not driving. Half an hour ago I stood in front of Lieutenant Governor of B.C. and been the most uncomfortable I have ever been in my life. Some of you know why but for those who don’t here’s the story.

Just before Christmas 2016 I was laying in bed when I heard my wife yell from the front porch “Are you okay?” Curious I

Went to see what she was yelling at. She had heard a screech and a crash and thought a truck went into the ditch just past the intersection near our house. I asked if I should go see which resulted in me throwing on my Muppet pants, Undertaker sweat shirt and work boots and hoping in the truck.

I found the truck four wheels in the air in the ditch doors wedged shut. The owner of the property was already there and another motorist had stopped and was on the phone with 911. The driver was free of his seat belt but stuck inside. The property owner went up to his house to find something to break a window. The driver was understandably cold, wet, scared and yelling to break the window. So I kicked it. I kept kicking it until it gave in, cleared the glass out and helped the driver squirm through the hole and up on to the muddy ditch. At this point I’ve been dressed about 10min. The property owner reappeared with a hammer and the first responders began arriving. I met the panicked wife of the driver, he had called her from inside the truck and I can’t imagine her abject terror since he was both alone at the time and in a flooding truck.

I gave my statement to the police and fire department, assured the wife it was not a big deal and went home. Muddy boots, dirty Muppets and a handful of small cuts from the glass. During our annual Boxing Day brunch with my family the driver came by with a small gift and a slew of thank you’s.

I didn’t, and still don’t, feel I did anything that special, others do. The Thursday before Easter I get a phone call from the RCMP, someone had heard of the incident and the RCNP wanted permission to divulge my information. If I hadn’t given it this story would be over. I was in Hope a few days later coming back from Lillooet and I got a call from The Royal Canadian Humane Association. They wanted to check the story, so I told them what I told you minus the Muppet pants bit. Come July I get a letter informing me I was invited to receive recognition for 10min of my life. Here’s where I get uncomfortable.

One of my best friends is a paramedic and fire fighter, another good friend is a career RCMP officer. They do far braver things for a living. There are far more deserving deeds in their lives, one of my proud Dad moments is that my eldest daughter sees it the same way. At this point both of them have corrected my outlook to a degree, they weren’t alone either but it did nothing to make it more comfortable.

Three hours in the truck Friday morning did nothing for my comfort level, not even the stories on Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard calmed me down. So the best thing to do is jack up the discomfort. Upon arrival I discover I’m not getting a certificate I’m getting a medal…wtf. But wait there’s more!

Let me run down the deeds of the other honourees; 3 ELEVEN year old girls saved two drowning victims at Crescent Beach, 2 men rescue people from a lake, 2 brothers rescue a friend from a river, 2 men rescue a couple from a flaming car, 2 men rescue people from a flaming trailer, 2 cadets rescue friends from a tent fire, a police officer teams with a civilian to rescue boaters from the ocean, a police officer rescues a woman from the Fraser River, a man stops a home invasion/mutilation/rape just because he happened to be walking by and the one that really got me, the mother that accepted the award for her son who died trying to save his friend from an icy river snow mobile accident. I sat there stunned that 10 min of my life had me in their company and not all of them got medals.

I am humbled and honoured to be a part of this. I do understand the concept, I am grateful that something I did was taken so seriously. I don’t know how it ended up this way but it did. I’m just glad the dude made it to Christmas.

The List…Fill It In Maaaaaaan

The List…Fill It In Maaaaaaan

Hey…c’mere a sec. I don’t have long. I promised I would focus on planning a wedding and cut back on a few things to make sure we’re prepared so I must be quick. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi you’re my only hope…wait that’s not it, I don’t need a rescue and this isn’t a droid…damn I may need to figure out where we got the mushrooms we had in the pasta sauce.

Let me explain my biggest frustration in this whole wedding thing. It’s you, yes you all out there. I can’t invite you all and that sucks but it is what it is. You see a year and a half (ish) ago the first thing we did was write out our ideal guest list and it was damn near 200 people. food and drink for 200…whoa. We let it slide and set off on the next task, venue. Took a while but we locked in a delightful place then returned to the guest list, oops the list was more than double our seating capacity. Well we had to cull the heard a bit and frankly it sucked. First we talked to the out of town guests, if they couldn’t commit we politely explained that we had a space issue and thanked them for their well wishes. Then we had to figure out the next major cut, kids were out unless they were relatives, that really sucked because we know a lot of cool kids and unfortunately they are just too large a group to include.

I never envied my Dad when he had to make roster cuts to his hockey team at the start of the season, the final cuts were brutal hard and this is as close to that as I ever want to come. Guess I am only doing this once. Our next cuts came down to who we knew as a couple. We debated a few that were closer to one than the other and made a few digressions for the special people. Oh man were we close to the right number, still too many. Sunnovabitch. Where the hell were we going to cut next?

We found looked at the entire list, where were the problems likely to arise, by problems I mean math. The equation is simple  Guest x Guest + Alcohol – Filter = Likelihood of Conflict. That didn’t really do the trick, a few at best. So we hit the list in an order we could track. The invites went out with RSVPs in waves, as they came back we either filled in the confirmation slots or added more names to the next round of invites. That worked out better but there are still people we just couldn’t fit in.

The truth is we would love to have you all but if you’ve ever planned a wedding you know that often it’s just not feasible. I am sorry if you can’t make it and I am sorry if we couldn’t invite you. It’s not you, it’s us. Just don’t think we didn’t try or want you there, seating is limited is all. Shit! Gotta go, husbandly duties to attend to.

Watching Out

Watching Out

Adulting is hard. Some days its all I can to to stay awake then others I can’t seem to sleep for the life of me. The one that gets me is that my body seems to want to either ache, rebel against whatever food I put in it or just expand in places I don’t want. This whole “ultra late twenties” thing is bullshit. I shouldn’t complain too much though, the kids are healthy, the bills are paid and in less than a month I get to have on of the few firsts I have been missing in my life, first wedding. Only wedding…ONLY WEDDING!  Sorry dear, love you.

If there wasn’t enough to do in the day already now I have to worry about my biggest fear popping up hours before I am set to take centre stage next to a wonderful woman, pants that don’t fit. Maybe ‘biggest fear’ is an exaggeration but it is  definitely on the top half of the list. I went out and got the fancy clothes and they fit, now I have to keep it that way, if my body decides to expand a bit and I can’t fit in to them I may have to wear my Muppet pajama bottoms instead, which will surprise no one and leave me at the bottom of the river. So what is a poor boy to do, I mean it these events aren’t cheap. Hit the gym right? Wrong, too much to do, a full time job and four kids. Thankfully I have a plan.

Last month a friend of mine was running a 30 day exercise challenge as part of her home based business. My fiancee signed up and to support and encourage her I did to. Squats and planks for 30 days. Squats suck and I walked like a sat down hard on a cactus for a week. The planks got excruciating after the two minute mark was passed. I did get results though. I did not transform into any sort of pinnacle of fitness but after 30 days I did notice a few things beyond the sound my knee makes when it straitens up. So now I have kept on with the next 30 day challenge, push ups and crunches. These ar a little more to my strength and in 10 days when I check my pants for results (I think I misplaced a a joke somewhere) I may have to up my game, we’ll see. I am going to have to check because I have to know and knowing is half the battle (G!I! Jooooooooe!)

The other half is intake. As an adult in my “ultra late twenties” I have to accept the fact that my metabolism is not going to be super co-operative in this endeavour. FML right? I am going to have to pay attention to my intake. Portion control, junk food reduction, over snacking all those things but the one I am most concerned about is having to cut out my beloved craft beer. I am ‘that guy’ I love to try different beers and unfortunately many of them are heavy and not going to do me any favours in the next few weeks. Don’t flip out boys the bachelor party plans are intact but I am going to have to cut down my intake and stick to a lighter fare when I do crave a frosty beverage. The exercise doesn’t bother me but watching my diet is always a problem for me add in the start of BBQ and bon fire season and this is gonna suck, sadly you can’t out train a shitty diet and I just don’t have the time to try. I don’t need 3% body fat or six pack abs, I just need my pants to fit.


What IS The Plan?

It’s THAT time again. The trash talking has come out, the BS meter is red lining and we can see the loyalties of our neighbours on display in bright colours and excessive signage. Elections are just around the corner. I am not a big politics person, all I see is a pack of liars promising things they can’t deliver either because they don’t want to or the system will block it. The best I can say about politicians is that I wouldn’t want the job because the general public only sees a small fraction of the process and tie ins yet have no problem vilifying you for anything they don’t agree with. Very much along the lines of telling someone how to do their job even though there is a severe ignorance of how it is done. Like this fella here…

Okay then you might be curious as to which party I am about to endorse in some round about way, keep wondering because I can’t endorse any of them wholeheartedly. That being said I don’t care which one you endorse either, that is your business. I don’t see any point in trying to shift the thinking or ideologies of others in the realm, especially if one person is a dyed in the wool loyalist. In all honestly political affiliation plays almost no role in my opinions of others I see them more as an extension of personality, you back of the same moral guidelines, odds are if I form an opinion of you it will be on the morals etc and the politics won’t surprise me after that. You are just as entitled to your opinion and preferences as I am, I can respect that and not get into an argument if you can.

Allow me to explain my biggest issue with election time, none of these parties want to commit to anything except for pointing out the flaws and mistakes of the others. Far too much time and money is wasted on telling us why ‘the other guys’ are screw ups and bad for the job. They all cry the same general garbage, improve this, more money for that, better this problem, eliminate the other one…yadda yadda yadda. IF they try to do any of it some group gets pissy and wants to block it in the system or in the public. It’s ridiculous, so why not just lay the cards out there now? “We’ll create jobs!” there is a popular cry but vague and with lots of room for disappointment or anger. If that plan is to build a bridge or a pipeline then tell us now. Maybe create a legal marijuana industry or focus on cleaning up the environment instead is that path to that but tell us now so we can decide if that’s the direction we can get behind. Stop trying to get every vote with vague statements and trash talking the other candidates, lay out the plan warts and all. You want to put more money in my pocket? I am all for that but what suffers? Health care? Roads? Education? First responders? Salaries of elected officials and representatives? (I didn’t type that with a strait face, gimme a second to change I think i pissed myself laughing)Alright I’m back. Where was I. Ah yes, warts and all. I think that there are two reasons we never get the full plans during elections 1) they don’t have one, either because there is no plan and are full of shit or 2) telling us the plan is going to piss off a large group of voters. Can’t have people thinking eggs must be broken to make an omelette.

It takes almost no time for me to get disgusted by the electoral practices that take place, and have since democracy was born, now it’s in our face every day. Show me some balls candidates. I want you to tell me that if we want to do one thing then the balance is something else loses out. Tell me now and let’s end the fucking games. I don’t care how bad so and so was/is/will be, if I want to hear a bunch of trash talk and gossip I’ll go to the pub and listen to the drunks or watch anything in with the term “real housewives” in the title. The only real new thing is politics is the most recent happenings in human life the methods and strategies are as old as civilization. Pretty messed up if you ask me but honestly it has worked very well for millennia at this point. What does that say about us?

Well, I got off on a bit of a rant there didn’t I? Well let me make the most important point. YOU MUST VOTE. By God people, it may be a choice between different devils but if we don’t pick one the rest of the population will. Sure the system has it’s flaws and we get treated like crap no matter what but having this kind of say in our fates is a privilege that far too many places do not afford the populace. We are going to be lied to, screwed over, disappointed and left an angry mob that votes out one group to replace it with another, probably the last group we were pissed at. The only thing that will change until our leaders adopt full disclosure is which set of issues anger us. Accept it and vote, make sure your of age kids vote, because IF we do get a chance at real change we should all be in the habit of dropping that paper EVERY TIME WE ARE ASKED. Despite the tactics, understanding to lies, knowing our devils as best we can.

Being Judgey

Being Judgey


Judge not, lest ye be judged yourself. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? I try not to judge anyone on anything serious. Sure I will form an instant opinion on what film series involving the word Star you like more but that’s pretty much it. Every so often though we don’t have a choice, we have to judge others otherwise there can be no winner.

Every year, in some form or fashion, a friend of mine runs a singing contest. It used to be a smaller contest at her karaoke venues and a couple times I sat on the judges panel because I couldn’t enter since I was part of her company. Which is fine because the one time I did I stunk, granted I was not as practiced and the song was chosen by someone else but even at my best I don’t think I have the chops to make an impact in these things, but I digress. This year the contest is Road to Rockin’ River Talent Search, the winner goes to the festival in Merritt to open for Brett Kissel and The Band Perry. This is the second year in a row that 1 Epic Night has played a part in the search. Now whether I judge another night or not let me give a bit of advice.

First and foremost this is a SINGING contest, where the prize is a spot on the main stage at a very large music festival so…KNOW YOUR SONG. This is not the place to try new material for the first time. Find a repertoire of songs you do well and be ready to call an audible at game time, know your lyrics, staring at the screen like you’re in a Subway commercial is a bad idea. Songs that mean something to you will always work best because you can get lost in the emotion and just go with it because you do not need the lyrics for more than a prompt.

Secondly, and only a frogs hair less important, is to KNOW THE RULES AND CRITERIA. How many categories are you competing in? What are the judges looking at for each, what are they listening for? There is something to be said for signing up on a whim and giving it your best shot at the time but if you make it to the next round be ready for it, if you are planning to get in it in advance don’t go in blind. This isn’t to say that being premeditated is a sure fire way to make the cut I’ve seen many cases where a good singer that signed up on a whim blew the competition stacked with singers with every intention of winning out of the water and advanced.

Third YOU ARE THE MAIN EVENT SO ACT LIKE IT. In other words don’t sweat the other contestants in any way, shape or form. You do you, pay no mind to what they to good or what they do poorly, nerves and egos will kill your chances, find the sweet spot between them and pour yourself into it. Do not get lazy, over confident, scared or intimidated. It is almost like imagining the room paid to see you, you owe the crowd every effort you have and remember they want to see you. It is the give and take of performance.

Lastly, these things are often close in the math. When the scores are given and tallied there are very few points between first and last, it is like an Olympic race that way, the margin of moving on and trying again is ridiculously small. Read that again and pick out the advice. Did you see it? Do you get the words I am saying? IF YOU DO NOT ADVANCE IN THE FIRST ROUND TRY AGAIN!!! Come back the next week, go to another venue, by God you could have missed by 1 point in a tough group. If you like the opportunity then keep trying until you can’t try anymore. I’ve seen people miss by a point and try again and move on with a huge margin on their next try.

Now then you may be wondering where this all is taking place so let me show you. I should point out that the Walnut Grove Liquor Store does have a pub attached.


Now the days are not listed in the photo but I bet if you are in the area you can check with the venue OR the company hosting the show. I see shows for 1 Epic Night for those in the GVRD and you folks further inland do just a bit of research and I am sure you’ll find everything you need. I may be watching, I may be judging but I am always pulling for anyone that has the intestinal fortitude to get up there and belt out a song.

On The Road Again

On The Road Again

Ah the road trip. Staple of life and right of passage to adulthood. As a kid growing up before 2004 Road trips fucking sucked. Oops, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be cussing so early in this but let’s be honest Gen X our kids are spoiled, they get in flight movies, video games and they don’t even have to share. When I was seven I had to get in the back of a Jaguar XJ12 (ok, not so rough) and drive from Nanaimo B.C. to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. My four year old brother and I stuck in the back seat for 2 weeks including stop overs with family, some of which I have not seen since. There are two kinds of road trip in my book, the leisurely journey from A to B where stops are made and quirky roadside attractions are taken in OR the timed event where you have crossed three city limits so it is officially a timed event. These days I prefer the timed event, my knee and my back really get cranky if I sit in the car too long.

As a kid we would take trips from Nanaimo to Victoria several times a year and I thought they they were long trips, I drove it two years ago…I was a dumb kid. By the time I was in fourth grade we had moved to Kamloops, which meant the trips to Nana’s were now longer. We didn’t have much back then, I had gotten over the headaches and nausea that came with reading in the car when we went across the country so for many of the rides I could read a bit but I was also prone to just staring out the window and letting my imagination wander. The other option was nap, which I did but those are never comfortable. Life would change in 1989 when Nintendo Gameboy hit the market but it really was nothing compared to the rolling entertainment centres family vehicles have become, by God let them be bored like we were, let the develop an imagination and appreciation for scenery. Okay, I do understand that it increases the frequency of “Are we there yet?” and “Stop hitting me!” but I legitimately get concerned about kids today and their constant need to be entertained, way too often do I see a TV in the back of a vehicle just puttering around town. I digress, in short my trips as a kids were different.

Things change though don’t they. Road trips get to be adventures when we are in our 20’s though. A destination may be in the cards but most of the fun is in the trip. My favourite trip from that era started a little after midnight on a Friday night, I was picked up in Langley by Steve and Matt and we hit the highway. The reason for this was we had tickets to Bad Religion for Saturday night, they weren’t coming through Vancouver on that tour and we were not missing them when a quick jaunt up the Trans Canada Highway would fix the problem. The three of us were stoked for the show a mere…13 hours away in Edmonton. We made good time despite Matt and Steve needing sleep, I drove a few hours after a stop outside of Kamloops to caffeinate a fading Steve yielded poor results. In the fading darkness as we barreled through the nearly deserted Rockies Steve suddenly came to life in shotgun and came as close to yelling as I’ve ever seen him “Slow down!” I was making good time damn it but it was his car so I complied. The next few hours I got to drive into the sunrise in our incredible mountains, possibly the best sunrise of my life. Fatigue took me not long after dawn and Matt took over while I slept in the back seat, he had been out since before Kamloops but he also had the long day at work. We rolled into Edmonton about 2pm and found a hotel, after trying to occupy ourselves enough to stay awake we returned to our room and crashed. I was barely aware of setting the alarm clock but thankfully I did or our trip would have been wasted. I remember two things about the show 1) our west coast carcasses were frozen in the clear March air that night as we stood bundled inthe cold while locals in shorts and t-shirts snickered at us 2) the dude behind me was on the verge of vomitting on Matt and I the whole show, which I really don’t remember much of but the view, half way up the seats to the right of the stage. We left early the next morning and Steve was sure he knew the way, just outside of Edmonton the mile marker denoting Yellow Knife said different and I would like to say we partied on and had a road adventure that spanned weeks and thousands of miles but we eventually arrived home about 46 hours after we left.

These days I am on the Dad-centric timed event challenge. The first one I embarked on was a family emergency where I left Langley, headed to Kelowna and then on to Trail and back to Langley in the span of 26 hours. One year I left Langley at 2am after work and made a ridiculously good time to Sorrento BC to be there when my daughter woke up on her birthday, I would have been quicker but road work near Chase had me waiting for an escort car for 30min which killed my energy level and had me drifting off before I arrived. When I get on these trips I get focused, quiet and highly alert to the world outside of the car, fully in the zone. Okay I detest stopping for food or bathrooms on trips that should be under five hours, fill up and empty out before we leave family, timer has started and I got aches to avoid. This philosophy causes a lot of complaints and spikes the anxiety of my fiancee so I have found myself staring out the window letting my imagination roll over the scenery and listening to a podcast. Easter weekend we visit Mom in Lillooet and the narrow valley dotted with ranches and homesteads on the cliff sides really send me off into the ether, I love it. The kids sleep or read or play on there mobile devices, I refuse to serve up movies and encourage them to stare off at the scenery, it really is a spectacular view even though the ‘highway’ is a dodgy piece of road that resembles Frankenstein monster.

As much as I would love to make every trip as short as possible there are a long list of reasons to just enjoy the ride, the adventure, the sights, the break from whining. There is a certain level of sadness that the kids can just find the head space to get lost in the scenery or play a road trip game (granted those get annoying after a while too). Perhaps getting lost in your own head on a road trip is a dying aspect of life now, us Gen Xers started with the hand held video games and loved the in vehicle TV and DVD player options so much they are used just to go a few blocks by many people, another question mark in the new generation gap as those of us who remember Kurt Cobain in concert will have to learn to live with.





9628 Days Later

9628 Days Later

November 22, 1990. I remember it well, it was the rarest of occasions when family friends had ordered WWE Survivor Series and we got to watch it live on Pay Per View, little did we know that we would get to see the televised debut of a legend. Dark and creepy The Undertaker strolled to the ring as ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper proclaimed “Look at the size of that Hamhock!” FIVE of the 8 men in the match now are in the WWE Hall of Fame and 26 years, 4 months, 1 week and 5 days later The Undertaker seems to have laid his career to rest.

Bar none The Undertaker persona is the most successful WWE creation ever. The man himself has reached a level of respect where only Andre The Giant resided before him. A much lauded locker room leader and the de facto enforcer of locker room etiquette. There really is no good reason for such a cartoonish persona to have lasted more than a year or two let alone 26 years, it is the man in the role that made it work. Mark Callaway did such a good job that fans forgot he was a living human being most of the time. That sounds odd doesn’t it, it is the truth though, he always seemed supernatural and the WWE spared no expense in assisting that perception, special effects and slight of hand started to become a staple in the mid 90’s. The company invested in the character as much as the man and by 2004 the entrance of The Undertaker was a show unto itself with many performers going on record as saying watching it from in the ring was legitimately intimidating.

In my opinion The Undertaker is not just a successful character but the greatest WWE performer of all time. Stop scoffing for a second, most of the elite level performers in WWE history excelled in a few areas, many eclipsed Taker in some aspect most notably the mic skills area, but The Undertaker was so well rounded that he made up for it in such a way that whole was more valuable than the sum of his parts. When one looks at the amount of time spent at the top of the card Undertaker was there for 25 years. While the two biggest stars of the 90’s Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock may have sold more merch or drew the eyes of more mainstream viewers they both had relatively short careers. Austin spent 7 active years in WWE (less a year off for neck surgery and another 8 months after a walk out) and The Rock was effectively a part timer after 7 (with several lengthy absences to film movies), essentially the two biggest stars of his time had careers less than a third of Taker. Hogan, you say, well he was out classed in everything except raw charisma and in three wrestling stints with WWE Hogan’s career tallies only 12 years. On the long term time line The Undertaker can not be touched in any facet, Andre himself only had 17 years with WWE.

The first few years was not the non-stop five star match parade some may wish to remember. There was a learning curve for the young Taker and the WWE as they got comfortable in character and learned to showcase things properly. Undertaker never a poor worker but there was always room for improvement and he did improve, no aspect was ever left to linger long and at no point did he stop improving, even when he had reached the top of the industry he kept adding to his performance. The character constantly evolved growing darker and more sinister through the late 90’s, then a complete departure to a biker look for about 3 years until coming full circle to an updated version of his original character but this time the evolution was less sinister and more awe inspiring.


I remember being at a Monday Night Raw in Seattle and after the TV feed was done the superstars gave the crowd a little extra. This particular night Booker T had challenged his partners to try his signature “Spin-a-roonie” break dance move. One by one, Goldust, The Rock and Booker did one. The Undertaker was shaking his head and you could see on the big screen he was unhappy with the shenanigans. The crowd chanted “Do it!” over and over until Vince McMahon strode down the ramp and made a speech before he too tried one, the “Mac-a-roonie” was born. Soon Triple H returned and his opponents from earlier allowed him to try his hand, the entire time Undertaker is vowing his revenge (according to interviews with the other participants) until the other three performers from the match ran down and a brawl ensued as they were once again chased off and everybody returned to the locker room.  This was a legendary moment in WWE because the top stars in the company and Vince McMahon could not crack the Undertaker or make him break character. There is the key to it all, every incarnation it remained the same, he never broke character, interviews are few and far between, he never appeared less than cool and collected, he has yet to wrote a book or do a podcast or put a rant on YouTube and his most in depth video release (Undertaker: This Is My Yard, 2001) shed very little light on the man outside the character. The public really doesn’t know Mark Callaway and the few things we’ve learned are a drop in the bucket.

The bottom line here is that an athlete is only going to remain at their peak for so long before they have to call it a career. April 1, 2017 seems to be the day The Undertaker chose to leave the ring once and for all. He had a hell of a match with one of the best full time performers in WWE and closed out one last Wrestlemania in front of 75,000 fans. The second most shocking Wrestlemania moment for Undertaker fans was not his second loss but when he piled his gloves, coat and hat in the ring and broke character on camera when he hugged his wife and kids on his way up the ramp. In all honesty The Undertaker gave us everything he had in his rare ring time over the last five years, but it was becoming clear that he was not the same performer,  his last truly great night was Wrestlemania 29 when he faced CM Punk. After that it was like those puzzles for kids where two nearly identical pictures are places together and you must find the differences, subtle or glaring and that is how I see the last few years. I do not mean that disrespectfully in any way but a man in his late forties and early fifties that put his body through the rigors he did can’t maintain peak performance anymore, he can put on the show better than ever but physically things were slipping.

This is a case of a top athlete leaving us and ending an era.  That is the echelon The Undertaker sits at as an athlete, the top 1% of the top 1% in his field. I believe we’ve seen the last of the Deadman, I fully expect him to be the marquee induction to the 2018 WWE Hall of Fame. Perhaps it is even possible he isn’t retired and there is one more match, I doubt that though. Sure we fans can say “It would have been better IF…” but this ending is the one to stick with, it is poetic and fitting for an old school man like Taker, the torch is passed and he went out on top, closing the biggest show of the year. I get that there are fans that are still throwing a temper tantrum over Roman Reigns but they all need to recognize one thing, The Undertaker had the stroke and the respect to veto anyone he did not want to be his last opponent, while it is not confirmed I suspect Roman was chosen for the task by Taker himself.  I have been a fan since that night in 1990 through all the twists and turns and all I can say as in the end is Thank You Taker.


100 Movies: The Final Chapter

100 Movies: The Final Chapter

Well we have arrived at the end of our trilogy. The final 25 films I want my growing children to experience as they get to adulthood. Again this is not a list to start showing  the young ones but once they are in the realm of grown up content they should check these out.

25) Apocalypse Now (1979), I do not think there has been any other film to capture the lunacy of war better. This is absolute insanity on all parts. I recommend the Redux version to get a complete picture but what do I know, I’m just an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks.

24) When Harry Met Sally (1989), The best romantic comedy ever made. Billy Crystal at the top of his game with deadpan philosophical humour and a few pure comedic bis. Oh and  Meg Ryan dropping a fake orgasm that defined my goals as a lover.

23) Batman Begins (2005), My biggest pet peeve is the constant rehashing of origin stories in comic movies. Batman is WAY over done but this is the absolute show stopping can’t do better version. No more, we and e get it, tell us different stories now.

22) 300 (2006), Frank Miller. One of my writing heroes. Sin City, Batman vs Superman, Daredevil S1 on Netflix and signifigant portions of S2. It’s a legend from history and in this telling it is a fireside tale to inspire an army that is out manned and out gunned. When this was released I was working as IMAX manager and watched it 4 times before the release date because I could and several more just because I wanted to and fuck my duties.

21) McClintock (1963), Not all Westerns are gritty shoot outs. This Western/Comedy highlights The Duke and his regular cast or supports and the immortally gorgeous Maureen O’Hara. I dare you toi get through the riot with out laughing.

20) The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976), My favourite Eastwood film period. He may have been on the losing side but Josey Wales will not let injustice stand. He could have been The Man With No Name but Josey Wales had an extra dimension missing from that character, a justified cause.

19) Princess Bride (1987), I showed this to my kids years ago but it is something I think adults should see regardless. Simple story and a pure example of fairy tale done right. To not like this movie is…INCONCEIVABLE!

18) Labyrinth (1986), See above. Some things are just timeless and to see this as an adult where the motivations of Sarah can shift. Plus Bowie steals this whole show.

17) Watchmen (2009), This was the most acclaimed graphic novel in comics history, bar none. I worried for the film but it did two things right, it changed the ending ever so slightly for the better and it uct out exactly the right stuff to make a compelling movie. You can find an animate version of the removed plot arc and there was a version that combinded the animation with the live action for us pureests, which is not for the mass audience, Watchmen though…wow.

16) The Toy (1982), this is where I first discovered Richard Pryor. A template for today’s manchild and a fun ride on every kids dream to get paid to just play with toys. Hell I don’t think anyone would turn down that opportunity.

15) A League of Their Own (1992), here is a flash of the greatness that Tom Hanks would bring forth a year later in Philadelphia. A well done historical accounting with a cast I think is still underrated which is saying something when you look it up. The final scene in Cooperstown still gets me.

14) Rudy (1993), Never quit, never stop grinding, give it your all every time, never listen to the haters or naysayers. If it all pays off for just a few moments it will be worth it and you may inspire countless others. If none of this makes sense take some time and watch this. Right now. Go.

13) Lethal Weapon (1987), buddy cop movies are not rare. A few days from retirement and in a gun fight, there’s a trope we all know. Strait laced and by the book partnered with a lunatic, still not that unique. Somehow when combined all these elements still worked for Riggs and Murtaugh. You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts!

12) Die Hard (1988), Greatest Christmas movie EVER. Gruber > Snape

11) Ferris Buellers Day Off (1986), does high school irresponsibility and cunning get any better? Here’s a fan theory I love, watch the movie and pretend that Ferris does not exist, it’s Cameron’s split personality a’la Tyler Durden, if you don’t get it go watch…wait I can’t talk about it.

10) Bedazzled (2000), Brendan Fraser is a great actor, this proves it. EIGHT different characters and if you get the DVD with the deleted scene the be ninth and best character is there. A great example of “be careful what you wish for”. Oh and Elizabeth Hurley in a tight red one piece dress…excuse me I need some alone time.

9) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Fan theory; Indiana Jones is the dream Han Solo has when he is frozen in Carbonite. Digest that. Now then, this may be the most iconic adventure film in history, not quite action or comedy and more a throw back to the serials of the early 1900’s radio and movies (as intended). They guys in 4A are right though, Indy didn’t really change the outcome when you think about it

8) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Again Indy really didn’t affect the outcome here. No matter what it would have ended the same. What a ride though and the chemistry between the Jones men is undeniably the treasure here.

7) Beaches (1988), I hope my kids find a friendship like this in their lives. I have seen this once, right after it was released on VHS (Google it youngster) the ending sent me into an emotions turmoil I hid just long enough to get into bed, then I broke down in tears. Real talk.

6) Goodfellas (1990), here’s another one I caught right after it’s video release. The catch there was that I saw Home Alone in the theatre. The goofy bandit was a serious badass all of a sudden. One hell of a mob story following the rise and fall of three friends, crime doesn’t pay folks there is no good way out.

5) Forrest Gump (1994), take all the history out, take all the southern fried wisdom out. THis is the story about the power of just doing things. Keep good intentions, don’t over think things or be insecure, just go and do to the best of your ability.

4) Star Wars (1977), you didn’t think I was going to leave this out did you? The story may not be complex but the revolutionary special effects literally changed the landscape of film. Beyond the technical impact this movie made it also catapulted Sci-fi to a viable top grossing genre AND created the most compelling space franchise ever. Sorry Trekies but you know it was the Wars that paved the way to the resurgence of the Federation

3) Empire Strikes Back (1980), this got dark quick. The rebels started taking an ass kicking and never really got a shot in. Escaping by the skin of their teeth for two hours and losing a friend and lover, Han and hand both go missing before the credits roll and the psychological and physical ass-kicking our heroes receive drive home that the Empire is not some paper regime easily toppled.

2) Return of the Jedi (1983), the bitter sweet ending to the trilogy, the good guys win but the salvation of Vader falls short. A fitting wrap up to the greatest trilogy of all time.

1) Deadpool (2016), R rated action is back and it brought a massive bag of  cash with it. A dead perfect adaptation of the character, not every character but Deadpool was just what was ordered This comic movie proved that both the X-Franchise and R rated action are a draw when done right by passionate people.


100 Movies: The Sequel

100 Movies: The Sequel


You wanted the list, you got the list. Continuing my countdown of 100 movies I want my kids to see as they head into adulthood we have a few heavy hitters from the Oscars and a few cult classics. You’ll pretty much see my train of thought as I brain stormed this and compiled suggestions in this offering. Rest assured I will return with more soon.

50) Philadelphia (1993), one of the first films to tackle the AIDS epidemic, this powerhouse stood up for employment law, gay rights and actual facts about AIDS. Oh yeah it also showed us what Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington could do as actors.

49) Legend (1985), this movie takes it’s share of lumps but it really is a wonderful adventure story and Tim Curry steals the show as Darkness.

48) Metallica: Some Kind of Monster (2004), the biggest rock band in the world starts to crumble before our eyes. Rehab, miscommunication, losing a bassist, self doubt…therapy? This is a lesson in sorting your shit out before you ruin a good thing.

47) Good Morning Vietnam (1987), Robin Williams at his finest. His rapid fire personality gets suddenly mixed with his capability for touching drama as the movie goes on. He rocked it from the delta to the DMZ

46) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), the most recent movie on the list and you are probably expecting 6 more like it, not so much. The true beauty of Rogue One is that it tells the story of why there is a giant plot hole in a movie that revolutionized film and fandom right before turning the end of Empire strikes back into the second saddest ending in the series.

45) Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan (1982), the best of the Star Trek films from the original cast. The second best space based franchise (shots fired!) hit a peak here. Legitimate passion below’s forth from Kirk when he finally hits his breaking point. KHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

44) Scarface (1983), the American dream summed up in 160 minutes. Ambition, hard work, ruthless pursuit of your dreams DOES pay off. Ok  minutes 161-170 are not the desired result and the methods are more that questionable but for me this is THE gangster movie.

43) Scent of A Woman (1992), if I were to sum this movie up in two words “fuck it” Lt. Col. Frank Slade is done and this is his “fuck it” tour de force including standing up and defending a guilty man, successfully not because he was wrongly accused but because of principal and respect earned. Hoo Wa!

42) Heat (1995), cops and robbers gassed to the gills. Pacino fest portion of the list here but the two sided telling of this tale as we see the personal lives of the protagonist and antagonist and a few supporting characters. From the first scene this one throws down and make no apologies.

41) Legends of the Fall (1994), Brad Pitt was still just a beefcake with a few lucky roles under his belt in 1994. Time has proven he is a very very good actor and his abs opened the door for his skills to set up shop. Family is messed up and this Montana brood go through the grind in the early 1900’s complete with WW1, prohibition, death, heartbreak, health problems and bears.

40) Mr & Mrs Smith (2005), Hmm I may have gotten off on a Pitt tangent with the Pacino, anywho…don’t lie, if your troubled marriage could be saved would you prefer the months of combative therapy or a night where you and your spouse beat the shit out of each other, fire off a few rounds and degenerate into super angry sex that makes you realize how much you love them.

39) Oceans Eleven (2001), not all crime films are guns and blood. Comedic heists with a cast that nails their roles with out argument are hard to come by, the sequels couldn’t completely recreate this but the chemistry and silky smooth flow here just work. Clooney, Pitt (again), Damon, and Roberts may sit on the top of the marquee but everyone earns their star.

38) Good Will Hunting (1997), I didn’t see this coming. I watched it very early in it’s theatrical run and was shocked. I hadn’t heard of Matt Damon or Ben Affleck and it wasn’t until after that I saw they wrote it and I won’t lie it inspired me. Robin Williams was more dramatic that comedic but he hit a blend that was perfect for the role. Circumstance does not indicate intelligence, never quit learning.

37) Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), all our favourite cartoon classics in one place and a solid mystery to boot. The live action/animation blend still holds up. The kids today may not get the impact of the Daffy/Donald piano duel but this was the first viable step towards CGI blending with live action.

36) 40 Year Old Virgin (2005), this ensemble sex comedy made rocketed the core cast to new heights and introduced us to Jonah Hill, Kat Dennings and Elizabeth Banks. The cameos and minor characters thrown in pull the whole thing together.

35) The Kingdom (2007), not the typical story of the conflict between the Middle East and the Western powers. More of a detective story for a good portion with elements of learning to understand each other capped off with a high speed gun fight and a powerful dialog capper just before credits.

34) The Game (1997), This is a movie about a game. That is all I can say except that Michael Douglas and Sean Penn do a fantastic job and it is worth every minute.

33) Fight Club (1999), I won’t break the rules here but I will say that this movie MUST be watched twice to see it properly and the self indulgent calamity on modern life takes a beating.

32) Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino shocked the world with this. Resurrecting the career of John Travolta and turning Samuel L. Jackson into a household name. The rest of the cast reads like a seating chart for the Academy Awards. If you get a disc copy try to piece it together in chronological order, it takes a little thought to get it right.

31) Predator (1987), Arnold at his peak. The sci-fi action of the 80’s was at best rife with tripe and a few gems. This is a relatively simple plot done well and loaded with one liners.

30) From Russia With Love (1963), My favourite Bond film. Before the gadgets became the focal point and stunts feats of impossibility the second installment in the 007 franchise hit all the right spots.

29) Casino Royale (2006), The reboot I dreaded and the Bond I like most after seeing it. They grounded the franchise again and went back to a more basic style, plus is really the start of a multiple film arc which had not been done in the franchise.

28) Golden Eye (1995), The Bond franchise had taken a beating over the previous two decades, campy scenes, over the top gadgetry, far fetched plots and a few try to hard to be trendy endeavours took their slow toll. The man who should have taken the reigns years earlier finally got is chance and Goldeneye put 007 back in his rightful place.

27) Highlander (1986), The best of the film franchise and one of the biggest tragedies in the Hollywood cash grab. Several poor sequels and a worse TV spinoff later the original concept is beaten to a pulp. The 1992 TV series had  a good intention and followed through pretty well thankfully. This original story should have been left alone and still holds up.

26) Top Gun (1986), by far Tom Cruise’s most iconic role. Slick, cocky 80’s action and lust at Mach 2. Has anyone not said “Talk to me Goose.” If you look at the concept and plot there is no reason for this to be a viable classic but everyone hit the mark, though I’m still not sure why fighter aces play volleyball so much.