Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Remember when....

Remember when you watched The Wire? Nearing the end of its final season, the viewers had witnessed a whole lot of bloody deaths. But what made one particularly shocking was the frightening randomness of Omar's murder. For five seasons, Omar was the god of war on the mean streets of Baltimore, always fighting to live another day, seemingly invincible (keep in mind, he jumped out of a building at one point!)
Given his career choice, we all knew that his death was just a matter of time, but it was still surprising, and heartbreaking, and downright scary, when he got shot in the back of the head by an adolescent kid.

Remember when you watched this last season of Game Of Thrones? All excited to see that Oberyn had stepped up to represent Tyrion in the trial by combat! There was no way a midget could defend himself against The Mountain, and we were all relieved that Oberyn Martell would take his place. He seemed like an accomplished fighter, with a vendetta against The Mountain, who had raped and killed his sister. We were all so excited to see Oberyn winning the match and knocking The Mountain out. And then so shocked and surprised to see the giant wake once more, drop Oberyn to the ground and squeeze his head until it exploded. I remember screaming at the TV (like I did at the "Red Wedding")

These were clearly deaths that no one had expected, were totally shocked when we saw it happen, and talked about it for days on end. About how crazy something like that happened....

Then why... of all things considered, isn't everyone as shocked or surprised that a man with a rifle walked in broad daylight in our nation's capital, shot and killed an unarmed soldier at our war memorial, and then proceeded to walk right into our house of commons with more evil intentions? Fortunately he was stopped in a hail of gunfire. This actually happened today.

I don't know what to be scared of more. The fact that this action actually occurred today, or the fact that not as many people were shocked that it happened.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Opening Sequence

(Night scene. Camera starts at level with pavement of the street, instrumental of "It Was a Good Day" by Ice Cube playing in the background. Music gets louder as camera begins to pan out and up, lighting by streetlights. Wide pan shows the dark entrance to a public park, camera begins to follow driveway into the park, as we approach the parking lot, the music fades to the background and the voices of our characters begins to rise and be heard. Camera finally reaches the parking lot with a group of cars parked in a circle and a dozen guys hanging out around them. Camera zooms to a conversation between KB and CHILI)

You put the weed in your ass???!!
Chilly chill man... chilly chill. There were cops there
No excuse, how you take the weed and hide it in your ass? Never heard of pockets?
(Camera does a quick 180 and zooms on another conversation. B and WIG outside the car, MAGIC is driving and PNUT is sitting shotgun)

Dude get out, I'm riding shotgun
Shut up, get in the back.
Seriously man, don't make me hurt you
You try to even touch me I'll spit on you
You'll spit? Spit? That all you've got?
Shutup shutupshutup... listen to this shit. Greatest song ever!
(MAGIC turns up the stereo in the car and we begin to hear Detroit Grand Pubahs "Sandwiches" WIG begins to dance while holding a beer and a joint)
That's my jam. That's my jam!!
Fuck it, get out.
(B reaches for the door handle, PNUT spits on him)
What. The. Fuck. You spit on me!
I told you I w..
One hump or two?
(MAGIC breaks out into laughter. so hard that he opens his car door and rolls out, camera continues to spin around and lands on random people in the group)

Tandoori chicken pizza, man! Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Where's the rest of the stash?

Who's got cups? Somebody grab some ice...

Bad idea man. Tandoori chicken pizza equals craaaazy nightmares

Let's head to Van. Some guys there have a courtesy car, let's shitkick it.

Chills man.... time... on our side...

(Flashing blue and red lights hilight the scene)

Here we go again

Fuckin cops, hide the weed...

(KB looks at CHILI, CHILI smiles, KB grabs the weed from CHILI and hands it to KILLER)

Stash it quick

(The rest of the characters can be seen hiding the alcohol and any other incriminating material. KB quickly drinks the booze he was holding, like it was KoolAid, and throws the empty bottle into his car)

Good evening gentlemen

(All the characters give a nonchalant "hi")

I hope you all saw the sign saying the park is closed at night. What brings you all here against those rules?

Sorry, sir, we didn't see any sign, we can leave right...

And who are you? The speaker for the group? Just stay right there...

(We see more cop cars arriving in the background)

I'm pretty sure that not all of you can claim to have not seen the sign.... what brings you guys here so late in the night anyways?

Chills man......

We were just hanging out

Well gentlemen, we have gotten calls from the neighbourhood complaining of noise coming from this location. And I can smell a certain combination of things in the air.

Does one of them happen to be camel musk?

(COP1 walks up to KB and shines a flashlight in his eyes. KB's eyes are red and glazed over)
And what's your story?
(with a mildly amused grin)
... standing is difficult.
(Rest of groups breaks out in a muffled laughter. More cops arrive on the scene)
Okay, everbody turn around and hands up on the cars.

(Scene turns to slow motion as the cops push the characters against the cars. Start playing the song "I'll Never Do You Wrong" by Joe Tex.  Camera slowly turns around and shows cops grabbing the characters and pushing them to the cars and beginning to frisk them. Camera then turns once more and zooms to a Philadelphia Flyers logo. Camera then pans out to reveal AMMO in a hockey jersey his hands behind him as a cop grabs him and begins to move him to a car. AMMO stares directly at the camera)

(Inner monologue)
That's me. The big guy in the hockey jersey. Welcome to my upbringing. The following are stories that would change our lives and mold us into the men we are today. I apologize in advance.
(Camera returns to full speed as AMMO is pushed off screen. Comotion can be heard as the camera pans away from the group and starts moving backwards off the driveway and towards the street. The track "I'll Never Do You Wrong" is sped up and morphs into the track "Snakes" by ODB (start 27 seconds in). Camera makes it back to the street, pans to the right and sees park sign stating "Park closed from dusk to dawn." Camera then slowly moves up to reveal the name of the park: "HAWTHORNE")

It was a good day (instrumental):
I'll never do you wrong:

Friday, February 07, 2014

Be Happy

There's too many sad songs out there.
Not that it's a bad thing

But sad songs tend to make people.... well... sad.

Why would you want that?

Now it is true, that people will remember sad moments more vividly than they do happy times. Perhaps because sad moments tend to happen more scarcely than happy. Sad songs also tend to hit the heartstrings of listeners, especially if they can make a personal connection to it.

Case and point:

So lately the radio/tv/internet/wherever the hell I turn has been playing the song "Say Something" by A Great Big World. Apparently their song wasn't good enough in the original version, so they brought in Christina Aguilera to accompany it, and the song shot to the top of the charts. They made a video of it too, which is quite touching (save for when the camera keeps cutting to Christina, where she keeps touching her face, as if she has a rash or something).

See for yourself (grab some tissues to dry your eyes too):

See, it's a great song. Very well done. Almost too well done. Because for me, once I heard it, it stuck in my head all day. And it wouldn't leave my head. And it would keep me from being happy.

Not good.
I had to do something to make it stop.

Some of you reading this probably have the song going on through your head now too. Even though you hit stop on the video a while ago. And now you might be cursing me for ruining the rest of your day with this sad song playing in your head and keeping you awake while you lay in bed, trying to make connections between the song lyrics and moments in your life, reducing you to tears, and making you sit up just to have a good cry.


But last night I decided I was not going to let this sad song overtake my day. I had to be happy.
I needed a way to make myself smile when I heard or thought of this song, rather than level me to despair.

So I simply changed the lyrics.
Now when I hear the music hit, I can't help but crack a smile.

Background info to the new lyrics: 
A few years back, my twin, Joanne, went to Peru and asked me if I wanted her to bring anything back for me. Normally I would ask for the tackiest keychain she could find, but since she was headed to Peru, I had to ask for something that I had always wanted since I heard about their existence.... a Titicaca toque! These are toques knitted by groups of men on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Some of these people actually live on islands made of reeds that could take up to a year to construct!

She did not fail

Now my wife Heather, bless her, thought I was crazy for asking for, and wearing such a thing, but she embraces my craziness, regardless of how silly I may look. Even if it may embarrass her at times.

So.... lets go back to the sad song:

Now stop crying you sissy, time to smile, and be happy.

Play that video again, and substitute the lyrics with the ones I have provided below:


I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
Because it's cold out, and I want to
I'm gonna go walk the dog for you
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

And it was knitted by hand
Way down south in Peru
By a talented man

High, by a freshwater lake
The highest one on Earth
It takes the cake

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
I'm sorry it's mine and it's not for you
I'm gonna go wear it out with you
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

And I'll be getting high-fives
You'll be so embarrassed
But I'll feel so alive

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
And I'm sorry that you didn't get one too
Let's go by ourselves to Machu Pichu (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
I'm wearing my Titicaca toque

I'm wearing my Titicaca toque
I'm wearing....

Face it, that song will never be the same to you anymore
You're welcome!
sleep well

Monday, January 13, 2014


The best memories I have of my father were watching movies with him, and the long drives we would take in cars. Growing up each summer, the family would make a road trip to see relatives in Calgary. My absolute favourite part of the trip was always the drive there and the drive back. It would always be hits from the Bollywood classic films from their golden era (the 60's and 70's).

Now most of these songs I didn't know the full lyrics too, let alone know what they were singing about, but the music and chorus from some was always instilled in my head. Perhaps it was the great background music that accompanied the drive through the Rockies.

It's been over 14 years now since his passing, and those drives are now a vivid memory, yet his old cassette tapes (and the equipment to play them, even) are long gone.

There was always one song that my dad always kept on rotation, it was on a tape that easily had to be one of his favourites. It was always playing on the road trips we would go on, and now it had been well over a decade since I had heard it. So I thought I would go on some sleuthing of my own to try to figure it out. Not just figure out the song, but also try to learn why my dad liked it so much.

Now I could have simply asked my mom or sisters about it, but I felt that this was something that I would have to discover for myself, and it would keep me from feeling all awkward if they ever asked why I was doing such a thing.

There were some clues that would help me in finding it:

1: It must come from a Bollywood film. Considering that the Bollywood film industry makes more films each year than any other film industry would make this difficult.
2: It would be from 1984 or earlier, as I believe that was the earliest that I ever heard the song.
3: It was probably from one of my dad's favourite singers, Mohammed Rafi.
4: It involved a chorus of men and was somewhat of a sad song

My best help on this was going to be the internet (youtube specifically). I figured all that I would have to do is type in "Mohammed Rafi" and go through the many songs in that man's discography. This was going to be difficult as Mohammed Rafi was one of the most recorded playback singers of all time. This first step I would do in my spare time. It took me a good 2 years in my spare time here and there to go through all of Mohammed Rafi's songs. After finding what was listed as his entire discography on piratebay, downloading it and listening to that as well, the one song I was trying to find was not there.

Some of Mohd. Rafi's songs are here:


Not a problem, really. As I was in the first year of trying to find this song and listening to Mohd Rafi sing, I also considered that this elusive song may have been sung by another. So after another year went by and I was confident now that this song was not sung by Mr. Rafi, I went back to piratebay and downloaded the entire discography of Kishore Kumar. I thought I was due to find it now, as it was 2011, and I had already been searching on and off for 2 years. And personally, I was a bigger fan of Kishore Kumar and listening to his songs would be fun anyways.

Kishore Kumar songs here:


Neither one of these singers (Mohammed Rafi or Kishore Kumar) had sung the song that I was looking for. So I stopped looking.

I was married now, there was a baby on the way, and life was going to get busier, I was not going to have so much time to find that song. Whatever was left in my memory that I had of it would have to be cherished.

So my son, Khyden, was born and life can't be any better. Parenthood is crazy and great. One weekend just a couple of months ago, one of my sister's, the Communist, had flown in from Edmonton and wanted to see the baby. So the wife, the kid and I went to my eldest sister's house (where the Communist was staying) to pay a visit. Now the Communist is the youngest of my three older sisters, and as a child, she had always had the vision of becoming a lawyer, which she had successfully done. And as my two eldest sisters and myself can attest, the Communist was definitely "daddy's girl."
She began by getting a degree in social work, went to law school and now helps in the plight of others that need it. Very determined and driven to make sure justice is served right. Kinda like a superhero, which I now realize may be a reason why her husband married her (as he is devoted to comics), but I digress.

Anyways, as we were over visiting, mom had the television turned on to watch one of her Bollywood soap operas (which are a hoot) and during one of the commercial breaks, it showed footage from the funeral of a Bollywood playback singer. His name was Manna Dey. They then began to play a handful of samples of the over 4000 songs he had recorded in his career. And that's when it hit me like a truck. His voice.

No, it wasn't the song I had been looking for these past few years, but I was certain now that the song must have been sung by Manna Dey. Not Mohammed Rafi, not Kishore Kumar. Future research revealed and Manna Dey used to be Mohammed Rafi's neighbor when they both were playback singers for the same production company. Go figure.

My drive had returned. I was now determined to find this song that had eluded me all along.

So back to youtube I went... and it only took me five minutes.

It came from a movie named "Vishwanath"
The Internet Movie Database description of the movie states: An honest lawyer, Vishwanath is implicated and imprisoned at the behest of powerful underworld don, GNK and his associates. After his release from prison, Vishwanath decides to seek vengeance, but finds out that it is virtually impossible to do this through due process of law. So he decides to change his identity, hire a gang of crooks and assassins, to carry out his vendetta.

Here's the kicker. The release date of the film was January 20, 1978.
That also happens to be the birthdate of The Communist.


Without further ado, here is the song that had eluded me all these years.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Questions from a new dad (#1)

Dear Sharon, Lois and Bram,

"One elephant went out to play,"

I get it. Elephants are cute, and we all like to play. Now imagine an elephant playing! I see where you're going. Heck, imagine if it was a baby elephant playing! The possibilities are endless. This is going to be a great song!

"Upon a spider's web one day."

Ok, hold up.

A spiderweb? First off, have you guys seen an elephant? They are big.
Secondly, when's the last time anyone went to play in a spiderweb?

Where are you going with this? Is it perhaps a tiny-pigmy elephant that is yet to be discovered? Because that would be the cutest thing ever of all time imagined. But the fact that it's on a spiderweb means it is in grave danger. RUN TINY PIGMY ELEPHANT!!!

Or is this the world's largest arachnid?
I'm trying to put my kid to sleep here and you're on the verge of giving ME nightmares! If an elephant is on a spiderweb, imagine the immense proportions of the spider. And since you have stated that it is just an "elephant" I have foregone the conclusion that this is the undiscovered micro pachyderm of my dreams.
Spiders make webs not to play on, but instead to catch their prey.
You are singing about death, and by your voices, I can tell that you are smiling!

This is not nice.

So lets be realistic. An elephant going onto a spider web to play, will truly result in a sticky mess where the web is trampled and the spider is destroyed (or left homeless).

"He had such enormous fun,"

Ummmm... So let me get this straight.

He actually got on the spiderweb and there was no resulting damage?
And you still just refer to him as an elephant (no special mouse-sized breed living in the far depths of an isolateed jungle). My guess is that by your use of the word "enormous" you must be comparing his actual size to the amount of pleasure being had. Therefore it is now safe to say that he is a regular sized elephant (Asian or African, yet to be determined).

This spider is damn huge! RUN. SAVE YOURSELF!!!!!

"That he called for another elephant to come!"

Have you lost your mind!!!!!
Two elephants, on the web of death?
I do not support this motion.

The atrocities of this song have led me to discontinue any further play of this track. I fear the outcome will be too tragic for my liking and I do not wish to expose my son to the possible catastrophe lingering in the later verses.

I wish you well with your endeavors.

Good day,
Amn Johal

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Where the wild things are...

Had a funeral to attend a couple of weeks back. Friends of the family, well actually, distantly related, from my dad's side. They own a farm in Pitt Meadows, and the grandfather had just passed away. Just a month after one of his sons died, if I'm correct.

Anyways, get to the funeral home and walk up to see the body, resting all peaceful in the casket, but you can sense the cold from the skin and acknowledge that the character has left that vessel. Then I made eye-contact with one of his sons (who was a real good friend of my dad), in his late 40s, eyes glazed over.

Found a pew near the back. Far enough to limit the sound of the ladies crying in the front rows, but not too far to appear disgraceful.

After the ceremony everyone congregates in the lobby. The son finds me and walks up. Knowing that my own father had passed away 8 years ago now (seems like yesterday), he doesn't let go of my hand after the shake and asks me "how did you hold up?"

Normally I'm really quiet at things like these, but i don't know what came over me. I looked him back in the eyes and replied:

"When I was little and the family would go out on excursions to the stores or to visit friends and family, I would always reach up my hand and grab onto one of my dad's fingers. Because at that age, my dad was the strongest and bravest man in the world. No one could contend with my dad. I could walk into any jungle and know that my dad would always be there and I could always reach up and hold his hand.

Of course, as years went by, I came to know that everyone has flaws, nobody is perfect, and neither was my dad. I would rebel, go against his wishes and state that I was my own man.

But that day he died was the one moment in my life where I didn't know what to do, how to handle myself, or act like that 'man' I said I was. I was little again, and if I was to reach up for security, his hand wouldn't be there anymore. And I realized that I had gotten through those rebellious years knowing deep down inside that if I ever needed to reach up, his hand would have always been there for me.

So I hold up now, hoping I learned from him and knowing that one day I'll have my own child reaching up for my hand as they walk into that jungle. I'll try to be as strong and brave as my dad was, and I thank him everyday for that."

Been a while since I've been bear-hugged by a grown man.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My top three injuries this year

yes... i do feel like i killed the blog.

so let us start anew:

My top three injuries this year!

#3 - went bowling earlier this month (for just the 6th time in my life) and apparently had a few beers to boot. picked a large size bowling ball (size 15) and threw it down the lane, knocked down four pins. Went back to the ball rack to pick the ball up and try my spare... but it wasn't there... so i spun other bowling balls around to see if they would fit my fingers. as i did, the ball i just threw shot out of the ball-return-machine-thingy and smashes into the end digit of my pinky finger on my left hand. yes... it hurt. three-quarters of the nail are still purple.

(side-note: had to keep calling everything "bowling balls" because if i just said "balls" reading it over, it would make me giggle)

#2 - HOBO SPIDER BITE FROM HELL! last month (october) somewhere... somehow.... i was bitten by a spider on the inside of my thigh. so thankful i wear briefs instead of boxers cause who knows what would have happened! anyways, leg swells, hurts to walk, then hemmorages and forms a bloodblister, which pops and leaves a whole in my leg that i could stick my finger into... the scab finally fell off yesterday... and now the skin around the bite is remarkably smooth since all the dead skin from the bite removed all the hair. anyways... google-image "hobo spider bite" and you'll see what it looked like... which also scares me... because after all... when was i bit? in bed? while leading ghost walks? was it in my locker and made home in my costume pants? *shudder*

#1 - SALIVARY CALCULI!!!!.... never in my life have i experienced such continuous pain than when i had my left salivary gland blocked by a buildup of calcium. who would have thought that something that small would hurt me more than the time i blew my knee. i don't even wish this to happen to my worst enemies. brought tears to my eyes.

so there you have it... i'mma try to write more often now.