Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heaven in Mudville.

It is always darkest just before the dawn.

It is always a dark day when my baseball season comes to an end, as it did on August, 15. And, that particular day was made even darker by how it ended (See Losing isn't Nothing). But no season-ending game, regardless of outcome, is as deeply dark as the day that I finally decide to put my baseball equipment in storage, for the winter. Now, that's dark.

I never do it right away. Every year I hold out for a few weeks...just in case. Some people call it denial. I call it "waiting for the dawn". But, eventually, reality gives me a swift kick in the pants and, with a great sigh, I lay my batting gloves flat, brush off my cleats...and kiss my glove goodbye. Then, zipping up my sports bag, I begin the long walk down into the dark abyss known as my basement.

I know the dawn will come, but I've just slowly come to accept the fact that the "darkest" time of my life happens to be nine months long. So you can imagine my shock and ecstatic joy, when I was invited to play in an all-day baseball tournament last week! Are you serious! The dawn had come early!

Hey, I knew it was only a "one-day" dawn, but there would be nothing keeping me from this opportunity. I grabbed my bag from the basement and, no word of a lie, when I opened it up...a beam of light burst from it and I heard the angelic choirs singing.

Last Saturday morning, I woke up, gathered my things and headed off for one last kick at the can. It was a little overcast and cool, but a month earlier I had played all day in the sweltering heat of mid-August...this was like a vacation.

When I first arrived at the ball field, there was good news and bad news. The good news: The diamonds had dirt in-fields. Dirt in-fields! I haven't played on a good dirt diamond in a long time. I've been doing head first slides on gravel for as far back as I can remember. This was going to be SWEET! The bad news: The "No sliding" rule.

That is a dumb rule. Period.

For our team, the tournament started with introductions, because it had been assembled with a whole lot of spare parts. I only knew three of my team mates and, in fact, not even the team's architect knew everybody. First impressions. We'd be...competitive. To what extent, I had no clue. It was a "one-off" Tournament, so there wasn't even any knowledge about the quality of the other teams.

And, there wasn't much time for ice-breaking, because I'd say that within 20-minutes of introductory handshakes, we had already taken the field for game one. At the end of that game we had our first victory and...I still didn't know the first name of one of our fielders.

Game two was a big win, as we shut out what appeared to be a pretty good team. I'd say, for an ad-hoc team playing against teams that clearly had competed together in the past, we were quite happy...if not surprised, by our 2-0 start.

But, if there was any pride beginning to well up inside of us, it was quickly exterminated. The next team gave us as sound a beating as we had just delivered. With our record now at 2-1, we weren't happy, and we weren't alone. Apparently, the Heavens were on our side, because at the start of game four...the sky dumped every drop of water that it had stored up. It absolutely poured!

Now, I'll play baseball in any weather, but even I will admit that playing in a down pour, on a chilly September afternoon, wears on you quickly. Unless you're a polar bear, being cold and wet just isn't a desirable condition to be in. But the sign clearly read "Rain or Shine", so on we played...to a six-six tie.

With the first round of competition over, we were sporting a 2-1-1 record and looking like drowned rats.












There was no joy in Mudville. I don't think any of us thought our record was enough to get us into the play-off round...and I don't think any of us really would have cared. We'd already been playing ball for six hours, the playoffs could keep us there for another three hours...and the rain was not about to let up. At all!

Guess what? We advanced to the next round. The game face was put back on and two games later, this rag-tag team - with every muscle seized and even our bones wet - were in the finals!

And, quite honestly, I didn't think we'd ever be there. But, I figured, now that we were...we better just win the whole thing. After all, it would be very depressing to lose AND die of pneumonia the next day.

We lost. I didn't die. I felt like I was going to die...but I didn't. It was a GREAT day!

After my glove had dried, I packed away my stuff. Only eight months until dawn...hopefully, my bones will be dry by then.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Blast from the past!

On Thursday, I felt like I had entered some sort of Time Warp...or maybe Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine.

The day started all normal like. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and, during the night, the cats had peed on my shoes. There was nothing to suggest that this day would be unlike any other. And, there was certainly nothing that could have prepared me for the weird and wonderful thing I was about to experience.

My son, Connor, and I went out for a short walk. All was as it should be, until...the "thing" appeared. I wasn't quite sure what it was - it was still fairly far off - but there was something about it. Something...inviting. Yet, I was wary. I remember trying to hold Connor close as we approached it, but he kept trying to scurry ahead...as kids are want to do.

What was this strange object? It was so unfamiliar, but at the same time...familiar. It seemed to be a relic of a some lost civilization. An eerie reminder of a time long past. A world long forgotten.
With one hand keeping my curious son at a safe distance, I reached out the other...slowly. My eyes widened. Was it what I thought it was? Could it be? Would it even be possible? It looked like some sort of...writing machine. Maybe an ancient tool that helped our ancestors communicate?

With my hands now resting on it, I was in a state of both disbelief and belief. Yes, it was! It shouldn't be...but it was. Now, I'm not so sure I would have known what was sitting before me, had it not been for that High School History class that I attended...once.

Because, I had seen this thing before...in a text book. I remember the picture vividly. A family gathered around. Smiles on the children's faces. A lady...elegant but simple, with her hands placed on..."it". The machine. The writing machine. Oh, what did they call this primitive processor of words? Then it came to me. And, without thinking, I blurted out "Type Writer!"

I obviously had been entranced because I, only then, realized that Connor was now right down beside the type writer, hitting the keys with the curiosity and excitement that only a seven-year old can muster. I think there is something about seeing an item from long ago that is even more amazing than seeing a space ship.
Connor begged me to let him take it home and...I eventually gave in to his persistence. Man, those old machines are heavy!
1 pleading child + 1 heavy machine + 1 softy father = 1 slipped disk.
I risked my long term posture so that my kid could play with a turn of the century writing device. Okay, I wanted to play with it too. It was pretty awesome.

It has this little bell that would ring, whenever I reached the end of my page, and I had to manually push the carriage back, every time I wanted to start another line. In the "olden" days, even typing was exercise. I was pushing the carriage so often that I wondered if it was possible to get Carpal Tunnel in your elbow.
If I typed too fast, all those little hammers with the letters on them, would clog up. Very cool! Sometimes I would just type as quick as I could, so that I could watch them collide in this mass of metal...and then peel them back one at a time. Every once in a while, when the letter didn't appear on the page, I'd have to "back space" and type the same letter again...but harder.
Finally, I let Connor play with it...not because I was done, but because of his incessant whining about having "his turn". Kids today. They can't even wait patiently for a measly three hours.
But, Connor also had a blast with this "blast from the past". In fact, when he found out that I was going to let him keep it, he did a song and dance number that would rival anything on Broadway...except maybe Phantom.
I thought it would be great to type out today's blog on that old machine, and some how post it here. But, unfortunately, by the time I came up with that idea...Connor and I had used up all the ink on the ribbon. I tried to get more, but Home Depot was sold out...for the last 25 years.
Anyways, had I typed my blog out, here's what part of it would have looked like...

...only it would have been longer and with real words.
Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, September 25, 2009

Heidi's Gift

I have a wonderful wife...I think that's important. And it definitely takes a very special woman to completely embrace all that makes me...me.

I mean, I'll be honest with ya, there are some pretty quirky habits associated with being me. For one, I wear wool socks to bed...in the summer. Then I lie on top of the covers complaining about hot it is.

There is also my mind. It's sound and all...at least I think it is - I've never had an official assessment, but it does tend to produce some pretty "interesting" thought processes. If you follow my blog at all, you'd already be aware of this.

And, every now and then I do things that raise an eyebrow...or two. Presently, I have six "electronic pass" bracelets on my wrist, from Great Wolf Lodge (our family's happy place). The oldest band, at the time of this entry, is 15 months old. It's a little tattered, but still in tact.



I'm not quite sure what Heidi thinks every morning when she wakes up and sees me lying there. But, amazingly, she continues to stand by me in whatever I do.

Heidi has never asked me to take the bracelets off, even though she rolls her eyes every time it becomes a conversation piece, with friends and...strangers.

At Easter, my wife lets me dress up in costumes - from bunny outfits to blue sequin shirts - and dance in the street, as the parade passes in front of our house. She usually buries her head out of embarrassment...but she still lets me do it.

When I left the house early one morning, to audition to be a Deal or No Deal briefcase model, my wife sighed in disbelief, but kissed me and told me to "Have a good day.", anyways.

Just recently, she let me spend countless hours writing three blogs about...my celebrity crushes. And then she let me post it publicly! She's an awesome woman...and thankfully very secure.

Then, earlier this year, when I called home from out West, to inform her that I was considering pursuing stand-up comedy full-time...she didn't even hesitate. She gave me two thumbs up and off we went.

Over the last seven months, I've been "actively" laying the foundation for, what I hope to be, a career in the world of entertainment. It has always been a dream of mine. From my earliest years, all I've really wanted to do is make people laugh. To put a smile on some one's face by something I say or do...or wear, is one of the most satisfying things for me to do, for there is great healing in laughter.
This God-given desire is deeply ingrained in me and comes out, very naturally, in my every day life, but now is the time to pursue it as a vocation. One that will include live performance, video and...writing. So, if you have found any of my blogs, the least bit, entertaining...please pass them on to others.
Heidi and I are both, wholeheartedly, convinced that this is what we should be doing, and believe me, it is that unity that, not only makes it easier to be on what is a pretty tough road, but is crucial for any hope of success. For there is NO way I could be doing any of what I am doing or planning to do, without the absolute total support of Heidi.
She is working her tail off so that I can chase my dream and I can not express to you how much I appreciate her understanding and willingness to go down this road with me. After all, it is my dream she is following. But, Heidi is always telling me that she is my "biggest fan" and, despite the fact that she doesn't laugh at anything I do...I believe her. I really do.

Last week, our family went for our regular evening walk - which we try to do whenever possible, and stopped in at Coles Bookstore (one of our favourite checkpoints). The kids love it there. We all just wander around and look at books.

I was reading the back cover of some manual, about 10-steps to perfect health, when Jade, my oldest daughter, came over. I think it was around the time I realized that these were the same 10-steps that had been in every other health book...just in a different order. But, Jade had a book in her hand that she thought I'd be much more interested in: GI JOE vs. COBRA: The Essential Guide.

I love GI JOE, but I'll spare you those details...for now. Anyways, the book was awesome. It had every character and vehicle, depicted in colour photos and described in detail. I flipped through the pages, desperately soaking in everything I could, because I knew I wasn't going to buy it. It was too much. We're on a tight budget. Contrary to popular belief, there's not a whole lot of money in the early stages of the comedy biz.

Anyways, as I was about to put it back on the shelf, Heidi came by. She asked what I was doing. I told her I was putting the book back. She told me to buy it. I said no. She said yes. I said no. Any married person will recognize this conversational pattern.

Then, she took the book off the shelf, shoved it into my hands, looked me right in the eyes and said, quietly, but intensely "buy it...you deserve it." And with that, Heidi did what most people can't do...she left me speechless.

I have the best wife in the world! Heidi believes the book was a gift. But I can tell you that it was her words that were the true gift, and more so... her tremendous unwavering support of me and my dream.

Heidi, thanks so much for the amazingly beautiful gift...and the book.
I love you very much.
Following OUR dream,
Tim

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Anger Management

Saturday night, I was...upset. No...I was mad. Actually "angry", would be a better word. Well, maybe "furious". Okay, I was absolutely livid. In fact, I was beside myself, boiling over, enraged, fuming, incensed, steamed, hopping mad, on the warpath and even, dare I say it, fit to be tied...um, maybe not "fit to be tied", but close to it!

What I'm trying to say, is that if it wasn't for Thesaurus.com, I wouldn't have been able to come up with an appropriate description for how I was feeling.

Now, I'm sure I've experienced similar emotions over my life time, but there is no particular incident that I can recall, at the moment. What I do know, is that I haven't been THAT ticked in at least nine years because my wife, of nine years, told me that she had never seen me like that before.

I've never been considered an "angry" person, even before I was married, but growing up I was very well known for the occasional explosion of negative emotional energy. Usually it was in the context of someone winning a competition...and that someone wasn't me.

And even though people were sometimes...mostly, the reason behind my outbursts of frustration, my anger has never manifested itself as a direct personal attack. In other words, I've never thrown a punch (at a person) or attempted to provoke a physical confrontation. But, in the past, I have punched a wall, thrown a chair (and bike) down a flight of stairs as well as tossed a ball through my family's front window. During my early days, my baseball glove, tennis racket and golf clubs amassed more air miles than some travellers I know. And, of course, there is the gymnasium that still, after all these years, has many holes in the ceiling because of my bad habit of tossing hockey sticks, javelin-esque, upwards, whenever the other team scored a goal in a floor hockey game.

Over the years, as I've grown and matured and have learned to handle the frustrating moments that come across my path, a lot better. I am proud to say that most people in my life now, would have no clue that I ever had any sort of issues with anger management.

But back to Saturday. And for those who think that I'm about to tell you I punched somebody out...sorry, but my "punchless" streak is still intact and...nothing even went flying. In fact, I think I handled my angriest moment of the last decade with incredible composure. It was not perfect, mind you. There was the slammed door and the obscenity laced rant (by obscene, I obviously mean "gosh darn", "golly gee" and "for Pete's sake"!).

At first I sat quietly...for a long time. I was in absolute disbelief at what I had just witnessed. My mouth hung open so long that my tongue started to dry out and I know my rate of "blinking" had dropped to ZBM (zero blinks per minute). My children sat quietly, as well...waiting for me to explain what happened. Then I told them...and they let out deep sighs of relief, "Oh, we thought someone had died"...and turned away. My eyes bugged out! Didn't they hear what I just said!!!!

I quickly left, that unsympathetic room, and went up stairs. My wife, who happened to be there, was able to witness the transformation, from shocked to infuriated, enter it's final stage. Heidi tells me that she wasn't sure what to do or say, that's why she, like the kids, also sat in silence. Eventually, I got up from there, as well...and went for a "walk". Cue the slammed door - which one of my kids said shook the house - and the rant.

It wasn't a long walk. I knew venting wasn't going to change the situation and if I wanted to somehow rectify the problem, then I had to get back home before it was too late.

So...what happened? What was it that caused my Angriest Moment of the Decade? Well...my blog got deleted. Yep. That's it. A deleted blog entry. Now, I don't trust computers in general, and I've lost information before, but the circumstances around this particular deletion is what put me over the edge.

First of all, I had invested over eight hours into that blog. Eight Hours! That is a lot of "crafting" that was gone...like that! But, it wasn't so much the loss of time that hurt, as much as it was the loss of those golden "one liners". You know, the ones that were an "in the moment thing"! Would I be able to recover those from the back of my mind? Oh, I hoped so.

But here is the kicker. This is what, not only pushed me off the bridge, but picked me up, spun me around and then...threw me off the bridge. Ready? I lost my blog...while trying to save it. You see, I was attempting to copy and paste it into a word document, for safe keeping...and then, while highlighting the text, it just disappeared...all of it! That's okay, just push the "Undo" button, right? Right...if there was an "Undo" button!

What kind of writing template does not include an "Undo" button!? How can you not have an "Undo" button?! Who in their right mind creates a writing program that can't "Undo" mistakes?That's ridiculous! Everyone has an "Undo" button! I was beside myself!

And THEN! While I was frantically trying to find some sort of "Undo" system to restore my text...the program decided that now would be a good time to extend a helping hand and...Auto-save my work for me!

Why did it do this? I suppose it was so I don't accidentally lose everything. Yet, in a odd twist of fate, it just Auto-saved...MY LOSS OF EVERYTHING!

Are you kidding me! Not only do you NOT have an "Undo" button, but you Auto-save the things I need to "Undo".

GOSH DARN! GOLLY GEE! FOR PETE'S SAKE!!!!

Anyways, I'm better now. I did get the blog re-written and more-so (a whole lot of hours later) and I think it's really good. In fact, I ended up cutting it up into three blogs and if you've already read about My Celebrity Crushes, over the last few days, then you've seen the result of my work.

If you haven't caught the three-part series...please read it. It will make me feel like it was all worth it.

Have a good one,

Timmy

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Celebrity Crushes - Part 3

Welcome to part 3 of Timmy's All-time Celebrity Crush Countdown. If you haven't yet read the first installments of the series, please take a few minutes to check out "My Celebrity Crushes" Parts 1 and 2. You can go directly to Part 1 by clicking here.

When I first sat down to compile my list, these were the first two names I wrote down. And despite the list growing, never once were either of them in danger of losing their positions in the rankings. In fact, I think they were the only two that, during the ranking shifts, didn't move...at all!

Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the two celebrities that, at one time, held my heart in the palm of their hands...Number two is:




TWO


For ten years, the king of the NBC Thursday Night Lineup was the sitcom Friends. For the early part of those years, Jennifer Aniston was the queen, and friend, of my heart.




2. Jennifer Aniston

Rachel Green - Friends (94-04)


In 1993, I remember seeing Jennifer in the movie, Leprechaun, which could possibly be the worst movie ever...ever made (with Howard the Duck a close 2nd). It was no the least bit surprised that Jennifer almost quit acting after that movie was released. Of course, if she had, she never would have made this list. But in 1994, Friends exploded into the world's consciousness and Rachel Green into Timmy's consciousness.

I never really liked the show. I just endured countless episodes, so I could be with my best friend Rachel. In fact, the show usually gave me a headache. I would spend almost every one of those 30-minutes shaking my head, in disbelief, over the whole Rachel-Ross relationship. I hated Ross.

When the writers eventually decided to hook them up with each other...I think I threw up.

Even though Rachel changed her hair style more often than most people change their socks, my heart never wavered. In fact, it would be fair to say that by the end of the third season, she probably could have shaved her head and still made it, at least, into my Top Five. Mind you, if she had put a bone through her nose, that would've killed it....maybe.


Jennifer Aniston: My number two celebrity crush of all-time.


We have finally made it to number one! This next celebrity crush was formed 25 years ago, and although there have been quite a number of crushes that have come and gone over that period of time, there were none that ever came close to matching it.

Who held my heart like no other celebrity before her or after...




Timmy's #1 All-time Celebrity Crush

ONE


In the mid-to late eighties there was really only one celebrity that had my heart in knots. The star of Who's the Boss?, and boss of my heart, was the lovely and talented...Alyssa Milano.




1. Alyssa Milano


Samantha Micelli - Who's the Boss (84-92)


When Who's the Boss hit the airwaves, Samantha Micelli was introduced to my world, and I welcomed her with open arms. Being eleven years old and in prime "crush" mode, this certainly wasn't my first crush, but this was by far the most intense one. It was absolutely electric! I was completely and utterly captivated by her smile and New York accent. In the 80's, Alyssa Milano was the cutest girl in the entire...universe!

She was the only celebrity that I ever had "pictures" of. A friend of mine cut a bunch of glamour shots of Alyssa out of some of her teen magazines, to give to me (she kept all the Kirk Cameron ones for herself). Back then, it was one of the nicest gifts I could have ever received. I kept them in a nice little folder for safe keepings.

Alyssa and I were the same age (actually, she's older by seven months...and two days), so we were, essentially, growing up together. For a pre-teen boy, this meant that the crush wasn't going to fade any time soon...and it didn't.

I remember in High School, probably grade nine, a class mate told me that he actually knew Alyssa Milano. Now, it could have just been a "story", which teenage boys are apt to tell, but I pressed him about it anyways...just in case. He said he even knew how to contact her, but wasn't sure if he should pass that information out. I eventually convinced him to give me the 10 digits of her phone number...in any order he wanted, which he did.

I have no idea if those scrambled numbers actually held Alyssa Milano's phone number, because there were a lot of combinations that I had to dial. Not that I didn't try, it's just that saying, "Sorry, wrong number" over a hundred times, starts to really wear you down. But, can you imagine if I had made contact! Now, THAT would've been an interesting blog.

For me, Alyssa Milano was the crush of all celebrity crushes. The crush I had on her had strength in both longevity and intensity. Since I'm married now...and don't have celebrity crushes anymore (right dear)...Alyssa Milano will forever hold the Number One spot in Timmy's All-time Celebrity Crush Countdown.

Well, there it is. My heart on a silver platter. I absolutely loved writing this countdown and hopefully you enjoyed reading it. If you did...tell others about it. Maybe it will help them bring back some memories as it did for me.

But before we end, I would like to leave you with some honourable mentions. These are the crushes that just didn't make the cut:

Tracey Gold (Carol Seaver), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) and Bea Arthur (Maude).

Bea was #11. I tried...but I just couldn't find a spot for her.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Celebrity Crushes - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of Timmy's All-time Celebrity Crush Countdown. If you missed Part 1, please take a few moments to check it out by clicking here.

Now it is time to find out which celebrities made the top half of my list. And from this point on, the crushes increase exponentially. Here we go, starting at number 5:




FIVE


In the early eighties, The Dukes of Hazzard were crashing cars at an alarming rate. At the same time, Daisy Duke was raising my heart beat to an alarming rate.




5. Catherine Bach


Daisy Duke - Dukes of Hazzard (79-85)


I don't think there are any guys, in my age bracket, that watched the Dukes, who wouldn't have Daisy on their Top Five All-time Celebrity Crush list. And, if you were to put yourself in the shoes of a pre-pubescent boy, at the height of the Duke years, you'd know what I'm talking about.

I mean, here was a girl who, not only, loved cars but could drive one with the best of them. Daisy could pull a U-turn on dime or jump a gorge, if she needed to. She could sweet talk ya into anything and knock ya senseless if you tried anything. She was just a good ol' girl with her good ol' boys and her good ol' Uncle Jesse.

And then there were the shorts. We can't forget the shorts. Those are legendary! Daisy Duke's shorts are as iconic as Fonzie's leather jacket. And, say what you want about the kind of message wearing shorts like that sends to impressionable young boys, but back in 1983...I was just watching the show, not analyzing it.




FOUR


In 1996, the most popular girl band ever (no, not the Bangles) burst onto the world stage, and the one they called "Posh" burst into my heart.



4. Victoria Adams (Beckham)


Posh Spice - Spice Girls (96-01)


Growing up, I spent a lot of time playing sports and watching TV, so music never really became an obsessive interest for me...until Miss Adams and her friends caught my ear...




"Yo, I'll tell you what you want, what I really, really want!

So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want!"


...and my eyes.

Posh was...hot (I'm just telling it like it was). And there was something very mysterious about her, that I was incredibly intrigued by. She wasn't a "bad girl" - that was Ginger, but she wasn't a "good girl" either - that was Baby. She seemed aloof, yet had this inviting sparkle in her eye. And then there was the...pout. That was it. The pout. It was enough to make my heart melt.

I may have been a closet Spice Girl fan, in regards to the music, but whenever a debate arose (and there were a lot of them back then) about who the best group member was, I was always the first to push through to the front, to defend my Posh!

When the Spice Girl Reunion was on tour in 2007, I wanted tickets really bad. Of course, no one believed me and I never ended up getting any. Oh well, I'll always have Spice World.



THREE


In the second season of Survivor, 16 strangers were stranded in the Australian outback and, the unbelievably adorable, Elisabeth was stranded in my heart.



3. Elizabeth Filarski (Hasselbeck)


Elisabeth - Survivor (2001)


The first season of Survivor had piqued my interest enough, that I was willing to give Season Two a real shot at impressing me. It didn't disappoint. It was a great show, but I think the cute little blond from Boston helped push it over the line to...Super-great!

She was just so...Super-sweet! That bright smile, those innocent eyes and the pig tails. She was a 21st Century Mary Ann. Here was an All-American girl, competing in a game of betrayal and deception and, not only, surviving...but thriving. This "girl next door" had some spunk...and I liked it. When she finally did get voted off I was devastated.

Most celebrity crushes happen very quickly and are fanned into bigger flames as the years of exposure increase. That's what makes my Elisabeth crush so astounding. She was only on Survivor for three months, yet the intensity of the crush was so strong, it warranted putting her in my Top Three. Who knows where she would have ended up ranking if she had agreed to go on Survivor All Stars.

Well, we're almost there! You now know some of the celebrity crushes who cracked my Top Five. But there are still two more to go. Who holds the Number #1 and #2 spots in Timmy's All-time Celebrity Crush Countdown?

Go to Part 3 to find out! Do you think you know who they are? If so, please post a comment. I'd like to see if anyone can figure it out.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Celebrity Crushes - Part 1

Celebrity Crushes! Who hasn't had a celebrity crush...or two...or more? Well, I've never been the obsessive stalking type, but I certainly have experienced my share of crushes. Last week (see Sep.17), I promised that I would reveal the stars, of big screen and small, who at some point in my life had taken up a spot of prominence, in my heart. I figured, why wait. So after a long weekend of intense study and reflection I have put together...THE list.

It was not an extremely hard list to compile, but there were some inner battles, when it came to the rankings. I mean really, how does one rank a crush? I ended up considering things like longevity, intensity and...well, what felt right.

It took a lot longer to write than I thought it would, and I even found myself doing a last minute re-ranking at the bottom of the list (today's entry), late last night. But this was a very cool project to undertake. It brought back so many memories of this young boy growing up and discovering the wonderful world of girls. Which is simply a part of the life process, because I ended up marrying one - not a celebrity crush, but definitely a girl.

However, before I could post my crush list, I had to first run it passed my true number #1 crush, who is also my lovely wife of nine years (see Sep.2). After confirming that the list contained only crushes that were experienced before our marriage (except for one...which she's fine with), I have now been given permission to tell the world.

The entire list has been completed and over the next three days, my heart will be laid bear, right before your eyes.

Today (Monday) - #10 thru #6
Tuesday - #5 thru #3
Wednesday - #2 and #1

With all that said...here we go:








Timmy's
All Time Celebrity Crush Countdown

10. Elizabeth Ann Hulette


Miss Elizabeth - World Wrestling Federation (85-92)

The "First Lady" and darling of the wrestling world, Miss Elizabeth was a striking figure of beauty amidst a sea of brawn. In a "sport" that featured Alpha Males cracking each other over the head with metal chairs, and where the only real woman presence was "The Fabulous Moolah" (who wasn't that fabulous), Elizabeth was an anomaly. Always the lady, she came to the ring dressed extremely well and carrying herself with class. Today's women wrestlers should take a page from the darling's book.

9. Alison R. Hart Burnett


Lady Jaye - GI Joe: Real American Hero (85-91)

Yes, I know she's a cartoon, but she was an incredibly beautiful, tough and smart cartoon. I was a huge GI Joe fan growing up and Lady Jaye was definitely a crush. But I kept it very well hidden, by talking so much about guys like Gung-Ho, Snake Eyes and Firefly. Lady Jaye was a Covert Operative...she would have been so proud of me.

8. Lynda Carter
Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) - Wonder Woman (75-79)

How did Lynda Carter get on this list? That is one thing I don't have to wonder! Lynda Carter was a "wonder woman"! A former beauty pageant winner, playing an Amazon princess who could block bullets with her wrists and flew an invisible jet. Really, is there anything more crush worthy than that! I often wished I could have been caught in her golden "truth" lasso...Just to be close to her...sigh.

7. Jan Smithers


Bailey Quarters - WKRP in Cincinnati (78-82)

For most people, the beauty of WKRP was found sitting behind the reception desk, but not me. I was completely enamoured with the hidden gem that was Bailey Quarters. Just one of the guys, Bailey was never noticed for her crazy good looks. But, for this young boy, dressing down couldn't hide the natural beauty behind the large framed glasses. If I had a baby girl, I would have named her, "Bailey".

6. Dawn Wells


Mary Ann - Gilligan's Island (64-67)

The original theme song for Gilligan's Island never mentions Mary Ann. She, along with the Professor, was simply listed as, "all the rest". But it was never that way, in my mind. For me, it was always the wholesome farm girl from Kansas and...all the rest. Apparently, the question, "Ginger or Mary Ann?" is often used in pop-psychology to determine something about men and their desires. Well, if there are any psychologists reading my entry, analyze this: "Ginger who?"


*Go to Part 2

Well, there you have it. The celebrity crushes that round out my Top Ten. Tune in tomorrow to find out what celebrity crushes I ranked higher. If you think you have some ideas of who they may be, please post a comment...I'd be very interested in your predictions. I think there will be some surprises.




Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, September 18, 2009

Survivor: A play by play. (*spoiler alert)

*A play by play account of Episode One, Season 19 of Survivor*


7:50pm Do you know where your kids are? I do. Well, not your kids...but I know mine are sitting with me, getting ready to watch Survivor.

7:59pm One minute to go...Oh, please don't let the President of the United States decide he wants to address the people. Not now!

8:00pm Here it comes...I think I'm going to cry.

8:05pm Where were the traditional opening credits? Very disorientating. I always pick who I think will win immediately after those credits roll. Well, here I go anyway. Ladies and Gentlemen, the winner of Survivor Samoa will be...

*Spoiler Alert*

I'm about to tell you who is going to outwit, outplay and outlast. From the opening credits, I have successfully picked a finalist in five of the last six seasons and the ultimate winner three times. Yep, that's right. So take it the bank people.

Congratulations...ERIK!

8:10pm Who is this lady with the mullet? Did she say her name was "Shambo"? This self professed "People Magnet" is so...gone! Not a chance, in Samoa, that she gets even half way.

8:15pm I love when decisions are made on first impressions, alone. First, the team has to pick the leader of your group just by looking at everyone. That's great! Russell. Mick. Sorry guys. The appointed leader doesn't tend to last very long. People are a fickle bunch. When things go sour, they'll blame you...even though they put you in power without your consent. Keep your bags close. They want you now, because you look strong and wise, but in a few weeks, they'll boot your strength and wisdom off the island, because that's what weak people do when they feel inferior.

Now, the leader needs to pick a team based on first impressions...Really!? "Shambo" is perceived to be the smartest...Mick obviously believes in the theory that "looks can be deceiving". This team is toast!

8:17pm Our first winning team. Mick comes out looking like a genius and John (the rocket scientist) looks like a wally. Obviously, Survivor isn't rocket science, so chalk up John as one of the early victims.

And for the record...Erik (my pick) has just been identified as having the "heart of a lion". Hello! Take it home, my friend.

8:20pm This Russell guy is funny. He's making alliances with four different women. What a schemer...and a pig.

8:23pm Rocket Man (John) isn't making any friends. If Ralph Kramden, from the Honeymooners, was on the island it would be "Too the moon!" for this buffoon.

*if you don't know the Honeymooners, you've missed out on some classic comedy.

8:26pm So, this Russell guy has lied through his teeth, emptied every one's water bottles and burned their socks in the fire. It's only episode one...and he's done all this to his own team. If that's not the perfect team mate, I don't know what is.

8:29pm I like Russell! I can see why he's already listed on the Survivor website as a "villain". He's a slimy fella. There will be many who will cringe and boo him every time he does something, but not me. TV needs villains. If Superman didn't have Lex Luthor, he goes from being a heroic figure to a weirdo in tights.

Right before commercial break, Russell said, "I don't need the money, I just want to show people how easy it is to win this game." That's great statement, but he won't win (and not just because I picked Erik). He's already made mistakes. He's been too crafty for his own good. His first mistake was being overly chummy, so early. His second mistake was aligning with Betsy, the police officer. "Hey Russell, you should have stayed with the "dumb blonds" (those were his words, not mine). He's such a charmer, eh.

8:32pm What's with Ben's 1980's "Flash Dance" outfit. Those shorts are too short! In fact, am I missing something? A few of the guys are wearing short shorts. Is that really the style now a days? If so...I'm glad to be out of style!

8:34pm First immunity challenge. Hey, the idol looks like the Predator, from the movie...Predator. It's a freaky looking thing.

8:39pm GALU wins and they even have a team chant. "Galu is in the house!" Actually, you`re in the wilderness, but thanks for trying.

8:40pm The guy with the belly and beard-like thing...Mike...he was just standing there like a lump on a log..he is so heading home! No...I take that back. He's done nothing, so that also means that he hasn't stood out. I doubt half his team even knows that he exists, so he'll live to fight another day. Although, I don`t think the man has much fight in him. He's definitely got a lot of potato chips and pizza...but no fight.

8:44pm Whoa! Back from commercial and who is front and center? The beard and belly guy! He wants the team to vote off the weakest link. Ah...that's probably you, Mike. He begs to differ and says it's Ashley...and, surprisingly, people are listening to him! And to think I almost picked Ashley to win.

Oh oh. Poor Russell. The evil little man is already being outed by Marissa, who by his account is "the dumbest player" he's ever seen. He's also calling himself "The Puppet Master". Pride comes before the fall. And I think Betsy and her "women's intuition" is going to be the one to make him fall.

8:48pm TRIBAL COUNCIL! The moment we've all been waiting for. And...I just realized that there are 20 players in the game. It took me 48 minutes to notice it. That's a lot of players. There's gonna have to be some crazy twists, in this season, in order to widdle that down in time.

So, "Who's the weakest link? Marissa or Ashley. Oh, there goes Ben, shooting his mouth off again. That man is a loose cannon and an idiot. Glad I didn't pick him either.

Six votes Marissa. Three votes Ashley. Goodbye Marissa.

8:54pm "The Puppet Master" wanted Marissa to go. Looks like he's got some sway after all. But there are obviously some people who aren't playing the role of the puppet. But who? I think the cop is one? Marissa is the other...unless she voted for herself to go. If she did then I will anoint the Puppet Master as king!

8:57pm Marissa voted for Ashley. Police Officer Betsy voted for Ashley. And...Mick voted for Ashley. I see a power struggle coming down the pipe. Mick and Russell. The All American Boy v. Diablo (as my son has already started calling him).

9:00pm Well, another season has begun. The pieces are in play. It has some interesting characters and some real potential. But, sadly...no Elisabeth. Sigh.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Season Premiere: Survivor. It's like Christmas Eve!

There are a few days in every year that I really, really...really look forward to. These are days that are circled on my calender from the moment the date has been announced. Here they are, in no particular order:

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Baseball Tournament Day, "American Birthday Celebration" (family gathering in Aug.), "American Thanksgiving" (family gathering in Nov.), "American Christmas" (family gathering in Jan.) AND,

The Season Premiere of Survivor

I LOVE Survivor and...I get my fix twice a year! It is the only show on television that I actually set aside time to watch. Tonight...is Survivor Samoa. Survivor #19. NINETEEN! The first episode aired on May 31, 2000. That means my seven-year old son has not known a world without Survivor. It also means that going to my parent's home to watch the show, has been a weekly tradition for my entire married life. Incredible.

Now, although I did watch Season 1, it was only in passing, and I can only recall pieces of it. But from the moment Season 2 began...I was HOOKED! For the first three months, every Thursday was like a piece of Heaven. Until...April 26, 2001. I call it "Black Thursday". Is it really any surprise that it was Episode #13? On that evening, around 8:45pm, I was huddled on my parent's couch, clutching a pillow in my arms, watching the final moments of the Final Four Tribal Council, when the unthinkable happened. The tribe had spoken once again and...Elisabeth's torch was snuffed out.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My blood curdling scream was probably heard for miles. Not my Elisabeth! Not now! Not ever! And definitely not before Keith, the Chef! I was devastated.

Let the whole world know: Elisabeth Filarski (now Mrs. Hasselbeck on The View) was my first Survivor crush! And 16 episodes later...she remains my ONLY Survivor crush.

I'm sure casting has tried to find the next Elisabeth, but to this point, they have failed to do so because...well, she is irreplaceable. She also sits high on my list of celebrity crushes that I'd like to meet. Next week I'll reveal the list.

Anyways, it wasn't just Elisabeth. I love everything about Survivor.

I'm a watcher and studier of people, so I am intrigued by the social interaction and dynamics that are involved.

Since, I'm a thinker, I love that, although it is an incredibly physical game, muscles don't guarantee success. It is a chess game played in an athletic arena.

Being a lover and student of film & television, I am amazed at the sheer magnitude of the production behind it all.

As a competitor, I am engaged by the wide variety of team and individual challenges.

And...I love Jeff Probst, Survivor's iconic host. At the same time, I am also incredibly jealous of him. He holds one of the two best jobs in the entire world (Ryan Seacrest, of American Idol, holds the other). These are by far the sweetest gigs around.

If I can't be host of Survivor, then I want to be a contestant! I had the form all filled out a few years ago, but then I read the small print. "Only American residents need apply". I've since discovered that all the good reality shows have that same rule of eligibility. Personally, I think it's a conspiracy to keep me out...so I don't clean up!

Now, once I get my papers for Dual Citizenship (which I am eligible for), and Heidi agrees to move to the U.S. (which she is considering), then it will be time to unfold my MASTER PLAN.

First, I send in my three-minute Survivor audition video. An absolutely awesome piece of work it will be. Second, I accept my invitation to the show. And then, once on the show...it plays out like this: Day one on the island, I put together an irritating streak like no other contestant has been able to achieve before. Why? Because plan "A" is to be voted out...first.

Now, if I just lost you...hear me out. You see, if I get voted out, they can't send me home or else people will know I got kicked off, so I think they keep the "non-winners" out there, somewhere. So, I figure, by getting voted out #1, instead of having to spend a month eating gross things, pulling muscles and sleeping beside grumpy, smelly people...I get to go on vacation.

But that's not the best part. After my vacation, when the show airs, my name and picture will appear in millions of households every Thursday for months! AND, in the live reunion episode, Jeff always addresses the winner as well as...the 1st person voted off. Uh huh! It is then that I take a moment to publicly thank America for my 15 minutes of a fame!

It would be awesome, unless you're my wife, who thinks that this is a really bad...stupid, plan. She thinks a million dollars is worth more than 15 minutes of fame. So, we've just agreed not to talk about my plan anymore. It just gets her all irritated.

Some people have asked, "But, what if you don't get kicked off first?" That's a real good question and the answer is simple. If, for some reason, I manage to survive the first tribal council then...I just turn on the social charm and win the whole thing! Simple as that! Survivor was built for Timmy!

So, tonight...you know where I'll be. I'll be watching Survivor 19. Looking for the next Elisabeth, wishing I was Jeff Probst, and dreaming of the day that I'm on the TV, not just in front of it.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What am I thinking?

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Regrets?"...I prefer "Life Lessons"

Regrets? I have a few. Three actually. Three that I can think of. Three that can be posted on a public blog. But today, for you...only one. It happened many years ago, when I was young and insecure...as if that would be a surprise.

Yesterday's blog entry got me reminiscing about my school years and as I reflected, it didn't take too long for me to begin recalling my first - memorable - regret. It is now known as "The Hidden Glove Affair."

In my blog Losing isn't Nothing (Aug 21), I wrote about my intense love for the game of baseball. It was my sport of choice growing up. I played ball in recreation leagues, but up until grade nine, I had never considered trying out for the school team. In my first year at Danforth Tech. I made the decision to give it a shot. I was very excited about the opportunity and I remember when the first try-out was announced. I remember descending into the bowels (such a dramatic word) of the building, with my glove in hand. I remember approaching the gymnasium and seeing all the other players, who were to be my competition for a spot on the squad. Then, I remember hiding my glove behind my back and walking passed that would-be baseball team.

I never did attend the try-out. Why? Because those guys were HUGE! Monsters really. They were big, strong and fast. Athletes by every definition of the word. There were muscles on muscles...on muscles. And, they had full beards! It was very intimidating. I was not any of that. I was tiny. Mouseish really. I was scrawny, scared and silly looking. I don't think there was an ounce of muscle, or bodily hair to be found on me. I was very intimidatED. So...I walked on by.

Fast Forward. Grade 13. Baseball try outs had started and I was warming up, with some soft tosses in the gym. In that room, I stood as a three-year veteran. I had experienced my growth spurt (and a new confidence) in grade 10 and had been on the team ever since. On that particular day, I remember watching the door, every time it opened. I was eager to greet my returning team mates, for this would be our last year together, but I was also wanting to size up the new blood the moment each one entered. In came this little guy. He was small...really small. Much smaller than I had been in grade nine. But, despite his size, he proceeded to pick up a ball and began to warm up with the rest of us. I shook my head in disbelief. This little man was trying out for the team!

However, I didn't shake my head because he was trying out. I shook my head because I realized that, when I was in grade nine, those "monsters" that I had walked by were no bigger than...me!

I am not a big guy (at all) and the only monster I come close to resembling would be Grover, from Sesame Street. I do have muscles...but it's just one level of them and a half level, at that. Yet, it was guys like me who, years before, had sent "Grade nine" me scurrying off like a little mouse. Those "super-athletes" had actually just been regular sized dudes that happened to have their growth spurts early (or I was late...who knows).

Anyways, I realized that I had missed playing a year of High School ball because I was scared of...me. Embarrassing to be sure. REGRET!

But I wonder if it really is a regret? To regret is to "feel sorrow for an act that caused a loss." Do I feel sorrow for not entering that gym in grade nine? In grade nine I did. In grade 13 I did. But now? I'm not sure "sorrow" is the right word.

Do I consider it a loss? In grade nine and 13, it felt like one. But now? Not really, because I learned something from the experience. I really do believe that "falling down" is not a mistake in itself. But staying down...that's a mistake. And I, ultimately, didn't stay down.

As long as decisions are made in the present, which isn't 20-20 (unlike our ol' friend "hindsight"), then it is inevitable that we will fall. Although, it is true that with every fall there is some loss, total loss only occurs when we become crippled by constantly kicking ourselves over our error. That self-inflicted kicking is "regret" in it's truest form.

So, I change my mind. I think the term "life lesson" applies more to this situation than "regret". I don't dwell on it, or lose sleep over it. Instead, when situations in my life arise where fear and insecurity tempt me to "hide my glove"...I remember! I remember walking past, I remember feeling foolish for walking past and I remember the new little short stop, who didn't walk past...and made the team. Then, I tell fear and insecurity to walk past...as I put on my glove and enter the gym.

That's not loss...that's gain!

Have a good one,
Timmy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back to School!

Back to school! "Yipee!", say the children! "Awesome!", say the youth. "What a fantastic opportunity to expand my mind", say the young adults.

The last few weeks have seen hundreds of various educational institutions, at all levels, welcoming back their students for yet another year of teaching, training and...more teaching. With all the excitement going on around me, I couldn't help but think about how much I miss receiving a formal education. And, after much reflection, I can honestly say that the only things I miss less are getting the wooden spoon when I misbehaved, and well...that's it really. Actually, I take it back...the wooden spoon wasn't that bad. So lets put school at the top of the list of things I miss the least.

On my first day of elementary school I cried, because I wanted my mommy. On my first day of Jr. High I cried, because I didn't want to get beat up. On my first day of High School I cried, because...I didn't want to get beat up. And on my first day of College I cried, because it was going to be two-hour commute, it was still dark outside and...I didn't want to get beat up.

School was a traumatic experience and a tremendous bore...until I figured it out.

Now, its not like I wasn't good at it. I was very good at it. In fact, I was considered to be both a mathematical genius and an English scholar by the age of seven...at least, that's the way I remember it.

In elementary school I was a straight "excellent" student (they didn't use letters). As a result there were always a few "unsatisfactory" kids that were jealous. The transition from grading comments to alphabetical notations was a breeze. In Jr. High, my "excellents" had become A's... which, obviously, infuriated the, now, "D" kids. But then, I went to High School and things began to change.

In spent most of grade nine making sure that I maintained my longstanding position on the honour roll. But then, I had a "lightning strike" moment that forever altered my educational experience.

It was near the end of my grade nine year. Our morning gym class had gone golfing, as a field trip. We were on our own, but were told to return to the school after lunch and proceed with our afternoon schedule. Lunch took a little longer than expected, so the other members of my foursome figured, since we were running late, why not just...skip the first class. WHOA there! Skip the class!? They might as well have asked me to steal an elderly ladies purse, right out of her hand. Skipping class was...bad. Well, chalk one up for peer pressure, we ended up skipping class and I was left sweating like a pig for the rest of the day. I thought for sure someone would find out and then I'd be strung up in the city streets as an example to all others who might consider such a thing.

But an amazing thing happened. I missed a class yet, I was still alive. My "lightning strike" moment...and I was never the same again. The beginning of The Coasting Era had officially begun. Over the next four years (yes, we had grade 13), I probably missed more classes than my three golfing buddies combined. During that time I also discovered a wonderful thing called "Sleeping In". It was absolutely energizing. I began using my math skills in practical areas of life, like figuring out how little work I needed to do and still pass the class. If I was a painter, I would've been honoured as a "minimalist". I didn't study for tests, instead I chose to practice "Cram Memorization", and as for the questions that caught me off guard, I just applied the "When in Doubt Pick C" theory. It served me very well. Despite all this, I didn't fail a class until Grade 11. It was Chemistry. Apparently, my whole family failed Chemistry, so it was clearly a genetic thing.

I was now having a blast. "School" wasn't so bad after all, as long as no one asked me to do work. I remember my graduation vividly. I remember that I almost didn't graduate, just as vividly. On the last day of High School, one of my grade 13 teachers informed me that I had received a 48 in their class, but they had bumped me up to a 50, so I could get my diploma. I always liked that teacher. Here's my advice to students everywhere...befriend your teachers! As long as your respectful, kind and fun loving...you can be a slacker. They'll have your back.

Anyways, graduation came. The auditorium was full of proud parents and excited graduates. I lined up with my class mates and we were invited, one at a time, up to the stage to get our photo op, handshake and diploma. The introductions went something like this: "So and so, with honours", "So and so, with honours", "Tim Boyle", "So and so, with honours", "So and so, with honours"...and down the line it went (It was a real keen group). I just hope my parents didn't notice the break in the pattern.

Now, I obviously didn't remain on the honour roll, but I do have the piece of paper to prove that I did finish High School. And, believe it or not, I did attend college...Well, I was enrolled in college. I had a blast there too.

Come to think of it...I miss school, alot.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, September 11, 2009

The name that makes me cringe

There is a name that sends shivers up my spine. It is a name that stirs up nausea and nightmarish images. It is a name that causes me to cringe like no other. "What is the name?" you ask. If you're thinking, Kirsten Dunst, you'd be well...right, but that's for another blog. Today, I'm actually thinking of another name that brings about a similar response.

Speedos.

Please feel free to take a moment to shake off the creepy willies that the word just gave you as well, because I know I'm not alone in this.

Now, although Speedo manufactures a wide variety of swim suit styles, the brand has become synonymous with the "briefs". As a result, it's name has also become synonymous with something that causes parents to cover the eyes of their children, teenagers to giggle uncomfortably and the elderly to gasp in horror! "Hey, Speedo...Welcome to the bad side of the phenomenon known as 'generic branding'."

But why the negative reaction? Why do so many people recoil at the very mention of the word? I mean, there is nothing, inherently, disturbing about the Speedo itself. It is simply a men's swim suit. Yes, it has a little...okay, a lot...less fabric then mainstream swim wear, but it's still just a suit.

The problem rests, not in the suit itself, but in those that choose to don the suit. Too many people making bad judgement calls. You see, the Speedo was originally intended for good. It was to be worn by highly competitive swimmers, to reduce the water's drag and thereby help them shave, the ever important, 1/100th of second off their lap times.

But, at some point, the Speedo fell into the wrong hands and it is now being used for evil. Speedos are being worn by individuals who should really not be wearing them...really, really not be wearing them! These people are, not only, NOT competitive swimmers but they are also in no danger of ever being confused with being one. Flabby and wrinkly, they wander public beaches, pools and water parks, scarring the minds of the innocent.

Someone must stop the madness - It's killing our children. But, if the retail marketplace feels the need to continue selling "racing briefs" to the masses then, at the very least, set restrictions. If you can't see the Speedo when you're wearing it or if you're older than the beach...you can't buy it! Simple as that.

Even if someone has a Speedo worthy body, where the belly button doesn't hang below the waist band and the skin isn't sagging all around it, wearing one is still...wrong...and silly. It reveals way more than ever needs to be revealed and there is simply no reason to wear "racing briefs" in public. I can't remember the last time I took a stroll along the water's edge and thought to myself, "Boy, I wish I was more aerodynamic." Look, no regular beach goer needs to be more streamlined than what boxer style shorts will provide...with the exception of someone with a bladder control problem. Getting to the bath house .005 seconds faster, just might be a difference maker.

Let's keep the Speedo where it belongs: In Olympic pools. My dream is to witness the day when our public beaches and water parks will, once again, be a safe place for all those with eyes.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Emergency Post

Ever since I decided to write a blog 24-5, I realized that the pressure would be on. It's not that I didn't think I could come up with something to write about on a regular basis, but rather I wondered, "What would I do, when a given day didn't allow me the time to compose a blog?"

The answer to that dilemma was to write an "emergency post". This would be a blog entry that I would craft, only to hold back until it was really needed. It was to be a passionate commentary that I could post at a moments notice. An inspiring challenge that, when I had no time to write, could be shared with the world at the click of a button. "Publish Post!"

Life is filled with crazy twists and turns. At it's worst, life is unpredictable. At it's best, life is predictable...sometimes. Any day, emergencies can rise and priorities can shift, causing plans to change and routines to be broken. Stuff, simply happens.

However, I was determined not to be caught off guard by this reality of life. I set out a plan to pen some blogs, ahead of time, so that I would not be left unprepared for the inevitable. Today, the inevitable happened. Within an hour of waking up, my whole day was turned upside down. By the afternoon, I wasn't even in my own city anymore. Things moved at a whirlwind speed. There was simply no time to sit, reflect and compose a blog of worth. Next thing I knew, the day was over. It was midnight and I had written nothing for the morning. "Oh no! What to do?"

No worries! I would simply reach into the vault and pull out one of the many blogs stored up for such an occasion as this. Too bad I had never finished one. You see, despite my marvelous plan, I never did get around to writing an emergency blog. Why? Because, things came up...and I hadn't prepared for that.

So, today's entry is well...this.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Subjective competitions...bah humbug

12:00 pm. Sept. 8, 2009.

After a week of intense anticipation, we just discovered that our family's video submission for Great Wolf Lodge did not make Round 2 of the competition. It would be fair to say that we are a little shell shocked right now.

Great Wolf Lodge is our happy place. We have been there eight times since the first Lodge appeared on Canadian soil in 2006. I still have five wrist bands on my arm to mark some of those visits. GWL manages to do what few places can: Entertain my 15-year old and my 7-year old at the same time, while not neglecting my 12-year old, or Heidi and I. It truly is fun for the whole family and has provided us with fantastic memories. In fact, it was at Great Wolf Lodge that I won the annual Father's Day Challenge...twice. As a result, I am the reigning "World's Greatest Dad", a title that I will defend with great fervour next June. We love that place.

When we first heard about the, "Why I Love Great Wolf Lodge" contest, and it's four 2-night stays (meals included) Grand Prize, you can imagine how excited each of us were at the possibility. After all, we really love the lodge AND it was a video contest, a medium that I love immensely. It seemed like the perfect contest for us.

When our entry was finally submitted, we really believed that we would, at the very least, get past Round 1. There were 80+ entries and we felt that ours was, easily, in the top 12. As the comments started coming in, our hope only solidified. So many people, who had seen our video, had great things to say and it wasn't just coming from family and friends. Also, not only was our entry getting some great reviews on it's own, it seemed to be stacking up strong against the other videos in the competition.

However, we were also very aware that the judges would be picking only one from each lodge, to advance. This was good and bad. It was good for many of the videos, because it narrowed the field. You just had to be the best in your grouping. But it was bad for us, because we didn't feel the need to have the field narrowed. Technically, under these conditions, a video could be deemed the 2nd best video in the entire contest and still NOT make the next round, if another entry from their group was considered the best overall. Good enough to get in...but not getting in. That was not an attractive prospect.

We don't know (and never will) where we ranked on the judges score sheets, but we really do think our video should be in the finals. We thought we had nailed all of the judging criteria, but that's the problem...with judges, you just never know. Subjective competitions can be incredibly irritating. I feel like a figure skater who got 9's across the board until the Russian judge dropped a 7..."What? Are you kidding me!?" I will not lie...we are really disappointed at the moment.

Now, I'm okay with feeling disappointed, but it's the second guessing that has surfaced, along with the disappointment, that I am presently trying to fight off. You see, I don't want to second guess any of it. It just isn't helpful. Before the results were posted...we believed our video had a real solid chance. I knew our entry wasn't perfect (which has kept many other projects from seeing the light of day), but I really liked it...a lot.

I liked the concept. I liked the balance and the pace. It looked and sounded crisp and had a nice blend of "staging" with "real" home video footage. We even had cute AND funny (a dynamic duo). I can honestly say that it ended up being almost exactly what I envisioned, when I first set out to plan the project. And deep down I know that there isn't much more we could've done or would've done differently. It's a really solid piece of work and it was, definitely, the best we could do at the time. That's all you can ask for, right? Right! Maybe...okay...right.

Week one was spent on "set", which remained intact for almost the entire seven days. This was a family sacrifice, because we had all of our house lamps set up for lighting...which left the other rooms in the house a little on the dark side. But everyone was cool with it. Aliyah and Connor were amazing. We've filmed short videos before, but they'd never been through anything like this. With Heidi on the camera (a new task for her), we had everyone wired up with mics. They did sound checks. They repeated their lines, take after take...after take. They were sweating away, because of the lights - which were pushed real close, just off camera. We shot our footage over three evenings, and they embraced every minute of it. I'm very proud of them. They worked so hard.

The second week was spent editing and capturing the footage that didn't need our "set". The kids were in heaven! When else would they be able to dump buckets of water in the dining room and throw shoes at Dad's head, and not get in trouble?

Having posted the video, promotion took most of week three. We called on our social network, over and over...and over. We were aware that we had entered the game, later than most, so we assumed "views" would be our weak point. But we watched in awe as our family and friends embraced our project as much as we had. We figured, with a week until deadline, 3o0 views would put us in a reasonable spot, but the deadline came and we had over 1100 views! What we found more astounding was that half of those were "unique" viewers, and our video had been seen in over 15 countries on six continents. The social network had obviously expanded way beyond our contacts. Absolutely amazing!

Week four we waited, and today...the wait ended. Actually, it was more like, the "weight" ended... on my head. It was a crushing blow.

Now, for the therapeutic part of the story. Despite no longer being eligible for our dream prize, I will concede that it was an absolutely incredible four week journey for our family. It was truly, by all accounts, a family project. By the family...For the family! Win or lose, that's what it was always about: Family. Sure, we wanted to win some free stays at the Lodge, but we still came away with something amazing. A two-minute video with hours and hours of great memories packed into it. It was yet another great family experience to add to the Boyle vault. An experience more precious than the prize itself would have been...

...or so my therapist says.

Have a good one,
Timmy

P.S. Thanks to all of our friends and family who supported us in the process. If you haven't seen the video yet, here it is: "A Dad's Tale"

To see who advanced go to www.greatwolf.com/videocontest - I hope a really nice family wins.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's funny...if you find national disgrace funny

Here it is. The best joke in Canada:

A man says to a friend, "My wife is on a three-week diet." "Oh, yeah? How much has she lost so far?""Two weeks."

Are you serious? That is the best joke in Canada? Well, according to Reader's Digest and it's Funniest Jokes in the World Contest...it certainly is. And, get this: They are proud to announce it as such.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

LOL, it is not. In fact, it's not even an L. I read the joke, and I use the term very lightly, twice. That's right. Twice. I needed to make sure that I had read it properly. Sadly...I had, and it was less than funny the first time and, amazingly, less funny then "less than funny", the second time.

Now, I can't blame the person who submitted the entry, because not everyone has a good sense of humour. But, I do put some blame on the friends and family who joyfully encouraged them to send it. "Hey, Clem! Submit that joke you told at Aunt Winnie's Roast. Ha Ha, 'Two weeks'...That's a riot!"

It should start a riot. No one should stand idly by and let this be proclaimed as the new standard by which Canada's humour is measured. This is no way to represent a country that has produced the likes of Myers, Carrey, Thomas, Butt, Akroyd, Hartman, Neilsen, Foley, Levy, Mandel, Short, Walsh and Candy. Sure, we gave the world Mike Bullard, but he's our mulligan.

There were, apparently, thousands of submissions. THOUSANDS! That's right. Thousands of Canadians, from all over this great land, submitted their favourite jokes, which the website, gleefully, refers to as "gags". And believe me, if this IS the best of the lot, then the term "gag" is very appropriate...as in, "Gag me with a spoon!" (an 80's reference worth resurrecting).

However, I refuse to believe that this is the best. Even if there were thousands of HORRIBLE jokes pouring in, certainly there was, at least, one...or two...that were better than this. My goodness, any variation of "An Irish man, Rabbi and a lawyer walk into a bar..." would clearly rank higher. This joke, despite being an anomaly, shockingly found itself on the podium and someone's head must roll for this obvious travesty. But, if not Clem or his friends, then who?

I suggest that it be the Captain of the S.S. Reader's Digest. He or she must be asked to walk the plank, for nothing less than shaming our country. For it was that person, who appointed the judges, who let this entry even get to a place of contention. RD described the process this way:

"Our editorial team—a funny bunch themselves—weeded through the thousands of gags you sent in and chose what they felt were the 10 best."

This joke made the Top 10, not by mistake but, by a selection process. A judging panel actually went through and hand-picked it as a worthy finalist. Who are these people!? This self-proclaimed "funny bunch" either, aren't that funny of a bunch, or they were put in power, by jealous, humourless countries, to sabotage our place as a Class A comedic nation.

Now, as much as I like the conspiracy story line...there is a small hole in the theory. That's because, after selecting the Top ten it was then opened to the "public" for a vote. The ultimate decision was left in the hands of the people. The Canadian people!

However, Canadians or not, that was a BIG mistake. Everyone knows you don't let the public vote for things like this. Look, this is about representing our nation. This is about showcasing the comicality (yes, it's a word) of Canada! This is about putting our sense of humour on a pedestal for all the world to see. This isn't like picking a Prime Minister. This is important!

If you're going to create a contest with such a broad scope of significance, then you don't let your "funny bunch" editors pick and you don't let the public, en masse, have unrestrained freedom to affect the outcome. You gather people who know what they're doing. There is simply too much at stake, like, oh I don't know, receiving international ridicule, maybe.

Because, it gets worse. Apparently, RD has done other joke contests across the globe and now our #1 joke is going head to head with other countries' #1 jokes. I've read our competition and, despite the many incredibly lame entries, Canada is about to get it's funny bone handed to it on a platter! It will not be pretty. We are going to be beaten by punch lines like, "You can keep the duck". How humiliating!

I thought about arranging a capable voting block to try and set things straight, but I decided against it. First of all, I might need them for my family video contest and secondly, I actually think it'd be best to have Canada just lose this one and put it behind us. After all, I'm not sure ANYONE really wins by having our present entry proclaimed as Funniest Joke in the World!

Pardon me, I just experienced a gag reflex.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, September 4, 2009

Doing nothing may be something.

It's 11:30pm. The house is quiet. I've just been sitting here, enjoying the silence. Doing nothing really. I think it's been about an hour and a half, since everything shut down...except me. Over that period of time, I obviously just pretended to be busy, because it has just dawned on me that I've accomplished very little.

Now, I won't say that I've accomplished "nothing", because I don't think it has been completely un-productive. It's just that I haven't finished what I set out to do. Namely, write this blog. I did have some new ideas circling in my mind and I even opened some drafts that are in the works...but nothing was hitting. So, I fiddled around...typed a line, deleted a line, re-typed a line. If you've done any writing before you will absolutely understand what I'm talking about. It's a little frustrating.

But then...I realized I was doing nothing, and I started thinking about the fact that I was doing nothing. And then...it just started to happen. I began to write about the nothingness that I had been experiencing. And voila! Here we are...with something.

Doing nothing is an interesting concept, because I'm not sure it is even a possible reality. When we stop (mentally, physically or socially) we are, in fact, re-charging. We may not be active at the time or even have a tangible product to present when it's over, but we were still being productive.

In fact, if one was to look at my day, as a whole, it would appear that I did "nothing". You see, I spent almost my entire day lying down on the floor, watching TV. Occasionally, I even shut my eyes for brief cat naps. I watched countless episodes of old cartoons and classic TV shows. The only times I got up was to grab something to snack on or take a washroom break. It was one very lazy day.

There were a lot of things I could have done...and should have done. But I didn't do them. I chose not to. I made a clear, conscious decision to just sit and watch TV. And, at times, I felt guilty about it. After all, my wife was off working hard at her job that she had been at since 6:00am, and here I was...just chillin', accomplishing nothing.

But, it wasn't true. It WAS a productive day. I actually DID do what needed to be done. I really did accomplish "something".

My seven year old boy had a real rough night. There's a little bug going around our home and he was next in line. He stumbled into my bedroom around 7:00am, not looking or sounding very well. At some point, later in the morning, he came to inform me, with eyes glazed and head drooping, that he'd be in the playroom, resting while watching TV. I brought him some water, got him settled and went back to my computer, so that I could start being productive. A few minutes later, Connor quietly appeared beside me. "Dad?", he said. "Can you bring your pillow and watch TV with me."

Only another parent can truly understand what happened inside me, when those words were uttered. My little boy, sick as can be, asking me to be with him. Although there was stuff to be "accomplished", I grabbed my pillow and a water for myself, and lay down on the floor beside him to watch the first episode, of many, of Hong Kong Phooey (the old Hanna Barbera cartoon). We were there all day. Sometimes he was asleep. Sometimes I was asleep. Occasionally we talked. And there was one moment where he showed me his Lego men, that he had been working so diligently on, over the last few days.

We got up to go for a walk at 8:00pm, to get some fresh air and stretch our legs, on which I ended up carrying him for portions of it. Then we came home to watch an episode of the A-Team before bed. He fell asleep, before it ended. His sister got his bed prepared and I put him in it. Goodnight, Connor.

Tomorrow, I will try to catch up on my work, finish the dishes and do some cleaning. The day will be a little busier than it would have been, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Days like today are precious opportunities. I can't afford to give my children a whole lot of cool toys and gadgets, but I can give them my time, which is ultimately what kids (or anybody, for that matter) really cherishes. I believe that strong relationships are formed in moments like these, so today...was an awesome day, and a productive one. I didn't do "nothing". I was there for my son. That's something. And, probably, worth more than I can even imagine.

I even have a blog entry to post. How about that!

Have a good one,
Timmy

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My three wishes

If you could have anything...anything at all. What would it be? What a great question! I heard words to that effect in a recent movie trailer, and it got me thinking.

Because of the endless possibilities, I have spent many a sleepless night trying to figure out my answer. "Why the extreme focus?", you ask. Well, I believe that getting a free wish is a once in a lifetime opportunity...unless you ask for a second life and then, I suppose, it could come around again. Now, I wasn't a boy scout growing up, but I did eat lots of girl guide cookies (those vanilla ones are to die for), so I also believe in being prepared. If I happen to be the one to get that chance, there is no way I want to be caught off guard and end up giving some flip emotional answer that I'll forever have to justify to my friends. "Really, you asked for a gold tooth?" "What? I was nervous."

If you were to ask 100 people what they would wish for, I bet you the number one answer would be, "I want world peace." Do you know why that would be the top answer? Because no one really believes that they'll ever get a free wish. That's why! People say some crazy things when there is nothing at stake. But I'll tell ya, if I was at home washing my dishes and a real, honest to goodness, genie came out of the glass I was rubbing and said, "You have three wishes!" I ain't asking for world peace...until, at least, the 3rd wish. And actually, come to think of it, I'd probably spend that one on, "I wish someone else was washing these dishes."

The next two answers on that list, are more likely to be requested in a real life genie encounter. They are, "I want a trillion million dollars" and "I want to be world famous". Blah blah. So cookie cutter. So...Wheel of Fortune. When I was growing up, the final round of that show had the contestant picking the letters, RSTLNE. Every show...RSTLNE. Every show! It was horrible entertainment. The same answers every time. Where was the drama? Finally, the show just started giving the contestants those letters...along with their choices.

Now, I am all about "the show", so you can be sure that I wouldn't be asking for either of those...to the dismay of my wife. In fact, the only hope she has of receiving money and fame by way of "wish", is if the genie is Pat Sajak. Because, then he'd give us both and still let me have my three wishes.

Also, not only are those uncreative requests, but they're silly and risky at best. First of all, you can't even spend a million trillion dollars. It's such a waste. Ask for a million dollars and a good broker and you'll be more than fine. Second, worldwide fame is a dangerous things to ask for, because you might become world famous...for being a huge idiot, and the whole plan falls apart. Then again, there are a few famous idiots who seem to be doing quite well for themselves. But, generally, you should be more specific or you could be sorry. If you don't believe me, watch Bedazzled. That will set you straight in a hurry.

That brings me to MY three wishes. I considered the ability to fly, but I don't want to be sucked into an airplane engine. It happens you know.

So, with a real life genie standing (or floating) before me:

My first wish is...the ability to sing bass. Oh, to be able to hit those floor level notes. I've sung in choirs and have desperately tried to go there, but I just can't. Sadly, I am a bass singer trapped in a tenor's body...well, maybe a soprano's body with a tenor's vocal chords.

My second wish is...to have Ryan Seacrest's jaw. 90 degree angles. Amazing! You put Seacrest's jaw under my "Boyle nose"...That's money baby! AND fame. "Cha-Ching"!

And my third wish is...a lifetime supply of sandwich bags. I am always running out of those.


If you ever see me with a wickedly sharp jaw line, knocking down those low notes in a men's quartet, you can be sure of two things: If you need sandwich bags, I'm your man AND my wife is furious!!!!

Have a good one,
Timmy

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A living fairytale...without the ogres.

Well, where to begin? How about Grade 8.

1986. She was extremely cute, very mature and had some "spunk". There was only one small problem. She didn't want anything to do with me.

Apparently, she was turned off by the GI JOE planes that hung from my bedroom ceiling...and the aircraft carrier...and maybe all the jeeps and men set up in combat mode. Or, maybe it was the Toronto Blue Jay shrine on my wall. Or the bowl haircut and bony limbs. Or the sarcastic humour. Whatever it was, she was obviously very picky.

Despite that, we did end up "going out". Unfortunately, I found about it...after the fact. One day a friend called to tell me that this girl had dumped me. I had no clue we were together. Jr High relationships are like ninjas.

But, having a glimmer of hope, I told everyone who would listen (and that number would shrink, quickly, over time) about how I would one day marry her. I even wrote a love song for her and everything. Sure the lyrics referred to her as "homely", but that's how Jr High's express their affection. Surprisingly, my attempts to woo met only roadblocks...big roadblocks...huge, massive, Great Wall of China roadblocks.

1989. We were 16. I hadn't seen very much of her since we headed off to different high schools. But we happened to both attend a weekend youth conference up in Trenton. Even though she was now a bitter, angry thing I still wrote a declaration of my love for her under a bridge on the campus we were staying on. Of course, she didn't know this...I didn't want to get punched out.

1994. There had been virtually no contact since that retreat (or if there had been, it certainly wasn't memorable). But out of no where, there she was! The newest member of my softball team. She was looking really, really good and...she was interested in me! We started dating. It was magical. My fairytale had come true. Marriage talk began to circulate, and a couple of months later, she...ripped out my heart and stomped all over it! "It's over", she said...and walked away. What!? I was devastated. But, call me stubborn...I didn't believe her.

So, I called a summit meeting. Her mom and I met for coffee. I shared that I believed there was still a chance. I mean, after all, there was an obvious progression happening. First, we dated without me knowing. Then we dated, and I was aware of the situation. It was clearly getting better. Her mom told me that, and I quote, "It's dead." That seemed harsh.

2000. For all I knew, the girl was dead. It had been years since I had heard from her or heard anything about her for that matter. But one Wednesday evening, I was bluntly told that there had been a "sighting". I was shocked and, oddly, uncomfortable. The first time we had chatted since I was left to pick my heart off the ground, happened in a crowded room of people who, not only knew of my bold, pre-pubescent, predictions but had been eye witnesses of the dramatic rise and fall of those predictions 5 years earlier. Can anyone say, "Awwwwwkwaaaard".

We had one "official" date: Red Lobster and a trip to the island. Within a few months we were walking down the aisle. A simply beautiful outdoor wedding in my parents backyard, with about 100 of our closest friends. The prince had, somehow, got his princess. "You may kiss the bride." We kissed. Heidi fainted. True story. Silly woman had no idea what she was missing all those years.

2009. September, 2nd. Today, Heidi and I have been married nine years. Absolutely incredible. Miraculous even. I mean, lots of people have crushes on their grade eight classmates, but few ever get to celebrate a wedding anniversary with that person. It truly is a fairytale come to life, and I feel extremely blessed and am very thankful for this gift.

The last nine years have been quite the journey. Our marriage has certainly been for better and worse, in sickness and health and for richer and poorer...well, maybe just poorer (she obviously didn't marry me for the money). But, no matter what happens, I always remind her that it was she who asked me to marry her. Yep. She asked me. Oh, how the tables do turn.

Why the change of heart? Who cares. I'm just glad it happened.

Yes, I have a blue gem on my forehead...I wonder if she's still glad it happened?

*Find out how she "Woo"ed me HERE

To my princess,
Thanks for your overwhelming support of me and my dreams. I love you and always have. I look forward to many more years of growing and learning together. And who knows, maybe we'll even experience the "richer" part.

Love,
Tim
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