It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Accordion City Day, Part 1: Where the Women Are

Travelling westward on King Street West between Spadina and Bathrust

this morning, I saw a lineup about five blocks long made up almost

entirely of good-looking, well-dressed women in their 20s and 30s.

Among them was my friend Angela, who’d just arrived to take her place

at the back of the line.

“Movie auditions?” I asked.

“No, it’s a lululemon warehouse sale!”

(Guys: You might want to keep lululemon in mind if your girlfriend has

a birthday coming up. Girls go for that yoga stuff, and they look

pretty good in lululemon clothes.)

Single men, you might want to bring an accordion and go busk that crowd. The sale’s happening at 590 King Street West.


This Headline from "The Onion" Made Me Laugh

Contemporaries Remember Hunter S. Thompson as Ravenous, Mutant, 40-Eyed Lizard Demon.


Bacontarian: Diggin’ on Swine!

Okay, vegetarians: you’re going to want to skip this post. We have some

Real Man (and Real Woman) stuff we’re talking about and I don’t want

you getting all woozy or getting your foo-foo all over me. Maybe you

could go rub tofu blocks all over yourself, follow it with a good cry

and then write some unbearable poetry-accompanied-by-acoustic-guitar


Are the hippies gone? Good.

Let’s talk about pork.

Better yet, let’s first look

at pork. Pictured below is the area just outside the kitchen at my

grandmother’s house in the town of San Juan, located in the province of

Batangas, Philippines. On the table is a lechon, which is a whole roast sucking pig, served with a crispy rind and sweet and sour liver dipping sauce on the side.

Photo: Lechon being served at my grandmother's house in San Juan, Batangas, Philippines.

In Balayan, another town in Batangas province, there’s the “Parada ng mga lechon“, which is basically a giant roast pig parade: people carry the spits of roasted pig around town and eat them afterwards.

Lechon is so beloved by Filipino people that we’ve even made hipster clothing about it! Check this out:

Photo: 'Lechon' baseball shirt.

Oh, dude, I am soooo getting one of those.

Graphic: Title graphic for Klingon advice columnist K'plett.

In Robert Asprin’s sci-fi humour novel Phule’s Company, the pork-lovin’

Filipinos were renowned as the best cooks and fighters on old Earth. In

the Star Trek universe, Klingon cuisine is catching on, and we all know

that they’re the ass-kickers of the Alpha Quadrant. On the Star Trek

site, you’ll find an advice column written by K’Plett, a Klingon who

until recently worked at the Klingon Embassy. He’s also a big fan of

pork. Here’s his last entry:

…allow me to express my unending gratitude to your planet for

introducing me to bacon. O, meaty ambrosia, I worship at the alter of

your salty tastiness! I have acquired replicator recipes for bacon, and

I have also arranged for fresh bacon to be delivered to the homeworld

several times a year. It has been suggested that upon my retirement, I

should open up a bacon restaurant back home, and I am considering it,

although others have noted that such an arrangement would be akin to an

alcoholic opening up a liquor store.

As the Klingons would say: Qa’pla!

My friends who keep kosher (or halal or ital) may think that they can’t enjoy the goodness that is pork, but remember: Chinese food is safe treyf!

All of the above, however, is merely porcine preamble for the main point of this posting: allow me to direct you to, the blog for bacontarians (people who supplement “an otherwise normal diet with large amounts of pork”). Ethan “GeekCorps” Zuckerman — who happens to be the husband of one of the officiants of our wedding — is a contributor and bacontarian.

(Somebody should let Anthony at The Meatriarchy know about this site.)

Give the site a look-see and then: pig out!

In the News

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

I spent the evening at the hospital checking up on Dad (he’s doing well

— he talked wedding plans for nearly the full visit) so I haven’t had

a chance to post the graphic below until now:

Photo: Free Mojtaba and Arash day!

Today — all remaining 30 seconds of it — is Free Mojtaba and Arash Day.

Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi are imprisoned in Iran for

blogging — although the charges levelled against them are espionage

and “insulting the country’s leaders”. More details are available at Reuters, the BBC, Iz Reloaded and at the Committee to Protect Bloggers (good cause, so-so name).

It Happened to Me Music

Nine Inch Nails: The Hand That Feeds

Graphic: Nine Inch Nails 'NIN' logo.

I discovered one of my great guilty musical pleasures — Nine Inch

Nails — in early 1990, when that first album, Pretty Hate Machine was

a few months old. It’s one of a handful of albums around that time that

made me go “Who is this? I must have this!” after hearing only a few

songs (Smashing Pumpkins’ Gish and Nirvana’s Nevermind and Ween’s Pure Guava come to mind).

Trent Reznor is one of my musical heroes, as he proved that you could

play synth and still not sound wuss-a-riffic (before I was the Accordion Guy, I was a synth guy). Prior to Trent, most

people’s image of synth players weren’t terribly positive (Paul

Schaffer, you hurt a lot of keyboard players everywhere), and that went

double in the proto-emo-rock scene of 1992 Kingston, Ontario, where my

buddies Karl Mohr, “Craigertronic” and I were the three synth guys in

the small town of a thousand guitars. He made it cool to smash a

keyboard onstange, something I managed to do only once (after my wonky

Yamaha finally died during a gig).

Trent made my DJ career (1989-1994) at Crazy Go Nuts University stand out. While

the other campus pubs were cranking out the pap of the day — Marky

Mark’s Good Vibrations and Bryan Adams’ Everything I Do (I Do It For

You) and more Color Me Badd than you can shake a  stick at — you

came to Clark Hall Pub to hear Nine Inch Nails, along with Ministry,

Public Enemy, Sonic Youth and Jane’s Addiction.

I was the drunk guy dancing right by that stage when Nine Inch Nails

played Lollapalooza ’91 here in Accordion City. Maybe not the only drunk guy, but I

was there. And drunk.

Trent also played in indirect part in my accordion career. The first

number I played on accordion in front of a large crowd was Head Like a

Hole, which I did with Karl Mohr in front of the stunned goth masses at

the now-defunct Sanctuary Vampire Sex Bar (the story appears here).

Nine Inch Nails’ upcoming album, With Teeth, is due to be released on

May 3rd. It’s expected to be a more song-oriented album; Der Trentster

said in a recent Rolling Stone interview that “It’s going to be twelve

good punches in the face – no

fillers, no instrumentals, just straight to the point.” My face awaits!

As a fan, I present to you something I stumbled across — a crappy MP3 recording of the first single off the album, The Had That Feeds

[3.9 MB MP3, enclosure]. It’s a catchy basic little rocker whose really

fat bassline should sound good in the full-fidelity version. Enjoy!

It Happened to Me

"The Call", Again

I got “the call” again today.

“The call” my own little name for the phone call I get from a family

member to inform me that Dad has yet again wound up in the hospital. As

I’ve probably mentioned dozens of times before in this blog, the

“perfect storm” of diabetes, a heart condition and lowered immunity

because of the anti-rejection drugs he has to take for his kidney

transplant means that keeping Dad’s health in balance is like trying to

keep a marble on balanced on the head of a pin by blowing at it from

all sides.

Long story short: last night, after we had our regular Sunday family

meal (a special treat this time: lunch at Dynasty for dim sum), Dad

didn’t feel like eating dinner. This morning, he took a turn for the

worse and got taken to the hospital, where he had some kind of cardiac

attack. Luckily — it feels strange to use the word “luckily” in this

context — he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

The appropriate measures were taken, and Dad spent the afternoon

sleeping peacefully.

He woke up at about 5:30 this afternoon and saw me by his bedside.

“So,” he asked immediately after coming to, “Is the wedding still on? You can’t back out now that your mother has bought her dress.

(That’s his favourite joke; he says it every time he sees me.)


I thought I’d send out a special thanks to both the staff at St. Joseph’s Health Centre for being such top-flight and nice people and to Boss Ross, CEO Elliot

and the Tucows human resources staff for understanding that I’ve got to

blaze out of the office and into the hospital every now and again.



Sooner or later, we all pray for this…

Graphic: Christian-style 'inspirational' image -- boy at prayer, with caption 'Dear Lord, please grant me the ability to punch people in the face over standard TCP/IP.'

If you don’t want it to sound so tech-y, feel free to replace “standard TCP/IP” with “the internet”.