I don't want to come off sounding like an old fart, but when I was a kid the Eaton Centre's Santa Castle was truly something to behold. The only thing more impressive than Santa's five story tall home was the mile long line of kids waiting to sit on his knee. As you can see above, these days Santa seems to have fallen on hard times. Santa even lost his big chair and now has to make do with a crappy little white bench. Who can blame kids for ignoring him?
While on the subject of how much better Christmas was when I was young, let's take a look at the display windows outside of the Bay. I still remember when my grandmother would take my brother and I down to Simpsons (now the Bay) this time of year just to look at the cool animatronic Christmas dioramas out front. Some time ago, the store sadly decided to do away with this tradition. Well it appears that this year they are back! Well, sort of. Instead of Santa and Rudolph the displays now feature characters from the pseudo-Christian movie Narnia. Apparently this is actually the second year the Bay has been schilling for Narnia. Bah humbug.
Baby goats and tractors
Remember way back when this used to be one of the first "Video Blogs" on the net? No? Well I guess it has been a while since I uploaded a new video. I really didn't shoot much footage over my last year in Japan that wasn't wrestling related, so making this video was a bit of a challenge. Anyway, for better or for worse, here is my very last video from Japan. Enjoy!
Click here to download this video to your computer (Windows Media)
In addition to the usual Noheji & Hirosaki stuff, this one features footage from my travels to Shanghai China, The Great Wall, Vietnam and Cambodia. I really had the time of my life during my three years in Japan, and if I could have stayed longer I probably would still be there. Alas, my job is done and much like The Littlest Hobo it's time for me to move on to new adventures. Special thanks to Kate for filming much of this footage, and thanks to everyone in Japan past and present for putting up with me for so long. Gokoro sama deshita y'all!
Many moons ago when I was a student at the University of Toronto I had a short lived morning radio show at the Erindale campus. It ended abruptly one day when co-host had a dispute with one of the managers at the station over some dumb fee DJs had to pay for the privilege of working there. Because my co-host was also my girlfriend, that ment that I had little choice but to resign as well, though I secretly wanted to stay. Radio Erindale was terribly run and I couldn't blame her for getting fed up and quitting. For one thing, the room with all the CDs in it was always locked because management was worried about DJs stealing CDs. As a result, the only music available to DJs was what they brought with them and a small stack of "Canadian Content" tapes kept around to comply with broadcast regulations. Since I graduated, the old studio was torn down to make way for a fancy new multi-million dollar student center, complete with a new high tech home for the radio station.
A couple of weeks ago my brother Andrew and his friend Geoff (Jeff?)
resurrected their old college radio show from McMaster/Western, but at my old campus. From what I've heard the new home of Radio Erindale (now called CFRE) isn't much different from the place I once occupied, and is anything but high tech. The equipment in the studio is mostly the same junk I was using 10 years ago, and DJs don't even have headphones available to them. If a DJ wants to put a caller on the air then only thing he or she can do is hold the mic up to the speaker phone. If the caller wishes to request a song, they'd better be looking for Canadian content because the CD room is still locked tight. Anyway, if it's Tuesday night and around 9pm Eastern time then click here and check out Too Much Monkey.
Speaking of monkeys, Luke Elliot in Aomori has posted a great new video titled "Monkey Wars: Episode 1" featuring scenes from my classic comic Let's Aomori.
As some of you may know, before going to Japan I spent nearly 2 years trying to start up a dot com company called GTV.com with a guy named Ken Mayer. GTV now stands for "Global Technology Ventures" but originally it was for "Global Television". The idea was to provide a simple, easy to use service for everyday people to upload video to the net for the world to see. Does any of that sound familiar? In 2000 when we started on this venture there really weren't any other companies providing a similar service. Unfortunately, 2000 also marked the year when the dot com bubble burst and nobody was willing to invest anymore in start up companies.
So in an effort to attract investors, we had to switch the focus of GTV away from what we really wanted to do and chased after whatever seemed like it might bring in some funding. At first we looked at video conferencing, then video instant messaging, then cell phone text messaging and finally AIM-YAHOO-MSN etc. interoberable instant messaging services for companies. So essentially we switched from doing something really fun, unique and interesting to something very dry, common and dull. To a certain extent this plan worked, and while I'm no longer involved with GTV, as far as I can tell it's still around today providing instant messaging services to corporations.
So why am I writing about this now? Well as you may have heard, popular new video upload service YouTube was just purchased by Google for 1.65 billion dollars. There's no way to ever know for sure, but had GTV stayed on its original course and built the service that was in our blueprints that 1.65 billion could have quite possibly been mine! Don't believe me? Well you can still see some traces of our old prototype websites on archive.org, here and here.
Oh well, that's life I guess. I better get back to looking through the "Help Wanted" ads. Maybe there's a Denny's somewhere that needs a new waiter.
I couldn't have been more surprised or happy when Kate made this wonderful gift for my birthday last July. We both first learned of Tarako from the blog of Michinoku pro-wrestler Mango (now Bear Fukuda) who would post on his blog daily photos of the adventures of his own Tarako doll, his mysterious disappearance and their tearful reunion.
Toronto is the midst of another campaign race for mayor of the city. When reading up on who the candidates are this time around I was saddened to learn that Ben Kerr had died last year. Ben was as much an icon of Toronto as the CN Tower. Every day, rain or shine, you could be sure to find him at the corner of Yonge and Bloor in his dirty old "Ben Kerr for Mayor sweatshirt" singing songs into a tiny old karaoke machine. In every mayoral election since 1985, he would use money he collected on the street to pay the $100 fee (now $200) to get on the ballot for mayor of Toronto. When it came time for the always entertaining all candidates debate, in lieu of a speech Ben would get out a guitar and sing a cute song about fringe candidates.
While I've never bothered to vote in a municipal election, he certainly would have had my vote if I did. I'm not sure what his policies would have been like if he had somehow won, but legend has it that one time Ben ran all the way from Toronto to Los Angeles in an effort to promote his non-smoking beliefs. When Belinda Stronach ran for the Conservative leadership, he wrote for her a song titled "She Is Better Than Viagara". I'm not sure if that means he endorses conservative policies or not. He also apparently wrote songs for Neil Young before Young was famous. Anyway, I'm less motivated than ever to vote in his year's municipal election, but if I do I'll be sure to write Ben Kerr's name on the ballot.
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