“What we lack in office space, we make up in diversity. We may not be able to extend our elbows fully, ever, but that also means we’re always just a handshake away from a person of an entirely different race, creed, sexuality, and gender! Not that we’re allowed to talk about any of those things since HR instituted those new policies. Seriously, you’ll get a written warning. We’re all equals here, a hahaha, right?! Anyway, welcome to the team. We’re not supposed to leave our desk until lunch.”
I’ve been unsubscribing to lots of things lately- boring RSS feeds, spammy Facebook groups, email newsletters. Kind of like a toddler who just learned the word “NO”.
Today I tried to unsubscribe from this one newsletter, and the site redirected me to this page:
Is that my email address?
Well how the f*** am I s******* to k***?
I want to be his friend.
This is the musical equivalent of watching a 14-year-old basset hound try to run up a ladder.
I tried to trick Peneycad into starting a blog by being all tricky, like “hey that thing that happened to you is funny, you should type it” and she did and then I was all tricky again, like “oh hey great story, why not start a blog and put that story on it” and she was like “no”. So basically she’s the one who tricked me, because look, I’m posting it here.
I was on the subway on Saturday night. It was around 10:30 – kind of a lull time, just before the going-out crowd, um, goes out. I was coming back from a baroque- concert-slash-gay-marriage-fashion-show that I saw with my aunt and my 91-year-old grandmother. But that is entirely another story.
At maybe St. George station, this guy about my age got on the subway. He was incredibly nonremarkable in every aspect except for that he had kind of searching eyes, which are entirely unusual (and entirely undesirable) eyes to see on the subway. The rest of us were playing our required roles of Weary Torontonians On The Subway Who Don’t Notice Anyone Around Them.
I half watched him choose a seat not too far away from me, next to some other guy I dutifully hadn’t noticed either. He then sat down with an exaggerated ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,’ a sound which I can compare only to letting the air out of a bicycle tire. This guy was happy to be taking a load off and wanted us to know about it.
In that exact moment, the man who had been sitting on my same bank of 3 seats got off the subway, and our deflated bicycle tire gave us all a look like ‘golly, isn’t that just Murphy’s law that a better seat opens up right when I sit down, well, gee, I’ll just snag it, it seems like the only thing to do, wouldn’t you agree?’ We wouldn’t agree (or disagree), we were Not Playing. He got up and crossed to sit down next to me, leaving a seat between us.
I focussed on my subway activity of choice, which is to send text messages to my friends, which eventually send themselves when I get to ground level, but once again, ‘aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.’ This sealed the deal for me. I had to keep my eyes to myself; this guy was looking for some sort of conversation opener, and it wasn’t going to take much.
The next time I looked up, he was sort of clumsily shuffling through a deck of cards. Not in a ‘wow, I’d really better get these cards mixed up; look, all the jacks are together’ kind of way, but more of a ‘if I do this for long enough, someone will ask me if I do magic’ vibe. We’d just passed Christie station, which meant I was getting off in 4 stops.
It sort of flashed through my mind that I could make this guy’s night by asking him if he did magic. He was basically wearing a sign that said ‘Ask Me If I Do Magic (Hint: The Answer Is YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)’ but then I thought better of it, and right in the middle of deciding not to, I heard myself say resignedly ‘so. do you play poker, or do you do magic.’
Him: ‘Why, I do magic!’
(I swear, he threw in the ‘why’ at the beginning of the sentence.)
Me: ‘Ok. I’m getting off at Dundas West.’
Him: ‘I’m getting off at Lansdowne! What you see here is a completely normal deck of cards.’
He lifted his deck of cards up, which he was awkwardly holding, as if to prove that there WAS something fishy up with these cards. He kind of clumsily half- fanned through them, so I could vaguely see some writing on at least one corner of the cards. ‘What I plan to do, right before your very eyes, is erase these cards. So, first thing we nee–
He threw an ENORMOUS fireball into the air, then did some sort of awkward sleight-of- hand and, yup, he’d turned all the cards white. But who cares. I was still back at ‘WHOA. You just threw fire on the subway. Did you really just throw fire on the subway?’ Also, I was thinking how READY this guy actually was for me (and by ‘me’ I mean ‘anyone in the entire world’) to ask him about doing magic.
The other riders on the subway, god love ‘em, they were all playing their ‘I’m in Toronto, nothing’s gonna surprise me’ roles all the way to Oscar nominations. Not a blink or a raised eyebrow anywhere. Inspiring stuff.
With one stop till he needed to get off, I kind of expected that we were just gonna have the ‘thanks, that was neat’ ‘oh really? You really think so? Thanks a lot I have been working on it I am really into magic it’s not that easy you know thanks a lot’ conversation that happens after someone almost singes off your eyebrows, but he stuffed his hand into his pocket and pulled out 3 pieces of trick rope. Kleenex, receipts and instructions for other tricks came tumbling out too, but this guy didn’t care. He was on a mission.
‘I have in my hand 3 ropes. I’m the kind of guy who carries rope in his pocket, crazy eh?’
‘You certainly are prepared,’ I managed.
‘As you can see they’re all of differing lengths. I will now transform them to be the same length.’
He started doing some clumsy movements in his palm. ‘Next stop, Lansdowne Station’ came the recorded voice. He sped it up, and I kind of glanced away so he could hurry up with whatever secret moves he needed to do.
The subway rolled into the station, and he kind of threw the rope out of his hands ‘ and now you see they’re all the same length um bye!’ he grabbed his bag, stood up, and started scooping the receipts, tissue and the instruction card back into his pockets, sliding out the doors just as they were closing.
I laughed and laughed to myself. I tried to catch the eyes of the other passengers, but they weren’t having any of it.
– Andrea Peneycad doesn’t have her own blog.
PS, Here is an unrelated link.
UPDATE: This was a post about a live news broadcast rife with errors, which has since been erased from the historical record that is YouTube. I will therefore attempt to describe the awesomeness from memory:
SERIOUS ACTION NEWS MUSIC PLAYS.
OPEN ON A SHOT OF AN UNPREPARED ANCHOR.
SHE IS LOOKING OVER HER NOTES.
NOTICES SHE’S ON TV AND LOOKS UTTERLY PANICKED.
O HAI. UM.
THE CAMERA SLOWLY DRIFTS OVER TO THE NEWSDESK,
WHERE A PAIR OF SMUG ANCHORS TRY NOT TO LAUGH.
THE FOLLOWING DIALOGUE INCLUDES BOTH THE ANCHORS’ SPEECH, AND THEIR SUBTEXT.
A HAHA DON’T WORRY ABOUT SABRINA THERE. I’M STEVE AND I GOT THIS. TODAY IS…. WELL LISA WILL TELL YOU THE DATE WON’T YOU LISA.
YES STEEEVE, IT’S SEPTEMBER THE TWELFTH AS YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE RIGHT HERE ON THE SCRIPT.
WELL LISA I DIDN’T SEE IT BECAUSE YOU HAD YOUR BIG ELBOW ON IT.
O AHAHA STEVE WHAT A COMEDIAN. VIEWERS, NOW WE’RE GOING TO COVER A STORY AND STEVE WILL TELL YOU WHICH STORY. RIGHT STEEEVE?!!!
LISA I HATE YOU MORE THAN MY EX WIFE.
STEVE I AM YOUR EX WIFE. NOW OVER TO SOMEWHERE, WITH UMM… JACKIE… SOMETHING.
CAMERA SLOWLY DRIFTS OVER TO A WALL ON THE STUDIO, AND LINGERS THERE.
AN ANCHOR WHOSE NAME IS NOT JACKIE, STANDING BESIDE A ROAD.
SHE HAS NO IDEA SHE’S ON-AIR.
SHE STARES BLANKLY INTO THE CAMERA, WAITING FOR HER CUE.
AFTER A PAUSE LONG ENOUGH TO EVOLVE A NEW SPECIES,
JACKIE SOMETHING STARTS SPEAKING VERY PROFESSIONALLY ABOUT, UM, SOMETHING.
THE CAMERA CASUALLY DRIFTS PAST HER.
TRYING TO SEEM PROFESSIONAL, SHE EDGES BACK INTO SHOT.
THE CAMERA KEEPS DRIFTING.
SHE KEEPS EDGING ALONG WITH IT.
THEN HER PATH IS BLOCKED BY A SMALL FENCE.
SHE CAN’T GET INTO THE SHOT ANY MORE.
THE CAMERA KEEPS DRIFTING OVER, EVENTUALLY FOCUSSING ON A PERSON RIDING A SCOOTER DOWN THE SIDEWALK.
JACKIE SOMETHING KEEPS TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING,
DESPITE HAVING BEEN COMPLETELY FRAMED OUT OF THE SHOT.
Aw man. The camera was the hilarious fourth character in this small drama; it was acting like an unruly guide dog. You know those unfocused ones who are always trying to smell the trashcan, and the owner stands there hissing DUSTY FORWARD, FORWARD DUSTY but the dog ignores them and just keeps nudging its face into a discarded Cinnabon. This camera reeeally wants a shot of that person in the scooter, forget “Jackie” and her “something”.
A-for effort, news team. The juxtaposition between the SERIOUS ACTION NEWS MUSIC and the drifty camera was the best.
Here are some short, funny ads for Egyptian spreadable cheese.
And now, from the department of “Things That Seem Totally Awesome In Theory But in Practice Would Be Completely Awful,” we bring you this amazing design of a musical bike path from the Seoul Cycle Design Competition.
Okay, the idea seems INCREDIBLE and combines lots of things I superlike. Biking along the path, you ride over these sections that activate hammers that hit xylophone-type bars, and as you ride, you create a melody. So fun, right? Whee! A little bike ride, a little tune, a little more love for Seoul and humankind in general.
More amazing graphics that have a slightly textbook, retro feel and are totally worth a look, here.
This is an awesome idea and reminds me a lot of this video that has been making the rounds, where people chose climbing stairs over riding an escalator after the stairs were transformed into a music making machine:
Okay, so let’s fast-forward to a time and place where this bike path construction has actually taken place. The bike path exists, it’s right on your way to work, you use the path for your round trips, five days a week.
11 months a year.
For the rest of your working life.
As a test to see if this would be a good idea, please repeatedly listen to this xylophone cover of the Super Mario Brothers song:
Could you listen to this backwards and forwards, every day for the rest of your life? eep.
I actually DID find an example of a song that could maybe work though: this badass xylophone cover of Sweet Child Of Mine, by Guns and Roses. amirite?
So, um, yeah. I don’t really know what to say about this. This is really a thing.
I watched the video and I had to check the link to make sure it wasn’t a SNL fake ad, but, nope.
I mean, I can get really, truly, excessively, excited about people eating vegetables. Some of my best friends eat vegetables. I was even into it back in university. But is this the best way to promote veggies? Shopping-cart-cliff-jumping through machine gun fire? Explosions?
Does this really make you want a carrot?
Oh, sorry, marketing execs and focus groups, you were saying— it does? Okay, carrots, you win. I’m just gonna go over into this corner and shrivel up and rock for awhile. Pay me no mind.
Two fighters, two punches.
Thanks to Helder for the tip.