Wednesday, February 13, 2013

#BellLetsTalk: Twitter Rampage

I don't use Twitter all that often, but when I heard about Bell's "Let's Talk" campaign, I figured I should start, at least for one day. For every tweet/text sent with a #BellLetsTalk hashtag on February 12th, the company donated 5 cents to Mental Health Awareness campaigns. In total they ended up raising around four million dollars, and I am probably responsible for about $3.2 million of that. Okay, not really, but I Tweeted WAY more than I normally do, and hashtagged all of them with #BellLetsTalk. It was fun, and for a good cause, so why not?

Here are a bunch of the Tweets I sent out. They are in reverse order, so if you wanna start at the beginning, scroll to the bottom and work your way up.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Public Transit-Palooza

I take the HSR (Hamilton Street Railway... or in other words, the city bus) every day, and as you can probably imagine, a lot of wackos do too. I have some pretty funny stories about stuff happening on/around the city bus, and without further ado, here are a couple of them:
Hallowe'en Morning

I was sitting on the bus with one of my friends we'll call her "NotCoffee"— Hallowe'en morning. It was pretty typical for a while, just us talking about random stuff and laughing a lot (though it's worth mentioning she has a loud voice, and is one of those people who yells without realizing it). There was an Indian guy who looked like Chakotay from Voyager's dad sitting with his eyes closed beside us, and a few other people scattered around the bus.

But of course, this wouldn't be a good story without something bizarre happening. And that it did. About twenty minutes into the ride, the driver pulled up to a stop sign and, without warning, something started banging on the back door. The whole bus looked over (other than the sleeping Indian) to see some girl SLAMMING her fists on the outside of the bus. Seriously: she was standing outside, punching this thirteen tonne vehicle with her bare hands. As if that wasn't enough, she bellowed at the top of her lungs for the driver to "OPEN THE DOOR!"
and after the poor guy didn't comply, started kicking the outside of the bus.

I found this funny and was laughing, but some people looked genuinely scared for their lives. That's probably why the driver floored it as soon as the light turned green, leaving the girl standing there screaming after us. (Well, that, and the fact that she was banging the bus so hard it sounded like a cannon being fired.)

Keep in mind, this was Hallowe'en morning, which made it all the spookier.

After that debacle, NotCoffee and I got back to talking. The recent excitement seemed to have energized her and she was talking even more loudly than usual.

Remember the sleeping Indian guy?

She had her back turned to him, but from my position I could see him perfectly. As NotCoffee was ranting about something, he opened his eyes and stared at the back of her head with this look of groggy hatred. Sensing someone was looking at her, NotCoffee turned around and was greeted by his aforementioned venomous, unwavering gaze. The Indian guy didn't do anything for a second or two, then put his finger to his lips and said:


Think about that for a second: a girl banging on the bus and screaming didn't wake this guy up, but NotCoffee's voice did.

Anyway, I found that freaking hilarious. As I laughed my ass off, the Indian closed his eyes again, the air got a lot quieter, and NotCoffee looked around the bus in shock.

Life Story

Don't you hate people who randomly start talking to you at the bus stop? I mean, yeah, it's fine if you have to ask me what time it's coming or something, but I don't want to hear your life story. I don't even know you, leave me alone to fantasize about naked girls.

One day, there was this morbidly obese woman sitting on the curb in front of the bus stop smoking a cigarette. I guess she really wanted to talk (or something), because she kept looking over at me. After a solid minute of this sideways glancing, I turned and gave her a small smile. Mistake #1. She used our millisecond of eye contact to initiate conversation:

Her: "You waiting for the bus?"
Me: "No, I just stand at bus stops for no reason." (Not really, but that would have been funny.) Me: "Yup."

Mistake #2. I never should have answered. This opened the god damn floodgates.

Her: "Oh, me too. I work at Wal-Mart. They were training a bunch of new workers there today and it was really boring. As soon as they came in I said: 'You don't know what you're in for, ha!' [Bla bla bla some more crap] Anyway, yeah, I'm here at the bus stop. I have to get home to my daughter."
Me: "How old is your daughter?"
Her: "Six. Yeah, her Dad never sees her cause he's lives in B.C."
Me: "Why does he live in B.C.?"
Her: 'He's in jail. He'll never see my daughter again, not if I can help it."
Me: "Oh... what'd he get put in jail for?"
Her: "Sexual assault... yeah, he sexually assaulted my daughter"

That isn't a funny topic, and if it really happened is awful, but seriously: why the hell are you telling me this? I literally JUST met you.

I spent the next two minutes agreeing her husband was an asshole who should be castrated and never see his daughter again. Thankfully, soon afterwards, the bus came. 

I got on quickly as she waddled behind me, croaking clumsily up the stairs. She held up her pass to the driver, but he shook his head:

Driver: "That's expired."
Driver: "Sorry, that's exp-"


Then she pulled out a knife from her bra and stabbed the driver two, three, four times. Blood spurted all over her XXXXXXL shirt. People already on the bus screamed and ran frantically out the open back door
— luckily though, I am a trained black belt and well-prepared for situations such as this. I ran up to her mid-stab, grabbing her wrist to stop her from making another hole in the innocent driver. Realizing my almighty grasp was too powerful to break through, she screamed hoarsely, dropped the knife, and ran off the bus. She was later caught, and I was awarded a key to the city for my valour. The driver lived, and has since dedicated his life to me and agreed to help me on my quest to find Spada's famed treasure.

Okay... I made that part up. Sue me.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Reviewed: Michael Angelo Batio Discography

I recently listened to the discography of Michael Angelo Batio, who is commonly regarded as one of (if not the) fastest guitarist in the world. Below are my short reviews of each album, along with a rating out of 4 stars.

Michael Angelo Batio - No Boundaries

The first three and last three tracks of this album are some Batio's best ever; "No Boundaries" in particular is a modern shred classic, and a must-hear for anyone interested in the genre. The middle of this record does drag, though, and is no where near as strong as its start and end.


Michael Angelo Batio - Holiday Strings

A collection of rather blase Christmas tunes. There's nothing "wrong" with this CD, but there's nothing very interesting about it either. Just a note: there's no shredding, but rather it's all acoustic, with cheap-sounding symphonic backing tracks.


Michael Angelo Batio - Planet Gemini

This record begins with the typical hyperspeed shredding one expects in an MAB release, but the last six tracks are just all over the place. There is space-y ambience, a Doom-sounding videogame part, two tracks with vocals that come out of nowhere, and even a country section. Of course, this all adds up to one of the more interesting records put out by Batio, though it doesn't all work.


Michael Angelo Batio - Tradition

This album has some cool tracks on it, such as "China," "I Can't Take it No More," and "Voices of the Distant Past." The sheer speed and virtuosity of Batio's playing is also incredibly admirable. However, the whole affair (bajillion notes a second, every second) gets tiring quickly, and almost half of the record is made up of previous songs with the lead lines taken out (to play over, I suppose... but good luck with that).


Michael Angelo Batio - Lucid Intervals and Moments of Clarity

Batio's weakest solo album. The whole thing feels really long and drawn out, and virtually nothing of interest happens across the almost hour-long runtime. 


Michael Angelo Batio - Hands Without Shadows

Both the title track and "Dream On" are superb. The rest of the album isn't as strong; a lot of the tracks here are simply too long, and as is typical on Batio's albums, the hyperspeed guitar shredding loses its lustre after a few songs. At least he put his own spin on the covers here, though, unlike Holiday Strings.


Michael Angelo Batio - Hands Without Shadows 2: Voices

This is a sequel to Hands Without Shadows that I haven't gotten my hands on yet. When I do, I'll put a review up.