Last week I spent an evening catching up with a friend I’ve known for about 15 years, but hadn’t seen in about 4. We lost touch shortly before I went back to school, and neither of us expected to ever be able to track down the other. A few months ago another friend of mine put me back in touch with my long lost amigo, and finally after numerous attempts we were able to schedule a time that worked for both of us.
We sat around a few hours and caught up on what’s new in each other’s lives, and before I left he toldÂ me he still had my old snake – Bitey!Â I was amazed that he still had him. I originally got Bitey from him years earlier when he was still pretty tiny (and nameless). I kept him right up until I decided to get cats, then gave him back to his original owner (now nearly fully grown, and appropriately labeled). He was my favourite of all my snakes I had. He earned his name and my respect, and from what my friend says, things haven’t much changed.
While digging through old photos to find one of Bitey I found a couple other decent photos of past pets I miss, along with this look at the typical bloodbath that is a Bitey meal. One thing I don’t miss about snake ownership at all is smacking rats hard enough to paralyze them. That was the only part that bothered me. I would rather not have done it, but I didn’t want my snakes to die because they were too stupid to kill/eat their food properly. So, as any good snake owner does, I would bash their tiny little rat heads off something solid until they went stiff (like a fighter when they get knocked out), feel bad, then toss them in and hope to hell that snake was hungry and that I didn’t just ruin a rat’s life for nothing. The above photo shows what happens when the rats aren’t knocked out. Almost all of that blood is from the snake (if you couldn’t already tell from the rat’s mouth).
I also found this picture of me an one of my old bearded dragons. I got a pair of them at a reptile show for next to nothing because one of the litter was a dick and bit the tips of all the other’s tails off. I never named them, but they were cool. I ended up actually giving these to Holly (along with some other reptiles) years before she fell in love with me, for the boys (whom I had never met at that point in time). She gave them to a friend of hers a couple years later after their light and a cat almost burnt her house down.
The pet I miss most is the pooch in this photo here – Nikki. I can remember the day we got her. We had been shopping in some mall in Hamilton for a few hours when I begged to go look in the pet store. We saw her and her brother, and I instantly fell in love. I begged my parents to get her, they said no. I cried and my brother helped, and eventually they gave in. I pet her in the box the entire drive home, while my mum explained to me what a leap year was (Nikki’s birthday was Feb 29 1992). She was the third dog I ever had, and she was the smartest/best. She knew pretty much every trick, and always did what you told her. Every time you left or came in the house she sat on the stairs to shake your hand. She’s been gone for years now, but sometimes when I visit my parents I still expect her to be waiting on the stairs to shake paws hello.
Holly and I have been watching a lot of Mad Men lately (which you may have already read) and the other day I was looking at old game ads when I came across one for something I remember from my childhood. It’s one of those things that I can vividly remember the first time I ever saw it. I was at my friend Trevor’s house. My best friend (and former bandmate) was also there and Trevor was bragging about something he had that was better than an NES. In fact he had two of them, both working perfectly. When he pulled them out of their boxes I was amazed and completelyÂ jealous.
He was right, it was better. It had cool transparencies you stuck to the screen (which was built-in!), a sweet joystick, and it was portable (portable enough). We played almost every time I was at his house for years after that, and I still regularly discuss that day with Dallas when we get on the topic of gaming.
I like it when things trigger memories. I mean, I can relive that memory anytime, but I couldn’t help but relive it when I saw the ad.
The ad (from 1982) boasts the new Vectrex Arcade System is “A revolutionary breakthrough… real arcade sites and sounds… real arcade controls…!” , and goes on to further challenge the consumer to “Convince yourself! – Comapre the Vectrex Arcade System with any ordinary home video game system.“. I decided to do just that.
Vectrex Arcade System
I’d have to say the Vectrex doesn’t stack up. The system memory in my PS3 equates to 262144 x that of the Vectrex, the processor is 3200 x more powerful, and the disply of our 46″ LCD can’t even be compared to the 9″ monochrome CRT. Although the Vectrex does have built-in electrodynamic paper cone speakers, and I guarantee is built to last longer than anything Sony has made in the last decade.
I wonder what Don Draper would have to say about the ad.
When I was a kid I loved music (and I suppose I still do, but back then I had little else to do but hang out with friends and listen to tapes, where as now I only listen to music when I’m working, or exercising). I started with organ lessons when I was tiny. I gave that up one xmas morningÂ when I realized Santa had ignored my plea for an electronic keyboard (like the kind they’d use in Van Halen!) which would allow me to take my unique sound to new levels. Instead, I got a note telling me I don’t practice enough to have earned a keyboard, and that if I do better next year I might have a shot. I soon forgot about keyboards, pianos and organs altogether.
A few years later, I was hanging out with this kid named Joey Mellon who lived around the corner. His house was cool. His dad was a carpenter and had converted half their entire basement into a multi-leveled play fort. They also had Super Nintendo before anyone else I knew. I didn’t really like Joey, but I wasn’t stupid – I knew to be nice so I could get to enjoy the things he had that I didn’t. Another thing he had in his basement was his dad’s enormous drum set. I had never seen real drums before and I was impressed. Joey banged on them for a few minutes, then I barged in and took the sticks from him. I remember going home and telling my parents how badly I needed to have drums.
After a year or two of begging (and not deserving by any means) my parents finally surprised me on xmas morning with my own set of beginner drums. I set them up right away and made them all regret their purchase immediately. My parents insisted I take lessons, and I did. I think I had about five in total.
They hired this guy who was teaching my cousin (who I was jealous of until I got my drums) to come by once a week. I forget his name, but I remember thinking “This guy is a nerd, like 9 – 0″. He was a dink. His dad was a drummer in some band. This guy and all his buddies (who were also the kids of the other members of his dad’s band) formed a band and cleverly dubbed themselves “ditto”. When he told me this I almost dropped a hard F on him and laughed in his face. I can’t remember what year it was, but I know I had just recently been forced to sit through the movie Ghost, in which zombie Swayze always replies to his annoying girlfriend’s I love you‘s with, “Ditto!”. I don’t think I listened to a single thing he said that first lesson becauseÂ I was too busy wondering why he was so gay. After four more visits I told my parents I wasn’t learning cool enough drums from Dr. Ditto and begged them to cancel and find me a cooler teacher who would turn me into Metallica.
I never took another lesson, but I kept playing all the time (which I’m sure my parents loved). I even joined a band with my two best friends, Dallas and Will. We formed the band solely for the purpose of playing the grade 7 or 8 talent show at our school. We wrote three songs (with the help of my brother) that, combined, probably totaled four minutes in length. One was called Monkey Boy (it was about this kid named Jason Harder who someone started a rumor about him having sex with a monkey – shit we were mean/bad kids), another was called Red Garage (named after Will’s parent’s garage door which a bunch of us hid behind before jumping some kids who picked a fight with Will, we won, some kid got a bat broken over his back…)Â and the third I can’t remember. Our band name was stolen from The Simpsons, since it was the biggest thing on the planet at the time. We were Melvin and the Squirrels. I fought for my suggestion of Melbatoast right up until we hit the stage, but my band mates wouldn’t listen. I was just the drummer.
Dallas’ dad posted the picture above on Facebook today, so you can thank him for this wordy anecdote that was completely unnecessary, but somewhat fun to remember.
Back when I owned a tattoo shop, I had an excess of spare money and time. Most of my time was spent hanging out with my ‘rock star’ friends and partying, but sometimes I put far too much effort into poking fun at people. This image reminded me of one such example.
For years my brother’s first response to just about anything was to punch a hole in the nearest punchable wall. One day, I was sitting around the shop killing time, and my brother came in to tell me about something that happened, and how he’s hurt his hand punching something.
After he left, I came up with the idea of getting him a trophy of a karate guy that said “No wall too tuff!”. I called a local trophy shop, ordered it, and within a day or two I was able to pick it up. My girlfriend at the time added a couple of casts, and a sweet cardboard wall to make it a little more relevant.
Luckily my brother is a good sport, and although he didn’t find it as funny as the rest of us, he still displayed it with pride for a few years. I still find it funny, and even though he no longer punches things, I wish he still had it.
This photo reminded me of when my passion for video games was reignited by the Grand Theft Auto series, and games like Midnight Club and NFS. I had put the PSX on the shelf after killing the THPS series by over-playing it when Dallas and I lived together in Denistoun.
It wasn’t until I played a portion of GTA: Vice City at Ryan’s house one weekend that I decided I had to have a PS2, and from there I fell right back into gaming all the time. I got the ps2, hacked it, then went nuts downloading everything I could find. That carried on for 6 years.
I also like looking at how I used to live. This was a shitty little apartment on Dorothy St. in Welland. We paid $500 a month to live there, bills included. Our couch was missing it’s legs, so it sat on the floor (which was actually quite comfy). Everything I owned was covered in layers upon layers of stickers, and labels made using the car wash label maker. I had an entire room dedicated to reptiles, where I kept 3 snakes, and four lizards. I had a drunk neighbour I would occasionally get physical with when he refused to turn his Psychedelic Sunday down, and a family of welfare collecting whales next door who would buy smokes by the box (no, I don’t mean carton) and bath their baby in a recycling bin on the front porch.
I also like this picture because those are my favourite pair of pants I’ve ever worn. I remember when I bought them. It was the first time I went to BC with Dave, when he moved out to Abbotsford (I was probably 18 or so). We went shopping at some store in Whistler and I bought those and a pair of Soloman shoes. I’m pretty sure I still have the pants, but they’re too big for me now (yup I was fatter then) and have several worn spots. I do however still have 2 pairs of shoes I bought the following year, which are in almost perfect condition. Both are Osiris D3′s. I might have to bust them out now.
Here’s the first picture ever taken of my knuckle tattoos. It was about 2 minutes after we finished (as you can tell from the blood), and we were outside having a smoke. I decided right away that I hated all the little baby-blue speckles, and wasn’t really thrilled with the “chrome” effect Bobby attempted on the dollar sign.
Luckily for me, Bobby is shit and every piece of baby-blue fell out in no time. I still wasn’t thrilled with it though (like every one of my Bobby T tattoos) because Bobby did his usual, and instead of listening to what I wanted, did what he wanted to try. I wanted just solid green right off the bat, but he refused, saying that it would be too boring.
Finally, four months after I got them, I got them how I wanted them. We redid them all once every speck of baby-blue fell out, and I instantly loved them.
This is the first picture I took of my proper knuckle tattoos.
Both these photos remind me of how I hated fighting with tattooists about what I want, and how big of a douche Bobby can be. They also remind me that I occasionally wore nail polish in the past and dyed my hair. Now I can’t be bothered to shave.
The other day a friend of mine from high school asked if I had a photo of something from back when I had the shop, and his younger brother worked as our co-op student. It was from a day when we forced him to wear this nasty vinyl nurse outfit the previous owner (and all round trashy slut) had worn in some disgusting amateur porn with her pedophile (just my opinion) husband. The best part was that it was about 35 sizes too small for him. We made him wear it the entire day and took lots of pictures, but I was unable to find any on my external hard drive.
I did however find a ton of old photos that brought back some fun memories, and have inspired me to create a new Cobra category entitled: Cobra Classics.
I figured I would start it off with one of my all time favourite photos, of my oldest friend. This is Dallas in the hallway of the tattoo shop, shortly before leaving to work a shift at NuComm, using his calculator like a cellphone. I love this picture for lots of reasons. At the time I took it I loved it because I thought (and still do) it was hilarious. Now I look at it and it reminds me of a lot. It reminds me of how cool I thought piercings were at one time, and how much fun I had doing them on people I liked. It reminds me how awesome it was owning the shop sometimes, and how terrible it was others. And it reminds me how fun it was having a group of close friends around at all times, partying and doing stupid shit.
Next up is an example of just that. I was shocked to find this photo of 4 of my best friends, all together in the same place (which at one time was a regular occurance, but not so much these days) – partying at The Dudes.
This was taken by me at the Klopeks “Fundraiser Fiasco!”, which was held to raise money for the boys before they embarked on their first ever UK tour! I remember eating a bbq’d dill pickle for the first time ever that day (the Klopek version of a veggie dog) and loving it! It was also the infamous day the Deaner scratched El Dude’s Dakota – historic.
For those who don’t know that’s: SPK, The Dude, Shawnzarelli, and Ryan-O (complete with handlebar moustache).
Next up is another photo from the same era, which is also in the running for my all time favourite. This is my brother sloppy drunk, getting sloppier/drunker at a keg party we had in his apartment above the tattoo shop. The keg was bought by a friend because he lost a bet that he couldn’t quit smoking. This was the second or third keg party of that type, as many of our friends failed and we reaped the benefit!
I love this photo for lots of reasons: I love the beer stain on his shirt, I love that he’s drinking out of one of our Gram’s old Chex-Mix jars, I remember buying him that shirt he’s wearing, I remember telling him several times that the photo didn’t turn out and that he needed to drink more so I could take another one, and I remember how ghetto that apartment was, and how it seemed to bring the ghetto out of us.
And last but not least, is a photo I found of Jon from one of the first times we ever hung out, outside of smoking pot on our futon, and watching Stargate. We went bowling in Mississauga with a group of people, and I had tons of fun. I like this photo mainly because I don’t think Jon has had a haircut since it was taken, and also because I like when something reminds me of how I met someone.