December 29, 2004 15:23A Traditional Family Boxing Day
Every year during the holiday period, I have my own ritual. Some people choose to observe religious traditions, some like to go caroling, some are even known to roast chestnuts by an open fire. Me, I like to attempt to make it through the season without hearing The Little Drummer Boy all the way through.
The Little Drummer Boy, I don't have to tell you, is the single worst holiday song in the history of holiday songs. Despite its Christian connotations and celebration of the Lord contained therein, God himself has reserved a special place in hell for the composer and lyricist.
It's flatly impossible to go the distance without hearing it at all, so my goal is always to survive December without getting trapped listening to one complete rendition of it, start to finish. This usually involves fleeing stores -- sometimes in mid-purchase -- to spare my ears the torture. And I've never succeeded. Not once in all the years I've attempted it.
This year I was nailed in the exchange line at Future Shop, with a French version that was remixed with Ravel's routinely sexualized classical composition, Bolero.
I wish I were joking, but it happened exactly like that. Apparently there are teams of scientists out there trying to engineer a cover of The Little Drummer Boy that sucks even harder than all previous renditions combined. Call it the A-Bomb of the war on terror. Those insurgents will flee their spider holes in droves, straight into our boys' machine gun nests, once the Air Cavalry comes flying over the desert blasting it from their skid-mounted speakers.
As any good Canuck will tell you, the real fun of the Christmas holidays comes the day after the presents are all opened, just around the time the eggnog hangover is kicking in. Because that's when the Boxing Day festivities get underway, with the lineups queuing in front of stores shortly before dawn, and the early hypothermia casualties being chipped out of the ice by ambulance technicians come first light.
Boxing Day, for those of you unfortunate enough to find yourself outside our borders, is an annual tradition during which Canadians sardine themselves into the nearest available shopping mall and exchange airborne viruses while they try to save two dollars on items they could just as well purchase on any other day of the year. The sales are legendary, even if the markdown is all hype.
With the NHL hockey season cancelled, this year's Boxing Day provided Canadians across the nation with a much needed outlet, delivering body checks, elbows and high stickings to competing consumers who wouldn't keep their damn hands off that last 20%-off toaster oven. I myself nearly got mixed up in a serious stabbing incident, albeit one that took place entirely in my head with me on the business end of a ball-point pen. Boxing Day probably isn't such a good idea for people with as much suppressed rage as I have. All that anger, normally turned safely inward where it festers and promotes heart disease and tumor growth, comes dangerously close to externalizing and manifesting itself as a ten to twenty year stretch in the Provincial Pen.
Not quite what I was asking for for Christmas.
December 13, 2004 16:50Trapped At Home For The Holidays
The television miniseries I'm co-writing progresses, a first draft has been delivered, and my long absence from this site is over. At least for this weekend. I might be back at it by tomorrow, and then all through the holidays. Joy to the world. Oh well, at least it beats writing for children's television.
It seems like this one project is all I've been doing, but that's not accurate. It's merely been occupying my every waking thought. The problem with being a writer -- as opposed to being a plumber, brick-layer, or barkeep -- is that you never get to go home after work and turn the job off. It's always with you, eating at your brain. The only job I can think of that might compare is a gynecologist. A male heterosexual gynecologist. It's female genitalia all day at work and then, like the rest of the heterosexual male population out there, it's female genitalia on the brain all night.
This is why so many writers drink. Not to forget, but to stop thinking entirely. Being a novice drinker myself, I mostly have to rely on video games to numb me. At least until I develop a serious substance abuse problem.
And speaking of drunks and junkies…
This week in world news, Bush finally found Canada on a map and decided to pay us a visit for the first time since he became president a million years ago. He dropped by Ottawa (the capital) and Halifax (the capital of drinking) in a whirlwind tour that went by so quickly, the army of protesters didn't even have time to catch a chill in their designated civil disobedience zones. With Canada-U.S. relations at their lowest ebb since the War of 1812, this first state visit by the Bush White House poses a serious question for our two nations in these times of crisis. Namely, why can't Halifax ever blow itself up when it might actually do some good?
If you're wondering why it's been so long since there's been any new Movies in Longshot, it's because I wanted to revamp that section so it would be a little easier to navigate. The newest entries now all appear on the top, with an archive below that arranges the previous strips alphabetically. I know that's not much of an excuse for the lack of new material, but now that things are all orderly, I feel comfortable rolling out my latest cinema adaptations. Once again, there will be a new one each week, starting today and ending whenever I run out -- which probably won't be next week, or even the week after that. So drop by regularly.
And as I get back into the swing of things here, one of my priorities was to update the month's worth of Wednesday Movie Night screenings I've fallen behind on. My one social indulgence each week, this has at least kept me in practice when it comes to watching movies. Otherwise I'm woefully behind in my viewing habits, despite the deluge of eBay imports that keep showing up on my doorstep, beckoning, "Shane, stop working for a living and come watch us. Watch us. Watch us…" I'd really feel better about the DVD backlog around here if I could only take off a month and watch five movies a day, every day. That would truly make my holiday special.