Monday, June 21, 2010

Swingers Club

Have you ever been to a swingers bar? Ever wondered what it's like? Here's a video I made about a couple who visited a swingers bar for the first time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome to Holland, Bloorview

OK, today my blog is going to be uncharacteristically serious rather than the usual foolish (I originally typed "funny" and then realized that was a massive overstatement) blog post, because there was some news I thought was worth sharing. And that news reminded me of an essay I wanted to share for those of you who haven't seen it.  

Today was a big day at one of my favourite places in the world. If you know me at all, you probably know of my love for Bloorview Kids Rehab, Canada's largest pediatric rehabilitation centre for kids with disabilities. For those of you who have escaped my professions of love for Bloorview, either on Facebook, in person or at one of the "Laughs for Possibility" live comedy fundraisers I have organized and performed on, I'll give you a brief-ish outline of why I feel so strongly about the place.

My oldest son, Eric (5) started going to Bloorview for Occupational therapy through their Community Development Program (CDP) and to see a developmental pediatrician when he was 2, due to global developmental delay. He later began seeing a physiotherapist at Bloorview, went to the dentist there and attended the Bloorview Nursery School in Scarborough.

When Eric was 3, while on vacation in Prince Edward Island with his mother and brand new brother, Alex, he experienced a major stroke. After a month in hospital in the Maritimes, he was sent home to Toronto and was admitted as an inpatient to Bloorview's Brain Injury Rehab Team (BIRT) unit. After one month as an inpatient, he was followed by the BIRT Day Program in which he attended therapy at the hospital daily, from September to December of 2008.

After his recovery had progressed well enough that he could be discharged from the Day Program, Eric returned to the Bloorview Nursery School and to physio and O.T. through the CDP at Bloorview. Then, in May 2009, Eric suddenly experienced a second major stroke, followed by a third two weeks later. After a month at Sick Kids in Toronto, he found himself as an inpatient at Bloorview again, this time from June to October and in the Day Program until December. He started Junior Kindergarten in the resource program at the Bloorview School Authority. Upon discharge from the Day Program, he began being followed by the BIRT Outpatient program for physio, O.T. and speech therapy, and continues to be seen by this team today.

It is impossible to properly explain how much the people at Bloorview, over our nearly 4-year journey with them,  have impacted our family. Every single person we encounter in that amazing building and at the nursery school, is deeply dedicated to helping kids with disabilities move, as the Bloorview slogan says, "From Disability to Possibility." The wonderful doctors, nurses, therapists, therapy assistants, therapeutic clowns, teachers, volunteers, support staff, researchers and more at Bloorview go above and beyond on a daily basis to improve the lives of the unique children they serve.

Eric's first Bloorview therapist, an Occupational Therapist named Yvonne, made such an immediate and deep connection with this kid who, at age 2 had already begun to distrust adults in hospital-type environments, and helped him make significant developmental gains thanks to that connection, that I remember Jodi and I saying that she would forever go down as Eric's (and our) life-long hero.

We still feel that way about Yvonne, but what we didn't know at the time, is that as we continued to meet Bloorview staffers and volunteers, we would add literally dozens of names to our hero list. I'm not even going to attempt to name them all, but they know who they are. Every person we've dealt with at Bloorview, from the doctor who, hearing that Eric was having seizures one day during his time in the Day Program dropped everything in her busy schedule to sit with him for over an hour, watching him, comforting him (and me), to the Therapeutic Clowns who seemed to be able to read Eric's needs better than anyone else (including me) to the Nursery School teachers who set aside personal time to visit Eric during his hospital stays, to the ladies at the Tim Hortons coffee shop in the lobby who come out from behind the counter to give Eric and Alex a hug when they see them, and so on and so on, are heroes. I think their hiring policy begins with "all applicants, in order to be considered, must be able to perform miracles."

This week I've been thinking a lot about how much Bloorview means to us, since this is our second-last week at Bloorview. I know we will meet more heroes after we move to New Brunswick in a week-and-a-half, and will be closer to other heroes (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc), which is extremely exciting, but right now, the prospect of leaving Bloorview behind is often leaving me with a lump in my throat. In case I haven't made it clear, I love that place and the people in it and hate to imagine where we would be without having had them in our lives over the past few years.

So, I was interested to hear that effective today, Bloorview Kids Rehab is no more. Don't worry, all those heroes are still there, but the place changed its name today. After an incredible $20 Million donation from the Holland family, Bloorview Kids Rehab is now the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

That $20 Million donation is on top of the $6.2 million that the Hollands have already donated to Bloorview. Bill and Suzanne Holland are dedicated to helping Bloorview... I mean Holland Bloorview, help kids with special needs meet their potential. They are parents themselves, but not parents of a Bloorview patient, as you might assume of someone who is so passionate about such a place. Bill Holland says “When my family and I toured Bloorview, I couldn’t decide which I found more compelling- the children who were dealing with disability in so many different ways or the professionals who were so dedicated in their work with them. I’ve seen many healthcare organizations up close and this is one I’m pleased to support because it works.” (quote taken from the Holland Bloorview website)

So this is a family who has more financial means than most of us will ever dream of, who could choose to support any cause, and indeed have chosen to support several not-for-profit organizations. There are a lot of great charities out there, some of which probably have a more direct connection to their family. But they decided to put their weight behind this place that I love so much. When I think about how much their support will mean for kids with special needs in Toronto, across Ontario, and (thanks to the ground-breaking research undertaken at Bloorview) around the world, I realize that we have two new heroes to add to our list. We've never met the Hollands, but we certainly appreciate them all the same. They have given kids like Eric an amazing gift: the gift of Possiblity. And we want to thank them for that.

Did I say "brief-ish"???

If you're still reading after my long love letter to Bloorview, you might as well stick around and read a bit more, because I have a link I want to share with you. I recently had an e-mail discussion with my sister about how one of the most important things that we can offer a kid with any kind of special need is understanding. So, I also wanted to suggest you read an essay written in 1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley about the way in which many parents of kids with special needs come to an understanding about the fact that their child has a disability. I think it's pretty amazing (even if it's a little sappy, but isn't that what parenting is all about?) Don't worry, it's much shorter than this blog entry!

Here's a link to the essay, called Welcome to Holland:

I think it's pretty apropriate for today, considering the Bloorview name change.

Ok, that's my love letter to Holland Bloorview, and my link for you. I promise my next blog entry will be much sillier, and much shorter.



PS - if you want to read more about the Holland Bloorview name change, you can check out these links:

- here's a story from the Globe and Mail
- here a story from the National Post
- here's a piece from Holland Bloorview's just-released 2010 report to donors

Monday, June 14, 2010

Advertising so bold, I will gag

Is it just me, or is the current billboard campaign for Bullseye Barbecue Sauce the least appetizing advertising for a food product ever?


Now, I love me a pulled pork sandwich. mmmm. But the idea of pork "pulling itself" puts two, equally revolting images in my head.

First, I imagine a sad little piggy, cutting off its own shoulder, slow-roasting it, basted in a little Bullseye and then pulling it apart (one-handed of course) into tender pieces for my sandwich. I think it would be hard to eat while Porky is crying in the corner.

Secondly, and even more disturbingly, I imagine a pig tasting the sauce and finding it so amazing that he can't resist, ummm, "pulling" himself. By that, I mean pulling one specific part of himself. You know. Down in his bathing-suit area. If pigs wore bathing suits. And if pigs had opposable thumbs.

I love barbecue sauce, however I have never found the flavour to be erotic, but apparently it is like oysters to a pig.

I just hope that the next campaign isn't Bullseye's all-new Hollandaise sauce.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Misplaced Generosity

I took this picture in the bathroom of an Esso station (yes, I was that desperate that I visited a bathroom in an Esso)

If this washroom isn't up to your standards, please tell us. And accept a free air freshener as our thanks.

I decided to donate the air freshener back to the cause. I think they need it more than I do.

To me, this sign is like having a sign in a restaurant saying "if you don't like our food, please let us know. and accept an enrollment in a culinary class as our thanks." Or a hospital saying "if our doctors don't fix what ails you, let us know and we'll give you a medical kit to take home with you."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Book Learning

During a recent stay in Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) for my son Eric, we brought some favourite books with us, and also borrowed some books from the reading room. I noticed that when they were lined up on the bookshelf in his room, there was a secret message on the library's stickers on the side of the books.

Are these books homophobic, trying to get me all riled up by questioning my sexuality? It didn't work, books! I'm not in grade 8, so calling me "Gay Boy" doesn't hurt my feelings!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I didn't know he worked in a grocery store

I saw this sign on a display of apples at my local grocery store.

Apples McIntosh FCY

The FCY part threw me off. I know that it means "Fancy" which is a grade of apples. But when I read it, I thought it was saying "Fucky" which is what angry stand-up comedian Darren Frost often calls audience members. For a split second, I thought Darren had been hired to write these things. Which would be awesome. I also imagine he'd put up signs like:

"They're carrots, dumbfuck."
"These are condoms, please use them so we don't get little fuckies like you."
"It's chocolate cake. You might as well eat the whole thing, lard ass."
"This is non-alcoholic beer. Pussy."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Maybe Quilting is More Exciting Than I Thought

A relative, who is quite into quilting, and has made tons of amazing quilts, had the following quilting book out in her living room when I visited recently:

Strip Therapy 4

That sounds like some therapy I could get into. I wonder if my insurance plan would reimburse me for the receipts, since it would be for therapeutic purposes?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

On behalf of all mankind

In my apartment building, people who don't want stuff anymore bring the stuff to the laundry room in case someone else wants it. There's always all kinds of junk, maybe a couple of good things (I grabbed some cars for the boys one day). But we live in a building mostly populated by elderly people, so there are a lot of old books dropped off. I can just imagine the thought process: "you never know who might need a step-by-step guide to how to operate a Commodore 64!"

Here's a book I found there one day:

"Dvorak's Guide to PC Telecommunications"

Published in 1990.

The next picture is too blurry to actually read, but important to the story:

The dedication says "For all mankind".

Wow, if we'd only known years ago that this guy had given us such a gift. Imagine what a different world we might live in today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dear McDonald's

Dear McDonald's,

I appreciate your efforts to save our planet, with your "One meal, one napkin" program:

"May we suggest that you use one napkin per meal?"

Thanks for the suggestion, McDonald's.

If you want us to stick to one napkin per meal, may we suggest that you ensure some kind of consistency in your ketchup application? If I knew that there would only be one squirt of ketchup on each quarter pounder, I could feel confident grabbing only one napkin. But one in three quarter pounders has at least three squirts of ketchup, two of which end up on my chin.

Also, since we're making environmentally friendly suggestions, may we suggest that when we say "no thanks" to the "do you want ketchup?" question, that you don't put 40 ketchup packets in the bag. Imagine how many tomatoes are thrown out around the world every day in the form of 40 ketchup packets per drive through visit, plus the extra ketchup squirts on the quarter pounders. Next time there is a tomato shortage, we know who to blame.

Thanks so much. Llove,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Interesting spelling

This is a picture of a label on a shelf containing various kinds of medical equipment in the emergency room at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids).

All I could think when I read it was "I've seen it spelled Catherine, Katherine, Kathryn, but never quite like this." I guess it's one of those new, trendy ways of spelling names. If we ever have a third baby, this name might be in the running.

Then again...

My last blog post talked about how progressive I thought New Brunswick must be. I mean Moncton has a street named after a drag queen! But then again, I have also seen evidence that in some areas of NB, the French community (particularly the children) are treated unfairly. For example, have a look at these signs at  the McDonald's in Edmunston, NB:

So English kids are allowed to play in the play area until they are 12, but French kids can only play up to age 10? What's up, McDonald's? Something against French pre-teens? If I was a francophone parent in Edmundston, I would be protesting!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Very progressive

Here's a picture I took way back in December (2009), through a dirty car windshield, in Moncton, New Brunswick.

The street name on the bottom of the sign is Rue Paul St. Wow. A town in New Brunswick naming a street after a drag queen! People might assume that NB is pretty conservative, but I think that's a sign that NB is a very welcoming place. Between being the only "officially" bilingual province in Canada and this street name, NB is probably the most liberal place in the country.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I bank with President's Choice Financial, a retail bank operated by CIBC. Every time I use the bank machine, I get nervous because I'm afraid they are trying to get rid of me. Trying to suggest that I take my business elsewhere. If you bank with PC, do you feel the same way, whenever you see this at the end of your transaction?

"Your transaction is complete. Would you like to continue banking?"

I'm always worried that if I select "No" to indicate that I am finished banking for now, they will take it to mean "No, I am finished banking forever. Go ahead and close my account." Is that being overly paranoid?