I am a twenty-something prairie boy who lives on the west coast. i love red wine, live jazz and spaghetti bolognese. i work full-time at an itailan restaurant and am in a part-time relationship with netflix. if you love to laugh and treat yourself to multiple night-caps this is the site for you.


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    a time to thrill: crash and burn, rugged barely takes off

    Drinking only becomes a problem when you miss your flight the next day. For those of us who ere on the messier side of life, this is a painful lesson to learn. The only thing more excruciating than carrying a hangover 36,000 feet up in the air, is losing $60 worth of French skin products at security because you slept in and arrived at the airport to find the baggage check had just closed. After watching my beloved moisturizer fall carelessly in to the garbage, I vowed never to fly hungover again.

    Fast-forward to me at the end of a seventy-hour work week the night before my flight to Tennessee. The time is 1:46am and I just finish work at the restaurant. My flight for Nashville leaves at 2:35pm the same day which gives me more than enough time to return home, pack my suitcase, sleep for a luxurious eight hours, breakfast wrap at Café Artigiano, pick up my Calvin Klein tuxedo, and hop on the sky train to the airport.

    At 1:47am, I accept a last-minute invite to grab a pint at the Judge before last call. “No harm done,” I tell myself, permitting me twenty ounces of crisp Moosehead to celebrate the fact I am finally on vacay.

    Pubs are an endangered species in Vancouver, and the Winking Judge is one of the few still standing. On the unlikely corner of Burrard and Smithe, the downtown pub features a breath-taking view of the Scotiabank theatre, Scarlett Johansson-hot waitresses, impressionable straight boys, and the best drink specials in a one-bridge radius.

    I am half-way done my pint when our server Samantha makes her final rounds to tell us those two words an alcoholic never wants to hear, “last call.” Paired together, these two syllables pierce like a tooth-brushed carved shank in the right side of a jailhouse rat. At there very mention, all thoughts of responsibility and early alarm clocks fly out the window and before you know it, you are left with three empty shot glasses on the table in front of you and a bill six times the size you intended.

    I look at my two friends and feel like Renton taking a seat on the carpet at Mother Superior’s in Trainspotting.  “We’ll take another round of pints and six shots of your finest well tequila.” When the cab driver drops me off outside my apartment it is three in the morning and I still haven’t packed my suitcase, washed the pile of dishes in the sink, or taken out the garbage. Fearing it is going to be a long night, I crack open a bottle of red wine, turn on Netflix and get right down to work.

    At quarter after five I collapse in to my bed and at noon I wake up to the unfortunate realization that I am twenty-eight years old and still going on sixteen. Scrambling, I look down at my suitcase and remember that I didn’t finish packing it. At some point during the night, I got distracted by Miley Cyrus videos on Youtube and forgot to check off this important task on my list. Raiding my closet, I throw in as many clothes as I can, zip up my shaving kit, and bounce out the front door.

    Booting it to the Tuxedo shop, my throat is so dry I have stop twice to cough up tumbleweeds. The bell rings as I stumble through the glass door and the kind lady behind the counter asks me if I want to try on the tuxedo before I go. “No time!” I gasp to her smacking my Credit Card down on the counter. Folding the black suit bag in three, I zip back up my suitcase, call another cab and one SuperSlim later I am racing down Granville Street to the airport.

    I take a deep breath and look at the steady stream of green outside my passenger side window. I start replying to work emails and realize that my hand is shaking. I am half-way there when a single thought shoots across my troubled brain: I did not check the stove. The trigger snaps and the smoke rises with my blood pressure as a war breaks out inside my head. “I am going to burn my apartment down.” “You are not going to burn your apartment down.” “The stove is on and my apartment is going to burn down.”

    At Granville and 61st I kindly ask the cab driver to back track 49 blocks. I kick myself the entire way.

    At 2:35pm, I pass the flight attendant my passport. I am the spitting image of the photo inside: dark circles, tired eyes, faded smile. At 2:57pm the plane lifts off the ground and I am en route to Nashville. 


    a time to thrill: rugged fox goes to tennessee

    I am sitting in an adorable coffee shop on the corner of West Broadway and hospital. Since it is fall, I am decked out in my favourite woollen sweater Cole, and blowing my nose in to every napkin I can find. In this city, it is imperative that you take advantage of new cafes as soon they open their doors.  You never know when your favourite dark roast and friendly smile will turn in to a locked door and “FOR LEASE” sign.

    Speaking of going out of business, can we talk about this website for a paragraph? Slap a “MUST SELL EVERYTHING” sign on my forehead because at the rate these fingers are typing I am concerned. It has become clear over the last year that my writing has taken a back seat to my pursuit of a career at the Meatball Hut. The only major word counts I see these days come in the form of apology letters and meeting minutes.  One day I am confident I will write about my life inside a restaurant; but for now I am too busy living it.

    So where do we begin? I could tell you about the real life happenings of a redhead trying to stay afloat on the Pacific Ocean. I could tell about my dramatic escape from the prison cell of an apartment I called home for the last year. Or I could go in to detail about how I quit my job last June, bought a one-way ticket back to Winnipeg and then decided to stay in Vancouver with 72 hours to spare. I could tell you a lot of things; but right now I want to start with my trip to Nashville.

    Now I know what you are thinking, “WTF?” Because that is exactly what I said when my cousin called me to announce she was getting married in Tennessee.

    “John Grisham!” I exclaimed over speakerphone. My hands were shaking so hard the bubbles I had just poured myself to celebrate began to erupt over the couch. “Do you know what happens to flaming redhead boys in the South?”

    “They drink Veuve like cosmopolitans and bed married rich men like it’s a hobby,” she replied. Her perception of the situation was obviously much different from mine.

    “Ugh! No! Ugh! Wait! Really? What! How?” I tripped over one-word sentences like it was nobody’s business.

    “Correction! They get dragged behind trucks, beaten over the head with tire irons and dumped in the backwoods. Have you ever seen Brokeback Mountain? Peace be to Heath Ledger.” I could barely keep myself together.  

    I could hear my cousin take a deep breath over the phone. She was used to my theatrics and knew it was only a matter of time before I became distracted and forgot what I was so upset about to begin with.

    “Ok for starters, you are not going to get dragged behind a truck and secondly, Brokeback was set in Wyoming.”

    “Whatever,” I brushed my invisible bangs back. “Laramie, Nashville they are practically twin cities. All I know is that homosexuals and cowboy boots only get a long when they are strutting down runways on shopping on Fifth Avenue.” Family or not, it was clear nothing was going to get me on a plane to the Country Capitol of the world.

    “I want you to be MC at the wedding,” she said next.

    “Shut your face!” I shot back the rest of my glass. “You know much I love a spotlight! When do I fly in? OMG what, what, what am I going to wear?”

    I had approximately sixty-five days to prepare for my performance at the wedding. I was no longer afraid about getting beaten to death; but rather upstaging the bride’s dress. I decided early it was going to be a total Oscar situation. I was going to need at least four to five outfit changes to keep the crowd a combination of interested and turned on. I took to heart the words my mother told me as a child, “Always prepare for paparazzi.”

    To be continued.