Five Great Songs And Five Things About Me Because Six Of Each Would Be Conceited

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The pad of my right thumb is at least twice as large as my left. I noticed this a couple of weeks ago. It took about eight seconds for me to realize why… my left thumb controls the stick, my right thumb works the buttons on the PlayStation controller.

I haven’t found a reason to use my newfound power, but when the need arises — and it will — my thumb will be ready. Really, you have to figure I’m just one super-thumb among thousands. Most of the dudes of my generation have been playing videogames since before the C64 was cool, so surely we’ll find a way to harness the thumb power we’ve created.


Someone I blog with is leaving her role as a volunteer at a food bank / soup kitchen in Ottawa so she can concentrate on beating the cancer in her breast. It’s the same food bank and soup kitchen I used for three (or more) years back in the early 1990’s.

Back then my girlfriend eventually got tired of me being borderline homeless and being on social assistance. So I put together a résumé for a job at a pool hall. It was pretty short, I had some bartending experience, a few months as a producer at an Ottawa university radio station, I helped organize a summer day care program near my home town, I spent six months as a fishing guide at a remote camp and there was all the summers I spent as a farmhand.

But my mother, who was typing the résumé, convinced me it would be a good idea to make shit up. Because that always works out right. So she suggested adding my time spent at the food bank and soup kitchen as “volunteer experience”. Cute.

The pool hall manager and I sat down and she asked me a few questions about my work experience, but then she wanted to know about the character stuff, like what type of family I came from. So I told her… I grew up in a political collective based around a cult of personality which revolved around my father, and after eight years my mother escaped with her two sons.

She thought I was insane, but my girlfriend came in from outside to find out why the interview was taking so long and corroborated everything by nodding and saying “yeah, it’s some pretty messed up shit”. So I was virtually guaranteed the job. Except she called the food bank / soup kitchen.

And I never volunteered there. The only way they’d have known my name was to look under “client”.

So I ended up at a moving company instead. It meant leaving my apartment at 4am, getting home at 8pm and having to lift heavy stuff repeatedly all day.

One of my girlfriends longtime friends helped me get the job. I didn’t really like him, he seemed like an idiot and drove a muscle car, but as we worked together he turned out to be a nice enough dude. Then, after a few months of lifting heavy shit because of my girlfriends ultimatum, she told me she went down on him in the muscle car… she did his muscle in the muscle car. Funny. Fun. Knee.

I’ve always thought it was great she was able to unburden herself after living for weeks with all that guilt. It took a lot of character to open up like that… in a muscle car no less. Another funny.

We broke up for a few weeks, but got back together for another year. Crazy how things work out. If I got the job at the pool hall no way does she go down on muscle car dude… well, maybe, but the chances of someone working at the pool hall getting some as well would’ve gone up substantially. Funny, funny.

There’s this thing in Chaos Theory that says when a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo the levees in New Orleans break a few weeks later. I’d like to find the butterfly that flapped its wings the year my girlfriend forced me to find work and crush it with my super-thumb.

So… to recap. My girlfriend lays out an ultimatum, so I find a job which I get because of my mother’s survival story, and then lose right away because of my mother’s meddling. As a result I end up with a job thanks to my girlfriend’s “friend”, so I can keep my girlfriend who then goes down on her “friend” causing our breakup. And, of course, for the two or three weeks between chewing on her friend and telling me, I get to work with him every day.

Story of my life.


These are some of my favourite songs… the first is “Love Kills” by the Circle Jerks, a classic punk band from the United States.

The Circle Jerks were formed in the late 70’s by the original singer from Black Flag. The song is from the soundtrack to one of my favourite movies, “Sid & Nancy” (1986), a mostly accurate bio-pic about Sid Vicious and Yoko Nancy Spungen.


And this one is my outright favourite song… it’s by “The Forgotten Rebels”, a Canadian punk band from the first wave of punk. The band has been operating since 1977. They’re not a little infamous for having their sarcasm and contempt misunderstood. Their first ever video, released in 1977, was for a song called “I Want To Be A NAZI”… they also released a video for a song called “Elvis Is Dead” soon after Elvis died. It was a happy song. The negative reaction kind of set a tone. But fuck it, that’s what punk does.

This song is “Surfin’ On Heroin” from ‘The Pride and Disgrace’ (1986), and it’s freaking awesome.

In the early-90’s I had a chance to see The Forgotten Rebels open for the Circle Jerks at the legendary Barrymore’s concert theatre in Ottawa. The cover was something ridiculously low like $10, whatever it was I didn’t have it and I can remember standing outside the venue thinking how fucking retarded it was that I couldn’t afford to see two of my favourite bands.


This one’s called “Wheat Kings” by a Canadian band called “The Tragically Hip”. It’s from their classic album ‘Fully Completely’ (1992). It’s a song about a man, David Milgaard, who was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a nurse in Saskatchewan. David was basically convicted because he had long hair, and spent twenty years in jail before finally being exonerated. If he had lied and admitted to the crime he would have been out after seven years.

My favourite Tragically Hip song is actually “Bobcaygeon”, from ‘Phantom Power’ (1998), but “Wheat Kings” is a close second… both would be on my Top 100 list.


Surfin’ On Heroin is my favourite song when people ask me what my favourite song is, and I can listen to it over and over and over again. But “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot on his Summertime Dream (1976) album, and “O Mary Don’t You Weep” from Bruce Springsteen’s latest album, ‘We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions’ (2006) are, at least, tied for first… probably with another ten songs.

Actually, if I was to put a Top 100 list together, the first 125 songs would be the entire Led Zeppelin catalogue… minus ‘Coda’ and most of ‘In Through The Out Door’.


My favourite non-alcoholic beverage is milk. Really cold 1%milk. If I let myself I’d drink 4L a day (a gallon), and I have for extended periods. I’ve cut back recently, again. I’m down to 1L. But I notice. I actually set the ‘cold level’ of my fridge down specifically so the milk will be that much better.

When I was working as a farmhand some of the farmers would invite us in for breakfast or lunch, and there’d almost always be a jug of milk fresh from the collector thing… where the milk waits for the truck. And it was always frosty. Yum. Eee.

I used to be a milkshake connoisseur, but this region is seriously milkshake deficient.

My favourite alcoholic beverage is a White Russian. Which is like a vodka milkshake. Yum.


All of my favourite television programs have been animated. Samurai Jack, Invader Zim, LooneyTunes, Beast Wars / Beasties… currently my favourite program is “Futurama”. “House” is cool (and the worlds most watched show) but, like every weekly program, it gets annoying seeing the same people getting into the same basic problems and using the same basic methods to solve them. If you’re going to watch a formula it might as well be a cartoon. Futurama was cancelled like six years ago, but it’s being brought back in a few months.

This makes me happy.




About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Entertainment, Health, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Poverty. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Five Great Songs And Five Things About Me Because Six Of Each Would Be Conceited

  1. thordora says:

    I don’t normally eat dairy since it tries to kill me, but I had the biggest craving for a milkshake the other day and had one of the ones at Wendy’s.

    ooooh. DAMN good. 🙂

    Wheat Kings is one of the only hip songs I like. Although I kinda liked Sarah Polley’s version of Courage in The Sweet Hereafter….

    Nice shades…

  2. MrBlueSkies says:

    All I can say is wow. And I had an ex who did theater with me. We were both in the same show and he was fooling around with someone in that show. Everyone knew it but me. But eventually I found out. Sucks, eh?

  3. Ameroux says:

    I do the same thing with milk: set the fridge controls to get it exactly the right temperature. The other food can just deal. I feel so close to you right now 😉

  4. Gabriel... says:

    So… did the music players work?

    Thanks Thor… they’re blue. The dentist supplies them if you promise to be a good kid.

    I’m not sure there’s any “dairy” in a Wendy’s Frosty. I don’t even think they’re allowed to call it a ‘milkshake’… but I do like them, whatever they are. It’d be nice if milkshakes could be that thick… there is an ice cream parlour relatively close to here which makes a decent shake, but it’s not thick enough.

    I like most of the Hip, although I do find it gets repetitive after a few albums. I used to really like seeing them Live, but then Gord Downey had some kind of head injury and kind of ruined the experience.

    Hi MrBlueSkies… I had to read your second sentence a couple of times, I thought you were using “Theatre” as a metaphor for getting and/or receiving head. Like a hip way of saying “getting an Alanis”. Yes, having your girlfriend “do an Alanis” on someone else totally sucks. Nothing between us was really the same afterwards… we dated for three years in total.

    Hi Ameroux… if two people do it, neither of us are freaks. There should be a milk appreciation society, maybe we could be the first members. Milk always takes precedence in my fridge, my grandfather used to put ice in his milk because my grandmother didn’t like to waste the energy on keeping the fridge on “cold”. He was also the one who introduced me to the milkshake.

  5. Oh, man. Just the French Tips line. That made me giggle.

    Everytime I see Jurassic Bark, I cry.

  6. Gabriel... says:

    You’re welcome… but are the music players working?

    I’m not sure if students of Chaos Theory have Jurassic Park as part of their first year program, but it’d make sense.

  7. ames says:

    The music players worked for me. They are quite handy because I can keep reading while I listen. With a youtube I feel like I have to stop and watch. Which is sometimes the point.

    Wheat Kings is also my second-favourite Hip song. First-fave is Fiddler’s Green.

    I didn’t realize Wheat Kings was based on David Milgaard’s story. Silly me. I spent two hours yesterday reading articles and watching old CBC coverage.

  8. I can’t play music at work, so when I get some time on the machine at home I”ll check.

    And Jurassic Bark is the episode of Futurama with Fry’s dog.

  9. Gabriel... says:

    Hey Justin… I guess that would explain your “I cry” comment. Such a bizarre episode, in the last few minutes everything just veers into poignancy and pathos. I kept thinking “how are they going to incorporate the dog into the show?” and “if they incorporate the dog into the show, isn’t that an admission the current characters aren’t strong enough to carry the show?”. But then Fry misinterprets everything, and the dog’s remains remain petrified… oh, right, spoiler alert.

    I’d imagine the Chaos Theory students would study Jurassic Bark as well.

  10. thordora says:

    no! Not frosty’s. blech. They have milkshakes now…mmmmm. I need one.

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