My Takes

It's Just My Take

Archive for the tag “Funny”

Making Trouble From Nothing

“Carlos, you are just making trouble out of nothing!” Our German International Student, Hanna, used to say to me when I stress over something that she thought was not worth stressing about.  She was, and still is, right though.

You see, I am a stresser, (not really a word). I like to, as Hanna put it, make trouble out of nothing.  I stew over things, no matter how small.  Sleeping for me is work time for my brain.  That’s the time when all of my day’s issues get solved or I devised other ways of dealing with them.  A presentation at work?  When I’m done with it at about 2am, it’s a finely-honed delivery without any hiccups, too bad my audience would never hear it, instead they were privy to the water-down version.  Well it wasn’t that watered down, since I actually did stew on it a few nights prior to the delivery date.  My nocturnal labor has solved worked problems that I was working on and even found lost items! I retrace my wife’s steps to the likely places she could have ‘lost’ her cell phone.

I am an avid sports fan, especially hockey.  When my team loses in the playoffs, it’s time for this fan to break down every what-ifs and near-miss scenarios.  What if the puck hadn’t hit one of our players?  We probably would have scored. How about the breakaway that he missed the open net on?

Maybe it’s a mental health issue and I need to talk to a brain sweeper to clear out the cobwebs that have been taking up residents in my cranial attic. (Wow! Did I just say that? That’s some serious lingo!) My wife insists that I should just shut my brain off and go to sleep. Easier said than done.  Maybe she has a brain switch but I wasn’t blessed with one.

You might ask why don’t I do all that stressing and over-thinking during the day and sleep at night?  Great question! Mind if I get back to you on that?  I just need to maybe…stew on it a bit tonight.

Just My Take!


What Should We Do With The Black Guys?

I received a call from the casting agency that I’ve done a lot of work for regarding a role as an extra in an upcoming television series called, ‘The Pinkertons’.  The show was centered around life in 1860s Kansas.  When I got there, I noticed right away that one of these things were not like the other. Well make that most of the people were not like me, or the other black extra, an older gentleman who I quickly gravitated to.  As expected for that era in the USA, everyone, meaning the Caucasians, had that ‘look’.  You know the white 1800s look? The beard, hard face…ready to rope a black man look?  They had it.  Man these guys were awesome extras!

Back in da day!

“This is going to be interesting.” I said to my new friend and fellow minority.  I don’t think there were any aristocratic looking blacks wandering around Kansas around that time, were there?  Costume did a great job of putting us in getups that made us look like well-to-do slaves. Ok maybe freshly-freed slaves.  They even came by from time to time and rubbed dirt on us.  Hey, it’s all about credibility.   Then it was time to send the extras to their various positions or activities.  Now this is where ‘interesting’ comes in.  Remember, blacks weren’t ‘in style’ back then.  So where oh where should we go?  At first they told us to stand on the train platform and pretend to lift a box.   Nice! I will be on camera!  Well that suggestion didn’t last too long While all the other extras were finding their niches rather easily, finding something to do with the black guys was creating a small problem.  That was until I spotted an 1860 wheelbarrow sitting there right in front of me.  “I can push that”, I offered.  The production guy was only to glad to agree.  I pushed the thing for most of the day. Back and forth, figure 8s, letter H, back and forth…

It wasn’t exactly all I did.  One scene called for the extras, or townsfolks as they/we were called, to pretend to be engaging in buying and selling outside their stores.   There were Coffin makers, Mercantile stores, Pottery stores, etc.  Again, it was no problem finding a spot for the Caucasians.  My friend and I were brought over to the mercantile store that sold pots and pans and other supplies.  We were told to pretend we were buying something. That idea lasted as long as the first one.  After some head-scratching and hmms and aaahs from the production fella, I spotted another prop.  A broom.  “I can use this and pretend to sweep.” I offered, grabbing the broom and sweeping the dirt lightly.  “Yes! Perfect!” The guy must surely be thanking his lucky stars that I was on the ball.  I swept or pretended to sweep for a few hours.

I was having a field day with this.  Watching them struggle trying to figure out where we should go.  I could imagine the director thinking,  “Who thought it was a great idea having a couple black extras?  This could very well compromise the integrity of the show.”  Or maybe, “I could have sworn the casting call was for white extras.”  As each new scene was introduced, I would tell my friend and new partner, “Let’s see where they are going to put us now.”  The we would both have a good laugh at the expense of the guy trying to find somewhere to hide to black guys.  The last scene I did before they decided to wrap me, was shot on the train station platform. Everyone was to be on or close to the platform as it involved someone getting off the train and the hubbub that ensued.  Again, finding somewhere to put the two black guys  presented a headache.  They finally decided to split us up.  My friend was taken somewhere and I was taken to the platform. Yes! Right in the thick of things! Not so fast.   The guy had another changed of heart,  “Hmmm….how about you and you go stand at the corral and you pretend to be showing him what to do?” You and you meant my friend and I.  He had come full circle and we were once again re-united.

My buddy trying to find where the camera was

So off we went to our new job as stable boys.  We looked at the camera and figured if we stand in a certain spot we would be sure to get some face time but when the director yelled, “Background!” we were disappointed to see a pall of movie smoke coming our way. Effectively thwarting our dreams of being seen.  We both had a laugh at this.  “Oh well…”, said the old man.

The food was great.  The people were nice and friendly and it was a great day spent outdoors.  I later found a newspaper ad for extras for the show.  It read in part: “Winnipeg casting agency Kari Casting has put out the call for “Caucasian extras, both male and female, ages 18-70, to fill background roles as townsfolk, saloon barmaids, saloon patrons, union soldiers, coal workers, police, and many more.”  Maybe they ran out of caucasians?

That’s all folks

Click here to read about the show and see some more photos (with Caucasians) taken on the set. On page 2, you could see my wheelbarrow.  A split second more and I would have been in that shot!

Are Those People Still My Friends?

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Français : Logo de Facebook Tiếng Việt: Logo Facebook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even if all they do is send you stupid invites and game requests? Are they still your friend?  They have never said ‘hi’ or wish you happy birthday, so are they?  Today I set out to delete some hanger-ons on Facebook.  You know the kinds who are just there, contributing nothing?  Maybe send you the odd game request?  Yes, those.  I figured I had had enough with the game requests and it was time for them to go.  I imagined what it would be like, surrounded by friends who actually communicated with me.  A genuine circle of friends. So I gathered up all the hanger-ons and got ready to do some deleting.

But I didn’t.  No I didn’t.  That’s your teacher, Carlos.  You’ve known her for a very long time.  She doesn’t do much as a Facebook friend but she moulded you into who you are today.  Who cares if all she does is send game invites? At least she’s still around and making her presence felt. I wouldn’t delete her, Carlos boy.  What? Don’t even think of deleting him! That’s your old classmate.  I know he hasn’t said boo to you in forever but at least you know he’s only a message away.  Come on man! What?! You are actually thinking of saying bye to your cousin? Your cousin? Ok bro, you’ve crossed the line…And so it went on and on…until no one was deleted.

Safe for now buddy, safe for now.  You might be so lucky next time.  Say hi or else…

You Liked That?

thRecently, my cousin announced on Facebook that her mom fell and hurt herself badly.  Not surprisingly, someone who either failed to completely read the status or was just like-happy, clicked ‘like’.   What they liked about that? I really don’t know.  Some of us are a little to quick on the draw when it comes to liking statuses.  We go around clicking ‘like’ with reckless abandon.  Now, the ‘Like’ button does not come with a manual and so in this post, I will give you a few pointers on how to be a good and relevant liker.

Take the above example for instance, do you really think it deserved a ‘like’?  What’s to like?  That’s why there’s a button right next to it called, ‘comment’.  Say something sympathetic or say and do nothing.  If someone announces a birth, graduation or any personal achievement, go nuts with the ‘likes’.   Photos are perfect to be liked.  Cute baby, I think I like.  Mmmm….Food!  Big ‘Like’.  Do not like photos of crashes or someone in sticky situations, comment instead.  So sorry about your mom falling, I wish Facebook had a ‘dislike’ button so I could click on it.

And that ends my tutorial.  And you guessed it, it’s just MY TAKE

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Heard The One About The Priest And The Rabbi?

a-priest-a-minister-and-rabbiIs it me or people are less funny nowadays? In the not too distant past just about everyone was a budding comedian. In the workplace there was always ‘the funny guy’ who was always ready with a joke, sometimes politically incorrect or overly colourful. But they were designed mostly to lighten the air and not to hurt or belittle anyone. In fact, the butt of some of these jokes were the ones telling them, or they were a part of the audience.

Maybe it’s just that the world has gotten so political correct that it’s hard to be funny without the fear of hurting someone’s feeling. I mean when you think of it, just about every joke out there has the potential to hurt someone’s feelings, if they were inclined to feel hurt. Jokes about animals could hurt some animal rights activists. Blondes used to be the go-to for funny jokes until we caught on it that it was all an act and they were actually smart. No wonder they never took offense.

Politically correctness has its place in society but when it’s taken too far it takes all the funny out of life. I could tell you about the Priest and the Rabbi but one of them might get hurt. If not them, then their parishioners.

Excusez-moi Madame, Have You Seen My Son?

imagesIf you are an unemployed man, raise your hand.  Um…not so fast sir.  You haven’t worked for some time and I doubt you have any intentions of working so let me rephrase that.  If you are a man who has recently lost his job, raise your hand. Hmm…Ok ok.  Don’t do that either.  You look a bit silly sitting in front of your computer with your hand in the air.  If someone should walk in on you right now they would think you have lost it. No, not your job, your mind.

Anyways, since I very rudely and abruptly lost my job when the employment carpet was unceremoniously yanked from under my feet, I have noticed that there are quite a few other dads out there who suffered the same fate.  Either that or they are lying to me as a way of expressing their sympathy I am gullible so I doubt that.  I now know at least 5 other men who have lost their jobs within weeks and months of my own departure.  Most of us have kids which makes me wonder if there is something afoot.  Are our wives up to some kind of sneaky underhanded dealings?  Are they in cahoots with our bosses?  They think we are not ‘mommy’ enough to handle stay-at-home duties? Well we will show them!

My fellow daddy-day-carers, let’s go forward in solidarity!  Let’s show our wives that we are capable of being darn good stay-at-home dads.  We will only call them when we need, I repeat, need, to know where our kids’ clothes are, what they like to eat and what are their names.  We won’t ask the obvious questions that they are probably waiting for us to ask, like ‘Honey, can you tell me who wears the red Nikes?’  Hello! We will try them on the kids until it fits someone.  Duh!

Since I was forced into my stay-at-home daddy role, I can see a difference around the home.  Mikhail is riding a bike without training wheels, the kids are eating less, which is good for weight watching.  I mean, most of it is because I keep forgetting to make meals but that’s besides the point. We are also saving on gas bills as we eat fast food more often.  Let the restaurants pay the gas bills.  Kenyan even tried coffee for the first time.  Do you think mommy would have allowed him that treat?  Of course not.


About school, my two older boys are now going to a French immersion school.  It’s great except that I couldn’t keep track of the Madames at that school when it was only one kid attending, with two there’s no way I could remember! Plus they are usually weird french names.  Names like Madame Dideau, Madame Richelu and Madame Jackson.  (told you they were weird).   My wife remembers them all but she doesn’t have to worry about other stuff like who wears the red Nikes and who eats what.  I am not done.  My youngest is repeating preschool. I know, big deal eh? Well here this…He gets off at 11:30am, Kenyan at 11:00 and Mik at 3:12.  I think it’s 3:12.  Guess who has to pick them up at these staggered time?  Yep, me!  It’s piece of cake.  I mean I am sure I will show up at the wrong time and at the wrong school but as long as I say ‘Excusez-moi madame but where is my kid?’ I should be ok.

So if you start seeing kids walking around with Nikes too big for their feet while holding a cup of coffee and waiting for their daddy who is either running late or waiting at the wrong school/bus stop, don’t worry about it.  They are from the new day care in  your area most likely ran by an unemployed dad.  The kids will be fine, no worries. Fellas, let’s show our wives how we do things. Raise your…actually never mind.


Where In Jamaica Are You From? St. Vincent?

Flag-map of Jamaica

Flag-map of Jamaica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I was talking to a guy who was trying to impress me with his knowledge of Caribbean lingo.  “What’s up mon?”  He greeted,  proudly letting me know he’s a frequent flyer to the island of Jamaica which he incorrectly assumed was my ‘home’.  He then asked me where I was from, meaning where in Jamaica.  I said, “St.Vincent” and started to explain that it was also an island in the Caribbean.  He didn’t let me get to that part.  He interrupted with an excited response, “Oh I have been to Negril and Kingston but never that part”.

The guy continued to extol the beauty of the islands, based of course on his visits to Jamaica and I pitied him for not having a good geography teacher when he attended school.  Darn North American Education!  As I am apt to do, I let him stew in his ignorance and rolled with it.  We talked about Ocho Rios, Ganja and resorts.  I even humored him and spoke like a true Jamaican.  He asked when I was last there and I told him when I last visited St. Vincent.  Then he left.  No wiser than when he walked into my office.  Bad Bad teacher!  No Jamaican rum for you!

Why am I blogging about this?  Well too often it is assumed that because of my skin color and maybe accent, I have to be either from Africa or Jamaica.  It’s not a big deal as I’m used to it but assuming someone is from a particular place because of their skin color is a bit ignorant, isn’t it?  Or is that just my take?

I do not assume every white person is from England.  To do so would be bordering on presumptuous, don’t you think?

Just my take.  Everyting irie, mon.

The Art Of Running

Art in motion

Art in motion

I admire runners.  I am glued to the tv when there’s a track meet on.  The Olympics is like my fix.  Ever since I could remember, I’ve always been mesmerized by the human body moving in sync as it glides down a race track or just on the road effortlessly.  Or at least seemingly so.  Fast or slow.  It’s an enjoyable sight to me.   Maybe the runner might not share my sentiments.

I have tried to imitate or maybe I should say impersonate, a real runner.  Lacing up running shoes bought for the occasion, stretching then heading out for a nice casual evening jog.  It doesn’t take long for my trickery to be exposed.  Within a couple of minutes, I am reduced to a panting gasping excuse for a runner. The thoughts swirl through my head. “I guess this is really not for everyone.  It sure doesn’t feel as good and enjoyable as it looked”.

On Sunday, the Manitoba Marathon gets underway.  My wife will attempt to run the half.  I will choose to watch real runners ply their hobby instead of getting in their way so I will stand on the side of the road and cheer them on.  They will look at me without breaking their rhythm and smile.  Yes, they could still muster a smile even at mile 10!  What artistry!

Ah, the art of running…too bad I’m such a poor artist.  Go runners! Run!


Yes, that’s me struggling to the finish line on my first marathon. I ran the last leg of our relay team.

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