Wednesday, November 18, 2009

White Chocolate Brownies

I was calling a friend racist as I often do. I think it was justified this time. She was comparing me to Sebastien the crab from the little Mermaid. Anyway, it lead us to ponder an inconsistency in the English language that I think is worth sharing. The conversation went like this:

DoctaC$G says:

and you're RACIST!!!


speaking of that

i was considering making white chocolate brownies

think that's possible?!

i love white chocolate

DoctaC$G says:

Why white chocolate?

leave it to the man to take delicious chocolate and turn it white.


its sweeter

DoctaC$G says:

anyway, it's possible, I think I've had it before.


do you remember it being good?

DoctaC$G says:

I think I found it too sweet.

and of course at that point they're not brownies.

they're whities.




I wonder... Should white chocolate even be called chocolate anymore? Couldn't they just think of another name for that particular candy? You know that white chocolate only has to be 20% cocoa butter to be sold as chocolate? Doesn't sound like chocolate to me... Here I was going to make a joke like, "that's about as chocolate as Nicole Richie!" Or... "Lionel Richie!" But I decided that would be in poor taste as I am a fan of Lionel Richie and relatively neutral about Nicole. Did you know that grown Iraqi men weep at the mere mention of Lionel Richie's name? Yes, he's very popular in the Middle East.

But I digress... And by that I mean, I should be working instead of putzing around online. L8ter haters!

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I've been pretty lazy the last year or so. I often fall asleep on the couch and wake up at odd hours, sleeping badly and then being tired throughout the next day. But just now I woke up to this infomercial for P90X, easily the best infomercial I've seen after that guy who cuts through a wall with his kitchen knives.

It's not a video workout. It's an extreme home fitness revolution that uses techniques of muscle confusion to get YOU absolutely ripped in just 90 days. As I write this an ALERT appears on the screen telling me that I can get a free pro-grade resistance band if I order in the next five minutes... I've never been so overwhelmed by a commercial before. I just wake up and you have that stony voice growling at you... "YOU CAN GET ABSOLUTELY RIPPED IN ONLY 90 DAYS ALL YOU NEED IS SOME DUMBELLS, A CHIN UP BAR AND A PRO-GRADE RESISTANCE BAND IF YOU ORDER IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES." I am compelled to do exactly what the man says. It was the most effective infomercial I have ever seen in my life.

If you go to the website you'll see that the XPERTS (including motivational the Master of Motivation behind P90X, Tony Horton) teach you such workouts that include PLYOMETRICS!!! YOGA X!!! KENPO X !!! AB RIPPER X!!! and even X STRETCH!!! WHAT THE HECK IS KENPO X????? WOOOOOAAAAAAAH!!!!! Maybe it's just late, and maybe I'm just tired... But I want all of this hardcore extremeness to be part of my life TODAY.... X! I want music like this ringing in my brain for the rest of my life!!!

When I walk into the lab, I want this music to play the moment the door opens. Not even from a stereo or anything, it will just be God turning on some kind of divine soundtrack that follows me around wherever I go. I want my co-workers to say, "Chris!!! I can't hear myself think!!! you're too hardcore and extreme!!!" As I pipette 10 microleters of HF buffer into a PCR tube.

I'm going to go from Tim Horton to Tony Horton in just 90 days!!! P90x MOTHA #t%!@!!!

Then I imagine as my motivation wanes, I'll go from Tony Horton back to Horton Hears a Who. :-( Exercise is such a drag. I'll think about it tomorrow though. Where am I going to put a chin-up bar in my apartment?? Bah... The rush has worn off... Thank you for being a part of my short lived dreams of becoming absolutely ripped.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Dichloromethane-Man, Dichloromethane-Man, does what ever Dichloromethane can

I do complain about Concordia from time to time. But we've had good times and bad times. Among the good times, is a recent experience I had in the lab. I was working with a chemical called dichloromethane, a toxic organic compound that is highly volatile. The liquid was in a bottle with a strange pump fastenned to the top. When I figured out how it worked, I was so excited I didn't realize there was a rubber cap blocking the spout. I forced down the plunger and was splashed with dichloromethane.

I may have gotten a drop on my hand. DCM, is so volatile it evaporates in seconds. I kept my cool, and looked up the safety information online. It attacks the central nervous system. That just happens to be my favourite nervous system. The MSDS (safety info) says in case you get some on your skin, you should rinse for 10 minutes with soap and water. I did that, but still wondered about my precious entral nervous system. Would the freak lab accident enhance my central nervous system to super-hero esque levels, giving me psychic powers?? Or would my IQ dwindle to the level of slack-jawed yokel??

I began to rant and rave as I often do, when someone suggested I call Info-Sante, perhaps hoping I would fret to them for a while. Sadly, I forgot to dial "9" for outgoing calls and I ended up getting in touch with a frenetic woman who worked at some kind of Concordia Emergency line. I excused myself, telling her it wasn't my intention to call her. Nevertheless, she asked me what hapenned. I made the mistake of telling her.

Lady: "Dye... cloro... what???"
Me: "Oh, it's okay, I just followed the directions online and..."
Lady: "An agent will be up to see you in a moment."

An agent??? I told her it wasn't necessary but in less than 5 minutes one security guard was in the lab looking around for a chemical spill. I told him there was a small splash and whatever was spilled probably evaporated before even hitting any surface. Two more agents came, one with a first aid kit, asking for my name, my supervisors name and the name of the reagent that I spilled. They were looking around the lab desperately to find the chemical spill. You can tell that before arriving they were anticipating a glowing green puddle, with red steam rising from it. They were dissapointed and asked if there was any burning on the spot where I had spilled DCM on my hand. I said no.

This didn't stop the 3 burly security guards from escorting me to the Concordia clinic where we met up with the safety officer from the chemistry department who deals with hazardous spills. He promptly went online to retrieve the information about what I had spilled (which I had already done). Following all that excitement there was a detailed report to fill out and a series of jokes about me dying, having my hand amputated and losing all of my skin pigmentation like Michael Jackson.

Good times. I came back to the lab where I was laughed at, nevertheless, impressed by the efficiency of the security guards. Does anyone remember when they suspected someone might have a gun in the school. It didn't take more than 10 minutes for them to muster a swat team, helicopters and snipers (only to discover that the potential assailant was carrying kendo sticks). But, it's good to know how efficient the security here is. Thanks to the men and women and Concordia Secuirty. I make jibes about Concordia, but at least we're pretty safe. That being said, next time I spill a chemical on me, I think I'll just suck it up and rinse with water.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Most people who go to the Sushi chain of restaurants called Kanda will normally attest to one thing: Those people are just plain rude. It doesn't matter which one you go to. They'll argue with you about your order after bringing you the wrong things. God forbid you ask them for a glass of water to wash down their salty rolls. But most sickenning to me was the strange goodbye that one of the hostesses gave our group as we were leaving. It was said with as much contempt as she could muster, as if the very words would end our lives.

But bad service is pervasive in our society, whether you're taking the bus or asking someone in the twisted beauracracy of the University to reimburse you for money that you're entitled to. But it was to my horror that one night after eating at Kanda, they calculated our tip into the bill. That was the first time I had experienced that. Exactly how does that work? How is it that they suddenly decide that for any group larger than 10 people, they can suddenly add 15% to your bill and call it a "tip"?

What is a tip anyway? You go to a restaurant and there are waiters and waitresses who are already paid to bring you your food. Why are they entitled to more money, on top of their salary, as if we the patrons haven't already paid too much money for a meal? Where do they come off asking for more?

I sometimes imagine where this concept came from. I imagine some old, rich man, probably an ancient Egyptian pharoah, pleased by the uncharacteristically good service of a waiter, giving the man a few extra gold coins for a job well done. "Thank you good sir! This eating experience was exceptional! Here's a reward!" Or perhaps he was just trying to show off to a good looking waitress. "Why thank you madam! Might I add your buttocks are looking rather firm and perky today! Perhaps some money will make me seem somewhat more endearing to you!"

Whatever his motivations, this man has changed our world forever. Whereby a tip may have originally been a reward for exceptionally good service, it has now degenerated into a standard, whereby good service isn't even prerequisite. As long as you are a waiter, you are entitled to a tip. If you bring the wrong dish, spill stuff, if you're rude... You can still expect a tip. Every waiter, taxi driver, beggar lives in a world of, "I know I'm already getting paid for my work, but I WANT MORE!!"

Yeah, so do I. But I already know what will happen if I put a jar on my lab bench... Even if I take a marker and lazily write the word, "Tips" on it. Perhaps I could write, "Haven't eaten for days!" The result would be the same. An empty jar.

And restaurants where you actually have waiters are bad enough, but have you ever been to a restaurant where you just go to pick up your food that has a tip jar? Have you ever been to a depanneur that had a jar for tips on the counter?!? At that point it's akin to begging. I mean, what is a person asking for tips doing beyond what they're otherwise supposed to be doing? Similarly, a pan-handler is doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. Essentially we live in a world where people expect that if they are adjacent to any kind of receptacle, be it a jar, a hat, a fanny pack, anyone crossing their path should feel compelled to put money into it. They don't even have to be doing anything extraordinary. They could be singing, playing the guitar, or just sitting there looking dirty and bedraggled.

I'll tell you one thing, the day I see a bus driver with a tip jar, is the day they'll send me to jail for assault or worse.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


If you've known me long enough you might be familiar with a particularly bad joke that I tell with some regularity. Someone will say, "I'll give you a call." Then I'll ask, "On the phone?" To which the other person, baffled will respond.. "Yes." Then I'll ask, "Telephone or Saxophone?"

I attempted this joke on MSN talking to Vrej. Unfortunately I wrote "SaxA instead of SaxOphone." Anyone who knows Vrej knows that for him correcting spelling errors and grammar is as good as any auto-erotic recreation available on the internet. "Saxo " appeared in my msn window within seconds. While he went to clean himself up I wondered to myself, "I wonder where the word Saxophone comes from?"

A quick internet search yielded an answer that sounds almost made up. In fact, the inventor of the Saxophone was one Adolphe Sax who patented the invention in 1846. He was the son of Charles Sax who invented the less popular, Saxhorn.

The point is, if someone had asked me where the word saxophone comes from, that is probably exactly the story I would have invented, except I would have used the name, Steve Sax and he would have been trying to invent an auto-erotic device that one could use in the public without being noticed. The various openings and keys had the unfortunate side-effect of producing a sound that we now recognize as the saxophone, a fact discovered by his late mother Sandrine Sax, who walked in on him while he tested his new invention and died of a heart-attack. Though not inconspicuous enough to be used for its original purpose, the sexhorn produced a beautiful melody and the sound was soon pervasive in American music culture.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Foul Mouth (parental discretion is advised)

The other day in the elevator, I found a colleague holding a bunch of containers filled with food. They teetered precariously and I couldn't help but make the most obvious of mock aggressive gestures and pretend to knock them over. He asked pitifully, "Why would you do that??" I responded by saying, "Why? Why??? Because f**k that!!!! that's why!!!" Then I giggled my motha f**kin' ass off!! The man waved awkwardly and left.

Call it stress, call it insanity, but these days I can't help but give into what I will call, playful displays of aggression. This usually manifests itself as a playful punch... sometimes a playful kick... But most often, it manifests itself in a litany of carefully chosen swear words, not unlike the disgraceful display illustrated above.

When I was young, I didn't used to utter a single swear word, and would rarely even say the Lord's name in vain. As I grew older, I began to use gateway swear words like, "eff" or "damn." This soon evovled into an all out cussing streak, whereby I go out of my way to fit swearwords into my speech. Why? I find it funny for some reason. I first realized I had a problem when I let out a particularly foul curse word while a little girl ran by.

Swearing is a pretty filthy habit. It makes me sound like a real cretin. Why, oh why do I enjoy it so much? I want to blame rap music, movies... Certain friends... I've tried to stop. I even have a swear jar at home. But that doesn't really work. I don't really enforce it. Where's the motivation? Putting money in a jar doesn't seem like a penalty. It's my house.. my jar... So what am I losing?

In short, what I'm saying is, I can't stop. There is no cure for what I have. Even if I curb it for a month or so, I'll hear some charming use of the eff word and then I'll be back to my bad habit. I am at all times 1 rap song, 1 R rated movie, 1 vulgar friend away from regressing to the degenerate language of the street. My most recent return to swearing was after taking a particularly inane facebook quiz. What vicious animal are you? My result was, "Jesus f**king Christ you're a f**king bear!" Man, I laughed and laughed. Then I pondered how incredibly blasphemous it is when people incorporate the eff word into Jesus' name. Then I wondered to myself why people say, "Jesus H. Christ!!" What does the H stand for? Herbert? Harry? Hug?

Anyway, here are some videos of some people swearing that I enjoy.

1) I Hate Huckabees

2) Arty Lange Sings

3) Bad Santa

4) A long skit with Black Guys swearing about chicken

Friday, May 15, 2009

Doctor Gregg on drugs

I saw a commercial the other day for a drug. We've all seen them, "If you suffer from a flaccid phallus, take these pills." Followed by a disclaimer listing the possible side effects which are usually far more serious than what the pills were initially supposed to treat, "These pills may cause blindness, dementia and death. Consult your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms."

We have all since become numb to how incredibly dangerous these drugs are. However, the commercial I saw that night was actually advertising for a drug to be taken with other drugs. It claimed that if you are suffering from depression AND are already on anti-depressants, these pills would help you cope with depression.

Now I may not have no fancy degree, but if you need to take drugs, to improve the effects of drugs you're already taking, aren't you in a hell of a lot of trouble? I won't even make the obvious observation that if in fact two drugs are better than one when it comes to depression, why don't drug companies just combine the drugs into one super pill?

Somewhere along the line I can only assume it has something to do with money. And I'm not going to pull a Tom Cruise and claim there is no such thing as depression but I think we all need to take a long hard look at what drug companies are doing. Yes, it is possible that some people might need drugs to help some problem they might have. But it seems to me, if in fact depression was as widespread a mere 50 years ago as it is now, what did people do to cope then? Did they just keel over and die? Fifty years from now, will people ask, "What did people on anti-depressants in 2009 do to cope with depression if they didn't have anti-depressant repressants?"

Think about Ritalin, a drug given to kids to help them behave. Having worked at a summer camp I've seen children on ritalin. There is a chilling detachment in their eyes that seems like something out of an eerie science fiction story starring Haley Joel Osmont (ironically before his trouble with drugs).

All this to say, back in my day we had a drug to help children behave. It was called a beating. As always, I am wont to bring up how badly behaved I think kids are nowadays, having no kids of my own and in many ways being a kid myself. But man, kids are badly behaved. I am always amazed when I see a kid look their mothers right in the eyes and scream and swear at them. But today's liberal society will tell you, its wrong to spank them. Pump them full of drugs.

I reiterate, beat your kids. If not for their sake, then for the sake of the teacher's I saw recently, getting scolded by some punk 14 year old who wanted to smoke on school grounds. Do it for the crotchety old men like me on the bus who have utter contempt for 14 year olds who stagger onto the bus reeking of marijuana while they curse and swear at their equally unsavory friends over the cell phone. And if you don't have the hutzvah to kick your child's ass when they need it, send them to the army where someone will do it for you. I was speaking to a friend of mine who knows a psychiatrist for teens. I'm told the job often boils down to prescribing drugs for rich kids who have just gotten bored. Perhaps bored with a life that has become too easy and maybe even too pointless.

So now to cope with life, we need to turn our children into existential philosophers rambling to psychologists about their boredom or keep them stoned out of their mind? Isn't it just easier and more useful to beat them? I mean, what's the consequence? Hypothetically my child is going to call the cops and have me arrested for abuse? You know what, when I have kids, they're getting spanked, I don't care if it's illegal. "Yeah? What? You're going to call the cops? After I feed you, clothe you and put a roof over your head? Go ahead then. I'll go to jail I don't give a f**k! No rent! Free food! I don't have to buy drugs for spoiled children. Enjoy life in a foster home!" And as Russel Peters said, there's still plenty of time to beat the kids as the cops are en route!

Might I suggest that in many cases, depression and bad behaviour are the jails we make for ourselves when opulent society has deprived us of our boundaries. And perhaps perscription drugs are the guy in your neighbouring jail cell, wearing a doo rag, who manages to get you cigarettes from the outside world, a fickle pleasure to enjoy while in a jail cell that might kill you in the long run anyway.

Call me old fashionned, but I think this is one instance of capitalists creating a need where none existed previously. I fail to believe that evolution has failed us so badly that we have no natural ways to cope with depression and badly behaved kids. Please, tell me there's something in the food that's screwing us up. Tell me we need to play less X-box, watch less tv and do more chores in the yard. Tell me that we are trying to fullfill spiritual needs with shopping or some other vapid, materialistic diversions. But don't tell me that millions of people need drugs as badly as they need food. Or even need drugs to cure the effects of other drugs they may already be taking. Drugs to cure the effects of drugs? That certainly sounds like science fiction to me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Doctor Gregg has a bad day

Man, did I ever have a bad day last week. It all started a while ago when I realized I would have to pay 300$ to print 5 (6?) copies of my thesis. Brutal. Surely it doesn't cost that much to print 6 copies of anything, unless you're laminating the pages in gold. The woman tried to console me by saying, "You're a doctor now, you'll be making that in an hour!"

Who does she think I am? An auto-worker in detroit? An electrician, plumber or bus driver? No, those are jobs that you can do coming straight out of high school. I've spent some 9 years in university alone and I could never aspire to make as much as them.

And the tuition fees. I thank God I was on a scholarship and my tuition was being paid for. Of course, the demonic overloads at Concordia University have found one last opportunity to take a big bite out of my ass. No, I'm not talking about the ridiculous fees of printing my thesis. The other day I found a charge of 2200+$ on my student account. I wasn't even worried, I knew it had to be a mistake.

Was I ever wrong. After navigating my way through the serpentine beauracracy of the university, I got my answer as to how I could still owe them money. Long story short, they charge me per credit. Because most of the program "credits" are not credits at all but some hypotehtical measure of how much time I would spend at school, because I finish early they just charge me the difference when I'm done.

Isn't that the opposite of credit? In fact... isn't that robbery? "Okay, give us 2200$... we're not providing you with any service we're just... taking your money because we want more than what you've paid us already."

Well, at least Concordia provides excellent service. NOT! 1 of a million examples would be my recent attempt to get an employee card. One week, I hand in a contract to be put on the payroll. Next week I'm told I have to go and ask them for an employee card. Had someone not told me I would never have known. So I go to the downtown HR office to get an employee card. This is always fun because no one you ask knows where this office is. I get there and after the secretary got off the phone with what must have been his friend, we had an interesting conversation.

Me: "Hello, I'm told I need an employee card."
Secretary: "If you're on contract for at least a year, yes."
Me: "I am."
Secretary: "Do you have a copy of the contract?"
Me: "I gave you a copy last week."

He then checks to see if I"m on file. I am! Hooray! Employee card, here I come. Not so. He asks me for a copy of my contract again. I reminded him that I put the contract in his very hands the previous week. He still tells me I need to bring him a contract....

Me: "What about the contract I gave you! I'm on file!"
Secretary: "You... still have to bring one."
Me: "But all my information is on that screen in front of you?"
Secretary: "Yes."
Me: "So ... I... Don't..."
Secretary: "Yes."

What's the point of arguing? Can someone explain to me what the point of a Human Resources department is if not to keep track of contracts I've given to them? Isn't a contract, proof that I am employed there, a resource? Isn't it cruel of them to make me take another trip downtownn with information they should have, that I've provided them with? Recently no less!?! What is a Human Resources Department if they don't have any resources or humanity? They're just a department. One of many departments designed to syphon money away from students.

As I took the elevator down, it stopped at the 9th floor. There's always some sense of impatience when the elevator stops for someone else. Why should I, a doctor, have to wait 7 seconds for someone to get on an elevator? The elevator stopped again. The guy who got on after me cursed in fury as the elevator stopped. "F**K!!" Some more guys got on. The elevator moved down a few more floors and 7 seconds later stopped again. The guy who had gotten on at the previous stop cursed, "Jesus Christ!"

And I had a revelation. There was something very spiritual about that moment. Just the site of one person after the other, each one actually angry that they had to wait 7 seconds for another human being was really revealing. I had to wait 21 seconds, while the guy who got on after me, only 14, the other one 7. In the grand scheme of things, 21 seconds is no time at all. And had someone gotten on before me... Well, you get the point. Someone has always got it worse. And in the grand scheme of things, my problems were trivial.

So I laughed, realized my day wasn't so bad, counted my blessings, gave God a praise and moved on. Among my good news is, I'm working on an interesting project in the lab, making more money. My book, the Twilight Alliance has hit book shelves across the US at 85 Barnes and Noble stores. That's a dream of mine. I realized if I travelled back in time to tell myself that, I would have been hysterical. Complaining is fun though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Doctor Gregg goes to a Metal Concert

So I got a random invitation last month. "Chris would you like to go to see a Heavy Metal Concert?"

Now I'm by no means a big fan of heavy metal music, but I was intrigued. And in the interest of trying something new and spending time with a friend I became very interested and excited by the prospect of going to this concert, part of the Pagan Knights tour.

I have to admit some of the music has a good beat and though lots of the songs seem to blend together to me, there are some that stuck. But the music isn't what interests me most about heavy metal concert. It's everything that surrounds it. First of all the attire is pretty surprising. Everyone's dressed in black and kind of gloomy. I looked someone out of place in my blue and grey hoodie, I was told it had a kind of 80's retro feel to it.

One band, Suidakra, was a group of Germans. The guy's banter got away from him as he started swearing. "This is going to be ... the best... f**king... ummm... THING!!!" Ever.

What was this best thing he spoke of? Something called a "Wall of Death" apparently. I was already familiar with moshing, which as far as I can tell is white people's answer to dancing. They just kind of, run into each other and start shoving one another... It's very odd. So when one band mentionned a wall of death I was very apprehensive. At least they're polite enough to ask. One band was french, "Est-ce que ca vous tente un, "Wall of Death?""

Then the second band and then a third band asked the same question. "How about we have a WALL OF DEATH!!!" The "Wall of Death" part said in a Batman from the Dark Knight voice.

The crowd answered with an enthusiastic: "RAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!"
Me: "No?"

Well I learned that a Wall of Death is when the crowd segregates to opposite sides of the... dance/death floor and then runs into each other like a bunch of psychopath. Moshing ensues.

Anyway, the BEST part of the concert was the band I was anticipating; Alestorm. When I was invited to the concert my friend emphasized that there was a Pirate Metal Band she was dying to see, and yes, pirate metal is exactly what it sounds like. The music has a Gaelic feel to it and they sing about sailing the high and finding treasure. The lead singer declared, "This song is about Mead and Wenches... It's called... Mead and Wenches!!!"

The entire crowd got pretty excited about a song called Huntmaster which to me was probably the catchiest song of the night. But what's great is, people in the crowd were dressed as pirates. No joke, they were decked out in full pirate attire, jack sparrow bandannas and big feathery captain's hats, boots and vests. They were brandishing foam pirate swords and daggers and the cherry on top was the giant inflatible parrot that emerged from the crowd.

People were really excited about Alestorm and jumped up on stage to skip and prance. This made it necessary for one of the security guards, a large and brooding black man, to lurk on stage. When someone would jump on stage, he would pick them up like dolls and toss them into the crowd, a job he took to with great relish. You can almost hear him saying, "Go back from whence you came!!!" But even this seemed to be part of the fun as the intruders would surf the crowd yelling and screaming in pure MetalHead elation.

A good time. If ever I go again I feel the need to dress a little more metalish... spikes... links of chains... tall boots with buckles and what not.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why hasn't Samuel L. Jackson played a wizard yet?

A quick word on how cool Samuel L. Jackson is...

Comic book nerds will be familiar with a character named Nick Fury. Well, years ago when they decided to reboot the comic books they specifically asked Sam Jackson if they could draw Nick Fury, (previously a white character), to look like our hero Sam with an eyepatch.

This character was seen in the epilogue to the Iron Man movie and all the nerds made a mess in their pants to see Samuel Jackson for less than a minute. I mean, the guy puts on an eyepathc, says two lines and gets applause.

The latest news is that Jackson has signed an unprecedented contract to do 9 movies as Nick Fury! This blows my mind. The man will spend the twilight of his life playing this character. In fact if you were to go to Samuel L. Jackson's Wikipedia page, his life is divided into chapters. Among those chapters is (the years), 70s to 80s, 90s, 2000s... Nick Fury!? That is a chapter of his life???

Think about it, these 9 movies have not even been written yet. They haven't even cast the lead roles! The only thing they really know about these movies, is that Samuel L. Jackson will be in it, probably for no more than 5-10 minutes in each.

Studio Exec: "Soooo... what are these movies about?"
Other Studio Exec: "I don't know..."
Studio Exec: "Who's playing the leads??"
Other guy: "Who cares??? Just get Samuel Jackson a motha f**kin' contract!!!"

Who's cooler than Samuel L. Jackson? He's been a cop, a hitman, a super hero, a Jedi Master. The only role he hasn't played yet is a wizard. But there's still plenty of time.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Black people who remind me of me

I was recently featured in the Community Contact, a paper for the Carribean Black community in Montreal. It was very flattering. Among other things they mentionned that it was unusual for a 27 year old Black guy to get a PhD in Biology. It hearkenned me back to memories of last Christmas. I was in a Hallmark store when an aquaintance of mine recognized me. He told me, "You know, I thought of you recently, I saw a movie..."

I knew where this was going, having seen I Am Legend starring Will Smith a few weeks earlier. He said, "The main character was a Biologist... Studying diseases and stuff. He fought zombies... He was also..." Here he hesitated, not certain of how to say what he had committed himself to saying. I nodded my head, encouragingly, "Yes... It's okay. He was Black. A Black Biologist just like me."

I'll tell you something; IMMEDIATELY after seeing I Am Legend I KNEW that someone would make the comparison. I wonder how many people in the world watched that movie and thought to themselves, "You know who's Black and is getting a PhD in Biology? That Black guy who's Black... Chris Gregg!"
Zombie genocide aside, I guess I am very much like Will Smith. Maybe with a slightly better physique. As a 27 year old black guy I've been compared to many black people most of whom are not like me at all aside from the fact that they're Black. When I went to China I have been compared to Michael Jordan, Will Smith... I guess it's not a bad thing that someone I hadn't seen in years thought of me immediately when he saw a black person in the field of Biology. Have I become the archetype for Black Biologists within the network of people who know me? If so... Awesome.
Let's think of other Black people who remind me of me.

Denzel Washington. Reason he reminds me of me: He's black.

Winston Zedmore from Ghostbusters. Reason he reminds me of me: He's black and he hunts ghosts.

Eddie Murphy from Coming to America. The main character in this motion picture is black.

Oprah is Black.

There are certainly others. Let's celebrate Black History month together by reflecting on Black people who remind you of me and the reasons.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Begging to be begged: The story of Masta's loafers

My policy on giving money to people on the streets has fluctuated over the years. When I was young, I thought it was nice to give a few cents to people in need. Then I became vehemently opposed to giving money and no one could get a penny from me. After spending some time with my pseudo-wives, I had a technique. I would judge how poor these men actually were, by looking at their shoes. Only women could inspire something so brilliant. If their shoes looked ragged enough, I would give them money. I was surprised to find that most of the people who were begging for money had nicer shoes than me. Of course, considering I've been wearing the same loafers for about 5 years, maybe I shouldn't be.

Now I'm back at a place where I sometimes give money to beggers on the street. Which is why I was somewhat surprised on the way back from the movies the other day. There was a tatooed, body pierced young man going around asking people for money at the metro. He'd go from person to person, enduring rejection after rejection.

"Oh, here it comes!" I told my friend, rolling my eyes. He looked at me briefly and then asked the guy next to me for money. He skipped me!

Me: "Did you see that?"
Friend: "What?"
Me: "That beggar just snubbed me!"
Friend: "Maybe he thought you wouldn't give him any money."
Me: "Why would he think that? He asked People who had their back turned to him. some of them scowled at him! It's not a race thing either. Look he's asking Black people too!"
Friend: "What...? Did you want to give him money?"
Me: "No.... but it's still nice to be asked!"

I briefly considered asking him why he decided not to ask me for money. Was it my posture? Did it look like I didn't have any money? I mean.. The nerve. If you're going to be a beggar, be thorough! He doesn't know, I could be the most generous man on earth. I might have given him 10$ maybe 20$!

Whatever, who needs him anyway? I've been begged by the best. Amputees, people with dogs, people bold enough to say they'll spend my money on alcohol. I've been mugged by a guy with a banana! And this guy at the metro thinks HE's too good to ask ME for money? That is to laugh. Of course, maybe he just took a good hard look at my 5 year old beige loafers and felt pity on me. Maybe I should consider a career in panhandling.

Now wearing these old shoes has become almost a challenge. It's as if the universe is daring me to get rid of them. Those who know me, know I wear these shoes almost 365 days a year, rain, sun and snow the beige loafers are part of me now. I even bought a new pair of shoes a year or two ago, to replace them. They were a lot nicer than these beige loafers. But I spilled general tao chicken on them and they've never been the same.

So, much like Darth Vader's cape, Winnie the Pooh's red T-shirt, or Dr. Octopus's arms, I will bear these loafers ever more. Keep an eye out for them next time you go out with MastaCSG!

My Obama Post

In recent months I've been asked about Barack Obama, of course. Am I excited about him being the next president? What do I think about him?

I have the same opinion as everyone else. He's pretty good. Pretty, pretty... pretty good. When he actually won the vote, I was probably most emotional, mostly because he mentionned his grandmother and my grandmother had died about 1 year before that. I would have loved to have seen her reaction to this historical event.

I'm also very surprised to see that the U.S. would elect a Black man to be president of the United States. In my mind the pervasive racism in the states would have overwhelmed common sense. I'm glad to see I was wrong. That being said, he has a mess on his hands as far as the economy is concerned.

And that's about it... I couldn't say anything that everyone hasn't said a million times before. I'm glad to see we've finally caught up with our fiction. Now Obama can join the ranks of President Palmer, Morgan Freeman's character in Deep Impace and the Black guy who was president in The 5th Element.... I think the president was black in that movie...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Rap... Blasphemy

Somehow it came up in a conversation that there was a movie out called "Hotel For Dogs." She asked, what the movie was about to which I could only reply. "It's about a hotel.... that dogs go to." This lead into a conversation about obvious movie titles. Snow Dogs, Bride Wars, Paul Blart: Mall Cop... To which we concluded at least one technique in movie making is to bring together random words to make a title, which we instantly put into practice. She came up with Blanket TV, I came up with Blanket glasses. The point was well understood.

My cousin later messaged me on msn to regale me with tales of a song entitled, "Arab Money." Apparently the philosophy of random word association was used here as well by some of our Favourite rappers: Busta Rhymes, P.Diddy, Swizz Beats Akon etc... What is it about? Well, most of it is your standard rapper fare talking about how much money they have... So much so, they're lifestyles are reminsicent of rich Arab oil tycoons? I guess that's the message. They have trysts with women and... drill for oil on the moon? It's a ridiculous song... I daresay it's a lousy song.

But as a final exercise in stupidity, they decide to insert random lines from Qur'an into the song. Listenning to the song you just wonder, "Why?" Indeed some of the rappers featured in the song, Busta Rhymes, Swizz Beatz are Muslim. But wouldn't that only discourage them further? My understanding is it is considered wrong to add music to verses in the Qur'an. And even if it wasn't, would any believer in any faith, take the words from their holy scriptures and intersperse it with bad language and tales of promiscuity?

I can almost hear the conversation.

Busta: "Where can we go with this rap s**t? We've already mastered the art of glorifying misogyny, substance abuse and violence... We need something new."
P.Diddy: "Mmmm... Well, Is there any way we can do all of that, while desecrating a religion?"
Busta: "Fascinating... Well... Some Arabs are religious..."
P.Diddy: "Arab... Mmm..."
Busta (looking around furtively): "Arab-Boom Mic? No... Arab-Drugs? Arab-Cell Phone? Maybe... OH, I GOT IT, GUY...ARAB MONEY!!!"
P.Diddy: "Oh, that s**t is off the hook, N-word!!!"

Had either of them been able to rise above their pot induced stupor for a few moments, maybe they would have considered that it wasn't such a good idea. Is there really nothing else to sing about? And yes, of course Muslims got offended. In fact, if you look at the comments to the videos on youtube, you'll see many Muslims reacting with visceral hatred and sometimes racism as they listen to the words of God tainted with the explicit lyrics that rap songs are so wont to employ. Not even George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are spared as somehow, Busta Rhymes feels it necessary to throw their names in at the very beginning of the remix of this song. Oh yes, there are remixes and parts to this song... It's epic. There's a video of how proud everyone involved is of this project. I wouldn't recommend watching the video as it's 7 minutes of the most incoherent cursing and swearing you've ever been exposed to.

I'm not above being bitter... Maybe I'm even bordering on being a "hater". But this is their job? When did Busta Rhymes even get out of jail? And why am I giving him free publicity on my blog? Can I not do what they do? Hotel for Dogs? Arab Money? Man, I'll blow their mind with my new hit... Keyboard-Lamp. Phones for Dogs. Toothpaste money... Ugh... Outrageous!

On an unrelated note, check out Busta Rhymes reaction to Obama winning the presidency.

And all the white people fled in fear. I heart Busta Rhymes though.