Hamilton Ontario

Sunday Screening: Jacob Moon – “Come Talk to Me”

Yesterday’s guest on the LeBrain Train was Jacob Moon, the talented singer/songwriter who shot to YouTube fame with his incredible cover of “Subdivisions“.  Shot on the same rooftop, “Come Talk to Me” is another video worth checking out.  This Peter Gabriel cover shimmers with its own brilliance. Check out Moon’s innovative guitar technique here.  Please enjoy!

#904: 2000 Dates

A sequel to #616:  None of My Exes Live in Texas (But One Lives in Thunder Bay)
and #903: Online Dating in the Brave New World


RECORD STORE TALES #904: 2000 Dates

When I think back on the year 2000, I realize, holy shit:  I went on a lot of dates that year.  Most of them were first dates; things generally weren’t working out for me.  When I look back,  I can’t believe how many there were.  I’ve already talked about “Hamilton #1”, “Toronto”, “Hamilton #2” (in detail!) and briefly “Kingston”.  But there were more.  Many more.  Some names are forgotten; the rest are redacted.  The cities and places are clear in my memory.

“Kingston” was cute and I fell for her hard over the telephone.  I remember finding it cool that she wore mismatched socks on purpose.  Some people teased me for that.  But she was quirky and had great taste in music.  She was a musician; a really good one too.  She came up to visit me one weekend.  We met in the parking lot of the Cambridge Record Store as it was right off the highway.  We drove from there to the cottage where we spent the night.  She brought her acoustic guitar and played some of her original tunes for me.  She also brought her copy of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.  The next day we came back to Waterloo for a Record Store party.  You can see why I liked her.

I was supposed to visit her in Kingston next.  The day of departure, there was a massive accident on highway 401.  I was stuck in it for hours and ultimately had to turn back home.  Things fizzled out from there.  She was planning on going to school in Thunder Bay, and while I said “no problem, I can do long distance relationships,” it was not meant to be.  Kingston is four hours away by car.  Thunder Bay takes a whole day, unless you fly.  It wasn’t going to work and I reluctantly had to let her go.  She already knew there was no future to it; I was the holdout.

I wasn’t over her yet, but immediately I jumped into dating once more.  It was a new girl every two weeks.  I was on the rebound.

“Guelph 1” was nice.  She was a student, who had long black synthetic dreadlocks.  The most memorable thing about her was that she was legally blind.  Maybe that was one reason why she went out with me!  She could see, she could get around, but her vision was impaired enough that she was classified as blind.   This meant that she actually got in to movies for free.  She had to sit in the very front row to see anything, but that was OK by me.

We went to see The Cell, starring Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D’Onofrio, and Vince Vaughn.  It was shit, but good enough for a date movie.   We actually went out a second time, after she had relocated to Hamilton.  But she wasn’t into me and there wasn’t much chemistry aside from a couple pleasant dates.

That’s not be confused with “Hamilton #3”.  I distinctly remember going to have coffee in Hamilton with a girl I never saw again.  I can’t recall any other details about her.  She had short black hair?  I think she brought a friend with her?  I got somewhat lost on my way back home (as I usually did when visiting Hamilton) but managed to turn myself around this time without having to call for directions.

“Toronto #2” was more memorable.  I felt a little weird that I was meeting her in the same parking lot as “Kingston”, but she didn’t need to know that.   We wanted to get a bite to eat, so we headed over to East Side Mario’s in the mall next door.

“Make sure we get a smoking table,” she said.

To her surprise, I answered “No such thing here!”

“Whaaaat?” she exclaimed.

Unbeknownst to her, the region had implemented an indoor smoking ban on January 1 2000.  They don’t pay attention to Kitchener news in Toronto, so she had no idea.  Not happy!  That was our only date.  The indoor smoking ban was a trial run, and it was soon enforced everywhere else.  There was a lot of complaining then, and a temporary dip in revenues at bingo halls.  Just like with Covid lockdowns today, many establishments fought the ban and were served up hefty fines.  Things bounced back eventually.

Not me though.  I was still rebounding.  Around the same time as  “Toronto #2” came “London”.  That was my first drive-in movie in 15 years.  The setting was more memorable than the movie, which was the Kevin Bacon turd called Hollow Man.  All I can really remember is the windows fogging up – and we weren’t even doing anything.

Then came “Mississauga”.  This is the one I felt worst about.  Most of the other dates were just dates.  We went out, we hung out, we went home.  “Mississauga” met me at the local Chapters store and we went book shopping.  Then, I believe, we went to see a movie.  I can’t remember exactly because the night ended with us making out in the back seat of my car.  Although I felt cool as hell at the time for having finally made out with a girl in the back seat of a car, afterwards I felt shitty.  She went home, and we never saw each other again.  I didn’t like that.  I was really confused, working my way through all these feelings.  But it was a mutual thing.  She didn’t call me, and I didn’t call her.

“Guelph #2” was the second last date of the year 2000.  Also a student.  Nice enough girl; we went out a couple times.  I think the moment I bailed was when she messaged me one weekend telling about this other guy she was hanging out with.  I had no problem with her seeing another guy.  We had just gone on a couple dates, we weren’t exclusive or anything like that.  It was the nature of this one specific message that scared me away.

“I’m here with a guy and his penis is stuck in a bottle!” she said.

All the best of luck to ya!  I didn’t have any follow-up questions.

At the same time, I had just met “Kitchener #1”.  The year was coming to an end.  I was 28.  I was tired.  I had done all the rebounding a man could do.  I was ready, but the first date didn’t work out as well as I hoped.  We went to the Boathouse and had lunch.  Afterwards she sent me an email titled “Let’s Hang”.  She just wanted to be friends.  I was OK with that because I did like her, and I thought, “Being friends is OK.  Nothing wrong with that.  I would like more friends.”

Right around the time some dude in Guelph was struggling to remove his penis from a bottle, “Kitchener” was having second thoughts.  We got along really well, and had continued to hang out as she wanted to.  A few weeks after that first date at the Boathouse, she had a change of heart.  She asked if I was still interested and I was.

And so, as the year 2000 ended (and with it the millennium), so did my misadventures in dating!  “Kitchener” and I stuck together for two years which was the longest relationship I ever had at that point.  We had good times.  She became like a member of the family.  In fact she still has Christmases with our family today, even though we split in 2003.  When I finally met my true soulmate Jennifer, my ex attended my wedding.  I liked that we were able to do that.  And now, my dating days are truly over!




Part 203: Bitchin’ About Staff Meetings


RECORD STORE TALES Part 203:  Staff Meetings

I used to enjoy staff meetings.  When we were a small  chain, we’d gather all the employees up after work at one of the larger locations.  If memory serves (and Lord knows we’re talking about 18 years ago now), the boss even brought a case of beer to the first one.  We’d go over ideas, improvements, problems, shoot the shit, it was informal and it was great!  It was one of the only times we’d have everybody together in one room.

As we expanded, that became impractical.  We started having meetings with just the managers.  These were a bit more serious in nature, sometimes heated, but we held them at a restaurant.  The boss would pay for everybody’s beer and food, which was really cool.  We’d have a good time, it was for social purposes as well as practical.  We usually held these “Manager’s Meetings” in the closest East Side Mario’s.  Decent, not the greatest food in the world, but I liked it.

MOTHERSIt’s a shame this wasn’t the 1980’s.  Then we could have had the meetings at a place like Mother’s Pizza!  Mother’s Pizza was the best pizza place in town.  I went there for every birthday.  It was co-owned by Ernie Whitt, the catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays.  Later on, Cito Gaston bought in as well.  Mother’s.  Now that was a pizza.*

Ahem.  Sorry.  I tend to lose my train of thought when I talk about food.

We’d mess with each other.  I remember my boss had one pen that he just loved.  Loved it.  Freaked out when he misplaced it.  He’d run around the store yelling “WHERE MY PEN!” in a funny voice.  So somebody sneakily stole his pen just before the staff meeting.

We went to Mario’s for the meet.  Upon arrival, he complained a bit about misplacing his pen, but got on to business.  A short while later, one of the store managers was casually writing with it, nonchalant.  His pen.  His precious…waiting for him to notice it in someone else’s hands.

Suddenly, he saw.  He pointed.  “MY PEN!  MY PEN!  YOU HAVE MY PEN!” he yelled in that funny voice again.  Kids at the table next to us stared, wondering who this guy was!

Yeah, those were good times.  But as George Harrison said, all things must pass.  I’ve talked before about “The Great Change”, when CD sales started to slump.  Budgets got tighter, things got more serious.  Staff meetings were moved to a stuffy boardroom in the back of one of our stores.  We started receiving extensive emails with the “minutes” from the meeting, the mind-numbing minutiae.  This was a long way from beer and pizza.  The atmosphere was dour and the meetings sometimes dragged on for 2 hours.

After the meetings, I’d sometimes shoot the shit with one or two of the other store managers.

“What was that?” I would say.  “I could have said all that in one email!”

“Was there anything said in that meeting that couldn’t have been covered in one email?” someone asked rhetorically.

It was at one of these staff meetings that Joe dubbed me with the nickname Señor Spielbergo because of my thick beard.  But in the later days, that was one of the few moments of levity.  For me these meetings were just a stagnant waste of time.  Hours upon hours of time that I’ll never get back.

* I hear they opened a new Mother’s Pizza in Hamilton.  Maybe, for future record store kids, the dream of a staff meeting at Mother’s Pizza is alive again?  I hope so.


Fuckin’ sHEAVY!