Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cambodia can't come to the phone right now...

I don't know what went wrong this morning. Perhaps Cambodia got tired of us. Or maybe our phone system has a built in sensor which is instructed to be suspicious of us each time we try to call a country as foreign as Cambodia. Either way, we were unable to reach that country this morning, leading to a thrilling radio segment - four straight minutes of number-dialing. Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep and so forth.

We were trying to reach Matt Frame, the guy who did the original (and real) handcuffed swim. I have been talking to him a little since my own recent attempt at handcuffed swimming. I suggested (and he agreed) that a 5.8 km handcuffed swim didn't seem that tough. I though that back in the day, when I was in shape, I could likely have done it. Matt agreed, and recently, he set a truly amazing record by swimming all over again. He wanted to make the record actually difficult to break, so he swam 20 km. It took him 16 and a half hours.

We were going to discuss the record with him, and talk to him about the charity he swims for, local schools in Cambodia. What does it take to get Guinness to show up to verify a record? (apparently 500 bucks, and something no one's ever done before) That sort of thing. Unfortunately, once we had Matt on the line, he said that if we called back, the signal might be better. So Doc thought it would sound neat to dial the 34-digit phone number live on the air. It did. But it didn't sound so great dialing it three times and getting no answer. Although the Cambodian lady who came on the phone to tell us we were screwups was fairly entertaining.

The value of avant-garde artistic expression

We were expecting to raise perhaps eleven or twelve dollars for CHEO with my ass painting. I thought there was a small chance we could get up to thirty bucks if we really pushed the "money for CHEO" angle. But it turns out we were all way off.

The award for "Ottawa Business With the Best Taste in Art" goes to West End Automotive, who came through for the kids in a big way, with a donation of a whopping $750.00! Honourable mention to Southbank Dodge, who drove the bidding up with a huge offer of $570.00, easily eclipsing the previous high of $150.00.

Next time you're in West End Automotive, I suspect you may see a bright, colourful painting in the waiting room. While it's cutting-edge artistic merit may intrigue you, and it's intricate colour scheme might lift your spirits, you will still be looking at a painting I created with my own ass. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rorschach was right

I received an email that made good sense to me. Perhaps there is a bit of Rorschach in my butt-painting. Rorschach is the man who discovered that people might reveal something about themselves by looking at ink blots and describing what they see.

I call it a butt-painting because I'm typing this as I sit here with my seven-year-old buddy Owen, who thinks it might be a machine-gun shooting two fish, who are dodging a torpedo. In the air, a dragon's face and a human face are surveying the scene, while the word "Yes" floats around. My psycho-analysis of Owen is therefore that he needs to eat more seafood and watch less Lord of the Rings. See? Easy. Rorschach was a genius.

Other listeners have suggested it looks like a flower pot (boring), a butt (obvious), or a candelabara (too elaborate). Whatever it is, it will be auctioned off tomorrow for CHEO, and if I don't get 900 bucks for it, then I am not as good ass the other butt-painters in the world, and I will give up art for the time being.

By the way, you're all wrong. It's actually a walrus.

Monday, January 15, 2007

24 hours of homelessness

On Thursday, I will be doing something that means a lot to me. I will be watching three back-to-back Steven Seagal movies. When those movies are over, I will be doing something that means a lot to others. Every year, a group of people spend 24 hours living outside, the way homeless kids do, to raise awareness for Operation Go Home, an organization that tries to re-unite runaway children with their families and get them off the streets.

Chris Day from CTV is the only other person I know who will be there. We both did it last year, and I hope to make it an annual thing. This year we're doing something a little different, however, in that we're also going to raise money. 24 Hours of Homelessness is the kick-off event to Operation Go Home's annual fundraising campaign, and we'll be taking donations in the market. We're at the little pedestrian mall off Rideau Street in front of Sugar Mountain, and we'll be there from 6:00 Thursday night until 6:00 Friday night.

If you're in the area, stop by and make a donation. Kids who live on the street need programs like Operation Go Home, so they can get away from the drugs and the violence. If they live on the street, they don't have an address. If they don't have an address, they can't get ID, like a birth certificate. If they can't get ID, they can't get a job, and of course they can't get a place to live. Operation Go Home is a non-profit organization that helps kids work through all this stuff, and they receive no government funding. Therefore everything we can do to help out this great organization is enormously helpful and necessary.

Arriving in a commercial

I have been in four limos. The first was at my sister's wedding this past summer, and the latest was this morning as I made my way to do some live commercials for the Canada Leather Clearance at the Embassy West hotel. Although it's nice to get "star treatment", and it is one of the first times ever where I received it, it's also fairly awkward riding in a limo by oneself. Without flowing liquor or a bunch of women, I didn't know what to do with myself.

I attempted to chat up the driver, but he was not in a talkative mood. Most limo services, I guess, run until about 3:00 in the morning. That meant the only way to have a driver out there was to have him stay up until the morning, so this man was exhausted.

All in all, however, it was a rather bizarre chapter, and certainly a first, in my life of shilling products. Many thanks to Jacques at the Canada Wide Leather Clearance for going way over the top for my entrance. And he wasn't there. In fact, no one was there but me and Amanda, our technician. And the guy who slept there all night protecting the leather coats.

I do my final live commercial segment at the leather clearance sale this friday. But I'm not going unless I get flown in with a helicopter.