The Prank

This blog should probably be titled, The Extremely Hilarious Survivor Prank That I Pull on My Husband Every Week Without Fail, but it felt a tiny bit long.

I should probably preface this by saying that my husband and I really, really, really love Survivor.

(And, if you don’t know what Survivor is, climb out from under that rock you’ve been living under, and read my endnotes.*)

Our love for Survivor is a deep, pure, abiding kind of love… The kind of love normally reserved for pets and elderly grandparents.

Wednesday nights are our Fridays (and our Fridays are our Mondays… Long story), and we vibrate with anticipation as we get home, rush to the TV, cue up the PVR, and wait for Jeff Probst to say, “Previously on Survivor!” 

It’s so much more than a reality competition television franchise… It’s a cultural anthropological study of humankind, and the universal human capacity to classify and encode human experiences symbolically, and to communicate symbolically encoded experiences socially.

So, yeah.

Anyway, each week we watch the show and someone’s voted out and we’re always like “whhhhhaaaa?” and then it cuts to commercial break.

And that’s when I do it.

I press the stop button, and I scroll down to DELETE.

And my husband is always like, “STTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPPP!” Because we haven’t watched the “Next time on Survivor…” bit where Jeff Probst gives us a hint of what’s to come next week.

And that’s why it’s funny.

My husband thinks I’m going to delete the show and then he’ll never know what’s going to happen next week (until next week), but I just do it to psych him out…

And I find it hilarious.

And I do it every week.

And it always works.

And I always laugh.

And then I scroll back up to RESUME PLAY, and then we find out what’s going to happen next week.

Pretty funny stuff.

 

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* Are you kidding me? You don’t know Survivor?

I feel sorry for you.

Here’s a blurb from Wikipedia:

Survivor is the American version of the international Survivor reality competition television franchise, itself derived from the Swedish television series Expedition Robinson created by Charlie Parsons which premiered in 1997. The American series premiered on May 31, 2000, on CBS. It is hosted by television personality Jeff Probst, who is also an executive producer, and also executive produced by Mark Burnett and original creator, Parsons.

The show maroons a group of strangers in an isolated location, where they must provide food, water, fire, and shelter for themselves. The contestants compete in challenges for rewards and immunity from elimination. The contestants are progressively eliminated from the game as they are voted out by their fellow contestants, until only one remains and is given the title of “Sole Survivor” and is awarded the grand prize of $1,000,000.

 

 

 

The Fart

As many of you know, I am the epitome of class and sophistication.

(For those of you who don’t know me… You’ll just have to take my word on it.)

I watch foreign films, I am calm and collected, I look great in hats, and I have a British accent (sometimes).

My sense of humor is also extremely high-brow, highly developed, and refined… New Yorker cartoons, calembour, equivoque, witticism, double entendre, and elaborate limericks.

So when a realtor came into our home and let a huge one rip, I was surprised by how funny I found it.

The home – in which we are currently residing – was recently put up for sale, so we had a realtor come by to take a look around. We let him move from room to room, without bothering him, or enquiring about his cologne (which he obviously really wanted us to notice).

It was dinner time, so my husband and I began preparing dinner. The realtor entered the kitchen, moved to the counter, laid his notebook right on my cutting board, and started to write. I cleared my throat, obviously annoyed . The realtor looked at me blankly and pushed his glasses up his nose.

And then it happened…

A stranger farted in our midst.

And it was loud… A real ripper. 

I stood there in shock.

At first I thought, “There’s no way he would just cut the cheese, right here in our kitchen, with us standing just 18-24 inches away… Only a crazy person with no social graces would do such a thing!”

I looked over at my husband, who was obviously avoiding eye contact.

We both knew.

This man’s body had released a flatus… A puff of gas and vapor from his rear end.

And here’s the really weird thing – none of us acknowledged it. No one said anything. His bum had trumpeted

We stood there, inhaling this man’s internal aroma, for at least 30 seconds before any of us dared to speak.

“If you know of anyone looking to buy, here’s my card.” He pulled a business card from his blazer pocket, handed it to my husband, and moved to the door.

I looked at my husband, and my eyes were wide. He stifled a laugh as the realtor slipped on his shoes and let himself out the front door.

As soon as the front door closed, we laughed... I’m talking belly-hurting, tears-streaming, pee-your-pants kind of laughter*.

And then we opened a window.

 

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* Usually reserved for unsophisticated types.

 

The Cupboard of Fun

I remember reading The Lion, TheWitch and The Wardrobe as a child, and being intrigued at the idea of a magic portal which delivered you to a land of talking beavers and high-quality Turkish Delight.

More than once* I have pushed past assorted clothing and miscellany in wardrobes, closets, cupboards, and the occasional gun cabinet – and emerged disappointed (and extremely disheveled).

Life is hard sometimes, and sometimes you just want to escape reality, put on a big fur coat**, enter a magic portal, and chill out with a faun.

The closest thing I have to a magic portal in my adult life is my cupboard of fun.

For those of you who don’t know what a cupboard of fun is – please allow me to explain: a cupboard is a cabinet or closet, usually with a door and shelves, used for storage, and fun is enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure…  So it’s basically a closet with a door and shelves used for enjoyment and amusement.

And it’s a lot like a magic portal – to a land of booze and board games – and I never emerge disappointed (though I am often disheveled).

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* This week

** Faux, obvs

The UPS Man

My mom and I were out for a walk the other day, when we noticed a brown UPS truck speed past us, and then slam on its brakes. My mom and I both stopped and turned around to see why the truck had stopped so suddenly.

We feared a cat had gone to meet its maker… But no.

Everything seemed fine. The UPS truck was idling quietly, and we just shrugged and continued on our way.

“Kim!”

I shook my head, and nudged my mom to keep walking. The person was obviously not calling me. The person was obviously calling some other person named Kim, because I know like six people*, and one of them was currently walking beside me (the same woman who bore me and birthed me, I might add).

“Kim!” It was louder this time, and the voice was strained.

“It’s obviously not for me,” I said to my mom, who nodded quickly, thereby acknowledging the fact that I only know like six people*.

“Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!”

I turned around, and there he was, hanging out of the driver’s side, waving frantically in my direction.

“Kim, I have your new bed in my truck!”

You know you might have a problem** with online shopping (specifically, Amazon) when the UPS man recognizes you, and announces your deliveries on the street.

And, it’s happened more than once.

One time while I was out walking in another city.

Same guy.

Okay, yes –  I do order a lot of stuff online.

And, yes – the UPS man and I have a deep, almost spiritual connection that surpasses most transporter/receiver relationships…

I think he could be my seven.

 

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* And by “know” I mean “know” – because how can you really “know” someone unless you “know” someone, you know?

** It’s only a “problem” if it’s a “problem”.

The Special Request

Last month the husband and I headed to the Okanagan for a little getaway. We wanted to visit my 92 year-old grandfather (AKA “Gramps”), and see some friends that skipped town permanently (you know who you are).

We booked the trip at the very last minute – well, more specifically, just a few days before we were set to depart – using the travel website Expedia.

(I’m a big fan of Expedia… I love searching for vacations, and dreaming of vacations, and also – going on vacations. It’s my thing… Like breathing. Or, getting hives from eating lobster. Or, having webbed feet.)

(Does this sound like a commerical for Expedia? It’s not. I mean, I really do love Expedia and I don’t understand why anyone would not use Expedia to book their flights, hotels, cars, cruises, activities, and all-inclusives. It’s fast, it’s easy, and you often save money when booking a flight and hotel at the same time. Did I mention they have great customer service? Well, they do.)

I digress (but I really do love Expedia).

When booking a little (or BIG) getaway on Expedia, you are able to select your flights, choose a hotel, and then write in the little box marked “special requests.”

Well, I love special requests just about as much as I love Expedia… I mean, they’re special, and they’re requests… What’s not to love?

Here was mine:

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Important things to keep in mind: At the time of my “special request” Trudeau hadn’t approved the Kinder Morgan pipeline, broken his promise re: electoral reform, or shaken hands with the evil orange one. In other words, I still “respected” him (it had nothing to do with the fact that he is easy on the eyes).

Well, when we finally went on our little getaway (days later), and I opened the door to the hotel room, I was pleasantly surprised.

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They couldn’t have chosen a better picture.

I didn’t actually think the hotel (The Manteo Resort in Kelowna) would honor my “special request,” (I mean, there was a winky face, and everybody knows what a winky face means*), but they did, and it meant a lot (less than world peace, more than someone offering you a piece of gum).

 

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* Unless they don’t… A 😉 implies humour.

The Name-dropper

I was recently accused of being a name-dropper.

At first, I was confused.

I mean, I didn’t even know how one would drop a name. Were other people carrying around names? Lots of names? So many names that they were at risk of letting them fall through, or out of their hands?

And what were the names printed on? Index cards? 40 lb printer paper?

And then I wondered, is littering the real issue? Did they see me litter?

(I don’t litter!)

I spent way too many hours thinking about the logistics of dropping names, and thinking about which font I should use.

(Futura.)

And then I realized that dropping “names” was probably the new code word for dropping acid, or partaking in some other type of illegal narcotic.

But that made no sense because I don’t do drugs.

And then I thought I should probably just google “name-dropper” (rather than have an existential crisis).

This is what Wikipedia had to say:

Name-dropping is the practice of mentioning important people or institutions within a conversation, story, song, online identity, or other communication. The term often connotes an attempt to impress others; it is usually regarded negatively, and under certain circumstances may constitute a breach of professional ethics.

Okay, that is obviously not me.

I definitely DO NOT mention important people or institutions within a conversation, story, song, online identity, or other communication to try to impress others.

And I never breach professional ethics!

Also, I don’t know how to write a song.

I mean, yes… I did write a blog post about that time I received a letter from Steven Spielberg, and that time I attended Elton John’s Oscar Party, and that time I propositioned Jimmy Kimmel, and that time I was in a sketch with Amy Poehler, and that time I shopped for Danish modern furniture in Silver Lake with Thom Yorke, and that time I went to Sting and Trudie Styler’s auction, and that time I dared my husband to follow Emilio Esteves into the washroom, and that time I hung out with Elijah Wood, and that time when I sat in the front row at a Martin Short show and he gyrated in my face while wearing a nude bodystocking with drawn-on genitals... but…

Okay, I see it now.

Sorry.

That Time I Received a Letter from Steven Spielberg

I recently received a letter from Steven Spielberg.

The Steven Spielberg.

You know, the American director, producer and screenwriter of such films as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Munich, Schindler’s List, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Amistad, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Lincoln… to name a few.

The same Steven Spielberg that won two Academy Awards for best director (seven nominations), and created the “Blockbuster” film genre.

That guy.

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Hi! I’m Steven Spielberg.

As a screenwriter, I have always looked up to certain filmmakers – specifically Steven Spielberg, Chris Columbus and Wes Anderson – and envied their ability to tell a story. These filmmakers totally suck you into the world they create, and you are completely captivated for one and a half to two and a half hours.

So, you better believe I was beyond excited to find a letter with a return address labelled “Steven Spielberg, Amblin Entertainment” in my mailbox.

I mean, it was from Steven Spielberg!

The Steven Spielberg!

The one and only.

Steve-o! (That’s probably what his close friends call him, and obviously it is only a matter of time before I lovingly call him that too.)

I should note: the letter wasn’t totally unexpected. After publishing my novel last month I sent my book to a few of my favorite filmmakers with the hope that they would read it, love it, want to make it into a feature film, and pay me money for the right to do so.

So, when I saw the letter, I was like…

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I ripped open the envelope and pulled out the letter…

And it said, “Thank you for your enquiry. We do not accept unsolicited materials. Please do not send anything ever again. Thanks, The Legal Department.”

And, at first I was like…

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But, then I was like…

“I got a letter from Steven Spielberg!” 

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Because, it’s always better to focus on the positive rather than the negative.*

 

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* Unless you’re talking about a blood test where a positive would actually be a negative.

 

 

That Time I Went to Elton John’s Oscar Party

No big whoop, right?

It’s just Sir Elton John… Singer, songwriter, pianist, actor, philanthropist, and recipient of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by her Majesty, the Queen. He is only one of the most celebrated, influential and successful musicians of all time, with 300 million records sold, and 50 Top 40 hits (but who’s counting?)…

And his Oscar Party is only one of the most sought after and high profile parties in the film and television industry…

And I was invited.

Sort of.

Pretty much.

Okay, not really.

I had gone down to LA with two friends from work, and earlier in the week we had gone to a club where we met some interesting (read: whackadoodle) avocado farmers from Northern California that told us they could get us into Elton John’s Oscar party.

(Note: This is LA in a nutshell. Anything can happen at any time. You can sit next to Goldie Hawn at Le Pain Quotidian, or have Judd Apatow photobomb your selfie, or have Adam Sandler show up to an open mic night. It is what makes LA strange and wonderful and exciting, and why I miss it very much.)

Long story short… We met up with the two whackadoodle avocado farmers the night of the party, but they said it was way too early to go. They said that anyone who is anyone goes late to these sorts of events. So we all went to a diner across the street and sat around for several hours, learning the ins and outs of the avocado industry.

At around 1 or 2am, one of the whackadoodle avocado farmers (and yes, it’s important to continually note their whackadoodle-ness… They wore thick, wool sweaters and their hair was dreadlocked), said that it was finally time to go to the party.

As we walked across the street, we were beyond excited, nudging each other breathlessly. We didn’t know what to expect, but surely Sir Elton John would be there?!?! And there would probably be alcoholic beverages, and possibly recognizable celebrities, and maybe even a shrimp ring?!?!

One of the whackadoodle avocado farmers nodded as we passed the security guard* perched outside on a bar stool, and I remember being very impressed by his nonchalance. We strolled into the Mondrian Hotel like we owned the place.

As I entered the hotel’s grand ballroom, I prepared myself to be welcomed into the fold of Hollywood elite…

But the party was over.

Like, way, way over.

The caterers were folding the table linens, the DJ was packing up his equipment, the few remaining guests were being poked by security, and all that remained of Elton John was his essence (note: it was still very potent).

The whackadoodle avocado farmers acted like they were surprised the party was long over, and suggested that we continue the party in their room.

We started to wonder whether they had ever even had the means to get us into Sir Elton John’s Oscar party, or if it had all been an elaborate scheme to get us up to their room. We also started to wonder if they were actually avocado farmers, or just very knowledgeable about avocados.

Some questions will forever remain unanswered, and that’s the real lesson here.

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How dare you, Judd Apatow…?!        (JK, I loved it)

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* It could have been a big hobo.

The Big Magic

My book, Magnus the Magnificent is a work of fiction.

It is also a work of magic.

I don’t know how this story fell out of my head and landed on the page, but it did.

About seven or eight years ago, I joined a writing group and we were tasked with writing a short story to share. There was no theme, or limitations, or genre: “Just write a story.”

As I sat at my kitchen table, tapping my pen on the pad, staring out my window at the treetops, I was daunted by the freedom. I didn’t want to show up the following Saturday without something to present (I’m a keener), so I sat and waited for inspiration to strike.

Full disclosure: Sometimes inspiration strikes, and sometimes I spend two hours shopping on Amazon.

I sipped my coffee (there’s always coffee) and let my mind wander. And then, suddenly, my imagination opened up, and there he was… Magnus.

I could picture him in my head – the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he interacted with strangers, and the way his hair flopped down over his eyes. Yes, Magnus was a “teller of untruths,” but he was so full of love, you couldn’t help but love him too.

That Saturday I shared the first five pages of Magnus the Magnificent.

The following year I moved to England and took a screenwriting certificate program at Oxford. It was there I began work on the screenplay of Magnus the Magnificent.

I felt very inspired while living in England. I loved donning a pair of wellington boots and taking a long stroll through the countryside, rain or shine. I loved stopping in a pub to have a pint and warm my (always damp!) feet by the fire. I loved scouring the used bookshops in Oxford and discovering hand-written messages on the first page. Most of all, I loved eavesdropping, and occasionally striking up conversations with strangers. These little moments gave life to my writing, and helped shape the story of Magnus.

In England, ideas seemed to find me wherever I went… I had to keep a notebook with me at all times because the ideas were flowing like Texas crude (in the 80s, obviously not now, as we all know that the fossil fuel industry is going the way of the dinosaur, due to global capitalism’s devastating overconsumption of our earth’s natural resources).

I digress.

I don’t understand inspiration, but I think Elizabeth Gilbert nailed it on the head in her book about creativity, titled, “Big Magic”:

“…Inspiration is still sitting there right beside me, and it is trying. Inspiration is trying to send me messages in every form it can – through dreams, through portents, through clues, through coincidences, through déjà vu, through kismet, through surprising waves of attraction and reaction, through the chills that run up my arms, through the hair that stands up on the back of my neck, through the pleasure of something new and surprising, through stubborn ideas that keep me awake all night long . . . whatever works. Inspiration is always trying to work with me.”

Magnus *almost* seemed to write itself (in truth, it was definitely me sitting at a desk for hours on end).

When I finished Magnus in 2013, I entered it into the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition, and it advanced to become a Semifinalist (ahem, the top 146 scripts of 7,251 entries *cough*). It meant a lot that the Academy’s readers connected with the story. While I have a real fondness for the screenplay, I have always wanted to share Magnus with a wider audience.

So, I went back to those first five pages written seven or eight years ago, and once again, sat down and waited for inspiration to strike (and obviously spent some time on Amazon).

And here we are.

I don’t fully understand inspiration or how Magnus came to be, but I am grateful to live in a world filled with big magic.

– KM

Magnus the Magnificent is now available at Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.com (U.S.) and Amazon.co.uk (U.K.).

Please buy it! 

The Book

For the past year I have been writing a book.

Obviously, I have not been working straight through, 24 hours, 7 days a week, for the past 365 days (I have definitely taken breaks for eating, sleeping, and attending to personal needs – I shower almost every day). However, much of my time and energy has been spent thinking about, dreaming about, and agonizing over, said book.

I have turned down social invitations. I have stayed inside on sunny days. I have re-drafted nine or ten times. I have meticulously checked for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors.

I have also thought that I was finished, submitted a version for approval, started celebrating, and then found an inverted apostrophe on page 61 (and subsequently lost my shit).

I have had this story floating around in my head for many, many years, and it meant a lot to me, so I wanted it to be perfect.

This week I came across a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear that put things into perspective:

“No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. (There are people out there who still consider Beethoven’s symphonies a little bit too, you know, loud.) At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is—if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart.”

I am really happy to say that I have released my book into the universe (well, released on Amazon), and I hope to go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart.

Magnus the Magnificent is a heart-warming and whimsical Christmas tale set in England in the 1950s, and it is now available on all the Amazons

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Note: I would like to thank all of my readers, sincerely – from the bottom of my heart. It means a lot that you read what I write.

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