Friday, 26 June 2009

I see dead people

Nobody will believe my next shocking disclosure so just to prove that I'm not lying, I've elected to pull out the only guaranteed way of proving one's honesty.

"Mother's life."

That's right I said it. The tried and trusted method employed in playgrounds the world over since time began just to ensure the sincerity of the speaker. Now you know I'm telling the truth when I say that I foresaw Michael Jackson's passing.

Now when I say I foresaw it, I don't mean I had a moment of revalation one day and predicted that Wacko would indeed die at some point in this millennium. No no, I had a dream about him dying only three days before the event happened.

I told all my new Canadian workmates that it happened and they all seemed pretty sceptical, even after I said; 'Mother's life lads, mother's life'.

But it's true. I did see this coming and if nobody here is gonna believe me, I may go south of the border and see if I can start up my very own cult in the States. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Canada, episode 5: The Hoge's great discovery

CAPTAIN James Hook, Christopher Columbus and Ferdinand Magellan can all shove over and welcome a new member to their exclusive clique of great discoverers. In fact they better make way for a new leader because my find is going to make Columbus discovering America seem like one of you finding a jelly tot down the back of the couch.

And what, you may ask, is it that I have discovered? Surely The Hoge hasn't come across a piece of unmapped territory off the coast of Canada? Hogania perhaps?

But mine isn't a discovery in the traditional sense. Where the seafaring explorers gone before me found new nations and cultures, I have had the misfortune to come across the most horrible person ever to set foot on this planet.

So horrible is this twit, with whom I have the ill-fortune of working with, that I think she may not even be of this planet. Either way it's a pretty impressive discovery though, right?

To call this woman a bitch would be an insult to canines everywhere. From day one, this conniving little she-devil - who is only 20 by the way - has for reasons best known to herself taken a disliking to me.

When we were introduced she told me that there was no point telling her my name because she'd forget it anyway. She then proceeded to tell me that the only other Irish person she ever knew had lived with her and not left a good impression and that she hoped I'd be better.

Right, nice to meet you too.

By a cruel twist of faith, myself and this gimp were put on the same lawn-mowing team, meaning spending every minute of the day listening to her moanings, except of course for when the sweet, deafening drone of the machines drown out her whine.

Initially, I thought she may have just been a bit of an annoying dumbass (annoying because of her blatant but unreasoned dislike of moi; a dumbass because she thinks Bolivia is in Spain) but in hindsight that was a very flattering first impression.

When I inevitably became popular amongst the other better judges of character on staff, the witch's feelings towards me seemed to go from passing contempt to vengeful hatred. Each week of work has been marked by several attempts to make a fool out of me in front of my co-workers or downright hang me with the bosses.

Case in point. Last Thursday, I left the truck for a few minutes while we were getting petrol (I'm still refusing to call it gas) at a station. I told my detester that I was going to the adjacent shop to buy a pair of gloves for my tender soft hands before we went weeding for the day. Seeing her chance once I had left the truck, she then proceeded to ring the main office and tell our boss that I had left without saying a word to her and she had no idea where I was. Upon my return to the truck, she told me I had to ring the boss who then proceeded to bollock me down the line for running off - while she sneered beside me.

That's just one example of many.

Today was my second time ever driving the truck and, because I had the temerity to ask her to wait until I was finished before I handed her the map, she refused to help me with one direction on the road all day. Picture that. An Irish eejit navigating a massive truck and trailer throughout Vancouver, clueless of the lay of the hand, while the local sitting beside him refuses to give one bit of advice on which turns we should be taking. And because the newby is driving the truck, of course he gets the blame for us being behind time.

So there you have it. If it continues like this, expect my posts to become a lot more spiteful (hopefully I won't become like that raging misogynist Bock). At least I can attempt to quell my rage with the knowledge that I, The Hoge, have discovered the greatest thundering shithead to ever grow opposable thumbs.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Canada, Episode 4: Norm and Michelle

THE drug-dealing grandfather emerged from the crack house just after 4am with glazed eyes and an unsteadiness in his step that hadn't been there when he had gone in a few minutes previously.

His wife, who had been looking for Norm, ignited when she saw him walking out the door of the shooting gallery across the road from their home, screaming at him that he would never set foot in the house again.

Lafino turned to me while Norm's wife unleashed her fury and gave me an "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore Toto" look.

Last Friday started out like any other, I went to celebrate the end of another week's work in my new landscaping career with Lafino and a few other pals. The Fraser Arms on West 70th Avenue in Vancouver had the pleasure of hosting us and all in all it was an enjoyable but uneventful night.
Uneventful that is, until myself and Laf accepted an invitation to a party from a group that we had been chatting with on occasion throughout the evening.
"Sure where's the harm in it?" asked I.
"There's none at all Hoge, order a taxi there," replied Lafino.
So, like the pair of 'off the boat' gombeens we truly are, we hopped into a taxi for the home of Norm and Michelle, a couple who from what we could tell were nice and normal. However, after a couple of minutes of chatting with Norm, I realised that nice they may well have been but they were about as regular as a constipated elephant.
For one thing, Norm and Michelle were granparents despite he being only 43 and her a year younger. Not that unusual you might say in this day and age but it was after I asked Norm his profession that the couple started to seem that bit more off the wall.
Myself and Laf politely chuckled when Norm told us he was a drug dealer but the laughter quickly dried up when we notice that he hadn't cracked a smile at all.
As if that wasn't disconcerting enough, Norm insisted that, while we could play games on his brand new pool table, we could only hold the cue in one hand. We didn't find out the reason for this stipulation because in fairness if a hulking potential drug dealer tells you to play with one hand, it's probably best off just to do so.
In between one-handed games, I got ballsy and decided to engage in some conversation with Norm outside on his front porch. I asked him about the dilapidated house across the road that, unusually for that time of the night, had had several scruffy visitors in the short time that we were there.
"That's a crack house man. They go in and out of there all night long. It sucks for us," he replied.
I decided against suggesting to Norm that, given his profession, the location of the house was actually incredibly convenient and just nodded nervously. Seeming to take my silence as his cue to leave, Norm told me he'd be back in a few minutes and to tell his wife that I hadn't seen him.
He walked straight across the road and followed yet another misfortune, this one in a wheel chair, into the house of junkies.
Seeing Norm leave my side, Lafino came over to enquire if I felt as put out by the whole drug-dealing grandparent, crack house, one-handed pool scenario as he did. I told him that the first two I could deal with, but anyone who insists on one-handed pool was a straight-up psycho and we should probably try and get a number for a taxi.
On our way back inside though, we were greeted by a somewhat panicky Michelle who was looking for her husband. For fear that Norm would use his pool cues (one or two handed) on me in a way that wasn't intended by the game's creators, I told her I hadn't a clue where he had gone to.
Then, just as she had started making her way down the road in search of her hubby, a very discombobulated Norm flung open the door of the crack house only to see his less-than-pleased spouse staring right back at him. So loud were Michelle's screeches at her husband that even a few bleary eyed crack heads poked their heads out the paint-peeled windows of the dwelling to see the ensuing argument.
"Norm, I told you, if it happens again you're out."
"O come on baby, it's alright."
"No Norm, it's not. You can sleep on the lawn tonight 'cos you're not coming back into that house."
"Woman if you think I'm sleeping on that grass you got another thing comin' to you."
I didn't really hear the rest of the argument over the sound of myself and Lafino's pounding footsteps away from Chateau de Crack.
In other news, the rest of the crew are settling in fine but they have insisted on a complete blog blackout on all matters rodent. That's all for now folks!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Canada, episode 3: A moose (or rat) aboot the hoose

Well this has just gone and become a weekly apology folks but I guarantee that posting will become more regular from Thursday when we get the internet into our brand new house. More on that in just a moment.

Now where was I? O yes with the bloody Aussies in the Samesun Hostel.

Well it got a lot harder to put up with their whooping and hollering late at night after about a week at the hostel, as I got myself a job that requires me to get up at 5.30am.

I'm being a little dishonest when I say that I got myself the job as it was actually Chatty Garry that secured it. Chatty arrived over to Vancouver with Lafino and Dave the Scouse two weeks before me. The lads are all from roughly the same area as myself and Dave also works for Beaver Landscaping while Lafino is mowing lawns with one of our bitter rival landscapers.

Undoubtedly those of you who haven't developed their sense of humour since you were 12 will have had a chuckle by now at my employer's unusual company name. My mother reads this blog regularly so you can all make up your own individual filthy jokes and I'll just assure you that the job is with an actual landscaping company and not a beautician.

Anyways, having this job meant that I became all the more keen to get out of Oz-fest as I was only getting a few hours sleep a night and falling asleep at the wheel of the lawnmower worryingly often.

So I consulted Craiglist, a website/bible over here that features everything from house and job listings to a Douche of the Day section where random pictures of unsuspecting members of the public are posted, allowing others to ridicule them for their own enjoyment.

Myself and Nobbly looked at a number of places, including a one bedroom apartment that would have required us to share very close quarters and no doubt have our neighbours think that we were that cute gay couple from down the corridor. No thanks.

After a number of non-runners, however, we found a house in Kerrisdale, quite a swanky location which is inhabited almost completely by wealthy Asians. Being neither wealthy nor oriental meant that myself and Nobbly stuck out like a pair of poverty stricken and pale sore thumbs on our first walk around the town.

The place itself is a bit of a fixer-upper but seemed nice and in need of a small bit of work, mostly on the exterior. Most important was that it was a five bedroom, meaning it would be able to accommodate ourselves and the rest of our friends who were winging their way over in the next few days.

On our first night there however, we realised that we wouldn't have to wait for the rest of the gang to arrive to welcome a houseguest. As Nobbly sat on our front porch, a great big dirty rat (he claims) casually strolled up the tree out the front of the house, which leads straight up to the bedroom of poor Nobbly's room.

I attempted to calm down my quivering roommate after his encounter with the rodent. However, my coolness quickly evaporated when I opened a cupboard to find rodent droppings inside. A phone call to the landlord was made demanding that he recruit the most sadistic and thorough exterminator known to rats.

A few days have passed and we're still waiting on a reply from the landlord who we now suspect may be a dodgy character and not in the loveable Artful Dodger way either.

More before long on the arrival of the rest of the house and an update on how our relationship with the rats is developing.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Canada, episode 2. 'Drink-until-we-defecate' Aussies

ONCE again apologies for my lack of correspondence for a few days. Rest assured I have spent much time telling myself that I am a very naughty boy that needs a good spanking which due to the lack of willing participants I have also been self-administering.

After myself and Nobbly Stylez gave Teresa the slip at Vancouver International, we set about finding ourselves a taxi to the Samesun Hostel in the city which I had booked for our first night's stay. On entering the place, I thought we may have walked through some kind of portal to the surf club in Summer Bay such was the overflow of Aussies both on the staff and in the dorms at the hostel.

I have to say my opinions of Aussies took a bit of a hammering over the next few days. With a few exceptions, they each seemed to feel the need to announce their arrival into a room by hailing some 'bru' (or 'bro'. As in 'brother') and hollering for all to hear about how he drank so much he shat himself the night before.

Apart from the few exceptions, who were very pleasant it has to be said, the lads from Down Under seemed Cliquey, obnoxious and to a passing observer completely brainless.

It's just an observation. Hopefully I'll meet a few more Aussies who will change my perception.

Anyway besides those twits myself and Nobbly met some very interesting characters during our first few days at the Samesun.

Amongst them were Virgile, a stylish and Frencher-than-French Frenchman who claimed that he always wore a shirt and possessed a total of only three T-shirts, none of which he had brought with him. In four days Virgile had seen more of Vancouver than we are likely to see in the whole year. His enthusiasm was inspiring to behold.

Vigile was travelling around North America and had flown to Vancovuer from Toronto on the other side of Canada. He had said that he would have much preferred to have travelled by road where he could take in all the sites but amazingly, the cheapest bus ticket from Toronto to Vancouver was more expensive than the average flight ticket. Crazy stuff.

We also met Alex, a chirpy Kiwi who seeemed to share at least some of my disdain for the drink-until-we-defecate-and-then-tell-the-whole-room-about-it Aussies. Alex was a medic in the New Zealand army and had taken a year out of his service to come and work in oil mines a few hours away from Vancouver.

Then there was Simon, a friendly English chap who was mad for games of pool in the hostel's common area but who would not speak to his opponents until after the game, keeping his ipod on full blast at all times. Simon was big into boxing and told us that he belongs to the same gym as Ricky Hatton back home.

One of the redeeming Aussies that I spoke about was another hostel occupant called Christy who is an actress but hasn't appeared on Home & Away and no longer finds jokes about that funny at all after the first hour in myself and Nobbly's company. Christy showed the two of us where to go to to get out social insurance numbers which allow us to work and has promised to decorate our house.

That's right, I have found myself a house but it's almost 30 degrees outside and I can't be sitting in here writing about that for the next half an hour so you'll just have to wait until the third update which hopefully won't be so late in arriving. So long folks.