Just call me the Retrievian Man

This whole project is nothing (could I have stopped the sentence there?) if not a nostalgia factory. It’s such a driving force in my life that I often find myself navel gazing back at my past in the hopes of forgetting what a dismal state of affairs adult life is. Other times I get nostalgic about times in my adult life, blowing my hypothesis of its dismal state out of the water. Did any of this preamble matter? Was I typing just to kill time? Isn’t that really what this whole project is about? In any case, I went back and listened to a bunch of The Air Bud Pawdcast.

You know what? It’s pretty good. At the very least, it gets pretty good. The first few episodes were understandably “ruff” as we were trying to find our footing. Two nobodies with zero experience making a podcast. As the episodes went on, we found our rhythm, added new segments and began to understand how we could create a better listening experience for anyone who dialled in. We started developing chemistry, creating multi-episode in jokes and o’erleapt previous technical difficulties.

As an entirely “impartial” listener (as if), I’ve actually really enjoyed going back through them. It’s funny, and the one-note joke of “isn’t it crazy that us adults are watching a kids’ film?” has way more elasticity than I’d expected. The kind of ridiculous and meticulous details we pull from the movies are both worth hearing and eerily observant. Neither of us get too high on our own supply (it’s hard to be justifiably uppity from a low status position) and tease one another from a place of love.

Once we brought guests on, the show catapulted. Not in popularity, it was ever an indie darling (is that what we’re calling it?). In quality. Bringing a new subject into the bizarre world of animal based children’s cinema was a treat every single time. Each guest took it slightly differently, some with aplomb and others with a reasonable distaste. They all had varied perspectives and points of interest. The sheer fact that we were no longer in an echo chamber allowed us to really branch out. We built up rapport, sometimes instantly, other times over the course of the episode. Listen to Episode 7 with Degrassi alum Raymond Ablack, for instance. Ray was a real sweet dude and immediately jumped on board.

Maybe I’m just getting listless because it feels like I haven’t made anything substantive in some time. Dumb as it was, the Pawdcast gave me some sense of purpose. I was flexing old muscles with audio work, using skills of analysis to find the oddities in each new Air Bud outing, getting to freely riff with a bunch of funny people. The best part of the whole thing? It’s still there for me to listen back and enjoy.

Even if MeUndies never gave us that sponsorship we kept clamouring for.

There were, too, people doing parkour. Seemed apt.

I’ve never been great at relaxing. Something about the idea of sitting and doing nothing stresses me out. If I’m not thinking, why am I awake? I have a constant need to be engaged in an activity, even if that activity is merely hanging out and chatting with others. Given this borderline anxiety over relaxation, the beginning of my weekend was going pretty damn well. Friday I was home sick, learning the intricacies of Watch the Skies‘ ruleset as best I could. Saturday I was constantly on my feet, putting the ruleset into motion for paying customers. By the time the game had wrapped up I wasn’t far from falling into bed. If I was at all afraid of getting appropriate amounts of sleep however, our cat has been going apeshit for the past week or so. As such, it’s been a while since I slept well.

Whatever my feelings on relaxation, both my brain and body needed a break.

Cue the perfect summer day, but in spring. Temperatures going up to the high 20s. A cloudless sky and light breeze blowing through. After a morning spent lugging a microwave around Koreatown, my girlfriend and I decided a park day was not only desirable, but necessary. We put the call out, but didn’t get much back in the way of responses. A few hours later the temperature had dipped to an ideal mid-20s. Some friends posted about hang outs in Trinity Bellwoods. Deal. We strapped on shoes and hit the road.

First stop was Bakerbots. I’m always loathe to mention Bakerbots too much, but figure my readership is small enough that this won’t spread the secret too far. Bakerbots is a boutique bakery that partners with the outrageously popular Bang Bang Icecream. In a one-two punch operation, Bakerbots make the cookies and Bang Bang cream the ice. Bang Bang routinely has a 30+ minute wait time in the summer. Bakerbots takes five minutes at a stretch. Same ice cream, but a slightly smaller range of flavours. I had a cone of burnt toffee and double chocolate, while my girlfriend grabbed burnt toffee and Sam James espresso. Holding the napkin-less cone and feeling drops of delicious dairy melting onto my hands brought me back to childhood beach trips. We’d hang out in the sand and sea for a few hours, then nana and papa would take us to grab massive ice creams. Hokey Pokey and Goody Goody Gumdrops, always. On a sunny Sunday in Toronto, a cone was no less of a treat.

We wandered down to Bellwoods, noticing just how many people were out and about. Over the winter months, Toronto can seem like a ghost town at times. Strange, for a city. Spring typically has more hours of rain than sun, as locals chomp at the bit for patios to open. As soon as they do, the floodgates open and if the patios are full, everyone under 40 goes to one of the many, many parks (seen here in green). Bellwoods is a great spot for dog watching, slack lining, capoeira, calisthenics, frisbee, a few local beers on the down low and assorted musical jams.

We laid our blanket down with friends and watched the world go by. Everything mentioned above and then some. There was a good nature in the air (and obviously all around, trees softly swaying in the breeze). One of our friends had a Hang, which he proceeded to play for us. I’d never seen or heard a Hang before. It looks like an inverted Steel Drum, but could also pass for a large viking shield. It’s gentle and melodious, a sound akin to wind chimes or the motion of a waterfall. Gentle, soothing and tough to play well. Lying back in the evening warmth, listening to the symphony of life going on all around, relaxing started to make more than a little sense.

How did I write this whole thing without one dick joke?

Do you ever look around and feel inquisitive about the size of things? In parallel universai (sticking with it), what size might they be? How would this affect the world around them? Could our existence improve from resizing them? What sized objects/living things do we take for granted? I’m not sure how often I ponder this, but I’m sure as fuck going to now.

  • Corn. If an ear of corn was the size of your arm, would we still be able to eat them in the same way? How tall would fields of maize have to be in order to cater to the larger crop? I’d wager that we’d see a lot more individual kernels used than ears. How big would that make each kernel? The same as a thumb joint? Or maybe similar to a single popcorn piece. On that note, would each piece of popcorn be like an apple? That sounds like a world I’d like to live in. Though a solid RIP to typewriter style consumption.
  • I would have a dog sized giraffe as a pet. No qualms about it. How fucking adorable would that be? LOOK HOW CUTE A NEWBORN GIRAFFE IS. Imagine that even more compact. Plus with a little leash for walkies. Their necks would be double plus huggable. Plus they’d be so good at frisbee. If I ever learn to travel universes, I’m bringing back a giraffe dog.
  • Insects are considered nightmarish to most people already. I admit I’d freak out interacting with any larger than my hand. At the same time I think they’re really fucking cool. What is it about insects that freak us out so much? Is it their bulbous/kaleidoscopic eyes? Their overabundance of legs? The venomous barbs/stingers/mandibles? Dense hairs covering their body? Is it even that we’re comparatively such simply laid out creatures and insects are nigh universally complex? Oh fuck, imagine a mosquito wielding a proboscis the size of your head. Now try sleeping ever again.
  • If bananas were the size of prawns, would they be worth the effort? I’d ask the alternative, but Morton Bay Bugs are already a thing.
  • If dandelions were larger, would there be fewer of them? Part of their ability to disperse is how they float in the air and that feels like a feature of their lightness. If they were larger their spread would likely be stymied by obstacles and hopefully that’d cut down on their proliferation.
  • Shark sized tartigrades and jellyfish would rule the oceans/world. Tartigrades are basically indestructible and jellyfish can revert to the polyp stage at any time, meaning they don’t die from old age. Imagine seas full of large translucent blobs. You’d think they were wave crests, but then your entire body would be enveloped in their all consuming sting. I can imagine urolagnia rapidly gaining in popularity.
  • How large would rabbits need to be before they’d become farmed en masse? Goose sized? Pig sized? I mean, they fuck like… well… them. If they weren’t harvested for meat, they’d no doubt be slaughtered as pests.
  • I wonder how larger coconuts would’ve influenced island society. Let’s say a metre in diameter. They’d be really durable for some building materials (roofing perhaps?) and are pretty buoyant. Could they have made some kind of coconut pontoon crafts?
  • One last thought: Apple. Sized. Blueberries.

I’m not sure how this world came to pass, but it tends to fit together pretty damn well. Three cheers to the architect, elsewise we’d all have perished from horse sized rats long ago.

Is bedraggled chic “in” these days? My time has come.

I don’t know what it is about me that looks approachable, but I’m having one of those days. The days where strangers decide you seem primed for conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s neat when people think I’m benign enough for chatting. It is, however, somewhat of an anomaly in Toronto. I guess it’s what happens when you leave your headphones at home. I left the house only to visit the gym. On the subway there a large dog came onto our car. Looked to be some kind of doberman mix. It was enormous, so maybe great dane? It had ears that flopped down rather than perking up, so who knows (aside from vets, etc)? I looked on adoringly as it strutted around.

I heard words appearing next to my ears. It felt like a physical embodiment of a speech bubble. Surprised, I turned to my left and realised the woman next to me was actually talking at me, rather than merely speaking out loud. She remarked on the size of the dog. What a good looking dog it was. I nodded. She began recounting the dog she used to have years ago. A big brown fluffy thing. Very intelligent, it seemed to understand emotions quite intricately. Every day when she came home it’d be there waiting at the front door, tail wagging happily. She didn’t get choked, but slightly misty eyed. I started feeling a little helpless as I realised we were pulling into my stop. I wanted to hear more. Rare as it was for a stranger to spark up conversation with me, it was rarer still for them to open up. On the other hand, I was heading to a class with a defined start time. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to get done today. She didn’t seem emotionally fragile, but I still felt a little internal conflict. My flight response won out. I turned to her and thanked her, wished for her to have a lovely day, then got up and out of the train.

It was a hard class that happened to be taken by a Kiwi instructor. Nice dude from Wellington. The first time in years I’ve done a Les Mills class led with a New Zealand accent. On my way back from the gym I was tired, but glowing. I found a subway seat and stared blissfully at the wall, thinking about the editing I was gonna do today. I had chicken soup to make too. Was there anything I needed to pick up en route? Did we have any small potatoes to make it a bit starchier? It’d be a nice way to use that celery that’d been overstaying its welcome in the crisper. “You know, BMVs Annex store is pretty good, don’t you think?” Wait, was that my thought or did someone else say that? No, that had speech marks. My internal dialogue is in italics. That was someone else.

I turned to my right. An older man was rambling away. “They have a lot of great books, but they’re not the best for music.” He looked a little crusty, weathered. I was a bit spacey to give him my full attention. I half grunted in acknowledgement. “You have to go further out to find a really good BMV, but if you’re just looking for a few things here and there you can do a lot worse than The Annex.” Once again, I grunted. For just a second I wondered if there was anything I could get from BMV for someone’s Christmas present before remembering a) that I’m not hugely into physical media any more and b) I don’t do the Christmas present thing. Was this a new kind of embedded marketing? Was this fellow on the payroll? What kind of planetary alignment kept me arriving at my station right when conversation picked up? I smiled to myself, wished him a nice day and left the train.

After which, I haven’t left the house. Whatever it is that’s drawing people in (not having showered since yesterday morning, have I developed pheromones?), it’s being kept safe away in my home. With great power, comes great responsibility. Really though, my great responsibility is to have a great shower.

Let’s hope Liam Neeson doesn’t come after me for this.

I never said these trailers needed to make sense.

NARR The cutthroat world of competitive dog shows has always been an intense experience.

JUDGE I’m sorry sir, but your mutt has less bark than a dogwood tree.

NARR But when a rich megalomaniac with a love of exotic dogs and power mongering hosts a world class dog show…

KRUMB I’ll spread my specially created fleas to the world’s most influential dog breeders and turn them into walking electromagnetic bombs. There’s nothing they can do to stop me!

NARR The FBI is about to get a Federal Buddy of Investigation on the case.


NARR He has the moves.

AGENT BOB What your dog does have is a very particular set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a very bad dog for the people we want to fetch.

NARR He has the style.

“N” I just love your fluffy tail, darling.

NARR But to keep his identity a secret, Buddy is about to discover that restrictions breed creativity.

“N” Gold is so last season, darling. Let’s go for something a little darker.

JOSH Woah Buddy, I almost didn’t recognise you.

NARR And in a game without nets, bases or goalposts.

JOSH Sorry Buddy, we can’t play now. If this guy destroys the dog breeding industry, 2% of the world’s GDP could be in peril.

NARR Buddy has to become the belle of the ball.


NARR He’s gonna have help from some new friends.

AGENT BOB If you press this button on your new collar and point your tail, your entire body will turn into a giant taser.

JOSH And what does this other button do?

AGENT BOB That turns on his entry music.


NARR And with his skilled sporting background.

JUDGE I’ve judged a lot of competitions, but this dog’s physique is on point.

NARR This summer, he’s got a score to settle.

JOSH Mister, you may have money, but my dog has something you’ll never have.

KRUMB What’s that?


JOSH Gold mettle.

KRUMB Like, straight gold? That’s pretty flimsy, it’s usually paired in an alloy.

JOSH No, M E T T L E. Resilience and courage under fire. Look, I’m saying he’s really brave.

KRUMB This is a serious hostage situation, why would you resort to a pun?

JOSH I don’t have time for an argument on semantics. Buddy, let’s get ruff.

NARR Disney presents – Air Bud: Under Rover Agent.

There are sexual implications I don’t want to think of. I bet that hasn’t stopped you.

Are these trailers getting farcical? No doubt. Problem?

NARR: Buddy is a dog who knows all the plays.

JOSH: You’re a parkour master too Buddy? Is there anything you can’t do?

NARR:  But when a lightning storm caused my mysterious magnetic fluctuations from a freak laboratory accident opens a portal to another dimension and an ancient spirit inhabits the body of an old Gypsy woman who creates a curse that manifests on Friday the 13th of October, Josh’s sixteenth birthday. For once, Buddy doesn’t know the rules.

BUDDY: Josh, did we swap bodies? Are you in mine? WHERE’S MY TAIL?

NARR: And with the Fernfield High prom just around the corner, Buddy has to play the hardest game of all.

JOSH: You want me to do WHAT?

NARR: The game of love.


BUDDY: How am I supposed to invite Emma to the prom for you Josh? Want me to sniff her butt?

JOSH: [whimpers]

NARR: Now, trapped in his favourite pet’s body, Josh has to teach his mutt to act like a man.


JACKIE: Josh, did you take Buddy into the bathroom with you?

BUDDY: Yeah mum. I figured if he could learn chess, he could learn how to flush a toilet.

NARR: They’re gonna have to train hard.

KID: Mommy, why is that dog the one throwing the Frisbee to the man?

MOTHER: Oh Timmy, that’s just Buddy. He’s inexplicably amazing at every sport he tries.

NARR: But can they make it to prom without Emma finding out?

JOSH: You look great, Emma. I really love your shiny coat.

EMMA: My new leather jacket? Oh Josh, you do know how to compliment a woman.


NARR: This summer, love is in the “Air”.

EMMA: You know Josh, people usually eat spaghetti with a fork.

JOSH: Uh, not on a date. Haven’t you ever seen Lady and the Tramp?

EMMA: Josh! You sly dog.

NARR: Disney Home Video presents – Air Bud: Buddy Swap.

Are we budding prodigies? We’ve definitely gone long and put in the hard yards.

I’m sure you’re tired of me talking about it, but The Air Bud Pawdcast is set to launch. We’re days away from something that’s gonna be all types of excellent. The first episode is wrapped up with a neat little bow and we’re just awaiting iTunes approval. It’s crazy to think how much work has gone into getting this far. Doing a podcast seems like such a simple thing. Maybe it is. Perhaps we’re just crazy and putting far too much effort into it. We could just care enough to be deemed insane. In case you haven’t been following or are just curious as to what goes into making a podcast (with this level of fastidiousness), here’s ruff-ly what we did:

  • I made a Facebook post about the absurdity of the Air Bud franchise. Demanded a podcast partner.
  • Friend responded. Lots of enthusiasm. Vague commitment.
  • A year passed.
  • Friend actually began planning meet ups, did something rather than just talking about talking about it.
  • Found a producer.
  • Brainstormed. Did a SWOT analysis without strictly calling it that. Drank beer. Talked about comedy.
  • IMPORTANT: Scheduled a follow up meeting.
  • Followed up and met. Set a recording date to cut down on excuses.
  • Co-host and producer made sure they had adequate gear.
  • Missed the recording date. Set another recording date.
  • Recorded the first episode. Set a follow up recording session two weeks later.
  • Producer thought about editing things, but got busy.
  • Co-host made a Facebook page, Twitter page, Instagram.
  • Co-host followed 700 odd people on Twitter.
  • Time passed, second recording date got close.
  • We each watched the movie. I took down six pages worth of notes.
  • Research research research on IMDB/Wiki.
  • Recorded the second episode.
  • I got antsy and started gathering editing hardware/software from Craigslist/Kijiji.
  • Another two weeks, watched another movie.
  • Recorded another podcast.
  • Producer started to edit episode two.
  • I installed, updated, deleted, installed updated and finally ran Pro Tools successfully.
  • I began editing episode one.
  • Co-host ordered more mics.
  • Producer started working on the theme song.
  • The fourth episode date came up. We stuck with the date despite the backlog.
  • Forgot to tell producer we were recording.
  • Recorded the episode anyway.
  • I edited 90% of episode one. Awaited re-recorded bits from producer.
  • Producer delivered re-recorded bits. Garageband had auto-processed, rendering the audio unusable.
  • Producer re-delivered the re-recorded bits.
  • Producer delivered the theme song. Emphasis on delivered.
  • Added the re-recorded bits to episode one. Added the theme song.
  • Mastered/mixed down episode one.
  • Co-host made an FTP. Sorted RSS feed. Created WordPress page.
  • I installed Hootsuite in preparation for launch.
  • Installed Hootsuite and Instagram on my phone.
  • Co-host created a logo. Producer and I did the requisite poo-pooing to get him to try harder.
  • Co-host knocked the logo out of the park.
  • Wrote up the podcast caption/description.
  • Co-host uploaded the first episode.
  • I edited the episode description.
  • I tried to submit to iTunes. Lacked an Apple ID.
  • Co-host submitted to iTunes. Submitted to Google Play Music and Stitcher while he was at it.
  • We got Google Play Music approval.
  • Co-host’s mics finally arrived from China. The shipment had all the supporting peripherals, but lacked the mics themselves.
  • I realised the weight of all this social media marketing dump. Promptly regretted each and every aforementioned step.

It’s been a crazy ride so far and it’s only gonna get bigger. I’ve listened to the first episode many times. You know what? It’s fun. It’s a good listen. We’ve put work in and created something, and that means something to me. Wherever it goes from here on out, I’m happy at least that we’ve put out a product I’d be happy to consume had I not created it. That’s gotta count for something.