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The Definition of Friendship

I identify Dudehead as my best friend all the time. To this day, he’s still confused as to why I call him that. Sometimes I don’t even remember. We met in eighth grade, and we bonded over science, a love of technology, and mischief. That was a fun year. Sixteen years later, there’s nobody who knows me like he does.

But in an age when the letters “BFF” are tossed around more than a caesar salad (ok, internet, I served that one to you on a silver platter), has the term been cheapened?

How do you define or gauge friendship?

Is it even possible to do that?


The other day, I pulled something out of my pocket to give to Dudehead. My arm was bent weirdly, and it looked like I was going to shake his hand. He gave me a funny look that said, “What the hell am I supposed to do with that?” It was an awkward moment. Probably the first awkward moment between us in over a decade.

The Dudehead

Don’t ask about the coat hangar. Nobody seems to know.

Dudehead and I are best friends, so we don’t shake hands. I don’t even remember ever shaking his hand. A handshake is too formal. A handshake is for a single-serving friend, or when you’re greeting someone you don’t know very well. We were past handshakes years ago.

With my other close friends, it’s sometimes a bro-hug (among the males) or a proper hug (with the females). Sometimes it’s a fist bump.

There’s almost always a greeting to start things off. “Hey man/dude.” “How’s it going?” “Sup, jackass?”

But with my best friend? We’re past handshakes. We’re past fist bumps. We’re even past bro-hugs. Hell, we don’t even say hi to each other.

When I meet up with the Dudehead somewhere, he’s walking east, I’m walking west, we meet in the middle, and we just start a conversation. We often just don’t shut up. Sometimes we even have a few different conversations at once.

When you walk into a room full of close friends that you’ve known for years, you might have a different combination of greetings for each of them. After all, your greeting with a close friend is three parts shared experience, one part past conversation, and two parts inside joke. But the friend who needs only a moment of eye contact to know that you have their back – that’s the friend who you call your best.

Now Relax

I’m not telling you to start categorising your friends. I’m just thinking out loud. I do that sometimes. Just like I sometimes find myself in the odd position of having a coat hangar around my neck. It’s my prerogative.

They say blood is thicker than water. But some things are even thicker than blood. And when the zombie apocalypse begins and you’re not sure what to do next, just come to my place. We’ve been ready since eighth grade.

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I Still Miss You

Today, I realised that I probably always will.

A friend sent me a link to someone’s post on Tumblr. A young man named Liam learns that someone he loves has been hurt. He desperately texts her, hoping to find out she’s ok. Later, he finds out she isn’t. She’s been taken from him by a drunk driver.

Time passes, and although she’s still gone, he continues to text her, thinking that maybe he’ll wake up from this nightmare. He texts her until his final message is rejected – her phone number no longer works.

I guess it hit a little close to home. I lost you to a drunk driver, too, Vicki. After you were gone, I continued to send you messages. An email every now and then, wishing for one last opportunity to make you smile. I kept sending those emails until my final message was rejected – your mailbox went offline.

After all these years, I realised that I will probably always miss you. And after all these years, I realised that that’s ok. For if you still exist in my memory, then you’re never truly gone. And if a time comes when everyone else has forgotten you, know that I will always think of you fondly.


Text messages to Danni

Image source: (page no longer exists)

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My Favourite Fails

Arm chairs with bad legs and poor explanations
Testicle kicking and springboard destruction
Ninja cat can’t catch the wind in his sails
These are a few of my favourite fails…

Chair Fail

The beauty of this stunning piece is that you can see the realization of what is to come in his face, just after the first leg breaks. From there, it’s only a matter of time…

Explanation Fail

I’ve always been confused by this title, since it seems more like this man wins at life than anything else. And so I continue through life, fiercely believing that this is real, and not some variety show fabrication.

The Shockwave

Why doesn’t Superman do this to more bad guys? A swift kick to the Jacobs would end even the most powerful supervillain, would it not?  In the scientific community, the resultant energy released from such impact is called a class 10 shockwave.

Source video:

Superman Ball Kick

The Sporting Accident

Yes, the man goes flying into a judge’s table. But look at the springboard after he makes initial contact. He just annihilates it.

Source video:

Sporting Accident


Kitties Can’t Fly

The timing is perfect. It’s almost as though the cat was moving perfectly in time with the music. This is perfection.

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I Love You, Dad

Tristan and Joe Cuschieri

<3 you, Dad.

My Dad never quite knows where to look when a camera is pointed at him. Yet, the pictures containing him are among my favourites.

My Dad is 65, and has a modest view of himself. Yet, he can still rock a pair of jeans, even if he does look a little embarrassed when I call him a sexy beast (and mean it).

My Dad sometimes thinks he doesn’t deserve my Mum, but he loves her more than anything in the world, and she loves him every bit as much, because he deserves it.

I’m the first one my Dad calls when he needs technical support, and I’m always happy to hear his voice. For all our past differences, we’re friends, and I love helping him.

I drop in to say hi, and he asks me to swap two DVD players, hooking one up so he can record from a digital channel that only the downstairs TV gets. He sheepishly asks me if I have time. I don’t. But I smile at him and say, “Let’s do it.” My next appointment can wait, because this sweet man needs my help.

Thanks to my Dad, I always remember not to worry about things over which I have no control. I know how to catch a ball, fix things, use power tools, sew a button, and kick ass in a game of Chess. Thanks to him, I’m a perfectionist and I take pride in my work.

When I walk up to him, I look forward to the hug I know will commence shortly. This isn’t some token hug between two people who are trying to be polite. I love this hug. It’s real. It feels as though we’re both trying to make up for all the bad times with each one.

My Dad doesn’t have the best health. When I hug him, I’m scared to squeeze too tightly, for fear that I’ll hurt his back or his shoulder. I probably don’t give him as much credit as I should.

Dad, you have so much knowledge, and you are wise even beyond your already many years. But perhaps what I love most about you is this:

You don’t agree with all of my life choices, and some of them still make you sad, but you respect my decisions. And while I don’t need anyone’s support or approval for much of what I do in my life, it’s nice to know that I still have your support, no matter what happens.

Thanks, Dad. I love you.

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Rogue Security Software

If you’ve reached this blog post from a Google search for the phone number 4169153536, please be advised that the call you’ve received is a scam. Read on for details.

Rogue security programs look legitimate, but are nothing more than a social engineering tool designed to relieve you of your money.

Rogue security programs look legitimate, but are nothing more than a social engineering tool designed to relieve you of your money.

I touched on rogue security software in my last post (Digitally Transmitted Diseases 101), but a recent experience made me want to revisit the topic.

A member of my family recently fell prey to one of these programs. Setting aside how the program made its way onto his computer, it happened, and it told him that his computer had fallen victim to over “800 hacks.” Not being very technologically savvy, this scared him, as it’s designed to do. He called a number that was given to him (416 915 3536, which has a Toronto area code), and spoke to someone named Steve Dawson.

Unfortunately, my grandfather was convinced to hand over his credit card information, and grant them remote access to his computer. When he started to realize he may have made a mistake, he told Steve that he would ask his grandson to help him. Steve, in an effort to sound legitimate, encouraged him to have me call them. Here’s how that phone call went:

“Hello, thank you for calling Windows technical support!”

Right away, I can tell that this is not a local call, by how it’s ringing. This is a call that’s being routed to another country altogether.

A lady claiming to be named Lucy picks up the call. She has a thick accent. “Hello, thank you for calling Windows technical support. How may I help you?” There’s a tonne of noise and yelling in the background.

“Good evening. Steve Dawson, please,” I say.

She replies, “Oh, Steve Dawson. Yes.” And then, instead of putting me on hold, she just yells, “STEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVE!”

Very professional. Another guy with a thick accent comes on the line. He says he’s Steve Dawson. I ask him what country he’s in. He says New Jersey, United States. Bullshit.

Two minutes into the conversation, he gives up on the lie that he represents Microsoft technical support. When he realizes that he’s actually speaking to an IT professional, he gives up on the lie that he’s a Microsoft-certified engineer. When my grandfather told him he would ask his grandson to help him, he told him to have his grandson call him. I ask what he thought was going to happen when I did call him. He has no answer.

He starts rambling, and I tell him to stop talking. I spend the next five minutes ripping into him over the phone until he gives up and hangs up, but not before he turns it around and starts calling me a scammer.

Did I expect to get anything out of the conversation? Of course not. But sometimes it’s nice to have someone to yell at – someone who deserves it. And for messing with a kindly elderly man, he deserves it.

That takes care of all my pent up aggression this week. I don’t have an asshole landlady to argue with anymore, so who else am I going to unload on?

What do you do if this happens to you?

If you’ve let it get this far already (as in, they have your credit card number and/or remote access to your computer), the first thing you need to do is cut off their access. It may not be easy for you to shut down your computer properly, so hold the power button for a few seconds to cut power if you need to. The important thing is that their access over the internet be cut immediately.

Call your credit card company and report the fraud. Explain what just happened, and have them reverse any charges made. They’ll cancel your current card, and issue you a new one. If necessary, involve the police, as they can file a police report that forces your credit card company to cancel the fraudulent charge.

If you’ve given them your computer’s password, change it immediately. Think about any other online accounts you may use the same password for, and change those immediately, too. This is especially important if you use that password for your email or any online banking.

Call your nearest IT guy and ask them to help you remove the malicious software from your computer, as well as any remote access software left behind. A scan with your antivirus software is recommended, but you may need a professional to look at it anyway, especially if your antivirus software has been disabled.

The Moral of the Story

Don’t trust software you’ve never seen before if it tells you that your computer is infected. Don’t trust someone who calls you and tells you the same.

And the most important point, something I tell my clients all the time: If you have even the slightest doubt or question about something, call your IT guy. Don’t worry about putting them out. Just remember, a five-minute phone call can save you hours of frustration and embarrassment.

Steve Dawson, whatever your real name is, know this: If I ever meet you in person, your testicles will be introduced to my shoe, post-haste.

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