Author Archive: Steve Passey

Flashback Friday: I Was Eighteen and Didn’t Care About Much

1984 Called and reminded me - I was a goof

1984 called and reminded me – I was a goof.

… other than partying hearty on the weekend. In Alberta at the time you could get a case of 12 “Beer” beer (Stubby bottles with “Generic” yellow label that said simply “Beer”) for $5.50. I think I made $8-something an hour – slightly more than double minimum wage, so you do the math. I had a lot of good weekends. Just looking at that pic makes me want to crank up the Quiet Riot again and crack a cold one.

No girls, though. Subsequent testing has revealed that they were allergic to me. I knew you’d ask so I thought I’d just get that out of the way now.

As for the story behind the picture: I worked for Alberta Parks and Recreation in a Provincial Park. Someone had called in about an injured bird – One of the Park Rangers had gone out and brought back this juvenile Blue Heron that had been hit by a car. He took the picture while I restrained the bird. It did bite me BTW – it had a vise-like grip on my thumb at one point. Calls were made and the bird was taken to an avian rehabilitation centre a half hour away where it’s injuries were assessed as too severe to be treatable and sadly, it was euthanized.

I have an ex-girlfriend – Van Halen actually played her High School before they were big. Her FBF’s are way better. But she grew up in Cali and I grew up in S. Alberta in a place with a net pop. of 380 (including strays) at the time and this is what you get.

Screw all you rich kids,

I’ll be back


King of Diamonds, King of Hearts

Image: Old Cards, © jacsonquerubin, Creative Commons.

Image: Old Cards, © jacsonquerubin, Creative Commons.

The revolutionaries at Minor Literature[s] have my short story “King of Diamonds, King of Hearts” up today – you can read it here

Much thanks to the team at Minor Literature[s] – they were a treat to work with. If you do read this don’t hesitate to give them a “like” on their Facebook or a shout out to their Twitter @MinorLits

It’s one thing to hack away at writing like I do – but to be a publisher takes commitment.


Alberta Election Story

The Alberta Provincial Flag.

The Alberta Provincial Flag.

I need to preface this by saying there was a provincial Election in Alberta yesterday – for my American friends it’s the equivalent of choosing a new governor and state reps at the same time. I might approximate that incorrectly because I have no idea how the American political system actually works. Personally I think we should adopt the Australian model where Britain empties its jails and sends ’em on over and voila, government of the people by the people just happens organically over a couple of brews, but I digress …

So yesterday I went to the same Tim Horton’s I usually go to for my daily dose – the same young lady of middle-eastern descent was working the counter as/usual. I ordered and when she brought it over I said “Are you excited to vote today?”

“No,” she said quietly, ‘I’m not allowed to vote.”

“WHAT?” I said, loud enough for the other people in Tim’s to hear me. “NOT ALLOWED?” Excuse me for saying but that is. F*cking. Bull. Shit. Women can vote here, have been able to since the 80’s. Our mothers and grandmothers went to jail and endured police brutality to win the right to vote. You take me to the man who says you can’t vote – father, brother, uncle – I don’t give a shit – and I’ll tell him what I just told you and I’ll call the goddamn cops if I have to.”

Everyone was looking at us.

“I’m not allowed to vote because I’m only 17,” she said

Today I went to a different Tim’s. I thought I’d change up my routine, make some new friends.

In regards to elections all I can guarantee is that in this one, everyone got what they deserved. It may not be what they think they deserved, but they got it anyways.

Ode to Crushes Past

Odalisque, Adolphe Weiz

Odalisque, Adolphe Weiz

Got a call from a girl I used to go to University with yesterday – She had been out for lunch with a mutual friend and apparently my single status had been discussed.

“You know I was crushing on you big time back in the day” she said. I wished I knew that then – I remembered her as being very attractive, very smart, and with a great sense of humour. It felt good to hear it.

“Let’s go grab a drink at OJ’s while I’m in town,” she said, “And catch up!” (OJ’s is a local pub where at one time one of the bar stools had my ass-groove.)

“Sure,” I said, “But I’m not sure if you’ll recognize me. Hair’s a bit thinner, sad to say.”

“I’ll recognize you” she said, “And besides, I like that look.”

“I’m a little heavier too though” I said. “A little softer around the middle. It sneaks up on a guy.”

“I like a cuddly guy,” she said, “And I’ve gained some weight myself!”

So I hung up.

Top Ten Reasons I didn’t Message You On That Dating Website

Internet Dating: Visualized

Internet Dating: Visualized

In no particular order:

  1. Ewwwww
  2. You have “Man hands”
  3. Just how many dogs do you own? Can you get along with people? Don’t answer – it’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer.
  4. You have a mean face, possibly because of/compounded with “Crazy Eyes”
  5. You look like an Ex of mine
  6. You are an Ex of mine
  7. Pic is not a selfie … which means it must be 5 years old meaning you’ve doubled in size since then in real life
  8. You look like my cousin
  9. You are my cousin
  10. You’re a dude – no judgement, but you are on the wrong side of the app, buddy

Bonus Round: I saw you on two other dating sites 4 years ago, and although I’m on/off these things as needs be I’m pretty sure you have been on the whole time.

There ya go blog readers. Remember: Hail Satan, drink coffee.

I’ll return shortly, like a Velvet Elvis that get’s “re-gifted” through the family every Christmas.


A Quick Summary of the State of Social Media

Well, we’re well into 2015, so I thought I’d better summarize social media for you:

Facebook: A membership group for middle-aged women who hate stupid people (apparently everywhere), but love their amazing sisters, amazing mothers, amazing cousins, and of course their amazing friends, (and post endless memes accordingly,) but not quite as much as they love wine.

Instagram: This is where the kids all went when their parents got on Facebook. Instagram can be summarized as follows: Many pictures, of many people, who are neither photogenic nor doing anything interesting.

Twitter: 99% Kardashian, 1% troll. Or vice-versa.The Revolution? It ain’t happenin’ here and never was.

Snapchat: When the cops come and ask for your son/daughter and seize the cell phone you got them so you could keep track of them  – Snapchat is why.

Reddit: I have limited experience with Reddit, but it reminds me a bit of those ant-farms you could buy as a kid. Lots going on. Here, there, everywhere, including a riot in Block D, section 7, but unless you’re in it you won’t know about it.

Pinterest: Two Words. 1) “Hen,” 2)  “Party.” Crafty. More self-affirmation memes posted over and over and over. It’s not that men aren’t welcome here, not at all, but you don’t see many women at model train conventions either.

Blogs et al: Imagine crickets chirping by a babbling brook in a picturesque ghost-town.

Tumblr: A surviving subsection of blogging consisting of weird porn, by which I mean the theft of images from other sites regrouped according to the Tumblr-er’s proclivities.

Google+: What’s Google+? Anyone know? Can someone help me here? Anyone? Do I have the right name?

LinkedIn: All of the blah blah blah you hate about the office but no free coffee. One of the few remaining stalking tools out there though. Might be time to reactivate my profile.

Youtube/GoodReads: Not truly social media but via comments and reviews there is a limited degree of social interaction. By “social interaction” I mean badly-spelled threats of violence and cries of outrage, (often ridiculed as  “butthurt”), repeated ad infinitum.

There you have it – if there is other social media out there I’m, not hep to it, so I’ll probably be back with some vacuous assertions in the not-too distant future when I catch up.

Remember peeps, throw out your cell phone. smash your HD cable box, pay for everything in quarters, eat red meat, and burn diesel.

Life is as short as it is unpleasant,


Literary Driving Experiences

Joan Didion, pulling over to pick up a few

Joan Didion, pulling over to pick up a few “loosies” for the 2.5-mile drive home.

Ever wonder what it would be like to go for a ride with one of your literary heroes? Ever wonder what they drove? Here’s how I picture it:

Hemingway (Because no lit-list is complete without Hemingway):  Land Rover or perhaps one of those “Technicals” – Toyota pickups with heavy machine guns bolted in the bed that are the favorite of 3rd-world insurgents everywhere. “It is a good truck” he tells you, patting it’s flanks. “Strongly built. Well made. It would be a shame to lose it.” You know then that it will be lost, because no lit-list is complete without some minor-league bullshitter/hack loosely paraphrasing Hemingway’s style.

Flannery O’Connor: Bus pass, or, possibly, a 2004 Chrysler Mini-Van with a handicapped parking sticker, driven by her mother, or the devil.

Ian Fleming: Aston Martin. Of course. Driving gloves are mandatory. Supermodels fall over with their feet in the air in the wake of your passing but you don’t have time for that shit, you’re driving an Aston Martin. “Don’t touch any buttons,” Fleming tells you. You don’t dare.

Arturo Perez Reverte: “Get in” he says, picking you up at the hotel. He’s driving a rental, a tiny compact of some sort. He leaves your bags at the curb.  “I can speak English but don’t want to,” he tells you. He drives you around the city then, through stop signs, across traffic, the wrong way on one-ways, oblivious to the screams of pedestrians, other drivers, law enforcement, (such as it is in these European cities.) He is telling you something in great detail in Spanish. He looks at you intensely when he talks, which makes for some nerve-wracking directional corrections. He drops you  back off at hotel without saying good-bye. A few months later you see him in another country, in a cafe with an older woman, very well dressed, very beautiful. He pretends not to know you, but she pretends she does. You wonder, not for the first or last time, what he told you in the car.

Milan Kundera: Used Mercedes. Black. 80’s? 90’s? Early 2000’s? Who knows? They all look the same. Reeks of cigarette smoke and sophisticated ideological digression.

Gus Hasford: Mid 70’s Chrysler. A boat. Trunk is full of stolen library books and an M79 grenade launcher. “A souvenir” he tells you, and that he can’t find ammo for it, which seems to bum him out a bit. Car is unregistered, uninsured, and illegally parked.

Charles Bukowski: VW. He tells you he paid cash. There is a half a mickey of Cutty Sark in the glove box and a 6 of Heineken on the passenger seat with only 3 cans still in the webbing. It’s cleaner than you thought it would be, and you think that he must have a woman now, a good woman, not wolfish, or mad, or of temporary hire. Some carefully typed poems that were on the dash blow out the window as you move down the boulevard. “Don’t worry kid, I’ve got lots,” he says, and then “Crack one of those Heinies and hand it to me, will ya?”

John Irving: A big ol’ tradesman’s van. White. No windows. The back is piled with gym mats. He asks if you want to pull over and wrestle a bit. You decline. “Don’t be a pussy,” he says, and asks again. He’s not that big, and you’re pretty sure you can take him, but he does seem intense.

Stephen King: You didn’t actually get to ride in his vintage Pontiac GTO. You were hitchhiking and he blew by at 90+ and then stopped a hundred yards down the road and waved you up. Huffing and puffing and you ran up to the car only when you got within 10 yards he matted it, spitting gravel all over you, and flipped you the bird out the window. Fucker. But you think about and think it probably for the best not to get in a car alone with Stephen King.

Joan Didion. ’82 Vette – T-roof. Almost empty. There are 3 loose cigarettes rolling around the floor along with some medication. You look, She sees you looking. No one says anything. You get out to use the bathroom and when you come back there are 2 loose cigarettes. Your briefcase/bag is open – did you leave it open? You don’t think you left it open.  She sees you looking at your bag. She makes a note. No one says anything.

John Steinbeck: ’49 Fargo. Black. It’s rusting a bit but still runs, for now. Needs new tires badly.  There is a family of four living in the truck bed, sleeping on beds of rags with steadily depleting piles of firewood for pillows. Soon they’ll have only each other for pillows. Soon there will be less of them. They are cooking a thin soup made from tiny grains of sand and a beet leaf (one beet leaf, no plural) over a wood fire. The kids are too skinny and have runny noses. The wife has a persistent, dry cough and won’t make eye contact. The father seems alternately despondent, or, very, very angry.

Margaret Atwood: “Magnum P.I.” era Ferrari 308 with truck nuts and a bumper sticker saying “Don’t blame me I voted NDP.” She drives it through a puddle and splashes you as you wait for the bus. But still! Margaret Atwood! Almost a month later a package arrives in the mail. Its an Atwood T-Shirt and a lovely handwritten note: “Sorry I splashed you but I just had to. Like the car? I found it on E-Bay.” You think Hey! Margaret Atwood!

Cormac McCarthy: No car. He’s standing by a dead mule covered in flies, holding a hatchet. You take the long way around but you know, somehow, that he saw you. You know. You walk faster, your ears pricked.

Jean Rhys: A Rolls-Royce, chauffer-driven. It’s not hers, it’s his. Bought with his wife’s money, not his. Jean is not the wife. A few months later you see the Rolls again, same chauffeur, but it’s not Jean in the back. It’s a different woman, younger, prettier, happier … for now. Suddenly you notice Jean herself, standing just behind you, looking at the same car, the same scene. She looks a little wobbly, slightly disheveled, and maybe even a little high. Awkward.

Umberto Eco: A Fiat. For sure. He asks you if you pray and after a half an hour driving though Milan (or Rome, or any place in Italy) you do pray. You pray like a 14th Century Dominican Inquisitor, although your reason does not jibe with what Eco tells you about semantics and the meaning of prayer and stuff that doesn’t seem that important when you’re driving in a Fiat with Umberto Eco, your fingers firmly embedded in the dash and roof.

I am sure you can think of a few more.

By the way, the picture’s not mine and I’d take it down if sued. But I always liked it.

Stay young and cool forever, blog readers.

I shall return,


Hockey Fight Descriptives, Ranked in Order of Intensity

Puttin' on the foil, coach!

Puttin’ on the foil, coach!

Their are degrees of difference – and it’s important to know.

  1. Set-To
  2. Scrap
  3. Throw-Down
  4. Scrum
  5. Fracas
  6. Melee
  7. Brouhaha
  8. Bar-Room Shasta
  9. Donnybrook
  10. Ring-A-Dong-Dong-Dandy

Remember: The more you know, the smarter you is.

Over and Out,


Why I Write Part 2!

Hemingway, at the exact moment he realized he f*cking hated cats.

Hemingway, at the exact moment he realized he f*cking hated cats.

Ever see the #amwriting tag on twitter?

Its usually preceded by as much as 140-characters of something trumpeting some accomplishment or some sacrifice. All this effort with no possible hope of success begs a question as to why.

As for why I write?

  1. Because Steel Panther already has a drummer. For me, this is all that’s left.
  2. Because I wasn’t actually actually going to walk the dog anyways. Might as well sit down and write.
  3. Because I saw something on TV once or movie and thought “Meh, I can do that.”
  4. Because I read something once and thought “I could do that.”
  5. Because … chicks, money and fame. Soon anyways. DON’T JUDGE ME.
  6. Because truthfully, you can do this part time. I hate seeing “I have no time to write” complaints. I write all the time. I have kids and jobs and shit. Still get in a few thousand words whenever I feel like it.
  7. Because mostly I can write when I feel like it. Think of anything else you can do when you feel like it and I promise you, it will be a very short list.
  8. Because I get a strange sense of satisfaction out of putting words in a certain order.
  9. I do it because I like it. No one makes me write.
  10. Writer’s are fun and cool. We always have something to talk about. Surprisingly it’s rarely writing. We talk about our kids and dogs. Just like regular people.

I could go a little longer but you get the point. Don’t bitch about writing. It’s not that hard. I guess I could say “It’s easy to do but hard to be good at” but that platitude applies to everything. No one, me included, cares.

And that’s that.

Have a good one peeps, I’ll be back after I make my self-imposed 2,500 word quo .. nah. Already done. I’m gonna go lift weights.


PS – look at Papa and that cat again. It’s like they’ve been married for a year. Mutual hatred. They despise one another. Look!


Valentines Day Special: Breaking Up.

Oh c'mon. It's funny.

Oh c’mon. It’s funny.

How’s that relationship going?


I don’t care. Seriously. Your happiness bores me.

Not that well?

Gee – That’s too bad.

Either way it’s time to break up because as everybody knows – you don’t get good at a thing unless you practice.

Firstly – pick the right song. You need a little song in your head the whole time you are breaking up because you are reminding yourself what you are doing. I prefer Greg Kihn’s “The Breakup song (They don’t write like that”) because it’s good and I like it and this is my note.

“We had broken up for good just an hour before
Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh
Now I’m staring at the bodies as they’re dancing ‘cross the floor
Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh”

I think it’s the “uh uh uh uh uh … uh” that I like and besides – it’s up tempo and you’ll break up happy as opposed to let’s say, Pearl Jam’s “Black” in which case you’ll break up via suicide. That shit is just depressing! You could be having sex on top of a big pile of $100’s while eating double-chocolate chip ice cream and if “Black” came on you’d get up, walk away, then hang yourself in the garage. You’ll be alone, cold, and probably be undiscovered for 4 days! But if Greg Kihn’s little 3-minute charmer comes on you can get that lovin’ in, finish the ice cream, scoop up some of those bills and break up happy!

Secondly – pick the person – the rules of this game are that they have to be someone you are actually seeing. By “seeing” I mean “seeing” as in dating in real life. I have lost track of how many times I have broken up with Lena Olin but it doesn’t matter because I have never met her. If I did meet her … I’d suggest (discretely, as is my normal M.O.) that we skip the formalities, “drop trou” as they say in England and head on straight into the 6 or 7 minutes of furious mediocrity that only I can give her… just so I could break up with her while she lit up that post-coital jet! If I can get my monkey trained to run a camera I can film the whole thing and sell you guys the “how to break up” video! If I can just get the court to throw out that ill-considered restraining order I’m pretty sure she’ll be amenable too! I mean – who are these people she surrounds herself with? These people who say they are “protecting” her? Assholes! But I digress …

Thirdly: You need a reason.

Just kidding on that one. You don’t really need a reason. In fact, if you are the kind of sucky-ass butter-tart that needs a reason I do not know that you should be reading this note. You need to get outside and drown yourself in a burlap sack along with the other 3-legged puppies. You break up with someone to break up with someone. That’s all the reason you need.

Besides – really – there is always a reason. Someone cheats, someone cries. Someone left the cap off of the toothpaste again, someone got dutch-ovened. There are more reasons to break up then there are to stay together. I can’t really tell you why to break up – I can just tell you how. So just do it.

Now that we have the music and the subject – and maybe a reason – we need some strategies. Although Paul Simon (in yet another break-up song) suggested that there were as many as “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” in practice there are much fewer – so I’m gonna sketch out some basic strategies/tactics and of course some pro’s and con’s as to actually how to get ‘er done.

1: The Lay-Away Plan.

Ahhhh – The Layaway. My personal favorite. It works like this: Just quit calling/emailing/talking whatever.

Don’t think too much about this. Just stop. Don’t answer their calls/emails and at first-plaintive-then-eventually-shrill-texts.  Yep – you read me right – just ignore them until they go away. Eventually they’ll figure it out.

Pros: Avoids messy confrontation and/or overly sincere and emotional discussion of any issues at hand.

Cons: None whatsoever. Everyone just kinds of fades away. I’d give it about 3 weeks. If, after the 3 week point they have not figured out that you have broken up with them … we got laws against that and you can get a restraining order. Just go tell that cops that you broke up with them (because you did!) and they’ll help you out.

Rumor has it you can “level up” if you can pull off the following: If you run into them again in the future – introduce yourself to them as if you have never met them before. You can always date ’em again (They are nuts to agree to this but people are weird) and you can break up with them again too.

Faking your own obituary is kinda cool too. Bonus points if you can do that.

2: The Heapin’ Helpin’ (Of Passive Aggression!)

You’ll need some verbal skill to do this – but basically it works like this: You tell them that they broke up with you. No – seriously. You tell them that they broke up with you!

Imagine a conversation that goes like this:

He: “Well, I understand, really I do. If I were you I’d probably still feel the same way. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but I value – no – I cherish the good times we had and will always remember them.”

She: “What are you talking about?”

He: “Look – I’m just here to give you your key back and pick up that red hoodie I left here. After that I won’t bother you again.”

She: “Are you … are you … are you saying what I think you are saying?”

He: “I’m saying I’m alright with it. Really, I’m ok. I’m ok. *looks away sadly* “I’m ok”

She: *cries softly*

He: “Ummmm … my hoodie?”

Pros: Needless to say – Fun. Plus – It’s done. No need to sweat for 3 weeks every time the doorbell rings wondering if they forgot that they are on “the Layaway Plan”.

Cons: Harder to carry off then just running away on “The Layaway Plan”. Plus – some peeps will flat out deny that they broke up with you. These crazy people need to be dealt with by the law. I would not walk in to the station house the next day after work – I’d dial 911 pronto because you never know what these people will do when they are that deep in denial.

Pro Tip: Try to cry while giving them the “speech”. Because if you can fake sincerity – you can fake anything – and life will be good!

3: It’s Not Real if It Didn’t Happen on Facebook: 

We live in a wondrous age of easily accessible technology – so why not use it! Remember that chances are in this day and age you asked for the 1st date via electronic medium so it’s perfectly OK to use that same medium to terminate the relationship.

E-mail is a perfectly acceptable way of delivering the good news! Text messages – fine. Twitter? Not as much – everyone tweets but no one follows – I know I don’t. Nothing worse than breaking up with someone via twitter and no one knows it. Probably the best of all you can do right now while you read this is breaking up by Facebook status update! The old “‘Relationship Status” change will draw everyone’s attention! And in addition to a public outpouring of wholly undeserved sympathy there may be a hidden benefit: Someone reading it is ready to pounce and be the next person you break up with!


I had to smoke a post-something jet after just rereading that. Break-up … and … Bait your next hook up!

Just. Like. That.

Anyways, I write way better than I talk (I have a lithp!), so getting the boot from me via text/IM or Email is the next best thing to flirting with me via same. Actually – in the long run it’s probably way better for you to get the boot but I digress …

Pros: Avoids close personal contact and possibly a drawn out emotional confrontation. You’re less likely to get sucked in by some sob story and change your mind. And remember – there is an electronic record – you don’t even have to respond to them after you hit “send”. It’s done!

Cons: Well, you run the risk of being copied and pasted here there and everywhere. If you do not write well, or perhaps bang one of these out in the heat of the moment and use some poorly chosen words … it’s out there for everyone to see, forever, and you will be mocked accordingly. Like Rock and Roll, The internet never forgets.

Karma: Don’t ever break up via a text composed while you are on the can. Yeah yeah yeah – I know – no one ever texts from the porcelain throne yeah yeah yeah. Just remember that if you do: God will get you for that. Remember that you are just breaking up with someone – no need to be insulting.

The Oubliette

“Oubliette” is a French Word meaning “a place to be forgotten” – like the lowest level of the Bastille where prisoners were kept so long not even they remembered their names. So if you’ve read this far you have learned something.

The Bastille is gone, but what we have now is: Play World of Warcraft.

I am not sure if this fits under passive-aggressive or deserves its own heading (it’s both a reason to break up for some and a method by which to break up for others) but I got space to fill so here it is. Start up a WoW account and just … disappear. Really – it’ll be like you went into the witness protection program because 7 months later when you first walk out into the daylight again you’ll be so pasty and flaccid as to be unidentifiable and you’ll be single … I can guarantee it.

Pros: It works – and no messy entanglements because no one will ever expect to see you again.

Cons: WoW costs money and you might actually become an albino.  And then there is living in your mom’s basement to say nothing of Cheetoh addiction, unemployment, and generally being the butt of jokes. I won’t lie to you guys – there is a stigma that can be tough to get rid of and really, you would like to be able to move on in the dating game and break up with other people at some future point. A WoW rep can delay this indefinitely.

Caveat: WoW is so gender specific that women might not have this option. There are no female WoW players – just guys claiming to be female because if they leave the house they are required to introduce themselves to the neighbors under “Meagan’s law”.

So … for my female readers might I suggest playing Zynga’s “Farmville”.

Yes – Farmville – which should be subtitled “how to die alone”. You know my “sex and ice cream on a big pile of money” analogy? The only thing that can ruin it is one of the participants jumping up and shouting “I have pumpkins to harvest” and running away.

So Farmville ladies – your break up is never more than 2, 4, 6, 12, or 24 or whatever specified interval of hours away.


So there ya go. Y’all go and find someone to break up with and live happily ever after! And hey – the Gin Blossoms had it right:

“Tell me do you think it’d be alright
If I could Just crash here tonight
As you see I’m in no shape for drivin’
And any way I’ve got no place to go

And you know it might not be that bad
You were the best I ever had
I hadn’t blown the whole thing years ago
I might not be alone”

Blaah blah blah – someone call the wahmbulance!

Later Gators, I got bears to wrestle, glass shards to eat, and miles to go before I sleep.



Go trip yourself!

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