Address Unknown

One of the key benefits to living in a condo- at least in my opinion- is all of the incorrectly addressed mail I’ve received over the years. While some might consider this a nuisance, I consider it a welcome (albeit creepy) glimpse into other people’s lives.

First there was the mail belonging to the previous tenant; some dude named Tom who really loved J.Crew and had a serious beef with Rogers telecom. Then, there was the crisp, new yearbook, addressed to Mike, a recent University of Toronto grad. Looked like a fun year, Mike!

My favourite of all, however, was the random postcard I received from the Edinburgh Zoo addressed to Julie Choi. Adorned with two impossibly cute pandas, the postcard filled Julie in on the sender’s travel so far, and signed off with “let’s meet up in October!”

photo (2)

While I loved the pandas fiercely, I felt a sense of obligation to return this postcard to its rightful recipient.  So I slipped it into the “Incorrectly Addressed Mail” box in my mail room and hoped for the best.

A couple of weeks later, I checked my mail again, and like an incredibly cute boomerang, the pandas had made their way back to me.

And that’s when I really started to wonder, just who was this  Julie Choi? I assumed from the mix-up that her address must be very similar to mine, which meant she either lived in the next building, or was my immediate next door neighbor. From then on, I found myself listening extra intently to the muffled sounds of the adjacent apartment. Is that you, Julie? I wondered.

But then another thought occurred to me. What if Julie did live in my unit – but in a parallel universe?

In my deluded brain, rendered porous by prolonged isolation and loneliness, I was convinced it was highly probable that Julie and I were actually occupying the same apartment in different tracts of space or time. This letter must have slipped through some sort of wormhole temporarily opened up by an inexplicable force-  like on that TV show Sliders. I took a deep breath, fully expecting Jerry O’Connell to burst into my apartment and stun me with a neutralyzer, erasing all memory of this event.

No dice. I guess he and Rebecca Romijn must have been busy or something.

Anyway I started wondering what this parallel universe might be like. Obviously somewhat similar to ours in the sense that its inhabitants lived in condos and sent novelty postcards. Other than that, it was anyone’s guess. Maybe they weren’t people at all, but some sort of panda-loving cro-magnon species who subsisted on a diet of Fro-yo, fear, and carbon monoxide. I don’t know.

It’s been over a year since I received that postcard, and October has long come and gone.  I have no way of knowing, but I hope that Julie did meet up with her cro-magnon friends in Edinburgh, because otherwise I’d  feel sort of responsible.

As for me? I’m still trying to figure out the significance of this whole event.

Psychologist Albert Bandura has said that chance encounters have a prominent impact on shaping human lives. Some  touch only lightly, others leave more lasting effects, and some  lead people into new life trajectories altogether.

While I think this encounter is likely more of the “light touch variety”,  I’ve kept the postcard anyway. It sits in my memory box, along with my concert tickets, letters and movie stubs-  it’s jovial black and white pandas a reminder of how wonderfully random life can sometimes be.

Question of the Day: Have you ever received interesting mail that was not intended for you?


10 Inventions From Pop Culture I Wish Were Real

Few films have left such a lasting impact on my life as the 1999 cult classic Office Space.


Not only are its characters hilarious and its lines highly quotable, its tongue-in-cheek (yet painfully accurate) depiction of corporate culture continues to haunt me in my day-to-day life.


Anyway, while catastrophizing about my life the other day, I was reminded of one of my favourite anecdotes from the film-  the “Jump To Conclusions Mat”.


Conceived by the bumbling Tom Sizemore, the Jump to Conclusions mat was, quite simply, a mat that you put on the floor with different CONCLUSIONS that you could JUMP TO.


I wished I had a jump to conclusions mat myself. Things would be so much simpler (especially if I landed on “moot!” every time).

All of this got me thinking: what other inventions from popular culture would I love to see come to life?  

1. The Delorean Time Machine

Back To The Future

Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

Man, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time. On second thought-  I don’t know if I could handle the responsibility. What if it was like that episode of the Simpsons where Homer time travels through a toaster and Ned Flanders becomes dictator of the universe? Or we all end up with giant lizard tongues? Actually, the lizard tongues would be kinda cool. One Delorean, please.

2. Transporter

Star Trek


Oh, the places I would go with a Transporter.

……Mostly to Sephora and the bulk candy store down the street… but still, Beam me up, Scotty!

3. Mind Control Device

Family Guy


The brainchild of diabolical toddler-genius Stewie Griffin, this ingenious device allows its holder to completely control the mind of anyone within aiming vicinity.

While Stewie used his  in an elaborate scheme to kill his mother, I’d use mine for much more benevolent purposes…. like convincing all of my coworkers to bring me cupcakes. Mmm. cupcakes.

4. Invisibility Cloak

Harry Potter


Because I’m inherently 7 years old, I often think about what I would do if I could be invisible for a day. Eavesdropping, sneaking onto international flights and stealing expensive items are all high on my list; but more importantly, I’d probably just pull a lot of people’s pants down.

5. The Transformation Chamber

Family Matters


Like Steve Urkel’s debonair doppleganger Stefan Urquelle,

I like to think I have an alter ego inside me just waiting for a Transformation Chamber to come out as well. Her name is Breeyoncé, She is a 5’11 Spanish pop star/diplomat/fugitive who is wanted in several countries for her suggestive on-stage dancing. Recently divorced from Charlie Sheen, she bides her time as Karl Lagerfeld’s muse and has a taste for expensive champagne and wealthy Italian race car drivers. She also rarely sweats, has long, thick, luxurious hair, and never feels awkward at cocktail parties.

6. The Lazy Man Toilet Chair

The Simpsons


This spectacular device was created by Homer as a way of going to the bathroom while watching TV; because, as he rightly proclaimed, going upstairs is  “the hardest thing in the world.”  I feel you, Homer- and applaud your ingenuity- even if it is really gross.

7. The Hair Helmet

Flight of the Conchords


While this invention might not be as useful as, say, a teleporter or time-travelling DeLorean,  I still think I’d look pretty bad-ass riding around Toronto in one of these puppies.

Especially if worn in conjunction with Brett’s other inventions: the “camera phone”


……….and gloves that look like hands.


8. Everything by Kramerica Industries

Ah Cosmo Kramer. One of the most inventive, yet misunderstood minds of our generation. How could I choose just one invention when we’ve got:

  • The Coffee Table Book about Coffee Tables


  • the Mansiere (or “the bro”)


  • the pizza restaurant where you make your own pie


  • cologne that smells like the beach; and last but definitely not least:
  • Fusilli Jerry
Seinfeld Bus
“I chose Fusilli… because you’re silly”

9. Neutralyzer

Men In Black 


When you say and do as many awkward things as I do, having a device to easily eradicate others’ memories of your ridiculousness sounds pretttty pretty good. Especially if it comes with a side of Will Smith.

10. The Cornballer

Arrested Development 


Invented by George Bluth in the mid-1970s,  the Cornballer is.. well, a device used to make cornballs.


It was made illegal after it was found to cause serious burns, however George continued to market it in Mexico with the help of Richard Simmons.

3rd degree burns or no 3rd degree burns, cornballs are damn delicious. I could use one of these bad boys in my life.

Question of the Day:

What fictional invention(s) do you wish were real?

Aliens Come to Earth for Bieber, Stay for Stuffed Crust Pizza

Residents of South-western Ontario were stunned last Friday when an Unidentified Flying Object carrying over two dozen extraterrestrials from the Planet Zyrgon landed in a corn field just outside of Stratford.

“Yeah, it was sorta strange” said Red Tucker, the owner of the property. “I had just finished spraying the crops for billbugs when I looked up to see this big, blue thing coming outta the sky… and I thought to myself ‘Now what’s this all about.’”

Despite initial reservations, the Stratford residents soon came to embrace their Zyrgonian visitors, who, in turn, took an immediate shining to the small Ontario town.

“We love it here,” said Captain Zaphod Beeblebrox, head of the Zyrgonian forces. “Earth is awesome!”

Zyrgonians had limited knowledge of Earth until a few months ago, when their satellite systems began picking up an audio signal from a far off galaxy. “The signal was so high-pitched and unrelenting that it broke the intergalactic sound barrier!” exclaimed Beeblebrox.

While either inaudible or insufferable to male Zyrgonians, the sounds proved intoxicating to the planet’s females.

“It caused mass hysteria, and almost fever-like symptoms among our females,” explained Beeblebrox. “And since Zyrgon has been experiencing a population decline and chronically low birth rates for the past 10,000 years, we became eager to harness the power of this intense aphrodisiacal force and bring it back to our planet to ensure the procreation of our species”.

“We initially thought the sounds might be emanating from some sort of nuclear testing facility; or perhaps a large dying mammal;” continued Beeblebrox, “however, after setting up some intelligence in the way of sophisticated Earth-Rovers and several highly trained Zyrgonian forces disguised as Starbucks Baristas, we discovered that the sounds were actually coming from an 18-year-old homosapien man-child known as ‘Justin Bieber’.”

According to Beeblebrox, the Zyrgonian forces had been conducting reconnaissance and plotting Bieber’s capture for months. “When our intelligence informed us last week that Bieber had recently been discarded by his long-time girlfriend, Selena Gomez, we knew his defences would be down and it was time to make our move.”

And so the Zyrgonians boarded their spaceship to make the 10,000 light year trek to Earth in pursuit of Bieber.

“Originally, we wanted nothing of earth besides the Bieber Man-child,” explained Beeblebrox. “Our species has been in existence for over 7 million years, and our intelligence quotient is quadruple that of the average human being. We assumed we would have no use for Earthlings and their primitive ways. However, we soon discovered that humans have developed a number of remarkable technologies that Zyrgonians could not even begin to imagine.”

“Like this, for example,” said Captain Beeblebrox, holding up an open pizza box. “They call it ‘hot dog stuffed crust pizza’. It is the most glorious tasting thing ever created. The flavour profile is simply outstanding; and greatly supersedes our regular diet of Zyrgon Rocks, carbon dioxide and Tang.”

“We have also grown very fond of an Earthling child by the name of “Honey Boo Boo”, added Beeblebrox.”We would very much like to meet her and her guardian Miss Mama June in order to obtain their secret recipe for the “Go Go Juice”. We think this would be most useful fuel for our spaceship.”

When asked what else they liked about earth, the Zyrgonians rattled off an extensive list, including Snuggies, PajamaJeans, the SlapChop, and a myriad of other products largely sold on infomercials.

“And that song, “Call Me Maybe”, added Captain Beeblebrox. “I know I should hate it…. but I kind of love it.”

Despite their newfound love for Earth’s products, there are some things about our planet that still confuse the Zyrgonians.

“Initially, we had thought Mr. Bieber to be the supreme leader of your planet, given the rate at which he was praised and adored by Earthlings;” Explained Captain Beeblebrox. “However, we soon discovered that Earthlings seem to admire not one leader, but rather hundreds of false idols known as ‘Stars’”.

“Using our intelligence, we assembled this detailed constellation chart”. Captain Beeblebrox held up a large piece of paper with the names of hundreds of Celebrities in a complex web, all surrounding one name that had been starred in the middle. “As you can see, there are various tiers and rankings. We have yet to identify one supreme leader; however it all seems to come back to this one man in the centre; a ‘Kevin Bacon.’”

The Zyrgonians it seems, have no intention of leaving anytime soon, and have turned the corn fields where they landed into a makeshift home. “At least they’re keeping the damn crows away,” commented Mr. Tucker.

And as for their plot to kidnap the young Bieber? “He invited us to his Grandmother’s house for tea,” said Beeblebrox, “And after that, we just couldn’t go through with it. I mean, have you seen Never Say Never? How could you not love the kid?”

Indeed, the Zyrgonians and young Bieber have become unlikely pals, and are even in the process of recording a new single together. “We are working on a collaboration for his next album,” added Beeblebrox, enthusiastically “It’s called “ExtraTerrestrial Boyfriend” and it features at least 15 other names on our constellation chart. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Question of the Day: Do you believe in aliens? If so, what do you think they’re like?

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