5×5 With The Hook: Peter Mitchell Of Murdoch Mysteries.

Season Ten of Murdoch Mysteries is almost upon us so it’s time for a Murdoch Monday 5×5, friends.

Peter Mitchell is literally the man with the plan.

As the showrunner/executive producer for one of television’s greatest dramas of all time (set in any time period), Murdoch Mysteries, Peter is the puppet master, the captain, the guiding light that brings the cast and crew through the darkness that lies between script-readings and first airing. He’s also one of the nicest devils to ever helm a turn-of-the-century detective whose skills are ahead of their time – and whose name is William.

Hey, there’s more of those than you’d think…

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Peter (far left, obviously) and his peeps.

Peter’s responsible for scribe duties on dozens of MM episodes as well as being the captain of the “Mystery Ship”. (And yes, I said “duties”. Grow up.) In addition, Pete has done pretty much everything one can do in the television industry short of hiding the bodies of interns mysteriously mauled in the execution of their duties. (Yes, he likes to be called Pete. Shut up again.)

And I can neither confirm nor deny whether interns actually disappear under mysterious circumstances in the television industry. But one can only hope, right? My point is, Peter can be a one-man-television-producing-show if necessary.

The vast majority of my readership – all ten of you – know just how much Murdoch Mysteries means to me and my family. It’s not just a TV show; it was a lifeline to my late father-in-law as he battled emphysema and it still brings us together as a family. How many family units can say they have the same taste in television programs, never mind being able to spend sixty minutes together in front of the screen without exploding into violence?

Peter Mitchell has a lot to do with that and so my clan will be forever in his debt. Of course, being the humble, understated man he is, Pete would say he has some help each week (some guy named Yannick, among others) but at the end of the day, the weight of MM’s world rests on Peter Mitchell’s shoulders and he makes that weight look light as a feather.

And he’s also one of the funniest sentient beings with opposable thumbs on Twitter. When you ignore my own contributions, of course.

Peter is apparently quite the taskmaster too…

murdoch1“I swear I’ll take direction better next time, Peter… can I go home now?”

All right, let’s get right to the point, shall we? I asked five queries and Peter, in spite of his ridiculously-busy schedule, graciously answered, so here we go…

ONE)  The Canadian television industry is under fire from multiple sources these days (an innumerable number of platforms, the CRTC’s disturbing lapses in judgement, government interference and cuts) but you’ve been in the business awhile; what’s the most positive change you’ve seen in the biz so far?

I’d say the two most positive things in the business is the awareness Canadians have about Canadian shows. The second is the proficiency and quality of work the crews can do.

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TWO)  If you could be any form of aquatic life (from real like a piranha to fictional like Nemo) what would you be and why?

A jellyfish, you float around and food comes to you and you can kill your enemies without moving.

(Personally, I think Peter’s a genius.)

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THREE)  Murdoch Mysteries has covered a lot of ground in ten seasons; are there any mountains you’d still like to conquer with the show?

New mountains appear with each horizon we cross.

(I’ll say it for you… awesome!)

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FOUR)  If you actually could spend twenty-four hours in turn-of-the-century Toronto, what would you do?

Pretty much what I do now, laugh, eat, drink, repeat.

(I guess I deserve that one, don’t I?)

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FIVE)  Would you be interested in solving a real-life classic mystery or is that just your day job?

Just my day job. My real life is a procedural.

(Honest and to the point. I’ll take it.)

breakI don’t know about you, folks, but this has been one of my favorite 5×5 interviews of all time. Then again, I’m a ginormous Murdoch fan so I’ll admit some bias. Many thanks to today’s guest and of course, all of you for taking time out of your lives – and YouTube cat shaming videos – to be here.

See you in the lobby – and on the CBC – kids…

 

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What’s My Day Going To Be Like?

I don’t know about you, friends, but my day can be best summed up by a single tweet:

Yes, it’s bus season again. (And yes, I look like a beautiful woman when I first wake up. Shut up.) Unfortunately, I don’t get to go all Elmer Fudd on the buses or their occupants. Oh well, the aches and pains that come with slugging bags around fade eventually. Funny thing, the bags have become heavier as I’ve gotten older. Physics are weird.

pgwliwpThis was the first GIF that came up when I searched for Mr. Fudd – but it’s wrong on every conceivable level. Still, it’s funny as hell.

See you in the lobby, kids… I’ll be the guy sweating his tail off slugging luggage around the front sidewalk while whimpering and muttering. Pray for me.

UPDATE:  Funny story; originally I used a very different GIF, but I soon realized – after the post had gone out on my Twitter feed, sadly – that the image made it look like I was going to be engaged in a very inappropriate activity throughout the day. Here’s the GIF. Decide for yourself if I made the right call switching it.

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The Hook, A Hooker And A Cat Named lucky.

Hypothetical Sunday Morning Situation:

Hypothetical Location: The Bell Desk.

Cci-QcBUMAAvgfJIf only I had this option…

KARDASHIAN CLONE:  I need a trolly thingie! For my luggages!

HYPOTHETICAL ME:  (HYPO ME for short)  I’m sorry, miss (I really wasn’t) but we don’t give out carts to guests. I’d be more than happy to help you though. (I really wouldn’t have been.)

KC:  That sucks! All the best hotels let you do it yourself!

HYPO ME:  Really? The best hotels make you work like a dog for minimum wage? They make you load a dozen impossibly-heavy bags onto carts designed for eight reasonably-sized bags? They make you work all year long at a job you most likely hate that pays a laughable wage which you have to use to make sure the kids have clothes on their little backs, the bills are paid and you’re not living on the street? The best hotels forget you’re not supposed to be working while on vacation? Do they do all that?

KC:  Uh… I don’t think so. But I don’t have any kids and (her voice became a throaty whisper) besides, I’m an escort… so my bills are paid in a weekend!

HYPO ME:  All right… well, while I appreciate your honesty (especially since I have a blog) but I still can’t give you a cart.

KC:  (After a moment of pondering.)  All right! You’re pretty damn funny for a bell guy!

HYPO ME:  And you’re pretty damn perceptive…

KC:  For an escort?

HYPO ME:  For a lovely lady.

KC:  Aww…

In the end, she got her luggages brought down, I got tipped large (further proof that my particular set of people skills are as sharp as ever) and believe it or not, the day only became stranger from there.

Speaking of which…

DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU’RE A HARDCORE CAT PERSON.

During the wee early hours of the Sunday morning check-out rush, a pick-up truck pulled onto the valet deck and shut it’s engine off.

A dead cat then fell from one of the wheelwells onto the deck.

For the uninitiated: Felines will often sleep on the engine blocks of vehicles in order to stay warm. This particular cat (who I’m willing to bet was named “Lucky”) engaged in that practice and used up all it’s nine lives in the process.

Rest in peace, Lucky.

Well, that was my Sunday morning – hypothetically. How was yours?

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Booking A Getaway? Keep This In Mind…

To be clear, the getaway I’m referring to doesn’t include your cousin Mookie sitting in a suped-up Dodge Charger on the street while you clean out a Money Mart with your crew.

No, this is another classic set of travel tips from the wonderfully-twisted mind of The Hook. So as I often tell the wife, dim the lights, crank up the Eighties tunes (Whitesnake rocks), get out the poison of your choice, strap in tight and start praying to your deity… things are about to get rough.

tumblr_mngd96aie91s3gl74o1_500I’m told this make my writing more enjoyable. (To be clear, that goes for either the chick or the booze.)

When preparing to leave one’s home for a well-deserved vacation one must never forget to cover all one’s bases, lest one look like a douche. Yes, I have quite a way with words, don’t I? It takes all the wife’s willpower to keep her pants on while I’m around the house spouting philosophical exclamations.

You’re buying this, right?

At any rate, it’s time to cut to the chase. Here are some things to keep in mind while preparing to leave your couch, folks.

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ONE)  Do your homework, Poindexter!  Seriously, I don’t care if you’re out of school. I don’t care if you’d rather spend hours watching Julia Ann’s latest escapades on RedTube. (Not that I blame you.) I don’t even care if you’re tired of me repeating myself. The cold, hard truth is this: travel is more expensive than ever so you need to be certain your destination of choice is the informed choice.

Do your research, even if you have to actually pick up the phone and call the local tourism authority. Or better yet, call your hotel’s concierge. They can give you the inside scoop on the places locals eat and the off-the-beaten-track spots that will leave you breathless. (Like the methane mines.)  If your hotel doesn’t have a concierge? Get a better hotel.

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TWO)  Never go to the “It” spot just for the hell of it.  We may be human (most of us) but often we’ll become sheep when it comes to keep up wit the Kardashians, as they say. Never book a trip that’s going to cost you thousands of hard-earned dollars just so you can say you went to the same spot Fran and Nate next door visited six months ago. For all you know, Fran and Nate are morons when it comes to booking trips.

Vegas is great but what if you can’t afford to lose the kids’ college funds in-between watching Britney gyrate like a cheap hooker and the flavor-of-the-month magic act?

If you think the Grand Canyon is as wide and vacant as Kris Jenner’s consciousness, then don’t go there – I don’t care how much Aunt Selma gushes about it. (Aunt Selma drinks cooking sherry like water. In the nude)

Go somewhere that makes your heart thump faster whenever you picture it.

Go somewhere you’ve always genuinely wanted to visit.

Go somewhere that won’t leave you feeling ripped off when you get the bill.

But above all, just go somewhere! I can’t have the hospitality industry imploding just as I’m getting ahead of my bills, bitches!

Sorry, about that. I get a little passionate sometimes. Let’s move on…

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THREE)  Be careful when letting nostalgia guide you.  There’s nothing wrong with returning to spots that left you with fond memories that keep you warm when life grows icy, but avoid spots with bad history. For example, never take your new love to a spot you visited with an ex – especially if that ex was The One. You’ll be flooded with bittersweet memories when you’re supposed to be making new ones.

Whenever possible forge new paths.

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FOUR)  Talk to your traveling companions – even if you don’t want to!  If you’re vacationing alone then pre-trip meetings are a breeze (usually) but otherwise, you need to make sure everyone is involved. Yes, even those free-loading rug rats.

Talk to everyone with some skin in the game – even if its metaphorical skin – and make sure all parties will have the best time they can have without the use of pharmaceuticals or copious amounts of alcohol.

Of course, family vacation meetings can degenerate into chaos in a nanosecond but that’s what family’s all about, right? I had an uncle who only asked one question when it came item to plan family trips:

“Will there be call girls? I’ll go if there’s call girls!”

Oh, that Uncle Phil. Everyone loved when Uncle Phil went off on a tangent about the joys of prostitution.

Well, everyone except, Aunt Phyllis, that is. Then again, she apparently put ground glass in his food for years, so it all balanced out…

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And finally, something to keep in mind when booking an excursion beyond your personal ecosystem…

FIVE)  If you’re afraid to view your credit report you must abort!  In other words, if you’re finances are already sketchy, don’t make them even… sketchier. Again, I sound like a broken record but this is serious business, people, and it bears repeating. As a bellman I want people to travel but as a citizen of the world I don’t want to see the economy tank because too many of my fellow humans have made their credit cards spontaneously combust.

All too often we’ll justify spending money we don’t have.

“I really deserve this trip, I haven’t killed a living thing all day and I drive under the speed limit every third Tuesday.”

“We need a getaway, something to make us forget all about the crushing debt that’s threatening to put us in a black hole we’ll never recover from. I’ve got it!  Let’s spend more money!”

“The girlfriend and I need some ‘alone time’.  Now I just have to figure out what to tell the wife…”

Get the picture?

We need to know when to spend and when to save, people. Yes, saving is boring and spending is like a night with Jenna Jameson and a crate of Cheez Whiz but a few months or even years of controlled spending can keep the wolf from your door and lead to a happier, healthier existence. Why do you think rich people are so cheap? They know being poor sucks!

And I have to agree with the rich bastards. So don’t be poor if you don’t have to be.

giphySo get on the road and have some fun! (But only if you can afford it.)

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And that’s all I have for you today, friends. As I often tell the wife, “It may not have been much but at least it was free.”

See you in the lobby, kids…

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There’s A “Bellman Chronicles: Hollywood” Series… Where The Hell Does That Leave Me?

It’s been a strange week, to say the least.

However, since the bulk of the weirdness occurred on hotel property, most of the details must remain between me and my Hello Kitty pocket diary.

With one glaring, depressing, soul-crushing exception.

Regular readers of this site and my award-winning (in my mind) Twitter feed know that I’ve been trying to get my book, The Bellman Chronicles, made into a television series. This has been a goal of mine for many years. This has been a goal of mine that I have failed at in spectacular fashion for many years.

CBC took eight months to respond to my pitch – and eight seconds to infuriate me with their response.

(Other agencies and networks haven’t even responded so I guess CBC isn’t so bad after all.)

Any and all contacts I’ve had in the entertainment industry have been too busy – or disinterested – to help me out. 

Even colleagues with similar goals haven’t been able to lend a hand.

In short, I’ve been completely adrift and ridiculously-out-of-my-league lost.

Then certain forces within the hotel became concerned this blog’s focus was going to become a problem someday. (The less said about that the better.) And so I’ve switched gears. Granted, my enthusiasm for blogging has been diminished by 99%, but I’m still here, doing… to be honest, I don’t know what the hell I’m doing anymore.  But I’m still here.

But maybe not for long.

The point of all this joy is this: I woke up one day and a colleague sent me a link to YouTube video that has left me gutted to my core.

Lovely, right?

Imagine that part of yourself that you retreat to whenever life begins to overwhelm you. Now imagine having to abandon that place because of someone else’s dream.

To be clear, I realize anyone can tell stories about bellmen. I get it. In fact, under different circumstances I’d be rooting for these guys. But under these circumstances – and nothing personal against these talented folks – I feel conflicted to say the least.

At this moment, part of me wants very much to die.

To be clear, I recognize that I have a good life. No, scratch that, I have a great life. My beautiful wife is the love of my life. Our daughter is a brilliant human being that leaves us awestruck every day. Even the dog is a helluva character that enriches our days and nights immeasurably. My bills are paid, my mortgage has been deleted, and my bank account is in the black. (For now, at least.) I believe my penis to be of slightly-above average size. 

At the end of the day I’m lucky as hell to be The Hook.

But I’m also human and it hurts like hell when it looks like my dreams are never going to be fully realized.

Still, I’m here, swinging away. Even if all my plans never reach fruition, I can only complain so much, right?

See you in the lobby, kids…

(No one’s taken that from me yet.)

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What Not To Say To A Cougar.

HOOK’S NOTE:  For parents, this is that most sacred of days… back to school. So sit back, pour yourself a glass of your poison of choice and laugh a little. You’ve earned it.

When I was growing up in the Seventies every cougar I knew was just referred to as “So-and-So’s Mom”.

But times have changed and now we label every segment of humanity in order to create more divisions between the species. At any rate, you’re not here so I can philosophize, are you? No, you want to laugh, don’t you?

You do realize whose blog you’ve clicked on, right?

But like I often tell the wife, “I’m going to do my best… but I can’t promise anything.”

So now, kids, here’s a crash course in serving the most volatile of hotel guests, traveling cougars. (Without singling out any specific cougars I’ve ever encountered.) To clarify, most “cougs” are fun to deal with but every once in a while I’ll come across one that’s nothing but trouble.

Yes, I realize that sounded horrible. Let’s move on shall we?

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ONE)  “That’s a rather… unique look you’re sporting today. Who did your make-up, miss? Zombie Stevie Wonder?”

TWO)  “I have to hand it to you, miss… there’s no substitute for experience. I’ve never met a woman whose vagina actually had its own gravitational pull.”

Believe it or not, a colleague said this to a guest. On one hand, she was so drunk she didn’t really understand him. On the other, she vomited on him two seconds later, so…

THREE) You’re in tip-top shape for someone who’s been alive so long!”

Yes, another fellow bellman uttered those words too. I’ve worked with some top-shelf talent over the years…

FOUR)  Wow, those baby-making thighs have really held up!”

FIVE)  “I see you brought the four most important food groups with you, miss… wine, penis-shaped baked goods, beer and Cialis.”

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SIX)  Excuse me, miss but your fur is growling. Did Canada Customs clear it, has it had its shots?”

SEVEN)  “Nice to see you again, miss. We’ve lined up some fresh virgins for you to snack on while you wait to check in.”

EIGHT)  “Fair warning, miss, the Animal Control people have been lurking around here…”

NINE)  “Have you ever been to Pound Town, baby?”

TEN)  “Hey, baby, ever have your bell rung by an actual bellman?” 

To be clear, that one actually works on most cougars, but that’s the last thing you want to have happen if you’re a married bellman like me. After all, the wife has mean right me.

See you in the lobby, kids…

(Yeah, it’s back. What of it?)

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5×5 With The Hook: Jessalyn Wanlim.

Today’s guest is awesome on so many levels that it’s a challenge to do her justice.

But I’m sure going to try. 

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Before you say anything, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating an actress for her talent and her beauty…

Jessalyn Wanlim cut her acting teeth on that most soapy of soap operas, All My Children, and as many actors will tell you, there’s no greater thespian boot camp. Daytime dramas teach a mimic discipline, impeccable timing, teamwork and above all, how to give great “shocked dramatic face”.

Not content to wow the daytime crowd alone, Jessalyn appeared in Gossip Girl, a show that I must admit I’ve never watched but I’m guessing is centered on a chatty young lady and her impossibly-good-looking circle of friends, hangers-on and frenemies, of course. More TV and film work followed (including role son some of the coolest showes ever, like Modern Family and NCIS: Los Angeles) before this gal broke her career wide open by breaking into the world of the “Clone Club” on Orphan Black.

This show – if you’ve been living under a nice rock for the least few years – is a global phenomenon. It asks the really ginormous questions, like:

  • What does it truly mean to be human?
  • Is humanity something that can be manufactured in a lab?
  • How many roles can one actress play before her brain shorts out?

In the Orphan universe, Jessalyn is Evie Cho, “the CEO of the BrightBorn corporation, a Neolution-driven fertility company with dubious intentions.”

Chilling stuff, kids. Fortunately, Jessalyn is one of those actors who can easily switch from “evil” (remember, villains rarely consider themselves villainous) to “good” in a heartbeat. And like many of the “greats”, she can say more with her eyes than a hundred pages of dialogue. And for Jessalyn Wanlim – and all of us – the best is yet to come.

She’s an integral part of CBC’s new comedy line-up, as one of the four main characters in the sure-to-be-a-smash-hit sitcom, Workin’ Moms. The show focuses on four women in a mommies’ group wanting to have it all as they juggle relationships, insatiable babies, horrific co-workers and postpartum depression. The show was created by Black-ish star Catherine Reitman, the daughter of iconic Hollywood director Ivan Retiman, who will be writing, directing and starring. Heck, she’ll probably even cook for the cast and crew; the chick’s a dynamo!

Everyone here knows how I feel about CBC, right? And so I don’t need to say that I admire the hell out of this young lady for landing herself this gig. It appears I’ll never break into my country’s national broadcasting corporation (unless it’s with a tank) so I envy anyone who can.

I think it’s safe to say, Jessalyn has a lot to look forward to in the next year. For today, though, let’s get to the 5×5 goodness, shall we?

ONE)  You’ll be playing a mom on CBC; would having a Clone Club be the ultimate (awesome) “mom cheat” – or a nightmare? (Assuming an evil corporation wasn’t hunting your clones, of course.)

 A clone would be the absolute ultimate mom cheat ever, but I’m pretty sure the baby would only get more confused to call her mommy. And that would be bad, right?

(Mom #1 and so on, could work, I suppose.)

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TWO)  Is playing a villainess liberating and cathartic or exhausting?

Villains are EXHAUSTING but the most fun to play….it’s so bad it’s soooo good!

tumblr_inline_o8gsj7zKp11t0ijhl_540Quick, look as evil as you can for The Hook’s audience!

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THREE)  If you could have a cartoon sidekick for a day who would you pick and why?

Tazmanian Devil fosho… I need to run some people over really badly so he’d be very useful to me muahahahaha

taz-03-june(Told you she was able to turn on the evil instantly.)

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FOUR)  As a father I’ve been watching my daughter struggle to establish her own identity in a world that holds females to impossible standards; as a successful actor (with girl parts) what do you think is the greatest challenge facing women these days?

Being a woman will always be hard because we will be fighting for equality while birthing a child (if that woman so chooses to do so) and cooking the family dinner on a nightly basis (if that woman chooses to do so as well).

I think the greatest challenge is not losing yourself through it all… finding time to take care of yourself when we as women as so programmed to take care of others. It’s tough having girl parts!

(I don’t doubt it. But girl parts rock.)

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FIVE)  What one superpower would most improve your life, Jessalyn Wanlim?

I need to be able to fly like Superman. I hate driving and public transportation. I just need to fly everywhere.

(I hate heights, but that would be awesome.)

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Well, that’s it, folks. As many of my exes used to tell me… GET OUT!

But seriously, you do need to leave now. Thank you so much for being here to witness Jessalyn’s superb answers and funky, fun attitude.

See you in the lobby, kids…

 

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