The Hook’s Aluminum Rules of Travel: Part One.

(What? You think I can afford gold on a bellman’s salary?)


“I want you to be nice.. until it’s time to… not be nice.” – The late Patrick Swayze as James Dalton in the 1989 white trash classic flick, Road House”


So, uh, how are we supposed to know when that is, you ask?  You won’t… I’ll let you know…You are the guests I am The Hook. All you have to do is watch my back and each others….and take out the trash! Road House.

All right, that went off the rails a little…

Let’s get back on track, shall we?  I may not be James Dalton, but I know a thing or two about the hospitality business. That having been clarified, here are a few fragments of the accumulated wisdom of The Hook.  Use these tips wisely; I can’t afford a lawyer if things go sideways and you decide to sue me. We’ll start with the “Don’ts”… because, quite honestly, it’s easier to be negative, isn’t it?



Twelve)  If the trip will leave you short, you must abort!

I know what you’re thinking: “This guy works in the hospitality industry and he survives (though sometimes barely) on tips, but he’s telling people to stay home?  What the frak?”

The truth is, folks – I’m tempted to say “the cold hard truth”, but truth has no temperature and is neither rigid nor flaccid – most people live beyond their means and that’s why the world’s economy is in such a sad state. I’m not a financial expert or adviser – my wife is the reason we’ve been able to make a bellman’s salary stretch farther than Mr. Fantastic on Cialis – but I know a thing or two about the costs, transparent and hidden, of traveling in this day and age. And on that note, its time for a list within a list, folks.


Five Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Stop Tweeting Ellen DeGeneres, Crushing on Candy and Surfing Tube8 For Video of That Girl Who Looks Just Like Your Babysitter… and Begin Planning A Trip.

1)  Can I afford to pay for this trip in cash?  I realize you’ll have to resort to using the dreaded “Double C” to book your hotel and any additional transportation you’ll require such as a flight or rental wheels, but if you’re not in a position to pay that bill in full at the end of the month, think twice before whipping out the Visa. Credit card companies are the easy girl at the party every guy dreams of; she’ll service anybody, anytime, for as long as they desire, but eventually you’ll realize you’ve fallen for a succubus that won’t stop until you’re a dried husk.

2)  Is my Batmobile up for this?  A vehicle that breaks down three times, when the engine isn’t even on and chugs more than a frat boy may not be the ideal choice to transport you and yours to vacation Heaven/Hell. So get that wreck serviced before leaving your home, folks. And no, fellas, I wasn’t referring to your wife, though I’m sure she could use a good servicing too.


3)  I’m sharing costs with another traveler. Are they going to be able to hold up their end?  Your brother-in-law may be great for a few laughs at Christmas, but if he hasn’t held a steady job since Clinton was creating “modern art” with Monica Lewinsky as a canvas, you may want to reconsider whether you’re comfortable traveling with the guy.

4)  Have I considered the X-Factor?  You’ve booked the room, sold an organ to gas up the mini-van/paid for your airline ticket, and covered all your bases. But have you really? You can’t possibly account for how much you’ll eat, drink – the cost of booze can spiral out of control with each drink over your body’s limit – or spend on crappy souvenirs. All of these costs are the X-Factor in your budget, assuming you have a budget that is, and can kill you quicker than a cobra.

5)  Is this trip really necessary?   If you’re traveling for pleasure rather than business be certain you’ve made the right choice. Ask most travelers why they’re away and they’ll tell you they needed to “decompress” from the pressures of their daily grind. I hate to say this folks, but most of us have no idea what pressure really is.

My grandmother watched her entire life burn to ash during the Second World War, uprooted herself and relocated to another country, worked her fingers to the bone in the laundry of a country club, a job that required her to rise at the crack of dawn and walk several blocks to work – though not uphill in ten feet of snow both ways – and you know what? The woman never took a single vacation.


Eleven)  Never Accept anything you’re told at face value.

I’ve seen the identical scenario play out countless times:

 After a hectic, stressful, sweaty, eighteen hours (Its a known fact that time passes at a vastly accelerated rate while a person vacations. Ask any non-accredited science type.) in a shiny fiberglass box, you attempt to check in before the advertised check-in time, only to be told there isn’t a single room available.

“You can store your bags at the Bell Desk. Now please fuck off,” is a variation of the standard line. Sort of.

Defeated, you huff your bags back across the lobby to the Bell Desk where you’re met by a bellman whose mood makes yours seem orgasmic by comparison. What you don’t realize, of course, is that said bellman has dealt with dozens of guests in the same boat and by the time you arrive at his desk he’s contemplating the possible consequences of going so postal the world renames the term “Going Bellman”.

You find yourself murdering an entire block of daylight by engaging in various activities that, given your physical condition and state of mind, have been rendered pointless.

Your rage simmers like homemade chili left on a hot stove for days.

The designated hour arrives and you return to the Front Desk, only to find yourself at the back end of a seemingly-endless line comprised of fellow travelers who drank from the same batch of killer Kool-Aid. 

You begin to sob like a little girl at a One Direction concert.

Am I suggesting you should never trust a Front Desk Agent? Certainly not. Leave the conspiracy theories to Oliver Stone; no one’s out to get you.  However, you need to educate yourself before you arrive. Always be aware of a hotel’s check-in time and policy.

And when you’re in this situation? Just play it cool.  Ask the clerk to look again.  Slip the clerk a twenty if necessary.  There’s always another way, kids.


Ten)  Don’t slack off, you slacker!

Do your homework:  A) Make the necessary calls and B) Ask the right questions.

 1)  Call the hotel/resort’s reservation line if you’re booking online or through an agent. You need to speak to someone “on the ground” as they say in the military. The Concierge Desk is also invaluable when attempting to get the 411 on what’s what at your destination. The concierge can be your best friend. For a few dollars these unsung heroes will let you know everything from which floors to avoid staying on to which housekeeper is doing which manager. I kid you not.

Of course if you’re really desperate, just ask to be transferred to the Bell Desk. Bellmen have no filter, no fear of management and we have pics of everybody doing everybody – which are always available for the right price….

2)  So what exactly are the right questions? I’m glad you asked…

 “What does it take to get a room prior to the posted check-in time? And will it cost me?” This query is worth revisiting.  (Just remember, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to use your wallet to get what you want when checking in at a hotel.

Sex works too. And if you’re one of those people who claim to have “morals”, you could always use old fashioned charm to accomplish your goals. A positive attitude and a warm smile can be as effective as cold hard cash sometimes.)

Will the hotel be hosting any conferences during my stay? Nothing ruins a stay faster or more effectively than a lobby full of drunken bankers, police officers or teachers. Except for impotence, of course.

Is the hotel under construction? In a perfect world the only jack-hammering would be in your room. Unfortunately the world is far from perfect.

breakI think it’s time for a break, don’t you? No, we’re not breaking up. (I’ve never broken up with anyone; hard to believe, right?) But I don’t want to overload your brain-box with too much Hook wisdom… so we’ll stop here.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Silent Sunday: Shhh….

This one is self-explanatory.

This pic courtesy of my lovely wife – and Chelsea, of course.

After all, Sundays are a day of rest.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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100 Things I Love About My Wife.

First off, no, I didn’t screw up royally at home.

Though, let’s face it… I will sooner or later, so this post should buy me a bit of goodwill/credit when that happens.

To suggest that February is a busy month in my home is to suggest Kanye West has a bit of an ego problem. My birthday. My wife’s birthday. Valentine’s Day. Our anniversary. They’re not just opportunities for me to screw up and say/do something incredibly stupid, they all happen this month.

Yeah, I’m pretty knackered by March. This is the perfect storm of personal holidays. Since I have a lot of gift buying to do this month I thought I’d start with a confession. So here, kiddies, are a few reasons why I love my wife more than bacon, comic books, TV, movies and 1980s music combined.

100)  She smells great!  I meet a lot of women who smell like vanity and cheap perfume. I hate that.

99)  Her smile really does light up a room. I’m serious; she’s great to have around in case of a blackout.

98)  She always pays her taxes. Hey, remember I have to come up with a hundred of these…

97)  She’s ridiculously-patient. After all, she’s been married to me for over twenty years.

Speaking of which…

96)  She’s not Roman Catholic – or dead – but she’s already qualified for Sainthood.

95)  She’s never killed anyone.  That we know of. Being married to me though… she’s come close.

94)  All the squirrels and birds in our neighborhood are smitten with her; they come around every day. (And leave “care packages” all over the porch.) My wife is a Disney princess come to life.

93)  Elvis is her favorite artist of all time and her love for the King has made a believer of me.

92)  She doesn’t own any firearms, something I am grateful for every time I tick her off…

91)  There are no Nickelback CDs in our home.

90)  She lets me do things to her that no other girl has ever consented to before.

Like take her out for a second date.


89)  I may not appreciate it at the time, but she’s religious when it comes to keeping me away from foods that will eventually leave me with more chins than a Chinese phone book.

And in the flip-side…

88)  Like me, she’s not religious.

87)  She once slammed a door so hard, the paint exploded of the frame! Granted, the paint was already chipped and bubbled… but I was still impressed.

86)  Her pixie-like laugh is infectious and never fails to make me smile.

85)  The Good Lord gave her a backside that is to die for.

84)  She’s notoriously-shy and private. (So I’m going to take a beating for that last point.)

83)  Anyone who will happily accompany me to a slew of comic book conventions is a good egg. Okay, so “happily” may not be the right word… But in spite of her lack of love for all things nerdy, she went anyway.

82)  She’s constantly evolving and improving upon perfection; baking classes and knitting clubs are just the tip of the iceberg.

81)  Political-correctness has no place in her life; she calls ’em like she sees ’em.

80)  I’ve never seen anyone treat seniors with more respect and dignity.

79)  Getting lost in her eyes is one of my favorite pastimes.

78)  If I was on death row – most likely for finally taking out a guest with a stack of luggage tags –  I’d want her lasagna to be my last meal. Yes, it’s that good.

77)  Family is everything to her. In a genuine way, not in a Sopranos, “Respect the family!” kinda way.

76)  Our mutual distaste for Celine Dion’s music has brought us even closer together. Yes, Celine has gone through the wringer lately… but a joke’s a joke. Period.


A “right me”… get it?  Because I’m “The Hook”.  Okay, that one was an epic fail.  Moving on…

24)  She laughs at 45% of my jokes. That’s a 44% improvement. I’m happy with that.

23)  She’s the hottest mom I know.

d6d09fb0-1f0d-11e4-9963-496794c6e72c_915fbc70-1e8d-11e4-bce3-ef5f3dab984d_Helen-HuntMy wife would kill me if I posted a pic of her, so we’ll go with the lovely Helen Hunt, who starred in one of our favorite shows, Mad About You, and who has always reminded me of my wife.


22)  She loves shows like The Vampire Diaries and The Originals but refuses to be classified as a nerd. She’s got moxie.

21)  I love her moxie.

20)  Our daughter couldn’t ask for a more spirited, dedicated, loving best friend/creator.

And speaking of parenting…

19)  She picks up the parenting ball and runs with it every time I drop it. Which, by the way, is a lot. Hell, I’ve even dropped our daughter more than once.

18)  I can tell her anything. I may get my ass kicked nine ways to Sunday afterwards, but that’s not the point.

17)  She’s trustworthy beyond measure.

16)  After twenty-one years of marriage (almost), holding her hand still turns me on.

Of course, as she reads this, my wife is thinking, “A strong breeze turns you on, Skippy!”


15)  She’s stayed married tome for twenty-one years (almost).

14)  She calls me Skippy. Ours is a complicated relationship.

13)  I love our complicated relationship. Simplicity is boring as hell.

12)  She likes nice things but she’s not vain or greedy. Trust me, this is a wonderfully invaluable quality when one considers she married a bellman…

11)  She looks like an angel while sleeping. But if you try to wake her up? Well, let’s just say she could make Satan wet his pants and leave it at that, shall we?

10)  There have been some pretty dark moments in my distant past, the memories of which haunt me to this day, but I’ve never felt more at peace than when I’m with her. She’s better than one of those CDs that sound like the ocean.

9)  She cooks for me. I love food. It’s the best.

8)  She runs our household. I’m not being sexist; if it were up to me, we’d  be homeless and washing our hair in rain water, which may actually be cleaner, but it sounds pretty messed up, doesn’t it?

7)  My wife saved me from myself. Who wouldn’t love someone like that?

6)  Although she’s realistic, she still believes in the goodness of mankind and is genuinely surprised and disheartened by man’s inhumanity to man.

5)  She sees the best in me, even when I refuse to.

4)  She’s the Scully to my Mulder.

3)  Loving my wife has been the most fulfilling experience of my life. She challenges me every day.

2)  She tells me, “I love you.” I never get tired of hearing that.

1)  She shows me how much she loves me – every single day.

tumblr_my7xnwYRzx1r1ult6o1_400Yes, I did, Helen… then I met my wife.

All right, enough of this sappy stuff. I’m out.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Epic Romantic Fails.

Well, it’s February, kiddies!

Sorry, I all assumed you were too poor to afford a calendar. I’m so ashamed.

At any rate, this is the month we all get to obsess over the outcome of one single day. And do we ever obsess…

We whine to our friends. We moan to strangers on our blogs and other social media platforms. Some of us have even taken our lives. (I’m a ray of sunshine, aren’t I?) All of this because society has told us it is a sin to be alone on Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been alone on more than one Valentine’s Day (hard to believe, right?) and I can honestly say, you can get through it with flying colors. That’s why God gave us porn and Ginger Lynn, right?

But for those of you who feel eight hours of pornography and self-love are not a viable option, take solace in this undeniable fact:

Being in a relationship does not guarantee you’ll have a lovely Valentine’s Day. Even couples can have a disastrous romantic holiday!

Of course, being the cynical bunch you are, you want proof, right?


 1)  Spider-sex, Spider-sex, Doesn’t always turn out the way spider-sex should…  Let’s begin with the female Einstein who decided it was a great idea to hook her sex swing up in the room. To the sprinkler head on the ceiling. I’ll say this, she certainly got wet…


2)  The Steampunkers with too much steam between their ears.  In retrospect, the hotel’s laundry was the perfect place for a couple of nerds to get steamy, but if the nerds in question decide to do it on top of the giant washers, which are ridiculously-curved? Well then, those nerds are going to risk bodily injury for a few minutes of coitus… and it ain’t worth it, folks. 

By the way, they survived to be stupid another day.


3)  The Uninformed Sexual Adventurers.  The average elevator ride lasts ninety seconds. This may be enough time for some folks to get their rocks off, but those folks should hang their heads in shame. Fortunately, this particular couple had just enough time to get undressed before the elevator stopped on the eighteenth floor where a group of nuns was waiting.

Yes, a group of nuns really was waiting for the elevator at that moment. Don’t ask me what a group of nuns were doing n Niagara Falls on Valentine’s Day. Al I know is, they ran away screaming from the copulating couple and called security immediately. The rest is blogging history.


4)  The gal who shattered stereotypes.  I bet you thought that story about the man who hires a hooker who ties him to the bed and steals his wallet was only an urban legend – that only applied to those with penises, right? Well, guess again, bunky!

This spunky college gal from Indiana proved women can be every bit as horny – and reckless – as men when it comes to paying for sex on Valentine’s Day. Yes, hers was the #WorstValentinesDayEver, but she was still smiling when she checked out the next day. She even had a sense of humor about the whole thing:

“Well, I did ask to be tied up…”


5)  Biff and Buffy: The Goldfish Slayers.  These folks were the best. Period. For some inexplicable reason, they brought a goldfish with them to Niagara Falls on Valentine’s Day. Then they decided to have coitus all over the room, which, by the way, would have been fine… if they hadn’t knocked over the goldfish’s bowl. Yes, “Goldie” flipped and flopped and gasped for air as his owners did the same thing.

Unfortunately, Goldie was rewarded with a trip to the White Light rather than an orgasm. Rest in peace, Goldie.

I would have loved to be the housekeeper who was called to clean up that mess.


I hope I’ve cheered up those of you who will be flying solo for Valentine’s Day.

But I’m guessing I failed as spectacularly as the anteaters in today’s post. Good luck, everyone!

See you in the lobby, kids…

b_e4c38cd015dda1ec6a7130fe0c03c464Say what you will, but Ginger never let anyone down…

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A Little (Sad) Truth.

I’m the first to admit, my life as a bellman is anything but boring; in fact, many people think I embellish my hotel adventures. Of course, anyone who knows the real me knows I would never do that.

I’m not really that talented.

There are even poor deluded souls out there who think bellmen get laid like Bradley Cooper at… well… anywhere, really. Seriously, some people think my life is this…


When it’s really like this…

tumblr_nl4tieMNXW1un15p3o5_540I joke, of course.

I only actually sobbed once while turning down the advances of a gorgeous female guest. Okay, five times, but that’s it.

I’m glad we had this little talk. Nothing gives me more pleasure than educating the poor, unwashed masses. It’s better than having to actually wash them, that’s for damn sure.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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Silent Sunday: Bear With Me On This One…

The holidays may be long over, but pet shaming never goes out of style, right?

20151206_165412And yes, I realize there will be reprisals from this, but Chelsea doesn’t leave bruises on my lovely face… so I’m good.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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“What’s So Great About Being A Bellboy?”

I may be the boldest bellman since Tim Roth in that ridiculously-awesome final scene of Four Rooms… but credit where it’s due: most of the time I’m merely reacting to the madness around me.

And that madness is brought to the hotel by travelers of all shapes, sizes, philosophical leanings and millions of other distinctions, kids.

Take the half-dressed, blonde-in-a-bottle, teenage girl (a mini-skirt and a barely-there top are fine for a Canadian winter… if you want to turn blue in minutes, that is) from California (where else?) who took issue with one of the answers I provided to one of her mother’s many questions.

Cougar Mom asked if I enjoyed my job. My answer was, well, typical of my rather unique mind, I suppose.

“Are you kidding? It may be frustrating as hell, and I have to sometimes launch into a rant in the service elevator… and my blog… but no two days are the same. I’ve met some incredibly-cool people and it’s allowed me to provide for my family and even buy some comics every once in awhile. What else could I ask for?”

Cougar Mom’s offspring wasn’t happy with that answer. At all.

“Seriously? You actually like having to carry people’s bags for money? I don’t get it! What’s so great about being a bellboy?”

Well since you asked – you little bitch – here we go:

 1)  It’s never boring – ever.  The phrase, “There’s never a dull moment” has never been more applicable. Sure there are many weekdays in the winter that contain so much mind-numbing boredom that a bellman will often consider other lines of work – and maybe even doing a line or two – but then Mistress Fate will step in and send another mini-adventure/blog post my way.

Where else could I find such a collection of motley characters? Stephen King may be the master of horror, but his characters are works of fiction, where mine are all-too real. And while some of them should be committed, I have to thank them for coming into my life and challenging me, forcing me to confront truths about myself and allowing me to be the best Hook I possibly can be.

2)  My co-workers are, well…  I used to work with a guy, a housekeeper who was a budding filmmaker. He made video rants/opinion pieces covering a wide variety of subjects; he chose locations like his bedroom, back yard and of course, empty rooms in the hotel.

Where he was shirtless.

And he discussed subjects such as pedophilia in a very… unique way, shall we say? (You had to see the videos.)

Yes, I’ve no doubt disturbed you, but hear me out: this guy is an extreme case but the fact remains, life behind-the-scenes at a hotel is filled with just as many kooky characters as it is unbelievable guests. Many of these people are actually decent, hard-working folks.

And some of them are just plain nuts.

By the way, the Vegan Housekeeper? Some of his videos have appeared on Tosh.O and Daniel Tosh even sent him to California to interview other vegans.

This is a good time to move on, right?

3)  I rub elbows – but nothing else – with celebrities.  O.J. Simpson. Air Supply. Detective William Murdoch himself, Yannick Bisson. Gaga before she was super-nova hot. Several of The Sopranos “crew” (actors, I mean). Wayne Gretzky. Pink (though no one was allowed to address her or breathe the same air). Gillian Anderson. Even DJ Jazzy Jeff (who was kind of a jerk). I’ve interacted with all of them, though I rarely write about it out of respect for their privacy and my need to remain gainfully employed.

Celebrities are just as wonderfully dysfunctional as the rest of us – more so in many cases – but we worship them like gods these days so people get all giddy when I mention them, hence their inclusion here.

4)  I get paid to carry luggage around a luxury hotel while encountering situations that are literally stranger-than-fiction.  What’s not to love?

5)  I fancy myself a writer.  And a writer needs something to write about or his creative juices back up. Trust me, you don’t want to see me when I’m backed up. It’s scary.

Loved that part, didn’t ya?

The point is, a writer/blogger/tweeter/hack couldn’t ask for a better collective muse than the thousands of individuals on both sides of the counter at a hotel in Niagara Falls. I’m a lucky bastard. Period.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m glad the little peroxide princess – and uber beyotch – went there. Told you there’s always something worth writing about, didn’t I?

See you in the lobby, kids…

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