5×5 With The Hook: Chris Mei.

Chris Mei can make the ladies hot, the men cold, and the kids cheer with delight, all by uttering a few simple sentences.

It’s true, I swear.


As a “Weather Demi-god” for The Weather Network (their motto is, “Don’t Blame Us!”) Chris can influence whether ladies will experience a heat wave, men will have to shovel the driveway or kids can have that most blessed of events, the Snow Day. It’s a great deal of power, but as Chris – “MeiDay” to his friends, viewers and HR – always says, “With great power… comes plenty of opportunities to goof off.”

Yes, MeiDay is a smart guy after my own heart, folks, hence his virtual presence here today. But who is Chris Mei, really?

A six-year vet of the radio industry? (Rumor has it he made Howard Stern look like a Pope.)

Television’s shining star for four years until an ugly, violent feud with Don Knotts forced him to walk away with more than just physical scars? (Maybe. Remember the truth is a fragile thing on this blog.)

A public figure who believes in charity? (Why else would he “talk” to me on Twitter?)

Someone who actually believes his 5×5 interview won’t land him a seat in The Weather Network’s lovely Human Resources office.

Trained in comedy at the Second City Comedy Inprov Sschool in Toronto, Chris formed a gang comedy troupe that terrorized toured retirement homes and gated communities for five years.

Fate – and a work release program – brought MeiDay to The Weather Network in 2006.

And televised prognostication has never been the same.

Chris is like a safe, sanitized version of the Joker, who will only kill you with kindness and a severe belly laugh. He is the quintessential nice guy who is genuinely grateful for everything he has in life. He is a joy to watch on TV (even when his forecasts are anything but sunny.) He is a good father. (No joke.) He’s got a set of chops on him. (See below.) He is here today so enjoy him to the fullest.

break ONE)  In this so-called “modern society” of ours, we love to shoot the messenger. What’s it like to be the messenger?

Well here’s the thing, Hook… I am a human being who lives in the same weather conditions as everyone else so in a way I am both messenger and receiver-of-message.

What I do is deliver the “message” is such a way that I am also the victim or the victor. I am both the viewer and the presenter. I have a conversation with whomever is watching and listening…. my character is technically not “broadcasting” at all.



TWO)  If you could be any superhero sidekick (in my opinion, they’re the best) who would you choose?

I’d want to be Daredevil’s sidekick. Because he is visually impaired I can be a real asset…. and one HELL of a wingman! 


“Where’s MeiDay when I really need him?”


THREE)  Sausage Party has made talking food cool; if you could be any anthropomorphic soda what would BRAND you be and what would you say?

I’d be RC Cola!

This way I’d wear a cool RC on my chest and my character would be that “3rd wheel” awkward dude who is always who is always being ignored by Coke and Pepsi. And the “bit” would be that no one has any idea what my RC stands for so I am always frustrated when I say “Royal Cola! It stands for Royal Cola! How hard is that to remember???” Lol.

48ad76793930b0f9abffb3cc059d0880RC gets the chicks after all…


FOUR)  What it means to be a man is the subject of great debate these days. In your opinion, Chris, what’s the greatest challenge facing our gender in this day and age?

Greatest challenge facing men these days are all the d-bag men out there doing despicable things to women and children all over the world!

Any man coward enough to abuse a woman or a child or an animal or anything vulnerable is so pathetic and wrong and they are the few that paint all men in a bad way. And it makes it so that any man who actually is sensitive or caring gets cast as weak of feeble.


FIVE)  It’s not always apparent when you’re onscreen, but you’ve got the heart of a jester, Chris; regale us with the tale of your greatest joke/prank ever.

I am not to be trusted; THAT is for sure.  As far as practical jokes go; I used to hide Kevin Yarde’s suit jacket from him so when he’d be ready to do his morning hits before getting on the road, he’d be scrambling to find his jacket to stay on time.


BUT Kevin used to take anything of mine I’d left hanging around and just randomly drop it on the floor in the halls.

THAT was back a while ago but I still laugh at those days.


breakAll right, kids, a little MeiDay goes a long way so this is where we part ways. I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief glimpse into the mind of The Weather Network’s resident cut-up. Have a great day, everyone.

See you around, friends…


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The Hook On… “Those Types of Movies”.

I like porn.

There, I said it.

I’m not a deviant nor have I ever been into fifty shades of anything. I don’t drink or consume drugs other than Advil. A cigarette (of any kind) never meets my lips. I’ve never been arrested (but only because the cops haven’t caught me) and so I have no record of any form. I don’t cheat on my wife. I’m a good boy – for the most part.

Think of me what you will, but to be clear, I’m not suggesting I spend hours every day downloading increasingly-shameful “cartoon” videos featuring schoolgirls being ravished by tentacled beasts – who bear more than a striking resemblance to the Kardashians. However, as a red-blooded (there are other shades out there, trust me) Canadian male I have no problem admitting that these eyes have viewed more than one adult film in their day.

We’re talking about good, old-fashioned mainstream porn, the kind mom and dad used to hide in the top of their closet. But with far less hair and less funky scores.

In fact, I credit Ginger Lynn – and her “sisters”, Amber and Porsche – with helping me survive puberty. They had help, of course, but without them, and the fact we didn’t have any cute female neighbors in my age group with low self-esteem and even lower standards, there’s no way I would have made it out alive as my body was transitioning into what we refer to as adulthood.


I recall a particularly eventful afternoon that involved a group of my high school classmates and an adult film involving two guys who stowed away on a cruise ship.

One that was staffed entirely by lesbians.

In retrospect, maybe “staffed” isn’t the best word to use in this case…

At any rate, on this specific afternoon a bunch of us decided to play hooky from Mr. Shaw’s mind-numbing exploration of geography rather than wait for our teenage brains to melt in our skulls. And yes, I recognize the irony of the fact that I, The Hook, played hooky from school, thank you very much.

So we wound up at Shelley Fanshawe’s house (I’ve changed some names to protect the ridiculously-guilty) and since her parents were super freaks that even Rick James would be scared of, the VHS porn collection soon appeared. I have to admit, it was a little weird watching hardcore scenes surrounded by one’s peers (or so they considered) but I got through it. The next day at school though, a young lady named Nicole Winters – who thought God blessed her with the perfect female form – decided to share a certain “fact’ with the entire student body:

“Rob Hookey got a boner while watching porn with all of us at Shelley’s house!”

This went on for weeks; I was too timid back then to mount any sort of viable defense. Finally, though, I’d had enough. One day, when our law teacher slipped out for a hit of weed (Canadian high school) I confronted Nicole after her umpteenth declaration and let her have both barrels.

“Listen, it was porn!  How was I supposed to react while watching beautiful women peel each other’s clothes off?  And for the record, Nicole, those women had perfect bodies with actual breasts, not those mosquito bites you wrap in a Sears bra stuffed with an entire forest’s worth of Kleenex!” 

Three things happened after that day:

ONE)  Nicole Winters never walked by my locker without spitting at it.

TWO)  Any boyfriend Nicole Winters ever had after that day was instructed to beat the holy crap out of me.

THREE)  I never got to act out any of the scenes in that film with Nicole Winters.

And that, friends is just one of many “porn stories I have in my repertoire. More to come, I mean follow.

See you around, kids…

gingerYes, my teenage years were filled with more than comics and sci-fi movies…

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The Hook On… Conversations With “Friends”.

 The focus may have changed, but we’re still talking about my life so…

ME:  Eighteen years! Eighteen years I’ve been slinging stories about a city full of anteaters while dealing with their emotional baggage… and what has it gotten me?  A bad knee and a blog full of stories no one wants anything to do with!

PETE:  (My “pal”, Pete.)  You broke your knee falling off a sawhorse while fixing your garage, Hook.

ME:  (After a long pause.)  Shut up.

See you around, kids…

giphyI haven’t changed jobs, so this sort of thing isn’t going anywhere…

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Posts Will Live, Posts Will Die, And The Hook Will Never Be The Same!

Forgive the creative license, won’t you?

(I’ll always be a nerd at heart, friends.)

It’s been a crazy-hot summer, the driest in the history of Niagara Falls, even. From the sky this city looks like one giant haystack, that’s how many lawns have died from lack of moisture.

But the winds of changing are blowing, friends. Hard.

For years now I’ve done my best to entertain the world by regaling all of you with tales of my guest encounters/misadventures in the wild ‘n woolly trenches of the hospitality biz, and while the ride’s been more fun than I can ever hope to articulate, the time has come to make a change. Social media has changed the world in ways we’re still struggling to understand and the hotel biz is no exception.

To suggest guest privacy has become a matter that keeps Management up at night is to suggest Trump has a thing or two to learn about public speaking – and sanity in general. Hotels/resorts now have staff members whose sole job it is to keep public relations disasters from erupting as a result of employees’ social media accounts, blogs, Instagram pics, etc. I feel for these people, they have a thankless job that often forces them to take the brunt of employees’ anger. But in the end, they’re just doing their job.

And so, as you can imagine, a smartass blogging bellman could break a social media manager’s brain in half.

So in the future I’m going to be focusing on my 5×5 interviews (as many as I can snag, that is), tales of my home life – as many as the wife will allow me to share – travel tips that only The Hook could concoct and whatever else my fevered mind can come up with.

But as of this moment, hotel tales are a thing of the past on this blog. I’ve had a good run, so no regrets.

I promise to be as entertaining as ever (stifle the laughter, please) and hopefully you’ll stick around for this transition. But if you must go, thank you for being here, I love you all.

Even Ned Hickson.

See you around, kids…


Posted in Hotel Life | 45 Comments

5×5 With The Hook: Dave Blass.

Dave Blass is one of the luckiest humans on the planet.

Not to mention one of the hardest-working souls on Earth. And no, he didn’t pay me to type that nor do I want to marry him, thank you very much…

534932239_MI_6501_37620319A219330C44E8275B226C543EDave’s the guy on the right that makes TV guys like Matty Ryan look so cool...

The truth is, and I mean this in all seriousness as a comic writer… I respect the hell out of Dave Blass. In fact, if we were facing a horde of flesh-eating zombies (as opposed to a horde of veggie-eating zombies) I’d fight like a menopausal female wildcat to save his life. Actually, who am I trying to kid? I’d shove him into that horde as fast as look at him, just to save my cowardly existence.

But I’d feel really, really bad about it. For at least a week. Well, five days at the bare minimum.

However, if by some miracle we survived the zombie apocalypse, Dave Blass would be able to rebuild the most bitchin’ world you’ve ever seen because he’s the most kick-ass production designer and art director in the Multiverse, bitches! Sorry, about that, I get carried away when it comes to people that I truly respect and admire – but only because there are so few of them.

(By the way, you’ll see examples of Dave’s work peppered throughout this brilliant piece of bloggage.)


No, this isn’t my basement… but Dave and his team could design me a headquarters if they like…

Dave’s credits are as long as your arm – if you’re Tyrion Lannister – and they’re more impressive than Halle Berry’s rack in Swordfish. You can click here for the full story on Dave Blass or you can take in the abridged version below.

Guys like Dave – not that there are many guys like Dave Blass – are the unsung heroes of the TV and film world. Sure, we’ll always need writers and actors (and they know it) but without people to bring worlds to life from sketches and notes, what do you have? A whole lotta nothin’, that’s what.

Dave’s been responsible for the production design and art direction for television series such as:

  • Quantico
  • Constantine (Man, did I love this show! NBC has earned my wrath for cancelling it – not that they care.)
  • Justified (Another underrated drama chock full of old school cowboy action.)
  • Longmire (Modern-day cowboys again. Cowboys rock.)
  • Rectify
  • Cold Case
  • ER (A true television classic.)

He’s dabbled in feature films like:

He’s written, directed, produced (executively and otherwise), ran the craft service table, organized the Teamsters, sewn the costumes, parked cars and even snapped that clicky board before each camera take. Or so I’ve heard.

For his work accurately portraying the State of Kentucky on Justified he was awarded the honor of “Kentucky Colonel” in 2011. Isn’t that awesome? This is a man at the top of his game, kids. You give Dave a ball of wool, a box of toothpicks, some duct tape and roll of industrial-grade plastic and he’ll give you Gotham City in the winter.

LR-MillhouseThe ultimate nerd cave, courtesy of Dave and Blackhawk Design.

His work on DC Comics’ Constantine has elevated him to godlike status in the bloodshot eyes of nerds like me, but the coolest thing about Dave Blass?

He’s the “Production Guy” on the coolest, most surreal new show on TV right now, AMC’s Preacher. This show is all about a small town preacher (shocker, right?) possessed by an entity called Genesis, that is the offspring of a angel and demon. Rogue angels are hunting Genesis and soon the whole town – which is on the eve of destruction anyway – is drawn into the fray. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I cannot begin to articulate how much I love everything about Preacher, my friends; it really is the wildest ride you’ll ever experience without the aid of hallucinogens.

Cg58bm7U4AAaEG5Dave’s latest work will be seen on the Fox series, Pitch. The series, set in the confines of Major League Baseball, sets its focus on a young female pitcher who becomes the first woman to play in the league, when she is chosen to play for the San Diego Padres. My daughter, a teenage feminist, is excited beyond description by this series, so scoring this 5×5 with Dave has earned me some “Cool Dad” points. Which I’ll lose soon, no doubt…

All right, that’s enough of the sappy stuff; let’s get on with the 5×5 goodness!

ONE)  Is there any fictional world in any film/television show you wished you designed?

I would love to design one of the new Star Wars films. As they are remakes and not “reboots” it would be cool to expand on the existing architecture, but I would never want to be the guy who has to redesign the Millennium Falcon..

breakTWO)  Personally, I think you’re the luckiest Dave on earth for landing the Preacher gig; that show is a helluva ride! What’s the coolest thing you’ve worked on so far in Jesse Custer’s world?

As far as Preacher, designing the iconic church was amazing. We built it from the ground up in 27 days.

Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer, Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy, Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc - Preacher _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Lewis Jacobs/Sony PIctures Televsion/AMC

I bet the last session you had in church was boring by comparison, right?

breakTHREE) You’re a seasoned TV veteran. Any advice for pitchers like me who have pretty much given up on seeing their “work” translated to the small screen?

If you have a dream, go after it.

The world is full of people that will tell you that it’s impossible, that your dreams are stupid and you should be realistic. They don’t want you to follow your dreams because it makes it easier on them for not following theirs. Every time I want to give up on this crazy business because I am NOT designing Star Wars, I think not of how far I have to go, but how far I have come and it gives me a bit of inspiration.

(I’ll say what we’re all thinking, “AWESOME!!!”)

breakFOUR)  As an official Kentucky Colonel do you get all the popcorn chicken you can eat?

Sadly I don’t get free stuff at KFC. I tried my Colonel card once and the poor kid freaked out. Some day I will get to use it at the Kentucky Derby to get into the Colonel box, which will be something cool.

breakFIVE)  Oreo is releasing a Swedish Fish flavor. Is this a stroke of divine brilliance or a sign of the impending apocalypse?

A Swedish Fish flavored Oreo is like a reboot of Big Trouble in Little China.



Go no further.



breakI’d say we’ve reached a natural stopping point, wouldn’t you? I want to thank Dave Blass for pausing from his oh-so-cool daily labors to inspire us today with his words of Blassy wisdom. And of course, thank you all for being here and making me feel a little less alone in the blogosphere.

See you in the lobby, kids…

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The Hook’s Guide To Packing Like A (Fake) Pro.

As a bellman every day I see just what can happen when a traveler approaches packing with all the care and consideration Donald Trump approaches a run for the presidency of the United States.

Sure, on the face of it, packing seems pretty easy, right? Most men reading this are thinking, “Packing’s a piece of cake, Hook! The wife never seems to have any trouble!” Be that as it may, most guests I meet could use a little help in the packing department. Lucky for them, The Hook, the world’s greatest amateur travel blogger, is here to help. 

10)  Recognize any transportation limitations you may have.  If you’re driving a Honda, don’t pack like you own an eighteen-wheeler. I’m guessing you’re chuckling right now, but most people just don’t get it; they really do drag everything but the kitchen sink out to their trunk and hope for the best.

Hope is a fragile thing, kids, stretch its limits and it’ll snap like a Kardashian in a public school. And wishing won’t make the amount of space you have available to you double instantly. So be realistic and most of all…


9)  Prioritize!  Let’s be honest, self-control really isn’t easy to master, is it? But when it comes to packing you have to separate the “Needs” from the “Wants” – especially if you’re flying. Charging extra for heavier cases is a dick move on an airline’s part, but it can work out well if you’re a traveler who can’t leave anything at home.

I’m not singling out the ladies – I’ve seen plenty of guys who bring a dozen pairs of sneakers with them to Niagara Falls – but regardless of your gender, you need to bring only what you’ll actually need with you while traveling. The consequences can be mentally – and financially – impairing.

And yes, your kids will want to bring all their toys – and in some cases this may be a good way to occupy the little devils – but you have to draw the line somewhere, something most parents refuse to do these days, sadly.


8)  Buy an actual suitcase or two!  Yes, I’m a broken record, but this is important, people! Repeat after me…

A laundry basket is not a suitcase.

A bag – plastic, shopping, garbage or otherwise – is not a suitcase.

A basket of any kind is not a suitcase.

Duffel bags are not suitcases. Close but no cigar, bunky.

A cooler is a cooler, Styrofoam or hard plastic, not a suitcase.

Get my point yet?

I realize suitcases aren’t cheap (then again, what is these days?) but they’re a necessary investment for any serious traveler. And if you don’t ravel much you can always borrow a case or two from friends or family. Just be sure to treat them with care or you’re going to regret it, trust me. My cousin, Randy, still won’t talk to me after I “scratched” his beloved “Samsonite original”.

Thank Dog he’s a raging drunk anyway…


7)  Learn to pack!  Again, it may seem simple, but trust me, it’s not. The average guest just jams everything in their bags and hopes for the best. If it didn’t work on your honeymoon…

Follow these steps to pack an actual suitcase and you should be good, though I don’t offer money-back guarantees.

  1.  Gather only what you need! (I’m serious about this.)
  2.  Roll your clothes like they’re a drunk during Mardi Gras.
  3.  Ironing on vacation sucks, so place folded items on top. …
  4.  Spread out longer pieces like pants and skirts as though they were a two dollar hooker. (Yes, I paint with words.)
  5.  Wrap your belts around your clothing like your wife used to wrap herself around you right before she… Sorry, I got carries away there…
  6.  Put a reasonable number of shoes in a medium-sized cardboard box.
  7.  Pack watches, rings, jewellery – if you really want to risk bringing them along – in a cloth bag and tuck them away.


6)  Use plastic bags for garbage or vomit only!  Honestly, using plastic bags in place of suitcases or even duffel bags makes you look like white trash – even if you aren’t white. Opening a trunk and discovering a dozen bags where two would do makes me feel sad for humanity.

As a bellman I’ll admit bags are better to hang on my luggage cart’s crossbar, but only when they’re quality bags, people.


5)  Clean your trunk!  I’m not being dirty; your vehicle isn’t just a mode of transport when you’re on vacation… it’s a rolling suitcase. So keep it clean and you’ll find it unbelievably-easy to fit everything you need – and only what you need – in there. So gather those coffee cups, fast food wrappers, sporting equipment, loose tools, ammunition, (seriously), and put them in the garbage or the garage.

And a quick sweep with a vacuum and an air freshener or ten couldn’t hurt. Many trunks smell like a body has been rotting away in them for weeks…


4)  If you’re bringing a furry friend… be prepared!  To be clear, I’m referring to a pet not an actual Furry.

I’ve seen pets arrive at the hotel in cardboard boxes, duffel bags, cracked/broken carriers, even beer coolers! Okay, the cat who arrived in the cooler was dead so that doesn’t actually count, I guess.

My point is, just because someone isn’t human doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be treated with respect and care. Take the proper steps to ensure your pet enjoys the journey – including ensuring your destination accepts pets in the first place.


3)  Be discreet.  I cannot stress this enough; packing sex toys, sexy outfits or any form of sexual accessory in plastic bags is not cool. Discretion is a lost art these days, especially in the age of social media. Even in real life, people share the most intimate details of their lives openly by either discussing salacious matters in earshot of bellmen or by packing bondage gear in open plastic bags.

This needs to change.


So knock it off, people. Otherwise, you’ve earned yourself a spot on the blog…

break2)  Try to think ten steps (or so) ahead.  I realize this isn’t always possible (not with a million thoughts running through your mind) but try to picture just what will happen when you arrive at your destination with your clan and a million bags. Ask yourself this question: 

“How on earth am I going to get all this shit up to the room?”

Always remember…

A baby stroller is not a luggage cart.

A wheelchair/walker is not a luggage cart.

Kids are kids, not bellmen.

Your kid’s little red wagon belongs at home; it is not a luggage cart.


This brings us to our final point. A detail that isn’t necessarily a part of packing, although it can make all the difference in the world…

1)  Use a bellman!  No, I’m not giving you permission to ravage your local baggage handler, all you cougars out there. No, I’m referring to the service bellmen such as myself provide to travelers. We certainly can’t help you pack at home but we can show you how to prepare yourself for the next leg of your journey. 

Getting to the room is a snap when you’re not schlepping a dozen bags while scrapping it out with your spouse and rugrats. And I’m not just a pretty face on a body the David would be envious of; I guarantee you won’t find a smartass bellman who goes by the moniker, The Hook, anywhere this side of Neverland, folks.


This concludes today’s lesson. (Always quit when you’re behind, kids.)

See you in the lobby, friends…

Hook and SmithKevin Smith followed my tips. Now he has more room for his “medicinal herbs” while traveling…

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Marital Interlude: A Conversation/Battle With My Wife.

I deal with marital strife at work all the time. Arguably, couples fight more on vacation than when they’re at home, and so I often take it upon myself to intercede.

What makes me think I’m qualified to do so? Looking at my own home life, I have no idea…

To begin, I love my wife. After twenty-plus years of marriage, she’s one of the few people alive who “gets” me.

To clarify, she doesn’t understand me (at all), but she gets me.

Whether she likes it or not.

MY WIFE, KNOWN TO MY LONGTIME READERS – ALL FIVE OF YOU – AS “VAMPIRELOVER”: (Walking into the living room.) Hey, Skippy! (She then proceeded to flick my ear -hard.)

Yes, she calls me “Skippy”. And she sometimes beats me – in a loving way, I’m guessing.

ME:  You’re a real pill, honey.

VL:  A “pill”?  Listen, Sugar Pumpling… what are you, seventy?

ME:   Yeah, seventy like a fox!  And by the way… “Sugar Pumpling”?

VL:  I started to say “Sugar Plum” and then I was gong to go with “Sugar Dumpling” and it all got mixed up… shut up!

ME:  Well, that clears it up then…

Rather than waiting for her rage-filled answer to that little zinger, I struck like a pasty-white ninja, and retaliated by grabbing one of our dog’s beloved toys/love partner, a giant stuffed dog that has seen much better days. My attack was successful: our dog’s “baby” struck my wife right in the ole kisser. Fortunately, it had been softened after hours of licking – and doggie love – a fact that was not lost on my beloved bride.


ME:  Now hang on, sweetie –

VL:  (Lowering her voice an octave.) You hang on, you’re dead!

As many a husband can attest, my attempt to infuse logic into a marital battle was doomed form the start.

But being a husband and a poor dumb bastard, I kept going anyway.

ME:  Hear me out… you struck first, so that was a “tit”. I struck back, so that was a “tat”. If you keep going that will be another “tit”…

VL:  So?

ME:  So then you’ll have two tits.

As you can imagine, my humor fell as flat as Jennifer Lawrence walking a red carpet at an awards show. My vampire-loving-wife continued to seethe with rage and I paid a high price later on in the form of a mega-extreme purple nurple that left me ruing the day I emerged screaming from my mother’s womb.

(For the uninitiated: a purple nurple is the act of grabbing and twisting a nipple of another person, one’s self, and even occasionally other mammals, though I don’t recommend attempting a cross-species purple nurple.)

Ain’t modern love grand?

See you in the lobby, kids…

f00fb759-ad5b-4288-a952-f5f411db38bbIf I was a mutant – I’d still lose every battle…

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