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. 


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.)


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!


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.)


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.)


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.)


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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Ten Things I’d Like To Do To Amy Schumer. (An Ironic Post.)

She may not be the prototypical symbol of sexual awesomeness, but there are millions of mammals – and quite possibly other living beings – who consider Amy Schumer to be super hot.

And I cannot disagree.

S.Wars-AmySchumer3There’s nothing sexier than a taut, quivering sense of humor, folks, and Miss Amy Schumer is at the top of her game. Yes, I’m a fan, thank you very much. Sure, you may not be able to watch her with your Grandma (unless your grandmother drinks and smokes a lot of weed – while skinny dipping) but no one can deny she’s on fire right now. How much do I like Amy Schumer? I’m so glad you asked…

ONE)  I’d love to take my firm, hot sausage and serve it to her… as part of a delicious homemade breakfast.

TWO) Play with her sweater kittens…

tumblr_lkcdlsPsxf1qcqclvo1_500(Not actually Amy’s kittens but you get the idea, right?)

(Incidentally, when I Googled “sweater kittens” virtually no actual shots of kittens appeared. This is a sick world we live in, people.)

THREE)  Bend her over… and bring in a fully-licensed chiropractor to examine her spine thoroughly. She spends a lot of her time on her feet and it’s best to stay ahead of potential back problems, don’t you know.

FOUR)  Teach her about discipline and self-control.  Sure, Amy’s been a professional comic for years, but these things are worth practicing daily, right?

FIVE)  Role play with her; she could be the “Tightly-Wound Guest” and I could be the Bellman. (It’d be a stretch for me but I could pull it off.) I bet I could transform her into the “Happy Guest Who Tips Me” in no time…

SIX)  Make that recurring dream I have about her, me, a case of Cool Whip, a blanket and length of rope, come true.  In the dream, we’re going on a picnic and our basket, which is filled with pie that’s screaming for a topping, breaks. So I use the rope to fix the handle.

SEVEN)  Introduce her to my little friend. His name is Phil Epstein. He’s a dwarf with a giant attitude who is a HUGE fan of hers. His is an ironic existence.

EIGHT)  Watch her as she plays with some of my “special toys”.  I have a Stretch Armstrong, mint in box!


NINE)  Tie her up… with numerous requests from community groups, schools, book clubs and other organizations who could greatly benefit from her unique, hilariously-intelligent world view.

TEN)  Tell her how much I admire her life path so far and that I think she’s one of the coolest people on the planet. With a great sense of humor when it comes to her fans. (I hope.)

Seriously, Amy’s one cool, indefinable, think-outside-the-box-before-setting-the-box-ablaze, comic genius. She’s paid her dues and now she’s as successful as the people she made cut up along the way. But success hasn’t changed her, it’s merely made her even more… Amyer. 

Amy can rifle off a killer “crazy blue” SNL opening monologue about Bradley Cooper o  the weekend and then render us speechless with her insights and passion on gun control. Ask two hundred people their opinion of Amy Schumer and you’ll get words like “vulgar”, “brilliant”, “perverted”, “gifted’, “sick” and “unbelievably-talented” thrown at you. And Amy herself would say they all apply equally.

She’s vulnerable and guarded simultaneously.

She’s put it all out there but I don’t think she’s even scratched the surface of her own talent yet.

She’s inspired millions of girls to accept the body God gave them and she’s given this middle-aged hack the courage to publish a post – the title of which is sure to tick some people off royally – that’s sure to draw some controversy. Even now, I’m deeply hesitant to hit “Publish”. But here goes everything…

See you around, kids…


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The Hook: Ambiguous Blogger.

In a society where everyone with an electronic portal is pinning, tweeting, posting, Instagramming and sharing every facet of their daily lives from their bowel movements to their post-coital selfies, ambiguity is hard to come by.

But there are those of us who still utilize it.

As much as we can, of course.


Sure, people know my name (both of them), they know where I live (the city, at least), they know what I do to put overpriced bread on the table but there are still some situations involving The Hook that are anything but black and white. As writers the golden rule is to show the reader the story not just tell them a tale, but in my world the circumstances are all that matter. You don’t need to know if a traveler is black, white or purple (don’t laugh, it happens). A traveler’s specifications are irrelevant unless they directly influence my interaction with them.

Some situations are so vague, so common (in my world, at least) that they could never be possibly tied to any one individual.

Thank Dog for that.

For example…

GUEST OF INDETERMINATE FEATURES WHO COULD BE ANYONE FROM ANYWHERE:  (While approaching my desk on a day of the week.)  Hey, Boss! Could I have one of those things that people put luggages on?

ME:  You mean a small child? Many people use their children as pack-horses.

MR. WHO?:  (Giggling uncomfortably.)  No, uh…

ME:  Do you mean a wheelchair? I’m sure Grandpa could crawl or limp through the lobby…

MR. WHO?:  (Chuckling lightly.)  No, those things people use to move their baggages!

ME:  You mean strollers? Because Little Timmy or Janey could ride on Grandpa’s back while he’s crawling…

MR. WHO?:  (Starting to crack.)  No man! I need one of those things people use to transport their baggage!

ME:  You mean therapists? People use them to make their issues… their “baggage” if you will, go away.

MR. WHO?:  (Breaking into a bout of raucous laughter.)  Oh man, you’re something else, buddy! Funniest damn bellboy ever!

ME:  I try, sir. Some people around here wish I wouldn’t, but…

MR. WHO?:  Well, those people are wrong, man! This is the most fun I’ve ever had in a hotel! Well, except for Vegas… but we had hookers and blow there!

ME:  I would never try to compete with hookers and blow, sir, but I am The Hook, so…

MR. WHO?:  You’re a pirate? Or is your junk curved?

ME:  Neither, sir. My last name is Hookey, so –

MR. WHO?:  Oh, that’s boring! What about my bags?

ME:  Where’s your mini-van parked, sir? I’ll send someone out to you.

MR. WHO?:  How’d you know I had a mini-van?

ME:  My powers are vast, sir.

MR. WHO?:  I’ll say! So you’ll send someone like you out to get my bags?

ME:  There is no one like me, sir… but yes.

And that, kids, is how you write a “private” post about a public interaction. How’d I do?

See you around, social media munchkins…

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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…

Posted in Hotel Life | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

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 | 48 Comments