May 13, 2003

***SPOFI LOCKER ROOM INTERVIEW #9*** grum@work: "give me the weekend to go out and do outrageous things so I'll have something to talk about in the interview!" Here's my first interview with a Canadian (I think), grumbly grum@work!

posted by worldcup2002 to navel gazing at 01:56 AM - 46 comments

So sorry for starting this later than promised, grummy. In the excitement of starting the workweek, and FB's amazing SpoFi EPL Fantasy League victory, my schedule was shot to pieces. But enough excuses. Let's get to it! Q1. What outrageous things did you do this weekend?

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:00 AM on May 13

I unpacked boxes and installed a new showerhead. Such is the life of a new homeowner. In fact, that is what my life has been for the last month and a half. I've spent pretty much every waking free moment either packing the boxes, moving the boxes or unpacking the boxes. It is fun to own a new house and set everything up exactly how you like it, but it is also a very mind-numbing and seemingly endless job to do. Especially if you're a chronic procrastinator like myself. I did treat myself and go see a movie with a friend. It was an excellent bit of entertainment and I highly recommend it to those who used to be comic geeks when they were younger (like myself). My statement about an exciting weekend was based on mistaken calendar reading: I thought either the Blue Jays or Tigers were home last weekend and I might sneak off on Sunday to go watch a game. Sadly, they were both on the road. It does seem that I will be able to get to a Blue Jay game this month after all thanks to a friend's generousity and his wife's apathy for the sport. I also have started to come to my senses that "outrageous" won't be in my vocabulary that much anymore. 31 years old, married, mortgaged and mature means outrageous time is probably over. And congratulations to Fat Buddha for snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. I pulled a similar feat with my work hockey pool this season, upending the year-long leader on the final week. It's better to win that way than to just sit on top the whole season.

posted by grum@work at 06:47 AM on May 13

A fellow comics geek! I'll have to watch the X2 on my own when the wife is away. However, we will both go to see Matrix Reloaded this week -- we bought tickets two weeks ago! Awww yeah! I know kungfu! Ahem. Also, I think the Fooker would much rather have won the fantasy league just as you did. Now, congrats on the house and a non-outrageous weekend. Q2. Tell us about the new house. I'm guessing you live in Toronto. (I'm a genius!) Tell us about where you live.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:41 AM on May 13

I used to live in Toronto, from age 0-24 (with alternating 4 month breaks during my university years to live in Waterloo). After I graduated with my BMath degree, I landed a job in jolly London! Chip chip cheerio, and all that! London Ontario, that is. I've lived here for almost 8 years now. It's a nice city and is equidistant from both the Toronto sports scene (2hr 16min) and Detroit sports scene (2hr 14min) (times provided by Mapquest). But I've been a die hard Toronto sports fan (Leafs/Jays) for my whole life. And since I'm only 31 years old, except for the Jays run in 1992/1993, it's been a very frustrating time. The city itself supports both Toronto and Detroit equally well (usually dependant on who is left in the playoffs and which team doesn't stink in the regular season). It also has a successful junior hockey team and will have a Canadian Baseball League team this summer. The location of the city allows me to pick up Detroit, Toronto, Cleveland and New York television stations, and combined with the 3 national sports stations means I can almost guarantee watching a baseball game every night this summer. It's loverly! The house is a brand new one that my wife and I purchased back in February (and moved into April 15th). It's much bigger than the condo we were renting and should do us fine for the next 10 years or so. Our cats (Koho and Sherwood, named after our hockey stick brand names) love the new window sills and half-wall ledges to sit on. We love the fact that we'll have central air-conditioning for steaming hot summers.

posted by grum@work at 12:09 PM on May 13

(Wishes I remembered how to do small text). Nice house grum. Hope you're going to do the manly thing and turn that family room into a sports den with huge plasma screen tv.

posted by squealy at 01:24 PM on May 13

Lawd, that's a large house! What you need three BRs for, one for each cat? ;-) Well, since you've preempted my sports question, I will ask you something else: Q3. What's your job? What was your BMath degree in? Do you use it for your job?

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:39 PM on May 13

q3.b are you really perpetually at work as your nickname suggests?

posted by corpse at 01:52 PM on May 13

q3.c I got ripped off...

posted by StarFucker at 01:57 PM on May 13

My boss is currently hovering around my area at work right now. I may have to put off my answer to this question until later in the day, like when he leaves for home or I go home myself. Sorry for the delay. squealy: [small]text[/small], except replace [] with <>. And you can stack up to 3 of them.

posted by grum@work at 02:20 PM on May 13

q3.d Any relation to Men at Work? (or men@work, I guess)

posted by kirkaracha at 02:43 PM on May 13

It's really not that large of a house. One extra bedroom is for the computers (mine and the wife's), and the other extra bedroom is for guests or any (future) mini-Leaf fans. Quick sports update in case you don't ask: I've played soccer for 13 years (age 6-18), hockey for 10 years (age 9-18) and softball for 8 (age 24-31). I also refereed soccer for 3 years (17-19). That's only the "organized" sports I've played. I played pick-up versions of hockey and softball for years during university. The computer room has been designated as "my" room, and will be filled with sports memorabilia and books. The family room will eventually contain a large tv (only 27" for now). Even the wife admits the current tv looks "too small" against the big wall. A3a: I'm a programmer/analyst for an insurance company that is better known in Europe than it is in North America. (Footy-bonus: it gets a nice advertising boost by appearing on the jerseys of the players in this movie) I worked on the legendary "Y2K" problem for a couple of years (It was real! It wasn't a scam or a hoax!)and then a couple of internal projects. I now work on the company's web portal (but mostly internal coding). My BMath was just that: Bachelor of Mathematics (General). I was in the co-op program and when it came time to take my 4th-year courses in statistics (my intended major) and calculus, I realized that my slowly degrading average wasn't going to be getting any better. So I double-checked what I needed for the general math degree and took a couple of arts courses and graduated that year (1995). (Note: my average for non-math courses was over 80% - my average for math courses (because of a triple-failure in my sophmore year) was under 70%) I use some of the coding I learned from my courses and co-op terms (COBOL) and some self-taught stuff (JAVA) to do my job. I mainly use my BMath degree to scare off the ladies. Except my wife, of course, who has THREE bachelor degrees (psychology, nursing, teaching) from the local university. I suffer from "degree envy". But I can whoop her ass in Jeopardy and Scrabble, so it's all good. A3b: No. God, no. The "@work" designation comes from my Metafilter userid. My company didn't have internet access for the regular folk until recently (last two years). Until then, I just used "grum" as my userid on MeFi at home. When granted work access to the internet (also known as "the time when productivity ground to a halt"), I realized that I couldn't remember my password for my userid, so I created an alternate one called "grum@work". I just carried it over to SportsFilter. A3c: Yes, you did SF. But you have to admit it makes for great ranting material for next year. I feel your pain as my Scoresheet baseball team lost in game 7 of the championship even though it was the most dominant team in the league. Just bad luck. A3d: I'm more of a fan of this group than that group.

posted by grum@work at 04:55 PM on May 13

Color Commentary: worldcup is on a roll! His questions seem fresh, less predictable. I think his time off has served him well. Let's see if he can sustain it throughout the middle Qs (4-7).

posted by jacknose at 05:07 PM on May 13

Thanks, jacknose! I think Buddha's win has inspired me to acts of greatness. Also, better planning and s.l.o.w.i.n.g down helps, too. Thanks!

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:15 PM on May 13

Wow, grum, I didn't know you were such a soccer fanatic (refereeing?). Man! From your profile, posts and comments, I'd thought you were more of a baseball and hockey guy, not even remotely interested in the futbol. But while we're on the topic of the beautiful game: Q4. Considering that Canada has deep ties to two soccer-mad countries (the French element and membership in the UK Commonwealth), can you comment on why soccer plays third fiddle to hockey and baseball in Canada?

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:25 PM on May 13

I am more of a baseball/hockey guy because those are the two professional sports that I have followed closely for years. I do catch the occassional EPL game on Saturday morning, and do have a favourite team when I play FIFA games on the computer/console system. But baseball and hockey get more exposure in Canada so that's what I grew up watching on TV. And it has nothing to do with me being a poor player and getting frustrated. I was an all-star player from about age 11 to 18, and went 4 straight years without missing a minute of action. My position was centre-midfield (in a 5-3-2 lineup), though I would play keeper in a pinch (including our one run to the title). A4: Soccer is the most popular sport for kids to play in Canada (although baseball and hockey are coming up fast for 11-14 year olds). There are more kids playing soccer than there are playing hockey (and a quite a few of them probably play both). However, as the kids get older and become more aware of television and newspapers, I suspect that the popularity of hockey (more so than baseball) tends to shift their focus towards that sport. Another reason might simply be our close proximity to our giant (population/media-wise) neighbours to the south. I'm positive that if soccer was more popular at an adult level in the U.S.A., it would gain in popularity in Canada as well. A sure sign of this is the insane popularity of golf in Canada. It's the number one sport in terms of participation by adults in Canada. And if you wonder about the lack of popularity, I should point out that the viewership numbers for World Cup 2002 (even when the games were on TV at odd hours) were far higher than expected. This can be attributed to the large 1st- or 2nd-generation immigration status of many parts of Canada. Also, the sport of soccer is much more popular in the large cities (Toronto, Montreal) and the western provinces (Alberta and British Columbia). When I do have kids, rest assured that I will enroll them in soccer when they are old enough to run and kick. If they like it, they can play it as long as they want.

posted by grum@work at 08:56 PM on May 13

I have a good source that tells me that soccer and hockey are closely connected. I used to kind of date a girl from Finland whose old boyfriend played with Teemu Selanne (whose best friendís sisterís boyfriendís brotherís girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid whoís going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at Thirty-One Flavors last night) who said that Teemu and his boys used to practice their footwork by passing around a soccer ball in between periods. I guess it's pretty serious.

posted by Samsonov14 at 09:34 PM on May 13

In Canada, hockey and lacrosse are closely connected. It tends to be the winter/summer combination for a lot of athletes. There are quite a few NHL players that could also make their living as professional lacrosse players.

posted by grum@work at 11:23 PM on May 13

My god, this is a grade-A beef cut of an interview. Look at that marbled slab of writing! *shuffles papers in search of a question to which grummy can only have a short reply* Q5. OK, what's up with the nickname? We know all about the @work part, but what about that grum? Huh?

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:36 AM on May 14

Well, wc2k2, if you are going to take the time to pose the questions, I should take the time to write a reasonable response. A5:There are two stories behind it: the one I tell people, and the one that is the truth. The one I tell people: if you say Graham fast enough, it starts to sound like "Grum". The one that is the truth: in grade 9 (age 14 for you Brits) a certain movie came out in the theatres and was a big hit among high school students. One day, during lunch period, someone called me "Grambo" (Graham + Rambo). One of my "friends" said: "Grambo? Are you saying he's like Rambo? Graham's nothing like Rambo. Graham's a wimp. Graham is more like Gumby. His name should be Grumby!" And so began a tortuous month of being called "Grumby" amongst my "friends". Naturally, there were variations: "Grumbachev" "Grumatollah Khomeni" "Grummy" (we're talking about grade nine kids here...not exactly the breeding ground for intellectual humour) Thankfully, somewhere around the middle of the next school year everyone just shrunk the name down to "Grum" when they referred to me. It became so prevalent that people were asking for "Grum" when they called my house (thankfully my parents were cool with that). To this day, it's the one name that 90% of my Toronto friends (and their spouses and children!) use when talking to me. However, it isn't a name that has caught on in my current location of London. Nobody at work calls me that and my wife will have nothing to do with calling me by that name. In fact, she says it's silly.

posted by grum@work at 07:03 AM on May 14

This might be the interview with the best-written and well-linked responses. Man. Here we go. Q6. Tell us about your wife ... err ... life. No, really, tell us about your wife. What does she look like? How long have you guys been married? How did you fall in love?

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:25 AM on May 14

And, of course, we need pictures.

posted by kloeprich at 11:01 AM on May 14

A6: My wife's name is Heather and she is (in my heavily biased eyes) a cutie. As I mentioned before, she's a triple-degree wielding smarty-pants. She has worked as both a nurse and as a teacher. Currently, she is combining both and teaching nurses! She also plays hockey and soccer in the university alumni intramural leagues. Her ability can be described as "more will than skill", but that doesn't stop her from enjoying the game anyways. She is very competitive, so whether we are playing Scrabble, Yahtzee, Carcassonne or billiards, I have to be sure to be trying my darndest. We met on a blind date four years ago after I submitted an insanely long list of requirements to one of my co-workers of "what I was looking for":

  • within 3 years either way of my age (I was 27 at the time)
  • lives away from her parents (I don't need the hassle)
  • has a car (I'm not a chauffeur)
  • has a full-time job or is working part time while finishing a degree (I'm not a sugar daddy)
  • must be university or college educated (no dummies)
  • non-smoker (blech)
  • not taller than me (I'm 6' tall, so that's not hard)
  • not a heavy drinker (I don't like drunk people)
  • not overly religious (I'm agnostic)
Unbelievably, my co-worker knew someone who met all the requirements. So after a few "meetings" (where we discovered we both liked the same drink and movie) we went out on our first solo date (on her birthday) and well, we got married in July 2002. We haven't had a chance to go on a honeymoon yet, but a trip to Vancouver isn't out of the question this summer (I've got the Aeroplan miles to do it). No pictures available. I have neither a digital camera nor a scanner to digitize any regular pics. And I wouldn't, anyways. She's just an innocent bystander in all this. :)

posted by grum@work at 01:27 PM on May 14

Oh my god. Diehard?! Coke? Are you sure you're Canadian?

posted by StarFucker at 01:40 PM on May 14

Actually, it was just a surprise that she liked the "Die Hard" movie franchise since she usually abhors violence in movies as a rule. I wouldn't say Die Hard is my favourite movie, but it's probably in my top ten for action for sure. And I have an addiction for Coke. I can't help it. I don't drink coffee, so that's my "programmer's adrenaline" for the day. And I double-checked: I have a British passport (my Dad was born in Scotland) and a Canadian citizenship (I was born in Toronto).

posted by grum@work at 02:27 PM on May 14

Man! You are Austin Powers, international man of mystery! And that was a cute love story. Ahem. Q7. What do you look like? You must look like something, in order to hook a hottie like your wife.

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:52 PM on May 14

You don't like drunks? :-(

posted by squealy at 06:03 PM on May 14

I will properly answer this question tomorrow as I have to go attend my weekly poker game.

posted by grum@work at 06:19 PM on May 14

Indeed. Good luck. Win big.

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:28 PM on May 14

I've been around too many people who act far too immature when they got hammered. When I decided to stop drinking 6 years ago (except for a sip of champagne at my wedding) it was because I wanted to avoid ever letting myself get stupid/sloppy drunk. I don't condone people who drink socially, but I avoid hanging out with people who think getting right smashed on a weekend is a "great thing to do". Ugh. Lost $80Cdn ($58.02US or £35.90UK) tonight. The cards were not in my favour. A7: When I was younger, I looked like this guy but with glasses. No, sadly I'm referring to the one on the left. I got by on my wits and my sense of humour, because you needed them when you weighed less than 100lbs (that's 7 stone to you Brits) soaking wet until age 15. I was never been a big hit with the ladies in high school, except in that "you're a great friend" sort of way. The sense of humour and lack of any visible pectoral muscles is probably what did me in. I did have girlfriends, but like most high school romances, they didn't last long. Nowadays, I probably look more like this guy, except with glasses and a Van Dyke (it's like a goatee, but with a connecting mustache). And I've settled at a weight of around 140lbs. I'm not muscular in any normal sense of the word, but I do have only 7% body fat (last measured a year ago or so), so I'd consider myself "athletic". My best skills for any sport I play are quick reflexes and short-distance speed.

posted by grum@work at 11:05 PM on May 14

Hi...I'm grum...

posted by StarFucker at 11:12 PM on May 14

Ugh. I think this is a better representation.

posted by grum@work at 11:29 PM on May 14

grum = rcade + short beard

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:51 PM on May 14

grum = old alan ruck + glasses

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:54 PM on May 14

grum = bespectacled alan ruck + short beard

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:55 PM on May 14

whuh?! Where was I? Q8. 140LBS? What do you eat?

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:58 PM on May 14

When the hell did this interview turn into an Alan Ruck fan site? I loved him in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", but this is a bit much...that last one is probably the closest representation of me (minus the facial hair that is) except that I'm a bit thinner in the face. Although the rcade photo is surprisingly close to what I'll look like in 15 years when the hair goes grey/white. A8: I eat LOTS of food. Twelve-inch subs, 20oz prime rib steaks, massive plates of spaghetti, snacks and pretty much anything I can get my hands on. I've never been shy about eating junk food or fast food, but I also make sure I get a good mixture of vegetables, fruit and grain as well. I also use the stairs at work every day (4 floors) plus anywhere I go as long as it's under 10 stories. I walk at lunch for 15-20 minutes. I nervously tap my feet at work all day. I guess I just burn up the calories with a higher metabolism than most people. I suspect that I'll wake up sometime in my 40s and realize that my metabolism isn't as fast as it used to be and that I'm getting fat, but until then I'm not going to worry too much about my weight.

posted by grum@work at 12:43 AM on May 15

40s? Try your mid-30's mate. I was thin as a lath until I hit 35, then kapowie. "I don't condone people who drink socially" I hope you mean condemn there. If not, I'll tell you I could get pissed as a fart twice on the £35.90 you blew on your gambling addiction. ;-)

posted by squealy at 04:47 AM on May 15

Whoops. "Condemn" instead of "condone" there. I was tired when I wrote that. Thank's for the heads-up, squealy.

posted by grum@work at 06:53 AM on May 15

All this talk of food makes me hungry. Mmmm, donuts. And now, for something completely different! Q9. What is up with "owt" and "abowt"? Eh? What is up with that? It's not quite emphatic as the Scottish "abooooot!", nor twangy and mellifuous like the Amerkun "abyowt". Where does it come from? Who started it? And why do you keep saying Eh? Eh? Eh?

posted by worldcup2002 at 12:00 PM on May 15

A9: Ah geez. This old chestnut is still believed by all you "ferners"? Just because you see these guys say it, doesn't mean we ALL say it. Well, actually, we do say "eh" a lot. It's like a Canadian version of the American obsession with "um" in the middle of sentences. It's something that happens quite often, but we don't like to be reminded of it all the time. The "eh" is used at the end of the sentence to inform the listener they should be paying attention and that if they aren't, they should follow up with a question. "Take off, eh" "No way that was a goal, eh." "This is definitely the wrong way, eh?" The whole "oot" and "aboot" thing is strictly from our lovely French-Canadian brothers attempting to speak English. The English-Canadian members of this country don't make that sound for the words "out" and "about". Well, any more than someone from Michigan or New York would. Given the vast multicultural background of Canada in the 21st century, trying to stick a cultural/linguistic label on all Canadians would be very difficult.

posted by grum@work at 01:37 PM on May 15

But even Peter Jennings can't seem to get it out of his speech when he's reading the news. It's very faint, but my well-trained ears (and no, they are not big!) catch it all the same. I'm not saying I don't like it -- this is what I call the local flava -- but I'm not saying it ain't funny, either. ;-P But, ok, it was a silly question, which, as you know, I so rarely ask. So let's end on a serious note: Q10. If you weren't calendar-dyslexic, what outrageous things would you have done? What outrageous things will you do when you do get out to a Blue Jays home game?

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:57 PM on May 15

A10: Well, as I said before, outrageous was probably an exaggeration. But I do have plans to do the following this summer:

If I get to a Blue Jay game I am going to make sure to bring a glove. And I definitely won't be trying to pull a "White Sox Fan". One thing I'd like to consider doing is a monthly baseball column for SpoFi with Hal Incandenza. Something along the lines of what Rob Neyer and Jazayerli do, except it would be for all of baseball, not just one team.

posted by grum@work at 05:53 PM on May 15

I was expecting maybe something along the lines of things done in a drunken rage. But good luck with those all those things, and definitely don't pull a "Barry Bonds home run ball fan". Cheers to you and thanks for the meticulously-worded and linked responses, grummy.

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:02 PM on May 15

Great interview. I have no questions because you didn't leave much out! I'd love to play some poker with you sometime, maybe one day we can have a Spo-Fi get together in Vegas and we'll play some cards. Cheers!

posted by vito90 at 09:29 AM on May 16

Well, all signs point to me heading to Las Vegas next May for my sister's 30th birthday. Coincidentally, this will be running at the same time. Maybe we can meet up then. :)

posted by grum@work at 10:57 AM on May 16

Can't we meet in like, Copenhagen or Warsaw or something...i don't really care for Vegas.

posted by StarFucker at 11:37 AM on May 16

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