Tag Archives: apes

Skillin’ Not Illin’: An Affirmation

I visited my naturopath recently and we were talking about stress and the toll that it takes on the human body. It’s true y’all: STRESS KILLS. You heard it here first. MSkillz, M.D.

Anyway, she suggested that amongst other things, a good thing to do each day is to make a list of 5 things that you are grateful for. So, I figured that today’s a good day to start! Here’s my list.

  • 1. I am grateful for this website. It has been here for me through the good and the bad. And if I do say so myself, I think I’ve put together a pretty special little world here. Which leads me to my next item…
  • 2. I am grateful for my utterly superb support staff here at Mental Skillness HQ. From Thaddeus (the best office manager anyone could wish for) to the Duck, Blape, Mr. Messy, the Friendly Monster, and President Fox…I couldn’t do it all without these guys.
  • 3. I am grateful for who I am. I am also grateful for who I am not. I will leave it at that.
  • 4. I am beyond grateful for my amazing friends and family. These stellar people are worth their weight in gold. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
  • 5. I am grateful for music. As Bob Marley once said, “Music is everything”. I couldn’t agree more.

And here’s a song for you!


Inflatable Apes

I believe that my love of inflatable apes is well documented on this site. They are just so great! They make everything 150% more amazing. That is a scientifically proven fact, by the way — and you can’t argue with science.

So you can imagine my extreme joy when I attended an event at the Great Hall in Toronto a few years ago and went on a little exploratory mission to the upstairs balcony area, only to come face to face with a giant black inflatable ape lounging in the corner. It is possible that I may have uttered the words “this is the best day of my life!” before rushing over to the ape and proceeding to take a series of selfies with it.

I was recounting this story to a friend of mine recently who did not believe my account of the events. “Why would there be an inflatable ape in the rafters of the Great Hall?” she asked incredulously. “I think you hallucinated all of this!” I tried in vain to locate the photos on my iPhone — alas, they had disappeared. ‘Was I indeed hallucinating?’ I wondered. ‘Was it all just a glorious dream?’ That evening I sifted through the folders on my desktop…and lo and behold:


I don’t know who the genius was who decided to hire this ape for the party, but whoever it was — bravo!

Money For Nothing

True story. When I lived in London, England for a year I worked as a personal assistant to a Belgian Prince. This dude was legit – after Princess Di divorced Charles, he was on the short list to be her new beau (this was prior to her untimely death, obviously). He lived in a gorgeous townhouse in Chelsea, and his next-door neighbor was Mark Knopfler. I can’t tell you how many times I lingered on the front doorstep as I was arriving or leaving, in hopes of catching sight of the Dire Straits front man. That would’ve been cool.

In a crazy coincidence, Thaddeus was also working as a PA in London at the time, just down the King’s Road in Knightsbridge. We probably even crossed paths once or twice! I’m always amazed by what a small world it really is.

Here’s a great Dire Straits tune, featuring Sting!


Will I Ever Dance Again

Will I Ever Dance Again

Thaddeus’ comment this morning, when I put on Wildlife Pop again for the 10 billionth time: “Seriously…? Why don’t you just marry it?”

So I played the record on repeat for the entire day. Hahaha Thaddeus. In your face.

Actually though, by the end of the afternoon he was totally grooving on it too, and we just threw on this song and had an impromptu office dance party here at Mental Skillness HQ.

You can join our dance party too! Just press the ol’ PLAY button below:

Midrange Apes


Most of the work meetings I go to are pretty boring. I mean, I’m a Production Manager, so the things we discuss are production processes, and…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……

I know, right? SO not exciting.

The best meeting I attended though ended up being really fun because we got into the following discussion:

Len, our Digital Production Manager, explaining a new procedure for preflighting advertising material: “Look, it’s so easy, even an ape could do it…”

Me: “Okay, wait a second. What kind of ape are we talking here? One of those ones that knows how to communicate and do sign language and stuff? Or just your run-of-the-mill, midrange ape?

Joan, my colleague: “You mean like those apes that put on voice-capturing gloves and can talk?”

Me: “What?? That’s not a thing, is it? Shut up. Apes can actually TALK now?”

Joan: “Yeah, but they have to wear these special tech gloves…” (mimes pulling a glove up her arm).

Karen, another colleague: “Have you guys seen that movie where this gang of talking apes drives around on motorbikes, smoking and roughing people up?”

Me: “Oh my god, NO, I have never seen that. But I now really want to!”

Len: “Can we PLEASE get back to the matter at hand?”

I tried, you guys. I really tried. But I had started laughing so hard that I eventually had to leave the boardroom, because come on! Apes on motorbikes! And apes wearing tech gloves! It’s just all too amazing.

Anyway, look. I think that when you are having a conversation about apes, it’s always important to establish what kind of ape you’re talking about — i.e. whether it’s a supersmart one or merely a midrange ape. Not to discriminate or anything, but more because that information obviously changes the context. Like, if you’re telling me that something is so easy that an ape could do it, but in reality you’re talking about Nim Chimpsky or one of those smarties from Planet of the Apes or whatever (they were doctors!), then it’s really not all that simple a task, now is it? And then it stands to reason that I might possibly have a little trouble with it myself? I just don’t want to be held to impossibly high ape standards, is all I’m saying…you understand.

Art School

A friend of mine who is at OCAD (Ontario College of Art & Design) had his Grad Exhibition last night, which I attended to support him and check out his project. I was really excited about the event because I am obsessed with art school. There’s just something amazing about going to school for four years to paint, or sculpt, or take pictures, or whatever. And a lot of the stuff that people create in art school is really cool, but some of it is super pretentious and that is what I love the most. I love how art school students can be self-important and ridiculous, and not only does no one call them on it, but their narcissism is actually celebrated.* Actually, this is true of artists in general (not just art school students). Let me be clear here: I am one of the people celebrating this attitude. Maybe it sounds like I’m making fun of it, and if so my apologies because I’m totally not! People who take themselves and their art super seriously make me really happy. Because there is something awesome about reading someone’s explanation of how their painting of a hand with legs is a post-feminist critique of the way women are portrayed in the media. Like, YES. Go on! Tell me more!

*I would like to note that I mean no disrespect to my friend, because he is very down-to-earth and awesome so I would never include him in the category of pretentious artists.

I actually think one of the best jobs in the whole world would be that of an art critic. I would like to tour around galleries all day making up blurbs about what the artist was trying to convey and how their treatment of light and dark elements on the canvas is a representation of the inner struggle between good and evil that resides in the human psyche…

…Obviously I am just totally BS’ing here — because really, when you get right down to it, isn’t everything about the struggle between good and evil that resides in the human psyche? I mean, I could say that about Mad Men (which I’ve never watched), or Macbeth (which I’ve never read), and you would kind of believe me, right? But it doesn’t even matter, does it? No! And that’s the beauty of it. I love it how art is celebrated as being so important, when it is essentially kind of unimportant*…but that’s what makes it probably the MOST important thing we do, as human beings. Does that make sense at all? Not really. I know. I have no clue what I’m saying, either. This is what thinking about art school does to me! I LOVE IT!!

*For example, everything I have written here – not just in this post, but on this entire blog — is basically of no consequence to anyone or anything, in the grand scheme of things. And yet it is super important to me, and probably critical to my development as a person. So it is simultaneously completely vital and totally unnecessary.

Anyway. Enough of this foolishness. Below, please find a few snapshots of the art that I witnessed on display last night.

First of all, here’s my friend’s awesome project. He’s in Industrial Design and he created what is essentially high-tech, digital, streamlined system for guitar effect pedals:



My 15 minutes of fame (that’s me in the pictures!)

More art school amazingness:

machine life

Machine vs. Man: a visual dissertation on how technology and nature struggle to co-exist in a tentative, restless balance.


I almost wore this exact outfit, but changed at the last minute. Thank god. That would have been embarrassing.


Isn’t it, though?


You guys…I think the man is going out to shoot the deer? Or maybe he’s going to chop down the tree. I love the ambivalence here.

print is over

Fuck. I knew it! Time to start looking for a new job…


Hello, friend!

At art school, even the graffiti in the stairwells is awesome:


This door is reserved for vampires.




Swearing is an art form.

As a bonus, Thaddeus and I discovered our art school dopplegangers — i.e. what we would look like if we were turned into art school projects:

art school Thaddeus

Art School Thaddeus

art school MSkillz

Art School MSkillz

Chimpanzees in Evening Clothes

I was doing some research for another post that I’m writing, and in the process came upon an article from the February 18, 1918 issue of The Toronto World newspaper. Any story featuring an ape in it’s headline is bound to catch my attention, of course, and I have to say the article is pretty awesome. See for yourself:

chimp news article

So much amazingness going on here! First of all, a chimpanzee in evening clothes is an automatic win right off the top. I have no idea if this article is just someone’s idea of a joke — but it appeared alongside serious pieces about coal shortages and other important topics, so I have no reason to believe that it’s not true. Therefore I’m going to treat it as such, since the idea of a chimp in a top hat strolling around New York City it certainly the best thing I’ve heard all day!