Ivan Barna, friends since November 2009. 26 Mutual Friends.

This is Ivan Barna, who turns 63 years old today. He’s also my father. I can’t quite remember the first time I met him, but I would imagine it was in a room at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto on September 3rd. I was naked and crying, covered in amniotic fluid, and he was ecstatic at having brought life into this world. He looked at me with hope and promise; anything and everything was possible. But it was up to him to make me into something. Donating sperm wasn’t enough. I was now his responsibility, and it was his job to mold me into the person I would become. He did that by reading to me, showing me the world, and slapping me across the face when I deserved it. I don’t call him dad, or pops, or papa. I call him by his first name, a development whose roots I cannot trace. It’s always been that way, for as long as I can remember. That might sound strange to people, but to me he’s always been Ivan: an enlightened man of high intelligence who did everything he could for me except pass down his gift for math. I’m a fucking idiot when it comes to that. Thanks for nothing, Dad!

This is Ivan Barna, who turns 63 years old today. He’s also my father. I can’t quite remember the first time I met him, but I would imagine it was in a room at Mt. Sinai hospital in Toronto on September 3rd. I was naked and crying, covered in amniotic fluid, and he was ecstatic at having brought life into this world. He looked at me with hope and promise; anything and everything was possible. But it was up to him to make me into something. Donating sperm wasn’t enough. I was now his responsibility, and it was his job to mold me into the person I would become. He did that by reading to me, showing me the world, and slapping me across the face when I deserved it. I don’t call him dad, or pops, or papa. I call him by his first name, a development whose roots I cannot trace. It’s always been that way, for as long as I can remember. That might sound strange to people, but to me he’s always been Ivan: an enlightened man of high intelligence who did everything he could for me except pass down his gift for math. I’m a fucking idiot when it comes to that. Thanks for nothing, Dad!


Shira Laye, Friends since March 2007. 24 Mutual Friends.

This is Dan DiNoro, and this picture was taken tonight on the Toronto subway on the way to the Leaf game. Dan’s just a dude who loves showing his shit off, but he’s also getting married soon, and this is his friends’ idea of punishing him for it. Dan is one of the original members of the self-proclaimed “Lunch Bunch,” a pack of guys who, during the first few years of high school, spent the lunch hour at each others houses, eating and playing video games. (George Dimitropoulos, who you may have met from an earlier post, was also a member.) I befriended Dan around Grade 11, and we were close in a peripheral sort of way. Never super tight on our own, but tight enough through other friends. We were part of the same group. We’re both members of the annual Langstaff hockey pool, which has kept us bonded even as we’ve drifted utterly apart. Still, I count Dan as a friend. He’s easy to be around and I always like seeing him. If he reads this, hopefully these kind words will score me a wedding invite.

This is Dan DiNoro, and this picture was taken tonight on the Toronto subway on the way to the Leaf game. Dan’s just a dude who loves showing his shit off, but he’s also getting married soon, and this is his friends’ idea of punishing him for it. Dan is one of the original members of the self-proclaimed “Lunch Bunch,” a pack of guys who, during the first few years of high school, spent the lunch hour at each others houses, eating and playing video games. (George Dimitropoulos, who you may have met from an earlier post, was also a member.) I befriended Dan around Grade 11, and we were close in a peripheral sort of way. Never super tight on our own, but tight enough through other friends. We were part of the same group. We’re both members of the annual Langstaff hockey pool, which has kept us bonded even as we’ve drifted utterly apart. Still, I count Dan as a friend. He’s easy to be around and I always like seeing him. If he reads this, hopefully these kind words will score me a wedding invite.


DL Jones, Friends Since May 2007. 123 Mutual Friends.

This is DL Jones, a man who appeared out of nowhere to dominate a certain cadre of Montreal nightlife in the mid 2000s. Peer Pressure. That was the name of DL’s promotional mechanism, and it was a name that came to symbolize a certain kind of party. Heavy beats, sweaty rooms, and young girls. (A few of my friends found their teenage girlfriends at Peer Pressure parties.) When DL threw a party, which was often, we usually went. He was always a gracious host, incredibly friendly and relatable, and willing to share. Maybe it’s because we got older or the crowds got younger, but eventually a backlash formed. Some of my friends didn’t want to go to Peer Pressure parties anymore. They actively avoided them. DL became a symbol for what was wrong (and terribly right) with Montreal: it was a place where for many, partying was not only a lifestyle, but a career. I had to get out. Today, DL is still there, doing his thing. Respect that.

This is DL Jones, a man who appeared out of nowhere to dominate a certain cadre of Montreal nightlife in the mid 2000s. Peer Pressure. That was the name of DL’s promotional mechanism, and it was a name that came to symbolize a certain kind of party. Heavy beats, sweaty rooms, and young girls. (A few of my friends found their teenage girlfriends at Peer Pressure parties.) When DL threw a party, which was often, we usually went. He was always a gracious host, incredibly friendly and relatable, and willing to share. Maybe it’s because we got older or the crowds got younger, but eventually a backlash formed. Some of my friends didn’t want to go to Peer Pressure parties anymore. They actively avoided them. DL became a symbol for what was wrong (and terribly right) with Montreal: it was a place where for many, partying was not only a lifestyle, but a career. I had to get out. Today, DL is still there, doing his thing. Respect that.


Oliver Vrzovski, Friends Since May 2007. 74 Mutual Friends.

This is Oliver Vrzovski, father of two, husband of one. Oli (as his friends call him) was part of my inner circle of high school friends. He wasn’t loud and abrasive like most of us were, but he wasn’t quiet, either. He had dignity and demanded respect because of it, something I can’t say about myself. Part of what kept Oli grounded was his girlfriend at the time, Kristin. I remember when Oli first fell for her. She was dating an older pothead with a pick-up truck, and Oli probably thought he didn’t stand a chance. I think he bought her flowers—a very Oli thing to do—and two years later they were crowned prom king and queen. About six years after that, nine of us were in Miami for Oli’s bachelor party. He behaved himself, for the most part, because he’s Oli, and that’s what he does. He and Kristin gave birth to twins in 2010, and if Liam and Jack are anything like their dad, they’ll grow up to be pretty good hockey players. They also might grow up to kick in a car window in their high school parking lot for no apparent reason, but that’s another story for another Tumblr post.  

This is Oliver Vrzovski, father of two, husband of one. Oli (as his friends call him) was part of my inner circle of high school friends. He wasn’t loud and abrasive like most of us were, but he wasn’t quiet, either. He had dignity and demanded respect because of it, something I can’t say about myself. Part of what kept Oli grounded was his girlfriend at the time, Kristin. I remember when Oli first fell for her. She was dating an older pothead with a pick-up truck, and Oli probably thought he didn’t stand a chance. I think he bought her flowers—a very Oli thing to do—and two years later they were crowned prom king and queen. About six years after that, nine of us were in Miami for Oli’s bachelor party. He behaved himself, for the most part, because he’s Oli, and that’s what he does. He and Kristin gave birth to twins in 2010, and if Liam and Jack are anything like their dad, they’ll grow up to be pretty good hockey players. They also might grow up to kick in a car window in their high school parking lot for no apparent reason, but that’s another story for another Tumblr post.  


Isabelle Reimer, Friends Since January 2007. 80 Mutual Friends.

This is Isabelle Reimer, whose handle on Words with Friends is Vomitpukepoop. That about sums her up. Isabelle dated my brother for about two years when we were all living in Montreal. Their relationship was erratic, tumultuous, but always strong, until it ended one night for good in a semi-violent eruption outside of Green Room. To their credit, after fits of jealousy and recurring rage—mostly on his part—they’ve remained close. The last time I was in Montreal with my brother, she waxed both of our backs while we drank beers and smoked cigarettes. Then we all went downstairs to her mother Dori’s apartment for a feast of beef stew and red wine. It was a good night. My friend Rochelle once called Isabelle’s beauty “shocking,” a compliment my brother latched on to with pride. (You can’t see it in this picture, but those eyes are shockingly blue.) But based on some of the things Isabelle has said and done, things I won’t repeat here, “shocking” is actually the perfect way to describe her as a whole. And that’s a good thing.

This is Isabelle Reimer, whose handle on Words with Friends is Vomitpukepoop. That about sums her up. Isabelle dated my brother for about two years when we were all living in Montreal. Their relationship was erratic, tumultuous, but always strong, until it ended one night for good in a semi-violent eruption outside of Green Room. To their credit, after fits of jealousy and recurring rage—mostly on his part—they’ve remained close. The last time I was in Montreal with my brother, she waxed both of our backs while we drank beers and smoked cigarettes. Then we all went downstairs to her mother Dori’s apartment for a feast of beef stew and red wine. It was a good night. My friend Rochelle once called Isabelle’s beauty “shocking,” a compliment my brother latched on to with pride. (You can’t see it in this picture, but those eyes are shockingly blue.) But based on some of the things Isabelle has said and done, things I won’t repeat here, “shocking” is actually the perfect way to describe her as a whole. And that’s a good thing.


George Dimitropoulos, Friends Since June 2006. 129 Mutual Friends.

This is George Dimitropoulos, standing in the middle of what has become known as Camp Dimos (his apartment in downtown Toronto), pretending to be Marty McFly, on Halloween, 2011. I won’t lie: George is one of closest friends. I’ve known him since high school, when he taught me how to inhale marijuana properly in Andrew Shaw’s house, which was under renovation. This remains a great source of pride for George, and it’s an achievement he still brings up to this day. There’s plenty I could write about George—we’ve had some times—but he’s got a solid government job that’s worth protecting. I’ll just say that the foundation of our friendship, besides a shared passion for ”yamming,” “vibing,” and “goosing,” is “rippage.” Ripping someone is essentially the same as insulting them, except it’s meant to be funny and is directed towards friends. The more laughs it gets, the better the rip. George knows how to rip, which is partly why PDs at Camp Dimos are so fun. Don’t ever get married, bud.   

This is George Dimitropoulos, standing in the middle of what has become known as Camp Dimos (his apartment in downtown Toronto), pretending to be Marty McFly, on Halloween, 2011. I won’t lie: George is one of closest friends. I’ve known him since high school, when he taught me how to inhale marijuana properly in Andrew Shaw’s house, which was under renovation. This remains a great source of pride for George, and it’s an achievement he still brings up to this day. There’s plenty I could write about George—we’ve had some times—but he’s got a solid government job that’s worth protecting. I’ll just say that the foundation of our friendship, besides a shared passion for ”yamming,” “vibing,” and “goosing,” is “rippage.” Ripping someone is essentially the same as insulting them, except it’s meant to be funny and is directed towards friends. The more laughs it gets, the better the rip. George knows how to rip, which is partly why PDs at Camp Dimos are so fun. Don’t ever get married, bud.   


Silesia Sutherland, Friends Since January 2012. 1 Mutual Friend.