Thursday 30 June 2011

Living On The Edge

While Buster and I were out for our morning walk, I saw an old man walking with a cane rather slowly just ahead of us. I knew that we would pass him and I reined in Buster and took my ear buds out so that I could “Good morning” him. Things played out the way that I thought and he “Just a beautiful day”ed me when we powered through.

We continued on along our way and I couldn’t help but wonder if he would be writing in a blog about this old guy and his dog that passed him while he was walking this morning.

It used to be so easy to tell if someone was old. They had their own place and their own cash; no one told them what to do or gave them advice on what they should spend their money on. I realize now that what I just described just doesn’t exist. Well, perhaps within the pages of Cosmo and Penthouse magazines. It certainly doesn’t apply if you have parents, a wife, relatives, friends or co-workers.

I think that it was Jerry Rubin that said “Don’t trust anyone over thirty!” Jerry died in 1994 at 56 years of age, a couple of years younger than I am. If you believe Jerry then you really can’t believe him, at least not for the last 27 years of his life. I wonder if he spent those years questioning all of the decisions that he made? I did find out that he was an early investor in Apple, so he managed to do a 180ยบ with his life. I think a lot of us change sides over the years. It isn’t that we change our core beliefs, it is just that we develop a larger view of the world. I know that the teenaged Ken wouldn’t spend his mornings carrying a bag of dog shit around the neighbourhood talking to old guys with canes. Hell, the teenage Ken didn’t really believe in mornings, they were just something that other people had.

There seem to be more attractive women now. I am pretty sure that part of the reason is that my eyes aren’t very good anymore. The other reason is that at 16 there was a four year window of girls from 14 to 18 that I looked at. Now, there is a 45 year range. Not that any woman is or would be interested in me or I them. I worked with a fellow that was about 65 and he had a woman he delivered parcels to on a regular basis. It turns out that she was sort of courting him via the shopping network. She asked him out once and he showed his ring to her and later told me that if he were ever to be unfaithful to his sixty-five year old wife it wouldn’t be with another sixty-five year old woman. Maybe a sixty year old.

I think that someone is old if they are about twenty years older than you are. That is about a generation and that gap is still pretty hard to bridge. Someone 20 years older than me lived through a world with horse drawn bread and milk carts, the invention of TV, the great depression, WWII, and would have thought that rock and roll was the devils music. Everyone knows that the devils music is rap and hip-hop.

My grandmother moved into an apartment for the elderly and left shortly afterwards because the people were so old. Gram was 86 at the time and the old people were in their 60’s. I suppose that age is a state of mind and if you remain active and invested in the world then most people will get older around you. I like that way best I think.  

You can’t do the same things that you did at 30, but really why would you want to? I was pretty stupid at thirty. I’m not any smarter now, but I prefer to do stupid things that are age appropriate. I don’t see why I can’t have a coffee and ice cream tonight at , and there is no need to pee before I go to bed.

That is me living on the edge...

Baggies On My Shoes

It seems that there was a problem with Blogger last night. They tried to improve things and of course it didn’t quite go as planned. That is my excuse why I am late with the blog today. While you are reading, feel free to share this with anyone you think might enjoy it. Well, other than me of course, I write it I sure don’t want to have to read it.

I’d like to think that I am a pretty understanding kind of guy. I don’t care whether a person is gay or straight, and I don’t want to know what either are up to in the bedroom. I expect politicians to do anything or say anything to get re-elected. It’s their business after all. I expect management to care more for the shareholders than the clients or the employees. I expect women to buy more shoes than they could possibly wear and that a goodly proportion of those shoes will be uncomfortable. I expect kids to always try and push the boundaries and I expect the parents to push back. Sometimes they will push too hard. I expect that I am wrong more often than I am right.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would think that spitting their gum onto a hot sidewalk is a good idea? What kind of low life scum does that? I have stepped onto many, many wads of gum in my time on this planet and every time it happens I would sentence the “spittee” to death! By Gum, by gum! I would shove chewed up wads of double-bubble in his nose, a package of Wrigley’s large enough to block his windpipe. I’d take some help from Bazooka Joe and we would plug his sphincter. Nicorette gum would be the gum of choice for his ear canals. Finally, I would take some of that old stale, brittle gum that came in packs of sports cards and take those razor sharp pieces and insert them into his penis.

I have had my runners in the freezer too often to feel any remorse towards this crime against society. You walk along the street on a hot day and every other step your foot sticks and then tendrils of pink, spittle covered, masticated gum stretches and eventually breaks; leaving a small piece of gum on the sidewalk. Now I am an accomplice! You seek out the nearest pile of dirt and wipe your shoe with great vigour, hoping that somehow this dirt will cleanse your shoe. Now you have dirty gum on your shoe! What the Fuck! If I weren’t so cheap I would toss the shoe into the nearest dumpster. I would do it except that I know that within two or three paces I would step on some gum with my bare foot. I have spent a small portion of my life sitting on the curb with my shoe in my hand and a pile of sticks and stones at my feet trying to clean the gum off of my shoe.

Perhaps this could turn out to be one of those lemon/lemonade things. If I figured out how to clean gum off of shoes I would make a killing. I might develop an app for that! I know; Teflon soles! Perhaps this is why those people with OCD never leave their homes. I can see that this would be a good solution. I am going to have to give this some serious thought, but until then I will keep my eyes on the ground and wear baggies over my shoes.

You should too...

Tuesday 28 June 2011

My name is Ken and I am a dreamer!

I guess that I have been a dreamer for my entire life. When I was a child I had the dreams of a child, someone to hold me when I was hurt and lonely, someone to play with and to live in a house made of cookies and ice cream. Hey, two out of three is pretty good.

I guess when I was small I thought that prayers and dreams were the same thing. I would dream that I could do well in school and follow that up with a prayer. When I was playing left field I would pray that the ball wouldn’t come to me and dream that it did and I caught it.

I would often dream that I was well liked and pray that it were so. I would dream that after I fell asleep I was a crime fighter and prayed it were true, because otherwise I was punching myself in my sleep.

I got a little older and would still pray that I did well in school, but would dream of anything else when I was in school. I would pray that Cathy Arbour would notice me and dream about what it would be like if she did. Eventually, I would dream that any girl would notice me and pray that it were true. I dreamt that I would break a girl’s heart and pray not to have my heart broken. I found out forty years later that I had broken a heart,  and have felt bad about it since. I dreamt that I did the “cool” things and prayed that my parents never found out.

When I had finished with school, I fell in love with a dream and prayed that she never would come to her senses. So far, so good. I prayed that I could live in the shadow of heaven and my Alberta dream came true. I dreamt of the perfect family and my prayers were answered. I prayed that I could give my family a good life and so far I am living the dream. I prayed that I would have a dream job and I had it for thirty years. I dreamt of freedom 55 and my prayers were answered.

I prayed that each of my children would be able to follow their dreams. I dreamt of the perfect child and I have two grandchildren that remember me in their prayers. I pray that my grandchildren’s lives are a dream. I pray that I am given the time to have more dreams.

I have dreamt that I win riches and pray that I can keep the ones I have.

My name is Ken and I am a dreamer...

I Don’t Think So

I have been wondering today just how and when a person develops wisdom.

I think that I am starting to be somewhat wise...perhaps...maybe about certain things. My wife doesn’t think so and my kids sure as hell don’t value anything that I say to them, so why do I feel that I am beginning to develop wisdom? It is simple; I just know when something feels right and true. I guess now would be a good time to look up the definition of wisdom, before I get both feet in my mouth.

Wisdom is the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action.

Uhhhh...maybe I have a ways to go. Particularily with respect to the optimim judgement as to action part. I am pretty good with the true and right part though. I have blundered through this life with the intention of doing the right thing but sometimes life just gets in the way. I am pretty sure that the guy asking for money on the street is going to spend it on booze or drugs so I generally will say no. How do I know? This poor guy could be starving and I automatically paint him and all of the rest of the “bumwiches” with the same brush. Money has always come to me slowly and left quickly. I just feel that there is truth to my initial feeling.

A thousand years ago or so, most of the world was ruled with the feudal system. In that system the “Nobels” basically owned everything and everyone. They had to feed, clothe and house all of their serfs, not to mention find work for them to do. Just look at the large construction projects they did back in the day. I suspect that eventually some smart nobel came up with the idea of freeing the serfs. “Instead of supplying all of the serfs needs you just have to pay them a small wage and (here is the good part) they will need to buy their food, clothing and houses from US! They will also have to beg us for a job and if we don’t like their attitude we fire them!”

Voila..modern world!

Tonight on facebook I got into a heated discussion about the striking postal workers with a thirty something person. The trouble with being thirty is that you are...well...thirty. For about twenty to twenty-five of those thirty years your mom and dad have been buying your underwear and wipeing your ass. The biggest decision that you have made is “Do I wear the blue blouse or the pink blouse?” It is a bigger decision if you are a male than if you are a female, for obvious reasons. Over the last few years I have been trying to come up with markers to indicate when you reach adulthood. One of the main ones is do you buy your own underwear? If the answer is no then you aren’t an adult yet or you married a wonderful woman that thinks white is wrong. Have you ever admitted that you were wrong? Do you do a job because it needs to be done? There is another indicator, and that is do you see things in black and white or in shades of grey?

With this facebook discusion the one side was painted as evil and the other as the rational voice of reason. Strangely I was more for the evil side if you can believe that. I know however that both sides in the dispute need a good swift kick in the ass. The negotiators have lost sight of the fact that the lives they are playing with belong to real people with families, loans, mortgages and responsibilities. No one wins in these things, but sometimes you have to go against what you know to be in your best interest and poke the bear in the butt with a stick. Well, the strike is over now and the serfs were put in their place. They will still make a living and hopefully still enjoy going to work, but some little spark of life has been extinguished. Perhaps that is why we eventually die, too many sparks have been put out.

The wise thing to do tonight would have been to just shrug my shoulders and hope that in the future a little grey will creep into her head. You can’t change a persons mind with a frontal assault, because they dig in and hide behind whatever beliefs they are clinging to. The way to change a mind is by saying that “I believe it for this reason, and it may be wrong, but I don’t think so.” They will shake their head knowing you to be an idiot, but hopefully you will have planted a seed of doubt. Probably not but at least you have tried.

I’m done with this for now, but I believe that the common man deserves a decent wage and benefits and a good enough pension that he doesn’t have to eat cat food, it may be wrong, but I don’t think so...

Sunday 26 June 2011

There Is Always beer

A few years ago we were in England for Louise and her Dragonboat team to paddle down the Thames in “The Great River Race”. It is a bizarre fun day, and the participants in all kinds of boats and boat like things paddle and row 20 miles from Ham down to the London docks. Sting was there to fire the canon and start the race.

The river is quite narrow and tranquil in Ham, but over the twenty miles there are dangerous currents, bridge supports to dodge, pollution of course and fatigue to overcome. Sounds like fun eh? That is why I was waving goodbye and wishing them luck as they set off on their journey.

I had the good fortune to ride with a miserable bitch that charged me ten pounds for the privilege of riding in her van to the docks. I have never met a less talkative uninspiring human before! I had to bite my bottom lip so that I didn’t cheer when the van broke down in heavy London traffic. I managed a concerned look and when she lifted "the bonnet" I looked at the engine as if I knew something and muttered things like, “…air cleaner…carb could be…fuel injectors…dirty gas…vacuum leak…terminals could be loose…”. She was almost in tears. Heh, heh, heh. One of the vans from another team pulled up and they looked inside the engine compartment and muttered things like “ … air cleaner... carb could be…fuel injectors…dirty gas…vacuum leak…terminals could be loose…”, so I was pretty sure they had met the bitch before and just stopped to gloat. I like their style!

I told the bitch that there really wasn’t anything that I could do if I stayed, because I had only had experience with Canadian engines and this one is British. I asked the other guys if I could get a ride to the finish with them and they agreed. I like to believe they gave me a ride because they liked the cut of my jib, but judging from their conversation and laughter I’m pretty sure they would do anything in order for the she-devil to be alone and relying on her pleasant demeanour to get help. The guys were the ground crew (drinking buddies) of a team from Leeds. The traffic was horrible and every now and then we could see boats in the Thames passing us as we drove along.

It took us about two and a half hours to get to the finish line! I thanked the guys and wished their team luck in the race. I wandered amongst exhausted looking paddlers that just a few short hours ago were laughing and full of energy. I came to the top of the main boat ramp and saw Louise’s team struggling to lift their dragonboat and carry it through the river mud and up the ramp.

I can’t believe it, they beat me here! I will grant you that we spent a lot of time at the side of the road watching the bitch freak out, but how could a boat beat a car in a twenty mile race? I pondered this question for a good ten minutes watching Louise’s team struggle up the ramp and half carry and half drag the boat onto the waiting trailer. I even had to back into a doorway to keep the way clear for them. When the boat was finally loaded I came out with my camera and took a bunch of pictures, all the while congratulating them on a race well paddled.

We went into the pub and had a few beers while they talked of the difficulties manoeuvring around the river obstacles and the trouble of paddling for two and a half hours. I kept making the attempt to tell how difficult my trip was, but they were just so full of themselves that I resolved to tell them at a later date. Sometimes people get so wrapped up in themselves that there just isn’t room for anyone else.

Oh well, at least there is always beer.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Never Tell Anyone This Story

I have been thinking of secrets today.

Secrets are strange things; they can make you feel superior to others if you know the secret and inferior if you don’t. I have never been very good with secrets, whether creating them or keeping them. The way that I look at it is if someone wants to know where I got my hair cut or where I buy my clothes, they are welcome to the knowledge. My hair generally is crap and so are my clothes, good luck with that secret.

There are things that people shouldn’t be told, but that just seems to be common sense and not a secret. When I was a teenager I had these blue leather shoes with yellow laces and soles. I loved those shoes and I am thankful to all of my lying friends and family who managed to keep a straight face whenever I wore them. I also wore a turtleneck sweater and a thick brass chain that held a peace sign overtop of the yin-yang symbol. I knew that people were looking at me, but I thought it was because I looked cool! Bless their black, flabby, lying hearts! The teen years are tough enough without having to deal with the truth.

The first thing that I do before I tell someone a secret is make them promise that when they tell someone (and they will) that they will make them promise to make the people they tell to promise to tell the people that they tell to promise… Well, you get the idea. I don’t think a secret can ever be kept secret. Sometimes it is fun to tell a secret, and it should be a good juicy one, perhaps about the boss getting caught wearing women’s clothing. That is assuming the boss is a man of course, as a woman wearing woman’s clothing wouldn’t be much of a secret. So, you tell this secret and see just how long it takes to get back to you and just how much it has changed. The poor boss who started out wearing woman’s clothing is now a transvestite, whose wife caught him with a roomful of farm animals, dressed as Disney characters and is now demanding a divorce and custody of the animals.

There are ways to keep a secret. You tell the secret so unconvincingly that no one believes it. Tell only part of the secret, so you would tell the juicy parts but leave out the name of the person involved. It isn’t very satisfying though. It is so much fun to gossip! Not only are you part of an elite group, but you are part of an elite group that knows someone’s dirty little secret! I guess that the most foolproof way to keep a secret is to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!!!!

When ever I do something that is completely embarrassing, the trick that I use is to not let anyone know about it. Not so simple I will admit, because someone is usually there to witness it, but if no one witnessed your shame then you might just get lucky.

Quite a few years back when the kids were about eight and six my parents came out to visit us. It was always nice to see them but finding something that they would enjoy doing was quite a challenge. We decided to go downtown to see the Devonian Gardens which is a lovely garden taking up several floors above a mall in one of the larger buildings. We had the gardens and a shopping mall, what more could we hope for? We parked the car on the second floor of the Bay parkade and caught the elevator up to the gardens. We got on the elevator and once the door closed I thought that it would be funny to “cut one”, so I lifted my leg and it rip! It came out long and loud and I had one of those “aren’t I impressive” grins on my face. The wide eyed opened mouth look of horror seemed to be out of line as my family don’t tend to be so straight laced. I reviewed my actions; leg lift, loud fart, big smile, hmmmm… nope, can’t see the problem. Just then the door opened and the little old lady that I hadn’t noticed and everyone else obviously had, got out and walked away at what I would describe as a brisk pace.

Dad held me with his eyes for a few seconds and just walked away while mom followed him shaking her head. The kids were giggling and poking each other and Louise, well she just rolled her eyes and followed the crowd. Me? I put my hands in my pockets, kicked an imaginary tuft of grass, put a little shit eater grin on my face and vowed never to tell anyone this story.

Promise me that whoever you tell, you will make them promise to make everyone they tell to make them promise to make everyone that they tell….

Friday 24 June 2011

Wish Me Luck

I have had a stiff neck all day!

I have heard the joke about the guy that swallowed a Viagra pill, it caught in his throat and he had a stiff neck all day. Ha, ha, ha! It is strange that I have had a stiff neck just when Louise went to BC for her outrigger race in Salmon Arm. I mean really, who would have thought that I could lose a pain in the ass and get a pain in the neck? Ha, ha, ha.

“No Honey I didn’t think that was funny. No! No! Not at all!”

I am just practicing for Saturday night, unless of course she doesn’t read this and then I am still golden. Yes, I am the eternal optimist.

So, let’s get back to my stiff neck. Did you know, that when you can’t turn your head it is impossible to shoulder check when you are driving? Did you also know that by just keeping your head upright you get a certain amount of pain? I don’t like pain very much. I mean my pain of course, other people can be in all of the pain they want to be in and it doesn’t bother me one whit. In fact, it can be pretty funny to see people in pain.

If you don’t think so then you probably won’t want to watch this clip of people crashing on bikes. Just for the record I think that I have done most of those falls and a few that aren’t included. Just once before I die I would like to see someone trip on the up escalator. If no one was around, they might fall for hours. That is one of those “If a tree falls in the forest…” things.

It is even hard to listen to music with a stiff neck. You can’t drive down the road looking cool keeping the beat noddin’ with your noggin. Well, you can but instead of the proper lyrics you would be singing “ouch..ouch..ouuuccchhh…ahhhcht…ouchie..ouch…ouch…”. I think Sha-Na-Na actually sang that song at Woodstock.

Jeez, even typing this is hard on my neck. When you are being creative you tend to look up and to the left, whereas when you are looking up and to the right you would be doing math or recalling some fact. I tend to look up and to the center, which hurts like hell and isn’t either creative or cognitive. Still hurts!

I guess it almost time to over medicate myself. I am hoping to be so numbed that I won’t feel all of the tossing and turning during the night. I just hope I can wake up in time to get to the airport for Maegan’s arrival.

Wish me luck.

Fight Crime: Destroy The Planet

I just spent the last hour trying to unjam one of those home shredder machines. I am three quarters the way through now, but it is getting late and I want to try and write in the blog every night. I know what you are thinking, “Don’t do it for us!” Well, I am not doing it for you; I am doing it for me and posterity. You couldn’t see, but I kept a straight face while I was typing that.

So, let’s get back to the shredder. When exactly did my garbage become important enough for someone to want to read it? Most of it I don’t want to read. Actually I don’t read most of it. It is just bills and things with our names and address on them. I suppose that someone that was really good with the dark side of computers could glean enough information to steal my identity. Why? I don’t really want to be me most of the time. Perhaps that is why these nefarious evil doers do their evil. They would rather be anyone but themselves. I have lived here for over twenty five years and I have never seen anyone going through the garbage in our alley. That isn’t entirely true, I have been know to go into the garbage bins of the neighbours if I see something that is shiny or that needs to rest in my garage for ten or fifteen years before I get around to tossing it in the garbage.

So, really, what are the chances that someone will decide to pick my neighbourhood and my street and my alley and of the hundred or so houses pick mine. That number has to be pretty big. Pretty big is how we math challenged say astronomical. I guess that in the old days before recycling the bad guys would have to scrape hardened egg yoke and coffee grounds off of the phone bill if they really wanted it. That alone probably kept us safe. The cops would have an easier time catching these guys because they would really stink. You think that’s why the term stinker means bad guy?

In a way I supose that we have inadvertently helped the criminals by going green. Maybe we should go back to destroying the planet so that our identities can remain our own. A conspiracy theorist would say that the electronic shredder manufacturers are behind this crime wave, sponsoring criminals in order to get us nine to fivers to invest in their machines thus making them rich. Judging by the way that damned machine jammed up today they want us to buy a new machine after every ten uses. Well, not me! I will get that thing working, save myself the expense of buying another one and at the same time combat crime.

No, I am not a super hero, just a super guy…no, really I am!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

#346 Out Of A Class Of 349

Why do things have to die?

Sometimes you are prepared for the end because there has been a long drawn out problem that just can’t be fixed no matter how many experts are brought in. I think that in the majority of cases, the end comes swiftly. I realize that nothing can last forever (except for hot dogs), but why go before the proper time?

Just around my keyboard died! It wasn’t a really good keyboard, it couldn’t spell very well and its grammar was atrocious. The batteries would be good for a long while and then, again for no apparent reason just die. It was cheap, light weight, sleek and black with some of the symbols in a light blue for some unexplained reason. The manual covers all sorts of things pertaining to the function of the keyboard, but not why they would put light blue lettering on just some of the keys. Very odd, don’t you think?

I dissected it at the end. I had to use a torx screwdriver and one or two swear words before I managed to pry the body apart. The insides were made of flimsy black plastic buttons covered with an even flimsier opaque plastic. There didn’t seem to be any moving parts, but I guess nothing will be moving when I die either. I do hope that no one decides to pry me apart with a torx screwdriver.

I was at my dentist the other day and when she asked me why I changed dentists I told her that I would like to die before my dentist does and I wasn’t sure about the last guy I had. I just know that when I am eighty or so it is going to be tough to find a decent dentist. Mind you I could probably mail my teeth in by then. I told her that I had just changed to a young female MD for the same reason. She told me that her husband won’t go to a female doctor and it is just silly. I know it is silly, but I had a lot of trouble with that too until I realized that the doctor doesn’t want to see my body any more than I want her to see it. That conversation led to discussion of donating organs and how I will donate my body to science like my dad did. I said that the thought of those young kids laughing at my naked body doesn’t sit very well. She got very serious and told me that would never happen. They are told how these people gave their bodies to help the students learn and they deserve the utmost respect. I believe her, but I still am hoping that I am not hanging around my corpse when they pry it open with a torx screwdriver.

I have been taking things apart since I was a little kid. Just recently I have been able to put some of the things back together again. I’ve bought Ikea furniture before and I was a student once, so I know from experience that until you are very, very, very good there are always parts left over. It is especially difficult when you are number 346 out of a class of 349. I guess the trouble is my “manual” isn’t on the web and they aren’t making parts for me any more. That’s enough about my parts and just where they fit in.
So, I am going to have a small private service for my keyboard. I am going to recycle my electronics the old fashioned way and bury it in the back yard. Please don’t send cards or condolences; I just want to get on with my life, knowing that good old MK300 is frolicking with all of the other keyboards somewhere in keyboard heaven.

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Keep Your Shortcuts To A Minimum

Today I was thinking about religion.

I was brought up in a Christian faith, but I can’t say that I am really very religious. I was baptised an Anglican which basically means I am Catholic without any conviction. Mom and dad were the kind of Anglicans that would go to church for baptisms (ours), marriages, Easter and Christmas if all of the Santa stuff had been taken care of. In other words, we never went to church on Christmas. I am pretty sure that we went to church when we were younger, because I have just enough knowledge of the bible to raise my eyebrows at some of the stories. I just can’t see how any quasi intelligent person can take the gospels as …well…gospel.

I remember that I was dating a girl once in high school and thought nothing of the fact that she was Catholic. Really all that I knew about Catholicism was that the Catholic guys I worked with during the summer would buy fish and chips on Fridays. I liked fish and chips. I have nothing against a religion that encourages me to eat anything deep fried. The church that my girlfriend went to had folk singers and every now and then I helped her to make tissue paper flowers to sell at a church bazaar. It was pretty harmless stuff. I knew that Catholics would confess, but I didn’t  understand what that really meant. I thought that confession was kind of like saying “I confess that I believe in God.” When she told me that she would tell the priest all of her sins, I wondered what sins she was talking about, because I knew that we hadn’t been sinning. Oops, I guess we had.

She told this guy that she smoked dope, kissed a boy (me), had impure thoughts (not me), didn’t respect her father…on and on and on. I told her they weren’t sins, murder was a sin, having sex with animals or lawn furniture was a sin, getting caught by your parents when you were drunk was a sin, telling a priest everything that you do is a sin! God give me strength!

I could never be a good Catholic, Hell; I could never be a bad Catholic. I am a pretty poor Anglican, but I think that I am a pretty good person. I don’t believe that I need a church to tell me what is right and what is wrong, I had parents that did that before I was five. My sense of right and wrong is pretty well developed, so I know when I have crossed the line and listened to the little devil on my shoulder. I think that all of the major religions really boil down to just a code that we can live by in order to get along with each other. It doesn’t always work, because people tend to take short cuts in life.

I try to keep my short cuts to a minimum and you should too.

PS. I saw that our rhubarb was taking over a larger part of the garden than it is allowed, so I cut it off and made some Strawberry/rhubarb jam. So easy…so good! Here is the link to the recipe that I pretty much stuck to.

Monday 20 June 2011

Something Wondrous

I think that this is one of those days that just shouldn’t have happened. Not that anything bad happened you understand. Well, I am sure that something bad has happened today, to someone else. It is quite possible that someone else suffered terribly today. To have someone I don’t know suffer, really doesn’t bother me because I don’t know them. Since I don’t know them then I wouldn’t even hear about the bad thing so it wouldn’t be a bad thing to me. It would be bad to the unknown person, but I can’t do anything about that because I don’t know them. Anyone else getting a headache?

I felt that I should have done something wondrous today, but instead I did the same old ho-hum stuff that I have come to expect of me. Normally I enjoy the ho-hum because it is the ho-hum that I have chosen to live with. If it were someone else’s ho-hum then it would be really …ho-hum! So, nothing wondrous, no one else’s ho-hum and very little accomplished.

There is a very good chance that wondrous will happen tomorrow, but since it is a Tuesday and very little of merit has ever happened on a Tuesday, I won’t hold my breath. There are specials on Tuesdays, but they are just to get people in to the bars and restaurants. They would be just as happy to stay home except that on Tuesdays they can get wings for five cents. No one really likes wings, it is just that they are the cheapest thing on the menu and go great with beer.

I have a theory that wings are only purchased by the bar once and forever after they are cleaned and coated with a special coating, deep fried and served again. It doesn’t take away from the taste, but it does explain how they can sell them for five cents. While I am thinking about chicken, why is it that I can buy a rotisserie chicken in the store all cooked and spiced cheaper than I can buy an uncooked, unspiced chicken at the same store? If I could buy those chickens before they were cooked I would assume that they would be cheaper since the store didn’t have to cook or spice them. You would be surprised at the look of utter bewilderment that comes over the face of the Safeway store manager when you start to explain this to him.

So, what about something wondrous? Maybe this week, and maybe not. I will keep looking for the sign and will let you know when it is about to happen. Not this for sure!

Sunday 19 June 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Well, I guess today should be about Father’s day. I am not really a big fan of Father’s Day, but I can appreciate the kids (really “the wife”) want to show just how they feel about dear old dad. Personally I think it is just an attempt at a cash grab from the card companies. I am sure that the restaurants love it (dad pays) and electronic, sports and tool stores (dad eventually pays), but does dad? Mother’s day is a different kettle of fish because she is always the “go to” guy and much more nurturing. Rarely do you hear a mom say “Don’t be such a poof, shake it off!” Dad’s are the heavies, “Just wait till your father gets home!” Poor dad gets home and is expected to be angry about something that happened in the morning. Quite possibly dad had taught little Johnny to pee against the tree in the first place.

For me I would just as soon be left alone for the day. Instead it’s go to the zoo or play catch or take everyone on a drive to the country. We all know how much fun driving with the family for extended periods can be. Oh, and when you are on your back under a car with all sorts of oily grit dripping in your eye and someone asks if you want to play catch, the only right answer is “uhhhh…sure…in a minute OK?” Sometimes it never happens.

You know, I don’t remember all of the good times I had with the kids, but I sure remember when I let them down. I still worry about those times. I was too hard on them, trying to instil what right and wrong was. Now I see that in some ways I deprived my children some of the fun in being a kid. I would have liked to take them to amazing places and done incredible things with them, but I didn’t. I was busy and didn’t have a lot of money left over from the essentials. Whenever we did get ahead it would be eaten up pretty quickly by the unexpected things. I gave of my time in scouts, soccer, band parents and trying to be there for important school events. I guess I tried to be a good dad, but it is one of those things that are hard to quantify.

The children have turned out to be impressive adults that I can honestly say I am proud of. Not all the time of course, but by and large I would like to count them as my friends. That isn’t possible though. We are friendly and have laughs together but I don’t think we will ever be just friends. Too much history I guess. When you have punished someone that didn’t deserve the punishment or when they lied to you for no good reason, it is difficult to forget. There is the generational gap as well. Just as my mom and dad never really “got” the Beatles I just don’t “get” rap and hip hop. Some humour is that way too. My parents didn’t get Saturday Night Live and for the life of me I can’t get “Borat”. My problem I know.

I often think that I would have loved to know my dad before he had us kids. The eighteen year old guy that became a bomber pilot during WWII, was shot down over Germany and spent the next three years in a German prisoner of war camp. I didn’t say that he became a great pilot. He had a great sense of humour and judging by what people said to me when he died he was well loved. Happy Father’s Day dad!

I think that young men change when they take on the mantle of fatherhood, just as surely as young women change when they become mothers. For men I think that the knowledge that they need to provide for this family for the next thirty years is quite a weight to carry. That at least is the way that it has been.

Today times they are a changing, and it takes two to support a family and the stereotypical roles are merging into one. Parent! Maybe in the future there will just be Parent Day, but until then I would like to thank those that wished me a Happy Fathers Day and I will try my best not to let you down in the future.

Saturday 18 June 2011

See What You Can Do About All The Assholes

I’m not really good with animals, other than my dog, but I feed him so that really doesn’t count. I think that squirrels like me, well; they haven’t said that they don’t like me so I am going to take that as a yes. Horses and I have never really seen eye to eye. Each of the five times I have gone riding I discovered a new and novel way of getting off, and none of them were pleasant. I like cows, but really just ground up into bite size pieces. It is pretty hard to start a dialogue with any birds; they always seem to be so aloof. I have never seen most of the woodland creatures because they are either shy or think that we are playing hide and seek. Fish? Never met them, never want to! They smell like fish and you wouldn’t believe what they do in the water that they drink.

Now, even being species handicapped I am willing to step up and build the ark. Just send me a sign! Uhhhh…best not to write the sign in Latin or Aramaic, I am a little rusty on my dead languages. I guess a good sign would be an unlimited gift certificate at Rona. I could use a set of plans too. Nothing fancy, just draw something on a Tim’s napkin with rough measurements.

Oh, I will probably need an area to build this thing too. My backyard is fine for some things, but it will never do as a large construction site. Speaking of construction sites, I am definitely going to need a shit pile of workers. I suppose I could make do with mostly apprentices, but some journeymen/women will be necessary to give some direction to the apprentices. I am pretty sure I will spend most of my time getting permits at city hall and doing interviews with local and eventually the world media.

I am kind of torn about a security force. We will certainly need someone to keep an eye on the job site at night and on weekends, not to mention the crowd control problems as we near completion.There are far too many assholes on the planet!  Spears or guns, I will leave that up to You.

The rains have begun already and I am not one to be critical of his God, but in my mind, someone has been dragging His feet. Let’s get on the stick shall we?

So, let’s review. You will need to supply a few animal wranglers, unlimited credit at Rona, plans, job site, skilled workers, and security and let’s get on top of this ASAP.

You know, I just checked the internet weather forecast and things are supposed to clear up by early next week so let’s just put the plans and things on the back burner for now. I will hold on to the Rona gift card if You don’t mind.

So…be good and …ahhh…see what you can do about all the assholes.

Friday 17 June 2011

Tea Bag Repair

I was just repairing a tea bag that had a hole in it with a stapler when it occurred to me that I have too much time on my hands. Not only do I have too much time, but I seem to be pissing it away. I mean really why would anyone fix a tea bag? Well, I suppose, because I can. Plus it will save a few pennies and, yes, I am that cheap.

However it does make me want to take stock of how I spend my time and whether or not I should institute a change. For a number of years now I have been using a push mower on the grass and hand clippers for the edging. The original reason that I bought the push mower was that the kids said the reason they wouldn’t cut the lawn is because they were afraid of the electric one. I really can’t remember if any of them have ever used a push mower on my lawn. No, no I am really sure that they haven’t. Last year I gave my spare mower to Brendan for his lawn and I assume that he uses it. I may be way off base on that one, and you know what they say about when you ass-u-me.

The push mower is just as fast as a power mower, so I am not wasting my time there. The hand clippers are another story. It would be much faster to use a weed whipper, but I guess that I am saving the planet and my waistline at the same time. Multi-tasking! There is another reason and it has to do with my old neighbour and his weed whipper. I watched him trying to repair the thing. He was back and forth from the yard to the garage time and again until I watched him smash it to pieces on the garage floor. Now, being a good neighbour I had to go and laugh at him and all he would say is that Craftsman is shit! When I offered to loan him my clippers he just closed the garage door and went inside. So, I guess if you factor in the multiple trips to different stores and cleanup of broken parts then I actually save time; sort of.

I will ride my bike whenever I can, because it saves the planet and my waistline. If you are just going a relatively short distance riding a bike is almost as quick as taking the old gas guzzler. The extra bonus is that if it happens to be rush hour you can piss off everyone that is parked on the road and just cruise past them. I know that they are pissed off because every now and then a door will open or horn will honk. “Hey buddy, get a bike!” I even had a bus pull over close to the curb so that I couldn’t get by! Dick! I rode around to the other side and asked him if being an asshole was part of the job description. He said a bad word and I told him that there are kids on the bus and to have a nice day. Now, of course I went up on the sidewalk when the light changed, my momma didn’t raise no fool. Well, she didn’t raise two fools.

Drinking coffee and visiting friends isn’t a waste of time. Just like a shark has to keep swimming or it will die, I need to keep talking and drinking coffee or I won’t talk or drink coffee. I had a job where the only person that I had to talk to was myself. I nearly went crazy! We wouldn’t want that, would we? Most of the rest of the time is taken up with dog walking and thinking. The dog walking is easy, but the thinking doesn’t always come easy, sometimes I need to rest my thinker and have a well earned nap.

The only other thing that takes time and really doesn’t accomplish anything is writing this blog. I wouldn’t wish to deprive the world of my wit and wisdom and I am sure you wouldn’t wish that either.

I suppose that some might think that it’s a life being wasted, but I would say it’s a life WELL wasted!

Thursday 16 June 2011

Maybe I Was Simpler

I went early to pick up my grandson from playschool today and got to be a fly on the wall as it were. They brought out the parachute and I guess there are all sorts of things that you can do with it. Parachute games encourage cooperative, non-competitive play and reinforce turn-taking and sharing. The games are a lot of fun for both children and adults. They all grabbed a part of it and made waves with it. They went in circles with it and they played the “Shark” game. In this game you sit on the floor with your legs and feet under the parachute moving it continuously up and down. Meanwhile, two or three designated “sharks” move about under the chute and touch people’s toes, turning them into sharks. Eventually, everyone become sharks and the process starts over again.

To be the first shark is desirable I guess. I watched as my grandson held his little arm in the air, hoping to be picked and wasn’t. Each time his look of disappointment tore a little bit larger hole in my heart. He is one of the teacher’s favourites, so I don’t really think he is too hard done by, but it reminded me of when I was little.

I can remember being in school and holding my hand up so that I could answer the question. It was pretty rare that I would know an answer, so when I did it was pretty important to be picked. Those easy questions like “If you have three apples and I take away one, just how many apples do you have left?” would go to the smart kids. The question that I would be asked, and you know I didn’t put up my hand for this one, “ A train leaves Montreal at 3:00PM August 3 and a car leaves Mexico city at 2:00 AM July the 31st, How fast would the car have to go on August 2nd in order to meet the train in Regina at 5:15 PM  August 4th?” Huh? No, really that isn’t fair! The teacher would then use that patronizing voice and say that there is a trick to it. I’m guessing the trick is to be the child of Albert Einstein and Marie Currie. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the teacher had then asked someone else the same question, but no that would make sense. Bitch!

It got to the point that I wouldn’t put my hand up to go to the washroom, which in retrospect caused even more embarrassment than being the class idiot. You know, sometimes I was so sure that I knew the right answer and when asked it would turn out that I didn’t. How did those other people know these things? I was in the same class and I did my homework. Sort of. I would sit at the desk in my room and stare at the mirror for hours trying to see something move. The thing is, when you stare long enough you start to see details in mirror world that aren’t in the so called real world. I always wondered if when I got up from the desk and left the room, did I go to the same place in mirror world.

I tried to contact my other self more than a few times. I would write questions and hold them up to the mirror but my other self would write the answers backwards. I would put my ear to the mirror but all that I heard was a buzzing. I even asked my brother to stay in the room and watch to see if when I left the room my mirror self also left his room. That was a mistake. I can still hear the derisive laughter. I suppose that now kids would just set up the video camera or their ipod nano and record what happened.

I guess we lived in a simpler time back then. Maybe I was simpler back then…

Wednesday 15 June 2011

West Coast Shame

I was going to write about my day at the dentist, which always begins quietly but quickly grows to epic proportions. Just as I sat down to write, Louise called me to come and watch the breaking news from Vancouver.

If you don’t follow hockey, tonight was the Stanley Cup final between Vancouver and Boston. The Bruins won the game. I was sort of cheering for Boston, but when it became too one sided I changed my affiliation. What can I say, I am a fickle son of a gun. I also have very strong ankles from jumping on and off of the band wagon. That is a curious expression, band wagon; was there actually a band that played on a wagon and were people allowed to jump on and off? Why is that a bad thing? I think we will need to go into this at a later date.

So tonight the Vancouver Canucks lost their bid to win the Stanley cup and the fans are naturally very disappointed. Vancouver has never won the cup in its 41 year history with the NHL, so we can all understand the disappointment. It has been 39 years since Boston held the cup so they were just as deserving of a win. They are the two best teams in the NHL this year which I think should be enough for any fan.

I just witnessed riots in downtown Vancouver! This is something I just can’t understand. Perhaps I just don’t feel that strongly about anything, well, except for chocolate and ice cream. Oh, and Louise, the kids and the grandkids. There were broken windows in a bank, I don’t like banks either, but if the rioters think they are making a statement to the banks well, they are just wrong. Why in God’s name would they turn over the outdoor toilets? Maybe at the beginning of the night, but at the end of the evening it's a really shitty idea, no matter how pissed off you are. Heh, heh. Why burn cars? How does that make any sense at all. Maybe if they were from Boston, belonged to Bettman or perhaps were full of clowns. I saw these young people kicking the side of an overturned car. Did they think the car was going to cry out in pain? I have kicked the side of a car before and it really hurts! It involved an ice storm, frozen locks, two broken handles and an increasingly short temper.

These thugs that are the instigators of the riot are just sad little people that have nothing of value in their lives and see an opportunity to drag us down to their level. On our worst day we couldn’t reach that level. You know, there are things in this country that are worth taking action about. Kids and the elderly starving and not getting proper medical care, the rape of our environment for profit, graft and corruption at all levels of government and of course Dances With the Stars.

I guess what bugs me is the fact that you and I are the ones that have to pay for this behaviour. The banks will just tack on a little more interest on our mortgages to pay for the broken windows and the insurance companies will just raise the rates that they charge. We pay for the police, fire, ambulance and city cleanup crews with our taxes, all because some drunken idiot had another bag added to the pile of garbage that their life is. Boo-hoo!

The players themselves don’t care as much as the fans. Oh, they would have loved to win, but it is just a job after all. These were the guys hugging each other after the game and giving congratulations on a well played game. I imagine they are having a late supper and perhaps a drink or two in either celebration or lamenting things that might have been. Tomorrow is another day and next year is full of opportunities…

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Still Here And Smiling

I received a message on facebook that a friend and his wife are coming to town for a visit. John lived in the house beside me from when I was two till my parents sold the house sixteen years later. He was the middle child, more of a friend of my older brother than mine. His younger brother Mike was the guy that was usually with me when my brother decided he needed to humiliate someone.

It was nice to hear from John and to add him to my facebook friends. I don’t really collect friends as some do; in fact it always surprises me when asked to be someone’s friend. I just can’t respect anyone that would have me as a friend. Hearing from John reminded me of  an incident that happened a long time ago.

I would tag along behind my older brother and his friends when they were out exploring the neighbourhood just as most younger brothers do. I remember one time I followed along when they went down to play in the creek behind our house. I say creek, but really it was an open sewer in which some frogs and tadpoles somehow managed to survive. This one particular day the big kids were going to explore the “tunnels”. The “tunnels” were actually the storm sewer pipes, but back then they were the entrance to a magical kingdom with dragons, wizards, hero’s and quite probably rats.

They had brought flashlights and candles, string, rubber boots, pocket knives (for defence I suppose) and chalk so they could follow the marks back to the creek. Now, at some time in the past, some even bigger kids had cut the bolts that held the iron gate closed. The gate was there to prevent just this kind of excursion. I guess that there was some chance of danger, which made it even more attractive to ten year old kids. I followed them down the creek to the entrance and watched them get prepared. They had to decide the order in which they would enter. The bravest would be first of course. I don’t remember who went first or second, but I knew I would be last, due solely to my age of course.

No one had noticed me until this minute, but everyone stopped the preparations and as a unit turned to look at me. “Where do you think you are going?” my brother asked. “Uhhh, with you guys.” I replied. The two punches in the arm and a backhand across the head was all the answer I got. I was told that if I followed them I would be in big trouble and if I told mom I would be dead! How did they know that I was going to tell mom?

I watched as they all filed in to the tunnels, laughing and swearing and bent over so their hair didn’t brush the roof. I could feel the damp, cool, fetid air that came out of the tunnel. They told me to go home, but I can play in the creek if I wanted to. That wasn’t entirely true, as both mom and dad forbade us from going down to the creek. It seems that it is just this kind of thing that causes polio. I know my uncle had polio when he was a kid, but I didn’t know what it was. They might just as well have said I could get syphilis. Come to think of it, they just might have said something along those lines.

I hated being left out of things, and it happened far too often. I looked for mutant frogs or perhaps a turtle that someone had flushed down the toilet, all to no avail. I started tossing stones into the tunnel as far as I could, hoping that when they came out they would trip on them and fall into the water and get polio and syphilis! I turned my attention to the gate. I mentioned that it was iron, but didn’t say just how heavy it was. I could barely move it. I went behind and pushed as hard as I could and it swung out and slammed against the concrete opening of the tunnel. The gates of Hell couldn’t have made more noise. I swear to God, that I could feel the vibration of that gate from my tonsils to my asshole. The world didn’t end! No bats, hellhounds or my brother’s friends came out of the tunnel. Whew!

Now that the gate was closed I would leave it like that! In fact, I think I will take that long grass and tie it shut. The grass didn’t work very well, so I went looking for some rope. No luck on the rope either, but I did find a broken piece of TV antenna which fit the bolt hole perfectly. I bent it over and Holy Shit! It broke off in the hole. I couldn’t get it out! What am I going to do? They will know it was me. Just then I heard voices from the tunnel! Please God, let me die right now!

I did what anyone of sound mind would do, I ran. When I got to my yard I looked back and saw many arms sticking through the gate and fists shaking. What am I going to do? I can’t tell mom, I would get in trouble for going to the creek, Better to let my brother and his friends die. Yes, that’s it. No! I can’t do that. I remembered that John’s older brother was probably home and he would know what to do. I went and knocked on the door and Jim answered. I guess he must have understood me through my tears and chin quivering. He told me to go home so that when he let them out they wouldn’t kill me right away. Good plan!

Jim did know what to do. He called a few of his friends and did what big brothers do. He went to the tunnel and put his younger brother through a living hell, tossing stones and sewer water at them through the iron gate before letting them out.

I can’t remember just what happened to me. That is one of the wonders of the human mind. It just shuts down when something horrible happens.

I guess it couldn’t have been too bad, I am still here and smiling…

Monday 13 June 2011

Sweet Dreams

I have been following a friends travels in Europe and Asia through her facebook albums. A couple of things occurred to me, I am that creepy old guy who is living vicariously through other people and Europe is the backdrop for all of the fairy tales we grew up with. There are castles with towers, forests, mountain trails, Frogs, princes, narrow lanes, canals, fjords, draw bridges, windmills and dikes (we have those too), rivers and any number of other things that I can’t think of right now. You get the idea though.

When I say that we grew up with these fairy tales I should have said that our parents used these stories so that we would shit our pants before we would get up to go to the bathroom. Let’s just think about it for a while. Little Red Riding Hood should have been a nice story about a little girl visiting her sick grand mother. Instead it is about a girl being stalked through the woods by a vicious wolf that lies to her and then eats her grand mother, takes her place and then eats the girl. Luckily a woodcutter comes in and cuts open the wolf, at which point the grand mother and Red fall out (alive). They fill the wolf up with rocks and toss him down a well.

“Have a nice sleep Johnny! Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” What the hell is that? You put the kid in a bed knowing that there are blood sucking parasites in it. Nice parents!

Hansel and Gretle is another of those wonderful stories designed to terrorize kids throughout the ages. The family doesn’t have any money so the parents decide to take the kids into the forest and abandon them so they will starve to death. The kids hear the plan and devise a way to get back. The parents try it again the next day and succeed. The two kids wander about for a while and find a cottage made of candy. I’m thinking that they were hallucinating due to lack of food and sleep. They start eating the house and a cannibalistic witch captures them, locking them up in order to fatten them up so that they will make a good meal. Unwanted, abandoned, lost, imprisoned and about to be eaten, could things get any better? Gretel saves the day by pushing the witch into the oven and after listening to her scream in pain for a while, she releases Hansel. The two kids ransack the house and steal the valuables. They return home to their father, the mother having died in the interim. Gee, I wonder how that happened? With the money stolen from the witch they live happily ever after.

“ Just lie there until the sandman comes.” Sorry! Some man is going to sneak into the kid’s bedroom and drug them. Let’s hope that is all he plans to do. Nice parents!

Pinochio is the story of a wooden puppet that comes to life. Huh? How can this not freak out kids that have rooms filled with dolls and puppets? They have made this into a movie, “Chucky”. I still get the willies thinking about that story. I prefer any dolls and puppets in the house to be stiff and unresponsive.

No, I prefer to raise kids the modern way, keep taking away things that they love until they are all alone in an empty room with no one to talk to until they bend to your will. That is the way to raise a child. We wonder why our kids put us in a home at the first opportunity and call us once a month.

Maybe a trip to the woods might be in order…

Sunday 12 June 2011

Stupid Questions

Louise and I went out this afternoon to do some research for our daughter who is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. She has this interesting blog, , in which she goes to a different church each Sunday and then gets some ice cream. I wonder which she looks forward to the most? She told us which church that she is thinking of going to while she is here and Louise and I took it upon ourselves to check out the ice cream store close to the church.

It is in an Ethiopian/Caribbean take out store. I already have my doubts. When we walk in, there is a tone that rings to announce us, but the store is empty. There is a large freezer with about twenty flavours of ice cream, but it looks like they just serve cones. We check out the flavours and still no one. Weird! Finally a woman sticks her head out from the back room and says” What do you want?” Louise says “Ice cream?” And the woman ducks her head back and disappears. WTF? Interestingly, another woman comes out and serves us. The ice cream was pretty good, but left me with some questions,

What happened to the first woman? Why wouldn’t she serve us? Who gets Ethiopian take out? What the hell is going on in the back room? Why did we have to wait so long for someone to come to the front of the store? Where did that guy come from? Oh yeah, when I turned around with my ice cream there was a guy there and we didn’t hear the tone. When you are standing in front of the ice cream freezer in a store that sells ice cream why in God’s name would she ask us what it was that we wanted? Did she think the question would trick us into revealing the real reason why we came into the store? People are nuts like that.

When I was driving the postal truck and delivering parcels I would get that all of the time. I would grab the parcel and go up to the house, nine times out of ten, if the person was home they would be watching me. I would ring the bell and do a slow count to fifteen, then, I would knock on the door and do a slow count to fifteen. Now I am getting pissed off, because I saw the woman in the window when I was walking up to the house. I start to write up the notice card and when I am almost finished the door opens a crack.

“What do you want?”

“ Well, I am standing here with a parcel in my hands addressed to Jones at this address. I am wearing a postal uniform and the thing that should have given it away is the big red and blue step van parked in front of your house with  Canada Post written all over it.”

“I don’t like your attitude! What is the number that I call to complain?”

I push the door open enough to hand over the parcel and say to the woman,” I will again direct your attention to the big red and blue truck in front of your house. Do you see the numbers 1-800-blah-blah-blah? That is the number. If you would like, I will call in and complain for you. No? Well have a nice day!”

I thought I showed quite a bit of reserve but by the sharp intake of breath when I said “fucking idiot” as I walked to the truck I am pretty sure that she heard me.

I imagine that she called in to complain, but when the supervisor went out to talk to her I would wager no one answered the door.

“Fucking idiot!”