Wednesday 31 August 2011

Look In On Me

You know as a rule, of the approximately 6.94 billion people on this planet, most are pretty easy to tolerate. That may be because 99.999% of them I will never meet. I guess that most of the ones that I do meet are nice enough in their own way. Each and every one of us has some redeeming quality and we all have some God given talent. I am still looking for mine, but I am beginning to think that being drop dead gorgeous isn’t it. Oh well.

There is one guy whose God given talent is being a complete and utter asshole! Yep, he is my garbage man. Isn’t it funny how his job title and the title that I gave him are one and the same? He spends his day picking up and hauling away refuse and really he should just jump in the back of the truck and compress him.

I know that all of you tree huggers are saying “But Ken, how can you hate someone that you have never seen?” Good question, but you don’t need to see the wind to know that it stinks. You can’t see love but you can sure feel it. The same goes for lust, but that is going somewhere else entirely. No, I hate this guy and I think he hates me. Let me explain.

Quite a few years ago when we moved into this house, there were a number of things that came with it. The previous owner was a wife beating welder, so there was a lot of bits and pieces of metal in the garage (I still have them by the way) pieces of wood and a galvanized garbage can that had seen better days. It was dented and dirty, the lid was missing, its rim was beginning to separate and quite frankly, it stunk. I called it “Lucky”.

Well, I washed Lucky and pounded out some of the worst dents till it looked not as good as new, but like a well used and well loved member of the family. I only used Lucky for solid non smelling garage waste which was wood and saw dust, the odd bit of garden stuff and things that blew onto the property from afar. Lucky and I got along pretty well with the garbage guy for years, and then I have to guess that the nice garbage guy retired and the asshole took over his route.

I began to notice that week after week Lucky was getting more and deeper dents, as if he were violently smashed down on the edge of the trucks hopper. It was almost as if Lucky offended this guy somehow. Every week I began to hammer out Lucky’s dent, and the following week I would hammer out the new dent. It was kind of fun knowing that I was pissing off a total stranger who would smash Lucky down all the harder when he saw that he was back again.

I kind of thought that this would go on indefinitely, but one day I came home from work and Lucky was gone! It hadn’t been terribly windy, and no one in their right mind would steal him. Where could he be? That son-of-a-bitch threw him in the garbage truck with all of the garbage! Lucky was gone! I called the city and reported that their garbage guy had thrown out my garbage can. I couldn’t tell them that my “Lucky” was missing, for obvious reasons. I felt like a modern day Judas. They said that the city would replace it, but I told them, that wasn’t the point. You can’t replace a member of the family just like that. Can you?

I just now figured out that the garbage guy wanted to only handle bags! Hmmmm.

This garbage guy went on to rip off the cover of a neighbours trash bin because it opened the wrong way. He would pick up ten bundles of tree clippings but not a double bag of ceiling tiles. He once opened a plastic bag and took out a bike tire. Every time it rained I would roll up cardboard to look like a paint can, and put it in the garbage bag just so this dick would take the time in the rain to make sure there wasn’t a paint can in there. He was a dick, and probably still is.

I suppose that the old sayings are true, “What goes around, comes around.” “You reap what you sow.” The city went to the black cart garbage collection system. They needed far fewer garbage men, and I hope that my guy being younger was one of the first to lose his job. I can picture him working the night shift at a gas bar, selling chocolate bars to stoned teenagers that would take two hours to decide which bar they wanted. Now, at the very least, because of the new system there are no more early days for the garbage guys. They are now terribly over worked. It is sad for most of them, but not for the dick that crushed Lucky.

If you are in garbage can heaven Lucky, look in on me from time to time...

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Plane Entertainment

I actually look forward to the washrooms at the airports. They are always really clean, large, have the latest in toilet tech and for me they are entertaining. Not in the weird “I’m looking at other men” way, but more in the let’s see what evil I can do, way.

When some men use the stalls, they will let their pants drop around their ankles on the floor. This has always seemed as if it were a poorly thought out technique. I have always kept my pants at the knee level. It just makes sense.

Now, perhaps due to shyness or performance anxiety, some men have decided that the seclusion of a stall was what they needed when nature called, and then for some reason missed the bowl and hit the floor. This isn’t a problem if you keep your pants around your knees.

Years ago I realized that I could use these unfortunate airport pants droppers for my entertainment. All I have to do is to wait for a relative lull in bathroom usage and pour water from my bottle onto the floor at the precise spot where pants will drop. Well, I have a bottle sometimes, but if you don’t you just have to improvise. Then, you just wash your hands and exit the washroom and take up a position across from the washroom and wait. Most people that are heading out have taken care of their toilet before leaving home, so they generally aren’t your target. In any large airport there are always incoming flights constantly. These people that are arriving or having a layover are your best bet. I love to watch people anyways, so I wait with a smile on my face looking at the people going by and wondering just what their stories are. Small kids that are so full of energy and their parents that look to be one step away from total exhaustion or murder. Young couples on vacation with smiles of anticipation, older couples coming home or just about to see the grandkids. They all come by the restrooms.
I stand there leaning on the wall beside husbands holding two carry on bags and purses, waiting their turn to use the washroom. My intended victims! It really doesn’t take too long before someone comes out. They are easy to spot because of the murderous scowl on their faces, not to mention wet pants. They walk away gesticulating wildly to their spouse, pointing at their pants and looking for some poor airport worker to blame. I usually start to feel that I shouldn’t have done this horrible act just to amuse myself for a few minutes.

I go back to my wife and she sees that I don’t have a coffee or a chocolate bar and asks what I have been doing. “Oh, just went to the washroom and watched some people going by.” I don’t tell her about my little game because I have the feeling that she might not approve. They call our flight and we wait to board till the line gets down to two or three people. My way of thinking is that I will be sitting for quite some time anyway. I like an aisle seat and my wife likes the window seat, so naturally I end up sitting in the middle seat. I guess that while I was in the rest room I should have taken care of my own business. Being trapped in the middle seat, I am very reluctant to get up to go to the bathroom when the urge strikes. I am a man so I can go almost indefinitely between pit stops. Even though I am advancing in years I take pride in the fact that I have the bladder of a twenty year old. Unfortunately my sphincter belongs to a man of nearly sixty years. Three hours into the flight I really need to get to the washroom. Just as I am about to make my intention of getting up known to the lump next to me the Fasten Seatbelt sign comes on and the pilot tells us of turbulence between here and our destination.
Shit! I try to release the pressure, but that can be a crap shoot at the best of times. Yes, yes, it is quiet and it doesn't smell. Thank the Gods! No, I was somewhat premature. My wife looks at me and I jerk my head to indicate that it was the lump. I glance over and he, who hasn't moved or opened his eyes for the entire flight is just staring at me. I babble something about us flying over a feedlot. Now I am in the middle of two people that have no desire to talk to me. By the time we arrive at our destination I have cold sweat beading on my forehead and my cheeks are clenched so tightly I am getting a cramp. The trip to our gate is interminable and of course everyone stands in the aisle just as soon as the pilot asks us to remain seated.

We finally get to where the washrooms are and my wife gives me her bag and goes to the women’s washroom. I'm sure that she knew my predicament, but I am equally sure she didn't care. When she finally comes out I make a beeline for the nearest stall. Well, never the closest stall, but one towards the middle, I don't know why, it’s just better that way. It is surprisingly difficult to undo your pants when your sphincter senses the proximity to a toilet. I pull my pants down being careful not to drop them on the floor, for obvious reasons, and thankfully my butt hits the seat at the same time as I achieve blissful release.

What the hell? How did the seat get wet?
Jesus! If someone needs to piss, there are about forty urinals! No! This dickhead has to use a stall and doesn’t have the decency to sit down! Now, I have some strange guy’s urine all over my ass! Fuck! We have a three hour layover too. I can’t very well wash my ass in the sink. I wonder if Louise has any of those sani-wipe things in her purse? I wash my hands with extra hot water and lots of that useless foamy soap they have at the airports, hoping that the cleaning effect will somehow clean my ass.


I walk out of the washroom and I am pretty sure there was steam coming out of my ears! I am just about to tell Louise about the asshole that couldn’t piss into a hole about a foot around, when I notice this young guy about thirty leaning against the opposite wall with a big smile on his face.

Well played my friend! I make eye contact for a moment and give him a two finger salute acknowledging that I am in the presence of a master. He grins and walks in the other direction. I couldn’t help but notice that he didn’t have a bottle of water with him.


He Is Paying Attention?

I have been thinking lately that the world is a very odd place.  You would think that any sane deity would set things up to actually make sense. Not so this God of ours.

Hell, we can’t even decide how to worship Him, what His name is, or even if He exists. This is no way to run a universe. I have heard speculation during my “searching for an answer” period, that the gods (yes there are many) are simply beings that have jumped through all of the hoops and learned all of the lessons that needed to be learned to advance to Godhood.

I tend to think that the eastern religions or shall I say way of life are nearer to the mark. The whole Christian idea that I could treat people like toe jam, and be a whirling son of a bitch for my whole life and if I were to repent at the end of said life, all would be forgiven. That just doesn’t make any sense. The near eastern religions that tell their adherents they can and should kill certain “western devils” and they will find their reward in paradise with an existence that would make Hugh Heffner jealous. I have some trouble with that as well.

The beliefs that say you should strive to be the best person that you can be and treat others as equals. I kind of like that. Of course with a belief like that it is pretty difficult to accumulate money, gold and jewels, not to mention power. I like to think that those of us that are on this small green and blue planet have a ways to go. It seems like the galactic equivalent of riding the short bus and eating the paste. Just picture our greatest achievements held on to some beings refrigerator with a magnet that says “You should have been a hemorrhoid, you are such a pain in the ass!”

So, all that aside, just suppose that the Buddhists have it right and we go through life after life after life, until finally we have learned all of the lessons this world or dimension has to teach us. I would imagine that just like school, we progress to the next level/planet/dimension and do the whole thing all over again. Of course this can and probably does go on for what seems like forever, with our climb to the top only to find it is the bottom of the next level.

Sort of like the game Snakes and Ladders. You know, ever since they replaced the snakes with chutes, I have no desire to play it any more. I guess the powers that be didn’t want to scare the kids with snakes. If the kid doesn’t know the difference between a cartoon snake on a board and a real snake then he/she really doesn’t belong on this level/planet/dimension. That is just my opinion, and is really the only one that counts in this blog.

So after uncounted eons you or the being that was you at one time will reach Godhead. Cool! Now what? Eventually there will be billions of unemployed Gods, just hanging out at the pool hall or at the local 7/11 drinking slurpees and getting into trouble. That's just this planet, and I am pretty sure that of the 100 sextillion other stars out there in the universe there would be more than a handful of unemployed Gods. Now, since the universe is infinite (or very nearly so) then why not give all of these wannabe Gods a smallish section of universe to rule as they see fit.

Some of these Gods will be great and others, well, lets just say that not everyone pays attention in class, and are promoted simply because they are too old or in order to get them out of the class or level/planet/dimension. I have a feeling that this section of the universe that we are in is being directed by a God that graduated highest in his class. By a good foot and a half.

You might question the wisdom of calling God ahhh....well...slow, but when you look around at the world, there is no way that He is paying attention.

Sunday 28 August 2011


Before I start on my blog, I just want to put a link to my daughter Maegan’s blog. Hers is actually well written, informative and interesting, unlike some other blogs that you are reading right now. It is called “lazysundaes” and can be found here .

She goes to a different church every Sunday and kind of does a review. Afterwards she rewards herself with the sundae part of lazysundaes. It’s a pretty good reason to eat ice cream. This week’s blog is particularly good and makes me think that I didn’t screw up totally. Give it a read.

I, like millions of others have been following the path of hurricane Irene for the past few days. I can’t believe that New York City was basically closed down for the first time. Just as I was coming in to write this, Louise had me watch the flooding happening in Vermont. The rivers were running high and fast, and it turned out that they weren’t rivers at all, they were streets! Unbelievable! When I was watching that, all that I could think about was how Norm Abrams was doing? I am sure that he built a smallish ark in the New Yankee Workshop with scraps from other projects.

It occurred to me that when I was just a tiny tot, I survived a hurricane when it hit Toronto in October of 1954. It was hurricane Hazel and my brother Steve swears that he can remember standing at the window watching men clean up the aftermath of this storm. I was probably too busy filling my diaper to be watching out the window. From the reports I have read, it was a full blown hurricane, with winds that reached 110 KPH and dropped about 11.23 inches of rain in 48 hours. Thousands were left homeless and 81 people were killed, including one baby that was torn from his father’s arms by the flood waters. The cost of the destruction was $100,000,000 which would be about a billion in today’s dollars.
The city and province were totally unprepared for this kind of storm, and the watershed management plans that came into effect after Hazel, changed Toronto’s landscape forever. Dams and flood control channels were built and development on flood plains was severely restricted.

The thing that amazes me is that there was very little information that the people received about the storm. Back then, they relied on phone lines and radio for weather information, and in a severe storm like this those methods of communications would have been knocked out before they could pass on the information. I can’t imagine living without satellites!
In this handout image provided by NOAA, Hurricane Irene churns of the cost of the Carolinas August 26, 2011 In the Atlantic Ocean. Irene, now a Category 2 storm, has started to lash the eastern coast of the U.S. with wind gust up to 125 miles per hour. - In this handout image provided by NOAA, Hurricane Irene churns of the cost of the Carolinas August 26, 2011 In the Atlantic Ocean. Irene, now a Category 2 storm, has started to lash the eastern coast of the U.S. with wind gust up to 125 miles per hour. | NOAA via Getty Images
The first weather satellite wasn’t launched until April 1 1960 and worked for 78 days. Hard to believe, when you and I can watch storms as they develop in the Atlantic and monitor their progress as they approach landfall. It is compelling television, and the only reality show that I like. I often wonder about the early settlers and of course the natives that wouldn’t even have a hint about what was soon to befall them. I have heard it said that if you pay attention to the natural world around you, then sometimes it will give you hints of what is to happen.

The Native Americans asked their Chief in autumn, if the
winter was going to be cold or not. Not really knowing an
answer, the chief replies that the winter was going to be
cold and that the members of the village were to collect
wood to be prepared.

Being a good leader, he then went to the next phone booth
and called the National Weather Service and asked, "Is this
winter to be cold?"

The man on the phone responded, "This winter was going to
be quite cold indeed."

So the Chief went back to speed up his people to collect
even more wood to be prepared. A week later he called the
National Weather Service again, "Is it going to be a very
cold winter?"

"Yes," the man replied, "it's going to be a very cold winter."

So the Chief goes back to his people and orders them to go
and find every scrap of wood they can find. Two weeks later
he calls the National Weather Service again: "Are you
absolutely sure, that the winter is going to be very cold?"

"Absolutely," the man replies, "the Native Americans are
collecting wood like crazy!"


I think that I will rely on the weather satellites and the Weather Network rather than my powers of observation.

Fuck You Mr.Zoo!

“FUCK YOU Mr. Zoo!” is what I saw as I was flipping through my little notebook when I was looking for a friends email address. Thoughts of the friend just disappeared as I tried to remember why I had written that.

It is a pretty catchy phrase, succinct and to the point. Someone is obviously upset with Mr. Zoo. What kind of a name is Mr. Zoo anyways? It sounds like a character from Dr. Seuss. I always liked to read Dr. Seuss to the kids when they were little, and their favourite was “The Lorax”. Okay, it was my favourite, being an old hippie and all. We had (and still have) the whole Seuss collection, pretty battered and much worse for the wear. I read them to the grandkids when I get a chance.

When I read to them, I would read in odd little voices. I know that I have an odd little voice myself, but the voices that I read in would be even odder if that were possible. I just loved the way everything sort of rhymed and one seemingly common everyday occurrence could morph into the most bizarre, outlandish tale which would usually end right back at the beginning. Brilliant!

Now, “FUCK YOU Mr. Zoo” sounds like something that I would write, if I were to try and emulate Dr. Seuss. Every now and then I think that someone will pick up the mantle from Dr. Seuss and write wonderful and imaginative stories that not only took you on a flight of fancy, but sometimes even had a moral. I don’t personally buy the whole Grinch transformation, but it is well loved and has now become a staple of Christmas TV.

Whenever I try and fail
I will weep and wail.
When life is giving me a licking
And I just can’t keep ticking.

I need someone reliable to blame
And it must always be the same.
It can’t be me
And it can’t be you.

The man of the hour
The man with the power.
To free us from blame
He is always the same.

I’ll solve my problem for sure
To blame one with no peer.
It will work for you too
Just say “FUCK YOU” Mr. Zoo!

Okay, I will admit that I need to polish it and a few cutesy cartoon people or animals would be good, but the bones are good. No, I guess not. Tell you what, I will keep working on it and until I have it the way I like it I will appoint someone to fill in for Mr. Zoo. Say, now that I think about it, the perfect replacement would be YOU!

Saturday 27 August 2011

Good Times...Good Times

Tonight Louise and I had supper with Brendan and Tara. The food was good and plentiful, almost too plentiful. I feel too full to write this and at any time I may just say “Piss on it!” and that is what you will be reading. You know the feeling when you are full but continue to eat until it is uncomfortable and then you stuff even more food down your throat? No? So, Just me then...okay.

It was a kind of interesting night, with pleasant conversation throughout dinner and later on at Brendan’s place. I was even allowed to tell some of my “stories”. Usually I begin and whoever is in the audience start to look a little panicky until they see a viable reason to get up and leave. Can’t blame them really.

The one story was about a time that I worked as a warehouseman for Brooke Bond Foods. Brooke Bond Foods is the company that manufactures Red Rose tea and is responsible for all of those tiny porcelain figurines that lay discarded in junk drawers all across this fine nation of ours. I had quite a collection at one time, due mainly to the fact that I would slit open the tea boxes and rummage around the box until my fingers wrapped around one of the figurines. I kind of feel guilty now about all of those people that bought a box of tea with the expectation of a ceramic reward, only to find nothing but tea in their new box of tea. Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Not a good enough apology for you? Well, I am sure you did some awful shit when you were young too, so let’s just call this a “pay-it-backwards” kind of thing.

There was a guy that I worked with whose name was Mike. Mike was pretty much the quintessential dick. I knew pretty much from the moment I met him that I could have a lot of fun fucking him over. Once, after we had done inventory and the company had ordered about a years worth of canned corned beef it was discovered that we already had a years worth of canned corned beef that someone hadn’t counted. We had a floor meeting and Mr. Allen the plant supervisor was really pissed! Mr. Allen was the spitting image of Bert’s Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins. You remember, he was played by Ed Winn and he was the guy that would float whenever he laughed. Well, Mr. Allen wasn’t laughing.

Later on in the day I was talking to Mr. Allen about what he wanted me to do for the rest of the afternoon, when I noticed that Mike was watching us. I went back into the warehouse and Mike asked what Mr. Allen wanted. I told him that they had discovered who made the mistake during inventory and it was you. I kind of laughed and said what a relief, because I thought that it might have been me (it actually was me, but there was no way I would tell anyone). Mike squared his shoulders and marched to his doom, and I pretended to do work that took me within earshot. He walked right up to Mr. Allen and said “I understand that I was the one that made the mistake in counting the corned beef.”

Kindly Mr. Allen looked a little stunned and then said “Mike that takes a lot of guts to admit that you made the mistake when you could have just said nothing and no one would know the difference”. Mike shot me a look of hatred, but I just blew him a kiss while Mr. Allen proceeded to ream him a new asshole, filled it in and then reamed him another asshole.

You know, I guess I should feel some kind of remorse after treating a fellow human being like that, but surprisingly, it just makes me smile and say to myself “Good times...good times...”

Thursday 25 August 2011

Uptight Religious Nut With a Hair Up His Ass

I am having a bit of trouble thinking of something that I am interested enough in tonight to write about. Do you think I have finally gotten to the point where I have nothing left to say? No such luck pal! It is just a little of the blahs, a brain fart if you will.

Oh, I think I have something now.

When Louise and I were in Hawaii I was walking along Kailua beach while Louise was out paddling, when I saw a sign written in felt marker on a washed up board. It read Psalm 23:4. Now, at the time, a few things went through my mind. Why would anyone carry a felt marker to the beach? Where did they find that big piece of washed up board? How can that girls top stay up when she is running like that? Why don’t I have a six pack like the guy running with her? Is he running with her or after her? How long should I keep my shirt off before I will burn? What the hell does Psalm 23:4 mean?

I am sure you will agree that they are all very good questions. Here we are months later and the only one that I still don’t know the answer to is the Psalm 23:4. So tonight, well, just now actually I looked it up.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

I thought of quite a few things while I was walking along the beach with the gentle warm Pacific waves lapping against my feet, as the cooling trade winds kept the temperature just perfect to make the island a true paradise. The very last thing that would come to mind would be walking through the valley of death. If this is the valley of death, then I am ready to be taken. Hell, the only evil that I see is that guy over there that is hogging all the best shade. Well, and the older retired gentleman in a thong. If someone (not God) came at me with a rod and staff I think I would start to jog after the girl three paragraphs up, just as fast as I could.

I will admit that when it comes to religion I am not the most devout. In fact I look at most religions and their precepts as guidelines on how to be a good human. Well, not the JW’s, and I am not sure about the Baptists either. I can see writing Psalm 23:4 all over the place in Las Vegas, but Hawaii? This is kind of like when mailmen and politicians complain about how hard they work. They work hard just so long as you don’t compare them to any real workers. I guess you might be able to convince yourself that people running around with next to nothing on is a bad thing and that the threat of skin cancer will send you to the valley of death. Nah...that’s just nuckin’ futs!

You know, I think the guy got it wrong. I think he meant to write Psalm 24:3 “Who shall stand in his holy place?” Now, doesn’t that make more sense? OK, problem solved. It wasn’t written by some uptight religious nut with a hair up his ass, but by some religious nut that was enjoying the sun and the sand.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

What's Real And Right

I happened upon a documentary last night, called “The Festival Express”. It was about a 1970 train tour across Canada featuring the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band and Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, with stops in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. I remember this concert tour, but what I can’t remember is if I went to the concert. Judging from the movie, a good time was had by all.

Watching this documentary caused me to reflect on other concerts that I went to back in the day. There were many good concerts, but the one that got away was Woodstock. I was just a little too young and middle class to have gone to upstate New York during the summer of ’69. I didn’t really hear about it until it was happening and of course by then I had missed the boat. I vowed that if it happened again (fat chance) I would be there come Hell or high water.

My chance came about four years later in 1973 when the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen New York was being held on July 28th. It featured The Allman Brothers Band, The Band and The Grateful Dead. Believe it or not, more people attended Watkins Glen than Woodstock. The crowd was estimated at 600,000, and take it from someone that was there, I think they under estimated.

I had some friends that were from NY, I met them while they were avoiding the draft and since they were going home I hitched a lift. The trip from Toronto went by in a smoky haze. We spent a night or two with a kind of a commune of more or less retail thieves. They must have stolen about ten thousand albums from the record store they worked in and their ladies lifted pretty much everything else in the house from where they worked. They were very nice people, but couldn’t join us at the concert because they had to work. It is nice to see young people so dedicated to preserving the American way of life. Joe’s brother agreed to drive us to the racetrack where the concert was being held. He had to stop about ten miles from the track, because that was where the parked cars started.

So, we had a ten mile hike before we even got to the gates. This is shaping up well. We didn’t have tickets of course, because we were pretty sure that with all of these people the fences were sure to come down. They did. On our walk, the skies opened up and we were slogging through mud and water. Hey, didn’t the same thing happen at Woodstock? God knows how long we hiked for, but eventually we made it to the venue. This wasn’t Woodstock; there were people with large trucks selling water for $3 a bottle and chips for a couple of bucks. They were the only game in town and the summer of love happened four years ago. Times change, and those without change don’t get water or chips.

We walked to the top of a hill and looked down on a vast mass of people. It was incredible! I had never seen anything like it and I doubt that I ever will. The hills were truly alive and undulating.

I told my buddies that we should meet here if we get separated and they agreed. They took it to mean they could bugger off as soon as I turned my back. I looked at all of the people and it occurred to me that I couldn’t see a stage or hear any music. WTF? I asked a girl where the stage was and she smiled and pointed towards another hill on the horizon. I could just make out the speaker towers if I squinted.

There is no damned way I was going to wend my way down there, because I don’t really like crowds at the best of times and this wasn’t the best of times. I just wandered on the fringes of the crowd, watching and talking to people. They had come from all over the continental US and the one thing they had in common is the desire to recapture that Woodstock feeling. Everything was just too strained, and just didn’t quite make it. Oh, the people did the same things, and smoked the same things and dropped the same things, but it was all forced. It seemed like a cardboard cut out of a good time.

The only real thing that happened to me other than hunger and thirst was when I went for a hike in a ravine to get away from everyone with the hopes of making sense of the weekend. Things became forest quiet and then surprisingly, just on the edge of consciousness I could hear the music! Not loudly or even clearly, but kind of like a really beautiful elevator that doesn’t go anywhere. I sat on a rock and just listened to the world for a while. I looked up and saw this old hippie (25) sitting on a folding chair in front of a card table. When I went over to say hi. I saw an array of pipes, papers, grass, hash, hash oil and some brownies on the table. We talked for a while and what a wonderful man he was. I suggested that he might do a better business if he were located closer to people. He just shook his head and smiled. He told me that all of that isn’t real, what’s real is what’s right and what’s right is what’s real. Dig?
You know, I did, and have been looking for what’s real and right for the last forty years.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

I Don’t Plan On Getting Out Of Bed Tomorrow

You know, there are some days when it would be better to have just pulled the covers back up over your head and gone back into what ever dream you had been having before the alarm woke you. Unfortunately I had to get up so that I could be at the dentist for an eight o’clock AM appointment. Her office is across the city and normally I don’t mind going there, but today I would have to travel in rush hour. For all of my adult life I have never had to travel in rush hour, so, now instead of embracing the experience as I should, I quail and quiver like a little girl.

I have always told my kids that I would always be there to help them whenever they needed it and for the most part I have been. A couple of years ago, Arwen needed me to pick her up from work as her car was in the shop. I can remember the conversation like it was yesterday, “Hi Dad. I was wondering if you could pick me up from work on Tuesday afternoon because the car is getting a new set of brakes/lube/carburetor/exhaust/columbanterdoinger (I remember the gist of the conversation) and it won’t be ready until Wednesday?”

There was a longish pause from my end, “Uhhhh, are you still at the insurance company? Did they move? When do you need the ride?”

Arwen said “ afternoon. Why, are you busy?”

“Well... no... not really. So the company is still downtown and you work till 4:30?” I asked.

“Forget it, I will take the LRT!” Arwen said. I recognized that tone as the same one that my wife would use, and it means anything but “forget it”.

“No, I should have no trouble picking you up.” I replied, knowing that I was in for no end of trouble. It turned out pretty much as I expected, a long, hot, and unpleasant drive that at one point had me circling a block about ten times. This is why you shouldn’t love anyone.

The drive to the dentist (yes, I am back on topic) wasn’t nearly as bad as I had anticipated and I arrived about a half hour early. I brought a book and sat in the car reading for about twenty minutes. I could have gone in early, but they might have taken me in early and I might have gotten out twenty minutes early and had to drive in rush hour again. I’m sure you see my point.

The good news is that if we act quickly we can save the nerve and not have to do a root canal. We can put a crown on that bad boy. Oh....yea!!! You know, I don’t know why I should give a shit about the nerve; all it has ever done is to give me pain. If I could, I would have pulled it out long ago with my bare hands. I told Dr. Julie this and she said “Well, how else would you know if your tooth is bad?”

Oh, I don’t know...perhaps when my tongue feels a huge crater or when I suck air and there is a whistling sound. The black spots and spaces would be a dead give away. Probably the easiest way is for the dentist to look in my mouth every six months when I come to the office.

This all happened by nine o’clock and was the highlight of the day, so you can imagine that I am looking forward to sleep and don’t plan to get out of bed tomorrow.

Monday 22 August 2011


Today a friend mentioned something about spiders on facebook. I went back to check what was said, but of course I couldn’t find the relevant update. I haven’t let minimal or non existent information bother me before, and I will be damned if it will happen now.

So, this comment got me to thinking about spiders and how our lives have crossed again and again and again. I don’t like to mess with spiders, and in fact I have an agreement with arachnids in general. I promise to never again step on every spider I see, if they promise to not crawl in my ears while I am sleeping and feast on my brain. That’s a fair trade I think. You should never mess with a creature that can make it rain when they die, have eight legs, four pair of eyes, pincers, and spin webs from their butts. I am sure that they have other redeeming qualities, and I am sure that most monsters have a soft side.

When the kids were about eight or nine there was this guy (Spiderman) that would come to the school with an assortment of spiders to show the kids. Freaky prick! This guy was at the front of the class with a tarantula and I was at the back of the class by the door about twenty feet away, you know, just in case. The kids are all crowding around so that they could get a chance to pet this fist sized monster when it launched off of Spiderman’s hand straight for me! It sailed through the air like it had wings, and landed on the head of the little kid that was standing right beside me. My heart had just stopped and although I tried to get out of the door, the crowd was pushing me closer and closer! I swear to God that I could smell its fetid breath as it raised one of it’s front legs and gave me the finger!

One beautiful sunny day while I was delivering mail, I took a shortcut under a customers tree, and when I came back out into the sun I looked down and saw thousands of tiny spiders crawling all over my chest! WTF! The only thing that you can do in that situation is to throw your mailbag on the ground and rip your shirt off and alternate between slapping your crotch and your head. You have to keep them away from “Willy” and out of your ears! I’m itching just writing this. I wonder what my customers thought when they were watching this?

On another occasion at work I returned back to the depot for lunch, and when I walked in my supervisor looked at me and said, ”Ken, you aren’t working hard enough!”

“What are you talking about? Did you get a complaint?” I asked, knowing that there was a better than 50% chance someone did complain. He just looked at me and smiled as he reached over and took off my hat. There was a spider’s web from the brim to the peak, complete with flies and spider. I am still not sure whether that high pitched scream came from me or from one of the female carriers. You can’t see, but a shiver just went up my spine while I was thinking about this incident.

I was a Venturer leader (yeah, I know, weird) and took the Venturers to an Alberta Jamboree which was located around Waterton Park in southern Alberta. One of the activities was spelunking. It involved a six hour hike and climb, up a mountain, an overnight camp and another hour or so scramble up to a cave. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a nice warm cave that Yogi and Boo-Boo would live in, but more of an open sewer that was somehow transferred to the top of a mountain. There is a blog there, but for tonight I will stick to when I was sitting by myself in a small cavern with no lights in the middle of a mountain, at least six hours from help. One of my favourite books is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and I was especially captivated by Shelob, the giant spider that lived at the top of a mountain in a cave that was darker than the darkest night. Shelob was “bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness”.

Do you see the similarities? Well, so did I. I didn’t get eaten, but I will never be the same, and I will never go into a cave again.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Dr. Mengele’s Associate Dr. X.


Those were the exact words that came out of my mouth last night. Well, small pieces of popcorn also came out of my mouth as well. I broke a large piece of tooth off of my upper left, rear molar. If the molar were the Antarctic ice shelf, peoples in costal cities would be running for higher ground. The other three molar areas of my mouth are composed of precious metals, and this last real remaining group of masticating teeth have taken a killer blow. “Well...SHIT!”

I guess if I had to find a silver lining it would be that there is no pain. Hoo-rah! I spent the better part of today sticking various fingers in my mouth with the hopes that perhaps it was just a bad dream. The only way it is a bad dream, would be if I am still asleep. Nope, I am awake. “Well...SHIT!”

So, first thing tomorrow I will call my dentist and see if she has a spare few moments in between pain inflicting sessions. I know that she will accommodate me, she likes me. Yeah, there is no way you can understand a dentist. My last dentist was a nice guy but once we were done with one of our appointments, I made the comment that “I understand that dentists have a high suicide rate.”

He said “That’s right, I think it is because we perform a service that is necessary but no one wants.” and shook his head like he thought that I might sympathize with him and his ilk.

I told him “Good”.

My new dentist is quite young and pretty, not to mention skilled. I do look forward to seeing her, but I know that we will be talking root canal and crown at the very least. Oh well, I guess this is the only way that I will accumulate any gold at all. Hey, the silver lining is also gold!

When I was a kid, my parents would take me to this dentist that was quite probably an associate of Dr Mengele’s. My brother wouldn’t open his mouth for this guy (Steve was pretty smart back in the day) so Dr. X put his hairy hand around my six year old brothers neck and squeezed until Steve opened his mouth. I can remember watching those hairy hands grinding away at a small cavity, making it larger and therefore easier to fill. I suspect that his eyesight was failing. I sat in that chair and kept leaning over the “spit” sink watching tiny bits of teeth and what appeared to be gallons of blood, swirl down the drain. The only reason that I kept going back is that he liberally used nitrous oxide and would let you leave while you were still high. Good times. I can remember one time he kept missing the “nerve” and shot syringe after syringe after syringe into my upper right gum. My whole freakin’ head was frozen until the next day!

Well, my new dentist won’t be choking me or using a spit sink, we will chat and laugh while she mends my, oh so neglected mouth. I might even tell her about Dr. Mengele’s associate Dr. X.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Rusty Screws and Rotten Wood

I was pretty tired after a busy day yesterday, and was looking forward to a more or less relaxing day. I woke in time to feel the last brisk kiss of the dawn, made myself a coffee and read the paper. Life is pretty good!

Louise and Bill roused themselves and the day started to unravel just a tiny bit. Bill was leaving shortly after breakfast, in order to enjoy the last of his vacation in Edmonton. Edmonton wouldn’t be my first choice for a vacation destination, but each to his own. He gathered his belongings, loaded the van and as he drove off, Louise and I stood on the sidewalk waving goodbye. We always make a big deal of waving goodbye to anyone that visits our house. It is a nice tradition, and you don’t always have to use all of your fingers. In Bill’s case we used the whole hand.

Now that we were alone and feeling just a tad less than we were moments before, it seemed like a Tim Horton’s moment. Before you could say “A large double, double in a china mug please. Oh, and how about one of your breakfast sandwiches?” we were sitting at a table, looking out of the window laughing at the bad drivers. The thing that I love about Louise is that we don’t have to do anything to enjoy doing it. Just so long as we aren’t doing it together.  

We stopped at “We Be Toys” and picked up a plastic bowling set for the next time that Hurricane and Tornado come over. We were feeling somewhat lucky so of course we had to celebrate that feeling with a chance to win millions and millions of dollars. I have my fingers, toes, eyes and intestines crossed for good luck.

We go home and enjoy a more or less empty house. What is it about humans that make one place so much more “right” than any other place? I am pretty sure that it is being surrounded by familiar smells and sights. I can remember the smells of each of my friend’s homes when I was a kid. Every now and then when I was delivering the mail I would have to talk to different people for signatures, and when they opened their door I would immediately think of Mike, Don, Bingy or Rob. Don’t get me wrong, their homes didn’t stink, well, the Catholic ones did smell of fish on Fridays, but all of that was to be expected. Smells can sure jog the memory. I think of my grandmother whenever I go into an antique store. I think of my youngest grandchild whenever I drive past the sewage treatment plant.

So, we are home and I called my friend Ken and went for coffee and plumbing supplies. His, not mine. My plumbing is just fine, thank you very much! While we were out I got a call from my daughter who said that her husband needed a second warm body for deck repair. It is always nice to be wanted and I would get to see the grandkids. Bonus!

I loaded up some tools that I thought that would be handy and spent the last part of the afternoon replacing rusty screws and rotten boards on their deck. You know that kind of sounds like an early Elton John song. There is something so fulfilling about finishing a project and standing back when all is done and surveying your handy work.

Louise came over to join us for dinner and made a perfect end to a glorious day.

Did You Feel The Breeze?

Tonight I played a few games of cribbage. It has been quite some time since I played and it was a lot of fun. I lost, which is what I excel at.

I find that watching other people win at cards is fun for me. For some reason not only does it make them happy, but they seem to think it is quite an accomplishment to win. I can see how it would be a feather in the cap if you beat someone that had a lot of skill and actually knew how to count without screwing up. I have never mastered the counting, and although it isn’t terribly difficult, I seem to have a mental block. I have mentioned before that I am mathematically challenged.

Fifteen two, fifteen four and the rest don’t score. Nirvana is 29, which is the perfect hand, five fives and a jack, I think. I have played with people that regale you with stories of past wins and all of the hands that went into that particular win. This could have been twenty years ago, but judging by the glassy eyes and the shit eating grins it could very well have happened minutes ago. I can talk trash with the best of them, and sometimes I actually win. The effect of my winning without knowing all of the ins and outs of technique; and which cards should or shouldn’t be played at a particular time, just seems to suck the life right out of my opponents. This doesn’t happen often, or I would have even fewer friends than I have now.

There was this game about 35 or 36 years ago that I remember like it was yesterday. I was playing with Louise and Brian who by all and any standard you want to use, would be my superiors in the game. They were quite pleasant for most of the evening, until I started to win. I am a great loser, but a terrible winner. I haven’t had enough practice I suppose. It turns out that people don’t like it when you mock them and laugh in their faces if they get a shitty hand. No matter how often I observe these phenomena it never seems to make an impression. So, this game I could do no wrong and they couldn’t score a point to save their lives. I would get all of the pegging points and my hands would be very good. I was well on the way to double skunking both of them when they got up and walked away! They just walked away! You can’t walk away from the best game I have ever had! Toss me a bone!

In a life where there is far more losing than winning, to have such a momentous win just ripped from your hands at the moment of your triumph, Well, there are no words for it. I still like both of these people, but I would never trust them with a state secret, a helpless animal, to call 911 or any of the many things that so called responsible people would do.

Until I get an acknowledgement of their despicable behaviour, they will remain on my “don’t trust these cheating, lying bastards” list. Since it has been well over thirty years and nary a hint of remorse from either one, I can only conclude that I will get this as a deathbed confession. I will try to be a good winner in the “who lives the longest” game, but I have a feeling that I will still be saying to them “Did you feel the breeze as I passed you?”

Thursday 18 August 2011

I Found a Robertson Screwdriver

It was pretty brisk this morning, the temperature had dipped to 6ยบ last night, so I put on a sweater over my t-shirt and shorts and Buster wore a fur coat for our walk. I find that it is always best to under dress when you are going to be somewhat active. If you are cool you tend to walk a little faster. I don’t know what Buster’s problem is. I guess he figures if he is going to have to slow it down to my speed then he might as well be comfortable.

I decided to take the shorter half hour walk because I was hoping to get breakfast at Ikea and if you get there between 9:30 and 10:00 the breakfast is 99₵ and the coffee is free. Just so it doesn’t drive you crazy, we didn’t get there till 10:05. Sucks to be me! The walk takes me around Lester B. Pearson High School and a sports field that has a football field, two soccer fields and three baseball diamonds. It is pretty big. The odd thing about it is that there is an eight foot chain link fence surrounding the field on two sides and there is no access except at the far ends of the fences. Weird!

Only in Calgary would they have a sports park that has limited access. I guess they figure if it is really hard to get into then nothing will get used and therefore nothing will get damaged. I know that the fence prevents balls from going out onto one of the two busy streets that run parallel to the fence, but why not a doorway of sorts? Oh well, that doesn’t impact on the story.

The fence marches along unbroken from the school to the intersecting street and then follows the field to the end of the park. Now, as Buster and I approached this corner I first noticed a pretty young woman with dark hair, jeans and a sweatshirt that had obviously been crying on one side of the fence. When I rounded the corner I saw a young man with a backpack on the opposite side of the fence who was obviously very concerned about how distressed the young woman was. I was listening to “The Only Exception” by Paramore on my headphones so I didn’t hear even a snippet of what was going on. Damn my luck!

So, I have to fill in the blanks by myself. This should be fun. They are a modern day Romeo and Juliet whose parents have forbidden there love. No, too common. She was jogging around the park and an early morning bug flew into her eye and she asked this passing stranger to help her get it out. They fall in love, but her parents forbid their love because she is promised to another. Nah!

They have been classmates and over the years, they have competed for scholastic first place in the rural one room school that they attend, believing they hated each other, but have come to realize that they are actually in love. No, I said she was dark haired, not red headed. Hmmmm...

He found out that she had been unfaithful and he had walked out of her life forever just five minutes earlier. She had foolishly believed that the truth would set her free, and I guess in a way it has. She ran to catch up to him, but took a shortcut which put her on the wrong side of the fence. The fence and the truth were both barriers to their love, and he could never look at her with trusting eyes again. In the years to come, he will often think of her when he ponders the “what ifs” of his life. He has never found a love as pure as the one he had had with her. She, on the other hand, went from one unsatisfying relationship to another, always feeling that something was missing. Perhaps in thirty years after each had an unhappy marriage and an even unhappier divorce, they will meet at a community playhouse production of Romeo and Juliet. They will talk as if they hadn’t been separated at all and on their way to get a coffee at Tim Horton’s, he will take her hand in his and it will feel right. I hope they can manage to laugh and love for the rest of their lives.

Buster and I continued on our walk and I found a Robertson screwdriver beside a dumpster. It was dirty, but I kept it anyways.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Not To Worry, It Tastes Like Chicken...

I think one of the things that set man apart from most of the other animals in the world is that we eat most of the other animals in the world.

There are other carnivores to be sure, but the vast majority of them have limits that they will just not go past. Not so with Homo-Sapiens! Not only will we eat the ugliest, most vile, aged (rotten), toxic piece of meat, we will wrap it in another ugly, vile, old, toxic piece of meat. It is just who we are.

Perhaps our lack of discretion when it comes to food is one of the other reasons that we have survived when so many other species failed. Not only will we eat mushrooms that a pig rooted out with his snout, but we will pay $300 to $600 a pound for them. The Japanese will eat a puffer fish that has to be prepared by specially licensed chefs because they can be highly poisonous. We will coat all sorts of bugs in chocolate and eat them as a treat. When our friends and relatives try to convince us to eat some of these hideous, disgusting things, they usually will tell you that “It tastes just like chicken.”  

My usual retort is that if it tastes just like chicken, then I will stick with chicken. A friend recently came to visit and brought a garbage bag into the kitchen, held it above his head and asked if we had room in our freezer for this. He had just arrived from a fairly lengthy highway trip through the foothills, so I assumed that it was road kill. In fact his face morphed into Jethro Bodines for just a moment or two. It turns out that the bag contained some “wild” unidentified (to me) meat that he received as a gift from a good friend. You know, I never thought that I would ever write a sentence that had the words “wild meat”, “friend” and “gift” in it. I guess if we live long enough, just about anything can happen. I realize that this is quite an honour, but it would be truly wasted on me. Now, if I were truly wasted...

Normally Louise and I will order a vegetarian pizza, or if we are feeling especially tropical we will order a Hawaiian pizza, but if we want to go all out, tits to the wind, thumbs on the bricks we will have a cheese and pepperoni. Tonight, after Louise had left to go paddling, Bill and I ordered two medium meat lovers pizzas. We picked them up and I don’t mind telling you that they made the car smell like heaven on a bun. (I don’t know either.) We got home and before I knew what I was doing I had eaten four pieces.

I kind of feel like I have been sucking the marrow out of the bones of a fresh kill. This is what it must have been like after the big kill at “Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump”. I am starting to have the meat sweats which I am sure will be followed by some kind of hallucination. Thirty thousand years of evolution shot in one evening of meat debauchery. What the hell was I thinking? That is the last time for sure.

You know, when I was leaving the pizza place I think the guy said “Not to worry, it tastes like chicken...”

For those of you that didn’t get the thumbs on the bricks reference, here is the joke it came from.

Two people went to Egypt on their honeymoon. They wanted to get camels to go out and see the pyramids and Sphinx and stuff. So they went to a tourist bureau to find a place that would rent them camels. The information guide told them to go to Heimi’s Rent-a-Camel. So they got directions and found the place. The tourists rang the bell. This short, fat man waddled out and asked if he could help them. They said they needed two camels to go out and see the stuff.

“Will that be a seven or a ten day camel?” Heimi asked. They decided to play it safe and asked for a ten day camel. So Heimi brought out a camel and set a 50 gallon bucket in front of it and made the camel drink. Well, the camel finished that 50 gallon bucket of water, so Heimi filled it up again and set it in front of the camel. The camel drank that one also. So, Heimi filled it up again. He did this routine nine more times. On the eleventh bucket the camel looked at it and turned his head away. Heimi came around front and said to the tourists,
“Now this is a seven day camel.”

Heimi then put the camel’s head in the bucket and picked up two bricks. He then went behind the camel and smashed the camel’s testicles between the two bricks. Well, that camel sucked up the entire 50 gallon bucket of water. Heimi came around front and said,” And this is a ten day camel.”

The male tourist was just writhing in pain after seeing that and squeaked out, “Heimi, doesn’t that hurt?”

“Nah, you just put your thumbs on the sides of the bricks!”

Tuesday 16 August 2011

All In All, Not A Bad Day

My buddy Bill and I had decided to go to Banff today and after a good deal of milling around, having breakfast and collecting all of the necessities for a trip into the wilderness (cameras, binoculars which weren’t used, gum, sunglasses and travel mugs filled with coffee) we set off at the crack of noon. No sense getting nucking futs about it.

The drive was beautiful and you seem to drop all of your city woes along the way. Well, I imagine you would if you had any city woes. You drive from flat prairie through the foothills and finally into the mountains. Along the way you go up Scott Lake Hill which I have heard is the highest point on the Trans Canada Highway at 4626 feet above sea level. I am going to call bullshit on this fact, because I have driven to Vancouver and some of those roads are so high that your ears bleed! Sure, that could have been Louise that caused it, but I am going with the altitude.

We stopped at the Husky just outside of Canmore because you can buy a park pass at a discount and being the frugal sort, what else would I do? You know that banjo playing kid from the movie “Deliverance”, well he is still alive and he works at the Husky just outside of Canmore. Fucking idiot! That is another story for another time.

On to Banff and the drive up Mount Norquay to the lookout. It is very beautiful as the whole valley is laid out for you to see and it isn’t steep enough for you to push someone off of the retaining wall and kill them. That is another story for another time.

We then went to the townsite and went to park in the parkade. Believe it or not it took about ten minutes to get up the first ramp because some idiot was trying to back into the first parking stall and if they had ever driven before, I will eat a “bearclaw”. Worst case scenario I get to eat a bearclaw. If you can remember the Austin Powers movie where he is trying to turn the electric cart around in a tunnel you will get the idea. It was kind of funny, and would have been even funnier if I didn’t need to find a bathroom ASAP.

I knew there is a washroom at the park headquarters so that is where we headed first. Of course the bathrooms were closed due to construction. Wouldn’t it make more sense to close the bathrooms in the slow season? Nuckin’ futs! Luckily, being a man there was another option. “I think that I will never see a bathroom as lovely as a tree”!

We did the obligatory up and down Banff Avenue and stopped for lunch at a local Scottish restaurant. Did you know that there isn’t a TD/Canada Trust in Banff? I asked Bill why he would have an account at a bank that didn’t have any branches? You wouldn’t believe the foul words that can come out of that man’s mouth. We toured the Banff Springs Hotel and didn’t get kicked out! We even took all of the pictures that we could carry.

The last stop was the Bow Falls. It was and is a lovely place, even with all of the people. Oh, on the way back to Calgary we stopped in Canmore and wandered like the tourists that we were today.

All in all, not a bad day...

Monday 15 August 2011

My Buddy Bill

My buddy Bill is visiting from Edmonton. We lived together many years ago and have kept in touch over the years. It is always nice to see him and catch up on everything that is going on in his life. Well, I don’t want to know everything, in fact other than general health and wealth questions I would prefer not to know the dirty little secrets. “Dirty” secrets I am up for, but know what I mean.

He spent the past week at Payne Lake which is in southern Alberta about and hour or so from Waterton Lake. Yeah, I have never heard of it either, but Bill assures me that it is a great spot to camp and he even caught a fish. I think it was a trout, but in the picture it looked more like a minnow. Okay, he is going to be pissed if he reads this. It was at least as big as the worm that he used for bait. Yep, still pissed!

Bill spent the week fishing (?) and hiking; they did some climbing and generally had a wonderful relaxing time. My problem is that now I have to compete with Alberta’s pristine wilderness and what is arguably some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. I am pretty much a drag when it is just me, but now I need to show Bill a moderately good time, so that he will have fond memories of his 2011 August vacation.

I like to hit second hand stores, reading and watching TV, and drinking coffee and solving the world problems. I am currently making a braided rag rug. God, I think I just dozed off writing that! You see my challenge. Today we went down to Record Land and wormed our way through the narrow aisles filled with CD’s, records, DVD’s, books, cassette tapes and even 8-track tapes. I can spend hours in there! Not only because it is a fascinating place, but also because I get lost and it takes that long to find the exit.
We also went to an army surplus store and looked at clothes and sundry military equipment that we are about 40 years too old to wear. Neat stuff though!

We stopped for coffee at my favourite Tim’s and when we got home I made a meatloaf for dinner and washed the dishes. I know, on the excitement scale from one to ten, one being the least exciting and 10 being out of this world, today would rate “shitty, bordering on “what the hell were you thinking?”” God helped this evening with a little bit of thunder and a full moon later on.
I guess that my problem is that I have never really been a tourist in Calgary. I am sure that it is a city with many fine and fun things to do, but for the life of me I can’t think of any. So, I will do what most Calgarians do when faced with the same problem...I am going to leave the city. Yep, look out Banff, here we come!
We will take that 1 1/2hour drive and walk the mean streets of Canada’s summer playground which has a view of pristine wilderness and what is arguably some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. I just love to go in and out of the candy, Christmas, ski/hiking/biking, clothing and book stores. Unfortunately, I don’t think Bill likes this as much as I do. We will probably hit the Banff Springs hotel (fantastic place) and check out the hoodoos and the original hot springs. It is hard not to have a good time in Banff. It should be fun.

I have Tornado on Wednesday, so that will limit the fun factor, but we will do what we can. Perhaps I will have an epiphany tonight while I sleep. Sounds like that could be a fancy word for wet dream, but that word is actually Spermatorrhea. See, if you read this on a regular basis you will learn something. Nothing useful of course, but learn it you will. Sweet dreams all...

Sunday 14 August 2011

It Was Called Pong and It Changed The World...

I was reminiscing today about computer games. It has been an interesting journey that the games and I have taken over the years.

Firstly, I should mention that as a general rule I suck at games! Most especially if it takes any kind of hand-eye co-ordination, with the possible exception of Gottlieb’s Pinball Arcade. Great program, I highly recommend it. It is actually six or seven games that cover the very first coin operated game to more or less the present day pinball game. I would say that I will send you a copy if you wanted one, but you and I both know that is not only morally wrong, but actually illegal.

I wonder how software pirates dress? Do you think they have tricorn hats, long overcoats, thigh high boots, a sword and scabbard and pantaloons? Wait a minute! That sounds like a dominatrix. That is possible I suppose, kind of erotic too.

The first computer game that I ever owned, was oh so much more than fantastic! You and your opponent would each control a paddle that you could move up and down in order to stop a white ball on the black background that would not only bounce off of your paddle, but off of the top and bottom of the screen. Gee, when you describe the game it sounds pretty lame. We would play this for hours. I will admit that there wasn’t a lot on the TV at the time and compared to board games, this was too cool.

The next game system that I had was an Atari consol. You would put different cartridges in and could play many different games from Space Invaders to Millipede and Pac-Man. I said that I bought these for the kids, but that was a lie. They were really good at them though and I pretty much sucked! I do credit the Atari system with my flexibility in my right wrist and hand. You see I put a circular saw into my wrist (not intentionally) and while I was off of work, healing, I would play these games for hours. The continual movement of the joystick helped to strengthen my wrist. I have pretty much full mobility and just a touch of numbness from time to time.

The Commodore 64 brought my family and myself into the computer age. We could play games like Skateboard Paperboy, Skiing, etc but also use it to type letters and reports. I still preferred to hand write letters, and letter carriers didn’t have to write reports. I could have if I wanted to though. The kids were older by now and although there were games on it I didn’t get much opportunity to use the machine at all. Still pretty cool though.

We went from one computer to the next and when I bought each one I couldn’t imagine ever needing more memory. The games and programs became more and more complex and ate up giga bytes like they were smarties at a fat camp.

My current computer has 500 giga bytes with an expansion slot for a terra-byte or more of memory. There are amazing games that you can download from the internet, but these days I play a lot of Spongebob games with my grandson.

I play them, because he doesn’t quite have the motor control. That will soon change and he won’t need his Poppa to help him play games. In fact, I would imagine that he will roll his eyes when I tell him about how you and your opponent would each control a paddle that you could move up and down in order to stop a white ball on the black background that would not only bounce off of your paddle, but off of the top and bottom of the screen. It was called Pong and it changed the world...