Tuesday 31 July 2012

Breakfast Tea With a God

I tend to be an early riser. It isn’t something that I am proud of, or something that I am ashamed of. That is just the way it is.

It is possible that it is a genetic mutation. My grandmother was an early riser, but then raising three kids during the Depression would keep you pretty busy. I am not sure there would be enough hours in the day for you to get all of the work done. She would have to get the kids up, dressed, fed and out to school in the morning, get herself ready for work, work all day and come home to make supper, do the housework, laundry, help the kids with homework, do the gardening and entertain the kids until bed time. This is also before all of those handy electronic toys that make our lives so much more tolerable. Is it any wonder the woman would get up early?

I can remember Saturday and Sunday morning at the cottage waking up to Gram banging two pots together and yelling “Time to wake up! Half the day is gone!” When my family stumbled out of bed, we discovered it was 7:00 AM. The crazy old broad had been up since 4:30 or 5:00.

I think I wake up early because I did so for most of my adult working life. It seems that for some unexplained reason, the Post Office felt it was important for the customers to get their mail as early as possible. We wouldn’t want those bills and ad mail being late now would we? I came to appreciate the smell and look of early mornings. It was almost as if you had the world to yourself for those few hours when everyone else was snuggled up in their beds. There were a number of occupations that were going to work at about the same time of day, and we would all give each other that nod of approval when passing each other.

I can remember staying with a couple of friends in Toronto once, and one morning I got up, made myself a cup of tea and was reading my book thinking I was alone in the house. John came down the stairs at about 8:00 AM and I thought how nice that he took today off to spend the day with me. It was totally uncalled for and unexpected, but nice. It turns out that he didn’t start work until 9:00 and this was his normal routine. We had a nice chat while he had his went through his morning routine and I waved goodbye like the dutiful homemaker when he left for work. I went back to my second cup of tea and started reading my book again when Karen came down the stairs. It was about 9:00 and I figured that she must have had today off of work. You would think I would be used to being wrong by now, but it took me by surprise when she told me that she didn’t start work till 9:30 or 10:00AM. What?

It isn’t my fault and I am not totally stupid, but as God is my witness I just assumed that everyone started work at 6:30 or 7:00. Well, at least everyone that I knew did. When Karen left for work I couldn’t get comfortable, I kept my eye on the stairs wondering who or what might make their way down to share a cup of tea. There are some odd Gods and Goddesses in that house and although I am not averse to having breakfast tea with a God, I was a little embarrassed that I was reading a trashy Sci-fi book instead of some mind expanding treatise on self improvement.

This blog started to be about the birds that were feasting on the back lawn after I had watered this afternoon and how they got to sleep in and still have a full belly. You know, it turns out that we had quite a rainstorm this evening and I didn’t even have to water the lawn at all. I guess because of the storm, the birds will get their fill first thing in the morning and by afternoon I will be washing the remnants of their breakfast off of the lawn chairs. I might suggest to the worms that are left tomorrow (late morning) that getting up early for them might not be the smartest thing to do. I doubt they will listen because some grandma worm will be beating a couple of pots together at 7:00AM yelling “Time to wake up! Half the day is gone!”

Monday 30 July 2012

Eating Bananas and Tossing Shit

Three days ago I decided that I should once again start keeping a journal. Journal seems so much more grown up than Diary, but the truth is even though I call it a journal; in my mind it is my diary.

I was really good for two days, and then today came by and I just forgot about it until now. If I didn’t like myself so much, I would punish myself. Maybe I should ground myself to my room. I could sleep and read and surf the net on the iPad, but that would be more of a reward than anything else. I still have time; it isn’t written that it needs to be a long entry, just a quick summation of the day’s events. In fact, so far nothing is written. I can even leave stuff out since I am the only one that reads it and if future generations have a problem with that then they can take a flying leap at a rolling donut.

I have tried to document my life over the years, but it is a hit or miss kind of thing. I do love to read the entries from years gone by and it is almost like reliving those times. Some of the stuff I had completely forgotten. That is really the impetuous for starting again, so that I can document the times that Hurricane and Tornado were cute so that when Arwen and Chris want to kill them as teenagers I will be able to say “Remember when????” They are cute little buggers, but they are getting so that I can’t trust them to tell the whole truth. Hurricane talked me into getting a new game for the iPad when he was over on the weekend and it turns out he is banned from the iPad until September for lying to his mom and dad. “Mom said it would be okay if I…” I remember those days, but no amount of grounding really works. Grounding just punishes the parent.

I kind of think that this blog is sort of like a diary, but I never know what I will write about until I sit down and start writing. Oh…you knew that. Very obvious you say. Hmmmm….

You know, I think I will cut this short and write in the journal. I think I owe it to those future historians that are trying to piece together why our society collapsed. Not that I will be blamed for the collapse, well, I hope not. It wasn’t just me, it was all of those texting and tweeting people who spent their time well…texting and tweeting. It seems somehow wrong that over millions of years, humans evolved opposable thumbs and we choose to send a message in 140 characters or less to the guy sitting across the table from us.

It makes me wish I had stayed in a tree eating bananas and tossing shit.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Sail Off Into Our Dreams

Hurricane came over today wearing his Pirates eye patch and ear ring and it made me think about playing in the water when I was a kid.

Everyone loves to play in water, but sometimes as adults we feel embarrassed to be seen splashing in puddles on the way to work. Some of us ride our bikes as fast as we can towards a puddle and at the last minute lift our legs as the water sprays out both sides. The look of complete abandon fills our face and it is pure joy. Well, until you realize that you misjudged the length of the puddle and the bike slowly coasts to a stop in the deepest part of the puddle. So much for lifting your feet! Still fun though. Who doesn’t love to drive through a puddle with the car and make ten foot waves? That was done to me a couple of times while I was delivering the mail. Kind of a piss off, but if it were raining there was a better than average chance I was soaked to the skin anyways. Oh, the driver was still a bastard but…no, he is just a bastard!

I can remember going to the creek behind my house when I was a kid and spending hours playing in and around a small, stagnant pool of water. We would hop from stone to stone trying to get across the pond, only to find that the stones ran out half way through or the key stone was “tilty”. Sometimes we would place new stones to make it easier to cross, and sometimes, some other “mystery” kids would have done it. We never ran into anyone else, but there were indications that we were not alone. Sometimes there would be the remnants of a fire, or some wood that wasn’t there the week before. I am sure they wondered the same thing, but we never wasted too much time on speculation.

I can remember an old door that became our pirate ship. It was supported on three or four stones, but in our minds it was floating across the ocean. We would always slip and slide from side to side, eventually falling in and getting a “soaker”. In the springtime when the water was truly high, our “ship” might actually float and instead of just getting a soaker we would get completely soaked from head to feet. God, we had a lot of fun in that pond.
We learned about biology there. We didn’t call it that, but we watched tadpoles grow into tiny frogs and then into larger frogs that we would try to catch, with varying levels of success. We would lie by the side of the pond and watch the clouds trying to find pictures of dragons, airplanes, horses and sometimes people. We would catch butterflies in a jar filled with grass and they would eventually die of course. Now I realize that being in a sealed jar sitting in the noonday sun would have cooked them pretty quickly. I was always a little afraid of dragonflies, because of the four wings and large eyes I guess. They were also next to impossible to catch.
Every time that I came home from one of these excursions, I would get in trouble from my mom. She would take one look at the wet, muddy and sometimes torn clothes and know that I had been down at the creek. She would say “I told you never to go there! Don’t you know where that water comes from? The sewer! You were playing in other peoples poop! Do you want to get sick? Do you want to get polio? Your uncle Bill had polio when he was a little boy and he can’t use his hand or walk properly! Stay away from there or ….” It kept on and on like that. I would look sad and maybe even cry, but the next time the sun was high in the sky and the crickets called my name, I would meet my buddies down at the creek and sail off into our dreams…


I wonder if I am finally running out of things to say? Those that know me are laughing right now and those that don’t know me, should be. I find that the last couple of days I have put off writing the blog till the last minute and my heart hasn’t been in it. I will admit that I have been pretty busy lately and awfully tired which no doubt has an effect. Tonight is no different.

I still need to have a shower to wash the stink of work off of myself and make sure that I am shiny and clean for when the Sandman comes to visit. Oh yeah, I have to write a blog as well. I just can’t put it off any longer, so here goes nothing.

When did beach volleyball become and Olympic sport? Don’t get me wrong, I am all for pretty girls in bikinis frolicking on the beach, but I am just not sure if it is Olympic material. They are great athletes and of course there is no way that I could do what they do, but I have a vision of what an Olympic sport should be and beach volleyball isn’t it. Neither is bowling, chess, power boating or tug of war. They are all recognized by the IOC however and could be included at some future date.

It seems that interest and saleability are factors in whether a sport makes the Olympics or not. I know that the beach volleyball is popular, but then pole dancing would be too and it would certainly draw a large viewing audience. The athletes would have to be in great shape and demonstrate certain athleticism. We can only wait and hope.

I can’t really get behind rhythmic gymnastics either. I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t believe these girls don’t work and train very hard and what they do is certainly …interesting. I personally don’t feel it’s a good thing to dedicate years of your life and untold thousands of dollars to. I know that as a dad I would have been saying to the kids “What the hell are you going to do, become a professional “ribbon twirler” ?”

I am old fashioned I guess and think that it isn’t a sport worthy of the Olympics unless it was originally based on a war time activity. Running, jumping, riding a bike, rowing, pole vaulting are all ways that I would have tried to get away from the battlefield. Polo and soccer can be traced back to what the victors would do with the heads of a defeated enemy. Archery is a given and so is target shooting or whatever they call it, tossing the javelin and discus also had their birth in battles.

The modern Olympics have more to do with money and status than it does with sport. I will admit that I would pay to watch underdressed women running around a field, any field really, and I wouldn’t pay to see a bunch of sweaty guys pulling on a rope. That’s just me though and who knows, in a few years tug-o-war may stage a comeback. Personally, I am hoping that Korfball is included in the next Olympics. I haven’t a clue what it is, but I just love the name. Maybe you can figure it out… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korfball

Saturday 28 July 2012

They Are All Winners


I can’t believe that I forgot the Olympic opening ceremony was today. I knew they were happening at some level of consciousness, but at the conscious level of consciousness I had forgotten. Oh, I had things that I was doing and my focus went to those things. But really?
I managed to catch the last half hour of the ceremony and what I saw was impressive. They showed clips of the things I had missed, and it looked fantastic. I wonder if anyone thought to record the ceremony. I did see Sir Paul McCartney perform. Is it just me, or does he sound kind of like a guy that sounds kind of like that guy from the Beatles? I know he is about 70 hundred, twenty, forty nine years old (as Hurricane would say), but when I hear Hey Jude, I want to hear it like it has always been. Good!

It isn’t like Paul has changed that much, his hair still hasn’t a hint of grey, his face is a little jowly and there are suitcase size bags under his eyes. When I first saw him tonight, I thought that he looked pretty good, but the more I looked, I saw things that made him look old. I know, he is old, but you should remember that he had a team of people working on him tonight so that he would look his best. That is the best he can look, and although pretty good, I don’t think I would like to see him first thing in the morning. I have a feeling that he wouldn’t like to see me standing at the foot of his bed first thing in the morning either.

Well, I guess that the entire world will be talking about the Olympics for the next couple of weeks. I am not that into sports, but even I will watch a lot of TV in the next few days. I will watch as someone breaks down crying because they came in second in their particular sport. That means that they are the best in their country and the second best in the world. Nothing to cry about. I probably wouldn’t even make the top ten. Maybe I could medal in rhythmic gymnastics or beach volleyball. The drinking on the beach, not the volleyball playing.

I know that none of the athletes will read this and if they did happen to read this they wouldn’t give a shit, but I would like to tell them that I think they are all incredible people and in my books they are all winners.


Thursday 26 July 2012

My Share of Worms

I spent some time today doing something I love to do which I haven’t done for far too long. No, not that, I did some work on Louise’s bike.

I used to do quite a lot of bike mechanic stuff, because with three kids it would have put me in the poor house if I took it in to the shop. There is a relatively shallow learning curve and of course some very specialized tools that make the job do-able. Interestingly, there are actually tools made by the company Specialized. They make bikes and a large assortment of bike gear to go with them. Well, it is interesting to me.
I just cleaned and lubricated the chain, did a quick clean and regreased the bearings on the rear wheel. I should have done all of the bikes in the spring, but I do get lazy. Tomorrow I will do my bike since I had a coffee cancellation. It needs a thorough cleaning, greased bearings on both wheels and maybe…just maybe…new cables. I have three or four bikes that need my attention, but only my primary cycle will get the attention. Maybe it will be next week for the others.

I have come to love the smell of the lube and grease and the work is kind of like an oily meditation. When the kids were home there was always something that needed to be done on one bike or another. It is possible that the reason they needed so much work is because I worked on them. It was also a way to spend some time by myself, doing something I was pretty good at and listening to the radio. Lately, I don’t do enough work often enough to remember those important little things, like how to adjust the rear derailleur. Is it the “H” screw to go up a sprocket or the “L” screw?

Thankfully, I have more than a few books on the subject. There is also the internet, but it was a pain to go into the house for every little thing and check the computer. I guess I could use the iPad, but I would have to protect it from the greasy fingers somehow. To me, the cycling bible is “Effective Cycling” by John Forrester. There are repair and how to sections to the book, but he is also an advocate for cycling as a whole and I find that his ideas just make a lot of sense. Here is his web site if you are at all interested in effective cycling. http://www.johnforester.com/
John Forrester’s father was quite a famous writer. He wrote the Horatio Hornblower books and many of his stories were made into movies. The most famous one is “The African Queen”. He was quite a prolific author and his books are a good read, especially the Hornblower series. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._S._Forester
Well, I had best get to bed early if I want to get my share of worms.

Wednesday 25 July 2012


I was talking to my neighbour who just happens to be a retired city detective today standing by the garbage bin. The garbage bin isn’t important to the story, it was just there and so were we. I did confess to Stan that I put some garbage in his bin this last garbage day. That is another thing that has no impact on the story. While I am talking about things that aren’t important, I might as well mention that both Stan and I hated our old garbage man. We both didn’t like him for the same reason, but I think my dislike was greater than Stan’s. It seems that this garbage man (and he was trash) didn’t like the metal cans that we used to have. He would bang the can on the edge of the truck and put a big dent in it. Every garbage day I would pick up the dented can and hammer it back out for the next week. It turns out that Stan would do the same thing. I knew there was something I liked about Stan.

Well, eventually the garbage guy tossed our lovely metal cans in his truck and we both called to complain. The city offered to buy us new cans, but the fun had gone out of it and they would have given us pretty new plastic cans. Happily, the city went to the garbage bin and it is my hope that our trash guy was one of the hundred or so that were laid off. Tough on the other 99 though.

So, Stan and I were talking about how the city seems like it is becoming more crime ridden than it was. The police seem to only be interested in gangs and the drugs and violence they generate. I don’t doubt that it is a problem, but it is the disease, not the symptom. I should preface this by saying that everything I say is based on my observation and more than likely has no basis in the reality of crime prevention.

I think it begins with the little things. Things like running a yellow light, coasting through a stop sign when no one is there, “sampling” the grapes/cookies/chips at the store and not paying for them. People seem to me to think of themselves to the exclusion of everyone else. It is OK to keep the money when the teller makes a mistake, because you spend a lot of money in this store. Your car needs $1500 dollars worth of repairs and you sell it without revealing the problem. I could go on and on.

I am guilty of some of these little crimes, but I do try to follow the laws as written. I guess part of the problem is that some laws are just unenforceable for the most part unless you want the 1984 police state. You can’t break the little laws! It really does lead to breaking bigger laws and human beings can justify almost anything. I know a guy that would lie and cheat to get a “deal” and although technically legal, what he did was ethically and morally wrong. One day I was talking to this guy and he told me that his one son was in prison and he couldn’t figure out why this particular boy went bad. I didn’t bother to tell him that his boy had learned that life should owe him a living at his father’s knee.

Little lies aren’t the same thing as white lies. White lies are said to make someone feel good, and little lies are said to justify what you just did. You know what you did was wrong, and so does everyone else, but we have become used to it. The pendulum will swing back again some day and we will once again wait to cross the street when there are no cars coming, we will drive the speed limit, we won’t pour oil and paint into the sewer and we will treat people like we would like them to treat us.

Have a fun night and BE GOOD!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Clipping The Hair From a Dog’s Penis

Instead of writing the blog tonight, I got caught up in “America’s Got Talent”. Boy do they ever have talent! I think that for the most part, the acts that have gotten this far will definitely be able to pursue their dreams. They can’t all win the million bucks and headline a show in Vegas, but all of the acts have received an amazing amount of exposure and the agents that are watching will be courting these acts for their own shows. Good for them! I wish them all well.

I will make this short tonight because I am tired and really have little to say.

The only thing of note that I did today was to wash Buster. He is one of those dogs that don’t particularly like getting his feet wet, let alone his whole body. It is a good thing that he wasn’t born a retriever or his parents would have been so ashamed. That isn’t as big a deal as it is with humans, because his dad is a bastard and his mom is a bitch. If he would lick his fur like a cat, he could have avoided the bath, but there is only one area on his body that he likes to lick. I don’t blame him, and truthfully I am a little jealous, but it makes me feel dirty when I watch him.

I have tried to get him to wear deodorant but he is very reluctant. I even offered him mine, but he likes the roll on which you can’t get any more and all I have is the stick. He doesn’t like to be sprayed with Fabreeze and he won’t sit outside in a rainstorm, so a bath it is.

He was pretty well behaved and put up with the indignity pretty well. Okay, he didn’t have much of a choice since I out weigh him about 20 to 1. I lathered him up and then rinsed him off. I figured that I would wrap him in a towel and take him outside where he can shake till he dries himself off. Just before we got outside the little bastard shook and basically soaked me. Great, now we both smell like wet dog! He ran around and shook and ran and shook and ran and shook, until he wasn’t dripping any more. I attempted to dry him with the hair dryer, but I guess Buster figures getting pushed around by me once was more than enough.

Later I decided to trim the hair around his penis. It gets long and matted (due to the licking I suppose) and the hair just holds the urine when he pees. I have no shame, because I am the one that carries his shit around every morning. I got him on his back on my lap and although he struggled at first, he calmed right down when he realized I had a pair of scissors by his “willy wonka”. The last time some guy had scissors down their, he lost his testicles and I am sure he didn’t want to lose what was left. When I was done, he jumped off of my lap and ran outside.

I have to admit that it was more than a little weird clipping the hair from a dog’s penis.

Monday 23 July 2012

I Had Better Get Going

Last week at my daughters place over dinner, Hurricane asked "Mommy....can I get an eye patch one day?"
I am not sure where that would even come from, but I wouldn’t mind having an eye patch either. I actually did have an eye patch when I was a little kid, but it was due to sand or a finger in the eye I think. It might have even been an optometrist’s way to strengthen the weak eye by covering the strong one. Interesting theory, but looking back, I have the feeling I was playing the part of the guinea pig and the doctor was Dr. Frankenstein.

It wasn’t even a cool eye patch! It was flesh coloured plastic (assuming the flesh you are talking about was on Barbie) and had a lot of holes in it. I guess that is so my eye could breathe. It was over a folded wad of gauze which was taped on my face over that good eye. It really looked stupid. Well, I think it looked stupid, but remember I was looking through a “lazy” eye that was now doing the work of two good eyes. I am pretty sure the doc didn’t think this through.

After a while, I can remember trying to colour it black with a felt marker, but instead of black it turned kind of a greeny, puke grey. My idea had been that if I was going to wear an eye patch, then at least I should look tough like a pirate. Not only did I not look tough, I looked even dumber than I had before colouring the patch. When I asked for another patch, mom and dad told me that patches didn’t grow on trees. Well Fuck, I know that! I wasn’t asking them to find a magical “Patch” tree which would most likely grow beside the “Money” tree dad always talked about, I just wanted them to go and get me another patch for my lazy god damned eye!

It’s possible they wanted me to look stupid. I didn’t get another patch of course and if I remember correctly, I lied to the doctor the next time I saw him and said everything was good in my life, eye-wise. I can probably trace a lifetime of wearing glasses to that lie. Perfect!

Of course Hurricanes mom didn’t get him an eye patch and I haven’t had the opportunity so far this week. I might take a trip to the costume store tomorrow, or maybe I can make one out of some pieces of leather I have in the basement.

There is an interesting side note to the whole eye patch episode. This week Hurricane is at a sailing camp. He is learning to sail! That means he could one day be a pirate. I had better get going on that eye patch!

Slap Around An Elf

Why is it that the very moment that you need something, that is the precise time that it becomes invisible? Now, I don’t actually believe that it really does become invisible, which would be silly. It would go a long way to explain why I have trouble finding things.

The way that I see invisibility (or don’t see it actually) is that it could be many things. To be invisible, an object has to allow all light to travel through without any particles reflecting off of it at all. There are many instances of transparency, but there are no objects in nature that are totally transparent. Well, none that we can see anyways.

Personally I think the definition should encompass objects that blend in to their surroundings. There are an assortment of plant and animals that have developed a natural camouflage which allows them to blend into the surroundings so that they won’t be eaten. These are usually pretty small creatures, because the very large and vicious animals don’t really need to hide. I think I would be able to see an elephant in the living room no matter how well he was camouflaged. Mind you, if it were really well done I don’t suppose I would know one way or the other.
You can start getting science fictiony and bring on the whole alternate dimension thing. If a being could freely travel from one dimension to the other instantaneously then he would in fact disappear or become invisible. He would still be visible in the other dimension, but invisible in this one. It could be a problem if he were to appear in front of a pride of very hungry dimension 2 lions. Oh, he would disappear for sure, but not in a good way. Well, unless you were one of the hungry lions.
I have noticed that you can actually be invisible in a crowd. You need to be plain and it helps to have someone very beautiful or famous on the other side of the room to draw everyone’s attention. We don’t notice service people as a rule, they blend in with the landscape after a while, and I have noticed that whenever I need a sales associate in the Home Hardware they all seem to disappear. I had a supervisor that could disappear whenever you had a safety concern or needed any kind of decision what so ever. Thanks Kemmner.
I don’t want to get into the elves, fairies and leprechauns, mainly because they are mean, vindictive little bastards. You slap around an elf for fun, pull the wings off of a couple of fairies or steal a leprechaun’s pot of gold and you’d think the world was coming to an end. Not that I ever did any of those things, but I know a guy… I wonder if one of those little pricks has hidden that pay stub I am looking for? Time to slap around an elf or two I guess.

Saturday 21 July 2012


I am having a hard time thinking of what to write about tonight. I spent a good part of the day helping Brendan fix the list of things on his garage that the anal building inspector nitpicked.
 Head Up Your Ass
Sure, he is correct, but I don’t think there is any chance that some random guy walking on the roof will step on that one weak area near the ridgeline; possibly trip, causing himself to fall and slide down the length of the roof and ultimately plunge to the ground. The way I see it is that some strange guy would be up to no good, perched on top of Brendan’s garage. If he falls and breaks a leg/back/neck, then good! Stay the fuck off of other people’s roofs. (“Roofs” is the acceptable norm, but I like “rooves”, it just seems righter (?) ).
One of the other things Mister Head-Up-His-Ass was worried about were these “H” clips that are used to hold the roof sheathing stable and in place. One was about six inches off centre and a couple had an end buried in the sheathing. We had to brace these areas with a 2X4. So, these little freakin’ “H” clips might cause a strength issue on the roof. I guess the Roof trusses are just there for show. Once again, who cares if the peeping Tom slips and falls to his death?

Mister HUHA also wanted a bigger gap between the wall sheets. That was an easy fix, just take the skill saw and cut entirely around the building. We also needed to put the ventilation in, I suppose he was worried that Brendan might try to suffocate himself in the garage if it isn’t vented properly. That big 7’ by 16’ hole in the one end might let some of the carbon monoxide out. He didn’t even mention how the garage overhang, encroaches onto the city alleyway which is what we were really worried about. I figured the guy would tell us that we needed to cut 18 inches off of the overhang. That would have been a tough fix.

Anyways, I am really tired and can’t think of anything to write about. Last week I was so tired writing the blog that I actually fell face first onto the keyboard…twice. That was tired! I remember when the kids were babies and they would fall asleep into their mush. It is pretty cute when a baby does it, and I am sure we have a picture of it somewhere. Not too cute when a 59 year old guy does the same thing.

Tomorrow is another day and so far I have nothing scheduled that will tire me out. There is a shit pile of gardening that needs doing. Ahhh…Shit! 

Friday 20 July 2012

One of the Lesser Disciples

I was just looking at facebook and a friend was talking about why we say “He zigged when he should have zagged” and why not “he zagged when he should have zigged”. It then deteriorated into something about why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was attached to the punk rocker. My friend had no idea what that means or really any desire to ever find out.
The Zig and Zag started me to thinking about ZigZag cigarette papers. To be fair, they weren’t very good for cigarettes, but excellent for rolling joints, or so I have heard. Now that I think about it, I have spent a good deal of time rolling cigarettes in my life and it is a skill that I have no use for anymore. I suppose that it is a lot like riding a bike or falling off of a log, and I would pick it up again if I had to.

There was a time when I had very little disposable cash and in order to preserve more of it, I would roll my own cigarettes. It never occurred to me at the time that I could just stop smoking and save money that way. Just as well, because without a cigarette in my mouth, how would I be cool? I was never very much into the fancy foreign papers; I preferred Export papers and Export tobacco. There was a certain symmetry to it. I got very good at rolling smokes. I could roll in the wind, rain, snow, one handed (not very well), with a machine, under the desk in Mr. Weatherhead’s last period history class. I could roll while we walked along the street, but it always turned out better if you could focus on the task at hand.

I went out with a lovely girl that was definitely superior to me in every way. She would read two or three books a day to my one (if I was lucky), she had a “fuck ‘em  if they don’t like it” attitude which I just adored. She was really smart, well, except for the going out with me thing. She dumped me pretty quickly, so I guess I was a lapse in judgement.
She defended her mother from her dad. I just happened to come over to her place just after she had choked her dad and threatened to kill him if he touched her mom again. There was simply no way that I could respond to a situation like that. We went for a walk and she was just as mad at her mom as she was at her dad for putting her in that situation. She always carried a can of Export tobacco with her and would sit on the curb every now and then to roll a cigarette and smoke it. I told her that she could smoke and walk at the same time, thinking rather smugly that not everyone could roll as well as I did.  She looked at me like I was a barbarian and let me know that you can smoke in public, but a lady always smokes sitting down. I couldn’t argue with her, she was quite a lady.
When smoking grass, it seemed to enhance the experience for me if I used more exotic brands of papers. Big Bambu, ZigZag, Vogue and any number of different types of papers you could get from Head Shops on Yonge Street. I remember a paper that was liquorice flavoured and once I had papers made from hemp. There was a time when we had dope, but no papers. What to do? What to do? I don’t know what you would do, but I used some paper from one of those little bibles they used to give you in grade school. Kind of sounds sacrilegious forty years later, but at the time it was a genius solution to a thorny problem. In case you are interested, Bible paper makes really good rolling paper, but I would suggest using the writings of one of the lesser disciples.  

Thursday 19 July 2012

Between You and Me

Sometimes, it is the little, inconsequential things in life that are the most telling when it comes to discovering who you really are.

This next bit has nothing to do with the blog tonight, but the word “inconsequential” jogged my memory and I started to giggle. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTJj4wbmAhk I just can’t imagine the kind of sick mind that comes up with this stuff.

Ten months ago there was a coupon for $120 off of a windshield installation. I am one of those guys that love to save money, and $120 saved, is $120 in the bank. If you aren’t taking advantage of the online coupons deals like Groupon http://www.groupon.com, or Dealfind http://www.dealfind.com/, you are missing some impressive savings. It would be even better if I had a lot of unwanted body hair, or needed a shapeware body suit, desired whiter teeth while eating at one of the many fine restaurants that have coupons. We took advantage of the Reef and Beef deal and saved about $50.
So, I had the windshield replaced on Tuesday and the guy said to take the tape off on Thursday morning. Yes, I waited about 10 months before using the coupon, because you may as well replace a really damaged windshield as opposed to a moderately damaged one. Just my luck, no stones flew into the windshield at high speed and the crack didn’t get any longer. What the hell, when you want something bad to happen it doesn’t. I guess it’s the same as when I was in school and hoped to be kidnapped on the way to my math exam. I had to wait for about an hour and a half, but I had my KOBO and I got to watch all of the other people being uncomfortable having a bearded guy pretending to read while secretly watching them. I even gave my seat to a mom and her young daughter. That should buy me a little good karma.
I didn’t get up early enough to take the tape off this morning and I wondered all day if something awful would happen to the windshield because I was late. Okay, the truth is that I forgot all about it until about 8:30 tonight. There was black duct tape on three sides of the front window. I started to take it off, and it came off pretty easily. I was looking at this pristine piece of black duct tape and started to think that I don’t have any black duct tape, just grey/silver. There wasn’t too much, just about seven feet or so, but if you are like me then seven feet of duck tape should last for months. More because I’m not likely to use the good black stuff just anywhere. Yep, I found a stick and wound the tape around it very carefully. Wouldn’t you know, the last piece got all twisted like one of those old time fly traps that I would walk into all the time when I was a kid. I managed to untangle the tape and put it on the workbench knowing that I saved even more.
The point that I am trying to make is, that seven feet of tape shows me just how cheap I can be. There is a good chance that I will never use it or even see it again. It’s a very cluttered workbench. It isn’t a bad thing to be frugal; you just have to realize that not everyone shares your frugality. Like your wife or friends. Let’s just keep this between you and me.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Mosquito Heads On Tiny Little Spikes

I am doing a little home reno, and on one of my many breaks I came out to see what Louise was up to. She looked at me and said “Oh my God! What did you do to your arm?”

I looked at my arm and saw that there was a line of blood dripping down it in a kind of cool looking lightning bolt pattern. If I were to get a tattoo, it would be cool to have one that looked like you had just been stabbed. I told her that I had no idea what I did, but went to wash the blood off. How is it that I didn’t even feel this cut, but when I get a mosquito bite or a paper cut I feel the need to call 911? I am beginning to think that I am something of a whiner. I don’t want anyone to worry, but I should be all right. It wouldn’t be out of line to ask everyone to go and donate a pint or two of blood just in case. I take Type O negative if you don’t mind.

We have a few mosquitos in the house which just drives me nuts. I no longer have the proper hand to eye coordination to smash to little beggars. That is an aspect of getting older that I had never considered. I thought that I could continue to kill the little blood suckers until the day I died. Kind of like a poor man’s Van Helsing. I have taken my share of them over the years, but it didn’t even make a dent in their numbers.

 I guess I’m not over the hill quite yet. There is one less mosquito in the world tonight, and you have me to thank for it.

I can remember as a kid in my grandmother’s cottage trying to get to sleep while avoiding the damned mosquitos. They would buzzzz in your ear just when you thought that they were attacking your brother tonight. You could hide under the blankets, but it was summer in southern Ontario and there is no way I was going to be covered in that heat. I didn’t know what it was that attracted them; I thought that perhaps it was ear wax. Now that I am older and have access to the internet, it turns out that pretty much everything attracts them, things like CO2, lactic acid, body heat, moisture, movement, colour and sound and probably other things that I didn’t bother to read about. WTF?

When I am outside, I just slather on the Deet and although I stink of Deet, not a mosquito bothers me. I suppose the stuff is carcinogenic or will make your penis shrivel and drop off, but in my mind it is worth the sacrifice. I had an uncle that worked in the woods and was never bothered by them. He was an uncle by marriage, so there was no way I could have inherited those desirable genes. I liked Uncle Bill, but I could never watch him work for very long which was horrible because he used chain saws, bull dozers and tractors when he worked. Those are all the things little kids love to watch.

I have this hatred for mosquitos and I didn’t think it could get any stronger. I was wrong. It turns out that Hurricane and Tornado are allergic to mosquito bites and will really react badly. Poor little guys! I think there is only one thing to do. Declare war! This is a formal declaration of war between me and Culiseta longiareolata. Don’t be surprised if when you come to my house you see hundreds of mosquito heads on tiny little spikes. 

Tuesday 17 July 2012

You Are Getting Blocked

You know, some days it just doesn’t pay to read the social media. I am a big fan of complaining about, well, pretty much everything, but that is really all it is, complaining.

There are situations and events that I feel would be better organized by the monkeys at the zoo, than the politicians or business leaders. I will often make a suggestion either here in the blog or to my many coffee buddies and pretty much anyone that will listen. It is safe to make these suggestions, because in my heart of hearts I know they won’t be listened to. God forbid someone let me make life and death decisions!

My problem and the problem of pretty much everyone that I know with an opinion is that we are so far down the food chain, we just don’t have the large picture. We see one small aspect of any given situation and we base our opinions and solutions on a small fraction of that problem. The more aspects of the problem that you become aware of, the more complex the problem becomes. That is why we pay our politicians and business leaders the big bucks and give them what seems like unlimited power over us. They have to process all of the different factors and then try and make a decision that will help the most people while angering the fewest.

I love the internet, because it is an unlimited source of learning and entertainment. I get different versions of the news (read the English language version of PRAVDA http://english.pravda.ru/ ), more jokes and funny videos than I could possibly go through in a lifetime, recipes by the millions, and advice on how to repair…everything, also a way to fill some of the hours between seeing Hurricane and Tornado. I can travel the world without leaving my house. I can watch an eagles nest http://www.hancockwildlife.org/index.php?topic=White-Rock-Eagle1#CloseUp , or the beach at Waikiki http://www.seehawaiilive.com/oahu/waikiki-resorts  .

What I don’t love is the ability of the ignorant to spout nonsense as if it is truth. Particularly on Facebook. Someone will give an over simplified solution to a very complex problem and because everyone that reads this verbal diarrhea is a “friend”, they are reluctant to tell her or him what a colossal ass they are. I am being kind. I guess the good (?) thing is that a large portion of their friends are just as ignorant as they are and it can make for hilarious reading. Well, it is funny until you realize that these fucking morons are raising children, making business decisions and are even allowed to vote. I guess that answers my question of how the Conservatives got elected…twice!
I am not going to say anything to any of these fucking morons, but if I were to say anything it would be “Stop being such a fucking moron and read a fucking book or the paper. I know they have a newspaper for idiots, it’s called The Sun.”

Well, go back to your reality TV and see if you can some up with something even dumber for your moron friends to talk and tweet about tomorrow. I’ve had it, you are getting blocked!!!!!

Monday 16 July 2012

Dark Windows, Loud Music and Speed

I was walking to the library today when some young person in a non descript car like a Fiesta or Capri “burnt” rubber going through the three way stop and kept accelerating up the street. What a freakin’ dickhead!

Just so you know and don’t worry, I just go to the library in order to look smart.

The problem is that most of the people I see at the library don’t really look that smart. There are those people that are trying to learn how to use a computer and are just having the most difficult time. There are the kids running around chasing each other while the mom is checking her text messages totally oblivious to what her kids are up to. There is the older couple that are checking out about fifty DVD’s and you just know that no way will they watch them all. I suspect they just want a reason to go out in public. There are the mentally disabled people and their care givers that sit in various chairs throughout the building screaming “ I KNOW…I DON’T…YOU NEVER…AAAHHHHHH!”. There are the high school kids sitting at a table texting to each other and laughing every now and then. There are the librarians who are there making sense out of this madness.

You know, maybe if I want to look smart I should stay away from the library.

So, anyways, what is it about young men that make them want to get a compact car, black out the windows, play shitty music really loud and put their foot right to the floor?

I would be a lot more impressed if they were driving a silver Aston Martin along winding roads just outside of Monaco, while being chased by guys on motorcycles with machine guns. They just seem pathetic in the little wind up versions of a real car. Save you money boys. The girls just think you are stupid to be wasting money on your car when you could be buying them pretty things.

Why black out the windows? What are you doing in the front seat of the car that you don’t want seen? Perhaps they are embarrassed about how shitty the car looks inside or maybe they just don’t want anyone to see the Justin Bieber CD’s on the front seat. I had a friend whose son had received seventeen $85 tickets because his windows were blacked out, but he refused to take it off because the cops had no right to know what he was doing in his own car. I never did find out what he was doing other than being a jackass.

What is with that shitty hip-hop music they play at top volume? Don’t these middle class white kids know that most of the songs are about killing middle class white kids? Whenever you see these kids, they talk, dress and act as if they lived in the ghetto. The ghetto kids would do anything (even play shit music) to get out and live the American dream. I can’t say for sure, but I would bet that the girls don’t get all wispy when they hear a car racing down the street with the sounds of angry black men promising to “Kill the Man!”

I guess being stupid is a right of passage of sorts. Maybe pressing your foot down as hard as you can on the accelerator is really brave. Maybe? It is just since the early 1900’s that humans have been able to go really fast and I don’t think we are genetically or evolutionarily prepared for speed. I guess if we manage to live for another ten thousand years we should be able to handle dark windows, loud music and speed.

Sunday 15 July 2012

A Job Well Done…ish

I was talking to a friend in Toronto today and during the conversation I mentioned some work that I had done around the house and with my son on his garage. We talked of many things and as always I was reluctant to let them go, but due to the two hour time difference, I was keeping them up or just plain pestering them. I never know when or how to end a phone conversation. I suspect that if I were to end it ten or twenty minutes sooner it would be fine for my friends. Perhaps that is another thing I am on the planet to learn.

It seems that whenever you build or renovate, nothing goes according to plan. Nothing goes according to plan even when you go according to plans. I am pretty sure that the professional builders have less trouble, but that is due to a number of contributing factors. The first and I believe most important reason they don’t bugger things up is that they possess the necessary knowledge to do the job. They learned their trade over a period of years and have made he mistakes that I/we made during any construction job. They aren’t trying to figure out how to put in a door by watching a Youtube video or by reading the “Idiots Guide to Door Installation”. I think I speak for everyone when I say that no one could install a door by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Whoever writes these things probably flunked out of the Ikea School of writing directions.

The second thing that the pros have going for them is that they have the right tool to perform the work that they are trying to do. It has taken me most of sixty years, but I am starting to see the wisdom in that particular idea. My only problem now is that although I have the right tools in many cases, I often can’t locate them when I need them. This causes me to fall back on the crap tool that I have used for the past thirty years and consequently do a crap job. Sometimes I will spend two hours looking for a tool only to remember that I loaned it out a month before. The right tool can lower your frustration level by 100%. On the weekend, we took the wood and tools needed up on the roof, only to find that the battery was dead. This just reinforces the “hate” part of my love/hate relationship with cordless tools.

The third and perhaps most important thing they have going for them is that they aren’t paying for the materials. If you don’t pay, then why not wrap the house in plastic and make sure every seam is caulked. Yes, yes, yes, it is the best way. I am the kind of guy that saves the bent nails to e straightened later. Brendan caught me doing this last weekend. I was putting a bent nail in the “Bent Nail Pouch” on my tool belt when Brendan calls across the yard ”Hey Dad! You aren’t saving bent nails are you? I have boxes and boxes of nails.”

I looked up at him and then at the bent nails in my hand and told him “Of course not. I am just taking these to the garbage.” Now, I have to figure a way to get them out of the garbage without anyone seeing. I have a small bucket of bent nails in my garage that I just haven’t gotten around to straightening out. Well, I had a small bucket of bent nails, now there is a small bucket of bent, rusty nails. I am still keeping them because you can make a very pleasant looking rust coloured wood stain from rust. I have never done it, but I am sure it can be done, and at no cost to me.

The fourth and final thing that separates the pro from the amateur builder is that the pro can fuck something up and knows the best way to cover up his mistake without the customer noticing until the warrantee has expired. If you can make your mistake look like something that you planned to do, then you become a journeyman carpenter.

With that all in mind, the people that helped Brendan build his garage did their very best. It was a job well done…ish.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Thanks For Applying at McDonalds

I was over at Brendan’s today and helped him to install the window and door. What a pain in the ass! The installation was a pain in the ass, not Brendan. Well, not this time anyways.

What should have been a fairly straight forward job got complicated pretty quickly. The openings weren’t perfect, so we had to adjust them in order for the window and door to work. It wasn’t the end of the world, but it did add time to what should have been a quick install. We managed to do a job that should fool the inspectors and will hold up for as long as the garage is there.

When all was finished, I stood back and looked at the structure that I had helped to build. It was solid and strong with elegant lines and a kind of rakish look. I am sure that unless there is a really horrible hurricane or tornado, that building will be there for many years to come. There is a sense of pride in knowing that there is something else that you can do.

I wonder if that is sort of like what god felt when he made the earth. The first day would start with checking the plans and making sure that you have all the materials that He needed. “Hmmmm….Let’s see…Earth…check; night and day…check; Oh yeah,…light!” Yep, that’s all.
Second day He messed around with the water. “I wonder where those donuts are.”

Day three is the day for dry ground and to get some plants growing. Maybe make some mountains and trees for a little variety.

Day four is the day God makes the sky, sun and moon.

On the fifth day God made all of the birds and animals and told them to be fruitful and to multiply, like you need to tell them that. Just put them in a room together and they will behave like…well…animals. I’m guessing God was wondering if he could get one of the animals trained and send it out for coffee.

On the sixth day, God made man and woman. Finally, we have someone to send out for coffee and donuts. They should have been there first thing in the morning! Actually, I have been going out for coffee ever sense just to keep my end of the bargain.
The seventh day God took to rest. I didn’t think that He needed rest. Kind of strange that God needed to rest, after all the way I have been counting He has just started his first break. I can’t imagine what a great place the earth would be if He had kept working. I wonder if God is on EI benefits now or has it been so long since he worked. I can’t imagine anyone ever employing Him.

“So, ahhh Mister God is it? What was your last job?”

“Yes, I created the earth and cosmos and all that they contain is just seven days and seven nights. God replied.
“So this part time, temporary job is the last and only job you have ever had? We need someone with a little more experience, but thanks for applying at McDonalds.”

Friday 13 July 2012

A New Light

A light went on in the world today. Fiona turned it on at 2:41 AM.

I guess as lights go, it isn’t shinning very brightly at the present time, but she is probably resting after her ordeal. The light will get brighter as the days, weeks, months and years go by, as more and more people fall under her influence. Their lights, which have been fading of late, will visibly brighten and those lights in turn will bring light into the lives that they touch.

I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Fiona yet, but I hope that I will by the end of the weekend. I have seen the effect on her parents and if the light in their eyes is any indication, I am in for a treat!

We just never really know the effect that our being here has on those around us. I suspect that the biggest influence we have is one that we never personally witness. Those that we interact with will interact with others who will interact with others… Well, you get the idea. It is the seven degrees of separation all over again. You my friend are just the tip of the iceberg. Not the dirty, greyish, fishy smelling tip, which is covered with seagull guano. No, you are the 90% that is the beautiful, mesmerizing  blue-green which hints of even greater complexity just under the surface.

I spent some time today with Hurricane and Tornado and my light brightened. My body energy faded and I am still looking for that harmonica, but the light is strong. Tornado shows infinite patience with me when I don’t understand what he is trying to say. Mind you, he did punch me in the eye five or six times. Hmmmmm…maybe he isn’t that understanding. Hurricane is at the age where he is testing his boundaries. I have him totally fooled though. There are no boundaries at Poppas!

Welcome to the world Fiona! May you light the path for others to follow and may it help light your way when you are in the dark. You are already the light in your parent’s eyes. May your light shine brightly for a long time to come.  

Thursday 12 July 2012

You Are All Idiots

I went for a bike ride tonight. It wasn’t a very long ride, but it brought back a lot of memories.

We are in the midst of a Southern Ontario weather pattern. Hot during the day which is something that I can deal with, but it is also hot at night which I don’t like at all. I am used to having the temperature did into the low double digits at night which makes it easier to sleep and it keeps the hooligans off of the street. The neighbour two doors down had his truck stolen the other night. What a bummer!

It looks like we will have this weather for the next little while. The garden seems to like it pretty much, but gardens rarely do too much complaining. Well, mine does, but I attribute that to just plain good sense. It doesn’t complain as much as wither and die which is the ultimate form of complaint.

The bike ride brought back memories of hot and sticky nights when I had nothing better to do than to get a couple of buddies together and go riding. We didn’t care where we went, it was more important to generate the wind which would cool us off. The difficulty was that although it was cool when we were riding, just as soon as we stopped we would sweat far more than if we hadn’t ridden at all. The only solution was to never stop, or at least ride until the air cooled off. Sometimes that was months.
We rode all around our area of the city and some of the more “exotic” locals. By exotic I mean places that I never went to or wanted to go to in the daylight. Sometimes we would have a destination in mind and other times we would just ride where the wind took us. I liked riding to Edwards Gardens which was empty at night and if I remember rightly, it would feed into Allen Gardens. I just looked at a map and nothing is how I remember it. Possible because I didn’t have a satellite vies back then and it has been over forty years. Things change.
I remember one of the rides when we found a very steep hill that looked as if it had a trail straight down. There were no mountain bikes back then and certainly no disk brakes, but what we did have were K-Mart ten speeds, no sense and a reckless abandon when it came to our own safety. We did have a small amount of skill in the saddle and a large amount of luck which is probably why I am alive to write this. We all made it down the hill without serious injury or death…the first time.

That was a pretty late night since two of the bikes needed to be walked home. Those bikes all came with a pump, but a pump is pretty much useless unless you happen to have a patch kit or a spare tube. Not to mention the tools needed to change the tire. When I ride now, I take a full set of tools, a spare tube, a pump, a snack, a cell phone for emergencies and I don’t really go very far.

Times change!

One thing that hasn’t changed is this stinking heat! I know there are those of you out there that just worship hot weather, the hotter the better. Well, you are all idiots! That isn’t just my opinion; it is the opinion of all right thinking peoples every where.