Monday 30 June 2014

David Sedaris

I thought that I would write about going to a book reading by David Sedaris today.
Yes, I haven’t been there yet, so there is really no way to know for sure if I will have a good time but I am going to assume it will be fun. I do like most of what he has written, with a few exceptions, but his books are collections of essays so if you don’t like one then you can just skip to the next. I suppose that in some ways it’s like eating peanuts, sometimes you get a rotten one and the best way to get rid of the foul taste is to quickly eat another peanut. It is only rarely that you will follow up a rotten peanut with another rotten peanut and in that case you should just go back in bed.

I am hoping that tonight won’t be a rotten peanut. I have always been concerned about meeting people whom I admire because I have an image of them that is pretty hard to live up to. It’s for that reason I don’t like to read fan magazines about the stars, because it is inevitable that they are no where near as clever or as brave as the movie makes them out to be. They are just doing a job and doing it well enough to have become famous. Often these “heroes” are just regular people who can sing, act, write, catch a baseball or make us laugh, nothing more and nothing less.

David Sedaris is one of my heroes who doesn’t have feet of clay…yet. I’m pretty sure that he won’t pick his nose in between essays and it is unlikely that instead of a signature he’ll spit on the fly leaf of the copy of “Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls” that you just gave him to sign. It might be interesting to have his DNA, but some witty comment would be preferred. In my mind he is a small, well dressed imp of a man that has a high pitched voice and a wickedly weird sense of humour. I hope that he isn’t some behemoth of a man with a deep voice and hands the size of dinner plates. It would be pretty funny if he was tiny and had hands like dinner plates. I have actually seen him and he is a tiny guy with normal sized hands.

Maegan is why I am going to see him tonight. She knows I like him and since she is coming to visit in a week or so, she will want to know all about it. It will be fun. I’ve never been to a book signing before. The only time I have seen authors in a book store is when they are sitting alone at a folding table, surrounded by copies of their latest book that they spent the last couple of years creating. Rarely have I ever seen anyone talking to them, much less buying a book. I usually will go up and talk to them out of pity and end up enjoying my chat. No, I didn’t buy their book, but I could have and that is the important thing. Well only important to me I guess.

I’ve laid out the clothes I am going to wear, programmed the Garmin and I am writing this blog while I watch the clock tick off the minutes until I leave. I’ll let you know how it goes, unless it’s one of those rotten peanuts I was talking about earlier.


Well, it is hours later and I am back from the book reading/signing. David Sedaris is a very funny, warm, entertaining man. He spends time with any and all who are willing to wait their turn to get a few minutes with him. If you get the chance, go and see him in person, but if that isn’t possible then you should read his books.

Not a rotten peanut in the bag!

Sunday 29 June 2014

Dark Shadows

I often feel like I am still a little boy. I know that I have long since grown into a man, a husband, a father and now a grandfather, but I am that little boy in times of stress.

I have never really had to deal with stress on a regular basis which is a good thing in many ways. I have always had someone to share the stressful times with. Usually Louise, but sometimes I need to share my stress with other people. I find that when I am with others, I have to act like a mature adult and between us we can find a solution to the problem. Lately, sharing stress with Louise isn’t as helpful as it once was, because now I can allow myself to be the little boy in front of her. I wish it weren't so.

It is still better than being alone with my thoughts. I don’t have too many bouts any more because I am older and most of the emotional stress in my life has disappeared. It is the unexpected that can throw me for a loop. I think it is the not knowing that causes my problems. Others seem to be able to deal with the unexpected in stride and just immediately start to deal with the problem. Oh how I envy them.

I try to draw on a previous experience and how I reacted that other time, but often I am on unknown ground. Just like a kid, fear begins to rule. Fear blots out rational thought and all I can think about is the worst things that can happen in any given situation. I feel like a child lost in the woods. There is no comforting adult around, just dark shadows and strange noises. The things that go bump in the night!
Lucky for me, I am only afraid of the shadows for a few days. After that, I have time to think things through and come up with a course of action. Usually I have had help and comfort from those that I love. Thanks for being there when I needed you everyone.

I will never be an adult, or maybe I will be an adult with childlike tendencies. The crisis isn’t averted, but it is being handled, or will be when I stop trembling…

Saturday 28 June 2014

Get Within Probing distance


“Is anyone out there?”


Hmmm…no answer… again. I wonder why that is? Is there truly no one out there, are they playing a galactic kind of hide-n-seek? I was talking about God, but if there are aliens out there willing to answer, that’s cool too.
It has been thousands of years since God has spoken to anyone. I mean in person, not through an intermediary angel or burning bush. Well, I haven’t heard anything about God contacting anyone since I have been around. Sure, every now and then Jesus gets his face on a piece of burnt toast, a cookie or a water stained tenement wall. No God though. Well, I suppose it could be that He is around and seen all of the time but bans the people who see Him not to say anything.

I guess I wouldn’t say anything either if God told me to keep my mouth shut. That would be pretty hard for me though. I can’t keep my mouth shut about the inconsequential things happening in my life. I spend my time flapping my lips about the stool I just made, the socks I darned, the bread recipe I just discovered, but keep my mouth shut about seeing and talking to God. That won’t happen! Sorry God.

If I see God, I’m telling anyone that will listen, and a lot of people that won’t listen. Talking to God would be a really big deal! It would give billions of people a reason to get up every morning. Maybe He could have a phone in radio show. No, that would suck, only the whackos and flakes call into those radio talk shows. I have a few minor things I would like clarified, just so that I know I’m not beating my head against the wrong wall. If I hear from Him, I’ll post His email address, so keep reading.

I can see why the aliens are keeping to themselves. How are they going to explain all of those anal probes that they have been doing for so many decades now?

“Uhhh…we are screening the world’s population for colorectal cancer, one person every few years until we get around to everyone. Yeah…that’s it!”

I’d tell anyone that would listen about the aliens too; it would be a really big deal. I have a few questions for the aliens too, but it might be best over a phone in radio show, I have no desire to get within probing distance…again.

Friday 27 June 2014

I Don't Eat Rats

I have a dog and have had a dog for many years now. We are on out third and most probably last dog. I like Buster, but he can be an asshole at times. I’m sure if he had a blog he would be saying the same thing about me. He gives unconditional love and is always ecstatic whenever I come home. My love is a little more conditional than his, hinging on how loud he barks at nothing or if he decided that his bathroom is inside rather than out.

They say that you can tell if your wife or your dog loves you the most by locking them both in the trunk of a car. When you open it, the dog will jump all over you with love, your wife…not so much.

I was talking to some people today about squirrels and how I consider them to be bushy tailed tree rats. They disagreed and felt that they were cute. Maybe so, but those cute vermin dug up all of my bulbs one year and planted peanuts in their place. I wondered at the time where a squirrel would get their little hands on a bag of peanuts. They don’t have any money to buy a bag and I doubt they could carry a bag even if they did have a ready source of cash.

Peanuts just don’t grow in this area of the country. I don’t think that peanuts can grow in Canada at all. We have our share of nuts, but they are busy running the country up in Ottawa. I suppose there could be a black market peanut trade in the squirrel world, but where would the bushy tailed rats get money. Sure they could do an even trade with Squirrels in Georgia for an equal weight of Pine Nuts, but how would they ship them back and forth. There may be an underground railroad bypassing the customs and excise people, but that would take an incredible amount of sophistication and planning. Squirrels have very tiny brains; I don’t think they could pull it off.

It turns out that the neighbour across the street is feeding the little pests. He even has names for them, “Three toe”, “Shorty”, Chip”, “Dale” and “No tail”. The real “Chip” and “Dale” are chipmunks for Gods sake. I have names for them too, but they aren’t cute, they are more emotion based names. I have an emotion based name for my neighbour too.

When I brought up if anyone knew of an effective way of ridding my immediate area of the bushy rats, a couple of the women present seemed horrified. You would think I was describing how to butcher and cook a Panda using dolphin sauce. These same people watch the news every night that reports on the deaths of children around the world. Their only crime is to have been born in the wrong country. I am sure that they give money to help those poor kids, but they seem to be more horrified that a wild rat might get hurt.

We used to be an agricultural country and everyone knew that meat came from animals and those animals had to die for us to live. It is a part of life, we are at the top of the food chain and everything else is at the bottom. Well, probably not lions, tigers, panthers, wolves and sharks, but pretty much everything else that walks, flies or swims is just food.

I won’t be eating dog any time soon, but I will eat almost everything else. Well, not fish, I don’t like fish very much and probably not monkey either. Nor squirrel and I don’t eat rats!

Thursday 26 June 2014


I have mentioned before that there is not much that I don’t know about the internal combustion engine.

No...wait! I don’t know much about the internal combustion engine. Yeah, that sounds right. I assume that somewhere inside an engine, gasoline catches fire and whether by design or by magic that makes the car go down the road. I know there are pistons and cam shafts, alternators, starters, a carburetor, a fan and I found out the hard way that it needs a minimum amount of oil to keep running. That’s pretty much it.

I do know that if I hear a sound like metal grinding on metal, a flapping sound or a rhythmic tapping, it is time to take the car to see a mechanic. There were many years when I would just turn the radio up if I heard those sounds. FYI, that doesn’t solve the problem, it simply puts it off until later.

I can change tires, add oil and put gas in the tank. I am real comfortable with that kind of thing. Just recently, I replaced an in cabin air filter which was very, very easy. I should check the air filter in the engine the next time I hear a metallic scraping from under the hood. Once I did a brake job. That’s right, I DID A BRAKE JOB! It turns out that I did a good job too. I didn’t know it at the time of course, I was hoping I had done a good job, but I just didn’t have the knowledge to know for sure.

Not knowing if you did a bad job on the brakes or not, is kind of terrifying. Every time I got behind the wheel, I was worried that somewhere between home and Walmart, there is a very good chance I was going to die in a fiery crash. I would have my body cut out of the car with the Jaws of Life and declared DOA. The news would report that “A forty three year old man crashed into Walmart when the brakes on his car failed. It is suspected that he was too cheap to have a mechanic repair his brakes and did them himself. How Sad! The weather tomorrow will be clear and cool.”

I felt even worse when Louise and the kids were driving the car. Worse because at least in the first scenario, I would be dead and not have to listen to the criticism. Oh and that Louise and or the kids were gone.

I know nothing about cars!

Having said that, I know infinitely more than the Korean guy that lives across the alley. He is constantly tinkering with his car, a Mercedes. It is a really old Mercedes. He painted it using those cans of spray paint. He didn’t just do touch ups, but he painted the whole car. My other two neighbours both do body work in their garages and offered to paint it for him, but he told them that he was almost done anyways. It looks pretty good from a distance. Anything under 30 yards, and it looks like shit.

Tonight he was working on his engine. He works on his engine a couple of times a week; I guess there is a recurring problem. The way he works on it is by propping the hood up and revving the engine by hand with a choke or some doo-dad on the motor. He will rev that engine for about an hour or so, go inside for a coffee break and then come out and rev for another hour. I have never asked him what the hell he was doing, because there is a possibility that he would think I actually cared or was even slightly interested. I do know that what ever he is doing under the hood, it just isn’t working.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

An Open Letter To Tsunami

I have waited for a couple of weeks so that you could get your feet under you as it were. It’s a big adjustment being born, going from a warm, loving and nurturing place to one that is cold, loud and bright with all manner of strange feelings. That’s kind of what Grandma and I feel like when we have to return from Hawaii to Calgary in the winter.

You have had to cram a lot of learning into the last couple of weeks, not unlike final exams in high school. I guess the most significant thing you have learned is that your mom and dad will do anything in their power to make your life comfortable and safe. They are the people who will feed you, keep you warm, teach you how to get along in this world and later on they are also the people who will give you money and buy the toys you want. It’s best to keep on their good side, so sleep regular, don’t puke so much and try to make solid boom booms. Oh, and for your own sake, no biting!

The next few months will be cuddles and kisses, so make the most of it. The cuddles and kisses tend to taper off a little after that. You will be really busy learning pretty much everything, how to roll over, how to crawl, toddle and eventually walk. Movement opens the world up for you and you can’t be carried forever. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. You will find that your Poppa will have trouble understanding you for the first couple of years, my fault, not yours. Between you and me, I am getting a little hard of hearing and when you say something to me and I have that vacant look on my face, don’t get frustrated. I will ask your mom, dad or grandma what you are saying. If your cousins Hurricane and Tornado are around they will help me out.

Speaking of Hurricane and Tornado, they are your cousins. They are pretty sweet kids, but they are boys and will be doing boy things. I have a feeling that they might just teach you some of the more questionable things that kids learn, but if it doesn’t seem safe, it probably isn’t. Especially, if they want you to do it and aren’t willing to do it themselves. Just keep an open mind about them. When in doubt, ask Poppa.

You should know your status in the family. You are the youngest which gives you a certain standing and everyone will try to spoil you. Your mom and dad are the boss of you! Well, at least for a few years anyways, because they know what will be dangerous or good for you. They also feed you as I mentioned, kiss you when you are hurt and love you all of the time, no matter what you do. I’m not sure where Finn the dog fits in, but I suspect he will be somewhere below you in standing but will also be a playmate/dress up doll and protector.      

Your Grandma and Poppa are your daddy’s mommy and daddy, so they are the boss of him. He doesn’t think that, but it is true and later on you can tell by the way I ignore the things he tells me to do when I am looking after you. I am also a real soft touch when it comes to candy. I also will have a lot around the house whenever you come over. We will play together (until I get tired), watch cartoons and when you are older, I am looking forward to someone to watch Princess movies with me. Grandma and I will bake cookies with you and make forts. Well, I’m not too big into forts, because I am too big to get into forts, but grandma is a killer fort maker..

For the time being, listen to your mom and dad, there will be plenty of time to ignore them when you are a teenager. Life will be fantastic!

PS.       I forgot to tell you, Aunt Maegan is a real soft touch too and she always will get you the best presents ever. It’s her thing. She is also a really smart person and knows stuff about your dad…

Tuesday 24 June 2014


I suppose that I need to do a little garden maintenance today.

I can’t tell which of the plants are weeds and which are pepper plants or cucumbers in training. There are other things in the garden that I know are weeds, but they are growing so well I kind of want to let them be. The garden needs some kind of success story just to avoid being embarrassed when it gets together with other gardens.

“Yep, I’ve got the largest selection of weeds for a garden of my size in the city of Calgary.” The other gardens will laugh of course, but some of those gardens are full of shit. Literally!

Part of my reluctance is that the growth of these weeds seems to coincide with the annual mosquito feeding frenzy. Not to mention that it is far too warm to wear long sleeves and long pants so I would basically be unprotected. I am one of those people that blood sucking insects just love. I can be hanging out with all sorts of tender, blood filled fat people and I am still the delicacy of choice. When I have to be out, I will slather myself liberally with DEET. The stuff I use is 99% pure and it is a rare mosquito that can find me when I am covered with this stuff.

The down side I suppose is that DEET is somewhat toxic and can cause severe epidermal reactions and there is a possibility of seizures. I consider freedom from mosquitoes worth a little discomfort, skin rashes, flopping around like a fish out of water and a small amount of anal leakage. There is always a catch, but sometimes it is totally worth it.

I have one of those net hats that are intended to keep the biting pests away from your face. It has been my experience that the bugs will somehow get inside of the mesh and then panic. They will buzz around like insane bees and bounce off of my nose, eyes, ears and eventually will either fly up my nose or into my mouth as I run screaming into the house. I guess that’s why I can’t find the hat; my last experience must have led me to bury it deeper than Jimmy Hoffa.

I really can’t put this off any longer. Mind you, there is the World Cup to think of. Who will cheer for Brazil if not me? There are also afternoon TV programs which are so captivating, and I could do with a nap. I just looked outside and I’ll be damned if the clouds aren’t moving in. Yea!

You know, sometimes less is more when it comes to the garden. It’s possible to work the soil too much and that can and will stress the plants. No one wants to eat stressed plants, well, I don’t anyways. You can eat tense carrots or irritable peas; I will just let them deal with their weedy neighbours themselves.

Who am I to interfere with Nature?

Monday 23 June 2014

An Interesting Story

I had to run out and get some last minute stuff for dinner. You know how it goes, you get everything ready for taco salad and at the last minute you realize that you don’t have any tacos. Instead of taco salad, I was preparing meat, cheese and lettuce on a plate. There is nothing to tie everything together. Thus, the last minute trip to Josh’s No Frills Market.

I like this kind of shopping; there is no time to get distracted from your mission. There is a finite amount of time to get to the store, get in the store, get the stuff, get through the checkout and get back home before anyone realizes that you had gone. Buster was actually left outside, but that just means he doesn’t get a treat for looking after the house while I was gone. In point of fact, for all he knows I deserve a treat for looking after the house while he was out. Just in case you were wondering, I didn’t get a treat.

While I was leaving the store, I flashed back to the last time I made this exact same trip. It was back in February and about -40°C. The wind was howling, snow was blowing and I was wearing boots, parka, toque and scarf and still I was cold. Mind you, I was cold for about five months so that wasn’t a new feeling at all. The snow crunched under my feet as I walked and I had to be on the look out for patches of ice that had my name on them.

It just goes to show that my life doesn’t really differ from month to month and year to year. I am good with that; in fact I prefer it to not knowing what is happening next. I have always liked stability, knowing that I have a certain amount of money coming in each week and knowing how much money it cost to live for that week. I would like to know what we are having for dinner the next couple of weeks, but that never happens and I feel that I’m living on the edge by not knowing.

In a way I envy those people who can just take life as it comes, not knowing what or who is around the next corner. I don’t think people are born one way or the other, I think it is more a result of how stable their early lives were. There are also people who have discovered that they can deal with the unexpected quite well. I came from a pretty stable household and I knew that breakfast, lunch and dinner would come at a certain time each day. I knew that the tooth fairy would come when I lost a tooth, Santa always came down the chimney shortly after my brother and I fell asleep Christmas Eve.

Every now and then in my life, I have found myself in situations that were completely out of my control. Initially, I kind of panic, but eventually I will realize that the universe isn’t going to snap me back into my comfortable life. When that happens, I have just started to deal with my situation, probably not as well as some would, but ultimately things have worked themselves out or I wouldn’t be here.

There is a part of me that wishes I would be thrown into a situation like Bilbo Baggins was wizards, dwarves, orcs, dragons and all. I doubt I would do as well as Bilbo did, but it would certainly be an interesting tale to tell the grandkids.

I have a large scar on my right forearm and I plan to tell Hurricane, Tornado and Tsunami that I got it in the knife fight I won their grandma in. I can’t wait until I hear it back from their parents, should be an interesting story.

Sunday 22 June 2014

Sunday Off

I think I will take Sunday off.

God did and no one complained about it for centuries. Now of course we don't take Sundays off any more because it seems people will still spend money on the Sabbath. Money is far more important than eternal salvation.

I've never really worked very hard on Sunday, not because I have strong faith, but because I don't really have enough to do on the other six days. I am just used to doing nothing on Sunday, so today I don't write a blog and you don't get to read one.

Yes, I know that most people just read them whenever they stumble upon them, but one day someone might just be waiting to read a blog on Sunday. You never know.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

A facebook friend mentioned that there was a chemical induced sundog in the middle of what could have been a beautiful, sunny day.

I thought it was a beautiful sunny day with a normal sundog which I have always taken to signify good luck. I have had visions that were chemically induced before, but that was a long time ago and didn’t involve sundogs. They involved a bike that turned into elastic, roads that undulated like gray jello and little cartoon creatures that hopped around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Looking back I kind of enjoyed those chemically induced visions and I have hopes that I will enjoy the sundog. Especially if it brings good luck.

To tell you the truth, I had to look up what my facebook friend meant by chemically induced. It turns out that she was referring to chemtrails and or the by products of chemtrails. Chemtrails are those beautiful exhaust lines across the sky that jet airplanes leave in their wake as they are travelling to exotic locations without me. I suppose that airplane exhaust isn’t a lot different than automobile exhaust, in that you wouldn’t want to spend a lot of time breathing it in. Mind you, like car exhaust, it quickly dissipates into the atmosphere and is slowly poisoning all of us equally.

I don’t like the idea of getting poisoned by the air I breathe, but it is something I have come to accept as a by product of the luxurious life that I live. It’s luxurious by third world standards, first world people that live luxuriously most probably have some way of countering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Oh well, you can’t live forever, certainly not if you continue breathing poisoned air.

I am something of a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t let my paranoia ruin a perfectly good sunny day. The whack-a-doodles and nut fuggers think that the government are using the jet liners sort of like crop dusters to spray us with dangerous chemicals as a test to see what they will do. Another theory is that the government is spraying us in order to weed out the sick and elderly. I’m guessing to save them from paying too much in pension to us baby boomers. Perhaps the poison is just directed at Liberal and NDP voters.

Another theory is that the military are dropping barium salt aerosol to aid in radar mapping for defence purposes. Maybe, but jets fly so high that the winds would scatter anything they drop and it would spread around the world. I think a more likely explanation is that the government is trying different methods to replace the ozone layer that is fast disappearing. Whatever the theory, a sundog is just a sundog, not some nefarious plan launched by Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

I don’t understand why people think the government is attempting to poison us. I suspect that if they are putting things in our water or the air it is something that they truly believe will improve our lives. We have been see-sawing back and forth over the fluoride in the water issue here for years now. My kids grew up while there was fluoride in the water and none of them had a cavity. The anti-fluoride faction was successful a few years back and we now don’t have fluoride in our city water. My dentist tells me that she can see the difference in kid’s teeth since the change. In a few years there will be another vote and fluoride will again be in the water.

Whatever is going on, there is no way that the common person will be able to find out for sure, so we may as well just enjoy the sundogs when we get them.

Friday 20 June 2014

I Rock

Do you keep a journal or a diary?

I think that it is a great idea and I wish that I could be one of those people who make daily entries marking all of the significant and not so significant details of their lives. Journals are why we know so much about the famous people of yesteryear, they kept journals and their friends and colleagues kept journals as well. Most of the entries would be mind numbingly boring to anyone except the diarist, but the odd date would be interesting.

I have tried to keep a daily record of my life, but for one reason or another, I just can’t seem to keep it going for more than a week at a time. It might be that I am less interested in my life than I should be. It might be that nothing of any interest to anyone happens to me on a daily basis. It might be that I am simply lazy. Every now and then I return to the diary and will promise myself that I will write every day. The next time I look. Months have passed. I suppose that when I am dead the kids will be able to view the diary as a series of snapshots which give a glimpse into what I was feeling at that time.

Part of the reason I don’t keep a diary is that I feel you should be honest when writing in a diary and you can’t be if there is any chance someone will read it before you are dead. Maybe a diary is a window into the real person. Well, a true diary would be, but I suspect that very few people are that honest with themselves. I don’t think I can be honest. The truth is, that more of me (the real me) probably comes out in the blog. What I think and feel to a large degree is in this blog, even though I play pretty fast and loose with the truth.

I just read a few entries from 1983 and 1987, there was mainly comments on the weather, what happened at work, my health, the families health and activities and other mundane things like that. I would like to be able to comment on conversations I had during the day and what I thought of those conversations, but I don’t remember them well enough. I can remember the gist, but accuracy and “gist” don’t always get along.

One of the entries had to do with my brother and his pulling a joint out when visiting mom and dad. I don’t know why he would have done that but it is the kind of thing he does. He played with the kids in the pool and they had a great time. I even called him a good uncle, and he was when he happened to be around the kids. Not so much when he wasn’t. I am hesitant about writing that about my brother because there is a chance, a remote chance that he may read the blog one day and have his feelings hurt. Yep, I am just a softy.

I will continue to try and keep a diary. Journal sounds manlier, but it’s just two words meaning the same thing. Perhaps if I do keep a journal on a regular basis, I will comment on the blog and eventually I will comment on the diary in the blog. Well, like I am doing right now! Awesome, now I have two things I can write on a daily basis that no one reads.

I rock!

Thursday 19 June 2014

Weird Tickle

I kind of like hospitals, they are extremely clean, well if you discount billions of germs and viruses floating around looking for some exposed, weak mucous membranes to call home. There are hundreds of people walking to and fro with determined looks on their faces. Some are in pairs, some single and the odd time you will see groups wandering down the halls. Everyone in here has a story, a destination and is filled with hope or fear.

Hospitals are not unlike airports in that way. People are going somewhere but at the same time they are waiting, patiently impatient. There is anticipation in both airports and hospitals. In airports the anticipation is “will I have a good vacation/visit/business trip and the outcome generally hinges on the person involved. In a hospital, you have no control over what is about to happen to you or your loved one. You need to trust that those in control know exactly what they are doing and that their training has been the best that money can buy. With any luck those doing the doing have had a good nights sleep, are emotionally stable and graduated in the top third of their class.

I’m sitting in the cafeteria, just watching people wander by or sit and drink their beverage of choice. I am sitting next to doctors, nurses, administrative staff, orderlies and the real workers of the hospital, the guys that keep it clean and stocked with all of the stuff that will keep the germs off of me while I am here. There aren’t too many of the custodial staff, they are far too busy to drink a leisurely coffee. When there are budget cuts, it is always the lowest paid that lose their jobs and the ones left just have to take up the slack. That means more germs, such is life.

There is an atmosphere of worry in every hospital that I have ever been in. It is overlaid with hope, but the worry is right under the surface. You hope that all goes well, but if all were well you wouldn’t find yourself or the person you love here in the first place. Something is wrong! It just isn’t wrong, it’s wrong enough that you need the help of professionals that have spent all of their adult lives learning how to fix what is wrong with you. Bless them!

I am at the newest hospital in Calgary, its called Calgary Hospital South Campus, I think. It sounds like we are at a university instead of a hospital, but I guess it is a teaching hospital. It is “South” because it is located just about as far south as you can get and still be in Calgary without standing in a field. This is one of the emptiest hospitals I have ever been in, but it’s most likely because it is new. Most of Calgary’s population is north of here and there are a few other hospitals between there and here. I wonder if the Emergency wait times are shorter down here.

I talked with a woman who is here with her sixteen year old son. He is having an operation on his wrist that was broken about a year ago and was misdiagnosed as a sprain instead of a break. It has healed incorrectly and now has to have bone cut out and replaced with bone from somewhere else on his body. A lot of things could go wrong. The sad thing is that this kid is a gymnast, or at least he was up until the accident last year. I wished the woman well and that her son should have a successful operation. I am glad I don’t have to do the worrying on that one.

Louise will be ready to go home soon and life will return to normal. Unless some of those germs have taken up residence in the back of my throat. I feel a kind of weird tickle…

Wednesday 18 June 2014


I don’t know what other people who write anything daily are like, but some days I just don’t have any interest in writing.

It isn’t as if I don’t have ideas to write about, I just don’t care to write. I have a few blogs pre written for times when I just can’t get the time to write. You know, when someone is visiting and they just don’t seem to want to go to bed early enough for me to knock off a blog. I could write about people who won’t go to bed when I think they should, but I don’t have the time. Maybe I will write that one tomorrow.

You have probably suspected that today is one of those “I don’t want to write” days. I’m going to have a cup of tea and spend the rest of the evening watching shitty TV shows.

Have a good night…good morning…good life.

Tomorrow will be a more productive day…hopefully.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Never Trust a Dog

Do you ever wonder if there were some traumatic episodes in your childhood that are having an impact on the person you are today?

I suppose it is possible but if it weren’t for those incidents, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That might not be such a bad thing; I could do with some improvement. They say it’s never too late, but then they say you shouldn’t eat too much ice cream. How can you have “too much” ice cream?

Maybe I do have a couple of post traumatic stresses working away under the surface and keeping me from becoming all that I can be. The problem with that kind of stress is that you don’t always know that you have stress or a problem of any kind. You just think that you are normal and we all have the same feelings of doubt and fear. I can remember meeting the woman who lived beside us when I was growing up a number of years ago now and she was happy that I turned out alright in spite of everything. Everything? What everything? As far as I know, I had a very normal upbringing, not so different from anyone else my age. Maybe she had problems.

My older brother did pick on me quite a lot and sometimes the “picking” bordered on torture. Normal right?

There was a time when I was four or so that my parents were visiting friends that lived in the country. These friends had a horse that came with horse stuff like a barn, a corral, hay bales and saddles. My parents and their friends were inside drinking coffee and Steve and I went out to watch the horse. We were cautioned to keep out of the corral but we were welcome to watch, with the promise of a ride later on. Westerns were very big on TV back then and were my favourite shows. The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Roy Rogers, Maverick and Have Gun Will Travel were never missed. I knew all I needed to know about horses, thank you very much.

I don’t know what happened, but the next thing I knew I was being chased around the corral by 1500 pounds of angry horse. It didn’t take long for the horse to run me down and I was on the ground screaming, crying and the horse was chewing on my hat, coat and a part of my ear. I was told years later that the owner came bursting out of the house and somehow got it off of me. I only had superficial cuts and bruises, but my hat and coat were ruined. I’ve never been much of a horse person since then and that may explain my ambivalence to the Stampede. I don’t like corrals or hay very much either and thankfully the western eventually died out in favour of detective shows, game shows, Fantasy Island and the Love Boat.

I also remember being attacked by a German Sheppard when I was very young. Probably it was just being playful, but to my eyes it was a wolf about to rip my throat out. I never went back to that friend’s house again, even after the devil dog had died. Strange that I eventually became a mailman with dogs attacking on a more or less regular basis. I was prepared however with dog spray and I always wore good, solid leather shoes for personal defence. I always cheer when I hear that a dog has been driven off by the mailman, but more often than not the dog would win the battle.

NEVER TRUST A DOG!!! Man’s best friend they may be, but as long as they have teeth and eat meat you should be vigilant. 

Monday 16 June 2014


Yesterday while I was walking to the store, I came across a pin that was lying in the gutter. I always pick these things up because I have hopes that the pin will have a message for me from the cosmos. Usually, they are so rusted that I can’t read them anyways, but if they aren’t then it is some obscure biblical reference. The one I found today was coated with gutter grime and when I wiped it clean there was an image of the sun rising over the ocean with the name Daniel Martin Moore superimposed on top.

Over the years I have found some that were interesting…ish. There was an AC/DC pin, one for Geno’s Pizza and one that wants me to stop racism. I am in agreement that racism should be stopped, but I doubt that my wearing a pin will do anything at all. Probably the person who tossed it in the gutter felt the same way. I picture a guy that was trying to impress a girl who was committed to stopping racism but struck out when he made some racial slur.

I have one that believes I should “Think Global”. It has a cartoon picture of an indigenous person with a headband, beads and a big smile. What does that even mean? I have enough trouble thinking personal. Okay, I just looked it up. I am supposed to act locally in a responsible manner that will help the world be a better place. The pin doesn’t give me near enough information to be effective at all. I will try however, but once the pin gets put away I doubt I will remember that I have to save the planet.

There is this “Round Up The Party Animals” button that is promoting a designated driver program. It is cute and to the point. I get what they are trying to say and I totally agree. Keep the drunks from driving! It would be better to keep the drunks from getting so drunk in the first place, but that would impact on the bottom line of the bars and night clubs. Can’t have that now can we?

I have a pin from Elmira Raceway. Elmira is a town in southern Ontario that is famous for the springtime maple syrup festival. Elmira is also known for having a large population of old order Mennonites who like the Amish avoid modern technology. They ride around in a horse and buggy and a large, orange triangle on the back. I have always wondered how they decide the timeline for modern. I guess in the future there could be a splinter sect that will draw the line at the iPhone 3 or satellite televisions. The Mennonites in Elmira hold fast at electronics and internal combustion engines. Well, unless they are needed for making furniture of other revenue generating businesses. There are new order Mennonites and I have no idea what they believe or why they are different, but just so long as they can keep track of the difference is all that really matters.

The other pin I have in front of me has a brown background with white lettering that says “Beaver Power”. I have no idea what it is for, but it could be some start up Power Company that generates electricity the old way with a water wheel. The water could be regulated by a dam build and maintained by beavers. Maybe it’s a Mennonite power company and since the power is generated the old fashioned way, they can use it to power their factories, iPhones and satellite TV’s. Maybe…

 Oh yeah, Daniel Martin Moore is a singer songwriter from Kentucky. His music isn’t the worst I have ever heard, but it isn’t really very good. Maybe it would appeal to Mennonites if they were allowed to listen to music. How and why his pin ended up in a gutter is anyone’s guess. I suspect that after listening to this, some Mennonite tossed the pin and the CD out the window of their buggy. 

Sunday 15 June 2014


I just don’t understand the rational behind computer malware and viruses. I don’t like them either, but I don’t suppose that anyone does.

The reason that is given is that out in the cyber world there are computer hackers that sit around at night swilling Jolt Cola, eating pizza and popping pimples and goofing on their computers. These guys and gals must be the cream of the crop, because they have mastered all of the different variations of Dungeons and Dragons, written apps for the iPhone that made them a few million bucks and have bought that mansion in Silicon Valley where the pizza gets delivered.

My world is pretty small, I only know one guy that made a fortune from his computer, but he now works for Google and spends his time coming up with great ideas that will not only challenge him, but will hopefully benefit mankind. He sure missed the boat, what a doofus! He could be staying up into the wee hours of the night designing worms, malware and viruses that attack those unsuspecting suckers out there in the digital wasteland.

I would like to meet one of these guys some day, and after I had water boarded him/her for a few days and pulled their teeth out with a pair of rusty pliers, I would have a few questions I’d like to have answered. The big one is WHY? What do you get from it? For the most part, these worms, malware and viruses are hidden and are unable to trace. How do these hackers even know if the code they wrote was effective? There is no financial benefit and only a very few of the viruses have ever gotten any real publicity.

I have a picture of some geeky chat room where these dicks sit at their computers in anonymity bragging that they did this or that and they pissed off a retired guy in Calgary who had to spend a couple of minutes running SPYBOT. I kind of wonder what the parents of these dicks think the kids are doing in the basement. What a waste of life and a waste of flesh too.

Of course, there is another explanation that does make sense. What if companies like MacAfee, Avast, Kaspersky, AVG and Norton to mention just a few were the ones paying these computer geeks to write malicious programs that attack our computers? That would keep the geeks in pizza and caffeine, and another set of geeks could spend their days designing “fixes” for those viruses that the first bunch of geeks wrote. The winners in this scenario are the Internet Security Companies that make billions of dollars, pounds and yen, “protecting” us and our computers.

I know it is hard to believe that large multi-national companies would fuck us over just to make a profit, but I understand that it’s happened in the past. There is nothing we can do about the multi-nationals if they are behind these worms, malware and viruses, so we had best hope that our problems are due to a few thousand pimply kids sitting in their mom and dad’s basement, fisting themselves by the glow of a computer screen. 

Saturday 14 June 2014

I Liked Being Alone

I can remember holding one of those big, black telephone receivers to my ear and talking to my grandmother when I was very little. We never talked too long, not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I had little upper body strength and just couldn’t hold the phone for longer than a minute or two.
I would watch the WWII movies and the soldiers would have to call back to their base at some point to ask where the shelling was or why they didn’t stop the shelling. There was one guy in the platoon that carried the radio in a backpack and he was called “Sparky” usually. I assumed that someone else carried all of his stuff while “Sparky” had a radio in a backpack. I don’t think I understood that the backpack was the radio, because radios were much smaller than that in my world. My buddy and I would play army and even though we didn’t have a backpack radio, we would make do with two tin cans and some string. I remember it working, but that could just have been wishful thinking. We did have fun though.
Later on, I would talk to my buddy through my bedroom window. Mike’s bedroom was right across the breezeway from mine and we could make plans without phoning or getting together. The plans were usually to get together, so we didn’t really save any time, but it was cool that we could open the window and talk.

When I was a teenager, we would make plans either earlier in the day or over the telephone. There was always someone that you didn’t get in touch with, or the plans would change while you were en route without your knowledge. That would lead to a night of wandering the streets trying to find your buddies. Sometimes you would run across someone else that had been left out of the loop and you would spend the night wandering and talking, and more than likely getting into some kind of trouble. Those were often the best nights and you would find yourself much closer to your travelling companion.
Sometimes, while I was out wandering, I would find a pay phone and call around to see if I could find my buddies. I would call the numbers from memory of course. There were only a few places that everyone could be because it was either Noelle’s place or someone whose parents were gone for the weekend. Noelle was the only one living on her own, but she got tired of everyone dropping over all the time.

Every now and then, you wouldn’t find anyone and you would end up at home. Your parents would think “Isn’t it nice that Kenny wants to spend the night with us!” You could watch TV or play cards. We had a pool table so dad and I would play a few games. Dad was really good, but he always kept the games pretty close. Those were nice nights.

I don’t know when we discovered that it is necessary to be constantly connected to the world. Cell phones have taken away our option to be alone. We are attached to the internet and some of us can’t go five minutes without checking to see if someone wants to connect. I don’t know any phone numbers anymore, I don’t have to, the phone knows. The phone knows everything! It knows when I have a doctors appointment, who has a birthday coming up and I can find out what my friends are doing almost any time day or night. I am almost never alone.

I liked being alone…

Friday 13 June 2014

Stanley Cup Final

Well, the NHL season is finally over!
Los Angeles Kings players celebrate after defeating the New York Rangers in game five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)
Tonights game was very exciting with lots of back and forth action. It went to two overtime periods and the LA Kings ended up with the Stanley Cup.

I thought I didn't care who won, but it appears that I wanted the NY Rangers to win. I suspected that was the case for the last couple of games, but tonight when Louise screamed in joy when LA scored the winning goal, I knew I actually wanted NY to win.

There are probably many things that are worse than seeing the person you love really, really, really happy that your team lost. I'm not sure what those things might be.

I guess it doesn't really matter, because my two teams are really the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames, and neither team seems to care about the playoffs at all.
Well, there is always next year...

Thursday 12 June 2014

Third Hand

I wrote this about a week ago while Tsunami and mom were still in the hospital. They are out of the hospital now and seem to be getting into a rhythm, bonding, feeding and biding time until Poppa decides Tsunami is old enough to play with.

I've been to the hospital a couple of times in the past few days, and it is looking like I will be making another trip tonight. The health care professionals don’t want to release Tsunami and mom until they are sure everything is working the way that it should be working. That is good and right, but the hospital is no place to get rest or even get comfortable.

I know I shouldn't complain, but for places that are so very concerned with cleanliness, hospitals are teeming with germs of all kinds, fluids that should have remained inside and people who are hacking, spewing and snorting. I’m talking about the visitors. I ran into a guy on my way to the car the other day after I had paid a visit to the most beautiful girl in the world. He came up to me and asked if I could do him a favour. I gave him my stock answer for situations like this, “That all depends on the favour I suppose.”

I was hoping it wasn't a request for money, because my pockets were full of change and my wallet was bulging with bills. Don't get me wrong, I still wouldn't have given him anything, but it’s easier to tell someone you don't have any money when you don’t jingle with every step. It turns out that he wanted some help to get his car started. Of all the people that go in and out of the hospital, this poor schmuck came to me for mechanical help. This is a case of I have some bad news for you and some worse news.

I told him I would do what I could to help, but pretty much anytime that I come close to an internal combustion engine, the laws of physics go out the window. He said that all I had to do was to turn the key while he worked the gas pump. That sounds pretty easy. I figured he would pop the hood, but when he jumped into the back of the pickup I was lost. He told me to go ahead and as soon as I turned the key the engine started. When I say I turned the key, there was no key, just the place where a key should have gone.

Now I started to worry about leaving finger prints on the steering wheel. I rubbed my coat over where I’d touched, just in case. It turns out that he had cut a section of the truck bed out so that he could easily access the gas pump which is attached to the gas tank. I told him I loved vehicles like this and I had one myself years ago. The only reason I got rid of it was that the engine dropped out of it.

He told me that he had the truck for about two transmissions and when it needed a third, a buddy bought it off of him. His friend replaced the transmission, bought new tires, fixed the brakes and did a whole bunch of other things just before he died. The dead friend’s brother called my new buddy and told him to come and get this truck…free. That was three years ago and I think this truck is staying with its current owner.

He didn't look too good and I suspect he was coming from treatments at the cancer centre, but he may have been visiting a sick friend. We chatted about the weather, shared a couple of laughs, wished each other a good day and I drove off. I suspect he did too, but that truck obviously has a mind of its own.

I felt good that I helped, even though it was just a matter of being a third hand; sometimes that is all it takes to make someone’s day.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Run Fast

Do you remember when you were a little kid and your mom and dad bought you a new pair of running shoes? Remember the smell? The fit? The feel of runners that didn’t have your foot imprint on them was unmistakable. Do you remember there were only a couple of kinds of runners? Do you remember how the shoe salesperson didn’t trust you to tell them your size, but they brought out that cool metal thing that measured the length of your foot as well as the width.
He would bring out a couple of boxes that had runners wrapped in tissue and tissue stuffed into the toe so the shoe would retain its shape. They were never laced, that was something the salesperson would do. Mom always took the other shoe and laced it up so that I could try on both shoes at the same time. The sales guy would then use a shoe horn to ease my heel into the shoe, whether I needed it or not. He would lace up one shoe and then the next, usually a little too tight, but I didn’t have to tie them that tight. He would then take his thumb and press down on the top of the shoe to find out just where my big toe was hiding. That always started a discussion between the sales guy and mom about how much room I needed so that I could grow into the shoes.
Once they decided that the shoes fit and would last until next year, I was told to walk around to see how they felt. I’d take maybe three steps forward and the same back, reporting that they felt good. My mom would say that you can’t tell if running shoes fit unless you ran in them, and I would run to the front of the store and then back again. Mom and the sales guy both commented on how fast I ran, which brought one of those ear to ear smiles to my face. The salesman asked if I wanted to put on my old shoes or if I would like to wear the new shoes home. I want to wear the new shoes!!!!

I was thinking of those days when I was looking after Tornado last week. He had on a combination running shoe/sandal that had lights which would flicker on and off as he walked. They were very cool! Unfortunately they don’t come in adult sizes, well, I’ve never seen them.
Now when I buy runners, there is no salesperson that measures my feet anymore. Either humans have evolved to the point that feet grow to standard sizes or the shoe manufacturers design shoes that are flexible enough to fit a range of width as long as the length is okay. The shoes come with the laces inserted now, either a machine does it or one of those under paid foreign workers lace the shoes. There are hundreds of different running shoes to pick from and I have often left a store because I was unable to make that decision. There isn’t a shoe horn anymore, and the only thumb that tests for length is my own. I guess that is because my feet stopped growing about fifty years ago.

I still walk around to see if the runners feel comfortable. I will only buy a pair of shoes that feel comfortable the second I put them on, no “breaking in” period for me. I don’t run to test the shoes out anymore because when an adult starts to run in a store, the assumption is that he is stealing something. I don’t wear my shoes home because if you wear them outside, you can’t change your mind and return them. I like to wear them around the house just to be sure that we fit both physically and emotionally.

It was easier to buy runners when I was a kid, but then I didn’t pay for them or really have any input into the decision, I just had to take my shoes off and run fast.