Me and Daniel

Me and Daniel
Me and my then 8 year old son, 20 years ago.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Pearly

Pearly

(Sometime in 1994 - November 23, 2014)



Pearly was my beautiful Ragdoll cat. She was born sometime in 1994, and adopted by our family in 2001 when she was seven years old. I had doubts at the time about adopting such an 'old' cat, but her personality made it impossible for us to walk away and leave her languishing in her SPCA cage. 

The day we walked into the pet store and headed for the SPCA corner we had no intention of bringing a feline into our family. We were killing time, as they say, waiting for something that has been lost to the sands of time...an appointment or something I think. At any rate, the SPCA corner was a place to get a glimpse of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, all waiting for forever homes.

That day there were a few grown cats, a lot of kittens, and one black dog that seemed to have springs instead of legs. He was in a fenced in area in a corner of the room, and would jump straight up about four feet in the air, and he did this continuously. 
Pearly sat in her cage and stared down at him like he was some kind of a freak.
When my oldest son put his face next to her cage to get a good look at her, she walked over to him, put a white paw through the bars and flipped his glasses up. 
When I came to look at this spectacle she broke her gaze at my son and locked eyes with me. 
Her meow was soft and sweet, not at all yowly or horrid. 
She explained to us, in her native tongue, that she was meant to be a part of our family, (at least that's what I imagined her to be saying) and we had no choice but to immediately fall in love with her.

We adopted her on the spot.

(Pearl in her later years)

Pearly was pretty much the boss of the two dogs who were already a part of the family when she came. She would chase them away from food that she wanted for herself, or force them to leave cozy beds when she decided she wanted to take a nap. 
At 20 pounds she was a pretty big cat, but still, the dogs were a border collie/lab cross and a ridgeback/pitbull cross...they outweighed her by a lot. It was her confidence and attitude that made them move. 

In the thirteen years that I knew her, Pearly exhibited that confidence and self assurance always. 
When I'd have guests over to the house she would sit at the table, on a chair, and get in on the conversation. She would softly meow and look around at each person.
If people were in the living room sitting on the couch, she would pick someone that she especially wanted to get to know, and place a large yet delicate white paw on their cheek and hold it there while staring into their eyes.
I often heard, from laughing, startled people, "What's up with your cat?"
She was persuasive and always managed to get what she wanted, which was usually a pat, a kind word, or a piece of cake!

The years went on and eventually the kids moved out, the dogs passsed, and it was just me and Pearly. 
She would greet me at the door every evening when I came in from work. She was eager to tell me about her day and would do so in the soft voice she always had.
She learned to walk on a harness and enjoyed outings on days without rain. 

As these fairly recent years passed, she became more and more needy, and would wait for me outside the bathroom door, and sleep curled up on my back at night. She hated to be alone.
She loved to be held like a baby. I could carry her around on her back all day long and she'd purr and purr, occasionally reaching a soft paw up to touch my face. 
She was an easy creature to love. 
In the end, all the trips to the vet just confirmed one thing...unfortunately there is no cure for being a twenty year old cat. If such a cure existed she would still be here, waiting at the bathroom door, getting in on the conversation and causing a sensation on her harness.

Pets give us so much in return for what we give them. 
For the first time in years I am totally petless, which is a situation I need to remedy soon.
I would love another Ragdoll, even though I can't replace my Pearl.
 I'll just have to take a trip down to the SPCA and see who's there waiting with a soft meow and a friendly paw.

(Pearl gazing at her face in her water bowl two days before she died.)
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Happy Holidays to everyone!


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Favourite favourites...

I finally decided to get in on posting my favourite books!
Of course, now that it's no longer a 'thing' that people are doing, I suppose I'm a little late with it.
Either that or I'm super early with the next 'list-a-thon'.  Either way, if you guys enjoy reading lists of other people's favourite things as much as I do......well.....you're in for a treat!
Of course, I know some people think that it's just as exciting to read someones shopping list....and if that's the case, come back next Wednesday when I'll be posting the one where my grandson wrote 'candy' in crayon at the bottom of the list, just below crazy glue, batteries, nail polish remover and vodka.
Until then, I hope you enjoy this list.

I can't really place these in any particular order of preference, since I really like them all...so, even though they do appear in a particular order, (the alternative being a jumbled mess) that order has nothing to do with how much they are loved by me....
.....here I go....
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1. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, By Dave Eggers


"These things, these details, stories, whatever, are like the skin shed by snakes, who leave theirs for anyone to see. What does he care where it is, who sees it, this snake and his skin. He leaves it where he molts. Hours, days or months later, we come across a snake's long-shed skin, and we know something of the snake, we know that it's of this approximate girth and that approximate length, but we know very little else. Do we know where the snake is now? What the snake is thinking now? No. By now the snake could be wearing fur; the snake could be selling pencils in Hanoi. The skin is no longer his, he wore it because it grew from him, but then it dried and slipped off and he and everyone could look at it." ~ Dave Eggers;                   A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

Dave Eggers is exactly my kind of writer.
 This book, his memoir, is funny, moving, intelligent, real and raw....and, yes, heartbreaking.
The book opens, (after a list of 'Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of this Book') with Dave taking care of his mother, who is dying of cancer. He is twenty years old. His parents die within five weeks of each other, and he becomes effectively, a single parent in charge of his seven year old brother Toph.
Okay, I know it doesn't exactly sound like there's a lot of humour in it, but there is. If you love memoirs, or just a good story, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one as much as I did.

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2.  Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life, by Trevor Cole


Norman Bray is an ageing dinner theatre actor with an ego as huge as his burgeoning financial and personal problems. He has renounced all responsibility, for just about everything, in the name of his art.
Norman Bray is probably the most self absorbed character I've ever read.
 It's ridiculous how he doesn't seem to grasp the fact his career has faded and the wolves are circling. He is on the brink of financial and personal ruin, and doesn't get it....he performs his life as though it were a stage play.

The book starts like this:

"Watch the man being seated at a table in the middle of the Skelton Arms pub. He has been shown a table to the side, but no, he prefers the one in the middle, so that is where he sits. His name is Norman Bray. You won't have heard of it before, although that fact might surprise him."
~ opening paragraph of Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life.
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3. The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde


I have been reading this book every few years since I was thirteen years old. It is Oscar Wilde's only novel, the majority of his writing career being padded out with plays, fairy tales and poems. I think everyone is familiar with the story, Dorian Gray retains his beautiful looks and vibrant youth, while every crime and evil deed he does, shows up on the face of his portrait, which he keeps hidden from the world.
The novel was originally published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, in July, 1890. It is tame by today's standards I suppose, but back in 1890-91 it was regarded by most as vile and  immoral.
This reaction prompted Wilde to add a preface to the next edition, which said, in part,

"There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.
That is all."
You said it Oscar!

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4. When You Are Engulfed in Flames, by David Sedaris


I am mad for David Sedaris! I love this book. It's a book of short, short stories, vignettes and slices of life... and most of them are really funny. The ones that aren't really funny, are still just plain funny.

“May I bring you a drink to go with those warm nuts, Mr. Sedaris?" this woman looking after me asked - this as the people in coach were still boarding. The looks they gave me as they passed were the looks I give when the door of a limousine opens. You always expect to see a movie star, or, at the very least, someone better dressed than you, but time and time again it's just a sloppy nobody. Thus the look, which translates to, Fuck you, Sloppy Nobody, for making me turn my head.” 
― David SedarisWhen You Are Engulfed in Flames
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5. Diary of a Madman, by Nicolai Gogol


Here's another fantastically ancient book. This story was originally published in 1835. It takes place in the era of Czar Nicholas 1, and chronicles the descent into madness of one civil servant, who believes himself to be the new King of Spain.
It is very funny, and very sad...from a perceived love affair between two dogs, to his strange 'coronation', we catch a glimpse inside the protagonist's ever more wobbly mind.
Here's proof that something written almost 180 years ago is still funny and poignant. 

“April 43rd 2000

Today is the day of great triumph. There is a king of Spain. He has been found at last. That king is me. I only discovered this today. Frankly, it all came to me in a flash.” 
― Nikolai GogolDiary of a Madman and Other Stories
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6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger


I know, this novel is most often associated with required reading in high school, (at least it used to be) and the book Mark Chapman was reading as he waited for the police after murdering John Lennon. 
My guess is that most of you have read this book at some point in your life, and we've all experienced the confusion of teenage angst, alienation, identity and loss. 

"Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.” 
― J.D. SalingerThe Catcher in the Rye

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7. Literary Lapses, by Stephen Leacock



This book of hilarious short stories was originally published in 1910, (okay, I can hear everyones eyes rolling at the fact that this is, yet another book from a past century...I can't help it!....and yes, I've read this one many times too....) and sold at CN Rail stations so commuters would have some light reading on their journeys.
Turns out that Stephen Leacock, the economist, was a genius writer of comedy stories, and he is a Canadian hero. His former home in Orillia, Ontario is a National Historic Site, and well worth visiting if you are a fan. I adore him.

This is from his Literary Lapses story, "How to Live to be 200", about a man, Jiggins, who had, 'the health habit.'

"...In the evenings in his room he used to lift iron bars, cannon-balls, heave dumbbells, and haul himself up to the ceiling with his teeth. You could hear the thumps half a mile.
He liked it.
He spent half the night slinging himself around his room. He said it made his brain clear. When he got his brain perfectly clear, he went to bed and slept. As soon as he woke, he began clearing it again.
Jiggins is dead."
This well known quote is from the story 'Gertrude the Governess':

"Lord Ronald said nothing. He flung himself from the room, flung himself upon his horse, and rode madly off in all directions."


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8. The Stone Angel, by Margaret Laurence


This is another book that has been part of my life for years.
 Hagar Shipley will do that to you. Hagar is a 90 year old woman, struggling to come to grips with the fact that her family is thinking that the best place for her is a nursing home. As she reminisces about her youth, her marriage and the childhoods of her sons, she does the only reasonable thing that any nonagenarian in her right mind would do....she runs away.

“I can't change what's happened to me in my life, or make what's not occurred take place. But I can't say I like it, or accept it, or believe it's for the best. I don't and never shall, not even if I'm damned for it.” 
― Margaret LaurenceThe Stone Angel

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9. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel



This is a wonderful novel, with themes of survival, belief and art. 
Pi Patel is immigrating, with his family, (and half of the family's zoo!) from Pondicherry, India, to Winnipeg, Canada. 
Along the way something horrible happens, and Pi is forced into survival mode, doing things he never thought possible, in a situation he couldn't have imagined in a million years.

“Japanese-owned cargo ship Tsimtsum, flying Panamanian flag, sank July 2nd, 1977, in Pacific, four days out of Manila. Am in lifeboat. Pi Patel my name. Have some food, some water, but Bengal tiger a serious problem. Please advise family in Winnipeg, Canada. Any help very much appreciated. Thank you.” 
― Yann MartelLife of Pi
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10. The Outsider, by Albert Camus (also sometimes translated as 'The Stranger')


Camus was a French/Algerian journalist, philosopher and author who helped the rise of the philosophy of 'absurdism', which states that there is no 'higher purpose' to life, it just is. Just as I am ignorant of most of the universe, so, most of the universe is ignorant of me. 
The book opens with the words, 

"Mother died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don’t know. I got a telegram from the home: “Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours.” That doesn’t mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday."
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That's my list....of course it could change at any moment, there are so many books I love for so many reasons. 

Hope you all are having the best celebrations, feasts and get-togethers possible this year and everyone makes it through healthy and happy....
.....and, keeping with the theme of favourites, here are two of my all time favourite performers, Barry Gibb and Michael Jackson....I know, who'da thunk it, but never-the-less, here they are singing together for your enjoyment! I hope you enjoy it anyway.
 I once heard someone say that Barry Gibb's voice sounds like ear cancer, so, if you are of that opinion, just don't listen to it. This is, after all, fat, old Barry Gibb..and his voice at this stage had taken on a bit of the oldness, but none of the fatness. None that I can detect anyways. 


Finally, to paraphrase Aldous Huxley, "Be careful on the roads. It's the Christmas season, everyone's liable to be drunk."

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Technology and My Mother

My mother, at the age of 77, has decided to enter the computer age. When I say she's decided to enter the computer age, I mean enter as in walking through the doors of technology for the very first time. She has had no previous experience with, or exposure to, cell phones, computers, smart tv's, or even DVD players. 
Armed only with the knowledge that she wanted to communicate with the outside world in texted words and pictures, she set off to her local 'The Source', and purchased a cell phone, DVD player, smart tv and laptop. She said that I inspired her to engage in such an extravagant spending spree by regaling her with tales of text messages, skyping and instantly received photos. 

Now that she had all the equipment, she wanted my help in setting it all up.
I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I am no technical whizz. I know the basics of what I need to know to do what I do, and not much more. Besides that, there's the fact that I live approximately 3,000 miles from where my mom lives, and so stopping over to help her out with her new equipment is out of the question. 
The most I could do was tell her to call The Source, and get one of the guys to come out and show her what's what with all her new loot. 

"Oh! Will they do that?", she asked. 

"Of course they will, I assured her.

"Well. I guess I should give them a call. I don't know what I did with that phone book! I had it around here. I remember I looked up the number of the beauty salon last week....where did I put that thing?"

While she was lamenting the loss of her yellow pages, I googled the number. 
"Never mind the phone book Mom. The number is 444-3399"

"Oh. How do you know? Do you have my phone book?" She laughed like someone does when they think they're on to you.

"No Mom. I Googled it."

"I've heard of that but it sounds like gobble-d-gook to me. Or google-d-gook."

" I know it sounds like it's a crazy made up word, but soon you'll be googling things too. Give those guys a call and they'll show you everything you need to know. It'll be great Mom! You'll have everything you want to know at your fingertips."

Flash forward a few weeks. 
Mom now had her computer out of the box and sitting on the dining room table, the smart tv was plugged in and showing endless reruns of 'The Golden Girls'.
 The DVD player remained in the box, at the back of her closet, because, as Mom said, "I can't figure that damn thing out!" 
Best of all, I thought, the cell phone had been activated and had already sent out it's maiden text. 

"E. va it is. Me. Thsnk. you eva i will phpnw tomorow."

I was thrilled that mom was expanding her horizons and I looked forward to exchanging pictures and more somewhat cryptic messages.
 I knew it would make her feel closer to all of us here on the other side of the country...that is, it would have made her feel closer to us all if she could remember from day to day, how to turn the cell phone on.
Which brings us to a couple days ago. 

I could hear the frustration in her voice as she explained to me that she must be stupid because she cannot for the life of her remember how to turn her cell phone on. 
I assured her that she wasn't in the least stupid, and as soon as she got into the routine of using her cell phone, it would become second nature.
My first mistake was believing that this would be an easy fix. 

She said, "I turned it on but it went off again right away."

I said, "Yeah, Mom, it's out of power. You have to charge it up."

She said, "So what should I do though? Should I plug it in then?"

"Yes. Mom. Plug it in."

"With that plug in thing? It plugs into the wall?"

"Yeah that one. Hook your phone up to it and plug it into the wall."

"Okay. I'll do that now."

"Okay."

"Okay I'll be right back. Cause I have to go into the kitchen to get it. I'm in the bedroom right now."

"Oh I see."

"I'll go now."

"Alright."

30 SECOND SILENCE

"Eva? Can you hear me?"

"Yes I can Mom."

"Oh good. I put you on speaker phone cause I had to put the phone on the counter. The phone I was talking on? So I could get the charger for the cell phone."

"And do you have it yet Mom?"

"Have what?"

"The charger."

"Oh yeah! I'll get it!"

45 SECOND SILENCE

"Okay. It's plugged in."

"Oh awesome! Okay, now turn it on."

"WHAT?!"

"Turn it on."

"Oh no! I don't think I can turn it on when it's plugged in!"

"Yes you totally can Mom."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes I'm sure Mom."

"Cause I don't want anything to happen."

"Mom! The only thing that will happen is the phone will come on and we want that to happen. So press the button."

"It's the one at the side is it?"

"Yep. That's it. Okay. You're gonna press it down until you feel the phone vibrate."

"Oh! Okay....okay I'm pressing it down."

"Good. Now. Do you see where it says Samsung on the screen?"

"No."

"What?"

"No I don't see that. It did a little something then it quit."

"Okay. Mom? Is the phone still plugged in?"

"Yes it's plugged in."

"And you pressed the button at the side?"

"I'm still pressing it."

"Okay.....Mom? I'm sorry I wasn't more clear. Press it just until the phone vibrates, or buzzes, then let it go."

"Let go of the button?"

"Yes Mom. Just press it down and as soon as you feel the phone buzz....let go of the button."

"OH! Okay......."............
..................................
.........................................
"Okay I let go of the button."

"And what does it say on the screen?"

"Nothing. I think it's off."

It's hard to instruct someone on how to make a peanut butter sandwich when they have never heard of bread.
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Sunday, 26 October 2014

Autumn, What's My Line, Bears in the Nutyard and a 20 year old cat


I suppose I should be more disciplined in posting regularly, but for the moment, this haphazard system works well for me.
I think.
 I don't know. I will probably review these findings and discover that it's not working as well as I had hoped, or imagined....
 (are hoping and imagining the same thing?....I guess you can imagine things that you don't hope for, or hope for things you can't imagine.....so, the answer is probably 'no'. No they're not the same thing. You're welcome.)

The thing is that a bunch of stuff keeps happening! I suppose that's what life is though, eh?
A bunch of stuff happens. All in a row. For years. (Hopefully).

At last cooler weather has prevailed here in the valley. The rainy season is upon us, and I am welcoming it with open brolley and bright yellow boots.
 I love a slightly chilly, overcast day. The fall weather in all it's aromatic glory makes me feel as if anything is possible.
Unfortunately the physics of the situation reminds me that no, not everything is possible,
 (like George Carlin said, "Hand me that piano.") but I tend to lean more on the side of the bare bones poetry of the thing, and ignore reality, indulging my senses in heady autumn breezes and that lifted feeling that comes with the rain.
It's as if all the sweat and grime and decay of the recently deceased summer season is being washed away. Things are clean again, and with the cleanliness comes a renewed strength.

A few evenings ago, after a full day of chasing my renewed strength all over town and trying to rope it into finding me a job, I discovered that it had been replaced with a renewed sense of calm.
(Either that or I'm too stupid to recognize a renewed sense of defeat.
 (I think that Taco guy saw right through me. He knew right away that I have no real interest in making tacos. He was trying to ask how long I would actually end up working for him and by the look on his face, I knew that he knew damn well that it wouldn't be long.))
Anyways, that evening I curled up in my papasan chair, cup of tea in hand, and watched a marathon of that old game show, 'What's My Line?'. If you don't recognize that title, you can be forgiven as the show first aired in 1950.
I found it fascinating to see that what must have been social norms back then, today would be considered totally inappropriate, sexist, racist, or all three.
Still it's not without it's charm, this relic from the past.
At times it's downright super funny.
The premise is that there is a 'celebrity' panel of four that try to guess, using only questions that can be answered with yes or no, what the guest does for a living.
 There are times that the whole panel, and the moderator, and sometimes the guest, are smoking. Everyone is enjoying a butt while chortling and guessing.....guessing again... smoking....
They also have a segment where they bring out a 'celebrity' mystery guest. In this case the panelists are blindfolded and are required to guess who the mystery guest is, rather than what they do.


....the quality of the image is such a grainy black and white, that everyone on the show looks like a drawing come to life.....and not really in the sense of traditional cartoons, but more like a fine art portrait come to life. Also, the people of that era seem way more pretentious than the folks that are around now.
 There is a lot of name dropping on the show, and the names they are dropping are not being picked up by anyone in this day and age.
Well, maybe a few people around now will pick up those dropped names, and you can spot those name pickers immediately. They look like fine art portraits, come to life.

A little while ago I heard a woman telling a story about how this farmer she knows had bears coming out of the bushes and ransacking his nut yard.
I guess this guy raises hazelnuts....anyways, when she told this story she said the words "nut yard" many, many times. So many times that it was begining to make some of the listeners uncomfortable.
And when she said those words, she pronounced them quickly, like they were one word, "nutyard"...(maybe it is one word, I don't know)...and all I could think was,
"I've never been as close to a farmer's nutyard as those bears were that day in the bush....close to the nutyard."
Unfortunately, as humourous as the telling of the tale was, (to me at least) it didn't work out so well for the bears in the nutyard. The 'farmer' shot three of them and buried them in the very nutyard they sought out for sustenance.
I'm not absolutely sure about this, but I don't think you can do stuff like that anymore.
Gone are the days when a person can just go off willy-nilly, slaughtering the fauna at their own discretion....unless they have a license. Which to me doesn't seem exactly fair.
What other animal besides people behaves that way?
Bears have never decided amongest themselves, regarding us,
 "There's way too many of those ransacking fucks around....we're gonna have to cull them. Go for the throats of the old ones, and the sick ones."

Oh, I know there are some people that don't even consider that they are animals. They've removed themselves from the list of known animals. And they've done this willingly.
Some people were dissatisfied with being animals....inspite of the fact that they can't change biology.

I think that there would be far less cruelty in the world if folks would embrace their animal selves, and realize that we human beings share the majority of our DNA with everything.
EVERYTHING.
Trees, lizards, dandelions, puppies, elephants, those snails people always step on on the sidewalk....we're related to those things!?
I try never to step on them.
.....wait just a minute here! Does this mean I'm related to my cat?! I'm glad I'm not closely related to her, otherwise I too might be dying of old age at the end of my 20th year.
I mean, not that I have yet to reach the end of my 20th year....rest assured I am quite beyond that.


Twenty years is a good, long life for a cat. And I'm not implying that this is the end for her. I mean, she seems to be having as great a time as a twenty year old cat can have.
I've known this little being for quite some time, and I like her quite a bit. She is a character. She is an individual. Outspoken and not at all shy, she introduces herself to guests and demands that they look her in the eye when they pet her.
At least she did demand that until a few weeks ago.. now she spends most of her time laying low in her basket, emerging to drink (a lot), eat (a little) and get her requisite quota of pets.
She has been a member of our family for a long time and we will miss her terribly when she's gone.
Still, since that day is still at a point in the future....today she will dine on Temptations Chicken treats, her favourite. She has earned a meal of Temptations. She's done her job as my cat well, and for years.

Finally for today, war, terrorism, school shootings, murder at the cenotaph, assaults, beheadings, cruelties and abominations.....my god, the news has me screaming out inside myself that I've had enough!, and then I discovered this song with that same title!
I wonder, if people did make their voices known, the world over, could that make any difference at all? Could we possibly convince governments and religions and sects and terrorists and garden variety murderers that they are doing wrong and we, the population of the planet, have had enough?
I can hope for it, but I can't imagine it.


Be Nice. It's That Simple.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

All Those Years Ago

If you're a fan of John Lennon, then this post is right up your alley! If you're not a fan, then you might want to skip this one...



Seventy four years ago today, John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England.
The rest is history.
And I just can't picture him at 74! I think he would have been a cool old man though. 


This is George Harrison's tribute to John,
 All Those Years Ago:


This one is a discussion of one of my favourite John Lennon songs, 
God. 
It's true, in the end, when everything is stripped away, all you have is yourself.


This one is definitely worth a listen. 
Instant Karma.....classic.
Notice a blindfolded Yoko catching up on some knitting in the background.
It's almost like a surrealist painting....Dali could have made good use of whatever gnarled garment it is she's making. 
Maybe she's making more blindfolds!



And finally, #9 Dream....this does have a dreamy feel, the superimposing of their faces.... I was wondering if this mash-up actually looked like their son Sean when he grew up.....hmmmm.....
John Lennon was controversial, gifted, and real. 
It's funny that he's been dead for the entire lives of all my children...well, not 'funny', but you know, odd. Odd because I, and I think most of us, remember him being among us....you know, alive, for so long, saying things and singing songs, and to my kids John Lennon has always been 'the dead Beatle'.
Once someone's been dead for long enough though, the memories of them being alive are harder and harder to dredge up. 
I think that's true even if you didn't actually know the person. Actually, it's probably more true then, because we have no personal memories of them. But still, they can pack a wallop in our lives. And we do have all the music, or films, or whatever it is they left, to look at and listen to whenever we want, thanks to the computer age! So that's a bonus.
There are those people who's deaths are such a blow in popular culture, that we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when they died.
Kennedy has that effect. I was a small child then, so I don't remember the assassination, only the stories and the footage, but the people who were cognisant adults on November 22, 1963, can pretty much tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news.
John Lennon's death definitely had that effect on people, as did Elvis and Michael Jackson.
Anyways, I digest. Here's the song.


That's it for my tribute to John Lennon on his 74th birthday. 
This December 8 will be the 34th anniversary of his death!
God, are we THAT old?!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Great Autumn, Nursery Rhymes and Names



We are having the greatest fall here!
 I mean the season.
 Autumn.
It's been so warm and sunny, but also cool...it's strange...autumn.
 It's like the year is at its most beautiful when it's dying....even though that does sound super corny...it seems to be true. Sometimes there's a grain of truth in corny sayings.....(which is a corny saying(!))
I guess the year isn't dying though....the summer is...still.

You know what no one says anymore?
'Sensational'. As in, "I saw this sensational movie on Friday."
The word 'sensational' is out of fashion. As is the name 'Matilda'.  And also 'Myrtle'.

I just saw on tv tonight that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis had a baby girl, and the couple is "over the moon about it!"....and I thought....'isn't that what always happens?'
 You don't often see the new parents go, "Well. Frankly we're not too happy with it. It's got a head like a wedge of brie. We'd like a refund."
I wonder if they'll name her Myrtle?! That would be great for all those Myrtles who have been left out of the name tag industry. Suddenly Myrtle will be a popular name again.
And when that happens, there will be people who will claim that they've always liked the name Myrtle, even though the evidence will prove otherwise.
~~~~~
~~~~~
Those celebrities always give their kids screwed up names. Like Methuselah. That is most likely some poor kids name. Well, he or she is not really a 'poor' kid. They've got money. What they don't got is a regular name.
And for some of them, I don't mean that they have a super dorky human name..
(although sometimes they do...let's ask Moses Martin about that.)..
(or a name that is suddenly assigned to the opposite sex???? like if a girl is called Cameron or Blake...to me it's like having a boy called Debbie....or ....Louise...I mean, you could do it. You could totally call your son Louise if you want to I guess...but just think it over..)...
..I mean...some of them are named after household appliances for god's sake! Like...Frank Zappa's kids...Moon Unit One and Dweezil...what's the matter with people?
 (I mean, not that a 'Moon Unit' is a household appliance or anything...infact, I'm not even sure what it is...I'm pretty sure that it's a 'what', not a 'who' though.....except in the case of poor, unfortunate 'Moon Unit One Zappa'.)
You shouldn't do that to a kid.
It's like calling your kid 'End Table', or 'Grease Trap'.
(Yes, but we call him Greasy, and that's kind of cute.) (Actually....it's pronounced 'Greee-say')

 Of course no one knows who Frank Zappa is anymore, so that's a bad reference I guess...but still...Imagine if your name was Moon Unit...wouldn't you want to throttle the stoner that gave you that name?!


 ~~~~~
I was just thinking of that old nursery rhyme, 'Jack Sprat would eat no Fat'.....when I was a kid my brother and I had a book of rhymes and that one was in it.
Each rhyme had a picture beside it, and for this rhyme the picture was a real skinny, nervous looking guy, sitting at the table with a bare plate in front of him.
 There may have been a single bean on it, I forget.
 And the woman, (Jack Sprat's wife) had huge, billowing rolls of fat all over her, and a plate heaped with lumps of fat. She was greasy and smiling.
 Sitting on the floor, looking up at the man, was a super skinny cat.
 I always used to wonder about the cat. Like, why was he so skinny? I mean, the rhyme didn't say anything about the cat being skinny.
In fact, the rhyme didn't mention a cat at all!
When I first saw the picture it was a surprise that they even had a cat....but now that the jig was up, and the cat was out of the bag, (so to speak)...I think he should have been fed.
 Or maybe run away with Old Mother Hubbard's dog.
It was unsettling for me as a pre-schooler to look at that picture. Nursery rhyme people didn't take care of their animals, or their children very well.
I don't know if nursery rhymes are still in style.
Some of them were pretty wicked....mean witches eating little kids...it was all in good fun I suppose...
These days a lot of people don't like nursery rhymes cause they say they are damaging to the children, but you know, I don't ever remember thinking that nursery rhymes were real. I always knew they were made up stories, even when I was small. I think we should not underestimate the intelligence of children.
I read my kids the 'Fe Fi Fo Fum' rhyme, (sorry I forget what it's called) and that one has a guy talking about smelling blood and grinding bones.....hmmmm......on second thought, that doesn't sound quite right does it?
~~~~~~~~~~
Call now! Operators are standing by to take your call!
Call 555-FIVE
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earlier on the news I heard a guy say, "It's clear that this fellow......(blah blah blah)".....and I thought he said, "...this is a clear fellow..."....and that got me to thinking how weird it would be if there WERE clear fellows....or people.
I wonder what that would do to racism? I mean if EVERYONE was clear, not that the clear people become the latest target of racists.
If we were all clear, all we'd see of each other is what's on the inside...not the 'deep inside' though...we'd see what's just on the other side of the skin...muscle and fat mostly.
~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I was just thinking of Ken Kesey, and I'm not sure why. He wrote 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', which was one of my favourite books, and a damn fine movie too!
I don't think he was clear.
Well, maybe he was, but you had to look very carefully.
~~~~~~~
Finally, (I know I know, you're thinking THANK GOD!)...I heard that Chelsea Clinton had a baby girl, and I thought, 'Of course she did.'
 I think all the ex Presidents of the USA have daughters, don't they? Well, let's see...Bill and Hilary Clinton have Chelsea, and now little 'grandChelsea', O'Bama has two daughters....who else is there?!?....
OH! I guess Old Bush has a son, doesn't he?
Sounds like a horrible affliction, but sadly, one that awaits us all...
"Sorry Myrtle. There's no easy way to put this. You've got a sensational case of Old Bush."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And FINALLY....(okay!...I admit the former 'finally' turned out to be a bit of a misnomer as it turns out I have something more to say)...It is a beautiful morning!...it is here anyway...so let's get out and at least take a few deep, full breaths of this sensational, crispy autumn air!
Also, if you're so inclined, try to work the word 'sensational' into a conversation today.
We'll bring it back to its former glory.


Have a sensational day everyone!

Monday, 29 September 2014

July 4, 2004 Nights out at the Empress

July 4, 2004
2:48 am

What a crazy night this has been.
First of all, it was girls night out, so Brenda and Paula and Peggy and I gathered, first at Brenda's house for a few Jello shooters, and then, fortified with a gelish courage, it was off to the Empress!
Yes, yes....the Emp.
It's such a dive! Smells like piss. Caricatures wall to wall.
Steven the crack dealer scoping the joint out from the safety of a shadowed doorway.
"Cory-oke" introducing the next 'act'....a way off key rendition of 'Mustang Sally'....by one of the regulars.




Anyways, we get there, and Peggy immediately buggers off to parts unknown.
When she got back to our table, she told us that Eleanor died!
Eleanor.
She used to sit in the Emp for hours, and talk to anyone who would listen, about books, and  the
 'great authors of our time!'
 She was a self taught, drunken, bitter but friendly, literary expert. She knew everything about the works of John Steinbeck, DH Lawrence and JD Salinger. She adored Oscar Wilde and Margaret Laurence.
She was one of the people I truly liked. She was interesting....this shaky, but functional, wobbly old woman.

Peggy, right away develops in her mind a grand conspiracy theory, and says,
"I think someone put something in her beer."
And then she set off again, back to the bowels of the establishment, to find the truth.
What 'really' happened.

Then Peggy's octogenarian mother in law....who looks like a half pissed Dame Edna....vows to help Peggy find the truth.....a promise that lasts until she spots, across the bar, a gigantic woman, shaped like a carton of smokes, who,
"...used to go out with my old man!"
....and Peggy's mother in law's 'old man' actually is a really old man! He's a thousand if he's a day..
So they start arguing about whether or not he went out with the carton woman...and then the carton woman comes over and chimes in to the argument....it was stupid....and the whole time  me and Brenda were just thinking, "Poor Eleanor..."...
all this was against the backdrop of bar stars belting out the Eagles (Peaceful Easy Feeling) and Van Morrison (Brown Eyed Girl).....
Then Peggy came back to our table, still unable to decipher what 'really happened' to Eleanor, but telling us that her band was playing at Tornado Joe's and she can get us in for free.
She says it's her band, because her husband is the relief drummer.
 The actual drummer had a heart attack on Friday, she says, so now it's "John's chance for the big time."
Yeah okay.
Still, we haven't been to Tornado Joe's since they changed their format.
.....anyways.......turns out that 'Peggy's band' plays music that sounds like a cross between Pee Wee Herman and Tex Ritter....and there was a whole different drummer.
Either that or the main drummer's heart attack cleared up really fast.
All John did all night was sit at the table and pantomime all the drumming and spill people's beer. It was pretty bad.
It was like being caught in some strange dream sequence of a bad movie...


And all I could think was how, one time, a few weeks back, me and Brenda and Dave were at the Empress, waiting for a cab and we met up with Eleanor.
She was all folded up on the ledge at the front of the building and she ended up in our cab. We couldn't leave her there. The three of us sat in the back, and Eleanor sat in the front. The whole way to her building she was babbling about her keys and how she hoped she hadn't lost them.
She hadn't.
She stumbled out of the cab when it got to her apartment and the driver waited till she was in the door before he pulled away.
People always look out for Eleanor.

The sane people who knew Eleanor said that what really happened, is she dropped dead of a heart attack when she was coming out of her building on Thursday morning.
It was nice to know you Eleanor.
It's late now. I'm going to bed.





Friday, 19 September 2014

AGT, John Lennon, Royal Baby and Summer

              Quote of the night, "I'm a cuttin' but you ain't bleedin'!" 
        ~ Foghorn Leghorn to that dog he tortures
~~~~~~~~~
So, the results are in.....Mat Franco is the winner of America's Got Talent. 

 He looks like a cross between Jon Cryer and a pack of gum....


+



Still, he is really good.
I was happy that he won.
 It's a pretty good show, that AGT.  This year was great for talent. I had no idea there were so many people out there with such awesome talent. 
Some of them need to just get a frigging grip though... I mean...like the knife throwers?!....come on.. I don't think there's any knife throwing act worth a million dollars, but somehow, they can't be discouraged, those damn guys with their knives.
 Every year there's a few old guys trying to sneak past, thinking we won't notice them, with their over filled balloons and 'target girl' dressed in a tutu, with scabs and a frightened look....toting a length of rope.. Some of them actually make it on to the show, but they rarely go far. People soon wake up and realize that it gets really boring, really quick. I don't know. Maybe that's just me. 

I think American tv is so much more entertaining than Canadian tv....unless you're really in to period dramas...or shows about orphans in 19th century P.E.I........imagine an entire country watching nothing but Downton Abby or Little House on the Prairie....that's what it's like...or I guess that's what it WAS like. Canadian tv has some good shows now, but I don't know anyone who watches them.

I remember when I was a kid, we'd be watching tv, and suddenly there'd be little videos of wildlife...
.....Who's Who in Hinterland.
Does anyone remember that?


 It was a little wildlife break in the middle of the Flintstones.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~
The National Film Board of Canada used to air little vignettes, some of which were really catchy and cute. 
I found 'The Log Driver's Waltz'. .....memories! I think this one originally aired in the '80's.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~
God! The '80's eh?! 
That was a strange decade....people who didn't work out wore neon coloured 'gear'.....every teenager had a 'boombox' that they carried on their shoulders when they went to the alley to 'break dance'....gawd...gag me with a spoon....the decade started with the murder of the most controversial Beatle...and ended with walls coming down.


I remember the night John Lennon was murdered vividly. For me, the evening started with a toke or two with friends, and listening to Led Zeppelin  (betcha didn't see that coming!...),and ended having bran muffins at Bino's. 
The place was packed, It was about 2am. No one could sleep after the news from New York. Everyone I heard and saw and talked to that night was completely stunned. It was one of those situations where we all needed to grieve collectively....none of us knew him, but we felt like he was one of us, and we needed to talk about him. And we needed to speculate on the killer...why he would have done this, and what we would do to him if we ever met him. The place piped 'Imagine', on a loop, through the sadness.
It was a crazy night. 
Earlier in the evening, before we met with a bunch of strangers at Bino's, I remember looking out the window, and seeing a guy in the twilight, in the entrance way of the apartment across the street. He had been stabbed, and he was pounding on all the buttons at once, with his bloody fists. I could hear all these disembodied staticky voices, saying 'Hello? Hello?', "Who is this?'
By the time we got outside, the block was like the set of some detective show....during rehearsal. 
There were paramedics tending to the stabbed guy, and there were cops everywhere. Some had dogs, some didn't. We walked right past a cop with a huge german shepherd straining at the end of his leash, sniffing something at the base of a stop sign. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In lighter news, (Yes, yes, I know that wasn't really so much 'news' as a reminiscence, still...) it's nice to see that there'll be a new Royal Baby! That's right, the current Royal Baby will become the old Royal Baby sometime in the spring....I suppose every member of that family, was at one time, 'The Royal Baby'. I don't think there was as much hoopla about it before though....I mean, I remember when Prince William was the Royal Baby, and it was news, but I don't think it was as big a story as it was for this last Royal Baby....or it could be that the sands of time have gotten in my eyes and distorted my inner vision....I think that's what's happened here, because you'd think it would be a big deal whenever a future king is born. 
It's so nuts to me that there are some people, who, by accident of birth, are born to rule over the poor slobs who are, again by accident of birth, born to be ruled over.
~~~~
Well, at least the weather's finally cooling off! It's been damn hot here. 
This is the summer that refuses to frigging back down and admit it's over. 
It's grabbing hold of sticks and clumps of grass as it slides down the embankment and into fall...(some people are even stepping on its fingers)...and it keeps pulling itself up again, like Rocky! 
I would like to put forth the idea that we name extreme seasons, like we do hurricanes. 
So, the summer of 2014, (at least in this area of British Columbia) should be known as Rocky.....all in favour say, "Yo! Adrienne!".......
Hang on.....maybe that's not such a good idea. People might get confused and think it's named after Rocky the Squirrel from the 'Rocky and Bullwinkle Show', and not after Rocky the pugilist from that movie.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
You know what no one ever says anymore?
"Gumption"
It's gone the way of 'wisenheimer' and 'Sam Hill'.
They're all sitting around a campfire somewhere, eating beans and telling tales....Gumption, Wisenheimer and Sam Hill.
'Far Out' , 'Groovy' and 'Bogart' are around a different campfire, behind pull-tab curtains...still distracted by black light posters and finding out the meaning behind everything...
'Radical', 'Gnarly' and 'Gag Me' are at a Robert Palmer concert....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another Quote of the Night. (Yes, there can be two! That's my rules.):

"Who did you like the way they acted, that you might act like the way you do now?"
~ David Letterman to Luke Wilson


That's all for now. 

Friday, 29 August 2014

Excerpts

So, I've been working on putting together my old journals into some kind of readable pile of sentences, and I don't seem to have the time to do that AND a new post.
So I've made the decision to use excerpts of the old journal AS a post.
I mean, there's always so much to do outside of time allotted for writing.
 Am I right?
~~~
All names have been changed to protect the integrity of the situation.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
January 10, 2002
2:57pm

Well, the big palm tree is dead. I really don't know what happened to it. It got some sort of weird spongy fungus and it fell apart.
For real.
I was moving it to a better spot in my room and it went to pieces. 
Okay, here's a diagram to explain it better:


I'm very sad about this.
 I guess nothing lives forever, not even potted plants. It was a good tree and I'm gonna miss it. 
Funeral will be held later this evening out by the dumpster. 
In lieu of flowers, please send roses.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
September 25, 2001
7:03 pm

Exactly three months till Christmas!!!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
September 27, 2001
8:13 pm

Sally just dropped Joey and Alison off back home here a little while ago.
 They were over at Mike and Sal's for a couple days because Joey and Mike were working for Mike's neighbour, building a cow barn.
 I don't even think he's Amish.

Anyway, she, (Sally) stayed for coffee. We were sitting here, having our coffee and making small talk..(very small)...and all of a sudden, she tells me that there's a man standing behind me! 
She said, so matter-of-factly, that she can actually see spirits and this guy is some sort of ghost.
 She said he was tall, with dark hair and he just looked around, smiled, and left.
(What would be the point of that?  What is this? The ghost of a shoe salesman?)
I actually said to her, "Is he dead?"
She said, "Yeah he's dead. He's a ghost."
Thomas called bullshit immediately.
Sally said that actually it was not bullshit and there are, IN FACT, three ghosts living in Thomas's room.
Thomas just rolled his eyes.
Then she said she'd been abducted by aliens!
ALIENS!
No word on why the aliens brought her back.
~~~~~
Here is a picture Joey drew of the barn him and Mike put up:


Okay....I'm not sure how this is a cow barn....perhaps Joey studied construction under Picasso.

Joey just informed me that it wasn't a cow BARN, but a cow STALL......okay.....now that that's all cleared up........
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
November 1, 2001
9:21 pm

I'd love to be a journalist.
I could just see it. There I'd be, standing infront of whatever was going on.
Stern expression. Holding a microphone.
 Blue blouse. Black skirt.
"I'm Vloorina Sanchez reporting for MCA"
Of course 'Vloorina Sanchez' would be my reporter name.
And I'd get super bitchy if someone mispronounced it.
There I'd be. All indignant and shit.
~~~~~
When I was a kid I thought that the Mayo Clinic was the headquarters of some huge mayonnaise factory. I don't know what made me just think of that, but I originally thought it when I was no bigger that a flea on the ass of a grasshopper.
~~~~~ 
If you've read this far, you may already be a millionaire.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
October 31, 2001
5:03 pm

Thomas gave me a piece of cloth with a bunch of strange symbols on it.
 Triangles; screaming horses; odd, oblong circles...ovals....it's supposed to be a Tibetan good luck symbol.
I don't know. I don't think it works very well.
 The Tibetans haven't been so lucky so far.
Maybe they should think about re-working their good luck flags.
Either that or call them something else. Something without the word 'luck' in it.
Like.....'interesting rags'.
Then when you gave one to someone, and they asked what it was, you could say,
"That's an interesting rag, from Tibet."
~~~~~
I just heard on TV that they took a bunch of gold out of the World Trade Centre.
Thank god the gold is safe!
It's not fair that the people melted and the gold didn't.
If people were made of gold they'd still be here.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
November 11, 2001
12:53 am

I have an idea for a self portrait.
It would be a self portrait in pieces. Like, one picture would be just the first knuckle of the pinky on my left hand. Another would be a patch of skin on the back of my right knee. Another could be the middle of my right ear cartilidge.
 Of course all of these parts would be on the same canvas...just disassembled.
I think it would be cool.
 I'll need mirrors.
~~~
I just started laughing out loud, and I'm here all alone, and suddenly I felt stupid.
 I think a lot of people do that...like, maybe you're on the toilet, and you think of something super funny and start laughing...and feel stupid because you're all alone.
But no one else is there! That's the beauty of it.
 I think we should be okay with laughing because something's funny, and not restrict our laughter depending on how many people are around.
After all, holding in laughter is the number one cause of sadness.
We should quit feeling stupid in front of ourselves.
It doesn't make any sense.