Sunday, December 30, 2007

Film: I am Legend

The Deity recommended it. I watched the trailer on-line and knew I had to see it. All I really absorbed is that it was a ‘post-apocalypse’ type of scenario –which always intrigues me.

Wow! I hesitate to say anything about this movie other than, ‘Stop what you’re doing. Go immediately to the theatre and buy a ticket for the next showing.’

Okay, for those of you too foolish to have taken my advice and are still reading; here’s the skinny:

I don’t like action movies. And the only kind of movies I like less than action movies are horror movies. That’s me. And yet despite prominent elements of action and some elements of horror – I loved this movie. I was impressed right from the opening shot and glued to the screen for the duration.

It’s a very well-crafted story. They lay down some solid clues, withhold some critical information ‘til the time is right, throw out a little ambiguity and the result is a wildly suspenseful ride.

The setting is visually fascinating with vast artificial scenery that looks dead real.

Star Wil Smith has won me over. I don’t normally notice great acting performances. I only notice the bad ones. But I’ll be surprised if Smith doesn’t get the Oscar for this and downright floored if he isn’t even nominated. The role was heavy and challenging and he was brilliant.

If I must criticize, some elements of the biological science at play is almost surely flawed and there are certain lame-o direction/production tricks – the kind that plague every Hollywood suspense movie ever made as far as I know. I grow so bloody weary of these that it’s exhausting but Hollywood is Hollywood and certain formulas sell. So be it. I forgive.

This is instantly one of my favorite films of all time. ‘Nuff said. Go to the theatre. Go!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Claudia Supermom passed this tag along in open invitation style. Yes, I’m accepting the tag. And yes, I’ve previously behaved as if these tagging things are annoying and that I’m too good for that sort of thing and only participate when cornered. And yes, I’m now participating of my own volition. And yes, that makes me an arrogant hypocritical pompous ass. Just wanted to be clear on that.

The legislation:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven random and or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

And now -- seven random (or weird) things about moi:

1. I hate the cartoon Charmin bears on the TV toilet paper commercials. The way they get all cutesy and shake their furry little asses at us. I won’t buy that damn product just because those commercials wig me the hell out. I assume these bears are only cutesy on TV and that in private they do horrid unspeakable things with each others feces. Sometimes I dream about them and wake up screaming.

2. I like Billy Bob Thornton. I like everything about him. I like his ugly toothy smile, his vulgar disposition. I like just saying his name. Billy Bob. Say it with me. Billy Bob. No, no. Say it like this, in one breath: Billibob. That’s right. Billibob! Fun, eh?

3. Christmas songs get on my last freaking nerve. Oh, they really do. Except for a very rare few that I really quite like. There are just enough to make one perfectly awesome Christmas album from them. I would pay dearly for such an album: If you make me this album I’ll love you madly forever and ever!

Happy Xmas/War is Over – John Lennon
I Saw Three Ships – Bruce Cockburn
Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Pachelbel’s Canon
Do They Know It’s Christmas – Band Aid
I Believe in Father Christmas – Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Step into Christmas – Elton John
Last Christmas – Wham
Christmas (Please Come Home) – U2
Run Rudolph Run – Chuck Berry
Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano (Sorry, Babs!)
Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby/David Bowie

4. I flooded my YouTube favorites menu with videos of kids getting hit in the head by balls. Soccer balls, basketballs, footballs, tennis balls, baseballs, giant exercise balls… you name it. I just want someone to come across my favorites menu and think I must be some kind of freak. Which – you know – I probably am. ‘Cause I really split a gut watching kids getting beaned out of nowhere and falling on their ass. As long as they’re not seriously hurt, that is. I’m just a freak. Not a monster.

5. I am not a monster.

6. I’ve had five broken bones in my life but all below the ankle. Both heels (tennis accident – don’t ask), and three toes – two, being slashed playing ball hockey on separate occasions, and one upon kicking the door of a van that belonged to a complete a** hole who much later was charged with the murder of his wife. Yeah. True story. Told you he was an a** hole.

7. I have witnessed with my own very eyes the most hideous flower arrangement ever to grace the earth. I nearly fell over. It belongs to Rockin’ Roddie. He served me a fabulous meal last night and fabulous wine – a ’95 Wolf Blass Premium Selection Shiraz that was to die for, then pointed out the monstrosity and asked what I thought. I couldn’t lie. Mostly because I was speechless – as in – dumbfounded. I just gave him a horrified stare.

Apparently an acquaintance of his is in the business and donated this work of art to a charity, throwing in a pair of lamps. Roddie liked the lamps and dropped a couple hundred for them, assuming that the flowering antichrist was the throw-in. When the – ahem – artist learned that his masterpiece fetched less than $500 he was a tad put off. Oh well.

Roddie didn’t want me taking a photo of it, assuming it would end up on the blog and Google Images failed to produce anything remotely similar so I’ve recreated the image through a little rudimentary photoshopping. It’s very very close to the genuine article. Sincerely. Enjoy:

I hereby tag... You. Just you. That's right. I know you're reading this.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Tempted by the fruit of Steve-o

Is it that time already? 'Fraid so. More random utterances of Steve-o, the roommate. Songs in italics:

Tequila! You’re breaking my heart,
Your shaking my confidence daily,

Those Douchie Von Douchenheimers.

Midgets have glowing sex. When they orgasm it shines like the birth of a star. That’s why some little people have great tans. They’re the best lovers.

Nausea, heartburn, indigestion!
Upset stomach, diarrhea!

It was an itsy bitsy teeny weenie
Flying purple pita eater

Your mom called. I pretended to be you but then she started talking all sexy and I got nervous and hung up. [Steve-o’s last words before he was throttled and thrown down the stairs.]

My laws, did you see the balls on that one?

Sky rockets in flight,
Mmm, tuna delight…

There’s nothing finer than zombie sex. At least, that’s what my zombie friends say.

I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum,

That's fit to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum,
Rum pum pum pum,
Up in my bum…

The preceding comments are not necessarily approved by FWG, or the Imperial Association of Little People.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ask FWG, not Jeeves - edition six

Once again - My answers to recent Google queries that led new readers here:

1. ex-employee canadian tire
There are many to choose from. Bill Smith Jr, for instance, dismissed when caught embezzling thousands in Canadian Tire Money; Serge Laurent who resigned and went on to breed and train boneless chickens for NASA; and Jo-Jo P. Nelson who died on the job upon operating a Mastercraft Wiener Roaster and Marble Polisher improperly. These are just three out of thousands.

2. Who sang--Tempted by the fruit..
No. Sorry. They didn’t. They sang Can’t Explain, Pinball Wizard and My Generation but they never sang Tempted By The Fruit. No way, Jose.

3. tim hortons "every cup tells a story"
That's correct. They do. But first you have to drink all the coffee out of it (plug your nose to make this more bearable). Then hold the empty cup over your ear and listen for the story. Oh – almost forgot. You have to be psychotic, schizophrenic and delusional for this to work. And being a Tim Hortons customer – you quite likely are.

4. where to get a chili dog in Mississauga
Easy. My place. But only on Superbowl Sunday.

5. blinded by the light writer
Yeah, that Light Writer’s a bitch. He’ll zap your eyes out with his laser beans.

6. bags octopus
Nobody bags octopi like Cooter And Sons Octopus Baggers. For all your seafood bagging needs. Our Mini Squid Pockets make great stocking stuffers. Mention this ad for 10% discount.

7. wild buffalo sauce
Mmmm… A seasonal favorite:
21 lbs ground horse
6 cups pine oil
36 cups sugar
3 cups salt
15 oz hickory extract
12 lbs onions, minced
1 eye of newt or 2 eyes baby newt
Boil, stir. Serve with 1 herd chilled buffalo heads. Feeds 200.

8. extreme rubber fantasy hospital
Ah, yes. One of my favorite daytime soaps. In this week’s episodes, Ryan and Candace filed for divorce, Mrs. Carbuncle was diagnosed with uvula cancer, Kevin James learned that his favorite prostitute is actually his presumed-dead cousin and Mary-Anne’s left ear turned into a ball peen hammer. There you go. You’re caught up.

9. peter pan fucks wendy
No. No he doesn’t. Not ever. Does your mom know what you do with your computer? You really need more supervision, you little freak.

10. ottawa office slut fantasy
Wow. The perverts are finally coming out of the woodwork. Well, this is a bit too involved to share here but I can tell you it ends with Prime Minister Harper receiving a uranium enema from a 98-year-old prostitute while being asphyxiated.

11. tinkerbell and peter pan fucking
You can’t be serious. How is that even possible? No. No wait. Never mind. I don’t want to know. Just get the hell out of here.

12. Hooked on Peter Pan

Yeah. You’re not the only one, apparently.

13. john chalupka
Hi John. Long time, no see!

14. flickr crossdressers that suck on each other
Ah, thank you. A nice wholesome perversion. What a refreshing change.

15. Scott Regher
Hi Scott! Long time, no see!

16. apple annie's plains review burlington
Again, space here is limited. But here’s the speed review:
Pancakes: big ‘n fluffy.
Eggs: unfertilized.
Bacon: slippery.
Coffee: Eventually, if you’re lucky. Grounds at no extra charge.
Pubic hair: One per menu.

17. car battery to testicles car
Whatever this means – go right ahead. I’m sure it can’t go wrong.

18. famous Steve-o quotes
No problem. Coming right up…

The information provided above is correct to the best of the author’s knowledge at the time of this release. The author bears no responsibility, financial or otherwise, for any manifestations of the use or misuse of the above counsel, including but not limited to: financial loss; weight loss, weight gain, squeaky shoe, varicose veins, light bruising, delayed puberty, shopaholism, agoraphobia, nymphomania, PMS, societal delusion, flatulence, sudden blindness, China syndrome or laryngitis.

Image ungraciously ripped from

Monday, December 24, 2007

Bed Head

Every morning I wake up with Wolverine hair.

And every morning I must look in the mirror and make a decision. Do I shower and spend the rest of the day smelling nice? Or do I not shower and spend the rest of the day looking like Wolverine?

It’s always a difficult decision and always I choose the former. But who knows? Maybe one day…

Saturday, December 22, 2007

More fun at the office

I had nothing to do with this one whatsoever. But still my name is mentioned as a collaborator. I guess I have a reputation.
Oh - and yes. That's a quote from Yoda painted on the wall of our office. We also have quotes from Wayne Gretzky and Jiminy Cricket on our walls. I wouldn't kid you.
By the way - stumbled onto this video. It’s pretty special:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Novel: To Your Scattered Bodies Go

(1971) Philipe José Farmer

The concept seemed intriguing. Every human ever having lived and died on Earth awakens all at once in a new world; a heaven consisting only of a wilderness river valley, millions of miles long. There are no modern tools or structures present but for a food delivery system resembling the replicators of Star Trek. Historical figure, adventurer Richard Burton is the lead character who sets out to solve the riddle of their new existence that has quickly turned territorial and violent.

By the end of this book his efforts have only unveiled a collection of testimony without evidence as to the validity of any of it. There are four more books in the series which apparently will add up to one complete story. Book-one on its own amounts to little. Presumably the work was split into impotent minor books for the purpose of milking profits or perhaps because the alternative - a sci-fi mega-book was not a marketable entity in the seventies.

The writing lacks the subtlety I adore but is just competent, creative and intelligent enough, and its blunders few and benign enough that I’ll give book-two, The Fabulous Riverboat a read. I’m curious enough about where this story is going.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fiction: A Good Christmas

I understood that the Andersons were poor. I guess I should say that 'we're poor'. After all, I'm an Anderson now too. Robert Charles Anderson. That's me. But for a long time my last name was Ardwinkle. I don't remember much about the old days - just that I lived up in Minnesota and we had snow at Christmastime and I had a real mom and she was the most beautiful lady in the world. I hope you won't laugh at that. I used to tell people that and they usually laughed. Not just kids either. Grownups too. And even if they din't laugh, I could tell they din't believe me. But I know it's true and that's all that matters. I realize I must have had a dad too. Moms don't have babies all by themselves. But I don't remember my dad.

I kept the name Ardwinkle after I came to live in Jeanie and Charlie's little house 'cause they were only foster parents. The workers told me that I might only live there for a while, 'til I was adopted. Some of the big kids in the neighborhood - the ones who din't like me - who din't seem to like anybody, really - they told me that the Andersons only took me in 'cause they needed the money. But those kids were wrong 'cause I'm still here and they don't get the money anymore.

I remember the day it all changed. I was down the street at Jake's house, playin' on his driveway. They had a bigger house than us and they had a garage for parkin' a car in. Jake said I could play with his brother's basketball if I wanted, so I went into the garage to get it. The big door tips up on some kind of spring so it wasn't hard for me to open it, even though I was a smaller kid then. I pushed it hard up into the air and ran inside for the basketball. When I came runnin' out with it I felt somethin' smash into the top of my head. Holy cripes, did it ever hurt! Worst hurt I ever had. I din't realize the big door had started comin' down again. I had run right into the metal piece at the bottom of it. Some part that makes it lock. Right away I dropped the ball and felt the top of my head. Then when I looked at my hand I saw all the blood and I got real scared and ran home.

Here's the funny thing. When I went flyin' through the door and started yellin' for Jeanie, I din't call her Jeanie. I called her Mom by mistake. That was weird. I never done that before. I din't even notice what I'd said until a bit later when I was standin' in the bathroom and she was pickin' though my hair and lookin' at my head. That's when I realized what I'd said and I felt pretty silly but I din't worry too much about it right then. I was too busy shakin' and tryin' not to cry and just tryin' to wish the hurtin' away.

Jeanie said my head would be okay and then she said, right to my face, "But it must hurt like hell, don't it?" Now that was really weird. I wasn't the only one sayin' funny things that day. 'Cause Jeanie never said a swear-word before - at least that I'd heard. Even Charlie almost never swears and I sure wasn't allowed to. She kind of patted my back and said, "Does it hurt like hell?"

So I said, "Yeah Jeanie, it hurts like hell!" It felt really crazy to swear in front of her like that. It kind of took my mind off the hurtin'. But I sure din't start goin' around swearin' all the time after that. I figured the rules would be right back in place just as soon as I was feelin' better.

I saw that Jeanie's eyes were all shiny, like she was gonna cry. So I had to be brave. "It's okay, Jeanie!" I said. "It hurts like hell but I'll be alright!" She kind of laughed and kissed me on the forehead and gave me such a hug I felt like a tube of toothpaste and she was tryin' to squeeze the last glob out of me. When she was done I had to catch my breath. She used her sleeve to wipe a tear off my face and I was a little embarrassed about that until I remembered that the tear wasn't mine.

Later when Charlie came home from work we told him how Jake's garage door got me, and Jeanie told him, "It hurt like hell but he's alright now." Charlie gave her a funny look and we all laughed.

That night I went to bed but I stayed awake for a long while after my bedtime, lookin' at my books. I always did that until the light from the window got so dim I could only guess what the words were. I never had a lot of toys but I always had lots of books 'cause Jeanie always walked me to the library whenever I wanted. The library let us have a membership card for free. That night I was readin' about sheep dogs and monkeys and stuff when I heard the floor creakin' and I knew that Charlie was at my door. The floor creaks differently for Charlie then it does for Jeanie.

I hid the book under my pillow and pretended to be sleepin'. The door opened and Charlie whispered, "Robby, you asleep?" I lay real still but he walked over and stuck his hand under the pillow and pulled out the book. I don't know how he knew it was there. I opened my eyes and saw him kneelin' on the floor beside me. He was smilin'. I guess he wasn't mad. He looked at the book in his hands and flipped a few pages. "Good book?" he asked. I just nodded my head and rolled onto my side to face him.

"There's something we gotta talk about, Robby. It's important and I just couldn't wait until the morning. Jeanie said to let you sleep but I just couldn't wait."

"Okay," I said.

"Jeanie says you called her Mom today."

"Yeah." I felt my face gettin' warm. I turned my eyes away from him.

"She wants you to know that it's okay to call her that and I want you to know that if you want to call me Dad, that's okay too." I felt kind of weird 'cause I wasn't sure if it would feel right to call them Mom and Dad. It just kind of slipped out that one time, you know?

"How's your head?" he asked.

"Not so bad now."

"You know, Robby, you can't go around getting yourself hurt like that."

"Okay," I said.

"Because if a worker comes around to see you and you're all bandaged up or bruised or limping around, what's she gonna think?" I din't understand why Charlie was sayin' these things. I started to wonder if I was in trouble after all.

"I'll be more careful," I said.

"She might think we're not takin' proper care of you, and she might want to take you away." I nodded my head to show that I understood.

"But I was thinking - Jeanie and I were thinking, that if we were to adopt you, then she couldn't take you away. And no one could ever take you away - 'cause you'd be our son. And we were wondering what you'd think of that idea?"

I din't know what to say at first. My whole head felt funny. And I don't think it was from the door hittin' me.

"'Cause - we really like the idea," he added, and even though the light from the window was gettin' dim it seemed like there was a real bright reflection in Charlie's eyes.

Not too long ago my best friend and me got our hands on a bottle of his dad's whiskey and we mixed it with coolade. I had this crazy dizzy feelin' in my head. Kind of a wild, happy feelin'. That was the only time I ever drank booze. But it was the second time I ever felt that crazy dizzy feelin'. The first time was in my bed that night when Charlie was kneelin' there askin' me what I thought of their idea, and Jeanie was standin' at my doorway. I hadn't even noticed when she'd got there. I told him the first thing that came to mind.

"Charlie, I think that idea's just fine as all hell!"

So then I went from bein' Robert Charles Ardwinkle to Robert Charles Anderson and that was pretty cool, 'cause for one thing, I got to keep the same initials. And for another thing, with my middle name bein' Charles, it made it seem like I was named after Charlie Anderson, my new dad - and that was fine by me. On top of that I stopped gettin' nicknames like Winkie and Bullwinkle pinned on me and instead people called me Bobby or Bobbo. But this one kid, Albert, he started callin' me Bobo, and I din't like that one, but mostly 'cause of who was sayin' it. There was somethin' mean in the way he talked to me. I din't like Albert. But it was hard to avoid him 'cause he was part of our gang and my other pals liked him 'cause his parents had money - so they had a swimmin' pool and Albert had cool toys like remote-control cars. His parents were friendly with Charlie and Jeanie and that's another reason why it was hard to avoid him.

I took a lot of flack from Albert 'cause I had no bike. Everyone else in the gang had one. I wanted a bike more than anythin' in the world but there was no way my folks could afford it. I overheard Charlie tellin' Jeanie one time that he'd been lookin' out for a used bike for me but even they were too expensive. That made me sad but I loved them just for tryin'.

Almost every day the gang would make the long bike ride to the quarry. There was all kinds of fun to have around there. There was the creek and the caves, all kinds of rocks and wood and stuff from an old construction site and good trees for climbin' or buildin' a fort in. I tried walkin' there one time but it took so long and it felt awful lonely wonderin' what fun my friends had already started havin' without me. Jake tried doublin' me on his bike but it was too hard with all the hills on the way. I began borrowin' his sister's bike. Sometimes she told Jake 'no' but I wouldn't find out until later 'cause Jake would just give me her bike anyway. Sometimes she would catch us as we were ridin' away and she'd yell at us but we'd keep on ridin'. I felt bad about that but gettin' to the quarry was just too important.

Somehow I never got in trouble for that. I realize now that Jake surely caught a lot of heck over it but that never stopped him from doin' it again. Folks said Jake was a little 'slow upstairs' but he was as loyal to me as any pet dog and that made him alright in my book. He was the best friend I ever had.

Albert never got tired of makin' fun of Jake. He'd test him all the time. "Country or planet!" he'd ask out of nowhere and start namin' things. Jake would guess that Australia was a planet, or bronchitis was a country. Everyone laughed at his mistakes, even himself. I guess he was too dumb to know how to be embarrassed. I used to laugh too. But then one day, I just din't anymore. And Albert din't like that. So he turned on me too.

"Powder Puff," he'd say - 'cause of the girl's bike I was ridin' - with its white seat and tassels on the handlebars. He made fun of that bike every time I rode it. It bugged me a lot but I never showed it. I just laughed it off. Jake laughed too but I din't mind. He din't know any better. But cripes, how I wanted my own bike.

One day I was at school and a kid had ridden his new bike there, wantin' to show it off. I couldn't stop starin'. I'd never imagined such a cool-lookin' bike. The frame was red. The seat and handlebars and all the bits and pieces were black. There were no curved parts to the frame. It was all straight angles and big thick bars. The tires were bigger than normal with deep grooves in the tread. It looked so strong. It almost seemed like a motorcycle instead of a bicycle. I fell in love with that bike. My first crush. I'd have sold my soul to the devil to own that bike but I had no idea how you go about somethin' like that.

Christmas was comin'. Jake told me I should ask for the bike in a letter to Santa Clause. He was the only kid in the gang who still believed in Santa. I never had for as far back as I could remember.

I knew that that bike was terribly expensive. I never said a word about it to Jeanie or Charlie. I braced myself for Christmas, determined not to show any disappointment when I got no bike at all, determined to be happy with whatever I did get.

And it wasn't so bad. I got a new pencil box, a poster book and markers and a kite and a very cool model car that came in dozens of pieces that I could put together with glue. This was a bit advanced for me but Charlie said he'd help me with it, bit by bit, every night 'til it was done. And he did. And I got a library card with my own name on it. I was happy. It was a good Christmas.

That evenin' we were invited to the home of Albert's family to have turkey dinner with them and their relatives. I din't really want to go but I kept quiet about that.

Everyone was all hugs and kisses when we got there. Albert and I looked at each other across the room. He had a bandage on his forehead. I imagined that his own mother had got tired of his big mouth and whacked him with a stick.

He was always friendlier to me in his own house than when we were with the gang - I guess to impress the grownups - I don't know. Still, I wanted to stay in the livin' room with my folks but Albert's mom said he should entertain me in his bedroom and Jeanie gently prodded me. So I went. Albert was friendly as I figured he'd be. He was all wound up about his Christmas presents and had to show them all to me. I can't remember what they were - except for one. He led me to the back door of the house.

I saw it there in the yard before we even opened the glass door. But I followed him out there anyway. 'I won't cry,' I told myself. 'I won't let him see me cry.' My body seemed to move all by itself. I din't even feel the ground under my feet. It felt like I wasn't really there, like I was watchin' a movie. I watched Albert as he ran his fingers along the black seat and the thick red bars, watched him squeeze the black handgrips. And I didn't cry.

"It's an off-road bike," he explained. "I took it out for a spin already this morning, out there on those hills, you see? Took a bad spill too." He pointed to the bandage on his forehead. I noticed a small dent on the frame of the bike - just under the handlebar arrangement. It's red skin was broken there, bleeding silver. I was glad for that. I wished the whole darn bike had fallen to pieces. It was the very same bike of course. My own true love, and I wished her dead.

"Go on," said Albert. "Take it for a spin." I saw my one hand take hold of the handlebar. Yes, I could do that. I could get on the bike and ride it away. I would ride it for thousands of miles and never come back. He'd never find us. I'd ride it north, all the way to Minnesota and find my parents from the old days. I'd just ask around for Mrs. Ardwinkle, the most beautiful lady in the world. Everyone up there would know her. She'd be famous.

Instead I released the handgrip and turned away. "Excuse me," I said, but my throat had closed up and the words gurgled out of me so hoarsely that Albert probably thought I said nothin' at all. I went back into the house. I heard everyone talkin' upstairs so I went downstairs. In the basement the bathroom door was open and the light was off. I went in and closed the door and sat on the floor in the dark.

And I cried. I cried til my eyes stung and spasms of loud hiccups gave away my hidin' place. Jeanie found me.

"What's the matter?" she asked softly.

"I want to go home."

"Sweety, what's wrong?"

"Please. I want to go home."

"We can't, Robby. We just got here. We haven't had dinner."

"Then I'll stay in here."

"Okay, then. I'll stay here with you until you're ready to tell me what's bothering you." She turned on the light and saw my face. She winced at the sight of it and sat down on the lid of the toilet seat. I just couldn't explain it to her. I left the room and stumbled up the stairs. I would just leave. I stopped by the back door and looked through the glass at the bike. Jeanie was right behind me.

"Oh," she said quietly. "I think I understand."

Charlie showed up and wanted to know what was goin' on. Albert and his mom were right behind him.

"Robby's not well," said Jeanie. "I'm taking him home." At this I fled for the front door. I glimpsed Albert on the way, dreadin' the smirk he was sure to be wearin' but I saw only confusion on his face - or was it pretend innocence? "Robby, wait on the porch. I'll be right out," Jeanie said.

When we got home and I went straight to my room and laid in bed 'til I fell asleep. I woke up later and was hungry but I stayed in bed and finally slept again. The next time I woke up, Jeanie and Charlie were in my room with me, sittin' on the edges of my bed, just lookin' at me. At that moment I wanted to call them Mom and Dad but I wasn't quite ready for that yet.

"Come on, Tiger," said Jeanie. "Charlie brought home left-overs for you. You must be starving." I crawled out of bed.

They followed me to the open bedroom door but I had to stop there. I din't know if the sight in front of me was real or not. It stood on the livin' room floor, supported by its black kickstand. A big green bow had been tied to the handlebars.

"You had a visitor while you were sleeping," said Charlie. "Santa Clause."

I went to it in slow motion, as if it were a wild animal, as if any sudden movement might scare it away. I knelt on the floor beside it. I pressed my cheek against the cold red steel and then I knew that it was real.

"Do you want some dinner?" asked Jeanie, almost tremblin' with excitement for me. "Or would you like to go for a short ride first?"

They were surprised that I chose dinner. I would ride the next day. That night I would just park it in my bedroom with me. They wouldn't understand what we'd been through, the bike and me. We had peace to make before there'd be any ridin'.

It was some joy just to look at it. It was the same model and colour of course. But mine was even slightly better than Albert's, it occurred to me, 'cause mine wasn't dented. And just to make certain, I looked at the front of the bike, and I was wrong.

It puzzled me at first, that my bike too had a dent where Albert's did, where the silver steel showed through. But Charlie explained that it must be a manufacturin' defect, a problem on an assembly line.

The next day we rode to the quarry and I felt like the crown prince when my pals all admired my new bike and wanted to sit on it for a bit. But Albert din't show up, not that day or the next and I was happy the first day 'cause my bike got all the attention. The second day I was disappointed. I wanted to see his face fall when he saw that I had a cool bike too. On the third day he came, with his new bike of course, just like mine. But his face din't fall when he saw my bike. He said, "Wow! Look at Bobo! We got the very same bikes!" and we brought them side by side and everyone looked on.

"Identical!" I said. "Right down to the scratch at the front here!" And that's when Albert's face did fall. And suddenly I understood. I din't even need to look at the front of Albert's bike. I knew very well then, that the dent there would be gone, 'cause there was only one dent after all.

Albert was always nice to me after that. He still made fun of me but somehow it din't seem mean anymore. I told Charlie about that and he said the strangest thing. He asked was I sure it was Albert that changed or might it be me? When Jake moved away to Tennessee, Albert and me started bein' like best friends. And he never once mentioned what really happened that Christmas. Not even once.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hmm. What does that sign say?

Gosh, I don't know. Let me get a little closer. Okay. Can you read it now?

Came to a "T" intersection that was unexpectedly icy. I wasn't even going very fast. Hit the break and slid - in slow motion - like a curling rock.

"Hope I stop in time."

Watched the stop sign slowly go by.

"Hope no one's coming the other way."

Looked up and down the other road. No one coming. Thank goodness.

"Hope I stop soon."

Ditch approaching.

"Really hope I stop soon."

Ditch getting very very close.

"I think I'm stopping now. Or am I? Please stop now. Please please stop n-"


"Well, okay then."

A man emerged from the house behind the sign and invited me in to use the phone. Had the yellow pages already to go for me. Pointed out the closest tow guy. And he showed up fast. I was his second customer of the day at that intersection. I'm guessing he and the homeowner were in ca-hoots. He was probably out there with the garden hose all morning.

Is that how you spell ca-hoots?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Breakfast with the rude sausage and the magic pube of destiny

Warning: The following dissertation contains immature content. Not recommended for sensitive viewers.

I feel like a Christmas goose. I’m stuffed. Spent the entire weekend eating.

Friday night. Orange ginger teriyaki stir-fry, a bottle of cheap Australian Shiraz and a bowl of popcorn with extra extra melted butter and extra extra white cheddar dust – this to accompany a viewing of the movie Superbad which lived up to its name, being criminally stupid but at which I laughed my head off (I’m embarrassed to confess).

Saturday. Breakfast. A slice of blueberry French toast and a couple cool rubbery bacon strips stolen from Steve-o’s leftovers on the way out the door (this is starting to become a tradition).

Lunch. A multi-grain bagel with cream cheese and a big fat vanilla hazelnut coffee with 18% table cream – this with the Hamilton NaNoWriMo group at Infusions coffee dungeon – the least lit coffee house in the universe, where those with laptops are lit by an eerie blue glow and where the very cool Viorica demanded to know why I hadn’t been on her LiveJournal lately. She’s sixteen but far cleverer than 98.5% of adults I know.

“Because you’d been posting kidstuff,” I said. “And I started to feel like a creepy old man lurking on a site for young girls. That’s why. But since you’re inviting me, I’ll come back.”

Next – a brief visit with the I.S. who was on the job and trying to accomplish some work while I tried to keep my hands to myself – each of us with moderate success.

Dinner. Met up with Professor Plonk and Captain Vino at the Black Forest Inn where Plonk was served the biggest goddam schnitzel I ever seen - probably knocking the Earth’s rotation slightly askew. This is why you had to reset your watch on Sunday.

A quick jaunt up the street and we’re at DesignGuy’s annual holiday party where not only the halls were decked but the entire house was delightfully arranged in bold whimsical-yet-sophisticated eclectic fashion – as it is year round. At this house the Christmas tidbits don’t stand out like a sore blinking thumb but are right at home.

Their kitchen renovations are finally complete and apparently well worth waiting for. Let me try to wrap up the state of their kitchen with one subtle statement. Here goes: The interior of their oven matches their countertops. Wait, wait! Don’t go back and read it again. I’ll just say it one more time. The interior… of their oven… matches their countertops. Okay? I’ll let you imagine the rest. Moving on:

The bash was catered and my wineglass topped up endlessly with Wolfblass Yellow Label – one of my absolute faves of course.

“So, did you get Wolfblasted?” Plonk would ask the next day. I had to plead the fifth.

Menu highlights: Carmelized onion cheddar. Goat’s milk brie. Sage darby. Apricot blue cheese. All to die for. And the hot pepper jelly with cream cheese served on ginger snaps! No words to describe it.

Met the very excellent Doctor J and chatted with him intensely most of the night. He’s one of the very few people I’ve met with a promising grasp of the significance of the illusory content of this society. For a man presumably burdened with extensive investment in all things treacherous – career, marriage, material accumulation etc, his capacity to confront the horrors of ego and mask-wearing etc is wildly advanced. It was the mention of Buddhism, if I correctly recall, that led us into this unlikely discussion, much as the case was recently upon meeting Aequitas, a young fellow from the Nano group with courageous insight into the duplicity of mankind and who I hope will accept the invitation of guest writer on this blog!

While the loss of Poetry Coach was tough, being a lone outlet for productive dialogue on these matters that are central to my life and work, the appearances of Aequitas and Doctor J and this testimony to the philosophies of Buddha suggest that there are plenty avenues for exchanging ideas after all.

Not that I don’t have excellent friends who are willing to tolerate my musings – Plonk, Vino, Dr. Lock, Rockin’ Roddie and Spooky (or Jiggs in some circles) come to mind – but none are really in the same zone as I. There are significant limits to our commonalities.

And speaking of good friends - Spent the night in the Purple Petal Flower Jamboree Suite of Plonk and Vino’s informal bed ‘n’ breakfast.

The Cap’n still obsesses over his holiday baking plans. Sunday morning as we lounge in the living room he ponders the baking of apple pies.

“Cool it, bake-a-holic, before we launch an intervention.”

Now – as for my breakfast with the rude sausage and the magic pube (no - these are not Plonk and Vino’s new nicknames):

We hit Apple Annie’s for breakfast where the décor seems a tad incongruous (and by that I mean downright goofy) until you realize that what every framed image has in common is that they all contain an apple or apples somewhere within. Whoopee.

My menu contained something else entirely. It was stuck between the paper insert and the clear plastic covering – right at the site of the Salmon Benedict selection. It was a hair. A somewhat short, dark and rather kinky hair. The kind that falls, not from the head, alas, but from (gulp) elsewhere.

“Oh dear,” I said. “I think I’ve received a sign from above, telling me to have the Salmon Benedict.”

Plonk inspected the evidence. “Or are they telling you to steer clear of the Salmon Benedict?”

Good question. How does one interpret such a sign from above?

No matter. My heart was already set on the Hungry Man breakfast with a side order of pancakes to split with Cap’n Vino.

The Cap’n spies the image of an apple pie on the restaurant’s folded stand-up dessert menu.

“Look! An apple pie! It’s a sign from above. I’m supposed to cook apple pies today.”

Plonk and I inspect. “No dice, Cap’n. This isn’t a proper sign. There’s no magic pube of destiny present.”

The Cap’n is forced to stand down. There’s no arguing with the magic pube of destiny – or lack thereof.

I couldn’t finish all my hungry man breakfast plus pancake-and-a-half. Too much cheesy goodness late the night before.

Nor could I finish my dinner that night. I gave my coleslaw away to Pops. He took us out for dinner at Montana’s. His treat. The bro picked me up and took us to the folks’ for dinner but their efforts to re-architect their kitchen into the Taj Mahal II have run into overtime and the folks have lost patience with cooking and serving dinner in the hallway/family room as surrogate kitchen/dining room.

A couple tables away two scruffy long-haired teenagers wearing toques were drinking enormous beers – looked like 30-ounce drafts. They’d finished their second each as we were getting ready to leave.

“I want to see if Jay and Silent Bob are going to order more beer,” I said – and a little too loud. They both looked right at me. Oh well. I didn’t mean it as an insult. They looked like Jay and Silent Bob. Why deny it?

Oh yeah. Forgot about my rude sausage:

Image courtesy of Captain Vino and the Bell cellular network.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007