Friday, October 31, 2008

I'm Bluebeard!

Get it? I'm Bluebeard because my beard is blue! Ha ha!

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr... matey...!

Okay. That was just too much fun. Let me see if I can settle down now.
There's no photoshopping there by the way. That's blue hair paint.

Want to see my pumpkins?

No, that's not a euphemism. It's a redundant question. You're going to see my pumpkins whether you want to or not. Meet Squiggy McSquigglesteen:

Goopy and Oopy:

Jack and Jacqueline:

Oh dear. Don't you just hate it when you're shooting your pumpkins and you accidently catch the neighbor playing leap frog with her recycle bins? Every goddam time I tell you.

I was planning to get seven pumpkins but Biodad was squirming as I loaded the fourth into the shopping cart.

"How many pumpkins are you getting!!"

"Enough to feed every orphan in Africa," I said but then quit after one more. Which was good because after carving five, the fun - and my back - were wearing the hell out.

How Halloween became Easter

I bought three different kinds of candy so that I could give each little gremlin one of each or else three of a peanut-free product to anyone declaring a peanut allergy. But as I sorted the candy into three separate bowls I started reading the labels and found out that among Reese's Pieces, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Oh Henry bars, there ain't a nut-free product among them. Who knew?
Here's the lucky part. Upon delivering the three bowls to the front porch where I'll be celebrating the warm weather with a good book tonight, the one bowl I dropped was the one bowl that is non-breakable! Cool beans, eh? Of course a bunch of candy then spilled off the porch and into the garden below where I had to go hunt for them. And that's how FWG invented Easter.

So... I'm Bluebeard. Charlie is a dog and Biodad is the Karate Kid. "Step-mom" Judy had to work evenings so she couldn't participate. Actually I should confess - Charlie is in fact a dog - like 24/7. He's of a canine species. He's not in costume. Sorry to have mislead you. And Biodad doesn't even know that he's Karate Kid. But he's wearing a bathrobe every moment, presumably to remind us all that he's ill, and he makes all kinds of grunts and groans with every step he takes - like some kind of weird little quiet low-key martial arts guy, so you get the idea.

I wasn't even going to participate myself (haven't in years) but I've been reading October Dreams, a marvelous anthology by the likes of dear beloved Ray Bradbury and by Peter Straub, Poppy Z. Brite, Thomas Ligotti, Micheal Marshall Smith and many, many others, and it's got me totally in the Halloween spirit. I'm saving the last four stories for tonight!

Oh - and while we're talking Halloween, whatever the heck is going on with the Google banner today?

Is that razor blades and syringes I see in that pic? Excuse me but should we really be celebrating syringes and razor blades as Halloween icons? Isn't that kind of tasteless? This is the worst Google banner I've seen since the Giant Swimming Sperm of Beijing. Crazy bastards.

Well, that's all for now. I got kids to feed and stories to read. Goodbye and happy Halloween from all of us here at Mission Control!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A barn and its secrets

In need of a 30” kick plate for a fridge – any colour, any style – I made a pit-stop just off my Streetsville-Hamilton rural express route to visit one of my favorite merchants.

It looks like a typical farm except for the vast collection of used home building materials gathered at one side of the massive three-storey barn and the two little tent-signs at the entranceway – one of which reads, Builders Bazaar.

Inside the barn lay endless rows of used doors, windows, and bathroom and kitchen fixtures. Fridges – none. Kick plates – nought.

“While I’m here, I’ll take a peak upstairs, Greg, though I’m really not in buying mode these days.”

“Go ahead, but you’ll find it messier than usual.”

That was hard to believe. Navigating the upper floor had always been a challenge.

Up in the loft things looked as usual. The extensive labyrinth of book-crammed bookshelves lay riddled with the usual hurdles. Open boxes of books and loose stacks of books and fallen stacks of books made every step a peril.

But there was one difference.

The longest straight corridor, flanked, of course, by shelves of books, was no longer capped at the end by yet another bookcase. The maze now had an exit. Darkness lay beyond. And perhaps a giant hunk of cheese?

Naturally I approached, thereby discovering that weak light from a few bare bulbs did indeed illume the features in this place beyond: More and more and more bookshelves, these ones arranged in neat rows like a library, but teeming with books in no apparent particular order. And all along one wall – boxes. Fifty or more – labeled in marker, Hard Cover, Sci-Fi, Mystery, Literature…

I spent a long time wandering here, thinking.

I love books. I love reading them, writing them, searching for them, buying them, holding them, shelving them, cataloguing them, talking about them, writing about them, looking at them.

Suddenly I had to marvel at my own newfound capacity to grab hold of the world, to slow it down, to see the paths and possibilities before me and the freedom and confidence to participate however I choose. Perhaps this is how a lot of people are. But for me, it’s new.

I went down finally and talked to Greg. The fire inspector has demanded changes be implemented to his merchandising and storage layout. His stock is non-catalogued. His online presence is weak. His ability to fill specific customer requests is sporadic. He has only so much time. He’s getting older. His only helper, his wife, is also aging and working the book loft has become too difficult given the circumstances of her health. He confessed there are another ten thousand books on the third floor. He estimates forty thousand in his collection. I suspect that’s an underestimate.

We talked about books and writers and poetry and happiness and freedom and kindness.

I told him of my giving notice to the corporate slave-master to whom I’ve been providing database services for the last six years. I told him of my shedding possessions and stepping out into the world on my own terms – looking to be useful in ways that are honest and real.

He shook my hand and wished me good fortune. I told him that I would be back.

I may be back soon. I may have found another project. Another way to be useful in a real way.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

FWG's nugget o' wisdom #361

You know why your hands are always sticky after a Chinese buffet? Even when you eat everything with your fork and knife and not with your hands? Even when you're careful not to lay your utensils on your sticky plate? Know why?

It's the handles.

On the serving spoons.

You're wearing other people's stick.

Bon appetite!

This has been an original nugget o' wisdom from the brain of Fantasy Writer Guy. Do not attempt to use nuggets o' wisdom in your own home without the guidance of a trained professional. Do not allow contact with water or bright light. Do not feed them after midnight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Secret Selves

Why I take advice from a blogger who's every second post concerns his penis, I don't know, but sometimes I do. Mr. Avitable sent me here in order to take the secret self test. The result was amusing. Have fun with it.

White Knight
White Knight
Take Your Secret Self 1 Step Beyond today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

Going 1 step beyond I would be rescuing damsels (or damsirs?) in distress, standing up as a champion for the underdog and/or righting every wrong you could possibly imagine. I am the incorruptible cop, the brave friend of little children, and the one who will constantly save your ass from your own repeated idiocies. When I die I don't need statues in my honor, just name your children and dogs after me. That would be pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FWG's Amazing Election Day Prediction: Dumb Canadians use Dumb Political System to Elect the Candidates They Don't Want

Canada has only one federal conservative-oriented party of any significance. They're the Conservative Party which were re-built from the ashes of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Reform Party, a project headed by Mr. Stephen Harper who now leads the new Conservative Party and is considered the Prime Minister thanks to a small minority of Canadian voters who cast votes for his party (those afraid of losing their privileged share of wealth and those afraid of the darkies, and presumably some other categories of voters of whom I've never made acquaintance) and thanks to a political system supposedly democratic but which empowers its constituents to the slimmest possible degree.

I should note that I once had a significant explicit conversation with an associate of Harper, a Reform Party candidate who was most thankfully never elected and who's messages were in no way indistinguishable from that of a Nazi. Somehow I resisted the urge to slit that monster's throat and for that negligence I apologize to you all.

There are four more parties of significance and they are all liberal-oriented parties. We have the popular Liberal Party who historically dominate power in this nation due to the popular liberal-thinking essence of the country.

We have the Bloc Quebecois who only run in the large province of Quebec and do so based on a separation platform that is somehow not considered treasonous (thank goodness - I don't like seeing people put to death). The Quebec public has twice rejected separation in provincial referendums but continue to elect it's proponents to office (not necessarily inconsistent, I realize)

We have the New Democratic party who have never held power nationally (though provincially on several occasions), who have become very proficient in the opposition role, who are probably more liberal than the Liberal Party in that they traditionally propose the progressive motions only later gobbled up by the Liberals, and who are probably more green than the Green Party given the independent studies that proclaim them so.

Oh yeah - the Green Party is the final element of the liberal-oriented community. They took the NDP's platform and slapped a green label on it and now help the conservatives by stealing votes from well-meaning but dunder-headed former NDP supporters.

Here's how it all works. A typical breakdown of an anglophone Canadian electorate might go like this:

party------------------------------ popular support
conservative-oriented Conservatives 23%
liberal-oriented Liberals --------- 20%
liberal-oriented NDP's ------------ 17%
liberal-oriented Green ------------ 4%
none of the above (no vote)-------- 36%

Result: A largely unpopular conservative minister goes to parliament.

If we voted with the same commitment to fairness as the leadership elections carried out by individual parties we would rank the candidates on our ballots in order to emulate the tiered system where supporters of cast-off low-scoring candidates would be reassigned to remaining candidates until one person gathers more than half the votes. In the above sample the Liberal would probably eventually inherit the support of NDP's and greenies and emerge victorious with about 40% on the above table or two-thirds of the vote.

At the last federal election we also had a referendum to decide on a proposal to change to a mixed representation system which was basically a compromise, which would have fallen short of fair representation but was at least unarguably more fair. All my most intelligent friends considered the proposal a no-brainer and voted YES to the proposal. Others had no idea what the proposal meant and voted NO because they don't want us participating in something they don't understand. They got their wish. Congratulations.

The same kind of insanity transpired, very tragically, in the nineties when we collectively downed an improved new version of the Canadian Charter of Rights by referendum. The new version was superior and more reflective of the current social environment than the old version in every way. Everyone I talked to who had bothered to read the damn thing overwhelmingly agreed with me but alas, we were the minority.

Many homosexuals axed it because it "didn't go far enough". Many Native Canadians axed it because it "didn't go far enough". And so on and so on. And the reward given to the clever "not enough" crowd is that they threw their $10,000.00 winning lottery tickets in the garbage because they didn't get their $1,000,000.00 grand prize. Too bad, so sad for all of us.

Canadian people are rarely considered politically savvy. It's no surprise how lazy we've become. We've been largely exempt for many years from the darkest consequences of humanity's political fascination; war, revolution, terrorism. We have no respect for the politicians who eventually play the political charade well enough to graduate into positions of consequence; we perceive them as actors and bullshitters. Each election a large share of voters bear the ridiculous discomfort of having to decide whether to make our preference known as democracy supposedly is to be celebrated, or to vote strategically in order to keep out the worst of the villains, meanwhile depriving their party of choice of the public support that would otherwise be useful for their future.

Oh yeah, my prediction (if anyone is still reading this mess, which I doubt): Another artificial conservative minority. The crippling left-wing vote-splitting combined with the Bloc effect - their localized popularity but absence at large - make it inevitable.

As for our non-political savviness and the low voter turn-out -- make room for me among the ranks of disinterested. I've never seen dynamic change follow a Canadian election. I've had it with the BS. This is probably my last time voting.

(Oh and don't forget to vote NDP or you'll make baby Jesus cry!)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hmmm... What to be thankful for...?

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving y'all. Day one of two was spent here at Mission Control (Biodad's home). Tomorrow I'll be up at the farm with my official family.

Today's deliciously awesome menu:

cranberry sauce
spiced yams
broccoli w/ melted cheese
whole wheat rolls
pumpkin pie

And what do you suppose we were thankful for?

No! Not the pumpkin pie! That dad is alive!

Yeesh. You people are incorrigible.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

No, Dad. You can't buy the Respiratory Therapist

Pleased to announce that Biodad's condition is now improving so rapidly that he may be home in a couple days. He's currently in the ward, removed from the respiratory apparatus and from various other devices which were plugged into every available natural orifice and a few new ones created by doctors. I'll leave the particular details alone. How's that?

The turning point began about ten days ago when he came out of his tortuous delirium - or rather, for the most part - and communication of a rough sort began. He was still impeded by a full-size tracheotomy and thus voiceless and some remaining drug effects still lingered in his brain.

He mouthed words we couldn't grasp. He signaled for the clip board and pencil and wrote, with terrible effort and shakiness, his muscles and thought processes both impeded, POLPE.


He shakes his head.


He shakes his head.


He nods, and slowly points toward the other patient in the "semi-private" ICU ward. There is a pole between them and it bears the electronic devices which administer drugs to his roommate.
'My pole.' he silently mouths.

"Your pole? I don't think so, dude. Your pole is over there."

He shakes his head and slowly points again. 'My pole.'

"That pole is hooked into that lady. That's her pole. She needs it. It's giving her the drugs she needs. Your pole is on the other side of your bed. Over there. See?"

He shakes his head, takes up the clip board and begins the arduous task of writing, $100.00 bill.

"One hundred dollar bill? You'll give me a hundred bucks to steal that pole?" I quickly calculate that a hundred dollars is not enough to go killing a person for. I do have principles.

He shakes his head and we spend the next ten minutes or so establishing his claim that there is a hundred dollar bill on top of the pole and he wants it. I spend the following ten minutes assuring that there is no such bill on top of the pole and we should all just relax. Finally he winces and puts his hand to his forehead. He seems to realize he's been a little off the mark. We laugh and tell him it's okay.

Later he asks if he can purchase the pretty young respiratory therapist and take her home. This is no delusion. This is how we know he's his old self again.

Welcome back.

Monday, October 06, 2008

FWG is still alive

Sorry for this regrettable absence. The new and temporary circumstances of my life dictate that I reside in Hamilton while my biological father slowly recovers from a heart attack and many further complications. He's been in ICU four weeks now. My schedule is entirely dismantled and I haven't found much time for writing or blogging.

Actually I did one post recently but posted it at the CRUSHED site instead due to contractual obligation of sorts! It's poetry so I expect that few will be interested but if so it's here:

Duplicity - Part Two: Me, My Priest, My Society

Under the theory that any little old material is better than no material, I offer you, with what limited time I can eek out, a literary snapshot:

I am in the little basement office at Biodad's house, doing some remote work for Ye Olde Information Company (and a little blogging), while on the little desk, immediately beside my laptop, sits a wicker basket, oval, roughly 18" by 14" with arcing handle. In this basket lies a towel and, on top of that, a bushy-browed, scruffy little dog, part poodle, part terrier of some ilk. He's five or six, dark with white markings on legs and chin, dressed in a blue sweater (one of his faves) and is snoozing and occasionally issuing a little snort or quiet whimper.

He wouldn't let me work, constantly standing and pawing my knee and wanting in my arms until we finally discovered this solution. His name is Charlie or sometimes Chuckie McPoochdoggie or Chuckie McBoondoggle since I showed up. He hasn't seen his "daddie" in a month but he seems to enjoy my company.
And we're both getting a lot more walks than usual.

Hope to post more often - even if they're quickies.