Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dispatches from the Want-n-While lodge

I'm not even going to bother fixing the awkward random spacing that will inevitably fuck up the layout of this post nor will I bother to find out who at is responsible for this fuck-uppedness that happens every time you try to post more than five photos nor will I knee said person in the crotch. We'll just live with it 'cause there are worse problems in the world...

This is the best pic I have of the cottage itself. It's kind of buried behind the trees. Use your x-ray vision:

Professor Plonk salutes the wolves upon trading authentic wolf howls with them. We think he said, "If you're coming over to visit I recommend you eat the others and not me. They're much tastier."

Foggy morning:

More 'foggy morning':

Still more 'foggy morning':

Enough 'foggy morning' to choke a small horse:

Not so foggy:

Who 'dat!

Cap'n Vino shoots a giant stool! Um - toad stool, that is:

Gateway to the land of the Tommyknockers:

Caught on the Tommyknockers' surveillance camera:

Me and Stella:

A few random quotes from the week:

"I started my vacation off properly. Had two beers and a Cuban cigar for breakfast."

"Why does this toast smell like fish? Did you grill this toast on the barbecue? By god, it tastes like fish."

"The mellow yellow policy is simply good water management."

"Go get your quadrapus!"

"Looking up at the stars I know quite well... That for all they care I can go to hell... But on earth indifference is the least We have to dread from man or beast. How should we like it were stars to burn... With a passion for us we could not return? If equal affection can not be, let the more loving one be me." (W. H. Auden)

"Apparently you get six bucks worth of free Crispy Crunches with every fourteen cent purchase of baking powder. Who knew?"

"Make way for the dock dip."

"Oh come on people. Do I have to demonstrate how to perform a demi-squat?"

"I like this tissue with lotion. I only needed one sheet instead of three and it leaves a nice taste on the lips."



"What the hell are these tommyknockers you keep talking about?"

It's a band? Manhattan Transfer! Three words... First word... The! The Manhattan Transfer! Second word... Um. Suspenders! Lumberjack! Paul Bunyan! Backpack! Hiking! Sinking! Melting! Stairway! Downstairs! Manhattan Transfer! Falling! Mushroom! What the? What are you doing? Oh! Flying! Airplane! Jefferson Airplane! Jefferson Starship...! Third word... Swing! Bat! Club! Buena Vista Social Club! The Breakfast Club! Oh! Oh! The Parachute Club! Oh shit. We were out of time.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The wheels... are in motion!

I had a couple meetings with my boss at Ye Olde Information Company this week.

They refused to dismiss me or give me a severance package - no surprise - but we did plan an exit strategy where the company and I will trade favors and part ways between three and four months from now. Basically I will stay on until they can get a new person on board and the successive training completed that will shift everyone involved into their new roles.

And then... look out world! I'll be free from the Matrix. And I'm coming after you!

In other news:

Item one: Completely independent of this circumstance, I was approached by two separate persons this week regarding income opportunities of writing and self-employed natures. How interesting how things fall together.

Item two: Very dear pal, Professor Plonk actually applied for a new job this week. I've only been urging him toward this end for twenty years or so. Did I mention it's interesting how things fall together?

Item three: Also in the realm of expanding my poetic adventures - Crushed By INGSOC has appointed me a guest position on his very most excellent blog. My debut article went up today. I'll be posting there once a month or so.

Item four: As of tomorrow, Friday August 22, 2008, at 3:01 PM -- I am on vacation! Going back to the Want-N-While lodge for a week with Professor Plonk, Cap'n Vino and their new wee dog, Stella who looks adorably ugly and shatteringly cute all at once, in pictures that is.
And also with the excellent Doc Swallows and some chum of hers who I look forward to meeting.

I shall miss you when I'm gone! Back in a week or so.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aequitas: Generation

We are the generation
Of instant gratification
And with this molestation
We're doomed to extermination
But my determination
Is opposing all the nations
And in the decimation
We face annihilation

So spend all your money
Ignore all the warnings
Eat your milk and honey
Cuz there may be no morning
And there'll be no one mourning
When you are gone
Cuz they'll all be gone too.

We are the lost children
Led by thieves and villains
And only a few are willing
To see the truth, beyond the killing
The truth that we're all just shilling
Our souls away for top billing
On a playbill that has no feeling
And all the while you're wheeling and dealing

So spend all your money
Ignore all the warnings
Eat your milk and honey
Cuz there may be no morning
And there'll be no one mourning
Cuz you're just a greedy fuck.

Read more poetry by Aequitas on Authspot

Friday, August 15, 2008

FWG: A Thousand Loves

Life, so fragile. The body, so weak.
The heart, a miracle in every beat.
While in every house on every street,
In every corner the cancers creep.

Our days are few and each one fleet.
A thousand loves are ours to seek.
Yet no one that we’ll ever meet
May we claim our own, somehow to keep.

All things must pass. All things must pass away. - George Harrison

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Avitable Scramble - a second try

Tried this a couple weeks ago and missed the mark. Only got twelve items. Hoping to score perfect this time around. The Avitable Scramble is this:

You start with a blank mind - so to speak, and then try to belch out 13 separate thoughts in 13 minutes. It's blogging by the seat of your pants.

Here we go:

1. Sitting in the throne room this morning I picked up a magazine – not from my half of the rack but from Steve-o’s, for a change. It fell open to a page with a drawing of a deer lying on its back. A man knelt before it spreading its legs. The dear was naked but the man was dressed, thank god. In hunting clothes. The headline said something like: FIELD DRESSING BASICS. Steps 2 and 3 concerned removal of the genitals and anus. I shall never open Steve-o’s magazines again. Ever. EVER.

2. Dammit I’m behind the pace already! Did you know there’s a species of lizards that are all female? They reproduce by cloning – which is inferior to sexual reproduction in most circumstances but occasionally beneficial.

3. Scientists say that the mutualistic symbiosis of leaf-cutter ants and tree-root fungus has gone on for about 50 million years! What the--? How do they know that? Hm. Spellchecker nixed ‘mutualistic’ but that’s what the scientist wrote. Personally I would have objected based on redundancy, not spelling.

4. They also suggested that 40% of mothering songbirds cheat on their husbands. I don’t have time to explain further. Moving on…!

5. I had a dream about a goose and a short-brown-haired baby hippopotamus napping together, slightly entwined, on a couch. What does that mean, you dream people? Does it mean I’m secretly some kind of pervert white-supremacist or something? If I am, I don’t know it yet.

6. Chances are - the first woman or man who will set foot on Mars is currently alive and preparing to enter high-school in a few weeks.

7. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when Steve-o’s suction-cup shelf – bearing a treasure trove of health products - which any legitimate metro-sexual would covet – gave way and came crashing down making the ungodliest of booming noises behind the closed shower curtain. Not knowing that it was raining male beauty products as opposed to a many-tentacled beast springing out of the bath tub at me, I bruised my hand in my instantaneous flight through the bathroom door! God, what a ninny I can be.

8. Friends recently invited me out to see the Journey to the Center of the Earth movie. Dear lord, what a waste of time and money. I had no idea it was going to be a kids movie. Do not go see it. Unless you’re a kid. Or have some of your own and are bringing them with you. The part where the heroes fall down a hole and land safely – all the way down at the centre of the earth – they should send in ushers to beat the viewers about the head during that part so they can miss that part and then assume later that there is some legitimate reason for the heroes being in this comfy place with beaches and clouds and comfy 70-degree temperatures.

9. I can never remember my 6-digit license plate number but I can always remember my 14-digit library card number any time. 29079817018758. So there.

10. I had green eggs for breakfast the other day but not with ham. I used red onion in the omelet and wherever there was a piece of red onion, the egg in that vicinity (otherwise yellow and white), turned green. And I don’t mean yellowish green or greenish yellow. I mean Christmas tree green – which freaked me out so I didn’t touch the green parts and then got turned off half way through and tossed half the damn thing in the garbage. Does that mean the eggs were bad or the onion?


12. I’M A LUMBERJACK AND I’M OKAY. That’s a Monty Python song.

Time’s up. Hell’s bells. I can’t believe I only got to 12 again! Boogers. Time management has never been my thing.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Short novel: Heart of Darkness

(1902) Joseph Conrad

Wow. What a tale. This story is the source attributed to the film Apocalypse Now but it is set not in Vietnam but Africa and concerns, at least on the surface, the violent and controversial colonial ivory trade.

The tense is rare - sort of second person I suppose. As in the film it is the witness who narrates the story of a man, an extremely highly regarded man, who undergoes a shocking trial of self-discovery while planted deep in a foreign jungle. From the middle of the first page to the middle of the last, the story is told as a single quotation with a very brief preamble and summation by an irrelevant listener.

This of course removes all jeopardy from the witness’s dangerous interactions as we know immediately that he ultimately survives, but that is okay. The action sequences of this tale should not compel; should not detract from the pervading internal explorations of the mind of mankind and his societies. The title and theme apply marvelously at three different levels.

I was not expecting the kind of show-not-tell subtlety I normally adore given I’ve never seen it in literature as early as this, so I was not disappointed. Initially irked by a heavy dose of romanticism, I recovered quickly and fell under the spell of Conrad’s rhythmic lyrical epic style. He writes with splendid precision. It’s hard to believe that English was not his first language!

When the narration of the climactic sequences became confusing I took confidence that this was deliberate as the witness would have been legitimately confused. In that sense, and also in the delicate sequence that information is revealed, there is subtlety of another kind.

So much of the account seemed laden with hints; with portent perhaps, that I was always wary, wondering if I was missing clues. But in the end the messages, at least those which I perceive, came together and struck heavily. There are insights here that closely tie in with my own journey of self discovery. The horror. The horror indeed!

Wonderful piece. Only my second of Joseph Conrad’s works but there shall certainly be more. After I read this one again, that is.

Ask FWG, not Jeeves - edition seven

Once again, These are my answers to the legitimate web search queries that led innocent surfers to click on Fantasy Writer Guy:

g1test fee
If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Streetsville nut house
All are welcome. See you when you get here.

blinded by the light wrapped up like a dues
Like a dues? A dues? Are you kidding me? What’s that? Like a library dues? Your insane. Go sit in the corner and keep quiet.

sobeys nacho dip ingredients
Tomatoes, modified milk solids, jalapino peppers, onion powder, tapioca starch, elephant sperm, artificial colour, calcium extract, citric acid.

packed up like a deuce
Is that you again? Get back in the corner. Honestly. Packed? Get the wax out.

toronto "cat detector"
Voila: The Toronto Cat Detector:

how do you know you have a lump in the middle of your chest and it is not the sternum
If it speaks to you at night and whispers such things as, “I am not your sternum” or “Go and kill your father” or anything really. Authentic sternums are most definitely mute.

breakfast sausage
Holy crap! I can’t believe my little old blog came up number 3 according to South Korea’s most popular web search portal! I must be all the rage in South Korea! Sorry. To answer your question, you can usually be certain it’s a breakfast sausage and not a penis if you find it resting on a plate alongside some eggs and toast. But even then you should proceed with caution. An exploratory poke is always a good idea.

1408 what brand of cognac Cusack
I don’t know. What brand of rye guy?
What brand of vodka Vladika?
What brand of rum chum?

"madd scientists"
A committee of leading Physicists bent on the quest to determine how little red ribbons may be fixed to automobile radio antennas; lead by Dr. Alfred McSobershtingein. Also the name of an excellent blues band that very sadly, broke up.

FWG Jeans
A popular brand of apparel back when I was a kid. Until Wayne Gretzky did a commercial for them and all my clever little contemporaries began saying that FWG stood for “Fag, Wayne Gretzky” which drove the brand to extinction. No, wait a minute. It was “Gay Wayne Gretzky”. Yeah, that’s right because it was GWG jeans. Not FWG. I think you meant to say GWG. I think you made a smelling pistake. Ha ha ha! Get it? That’s a clever way to say ‘spelling mistake’. Ha ha ha. I’m so funny.

camel toe
What? You keep hearing the joke but you don’t get it? Don’t feel bad. I didn’t either for a while and now I wish I still didn’t. The answer is two, by the way. Per foot that is. Eight altogether.

cubical makeover
You spelled cubicle wrong, dipshit. Oh. And so did I. Okay, never mind.

sixteen discussion questions in back of the alchemist
They are as follows:
1. How do you turn lead into gold?
2. How do you turn gold into lead?
3. How do you turn water into wine?
4. What is your favorite colour?
5. What is the average airborne velocity of an unladen African swallow?
6. What is the average airborne velocity of an unladen European swallow?
7. How many bloggers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
8. Who’s buried in Grant’s Tomb?
9. What was your mother drinking the night she became pregnant with you?
10. How many children did George Bush Sr. have that lived?
11. Tell me why Bob Geldof doesn’t like Mondays
12. How many times is the F-word spoken in the film Scarface?
13. Do you want to pet my monkey?
14. Why doesn’t Flumadiddle come around anymore?
15. How do you spell relief?
16. Is that a half-roll of dimes in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

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; data loss, stutter, chronic tardiness, arthritis, shingles, contagious penis, explosive sneezery, coastal erosion, gum disease, lead foot, shrinkage, quivers down your backbone, shakes in your thigh bone or Indian rub burn.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

FWG: Hypnotic Dance

Newly emerged from cocoon,
He spreads his wings revealing
Colours extraordinary,
Patterns supernatural;
Impossibly vibrant.

No aid to flight are these shades.
No safety measure do they serve.
No environment are they camouflaged within.
A ludicrous over-evolution
With no real purpose but to hypnotize;
To dazzle her.

I am a fully functional male,
Say the colours on his wings.
Testament to health.
Choose me,
And we’ll make beautiful butterfly babies.

Branching here and there,
A convoluted network.
No simple horns are these.
We call them antlers ‘round these parts.

No prey or predator they impale,
This runaway mutation
With no real purpose but to impress;
To wow her.

I am a strong and robust male,
Says this towering network.
Testament to health.
Rut with me
And we’ll make sturdy elk babies.

The beetle’s kaleidoscope carapace;
No stronger does it make the shell.
But stronger are the chances he’ll get lucky;
Get some hot and sweaty beetle sex.

The peacock’s tail;
An insane extravagance;
A dangerous liability.
Dragging him down in flight from pursuer.
Natural selection gone out of control.
But oh how he spreads it out and shakes it,
He’ll be getting some peahen sugar tonight.

And what is this creature?
What is this creature?
That walks on two legs,
Knuckles clear of the ground,
With one feature evolved beyond all appropriateness;
Beyond all suitability for survival.

It is a hidden feature,
Caged behind a bulging forehead,
Apparent only through behavior;
Through its power to invent
And dream and fantasize.
It is this creature’s brain that testifies to health,
That is made to wow, to hypnotize.

Look at the beast. It talks and dances
And acts upon a stage.
Jokes and songs and back-stage passes,
Fancy words and podiums.

It summons the strangest ideas;
Ideas of nations and corporations,
Of gods and ideologies;
All of them tribal competitions;
Trading little green papers; imagined gold.
Building nests ever more gigantic.
Building machines ever faster.

Each stud competing
To make the biggest noise
Or fill the biggest space.
Every word and action a seduction.

All their lives a mating game;
A permanent foreplay
To one global bisexual orgy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Aequitas: The Nargolost

Off the long and winding road
There lies a path, though little known.
And off that path, a grove to find,
The home of small, secluded kind.

The Nargolost, they call themselves
The grove their home, where they dwell.
Wise and kind, these small folk are,
And ever seen from afar.

But even then, the mind does trick
The seer into falling sick,
For the Nargolost are no mere folk,
But magical, weaving their yoke.

And should unwary traveller find
Himself amidst this little kind,
He will be welcomed into home,
And feast on meat, ripe from bone.

And should weary traveller stay,
He will wait, day by day
And day will pass, once again,
He will wait some more, but then
Years go by, ere traveller leaves
For that is the magic that they weave.

No memory, beyond their grove,
Will be left, in head, or trove.
So wary must yon traveller be,
If the Nargolost he sees.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Why FWG is like your roof

The gown is soft. I like it. I'd kind of like to keep it. Except it ties in the back. Rather awkward.

I'm watching the shoes move back and forth out there in the land beyond the curtain, and listening to the voices following them around. The curtains look new. You can see a lot of creases in them still. Curious set of patterns on the curtains. There are six repeating images. Two are botanical; two astronomical and two geometrical. Very hodge-podgey. I'm irked by its themelessness. There's a single blemish; a carrot-shaped stain. The human body produces dozens of different fluids. I wonder which is responsible for this?

Somewhere distant a baby is screaming. Not crying. Screaming. This baby is seriously pissed.

I pick up pieces of a strange conversation. "You know what she does? She kicks cats! And she pushes old ladies down escalators!"

"That's not true! I pinch old ladies. And I kick babies!"

I swear, that's what they said.

In the next compartment a woman occasionally gasps. Her intermittent cramps are getting worse. Someone, a doctor or nurse, enters her space and moves back and forth, assisting her in some way while brushing against the curtain before me. If I were a cat I'd be swatting the heck out of this person.

Finally Doc enters my pen, looking at the notes they'd taken at reception. She puts me in the blood-pressure cuff, slaps a pulse-monitoring doo-dad on my index finger and slips a thermometer under my tongue. She shines a light in my ear. The nurse had already done these things earlier - along with taking a blood sample. I hate giving blood. It's painful. No - not the needle. That's a breeze. It's the goddam tape they use to hold the gauze over your tiny puncture wound. When I rip that tape off later it takes my arm hairs with it.

I have a slight fever and my BP is very high. We discuss my long list of symptoms.

"I'm going to untie you," she says, "So I can check your shoulder."

"Your going to hate the knots I put in it."

"I see that."

She checks my shoulder and neck and pokes about in my hair with her light.

"I hate to tell you this but these aren't hives."

"They're not?"

"No. They're shingles."

"I've got shingles?”

“You sure do.”

Since the previous doctors at the walk-in-clinic failed to make the diagnosis, the window for treatment has expired. She explains the kind of pain I should expect.

“I’m already getting that,” I assure. “It’s manageable.”

She shakes her head slowly; ruefully. It’s the kind of expression that can only mean one thing: ‘It’s gonna get worse.’

“It’s gonna get worse,” she says.

“I knew you were going to say that.”

All she can do is prescribe more drugs to try to keep me comfortable. She issues me Percocet for the pain and some damn thing called Amiabletrampoline or something like that. I presume it’s to keep me friendly and bouncy.

I’m going to be home-bound for a while.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alien Contact: FWG encounters a miniature humanoid

In my inflamed condition I'm desperate to stay cool. I'm spending the afternoon across the street from the Grotto at Starbucks, home of turbo air conditioning, iced chai lattes and two big comfy chairs surrounded by a lot of stiff wooden ones.

I'm reading and sucking back chai lattes like a fiend. Facing me, from the other comfy chair, is a young man working on a scholastic project while sucking on his silver crucifix jewelry. One of the local personalities, a man who marches to his very own special beat, who relies on community assistance and the generosity of neighbors and strangers, sits in the corner singing along to all the songs being played - but with his very own lyrics which go precisely like this:

You're my favorite person in the house!
You're my favorite person in the house!
You're my favorite person in the house!
You're my favorite person in the house!


A woman bemuled by the extensive gear that supports herself, her small baby and her son - perhaps five years old, is barking her own incantation which has little to do with the music and goes like this:

Nicolas don't touch that!
Nicolas get down from there!
Nicolas stop that!
Nicolas put that down!


Between verses she tries to comfort the squealing baby.

I'm fine with all this by the way, and even fine with the ear ache; rather zen at the moment and able to concentrate on the book.

But eventually the five-year old takes notice of me and leans on the arm of my comfy chair and giggles at me. I carry on reading.

He reaches out and tickles my hand and takes hold of a finger. The student is looking up and smiling at the little creature's antics. The little creature is grinning maniacally.

He blurts, "What's your name!"

I have no idea why these next words come out of me, other than that it is my instinct to be uncooperative: "I am known by many names, earthling." The mom suddenly looks over. The student lets the cross fall from his mouth.

Local dude, oblivious, goes on singing, only now his lyrics have become:

I have been to hell!
I have been to hell!
I have been to hell!
I have been to hell!


The kidlet persists. "Like what?"

'Like... SATAN!' I wish to say, and then hiss like a snake - just for kicks, you know. Just to see if I can make him pee his pants. I mean, what else am I supposed to do? I don't know how to communicate with kids on their level. I haven't a clue. Instead, brilliantly I say, "You really want to know my name?"

He nods, still beaming like a miniature lunatic and still holding my finger. I consider a few more ridiculous responses and finally cave in and give him my name. "And what's your name?" I ask, knowing full well, of course.


"Do you like it here, Nicolas?"


"Are you having fun?"

He nods rapidly.

"Well that's great. I'm happy for you."

"Nicolas, come here please!" says the mom.

The kid releases my finger and runs away - from - not too - the mom.

I go back to my book.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Death by Haircut

Okay, it's like this, see. I'm sick but without the usual sore throat, drippy nose thing. The symptoms are very strange and are all located on my left side and above the shoulder.

- very stiff neck
- overly-sensitive skin (beard stubble feels like daggers on my neck)
- hives
- visible swelling of the neck and cheek
- ear-infection-type discomfort in ear
- tender swolen lymph nodes
- extremely sore areas on scalp
- fever

Sounds fun, eh? I'm living in a blurry world because it hurts to wear my glasses!

Luckily work has been slow and I've basically worked half-days the last few days and from home, at that. Gawd bless the internet.

Been hounding doctors to give me antibiotics but that of course is like trying to get gold out of Fort Knox. They gave me Naproxin or something like that - an anti-inflamatory. Hasn't done shit so far. Basically if you come crawling back to the doctor a week or more after your initial visit with all your hair fallen out and your bloody entrails dragging behind you they'll begin considering antibiotics. I have a few days to go.

Most unfortunately our lacrosse playoffs run this week and I'm in no condition to squish my head into a helmet let alone play the game.

Speaking of my head, it was feeling rather hot and sweaty yesterday and I realized I was touting way too much hair, so I popped across the street to one of the barbers.

I wasn't thinking clearly.

I got a great haircut.

I also learned what it is to be tortured.

There are hives on my head, you see. And for whatever reason, I didn't feel like asking Aldo for special treatment. He raked his comb across the sores over and over and over again until I was sure my brain was exposed.


Oh dear god, ouch.

Image rudely pickpocketed from Splash Magazine

Friday, August 01, 2008

Cry for a Shadow

There are some events that belong in the past; that simply will never happen to you again; like losing your virginity; like learning to ride a bike; like watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup.

Like discovering a new Beatles song and falling immediately in love with it.

Oops. Scratch the last one.

I never would have dreamed that there could still be an awesome Beatles song hiding out there that has somehow evaded me all these years.

And yet here it is. Cry for a Shadow. I feel like I'm fourteen again.

You can listen to a clip here if you want.