12/29/2006

A Friday List (With Music)

Thanks to Justacoolcat for telling me what day it is today. A couple of days off work is all it takes to confuse me. Someone please make sure I remember to start drinking soon for New Year's Eve please.

1. Burning Bed - James Rosenthal (Frida soundtrack) - Didn't Frida invade one of your lists James?

2. Konichiwa Bitches - Robyn - no idea where this came from but it makes me laugh

3. Love Of My Life - Queen - We Will Rock You has just been cast for a Toronto incarnation and Ben Elton was on The Hour last night.

4. Shake Those Windows - Athlete - I don't remember this. Ah, it came from a Q magazine compliation cd. Nice though.

5. Down To Zero - Bettye Lavette - from her CD I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, I'm not sure I overall enjoy the song choices here but Bettye does give it a real go.

6. Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

7. Brotha - Jill Scott - yes Jill?

8. I'll Be There - Martina McBride

9. America - Tracy Chapman - don't remember downloading this - I am old.

10.Let Me Roll It (Live) - Paul McCartney - I've always loved this song.

Hic.

Part of the reason shuffle is worth the ride: Following Edith Piaf's L'Accordeoniste, Golden Earring's Radar Love came on. Shifting gears is good for you.

12/28/2006

You Had Me At Hiiii-Ya!

I could say that I've gotten a lot of martial arts exercise during my recent festival of laziness but then I'd have to explain that this means I've pretty much just been laying around and watching Bruce Lee movies for a couple of days. Using the remote to backtrack and find the spot before you nodded off can be a real workout, just ask me. Can someone bring me more snacks please?

As a Christmas gift this year, I got the Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection on dvd. It includes Way of the Dragon which my Dad took me to see in the early '70s. It was a real treat to get to go to the movies with him since he was always working or busy. The only other time I recall him taking me to the movies was the summer that Jaws changed the way a lot of people thought about going for a swim.

The Bruce Lee dvds came with this story from John who bought the set for me:

I remembered you saying you'd seen the dvd set on the Top 20 wall at HMV. I went and had a look when I was there but didn't see it. So I asked the girl in the store for help. She spent a lot of time trying to find it in their computer system nothing was showing up. I said to her, I know the Jackie Chan dvd set is in your Top 20 so how can you not find it? She apologized after checking again and said, the only thing we have is a Bruce Lee set. I realized my mistake and felt like an idiot so I just said thanks and left. On my way out, I spotted it there on the wall. I went back later after I was done my other shopping and bought it.

Now, in addition to big screen Bruce being tied to a special memory for me, the dvds are tied to a funny story as well.

Way of the Dragon hasn't yet made it into the dvd player but when it does, no doubt I'll be transported back to when happiness was as simple as sitting next to my Dad in a darkened movie theatre.

12/25/2006

Extra Extra! Christmas Edition


This just in!

Jesus is no longer too cool for school




and he loves artists and Asians too!



What a pencil we have in Jesus!

12/22/2006

Christmas Pageantry

Thankfully, the annual Festival of Forced Frivolity at the office is finished. There's only one F word missing from that bunch.

Every year when the reindeer games start, I hope there'll be an old fashioned shunning and I'll get to be baby Rudolph. Instead, I find myself in the thick of things practicing my silent scream. Someone spent far too much time this year organizing a friendly competition for the work teams in my area. There were decorations, posters and streamers (let's hear it for the toilet paper!).

There were fun! little tasks designed to pit us against each other while learning about ergonomics. Whee! Listen folks, all I need to know about ergonomics, I learned from my Mom. Sit up straight! (Other useful training modules for the office I've been sentenced to: WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) -- this course teaches you to not drink the liquid paper. And I don't get danger pay?!

The Christmas baking season was very competitive this year with several entrants vying for the ohmygodthatsthebestshortbreadIhaveevertasted award but sadly, they all tasted about the same making it very difficult to declare one person Ugly Betty Crocker.

Peals of laughter rang louder than the telephones and the same people who spent most of the year avoiding eye contact with me smiled so broadly that I marvelled at the elasticity of their near human faces.

Outside of the office and back in my neighborhood, poorly managed light displays blink in quiet desperation. Trees suffer from the indignity of randomly thrown strings of lights and metal forms are strangled by mini lights. You there, at number 42! Is that some sort of Christmas shrimp out front?

Another house down the street has lit up plastic figurines of Santa, the nativity and Frosty all side by each. I love a good mixed message, don't you? And then there are the newly popular inflatable figures, plump and friendly, glowing by night but flat and deflated during the day, laying about on lawns like part of a strange yet festive crime scene.

With many at this time of year railing against the over commercialization of what was meant to be a religious celebration, let me be the one to say Move over baby Jesus, Dale needs a new pair of shoes. If any of you are out there shopping and thinking of me, please keep my Golden Rule close to your heart -- One for you, Two for me!

And with that, Happy Holidays to the lot of you, you big bunch of bloggers.

Friday Random Ten, Six Weird Things and Danny Partridge in a Pear Tree

Because I'm finished work, I'm automatically out of bed way too early. Note to self: start drinking more or consider starting drinking now!

Without much further ado, here are the random ten songs shuffling their way through my brain first thing. Whether I'll be able to shake them and move on up a little higher is a whole 'nother thing. How's that for a rickety segue?

1. I Will Move On Up A Little Higher - Mahalia Jackson
2. I Was There When It Happened - Johnny Cash

The day really has started properly when you've got Mahalia and Johnny working the spiritual voodoo on you. Although I'm a naysayer on organized religion (except for the fun true crime aspect, the art and architecture, the live in heresy and all that cold hard cash), I love spiritual and gospel music.

3. AC/DC - Sweet

My brothers would be proud, Desolation Boulevard by Sweet was in heavy rotation during a portion of my young life and probably still is in theirs, not that there's anything wrong with that. I can probably scream along with most of the words to most of the songs on this album.

4. Johnny Sunshine - Liz Phair

I like Liz but in a sort of restrospective way, I don't know what I was doing when she was saving the world with this album but I wasn't there for her. I am now. I'm always late to the party. I had a chance to see The Smiths once and I hated them at the time. I didn't go. As soon as they broke up, I declared them genius and fell in love. I'm mildly retarded. But you knew that right?

5. Come On Home (Orchestral) - Everything But The Girl

Along with The Night I Heard Caruso Sing, these are the two EBTG songs that I never grow old of. This orchestral version finds Tracy at her tear your heart out Christmas-y best with an orchestra behind her but the real stunner is the acoustic version. The ...Caruso Sing number is sung by what's his name, the guy in the band.

6. Bionic - Melanie Doane

You're not bionic Melanie but you're sweet and sexy and funny and I love you in spite of the fact that creepy Gary Sinise is your #1 fan and I believe funded this cd. Thank you for my signed copy though. You were fantastic at the Taste of the Danforth that year. Remember that Lorena? Good times.

7. I Ain't Scared Of Lighting (Live) - Tom McRae

This wins for shortest song of the list at 1:58 and Tom's playing to a crowd in Toulouse and does a short French intro.

8. You Ain't Woman Enough - Loretta Lynn

Sing it Loretta.

9. The Struggle - Sheila Chandra

I have to be in the right mood or else all I want is to hear is The Last of Sheila. When she shows up on the right day though, it's like a little piece of heaven. Listening to Ever So Lonely and The Struggle make me feel all worldly.

10.Use It - The New Pornographers

Exactly. Use it tonight, teach me tonight, do something tonight!

I have a ton of Christmas music loaded in but not a one has shown up in my random lists the last couple of weeks. Doesn't mean I'm not listening to it! Thanks for the punky Christmas tunes again MellowLee!

12/21/2006

All The Time In The World

It's over.

I'm done.

I can breathe.

I'm finished work and don't have to go back until January. That's a whole year from now if my calculations are correct!

Now that I've freed up a whack of time, let's have a look at the to-do list I've been neglecting for months:

--clip toenails
--figure out which cans of stuff I'll never eat and donate to food bank
--cast aspersions
--begin Christmas shopping

Plenty of time. I'm on it.

12/18/2006

This Train Is Bound For Glory

When I'm sitting across from someone who I might best describe as a train friend, the last thing I want to hear is a clanging statement like ‘I have something for you’.
Two nights ago, the guy sitting across from me on the ride home smiled and said just that.  He wasn't a random guy touretting on me or anything, just someone I see often enough to make small talk with.

I have something for you. As I sat there with a wan smile threatening to slide off my face, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out a little cellophane Christmas bag. I thought you might like this he said, and handed it over.

Now, because everyone has such awful taste, I’m not always the best judge of whether someone is being sincere with a gift or not. I can usually manage to not laugh in their faces though and this is something I'm proud of because it's really really hard.

Open it! he urged. As I freed it from it’s tiny prison, I was relieved to hear him say Isn’t it hideous? I won it at a Christmas lunch thing at work. What am I supposed to do with something like that? I don’t celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish for God's sake.

I told him it didn't have to be specifically tied to Christmas so much as winter but he insisted I take it home. I told him I would be checking with my priest on the policy about accepting Christmas gifts from Jewish people and get back to him.

As you can see, it has a lovely red glow. It takes batteries to perform this magic. What you cannot see is how absolutely cheap and horrid it really is up close. Shortly after this photo was taken, something very bad may have happened to it.

Last night, I saw my benefactor on the train again and he asked So how did things go with that angel?

Angel? I asked.

Yeah, you know the plastic angel I gave you?

I told him he had bigger problems than I thought if he figured old Frosty for an angel. It was a snowman I told him.


No, was it
?

Yes, it was.

Well, how am I supposed to know all this stuff? I don't celebrate Christmas.

I let him know that snowmen are generally considered secular. Then I told him I would be switching cars tomorrow night. I'm afraid some spiritual journeys are meant to be taken alone.

12/15/2006

North Pole Dancer

I've never looked more ridiculous than this.

If you'd like to as well, go here.

Thanks Justacoolcat and Bre.

Friday Ten(g)!

It's Friday and this is what I was told to listen to by the people inside my shuffle function music thingy.

As I sat on the train listening, I had a fleeting thought that maybe it was only Thursday and there I was in jeans and oh no, I'll look ridiculous at work. And then I remembered that I could wear pyjamas to work and still be more formally dressed than the folks I work with.

But it is Friday. And I'm old and forgetful. It's Friday and this is what I was told...you get it.


1. Violently Happy (Unplugged) – Bjork
2. Blue Caravan – Vienna Teng
3. Beware of the Boyz ft Jay-Z – Panjabi MC
4. Love Turns 40 – Vienna Teng
5. ‘S Wonderful – Joe Williams w/Count Basie Orchestra
6. You Don’t Own Me – Klaus Nomi
7. Everyone’s A Winner – The Meligrove Band
8. Christine – Siouxsie and the Banshees
9. Sparkling Diamonds – Nicole Kidman
10.Embarcacao – Kayah and Cesaria Evora

Just a few things

1. I'm glad I didn't know Bjork as a child, not that I purport to know her as an adult. She would have kept me in a state of emergency I'm sure.

4. Because everyone else's shuffle is doing it, I get two Vienna Teng songs this morning. This may be a reminder to listen to things I buy every now and then. She's lovely.

5. Joe Williams - if I could sing, I'd want to sound like you Joe - mellifluous and perfect. (and isn't it perfect that the first time I typed that sentence, I spelled mellifluous wrong?)

6. Klaus? That was some hacky shit, I can't promise you'll be voted through to the next round. I'm keeping other stuff of yours though. Poor Klaus.

7. Worth it just to hear the singer's Come On! mid-song (his mid-song stays on my mind).

9. Ah, Moulin Rouge - I love it when Nicole sings there may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer because right around the time she was recording that, the midget was divorcing her. She may need that lawyer again if the country husband can't clean up his act.

The rest of you know I love you in one form or another so shut up.

12/13/2006

The Agony and the XTC

Holly posted a link to a rather hilarious clip about this Aussie Kiwi guy posing as an atheist going door to door Mormon style. Have a read and a look.

The Legend of Bloggy Creek

Having been unable to leave comments on many of your blogs over the past couple of days has secretly made me happy. I don’t have time to read you right now. I'm busy contemplating starting my Christmas shopping.

I know, I know, it’s a bit early but every once in a while, you have to go against type.

Once all that is done, I’ll be back to rail against the Blogging Maniacs who dare keep me from you.

Like A Fat Kid On A Smartie

Twice annually, the building management here hosts a free breakfast buffet. One is for tenant appreciation and the other is for Christmas, presumably because Baby Jesus enjoys a nice croissant.

Set up on linen covered tables, it’s an elaborate affair replete with pastries, bagels and muffins, hot and cold beverages and live music! Baby Jesus likes badly rendered Top 40 and slightly jazzed up versions of off key carols.

Most of the people who work in this building earn much more money than they need but they still participate in the Running of the Slobs. Once the FREE FOOD light switches on, it’s stampede time!

Because people are greedy and horrible, they load up with as much food as they can carry, bring it back to their desks and then go head back to the trough for more. And more.

This year, a change in the process was initiated. Tickets were distributed, one per person. You should have heard the clamour --

Well that’s just stingy.

That’s ridiculous, a ticket for free food.

Why should I line up?

I’m not lining up for bagels.

Let me tell you, that line was longer than the one of people waiting to see how Blogger Beta pans out.

Every year when the Tenant Survey is distributed to everyone, I make it clear that I think that the food they keep serving to the fortunate should be donated to a homeless shelter or mission. This goes unheeded.

The only upside to the insanity is that I was able to scalp my ticket to a 270 pound coworker who was still a little peckish after breakfast.

I rule.

12/11/2006

That Ain't The Way To Have Fun Son

Dear Readers,

My previous post may have caused some confusion. In the comments section, I was asked if my mother actually sent me the 'card' with the wolf on it.

My friend Sandra left me a voice mail today saying her mother used to send her cards like that too.

Although I didn't intend to propagate that it was a greeting card, I may have.

The picture was of a gift tag, one that was on the ho-made fudge my mother sent to me via my sister who was here for the weekend.

At this time, I would like to ask your forgiveness and assure you of the one fact I do stand by - my mother actually is a wolf.

12/10/2006

Is She Trying To Tell Me Something?

When she's not making fudge or cutting out snowlfakes, is my Mom playing in a rock and roll band?

12/09/2006

Daddy Frank

I always loved the Merle Haggard song Daddy Frank; for me, it struck a balance between tragic and funny, my Dad's name happened to be Frank and it drove my mother half crazy when I'd sing along at top volume.

Although Dad wasn't blind like the Daddy Frank in the song, this might have been called into question if you ever caught sight of some of the hand cut Christmas trees he dragged out of the woods and into our childhoods.

It seemed like he'd be gone most of the day, trudging through the snow sometimes with one or two of us boys but always with the determination he was going to bring home a Christmas tree we could be proud of. He'd scout out wonderfully tall and noble fir trees, size them up carefully, choose one and fell it with confidence.

Once it was down where he could look at it, he'd hack some more off, proclaim that you couldn't find a nicer tree than that anywhere and the long walk home could begin. Up the tree would go against the outside of the house to allow it to release whatever it had picked up on the slide home and then Mom would poke her head out -- Oh Frank, are you blind? This is terrible. What? There's not a thing wrong with that tree at all! (at all would be run together and sound more like a-tall). How could you be gone that long and come home with this? Was it the only tree you could find? We'd all take sides on the debate as the tree got smooshed (technical term) through the door and up the stairs.

If he'd been there one year, Charlie Brown would have said oh shit and walked away. Even Dad knew he was going to have to put a plan into motion to hide the fact that the tree he'd brought home was practically see through for a lack of branches. He began boring holes in the trunk with his trusty hand drill and then whittled the ends from some of the cast off lower branches and planted them into the holes to fill in the many spaces.

From there, twine was wound round and round the branches and trunk until these new hires had no choice but to stay put. Even my mother had to admit, he'd made it look almost like it had grown that way by the end of it.

A few more yards of string and some nails and it was secured to the wall and we were in business. He was quite proud of his handiwork and once the angel was on top of the tree and lit, not much else mattered. The decorations and too many icicles went on and we all marvelled.

12/08/2006

Friday - Random Notes

It's time once again for a stroll through the random world of my iPod's brain.

I want to know why all the cool songs hide whenever anyone comes over to visit and only the Hungarian punk polkas and experimental screaming get through though.

1 I'm Your Villain - Franz Ferdinand me like tempo changes

2 Alone Again Or - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs thanks again MJ!

3 This Love - Maroon 5 you all knew I was a bit of a maroon right?

4 Supervixen - Garbage bow down to me? Anything for you Shirley

5 Ohio - Neil Young should have been done long ago

6 Knock A Door Run - Arctic Monkeys cause all the time you're talkin' at me

7 Fire on Babylon - Sinead O'Connor I love the absolute intensity here

8 I Need A Man - Eurythmics is there anything better than crazy Annie?

9 Hey Ya - Outkast shake it like a pop hop polaroid

10 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins I don't really care if they get back together, is that so wrong?

12/07/2006

Just Like Honey

You may have noticed that posting has been spotty for a few days here at Passion of the Dale. I just figured -- enough with the complicated belts and bulky pads already! I need some light days.

Every year as it nears that magical time when Baby Jesus and the Mary Chain are getting ready for their appearance, the work pace seems to pick up, people get crazier and life is just way too hectic. This weekend for example, rather than shopping (mostly for myself), I'll be hosting my sister and niece and having a wonderful time while all sorts of other things pile up on my to do list.

As soon as I can though, I plan on putting my feet up, reaching for a Kringlor and enjoying the best the season has to offer.

In other news, I decided to tell my mother how much I secretly liked her paper snowflakes. I was worried that I was being too nice until she told me how my sister the nun just finished telling her how much she had always hated her decorative plate collection.

I am beginning to believe in balance.

How Blogger Is Like Cheap Hoop Earrings

Several years back, I went to a Pretenders concert where in between blistering away on her guitar, Chrissie Hynde kept fiddling with the big hoop earrings she had on. She went through a few numbers like this until she couldn't stand it anymore. In mid song, she tore them out of her ears and threw them into the crowd calling out You get what you pay for ladies without missing a beat and then finished off the song.

I tend to think about Blogger that way - you get what you pay for. I prided myself on not joining the fun of telling Blogger to go feck itself lately because I hadn't had too many problems with it really. But then, a few days ago, the thieving fecker ate most of my template leaving my page all forlorn. Order has been more or less restored but if I've inadvertently left you off my link list, it's not you, it's me.

Back to another Precious moment starring Chrissie Hynde -- at the same concert, the opening act was Iggy Pop. When Chrissie first came out, she said she just wanted to take a moment and kiss the ground that Iggy Pop walked on. And she did. She got down on her knees, kissed the floor and then rocked on. Cool.

12/03/2006

Diggin' On The Doc Of The Day

Because I'm an impressionable old fart young blogger guy, when people recommend things to me, I like to go off and find them quickly before I'm distracted by something shiny.

I love music documentaries and have found some real gems by listening to other good blogging folk.

Take our friend Bubs for instance: he sent me off Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus and this happened.

Urgh! A Music War was well worth the look too for some wonderful moments and those sparks I blame on the Shroom-Monkey.

Then, Holly had to do it; she brought me back to church through a little film called New York Doll. My only problem with church? I always lose faith in it.

In my last Friday random ten list, there was a song that got Johnny Yen asking if I'd seen the documentary called Dig! Barbara also said it was something to behold and so off I went to look for it.

Dig! is an odyssey that covers a seven year itch in the lives of two bands, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. It begins with both groups tripping over their raw potential as they preach respect and praise for each other but eventually, their plans for musical revolution get lost in a fog of drugs, ego, mental illness and the politics of the music biz.

One band takes a path the other can't possibly follow and everything manages to travel downhill and up at the same time. Singer songwriter Miranda Lee Richards, daughter of comic book artists Ted and Teresa Richards, makes a good point. She says that the 60s bands that were into drugs were famous first and not the other way around and this has a lot of bearing on the proceedings. She also gets an onstage seat during one of the frequent meltdowns by Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe.

The ending to this piece hasn't been written yet though and I'm not counting anyone out. I have seen a glinting and glaring devolution play out before my eyes with sadness, joy, violence and passion. I know, it's only rock n roll but I like it.

I rate Dig! 2 swift kicks in the head.

12/02/2006

St. Peter, Jesus and The Sloganizer

Peter over at Daydream Hallucination posted hilariously about a fun new product called Sloganizer.

You can read his post here and then go make your own fun here.

Now that I know Jesus loves Passion of the Dale, I feel pretty damned good.

Mommy, I Feel Memeish

I saw this music related meme on 43 Year Old Whiner's blog. Since he stole it from someone, I'm returning the favour.

Open iTunes/iPod or Windows Media Player. Go to your library and answer the following questions:

How many songs: 4974

Sort by song title:
First song: '39 by Queen

Last song: Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie

(nice coincidence considering they've worked together)

Sort by time:
Shortest: Outro by Rilo Kiley 0:04

Longest: O'Malley's Bar by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 14:28

Sort by album:
First song: Murderer by Buju Banton - 'Til Shiloh

Last Song: Waiting by Sheila Chandra - Zen Kiss

Five most played songs:
The Charging Sky by Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins 44 times
Can't Stand It by Wilco 41 times
Mornings Eleven by The Magic Numbers 39 times
Leap of Faith by Delbert McClinton 32 times
Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers 28 times


First song that comes up on "shuffle":
The Island Where I Come From by Laurie Anderson

Number of items that come up when searching for:
"sex": 16

"death": 19

"love": 367

"you": 538

"me": 1128 *

"cry": 25

*As expected, it really is all about me.

12/01/2006

There Goes Johnny Yen Again

I really wish I had more time to read and write but work has a nasty habit of getting in the way.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Johnny Yen for this post. As I said in his comments section, I've never laughed so hard at the dead in my life.

'ave a look.

Great To See You Again Friday!

Since yesterday was more like a Monday than a Thursday, today's hope is that Friday will remember the good things it's supposed to be about. My random ten helpers this morning from iTunes are here to help:

1. Rocket's Tail - Kate Bush
2. English Girl - Eagles of Death Metal
3. Run On - Moby
4. My Way - Herman Brood
5. I Was There When It Happened - Johnny Cash
6. Love - The Twilight Singers
7. The Envoy - Warren Zevon
8. Big Black Mariah - Tom Waits
9. Peachfuzz - Michelle Shocked
10.Down Like Disco - Dandy Warhols

Thursday remembrances: hoping to avoid papercuts from the paper snowflake love in, I stepped out not into the sensual world but the soggy and wet world while my umbrella was nestled happily in its little bed at home.

I stopped at the coffeeteria and picked up my usual. About halfway between there and work, I dropped the cup and it landed squarely on my caps of my shoes. No matter, Johnston & Murphy helped me out with their weatherproof yet stylish shoes.

When things start to fuck up so early in the day, I automatically become entitled to a BLT bagel and hash brown from McDonald’s. I got it back to my desk and they had given me the wrong thing - something with egg and cheese and sauce. I bit into it and threw it out.

I sat and waited for the phone to ring so I could unfairly (for them) tear someone’s head off. The phone didn't ring for hours. Maybe the day wasn't so bad after all.

11/29/2006

You Decorated My Life or Things My Mother Taught Me

The sap is running alert: As the holidays near, even those of us with hearts two sizes too small find pockets of warmth that sustain and help us with evolution.

Prior to the advent of so much instant communication, my mother was a letter writer extraordinaire. I recall how she and her out of town friends and relatives wrote back and forth religiously, catching each other up on the latest gossip, sorrows and joys.

Mom always said you have to send mail to get mail and she was right. There isn’t much I like better than finding a personal letter in my mailbox busy trying to break up the fight between all my bills.

Stemming from her avid letter writing, we got a ton of Christmas cards every year and Mom’s ingenuity on how to display them was put to the test. She hit on the idea one year of decorating the wall facing the entryway of the house with them and taped them all up.

Like a puzzle, first the ‘end pieces’ went up to form the outline and then the centre was filled in. She turned the cards into a Christmas tree that was pretty spectacular and became an annual tradition.

(I’ll save my memories of my Dad’s uncanny ability to find the worst tree in the forest and trudge home with it for another time.)

Looking at the beautiful snowy photos MellowLee posted on her blog (Vancouver never gets snow does it?) and reading comments made by Barbara* about snowflakes reminded me of something else my mother turned into a minor art form. Paper snowflakes.

From one year to the next, salvaged wrapping paper made a return engagement around the second week of December. Mom used it not only to wrap presents again but to cut out the most unusual and beautiful paper snowflakes which she then hung by thread from the living room ceiling.

I always pronounced them to look corny but I secretly loved them. Nobody else in my neighborhood had an indoor snowfall like this for the holidays and I think they may have been poorer for it.

My mistrust of winter can now resume although there is always a chance of intermittent happiness amid the drifts.

*check out Barbara's fantastic review of a play called The Dazzle. And vote for her blog!

11/26/2006

And Now Your Feature Presentation

My favourite funny Jewess Katie Schwartz posted a movie meme that I enjoyed so I've taken it and modified it slightly.



1. Popcorn or candy? It starts out with popcorn and then I lose interest and switch over to candy. It's usually not until I leave the theatre that I realize my pants are covered in 'topping'.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever. The Passion of Joan of Arc. I have it, I just haven't gotten to it. Making out with cookies takes up a lot of my time and some things just give way.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar. Who loses theirs and to whom? Julia Roberts has to personally hand over the one she got for Erin Brockovich to Ellen Burstyn for Requiem For A Dream. I liked both films but there's no question about who gave the better performance.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. The costume from Batman Begins – that comes with the body right?

5. Your favorite film franchise is....Lord of the Rings. The way they doled it out was franchise like. Did I just cheat?

6. Invite five living movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them?

First of all, before any successful dinner party, I think there should be a little mix and a mingle...

i) Hey, Darren Aronofsky! Come on in! Although I wasn 't a big fan of it, here's some Pi for you. Tell me a little about what it was like to work with Hubert Selby Jr. and adapt his brilliant novel into your fantastic film Requiem For A Dream. And what’s up with your new one, The Fountain?

If he started getting too intense, I’d introduce him to

ii)John Cameron Mitchell – sitting there eating his licorice drops and jelly roll. Hey John, Hansel needs some sugar in his bowl, heh heh. Tell us all about the pressures of following up your huge indie Hedwig success like and sell us on the idea of seeing Shortbus.

When the talk about sex starts to get boring (it eventually will), I’d have to turn and say, Have you met…

iii)Catherine O’Hara? – She’s just waiting for the mac and cheese to finish baking. We’d laugh and talk about how weird the business is and how I simultaneously believe she should be film’s most successful comedienne ever but am glad she’s not because then she’d be all weird and wouldn’t come to my parties anymore.

It would be hard tearing myself away but how can you be rude and not say hello to…

iv)George Clooney – He’s the only other person on earth aside from your humble host who looks that great in a tux. Still got that silly pig at the villa George? Cancel the chops, George’ll just share Catherine’s mac and cheese. He’s so down to earth.

Just as we were all getting really comfortable and relaxed, in walks...

v)Bjork! She never shows up! Quick - order some Fjallagrasamjólk! I always seem to run out of Icelandic Moss Soup at the wrong time. What’s that dear? You want to recreate the death scene from Dancer in the Dark again? Surely you must have another party trick or two up your sleeve? Why don’t you tell us all about your upcoming projects (and try not to scare the other guests)?

When I reflect back on that night and realize that I forgot to invite the adorable Amy Sedaris, I’ll be inconsolable until she calls and invites me to one of her shindigs proving once and for all, she’s the bigger man and the better hostess.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cellphones in the movie theater? No more anytime minutes ever.

8. Choose a male and a female bodyguard from a film: Neo from The Matrix; The Bride from Kill Bill

9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie? The spiderwalk that Regan does in The Exorcist (an extra scene that was added to recent dvd releases)

10. Your favorite genre (excluding "comedy" and "drama") is....documentary especially if it deals with music.

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at a major studio for one year. How do you wield this power? I would give directors, writers and performers with experimental ideas the budgets to help them realize their vision. Could it be any worse than the thousands of cookie cutter projects that get the go ahead all the time?

12. If Jesus were to submit a synopsis of a documentary about life in America since 9/11, what would his p.o.v. be? I think he’d start with a ‘What I Was Doing That Day’ segment and then go straight into a Paradise Lost and Regained thing.

13. Down in front all you troublemakers - I'd really like to see every damned one of you do this quiz and post it on your blog. If you don't, I'm calling an usher like the ones we used to have when I was a kid - no fucking around, big flashlight, not afraid to use it.

'C' Is Also For Cookie

Did you know that one tin of shortbread cookies with chocolate covered almonds baked in provides enough fuel to sustain a full day cleaning frenzy? Well I'm here to tell you that it does and it's cheaper than my old standby - crack! My house is now completely Christmas ready, as long as Christmas is tomorrow or the next day. I'm a part time slob so things tend to degenerate quickly around here.

Back to important things - these magical cookies I speak of are sold by the local Lions Club and so by eating them, I'm assuredly saving lives and contributing to the sustainability of their organization. The way I figure it is that if I order and eat just a few dozen more tins, they're sure to launch a special project in my honour - Save the Dales! and I'll end up the star of a prime time made for tv movie. Should I play myself or is that too bold?

I have to go now and hoover up any stray crumbs and make some important decisions.

Celebrity Sex

I've been reading with interest all the brushes with celebrity that Old Lady and Coaster Punchman seem to have had. I've had lots of sightings but I tend to not want to interact with my celebrities unless it's for sex. If I could just get them to stop calling me the next day. Ugh.

In a tenuously related way, twice removed sort of situation, I offer this pale tidbit. Next Wednesday, I'm going to see the musical Chicago which is in town for a limited run. I've seen the film but not the play. Did you know that Chicago was actually played by Toronto? Every day I pass the building they used as the jailhouse as the train rolls by the historic Distillery district. In a not so historic move, the building is now being converted into condominiums. Progress?

Back to the celebrity bit, the husband of a woman I work with was Richard Gere's stand in on that movie. When I learned this, I asked about 100 questions and learned that Mr. Gere was very nice and gave her husband a leather jacket at the end of filming as a thank you. She told me that they always get invited to wrap parties for films he works on but they never go. I would! And then I'd name drop for years.

In related news, there is a lady at work who was the stand in for Ricki Lake on a film several years back. I can't say who things worked out better for in that case.

11/24/2006

Friday Random Ten - Live from The Confessional Edition

1. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan - Marianne Faithfull
2. Only You - Portishead
3. Cellphone's Dead - Beck
4. The Weight - The Band
5. Honey Molasses - Jill Scott
6. Pilgrimage - R.E.M.
7. Walk on the Wild Side - Lou Reed
8. Eye of Fatima (Pt. 1) - Camper Van Beethoven
9. El Tango de Roxanne - Moulin Rouge Stdtrk
10.Haoulou - Cheb Mami

This Friday Random Ten is a multitasking son of a gun. Not only is it magically delicious but it may make me seem cooler than I actually am. It also gives me the strength to answer a question Tenacious S put to me a little while ago in the comments section of this post.

Every time a list like this presents itself, I report proudly on it and feel safe in the knowledge that my credibility is intact. Dear readers, it is time for me to admit that for every Archer Prewitt, XTC or Etta James tune there is propping me up, there's a *gasp* Olivia Newton John, Sade or Jim Reeves song threatening its way into the mix. Wash me clean oh Lord. For penance, I am listening to Sunshine Day by The Brady Bunch 10 times.

Ah music, it does so many things doesn't it? Lifts you up, punctuates a moment like nothing else, makes you laugh, cry and move. I love you, I honestly love you.

11/23/2006

You're Everything I Hoped For

I just wanted to thank all you zany Americans. I know it’s your Thanksgiving and you’re busy not killing family right now and getting ready for the shopping thing tomorrow but I appreciate you all taking time out to think of little old me.

Somehow you crashed the computer systems that make it possible for me to do my job. Sure they’re working on fixing it, but so far you’ve bought me enough time to have breakfast, go to the bank, have a coffee and a tea, fraternize with the uncleansed masses and think about blog posts!

I love each and every one of you! Take that you smelly Canadians! What have you done for me lately?

11/20/2006

Roxanne

On my walk home this dark evening, I was listening to the Herbie Hancock song Stitched Up.

As I neared home, I noticed there were Christmas lights strung up in the windows of the house next door.

I've variously described the lady who lives there with her bleached blonde hair as a pole dancer or hooker.

As I thought to myself, nice job on the lights hooker lady, John Mayer sang into my ear Girls like that don't sleep alone. Maybe he's smarter than he looks?

11/19/2006

Oh Happy Day

To my American friends -- may the only fight at your house this Thanksgiving be over the wishbone.



Failing that, go rent Home For The Holidays and suffer and laugh along.



Facts and Figures

If Grant Miller and Echo Tremaine can post their real life photos on their blogs, then why can't I?

I know that as soon as I hit the Publish Post button, I'll regret it.

My regret will lie not with the fact that you will know me as more than the Bee your dreams are made of but on the fact that while these photographs are indeed of me, I have never looked this good in real life.

These are the photos of my 2 most recent passports taken by a master craftsman. He didn't have much to work with but he did something right.

Figure 1 - 2000
Figure 2 - 2005
Figure 3 - 2006

5 Gross Things

With a little bolstering from the posts of Coaster Punchman, Old Lady and Pink Fluffy Slippers, may I present, a game of tag involving 5 Gross Things.

1. I had an accident at school while in Grade 2. Although this post is called number 1, my accident was not. What's that smell?

2. My friend's sister married a farmer a few towns away. One day my friend invited me over there to play, we were probably 12 years old at the time. We watched silently as they put a rope around a cow's neck, put the rope through a metal loop on the ground between the barn doors, attached the rope to a tractor, drove the tractor until the cow's head was down at the loop on the ground and then put a bullet between its eyes. Then they hoisted it up in the middle of the barn, slashed its throat and we watched the blood drain. Then they peeled it. And we went back to playing.

3. At the monastery where my sister the Sister lives, there is a child Saint encased in wax resting in a glass tomb with some of his bones exposed and a little vial of his blood. That creeps me out still. Bury the little fellow already.

4. I loved going to the Saturday matinees at the local moviehouse as a youngster. One film that frightened the hell out of me was called Island of Terror. In it, strange creatures with multiplied by splitting in two. When they did this, there would be a gelatinous mess which looked like it had long noodles in it. That evening when I went home, my mother was just putting chicken noodle soup on the table. I didn't throw up but I couldn't go near chicken noodle soup for years after. I have a copy of the movie but have never watched it.

5. In Grade 10, I was reunited with someone at our brand new high school that I hadn't seen since my early school days. We were standing there talking before class and she stuck her finger in the still soft and sticky putty on the window. Then she said: Remind you of anything Dale? Like that time in Grade 2? I almost hemmoraged on the spot but kept my cool and convinced her that she had a faulty memory and it must have been someone else.

Anyone else care to play? I dare you. No, I double dare you.

11/17/2006

Music Tames The Savage Beast/Breast/Heart

In my grand tradition of reading something on one blog and listening to my brain springboard, I give you a question for the ages as supplied by Justacoolcat in this post. What is it that you hear first thing in the morning when you wake up?

What I many times hear is the sound of the cd spinning up to play when the alarm's about to go off. I have a pathological fear of being late and most mornings, I'm awake before it tells me to be.

When I've had the good fortune to sleep through the night without interruption, what I hear is the Eurythmics song Savage. Nobody sings it like Annie:
Words of power are killing me
While the sun displays its teeth.
All mockery is laughing
All violence is cheap.

The Kids Aren't Alright

Today there were statistics on the news screen in the elevator about the food bank and how of the thousands of people who must use their services daily, 38% of them are children. I was horrified. Why aren't these kids out working?!

In The Early Morning Rain ... Slight Return

I got in most of my Random Ten music shuffling on the rainy ride to work.

  1. Dixie Dynamite – Freddy Jones Band

  2. Gatekeeper – Feist

  3. Please Please Please – Shout Out Louds

  4. Danube Incident – Lalo Schifrin

  5. Easy Money – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

  6. Every Humble Knee Must Bow – Nashville Bluegrass Band

  7. Por Dignidad – Omara Portuondo

  8. Twilight Zone – Golden Earring

  9. On The Mend – Foo Fighters

  10. Don’t You Know – Della Reese

11/16/2006

It's An Honour Just To Be...

My friend Tanya Espanya nominated me for one of these under the category of Best Blog which was very sweet of her:

Canadian Blog Awards

I forgot about it (because I'm rude and insensitive) until Barbara mentioned it.

You can do your bloggy duty and vote for Barbara by clicking on the maple leaf above and looking for her under Best Group Blog for The Stroumboulopouli.

The life is the red wagon, you pull for me, I pull for you.

11/15/2006

You've Been Served

Every day after I get my coffee on the way to work, I go to the corner to cross the street and walk by a grate that has a person or two huddled under blankets on it asleep.

I feel bad for them and wish I didn't pretend they weren't there sometimes and at the same time, feel lucky that I'm not homeless or mentally ill.

This morning, someone was asleep on the grate under a load of blankets. As I neared the corner, a girl showed up and started trying to shake the person awake asking Breakfast? Do you want breakfast? Hello!! Community Outreach, do you want some breakfast? Hello! Hello! Breakfast! The person wasn't answering and so she went back to her outreach van.

I'm not sure if I was more upset that this person gets their breakfast delivered or that the worker was so aggressive about trying to serve it.

Dear Community Outreach,

If you ever bring me breakfast in bed, just a warning, I can be a bit of a bear so please, don't shake me awake or yell at me while you do it. Just leave the food and keep moving. That would be grate great. Thanks.

Love,

Dale

11/13/2006

Purple Reign

It's easy to look back on some films and just make fun of them for sport. Times and styles change, we grow up, the acting's bad, there are lots of easy outs.

When Beth wrote her tribute to Prince's Purple Rain album, I thought it was time that I finally get around to the dvd I'd picked up some time ago of the film.

I've always been a sort of sidelines fan when it comes to Prince. I've liked the singles but pretty much avoided the drama, the costumes and the machinery. When he changed his name to that symbol, I was sure he'd sealed his fate.

Of course, that was not the case at all. He went right on write great songs for himself and other artists and he's still making music today that sounds great.

Seeing the film 20 odd years after it debuted makes for some fun viewing but I'm acutely aware that it makes no sense to try and tear apart the man's talent. Along with his songwriting, stunning guitar work and showmanship, possibly the biggest testament to Prince's ability is immortalized for all time -- he got everyone in the film to sport the same fucking hairdo he had whether they should have or not. Now that's power.

Marjorie Would Be Proud Of Me

Although I eat healthy every day (according to me), I thought it was about time I sat down and thought about thinking about how I'd become a monster.

As I sat there snacking and immobile, I considered a few points, not the Weight Watchers kind, but points just the same. I'm no professional but my logic made sense to me and therefore is probably worthwhile. Some of my findings include:

Salad - a very effective Feta cheese delivery system. The divine taste of Feta proves the existence of a higher power and is therefore safe to eat every day.

Potato chips - too obvious: It says Zero Trans Fats right on the bag and therefore is good for you. Enjoy with or without a side salad.

Coca-Cola - no skull and crossbones on the label anywhere means this sweet and tasty drink is perfect for any time.

As I was feeling a bit peckish, that's about as far as my research went. In conclusion, I cannot blame my diet and therefore pronounce genetics the culprit. Since there's nothing I can do about that, I'm considering branching out and trying some new foods. Anyone for a hot fudge sandwich?

11/11/2006

Apply Liberally

Yesterday at work, I had to attend a meeting with my work group between 2 and 4 p.m. Who schedules a meeting on a Friday afternoon? The company president's assistant, that's who. I agreed to attend, just as though I had a choice.

The purpose of the meeting was to get feedback on a project we've been working on. Usually, I like nothing more than talking about how important I am to the daily running of the world but the fly in the ointment is that el presidente recently announced his retirement. So I'm thinking we're all going to have to sit there for 2 hours and waste our best googly eyes on a guy who couldn't care less? Better bring your Secret Service agents with you buddy.

Because I'm a horrible judge of everything, he turned out to be pretty in tune with things and very candid about some of the problems our company faces and the issues surrounding our project. Sure you can afford to be candid when you're on the way out but he seemed really interested in ensuring the initiatives we're working on get the recognition they deserve. Then he went and asked questions that made it clear he was sitting there listening. The nerve! When you spend half your time trying to read between the buzzwords, it's refreshing to hear someone just speak English.

So at the end of the meeting when he asked if there were any questions or comments, I asked him if he could stick around and help me fill out my application for his job. He laughed pretty hard and said he'd be happy to. I was glad he laughed. And so was my boss.

11/10/2006

Random Acts of Friday

As with every Friday, the shuffle button reigns supreme, sometimes to disatrous results but this week? Not so bad:

1. Fela Kuti - Lover
2. Curly Locks - Sinead O'Connor
3. Vietnamese Baby - New York Dolls
4. Modern Love - David Bowie
5. Hard To Beat - Hard Fi
6. Velouria - Pixies
7. Within You - Ray LaMontagne
8. 5 1/2 Minute Hallway - Poe
9. Black Water - Doobie Brothers
10.Rock and Roll All Nite - Toad The Wet Sprocket

11/08/2006

Ball of Confusion

Remember the good old days? The days of the Little Miss Sunshine Contest? Ahh.

Lovely blogger Melinda June recently posted her late entry with explanation. Go see it and praise her like I do.

Her entry brought me back to some other good old days. It may have been the stripes on her brother's shirt that did it.

After I came back from my kidnapping stint in foster care, my mother's friend knitted me a sweater using the ends of many old skeins of yarn. The result was a sweater only Helen Keller could have appreciated. There were so many colours and beginnings and ends that none of it made any sense.

My mother called it my coat of many colours, not after the Dolly Parton song because that would be crass but after the biblical story of Joseph later to become a crowd pleasing musical starring Donny Osmond.

My saving grace is knowing that at the age of 6 1/2, you have very little say in what you get to wear and probably less concern about it. I think I may have even enjoyed wearing it. I don't recall ever seeing a photo of me in it but if I should scare one up, you'll be the second to know.

I wouldn't be caught dead in anything like it now. Unless of course, it cost hundreds of dollars and I'd seen it in the pages of Vanity Fair.

11/06/2006

From The Flemish Files

I promise to stop mentioning my cold and what it's doing to my voice, eventually.

Today at work, someone told me I had my 1-800- voice on. A couple of other people said that my voice sounded really sexy. All I could do was smile and cough in response.

As I was getting ready to leave for the day though, someone said my favourite thing. I was putting on my coat and someone asked if it was new. I said that it was in my best sexy 1-800 voice, asked if they liked it as I showed it off and then promptly began coughing.

Someone else stepped in and asked, Dale, do you always have to be so phlegmboyant?

The Revolutionary Costume For Today

I didn't really say much about the audience at the Opera now that I've had time to read my earlier post. For shame.

The horseshoe shape of the new joint allows for much better people watching opportunities than there were at the old barn. For instance, in the row ahead of me were a fun husband and wife team. She had some pretty badly frosted hair (you should see the cake!) and her best Mom jeans on while he had on a wrinkled denim shirt and khakis.

Mom turned around before the show and said to Dad while looking directly at me oh look, their row is raised up a little, that's what we need because you're so short. He swiveled his head around and giggled heyyyy, I resemble that remark! and they both laughed like it was the first time they'd gone through this routine. One artful arch of my left eyebrow ended the possibility of inter-row friendship. They went back to their programs, I went back to my perusing.

Sure there were lots of interestingly attached hairpieces and limbs on display but on the whole, I give the crowd points for trying. As soon as the lights went down, as always, about 1/3 of the blue haireds nodded off. Once some of them start forgetting to wake up, there's going to be some prime real estate opening up in the house.

My friend Deborah looked quite amazing in a long silvery skirt and a sort of gauzy blouse with an antique crystal necklace completing the look. She said the skirt was from Holt Renfrew and worth a fortune but she'd gotten a deal on it for $10 at Goodwill. Nice work garbage picker.

As for me? Well, I always make an effort. I looked dashing in my black shorts with the stripe down the side, think tuxedo shorts if tuxedos came with shorts, my Rock Me Amadeus ringer tee and of course, my good roller skates.

Next up: A Day At The Races.

11/05/2006

Tales From The Site Meter

I'm getting a lot of hits for this: Another winter in a summer town
and it's making me think that the producers of Grey Gardens may want to put a hit on me if they ever read it.

Here she is: Yasamin miss 2006 - next stop Playboy.

"my vitriol" november - It's not only in November anymore.

Piazza del Popola churches - seems like only 2004 that I was writing about 2002, ah. And my friends just got back again from Italy. Whatever.

what does nessun dorma mean? - ask Luciano.

what does "no flies on you"mean? - something to do with zipperless pants?

11/04/2006

Falling In Love Again

Last night was my introduction to our new opera house and in between bouts of hacking and coughing freely today, I'm still excited about the experience.

There are seats for 2000 but it seems even more intimate than that. The sightlines are amazing, the acoustics finely tuned, the seats comfortable and what's this? Legroom?! There may well be things that mean more but to a 6 foot tall galoot, legroom is right up there. With only 14 rows between me and the orchestra pit, everything was perfect.

Ladies, you'll be pleased to know that there are double the washroom facilities for women in the building. There were complimentary cough drops at all of the bars on each level and also plent of space to roam about, mingle and generally see and be seen.

Mozart's Così fan tutte was on offer and it was a fitting start to what hopefully is a brilliant season. Apart from a few curtain glitches that the performers managed to work to their advantage in this farcical piece, everything else was perfect. The singing was excellent on all accounts and every performer could be heard along with rather than in competition with the music as often seemed to be the case at the old venue. What a treat.

I overheard people say that parts of the performance were too slapsticky. Please, it's a comedy! Play along folks, it can't all be high art.

When I wasn't laughing at the antics of the cast, particularly Shannon Mercer as Despina and Kristina Szabo as Dorabella, I was wiping away the tears at Michael Colvin's beautiful tenor. I'm not sure of the name of his solo in Act 1 but it was such a pure and moving sound that I forgot to check the surtitles, it had to have been about love.

Even as I suffered with the worst cold ever visited upon a mortal, like the good patron I am, I waited until applause to cough, only sneezed once and refrained fully from the urge to spit on all those who dared to wear jeans to the big show. Who says I'm not charitable? Rawther.

Voices Carry

Today, just for fun, my cold has been treating me by having me alternate sounding like Peter Brady when his voice changed and Lauren Bacall shilling for Fancy Feast. Just thought you should know.

11/03/2006

Walk Out To Winter

This is what happens when you let your iPod engage in unprotected shuffling on a Friday:

  1. Metallica – Enter Sandman

  2. Andrews Sisters – Mr. Sandman

  3. Einsturzende Neubaten – Total Eclipse of the Sun

  4. Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart

  5. Nine Inch Nails – Head Like A Hole

  6. Traditional – Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes

  7. Buzzcocks – Orgasm Addict

  8. Tool – Jerk Off

  9. Jayne County – Fuck Off

  10. Julie Andrews – A Few of my Favorite Things



And now my real list:

  1. Neil Young – When God Made Me

  2. Garbage – Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)

  3. Sarah McLachlan – Witness (Live)

  4. Guadalcanal Diary – Cattle Prod

  5. Beck – Cellphone’s Dead

  6. Keren Ann – Sailor and Widow

  7. Metallica – Enter Sandman

  8. Sound Providers – Dope Transmission

  9. Kate Bush – Kite

  10. Tricky – Wonder Woman

11/02/2006

Evil Dead The Musical

It's a little off the Halloween deadline but this show sounds like a whole lotta fun. Why didn't I hear about this when it was busy being born here? I'm so involved in city life. An interesting article about it.

I'm so mad I could kill someone.
I'll have to settle for this for now I think.

11/01/2006

Strangers With Chips

Something unexpected happened the year I turned 5. My parents gave me away. To strangers.

My mother had always suffered from what she called bad nerves and in 1969, she took her nerves to bed and brought my 2 year old sister along for company. Every time Mom took a pill, sis got a candy and I got more jealous.

My older sisters did what they could to keep the house running while my Dad worked as far around the dial as he could to keep us in food and hand-me-downs.

Friends of my parents suggested that their daughter and her new husband take one of us kids off their hands for a while to ease the strain of having 9 kids to clothe and feed. Somehow my parents agreed to this modest proposal and my adventures began.

Tricking me into a new life proved to be fairly simple. I was asked if I wanted to go for a drive in a car. Even though we were a little white trash and didn’t have a car of our own, I must have looked skeptical. They sweetened the deal with the promise of a big bag of potato chips. Now they were talking: the possibility of a treat I didn't have to share was more than I could resist. I was in the back seat of that car faster than a dog who doesn't yet know that sometimes, you end up at the vet's.

By the time I'd stuffed my small frame with chips, the novelty of a genuine car ride had worn off and I was ready for home. When I asked when we'd be going back, I got a smile in response and the answer that I'd be coming to live with them for a while and we were all going to have a great time. I got quiet and stayed that way for about the next 7 or 8 years. My car ride ended up taking a couple of days and landed me about 1000 miles away and in a town smaller even than the one I’d come from.

The isolated community consisted of a dotting of homes and stores, a small school, a church, and an Indian reservation nearby. Major food supplies were ordered from a catalogue and flown in every couple of months. I was enrolled in kindergarten at the school one of my guardians taught at.

The few other students in my class were native Indians and we regarded each other with wary interest. There were few words we had in common and so, we communicated mostly through suspicious looks and gestures.

When I excelled at such activities as putting together the 2 piece wooden puzzle of grapes and bananas, I was quickly promoted into Grade 1. Although still a stranger in a strange land, there were a few other kids there who could speak English.

After school, I came home alone, let myself in, did my homework and basically spent a lot of time waiting. When the surrogate parents got home and made dinner, it was then my job to do the dishes by standing on a chair. Months dragged by this way and my routine felt hopeless. I missed my family and cried myself to sleep many nights.

When Christmas rolled around and I was told I’d be going home, I was excited but worried that it might be a trick. The trip home took a couple of days and finally, I was dropped back into the chaos of my family. They weren’t where I left them but in a new house which was fun to explore; I'd never seen bunkbeds before and this place had them built right into the walls. I cried here too but with relief at being back.

As the rhythm of big family life started keeping time again in my body, they showed up again. My mother was still sick it seemed. I cried and begged not to be taken away again but I was loaded back in the car just the same and driven off again.

The next 3 months were spent in constant upset between crying, worrying and illness. At one point, I developed a case of croup so bad that I had to be airlifted to a larger city with a real hospital and an oxygen tent was my home for several days. When I was better, it was back to cold routine. I never seemed able to get warm.

My feelings of despair went on and on and as my crying jags increased in frequency and duration, my guardians just seemed puzzled. Eventually, they took me to see the local priest to see if he could offer any suggestions on my behaviour. He was a kindly old gentleman who I'd met once before when they ran a movie, my first, in the church basement. The film was Pinocchio and I was amazed by it, a small moment of joy.

Father spoke with the three of us in his large office and then asked to speak with me alone. He offered me a flat round butterscotch candy and then another and spoke to me in soothing tones. He asked me a question about whether I missed my family and had his answer in the half second it took for a pain cry to escape me. He comforted and consoled me and gave me more candy. He called my custodians back in and had me wait in the next room. When we got home, they barely spoke to me but I knew something had shifted.

A couple of days went by and it was close to Easter I recall. I was told that I should go over to my teacher's place and say good-bye because I'd be leaving school early and going home to my family. I raced over there and knocked on her door. She had papers for me to take to my school back home and wished me luck.

As though to erase any unhappy memories, there was a little party for me and the friends of my keepers came bearing gifts for me and chatted me up about my upcoming trip back. A bunch of new toys were proffered and packed into a large box.

The day finally came but this time, my journey home was a little different. I was put on a train, alone and met in Toronto by one of my aunts and I stayed overnight with her. She put me back on the train the following morning where in Montreal I was met by a family friend who made sure that I got on the correct train for the last leg of the journey home.

I made it back finally, in several pieces, but happy.

Most of my siblings don't remember a lot of the events around that time or claim not to and don’t like me to bring it up so I don’t anymore.

As an adult, I finally got up the nerve to ask my parents what the hell they were thinking. They could only apologize and say that they weren’t thinking clearly and didn’t realize that it would affect me so much.

At first I directed most of my anger at my mother and then decided that it was misplaced and held my father responsible for a time. I thought that I had more or less forgiven both of them and put it to rest until about the time of my parents’ 50th anniversary celebration.

You may recall that I’ve mentioned my mother to have little or no tact. Our whole family and extended family gathered from far flung corners for the big anniversary and my sisters who were in charge of putting together a special photo album, at the last minute asked me to do the honours.

I threw together a large and quite lovely scrapbook filled with photographs, funny family stories and so on. In the middle of one afternoon gathering at my parents’ place, the book was being passed around and generally praised. I did do a rather fine job on it.

Someone was laughing over a particular group of anecdotes I’d included and my mother turned to me in front of the 25 or so people gathered and loudly asked: Why didn’t you put in the story about the time we gave you away Dale? She laughed although thankfully nobody else did. The room immediately went silent as it would have to do and all eyes focused on me.

I calmly answered Because that wasn’t really a happy memory for me and the crowd resumed their chatter and my mother went on mingling.

I’d like to think that I grew up a lot in that moment, the moment when I didn’t kill my mother in front of a room full of witnesses.

10/31/2006

Calling Dr. Bombay

I was reading one of Berry's posts about Emergency Songs and thought I would steal/share it. I'm still thinking on what mine is.

More Reviews Of Shows I Didn't Attend

Earlier in the month, I was lamenting that I would be missing Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins at Trinity St. Paul's Church here in Toronto. I was in New York seeing Grey Gardens at the time so I'm only complaining a little bit.

I lent my poor student niece my camera and so she took some nice shots not only of Jenny but then of The Killers when they were at MuchMusic and some videos of Regina Spektor. Somewhere in there, she also went to see The New Pornographers. WTF man.

Fun Fact: Jenny is short.

Funner Fact: She put on a great show.

Funnest fact: Jenny and the band did a procession down the aisle to Jenny's accapella song Run Devil Run to open the show. How perfect.

Why here's Jenny now!

Click to enlarge.

All apologies to Skincarver in advance for yet another chick rock blog post. I swear I always start out writing about Nine Inch Nails and something happens.

Run Devil Run

It's Halloween!

Since I've got a cold and want to do my part, I'll be slumped by the front door with a big pot of chicken noodle soup and a ladel. Bring it on kids!

10/28/2006

Tango del Vampiro

To answer Geeti Das' question about Daniel Melingo's song, click the post title above.

10/27/2006

The Friday Ten

Coolcat and American Idle started a joke that got the whole world shuffling.

My random ten for today:

1. Throw - Scritti Politti -- thanks Ben
2. Tango del Vampiro - Daniel Melingo -- not sure where I picked this up from but I love it
3. Windfall - Son Volt
4. The Wet Spot - Southern Culture on the Skids -- thanks Melinda June
5. Edith and the Kingpin - Joni Mitchell -- Ben again
6. Just As I Am - Kristin Chenoweth -- saw Wicked tonight so it's interesting that the original Glinda should infiltrate the mix
7. Shasta (Carrie's Song) - Vienna Teng
8. Nightswimming - R.E.M. -- ahh
9. Monkey's Paw - Laurie Anderson -- Melinda June had Laurie at #9 last week too. Freaky. Just like Laurie.
10. What'll I Do - Kate & Anna McGarrigle -- this song gets me every time.

10/26/2006

5 (or so) Things

Innocent little Katie Schwartz tagged me with 5 Things You Don't Know About Me. I had to think about this. What do I want you to know that you don't already?

Disclaimer: Everyone on my list or who surfs by this post, please stop and give it a go by posting on your own blog or in the comments. Or I'll sic Baby Jesus on you. Some think he has magical powers.


1. I was promoted from kindergarten to Grade One. I sailed right through those two piece wooden puzzles and never looked back, except to laugh at the people still having trouble with the two piece wooden puzzles.

2. My parents once gave me away for about 8 months. Unfortunately, I was not adopted by a celebrity, I was given back. Fuckers.

3. I have a tattoo. If I've mentioned this before, it's because I'm old but not so old that my tattoo's saggy.

4. You're still thinking about number 2. aren't you? It was like Running With Scissors but with less medication and turmoil. Don't worry, I'm fine, just not rich like Augusten Burroughs is.

5. Sometimes, I end up laughing in the middle of sex. Listen to yourself and your partner sometime.

6. Bonus thing because #4 doesn't really count: I wish I wasn't so glib. I'm the glibbest mofo I know.


10/24/2006

Bang Shang A Lang

Of my innumerable talents, playing an instrument credibly is not one of them.

Learning the toy xylophone may have been my crowning achievement as a little boy; oh how I’d tap out the simple colour coded nursery rhymes in the booklet never once realizing I might branch out on my own with original compositions.

When I became proficient at the two guitar chords required to strum my way to prominence in the junior choir at Church, I thought I’d made it. How long though can you play and sing Jesus Is Lord with feeling? Those were the words to the whole song. Repeat over and over and over while awkwardly alternating chords until your head spins.

Once in a while, being an open minded young man, I’d go all interfaith with my musical attempts. I played the Jew’s harp for a while. I know what you’re thinking, how could something you have to play with your hands and your mouth not be the sexiest instrument on the planet? Trust me.

Our school had choral competitions every year and the music teacher in her selection process would have us traipse up to her at the piano and sing a few bars. She’d yay or nay us and we were in or out. Listening for her was a common sense approach. When I was the only boy out of the whole Grade 6 class chosen to sing in the choir, I showed little common sense and bowed out in embarrassment.

We all had to play the recorder in school which may stand as one of the most ear damaging instruments in the history of junior band. Could they not just have told us Don’t blow so hard! Learning to play The Friendly Giant theme tune was cool though. Rest in peace Friendly!

A nun tried to teach me piano once but I lasted only one lesson because I knew I wasn’t yet ready to think with both of my hands. A friend of mine has offered to teach me to play now but when she talks about scales and drills, all I can think of is dentistry.

The big bass drum was a pretty sweet assignment in junior high music class and it was easy to hit your mark with that one. The teacher was cool too because he talked to us like maybe we were budding people instead of the mutants we were and about things like Saturday Night Live and his ponytail. And then they canned the music program.

My entire musical education summed up in a few short paragraphs. Where did it all go wrong?

I know Pink Fluffy Slippers is a cellist and that Coaster Punchman can sing and play piano. If everyone else joined in, what would it sound like?




Love Is All Around

This Thursday rant is brought to you by Tuesday:

Stop dousing your whole fucking bodies in colognes and perfumes in lieu of bathing. I don't have a sensitivity to fragrances, but I do to assholishness.

10/22/2006

They're Bringing Out The Dead Now

A timeline for when humans disappear from the face of the earth.
Click to enlarge.


I stole this Jen.

Luke I Am Your Father

I generally like giving to charity because it takes me off the hook from having to participate. Someday, someone'll cure something and I'll be able to turn my attentions elsewhere.

What bothers me is the number of requests that come at you from all sides. I know how it must feel for those poor lottery winners, only without the money.

So, I've decided that until they can cure Mouth Breathers, I'm done with the donations. Once you've got that under control, call me.