Snatch The Credit From My Hand Grasshopper

I just got back from Deja Vu Discs again and I'm happy.

I walked in with a bunch of crappy old dvds and cds that didn't seem like they'd be crappy when I bought them out of need and traded them in for cold hard store credit.

They claim to pay more than most of the other used places and I believe them now. I got $183.36 in credit and used that to immediately buy more stuff I *need*.

Who can convince me right now that I don't need the 2 disc special edition dvd of Enter The Dragon? Come on, Bruce Lee was like the brother I never had, you know, one who made chop socky movies and then died too young? Plus of the few times I can remember my Dad taking me to the movies, it was to see Bruce and Chuck Norris kick it out in Return of the Dragon and the other time was for Jaws.

There were some other bargains to be had and so right now I'm listening to some Michelle Shocked and wondering if I'll like Ghost in the Shell if I get to it later.

I love cool autumn Saturdays when there's nothing better to do.

Off The Hook

My Mom and Dad are here in my lovely province scaring the leaves from the trees and visiting their new great-grandbaby at my sister's place a few hours away.

Today they've moved on to my brother's, also a very safe couple of hours away. I spoke to him last week and suggested they might like to visit me here. He said he'd be happy to bring them to me if they wanted to.

When I put this to my mother over the phone, her tact centre failed once more: Oh.......wouldn't it just be easier for you to come to your brother's? When I explained why that wouldn't work, she said Oh............well, we'll see I guess which means I'm free; I made the offer and she declined it.

Understand that the way my Mom says Oh makes it a much longer word than if you say it, unless you crinkle your nose up as if you just smelled something really awful and drag the sound out.

I don't feel too bad as I just saw them in July and I'm at least as cranky as they are and I'm still a pup by comparison.

Time to put away Mindy's favourite new beverage and the canned milk. I wonder who will get my portion of the homemade fudge though?

I'd ask my cousins although I don't think they're quite the same as Beth's or Tom's. I can never remember which trailer is theirs anyway - the one with the broken windows or no door?

It's always something.


You Say Tomato, I Say Splat

Getting into the elevator to leave work this evening, a girl I barely know says That's a really great coat you're wearing. Thank you, says I. Yeah, you have great taste..............in outerwear.

Everyone in the elevator thought that was pretty funny. I sort of feel bad about pushing her in front of that car now.


Sunday Bloody Sunday

There's been a ton of interest in the Little Miss Sunshine Online Pageant this coming Sunday.

I keep thinking it'll end badly but as long as nobody ends up covered in pig's blood, I'm good.

Please ensure that you *register* with Beth here as she's going to graciously post links to everyone's photo in one convenient spot. Olive wants you to.


The Heat Is On

Today at work, someone joked about our co-worker resigning yesterday saying this was a one down, one to go situation. They were referencing a girl on my team who can be quite unpleasant at times. The difference however, is that she does her work.

The job we do requires frequent contact with the public and civility is expected. Believe it or not, I can be quite civil when provoked.

This girl is very confrontational and rude both to staff and to the public. Today, she resigned. The office has livened up considerably and she seems a fair bit happier too. There's light in her eyes that I hadn't seen before so it seems it was the right thing to do for her.

Now, we’ll be a happier group but one with a lot more work to do.

Fucking twits. Now I have to get two thank you cards.


Baby It's Cold Inside

I work with some pretty decent people so when someone announces they’re leaving, it can be sad.

A guy who’s been on my team for about 2 years told us today that he’s resigning. It was all I could do to not jump up and down, whistle, clap and stomp my feet.

To put it in perspective, this is someone who has missed a lot of time leaving us to pick up his slack and who doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of his work when he is here.

So, I’m ready to throw a party and will now have time to redirect my animosity where it’s more needed.

Rather than a Congratulations card, I’m going to suggest we get him a Thank You card. Too cold?

Something In The Way She Moves

On my way to work this morning, I saw two men pushing a claw foot bathtub down the sidewalk. It was on a wheeled platform and the girl reclining in the tub didn't seem to mind at all. Rose petals were flying everywhere and even the homeless guys broke character for a second and laughed.


I Got Something To Say

It's like walking into Flatpoint High here today at work. The halls and walls are covered in streamers and printed signs welcoming a new work group that joins us today. Welcome!!

The social committee and cheer squad has been at it for a good 40 minutes, laughing and taping up signs while I realize that the smell is of hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary flying out the window as they merry make.

Now I remember why I never joined the student council.


A Man Of Letters

Relying on my brain to keep mental notes is just shoddy record keeping. I try to remember a million important things and it turns out I've been using invisible ink the whole time. I should start writing things down, like my Dad does.

A few years ago, my mother mentioned that for several years, my father had been keeping a journal. I was surprised; atrocious penmanship and the love of a good Scrabble match aside, he never seemed the writerly sort.

I'm not sure what he writes about. It could be about what it was like growing up with a fraternal twin or how he was on a Scouts camping trip when the news came that his mother had died. Maybe he writes about how tuberculosis confined him to a hospital bed from the ages of 16 to 21 until he was cured or he might just stick with the bigger questions - how could he possibly have managed to help create 8 rotten children and only 1 good one?

I'll make a mental note to ask him for more details when I see him next.


Roll Call

They couldn’t even get me to do this at work that time. But here, I feel there’s more at stake. Although I’m frightened, I feel I must explain the gnarled roots at the origin of this post

When Coaster Punchman posted a photo of the character Olive from the film Little Miss Sunshine, Beth posted a comment. I then posted something about Olive looking like Beth as a child although I had no way of knowing whether this was safe to say.

Beth posted her 4th grade photo comparing herself to Olive but what she really did was prove that enduring quality can start from a humble fashion nugget beginning.

Old Lady mentioned that we should all post a cringe-worthy photo of ourselves on our respective blogs. There was immediate enthusiasm for the idea which in itself frightened me. A date was chosen – October 1, 2006. Sunday bloody Sunday.

We’ve all improved since our geeky schooldays right?
We weren’t responsible for those clothing choices or haircuts were we?
If our eyes were half closed, it was the photographer’s fault, correct?

So, care or dare to join in the madness? Come on. Everybody’s doing it.

Brave hearts all – Old Lady, Beth, Coaster Punchman, Lulu, Dale – we’re in. Marni and Bubs sound like they’re in.

October 1, 2006. Be there. Or after school, you’re dead.

Project Runway

This morning, the sun said something to the sky and clouds that made them blush in beautiful shades. Then a whisper traveled through the trees; they know now what to wear for the fall season.

This is how it's done.


In The Cut

The guy who cuts my hair has a shop in the concourse of the building I work in. He’s generally reliable if somewhat difficult to understand.

English is not his first language but this doesn’t stop him, no siree; he natters on as though he really might be saying something. There’s the accent to contend with too, the kind you associate with Barbara Walters. I can easily almost understand about one eighth of what he says.

His clothing choices show him to be daring and unafraid of colour and form fitting fabric. When I think of the blisters on the fingers of those poor kids trying to get the stitching just so, well, never mind, I don’t want to make this about me.

He always asks my opinion of the big game or whether I’ve been hunting or fishing lately which he says loves to do. In my head, the reply is always the same: you know you’re gay right?

Yesterday, I stopped by, said hello to his scissors and then went back to work. A co-worker said to me what happened to your hair? That can’t be good right? It looks longer in the back, like they missed a spot. I got a second opinion from the hair goddess who sits next to me and she confirmed there was indeed a length issue.

I went back down and cut in on his next victim’s appointment; he had just finished prepping her and she sat there wet haired while I tried to discreetly let him know there was a problem. After surveying the problem, he said maybe you should put more gel. I said no, two people asked me what was wrong with my hair and I think you should even it out. He said okay like I was a moron but then sat me down and fixed it in a few short snips.

It could be that he’s blind now like my old barber but it’s probably just that he was daydreaming about ice fishing season. It’s only a few months away.


Primetime Almost Live

Some of you may recall my wonderfully received return to filmed entertainment. I have another announcement on a par with that level of excitement. I’ve now come home to prime time television!

Over the past few years, I’ve simply waited until the newest television offerings have been declared genius and ended up on DVD. From there, I’m free to further ignore these programs in yet another format. With all my time freed up, I have extra hours to re-imagine my iPod playlists.

Last night, the season finale of Canadian Idol was on. Host Ben Mulroney yelled Canada Rocks! at me for about an hour and a half while the kids sang and sang and sang and sang. Many of them sang at least as well as me and one even ended up winning which I thought was nice. The winner automatically gets showered with confetti, actually everyone does, and the promise of regional stardom which sometimes does happen.

The tenth edition of The Amazing Race came on next. I’d never seen this show but hear all the time that it’s the only reality show people of distinction will admit to watching. My money’s on the hillbilly hopefuls. I hope they win, get their teeth fixed and then break up over a squabble about what ride to go on next at Dollywood.

Then without warning, terror returned to television in a way nobody could have anticipated. Judd Hirsch’s large head filled my big screen and stayed there for minutes. After I stopped screaming, I realized it was a show called Studio 60 something something too long a title for me.

So how is it that Matthew Perry can manage to look puffier and older than the 150 year old virgin Judd? Oh that’s right, Matthew keeps accidentally eating painkillers or something doesn’t he? Not a bad show overall although I did miss the middle 20 minutes while mentally reorganizing my sock drawer.

The news came on after that and I didn’t understand the plot, the pacing or why exactly they lead with fear every damned night. I went to bed and I still woke up this morning.


Notion Sickness

My friend asked me to get up early and take a ride downtown to photograph a building his company is doing some work on. I set the coffee maker to brew at an ungodly hour and while it kept its end of the bargain, I slumbered on past the time I should have been heading out the door. I barely had time for a quick cup and thought to myself, it's times like these when a fella could really use a travel mug.

The reason for the early trek into town was that today is a big charity hoo-ha day in the city.

There are all sorts of fun runs and walks going on like the AIDS walk and the Terry Fox run. I support charities to the point of handing over cash enough to quell my conscience but the rest of the time, I'm like the Sarah Jessica Parker character in The First Wives Club. I fell in love a little when I heard her ask about a benefit that was underway -- Is it just a lot of battered women dancing?

You see, I want to help more, I want to be hands on, get up close and personal and really make a difference. But then someone like this bum shows up.

Come on man, don't you own a mirror?

I can't work with someone who's not willing to take care making sure their pants are the right length.

Doesn't everyone know that the cornerstone of civilization starts with the pants?

Some people clearly are just not worth helping.


7 Ways You Can Find My Blog While Searching The Dubya Dubya Dubya

squirrel in a cast metro newspaper - I love it when one of those little bastards takes a spill!

david alan grier maya angelou video clip - Still nobody has the Butterfinger SNL thing on YouTube? What's wrong with you losers?

who did lighting for pulse concert? - Why? Having some work done in your basement?

lulu firefighters competition try out - Lulu! What are you doing when you're not being *respectable* in front of all those poor kids?

How to make headphones out of pipe cleaners - Tomorrow, how to sculpt your snot.

Dale's Dead Bug - Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bug.

hygienist mask gas office chair - Coming soon from the mind of Mel Brooks - Double Dental Indemnity


Peachy Keen

The song I mentioned in the comments from the last post? (if you're using Explorer, you may need to click on the title up there as it doesn't seem to load although it's fine in Firefox).

Upload music at Bolt.


The Running Man

It's over and done with. I'm rid of it. It's gone. But now I'm on the run.

She showed up today after I'd waited nearly a full week. I wasn't even sure I'd ever see her again, the lady who left her basket of peaches and that coffee mug on the train.

Good Samaritan that I sometimes am, I carried those damned peaches around for a couple of days before they started to sour just like my feelings for her. I threw them out but wondered how long I should hang on to the mug? If it hadn't been brushed stainless steel on the bottom and ceramic on top, the kind of mug that could insulate you from nearly anything, I might have tossed it too.

I settled in today and she spied me before I saw her. She plunked herself down on the seat across from me and gave me a big smile. Did you enjoy my peaches by any chance? As soon as I got off the train, I knew I'd left them behind. I wondered if anyone would pick them up.

I smiled at her and dug deep pulling the mug from my briefcase. I was just about to let her have it when she said My mug!! I would have just thrown it out by now if it had been me! And that's when I let her have it. I threw it at her. Hard. And then hopped off the train just before the doors closed.

Alright, so maybe I didn't throw it at her. I gave the mug back to her and she was really thankful and sweet about it. But I will have to go on the run.

I'll have to switch cars now to avoid taking on a new best friend who wants to chat all the way home and who can now recklessly abandon things at any time knowing I'll be there to pick up the pieces. What would my main Jews think? And where are they anyway?

Just another day in the life of a true hero riding the rails.


Teacher Teach Me

In Grade 5 I had a teacher I didn’t particularly like. She frequently made us write out lines for the most minor of infractions - whispering, laughing, plotting her death - some people are so sensitive. Being forced to write out I will not think of ways to kill the teacher 500 times does not stop the plotting.

The assignment of doing lines also had an unintended effect on poor teacher. Several angry parents descended on the school one morning barking about the lack of actual teaching going on, unnecessary hand strain and the waste of good paper. The teacher called us all babies when she got back to class after lunch. This thrilled me because we'd won this round without even trying.

My oldest sister is a teacher and started out by doing substitute teaching or as we called it, supply teaching. She’s got some stories to tell as I’m sure all teachers do.

What little I know about my sister's teaching style is that she seems fair if a bit stern. I know this because one afternoon when teacher didn’t show up for the afternoon session, my sister was called into action.

Imagine the look on my face at seeing my sister walk into my classroom when I’d just seen her at home for lunch. How out of context can you get?

She introduced herself to the class, went over the lesson plan, picked up the chalk and wrote some instructions on the blackboard assigning us some work.

A few of the other kids from my neighborhood tried their best to get me into trouble by poking at me and whispering to me. I kept my head down. Imagine the fallout of having to be disciplined by a teacher who’s also your sister? None for me thanks.

Finally, one girl could stand it no longer. Miss? Miss? Is it true that you’re Dale’s sister? She giggled as did a few of her minions. My sister looked at her and said You don’t need to concern yourself with anything other than the work I just gave you. If there’s anything else you’d like to discuss, we can do it after school today. Overall, I'd say that worked pretty well.

I never had her as a teacher after that day and I never looked at her in quite the same way again.


Beepbeep Beepbeep

The bagel and coffee shop in my building is run by a cute little Korean lady who used to be there every day. Now she’s there occasionally because she’s off busy attending the charm school my mother runs.

Once when I was starting to grow a beard, she encouraged me on by asking me about it and then yelling at close range KEEP GOING! I took this to mean she approved of me showing a little less face.

I hadn’t seen her in many months and this was fine by me as the folks running the place now are kinder, gentler and make better coffee.

Today, I spied Our Second Lady of Tact back on her old perch and holding court with 4 or 5 customers. She saw me and waved me over with a big smile. I imagined she’d greet me as I got closer with a hearty How have you been? or a Long time no see! Nope.

--You’ve put on a lot of weight! What are you doing?

The other customers looked me up and down , something I generally encourage but was now taking longer than I felt necessary.

-Um, well I guess I’ve put on a few pounds since I quit smoking.

--Sure, 10 at least. I hope you lose 10 pounds before I come back next time.

-Haha, well, yes, I hope so too.

I started to back away and to my relief, didn’t hear that noise that accompanies those wide load trucks when they’re put in reverse.

I shouldn’t say it but I really hope she’s not back tomorrow.

I want a BLT bagel, extra bacon.


Not very long ago, I was singing the praises of cold pizza and ravioli from a can.

This morning while riding in to work, I was putting the finishing touches on Augusten Burroughs' book of short essays Possible Side Effects when he had the audacity to mention eating ravioli cold out of the can. So, he took my idea, went back in time, wrote about it well before I did, and then made it seem like it was his idea all along. I know!

I'm more than willing to admit I can be derivative at times (see every single post on my blog), but the Ravioli is mine Augusten! You stole that from me.

Keep writing about all that other strange stuff from your childhood and life (read his book Running With Scissors before seeing the movie when it's released please) but the Chef's heart belongs to me.


Just When I Needed You Most

Where was everybody? The show kicked ass! Maybe I charged too much?

Fun recommended by Ziggy, Chelene and MellowLee. Act now before all the amusing flavours are gone!


Holy Bat Belt!

I need a new belt because I laughed my ass off reading this over at Blog Portland's place.

Remembrance Day

Recently I decided that I spend far too much money on entertainment. This may sound impossible but only if you don't know me.

So my brainwave today involved going to see the good folks at Deja Vu Discs rather than signing over my entire paycheque to the First Bank of Amazon.

Deja Vu is a small chain of stores that buys and sells used cds, dvds and video games and they somehow manage to pay more for your used stuff than any of the other local outfits which is great.

Within 15 minutes I had in my hand 2 cds and 2 dvds and spent 30 bucks less than I would have elsewhere. And that's 30 bucks more I can spend on you!

I hope Deja Vu will remember me now that I've remembered them and we can see each other a bit more often.

Warren Zevon - A Quiet Normal Life
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Show Your Bones

David Cross - Let America Laugh
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - a 3 disc set

Symphony In Blue

Melinda June recently posted about how some Brits don't get country music. What?!

In the comment thread that followed, Bubs from Sprawling Ramshackle Compound wondered what was wrong with them the same way that I would. (Check out his current post about a unique KISS tribute band and shake your head along with me.)

As I've said before (and who am I if I don't repeat myself over and over?), people that put a blanket over a whole genre without giving it a fair shake are not my people. Off the ark please.

Bubs mentioned a film called Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus and described it as an alt-country paean to the South. The BBC produced it so someone had something on their mind I guess and I'm glad they did. Check the link above for more information on the film, you'll be glad you did.

The film features great music, beautiful and haunting sights and great stories and glimpses into some different journeys. My next stop will be to search for Harry Crews books and audio books if he's done any.

Passion of the Dale cross promotional tie in moment -- Seeing this film reminded me that my mother has a statue of the Virgin Mary in her bedroom. It's about 3 feet high and quite lovely as statues go. How can you go wrong when you've got a Virgin Mary blue decorating scheme on the go?

The statue came to her when the Church was being renovated a few years back. If it had made it to my parents' bedroom some years earlier, we might have had a much smaller family.

Although mom remains devoutly religious to this day, she's not entirely impractical. She often hangs clothes off it now.

Oh Mary don't you weep.



In a recent post, I mentioned that something I hate is a sense of obligation. This is why.

Last night coming home from work, none of my main Jews (my usual travel companions) were on the train. When this happens, I get to nap which I do enjoy now that I’ve learned how not to drool as much.

I shifted in my seat settling in for a nice peaceful ride. A lady that I've noticed occasionally on the train calls out from across the aisle Hey, where are all your friends? Not sure I smiled back closing my eyes. It’s been such a busy week hasn’t it? Wha? Oh, yeah I guess so. Tonight I’ve got a bunch more stuff to do and I can’t wait for the weekend. Me either. I closed my eyes again and willed her not to speak again. I got my wish.

This lady leaves the train at the first of the three stops this train makes. I slept through her departure and until another lady tapped my shoulder until I woke up groggy and confused. She said Your friend that you were talking to? She left this bag behind. Why don’t you give it to her? Uh, thanks, okay.

I looked over at the plastic grocery bag sitting quietly in the seat across from where the busy gal had been. Inside it looked like there was a small basket of peaches and a travel mug. I wished lady number two hadn’t said anything because now I felt obligated to lug the damned thing home with me. And back to work with me today.

If she’s not on the train tonight, I’m throwing the damned peaches out and will cart the mug around again until I see her I guess. None of this would have happened if my main Jews hadn't deserted me.


Snow Angels

I hate winter for a few good reasons. I can never seem to get warm enough, I still recall clearly what an aluminum light pole tastes like and I can't stand all the bundling up just so you don't die. Winter can be credited though with teaching me a couple of valuable lessons. Travel back with me if you will to a time when Dale was just as passionate but much, much shorter: Grade 4.

I was walking home for lunch one blustery winter day with a couple of kids who lived a few doors away when their dad, a delivery driver pulled up. He hurried us into the back of the van and let us out across the street from their house. He drove off, we called out our see ya after lunch goodbyes and headed for our respective houses. I decided to walk a few more steps down the sidewalk before crossing.

As I made my way into the street, there was just enough time for my brain to whisper at me never run out from between parked cars and BAM, I was down. I'd been hit by a half-ton pickup truck! The corner of the fender hit me at hip level and took me down fast. Blunt pain registered and all of a sudden I couldn't see anything but it felt like I was flying.

I was wearing a snowsuit and this, combined with very icy road conditions sent me into an uncontrolled human skid. As the driver fought to stop his truck on the ice, I got to my feet just in time for him to BAM! me again. This time he clipped me in the side of the head.

I was knocked off my feet again and went for some more freestyle sliding and spinning. I ended up more or less in front of my house which was my goal after all.

I'm not sure what the odds are that someone can be hit by the same truck twice in the span of about 15 or 20 seconds but I do know that it can be done.

While I lay there trying to get my bearings through blurry eyes, the panicked driver got the truck stopped and tore off running into my house. As luck would have it, he knew my parents but not me.

I've just hit a kid with my truck ”he blurts to my mother. She in her unwavering wisdom says Bring him in and I'’ll call the ambulance”. I'’m pretty sure you'’re not supposed to move an accident victim but really, I was in no position to argue.

He scooped me up and laid me down on the couch and started to cry. My mother tried to comfort him but then suddenly shrieked Oh my God it's Dale!! You know this child? Yes! It's my son! and the waterworks started flooding the living room.

As I lay there semi conscious, my older siblings started arriving home for lunch. My brothers immediately whispered comfort to me -- what'd you do you little asshole? and god you're stunned. Someone finally managed to call the ambulance and its arrival restored order to the proceedings.

I ended up in hospital for 3 days observation and some really bad meals causing me to wonder if my mother had offered to help cook while I was there. The family visited in shifts and I even got a couple of small gifts. The best present of all though, was when I heard that a girl in my class burst into tears at the news that I had been downed. It made me feel special.

The snow angels were really smiling down on me that day I guess. I still make sure to look both ways before crossing the street now and I never run out from between parked cars. As for the aluminum taste that I can't get off my tongue? Well, maybe I won't try that again this year.


The Tactician

When not tending her flock or putting together jigsaw puzzles, my mother could often be found practicing her other talent - being tactless. I don't think she ever really meant any harm but then that might just be a sense of familial obligation talking.

A few years ago, my younger sister in a moment of utter weakness decided to head to England for a vacation and take my mom along for the ride. Sis had lived and worked in London previously and knew her way around fairly well while Mom on the other hand, had never been abroad. The flaw in my sister's plan was in not realizing my mother's manners would remain just the same in a country practiced in the art of tea as they were at home.

There were endless remarks and comments made about the state of everything throughout the trip from the damp weather to the overpriced food and lack of vegetables to the way they drove. My sister did her best to not blush, roll her eyes or outright hide on my mother for the rest of their time there.

One evening, they were graciously invited to dinner by the mother and daughter of one of my sister's friends now living in Canada. The hostesses were unfailingly kind and put on a lovely spread. Throughout the meal, my mother curled up her nose at some of the food courses being provided and attempts at small talk fell flat. On hearing that the host sister was a flight attendant, my mother's burning question was whether she got into many crashes?

After dinner, coffee was served and my mother asked Is it Nescafe? which was her preferred brand of instant freeze dried coffee. When informed that it was not, my mother said Never mind I only like Nescafe. Offers of other beverages were made but my mother waved them away as though someone was trying to serve her shit in a teacup.

My sister was suitably embarrassed and vowed to never travel with her again and she's kept that vow.

If you ask mom about the trip, she'll recount how it was the best trip ever.

Except for the food.

And the prices.

And the weather.

And the jet lag.

And the funny way they talk.

And the lack of decent coffee.


What's The Scoop?

I just walked by an ice cream stand that had a hand written sign saying End of Season sale 20% off. I hope that was a joke. It didn’t look like one. I wonder what flavours simply didn’t make it this summer.


But Now I'm Back In School...

First day of school again. My teacher sucks, I already hate most of the people in my homeroom. Ok. well, this one girl seems kinda cool. Maybe I’ll ask her her name after first period and carry her books. Mix up some Glint and see what happens.

No Pickshurs Please

So, apparently, it is too much to ask someone who lives in Canada (official languages English and French) to not say The Loo-vra when answering a question about their favourite part of a trip to Paris.


Puzzlin' Evidence

The table that I grew up resting my elbows on was a big round table that had 2 leaves that stretched it into the shape of a hockey rink. Most of the time, it stayed in that configuration because there were 9 of us kids and of course Ma and Pa Kettle. Apart from the need of putting food on that table, it was almost imperative that my dad work 16 hour shifts, we needed the space.

The surface of the table had flour ground into it while Mom made bread, convened many lively discussions and was privy to its its share of arguments. Oh and there was always spilled milk to contend with. The issue was not whether someone would cry over it but whether the milk would seep through the tablecloth and get all over what was underneath.

You see, my mother's main hobby when she was busy trying not to kill one of us was doing jigsaw puzzles. The puzzles were usually bought second hand at rummage sales and were standard depictions of land or seascapes, sometimes a covered bridge or a winter scene. They generally were 500, 750 or 1000 pieces.

Anytime she was doing a puzzle was a good time to approach Mom. If you needed a question answered or just wanted some company, she seemed more at peace then. I guess she had something to concentrate on that didn't involve all the usual troubles of the day.

She had a way of getting you involved in helping her try out at least a handful of pieces in about a hundred different spots while you talked or passed away some time. Now and then, you'd fit a piece in and feel proud. She'd praise you but tell you to keep at it.

As it neared dinner time, the worn tablecloth covered the work in progress and it was time for the real puzzling to begin. It took a keen eye or sometimes a lucky guess to figure out what those charred things were on our plates before Mom had gone to work on them in the kitchen. Apart from her excellent baking and jigsaw skills, Mom was a terrible cook. To this day, she insists on everything being cooked until it's very well done.

A few years ago, I received a puzzle as a gift that pictured Van Gogh's Starry Night and it made me think of walking round and around that big table as a child helping Mom fit the pieces of her puzzles together.

I sat down and started in on mine. Although small, it was tricky with the colours and design and I was rusty. Of course, I started with sorting all the end pieces to make the frame the way Mom had imprinted as the only way to do it.

As I got closer to the end of my puzzle, I laughed to myself remembering on occasion when Mom and I were in the home stretch and trying to fit the last few pieces into our second hand puzzles, we'd find that there was a piece missing. I'd be so disappointed but my mother would just exclaim Well would you look at that!? Oh Dale! and then she'd laugh and break it all up and put it back in the box ready for the next one.

When I got to the end of my puzzle, I was very surprised to find that there were more pieces than spaces. I actually had an extra piece leftover. I burst out laughing and called my mother. She couldn't believe it. She said Oh Dale! just the way she used to and asked Do you remember all the times we needed an extra piece when we'd do those puzzles on the kitchen table?! Oh my Lord!.

We shared a nice laugh over it and I was glad that it was a nice memory for her too.

Click to enlarge. The extra piece is in the upper right and seems to go with the puzzle. Anyone need it?


My Triumphant Return To The Theatah

This afternoon I went to see Little Miss Sunshine. I loved it. It was very funny and sweet but not cloyingly so.

As I'm a fussy bastard, I generally don't go to the movies. I don't like to have to hear people talking through the film, smell the various foods they've decided on or feel them kicking the back of my seat. I do however love the movie going experience itself. Nothing beats the big screen and sound. So once in a while, I pry myself loose from my home and head out into the great unknown.

I waited for a bit of the interest in the film to die down and chose a Sunday matinee hoping against hope that the only people there would be ones who were more interested in seeing the film than the food choices they'd have once they got there. This time, I lucked out.

Maybe I'll do this again sometime but for now, I've come home at last.


Too Cool For School

Erik posted about a literary hoax over at his site in this post which had me recalling a similar bit of fun that took place when I was a younger pup.

Many moons ago, in my sister's graduating class was a student I'll call Jim. Jim, my sister and the rest of the student body loathed the principal who I'll call Joanne. Joanne seemed to have one purpose and that was to run her school with an iron heart and a personality devoid of warmth.

Jim was a straight A student, in several clubs and yearbook editor as well. He was one of those all round great guys everyone seemed to like. He hatched and executed a plot securing himself local hero status among student bodies in the district for years to come.

Joanne involved herself in all aspects of student life and liked to keep her wary eye on everyone. All yearbook submissions had to be run by her for approval before publication. A poem looking back lovingly on school days penned by Jim passed muster and went to publication.

Just before it did, Jim did a little rearranging causing the poem to read like this down one side:




This didn't do much to lighten Joanne's disposition but it did briefly shift the balance of power in TinyTown.

Ah, school days.


Zig Tag

Ziggy has very dared me to take a little quiz by tagging me. Follow the bouncing blog.

1... Things that scare me


2...People who make me laugh

Catherine Tate
Kathy Griffin
My friends

3...Things I hate the most

Getting up on a workday
A sense of obligation

4...Things I don't understand

Math beyond the number of digits I have
The meaning of life

5...Things I'm doing right now

Listening to The Magic Numbers
Having a Coke
Thinking about vacation

6...Things I want to do before I die

Travel more
Publish a book
Get another tattoo

7... Things I can do

Make you laugh
Play devil's advocate (constantly - I'm trying not to)

8... Ways to describe my personality

Magnetic (but only for weirdos)

9... Things I can't do

Make small decisions
Keep making pornos for you

10...Things I think you should listen to


11...Things you should never listen to

People who tell you you can do anything
People who tell you you can't

12...Things I'd like to learn

To ride a horse
To play piano
To be at peace

13...Favorite foods

Pasta (almost any kind)
Donairs (mmm mystery meat)
Frosted Lucky Charms (you know the rest)

14...Beverages I drink regularly


15...Shows I watched as a kid

The Night Stalker
Space 1999
Mary Hartman Mary Hartman

I'm never sure if people enjoy being tagged or not. Let's find out. Chelene, JustaCoolCat, MellowLee, Tanya, Gizmorox - Ok Go. I hate to leave anyone out, so please play along, I like finding out more about you and then using it against you in my blogging activities.

Help Stamp Out Crime!

Thanks for the idea Creepy!

Fit To Be Tide

I can’t remember the name of the song right now but it’s a Ruth Brown tune. In the middle of it, while the music continues, she starts talking. Mostly about how tired she is. One line always cracks me up -- she says I’m tide, T-I-D-E, tide. Ruth’s got some real gems in her repertoire.

This morning at work, someone stopped by my desk. It's casual day on Friday here and as you'd expect, a lot of people take a great deal of liberty with the concept. I still feel a modicum of fear that others will not find me at my most presentable. I had on some decent blue jeans, these shoes, and a white cotton long sleeved shirt.

A coworker, filling out his track suit in ways the manufacturer surely never intended, came over to ask a question and seemed surprised like I don’t look like a million bucks every day. Why are you all dolled up? I told him I didn’t know what he meant. He said that’s a white shirt, pretty fancy. Yes, and you’re nearly as bright as my shirt. I replied I guess I hadn’t thought of it like that. Trying to get all of your white in before Labour Day huh? Is it any wonder I’m often dumbfounded? He waddled off eventually which I thought was rather nice.

When I’m not telling people to suck it or go fuck themselves, I’m generally known to have good manners. At lunch today, I had decided on pizza which was very tasty. Halfway through eating, I felt my face flush with embarrassment. Jennifer and I are sitting there yakking away when I realized I had forgotten to introduce the pizza to the front of my white shirt. How could I you ask? Well, imagine my horror at this faux pas. I promptly introduced them and as you’d expect they got on like a house on fire.

The concourse we were in is the type that has several stores you might never purposely find yourself in but it does have a pharmacy. (I’m aware that most women think of a drugstore as a little bit of heaven but I just like them because they’re useful and they give Air Miles). So, we stopped in at the pharmacy and got one of those bleach pens to see how it would work. Jennifer assured me they were grrrreat!

We sat on a bench across from a clothing store, and she proceeded to demonstrate how it worked* and then I took over. Although I hated to break up the new friends so soon, I put the pen to work at once. While dabbing, I looked up to find 2 cashiers and 2 customers in the store across from our bench pointing and chuckling in my general direction.

One of them mouthed So does it work? I stood up and called out proudly I love my bleach pen! It works like a dream! And best of all, it’s reasonably priced! They laughed, we laughed, passersby ignored us and I sat back down. After all this activity at lunch and now back at my desk, all I can say is now I’m T-I-D-E too. Every day is Labour Day around these parts.

*These directions sound as though they might work on more than one thing:
Press tip several times to release solution. Rub tip gently. When necessary, add more liquid and continue to rub gently. Wipe with damp cloth or napkin to remove excess solution left on fabric.