August in December (Sunrise Sunset Edition)

I recently had an experience that almost drove the horror of having to hear Pierce Brosnan try to sing in Mamma Mia from my mind. I got to hear someone who sounds like Donald Duck sing for nearly three solid hours. Yay me!

Fiddler on the Roof is in town and when it was first announced, the brilliant Topol was set to reprise his signature role. I snapped up tickets and then was saddened when he had to bow out due to an injury. His replacement was the acclaimed Harvey Fierstein. As someone blessed with the gift of hearing, I'm here to tell you Harvey cannot and should not sing. Check this link out at the 1:50 mark and then get back to me. He's the one in the red dress.

It'd be hard to find fault with 'Fiddler' even it had been put on by Miss Thistletwat's third grade remedial class and this production had some truly lovely moments and great performances but please mister please - when it's a musical, hire a fecking singer and put a stop to the persecution!

A much more enthralling theatre experience I had recently was seeing the play August: Osage County - terrible name, brilliant play. The touring production features the exceptional Estelle Parsons chewing up and spitting out more scenery than anyone in my memory.

Everything about this show is on point from the crackling dialogue, the story and the fantastic cast. If I was ever to implore you and I do shy away from that sort of thing, it would be to go see this when it lands near you. I'll do a little of the work for you: check the tour schedule here: Have a look.

When I was headed to the theatre to see it (for the third time since they had cheap tickets available), I spied with my all seeing eye (the other one's only so-so for that sort of thing) Estelle walking up the street. I'm sure I scared her with my enthusiastic shouting that I loved her performance and the play. She thanked me and when I said I was back to see it a third time, she said WOW and hurried away with only a hint of fear trailing her.

In other news, it's the holidays! What are you doing here?! Ciao babies.



Dearest Fine Bunch,

While I've made no specific plans to write or not write more, at the moment, I'm too lazy to keep my blog going.

Writing has always been difficult for me, just ask any poor sentence I've let languish for hours waiting for me to commit. The greater value and reward in doing it all has consistently come from you. Your take on my take has been enlightening, enriching and often hilariously dark.

As I continue on my dour but occasionally merry way, let me slow to say thank you for all that you've said, what you haven't and for being an excellent source of riboflavin!

To those I've met, thank you for proving brilliance on the blog page does translate to real life and to those I've yet to meet, here's hoping we can and you don't turn out to be a bigger ass than I am.

Love and more,



And I Will Send Hornets Before Thee

Standing in one of the side by each lines waiting for the train a few days ago, I had nothing better to do than have a lazy look around at my fellow waiters.

In the line next to me but a couple of people ahead stood a woman minding her own business, headphones in, engrossed in her reading. With a bit of minor craning, I could see she was reading some sort of bible study material. For someone who claims to eschew all things religious (except for gospel music which I love), it seems I'm forever rubbing up against it.

I'd have quickly lost interest if a hornet buzzing around the platform (they're everywhere, including my last post) hadn't landed on the top of her hair. It walked around a little and settled at the back of her shoulder length hair as though it was home. She didn't notice and I wondered back to my etiquette classes trying to remember whether it was acceptable to swat the back of a stranger's head or not.

I considered tapping her on the shoulder to tell her about it but imagined her screaming and running away swatting wildly and me being convicted on the testimony of a pack of unreliable witnesses. I decided it was up to Jesus to take care of her considering she had his whole world in her hands.

Two other people also noticed the hornet in her hair and did about as much as I did. We were waiting to see how it all played out. I'm afraid poor Kitty Genovese wouldn't have gotten much help from our unholy trinity.

As the train pulled up and the doors opened, the hornet held his position and boarded with his hostess. As she sat down, her little passenger flew up the stairs to the upper deck of the car.
I cannot provide details on whether panic eventually ensued up there as I promptly drifted off to sleep, my keen disinterest intact. Forgive me Father, for apparently, I do not care.


This Is Not My Beautiful Dog

September days seem better when they dress themselves up as July ones. The sky, like my head, is nearly empty of clouds and the bamboo flowering next to the deck hums like a last blast buffet for dozens of hornets.

My concentration is limited to wondering how many more Grolsch might be left in the ridiculously distant refrigerator and my back is to the human soup that is Honeypot's pool. A noise invites me to at least think of turning to it but I don't have to, I know what it is.

Over the past few weeks, Honeypot's oldest son has been assembling a frame and fixing a canopy over a freestanding carport in the driveway. His clanging and 'creating' brings to mind Tom Waits' What's He Building? but I decide no action is required until I hear screams or smell smoke.

Settling back to my beer, I ponder over a dream I had. I was on my way to meet Beth from A Cup of Coffey. I was walking in an unfamiliar city through drizzle and as I rounded the corner of a building as grey as the light, I spied David Byrne standing with a small dog. Next to him were many more haphazardly stacked cages with assorted small dogs inside. I knew he was waiting for Beth but unsure whether I wanted to make small talk, I considered turning around. He spotted me and I felt I should be polite and go over.

He explained that in order to meet Beth, you need to have a dog with you. As I puzzled over this and bent to look at some of the other dogs in cages, Mr. Byrne chirped on and on. I wondered if Beth would ever show up but before that could happen, my alarm clock rescued me.

Why am I using this time thinking about dreams? A small reserve of energy allows me mobility enough to retrieve the second to last beer and I settle back. The noise next door stops momentarily, the last cloud particles dissolve from sight and mind and I smile thinking this is one fine day.


I Don't Know How To Love Him / Her

I'm not a religious man but when jesus (with a small 'j') gets in touch, you know the end of something is nigh.

Small 'j' left a comment on a blog post I did some time ago about a trip to Las Vegas I took. It included pictures of two men dressed like Elvis.

jesus said he recently came across my blog and had been reading along. He didn't know what to say except that he enjoyed reading and would keep visiting very often. Then he signed his name Margaret with a link to a site about World of Warcraft.

While Margaret may be an all-knowing God, I'm not convinced she's an all-reading God, I'm not even on her Blogs I Follow list for Christ's sake! It could be that she reads in mysterious ways or is simply reserving full judgment for another day.

Although I went to catechism or Sunday School until I was in Grade 10, my memory of how this all works is a bit shaky. I think I just need to deny Jesus access to my blog twice more and I get a bag of gold covered chocolate coins.


Dearest Blog

Please forgive me if I've seemed inattentive.

You've been more than patient with me but I find less and less time available to chronicle the everyday ridiculousness that is my life and your blood of late.

Thank you for not being so tawdry as to imply there's some sort of unnatural electronic love taking up all my time. Hello my darling iPhone ;-)

For now I must sign off but rest assured, I'll check in on you and those who I dearly admire before long.


Who Wears The PantSuit?

Recently my younger sister came to town to celebrate the outsourcing of her job after 18 years and to take in a few shows. We were lucky enough to get good seats for Carol Burnett's show at Massey Hall and even luckier to attend with a lovely lady in daringly sexy shoes. Here's a good interview with Carol in three parts done the night before the show.

As my sister decided that she still wants to be a working girl (not that kind!) and needed some new blazers, skirts and pants for job interviews, I agreed to go shopping with her somehow forgetting we both abhor the act.

We plundered through several stores with little result but were at least rewarded with a good laugh. In one fine establishment crawling with seasoned shoppers, my sister stood by nearly defeated as I took charge throwing various garments over my arm for her perusal.

After I was sufficiently loaded down, a shop girl (I hope this is an offensive term?) approached and asked me "Would you like me to start a dressing room for you?" Should I take it as a compliment that someone possibly thought at 6 feet tall and still with my winter weight on that I could fit into a women's size 4? We rode a wave of laughter into another store and finally found what she was looking for.

This weekend's plans include less daring pursuits. I think I'll watch the rain feed the garden and my cats catch up on their sleep. Did I forget to mention that I adopted a cat friend for Rizzo? Oops. His name is Nigel and they're getting along famously. Thank you for the excellent cat wrangling advice Coaster Punchman!

I'm fully aware that one more cat in the mix thrusts me into crazy cat lady territory but just think how stylish I'll be as they cart me away in that new pantsuit!


Have You Never Been Fallow?

My adventures as a citizen of the world have been continuing as usual but I've been far too busy not writing them down to write them down.

Why just the other day, I received a compliment of the highest order and from a management type no less!

The exchange went something like this:

MT: How are things going?
Me: Pretty good.

MT: Everything’s alright with the job?
Me: Yep.

MT: You’re happy with all the changes to the job?
Me: Yes, I’m reasonably content.

MT: That’s good. You know, you don’t seem to complain much or have a lot of questions about how to do your job. You seem pretty competent.

Me: Is that going to be a problem?


If you were exposed to some of my colleagues, you’d understand immediately that the word competent is high praise indeed. Who knows what heights I'll hit now that I have that under my belt?


I Never Thought This Would Happen To Me

While there are a slew of less than wonderful things that weigh and slow us on our paths, the universe occasionally presents a perfect moment to remind you that life is a gift.

This morning, I had the pleasure of seeing a squirrel fall out of the tree in my backyard and hit the lawn. This is living!


On The Skids

My pal Vicky left me a message the other day and the call was coming from inside the sexy bastion of bulk known as Costco. While meandering through, she began to realize just how much being inside a Costco was like spending time (and money) at a casino.

There are no windows or clocks so you never know what time of day it is, the people wander about in varying stages of decay, some in their Sunday best while others favour buffet pants as they flirt with the food sample presenters. There are high stakes involved in figuring out which gamble will provide the biggest payout - the case of Vaseline Intensive Care or that sexy skid of hammers.

She kept me laughing for a good couple of minutes and I went back to work. Thankfully, a follow up message pulled me away from work again.

Having cut her losses after ponying up a couple of hundred bucks, she came to the realization that like a casino, at Costco 'the house always wins'.

The next time I need a 3 minute routine on anything, she'll be my first call. I hope she picks up.


True Life Adventures of an Amazon

Anybody who's ever bought something from Amazon is likely to receive communiques from them with helpful suggestions for new purchases based on past purchases.

Sometimes, they hit the mark and let me know for instance, there's a new Chuck Palahniuk book out that I need, yay! Other times, I'm just left scratching my head for other reasons than that I have lice.

Some recent gems from my 'Inbox' that have given me extra lice:

We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated The Vicar of Dibley have also purchased Killing Hitler on DVD.

We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated books by T.S. Eliot have also purchased The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel.

Rather than get too rankled about it, I'm going to call the dykes I do know and ask them to rise up against Hitler and keep Dawn French safe and warm. And then I'm going to shampoo.


She's Got Eggs

I work in a fairly large office where people always seem to be talking about who's pregnant or who wants to be and the general benefits of avoiding work and being paid for it.

On occasion, I've heard people make the rather large mistake of asking "When are you due?!" to someone who has to tell them they're not pregnant and then it's horror all around.

I'm terrible at guessing games and so, avoid asking questions at all. I find it much much more direct to say "Wow, you're really packing on the weight!" and keep moving.


Everyone's Disappointing, The More You Get to Know Them

I just finished watching an oddball film courtesy of the mind of Charlie Kaufman: Synecdoche, New York. I can't say that I'd recommend it but I will say it made me laugh in some unexpected places and scratch my head. It had a lot of quirk going for it but not enough to be completely satisfying.

One of my favourite parts was when the priest character had this to say:

Everything is more complicated than you think. You only see a tenth of what is true. There are a million little strings attached to every choice you make; you can destroy your life every time you choose. But maybe you won't know for twenty years. And you'll never ever trace it to its source. And you only get one chance to play it out. Just try and figure out your own divorce.

And they say there is no fate, but there is: it's what you create. Even though the world goes on for eons and eons, you are here for a fraction of a fraction of a second. Most of your time is spent being dead or not yet born. But while alive, you wait in vain, wasting years, for a phone call or a letter or a look from someone or something to make it all right. And it never comes or it seems to but doesn't really.

And so you spend your time in vague regret or vaguer hope for something good to come along. Something to make you feel connected, to make you feel whole, to make you feel loved. And the truth is I'm so angry and the truth is I'm so fucking sad, and the truth is I've been so fucking hurt for so fucking long and for just as long have been pretending I'm OK, just to get along, just for, I don't know why, maybe because no one wants to hear about my misery, because they have their own, and their own is too overwhelming to allow them to listen to or care about mine. Well, fuck everybody. Amen.

While perhaps designed to lead me to the razor's edge, it had quite the opposite effect. It made me smirk and realize how true it is that we all shuffle around when maybe we should be out picking up speed and trying new experiences on for size. You know by speed, I meant the drug right?


Do You Believe in Dog?

Easter Sunday 2009, 5th Avenue

When I wasn't on the lookout for new pet photos, my New York agenda dictated that I cram three plays into two days and as much food into me as possible. I stuck the landing on both counts.

Since there's nobody left to investigate in Cabot Cove, I decided to see what Angela Lansbury was up to. It turns out she's been treading the boards in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, alongside Rupert Everett, Christine Ebersole, Jayne Atkinson and none other than Jerri Blank's mother! I feel lucky to have gotten to see this production and hear such crackling well written dialogue delivered with great comic timing by a bunch of pros.

My pre-show scan of the crowd for celebrity types paid off too. Looking past the plastic surgeried folk, I quickly spied MySpace and film icon Mr. Kirk Douglas (when you're that old, I call you Mister!) which was a treat. Sitting in the row ahead of me was Dan Ackroyd and his wife which also was pretty cool. My general rule is that I don't talk to or otherwise engage celebrities but I do enjoy staring until they become mildly uncomfortable.

The only celebrities at the next show I saw, God of Carnage, were up on stage - James Gandolfini, Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels. All made memorable turns in the funniest show I've seen in my memory. In the play, two couples who don't know each other well get together to discuss their warring children. Things start with an air of civility that's quickly doffed in favour of a good old fashioned sandbox dustup complete with name calling and shifting allegiances.

Mary Stuart was the third play I took in and in an interesting casting tidbit, Janet McTeer was one of the stars of God of Carnage when it was in London (one of the many interesting facts learned from SOB). Ms. McTeer plays Mary, Queen of Scots to Harriet Walter's Elizabeth in a brilliant slice of revisionist history. Act Two opens with a rainstorm that seemed to excite everyone, the first time I can remember water drawing a round of applause. Perhaps I don't they don't get out much.

Not starring in the play but in her own drama in the audience was none other than Mr. Kathleen Turner (when you're that old, I call you Mister!). Prior to the start of the proceedings, she tossed her hair to and fro and looked around several times. Yes Miss Turner, we certainly do see you. At the curtain call, she was the first to spring up from her seat and wildly applaud, again turning so we could all see she had been moved to tears. Yes Miss Turner, you love the legitimate thea-tah and are unemployed, we get it.

In all, the shows were great and I only wish I'd had more time to see a few more.

Next up it's back to the opera and rocking out with Metallica.


The Completely Bearable Lightness of a Parade of Unusual Beings

Last weekend, I zipped into New York City with John to take in a few shows and generally augment my cultural needs. At the American Folk Art Museum I found myself nearly as intrigued with the people milling about as the exhibits.

While taking in the weather vanes shaped like cars, furniture shaped like people and other items of many manners, my thoughts were several times interrupted by an earnest father imploring his 5 year old son to marvel at the kaleidoscope quilts and wood inlay techniques.

As he went on about the significance of various art pieces, his son dutifully murmured "mm hm" until he found something that really spoke to him. He nearly leapt with exclamation at one of his own finds, "Wow! Look at this Dad!! What are these?!". The dismissive reply "Those are light switches son, we're not here to look at those" became one of the most satisfying exchanges I'd overheard in some time. You can't hurry love and you can't force someone to get excited about tchotchkes they're not ready for.

Most of my time was spent admiring two displays of unusual works by Martin Ramirez and Henry Darger, men with histories as intriguing as their art.

Mr. Ramirez, a Mexican immigrant who spoke no English came to the United States looking for work and instead found himself institutionalized having been labelled a schizophrenic. Once there, he began creating drawings in earnest using whatever was at hand (cigarette papers joined together, lined paper, brown paper bags) and the result was hundreds of rather mesmerizing pictures of tunnels, horseback riders and Mexican themed scenes.

Taking in the large paintings of Henry Darger at close hand was a fascinating and mystifying experience. The context provided was that Henry Darger had been a janitor by trade and a recluse whose work was discovered only at the end of his life. Among his belongings was found a 15,000 page novel he wrote illustrated with fantastical paintings, many over 10 feet long, journals, his life story and 10 years of daily weather journals. On display with his paintings at the museum was one of the large volumes of his novel. The documentary on sale at the museum begged to be bought and so it was.

When I got home, I searched on my favourite documentary loving blogger's site and Chris had indeed written about the film In The Realms of the Unreal. Yesterday I watched it (trailer here) and for the first time really considered art in a different way and why and how it's created at all.

My conclusive thought on seeing these exhibits, the film and my general life philosophy remains that there is nothing better, worse, stranger or more interesting than people.

Next up on Passion of the Dale: dogs in bowler hats and celebrity sightings.



Happy Easter Peeps!

This is likely the only time of year I could get away with saying 'peeps'. At all other times, I'm simply far too white (or yellow) to make it sound right.

In other news, someone's been at my computer a lot lately and also reading my email. See Figure A.

Figure A

Rizzo's other pastimes include watching Chelsea Lately and waiting for the Wii Connection to provide all of life's answers. See Figure B.

Figure B
One more time: Happy Easter Peeps!


Personal Jesus - Get Your Own

For a doughnut described as ‘Key Lime cake donut dipped in vanilla fondant and topped with a key lime streusel’, I have to say it was fairly unspectacular. It was free however, courtesy of the Roll Up The Rim To Win contest. I’m a winner!

In less spectacular news, my faith in the Missed Connections presented by Craigslist is shattered. My friend got an email over the weekend from the guy who started the search for her. It sounded as though he was breaking off a long engagement rather than mulling over having a coffee. He went on at length about having done a lot of soul searching and thinking about his priorities and basically, he felt it was time for him to focus on other things.

My guess is that he really needs to focus on his wife and kids and compose ads that are less likely to be answered.

Amid all this sadness, there is hope – only 12 more sleeps until I can bite the ears off of my chocolate Jesus!


Matchmaker Matchmaker

We have two free daily newspapers here which are a slight and perfect capsule for people who don't need in-depth analysis of just how shitty life is. I usually read one of them on the way to work but today had a look at the other I usually don't bother with.

A few days ago, a friend of mine at work had to go to court about a traffic ticket. She spent some time chatting with a man there for the same reason and they commiserated, shared strategies for talking down their charges and made fun of the other courthouse denizens.

She was able to get her case thrown out as the police officer who wrote the ticket didn't show up, there is a new Key Lime doughnut on offer at Tim Hortons after all. She waved good-bye to her court chum and sped back to work and related her story to me mentioning how nice this guy seemed.

Today, I noticed that the newspaper I don't usually bother with has a column for Missed Connections from the 'Best of Craigslist'. I read it and it was from a guy saying he wished he'd had time to give a girl he sat with in traffic court his business card but she left after her case was dismissed.

I showed this to my friend at work and we looked up the actual ad on Craigslist and she e-mailed the author to ask what day they were in court. He gave her the date, time and place along with a full and accurate description of what she was wearing and looked like.

My guess now is that I'll either be giving a toast at her wedding or testifying after he turns out to be a creep. Either way, key lime doughnuts!


See and Smell - An Audio Post

I felt it was time to push that Spirograph image down the page a little and so, without further ado, it's time once again on Passion of the Dale to suffer through another audio post with me.

Click the play button on my sidebar GCast player to give it a go! At 52 seconds or so, you probably won't be sorry.


Big Wheel Keep On Turnin'

A few days and a few degrees make a big difference! There’s nary a penguin in sight and the slight crackling sound I hear is the icebreaker trawling through my brain looking for signs of activity.

While I’m not known for my self-awareness (I usually don’t know it about me until someone tells me), it’s a trait I definitely applaud in others.

To the young lady locking up her bicycle to the rack outside my office – I salute you. It’s not just anyone who can sit proudly atop a seat as unforgiving as the one on a bike while a small handwritten sign hangs beneath the proceedings with one simple word: FATSO.

After I chuckled to myself, I wondered about why it was there because she wasn't really fat. Was this just a type of rotational motivation or was she trying to illustrate the meaning of this Walt Whitman quote to me?

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)


Do and Be Done With Me

With weather this cold, shouldn't I at least have a penguin egg to nurture?


Musical Crayons

Getting to participate in one of Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project mixes is always a treat. Being involved causes me to think which is something I’m not often accused of doing. This time, without realizing it (or thinking), I played for the third time helping me earn a badge of honour which will allow me to dream up a worthy theme for a mix at a future date.

My choices this time had to fit the theme that there be a colour in the title of the song. Following the rules of Scattergories (and thinking), I tried to come up with songs that most likely nobody else would, a task made easier by not signing on until everyone else had chosen theirs.

A few of my choices ended up with colours in the song title and the artist’s name so thank you for that, artist types. After poring back over the palette I chose, this is why I made the choices I did:

I like these songs and they have colours in the title.

To download my selections or those of the other contributors, head over to Splotchy’s place and get busy.

· Once in a Very Blue Moon - Mary Black
· Beautiful Red Dress - Laurie Anderson
· Crimson and Clover - Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
· Orangedale Whistle - The Rankin Family
· The Song of Purple Summer - Lauren Pritchard
· Green Island Lullaby - Vienna Teng
· Pink Panther Theme - Pink Martini


Terminal (Work) Station

It starts with a low rumble in the distance.  Soon after, water ripples in the glass on my desk.  A strange odour, louder sounds, footfalls. 

Whew and phew!  It's only the I.T. guy with the T. Rex arms and prehistoric smell here to check my computer.


Six 6 Six

When a Princess asks you to do her bidding, you do what you must to get into the royal will.  She asked me to post on six quirks, facts or things about myself.  Being the most conservative looking kind of rebel you've ever seen, I refuse to post 'rules'.  It's six things, you'll figure it out.

In some particular order:

5.  I can't dance.  At all.  Unless I'm drunk.  But I don't really drink.  If I drank more, I'd pretend that I wouldn't want to join Coaster Punchman as he learns country and western dancing and instead, lead a big Bollywood style production number.  Watch for me coming to an Indian slum near you!

6.  While I may not be much of a drinker, I can still drink you under the table.  It's in my genes coming as I do from a long line of marathon drinkers.

1.  It took me a long time to come up with just the right name for my cat.  'Rizzo' suits her perfectly.  Now, I rarely call her by the name I anguished over.  If it pops into my head when I see her, that's what she gets.  Latest monikers include Bunny Kardashian and Kitty Kitty Dum Dum.  The 'b' in dumb is left off to preserve her dignity.

3.  Making seat friends (or single serving friends) leads to satisfying relationships.  Whenever I go to an opera or theatre event, I generally end up chatting with someone seated nearby who I don't know.  A laugh or opinion about whatever is playing is exchanged, we smile at each other and I never have to see them again.  No muss, no fuss.

4.  For someone who spends a fair bit of time on the Internet I generally leave it to others to find fascinating, funny or amazing items for me to view.  'My latest find' (thank you cousin Jessica) is Fail Blog.  Hilarious.

2.  I am going into sugar withdrawal.  Despair arrived but the fudge didn't.  My mother got the parcel she tried to send me back a second time and is now embroiled in a war with Canada Post.  They don't want to refund her the hefty postage she paid to try and send it to me (fudge is heavy!) but my money's on mom.  By the end of it, she'll have free stamps for life.

I'm supposed to tag people to play but since I don't touch anyone before donning a HazMat suit, I'll just invite them to give it a go this way:

and the rest.  


Escape From Big Rock Candy Mountain

The blog card is on its merry way back to America proper but I have big hopes that afterward, it'll do a grand criss cross of Canada once more.  We've only just begun (what someone else begun)!

Still no sign of my mother's fudge but if it ever does show up, my plans now include laboratory testing before an official tasting.   My family hasn't been this interested in me in years so it's true I suppose that sugar really can bring people together.

In keeping with the sugar theme, may I present my new favourite snack...the cheesecake covered candy apple courtesy of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  Mmm mmm good!

If you don't hear from me for a while, I'm changing my excuse from good old fashioned laziness to sugar shock.

To weigh in on my hopes and dreams for American Idol this season (don't worry, they're not legion), you can check here.


Oh, The Places You'll Go!

My fudge still hasn't arrived but I've no time to worry about that because something pretty spectacular showed up in today's post and it's been distracting me all day.  

A while back, Jen from Casual Slack and Amy from Mish Mash came up with a game of blog tag but of the sort that requires you to go postal.  

Amy's original card to Jen is a masterpiece nearly defying description.  It's now been seen in person by several bloggers, each who has added their own touches to it.  The card's been on tour through America and recently spent time in Scotland and Australia and it's now made it to the Great White North and into my grubby Canadian hands.  

If you'd like to be the next recipient of this work of art in progress, leave me a comment and I'll add something to it and it'll be on the next leg of the journey.  

The present incarnation of the card looks a little something like this.

The original card from Amy to Jen with additions by Jen, Chris and Miss Alex

Teri's postcard

Another lovely pussy card! 
 Nobody added a note and the back of the card is by Midleah

Sushiboy's card with nutritional and hilarious snack on the back, additional message from Sans Pantaloons inside

Sans shows off his hypnotic eyes, rhyming prowess and ripped bod.  Additional message inside by Scarlet (turn monitor upside down to read) and some hilarious card back antics from Sans

Some lovely scenes of Australia courtesy of Scarlet and family and a message on the back, have a look at the upper left corner of that postcard- yikes!

The paint's almost dry on my addition to things but first let me recap Jen and Amy's official rules:

Official rules & regulations:

• When You Get "The Card"post a photograph/scan of it's arrival & contents
• Ask readers to leave a comment if they want the card next
• Pick the blogger who is worthy
• THEN add your name / url plus a nice message or creative addition to the card
• Include a copy of the official rules with the card
• Send it on it's way to the next worthy recipient
• Send it out fast..
- no putting it on the mantle an admiring it for 3 weeks...
• Can a blogger who has already received the card - be sent the card again? - Yes!
• What if there is no room left on the card? -ADD A NEW PAGE - IT'S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!

So?  Any takers? You know you waaaant it...


And Piles of Snow Before I Sleep

It falls like snow at this time of year that many of us are stuck on the weather and my disappointment flows at finding myself outdoors at all so far ahead of a kinder season.  Not everyone is held hostage by the inconvenience of winter however;  my neighbour Honeypot, like the mail, generally manages to get delivered.

Her new man has wheels and big ones!  He courteously parks them on the far side of her lawn each night so as not to pull focus from the lonely car still for sale on the corner of her estate closest to my house.  

A few evenings ago, I was nearing my driveway when I spied a small Bobcat tractor crunching along the street toward me.  As it got closer, seated in the tiny cab I spied Honeypot, bundled up like the Michelin man clinging to her new fella.  He deposited her at the front door and this enchanting vignette ended with a frosty kiss before he headed back out, presumably to search for other souls in need of a man with a machine.  It's tough to say if the bigger growl came from them, me, or the tractor.  
I might have been happier at the end of this day had there been any mail.  My mother had called the week previous to say she'd sent me some of her homemade maple fudge.  The usual protocol after receiving it is for me to call, say how good it is, listen to her warn me not to eat it all at once and for me to pretend this hasn't already happened.

Depending on the motivation of the post office, packages usually arrive from the other side of the country within 2 to 4 days.  By day 6 when there was no sign of my sugary treat, I declared the letter carrier a thief and hoped he was suffering at the hands of his dentist.  On day 8, my mother called and ranted about what the post office could possibly have done with it.  On day 9, she got her answer.  She got the package back in her mailbox.  

When addressing mail to someone, the importance of including the actual address should not be underestimated.  Thankfully, she got my name right and did put the number of the house on it but didn't bother to write in the street name.  The post office clerk who helped her readdress it was kind enough to not laugh directly at her and sent it back to me at no additional charge.  

If this fudge ever gets here, I may well need help lifting my stale gift.  I plan to enquire about how much Honeypot's man charges, minus the kiss.


Van Pelted

A colleague who sits across from me wanted to make light of the fact that a lot of people had been stopping by his desk to chat, gossip or ask for advice. He settled on putting up a sign that read
"The psychiatrist is in - 5 cents".

The problem with his sign was that it actually read
The physiciatrist is in - 5 cents".

The sign I placed underneath it constitutes a good deed in my humble estimation. It reads
"The spelling bee champion is next door - no charge".


Lost Generation

The second place winner from a YouTube contest called "U@50".  The best 1:44 I've spent in a while.


Green Monkey Number Crunching

Splotchy's done it again! His epic Green Monkey Music Project is back for Volume no. 14. You can read about it and then download here.

The name of this mix was NUMB3R5! and the theme asked for songs with a number in the title. I was happy to play along but realized too late that if I'd submitted 6060-842 by The B-52s, I would have scored with the song and the artist having numbers in the name. No matter. My choices and explanations are as follows:

2:19 by Tom Waits - This song is featured on the Orphans release and the time in the title refers to the train Tom's baby's leaving on and not the running time of the song. Thankfully, this leaves plenty of time to take in all the arresting sounds Mr. Waits likes to paint with.

40,000 Years B.C. by Gyan - While on a quest to figure out where Jane Siberry had been hiding (she's now called Issa), she was nice enough to introduce me through her website to this Australian singer/songwriter. I love the haunting drawn out sound of her vocals and the accompanying music which clocks in a little shy of 40,000 years.

96 Tears by The Stranglers - This is a fantastic and driving remake of the classic by ? and the Mysterians. Sometimes strangulation's just the thing a song needs.

25 Minutes To Go by Johnny Cash - Whether it's gallows humour or a man singing his own countdown to the gallows, I'm there. A minor Cash classic.

10 Fingers 11 Toes by The Ponys - If I had a garage, I'd ask The Ponys to play in it, providing they like a nice game of Rummoli. This is a fun and noisy little number that reminds me that I grew up next door to a family where the dad had 11 fingers and 10 toes. I'm not sure why but he ended up taking his own life.

5 and 1/2 Minute Hallway by Poe - This is the strangest song until you read Poe's brother's novel House of Leaves and then it makes more sense but still stays pretty strange. I love the whole album this is from.

And there you have it, download, enjoy, or not, and thank Splotchy!


Swap Meet

Robin Williams and Bono could switch places and very few people would notice.  This is what I believe.


The Blog With Something Extra

While I don't wish ill on (almost) anyone, it doesn't much bother me that Sally Field has osteoporosis.  I blame her for changing my life decades ago although she probably wouldn't want to talk about that in a series of television ads for big cash.

No, I was not a teenaged Gidget and I've never stood on a table holding anything other than my a UNION sign.  I've never broken down while proclaiming "...Right now you like me" (at least in public) and though I have many personalities, without a diagnosis, I'll stick with Dale rather than Sybil.

During the 1970s, the subject of Extra Sensory Perception (ESP) seemed to be on everyone's minds and a topic of some fascination in the media.  Some might say it began at birth but things really began to unravel for me in 1973 when a series called 'The Girl With Something Extra' began airing on television starring Sally Field as a housewife with ESP.  It may have been billed as a comedy but after watching only a few minutes of it, things didn't seem so funny.  

While I can't imagine there was much of anything nefarious going on in my tender 9 year old brain, I became suspicious that perhaps some people could actually read minds and I began taking precautions in earnest in case they were scanning me.

If ever someone held my stare longer than I felt comfortable with, my first line of defense was to launch into a silent but simple cloud of noise comprised of la la la la la la las which rang through my head for as long as it took to change the subject I'd been pondering before the intrusion.  When someone insisted on remaining in my orbit and actually engaging me, I sometimes went to a stage two higher alert involving more deliberate conversations with myself about the weather or the rising cost of popsicles.  I made sure not to move my lips when I did this and eventually, things would clear enough for me to be able to carry on a conversation.

My suspicion that people were reading my mind lingered for years and even on occasion now, I feel the need to scramble my thoughts.  Seeing through me is one thing but listening in on me? Unforgivable. 

If you ever find yourself talking to me or at me and I seem momentarily distracted or otherwise engaged, try not to take it personally, it's not you, it's her.  

Damn you Sally Field!


One Store Closes, Another One Opens

It’s a new year and so with full heart and empty stomach, I decided it was time to settle the score with my old nemesis, the Korean Bagel Lady. There’s little that can’t be solved over a delicious BLT on a cheese bagel.

I was nearly blinded on approach by the high beam smiles of Mr. and Mrs. Korean Bagel Lady last week. How lovely I thought, they missed me (or at least my bagel and coffee revenues). I tried not to appear deflated as I learned the true source of their smiles – this was their last week in the building! It's no wonder they both looked as shiny as melted butter!

They’d decided to fold up shop, head for Panama (look out Canal!) for a couple of weeks vacation and then ease their way into retirement. I congratulated them on their news and they told me to be sure and return at the end of the week for a free bagel.

I did return but more in the hope of parting shots than a free bagel. KBL’s final conspiratorial warning was “be careful next week if you want bagel, new people I train not seem clean, I worry for customers”. I told her I doubted she’d be worried while she was on a beach and she cackled back “Yes, I worry only for the snowstorms you stuck in when I have no problem!” Mr. KBL chimed in with “I worry about having too much fun” as he made a motion like swinging a baseball bat. I asked “will you be playing baseball?” “No! It’s golf!” I told him I was worried too. We all shook hands and parted.

Under other circumstances, I might have felt sad but relief took its place knowing that I'd already found a replacement for KBL over the Christmas holidays. I went in to the convenience store (conveniently located) near my house to pick up a few things and the crotchety Asian counter lady there stole my heart.

I was in line behind a messy looking woman at the counter who was hemming and hawing over which of the multitude of scratch lottery tickets to buy. The Asian counter lady was regarding her with thinly veiled disgust while shaking her head and she waved me forward with my purchases.

As I came up to the counter beside her, the lottery lady turned and snorted at me ‘Hey! She’s serving me here, wait your turn’. The crotchety owner said to her “I don’t have time to wait for you!” and started ringing me up. This incensed the lotto lady. “I was about to buy a Bingo ticket honey but now I don’t know if I will!” The clerk said “Big deal, you take too long, get over it!” She turned back to me smiling as sweetly as she could and said “You have a nice day sir and Happy New Year!”. I smirked away from the counter while the lottery lady continued to rail on about convenience store protocol and turned in time to see my new heroine roll her eyes using her whole head.

I’m home again.


Tones on Dale

Please tell me that ringtones will soon go the way of novelty neckties.*  

*That one chick on the train who has Johnny Cash singing 'I fell into a burning ring of fire...' every time her phone rings can keep hers though, I like it.