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Archive for July, 2010

Things that annoy me.

  1. People who insist on showing me their blue tongues after they have eaten blue food.
  2. People who insist on telling all about their kids vomiting and pooping, (I’m really not a fan of the wee ones, they scare the heck out of me) and then get all and offended and bored looking when I tell them about my cats latest round of vomiting and pooping.
  3. Strollers in the grocery store.
  4. A certain husky when she rolls in turkey or deer crap. (sigh, but I love her anyway)
  5. Gum. I don’t like it, I don’t like it when people are eating it around me, and I really hate it when they spit it out on the pavement where it gets stepped on.
  6. The two hundred year old lady I got stuck behind yesterday when I was late for work, when I was finally able to pass her I looked over and she had a juice box in one hand, a banana in the other and was steering with her elbows. I hope she has hemorrhoids
  7. The gazillion handicap spaces in front of the local Lowes store, I’m all for handicapped parking don’t get me wrong. But at this particular store they are five deep on every isle. Never are they going to have that many handicapped people at one time entering a hardware store. Don’t get me started on a local grocery store where they have a million and two, (I counted) handy capped spaces, (although at a grocery store I can see why) but they also have spots ‘reserved’ for parents with young children. I have to be honest, I park in those spots.
  8. People in general.

Okay so why is this titled not really a blog post? Two reasons, one I promised myself I wouldn’t rant on my blog, and seeing as this is not an actual post it doesn’t count. The second reason is because today is the thirtieth of the month, and my stats are tied with last month so I just need one person to read this and I beat my last months stats, yes I am that pathetic when it comes to such things. And I did enjoy writing this.

Thanks for reading.

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Tonight, when I took Sequoia out of her kennel she immediately started to drag me across the driveway to the far side of the garage.  I knew something was up because she always, and I mean always heads to her regular spot to complete her business before doing anything else.  So I indulged her as she tore my shoulder from my socket in an effort to get to where she wanted to go, and there on the other side of the garage was a flock of wild turkeys.  Older birds, younger birds some already headed to the safety of the forest.  Huskies are hunters, Sequoia is no exception.  A technique hunters use while going after their prey is to smell like their prey.  While I stood there gawking at the turkeys like an idiot my wifes dog was rolling in some turkey poop.

For those of you with no experience with turkey poop let me assure you, it really stinks and it is hard to get out of husky hair.

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Plinky asks, ‘What was the worst teacher you ever had and why?’

Easy, Mrs. Wilson 1st grade, the woman was a bitch!  If anyone stept out of line, and by stepped out of line I mean, sneezed at the wrong time, the whole class stayed after school.  The only time the entire class did not have detention was the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.  She was kind enough to let us go home and watch that on the news. 

If you got new shoes she would make you parade around the room and sing the song, ‘New shoes, new shoes, happy goody new shoes’  Whenever anybody got new shoes we would make sure to scuff them up before we got to class.

My brother had her as a teacher, he is three years older than me.  My cousin Erwin who is almost 20 yrs older than me also had Mrs. Wilson as his grade one teacher, and he told me she was in her 60’s when he was in her class, and yes she was just as bad.

Second worst teacher was (Rich I know you know who this one is) Mrs. Vogel.  She was a french teacher who couldn’t speak french.  I figured out how to pass her class I used a purple pen.  The only other way was, (if you are a guy) to wear tight purple pants. In my final year of highschool I also found out she liked jade, (the gem stone) I learned this by listening into her conversations with the girls about shopping.  So at one point I mentioned jade was my birthstone, (it really is the Opal) but she believed me and when it came time for the final exam I passed and all I had to do was describe what was going on in a picture she showed me.  It was a picture of a boy playing with a ball,  My description, “le garcon, avec un ball” I passed.  It so happened Richard was next in line.  While he was waiting outside the classroom she told him not to bother as she wasn’t going to pass him anyway.  Richard speaks more french than I do, (well he went to french immersion for a year so I figure he must, although I’ve never heard him speak french).

Mrs Vogel did once tell me to write lines for talking in class.  I had to write “I will not talk in class” 500 times and I had to have the lines on her desk the next morning.  I didn’t do it, when I went to her class she told me I had to now write 1000 lines.  I explained to her that if I didn’t write 500 lines what would make her think I would write 1000 lines?  I didn’t hear anything about it after that.

So Mrs Wilson was the worst because I believe she scarred me for life and to this day I can’t have a pair of shoes for an hour without somehow getting a smudge or something on them.  Mrs Vogel second in line cause she was just one of those pathetic teachers who was clearly wasting her time waiting for her retirement.

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Advice?

I like Plinky a lot of good questions are asked, or at least questions that make you think when you run out of things to write about, or have stuff to write but are trying to meet a self imposed deadline and need something that is quick and dirty.

A topic brought up was what is the best advice you ever recieved? Given more time I’m sure I can come up with plenty of pearls o’ wisdom I have gotten over the years but the one that comes to mind came from a teacher at Dawson College in Montreal.

The teacher wisely said: ‘If you have nothing to say, then say nothing’ I wish I would follow it more. I often think I say way to much. On the other side of this coin if I followed the advice, I could probably go for days without speaking. I just read this to my wife and she started to laugh and I am thinking others who know me well may agree I don’t really say all that much to begin with, I am not exactly what one would call a ‘social animal’ but honestly I often hear myself speaking and the voice in my head is screaming, ‘Brian! shut the heck up!‘ but I just keep talking.

Another great piece of advice that my wife just reminded me about was from the movie, The Big Lebowski If you have not seen the movie then you simply must go see it, NOW! Why are you still sitting here reading this blog, go on, get the Big Lebowski. Basically the mob storms into Lebowski’s house and wants the money he owes and they piss on his carpet. The only problem is they got the wrong guy. But Lebowski wants justice so he goes through all these shenanigans to get another carpet from the mob. At one point he is sitting on the sidewalk, his girlfriend is gone, he lost his job his house, and his car is on fire and all because he tried to get justice for a pissed on carpet. So he turns to his friend played by John Goodman and says, ‘…I could have just had a pissed on carpet.’ Point is don’t cut off your nose despite your face.

And one more from the book The Agony and the Ecstasy Michelangelo just recieved a gift of a horse from the Madici family. Of course the horse costs more in upkeep then Michelangelo can afford. Mike’s dad says, ‘Never accept a gift that eats’ A bit of advice we can all use now and again.

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Saturday night my wife and I made a plan.  We were going to get up early, go into town, make a quick stop at the Wild Life Rehab center to pick up some possums (so we could release them) and then spend the rest of the day doing nothing.  Imagine my surprise when Sunday morning rolled around and we were ready to leave before 10am.  That almost never happens, usually on Sunday morning we are just getting out of bed at 10am.

Whenever I put Sequoia in her kennel I always give her a treat, without fail when I open the kennel door she runs in ahead of me and waits for her treat which I put next to her water bowl on the deck of her dog house.  This day however, she ran immediately to the left side of the kennel, put her nose to the floor and stared intently at an old broken recliner that is sitting just outside her kennel, (which I keep meaning to take to the trash).  No problem, there must have been a chipmunk playing in the recliner.  I put her treat down and left the kennel, as I turned around to lock the kennel door I saw some movement at the base of the recliner.  I got on my hands and knees to make sure it was indeed a chipmunk.  Staring back at me was a little black nose with a white little ‘dash’ running down the critters forehead.  It took but a moment for my brain to catch up.  SKUNK!  I threw open the kennel door, grabbed a very reluctant to go husky who was in full hunting mode, and headed for the house.

Stop! Rewind.

Saturday night, after my wife and I made our plans we went to sleep only to be woken up at some ungodly hour to the horrific smell of skunk.  By woken up I mean my wife woke up to the horrific stink who then woke me up to ask how I could possibly sleep through such a horrific stench,  I, now awake, with tears streaming down my eyes could not possibly return to sleep.  My wife however was asleep two minutes later.

Back to the story.

Now what? obviously we can’t leave the dog in the kennel and we have to get the skunks to move on.  My wife calls our neighbour who not only volunteers for, but also sits on the board of directors for the Wildlife Rehab center.  While waiting for our neighbour to arrive I realize it is not one skunk under the chair, it is two. Wonderful.

Our neighbour comes over and amazingly, puts on a pair of gloves, picks up the skunks and places them in a carrier and heads for the woods.  Okay it is never that easy.  She gets the first one in the carrier without too much fuss the second one wraps its little body around her glove, bites at her thumb and sprays.  The neighbour takes a direct hit on the shoulder,  the stench is horrific but the deed is done and the skunks are in the carrier where my neighbour takes them deep into the woods.  Luckily my wife and I only got ‘residue’ spray.  A quick shower got the smell off, and the clothes, while outside at the moment will find their way into the wash and all will be well.

In the end we had a pretty good day, we had a very enjoyable brunch at Denny’s with our brave neighbour, who only slightly smelled of skunk, (seriously I didn’t smell anything).  We got our errands run, released some possums and still managed to spend some time relaxing. 

You just never know what a day will bring.

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Okay, I am trying something new, there is a web thingy called Plinky, it really is interesting.  The concept is that they ask a question or a challange of some sort and you write out your response and you can link it to your blog.  Some of the questions are very interesting and aid in jump starting writers block or are just fun to think about.  The question the other day was, ‘Overheard at My Own Funeral’  The following is what I came up with. 

“Great, its friggin’ freezing and now its starting to rain, that bastard just had to go and die in November.”

“…I hear his wife did very well with the insurance and benifits, I wonder what she is doing after the funeral?”

“How many times did I tell him, black wire is hot, green is ground, white is neutral. But did he listen?…nooooo!”

Powered by Plinky

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For the past 10 years we have been passing this old abandoned, dilapidated house on the side of the highway.  The windows were all gone, the walls were buckling and the roof was sagging.  Each morning I’d look at it as we passed by and wondered why it was still there.

About a year ago the house finally caved in, it was a slow painful collapse.  One day part of the roof caved in, a few days later a portion of a wall came down.  In all it took about two months to get to the point you now see in the photo.   You could see where the stairs were along the back wall, the main room and an upright piano.   Perhaps it is  because when I was growing up we always had at least one (if not three) piano’s in the house, for me that piano made that dilapidated old house a home.  People cried there, they laughed there, lived, played and sang there. And now it just sits and rots open to the elements and the critters.  Each day it is fading slowly into nothingness.  If I thought it was safe I would be tempted to wait until dark sneak on over and play a note to see if any sound came out, perhaps a little song just for old-time sake.  Heck if I had a truck and space I would be tempted to steal it away and breathe some life into, it. I just can’t help but think that old upright deserves a little more respect.   

We have a really nice old upright piano that we never play.  The last person to play it was my Dad and that was a few years ago.  Because we never play it, and our house isn’t that big we are always looking to sell it, although I would rather just give it away to somebody who would appreciate it and treat it with respect.  Never would I let something that has the potential to give so much to so man sit and rot.

   

piano is in circle click picture to make larger

 

 

 

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The other day I had a freezie and suddenly I was 10 again.

Perusing through wthe grocery store in search of something different for our BBQ party my wife picked up a pack of the of the dyed, artificially flavored, frozen sugar-water sticks, I looked at them, looked at my wife, I sort of shrugged and in the cart they went.

The next night I took two out of the freezer snipped off the ends handed one to my wife, I sat down put the end of the frozen treat in my mouth and WHAM! I was 10 again.  I was not excepting such a visceral response. I was expecting nothing more than eating a flavoured icicle and getting a cold headache.

But suddenly it was lunch time at elementary school and a few friends and I were running down the street to Hampstead Park and with a dime or three.   We would get a pack hockey cards, (complete with gum) some candy and on the hot days, we always got a freezie.   Now I’m 44 years old, living a lifetime away from Hampstead park but I swear, just for a second there was a rip in space and time and I was back to that place. 

It is funny what triggers these responses.  The smell of gasoline brings me back to a country house where we used to spend our summers when I was a youngster,  we had a black speed boat, with a red interior, we used to fill the two little red gas tanks that were tucked behind the back seats.  The smell of gas just takes me back to filling those tanks, takes me back to the lake, the peninsula at the end of a friends property.  I’m not sure where the peninsula fits in with the gas but it does.  I still remember talking into the CB on the boat I believe our call letters were XM52101.  Don’t ask me how I know this or why gasoline triggers these memories.  And really I don’t care why, I am just glad they do.

And in case you were wondering, we kept the freezies to ourselves and never even offered them to our guests, but if anyone really wanted one they were in plain sight in the freezer, not that we advertized that little fact.

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It is the end of June and for the life of me I don’t know where the summer went.  It seems like I just posted my 60th post, and here I am ten posts later, The season is simply moving much to quickly.

The following are some random thoughts on my writing experience.

Since my 60th post I have started to write ideas down. I have yet to use one idea I’ve actually written down, but I will continue the excercise because one idea leads to another.

I’ve found that the blogging community is quite giving, recently I’ve had two people give me a ‘shout out’ so to speak.   Jeeney who found me through my sisters blog had some very nice things to say and writes on some very interesting topics.  Also this guy in Chicago, picked up my Technology blog and thought it worth re-posting.  He is a mac tech guy and has some interesting tricks and tips on his page.  Both of these ‘shout outs’ has gained me a few new viewers.  I have to admit I do not read a lot of other people’s blogs although I am going to start.  I do follow the ones to the right of this post and I hope for that list to grow.

As I’ve stated before I’m always checking my stats, every time I turn on the computer I check them and read all the comments and it is always a thrill when somebody new comments.  It is also a big thrill when a faithful reader and good friend comments who has never commented before such as in the case with Jesse on my language post.  I’ve known Jesse for some time and he has read my blogs since I’ve started blogging so it was great to see his comment.  And of course I always love and appreciate my regular commentors.

I primarily write for myself, but I do need an audience, after all if I didn’t I would just write in a diary and lock it all away.  Of course what would end up in a diary would be a far cry from what ends up on here, but that is another story.  I was once listening to an actor who said that he acted for the love of acting. I know plenty of magicians who you have to pay NOT to perform and still they will find a way.  I understand it, I’m not sure I can explain it all in a few words, but I can certainly understand the feeling. While I can’t say that I enjoy the writing process, I do enjoy the finished product.  That often worries me because in the end I hope to write a book, get paid, retire…you know, live the dream.  A common thread I hear from writers is that they love to write. The point being, can you act without an audience, is there satisfaction in it?  I imagine there is, there are plenty of magicians who don’t perform, same as singers I am sure.  But I imagine deep down we all want that audience. 

Training a husky, (stick with me there is a point) is not like training a lot of other dogs.  Other dogs want to please you, for a husky the first thought is always, what is in this for me.  Now when I look around I’m always thinking, hmm, how can I work that into a blog. Years ago I was walking through down town Vancouver with Greg Frewin.  Every now and again Greg would stop and take a picture of the strangest things, a lamp-post here, a mailbox there.  Finally I had to ask him what the deal was.  It turns out he viewed everything as a potential magic prop, and when something caught his eye he took a picture.  I should point out that Greg is not only a truly amazing magician he is also an extremely successful magician.  

Perhaps at 44 years old I’m finally understanding Shakespeare when he says, ‘All The World Is A Stage’

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Robo Raptor

I love technology.  However there is a part of me that would love to live off the grid.  Self sufficient, no job to go too, have a little windmill or solar energy, no computers or phones, but who am I kidding?  While I would have a hard time giving up the internet, I think I could do it. I could not however, give up cable.  But I do wonder/worry sometimes that it is all just too much.  

The other day my sister asked her son if he wanted to play with cards.  Now understand I always have a deck of cards near me.  I have three at my desk at work.  A few in my backpack which goes to work with me.  At least one deck on my nightstand.  And when I look at my end table I see three decks, but I know there are a bunch more in the drawer.  Remember my background is magic, I’ve learned a thing or two and while I don’t perform much I’m addicted to what magicians call card flourishes.   And no, if you click on the link that is not me, I don’t have the time or patience to be that good.  That aside,  sad as it is to say, cards play a big role in my life.   

So I found it a little worrisome when my sister said: “little boy, would you like to play with cards? go get my iphone”  I do play solitaire on my ipod so it should not have been a shock to me.  But I did start to wonder does the boy even know what a deck of cards is?  Well of course he does.  His grandparents own a magic shop.  But how many kids don’t, or soon won’t.  My sister found a hipsta app for the phone.  I looked it up in the app store. It is a Lego application.  Yes you can build things with lego on your iphone.   

Today I got a call from my mother-in-law, she could not get online with her laptop.  She could with her ipod.  I know she could with her desktop because that actually has a cable.  Later in the evening I was thinking about that call, my wife, myself and my mother-in-law each have three ways to access the internet and god forbid if one of those ways goes down, we are lost. Just the other day my wife asked me if I remember dial-up? Of course I remember dial up, heck I remember life before computers. Dial up was horrible, you turned on your computer went out had something to eat, got yourself a drink, used the bathroom, and if you were lucky when you got back to your computer, you were online.  Then it would take a minute or two to actually get to a website.  Yet it was amazing, fascinating the world was at our fingertips.  Now if the site doesn’t come up before I finish clicking on it in my favourites I worry something is wrong with my connection.  And I do find myself getting bored surfing the web, even though the world is literally at my fingertips.  

I used to keep up with technology,  I am confused by the 3G and 4G thing, more interesting, I don’t really care.  Is it just me, or doesn anybody else find it sad that I have three ways to access the internet, four if you count the play station, I’ve a cell phone,  a robotic vacuum cleaner, a robot lizard that is sensative to sounds and will patrol the house on his own, yet I’m still behind the times.

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