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Tuesday, July 31, 2007
No, forget what I said. Just don't make any plans. Knucklehead. At least not until next week. A.K.A. a waste of blog entry. Endless dithery.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Ah. So that's how it goes. Ask for vacation time before you book the flights. I get it now.
Folk Fest Punch in the Face Goes To: the printer who waited beyond the last possible moment to tell us to re-send an ad file sooner than asap, or he would print a black and white version. The production artist who grabbed and re-sent the file without checking to make sure that it was the latest (i.e., corrected) version. And that, dearest chums, is how you publish an ad with a STUPID spelling mistake--one that I had caught and corrected during the proof process--in a brochure for the Folk Fest. Crap damn.
Folk Fest Newest Loves: The Foggy Hogtown Boys, a band from Toronto. Wonderful. Mary Flowers, a U.S. guitarist. Breath-takingly talented. The Jades: such voices! Watermelon Slim: love him. All in all, it was a fun Saturday afternoon I spent at the Folk Fest, in the blinding heat. Though I did not win a banjo or a bicycle. Crap damn again.
Another book hits the floor: Read "Notes from a Small Island" yesterday, and although I usually like Bill Bryson, this book disappointed me. It came off as a book full of cheap laughs--oh yeah, crass American takes one-man tour through United Kingdom, makes fun of things. It got so that any time Bryson wrote how much he loved this aspect of life in England, BUT -- lame jokes were sure to follow. There were some descriptions of venerable architecture and town squares that were enjoyable, but they were the minority.
Here's some radical honesty for yez. So I did a little research on "Radical Honesty," having been intrigued by a radio description of same. I read an excerpt from the book. I had occasionally wondered what sort of self-help tripe would come after the despicable "Men are from Mars" folly of the '90s. Now I know. So I don't think I'll be signing up for the 8-day seminar any time soon (which should be a relief for those horrified by thought of me public-speaking in the buff).
Friday, July 27, 2007
Tonight: The Fourth of Lief, with a moldering eBay gift in hand. Ironically appropriate, as it is a moldering copy of Fungus the Bogeyman, so it should be moldering and manky/niffy, n'est-ce pas? Well, I'm not sure a 4-year-old will enjoy Fungus's musings, but I hope Vin and Schmuke will.
Radical honesty? I listened to a CBC report about radical honesty this morning, and am tempted to find out more about it. Though the 8-day workshop, which includes a session of public speaking about your sexual history while mother naked, has me raising an eyebrow. Still, that honesty is a tough one, and sends me running for the hills often enough. So I may give the radical thing a try. Note: it's radical, meaning from the root. Root, not rude.
Tomorrow: Folk fest. I don't know how long I'll last in the hot weather, but I'll try to check out a few of the booths and stages, at least.
Picked up the latest Cormac McCarthy, "The Road," yesterday morning for an hour or so. Returned home last night at 9:00-ish. Picked it up again and read it to the end. I think McCarthy is an outstanding storyteller, but I see why this one is part of Oprah's club. One reviewer called it McCarthy's "most accessible" novel, and it is: the plot: father and young son try to survive in post-apocalyptic United States. Halfway through, on a coffee break, I deemed it "the 'feel despondent' book of the year!" Cormac does something to me: I can't stop reading his incredibly true characterizations and dialogue, and I'm always hollowed after each book. At the farm this weekend I reread "No Country for Old Men," again for the character voices. I was going to read "The Road" directly after, but couldn't. Just didn't have the brain chemicals for it. Still, I'm reading again. Always a good sign. Especially during the current hide trubbles (blistering rash, anyone? Didn't think so).
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Crap damn. Jean phoned yesterday to see if I wanted to accompany her on a trip to B.C. to see her delightful sister and brother-in-law. Dog-friendly, the pair of them. Scheduled: cherry-picking in an orchard, swimming in Lake Kootenay, lazing, yakking, etc. This would require two days off next week. Well, of COURSE I want to go. Just that this weekend is logistically challenged. Dang and double-dang.
The following weekend is a long weekend down our way, and I'm hoping to get out to "de Island" to pester and trouble the friends and relations. I thought I would have dibs on vacation requests because I'm a relative old-timer in the office. Wrong. The family types have a slight edge, it seems. School vacations and so forth. Family fascism is what I say. Total bibkreig. [Note: I kid because I love.]
The blog of dreams and vice-versa. I awoke yesterday morning with the mantra "Remember to blog about Tom Jones" pounding in my dozy head. Because I had invited him [the Welsh singer, not my cousin Tom Jones (hi, Tom!)] to sing at a party in Cuba, but instead an animatronic version showed up. Didn't I know that the real Tom Jones had died in 1974? I checked it on IMDB and everything. Then, as I...hmm...Tom Jones dead?
So, yeah. I dreamed about blogging, down to the most trivial detail. That's what passes for excitement at 44.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Farm survives another dose of Jane. Once again, I learned a few things. Like, sure, go ahead and collect the eggs when you're wearing flip-flop sandals. As long as you don't mind wrecking two eggs in surprise when a bunch of curious hens gather around your feet and begin pecking excitedly at your toes. Also: Resign yourself to having a split lip or two as long as Peggy (aka Peggylegs, Eggypeggy, Peggitypuppity) is a puppy. Because you cannot predict when she'll launch herself teethfirst at your face. Finally: It may be possible to keep one dog from rolling on one rotting fish at the lakeshore. But six dogs, and countless dead fish? Just get the shampoo and hose ready.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Normal, that is how you would describe my left earlobe. Something to make the Buddha puke with envy, that is how you'd describe my right. I look like I'm walking around with a doughnut stapled to the side of my head. And! Itchy!
So anyway, if I take the dogs swimming in Gull Lake during my farm-sitting weekend (starting tonight), I won't need a flotation device.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Today, we have learned. Okay, okay, I'll remember: I cannot go up to the Big Ka-Honey on the roof without wearing the protective headgear. Them thar bees simply adore getting tangled in the Jane-fro, but one was annoyed enough at my de-beeing attempts to se suicider on my innocent right earlobe. OW.
Myrmidons Cook and Rule. Last night we served the lawn bowling hordes barbecued ribs, coleslaw, buns, and mini creampuffs à la Costco. John had gallantly volunteered to do the preliminary spice rub and rib bake yesterday afternoon. Took him two hours and all three racks in his professional chef's oven. I had made barbecue sauce from my mad auntie's legendary recipe, picked up the creampuffs, and Luke was our slawman. Since we hadn't exhausted him with rib prelims, we allowed John to carry on with the grilling and saucing of ribs at the lawn bowling club. Well, they were a mighty hit with the club members, so John is to be thanked again and again, as is my mad auntie. I would eat my own feet with that barbecue sauce, I tell you. When the Myrmidons finally got to sit down to supper, we all took our first bite and realized, damn, that's tasty. It was one of the few times I've regretted the tiny tum, but only briefly.
I was hoping Vin might show up for the barbecue and a little lawn bowl spectating, because I really wanted to show her one of the new teams. Three women and one man, all in their 20s, all looking, well, like prostitutes whose garage band didn't work out. I think it's cool that our league is open to anyone who wants to play, yet I wish the Prostitutes Guild would clean up their empties after each game. I don't know what their actual team name is. They're fun, just a tad inconsiderate. But they liked the ribs, so there's hope for them.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Thank Gaw for the farm, where I shall again be heading on Friday with the much-abused dogs. Where I can enhance moments in various creatures' days--through unlatching a kennel gate, scratching a forelock, filling a water trough, distributing freshly picked dandelion greens, chucking sticks into water...ah, bliss.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Twenty years since first reading it, I still wish I had written this short story.
I don’t care about political correctness: Friday the 13th Edition. I park in a lot behind a well-known gay/lesbian restaurant and lounge, normally the hangout of some pretty nice folks. There is only one driveway in and out of this lot. At 5:40 p.m. on Friday, in a blisteringly hot van, I am not impressed to see a large Nissan Pathfinder blocking the driveway, with no room to get by on either side.
Be patient, I say, though I am already infuriated. The offender is someone who drove in after I walked the driveway to my car. I am patient. I turn the van’s engine off. I wait 5 minutes.
Fuggit, the back door to the restaurant is open, as always, so I’m going in. I walk right through the pantry and kitchen before finally catching the eye of a waiter. He is extremely nice, and offers to find the driver at once. I go back to the van, slightly calmer, and wait.
Two minutes later, out comes the offender, dressed in metrowestern duds. I have moved the van closer to his vehicle so there is no way he does not know that he has been an inconvenience. But! He keeps his face averted from me, says nothing, and simply gets into his vehicle.
”The word you’re looking for is ‘Sorry,’ Mary!” I holler. No response. You stupid little putz—oh, now you’ve pulled an illegal turnaround and are blocking the sidestreet I intended to drive on. And you make irritated waving motions at ME to clear the driveway.
Pal, if I handed you the slap you so desperately deserve, it would not be gay-bashing. It would be fuckhead-bashing. Because you are one.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Most popular spectator event of SAD was the inflated boxing ring, where the boxers wore outsized gloves and bounced around in the oversized, inflated (oh yeah, I said that) ring while trying to wallop each other. Or I should say, absolutely the most popular when the participants were females in their 20s. Kind of interesting, seeing a communal male fantasy come to life.
Most popular participatory event by far, though, was the adult-sized tricycle race. We couldn't get people off those dang trikes. Three of my colleagues, young fellers who work in my vicinity, took the trikes for an Easy Rider-like tour around the block at the end of competition. They stopped traffic, and just about killed me from lack of oxygen (laughing, you see). The other events, Oversized Basketball, and Water Balloon Dunking, were enjoyable, just not quite as insanely funny as the other events. I boxed with a colleague, Lara, who is not only super-model beautiful but also taller and fitter than I am; all she had to do was gently bop me on the head, whereupon my headgear would slide over my eyes, rendering me blind, useless, and hooting.
Considering the weather was a humid 34 degrees C, I think the afternoon was a success. My stomach muscles were sore the next day from all the laughing.
And so to the farm, where I learned a few things::
  • Bending down to an exuberant puppy can result in a split lip before you know it.
  • Those sweet, sweet Mammoth Donkeys will politely let you put a halter on them. Leading them is another thing. A gentle (really!) tap with the lead shank can result in a rope burn when a donkey decides that's IT, I'm leaving.
  • An approaching rainstorm moves MUCH faster than you think, idiot.
  • Leaving the windows in the van halfway down when the storm hits? Also stupid.
  • Your handsome, boisterous male Australian Shepherd can knock your coffee over in the middle of a field just as easily as he can in your living room.
  • No matter how slow you think you are cycling, a cruiser bike does not negotiate obstacles like a mountain bike. Good thing your thigh managed to stop that handlebar before it hit your gut.
  • I love chickens. I love how chickens love fresh greens.
  • Watching the sun settle over the freshly mowed hayfield, where the deer are slowly grazing their way to the trees, gets more beautiful every night.
  • I make pretty damn yummy Popsicles in my old age.

Thursday, July 05, 2007
SAD Carnival starts in 19.5 hours. No, not anything to do with the Spectacle of Animal Distress known as the Calgary Stampede, although that also starts tomorrow. The annual Staff Appreciation Day, the theme of which (this year) is Circus/Carnival Thingey. I've been on the organizing committee, which I've yipped about before, but today I saw the teams list. I'm on a team with a couple of, well, challenging personalities. Tempted though I was to assert editorial privilege and put my name on a list of people I get along with, I decided instead that this could be my real challenge of the day. Something I need to get better at in life (i.e., getting along with people I don't like), because I'm not a landed aristocrat who can get away with being astonishingly frank with others. Or hitting them with a 5-iron in moments of pique.
Gallery of Eviscerated Gophers, or How Jane Knows the Indigenous Rodent Population is Booming. The Wildlands Reclamation Park is currently Gopher Central. And possibly also the Vole Annex. Anyway, there are enough pickings for the predators--more than enough, because the dogs and I keep finding partially eaten remnants of rodentia along our usual walk route. One of the hawks is a picky eater, and only likes livers--at least, I think that's why I keep finding open-bellied but otherwise untouched gophers under his tree. So far the dogs are content to sniff at the carnage and walk on. Phew.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007
In which we ponder the latest UK terror attempts. Hmm, where did I put my copy of the Hippocratic oath? Oh, here it is:
To consider dear to me as my parents him who taught me this art; to live in common with him and if necessary to share my goods with him; to look upon his children as my own brothers, to teach them this art if they so desire without fee or written promise; to impart to my sons and the sons of the master who taught me and the disciples who have enrolled themselves and have agreed to the rules of the profession, but to these alone the precepts and the instruction. I will prescribe regimen for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone. To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death. Nor will I give a woman a pessary to procure abortion. But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art. I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art. In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing and all seduction and especially from the pleasures of love with women or with men, be they free or slaves. All that may come to my knowledge in the exercise of my profession or in daily commerce with men, which ought not to be spread abroad, I will keep secret and will never reveal. If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

Nope. Nothing in there about car bombs and mass slaughter. Maybe I've picked up the Golden Classics edition. So: doctor terrorists. I admit I was taken aback by the news, but really, I have no reason to be shocked that a person trained to heal could be so perverted as to actively seek to destroy life. They're terrorists, idjit. They're pretty much okay with not following the rules.
Blinding fury transformed my features as I pushed open the door to the office and smelled the unmistakable stench of pancakes emanating from the kitchen. Tuesday Morning Munchies [thanks to the long weekend] in early July in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Pancakes. A fried batter preview of the midway excrescences of the Calgary Stampede. I saw a bunch of freight containers arrive at the railyard close to El Condo Non Grande, and suspect that they are all filled with Mystery Batter. Funnel cakes, them frickin' lil' donuts, corndog coating, you name it, all made with the same crap. All with a half life of Uranium 232.
I don't usually fly into a rage over non-preferred breakfasts. But Calgary has been hot and unusually muggy, not your fried splat kind of weather at all, to my way of thinking. But the real problem was this: as I do on many long weekends, I forgot to get the head-medz prescription refilled in advance, so was down about a pint of serotonins first thing today. All better now.
Weekend salutes go to Karyn, who coffeed with me on Saturday afternoon and gave me several details of her recent work in Africa. Very inspiring. Her pictures were filled with beautiful faces, children and older women, as well as feuding giraffes, schmoozing lions and unbelievable sunsets.
Then to Jean and Tyke, who had me and the red varmints up to their farm on Sunday afternoon and allowed me to inflict Manly Chicken Wings on them for dinner. I managed not to wreck them: SCORE. Another highlight: I got to ride Tyke's horse, Reno, a beautiful grey Percheron/Quarter Horse blend. The difference in stride length from my bitsy little QH mare to a big guy like Reno was instantly noticeable, but still extremely comfortable. Yay, I get to farm-sit for J & T this coming weekend, so Reno's definitely in for it.
More salutes to Karyn, who suggested she meet me to see the movie "La Vie en Rose," about Edith Piaf. I don't know why they had to change the title from "La Mome" for the North American audience...seems like a waste of time. Anyway, the film's scattergun plot structure had a few critics fuming, but to hell with 'em. If you know anything about Edith Piaf at all, go to see Marion Cotillard's uncanny--even eerily perfect--impersonation of her. If you're just curious, see it for the amazing cinematography and a story that is almost absurdly tragic in spots, but true. If you're lucky, you'll see it with a friend like Karyn who won't mind that you forgot to bring a towel to mop your eyes.
A little volunteer work at the Centre of Hope finished the weekend for me. It sure makes me shut the hell up about wah, day job not making me happy, wah. So I never know who I'm helping more: them or me.