Thursday, June 30, 2005

My Old Roommate

I just discovered that my first year roommate from my undergrad days has a blog. I have added musings of middle age to my blogroll. It's interesting that he already considers himself to be middle aged. I figure that is several years off. I am not even 40 and, after all, 50 is the new 40 and we are living longer, right? I hope so anyway.

Anyway, my now middle-aged friend has uploaded a post in which he says about us:

"Well now it appears that we will be able to stay in more frequent contact, probably learning more about each other then when we were 19 year old roommates only concerned with getting drunk and laid, and not necessarily in that manner."

If only I could remember if that was true. I'll take his word for it. Studying was not a priority in first year. That much, I remember.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Camera Day

Today is Camera Day, according to something I read somewhere, so I thought I'd post a photo, 'cause it's been ages since the last one.

Good night.

Oh, it's a tree. I'm quite fond of posting pictures of trees.

© 2004 Zydeco Fish

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Recurring Dream

In a previous post, I said: "I am reluctant to post any more dreams here, for fear that someone may be secretly psychoanalyzing me. If you are secretly psychoanalyzing me, please send me a full report on what you have found." And so, I present another dream.

Someone please tell me what this means. I have a recurring dream in which I have to pass through a very small opening, like a door that has only one foot of clearance, or under a wall that doesn't quite meet the ground. There are numerous other variations. Sometimes, I have to follow what seems to be a tunnel.


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Sunday, June 26, 2005

Don't Eat That

1) Any food that is improved by pounding it against a rock for a goodly number of minutes before other interventions are tried (like thorough cleaning, more tenderization, and the introduction of other foods to obliterate the taste) shouldn't be eaten. Yes, I'm talking about tripe. It's called offal for a good reason - it's awful.

2) Same goes for all internal organs. Steak and Kidney pie is nasty. Don't forget, the kidneys are excretory organs, meaning that they produce urine. When they are cooking, your house will smell like some stinky downtown Toronto alley. And then there's liver. It detoxifies animals and produces bile. Yuck.

3) And pigs tails, feet and ears, chicken feet, beaks, brains of any sort, and any type of animal eyeball, even if rumoured to be a brain food, will never touch my lips.

4) And, cow noses, lips and anuses (and if you are paying attention, that rules out most hot dogs, even the so-called all-beef ones). There is no question that ground up cow lips and a wee bit of cow anus tastes fantastic when topped with ketchup and other delicious condiments. But, when you think about it, it's a putrid mess that isn't fit for even the most ravenous of carnivores.

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fatherly Advice

As a young man, I received two pieces of fatherly advice (well, two pieces that I can remember). They are:

1) Don't work in a factory;
2) 5 Minutes per side and then build up

Yes, every summer, I got the 5 minutes per side sun tanning lecture. He wasn't trying to stop me from sun tanning; he wanted me to get my pale hide into the sun and get some colour. So, start off with 5 minutes per side and then build up until I would be a wrinkled, red, old man with skin cancer, just like him. I avoided the sun, except for that one summer I spent on a beach actively trying to get a tan.

I remember the day my dad got his first Speedo. I was 13 or 14 and I watched my dad emerge from his bedroom and say (for some reason, these words are forever etched into my brain):

"I can barely fit into these, and I'm not sure if I'm bragging or complaining." Soon, he was seen rolling up the Speedo to expose his white butt. That was bad, but things got a lot worse then he bought a thong. "Sun my buns" became the new catch phrase. As a man in his early 70s, he can still be seen wearing the Speedo. I am certain that, for him, the Speedo was the most important invention in the history of civilization.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Men's Rooms

Kinda gross: proceed with caution

Since I am on the general topic of Gross, I thought I would discuss the state of men's bathrooms. They are disgusting. I am not talking about the washrooms found in parks and other public gathering places -- I gather those are a no-go zone for most sane men and women. I am talking about men's washrooms is places like bars and restaurants and cinemas and malls and on university campuses.

Many women I have spoken with assure me that female bathrooms in these places are horrible, but, I can't imagine that you will find urine on the toilet seats in a women's bathroom. Please correct me if I am wrong. You see, some men will not lift the seat, perhaps because they feel that if they touch the seat, they will develop an incurable disease or maybe syphilis or herpes or whatever. Instead, they piss on the seat, without a thought for whomever might want to use the toilet after them.

Men leave toilet paper on the floors, draped over the seat (half in the water, half out of the water). Some defecate on the seat and the floor. I have seen feces smeared on the stalls. I have seen paper towels stuffed into the toilet, broken beer bottles on the floor and in urinals.

And, more and more, I have noticed that there are some men who will not turn off the tap. At least he washed his hands, I think, but it took me a while to figure out why these idiots leave the water running. It occurred to me that they do not want to touch the tap, after they have washed their hands, for fear of contacting an incurable disease or maybe syphilis or herpes or whatever. Men are pigs (except me of course).

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Monday, June 20, 2005


I'm not sure if it's the hot weather or maybe it's the areas I hang out in, but I have to say that some people in Toronto stink. All too frequently, I have walked into the putrid wake of someone on the sidewalks and in the malls of this city. The stench is occasionally so bad, I feel like passing out. I have met some skunks that smelled better. Briefly, I considered that maybe the people behind the blog Dating Help for Men (an idiotic blog that I have mentioned before) are on to something. Clearly, some people do not bathe and have very poor personal hygiene. It's either that, or they fail to wash their clothes.

And then there's overpowering perfume. That is less frequent, to my nose anyway. Something else that bothers my sensitive nose is the super-fragrant bathroom deodorizers one encounters in restaurants and bars. That also makes me sick, and I think that the actual smell would be much easier to take. Well, I guess that depends.

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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Portrait of my Other Brother as a Young Man: a sequel to Portrait of my Brother as a Young Man

When I was 5 years old my brother ran away from home. The police car idled in the driveway and I wondered if I could ask the policeman to turn on the siren. But then, my mother ran back into the house crying and the I heard the policeman say that if they brought him back, he would just leave again because he was 15 and the police knew what they were talking about. I learned later that my mother had flushed the LSD she found in his room.

The next time I saw him, he didn't recognize me. At 18, he had a pregnant girlfriend, a broken needle in the palm of his hand, from an injection gone bad, and a beat up electric guitar. He told me about flashbacks and angel dust while he played along with the songs on the radio. He could play Alice Cooper's I'm 18: " I got a baby's brain and an old man's heart, took eighteen years to get this far. Don't always know what I'm talkin' about. Feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt"

And, I remembered another Alice Cooper song, from the albums he left behind:

I ran into my room
And I fell down on my knees
Well, I thought that fifteen
Was gonna be a breeze
I picked up my guitar
To blast way the clouds
But somebody in the next room yelled
"You gotta turn that damn thing down"

In the morning, the police called. I sat in the back seat on the ride to the police station where I saw my brother. He didn't speak. The sound of handcuffs locking around wrists is exactly as it is on television. Everyone knows that ratchet sound of the lock squeezing tighter and tighter. I didn't know what trafficking was. I didn't know where the jail was. I never knew how long he stayed locked up.

I thought his girlfriend looked out of place carrying a giant paper bag with a colourful smiling Santa Claus printed on one side and "Merry Christmas" scripted in red on the other. In the dust kicked up by our tires, I could see her belly and her thumb in the air as she tried to hitch a ride to somewhere in the hot summer air.

(read part two)

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lessons from my Sister

This post is kind of an interlude between Portrait of my Brother as a Young Man and a yet-to-be-written post, Portrait of my Other Brother as a Young Man. Without her, I am not sure when I would have learned three essential life skills. She taught me:

1) to blow bubbles (with bubble gum)
2) to snap (the sound produced by rapid movement of a finger from the thumb tip to the base of the thumb)
3) to whistle

And, she showed me a tampon long before I even knew what menstruation was - although I never had any use for one, being a guy. One night, when she was babysitting my brother (the one you already know about) and me, she submerged it in water so that we could see it grow.

Let's see, what else? I had my first cigarette with her. Smoking didn't take, but my brother (the one you already know about) became addicted almost immediately and, as a pre-teen, was given the nickname "Puffer."

For my 16th birthday she, along with her boyfriend, presented me a book as a gift, the only time, it should be noted, that she ever gave me a book. It was: Xaviera's Supersex: Her Personal Techniques for Total Lovemaking by Xaviera Hollander. It's like the Joy of Sex without the class.

This is all true.

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Monday, June 13, 2005

I Wanna be a Hilton

From NBC: "Everyone's heard of the Hiltons, especially daughters Paris and Nicky, but what would it take to actually live like them?" I have an answer: act like an ass whenever possible and if that doesn't work, show your ass to any camera that is pointed your way. Of course, it would help to release a porn film of yourself first. In short, just whore yourself out to the media.

Reality TV has gone too far.

Since we are on the topic, I have a few ideas for reality TV series I'd like to see:

1) Surgeon for a Day - for people with no medical training at all (hosted by Jeff Probst)
2) The Intern - sort of like the Apprentice, but the winner gets to be President Bush's personal intern (hosted by Monica Lewinsky)
3) Prison Guard Survivor - half are guards; the other half are prisoners. I see a prison break or riot to the death (hosted by Martha Stewart)
4) The Cosmetologist - search for the best makeup artist (hosted by Tammy Fay Baker)
5) American Mime - the best mime artists battle it out for the imaginary crown(hosted by Joe Rogan)

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Cosmetics on the Go

Today, I saw a woman putting on her eye liner while walking down a busy Toronto street. Last week, I watched a woman apply mascara while driving her car. I have seen women applying lipstick, and that stuff that goes on the cheeks, while driving, but never mascara. That was new, and an accident waiting to happen. Besides, isn't it embarrassing to be seen applying makeup?

This reminded me that I once heard a woman state emphatically that no woman should be seen doing her makeup. I wondered if it was because makeup was a secret, you know, because back in the day only hookers wore makeup. Well, I am not sure if that is true, but I remember reading that in Victorian England, prostitutes wore cosmetics to appear obvious. So, is it that she thinks women just shouldn't be seen or does she think that women can hide the fact that makeup is in use?

There are those other women who say that a woman should never be seen without makeup, even by her husband. That means wearing makeup to bed. And that brings me to TV, where women are often seem wearing makeup in ridiculous situations, like crawling out of a ditch, when there are getting out of bed (really, do you know any women who wear makeup to bed?). I've even seen women getting out of the shower wearing makeup on TV.

Perhaps I shouldn't even comment on makeup, since I am a man and don't wear it.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Air Conditioning Sucks (most of the time)

Maybe it's because I spent my childhood sweating in summers, or maybe it's because air conditioning wasn't widely available back then - at least not in my hometown, or maybe it's bad experiences with over-air conditioning that makes me hate it.

Why is it that some buildings are so cold that, if it were winter, people would complain? No one would tolerate that extreme cold in winter. I can't even go to a movie in summer without adequate warning: I've been stuck in freezing theatres too often. I almost got frostbite once when I wore sandals to a movie (sandal-wearing is a recent development. It has taken years for me to feel comfortable exposing my toes in public). I walked around a large Texas city with a jacket just so I could combat the buildings that had been transformed into refrigerators, including the conference centre, which had an ice rink in the middle of it, right beside the Starbucks!

I always feel slightly sick after spending too much time in heavily air conditioned buildings. At work, I have to take sun breaks and I feel like a lizard lying on the pavement trying to raise my body temperature.

Just give me a fan and a cold drink and I'll be fine.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Portrait of my Brother as a Young Man

This post was inspired by Large Marge Hayes and a few posts at The Cynic Ward.

At age 15, my brother impregnated his 21-year-old girlfriend (ex-hooker; ex-junkie - or at least we thought she had moved on from soliciting and heroin). She took up a new line of work as a welfare mom. Don't get me wrong: I am not one of those conservative anti-welfare people. But, she clearly abused the system, and later, she abused her children.

This was in his pre-obesity phase, or his warming up to obesity phase, when he would consume one loaf of bread and half a jar of peanut butter every day after school. I think he admired a guy who lived around the corner from us. This man weighed at least 400 lbs and started every day with a case of 24 beers at his feet. In summer, he sat on a large wicker chair and downed them one at a time, never getting up to go to the bathroom, making me wonder if he had some sort of catheter system going. He rarely spoke and the kids would either tease him or watch him. Some tried to speak to him. My brother sat and chatted with him, but I have no idea what they talked about.

I think my brother admired this local freak show. If I had been entrepreneurial, I would have made an arrangement with this guy and sold tickets to his performance, which is sort of what it was. I should have built some sort of hut or got a circus tent for the backyard. I could have run pools on how much beer he could down and by what time of day. But, I am straying from my brother.

He got fat. He sought out the underbelly, and he fathered three children by the time he was 19 with a woman who encouraged him to steal, even from his family and from me. Eventually, her children were placed in foster care, when she and her new boyfriend were sent to prison.

Since then, he has held some essential jobs: gas jockey, slacker building superintendent who couldn't tighten a screw, and an overweight cab driver who can only walk with the help of a cane, or two. I still can't figure out how he gets in and out of the cab. I forgot to mention his hypochondria.

And that's the short story.

While the term redneck is not used where I come from, I think he has some of the characteristics.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

I believe that:

1) any store selling trampolines should include a free camcorder and the address of America's Funniest Home Videos.

2) Tim Horton's soup in a bowl fabricated from bread is an abomination.

3) anyone I have ever met with a MBA manages to convey that detail within the first ten minutes of meeting them.

4) that until we have proven that we can treat this planet with respect, we should not colonize the moon, Mars, or any other planet.

5) Stephen Harper and George Bush would make a wonderful couple.

6) we will never really come up with viable alternative fuels until we run out of oil.

7) conservative blogs are boring.

8) U2 is over-rated.

9) the Fox Network has no idea what it is doing.

10) pharmaceutical companies are evil.

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

Another Question

A recent post by Meliors prompted me to ask this:

1) Do your parents (brothers, sisters, grand parents, aunts, uncles, etc.) read your blog? For the parents out there, do you read your children's blog?
2) If so, are you reading it secretly?

P.S. Happy birthday to my daughter (she's too young to read this).

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