Saturday, April 30, 2011

Battle Preparations

Scottish warrior William Wallace.
Yeah. So. I phoned the phone company.

I had one message: LOWER MY DAMN BILL. I mean, come on phone companies: stop plundering!

Before I called I did some stretches. Paced a bit. Cracked an ice tray into a very large mug. Added scotch water. A little lemon. Did some cleansing breaths. Prepared to be on hold for 53 minutes. Yawned to open my ears so I'd be better able to decipher the foreign accent. (Hey. Don't judge me. I hate racism. It's called outsourcing.) Painted three-quarters of my face blue. Hunkered down, prepared for battle. Dialed. *cue James Horner film score*

Pressed 1. Pressed 5. Pressed 2. Hold. One minute passes. (One minute?!) "Hi this is Sarah, how may I help you?" (Perfect language skills?!)

(in Scottish accent) You tell your king that William Wallace will not be ruled, nor will any Scot YOU BASTARDS!!! "Hi Sarah. I've been a customer for many years. We no longer use our land-line phone the way we once did. I'm wondering what you could offer me that would lower my bill."

"Certainly sir. Let me see...(less than five minutes later) your new package should cut your bill by almost 30% and by upgrading your internet package at no extra charge your browsing speed should improve. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

[insert sound effect here]

"Uh. No. Thanks so much."

Later, unable to process the entirely unexpected anticlimactic nature of this experience compounded by all the bottled-up energy for the war I did not have to fight, I was forced to punch myself in the eye repeatedly because I obviously should have phoned months ago. Frick.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Survey Says?

I saw this survey online. Which would you give up first?
a. Cell phone
b. TV
c. Spouse

It made me laugh. And then it made me think. How many people would choose cell phone? Honestly. How many people?

About four years ago now, major newspapers reported that there was one cell phone for every two people in the world. Imagine how many exist now.

This is not a post intended to complain about cell phones. That would make me a hypocrite. Although I don’t have a cell phone I would be extremely reluctant to give up my iPod. Or most definitely my laptop. How would I continue to email? Tweet? Blog? Shop online? I can’t imagine my life without these.

That’s odd though isn’t it? I can’t imagine my life without these various forms of technology and the luxuries they provide? When I let that process for a minute it makes me shake my head. Why?

Because actually, if I’m really honest, I can’t imagine my life without my family, my friends, ice cream, books, salsa, falling asleep on the couch, art, music, laughing, nature, my home, carpenters, plumbers, root beer, frogs croaking at night when it’s finally finally Spring and that’s just what I experienced in the last few hours. There’s so much more too.

It reminds me of this key question: “is the glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?” 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dealing with Bulldozers

Warning: this is not always a toy.
If you're a parent you know that the love you have for your children is constant. That love is like a flag waving but sometimes, you're maybe not feeling so patriotic.

Why? Because despite our best efforts, raising kids can be so very difficult. So frustrating. I've never encountered anything more challenging. Ever. 

Ninja Mom, who knows a thing or 17 about the trials of raising kids, tweeted yesterday about a new book whose brilliant title alone does a fine job of hoovering the romanticism right out of parenting. Real parenting is messy. And it hurts. It's even scary at times. That's why you have to enjoy the laughs when you can.

My kids are both teens now but I could have used that book back in the day because despite being oftentimes dazzled by their cuter-than-cuteness, I learned fairly early on that parenting was not for wimps....

One morning I quietly slipped away from playing "trucks" with my toddler son to have a shower. Midway through my shower suddenly the curtain flung open and there stood my young son, his brows furrowed. (It was exactly like that iconic scene in Psycho except in colour minus Janet Leigh and with a lot more body hair, plus no one got stabbed although my startled heart was indeed flapping around in my chest like a fish in the bottom of the canoe.) Confused, I couldn't even respond. I stared at him and he stared at me and then finally he hefted his Tonka Toy bulldozer up and over the edge of the tub so he could unceremoniously drop it on my feet: KATHUNK. He then promptly left the room.

I learned then that this is how two-year-olds give the finger.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

DIY Moment #293
Yesterday, we had both this bathtub and a toilet on the front lawn.
Yup, we're those kind of neighbours.
(Notice my son's towel? We tried to convince him
to take his shirt off to stage a more realistic photo but that brat declined.
What? That's not questionable parenting is it?)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Wordfuse (Not-so-Savvy Version)

nonnoisseur (noun): non + connoisseur = one who is devoid of expertise in a variety of categories; an individual who is an expert at nothing yet still inspires/expects/is afforded a certain level of regard; the nonnoisseur may not even be aware of these shortcomings.
For a fictional example, see Michael Scott, the most clueless boss ever on The OfficeReal-life nonnoisseurs seem to include a distressing number of celebrities. Examples abound but for careful analysis one may see most of the competitors on The Celebrity Apprentice. Or sadly, see also a variety of historical leaders.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Helicopter Ears

Meet Echo, aka Buns.
This is my daughter's rabbit. Something about her reminds me of Marge Simpson's sister Selma. I think if we gave her a pack of cigarettes she'd be a lot happier.

Buns has an extra chin she likes to wear under her chin. Sometimes she wants to be petted but she's a tad temperamental. Mostly she enjoys eating fashion magazines. How's that for an eating disorder Heidi Klum

Even though she has helicopter ears, she can't fly. Yet. We're teaching her. It's only a matter of time.

Happy Easter peeps.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Zoetic (What's for supper?)

They. Just. Make. Life. Better.
These are my home-made vegetarian "Spicy Sliders" with a side of fresh tomatoes, some of my wife's dill pickles (hiding somewhere) and fried onions. Add a rootbeer. And then a scoop of Aero bar ice cream for dessert. That's what I call zoetic.

Spicy Sliders
-1 can of kidney beans drained, rinsed and crushed with a fork
-1 cup of rolled oats
-1/2 cup of your favourite salsa
-1 jalapeƱo chopped
-1 small onion chopped
-3 cloves of crushed garlic
-Mix with some cumin and lemon pepper and whatever spices you want and I'm sure you can figure out the rest. They are best fried. (They're so low fat, why not?)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


This is me in a state of confusion aka 24/7.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed with complete self-loathing.

Sometimes I wonder if all that Tang and Kool-Aid I drank as a kid altered my body chemistry.

Sometimes I don't go outside for the entire day and it makes me feel guilty.

Sometimes I wish I had become a hydrogeologist which seems so strange to me considering it's so on the other side of the spectrum compared to everything else I really want to be when I grow up: author, artist, photographer, cinematographer, editor, reading specialist, screenwriter, Lorne Michael's assistant, television producer, musician, carpenter, set designer, Scottish strongman, museum curator, speechwriter, google employee, book cover designer, employee, etc.

Sometimes I get freaked out by call display like just yesterday this phone number came up: 123-456-7890. Seriously. And it made me wonder if I was in some sort of low-budget version of The Ring and my "number is up."

Sometimes I get nervous just thinking about crowds yet I really want to be part of a flash-mob.

Sometimes I hate Roger Ebert for tweeting too much but then he'll write something that blows my mind.

Sometimes I feel old but not old enough to drink coffee.

Sometimes I am more invested in the characters I read about in books than I am with the real people in my life.

Sometimes I wonder if I had given my kids different names if they would be different people, not better people, just different.

Sometimes I stop and pick up rocks and put them in my pockets because they're beautiful.

Sometimes I want to redo everything I just did and yet if I truly were a hopeless perfectionist wouldn't I care more about my pants or keeping my vehicle clean or not chewing my nails.

Sometimes, all I want to do is write all day long.

Sometimes I wish that a psychologist would read my blog and tell me exactly what is wrong with me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Wordfuse (Fall Down Go Boom Edition)

bada bing bada booboo (interjection): that exclamatory drum roll moment after what should be an effortless task goes completely awry and well, there's a big bruise or worse yet, blood. See my thigh, which still hurts one week after falling off a chair while trying to install a light fixture.*

*I apologize. Who in their right mind needs to see my thigh? And I'm being sort of a cry-baby about this aren't I?  I guess one might refer to this post as a bit of a bada bing bada boohoo. Sorry. Couldn't resist. #cantstopwordfusing #puningitis

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Piggy on Your Back?

Watch out. I could be the piggy on your back.

Let me explain.

I'm just discovering aps apps. Yeah, I know. Is it like, 2008 again or something? Anyway, I have several ideas for apps that were likely already invented because I basically began using apps months ago yesterday. Even though I did not fully understand apps, I will make it known that I have been remarking there should be an app for that for over a year now just so the cool kids would stop "beaking me" (phrase my teen son spews ad nauseum). And by cool kids I mean my teens (and my wife) who had so much fun last year using the stealth app to mess with me. Maybe I should mention that I don't yet have a cell phone? Illiterate preschoolers text better than I do. And I think my old iPod was the same one used by the Mammoth in Ice Age 2. Oh and I'm 82 years old. But anyway, like always, I begin blathering on about stuff before I actually know anything about it....

Yesterday, my nearly 15 year old son begrudgingly taught me how to operate my new iPod Touch (he's had his own for years) and I was very proud because, as the resident IT staff in our home, he somewhat masked his condescension as I tried to type in various usernames and passwords and credit card information which was more painful than watching my childhood cousins' three-legged pregnant dog aptly named "Pokey" attempt to run across the yard, and then type. So he finally just entered all my data and now he knows all my passwords. Er, that's probably not going to be a problem, right? Finally we were able to started playing with it. First, the camera:
Is it just me or does my son
resemble Mike Tyson?

Soon I had several apps (for free, because I'm cheap like that) like face-time (!) and twitter (!) and uh, a calculator. And then I tweeted from my Ipod for the first time. My hashtags? #icanttypeonthiscauseimold #oldthubs. Yup, old thubs. Wow. That word speaks so succinctly to my ineptitude.

Somewhere during all of this, that iPod Touch BLEW MY MIND and now I'm addicted and I am imagining all the ways to "iCreate." My brain is totally "glitching out" (son's phrasing again). I'm stuck in app mode and everywhere I look I see possibilities for applications (because that's what apps is short for, I think). Anyway. I forgot where I was going with this. Oh yeah: piggybacks....

Peeps: I love reading your blogs on Saturday morning instead of doing all the things I once did on Saturday mornings:                         . Your clever ideas impress me so. Ideas I can steal use as springboards. Or as I prefer to say: I can piggy-on-the-back of your idea. Already I have a few piggy-back apps inspired by all the time my son and I have wasted since yesterday recording our voices various ways thanks to the "Talking Tom" app.

For example, maybe you, like Charlie (don't worry, not that Charlie) could use what I would call the "Pavlovian Electrical Zap App for Dogs," a simple sound effect that might prevent your dog from burning down your house or at least royally pissing you off. And thanks to Sarah's inspiration, may I present "The Tommy Lee Jones Voice App." Simply record yourself making a commanding command and hear it replayed in Tommy Lee Jones' voice. Voila: instant gravity brought to any situation. And thanks to Duffmano, the "Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest CSI App" could be very useful too if you, like me, have raised brats. 

Now please excuse me while I attempt to bungle my way through changing all my passwords.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

*putting on his patient face for the cameras*
Inside thoughts: I can't wait to get home
and use my *#&@! woodchipper.

Photo from here.
this extreme couponing reality TV star lady (hoarder-in-training) who just bought, among other useful (?) things, 49 mustard squeeze-bottles and 93 boxes of swiffers with some of her 782 coupons.

Just imagine being the seething-inside-with-anger-dude in the check-out line behind her. Almost as bad: being the cashier. Generally even worse: TLC.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wordfuse (Cooking Edition?)

I appreciate instructions, even if they're shitty. (Thanks IKEA!) But cooking is creative right? Right. Therefore why follow a recipe? (Click here if you need an example.)

I'd say a recipe is merely a suggestion. And that's why I'm a recipea-brain. To illustrate, here's my thoughtless process:

1. *Mixes half the ingredients*
2. *scans list of ingredients again* Bummer. We don't have all of this stuff. *shrugs*
3. *improvising* Cumin? Cinnamon? Basically the same right? *shrugs* Worth a try.
4. *tasting final product* This tastes like crap.
5. *announcing to my wife who has heard it all before* I totally ruined this. *inside thoughts: I'm an idiot.* *eats it anyway*

Monday, April 11, 2011

Zoetic: synergy.

I recently discovered this pic. I had no idea a photo had been taken.
I'm happy this moment was captured. A genuine candid moment,
 it's truly one of my favourite moments as a teacher. Makes me
feel proud. 
I wish I could remember what we were discussing.
But really, what does it matter? 

"None of us is as smart as all of us."
~Ken Blanchard

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Wordfuse (Self Sufficient Edition)

It took me years to understand, accept really, that no one was going to hand it to me on a silver platter sterling eating receptacle. So I created my own luck. It's surprising how tenacity, courage and hard work add up to a plucky break, maybe even a plucky streak.

It also took me years to realize that despite all that hard work, I still might fail. And that's okay. See "better pluck next time."

(Now get the pluck out of bed and get going.)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wearing the Pants?

Need new pants?
Or a Halloween costume?
Image from here
My wife is up to her tricks again....

I have this thing about buying new pants. Here’s the problem: I don’t want to.

So I wear my old pants for as long as possible. Two reasons:
1. If I avoid buying new pants for a year sure they may have frayed bottoms and be threadbare here and there but I bet I was able to make an extra mortgage payment or at least pay for my teens’ clothes because let’s face it: clothes labelled TEEN are marked up 50% plus those walking growth-hormones growth-hormone-out-of-them in about fifteen minutes.
2. I’m bigger than my pants. Er, what I mean by that is that I feel that pants are not really that important in the scheme of things. Let me explain.

Of course, sadly, everyone must wear pants: nine months of Canadian winter necessitate pants. But NEW pants? Seriously, what for? No one in the entire world really cares about my pants. Am I right? (Uh oh. I just realized that I made this entire post seem irrelevant and pointless. Oh well. What else is new?) Let’s be honest. I could not tell you one iota of information about any guy I know in terms of his pants. Who notices that stuff? Actually I would notice if they were pink. Or purple. Or orange. These fashion accidents have indeed happened in the past. But you don’t see anyone in those old photos staring and pointing at some other guy’s pants just because they were bright orange. It may be laughable now but back then, no one cared. This further proves my point. Anyway….

I admit that I do notice women’s pants. And sure they look good but you know what? I feel sorry for women. Who is making their pants?! They almost always seem one size too small. And someone cut the tops off them. To compensate (and to avoid plumber’s crack) woman are now forced to wear very long shirts. Ladies: this is what happens when you care too much about pants. Manufacturers start plotting. They start thinking fancy. And you get fancy pants aka messed-up pants. Poor poor women.

This brings me to my wife. Unprompted, she ordered some new pants. For me. I tried them on and they fit. But then I looked at the price. Nixed. I asked her to return them.

But then what happened? SHE BROKE HER MARRIAGE VOWS and did not return those pants. Apparently, she washed them a few times, placed them in my closet and I have been wearing them for months. *duped face*

Do all wives do this?! And does this mean I wear the pants I didn’t know I had in this relationship?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two New Shoes

Nomo mojo?
And no, these are not the shoes.
Yeah. So I bought new shoes. This is rare. 'Cause I'm cheap like that.

I have heard it said, and agree, that one should be careful what one puts between himself and the earth. That's why I have a really quality bed. And a floor. But as for shoes? Well. I've tried expensive shoes. They don't seem to last any longer than cheap ones. Shoes are sort of like movies if you think about it: some cost a lot of money to make but after a couple of hours it's quite clear they weren't worth the money. Case in point: anyone remember Mike Myers' The Love Guru? What a sad, sad day that was for me....

Dear Mike Myers,
Please find your mojo again. Bring back Austin Powers! And Dr. Evil! And Scotty Evil! And Beyonce. And especially bring back Fat Bastard.
a Scottish-Canadian-fan-who's-kinda-fat-but-not-usually-a-bastard

Oh behave. Ahem. Sorry. Where was I?

Anyway. So I bought cheap shoes again: $25. Yeah baby. Yeah! (That's the last one. I promise.) But being the idiot-genius I am there's just one little(r) problem: I bought two different sizes.

Did I mention it took me three days of wearing my new cheap shoes to determine this fact?

As they say, "you never really know why someone walks funny until you walk a mile in his shoes, his two differently-sized shoes." Frick.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Wordfuse (Backstabber Edition)

Don't you hate it when persnickety people, the ones who always whine and complain about the most trivial things, go behind your back to do it? Persnickenshitheads.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Zoetic (Favourite Places)

by E.J. Pratt
It took the sea a thousand years,
A thousand years to trace
The granite features of this cliff,
In crag and scarp and base.
It took the sea an hour one night,
An hour of storm to place
The sculpture of these granite seams

Upon a woman's face.
Upon a woman's face.
Peggy's Cove. Like another planet, without the sci-fi-ness.
Like time traveling. 19th Century anyone?
Peaceful. Singular. Hard to put it into words. Except this: zoetic.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wordfuse (Unhealthy Addiction Edition)

Is this really educational?
Why did people buy tickets to this?

fiascodependent (adj): fiasco + codependent = our modern-day unhealthy (perhaps even addictive?) attachment to narcissistic screw-ups and farce paraded as reality. See Snooki, Charlie Sheen, Teen Moms, et al. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wordfuse (Saturday Night Edition)

It's Saturday night.
Be careful out there peeps.
bona pie-eyed (adj): bona fide + pie-eyed = that moment sometime after several beers and before the leg-wrestling (typical Canadian drinking game) when one realizes he or she is officially drunk

Friday, April 1, 2011

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