Archive for May, 2010
Monday, May 31st, 2010
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Although my 16 years of forced piano lessons have yet to land me a multi-million dollar record deal, ultimately it was my time spent as a chubby, polyester wearing cub scout and their renown motto that would inadvertently save me from the dark cloud of in-laws that would swoop into my one bathroom, 3 bedroom house last long weekend. Allow me to repeat the seriousness of this nature; 6 adults of varying ages and appetites and only one toilet to share. Please, read on as I divulge the details on the deconstruction of my cardboard fort, a hidden room in my house until it suffered an untimely but inescapable death.
Just like that Imhotep dude who created the Egyptian Pyramids, I too had concocted a pyramid, but of the cardboard kind, engineered and erected in the disco themed dwelling of my basement. Built in the late spring of 2008, the Cardboard Fort, which will be referred to as CF for the duration of this column, originally served no purpose other than a means to store and stack only the best of the best of moving boxes. Much like the high end granite and limestone used to create those stone homes for the pharaohs, if you’ve ever up-rooted your life you can appreciate what it means to be in possession of an army of well shaped and reinforced cardboard boxes. Like a treasure chest with no map, the CF was made to look exactly like a wall of boxes but behind those boxes was a space large enough for yours truly and the best part of the CF is that nobody had a box cutting sniff that such a fort even existed. The CF would even undergo a series of renovations in the following months, including the addition of a single 30 watt light bulb, a 5 watt radio and a two dollar footstool however it’s true magic resided in the walls themselves.
The CF provided shelter from the social evils of the world, like an impromptu visit from the Lawdy Mama’s bff. My Scout leader would have been proud for I was prepared for anything that required the use of an instant exit like the time I needed to ‘disappear’ after purchasing a lawn mower and not discussing such an investment beforehand or refuge from the time I used our holiday money on my Road King. Impervious to a plethora of delicate situations, the CF’s defenses were susceptible to a surprise attack when it was announced my mother-in-law was moving and required the use of top quality moving boxes. Ironically, had I used low grade building materials, the CF could still very well be standing today after deflecting an in-law ambush of the motherly kind.
So as I begrudgingly disassemble what remains standing of my fortress of solitude, my thoughts once again are flooded with those two simple words that still serve me ever so well in these times of adulthood, ‘be prepared’. And until I’m hired out as a mediocre ivory tickler, keep me in mind should you ever require a corrugated cardboard engineer or someone to pull off an adequate rendition of the theme from ‘Cheers’, ‘Mash’, or ‘Hill Street Blues’.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
While cleaning up my camera, I came across this very short and unedited video clip of my camping trip to Drumheller a couple of weeks back. More proof that it’s a good thing I didn’t get into videography or cinematography or whatever the pros call it. Watch at your own risk.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
Turns out my camera has an option to take videos. Here’s 45 seconds of less than mesmerizing film.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Talked to a caller yesterday who called me out in yesterday’s blog about the picture of my steak and think I didn’t cook it on an open fire. Fortunately, I had some time on my hands and took a picture of my camping meal while I waited for that fire to do it’s thing because as they say, a picture does paint a thousand words.
Now it wasn’t all cooking and eating; the following picture was taken last weekend at Dinosaur Provincial Park after some of the crew met me halfway.
Monday, May 17th, 2010
Unlike last year when I couldn’t find a campground for May long, I went a week ahead of the rush and it was FANTASTIC, to say the least. I found myself in and around the Drumheller/Patricia area of our province and here’s a couple of pictures as evidence.
Here you’ll notice my supper that was cooked over an open fire, except the potato salad of course. And if you look extra hard, you’ll see the lip of my brewski is pretty jagged looking which made for interesting consumption. And if you look extra, extra hard, you’ll notice my dinner is being served on a magazine.
Here’s a view of the campsite from a campground in Rosedale. In the distance you’ll see some of the hoodoos and in front of that is the Red Deer river whose night sky would become littered with bats and a very cool way to spend an evening.
And this final picture was taken with the help of the timer on my camera and an upside down garbage can.
Friday, May 14th, 2010
The snow has vanished, (unless your eye bulbs gaze towards the Cypress Hills), the wind is tolerable and the sun is shining.
Unless like last year when I had no choice but to camp in my garage because camping sites were impossible to find on May long, I’m heading out one weekend earlier this year.
The Road King has been ‘Purple Sliced’, my tent has been febreezed and effective at the crack of noon tomorrow, I have intentions of eating up some miles. With no certain destination in place, I’m leaning towards the secondaries of Drumheller although I’ve also been eyeing up a couple of highways towards the Waterton Park area as well.
Either way, this province has the best pavement in Canada and I plan on using that black-top to my full advantage.
Thursday, May 13th, 2010
Here at the World Headquarters, we recently got to experience the after effects of a ‘feel good’ rocket when we launched a brand new ride into the young digits of a 19 year old Joel Higgins which means he longer has to cruise the Gas City streets in a car older than the mystery meat in a swingin’ single’s bachelor pad. It’s uncommonly rare to brag about the new station wagon with the diamond encrusted steering wheel and gold plated tachometer and yet in some form of twisted irony, it’s your first vehicle that is often the fuzzy dice centerpiece of rumpus room chitter chatter. That Galaxie 500 that’s been in your family longer than an in-law’s surprise visit may have only cost you 150 bucks but it’s the five hours of scrabble time you had to endure with Uncle Manny before he handed over the keys that makes you cringe and not necessarily the four unmatched tires and rims, three of which had slow leaks.
My 1977 Dodge half-ton boasted several custom features like a one of a kind two tone paint job; rusted orange and faded orange. Like a pilot walking around his plane on pre-flight, my three-in-the-three, armstrong steering people mover was also susceptible to a walk around prior to lift off. If the several pieces of cardboard strategically placed under the guts of my truck weren’t in possession of any fresh stains, you could by-pass the barrel of 10W30 and transmission fluid altogether, meaning a guy was ready to eat up some miles as soon as the battery charger worked its magic. While the keys had been lost before Kojak lost his hair, a simple butter knife or jackknife would fire up the engine. Assuming that’s the only part of the truck on fire, it was this serious lack of a security flaw of why the ‘pumpkin’ as I lovingly referred to it, would randomly disappear only to re-appear in the parking stalls of the local RCMP detachment, courtesy of my pal Scooter and his pal, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver.
The pumpkin was also a deal maker or breaker when it came to the ladies and if I give it a moment’s reflection, it’s extremely safe to bet on the ‘breaker’ part of that sentence, especially after explaining to your date that the broken hockey stick wrapped in electrical tape clunking around in the box was part of the pumpkin’s took kit. I called it my ‘magic stick’ and it was the perfect length to beat the hell out of the linkage when the pumpkin would get caught between gears 1 and 2. And as far as I’m aware, it’s the only vehicle I know that had a reverse sun-roof and while some would be inclined to call it a 2 foot gaping hole in the floorboards, when used in conjunction with the magic stick, I called it ‘positive marketing’.
Ultimately, it’s the junkers of the automobile world that are very similar to human beings. We all start off with that new car scent but over time our warranty runs out, our paint job fades and we don’t ride as smooth as we used to. Our engines may not have the power they once did and we’re covered with nicks and scratches and we don’t opt for the deluxe carwash as often as we should or could but therein lies the character and personality that only a clunker and it’s owner can appreciate.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Caught a guy shoplifting on the weekend and the moral dilemma I faced was whether to rat him out or not. Much older than myself (I’m no spring chicken) and much better dressed (which doesn’t say much about my wardrobe), I saw this dude pocket a socket into his man-purse.
When we put the question to our listeners, it would appear the majority have shoplifted something in their life, usually happening while they were a bunch of youngsters, and I too would fall into that category. I was such a bad shoplifter that my first time out ended up with several community hours and my first probation officer.
Ultimately, I’d like to think that we’re still a society that can police itself, to a point anyway and at the end of the day, it all comes down to karma, doesn’t it?
Thursday, May 6th, 2010
While this is only pure speculation, I’m convinced the Milky Way Galaxy and everything in it, including our blue planet, was created for the sole purpose of celebrating Momma’s Day. No one ever makes reference to ‘Father Nature’ or ‘Father Earth’ and for good reason; even the powers that be know better than to tick off an angry mom. Whoever said that ‘you can’t put a price on love’ obviously never had to suffer the wrath of a forgotten mother post Mother’s Day because that price is often fatal. Deadlier than the stone stare of Medusa and more venomous than a rattler without the rattle, I’ll take my chances forgetting the Lawdy’s Mama’s birthday and anniversary if it means not suffering the remorse that only a Mom can deliver should one fail to deliver the goods on a day more important than confederation.
The reinforcement and conditioning of Mother’s Day begins at school and if you give it a little thought, it’s my understanding that half of the school year curriculum is spent preparing for such a momentous event. Compare this to Father’s Day which usually entails 32 seconds of some pinecones being glued to a hunk of wrinkled construction paper and it’s blatantly obvious what parent runs not only runs the family but the cornerstone of our education system. But it goes much deeper than that and while the following is only a theory that was penned on a stained napkin, I think it’s more than coincidence when we call upon our ecosystem as ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Mother Nature’ and likewise, Dads get stuck with the less-than-catchy handles of ‘Father Time’ and ‘Old Man Winter’. Even those prone to cursing like a sailor pay their respects by sometimes incorporating a ‘mother’ before using the queen of all curse words, if you catch my shady drift.
Keeping in mind that if you were to pay your mom for services which include, psychologist, chef, chauffeur, janitorial engineer, computer operator, ambassador to the in-laws, doctor, day care centre teacher and so on, you’re looking at $122, 932 per year. So unless you don’t mind writing Mom a rubber check; 5 bucks, some preventative maintenance and a singing Mother’s Day Card will not only ensure you get gravy on your mashed potatoes when Thanksgivings rolls around, it will literally save you from a lifetime of hauling around a suitcase full of Mom Guilt.