Tuesday, November 24, 2009


~ I was attempting to set the record for the world’s longest intermission. I think I succeeded.

~ I have gained almost ten pounds since the spring. This is an amazing feat for me, as I have hovered around the same weight since graduating high school.

~ I will not admit that I am sorry about my lack of updates, but I am.

~ I will not bow to your conventions regarding self-contradiction.

~ I once attended a self-contradiction convention, I had mixed feelings.

~ Ba-domp ching!

~ I actually wrote up another post about a month ago but I never posted it because it was derivative of a lot of earlier work.

~ We are being sprayed for pharoah ants. For some reason the only place I’ve seen them is in the bathroom.

~ Actually, it’s not a spray, it’s poison so that they grab it and die.

~ I scored a minus 4 recently on my fantasy soccer league. I did much better in the weeks that I was not playing.

~ I sent the following text message to my sister, Rachel, recently: “Hey Rachel, I hope school is going well. Don’t talk to strange boys, ok smarty pants?”

~ I received the following response: “Hola John. I hope life is going well. School is good. The language barrier keeps me from talking to strange boys, don’t worry. (I translated that from this normal texting syntax for your benefit: sup. Skul iz gud. I dunno frnch so cant talk 2 craZ bois lolz!)”

~ I have no idea how to respond cleverly to this, if you have any ideas please put them in the comment section below.

~ I think the extra ten pounds may be inhibiting my brain functions.

~ Is there any pizza better than pizza with pineapples on it? I will answer this for you. No, there is not.

~ Sarah Palin makes George W. Bush look smart.

~ Did you know that there are scorpions in Canada? I didn’t, and there are.

~ Guess which province is the culprit? Yeah, that’s right, British Columbia with their mild weather and hippie ways.

~ There is no direct link between scorpions and hippies – THAT WE KNOW OF.

~ Was that dramatic? Did it establish doubt in your mind about possible links between scorpions and hippies? I hope so. I used capitals, and I don’t do that too often.

~ I tried to wash my jacket by hand with detergent and water and now it just smells like a damp coat. I would like to apologize to all of my fellow passengers on the OC Transpo buses for smelling like a damp coat.

~ What does a damp coat smell like? It really is incomparable to any other scents, sorry.

~ I like it when the bus lurches suddenly and the guy leaning coolly against the door gets thrown off balance. Is that bad?

~ This has been a Boerisbwoy joint. Johnny out.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


~ Whaaaaaaaat?

~ Yeah, that's right. It's update time.

~ Just so you know, here are the standings for the blog hits from various countries:
1) Canada (CA) 1,461
2) United States (US) 1,139
3) Netherlands (NL) 165
4) United Kingdom (GB) 133
5) Bahamas (BS) 65
6) France (FR) 42
7) Germany (DE) 41
8) Australia (AU) 37
9) Brazil (BR) 37
10) Italy (IT) 17

~ As you can see, Canada and the United States have a commanding lead. Even if Europe combines its member scores it fails to even match a quarter of Canada's extremely impressive tally.

~ Mongolia is tied for 26th with a bunch of other countries. I was hoping they would do better.

~ I have been trying to scare pigeons away from our balcony for months. Our friend threw water at the pigeons on his balcony and they never came back. I've tried that, but the pigeons are too fast/I'm too slow/the water spills everywhere.

~ I have been married for four years now and I have been with Laurianne for nine years.

~ We broke up once for about a week, but that didn't really work out so well.

~ I saw a woman with a tattoo that said "born to lead." I thought it was funny because she was a fast walker and her boyfriend was a slow walker and she kept having to stop to wait for him to catch up. This is to say that her tattoo was true.

~ I have come to terms with the reality that this summer is simply not going to have a lot of summer weather.

~ Imagine if the woman with that tattoo was struck blind? Then she would have to get a seeing eye dog and her tattoo would seem a little ridiculous in that particular context.

~ Laurianne, ndagukunda cane.

~ My Kirundi really has not progressed.

~ My Arabic has progressed by two words since I started my job. Not bad.

~ One day, I will tie my tie the first time and I will not have to tie it again. This is my dream.

~ I like cheese sandwiches.

~ Good night.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mrs. Z (that's Mrs. Zed, for you Americans)

"She's a bit demanding. You have to know when to say no," she warned me.

She was speaking of Mrs. Z, her former neighbour. Having been entirely to slow in coming up with a reasonably believable excuse, I had just agreed to shovel snow for Mrs. Z.

After the first snowfall, I dutifully knocked on Mrs. Z's door. After several moments, the door creaked open and a short, solid, old woman with striking light-blue eyes could be seen through the crack.

"Oh, my dear, are you John?" Her voice was slightly shrill and she had an accent that I could not quite place.

I confirmed that I was, in fact, John.

"Come in, Come in, I must explain to you how to remove the snow," her hair was grey and white with tinges of light brown.

I leaned my shovel against the wall, not quite sure how complicated snow removal could be.

Mrs. Z first explained that she had been a widow for twenty years, her light-blue eyes looking slightly sad. She was Latvian, her husband had liked to shoot at targets for sport, did I? She was worried about young people breaking into her home, her son lived in Toronto. She explained that the neighbours, who were renting from the woman who had first recommended me for the job, were "nice, but liked to play boom-boom music."

"Please, my dear," she said, "take off your hat."

I took off my touque.

I must explain, that at this point in my young life I had allowed my curly hair to form into dreads. I thought they were rather cool.

"Oh, my dear," she exclaimed, touching a hand to her cheek, "you are wearing the hair, I see the black people wearing this hair. Why are you wearing your hair like this?"

"I like it," I explained.

She did not seem satisfied with my answer, her wrinkles crinkling as her light blue eyes searched my face. When no further explanation came, she moved on to describe her husband's snow shovel.

"I have a snow shovel," I stated.

"Oh yes! I know, my dear, but for scraping the ice you will need this shovel," she nodded gravely, "I am worried about ice, my dear, because I cannot fall down."

"My shovel will scrape the ice, and I don't think there is any today," I reassured her.

"Oh no, my dear, your shovel is plastic. My husband used a metal shovel and he attached some metal to the end so it scrapes very well," she gestured behind her, "I will get you this shovel, don't worry, my dear."

I felt I could not dishonour the hard work her husband had put into making the perfect shovel.

I waited, her house smelled of fish, the air was warm and slightly moist. She emerged several minutes later bearing a red shovel with a grey piece of aluminum welded to the end.

"That's a nice shovel," I commented, not really liking it all that much.

"Thank you, my dear, my husband made it."

I started reaching for the shovel.

"Oh, my dear!" she laughed, "You are rushing so. I have yet to explain how the snow is to be shovelled."

I nodded, "Oh, okay."

She beckoned towards the window, pointing to her porch, "After you shovel, you must sweep . . ."


"Oh, my dear, I will give you a broom," she patted my arm, "You must sweep the porch all along the edges so there is no snow. If the snow melts and freezes it will make ice and I cannot fall."

"So, my dear," she continued, "You must, you must clear the snow all along my pathway. I need a clear path to the sidewalk. Sweep this path after you shovel. Do you understand?"

I nodded.

"You see behind my porch," she arched her hand to indicated the area hidden from our view, "You must remove the snow from this area and put it," she pushed her hands forwards like a bulldozer, "put it to the other side."

"But," she raised her eyebrows seriously, "this pile on the other side of my walk cannot be too tall. I must be able to see the sidewalk."

I began putting my touque back on, as a signal that I was ready to begin shovelling the snow.

"Are you listening, my dear?" she tapped the glass, peering at me seriously with those light blue eyes, "make sure the catchbasin is clear."

"Make sure what?"

"My dear, the catchbasin, on the side of the sidewalk, needs to be clear so that when the snow melts it can travel into the catchbasin."

"The getchbayysun?"

"Yes, my dear, the catchbasin."

"I will remove the snow from the getchbayysun." I was still completely unsure as to what a getchbayysun might be.

"Good," she smiled in satisfaction, "now, on the other side of my driveway, you must not throw the snow onto the lawn of the neighbour, you understand?"

"I can't throw the snow on the neighbour's lawn?" I queried incredulously.

"Yes, my dear, there is a hydro line there. My neighbour, he is not a nice man, he becomes angry when the snow is put there. The city will make him pay the money to remove the snow if something goes wrong with the hydro," she shook her head.

I immediately thought he was, perhaps, a liar. "No snow on that side," I repeated, wondering how this would work logistically.

"Also, remove the snow from in front of the gate so that I can open it to go to my patio."

"Your patio?"

"Oh, yes my dear, the patio must be cleared of snow and ice because I must go to my compass and laundry line."

"Your compass?" I must have been hearing wrong.

She looked at me in surprise, "Your mother, she doesn't have a compass?"

"In the back yard?" I asked, frowning.

"I put my veg-e-tab-les in the compass," she said, "it is good for the soil."

"Oh, yes, we have a compost," I smiled.

She smiled back, but she didn't seem to believe me, her eyes peering at me with careful calculation, "Yes, a compass is very good, I put fish in there as well."

"Now, I will need a pass from the patio to the compass and the laundry line. Also, the window wells must be cleared from the snow so that the damp does not come through the wall," she held my arm as she spoke, the shovel still in her other hand.

I began rubbing my forehead vigorously, a habit I engage in when I am overwhelmed, annoyed, or frustrated.

"But don't worry, my dear," she seemed to perceive my state of mind, "I will explain this to you again after you finish the front."

I noticed a crumb on her chin.

When I finally stepped outside, I used the metal shovel for all of two minutes before it's inability to actually scoop the snow made me thrust it aside. Then, using my plastic shovel, I heaped snow on her neighbour's lawn, vainly searched for the getchbayysun, and piled the snow onto her lawn to a prohibitive height.

"My dear, my dear," she called from the door, "You must flatten this snow in the pile on my lawn. Have you shovelled the sidewalk my dear? What about the catchbasin?"

I carried out her instructions, until she felt the need to take a tour of the work site in order to offer more helpful hints to improve the snow removal.

"My dear, my dear, the snow on my lawn is still too high, you must shovel it to the centre."

I offered a weak objection but tired of her explanation. Eventually I just shovelled the pile into a more even distribution onto her lawn in order to avoid further lectures on the dangers of melting snow.

"My dear, you did not sweep this path to the sidewalk."

I bit my lip, scratching my forehead vigorously.

"I can sweep it tomorrow, my dear," she offered suddenly.

"My dear, you did not open the catchbasin!" - Apparently, a getchbayysun is a storm drain.

After the final inspection she finally called out, "Okay, my dear, you must walk through the house to go to the patio now."

I had arrived at her house at 4:30. When I had finally finished her patio, it was 7:30, I was hungry, cold, and annoyed.

"Thank you very much, my dear," she said as I stood in the kitchen.

"When did you start?" she asked, "how long did you work?"

I frowned, I guess I hadn't started until 5:30 but that was because I listened to an hour of instructions. "Uuh, two hours?"

"How much do I owe you?"

I glanced at my watch, at her clock, at the rows of vitamin capsules on her table. I looked at her light blue eyes, what can you charge an old widow for two hours of work? "ten dollars."

"I will give you eleven," she said, her voice swelling with pride at her generosity.

"Thank you," I mumbled as I fingered the change. She had given me five two dollar bills, bills which had already been out of circulation for about three years at this point.

"You will come next time it snows?" she asked.

"Yes," I said, "I'll be here."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I do not know what to write.
I feel like writing something smart.
Problem: I don't feel particularly smart at the moment.
Of course, this has never stopped me before. Why should it stop me now? One merely needs to examine this blog in order to ascertain that the author is not exactly a gen . . .

"Hold up, hold up."


"Listen, John, we at Boerishbwoy have spent a lot of time trying to establish you as a genius, or have you forgotten due to your complete and total lack of attention to us over the past year?"

Oh come on, complete and total lack of attention is a bit strong, don't you think?

"So is the intense and overwhelming feeling of neglect."

Wait a minute, so you're telling me that my blog has not only developed its own personality, but also a strong grudge towards me?

"You never updated us."

I'm updating you now, aren't I? I've updated you quite a bit over the last while, haven't I?

"It's just a little toooo late."

Are you singing a JoJo song? Honestly, how can anyone take you seriously?

"Italics are for wimpy writers."

You used them.

"We're the resentfully poignant disembodied voice of your blog. We could speak entirely in capital letters and people would weep from the depth of feeling that we communicate."

What does that even mean? And how is that an excuse for using italics? I don't even see anything wrong with italics.

"Maybe we should just get someone else to update us."

This is crazy, I'm arguing with my blog, and my blog thinks it's more than one person. Maybe you should just update yourself.

"Maybe we will. We're much more articulate than you are."


"You're not going to get them with the capital letters, John."


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


~ My mother, father, youngest sister, and her friend came up to Ottawa on a camping trip over my birthday weekend. We went camping with them for my birthday. It used to be a den Boer tradition to be camping during my birthday, it was nice to revisit that tradition.

~ We went to see Ben Harper and Relentless7 at the Bluesfest here in Ottawa. They are relentless, but there aren't seven of them. There are three.

~ If you count Ben Harper as part of Relentless7 then there are more.

~ Our enjoyment was briefly interrupted by a gentleman for whom it might have appeared there were seven people on stage.

~ Bluesfest is great, although there seem to be more late night drunks bellowing from the street below on the weekends. One in particular was looking for Kristen (I heard Gretchen, Laurianne heard Kristen - we'll have to go with Kristen) to open the door for her. Kristen did not open the door for at least forty minutes.

~ I can hear Ice Cube right now. I think he might be angry.

~ I think he might not appreciate the unseasonably cold weather. But I got to say, Ice, at least it's sunny.

~ Thank you for the prayers.

~ I don't know if you've heard, but Michael Jackson has died.

~ I would like at least three scorchingly hot summer days this July. At least three.

~ Remember slap-on bracelets? Those were sweet.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I saw your Jesus

I saw your Jesus on a shirt
beneath a logo that said 'no more hurt'
I wondered aloud what he was worth
'$13.99, plus tax,' replied the clerk

I saw your Jesus the other day
he said the revolution was on its way
as he thrust his fist into the air
and combed a hand through his long blonde hair

I saw your Jesus as he told
his audience of his chains of gold
and how it could be theirs if they just showed
their faith through the seed they sowed

I saw your Jesus on the news
and he said that our nation would lose
unless ungodliness were cut down at the root
and crushed beneath our mighty boot

I saw your Jesus in some books
I thought I'd take a good hard look
chapter 2 was a new revelation on how he could
have been written down and misunderstood

I saw your Jesus, I saw him shine
I say he's yours because he's not mine

Monday, July 06, 2009

When the knife entered his chest, nestling uncomfortably between his third and fourth rib next to what he imagined was a rather important area of his heart, he frowned in consternation. It seemed to him that it was slightly unfair for his life to end so abruptly over what now seemed such a ridiculous issue. He appealed to the higher power whose existence he had previously been sceptical of, but received no response. As he lay in the asphalt, gurgling and clutching his chest in wide-eyed agony he thought of several other responses he could have given those punks. Responses that, most likely, would not have resulted in him having his chest cavity introduced to the long stainless steel blade with the serrated edge. Was it a steak knife? His inner voice laughed sardonically at the idea of gangsters wielding their mother’s steak knives in lieu of more martial blades. The response he had chosen had been pretty clever and he usually did not think of such witty comebacks until at least fifteen minutes after the fact. Of course, his reply was not the sort of wit that was worth risking a mortal wound for the brief joy of its utterance. There were probably few one-liners that were worth that risk, even if one suffered from a poverty of such ingenuity.
He had not thought about death too often in his life. To him, it had seemed a distant destination on a journey with far more interesting things to consider. The girl at the far wall of the club, for instance. He was sure that she had been eying him. He wished he had possessed the courage to approach her and rattle off a clever line so that she would twirl her dark brown hair around her finger, tilt her head, lower her eyes, and smile sweetly. Then she would dance with him and perhaps they could have spent the next day walking her dog in the park — assuming, of course, that she had a dog. He assumed she did. Probably a Pekinese.
What happened now? He wondered how long he had been a stabbing victim. He reckoned that it was anywhere from two minutes to an hour. When he looked up, though, he could still see the retreating backs of his assailants. They had been very generic looking, he observed retroactively. Average height, average build, averagely dressed plain-faced white youths with steak knives slipped into the elastics of their plain grey boxers. One, of course, no longer had his steak knife, which lay precariously in all of the glory of its Chinese manufacturing on the lip of the eaves-trough somewhere above his head. One youth turned his average-looking profile to glance back at him, a look hovering between braggadocio and regret. He felt a sudden rush of anger at having his life stolen by such generic looking white-bread gangsters. If he had been stabbed by some harder looking criminals he would have had a small piece of comfort. These suburban gangsters, who would have had all of their pockets emptied within five minutes of arriving at a real ghetto, were an almost unbearable death. Unbearable death? He decided that any death would have been unbearable at this point. He was too young.
Wow, he had never felt pain like this. He had broken a finger before, but that pain seemed the peep of a small bird compared to this constant roar of pain. He found it immensely difficult to breathe and he was amazed at the amount of blood his wound was able to generate. His head was growing light, a sign of his incoming death, he decided. Perhaps there was an afterlife. His mind was fuzzy, his vision blurry, and he seemed unable to recall the basic lessons of his catechism. TULIP. Total depravity, unconditional something, limited something, irresistible something, and Puh, puh, puh. “The devil with it . . .” he muttered through dry bloodied lips. He found it difficult to continue a sentence he had set out to begin somewhere in his mind. His shoulders were convulsing involuntarily and his legs twitched. A Gordon Lightfoot song was playing in his mind, but without words and just the twang of nonsense words to the sound of discordant guitar. The brain is an incredible organ, he observed numbly.
An incredible organ.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

April 2nd, 2005.*

Paul Martin is Prime Minister of Canada.
Pope John Paul II has died.
G-mail celebrates its first Birthday.

And in a small unassuming unit of a townhouse complex on the West Mountain of Hamilton, university students prepare for a meal. Spaghetti boils on the stove, and several hungry men mill about. Their concentration is broken only by a loud squawk. From whence this squawk?

The source is quickly found.

Perched high on the refrigerator is Bill Bopper**, his stance that of a majestic vulture. As astonished as his friends were, the question remained: what had transformed this young man from a mild-mannered student into a fierce scavenger?

As intelligent as these university students were, they were asking the wrong question. A better question would have been the following: Who exactly is this Bill Bopper?

William Bopper was born September 19th, 1981 to Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Alicia Bopper. As a boy, his parents noticed a strange habit: Bill would circle his food several time before finally eating it. And even when he ate his food, he ate like a bird.***

The peculiar behaviour continued. Once, his mother noted with alarm, a four year old Bill squawking loudly at a brother who had stolen his donut. If only his mother had known the origins of his bizarre behaviour.

July 13, 1984: The Bopper family is camping in a rather idyllic provincial park snuggled next to Lake Ontario. Older brother Shawn has persuaded his sister that a poison ivy plant is, in fact, a salve. While both parents struggle to comfort their weeping daughter and punish their wayward son, young Bill has wandered off down a nearby trail.

Poor Bill is oblivious to the fact that his heavy footfalls have disturbed the peace of a creature that would forever change the direction of his life, a creature whose fate was so closely tied to his own.****

On that fateful July day, Bill disturbs a powerful creature. This creature is . . . *****

Bill Bopper has displayed strange behaviour for quite some time. On July 13th, 1984, Bill Bopper wanders off and disturbs a powerful creature. A gigantic vulture******

On any other day with any other vulture this would have been fine. This vulture, however, was a cantankerous brute who, exiled from his venue*******, had flown wildly off on his own. Once on its own, the bird had madly pursued the notion that there were vast amounts of carrion lodged in the Pickering nuclear facility. The bird, ravaged by hunger, had pecked its way through several feet of cement only to expose itself to deadly levels of radioactivity********. Rather than die of the various cancers that should have infected its body, the vulture became a super beast. Kind of like Spiderman, but a vulture.

Returning to that fateful July day, when Phil disturbs this radioactive vulture. Bill is pecked sharply, drawing blood and indelibly altering Bill's DNA.

When a screeching Bill returns to camp flapping his arms his parents assume it is because he has fallen and cut himself on a rock. If only his parents had known:

Their son was a vulture man.

*This story is meant to be read with a serious deep voice, like that of Peter Mansbridge. If it is read otherwise, its true strength will not be felt.
** Some names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
*** The word bird is meant to be read ominously. Hence, the italics.
**** Now would be a good time to take a break, like a commercial break. It's more dramatic that way. Go get a drink or something.
***** This is sort of like a teaser in between commercials. Take another break. Maybe get a cookie to go with that drink.
****** Remember what was said earlier about italics? It still applies.
******* A group of vultures is called a venue. Unless they're circling, then they're referred to as a kettle.
******** The reporter had trouble with this part of the story, and was forced to manufacture a gap in the story. The vulture pecking through cement made the most sense and was therefore inserted into an otherwise entirely accurate story.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

70 Uses for a Cinder Block

1) Set it on the ground, close your eyes, and wish for other blocks so that you can build a wall.

2) Use it as a paper weight when faced with strong winds.

3) See how far you can throw it.

4) Sit on it.

5) Grind it to dust and throw the dust in the air to test wind patterns.

6) Hold a door open.

7) Break a window.

8) Crush small rodents.

9) Crush big rodents.

10) Set it down vertically and balance on it on one foot like the Karate Kid.

11) Use it as a penitential pillow.

12) Anthropomorphize it, give it a name, and then talk to it after being stranded on a deserted island. If it falls off of your raft while you're trying to escape, that's it though. It's not floating away dramatically, that thing is going to sink.

13) Tie it to your wrist as a reminder of that thing you got to do when you get home.

14) Relieve your itch with its coarse texture.

15) Flatten a pop can.

16) Paint it a pretty colour and then put it on your lawn.

17) Mangle your lawnmower blades on it.

18) Use it as ballast.

19) Ford a creek that happens to be both shallow and narrow.

20) Use it to reach the top shelf.

21) Yes, it can hold up the endtable.

22) Affix it firmly to your copy of any season of a show involving Paris Hilton and throw it into the deepest darkest depths of the ocean.

23) Drop it like it's hot.

24) Use it as a creative muse.

25) Dent your car.

26) Dent someone else's car.

27) Light a match on it.

28) Imagine how it would sound if it were rubbed against a blackboard.

29) Use it to keep your place in a book.

30) Put soil in it and grow flowers out of it.

31) Lift it repeatedly to gain muscle strength.

32) Create an obstacle for would-be thieves.

33) Rest your drink on it.

34) Store your collection of shiny objects inside of it.

35) Pulverize anthills.

36) Use it as a soapbox. As in a stage for a speech, not a box for your soap.

37) You can also store your soap in it if your want to.

38) Throw it in a bog and then imagine an archaeologist getting excited about it in 2,000 years.

39) Use it as a goalpost for your pickup soccer game.

40) Crack open walnuts.

41) Use it as a bookend.

42) Dangle it from your rearview mirror.

43) Write your thesis on the influence it has had on postwar suburban American architectural angst.

44) Put in a cardboard box.

45) Put your car in drive and place it on your gas pedal.

46) Play catch with it.

47) Use it to break a hole in the ice so you can fish or swim or whatever.

48) Karate chop it in twane.

49) Submit it to the National Art Gallery of Canada.

50) Take blurry photographs of it and submit it to the National Art Gallery of Canada.

51) Launch it from a catapult to, uh, knock down a wall or something.

52) Knock down a wall with it.

53) Grow your MiracleGro grass on it like on the infomercial.

54) Wrap it up and give it to your unsuspecting cousins for Christmas.

55) Donate it to your neighbour.

56) See how far you can slide it across the ice.

57) Use it as a keychain.

58) Grind your coffee beans.

59) Use it as a writing surface.

60) Tenderize your steak.

61) Leave at least one corner of your wheel-less car on blocks.

62) Use it to mash your bananas. You can mash your potatoes with it as well.

63) Create a large splash.

64) Use it as a starting point for questioning reality.

65) Compare it to the brain of the person you are debating.

66) Use it as a highly ineffectual hiding place.

67) Use it lieu of a front step.

68) Use it as an object lesson.

69) Think of it as your life, heavy and burdensome but highly useful in certain situations.

70) Use it as an inspiration for meaningless metaphors.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"How are you?"

"Oh, I'm fine. If fine means horrible."

"Your pleasure depends on one word's definition?"

"No, it depends on you being silent."

"So, if I talk you're fine?"

"No, vice versa."

"You're fine if I talk? I don't see the difference."

"No, I'm fine if you button it."

"Button what? My jacket?"

"No, zip it."

"My jacket doesn't have a zipper."

"Shut it."

"It is shut. It has buttons for that very purpose."

"I said don't talk."

"I don't remember you saying that."

"Can it."

". . . can it what?"

"Be quiet."

"Why, yes, a jacket with buttons can be a lot quieter than one with a zipper."

". . ."

"So, how are you?"


"Oh really? Why?"

"I'm talking to you."

"I know, but why do you feel horrible?"

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Fast Food: A True Story

As I was waiting in line at a local fast-food restaurant yesterday, a portly gentleman came and stood behind me. He eyed the line with a look of grave distaste and shook his head.

"Is this the line to order?" he gestured at the line of people waiting to order their food.

I looked at the line of six or seven people who were obviously waiting to order their food.

"No, this is the line for the washroom," is what I would have said if I had wanted to start a fight. Instead, I said, "Yes, it is."

His hands fluttered into the air in disgust, "Screw this," he huffed and then stormed out of the restaurant.

"If you lack the patience to wait in line for a hamburger for five minutes, then you have to ask yourself if you really are hungry after all!" I would have shouted after him if I had wanted to pass along some unsolicited advice. Instead, I kept my place in the queue while I counted the tiles on the floor.

Friday, May 29, 2009


~ I'm back this time, I really am.

~ No, really, I'm back. For real.

~ Remember when I didn't post anything? Well, now I'm posting things again.

~ This is coming rather late in the game, but my mother has published a book and also has her own blog: here. The book is called Blooming and is about a Christian woman's spiritual journey. One of the main characters in her book is named Paul, a likable chap who seems both witty and highly employable. If I have one criticism for the book it is that this character has very few lines despite his obvious genius.

~ Don't you hate it when people use clichés like "late in the game"?

~ Don't you hate it when someone tries to get you to agree to a statement by prefacing it with the phrase "don't you hate it when?"

~ I just learned that the reason honey is so easy to digest is that it has already been digested by bees. Makes sense.

~ Laurianne says hi.

~ Actually, she doesn't. She's not here right now, but I would imagine that she would say hi if I asked her to.

~ If any of my readers remember, I used to refer to my horribly disfigured fingernails a lot. Good news, the doctor claims that they should be growing normally by July. Then you never have to hear about them anymore.

~ Unless you want me to. I could write a story about my horribly disfigured fingernails every week if you wanted me to. I really could.

~ Linda and Rachel visited us about four weeks ago. We had a wonderful visit and Linda seemed a lot more like her old self. We went to Don Cherry's for Breakfast and I was amazed at how much Linda could eat. Apparently her nickname around her house is the "garburator." This was given not because she eats garbage, but because she eats a lot of leftovers . . . I think.

~ I have another sister who is famous around my former home for eating some butter that had been discarded into the garbage can. If life were fair, she would be the one called the garburator.

~ Blogger is insisting that I have spelled garburator incorrectly, but after using an online dictionary I believe this is just another case of my vocabulary being more extensive than Blogger's.

~ Here's a quotation that made me think: "Government is an institution that prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself" - Ibn Khaldun.

~ I missed this.

~ This, as in posting things on my blog.

~ A special shout-out to all Peter Tosh fans out there.

~ Quoting from Ibn Khaldun almost made it sound like I was poring over his works and came across that quotation and simply had to write it down. If you want to think that, it's fine with me.

~ Am I the only one who thinks the fact that Beyoncé has an alter-ego named Sasha Fierce is pretty funny? I mean, she presumably sat down, thought up the name Sasha Fierce, and then proceeded to think it was an awesome name to give her alter-ego.

~ My alter-ego's name is Patrick Smith. He's just a regular guy.

~ I doubt many of this blog's readers are fans of Beyoncé. If you are, please comment and I will give a name along with a description of your alter-ego.

~ If you are not a fan of Beyoncé you can still comment, and you can have a cookie. Look in your cupboard, they're probably there.

~ Song of the Moment: Ron Sexsmith - All in Good Time

Monday, May 25, 2009

She walked with a slight shuffle, her long pleated dress swishing against the backs of her round calves. Her curly hair was black but had a purplish tinge when it caught the light a certain way, betraying the dye she used every month. She wore a pair of thick glasses affixed to a chain hanging limply around her shoulders.

"Look who I brought home!" her son announced in semi-triumph.

Her laughlines crinkled as she smiled at her grandson sitting on the couch, "Hi Michael!"

Michael sat stonily on the couch, fiddling obsessively with a small electronic gadget that remained completely alien to her.

"Say hello to grandma, Michael," her son admonished.

She lowered herself slightly, clutching her purse and the precious card she had picked for him that morning. She readied herself for the hug she had been anticipating all week.

Michael's eyes flickered in a moment lazy recognition. "Hello," he mumbled in disinterest.

"Happy Birthday!" she waved the card slightly. It had been too much to hope for a hug, but at least she could have a somewhat enthusiastic reaction. She recalled how her children would wait at the window for hours before the expected arrival of their grandparents.

Michael raised the electronic gadget higher, closer to his furrowed brow.

Her son chuckled, "he loves that thing."

She stood for several long seconds, unsure what to do, "Happy Birthday," she repeated, her voice shrill in her ears.

"Michael, grandma said something to you," her son laughed as if this were just another case of boyish mischief.

Michael nodded absently, "thanks gramma." He tilted the object in his hands and muttered something about one more.

"One more what, dear?" she set her purse on the coffee table and slowly lowered herself onto a chair opposite her grandson.

"One more figibblet before I power up," Michael mumbled, turning his body slightly away from her.

"A figibblet?" she queried, "is that some kind of alien?"

"Nooo," he snorted scornfully with a peel of high-pitched laughter.

She smoothed her dress and peered at her son, hoping for help. But he had become absorbed with his own electronic gadget, carefully fidgeting with the keypad, a look of vacant amusement on his face.

"Michael," she called, as she fingered the envelope with the card. She had arrived at the store at 8:30, unaware that it did not open until 9:00. She had waited patiently for half an hour before a mopey woman with entirely too many ear piercings had sleepily unlocked the sliding barrier and opened the store.

Michael was unresponsive, his thumbs moving with lightning speed as his eyes stared at the small screen in front of him.

"It's my grandson's birthday," she had proudly told the clerk.

The clerk had smiled superficially and had said with veiled apathy, "isn't that nice?"

She had caught the apathy, but had merely smiled as if she were oblivious to it.

"He's turning eleven," she had offered brightly.

"The birthday cards are in that aisle," the clerk had gestured lackadaisically in their direction.

"Thanks pumpkin," she had offered. Pumpkin, oh how she had relished the grimace of distaste from the mopey hipster at the sound of that word.

"Got it," grunted Michael in semi-triumph.

"You got the fuzzgublet?" she queried.

"What the heck is a fuzzgubblet?" snickered Michael. He glanced at her with a strange grin on his face. "You don't know anything, gramma!" he snickered, the word gramma laced with childish derision.

Whatever a fuzzgubblet was, she suddenly had a strong desire to strike him soundly on the bottom with one.

She had carefully perused the cards. Some were silly, illustrated with horribly garish cartoon characters. Others were too serious, as if the eleventh birthday of a child were a sobering milestone on the journey of life. She had quickly thrust a particularly obscure card with strange and silly text back onto the shelf. She had glanced at the clerk who was peering out the window in a fit of hip boredom. She had smiled to herself and immediately decided that the clerk's equally dull and mopey boyfriend had authored that card.

She adjusted the envelope in her hands, holding it up so that Michael could see if he just looked away from his screen, "I have a card for your birthday, Michael. Why don't you open it up?"

"Just a sec," Michael grunted in minor annoyance.

"Now, Michael," his father said, thrusting his own gadget into his pocket, "you need to put that away now."

"Five more miiinutes," whined Michael, "hold your horses."

Michael's father reddened slightly, and then laughed, looking at his mother as if this were a shared joke.

She smiled thinly and almost told her son what a horrible father he was. Instead, she tried to think of an interesting question to ask about his banal accounting job. Just as she opened her mouth, he stirred from where he had been standing in his fidgety way.

"Sorry mom, I have to make a phone call. I'll be right back," he walked away hurriedly, leaving her with Michael.

"Alright dear," she called to his retreating back.

She sat quietly, running her fingers over the envelope. She peered at her grandson.

"Did you get that thing for your birthday, Michael?" she asked gingerly.

"No, I had this for a long time. I got a new game," he said, "but I am beating this one first."

"That's nice," she offered, "what else did you get?"

Michael sighed in exasperation, finally putting down the gadget in resignation, "Gramma, I can't concentrate when you talk to me."

She had been happy when he was born, she told herself. She really had.

"What else did you get?" she asked.

"The new Zugamatchi movie, headphones, and a funky Freddy t-shirt," he tilted his head backwards, looking directly at the ceiling as he recited the list in a bored monotone.

She nodded, fairly certain that she did not care to know what a Zugamatchi was or who funky Freddy might be, "Would you like to see what Grandma got you?"

He stood up, stretching his lanky frame lethargically and then shuffling over to where she sat.

Pam, from Scrabble night, had a cute little grand-daughter in ballet. Theresa, her neighbour for thirty years, had five grandchildren who would probably all have doctorates in nuclear physics to hear her go on about it. She had Michael.

He snatched the envelope from her hands, ignoring the immaculate cursive writing, "to my favourite grandson." She had won awards for her penmanship in elementary school.

After nearly half an hour of carefully looking at the cards, she had finally settled on card decorated with a romanticized painting of a tallship. "Sailing on into the future . . ." was written on the outside. Inside were the simple words, "Happy Birthday, grandson."

"Are you sure?" the clerk had pronounced snidely before ringing her purchase in.

"I'm sure, sweetie-pie," she had grinned.

At home, she had written out her ideas three times on a scrap piece of paper before carefully penning a message of love, advice, and hope for her grandson.

He ripped the envelope open diagonally, pulling the card out carelessly. He opened it, ignoring the script, his eyes following the money that fluttered to the ground.

"Ten dollars?" he queried.

"Wow," he said, "I'm glad I stopped for that."

Suddenly, in her mind, her grandson's face was transfigured into the face of the mopey clerk.

She stood, smiling benevolently at her grandson, "You're welcome, pumpkin." She gathered her purse, and shuffled quickly out of the house, her pleated skirt swishing wildly against her round calves.

She would take the bus home.

Who deh?