Thursday, June 12, 2014

Observations Regarding New Home Water Closet after One Week of Occupancy (of the new home, not just the bathroom).

- My bathroom fixtures were designed for people four feet tall, not my towering 6’3” For instance, the toilet comes up to the middle of my shins, meaning when I am seated thereon I must part my knees, like bamboo in the jungle, in order to see straight ahead. I call this fixture the Shin-high Shunker, which would make an amusing rock band name (“Eric Clapton and the Shin-high Shunkers, ladies and gentlemen!!”)

- The sink comes up to my knees and is what my chin rests upon when seated on the toilet. When brushing my teeth or performing other sinkish ablutions I must either stand sideways to spit, or straddle the terlet with my Great Behind touching the back wall, in order to facilitate bending from the waist. I may take up ballet in order to plie elegantly to a spitting posture. I suppose, with practice, I could try gobbing my minty-fresh effluent from the doorway, but my marksmanship has eroded over time so I will just have to make do. 

- There is no exhaust fan, resulting in a buildup of steam during showers. There can also be a buildup of floral and other aromas, which have rendered me unconscious from time to time. When asked by roommates why I’m wearing a painter’s respirator in the bathroom I tell them I am allergic to the lilacs outside the open window.

- The shower is good! Particularly since the nozzle is higher than my nipples, a rare treat for tall guys in most homes and hotels. If I may boast for a moment, I once won the Moose Jaw Cleanest Nipples Award due to a dreadful shower in my tiny apartment there. As you may have surmised, there are not a lot of exciting things to do in Moose Jaw. The trophy is interesting, as was the judging.

Simple Rules for Being a Professional Tour Guide

Based on a true story.

1. Always read your passenger manifest CAREFULLY, as this indicates who should be picked up where, and in what order.
2. Failing to read the manifest carefully may result in you departing a hotel with only three guests instead of the desired five.
3. In the event of 2 (above), wait for the cell phone in your pocket to begin ringing frantically as you cruise over the bridge to your next stop. This ringing is caused by the company owner frantically calling to say you’ve forgotten to pick up two guests, who are ringing her phone frantically to complain. Since you are a professional driver, you ignore this frantically ringing telephone while driving frantically.
4. Also ignore the constant bonging of your cell phone as eleventy hundred text messages are received on the same subject.
5. Finally answer your telephone and have the already-boarded guests grow alarmed at the rapid departure of blood from your face as the (really bad) news is received.
6. The unsightly shade of grey your face has become indicates you are in for a very long day, most likely without gratuities or happiness of any kind. Actual work may also be involved.
7. By cornering on two wheels and successfully evading police pursuit, get to previous stop in record time to pick up forgotten guests.
8. Grovel in unmanly fashion to forgotten guests, apologize profusely for mistake, blame foreign guests in back who speak little English and who will spend the day wondering why forgotten guests keep giving them dirty looks.
9. Ignore unsightly shade of grey on faces of already-boarded and now violently car-sick guests.
10. If access to powerful narcotic injections is limited or unavailable, commence pouring wine into guests to dull their memory of the Notable Event.
11. Skillfully make up time by abbreviating commentary to only the highlights, in following order: Funny joke. Funny joke. Apology for incompetence. Funny joke. Inject narcotics into thigh of front seat passenger. Funny joke. Name of next winery. Something about Pinot Noir. Groveling. Funny joke. Next stop.
12. When subject of gratuities comes up at the end of the tour, gratefully pay them to the guests in exchange for TripAdvisor reviews which ignore the Notable Event
13. After refueling and cleaning vehicle, consume with shaking hands the balance of narcotic supply and/or wine.
14. Carefully, and I mean carefully, study manifest for tomorrows tour.
15. Re-stock medications just in case.

Monday, April 21, 2014


It is forever burned into my memory…

The end of the weekend with my kids, we had an hour left. Off to the beach we go…

Early season, cold water. Doesn’t matter – off come my daughter’s shoes and off she goes – running, splashing, laughing.

The sun setting behind her, I stare in awe at her silhouette, smiling. My precious baby, now a tall and gorgeous young woman, looking for all the world like a frisky gazelle finding its legs, transitioning from an awkward fawn into a laughing and prancing vision of grace and joy. Oblivious to the world, absorbed in the moment of just being free. Beautiful.

I know there will be more sights like this to treasure, but if in the grand scheme of things I ever know the exact time of my passing from this world, it is this vision which I will choose to have in my head as I go.

My child. Laughing, loving life, being free and wonderful, dancing and splashing in the setting sun.

And if this vision of my daughter is the last sight I hold in my darkening mind, let my ears ring to the sound of my son’s laughter.

Let me hear his warm and expressive and infinitely kind voice resonate in my remaining world. Let the last thing I hear be his inquisitive mind beginning a sentence with the word I most love to hear…


I have no money and few possessions, but I am a very rich and thankful man.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cat Scratch Fever

Once upon a tyme in a far-offe suburb of Kelowna, there livved a Large Man who was very poore after his marriage was smited, but who lived in a nice basemente for cheape, verily.

And lo did he share the cheape basemente with a tattoo parlor in his living roome, and a younge Family upstairs who have TWO cattes, whose visits didde fill the Large Man with Joy and comfort and Great Waddes of cat haire in his foode and beverages. He did not minde the haires, since he didde NOT have to scoope up catte doots from litter, forsooth, nor did he have to tidy up the hacked Furballs, nor their barf, nor feede them nor tayke them to the vettes ha ha ‘twas great, he thought.

One of the cattes is striped and is Parte TIGER from a far away lande, people say, and the TIGER cat does tende to yammer loudly like a smalle human Childe, forsooth, whiche can be disconcerting in the middle of the Nighte, lette me telle you.

So on this day, the Large Man of the Basement did wish to graspe the SOFT Blankie from his Bedde, so as to Warme his Footies or the footies of his Childe. But lo, there was a small TIGER resting upon said Blankie, verily, so the Large Man didde what any Large Man would do, and proceeded to pick up said TIGER in his gentle hands, thinking it woulde be nice to gently place said feline upon one of his restinge children for their warmth and comforte.

Forsooth did the Large Man learn that the TIGER from a far away lande did NOT wishe to be handled in the slightest, or anywhere else, and the TIGER did TELLE the Large Man thus by the swift and effective slashing at his face and arms and handes and necke and eyes and His Genitals, verily, with his VERY SHARPE claws whiche were at leaste a FOOT long I tell you truthfully.

And a loud SHRIEKING was heard upon the land by the Children of the Large Man, tho it is not known whether it was the TIGER or the Large Man who didst yell the loudest, tho verily it was the blood of the Very Large Man that did Haemorrhage out from his person in Great Gouts from the cuttes upon his cheeke and lip and necke and cheste and belly and Scrotum, verily. For tho the Large Man had pretty muche decided on Nay further children, lo did the TIGER permanently make up his minde for him by vasectomizing his person with his clawes and possibly teeth in the blinke of an eye as the catte didde Plummet, verily.

Forsoothe is the Large Man walkinge in a funny fashion nowe, and the Large Man contemplates his bandages, and the suffering he will endure from the taype which holdes them in playce upon his hangdownes and tackle, for verily he shoulde have shaved the forlorne area before placing the sticky taypes there, but forsooth did he fret more about the shayving than the Catte, didde he, so he didde notte.

This May be more information than ye wished to knowe aboute Catte scratches, verily.

The Ende.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I've been meaning to tell you how, apropos of my ongoing lunatic behaviour(s), I recently climbed up Knox mountain twice. It was a nice day, and it just seemed to be the right thing to do. I'm sure Hitler and other despots were guided by this same lack of foresight, but I was considering athletic achievement and not Poland, so lighten up.

I had trudged up the first time in my usual delicate manner, scattering birds, people and other wildlife with my delicate, size 16 clod-stomping footwear.

Upon reaching the summit, once the other climbers had stopped screaming at the sight of me spraying sweat like a garden sprinkler, I realized I felt pretty good. No major arteries had burst in my chest cavity for once, spraying around like an unattended fire hose, so the idea of doing it again just seemed to take hold. (Those with a good memory may recall how I once climbed up Grouse Grind 5 times in one day, having employed a similar lack of rationality).

Got to the bottom just fine, unloaded some of the Wilderness Necessities from my backpack (42-inch television, case of highway flares, outboard motor), quaffed some water with my usual flair and elan, and set off again up the hill.

Along the way I must have turned my usual shade of Hideous Purple (now available at Benjamin Moore outlets), since I got some strange looks from people.

“That is the largest red grape I’ve ever seen…Oh! Excuse me!” said one chap.

One family thought I looked like a beloved television character.

“Look Mom! It’s Barney! He's blotchy!” said a kid.

Like parents everywhere with a deep and abiding hatred for the annoying purple dinosaur, Mom and Dad began arming themselves as I gallomped daintily away. “You get the club, Doris. I’ll kill it with fire…”

So up the hill I aorted, my wheezing gasps mimicking the sound of an air raid siren (briefly causing a platoon of soldiers to man their ack-ack guns), but beyond that I felt fine.

The warm sunshine was the perfect accompaniment to the sound of my tendons snapping on the descent, and the radiant heat from my thighs did start a few brush fires, skilfully extinguished by the lactic acid spurting from my well-developed musculature.

Poland (excuse me!) HIKE, anyone?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

So! How's your week so far?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Farmers Market

The kids and I attended the local Farmers Market today, since you can never get enough Natural, Vegan, Organic, Free-Range, Hemp, Granola and Bark Mulch-based tie-died t-shirts sold by aging hippies from Nelson wearing knitted hats and body odor.

Since I tend to swim against the stream, I also bought a loaf of full fat, all-the-gluten bread containing every food dye and carcinogen known to science, from a very lonely but satisfied-looking vendor in a far corner of the parking lot, and it was the best bread ever.

I made toast, slathered in deadly margarine, and I liked it.

I may be arrested.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Fantasies Most Foul!

I don’t know about you, but some of my best daydreams consist of plotting sinister and often violent revenge against those who annoy me. Sadly, most of these dreams remain unrealized.

One of my more enduring and wonderful criminal fantasies began to take shape after I moved into my new home.

I was enjoying a delicious and well-earned Saturday morning sleep-in when my charming neighbour decided to spark up his electric weed whacker and noisily trim his lawn.

Did I mention it was 5:00am? It was 5:00am.

His trimmer sounded like a mosquito the size of a Volkswagen, and my (open) bedroom window faces the small plot of land upon which he focused his oblivious, whacking energies.

Instead of my delicious sleep-in, I stood at my window and, with spittle flying and eyeballs bulging, vocally expressed my extreme displeasure at his actions (“Excuse me? Would you mind turning off your machine please? I’m trying to sleep! Thank you!”)

This shamefully un-Canadian outburst gave me some satisfaction, but sadly he did not wither beneath my stream of vitriol. He is deaf - a condition brought on by prolonged, unprotected weed whacking, or being bashed in the head by temporarily insane neighbours armed with two-by-fours and garden implements.

I lay back down and twitched in the fetal position, plotting and scheming as my mind raced with various plans (most involving clubs with enormous spikes through them) for ending my neighbour’s wretched, miserable, and annoying life.

I mean really. It was 5am for Pete’s sake.

I have a different annoying neighbour who smokes, you know.

Normally I wouldn’t care about this, but this other soon-to-be-maimed victim (in my dreams, at least) emerges from his lair very early each morning, lights up a cigarette, then spends the next ten minutes loudly hocking up lung-slugs the size of turnips by the sound of it.

His dreadful and tortured coughing is, I admit, performed with considerable artistry.

He begins by inhaling great rattling lungful’s of tobacco smoke, rich with impurities and tar, deep into his chest, past his internal organs and swallowed metal objects, and buries the cloud down near his shins.

Thus stimulated, his wracked and quivering anatomy emits a ghastly rumbling sound, similar to an Italian earthquake, or a train shunting oil cars, or Senator Duffy pushing his chair back from a dining table.

This cavernous thunder dislodges great chunks of quasi-solid material from the walls of his blackened lungs, chunks which coalesce into the thick mucous magma about to erupt volcanically from his esophagus in a cloud of tobacco ash and super-heated sputum. (Warning! Do not attempt metaphors like this without proper literary supervision. I am a trained professional).

The actual cough begins somewhere below his knees, rippling upwards with dreadful speed and ominous sound, then bursts forth in a spray-laden blast which darkens the landscape in a fan-shaped arc covering several hectares (I have seen the aerial photographs).  

Purple head now between his knees, dentures blown out and neck veins distended, his tortured lungs then reverse the process and create a powerful vacuum into which vast amounts of air, leaves, tree branches and gravel are sucked, such that this pneumatic ebb and flow can repeat itself. 

Cigarette finished, airways refreshed and yard denuded, he eventually retreats back inside his lung-stuccoed home until the tobacco urge returns one hour hence, just as I am dozing off to sleep again.

For this kind of behaviour I’m sure you will agree that medieval torture, or him getting whacked upside the head with a spiked club, would be far too kind.

My delicious plans progress. Don’t tell anyone.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Old Growth Billboard Destruction

Old growth billboards are being callously destroyed in Westbank to make way for a new hospital.

The huge and stately billboards, situated in a beautiful location overlooking Okanagan Lake, are home to colourful pictures, ancient fonts, and some rare advertising sales-person species.

The removal of such long-standing billboards, to make way for something as frivolous as a hospital (according to protesters), has raised hackles in both the environmental and advertising communities.

“Look at the size of this hackle,” said one protester. “It’s standing straight up.”

“While some of the advertising material such as slogans and seasonal sale announcements can be recycled (again), most of the advertising will simply be destroyed,” said a spokesman for one group. “This is a tragedy since everyone has come to love the visual splendor of ‘Just across the Bridge!’ and ‘Next to Wendy’s!’. They call this progress,” said the protester.

Efforts to forcibly trap and move the rare species of advertising sales staff have met with mixed results. Some of them have become so stressed they have been seen working for radio stations. Others simply wind up down and out, working for newspapers.

“It’s sad that these experienced advertising experts, many of whom can tell you from memory the cost per thousand views of any billboard, are being displaced,” said a spokesperson for one group or another. “Just think of how this will affect the wine and spirits ecosystem, and the breweries for that matter. The downstream effects of this situation are not yet fully understood and should be studied before they’re lost forever.”

Yet another spokesperson refused to answer my questions, preferring instead to work on the spokes of her bicycle. “I’m really just a spokes person,” she said.

The police are also wading into the controversy.

“Drivers are being distracted by this development,” said Sergeant Major ‘Corporal’ Kernel. “Suddenly you have this bright, clear view of the lake, which is blinding drivers who are used to the sheltering nature of the billboards,” popped Kernel. “It is definitely a hazard.”

“We are also having to deal with all the advertising salespeople as they wander around offices downtown, abusing alcohol and shouting at citizens. Something about the “Power of Outdoor” and other nonsense. We’ll be humanely tazing them soon, of course, for their own safety.”

Only seven thousand of these rare billboards remain in this roadside habitat, leading environmentalists and advertising executives to form a rare partnership in order to fight the destruction.

“These old-growth billboards have been here since before trees,” said a protestor wearing a tie-dyed three piece suit, knitted cap, and body odour. “They should be left alone to quietly live their lives, distracting drivers as to the location of the next McDonalds, or promoting the Holiday Inn’s $99 per night special for residents seeking a dirty weekend getaway.”

A Westbank First Nations spokesman said an exhaustive environmental review process was undertaken prior to removal of the billboards. “All the plywood was gently removed by the excavator, and most of the eye-catching advertising material was gently recycled under the wheels of the dump trucks,” said the spokesman.

“We are also hoping to hire many of the displaced advertising professionals once we open the hospital. Because of their experience in advertising, we feel it will be an easy transition to handling bedpans.”