Friday, July 28, 2006


I had a rather surreal experience this afternoon. Upon leaving the office, I noticed that one of my tires was rather low on air. So I headed for the closest service station where the lovely little clerks will reinflate my tires at no cost. Putting air in car tires is one of the few things I dislike doing myself due to a nerve-wracking little incident with a rotten tire years ago.

The young man checked all my tires and when he got to the flat one, he tried to inflate it, then stepped back and said he couldn't because there was a hole in it. Drat. I went round to where was and you could actually hear the air escaping from the tire. There must have been a weak spot right around the valve and when he pressed on it with the air hose, it let go.

So, while the car was still driveable, I hightailed it to my lovely neighbourhood tire store, where I have always enjoyed very efficient and friendly service. Until today. (Wrath alert! Don your flak jackets and helmets!)

It was late on Friday afternoon and their parking lot was packed. Only two spots left, both around the side of the building. It didn't look good. I parked my car and proceeded to the reception desk. There was no one at the desk at the time. There was a Gent on the phone in an office and a Limo Driver in with him. Another customer sat in the waiting area. After a moment, another man came through the door that leads to the service bays, walked behind the service desk and more or less glared at me. Not a word did he speak. Not, "Good afternoon, Ma'am, and how may we help you today?" Not, "Do you have an appointment?" Not even, "What!?!" Total silence.

Being the sharp little cookie I am, I quickly realized that this transaction was not going to proceed any further unless I spoke, so I said that I had a tire that was leaking so badly you could hear the air escaping. He still said nothing and just stuck out his hand for the keys. I was so surprised, I handed them over. He stomped back through the door to the service bays and a moment later drove my car into one of the bays. It was immediately raised up on the hoist, the wheel with the offending tire was removed by a mechanic, put on the tire remover thingy, the tire was popped off, something mysterious was done to it, the tire was put back on the wheel, reinflated, the wheel reattached to the car and the hoist lowered, all while I watched through a large window, and during which the Silent Dude returned to the reception desk.

The mechanic opened the door to the reception area. He didn't say anything either, just glared at Silent Dude. Silent Dude then finally spoke, not to me but to Office Gent and all he said was his name. Office Gent went into the service bay, climbed into my car, backed it out of the garage and drove it the 5 feet to the reception area door, turned off the engine, left the driver's door open and stomped back into his office. Still nothing was said to me and by this time I was just curious as to how long this could go on, so I said nothing. And you know what else I was thinking, right? Right. Blog fodder!!!

I looked at my car. I looked at Silent Dude. He ignored me. I looked at my car and contemplated walking out, climbing into it and driving away. I looked at Silent Dude. Limo Driver came out of the private office and said something to Silent Dude. He answered.

I walked over to the reception desk, thinking that perhaps closer proximity would prompt him to speak to me. Nada. I looked at my car. I looked back at him. I was having trouble not laughing at this point. Finally, Silent Dude intuited that I am not a visitor from the planet Telepathia and that he was going to have to speak to me whether he liked it or not. He picked up my invoice and said, "I guess they patched your tire. That'll be $19. 45, please."

I resisted the urge to shout, "It speaks! Halleluiah! It's a miracle!" and instead politely said something about being relieved they were able to patch it, paid my money and left.

What a strange way to do business. And that tire better still be inflated when I check it in the morning.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Spleep, perchance to dream... of waking up on time

Thanks for photo posting
assistance to Scaryduck

Sleep. Or as Misty likes to say, spleep. Wonderful, wonderful spleep. Unless you're not getting enough or can't get to sleep at all, which was Misty's problem last night.

I've been known to have a problem or two in the sleep department myself, beginning when I was six and traumatized by my Grade One teacher who appeared to be channelling the Hansel and Gretel witch. But for the most part, I just lay my head down and away off to the Land of Nod I go. Which is not to say I don't have any sleep related problems.

The main one, and this has been lifelong, is waking up. Whatever it is that your brain has to do to fully wake up, mine doesn't like doing it. It resists returning to full Alpha waves like a cat resists being put down a toilet. All four paws clutch at the Beta waves state and howl like a banshee, "Noooooooooooo!!!! More spleep!!!!" There is nothing more beautiful to me in this world than my pillow in the morning. This had led to morning woe all my life. In fact, one of my most vivid memories of my mother is her frantically calling me, every morning of my school years, with "Dawn! Get up! It's 10 to 8!"

So I've had to resort to various methods over the years to compensate for the fact that my mother is no longer around to drag me out of bed. The most recent and most successful, has been the combination of two alarm clocks; a clock radio set to a nice music station that turns on just in time to catch the 7:00 a.m. news, and an analogue one, set to ring about 30 mins later in case I doze off again (who, me?) that has an alarm that starts out nice and friendly sounding but accelerates to Armageddon on wheels if you don't turn it off. And it has worked well, until this week.

I don't know what's going on, but the last three mornings, I've suddenly woken up at 8:30 a.m. instead of 7:30, with no memory of having shut off the analogue. I have to be at work for 9:00. I only live 5 mins away from work, but still. They really don't like it when I show up in jammies.

It appears I will have to resort to a previous, much hated strategy – putting the analogue clock on the other side of the room so I have to get up to turn off the alarm. This will not be pretty. So if you hear snarling, stomping feet and the sound of a clock being flung against the wall tomorrow morning around 7:30 a.m. NST? Just ignore it. And put on the coffee, will you? There’s a love.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Universal truths

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Me da

Walter Mason
Oct 23, 1912 - July 22, 1996

Taken on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

North American readers will remember (and possible still be doing this) having huge numbers of some lawn ornament (it started with flamingos, then began to include other critters) put on a person's front lawn on their birthday. The critters would be put in place during the night, so that it was a complete surprise in the morning. Usually with a sign with some sort of mildly embarrassing message, such as "Dave is over the hill. Happy 50th!" or some such thing. I don't know if this oh-so-dignified practice has sprung up anywhere else in the world or not.

I take you back in time to October 1992. My father was about to turn 80; no small milestone. As any of you who've tried to buy a gift for an 80-year old knows, it can be a tough assignment. They often have pretty much everything they need. And I'd bought books and CDs and, as his eyesight was failing, books on tape until they were pretty much coming out his ears. I needed something different to mark this event. I live about 1,000 miles from my home town, so arranging a big family party was out as I couldn't afford the plane tickets home. It would have to be "Operation Penguin" then.

My evil plan worked perfectly.

I found a flamingo/penguin planting company back home and set it up. On the morning of his birthday, Dad was sitting in the kitchen window (the one you can see behind him) with his morning tea, when he noticed that the cars driving down the street were slowing down, with people smiling and pointing at the lawn. From his vantage point, nothing was different. He stood up, looked out the window and thought, "What the...???" Just then his phone rang and his neighbour across the street asked if he knew he had a dozen penguins on his front lawn and who on earth had put them there?

Who, indeed. He knew immediately, of course. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


... your life does not hold enough frustration already... oh, no it doesn't. I see you there, all relaxed... I bring you RedSquare

Found in the wild and wacky world of Mr. Fabulous.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bring on the empty orchestra...

Okay. Remember the fountain in the backyard next door? The noisy one that sounded like a bathtub running on full? Good.

And remember the trampoline that has replaced it? The one with the shrieking (sometimes at 1:00 a.m.) children? Good.

I believe the third horseman of the Apololypse has done arrived, brothers and sisters. My neighbours have discovered... brace yourself... get ready for it....


Pray for me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Answers to Trivia Quiz

Well, that went well, I think. Thank you to Misty, who actually answered the questions. A strange concept if ever there was one. And she only got one wrong, too. As it was the Tony Orlando one and no one cares what his first hit was anyway, I'm awarding her a perfect score and she wins a helping of fishfingers, with lashings of the sauce of her choice.

The rest of you get detention. And a smack in the head with a moldy haddock.

And here are the answers:

1-d, Tanya Tucker
2-a, Gilligan's Island
3-d, Swimming
4-a, C.S. Lewis
5-b, Octavia Butler
6-a, Knock Three Times
7-b, Jehovah's Witnesses
8-a, Olivia de Havilland
9-d, George A. Romero
10-a, The Lark

Oh, I and heard that, Mr. ScaryDuck, Sir. That's double detention for you, then.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Name-Based Trivia

Yeah, yeah. I know. Just try to answer the questions alright? There may be a prize. There may not be. Do you need a prize for everything? Isn't the pride in a job well done enough for you? No? Fair enough. But there won't be a picture, because Blogger is sulking again.

1. What 14-year-old singer had a top ten hit with "Delta Dawn"?

a-Helen Reddy, b-Marie Osmond, c-LeAnn Rimes, d-Tanya Tucker

2. Actress Dawn Wells was a regular on what 1960s sitcom popular in reruns?

a-Gilligan's Island, b-Get Smart, c-My Mother the Car, d-The Addams Family

3. Dawn Fraser won gold medals in three consecutive Olympics in what sport?

a-Alpine skiing, b-Javelin, c-Figure skating, d-Swimming

4. "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" was one in a series of children's fantasy novels by what writer?

a-C.S. Lewis, b-Madeleine L'Engle, c-Joan Aiken, d-Philip Pullman

5. "Kindred" and "Dawn" are novels from what African-American science fiction writer?

a-Samuel R. Delany, b-Octavia Butler, c-Robert J. Sawyer, d-Nalo Hopkinson

6. What was the first Number 1 hit for Tony Orlando and Dawn?

a-Knock Three Times, b-Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree, c-Candida, d-He Don't Love You

7. What religious movement was originally known as the Millennial Dawnists?

a-Quakers, b-Jehovah's Witnesses, c-Seventh Day Adventists, d-Mormons

8. What actress was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in the 1941 movie "Hold Back the Dawn"?

a-Olivia de Havilland, b-Joan Bennett, c-Bette Davis, d-Norma Shearer

9. What director was behind the classic horror films "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead"?

a-Sean Cunningham, b-Christopher Columbus, c-William Castle, d-George A. Romero

10. What poem opens with the line "From wrath-red dawn to wrath-red dawn"?

a-"The Lark" by Robert W. Service, b-"The Fisherman" by Wiliam Butler Yeats, c-"Daffodils" by William Wordsworth, d-"In Due Season" by W.H. Auden

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hey, Mr. Trampoline Man

Way back in February, I wrote about my neighbours, including the Flying Walenskis, my neighbours to the south, owners of the one and only trampoline in the neighbourhood. Said trampoline occupies the same spot in their back garden as the previous neighbours evil, loud fountain. A spot that sits about five feet, if that, from my bedroom window. I have a theory that this spot is a portal to Hell. A Deprive-Dawn-of-Sleep-Hell.

Usually, I am treated to the shrieks of trampolining children during normal hours when one would expect to hear such things. Annoying, but hardly reason for complaint. The little dears have to shriek somewhere. The fact that the parents encourage them to do it whilst and at the same time risking serious personal injury from both the trampoline and the neighbours is not for me to comment upon. Any further.

However... Wednesday night of this week, or more accurately, Thursday morning, I was treated to being awoken by the shrieks of young teenagers on the trampoline. At one o'clock in the morning. One. O'Clock. In. The. Morning. Ever try to get back to sleep after about two hours' sleep? On a hot summer night? Can't be done, I tell ya.

Portal to Hell. Right here in Fog City.


The world remembers.

Canada UK USA ABC NBC Australia Germany France China

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Click to embiggen

Thanks to Misty, I now know my Viking name, Eona Sheeptipper*, and can fulfill my true destiny. Praise Thor. You, too, can seek out your true nature by going HERE.

And the best part? It says I should try to be a little more surly. You know what that means, don't you? More. Wrath. RAAAAARRRRR!!!!

*With apologies to the sheep. For I am still a Canadian Viking, you see, and must be polite.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Happy Canada Day! And...

Woo and hoo. It's the 139th anniversary of the signing of the British North American Act what made Canada a dominion in its own right. July 1st is Canada Day, a national holiday and cause for celebrations from coast to coast. There are celebrations from dawn til late at night, with sunrise ceremonies, and block parties, and BBQs and all kinds of shindigs, right up until nightfall when most cities celebrate with fireworks.

Born in New Brunswick, one of the three original provinces who signed the Act into being, I celebrated Canada Day enthusiastically until I moved to Newfoundland, the newest province, halfway through my life (so far). Formerly a British colony, Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949.

And that's where it gets tricky. Today is also the 90th aniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont Hamel. Up until 1949, July 1 was an official day of mourning for Newfoundlanders. During World War I, during the bloodbath that was the assault on the Somme, in slightly less than half an hour, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was all but annihilatied at Beaumont Hamel on July 1, 1916.

Excerpt from The Somme, 1916, Newfoundland and The Great War
"When the roll call was taken, only 68 responded. The full cost would not be known for several days. The final figures revealed that the regiment had been virtually wiped out: 710 killed, wounded or missing."

There was hardly a family on this island not touched by this loss. With the passing of time, fewer and fewer of the people who remember this sad time remain, but you will still see homes around town flying the Union Jack in remembrance rather than the newer Canadian Flag in celebration.

I like to think, in my usual Pollyannaish fashion, that we can combine both occasions without diminishing either one. Those men fought so that we could remain independent. They, along with the other members of the Allied Forces who died that day and during the many other battles of that and the next war, made it possible for countries like Canada to be the self-governing entities they are today.

So while I celebrate Canada Day, I still remember the boys who gave their lives during what was not, sadly, as it was billed, the "war to end all wars."

So. Happy Canada Day! And don't forget the boys...