Wednesday, 28 October 2015

An Out Of This World Halloween - Part Two

Grok and Klingor were in a bit of a dilemma. They knew they couldn't go around trick or treating only to suck people into Klingor's sink. Besides it was a bit of a drain on Klingor's alien abilities. Then Grok, who had transformed himself into a bathtub piped up "Hey, I think we need to rethink our approach here."

Truth be known if they had really rethought their approach they would have known just their real appearance - aliens from Gemini 7 - was scary enough.

Nevertheless, Grok proposed they run downtown to the costume shop before it closed up for the night. So off they went, passing by little trick or treaters thinking to themselves "Hey, we'd better hurry before these little runts get all the chocolate and candies. If they do we'll have come all the way from Gemini 7 for nothing."

Grog pulled out his Smart Phone and using his Google app found the address of the costume shop. Then using his Maps app he found the directions for it. They arrived within minutes of the store closing. Transforming themselves into human shape they entered the shop.

As they perused the costumes the store manager approached and asked them if he might help. "Yes" said Klingor "My friend and I are looking for something ghostly."

"Well" said the manager "You're in luck. I've got an app-arition for that!"

This week's clue from Studio30+ was apparition/eldolon. I hope a lot of little apparitions visit your place this week.


Saturday, 24 October 2015

An Out Of This World Halloween

Grok and Klingor were excited as they entered earth's atmosphere. It was just a matter of days before they would celebrate their annual Halloween pilgrimage. Nothing quite like it existed on Gemini 7 and they'd discovered it's existence some years ago quite by accident.

Carved pumpkins, black cats, ghouls, witches and other decorations had caught their eye and as they sat back to take it all in giggled at the little shapes and forms of ghosts, Star Wars characters, Mini-Me's and other characters flitting from door to door in search of treats.

Neither Grok nor Klingor could figure out why they demanded "trick or treat" when no one ever asked them to perform a trick. But, hey, it seemed an easy way to load up on candies and chocolate. Thus began a 15-year annual trek to earth for Halloween.

This year, Grok and Klingor went to great lengths with their costumes. Grok decided to dress as a bath tub. It was really quite easy. All he had to do was think about it and he was able to transform himself into a tub. Klingor went in a different direction and transformed himself into a kitchen sink. Taps, drain, pipes...the whole nine yards.

Everything was going swimmingly until they hit a house around the corner. A fellow answered the door and started to laugh. Then he could't stop and kept laughing and pointing at Klingor's sink. Well, Klingor wasn't going to take such abuse and in the flash of an eye sucked the guy through the drain hole and out of existence.

"Wow, that sink sucks" said Grok tersely. "No, said Klingor "you might say that's a suck sink".

The prompt from Studio30+ this week is terse/succinct. I'm sorry.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Golden Days

As the sun set in the western sky
He was reminded of years gone by
When love filled his lonely heart
And nothing could tear them apart.

Long walks along the quay
Holding hands along the way
A kiss a hug as the sun went down
A trace of the face with a doubting frown.

She told him then that things looked bad
The test results that the doctor had
Discussed with her but he didn't accept
What she told him - he wept.

And as the days passed into weeks
He wondered if he could seek
A cure of sorts, a way out
But the cancer's growth left no doubt.

She told him their life together had been the best
But now it was time for her to rest.
She said their past was a bit of a haze
But he should always remember their golden days.

And now as he strolled the beach
Alone with just his thoughts within reach
He recalled those golden days gone by
And, unsuccessfully, told himself he wouldn't cry

The theme at Studio30+ this week is golden/halcyon. Sorry for the downer.

Monday, 12 October 2015

We Are As The Times Are - A Review

I just finished reading a book by a friend and former colleague Ken Rockburn called We Are As The Times Are. The book's a delightful, entertaining and bang-on researched history of the Ottawa coffee house Le Hibou through it's various incarnations first as a walk-up on Rideau Street, followed by another walk-up on Bank Street and finally a walk-in, if you will, on Susses Drive. That's the same street the Prime Minister lives on but that's where the comparisons stop.

Ken takes us through the various owners of Le Hibou and many of the artists that passed through its doors both as performers and paying patrons. The place started out as a showcase for local talent, largely of the folkie variety as well as poetry readings by among others Irving Layton.  It soon morphed into a blues haven showcasing such acts as Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Muddy Waters, you name it. It's other mainstay was folk-rock and rock acts. Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Tom Rush and Van Morrison all graced its stage.

And the after-hours stories were amazing as well. Joni Mitchell meeting up with Jimi Hendrix, for example.

I have to thank Ken for such an insightful look at this Ottawa, nay Canadian, institution. I was a young kid living in Ottawa south and the place just didn't register with me. Sure I saw many of the acts that played at Le Hibou at weekend dances at places such as Pineland and Parkdale and a church basement on Alta Vista where I saw Bruce Cockburn and the late Coleen Peterson in 3s A Crowd. But from what I've read I missed out on an the electric and electric atmosphere that Hibou was known for.

How deep did Ken's research go? Here's one example. One day local musician Terry Gillespie and Muddy Waters were bonding, shooting the breeze, in the Green Room on the so-called Great Red Couch, a piece of furniture that every artist who performed at Le Hibou must have sat their weary ass down on at one time or another. Gillespie remembers this moment once the club had closed down and wants to abscond with the couch. His girlfriend, though, has other ideas. Terry was beside himself. Why, you ask? Turns out Muddy had farted on the couch that day they shared that piece of furniture. So now that couch, and Muddy's fart, are lost to the dump hills of time.

A great read, Ken. Five stars.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A Blend of Bedtime Stories

John loved having his grandkids stay over for the night. He'd developed a ritual whereby they enjoyed an apple juice and a chocolate chip cookie before brushing their teeth and climbing into bed. Once they'd climbed into bed and been tucked neatly under the covers John told them a story. A blend of stories from his own childhood.

For example, he told them about the time when his babysitter, Mrs. Painter gave hime a quarter to take to the corner store and buy hamburger buns. On the way he had dropped the quarter down a pipe because he'd want to see if it would fit. After several quarters more he'd realized those quarters were all the same size. His grandkids had laughed at that one.

He told therm about the time he'd gone to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play baseball. That's right, there was a time, a long time ago, when Toronto had a baseball team named the Maple Leafs. He was so inspired he tried out for the local baseball team as a pitcher. Unfortunately, John soon learned his strengths laid elsewhere because whenever he'd pitch the ball it would end up flying over the backstop. His grandkids laughed at that one too.

But the story John's grandkids loved the best was the one he told about his own father, Ed, as a child. Ed's family lived back in the day of horse and buggies, milk delivery from ice trucks and coal furnaces in the basement. Ed's family certainly weren't the richest so Ed had few toys. He had to make his own fun and so spent hours playing in the basement in the coal bin with his toys. He'd pretend the mountain of coal was a real mountain and would run his little car toys through the chunks of fuel. Of course the downside of Ed's play place was that he'd be covered in soot from head to foot. So he took many, many baths.

And then one day when Ed came to play the basement was empty. The blocks of coal were gone. Ed's family had gone electric and so there was no need for coal anymore. The tears began to run down Ed's cheek as he realized he was coalesce. Of course Ed wasn't the best speller.

Unfortunately, John's grandchildren were too young to get the joke.

Over at Studio30+ coalesce/blend was the prompt this week. I don't know why they still put up with me. I think they might soon be coalescing around asingk me to stop with the puns.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Bibliography - September

I read one book in September. Scratch that I read half a book. Wait, wait, wait. Before you think I took things easy let me tell you about the book. It'a called Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's purported to be a modern-day classic. There was quite the buzz recently about Wallace as a movie about him was released, focusing on his life and suicide. It looked interesting. So I bought his Infinite Jest. It was promoted as possibly the last post-modern novel whatever that is...but it sounded good. As I waded my way through it I often time felt the jest was perhaps on me. A very difficult read. I'd put in about 2 hours a day and then put it down because I was so bloody confused by the narrative. The book weights in at over 1000 pages and while reading I Googled the title and learned hardly anybody finishes this damn book. I made it to about 52% through on my Kindle before throwing in the towel, or iPad if you will. And I did';t even look at the close to 400 endnotes.

Here's the description on Wikipedia, which perhaps I should have looked at before reading the book:

"The lengthy and complex work takes place in a North American dystopia, centering on a junior tennis academy and a nearby substance abuse recovery centre. The novel touches on many topics, including addiction and recovery, suicide, family relationships, entertainment and advertising, film theory, United States-Canada relations (as well as Quebec separatism) and tennis."

Given that, it's almost as if I read 5 books last month. Be that as it may mark this down as a DNF (did not finish). This may well suite a university literature studies class but it didn't quite suite me. I'm glad it was written well after my English literature studies. I think Chaucer was easier to get through than this.

I've read 49 books so far this year.
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