Friday, February 26, 2016

R.I.P. Casey the shop dog

Recently a respected member of our work team shuffled off this mortal coil. He was 109 years old but still showed up every day, except in winter layoff.
 He was short of stature, halfway up the shinbone of a tall man, but he had the scrappy demeanor of a Scots border fighter of 1000 years ago. His name was Casey, he was a dog. Cheerful in all weathers, feisty as a Glaswegian drunk on payday.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

70s rockstar haircut

It was haircut time as we approached the end of 2015. I usually get one every 2 or 3 months. I can tell when I need one by how long the hairs on the back of my neck are. If the werewolf hair back there is joining my head to my shoulders by hairs of greater than 2 inches in length, its time to go see the girls at Mastercuts at the mall. I went for a bit shorter on top and more length at the back so its a bit Ziggy/Faces kind of style but not spiky or anything that would turn heads.

The year Twenty Ought-Fifteen has been one I will remember. I had a pretty major health issue that I seem to be beating and had to really pay attention to for a few months. Feeling pretty good now, and science confirms that I should have a few years in me yet. People over a certain age tend to talk about their health issues to the extent that it makes me roll my eyes. I didnt wish to share with every single freakin friend or relative in the world that I had some health problems, and if you ask me how I am, I will say "fine" unless I have something contagious you should know about, and then at a certain point, ideally far into the future I will say "not so good. dying soon." but in the meantime, lets go with "fine."

Nevertheless, feeling fit and feisty at the end of 2015 means more than it used to, so I will say "fuckin rights, I really am fine" and feel stoked about that.
Happy New Year, folks.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

We have earned our Curmudgeon badges

A buddy of mine from way back is even more of a curmudgeon than I am. My beefs are largely about cellphone addicted arseholes who don't respect others' rights to not hearing them blabber away on their phones. Also the blank-eyed calves who wander around, even crossing busy streets, looking at their stupid fucking phones instead of paying attention to the actual world which is present around them, including people driving cars and big trucks that might turn them into a grease spot if they dont look around. Part of me (the dark Darwinian part) wants a few of them to get punted by a Peterbilt out of the gene pool.
My bud likes hunting and fishing, hates kale-smoothie asshats and votes considerably to the right of me. I have other compadres , all over 45 and most over 50, who wish we could return to simpler times.
I miss working on 60's cars where everything was out in plain sight, a dozen beer for 5 bucks, more wildlife and fewer people, iron frying pans and woodstoves you cook on, less rules and tickets, more do-it-yourself and make-it-last. I miss being younger and less cynical too, but I will take the scraps of wisdom life has afforded me and hope they are worth the time it took to get them.

There are good things about this time in history: I love not having a TV and loading good shows I want to watch without commercial blather. The fuckin intanet: avoid the stupid and the tabloidy, and enjoy reading 3 newpapers a day without having to plug a quarter in the box. I like that we are moving toward saner laws regarding smoking a little weed. Yeah, sure, maybe its a medicine in some cases; I recall smoking a few bowls with my cousin who was on heavy chemo for leukemia 40 years ago,  it made him feel better. Then we split a pail of Neapolitan ice cream. But I think we should just sell pot (carefully and securely) and tax it like booze.

 A lot of us curmudgeons are comfortable with small gas engines, such as those on lawnmowers and older boat motors, able to fix things without panic with found materials in some cases, can make a fire with few matches, know the difference between catshit and coyote shit, how to get rid of a bear without a gun, always carry jumper cables, useful little life skills .

I will be outside cooking dinner on an engine block and mending my fishing gear, if anyone is looking for me.

Monday, June 23, 2014

a rumor in music world

I had thought Alice Cooper had quit touring, but I hear a rumor that he and his band are going to make a loop with Canadian 70's-80's rockers Trooper, and they are all bringing their dogs.

Its going to be the Cooper/Trooper Looper,

and the hot item on the merch tables is

the Cooper/Trooper Looper Super Duper Pooper-Scooper.

Thats what I hear, anyway.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Countries of Origin

In Canada, everybody came from somewhere else, or their forebears did. Even the few FBIs (full blooded Indian. First Nations.) who are not mixed with other places' genes, their ancestors came by land bridge way back when.
Where this is going is, my previous manager at work was half German, half Scots. I liked the Scots side, didnt much like the German side. In him, they were distinct, not to sound like a big 'races' guy or anything.

His grandfathers had actually fought on opposite sides of the same battle in WW2. Both survived, obviously but thats pretty damn interesting. Emigrated to Canada after the war was over, settled in the same part of Nova Scotia, had kids, and dang if those kids dont meet up and boink.
I am typing this in the garage (its a perfect day: 22, little breeze, I can smoke out here) on his old laptop I bought from him when he moved to Ontario.

My gal is Polish/Scots. Her dad was in Poland when all Hitler's festivities started, and got out before they were done.

One of my buds is what I call a classic western Canadian mix. He is half Ukrainian from Saskatchewan, Cree from Manitoba, mixed in BC with some Scots.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dan the Rat Man

I have had some good buds over the years, both of the smokable and human varieties. I knew a man named Dan, he moved to our neighborhood when I was in Grade 8. His mom was raising him, his 2 younger twin sisters, his older sister (who had a great rack) and sometimes his older bro Rick was around, but he was kinda 'underground' cuz he had been a rabble rouser at some riots in the 60s. Dan's mom let us smoke cigarettes in her house, she had one of those great old smoke-makers that was like 20 inches long: you had this huge long paper and put it in the groove, then formed the tobacco in, moistened the glue edge, rolled it up, and it had built in guillotine that cut it into 4 smokes. Also, their house backed onto an empty field that led to the creek party spots along the Red River.
Dan was a smart guy who didnt thrive on school. He had a copy of Leonard Cohen's "the Energy of Slaves" which he liked to quote from, but he skipped out a lot and didnt make it past Grade 10.
I used to cartoon a lot, and Dan's face was a bit pointy , so I drew a cartoon of him as a rat, in a plaid shirt, holding a joint. His last name is Milne, so the talk balloon said: 'the next person that calls me Milney gets a fast one to the head'. Hence, Dan the Rat Man, AKA Rat Milney.
He had some great records, and he dwelt in the basement, and his mom was cool with guys hanging out. More security if her crazy ex came around. Me and Dan once walked from Sevenoaks (jefferson) and Scotia to Brooklands through a 'snowmobiles on the streets'  blizzard to get a quarter of hash, and back, in time to bake up and watch an all night horror movie fest on Fargo TV. You have to be from Winterpeg to get that.
Decades pass, Dan gets into the wrong drugs. Havent seen or heard of him for a while, but I wish him well.
He was a great lacrosse player, fast small guy who could stickhandle and dodge the hits, used to play for the north end team, and John Ferguson came to some games when he ran the Jets. Me and some guys are in the bleachers rooting for Dan, chanting "Fergie, Fergie" with booze in paper bags.
Peace out, my friend.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Edmonton on the bus, and a cultural ramble

Having come from a tougher, poorer city, Winnipeg, I find the decent politeness of people in Edmonton  getting off the bus saying "thank you!" to the bus driver to be a bit of a mind-blower. I wonder who started it. Or is it like people getting off a wagon train FROM Winnipeg saying "thank you" because their trip is finally over.

Edmonton isnt a weak town by any means, but it is a place favored by immigrants, so there is much more of a presence by recent arrivals. Winnipeggers are mostly people who are born there and die there, and much of the color comes from the Metis people who built the culture there. Native-ish people named by the Scot or Frenchman who knocked up their grandma in 1800, Mackay or Desjarlais, Sinclair or Lambert. Lots of Slavs and Polish or Russian Jews in my part of town too, the Nort End (which sadly, is much wasted by crack and meth now. Booze treated it more kindly). Those Slavs and Jews who used to work on the railway or run barbershops or delis made sure their kids owned their businesses or became dentists or whatever, and the Nort End is a shadow of what it was when I was a kid in the 60s-70s.

I live and work on the south side in Edmonton, on the northern edge of Brown Town. LOTS of people from India, Pakistan, and  the middle east came here in the 80s, and they are still coming. And sponsoring their grannies to come and mind the kids while they are out working. Take the #6 bus from Southgate, you'll get it. I work with and enjoy folks from those parts, we get the good ones: politeness standards much higher, work ethic solid, they take care of the grannies n kids.

Vancouver, I think, has areas which are dominated by other cultures, Richmond is Chinese, Surrey is Indian, but here, everybody is more trying to be part of the whole. Lots of other countries of origin I havent mentioned, you can get really good Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese food, Somalia has contributed beautiful women and drug goofs who shoot each other, you do hear Polish and Russian spoken on the LRT, but everybody thanks the bus driver. Which is nice.