For dramatic effect, Ted, the yearbook editor, sent Lenny, Allan and Morty to a stunning location high up in the mountains on the razor sharp edge of a cliff to recreate the famous 'trust exercise' for the cover of the yearbook. Above is the practice picture when all three were just going through the motions. What isn't shown is the real picture of Allan pushing way too hard, Lenny struggling to catch Morty and Morty falling over the edge into oblivion. It was Ted's decision to use the practice picture for the cover "out of respect".
August 2, 2013
The Internet has been slow to unresponsive. I call our cable provider and he immediately outlines all these evasive actions (change the channel on the router, change the channel on the modem, connect another computer directly to the modem with an Ethernet cable...). I do all this, none of it helps, he finally says, "Well, I can check the modem from our end and see if it's ok." What?! I asked him why he didn't do that in the first place and even though we were on the phone, I could tell he just shrugged. This is the exact moment enmity starts.
August 3, 2013
I'm sitting on a bus stop bench next to a mother and her young, overweight daughter. The mother is lecturing the girl on eating healthy and making good food choices. The kid clasps her hands together, closes her eyes, bows her head and starts mumbling.
-- What are you doing, Sandra?
-- Well that's wonderful, darling. Jesus is always listening. What are you praying for?
The mother's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. Her pursed lips looked ready to pounce, but the child started rocking, her mumbling grew louder (I could plainly hear the word Skittles). The daughter's genuflections grew more pronounced and soon she was bending all the way forward to her knees and then bolting back upright while praying out loud for all the candy she could eat. Her mother was beside herself. She grabbed Sandra's clasped hands and pulled them apart, stopping Sandra's forward motion.
-- Mocking Jesus will get you in a lot of trouble, young lady.
-- I wasn't mocking him. I'm serious. I want candy.
-- Sandra, candy makes you fat!
-- I don't care. I want it.
-- Well Jesus isn't going to bring you any. He knows it's bad for you.
-- So praying doesn't work?
-- You told me that if I seriously pray for something with all my heart that Jesus will make it come true.
-- So I'm seriously praying for candy, so why wouldn't he get me some candy?
The conversation was over. The mother just sat there fuming, shaking her head. The kid went back to quiet prayer.
August 4, 2013
I'm waiting, parked on the street with Maddie, who is bored and hanging out of the truck window on the sidewalk side. This guy comes up with a Chihuahua in his arms. He holds the bite sized dog up to Maddie and says, "Augie Doggie, meet - what's your dog's name?" Maddie. "Augie Doggie, meet Miss Maddie." Clearly, the little dog was not at all happy to be offered up to the 120 pound Alaskan malamute. The Chihuahua started barking sharply and trying to wriggle its way out of the guy's arms. It finally wrested itself free, and without hesitation, ran full bore down the sidewalk barking at everything and anything. "Come back, Augie! Augie Doggie stop! Augieeeeeee!" Maddie, bored no more, turned to me with a did-you-see-that! look.
This is the Grand Hotel pool on Mackinac Island. I lived on that island. I swam in that pool. I was there the day this postcard was made. Yes, that's me in the sixth chair to the left. I was sipping on champagne and talking to a beautiful blond heiress from Traverse City. We had decided that a torrid affair was in order, but first we would have another dip in the pool, finish off the bottle, let the anticipation build. But when she heard the click of the camera from the guy shooting the postcard, she became visibly upset. What if her husband were to see her flirting with a handsome young man! She ran off. This postcard is all that's left of what could have been.
August 6, 2013
Tuck, Sophie and Maddie, in a parking lot, years ago, on a trip to Wisconsin. Talk about pimping your ride...
August 7, 2013
On a talk show I listened to a famous actor moaning about how hard it is to go out in public. They all want a piece of me, he says. He can't walk half a block without getting mobbed. He has two bodyguards with him at all times to fend off the public. As a result, he stays in his hotel room, trapped by the public's inability to just let him be a regular person. Fame is a curse, he finishes. Boo hoo. Click.
August 8, 2013
I'm in one of those moods where I'm not interested in anything or anyone. I vanna be alone. Mañana.
August 9, 2013
Everybody has an opinion, but until the advent of comments sections on the Internet, nobody had to hear them all. Frankly, the opinions of others are mostly suspect. Personally, it's disheartening to see that people don't think like me, but it's a crying shame that most of them think like they do.
August 10, 2013
Two dudes overheard at the bank:
-- I hate this bank. There's always a line and the tellers are rude.
-- I hate banks, period.
-- Me too.
-- I'm serious. I'm gonna start mining Bitcoins.
-- Dude, that takes some serious computing power.
-- So my electric bill will go through the roof - if I never have to deal with this bank again it'll be worth it. Besides, the landlord pays for Hydro. By the time he figures out what's happening, I'll be rich.
One person's reaction might be: Oh honey look, how cute! I want the pink one!
Another's might be: I like that no one house is any better than their neighbor's. That's the definition of equality. And they look clean. That's very important to me.
And yet another person might say: They're so cheerful! I want to live in this neighborhood!
Mine would be: Kill me now.
August 12, 2013
I picked up a young hitchhiker. He said he was going all the way to Africa. Africa, really? What about, you know, the Atlantic Ocean? He said he would figure that out once he got there. And why do you want to hitchhike to Africa? "My girlfriend dumped me last August when she got hired by a NGO and went to Africa and I think about her all the time and I'm unemployed so I decided, why not hitchhike there?" A year ago? She left you a year ago!? "Yeah, I'm just going to show up and surprise her. She'll probably be so impressed that I hitchhiked half way around the world just to see her that she'll have to take me back." In my head I heard Scooby Doo saying Ruh-Roh!
August 13, 2013
"Honey, let the expert do it."
I'm in a computer shop in line behind a mother and her 14 year old son.
"I told you not to bring it in here, mom. I can fix it."
"Let the man have the computer, Scott."
"Mom, I know what the problem is. I can deal with it."
"Let go, Scott."
"Just let me-"
"Scott! Give him the damn laptop! Now!"
The boy's body language, the defiance, his refusal to give it up, all point to the same thing: Scott has porn on his computer. Soon the technician will know. Soon his mother will know.
August 14, 2013
Got a blistering e-mail from a woman in China who said I was "brainwashing" her children into thinking that Canada is beautiful and free. She told me to shove my Canadian propaganda because now instead of working in the fields her brainwashed son wants to be a DJ in Vancouver. A DJ! she writes. So she told me she is putting a block on my website and her children will never again hear lies of the west from my bloated lips. Of course there was more, but the best part was my bloated lips.
-- Any of you know Marlon from that congress over by the three pines?
-- I do. He's ok, it's his cousin Sammy you have to watch out for.
-- Sammy is such a liar.
-- Liar liar, wings on fire.
-- I wouldn't trust him as far as I could fly with him.
-- Tell me about it.
-- He told me that Benny and Margot were breaking up when they weren't.
-- She was so mad.
-- He is such a fibber.
-- Girls, aren't you being too hard on him?
-- Are you kidding?!
-- Sammy is no good, period.
-- But he's a terrific eagle chaser.
-- Oh yeah, you're not his buddy or anything are you.
-- He's got a roving eye, that one.
-- We still talking about Sammy?
-- I flew with him once. He tried to get me to go to this secret cherry grove but I wouldn't do it. I didn't trust him.
-- Good for you.
-- Aw, he's not so bad.
-- Spoken like a relative.
-- Can we get serious here for a minute? What do you guys think about this pine beetle infestation?
-- Those bugs are good.
-- That's good eatin'.
-- Easy pickins.
-- My turn. Question: Bernardo and Molly. You think they have a nest somewhere?
-- I'm sure of it.
-- Look at the way he tries to act all nonchalant around her.
-- Something's going on with them, you can be sure of that!
August 16, 2013
Read about a farmer who had a successful side business of making and selling homemade concrete bird baths. He sold them at their farm's busy roadside vegetable stand. At one point he gets a letter from the tax authorities saying that because he has a farm, he is allowed to sell produce grown on that farm at their roadside stand tax free, but the bird baths were strictly a commercial product and thus subject to taxes. They calculated he owed them $8000. Like all farmers, he hated paying taxes, and he tried his darnedest to get out of it, but eventually settled with them because he figured out that he actually owed them triple that figure and he was getting a real deal. But because he didn't want to give them any more money, he stopped making bird baths. So actually, the real losers in this tale are the birds. Real nice.
August 17, 2013
Reincarnation exists. You keep coming back again and again as different people in different times. You keep doing this so that you can personally develop your consciousness enough to realize that reality is an illusion, but regardless, what that does imply is that there must be a last life, a final reincarnation before you go off to some other type of existence. If the last life is the culmination of what you have learned and developed about yourself over many many lives, shouldn't that last life be the best of all of them? Shouldn't you be able to apply all that you now know to produce a splendid last lifetime here on earth? That's something to look forward to, eh?
August 18, 2013
We had this great party the other night. Everybody was there.
At one point, Bobby Ray was about to fight Chester because Bobby Ray thought Chester had his hand on the bum of Bobby Ray's sister, Kyla Sue, but Bobby Ray's dance partner held him back. That sure was exciting for a moment!
All I can say is, do we know how to throw a party or what?!
August 19, 2013
I have tarot cards on my desk. I use them all the time. I don't see anything mystical or special about them. They are just a good tool. A business associate trying to close a deal visits me, sees them on my desk and asks what they are. I tell him. He guffaws. I tell him that I could learn oodles about him just by cutting the deck. He was so confident that this wasn't true, he sat down for an entire spread. When we were done I knew what his intentions and plans for our business relationship were, I knew that his marriage was likely in trouble and I learned that he's all a facade with precious little to back it up. In other words, I learned that he was bluffing. 'Course, that's not what I told him. So much for the tarot, eh.
August 20, 2013
A guy I play hockey with tells me that his daughter is learning Chinese. How come, I asked. He said he had no idea. When she was 6 she came to her parents and stated that she wanted to learn Chinese. My friend was born in Saskatchewan to a Ukrainian family and his wife is from Scottish stock in British Columbia. Neither are Chinese or know anyone who is. Their daughter is not adopted. She is learning the language through Skype sessions with a Chinese instructor in Vancouver. He tells me his daughter has a savants aptitude for it. "It's like she's Chinese. Even her instructor says it's weird." Yes, I shake my head knowingly, like I've seen this sort of thing before. Reincarnation, he whispers. Yes, reincarnation, I agree. And that was that. We cinched up our skates and hit the ice.
August 21, 2013
I'm waiting on pictures. In the old days that could have meant waiting for the Polaroids to develop (remember waving them in the wind to hurry the process), or waiting to get your Instamatic pictures back from that little photo kiosk in the parking lot at the mall (and weren't you always nervous that the little pervert working there was looking at all the private shots you made of your loved ones), but in this case, since we're all modern and stuff, I'm waiting on some JPEGs. While sitting here doing nothing, it occurred to me that waiting (which is old as dirt) on something modern (the JPEGs), is counterintuitive. But intuition is always right, right? So what's to counter? Like when a pilot is told to trust the instruments instead of their feelings because they may be feeling like everything is ok but the instruments may tell another story. If there is a discrepancy between what they feel and what the gauges say, they call that counterintuitive. But I think that's just anti-feelings. Anyway... Bing bing. Oh, look at that, my pictures are here. Pardon me.
August 22, 2013
It's Maddie's 10th birthday! Looking good, girl!
August 23, 2013
A 30 foot straight truck with a Hiab pulls into our driveway and starts offloading a lumber package. By the time I realize what's going on, he has almost all the load on the ground. I tell him he's at the wrong address. He climbs down off the Hiab and gets the paperwork. Sure enough, we are on such and such a street NE, but he is supposed to deliver it to such and such a street SE. Now he's mad. He hastily climbs back up on the crane and in his hurry to reload the wood, breaks the straps holding a huge pile of 2 X 4s. Like Pick Up Sticks, they spill all over our driveway. Now he's really mad. I ask if I can help. He glares at me. To a background of curses and swears, I leave, thankful that bad days aren't contagious.
August 24, 2013
There was a race where the winner got a new sports car. Still wearing her spikes, still exuberant over her win, she jumped up on the hood, scratching and denting it, ran up over the windshield, cracking it, to the top of the roof where she waved manically to the crowd and broke into an impromptu victory dance that put at least a half dozen dents in the car's rooftop and scratched the rest beyond recognition. The little sports car looked like it had been in a demolition derby. The next day, she drives the beat up vehicle to the dealership who sponsored the event and demands an undamaged replacement. They refuse. She sues them. For weeks it plays out across the nation's newspapers. The dealership wins. The race officials say she has brought shame to the sport and bar her from participating for one year. She says she can't live in a country that would do this, renounces her citizenship and goes to race for a rival nation. Now I know why they call it the spoils of victory.
August 25, 2013
I have the opportunity to change my office. I could make it bigger, more luxe, more grandiose, more anything I want, but I like it very much the way it is, so there's really nothing I want to change. Ok, if push came to shove, I could do with another chair in here. Maybe another light. A pool table. Sofa bed couch. Refrigerator. Hot tub. Big screen, but other than that, I'm good. Really. Did I mention dancing girls? No?
August 26, 2013
It was one of those moments when you wished you had a camera, or a cell phone with a camera, or another witness, because what you were seeing was truly out of this world and something you would continue to talk about (like the game winning touchdown you scored in high school), for the rest of your life, to anyone who would listen, more so if drunk. But without the camera, who will believe you? Your mother? Maybe. Everyone else? Not so much. Your life has been changed forever, and yet no one will take you seriously because you won't have any pictures, or video, or anything except the recurring nightmare of the searing, retina popping images burned into your brain. This is a cold world, it wants proof, as if your hollow eyes and uncontrolled trembling weren't enough.
Right there, that's the dream. The kids are gone. You've retired. You and your wife sold the big family house and moved. Now you get up every day and walk down to the seaside with your oars and your pack lunch, some water, some beer, your dog, your girl, shorts, towels, sunglasses, music, and a beautiful white sand beach an easy ten minute row away. You feel more alive, more awake, more relaxed, more you than ever. That's it. That's the dream.
August 28, 2013
I was at a conference. All the industry heavyweights were there. Except for me, the rest of the peons were there to network, get their names known, make deals. I went for the opportunity to hear these big wigs in conversation, watch them drink too much at cocktail parties, listen to their inside stories and make my own assessment as to their character, personality and intelligence. In the future, should work with any of these people (or their companies) present itself, I will know exactly who interests me, who to avoid, and who would drive me nuts to work with. In the end, I got what I came for; don't know if the other peons could say the same.
August 29, 2013
I miss all the pets I've ever had - even the ones yet to come. When I finally leave this behind, the reunion will all of them will be the very definition of divine.
August 30, 2013
What is it about celebrity? What makes perfectly regular everyday people want to have contact with or proximity to someone famous? Is it because the famous appear to be larger than life? Could it be that simple? George Clooney is filming in the next town over, twenty minutes away. I know three women who are calling in sick to work to go over there to find him (poor George. It must be like this everywhere he goes.). They are not interested in the film, or the making of the film, they just want to see in person the person they see on the screen. What is it about celebrity?
August 31, 2013
A friend told me that Facebook ruined his marriage. He said it started when an old flame found him on the social network and they re-established a connection. His wife found out about her and demanded he drop her as a friend, but he refused. "It escalated from there," he sighed. So really Facebook wasn't the issue, it was a jealous wife, right? "Au contraire," he countered, "if my old girlfriend hadn't found me on Facebook, none of this would have happened. My wife wouldn't have gone ballistic. So I blame Zuckerberg. It's his fault. If he hadn't invented Facebook, I would still be married." Hmm. Are you still on Facebook? "Of course," he replies.