Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hey, Hey, Hey, Do the Flip-Flop Shuffle

Was at a mall today, and had a few minutes to do a little bit of people watching.

Did you ever notice that people who wear flip-flops walk differently than other people? They don't exactly walk; it's more like a shuffle. I expect it's because they're: (a) trying to WALK, as well as (b) trying to ensure that their flip-flops actually STAY ON THEIR FEET. Hence the "flip-flop shuffle." Makes me think of the old Rolling Stones tune "Harlem Shuffle." Which I've now been playing in my head for over two hours (thanks very much, flip flop people).

I can't wear flip-flops. I like my footwear to actually move in concert with my feet. Call me crazy. And I definitely couldn't get into the ones where the strap thingy goes between your big toe and your second toe. Some people have said that it's comfortable once you get used to it. Yeah, just like a thong, I bet... but you won't convince me to wear one of those anytime soon either!

Monday, August 29, 2005


That's my best attempt at the sound of a block of wood. Or another similarly dense inanimate object. Like the head of the girl who just waited on me at the drive-thru at Tim Horton's. Thunk.

Now, never let it be said that I refuse to acknowledge a person's positive qualities. So, let me say that on the positive side, she was cute. But that's all. If I needed to refine that description at all, I'd have to say "cute-but-dumb-as-a-post."

So, there we are at the drive-thru. I'm in the car with four kids, all of whom behaved quite well at a trip to Walmart, hence the side trip to Tim's. I order an Iced Cappuccino, and four donuts: one honey dip, one vanilla dip, and two double chocolate. She doesn't have a total for me at the squawk box, but that doesn't worry me at the time. I drive around to the pick-up window.

She looks out the window at me, and says, "Nine dollars."

I look back at her, and say, "Pardon me?!?!?"

She says, "Didn't you order an Iced Cap, four donuts, and two coffees?"

I say, "Uh, no. The coffees aren't mine." What I get back from her is what I become very familiar with over the next few minutes. A blank stare. Either a "deer-in-the-headlights" or possibly a "maybe-if-I-just-stare-at-him-he'll-go-away" kind of stare. I can't decide.

So, she re-evaluates my order and gives me (what I hope is) the correct price. I pay.

She hands me a small bag of donuts. I pass it back to the 13-year-old to distribute to the crew.

She looks at the two coffees that aren't mine. She looks back at me. Gives me 'the stare.' I say, "My Iced Cap??" She looks around. Nobody made it.

She looks to a co-worker for backup. The co-worker, at least, has a glint in her eye which makes me feel a little better about my order. The co-worker makes my Iced Cap.

By this time, my 13-year-old says, "Dad, these aren't the right donuts. And there are only three." I take the bag and look into it. There *is* a vanilla dip donut. Yay. There are also two chocolate dip donuts, which aren't actually the donuts we wanted. No honey dip, no two double chocolates.

I tell her, "I'm sorry, but these donuts aren't right. The vanilla dip is there, but there are two chocolate dips instead of double chocolates, and there is no honey dip." She gives me 'the stare.' But at least she takes the bag, and heads back to the donut shelves. (The co-worker is wearing a little smile. Methinks the co-worker has been here before.)

A short while later she comes back with the bag and hands it to me. She says, "There are no honey dips. That's why there wasn't one in there." I don't even *bother* asking any of the obvious questions. So I just say, "Ok then, a chocolate dip will be fine."

She hands me the bag. I don't check it yet. I look at her. She looks at me. Gives me 'the stare.' I don't actually *have* my Iced Cap yet. At least it's there on her counter. I just look at it. She looks at it. And hands it to me.

There are... I don't know... A LOT of cars behind me in the drive-thru lineup by now. WAY more than you would expect on a Monday afternoon. I drive away.

However, before I completely exit the parking lot, something tells me I better check the donuts. I pull into a parking spot and open the bag. Ok, there's that same vanilla dip donut. That's good. There's a chocolate dip donut, like I expect. Good. And there's also... another two chocolate dip donuts. The same two that were in there back when I told her they were wrong. Groan.

I hop out of the car, walk into the place and try to get the right donuts. Another employee tells me they don't actually *have* any double chocolate right now. Ah. I take two other kinds and leave.

The kids eat their donuts. I drink my Iced Cap. Everything's ok with the world. I even found the whole thing slightly amusing (remember, I *am* easily amused...).

However, the sound refuses to leave me. I keep hearing it over and over.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

I Like Pie

Maybe I should be more specific. "Pie" to me, was kind of a grownup thing, something my parents would have after Sunday dinner. Cherry pie, blueberry pie, rhubarb pie... none of them interested me enough to eat them. Apple pie was ok, although my dad freakishly liked to put cheese slices on top of his.

That all changed when somebody invented... Caramel Apple Pie.

Oh. My. God.

I discovered these a few years ago. Frozen pies are a popular fundraising thing around here for hockey teams and other sport groups. In fact my 16-year-old is fundraising with these pies so she can go to Scotland on a Highland Dancing trip next year, which must be why I've started obsessing about them again.

It's hard to explain how good these are. Put it this way: If my wife said to me (and I hope she never does), "Which would you rather do - get lucky tonight, or have this last piece of caramel apple pie?" ... I would actually have to SERIOUSLY CONSIDER my choice. That's how good these pies are. (You know, maybe someday she'll say, "Hey, big boy, come eat this last piece of caramel apple pie and then take me upstairs!"... now THAT would be a good day!)

Who knows, maybe THIS time I'll have a little more self control. Maybe we'll save the pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. No more cooking pies at eleven at night, to have them gone by twelve. No more sneaking to the fridge over and over, cutting tiny slices that will hopefully go unnoticed, until 'whoops no more pie!'

Let's just say, I make no promises... ;)

Friday, August 26, 2005

This picture is from a site called that has TONS of pictures that are digitally manipulated in one way or another. If you enjoy this kind of thing (like me), be warned: you will spend more time there than you intend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Slugs, No Doug

Doug Bennett from Doug and the Slugs died last October. I just found out now, after surfing to their website.

I remember the first time I heard one of their songs. It was on a cassette I owned called "Rock 80", one of those K-Tel compilations (for those of you old enough to remember them). The song was "Too Bad" and it was the one I kept playing over and over (which was a little bit more of a pain with cassettes, kids, we had to manually set a push-button counter, and actually "rewind" the tape...).

In the 80's I actually saw them several times.

When I was at Acadia, they performed in University Hall, which was a fancy auditorium a little unsuited for their 'bar band' style of performance. Doug closed the gap by walking up the middle of the audience, although there wasn't actually a centre row to walk up. He just climbed over everyone. He eventually fell over, and at one point was lying on his back across my lap singing, with me and everyone else around us singing along.

Another time I saw them at the old Misty Moon in Halifax. In fact, I was so moved during "Making It Work" that I hopped up on the stage, danced up to the mike, and sung along for a few bars before deciding that the bouncers might not like this for very long. It didn't bother Doug at all. I think I must have had a few too many ginger ales that evening.

Anyway, to hear that Doug died made me a little sad. The energy in his singing would always lift my spirits. I think I'll go listen to some now. I could use a pick-me-up.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Cemetery that Time Forgot

I'm fascinated with abandoned old homes, barns, and other structures that are slowly being overtaken by nature. I've never seen it happen to a graveyard before. The funny thing is, I drove by this place for YEARS before noticing it a few months ago. Weird.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Several Unconnected Comments (too baked for linear thought)

1. Seeing my nephrologist tomorrow. Does the word 'nephrologist' make anybody else think 'necrophiliac'?? Maybe that could be an underground comic book or something. "Nelvin the Necrophiliac Nephrologist."

2. My 13-year-old is a MACHINE. After a day of baseball on Saturday, followed by an evening of swimming and "touch" (ie. tackle) football, then a full day of amusement park flume rides, pedal racecars, crazy rides that flip you up and down and upside-down (used to be called the Zipper when I was a kid... now called something stupid like Rock-o-Planes), and, of course, ROLLER COASTERS, he encourages me to take a couple of end-of-day runs on the roller coaster with him before we brave the two-hour drive home. Well, after SEVEN runs, by which time the fries I ate have migrated from my stomach to somewhere up in my sternum, I take a break. He takes two MORE rides, then takes ME for two more rides... and I finally call things to a halt. But I'm certain he would have hung on for at least twenty.

3. Which came first: the song "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon, or the movie "American Werewolf in London"?? Oh well, I love them both anyway.

p.s. If my nephrologist wants me to take blood pressure medication to support some *theory* of his that it might protect my remaining kidney... as he suggested six months ago... well, I'm not doing it. Doctors. Hmmph.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I USED to Be a Morning Person...

...but I'm not right now. Perhaps if I started getting to bed regularly before 1 or 2am on a given night, that might make me more agreeable to getting up when my four-year-old pops up, fresh as a daisy, at 6:45.

To start the day off right, I've brewed myself a nice steaming hot cup of.... water. Aagh. Maybe I'll actually PUT SOME COFFEE in the machine and try again...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My New "Moniker"

You know that either (a) it's a REALLY slow news day, or (b) there is something VERY wrong with the world, when I see, both on television and the internet, that a rap star is changing his "moniker" (ie. nickname) from "P. Diddy" to just "Diddy." I mean, is this something I should care about? I don't think I cared last time either, when he changed his "moniker" (sorry, but I just can't type that word without using quotes) from "Puff Daddy" to "P. Diddy."


Now that I think about it a little more, maybe giving yourself a "moniker" (and then changing it regularly) is a good form of self-expression and self-promotion. In fact, we all should do it. OK, that's it! I'm giving myself a "moniker"!! Now, what to choose...

Here is my list of potential "monikers" so far:

Darth Doody
Princess Powerpuff
cOoL dOoD wHO CaNt sPeL 2 gooD bUt RULZ!!!
Double-Triple Coffeeman

It's hard to decide. None of these really *speak* to me. WAIT! The best one yet just came to me... and better yet, it's available! From now on, please refer to me as...


(It shouldn't be such a stretch. Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis call me "Daddy" already.)

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Hidden Sign

A few minutes ago I picked up my teenage daughter at a friend's house. I'm driving along a kind of rural road with dense foliage along one side. I notice that there is a yellow road sign up ahead, but I can't make out what it says. The surrounding tree branches have grown around it so much that it is mostly obscured. Being the curious type of person I am, I slow my car down substantially to figure out what the sign says. Turns out that it says...

Hidden Driveway.

Now THAT's useful!!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Wedding Crashers tickled my fancy

We actually got out with friends last night, had a huge meal and went to a movie. Wedding Crashers. I had heard that it was quite funny, but I was a little concerned because my two teenagers had both said that it was just 'ok.' (I'll tell you more about that in a minute)

I didn't expect to be anything more than reasonably amused, but I was happy to find that the movie was an ABSOLUTE RIOT. No, really, it was a total hoot. In fact, I was also pleased to discover that the trailer, while doing a good job of making you understand the plot, doesn't give the whole movie away. In fact, for the last half of the movie, I didn't have any idea where they were going from there.

So what was up with my teenagers? For the most part, they have similar tastes in movies to me. Why did they say it was just 'ok?' Well, here we go: they went with their MOTHER. They had seen it with her the same time I took the little kids to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, naturally, if a movie is full of sexually charged comments and situations, along with a dapple of nudity, that doesn't lend itself to teenagers singing its praises in their mother's presence. When I confronted them about their mild praise after seeing the movie myself, they confessed that it actually ROCKED.

(Here's a funny aside... my wife, who saw the movie for the second time last night, confessed that she enjoyed it MUCH more the second time... since she wasn't with her children! So the door swings both ways.)

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Get George Lucas on the phone!

Today is the day my ship has come in! Between my 8-year-old son and me, we have come up with the coolest Star Wars tie-in ever, and a future bestselling candy treat....


Yes, you read it correctly. Not "lightsaber"... LICKsaber! It's a sucker shaped like a mini lightsaber. The stick is a plastic lightsaber handle. The blade is the candy part. You can have different colours and flavours. There's Luke Skywalker green apple, Obi-Wan Kenobi blue raspberry, Mace Windu purple grape, and here's a cool one... Darth Vader red sour strawberry. It tastes sour at first, but then it's sweet deeper down. Just like the real Darth Vader... good on the inside! Once these hit the market we figure they will sell like wildfire. Then we can release the 'limited edition' Darth Maul double-bladed licksaber... in red hot cinnamon!!

So, if anyone has George Lucas's phone number... could you send it to me???

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Many Faces of Me

So I like to dress up. In case that isn't obvious already. I also like playing with people's heads while dressed up, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Makes dressing up even *more* fun.

For your viewing pleasure, I present "The Many Faces of Me."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kids Say the Darnedest Things (or, "My Huge P***s")

So we're at the swimming pool today. In the "family changing room" I take my four-year-old son into the changing stall with me so I can get out of my wet bathing suit.

While we're in there, he looks at me and says,

"Wow! That's a huge p***s!"

In the interim, I've had time to think of some good responses:

1) "Thanks, little buddy! It's time I start paying you an allowance! Here's twenty bucks to start!"

2) "Could you *please* remember to explain this to your mother when we get home??"

3) "Yeah, I hear that at the bathhouse all the time!"

However, since I was in a public changing room, none of those imaginative responses came to me. Instead, in hushed tones, I said, "Shh, little buddy, let's not talk about that right now, ok?"

Clearly he didn't get it yet, since the next thing he said was,

"But Dad, it really is a huge p***s! Mine is just a little puny p***s."

So maybe I should have stopped discouraging the child and just gone with the flow:

"Thanks again little bud! And for that matter, you should see me when I *haven't* just come out of a cold swimming pool!"

But no. Instead, I reiterated to him, "We shouldn't be talking about p***ses right now, ok? That's kind of private, and we don't really want to talk about it here at the swimming pool."

This time he gets it. Whew.

Of course, I *do* buy him a donut after the swim... ;)

The Battle of the Century

I will never forget the day in 1976 I saw an advertisement for this comic. At ten years old, I was so excited I nearly wet my pants.

SUPERMAN!!! SPIDER-MAN!!! In the SAME comic together!!?? Never before had something like this happened! Superman was from DC Comics and Spider-man was from Marvel! What would happen when these two titans clash??? (Actually I was a little concerned, because Superman was, oh, I don't know.... a MILLION times more powerful than Spider-man...)

I did eventually get my hands on the comic (in fact for a short time I had *two* copies... I ordered one by mail, then later saw it appear at the corner store... I was so worried I might not get the one by mail, that I BEGGED my dad to buy it, and he did. Of course the other arrived a couple weeks later). It didn't disappoint me. It was awesome. I still own it.

No other comic could ever top the pure excitement that this comic generated for me.

(By the way, Spider-man didn't get squashed. He was secretly 'powered-up' by Lex Luthor without his knowledge, and... well, I'm sure you get the point)


I'm one of those people that learns how to use things. I was the family VCR programmer ever since VCR's were introduced. I would go from house to house, whether my grandparents', or my uncles', or whoever, and their VCR's would all be blinking "12:00" over and over. I would set their clocks, and maybe program them to record their favourite tv shows. If their power ever went out, they would call me to come over and program their VCR again.

When I get a gadget or a software program, I try to learn the features. After all, I *am* paying for them, right? I have my cell phone linked with my MSN, for instance. So my family and friends can send me messages using MSN and I can pick them up on my cell phone (for *free*... thank you Rogers).

So the whole point of this post is to try out a feature of Blogger that lets me email a post into my blog. I'm doing this message in Hotmail from my wife's laptop. (Well, I suppose I could also log into my blog from here... but that's not the point, is it?) I don't know that I'll ever really *need* to be able to do this... but if I ever do, I'll know how to do it! ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

For Fun and Excitement, Nothing Beats the.... Car Wash

Well, maybe that's not *exactly* true, but it certainly is a way to give kids a little charge.

I'm sure I've never taken my vehicle through a car wash more than a dozen times in my adult life, and I don't think I've ever done it for the express purpose of cleaning my car (although it is a nice little side bonus).

I remember going through the car wash as a kid and thinking it was WAY cool, so I just want my kids to be able to remember the same thing.

My Most Embarrassing Moment (one of them, anyway)

About five years ago, I was a Beaver leader when my number one son was younger. Our meetings were held in the basement of a church on Wednesday evenings. A friend of mine, who attended that church, mentions that her 2-year-old had lost something in the church that previous Sunday. Being a nice guy, I say that I will run upstairs to the church on Wednesday night and check for the lost item.

Wednesday arrives, and during our Beaver meeting I scoot upstairs to the church. Normally the church is empty on Wednesday nights. When I arrive in the foyer outside of the main church area, a lady is standing there. I tell her I am just looking for something quickly, and she expresses no concern. I enter the main church area, and work my way up and down the long pews, searching wherever a child might leave something.

As I approach the front of the church, something catches my eye. I glance at a large case on the floor in front. No wait, it's not a case... it's a... coffin.

Immediately the gravity of the situation comes crashing down on me. I'm sharing an empty church with the last remains of the newly departed... and there's a lady in the foyer... and that means that tonight might be a funeral... at which point the "get the hell out of here" gland kicks in, and I run out of church through the doors to the foyer.

Too late.

I was right. A funeral was about to begin, and I come face to face with a bunch of mourners preparing to enter the church for the funeral service. Which in itself would be an awkward and uncomfortable situation.

But that's not the best part.

This particular Beaver meeting was in October.

In fact, it was our HALLOWEEN party.

So (and here's the part I didn't tell you before): not only have I just burst through the double doors to confront a solemn bunch of mourners...

I'm dressed head-to-toe as BATMAN.

Never in my life have I been more happy to have most of my face covered. Somehow I barely manage to spit out, "Um... excuse me" as I pass through the crowd. As I run down the stairwell with my big black cape flapping behind me, I distinctly hear someone say, "You know... I never expected to see Batman here tonight..."