Taken February 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
I’m right impressed with myself over this picture. I seriously doubt I’ll get another shot even half this good for the rest of the year. I kind of hope I don’t – I’m really proud of this one. I want to blow it up to about garage-door-sized and hang it on my wall.
The inside of my head feels a lot like this pic – kind of dreamy… gauzy… lazy…
I’ve been busy, mind you….
…picking away at a website I’m building for a charitable organization here in town…
…picking away at painting my little apartment – we’ve decided not to move, after all. We’re finally getting this place “prettified” the way we like it, and the thought of hauling all the stuff down the stairs…. Blech. It’s still small, even though we’ve gotten rid of 60% of its contents, but it suits us, and the larger (huger) place comes with a big jump in rent.
The more we thought about moving, the more we realized that the only good thing about moving was that it was just downstairs (no way am I giving up my landlady!), so packing would be… well… it wouldn’t be, would it?
I’m still waiting to actually get on the schedule at the new J.O.B…. they insist that I’m hired. Every time I call… “Uuuuuuuhhhhhhhhmmmmm…. probably…. some time…. uuuuuhhhhhhmmmmm…. next week….? Maybe….?” They tell me this once a week. I should have applied to work in HR instead of sales… I think they need the help.
So, in the meantime…
…I drink a lot of coffee, and work a lot of crosswords, and watch a lot of movies (and ball games… and hockey games…) with Ruby.
…I continue to scan the J.O.B. boards and newspaper ads, in the undying hope that something not involving sales, customer service or telemarketing jumps out at me.
…I Walk-About to my parents’, drink rum, and listen to a new story once a week. Yes, I’m writing them down – heck I might even get around to posting them…
…I swear over the apparently uninstallable software that will allow the coolest Ruby post ever posted to be posted… finally. I hope. Gulp…*
…I dance with The Turkey – who, by the way, has just finished the second edit of her first novel. At 13. Yup. I feel a little useless when she’s in the room. She’s also re-dyed her hair purple, and has taken to stealing the pre-stolen “Grampa-shirts” out of my closet (I stole them first, but there’s never one to wear when I want one), and wearing them with neckties. I’d post pics, but the kid doesn’t stay home long enough to catch more than her shirt-tail in the view-finder…
…I drive around with The Fly-Girl in the Soon-to-be-Mine Minivan (I think I’ll name it The FlyMobile, whad’ya think?), singing old rock tunes from when we were young and thought we’d be 16 for-freaking-ever.
…and I spend a lot of time staring at this picture… and drifting off… somewhere…
Random Song-for-the-Day: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – Elton John
Taken February 25, 2008 with
Canon PowerShot A550
© Les Becker, 2008
My life is fairly straight-forward and routine-oriented. I really like it that way. If there’s going to be any excitement, I’d like to plan it, trouble-shoot it, and control all aspects of it, thank you very much.
Patchouli, the cute little fur-ball you see above, feels otherwise. She has, in fact, been the cause of many incidents of “excitement” around here, much to my dismay. She revels in causing emergency situations calling for cool heads. I don’t deal well with emergencies, if you must know.
When Patchouli pulled a heavy table-top down on her head a couple of years ago (did you know it’s possible for cat shit to come out both ends of a cat at the same time?), my way of dealing with it was to scream and cry a lot. She survived, obviously, but the credit goes to the thankfully cooler heads that were actively prevailing at the time. You’d never know the cat got bonked, except that she’s a little retarded, now.
Okay, maybe more than a little retarded.
She likes to squish herself through the 2-inch width of open window by my desk, to sit on the 2-inch width of ledge – the only thing keeping her retarded little head from meeting the pavement of John Street before being squashed flat by a truck. She sits on the other side of the glass, smiling at me, waiting for the panic attack.
She also likes to sit beside one of the many candles that burn here every evening, twitching her tail through the flame. Smiling. I keep waiting for the Whooomph! that will signal the beginning of her painful demise…
Yesterday being Wednesday, the kuckiest day of the week, historically speaking, I spent the evening indulging in my weekly habit of tub-soaking in a dim bathroom, radio playing, candles burning, bath oil oiling… and my face painted with one of those “stress-relieving” facial masques that are supposed to suck out all the day’s tensions while erasing 40 years’ worth of wrinkles at the same time.
I’ve never actually seen my face with this goop on – I don’t have the guts to look, truthfully – but it looks yellow coming out of the jar, at least by candlelight, so I can just imagine the vision I must be while wearing it.
For the full effect, you must imagine me, as well, with my hair yanked back and tucked into a shower-cap. Oh yeah…. and naked. That got you laughing, right?
Patchouli likes to keep me company in the bathroom on Wednesday evenings. It’s the candles, of course – the flames fascinate her, and she loves to sit on the vanity and watch the reflection of the candles in the mirror, twitching her tail back and forth…
I got sick of hauling myself up and out of the tub every two minutes to put her down on the floor. Aside from getting car hair all over my wet hands, and then transferring it into the bath water, there was also a good chance I’d catch a glimpse of my face in the mirror and scare the bejeezus out of myself. The thought kind of makes the idea of meditating in a hot bath by candlelight to wash Wednesday away a little laughable. As does the idea of the cat suddenly going up in flames, which is why I finally put her out the door.
I had just settled back down, with the water up to my shoulders, and my neck resting on The Turkey’s squishy bath pillow…. Siiiiiiiiiiigggggggggghhhhhhhhhhh……. when I heard a quack.
I did. I heard a quack and it wasn’t a duck.
It was Sheikh, the other cat that owns me. Sheikh quacks. He does. You can hear him here, if you don’t believe me…
I hadn’t noticed him sitting in the sink, but there he was. He’s “poof-ier” than Patchouli. I think that makes him more flammable. I got thinking that a better word might even be “combustible”, that’s how “poofy” he is…
Well, the vision ran away with me, and all I could imagine was that Whooomph! sound, followed by shrieking coming from either me or the cat, or both, and Sheikh flying down the hall, in flames, followed by myself, dripping wet and naked except for my shower cap and my face painted yellow, screaming, “The cat’s on fire! The cat’s on fire!”
And I got laughing. Hysterically. Out loud.
I could just imagine The Guy Across the Hall on the other side of the bathroom wall, wondering what all the laughing and quacking in my bathroom was about…
I haven’t decided how well yellow facial-masques or bath oil or candles work for relieving stress and tension. I do know that laughter works wonders.
* * *
P.S. A very special Thank You to David McMahon for awarding me the ever-elusive Post-of-the-Day Award for “Mein Kluben! Mein Kluben!” My dad was tickled pink when he heard the news (my mom wanted to know if there was any money in it…)
Random Song-for-the-Day: “The Animal I’ve Become” – 3 Days Grace
"The Waitress, the Whiskey & the Handcuffs" is for sale in
digital and paper formats at
The Les Becker Bookshop.
4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards Emblem
Taken March 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
On 26 January 1941, the Regiment mobilized the 4th (Active) Princess Louise Dragoon Guards.
This unit was converted to armour and redesignated 4th Reconnaissance Battalion (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards) on 11 February 1941. The battalion was formed from personnel from 1st Canadian Infantry Division in the United Kingdom together with reinforcements from Canada in July 1941. On 08 June 1942, it was redesignated as 4th Reconnaissance Regiment (4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards).
My dad was stationed in Belgium for his first gig during World War II. It was there that he contracted diphtheria and ended up on a wild back-and-forth middle-of-several-nights not-what-we-might-call-an-ambulance ride with two hot Australian chicks between Ostend and Amsterdam and a hospital ship that would (eventually) sneak him successfully to hospital for months of recovery.
He teased those nurses the whole time he was under their care – it’s a wonder they didn’t just dump him out on a back road somewhere. “Whad’ya wanna live in Australia for?! All ya got there is SHEEP!!” I wish I’d recorded his imitation of the insulted nurses when they retorted, “We’ve got cities and towns! Just like you’ve got!” My dad sure knows how to piss a woman off…
Prior to his grand contagious escape, my dad’s job was to “guard” an outdoor sports arena. He wasn’t guarding it from the Germans – they were being kept out of Belgium fairly handily by 1943-44 – but from the locals. This arena was where they would come once a day, lined up and dressed in their very best clothes, carrying any container from their pantry they could carry, to pick up food passed out by Canadian Army personnel off a truck. He said it was a strange sight – all these folks dressed up in their finery, waiting for a meal with cooking pots in their hands – even the kids. It was a little kid that made him realize that he didn’t have a clue what he was doing there….
Dad’s job during the daylight hours was to keep the people cordoned off while other personnel were unpacking the trucks and setting up tables and food, etc. Officers ate first, followed by infantrymen, and then the townfolk got their share. Sometimes, understandably so, I think, this made them a little impatient. It was up to my dad to be tough, cruel and frightening, and order them back beyond the barrier to wait their turns. My dad was 23. Ha.
He said, most times, all he had to do was wave his gun menacingly and growl and they would settle down. He growled because he couldn’t speak the language. He waved his gun because he didn’t know what else to do with it.
His gun was a bit of a joke, anyway, he said. It was a “sten gun”, jumbled together from metal pipes and “you wouldn’t recognize the thing as a gun at all, unless you knew what it was.” It worked, though; it was actually a formidable weapon, firing automatic 303 cartridges. My dad pronounces “303” as “3-aught-3”. He’s Canadian, you know.
Sometimes, at night, he would be assigned to guard a certain path into the sports arena – one designated for soldiers only, and he was to turn back all non-military personnel with no exceptions. Sometimes, locals would try to get by him with fake ID cards, crudely put together that had no hope in hell of passing for anything official. This part of the job was boring, and sometimes for a lark, my dad would pretend to be greener than he was, and be “fooled” by the most ridiculous-looking, fakest-looking card that was passed to him, and let the guy holding it through. He said that usually the guy would have a hard time keeping the surprised look off his face and continue down the path.
When I asked why he could get away with letting these people through, he said, “They weren’t spies – they were looking to shorten the food line for themselves, that’s all.”
One day, while standing behind the cordon between the food and the people, my dad started having trouble with one little girl and her family. He would shoo them back, and turn to keep an eye on everybody else, and when he looked back again, there they would be, sneaking under the cordon, that little girl, especially. Finally, he’d had enough.
He watched from the corner of his eye as the little girl snuck further and further, and then suddenly ran at her, yelling at the top of his lungs. Had he done this to one of his own kids in later years, it would have put the fear of the devil himself into whichever one of us he was yelling at, but this kid stood there and stared him down. He didn’t know if she was paralyzed with fear, or standing defiant, but he kept yelling as he slung his sten gun over his shoulder and bent down and hooked her up under the armpits with his other arm, stomped to the cordon and dumped her over it. There.
He didn’t have his back fully turned before the little brat was back under the rope. He picked her up again and put her back behind it. And she started yelling at him!
“Mein kluben! Mein kluben!” and under the rope she came again!
He drove her back again. This was not turning out to be a good day.
He finally had to resort to standing directly in front of the girl to keep her on her side of the cordon. The kid kept yelling at him. Then she started pointing and yelling. It took Dad a while to figure it out, but he finally realized what she was pointing at.
Back behind him, at the spot that he’d pulled the little girl off her feet, were two little wooden shoes, embedded in the mud. He’d yanked her right out of her shoes.
Now, my dad loves kids, and even at 23, he had a soft spot for them. He felt really bad. He finally waved her under the cord to rescue her shoes, but he kept a snarly look and growl handy, so as to save face.
At the end of the war, my dad went back to Belgium, and into a little shop. He bought a pair of small wooden shoes. When I was growing up, he kept them locked in a file cabinet in his den. Every now and then when I was very small, he would bring them out to show me – he even let me put them on and walk around in them once in a great while. They hurt.
He never told me the story about why he bought those shoes until just this year. He doesn’t know where the shoes are now – possibly packed away in a box in My Brother the Trespasser’s barn or basement. I wish he still had them so I could have posted a photo.
Another odd thing…. I’m not sure if Dad is remembering “Mein kluben” correctly, or if it was a slang term. I can’t find it anywhere in Dutch or German pertaining to “shoes” or “clogs” or “wooden shoes”, but that’s what he swears the little girl was yelling. Anybody out there have an inkling…? I’d love to know.
* * *
P.S. Y’all can uncross your cramped little fingers and toes, now. Thank you sincerely. I start the new J.O.B. some time next week. 😀
Random Song for the Day: “Pipeline” – Anthrax
Taken December 18, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550
Okay, it’s just been so damned long since I’ve posted that it feels like a brand new blog. And what you see above is pretty much what everything that I’ve been up to to keep me from blogging boils down to (Holy ol’ shit, but that’s a lot of “to”s!). In other words: a whole lotta squat, so I don’t even have a good reason for it.
I’m almost finally through with some crap that up until last year, I was supposed to be dealing with on an annual basis. It got so depressing, that I quit “taking care of business” for nearly a decade, and then last year it all hit the fan and I had to deal with even more crap over it. Yes, I mean “medical” junk, and no, I’m neither “sick” nor in any danger of dying (barring unforeseen buses, as per usual), but I will say that I’m sick to death (har, har) of hearing the word “inconclusive”, which is why I quit going back year after year in the first place.
Last year, The Powers that Be threw me a few extra curve balls, and I wasn’t in much of an emotional state, to say the least, to be able to handle it well. At. All. I went into it this year not giving any kind of damn at all and I’m fairly overjoyed for a change to hear “inconclusive” to the usual crap only and consider the curve balls of 2007 to have been manifested from a bad state of being. I’m learning that “inconclusive” can be filtered through what serves as the logical portion of my brain (tiny though that might be) to the point that I can truthfully believe, with the gargantuan illogical portion of my brain, that the results actually came back as definite and inarguable “negatives” and in two more days I can forget about it completely. Until next year.
Now, enough of that bullshit.
On the J.O.B. front, I’ve had a little more progress since I quit trying to find a position in my so-called new “field”. Yes, folks, although not yet set in stone, it looks like I will be back in retail again. Everybody stick your fingers firmly in the back of your throats and say, “Gackh!”, ‘cuz that’s about what that amounts to.
At least, I won’t be selling electronics. And then refunding/exchanging them 24 hours later amidst the screaming and the crying. Thank God, because if I’d had to that again, I would also have to admit, for real this time, that the last two years of my life (almost to the day; how’s that for ironic?!) have been a complete and utter waste of my time and the Canuckian government’s money.
Ah, who am I kidding? Retail is retail – 24 months that I could have been a productive, if incredibly bitter and pissed-off, citizen paying my own way. All I had to do was re-apply to work for The Company instead of take the lay-off when Louie sold his store back to Them. Yes, “Them”. The thought turned my stomach. Still does, so I guess I should be grateful, huh?
And I am, I suppose… I had a nice holiday. I have a new education. Perhaps, I might even find a use for it, someday… 😉
Actually, it really was a good two years, that way. I just wish I’d done more with the time than make plans for what I was going to do, instead of writing as much as I possibly could. I got more done on that front, truthfully, when I was schlepping computers and batteries full time, which, when I think of it that way, makes it more believable to me that I’ll write more once I’m schlepping completely different goods. Hope springs eternal, and all that…
Those of you that give a damn, please tighten those crossed fingers that this position really comes through, would you…? Thanks. 🙂
Random Song for the Day: “Psycho” – Puddle of Mudd