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Photography Real Life Wasted Time...

The What’th of September…

Waste Not, Want NotTaken September 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550
Waste Not, Want Not
Taken September 22, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Ruby needed to know the date the other day, and that’s how she asked it: “This is the what’th of September…?” It struck me as a good title for a blog post because it’s felt like the “what’th of September” for pretty much the entire month.

The photo is fairly symbolic for my September, as well. September has been a waste: blog-wise, writing-wise, and life-wise. I’ve done nothing of note this month, and nothing productive, unless you count cleaning the bathroom.

I don’t count cleaning the bathroom as productive unless it’s been an horrific mess and takes a while to clean, and that hasn’t been the case in some time. And if this new-for-me bathroom were to get itself into the state of “horrific mess”, it would still only take 10 minutes to clean it – I’ve seen bigger broom closets.

I’ve spent most of my September taking stock of things. One would think that would be productive, but it’s turned into a waste of my time. I’m becoming more aware of “time” lately, since I overheard somebody say to somebody else, “Time is money….”, and the somebody else replied, “No. Time is life.”

Scared me a little bit.

I spent very little time during August purging enough stuff to allow me to fit myself and my child into this wee small space. I expected to agonize over what to keep and what to toss, and I was surprised how easy it was to just get rid of it all – shred it, trash it, give it away. Everything I owned held some meaning for me at one point and every previous attempt over the last 25 years to unclutter my living space has always been impossible when it came to memorabilia: photos, letters, stupid little bits of things that would mean nothing to anyone else, but meant everything to me.

Nostalgia is a weird thing. This time, when I started to cull the junk, everything I picked up could have been someone else’s memory. It didn’t mean much of anything anymore.

Now, it’s time to cull the things I’m wasting my time with and start getting productive. I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I’m not so sure.

[[[… time passes…]]]

How weird is this?! I’m in the middle of this post when I get a phone call from a friend asking me what I’m doing about “this writing thing you’re into”. 26 minutes of Kick-My-Ass has convinced me somewhat that I should continue the dream.

Except, I think it’s time to quit dreaming and start doing. I’ve already wasted too much of my time.

Time is Life, after all…

Random Song-for-the-Day: “Doctor Who Theme” – Orbital

Categories
Finances Real Life

Goodbye, Captain Underpants…

"The Tattered and Worn"
“The Tattered and Worn”
Taken November 10, 2007 with Canon PowerShot A550

Tattered and worn is how Ky and I both feel about now. Our move of residence is imminent. As in, Today.

I hate moving. I wanted to space it all out over a period of a couple of weeks, and the plan was working for awhile, even. The J.O.B., though, has me worn out. When I’m there, I’m thinking of all the packing still left to do, and when I’m here, I’m too overwhelmed and “procrastinatey” to get much done.

I don’t have to be completely gone from this building until the 31st, but The Fly-Girl’s wedding reception is on the 30th, which requires an overnight… and nope- can’t book the following day off for the last little pickings involved in moving house, so I’m hoping I can get it done ahead of the celebrations. And that I’m not hungover at work the day after the dog bites me.

I hate moving. I said that already, didn’t I? Well, I hate it even more now, than two paragraphs ago.

We’ve been chauffering little stuff in boxes over since the 15th, with much of it going the opposite direction to the charity drop. I’m forced to abandon items that I would have clung to fiercely a year ago, and I’m surprisingly at peace doing so. There is no room for more than is absolutely necessary, and no storage space. At. All. The place we’re moving into is even smaller than the one we’re leaving. I wouldn’t have thought that to be possible, but…

I took the place sight unseen (or is that site unseen? Whatever.), because every apartment I did look at was filthy. And expensive. And filthy. I considered buying a small house. Even looked at a couple. They were filthy, too.

And then Ruby suggested I check into an apartment above a store, right around the corner from her. She figured that even if they didn’t have anything available, they might know who owned the really well-kept up, retrofitted house next to them. Turns out “they” own both buildings, and a basement apartment would be available in the retro just in time for me.

It was small, they said. Very small. Newly renovated, though, with new fixtures, and floors, and appliances, and cupboards, and a sauna. Convincing Ky to take an unseen apartment (with a sauna) was actually a simple procedure: “Want a sauna?” “Duh! YES!!!”

I stood outside the building, not being able to see the place, yet, because of the squatter that refused to leave it, and pictured a full basement. I convinced myself that if it wasn’t bigger than the place we were leaving, it at least had to be close to the same size.

I paid a deposit. And the landlord hit me with another zinger.

We have no walls.

Hmmmm…. Okay, so it will be a Basement Loft with Sauna, then, won’t it? I signed a contract, and wrote out a bunch of post-dated checks. Accepted a key, and signed for that.

On the 15th, we went to see it.

It’s about this big.

Well, the new landlord tried to warn me, didn’t he? I’m taking it anyway, though. I can’t imagine looking at any more filthy, little expensive places…

There are all those pluses, too… I could spit and hit Ruby’s door… security parking for Prissy, behind a chain-link fence, complete with barbed-wire ruffles at the top… cheap rent, all inclusive… decent landlord…. the new everything he put in the place… Oh and did I mention

The Sauna?

And I’ll be glad to get out of this place, finally. It’s not the same without Ruby at the helm, and about the only things I’ll miss are the considerable whack-jobs populating the block.. like Captain Underpants, who moved in across the street last winter, and introduced himself to the neighbourhood by walking around barefoot in the snow, wearing nothing but his green boxers, beer in hand, yelling “Howdy!” to everybody he saw. Every day.

Now that the snow is gone, he yells from his kitchen window. I don’t think Captain Underpants likes heat. At least I know I won’t find him in my sauna some day.

Random Song-for-the-Day: “i am the walrus” – The Beatles

Categories
Real Life Zenishness...

Pink Fantasy…

Image: Pink Fantasy
Pink Fantasy
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

Categories
Real Life

Where Did the Time Go?

Image: Where Did the Time Go?
Where Did the Time Go?
Taken March 1, 2008 with Canon PowerShot A550

Whew! That was a hiatus I would rather not have taken. The Real World sucks compared to this one, it really does.

That said, it could be added that my time “away” basically consisted of two types of events: losses and gains. These are some of them.

Lost: My hatred for cooking… sort of.

I’ve had to get into some tight routines during the last month, and since I already had the problem of rarely thinking of what’s for dinner, the idea of not having time to rush around anymore when I finally did realize we hadn’t eaten didn’t appeal. Starvation just doesn’t suit me. So, I smartened up (only took me a quarter of a century – not bad, huh?), and sat down and wrote a list of every meal ever known to man… er…. woman-kind, and wrote them on the calendar. Voila! Dinner is served. I’ve since discovered that it isn’t cooking that I hate, it’s not knowing what to cook. Problem solved.

Gained: Several pounds that have stayed with me.

Finally. No, it’s not from cooking – I was doing that anyway, I just wasn’t liking it, remember? It’s all muscle-mass, from the regular work-outs. Yes, Suzi, I’m working out! Every. Freaking. Day. My arms and legs hurt like hell, but I now have an ass again. Boobs can’t be far behind… 😀

Lost: One of my Ortho lenses.

This totally sucks, because now I’m back to glasses, which are heavy and hurt my already bumpy nose (bumpy because of the F-ing glasses, I might add). I’ve decided not to replace the lens, for several reasons: they cost an unreal amount of money – it took me so long to pay for them, in fact, that I’m too embarrassed to call my optometrist and make an appointment. And I’ll probably just lose one again. And, since they wear out and cost so much, I let them go too long and they cause a freaky sensitivity in one eye that makes it hard to sit in front of the computer for long. Or watch a movie. Or blink. I’m going to go to some eyesight mill and pick up a new prescription instead, and then get lasik surgery in another year or so. Take that blindness. Ha.

Gained:  A new desk.
Gained: A new desk.

It was Ruby’s. She didn’t know she even owned a desk. Now it’s mine. 😀 I will have to post about it, because it’s so cool.

Lost: My love for The Patch.

Freaky-Deaky dreams aside, the thing itches, and half the time I forget to put one on anyway. I’m only still using them at all because I still have some left and my mother says I “shouldn’t waste them.”

Gained: A new couch.

And a chair to go with it. To be delivered Wednesday. How cool is that?! I made sure to get a colour that will match the sheddiest cat.

Lost: One of four “I Want” lines between my eyes. I’m told they’re from stress (not from old age – who’da thunk?!), so I guess that’s a good sign. Who says wishes don’t come true? I’m going to erase my entire face with wishes, you just see if I don’t.

Gained: A sleep routine that works.

That might be why the “I Want” line disappeared, come to think of it. Mind you, all the sleeping, nice as it is, messes with my blogging. I wonder if “Remote Posting” is a possibility… It’s not like I make a lot of sense while awake, so what’s the difference, really?

Lost: The “Slow It All Down” button.

Or I’d have posted long before this.

Gained: A ton of new stories from both Ruby and my parents.

So, I’d better find that button, huh…?

Lost: David Letterman and Craig Ferguson.

The sleep routine just doesn’t allow for them anymore. The worst thing I’ve discovered out of this particular loss is that I can’t discuss U.S. politics with Ruby anymore (it’s pretty bad when everything you know about U.S. politics comes from David Letterman). We now watch movies after the crossword instead.

Gained: A new address.

Eventually. Maybe. I haven’t decided on this one. I hate moving even more than I thought I hated cooking. It’s a bigger place, though, and The Turkey wants to go. She may win this one. I have time yet to mull it over, though, and mull I shall.

Lost: The Hummingbird.

Well, I didn’t lose her, exactly (although, I couldn’t tell you for certain where she is, either), but she’s not here. I’m both heart-broken and greatly relieved. And up to my neck in “Oops, I take it back” government forms.

Gained: Hot water.

Gallons and gallons and gallons of it, now that I’m minus one teenager.

Random Song for the Day: “You Never Can Tell” – Chuck Berry

Categories
Oh Mother...! The Father Chronicles

Whole Lotta Rockin’ Goin’ On…

Dad's ipod
…in the Nursing Home, that is.
Taken February 16, 2008 with Nokia 6275i Cameraphone

Yeah, so my dad bought an iPod. My Brother the Trespasser picked it up for him, set it up and showed him how to use it.

Dad spent about three hours playing with it and yelling at us what a “great rig” it was. The volume was so high that I could hear the lyrics from across the room. Every now and again he’d ask if it was his or my brother’s, and did I think he ought to get one for himself? Give him a break – he’s 87.

He may have his days where he can’t remember what happened five minutes ago, but he has no problem with what happened 65 years ago. He told me the “Cabbage Story” again, at my request.

That was a big ship we went Overseas on. Everybody had a job they had to do, and I ended up doing prep work in the galley. You never saw such a big space, either. There’d be fifty soldiers working down there at once, getting the meals ready.

We’d be peeling potatoes, or cabbages, or brussels sprouts. Those little buggers are hard to peel – I still hate brussels sprouts to this day, don’t I, Maude?

Mother: I guess so.

Dad: You’re darn right, I do! I hated having to peel those things. We’d be down there for hours at a time, hunched over, peeling vegetables – it got pretty boring. Now and again we’d get up to shenanigans, like the time that big Mulatto fella almost stabbed me to death… closest I came to getting killed during the whole war.

Mother: Well, what about when you spent all those months in the hospital with Diphtheria?! That nearly killed you!

Dad: Well, there’s a big difference between dying of Diphtheria and getting stabbed to death by a big Mulatto fella, now, isn’t there?!

Mother: I guess so…

Dad: You’re darn right there is!

Me: So how’d you nearly get stabbed to death by a big Mulatto fella?

Dad: I hit him in the head with a cabbage.

(at this point the conversation pauses… as it does every time he tells me this story, because neither of us can stop laughing for a bit…)

We were bored, see? And we got up to a game of catch. We were supposed to be peeling cabbages in our group, and the outer leaves come off just as easy when you toss a cabbage twenty feet across the room to the guy on the other side. I suppose we could have peeled them faster if we hadn’t been fooling around, but it wouldn’t have been as much fun, I guess.

Anyway, I was tossing cabbages back and forth with this other guy, and the cabbage we were using for a ball was pretty much peeled, when this big Mulatto fella come walking in between us, just as I heaved my cabbage across the room. Smacked him right upside the head with it.

Cabbages are hard, too, when all the fluffy stuff is peeled off. He was a big fella, though, and even though it smacked him pretty good, it didn’t knock him over. He turned and looked at me and I knew I was gonna pay for throwing that cabbage.

Then he snatched up a knife and started walking toward me, and I knew I was a dead man.

Mother: You’ll notice he’s not walking around dead about now…

Dad: You shhhh – ush!

Me: Yeah, Dad – how’d you get outta getting stabbed to death?

Dad: I don’t know. He just stopped about half-way and put the knife down. He didn’t even say anything, just walked away. Maybe he thought better of it, or figured I wasn’t worth a court-martial. Anyway, he didn’t stab me to death, so that’s good.

Me: What’d you do then?

Dad: I went to my bunk and changed my pants.

And don’t forget to enter The Big “Extra Copy” Caption Contest!

Random Song for the Day: “Friend is a Four-Letter Word” – Cake

Categories
Little Bits of Stupid Radio Les

Wanted: Used Tuba, Suitable for Cat

Cat in a Tuba
Come on; you can do it!

RadioLes!!

 

Wanted: Used Tuba, Suitable for Cat – © Les Becker, 2008
Click it! Click it!

My site was reviewed today. The phrase “Cat in a tuba” was the the best thing about it. You can read the review HERE, if you like, along with my comment about it.

Needless to say, the “review” was disappointing. Not because it was a little pissy, either – I expected pissy. Pissy is this guy’s schtick. I mean, he calls his site “I Hate Your Website,” so he’s bound to get a little um… rude. In fact, I didn’t find the “review” nearly as rude as I would have expected.

But.

The few other reviews he has up, at least the few I read, actually have some honest (if pissy) constructive criticism about the site thrown in there. Yes! They actually, actually do! Not mine, though. This guy’s dislike of cats and old people is apparently intense enough, and my blog is boring enough, and my friends don’t like me enough, that my site is not worth any constructive criticism about design, layout, content (other than cats and old people), adspace, whitespace, or anything else that might give me an idea about how it might be improved for readability or traffic.

The only constructiveish thing he mentioned was that I needed an “About Page” – because he didn’t know how old I was or what I do for a living… information that is repeatedly interspersed throughout many entries; not that I could reasonably expect him to read enough entries that he could be guaranteed not to miss those two gems. I’m not sure how knowing my age would make him like my blog any better, but maybe I shall, from now on, end each and every entry with the phrase, “My name is Les Becker. I’m 42.”

Yes, Carl, I’m 42. That’s also “The Answer to The Ultimate Question”, how cool is that?! Pretty cool if you’re me, I guess. I’m not that cool, though. I’d be more cool if I owned a tuba.

Anyhoo, all because of Carl, who is also cool in his own little way, I have set up a separate “About Page” – just for him. I even dedicated it to him. Cuz he’s pissy and cool and inconsistent, all at the same time. That deserves recognition.

And –

I hereby declare that from this day forward, February 14th will now be known as “Cat-in-a-Tuba” Day, in honour of Carl. Oh alright, it can still be Valentine’s Day, too, but only ‘cuz it would be too hard to break you all of the habit. Happy VD, btw, people. You, too, Carl.

My name is Les Becker. I’m 42.

Random Song for the Day: “Something in the Way” – Nirvana

Categories
Book Mentions It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Little Bits of Stupid Movie Mentions

Another Bridge Crossed…

bridgetoterabithia Kyla came home from school yesterday with her book order: her very own copy of A Bridge to Terabithia. She’s read school copies several times already, and seen the movie in the theater three times now. She rushed in at 3:30, dropped the book in my hands, and rushed back out to her babysitting job.

I’d only seen the movie once, and never read the book at all. So, of course, I changed all my Friday night plans immediately (homework, video rendering, writing and new computers being set up are not really Friday night occupations anyway…), and drew a bath. And I did something I believe I haven’t done since 2002: I read an entire book in the bathtub in one sitting. Errr… soaking.

And, yes, the book was much better than the movie, as has always been my experience, although I really loved this movie (note to self: find a copy of the first movie version for comparison sometime). The book has only 128 pages, so it isn’t that long of a read. I was just contemplating refilling the tub with hotter water for a second run-through, when the phone rang.

It was Louie, my Dream Job bossish/partnerish-type person with assignments and schedules and bath-time advice: namely that one does not bathe in the late afternoon/early evening. Apparently, that is an early morning activity only. And should be done standing up, under a shower-head. Luckily, Louie is only a bossish person now, with no real power, so when I hung up the phone, I refilled the tub and read the book again, remembering the “Real” King of Terabithia with growing clarity…

“At first they avoided each other during school hours, but by October they grew careless about their friendship. Gary Fulcher, like Brenda, took great pleasure in teasing Jess about his ‘girl friend’.”

Back in the Olden Days (some time in the mid-70’s)…

One of the worst insults to a young man of a certain age is to refer to his best friend as his girlfriend. It’s an even worse insult if the girl is your cousin, which may give said young man a quick retort to fall back on (“She’s not my girlfriend!! She’s my cousin!!“), but not the sort of satisfaction he would get from, say, pounding the crap out of whomever lobbed the insult. On Main Street. At the top of his lungs. In front of the entire third grade.

Of course, the presence of the entire third grade preempts any attempt at crap-pounding, simply because there’s no way of knowing if someone is going to “back’em up”. Pounding the crap out of one guy is possible, but two to four? Better to be embarrassed than to be bloody and embarrassed.

Mike at nine years old, though, can’t just leave things be. If he can’t pound crap, he will do the absolute worst thing he can think of. He will give them The Sign.

The Sign has no religious or satanic connotations to us. Sinful connotations, certainly, but we’re not concerned so much with burning in hell as we are with being strapped and/or grounded if a teacher and/or parent should see The Sign being performed, even if the other kid does deserve it (which he does, the nasty little bastard). Worse, my mother is a teacher, which makes utilizing The Sign, even in extreme circumstances, that much more dangerous. On Main Street. In broad daylight.

Use of The Sign is, in fact, so heinous, that it makes the target absolutely boil over with rage, so Mike has learned to be careful – hurling other, less volatile epithets over his shoulder while gradually inching further up the sidewalk, further from the crowd, looking for all the world as if he’s creeping away shamefully, his pride in tatters. When he judges the distance from the crowd compared to the distance to safety (my house, smack at the end of Main Street) to be favourable, he suddenly whirls like a dervish, whipping his fingers into The Sign violently with both hands. My God, he is brave.

And my God, he can run.

Which is a lucky thing, because The Sign evokes a preternatural vehemence in 9 year old boys. Lucky for Mike, I can run as well, because it is my job to beat them both to the driveway and call the dog, who will bark ferociously, viciously whenever I say “Sic’em!”, but will simply raise her eyebrows whenever Mike says it. And once the thugs are driven back, Mike and I will retreat to our own version of Terabithia, which, in 20-odd years will be buried under 60 short tons of fill and covered with 3 to 5 houses worth of lawn (not to mention 3 to 5 houses).

Knowing it’s gone makes the memories more bitter than sweet. Life’s like that.

I imagine Mike must be terribly disappointed now, that in the 21st century, The Sign is bandied about openly by drug-addled metal heads and 9 year old boys alike, a token signal used as some sort of not-so-secret handshake, stripped of its terrible symbolism. Of course he’s disappointed. It was bigger than The F-Word, after all.

Incidentally, when searching for “devil’s horn hand signal” pics, I came across this whack-job interesting site…

Random Song for the Day: “Walk Like An Egyptian” – The Bangles

Categories
It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Photoshop

Meet the REAL King of Terabithia

His name is Mike Valley. His favourite song is a toss-up between “Beth” by Kiss, and “My Ding-a-Ling”, by Chuck Berry. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” runs a close second. He sang Karaoke before it was invented. He owns a rock polisher and eats Caramel Spread® sandwiches, and he’s the best sword-fighter in the world.

Les & Mike - 1973
34 years later, I have the exact same haircut…

About 10 minutes after this picture was taken, Mike swallowed the quarter hidden in his piece of cake, and spent the rest of the day pissed off about it. I had to Photoshop me over from the other side of the table (along with the window – you know, for the view), and poor Girl with the Plaid Pants got “smeared” out because I just didn’t want to share the limelight. Happy Almost Birthday to me.

I wish he was here – I’d give him his quarter with interest…

This post is for you, Mushy. Something to laugh about while you recuperate… did your mom put money in your birthday cakes? I wanna know…!

Not-So-Random Song for the Day: “My Ding-a-Ling” – Chuck Berry

Categories
Book Mentions It Helps If the Whole Family Is Crazy Movie Mentions

Bridge to Terabithia

Ky's Eyes

Ky and I went to see the movie tonight. I don’t know why I never read that book – until Kyla mentioned a school assignment about it (she’s already read it twice), I had never even heard of it. I’m so ashamed of myself.

The movie was wonderful. I have never been quite that enthralled, I don’t think; it was just so perfectly “me and Mike Valley” (Well, except for that really nasty bit, but something nearly as bad did happen in 1975, and I don’t think I’m over it even yet). If I had read Bridge to Terabithia when it came out in ’77, I would be a very different person today, I’m sure.

Mike, are you out there somewhere? Did you see the movie?

Did you think of me?