Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chapter 11: All Things Embraced

The text below is from a novel in progress. First draft so there's still plenty of editing that will need to be done before it's "ready."

Phineas read the story again.

It started on the front page, accompanied by the most incomprehensible picture he'd ever seen, and he'd seen many, many pictures, the story lacked some detail but even the generalities and the statement from the first responders to the scene – “I've been a paramedic for 20 years and I have never, ever seen anything like this.” – were enough for Phineas to realize that he needed to find out what was going on there. One other strange detail – and there were no officials that even commented on how it could have happened – was the blanket media broadcast that occurred alerting everyone within a bubble of 20 kilometers to the address of the biggest crime scene that part of the country had ever seen. The fringe corners of the Internet and late night radio were inundated with various recordings of the soothing female voice repeating the address over and over. This was something Phineas found out later. He also found that several other details were being purposely omitted by the mainstream media.

There was no hiding the details though. The fact that media, curious people, and first responders arrived on the scene almost at the same time, meant that amid the chaos of the scene there was no control, no one to put up police tape and push people out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Difference of Opinion

What did you do that last time you had a difference of opinion between you and someone else?

Did you reach for your worst insults and psychopathic ramblings, step menacingly forward and crunch a meaty paw into the face of the one that dared to voice a difference opinion? Did you just shrug your shoulders and carry on with a, "Hey, we don't agree on this but let's grab a beer?" Did you banter back and forth, ironing out the wrinkles between you? Grope for understanding or staunchly dig your heels in, not wanting to understand?

A difference of opinion, is that really licence to threaten the other?

From my corner of the Internet -- or least the view from my corner of the Internet -- is that one. If someone dares to offer an opinion different than your own that's a blanket licence to threaten not just the person that holds a different opinion but also threaten friends and family of that person. And if the individual with a differing opinion comes from a woman and involves video games... oh dear God.

Suddenly it's "okay" to assume the persona of the Zodiac Killer and tweet epically vile hate in an effort to elicit terror and fear. What the hell is wrong with people?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


It's amazing to me that until recently I had never heard the word "listicle." Out of context, it could describe either a popsicle gone wrong or the way a man walks after having a testicle removed (i.e. listing to the side, like a boat taking on water). For the uniformed (and a reminder to myself), a "listicle" is an article on the Internet which is a list. (They used to call "Top 10's" but for some reason that fell out of favour -- and besides coming up with 10 of anything is hard. The 5-8 range is much easier to hit.)

Topics of these lists oscillate between dumb to incredibly stupid. You've seen them before and you probably haven't seen the last of them.

One that caught my eye recently was posted on, "8 Things You Should Never Do in a Job Interview." The list included such common sense items as don't eat during the interview, don't slouch, and don't answer any calls or texts during the meeting but in practicality there's no end to a list like this one, so I present to you "8 Other Things You Should Never Do in a Job Interview."

Don't Shit Your Pants
Take care of any bowel movements prior to the interview. Nothing sinks your chances of a getting a job faster than filling your pants as you say, "It's nice to meet you, too, Gerry."

Additionally, try to empty your bowels at home because you don't want to be known as that would-be employee who fogged the bathroom with an unspeakable and nose-exploding odour. And if you landed the job... It's the kind of thing a person has a hard time living down.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why I Wear a Watch

With the prevalence of cell phones and clocks seemingly embedded in everything, it seems that the wristwatch (and to a greater extent the pocket watch) is losing it's purpose. It seems like it has become a status symbol more than anything.

I've been thinking about why I wear a watch a lot this week because I had the battery replaced for my watch.

I don't wear a watch as a status symbol. Besides having the current time always a glance away, I wear a watch in case I need to improvise...

I trace that thought back to all the James Bond novels (the original Ian Fleming books) I read as a kid. Though it may have only been mentioned a couple of times as Bond thought of ways to escape some diabolical trap or gain an advantage during a fight, it seemed to be very practical knowledge:
If there's no access to a weapon, use your watch as "padding" for your knuckles .
It's a handy Life Tip, like using club soda to remove stubborn stains.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Some From Chapter 6 - DRAFT

The text below is from a novel in progress. First draft so there's still plenty of editing that will need to be done before it's "ready."

Nicola Tesla loathed the nickname “Tessie” but he put up with it from the most astute and clever clerk he’d ever employed. Mind you, the idea Tesla has employing the clerk was slightly misleading. Tesla was flat broke and all of his funding was courtesy of J.P. Morgan. If anything, Michael Silver was in the employ of Morgan. The thought temporarily infuriated Tesla but was assuaged by the thought of these secret experiments being carried out on Morgan’s financial generosity without the financier’s knowledge.

Employees, both of us of that drooling imbecile J.P. Morgan. I have the barest of authority here at what is to be my crowning achievement. Wireless is but a shortsighted goal. The horizon brings limitless power!

“Tessie, shouldn’t we make all haste to complete this run prior to arrival of the inclement weather?”

The Wardenclyffe Tower dominated the horizon, it’s massive base extending nearly 200 feet upward and the squat mushroom-like (and barely finished) dome on top. Tesla turned to face the south. The inclement weather was a hurricane remnant flushing across the Eastern Seaboard. It was expected to arrive at nightfall.

“Quite,” Tesla said, turning back toward the tower and increasing his pace. He felt light-headed. He must have forgotten to eat. For two days, at least, he thought.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Metaphor for Maple Syrup

These days I'd like nothing more than to be able to write an epic novel that confounds critics and is generally inscrutable to the general public. After years of public speaking tours and millions of copies sold, most of them to unsuspecting university students since the novel is part of the curriculum, I would be standing at a podium addressing a gaggle of elite academics. I imagine most of them would be either stroking beards or leaning forward on a balled up fist, listening intently.

I would be introduced.

I would approach the podium and offer a brief reading.

Some earnest doctorate student would stand up to ask a question.

"But what does it all mean?"

And I would say, "It's a metaphor for maple syrup."

At which point I would kick the podium over and disappear. Stage right.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Flaming Cat

It's a well-known fact that our orange and white cat's tail is completely without feeling thanks to some unknown past injury. (It may or may not have been due to Milo's stint with the Canadian Special Forces before he came to live with us. Prior to life at the SPCA, who's to say what a cat gets up to?)

That fact has saved him some pretty painful moments, like the times I've stepped on his tail or his tail has been caught in a door. But that complete numbness -- the kind of numb that many people pay loads of money to attain at the bar -- is a liability when it comes to something like fire.

Not some kind of metaphorical fire, but actual fire.

A bit of a cold snap in these parts means the wood stove is getting a workout. As any cat owner will tell you, a heat source means a curled up feline somewhere nearby. In the absence of a sunny spot, Milo took up a location a little too close to the wood stove that's supplying the majority of the heat for the house and managed to singe off some hair on his tail.

As my wife described it to me over the phone, "There was this weird burning smell all of the sudden and Milo your tail's on fire!"

Lucky for him, it's barely noticeable. Lucky for us, his tail didn't burst into flames. That's the kind of thing that would get a cat moving even if it he can't feel his tail. And you just know he'd make a beeline for a couch or bed to hide under. I briefly imagined describing a claim to our insurance company:

"Well, the cat was on fire, because he has no feeling in his tail, and then the bed was on fire and, well, here we are now standing in front of a smouldering ruin."

Not sure if the incident has taught him anything but he's not the only one missing the warmer weather.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Excerpt from Chapter 4

The text below is from a novel in progress. First draft so there's still plenty of editing that will need to be done before it's "ready."

“We’ll, I guess this gives me a good excuse to do it now.” Aloysius sat on the couch and dumped the contents of the bag on the couch. He swept the clothes to the floor and plunked the Red on the coffee table. “I’m putting this to bed.”

He snapped open two cans of Red and chugged them down. It wasn’t a bad time either, probably 15 seconds. He snapped the third and looked at Roy.

“After I drink this and nothing happens, I don’t want to hear anything more about me being a superhero or magic potions, or shape-shifting. Okay? Deal?”

Roy nodded his head in agreement. He shifted forward in his seat. “Bottom’s up!”

A soft warmth had started to spread to Aloysius’ extremities. He tipped the can to his lips and eight seconds later it was empty.

Roy sat expectantly. Aloysius felt the alcohol smack into his brain. It was a lot of Red to guzzle at one time. Three cans in less than a minute was enough to inebriate even heavy drinkers.

Something happened.

The belch that boiled from Aloysius’ mouth was something out of legend. Windows rattled, Roy was pushed back in his seat, and a box of Cheerios on the table tipped over and spilled onto the floor.

Friday, January 10, 2014

House of Cards

After multiple recommendations, my wife and I started watching Netflix's "House of Cards."

I didn't know what to expect because the only thing I'd heard about it was that it was a "political show" so I was surprised when it started with Kevin Spacey's character killing a dog with his bare hands as he looks right at the audience and spouts a short monologue.

Granted the dog had just been run over by a car and would have probably died anyway, but the fact he finishes off the animal in such a manner while offering information to the audience like an ice-cold, grown-up version of Ferris Bueller had me wanting to watch more.

Most of the time I have no idea what's going on -- not being the kind of person that's knowledgeable about the inner workings of the US government -- but I’m still enjoying it, mostly because of Kevin Spacey and the calm reasoning of his character. Just a few episodes remain so I'm glad season 2 isn't far off.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Some From Chapter 3

The sobbing was happening somewhere in the opposite direction of the nurse. Aloysius glanced left and right and started down the hallway, gulping the beer from the can as quietly as possible.

At the end of the passage he found the room where the crying was coming from. He stopped short of entering the room, fighting the urge to cross the threshold to find out if the woman sobbing -- whether in grief or pain -- was the same that had dopplered by his room earlier.

“Sir,” a low voice said behind him, “Mr. Vitus, what are you doing wandering around this time of night?”

Aloysius did his best to hide the beer behind his back as he turned around.

“Couldn’t sleep, I was uncomfortable, wound’s itchy, thought I heard a noise, had a nightmare, looking for a glass of water,” Aloysius babbled. He could feel his face going red.

“If you need a little walk to calm yourself or,” the nurse was a dozen paces away, “Whatever it is you’re doing, don’t bother the other patients. They need their peace.”