Friday, January 29, 2010

I feel as though I'm an actor in someone's crappy, maudlin movie about death and family dynamics. 

Who writes this... shit?

All the world's a stage, eh?

It's getting close to the after-party.  But tonight, I'm already gill-flapping fucking drunk.

Oscar, please.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


My mother has been in the hospital for the past week.  She is nearly ninety-two. And knowing that she's lived a long time and that death comes to us all (and yadda yadda yadda) doesn't lessen my anxiety. I've been through the vigil twice before... with my brother and my father. After a botched kidney transplant, my brother drowned in his own bodily fluids at Toronto General Hospital during the course of a lovely fall weekend. When he died, his head was the size of a fucking soccer ball.  My father drifted into a diabetic coma (which wasn't that much different from the Alzheimer's Disease that had actually taken his life five years earlier). He died peacefully, and without pain.

So.  She's hanging on. 

I've provided the (amazing, wonderful) staff with a DNR order. I visit.  Feed her.  And wait for the call.

I hate this shit.

And the fact that I somehow felt the need to write this down for public consumption.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I need to grow a different skin.  In-
different skin. 
And not be bothered;
Like a fucking snake's
Not bothered.
Unless it's bothered.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


When I was still a semi-active chess player (thirty years ago) my rating managed to hover around 1600.  That means I was a fairly decent club player (who usually concentrated for about twenty moves then offered draws when I might well have either coasted to or toughed out a win -- because I didn't really the enjoy the two-hour hard slog.  What I wanted were two or three quick games, win or lose, then off to the pub.)  These days, my attention span has shrunk even further.  When I play on the computer, it's usually a five-minute blitz game -- ten at the most --  then back to the novel.  My rating now is a rather dismal 1430 and I have difficulty beating any player on Chessmaster with a rating within 40 points of mine (plus or minus).  I have forgotten most of the opening lines I memorized years ago (except for the Sicilian, which I play a lot, and a couple of its variants).  It's weird, but I get a bigger kick from teaching the game to kids than I ever really got from playing it. (Those who can't...etc, I guess.)  My last real game was online about three years ago.  I managed a draw against a player rated @1900+.  That's when I packed it in.  The game was excruciating. Sixty-eight moves.  When it was over, it felt as though I were missing some organs.

Don't get me wrong; I still love to play.  But only for fun.  And only if I'm allowed to kibitz.  I did all my serious playing back in high school and university. (And Kee-rist, I must have been fucking insufferable back then.)

I don't know why it seemed important to tell you all this, but it helped to kill a half hour while the beer was chilling.

And the beer is cold enough now.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


By telling me she wished we could live together -- right here, forever, in the school storeroom, in this cramped space I've been assigned to impart the secrets of literacy and bring at-risk kids up to acceptable provincial 'levels' -- a ten-year-old child has managed to simultaneously reinforce my loathing of certain parents (and the life they've managed to 'provide' for their unfortunate children) and beat back the thoughts of early retirement.

Her simple, heart-felt, ridiculous plea reminded me why I both love and hate this job.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


...nor have I, for quite some time.

Write letters.  Fuck 'em.  That boat last left port in the early eighties.

Play soccer.  These days, I get winded walking to my car. (My heart remains on the pitch.  Unfortunately, so does my right knee.)

Engage in meaningful political discussions.  These days, I just prefer to bitch.

Listen to new music.

Watch TV.  Unless there's soccer or naked stuff.

Take photographs.

Jog.  (See item #2)

Collect things.  (That particular head-space presupposes a desire to live a while longer.)

Dress for the times.  (There's nothing wrong with a pair of burgundy cords and a Nehru shirt.)

Get regular oil changes.  I've been known to let nearly four months go by.  (Maybe my OCD is losing its grip.)

Generally give a fuck.


Saturday, January 9, 2010


I'm in my office, taking stock of the crap I've accumulated over the past sixty years.  Anybody want a copy of Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-da-Vida?  No?  Me neither.

Ooh, look: 45's.  Actually, some of these are pretty cool.  I got, like, plenty of Beatles, Stones, Dave Clark Five.  Hey, here's Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs singing Wooly Bully.  I love the dust jackets on the 45's.  A few of these things are worth some serious dough, I think. I've got a Monkees 45 that was never supposed to be released.  Guess the powers that beed (that's the past tense of 'be') didn't like certain connotations, eh?  Fuck 'em.  She hangs out... and looks fucking good doing it.

I also own underwear that (likely) dates from the late fifties.  (And probably some panties I snagged in a raid.)  But that's not in my office.  I keep all the important stuff in an undisclosed location near the Elm Street Bridge.

Did I mention I've still got most of my hair?  Yee-gad!  Some of these pictures show me with hair half-way down my back.  (That's called beating the system and stickin' it to the man.  Groovy?  Fuckin' right.)

Jeebus.  Here's a harmonica (in E).  And another one in A.  These are from the late 60's, when we used to jam.

Man, I'm loaded.  I'm gonna hit 'publish'; grab another brewski; and bid y'all a good night.

Friday, January 8, 2010


I spend a decent part of my day stuffing little feet into snow boots, opening store-bought lunches and snacks, and hearing my name called out with deafening, repetitive frequency. I devote the remaining minutes of the day to hearing bells go off -- not the bells signaling recess or home time -- but the ones that sound silently, with a smile, a raised eyebrow or a big 'o' made with the lips.  Those are the internal bells that say 'a-ha!'  Or, 'I get it!'  Most days, the bells remain relatively silent.  But today, there were a few loud chimes.

And for those, I am indebted to Roald Dahl and Louis Sachar.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


This time of year, I don't think too many Canadians seriously entertain the thought of global warming.  Right now, the wind chill outside my back door is minus 27.  I don't know about the fucking polar bears, but that's plenty cold enough for me.  Green energy, eh?  Pretty tough to get a solar panel to suck in an ion or two when the sun don't shine for days on end.  Wind, maybe.  We have our share of that.  Two nights ago, the wind nearly sheared off the door of my shed.  (And it did a dandy job coiffing the maple tree on the boulevard.)

I guess what we need are cars with windmills and furnaces that run on ice.

I run on beer.  And my energy-guzzling refrigerator just signaled that the latest batch is ready.

Yours in conservation,

Dr. Phineas Boogaloo