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Earth Day is, apparently, tomorrow today. And in that context a nice lady who likes Oxford commas (and who probably has a better relationship with her local fauna than I do) challenged me a bunch of folks to

…share an image that means “earth” to you — whether it’s a panorama of a landscape that takes your breath away, a close-up revealing a detail in nature, or another scene that honors the outdoors, we welcome your takes on the theme!


A photo challenge. One that’s topical (that’s good) and that’s also open to, um, ‘creative’ interpretation (even better). There’s just one problem — I don’t do photo challenges because I like to think I know my limitations and as a general rule I take pretty crappy pictures.

Except that I just took a couple that are sort of relevant (they have dirt in them and I understand it’s all about the dirt earth) because after removing six bags worth of debris from the rose garden (only another four or five to go) I wanted to document the process. Sort of.

Not exactly as shown.


Of course, thats not one of the pictures I took. That’s not what it looks like. That’s what it might look like in a month’s time, of course, because that’s what it did look like last May (the 28th if that matters).

This garden screams (no, brags) that despite the efforts of a clumsy, lazy, dimwitted guy (that would be me) it’s alive. This garden shouts “look at me” at passersby. This garden announces in no uncertain terms that summer is just around the corner. (Also, weeding is rather overdue. Lazy, remember?)

Of course, that last one also implies that it’s all downhill: it may scream ‘life’, but it also screams ‘ephemeral.’

And transient.

And fleeting.

But it doesn’t matter, because that’s not a picture I took yesterday. One picture I took yesterday (taken from roughly the same position) is below:

Couple days of sun, couple days of rain and you never know what might make an appearance.

It’s a lot less striking. It still proclaims ‘life’ but is less about plants getting old and having torrid sex than it is about rebirth and awakening and change and cycles

and potential.

And at this point in my life, ‘potential’ strikes a rather large chord. Larger than most.

(Plus it’s all about the dirt. And penguins, I suppose.)




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I am a creature of habit.

That’s really nothing more than a (euphemistic) shorthand for “I’m an extremely boring and pathetic individual” but I like to think it makes me seem just that little bit less boring and pathetic. (Who needs five stages of ANYTHING when you’ve got denial? Denial — one-stop shopping for all your self-delusion needs.)

Pathetic or not, boring or not, certain things do trigger certain responses. Don’t have last rock in the first end?¬† Throw a tight inturn guard. Writing a story and the plot bogs down? Add ninjas. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hungry? Go to the Insomniac Capriform Cafe and order bacon and eggs.


That’s a problem. (One that, surprisingly, denial doesn’t help with.) Not because I’ve ceased being boring and pathetic (I wish), not because I decided I don’t like eggs (not gonna happen) but because we just passed the one year anniversary of the closing of the Insomniac Capriform Cafe. After more than two decades, it’s gone.

A year.

His disapproving gaze kept me from
ripping the door off its hinges.

A year without altercations with a poorly socialized doorman. A year without exploding simiiformes. Twelve months without close encounters with frightening (possibly incomplete) art. Fifty Saturday breakfasts that haven’t been at the Insomniac Capriform Cafe. (That’s not to say they haven’t happened, but we’ve been looking for the Perfect Spot and haven’t yet found it. So there’s no Routine.)

There’s one place with pretty good eggs, darned good home fries and generally friendly staff. Unfortunately it’s frequently too busy to get a table, the coffee is mediocre at best and the art is both unchanging and completely generic. There’s another that has a guy who habitually shows up to watch soccer and root for whoever is playing against Arsenal. And while that does score major quirkiness points, the menu (while excellent) is geared more toward lunch than breakfast. There’s another place with a pretty good menu but it’s kinda busy, kinda chichi and happens to be owned by a giant lizard who looks like Godzilla (but for copyright reasons isn’t). And so on. For fifty-odd weeks.

On a recent-ish Saturday we (Ms. Rose and I) were walking downtown, heading toward yet another completely adequate yet somehow faintly dissatisfying breakfast when we passed by a family — Mom, Dad and their five(ish) year old son. The young gentleman was having an exceptionally, um, vociferous Moment on the sidewalk. As we passed them he shouted (with as much hatred as a five year old can muster, which is quite a lot)


Hmm. Apparently I’m not the only one struggling with the concept of breakfast. Maybe I’m not as pathetic as I thought.




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Despite the fact that I do not own any rubber clothing (well, none that fits me, anyway), I did it again.

Yesterday (in this context, ‘yesterday’ means ‘sometime in the unspecified-but-probably-comparatively-recent past) being Monday, there was hockey. Additionally, it being winter it was at the arena nine kilometres away from home. (The summer venue is about three kilometres farther) so the trip there was moderately long. Even more additionally, since it was late afternoon there was traffic — enough to change ‘moderately long’ into ‘annoyingly long’ so I spent a significant amount of the journey just sitting. And steaming (I am not a patient person). And reflecting. On Stuff. (On the traffic, for one thing — before they closed it, we played at an arena so close to where people live and work that there wasn’t any to speak of. Oh well, the progress of civilization and all that. Damn those mathematicians and their confounded insight. (Might that explain the azaleas? There might be the glimmerings of a theory there. Maybe. Have to think about it.))


I was in traffic, not moving much. And reflecting. And (over?)thinking. But mostly I was listening to music.

Specifically, I was listening to a twenty (one) year old album by the Australian Prince of Darkness that just might be the bloodiest thing ever recorded. (It’s really good, by the way.) As the light near the supermarket went red, so did the floor at O’Malley’s. As I sat and waited for the light to change, the barroom floor got messier and messier as the bullet-riddled bodies piled ever higher.

(Whoever said contemporary music was boring?)

A few blocks north the bloodbath reached its grisly climax; at almost that exact moment I happened to notice the bumper sticker on the car ahead of me. It said

I have a perfect body but it’s in the trunk. And it’s starting to smell.

To illustrate the iron grip I have on reality, the first thing that went through my mind was

Gee, I bet they’d like this song. Heck, probably the whole album.

But that didn’t last long. I moved on to

It shouldn’t smell, it’s comfortably below freezing out there. And who heats their trunk?

Before long, that, too was replaced.

Tsk. They’re lying. That’s a minivan, it doesn’t even have a trunk.

Not for nothing have I been told that I have a keen eye for detail.



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I have said before that there are things that confuse me. I’m confused by spice racks. (More generally, I’m confused by the entire Retail Experience.) I’m confused by fashion. I’m confused by perfectly well thought out theories that suddenly (and catastrophically) fail. I’m confused by geography. I’m confused by health care.

Fortunately, un*x provides easy-to-use tools that tell me ‘confusion’ is a common theme in everything I’ve ‘published’ here. (Possibly even more common than ‘public urination.’ That’s pretty common.)

grep -i confus blog.postings | wc -l

Yesterday I went to the supermarket; it’s just up the street — 2.4 kilometres away. (Before you ask — supermarkets confuse me.) Just as I got there and parked, my phone uttered its happy little ‘you have a new text message’ sound. (Technology confuses me.) Turns out it was from my cell phone carrier. They wanted to tell me that I had ‘ventured into an extended coverage area’, was now ‘roaming’ but would not be charged any extra fees.

The supermarket is ‘extended coverage’? It’s not another country or anything — it’s at the mall up the street. But you know what? If you treat malls, shopping and everything retail like a foreign land then that would explain a lot. I’ve long known that parking lots contain madness and trauma so I tend to avoid them. Apparently, though, epiphanies can also (sometimes) be found. I guess I’ll have to modify my behavior. Or think about modifying my behavior. Or something. Maybe.

Pondering this potentially life-changing insight kept me occupied while I shopped for bananas, berries and boxes that contained things that¬† started with the letter ‘b’. (Last night was a ‘b’ dinner.) While on the way to the ‘box’ aisle, I passed a huge pile of ‘b’ags of rice. On sale. ‘B’ig sale. ‘B’ig ‘b’ags. How big is ‘b’ig? ‘B’ig enough that each ‘b’ag probably contained something on the order of fifty meals. “That’s a lot of rice” I thought. “Even though it’s a good price, technically ‘rice’ doesn’t start with a ‘b’ so I won’t get any.”

That’s when I noticed something else: on top of the pile was a sign. Apparently there was a per-person limit of ten (10) ‘b’ags. So I could only buy five hundred meals worth of rice at a time.

Fortunately I wasn’t confused. Foreign country, remember?


Majoring (in disaster)

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My Bookshelf of Role-playing Games contains roughly three dozen of them, spread out over two and a half metres of shelf space. There are rulebooks, supplements, sourcebooks, modules, notebooks and binders, the latter two full of largely illegible handwriting that no human being on earth will ever be able to read (and that includes me). Various genres are represented in this almost Trumpian wall of deficient socialization — fantasy, science fiction, scantily-clad women with gargantuan firearms, interdimensional invasions by cybernetically enhanced religious fanatics, bio-engineered monsters from the future, stuff like that.

And superheroes. There are five of those. (Even more if you use a slightly, um, ‘relaxed’ definition of what exactly constitutes a superhero.) Those five N games describe different worlds, styles, levels of ‘realism’ and powers — powers that range from ‘Analytic Smell’ to ‘Withstand Bagpipes’ (though it occurs to me that that may be a Skill, not a Power. Whatever.).

It occurred to me that, while I don’t have any of those (though I do kinda like bagpipes) I do have a Power — maybe even a Superpower. I don’t think it’s in any of my books, it’s not particularly useful and it takes a -2 Limitation (‘No conscious control’) so it’s even less useful.

I’m not sure of the limits of this power but I know some of the things it can do:

That last one is probably one of the reasons that I’m not particularly fond of travel.

To be clear, I’m not completely averse to going to new places or seeing new things but I don’t exactly care for the process of getting to them. Because there are significant opportunities for bad things to happen — I’ve talked about some of them. I’ve talked about spending the day in an airport four thousand kilometers from home because of a ramp. I’ve described the ‘fun‘ of sprinting through a crowded airport because airlines think that’s better than treating Little People like, well, people. I don’t think I mentioned the joy of scampering through an airport in sock feet searching for a sink. (Executive summary — there wasn’t one.)

Trust me to have a paranormal ability that sucks this much.

Despite the history of difficulties (that I guess technically I caused) from time to time Ms. Rose and I do go places. And, inevitably, I have a story when we get back. (That would be the silver lining. It’s important to maintain a certain amount of perspective.) Our latest Adventure was about six weeks ago.

And nothing went wrong.

We got up around six hours before our flight because we had to drive three hundred (ish) kilometers to the airport — we were slowed down a little by fog but not enough to make the first stanza of a saga or anything. Meanwhile, there was no lineup for breakfast, the traffic was unremarkable and the airport, while soul-destroying and poorly signed (as airports always are) wasn’t really all that bad. The flight was no later than expected, the screaming baby didn’t have his heart in his work and actually slept part of the flight, the airline didn’t lose or (seriously) delay our luggage, there was literally NO line-up at the car rental counter and they didn’t have what we wanted so we got a free upgrade to an expensive European thingamajig. (Which was a pleasure to drive, thanks for asking.) The closest thing we had to a crisis occurred when checking in for the return trip — the airline desk wasn’t open (is that even possible?) so we had to cool our heels and wait (briefly) in the ample and even semi-comfy chairs provided. Again, not the thing stories are written about. (“And then Our Hero sat on his ample fundament and ate snacks.” Doesn’t really work.)

The rest of the trip home was even more uneventful and we arrived safely, more or less on time but without a story. (Oh noes.)

So nothing to write about — except maybe for the observation that it’s not clear which is worse — having a superpower that breaks things or having an unreliable superpower that breaks things.