Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hoard That Candy

Okey dokey, it’s finished, the little monsters, (and turtles, and princesses and spidermen) are home, tucked into their wee trundle beds, dreaming of liquor and wacky tobacky.

Pack up the leftover candy and hoard it until next year. Doesn’t everybody do that?

Come to think of it, I didn’t see any of the traditional H’ween candy this year. You know, the chewy pull out your fillings toffee that was the holiday staple for years. Didn’t actually taste very good, but it did taste like Hallowe’en. Maybe it was just a Canadian thing, but I couldn’t find any reference to it on Google.


Much bigger issues on the horizon: the writers’ strike. ‘Twil impact my teevee viewing, I think.

I side with the writers of course; it’s tough enough stringing two or three words together to express a coherent thought, let alone a cogent one. Try writing those thoughts in the voices of a dozen disparate personalities. And while you’re at it, make it compelling and entertaining.

Amuse us!

It’s all about the future. Writers want a piece of potential future earnings derived from any new media, producers don’t wanna share. Unless they really really really have to.

But they will eventually.

They’re just trying to hold onto the candy until next year.

Even the Teamsters have weighed in, and they pull some heavy weight. While unable to officially endorse the strike, unofficially, leadership has said that they're not crossing any picket lines and if individual members don't want to cross any, that's entirely up to them.

Share the candy fruits of hard labour.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's All Trick, No Treat

It looks like the neighbourhood's going through another cycle. When we first arrived, we ponied up to the little Hallowe'en terrorists for quite a few years and then as the kids got older the numbers dropped off. Hell, one kid was four, now he's got a four year and is still living in the same house.

This year I see more house decorating and many more strollers than has been for a long time. There's no one here that goes all wacky about it trying to mimic a theme park, but people do get into the spirit of things, a cobweb here, a tombstone there.

So, looks like it's off to Costco to lay in supplies of chips and candy and absolutely nothin' healthy.

Remember: Nobody gets out of here alive.

Monday, October 15, 2007

It's, Like, So, You Know, Canadian

We're always talking about our duality as a nation: English, French; East, West; but in reality it's seasonal. We have only two seasons in this country: BBQ & Hockey.

And sometimes on beautiful, crisp and colourful fall days, they overlap and all is right with the world.

Toronto Marathon

Yeah, I know it's for a good cause, the Princess Margaret Hospital. But it's always for a good cause. And it's not just the Toronto Marathon. There's a slew of 'em and they're always on a Sunday.

Maybe the people running this show still think that Sunday's the Lord's Day and nobody's working and nobody's going to be inconvenienced by all the cops rerouting traffic so you have to go miles out of your way to get to work, or go shopping or get to Princess Margaret Hospital for that matter, or some other damn thing.

So why is it always Downtown Toronto? Can't someplace else share the joy, share the glory, of hosting these things.

And if it has to be Toronto, why can't they just close the Gardiner Expressway (which they do practically every other weekend anyway) and run there. Or Exhibition Park. Or High Park. Or Rosedale Valley Road and the Bayview Extension?

It's Sunday. Give it a rest. I need to work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Beauty, The Splendour, The Wonder

Around thirty-six years ago, this week, I worked on a short film called The Lonely Creator. I was a revolutionary, a visionary who espoused (interesting choice of word) the notion that we could do away with MARRIAGE. The production art department dummied up a phony Time Magazine cover. (There was no Photoshop then, everything was done by hand with an Exacto knife and glue. A tough job, requiring skill and a steady hand).

I was married at the time, still am, and to the same girl (not the one in the photo, though), and just found this cover tucked away in a file cabinet.

I even still have the hair.
(Not quite true. I do have the hair but it's in a bag in a drawer).

I've never seen the film however. Perhaps that's a good thing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Open Wide

So today I'm at my gentle, thoughtful, kind and efficient Dental Care Provider, Painless Potter, having a checkup and cleaning and I took this shot.

In thirty years of practice, Dr. Sardi says, he's never had a patient take a picture of a procedure while undergoing the procedure.

It's not easy being first, but somebody has to do it.

And at the end, a good report card, and free sugarless gum.

Another day in paradise.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub Thanks for the Grub

We enjoyed a Thanksgiving Dinner at my oldest friend's house last night. I do mean oldest, we were practically litter mates: our mothers were best friends since they were kids, grew up together, were in the same barracks in the concentration camp. Survived together. That kind of oldest friends.

Thanksgiving in Canada has changed from when we were kids in post w
ar Toronto. It was just another holiday, then, no special social import. But over the years here we've begun to treat it as the Americans do, a family and friends day, a day for giving thanks.

I always thought that I hated punkin' pie.
Apparently I don't. I was misinformed.

But sorry, I still have no great fondness for the yam/sweet potato. Yes, I know that they're different, but I don't care.

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Thanks for the Grub.

So we give thanks, not just for a bountiful harvest but for family and friends; for those who gave up everything familiar to venture to a new world. New language, new customs, new opportunities. I have been a stranger in a strange land. To those who survived and endured hardships so that their children wouldn't have to. To those who came before and made it a little easier.

And to those who made it all possible.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Another Boomer Out of the Barn

For forty years or so I suffered from migraines.

Over that time, I figure I lost three days out of every ten. That's a lot of lost days. I was at emerg so often I had my own parking spot. (It's a joke. Although our criteria for buying a house was that it had to be no more than two blocks from a hospital and a library. That's true.)

Most of the time the trigger was barometric pressure, the time just before the rains came. I always had a warning, a kind of mental telegram. But they were deceptive little buggers; I never got a headache without a warning but lots of warnings when no headache arrived.

In the beginning I was able to get by with a little help from aspirin/codeine, then over the years that became Tylenol 4 and Demerol. I functioned fairly well on the those meds with only one side effect: food often tasted better. Go figure.

The trouble was that the headaches often came hand in hand with nausea, so I didn't particularly want to eat.

Anyway, the protocol for many migraine meds is to take them as soon as you get this warning sign. Don't wait for the headache. Some people refer to this warning as an aura. They experience it as a kind of visual halo, a personal light show, you know like an... aura. Never had that myself. For me, my senses went all atingle. I smelled perfume two blocks away; the light, it hurt; touch was tough, I couldn't abide being touched; I heard stuff. Like people whispering. In another country. Sometimes walking/pacing would help, sometimes lying in a dark dark very dark room would help.

When I got this aura or telegram I'd say to P: There's a boomer out of the barn. It's line from Hunt for Red October referring to a sub leaving its holding pen. There's a boomer out of the barn.

So you pop these pills and sometimes they kill the headache, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes the weather changes and they go away by themselves. And sometimes they don't. That's when I'd visit emerg for Demerol.

Men often get cluster headaches. They come in groups over a period of days so you're just not sure when they're really gone. Devious.

And you pop a lot of pills.

If you, and by you I mean you and not me, get regular take an aspirin headaches you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about. A white hot fireplace poker being thrust into my eye would have been a welcome relief. It would have distracted me from the headache for a minute or two.

And I had it easy. Only three days out of every ten. Some poor bastards live with this every single day. Some even have lives and jobs and everything. I marvel.

Anyway people who are afraid of thunder are called astraphobics. Me I'm an astraphilic. I love thunder. I love the sound of it, I love being surprised by it (although it's rarely a surprise). I love the feeling of hearing something Morg from Cave 12 would have heard. I get to feel all warm and fuzzy and human and connected and all.

Thunder was a telegram that my headache was about to be over. The end was nigh, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Oh joy, oh joy.

I don't get headaches anymore. I think that when I hit andropause, and things started changing, I decided to stop taking my pills and see what would happen. What happened was nothing happened, or rather they stopped happening. Spontaneous remission.

But P started getting them just when I stopped. Her triggers are Mondays. Go figure. So we're still a migraine household. I wish I could take them back from her, because I'd grown used to them. I'd lived with them for so long I felt different without them.

Anyway, it rained and thundered this afternoon, and I sat on my porch and watched the lightning, smelled the ozone and waited for the thunder.

Another boomer back in the barn. Oh joy, oh joy.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sticks and Stones

Old joke:
Q. How many actors does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. Nine. One to screw in the bulb, eight to sit around saying: "I could have done that. Better".

I think that many of us sometimes look at someone's creation and think the same thing: what's so special about that? I could have done that.

Well ain't so. And you didn't. You probably couldn't.

It's just too easy to dismiss something because it appears too facile.

Last night at the David Kaye Gallery, Kai Chan showed his latest constructions, To Please the Eye, delicate, intricate and intriguing manipulations of sticks and other materials.

Always a delight for the eye and the mind.

Sticks and stones.