Ode To CWC6161

Also, OWED to CWC6161

BrainRants was the first blog I found.  When I began infesting it with my random comments, it was from the commenters, rather than his blogroll, that I found and chose other bloggers’ posts to read.  One of the first, and the nicest, was a lovely lady named Candice W. Coghill.  Her blog I.D. is her initials, along with, what I believe is/was her age, twice.

Feeling that only grumpy old male dudes like me were curmudgeons, she wrote under the blog-name, The Kindly Hermudgeon, a softer, kinder, gentler female version.  I was impressed with, and attracted by her comments, and apparently she felt the same about me and mine.  When I got my own site up and running she was a regular reader/commenter, and one of my earliest followers.  It was she who reminded me to add a “Follow Me” widget.

I commented often on her site, which at that time, was largely about her personal life.  That first November, before I was “On The Net”, she participated in the NaNoWriMo, pumping out 2000 words a day for three weeks, and using the final week for editing and polishing.  I offered to refrain from distracting her, but she assured me that my online presence was welcome.  She was the first to send me a blog award, when I’d only published 14 posts.

As a long-term loner, I often have to work at accepting others as friends.  Such was not the case with The Hermudgeon.  She was intelligent, knowledgeable, literate, friendly, welcoming, supportive….the list goes on and on.  We were instant friends.  Despite being a couple of years younger than me, she was almost a web-mother to me, or a loving, caring sister, so unlike the psychotic minefield I shared ancestry with.

She lived in a little Atlantic coastal Florida town which shares my Scottish clan name.  I used Google Maps satellite view to see her frame house on a small inland bay.  I told her of passing almost within stone’s-throw distance as I had driven down to Key West.  I mentioned a central character in a book I was reading, who was recruited from her tiny town.  I told her of finding another Florida woman, half her age, with exactly the same name, a pill-dispensing medical worker, who liked to be called Candy Popper.  Not impressed with that name, she denied being related.

She was very dedicated to becoming a published author and helped many others in their quest.  Later posts were writing tips and tutorials, knitting-circle-type meetings, and real-time addresses from writers who had made it.  This woman was just Industrial Strength support and help to all she could reach.

Sadly, she had developed inoperable abdominal cancer behind her navel.  Many of her later posts told of radiation treatment and chemotherapy, which were provided by a mobile clinic, housed in a medium-sized jet airplane.  This aircraft flew from city to city, with a rotating schedule.  She got to know the doctor in charge, the nurses, and the flight crew.

She told of their care and concern, and how she had trouble working for two or three days after a treatment, because of weakness and disorientation.  She wrote of Doc Magic feeling that things were under control….but then of the ogre rearing its ugly head once more.

Because her blog had become about commercial writing and being published, I didn’t drop in as often as I had early on, but still stopped by occasionally, with a Like, a short comment and a word of support and hope.  Just about a year ago, on July 11, 2012, her posts suddenly stopped.  I dropped in every couple of days, then once a week, then twice a month – nothing.

I did a search, and found a mostly-English blog-site in France, and thought she’d moved, possibly for medical reasons.  When I paid a bit of attention, I realized that it was stagnant, with posts and comments a year and a half old.  Questions to some of her other regulars revealed that no-one had any information on where she had gone, or what had happened to her.

She was a fighter, and she treated me far better than I deserved.  I can only hope that she simply doesn’t have the time and strength to spare for blogging.  On March 20 of this year, I accessed her final post, and left the comment, “Goodbye sweet Angel.  You will be greatly missed!”  My daughter, LadyRyl, also got to know and like her very much.  She joins me to worry and wonder, to fear the worst, hope for the best, and miss this fine lady very much.  I checked her site again before publishing this tribute.  What may forever remain the final comment, is still, “Awaiting moderation.”

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“The Boss”

When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be….”The Boss”!

The Brain said: “Since I control everything and do all the thinking, I should be the boss.”

The Feet said: “Since I carry man where he wants, to get him in position to do what the brain wants, I should be the boss.”

The Hands said: “Since I do all the work and earn all the money to keep the rest of you going, I should be the boss.”

The Eyes said: “Since I must look out for all of you, and tell you where danger lurks, I should be the boss.”

And so it went with the Heart, Ears, Lungs and the rest of the body parts.  Finally the Asshole spoke up, and demanded that he be made boss.

All the other parts laughed at the idea of an asshole being made boss.

The Asshole was so angered that he blocked himself off, and refused to function.

Soon, the Brain was feverish, the Eyes crossed, the Feet were too weak to walk, the Hands hung limply at the sides, the Heart and Lungs struggled to keep going.

All the body parts pleaded with the Brain to relent, and let the Asshole be Boss.  And so it happened!  All the other parts did all the work, and the Asshole just bossed them around and passed out a lot of shit.

 

The Moral:   YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A BRAIN TO BE A BOSS….JUST AN ASSHOLE!!    😦

 

Archon’s psychotherapy booth is now open.  Feel free to tell me ALL about it.    😉

Tabula Rasa

Or: HOW I LEARNED TO WRITE, AND HOW TECHNOLOGY HAS CHANGED IT

 

In The Beginning

I’m not quite old enough to have met Moses when he came down the mountain with the two stone tablets and the Ten Commandments.  I would have liked to see them, to find out how God inscribed that written-from-the-wrong-side, Hebrew chicken-scratching.  Did He use lightning to burn it, or a sand-blasting system to cut it in?  Making marks for others to read hadn’t changed much for a couple of millennia, but like many other things, it has evolved greatly over the last century that I’ve lived a big chunk of.  A whole lot of history has washed under my ass.

When I first went to elementary school, there was no Kindergarten.  Men worked, and women stayed home and minded the kids.  There was no need for state-funded baby-sitting, euphemistically disguised as education.  It was not till I moved into a new school building at Easter of Grade Four, that there was even a room for it, and not till the following September when it actually contained students (?).

I could read before I went to school, so I understood the, *put marks on paper to transfer ideas and information*, concept.  In Grade One we put all our marks on paper with wax crayons.  These were relatively new, historically.  They came in a six-pack of Roy G. Biv colors, no black or white.  Corporate greed and artistic pretension soon brought out the dozen-pack, which now included black.  Paper was white, so there was no need for a white crayon.

The dozen gave way to a 24-pack which included white.  Later, a 48-box required its own little wheels, and a pull-handle, and rolling luggage was invented.  Makers had to create imaginary names, like Sunburned Australian Backpacker, to describe colors never found in nature.  Salmon is a flavor!

In Grade Two, we got pencils, and pencil-crayons, sort of a cross between the crayons and pencils, only you couldn’t eat them.  If you were heavy on the sharpener, you could turn a whole box into multi-colored sawdust in a week.

In Grade Three, they trusted our mental and physical control enough to give us pens.  Back then they were straight-pens.  Dinosaurs transported cases of them to schools, to be distributed.  They were tapered rods with a flare-out at the bottom so your fingers wouldn’t slip off into the fresh ink.  Turned from wood, or moulded in this new plastic stuff, a 45 degree arc was removed from the bottom end.  Over this, a light strip of metal was riveted on, with the ends folded under to leave a little space.

Into this space were inserted nibs, the actual writing point.  Wider or narrower nibs could be used for different fonts and styles, and worn nibs could be replaced.  Ink for these pens was in a glass bottle in a hole in the upper right corner of the desk, because everyone was right-handed.  You could dunk the end of the pig-tail of the girl in front of you into the ink, but I always sat behind guys.

I have cut writing quills from seagull and farm geese feathers.  It takes quite a bit of ability to shape one so that it will pick up ink when immersed, hold it without dripping, and release it smoothly on the paper, without blotting.  The term penknife describes the tool used to create quills.

Then came fountain pens, still favored by politicians and businessmen.  They had a little lever on the side which pressed a bar against a long rubber bulb inside the body of the pen.  Pull the lever to expel the air, place the tip in the ink and release, to suck it into the pen.  It could leave the end of the pen somewhat messy, so someone developed a system where you twisted the pen body, and a little tube protruded.  Later, someone developed a plastic cartridge, like a bullet, full of ink.  Put it in the pen body, twist it down over a little hypodermic, and you’re ready to write.  The maker cutely named it Quink – QUIck-INK, get it??

The first ball-point pen was developed in 1898 by a Czech named Lazlo Biro, whose surname means “judge”.  The British tend to use the abbreviation biro instead of saying ball-point pen.  The technology had to wait until after W.W. II for production ability to be able to produce them cheaply.

Early typists had to be as close to perfect as possible, because corrections were almost impossible.  A hard eraser could remove an incorrect stroke, but the paper was gouged – the mistake obvious.  In 1951, Bette Nesmith Graham, mother of The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith, developed a correction fluid called Liquid Paper.  It could be painted over a mistake like fingernail polish.

The road to computers started with an electronic typewriter which held up to thirty strokes before printing them.  If you made a mistake, you had time to tell the machine to correct it.  It was like signing your name on one of those electronic pads.  The difference between what your fingers were doing, and what your eyes saw, was disconcerting.

And so, we come to computers and printers.  With my manual dexterity problems, I could never have passed a 1950s typing course.  Now, with Spell/Grammar Check, and a few helpful programs, almost anyone can produce an error-free document.  (Homonyms not included.  Void where prohibited.)  Sadly, cursive writing seems to be on the decline, and that shows up in the oddest places.  A father recently took his 14-year-old son to get a passport….and the kid couldn’t sign the application.  Bake shops now have to teach new hires, not only how to bake birthday cakes, but how to put “Congratulations” on the top.

Those who don’t have a tablet or cell phone to text on, print.  Direct deposit and on-line banking mean you don’t even have to sign anything.  At least I didn’t have to start with drawing mojo pictures on the cave wall with the burnt end of a branch.  I think that the changes have been for the better.  Do you write, or print, or neither, and with what?

Street Meat

Trust me to know all about food.  There are a number of food trucks situated locally, fish and chips wagons, burger and fries trucks.  Most of them have been anchored in the same spots for so long that they’ve added shaded, or completely enclosed eating areas.  There’s even a tiny, original, brick, Dairy Queen store, that used to be on my route to work at my last job, which now serves up “Newfy Fries”.

This is a delicacy (?) brought up from Newfoundland, consisting of French fries, served with seasoned bread stuffing, and often cooked peas.  I never saw the point of adding carbs, to carbs, and just stuck to gravy on my fries.

Apparently there are a number of more upscale food-service vehicles, affectionately known as gut-trucks, which remain mobile, and move from place to place, as the opportunities present.  They’re not allowed at the Multi-Cultural Festival, or the Croatian Food Festival, or the Greek Festival, held in the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Church.  One or more of them show up at places like the daughter’s Cherry Park Festival, the Non-Violence Festival, or Afro-Fest, and move on to The Word On The Street.

To all these worthy causes, the City has added another festival (?), a Battle Of The All-Stars, food-truck display at city hall.  No history, no heritage, no information handouts, this is strictly a commercial venture  The city hall is U-shaped, with wings that almost reach the sidewalk on the main street, but the main body of the building sits back.  The rear part of this open space is a paved area, sometimes used for concerts, behind a reflecting pool/fountain/winter skating area.

Recently, the city invited eight of these food vehicles to show up at city hall.  They closed off three blocks of the street, centered on city hall, put supports in the pool and covered them with a plywood floor.  They placed four of these trucks behind, and two on each side of the street, in front.

The trucks are gaily painted, with bright graphics.  Access http://www.schmucktruck.ca, or any of the others, for menu and prices, and a list of upcoming locations.  There is an Ontario Association of Food Trucks.  I saw a rep. wearing an association tee-shirt, photographing and videoing all of the trucks with his tablet.  Aside from merely the type of food each provides, most of them present some sort of theme.

One of them appears to be a big SWAT van, because they serve Sandwiches With A Twist, cold or grilled sandwiches with premium ingredients and side dishes.  There is a British Bakery truck, covered with Union Jacks and bunting, which serves English meat pies, steak and kidney, ham and Swiss, fish and finger, Melton Mobray and Cornish pasties, which are not worn by Cockney strippers.

There was one rather plain-Jane creepy crepes truck which offered “healthy food.”  I’ll eat healthy food at home, if the wife can catch me.  If I go to a food-truck, I want breaded and deep-fried cholesterol, with lots of salt, and a beer, not Evian.  I’m told that Mr. Schmucktruck, above, serves more than just hot-dogs, burgers and fries, but even they are Angus beef burgers and fries cooked in peanut oil.

They must have had a good day.  It was supposed to last from 11 AM, to 7 PM.  The son and I went down just before 6 PM, and they, and the Brits were out of stock, and closed.  Feisty Jack serves fish and chips, chicken tikka, and a masala box.  West of Seoul provides Korean and Asian street food, including a WOS Asian, Big Mac wannabe.

El Luchador is a Spanish name which means the warrior, or fighter.  It’s the name given to the soap-opera-style Mexican wrestlers.  The couple who run that highly-decorated food-cart, dress in tight black jeans and tee-shirts, and serve customers wearing the strange masks that the Mexican wrestlers wear.

My taste for Mexican food is what drew me downtown, and to the Luchador truck, where I was disappointed.  They don’t really serve Mexican food.  In fact, they don’t really serve anything I wanted.  It’s a yuppy fusion-food wagon.  See the menu.

Menu Board 1

The son and I walked several blocks to a well-reviewed, new, Mexican restaurant, but we, and all the densified, gentrified residents of all the new, downtown condos and lofts, found it, and every other decent downtown restaurant closed on Sunday.  There were several bars open, where you could get pub-grub, but for that, we could have gone to East Side Mario’s, three blocks from the house.

We trudged back to El Luchador, stood in line an outrageous amount of time, and settled for the chicken (?) burrito.  No mention of “cat” or “gila monster”, so it must have been chicken, Thai chicken, but chicken.  For dessert, Kool Jim’s Ice Cream Truck doled out chocolate dipped, frozen bananas, banana splits, sundaes, and soft ice cream.

Overall, I was disappointed with this spew of crass commercialism, masquerading as culture.  Sitting in the sun, on concrete, eating overpriced, pretentious grub, with hundreds of strangers doesn’t really appeal to me, but the paper says that thousands attended, and a survey says that most were thrilled.  Me??!  I’ve been there twice, the first time – and the last time!

Out-of-town blog visitors, don’t be intimidated by “The Regulars”.  I appreciate your visits, and all comments are gratefully welcomed and responded to.  Feel free to have your say and ask questions.

Archon