Triviana T’ree

Please keep hands and feet inside the blog.  Do not attempt to exit until the post has come to a complete stop.  The following are a few thoughts which whirl through my head, there not being much between my ears to slow them down.

I was at a supermarket with the wife today.  At the end of one row, there was a plastic box with a sign saying “Seasonal Recipes, Try One.”  I took one of the sheets, and, sure enough, there was a great recipe for Barbecued Snow, another for Sweet and Sour Snowballs, and instructions for Baked Icicles, promising that they’ll come out soft and juicy.  For anyone needing basic ingredients, we’ll be happy to ship them to you.  I have a distribution system stretching from KayJai, in the east, to NotesToPonder in the west.

We had a couple of severe wind storms come through the Region recently.  Several trees in LadyRyl’s compound, and others in the neighborhood, lost large branches, or were toppled.  City and private crews have been cleaning up.  Smaller limbs go through a chipper, and larger stuff is cut and piled.  Free mulch and firewood!  All you can haul away.  One tree, about a block from Ryl’s, left a stump beside the road, almost three feet across, and six feet high.  Slowly but surely, someone has been turning it into the bottom of a Totem pole, a most handsome-looking Eagle.  I’ll grab a photo, and add to a post later.

In an ongoing contest to prove which one of us is dumber, I asked MapQuest.CA to find me a place near SightNBytes, in Newfoundland, Canada.  I was presented with Newfoundland, Tenn., U.S. bloody A!  It’s about three miles down the road from a maximum-security Federal prison.  “Do not stop!  Do not pick up hitchhikers!”

I’ve written about being (almost) smarter than the old, wooden, two-legged clothes pins.  I met their Mensa relatives recently.  Made from the heavy, recycled plastic that is used to produce some patio/lawn furniture, these things are claimed indestructible, and cheap at 39 cents each.  I guess everything old is new again, as more women (and men?) hang laundry on clotheslines.

Did you drink cherry Coke when you were younger??  Does anybody besides me still drink it?  My favorite fire-water is actually Pepsi, but, it’s like “Kleenex.”  It’s all Kleenex unless someone specifies otherwise.

I was introduced to cherry-cola at about the age of 15, back when restaurants had soda-fountains.  You could pay a little extra for a shot of the cherry soda syrup in your “glass” glass of draft (draught, for Canadians, especially KayJai) cola.  For at least 20 years, as supermarket choices expanded, I’ve been buying bottles of cherry syrup, and adding it to many of my glasses of Pepsi.

Coke sells Cherry-Coke in cans.  I’m not sure that Pepsi does.  Pepsi does sell cans with a touch of lime, that son, Shimoniac, likes occasionally.  Partly to control my weight, I often don’t want 12 ounces, and custom-mix a small glass, from a 2-liter bottle.

A little over a year ago, BrainRants mentioned Sriracha sauce on his blog.  I’d never seen or heard of it.  Less than a month later it showed up at my supermarket.  At first, it was expensive, and rare, $6.99 a bottle – liters – to satisfy Canadian packing requirements.  Soon, most stores carried it, and the price went down.

Suddenly, it was as common as water, and less expensive.  My store had a giant, end-of-aisle display, hundreds (perhaps thousands) of bottles in an 8-foot-high pile, clearing at 99 ¢/ea.  I first saw a small store in Charleston, SC, which sold nothing but a wide range of hot sauces.  We recently got the first in our area, at the Farmers’ Market.  The wife treated me to an order of poutine today.  (All questions about What The Hell Is Poutine??! faithfully answered)  I drizzled some Sriracha on it.

I went to put in the ¢ sign above, and realized that electronic keyboards no longer have them.  They have the dollar sign, but not the cents.  This happened long before Canada decided to eliminate the penny.  The wife threatened offered to teach me how to add it to my text, but I feared it would be cheaper and easier just to hire a performance artist to go to each of your houses and put it in.  Silly me, it’s not hard at all.  Two different ways, press alt 0162, or control, slash, c.  Now I gotta write more about cents.

In my continuing acquisition of interesting names, I met a knife-maker at the Detroit show named Bobby L. Toole, not O’Toole, merely Toole.  I haven’t researched just how rare the name is, but I’ve never heard or read of another.  While the name may be white-bread, Irish, the holder definitely isn’t.  Being politically correct, I will not mention the joke about him being a Masai-man, so black you could melt him down to make hockey pucks from.

Another maker with a name almost as handsome as his knives, was Doun T. Rose II, whose father had as much ego and as little imagination as Efrem Zimbalist Senior.  I gotta kick my standard transmissioned research up into second gear, to find out about him and Bobby.  He claimed that Doun is a Scottish name, and it’s always interesting to see what my skirt-wearing ancestors were up to.  You know why Scotsmen wear kilts??!  So the sheep don’t hear the zipper.

I put this post together Saturday, August 24th.  I don’t mind (much) that they’re playing football.  I’m not surprised to get back
from Canadian Tire, where Halloween costumes are available for sale, but Saturday’s paper had the first picture of someone playing hockey.  Summer, oh Summer, where hast thou gone?  Probably hiding behind my snow shovel, bah, humbug!

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Commerce House

During the period from 1982 to 1985, I was unemployed and underemployed.  For over a year, I worked as a security guard at a ten-storey office building downtown.  Technically, I didn’t.  I had applied for work with a cleaning service.  They had the contract for the owners’ common areas, as well as several of the clients located in the building.

Building management wanted someone to answer the phone and watch the front lobby and underground parking area, keep the wrong ones out, let the right ones in and out, from when the building officially closed at 5 PM, till it reopened at 7 AM.  Only licensed Security Guard companies may legally do that, so I was on the books as a cleaner.  The only *cleaning* I ever did, was take the power buffer to the marble floor of the entranceway, and use paper towels and vinegar to remove handprints from the glass doors, left by people too stunned or lazy to use the push-bars.

At first I worked from 5 to 11 PM, but that didn’t give enough hours to support the family.  The old guy who did the eight-hour midnight shift was on Workman’s Compensation.  They guaranteed him a given sum each week, and topped up his earnings, to reach that figure.  I convinced him to take the six-hour evening shift and sleep with his wife, while I stayed awake all night.

The building sat sideways into a hill.  There were ten steps up to a landing, then ten more up to the front door.  The entrance to the underground garage was even further down, and invisible from the lobby.  Authorised parkers had swipe cards which would roll up the gate.  Unless you were listening carefully, you weren’t aware of folks entering or leaving that way.

People came into the building at the oddest times.  I was shocked several times making a walk through the three underground levels at four in the morning, and suddenly running into someone.  There was a group of six or eight teenagers who used to hang around the church property directly across the street.  If someone used their card to enter, it was easy to dash across the street and get in before the door rolled back down.

The old guy told me that he had found some of them a few times, drinking, smoking dope and screwing downstairs.  He carried a two-foot length of lead pipe and suggested I do the same.  He was older than me and lead piping had been outlawed, so I got 20 inches off the top of a broken, solid ash, rake handle.  I still have that little billy-club at the house, *just in case*.

There was a bank on one half of the main floor, and the Employment Office on the other.  Even working the midnight shift, I got to meet some interesting people.  The Employment Office didn’t open till nine, but there was one lady who came in before I left at seven.  Other than getting the coffee started, I’m not sure what she did for those two hours.

We often talked, and I got to know about her husband and teenage daughter.  One day she told me, “I bought a horse, and didn’t tell my husband.”  You what?!  Her daughter loved to ride, so, instead of paying rental fees, she bought a damned horse.  Where are you going to keep it, in your garage?  Oh no, she had a stable all picked out.  All she had to do was pay the monthly stall fee without the husband noticing.

My son was still going to high school.  A couple of times he accompanied me for a Friday night shift, to have some father/son time.  The first time he did, he found that staying up 24 hours was a bit much.  At about six-thirty AM, he curled up on the marble floor behind the guard’s desk, and went to sleep.  It was on one of these nights that he *won* a radio DJ’s contest, and got to meet him in person for breakfast.

A ten-storey building, at the top of one of the higher hills in town gave a grand view from the roof.  We used to go up in the middle of the night and look around.  You could see almost five miles in all directions.  We used to watch all the little people, the drunks going home from the clubs, and the taxis, police cars, ambulances and fire trucks.  A clear day would bring a magnificent dawn, first the false dawn, as the sky began to brighten.  Then the sun would peek over the eastern horizon and wash everything with a lush golden glow.

If you’ve read my *water guns and pony bikes* story, you already know I’m still just a big kid.  We had to know what happens when you drop stuff from over a hundred feet up.  We didn’t want a safety hazard, so no glass.  An empty plastic water bottle just whirls away in the inevitable wind currents.  A full one splits and spews rewardingly.  A pop can, filled with water and carefully dropped vertically, crushes the bottom a bit and just sits there.

One time, we found a ball of string.  The building is sealed.  None of the windows open.  We filled a Coke can with water, threaded the string through the tab, and lowered it on a big loop, down to the eighth floor.  There was about a two-inch ledge outside the windows.  We carefully swung it in and dropped it on the ledge, and even more carefully pulled the loop of string back though the tab.  Let the office workers figure how a Coke can got outside their office, eight stories up.  Eventually the water would evaporate, and the can blow away.  Ah, the cerebral adventures.

Since I’ve had this post in my drafts file for a while, I’d just like to add a wish for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the lovely people who have visited, followed, read and commented on my site in the last year.