’19 A To Z Challenge – E

 

Letter E

AtoZ2019

 

Canada’s entertainment has (almost) caught up to the USA’s.

First, we dumped cable TV, as content deteriorated, and prices soared. Later we ditched satellite TV, when their charges approached Cable’s. We have YouTube as part of our internet package. The wife signed up for Netflix – considerably cheaper than either of the other two. Later, she enrolled in Amazon Prime, which not only gives us advantages with the increasing number of things that we purchase online, but provides another cheap platform for videos.

I watched episodes of Babylon 5 on TVs in Detroit hotels, five years before it became available on Canadian television. About 3 years ago BrainRants made me aware of an epic series, on SyFy in the US. We couldn’t access it here, but I began reading the 7-book series about The

Leviathan Wakes

Expanse

I have read the first three books, with the 4th on order. Each book becomes a year’s series. So far, the first 3 seasons are available on Amazon Prime. Pleasantly, the wife finds that she likes it. We have watched though the first season, and into the second. They are big, 700-page books. I’d better get reading, to stay ahead of the Canadian video releases.

Are there any other sci-fi fans out there, also watching this series? What do you think of it? Many TV series, including science fiction are consecutive; what happens in this week’s episode occurs after what happened in last week’s, but usually has no direct connection. This series, like many European series, is sequential. There are some flashbacks, but you can’t miss an episode, or you don’t understand what’s happening next.

I am ecstatic that I finally get to watch The Expanse. Thanx Rants! 😀

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Flash Fiction #153

Echo

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

LOCAL DIALECT

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

I have no idea. This place just seems to go on forever.  What’s the name of it – ‘Echo Emporium’??  It’s déjà vu all over again.  What do they do in there – make tape measures – package spaghetti – a bowling alley?  Oh look, another tower – just like the last one.

You kids aren’t watching ‘Groundhog Day’ back there are you?? I think we’re just driving in circles, nothing changes….

….When that pub owner suggested visiting the “Loch”, I thought he meant like Loch Ness. This is a canal ‘lock,’ and us with no boat.

***

You don’t have to go to Europe to have trouble with local dialects. A ‘Yankee’ had a retirement home built in Florida.  When it came time to install the driveway, the contractor asked him if he wanted poured concrete or shale.  Concrete seemed so common and blah.  He liked the idea of crushed grey stone, so he ordered shale.

When he went out to view the finished installation, it was this horrid, loose, dusty white….stuff. “I ordered shale!  That’s not shale!’

“Shore ‘tis. That there’s oyster shellshale.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

The Best Laid Plans

So. the WordPress scheduled posting didn’t work as I expected.  In fact it didn’t work at all!  Back to the drawing board.  I hoped that the wife would post the following, manually for me, if the timer failed.  She assumed it worked correctly, and didn’t check.  She had four cats and a dog to feed and water and clean up after, and me gone.  I asked the daughter to check the post early Saturday morning, and remind the wife if there was a problem.  She was busy using her power wheelchair as a pack mule to get half her usual load to Barterworks, because I wasn’t available to drive her.

So, I’ve blamed WordPress, check!

I’ve blamed the wife, check!

I’ve blamed the daughter, check!

OK, I’m in the clear.  All I have to do now is publish the following post, that should have been up three days ago.  So, without further ado, and only a modicum of adon’t, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you;

We’re Off To See The Wizard

Don’t worry about being quiet while you read this blog; I’m not at home anyway.  Either through learning Brain Rants’ trick of timer-induced-publishing, or just by begging the wife to post it manually, by the time you read this post, I will be in a foreign country, rolling out of bed to go look at some weapons.

The son and I have fled the Great White North for the comfort and security of (Metro) Detroit.  As usual, the excuse is the Spring Knife Show, but the reality is that it’s just nice to get away from the usual, if even only for a couple of days.  I’m taking along about $3.75 of American change I’ve accumulated since last October, including 10 quarters.  I still need five “State” quarters to complete the set.

Whether or not it’s because I set a good example, the son has established a good work ethic.  His shop, like so many others, has a problem with absenteeism.  In an attempt to improve attendance, they offer one day off with pay, for every six months without a late or absence.  Last year he got two free days.  Their six month periods start April 1, and October 1.  If he misses a day, it’s because he called in dead.  The day I fell off my motorcycle and broke my shoulder, I showed up at 10 AM in a sling.  The supervisor said that when I didn’t show up on time, he knew something serious had happened.

Last November son got a bad cold and missed one day, so no day off.  Because the company relies on temp workers, they eddy in and out, bringing their infections, because they can’t afford to live solidly, or get medical services.  A couple of weeks ago, he brought home another bad cold/flu, and generously shared it with the wife and me.  Last week, he was so sick that he lost four consecutive days.  Since he didn’t get a free one, he booked Friday off.

We’ll have driven past that forest of wind-turbines and solar farms, and saluted RogueBlogger’s home town.  I found the file of photos we took in October, and plan to put up a post including them.  Two guys in a big city without female supervision, for a whole weekend, what could possibly go wrong?

Saturday, we’re driving up to Novi, MI. to attend the knife show.  It’s in the back of a gun show, mostly hunting rifles and shotguns, not much to interest either the kid or I.  After we get back, it’s shopping time.  The wife is sending a shopping list of stuff to get at the Meijer store, or at Wal-Mart.  Sunday we’ll be spending across the street, at the Gibraltar Trade Center, a giant indoor flea market.  In a fenced-off section, they are also holding a gun and knife show.  The knives will be mostly factory crap, but there will be more hand-guns to drool on and pick up.

It was bad enough before 9/11, but now you just don’t tell the border guards that you’re going to a gun/knife show.  I made that mistake the first time we came down.  I admitted to a black, female guard, just small enough for her and her .40 caliber Glock to fit into the booth, that we were going to a knife show.  “How many knives you bringing in?  How many knives you gonna take back?  You got an import/export licence??”  Now it’s just, “Tourism officer, just getting away from the grind for a weekend.  Gonna do some shopping.”  They like it if you plan to spend money, but they wanna know if you’ve got a motel room booked, and where.

Not only does the Gibraltar Trade Center have the biggest collection of STUFF under an acre of roof, they’ve also got the biggest collection of foodthat’sbadforyou, in two food-service areas.  Wet burritos, (I’ll raise one to BrainRants.) chilli-cheese nachos, Chinese food, pizza, pretzels and cheese-dip, fries and gravy, (They’ve even learned how to make poutine.) fried chicken, chilli dogs….the list goes on and on.  I plan to start early, and have one of everything.  Candied almonds, dill pickle on a stick….I hope the bridge holds on the way back.

I’ll try not to look like a rube by staring up at all them big tall, 3 and 4 storey buildings, but the first time I say please, and thank-you, they’ll spot me for a Canuck.  We’ll blow the budget on some half-decent restaurants, Denny’s, Outback, maybe some fish and chips.  Have I mentioned that I like food??!

The kid works Thursday night, and gets home early Friday.  He figures with the adrenalin, he’ll have a shower, change his clothes, and we’ll be on the road well before noon.  On re-reading this post, it seems about as exciting as a grocery list, but I hope to bring back some interesting memories that I can share with you.  Thanx for stopping in to read.  Come back Tuesday  Wednesday for a new post.  It won’t be about this trip yet, ‘cause I’m a slow typist, but I’ll pull something out of the recycle bin.  Stronger than a locomotive, faster than a speeding bullet, look, up there on the highway, it’s Tourist Geek!

Trips With Mom and Dad

Linguists, with nothing better to do than secure grants to study this shit, have found that, when we refer to couples, we put the name of the person we knew first, first.  Duh!, and in related news, the sky is still blue and water is wet.  So, if we knew Bob first, we say Bob and Marg, but if we are Marg’s friend, we say Marg and Bob.  Take a look at the title and see who I knew first, and who was more important to me.

I loved both my parents, but Mom was my favorite.  I was born in 1944 in a small Ontario town.  Back then there was no Sunday opening, almost no businesses were allowed to operate.  Occasionally the local theater would have a Sunday midnight movie.  They could open the box office and you could purchase tickets from 11:30 PM, but no-one was permitted to enter the theater.  You had to go back outside and line up again for later entry, after it was officially Monday.

We didn’t get TV ’till I was twelve, and even then it was one channel from a farm-centered small city.  Sundays were often a challenge to fill the time.  My parents regularly bested the challenge by taking my brother and I for a ride in the car.  Sometimes we had a destination decided.  Other times we would get to the first main intersection and Dad would say, “I think we’ll go this way today”.

Mom’s relatives either lived in town or too far away for an afternoon ride.  Sometimes we would drive 25 miles to the town where two of Dad’s sisters lived.  Talk about innocent times.  If we visited the outlaws, Mom and Dad sat and talked for hours and we kids were just left to run loose.  We could have been anywhere, doing anything, with anybody, in a strange town, but we were never kidnapped or molested.  Sometimes we went to see Dad’s third sister.  She lived in a little three-room log cabin with an outhouse and an attic(?) which consisted of a few planks across the ceiling beams, and reached by ladder.  They needed the attic.  There were 7 kids.

They lived in the house as guardians of the attached saw mill.  We climbed all over the huge logs and ran in and out of the saw shed.  Did all kinds of stupid stuff but never broke anything, mine, or the mill’s.  Learned about peavey poles and drag harnesses.

Sometimes we went 25 miles in a different direction, to the nearest city.  Ten thousand population, big stuff for a small town boy.  It nestled in a bowl at the bottom of fifty-foot cliffs, on the rocky shore, at the edge the Niagara Escarpment.  It featured, right at the bottom of the cliffs, a lovely park.  It had a take-out food sales booth, at the end of a roofed eating area.  I don’t remember whether it was open on Sundays because, we didn’t usually eat at the park, and if we did we took a picnic lunch.  The place was landscaped, with big lawns and trails and play areas and a water plant section.

Either by passing this park and continuing on up the road to the top of the cliffs, or taking the slightly longer way around but avoiding the switchback down and then back up again, you could get to another park.  This one was just a county-owned lookout spot at a pretty little waterfall where the river dropped to feed the stream in the park below.  Again, boys being boys, I climbed and jumped off every rock in the place, and still got home in one piece, in time for supper.

Dad was an amateur entertainer.  I don’t know where he got his huge collection of jokes.  Probably the same place I got mine, everywhere.  He arranged the Saturday night party at the local Legion.  He hired a three-man band and sang with them.  He also slipped in the jokes and announcements.  He wasn’t a great singer, but they weren’t great audiences.

When we went on our trips, there were no radios in our cars.  Family time meant conversation.  I always thought of myself as an urban child, but I couldn’t go for a drive without learning something.  I was shown barns and silos, pigs and farm geese.  I had explained the difference between riding and draft horses. (Some farmers still used them: then, and there.)  I knew milk cows from beef cows, and could identify Jersey, Guernsey, Charolais, Angus and Holstein.

When the conversation and education ran out, my Dad might begin singing.  Seldom current songs heard on the radio, rather, what could be called traditional songs.  Songs similar to what the Canadian group, The Rankin Family put out a few years ago; Mary goin’ to a barn-dance, Bob working to get the hay in.  The details, sadly, are lost in the mists of time, except for one piece of doggerel.  A song with seemingly endless verses, each one of which was punctuated with the chorus, “Come a wim-wam-waddle, come a jack-straw saddle, come a John fair faddle, come a long way home.”  To this day I have no idea what that meant, except as a reminder of the much-missed, halcyon days of childhood.

If we drove south, we might stop in at a cheese-making plant.  Not necessarily 24 hour, but apparently 7-day operation.  As long as they didn’t sell anything, they weren’t OPEN.  I remember a couple of occasions when the kindly cheese-makers offered me some cheese curds.  To this day I don’t know what went through my mind.  I viewed those curds like space aliens and would have nothing to do with them.  These days, I pay five dollars for a plastic bag with a double handful at the farmers market.

I hitched up a team of mammoths to pull this big load of nostalgia.  It felt so good that I think I’ll turn on the time machine to go back to the past a few times in the future.