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My Big Red Couch

Sunday, July 31, 2005

The end of summer

The Stellar’s Jays have returned and Jamie swears that is the end of summer. It has been raining off and on for more than a week and Jamie swears that it is the end of summer. None of our yard projects have been completed and it’s the end of summer.

Jamie is a potty mouth.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Cuban Cigar

I smoked a Cuban cigar in Vancouver.

We were in Vancouver because we could be, not because we had to be. We were in Vancouver because it was up the road from Seattle, which we had grown bored with after a day and because Vancouver had Cuban cigars. We wandered around the gaslight district and I smoked my Cuban cigar until it made me sick.

When we arrived in Canada, just over the border, there was nothing. Vancouver is a ways into Canada from the border, at least another thirty minutes drive. We drove through the first town looking for food or drink or anything familiar and the only icon we recognized was the golden arches. I think we were trying to prove to ourselves that we really were in a foreign country. The only other evidence that we weren’t in Kansas anymore were the bank time and temperature signs. It was seventeen degrees Canadian (it’s a little known fact that is what the “c” actually stands for, not Celsius).

When we finally found Vancouver I remember being on a one way street that climbed a hill. There were several lanes of traffic and high hedges that came right up to the edge of the road. There was road, sidewalk and a wall of foliage. You caught glimpses of homes between the bushes, otherwise the citizenry was reclusive.

We topped the hill and Vancouver lay before us. It seemed miles, and it was, down to the water. The street transitioned from the hedge rows to commercial to downtown. We stopped at a bank about a third of the way into the city and robbed an ATM machine. It was robbery first because it was Monopoly money and second because it was relatively worthless (and by relatively I mean a sixty cents on the dollar exchange rate). I think we are millionaires in Canada.

We crossed the street to a used book store. Traveling to Vancouver was a whim and we were looking for a guidebook. The used book store had coffee and so did we. They had no local travel section so we had no professional guide but they did have the free independent newspaper so we grabbed that to get a feel for the city.

We headed into downtown, where the clerk had assured us we could find my cigar, parked and wandered the gaslight district. There was urban filth on the brick paved streets. There were junkies around every corners and rusty needles in the gutters.

We ran up a humongous credit card bill (which wasn’t nearly as big when we got home and actually had to pay it) on baubles and whatnots for family and friends. We found my cigar shop and I bought a modestly priced Cuban. It was as strong as I had been warned and we wandered on as I became sicker and sicker.

We found an Irish pub and ate corned beef and cabbage while drinking Guinness and I slowly overcame my smoke induced drunkenness as the alcohol took over.

I smoked a Cuban cigar in Vancouver. We were in the comfort of a new and foreign place, in a foreign country even. I was young and she was young and being miles away from our child, without the worries of family or bills or anything we became lovers again, if only for a few hours.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


Tonight I did nothing. That's not true.

Tonight, after attending the Providence Alaska Medical Center, Breast Cancer Support Group picnic with my family I vegetated in front of my laptop screen over a gin and tonic. Yum.

And I played my Uke till Jamie DEMANDED I come to bed.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Internet Fairy Tale

Once upon a time there was a man with a blog. He would blog about his family and his friends. He would blog about his motorcycle adventures and camping. He would blog about work and about play. He would blog about everything and nothing.

But the man was a busy man. The man juggled several part-time jobs while maintaining a full-time job, keeping track of his family and managing a non-profit organization. Because several of his part-time jobs allowed him to write, sometimes for money even, he once went for a couple days without posting to his blog.

An annonymous voice came to his inbox during the night. When the man opened his mail in the morning the voice said, "Don't neglect the blog."

"Don't neglect the blog? What does that mean?" The man continued to post to his blog and life continued.

Several weeks later them man got busy with travel for his non-profit organization. His blog was silent for almost a week. Shortly after returning from his trip a message arrived in his inbox. The voice said "Don't neglect the blog." This was starting to sound serious.

"Neglect the blog? Neglect the blog! But I have a life. I have a family. I have work. The blog is secondary to all of that. Besides, I get my writing fix from the newspaper and magazines I write for," he said to himself.

He continued to live and to write and he would post both stories and photographs to his blog.

After several weeks of normal living and blogging the man got sick with the stomach flu. Then on the weekend the man had to teach a motorcycle course. The man missed posting to his blog for over a week.

The very next day the voice came back to his inbox but this time the voice was different. "You NEGLECTED the blog."

The man was startled but, being busy, he did not post to his blog and kept living his life. The very next day a schoolbus fell out of the sky and crushed the man and he never blogged again.

The end.

Author's notes:

I have not been crushed by a bus that fell out of the sky. I have been busy. It is a fairy tale (two words; I looked it up) so a bus can fall out of the sky if I want it to. A long time ago (maybe 3 years) I told Madeleine that all fairy tales started with "Once upon a time..." and ended with "The end." I also told her the shortest fairy tale is "Once upon a time, the End." (So much for the quality of my parenting/teaching skills). In fairy tales the warning always happens in threes. I only got one annonymous "don't neglect the blog" but it made me laugh and I instantly went into fairy tale mode. As for keeping the blog "up to date" scroll down a few posts (I'm busier than a one legged man at an ass kicking contest these days). But keep those encouraging e-mail comin' :-D

Monday, July 25, 2005

A Love of Maps

This map shows all of the states I have been to as an adult. I have been through Georgia, Maryland, Deleware and Rhode Island as a kid and I have not counted the states whose airports I have been through (Utah, Minnesota, Tennessee).

But I need to get out of the country. I've been through a bit of Western Canadia (I know technically it's Canada but it's Canadia to me) but I need to travel. Someplace more exotic than Spenard. Rio maybe.

If you're interested visit world66.com and do your own.

PS - I love maps. I have always loved maps. I will always love maps. I make little maps for a living even.

Friday, July 22, 2005


In the interests of science, not stupidity or dumb luck, I have subjected myself to two bee stings this morning.

Ok, I stepped on a nest and got stung twice; once on the hand half way between my wrist and thumb and once on the left side of my nose. Fuck that hurt.

On to the science:

Tangible effects of two bee stings: 1) PAIN! 2) Psychological trauma
Treatment: I googled bee stings and my favorite remedy is basically chew up a dandelion leaf and rub the spit and leaf chew onto the wound. I has been about an hour since I was stung and the pain persists (as does the trauma) so I might give this a try when I get home in a couple hours. Assuming I can find a weed :-p

Fucking bees. OUCH!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Urban Hiking Adventure and the Death of an Icon

In La Jolla (because, as Jamie will tell you, it's totally different from San Diego) two weeks ago I went on an "Urban Hiking Adventure" to the local Albertsons, about a half mile from the hotel I was staying at. I went to Albertsons looking for a deli sandwich and beer and ended up with a Hungry-Man enchillada plate and a bottle of Albertson's brand Gin & tonic (Note: the TV dinner was more expensive than the combined cost of the Gin & tonic). For under $10 I was set for the night (and then some).

The limits of a man's desperation can not be fathomed. Posted by Picasa

Back in my hotel room I fired up the microwave and a Mexican Style Fiesta was had by all, er, by me :-/ I didn't read the dinner box until just now. I thought the potatos were a little sweet. They were cocada pudding. It tasted great with exploded rice and beans mixed in. Yum. It was a fun night, boy howdy!

Today I read the headline TV Dinner Inventor Gerry Thomas Dies

While his meals may always taste like ass he has saved many a lonely man from sure and certain starvation. For this I raise my Gin & tonic to thee. RIP.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Jawbreaker - she just can't get enough! Posted by Picasa

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