Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve.  Tis the season of good will.  Tis the season of joy and peace.  Tis the season when you can say “Tis” and get away with it.  So if it is all those things, why then do I feel hatred?  Why do I feel frustration? Why anger?  The kitchen floor that’s why!  Mopping the kitchen floor can quickly dissolve all the season’s good will and cheer. You have to work damned hard! There are many spots and areas that will NOT clean up without several swear words, threats, and copious amounts of hot water and elbow grease. I hate it.  As I am doing it, I am asking myself why am I punishing myself like this.  Mr Claus will not be dropping by tonight.  And even if he did, he would never appreciate all this hard work and effort.  Why am I doing this to myself?  And why is this damned floor so difficult to clean?  Why is it so hard to do such a simple little job?  I don’t understand it.  Norman Bates didn’t have such a problem in Psycho when his “mother” slashed that girl in the shower.  He was casually able to gently and politely mop up and make the place sparkling in just a few minutes.  But I have had to spend well over an hour scrubbing and wiping over and over.  On my hands and knees scrubbing, scrubbing and scrubbing. Then I stand up, take a step back to look at it.  I say a few cuss words, and promptly go back to scrub it some more.  But you will be pleased to learn that I didn’t mop myself into a corner.  Nah!  Ok, ok, I did!  I mopped myself into the corner over there and I had to tip-toe across the wet floor to escape.  I guess I will have to go back when it dries and wipe over those tip-toe marks.  What a job!  And to think that all mothers used to do this regularly when we were kids. They worked so hard and we hardly noticed.  I can still hear the exhausted orders yelled at us for hours afterwards: “don’t go into the kitchen – I just washed that floor”!

……Shecky Moriale…..

 

 

So… what is it? 

looking at a DeLorean

So… what is it?  What is it that makes people go so crazy when they see a DeLorean?

I took my car out today for a quiet drive on the morning of the Sunday of a long weekend.  I figured I would get some nice quiet roads, some cool country bends and twists and finally maybe end up at some ice cream stand in the middle of nowhere where I could take a pleasant break from the wheel and enjoy a nice ice cream cone in the hot magical August weather. Did I get that quiet time I was looking for?   Hell no!   I got at least 87 thumbs up from bikers driving towards me and away in the distance of my rear view mirror.  At least 47 car drivers honking and giving me the thumbs up sign, and countless pedestrians/hikers stopping to take a second look and pointing as I drove past.  Regardless of some of the bikers prompting their passengers to look, and the glazed looks by some pillion passengers, the reaction was as insane as ever.  Some rather nubile-looking and very shapely pillion passengers were somehow unaware but yet in awe, while other more mature riders were just as awe-struck upon seeing a DeLorean meandering through the country roads with no concern for anyone or anything.

So I said to myself, I said: “self,” I said, “why are soo many people soo blown away by a simple, solitary car?”  I couldn’t answer myself which is probably a good thing as I was approaching a set of traffic lights on the outskirts of a tiny town at the time and concentration is key when driving a DeLorean where anyone or everyone will almost attack you while asking about flux capacitors or time space continuums as you politely endeavour to drive through a one-horse town in the middle of nowhere.

So many people seem to want to say something to the driver of a DeLorean.  But why?  I don’t get it.  I know all the Back to the Future stuff, I get it.  I really do.  I love the movies too.  Seriously, I do.  But my car is not a Back to the Future car.  It is an almost stock DeLorean from waay before the movie was released.  Anyone who remembers the car from before the movie will probably appreciate my car as a DeLorean and not as a movie star.  And there are so many of those people out there too!!!  But why such a reaction?  Seriously, why?

Does any other early 80s sports car get this much attention?  I suggest to you that the answer is no.  But why not? What is it that the DeLorean seems to bring out in people? Is it the cool sports car built by a former GM big shot who thumbed his nose at the GM establishment?  Is it the fact that it is an unusual car with stainless body panels and gullwing doors?  Is it the fact that they were produced for such a short time and are now so rare?  Or is it because it was the focus of one of the biggest movies in Hollywood history?

I don’t know the reason.  I wish I did.  It is sometimes a little tiring to have to give the usual smiling response, and the occasional explanation of what the car is, to other drivers at gas stations.  But at the end of it all, every time I take my DeLorean out for a drive, I know that I will get some sort of affirmation and confirmation that my little car is either cool, or awesome or just a beautiful machine.  I got all three this morning, and I drove home with a smile on my face!   And these observations are almost guaranteed whether or not people make comments on the presence or not of a flux capacitor!  Or as a trucker yelled at me last week from his waay high up open window to my little ticket booth passenger window; Hey man, does it have a flux Kapasit-tayter?

What the hell is a Kapasit-tayter???

RUSH June 19 2015

RUSH

Are there enough words in the English language to describe some experiences?  I say no. If there were, I would not be in this quandary, this dilemma.  There are simply not enough words to convey and to make understood the depth of feeling and the height of excitement at the overall compendium of entertainment provided by RUSH in concert at the Air Canada Center last night.  How can you even try to measure it or quantify it?  You can talk about the precise, sophisticated, disciplined musicianship.  You can talk about the intellectual songwriting, the complicated musical arrangements so perfectly matched to the prose of Neil Peart who not only propels the sound with incredibly precise, logic-defying drumming but who also provides the lyrics to the tunes!  These traits are now only to be expected at a RUSH gig presented by very talented and brilliant musicians plying their trade while exuding complete excellence in the process. On this particular tour, the band is acknowledging that the end is in sight for their touring days. In fact this may well be the last RUSH tour to pass through Toronto. So what better way to conduct such a tour than by skimming through their immense repertoire of excellent music?  Starting with the more recent and working back through the years with tracks from Clockwork Angels, Snakes and Arrows, Vapor Trails, to Roll the Bones, through Subdivisions, Tom Sawyer, The Spirit of Radio, and on and on we went until we reached Closer to the Heart,  and then they played it.  They played Xanadu!  Oh MY GAWD!!!!!  They played Xanadu!   I have never heard RUSH play Xanadu live before.  In fact, I had not heard Xanadu played live by anyone since 1980 in Dublin when it was splendidly recreated by the one and only Lyndon Shunt in Toners of Baggot Street.  And there I was in the ACC on Friday night hearing the superb track being played by the original band who brought it to the world. What a track.  What a performance.  Aaargh, this was unbelievable!

There is a part of me that feels sad for those among us who have never seen RUSH live in concert.  It is such a perfect spectacle of excellent musicianship which shows no signs of peaking.  I believe Neil, Alex and Geddy are actually more skilled now than they were 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago.   If, in my life, I should never go to another live rock concert again, I will know that I have seen what is most probably the finest performance that can ever be expected to be performed, by three unbelievably skilled, precision-driven, impeccably organized, and wonderfully talented musicians.  There are simply not enough words to describe the brilliance of this band.  They are simply getting better and better each time I see them.  Words alone cannot convey their expertise.  There are no words.  No words………!

A Bat?

Got home just after 10pm Saturday night.  What a great Tech Day with the cars.  Went for dinner afterwards had a few laughs, drove home.  All is good.  As I sat in front of the TV to unwind after a tiring but rewarding day, I heard a strange sound from the kitchen area.  Suddenly, something came flying into the living room!  What the hell is that?  It is like a giant moth.   It’s also like a small bird.  No.  It’s a bat!  A bat???  In the house!  How on earth did a bat get into the house?  He was flying back and forth from the living room to the kitchen to the bar and back to the living room again.  I stood there basically in shock!  What should I do?  I had to dive for cover every time he flew near me.  Should I grab a fly swatter and smack him?  Naw, that is so mean and cruel.  How do I get a flying bat out of the house?  Finally he stopped flying around and clung onto the fireplace stonework.  He seemed to settle there upside down as bats do, I suppose.  Now what?  Maybe if I had a net of some sort….  I mean all householders keep nets on standby for emergencies such as this, don’t they??  OK, what if get that old milk crate that I use to hold firewood, and try to put it over him so that he flies into it.  Then get a magazine to cover the top of the crate so that he can’t get out while I make a dash for the back door.

OK, here goes.  Milk crate strategically placed over bat.  Check.

Bat is unhappy with that arrangement so he tries to fly away by flying into the milk crate.  Check.

Position magazine over top of milk crate.  Check.

Make a mad dash for the back door.

Dammit.  It’s locked.  Maybe I didn’t plan this out very well.  Ok, how do I hold milk crate, with magazine positioned over top and also unlock door and slide it open?  Hmmm, if only I had a third arm.

Ok, somehow I managed to hold the milk crate on my thigh with the magazine still in place, and unlock door and slide it open all at the same time.  Hey… and they say men can’t multitask!

Uh oh!  Dammit, outside door also locked.  Got it unlocked and slid it open too.  Removed magazine turned milk crate on it’s side and I guess the bat made an exit.  He was so fast and the light was not good, but he was no longer in the milk crate.  Whew!  Locked both doors and stood there wondering how on earth a bat could get into the house.  How?   And are there any more hiding waiting to scare the beejeezus outta me again when I am least expecting it?

Anyway, look on the bright side if he was driving his car, I wouldn’t have been able to get it out the door so easily.  Those bat mobiles are big and heavy! 🙂

……Mike……

Television

TV clipart

So… I am out of work hurt with my injured back. Intense and extreme pain is now part of my daily experience. Not nice. If you were ever tempted to injure your back just to see what this feels like, I would vehemently recommend against it! It is particularly unpleasant.

People are telling me here, there and everywhere, to write a book! “We all know you can write”, they say. “You have a way with words. Suddenly you have time, so… now is your opportunity. Write a book, fer fawks sake!” Well I thought about it. I know I CAN sometimes write, but it is not something that I really have a lot of control over. I often sit down in front of the computer and I start to write about one subject, and moments later I am drawn in a totally different direction as the thoughts flow out and I simply type away not really thinking about the results. So write a book? I dunno. What should I say? Where is the inspiration? All I do these days is go for the therapy treatments for my back and then veg out for most of the day.

The doctors don’t want me doing anything physical or strenuous, so I tend to spend some time on the computer, but then I can’t sit for too long, so I do some exercises. Then I may make a tea or a coffee and then I sometimes sit on a soft chair, which seems to give me the most pain relief. When I sit in a soft chair, I have a serious and real problem on my hands: what do I watch on TV. An often impossible question.

I am not a cook. I am not a dancer. I am not a desperately impatient single guy dying to meet and marry a perfect looking woman from a dozen or so candidates on TV. I care not to live for several weeks in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills to see if I can handle various tasks and overcome them at the expense of my competitors or peers. I have no interest in running around the globe trying to unscramble puzzling clues and running off to the next physical challenge which may involve climbing naked, face first, down a multi-storey building in central Los Angeles or downtown Mumbai or some suchlike pointless endeavor. I often stumble upon some of those shows and it takes ALL of my wits and might to stop myself from tearing the TV off the wall and firing it through the window and jumping into my truck and driving over the TV back and forth, back and forth, back and forth……. Ok, I can feel calm sweeping over me now. It’s ok, I will be alright. Think happy thoughts….

I ask you is there any TV broadcast in the history of television more insulting to the cerebral cortex of the average punter than these brain melting, intelligence sucking, soul killing, profoundly annoying, irritating, irrational, TV shows???? Unbelievable. I don’t want to have my intelligence insulted on a daily basis thank you very much. Have we as a society stooped this low? Really? This is now classified as entertainment?

Its value as reasonable entertainment television programming is akin to regurgitated excrement.

The really sad thing is that the more of this garbage that is created, the more it is accepted and the more desensitized or immune we become to just how bad it really is. And it is not just the subject matter that is the problem. It is the way that the whole show is presented to the viewing public. The greatest offenders of this particular presentation problem are the entertainment programs.

They show you a video clip via a wavy, drunken-like camera action of an uninteresting scene showing some idiotic, unappealing so-called “star” whose biggest claim to fame is simply the fact that she is famous. How stupid is that; being famous for being famous? Then they tell you what will be coming up and what the “star” did.

Then there is a commercial break.

At resumption, they again show you the brain numbing clip of the idiotic unappealing so-called “star” telling you again what will be coming up and what the “star” did.

Then they tell you what they said they were going to tell you and what the star did, while again showing you the annoying clip of the idiotic unappealing so-called “star”.

Then they repeat it just in case you were not watching carefully enough a few moments ago.

Then when they are finished, they will tell you what they told you all over again just because they have too much time and nothing of any value to present to the viewers so they just tell you the same thing all over again.

And guess what video clip they show while the tell you all over again– yes you guessed it, the same mind numbing, boring, value-less clip of the idiotic unappealing so-called “star”.

As the show ends, guess what video clip they show as the credits roll on the screen? Yes indeedy, the uninteresting scene showing some idiotic unappealing so-called “star” whose biggest claim to fame is simply the fact that she is famous.

Now you have seen it 4 or 5 times and heard the story 4 or 5 times and 15 minutes of your life is gone.

You will never get that time back. Horrific, horrific television programing.

It is scary also, that the serious news programs are slowly adopting this format. They interrupt other TV shows to tell you what will be in the news at the “top of the hour”.

When the news program is starting they also show you video clips of the highlights of the upcoming news. Then they tell you about one of the news items while showing the video. Then they hand it over their “reporter on the scene” who tells the same story all over again while showing the same video yet again. Now the news program is only about 2 or 3 minutes old and you have seen the gawd-forsaken video three times plus the earlier showing 15 minutes before the news program when they squished their way into the last commercial break of the previous show to tell you what was coming up at the “top of the hour”.

Are you kidding me???  Has television really evolved into this?

Maybe this is why I cannot find anything to inspire me to write that book!

Is Winter nearly over yet?

Image

After a particularly severe Winter, I finally got the workshop door open today. I had to pry it and wedge it and finally I freed it from its three-month-long ice lock.  Now I can let the daylight in and really see how much of a problem the flooding is on the floor! Yes, the recent slight thaw seems to have caused some run off to find its way into the workshop where it pooled in the middle of the floor. Then it refroze. Fantastic! I don’t think the two rear tires of the Corvette and the rhs rear tire of the DeLorean particularly appreciate this development. There is little I can do. It is only about 1 degree today so I will not try to start the cars. There is not much point anyway and I would prefer for the ice to be melted around the tires before I try to move the cars. Tomorrow is to be warmer. Maybe I will try then. Regardless, there is still no way I can get the cars out for a drive. The snow is still almost as deep as the height of my boots, which I would guess is about 10 or 12 inches deep in some areas. And of course now that the snow/ice is receding out in the gardens, I can see the fallen tree limbs and branches that have been lying on the ground encased in ice since the ice storm that happened before Christmas. There is still too much ice keeping them glued to the ground to try to move them. Perhaps next week. Up at the front of the driveway, I was able to see yesterday for the first time just how much tree limbs came down in December. On both sides of the entranceway there is a mass of small branches and limbs all jumbled together. They look like huge, huge giant bird nests. I guess I will be having a few bonfires this year out in the back!

Finally some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.  About time too.  It’s almost April!

Into the unknown – Canada and Ireland and me.

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In a few hours it will be Friday March 28th 2014.   March 28th was a Tuesday in 1989.  It was the Tuesday after Easter, 25 years ago.  Easter Tuesday. How do I know?  Because that was the day I left Ireland and moved to Canada.   Good gawd!  March 28th 1989.  I remember that day well. It was a very sad day to leave the people that were important to me, and a scary day to venture off alone into the unknown. Has it really been 25 years?   It feels like 8 or 10 years. This is huge.

I have worked for more years in Canada than in Ireland.

I have voted in more elections in Canada than in Ireland.

I have been driving 2½ times longer in left hand drive cars in Canada than in right hand drive cars in Ireland. So why does my left hand still occasionally shoot out to change gear?

In the first 12 years in Canada, I visited Ireland 10 times.

It’s been over 13 years since I was last in Ireland.

25 years. 25 years!!

I have had more Canadian passports than Irish.

I could go on and on, but right now I am just shocked to realize that it has been 25 years.

It’s hard to believe.  Amazing!