T. infernalis

Shorts-Final

Hesh-Sheh slowly opened it’s eye and peered towards the slowly brightening flames of the eastern sky.

Soon. Soon.

Already it could feel the first licks of warmth on it’s scales and the long night’s lethargy sloughing off like old skin.

Soon. Soon.

And with the creep of awareness came hunger. It had been many days since the last hunt and it was time. Time to slake the thirst and feel the ecstasy once again of prey slipping down its throat.

Soon. Soon.

As that first dagger of light crawled across its coils, a small shudder ran across the iridescent pattern along its back like an undulating  ruby and emerald necklace in piercing blade of sunlight. The tip of its tail twitched now in a slow rhythm.

Soon. Soon.

Warmth suffusing deep into its core, the energy began to surge along its powerful muscles and the coils started to pulse and writhe in time to an invisible solar metronome.

Yes.

Now.

Now.

The machete took off it’s head with a solid thwack and buried itself into the hard, dead wood of the fallen tree.

“God I hate snakes. Even these harmless garter snakes. Give me the creeps.”

The man stretched out his arms to the rising sun and basked momentarily in the warmth.

“Git your ass up, Seth. Sun’s up, I’m hungry. And we got some fish to catch.”

Soon. Soon.

 


California Red-Sided Garter Snake

Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis

californiagarter

T8N March 2015

The latest issue is out!

I’m kinda proud of this one. It shows great gains in all sorts of places. Unfortunately for me the print copies are still driving around in the boss’s car. If I’m luck I will see one before half of St Albert.

Life is…

My ex-wife used to say tongue firmly in cheek “Life is a bitch… and then you marry one.” She was never a bitch, but she used it to try and get away with outrageous things. Life is Life: one of my favourite 80s songs. Tim reminded me yesterday the “Life is short…and unpredictable.”

Que sera, sera… Ironically I first heard that one, and the song (the version by the Raes), when I was 13 or 14 (Grade 8 anyway). Carlton Hughes and I were over at Cheryl Hutch’s house ‘hanging out’ in her basement. I remember having to beg for my parent’s permission to be out that night. Carleton was ever the mover and shaker and had set up that he, I, Sue-Ellen Ingram and of course Cheryl would hang. Cheryl and Sue were best friends and Carlton had his eye on Cheryl, so we all know how that was supposed to go. As it was, I considered 14-year-old Sue stunningly beautiful — and I still do I suppose. She had the greatest nose, lovely eyes, and oh, those 1970s jeans… The two best looking girls ever had invited us over…good times. So I wasn’t in any way opposed to the plan.

I remember very little of the evening except the moments approaching the climax as it were. Carlton and Cheryl had left the main room. The lights were down low and Sue was sitting in my lap. Que Sera Sera was playing on the stereo and I was having a long and drawn out internal argument about whether or not Sue wanted me to kiss her or, at the very least, wouldn’t freak out if I did. As C would say, “Boys are stupid.”

And I never did kiss her.  We eventually said our goodbyes and I never again found myself in that intimate a situation with the best looking girl in school. Carlton moved away the next year and my ‘adventures’  shifted to a different course. Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be. The future’s not ours to see. My 14-year-old self really was a bit of an idiot, but then I’ve had a fear-based personality most of these 50-some-odd years and I guess I can’t fault the little moron. But I’ve tried to use that little ‘mistake’ as a reminder ever since: always kiss the girl! I don’t always manage to do it  and it’s just funny that it never gets easier 😉

Gaudeamus igitur, iuvenes dum sumus: Let us rejoice, while we are young. I’ve used it as a personal motto since I first heard it in University. It’s seemed more appropriate than my previous motto — care of Rob Dyck: Give ‘er till ya puke. But the sentiment remains the same.

So ya. Life. Huh.

For those who wonder, the whole verse is:

Gaudeamus igitur,
Juvenes dum sumus;
Post icundum iuventutem,
Post molestam senectutem
Nos habebit humus.

Let us rejoice while we are young
After our youth,
After a troublesome old age
The ground will hold us.

Well…

Turn it sideways and it’s a tunnel?

Three drums and cymbal fell off a cliff: ba-dum bum bum… crash.

As previously mentioned I have a manilla envelope full of pre-internet jokes all typewritten…on a typewriter. Some of them I can’t ever post here (Indian Job Application, Polish Vacation Itinerary) because they are just too dated and too -ist—by which I mean so very not politically correct or even acceptable. But  few still make me smile. They seem to all be predicated on the classic ‘misunderstanding.’ So here’s a typical one with a boat theme. (I left the typos in!)

Once there was twin bothers named Jack and Jim. Jack was married; but Jim was single and the proud owner of an old boat. Disaster struck them both on the same day. Jack’s wife died and Jim’s boat sank. A few days later a friend mistaked Jim for Jack and offered his sympathies saying “You must feel terrible.” Jim replied “Oh. not really. She was a wreck from the beginning. Her bottom was all shrivelled up and smelled like dead fish. The first time I got in her, she made water faster than anything I’ve ever seen. There was a bad crack in her back, and a pretty big hole in her front. The hole got bigger everytime I used her, and she leaked like crazy. But what finnished her was these five guys I know who borrowed her and I told them she wasn’t very good, but they said they’d take a chance with her anyhow. So I rented her out. Then the crazy fools tried to get into her all at once. It was too much for her and she cracked right in the middle.” At this point the friend fainted.

Sigh

IMG_4337

 

 

Irresolute Left-wing Libertarian

Way back when, when I broke down and joined Facebook, it asked me to state my Political Views. So I wrote “Irresolute Left-wing Libertarian.” And now whenever I come across that tidbit, I still smile and nod in agreement. If I am forced to think about politics or, more accurately, social policies, I generally come down on the left side of the spectrum. I remember having arguments with my older brother when I was still in Grade 2 or 3 where my position was that money was bad and a ridiculous way to do things. As I got older though, I have come to the conclusion that people are at once too stubborn and too independent, and too herd-like and too mindlessly drone-ish for any sort of socialism to work very well. In addition I also personally don’t ‘like’ people all that much and would generally prefer to get my own way too much for me to sign up for the Marxist wagon. Ask me about switchbacks someday. All that and the concept of class warfare is a bit of an odd duck to me.

And later, in my late teens, I read a bunch of what I now know to be ‘libertarian’ novels. And I liked them. Look after yourself and others look after themselves and we will all get along. Shit’ll get done and idiots’ll get shoved off to the side. Seemed simple and pretty darn sensible. I still carry a lot of that. Of course your average libertarian these days seems to be a gun-toting, anti-government paranoid. That’s so not me… And healthcare is a good thing.

I think, when, as I said, I am forced to, I come down as a believer in Benevolent Totalitarianism with an armed populace and very, very harsh violence laws. Checks and balances people… it’s all about checks and balances.

That said I am not yet crazy nor arrogant enough to believe my views are any more sane than a confirmed Marxist’s or those of the Staunchest Libertarian. So I like to work in the system I have and believe in it as much as I can. So far it hovers relatively close to the ‘least harm’ zone. And I don’t think about it overly much. That makes it all better.

But still,  I follow along with people of all stripes (still have a soft spot for the gun-toting libertarians…at least in a book) and live with one of those aforementioned Marxists, so I do find myself reluctantly contemplating the dangers of complacency more often than I would really like. And so when I was reading an interview lately with author Stephen Brust — a confirmed, card carrying, left of left, worker’s part socialist — just check out tidbits like this from his site for confirmation — and I come across the following question & answer, it really makes me smile.

VENTRELLA: Do you think there is a place for a third party in America?

BRUST: I don’t know. I’d like to start with a second party and see what happens after that.

— An Interview with MICHAEL A. VENTRELLA 

I know here in Canada we technically have a 3 (or more)-party system but really, the moment an NDP government gets elected they start racing to the center, and the Conservatives aren’t much better. And, when I (reluctantly still) think about it, the U.S. is worse. The party differences are so small in actual policy as to be almost impossible to explain to any non-American (when was the last time that either party spent less than 500 billion on defense?). So when I read a quick quip like Brust’s, I laugh first, think about a bit and then share it with my friends as a bit of reality check. And to remind myself that thinking isn’t such a bad thing.

For fun:
0053_defense-comparison-crop
pgpf.org

500px-InflationAdjustedDefenseSpending
Wikipedia

This guy..

This is who I aspire to be. regina-man-goes-to-extreme-lengths-to-answer-online-comments. Of course I would title it Guy Gets Shit Done after Being Irritated By People Bitching So Much or maybe Just Do it For F*ck’s Sake or even Regina Man Does Something Sensible: Internet Astounded!

Facebook

McDonald said the main reason he dug out a stranger’s car was to get people thinking about issues he deems more important.

“I wanted people to stop filling the City of Regina’s Facebook page with posts about snow so that we can all go back to the important things like arguing online about the terrible funding model they decided on for the new stadium,” he said.

Like Mssr McDonald I am (and always have been) a sucker for for reading comments and opinions, rarely with much satisfaction. Way back as a kid I would faithfully read the back page of Alberta Report where Mr Ted Byfield (and later his son Link) would vomit out line upon line of bilious diatribe and then I would swear and curse for 15 minutes before my mother would once again tsk-tsk me and tell me to just not read them. (Actually she always espoused the belief that Ted was just trying to get my goat—and succeeding. I never believed it.)

So anyway, this guy did something about it. F*cking Ay. Damn internet Comment-jockies. But it speaks volumes about our society that the media decided he went to “extreme” lengths. It was probably a 10 minute job to find the car and then he shovelled it. The shovelling was the whole point. And a 10 minute internet search better not be considered extreme these days or I will find myself on some Dr. Phil show someday.

But ya people; just shovel the driveway. Your driveway, her driveway, the fricking Mayor’s driveway. It’s more energy efficient than bitching about it.

Twitter Digest

Reasons to dislike where I live

Besides the snow, cold rains, distance from the mountains, distance from the ocean, and weird roads, there isn’t much I regret about moving to Edmonton all those years ago. But one of the reasons I chose Edmonton over, say, Calgary was the arts and culture scene. And over the years big oil in C-town and a general malaise in the E-town scene has slowly eroded the benefit of Edmonton over other locales.

Be that as it may, it is always so tempting to play the grass is greener game when you read about art etc. in the big big-cities. I mean why don’t we have an exhibit of 16th-19th century cat art? Huh! Why!

edocats

This is so awesome! The Japanese Society gallery in NYC (333 East 47th Street New York, NY) is hosting the following exhibit of woodblock prints this spring:

LIFE OF CATS: SELECTIONS FROM THE HIRAKI UKIYO-E COLLECTION

Fri, Mar 13 – Sun, Jun 7, 2015
Since arriving in Japan aboard Japanese ships transporting sacred Buddhist scriptures from China in the mid-sixth century, cats have proceeded to purr and paw their way into the heart of Japanese life, folklore, and art. Life of Cats: Selections from the Hiraki Ukiyo-e Collection illustrates the depth of this mutual attraction by mining the wealth of bravura depictions of cats to be found in ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the Edo Period (1615-1867).

You can see how this would be cause for jealousy in any lover of art/cats/woodblock printing.

s01_Hiroshige_Asakusa-Rice-Fields

Be sure to visit the Gallery site and flip through the whimsical and amusing prints; you just won’t have that many chances in life to empathize with a 19th century Japanese dude like this.

s58_Yoshitoshi_The-Enlightenment-of-Daruma