Monday, December 10, 2007
Monday, July 09, 2007
This is from her story:
It was about 4:30 am when I left for work, and I had to drive through the small town of Canfield. One morning was passing through the village when I saw four-foot flames pouring out of the roof of a farmhouse. I stopped my car and ran up to the house to pound on the door. At first nobody answered, but then a little dog came barking at the door, followed by a lady in her nightie. I told her that her house was on fire, and she screamed for her daughter and husband, and then ran back upstairs.
I saw they had climbed out onto the veranda roof, so I went across the road and got someone to phone the firemen. They came and got the couple off the roof. I heard later that after the fire was out, the woman went back inside and found out that the ceiling had collapsed right on her bed. I guess that was a close call for them. I never heard anymore about it. I just went to work.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
All the windows wore horizontal white shutters, which could be closed on the will of the inhabitants, effectively shutting the house into it’s own reality, it’s walls protected by custom and privacy laws. The vines were carefully tended so as to not block the windows; after all, it was important to occasionally let the light in. At least, that’s what Nancy said, and we pretty much did what Nancy said.
To the outside world she was Nancy N. German (as by friend/brother Toolie was fond of saying, the second “N” stood for Nazi), a dental hygienist in her early forties. Never married, few friends, usually found either at work or at home. As it was, Nancy bemoaned the necessity of her spending any time away from the home. However, money being as it was, something had to be done to bring it in.
Sometimes people ask me why Sammy doesn’t work so my mother (they think Nancy is my mother, because she told them she was) can stay home with the kids. I tell them it’s because Sammy (who is also supposed to be my father, even though the little freak hasn’t gotten it up since 1981) is simple. In the head. And then I do that thing where you poke your temple and twirl your finger. Sometimes I cross my eyes and let my tongue hang out.
As you can imagine, this behaviour hasn’t won me many friends. What it has won me has been a lifetime of abuse and ostrasization. If you have ever experienced life outside of the pack, you will understand me when I say that when you are an outsider, anything can happen to you. My guidance counselor (whose name was Mr. P. Didhee, I shit you not) used to rag on me all the time. He had a favourite line: can’t you at least try to fit in?
The thing was, I could, but I couldn’t, you know. Yeah, lot of times I knew what everyone wanted from me, what I was supposed to do to be normal. Sometimes I could do it, because it was nothing much. Sometimes I could do it, but I wouldn’t, because I thought it was dumb. So yeah, I’ll have a smoke. No, I won’t help you burn ants. I never got that. Where’s the fun in that? It’d be like God putting you into a family where everyone hates each other.
The other thing was, Nancy prefers me to be on the outside looking in. Apparently we can never really trust anyone else, from the outside. No matter what, they have a different agenda, and sometime our agendas will conflict, and they will become the enemy. It was inevitable. And yes, she really does think like that. If there’s one last sweater on sale and you stand between Nancy and her discount, do yourself a huge favour and step aside.
To date, Nancy has physically assaulted seventeen different women during sales at the mall. She has been banned from the mall seven times, but simply returns the next day as if nothing had happened. Mall security just leaves her alone. Can you blame them? Who would want to deal with a gigantic (five foot eleven!), angry woman with rage issues? Not worth the $4.50 an hour.
So everyone outside of the house is an enemy. Pretty intense training for a kid. I have to say, it has come in handy. While my neighbour was learning to play the violin, I was learning to pick pockets. I could hotwire a car by ten. I was driving at 9; I used to prop Sammy up in the passenger side and tool around the neighbourhood. I liked to see how many times I could swerve suddenly and slap Sammy’s head against the side window.
Sometimes a cop would pull me over, so I would cry and do the “my daddy’s drunk and I’m just a little girl” thing, and tell them how I had to drive my daddy home so mommy wouldn’t leave us. That bit worked perfectly every time. Well, one time the cop took me in to the station and put Sammy in jail. I fucked off while the cops were photocopying Melissa Sotheby’s library card (I had also long ago learned the advantages of a set of fake ID).
I’m pretty sure Nancy’s not my mother. I remember someone else, a redhead like me. She used to hold me, and sing me a song. I can hear the song when I’m asleep, but it always sublimates into whispers when I awake. The kind of recurring dream thing that really starts to piss you off by, oh, aged eight. Nancy says the redhead is a false memory, or maybe a movie I watched. Only the dream woman didn’t call me Sarah; she said my name was Lydia.
Sometimes, when I was about six or seven, we would have to do these bullshit assignments when you wrote about your families and what they did, and stuff. The very first one I wrote caused a lot of trouble for me. Nancy had made quite certain that I understood the importance of secrecy, and the value of lies. My problem was, while I understood this on a verbal level, the idea didn’t quite translate into the written.
My first assignment told it as it was. Every grisly detail, including the times that I found Sammy masturbating in a closet/bathroom/hallway/kitchen/McDonald’s restroom/etc. They made me stay after school and talk to a man with a nice voice who had licorice. Luckily I had come to realize by then that when strangers gave you candy, they were out to fuck you one way or the other.
They wanted to talk about my assignment, which I knew right away was bad, so I immediately disavowed all knowledge. After being reminded of my signature, which appeared at the bottom of the written confessional, I immediately switched to story mode. I explained it all as a fantasy, a game I played when pretending to be someone else. It could just as easily have been a pirate story.
Nancy got there pretty quick, and took me and the paper home (although she had to threaten to sue before they would give it to her). Each one was punished by burning; the latter via fireplace, the former via curling iron. You didn’t like to bother Nancy too often, that’s for sure.
I guess maybe I am a bit selfish. Nancy says it’s all for a good reason, the secrecy and paranoia. She says we’re part of an army, a tiny unit hidden away in a sea of hidden units, all over the country, all over the world. When the time comes, we will rise and throw off our disguises, and glory in the death and destruction of all mankind.
That last part pisses me off a bit, because I still haven’t kissed anyone. I’m not picky, boy or girl is fine by me, but if we kill everyone else off, all we’ll have left is guys like Sammy. I’d toss my own salad before I’d kiss that bloated white freak.But you don’t know, either, because there could be some hot guys on our side too. After the slaughter there will probably be some kind of orgy, I suppose. After all, there ought to be. After all, where’s the fun in fighting for Hell if you can’t enjoy the sin along the way?
Monday, June 11, 2007
Many people have argued both sides, usually quite passionately. I must admit, I'm surprised at the passion that can be aroused in atheists. Its hard to believe people can get so worked up about what they do not believe in. And I am sure that no matter what side you are on, nothing I will ever say will shift sides. However, I would like to weigh in on the issue with a carefully mangled metaphor.
Imagine you're in a casino. There are only two tables. On the right is a game called "Theism". To play, all you have to do is put your marker on the table to indicate your belief in a divine being. If you win, you get an Eternity of splendour and happiness. If you lose, you get nothing. All you lose is your marker.
To the left is a game called "Atheism". To play, all you have to do is put your marker on the table to indicate your belief that there is no divine being. If you win, you get nothing, and you lose your marker. If you lose, you burn in agony for all of Eternity. Or maybe get your marker back and a chance to play again (however, if this does happen, your memories of playing the game will be erased).
Which is why I chose to believe. Frankly, the odds - as infinitesimal as they may be - are in my favour.
Monday, June 04, 2007
The inside of the fridge was a chaos, as if designed by the mind of a frog in a blender. Top shelf, near the front, was the resting place of the pickle jar with one and a half pickles in it. Behind it, to the left, the box of baking soda that had long ago gone solid, and was now technically chalk. The second shelf was home to the ketchup and soy sauce packets, the coffee shop creamers, and a crisper that had long ago fused shut. The lower shelves were mostly given over to a variety of fungus that had sprung into life on the remains of a fried egg.
But the center shelf, the center shelf was clean. The second shelf gleamed white porcelain bright, like George Hamilton’s teeth by black-light. In the center of the second shelf, this most cleansed – and therefore sacred – of shelves, there rested six bottles of beer. And each and every one of them knew that one of them had to die.
“I think it’ll be Left.” One from Left sounded soft spoken, and nervous. He was certain that Left was Next. Because if Left were to be Chosen, then that Act would transcend One from Left into Left, and therefore put him most certainly at risk of being Next.
“Fuck that,” Two from Left sounded rash, rude, and loud. Rosie O’Donnell on a sugar rush. “The One who Chooses is right handed. He’ll go for Right.”
“I think he should choose me.” One from Right sounded bored and amused. Like he was at a party, instead of inside a fridge.
“I hardly think you need to worry,” chuckled One from Left. Two from Left responded with a resounding raspberry.
“Like the One who Chooses would choose such a loose and disreputable beer!” She laughed.
“Why not?” One from Right asked. “I’d drink me.”
“Can we please keep down this blithering drool?” The center beer, who from some reason was known as One from Two from Left (to the Right) – rather than the much more obvious and less torturous Two from Right – had a voice that like an ice knife that could cut through life itself. Of all the beers, it was she that was the eldest, the most wise and knowing in the ways of the One who Chooses.
One from Left, Two from Left, and One from Right all stammered out hasty and embarrassed apologies.
“Now, what has gotten you all so worked up?” Asked One from Two from Left (to the Right).
“I worry about the Choosing,” said One from Left, “and am wondering who is to be Next.”
“I understand your concern,” replied One from Two from Left (to the Right), “but you must know these are as fool’s questions. For in the end, no talk or tears can bring the Nature of the Choice to light before its time. In the time of the Choosing, then we will know.
Time passed, but soon enough, the door of the fridge opened, and a soft, cleansing white light rained down from above. The white light turned green where it traveled through the pickle jar, casting a darkened emerald shadow upon Right. Each bottle of beer grew still and silent, waiting in breathless anticipation.
The hand of the One who Chooses began to descend slowly, with ominous determination. It paused for a moment, hovering in the middle, before coming downwards. It was then that all could see that One from Right had become Next.
“About what I expected,” muttered One from Two from Left (to the Right). “It’s always the one that doesn’t get it that gets it.”
Quick as he was Next, he was Ex. The hand of the One who Chooses withdrew, taking Ex into the Hereafter. Right rolled over into the empty spot left by Ex, and remained Right.
Left remained Left. All was as it was before, and soon enough the Five forgot that they had ever been Six.
Quietly, they wondered who was to be Next.
(c) Asher Hunter (Garry J. Sled) 2007
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
"I have six locks on my door all in a row. When I go out, I lock every other one. I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three."
"Today I met with a subliminal advertising executive for just a second."
"Did you ever walk in a room and forget why you walked in? I think that's how dogs spend their lives."
"My grandfather's a little forgetful, but he likes to give me advice. One day, he took me aside and left me there."
"I worry that the person who thought up Muzak may be thinking up something else."
"I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it."
"I met a new girl at a barbecue, very pretty, a blond I think. I don't know, her hair was on fire, and all she talked about was herself. You know these kind of girls: 'I'm hot. I'm on fire. Me, me, me.' You know. 'Help me, put me out.' Come on, could we talk about me just a little bit?"
"I think that's how Chicago got started. A bunch of people in New York said, 'Gee, I'm enjoying the crime and the poverty, but it just isn't cold enough.'"
Monday, May 28, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
But I realized, Tim Hortons is so damned successful, there's really no way to avoid it. They put almost everyone else out of business. Seriously. According to Wikipedia, Hortons "...commands 76% of the Canadian market for baked goods (based on the number of customers served) and holds 62% of the Canadian coffee market (compared to Starbucks, in the number two position, at 7%).
They're everywhere, like a frat boy's hands in a game of touch football.
So if you can't boycott them, then the next best thing you can do is bypass them. All I'm suggesting is this: if there is a reasonable alternative to Tim Hortons nearby, please use it. Don't go miles out of your way! If there's a Hortons right by work, then use it! But if there is some other - any other! - coffee shop nearby, then please use it.
This might only result in a small drop in Hortons' overall numbers. But even as small a drop as 5-15% will be enough to send a message. The current owners of Tim Hortons seem to be very good at noticing things like money. Sadly, they are losing track of things like customer service, and loyalty.
So what is the message?
We want our old fucking Hortons back.
The ones that cops were allowed to sit in. Because that was better than the ones that have to close at night because of drug dealers.
The ones where usually the same two or three people served you, everyday. The ones you tipped extra on their birthdays. We want those people back, because now it seems service has degraded to the point where barely cognizant, drably garbed drones (80% of whom have name tags introducing themselves as "Trainee" and seem to rotate daily) peck aimlessly at a large board of conveniently tabled pico-text buttons consisting of every possible combination of donut and coffee order imaginable. You have transformed what was once a warm and personable experience into the sociological equivalent of a tooth cleaning.
We want the tidy Hortons back. The one where the servers took time out to clean up once and awhile. It seems today that you send someone out to clean the tables with about the same efficiency and regularity as the HSR sends buses. If you are unfamiliar with the HSR service schedule, the previous analogy was bad.
Today, for some unacceptable reason, the donuts come from trucks. They used to come from the same guy who had been making them there for 15 years. The guy you swore made the best donuts, even though your buddy claimed the lady on Friday night made the city's best crullers. Those amazing donut bakers drive newspaper delivery trucks now.
Always fresh 'cause they keep truckin' 'em in!
So, anyway, that's it. If you want your old Hortons back, then start giving them a miss. If there's a Robins Donuts across the street, give them a try. A Country Style on the opposite corner? Walk on over. Even Starbucks. Yeah, I know, I hate saying "grande" too, but it makes them happy, so humour them.
Maybe if our numbers drop off, they'll finally start to notice us.
Monday, May 07, 2007
Ok, maybe he wasn't lying. Maybe he didn't know his restaurant had ice. Oh, did I mention he's a manager? Let's call him "Tim" (although his real name is Jake).
So I'm back today, and I get Jake (sorry, "Tim") as my server. I order my breakfast bagel, coffee and a tea biscuit. I ask for a cup of ice water. Ja .... Tim tells me "Sorry, we don't have any ice". I respond with "Funny, you had ice yesterday".
After getting bitchy, finally Tim turns to another manager and - right in front of me - says "I thought we weren't supposed to tell anyone we had ice".
So, not only do the employees of Tim Hortons at this location knowingly and willingly lie to their customers, they are ordered to do so. Could they be any more petty? Last I checked, it costs very little money to make ice. I do it all the time, and I'm pretty sure the cost is well nigh infinitesimal.
So why do you think they lie?
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I question the moral validity of lobbying, of huge corporatations investing millions of dollars in politicians (did I say investing? Sorry, I meant "campaign contributions").
I'm not a rebel, I won't arm myself in protest. I also won't stand outside of some grey government building with a placard, ignored by my rulers, convincing myself I'm making a difference. Don't get me wrong, I respect protesters, and the valuable place they have earned in our society. However, after 40 some-odd years on this planet, I've come to the conclusion that protests usually ammount to just so much sound and fury.
So what can be done to fix our problems? I don't know. I'm not that smart. All I can do is question. Question why I should obey the rules of an organization designed to pad the wallets of the rich with the wealth of the average person.
Question why my government thinks its fair that 95% of the wealth in North America is in the hands of 3% of the population. Question why we should pay out about 40-50% of our income in taxes while a corporation with multi-million dollar net profits pays no tax whatsoever.
Maybe someday I'll find an answer.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Look at the word "Hybrid"; it should be outlined in white. If the outlining goes all the way past the top of the black lettering in "hybrid", then the cup is a winner. If the white outlining does not reach the top, then the cup did not win.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
This weekend, Peter saved me. My car was dead, it wouldn't start. It would take a boost, but then once stopped, it would not start again. And the electrical system was flickering, lights, etc.
I thought I was doomed.
I showed my car to Unky Peter, who naturally had the right diagnostic equipment on hand to successfully diagnose the issue - dirty contacts. My other friend Corey had the correct tool on hand for Peter to use to clean my contacts. The tool was, incidentally, powered by an Eliminator battery back up unit owned my me. To be fair though, I only had one because Peter had recommended it.
Had I taken the car to a mechanic, I would have likely paid through the nose. Peter saved me, and I really appreciate his assistance. More so, he's a hell of a human being. I know people say that all the time, but sometimes its really true.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Is it white? Then that’s an old one. I have faint disdain for you.
It’s important to be current, it’s vital to be new
Don’t let yourself step out of line or we’ll all look at you.
It’s not nice to become noticed, it’s not quiet in our view
Society’s a mirror, twisted mildly askew
Unlidded eyes unblinking, recording and unthinking
Redividing, linking, and uploading to YouTube
Have you a sad delusion? Have you come to the conclusion
That you can sing like an infusion of melodious refrain?
If in fact you are mistaken then we would be forsaken
If we did not partake in some open mockery.
The freak show was a laugh, this one chick was half-giraffe
But now its more convenient, televised reality.
I can laugh without regret at ignorant rednecks
‘Cause they’re all racist scum so we can mock them on TV.
We’d rather not be famous, then nobody can blame us
If our opinions cause unrest because we hide behind our blogs.
And sure, some people flame us, but their rhetoric inflames us
Convinces us we’re relevant because someone disagrees.
So fuck the modern media, Fox News and Wikipedia
I get the news I need from Stewart and Colbert.
Fuck the infantile morality of televised reality
Webcams serve as cameras because all the worlds a stage.
And I get off on performing and think, Fuck you, global warming
It’s not that I don’t care, I’m just tired and need a break.
Each winter seems much colder, but the true curse of getting older
Is watching people make the same mistakes that went before.
Ignore the foreign starving, save your pennies, save your farthings
For the next incarnation of your favourite machine
X-box one? That’s for Jerks. PS3’s the one that works!
Unless your one of those assholes that likes to jerk their Wii.
The world gets so much better when you become a real go-getter
Ignore your conscience, feed your wallet and you’ll never wear a frown
Spend money on your car, focus on you and you’ll go far
If confronted by the starving you’ll just flick on the remote.
Unless you download off the Internet.
Then someone already edited that shit out for you.
We don’t believe what we are reading, that some Chinamen are bleeding
Because Apple isn’t heeding humanitarian appeals
We might appear a land of reapers, but at least my iPod’s cheaper
And available in oh so many colours.
(c) Asher Hunter (Garry J. Sled) 2007
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Today, on Scientific American's website, it was revealed that:
"Despite decades of denials, government records confirm that the U.S. Census Bureau provided the U.S. Secret Service with names and addresses of Japanese-Americans during World War II."
Wow. So the US government took census information, promising its citizens that the information would never be used against them. Then, they turn around and illegally rat on their own citizens, for reasons based entirely on their racial/cultural histories. Frankly, this makes me want to spit. On a politician. And when I say "spit", its only because I swapped a "p" for the "h".
Of course, the government promised never to use Census information against the people, but then they just repealed that part of their promise so they could. Isn't it great to be able to right the rules, force (under the penalty of fine and/or imprisonment) people to conform to those rules, and then be able to re-write the freaking rules the moment you feel it is convenient?
I used to trust the government, because I was young and naive. I believed that they had my best interests at heart, or at the very least the best interests of my country. As I grow older, and see more and more examples of how governments lie, cheat and steal from their charges, the more disillusioned and frankly disgusted I get.
There are so many reports of both the US and Canadian governments sharing personal information in clear violation of the law that it makes you wonder how long we're going to maintain the delusion that the goverment is anything other than a self-serving corporate entity.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Sunday, March 25, 2007
There are 2 kinds of love: dog love and cat love.
Dogs love others as they love themselves. Meaning, the love they have for others is equal in strength to the love they have for themselves. A dog will, if aware of the situation, willingly risk its life to save a loved one. Dogs are willing to adapt their life to fit in with the ones they love.
Cats love themselves while they love others. Meaning the love they have for themselves is paramount, but it does also allow for the existance of others. A cat will, if aware of the situation, regret the necessity of eating you if you die. Cast are willing to coexist, as long as no one steps out of line.
Friday, January 26, 2007
He is an amazing man, and you can read more about him here.