Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The WIP is Slain, Eh?

It was a balmy 16 degrees C (62 degrees F for those of you who won't convert) on the Rock today. A mere 2 degrees away from my change in wardrobe from parka and snow pants to muscle shirts, Speedos and thongs (that would be the floppy shoe). It seemed very nice, viewing the outdoors from my fishbowl. At least the dog seemed to enjoy it. Please refer to attached photo demonstrating his unbridled glee. Or perhaps it was just gas.

After the mandatory 8.5 hours of work, I switched from my drafting pajamas to my velvet robe and fez I wear during my writing hell bliss. I went through the second draft of my first-person story bitter rant stunning essay entitled Canada and America: The Great Divide. It is done. Fin. Laid to rest.

This is my entry to Michael J. Solender for his upcoming 'All-Canadian' week at his blog Not From Here, Are You? Even as we speak, it is deftly navigating the vacuum of cyberspace much as Sidney Crosby has navigated the ice surface of Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

View From the Fishbowl

Those of you who follow my blog are have probably noticed my whining about the crap weather we've had recently. Rain, fog, foggy rain, drizzly fog. One morning last week I looked out the kitchen window, past the back garden, to the building where my wife works. On a couple of the windows are taped bright yellow paper. When quizzed about this, V explained that a couple of the more humerous girls in the office were tired of the dim weather and taped large suns on the windows to cheer up the office. Now there is proactive thinking. I like that.

Today they can rip down the paper...the clouds are few and far between and the sun is high in the sky, bathing all in a hint of the warmth that will arrive with summer. Sadly, I am trapped in the home office, or fishbowl as I have come to call it recently, watching the people walking by, basking in the sun. Did I say that...actually I'm working diligently, nose to grindstone, contributing to urban blight.

I finished a draft yesterday of my story for Michael J. Solender's 'all-Canadian' week. I have decided, though, to set it aside and do something else. Why? Two reasons...
  1. It's way too long. At 1900 words it hardly qualifies as flash fiction and I doubt that I could slash 900 words from it and keep the story intact. It was really an experiment to try out some new characters and a story-line for a much longer project. A fun exercise.

  2. It's not Canadian enough. I went back to his blog and re-read the guidelines and decided that it didn't have the distinctive Canadian content he described. This morning I was furiously jotting down notes for an essay idea that came to me. You heard correctly. Essay. I haven't written anything like that since university (and probably for good reason). If all goes well I shall finish it and contribute it to the MJS spectacular. If it sucks is a failure I shall drop it in the shredder that sits six feet away from me and hang me head in shame.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wanna Know What Day it is?

I realized that our garbage collection had shifted by one day this week due to the civic holiday last Monday. What holiday? My wife explained that it was St. George's Day (today) and the workers got the day off. I looked it up on Wikipedia and discovered today (April 23) was the national holiday of England. Many in Newfoundland also get St. Patrick's Day and Orangeman's Day off. For the record, I work for an Ontario company and, in fact, get none of those days off. I got to thinking "how can I make today special?"

I therefore declare today "Pantsless Friday". A day where I must continue to labour to make money to put food on the table; a day where I can relax, "let it all hang out" as it were...

On a side note, I went to the kitchen at 6:45am this morning and squinted while looking out the south-facing window into the back yard. Something was amiss. It occurred to me that the sun was now rising in the east. And I could actually see it. I think it's the first time in about 10 days we've seen the sun here on the Avalon Peninsula. I could even see that annoying black garbage bag that's been caught up in the branches of our maple tree since last fall. What an inspiring day. I thought to myself again (yes, twice in one day) that perhaps I should shave off my beard for a change. That would be silly looking, though, as I've still got a bit of a tan from my vacation. Instead I'll link you to a post from last summer where I included photos of myself with both my beard and my hair shaved off. Must have took 40 years off me...

Speaking of beards and moustaches...I ran into the graphic below at the blog this is my perfect crime by Seamus Hefferman (click on this to enlarge, I hope). You only need to read 3 or 4 posts into his blog to discover his sly humour. The chart rates the trustworthiness of beards and moustaches. Hmm, where do I fall on the list...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Observations on the Past Few Days

  1. Immediately after my last post about the bad zombie stripper movie I recently watched, my follower count dropped by one...I'm not sure exactly who that was but if I offended you in any way I'm sorry. Remember posts aren't always educational.
  2. Remember a couple of posts back where I listed the 10 things that made me happy? I forgot to list "Finding forgotten money in my gym bag." Just found $30.35 woo hoo!
  3. The Juno Awards were just held this weekend in St. John's...for those American, Brits, Australian and Serbians in the crowd those are the Canadian equivalent to the American Grammy Awards). Sadly, I did not attend or even watch any events. I am not really up on current Canadian music and am helplessly lost in the world of 70's classic rock. The folks flying into town were hampered by the fog that has hung over the city for day. Flying out, they were hampered by the impending ash from last Thursday's volcanic eruption in Iceland. You can link to the CBC news story here. Who said nothing ever happens at Land's Edge...
  4. Have been working diligently on a flash story that I submitted yesterday to Laurita Miller's contest at Brain Droppings. Am now wracking my brains for something with a Canadian flair for Michael J. Solenders upcoming 'All-Canadian' week at his blog Not From Here, Are You? Regardless of what country you are from, if you have a 'Canadiana' story idea pleeeease pass it along!
  5. Working on selecting a few Caribbean photos from our recent holiday to post both here and on my Facebook page. I will try to keep the nudity to a minimum.
  6. Am also working on a 'special' post that I'd like to finish up in the next week or 10 days. Am waiting on the little bas--sorry, the 'special guest' to return my phone calls.
  7. I have noticed the past couple of weeks that I've hit a sort of 'critical mass' in the number of blogs I regularly read and comment on. I am now somewhat saturated with posts listed on the blogger dashboard and I can't keep up with reading all that is there. It may have something to do with the fact that some people (you know who you are) post multiple times in a day. If I haven't been commenting on your blog recently it's not because I don't want to, it's more because I've only got 3 or 4 small windows of time each day and sometimes the postings of others become outdated before I can get to them. To remedy this, I am planning on having my 14 year old read your blogs every day and comment on my behalf. So if you find future comments from me a bit juvenile, rambling or heavily laden with sexual talk or's the boy talking ;)

Friday, April 16, 2010

How Bad Can it Be?

The bad, in this case, is the movie I attended last night for our semi-regular "Bad Movie Night".

Picture, if you will, six adult males cuddled huddled together on two couches in the basement of a middle-class house. They watch a really bad movie on a flat screen mounted to the wall with sound emanating from two tiny speakers sending vibrations through their bodies and shaking the floor beneath their feet. Such is Bad Movie Night. Last night's offering was a tasty movie involving a lot of blood-letting, political incorrectness and sweary words. The feature was Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!

I thought to myself "Yay, a musical!". I was sadly mistaken. Coincidentally, I was reading today that Karen Schindler over at Miscellaneous Yammering dreamed about stripper zombies. I got wondering if there was something deep and Jungian at play here.

The 2008 movie was subtitled the more appropriate Strippers vs. Zombies and was about a certain 'lady of the night' getting some tainted drugs and turning into a zombie and infecting clients and passersby alike after biting them in assorted locations of the body. A group of strippers, Ho's, their pimp and a sundry others hide out in a strip club awaiting the inevitable climax...

Of course one of the girls has time to perform a lap dance on her boyfriend despite the death and dismemberment about them. My first inclination the movie would be special was when, only 60 seconds in, a zombie had his eyes gouged out by the sharp, pointy ends of a pair of figure skates when a girl used them as weapons. That chainsaw in the poster above gets used a lot near the end of the movie. The acting, of course, sucked and the script had plot holes large enough for a stripper pole to pass through. If I had a dollar for every time the words "F*&%, A%*hole, Bi&^$, and dirty Wh*&% were uttered I could pay off my family wagon.

There were several "one liners" during the movie that kept us in stitches but don't ask me to repeat them as my memory for remembering jokes is terrible and I'm shy and don't like to say those bad words. They did remarkably well with special effects considering how low budget the movie appeared. The dismembered limbs looked quite real and the zombies digging into stomachs for intestines was very gruesome. The chainsaw jabbed through the guy's face was very impressive, I must say. The highlight for me was the zombie guy walking about near the end of the movie with a silver coloured stiletto heel embedded in his left temple.

It's only my opinion, but I would have to say that there will be no Oscars going to this movie, but if bad is what you're looking for, Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! is the place to go. Just don't eat before watching. And make sure the kids are tucked away in bed.

On a side note, and quite possibly more entertaining, is the contest going on at Laurita Miller's blog Brain Droppings. You have until Monday the 19th to submit your stories or poems to her reflecting an 'ocean side theme'. Click on the link for full details. I've heard that for a prize she is giving away her first born, or the Avalon Peninsula or something like that. I'm working on my story this weekend, but it's way too long and I'm struggling to dismember chunks to get it to the 500 word maximum. Perhaps the chainsaw...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Are You Canadian?

In a continuation of the moose talk from the previous post...

I have come to enjoy my visits to Not From Here, Are You? the blog of Michael J. Solender of Charlotte, North Carolina. He combines a refreshing mix of humour and personal insight into his poetry and short stories and often turns the reigns over to guest writers. His blog is affectionately known as 'The Not' to those that loaf about there.

Michael has announced this morning that he will be hosting an upcoming "Canada Week" and is seeking submissions from those of us of the "Northern Persuasion" for his Canada week-long literary fest and Moose hunt. Click the link above to head over to his blog for all the gory details.

I am shocked and surprised that he dares to expose himself and our other American cousins to the unique Canadiana style of writing (as influenced by the endless hours of hockey on the television and F*%$ing long and snowy winters). All Canadians, visit Michael J. Solender and his legion of followers at his blog and strut your Canadian stuff regardless if you are from the sunny, tulip-filled gardens of Victoria or the hilly, foggy streets of St. John's.
Note that the submissions are only open to those of us fortunate enough to be Canadian (did that sound like gloating? I'm sorry, I must apologize...) but please pass the message on to all Canadian writers that may lurk at your blog.

How will our cousins recognize us, you ask? The Canadians will be the ones dashing across the street, ignoring heavy traffic, to have coffee and doughnuts at Tim Hortons. We are ignoring the traffic because we know that we will be covered for health care when shmucked by a bus, regardless of where we live or how much we make (that being said, we are indeed paying much more in taxes and therefore drink our coffee at Timmys because we can not afford to drink at Starbucks).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Necrotic MooseTissue...and a Moose

In my mailbox yesterday morning, I found...

No, not a quart of maple syrup or a bag of flaming dog crap. It was the latest issue of Necrotic Tissue. Number 10 to be exact. With trembling fingers I ripped open the bubble wrap to reveal it in all it's shiny, blue splendour. I was beginning to wonder if it was going to make it to the island. So many of you commented a while back about receiving yours already. The post mark indicates it was mailed March 26 from Minnesota. Perhaps it stopped off in Ottawa for a bit of sightseeing or Montreal for some fine dining.

At any rate, I'm ready to dive into the "40,000 words of yummy horror goodness" as noted on the cover. I am pleased that Aaron Polson has made the cut with his short story The Distillery and Katey Taylor is also in the ToC with her 100 word bite Hostile Takeover. Needless to say I'm giddy with excitement for both of them. Or perhaps I've had too much coffee this any rate, help out the small press and order up your copy today from the people at Necrotic Tissue.

Regarding the moose. As something of a PSA I should mention that we are fast approaching moose season with more of the beasts being spotted daily. I recall in the first few weeks moving here that I thought it cute that they did 'moose sighting reports' on the radio. "How quaint," I said to myself. I have heard that there's anywhere between 120,000 and 150,00 moose on the island. Most of them seem to lurk about the Trans Canada Highway, ready to prance out in front of unsuspecting vehicles. There are several hundred moose-vehicle accidents in Newfoundland every year (seriously). They really seem to be encroaching into suburbia this year. I guess that's only fair as we've been encroaching into their area for years.
I'll leave you with some kinder, gentler moose images taken by a co-worker of my wife's a couple of weeks ago. Notice how the crafty critter stealthily evades the fine members of the RNC. It's a baby...a calf or calve, or pup...or foal. Something like that...

Leave me alone! I just wants a walk in Pippy Park.
"Don't you dare crap on this taxpayer's lawn!"
I can beat you in a foot race any day, copper.
I'm not goin' for a ride with mum told me to never talk to strangers.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Little Pimping & Happy 101

One thing I don't mind doing is promoting the work and good-doings of talented writers within my 'circle of friends'. I'm thinking that most of you who drop into my blog also follow, or at least are familiar with, the talented Cate Gardner over at The Poisoned Apple.

A collection of her short stories, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things, will soon be published by the good people at Strange Publications. I have been following Cate's stories online and in print for about a year and have never been disappointed with her servings of horror with healthy sprinkles of quirkiness on top...follow the links or stay tuned here and I will keep you updated.

I was bestowed an award by Cathy Olliffe at Life on the Muskoka River. The Happy 101 award(or as I prefer to call it: the Sprinkly Cupcake Award) requires me to list 10 things that make me happy...guess that's why it took me a week to get around to the list. Happiness is not a state I walk around in all of the time. Nor is sadness. I think a state of oblivious contentedness is closer to the mark. Anyhow, for those who care to learn more about me (as if you regular followers hadn't heard enough about me already...) I present you with my 'Happy List'.

  1. The community of writers and bloggers (or both) that I have surrounded myself with that have both entertained me and taught me a lot about writing in the past year. My 'Circle of Friends' and story-tellers of horror, spec fic, steam punk, humour or generally spin a good yarn about the human condition. Well done, my friends!

  2. The inhaling of my morning cup of pot of coffee... combined with the reading of my friend's blogs, local and international news and the hockey stats (in regards to the current hockey pool I participate in through work).

  3. Winning of the current aforementioned hockey pool...there is only one more night of hockey left in the regular season of the NHL and I have I lead that I believe can not be caught (knock on wood). I have participated in this for about 12 years and have 2-second place finishes, but have never won. I play, of course, not for money but for the supreme joy of winning ;)

  4. It makes me happy that my Ontario employer, an un-named manufacturer of fine steel buildings, allowed me to work from home in what could possibly be the greatest place in the world.

  5. I am happy that the people here seem to have accepted us, even though we carry the labels "CFA and BFA". My wife is a BFA, or back from away, a native Newfoundlander that left years ago and returned home. Sean and I are CFA, or come from away. That's a bit of a stigma here, but if you absorb the culture here and mesh well with others things go smoothly. I had heard of the third, more derogatory, label of BIFFO. Sean is a bit quick on giving his opinions and we thought he might earn this label. Oh, you want to know what it means? Big Effin' Know-it-all From Ontario...

  6. I am happy that my parents and sister have also moved to this island, keeping the 'Davidson Clan' in one place. However my sister has followed the route of many other Newfoundlanders and currently works in a camp in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta (though she is currently home for a week).

  7. Travelling and seeing different places make me happy. As readers of this blog know, I just returned from the Caribbean (our first holiday away since moving here 4 years ago). I feel fortunate that I have seen Canada from coast to coast and many metropolitan centres in the US. Having family in the UK has allowed me to visit several times in a 'budget' fashion.

  8. A hamburger at 'Fog City' with my wife followed by a movie. The proverbial date night, which in fact was the name of the movie we saw last night (our son is away with the cadets at the provincial marksmanship competition...which also makes me happy).

  9. Listening to the Homebrew radio show on K-Rock on a Sunday morning (which I am doing right now) while keeping up with writing or the blogs of others.

  10. My wife and son make me happy. They occasionally drive me crazy, but it's balanced by the joy and entertainment they infuse into my life...after all, I am a Libra.

I am now supposed to pass the Cupcake award to five other folks. The evil voice I hear from my right shoulder chortles and says that I should pass it on to the incomparable Anton Gully...five times...just to hear his verbal tirade. The good voice, whispering from my left shoulder, says that I should invite all of you who wish to share more to me and others in this growing circle to do so. What's your list of happiness? Don't be shy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Oddness in the News

Breaking from my work once in a while (only during the appointed times, of course) I will navigate to the news headlines to see what disaster has fallen upon civilization. My brain is still somewhat in holiday mode and I was distracted by a couple of stories that caught my eye...

  • Airline considers fee for lavatory use...Yep, sort of speaks for itself but click on the link for the CNN story. Maybe it's just my but does it seem that budget airlines are taking the 'cost saving cuts' a bit too far. We've got the paying for check-in luggage (we were charged $60 US for our three bags to go from here to Newark. Each way.) The removing of a meal and entertainment on shorter flights (ours was a three hour flight with only one flight attendant, no movie and only a cold snack). Now the possibility looms of charging for carry-on and the use of the toilets. Sounds like a sh***y situation to me.

  • Women try to smuggle dead man on plane...Do read the link carefully. It wasn't Liverpool women who tried to do this, it only occurred there. The first thought that popped into my head was "Weekend at Bernie's". One would think that passing off the dead as living a bit rare, but apparently not as much as you would think...check out this story about a couple of 'characters' trying to pass off their dead friend as living in order to cash his social security cheque. Ha! Who needs fiction when we've got real life to keep us amused.

A quick shout out to Cathy Olliffe at Life on the Muskoka River who, a few days ago, bestowed upon me the Happy 101 award. As bizarre is it sounds, I'll give this one a bit of thought before posting as it doesn't pop into my head right off what makes me happy.

I know, it's a lot of links and video to take in at one time. Take you time. You've got all day.

Bye for now,

Hugs a Kisses,

Mr. Grumpy Pants.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Got a Yarn in Ye?

Sadly, there is little to report on the writing front. At least not writing by me. My mum cooked Easter supper for us on Saturday and we returned home on Sunday. I spent a bit of time wandering through a junk yard, wrecked autos mostly, that friends of our owns 'round the bay. It was a bit of research to accompany a short story idea that's been in my head for a few weeks.

I think first, though, I will have to come up with a suitable yarn to submit to the lovely Laurita Miller over at Brain Droppings. She announced Saturday that all can now submit to her first "Brain Droppings Writers and Readers Contest". The gist of it is that she is looking for 500 word max. stories with an ocean-side theme. I'm putting aside the junk-yard thing to dwell on the sea-side thing for a spell. I have some notes in my 'idea file' that might be appropriate for this event. You can link to Laurita's blog here for all the information. I know there's a few of you who comment here regularly with no shortage of things to say.
500 words...phfft...not a problem for you! And you know how you are!

I'll attach a few photos of the Manhattan leg of our holiday. For those of you on Facebook and so bloody bored that you have nothing better to do than look at Al's holiday pics, I will work on putting more photos of New York and the cruise in general on my Facebook page. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, this three day part of the vacation was excellent and I would go back to New York in a heart beat. If only I had more time...and money.

This was the view from our hotel (13 floor, Red Roof Inn) looking down at cisterns.

Sean and Myself in front of the decommissioned USS Intrepid, now a floating museum.

A cool billboard.

Brooklyn Bridge, taken from the South Street Seaport.

Flat Iron Building from top of double decker bus (tour).

Sean hanging with the cops in Times Square.

Empire State Building

Headstone in St. Paul's churchyard. Notice skeleton head at top. Dated 1743.

Statue of Liberty as taken from the cruise ship.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inspiration in Reading

It occurred to me after posting my last entry that I never really discussed what inspired me at the high school/university age as Cathy Olliffe did in her post about Canadian writer Hugh Garner. I commented to her later in the day that I hadn't read 'The Yellow Sweater', his collection of short stories first published in 1952.

I don't recall us ever covering much in the way of Canadian authors back in school. I'm not sure why there was so little of it in the curriculum. Perhaps my memories of 30 years ago (class of '80) is a bit hazy.

The only works that were really memorable to me back in school were "The Good Earth," by Pearl Buck and "The Martian Chronicles," by Bradbury. I did a lot of reading on my own and really enjoyed Farley Mowat's "A Whale For the Killing." If you are going to read a Canadian author, you have to delve into Mordecai Richler. I thought his novel "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" was amazing.

As with every horror fan, King's "The Stand" and "Christine" made a big impression on me.

The classics? "The Razor's Edge," by Somerset Maugham really impressed me. I really identified with the protagonist, Larry Darrell. I also was impressed with adventure stories such as "The Scarlett Pimpernel," by Baroness Orczy and "Kim," by Rudyard Kipling. Thank goodness for books to make the introverted teen's life bearable.

But enough about me...which books made an impression on you in your youth? Be it 15 or 45 years ago.

We will be visiting my parents over the weekend for both Easter and to celebrate their anniversary (their 48th was yesterday). Most of you probably know that I'm 47. And a half. I heard that their wedding was quite quite a lovely affair once the shotgun was set aside...

I'd like to wish all of you and your families a great Easter. Have a nice turkey or ham or whatever you over indulge in during the holidays. Don't eat too much chocolate either. I'll close with a photo of myself in what will have to pass as an Easter bonnet. Since I am off work tomorrow I'll transfer some holiday photos from the house computer to my work computer for posting on the blog and on Facebook. Heck, maybe I'll even write!