Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vanity Project- Part III

A boy and his dog...and I'm not referring to that odd sci-fi flick from 1975 starring Don Johnson (who?)

Looking at icebergs in Tors Cove, 2008. Our greyhound, Jet, is not impressed by the display and is stealthily planning his escape.

Playing with Jet and his visiting greyhound friend (the late Mat) in our back garden.

Greyhounds are described by some as "40mph couch potatoes". Jet is shy and doesn't have much personality. Here he is having a rare moment of what I think is glee. Or perhaps he was getting in better position to pass gas.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vanity Project- Part II

Then and now...

This gem is one of me and my dad on high school graduation day (aged 17).  Two facts: I can still fit into that suit (Har! Right!) and my dad (avec hair) cleaned up pretty good, though my mother dressed him funny too.

"OK, look...I'll trade you this mitfull of possible winning draw tickets for that half consumed cup of rum and Coke."  Notice the lady behind me. She's either very shy or she's praying for her number to come up.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vanity Project-part I

In the beginning...

A wee, rosy-cheeked Alan in 1965 with our new fox terrier Tuesday. We had arrived in Canada (Victoria, B.C.) eight months earlier and I probably babbled at the puppy with an undecipherable Scottish accent. Ach!

Flash forward to 1975 where I show off our baseball trophy as playoff champs. I am smiling here. This was not the case a year earlier when our team (a different one) went 0-18 for the season. I look at that shirt and am reminded of the fact that my mother dressed me funny. And don't get me started on the hair!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Point? I'm Going into Hiding

The last post about the bald-headed boy with a little point on top got me thinking about a cartoon I saw as a kid. Those of you of the same vintage as myself may remember The Point! by the late Harry Nilsson. The animated feature from 1971 is a fable about a round headed boy named Oblio in a land where everything has a point. The original cartoon was narrated by Ringo Starr and Mike Lookinland (Bobby of the Bradey Bunch) did the voice of Oblio. For those of you that don't follow the link to the Wikipedia write up, I'll share the quote from Harry Nilsson that appears there.

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" – Harry Nilsson

Har. They don't make cartoon like THAT any more!

I did a blog post a few weeks back about children's programming (or something like that). It had probably the poorest response I've seen in a long time. Then again, HR Pufnstuff isn't everybody's cup of tea...I hope this link to little Oblio and his dog Arrow proves more entertaining.

I will be buried in work all this week as we near the month end. I also have to finish two flash stories of a 'local flavour' to submit to the annual Cuffer Prize hosted by the Telegram and a local publisher. The deadline is July 9 and I only have one complete (and in dire need of an edit). The other story is only a hazy idea in my head. Perhaps I need to watch some psychedelic cartoons for inspiration.

The bottom line is that I will be 'out of the loop' for a couple of weeks. Therefore 'V' and myself have culled through the Davidson archives and cued up several photos of myself from over the years for your mockery enjoyment (coz you know that I NEVER post photos of myself ;). If you have followed this blog for a long time some of them may be familiar but I think most will be new to you. I think that I will call this the Vanity Project...enjoy and feel free to add your own captions to the daily photos...

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Hello. I am Alan Davidson and I am a lazy writer.

Forgive me, reader. It's been nine days since my last confession blog post.

I honestly don't know where the time went. West, I believe. It's not that there's nothing going in around me to rant whine talk about. I'm finding that after the work day, when the supper dishes are cleared away, I only have enough energy to drag my lazy butt to the family room couch to watch repeat episodes of Criminal Minds or CSI.

Perhaps my lack of  motivation is weather related? I promised myself that I wouldn't whine about the weather any more. However...I was just watching the Weather Network and they are forecasting a high of only 12C today (54F). That makes us the coldest spot in Canada today (and probably all of North America). Even up in Yellowknife they're forecasting a balmy 24C (78F). The normal highs for this time of year should be 19C. I used to joke about us not having a summer, only a spring and then a fall. Har! Joke's on me. I guess that I'll have to wear my fur-lined fez for a while longer.

The cool temps had us dining indoors at our annual Father's Day Lobster cook-up last Sunday. The combined gathering of the Finch-Stansbury-Davidson families is hosted by my sister-in-law and her husband. I won't bore you with more photos of this year's event, but you can link to my last year post about the spectacle here and the year before here. The day was pretty much like those...except with parkas and mittens.

Young man escapes from Gulag
  The boy notices the cool temperature more because of his bald head. Did I not mention that? During his exams last week he went out with a couple of friends and had all of his hair cut off. Just him. His friends were there for moral support. Or to mock him. I think that he committed this hair-i-cide for a couple of reasons. First, he is off to cadet camp in a couple of weeks. That's a 6 week course at the army cadet camp (Camp Argonaut) at CFB Gagetown, near Oromocto, New Brunswick. Sean is with the army cadets because he is taking (this was not his first choice) a course to be a marksmanship instructor. He won't be with his sea cadet friends in Nova Scotia this summer, but he's looking at it as one grand adventure. I guess that he figures the bald head will help him fit in better with the army cadets. Good luck with that.

He perked up when he wore the fez of honour

The second reason with the hair cutting is that a girl at school bet him $10 that he wouldn't get his hair cut off. Some folks cut off their hair for noble, fundraising reasons like my friend Laurita Miller. Others cut off their hair to impress girls and for monetary gain. I'm thinking that he's in that second category. The next day at school there was no money for Sean. Seems to me that there is a life lesson somewhere in there. Actually, to the girl's credit, she came to school the following day with a  zip-loc baggy with $10 of loose change for the boy. We're slowly getting used to the look. I'll throw up a couple of photos of Sean sporting his bald pate. I notice that he's got a bit of a pointy thing happening at the top of his head. He hasn't got the round-head perfection of Charlie Brown.

New topic...the lease is up soon on our van and we are looking for a new vehicle. We've been leaning towards something SUV-ish. Probably a Ford Escape or a Jeep Patriot. Something large enough to tote around the boy and a greyhound, yet affordable. Anyone have any opinions on these or similar types of vehicles?

Bonus photos below...I have no idea where the bald-thing comes from...

Fez-boy and the Auld Yin, December 2003

V's creative use for that empty piece of real estate

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hockey Madness in Vancouver

I watched most of last night's Stanley Cup final hockey game. The writing was pretty much on the wall near the end of the second period when Patrice Bergeron made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal on Vancouver's Roberto Luongo during a Canuck power play. Note to Luongo: Karma's a bitch, eh? Guess that trash-talking of Boston goalie Tim Thomas didn't pay off for you. Even veterans like 43 year old Mark Recchi were swarming the Vancouver net minder. Great job, Bruins. I know that my cousin back in Victoria is proud of you this morning as he's been a Boston fan since we were kids and they last won the cup in 1972 with stars such as Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk, Gerry Cheevers and John "Pieface" Mckenzie. Cousin Derek and the fine city of Boston have waiting a long time for this. Congratulations.

What interests me more, though, this morning is the rioting in the streets of Vancouver last night. I'll start off by saying that I lived in Vancouver for two years back in the mid-80's. Back in the days that I thought that I had a future in the mining industry out there. The city is fantastic and one of the most most beautiful urban centres on the planet. That being said...they have a bit of a problem dealing with defeat. This is the third time that the Canucks have made it to the finals in the team's history. The third time that they have lost. Some may remember their last appearance was in 1994 when they lost to New York Rangers in game 7 in Vancouver. They rioted in the streets after that one as well. They also rioted after the Guns N' Roses concert of 2002 was cancelled at the last minute after Axl Rose failed to show up.

Photo Credit: Ryan Remiorz/CP
As I noted, Vancouver holds a special place for me and they are the jewel in the Canadian crown but this morning, as I look at the damage in photographs online only hours after the game, I'm saddened and consider them the 'black eye' of the country. They have a bad track record. Probably 99.9% of the people on the streets last night (and there were over 100,000 of them) were peace-loving fans who were out to support the team and the fantastic season that they gave their supports. The police need to round up the trouble makers, instigators, hooligans, etc. and parade them in front of the media and set an example. There may be times when civil unrest is warranted, but the end of a disappointing hockey game is not one of them. It's a game. Vancouver, and perhaps all of Canada, needs to examine the underlying issues and try to determine where all of that anger is coming from.

Photo Credit: Wilson Wong/CBC
I'll finish off by congratulating the Bruins fans out there (especially those of Michael Ryder from Bonavista here on The Rock). For those in Vancouver? Yeah, last night sucked. Today will suck too. I hope that those that participated in that madness last night can look at themselves in the mirror today and feel proud. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day for you all. I'll close by throwing out a few Twitter messages that CBC had published this morning. Short, to the point, and hopefully a better representation of the feelings of the average Vancouverite and Canadian.

"Watching this riot makes me sad, and sick to my stomach.. What an embarrassment."  annachelsea

"This proves we don't deserve the Stanley Cup. With so many people around to let this happen... Makes me sad." #canucks #riot     shanebee

"In other countries people riot against oppression or for equality, in Canada we don't do any of that..... unless its over a hockey game."     Nathan Jordan

"Today, I am ashamed of the Canadians who have been rioting in the streets for the last 3 hours. It's a GAME. The Christians didn't riot when the rapture didn't happen as prophesied, why is a GAME more reason to riot then? GIVE YOUR HEADS A SHAKE! You have a responsibility first to uphold the integrity of our country's image and civic pride. We aren't animals. We're Canadians."     Dane Martin

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Name That Tune

I wasn't a singer as a kid. I sucked at it. Dogs would run away when I sang. That's why I took up the violin in the 5th grade. The dogs would stay around but they howled pitifully. I'm still not sure if they were singing along or if they were in agony. I think humming is a safer musical pursuit. I'm not very good at that either, but at least the ears of those around me don't bleed. Much.

A BBC story on the Internet caught my eye this morning. Residents in Woodland, a village in county Durham, England, have been experiencing a constant buzzing noise that some attribute to abandoned mine shafts in the area. Sounds like something out of the X-Files (apparently this was the subject of an episode of the popular show, but I don't remember it). The phenomenon has actually been documented in other parts of the world for 40 years. There have been similar incidents in Bristol, England in Bondi, NSW, Australia and in Taos, New Mexico. Hey...isn't that near Roswell? I know, it would be easy to play the UFO card at this point as the experts still haven't come up with an explanation. Some believe that it's a form of tinnitus while others think that it's related to machinery or equipment operating in nearby factories. Link to the Wikipedia page here. I'm thinking that it's those 7 bearded, little men swinging their pick axes in the shafts below ground. Or UFO's...

Have you ever heard strange noises? (And I'm not talking about the couple in the next apartment)

We could have a St. John's Hum but I probably wouldn't hear it anyways because it would be drowned out by those voices I hear in my head.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine

We in St. John’s are beginning to understand what it’s like to be a mushroom. Kept somewhat moist and warm and in the dark. The fog started rolling in from the Atlantic late Saturday and we haven’t seen the sky since.

The following screen shots are from the harbour cam on top of The Rooms, our provincial museum high up the hill that overlooks downtown. On a normal day (as per the first shot) you can see blue sky, Signal Hill and the brackish water of the harbour (just be thankful it’s just the sights and NOT the smells). The second shot has been our view for the past four days.

Notice the cruise ship coming in through the narrows

Like something from a Stephen King movie

Thankfully we’re not really into tourist season yet. Maybe the fog will lift by July…

Speaking of impeded views…I read a blog today that mentioned a recent article by Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. I linked to Ebert's Journal and read ‘The Dying of the Light’, a fascinating look at the onslaught of 3D digital movies by Hollywood and the new projectors that produce “gloomy, underlit images.” Mr. Ebert also points out that many theatres are leaving the 3D lenses in the projectors (mainly because the new projectors are very complex to open), even for 2D films, and the result is that the lens absorbs 50% of the light trying to pass through. Use the link to pop over and check out his story.

In an effort to lift the spirits this gloomy evening, I’ll link to a video of George Harrison singing "Here Comes the Sun". Every little bit helps.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Things in Glossy Wrappers

Did another week fly by already? Has anyone noticed that the older you get the faster time flies by? Kind of a logarithmic equation, for those of you math inclined.

If time is going to whiz by, I wish it would do it with summer-like temps. We’ve been trapped in the fog today at Land's Edge. Not raining, but damp and only 10C (50F or so). Too wet to mow the lawn. He, he, he…that’s a shame.

All week I’ve waited by my mailbox for a very special delivery. One day I heard the lid on the small, wooden box slam shut and I leaped to the door only to find my copy of Cat Fancy* magazine. You know the issue…the one with the sexy Persian on the cover (Did I just say that out loud? I only meant to think it).

The next day I heard the mailbox and sprang into action. Alas, it was only the current issue of Scenthouse magazine. Glossy pages aplenty--all with fine articles and stunning photography. The wafting aroma of lavender from the centerfold was especially titillating to the olfactory system.

Notice my devil eye.
Finally, on Friday, the package I had been waiting for all week had arrived. It had come to The Rock from eastern Tennessee, therefore I figured that the box probably didn’t contain Jack Daniels*. Inside was Leather, Denim & Silver~ Legends of the Monster Hunter (edited by Miles Boothe). I won this Pill Hill Press anthology in a contest held by my online buddy KC Shaw of The Knotted Thicket. Sure, I wanted to win the anthology so I could read her story “Antler and Eye,” but I was really gunning for the additional prize…the Underwood Deviled Ham* stamp that she had especially made up years ago. Wicked cool! Many thanks, Kate. I really appreciate the anthology and demonic logo.

The first thing I did was try to stamp my fez, but ‘V’ smacked me before I could sully the treasured hat. I made do with stamping my arm. That's the closest thing I’ve had to a tattoo since the second grade when Wendell stenciled the Hot Wheels* logo on my forehead. Well, there was the time in the third grade that I tried to stencil that Empire State Building on my…
Ignore the fact I bite my nails

*Inevitable Disclaimer~The author of this blog is not intentionally endorsing the products: Jack Daniels, Underwood Deviled Ham, Hot Wheels or the lovely Cat Fancy Magazine. However, he IS open to receiving free schtuff. From anyone, anywhere...