Archive for the ‘Best of file 23’ Category

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It wasn’t far from our house, just a few miles away and ran east and west adjacent to I30 in between Fort Worth and Weatherford, “The Old Weatherford Road” according to the road signs.

On its east end which started in far west Fort Worth just a short distance north of the highway were the subdivisions of cookie-cutter look-alike houses but once you got past those it was a nondescript two-lane road that stretched as far as the eye could see. On each side of it were generic barb-wire fences on the other side of which were fields of Johnson grass, weeds and mesquite trees.

The fields would break occasionally to give way to a majestic ranch-house type of home, probably no doubt belonging to someone who could afford to build their little “JR Ewing” type home away from the city, a doctor, lawyer or judge perhaps, but these were few and far apart unlike the previously-mentioned “cookie-cutter” houses in the subdivisions on the roads east end which were built close together. The road would twist and turn once in a while but for the most part was in a straight line. The local teenagers must have been fond of this road too for the ditches on both sides of the road were always full of aluminum beer cans I would occasionally pick up and when I did I always brought a lot of them home to go sell at the scrap yard.

We loved to drive out there from time to time. It was just outside the city, but not real far away. I would ease off the gas pedal and we would drive slowly down the road, just cruising and taking it easy. We called it “our old country road” and just generally found it very relaxing to take this little drive. We brought our nine-year old grandson from Canada out here and he would sit on the sill of the car window and stick his tongue out as the wind blew in his hair: “Look at me: I’m a dog!” he would say as we all laughed. But like all good things it would come to an end when we saw the gate that led to a large ranch on the road’s west end and we hit a dead end on Aledo Road near Weatherford. I would turn left and get back on I30 heading east and back to Fort Worth.

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We always took our cameras because we never knew what we would see. There was usually all sorts of wildlife to be seen: deer would leap over the fences in front of our car and bolt across the road as coyotes called out in the distance. Cottontail rabbits would run alongside of the road with us. We would see hawks flying overhead or ugly buzzards perched on fences or tree limbs just off the roads. Once we found a huge tortoise crossing the road far from the nearest creek. Another time we pulled up to a bird on a fence singing his heart out to us.

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There were a couple of creeks running adjacent to the road and once just on instinct I stopped the car, got out and peered over a fence just in time to see a heron the size of a large dog spread its wing and take flight. Other times there would be large black-tailed deer sipping water there.

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It was on this same road I snapped the photo of a large owl perched in a tree right off the side of the road. I lived on a 55-acre farm in nearby Parker county for three years in the 1980s and never ever got this close to an owl.

About mid-point down the road there was a very old tree my wife would always make me stop so she could take a photo of it. I never really understood her fascination for this one particular tree, but I always hit the brakes so she could take this photo and now I am so thankful I did. Over the last couple of years I began to get an ominous feeling when we drove down this road and when we drove down it yesterday we saw something that confirmed my gut feelings. Change was coming and it wasn’t pretty.

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As we drove past some of the larger homes on the road I noticed a new sign on the side of the road: LARGE TRUCKS CAUSING ROAD DAMAGE- USE CAUTION. “This can’t be good”, I thought to myself. And sure enough as we drove along I noticed the fence lines alongside of the road now had freshly-cut tree stumps on both sides of them. Where there used to be thick forests areas were now cleared out by bulldozers. Ugly gas wells were on both sides of the road. And adding insult to injury we didn’t see one single living animal along the whole way.

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Where there used to be pastures where horses and cattle grazed looked like the aftermath of a war zone; entire fields had been bulldozed and leveled, the horses and cattle nowhere to be seen. Bundled stacks of green plastic pipe for what I suppose were for future gas and sewer lines were piled up everywhere and when we came around the curve to where the tree my wife always like to photograph was, the tree was still there but everything around it had been leveled and bulldozed flat; the tree looked like a lost child, out of place amidst the destruction. The tree where I took the photograph of the owl was gone as were all the trees that were formerly around it.

When we got to the end of the road there was a huge sign from some realty company: “ COMING SOON: New homes in the $250s!” I steered the car left towards I30 as both our hearts and stomachs collectively sank. “Progress” was now taking our little getaway road away from us and there was nothing we could do about it. We drove towards I30 in near silence.

Realistically I suppose it’s inevitable; damn near everything from Fort Worth to Granbury is paved over as is almost everything else in north Texas is these days. Five years from now there will probably be a WalMart, a Love’s truck stop and a Buccees on that road along with the McDonalds, Raising Canes fried chicken, Wendy’s, Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Tree and the CVS and Walgreens across the roads from each other etc etc etc and I would be foolish to think there’s anything I could do about it but it doesn’t make it any less of a shame. After all one person can’t stop “Progress”

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I used to go the movies a lot. That’s an understatement to say the least. Back in the 80’s Fort Worth had a small hand-full of drive-in theaters left and I’ve written about them on this site before.

The Cherry Lane, the Southside Twin, the Mansfield. I can’t remember my drivers license number but I can recite their names in my sleep.  Over in nearby Grand Prairie they had the massive four-screen Century and just a few miles to the east the three-screen Astro. All of them are gone now, much like my teenage years. So much ancient history.

The single-screen indoor theaters like the 7th Street theater and the huge Ridglea struggled and gasped for air for a few brief years after the drive-ins closed but they too fell victims to the changing times.Unless they booked a hit movie like Star Wars that people wanted to pay to see over and over they simply weren’t profitable anymore. The 7th Street like the drive-in theaters fell victim to wrecking ball and the Ridglea became a live venue for bands I’ve never heard of and couldn’t care less about.

And the movies that played at those theaters back then, they too seem antiquated compared to the slick glistening  polish that CGI has brought to the movies in the multiplex theaters now. Back then movies relied on props, makeup and believable performances by credible actors to create their staged illusions; now almost everything you see on the silver screen is faked through digital means. And as if that wasn’t enough insult to injury they are re-making movies I saw 25 years ago like ROBOCOP as if to prove that Hey We Can Do Better This Time Around.

While the drive-ins and single-screen theaters were falling victim to cable television and the advent of the VCR I used to load up my pickup with the ice-chest, the lawn chair and the portable radio and sit under the starry Texas skies and watch films almost nightly. Movies were my escape back then from the deadly dull reality of my humdrum everyday life. The people who ran the ticket booth at the drive-ins got to know me so well sometimes they would just wave me through at the box office instead of charging me admission. Ah … the Good Old Days…

Now going to the movies is almost an ordeal for me. People yakking on cell-phones or theaters packed with unsupervised kids don’t make for an enjoyable film-going experience, not to mention that movies these days are just plain awful. Oh the “special effects” make seem slicker these days and CGI does give film-makers the capability to present more grandeur in their story-telling but movies just seem to have lost their soul. They don’t make you laugh. They don’t make you cry. They pull money from your wallet and present movies that are remakes, sequels no one wanted to see or worse yet movies based on old TV shows or even video games. The last movie I went to see was THE SIMPSONS movie and that was what? Five years ago? Hell the theater I saw that at is closed now. So yeah I’ve pretty much quit going to the movies. So imagine my shock when I watched a movie tonight I actually enjoyed for the first time in years.

I picked up a DVD copy of GOD BLESS AMERICA this morning. Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait who I’ve been a fan of for years, it’s a low-budget story about a disillusioned loner named Frank who is divorced from a family who doesn’t love him, loses his job and finds out he is dying from a tumor. He stops short of killing himself when he realizes that he isn’t the problem. He pulls the gun from his mouth and goes on a killing spree across the country in a stolen car (along with a troubled teen-age girl) which to him isn’t just a killing spree; it’s a crusade to eliminate people he sees as being too much a part of all that offends him. The duo execute a Glenn Beck-clone political commentator, members of a Westboro Baptist Church-type group and people at a Tea Party rally. Their safari finally culminates at a “AMERICAN SUPERSTARZ” broadcast where after executing the judges and several audience members Frank and his teenage accomplice are gunned down onstage and on-camera by the cops.

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Along the way Frank shoots the stars of a reality show, some rowdy teenagers in a theater, a guy parking across two parking spaces and a lecherous man who mistakes Frank for a pimp. Despite her mild come-ons Frank refuses to have sex with his teenage accomplice ( he slams a bathroom door closed when he can see her undressing for a shower) and they have several lengthy discussions about all that Frank sees wrong with America and society as a whole. (“What’s the use of having a civilization if we aren’t going to act civilized?” he asks a co-worker) Frank is basically a nice guy despite his penchant for killing people and much of the film works on that I’m Not Going To Take It Anymore attitude that made NETWORK or FALLING DOWN so popular although I feel it’s a superior movie to those.  It’s more like OFFICE SPACE meets TAXI DRIVER.

Make no mistake it’s a brutal film; there are several violent fantasy sequences including one at the beginning where Frank fantasizes about killing his loud, noisy next door neighbors (including their baby who cries all night long) or his co-workers at the office. But Frank is very discriminating about picking his victims; he only kills people he feels deserve to die simply because they aren’t nice people.

Just before he is gunned down onstage at the television studio he makes a very eloquent plea for people to think about how America celebrates all that is vile and mean-spirited. And like Kong falling off the Empire State Building his death seems more tragic and yet inevitable than that of the people he shoots just moments before.

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It’s violent, it’s bloody and in some ways a sadistic film and yet I got caught up in it for the entire length of the movie. When Frank and his teenage accomplice run over the Fred Phelps-type leader of a protesting church they are shown laughing with glee in their car as his body bounces over the hood and roof and I have to admit I laughed too. Bobcat Goldthwait makes a very good case for people to be a little nicer, a little bit more considerate and to accept just a little responsibility for their actions as well as a very good movie. During the two-hour course of the film I not only laughed but felt the pain of Franks character and that is no small accomplishment of the director. Will people watch this movie and think about their actions? Not holding my breath here but I do recommend buying or renting GOD BLESS AMERICA. Just think of it as HENRY PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER with a message. And remember: one car, one parking space please…

File23 Recommends

Posted: July 8, 2012 in Best of file 23
Tags: ,

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I opened my mailbox the other day with the usual Fear and Loathing; were there any bills inside? Lo and behold instead there was a package from one of my personal guitar gods, Davie Allan containing signed copies of his latest three releases RETROPHONIC 1, 2 and 3.

I went to Austin to see him a few years ago at a half-filled Continental Club and I gotta tell you I hadn’t had that much fun at a rock show in years. Davie Allan is along with Dick Dale and the late great Link Wray one of my very favorite guitar players. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 has said that performing rock and roll is becoming a lost art but it sure isn’t lost on Davie Allan. He and his Fender Jazzmaster set that stage at the Continental Club on fire the night I saw him.

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All three of these are home demos of songs spanning a time period from the 60s to more recent years and while some of the tracks display the grungy “fuzz” sound he is famous for, other tracks show a maturing and display a variety of styles. Now I love Dick Dale so don’t get me wrong when I say this but a lot of his songs kind of sound the same. There are numerous styles attempted in the RETROPHONIC trilogy; a little something to please everyone here.

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RETROPHONIC (the first disc) leans heavily on the fuzz sound that made Davie Allan the “go-to” guy for performing the soundtrack to every drive-in biker picture of the 1960s. RETROPHONIC 2 displays a softer sound and RETROPHONIC 3 puts him back in the chopper seat for the first few tracks ( I LOVE his cover of APACHE) and then drifts into a softer sound for the final tracks. One of the bonus tracks “Los Cabos” even has slide guitars and a female vocal; it could pass for a country song and was a pleasant surprise to my ears.

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I know times are tough but look up his website and order these. He will even sign each and every one he sells through his site. I also can’t recommend his FUZZ FEST and LIVE RUN CDs enough. And they’re only $10 each. You may have to get them on Ebay but the CDs he recorded with the Phantom Surfers SKATERHATER and THE RAMONETURES (instrumental versions of Ramones tunes!) are both well worth looking for as well.

So come on; you still sitting there? Go do it!

http://www.davieallan.com

An Open Letter To Lewis Black

Posted: January 29, 2012 in Best of file 23

I was in attendance at your performance Friday night in downtown Fort Worth at the opulent Bass Hall. We met briefly in the lobby when you did your meet-and-greet; I stood patiently in a long line, got you to autograph your book “Nothing Sacred” as well as one of your DVDs and more than a little star-struck all I could spit out were the words: “Thank You Sir”.

We shook hands, I gathered my autographed swag and moved along towards the hall’s exit. You looked tired and exhausted after your performance and there was a long line of other people waiting behind me, so saying anything else to you seemed selfish at the time.

Ever had someone insult you and then later after it didn’t matter you thought of the perfect come-back? I’m sort of having that feeling now.

How does a man say “I love you” to another man without coming off as gay? But I do love you.

Under the guise of being a stand-up comedian, you stand up on stage night after night and speak more unabridged TRUTH than any politician could ever lie about speaking. Your words slice through the hypocrisy, lies and utter bullshit the rest of us shrug off daily. Too bad YOU aren’t a candidate for President; I would love to see you on that debate stage yelling: “FUCK YOU” and “Are you kidding me?” at those clowns.
I know you are a busy man; you have little or no time for Twitter, Facebook or reading insignificant pathetic little blogs such as my own and you will in all likelihood never read these words but I want to put them Out There anyway. Someday the world will view you with the same esteem as the late great George Carlin or Mark Twain, but until that day arrives and at the risk of repeating myself I just want to say once again:

Thank You Sir

Two Months Later

Posted: October 18, 2011 in Best of file 23

Two months ago I was packing a suitcase and getting ready to leave town for nineteen days. Over eight months of planning had gone into making those nineteen days happen. For nineteen days I tossed my usual life aside and lived like a whole different person. I walked into restaurants wearing a tie, stayed in four-star bed-and-breakfast resorts, sailed on the open seas amongst Orcas big enough to take a bite out of the boat I was in. For nineteen days I left my cares behind lived a much simpler life; breaking my routine once in a while is much more than a good thing, it’s a great thing.

Eight months of planning, nineteen days and nights and then I went from driving roads carved into snow-capped mountains back to Texas overnight. The differences between the US and Canada hit me hard from the nineteen days of not talking to or having anything else to do with one solitary policeman in Canada to being hassled by the LAPD in the LAX airport for the heinous crime of taking photos. LA- a city with a multi-billion dollar porn industry where warthogs like Ron Jeremy can become millionaires for doing it with 18-year-old girls wearing braces but if I pull out my Canon at the airport I’M causing problems? Screw you LA: I’ll be back to spend my precious tourist dollars there real soon.

Left the grocery store the other day without my safety belt on and got about two blocks out of the parking lot when here came the red and blue flashing lights accompanied by a siren. And don’t even get me started on those damn red light cameras; I didn’t miss seeing those things one little bit. But the differences between the US and Canada hardly end there.

There’s the trash everywhere here; that one’s really getting to me since I came back. When I go for a walk around my neighborhood I can fill up a plastic grocery sack with aluminum cans in mere minutes. Mind you it’s not like I would eat off the streets of Vancouver but when I go for a walk here I am utterly appalled at how people here fling beer, energy drink and soft drink cans around like it’s their God-given right. And those at least I can sell by the pound; what really disgusts me are the tons of plastic bottles, and other litter I see all over the place. Despite any criticism I have of America it’s still my home and I take more pride in it than to drive down the street tossing trash out the window; is locating a trash can or open dumpster THAT difficult? What little trash I saw on the sides of the road in Canada I would wager was tossed there by tourists and not the people who live there.
And it would be really nice to walk through a parking lot without seeing a used diaper wadded up into a stinky ball and left for someone else to pick up, especially if its within visual sight of a trash can or dumpster (which they usually are) I didn’t see that sort of thing once the entire nineteen days I was in Canada.

When I left Texas August 19th the state was in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave. While I was gone 90% of the state was in flames; wild-fires were burning out of control and being fought by volunteer fire departments (as if they had nothing else to do) Meanwhile our Governor was flying around the country campaigning for President.


When asked about what he was doing about the fires his response was: “Texas can burn without me” All he had to do to make the yokels forget about that arrogant remark was crack a stupid joke about gun control and using both hands (“Hyuk!”) Gawd forbid our Governor should put together some kind of socialist state fire department but then again they paint those fire engines red for a reason…
If your typical Texas wasn’t such a slack-jawed, slope-browed knuckle-dragging Troglodyte they would have been organized a recall campaign and gotten rid of this useless, self-serving piece of office furniture; this is just another reason I don’t want to live here anymore.

The night I flew back in a fierce wind was blowing from the south; my yard was full of trash and dead leaves, and both of my cats were visibly pregnant. But no one had broken in and cleaned out my house for me while I was gone so things could have been worse. I had ONE day to relax then it was back to my menial job. The next day I had to cough up my rent as well as the cash for four utility bills.
When I am standing in front of one of my machines at work, I daydream and hard. I think of sitting on a balcony overlooking the ocean and drinking a cup of tea. I think of watching a whale breach the surface of the ocean, or watching a bald eagle fly over me. I think about sinking my teeth into a Tim Hortons BLT breakfast bagel. I think about waking up next to Someone Special and putting my arm around her. And I’m working over-time so I can make these things happen again.

Two months ago today I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get ready to leave the country for two weeks. Packing and re-packing my suitcase, rounding up my passport, shoving books into a back-pack etc. It was a hundred degrees in the shade, I was running the air conditioning non-stop. Two months later the trip has been taken and I am right back in the same rut I was before I left.
Get up, brew coffee, make a sandwich, go to work…get off work, cash my check, pay the bills, eat dinner, go to bed. God what a routine.

The only difference between now and two months ago is the temperature has gone down a bit and it’s rained a couple of times.  Sometimes my life seems like those repeating backgrounds in old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.  I just want the background behind me to turn into Canada and keep it that way….

For All My Friends

Posted: September 13, 2010 in Best of file 23

It took mere minutes Back At the Job to recall why I needed a vacation.

That irritating public address system: “Bob Basshole, line one…Steve Assface, line two…Mike Dicknose, line three…”

Having to listen to north Texas worst radio stations all day long.

The toilets in the restroom that don’t flush properly.

The first time I sliced a finger on something sharp for the first time in nineteen days.

That horrible commute on I-35.

Yeah this is what I was flying away from alright….why did I come back?  But I did bring back a souvenir. Something I can enjoy every day before I leave for work.   The video below is good for two minutes of peace and tranquility; take as needed….

 

August 19th …9:30am…

 Feel thrust back into the seat as the jet lurches forward on the runway; the scenery outside the window turns into a blur. The airport and its acres of parking grow smaller and smaller beneath me. Then I can see the homes with the airport, each with a swimming pool in the backyard. Oh now there’s a selling point for the realtors: “Hey you listen to jets taking off and landing 24/7 but you got a pool!”

The hot humid Texas air and bright sunlight gives way to distant foggy cotton-candy fluffs of clouds as my ears begin to pop. The engines roar as we rise upwards and the jet shakes.

 An hour or so later I look out of the window to see clouds between the sun and their shadows down below on what looked like really rough mountainsides un-marked by any apparent roads or highways on them. Colorado maybe? This is a four and a half hour flight too; good thing I brought a lot of books with me. Reach into my back pack for a my newly acquired copy of…

And THIS is about as far as I can get when most Everyone Back Home interrupts me and asks:

 “So what did you DO in Canada, anyhow…?”

 That’s the question my friends, family and co-workers all ask the most. My favorite way of giving them a direct answer is to whip out my photos and SHOW them.

It’s hard to explain to them that sometimes DOING something isn’t always DOING something. Sometimes just experiencing a different state of being in a different place is Doing Something for some of us.

 

(click photos to enlarge)

For a lifelong city boy like myself, just standing in a rain forest oozing with greenery dripping over trees thousands of years old growing entangled with trees older than them is as surreal as any mescal-tinged “other-world, separate-reality experience” that Carlos Castaneda ever wrote of. Walking through lush rain forests that look like some strange collaboration of Roger Dean and HG Giger where tree roots drip like candle wax over fallen dead trees and mid-morning sunlight struggled to peer through to the narrow path I was hiking on. My eyes focusing on a pool of water under a cliff; why I could see every rock, stone and pebble on the bottom through the clear green water. Also that trio of some kind of bones…what the hell?

 

Climbing over spotted, striped multi-colored rocks in a red-tinged pre-dawn light to reach a beach where rabbits, deer, crabs, and seagulls,ravens herons, ducks, geese, hawks and eagles pay you no heed as they scavenge the beach is as unreal and dream-like to this city slicker as any of Hunter Thompson’ s drug-induced Las Vegas misadventures. An early morning hike almost anywhere on this island could make you feel like Dr.Doolittle.

 

Finding a beached purple jellyfish the size of a basketball on the beach ranks right up there with any monster or creature on either TWILIGHT ZONE or THE OUTER LIMITS two shows that both fascinated and terrified me as a child.

 

When people flip through my photos one question they ask a lot is “Why So Many Sunrise/Sunset photos?” And to borrow the punchline to the joke about the dog licking himself: because I could. Taking beautiful photos there was easy. Point the camera almost anywhere and shoot. Heylook…breath-taking photo! Sunrises and sunsets up there are lush, gorgeous colorful and daily affairs.

 

No one sees me ignoring barriers and hanging over cliffs to get that shot of that lighthouse. They don’t see (or feel) the rocking boat I was on when I shot those pics of that deer on that cliff, that eagle in its nest or that submerging whale. People aren’t throwing up around them while they look at my whale-watching photos too I might add the way my fellow passengers were while I was taking photos. They didn’t have to climb down a twenty-foot-tall rock wall off a highway to get that stunning shot of that waterfall and then have to figure how to get back up to where I was parked again…

 

Standing on a beach and watching the sun rise on the eastern horizon on the other side of an ocean inlet over mountains and through clouds. Watching as the beach and everything on it changes colors bathed in red, orange, yellow, purple hues of sunlight.

On more than one morning there I felt as if I had stepped into that psychedelic cover photo of that Pink Floyd “More” soundtrack. The entire particular island I was on had a otherworldly OZ-like quality to it that my best photos fail to do justice.

 

Yeah but what did you do?”

Now as far as answering THAT question goes:

They seem to understand whale- watching especially if I can squeeze off just one or two good photos.

 

When I show them photos of the sweet little“suite” at the bed and breakfast with the spectacular view of the Pacific I got for the “room” price ( about a $180 difference) due to a reservation mix-up I get approving nods and comments like: “Nice…”

 

But when I try telling them I spent entire afternoons hiking on nature trails that led to cliffs overlooking the Pacific or walked up on trios of horned buck deer just walking to Tim Hortons for breakfast or past eagles nesting in nearby trees they look at me almost painfully as if they are waiting for me to get to some distant punchline.

Yeah but what did you DO?” they keep asking.

Sometimes I think they expect to see photos of me whipping a team of dogs on a sled through a blizzard over the frozen tundra. Maybe they expect to see pictures of me in a snow-suit in front of an igloo. Fishing through a hole cut in a frozen lake wearing those hip-high rubber boots. Walking past windmills wearing wooden shoes I think they would even buy. Seriously.

 Maybe I should have taken photos of the Dairy Queen, the A&W, the McDonald’s, the Subway or the Quiznos. You know; just to show them it’s not all that strange, different or alien than America. Handed the Kodak to some stranger and had them snap me in front of the Starbucks holding up one of their terribly overpriced iced drinks while grinning and waving to the camera with my free hand. (“Hi!”) Posed in my black shorts and sleeveless camouflage “wife-beater” t-shirt in front of their Staples Office Supply. Or maybe not…

 Don’t think they really want to hear that Canada isn’t really that different from here; not sure if there’s any point in trying to explain it to them anymore even if it is true. Just like us, the Canucks are big on ice cream; every place I saw that had “ice cream” on their sign seemed to have a line in front of it. The burgers at the fast food places look pretty much like ours. They dip their grilled cheese sandwiches in ketchup and put beef gravy and cheese on their French Fries and call them “poutines” but besides learning the correct lingo to ordering at Tim Horton’s

(“double-double..one sugar, one creamer…, two BLT combos…plain bagels.”) eating at their restaurants and fast-food places wasn’t that different.

Just like us in America they enjoy movies, surfing, skateboarding, muscle cars, rock and roll, watching the sun go down and a good old fashioned fireworks show on the beach…

 

Yeah man but what did you DO?”

Damn it that the ONLY question those knuckleheads can ask?

 No one wants to hear about the train ride to or from the bus stop. No variation of how I explain their one and two-dollar coins (“Loonies and Two-nies”) confused me into paying too much fare more than once is as funny or amusing to anyone else as it is to myself and “K”.

 

No one wants to hear about the bus ride to or from the ferry, which I’ll admit was pretty uneventful but I was nose-to-the-window both ways taking in the scenery nonetheless.

 

No one even wants to hear about the two hour ferry ride to or from the island even though the ferry is a magnificent ship with almost every accommodation you could possibly want: a restaurant, washrooms, wi-fi, comfortable seats, a coffee shop, a gift shop etc. When the weather permits they have an outdoor “sun deck” that gives you a “captains-eye” view of the horizon and if you love being on a boat as much as I do…I mean weather permitting this is where I spend most of the trip. Leaning on the rail and taking in the scenery. Past little islands with lighthouses. Past large bunches of logs lashed together with cables.

So what if I saw pods of black-and-white orcas swimming alongside of the ferry coming back last year? Like you see those every day back home. That’s just not exciting enough for some people I suppose. They act like I’m holding out on them somehow when I tell them about these things.

 The only question they seem to know how to ask is:(yeah you guessed it)“Yeah but what did you DO?

 

I did so much more than just DO things ( as if taking pictures of skittish horned deer at personal risk wasn’t doing anything) I saw things I couldn’t see back home. For two weeks I breathed air free of toxins and carcinogens. I tasted farm-fresh vegetables free of chemicals. Heard ferries and and a freighter blowing their horns loudly as we sailed head-on into six-foot white-cap waves on Pacific inlets. Felt the loving touch of a woman’s hands as I got a foot massage (sorry you perverts; but that’s all I’m giving you on my Manson family-friendly site)

 Besides doing MOST things costs money so I was forced to re-define “doing things.”

Back to people asking: “Why so many sunrise/ sunset photos?”

I can’t even take a decent sunrise photo HERE not that we don’t have nice ones but I’ve got to drive for miles to get away from the trees and development that blocks the view. On The Island it was point and shoot to take nice postcard-quality pics of the sunrises and sunsets.

 

Despite their extensive mining and logging industries we drove past mountainsides covered with pine and cedar trees as far as the eye could see.

After leaving somewhere with 100+ degree temperatures it was strange to see snow-capped mountain peaks in the middle of August. One particular long winding, twisting and unlit two-lane mountain-pass road made me flash on two recently purchased DVDs: the LONG LONG TRAILER ( the scene towards the end when the trailer is over-loaded) and PEE WEES BIG ADVENTURE when he drives by those Tex Avery-ish road signs warning of curves ahead (when Pee Wee is driving Mickey’s car at night) because some of the road signs we drove past weren’t that far removed from those. Just getting to certain destinations was half the adventure. 

Yeah man but what did you do for two weeks?” 

Think this is about where I tell them they just had to have been there….