Month: December 2011

new toothbrush woes

I just went downtown to buy a new toothbrush. Sounds easy,  doesn’t it? Well, with over three hundred varieties of toothbrushes, my five minute task took me over an hour. They have toothbrushes that spin, ones that shake, ones that root deep  in your teeth, there are toothbrushes made by Crest, Colgate, Oral-B, generic brands, proctor and gamble, and even a few Spiderman, Dora, Cars, and virtually every kid’s movie labeled brush.

After ruling out anything to do with movies, denture cleaners (I still have all most my own teeth, thankfully), and the cheap generic toothbrushes whose bristles come out in the first cleaning, I got confused and ended up buying the newest toothbrush offered by Oral-B, which I later learn is owned by Crest.

When I got home, I looked my new toothbrush over to discover that it guarantees whiter teeth or your money back. I wonder if anyone ever tried to get their money back?

Me: “My teeth are no whiter than they were last month”

Walmart employee: “Whaat?”

ME: “the label says whiter teeth guaranteed, I want my money back”

Walmart Employee: “We don’t do returns on used toothbrushes, check the sign”

Me reading sign: “We take no returns on opened underwear, bras, dental supplies including floss, toothbrushes or toothpaste”

Me:” Damn!”

So what do I have here? A toothbrush that vibrates. It doesn’t spin, it doesn’t floss, it just vibrates. What is the advantage of a vibrating toothbrush? I cannot see any advantage, but this isn’t the first time I was fooled by intelligent packaging, and bought something dumb.

A few years back, I bought a vibrating razor. It guaranteed a smooth shave, and since I hate to shave, I bought the thing. Well, it didn’t give any different shave than the non shaking variety, and the noise from the thing scared my cat.

Oh, I forgot to mention, The toothbrush also came with a new product, a vibrating flosser. Stay tuned!

I Dream in 3D: Pursuit (Part I)

I am having similar dreams again. Whenever this happens, I tend to write the dream down, put it to paper, and share just how terrifying my dream is. I am starting a new series of stories based on those dreams. Last night’s nightmare was so frightening, I had to get up in the middle of the night and write this down. The dream went on for what seemed forever, so I just may be able to get a few posts out of it. If this is like anything in the past, I will lie down  tonight, and the dream or nightmare will continue where this one left off.

I am running, ducking under tree branches, dodging from side to side, jumping to avoid holes in the dark night. Behind me I see lights, beings who reflect blue beneath the moonlight. My assailants are gaining on me; one of them shoots something and it hits me and…

I am home, at least I think I am. My beautiful wife is getting ready to go somewhere. She is wearing a red dress and her long blonde hair drapes over her shoulder. I am happy to be the man I am, with such a stunning woman  to love.  I join her in front of the mirror and I am shocked to find that the man who is with her is as confident and fantastic as she is, and he isn’t me.

I am on foot once more, shaken from the blast. I take cover next to some sort of metallic box. I look towards the box and I see myself. There is no beautiful woman with me in this reflection, I see the same man I always was: short, balding, bit of a spare tire in the middle, and as pale as a ghost. A ghost, that must be what these things are, because I have no other explanation to what they could be.

As I look closer at the reality I see reflecting back at me in this strange object, one of them finds me. It says nothing to the others, probably saving me for whatever plans it has. It takes out a long protruding object and takes aim, and once again a white light hits me and…

She kissed me now, and says that we both have to go to work. Before exiting, she returns to tell me how happy I make her and how much she enjoys being my wife. This is so good, better than I ever imagined, except for one thing; I have never laid eyes on this person in my life.

My head spins from the blast and I am once again on the run. The forest looks familiar to me now, it is the forest behind my house. I see a clearing and make a break for it.I come into the middle of a large field, well cared for, as green as a golf course. I spin  around to find that I am no longer being pursued. I must have lost them. The dark quickly turns to light, and the hot sun burns my sweaty skin.

I am in my backyard. It is a hot day and I am playing baseball with my son. He throws me the ball, and the ball hits me. “What is wrong, Dad”, he asks. “You look like you have seen a ghost”.

I take my son and run for the house before the beings get sight of him. He acts confused at my behavior, but decides that I am seriously worried about something. We make it to the door, I push it open. We enter and I lock the door behind me. “They’re coming, we have to hide” I say, frightening my little boy.

He grabs my arm as we hide in the basement with the lights turned off. He shines a little flashlight across his face and I realize that something is wrong. I don’t live in this house, I don’t have a backyard, and I don’t have a son.

Am I losing my mind? What is happening to me? Why am I being chased or am I being chased at all?

I feel a cold chill cross my entire body and realize that I am still being pursued. I want the other reality, the one with the beautiful wife and the son. The one where I am a tall, muscular successful man who is at peace. The reality I do not want is the one where I am a tiny man who has never really done anything with his life. The one where I live alone in a home my mother left for me. The one where my neighbors avoid me and my friends are few; and the one where strange beings are trying to catch me, and maybe kill me.

The being was spotted by the others. I am trapped in a corner and he or it covers me with branches. The two fight, my captor is mortally wounded. His opponent celebrates by eating his kill.  My newest owner looks towards me and spots my safe haven. It reaches for my hand, but grabs my head instead. It has long spiny fingers that grasp my entire face and I feel myself being pulled towards it.

To be continued

Christmas visitor’s checklist

It’s Christmastime, and with that, there are bound to be a few places I will be invited to, for supper, drinks, and the rest of the occasions that surround Christmas. Here are a few tips to assist even the novice visitor to save embarrassment on your next visit:

  1. First thing to do is scout out the bathroom, making yourself knowledgeable to where the toilet paper is, and how much is available. Nothing worst than finding yourself without enough of the stuff when you really need it.
  2. While in the bathroom, look for the plunger. This will come in handy when you use too much toilet paper and plug the toilet. Believe me, it gets embarrassing when the water from the toilet follows you out of the bathroom
  3. Another bathroom tip: Ask the homeowner which towel you are allowed to use. Most bathrooms are adorned with decorator towels and facecloths, and surprisingly, people get annoyed when you use those items to wipe your greasy hands.
  4. Conversation. Know exactly when to shut up and to which topics you can or shouldn’t talk about. If you are visiting a household where crosses and holy pictures adorn every wall, try not to discuss your current views of religion or the church. Some people get upset when you dis the pope.
  5. Television privileges of guests. Make sure that you don’t get too comfortable, grab the remote and tune in to your favorite sporting event while visiting a guest. Sometimes, home owners get upset when you turn off their programs and you choose to watch a hockey or football game. Go figure!
  6. Food. Nothing worst than the house guest who eats everything in sight. Only eat what you are given, and if asked if you are still hungry after the third course meal, probably wait until you get home to chow down. We once had a house guest eat everything in the fridge, and then ask if we had more food.
  7. Music. Although everyone enjoys music, if your host has background music on, try not to choose to tune into your favorite rap music station and share it with your hosts.
  8. Table manners. Believe it or not, not everyone approves of letting out a good belch or fart after a satisfying meal. Some may not be impressed at this behavior. If, by accident you fart, glare at the person seated next to you and hold your nose while quickly exiting their home. Do not return.
  9. Kids. If your kids act like wild savages, leave them with a sitter. Nothing more annoying than savage kids disrupting interesting adult conversation.
  10. Texting. This is not only annoying, it is downright disrespectful. Especially if you text funny things about your host, and then laugh loudly while reading responses. Leave your cell phone home if you plan to visit, follow the above rules, and you may just get invited back to that person’s home.

Ralphie and the 50 year mark

I just heard that an old friend (acquaintance) of mine just took a heart attack. Ralphie (he never outgrew the name), all 35 years of him was overweight for as long as I have known him. He used to have a big crush on my sister years ago, and that’s how I know him. He was a pudgy kid who always enjoyed eating. In later years, he became a chef, and the last time I spoke to him, he was working two jobs, both as a short order cook. He was even bigger than before.

Ralphie is one of those guys who can have a chat with anyone, and who always wears a big jolly smile on his face. He is a father, a husband, and an all around great guy. Ralphie’s only enemy is his appetite.

Ralphie taking a heart attack really hit home with me. I am quickly slowly  approaching the 50 year old  mark, (well not actually quickly, as  I am dragging my feet, dying my hair, and working to keep my middle in approximate size with the rest of my body) and I am beginning to realize that my old friends that chose to live dangerously (drinking too much, smoking, partying and of course, eating too much) are dropping like flies in a wind storm.

That makes me want to watch the ole diet even more. I was stricken  with damn  diabetes back 11 years ago, and I have to say,  diabetes (as much as I hate to admit it) may have saved my life. Becoming diabetic made me change my lifestyle, change my diet, exercise (I admit that I have become slack in the exercise department as of late, but that will change now that Ralphie has taken  a heart attack), and take on an overall healthy regime that includes eating the right food and staying away from Mickey D’s.

This being the Christmas season, the season for home baked apple pie, cookies of every variety and those Black Magic Chocolates my friend (what sort of friend gives a diabetic chocolates you ask? An overweight friend who is also diabetic but who refuses to admit it and is probably the next one in line for a ticker ‘tack) gave me, choosing to eat green salad and sugar free cookies is not the easiest task, but rather than end up like poor Ralphie, I will do my damnest to try. Just saying

Newfoundland Christmas

. Today is ‘tips eve, and the night where family members trade their shirts and ties for long john’s and double d bras, and don sheets over their heads (no, not the KKK), visit neighbors houses to partake in any kind of drink, from Purity syrup to Newfoundland Screech and relive a traditional Newfoundland custom that dates back to the province’s origins many years ago: Mummering.  As tradition has it, the mummers come knocking on your door, you try to guess who they are, and if you can’t guess, then you have to give them a drink.

When I was a kid, this used to be a yearly tradition in our community and in neighboring areas as well, but there is something about allowing a stranger with a sheet over his head into your home that sends warning signs nowadays. In fact, mummering is discouraged in many of the large centers of the province, which makes sense really.

Nonetheless, the tradition manages to continue. In Christmas plays at schools, in community centers, retirement homes, and the occasional house party, the mummers make their appearances, have a few step dances and maybe a two step, and disappear back into our memories until the next Christmas, where a nostalgic community member will work at keeping this age old tradition alive for one more year.

Below are the lyrics to the song “Any Mummers ‘lowed in”, a tune by the traditional Newfoundland duo Simani. The video follows. Enjoy, and maybe have a step or two.

Hark, what’s that noise, out by the porch door?
Dear Granny, there’s mummers, there’s twenty or more.
Her old weathered face lightens up with a grin.
“Any mummers, nice mummers ‘lowed in?”

Ah, come in lovely mummers, don’t bother the snow,
We’ll wipe up the water sure after you go.
And sit if yu can upon some mummers knee,
We’ll see if we knows who ya be.

Ah, there’s big ones and small ones, tall ones and thin,
There’s boys dressed as women and girls dressed as men.
With humps on their backs and mitts on their feet,
My blessed we’ll die with the heat.

Ah, but that one’s a stranger, if ever was one,
With his underware stuffed and his trapdoor undone.
Is he wearing his mother’s big fourty-two bra?
I knows but I’m not gonna say.

Oh, I suppose you fine mummers would turn down a drop,
Of home brew or alky, whatever you got.
Sure the one with his rubber boots on the wrong feet,
needs enough for to do him all week.

“Well I suppose you can dance?” Yah, they all nod their heads.
They’ve been tapping their feet ever since they came in.
And now that the drinks have been all passed around,
Sure the mummers are plankin’ ‘er down.

Ah, be careful the lamp, now hold on to the stove.
Don’t you swing Granny hard, ’cause you know that she’s old.
And never you mind how you buckles the floor,
‘Cause the mummers have danced here before.

Oh my God, how hot is it? We’ll never know.
Allow that we’ll all get the devil’s own cold.
Good night and good Christmas, mummers me dear,
Please God, we will see you next year.

Good night and good Christmas, mummers me dear,
Please God we will see you next year.

Please God we will see you next year

Any Mummers ‘lowed In? by Simani (Christmas Fancy, trk#1, 1984, SWC Productions, English Harbour West, NL)

Eat your crusts

When I was a kid, my mom would get angry if we didn’t eat the crust from our bread. She used to tell us that kids in Africa were starving, and here we were throwing our crusts away. Not to be selfish, my brother and I gathered all the crusts we had not eaten, packed them in a box, and addressed it to Africa. The box came back a few weeks later, due to the wrong address. We felt terrible for all the starving kids we could have helped.

The Guy’s Guide to Christmas Shopping

It’s that time again, that’s right, the time where guys spend their much valued time wandering aimlessly in shopping malls, grabbing anything they can find, in hopes of making their loved ones happy at Christmas.

If you are like me, there is nothing like last minute shopping to drive you over the edge, but we still do it. I don’t think it has anything to do with laziness, but it may have something to do with all the sports on TV this time of year. Whatever your excuse, stay tuned for a list of gift suggestions that you can give your sweetheart on Christmas morning.

  1. Women LOVE perfume, so make sure to visit the local bargain store, and buy lots of perfume. If you are lucky, you can pick up the 1 litre (3.8 gallon for anyone outside Canada) bottle for under a dollar, and your sweetheart will love you forever (and smell like your aunt Myrtle)
  2. Clothing. Need I say more? If you visit thrift stores this time of year, you are bound to find a ton of nice clothes for pennies.If you are real lucky, you may even find a sexy piece of flannel lingerie that will show your woman how much you care.
  3. Gift certificates for Curves and Weight Watchers. Nothing says “I care” like a three month pass to some weight loss program. Your lady will know just how much you care when you tell her how great she could look if she joined these fine organizations.
  4. Candy. The local bulk store has a ton of delicious candy that you can buy for very low prices. Look for the imported (from Hong Kong) candies that resemble the more popular varieties.
  5. A puppy. Even better, visit the local pound and bring home that one animal nobody wants, the one who has been known to pee on furniture and poop on the patio. Your woman will love the challenge of teaching this new addition to the family how to follow her rules.
  6. Power tools. What woman wouldn’t want an electric drill or even better, the newest cordless variety that you can borrow when you have some odd job that needs doing? Or better still, you can get her to do it now that she has her own power tools.
  7. Cleaning supplies. Your woman will be proud to call you hers when you give her the latest cleaning supplies. Mr. Clean Ultra, a new sponge mop and maybe a broom will have her grinning ear to ear on this Christmas morning.
  8. Appliances. Now I know what you are thinking. Expensive! That’s where you are wrong. Visiting second hand stores, a guy can find perfectly salvageable appliances that he can fix up for his woman. Even better idea, give her broken appliances, and she can fix them herself with the new power tools you bought her…now that’s a smart idea.
  9. A snow shovel. Your mate will be in awe when she sees that you went all out and bought her the best shovel you could find at Friendly Mart. If you really want to impress her, you can delegate her to do all the snow shoveling this year. Yeah you are da man
  10. Home made goodies are always a great choice as gifts for the festive season. Want to be a real man and have your lady know exactly how lucky she is to have you? Try printing a few recipes off the ol’ interweb. Make sure the food is stuff you like, like beer snacks for you and your buddies

There you are; a few great gift ideas that will have your lady carrying you around like a king through the entire Christmas season. Don’t thank me until you try the list. Merry Christmas from Sightsnbytes

Why we write

Last night, my son asked why I write so much. I answered his question with another question. I said “Why do you read a book?” His answer was that he read a book to see how the story ends. My reply? “Same reason Son, I write to see how the story will end. The only thing is that I get to control just how the story ends”. He now plans to write, saying that it is cool to control such things. Smart kid

Superman’s Mask

My friends were talking about Superman the other day. Ya, we are weird, I know it, but anyway, the discussion got heated when I said that Superman had the best disguise of any of the Superheroes. One guy said he thought that a pair of glasses was a pretty poor disguise, and that Lois Lane must have been one dumb broad. I beg to differ. I think the glasses were only part of the disguise, I feel that Clark Kent was also part of the disguise, the nerdy persona was the biggest part of the disguise.

We all wear masks sometimes, and like Superman, it is difficult for people to see who we really are. From time to time, we can let people in, and like Clark bared his soul to Lois Lane, we bare our souls to people we love, letting them know that despite the exterior, a superhero lurks within. Just saying.