Month: June 2012

Blogs: The creation, the reason and the love for the madness

While reading Archon’s latest post, entitled ‘If’, I was intrigued on how he came to begin blogging and I thought that maybe this would be a great way for all us other bloggers to tell their story of how their blogs came to be. I invite your input into this topic.

I actually began my blog, sightsnbytes, as a method of explaining how to use a blog. Myself and KJ were working together at the time, and she had entered a story into a writing contest. In order to qualify, she had to create a blog, do a few ‘tweets’, and fulfill a few other requests (which I cannot remember right now), and at the time, neither of us had a sweet clue how to start a blog, or even where to begin.

KJ found wordpress, and together we put together our blogs. While KJ spent time figuring out the basics, I took the time to figure out how to insert pictures, add links, etc. Together we must have gotten something right, because in the weeks, months, and years that followed, the both of us have been posting stories on a regular basis. Thanks to KJ, I have a daily pastime that is not only fun and enjoyable, but also educational; plus it allowed me to meet so many interesting people who share my love for writing and reading.

Once I got my blog up and running, I was surprised that someone took the time to read my stuff. My first post ever was a anecdotal piece entitled ‘Good Communication is definitely the key’, and although I did not receive any comments on the post, it was amazing to see something I wrote appear on the internet.

The first person to take notice of my blog and actually leave a comment was one H.E. Ellis, and from there the world opened up and bloggers the world over took notice.

From time to time I thought about quitting the blog, but something kept me coming back, and that was the curiosity of what others were writing.

On the advice of fellow blogger El Guapola, I recently began entering the trifecta writing challenges, which allowed my post to be noticed by a ton of other bloggers, some of which are actually following what I write. Quite the compliment if you ask me. Thus far, I have not been ‘Freshly Pressed’, but that doesn’t matter, I rather enjoy ‘Perma-press anyway’

There you have it, the Why I created sightsnbytes. I invite others to give their stories, hell it just may make some good reading!

The Devil’s Guitar

At the end of an old dirt road sits a cabin. Some say that the last person to enter the cabin died a horrible death. I for one knew  one of the previous intruders, and how he paid for his crime with his life.  I know what this place can do to you, I know it well. Maybe too well.

The cabin is located in the midst of the remains of a farm. There is nothing to show how rich this land must have been at one time, before he moved in; and other than the acres of farmland withering away, with nobody to cut the hay or to trim the grass, you would guess that this place was abandoned and nobody lived here. If you guessed that, you would be wrong, very wrong.

Directly across from the cabin sit rows of haystacks, long past their usefulness, cut sometime long ago to feed a horse, or maybe a herd of cattle or sheep. Now they are but a home to a few field mice and maybe the occasional squirrel or other rodent. Anthills have taken over much of the field as well, and walking across any of this land proves instant danger from the thistles and ivy that have taken over the once well cared for land. The place is silent now, but on the darkest nights, legend says that you can hear the sound of a guitar being played softly. Maybe it is the sound the wind makes as it blows through the old buildings, maybe it is the devil at work, luring those who wish to steal the treasures of the cabin.

Legend says that this place has been here for hundreds of years. Legend tells of a farmer who allowed the devil to enter the cabin, and that he traded his soul to play the guitar.  Legend also has it that once he entered, the devil never left. For some reason, the only building that still contains anything valuable is the cabin. I peeked in once and I noticed a few beautiful paintings, a couch, and hanging on the wall directly across from the window, a guitar. The instrument appeared to have strings of pure gold. I often wondered why the looters who visited the remote farm never broke into the cabin and stole these things, but with the legend that surrounds the cabin, maybe this mystery is left to the imagination.

They say that at night, the cabin changes. They say that at night, when the only light comes from a full moon that shines brightly over the ragged farmland, an evilness enters the cabin, protecting the rustic building from intruders, and searching for new souls to claim.

Legend also has it that one night, two visitors happened along the cabin. It was in the middle of a terrible snow storm. They say that in all the fury of the storm, the two  heard the sweet melody of a guitar, and that they followed the music and it led them to this God Forsaken place.  The two stragglers arrived at the cabin only to find its doors locked with heavy chains and a huge padlock. There was nobody around to play a guitar, let alone let them into the cabin. Desperate to enter the only available shelter and take advantage of the wood stove and the well stocked wood box that stood next to the cabin, they smashed the window that lay just above the sink. The shorter one was first to enter the cabin, figuring that once he was in, he could jump off the basin and open  the door for his partner. This would not be the case.

Legend says that his left foot was somehow swallowed by the sink, and that a trash compactor ground most of his foot away. His near frozen friend was able to pull him from the window, but not without first losing his entire left foot.  I know this to be true because it was I who turned the machine on. The two who tried to enter the building sit in town now; they still speak of their encounter with the devil, and how he almost got them. I know this because I was there, watching, waiting to decide whether either of them was worthy to play the guitar. Neither of them were interested in the guitar, they only wanted shelter and a bit of heat, that’s why they escaped with what was left of their sorry lives. People around here think the two of them are insane, and nobody heeds their warnings. They are the laughing stock of the house of the insane. This is why young Peter would later lose his mind, if not his entire soul. I know, I have seen it all.

Peter always wanted to play the guitar. As a child he would sit on his father’s knee and pretend to play his dad’s old flat top. Although his dad tried to teach him to play, Peter could never master the instrument.  Peter was the town underachiever. He was a kid who seemed to always follow the wrong crowd. Despite his family’s warnings, he ended up spending his sixteenth birthday in a youth correctional center, way across the island in a large city. One would wonder whether this would do anything to calm down this active child.

When Peter got out, he began to tag along with a few kids he had met in jail. He had told them about the legend of the farm cabin, and how he had always dreamed of playing the Devil’s Guitar, a name a few of the kids put on the guitar that hung on the wall of the cabin. His friends became intrigued by this story, and the four of them planned a scheme to break into the cabin. Peter warned them that the cabin is only safe during the daytime, but they ignored his warnings, calling it an urban legend that they planned to end.

The boys told nobody where they were going except for the town jokers, the two guys who had earlier tried to enter the cabin and ended up losing their minds and one of their feet. The boys spent all day talking to these guys, trying to gather any information they could before attempting to enter the cabin on their own. Billy, the older kid had his takings already bargained for. He knew a guy who was looking for a kitchen table, and maybe for a few of the paintings that hung on the wall. He was the cocky one who had talked Peter into doing most of the hard work, and into being the first into the cabin. Peter was only there for one thing, the guitar.

They arrived at the old farm around eight in the evening. The sun still shone on the land, and from a distance, the old place actually had a beautiful yet rustic appearance to it. The place looked as innocent as any farm, at least in this light it did.

The plan was a simple one. The boys brought along a large bolt cutter. They planned to cut the chain that held the door tightly locked, enter from the main door, unload everything outside, and then transport it across the field and into the trunk of an old car one of them had stolen  from town. Simple enough, should work. They chose to wait until the sun had set, in fear that someone would be out for a walk on this lovely evening. The last thing they needed was to end up back in jail, they couldn’t, wouldn’t take that chance.

When the sun had set, the land seemed to change. Not only due to the darkness, something else. You ever enter a room and have this feeling that someone is watching you? Did you ever feel a cold chill when you passed a cemetery? That is the feeling that the boys explained they felt just before it happened.Then they heard the music. It filled the entire valley, and the spooky melody played as faint as a gentle wind, and Peter was instantly lured towards the door of the cabin, he wanted the guitar so badly that at this point, he would have traded anything to play it, even his soul.

Not wanting to spend any more time in this horrible place than they had to, Billy and Tom urged Peter to get ready. I just watched as Peter foolishly grabbed the bolt cutters and commenced on cutting the chain. How he allowed the others to talk him into doing all the dirty work I will never know, but he was always the follower and he never questioned anything. Maybe that’s how they targeted him in the first place. Mike, the fourth boy, waited in the car, hovering his foot on the gas, ready to take off in a second’s notice.

As Peter cut through the last link on the chain, the heavy padlock fell to the ground. Before any of the boys had a chance to say anything, Peter was inside, playing the guitar. At last I was free.

Legend has it that the guitar once belonged to Satan himself. Legend also says that anyone who picks up the instrument plays it instantly; sadly, legend says that anyone who plays the guitar has to wait until he can lure another victim to the cabin before he can leave, and when he does leave, it is without his mind and without his soul.

The boys got scared when they seen Peter play. It was as if he were in a trance. I could not leave before I got rid of all evidence, and that included the three boys who had followed the music to the cabin, and whose greed caused an early end in their young lives. Did I mention that whoever plays the guitar loses his own persona, his own appearance, in trade for the one of the guitar player? Peter’s face is wrinkled now, covered with lines and cuts and places where the skin has already began to rot. Fear not though, as long as the guitar is in his hands, he will continue to survive this way, and when he finds a suitable guitar player, he can leave under the guise of that person. Until then he wears the face of Satan, and has all the talent in the world. The boys were easy to kill, Bill and Tom, greedy for a few worthless household items easily followed me into the old barn where they found that hell was just a few footsteps away. Mike was the hardest, attempting to drive away and leave the boys here for dead. He was so scared that he drove off a nearby cliff, his body left for the scavengers to feed on for all eternity.

I sit in the center of town, people wondering why I do not know them. I am not Peter, I may look like him, but I am free to do what I wish, soul less, but free. They wheel me out of the asylum on sunny days so that I may feel the sun on my skin. The evil one must have been pleased with my choice of the guitar player, for he allowed me to leave with the memories of this place, and with the talent of the greatest guitar player in the land, but my soul will forever be his. I am not alone though, those who have visited the cabin sit here with me, and I know that at some  point Peter will join me here as well, once he fulfills his destiny. After he watches over the cabin, and all who intrude.

Until then, if you ever hear music playing in the hills, follow it. If you have ever yearned to play the guitar, enter the cabin and give it a try, hell, you may even free the soul of the guitar player. He might enjoy a change of scenery…


The inspiration for this tale came from a walk I took to an old abandoned farm just south of my home. The barn, and other buildings really are in shambles, and the cabin? The cabin sits in the middle of all the falling down buildings, but yet, it remains intact, still with the bright orange paint on the outside, still with all the windows in one piece (except for the window above the sink) and yes, there really is a guitar that hangs on the wall directly across from the living room window.  And just like in the story, everything of any value that was stored in the buildings have long been stolen, except for the guitar that is.

On my next bike ride, I plan to visit the farm once again, and provide pictures of the spooky old abandoned farm, and of course, of the cabin, complete with the treasures that still exist within the building. Maybe that will give you an idea of the horror that exists when you play the devil’s guitar

the bike ride

I bought a bike today. The last time I bought a bike I was sixteen and it cost me a whooping $75. The last time I rode a bike any distance at all I was about eighteen, so you can imagine how sore I am tonight.

So many choices these days, and despite the advice I received from my bike fanatic buddy (who paid $2500 for his bike and rides 4000 km per year when I don’t even drive that far with my car) not to buy a cheapie, I did just that. Well, not cheap, I paid $207 for a bike that was regularly $419, so it wasn’t a cheap bike, just a CCM jobbie from Canadian Tire.

I foolishly hopped on the new bike and went for a three km ride down a woods trail. Hey, the bike is a crossover mountain/trail bike, so I figured it would be fun. It was fun on the way down, but the way back provided me with sore legs and an even sorer ass. Why do they make bike seats so brutally hard? My ass felt like I was raped or something. I fixed that once I got home though, a trip to Wal-mart and I now have a memory foam seat cover that promises to be kind to my sore cheeks. I will find out tomorrow I guess.

The ride was great though, you can really witness true nature on a bicycle. I spooked a partridge that was crossing the road, and while I stopped to rest my ass cheeks, I watched the wild hen strut herself across the road and into the woods. Partridges have the weirdest defense, and one that often ends up providing a great soup. They stay completely still whenever intruders show up, hoping that nobody notices them sitting right next to you. Many a partridge and their other delicious cousin the grouse have ended up in someone’s stew pot because of that defense. It was a great trip and the next time I go for a ride in the woods I promise to bring my camera and share some of the sights with ya…hope the seat cover works out.

shot gun wedding

Having worked as an independent mobile DJ for the past 23 years, I have seen my fair share of rough bars. I played in a bar once that was so rough, the toilet in the men’s room didn’t have walls. The toilet just sat there, in the middle of the floor flanked by urinals on either side. Apparently the owner of the establishment hated cleaning toilets, and figured that if someone really really needed to use the toilet, they would simply sit there until the job was done and leave quickly. He hadn’t counted on Herman to need it I guess.

Herman (I think that was his name, because it was printed in large black letters across his shirt) was sitting on the toilet the first time I entered the bathroom, and just prior to the end of the night when I was getting ready to pack my equipment and leave, I went to the men’s room to wash my hands, and there he was, still sitting on the toilet, same painful look on his face. Whatever he had, I wanted no part.

The bar owner must have had the word ‘tacky’ tattooed on his arm, because the place sure was rundown and tasteless. His waitress wore a short skirt and an even lower cut top, and if she was ever hot, it must have been prior to her turning 50. The bartender was a big man who sweat a lot and always had an end of a lit cigarette sticking out of the end of his mouth.

The crowd enjoyed Country. Try playing anything else and I was warned what would happen, so I played country. The crowd ate it up, dancing on the bars, the tables, even in the doorway that led to the parking lot outside. I was hired to play until 2:30, but warned that if I left anytime before 3 a. m., I would have a long and dangerous ride home. I played that place ONE time only.

This was for a wedding. A shot gun wedding if there ever was one, or so I thought. The groom was a red-necky looking dude who wore jeans to his wedding, while his bride, looking barely old enough to leave her momma wore a white dress that must have been handed down for the last hundred or so years. The groom was plastered drunk from the time he got there until the time he fell asleep, around 10 p.m.

Once he fell asleep, everything changed. The bride quickly got out of the old wedding dress and into a tight spandex mini dress, and the place went wild. The music went from hard country to hard rock, and the Dwight Yoakam tunes quickly went out the door in favor of ACDC and ZZTop.

His bride may have seemed meek and homely, but she was quickly transformed into a party animal at that point. One of the patrons at the bar explained that this was her third marriage in three years, and that the dude who was fast asleep in the corner was one of the richest guys in the bar, having inherited a bundle from his father. Apparently her last two husbands were of similar employ, and they didn’t get much a chance to enjoy her youthful appearance. She stayed long enough to earn a place in their will, and then exited when they died of heart attacks. I guess that is what happens when 80 year old men marry youthful gold diggers in their 20’s.

The party went on until the wee hours, where a few guys helped little missy load her new husband into the back of an old Dodge pick up truck, and the bride and groom, as well as the rest of the insane crowd left the building. I was happy that they were gone and I didn’t stick around much longer either. That was the first and last time I ever played in that area.

The Alley Bat

While walking downtown one day, I heard a shrieking noise coming from a nearby alley. There I found a small bat who was injured. He had gotten his claw caught under a loose brick, and he was hanging from one leg, which appeared to be broken. Using a rubber glove I had found on the street, I held his little body while I freed his claw.

When I came out of the alley and onto the street, passersby gathered to see what I was holding. Many of them were shocked to see me holding the little animal, it was as if I held a monster in my hands. He reacted well to my attention, he was calm to my touch. So what if he appeared to be a rat with wings, he was a living creature, and should be treated as one.

I took the little animal home with me and mended his hurt leg. I kept him in a wooden crate I had found, which I padded with some hay from a nearby farm.  I kept ‘Batty’ for two months, feeding him pieces of apple (his favorite), and a few spiders and flies that gathered on the window sill in the basement; and when I felt that his leg was healed enough, I attempted to set him free. Note the word ‘Attempted’. He wasn’t going anywhere.

I set him out on the deck behind my house when the sun had first set, hoping that by morning he had rejoined the other bats, wherever that was; but he remained on my porch the next morning.

I brought him back to the alley where I found him, but he flew back towards my car and pitched on the roof, looking at me with sad ‘bat-eyes’.  I knew he was not ready to go just yet. He stayed the entire summer, until fall. One evening, he took flight and I never saw the little creature again.  Definitely one of my most unusual pets.

This true story is my entry into this week’s Trifecta Challenge. The word is Alley

Shopping carts for the masses and the black coyote

I just drove through town and noticed that many people freely leave stores with shopping carts. Here in town we don’t have the mechanical devices on carts that prevent them from being taken, and it seems that some choose to take advantage of this. Some guy passed inches from my fender with a cart he had been using to transport a flat screen television from the store to his home. He gave me a glare when I didn’t readily allow him to jaywalk in front of me. I think there should be a point system set in place that allows drivers to pick off cart thieves; maybe set it like the bounty they currently have on coyotes. The Newfoundland government are currently offering $25 for each coyote that is shot and killed. The coyote is not native to the island, and therefore it has no predators. Coyotes have been visiting communities and killing pets in the area.

Speaking of coyotes and bounties, some guy from the  east coast of the island mistakenly shot and killed a black lab, thinking it was a coyote. It seems that the bounty on coyotes here in the province is bringing out the morons. Maybe a training and orientation session prior to issuing coyote hunting licenses? Whoever seen a black coyote? The guy argued that the dog had no right to be in the area in which he was hunting and that he seriously thought he was shooting a coyote. I would say Wile E.’s Labrador Retriever  disguise didn’t work out so well for him this time. Maybe he should try shopping at a different company than ACME Inc. (this joke will only be funny to anyone who has watched Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner cartoons). For more on this story, check out the recent news story on this link


saw of many colors

June of ’85 had some great memories for me; back then, I was a logger, cutting pulp which we sold to the local pulp and paper mill. The industry and the mill are long gone, but the memories will remain forever. For that, I am thankful.

It was a great day for my dad and I. We had made enough money throughout the summer to invest in a new chainsaw. While this may not sound like a big deal, chainsaws were a large part of our livelihood, as much of a big deal as a new boat for a fisherman; so we were pretty excited to visit the local hardware store and pick up our new saw.

The Jonsered 630 was the newest model on the line, and dad had visited the store on several occasions to check this baby out. The saw had the power of a large saw, packed in a smaller, well-balanced frame, and it even featured a chain brake, a new option for 1985, and a very needed one indeed. Whenever the chain would hook, the brake would come on, preventing the chain from breaking. The brake was also located in such a place that if the saw kicked back, rather than cutting your head, the brake would stop the chain from turning. Many a logger sustained life threatening injuries from the old saws, this one would be much safer.

The saw cost $850, which, in ’85 was a lot of money, but since the saw we were using was over 15 years old, and heavy as hell, it was certainly time for a new one. The saw came with a bar protector, something dad would throw away before even leaving the store, as it was bulky and he said it would only get in the way. I still remember him carrying the new saw across his shoulder, as proud as if he had just bought a new car. Coming from a long line of loggers, my dad, his dad before him and now me, logging was a way of life in my family.

The first day with the new saw was amazing. Dad used to cut the wood and I would pile it into ‘cords’ which were piles of pulpwood that measured eight foot wide by eight foot long by four feet high. We got $35 per cord, so we managed a good days pay with four cords per day; but the work was hard, especially in the hot weather of summer.

After we cut two cords, dad put the saw down and got lunch. He put it next to a tall tree, hoping the tree would provide shade, thus preventing the gasoline to heat up. This would give us twice as much work trying to get the saw started up again. Just as my dad walked away from the saw, the large tree fell to the ground, flattening the new saw that we spent so much money on just the day before. The two of us just stood there in disbelief, as our primary means of employment lay smashed on the forest floor.

When the other loggers heard the crash, they all came running, only to find my dad on his knees, attempting to salvage anything that remained from the saw. With only a few pieces of metal in his hands, and the chain from the saw, he was in tears. With that, the other loggers assured him that he had nothing to worry about, as together they all had enough spare parts to make a new chainsaw.

The next morning, the loggers all visited my dad’s house. With them they carried the new saw. Since Jonsered chainsaws are manufactured by the same company that makes Husqvarna Chainsaws, most of the parts are interchangeable, and if you didn’t mind red and orange parts, you could actually make them fit. The saw featured an orange body with a few of the red parts from our smashed saw, along with the blue handle from an old Homelite saw, a chainbreak off an old Sthil saw, which was white in color, and the handle from a Poulan saw, which was yellow. The new saw worked fantastic, and I think I seen a tear or two in my dad’s eyes as he pulled the cord and listened to the motor purr.

We used that saw from 1985 until I left the woods in 1997, and through all those years, we never once had a problem with the saw. It is funny how stories like this stayed with me all those years. I loved my days as a logger. The work was hard, but healthy.

Since we have been having absolutely splendid weather here on the West Coast of the island, I have been away from my desk, and thus, no posts. While I am gone, have a laugh at one of my earlier blog posts, simply entitled Boobs


Despite getting your attention with the title of this weeks blog, this blurb has nothing to do with any part of the female anatomy, but rather, it is a list of funny (embarrassing) things that I have done in the past that I can sit and laugh at today.

Why choose to write a list of embarrassing things that have happened to me you ask? Well, being a ‘Newfie’, we have the inborn trait of being able to laugh at ourselves. Here goes…

1.  I was at a local department store once, and upon choosing a few pairs of jeans, I went to the change room to try them on. I tried them on and found that I needed a bigger pair, so I left the change room to get one, only to find that I forgot to put my pants back on first. I quickly discovered that I was…

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What’s New?

First let me say that I have a terrible memory for names. People are constantly coming up to me and chatting (this being Western Newfoundland). Trouble is, I never know who they are, making the conversation one sided.

Last evening this scary dude and his female friend approached me. He knew me by name, and asked “What’s New Ted”. Not knowing where to begin listing what is new, I didn’t really say anything other than “Not much, you?”

He went on to tell me everything that has ever happened to him, right from grade school on to how he met and married his soul mate, who was standing next to him.  The whole time he spoke I just stood there, looking confused, wondering who the hell this guy is.

The one sided conversation went on for about fifteen minutes when he looks at me and says…”You aren’t Ted Fleming, are you? You didn’t go to my school and I wasn’t in your class, right? Damn I am so dumb. I must have been boring you all this time with all my chatter. I just thought I had found my best friend from my grade two class. Damn!”

What are the chances the he mistakes me for another Ted? At least my memory isn’t as bad as I first thought. A lot did happen to this guy though, good for him, at least he is happy.