Month: December 2012

Brussels Sprouts, Sour Tongues and Poison Berries

Old Dog New Tits, one of my favorite bloggers, wrote a little piece about Brussels Sprouts. Her post inspired me to write this one.

When I see foods in the grocery store, I often wonder who decided that they were edible. I mean at some point, all those foods must have grown wild somewhere, never eaten for fear of being poisoned. I bet it took some brave soul to taste them, not die, and then tell his friends about them. I wonder if the guy who tasted Brussels Sprouts and didn’t die actually liked them? At the same time, I wonder how many people tasted foods that looked good and did die? Nobody will ever know that one.

As a kid, I used to eat ‘Sour Tongues’, which were small leaves that grew along the edge of the house. The tart leaf used to taste a lot like the sour candies that kids now enjoy. Mom used to warn us that eating the stuff would give us worms. I must have had worms then, because my friend Howard and I used to feast on those things. I didn’t die. I often wonder why you can’t buy them at the grocery store these days.

Squid, or Calamari, is a popular food here in Newfoundland. We never refer to the stuff as Calamari, we just call it Squid. Dad says that years ago fishermen used to throw them out of their nets because they figured that they were poison. The story goes that one night a fisherman got stranded at sea, and after finding his way to land, the only food he could find was squid, so he cleaned the thing and boiled it up. After he ate it, he was surprised at the great taste, and soon afterward, the thing was served in restaurants everywhere.  Not too sure whether the story is true, but it makes sense to me. Personally I cannot eat squid. I have a shellfish allergy, and even though the thing doesn’t have a shell, it is still a shellfish, but that is for another post, one about allergies that hide from you until you are on your way to emergency.

When I was a kid, I tried the little red berries that grew on a bush out behind my parent’s place. They constantly warned me about eating them, but you know how kids are. Telling ’em not to do something is like actually telling them to do it. Anyway, they didn’t taste that great, and after a quick trip to the emergency room and my stomach contents being pumped out, I decided against making them part of my daily diet. Hey, this may not have seemed like a good idea, but it was better than my pal Pat’s idea. He ate a four inch nail on a dare. The thing made it all the way to his bum, but stopped there, and he ended up going for a lengthy trip to the emergency room, and he still walks funny to this day.

My childhood friend Howard once tried to put an entire orange in his mouth, and the orange got stuck. When I looked over at him, all I could see was a crying kid with an orange shaped mouth. The teacher had a bright idea to try and pull the orange out, and almost burst Howard’s mouth apart. The principal had a much ‘better’ idea to cut a piece of the orange out, allowing Howard to crush the orange and spill the juice. This worked, but it was scary watching someone hack at an orange while it was in my friend’s mouth. Kids!

Anyway, I wonder what people will be eating in the future? Maybe the weeds we pull from our garden will become the food of the future, who knows? All it takes is someone to taste it and not die and all of a sudden you have a food craze. Now where are those sour tongues…and my tapeworm medicine?

Trifecta Week Fifty Four -Wanted: A Cure for Stupid

My uncle holds the record of doing dumb things and still staying alive. I think he has the award on his wall somewhere. This is the same uncle who traded his television set for a VCR and traded his woodstove for a load of firewood. He just doesn’t get it. Mom says that as a child he suffered from some sort of disability, and nan never really dealt with it, simply allowing him to do whatever he wanted, his disability became his excuse.

The guy has been known  for using his fair share of drugs. At 61 years old, I am surprised that he is still living. One one occasion, he tried to snort Gravol. Some of the kids were getting high on the stuff, and without researching their methods, he borrowed (stole would be a much better word) some of his mother’s Gravol and proceeded to stick them up his nose. The pills (all four of them) got stuck in his nasal passages, and he almost died. Apparently he was supposed to crush the things first, and sniff the powder.

A quick trip to the emergency department of the hospital, a reprimand from the doctor and he was on his way back home, to get into more trouble. In his 61 years, he broke into every cabin in the area, robbed every convenience store he could find, and on one stupid occasion, he tried breaking INTO prison. Apparently most of his friends were in the town prison, and he missed them. Oh well, you just can’t fix stupid!

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This is my entry into this week’s Trifecta Challenge. The word is Crush, and the definition is 3   : to reduce to particles by pounding or grinding <crush rock>

Dad Training

in 2005 I met Ryan. He was just a little guy back then, and I asked him a favor. I asked that he help me become a dad. At first the little guy grinned at me, and being just over two and a half, I don’t blame him. As our relationship grew, I made some mistakes, but he always forgave me. “Don’t worry Ted, you are doing great, don’t give up, you are making a great dad” he would say. Who gives pep talks like that?

His mom and I are together eight years as of today, and Ryan is ten. Next year we plan to marry. Every day he reassures me that I am doing a good job of being a dad, and that I am a good student. My response is that I have a good teacher.

My dad is 75 years old, and he says that he is still learning to be a great dad. My grandfather, God rest his soul, was 93 when he died. On his death bed, he said that he finally figured out everything about being a great dad. Both my father and I listened as we hoped he would tell us the secret, but we were both surprised at his response. “It took me 93 years to figure it out, figure it out for yourselves!” he said. You never knew what was going to come out of his mouth, but I am glad that he didn’t reveal the secret. I am having too much fun learning it for myself.

Too Stun for Words

Everyone has an uncle like my Uncle Den. The one who isn’t too bright.

One evening Den was complaining at his wife. He did that a lot. On this particular occasion, he was complaining because Aunt Eleanor left her clothesline up and it was winter.

“Someone is gonna strangle themselves on that line” he complained. Eleanor ignored him until she couldn’t ignore him any longer. “Go to sleep, I will fix it later!” she said. Since my Uncle Den is one lazy SOB, she ended up doing most of the work around the house. He dozed off to sleep on the couch in the living room. When Eleanor had all the vegetables peeled for supper, she grabbed a plastic salt beef bucket and went outside. She tied the handle of the bucket to the clothesline and went back in the house.

Later that day, the snow changed to rain, and through the night, back to heavy snow. Of course we all know that the bucket filled with rain water, and then froze. Uncle Den got up bright and early to go for a snowmobile ride when she heard it. KABAM. It was almost as if she could hear it from the kitchen. When she rushed outside she found Den lying face down in the snow bank, the snowmobile had gone on without him and crashed into the car. Den’s head was bleeding, and the beef bucket was cracked in half. A big beef bucket shaped piece of ice lay next to Den’s head. When he came to, the only words he could utter were “Stupid Woman! Who puts a bucket on a clothesline in winter? Who is that dumb?”

Eleanor was quick to answer this one. “A woman who is married to a lazy Son of a Bitch who spends too much time lying around the house and not enough time out looking for a job. A woman who is married to a man so stupid that he runs into a red plastic beef bucket hanging on the clothesline, that’s who!”

They got along like that! Ah Marriage!

Personal Ads: The truth behind the lie

With all those dating sites online, it is a wonder that singles bars still exist. Personally I find that searching for a loved one online is a bit scary, still, I tried it a few years ago, with not so good results.

The ads are what get you. “Bright, energetic lady with a great personality”…that one sounded great. And the photo, I was hooked. A shapely blonde with a great smile. Wants kids someday, but for now, I want to enjoy life with a special guy. Who wouldn’t be hooked on that one? I was!

Non-smoker, Non-drug user, social drinker. See? she sounds fun, at least she did sound fun. Enjoys long walks on the beach. Why do they all say that? Who walks on the beach all the time? Not this lady, believe me!

I believe in relationships, I hate cheaters, I love a honest man. I am not interested in a guy’s money, I want Love! She was sounding better all the time. She doesn’t want money, good thing, I had none!

……………………………….

You know me, I had to find out more. I answered her ad. Of course I sent her a recent pic. Well, not really a recent pic, and not really a pic of me. Tom Selleck actually. An old one where he was sitting on the hood of his Ferrari. That should hook her!

She answered me back immediately. I couldn’t believe it.

“Wow, an interesting man with a sense of humor. I used to love that show too when it came on. How about you come to my town and we meet?”

Her town was seven hours away, but being the desperate guy I used to be (not any more, thank heavens), I decided to take a trip up north. She lived on The Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland. I had always wanted to visit Gros Morne, so this was a good excuse.

I drove all day, seen 38 moose (that is not a lie, they were everywhere) and finally I got to the road where she lived. I was still a bit taken with her photo, so I anxiously wanted to meet this girl. When I got to her door, I almost turned around and headed home, but that blonde hair and that body, that is why I stayed at the door until…

until He came to the door. A big hairy man with dirty blonde hair and a dirty goatee. “Susan, is Susan here?” I asked, hoping that this hairy man was not the girl of my dreams.

The guy had more tattoos than skin, and one of those tattoos was the name Susan etched across this ape’s arm.

“Why you looking for my wife? Your not here to talk to my wife Susan are you?” he asked, while squashing a beer can in one hand. I imagined the beer can to be my neck, and slowly backed up towards the car. “I will go get her, you can tell her why you are here!” he said. I didn’t wait for him to return, but while backing out of his long driveway, I seen her. She was a blonde, but that shape wasn’t there. Instead, she was at least 450 lbs, with two small children under one arm, and a beer in her other hand. She had a smoke hanging from her lip. “Come back Tom, My lovely Tom Selleck!” she yelled. This was the fastest time I ever drove, and when I got home I deleted my name from the Internet dating site. Thank Heavens I got away with my life.

my first gig

Today marks 20 years of a mobile Disk Jockey business I began back in ’92. Back then, I used to accompany a friend of mine to the dances, and give him a hand with the equipment while I learned the ropes.  He had about thirty tapes of recorded music, mostly mixed music.

In ’93, I went and bought my own equipment. I checked around town, and one music store, ‘Musicman’ gave me the best prices. The store owner, Joe Boulous, a man whose family immigrated here from Lebanon back in the late 50’s not only sold me the equipment, but he sat and explained how to use the stuff, and how to put on a good dance for the public. He had been DJ’ing in the area for over thirty years, and he was also a drummer and lead singer in a band. Joe passed away shortly afterwards, following a lengthily battle with lung cancer.

“Walk around the crowd” he used to say, ‘talk to the crowd, ask them what their favorite songs are, write them down, and throughout the night, play ’em, people will be amazed that you are catering to them!” he added. “If you go to the bar, ask the bartenders what their favorite songs are, and if anyone is waiting for their drinks, ask them too. The only way to know what people like is to ask them. And when you get back to your equipment, play songs that you like as well, just mix them with the ones you collected from the crowd. Take notes each time you play, save requests and play them at different dances.” he instructed me.

Boy, I was cocky back then. I booked my first dance, and armed with a (at the time) state of the art music system and 28 cassette tapes I bought from Columbia House Music, I felt like I was ready.

I was not ready. The first time I played, it was pure hell. I wanted to run, but the crowd would have beat my equipment (and me) to death.

“Do you have ACDC?” they asked. ‘No, but I have a few country tunes you may enjoy, if I can only find them that is!” I replied. I couldn’t find the songs. In a hurry to get ready to play, I forgot to write the titles on the cassettes I recorded. I had to go through each and every cassette to find songs. A four hour night seemed like eternity, and the heckling and yells from the disappointed crowd almost made me want to sell my equipment and try something else…but I didn’t.

When I got home, I joined up all my family members into Columbia House Music. I even joined my cat and my dog. In a few weeks, I had hundreds of ‘free’ cassettes arrive, and even a few CD’s. I went out and purchased a CD player, which at the time cost over $200, but was it ever worth it. Despite my Techniques cassette player having the capability to search and find the next song on the tape, CD’s were so much easier.

At the end of the first year, I had taken enough bookings to pay for the equipment and buy a used truck to haul my system from one club to the other and back home. Playing music got easier as well, as soon as I learned to read the crowds, and practically have the songs ready to play before they had a chance to come up and ask for the song. I have always played 100% requests, which made learning the crowd even harder,but it gave me an edge over other DJs in the area.

I am not big on lighting. I used a strobe light once, and halfway through the dance I noticed some dude lying on the floor, kicking and shaking. He was Epileptic, and he was taking a seizure, all because of the effects of my strobe light. I turned the thing off when I found out that strobe lights could cause this. Hell, I just came here to play music, didn’t want to kill anybody!

I remember traveling to gigs carrying my equipment. My equipment consisted of a homemade box that contained two cassette decks and two CD decks; I also carried a large wooden box that held 800 cassette tapes, and I dragged a box with wheels that contained over 400 CD’s. Add to that my speakers, which weighted 135  lbs each, (Ross Typhoons, 18″ woofers/15″ midranges/ and 6″ tweeters each), my Ross Amp (400 Amp) and my Ross Mixer-board. Quite the load, filled the little Toyota truck to the hilt, but after all the cords were plugged in and I did a sound check, the sound was quite impressive.

Later I managed to downsize. Back in the days of ‘Napster’, I downloaded a ton of songs. One evening I decided to convert my entire music collection from CD, Cassette and even vinyl to mp3. This took quite some time, but since I was pretty keen at the computer (Windows 95 was a great program) and I had a great piece of software that you can no longer use the way it was meant to use called Music-Match Jukebox, I managed to convert the songs. When I finished, I had 20,000 useable songs crammed on a 15gb hard-drive that I paid a fortune for back then. I sold my cd decks and my cassette decks, but I kept the music, for a while at least.

My load cut down, it was much easier to travel. With less to carry, setting up was so much easier. I customized my old computer with a SoundBlaster Live sound card, and the sound was perfect. Even though I used my desktop computer and monitor, it was so much easier than the old system. Last year I bought a laptop, so now I don’t have to carry the heavy desktop or monitor.

My system as it exists today consists of the Ross Typhoons, the Amp and Mixer, (the same set I bought all those years ago, still working fine (knock on wood), and my laptop. I worked for years to build a reputation of pleasing the crowd, and I still manage to make a few bucks every now and then. People associate me with being a DJ, I don’t need to advertise anywhere, when anyone needs a disk jockey for a wedding , they just call.

In twenty years of playing music for every possible event, I have been hit on, threatened, offered drinks, asked to partner with other disk jockeys, but through it all, I always worked to ensure that people got their money’s worth.

Next year will be my biggest challenge as a disk jockey. I will be the disk jockey at my own wedding. Should be fun!

In keeping with Christmas tradition, here is my guide to Christmas shopping:

SightsnBytes

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…

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