Is That A Snake In Your Pocket Or…?

Last week in the news this headline confronted me: “A Sandwich, A Snake, And A SNAFU: How Things Went Wrong At A Saskatoon Tim Horton’s”. And I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to put it into a blog post. (Thanks to Chris Robinson for inspiring the title of this post with his comment on my Facebook page.)

In case the link expires, here are the salient points of the event:

  1. Two guys walk into a Tim Horton’s in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. (Yes, this IS the beginning of a joke.)
  2. They order a sandwich (unclear whether that was one sandwich between the two of them, or one sandwich each). They want their onions diced.
  3. The employee objects to dicing the onions.
  4. An argument ensues.
  5. The argument escalates.
  6. One guy gets thoroughly pissed off, reaches into his buddy’s pocket, pulls out a non-venomous snake, and throws it at the employee.
  7. Chaos ensues and the police are called.
  8. The guys get arrested and charged with public mischief. The snake gets a temporary home until it can be released into the wild. I get a belly laugh or three. No word on what the employee got.

Naturally, my first reaction on reading this article was to post it on Facebook and Twitter for everyone to enjoy. After all, as I noted there, how often do you find a guy secure enough in his manhood to publicly reach into his buddy’s pocket and grab his snake?

But on further reflection, there was just so much in this article to boggle my mind. To wit:

  • All double entendres aside, why would a guy carry a snake in his pocket?
  • Why did the snake stay in his pocket? In my experience, snakes tend to prefer stillness and solitude, and they tend to seek them out fairly determinedly.
  • If, for some unfathomable reason, you were walking around with a snake in your pocket (yes, I’m still talking about the reptilian variety), why would you go into a Tim Horton’s? Presumably you’re transporting the snake somewhere for a reason, so why not use the drive-through and carry on to the intended conclusion of your snake-toting?
  • If the “unfathomable reason” was a pleasant outing for the snake, there are lots of better places to take it. As far as I know, snakes don’t like coffee or sandwiches. Not even Tim Horton’s coffee.
  • If you’re carrying around a snake with the intent to fling it, why not just fling it and be done? Get in, fling the snake, get out, go get your sandwich at a different Timmie’s.
  • Why was it so important that the Tim Horton’s employee dice the onions? Why wouldn’t the guy pull out a jackknife and chop the onions himself? Or if he didn’t have a tool in his pocket, (hence his need for the snake, perhaps…?), why not just break the onions into pieces with his fingers? They should have been clean – his momma must have told him to always wash his hands after handling his snake.
  • Who, in the extremities of irritation, decides to reach into somebody else’s pocket for what was clearly an inoffensive critter (at least to the snake-toter, who theoretically must have been sanguine about his reptilian pocket pet)?

So many questions… just one answer: Only in Saskatchewan.

(If you don’t believe me, I offer the following YouTube clip as evidence. This is part of the half-time show from the 2013 Grey Cup, played in Regina, Saskatchewan. Check out the maniac on the snowmobile behind the band. Yep, I rest my case.)

* * *

Book 9 draft is at 90% and we have a title!  SPY HIGH will be coming out in January… cover art coming soon!

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Virtual Cookie Exchange

cookie exchange

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you… cookies!  And fudge!  And snackables!

My blogging buddy Linda Grimes invited me to participate in a virtual cookie exchange, and being the foodie I am, I couldn’t resist.  I promised her my simplest no-cook 3-ingredient fudge and a couple of other super-quick recipes that make you look like a holiday hero for making goodies from scratch.

Author Linda Poitevin is hosting this festival of yumminess.  Here’s a  list of all the recipes so far, and she’ll be posting another update today and again next week.

Here you go – happy snacking!

Simple Chocolate* Fudge

1 – 300ml can of sweetened condensed milk (about 1-1/4 cups – it doesn’t have to be perfect)

2-1/4 cups chocolate* chips

3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:  Melt everything together, stir well, and pour into greased 9×9 pan.  Chill.  Eat.

(Note:  If you’re using the microwave, only nuke in short bursts until the milk gets hot and then stir until the chips melt.  If you over-nuke it the chocolate chips turn to cardboard instead of melting.)

*Tip for holiday heroes:  You can make this into any kind of fudge you want – just use a different kind of chips.  White chocolate, milk chocolate, butterscotch, whatever.  If you want to be fancy, throw in some chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, dried cranberries, chopped-up candy bars, or whatever else moves you. If you want to go all Martha Stewart and give homemade fudge as a gift, make a double batch and chill it in a parchment-lined loaf pan, then slice it into slabs the way the fudge shops do.

Simple Peanut Butter Fudge*

1 cup butter

1 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

3-1/2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)

Instructions:  Melt the first 3 ingredients together, stir in the icing sugar, and press into greased 9×9 pan.  Chill.  Eat.

*Tip for holiday heroes:  Make the peanut butter fudge first, then make a batch of chocolate fudge and spread it over top.  Choco-peanut-butter fudge, hello.  This almost fills the 9×9 pan, so if you like your fudge a little thinner, put it in a 9×13 pan instead.

Ranch Crispix Snack*

1 box Crispix cereal

1 box mini-Ritz crackers

1 bag cheddar Fishie crackers

1 bag pretzel twists

1-1/2 cups roasted almonds/pecans/macadamias, whatever

1/3 cup canola/sunflower/corn oil

2 envelopes Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing mix

2 or 3 tablespoons dried dill

Instructions: Throw everything in a paper bag* and shake well.  Pour out.  Eat.

*This recipe might sound kinda gross to those who don’t like ranch flavour, but it’s irresistible if you like tangy, crunchy, salty snacks. And you can shake it up in anything you have handy – a turkey roaster or covered pail or whatever.

And now…

Since this is actually supposed to be a cookie exchange, here are my favourite molasses spice cookies.  They do require baking so they’re not quite as fast and simple as the first three recipes, but they’re soooo worth it!

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

3/4 cup melted butter

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

4 tablespoons dark molasses

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

Instructions: Mix the first 4 ingredients together, then add the rest and mix well.  Roll into teaspoon-sized balls*, dunk in sugar, and place on a greased baking sheet.  Flatten with a fork* and bake at 350 degrees approximately 12 – 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

*Note to Linda Grimes – I know this one has more ingredients than you want to deal with, but you gotta give me credit – continuing in your fine tradition, I said “balls” and “fork”.

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Alcoholity 101

Though I generally avoid religious and political discussions, today I’d like to introduce you to a widely-practiced but poorly-documented religion: Alcoholity. As a practicing member, I think it’s important to spread the Holy Word so that Alcoholity can be given the rights and recognition it deserves.

Archaeological records show that Alcoholity was practiced as early as 10,000 B.C., long before any other organized religion. After thousands of years of development, Alcoholity today is divided into two main branches: BeerHallicism and ProBoozetantism.

BeerHallicism is the more stringent of the two branches. Devout BeerHallics attend services at their local place of worship on all High Holy Days, which include Friday evenings, Saturdays, Sundays, days the in-laws visit, and any day on which a major sporting event takes place. Additional days of worship may also be observed at the adherent’s discretion. The most orthodox BeerHallics also designate a day after High Holy Days as a Day of Contemplation, which requires fasting, resting in a dim room, and abstention from loud noises.

Orthodox BeerHallicism is not for everyone. In addition to the extensive time commitment, it frequently comes with a heavy burden of guilt and also requires a rigorous Confession upon returning home at the close of each High Holy Day.

ProBoozetantism encompasses a number of denominations and is a less demanding branch of Alcoholity. ProBoozetants observe the High Holy Days to varying degrees, and unlike BeerHallics they are not required to attend services in a designated building. Services may take place in restaurants, private homes, at sporting events, or even in public places (though open-air services tend to be subjected to religious persecution by the authorities).

The three main denominations of ProBoozetantism are Presbeerterians, Wineglicans, and Liquorists. Their liturgies are very similar, differing mainly in the content of their Holy Communion, though Wineglicans also perform a complex ceremony with the Communion glass resulting in a euphoric state similar to Rapture.

On the subject of Holy Communion, it should be noted that while scholars consider fruit juice and yeast to be the true Body and Lifeblood of Alcohol, all current branches of Alcoholity accept the consumption of any form of booze and food for Holy Communion.

In addition to the three main denominations, many smaller offshoots of ProBoozetantism exist, such as Coolerism, Shooterism, Cocktailism, ‘Shineism, and even Screechism, a tiny sect existing only in Newfoundland, Canada which includes a baptism/confirmation ceremony called a ‘Screech-in’ that requires speaking in tongues and bestowing a kiss upon the holy Cod.

Unlike most other established religions, Alcoholity is inclusive. As the religion continues to evolve, denominational lines are becoming increasingly blurred and ecumenical services are common.  Even the most orthodox BeerHallics warmly welcome everyone to their places of worship to participate in Holy Communion. ProBoozetants and nonbelievers alike are allowed to bow over the BeerHallics’ holy altar, the Pool Table, and everyone worships with equal fervour before the Big Screen.

And the best thing about Alcoholity is that it can be practiced concurrently with almost all of the other mainstream religions.

With such rich historical tradition and widespread adherence, it’s long past time for Alcoholity to be recognized as a mainstream religion. Please lobby your local authorities to write it into law.

And remember: Your employer must accommodate your need to observe the High Holy Days, and may even be required to do so with full pay or face legal action for discrimination on the basis of religion. Schedule a meeting with your Human Resources liaison today and demand your religious rights!

Oh, and let me know how that goes for you…

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True Confessions

I just finished confessing to a complete lack of literary sophistication over on my blogging buddy Carrie Rubin’s latest post, and it got me thinking (always a dangerous thing).

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized I lack taste in most areas.

I hide it well enough in public most of the time. During my lengthy and painful sojourn as an interior designer I managed to build a veneer of deceptive behaviours that masqueraded as good manners and (somewhat) refined taste:

  • About once a year I went to a nice mid-range clothing store and bought a few things in whatever colour/cut/style was purported to be ‘in fashion’ for the season so I could blend into the professional community.
  • I suppressed coughs, sneezes, burps, farts, and every hint of my dirty mind and twisted sense of humour.
  • I feigned fascination and deep concern over furniture and paint colours and carpets that were fundamentally the same and would be indistinguishable from the alternate choices within minutes of being installed.

While I was a computer geek the rules of taste were mercifully relaxed, but in my next incarnation as a business owner I forced myself to attend networking events and dinners and seminars in the hope of convincing other business owners that I was sufficiently socially aware not to be an embarrassment while providing them with computer training.

  • I sat through presentations on everything from team building to angel channeling to economics to unleashing the power of my femininity: straight-faced, asking pertinent questions, and nodding seriously at the replies.
  • I suppressed my natural urge to pig out at dinners and ate politely, nay, dare I say daintily.
  • I never, not even once, stood up and shouted, “All in favour of throwing on some jeans and pounding back some beers, follow me!”

Fortunately I’ve always had good friends who know the real me and therefore find my fakery hilarious, or my brain probably would have exploded.

These days I hire others far more qualified than I to interact with the normal human race (thank you, David and Sharon, for being the public faces of my computer training business), and I lurk happily in my sordid home-office lair, wearing comfortable clothes and writing things that make me laugh.

It’s far too late to impress anybody now. So, inspired by Carrie’s honesty, I hereby confess:

  • I hated the literary classics. All of them.
  • I cheerfully wear the same T-shirts, fleece jacket,  yoga pants, jeans, and sneakers week after month after year without ever desiring any newer or more fashionable clothes.  In my defense, I do wash them after each wearing.  I may not have fashion sense but at least I’m clean.
  • I enjoy poetry, but my true love is limericks.
  • Farts make me snicker.
  • I love fine food and wine, but I love burgers and beer just as much.
  • My liking for classical music might make me look as though I have taste, but the truth is I like rock and pop just as well. And blues and country and metal and reggae and ragtime and big band and just about everything else including polkas and accordion music. Sad but true.
  • I’ll choose a stupid sitcom over a serious drama every time. (Does anybody remember WKRP in Cincinnati? “…As God is my witness, Travis, I thought turkeys could fly.”)
  • In private, I lick my fingers instead of using a napkin.  Sometimes I lick the plate, too.  Especially if there’s rare-steak juice.

How about you?

  • Dress-up or jeans?
  • Haute cuisine or pub grub?
  • Comedy, drama, action, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, or romance?
  • Classics or genre fiction?
  • Shakespeare or e e cummings or doggerel?
  • Adolescent humour or… wait, never mind. If you’ve stuck with me this far, there’s no hope for you.  (Sorry about that.)

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Cockeyed And Crazy

Various people have suggested that my grip on sanity is tenuous at best, perhaps because I tend to zone out and mutter at random moments while I wrestle with plot problems, but mostly because of my tendency to risk unnecessary bodily harm. Usually I just disregard their reality and cheerfully substitute my own, but lately my state of denial has been harder to maintain.

Between kickboxing and home renovation and automotive work there’s rarely a time when I’m not decorated with at least a few bruises or abrasions, but I’ve been a veritable paragon of common sense while my back’s been sore. Weeks have passed with my knuckle skin completely undamaged. Even my fingernails have grown out into clean, smooth half-moons. For somebody who usually uses 10W-30 for hand cream with a manicure by Makita, that’s positively unnatural.

So apparently I’ve decided that some injury is required to restore the balance of the universe. Hubby may not realize this, but he has enabled me in my quest for pain.

It all started when I decided I’d like to have an actual bed for the first time in my adult life. Up until recently our mattress and box-spring sat on a steel bed frame. It was sturdy and practical but ugly as homemade sin, and the middle caster was positioned exactly so as to rip your toes off every time you made the bed.

Hubby and I looked at some new wooden beds, but the prices were exorbitant and the designs were boring. I admit I’m a cheapskate, but it seems to me that if I’m going to pay three thousand dollars for a bed that doesn’t even include a mattress, it better serve me drinks and rock me to sleep. Or rock my world somehow, but we won’t get into that.

So Hubby decided to build us a new bed. I designed it, he built it, and we’re delighted with the result in cherry and live-edge maple burl:

This photo doesn’t do justice to the satiny ripples of figuring in the burls.

This photo doesn’t do justice to the satiny ripples of figuring in the burls.

It’s beautiful. It’s one-of-a-kind.

And it’s dangerous.

We’ve lived in this house for sixteen years, and my reflexes are finely honed to skirt around the end of our bed in the pitch dark. But now the bed is eight inches longer.

I’m pretty sure if you look at the picture closely, you’ll see my kneecaps dangling from the end posts. I’ve smashed into those posts so many times my knees look as though Guido and Luigi paid me a midnight visit with their baseball bats.

And just because it’s not enough of a challenge to unlearn a decade and a half of habit, I’ve also started a two-week trial of eyeglasses that leave my right eye uncorrected so I can continue to see clearly in the distance, while correcting my left to see clearly up close. If I can adjust to that, I can have LASIK surgery on my left eye and ditch the umpteen pairs of reading glasses lying around our house.

But until or unless I get used to that, my depth perception is screwed up.

So I’m squinting cockeyed at the world while I limp around muttering disjointed sentence fragments and occasionally stumbling over imaginary obstacles on a flat smooth floor.

It’s lucky I don’t go out much. The loony-catchers would pick me up for sure.

Please inject a dose of sanity here.  Has anybody else tried the one-eye-for-distance/one-eye-for-closeup thing?

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Prickly Neighbours

I’m not a talented travel writer like my blogging buddy Sue Slaght, but here’s what we’re doing this week:

That’s Hubby mugging with our new neighbours, the saguaro cacti (also prickly pears in the foreground)

That’s Hubby mugging with our new neighbours, the saguaro cacti (also prickly pears in the foreground)

Yes, we’re on vacation this week, and it’s made me realize I don’t get out much.  It’s not that I don’t know what the outside world is like; it’s just that I kinda… forgot.

I had to laugh at myself when we got off the plane in Phoenix, Arizona.  I was harbouring a mental image and expectation of barren desert.  Which it is… outside the city.

And I was thinking Phoenix wasn’t actually much larger than Calgary… which it isn’t, until you add in the urban sprawl that includes about fourteen cities, all of them around the size of Phoenix.

So as a result of these comforting delusions I was semi-expecting an airport approximately the size of Calgary International, which, while not tiny, has lots of wide open spaces and is relatively easy to navigate.

When I got off the plane I nearly turned tail and ran back to beg them to take me somewhere less crowded.  Holy shit, there were a lot of people!

I know you seasoned travellers are laughing at me now, because Phoenix Sky Harbour is small compared to lots of other airports.  But my regular comfort zone is about two people per thousand square feet and I really prefer two people per square mile, so two people per square yard was a bit of a shock.

But I comforted myself with the knowledge that we’d be getting on the interstate freeway and heading out into the desert on our way to Tucson, so I’d soon be on the wide-open road.

Or not.

I10 from Phoenix to Tucson is not ‘the wide-open road’.  Just sayin’.  That’s what rush-hour city traffic looks like where I come from.

And I’m not really an ‘interstate’ kind of person.  I like the back roads, where I can get close to the fields and untouched places and see the indigenous plants and birds and critters.  You don’t see much of that from the interstate.  I glimpsed some big areas of saguaro cactus, but they whisked by in a blur at 75 mph.  I spotted some cotton fields, but they were blurry with speed and distance, too.

Fortunately I’ve had a chance to go out and poke around in the desert for the last couple of days.  I’ve bought my obligatory field guide, and I’ve been having fun trying to identify all the native vegetation.  I recognize the prickly pear cactus from home (it does actually grow in some areas of Alberta), but around here it looks as though it’s on steroids.

We’ve been doing the tourist thing around Tucson, seeing the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Desert Museum and the Colossal Cave so far.  The Biosphere 2 is still on a tentative list, and I’m sure there are lots of other fascinating things to see and do around here.

And my life is complete because I’ve now met a saguaro up close and personal (but not too close – I’m not crazy about cactus spines).

What’s new and exciting in your world this week?

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It’s Gonna Be A Long Winter

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time when we question our sanity in living where we do.

Saturday was nice and sunny with temperatures in the high teens (that’s low 70s for you Fahrenheit folks), and Hubby took the motorcycle out for one last ride. Sunday we had six inches of snow and last night the temperature was -27 with the wind chill.

We knew winter was coming. We’re not shocked.  But the longer we live here, the more we start talking about other places we could live.  The problem is that other than the cold and snow, we can’t think of a better place.

Well, okay; the cold and snow and the fact that there are large animals here that would like to eat us. Grizzly bears and cougars and such.  They’re not really an issue in the city, but when we’re out at our garden in the country, they’re a threat.

Hubby and I considered and discarded a few options.

Tropical beaches have a special allure when our world is cold and white, but then there are the problems of jellyfish and sharks and undertows and red tide and hurricanes and tsunamis, which are probably of negligible concern to the people who actually live there, but they seem pretty scary to us.

And most places with warm tropical beaches also have giant bugs. And the giant bugs often occupy houses where we might want to live.  This is an issue for at least one of us.

I grew up in a farmhouse that was infested by big black crickets all summer long, and crickets eat everything. Including your underwear in the laundry bin.  I had crotchless panties at an age where I couldn’t imagine why anybody would want them.  So my bug tolerance is slightly higher than Hubby’s, but I still have no desire to cohabitate with bugs.  Ever.  Again.

Then there’s the whole snake issue. Here in Canada even our venomous snakes are polite.  We only have four kinds, and they’d all prefer to avoid humans if possible.  They keep to themselves in a few small geographic areas, and even if you manage to find one and convince it to bite you, you probably won’t die.

Not like some of the warmer climes where you can take your choice between being fatally bitten or fatally squished by a mind-boggling variety of reptiles. I’ve heard Hawaii doesn’t have snakes, but then again, they’ve got volcanoes and lava flows.  One way or another, something’s gonna sneak up and swallow you when you least expect it.

And if you go really far afield, there’s a whole ‘nother set of man-eating critters licking their chops. Oh, with tropical diseases thrown in as a bonus.

Having exhausted our discussion of alternate places to live, our kitchen table conversation swerved to this:

Hubby: Wouldn’t it be nice to just put all the big predators on an island somewhere so we wouldn’t have to worry about them?  I wonder who’d win in a fight between a grizzly bear and a lion?

Me: Cage match!  I’d put my money on the grizzly.

Hubby: How about a grizzly bear and a polar bear?  Polar bears are bigger than grizzlies.

Me: Yeah, but polar bears only hunt wussy stuff like seals and humans.  No claws or teeth or anything.  Grizzlies are mean mo-fos.  They kill other bears.

Hubby: Hm.  Yeah.  How about…

*discussion continues*

Yep, only three cold days and already cabin fever is setting in. It’s gonna be a long winter.

Please help us out: Where’s the ideal place to live?

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Beware: Killer Raisins

By now everybody knows I suffer from what I prefer to call ‘attention-deficit dyslexia’ (because it sounds better than ‘I read too fast and my twisted brain spits out weird stuff’).

That’s been happening frequently of late, probably because I’ve been stoned to the eyeballs on muscle relaxants and my brain function has slowed to the speed of a crippled snail on downers.  I thought being stoned would be more fun than this, but at least my misreading has kept me entertained.

You may have come to expect my misreads to be of the off-colour variety, but apparently my sexlexia is (mostly) under control these days. Only a couple of my latest finds fall into that category: I read ‘Last time for a Night Screw’ instead of ‘Last time for a Night Crew’ and ‘Elevate the status of old spanky’ when it actually said ‘Elevate the status of an old standby’.  (I’m not even going to speculate as to who or what ‘old spanky’ might be.  Sometimes the nobility of my restraint astounds me.)

Then this inspirational title gave me pause: ‘Ambulance doesn’t follow giving until giving becomes its own reward’. I’ve heard of ambulance-chasers, but that seemed to be carrying things a bit too far.

The title actually read ‘Abundance’, not ‘Ambulance’, but even with the correct wording I’m not sure how to interpret that headline. At least I don’t have to look over my shoulder for an ambulance the next time I donate to a cause.

Apparently I have a mental block against the word ‘plan’, because I read it wrong in two separate headlines within a day. First I read ‘you need a pun’, and then ‘7 signs you need a gun’.

Both those articles would have been much more entertaining if they’d explained why I needed puns and guns instead of plans, but I guess that’s too much to hope for in your average business magazine. (Though now in my drug-induced haze I’m imagining trade journals like Clown World and Assassins Weekly. Or better yet, guns and puns together in The Assassin Clown’s Handbook.)

Standing in line at the supermarket, I did a double-take when I glanced at one of the tabloid headlines and saw ‘Killed By Raisins’. At least I thought that’s what it said. When I looked more closely at it, I was disappointed to discover that it actually said ‘Raised By Killers’. I was totally bass ackwards on that one.

And speaking of food, I got a giggle out of one of the invitations from my Meetup group. It announced ‘A waistline is available for Steak Night’. Padding somebody else’s waistline instead of my own seemed like an excellent idea, but it was too good to be true. In fact the only thing available for Steak Night was a waitlist.

After that spate of misinterpretation, I barely blinked at the spam email that mentioned ‘colorectal feathers’. I re-read it, fully expecting to find it said something else. But no; this time it wasn’t my eyes playing tricks on me. It actually said ‘colorectal feathers’.

The mental image cracked me up. No matter how I tried, I couldn’t help picturing a guy with a gaily coloured feather duster stuck up where the sun don’t shine.

My back is much better and I’m looking forward to ditching the drugs soon, but at least I got a laugh from killer raisins and poop-chute plumage.

Any other ‘creative readers’ out there?

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

They’re coming for us.

Leathery features twisted in horrifying grimaces. Glistening eyeballs barely contained in lidless sockets. Grotesque warty protuberances erupting from wrinkled reptilian skin.

I’m not talking about the usual Halloween ghosties and ghoulies. These aren’t human beings in masks and makeup. This is the real thing; a nightmare come alive.

Yes, I’m talking about potatoes.

How would you like to find this when you stick your hand in the potato bin?

How would you like to find this when you stick your hand in the potato bin?

 

Or this?

Or this?

These are last year’s potatoes – we didn’t finish them up before we dug the new ones, and now apparently they’ve decided to reproduce all on their own. They’re actually growing new little potatoes inside the old ones.

I’m totally creeped out. It’s like one of those pod-people horror movies, only it’s happening in our potato bin. And just in time for Halloween, too.

Maybe we should put these out on our front porch instead of a jack-o-lantern. I bet that would cut down on the trick-or-treaters (or, as we often call them, Halloweeners, but that word always makes me think of a semi-artificial meat product all gussied up in a little costume).

I like Halloween.  Its origins are shrouded in mystery and nobody remembers or cares whether it was originally a religious or secular occasion. It celebrates absolutely nothing, and does it with silly costumes and free candy.  What’s not to like?

We need more days like Halloween, but I think we adults should get goodies along with the kids. Maybe candy for the kids and booze for the parents, so the adults will be sufficiently mellow when their little darlings consume the entire contents of their candy bags and become hyperactive human cannonballs with projectile vomiting. I don’t have kids of my own, but an overstimulated child with a belly full of candy sounds like the world’s scariest horror movie to me.

Hubby and I used to stay home and hand out treats, but for the last few years we’ve been Halloween grinches. We vacate the house around five o’clock and go to the bar to shoot pool, nicely avoiding both the parade of kids and our subsequent pig-out on leftover chocolate bars. (‘Cause you wouldn’t want to run out of candy, right? So you have to buy lots. And it only makes sense to buy the kinds you like.)

But maybe this year we should stay home and hand out potatoes. They’re the perfect Halloween treat: delicious, nutritious, and scary as hell.

Anybody else harbouring mutant vegetables? What are your Halloween traditions?

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Slime! You’re Eye Candy!

That was the sign that confronted me as I left the optometrist’s office yesterday: “Slime! You’re eye candy!”

I had just been told my eyesight was perfect, so since I was reading the sign backward through the glass I figured it had to be another instance of my attention-deficit dyslexia. I went around and checked it from the correct side and sure enough, it said, “Smile! You’re on camera!” But at least I got a chuckle.

It’s been that kind of week: Bass ackwards and downside up. I feel as though I’ve been running around in ever-decreasing circles until I’m in imminent danger of disappearing up my own ass.

Since October is breast cancer awareness month, I had planned for today’s post to honour several of my personal friends and all the other brave women who have fought or are fighting breast cancer.

When one of my friends was going through her chemo treatments, she wanted a break from all the scary serious stuff and we usually ended up laughing in the treatment room. Cancer has enough innate solemnity, so I wanted to write a light-hearted post.

But my scattered brain wouldn’t cooperate. I made several attempts but they all felt as cheap and forced as the drilling company that sent pink drill bits out to their sites to promote awareness despite the fact that some of the chemicals they use are believed to cause breast cancer.

I could just see the board meeting for that one:

“Hey, let’s paint our drill bits pink! We’ll get all kinds of good press for supporting breast cancer!”

“Um, our chemicals cause breast cancer. We’re supposed to be supporting awareness of breast cancer, not supporting breast cancer itself.”

“Oh… Well, close enough. Paint ‘em pink and send out a press release.”

Usually I write my blog drafts on Monday, but by yesterday afternoon I had nothing but three boob jokes and an off-colour toast. (That’s three jokes about boobs, not jokes about three boobs… though I did, in fact, give my blogging buddy Linda Grimes a hard time about discovering a middle tit last week, so maybe that qualifies.)

I’m still clinging to the hope that my gray matter will cooperate and I’ll manage to write that post by next week. Meanwhile, all I’ve got is a joke that combines three of my favourite things: engineers, smart women, and raunchy humour (not necessarily in that order). Oh, and a boob reference, to, um, round things out:

An older male engineer and his young female counterpart were going out to inspect a site after the survey crew had finished. Wanting to impress the young engineer with the breadth of his knowledge and experience, the man turned to the woman as they got out of the truck and said, “We’ll get this done faster if we split up, so take whatever you need from the toolbox in the back of the truck. If we need to communicate at a distance we’ll use the secret engineering code.”

She nodded and they went their separate ways with the man chuckling inwardly. That showed how little she knew. The secret engineering code was something he’d just made up on the spur of the moment.

Looking back to enjoy her rear view, he tripped over a survey stake and knocked it over. By the time he got dusted off she was quite a distance away, watching his discomfiture with a grin. Embarrassed, he decided take her down a peg or two. He pointed to his eye, then his knee, then mimed a hammering motion. “Eye… kneed… the hammer.”

Expecting her to be completely bamboozled, he was startled and not a little perturbed when she shrugged, gripped her left boob, and then hoisted her hand into her crotch.

Frowning, he exaggerated his movements, pointing forcefully to his eye and knee and madly hammering the air. “EYE… KNEED… THE HAMMER!”

She scowled back and repeated her insulting gestures with even more emphasis.

Enraged, the male engineer strode toward her and she did the same, meeting him in the middle and looking just as irritated as he.

“What’s wrong with you?” the man demanded. “I need to pound in that stake. I told you very plainly, I NEED THE HAMMER.”

She replied, “I answered, you moron! Don’t you understand the secret engineering code? I LEFT TIT IN THE BOX!”

…And speaking of eye candy, I know I link to this video approximately every second year but just because I’m completely devoid of originality today, here’s my favourite reminder to get those breast self-examinations done:

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