Thursday, May 29, 2014

ROBBLOG #540


So, I'm riding along the bike path through Couchiching Beach Park- just opposite the Champlain Monument.

The bike path/walking path is divided from the road by concrete parking dividers. As I am riding along- just a few feet before me, a van pulls across the dividers and parks directly in front of me. A door swings open. The two cars on my left come to a stop because they can't pass safely with this van door flung open into the single lane.
I too stop short.
A women- completely unaware of the problem she has just caused, steps out of the van and closes
the door. She walks to the back of the van where I am stopped on my bike.
It's as if she doesn't know I am there.

"You realize you've parked right on the path..."- I say to her.

"Sorry."- she replies in a soft, damsel-in-distress kind of voice- "But I've lost my glasses."

I look to the couple in the car to my left and we all shake our heads in unison.
The cars move along and I ride out around the van on the left.



I wonder what she meant?
Did she mean she had lost her glasses and therefore didn't see that she parked right on the path?
Why was she driving if she lost her glasses in the first place.
or...
had she pulled up short and parked on the pathway because she was just popping over the fence that divides the path and roadway from the grassy area, just to have a wee peek for her "lost glasses"?

Whatever the reason, it was a dumb fuck of a thing to do and what she said didn't make sense.
A parking area was just a few car lengths away.
I swear I saw Champlain- high atop his monument, shake his head in disbelief.

Were her glasses going to get up and walk away if she didn't look for them that very minute or couldn't she see the parking area without her specs?

Whatever the reason it was a stupid and wrong thing to do.

I get so tired of the excuses and the people during the warmer months who pay no mind to that pathway. It is well-marked. They must see folks biking, walking, rollerblading or strolling along.

It's even worse where the mariners back their boats into the water down by French's Stand. I hope they deal with traffic and other boaters on the water better than they deal with pathway traffic on dry land. It's all for them and one for them- not for all or us.
It's a fucking obstacle course for as long as the boating season is in full swing.

Just be aware if you do any of those activities on the pathway through the park. Be aware too of
those "silent" e-bikes. They have just added another dimension to the phrase- "an accident waiting to happen". These bikes creep up silently and whiz out and around you in a flash. Very few people ring their buzzer to let you know they are there. If you ride a self-powered bike, a rear view mirror is a must- and good hearing a plus!

Oh and the tourists?
They have even less of a fucking idea. I imagine they wonder why someone would paint yellow and white lines on the pavement where they have to walk or cross over to get to the other side. Don't even get me started with people who walk and push baby strollers on the wrong side of the white line. Sometimes, after their stroll, I see them climb into their KIA's and drive away- hopefully on the "right" side of the road!

I gotta run. You see, I've misplaced my glasses and I have to go out onto the street to hold up traffic to look for them.

Happy Summer- in spite of them all!

Friday, May 23, 2014

ROBBLOG #539

"Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Rum!"

I am reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Can't you guess?

It's a classic I have never set eyes on but I started reading the book on my Samsung phone as I sat keeping my Mother company during her final weeks. It's an easy read- even with all the "Avast me Hardies" and "Larsh 'im to the yard arm!"

So far, it's a fast and interesting read.

I haven't really cast the book in my mind's eye but I can see Mr. Hugh Jackman cast in a pirate movie. He would appear stripped to the waist with a golden amulet hanging amidst the hair on his ample and well-tanned pectoral muscles. Starting at his waist he'd be wearing tight pirate pants featuring wide red stripes all the way down to his muscular calves. The pants would be jagged and torn at the bottoms and bulging...well, where pirate pants worn by Hugh should bulge. His size 11 feet- I checked on the internet- yes, size 11, are bare and tawny brown in colour.

He'd have a scabbard tucked through a belt made of black, twisted rope encircling his trim waist and maybe a golden earring in his right ear with a nipple piercing in his left titty. Maybe one tat on a broad forearm- a sketch of a palm tree perhaps...
That just about does it.
Do you have a picture in your mind's eye?



When I come across a character that fits this image, I'll cast Hugh in the part.

In the book, we are about to land on Treasure Island for the first time. Long John Silver is up to something to be sure. I'll have to read more to find out.

I do see the image of Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean as I read but I haven't sound anyone with the same sense of humour or timing in the book so far, so I am keeping him on the sidelines as well. Hugh and Johnny are sitting off to the right just out of my mind's eye camera range, under a Date Palm in their respective canvas "actor" chairs. Their names emblazoned in black script across the chair backs. They each have a cold drink in their hands filled to the brim with lots of shaved ice.

Every once in a while I see Johnny sneaking a peak over the top of his black RayBans at Hugh's massive biceps as Hugh curls his arm towards his full lips to take a drink. Johnny finds his thoughts unsettling and grabs the latest issue of House and Home from his backpack to take his mind off... things.

So, I will read on searching for a character wherein I'll cast Hugh and yes- Johnny too.

"Here's to ourselves and hold your luff, plenty or prizes and plenty of buff."

Er....I mean "duff".


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

ROBBLOG #538


Phone rings...

Hello?
Yes, this is Rob.
(pause)
Your show? What show?
(pause)
Oh that show. Yes, I seem to have heard you were directing that production.
(pause)
What's that? You have a part for little ole me?
(pause)
This is such a surprize and an honour. I never expected anything like this.
Yes, I would be delighted to be in your show!
(pause)
It's a lead role?  Why yes, again, I would be honoured.
(pause)
Fine. I look forward to hearing from you regarding the rehearsal schedule.
(pause)
Yes, you have a good day... and thank you very much for calling.

Click.

I am practising being surprized
Actually I am being a "Diva" hoping the phone will ring and it'll be a Director
offering me a part in a show.
It happens every now and then.
Sometimes a producer calls and hints that I should be at an audition. They never come right out and ask but this time I am hoping it will be different. This time I am hoping I will be asked without having to go through the audition process.



What a little self-righteous, snubbed-nosed Diva I have become!
Still, I am hoping it might happen in the next few weeks- or days.

That's what it would take. A personal invite to become a member of the cast.
It would be terrific. It's one of my favourite shows and one of my favourite Directors.
Goodness. What a huge head I have!
Don't I just think my armpits don't smell.

What's that you ask?
Have I been to Diva-Bitch school?
No.
Nothing like that at all.
It's very simple.
I would take a part if it was offered to me.
That's all. However, I am not going to go out of my way to perform like a trick pony to get it.
Nor will I sleep with anyone or allow them to fondle my private ~ahem~...

That is so Hollywood and Hollywood this is not.

So, I stay focused.
I practise my best- "I am totally honoured and blown away" tone of voice and
I wait for the phone to ring.



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ROBBLOG #537

It was a brilliant summer morning when Pikki opened the front door.
 
The earth from the garden smelled warm and lush. The ferns that grew profusely on either side of the front door were as robust as any fern growing on any forest floor. In fact neighbours were always quick to compliment Pikki on just how marvellous they were.
 
Looking across the street, the sun’s rays shone in broad strips of yellow between the trunks of a stand of tall white pine growing proudly on Mr. Robinson’s front yard.
It was going to be a beautiful day.
Pikki sipped at a cup of hot coffee, brewed just a few moments before. Full bodied. Flavourful. Hot. Just the way coffee should be served every morning.
 
Meanwhile, the robins were chirping, searching for that elusive breakfast worm.
Mrs. Riley’s Jack Russell puppies barked in their front yard. Pikki could hear the sound of Mr. Cunningham slowly maneuvering the big street washer down Ashburnham Street, keeping the neighbourhood looking clean and tidy.
 
 
 
Pikki took several deep breaths between sips of coffee. With eyes firmly closed and a broad smile creeping upon Pikki’s face, one knew by looking that Pikki was happy and content.
Taking a few steps forward across the lush, emerald green lawn, Pikki stood at the edge of the curb and looked both ways up the street.
 
Mrs. Collins was sweeping the sidewalk. Mr. Curtis was watering his prized roses with a curly, red garden hose. Young Wally Beamish was on his skateboard performing figure eight’s on his parent’s freshly black-topped driveway.
Pikki knew that an early summer morning- such as this one, could be akin to paradise. With eyes closed once again, Pikki breathed in deeply, standing on the edge of the lawn at the curbside, being careful not to spill any more coffee.
 
Suddenly, there was a noise- a splat if you will, at Pikki’s feet. Pikki heard the sound of Tommy Twosome’s bicycle bell. Opening eyes that had been firmly closed only seconds ago, Pikki looked down and saw the Morning Star newspaper lying on the ground a few inches away. Tommy turned and looked back at Pikki, waving as he swiftly paddled his bike down the street
 
Pikki bent down to pick up the paper, carelessly spilling some more coffee on the curb.
 
As Pikki bent down to collect the paper, Mr. Cunningham and his street washer swiftly swooshed by decapitating Pikki in a flash, leaving great splashes of blood and gore lying on the spotless pavement.
 
So, not all summer mornings are brilliant- or so it would seem.
 
 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

ROBBLOG #536

My Mum passed on this past Wednesday April 30th at 230 PM in the afternoon.
 
She was living at Spencer House in West Orillia on West Ridge Boulevard.
Not really living but existing.
Nice people there at Spencer House’s Spruce Lane.
Terrific people that cared for Mum in a way my brother and sister and I just couldn’t.
While there these past 3 months, we visited Mum every day- sometimes twice a day or more.
Nice people, as I said.
Nice place, as I said but really just a warehouse for seniors waiting to enter the next plane of life.
 
I have updated the rest of this blog below from one I wrote a few years ago.
 
Here’s to you Mum!
 
Mum at Supertest. The pump is on the right.
 
 
See this picture of my Mum.
There she sits on a piece of concrete. It’s obviously summertime.
Slip-ons and bobby socks.
Her hair in tight curls. Usually in pictures of this era she had a bandana wrapped around her hair and tied at the back. I don’t think she’s wearing one in this picture though.
I’m sure she had to wear some type of head covering while working the grill.
 
Mum also made bombs at Piat in Orillia.
Funny, if you knew my Mum.
Couldn’t put a DVD disc in a DVD player but in the 40’s she made bombs!
I have pictures of her wearing her bomb-making overalls too.
 
Mum- Marion Reid (nee Bartley) was also a “Supertest Girl”.
What’s a ‘Supertest Girl”?
No, it’s not a burlesque Revue. Mum worked at the Supertest Grill at Front Street South and Colborne Street. The building is still there but it’s empty now after a Rent-to-Own furniture store moved to another location.
 
Mum came from Peterborough.
She was one of four daughters born to Bruce and Lottie Bartley.
A sister- Wilma, still lives in that Kawartha City. I loved it when the “Sisters” got together. Memories and stories of years gone by sometimes came off sounding a bit different. Two versions if you will. For instance, Aunt Wilma says she stole my Mum’s new bike. Mum says Dad stole it, only he didn’t really steal it, he just “borrowed” it to get to the Lacrosse Arena where he was playing for the Peterborough Team. Maybe even I don’t tell the story exactly as it happened.
Not that it matters. It’s funny either way.
 
 
 
That Supertest Gas Station and Supertest Grill was still in operation when I was a child of the 50’s. This picture of Mum was taken when my Dad was away overseas during World War II. You can’t see it but there’s some mushy writing both along the bottom edge and on the back of the little snapshot. I just didn’t feel that needed to be shared with my “global” audience. You know, “missing you” stuff.
 
I guess Mum liked working at the Grill but she and the other gals hated working the weekend nights- especially after midnight.
Orillia was dry you see. No booze.
Liquor and beer was scarce as hen’s teeth. No Bars. No drinks in restaurants.
Ahhh… but there were bootleggers.
People who illegally sold booze to the infidels.
Orillia was dry when I was a kid too.
Temperance Ladies and the ever-powerful churches- especially the Baptists, kept a short reign on those who liked a bit of wine with a meal.
The Devil’s elixher to be sure!
 
So, Mum and the other Supertest Gals hated the weekend nights because the drunks would arrive for burgers after the hotels in Atherley- that little den of purgatory, closed. There was the Atherley Arms- the First. In recent years, you might have known it by the name – Girls! Girls! Girls!
Strippers.
Underage drinking and a murder in the parking lot.
Today it sits empty and for sale.
 
The other bar was the “second”. I think it was the Champlain or something like that. I never went in as a teen but I heard it was a bit of a dump and rough! I believe they only served beer, so a “cultured” drinker such as myself, didn’t have the palette for a brew.
Both had women’s and men’s entrances or ladies with escorts. No Gal would be caught going to the bar without a man on her arm back in the day- I dare say.
 
However, I remember once in Peterborough in the 60’s, my Dad went into a bar for a cold beer on a hot July day as Mum and I shopped in a nearby store. This bar only allowed Men through its doors!
Can you imagine? A “men only” bar. God only knows what hi-jinks happened in the dusky, dank darkness!
Come to think of it, back in Toronto I was in many “men only” bars.
Only in the 80’s- like today, they were called Gay Bars. Oh, the occasional straight woman would come with a Gay friend and sometimes a Lesbian or two- but that was about it. Mostly Men!
 
Now, like The Second, I had never been inside the Atherley Arms.
What an Angel I am!
The second was torn down years ago. Now a fire station has proudly taken it corner location.
 
Supertest Gals with Mum on the left
 
 
So, Mum and the Supertest Gals would brace themselves for the onslaught of men, drunks and the “loose women” who accompanied them. I believe they ran a tight ship and had some Male help that ushered the “tight and tanked up” back out the door.
 
Oh yes, Supertest was “All Canadian” and its main function was to sell gasoline to the populace- even the drunks. Supertest was the name of the oil company. The Supertest Grill was just a sideline. Gas and a burger. Or was it the burger- then gas! Depends on how many onions Mum and the Supertest gals piled on top of the cheese I suppose.
 
If you want to see a Supertest pump today, drive out number 12 from Orillia towards Coldwater. Just past the Marchmount turn, look to the right. There’ll you’ll see a couple of old Supertest Pumps sitting in front of a garage.
Don’t look for my Mum though; she’s somewhere nice telling “her” version of the stolen bike tale- one more time.
 
Marion Ruth Reid (nee Bartley) 1922-2014
 
 
Miss you Mum.
See you soon.