The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

October 31, 2006

Mother Nature's PMS

OK, don't get your pantyhose all tied up in knots.
The pictures you are about to see are the equivalent of Mother Nature suffering through (or should that be US suffering through) a bit of PMS, northern North America style.
That's right, just the calm before the real storm, the predictable sign that winter is just around the corner on the northern Prairie, the cranky but inevitable approach of bad, cold weather on the horizon.
No offence intended, ladies, but I can't help but make the analogy. It's the onset of the Winterpeg Wonderland, that long, frigid time of the year when we must go without the necessities of life and just try to survive.
But this is just a sign that it's coming. This is nothing compared with what's yet to come.
This happened Monday over a span of about 12 hours. I took the first two pix Monday night after work and the last three Tuesday morning.
But my plans to do this post late Monday night were bamboozled by Blogger's decision to make uploading photos impossible. Until tonight, Tuesday. So here they are.
This will be no big deal to other Canadians tuning in.
This much snow in late October is a bit early, coming on the day before Halloween, and it will stay here and it will get much colder through December to March until it starts to warm again.
But I wanted visitors from Australia, South Africa, India, Malaysia, South America, the southern U.S. and bloggers in Europe to have a gander, just to get a taste of the first vestiges of a Canadian winter.
So here it is...

Between 15-20 cms. of snow fell. Depending where you live, is this a shocking revelation to you? Or is this what you'd expect from a place in the middle of Canada, the land of hockey and ice?

What's your weather like and have you ever tasted snow on the tip of your tongue or got your tongue stuck frozen on a metal object while you were a kid out playing in -30 C temperatures?

October 29, 2006

Turning Back the #@*&!! of Time

Time to turn back the clocks to get that extra hour of daylight, at least for us up here in the northern hemisphere. I spent part of Sunday doing just that, but this time around, I had an extra smirk on.
This watch, which I bought a couple of years ago in an effort to be super cool, cheap and technologically advanced all at the same time, has been the bane of my existence ever since.

As you can see, it has four buttons on it and includes a stopwatch, date, day of the week, an alarm if I needed it, 24-hour time if I wanted that and the capacity to pretty much time my whole life and everything in it.

But do you think it comes with simple instructions on how to change the time on it as we do twice a year? Nope.

Well, that's not true.

Unfortunately, it was made in Taiwan or China and the instructions are virtually impossible to follow, requiring a complex code pressing all four buttons in some indecipherable Pythagorean sequence or hieroglyphic formula.

I think I did it once, by accident.

So for the past couple of years, I have walked around with the wrong time on my watch for half the year and with the right time for half the year.

So in honour of this year's switch to Central Standard Time, I went back in time and bought the old standard, the manual watch below that goes tick tock and which I can actually change myself by pulling out a little button.

Below are many of the clocks in my apartment that I had to turn back an hour on Sunday. The first one is in my daughter's room, so I won't apologize for that mess.

The other ones below are, however, adorning the rest of my place. I haven't even included the microwave clock and the coffee machine clock.

How many clocks do you have in your humble abode and is it fair to say we're obsessed with the passage of time?

October 27, 2006



Who, really, IS this Blasphemous Blogger, this Escapeons Enigma, this Outrageous Orator? He is much more than you know or than he lets on in his blog, which anyone reading this is likely to frequent (or can be accessed from my sidebar).

What will already be evident to HE fans are his sense of humor, his knowledge of just about everything, his smart-ass but light-hearted yet insightful view of the world, his range of opinion, his capacity for the most innane trivia.

But what's beyond the bluster of the blogger? I'm about to expand your HE horizons.

We have known each other since 1979 when we both took the same two-year course in creative writing (journalism, advertising, P.R.). I almost detested his loudmouth schnook sort of personality and his good looks.

He was a chick magnet and a know-it-all to boot.

He was loud, obnoxious and unbelievably funny, even if you were his target, and I have been that often. Strangely, we became the closest of friends, because I am anything but loud and obnoxious.

We seemed to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but something clicked.

He was the best man at my wedding. But before that, we spent those two years often pie-eyed at his place, listening to music he'd always try to get me to like, at unbelievably high decibels, while I wiped him out at Blackjack or whatever other card game we'd play.

(Yes, alcohol was involved)

His place was party central. I called his dad, Dad, the most beautiful man you'd ever want to meet. His mom was like my mom. Still is. We were so close that his girlfriends were almost my girlfriends (or sometimes I might have wished they were).

Upon graduation, we each got married. I moved away and we lost touch with each other. In that time, we both had families and, as it turned out, we both saw our marriages break up, although I had moved back to my home town.

We eventually reunited. Now the both of us have lovely kids, in HE's case he has a second family as a result of a consummate union with one of the most beautiful women I have ever met, she who cannot be named (Hi Alice!), whom HE refers to only as his GoodLadyWife.

Seeing as I'm single, he says he lives vicariously through me and my on-again, off-again different relationships. We generally see each other once a week at my place, where we try to solve the world's problems, tease each other and almost certainly laugh a lot.

For example, on Thursday night, we debated the following issues and solved or joked about all of them:

1. Canada's aboriginal problem

2. Canada's crime and justice problem

3. George W. Bush and Iraq. We have solved this over and over, but Bush still hasn't got it right.

4. What we're going to do on the final night of all human existence, as prophesized by the latest pamphlet to be dumped in my mailbox entitled "Revelation of Hope, a Bible Prophecy Seminar," taking place in my city next month in these "final few days."

5. How he was going to borrow his mom's rug shampoo machine, seeing as HE twice last night spilled his rye and Pepsi. The first time, he spilled it all behind my fridge, which is grungy enough. The second time, it was on my carpet.

I sopped it up gleefully, not wanting him to feel like a complete idiot as he apologized profusely. And he wasn't even drunk.

6. We talked about blogging and bloggers, of course.

7. We talked about and checked out Brian The Mennonite's blog, which had pix from their meeting last weekend at HE's place, a social occasion I unfortunately wasn't able to get to.

8. We talked about how he said he had blogged for months initially, beginning last winter, without a comment before the lovely Cherrypie found him and, with her wit and guile, made him see there were other intelligent, engaging people out there that could be an audience.

There were other topics, obviously. But those are the main ones of interest to the Blogosphere, I figure. And now here he is, nominated for Canadian Blogger Awards in several categories in his first year, and loving it.

But from a personal standpoint, and I know him intimately, he is only just beginning. He has unique thoughts and talents, he's a man of the world, and he has always had an impact on my life and what I think, even if he won't let me take a pic of his bare butt at Carmenzta's request.

He is far more artistic than you will ever know, having adorned some of his posts with his own artwork that he doesn't take credit for. He has done a caricature of me that I have posted before, but he has also done these of my kids...

No, this is the Homo Escapeons I know...wise beyond his own knowledge despite his frivolity and partying personality, his caring for the bigger issues on a global scale, his silent and unwavering commitment as a parent and as a friend.

October 26, 2006



No, not zany Dracula spoofs pulled off by innane Canadian comedians who nonetheless make me laugh.

Today's theme -- alert Entertainment Tonight -- is the unbelievable good fortune of deceased entertainers.

Today's theme, prompted by the short Hindustan Times story below, is DEAD AND LOVING IT.



Kurt Cobain, former lead singer of Nirvana, has topped Elvis Presley as the top dead celebrity earner.

According to, the list was created by Forbes in 2000 and Presley had topped it since then.

But this time Cobain earned $50 million and Presley's income was $42 million only.

Other dead celebrities on the list include Peanuts animator Charles Schultz, John Lennon, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley and Ray Charles.


Aside from the whole issue of what our apparent fascination with "dead celebrities" says about us as a society, I wonder where all this money goes?

To lawyers and promotions people who continue to market this stuff? To the descendants or spouses of these Unalive Stars?

What about if all this money was put in a kitty and sent to the relatives of the dead in Lebanon or Darfur or any one of a million other forlorn places on the planet that are torn apart by war or hunger or sectarian violence?

But let's not be party-poopers. Who are your favourite Performers who've passed on to the Pearly Gates?

October 24, 2006


They're just three young teenagers out to have some innocent fun.
A couple of weekends ago, on an unbelievably frigid early October Saturday morning, my son (on the left above, his friend Alex on the right) asked if I could "drive some of the guys out to paintballing."
The father who was scheduled to drive had some car trouble. I figure all parents have to chip in, so I said sure. It was only later I found out that the paintball place was an hour outside the city I live in.
So it ended up taking my entire afternoon, but I'm glad it turned out that way. Because I was able to witness my son having the same innocent kind of fun I had as a kid, when I played guns all the time.
I realize this is politically incorrect now.
In some people's minds.
And that there a lot of PC people out there who may be shuddering in horror at the thought I would let my son participate in an activity that involved TRYING to shoot his friends.
But these are GOOD kids. They aren't out to blow up skyscrapers or shoot their schoolmates to death. They just want to have some fun. And (gasp!), you know what?
For a 14-year-old male, shooting things harmlessly is FUN.
And I want my son to have fun with his friends in activities I know about, can think about and approve of. In this case, the activity was something a bunch of visiting German exchange students begged their hosts to do.
So we did it (well, not me, I just drove and froze, but I sure wouldn't have minded).
I got a chance to get to know of my son's friends better, to be part of their lives for a couple of hours, and show my son and his friends that he meant a lot to me and the friendship he shared with them meant a lot to me.
And here's the proof that fun was had by all.

October 22, 2006


So my teen-aged son, in a bone-headed early career step on his way to becoming the world's next mega-star lead singer, loses the one pick I found for him to allow him to practise on my guitar.
First it falls into the acoustic guitar. I instruct him to turn the instrument upside down and shake it all around until the pick falls out.
He does that, the pick falls out, but he can't find it. It's gone. Then he drops the guitar on the floor.
I'm thinking can I be like The Who's Peter Townsend and bash it over his head?
I don't.
He's leaving in an hour for a band practice/sleepover at his friend Alex's place. He's in a "pick panic." I'm in a "Don't murder him just yet" dynamic.
They haven't even played a song yet far as I know, but they already have a name for their band: Final Crisis. I'm sending him a not too subtle message that this may be HIS final crisis.
I regain my composure. I start searching for the bag with the other picks I know I have in my apartment. Sift through the drawers. Check out my "junk I can't throw out" container.
Rustle through closets, empty storage boxes, go through the cabinet thingy where I keep all my books, board games, 18 sets of cards, cribbage boards and atlases, etc.
I notice a theme here. I can't find the damn picks, but I sure am finding a lot of remotes. TV remotes, VCR remotes, CD player remotes, generic replacements for those dead remotes.

At the end of it all, I find a total of 12 remotes, all past their prime or at least long ago left on my own personal scrap heap of technology. Gasp. It's a veritable Requiem for Remotes, a Testament to TV, and more.

Back to my son for a brief moment. I did find the bag of picks in my guitar case and he was able to get away for his gig with Final Crisis, although I have urged him to reconsider that name with his band mates.

I'm sure when he returns none of the five picks I found for him will return with him. But at least he can't say I didn't supply him with everything he needed when he left here.

But these remotes...there's something eerily strange about seeing them all bunched together, passed by, discharged of their duties, made obsolete by the purchase of other TVs or CD players or because they didn't work any more.

Just lying around, warm hands holding them, no thumbs pressing their up and down channel buttons, their mute controls, their on-off switches. They're dead, but they're still with me.

They haven't had a proper burial.

So I've lined them up next to each other.

I'm singing Amazing Grace.

May the Remotes Rest In Peace.

October 20, 2006

Daughters and Fathers and (eek) Kissing on the Lips


Instead of this.

All through the early years, my daughter hugged me and hung on to me and asked me to swing her around like a rag-doll on a wild airplane ride and throw her up in the air to do flips into the lake and, yes, she always kissed me on the lips.

When she was this old...

And this old...

And even this old.

But now that she's THIS old... She won't kiss me on the lips any more.

No, just like kissing my sisters, now she turns her cheek and lets me kiss her THERE. There's still hugs, there's still kidding around, there's still me tickling her all the time to get her going...but her lips appear to be off-limits.

So I just wonder what this is all about.

I ask her in a teasing way. She just rolls her eyes. "Oh, Dad!"

Have my lips turned to sandpaper?

No, at least not according to women I DO kiss on the lips.

Maybe there's a women's code or a time-sensitive DNA thingy that scientists or all the love experts haven't discovered yet that kicks in at age 16 or 18 (YOU CAN'T KISS YOUR DAD ON THE LIPS ANY MORE!)

More likely, I think it coincides with whenever girls or young women get involved with their first serious squeeze.

Women get most of their life-long impressions about males from their fathers, I think that's pretty much established and sensible. And women LOVE kissing and hugging. Men, not so much, or so I've been told.

So maybe it's all about fathers serving as that guinea pig, in a sense, for their daughters until they figure they've got it pretty much down pat and now they need to go practise on the real thing. Or maybe it's just their time to fly away to Venus, leaving us dads on Mars?

Me? I's just rollin' with the punches on this one and making jokes about it with her.

But I do ask my legion of female visitors for their thoughts on this. Do they remember, as hot teen babes focusing on snaring a man, leaving their poor dads in the dust as far as lip-kissing goes and when they felt it became unfashionable to do so, and why?

And for male readers, if you so choose: what are your thoughts, if any?

INFORMAL POLL FOLLOWUP: The nays have it, by far. Most women say they rarely did and now never do kiss their dads on the lips. I'll never hear the end of it from my daughter...

October 19, 2006



(No, make that, "Nurse, Nurse...")

I never get sick, but...well, I'm sick. With a flu.

Or a code.

Or something.

So I'll be back as soon as I am able and I apologize for not getting out much to visit you this week.

In the meantime, pardon me while I lay me down to sleep...

October 17, 2006


Penguin capers I'd like to perform on exceedingly aggravating humans sometimes.

More penguin capers I'd like to perform on exceedingly aggravating humans sometimes.

October 16, 2006

A (single) Man's Work is Never Done


Yet when I got home to my apartment, these monstrous challenges were still awaiting me as we march inexplorably into the harsh winter that is still to come...

(Yes, this is part of my continuing and exceptionally boring series on the trials and tribulations of male domesticity)

This is my front closet. You can plainly see the basketball and football and the super-cheap promotional so-called Coors Light cooler on the left.

What you can't likely make out are the three softballs, the air conditioner cover, the bug spray, the foot odour canister and various other things that must be put away for winter plus about 300 coats I never wear)

I took a picture of the 18.5 pairs of shoes I have sitting there in disarray beneath the picture you see now, but I somehow deleted it and can't get it back. So use your imagination. This is one of my pre-winter chores.

However, there are many other tasks to tackle...

At the moment, I need to clean up the sink (this is only from Sunday night, I promise), force-feed my son the Reese Puffs he begged on his life that I absolutely must buy, and get my vacuum cleaner "Hepa Filter" replaced...among other things.

(You may also have noticed, if I again hadn't inadverntely deleted it after waiting three days for Blogger to actually upload the pic of that vacuum cleaner in front of my utility room, that I also need to take out my recycling).

Also on my to-do list are to get the three gorgeous prints I bought from Andrea framed (I laid them out on my un-vacuumed rug to photograph them, my apologies, Andrea) and to get my son to clean up his room.

How could he ever have become such a messy person?

October 13, 2006

The Stupidest Things I've Ever Done


TO THIS...(no, just kidding, this is a guy named Al from work)

To, more or less, for better or worse, this wind-worn and ravaged example of a somewhat nomadic northern North American male, just one of the masses.

(caricature credit: Homo Escapeons)

Fifty years on a planet can bring a lot of experiences...good and bad, happy and sad, brilliant and stupid.

And while this is by no means an exclusive list, here are my top 10 or more stupidest things I've ever done, in no particular order.

I was going to make this a meme, but opted not to.

However, I invite all visitors to either comment with their own list -- we won't laugh, although I expect some of you might laugh at mine -- or post your list on your own blogs.

A meme is not a mime. If you think about the dumbest things you've ever done and then don't let the rest of us in on them -- as in mime instead of meme -- well, that's kinda dumb too.

And not nearly as much fun.

Anyway, here we go...some of the stupidest thing I've ever done:

1. Sneaking up behind the hugely unpopular teacher/tyrant Mrs. Davies in Grade 7 and pulling her skirt down. Ooh, did I get in trouble for that. A week's suspension, as I recall.

2. As a kid of maybe 7, trying to walk tightrope style along the fence in my back yard and slipping. Oops. Right between the legs. Ouch.

3. At about age 9, getting angry at my mom and going to push open the back door. Only problem was, the top part of the door was made of glass. Both arms go through the windows.

As I pull my arms back in shock, rrrrriiiippppp! Right wrist cut open almost down to the bone, hitting the artery. Drive to hospital in panic and in blood. Nine stitches.

4. Now maybe 12 or 13, me and my brother sneaking some cigarettes from my mom, going outside with him and lighting up...right outside the dining room window! Doh!

Out she came. Forced us both to inhale and almost die.

5. With an equally stupid buddy somewhere around age 15, drinking a whole bottle of the cheapest wine we could find someone to buy for us and downing it in the crying room of the church where I was (yes, it's true) an altar boy.

Then moseying on down the street to the high school dance, pulling up a chair, leaning back on it as I always did and promptly falling backwards, getting sick and being driven home by the -- eek -- principal.

Penalty: three-day suspension.

6. Being asked out by the most popular girl in Grade 11 -- and saying no because I had to train for football. Duh.

7. Ill-advisedly attempting a 2 1/2 somersault off a 3-metre diving board and doing what amounts to a belly flop, only the excruciating pain was a bit lower. Geez, I've put them through a lot of unnecessary physical anguish.

8. Passing out in the middle of a highway in northern Manitoba while foolishly (and, yes, drunkenly) deciding to walk the seven miles back to the fish plant I worked at from Leaf Rapids.

I woke up at dawn sprawled out on the middle of the highway, somehow NOT run over by a car in the pitch-black darkness or eaten by bears or wolves. (A pic of the fish plant follows)

9. On a 4 1/2-month overland bus trip from England to India and back, I was convinced to consume both copious amounts of very potent hashish and some Indian beer in Hyderabad.

Hey...I was young and foolish and this was the late 70s!

I passed out in some field...and actually woke up, alive.

10. On that same trip, in Kabul, Afghanistan, I made the poor choice of saying the word fuck as a merchant tried to gouge me by charging an unbelievable amount for a sheep-wool sweater I was trying to buy.

He promptly pulled a knife on me and backed me into a corner. He knew what the word meant because the "American hippies living on Chicken Street" used it all the time, he said. Oops. My mistake. I apologized.

11. Homo Escapeons and I went out to Wallace Lake for a weekend, an event that of course called for loud music, heavy alcohol consumption and, oh yeah, a 2 a.m. canoe ride out on the lake.

Umm, someone had removed the drain plug from the bottom of the canoe. We paddled out about 300 feet and while HE didn't notice, I remarked, "there's water in the canoe."

We sunk about five minutes later, somewhere out in the middle of the lake. The pic on the right is one of us in the cottage going to dry off following that misadventure.

Of course there are many other goofy things I could talk about.

Like ripping my knee out while playing frisbee football in Turkey, or screwing up a disc in my back while trying to do a bit of downhill skiing on cross-country skis (don't try that), or using a power drill and having the bit sink into my thigh when I was into my home handyman expert phase, or having a full can of paint fall on my head.

But that would make this post far too long. Actually, it already IS far too long and I haven't even gotten into my rather sordid love life except for Sylvie in Grade 11.

So let's hear it. What equally stupid things have you done?

October 12, 2006



INSTEAD, we in the Great White North are dealing with this...

The beautiful bird above is an eastern rosella, brought to my attention by Lee, who has two of these gorgeous winged creatures inhabit her back yard in the incredible world of Down Under.
The picture below it (I think that's my curtain obstructing the right side; DOH!) is a shot of my expansive grassed area outside my apartment in the southern Winnipeg suburbs, looking out on my scenic parking lot.
The trees you see are now devoid of leaves. If I could record a soundtrack, you would hear the bitter sound of a cold, driving wind whistling through those barren branches.
But now, in between my endless search to find my longjohns with the hole in them from last year, on to a major portion of my post -- my hopes to win the Male Blogger Comeback Cleaner of the Year Award.
Several posts ago, I showed pictures of my unclean fridge and my disgustingly blackened oven. I am now able to report that in fact I have cleaned both of these crucial appliances, as below...
Voting begins tonight at 11 p.m. CST and ends at midnight at And I'd refer you back to my original post with the "before" pix, but I don't know how. You'll have to find it yourself.