Monday, October 31, 2005

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Forget You Read This Post

"The sage does less and less
until he does nothing at all"

Every once in a while, little snippets of wisdom from my university days will drift, uninvited, into consciousness. Taoism is a fine religion. All you really need to do is meditate upon the above quote to understand what I mean. But then, meditating upon the quote would be doing something. So, to truly understand you would have to forget the quote--but don't try to forget the quote; that would be un-Taoist. Think, rather, about jellyfish. What would heaven be like for one of these creatures? I hope there are jellyfish in heaven; otherwise, I don't want anything to do with the place.

One time, I dreamed I was a jellyfish: happily riding the oceanic currents, eating smaller creatures, not a thought in my head. The I woke up, but for a moment I couldn't detemine whether it was I, Flatlander, who had dreamed the jellyfish, or the jellyfish that had dreamed Flatlander. Or maybe a third, pan-galactic gaseous entity was dreaming the both of us; jellyfish and Flatlander, and all the stars, planets and their satellites. Who could really say? What right does anyone have to claim to know anything about these matters?

"Brilliant and Irrelevant"

Well, it's a bee-ooo-tee-ful day here in Steeltown, and I've been up to the usual--that is to say, nothing. Well, I listened to a preacher, walked around, bought some vinyl, ate teriyaki, fed the cat, drank some tea, warmed my nose in the sunlight...need I say more? No, but I will.

I also passed by the skatepark where a righteous session was going down. All the kool kids were there, tearing it up, and me without my board--but I didn't care. I'm not some poser show-off who has to prove himself in front of the other guys. Heck, I'm just glad that I can even still stand on a board, and the odd no-comply to backside tail is just icing on the beefcake.

But with all this good weather, and the pastoral, Sunday afternoon mood it puts one in, let us not forget the political turbulence--one could even say chaos--that has currently been unleashed on the Lower Frozen Blogosphere.

I found this (T)image on the Roboshrub site. It seems to depict an attack upon one of the hastily erected Lower Bolgosphere polling stations. Here in the west we often take democracy for granted. Let us not forget our digital, robotic kindred who, even as we indolently ignore our hard won right to vote, are currently struggling to establish freedom and accountability to thier virtual realm.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Miraculous!

Example

I had given up hope of ever skateboarding again, and was just packing a few possessions in a rucksack in preparation to wander the country as train-hopping hobo, when the Pope of Fakiegrind dramatically appeared in the kitchen and asked if I had any pickled onions with which to garnish the spicy Italian sausage he was brandishing. I just happened to have a jar of sweet, pickled onions, and, after finishing his sandwich, the Pope sang an a cappella version of Sweet Caroline before disappearing again in a cloud of dry ice.

When the fog cleared, and my spasmodic coughing fit abided, I discovered that my skateboard truck had been magically repaired, and was all set to go (ignore the torn bushing that no doubt mirrors the gnarled state of my ravished knee cartilage). So, Fakiegrinders, I am off to catch a few airs before the sun sets on our aging civilization, and the Space Invaders finally land with that sickening "PLUDGE" sound that they make, and the Frozen Lower Blogosphere freezes over, or thaws, or does whatever it does when the Evil Bob Dole takes the reigns of office.

Kingpin Blues

Example

It's been a cold, rainy week-and-a-half since I broke my kingpin, so I haven't much felt the urge to go out and skate. But toady was a warm, sunny, late fall day so I stopped by the local skateshop to pick up a new bolt.

The problem with Independent trucks is that the kingpins are murder to replace. They are always jammed in so tightly that removing them is next to impossible, and putting the new one in is next to next to impossible. I've broken a few baseplates in my day while trying to hammer out a busted kingpin, and I now know a few tricks about how to handle the darned things.

But the kingpin I received from the shop (the last one they had on hand) was not an official Independent truck pin; it was some kind of so-called "universal" replacement pin with a little picture of a demonic face on the bottom of the bolt. I pounded the crap out of that little face while trying to hammer the bolt into its recessed compartment on the bottom of the baseplate, and by the time I was done I had a bloody hand from a cut in my thumb where I had gripped too tightly on a drill bit I was using as a sort of chisel.

At the end of the whole process, the kingpin was still too short for me to fit the bolt over top of the bushing cover. All this shop talk probably sounds unintelligible to any non-skater, but the net effect is that I was unable to re-assemble my truck and render the thing skateable.

And so I am sitting here, eating some rice and vegetables, listening to the radio and nursing my wounded thumb. I think that maybe I didn't want to go skating so badly after all. It might be time to pack it in for the year, rest on my laurels and take a load off my aging knees. I've had a good run, but maybe the universe is trying to tell me something with all these maintenance problems. Maybe it's trying to say, "Eat more fibre".

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vote Your Guts Out!

I must urge all Fakie readers, Agents, Double Agents, Royal Decoys and Spurious Commentators to take some moments to vote for the future ruler of the Frozen Lower Blogosphere.

Do the right thang!

Emporer Palpatine in Exile

Example
The toys say, "Don't give up!"

Success

My plan worked! I have succeeded in not winning the largest lottery jackpot in Canadian history! However, I did not succeed in tricking the universe to giving me what I was pretending not to want.

Oh well, back to the drawing board. As I have often done in times of difficulty, I will consult my Star Wars figure collection as to how to proceed from here.

Don't forget to vote!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Desparate Measures

I don't know how much longer I can outflank the Endtime Adjuster, collaborating, as he is, with the Evil Bob Dole and the Temp Agency I've been working for lately. My only hope for survival seems to be winning lots and lots of money in the weekly lottery.

Tonight is the draw for the largest lotto jackpot in Canadian history: some 40 million dollars ($36.40 USD). I've been playing the lotto for about ten years, and have had very little luck. However, tonight I have a new strategy. Whereas up until this time I have been actively trying to win the jackpot, tonight I am actively trying not to win. I am confident that, due to some diabolical quantum-Zen logic loop, my desire not to win, will actually bring about the opposite effect. It only makes sense, doesn't it?

Please do not attempt to employ this technique yourself. Without years of Zen lotto training you would run the risk of permanent brain damage, and possibly destroy several acres of virgin boreal forest in the process. Also, I don't want to have to share the jackpot with any copy-cats.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Dodging the Man

I went out skateboarding the other night, but when I got to the park my kingpin broke. The kingpin, for all you neophytes out there, is the bolt that holds the truck hangers to the baseplate--trucks being the metal things that hold the wheels to the deck and allow you to turn. When my kingpin broke I was left high and dry, and I had to walk back to the house of my friend where the cat and I have been staying, this past while. It's probably just as well, since my foot has been sore all summer, and likely could use some more time to heal--not to mention my aging knees.

So I've been working as a custodian at my church for the week, replacing the regular custodian who is off running a marathon. I like mopping floors, sweeping and vacuuming. It's contemplative work, and my church has some really beautiful old stain glass windows. It's a tranquil environment. I might be well suited to working in a funeral parlor, now that I think about it. Wood, carpet, quiet and solemnity. Much better than the pasta factory. The temp agency is still trying to track me down to work more factory shifts, but so far I've evaded them.

The Evil Bob Dole is also trying to capture a Fakie Agent or two, in order to interrogate them and discover crucial details about the Fakiegrind Endtime Polka Party. So keep your eyes open, and don't take candy, CDs or chewing gum from any strangers.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gathering 'Round the Turntables

Example

As a child, I remember when my siblings and I used to gather around my aunt's record player and listen to such classic songs as "Ye Olde Gaytes of Heaven" and "Repent! Lest Ye Be Lost to the Lower Flames". Those were righteous times.

Then one day, my aunts started getting all gangsta. Suddenly the record player had to be called "turntables", and they brought in a second one, and some kind of box with wires and dials.

Aunt Therma would say to me, "Bobby, it's time to bust the wax! Let's drop some beats and rejoice most vigorously, dog." We didn't know what Therma was talking about most of the time, but we humoured her. Aunt Louise would do this thing with her mouth, making strange percussive noises, and my brothers and sister and I would sing one of the old standards while Therma would insert little snippets from other records into the mix with the turntables.

We didn't realize it at the time, but what we were witnessing was the birth of a whole new form of musical expression. Therma would mix "The Old Rugged Cross" with "Sweet Jesus, Saviour of All", and the two would blend so perfectly into one song, you couldn't help but to get up and start clapping your hands to the rhythm.

One day, Therma had a young fellow from across the tracks over for tea. His name was Grandmaster Flash, and I think he watched very closely what my aunts were up to, because within a few months, kids started having these neighbourhood parties where they used the same mixing and scratching techniques, only with disco and R&B records.

Later, when the phenomenon went global, Flash claimed to have invented these processes, but I will always know it was my aunt Therma who gave birth to the whole hip hop thing that is so fashionable with the young heathens of today.

All Hail, Fakie Brethren

Example

Due to inter-junctions by the Evil Bob Dole, I've been laying low in an unspecified Fakiebunker and have been unable to maintain regular broadcast scheduling. I had to infiltrate Fakie Central late this evening, under cover of night, using the Stealth Glider to thwart the Canned Spiders of Dole that lay waiting behind the bushes and fire hydrants in my once Fakie-friendly neighbourhood. Thank Neil that the Passwords of Insanity have held, and the Vaults of Oldness remain intact receptacles of the Skate Wisdom of Yor! We must continue the campaign to out-flank the Dolites, while my cat, Tiger, and I continue our search for a new base of operations. Until the Discount Record Collection, and the Wheels of Steeltown Soundsystem are safely secured, I will only be able to transmit sporadic broadcasts. We're also working on a secret access tunnel to the Vaults, but don't tell Evil Bob Dole, or we'll be pooched! Flatlander out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Endtime Survey

Example

Seven out of ten quantum theorists said they believed the world was, indeed, ending; but that it was also beginning again, almost simultaneously, so as to make it nearly impossible to tell--especially if you happened to blink. Ending, beginning, ending, beginning, in an infinite dance resembling the stop-motion photographic processes involved in animated cartoons.

Three out of five street people surveyed said they believed that the world would end, but it was more a problem for their children to worry about. One person surveyed said the world had already ended, and that human history since the end of the second century A.D. has just been an obstinate phantasm.

The Flatlander has disappeared. He was last seen in northern Ontario, skating the park in his hometown and scrounging the basement vaults of Big John's Records for lost treasures. He has his cat with him. This is fortunate, for as the Flatlander is given to periodic bouts of extravagant daydreaming, his cat generally had four paws firmly planted on the ground.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The High Dials

Example

Earlier this summer, I won the new Beck CD in a CBC radio contest. The good fellow at the station also sent along a few other disks, among them the new High Dials album "War of the Wakening Phantoms". I left it at a friend's place for a month or so, but I've been listening to it again and it's truly infectious. They manage to mix together so many different sounds that I love: something like the Cure, Smiths, REM and 60's psychedelia all rolled into one, mighty, soul-sundering wall of sound. One of their songs even seems to borrow a Dead Milkmen rif (pure coincidence, I'm sure). If I had Oprah's expense budget, I'd send each and every Fakiegrind return reader a copy. Alas, I'm just a po' boy. But pick up the disk if you get a chance. If you are disappointed by it, then you deserve to be!

Decomposition in (Fake)E Minor

Today was rainy, and I spent the afternoon sleeping with Tiger curled up beside me on the comforter. This is when I noticed that he has a somewhat fishy smell about him. It's not overbearing or entirely unpleasant, but it is noticeable. Maybe it's the cheap dry food I've been feeding him.

Rainy days bring out the smells of things more than other sorts of days. There's the lumps of dog crap on the front yard that the tenant never cleans up, the diaper bucket of my housemate's kid; there's the soybean factory down the street, the mold and fungi of the basement crypt, and there's my housemate's makeshift compost pile behind the decomposing shed in the back yard. All of these things combine to form a veritable potpourri of scent.

Last night the Slug of the Apocalypse was crawling toward the doorstep again. I keep returning the creature to the garden, but it keeps coming back and back, like a poltergeist. All these things must mean something, though I'm not sure what. Actually, the message is clear: time to move on.

So Tired

Today I bought a carrying case for Tiger. I'm thinking of taking him up north, to my home town. My friend there is closing down his record shop at the end of the month. I might be able to find a temporary, or even permanant home for the cat, and I would like to take a last look at the largest record store north of Toronto. It would be nice, also, to get out of the shadow of the factories for a while and breath some fresh air for a change.

Born Free

I've been keeping my cat, Tiger, on a leash in the backyard for three days now. This is in response to my neighbour across the way who all but exploded last week after chasing Tiger away from her front drive for the umpteen millionth time. My neighbour--call her Gail--has a "beer tent" that she erects in front of her house during the summer, and she likes to sit there during the day drinking beer and watching the birds that gather at her feeder. She's been complaining that Tiger has scared away all the blue jays and morning doves; all she gets now are chickadees. It's really been pissing her off, and just last week-end she threatened to call Animal Control on me.

Steeltown by-laws state that you must keep cats on your own property, and I could face a hundred and thirty dollar fine if my neighbour goes through the trouble of filing a complaint. Tiger is a good cat. He came into my life earlier this summer, quite unexpectedly, as a stray. Long time readers of Fakiegrind might remember the full story. For my birthday, my parent's paid for the cat to be fixed and get his shots. Just a few days ago, I forked over seventy bucks for prescription flea medication for the critter. I've been phoning around, doing everything I can to find another home for him. He grew up an outdoor cat, and it's very difficult to keep him inside all the time. Also, the place is too small, and Tiger gets into territorial disputes with the other, older cat who lives here.

So stress has been mounting, these past few days. My housemate complains about the smell of the kitty litter in the bathroom. I feel like I can't really go anywhere because I'm worried that the cat will get tangled up on his leash. Tiger has been getting more and more irate (as you can see in the last picture of the preceding posting). He's been biting me in a more than playful way, getting a little nasty. I've had no luck finding a new home for him; I was even ready to fly out to Ottawa to leave him with my sister, but alas! So tonight I was sitting on the edge of the bathtub with the leashed Tiger on my lap, combing the dead fleas and dried blood out of his fur with a special comb. I looked into his animal eyes and just couldn't do it any more. I removed the harness, scratched behind his ears, opened the kitchen door, and let him escape out into the night.

Who am I to keep a beautiful, wild beast locked up in the bathroom like a prisoner? Tiger had a life of his own long before he showed up in the back yard. I set the alarm to wake me up early, so I can attempt to put him back on the leash (if he's around) before Gail checks on the status of her precious morning doves. I have a feeling, though, that there is further trouble brewing. It costs seventy dollars just to leave a cat with the Humane Society, where he may or may not find a new owner before being put down. I did the neighbourhood a service by getting Tiger fixed, thus curbing the proliferation of more generations of stray cats. However, everyone thinks of him now as my cat, my responsibility, my problem. I really don't know what to do. I tried to make Gail happy, but in the end, I don't think she will find satisfaction over this issue. And I would like to keep Tiger, but the universe may not be moving in that direction.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tales from the Crypt

Example
I unearthed the Fakiegrind vintage toy collection from the basement today, where mold and rust didst corrupt some of my treasures. Luckily, none of the damage was permanent.

Example
Zartan still turned a little greenish in the sunlight!

Example
Setting accessories out to dry (I'm missing a shoe).

Example
Toy laundromat.

Example
Bionic underwear party, c. 1975!

Example
Hang 'em to dry, boys.

Example
Tiger is on the scene, guarding the valuables.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Microsize Me

Set in my ways, too old to change
Greatful for whatever days remain
Sun comes up, I look to the sky
Too tired to work, too young to die

Fight to rewrite should and shouldn't
Minimize size of eco footprint
Erase my tracks: too convoluted
Chew on tacks, bloodstream polluted
Just like the river that runs through the town
Brownfield crop yeild, ruined ground

At the end of the age, folks living large
Through the needle's eye spy the One in charge

© 2005 Fakiegrind Corp.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Packin?

Did I see a gun at the skatepark today? Me no like gangsta pranksta. No way. I like to ollie the hip, not shoot from it. Kids these days think heat is legit. When I was young it was butterfly knives. Carrying blades made homies feel wise. I had one friend who was touched by grace. When a guy picked a fight, he kissed him on the face.

Pasta Factory

Freeze-dried canneloni, 4 320 per skid.
Me stack boxes. Make 40 quid.
Dry ice video star. Can't feel my feet.
Wall clock watching me stack frozen meat.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Night Sesh

Incredibly prolonged summer. Tearing up the Bease, deck big as a Hummer. Toxic air, thick enough to chew. Simmering in the urban stew. The older I get, the more I sweat. Landing firmly on the deck. Calculating angles, trajectories. Avoiding unintentional vascectomies. Game of switch SKATE. Seasonal shift. Global warming's tainted gift. Brand new skateboard feels so good. Everything slips away but the wood.

Big Trouble

On the road again, just me and my cat
Looking for code on a greasy spoon place mat
Summer of rust with smog in the air
Choking on dust, flies in my hair

Got some new wheels and a pair of white kicks
Drawing a map in the air with swizzle sticks
In case I get caught, remember one thing:
A drowing man used his last lungful to sing

If I could just smell the flowers again
Walk in the morning, listen to rain
If I could just wash my eyes in the dawn
With nowhere left to go but on