Friday, July 22, 2011

Remembering Scholastic Books

Anyone remember "Scholastic Books?" Once or twice a year, your teacher would take some time during your home room period to hand out one-page catalogue/ order forms from a company called "Scholastic Books". They usually had a pretty long list of inexpensive pocket books for kids, with topics usually in the science/ nature/ adventure story vein. I remember one called "Runner for the King", about some Inca kid sprinting over mountain tops with a knotted rope, which was the kingly message. I don't remember much about the message, or why the king needed his knots shared with such haste, but the cover looked kind of cool to me.

Being a kid whose mind was twisted by horror films, however, I was automatically drawn to either the ghost stories or anything that had a robot on the cover, Often I would buy the book just to look at the cool cover, and not bother with the contents (I would never admit this to my parents, as they thought they had a budding Einstein with a voracious appetite for literature. Actually I just had a voracious appetite for flashy covers. This would serve me well in later years to develop a completely indiscriminate attitude to selecting breakfast cereals and. later on, automobiles.)

I'd order books like the "Arrow Book of Ghost Stories", which promised a "shivery, quivery, just-scary-enough time!". I really should have been tipped off by the "...just-scary-enough" portion of the teaser, as the stories themselves tended to be pretty tame for my tastes (e,g, "Teeny-Tiny" by Joseph Jacobs. "Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman who lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village" Please, stop the shocks.)

Despite the somwhat vanilla nature of the books, I still enjoyed the process of researching, ordering and receiving the books, and even ended up reading some of them. I still have scholastic books in my house, and hope to finish reading "Teeny-tiny" once I have some time to get around to it. And a large pot of coffee.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thoughts from the Summer Cabin

Well, AGF and I just came back from a weekend at out friend's cabin on the Bird River, near Lac du Bonnet. Cabin time is always different from "real" time, and usually much better. I have a ritual I like to perform at the start of these weekends. Once I pass the perimeter highway around the city, the watch comes off my wrist, and doesn't return until I am back within the perimeter. The result is a wonderful disorientation where I really have no idea "when" I am, outside of "when, in relation to when I last ate/ had a beer". This freedom of mind (aided, perhaps, by liberal dousings with recreational beverage) seems to lead to some wonderful spontaneous bursts of creativity. Here's what resulted this time:

1-The Best Video Game Ever. My friend's son was at the cabin, playing FIFA soccer on his X-Box for mutch of the weekend. After Canada won the World Cup (only on a video game!!) he switched to one of those first-person shooter games, where you see the barrel of the gun sticking out in the middle of the screen.

A much BETTER idea is to have a first-person doggie game. Instead of the gun, you see the nose of the pooch you are playing. The goal is to tip garbage cans, sniff crotches and vacuum up foodstuffs dropped on the floor. You have to avoid getting your nose scratched by cats, getting your hair clipped or wearing one of those plastic "lamp shade" collars. You ultimately win the game by sniffing the crotch of a member of the Royal family. Patent Pending.

2-An "app" for guys. "Cut the lawn". The goal is to cut your virtual lawn. This could be followed by "apps" like "trim the hedge", "paint the baseboards" and "get another beer from the fridge".

3-Horse-fly/ Black-fly collars. Much the the afore-mentioend plastic "doggie collars", cabineers can wear a repellant-doused plastic collar around their necks as they float in the lake/ river, to deter those annoying pests from buzzing your head. You could also fill the cone with recreational beverage. The added attraction is how appealing this will make thee wearer to the opposite sex. If you have a souse/ significant other, the answer is, of course, absolutely none.

There you have it. take off your watch and give it a try some time. Just remember, I OWN the doggie-game idea.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Eternal Beauty at Monster Bash

Ok, this is a follow-up to my previous blog about Monster Bash 2011. I believe I mentioned the "Hammer Girls", actresses Caroline Munro, Veronica Carlson and Yvonne Monlaur, who were guests at the Bash and who happily participated in the Saturday night "live Theatre" by Zach Zito. After the show, the Hammer Girls were kind enough to pose with a life-sized figure of Christopher Lee as Dracula, giving the fans an opportunity to snap some souvenier photos.

What continues to strike me is the way this scene played out. All these ladies were former actresses and models. When they were asked to pose with ol' Chris Lee, these mature ladies immediately worked the cameras like the pros they are. Really, it was quite amazing to watch. One minute we were watching attractive mature women talking about their past careers, the next minute the years melted away, as three bombshells gave a lesson in real sexuality! I'm not talking about the crude sort of posing that is usually accompanied by brass polls and navel piercings, I'm talking about true inner beauty exploding out from the eyes, lips and hands of these stars.

Each Hammer Girl took a turn posing between the "arms" of Chris, as camera flashes strobed out of the hundred-plus assembled photographers. I can't help thinking this is what these ladies did constantly during the prime of their careers, and by jove, they've still got it!

So let's hear it for the Hammer Girls and all the other ladies out there who know where true beuty comes from, and better for us, how to show it off.