Feel the Burn

Aqua Velva

“Aftershave!” Lars exclaimed, revealing her renowned gift for grandsons. “I was nearly out!”

“Aftershave? No wonder it burns so badly! I mistook it for mouthwash.”

Giggles erupted.

Grandma’s eyes loathed my false confession.

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This confessional moment is brought to you courtesy of this weekend’s prompt at Trifextra, the nice folks still making Aqua Velva, and my dearly departed Grandma D.

The Prompt: a thirty-three word confession.

Lost Translations

I’d run across this photo a long time ago, but do not recall ever seeing this sign when I visited Leningrad in 1987 (now called St. Petersburg).

I especially like the stick figure art.  It’s clever, humorous, sarcastic, and not what I’d expect from screeners in the former USSR.
Untitled

Untitled by the Real Janelle

The Real Janelle (whoever you really are) posted this to her Flickr account back in 2007 with these very witty English translations.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Sign01

1) No riding into the fortress on armored tanks saluting Hitler.

Sign02

2) No samples at the deli

Sign03
3) No miniature rocking horses

Sign04
4) No suicides, please, this is not the Brooklyn bridge

Sign05
5) No smooth jazz

Sign06
6) No underpants

Sign07
7) No ski-jumping

Sign08
8) No loss of depth perception

Sign09
9) No Don King hairstyles

Sign10
10) No drinking whilst holding a lamppost, lest you become electrocuted

Sign11

11) No flying bicycles, with or without extra terrestrial

Sign12

12) No supermodels, they break like sticks

May the former KGB never hunt you down for creating laughter against the former Soviet Union.  Stay safe the Real Janelle!

First Daze

The last thing I remember was the close up of patient’s eye.  Everything was copacetic right up until the surgical instrument extracted the metal filing.  My blood galloped to meet the floor and my body, the traitor, was helpless but to follow.

I was reawakened as classmates struggled to upright me.  “Are you okay?  You don’t look so good.”

“No, I’m fine.  Eye injuries just make me squeamish.”  The momentary humiliation stung.

“Mr. Dyck.  You’re excused for today.  Tomorrow, we start the real course material.”

How could I protest after being unceremoniously unseated on my first day?

I had been warned about the gory nature of the shop’s safety film and its aim to scare safety mindfulness into freshmen.  Putting forth my bravest face, I had grossly overestimated my ability to muster mind over matter.

I stumbled woozily onto the bus while fumbling to produce my monthly pass.  Defeated, I slumped into the seat and burrowed my head into my jacket.  My eyes stared blankly at the pedantic transit advertisements.

The transit meandered its way to my home with ceaseless stops and starts.

The girl seated in front of me looked around with a gaze that differed than most.  When had she gotten on the bus?   The Camwest Center?

With the most devilish grin from ear-to-ear, the girl turned to face me.

Next Stop

 She clasped something in her left hand.   A similar substance was on her cheek.  At first glance, I guessed chocolate.  The whiff that followed clarified otherwise.  It was a defecating matter!

My stomach contents ejected upward while my hand grasped desperately for the next stop rope.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

With breakfast in my mouth, I rushed the rear door.  The ride stopped.  I exited, expelled, exhaled, and embraced fresh air.  Sweet fresh air!

My composure was nearly regained as the next bus arrived.  Once boarded, seated, and mildly relieved, I couldn’t help but notice the constant trickle of passengers from the earlier bus, all being picked up along the way.

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The above is my response to Trifecta: Week Seventy-Eight where this week’s word is pedantic (adjective)

1 : of, relating to, or being a pedant(see pedant)
2 : narrowly, stodgily, and often ostentatiously learned
3 : unimaginative, pedestrian

The challenge requires my response to be between 33 and 333 words.  The word must be used once in its third definition.

My response’s story idea stems from a real-life situations experienced by my roommate on either his first or second day at SAIT (over 20 years ago).  Good or bad, it was the first thing that sprung to mind when I looked up pedantic.

She Pondered

“What if I topple your paradigm?”

Her finger played nervously with a loop underneath long black curls.  She pondered his words.  Was this honey sweet flirtation or just wearing on her last nerve?

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This is my first second  Trifextra submission to  Trifecta.  To my delight, my last entry received some positive feedback from nice folks (isn’t everyone nice… until they get to know me).  As an added bonus, my writing didn’t get me run out of town.

This weekend’s assignment asks for exactly 33 words, 30 of my own and three of the following:

topple   paradigm   underneath   nerve   honey   loop

My imagination helped me to squeeze them all in, so hopefully it doesn’t fault my entry.  Time will tell.

Summertime

“I want to!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, just like Julian!”

“Okay, but be careful.”

Slap, slap, slap go little feet.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

Bump. Bump.

SPLOOSH!

Tweet!  “Jump straight; Not to the side!”

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The above is writing I submitted as part of something new to me called Trifecta.  I discovered Trifecta while reading a submission by another writer on Raursaur’s blog (seen here).

As part of the weekend assignment, I had to limit my writing to thirty-three words and had to incorporate the use of onomatopoeia.

Usually I like to include a photo or video link in my posts, but in this case, I’m hoping the words and examples of onomatopoeia help build mental images instead.

The Show Goes On

Work has been all consuming recently in a way that leaves me wondering, “Why I do whatever it is that I do at work?”  Is that how a midlife crisis feels?  Pondering questions and searching for meaning and purpose?  If  it is  indeed a midlife crisis, would I even know it?

So…

Tonight, Sara Bareilles played live in Vancouver, but I’m here in Calgary.  Yes, I’m simply here, and slightly disappointed that I’m still in Calgary.  Just like most nights…

Brave_Tour

When I first heard Sara Bareilles was playing a couple Canadian cities, Toronto and Vancouver, I thought, “This is my chance!  I’ll fly to Vancouver, see the concert, and catch an overnight flight back after the show.  That way I won’t even have to spring for a hotel!  I could even be back in time to be at work the next morning (not that I would be productive).  The concert takes place at this artsy little theater called the Rio, and Vancouver’s Sky Train has a station close by the theater… I won’t even have to rent a car.  This will be awesome!”

WestJet

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Flights to either Canadian mega-city were a wee bit outside my budget.  And not that it would be so bad to break the budget once in a while.  My problem is that I’ve already broken the budget one too many times.

While I wallow in my disappointment, being tired from work, I’m left to express my thoughts here.  While writing this entry, I happen on this concert clip which just seems to go with the moment…

Special thanks to Peter Wu for uploading this clip to YouTube

Maybe a letter, the kind that never gets sent, would be appropriate for the moment…

Dear Sara,

You don’t know me, and I suspect we’ll never meet face-to-face.  If we ever did meet, I  wouldn’t know what to say and nor would it sound intelligent.  I’m pretty sure if we had went to school together, we would have been freakish friends at best.  Okay, I’d probably been the freakish one.

I wish I’d been able to make your concert tonight.  It wasn’t meant to be this time, but rest assured, I’ll add it to my future bucket list (and mark it: things to do for sure).  Instead, tonight I’m doing the dad thing, the trying to do the right and responsible dad thing for my wife and kids.

“What?” you ask.  A father that listens to your music…?  I know, I know.  I’m not your usual demographic, but for some reason much of your music resonates with me.

I hope your next album, Blessed Unrest, proves to be a huge commercial success (that way you’ll keep touring, and maybe even come to Calgary one day.  No?  I guess a Calgarian can always dream).  Until then… all the best to you!

Sincerely,

Dad (not to be confused with your own Dad)

STAGEIT… featuring Lenka

Sara Bareilles is the first performance I ever saw on StageIt.  The second, just last Sunday, was a concert hosted by the Australian pop singer, Lenka.  Never heard of her?  Neither had my wife, so consider yourself in good company.  If you’ve scene the Windows 8 commercial linked below, then you’ve definitely heard Lenka.  Not necessarily my favorite song from Lenka, but her music indeed.

The StageIt company hosts live concerts through their virtual venue online.  Typically, these concerts are smaller productions, intimate in nature, and stream live from the performer’s studio, kitchen, or living room.

Lenka’s music is something I accidentally discovered while searching Youtube for a specific scene from Inglourious Basterds, dubbed Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face.   In the Quentin Tarantino film, Shosanna (Mélanie Laurent), the pretty protagonist, finalizes her revenge plans upon the murderous Nazi oppressors.  Maybe it’s because I’m a part of that MTV generation, but I especially like how the film’s scenes play out to the tune of David Bowie’s Cat People (…putting out fires with gasoline).

The clip I was actually looking for was something like this…

The Lenka clip I ended up discovering along the way was this…

(As you can see above) I stumbled upon a well-edited music video where the creator uses clips of Inglourious Basterds set to Lenka’s song, Trouble is a Friend.  Technology has clearly blossomed  since the birth of early MTV; now just about anyone with a half decent computer can make their own music videos, and many of these home-brewed productions look really professional.  Lenka was new to me.  My curiosity lead me to investigate more of her music.  I end up watching her very creative offerings on YouTube (Trouble is a Friend and The Show).  I’m not what people might call a raving Lenka fan (nor anyone for that matter), but I do enjoy her music and have added it to my personal soundtrack (the ever-growing eclectic unofficial soundtrack for my life).

Like with so many of my online searches, I start surfing for one specific purpose.  Somewhere along the way I follow a link, click another, then another, and then many URLs (and hours) later I end up in a totally different place than what was planned.  It leaves me wondering, “Where does all the time go?”  This last week, I received an email invitation to see Jars of Clay at (or on) StageIt.  While investigating the concert date for Jars, I notice a banner advertising that Lenka’s backyard concert in a couple days.  It sounds cool and costs less than a latte; sign me up!

Concert Day:

Sunday is a typical spring day in Calgary–the kind that makes locals want to hibernate because of the relentless snow (more snow, and… yep, more snow).  My family and I gather round the TV to watch Lenka on StageIt’s live broadcast from sunny Sydney, Australia.  My kids watch for about five minutes before their attention spans fade.  Jana indicates that she’s not a really “into” Lenka’s voice.  I like to think her musical tastes are still developing.  Justin says, “Dad, I’m enjoying the show, but there’s video game missions that need to be completed before bedtime.”  Meanwhile, Lenka, her drummer,  a violinist, and another fellow playing the cello perform a handful of songs from her living room to our home.

During concerts, StageIt provides a way for viewers to text messages to the Performer (which are view-able by members of the audience, assuming they’re reading along instead of watching the concert).  Multitasking isn’t my forte, hence I opt to remain “textually” silent.  For a concert, the visual quality seems a bit rough around the edges, but the audio is far than I had expected, especially since its streaming from the far side of the globe.  Despite being light on production or polish, Lenka’s show totally makes up for it because of the intimate feel of the whole thing.  Before the performance, I knew of Lenka as a vocalist and musician.  It turns out she’s also an actress, a sculpturist,  a songwriter, and even an crafty artist who creates set decorations!  In highschool, if Lenka was my classmate, friends would have joked that she was becoming a real Renaissance Man (well actually a Renaissance Woman). Classmates and I stole the term Renaissance Man as a polite way of teasing someone who might be considered an overachiever.

Lenka

In between songs Lenka draws attention to this site called PledgeMusic.com.  I kind of understood it involved a charity and charities are mentioned on Pledge Music, but whatever the case…  a person can make pledges to finance artists’ projects.  So figuring I might enjoy her new album (available in June 2013), I investigate.  Much to my surprise, Lenka fans can pledge money for not just her new album, but also some pretty amazing creations handcrafted by Lenka herself… very personable.

Signed Posters, CDs, and even Vinyl — $28 to $93
Artistic Doodles on Handwritten Lyric Sheets — $63 — Great idea!
Baby Bibs — $38 — Sorry, not for me as my wife lovingly reminds me that she ONLY signed up for two kiddos *sigh*
Crafty Stuff — $48 to $138
Mystery Craft Stuff — $138 — Oooh!?  Sounds mysterious!
Crafty Fashion Stuff — $138 — Snazzy! Unfortunate for me it cost more than my whole wardrobe :-S
20 Minute Skype Chat — $100 — Intriguing!  It’s not everyday you get to speak face-to-face with a  Renaissance Woman!
Personalized Ring Tone or Greeting  — $150 – Cool! And practical too!  It’s a shame that no one ever calls me.

and the kicker…
A Personalized Lullaby — only $1,500 — Awesome! I wish I needed (or could enjoy) a lullaby, but I’m all lights out when my head hits the pillow.

jgh_LENKA_SHADOWS_cdsleevelayout_2I’m looking forward to hearing some new Lenka in June.  The Pledge Music profile describes her new album, Shadows, as “… a collection of lullabies for adults…Lenka style.”  Interesting.  Until then, I guess I’ll just sing myself to sleep.