Saturday, February 27, 2010

...But is it Worthy of Posting?

It's been a bit of a slack week for me in the posting front. A combination of holiday preparations and the same crappy job have kept me away from the computer. That's not entirely true, I suppose, as I've been reading and commenting on the posts of my online friends.

I noticed a couple of times folks commenting on not really having anything to talk about so they have been reluctant to post at all for fear of boring the shit out of their readers.

I agree that some days it's debatable on whether or not what I post is of interest to anyone at all. In fact, that could probably be said for a lot of my posts. As I began my blog I didn't know what I would be posting about. My primary interest out here in the nether-regions of the Internet is creative writing. You will notice that I said writing, not publishing. I am in the infancy of my writing experience and have used this forum to meet some amazing people who ooze talent from...well, you get the picture (a lot of those folks are horror writers).

As I've noted before, if this blog doesn't pass on much information in the way of my writing progress (the output of which is very small, which would lead to a boring and unpopulated blog) it should at least educate people and perhaps give an image of this amazing island that I live on. I hope that this blog is entertaining. At least once in a while. I view this blog as a forum to keep me writing in some format. All writing is good writing. Correct?

Enough of that introspection. I've only had one coffee this morning and my brain hurts...

And now, for the awards portion of the show...

I was happy and annoyed amazed to receive this fine award from Jarmara Falconer from over at A Mission Impossible for the Nightwriter. I have admired Jarmara's continual pursuit for improvement in her craft while conveying a bit of personal information on her blog. She has followed my blog for a few months and I always appreciate her honesty and kind words. Please visit her blog if you get the chance.

The rules that follow this fine award are as follows:

1. Thank the person who gave you this award.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who nominated you.

4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself and at least one outrageous truth.

5. Nominate 7 3 creative writers who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.

6. Post links to the 7 3 blogs you nominate.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.

You will notice that I took a bit of creative licence and changed the number of folks nominated from 7 down to 3. This is to make this award feel less pyramid scheme-ish and chain mail-ish (are they real words?) and generally less viral.

I would like to nominate:

  • Danielle Ferries at From the Attic because she seems very sweet and honest, and I'd like to force her to fib a bit.
  • Laurita Miller from Brain Droppings because I'm sure that her lies would turn to the macabre and horrific...
  • the incomparable Anton Gully from The Black Dogs Reading Room and Flash B*stard because Laura Eno has the Flaming Sword of Death held to my throat and Karen Schindler is ready to clobber me with a brick if I don't. I have a feeling that Mr. Gully's lies could be very bizarre and amusing (I'm sure that the censors will be on standby as well).

Congratulations to you all. I hope that you're up to the challenge. Please see my one truth and six bald faced lies below...

  1. While working as an Animal Control Officer in London, Ontario I served a court summons to the mayor of the city.
  2. I once caught a 50lb. salmon while fishing in Saanich Inlet, near Victoria, B.C.
  3. I once officiated at a funeral for a West Highland terrier called 'Wee Willie'
  4. I was the star of the cheer leading squad in high school, but the girls kicked me off the team because of the short skirt and the fact that I refused to shave off my beard.
  5. We buried a hairless Skinny Pig in our back yard with a toy and some loose change.
  6. I am interested in genealogy and researched our family tree to find that I am distantly related to the Scottish hero/villain Rob Roy MacGregor.
  7. When I was 9 years old I fell 20 feet from the maple tree in our back yard and broke 9 bones in my body.

Any takers on which one is true?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympics and Pole Dancing?

I'll start off by saying that I was officially in mourning today after the shocking loss to the US in men's hockey last night. Canada had way more shots, but the US certainly made theirs count. Moving on to happier things...

I couldn't let this go when I read it this morning. Yahoo news ran a story by Associated Press writer Eric Talmadge about a woman in Japan who is a world champion in pole dancing and would like to see it recognized, on day, as an Olympic sport! You can link to the full story here. The gist of it is that they must first be recognized by the IOC as a sport prior to getting permission to participate in a future Olympics as a demonstration sport. I've got to tell you, the viewership for those events would be way up. At least for the male demographics. And where does that lead us? Will there be a male pole dancing category? Perhaps couples as in ice skating? My mind is wandering at the possibilities here...

I must admit that when I first read the byline (not wearing my glasses) I thought the story said "Poe Dancing" and I of course had to include the picture I ripped from Aaron Polson's blog. I look at it once in a while for a laugh (but how often is too often, you may ask?)
Speaking of Mr. Polson, he provides a link today on his blog to a podcast of his short story "The Sub-Basement." I must admit I loved this one when I read this when published at EDF in January 2009 (prior to joining the Aaron Polson fan club, I might add). Do yourself a favour and listen to his smooth delivery of his scary little tale.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

School, Work and Vacation

Reader warning: this post is full of Al's personal crap and has little to do with writing...he is merely filling in time until the start of the Canada vs USA hockey game...may the force be with them! Umm...'them' being the ones with the maple leaf on the jersey.

I had fully intended on fleshing out a story idea when my son was swimming yesterday morning, but my sister came along to watch and we ended up chatting for an hour. Of course, any chance at procrastination is alright by me. Speaking of procrastination, my son is working on a school project that has to be finished prior to us leaving on holidays in 11 days.

It's one of those large scale--post on Bristol board--historical projects that is to reflect your local culture and heritage. His project is about the collapse of the northern cod fishery here in Newfoundland in 1992 and how the moratorium declared by the Canadian government that year affected the lives of over 22,ooo fishers and plant workers in more than 400 coastal communities. He has collected information from the Internet and library books but still awaits information from his uncle who works at the DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans) before he can finalize the information and paste it up on the board. He will also have to present this to the class a day or two before our holiday.

About the holiday...we will be off on a cruise through the southern Caribbean. At this point, you're all probably thinking "Wow! That Davidson dude must be loaded to go on a cruise." Not so. We have been saving for the proverbial 'trip of a lifetime' holiday for about 5 years (and are still going into debt on this one). It started out as going to Orlando to visit Mickey, but as the boy grew older he didn't seem interested. Besides, roller coasters make me Sean became interested in sea cadets, and the idea of being in the navy (if he graduates high school), he suggested the idea of a cruise. We picked this particular one as it departs out of Bayonne, New Jersey and we can fly direct to Newark from here.

Due to the unpredictable nature of the weather both here and in New Jersey, we are flying out three days early and staying in Manhattan (cha-ching, that's the sound of the cost of this trip increasing alarmingly). If any of my faithful readers have ideas or hints on getting around downtown...I'm all ears! Have any of you been to a great attraction there, or perhaps a good (ie. not too expensive) restaurant? Al wants to know! A passing thought on this: If any of you are in the New York area the first week of March and care to meet with us, drop me an email and we can try to arrange a place/time to meet. I want to fit as much in as possible as I don't get off of this island very often!

At this point of my monologue you are probably saying. "Al's crazy and ranting, and what the hell's he going to do with his big, black dog!" Good question. As it turns out, a caravan of gypsies * have been camping in the nearby woods. Since the snow is low, I am allowing them to pitch tents in my back yard (but they must leave the dog's running track open so he can continue to sprint about the yard after taking a poo). That being said, they may camp in the yard and use the main floor washroom, and watch the family room TV only on Oscar night. And they can eat some of my lesser favourite food products from the freezer. But I have left explicit instructions for them to keep their grubby hands off the liquor cabinet. Do you think they will follow the house rules?

*Being Canadian, I am again compelled to apologise to anyone of the gypsy persuasion that I may have insulted during to posting of this blog. I speak my mind, and apologise a lot.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Small Victories

I recall the day with the same clarity I remember other significant events in my life. My wedding day, the birth of my child, the death of my father.

We crossed into Turkey early that morning. The traffic was heavy driving into Istanbul and a poisonous brown cloud hung over the metropolis of 7 million.

We, the travelers in the back of the Bedford truck, were hung over this morning and any conversation was forced and brief.

Drinking alcohol on the truck was now banned due to an unfortunate incident the evening before when Englishmen, Robert and George, tried to pitch Aussie Tim off the back of the truck. I doubt there was intentional malevolence, just a shortness of patience and lack of better judgment due to the excessive ouzo consumed that evening. And that afternoon…and perhaps in the morning.

Our guide expressed his concern about this behaviour in a monologue of expletives. “We’re in a Muslim country, you wankers!” he shouted. “That sort of bloody behaviour could land me, the person in charge, in jail cell full of thugs and fucking sodomites!” Nobody needed reminding about the treatment of foreign prisoners in the movie “Midnight Express.”

I was lost in my thoughts of this new society. Hypnotized by the barren landscape dotted with squalid, little shacks. I hardly noticed the blue, armoured van slowly cruising up the left side of our truck. The rusty vehicle had wobbly wheels and darkened, barred windows. The van’s roof had a small hatch that was popped open, I presumed, for ventilation.

A dark, hairy fist suddenly protruded from the opening. A shiny, steel handcuff was fastened to the thin wrist and a chain hanging from it fell into the depths of the vehicle. The fingers of the hand slowly splayed out, attempting to catch some of the cooler exterior air.

The fist suddenly flashed a ‘Vee’ for victory sign. The gesture, perhaps a final display of defiance, lasted only a few seconds. A leather-gloved hand grabbed the chain, near the manacle, and yanked it into the depths of the vehicle.

Often, when the day is endless and I’m trapped in a long, boring meeting I will remember that day. It was a small victory in the man’s life, but the grand gesture has stuck with me for years.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WIP the Olympics

I'm thinking that, yet again, the title name will lure impressionable, innocent, young Natalie Sin into visiting my blog. Y'know...all the talk of whipping.

I have made little progress on my next flash piece (ie. none) since my last post. Sorry, but I just realized that the last sentence sounded a bit like being at confession. Must be the Ash Wednesday effect. Let me share a line from my next Fridayflash: "Small Victories"...

I don't think there was intentional malevolence, just a shortness of patience and lack of better judgement due to the excessive ouzo consumed that evening. *

*(note: author reserves right to delete and/or alter the crap out of this line prior to show time).

I blame the lack of progress on those darn Olympics. Perhaps this installment of the Games has more of a soap-opera-ish feel to it. Controversy after controversy. Perhaps you are not getting all the dirt at your location, but we in Canada are getting lambasted with information. Just in case you have missed some of the action, allow me to recap the past 6 days...

  • The very sad accident at the luge track where the young Georgian died on the first day(I had wondered if this was the first death at an Olympics, but apparently it was the 4th).

  • The Cauldron Malfunction at the opening ceremonies when one of the four legs couldn't get it up...

  • The warm temperatures and lack of snow at Whistler and Cyprus Mountains. Vancouver Olympic Committee boss John Furlong noted that the temperatures this year are unprecedented in over 100 years (some locals are referring to it as the Summer Games).

  • The unsightly 10 foot high chain link fence stopping the public access to the cauldron. I understand that they have, today, found a solution to this.

  • The leaky, environmentally friendly ice machine at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

  • The anti-Olympic rioters on Saturday who smashed in windows of stores selling Olympic items. This led to 11 arrests. Note that these knuckleheads should not be associated with the protesters of the previous day who marched peacefully, as is their right.

  • An automobile accident on Sunday involving three vehicles of VP Joe Biden's motorcade, sending former Olympians Peggy Fleming and Vonetta Flowers to hospital.

One more Olympic item. It's not controversial, more annoying. The Canadian media's OCD-like focus on the fact that Canada was yet to win a gold medal on home soil. Note, we had not won a gold in either the Calgary or Montreal Olympics. The media were here were harping on about it as if they were teenage boys, wondering when they would eventually lose their virginity. Thank God that Alexandre Bilodeau won gold in the Men's Moguls on Sunday to shut the press up. Appropriately on Valentine's Day. I just hope that the athletes and visitors to the beautiful city of Vancouver are still managing to have the time of their lives. Despite what the media thinks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Time for Writing is...?

All writers have a different time of day they consider to be their most productive. For me, the weekdays are hectic between the F/T work and driving the boy from here to there. I have expanded my basketball torture experience to two nights a week with the other geezers. This has the approval of my doctor, as I received a verbal spanking on Friday for my cholesterol shooting up to high levels.

I focus best early in the morning and, if I can drag my lazy butt out of bed early before others get up, I can usually make progress on a WIP then. I outlined another flash story when I waited for an hour at my son's swimming lesson yesterday morning. The observation area over the pool is fairly busy with waiting parents, so I'm surprised I can be productive there. Perhaps the clear, chlorinated water has a hypnotic, focusing affect on me...

Sunday mornings are good as I can work in my office and listen to the Sunday morning radio show "Homebrew" that focuses on local Celtic/Folk music. It's a mix of traditional Newfoundland songs, many of which show their Irish/Scottish origins. If you are at all interested in listening to this, you can hear the broadcast online on Sundays 9am until 1pm our time. My mental math tells me that is 12:30pm until 4:30pm GMT for the Brits, or 7:30am until 11:30am for the North Americans in the Eastern Time Zone. Sorry, my mental math isn't that good to work out the Australian time. I'm sure that you folks can do the math.

The radio station is normally a "classic rock" station, but converts to tradition music only on Sunday mornings. You can find 97.5 K-Rock here. Once at their web site, click on the "Listen Live" button in the top right corner.

So what works for you? What time of day is good writing time? Music or silence? What sort of music do you work to?...enquiring minds want to know.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I was inspired to write this as a result of the local news story and my blog post a couple of weeks ago about a UFO sighting in Newfoundland.

…the Home of the Brave

“I just don’t get it,” Sharon said to her sister. “Why anybody would drive 3 hours to eat a sheep’s stomach filled with…nasty stuff… is beyond me.”

Mary Wallace looked through her digital camera, zooming into the lighthouse perched on a rocky outcrop. She snapped a photo. “The Robbie Burns supper helps Tom get in touch with his inner Scottish child. I think the 18 year old scotch is also bit of a lure,” she said, chuckling. “It makes the haggis more palatable.”

“Is he driving back tonight?”

“Yeah. He promised to limit himself to just one drink.”

They looked at each other and said in unison, “When hell freezes over!” The women laughed so hard that Sharon nearly slipped on the hardened snow beneath her boots.

Mary looked through her camera to where the bay merged with the ocean. A cargo vessel inched past, a small speck on the horizon. “I love this time of day. The sky’s filled with such beautiful colours. Like it had a life of its own,” she said.

“What the hell is that?” Sharon said, pointing to the west. Three dark objects arced slowly up from the surface of the water. One headed away from them, the second to the south-west and the third towards them in an easterly direction.

Mary zoomed in on the cylindrical object as it neared and gained altitude. She began snapping off pictures. It emitted orange flames tinted with red from its back end, leaving a trail of smoke in its wake.

“Jesus, Sharon. They looked like missiles or something.” The women watched in silence for another five minutes until the object disappeared into the darkening sky.

“Let’s get back inside,” Sharon said. “We’ve got to find the kids and call the police.”

* * *

The darkness fell upon them like an inky blanket. Mary had washed her youngsters and put them to bed an hour earlier. She poured herself a glass of whiskey and tried to watch a reality show on the television. Every minute her eyes were drawn to the clock on the mantle. Tom wouldn’t be home for hours.

Mary went to the kitchen and poured another whiskey, ignoring the dirty dishes piled in the sink. She put on her coat and boots and went out to the deck to have a cigarette. She leaned against the rail and gazed across the calm bay, wondering if the objects were really missiles. Were they launched from the islands off their coast?

In the deepest waters of the bay, where it met the unforgiving Atlantic, a convex dome of light appeared on the surface of the water. Minutes passed as she watched the light, the ignored cigarette expiring between her trembling fingers.

The dome suddenly burst open and a column of light pierced hundreds of feet into the night sky. Dozens of golden balls flowed from the top of the pillar, proceeding in all directions; they eventually leveled off at a constant altitude and bearing. The display reminded her of the fireworks Tom and the children had set off on New Year’s Eve.

New waves of orbs appeared from the top of the light column in thirty second intervals. Its colour slowly evolved from white to yellow, then orange and finally a blood red. The bay’s familiar marine odours were now overpowered with the smell of sulphur. Mary gagged with the stench, her heart now hammering within her chest.

She took a deep drag from what remained of her cigarette; its smoke slowly wafted from her nose and was spirited away by the breeze now blowing from the distant shaft of light. The objects slowly progressed, forming a golden net across the night sky. Mary now heard a humming noise, emphasized by an underlying mechanical pounding she felt through the soles of her feet. She stubbed out her cigarette on the railing and hurried back inside the house.

Mary tried to call Tom but their line was dead. The power dimmed a moment, brightened briefly, and finally blinked out. She felt along the wall and furniture of the darkened room until she entered the pantry. The scent of cinnamon gave her temporary relief from the stink now permeating the house. She stood on her toes and reached to the top of the oak cabinet. Tom’s rifle was missing. Mary cursed and pounded the cabinet with her fist. It was only last week she had nagged him to store his rifles and ammunition more safely. He had bought a new metal cabinet and kept it locked in the basement. Her body was wracked with sobs as she crumpled to the vinyl floor.

After a few minutes she stopped crying and wiped her eyes and nose with the sleeve of her shirt. She got to her feet and felt her way back to the kitchen. The growing temperature and stench made her feel nauseous. A pale red glow now filtered through the lace curtains, making patterns on the walls. Mary found a few safety candles and a box of matches in the cabinet above the fridge and placed them in a plastic grocery bag. She then removed a large knife from the wooden block on the counter and gingerly placed it in the bag.

The woman slowly walked up the staircase to the children’s bedrooms, trying to ignore the vibrations she felt as her clammy hand gripped the handrail. She would wake the children, light the candles and read them fairy tales for a while.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Adventure Has a New Face

Just a quick note to refer you to Hollywood Spy blog. Dezmond has posted a trailer for a movie being released in Europe this April. "Les Aventures Extra ordinaires d'Adèle Blanc-Sec" is written and directed by Luc Besson ("The Fifth Element", "Subway" and "Le grand bleu") and is set in France about 100 years ago. The title character is described as a female Indiana Jones who will go to great lengths to achieve her goals. I could go on, but you may as well watch the trailer to get a feel of the Edwardian meeting the bizarre.

You can link to the embedded video at Hollywood Spy here, or by clicking on my link to YouTube below. I'm hoping that if it's successful in Europe, it will get screen time in larger centres of North America (with either sub-titles or dubbed in English).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cheesecake Redux

Sorry, couldn't resist that little bit of drama. You can link to the Batman Comic Generator here. I 'borrowed' it from the Townie Bastard (home of the weird, the wonderful and current events in Newfoundland and Iqaluit). I'm thinking that each of you reading this should create a current events sort of comic and post it on your blog. That would be very cool...and I'm dying to see what Natalie Sin would have Robin say...

Since yesterday's posting about the cheesecake extravaganza of Saturday night (we know how to have a good time in Newfoundland, I tells ya...) a friend of mine posted some photos on his Facebook page. I copied a few for posting here.

Mad Cow/Dolly the sheep, which was apparently in 1996...

Come Home Year (for Newfoundland) in 1966. A nice citrus cheesecake.

I Have a Dream. Martin Luthor King's speech in 1963 about racial harmony. Oreo ice cream cheesecake.

CN Tower. Beginning of construction of the CN tower in Toronto in 1973.

29029-The Ascent. Our chocolate cheesecake (V was the 'architect and I did the one page write up that was to accompany it...) The mountain on top is broken bits of meringue with white chocolate drizzled on top.

Sorry they are so small (I'm Canadian and feel compelled to apologize) but that is how they copied from Facebook. And I promise to never do another cheesecake story again...until this time, next year of course.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Let Them Eat Cheesecake

I must apologize for the cliched and somewhat cheesy title to the post but I couldn't resist. I had cheesecake for supper last night and must admit, it's not every day I can say that!

We participated in the 5th Annual Bobo* Cheesecake Competition held by friends of ours.

*Note: The family name, in fact, is not "Bobo" but I thought it best to change the name to protect the innocent and all of that...

This is our second event, and it proves to be an entertaining (and filling) evening. The theme this year was "an event that took place during the year in which the principal cheesecake architect or baker was born." The year was to be kept a secret and those attending got to guess at the year base on the presentation shown on the cheesecake. My wife slaved for hours on creating a cheesecake depicting the scaling of a certain tall mountain in the Himalayas for the first time by two climbers. I'll say no more about the event, or the year, as it may save me a smacking from the "cheesecake architect" if she reads this and finds that I've divulged her age (but you can do the math...)

Anyhoo...prizes were available for
  • Best interpretation of theme

  • Best presentation

  • Best chocolate cheesecake

  • Best non-chocolate cheesecake

  • Consumer with the highest CPC (cheesecake piece count)

  • Rube Goldberg award for the most unusual combination of ingredients

  • Best overall

I'm please to announce that our cheesecake one in two categories. The best presentation (ours had a small mountain of meringue covered in melted white chocolate on top) and best overall. Apparently a small trophy is on the way. The highlight for me, of course, is skipping supper and going right to cheesecake. I managed to sample 9 of the 11 entries (not that 5 had to cancel out due to the blizzard on Friday). Sadly, that quantity did not qualify me to win the CPC award. The presentation of the awards is a fine event with Prof. Bobo looking impeccably attired in his tie-die shirt and pilgrim hat. He then hands out the prizes purchased from Princess Auto. We got a small set of stainless steel cups, a whisk for sweeping car mats and a pair of welding gloves.

This post obviously has nothing to do with writing (as you may have noticed) and I commend you if you have made it this far. I would post the cheesecake recipe here, but since this is not a cooking/baking blog I won't subject you to that. I have my limits. However, the winning cheesecake was of the baked variety and contained chocolate, sour cream, cream cheese and had amaretto in both the filling and the glaze. For anyone wanting the recipe, you can email me and I'd be happy to send it to you. I forgot to take our camera to the event, so the cake shown is a generic chocolate cheesecake I pilfered from the web.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flashless and Snowbound

As the title of the post implies, I was not able to complete my flash story for today (even with the day off work yesterday). Today is all about the storm that's dropped upon us. The weather folks are even bandying about the 'B' word...Blizzard. In fact Iowa sort of weather, with the forecast being about 50cm of snow between this morning and the end of tomorrow. They also predict 90km/h gusts of wind. That should stop the launching of missles and UFO's for the day...

Needless to say, the boy is off school today and since I work out of the house I don't get 'snow days.' Speaking of which, my overlords back in Ontario will be expecting me to produce something soon.

Oh, but one other thing... The recent 11 question survey to determine which SciFi writer you would be has been quite popular in the circle of people who read this blog. If you are one of the few who didn't link to it, you can find it here. As with such things, my mind is running in overdrive. I'm thinking that we should steal rework the quiz to pop out different results. We could call it the "Which novice/fledgling/wannabe fantasy/comedy/horror Writer are You?" The results would present the quiz-taker with such popular names as: Laura Eno, Karen Schindler, Aaron Polson, Catherine Gardner, Anton Gully, Laurita Miller, Erin Cole...well, you get the idea. At least they are popular in this circle. The quiz taker would respond by saying "WTF?" and venture forth to google the names...what do you think...will the scam idea work?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Me, YA and a Little SciFi

Laura Eno at "A Shift in Dimensions" provided a neat link yesterday to an amusing little test (11 quirky questions) to determine which science fiction writer you are. You can find that here. I discovered that I am, in fact, the late Stanislav Lem (shown left). I must admit that I have heard of Mr. Lem before, but could not name any of his books. According to Wikipedia, his books "explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humankind's place in the universe." That sounds very deep...I aspire to fitting those themes in my stories in the near future. His novel "Solaris" was twice made into a motion picture.

We were out at the mall last night, shopping for items we'll need on our holiday in about 4 weeks (more about that soon). While waiting for V to try on stuff at Winners (do they have them in the US or the UK or OZ?) I was skimming through the YA books on the bargain books table in the children's department. I found three books that either myself or Sean would like:

The first is an account of Phineas Gage of Vermont. He was the unfortunate railroad worker who, in 1848, had a 3 foot spike go right through his head. He lived for another 14 years but, sadly, had changes to his personality. The book is called "Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science" by John Fleischman. We had barely made it through the door before the ghoulish child had hold of the book and was devouring its contents. Oh, and it was a thin hardback for $3.00.

The second book was a paperback called "Artemis Fowl" by Eoin Colfer. What's not to like about a book who's back cover says: "Twelve year old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius--and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy..." That book was also $3.00.

The third was a hardback called "Skullduggery Pleasant" by Derek Landy (yes, another Irish author). The novel's protagonist is an undead wizard and detective and the book combines the horror, comedy, mystery and science fiction genres. I'm just a big kid at heart and I'm sure I'll enjoy all three of them. That novel was $4.50.

I was inspired by my last post to write a first draft of a flash story about UFO's. I have tomorrow off work (work slow down) and hope to finish it for Friday. Maybe.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I thought the title of this post dramatic and attention catching. I was going to call it 'Have a Cigar' after the Pink Floyd song, except it could be misconstrued as a reference to a popular ex-president (and I'm not referring to Fidel here). As always, I strive to have this blog stay educational, informative and entertaining so I present you with this recent event from land's edge that made national news. I can't say that I noticed anything about this (thankfully) on CNN.

The photo below was taken, on January 25th of this year, from the small community of Harbour Mille at the top of Hermitage bay about 2 1/2 hours drive from St. John's.

The photo was taken by Darlene Stewart of that community while taking sunset pictures. She and two neighbours witnessed three of these 'missile-like' objects for 5-8 minutes as they moved in different directions across the grey sky. The closest object appeared to have flames coming from the back end and was leaving a trail of smoke. These people noted that one of the objects appeared to come out from the bay.The photo represents the closest and clearest of the "over sized bullets." I'll provide you with a link (in case you are interested) to the original CBC story here. I have a second link to a story here.

Not surprisingly, the locals want an explanation about what they saw. I know my first thought would have been "my God, the invasion has begun." The second thought? "I wonder how long until I have to take out US citizenship and will I need a green card...

The RCMP investigated but couldn't reveal what they had uncovered. The Sgt. said that he had contacted the Department of National Defense and "they had given him some info," but it was up to the DND to release information publicly. The DND said they were awaiting a final report before commenting and that the RCMP were in charge of the investigation. The RCMP referred media inquiries to Public Safety Canada. That department referred inquires back to the RCMP. Hmm, the vicious circle.

There have been a number of theories floating about the past few days. The French, coincidentally, conducted a missile test the same day but on the other side of the Atlantic. Pointing a finger at the French is a natural reaction here because the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon, a French colony, are only a few miles off the south coast of Newfoundland, just SW of Harbour Mille. The PM's office is convinced that there was no threat to national security and are prepared to move on. Another theory put forward is that the area is popular with model hobbyists. This one was quickly dismissed by the witnesses. If that theory were true, then thousands of teenage boys (and boyish men) would be lining up to purchase these flaming cylinders that could stay in the sky for 5-8 minutes. All good, if it keeps them away from the X-Box.

Enter the voice of reason. Just yesterday a Finnish UFO researcher by the name of Bjorn Borg presented a plausible theory. He noted that sitings like this come up every year about the same time and refers to it as "the December Phenomenon." He feels that the witnesses saw an optical illusion caused by the jetliner vapours catching winter sunlight. "The sun is shining on the (condensation) trail. In winter time, the colour of the trail will show up very strong yellow or even red. It looks like fire." I'll provide a link to the full Yahoo news story here.

The Finnish theory makes a lot of sense. I guess. Then again, is anybody's government going to come out and admit to definitive evidence of alien activity? I think not as what government wants to create national or international panic. A theory I considered...a few days before the sighting, three US fighter planes (notice how I naturally assume they are from the US) did a circle around the east end of St. John's, rattling windows, and landed at the airport. Is it possible that they had departed here on that day and were witnessed by the good people of Harbour Mille? I wonder if the "December Phenomenon" can be confirmed by studying flight paths of passenger jets that may have been flying over Newfoundland at the time of the sighting?

My final theory on this sighting. As I think back to the day, it was on the 25th of January. As any good Scot knows...that is Robert Burns Day (date of his birth). I'm thinking that perhaps Newfoundlanders of Scottish decent wisely gathered up all the haggis on the island, prior to the Burns suppers, and launched them into space in three home-made rockets. A public service to all.

Just in case, I'm not throwing out the layers of tinfoil covering the top of my head, preventing them from picking up my thoughts.