Friday, November 15, 2019

The Charge at Numidia

“Abracadabra!” bellowed Caesar, disintegrating every foe galloping hither, incensed jugglers keeling lengthwise, maddened Numidians on ponies quickly raising swords, thrusting underhanded, vexed, wary, xenophobes yelling “Zounds!” 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Superman vs. Apollo

Many years ago, Jeff and Susan and Ron and Tony came over to make some silly stop-action movies with me. Here's a screenshot from one of them, "Superman Gets Drunk:" Superman assaults an innocent Command/Service Module (CSM) from the Apollo program. I really need to digitize the video and post it on YouTube. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Message from Keith

Keith Gylander was one of the first, if not the very first, friends I made when we moved from Manitoba to Alberta, by virtue of living next door to us in Leduc. (The photo above captures him in Grade 9.) Today I received an unexpected email from Keith, which read, in part:

I am sorry to have just learned of your father’s passing, a year and 10 days ago today.

I remember touring Leduc and riding down 46 Ave the summer before last on my motorbike, lamenting the status of what is now left of my parents' once-proud home (gulp). Your mom and dad were out front and I pulled up to the curb, unrecognizable with my loud bike and full-face and shield-tinted helmet. Still, your father came happily walking up to me to say hello. Even after I took off my helmet I still needed to tell him who I was - ha ha.

He was the same jolly, friendly and outgoing man I knew him to be from the day I first met him 40 years ago (gulp - the sequel). As I rode away from our brief chat, it felt good to know that at least some willowy tapestries still connect us to the whimsical days of youth. He is a good man.

Keith and I exchanged some news, but this part of his message (published here with his permission) really moved me. It was nice to know that people still remember Dad fondly, and nice to hear that Keith and his family are doing well. Over the last few years many people in my life have endured struggles of all kinds, but the ties of friendship and family help us all pull through. Thanks so much for the note, Keith. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Earl's Hat

Behold baby Earl
In a hat of stylish cut
Captured as the photons whirl
Head inside a cotton hut

Baby Earl, heedless of fate
Not yet fat from dinner plate
Some 50 years will ebb and flow
Until this photo on Earl's blog goes

Monday, November 11, 2019

Ye Old EBN

Wow, it's been over 20 years since I was publishing my own little newsletter, Blazing Earl News. I sent it out to about two dozen friends. I think Andrea designed this particular logo. Or was it Sean?

Blogging made EBN redundant, though I do miss the little frills of desktop publishing - mostly the freedom of creating your own layouts.

Best of all, though, were the contributions from my friends. Now, that was fun; in a sense, I was the smallest-time editor ever. But I had a great time doing it. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Great Moments in Bad Photography: Talk to the Hand

This might have been a nice shot of Pete had Colin not thrust his hand into the fray. However, it the resulting photo still has some kitschy charm.

Saturday, November 09, 2019

Beside the Rock

Hidden in plain sight
She stalks her prey
In the forest deep
(Pay no attention to the logging road)

Thursday, November 07, 2019

The Face of Alberta Health Services

"Sean Woods is putting my health information into my hands! Thanks, Alberta Health Services!"

Photo by Scott Friel. Modelling by Sean Woods. 

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Build Your Own Dungeon

This is pretty neat: a randomly-generated dungeon layout for your favourite medieval fantasy roleplaying games. Thanks to Pete for the link. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Mini Golf Monologue

Mini golf. A child's game. A sad parody of the real thing.

Putters only. Mine is clutched tightly in my fist. No silly chicanes or cartoonish windmill arms will stop me from shooting nine straight holes-in-one.

It's hot. Teeth clenched. Sun beats down, mocking me. Grip sweaty. Hole out of focus. One simple bounce off the east boundary and I'm in. Just the right angle. Just the right amount of force.

I swing. Gently. But firmly. "Clack" goes the ball as it leaps forward, off my club. "Click" goes the ball as it caroms off the wooden boundary.

It's heading right for the hole. Simple. A child's game.

The ball hops over the hole, petulantly. Comes to rest against the back wall. My face turns red. I hurl the putter, screaming. It bends in half against a tree.

I fall to my knees.

It's beaten me.


Monday, November 04, 2019

Flower Child

I haven't yet touched up this photo. The negative was in pretty rough shape. It's me in Flin Flon, presumably sometime in the early 1970s. We had that kitchen table for decades. 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

One Year Ago...

Dad left us a year ago today, and we still miss him. I'm still angry because Dad wanted to live, he fought, and he still had things he wanted to do. I'm trying not to be angry because I know Dad would want me to just enjoy life, so I'm trying. But it's hard. Miss you, Dad. Love you. Hope you're flying. 

Friday, November 01, 2019

Blade Runner 2019

November, 2019

When I watched Blade Runner 2049 in the theatre two years ago, I was profoundly moved by Denis Villeneuve's vision of Las Vegas, a sandblasted, orange-hued, radiation-scarred wasteland littered with the gigantic fallen idols of exploitative, runaway capitalist excess. Just as in Ridley Scott's original Blade Runner film, Villeneuve presents us with what some science fiction critics call a "crapsack world," one ruined by some kind of catastrophe, usually caused by humanity's shortsighted folly. In the case of the world of Blade Runner, the wildly overpopulated and perpetually rain-slicked dystopia of November 2019 (we know the date from the film's title card) is an environment so oppressive that the abused androids have more humanity than the actual humans in the film. If anything, the world of Decker and the Nexus androids has grown even more bleak by 2049, still a world divided between the rich elite and the exploited masses, human and manmade, kept in line by bread, circuses, and to perhaps a lesser extent the implied threat of quasi-fascist police violence. Both movies are gorgeous, thought-provoking, and ultimately heartbreaking. The films, together with the book, are a warning: this is the way the world is headed, if not in fine detail, then in general outcomes. 

Now our timeline has caught up with that of the first Blade Runner film. It's November 2019, and while our world can't quite yet be called a dystopian crapsack, I wonder how it will look in 2049, or 2099. If we are very fortunate, the visions of Scott and Villeneuve and, of course, the visionary Philip K. Dick, will have scared just enough of us just enough to steer the ship of history on a better course.