OK, I’m officially lodging a complaint against Mother Nature

I know, complaining about the weather (over which I have no control, at least to my knowledge) is dumb and pointless, but when I looked at the 10-day forecast this morning and saw eight days of everything from “light rain showers” to “heavy rain”, with a mere two days of “mostly sunny” in the middle (which will probably change to “light rain” in the next day or so), I felt I had to…post this.

On the plus side, this will prevent local forest fires, which we don’t really get, because the lower mainland (Metro Vancouver to outsiders) is not exactly covered in forest to begin with. It also means fewer incidents of skin cancer, since no one is going to be working on a tan, except possibly those two “mostly sunny” days (which are a lie, anyway).

On the other plus side (I’m trying to stay positive here), maybe instead of a scorching dry hot summer, it will merely be pleasant and mild and people will wake up every morning and feel refreshed and filled with joy, and return to a nice cool bedroom in the evening feeling the same.

Or you know, we could get maybe another sunny day sometime so I remember what they feel like. I’m just saying. (It’s raining steadily as I type this.)

Obligatory GIF:

It was flavour blasted and I regret everything

These:

The BLASTED part is in reference to what it will do to your tongue if you eat more than one of them. Maybe if you eat only one of them. I was checking email this morning and wondering why my tongue felt weird, and then I remembered having a few of these last night–last night–and the damage lingers on the next day, the top of my tongue does indeed feel BLASTED.

Recommended, maybe as a science experiment, but not as food.

The 44th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens blowing its top

It happened on May 18, 1980. I was 15 years old and remember being up that Sunday morning and hearing the screen door at the front of the house rattling, which struck me as odd, as there was no wind. A few minutes later, the Seattle station KOMO-TV (Channel 4) broke into whatever show was airing with a Special Report (kids, ask your parents what Special Reports were), confirming the volcano had erupted. Later that summer, we travelled through parts of eastern Washington, and I was able to scoop up a jar of roadside ash and a piece of pumice that had been ejected. I thought they were extremely neat at the time.

Sadly, I don’t know where either went. I know the rock at least made it with me to Vancouver, but that was in 1986–only six years after the eruption. I suspect it just got lost in one of my many moves (it strikes me that my parents only moved twice after hitting their 20s, compared to the million or so times I did).

I always thought volcanoes were cool when I was a kid (along with the other usual suspects, like sharks, dinosaurs and roller coasters), but this local-ish eruption (about 300 miles away) really brought home to me how destructive they were. The images of the devastation are ones I still vividly remember, and I read everything I could find in magazines and newspapers (kids, ask your…well, you know).

I came across this stunning pair of photographs on Mastodon, one taken just before it erupted, one shortly after, from the same vantage point. The post-eruption shot really does look like a moonscape.

Before:

After:

Are moustaches coming back in style?

I kind of hope not. I’ve seen a few lately and I’m getting strong 70s vibes. This is not something I have been craving, I should note.

Also, I asked Adobe Firefly to give me “A man with a large moustache standing on a sunny sidewalk, holding a cat in his arms, laughing; horizontal orientation” and this is what it produced:

Pros:

  • There is a moustache
  • There is a cat
  • There is a sidewalk
  • It is sunny

Cons:

  • He is not really laughing
  • Is that a large moustache? I say no.
  • There is nothing horizontal about this image. Maybe I should have specified “landscape.”
  • That cat is terrifying
  • The hair is also kind of terrifying

18 again

Not to be confused with Eurythmics’ 17 Again.

There is a science fiction time travel trope/plot (yes, it’s Time Travel Week on my blog) that goes something like this:

The protagonist is sent back in time, put back in the body of their younger self, but while retaining the memories of their present-day self. Shenanigans follow.

I’ve played with a variation of this for a novel or short story where a middle-aged dude (someone probably 50+) gets sent back to the day of their 18th birthday, waking up in their 18-year-old body and then deciding on what to do to change/preserve the future. The hook would have been something like they know they have an incurable disease or some such and have a second chance to try to change the inevitable course of their demise. Something light and fun like that.

I never did write the story, but it’s been rattling around long enough that I wondered how I would handle such a scenario. This would be too personal for a blog entry, but I can give some broad strokes and raise inevitable questions about the whole thing.

Being put back into my 18-year-old body would mean waking up on the morning of September 19, 1982. I’d be in my bedroom in the family home in Duncan, City of Totems®. At this time, my main activity would be attending Malaspina College in Nanaimo in the theatre program. I did share a small apartment with a classmate there, but came back to Duncan for the weekends, because Duncan was still my home and Nanaimo would never be.

The first thought, once I’d checked out my amazing 18-year-old body (it was not that amazing, really, but it was pretty flexible), would be: Once I get out of this bed, anything I say or do or not say or do could drastically affect the rest of my new, second life. I would be a living version of the butterfly effect. That would stress me out for a bit. Maybe a long bit. I have no idea how well people compartmentalize profound, world-changing thoughts like these.

And while all of my present-day memories would be fully intact, I can tell you I remember not a single thing I said, did or thought on my 18th birthday, so I’d have to get good at acting like I totally knew what everyone was talking about really fast. But what would I actually do, once I settled in? What would be my short term plans? Long term plans? Would I just go with the flow and not plan anything different at all? Would I draw elaborate diagrams trying to plot out cause and effect? “If I do X, I will probably never meet Y”, things like that. It’s hard to say without actually magically going back into my 18-year-old body, so my best guesses would be something like these:

In the short term, I’d eat healthier, get more attractive glasses, a haircut, and start jogging regularly (the regular jogging didn’t start until I was in my mid-40s). This would make me look better, feel better and make me more confident. This could potentially change a lot, so it gets really fuzzy after this. I’d finish that first year of college out of a sense of obligation, but knowing I didn’t finish the second year, I’d have to decide whether to preemptively skip the second year or commit to it and see what happens. I’m not sure which I’d do, but lean toward acting preemptively and skipping the second year right away. But then what? Move to Vancouver in 1983 instead of 1986? Maybe!

On a more mercenary level, how could I use my advanced 2024 knowledge to benefit myself in 1982? There are obvious things, like buy Apple and Microsoft stock. I could solve all of my money issues with just a few wise early investments. That would also change a lot.

As for other people, the big one would probably be my dad. He smoked like the proverbial chimney, and it literally cost him his life, via a massive and fatal heart attack in 1991, at age 58. That untimely end would come nine years after I return to my 18-year-old body. Would I be able to convince him to stop smoking before it was too late? I don’t know, but it would probably add a level of anxiety and dread that would undercut everything else, like having a quietly ticking bomb in the background and knowing exactly when it’s going to go off.

Speaking of, at my 10th high school reunion in 1992, I asked an old friend and classmate how his younger brother (who would have been 24 or so at the time) was doing, only to find out he’d died from a brain aneurysm in January of that year. Awkward and depressing. But with this foreknowledge, could I have saved the younger brother by letting him know what was to come? Not to mention, how do you even convince someone of something like this without coming across as a total lunatic? Establish a pattern of correctly predicting the future to prove you’re the real time-travelling deal? Probably. And because I couldn’t bring any fancy 2024 tech back with me, I’d have to rely 100% on my memory. What if I misremembered a “prediction” and got some aspect of it wrong, damaging my credibility? Complications!

In a way, it wouldn’t feel exactly like reliving my past because all of my actions would be constantly altering bits of my previously known future, making them less known and different. That could be liberating, in a sense (a clean slate), but also terrifying. What if something significant didn’t happen, as I’d expected it to? What if it became clear that things were heading in a new and unknown direction, and I clearly had no control over any of it? Would I want to relive all those years (40+) again without being able to mentally prepare for what comes next? If everything comes down to generally unknowable fate, I could end up with a worse life instead of a better one, but it would be even worse than that, because I’d know about the better life I did have, then lost. There’s a classic Twilight Zone twist. All it needs is Rod Serling to come out and pontificate on what a sap I was to leave my known life on the gamble of something better. Be happy with all you have, etc. (Serling died of lung cancer because he, too, smoked like a chimney.)

Still, I’d at least be rich from all that Apple and Microsoft stock. And this time I’d keep my Amiga. And I’d dress at least a little better.

Is it weird to want to time travel back to 1977?

In 1977, I was 13 years old. Now, I don’t want to be 13 again, particularly. In fact, for this bit of time travel, I’d want to time travel back while in my 23-year-old body. Hey, if it’s my time travel fantasy, I get to make the rules. And the rules are simple:

  • Travel back to a specific year
  • Be whatever I’d consider the optimal age for when I arrive

Why would I want to be 23 in 1977? To better appreciate the peak of disco? Well…sort of. Let me explain.

I went down one of those inevitable YouTube rabbit holes and ended up watching an Andy Gibb video of him performing his song “I Just Want to Be Your Everything”, which was a huge hit in 1977 (I remember it well, the song was constantly on the radio. Kids, ask your parents what a radio is). This was a live performance from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert and is actually pretty good. The fashions are, of course, extremely 70s and Gibb has that beautifully feathered mane that was the style at the time. Band members unironically wear suspenders. There are two keyboard players, one on each side of the stage, both also doing backup vocals. The one on the left is wearing very 70s shades, but the one on the right is wearing a red flannel shirt, which looks positively anachronistic. He also has that medium-length but big mound of hair (helmet hair?) that covered the ears. While this was also very 70s, it doesn’t look as dated to me. That, combined with his clothing choices, make him look a bit timeless.

And also adorable.

And that is why I’d like to be 23 in 1977. To admire his…keyboard playing. Without feeling like a dirty old man.

To answer the question in the title: Yes, it is weird. I am weird.

Here is the video (complete with incorrect, Enrgrish-style title):

Here is the keyboard player, caught from the 240p or whatever it was video. Apropos of nothing, I always liked the style of microphone shown in the still below. Very 70s, yes, but not in a bad way. It’s stylin’.

The hair also formed a protective layer for the skull.

The first ludicrous forecast of 2024 has arrived!

UPDATE, May 12, 2024:

The actual predicted high today is...22°C. I was right. I win! I don't win anything in particular, but I win!

The weather app as of the actual date, May 12th shows this:

Original post below:

From the Windows weather app:

The average high on May 12 is 19°C, so this would be a full ten degrees higher–and set a new record. I am predicting the actual temperature on this day to be:

22°C

We’ll find out in nine days!

(I am undecided on whether I’d actually want it to be 29°C. That is pretty dang hot for May, but if it’s not too humid, it really wouldn’t be that bad. Also, not like I have a weather machine to control this stuff, so I’m mainly trying to rationalize something out of my control here.)

It’s May! An April 2024 summary

I did not care much for April. Among the lowlights:

  • I gained weight (though not much)
  • I hurt my right knee again (though not as badly as last year)
  • A valve in our dishwasher broke, meaning I had to wash dishes by hand for weeks like a barbarian1Admittedly, I came to enjoy this in a Zen kind of way
  • The replacement valve from Amazon was delivered to a full locker six times before Amazon (without emailing me) just gave up on the delivery, forcing me to “contact Amazon”, which meant cancelling the order, waiting for the refund, then getting the part locally for a few dollars more. But actually getting the part! Amazon is now an official last resort for me.
  • General strata nonsense. Just mentally tiring.
  • The weather was a real mixed bag, which is still better than a month of solid rain. I feel like March was probably better, which is weird.

On the plus side:

  • The climate still hasn’t collapsed
  • No nuclear wars that I know of
  • No new pandemics (yet)
  • I did some drawing!
  • I noodled very slightly on my game

On to May. It better be better, or there will be serious grumbling ahead.

How to hide an oil pipeline

You plant a lot of grass.

I shot this rather pretty green hill as I was walking along North Road today (through a fence, I should add). If I had been able to reach the edge of the hill, I could have taken a photo of the detritus of the Trans Canadian oil pipeline expansion site: a huge and empty wooden spool, a few tarps covering mounds of soil, some small metal structures. The workers are gone now, and I don’t know if the site is going to be reclaimed or just left as is. I suspect the latter.

And while the grass looks pretty, here’s a Google Maps street view from 2017, the last year when the area was completely untouched by the pipeline construction:

It’s rather ironic that a buried pipeline required thousands of trees to be chopped down. And only grass is put back in their place. I suppose the view is nicer now without all the pesky trees blocking it.

The pipeline–a colossally expensive, stupid and unnecessary project that was about to be cancelled before the federal government swooped in to save it–is just about complete now, as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. If I think about the pipeline, it makes me angry. So I try not to think about it much.

That grass sure looks nice, though. You’d never know.

Raining? Have fun with these activities!

Photo by veeterzy

A list:

  • Jump in puddles (works best if under eight years of age)
  • Wait inside for it to stop raining
  • Do that jigsaw puzzle you bought ten years ago that’s buried in a closet somewhere
  • Listen to rain-related pop songs to “go with the flow”
  • If you have a car, now you don’t have to wash it! (Technically, this is not an activity.)
  • Do some dusting. Admit it, you haven’t dusted since you bought that jigsaw puzzle.
  • Plug your ears and say, “La la la, I can’t hear you, stupid rain!” over and over (works best if slightly mad.)
  • Just do regular stuff, but now it’s raining

5,000 posts

Celebrating a milestone with an important-looking title

On February 2, 2005 I wrote my first post here on creolened.com:

I was the last one to get bell bottom jeans in grade 5 and now I’m the last person on the Internet to have a blog.

Me, back when I had hair

Today, April 22, 2024, I am writing this, my 5,000th post, just in time for blogging to become a bit of a fad again.

5,000 posts seems like a lot. It is a lot, I suppose. It’s less impressive when you spread it out over the 19 years this blog has been around (263 per year). But it’s still a decent-sized number. If someone gave me $5,000 it would make my socks roll up and down a bit. If someone put 5,000 marbles in my bed, it would be very annoying to deal with. If the sea level rose 5,000 feet, I would be typing this on a boat and probably living in some real-life version of Waterworld.

You get the idea. 5,000 is a good number.

A single Fun Fact

Fun fact: In 2005 I wrote seven posts, in 2006 I wrote eight. My average has improved since then (this is post #159 for 2024).

I’m not going to offer words of wisdom or reflect on what the blog has meant to me, or anything like that. It’s an outlet for me. I like writing. I often have inane thoughts. A blog is a perfect place to put these thoughts down, because if you aren’t sharing your inane thoughts with the world, what are you going to do with them? Tell your cat? I don’t even have a cat any more (I did in 2005).

I will apologize for keeping the blog mired in design hell for so long. I really ought to spiff it up, slim it down, or something.

The inevitable list

What I will do, instead, is offer a list, because I like lists:

  • I recommend taking a look at the page Tags (all of them). I abuse the WordPress tags function horribly, which is why my blog has hundreds of them, but some of the weirder ones can yield entertaining and/or amusing, but also sometimes horrifying results.
  • I apologize for all the running posts. They’re not very interesting, except to me. But I did start adding pretty photos to them, at least.
  • The Creative category is where you’ll find my drawings and such. Some of them are not bad.
  • Writing Prompts is where I either write based on a prompt, or create my own lists of prompts (as established, I like lists). My prompts are almost exclusively absurd.
  • Check out my horrible attempt to take swimming lessons from 2009:
  • My favourite movie review: Movie review: Prometheus (I did not like it)
  • Possibly my favourite book review, or at least the longest: Book review: Abandon (I kind of liked it, but also hated it)
  • A creepy story based on a prompt, told in large part through text messages: 1,000 creative writing prompts: 7 of 1,000
  • My favourite cat GIF: