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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fwd: Fruit Flies and Field Fouling Fowls








                                           Fruit flies and field fouling fowls


As surely as the swallows head to Capistrano, the monarchs wing their way to Mexico and the caribou traverse the tundra my fruit flies have also started their annual migration. They are off to parts unknown. Parts I care not to know. Parts I could care less about. Just as long as they are far south. At least I think they've flown south. Where else could they be?
Now we are getting ready to welcome our guest that fly in from the north and stay all winter. And I'm not talking about Uncle Art and his girlfriend, ex-exotic dancer Rita. Uncle Art just had his hip replaced and Rita's now working full time the the Shakey's in Dawson. Hopefully not dancing.
No, I'm talking about your friend and mine the Snow Goose. The field fouling flocks of fowls that fly here every autumn ( I could of said fall but figured you wiped the spit off your screen after fly)
And the geese don't tell us they're coming. But we now expect it. And they don't tell us they're staying. But we're getting use to it. It hasn't been that many years since they decided that they would tolerate our somewhat cold reception. But I guess what we offer here is better than the Russian tundra and their flight here.
"So how was your flight in from Russia?"
"The turbulence was awful! The flight was long and cold! And people shot at us every time we tried to refuel along the way!"
This is Shangri-La for them. No guns, lots of green grass all winter long and a mild climate. They just spend the winter eatin-and-a-pooping all over every school field they can find. And now we can't get rid of them. Lord knows we've tried. We just can't beat them! If you do old  ladies yell at ya!
Maybe if we'd all been a little nicer to the fruit flies, and not tried to kill them every chance we had, they'd of stayed long enough for the snow geese to arrive. Then our fowl friends recognizing a food source would then follow them south. At least I think they flew south. Not sure.
How did they find out they can't be shot at here? Was it just dumb luck? Was it some dumb duck hunter that  came back from the hunt and needed to wash off his decoys and left them on the school grounds to dry? 'Hey look,' said the geese 'down there on the big green field. Dumb birds like us eating what we like to eat. Let's check it out!' And the rest is history.
I myself am trying to make the best of this situation and come up with a way to market their annual visit. To make money from people who want to somehow interact with the snow geese in their winter habitat. And don't laugh. It was forward thinking like this that some brain-iac thought of making money off of tourists by making them pay to jump in the ocean and swim with the dolphins.
Now I tried several ideas to possibly capitalize on this golden goose. Like swimming with the geese in their winter habitat, but the water here is muddy and brain numbing cold. And their feathers are everywhere. I tried flying with the geese, but my ultra light hit an errant bird and we had to make a very quick unscheduled landing. I tried to market goose watching tours but with them everywhere I couldn't maintain the excitement that one gets over the hope of seeing whale. I thought of trying to market goose poop as the next go to ultra sheik face cleanser. And her I need more scientific research which doesn't come cheap. And a Hollywood A-lister willing to rub goose poop all over their face and pretend it's wonderful. I also thought maybe, since they let you get fairly close, and all they do is poop and eat grass, I could market the opportunity to poop with the geese. But only one guy signed up, and he had a court order to stay 100 metered from any school playing field.
Right now I think my best chance for profit is to rent out a goose to each home and they can place them at the kitchen recycling bin. The geese love to eat fruit flies. This will be a real surprise for our friends the fruit fly when they return north. Gosh I hope they're okay.
But whatever I do I'm not giving up. Where there's a gaggle of geese there's a gullible goof eager to part with his cash.
I started a fund to find fruit flies for field fouling flocks of fowls this autumn. Okay fall! I fear for the little fellas.

Bob Niles

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Box art

Not All Good Things Come in a Apple Box

Not All Good Things Come in a Apple Box

Back in 1980 something plus the next something, our humble abode had been broken into twice in two years. With the kids at school and the wife and I at work some master minded criminals figured out how to kick the back door in without setting off the alarm.
To be fair to the alarm company, we didn't have an alarm. And to be fair to the alarm we didn't have an alarm company. And to be fair to the master minds that kicked in the door we didn't have anything worth taking. But somehow all this made the community think we did, and my wife couldn't have been happier. And the fact they did it twice,...well she was over the moon.
"Do you think it was the same cat- burglar as the first robbery?" My wife questioned the chief inspector in heavy breathing tones as she took a long draw from an even longer cigarette holder.
I looked over at Barney of Mayberry, then back to the wife and then pointed out that cat-burglars worked at night and only stole diamonds and expensive paintings. I then made the case that if they had been here the once they certainly would have known not to return and that there was no cigarette in her holder. She, the victim of this perilous crime, my wife, took a long draw on the holder and shot me one of her looks that almost make me lose control of my bladder. She then put out the smouldering chopstick on the large wire reel we'd been using for a coffee table, holds the back of her hand to her forehead, claims a case of the vapours and retreats to the study (bathroom).
Officer Barney hands me his card and mentions if in a couple of days we can think of anything they could of stolen for insurance purposes he'd be happy to come by and make a report. I then show him to the door, which he carefully steps over, and then he's off, back to his secret headquarters at MI5.
My father-in-law Donn, hearing of the break-in, and in need of a laugh arrives as chief inspector, head of international break-ins and cat-burglaries clears the drive.
"Did they get the Van Gough or the jewels?" He asks loud enough for the neighbours to hear. Realizing he's been prompted by the wife a forehand, I assure him in a bellowing voice that the fortune is safe and that the gold we've hidden in the backyard is untouched as well (and here I'm hoping the neighbours will dig me a garden).
"You should get one of them security cameras like we have on our office building." Donn observes as he looks over our horizontal back door. "Even if it's just for the back door. Who knows, maybe that's what they were trying to steal."
"Keep it down will ya! I'm trying to get a vegetable patch put in. And besides that them cameras" I point out "are super expensive."
"Not if I make you one." He counters.
And so it was that we would have Donn make us a security camera. A camera with a mother board, nano switches, micro cards, perhaps circuits, some kind of gizmos with bells and a whistle, and??? Well I really don't know. There's a lot of technology in these things I have no idea of. And frankly I'm surprised Donn does.
It was until,....well it was next day Donn brought over the answer to all our security needs. He did note that he had most of the parts already and that the greatest problem is finding the right lens.
"Fisheye?" I asked. "No Slurpee" he answered as he set down the cardboard box.
I then told him I've never heard of a Slurpee lens. To which he countered that he'd never heard of a fishear lens. Funny I thought when a guy of his talent who knew so much about cameras had never heard of a fisheye lens.
"It's fisheye not fishear I said."
"What's fishear?" He asked absently as he worked about in his box.
"The lens! The lens! Is it a fisheye lens?" I ask, wishing this conversation would end.
"No I told you Slurpee. The lens is the top of a Slurpee cup. Slurpee. Haven't you ever had a Sluuurrrpeee?" Donn held his teeth together and stretched out his neck as he drew out the word Slurpee..
"You know I have." I answered "I just didn't think you could Macgyver a lens out of one."
"Well feast your eyes on this baby." Donn announced as he raised his technological wonder from the apple box. And when I say apple box I mean Granny Smith not Steve Jobs.
It was hard to know what to say and then it got hard to know where to look. So I stepped over the back door and called for the wife. She was always good in these type of situations with her dad. We had had a few.
She laughed! Not my first response. Especially when I had seen how much pride he had when he raised it from the apple box. (Again Granny Smith).
"What is it and what do you plan to do with that painted box with the dish soap dial and Slurpee lid glued to it? And isn't that cable vision (coaxial cord) wire stuck out the back?" She almost snorted.
"And don't forget this Sony name tag I glued to this side." Donn continued while moving his hands about his creation like one of the girls from The Price is Right.
"Again what is it?" And this time she did snort when she laughed.
Quickly I jumped in to explain that it was,.. It was,...a a a T- e -m -p -o -r- a- r -y security camera to fool the cat-burglars in case they came back. I then went on to say the head chief inspector captain general from the MI5 had told us to do it till we bought a real one.
"Okay." She said and walked over the door back into the house.
"Well I guess we have her blessing." Donn triumphed holding high his grey painted cardboard Sony box with the Slurpee lens and a dish soap top dial, operated through a fake cable system. "Help me with the ladder will ya and we'll point this baby at the door.

That was almost 30 years ago. And it's still there! And we have never had another break-in. Even after we got a real coffee table.
Donn was going to take it down just last week because it didn't look like a real camera anymore. To which I bit my tongue and smiled. "Leave it" I said "It will be a great story when the grandkids are old enough to notice it and ask 'What is it?'"

Bob Niles

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pumpkin art

Pumpkins, Christmas Trees and Spent Nuclear Fuel

Pumpkins, Christmas Trees and Spent Nuclear Fuel

"Grandpa, I want the biggest pumpkin we can find!" screeches my granddaughter as she's set free from her four point harness in the grandpa mobile. It's all I can do to restrain her four years of constant muscle building from running out into traffic. I hold tighter to her hand and promise her it will be the biggest one there, with hopes my 58 yrs. of muscle decay can lift it.
We don't want a repeat of last year when I went to lift the pumpkin ( and it wasn't the biggest one!) and my body said 'Fat chance fat boy!' and then backfired!
Squatting like some Sumo wrestler, with your chin between your knees, (which are trying to spread wide enough to encompass this great orange gourd), you inhale, turn your face a lovely beet red, and pop a few veins on the forehead. But the only thing that moves is air from somewhere inside you,....out to the great outdoors!
Well there's a Halloween moment the wife will never forget. And she takes full opportunity to share her love of a good laugh with her friends at my expense!
The biggest pumpkin is then followed, less than two months later, with the biggest Christmas tree! It's got to be the straightest, fattest, waterlogged Spruce ever offered to mankind.
It's enough to make me change religions. Oh sure before the celebrated event occurs they are a harvested thing of beauty. But after the candy's handed out and the presents given, they're as worthless as chicken poop on a pump handle.
Now you have to rid yourself of this once heralded growth of wonder to the garbage heap.
"Garbage Heap!?" My seven yr. old granddaughter (the one with the education) exclaims and questions. "You cant just throw Alexica ( she named the pumpkin) away, you have to recycle it!"
Well I sort of do recycle it. I leave it on he back fence and watch its once finely chiseled face start to melt like some Hollywood 'A Lister' who refuses plastic surgery. Nobody wants my pant-splitting, vein popping, wind breaking giant orange gourd. But at least it's easy to return to nature.
Unlike the Christmas Tree, which looks great in the house till Fathers Day.....well that's what I think.
That tree is a pain to rid yourself of. Oh sure you could put it on the roof of your car, a g a i n, and take it to some distant point and have a fireman chip it to smithereens for a donation. But I'm still upset at the original cost of a dead tree called Christmas. I'm not spending any more to kill it some more. Some years I wish it would catch fire and burn! It's easier to build a new room than dis-cabobbling it in all it's splendor, putting decorations back in boxes, dragging it down halls knocking off pictures, and then through three doorways that do their best to remove every needle that this tree ever had. My eight foot epic Christmas monument is now the size and girth of a Charlie Brown tree. The rest is in the couch, easy chair, rugs and floors.
Maybe if they put a deposit on these things? Then I could bring them back and get money and be happy. My memory would completely have forgotten I had already paid for me to come back to get the money I had already given you. Knowing me I'd just save them up till it was worth a trip.

"I'll take 'Garbage' for $200 Alex"
"Christmas Trees, Pumpk-kins and Spent Nuclear Fuel"
"What are three things my wife doesn't want to see in our backyard come the Spring, Alex."
"No..,I'm sorry. It's what is a Fir, Kin, Waste

In our house both answers were correct.

Bob Niles



boB nileS

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trick-er-treat art

A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st

A How to Trick-er-Treat on November 1st

"Trick-er-Treat!" A common cry heard round all the neighborhoods on the eve of October 31st. But, on the eve of November 1st that is when all the cool stuff is to be had from door to door begging.
On the night after Halloween you don't have to settle for the tiny little bags of treats that so commonly fill Halloween baskets on the 31st. Your rewards are much greater! And on the 1st of November competition is minimal or non existent. Plus home owners are now filled with guilt after trying to eat all the leftover Halloween treats. They are now more than willing to rid their home of any and all leftover chocolate, salty, or sweet treats from the night before. Why it's been my experience they go through the house and bring out the big bags of goodies too. Guilt is a wonderful thing to work off of.
The tricky part of trick-er-treating a day late is to do it with confidence and then sell it. In my early years I have gone trick-er-treating as that rabbit from 'Alice in Wonderland'. "I'm late, I'm late, I'm very very late!" This saved my cotton tail more than once.
Also knowing the community you're trick-er-treating in is important in your to door to door deception of the afore mentioned eve. You need to find a housing group or community (perhaps gated) with mostly seniors like me in it. They'll answer the door defending their thoughts it's already happened and they might even mention that Halloween was yesterday. And it's here you'll have to agree with them and say 'It does seem like Halloween was yesterday! Where has the time gone! ' Then at this point cause a distraction, jingle your Unicef Box at them and tell him it's for Brad and Angelinas kids. It'll break their train of thought. I'm always distracted by loose change or bright lights. You don't really want to have them regain cognizant thoughts before you make your escape to the next house.
If someone calls you on it and maintains " Halloween was yesterday Dufass!" Just do exactly what you saw and heard from all the elderly like me that you collected from earlier. As if waking from a slumber "Oh, oh, ah, ya right.' start to leave, turn back, then jingle Brad and Angelina's box. "Collecting or the kids." Justify your off night call.
Yes boys and girls it's there for the taking. I wish you luck!
Happy Halllo-after-ween!

Bob Niles




boB nileS

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Work-out art

Working out work-out wear

Working out work-out wear



I don't like to sweat anymore. During my working years as a plumber I sweat enough to do me, and several other lifetimes. So if given the chance to work up a good sweat, I decline. But,.. I love to wear the pants associated with the word sweat.
Sweatpants. Gods way of apologizing for the male anatomy. The best thing invented for guys since the kilt. And like the kilt and a girls bike frame, both invented for guys but women stole them and made them theirs. And now they've gone and done it again with my sweatpants.
They stole the great idea of sweatpants and changed the name to 'yoga' and now it's a must have fashion item for every woman. And I doubt they all do yoga! They took our idea of using clothing to assimilate what men look for in a wife but changed it to what they look for in a guy.
We guys look for sweat pants exactly the same way we look for a woman. In sweatpants and in a woman we want our freedom. We want the option of floating around. And we don't want to be constricted or held tight in a relation or in our outerwear. The perfect sweatpants should only have enough binding elastic to hold them high. If you can put your iPhone in your pants pocket without them falling down then there too restricting. And here the pockets can't be deep. They can't be hard to get into. We want shallow. No pockets with deep surprises! And men are okay if the pants are not 100% natural. A little help here and there to help them keep their shape is totally fine by us.
Women (girls) who first started wearing guy style sweatpants had 'juicy' painted across their butts. Butt then, just as they do with any guy they decided 'I'll change him/them to fit my needs'. And apparently what a woman needs to be held tight. To have something or someone embrace and support, to lift up and hold lovingly everything that they feel bad about. And to make them feel comfortable about it, and to have them look good and appreciated. They wanted support without the cling. And as with nylons and men they didn't want any running. You gotta sit there and take it! And yoga pants had to fit right cause for years both nylons and men just have not fit quite right in the middle.
So now they've found out what us guys have known for years. That there can be a perfect clothing specifically created for their gender. And now that they have found the perfect attire they wear it everywhere! But a wife or girlfriend will always put up a fight if a guy tries to go out in his comfy sweatpants, even if he is wearing dress-shoes. Why I can't even cut the grass ( if the wife's home) in my sweatpants. Sure they suffer from a few holes or imperfections, but we love them even more for it. I don't want new sweatpants! I love them the way they are. I don't need a variety, I'm happy with the ones I have. But you women want many yoga pants. Not for variety, cause they all look the same. You just want the hope of a different outcome or the dim promise of something different. But the final result is always the same, he won't flush or put the lid back on the tube no matter how many pairs you own.
And the manufactures of the woman's answer to female sweatpants have realized what some of you want in their product. And they made them exactly the way you want your man. But, they like you got caught doing it. They made them see-through. A little too see-through. You don't want your guy, or any guy, realizing you have that ability to know what we're thinking. I mean I can pretty much see-through young boys thoughts see-throughing your yoga pants. I'm just jealous of missing those thoughts.
And as in dying thoughts there does come a day for some of us guys when everything you loved about your sweatpants dies. The support you took for granted is gone and what you thought was freedom was just the way you two fit together. But you don't throw them away! You bury them in a wooden box. A drawer.
So do you get new ones knowing they won't fit you like what you had and how they got more comfortable with age. Probably not. You'll just progress to a bathrobe, where everything is unsure. It's the next progression from sweatpants and one step away from a hospital gown.

Bob Niles

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Plumber and the Naked Lady

The Plumber and the Naked Lady

The Plumber and the Naked Lady


'ROPE ROPE ROPE' 'CLUMP CLUMP CLUMP CLUMP' (sounds of dog barking accompanied by running footsteps overhead). 'ROPE ROPE ROPE.' (door opens then slams overhead) 'ROPE ROPE ROPE ROPE.' "Ahhh! Tom there's someone in the bathroom !!! (lady screams from shower). But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's begin to start at the top of the beginning.
It was the Spring of 1980 something and sewage was in the air. But that's how it was pretty much for me everyday working as a plumber in the big city. Myself and two older brothers, I worked for as an apprentice, had arrived at a residence we were going to rough-in basement plumbing for. The plumbing van was unloaded into the basement through the basement door. Electrical cords strung out, tools set up, plumbing fittings all arranged and work was about to begin.
"I'll just go upstairs and let them know not to flush the toilet or take a bath or brush their teeth." Bill (Jack's older brother) said. These instructions were made because we were about to cut the main cast iron stack to the upstairs plumbing. The kitchen sink was okay to use as it was on a separate plumbing stack in another part of the home.
The man upstairs, (no not God!) the homeowner, understood and would tell his wife what we had told him. And in his defence, he did. And after doing so quickly headed out the door off to work.
Meanwhile downstairs
Measurements are taken to cut it in a 3 inch clean out at the base of the stack as all plumbing stacks need one at the base and this one was in want of one. Bill mentions how big the dog is upstairs. A cast iron cutter chain was looped around the stack and pressure was applied to make the first cut. Success! ( sometimes the cast iron is so rotten it crumbles) A second cut is now made with the same success. Bill jokes about the size of the dog upstairs. Now there's about a one foot piece of cast iron that's cut from the stack but it's still in place because of all the weight of the cast iron pipe and fittings above our vertical cut.
Discussions were made and past histories explored of previous jobs and it was decided that the present system of metal banding was sufficient to carry the weight of the plumbing stack after we were to remove the cut piece. Plus the ladder we needed was still in the truck. So with two (Jack and I) guys lifting, to get a bit of wiggle room, Bill removed the one foot piece from the plumbing stack and cast it aside which it then broke to pieces. This of course was the cue for the lady upstairs to start taking her shower.
Now true we said nothing of showers in our request of what not to do in the bathroom. So she had us on a technicality. She also had us standing holding up a heavy plumbing stack that the existing supports could NOT carry and her shower was running all over our feet with nowhere to go but stand firm and carry the weight. It was the decided with much discussion,...again NOT! Bill took off running up the stairs with great urgency. Water was running across the basement floor to the low spot, away from the drain toward absorbent piled cardboard boxes filled with what could be family treasures.
Cresting the stairs after momentarily stunning himself on a low floor joist he struggled with the always stiff ancient basement doorknob. We believe (Jack and I) this alerted their indoor horse with canine features. Of course we couldn't say for sure it transpired this way, we're just going on what we're hearing as we couldn't leave our heavy burden behind.
Just as soon as Bill was through the basement door to the upstairs that dog was on him. 'ROPE ROPE ROPE.' Jack an I had a blind mans front seat to all this. We couldn't see a thing as our story played out in surround sound. Our heads went left then right, then hesitated, then started moving again following urgent footsteps upstairs. Doors open, closed, footsteps and the tickety tick of dogs nails all pulled at our ears 'ROPE ROPE ROPE ROPE' Bill was on the move again. It wasn't till our heads were looking straight up that the screaming started. Bill had locked himself in the bathroom away from the dog that ate a horse. It was also in the same room the lady upstairs was taking a shower in and she wasn't too fond of male visitors in her bathroom.
"SHUT THE WATER OFF! SHUT THE WATER OFF! " Bill bellowed.
"Ahhh! Tom there's someone in the bathroom!" She screamed
"Toms not home!" Bill pointed out.
Now this made her scream even louder! It was at this point Jack and I got the giggles and we couldn't stop laughing.
A door opens again, feet running, dog chasing rapid feet, screaming, Jack and I are trying to keep pace with the audio cues. The basement door opens, and a much louder 'ROPE ROPE ROPE' fills our ears. The basement door then slams shut and a dog yelps. Silence,...but for the dripping of water on the floor. The lady had shut off the shower, and judging by her footsteps was coming down to the basement to offer us coffee. NOT!
"Well that was a short day." I stated with great obliviousness as we drove away. Bill shot me a look that said if you ever mention this he had better be long dead and gone or it will be you that's dead and gone.
Next year it will be 30 yrs. that I lost my good friend Bill due to a heart attack. He was a kind church-going Saint of a man and an even better employer. And that was one of the funniest day I ever had plumbing. I think 29 years qualifies for long gone.

boB NileS