Christmas Song of my youth, missing my sister, other thoughts

Back in the late 60s/early 70s, Zellers sold A Very Merry Christmas: Volume 3. It was an album with a lot of big name stars (at the time) and other talent belting out seasonal songs.

A Very Merry Christmas Volume 3 cover
This was the front of the LP “A Very Merry Christmas Volume 3”

Mom bought it, and every Christmas growing up, she pulled this one out to play it. It’s actually quite a good album, with the music arranged mid-20th Century orchestral style only slightly veering into elevator music (more on that in a moment). As we got older and left home we heard this less and less, depending on whether or not we could get home for the holidays.

Of course, with the advent of the Internet and streaming music, it was only a matter of time for it to appear on YouTube and other streaming services. So for the last 10 years, every Christmas when I called up my sister Kathie to talk about Christmas plans, or when I was staying with her family in Edmonton, I would do my version of a “Rickroll”:

The Real Meaning of Christmas by the Ray Conniff Singers

This was the one “Elevator Muzak” type track on the album. Not to put down the skill of Ray Conniff or his choral group. At the time this style was popular. But now….yeesh. And the weird “Live as the Master may say” bit. I get that it’s referencing God/Christ/Magical Sky fairy but every time I hear that line, my twisted sense of humor immediately goes to some kind of the S&M/Master and slave kink play. Authoritarian mindsets and religion relies on that dominant/subservient relationship which is why I’m an atheist, but yeah…that’s a YIKES from me.

Kathie, long suffering from any teasing from her baby brother, would always respond with “Okay, I’m gonna hang up the phone now” or “Okay, I’m leaving the roooOOOoom”. Well, this year she left the room forever (#fuckcancer ).

I miss you, sis. Now this song – besides being schmaltzy – will always be a bittersweet symphony for me.

Live, Laugh, mADneSSs line of thoughts

Giving myself a quick hour to do something creative and humorous even if it is a random (to borrow from the late comedian George Carlin) “Brain dropping”. From my “Live, Laugh, mADneSSs” line of thoughts, words of wisdom, etc. Enjoy. Heh. Heehee. HehehehahahaahaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAA!

Live Laugh mADneSSs 1

Posting to EvanKayne.com not Facebook…how “meta”

TL; DR: Found pizza, found some joy, but someone else lost theirs. Burp.

This just happened a few weeks ago. I had just finished a closing shift at ye olde cannabis dispensary, it had been a week since they told us they were closing this location due to low sales (we’re unionized so most of us selected transfers to other stores). I had the weekend off and really just wanted to shower and crawl into bed so I could forget the world for 8 hours.

I live in a 3 story walk-up apartment block built in the 1950s. Dragging my sorry ass up the stairs to the top floor, I turn the corner and see what turned out to be 2 pizza boxes and some garlic bread placed on the floor in front of my apartment.

I didn’t order any pizza.

I knock on the doors of my neighbours, but no one had ordered it. My nearest neighbour says “Well, maybe its the universe rewarding you”. Dear Universe: I requested to be sole winner of a $50 million lottery ticket, not sure how you got pizza from that, but….thanks?

There was no note as to the address other than saying how many items, delivery time (8pm) and “Tower” for the location. Not sure if that was the person or the building, not sure how it got there. I could have called the pizza joint but I knew that they’d probably say “eh, keep it no charge, it’s been sitting out for 2 hours so we can’t do anything about it”. Or worse, they’d say “well, you should pay for it!!”

I’m hoping it was someone who did this to cheer me up. Better than an angry customer wondering where their pizza was and taking it out on the staff…who’d then take it out on the delivery driver.

It was not bad, and it made a shitty week less shitty, so I found a minuscule amount of hope. Yay!

New Flash Fiction! I’m on TikTok! I’m still here!

New flash fiction either in Podcast or print format. This new and original story, while a work of fiction, is based off a fever dream I had when I was in the hospital. Coming damn close to death in April made me think about a lot of things and people in my life. In the aboriginal community, dealing with resiliency, there is the idea we have to be like the American Buffalo or Bison. The Bison faces into the storm, walks through and toward it. By doing so, it gets out of the storm faster.

And sometimes it sucks where part of that storm is seeing a sibling with a terminal illness knowing that by this time next year, she won’t be around. It sucks knowing everything changes, yet nothing is truly lost. And senior citizens plant trees the shade of which they know they will never sit in.

So, what trees shall I plant? That’s why I write even sometimes when there is a storm in my soul.

Also… I’m also on TikTok now, I’ve cut short my hair, I’m still getting used to the supervisor position at work (more hours, slightly better pay, but still protected by the union), and I’m trying to remember that the future is an adventure as the seasons change. With that, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons recomposed by Max Richter

Weird Halloween Stories

New story – a couple of Weird Halloween Stories. Click HERE for the podcast, and if you’re old school, text version is here. I got a new webcam and this time I recorded the podcast using the microphone from the webcam. Sound quality is okay, but I still prefer using the microphone from my headset. I found it picks up a bit more ambient noise and when editing the sound afterwards, it’s a bit noticeable for me.

And in Halloween related news…I thought about going as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski but I don’t think my hair’s quite long enough and I don’t have the funds to buy either a beige nightgown, or a Cowichan sweater. Although a few friends have helpfully suggested I go as the “I’m not saying it’s Aliens….but it’s Aliens!” guy. That’s a nope for me. So when I’m at work, in a mask, I’ll use my fallback costume of a homicidal maniac. They’re scary because they look just like everyone else.

Short Theatre Stories

So, while I was posting these short theatre stories on another site, I thought “Ummmmm….maybe put this on your website?” So here are a few short Theatre stories from my youth:

Theatercraft
Our instructor for Theatrecraft 101 was a real easygoing guy, probably about 35. This course covered the basics of creating a set, lighting, costuming, sound, etc. And he had a lot of stories…from an insane stagehand who made a large set piece (house roof) come screaming earthward for shits and giggles to an incompetent assistant who nearly electrified the instructor. But the one that is relatable is on X-acto blades. As we were working in foamcore to build set dioramas and cutting it with X-actos, he made sure we were careful and used cutting surfaces. Because when he was in school (back when X-actos were a lot sharper and unsafe), a classmate was cutting foamcore with his jeans, skin and muscle as a cutting surface. Idiot Classmate finishes, stands up, notices his jeans are shredded, notices the blood starting to seep out, and then notices the pain. Blades back then were surgical sharp. Ouch.

Oh Apollo!
Theatre History 101. Our instructor, Alex, was a big bear of a man, 6’3″ and a little chunky. He’s got this deep baritone voice, and one day while studying an ancient Greek Tragedy, he mentions how sometimes a translation can miss the subtle directing cues the original work has. He describes a scene from Oresteia (an ancient Greek tragedy by Aeschylus) where Cassandra cries out in despair to the Greek god Apollo as she knows what’s going to happen to her. The English translation is essentially “Oh! Apollo!!” and Alex said this is where the translation fails. So – picture this bear of a man, a professor, mid-50s, inhaling in such a way it felt like he was trying to devour the air, then a split second later:

oooooOOOOOOOOOO!O!O!TOOOOYTOOOYYYYY!!​!! APPPPOLLLOOOOOO!!

Cue the class in shock, people in the front row with their hair blown back, and the DudeBro Frat guy in the back flicking his Bic lighter like he’s at a concert.

Drying or in character?
An actor can forget their lines (or “dry”) for various reasons…but the weirdest situation is when they forget the line because the actor is no longer there but their character IS.

So, theatre school, final project. We stage The Sport of My Mad Mother. I play the naïve American tourist. The rest are members of a London Cockney street gang. V—-, playing one of the gang, has a scene with me where we are comforting the female lead. I’d just said my line, and was waiting on V—-. And waiting.

Now to be fair, actors performing operate on stage-time (where every second for the audience is 10 seconds to the actors) and I have ADHD which is hyped by my adrenaline from the performance, I’m operating on a level of Matrix-like Bullet-Time.
I look over at V—-.
I realize V—- isn’t here anymore.
I then think “ohshiatnowwhat…hey, do I need to pick up milk later? No, no, I’m good…could do with some butter….okay where are we in the play again?” I mentally page through the script to his line, and quickly reword it so I can say it. The next actor picks up her cue, and the play goes on as normal. Afterwards, I ask V—- about it and he says “No, I said the line” to which everyone else in the green room says “Nope”. He genuinely did not remember. I’m glad it happened in a quieter moment, not in the middle of a fight scene.

Bonus Theatre “Cool Story Bro”: Accidental transposed line from Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas at the Walterdale Theatre in Edmonton. This play has a cast of dozens along with about 5-6 stagehands and crew. The original line spoken by the First Voice is “Heads are picked, noses are wiped”. Unfortunately, (and you should NEVER DO THIS TO ACTORS OR PEOPLE SINGING SONGS unless it’s Weird Al Yankovic or someone similar) during rehearsal, someone in the cast jokingly made parody scenes and lines. The actor had heard the joke version, and that night transposed the nouns in that sentence. The First Voice caught her mistake and paused for a split second. Meanwhile, the entire cast and crew backstage and onstage are quietly exploding in laughter. But we continued on with no issues other than sore abdominal muscles from clenching them to prevent laughter.

Taste the Memories: new fiction!

Alrighty. NEW PODCAST! “Taste the Memories” click here for podcast, or for the text version, click here.

What else? Oh, yes, a Table of Contents (TOC) for my Library of Stories. After installing the widget and poking at it for a few weeks, being generally afraid of the work I suspected was involved, when I was posting the text version I saw there was a toggle button for a table of contents. One click later and “ta-da!” You can click on the icon on the top left of the TOC to expand or collapse it. For my next trick, I may do pages, or some sort of “back button”.

Other than that, as I peer out the window, it appears the snow squall forecasted has arrived. Music that might help: 1960s Jazz Music.

I was listening to some Lalo Schifrin and Jerry Goldsmith movie soundtracks from the 60s/early 70s. There’s something about the music of that time…yes some of it verges towards elevator music, but there was a lot of good stuff like the background music for the 1967 Spider-Man animated series. Yes, really. Or to get a really good idea about the energy of the music, try Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island.

Both Sides of THE End – flash fiction

Well, I finally got off my ass to post this. Reading it and the actions that occur, I hope you end up thinking “what…wait, why?” and wanting more. That’s the essence of #flashfiction – it’s a quick snapshot. The difference? A novel would be the equivalent of describing a house, the property it’s on, and the contents of a house. A short story is describing the contents of one room. A flash fiction is essentially you walking by a room and looking in at what’s happening as you walk by. Text of the story is available by CLICKING HERE or if you prefer to hear it as a podcast, go to my Podcasts page, or to my Podbean site.

The Missing Menu – a new flash fiction

The Missing Menu – a new flash fiction available in either podcast format or in text format! This flash fiction covers the thoughts and musings of some…thing as it’s sitting down to a meal.

Posting this was my challenge – and finally, with the help of some Ultra Sour sativa and playing “Eye of the Tiger” on a loop, I got it online. Although the tenth repeat the bird got pissed and started squawking in protest.

Why the delay in posting new creative? Well…I’m working on other stuff offline, and my laptop was going senile. So June was a write off as I tried to work around it. Fortunately a friend who works at Best Buy suggested I switch my hard drive out for a solid-state drive. And whoa, boy! Behaves about the same, but faster on startup. Unfortunately, while they were able to preserve a lot of my files, my desktop and any apps I need to download (Firefox, Audacity, GIMP) had to be updated.

Which also caused some issues. Yet, I persevered! True, I had to sigh and quote Dorothy Parker “What fresh Hell is this?” but…I’m also going to look at the Library of Stories page and think about how I could better organize it…maybe a table of contents? We’ll see.

The Washroom Preacher – a weird encounter

Hello. I’m aiming for multiple updates this week, but first off, The Washroom Preacher – a true life encounter with a weird situation – is available either on the Podcasts page or as a text version. As well, here’s the link to the song mentioned if you need to listen to it afterwards.
This podcast is available on Podbean, iTunes or Google Play podcasts.