Adam's Beanstalk

A daily adventure-bag of insights and old bones from an unknown poet in Manitoba's south. Caveat: Not everything is to be taken literally. Things are often shaded with poetic crayons; be the owl. Also, not all these bones are collected from different fields. Find themes that run througout each post and the journal as a whole; the most insignificant event may be part of an ear.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Road to the West

It was Thursday morning, 5:30, when I opened the day like a can of worms. I saw Travis had brought home some lovely barbequed sausages from the farm, and they were all plump, with juice springing from the inside. To start a morning with a barbequed sausage sandwich! Packed, I headed to pick up Dennis down Balmoral. I was ashamed to find it to be so light outside at this time of day, and so peaceful. How time has been squandered! At Dennis' apartment I waited outside, when I saw a tabby cat behind a screen window above me. It tilted its head sideways with curiosity as it viewed me. Then, in a slow fit, attempted to burst from the screen to meet me on the street!
Soon we were at Johnny's place, where we got a small tour of the perennials while things got underway. In the tree sat three black birds, with matte chests and glossy wings. An omen?
Picked up James and Will and started to drive.
Driving is done at John's good pace. Our eventual destination is here:

Along the way we are busy throwing "verbal barbs" at each other (I quote the James on this one). This, or something else, caused the van to get quite heated, and sometimes smoke was seen on the inside. The van itself drove fine. We gassed up quite frequently, and made an emergency #2 stop.
One time there was a stench coming from a garbage bag in the back. Dennis threw it out in the trash, but then James stated that his shoes were in a garbage bag because they were wet. A moment of horror. Then we found the shoes, still sitting in the van in a different garbage bag.
There was a constant background of various metal music, which complemented the metal farm equipment along the road outside. This naturally lead to great discussions about farming, and James gave us an eleven point sermon on the problems of farming today. Dennis often occupied himself by reading: once from a magazine that put forth unfounded trends in computer engineering, the rest in a small book on vitamins in food.
He vowed to eat as healthy and as infrequent as possible, even buying a small Horton's wrap so he could avoid a bigger lunch. Come lunch time, he went to Safeway and bought bread, and turkey, and bananas, and vector bars, and lettuce. A good and healthy effort to avoid spending money on supper. He ate some salad while the rest of us ate other salad in Wendy's. He made a sandwich and put the rest in the cooler (which had to be constantly monitored due to a testy power cord). John wanted the cooler off to save energy. So Dennis had to eat the meat to prevent it from going bad. Could you blame him? The whole packet, and most of the bread, and the bananas that did not get squished on the floor now drained. This got us to supper. We ran into Subway where I tried the new ham and swiss sub (3 out of 5 stars) and the sandwich artist got anxious after we bugged him about the lack of garlic bread. When we got our subs we found Dennis in the parking lot, having gone to Dairy Queen to get a small, make that a medium, blizzard, which was promptly eaten and (somewhat) spilled on his shirt.
So this is good! We are on our way to Calgary for an evening out.
We decide to pass the time on the flat plains of Alberta by playing "The Price is Right" with items found in a Swift Current newspaper. What is the price of a salt block? $4. What is the price of a grain bin? $8000. Will surprises us all by nailing these two prices on the head. Will, you should be an auctioneer. We move on to cars, and boats, and dogs, and office wages, and rent per month, etc. How about the price of one square bale? James should know this, for he has just spent the morning telling us about his Aggie studies. And he guesses... $400 per bale?! What? Actual retail price: $2.35.
We are in Calgary, and heading to a Jazz club owned by James' cousin. Here it is:

Playing tonight is Rabnett 5 (we don't like the name either), a local band, and pretty young. But as we all know, young jazz musicians are great, and they put on a solid show. I loved admiring the band's dynamics, and the bassist was outstanding. They played a variety of styles, adding a funk/jazz song and some mellow blues. The drummer spiced up jazz time with variations from other styles.
After the show, we go upstairs to an empty Piq Niq to have a drink and chat with James' cousin. We hear stories of old relatives who have beat up thugs with army belts, and a cousin driving off to Dawson, BC, with a trunk full of other relatives luggage and plane tickets. It was not an accident.
Neither was our arrival at Tyson's place after driving through Okotoks for, what was it, half an hour? =^). In due justice, Will was gunned down by an M16 bullet on the front lawn. Out from the bushes emerges a cowboy hat and a grinning face: Tyson with his airsoft gun.
There was lots to discuss before sleep.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Chinstrap (2005-2006)

He never came home. We thought that he was out hunting. He sometimes did this during the nights. During the days he would lie inside, his favorite place behind the black ottoman along the wall. He would stretch out, and let his white belly be tickled. He slept in the garage during winter. We gave him the better food. Yesterday, we let the other cats in to finish off the remains. Chinstrap would always wait by the fridge, and jump for treats. He would play with his little pet mouse or watch us spin tops across the linoleum. We laughed when curled up on his favorite chair, the one Shane sits on for supper. It has a great view out the window. But there is nothing to hope for anymore, no waiting for the black and white prodigal son to come waddling down the driveway. The waiting is over, and now it is time to mourn.

Chinstrap digs under the pumpkins while his friend, Catalanato, looks at the camera.

Post Script: I have created a video montage of Chinstrap which can be viewed by following the link to Myspace (Listen to Adam's Music) on the sidebar. Click on the video link there.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Life is precious, life is sweet, like the earth beneath.

This Wednesday goodbye Kyle, mushrooms on everything, all you can Boston's.
Graveyard, here off Osbourne, probably filled with mushrooms, too.
For mushrooms, dead people are like pizza.

Thursday John Botkin gets BBQed by Navs. Chelsea's blog for a sweet report. Here it is as if people fell from the sky, but not, they rose from the ground. They pulled the bell first, to warn us. Thank you.

Friday, Youth Group, Rosenort. Sing some outside, across from the cemetary. In the sunset. Of our lives. Had a mad game of. Spoons from which I still have two. Gaping burn wounds. But at least I didn't have to drink the salt water. Picture still from Thursday. Kept haunting thoughts.

Weekend mornings. Beautiful. Walk my camera like dog. Capture this spring shot. Like a sling. A sling for broken branches. Later, Sunday afternoon it gets cold and windy. As I work before window, I notice that hundreds of these seed strings are flying from the trees down they come, spring hail, and I go out the screen door to stand on the deck looking west and am showered by these red strands it is such a moment.

Afternoon down by the river's edge. Our neighbour's garbage burial yard got raised by the floodwaters. Bottles everywhere. I, pen, and paper, write messages. In the bottles. We go river. Wedge bottles in the dirt. Then take a swing with a golf club and launch them into stream. If you find a bottle. Leave a message of your find here. There are 15 to collect.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Through My Window I Can See the Frame

It feels good to have the windows open in Spring.


1) It seems Travis is allergic to something mysterious. When the windows are open I often hear him sneeze five or more times in a row. There are no good numbers beyond four, so this is a bad sign indeed. Luckily, symptoms have been improving as of late.

2) Once faint outside noises are now loud. This means you, seagulls! Also, one day something must have reverberated in the garbage bin outside the window and I thought a bomb had gone off, or a train had fallen off of a bridge. It was quite possibly the most frightening thing I had ever heard. I sat at the window for over five minutes wondering whether or not I should grab an armful of soup cans from the pantry to weather the nuclear winter. I am not joking when I say this. After five minutes, I heard an ambulance driving down the road. This did not help.

3) Because the windows have not been opened for the greater part of a year, a number of dead insects have accumulated between the panes (imagine them as the crumbly graham layer on the bottom of a cake). Included in this collection are dead flies (now just black exoskeletons) and dead ladybugs (did you know they turned white?). (I did not, but I tried to take a picture of one today because it looks immaculate!). Anyways, it was monday afternoon and I was reading on my futon-a-bed, enjoying the crisp breeze. All of the sudden, however, a sharp gust of wind swept from the streets of Osbourne through my very screen. Looking up, I realized that this wind has tossed up a fly skeleton, and it was flying right towards me! I could not move. I could not run. Defeated, I watched the rigid carapace fall into my lap as if I were an offering plate. Fie!

It is April 19th (Happy Birthday Shane) and Springtime in Winnipeg. Needless to say, my windows are now closed.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Announcing AdamVincentTylerKroeker Idol!

You would think that I would like to keep all my easter eggs for myself. Well, you are right. However, I would like to offer you all a different kind of egg - it has lines, and a giant staff, and some notes. You guessed it - a musical egg! I have four more musical eggs waiting for you. All you have to do is follow the sidebar link. Included is my favorite recording, "Reflections", and the new dance craze called "Opening the Resurrection Tomb".

Tell me which ones are your favorite, because the ones that do not get voter support will be booted out so new songs can come in! Leave comments on the particular websites or here on the blog comment space.

Who will be the next AdamVincentTylerKroeker Idol?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Egging

So we had to eat a boiled egg at the seder I was telling you about. I probably hadn't eaten one in fifteen years. The last time was before my egg-hating period. This period ended three years ago. Then I decided I loved eggs. I loved them so much that I got a job at a chicken barn. Sometimes I brought home the juice from the cracked eggs in a big pail so I could share my love of eggs with my cats. But it seems that the boiled egg was still on my CAUTION list, and I hadn't eaten them like I had scrambled, poached, and sunny side up.

Friday we had an easter gathering at Uncle Greg's place. The day was beautifully warm and windy, and the high waters altered the landscape dramatically. For supper, I ate another boiled egg. This one was colored green on the outside. It is symbolic of the green grass where eggs go after they fall from the nest.

We had an Easter Egg hunt outside. For the Kroeker's side, because there are a good number of us, we have a tradition. We are each given a number, cut out from a calendar date. Mine was 23. A good number. A short quip, usually a bible verse, is written on the back. Mine said "trust in the LORD your God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding". I thought it was telling me something. Then we gathered on the deck and got ready to look. We were shown the boundaries, and told there was one bag of goodies that had our number on it that we were to find. So off we went. I looked under the bales, in the juniper patch where the two mice ran from, and in amongst the pine trees. I could not find it. Then I looked up at the clothesline, which was attached to pulleys so the clothes could be pulled along. It was moving, being pulled by Uncle Greg from over by the house. To my surprise, out from the trees comes shuffling a bag of treats on the clothesline with the number 23. A gift from above!

The bags contents get more interesting every year. Gone are the eggs, and in are the cashews. Wrapped in seran wrap, they were. There were also Big grapes, and juicy, I hear. These were beside their bretheren, the Fruit to Go, and sisters, the baby carrots. Do these siblings get along?

Sunday, squished between my last exam on Saturday and my last paper on Monday, we went to our Loewen grandparents where, after a big meal, we partook in our Loewen egg hunting tradition. This is a tradition started in the last three years and involves a treasure hunt put together by grandma & grandpa. This year the hunt was competitive, so Shane, Jimi, and I squared off against Mom, Dad, and Chase. We each had a different order of clues and a different color of paper to take at each location. I wisely chose the yellow paper for our team, which stood out more than the white. And off we went, our first clue on the back door that led us to the bird bath, the next clue from birdbath to the door of the fifth wheel, then to the eavestrough spout, next to the wheel of the water truck, then to the bird feeder, and eventually to our little bolar camper, where we found a big sack of treats. We beat the parent/chase team by a few minutes. They had apparently tried to find a clue in the snowblower, which, though it is used in winter, has no door, as far as I know.

A truant finds home...and I wish to hold on...
But there's a trapdoor in the sun...immortality...


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Transportation to the Beyond

It's blogoff time! Adam vs. Rachelle, FIGHT! This is like the old Street Fighter II games I remember playing at Justin Brandt's with his Super NES controller with electrical tape. I was a Chun Li fan. Not many people like Chun Li, but she was so agile! I think Jason would always play as the big sumo and just do his thousand punches all game until I ran into it. But my Chun Li could do that spinning upside down in the air that I loved. Did anybody else play this game?
So, as I said, it is a blogoff, so be prepared for the bar to be raised as high as an elephant's ---.

Thursday -- went to St. Aiden's Anglican church for a passover Seder meal. Getting there was funny enough. My car was piled full of people, made funnier because they were piled with funny food items. Jeremy was holding a tray of brownies that he cut about as good as a five year old, plus a loaf of garlic bread. Rachelle was holding, well, I'm not sure, let's say a giant piece of rhubarb. James was holding a bag of buns that my grandma made last weekend and Travis and I didn't get around to eating, a can of spaghetti sauce that we didn't use, and a thing of peanut butter cookies. So we start driving, the church is only five blocks away, and we start stalling. We must have stalled thirty six times in between. Stalling makes it hard to parallel park, let me tell you! So we get inside and I bring the buns for the potluck up to a lady in the kitchen. Then the seder starts. We sit at the table while the pastor starts to read from the liturgy. A group of designated men are supposed to stand up. They do. Number one is supposed to have a line. All stand still. Why is nobody speaking?! We sit in awkward silence for literally thirty seconds. Finally the bald one realises that he is number one and reads the line. We are called to dip the bitter herbs into the salt water. I could get used to this. Then we are called to make a mini-sandwich with the matzah bread and horseradish dip - a little tangy. Then a tense moment as an elderly lady passes out at the front of the church basement. An ambulence is called, and she is carried like the ark of the covenant on a chair to the door. After a while, we hear a report that she has regained consciousness and is doing alright. So we sing a Jewish song. And then is time for the potluck meal - our spaghetti goes a little slow, but there is a bountiful variety to choose from. But... where are the buns that I brought?! They have not put them out! My offering... my offering has been rejected! Is this proper potluck etiquette?
The service ends with a powerful time of us reading from the psalms out loud while climbing the steps into the main sanctuary. We find a pew and sing an a cappella song. A passage is read from Mark, up until the part where the disciples abandon Jesus. The book is slammed shut, and all the lights turn out. We sit in the dark, the stained glass image of Christ on the cross the only thing that glows in the evening light.
We recover at John Botkin's place, where we get there for the end of "Jesus of Montreal". I brought a bag of cookies that we had also failed to eat throughout the week. When I got downstairs, I saw they were already eating cookies, so I put the bag aside. We went upstairs to play a game of RACKO! with Chelsea, Melissa, and newbie Keith Tang. I have a brief moment when I think I am the worst RACKO player in the world. But I recover, and could have maybe taken the lead from Chelsea had not Keith called a RACKO! on the last hand knowing full well he would lose. Silly, silly, beginners. So it was late and time to go. I went to grab my bag of cookies.
But when I got downstairs I realized the bag had been taken. Taken! Oh, what cruel fate that is the stealer of my gifts! So after I cried for a while, and deemed myself fit to drive back to Rosenort, I left, going to drop Rachelle off on the way. And as we drove down residential Winnipeg (stalling a few more times) we looked up and saw the glorious northern lights slice across the sky, as if God was carving a chicken. They turned from green to yellow, making grand swoops and swirls, eddies in the black light opposite the moon. And I looked in my pockets for my bag of beans, in want of a plant that I could climb to the electric heights, but, like everything else, they were gone.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bit in the Mouth 2

Because this is a long post, I separated it from the other, which you should read first.

- Monday: The water is quite high in Rosenort, almost ready to go over the road at Jason's parent's place. I hang around, loving the nice weather, even going to eat breakfast outside on the deck. I bring my computer out to work on a Creative Writing Portfolio, and take some time to help dad cut down some trees that were growing under the deck and threatening to make it a treehouse. We also worked cutting away some rotten floor in our collectible shop. After lunch I drove down to Jason's parents place and snuck into the "Office", turned Jason's bachelor pad, where we used to have Rustic Poets music practice. It was haunting - considering how many good times were spent there, I realized I hadn't stepped foot in the place since last September. I took some of the great pictures down from the walls (yes, the rooster standing on a sheep with the three trees, now hanging in my bedroom) and a few board games. A couch sat in the middle of the room, piled with old belongings. Jason's cabinet and 12 string still huddled in the back room.
I drove back to Winnipeg after having a four o'clock supper. We put up some of the paintings around our house. Then Jason arrived. It must have been like entering his old house in a new place. We sat down at the kitchen table and started a game of Iron Dragon. He had a great first run, as usual, leaving Travis' and my trains in the dust. Then we got a call from old friend Jenna Waldner.
So off we went to meet her at the Park Theatre (not the Globe, contrary to Jenna's belief, which caused her to be, oh, a half hour late) where I had a choffee and we sat around the couches in the upper loft. And it was good to see how distance and time had changed us, and given us new friends and adventures. And let us talk about old friends and adventures. And we discovered that her new roommate is in fact Travis' old roommate (the replacement none other than yours truly), and that she worked with Travis' sister. Of course the two of them had never met, and this was all quite fascinating to us. Coincidence? And then the lights turned off and we parted ways, and Jason came back to our apartment and we talked of even older times much longer than we should have, because he was here, and Rosenort a long ways away.

Bit in the Mouth

So this week things have been a little slow in blog-world. I guess I'm still experiencing a little bus-lag from Spring tour. However, I did update some of the links on the side to include some of the blogs where I draw my inspiration from. Also, check out the link to my music @ myspace, and tell me what you think. I've had a lot of these songs kicking around for years, and not many people have heard them. So don't let them pass from this world in vain! To catch you up with my life, here are some of the highlights of my week:

- Friday Night: we performed our dramas again, but this time for our home church. The house was PACKED and the skits went well. Superman even managed to avoid crashing. I remember the strawberry-kiwi juice after the performance which I thought was great and Jason thought was bad. I'm still not sure whether Wendy spent all day picking out the seeds because she also denied mixing it from bought juice.

- Saturday Day: Good fun watching the Blue Jays game. Glad to be back in baseball season, after my new found love of the game that happened sometime last year. To put this love into practice, I played a game of 500 with Jimi and Shane. The cool thing was that the sky outside was kind of deep purple, with a bit of the globe of sun trying to escape in the west. Then it started to rain, really hard and sideways, like when a totem pole tips. So we were all wet on one side and dry on the other.

- Sunday: Come to think of it, I think the game of 500 I mentioned was actually played on Sunday. Alas. Went to church and got to catch up with Jeff & Chris, and saw Paul Gregoire without a suit jacket. Managed to escape a Lorne Kornelson worship service without hearing "To the River". Instead we got "Farther Along" which I love, even played it on guitar on Saturday night - coincidence? Went to grandparent Loewen's for lunch where I helped grandpa set up a hotmail account. Funny - when we were asked to create a secret question to remember we talked about which question he wanted to answer. We briefly discussed favorite author, but he seemed interested in answering "First Car". Fine, I thought. But when he typed in his answer it was "C.S. Lewis". Is that an early Ford?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Dinner at Woo's Cafe

It was Thursday last and the second day of Spring weather in Manitoba. The sun shone and dust was whipped up by the huffing wind. I, walking down the street, stopped at the Goodwill store to search for unique items. Indeed, I found a game called "Merryment", a game of acting and improvising medieval court cases. With this purchase in hand, I looked for something to eat. I went into Flying Pizza, which was serving "two large slices of pizza for $2.50". Looked pretty good. But upon going inside I realized the place was overrun with teenage hormones resulting in the unsettling feeling of being on the wrong side of the monkey cage. So onward I looked at another restaurant called "7 1/4" (or something close, please correct) which served "comfort food" (or something close, please correct). But I was not in the mood for scalloped lemon beef on worchesire bread (I made this up) for $10.00. And so I went to Woo's.
Woo's cafe is a corner restuarant which markets itself as something Chinese. That's why I was surprised upon entering to find it looked like a Chicken Chef. Looks like I was the only customer in the restaurant, as well. I walk up to the counter, which is a difficult task in itself. Because there is a LARGE AQUARIUM in the way! I supress my memories of Chinatown in West Edmonton mall and greet the chinese man (Woo?) who waits in a small window cut out of fake wood panelling. Woo, who is sporting a grey moustache, hands me a menu and says "Take Seat". So I go and sit down, browsing through the menu. Pretty good prices. A cheeseburger for $2.00. But I grow suspicious of the cheeseburger. I bet it's one of those mini-burgers or a burger that has a thicker patty of cheese than meat. I cannot take the risk. I look elsewhere on the menu: it's all American food! What is Woo trying to do here? For a minute I get Seinfeld-like aspirations and contemplate giving him some business advice. But I refrain, and turn my menu over. Yes! There, on the back, I see it! Something authentic - chinese style chicken noodle soup.
Now I wait... a waitress, or Woo himself, should be here any minute to take my order. 5 minutes pass. Okay--I guess I'll do it myself. Returning to the counter behind the aquarium I find Woo waiting patiently, and order the soup and a cup of water.
The soup was delicious, and in a giant chinese bowl, too. The water never came. Oh well, can't always get what you want.
And as I eat the soup I watch the television above the aquarium, and the news reporter speaks of the wonderful scientific find, the missing link, of the fish who crawled onto land. I take a look at the fish on the television, then to the large carp floating lazily in the aquarium. Maybe...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Toure of Spring

This is like a gentle brush on the shoulder, this is like rubbing a bear. Here are pics from spring tour:

Of course, playing cards is always a good way to pass time on a long bus ride. Frequent games were: Big Boss, Little Boss; Hearts; and yes, even Poker with chips.

Our first performance was at the Willow Cree school on a native reserve, and was one of the best. I was along when our group did an excellent show here 5 years ago, but our reception this time topped even that! We were greeted by a traditional native drum song, and after our performance we all participated in a native Round Dance - the circle was as big as the gym! We got lunch there after the show, and Ashley, the girl in the picture who was also an aspiring journalist, had all the guys enthralled. For an interesting time, notice Cody's expression in the background.

Between the show at Willow Cree and the Penitentiary in Prince Albert, we stopped at the classic museum where we climbed the incredible flights of stairs to the tower for a great view. After that we were shown Louis Riel's last letter, which is held by the tour guide with the white gloves. We arranged this fitting shot around the haunting statue of the museum's founder (taxidermy?). Once again take note of the face.

This slick pic was taken in West Edmonton Mall - sorry for the jump in time, I don't have pics of our performances in between - where we stayed for an afternoon and night. Here we went mini golfing, to the water park, shopping, throwing the flying disc, and...

... drinking bubble tea from a vendor in Chinatown. Here I also tried to catch the carp in the pool with my bare hands, and guided a beleagured group of youth through the wild sights of a Chinese marketplace.

Ah, yes. In the basement of the Abbeydale EMC a hole was made in the wall during our made up game called something like "Monkey on the Tracks" (I can't remember), which was like Monkey in the Middle, except (you guessed it), the players on the outside had to stay on a track (made of tape). There would be 2+ people on the track trying to pass the ball. At no time could they step out of the track or be in the same line of track as someone else. There were free zones that allowed for safe passing, but one could not throw from a free zone, and could be tagged out if he was even holding the ball on a free zone. Other players (1 less than on the outside) were in the middle of the square ring of tracks trying to intercept the ball. If one of the players on the track made a mistake, the players in the middle had to catch them before they touched two opposite walls. Unfortunately, this wall was touched a little hard. I put the pterodactyl in the hole to ease some of the tension.

Some of the sponsors (me in the middle) posing for a pic beside the Bow River Falls in Banff. We took off a day to go hiking and shopping in the mountains (as well as check out the posh Banff Springs Hotel), and it was a highlight of the trip. The trail we were on was apparently closed, which translated to: "have fun on the icy paths and don't fall into the river!". Well, we headed home after this. More about the tour later when I get some fresh pictures.