Posts Tagged With: Kirk Verner

“All Bagged-Up, With Nowhere To Go”


Kirk Verner Writes about Garbage in Toronto - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By: Kirk Verner

As the first week of summer drifts through Toronto like a lost locomotive, my nose hairs tingle from the smell of rubble. Toronto’s trash is all bagged-up, with nowhere to go. Soon to be towering high over our heads, our trash will have to sit and decompose in our garages, alleys, and on our street corners until yet another city strike is settled.

As this strike rots its way into “Week 2” I decide to roam the streets in the city’s core, seeking the most unsightly of trash heaps.

I find a bus shelter that has been transformed into a wonderful compost pile. Equipped with blackened banana peels, mustard stained napkins, and more rodent droppings than you could find in any grain elevator, this inner-city glass shelter can now become an impeccable greenhouse…how innovative.

A short journey through the alleys of Chinatown reminds me of why I was warned to steer clear of this area of the city during this garbage strike. The smell of rancid sweet and sour ribs hovers in the air. The stench sticks to the graffiti that has been crudely spray-painted on the brick walls. Dead pigeons rest in peace and are clean of maggots due to the endless menu options for the squirming fly larva. The alley reminds me of photos I have seen illustrating the garbage dumps in Rio de Janeiro.

In my own garage, the problem worsens. Although horrid, the smell is not the concern. It is the sight of all I want to rid that really bothers me. It’s the garbage that reminds me of what I once loved, but now want nothing to do with. An old Playboy, the Farrah Fawcett issue, sits menacingly amidst plastic and Styrofoam; photos I will never again be able to look at due to her passing. A “Thriller” album I bought as a joke from a yard sale sits cracked and faded on the ever-growing pile a junk. A Michael Jackson bobble-head with the word “pedophile” finely painted across its chest frightens me every time I open the sliding door. Please take my garbage away!

The strike, I believe, should be a test for Canada’s largest city. Toronto needs to seriously start recycling more in order to tackle this heap of an environmental issue. Why is it always about money? At least a third of the ruin I come across resting on the city streets is most certainly recyclable. What are we going to do about it?

Toronto…a world-class city with third-world garbage issues!?

Categories: Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mute


Kirk Verner Writes a Poem - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By Kirk Verner

Timid lips finally spew jargon.
You have less of an accent than expected.
Racing eyes, rarely locking.
Your fear lies in direct eye-contact.

Crossed arms, your knuckles are white again.
You look like a librarian, neat and gentle.
Your wet palm leaves streaks across the shadows on the table.
A chill in the air shall calm you with time.

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Babylon


Kirk Verner Writes about Babylon - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By Kirk Verner

A thousand worlds.
Stretching from Babylon,
To the mines below.

I love you more than the beauty of flying geese.
Uniform precision, instinctive direction.
More than a flower needs the sky’s rain.
Bright eyes of a daisy, tall and lean.

I love you more than a crypt-keeper’s chest.
Lacklustre exterior, contents that glow.
More than chef’s secret dish.
Encrusted with sugar, spice just a pinch.

A thousand worlds.
Stretching from Babylon,
To the mines below.

Categories: Creative Writing, Living, Media Writing, Uncategorized, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Death All Around Me”


Kirk Verner Writes about Death - Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

By: Kirk Verner

Death is usually not a topic that dwells in my mind, well at least not the concern for my own faith. The truth is, death is as common a conversation topic as the weather. Talk of violence, gore, and death circles our everyday lives like hungry hyenas, be it in the news, on television, or around a sticky bar in a dank pub downtown in any city.

Death has never really bothered me, likely due to my horror film-of-the-week addiction. Sure, I have lost some important people in my life, but as for being close to death, it’s never happened. I don’t mean myself being close to death, I mean literally being close to someone or somewhere where a death has freshly occurred.

Continue reading

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The Somnambulist 3 – The Mine


Kirk Verner - personal pic - March 31, 2010

Kirk Verner writes about Working in a Mine – Photo Courtesy of Kirk Verner

Kirk Verner (a.k.a The Somnambulist) goes places so you do not have to. In this podcast, he goes deep inside a dangerous mine.  Listen to his amazing journey:

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Check Out The Stevedores!!!!!!


https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=782438381844079&set=vb.490024554418798&type=2&theater

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From Riches to Rags


Kirk Verner is a Graduate of Seneca College\’s Journalism Program

By Kirk Verner

When I graduated, with honours, from Seneca College’s broadcast journalism program in April of 2009, the world was my oyster, but unfortunately, I was the one who got shucked. Just prior to graduating, I flew to Saskatchewan to attend a few film-industry workshops being held at Yorkton’s Golden Sheaf Awards. The Golden Sheaf Awards is a well-known film festival, with some notable attendees, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to garner some knowledge, exposure, and to have a little fun while doing so. The workshops were great. Continue reading

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New Stevedores video to take your breath away…‏


New Stevedores rehearsal video out! The boys are busy practising up for recording later this week.
Go watch the video here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2P7wmuZd8M&feature=youtu.be

And find me and ‘like’ me to get up-to-date Stevedore info at: https://www.facebook.com/kirk.stevedore

-kirk stevedore

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Kirk Verner and The Stevedores – Available For Record Labels!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Amazing art by the Lyle Schultz, an artist with an impressive resume, from Victoria, BC: www.lyleschultzart.com

Amazing art by the Lyle Schultz, an artist with an impressive resume, from Victoria, BC:
http://www.lyleschultzart.com

http://www.alancross.ca/a-journal-of-musical-things/2013/9/15/i-like-this-the-stevedores.html

facebook.com/thestevedores
reverbnation.com/thestevedores

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Caterpillar


Kirk Verner Writes a Poem – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Image result for Caterpillar

By Kirk Verner

As you blossom from a furry bug into a beautiful butterfly, I watch in amazement.

I think I like you both ways?

Your orange fur looks like skin.

Can you see me with your eyes?

The peak of your wing, peaks my interest.

Please don’t fly so fast.

I need a picture,

to remember this moment forever.

There…rest on that vibrant lily.

I love the purples and greens when they blend together like a colourful soup.

Come back to my garden soon butterfly…please!?

Kirk Verner

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Anti-Social Networking


Kirk Verner Writes about Anti-Social Networking – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Image result for Anti-Social Networking

By Kirk Verner

How about these social networking sites? How do you feel about them? Aren’t they great? I beg to be different and beg to differ. These mind-numbing social sites are all that people talk about.

“I have over 10,000 friends on MySpace. 3,500 people on Facebook. And, 143 people follow me on Twitter.” Imagine that, close to 14,000 people spying on your mundane daily activities; simply splendid!

“I love to share my personal thoughts with others. Everyone is so interested in me! Popularity rules!” I know how stomach-churning this may sound, but this is the sort of rubbish I have to overhear each and every time I decide to venture out merely to grab a cup of coffee.

I was having some computer issues the other month and was forced to take my laptop in for a slight overhaul. The computer technician said that I would be without my computer for only a few days. I didn’t think that a few days would be a big deal at all…I was wrong.

It did not take long for me to realize how much I missed my computer. I had only been without it for 21 hours when I became as lonely as Bambi. I truly missed my light-weight, digital companion. The way the “enter” button clicks when compressed is exhilarating!

Somewhere in that 21st hour, I decided that I MUST get to a computer and check my email; see, I’m a popular lad, even without Facebook, Myspace, or any of those other social networking sites. So, I needed a computer. Where to go? The only place I could think of that has free internet service was the library; load up the children, off to the library!

The library was basically empty. There was nobody scouring the long bookshelves for the perfect book. There was no one sitting quietly at a work-station, studying, learning, absorbing information. But, every single public computer, ten in total, was occupied. My knee-jerk reaction was to abandon ship and head back home, but I couldn’t leave. I reminded myself that I needed to crawl about the web, so I took a number and a seat and began to wait in my impatient manner.

After about 15 minutes of staring at the dirty carpeted floor, I decided to stretch my legs; I was getting a little eager, angry, and ready to leave. As I slowly moseyed past the ten glowing computer screens and the lethargic, code-blue-like patrons that sat on the stiff wooden seats in front of the screens, I noticed that nine of the ten computers were being wasted by simpletons surfing their way back and forth from social networking sites. All of a sudden I realized I had to get out of there in fear of losing control and raising my voice, in turn, breaking the unwritten rule of all libraries. So, I left. I wanted my own computer back!

I couldn’t believe what I was doing. My cranium became filled with unrest as I paced around like a psychopath, longing for my own computer. I had one email address to check, and this was how I was acting. It made me shake my head for a moment and wonder what it’d be like if I had two, three, or even four emails to check or sites to update. I don’t even have the time or enough patience to cook tomato soup.

Needless to say, I did get my laptop back within a few days. I was finally happy again. No more painfully, annoying trips to the library; back to the simple pleasure that only my “enter” button can deliver to me when struck. I hadn’t checked my email in three whole days. I figured there must be close to 50 emails waiting to be read in my Hotmail inbox…I was wrong again. I had four emails. Two of which were junk mail. So, much for Mr. Popular.

I don’t want to sound like a full-blown curmudgeon, especially at my young age, but I know that I am not the only anti-social networking human out there. Please people, just like masturbation and drug abuse, leave your social networking at home. Be a narcissist, and pat your own back in private.

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New York’s Alright…If You Like Red Snapper


Kirk Verner Writes about Red Snapper in New York City – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Image result for Red Snapper

By Kirk Verner

The air is sticky, not hot and humid, simply sticky. I have never been to New York City before, so I assume this is how it always feels here in mid-June. The smell protruding from the sewer-covers is definitely as awful as I once read a journalist describe it by saying, “Once the sweet sickness from of [the] belly of this city hits your nose hairs, they’re turned to dust and you begin to gag.” It is that ridiculous.

It is great to know that it only took me nine hours on the Greyhound to make it here from Montreal; I am now in a world-famous city. Well, at least that is what “they” say; I will decide for myself; sixty hours and counting.

The bastards at the border patrol office pestered me and singled me out for questioning last night while crossing the border on the bus. The other passengers sure got upset when the questioning of me alone wasted a good hour of everyone’s time. The questions were amusing, “Got any drugs son? What’s with the tattoos? Are you a biker?” I mean really, what a pile of rubbish. But, that was last night; it is now a fresh day in America!

Where to start? So much to see and do; I should get to Battery Park. I heard that from there you can see the Statue of Liberty and it is also close to Ground Zero; must-see attractions. A fine local woman has been kind enough to sketch me out a crude map on a piece of loose-leaf I had in my bag. According to the map, I am destined to take the New York City subway.

These things are actually trains! Loud, obnoxious, and the tracks crawl with mice and rats; the rodents are all big in New York City. This is a lot different than Montreal. It won’t take me long to get to Battery Park, well at least not according to the map.

I made it, without even a knife in the ribs; New York City isn’t that rough. The air is twice as sticky down here in Lower Manhattan. Ground Zero is a sombre place; it’s hard to believe that on September 11, 2001, all those people were scurrying around here like little rodents in the subway tracks. It is an awful thing, kamikaze terrorism. I decide to buy a knock-off New York Yankees hat from a Chinese woman adjacent to the meagre site; I thought my hatred for the Yankees would remind me of this hideous part of town. I place the baseball cap on my head and continue roaming throughout the streets.

I guess my new Yankee hat makes me fit in. Three friendly fishermen greet with a smile as I discover that they are fishing for Red Snapper, directly in front of Miss Liberty herself. I have found Battery Park! Miss Liberty is nowhere as interesting as these three Chinese fishermen. I ask them if I could reel one in if they get a bite. They smile and all speak at once, “Yeah…yeah…you fish!”

It doesn’t take long before the men are shouting and handing me an enormous fishing-rod. This thing must be 10 feet long. The thick fishing-line glistens in the sun as I start hauling in whatever is shaking its head at the end of this massive pole; the test of this line must be high because I haven’t stopped reeling, and the line hasn’t snapped.

The great beast leaps from the scummy water, sort of a last-ditch effort for survival, as one of the men tries to net the angry fish. It takes him three tries to get to the floppy brute ashore. The Red Snapper stares at me with its glossy eyes as the men quickly tackle the task of skinning a 15 pound, greasy fish from the tainted waters that surround this island.

I cross my legs on the grass just beside a garbage can that the two butchers are missing badly with useless red snapper parts. I pour myself a vodka and orange juice from my bag, light a skinny cigarette, and enjoy being in New York City for the first time.

January 7, 2010

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Sit Down Tracy


Kirk Verner Gives Props to Sit Down Tracy – Photo Courtesy of Kirk Verner

Listening to Music

Kirk Verner
February 24th/2010

Calling all Canadian music gurus! Calling all couch potatoes who are feed-up with boring, mundane bands from Toronto! Calling those who “think” they know what is hip and fresh, but truly have no idea due to their pop-culture brainwashing…extra detergent! I’m talking about a band that, in my eyes…I should say ears, will be soon taking over the airwaves and the Junos in the very near future. I classify them as a well-measured blend of Tegan and Sara, Hank Williams (the cool one…the original), and the White Stripes; they call themselves SIT DOWN TRACY!

The self-proclaimed indie/country/rock band, SIT DOWN TRACY, hailing from chilly Winnipeg, Manitoba, has recently commenced a tour, their very first, promoting their freshly press debut album, “Roaring Noon”.

The album is bound to perk an eardrum or two. The simply mesmerizing voice of lead singer and guitarist, Janelle Mailhot, is what will initially draw you to this band. The solid, steadfast rhythm section clashing with frolicking fingers on wooden fretboards is what will keep you tuned in until the last note of the last song on “Roaring Noon” is struck; did I mention that they also have an accordion player!
SIT DOWN TRACY is still just another unsigned Canadian band, but with a little exposure and some recognition, they are bound for success. The adventure starts tonight in Thunder Bay and will continue on through Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and many more communities not knowing yet what is on the way!

SIT DOWN TRACY will be in Toronto, at Rancho Relaxo, on February 28th at 8pm and again on March 6th at the Poor Alex, again at 8pm. If you’re not from the Toronto area, go check out the band’s Myspace page for show listings in Southern Ontario and Quebec.

So, forget about wasting your money on the latest ring-tones and go support something Canadian already! I’ll see you all at the Toronto shows!

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“Steel Wool on a Stick”- book review by: Kirk Verner


Kirk Verner Writes about Steel Wool on a Stick – Photo Courtesy of Livejournal.com

Image result for Steel Wool on a stick by Jeff Block

By Kirk Verner

Copious amounts of marijuana, fistfuls of Prozac, sleeping in cars, and a pedal bike; you’d think this was a story of a down-and-out Tour de France hopeful, but the case could not be further from reality. Nor is it a story of a self-pity blown degenerate waiting for life’s hand-outs to come within grasping distance. This is a story of one man’s quest to find out what he wants to be when he grows up; a task often more difficult than one thinks, and Jeff Block ‘s testimony is sure to lay claim to this statement.

“Son, you get one chance in life to be born into wealth and you blew it!” –Dad

This single quote, which commences the book, sets the reader up for what is expected to be an off-the-wall, witty reflection of a journey to the soup line; but, that is not what is contained in this 191-page paperback. Instead, Jeff Block takes his readers on a path of hardship, failure, and disappointment. There is nothing humourous about suicidal thoughts, and this is just one of the hardships faced by a man with a university degree, a daughter, and a heap of debt the size of a year’s harvest of roses pilled and burnt in Times Square.

From a floor trader in Chicago’s financial district to driving a limousine, to menial desk jobs, all the way to whirling seemingly pointless cocktail napkin roses in bars, Jeff Block can honestly say he has been there and done that. Searching, seeking, scouring for that perfect job is not a course that comes equipped with a user manual, but with the author’s “I refuse to work for anyone again,” attitude and a bounty of ambition the perfect job came to him, turning out to be a hobby he claims to have put on steroids.

“Steel Wool on a Stick” is a loose handbook for self-starters, entrepreneurs, or anyone dying to have a career where they can honestly say, “I love my job.” Unlike many, Jeff Block has found his calling, his niche, his “dream job”.

JUSTPAPERROSES.COM is his company and also the premise of the book. An Internet-based company created by a passion, Jeff Block is now making a healthy living, working from home, doing what he loves. His attitude, “If I can do it, you can do it,” is not original, and the contents of these pages are not a step-by-step instruction booklet on how to become rich and famous; it is a story of persistence, dedication to one’s passions, and the will to never give up.

“Life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.” This true-life quote closes the book and opens the eyes of anyone who reads it. Do you one day want a Corvette in your garage?

Kirk Verner
March 29, 2010

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Terrified In Toronto


Kirk Verner Writes About G20 in Toronto – Photo Courtesy of Kirk Verner

Image result for G20 in Toronto

By Kirk Verner

Toronto, Ontario
June 22, 2010
2:08 PM EDT

Downtown Toronto is a fortress. I stand on the corner of Bay Street and Front Street feeling more rodent-like than human. I look left and then right, searching for a pile of cheese hidden amidst the kilometres of fencing. The feeling of insecurity pulses all around me faster than the enlarged raindrops filling a puddle at my feet. Is it possible to smell fear? It must be, I can smell it. It is the smell of burning rubber escaping from the feet of fast walking businessmen trying to “wrap-up” this week’s workload early enough to avoid coming to the office on Friday. The light scent of salt can also be detected by my busy nostrils; it is the smell of foreseen tears, I can taste them in the back of my throat. The G20 Summit Meeting is gracing Toronto.

I’m not sure if hosting one of these wretched events is as enjoyable for the regular people of Toronto as much as it is for a gaggle of suits trying to bolster the image of Toronto into one of “first-class” ranking. Signs hang in nearly every storefront window in the area disclaiming any association with the events that are sure to unfold this weekend. Some of the hand-written notes even display heartfelt apologies from business owners to their patrons using words like, “Unfortunately…, Under the circumstances…, Regrettably…, and Please return on Monday…” Now that I notice it, the sidewalks are free of many people; free of determined shoppers, tourists lugging bags overflowing with Blue Jays’ gear, and actually free of anyone that isn’t sporting some sort of weapon, mask, or bundle of Zip Ties I assume will serve as handcuffs in a pinch.

Kirk Verner Writes About Downtown Toronto During G20 – Photo Courtesy of Kirk Verner

Streets are lined with sturdy, at least eight-foot high and in some places even taller, fencing. It is the sort of material you will find lining the exteriors of carnival rides; the thick steel that essentially holds your brains and entrails inside of a pod as you are hurled around in every direction. It is the type of fencing that has an inch-wide diamond pattern covering its face; cleverly manufactured to be too small for any would-be terrorist to fit their creepy, little toes through, yet large enough for the Riot Squad to saturate frantic crowds with pepper spray.

The presence of extra police and security is everywhere. FBI-looking cronies wearing snug black suits, sunglasses, and gloves linger in areas only I would roam. They frown at me and furrow their brows while I walk. I feel like Osama Bin Laden, minus the cracker crumb blown beard and M-16; although, I would like to challenge old O.B.L. to some skeet shooting.

I am now standing in front of Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. Scalpers try to sell me tickets for tonight’s Jays/Cardinals matchup, but I am still memorized by the fencing and police activity. Like cattle rambling to water on a summer’s afternoon eight or so officers on bicycles slowly pedal past me up a slight slope underneath the CN Tower; the paved path in which they ride would certainly be blanketed by the tower’s ominous shadow on a sunny day, but not today. I ponder buying Blue Jays’ tickets but am reluctant due to my desire to spend very little time in this concentration camp of an area. “Click…click,” goes my camera, and I am off.

Kirk Verner Writes About The G20 Summit – Photo Courtesy of Kirk Verner

If I am to die a hideous death it will without a doubt be granted by my own hands; I refuse to be on the World’s News as simply b-roll. You will not see me downtown or on a subway for a week. I only wish for the best, but fear the worst.

KAV

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A Tale of Missing Underwear


Kirk Verner Writes about an Interesting Bus Ride – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Image result for Men's underwear

By Kirk Verner
July 4th/2009 11:14 p.m.

The 60C bus rattles loudly down Yonge Street as I sit in a scotch-induced haze; I’m heading home after a long night in the studio. I’m sitting in the back half of the bus, staring at a middle-aged Asian man with a curly, black mullet and a brown leather jacket. He seems suspicious to my keen sense for the unusual. He nibbles at his fingernails; a hideous habit he seems to have a problem with. I simply continue to watch the man, I guess trying to make him feel even more uncomfortable than he already appears.

He turns his head quickly towards me, and attempts to look deep inside of my mind; he will not win a stare-down against me. He quickly turns back to his original position and begins toying with something that is sitting on the seat next to him. He makes sure his back is concealing whatever it may be that is sitting between him and the smudged window.

The automated voice of the bus announces that Steeles Avenue is approaching; I remain fixated on the sketchy Asian man. He seems lost as he frantically looks out his window, searching for a landmark or possibly a street sign. He reaches up towards the yellow bus-cable, pulls the cord, and stands up in preparation to exit the bus that slows down. The back door opens and the man rushes off. He takes a quick look at me through the closing back door; I am still examining him. Neither of us shows any emotion as our encounter is terminated due to the proceeding bus.

I chuckle to myself as I think of what has just occurred. I reach inside of my backpack and pull out my portable CD player and commence my music. As I grin from the music now playing in my ears, I glance over to the now vacant seat that was just occupied by my new Asian friend. I see what the man was toying with. A white bra with purple polka-dots sits crumpled beside an orange pair of women’s underwear. The skimpy underwear is not that of a child, but certainly not that of an elder woman; they must belong to a teenager or a young lady. What was that man doing with these?

My over-active imagination immediately begins brewing up a scenario that may or may not be far from fiction. I think of the last story I heard of an Asian man on a bus; the horrible monster, Vincent Lee.

Could The Man Kirk Verner Met On The Bus Be As Evil As Charles Manson?

Could The Man Kirk Verner Met On The Bus Be As Evil As Charles Manson?

Perhaps the underwear belongs to his daughter? Maybe he’s just returning home from the laundry mat? But it is now almost 11:30 p.m.? Maybe the man is a transvestite? Or maybe, just maybe, I was sitting beside a murderer? I could now be sitting mere feet from his trophies and or potential criminal evidence.

The strange thought gusts out of my mind as I once again hear the automated voice of the bus announce my stop. I hastily gather myself as I peek once more at the lost underwear before exiting the 60C bus.

I think it would be a perfect time for a killer to dispose of a body in Toronto. There’s a garbage strike. Now two weeks in, it would be plenty long enough for a body to decompose beyond recognition. Perhaps buried in a pile of maggot infested garbage bags, in a happy Toronto park, rests the owner of this underwear.

July 5/’09

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Coming Up on Donna Magazine


Coming Up on Donna Magazine, there will be reviews from books by Dennis Desrosiers, Mikaya Heart and others. Look out for them soon.

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Life is Just a Game of Cribbage


Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Kirk Verner - January 9, 2010

By Kirk Verner

Fifteen-two, fifteen-four, a pair is six, and a run of three makes nine! A respectful hand indeed! This is certainly enough to propel my two little pegs around the wooden board; seeking 121 points before my combatant can do so. Huh? Is this confusing to many of you? Don’t know the game?

I am not talking about a group of virgins sitting in their mother’s basement throwing cheap plastics chips around, playing a mind-numbing game of poker; seriously what is with this fad. I’m not talking about some strange number-game that is being played by mathematicians next door to a group of Goths from York University playing dungeons and dragons; although, I do believe I would make a great Dungeon Master! This is also no foolish drinking game being held at Johnny Jocko’s place after winning the big game, but it does go well with a chilled brew.

Unless you’ve been living under an overpass since the mid-1600’s, or if you live in Brampton, Ontario, you’d certainly know that I am talking about a game often forgotten, if ever taught, by the next generation of card players. I’m talking about the game known as cribbage. The game that keeps elderly minds active and young minds learning; a game that measures sheer luck, intuition, and skill. Cribbage is a game that could be found in a trench during WWI, or found in any senior centre from Rexdale to Manchester today; a timeless game. But, I believe it is a game-time may soon engulf, pushing it into obscurity, and riding it from the minds of today’s youth.

Kirk Verner is a Graduate of Seneca College's Journalism Program

Kirk Verner - Picture - January 9, 2010

I have to admit, I too am guilty of often forgetting about the pleasurable game, and choose something with more flashing lights and glamour. It wasn’t until a recent visit to my grandparent’s home that I revived my spirit of cribbage. It was nice to see that I could still count to 31 and that my adding hasn’t faltered since the last time I had to roll-up my change in order to have enough money to buy a $2 seat for a Toronto Blue Jays game.

While getting pummelled handily by my veteran card-playing grandfather, I had flashbacks of my childhood. I remembered watching the game being played by my family at an age when I couldn’t even twist the cap off of a beer bottle, let alone drink one. I remembered the cheers, the cussing, the coins, and the Canadian Club; time spent on a table, a car hood, or anything else that cards could be dealt across. It is a game that has been a pillar within the structure of my family since Saskatchewan’s potash boom.

There is nothing worse than playing with yourself; come on people minds out of the gutter. I’m talking about the boring game that I see secretaries constantly playing while “pretending” to work. I’m talking about solitaire; a game as lonesome as a widow’s night. That’s the glory of cribbage; it must be played by at least two people, but can have three people, four people, and even more playing at once. It is fun for the whole family, and cheap, for all you recession doomsayers.

I have probably forgotten more about cribbage than most people know about the game, which honestly is too bad. With a game so easy to learn, and with Canadian families only growing further apart, I write this as a plea to resurrect the wonderful game of cribbage. Turn off the video games for a night, gather the family around the kitchen table, and enjoy each other’s presence as a victor is crowned. And remember, life is just like a game of cribbage…there is nothing after 29.

January 19, 2010

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Ride Again Tomorrow


Kirk Verner Writes about a Car Accident in Saskatchewan – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Kirk Verner - January 7, 2010 - 3

By Kirk Verner

I was saddened to hear of a horrifying, fatal accident that took place in rural Saskatchewan, my hometown, over the holiday season. By the way, people drive on the blustery Saskatchewan highways you’d think this was certainly where a fatal accident would ultimately occur in late December, but nasty road conditions or invincible 4X4 drivers were not to blame. This lethal catastrophe occurred on a snow-mobile, a ski-doo. Hearing of this terrible occurrence brought two thoughts to my mind. The first thing I thought of was the uncontrollable power this modern day snow-eating machines come equipped with.

I was crawling down Highway 1 two weeks ago in the heart of the parkland, 25 kilometres east of Indian Head, Saskatchewan, when I found myself in a race. The divided highway was relatively lonesome that day; mid-week on a prairie highway is probably the furthest thing from Highway 401 on a Friday afternoon. But still I was in a race; my opposition, a frenzied snowmobiler flying eastbound between the two-direction highways. The lone patron on the bright yellow ski-doo appeared to me to be a male due only to the lack of long locks blowing rapidly in the wind from underneath a glistening black helmet. I glanced at my speedometer, it read 95 km/hr; I was not in the spending mood. As my eyes left the speedometer, I looked to my left and saw the man on two skis and one track not only keeping up with me but advancing into first place in a race that only existed in his mind. I momentarily lifted my white knuckles from my steering wheel and raised both palms in the air towards the maniac hovering across the snow. He saw me but did nothing. I suppose if he would have performed any type of gesture in my direction, he’d likely be picking his teeth up with broken fingers. He was soon out of sight; a cloud of snow left behind him like dust behind the comic character Roadrunner. This was the first time I accurately got the feel for the sheer power that lies dormant under the light-weight hoods of these dangerous snow machines. He had to be going at least 110km/hr. Insanely fast!

The second thought that entered my mind after hearing of the awful accident was that of my own good fortune. I too have had multiple near life-altering experiences dealt to me by the hands of one of these off-road, out-of-control, all-terrain vehicles; my ATV of choice, my big brother’s 4X4 motorcycle, a quad.

It was near the end in July 2009 when I found myself making tracks at 68 km/hr down an over-grown back road just a few kilometres south of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. In my wake of dust and high-pitched yips was my best buddy and cousin, Reid. His quad was pocket-sized in comparison to the machine that roared between my legs, but still, he managed to keep up with me and my growing confidence. The morning led into the afternoon as the day seemed to disappear faster than our fuel; it was time to begin our trek back to town.

To be fair, Reid and I swapped quads for the trip back to Esterhazy; it was my turn to suck dust. We were on the homestretch; Esterhazy’s tall blue water tower was the landmark that kept us in the right direction. The back road that led into town turned into a makeshift back alley built through a farmer’s field; we jumped onto it in order to avoid the streets, and get the bikes back to the garage. I had been riding all day by this time, and my confidence was sky-high as I made my move and passed Reid on the unknown alley that felt to me like a speed track. I waved as he obviously let off the throttle, enabling to safely pass; I didn’t look back. My machine was wide open, humming like a lawnmower begging for an oil change. I loved the freedom and the fast fresh air as the town approached, now only a block away. What happened next did not, but easily could have changed my life forever.

Reid claims that his speedometer read 58km/hr at the time of my accident; I didn’t have a speedometer on my toy-like quad; it wouldn’t have mattered if I did, I wanted to win the “race”. With the homes that border Esterhazy now within a stone’s throw, I came upon a deep trench that had been dug, I’m guessing, for drainage. I had no time to slow down as I careened into the trench. The inflated tires hit the opposite side of the trench with great might, pole vaulting me into the air. Upon impact, my right knee smashed the engine of the bike as my ribs became tenderized by the handlebars. From behind, Reid says, “It looked like you were dancing on top of the quad’s seat…five feet in mid-air.”

The slow-motion feel of the incident did not last past my airborne voyage, and I came crashing down into the rough stubble field. I landed on the small of my back, whipping my head violently into the earth; this story could not be written if I was not wearing my helmet. As I slid to a halt, I could hear Reid approaching, his laughter loader than his quad; the quad I was riding now sat on all four wheels, staled. I understand how humorous wipe-outs can look to those not involved so I cannot blame Reid for his premature laughter; he quickly stopped laughing after I pulled my helmet off of my sweat-drenched head and he saw the agony on my face. I was concussed.

I tried to stand-up and play-off the crash like it was no big deal, but the stars that swirled around inside of my head caused me to collapse back to the ground. By this time, three locals who apparently witnessed the mishap came running to my aid. They could not believe what they saw. They could not believe that I didn’t want an ambulance; all I wanted was for them to leave me alone in my post-concussion state. The three concerned locals finally left once I stood back up and sat on the big quad. But, I was not well! My knee was bleeding profusely. My ribs throbbed. I felt like vomiting. I must have looked like a bobble-head sitting on that bike, trying to compose myself.

The eventful day ended with me being towed back to the garage by Reid and the bigger of the two quads. I was greeted by a worried mother, an angry brother, and a confused father. At least I was alive!

This story has not been glorified to make me look like a “tough guy”. I simply want to use my story as a warning to all those who love the outdoors and the exhilarating feeling of the open air at high speeds. I was lucky to not have become another unfortunate statistic dispensed by a recreational vehicle. Please be cautious…ride again tomorrow.

Categories: cars, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year - December 31, 2009

This year has been a great one for Donna Magazine.The magazine took on an intern, Rachel Muenz, who did a wide variety of fantastic creative writing and non-fiction pieces. We also had the contributions of other writers such as Kirk Verner and Alex Young. Special thanks to all of those young people I met over the summer who also made great contributions to the magazine. Senior Writer Kathy Milton-Tapley also contributed to the magazine. The special artwork was added by Megan Leonard who is an up-and-coming graphic designer, as well as an animator. Dr. Brikena Ribaj has contributed some top-rated stories that I am extremely grateful for.

For anyone I did not thank by name, please do not think I have not fully appreciated your work. You have helped Donna Magazine to grow to be top-rated in Google and to increase its unique visitors listed on the blog stats on the front page.

Most importantly, thank you to you…the readers. I appreciate you so much sincerely.

Have a Happy New Year and please do look out for a lot more from Donna Magazine.

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Hippophobic


Kirk Verner Writes about Wild Life – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Kirk Verner - December 16, 2009

By Kirk Verner

It was a wondrous Sunday afternoon in the middle of August when I was graciously given the opportunity to ride my very first horse. I remember being young, fearless, a cowboy for a day. Continue reading

Categories: Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Events, Health, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Pets, travel, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Away For Too Long


Kirk Verner Writes a Poem – Photo Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Kirk Verner - Away - October 4, 2009

by Kirk Verner

Wake up, wander the streets, wind stings my eyes,
I have forgotten what a real prairie breeze feels like.

Continue reading

Categories: Beauty, Creative Writing, Culture, Education, Entertainment, Environment, Living, Media Writing, Opinion, Writing (all kinds) | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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