October 6, 2016 scottcjones 2Comments

Pop Quiz, Hotshot: What used video game is worth less than a penny?

Answer: Find out in today’s episode of “Brief Conversations with Interesting People” when I very gently ambush the unsuspecting staff at the game store in Metrotown Mall in Burnaby.

So who did I find behind the counter? And why are there only three-degrees of separation here in Vancouver as opposed to the usual six-degrees? Click that triangle shaped-doohickey below and you shall receive all answers via this virtual cornucopia/horn of plenty. (P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.)

[Note: After further review from my audio producer’s girlfriend, my audio producer felt, well, inspired to revise the podcast. So here’s V. 2. -Scott]

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September 29, 2016 scottcjones 6Comments

I didn’t go home last Christmas. Stayed here by myself. First time I’d ever done that. That’s crazy, I know, but true. As a mea culpa, I promised to visit in January in Florida.

I didn’t. Some work obligations came up. I rescheduled. I rescheduled again. The more I rescheduled, the more days I kept adding to the trip. “I can’t come now,” I’d say. Then I’d use my game show host voice to say the rest: “But I can come in X months. And when I do come in X months, I’ll stay for X amount of days. Also, YOU’VE WON A BRAND NEW 2016 FORD FIESTA CONVERTIBLE.”

In the end, after months of delays and promises, I agreed to a grand total of 12 days with my parents at the end of July. Which, for a middle aged man like me, is a completely absurd amount of time to spend with one’s parents.

I stayed with them in their RV on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake. The weather was absurdly nice that week—not too humid. A steady breeze blew off the lake and rattled the nearby trees. I wore camp shorts. Took the kayak out a couple times.

One afternoon I had a conversation with my father. He’s 72. Into self-preservation. His get-well tip for the summer: If anyone had trouble sleeping, my father would instruct them to eat 10 walnuts and drink 6-ounces of cherry juice just before going to bed. “Trust me, you’ll sleep like a baby,” he’d say.

I heard him share this advice with at least four other campers. Three of the four campers rolled their eyes at him as he told them this.

I was hoping to use our conversation as a pitch to a media outlet. The way my father positions himself as the informal medicine man in his community is strange and interesting to me.

But our conversation took some darker, more opinionated turns that disqualified it from pitch material.

He’s moody, like lots of fathers. He thinks he’s always right. You’ll hear all of that.

My father and I both looked out over the lake as we talked….

[Also: Special thanks to Steven Nikolic. He mixed the audio and wrote most of the the music.]

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September 26, 2016 scottcjones 2Comments

My father and mother arrived on Sunday to drop off the paper at the hospital. My father was obviously excited. “I found a place that sells it for $6 instead of $10,” he said with pride. The $10 Canadian price of the NY Times vexed and mystified him on a very deep level. I knew the place where he’d gotten such a discount: the dimly lit convenience mart on Davie Street that had about a hundred hookahs in the front window, all decorated with dazzling sprays of rhinestones.

I told him the store had been closed the year before for selling black market handguns.

“Who cares if they sell monkey paws and goblin eyes?” he asked. “If I can save four dollars, I’m going to save four dollars.”

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September 22, 2016 scottcjones 3Comments

Visitors arrived on a daily basis. They wanted to look at me, poke at me a little. “How you doing, champ?” they’d ask, sometimes grabbing my foot like it was a phone they were about to answer. “You feeling better? You doing OK now? We were worried sick about you. You look great! Really, you do. You gave us quite a scare there, pal. Don’t do that again, got it?” Then they’d present an offering of some kind which, nine out of 10 times, consisted of reading material.

Paperbacks, hardcovers, magazines, newspapers—if you could read it, the visitors brought it to me. An ex-girlfriend brought me that month’s Vanity Fair, with the cast of Game of Thrones on the cover. (I’d been obsessed with Game of Thrones before the stroke; post-stroke, I’m much more ambivalent about it.) A colleague brought me a copy of Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones & Butter. What these people didn’t understand—and what I didn’t understand, at least not initially—was that I couldn’t read anymore.

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September 20, 2016 scottcjones 2Comments

Each night I kept vigil for the constipated old woman the way Catholics watch the chimney above the Vatican for signs of a new pope. On Thursday, during the hour after dinner when the hospital begins to wind down for the night, the old woman suddenly felt that she might be able to go.

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September 19, 2016 scottcjones 1Comment

The next morning one of the beefcake male nurses at St. Paul’s toted an impossibly large, old fashioned scale into the communal hospital room. Once he had the scale situated, he cleared his throat and said, “Good morning, boys and girls. It’s time for your morning weigh-in.” (more…)

September 16, 2016 scottcjones 3Comments

[Going back in time on this one, folks. Been talking things over with my writing partner, finding things that I never wrote about and probably should have. So I’m filling in blanks here.

[Just to get you situated, timeline-wise: I’ve had the stroke, had the open-heart surgery, and now I’m in St. Paul’s for a month, recovering before I can be transferred to rehab. What you’re about to read happened in April of 2014 or so.

[Got it? Good. Here we go. -Scott]

The ever-present eternal question from both doctors and nurses during my month-long hospital stay was this: Are you constipated?

I was asked this approximately two or three times during any 24 hour stretch, day in and day out. Are you having bowel movements, Mr. Jones? Are you backed up, Mr. Jones? Are you pooping regularly, Mr. Jones? These conversations would usually go like this:

Doctor: “When was the last time you had a bowel movement?”

Scott: “This morning, doctor.”

Doctor: “And how would you describe the stool?”

Scott: “Hmm. Pretty long?”

Doctor: [Paused here and presumably wrote the words “stool = pretty long” in his notebook.]

Doctor: “And was it…healthy, would you say?”

Scott: [Quizzical look] “You mean was the stool itself healthy?”

Doctor: “Yes. The stool itself. Was it healthy?”

Scott: “I’d say it was pretty healthy. If it was any healthier-looking, I’d have packed a lunch for it, put a beanie on its head, and sent it off to kindergarten this morning.”

Doctor: [More frantic writing.]

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September 14, 2016 scottcjones 14Comments

Hello, site visitor! My, you are one tenacious individual. Thank you for your interest, your commitment, and your passion. I finally have an update for you. But the news, unfortunately, isn’t necessarily good….

The future of this site is currently uncertain. I don’t know how necessary it is for me to leave it here, without regular updates, which I am obviously not writing right now. I can’t remember why I thought this site was a good idea in the first place. I guess I was hoping to catalogue my thoughts in the hopes of one day selling a book.

All of this is my way of saying that 1. there are currently no updates and 2. I’m thinking about taking the site down or changing it into something else entirely.

I’m pseudo-hibernating these days. I get up in the morning, make an OK effort for a few hours, swill a cup of coffee or two, etc. Then I go to the gym, eat lunch, listen to CBC, take a nap, and suddenly, it’s somehow evening already. Two or three days turn into a week; the weeks turn into months, and so forth. I’m peeling off calendar pages at an alarming rate of speed.

I go to bed early. I sleep a little longer than I need to sleep these days. Maybe I’m depressed. Or maybe I’m afraid of something. Maybe both.

Probably both.

I have ingredients for two or three more podcasts that I’ve recorded, but I have yet to process them. Anyway, I’m mulling everything over right now.

I thought you should know that.

Thanks again for your beautiful support. It means a lot to me, truly.

July 20, 2016 scottcjones 4Comments

I recently had to collect a stray package from the UPS store. I headed for the West End, where the yellow note that UPS had left on my front door directed me to go.

It was a balmy weekday afternoon. Strong sunshine, but not too strong. Canadians like to stroll on summer afternoons. They seem to have no destination or purpose. They don’t walk, per se; more accurately, they drift. They pause at random moments. They gaze up at trees as if they’ve never seen trees before.

I know West Coast Canadians now. They’re lovely, but most have static in their heads, like TV’s without signals. Or they’re stoned.

I spotted a white chihuahua without a leash cantering on the sidewalk about half a block in front of me. He was on his own, or seemed to be. This was puzzling and vaguely upsetting to me. He had that buoyant dog energy, where all four of his feet never seem to be on the ground at exactly the same time. I wondered if the dog was lost and in need of my assistance. I’m always game for a pet rescue; I’d reunited a lost cat with its owners earlier in the year. I got a terrific amount of satisfaction from doing that.

A figure also loomed in the distance up ahead, about a block in front of the chihuahua. Is the figure this little guy’s owner? I thought. I hoped so.

As I watched, the chihuahua abruptly stopped cantering. He moved into the grass next to the sidewalk and proceeded to sniff the area with purpose. The little guy had a contemplative look in his bulbous eyes. Then he hunkered down and released a turd—a surprisingly good-sized turd too, considering the dog’s size.

Unburdened now, his system cleared, the chihuahua left his effort behind. He sprinted along the sidewalk. He really opened it up, racing all the way to the distant figure.

The leash-less chihuahua, it seemed, belonged to that man.

I caught up with the man about thirty seconds later. I pointed at the dog and said, “Is that your dog?”

The chihuahua was turning figure-eights through the man’s ankles. The man stopped and looked at me. “Well, that’s a difficult question to answer,” he said. He rubbed his stubble-covered chin theatrically, as if he were auditioning for the part of “Seafarer No. 2.” “Somedays I don’t know if he belongs to me,”—another chin rub, another melodramatic pause—”or if I belong to him.”

He chuckled in a self-satisfied way.

“I’ve got some news for you. He took a big shit back there,” I said. I pointed behind me, back along the sidewalk.

“Did he?” the Seafarer asked. He was concerned, or seemed to be concerned. “Where?”

“Two blocks back. Just after that stop sign. Next to the sidewalk.”

The man made a frustrated exhale. He turned around a little too quickly and began to retrace his steps.

I continued on my way to Denman to pick up my UPS package, pleased with myself. He’d probably been doing this kind of thing for years. Now he’d been caught and brought to justice.

The package at the UPS store turned out to be some random trash—boring documents that a colleague had been promising to send for months. I thought about putting the documents directly into the garbage, but reluctantly carried them home out of a bizarre sense of duty. I stopped and bought myself an ice cream cone on Denman Street, figuring I deserved one. I considered taking a different route home, but then curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to see if the Seafarer had made good on his promise.

As I drew closer to the spot, the ice cream began to lose its flavour. By the time I actually saw the stop sign up ahead in the distance, all the satisfaction that I’d previously felt was gone. A pit opened in my stomach. I was sure that I’d made a mistake coming back this way. Yet I had to know. I had to have an answer.

The important thing is that you said something, I told myself. That’s what matters.

I don’t think I have to tell you what I found there.

You know what I found.

 

July 12, 2016 scottcjones 1Comment

[Note: Two editors were initially interested in this story. One editor vanished, because of a few unexpected changes in his life and career. But the other editor bought it, and ran it on his site, in a heavily edited form. Anyway, here’s the entire unedited version of the story. Enjoy. -Scott]

Meet Ela Darling. She’s a porn star. She’s a pioneering phenom in the burgeoning virtual reality [VR] sphere of the porn sector.

I first contacted Ela over the Internet. Then I discovered that she was speaking at a VR conference in NYC that I, coincidentally, was also attending. I met her there, in person, and sat with her for a little over an hour in a dimly lighted coffee shop on the Lower East Side. This was March 2016.

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