Hi there. This blog is devoted to all manner of creative writing and is updated regularly. This means investigations and analyses; poetry and prose; reviews of film, literature, and music. This means dramatic writing, introspective writing, unique and original writing. This means politics and passions, hobbies and recommendations.
I invite each of you to provide comments or criticism, suggestions and feedback at any time. I would also like to invite you all to submit your own original content. Simply e-mail me or insert your desired copy as a comment, with a small note to say so. Please include your own ‘byline’ information, copyright information and/or author’s note so you can be credited for your own work.
More voices mean more variety. Let’s fill this Kitchen Sink with all the beauty and originality it can handle.
by Chris Hibbard
I came across a box of teenage stuff a while ago, while visiting my old room at my parent’s place in Calgary.
Among the items inside the box were: mix tapes (numbered and named for personality’s sake), old photos that never got put in an album, a whole bunch of great stickers by bands I rarely listen to anymore, and several 3.25″ ‘floppy’ disks, containing some classic short stories I wrote while in high school creative writing classes and moments of creative epiphany, much like tonight.
I have just a vague flicker of memory however, about these stories themselves. I think there was one about an invisible boy and another about somehow making a deal with the devil. I wrote them sometime between 1995 and 1998, when I had longer hair and less inhibitions when it comes to making dreams a reality. There might be some poems inspired by old girlfriends, sappy and loving or heart-wrenching teenage angst. I never wrote these stories down in pen on paper, and never saved them into an email dropbox or tweeted them to myself somehow.
These stories were typed on an old version of .Word and then saved on small squares of plastic with a little flippy silver bit that covered some actual film or magnetic tape inside the disc itself. This disk would fit into a small slot on the front of every single computer that was out there. I had no concern about backing up my stories, for I had safely secured them on this 3.5″ disk, that could easily hold up to 1.4 MB of information!! At the time, I had no need for any more than 1.4 MB, as music downloading was in its infancy and Youtube was still several years away. Now we speak of terrabytes and gigabytes… leaps and bounds ahead of where we were.
So, two decades later and I come across these potentially amazing gems from my younger days. Thanks to modern technology racing forward with increasing momentum, I have no way to read them, nor play them. I have a CD/DVD reader/rewriter, and many ports for USB sticks/flash drives,\ etc. I can do almost anything with my computer, but I can no longer read a little grey disk that may contain some golden bits of forgotten inspiration.
It makes me feel nostalgic and weary and annoyed all at the same time. It makes me wonder how many other stories and little bits of writing I’ve scribbled or saved over the years, and might never even remember writing, simply because they were written in the floppy disk years, for those years are long gone. Now, in our modern age of social networking and high-tech competition, by the time I even get used to the I-phone version 5 or whatever the heck my gadget is, it might already be considered outdated and antiquated, replaced by some newer, smaller, faster, fancier version.
So, if all goes according to plan, I’ll manage to get my old tales off the 3.5″ floppies, read ‘em over and clean ‘em off; and maybe even edit ‘em a bit with author’s license. By the time you have read this, I will likely have already visited some kind of library or computer shop and proceeded to transfer said stories to a more convenient modern tool. If this is indeed the case, the stories will likely appear on this very site within the next several months. And then you’ll get a strange look inside my adolescent mind, for better or worse.
(This poem was inspired by my friend Nathan. He challenged me one night, after drinking several beers, to write a poem during the next 3-minute commercial break in the program we were watching on TV. He asked for it…. and he got it. The following poem was scribbled on a note pad over two commercial breaks, separating the Big Bang Theory and Jeopardy, if memory serves correct. It turns out to be quite nice, if rhymed correctly in the spoken word, coffee shop, finger snappin’ jazz kind of way.)
Double Dog Dare
by Chris Hibbard
Double down on these rhymes & those rhythms
With words of wisdom from this poetry pen
Alliterative alternatives to Saturday seasons
Bouncing and biting and slapping the shot
Turning to trivia in times of temptaion
Leaving the living to snowstorms and shovels
Taking the time to write this rhyme
While cruisin’ for bruisins but feeling’ just fine
As time stretches and skews and we’re all good to go
Doublin’ down on those rhymes and these rhythms
by Chris Hibbard
So I realize it’s been many months since I’ve updated this darn blog, and for that I apologize. Between battling keeping myself busy with work and writing and radio and other stuff, The Kitchen Sink blog just seems to get forgotten about. I never truly stop writing; and continue to write articles for local magazines, letters to local newspapers and press releases for certain worthy causes. But any former readers out there may be happy to know that I’ve decided (once again…for the third time this decade…) to re-dedicate myself to keeping this blog updated. In the near future I hope to post some new short stories, some new poems and a number of letters, essays, and other miscellany. Some of the things I’ve been working on lately include articles about:
- why naptime should be mandatory around the world
- how emotional/mental illness should be considered in the workplace
- other peoples trash blowing into my yard and getting stuck in my bushes
- the demise of cursive writing skills as standard protocol in schools today
- “Breaking Some Wind At The End Of The Universe”
- The Man With The Spiderman Underoos
- Schpeaking with Schlurs at the Schideschow
- Do blind people actually have other senses that are improved or heightened in some way?
- Is Chris Hibbard going to write something more substantial than this list any time soon?
- a local entrepreneur who has managed to shed nearly 300 pounds in just over a year (see story here: Desire, Discipline and Determination)
- a close encounter with one of Australia’s most dangerous arachnids (see story here: Close Encounters With the 8-Legged Kind)
- a recent tour of my city’s only whiskey distillery
- famous couples who actually manage to stay together forever
- my dislike for the 3D revolution
- some of my feelings about changes to women in the world today
- my grandfather’s involvement with the Juno Beach assault during World War II
- the funeral home industry, or as I see it, “This Business Of Death”
- the supposedly looming 2012 apocalypse
- our space in the universe – when seen from the macroscopic and microscopic perspectives
- how to deal with stress by changing our way of thinking
- the demise of Hostess Twinkies
- issues regarding putting warning labels on our dangerous products
- and more!
I’ll be in touch.
Christopher Eric Hibbard, Esquire
by Chris Hibbard
Thanks to an annual report from WordPress.com and a website called Clustrmaps, I can now post some statistics about this Kitchen Sink blog.
From October of 2012 through December of 2012, this site was visited 18, 603 times. Quite surprisingly, 10,000 of those views took place in 2012 alone.
Imagine this: 600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.
by Chris Hibbard
So for several months in 2012, I was employed part time at a local Lethbridge liquor store called Andrew Hilton Wine & Spirits. ‘Twas a very nice job, as far as standard retail work goes, with nice staff discounts, a great variety of beverages to learn about and sample, as well as fun and friendly staff to work with. One afternoon I showed up to work, only to notice a small glass turned upside down on the counter with a piece of cardboard carefully taped to its open end. Upon closer inspection, there was a small black spider trapped inside. After asking some co-workers about it, they informed me that some preliminary online research had shown it to be a Red Back Spider, a very poisonous arachnid native only to Australia and New Zealand.
A true story
by Chris Hibbard
Author’s note: In our hectic world, it seems bad news is rampant. So why not start this year with a positive story from right here in Lethbridge?
First, a little bit of background. Several years ago, after paying some tickets at city hall, I stumbled across a small local business called Big John’s Books. Being an avid reader, I decided to check it out. Upon entering, it was quite clear that the name was very appropriate, as behind the counter was one of the largest people I had ever seen.
Nine years ago; this Big John fellow began running the store after he acquired it from his aunt. Over the years, I’ve come to know him a bit better – and this is HIS story of hope.
It is my hope that it can be an inspiration for anyone out there, who may be dealing with similar issues.
– Chris Hibbard
* * *
John Joseph Pyska was always a big kid, even at seven years old. In every class photo, he was the tall kid in the back row. “I was already 4’ 9” by the time I was seven,” John said, and he had to wear clothes in school that were made for much older kids. He began slowly accumulating weight by the time he was eleven. He admits to having some troubles with people as a child, dealing with bullying and name-calling, and while he had already begun his love affair with books and with reading, his weight issues would only get worse and worse.
“It all begun spiraling from junior high I guess, and I suppose I kind of started using food as a bit of a crutch to deal with stress,” John said. “If you don’t go out much you put on weight, and if you put on much weight, you don’t want to go out. So it’s really a cycle of sorts – and breaking that cycle is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”
And this is where it gets really interesting. By 2010, this owner of Big John’s Books stood 6’ 5” tall, and weighed-in at a worrisome 600 lbs. Yet since September of 2011, John has incredibly shed over 225 lbs!
A little ramble
by Chris Hibbard
* * *
For all of you people out there addicted to that morning cuppa joe: congratulations! According to a recent study, coffee drinkers are a little more likely to live longer than their non-java junkie counterparts.
After nearly three decades of research by various groups trying to prove that coffee increases the risk of heart disease, “Our study suggests that’s really not the case,” said lead researcher Neal Freedman of the National Cancer Institute. “There may actually be a modest benefit of coffee drinking.” The study was carried out by by the National Institutes of Health and AARP, and it’s results were published in last week’s Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.
Regular or decaf doesn’t seem to matter. The NCI’s recent study of 400,000 people is the largest ever done on the issue, and while the results are surprising, the study does not give any real explanation for how or why. Coffee contains a thousand things that can affect the human body – from helpful antioxidants to tiny amounts of substances that are loosely linked to cancer. However, the most dominant ingredient – our friend caffeine – — didn’t seem to play a big role in the results of the study.
And while there is still evidence out there that suggests coffee can raise your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, and short-term blood pressure, both of which can raise the risk of heart disease, a clear pattern emerged from the study: each cup of coffee drank per day, nudged up the chances of the drinker living longer.
The study took into account the fact that coffee drinkers were also more likely to smoke, to indulge in alcohol, to eat red meat and get less exercise than non coffee drinkers. But once those things were considered, coffee drinkers that do not do have these other vices are between 10 and 13 per cent less likely to die at any age. Even a single cup a day seemed to lower risk a little: 6 per cent in men and 5 per cent in women. Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart or respiratory disease, stroke, diabetes, injuries, accidents or infections. No effect was seen on cancer death risk, though.
It is this coffee drinkers opinion that coffee just makes people more alert, often makes them more talkative and sociable, and frankly – just makes a lot of people happier. And with alertness, an active social network, and a cup full of happiness – life expectancy goes up. It’s just nice to know that a staple of my standard morning routine could actually add several years to my life.
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