Permanent Milk Moustache And Other Odds Ends And Oddities

Ants having a picnic on recycling day; April 23, 2008 — Photo by Me.


I’ve been going grey for the past few months. I noticed the last time I grew a full beard… which would have been last fall. My hair is a light brown or a dirty blond but my beard is mostly black except for around my mouth and chin where it’s blond. And now grey.

I don’t mind at all. It would be nice if it was uniform though. My left eyebrow now has lots of grey in it, my right is still black with some blond. Going grey has never been a concern of mine… I’m not sure how I’m going to handle losing my hair though. I’ve never really given any thought to getting older, at least not until recently. After a certain age there’s not a lot of hair in my family.

As long as I’ve known her my grandmother has worn a wig. She has hair, just not a lot of it and it’s very blond. My mother’s hair is very fine and she started losing it in her forties. It’s stabilized now, but she still has to work to keep what’s left. My grandfather has hair around the edges, but the ridge has thinned until it’s mostly a ghost. My uncle’s hair is mostly gone as well…

As far as I can tell, except for some of my mom’s female cousins, I’m the oldest person in my family who still has hair. If I do end up losing it there’s no way I’m either combing it over or growing a ponytail.



On a crisp winter day I will open my windows to refresh my apartment, but Spring means we can finally open our windows and leave them opened. Except in my part of the world Spring is also the time of year the farmers spread manure on their fields, so when the wind is blowing my entire Little Village smells like a sewer. After a few years you stop noticing… unless the farmer is using pig manure to spray their fields.

Sometime around 1985 we moved in with my mother’s then boyfriend. He was an artist and owned a large farmhouse just to the left of nowhere. That spring was the first time I’ve ever experienced pig manure being spread on a field. With regular manure a farmer loads up a large wagon that has a rotating spiral of shit spewing teeth at the open end, and drives across his fields. Once that spiral of teeth turns on you can see cow shit being thrown ten to fifteen feet in the air. But it’s all clumps.

But pig manure is liquid. So the farmer will drive a huge tank to the edge of his field, then set up a hose with a rotating nozzle on a giant tripod (it’s called a centre-pivot sprinkler). Then he flips the switch and a hundred feet of brown liquid pig shit explodes from the hose in a giant pulse… then another and another and another, each one just a few degrees away from the last.

I can remember getting off the bus and just watching these giant streams of pig shit flying through the air and thinking “this is the coolest fucking thing ever”.


Another thing the farmers around here got into recently was the whole Biofuel farce. My Little Village is at the centre of one of the poorest off-reserve regions in Canada. The one thing this region has, however, is rich farm land. Some of the very best in the entire freaking world. But for decades the price of corn and wheat was so low, and in such flux between “hardly worth much” and “not worth much at all” that the farmers were surviving only because of government handouts and subsidies.

There was such a glut of under-priced corn, for example, the government was paying farmers Not to grow the stuff. Things appeared to get better ten years ago when some private companies started buying corn as a biofuel… there was even talk of building a huge Ethanol refinery just down the road.

The good news is, ten years later the farmers are all growing corn and making decent money for doing it… the bad news is gas prices are through the roof and 100 million people are going to starve to death in the next five years because Everybody’s using their farm land to grow gasoline-substitutes… for example, Brazil is slashing the rain forests again but this time so they can plant corn because they plan to have a 100% Ethanol country in like ten years.

But the thing is with that… if we were to stop putting Ethanol in our gasoline, we’d have to replace it with (taa-daa) gasoline. Which means higher gasoline prices.

So the farmers, who need a Lot of gasoline to grow their crops and get them to market, are paying higher gas and food prices because someone convinced them that putting corn into our gas tanks was a wonderful idea… which means they have to charge Us more money for the corn and wheat we need.

Anyway… biofuels are retarded. There’s an engine that runs on restaurant grease or vegetable oil, with exhaust that smelled like French fries… how many fields of vegetables would we have to harvest to keep a million of those cars moving? Retarded.


I finally watched “Cloverfield” tonight… awefreakingsome. The Statue of Liberty’s head rolling down the street may be one of the best scenes in any movie ever made. I loved that they had camera phones everywhere. Any time there was a crowd of people there were cameras out recording whatever was going on… a few days ago there was a sports-related riot in Montreal, a bunch of cars were burned and people were breaking windows and everywhere the news camera looked, there were dozens of people with cameras.

Strangely enough after the riot the people sent their films and photos to the police… no one said if it was before or after they posted them to their blogs and YouTube accounts.

In the “Making Of” featurette the director was saying how they used videos on YouTube as inspiration for the amateurish camera work, and the 9/11 influence was pretty obvious. The film was actually mostly filmed in Los Angeles, and only did some establishing shots in New York.

It was meant to be super-secret but by the time they got to New York there was an “Internet-buzz” so people were showing up on location and taking photos and movies of their own… which the producers were finding on YouTube ten minutes after they had been taken. So… basically the filming was being broadcast near-live on YouTube.

I only had two problems with the movie… the first was when the main characters finally find the dude’s girlfriend and she has a rebar through her chest. People don’t run around with that kind of wound. The second one is a common one involving the military. Airplanes, post WW2, do not attack by diving into their target then releasing their bombs or missiles.

If a modern attack fighter, or bomber, is going to blow stuff up it will do it from 36,000 feet. Also, chances are pretty good the American military could come up with some spare cruise missiles to be taking care of any off-world Cthulhu beastie, and not be sending in squads of reservists with rifles.

Other than those two minor points, this was a fantastic movie. Apparently they’re making a sequel. Oh… and more some gratuitous nudity would’ve been cool.


The coolest thing about Spring is the sound of night. The constant background noise of crickets, frogs and a million other creatures. When I leave a concert there’s a ringing in my ears as my eardrums reset to the relative quiet of a city. Here there’s a ringing when the sounds of the TV and the cars finally dissipate and all I’m left with are the sounds of nature.



About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression when I was nineteen, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. It's now 2022, and I have an 8-year old son, and a 12-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at
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6 Responses to Permanent Milk Moustache And Other Odds Ends And Oddities

  1. bromac says:

    I love men gone grey. My father has a full head of hair and a full beard. He has the most amazing hair I’ve ever seen on a 57 year old man, fully grey. He looks so distinguished!

    My husband found his first grey hair, in his beard, several months ago. They just keep coming and coming so I suppose I will have another grey and handsome man in my life soon.

    The double standard, though, is infuriating. Grey on men is distinguished while grey on women is, unless that beautiful white-grey, considered simply old.

    Nice pig manure story. Blech!

  2. thordora says:

    LOVE the grey. I want to go grey, but I don’t think I will.

    Grew up downwind of farms. BLECH.

  3. Gabriel... says:

    I’m not sure where the double standard comes from… a long time ago I dated a woman who was going prematurely grey, her hair was mostly silver but had been black. I thought it was really cool. With me, when it comes to being attracted to a woman, it’s the length of hair that matters more than anything else. I’ve never been a fan of long hair…

    I think if I do end up losing my hair I’ll grow the beard out.

  4. At least you weren’t bald by 15 like Patrick Stewart…

  5. Gabriel... says:

    Or plugs by 12 like Kirk… dude, in the recent comments part of my sidebar right now it totally looks like your avatar’s got an awesome hat on. It looks like something Charlie would end up wearing.

  6. exactscience says:

    I started going grey at 12. The genes could seriously screw me- paternal side, lush head of white hair; maternal side, dark hair but shiny baldness up top. Knowing my luck I’ll be white and bald.

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