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Showing posts from May, 2005

Fledgling poets, beware...

Back in October, I got some spam from poetry.com inviting me to enter a poetry contest and have my work judged. Now, unsolicited email ranks up there with Liberal corruption on the list of things I'd like to see less of, but I made an exception and investigated this one. I checked out the site thoroughly and decided, on the spur of the moment, really, to enter a poem. According to the rules of the contest, I could write in any form; the only restriction was on length...no more than 24 lines.
At the time, we were neck-deep in the adoption process, so naturally I chose to write on adoption. And because I wasn't feeling particularly creative that morning, I titled my work

ADOPTION

I came and wept
And laughed and slept
And grew
I ran and played
And dreamed and prayed
And knew
You took me in
As your own kin
And then
You let me be
Both loved and free
And when
We'd fully grown
You'd fully shown
Your worth:
My mom and pa
Who never saw
My birth.

I sent this thing off and promptly forgot about it.
Tw…

Me and Mr. Magoo

Eva's brother Jim came over today, bringing his new truck and his girlfriend of fairly long standing--Aliie, her name is; it was our first time meeting her.
We ordered pizza from Pizza Pizza for lunch. It's a toss-up between Pizza Pizza and Pizza Hut as to which is my favourite among the chains. Today's order was not up to par...not even close.
Tomatoes provoke a gastrointestinal festival with me, so I get my pizzas with very light sauce. My usual toppings are really simple: ground beef and a whole lot of cheese. Well, I think the order taker misheard my wife, because I got ground beef and a whole lot of GREASE. Not to mention the damn thing wasn't cut at all. It was a giant round slab of grease. Yecch.
This swimming pile of pizza-zit put me in a foul mood. I had to eat it with a knife and fork...trying to cut it just oozed grease everywhere, and I looked stupid in front of both family and a total stranger. Not the high point of my day.
Anyway, the talk turned to tattoos …

Yet another ungodly week

...and it was a short week, to boot.
TUESDAY was one of the busiest weekdays I have ever seen in over four years of working for Price Chopper. And most of the volume came between 4 and 9 p.m., so I didn't really see the full effect until I walked in the next morning and immediately wondered

WHERE DID ALL MY STOCK GO?

Tux went to the vet Tuesday evening. He had a moderate limp and the eye infection we had already treated him for had recurred in the other eye.
The limp came from sheer wildness. He's sort of within reason waking up in the morning, but even then he can cover the thirteen stairs to the main floor in just over a second. In the afternoons, when he's been cooped up all day, he can better that time significantly. (Give him two minutes in the morning and maybe five in the afternoon and he's reverted to his standard attitude of "but if I do that, it means I have to...move!" But before that, he's hell on four legs, and I'm sure he hurt one of them in…

It's the long weekend, hey ho, hey ho...

Three days off, oh what luxury. It's appreciated no less (and perhaps more) for coming so soon on the heels of ten days off. Of course, I could do without the whole mentality surrounding this particular holiday. It seems there are three accepted activities for the Victoria Day weekend:

long leisurely country drives performed, in the immortal words of Ron White, at half the speed of smell;long periods spent on hands and knees pulling up innocent weeds and replacing them with (arguably) prettier plants;if you are of a younger set, blowing up fireworks at any and all hours, making maximum racket and maybe aiming a few at people's houses or faces, just for funI'll make something clear here: I am the farthest thing from a gardener there is. I admire those who have the patience and ability to landscape their lots. I will never be one of them. For one thing, I absolutely hate the feeling of dirt on my fingers. It feels as if my pores have expanded and sucked all the dirt deep in…

Like many soap operas, that one was predictable.

Where to now, Canada?
In the wake of last night's tie vote on Jack Layton's budget, a few things need to be said.
1) It seems to me that the hard-won reconciliation between the Reform and Progressive wings of the Conservative party may have been all for naught. The division still exists, and there's no easy way to span it. Scrapping Harper and replacing him with someone moderate--Bernard Lord, perhaps--would certainly win some Ontario and Maritime votes, but only at the expense of alienated Western voices. Either keeping Harper or replacing him with another of his ilk (Manning, Day, and Harper are peas in a pod, politically) will satisfy the West but disenchant Ontario. No matter what, the party could well split again, thus ensuring Liberal dominance for another three terms.
2) I'm one of the few people of a Tory bent willing to defend Belinda Stronach to some degree. She approached her then-leader and told him she accepted 'parts' of the Liberal budget. Rather t…

Goodbye, Joan

Those of you who have read this blog for any length of time know my feelings about Joan of Arcadia--my favourite television show of the past two years.
CBS has cancelled it.
It started out with gangbuster ratings and was nominated for an Emmy after its first season just one year ago. That first season contained quite possibly the most riveting hour of television drama I have ever seen, the episode called Night Without Stars. And every episode made me laugh, made me cry, made me think.
For whatever reason, the second season started off with lacklustre ratings and fell like a stone from there. Granted, the writers were unusually prone to braincramps--plotlines would start up and vanish four episodes later without a trace--but Joan at its worst was still eminently watchable. And I'm not ashamed to admit I bawled my eyes out after Friday Night, the episode in which they killed off a major character I was growing to like and respect.
At the end of the second season, great and terrible thi…

Belinda's Betrayal and What it Might Mean

Well, that was a shock.
So much of a shock that when I was informed that Belinda Stronach had crossed the floor, I checked my leg for pulling devices which may have been attached. When the third person announced that she was the new Minister of Human Resources in Paul Martin's cabinet, I was forced to rearrange the geography of my mind. That's hard work.
Stephen Harper claims Belinda's move has nothing to do with him and everything to do with her own ambition. That's grade-A, 100% certified organic bullshit. Consider: The polls show that Harper's Conservatives have no hope in Ontario and thus very little hope of forming the next government. When the Conservatives lose the next election--whenever that may be--they'll be out for blood, and Harper will be the first to be gutted. The party will then search coast to coast for a leader that can win over some Ontarians. Belinda Stronach is that leader.
Or she would have been. Very likely she could have succeeded Martin a…

Here at the Lost and Found...

It really is amazing the stuff you find while you're looking for other stuff. Or when you're not looking for anything at all.
A couple of weeks back, trying to locate the manuals for our high speed internet service to transfer it to our new computer, I was forever stumbling on things that had been misplaced for months. Like the first volume of Spangle, by Gary Jennings--one of my favourite novels, and it's almost time to re-read it again! Alas, the other two volumes are still counted among the missing.
(Try as we might to keep the books in this place in some semblance of order, the sad fact is that they migrate all over the damn place, until finding a specific tome might take longer than reading it.)
Or you find things you didn't even know were missing. Pictures, cards, a pair of socks, about thirty pens, the commemorative Y2K pin I got from 7-Eleven for working New Year's Eve, 1999-2000.
Today, Eva's brother, Jim, came over to help us move a few things. Yeah, I …

Making Blog-ress...

Happy birthday, dear Breadbin, happy birthday to you...
One year of blogging. No idea how many entries I've made--Blogger stopped counting them at 75 a hell of a long time ago, and trying to count them myself leads to eyestrain, dizziness, and possibly death.
I'd like to thank all my readers for sticking with me through what has been the most eventful year of my life. I've tried to balance coverage of my life with coverage of the world around me, and I apologize if any of you would have preferred more of one and less of the other.

From the outset, I approached this as a chance to air a few of my quirkier views, keep myself centered, and hone my writing skills...in that order. It's only recently that I started reading a wider selection of Canadian blogs, some of which are getting upwards of two hundred hits a day. I notice that many of these popular blogs make little mention of their bloggers' existences, preferring instead to focus entirely on entertainment or polit…

Okay, SIMON SAYS resign. Is that better?

With sincere apologies to those (all) of you who are sick to death of political nonsense, I must state the following:
I am sick to death of political nonsense.
That said, the situation we find ourselves in since 5:45 p.m. yesterday is unprecedented in Canadian history. As such, I feel a comment is required.
We are currently being "governed" by a party deeply rooted in scandal. That in and of itself is far from uncommon: most governments descend into scandal after a long time in office. Because of this particular scandal, which is one of the worst since Confederation, the government faced a vote of non-confidence in the House of Commons yesterday...and lost it, 153-150. This, too, has happened before.
Never has a government ignored a confidence vote and tried to pretend it never happened.
Oh, the Liberals will tell you that this vote was a "procedural" matter and not a matter of confidence. Very loudly they will tell you this, in tones unsuited to a kindergarten classro…

Sorry, back to politics again...

The writ hasn't been dropped, but the campaign is in full gear.
This in itself should be illegal. As a Canadian voter and taxpayer, I resent the fact that billions of dollars are getting spread everywhere in an attempt to buy another term. I resent that the Opposition feels they have to honour Liberal bribery in order to buy power.
I'm sick of power being bought.
Paul Martin came to power promising to do, oh, about a million things. One of his biggies, though, was a pledge to fix something he called the "democratic deficit". It sounded so noble at the time, didn't it? Of course, he called that election to shut down an Adscam-related public accounts inquiry that was getting a trifle uncomfortable, but we didn't know that at the time, did we? No, we thought PM was going to ride in like a white knight, sweeping out all the rot that had accumulated during the Chretien regime and replacing it with vision and integrity.
Well, many of us thought that way. I have to admi…

That 70s Room

What the hell were they thinking in 1970? Huh?
This is a three bedroom house. The idea was pretty standard: one bedroom for us, and one bedroom for each of our two children. Children's Aid decided to throw a brick wall instead of a rug-monkey wrench into those gears, however. So now we've decided to make one room a library and the other into a guest bedroom. We've started on the library.
What it will be is a room with shamrock green walls and yellow curtains, filled with books and eventually a fake fireplace with a couple of wing chairs in front of it. What it is now is a mess.
We've stripped off the flowery wallpaper to uncover an absolutely unearthly shade of--
Well, wait, before I tell you that, I have to tell you about the house I spent from age zero to eight in: 1972-1980. We had the requisite harvest gold appliances, the barfy blue bathroom, and those weird floor-to-ceiling gold-flecked mirrors. The living room had (get this) dark brown shag with black diamond patter…

Tux update

or, Lord, grant me patience...right NOW!

Tux is, and will be, a good dog. He's also had a hard six months of life. I think he might have belonged to a student--he was found in a very studential area of town. What is certain is that he was abandoned at four months old, and before that, he'd been abused. Not tormented: he still loves humans. But he cringes and cowers if you have to discipline him.

There are three problems I have. They are most emphatically MY problems and certainly not the dog's.
One is that I don't handle change very well. This is no big secret, but it does present issues when change comes stampeding into the house in the form of a Lab cross puppy. He really is much like a child would be: I feel like I have to be around him every second, especially since he is, quite understandably, anxious to the point of hysteria when I'm not.
Another problem of mine is that I have put absurd expectations on myself...and by extension, on Tux. I felt I'd be abl…

The Hitch-hiker's Guide to The Hitch-hiker's Guide

Back in the early eighties, my dad bought me Douglas Adam's remarkably funny trilogy, The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Before long, I had huge portions of the novels committed to memory. I'd have to say that Hitch-hiker's was my Lord of the Rings and Star Wars all rolled together. I figure I've read the first three books maybe twenty times over the years. (Skip the last two: they read like they were written to pay a dentist bill. Especially Mostly Harmless, which wasn't.)
But the first three books are pure comedic gold, if you like dry Pythonesque humour. One of my favourite lines: "Nothing happened. And then, after a minute or two...nothing continued to happen."
In grade seven, our class put on a stage version...yours truly had a minor role as Prosser, the man who tries to convince Arthur Dent to let his home be bulldozed, about ten minutes before Planet Earth gets figuratively bulldozed.
In spite of the play and the high esteem in which I held th…

TV or Not TV

Today's telling statistic: In the United States, 94% of households have at least one television.
91% have a bathtub. That suggests that three percent of American families need to seriously re-evaluate their priorities.
In this Internet age, it may seem quaint--archaic, even--to rail against television. After all, in the last ten years, TV watching has declined somewhat dramatically. Sadly, children in particular have simply replaced one screen with several. The sedentary life that today's children and teens overwhelmingly prefer will cost them dearly. Studies have suggested that life expectancies will be seen to decline for the first time in recorded history, thanks in part to diet, perhaps in larger part to...screens.
Television started it all.
If you survey science fiction from the years 1880-1930, you'll find literally dozens of authors who predicted some sort of television device. But nobody, to my knowledge, predicted that a mere half-century after its popularization, soc…

First, the wedding. The Tuxedo came later.

Oh, so much to write today...

Jason and Brian's wedding was slated for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday on the third floor of Toronto City Hall. So as to make absolutely sure we weren't late, we left home shortly after 9 a.m.
We parked at Yorkdale and did a mall walk, stopping for lunch at the Rainforest Cafe (www.rainforestcafe.com).
If you haven't been, I highly recommend this place. Rarely have I been somewhere that combined an enchanting atmosphere, delicious food, courteous and quick service and affordability all in one package.
Bring the kids...they'll love the huge assortment of animatronics (we sat not far from a couple of elephants, trunks a-swinging) and the giant fish tanks, filled with exotic fish)...although very young children might be frightened by the thunderstorm which strikes every half hour.
Yorkdale has always been a ritzy shopping centre. It seems to have gentrified even further in the past decade or so; there is a huge collection of stores that perform a credit …

Going Moldy....

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