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Showing posts from June, 2006


As longtime readers of this space know, Eva and I fully intended to have children. We were going to have one "naturally" and adopt one; when that failed, we tried to adopt both, and were turned down. Now we have a dog in lieu of a child, and another dog on the way come fall.
When Family and Children's Services turned us down, it was as if somebody had thrown a huge boulder into a pond from a height. At first, there's a crater effect: it feels like your soul's been scooped out and shredded. Soon after, as you get used to the idea that you've been judged and found wanting, calmness seems to settle where the boulder hit. You can dig the boulder up off the bottom, examine it, and feel a faint echo of the pain you felt when it shattered the surface tension of your life, but by and large it rests deep in the murk, not forgotten, maybe, but minimized.
But there are ripples.
They spread out and touch corners of your existence you'd never expect. They continue to cha…

Think for yourself!

I like being exposed to a wide variety of opinions. I'll freely admit my mind is not often changed, but I like there to be the opportunity for a changed mind. So I tend to read stuff from all over the political spectrum. I even go out of my way to read things I know are going to piss me off: how's that for masochistic? Like the little free local weeklies that are geared primarily for university students. Ours here in the Tri-Cities is called Echo: doubtless you have one in your hometown.
Echo magazine is so called, I've figured out, because when you knock on the heads of nearly every one of their writers, that's what you get. Their world is full of doom and gloom, seeping out of corporations (you know, those things that provide all the jobs), government (which, according to them, should be taxing the wealthy--by which they mean, "anyone who is not a student"--at about 110%). and anybody foolish enough to eat meat, drive anything with an engine, or consort wit…

The 60th, off 69

I told myself I wouldn't act like a kid, like the kid I once was. I'd get some freakin' SLEEP the night before I went up north to my Dad and Heather's place. I'd wake up refreshed and ready to keep Eva awake for the longish (4-hour) drive up.
I lied. As usual.
You know that commercial for Disneyland, the one where the kids (and their father) can't sleep the night before? That's me the night before a trip north. I keep waking up: time to go yet?...Can we go now?...Hey, if we leave now we can be there by sunrise!...Damn, it is sunrise. We're late. And I'm tired.
Thank God for Tim Horton's....
We dropped Tux off at our friend Sue's place, where he could frolic all day (and all night) long with her Greater Swiss Mountain dog, Abbey, and her huge Irish Wolfhound cross, Bear, not to mention Sue herself, who is a dog lover of the highest order. Then the road was hit.
We took 'the back way' up: through Listowel, Mount Forest, Shelburne, and Alli…

On Happiness

Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased. --Spider Robinson

A friend who (I think) happens to share my initials (if the 'kb' in 'flameskb' happens to denote her initials) was musing on happiness and whatever it is you have to do to be happy. Being as I have been a tad unhappy myself of late and "you teach what you have to learn", I figured it's about time I put my thoughts to screen on happiness.
(Incidentally, the Internet is a strange and happy-making place, wherein you can count someone a friend without necessarily knowing something so basic about her as her name.)

Well, let's get the obvious out of the way, first: happiness doesn't lie in any material thing. Too many people seem to make that mistake: "if only I had thus-and-such, I'd be happy." Of course, should they ever manage to obtain thus-and-such, they soon find the focus of their material obsession shifting to that-and-t'other. If things made you happy, there …


I'm having a bad week.
Absolutely everything anybody says to me seems calculated to offend me, for one thing. It's the nature of the mood I'm in that makes me think the problem isn't mine...when it probably is, at least in part.
Work isn't helping matters much. I'll detail just one of the snafus that has stained my week:
On Monday, early, a Nestle truck showed up with one skid of sale product. The regular shelf order--some 180 cases of it--was nowhere to be found. I was told it would arrive on another truck later in the day.
Around 3:30, I called Nestle looking for my order.
"What order?"
"The order I placed on Thursday, for today, 181 cases as I recall."
After a few minutes on hold, I was cheerfully informed my order had been 'dropped from the system'.
" when can you ship me my ice cream?"
"We won't have a truck in your area until Thursday."
Wrong answer.
"Do you have any trucks leaving your plant between…

Welfare rambles

I once spent a few months on welfare.
My hours at work had been slashed to--sometimes--as little as three a week, for no reason I could fathom. My girlfriend at the time got no hours at all: she was unemployed.. Rent had to be paid; we had to eat. Very grudgingly, I applied, and was accepted.
Because I was deemed to be living common-law (I can't remember, but it must have been around that time I got engaged...a horrible mistake), I was--we were--entitled to a little over $900 a month. (Bob Rae was in power then: welfare paid better than many part-time jobs.) Rent was $320, all utililities included; we had very few other living expenses.
In other words, by the standards I had been subsisting on, I was suddenly rich.
And guilty.
To collect my monthly windfall, all I had to do was give proof that I had applied for employment at...I think it was fifteen...different places. No sweat. That took all of half a day every month.
The day after the first cheque came through, we went to Canada…

Wedding Bliss

We had started to pay attention to the weather forecast two weeks ago.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17: Partly cloudy, high 23.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17: Thunderstorms, widely scattered tornadoes, high 28.
SATURDAY, JUNE 17: Light snow grains, freezing fog, high minus 55. (Oh, wait, that's for Amundsen-Scott Station in Antarctica.)
And then SATURDAY, JUNE 17 arrived, and the weather was HOT, high how are you? I'm Sir Sweatpuddle, myself.
Lovely day for a wedding, isn't it? And outdoors, too!
Actually, searing heat aside, it was a lovely day for the wedding of our friends Mindy and Jamie. Their ceremony took place at the 'Kissing Bridge' in West Montrose, a short drive northeast of here. This is the last remaining covered bridge in Ontario, and it's called the Kissing Bridge because the traditional toll to get across was a kiss. Aww, how mushy.
We arrived just in the nick of time and settled ourselves in the shade down by the riverside. The wedding couple crafted the wedding service t…

Terrorism, Multiculturalism, and how they're NOT linked

Now that all the foofarow has died down over those 17 alleged terrorists, I'd like to put my two dollars in and maybe stir up a little foofarow of my own.
The reaction to this whole circus was soooooo predictable. The Toronto Star and CBC were taking great pains to remind us at every opportunity that a rock thrown through a mosque window was at least as horrible to contemplate as the beheading of the Prime Minister or the blowing up of the Toronto Stock Exchange. The headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was on the target list, but from the reaction at the Mother Corp, that just had to be a typo. They obviously meant the headquarters of the CPC...the Conservative Party of Canada...didn't they?
The Chief of Police in Toronto took one look at the giant elephant and elected to ignore it. He later expressed pride at his willful ignorance, bragging that "not once" did he mention the words Muslim or Islam in his speech. The media has by and large followed hi…


Interesting poll on morality in today's paper. Respondents were asked if various behaviours were "immoral". Some of the results are surprising.

Pedophilia was considered immoral by 78% of men and 84% of women.You're kidding, right? I looked at that 78% figure several times, trying to will the seven into a nine. It wouldn't happen, and I was left with the disquieting idea that almost one in four men is a potential child molester. Hey, I'm all for each individual charting his or her moral course, but I thought pedophilia was one of those universal things, like incest, that everybody just automatically went "yecccch" at the mere thought of. Apparently not. Maybe that's why it seems like every other day we hear about the teacher/Boy Scout Leader/doctor/janitor with a vast collection of child porn on his computer.Extra-marital affairs are thought to be immoral by 68% of men and 81% of women.This sounds about right: sifting through all the stats on inf…

Lesson learned...

Absolutely NOTHING happening in my world lately. So it's time to delve into my old diary and see if I haven't completely exhausted its topics already.
You can't read much more than a page of my diary, in any of its incarnations, without reading a woman's name. You'd think I was obsessed with them.
I was.
Most damning, I was usually fixated on entirely the wrong woman: the one down the hall, down the street, down the wire, rather than the one perfectly good specimen standing in front of me.

Cheaters are experts at rationalizing. There's no flaw in their mates they can't magnify; no circumstance in their lives they can't exploit. Everything becomes an excuse to cheat. Excuse? Hell, a reason. A good and just reason. Your girlfriend sucks in bad. Or more to the point, she doesn't. Your mate suffers from chronic depression, and hey, you can't leave her in that condition, or you might have a suicide on your conscience, but betray her by bedding that…



Uck. Just uck.
On Tuesday morning, I awoke and stumbled downstairs post-shower and pre-coffee, still mostly asleep. One rather alarming thing I've noticed since I invited coffee into my life is that it's hard to wake up without it...I can do it at the price of a pounding headache later in the day.
There was...stuff... scattered all over the living room.
Tux, what have you gotten into?
Nothing, Daddy, if you look real close and maybe...sniff...a bit, you'll find that all I did was shit. Copiously. Prodigiously.
Tux hasn't broken housetraining since very early in his tenure with us, and he chose this night to do it in a most spectacular way. I counted thirty-seven separate turds. All but two of them were, how shall we say, remisicent of those Wendy's commercials. You know, 'the only soquid you eat with a fpoon'.
Check that, a Frosty has considerably more solidity to it.
Good morning, Ken. Up and at 'em!

Not "if" but "when"

"And history seems to agree
That I would fight you for me
That us would fight them for we
Is that how it always will be?"
--Moxy Fruvous, "The Gulf War Song"

Seventeen people, alleged would-be terrorists, arrested in and around Toronto. Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate seized, along with a variety of paraphernalia meant to turn that common fertilizer into a close approximation of hell.
Brush the sleep out of your eyes, Canada. I know, you've had a nice pleasant nap since that awful dream we all had five Septembers ago, but you might want to get up and rejoin the rest of the Western world.
To summarize, then: a radical strain of Islam is at war with everyone and everything that doesn't fit their perverted vision. Then again, maybe not so perverted: "Islam", often translated as "peace", really means "surrender". To God, it's true, but people have such a nasty habit of putting themselves in God's place.

For those who have been a…

Go Oilers Go!

So once again I find myself cheering for a Cinderella team from Alberta. Like Calgary two years ago, Edmonton was given little chance this year of making the playoffs, let alone playing for the Cup. Yet here they are, riding a wave of heart, speed and solid goaltending.
And in this corner, the Carolina Hurricanes--also given long odds on getting here despite winning their division--riding a wave of whinery, bellyaching, and shit luck.
Okay (he conceded), there's talent on the 'Canes, quite a bit of it. Also speed and at least respectable goaltending. But I have never seen a team complain so much in all my years watching hockey. They bitch when they get a penalty, no matter what. They bitch when the other team doesn't get a penalty, no matter what. I get the feeling they expect the referee to simply hand them the game. A team this prone to complaint, getting this far, is not a good thing. Should they beat Edmonton and hoist the Cup, it'll be open season on refs next year.