Thursday, December 15, 2005

Magic and the Tooth Fairy

Warning this post contains spoilers regarding the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause!

This is a scan of a letter that Leora recently wrote. As you can see, she has just lost her first tooth. Translated, it reads: "Dear Tooth Fairy, I want to meet you one of these days. Love Leora." You will not be shocked to learn that we have never mislead her about the identity of the Tooth Fairy, nor Santa, Easter Bunny et. al. Still she has a very strong desire to pretend to herself that they are real. I think the essence of this desire is the need for magic.

I can remember wanting magic to exist. I wanted there to be dragons and dwarves and lightening bolts from my fingertips. Never mind the terrible consequences of orcs and power hungry mages, I wanted my levitate spell. I never had the belief for as long as I can remember--even though I can recall my parents playing into the Santa mythology and my dad making coins dissappear. I always thought that there was a strange truth of the universe. Let us call it Tinker Bell's Folly. If you could only truly belive than that would be enough to make it reality. I never managed to succeed.

Now, back to Leora. Wendy wrote her a nice letter back from the Fairy in question. In fact, we have been carrying on a corespondance for quite some time with a fairy named Eolanda. In this case, money was exchanged, the tooth taken. End of story. Not so. The next morning Leora bounces into the room full of excitement as she shows us her money and grins while squeezing her tongue through the empty socket in her smile.

"Look Mom, I got a dollar."
"Now can I have my tooth back?"
"The Tooth Fairy took it."
"No, Mom, REALLY. I need it for school."

As it turns out, in exchange for showing the tooth, Leora was able to get an "I lost a tooth" certificate and that is why she wanted it back. Personally I would have kept it just out of a sense of fairness. A transaction took place, afterall. Being from the James family I think Wendy just couldn't resist the bargain of Leora getting two prizes for the price of one tooth. I'm sure Teela would be proud.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Out of Touch, or DON'T TOUCH ME, PLEASE!

The Jr. Questers have had back-to-back releases of the Chicken Pox(wikipedia). Leora was first, and got rave reviews at the box office. I would estimate her pox count at around 300-400. After her 10-day stint Anwyn decided to cash in. She has just released Chicken Pox -- The Directors Cut. It is much more graphic and true to the original vision of the disease. Her audience has been treated to a digitally enhanced fever using 103.8F technology, several never before seen sequences of poc-marks with extra dynamic range in swelling AND Low estimates suggest as many as 600-700 EXTRA pox have been added for general viewing pleasure.

Beyond this exciting time of childhood-rights-of-passage, I have recently auditioned for Off Broadway's production of Little Shop of Horrors(imdb). It was great fun auditioning, but I think I will decline if I am offered a role. I very much want to work with Summer Players again and I was a bit nervous about some of the things I saw at the audition. That and I don't think they will cast me anyway.

The week before that I ran with one of my many sisters-in-law. We each donated $40 to participate in the 5km "Jingle Bell Run." I was really proud of Liz, who has only begun to run since the summer. The bells were a bit noisy, but the cause was one I have a personal stake in (arthritis). Apparently you can collect pledges which I may just do next year--watch out!

So, you probably also know that I am working with James Klenz (of Prince Albert fame) on a little film project of his. I participated in my first shoot with him in Mid November. It was the first film thing I have done and I enjoyed standing out in the cold waiting for automobile, airplane and rooster noise to subside so I could say a couple of hasty lines or take one of the several beatings that he laid on me during our 4-hour shoot. No, it was fun, really. There is much more to happen with this project and I should get to shoot with him again in a couple of weeks.

So, now you and I are almost up-to-date. My only other time committment of note would be preping for the coming x-mas season. Wendy, the kids and I have been busy putting together our usually aggressive selection of cookies, squares and fudge (chicken pox extra). I have also been on a tough schedule in my own version of Santa's workshop making a few things for some of you lucky devils out there. Will it be you? Won't it? You will just have to wait and see.

Do try not to be a stranger, would ya?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Hip to be Square

Vin has made the observation that popular music from the year 2000 and on has nothing to offer history. It will not matter in 20 years (the way we now revere our beloved 80s tunes). Maybe this is a complaint against 4/4 time. It could be that the stranglehold that big media has on the production of pop culture has caused it to be sterile. Or, maybe it is a statement that the metaphor is dead. I don't know. And, quite possibly he is right. I don't have a strong interest in pop culture and I can't claim to be an expert in any of its various venues. But I have heard this argument applied in many areas before and I find I inherently rebel against it.

I spent my teens and twenties in a state of rebellion. I think it is fair to say that this is common and part of growing up. Not everyone rebels, but most need to find some way to differentiate themselves from their families and friends from youth. You may wind up being able to reconcile a relationship with these people in the end, but you have to come to find your own identity and have some confidence in its unique status. I think, at least in part, this is the essence of being an adult. And before you start, yes, this means that according to my definition some people will not reach adulthood until their 30s, 40s. Some will reach adulthood by 15 or perhaps they never will. I speak to a particular intellectual state rather than physical.

What do you remember about the adults of your childhood and teen years? They were out of touch. They didn't get IT. Every cliché in the book. Watch The Breakfast Club again to see how alone we all felt as kids. I promised myself, as I suspect did a great many of you, that I would not allow myself to fall into the same trap as the generations before. I wouldn't lose touch. I could stay cool and 'with it'.

Surprise! I never was 'with it'. Coolness was just an illusion to try and help me feel some sense of control and individuality. Hamlet said, “There is nothing either hip or square, but thinking makes it so.” My thinking. That is what has changed. Not so much what I think, but how. The music cannot move me anymore, except by recollection of what used to be. Don't get me wrong. There are still challenges to overcome—painful moments, awkwardness, lonliness. But, I now know that I am not alone in the struggle. I know that I am a good person. I know that my way of being and doing has merit. You couldn't get that into a teenage brain with a sledgehammer.

I cannot judge art that is made for pre-adolecents. O.K. I can, but only on adult terms. And there will always be something missing in my brain that means that I just can't quite get it. I can intellectuallize it, but not really feel it. I like to think of it not as having too little understanding, but of having too much.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Quest Time

or as I have affectionately come to call it QT. The acronym can also currently be used for "Quest Tuesday," the mysterious "on the q.t.", or (as it happens) quite a few other things. What the hell is it? What is it good for?

As with many things worth explaining, the answer is (too?) complex. I use The Quest as a way of describing my approach to life. I don't think that is uncommon. It is an ideal -- a personal measure of the quality of how I am living. I could (and will eventually) spend pages trying to prosify what is a very simple idea which still seems ineffable. Instead, for now, I will offer two poems that I have written which may clarify my particular approach. We'll talk more of this later...


He Who Watches

Sherandilin, the city fair.
The questor's souls have perched 'mongst rare
And wondrous beings of power and might
Whose deeds become my dreams at night.
When last I lay my wearied head,
The questor's trail-song stands in stead.
For questing blood fills not my heart
And I have not the strength to start.
So long 's the road.


Tree and fen and wood and field
Walking ever silently
I've never trod the same path twice
And still I hasten eagerly
To find the path I'm looking for
Although I know it not by sight
I'll feel it when it comes upon me
Softly in the night

He Who Does

The Heart that's bold, shall walk the road,
Shall sing the songs, shall share the gold.
We are the souls Sherandilin
Whose hallowed halls we dwell within
And feast upon the mighty breast
Of all that lies along the quest.
We'll steal the hours from Death's white hand
And spread them 'mongst our merry band.
We'll stretch our lives.

The Quest

In crafting life we are obsessed.
While tumbling through it, don't forget
To thirst and make all life a quest.

Each eddy is a great contest;
The outcome judged by how it's met.
In crafting life we are obsessed.

With frequent fervor we invest
Passivity with lusty sweat
To thirst and make all life a quest.

Unyielding time will be compressed
To stretch our souls, to pay our debt;
In crafting life we are obsessed.

From stagnant streams great men digressed
Past lassitude's insipid threat
To thirst and make all life a quest.

Expunge your vessel of possessed
Minutia, torpor -- scorn regret;
In crafting life we are obsessed
To thirst and make all life a quest.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Serenity - No Spoilers

If you want spoiler info, comment and I will email you.

As you may be aware from reading CO and LittleScratches, I was really excited about the movie. I own the series on DVD and have watched most of the episodes 3-5 times. Let us say that I was very prepared to love the movie. I didn't.

The movie opens with a flashback sequence that flies in the face of direct testimony from the first episode of the series. I'm not talking inconsequential--the movie utilizes this flashback to establish a totally different personality for one of the main characters. It sort of deteriorates from there:
  • Explanations are given for Reavers, and although it stays tight with classic SF, the way it plays out in the FireFly 'Verse just dosen't cut it.
  • Several of the principals exhibit personalities in some degree different from the series.
  • The main antagonist disapoints (I can't really say more)
  • Characters, several times, exhibit odd behavior for the sake of the plot.
  • They really downplayed the Western part of the Oriental-Western hybrid that the series established. Some may consider this benificial...
  • I could go on, but I have tears in my eyes :)
As for the good, there are some:
  • The fight sequences stayed true to the series by being gritty and inventive.
  • There were a few moments that were definitely "outside the box" for your average Hollywood movie, though not astounding.
  • They throw a lot of witty one-liners at you (could get most of them directly from the series)
  • The effects were competent
It may be that my expectations were just too high, but I feel that Joss Whedon did not deliver. It was a must see movie for me, but I wish it had not been. Now Firefly has to come down from it's pedestal.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Juggers and Replicants

I had a great time with everyone at the Roastery. Rainswept and Starcat were already there for a while before Handwing and I arrived on our bikes. The conversation was whimsical with a dose of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. I'm sure that is why RS posted his fav movie list as several of them were topics of brief discussion. Rutger Hauer was the man of the evening. If we had known in advance, I could have contacted him to see if he was available for a keynote or something.

I'm going to be seeing Serenity tomorrow night--with or with out you, aa haa. Wendy is going with me, as are my cousin David an (I think) Handwing and perhaps Mrs. 'Wing too. Probably an early show. If you want to sit with us, let me know so we can meet up. Damn! I still don't know what theatre it will be at. We'll just have to wing it. I'll update tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Bookmarks - if you care


Bookmarks Toolbar Folder

Add bookmarks to this folder to see them displayed on the Bookmarks Toolbar


Google Maps
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Encyclopædia Britannica
RhymeZone rhyming dictionary and thesaurus
AltaVista's Babel Fish Translation Service
The Encyclopedia of Arda
Canada Post - business/personal
Saskatoon Airport Authority - Flight Info - Arrivals


GRUB Manual: Commands
Google Search: howto mouse config xfree86 debian
Gentoo Linux Documentation -- The X Server Configuration HOWTO
how do i setup a scroll wheel mouse in xfree86 4.0.x?

Mik News

Weather Forecast - news
Little Scratches
Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters
Penny Arcade!

Kids - Crafts and Learning

Kid's Page Archive - free printable worksheets for preschool - fifth grade.
Tracing paper for writing practice - Coloring Pages - Printable Pages
FREE Coloring Pages - Coloring Page Fun
Kids Domain - Crafts
DLTK's Printable Crafts for Kids
Crafts for Kids -
Coloring Pages for Girls

tv listings

TV Listings - Global - - CTV News, Shows and Sports -- Canadian Television - Program Guide - Daily Schedule

Family Sites

James Journal
Diakuw dayhome
Quest Swiki

Fun in Saskatoon

What To Do In Saskatoon
VHQ - The Video Store With More!
The Internet Movie Database (IMDb)
Saskatoon Road Runners Association - runners, walkers, and wheelchair racers; weekly runs; race schedules, results; membership information
Saskatoon Public Library


Sasktel Spam Filter
Welcome to Gmail
Yahoo! Canada Mail - Free for life!
FastMail: Fast free or paid IMAP webmail with SMTP, POP & IMAP access


Playing in the Wings
The Plastic Spark Cafe
Little Scratches
mik files

Palm-Clie - The Definitive DVD Backup Resource
Palm Media Player - The PalmOS Open Source Portal -
1src - The One Source for all things Palm-powered related.
SonyStyle USA
SonyStyle USA - PEGUX50/UKIT1

FreewarePalm: the one and only site for downloading freeware files for PalmOS handhelds.


Atlas - Xpeditions @
Geography: Kids' Link Library

Freeware and Opensource

The Linux Home Page at Linux Online
KNOPPIX - Live Linux Filesystem On CD
Xiph.Org: home - Utility software

Welcome to Ecole Victoria School Web Site
Waag Society - TOOOL Lockpick workshops


Learn Latin
Latin Dictionary and Grammar Aid
Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar, Table of Contents
Allen and Greenough's New Latin Grammar for Schools and Colleges (eds. J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, A. A. Howard, Benj. L. D'Ooge)

Home and Garden

"": Home Improvement Tutorials


fort edmonton


Hall Of Light - - the database of amiga games
Amiga Power
Index of /filebase/amiga/games
Ancient Toys * Amiga Abandonware Game Site
Jaybee's AmigaInABox!
LeChuck's - English
Aminet at

Download Skype for Windows
Panasonic Consumer Electronics - Live Manuals
The Order of the Stick - by Rich Burlew
Space Tree the Space Tree
mininova : TV shows > Star-Trek The Next Generation

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Art Apreciation

I like to think of myself as a strange combination of strict and lenient. I am willing to let my children do things that often will make others shudder with fear or loathing or both -- for a variety of reasons. Yet, at the same time, I require them to hold themselves to behavioral guidelines that many adults I know find distasteful or just plain impossible. I don't do it for the shock value. There is a method to the madness, as it were. So you will have to take my word for it that during the taking of these pictures, Reid and Anwyn were models of perfect behavior [and me too ;) ] with the singular exception that they were climbing all over pieces of artwork.
Notice how I am in none of these pictures? That is 'cause I would never do such things...

September 7th was a beautiful day. I wanted to test out the new trailer that my grant money (hope, hope) was going to pay for. And I was begining to miss the time that would not come again; Reid and Anwyn were to start Kindergarten in just two days. In desperation I took them on a lovely and long bike ride along the riverbank. We talked about the wier, played some sliding games on a cool staircase and eventually made our way to the outdoor art gallery.

I hope to do it again as soon as I am able, but I sure hope to take a better camera! Well, it's better than no camera. Lets hear it for my trusty Sony Clie UX50.

And lets hear it for daycare providers...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Musical Tuesday

So, we are already ahead of schedule on our quest to watch the run of Firefly before the movie comes out at the end of the month. I took that as a cue to do something a bit different this week.

I was feeling guilty that I hadn't managed to go listen to Kyro at his doo a few weeks back. The least I could do is listen to some of what makes his world go round. What a treat! Kyro, that is some great stuff. I enjoyed them all quite well, but particularly "Stream of Consciousness". Please keep us informed of your next chance to perform. I will try a bit harder to attend.

After making Vin listen to the afore mentioned tracks, we spun a few old AMIGA tunes: Blood Money, Shadow of the Beast, and Cannon Fodder are among my favorites. They are .mod files and you will need an Amiga, or failing that, winamp, or something akin to listen to them. I showed him a few ancient family pics that I have been editing for our grandmother, including this great one of my Dad and his owl. Farley Mowat, eat your heart out! That lead to a discussion about vanity and peoples obsessions with photographs and a rant from Vin about the internet making things too easy for people. Like the Greeks of old, Vin yearned for Agon, or The Struggle, to make his life worth while.

Hot coffee was needed and after heading back upstairs, we watched a single episode of FF-- Ariel, before calling it an early night at a paltry 10:05pm. If you were here, I'm sure we would have stayed up much later and had a terrific conversation.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Summer is Dying Fast

Quite a few exciting things have been happening...

James and I, with the help of David and Matthew gutted Jim's PS2 in an attempt to add a mod-chip allowing him to play games of Asian origin. The theory sounded simple enough, but when it came time to do the soldering -- wow! We manged the 15 solders to the chip just fine, but on the motherboard was entirely different. I guess we needed specialized tools because the places we were expected to solder to were about 5 times smaller than I could imagine doing with our tools. We have enlisted help and I will let you know how it turns out.

I've been painting the trim on our house. Fans may notice that the "Bunisher", courtesey Brad Sawatzky, is helping out.Almost, but not quite, done. The rain has put a halt to production. Fortunately, I managed to get the front door done. I'm insanely pleased with it. Those of you who don't remember the boring and offensive original can be reminded here. I think the black and silver hammered finnish look smart and sexy. The Bunisher agrees.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Five Tuesdays...

Until Serenity opens. Fourteen episodes in the original one-season series (+ three on DVD that were never aired). If my math is any good, that means we have but to watch three episodes per Tuesday and pull an extended four-episode night twice. The episodes run about forty five minutes each -- SHAZAM! Two point two five hrs per night (on the three ep nights). A small price to pay for being all primed and ready to go on the thirtieth.River says "Move It or I'll turn your brain to jelly".


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

XXX-hibitionism (not that kind!)

Took the kids to the exhibition on the weekend. $10 to ride to their hearts desire. They stayed for 8hrs! We pooped out after 5, but thank my lucky stars for aunts, visiting and otherwise. Anyway, you know all about it, but here are some pics for your e-wallet.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Ottablog - Part the third

Once we got to Lee and Sandy's it was more relaxing. The first thing upon pulling into the driveway, Lee was waiting there for us claiming he was just out for a stroll in the dark. Not at all excited to see us. We disembarked and were greeted by a little toad who was hopping through the nearby flower bed. We thanked him for his welcome by picking him up and terrorizing him as he was passed from hand to hand to hand. We finally released the exhausted amphibian and went up to bed.

I will not distinguish the individual days that we stayed in Ottawa. They were slow paced, relaxed and fun. A typical day was like this...

Leora and Anwyn were too hot, too scared, or too awake to sleep well. They got up several times each in the night, making me a bit grumpy and leaving me just as tired as all the driving had already made me. The girls got up at about 6am local time and woke everyone but me. I was lucky enough to sleep in until 8:30 or 9am!

By the time I got up, Leora would have already been feeding the Coy out in the pond for an hour or so. This she did every day for several hours or more in 30 degree heat with no shade. It was by far her favorite activity. The fish would take food right from her hands or nibble it from between her toes.

Anwyn preferred the Jacuzzi. She would already be shriveled and pruney before I was even awake. The kitchen has windows looking onto the jacuzzi and so it generally fell to grandma to keep an eye on her while she was in there. It is a good thing that Sandy loves to be in her kitchen sooo much. If Anwyn was out of the water for more than an hour she was asking to be back in.

When I did drag my sorry butt out of the guest room, Sandy made me coffee in her Tim Horton's coffee maker. Our coffee tastes seem to be similar and we were able to have much bonding on the subject. After seeing Anwyn's latest Jacuzzi flip, spin, or breath holding maneuver, and discussing which of Leora's fish had been eating the most and from which of her appendages, we would often go for a group walk somewhere in the neighbourhood.

One such memorable trip was out to what everyone calls "The Old House", which is as it may sound, old. Greta had a professor date some of the pottery fragments at about 1890. It has trees growing inside and virtually no remaining roof. Old.

Other things to note:
--Lee and I saw an exellent exhibit on Pompeii and Vesuvius.
--the girls loved playing with the doll house
--we visited IKEA and Lee Valley
--we went to the Canadian Museum of Man and Nature
--Lee gave the girls the riding mower ride of their lives
--Grandpa and girls rescued (at least temporarily) the lives of nearly a hundred little fish.

The return trip was relatively nondescript. We drove until we could drive no more and then slept for an hour or so in the van. We did stop in Thunder Bay again for me to sleep. The rest of the family went to Old Fort William. I missed going, but the sleep and quite were good.

It is hard to express how wonderful it was to be back in Saskatchewan. There is so much sky here. The roads are straight (and smoother by compare than you might think). The air smells nicer and doesn't stick to you all day and night. In short, it really is home.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Ottablog-part the second

The OPP (the Ontario analogue to the RCMP) are omnipresent. During this day of driving, I spotted no less than 15 of their cruisers on the highway--AND they have been busy. Many empty cars line the ditches, attesting to what must be the many DUI's over the long weekend. Combine that with the stupidly low speedlimit on the highways (70-90kmph) and it makes for one long day of driving. We anticipated getting to Lee and Sandy's around 7pm local time, but bad news for us, because we found about 3hrs of extra highway somewhere. Speed limits may have had an impact as well as Anwyn's funnel-like digestive tract. During parts of the day, we were compelled to stop more than hourly!
Anyway it was close to 10pm when we arrived at 8161 fallowfield road (googlemaps). Their house is actually right above the google marker and the dark mark beside the house is Sandy's very large and beautiful pond. I was very tired and I'm not sure I've ever felt more glad to be at a journey's end (or middle if you want to quibble).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

OttaBlog-part the first

It has been a busy few days on the highway. With only minor bathroom breaks, we made it all the way to the Manitoba boarder. We had a picnic lunch at the tourism center with a very large bull and a curious buzzing sound, which turned out to be a miniature motorcycle.

We drove most of the way to Winnipeg, staying at a very well maintained campground called Rivers. Due to the time change, the girls missed playing mini-golf, but we did have a terrific marshmallow roast before the mosquitoes chased us to our tent.

In the morning we drove speedy-quick into Winnipeg and checked out the Manitoba Museum. It was nice. The kids really enjoyed it, but in the end it was like any other museum of man and nature, only with a prairie slant. The one exception to this was the Nonsuch. Describing it would be a sham, but fortunately, I have pictures.

Vin must see. We ate another great cooler lunch and made for Lake Superior. We reached Thunder Bay late in the day (11:30 pm local) and stayed with Wendy’s Aunt Linda and Uncle Allan.

I awoke in the morning to fresh coffee (it was flavoured coffee, but coffee none-the-less), and warm raspberry muffins. Hard to complain about the service. I got rid of my campfire smell and we all went to a nearby farm with a playground and some historical fur-trade paraphernalia. It was fast, fun and free, though nothing like Old Fort William (‘cept the fun part) which we have seen on many previous occasions. We had supper at Aunty J’s with the whole T-bay crew, Huey even showed up late in the day after a great car show a few hours out of town.

We slept at Linda’s again and left early on Sunday morning. What can you say about the North shore of Lake Superior, but “wow!” It is stunning. Expansive water vistaing everywhere and craggy islands lolling about in the water waiting to jut their stuff for the RV masses. [Picture courtesy of Skara Brae Bed and Breakfast in Grand Marais, MN] Sunday we played mini-golf at a place that sold amazing potato wedges, though the mini-golf was substandard. It rained off and on all day long and we were conflicted about whether to stay dry in a hotel in Sudbury or risk a wet departure after camping. In the end we camped at a place called Pancake Bay.

It was a huge oval loop with 480 (or so) campsites! Yikes. (for the obsessive or those interested in the campground, you can click on the image map to find our site with description. I think we were in 462) Despite the numbers, it was quite private. Fortune smiled upon us and it did not rain, nor did mosquitoes seem to inhabit this mysterious bay.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Ever used one of the vacuum cleaners at a car-wash? Probably... Do you recall the sorry shit that gets sucked up from your floor, change holder and in the cracks of the seats. Now multiply by about 250 and add a bunch of muddy, tar-water with a hint of gasoline. I got to play in that today. I took the girls to the car-wash and sucked up a piece from my spiffy lock-picking set as it lay on the floor in the back of my Honda. Arrrrggggghhhhh! The crud in that vacuum repository was FOUL. It stank like the Beer-pissed-on-floor from a senior prom bathroom ball.

To top it off, I never did find the missing tool I was looking for. But ahhh, the memories.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Puerto Rico

Kyro gets honors for arriving at my house first last night. Irish arrived second, followed by Rainswept and finally Handwing. Since he brought the game, we'll say we saved the best for last.

Peurto Rico was our weapon of choice. This one, not this one. (what a crappy website. I think someone should offer their services...) Apparently, as we have noticed before, it is also available for online play. Rainy and I tied in our efforts to bludgeon the rest of the fervent settlers.

I think I made no less than 6 Bodums of Dark Sumatra-- a house record I'm sure. My regrets go out to Kyro's missus (does she have a handle?), who was forgotten when we broke after midnight and did not receive her strawberry pie.
If you hurry by this morning, you could snag one of the six remaining pieces...

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Too much of a good thing?

At the risk of seeming obsessed I thought I should include a few of the pictures from my show. It consumed a huge amount of my time and it requires some documentation and a bit of a denoument.

It has been said that I was lucky enough to have had the best costume in the show. I can't say as I disagree. It was a real pleasure to wear all of it, especially the sword (which was quite real). I don't miss the huge hoop earing, however. My ear was in terrible pain by the end of the run. I'm happy to say that it has now mostly recovered.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

New Beginnings

What a great event at my place last night. QTs have essentially been off-line during my tenure as Pirate King, but last night was a great way to reboot the tradition.

In attendance: Mik, Brad, Geof, James and (much later) Vin

You can't go wrong starting out with some fresh brew followed by a surprise game of 4-player TROG.

<-------- We saw this quite a few times, I believe :)

What a blast that was. Geof observed that Enter Sandman should have been playing in the background. It was a great taste of 1991.

Moving upstairs we tried out Jim's board-game Blokus (which you can play free online). It is a terrific little game. Easy to learn, fast to play, and simple to throw insults during play -- OK, that's any game!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Yo Ho!

A few things have fallen by the wayside lately. I can't find the post where I mentioned it, but I guess that is just as well. I have started drinking coffee alone again. I plan to cease once the play is done, but for now, I am just missing too much sleep. And of course my once-a-week posts are looking more like once-a-month. Screw 'em if they can't take a joke. I have just been way too busy. Let's have a look, shall we...

And let's remember that today I actually have time to post to this blog (a huge luxury in my mind).

Last night, I finished rehearsal at 11pm and was able to sleep by midnight. Woke at 7am and had breakfast with the family. As a special treat, Wendy made me breakfast (normally it is my job). Today I work from 9:15 until 4:30. Leora has a school BBQ starting at 5pm and then a choir performance at 7pm (the latter I will have to miss). As luck would have it I get to forgo my 6pm call time and instead will show up at 7pm and sing and dance for 3-4hrs. I may get to bed by 11 tonight.

Does this all sound a bit crazy for a slow day? Well, it's a hell of a lot of fun, but I am exhausted. My biggest regret so far? Anwyn rode solo on her two-wheeler for the first time yesterday evening while I was out. Sigh! At least she showed me this morning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Perhaps I mean my life. Maybe. Or it might just be library books, videos, blogging, and quality time with my wife. The musical has a way of eating all my spare time.

The problem is the singing, or rather, my singing. It is a real challenge for me. I'm used to doing things that I am already good enough at to get by. But for this music, that is definitely not the case. So I spend as much of my spare time as possible trying to get all the notes right. It is pretty hard when you can't read music and there is no melody to follow. I'm getting better. Last night our musical director, Dr. David Kaplan, did his best to reassure me that it was 'all a process' and that I was getting the job done.

On the flip, as I have always found, it is terrific to work with so many young, talented, or (my favorite) young AND talented people. I can come home from a rehearsal at 10pm, exhausted, and still not be able to sleep for an hour or two because I am so full of adrenaline.

Bad news for Vin and James... I said I would likely be in for this QT, but alas, it cannot be. I shall have to settle for offering my corpse up for slaughter on Saturday. And Vin, I'll see you at the ACC on Thursday, I hope.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

(Full) House of Leaves

Present... Geof, Mike, Vin, James
Regrets... Dave

What a glorious sight; four hulking copies of House of Leaves, three caffinated beverages, two pirate shirts and... (you know the rest, sing along).

Vin presented his fully fleshed theory on the central truth behind the characters in the book. No surprises, but his evidence was very well supported and will make a nice way to try and get a little extra mileage out of some of the (not so) minor characters. In deference to James, I will not mention some of the other things that were discussed.

To hell with it. James, spoiler alert...
Vin contends that everything comes down to the relationsip between Truant and his mother.. The realities of all the other characters are called into question in this vision. They can all be generalized into a formula where one person represents Truant (or an aspect of) and another, Pelafina. It all works rather smartly . Especially when looking at the Minotaur as Pelafina and Truant as Theseus.. We have not yet heard what his exact analysis of this relatioship is, but when we do, I' m sure that Freud would be proud.

An excellent analysis of the story, but doesnt touch on what I see as the main idea within the book (which I am sure it could by the way). Geof points to the descriptions of the house showing it to be a labyrinth, through which twists and turns there is no escape. Analysis is futile because the truth is deliberatly and indelibly smeared beyond recognition. I guess that is almost right. To be fair, Geof is only a short way into the book after a multi-year sabatical with no nourishing discussion. Go Geof!

Simplicity. The big joke of House of Leaves. The House, whatever it may be or represent, cannot be navigated on its own convoluted terms. Only by rejecting the complex and obfuscating can you escape, which is exactly what both Navy and Karen manage to do in the end. It also explains the non-effect on the cat and dog from earlier.

One of the big questions for me is what about Tom and Lude? How do they fit into any of these ideas? What is their role in the house in the grandest sense? Twins literally and figuratively to Nav and Truant. So what?


Now the bad news. I am almost certainly out for the QT duration until at least July. Having a Tuesday committment between Monday and Wednesday evening rehersals can no longer work for me and I have no plans to reschedule the day. I will try and make most of Saturday gaming, however, so I don't quite plan to dissappear entirely...yet

We should really have a chat about Mother's Day plans.

Friday, April 22, 2005

House of Leaves (1st Round)

First off, I have to publicly pity all persons who were not present at this discussion. If you were in the hospital, we could have brought the conversation to you. When we all finish the book, don't let yourself be let out of the second installment of flavoured milk and double-shot Americano's.

Going into The Roastery, I already knew that Danielewski was a brilliant writer. In the midst of our discussion I was struck with the depth of his skill and genius. Were the book not finite, I would be tempted into saying his genius was indeed without limit.

I'm not really sure how to proceed with this post. I don't want to make it a catalogue of all the cool things that we discussed, or how we sat there for several hours pouring over the two copies of the book and kept finding new things that we had missed in the first or second readings. What I want to do is make sure that everyone gets out of the house next week so that we are all there the next time. I'm sure that the extra brain (sic) will only make things even more grand than they were.

To James, Dave and Me...
Let us finish this thing quickly. Dave will be leaving town before too long and I would dearly love to have another installment of discussion around this book before he (house of) leaves.

Riddle your copy with sticky notes and bring it to the next QT.

When new copies arrive in the store, you must alert me immediately!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fair Use and other crazy notions...

QT was full of both surprise and stimulating conversation. The recent TV scheduling shift thanks to the SK nemesis D.S.T. has done Tuesday evenings a favour. Vin can come out and play a bit earlier.*

After picking up a mint used copy of Eggers' AHWoSG at Westgate for $12.50, Vin and I met James at Joe Bean on 8th. They have a wonderous beverage there known as the red-eye. A double shot of espresso calmed to a mere state of nervous fury by about 10 oz of medium or dark roast coffee.*

Conversation centered on Jim's dilemma as a band teacher. To copy or not to copy. Or rather, how to not copy and still manage to be a teacher, or alternately, how to copy and have it be legal. I doubt any of us has put in the thought on this idea that is one of the hallmarks of Lawrence Lessig. One of his books, Free Culture is available for free download. Anyway, it's there, so I suggest you read it.

A more general link that James might be intersted in.

*and there was great rejoicing .

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Real Thing

Not Coca-Cola, of course, but rather the Faith No More variant. I'm sitting here at nap time, avoiding my taxes and ripping the songs from a cassette tape that I found in my closet. Damn fine stuff. One of only a few albums to really take me all the way back to the begining and still not entice me to skip a single song.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I am the Pirate King

After a teriffic audition, I have officially been cast as The Pirate King in GIlbert and sullivan's Pirates of Penzance Still have some scheduling to discuss with the director before I can be full steam ahead on this one, but it is looking good.

QT was quiet last eve. James and I played a magnetic varient of connect-4. The board has randomizable magnets beneath each of the board squares and the player pieces also contain magnets which flip-flop depending on their placement on the board.

Vin arrived and, as if by magic, a variety of teas (spicey and not so) were served... following which,we moved to Magettigan's for beverages, desserts and wireless internet madness. Conversation fluctuated between the PSP and roleplaying.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Too much driving

kudos to the Dr. for calling me up. I celebrate the first unsolicited call from you in recent memory! We met at the roastery on Broadway. Topics for discussion included: what to do with a blog, and the nature (or lack of) intelligence.

keep your fingers crossed for Dave's take on intelligence on his blog.

I shared my feelings about House of Leaves. Specifically, that it has been at least as much fun to describe my reading of it as it is to actually read.

James is still sick,but was good enough to call me at the Roastery and invite me over for a brief chat. Possible highlights... seeing Matthew's TMNT Lego and disussing the difficulty in watching your children do something you deem as incorrect.

Drove to vin's and had popcorn while watching THE APPRENTICE. I hope and pray that the 2-hr episodes of AMAZING RACE will end for a while.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

CO Posted by Hello
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Vin's apartment was sporting a fire upon my arrival for our continuing QT ritual. This particular log was a 'crackler' which came equipped with sounds approximating real wood (tip of the hat). As encouragement to those of you who feel disinclined to acquiesce to our requests to appear, Vin suggests that the next one he buys will be a 'java log'. Woe to he that misses out.

Chantelle thinks that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clayis the cat's ass, so to speak. Vin has been finnished it for several days already and has passed it onto her. That was the most memorable thing that came from QT last night I am gratified that I remembered to bring the book to QE13 at all. I was in real dispair regarding a Quest book and it was only a last moment remembrance that saw its inclusion at all. Shame on me. I think as pennance, I SHOULD read it again. Especially since we tried to have a conversation about it and my memories of the book were old enough that I was flailing just to remember the order of the plot.

In contrast to the reading flurry in Vin's appartment, I am only a handfull of pages into House of Leaves (for anyone who hasn't read the book yet, I can definitely say "This is not for you." But, if you are in a rush to read your own copy, perhaps this is). It is tres enjoyable, but I just haven't made the time to become fully engrossed.

As you may all remember, no one provided any tangible goals for the comming year. I plan to publish mine here for the edification of all. As per our discussion of Q13, the group would perhaps wonder why? Do I do it in order to seek your approval? Am I desperate to succeed and require the motivation of fear that others will know of my failure? I'm afraid that I say 'NO' to both counts. Both of those items were discussed, but a third was ignored or undiscovered. I wish to both encourage you, and share my success and/or failure. I don't need to tell anyone that it is a short conversation when you can only share your successes. Sometimes they seem way too far and few between. Naturally, I hope to have a winning record. But, if I have to I will also revel (with you, I hope) in my humanity as I stumble.

I'm not holding myself to the canonical three. Instead, I hope to make a continued effort to add things to the list of ways that I want to change--both in ways I'm sure to manage and ones that seem destined for failure.

First, and easiest to verify... I will update this blog once a week, minimum. I hope for more, but given my track record (see my 1st and 2nd posts), I will remain cautious.

Second, I shall drink no coffee but that I have a partner to share with. I will honour the spirit of the beans which, you will notice, are always at their best in congregation. The only exception that I will beg is during long driving sessions that stretch into the night.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Vin has been looking to change up his coffee experience. Always a good thing. I have a mortar and pestle (like this only green). Dave had time to sit and watch. Shazam in about 5 minutes I had ground up 8 beans into fine powder and added the boiling water right to the mortar. Amazing. And like most other things worth doing, the work is it's own reward. It was especially nice that not only did I know exactly how many beans it took to make a good cup, but I had consumed the entire bean. None of this filtering and discarding the mangled carcass to rot.

After trying his hand at grinding, Vin suggested that maybe there were more elegant ways to do it. As per our new year's discussion, I believe it is safe to say that we should substitute 'easier' for 'more elegant.' I suppose he either meant this , this, or this.