Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Qe18 - Coffee event

I told you I was somewhat miserable this week. One of the reasons being that I had accepted a mission last QNY and as of 9pm on the 16th, I had not completed it. I was certain that I didn't have the time or resources to manage the job. Another failed project to add to the list. Not really what I was hoping for. I think I'm growing a beard to compensate for my failures as a person.

Fortunately I have a Quest cheering section all for my very own. Wen talked me through some ideas and, eventually, I became convinced that there was still time to do something. The something that I am talking about was the box/chest that I was elected to manufacture last year in the hopes of storing a "Quest Fund" of sorts. My revised plan was to spend all day on the 17th purchasing materials and constructing this receptacle. Word must have been leaked to my enemies, because a virus with an agenda (perhaps doing the bidding of old "Rust") infected Leora as she slept soundly two days ago. That made it considerably more difficult to accomplish my goal. In the end, however, I was successful.

I completed construction at 7pm and promptly headed for the Tim's on Cumberland and 8th. I threw down my coffee credit card and the rest of the night was 'on me.' The usual people were there. Vin and the Dr had eaten supper there and Geof showed up sometime between 6 & 7pm. Sadly, I missed seeing Jan and 'Telle, as they were only there for a short time. James taught a late music lesson, arriving shortly after 8pm. The conversation ranged from current local and national events to our picks for greatest sci-fi movies of all time. I threw in my latest ruminations about how to continue to make questing relevant to our present, and, of course, we always present our favourite books of the year. for each other to read.
I find it a useful exercise. Not only do I get to read good books that have been vetted by people I respect, but it ensures a common experience -- valuable when we see so little of each other during the year.

James recorded some of our conversation on his mini-disk. Hopefully, there will be a link to add to this section if and when he posts his material. Another contribution he often makes to the celebration is to bring some interesting candy offering. This year his selection was particularly inspired.

The conversation was wide-ranging and will not be in any sense transcribed here. Although, I think there was one girl taking notes of our discussion. You'd have to contact her directly... My only disappointments were that we didn't discuss last years books and the dubious tradition of making new-year's resolutions was wholly abandoned by all. Considering the Dr's admission that last year he swore off tobacco and is currently at 360 days of abstinence, I owe it to him to resolve... something. That will have to wait or I will never make this post.

At the end of the night, Vin elected to be the first of us to take the box home for the year. It will be his responsibility to guard its treasures and to further customize its appearance.
I took several more pictures during the evening. The curious or bored may click on the picture below to see (or download) the Picassa album.
Qe18 - Full album HERE

Monday, March 17, 2008

QE18

That's right. It is once again Quest New Year.

For any requiring some historical info... here are my last 3 years posts:
But these posts are hardly Questing in themselves. They do, however, represent to a degree what my mental space is like during this spring-time of change, challenge and renewal.

Last night I was up with a serious case of angst-induced insomnia. I have been concerned all this week that my old nemesis, Rust, was up to his deleterious ways. I'm finding it hard to push myself. To drive boldly ahead. Or rather, I'm not sure what those things are anymore.

Winter is certainly playing a part, as it always does. But there may be more here... I've been Questing since my first year in university. QE1, for me, was March 17th, 1991. I draw a large part of my Quest 'mojo' from those formative years. The problem is that those years were about becoming an adult, not just nominally, but literally. Transitioning to adulthood without losing sense of who I was or what I wanted to become. Questing in the early days was an unquenchable thirst. It was adversity and learning. It was about freedom of choice.

I'm 36 now. I have so much of what I want. My day-to-day life is exceedingly free. I have created the family of my dreams and I have the time and ability to pursue any interest that strikes me. The challenge has increasingly become to describe to myself in what ways can my Quest continue so that I can continue to strive for it. Because without the struggle I feel weak.

I can't continue to fight dragons like when I was 10. I can't surf on the city bus. I can't wear my cloak and army boots to class just to make a point. O.K., I could but it would be a waste of time. They all served their purpose, but they are done and put to rest. To add to what I have learned. To find new ground -- not just a new skill, but a new part of me.

Not much to live up to... but, that's what today is for.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

@#$%ing Fathers

Sister moon will be my guide
In your blue blue shadows I would hide
All good people asleep tonight
I'm all by myself in your silver light
I would gaze at your face the whole night through
I'd go out of my mind but for you

Lying in a mother's arms
The primal root of a woman's charms
I'm a stranger to the sun
My eyes are too weak
How cold is a heart
When it's warmth that he seeks?
You watch every night, you don't care what
I do
I'd go out of my mind, but for you
I'd go out of my mind, but for you

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun
My hunger for her explains everything I've done
To howl at the moon the whole night through
And they really don't care if I do
I'd go out of my mind, but for you

Sister Moon

-Sting-


The recent lunar eclipse was on a Wednesday. What fortune for me and what a night. I got lousy pictures with my camera, but this is pretty much exactly what it looked like.

Kyro invited the Diakuw boys out to his ranch to watch the Blu-Ray DVD of Bladerunner - The Final Cut. The digitally remastered footage was stunning. Close to the 42" screen, in 1080p resolution, it looked so much sharper than I had ever imagined. As we watched Deckard,-- a goddamn one man slaughterhouse -- inside, outside the Earth's shadow slowly vivisected the Moon for our sinister pleasures. We took periodic breaks to revel in our time and watch the death and rebirth of our silent sister.

Watching all the carnage on Kyro's big screen and on the even bigger one outside made me a little twitchy. Nothing that a little 4-player Ghost Recon on the PS3 couldn't cure. We played for an hour -- handily dispatching the vile terrorists and completing our objectives to finish the mission. Nothing that the god of Bio-mechanics wouldn't let us into heaven for.

Weary and sated, I stepped outside. Midnight was sliding past, but the harbinger of this new day would not be the sad and pale Sun that has been skulking, barely above the horizon for the past months, but rather her Nocturnal Other. Furious at being sullied by the Earth, she seemed determined to reclaim her purity. The Moon was BLAZING and full. Stronger than any recollection of evening adventures, her brightness cast striking shadows across the sparkling snow.

If you think my language is too strong or somehow ridiculously romantic... I forgive you. And to those whose eyes shared with mine on that night... Hail! Hail! Hail!

Info Dump

My sister-in-law, Teela, came to visit recently and with her came a marvelous young child. You will all be jealous to know that his name is Merlin! If you can't make up your own name, at least use one with a bit of flash. Anyway, it was a terrific visit. Merlin is nearly 8 months and loves to wake up early in the morning. Since he was visiting over reading week (when we might have been tempted to sleep in), it was kind of him to make sure that no one in our house frittered away a moment of the day. Merlin's favorite activities seem to include eating when someone other than his mother is feeding him and sleeping when someone other than his mother is holding him. If he had one wish it would be for world peace (and he looks dynamite in a one piece swimsuit, too).

During an overlapping interval, Greta came to visit along with her new boyfriend, Anthony. They are buying a house together, but it's way too early to talk about marriage. With all four of the sisters in town, it was very loud. Did I mention that it was my week off?

Anthony was kind enough to bring a couple of oak practice swords and teach me the most rudimentary basics of Iaido (wikipedia), which is all about the drawing of the sword. Sadly I was too enthralled to think of getting some pictures. We didn't really have enough warm weather to spend much time on it, but I hope he will bring his weapons again in the summer months.

On the most beautiful of days we had planned a skiing trip. I have never been downhill skiing before and it was quite a thrilling experience. The Jr Questers were quite timid at first, but soon were whizzing down the slopes of Table Mountain at top speeds.
Click to see all 20 pictures
And here is a bit of video commemorating the event...



In other news, Leora and I are proud to have been cast in Saskatoon Summer Players production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. Leora asks me nearly everyday when our first rehearsal will be. It is still a couple off weeks off, I suspect. I have been cast in a couple of supporting roles (not sure how involved they are yet) and Leora will play a young girl as well as a mouse. We will be performing in the new Persephone Theatre starting at the end of June, and no, just because we are in such a great theatre does not mean we get paid ( I've fielded the question several times already).

And that's all I have to say about that!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cosy Corner

Those of you who know me may know that I rarely take an escalator. What can I say? Today I was weak. I had a date with the Cosy Corner and I was excited to get there ASAP. Let this be a lesson to you all. "Preventative Maintenance" sure is an uncommonly apt name for it!Finally, there was the corner, beckoning to me. I ran with arms outstretched, despite the odd looks from passing students.

The years had not been kind. While my memories of it remain bright and clear, age and disuse had caused a pallor to descend on the place. The sound of my boots echoed a dull thud as I inspected the area.

At least the fire escape was as I remembered it. Alas the door had cobwebs stretching across the threshold. I reverently stroked them aside as I recalled many hasty exits, vaulting me from darkness to sunlight.

I looked around and was unable to find a place to sit -- save the stairs and even then , the angle was all wrong -- the air not quite right...

Just then, I was struck with a solution to my problem.
Dusty it was in that place and hot, but I felt a presence, something I have not felt since...

A familiar, nostalgic feeling washed over me. Leaping down, I dusted off my filth covered blacks, grabbed my coat and bag and ran up the stairs. Once again, I wouldn't be going to class today.

It is a rare day when I do something new on campus. I thought I had done all the things there that I wanted to do at least once.

The snow was fresh and even and the students were avoiding the larger patches with strange reverence. The pure white obviously contrasting with the bile resting heavy on their melancholy spirits. Then I made my mark. Already indelibly woven in the unlit spaces of my gray-matter, now for all to read -- to take from it what they would.

Flush with success, I looked for a way to record the event. A rusting fire escape caught my attention. One that I had always by-passed as being too visible to be of use -- especially in the middle of the day on a crowded campus. This day it was cold and most students were lounging inside during their midday torpor. Seizing the moment and the rungs, I clambered up three short and unsteady ladders until I had achieved the summit.