Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's just my luck...

Sometimes I think I have a special kind of luck. It's not bad luck, in that I haven't been diagnosed with multiple terminal diseases, things don't usually fall on me (although there was one bucket of sand), and I haven't lost any limbs in freak accidents. However, it's not good luck either. I'm pretty sure I'm not destined to be a lottery winner or the inheritor of a large family fortune. But I do have some kind of luck. For example, I've had two computers, both of which have ended up getting wet. My current computer, which I have nick named "ol shitty," still works, but just barely. Neither disc drive is operational so playing cds/adding new software/reformatting is no longer an option. My first computer got wet when the place I lived in burned down. Well, not exactly. This is where my special luck comes in. I lived in the basement of a townhouse that was in a row of attached houses. A fire broke out a few houses down and totally wiped out the block of houses (bad luck). No one was hurt (good luck). My basement apartment didn't actually burn (also good luck). But the water from the fire hoses, combined with suet and ash ruined everything anyway (not so great). Oh and to add insult, the fire crew thought they had stopped the fire well before it was actually out. They put away their hoses and were all packed up (I think some had even gone) before they realized the fire had spread and was, by the time they realized it, unstoppable.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Your Grandma she don't understand

Well, it's been about a month and half since my last post. There are three reasons for this.

  1. I am busy.
  2. I am lazy.
  3. Sometimes I do other things in my free time.

In Jasper, this summer, I had so much free time that I could do all kinds of other things and still write an up date in the old blog. I can only imagine what my grandmother and aunt must have thought me - I was either at work, on the computer, or reading. Hey I'm cool. I did actually develop a pretty good relationship with my aunt's dog, Lucky. He's a border collie, and the type of dog I have decided I will get, when I can get a dog.

But back in Halifax things are less dull. I am currently enrolled in an education programme to become a high school social studies/english teacher. The programme is pretty intense. It's not that the work is difficult, or marked with high standards (just doing the work garauntees an A). The problem is the amount of work and the group work (I loath group work).

Capital M is currently listening to 'combat baby' by Metric. If anyone wants to be both amazed and delighted with a truly great band, check them out. Here's a link to their website: Also, since I'm on the subject of good music, I feel I should bring up The Dance Hall Crashers. Marzipan introduced to me this band shortly before we started dating and my life has never been the same. Seriously, I sometimes think this must be how a born again Christian feels about God. DHC totally rocks. Part punk, part ska, all good. If I have a mission in life it's to spread the word of the Dance Hall Crashers...

Wow, I just reread the first paragraph and not only is it sad that Lucky (who really is a great dog) was my only friend in town, but it also didn't flow with the rest of the paragraph. And I'm going to be teaching English...

ps- I like it when kids call me Mr.V

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

silent night, deadly night?

I noticed this little oddity while I was waiting for the bus to go home from school. Most other sewer grates in this city say "Halifax Regional Municipality." This one reads like it will lead into your worst nightmare. You know how it goes - some college kids need a new place to party and one of them says "hey why not the sewers." The other four people (one hot, busty girl, one visible minority (male or female), one bookish type girl and one male jock) are reluctant at first but somehow agree that the sewer would be an awesome place to party it up (likewise their friendship is never explained either). They find this old sewer grate and proceed to remove it and then head on down to the space below armed with liquor and music. Little do they know that their libertine lifestyle is about to get them all killed, or all but one. Oh, and for added drama, maybe the sewer grate is made out of the metal from an electric chair. (Wow, I'm starting to scare myself a little here.)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Go Team!

I went and saw 'Just like Heaven' last night with Marika, or Marzipan. The movie was surprisingly bad. I thought the movie wasn't going to be good but was then further surprised at its complete lack of a) good acting b) story c) something resembling sense.
Run down of the plot - there's Reese, a ghost. Mark, a somewhat depressed guy. Depresso meets ghost, they argue, fall in love, plant a garden. I hope I haven't ruined anything for you if you wanted to see it.

(the author of this blog actually hasn't ruined anything, but is advising you not to see the movie)

just remember to breath

Unfortunately, someone took down my sign...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Life # 7

One year ago today I was hit by a taxi while walking across a parking lot. Fortunately the cab wasn't going too fast but it was going fast enough. It was dark and raining that night and it didn't help that I was wearing dark coloured clothes. Ironically, right before I was hit I was thinking of how to walk gracefully in the rain.
At first I had no idea what happened. One minute I was walking a long and then time stopped moving as it normally does, or at least my time did. My life became punctuated by three seemingly unrelated and inexplicable events: I felt an explosive pain in my left leg - my head hit something, or something hit my head (I didn't know which) - my body hit the ground.
Rain was pouring down, people were shouting and I heard someone's voice above the rest cry "somebody call an ambulance!" As I lay on my side I thought my leg was shattered, it felt that way. It took me longer then you'd think to realize that I had been hit by a car.
The fire department arrived first to the scene and I was strapped onto a spinal board. Prior to that a bunch of pedestrians stood around me and one guy, whose name I unfortunately can't remember, took off his shirt and held it to my head.
As I was loaded into the ambulance I got a brief look at the cab that had hit me. The windshield was smashed, presumably from my head.
I spent the rest of the night waiting in the emergency room. I wasn't hurt bad enough to receive immediate treatment. In the end I only needed stitches near my eye and I could have asked for crutches but I declined.
All in all, I got off pretty easy. I have a strong body, and healthy bones (thanks milk). But, my knee still hurts and I'm sometimes afraid that I'm developing a phobia when crossing streets. It's nothing serious but I sometimes I catch myself bracing for an impact on my left side.
I may be a man of low grade steel but I don't want to experience that again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Choose the highest bidder

Sweet Mother of God. I made it out, with most of my sanity intact. But I have been marked. My hair has changed from brown to more of a salt and pepper colouring, with an emphasis on the salt. I've been having dreams where the coordinator from last year gives me grief about how I ran things this year. Tara, I just wanted to 'go further.'
My body is no longer used to tempratures above 15 degrees with no humidity. It was a really nice summer in Jasper.
Anyway, Capital M, or Marzipan, and I are off to vacation on the Southern Shore of Nova Scotia.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Combat Baby

Are all families really psychotic? I hope so because I'd hate to think that mine is the exception to the rule.

Friday, August 12, 2005

It Falls Apart

Wow, what a shitty week. On Wednesday I found out that someone got ahold of my credit card # and was going to town buying all kinds of stuff. That's cool. It could have been a lot worse if the bank hand't thought something was fishy about my all of sudden out of control spending habits. I think the total amount was around $1000 in one day.
As well, a lot of kids have been really difficult this past week. And they haven't been really great in past weeks, so this is saying something. I had to tell one boy that he's not allowed to come next week. Two different parents have called me and said that their kids were not coming in because they had been bullied. I know that kids can be mean and that there are going to be hurt feelings but I cannot have parents calling and saying that their kids are afraid to come because of one boy. Naturally, the bully comes from a bad home and that's the only reason why I didn't kick him right out.
I've thought a lot about this issue. In the end I decided that whatever good influence the camp may have on this boy is too high a price to pay for the other kids, the staff and the programme's reputation. I had a big talk with him this afternoon and in the end he was pleading with me not to call his grandmother, he told me he'd do anything. All I wanted him to do was show some remorse for what he's done but I don't think it ever occurred to him. I heard this boy probably suffers from fetal alcohol syndrom. One of the symptoms is showing no regret or remorse. This kid's life isn't going to be easy.
Another highlite of the week was having one boy severely fracture his arm. He was running with a hockey stick and tripped over it. I actually didn't think it was broken, although I could tell he was in a lot of pain. However, it turns out he had to go to Edmonton (a four hour drive) and get pins put in his arm. I really do feel like things were kind of falling apart this week.
Anyway, I've whined enough for one night. Having this job hasn't turned off me working with kids (although when I'm teaching I think I'll always have some Tylonol on hand). Plus, being a highschool teacher means I won't be with the same bad kid all day every day. Instead, I'll have a bunch a bad kids interspersed throughout the day. At least I'll get a little variety.

Friday, August 05, 2005

I want it all

My friend Kristy came up this past weekend. We went for a super hike on Saturday. Just how super was it? Well, it was about 23 kms in length with a sizable part of that distance being spent walking up and down a mountain pass. We were trying to find a place called 'Mystery Lake.' At times there was no trail, just the occasional yellow reflector or a kairn. At one point we were even traversing a rock ledge with a river below, it was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the lake will stay a mystery as we decided it would be wise to turn around when we came across signs of a large predatory animal. We had to have been very close to the lake when we came upon an alpine meadow, which is prime grizzly country. Something big had laid down in some bushes and we later saw some very fresh carnivorous animal droppings. It was dissappointing to have to turn back but the hike was totally amazing.
The next day we hiked along a glacier and drank water that fell from its waterfalls. I only wish I had a picture because words can't do it justice.
All in all it was a really great weekend, except for camping in a parking lot. Good weekends out here and few and far between. The only other one was the Camp Chief Hector Reunion. More on that one later.
Oh, and on a further postive note, only 24 more days until I leave this place!

A mistake

After consulting the history books it would seem I have made an error. My post of Life #2 is actually supposed to be Life #4. For anyone that cares I'm currently working on a new post titled Life #3. Stay tuned to this blog site for more exciting developments.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Friends of P

Things I like:

  • Hanging out with Capital M
  • Ice Cream
  • Reading or listening to a good story
  • Lemons
  • Fresh pinapple
  • Sunny mornings
  • Afternoon naps on a cloudy day
  • Summer Camp memories
  • adventures
  • my personal bubble
  • Not running a summer day camp

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Alone in a crowd

Things I don't like:
  • Having something sticky on my fingers, hands, or body. Actually that's something I really, really don't like
  • People thinking I'm a computer guy. Yes, I could lose some weight and sure I sometimes check out - news for nerds- but I really don't know anything about computers, operating systems, or how to help the people in my office with their obscure computer problems
  • the word 'craft'
  • my old math teacher
  • most canadian-made movies and tv shows (Corner Gas, you will never train me to laugh with your music cues)
  • unanswered questions
  • complete darkness
  • most fish and fish flavoured products (chumsicles, anyone?)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

good luck kids

Here's a picture of some of the kids from the day camp I run. It looks like they're on a prison march.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

According to my wife...

While walking down the street today I saw a man wearing a shirt that said "according to my wife... I'm happy" Being that I don't have much going on any given day, and today being no exception, I had time to think about that shirt. Was it supposed to be funny? Is it some sort of inside joke, shared among the man, his wife and a few close family members and friends? If so, why wear a shirt about it? What exactly does the wife think the man is happy about? Is he supposed to be satisified with his life and place of employment? Is the shirt a not so subtle reminder that things could be worse? Or is the man so miserable in life that the shirt is supposed to tell the world he has an overbearing, domineering, ogre of a wife who dictates how he feels? If so, is wearing a shirt a good way to deal with a complex marital problem. I don't think so.
It's unfortunate the shirt was ever made. The man should have his credit card taken away and his spending habits monitered. His wife is either the butt of a cruel joke or some monster. Either way the couple has issues.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My day

So far today I've been puked on, ignored, frustrated, sworn at, and to top it off someone tried to kick me. His shoe flew off and hit my face instead. My job definitely doesn't pay enough.

A new beginning

I just saw Batman Begins. It was awesome.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Life in a Small Town

It is impossible to have any degree of anonimity in a small town. My mother, aunts and uncles all grew up here, and for the most part, I did too. I've been away for a long time, but not nearly long enough. People stop me on the street and say "You must be Annie's boy, you look just like her..." The conversation is already off to a bad start. I don't think I've actually scowled at anyone, yet. However, I have become really good at vaguely answering questions. A sample conversation would go something like this:
Irratating Person: ... you look just like her. Where have you been?"
Me: I've been out East
IP: Oh, where?
Me: Nova Scotia
IP: Really, where in Nova Scotia?
Me: Halifax
IP: Delicious, what have you been doing out there?
Me: Going to school
IP: In Halifax!?
Me: yeah
IP: What have you been studying...
The conversation can be as long or as short as the other person wants it to be. It's not that I refuse to answer their questions, I just don't give them much information. If they really want to be nosy they can ask away and slowly, they'll find out.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Life # 4

A lot of people who read this blog have been asking why I have titled it "the nine lives of Jesse V" It is not, as many of you have suggested, that I believe I'm a cat. Or that I thought I was a cat in previous life, or believe I will be one in a future life. So please, no more cat comments. I chose that title because there are periods when it has felt like my life has started again and also because there are times when I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have lived though something but yet here I sit, obviously still alive. So without further adieu, allow me to present "life # 4."
Before I begin this little tale, please know that I am not exagerating any of these events.
It was getting to be the end of my first year working at Camp Chief Hector. The days were getting shorter and the some of the leaves were already beginning to change colour. The tipis were usually pretty cold in the morning because the fires at night never lasted long enough, no matter how much wood was piled on.
I had a fantastic partner named Dave and 8 kids, one of whom, Andrew, had autism. I will never forget Andrew. He was almost as big as me and he was only 13 years old. The year before he actually knocked a counsellor unconscious after being squirted by a water gun. Andrew told the counsellor to stop spraying him and when he his words failed, a vitamin packed punch did the trick.
One of my most vivid memories of Andrew took place on a backpacking trip. He didn't like hiking. "Leave me here, I can hunt," Andrew would say when he grew tired of walking. But with some coaxing and by appealing to his imagination, Andrew would forget about foraging in the forest and join the rest of us. We slept under tarps that year and Andrew was quite cold so Dave lent him his Calgary Stampeeder's touque. It fit Dave but was way too small for Andrew's head. I'll never forget the following morning when I opened my eyes and saw Andrew, with his ill fitting hat, standing at the foot of where Dave and I were sleeping. He shouted 'Spoon!' and jumped, while still in his sleeping bag, between Dave and me in an effort to spoon between us. Life with Andrew was never dull.
One night during that two week session Dave was off and I was alone with the kids. We had booked the climbing wall and another staff member was supposed to be there to fill in for Dave. Unfortunately for me, he didn't show up. However, the climbing time was going really well. All of the kids went up the wall, even Andrew managed to go up a few feet and he didn't like heights. Things were going so well that I thought I would take a shot at climbing. In my time at camp I hadn't gone up and I knew this was going to be my last chance. I put on a harness and I assigned a boy named Colin (who I also won't forget) to be my belayer, the person responsible for protecting the climber from falling. There was a long rope attached to my harness that went to the top of the wall and back to Colin, his job was to keep the rope tight, that way if I slipped, I would just hang from the rope. I assigned Andrew the role of second belayer, a back up for the first person. This was an attempt to stop Andrew from wondering off somewhere since he was started to get bored.
At first everything was going great. I climbed up the top of the wall, I think it's around 30 feet, without any problems (I was on a fairly easy route). However, when I got to the top I started to get a bad feeling. I felt the tension of the rope and noticed it was a bit slack. I called down to Colin and asked him to tighten it up so I could start to repell down. After a few seconds the rope went tight and I took a leap of faith. I think I was only down about four feet when it happened. I heard a shout, the rope went loose and I started to fall. I remember hearing the sound of the rope whizzing through the it's metal loop up above me, I can remember seeing the individual brightly coloured footholds stand out in stark contrast against the rapidly moving pale grey wall, and I can definitely remember feeling like my stomache just moved positions in my body and was now residing about 20 centimetres higher.
I knew the landing was going hurt. But I was not expecting what actually happened. My feet hit the ground, my knees bent to a crouching position and that was it. No other part of my body touched the earth. I was breathing rapidly, almost uncontrollably, my arms were as stiff as boards and extended straight ahead of my body, and for some reason I kept bobbing up and down, like I was on a seesaw, while my lower legs remained locked in place. I became aware of shouting, and crying but for a while I was unable to move. When I could stand up I heard Andrew saying "someone get a gun and shoot me," Colin was holding his hands in pain and I had no choice but to forget my own incident and start getting things under control.
This is what happened. As I started to repell Andrew had grown tired of holding the rope and threw it at Colin. Colin's hand's instinctively went up to cover his face and he let go of his part of the rope and that's why I unexpectedly dropped. To his credit, Colin tried to grab the rope and his hands got burnt for his efforts. Both boys felt terrible and I did my best to let them know that it was okay, although at the time I was a little spacy. The rest of the kids treated me like I was Superman, that was cool.
I didn't really have a chance to think about that incident for a while. I'm not saying that it was a near death experience, but it was odd. I fell from a high height, I somehow landed on my feet and I didn't get hurt. I am not unbreakable but the kids sure thought I was.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What have I done?

In what seemed like a good idea at the time, I accepted a summer job in my old home town. Unfortunately, it was a terrible idea. I have only been here for six days but I'm already at a point where I loath my every waking moment. Whevever I make a mistake it can't just be a small one, oh no, it has to be something that I can really regret for months, even years after. Go me.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Q: Would you rather live with some one who smelled like ass, or some one who moaned all the time?
Your old pal,
Squiggely Pete

A: Well Sqiggley, you may not know this but I once had an unnerving experience with a moaner. I went to visit a friend in Victoria and had to stay at her home while she went to work one evening. Notice how I didn't say "her home alone." She had roommates and one of those roommates had a severe emotional problem. The story goes something like this...
I was sitting in my friend's bedroom, reading a book, when I heard someone enter the home. It crossed my mind that I could go and say hi, but I could also scare the hell out of some poor girl coming home from work and finding a strange man therein. So I continued to read and all was well. Eventually I heard the water running for the bath (an important side bar, the walls of the house must have been very thin) in due course the water stopped and the bather proceded to enjoy a bath. Actually, enjoy is the wrong word. There is no word to explain what happened next. I started to hear this aweful noise, it was the most miserable, unhappy sound I think I've ever heard. It was also a marvel of human ability. I don't think I ever heard this woman take a breath, she just kept moaning. This lasted for well over an hour. Every now and then she ran the water, presumably to warm the bath. I honestly thought she was killing herself, her moans went from low, to very low, to high, with the occassion sob thrown in, and every now her hand slapped the water (or at least that's what it sounded like). I was racked with indecission. Part of me really wanted to go and see if she was okay, I was imagining all kinds of scenerios in which this girl died and I could have done something, but didn't. On the other hand, I didn't want to disturb her because she was obviously having a very personal moment, and she didn't know I was there. Pete, believe me when I say that angles singing couldn't have sounded as wonderful as sound of the water being drained from the tub. The moaning stopped, and, for the time being, this girl was okay. The next morning was kind of fun. Both of my friend's roommates were getting breakfast and I was trying to figure out which one was holding on to life by the thinnest of threads, and you know what Squiggs, I had no idea. So in answer to your question, I don't want to live with someone who moans, or stinks.

The Naturewitch

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

On being Super...

I used to wear 'casual crime fighting gloves.' They would have been the height of fashion in the '80s, with their aqua colouring, missing finger tips and glam rock style. But, it was the late ninties and I felt the world needed something daring, something that said "I'm going to take out petty thugs and small crime syndicates." When I put on those gloves, people treated me differently. They would give me a little more space on the sidewalk, and on numerous occassions I noticed peole noticing me. Sometimes someone would smile or laugh... Yep, those were the days.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

And a Groundhog will lead them...

I went out last night with Capital M to see Jill Barber playing at the Khyber. She's a singer songwriter with a repertoire of about 10 songs. But, they're good songs, and if anyone is interested in hearing a mellow, acoustic guitar playin' gal, her website is The Khyber is an interesting venue, it attracts a distinctive crowd (which I am not part of) and I get the feeling when I'm there that everyone knows everyone else. It's a pretty artsy place, so artsy in fact that one guy was wearing a tee-shirt that said "art slut" on the front. I get the feeling that shirt just wouldn't fly at most other bars and a severe beating may occur if the wearer wasn't careful. But not so at the Khyber. What other establishment would use ironing boards as tables and have old doors mounted high up on the walls? Actually, now the walls are painted red and the ironing boards and doors are gone but it's still a pretty neat place.
I'll sign this off with a segment called "things I don't like." I don't consider myself to be a very negative person but everynow and then something happens that annoys me, here's a fairly recent one:
Groundhog day. It should be banned. I think people must have been so utterly bored and mentally unstable after several harsh months of winter that they actually believed a groundhog would tell them how much longer winter would last. I would like to believe that now people have enough common sense to know that winter will not be cut short by six weeks, regardless of what a borrowing rodent sees. Moreover, if I were a groundhog (and I'm glad I'm not) if I came out of my den after a long winter's sleep and the first thing I saw was a big crowd of people, tv cameras and various hosts of 'breakfast television,' it wouldn't be my shadow that would make me retreat to my den.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Let me Lose so Beautifully...

It's currently 5:49 in the A.M. I am mostly awake, sitting in the front office of the building that has become my home for just over four years. How can I possibly begin to describe this place? Physically, it's like a great big concrete tower, it stretches 33 stories into the air and quite a few stories beneath the ground. I live on the 32nd floor, I usually refer to it, on a good day, as my home amongst the clouds. Sometimes, my room is almost like a ride in a theme park. When the wind blows fiercely the whole building rocks back and forth in a gentle cradle like fashion. The constant change in air pressure makes the walls creak and groan with an unsettling regularity. If I'm lucky and the wind blows from the right direction and with enough force, it easily opens the windows to my room. However, at times like that the wind rarely travels alone and it's not uncommon for a variety of Nature's elements to come in through the newly opened window. Consequently, not only does it sound like a portal to hell has suddenly opened (this usually happens when I'm asleep and shaves 1-2 years off my life expectancy) but I can also expect to find a pile of snow, or a soaking wet carpet, or a pigeon, or at least feathers, flies, odd little bugs, anything. I can't say that nothing suprises me about this place, because every time I think I've experienced everything a run down, poorly maintained student residence can offer, something new (and usually annoying) always happens. And that's all for today.

ps- the new Zelda games looks amazing

Anybody can write an autobiography...

A new book came out recently titled "Smashed."I think that's the title, it's about a girl who drank a lot and then chose to write about her experiences. Her book could have been called "I was a normal teenager, and drank excessively, as most teens do when given the chance, then I went to College and drank even more: The story of a Drunken Girlhood." You go Girl! ( I know sarcasm doesn't really carry online, so for the record, I'm being very sarcastic.