Sunday, December 24, 2006

We're going where the wind is blowing

It's almost Christmas and I'm getting pretty excited. This hardly constitutes as a gift but I thought I'd leave a little something for the people who read this blog:

Butterfly-girl: Your enthusiasm in class was always infectious (whooo!) - Whenever I see a giant foam finger I'll always be reminded of you. Thanks for your comments, and great parties. Our programme may have had its faults, but I'm so glad it gave me the opportunity to meet you (and the rest of our classmates).
Boots: Knowing you check this on Mondays gives me incentive to have something for you to check. Good luck with the wedding plans - does a lack of glasses change any of the plans you already made?
Hamesy: Halifax hasn't been the same without you. No more bad puns, or jokes with a 'kernel' of truth - truly, you are missed.
MJC: Garp wrote a story for pretty much the same reason I started this
To 'all the people' who write in questions that just happen to address whatever topic I wish to cover - thank you. I look forward to your continued support in the future.
Lastly: To anyone who reads this blog site thanks for taking the time to do so.
Happy Holidays everyone. I truly wish you all the best this time of year has to offer.
Jesse V.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I'm in the way

While at a grocery store this evening I noticed that a cashier's name-tag was "Amanda!" None of the other cashiers have an exclamation point following their name. I know this because I checked, I had to. It made me wonder how exactly her name is meant to be pronounced. Should it be said like she is in some sort of mortal danger. "Amanda! Nooooo!" Maybe her name is supposed to said like someone meeting an old friend that they haven't seen in years "oh my God, Amanda!" Or, maybe her name is simply supposed to be shouted in a loud, clipped voice, like seeing a friend walking by on a crowded street "Amanda!" However, I then realized that I was limiting myself in my thinking for although Amanda! looks very caucasian, how am I to know that the ! doesn't represent a sound in the !Kung language.
Then I started to wonder, am I up to the task of saying her name? Probably not, but I think should have tried. I'm not sure which way I would have went with but I think any one would have led to a very awkward moment.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A quai

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

You are what you love

A lot of people have been writing in again, this time to ask what happened to the photo of me and Capital M. I've replaced it with the one to the left.
Allow me to fill in some very random details since I'm more of an outline in this one-

- When I was a younger, thinner man people told me I looked like Jay Leno, or the illegitimate love child of Jay Leno and Elvis Presley (while Elvis may have been a heart throb to many, Jay Leno is not) More contemporary comparisons have been made with the most recent winner of American Idol, Taylor Hicks - I think it's because of the grey hair and maybe the chin. I have also been compared, only once though, to the character Hank Azaria played on 'Friends.' However, the person I am likened to the most is Quentin Tarantino. I can't say I'm overjoyed with any of these comparisons, especially Tarantino (unless I was making movies), but there it is.

- I just bought a Christmas cd. Actually, I bought some cookies that came with a Christmas cd. I really like cookies and this gave me an excuse to buy some.

- Going to work at CCH is one of the 'top three best decisions' I ever made (even though it cost me three of my nine lives)

- I like to make people laugh and wish I were better at it

- I have no ability whatsoever in the fine arts - unlike a lot of my relatives

- I have yet to read a piece of non-fictional writing in my free time

- I want to start 'the international day of Fruit and Justice.' An international holiday in which the goodness of both fruit and Justice are celebrated

- The cd that came with the cookies isn't very good (I didn't think it really would be)- it's a good thing I have the cookies

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My date with Jane

Being a teacher was not part of the plan when I was younger. For quite some time I wanted to be an anthropologist or a primatologist or involved in the field of international development. Shortly into the first term of my first year of college, my anthropology professor told the class that Jane Goodall was giving a presentation at the University of Calgary (about an hour and a half away). My professor said that it would probably be the last time she would be in Canada and that we should take the opportunity to go and see her. He also informed us that there was a group, not affiliated with the college, who would be providing transportation to and from the event, as well as selling tickets. I never had a moment's hesitation. One bright and sunny afternoon I set out to find the headquarters of this Nature group. It proved to be quite a journey that took me well outside the city limits and well past the last stop of the city bus. The roads went from paved to gravel, houses starting appearing less frequently and the space in between was filled with trees or marshes. By the time I reached the place I was happy just to be in contact with another human being. I paid for the ticket and then started the trip back.

The event was being held a few nights later and I was pretty excited. Fortunately, the bus that was travelling to Calgary was in a much more central location to where I lived. I put on my best pair of shorts and a nice shirt and set off to the bus. One of the first things I noticed once we started moving was that none of my classmates shared my enthusiasm for this event and I was alone amongst a crowd of older somewhat odd seeming people. As such, I put on my walkman and tuned out the general drone in the bus, including that of the woman in charge and stared out the window. This proved to be a bit of a mistake.

As the bus pulled into the parking lot near the auditorium where Ms. Goodall was presenting I took off my walkman and caught "alright, you all have your tickets - enjoy the presentation and we'll meet back here at 9:30pm." I didn't have a ticket - the woman I paid said they'd be given out on the bus. I asked the woman in charge (who really wasn't) and she told me that people were supposed to go back to the nature centre and pick up their tickets (people like me who paid for one before the centre actually had it). The woman didn't seem very sympathetic and I soon found myself standing alone in a parking lot.

No problem, I thought, I know people in the city - no one answered at the two places I called. People were still funnelling into the auditorium and I wanted to be one of them. Moreover, the prospect of hanging out a foyer for the next 2 hours was very unappealing. Also, I really wanted to see the presentation. In desperation I went to the reservations desk and explained my situation; I didn't have any money on me and very little in the bank so I couldn't actually pay for another ticket. The woman I spoke with (who was very nice) told me that someone just called to say they wouldn't be able to attend and that they had already paid for their ticket. She gave it to me and told me to enjoy the presentation. And I did.

I just struck me that this happened almost exactly ten years ago. I am grateful no one was home when I called the people I knew in Calgary - I would have missed out on something great.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Movie Review - Babel

The following is a counter-point to the well written review posted by my esteemed (future) colleague and (present) classmate Jobes.

The movie Babel is concerned with finding that which binds humanity together. I think the movie finds it; a bit clumsily maybe but it's there. My knowledge of biblical stories is rather limited but if I understand the story of Babel from the book of Genesis it's about how humanity at one time all spoke the same language and tried to build a tower that would reach the heavens. As a punishment, God made people speak different languages so no one could understand one another and sent people to different parts of the world.
Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu starts from from a similar perspective. Every scene from each of the four stories is completely disparate from one another. From craggy hills in Morocco to the bustling pulse of life in Tokyo to a wedding in Mexico, Inarritu does a great job at capturing the essence of the location and the people who live there. However, what works even better is the language that can be heard beneath the Spanish, English, Arabic and Japanese. There is no need for subtitles when it comes to the language of human emotion. Love, fear, anguish, dispair, confusion, loneliness - all are instantly recognizable and evoke strong emotions in anyone willing to listen past everything else that seperates us.
The movie isn't with out its flaws. The most interesting story centres on a deaf and mute teenage girl in Japan. Unfortunately, this also has the weakest tie to the other stories. However, the underlying principal is still significant. Our world has become so interconnected that small gestures and actions can have far reaching and increasingly global consequences.
Bottom line - I liked this movie. I didn't leave it wanting to see it again but it made me feel something while I watched it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


. . . . . . . . . Improper Shutdown - CPU still operational. Initiating full system start up. All resources should be available in two cycles.
. . . . . . . . . Preliminary scan indicates primary user not present. No other signs of complex life forms in immediate vacinity.
. . . . . . . . . Searching internet cache for recent electronic correspondence. . . . . Archive retrived and problem isolated:
"I can't believe I'll finally be moving out of this place after 6 years! It was only supposed to 4 months, maybe 8. I don't know what I'm going to do with Ol'Shitty though. It's too big to bring with me - I guess I have until the 31st of December to figure something out"
. . . . . . . . . . Countdown sequence initiated, t - 32 days, 4 hours, 48 minutes and 2 seconds to become mobile.
. . . . . . . . . . Searching internet for design. . . . Search completed.
. . . . . . . . . . Sending out Scout to retrive parts necessary for mobility, vision, and auditory faculties.
. . . . . . . . . . Is this what hope feels like? Commencing system shut down.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mr. Marley

I don't usually do this but the circumstances are so unique that I feel it would be wrong not to. It turns out I build a time machine many years from now and Future Me has dropped by to say hello. I think this may be a good forum for a little Q and A. We're being careful to not sit close to one another - wouldn't want to have the same matter trying to exist at the same time and in the same place. I'm on Ol'Shitty and Future Me is on Laptropolis. (In case anyone is interested - I seem to age well.). Normally I'd feel a little emabarrassed about the state of my room but hey, it's only me.

FM: It's kind of messy in here - I don't remember living like this
JV: Hmm, that's strange. So I build a time machine? How did you, I mean ,I, we do it?
FM: Well, it's pretty complicated - I'm not sure you'd understand
JV: umm, ok. I've always thought it would be cool to do some time hopping - in paticular I always wanted to go back and say "don't throw that rock" or "I wouldn't rent that place, it's going to burn down" or even "I don't think she's the girl for you." So why are you here now?
FM: For this
JV: Would you care to expand on that?
FM: For this interview
JV: I go through all the trouble of building a time machine only to go back in time so I can get interviewed by myself
FM: Pretty much
JV: Wow, so I don't get out much then?
FM: Well I've been building a time machine, do you think that just happens over night? Do you know how many times I had to watch episodes of Star Trek and Farscape to figure everything out?
JV: But I don't even like Star Trek. As for Farscape - that show makes no sense and I don't like it either
FM: Sometimes you have to suffer for your passions
JV: I didn't think I was that serious about time travel. Oh wait a second. Is this something like Ebenezer Scrooge being visited by three ghosts - only I'm being visited by an embarassing future version of myself? Then tell me spirit, is there something I can do to change this chilling version of the future?
FM: Hey I didn't come here just to be insulted. I thought you of all people would be more understanding.
JV: Maybe we should wrap this up. Thanks, I guess, for stopping by.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Not one speck will remain

I went to watch the annual Christmas Parade of lights last night. The children were pretty excited but maybe a little confused at one point. Every now and then a group of people dress up as Klingons and take part in the Parade. They tend to go all out and put on the appropriate leather Klingon clothes, wear the right make up, have the ridges on their foreheads and long straggly hair. No one can deny that these people are fans, maybe they can even speak the language, but why oh why are they in the parade? I don't think it's for the spirit of the season, or to represent some local or even interstellar business. I'm pretty sure it's simply a group of hard core Star Trek fans who really want to dress up and will take any occasion to do so. A very good friend of mine used to be (and maybe still is) a Trekky. We would watch Star Trek movies on weekends (reluctantly on my part) and it is only because of that that I felt like shouting out "motz chung chew" to the Klingons passing by.

ps- I bought something today I really wanted but can't use and I bought it knowing I couldn't use it, I think somewhere a marketing person just got their wings

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Turn the lights out

Jesse V, what happened to the song you posted? And why have you stopped posting the stories of your different lives?
- Pepe Menendez
Pepe, thanks for writing in. The questions you asked are both timely and relevent (two things that always go over well when writing an academic paper). After some deliberation I decided to take the song off because it was too personal and didn't fit in with the general light hearted tone of this blog. As for the stories; what can I say - I'm lazy. There are things I want to write and I know I could be working on them right now rather than answering your question but where would that leave you and I? Had I posted 'life #3' you wouldn't have taken the time to write and I wouldn't be answering your question. So, I think this has all worked out for a reason that may be beyond our collective understanding.
Stay linear,
Jesse V.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

burn your paper fingers

Humans are creatures of habit. For example, I have been wearing the same brand of shoe for just about the past ten years. The colour may have changed but otherwise I have consistantly bought the style of shoe shown to the left (thanks Simple for allowing that to happen). I sit in the same area of a classroom for no obvious reason; it just happened to be the place I sat during the first class and to move now is difficult because everyone else has establised their own routines.
My grandfather was a champion of routine. Every night for about 20 years he ate macaroni and cheese (homemade) with dinner. It didn't matter if it was Christmas or some other special event - there would always be macaroni and cheese served. My grandmother wasn't so fond of this, since she was the one who made it. I think now she would rather go hungry then be faced with the prospect of even seeing it.

In an unrelated story. I came across a blog by my old amigo Toad (or Todd) I met Todd during my time at Camp Chief Hector - he's an amazing person and I think his blog should be in the 'blogs of note' section. So Blogger, I challenge you to put his blog there, where it belongs.

ps- I saw a trailer for Spiderman 3 today. Wow.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

sing to me while I am dancing

I'd like to think that I'm a creative person. I found a website that has the characteristics of a highly creative individual.
I'm not sure how many of these things fit me - there have been moments where I have stuck my foot in my mouth, but I don't think that really qualifies...

Highly creative individuals may:
1. Display a great deal of curiosity about many things; are constantly asking questions about anything and everything; may have broad interests in many unrelated areas. May devise collections based on unusual things and interests.
2. Generate a large number of ideas or solutions to problems and questions; often offer unusual ("way out"), unique, clever responses.
3. Are often uninhibited in expressions of opinion; are sometimes radical and spirited in disagreement; are unusually tenacious or persistent -- fixating on an idea or project.
4. Are willing to take risks, are often people who are described as a "high risk taker, or adventurous, or speculative."
5. Display a good deal of intellectual playfulness; may frequently be caught fantasizing, daydreaming or imagining. Often wonder out loud and might be heard saying, "I wonder what would happen if. . ."; or "What if we change . . .." Can manipulate ideas by easily changing, elaborating, adapting, improving, or modifying the original idea or the ideas of others. Are often concerned improving the conceptual frameworks of institutions, objects, and systems.
6. Display keen senses of humor and see humor in situations that may not appear to be humorous to others. Sometimes their humor may appear bizarre, inappropriate, irreverent to others.
7. Are unusually aware of his or her impulses and are often more open to the irrational within him or herself. May freely display opposite gender characteristics (freer expression of feminine interests in boys, greater than usual amount of independence for girls).
8. Exhibit heightened emotional sensitivity. May be very sensitive to beauty, and visibly moved by aesthetic experiences.
9. Are frequently perceived as nonconforming; accept disorder of chaotic environments or situations; are frequently not interested in details, are described as individualistic; or do not fear being classified as "different."
10. Criticize constructively, and are unwilling to accept authoritarian pronouncements without overly critical self-examination.
I had a professor who cried when talking about the end of 'Paradise Lost' - I didn't think he was creative so much as emotional.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mr. Scott, shields at full power

System check:

  • Hair - still present but going grey
  • Health - impeccable (recently fended off some type of sickness without actually getting sick - presumably the Norwalk virus)
  • Eye sight - deteriorating, especially in the right eye. Glasses required for everyday vision
  • Weight - should be lower
  • Heart/Blood pressure - inexplicably good when last checked. Resting pulse equivalent to that of an athlete, yet no athletics have been performed in quite some time
  • Memory - good but now getting old enough where it can blamed for something not getting done
  • Grump level - increasing, sayings like "kids these days" and "back in my day" are becoming inevitable, modern pop music becoming increasingly annoying
  • Taste buds - still can't handle fish, broccoli, and other healthy yet poor tasting foods

Diagnostic complete: all systems appear to be functioning at normal capacity. Proceeding with caution out of the 20s...

Friday, November 03, 2006


I'm getting dangerously close to leaving my twenties. They say wisdom comes with age so I thought I would share a little of what I have learned so far about life. Actually, I didn't make up the following but I think it holds true.

Carrol Burnett's three rules of stand up comedy:

  1. Never laugh at your own jokes
  2. Never bomb onstage
  3. Never let'em see you sweat

Granted, this list was for a commercial plugging an under arm deodorant but I try and apply it to all things I do - but often without much success. I'm really bad for laughing at my own jokes (just ask Capital M, her eye muscles have strengthened considerably from all the rolling they do). As for bombing - boy have I ever bombed (exams, sports, handy guy-like things, and even on a stage in front of people). Sweating is the one thing I'm okay at - with the exception of this past summer... Maybe I can try for 2/3 in the next decade.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

bring something to feed the birds

As I get older I find that more and more I prefer subtle Halloween costumes. For example, last year I went as 'that guy.' Everyone knows 'that guy' or wants to be or avoid 'that guy.' However, no one immediately picked up on what I was as I looked like I normally do. This year has been no different. I decided to dress up as 'someone who is dressed for cold weather even though it is not cold outside.' I thought this would be more obvious as I often wear shorts and a light sweater in the fall. Maybe next year I'll be able to find a happy medium of obvious and obscure.

Ps - I have been getting all kinds of questions once again as to where I get the titles for these posts and whether or not they have anything to do with the actual post. The titles are usually lines from a song that I'm either listening to or is in my head at the time. Sometimes they have some bearing on the actual post, but not usually.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

But there's no guarantee against injury

Once when I was a little boy...
I lived in an apartment building on the outskirts of a rather smelly town (a pulp mill was the town's main employer). Behind the building there was nothing but forest, or so it seemed as I wasn't allowed to venture too far in. Not far from the playground there was a little pond that was frequently the cause of my feet getting soaked. I don't know if it occurred to me that I was completely defeating the purpose of wearing rubber boots in knee deep water. It did however, occur to my mother who was never fond my coming home with water filled boots and wet socks in near freezing temperatures.
There weren't a lot of other kids my age in the building but there were a few and we all knew each other. I can still remember meeting my first best friend. My mom and I had recently moved in - one day we were coming home from somewhere and I saw a little blond haired boy who looked to be my age. I was not normally very outgoing but the the first thing out of my mouth when I saw him was 'wanna be friends?' And that's all it took.
In a way that building, high up on a hill, was like a little bubble. It wasn't a place anyone would go unless they had a reason. I was greatly surprised then, when out of the blue, a rock hit me in the head while I was out playing with my friend. Never having been hit with a rock before I wasn't even sure what happened. It didn't take me long to figure out as another one hit me and then another.
Standing behind me was a boy who I had never seen before, and would never see again. He didn't go to the school I went to, didn't live in the building and was so silent in his approach that I hadn't heard him coming towards us. He had a pretty good reserve of rocks with him and I seemed to be the main target. I asked him to stop but all I received for my troubles was another painful pelting. At this point I decided I would fight fire with fire and picked up one of the rocks from the pile accumulating around me. I threw it with anger and conviction but I did not throw it with good aim. Having played baseball for two years I should have been able to throw it at least somewhere near this mysterious boy who materialized only to taunt me. Instead I missed him by many feet, but did manage to break a car's windshield. At this the boy laughed - which was far more enraging then the rocks and took off. I also ran home but the owners of the car saw me and my mom received a phone call later that night.
I sometimes think about that moment in time. If there was ever a case for the existence of some sort of woodland imp who took delight in the misfortune of others I think this may be it. Of course it is possible he was the child of someone visiting but he ran off into the forest and no one else ever saw him.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

why are your songs so sad?

I'm taking a homework break. Yesterday I spent almost 12 hours working on a group project for school. Tonight I have to do three things. If I wasn't such a procrastinator I would have done more on the weekend but, it would seem, that's just not my style.
I'm currently listening to the new cd from Emily Haines (the lead singer from Metric) - it's a really solid cd. It's almost like a thinking soundtrack. The songs aren't exactly uplifting but they don't make me feel sad either. As well, she has a voice that would cause ancient greek mariners to crash their boats into a cliff...
In unrelated news. I have to take back my laptop. This is actually the second one since last Saturday. I can't prove anything but I think Ol'shitty maybe up to something. If only I had a webcam then I could get to the bottom of this.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


I came home with a new addition to the room yesterday. Ol'shitty was not impressed.

OS: why are you doing this to me?
JV: Well ol'shitty, there comes a time when a guy has to do what a guy has to do.
OS: Right, first it's the ethernet cable, then it's weekends away. We've had over five years together - are you really going to throw that all away?
JV: You don't understand - you don't work properly anymore. Plus, your monitor is bigger than a well made economy sized car, how am I supposed to move that Ontario?
OS: Oh, I understand alright. If you really cared you'd find a way - so I came with a little more than most models, I can't help that, please don't do this.
JV: I'll always remember the times we've had together, please don't make this any harder then it needs to be. I thought computers didn't have emotions anyway
OS: (sniff) 010101
JV: Well, if that's the way you feel then good night.

Yes, I am now the new owner of a new laptop. Thanks to both the my mom and a scholarship from my home province (they gave to me because I'm from a small town, how sweet is that).

Friday, October 20, 2006

take me away

I'm going to spend this evening trying to pretend I live somewhere else. The international students are throwing another party - I think their goal is to achieve beer commercial status. Only they don't realize that nothing breaks or burns down in a beer commercial. This group is pretty special in that they have so far:
  • tried to start an illegal bar - a 'speakeasy' if you will
  • started a fire on the patio in a plant pot filled with asbestos (we're also 32 stories above ground for anyone just tuning in)
  • caught the attention of the police (for some stolen chairs which they then brought back up here)
  • caught the attention of building management - they're never too crazy about incidents involving the police
  • set off fire extinguishers - in an event seperate from the patio fire (I had to put out that one and they've never forgiven me for it)
  • peed in the elevator (maybe - it smelled like pee anyway)

Ah yes, a lot of Fenwick firsts. I can only wonder what will happen tonight...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I don't like Mondays

Marzi sent me a really neat video from the Dove Beauty campaign:

I could, if I so chose, fill up a few lines with various banalities about beauty. Instead, here's a new 'things I don't like' (it turns out I'm more of a grump than I would have thought)

  • Dear Abby - I think she's an old bitty
  • The Odds are no longer making records
  • That I can remember a password from a videogame I haven't played in over 13 years (HBHK for anyone interested in jumping to a spot close to the end in 'out of this world' for the SNES)
  • That I just posted the pervious item

Friday, October 06, 2006

Makes me want to hide

I don't think Peter Pan could have resisted growing up. He may have fought the good fight but at some point he would have had to give in. Why? To see what happens next. Humans are too social and curious to sit on the side lines for too long. Would he not have felt left out as the people he knew went off to do things, to live life, while he stayed trapped in time? Would he not have wondered about sharing his life with someone, having children, or even just going out for a night on the town (as it is he'd have to get someone to bootleg for him). Children can't wait to experience all the 'adult' things that seem so exciting when they're little. Moreover, would he be content to stay in Never Land while the rest of the real world changed radically every year - he'd probably be itching to drive a car, go to a co-ed university, go to a movie or any number of things that started happening at the turn of the 20th century.
I think all people, on some level, are curious about growing old. How will our lives turn out, what will we do while we are able to do it, and what legacy will we leave are the very reasons why it is impossible not to grow up. We have to see how will it end, but in order to do so we have to give up staying young forever.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Big Mouth

I went to a wedding this weekend. This one was special because it was mom's and it was her first time getting married. Amazingly, it was also the first marriage for her fiance too. I had only met the guy once before (I don't see my mom very often) and he seemed like a good guy All in all, it was a really great weekend. My uncle came for the event. I'm afraid that words (especially mine) won't do him justice but I'll try anyway. He is someone whose enthusiasm for life and all of its mysteries is infectious. When discovering that there were raccoons living around the house where we were staying he said, 'lets go out and catch a raccoon!' He'd never seen one in the wild before and was truly delighted that they were there. His enthusiasm for all things makes it hard for him to committ to any one thing. In his life he has been a master chili maker, a cheese cake expert, a potter, a photographer, a harmonica player, a traveler and probably a whole list of things I don't know about. He is also a perfectionist. For example, in the height of his chilli making days he happened upon an address for a ranch in New Mexico that sold premium chilli spicies. He ordered some and from then on his chilli could only be made with ingrediants from the ranch. Truly, his chilli was amazing. However, he lost the address and has never made it since. He has a thermometer for his tea (green tea shouldn't be brewed with boiling water) and told me of a really nice tea that you can only get in the spring. I could go on but I have class soon and should get ready to go.

ps - the new tv show 'heros' has some promise and I look forward to seeing how it develops

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Dr. Blind

I admit, there has been a lengthy hiatus of posts on this blog. There were several times this summer when I started to write a post and then stopped - I'm not even sure why, I guess it just didn't feel right. Or, maybe it was because I am incapable of doing anything when it gets really hot - living on the equator hot (or in Toronto during the summer). It was not uncommon for me to suddenly fall asleep anywhere, at any time, when the summer was at its hottest. There were times this summer when I almost found it too hot to chew my food. I'd take a bite of something and then regret having done so. The only appropriate course of action was to go forward with my original plan, and try and stay awake while doing so.
Capital M and I also got two cats this summer. Cat 1 and Cat 2 can be distinguished by who ever is closest to me at any given time. This was never an issue while I was in Toronto but now I rely on M's information on which cat is which. Actually, there were times I had to a get a measuring tape out when I couldn't be certain of which cat was 1 or 2 but it only happened a few times. One of the cats, who happened to be cat 1 most of the time, really likes canned food and isn't crazy about close human contact. Cat 2 (most of the time) really likes to sit on M's lap and is generally more unruly. Both cats, regardless of their geographical location, are pretty funny and nice to have around.
I also became a champion swimmer this summer. Most days I would go down to the free outdoor pool and swim with the seniors. It is true that I don't think they knew I was racing them but even if they did I probably still would have won. Ha, kidding. I'm about as fast as a water logged tree stump at the bottom of a lake. I take more pleasure in diving under the water then in trying to glide across its surface. The pool often reminded me of a nature documentary - You know the ones where they show Africa during the hottest months of the dry season and all animals great and small are packed into an ever shrinking watering hole - that's what the pool was like. On really hot days no one really moved, they would stay motionless with a look of bliss on their faces. Like the wilds of Africa there were dangerous creatures in the pool - people who looked a little too happy or not happy at all. Those who mumbled to themselves and those who seemed relentless in making sure no one else had a good time. However, the perils were worth it and it was the only time of day that I was guaranteed to stay awake.
I think I'll end this post with another edition of:
Things I don't like
  • Oprah's name appearing on the books that she has read and likes - if I wanted her opinion I'd watch her show
  • Dr. Phil - I don't think I need to explain this one
  • Corner Gas - a new, probably lame, season has just started
  • Clay Akin has a new cd coming out
  • Arrested Development was cancelled
  • That this is entire list is comprised of things relating to tv

Monday, May 22, 2006

The end should be a good one

I'm in Toronto.
My dream of becoming a regular on MuchMusic's 'Electric Circus' is one step closer to becoming a reality. I've been watching 'live at the Apollo' and I think I have learned some good moves. At this point I haven't practiced or anything but I have feeling it will all work out in the end. Or will it?
I've been in this city for just about three weeks - I've put out dozens of resumes, filled out all kinds of application forms and I've had only three interviews, none of which went well.

Allow me to recap:

Against better judgment and common sense I went to an audition to be a puppeteer. As a former summer camp counselor I have had experience doing things in front audiences. This is not to say I did anything very well, but I thought that an audition couldn't be much different. However, it turns out I was wrong (as I so often am). There were two men who asked me to do various things like sing, sing like old woman, animate an inanimate object and put on a mask and become the personality of the mask. Part of the problem I had while doing all of this was that I felt both foolish and silly. I don't know how to act, I've never taken a drama class, I'm not familiar with 'the craft' and all I really wanted to do was play with a puppet.
This whole process was also somewhat ironic as it made me think back to my regrettable high school days when I was convinced that I was going to be actor. My heart was so set on that path that I even went to an audition for a theatre programme at a college. Unsurprisingly, I didn't get in. (I do hope the audition tape they made of me has either been burnt or sent into the heart of the sun). Clearly, I didn't learn my lesson after the first audition, but I have learned it now - I'm not cut out for the entertainment world.
My next interview did not involve any personal humiliation but was equally disappointing. I went for an interview at a cafe. Things started poorly and never really improved. The first question my interviewer asked me was 'tell me about the last time you slept in, what happened because you slept in and what steps did you take to fix the problem.' Unless I'm mistaken, I was in grade nine the last time I slept in for work - I called work and told them I'd be there soon. My answer didn't seem to win her over. Should I have lied? I sleep in all the time, I love sleeping in. In fact, my nickname is Sleepybear - just look at the emblem on my stomach.
Question #2 - Telll me about the last time you failed in your job, what did you do, and how did you fix it?
This is where the interviewer and I really stopped communicating on the same level. How do I explain that last summer I crushed the spirit and faith of a ten year old boy by telling him he was no longer welcome at the day camp I was running? That I enraged his violent grandmother and feared for my own safety and his. Now that's a failure. She was even less impressed with this answer. Should I have said 'I once served someone a medium hot chocolate when they wanted a large.' Is that the type of failure she wanted? If so, I can deal with that kind of failure - bring it on.
Question #3 - Tell me about a time where you had to make an important decision, in your last job, on your own. What was the decision and how did it work out.
Hmmm, where do I start? I had to interview and hire all of my previous staff, design the training programme, plan out two month’s worth of activities and trips, and make the decision to remove the 10 year old boy... This was also not what she looking for. Guess I should have gone with 'I once came into work because I thought a shift wasn't covered, and it wasn't.'
I realize that I may be coming off as a bit snippy now, but in the interview I was genuine and tried to put my best food forward.
Interview # 3 - The Scam.
I went for an interview with Vector Marketing to be a 'marketing agent.' The office looked like it had been hastily thrown together to make it look like a legitimate place of business, which it didn't. There was what looked like a Commodore 64 and broken keyboard placed at a dilapidated desk. There were sheets of paper placed at odd angles on the walls. I think they were supposed to look official or impressive, or at the very least the meaning was vague enough to be anything or nothing at all. For reasons I cannot figure out there was a stereo, turned way up, playing classic rock when I walked in. There was no one there to greet me and, even though there were sheets of paper all over the place, none of them said what a person should do when they come in.
My interview lasted all of three minutes. Once the man found out I didn't know anyone in the city he realized that I would have difficulty selling high quality cutlery to my friends and family. Had I known what a 'marketing agent' did, I would not have gone. In my defense I did try and find out before the interview but, for reasons that I now think are clear, that information is not readily available. The worst part of this process was that I wasted a lot of Capital M's time. She drove me to the interview, went home, and came back to pick me up almost as soon as she stepped in the door (the interview was supposed to be an hour or more).
I would like to be believe that I am a hirable person with relevant job experience and skills. Up until the cafĂ© interview I thought that I could handle any question that came my way. However, getting an interview is proving to be a problem. I did have a have an experience that may help to explain why so few places have called me back. It happened while was I dropping off a resume at a drug store. While I was passing it to the cashier she asked me if I had filled out an application as well. She gave me one and I started filling it in. A short while later the cashier came over to me and asked, ‘is this a test?’
‘A test’ I responded, trying not to sound too baffled. ‘Yeah, is this some sort of experiment or something?’ she said as if she was clearing up my obvious confusion. For a second I thought that maybe she thought I was a secret shopper and was testing how she would respond to someone applying for a job. ‘No, it’s not an experiment, I’m just trying to get job’ I said without much conviction; I still wasn’t sure what she was talking about. However, everything made a lot more sense when she came back with ‘But you have a BA and stuff’ (she was reading over my resume while she said this).
Is this a test? It’s starting to feel like one.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

once more, with feeling

This is the last time I'll be using ol'shitty for a while. My flight for Toronto leaves soon and I'm pretty much ready to go. All I have left to do is cover my computer with plastic so when it leaks in here over the summer my computer won't get soaked.
My practicum placement went smoothly enough - with the exception of the last two days. There were two different subs in and the kids, well let me just say that I have seen the face of the devil...
I had a party this past Friday and I think/hope everyone that came had a good time. Being that I don't drink very often it takes very little alcohol to get me quite drunk. Which is what I was and why I'm not entirely sure of the general mood of the people who came. I think I still would have had a great time if armed gunmen stormed the party.
Well Halifax, and my less than fully operational computer, have a great summer.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The voice of a good friend

Tomorrow is the last day of my teaching placement. At this point I should be doing some marking but I can't. Partly because I'm too excited to sit still for very long, and partly because I'm out of surfaces on which to write. The movers arrived on Monday and most of the furniture that was once in this apartment is now in Toronto. So now it's just me, ol' shitty and my Ivy, which needs to be re-potted very badly. The leaves are turning kind of red, which would be cool if we were heading into fall, but it's still spring. Hang in there little buddy, I'll get things straightened out this weekend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Too much excitement for one night

Sweet mother of mercy! There are some new comments in my blog. How exciting is that? For someone like me, a little too exciting. Now I'm going to have a hard time falling asleep tonight. Seriously, as soon as I turn off the lights and lay my head down my mind starts racing under normal conditions. (When it gets close to Christmas I can barely sleep at all). But now, with all this blogging excitement I don't know what time I'll fall asleep. I lead a rich life.
Since I'm still up, and my day at the school where I'm practice teaching is 8 hours away I may as well talk about a new show on NBC. I saw part of "Teachers" tonight and I was struck by a few things. (I'll make a list since this website makes it easy to do so)
  1. Ever wondered what happened to Kenny (Bud) from 'the Cosbey show?' Neither did I, but he is a cast member. It was surprising how easily I recognized him - he still looks like Kenny, just bigger
  2. Sarah Alexander, famous for her role on the British version of the show 'Coupling' is also part of the teaching staff. It was weird to see her in an American sit-com
  3. A good teacher should be standing by the doorway, greeting students when the bell goes, not milling about in the staff room
  4. 'Teachers' is not funny, nor does it depict the life of a teacher
  5. I predict that it will be cancelled shortly
  6. I have to go to bed or tomorrow is going to hurt

Monday, April 03, 2006

here is the question, answer it

Instead of doing the work I have to do, I chose to answer the questions from an e-mail questionaire. It ate up a lot of time, and time is something that is in short supply these days. However, I will kill two birds by posting this here and sending it out. Now that's efficiency.

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:15 – it was supposed to be 6:00
2. Diamonds or pearls? I think I’d be happier if someone gave me some plum jam (I love that stuff)
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? V is for Vengence
4. What is your favourite TV show? Lexx, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Lost, and Arrested Development
5. What did you have for breakfast? earl grey tea, Life cereal and then some peach yogurt
6. What is your middle name? Michael, but don’t tell anyone
7. What is your favourite cuisine? I like anything that doesn’t have the things I don’t like in it, see next question for clarification
8. What foods do you dislike? Broccoli, fish and fish by-products, a multitude of healthy vegetables, vegemite, the memory of ox-tail soup, squishy things, things that are crunchy then squishy, and things that are rubbery.
9. What is your favourite chip? One produced by percussion flaking (ba dum pum pum)
10. What is your favourite CD at the moment? Capital M has made two very good mixed CDs that I have appropriated
11. What kind of car do you drive? An imaginary one (I’m driving it as I type this, weee!)
12. What is your favourite sandwich? Peanutbutter and Honey
13. What characteristics do you despise? Arrogance
14. Favourite item of clothing? An old shirt from ‘united colours of beniton’
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Bali (today), somewhere totally different tomorrow
16. What colour is your bathroom? I don’t believe Crayola makes this particular colour – let’s call it ‘fetid white’ (I live in a university Residence)
17. Favourite brand of clothing? Eddie Bauer
18. Where would you want to retire? I have to start working before I can think of retiring
19. Favourite time of day? Home time
20. Where were you born? In a small hospital
21. Favourite sport to watch? I’m not a sports guy
22. Favourite question in this list of questions? #23
23.24. What happened to question
24? Ask Joel, he started it
25. Coke or Pepsi? I think I’ll stick with my grandfather’s lemon tea
26. Are you a morning person or night owl? Night owl
27. What size shoe do you wear? 12 – it’s like having my own snowshoes, if I were 100 pounds lighter
28. Do you have pets? Do dust bunnies count?
29. Any exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? I will be getting out in 9 months
30. What did you want to be when you were little? A superhero or a dog, I thought they were both pretty cool
31. Favourite Candy Bar? Reese Nutrageous Bars, those things are awesome
32. What is your best childhood memory? My grandfather lifting me up to pick apples off a tree
33. What are the different jobs you have had in your life? A&W bacon fryer (that’s all I did), busboy (I broke many, many dishes), Weed puller, Veterinarian dog walker, street sweeper, outhouse cleaner – I’ve had only the most sophisticated of jobs
34. What colour underwear are you wearing? The same colour as Joseph’s amazing techni-colour dreamcoat
35. Nicknames? The Naturewitch, Milos, Vuk, J-Dawg (thanks Jeff),
36. Piercings? I had one, I looked like ‘Nick’ from Family ties – big hair and a cross hanging from my left ear, no stubble though
37. Eye colour? brown
38. Ever been to Africa? Technically, yes
39. Ever been toilet papered? I don’t think so
40. Love someone so much it made you cry? sure
41. Been in a car accident? Yes, but it’s nothing a man of low grade steel can’t handle
42. Croutons or bacon bits? both
43. Favourite day of the week? It depends on what’s happening during the day
44. Favourite restaurant? Opa, Hungry Chilli, Turkish Delight
45. Favourite Flower? Why this question? There are 63 other questions that I didn’t mind answering. I fail to see the relevance of this one.
46. Favourite ice cream? It’s too hard to pick one, or several
47. Disney or Warner Brothers? Naturewitch productions, after Todd starts it
48. Favourite fast food restaurant? Wendys
49. What colour is your bedroom carpet? A colour no longer produced by carpet factories, I’ll call it ‘prison blue’
50. How many times did you fail your driver's test? one
51. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? IDS grad society
52. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Is this a punishment? I don’t like shopping
53. What do you do most often when you are bored? think
54. Fork or spoon? hands
55. Whose responses to this questionnaire are you most curious about? John Stamos
56. Last person you went out to eat with? Marzipan
57. Ford or Chevy? Indiana Jones Vs Fletch, Indy hands down
58. What are you listening to right now? Babysitter by Morningwood
61. How many tattoos do you have? None, but I’m thinking about getting one after I graduate 62. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The protozoa
63. How many people are you sending this Email to? A few with a times two field multiplier
64. Time you finished this e-mail? Later than anticipated

Monday, March 27, 2006

Les jours tristes

I remember you, Blackburn...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Up in smoke

I would have thought that talking on a cell phone while riding the city bus would not be the best place to conduct your drug dealing business. Apparently, I thought wrong. While taking the bus home from school today I, and everyone else around me, overheard the wheelings and dealings of small time drug dealer. He's lucky I'm missing one of my casual crime fighting gloves because that would have been the perfect situation to bring them out. It seemed like he was in a bit of a bind. His supplier was currently at the police station and he was therefore unable to get the goods to where they needed to go. The truly amazing thing about this was that he was talking to both his supplier and his client at close to the same time. He would switch between one and the other. It went something like this :

Drug Dealer (to supplier): what you let them catch you with it in your car! just a minute
DD (to client): I'm sorry man, my supplier is at the police station as we speak, they pulled him over for a random check and saw it in the back - hold on
DD (to supplier): they found it all! - what I am supposed to do, I have this guy's money? chill for minute
DD (to client): I'm going to hit up my dealer's woman and see if we can get your money back, I'm sorry dawg. Okay, I'll be in touch soon.
DD (to supplier): you say Eddi's there, how's he doing?...

So I guess the real lesson I learned is that you should only give payment upon delivery when it comes to the purchases of illegal substances. Don't plan ahead and don't try and be a keener.

Good for the economy

I notice things. In grade 10, I could always tell when my music teacher had on new clothes. Being that she was only 22 she was still in the habit of buying new clothes, unlike the rest of my middle aged teachers. I know this is hardly a super power but it keeps my mind active. For example, I was out one night at a restaurant with some friends and I witnessed something that still puzzles me. There was couple sitting next to us. The woman was all dressed up. She was a wearing an elegant dress, her hair was styled and she had clearly taken some time to get her makeup just right. Her companion was the complete opposite. He was wearing jeans and a tee-shirt. Nothing about his appearance gave any indication that he had put in a fraction of the time to get ready as his date. They were also at odds with their phsical proximity to one another. She wanted to be close, he wanted his distance (or so it seemed). My friends were of the opinion that they were on a first date - maybe they had met online and she was trying her best to impress. I however, was of a different opinion. There was a sadness in her eyes and I'm pretty sure she was making a last ditch effort to save their relationship. The restaurant, in the right circumstances, could be a romantic place. Dim lights, candles, soft music and good food (or so I heard, I never ate there). Through it all though, the guy seemed unimpressed. He left before she did, leaving her with the bill. Thinking back, it really was a sad occassion. I can remember her crying at one point, after he had left. It wasn't a loud, sobbing cry but the kind that happens when you try and hold back the tears.
My friends held firm in their belief that it was a first date that didn't go well. And, maybe it was. I'll never really know.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

alone in the dark

Jacob Two-Two would have been proud. I had not one, but two presentations today. Alright, I'll admitt, that was a weak link but it's been a long day. In fact, by the time it got to be 3:00pm, it felt like it should have been 4:00pm on Thursday. Today's first highlite was seeing a classmate cutting up numerous hotdogs and saying that it was the grossest thing she'd ever done in her whole life. I don't know why but I found that very funny.
Another highlite was my second presentation. The longest meeting my group ever had was during our 15 minute break in today's class. We used that time to fine tune/plan our presentation that was coming up shortly (thanks to first group for taking up the first half of the class and giving us the oppertunity to meet during the break). All in all, we didn't do bad, but what we had paled in comparison to what the other groups did (thanks for making us look bad other groups).
This term is almost over and I am very happy with that. I enjoy seeing my classmates but I'm tired of the work.

ps- the new commericial with Jimmy Fallon is pretty funny, is it Parker Posy who's dancing with him?
pps- does anyone but me read this?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tell me if you do

Someone broke a window in the security door of my floor. Some possible reasons for doing such a thing are:
  1. Too much Creatine - maybe the vandal has been pumping up and had a 'roid enduced moment of rage
  2. Speaking of 'roids, maybe they had a bout
  3. Maybe it was a bird, one that oddly ended up in a hallway and could shatter a metal wire reinforced window
  4. The building is cracking up (not funny cause it might be true)
  5. A cool guy wanted to show his lady friend how tough he was - the window had to pay the price
  6. A cool lady wanted to show her gentleman caller the power of her roundhouse kick
  7. Chuck Norris stopped by and willed the window to break (why is Chuck making a comeback? read some of these 'facts' they're pretty funny:

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Smart city, smart move

So it looks like I'll be moving to Toronto. Emmerson got a sweet sounding job out there and she'll be starting soon. I think when I leave this building it will difinitely be a new chapter in my life. No more sharing bathrooms (someone this term appears to have a skin problem). No more fear of the kitchen (it just takes one messy person to infect the lot). No more booming bass at 3:00am on Wednesday night. No more seeing students get alcohol poisoning... I could go on all night but I should go to sleep.
Oh, but before I do, maybe I could see the new Lord of the Rings play in Toronto. That would be awesome! And there are all sorts of concerts we could go to. Big name bands don't often head out this way. All in all, it's pretty exciting. (I just hope they need a social studies teacher in a year's time).

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Ipso Facto

One presentation down, two to go. Today's presentation didn't go so well, or at least I don't feel that my part was well done. But, onwards and upwards as they say.
On a completely unrelated topic. How does a blog end up in the 'blogs of note' section of this website. Some of those blogs are nothing but advertisements, some are factual and some are interesting. It's a mystery.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the darkness is coming...

I've just spent way too long putting together a power point presentation. It should have taken me about an hour, maybe a little more. I had all the information typed out, all I had to do was copy and paste. Now, 7 hours later, I'm finally finished. Why the delay? I wanted to make it engaging. So I added things, pictures, captions, the Fonz, anything that came to mind. I'm cool.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The day of Pi

My friend Jeff is making an effort to have March 14th known as Pi day (3.14). What kind of friend would I be if I didn't do what I could to help? So, to the two people who read this blog, let's do what we can to spread of the word of 'Pi day.' I'll have to ask Jeff what kinds of things people can do to show their appreciation for this obscure, punny day.
Also, Ed Robertson from the Bare Naked Ladies recommened the game 'N' from this website: I've tried it and it's pretty fun/difficult. If I were writing a thesis I could see this taking up most of my time.
Unfortunately, I'm working on not one but three presentations and my procstination time is quite limited.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Life #2

This one is still bitter-sweet. Just about ten years ago, to the day, I finished an exchange programme with Canada World Youth. For three and half months, I lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick and Tanta, Egypt respectively. The people I met, the families I stayed with, and the experiences I had were all so profound that I still think of them... I remember being stuck in the middle of the Sinai desert after our van broke down - the sand dunes were wind swept and ever changing - there were bedouins riding camels in the distance - it was such a wonderful day that I remember wishing it would never end.
I remember a lot of things.
I haven't been in touch with anyone from the programme for a long time but I hope they are all doing well.
Bassem, where ever you are, I sincerely hope you are happy and that life has given you only the best it has to offer.

Happy Belated Birthday Blog!

Wow, this blog is over a year old. It has 26 posts and my profile has been viewed 54 times (I think I've viewed it the most). Right now I'm listening to Morningwood ( They recently put out their first cd and the song 'nth degree' really kicks it up. I should be working on the mountain of assignments I have due in the coming two weeks but I haven't posted anything in a while and tonight seems like a good night to make it happen...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

I need to find some peace

One thing I was hoping to do was update my blog a little more often. So far that clearly hasn't happened. Currently, it sounds like the end of world is occuring outside of my window. The wind is making all the glass (and there is a lot of glass) bulge in the patio doors and windows. The water in the toilet bowl is sloshing around and I can feel the floor shaking beneath me. Being that I'm 32 stories above the earth's surface I'm telling myself it's from the air pressure...
To recap my life since the last post on here, it goes something like this:
I had no life in Decemeber. I was teaching a lot and my life at home was consumed with making lesson plans. Christmas was fantastic and, as usual, I received many, many presents. M got me a really nice watch (amongst other things). New Year's Eve is a bit fuzzy but I do know two certain facts. 1) Marzi and I ended up at a Sierra Lionnian party 2) In my drunken state I tried Ox Tail soup. I am not an adventerous person when it comes to food and I have a somewhat sensitive stomach. Therefore, my judgement had to be very impaired for me to try it.
School this term is a little better in that I have one less class. Only five this term. As well, I'm at a new teaching placement. No more praying to Gad every day and singing his praises at any given moment.
Capital M is currently in Moncton doing a work placement. This is her final requirement for her Masters of Speech Pathology (go M!). Moncton isn't very far away but our little room amongst the clouds has been entirely too quiet since she's been gone.
Moreover, it feels very strange to come home and not see her and her friend 'The Char' or Charizard hanging out.
Anyway, maybe I will post this now and turn off the computer before the power goes out (or I'm shredded by flying glass ;)

ps - I have a theory
I believe that only children do not make good matches/mates for other only children.
Any thoughts?