Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I think this is the first time I've gone two days, when having Internet access, where I haven't posted anything to the blog. However, between work, getting ready to come home and feeling a touch under the weather I haven't been feeling too motivated. My stomach has been wonky, something I hope clears up as I have big plans for restaurants when I get to town. Not sure which one we're hitting first, but I'm leaning towards Zapatas. I have a craving for some good Mexican.

Anyway, the next 10 days or so are promising to be insane, but I'm looking forward to it. I oculd use some time off and I'm curious about all the subtle changes that happen in a place when you've been away for awhile.

On the off-chance that there is anyone reading the blog that would like to see me when I'm in town then your best bets are the e-mail me as I will be checking that every few days. Also, friends can reach me by calling either Dan Meades or Rex Welsh (check the phone book). Those are the two places where I'll likely be staying most of the time.

As for the blog, it may or may not be updated over the next little while. I do have access to the Internet, but it will be slow. Plus I doubt I'll have much time. But you never know. Something might happen that compells me to blog right away.

So I hope all of you who read this have a good Christmas and I'll see you all in the New Year, if not sooner.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The weekend that was

So today was clearly a Day of Sloth for me. Basically watched football and played Civilizations. Terribly unproductive and lazy. Then again, I was a bit busy the last few days. I had the staff Christmas party Friday night and a curling bonspiel Friday night and Saturday.

The curling went pretty well, actually. I know some of you could care less, but hey, the team I skipped won something. Which is a bit impressive seeing as how there were only three of us and I had to scrounge to pick up a fourth player for some of the games. And the other two player had limited experience. We won Friday night's game against a very good team, got blown out in the second game, but through some luck of the draw still managed to make it to the 'D' final. After being down 4-1 after two ends, we bounced back and won 7-5.

What was the prize? A $15 gift certificate. Which after spending $30 on entering the bonspiel, then buying a few beers for the team we beat in the final, well, let's just say I didn't make money off the win. But it was a pretty nice feeling.

Oh, Cathy and Boo have also made it home safely, but with a bit of drama. The flight was a bit late leaving Iqaluit, which meant she spent the rest of the day rushing to catch flights. She managed to make them, but the downside was that she wasn't able to get Boo out of his carry case for a bathroom break. That meant the dog displayed his displeasure by shredding the cage on the Toronto to St. John's part of the trip. That meant he had to sit on Cathy's lap for an hour or two.

By all accounts he was fine when he was sitting on her lap. And the flight crew was tremendously understanding. Still, a bit stressful.

Oh, and of course the luggage was lost. As of this typing, she still doesn't have it. On the upside, since the ticket was booked using Visa, she got $500 to cover buying anything she needed not in her luggage. Which was nice and all, but she would like to have her bags back now.

Anyway, that's where things stand now. Wife and dog safe and sound. Successful weekend of curling victory followed by sloth. All is right in the world.

Of course, tomorrow I have to start getting read to fly home on Wednesday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

…and that’s good enough for me

So it’s been a little more than a year since I finally gained employment in Nunavut. And because I was new last year I kind of missed all the Christmas activities in the office. That includes the party, but also the cookie exchange. Now, you might think the Christmas party would be the big deal, but I’m not sure. The Express never really had what you would call a Christmas party. Instead the editor would take us out for supper and a few drinks.

The last real staff Christmas party I went to was the ones I had with the Packet. And for anybody with the paper who reads this blog, I still have the incriminating photos. Anyway, it's been awhile since I've done a staff Christmas party.

But the thing I missed last year that I regretted was the staff cookie exchange. Because it’s apparent that we have some very good bakers in the office, so trying to get in on that seems like a pretty good idea.

However, there are several catches to this scheme to get some high quality cookies. First and foremost being I can’t bake. Oh sure, I could get some of that ready-to-go stuff at the store, but that doesn’t count. It is, I suspect, frowned upon. No, cookies from scratch is the way to go.

So this meant going to my lovely wife and seeing if she could assist (i.e. Do most of the work) on the cookies. To which she shot me a look, but because she loves me, agreed to do.

Then came word that that in order for the exchange to work right, we would need to make 72 cookies. To which I got another look, a less favourable one I might add, and some grumbling. My position was not improved any when I told her the exchange would take place at 4 p.m. on Dec. 15, a scant three hours after she departed the north and headed home.

Let’s not even discuss the odds that most of the cookies in the exchange will likely have nuts in them, which she’s allergic to. Or that we’re going to start going to the gym in the New Year and that consuming lots of cookies is probably a bad idea. Best not to dwell.

Anyway, the final total went down to 54 as a few people dropped out. Still, it’s a lot of cookies. And I am under instructions to freeze the ones that can’t kill Cathy so that she has something to look forward to in the new year.

So the cookies were made which involved chocolate, cream cheese, marshmallows and coconut. My job was to put on the coconut. It was the most difficult part of the task. Really.


Right, so, the cookies have been exchanged and seem to have gone over well. The cookies I've received are now in the fridge waiting for Cathy's return. Except for the "Kill Cathy" varieties containing nuts. I'm such a good husband, willingly eating all those cookies that could kill her.

Speaking of which, I think I'll go have a cookie right now...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Apparently, I am unhip

I like to think I’m relatively up-to-date on pop culture and music related things. After all, I did write a pop culture column with The Express. And lord knows I’ve talked enough about music on this blog. But I heard that Rolling Stone had released their 100 best songs of 2006 so I swung over to see what the list looked like, figuring I would nod in agreement with some disagree with others and there would be a few I simply wouldn’t recognize.

Of the Top 10, there are three songs I’ve heard. Three! I’ve heard “Steady as she goes” by The Reconteurs, “Thunder on the Mountain” by Bob Dylan and “Oh la la” by Goldfrapp. I can’t really count “Ridin” by Chamillionaire because I haven’t heard it, only the spoof “White and Nerdy” by Weird Al.

This is what happens when I stop listening to radio. I’m trying to console myself that this is Rolling Stone and of course they’re going to pick some weird and obscure indy stuff to show how cool and hip they are. But man, I would have thought I’d at least heard the #1 song. Or heard of some of the rest of the Top 10. And it only gets more depressing the further you go down the rest of the Top 100. All told there are 22 songs on that list I’ve heard this year. And some of them only in passing. I only know a handful pretty well.

Their top 50 albums is a little better. Of those I own, or have owned, 13 of them. So that’s 26 per cent instead of the 22 per cent for songs. Although two of those records – The Dixie Chick and Cat Power – have since been purged as I didn’t care for them.

I fear I am no longer hip and aware of what the kids are listening to these days. Perhaps on the advent of my 37th birthday, this is not a shock. But still, it’s a touch depressing.

Then again, I’ll need something to do this weekend once Cathy heads home. I suspect I’m going to go on a little downloading spree to see what some of these songs sound like. That way I can see if I’m just missing out or if Rolling Stone is on drugs. Probably a little of both, I suspect.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

One week

As a side note to a previous message about weather, it’s going to be fascinating to see what happens when I get home in one weeks. I’ve known people who have moved to Newfoundland after living in the arctic and they swear they can handle the very cold, but very dry, temperatures up here better than what Newfoundland offers. St. John’s gives you just below 0, but with sharp winds filled with moisture that can slice through the best of winter gear. The damp gets into your bones and settles there.

Newfoundlanders also frequently tend to be, well, macho and stupid about how we dress for winter. “It’s only a bit of cold. What are you getting dressed up for?”

So if I were to wear my arctic clothing home – heavy coat rated to -70 and boots rated to -100 – I would be laughed out of town. Not to mention I don’t know how well they would handle the damp cold. Plus you tend to break out in a sweat wearing these things once the temperatures goes warmer than -20.

So for the return trip home I’ll be wearing the fall coat I got recently, a fleece underneath it and my hiking boots. I’ll bring a light pair of gloves, probably a stocking hat and maybe a scarf (Although I am considering buying one of these hats when I get home. Comments?). That should probably do. But I will be curious to see if in January I get home and find that -30 in Iqaluit is much more preferable to -5 in St. John’s.

There was some talk back a few months ago about Newfoundland bloggers getting together for a drink during the holidays. I appreciate that most Newfoundland bloggers can get together whenever they want, but the theory being that a few of us who are in exile will be home for the holidays and the gathering will be larger.

I think there was also some mention about ex-Expressers getting together for a drink as well. I should send out some e-mails. Or if you happen to be one reading the blog, drop me a line.

Anyway, the theory seemed to be that things might be less insane for people in the gap week between Christmas and New Years. The dates being rattled around are between Dec. 27 and 30. If people are still interested in getting together for a drink, let me know if those dates are good and where is preferable. I tend to always pick the Duke, but that’s me. If there is another place that preferable, feel free to suggest it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shadow dancing

It’s funny, I was watching TV Saturday night and The Shadow came on. I’ve always liked the character, but I’m hardly a devout fan. I nearly bought the complete radio series featuring Orson Wells a few years back. Kind of regret passing it up, actually. And I have a run of the series that DC did about 20 years ago when they went completely demented with the character. It’s a hell of a lot of fun, but the people who owned the copyright were horrified and the series end in the middle of a story arc when the rights were pulled.

If I recall, the newly resurrected Shadow was beginning to fight crime with his sons using a cyborg body. So yeah, a bit of straying from its pulp origins.

Anyway, I liked the Alec Baldwin movie, even though I understand why so many didn’t. Same reason I liked Constantine, but understand why so many didn’t. It’s fun on its own, but not exactly true to the character. Plus, there are some things that are

So the movie is fun enough. The special effects still hold pretty well, the bad guy is nice and villainous and, well, I had a pretty severe weakness for Penelope Ann Miller at that time that had nothing to do with her fairly limited acting ability. But I figured since the movie flopped at the time the odds of ever seeing the character back on screen, even in these days of almost anything comic related making it to the screen, were slim.

But lo and behold, I might be wrong. And hey, if you have to get someone involved with the project, Sam Raimi is not a bad guy to have, what with him having directed Spider-Man and all. Get a good enough script and I think this could be a fun film.

Some people keep wondering when the trend of comic books to movies is going to end. No time soon, I think. There’s so much wonderful source material out there. And yeah, you can only plunder Batman, Spider-Man and the X-Men for so long. But as long as you can keep making movies like Sin City, V For Vendetta, 300, or Hellboy and they make a profit, then the movies are going to keep coming (there was some talk of a direct to DVD sequel to V For Vendetta – I pray that is an evil, unfounded rumour).

So we might see a Shadow movie in a few years. Who knows?

“The Shadow knows!” Ahahahahahahahahaha!

Cough. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Forest for the trees

Christmas trees are for sale right now around town. One of the ironies is that in a place this close to the North Pole and this cold is that there are no naturally growing trees (well, there’s that one guy in town that’s been growing a pine tree or something for the past 15 years and I’m still taller than it) which means if you want a real Christmas tree, they have to be flown in.

Perhaps it's because I’m from a place where you can still theoretically go into the woods and cut your own damn Christmas tree, but there is something about flying in trees from down south that strikes me as weird. Not that we would be buying one anyway for several very good reasons. First, we’re not going to be here. Cathy is on the Great Teacher Exodus Flight on Dec. 15. No kidding, classes end at noon on that Friday. There’s a First Air flight out at 1 p.m. If there is somebody on that plane who isn’t a teacher or related to one, it will be a miracle. They will likely all be hammered by the time they reach Ottawa three hours later.

Anyway, Cathy’s gone on the 15th, I’m gone on the 20th. We’re back on the 2nd (We’re in a secure building and have a housesitter in case you’re reading this and thinking about breaking in) So aside from some lights up in the window, there will be no sense in putting up much in the way of decorations. We’re not going to be here for most of the holidays.

Also, Cathy is allergic to trees. Yeah, one of those things. She loves real Christmas trees and each year threatens to tough it out anyway. But no.

Finally, I have no earthly idea where we would put it in the apartment. We would have to hang the couch out the window to make room for a tree in the living room. I’m not kidding when I say it’s a small apartment.

So yeah, no tree, no place to put up all those decorations we’ve acquired over the years. I would say there’s always next year, but we might be going to Costa Rica for Christmas in 2007. So we’ll see.

At any rate, if you want to buy a real, imported from the south Christmas tree in Iqaluit this year, providing you can find one since they go pretty fast, is about $85, Think about that the next time you head to mall parking lot in the next week or so and grumble at paying $30 for a tree.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Complaints department

Here’s one of the things about living in Iqaluit...I can’t complain about the little things that occasionally bug me about the north.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can still bitch and moan like nobody’s business. I excel at it. But I am now part of a small, but nice, northern blogging community. I visit their blogs, some of them come here. It’s quite nice.

But I can’t complain about things. For example, it’s gotten cold this week in Iqaluit. Not that unusual, it’s December near the Arctic Circle. It should be cold. It’s about time it was cold. Hell, we’ve been warmer than Edmonton in recent weeks. But for awhile last week, it’s dropped down to around -25 with wind chill rattling things around -40 on a couple of occasions. It’s our first time dealing with temperatures this cold in about seven months. So a little “fuck it’s cold” would not be inappropriate, especially since the starter in our car froze last week (with an able assist from building management who have finally turned on the electricity for the car plug-in slots. They ignored me so my wife went to have a chat. Voila. Fixed in a few hours. She used the teacher voice. It always works).

People in Newfoundland read -40 and go “Holy shit, that’s cold.” Someone in Rankin Inlet is going to read that and laugh. “What are you bitching about? It was -40 this week before the wind chill.”

I could complain about the food prices and selection and people down south would agree. “$10 for a honeydew? Wow!” Except that Iqaluit has the best selection and prices in Nunavut. Someone in Igloolik would murder to have what we do in town. “I dream of being able to buy a honeydew.”

Same thing with the amount of daylight. The shortest day of the year is a scant 10 days away. At that point we have about 4.5 hours of direct sunlight (sunrise today is 9:09 am. Sunset is 1:45 pm) and probably six hours total of daylight. Again, harsh if you’re down south. Some people can’t handle that little daylight. Then again, in Arctic Bay, if they get an hour or so of the horizon lightening up, they’re happy. Only another six weeks or so until they see the sun again!

So yeah, it’s hard to complain. Kind of frustrating, really. I’ll just have to try harder to find things to complain about in the entertaining manner to which my friends have become accustomed to.

Oh, one last thing...I've discovered recently that when feeling the urge to bitch and moan, or a touch down, that what cheers me up is the new Me First and the Gimmie Gimmmies CD called "Loves their Country." Twenty-eight minutes of punk rock covers of country songs, especially "Eastbound and Down" the theme song from Smokey and the Bandit. Man, if that song doesn't put a smile on your face, there is no hope.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Avert your eyes

This post continues pictures of Boo. I recently grumbled about being subjected to pictures of new parents kids and people called me in on it, so this is your heads up that there will be pictures of the dog coming up as you scroll down the page. Feel free to flee this blog now.

Seriously, pictures are forthcoming. If you keep going down, you can't blame me for subjecting you to pictures of the dog.

Last warning...


Boo checking out the sunset. Just for the record, this was taken around 1 p.m.

Boo and his red coat. This helps to keep him warm. The temperature when the photo was taken was around -20, but with no wind. We're thinking about getting him a warmer coat when we're home. We also have to get him some boots as the ones we have are too slippery.

Cathy walking Boo. This is on the Road to Nowhere, which goes out from Iqaluit to, well, guess where...

It's funny as I type this we're watching the highlights of the St. John's Santa Claus parade on NTV. Why? Because Cathy loves the parade. Every year she's in town she's in attendance. Anyway, Saturday was the Iqaluit Santa Claus parade and we got home from walking the dog just ahead of it. I don't have any pictures because it zipped by that fast (that and the camera was steamed up after taking photos outside). It went by our apartment in less than five minutes and had maybe two floats, several cars, lots of RCMP and fire trucks, Polar Man (more on him another time) and Santa Claus.

Then again, when it's -20 you don't exactly take you time walking in the Santa Claus parade.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Spartan goodness

I'll be damned if every single trailer for 300 hasn't looked better than the last. March 8 is circled on the calendar. Hopefully it makes it up here opening weekend.

Go here to see the latest trailer.

One heart attack, coming up.

My sense of humour has changed over time. Which is a fairly obvious statement, but one that I think is useful to remember. Or perhaps I've loosened up a bit. When I was in university, especially when with the Muse, anything vaguely sexist was not funny. It was to be quickly condemned, no matter what it was. I'm not sure if Hooters came into existence during my time with the paper, but if it did, I'm certain there were members of the staff that wanted to firebomb it. Or at least loudly protest.

But see, and I might get some flack on this, there are things which are obviously sexist but that I still get amusement out of. Let's take this story for example. Basically, a restaurant in Phoenix has decided to go with a medical theme for their restaurant that also happens to feature waitresses dressed as naughty "nurses". Real nurses in Arizona are upset and threatening legal action against the restaurant's owner, saying he's demeaning their profession. He's saying for God's sake, get a sense of humour.

For the most I'm siding with him. Sure I would have liked him to have come up with a better theme for a restaurant, but this is not the end of the world. Nor do I think people are now going to think less of nurses and the way they do their job because of some scantily-clad women in nurse outfits.

But then I visited The Heart Attack Grill website because I was curious after reading the story. If anything, people ought to be upset with American's continued determination to make certain each and everyone of them can have a heart attack, given what he has on his menu.

But hey, it's clever, funny stuff. The burgers are called either a single, double, triple or quadruple bypass. I mean, look at one of these damn things.

And the best part with the burger is that they offer wheelchair service to your car if you get the triple of quadruple bypass burgers. The "flatliner" fries are proudly cooked in lard. They advertise what cigarettes you can have with your meal. It's about as unhealthy a restaurant as I've seen in quite some time. But that seems to be a trend in America these days. "We're unhealthy. We're very proud of that. If you want food that's good for you, don't come here. We're trying to kill you. But you'll like the food as you croke."

And hell, it appears to be working.

So yeah, people aren't upset about a menu designed to make you fat, unhealthy and eventually kill you. They're upset about the sexy nurses. sigh

But hell, I still think it's funny.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bring on the cold

A unique Christmas tradition of sorts happens today in Iqaluit. Well, Christmas shopping tradition. Northmart is having its annual temperature drop sale. It works pretty simple – however cold it is out, that’s how much of a discount you get. They check every two hours and they don’t count wind chill. Last year, for example, I think we got 24 per cent off of some items. There are restrictions, of course, (I’m looking at the ad right now and trying to figure out what isn’t restricted, actually). So this is the one day of the year that people are really, really hoping for cold temperatures.

Forecase for today? Sunny, with a high of -15 and a low of -21. Not bad, but not great. A few deals to be had, perhaps. Not that we need much or, to be honest, could fit much more in this apartment.

You know, as an aside, I’m reading the “high of -15” and having a small flashback to a Newfoundland music award ceremony that Andrew Younghusband (he of “Canada’s Worst Driver” fame) hosted a few years back. Younghusband was talking about how he and his South African girlfriend had settled into Cavendish (a small community about an hour outside of St. John's, for those of you not in the know) and one winter morning he was awoken by his girlfriend screaming at the clock radio that had just gone off. I’m paraphrasing from memory here.

“There’s no such thing as a high of -2! Why don’t they just say it’s going to be a low of -2 and it’s going to get even fucking lower as the day progresses until we all freeze to death!”

So yeah, she wasn’t handling the cold well. Then again, I know the feeling. I check Environment Canada’s website some mornings and yell out “good news, honey. The high is -19 today” and I can hear the low groan coming from wherever Cathy is in the apartment.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Not Percy!

Alas, poor Percy. I knew him, Horatio. A man of infinite….well, bullshit it felt like most of the time. But I did cover him for the three years I was in Clarenville with The Packet. Others have covered or dealt with him for longer periods of time than I and know him better. But let’s just say that when the Auditor General outed him the other day, my first reaction was not to collapse to floor in shock.

(For those not in the know, Percy Barrett is a former Liberal cabinet minister, now in Opposition, from the district of Bellevue in Newfoundland. He's also been accused of claiming more than $100,000 in his constituency allowance than he was legally entitled to over a period of about five years)

I don’t know, maybe it’s something about Bellevue. I liked the area. It’s very scenic and the people were mostly friendly (except Southern Harbour, which was always a weird place to visit) whenever it emerges from the fog. But I doubt there are many people around Arnold’s Cove or Sunnyside going “Not Percy! Jesus, we never saw that one coming” today.

The scary thing is, if Percy runs in the next election, I honestly think he might get elected. It’s not so much his brilliance as a MHA, but more to do with the fact that Bellevue is one of those last, lingering districts where the quality of the candidate or which party has the best chance of forming the government.

“Bellevue would vote for a dog if it wore a Liberal button” a wise friend once told me.

Percy is denying any wrong doing, of course. And he may be right. It’s the one thing about these allegations that is almost making me feel sorry for those involved. They’ve be hung out to dry for months and months with everyone basically believing they cheated taxpayers out of more than a million dollars and the only defence they can offer, because I think they’ve all lawyered up, is “I didn’t do it.” It is a touch unfair.

Having said that, I am pissed off with Ed Byrne. I’ve said before I don’t like by-elections. Most of them are held for what I consider to be unnecessary reasons. Such as running in a federal election or wanting to spend more time with the family. Whatever. You were elected, tough it out.

I’m sorry it’s hard for Ed. He’s been hit the hardest in this scandal and maybe it’s unfair. But he’s not been found guilty of anything yet. Plus, the next provincial election is less than a year away. I know why he’s quitting now – to try and give the party a chance to win the seat in a by-election rather than have to deal with it during the provincial election. Still, it’s a waste of taxpayers money on ego and political strategy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. A by-election costs around $75,000. Unless it’s for death or a medical emergency, then the party abdicating the seat ought to pay for a portion of the costs. It’s too bad that Ed can’t tough it out. That doesn’t mean we should have spend unnecessary money on a politician. Again.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bottom feeders

I mentioned the surreality of story on George Clooney’s pig the other day.this story also amuses me for some reasons. Basically a company that sells the photos that paparazzi take is suing a gossip website for copyright infringement. I’ll let those far wiser in the ways of copyright law say whether or not the gossip site has a change in hell of defending itself because I don’t see one. It looks like they have him pretty well dead to rights.

But still, a paparazzi company suing a gossip site. It’s like watching bottom feeders trying to eat each other. You almost wish the two would eat each other. It would probably make the world a better place.

Fine idea, but...

Figures, now that I’m not trying to crank out 2,000 words a day on the novel I now have an abundance of blog ideas. I will get back to the book, I promise. But the feeling I have right now when not writing it is similar to the one I have when I’m not banging my head against a concrete wall.

Anyway, this CBC story on impending legislation regulating flea markets caught my eye. I did a series of stories a couple of years ago about flea markets in the St. John’s area Many were selling junk, but many were also places for stolen goods to be sold. The Avalon Mall flea market was notorious for it years ago. However, they cleaned up their act when the mall threatened to close them down. It’s now run with a much tighter fist. I’m not saying there are no stolen items there, but it’s certainly not blatantly obvious like it was years ago.

I’m obviously a bit out of touch, so I don’t know where all the flea markets are these days. There was one that operated in Mount Pearl that shut down shortly after I did a story about it. It wasn’t exactly a crack piece of journalism. All that was required was to ask how vendors could be selling a dozen copies of a DVD that had just come out that week for about 50 per cent what they were being sold for at Wal-Mart. Same thing with cologne, razor blades and other toiletries. The people running the market shut it down rather than go through the hassle of trying to enforce things.

I also know there was one in CBS, but that operated only during the summer months since it was outdoors. But there was certainly no shortage of suspicious items there either.

Which is the problem. And which is going to be the problem, I suspect, even after this new legislation is passed. How can you tell something is stolen? Sure it might look awfully suspicious, but you can’t know for sure. And asking for receipts might be a slight deterrence, but that’s it. Because very few people keep receipts.

If I went to the flea market to sell my comics and a cop asked me to see receipts for all of them, I would break out laughing. Same thing with DVDs. I might hold onto them for a month, just in case there is a problem and the item needs to go back, but that’s it. It would be almost impossible in a court of law to prove that the items on a flea market table were stolen unless the people were very stupid.

Which is possible, but not likely. They’re not the brightest tools in the shed, but there’s no denying most of them are fairly cunning and brazen. I pity in-store security these days. I did some of it years ago when I worked retail. The rule was if you lost sight of them for a second, you couldn’t hold them because in that second they might have ditched it. And trust me, most of the shoplifting rings know the rules. The leave town when things get too hot and head out to Clarenville or Gander for a spree.

They know what to take, how to avoid being caught, how to distract people and what places to hit.

My mom works as a cosmetician at Shopper’ Drug Mart. Despite security cameras, extra staff, locking up the expensive colognes and other measures, they still lose thousands at this time of the year in shoplifting. I’m convinced that either she or the store manager is going to snap and kill one of them one of these days.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on enforcement for flea markets. The police do not care. Low priority because of the resources they have.

So the legislation is a good idea, but I don’t know if it will work. And like all things, if there is no money to put some teeth into it, then it’s just more paper collecting dust.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's a slow news day

It's a slow news day, folks. How do I know? Because one of the headlines on CNN is that George Clooney's pet potbelly pig, Max, has died. "Natural causes" was listed as the reason the pig died.

Oh look, a picture of George and Max in happier times.

I honestly don't know why I'm doing a blog on this, but there is just something completely mentally retarded that CNN, along with dozens of other entertainment media are reporting the death of Goerge Clooney's pet pig. Certainly one for the clip files if you're an entertainment reporter. "Well, I did this moving piece on the death of George Clooney's pig..."

Actually, now that I think on it, most major media outlets routinely have obits ready in case someone famous dies suddenly, so they can release them quickly. Do you think some poor bastard had to have one ready for Max? And exactly how far down the totem pole are you in a media agency if you're reporting on the death of a celebrity pig?

Yes, I'm losing my mind. I'm also testing to see whether or not Google docs works in posting something to blogger.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Did somebody say crazy?

I have a ritual when I get up in the morning. I stagger into the shower, get cleansed, get dressed, grab some breakfast and then plunk myself down in front of the computer. The first site I check is the local weather to see exactly how freezing ass cold it is outside.

The second is For Better Or For Worse. There are many comic strips that I like and that I try to catch. But this is part of the morning ritual now. And I've read the strip for years and years. It's like a soap opera now, which makes it hard to give up.

Anyway, I imagine there were plenty of people like me that read the strip every morning and care about the characters. But I did something I rarely do....I underestimated the level of craziness in the fan base.

Understand, I read comic books and I like science fiction. We're talking about two highly demented sections of fandom. To give you an example, a guy by the name of Steve Wacker left DC comics and moved to Marvel. Fandom went batshit for weeks, calling him a traitor and everything under the sun.

And what does Mr. Wacker do? Is he a writer? An artist?

No, he's an editor. Venom and bile and massive freaking the fuck out over an editor switching companies.

That's fandom. It's fun and all, but let us realize we are frequently dealing with the marginally sane. But For Better or For Worse is such a...mild comic strip. I like it, it's fun. But I never expected nutjobs and fanatics because it is so harmless.

Boy did I learn. First, I read this comic book gossip column and learned there was something weird going on. Then I reread the strip in question. Pretty much what I recalled - that Lynn Johnston was setting up Liz to end up with Anthony before the strip ends in the next year or two. No big deal, I thought.

Now, go and read this. Not all of it. You might go mad. The first page will do. Then come on back. I'll still be here.


Right, so, if you're looking for a group of escaped mental patients, there you go. All in one convenient spot for the guys carrying the fitted white jackets. I think I can safely say that might be the most concentrated dose of fan craziness I've seen this year. Which is a fairly impressive statement.

I only hope to God that Lynn is the Fan Protection Program or something. Because some of these people might be coming for her.

New leader

So I'm not exactly quick off the mark on this one and I'm sure half the bloggers in Canada have probably already commented, but I like the choice of Stephane Dion as the next Liberal leader. Although it was hardly a shocker. You could see him coming from a mile away.

I find him an interesting choice, but not for the reasons I heard many people talking about on CBC. It isn't over his strong federalist beliefs and how they will play in Quebec. And it isn't over the quality of his English, which after 10 years of Chretien is an idiotic argument.

No, the thing that interests me most is that out of the four men (and really, all four were very qualified to take over the leadership. The worst that can be said about the race is that it's a pity there wasn't a woman who had a better shot.) he was the one who was obviously the most pro-environment. And that the Liberals perhaps sensed something that I have for awhile now. That Canadians are ready to make the environment one of their top concerns.

The environment has never been a real issue in an election. Always a minor issue behind more important ones such as the economy, education and health care. But I guess it says something when most Canadians appear to be pretty happy with those three issues right now. They're hardly fixed and perfect, but they're not screaming for attention either.

But what does appear broken is how environmental issues are being handled. You know they are if they're giving a fringe party like the Greens a serious look. Coming in at six per cent in the last poll I saw. Ironically, I suspect those in the environmental movement probably owe some thanks to the Conservatives for that. The Liberals for years have muddled environmental issues. Putting some money and talking some talk, but nothing seemed to get done.

Now that Conservatives have come in and cleared things up. They've introduced a plan that is almost universally hated. Canada's environmental stand is being ridiculed internationally. And if there is one thing that Canadians tend to dislike, it is being mocked on the international stage. Plus I think there is a feeling that something needs to be done now. There is a sense of urgency, which has never really been there before.

So right now there is this moment...and it it might be gone before an election can be held next Spring...where Canadians clearly want leadership and ideas on environmental issues. They are also probably more willing to accept new legislation and ideas to protect the environment than they have ever been. They just want someone competent and not scary (which the Greens can be sometimes) to lead them there.

Which is one of the big reasons why Dion won. Of all the leadership contenders, Dion was seen as the one who would actually do something on the environment.

That's not to say that Dion is a lock to get elected. After spending most of 2006 in a shadow war, the real thing will get going in the new year. It'll be interesting to see how Prime Minister Harper and Dion match up. And I guess we'll see soon enough how serious Canadians are about the environment as well.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cathy's list

And now, Cathy's list from 1995. You may notice the following things: she hated less than I did, liked more than I did and we both couldn't remember vast swaths of the bands that released singles that year.

1. Gangsta's Paradise, Coolio
2. Waterfalls, TLC
3. Creep, TLC
4. Kiss From A Rose, Seal
5. On Bended Knee, Boyz II Men
6. Another Night, Real McCoy
7. Fantasy, Mariah Carey
8. Take A Bow, Madonna
9. Don't Take It Personal (Just One Of Dem Days), Monica
10. This Is How We Do It, Montell Jordan
11. I Know, Dionne Farris
12. Water Runs Dry, Boyz II Men
13. Freak Like Me, Adina Howard
14. Run-Around, Blues Traveler
15. I Can Love You Like That, All-4-One
16. Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman?, Bryan Adams
17. Always, Bon Jovi
18. Boombastic / In The Summertime, Shaggy
19. Total Eclipse Of The Heart, Nicki French
20. You Gotta Be, Des'ree
21. You Are Not Alone, Michael Jackson
22. Hold My Hand, Hootie and The Blowfish
23. One More Chance-Stay With Me, Notorious B.I.G.
24. Here Comes The Hotstepper, Ini Kamoze
25. Candy Rain, Soul For Real
26. Let Her, w Hootie and The Blowfish
27. I Believe, Blessid Union Of Souls
28. Red Light Special, TLC
29. Runaway, Janet Jackson
30. Strong Enough, Sheryl Crow
31. Colors Of The Wind, Vanessa Williams
32. Someone To Love, Jon B.
33. Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and The Blowfish
34. If You Love Me, Brownstone
35. In The House Of Stone And Light, Martin Page
36. I Got 5 On It, Luniz
37. Baby, Brandy
38. Run Away, Real McCoy
39. As I Lay Me Down, Sophie B. Hawkins
40. He's Mine, Mokenstef
41. December, Collective Soul
42. I'll Be There For You-You're All I Need To Get By, Method Man-Mary J. Blige
43. Shy Guy, Diana King
44. I'm The Only One, Melissa Etheridge
45. Every Little Thing I Do, Soul For Real
46. Before I Let You Go, BLACKstreet
47. Big Poppa / Warning, Notorious B.I.G.
48. Sukiyaki, 4 P.M.
49. I Wanna Be Down, Brandy
50. I'll Make Love To You, Boyz II Men
51. Dear Mama / Old School, 2Pac
52. Hold On, Jamie Walters
53. Keep Their Heads Ringin', Dr. Dre
54. The Rhythm Of The Night, Corona
55. Roll To Me, Del Amitri
56. Scream / Childhood, Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson
57. Freek'n You, Jodeci
58. I Wish, Skee-lo
59. Believe, Elton John
60. Carnival, Natalie Merchant
61. You Don't Know How It Feels, Tom Petty
62. Back For Good, Take That
63. Tootsee Roll, 69 Boyz
64. You Want This-70's Love Groove, Janet Jackson
65. Tell Me, Groove Theory
66. Can't You See, Total
67. All I Wanna Do, Sheryl Crow
68. This Lil' Game We Play, Subway
69. Come And Get Your Love, Real McCoy
70. This Ain't A Love Song, Bon Jovi
71. Secret, Madonna
72. Player's Anthem, Junior M.A.F.I.A.
73. Feel Me Flow, Naughty By Nature
74. Every Day Of The Week, Jade
75. The Sweetest Days, Vanessa Williams
76. Short Dick Man, 20 Fingers Featuring Gillette
77. Brokenhearted, Brandy
78. No More "I Love You's", Annie Lennox
79. You Used To Love Me, Faith Evans
80. Constantly, Immature
81. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me, U2
82. 100% Pure Love, Crystal Waters
83. Ask Of You, Raphael Saadiq
84. Sugar Hill, Az
85. Good, Better Than Ezra
86. Brown Sugar, D'angelo
87. Turn The Beat Around, Gloria Estefan
88. 'Til You Do Me Right, After 7
89. 1st Of Tha Month, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
90. Like The Way I Do If I Wanted To, Melissa Etheridge
91. I Live My Life For You, Firehouse
92. Dream About You-Funky Melody, Stevie B
93. Cotton Eye Joe, Rednex
94. Thank You, Boyz II Men
95. I'll Stand By You, Pretenders
96. I Miss You, N II U
97. Give It 2 You, Da Brat
98. Best Friend, Brandy
99. Misery, Soul Asylum
100. Can't Stop Lovin' You, Van Halen

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A grim year

I read this post over on Skylard's blog and knew that when I checked out the year I graduated from high school the results were going to be horrific. And I certainly wasn't disappointed. What a dismal year - George Michael, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley and Whitney Houston to name just a few. Oddly, that year appears to have also been the high water mark in all their careers. It was a horrific freefall for all of them after '88.

The premise of this meme is simple. Take a look at the Top 100 songs of the year you graduated high school. Bold the songs you liked, or like now, and put a stroke through the ones you hate. If you're couldn't care less or can't even remember the song, then leave it alone. Go here if you want to track down your year was like.

You may notice the abundance of hate in my list. There are songs there that I still like, but only one that I still deeply love - #76 in case you're wondering. Oh, and for those of you curious, we'll up the list from the year Cathy graduated tomorrow.

1. Faith, George Michael
2. Need You Tonight, INXS
3. Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison
4. Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley
5. Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N' Roses
6. So Emotional, Whitney Houston
7. Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Belinda Carlisle
8. Could've Been, Tiffany
9. Hands To Heaven, Breathe
10. Roll With It, Steve Winwood
11. One More Try, George Michael
12. Wishing Well, Terence Trent d'Arby
13. Anything For You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
14. The Flame, Cheap Trick
15. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, Billy Ocean
16. Seasons Change, Expose
17. Is This Love, Whitesnake
18. Wild, Wild West, Escape Club
19. Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard
20. I'll Always Love You, Taylor Dayne
21. Man In The Mirror, Michael Jackson
22. Shake Your Love, Debbie Gibson
23. Simply Irresistible, Robert Palmer
24. Hold On To The Nights, Richard Marx
25. Hungry Eyes, Eric Carnen
26. Shattered Dreams, Johnny Hates Jazz
27. Father Figure, George Michael
28. Naught Girls (Need Love Too), Samantha Fox
29. A Groovy Kind Of Love, Phil Collins
30. Love Bites, Def Leppard
31. Endless Summer Nights, Richard Marx
32. Foolish Beat, Debbie Gibson
33. Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Whitney Houston
34. Angel, Aerosmith
35. Hazy Shade Of Winter, Bangles
36. The Way You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson
37. Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
38. Make Me Lose Control, Eric Carnen
39. Red Red Wine, UB40
40. She's Like The Wind, Patric Swayze
41. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi
42. Kokomo, Beach Boys
43. I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That, Elton John
44. Together Forever, Rick Astley
45. Monkey, George Michael
46. Devil Inside, INXS
47. Should've Known Better, Richard Marx
48. I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love, Chicago
49. The Loco-Motion, Kylie Minogue
50. What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
51. Make It Real, Jets
52. What's On Your Mind, Information Society
53. Tell It To My Heart, Taylor Dayne
54. Out Of The Blue, Debbie Gibson
55. Don't You Want Me, Jody Watley
56. Desire, U2
57. I Get Weak, Belinda Carlisle
58. Sign Your Name, Terence Trent d'Arby
59. I Want To Be Your Man, Roger
60. Girlfriend, Pebbles
61. Dirty Diana, Michael Jackson
62. 1-2-3, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
63. Mercedes Boy, Pebbles
64. Perfect World, Huey Lewis and the News
65. New Sensation, INXS
66. Catch Me (I'm Falling), Pretty Poison
67. If It Isn't Love, New Edition
68. Rocket 2 U, Jets
69. One Good Woman, Peter Cetera
70. Don't Be Cruel, Cheap Trick
71. Candle In The Wind, Elton John
72. Everything Your Heart Desires, Daryl Hall and John Oates
73. Say You Will , Foreigner
74. I Want Her, Keith Sweat
75. Pink Cadillac, Natalie Cole
76. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
77. Electric Blue, Icehouse
78. The Valley Road, Bruce Hornsby and The Range
79. Don't Be Cruel, Bobby Brown
80. Always On My Mind, Pet Shop Boys
81. Piano In The Dark, Brenda Russell Featuring Joe Esposito
82. When It's Love, Van Halen
83. Don't Shed A Tear, Paul Carrack
84. We'll Be Together, Sting
85. I Hate Myself For Loving You, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
86. I Don't Want To Live Without You, Foreigner
87. Nite And Day, Al B. Sure
88. Don't You Know What The Night Can Do, Steve Winwood
89. One Moment In Time, Whitney Houston
90. Can't Stay Away From You, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
91. Kissing A Fool, George Michael
92. Cherry Bomb, John Cougar Mellancamp
93. I Still Believe, Brenda K. Starr
94. I Found Someone, Cher
95. Never Tear Us Apart, INXS
96. Valerie, Steve Windwood
97. Just Like Paradise, David Lee Roth
98. Nothin' But A Good Time, Poison
99. Wait, White Lion
100. Prove Your Love, Taylor Dayne

Friday, December 01, 2006


So I went over the top last night. In a fashion that will surprise no one who has ever been my editor, I was well ahead on the project (at one point I was more than two days ahead of where I needed to be), but ended up getting the final section I needed to crack 50,000 finished and posted at 10:30 last night, a mere 90 minutes before deadline.

As I said, that's not the end of the story. There's still more to come, including that ending I don't really have worked out yet. But a surprising amount of the story came to me while I was sitting in front of the computer. So who knows, maybe the ending will come to me in a similar fashion. And yeah, I'll probably keep posting sections up on the blog for the three of you actually reading it. Just don't expect it every day. I have an assignment due in a week in my online course.

By the way, thanks to everyone who participated, specifically Dups and OM. I know how hectic their lives are so the fact they even attempted this was brave on their parts. They hey didn't hit 50,000, but they got started. Next year, who knows. And regardless, they always kept me motivated, just on the off-chance one of them would show up and plunk down 20,000 words in one shot. So thanks for the motivation guys.

And for those who expressed interest, but didn't get anywhere, well, I'll try and be better organized next year. And don't worry, this was at least my fourth try and the first time I got more than 3,000 words written.

Oh yeah, next time. I think I might have another go at this next year (that sound is Cathy banging her head off a wall). It

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"By the pricking of my thumbs...

Ah my coven. You know, I'm sure there are several women that could make up the three in a coven but Colette, Mireille and OM would be a pretty solid three. They also nicely sum up the disaster that was my dating/sex life in between 1994-2001 in the most recent comments section.

Here are three intelligent, fun, attractive women. During that period of time we were all close friends. Two of them were single during that time. Yet, there was zero chance of anything happening. There are any number of reasons why that was probably so, but those comments probably sum it up as well as anything.

The mere thought of me writing a sex scene fills them with massive "Heebie jeebies." So the actual act would probably be enough to send them off to a nunnery scrubbing floors or something. That's the case now, and I suspect it's not a sudden, new discovery on their part. I imagine it's been around for, oh, 10 years of so.

So that was me in the 90s. Yes, I'm an introvert (despite what you might think on the blog) so that makes meeting people a challenge. And yes, I've always sucked at dating. And I'm sure the three of them will chip in that people would be hard pressed to find someone more oblivious to the interests of members of the opposite sex than me.

But there was just something about their reaction that just made me flash back to that particularly horrific period in my life. And the fact that if I actually do keep writing, I'm going to write a sex scene sooner or later. Probably not this time, but sooner or later. Best to brace yourself for the mental possibility.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Towards the finish

For those of you reading my grand epic over here, and that would be all three of you, you may have noticed that there are now less than two days left and I have less than 2,500 words until I make the 50,000 word count. It got dicey a bit there on the weekend and for the first time i actually fell behind where I need to be. But I should be able to finish it, if for no other reason than OM will fly up here and smack me repeatedly in the head with her hand that has all the rings should I fail this close to the finish line. (Om has the gift of hitting me in the head in just the right way to assure I get a migraine. It's a real gift that I hope she shares with her husband).

What should also be obvious is that the story isn't going to wrap up in the next 2,500 words. It's going to take probably another 20,000 or more. So I have another deadline, and that's to get it finished before I head home for Christmas, which is December 20. So we'll see what happens.

However, since I still have all these words left, I've been trying to work out what plot points to include. One of them is whether or not to include a sex scene.

Family and friends are no doubt heading for the hills. Especially when you consider that the book has taken a slightly weird twist in the last 7,000 words or so. There's also this simple fact - that people tend to infer what they read on a book onto the author. Stephen King writes horror and no matter how many funny interviews people read about him, there's always going to be a large group that think he's kind of twisted. Christopher Moore writes some very funny books, ergo he's a funny guy. And so on.

The opposite is also true. If you try to write horror and it isn't scary, then you're not a very scary guy. Try to write comedy and suck, you're not very funny. And there are worse fates than not being very scary or funny.

But try and write a sex scene and it's crap....

So yeah, a touch nervous and reluctant to go in that direction. I've never tried that kind of writing before and I ought to, if for no other reason that this book is an extended writing exercise to figure out what areas of my writing need improvement (character development and scene setting are the two most obvious to me right now).

Still, as I'm rattling around the idea in my head of whether or not I should do it and if so, how is it going to work, that I didn't need to see this headline today.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How many?

Yes, I know. According to this story Vancouver is the land that doesn't "do" winter. But the following line is my favourite in the story.

"All 34 snow removal trucks were out working in Vancouver as crews tried to keep ahead of the slush and grime churned up by cars weaving their way through downtown streets."

Thirty-four. Are you kidding me? Thirty-freaking-four?

Iqaluit has about 8,000 people and I think we probably have close to half that amount. I don't know how many St. John's has, but I promise you it's more than that.

Thirty-four snow removal trucks for a city of two million people.

Yeah, that city is fucked for the rest of the week.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Let's feel sorry for Vancouver (or not)

So as just about everybody knows, Vancouver got nailed with a snowstorm yesterday. On the off-chance that you didn't, here's a short story. As might be expected in a place that likes to brag that they're out planting flowers in February, they're not handling this situation well. And as might be expected in a country that mocked Toronto for calling in the army when they had a bad blizzard, the out-pouring of sympathy has been...non-existent.

Normally there's a story I like to tell when Vancouver gets hit by snow like this. Alas, Dups beat me to it a couple of days ago, even before Vancouver got nailed. Dups has been some kind of eerie weather jinx the last week or so; lamenting how warm it was in Edmonton and then the temperature freefalls about 30C. He mentions snow in Vancouver and, voila! He is apparently some evil weather groundhog.

Kirsten, who is living in the land that God is apparently pissed with this month, says I should feel free to go ahead and laugh. And, you know, I did. However, Environment Canada is telling me that at 8:10 a.m. it is -22C outside with the windchill putting it down to closer to -35. So I probably shouldn't laugh too hard.

ALthough I do take some comfort that if Vancouver ever got cold like this there would likely be rioting in the streets and a mass exodus to Toronto.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Music, again

So the post I lost yesterday was on three records I was acquired and was going to listen to. One of them, The Decemberists' The Crane Wife, I still don't have a feel for the record yet. I only listened to it once. But I have a fondness for their last record, Picaresque and especially "The Mariner's Revenge Song" (which Switchpod is being cranky with, but go find it), one of the songs that makes you stop when you hear it and go, "What the hell am I listening to?", hit repeat to make sure you're hearing it and then fall in love with it. It's a spectacularly over-the-top song that should be ridiculous and not work, and yet is glorious. So if the new record has a gem like that on it (and nothing has jumped out at me yet, but it's only the first listen) then it will be well worth it.

The other think I spent a chunk of the day listening to was Tom Waits Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards. Just for the record, while I love Waits, three plus hours of his music is perhaps more than mortal man should really attempt. I haven't actually cared for the last several Waits records. The last one I liked was The Mule Variations from back in '99. And what with this record being a collection of stuff from soundtracks and things Waits dredged up from the vaults, I didn't have my hopes all that high.

But it's a pretty damn good set. There are things that don't work, of course. There are 50 odd songs here so some of them are going to stink. But there is some classic Waits' songs here. If you're a Waits fan then this is well worth picking up. If you're not, well, this is not going to do anything to solve the mystery of why people love a man who, as my wife likes to say, "sounds like a swallowed a goat."

(She's sitting next to me as I write this saying "I like the lyrics, but the man has more than just a frog in his throat, he has a goat.")

Anyway, my current favourite: Bottom of the World.

Finally, we have The Beatles "new" record Love. It's new in the sense that it's a mash-up record. The producers took Beatles songs and mixed and mashed them together. So you can take one song and add bits a pieces of a half dozen other Beatles songs into it.

It shouldn't work. It should be a mess. And, as you might expect, Beatles purists hate it. On the other hand, I really quite enjoy it. I like The Beatles a lot, but it's mostly background music at this point. You've heard the songs so often they hardly even register. So something that sounds like them, but then suddenly does something you don't expect, and makes you actually listen again is a good thing. Not everything works, but a lot of it does.

So I'm actually listening to The Beatles for the first time in years. This one is going into high rotation on the iPod.

Here's a sample of one of their songs: Strawberry Fields Forever.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


I had a post written up about music and whatnot, hit send and thought no more of it. And an hour or tow later I swing past the blog to notice it isn't there. Nor is it saved in draft form. Blogger just ate the damn thing.

Between that and all the problems I've had with Switchpod today, apparently I shouldn't be online. Only bad things can happen.

So yes, no words of wisdom on music or anything. Sorry, but I'm not in the mood to spend 30 minutes rewriting it. I'm having enough fun whacking my head against the wall trying to get the last 8,000 words I need to get the book up to 50,000 today.

Tune in tomorrow for something pithy and entertaining.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

So a day after gorging themselves on turkey and football (Cathy was horrified there was football on yesterday. "Is it Sunday and I missed the weekend? Because if it is I'm going to be pretty pissed off) Americans take to the malls to gorge themselves on another feast - sales.

In recent years this has become known as "Black Friday". The day when most stores offer big sales in the U.S. and a good chunk of its citizenry go batshit insane. I'm sure there will be no shortage of video today if you look at the American news of people crashing through doors, rushing around and generally acting like lunatics.

Others choose to mark the day by celebrating "Buy Nothing Day", where they encourage people to boycott crass commercialism and stay home. Basically, this is the day where most of America loses its mind, I should think.

It's also the official start to the Christmas season, although I suspect most of us have figured that out if you've gone into a store whatsoever.

It's also a month until Christmas, which means if the stereotype holds to form, many women are starting to seriously freak out that they don't have their shopping done. Meanwhile, most men are glancing at the calendar and figuring they have another good three weeks before they have to start worrying about it.

There's not too much worrying on the home front here. I've got something for mom, although no idea what to get dad. Myself and Cathy are going to exchange a stocking, but no real gifts, figuring that the roughly $6,000 were going to spend getting home, moving ourselves around once we get there, eating at lots of restaurants and other things, constitutes a pretty good Christmas gift.

I still have to get her a birthday gift, though. Her birthday is Christmas Eve. And I have no ideas. This ought to be fun.

So yeah, the next month ought to be fun. Ah well, at least I'll be home soon enough. Cathy is wired for it and can't wait. I'm still a little more reserved, but I can definitely feel some anticipation. It should be interesting to be back in Newfoundland after 16 months.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Where'd everybody go?

Man, I don't know if it's the American Thanksgiving, the fact that it's getting closer to the holidays and people don't have as much time to waste reading blogs or if I'm just getting boring, but my stats did a freefall. They dropped about about 20 per cent this week.

And yes, I'm a statcounter whore. I check about four times a day. I notice these things. It's a sickness and I probably need help.

You do run into challenges trying to post every day, though. Iqaluit, while it has many virtues, is not the most happening spot in all that land. And, let us be honest, neither am I. Although I did win a really excellent curling match last night. While that puts me in a good mood, it's not exactly huge news. The legislature is back in action, which is making work busier, but it's not anything I can talk about.

Also, I'm finding it difficult to comment on political items back home. I've been away for about 15 months now. I could comment before because between the media outlets, my own instincts and not being away too long, I generally could read between the lines and figure out what was happening.

Not so much now. It's a lot harder and I'm more reluctant to comment on things when I don't think I know them as well as I should. Hopefully some time back in Newfoundland will recharge the batteries.

And, of course, the book is sapping my will to go on. But I'm at nearly 40,000 words. Cathy is going to be out playing poker again Saturday for a few hours, so I might try and see if I can finish it off in one burst. Well, get to my 50,000 word count. I suspect the book is going to be closer to 70,000 in length.

Finally, a word to my American friends about Thanksgiving, which they are all celebrating today.

"'s time for English Thanksgiving, where we give thanks to our ancestors for throwing all the creepy religious types into boats and floating them off to a continent cursed by earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados." - Warren Ellis

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"We'll put it on for ya!"

So I was looking for a last name for a new character I just created in my novel. I had her originally coming from Maine because I figured if there was a part of the United States where the people might actually know the location of Newfoundland, it would likely be Maine. I had the first name (she just seems like a Janice), but I couldn’t think of what her last name would be.

I only have one tentative memory of Maine and that was when I first got cable television in the early 80s it came from there. For some reason, all the American channels (the whopping four of them at the time – ABC, NBC, CBS and PBS) came from there. I imagine the content of the stations would have been viewed as odd by most people, but of course in Newfoundland we had NTV. We just assumed at that time that everyone had a station run by mad people.

The shows I recall the most were All-Hit Videos (because this was the early 80s, before Much Music was available and the only reliable way to see the latest music videos was to stay up late on Saturdays and watch the show, which always ended with Herbie Handcock’s “Rock It.”) and “The Great Money Movie”, which was sometimes a movie, and sometimes old TV shows edited together in such a way that they killed two hours. And they always had theme weeks and, as the title says, they gave away money every day.

So I figured I would name my character after the guy who hosted the Great Money Movie. I just couldn’t recall his name. One quick Google search later and voila – Eddie Driscoll. It had been more than 20 years since I’d seen the show, so I wasn’t certain if he was still alive. Turns out he died in September. This is the obit that ran on CBC. As you can tell, he had quite the influence on people both in Maine and Atlantic Canada. He had been suffer from Alzheimer’s for the better part of the last 20 years, which is tragic.

Anyway, I now have Janice Driscoll which works as a name and as a small tribute to a man that brought me some small amusement while watching his bizarre movie choices and eating supper.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Entertainment bits

Some more entertainment highlights of recent days.

1. I mocked Daniel Craig for being the next James Bond like so many others. He was blonde, didn’t look the part and sounded like a bit of a wuss. Clearly Clive Owen would have been a better selection. Well, I’m man enough to offer up a mea culpa. Rotten Tomatoes is showing an astonishing 95% positive reviews for Casino Royale. It may end up one of the best reviewed movies of the year. I’m not saying it’s going to get nominated for Oscars, but that’s still impressive.

So is the box office. Nearly $41 million on an opening weekend with a basically unknown guy playing Bond is a very good start. Also, I read an article that says about 60% of the money a Bond film makes is overseas, so I suspect it’s going to do quite well. My rough guess is probably around $350 million worldwide. Oh, and for those of you who say move reviewers don’t matter, piss off. The glowing reviews for the movie in the weeks leading up to its release clearly impacted how many people went.

It’s not here yet, of course. I suspect I might end up seeing it back in St. John’s before it winds its way up here.

2. Is there any doubt anymore than Michael Jackson has become a Star Trek alien? And how much did he have to pay those kids to act happy around him when the sensible thing would be to have a severe arachnid reaction (the kind when you’re around something that is clearly not human and creeping you the fuck out). Terrifying.

3. Quite possible the stupidest bit of news you’ll read out of Hollywood this month. Peter Jackson has been told by New Line Cinemas that his services will not be needed while the company goes forward with The Hobbit and a Lord of the Rings prequel. Because you just know that’s going to work out well.

4. Studio 60 nailed it last night. There are many problems with the show, but one of them was of high expectations. Very few shows come out of the gates without severe growing pains, but considering how good the pilot was people expected Studio 60 to be perfect. Also contributing was Aaron Sorkin writing it. Everyone was expecting The West Wing all over again. The first season of the West Wing was a miracle the likes of which we will probably never see again on network TV. It barely missed a beat.

NBC is clearly giving it a chance by picking it up for the rest of the season. Hopefully more shows will be like this, where Sorkin has now figuring out what is working and what needs to go. It was funny and well written and Matthew Perry and Sarah Paulson are slowly creating one of the nicer romances on television.

5. Things are looking grim on The Amazing Race. With the Cho brothers falling last night (and really, they kind of deserved to go. They were nice, but they ran a terrible leg), there are four teams left. One is evil, two are severely annoying and one is pretty ok. So the odds are long for good triumphing.

The face of evil is two pretty cheerleaders, who are fairly blatant about their evil. The two annoying are the squabbling couple and the single moms for Alabama. Now, as much as two black single moms could certainly use the money, they’re not very likeable in the show. The ones to cheer for are two friends, who are models and recovering addicts. Not normally someone I would cheer for, but they seem nice, work well together and aren’t aggravating.

Still, the odds are stacked against good winning out. But I remain hopeful. Just so long as the cheerleaders don’t win. I think I might become sick.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


So I read about how Greenpeace is doing a pseudo South Park cartoon criticizing Canada for using trawlers despite increasing international pressure. So I was curious to see what it looked like. And not to be YouTube boy this weekend, here it is.

Kind of lame, really. Seriously, I'm all about curtailing or outright banning dragger technology and I'm annoyed that Canada is refusing to join in. I mean, when we're siding with Spain on a fisheries issue, you've got to wonder.

But this video. Blah. Ick. Dumb. You'd think with Greenpeace's budget they could come up with something better than this.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Shades of justice

I don't really care for CSI: Miami. Just one of those things. If I have to watch a CSI, I'll watch the original, thank you very much. Part of the problem is that David Caruso kind of bugs the shit out of me. It's beyond me how Studio 60, which is a good show despite its problems, is getting its ass kicked in the ratings in the US by this show.

Actually, if I'm not mistaken CSI: Miami is more popular overseas than the original. Apparently, Miami is just one of those places that fascinates people.

Anyway, I was reading this post on Warren Ellis blog about CSI: Miami. Especially, Caruso and his sunglasses. Apparently they are called "the Sunglasses of Justice" on the set. It's so ridiculous. And apparently there is a video which just takes a look at Caruso's last line before they go into the opening credits. The fact that they all sound the same is retarded. That almost all of them feature him putting on sunglasses is...something.

Anyway, for your amusement on a Saturday minutes of David Caruso dispensing justice...with shades.

Friday, November 17, 2006

No more hits, please

This is a touch off base for me, but hey, the thought occurred to me, so why not run with it for a bit.

Last week the tabloids rejoiced because Brittney Spears and her husband are finally getting a divorce. They’ve been angling for this for awhile and it finally happened. And yes, while I’m sure they’ll miss the regular drama of one of the more fucked up and obviously doomed couples in main stream media, it was a pretty good run. Certainly longer than many expected.

And as a bonus, they get to rename the dubious loser K-Fed into Fed-Ex. Which I’ll give them props, is pretty damn clever. And there is the ongoing divorce drama to keep them entertained and fueled. I’m sure American gossip whores have been disappointed that they don’t have something like Paul McCartney and Lady Heather to fuel things on this side of the Atlantic. This will no doubt be a pale imitation, but it’ll do.

But here’s the thing, I’m sad to the marriage end. But not for any of the reasons you might think. Here are the two positives I saw in the Brittney-K-Fed marriage.

1. She remained knocked up.
2. Because she was always pregnant and apparently losing what little mind was left after you have that much peroxide poured on your head over many years, she had stopped making music.

I’m all about the whole not making music aspect of Brittney Spears. I never liked her music. In fact, I would go so far as to say I loathed her music. So the past couple of years, with her not producing much and gradually becoming the running punchline to hundreds of internet jokes...I had no real problem with that.

This is a long-running thing with me. While I have musicians I love and whose music I adore, I’ve also tended to nurse a grudge against certain musicians. It’s a ying and yang sort of thing. They are people whose music I loathe and I long for the day they fall from grace and stop making records. They become a trivia question on VH1 or something.

But the whole joy of hating a musician is that they eventually have to go away. I hated New Kids on the Block and they eventually went. I hated the Backstreet Boys, and eventually got my wish with them. The joy is in knowing they're doomed and then watching it happen.

The fact that Madonna continues to produce music and is popular is a long-standing source of frustration. She is, however, proof of Satan on Earth because surely only a deal with the devil could allow that woman to keep making records and be successful.

Anyway, I had the same feelings towards Spears. And the last couple of years, I thought the cycle was going to successfully continue. I would hate their music and the rest of the world would eventually wise up and join me.

Sadly, she’s dumped Fed-Ex (really, that is quite clever), but probably hasn’t fallen so far that she’s beyond redemption. I’m sure the inevitable comeback record is being produced as we speak. And she was on Letterman the other week apparently showing off her new svelte body, putting her into MILF status.

She’ll probably bounce back. I don’t listen to radio anymore and I can't remember the last music video I saw, so her comeback won’t bother as much as it would have five years ago. Still, I live in hope these crazy kids can reconcile. You know, for the children. And so I don’t have to listen to her God awful music anymore.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Anniversaries, of a sort

I mentioned to Cathy the other day that I think our anniversary was coming up. Which got me a strange look, as our anniversary is July 30. But my brain is wired funny. Cathy has noted that I have a real gift for useless information, which is why I’m dangerous at trivia. But I also tend to remember dates. Probably my studies in history. I was always good at remembering dates.

So right about now, five years ago, is when myself and Cathy started dating. On November 6 we were set up on a blind date (about as blind as you could make it. We didn’t know we were being set up until minutes before we met) to go see Monsters, Inc. I was smitten enough (an incident involving popcorn certainly helped) to see if she would like to join a group of us to see Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 10 days time, on Nov. 16. She agreed. We met up at Harry Potter, agreed to split a large popcorn so we could have the excuse to sit next to each other. And then the group of us went to the Duke of Duckworth afterwards to engage in a couple of hours of post-Harry analysis. Before she left I worked up the nerve to ask her on a date. That was a good thing because while she was enjoying the conversation, she was also waiting for me to hurry up and ask her out.

The date, by the way, was Voices of Avalon (Anita Best, Pamela Morgan, Vicky Hynes and Colleen Power) at the Arts and Culture Centre. That would have been on Nov. 20. So I've never known what the anniversary is. The 6th, when we met, the 16th for the group event or the 20th which was our first "solo" date. I guess it doesn't matter too much.

And the rest is history. I nearly blew it a few times in the intervening weeks, but somehow managed not to (asking her out was nerve-wracking; trying to find the right moment to kiss her nearly drove me mad. Fortunately she solved it by kissing me first). By New Years one of our good friends was saying with certainty we would get married.

Anne was always a touchy spooky like that.

Anyway, I don’t think we’ll be doing anything to mark it. Maybe we’ll have a nice supper in the next couple of days, but certainly no gifts or cards. It’s one of those things, once you get married, that date is the anniversary. The anniversaries of first dates, first kisses and even the engagement, kind of fall by the wayside.

But I just like to think that that it was five years ago, while waiting for Monsters, Inc. to start that I glanced over to see my friend Erin and Cathy cracking up at the way she was getting rid of some spilt popcorn. And I thought “she seems fun. I wouldn’t mind getting to know her a bit better.”

And voila. Strange where you end up, sometimes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ooops and word counts

So, I got the tire fixed today and I might owe the street urchins near the apartment an apology. Seems they didn't slash my care tire or let the air out of it. The garage, when they were putting the tires on, made a mistake of some kind and nicked the tire. I have no idea why it took a week or more for the tire to deflate, but it did. So I managed to get enough air in the tire for it to hold until I could get it to the garage where they fixed it. Didn't even charge me. So that's a good thing.

Although I admit that in some ways I miss the walk to work. The weather got mild again this week (around -5 or so) so it hasn't been too cold. And yes, the exercise is good. but I find that I can "write" in my head when I'm walking. I used to do it all the time when I was in Clarenville. I didn't have a car so I'd walk to work. And I'd often write columns or editorial in my head while walking. Then I'd rush to my computer and get it all down before it faded away.

Same thing with my book. I was stuck on what direction it was going to go in a few days. There were a couple of ways and I wasn't sure what direction I was going to go. Then, as I was walking home this evening I figured it out. Bang.

Granted, I still don't know how it's going to end. Apparently more walking is required. But at least I'm good for a couple of weeks.

Today, by the way, is the 15th, which means the half way mark in the writing challenge. I'm happy to say I'm over 28,000 words, which means I'm ahead of pace. the other two competitors are hanging in there and I hope they get to 50,000 as well. Not before me, though.

I have no idea if anyone is actually reading the books (click on the sidebar if you don't know what I'm talking about). Nor do I know if they're any good. I'm liking OM's and Dups' books. But I'm...happy with the way mine is going so far. Don't know if it's good, but I don't think it sucks. And it will need a ton of work to make it coherent at the end.

Although I've realized one depressing fact. I'm pretty sure it's not going to be wrapped up in 50,000 words. Might be closer to 70,000. I'm going to finish it. Stopping at 50,000 would be foolish. But it is a bit depressing to realize that it's likely going to be mid-December before I'm finished.

Still. I'm having fun. It seems to have loosened up some mental muscles. Maybe I can do this sort of thing after all.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tired again

So we had an entertaining long weekend (yes, it's late mentioning this. I've been busy). Angie and Wendy made it safely back to Rankin with only a touch of drama. Angie had some last minute scrambling after realizing that she had left her wallet in the backseat of the car. It was truly a bit of luck that she got it back as myself and Cathy were out running errands and didn’t get their phone messages. I got back to the apartment literally minutes before she arrived in a cab looking frantically for her wallet. I think she made it back to the airport about three minutes before they started boarding.

But she got it back, so that’s good.

So what errands were myself and Cathy running? Glad you asked.

We were looking for an air compressor. Why do you need an air compressor? Why, to reinflate a flat tire.

Yeah. Again.

It was only one tire this time, the left front one. And the cap on the nozzle was missing, so we had hopes that the air was just let out. So we bought a small pump (there was an air compressor at North Mart, but no one knew how much it was. I love the north), reinflated the tire and hope for the best.

Alas, hope was dashed this morning when the tire was flat as a pancake again. That means dealing with Baffin Auto again. At this rate, I might as well start sending them my paycheck.

What’s mildly amusing about all of this is that Jennifer left a lovely little note on our car Saturday. She is coaching a soccer team for Igloolik and was in town for a tournament. Apparently they were in the neighbourhood and came and hugged our car for good luck and left us a note saying so.

She even managed to pop down to the apartment for 15 minutes on Sunday, which we both thought was awfully sweet of her. And then we lose a tire.

Now, the cynic might say “Well, apparently hugging the car didn’t do much good.” My friends, I must disagree. Because the last time we had a racket with the tires, we lost four of them. This time we’ve only lost one.

So Jennifer, feel free to come and hug out little car whenever you want. Providing I haven’t shot it and put the damn thing out of its misery.

Oh, and for those of you wondering how I can be so upbeat in the wake of the minor freak-out I had last time, I’m trying to remain upbeat. I’m likely going to sprain something, but I figure it’s worth a try. The alternative is to set up some kind of blind near the car and camp out. As soon as someone starts to mess with it I hop out and taser the bastard.

So yeah, glass half full seems to be the way to go.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Enter Sandman

I've been a believer in getting Christmas gifts for yourself. There are always things you'd like for yourself that are either too expensive, that you can't wait until Christmas or that you know loved ones will perhaps not care to get you.

I've longed resigned myself to the fact that comic books are something that my parents tolerated at best. They never bought them for me when I was a kid and they were certainly something they didn't care to get for me as an adult. While Cathy is better, she's still not comfortable buying them either. She's picked up the odd one, but I think she's worried about getting the wrong one.

And I think both her and my parents dislike buying them because they don't want to encourage me. A little late for that now, but I guess they live in hope.

Anyway, I got my early Christmas gift on Thursday and spent the weekend on and off reading through it. I still haven't finished it, but I am enjoying it thoroughly. It's The Absolute Sandman. This is what it looks like.

It's a beautiful over-sized hardcover with a slipcase that reprints the first 20 issues, or three trade paperbacks, of the series. Along with the issues there are some nice extras including the series proposal and a script. Plus, the stories have all been recoloured. It might not seem like a big deal, but when the individual issues first came out there were problems. The technology to colour comics improved significantly with computers. However, believe it or not, the paper comics were printed on wasn't keeping up. So a lot of the early issues had dark and smudged colours which marred the artwork. This book cleans it up and puts it on nice paper. The issues look beautiful.

Granted, it's price tag isn't for everyone. But the way I look at it is if you've never read the books before and want to, buying the three trade paperbacks will set you back about $50 or more. For $30 extra you get this much better looking book.

If you don't know what the fuss is about with regards to Sandman, well, you could always go to Neil Gaiman's site or, of course, the token Wikipedia entry. Let's just say it's one of the best comic series of the past 20 years and well worth picking up.

By the way, this is volume one of four, although I don't know when the other three volumes are coming out. Needless to say, I'll be getting the rest of them

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Last 10

The meme is going around on what were the last 10 songs you listened to. I always like these things because if nothing else sometimes I hit upon some new music to check out.

Also, Helmut's selection reminds me that we have creepy similarities in our pop culture favourites (that and she put up a link to the Spider-Man 3 trailer). She played Garbage, Peter Garbriel, Tom Waits, Spirit of the West and Leonard Cohen in her last 10. That's some pretty excellent taste in music, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, here's the last 10 things there were played on my iPod. On shuffle, because that's how I normally listen to my music.

1. Bottle of Smoke - The Pogues
2. We hide and seek - Alison Kruass and Union Station
3. It's hard to be a saint in the city - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
4. The maid on the shore - Pamela Morgan and Anita Best
5. Fat bottomed girls - Queen
6. Introducing the solution - Mo Berg
7. Weasel stomping day - Weird Al Yankovic
8. Bye bye baby - OK Go
9. Independent thief - Kathleen Edwards
10. Poets - The Tragically Hip

Saturday, November 11, 2006

No words

It dawns on me that the previous post was kind of frivolous and this is a fairly serious day. I know today is Remembrance Day. It feels like I should write something more, but I've honestly written about it so much in the past that I feel like I have no words left to describe how important a day it is, especially in light of what Canadian troops have been facing in Afghanistan this year. The well is nearly dry. Between blog entries, editorials, columns and new stories I must have written a couple of dozen pieces on Remembrance Day.

I've written about my grandfather, who fought in the Great War and very nearly died. I've interviewed veterans of World War Two and the Korean War. And I've spoke to peacekeepers. You reach a wall when you know this is important, you desperately want to convince people to read the stories and understand why it needs to be remembered, but you've run out of the words. I think I've hit that wall.

I'd like to think and hope that most of the people who visit this blog need no convincing or reminding of what this day means. Odds are we've all had family or friends who have served in the military at some point.

If you don't know what it's important to commemorate this day and view it as something more than a day off, then I don't know. I don't think I have any words left to convince you at this point. I just find it sad and I hope that one day, when you get a bit wiser, you better understand why we mark this day.

Dinner and yoga

We have company this weekend. A pair of teachers from Rankin Inlet - Wendy and Angela - are in town to do yoga...there's an instructor up from down south conducting a workshop this weekend. And they asked if they could crash here. I know Wendy as she and her husband Jeremy went to our wedding. Since we're always glad for the company, we said sure. Granted, it's a challenge trying to fit four people and a very hyper-active little dog into an apartment this size, but I can always count on Cathy to defy the laws of physics and find more space when I'm sure there isn't anymore to be found.

I think the plan this evening is to out for a few drinks and some food. When you arrive in the "big city" from Iqaluit, clearly drinks, a sampling of the finer restaurants in town, and possibly a movie is required. This isn't sarcasm, by the way. If you've spend month and months in a community of only a couple of thousand people, or less, then when you get out then you really do need to get out and do a few things.

Myself and Cathy have already made a list of restaurants we need to hit when we're in St. John's. Zapatas, Magic Wok, Giovannis and Taj Mahal are the nicer ones. I suspect Swiss Chalet and Wendy's will also be needed to satisfy certain cravings. I throw it out to the masses - what are your recommendations for restaurants in town right now. The caveat is that if their menu is primarily seafood, we can't do it as Cathy is allergic. I know there are supposedly some nice sushi places in town, but they're a no go. We will probably need to try a few new places, especially since our beloved Duck Street Bistro is no more. We only have a limited time in town. These things need to be thought out carefully.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Just smashing

I spent about 15 minutes yesterday morning chatting with a Newfoundland reporter. He was working on a story and wondered if I could help out. Turns out I couldn’t, not really. He didn’t need to interview me, just wondering if I had spotted someone in town, which I hadn’t. It's harder than you might think. I estimate there could be anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 Newfoundlanders living in Iqaluit. Also, hearing the accent when I’m around town is not a shock.

However, it was good to chat with a local reporter. I probably talk his ear off when he was just looking for some information. Apparently, while I’m not longer a journalist, I miss the journalist circle and like getting dirt. Hopefully I’ll find the time to get together with a few of them over Christmas. There were plans for some ex-Express folk to get together and commiserate over our beloved paper. I’ll have to see if that’s still happening.

Then again, there was also talk of a bunch of Newfoundland bloggers getting together between Christmas and New Year's. I hope that still happens, although my life is starting to get crazy over the holidays. I have a meeting with a financial advisor, a dentist appointment, Christmas shopping, trying to see a few friends, plus go around the bay and see some of my family...

I might need a few days off after New Year's to recover from all of this. Oh yeah, and I don’t know what we’re doing for that evening. In previous years, we’ve gone to Anne’s for her Big Scottish New Year's, which is a hell of a lot of fun. But I don’t know if that’s going on again this year. We might actually have to go downtown. Or, God help us, spend the evening with Dups and whatever madness he gets himself involved in.

One other thing...I knew that people in Transcontinental were reading my blog...I can tell where the traffic is coming form, sort of. So I knew it was Transcon, but it could have been The Telegram, Express, Beacon or a dozen other Newfoundland papers. And hey, it’s nice to be read.

But I’m learning, after speaking to the reporter yesterday, that my little dude to the right also has his fans. There is something about his head smashing glory that appeals to writers, and especially journalists. Find me a journalist who hasn’t wanted to do that at some point, especially at deadline, and I’ll show you a lying son of a bitch.

I wish I knew who created him so I could give the proper credit. I spotted him on a couple of sites and fell deeply in love with his bloody antics. I actually thought about pulling him from the site at one point, figuring that people might be tired of seeing him or that it might slow down the speed at which the blog loads.

But no, he has his fans. Devoted fans. I suspect some people might come here first thing in the morning just so they can see him beating himself to a pulp. Just to get the day going. He is loved by men and women, young and old. So I’ll keep him up, smashing away. The poor bastard, mascot for the Townie Bastard.

Curling update (feel free to skip if you’re bored of me talking about it)

Apparently I’ve remembered how to curl, which is reassuring. We won 12-5 Wednesday night, although Cathy couldn’t play the game because she hurt her leg last weekend (slipped on some ice while walking Boo). It was actually a pretty tight game, 4-4 going into the fifth end, but I got a lucky break. We were lying five, but the opposing skip had a pretty open draw to take one.

It was coming in perfect, when it picked on some debris and slid into a guard. So I ended up stealing five. Fluky. After that, there was little chance she was going to recover. We played a couple of more ends, but when I had an open draw for four in the seventh with last rock, she conceded.

I’m just happy I played well. I missed a few shots, including letting them steal two in the first end when a take-out went wide. But I made most of them. And the ice is apparently getting straightened out, which also helps. We’re 2-1 now, which isn’t bad. At least I'm not longer going around the apartment muttering "Fuck, I suck." I think Cathy was getting a touch tired of it.