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.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Function over style

I’ve already said it’s been a pretty mild fall so far in Iqaluit. Other bloggers have comments on how late the ice has been in arriving in their communities. The bay is just starting to freeze in Arctic Bay and the same is happening in Igloolik. There’s no sign of it happening any time soon in Iqaluit, although I imagine that will take place by the end of November.

As a result, myself and Cathy have probably been pushing our luck a little bit. For example, we weren’t wearing out winter coats. As an early Christmas gift to ourselves, we order some clothing from L.L. Bean (free shipping with code number, although they nail you on tax and duty. Still, it wasn’t a bad deal) and we both got a couple of nice coats good for wearing in the fall. And it’s been “warm” enough that with a fleece on underneath the coat, you could do just fine.

But the temperature snapped over the weekend. It was about -20 yesterday with wind chill and it’s only going to get colder. So we woke up yesterday morning, basically said to ourselves “who are we kidding?” and dug out the ugly Arctic winter coats.

Cathy still has some bitter resentment issues towards the ugly winter coat as it cost more than her wedding dress. Still, it prevents frostbite, so that’s a good thing.

That’s one of the nice things about Iqaluit, actually. I am, as others will readily pile on and note, fashion impaired. For years I just decided my best option was to grab a female friend and drag her along shopping with me. I got some interesting results, but it was certainly better than if I had gone alone. I have tended to view buying new clothes as a necessary evil.

I dislike fashion. I will never be dressed stylish or cool. If Cathy let me, I’d still be wearing trench coats, because I think I look cool in them. I’ve been told that I have an active imagination in that regard.

But in Iqaluit, no one cares about fashion. You’re too busy trying to keep warm for eight months of the year to worry about getting the latest trend. And I assure you, no one is out there trying to get the most stylish coat rated for temperatures as low as -80. “Will it keep me warm? Ok then, give it to me.”

I’m considered a bit of a freak at work because I wear dress pants four days of the week. Many just wear jeans. So it’s quite relaxing in Iqaluit. It’s a real plus for me. It’s going to be a shock if/when we move south and suddenly I have to worry about putting together an ensemble.

Oh, it’s also worth noting that we turned on the heat in the apartment yesterday for probably the rest of the winter. The fact we made it to November 8 before we had to do that is quite impressive to me. It might be a small place, but it’s certainly well insulated. And, I suspect, being right on top of offices with heat on all day helps as well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

That's the end of him

So last night saw the unofficial end of George W. Bush's presidency. Yes, there is still two years left before it's all said and done. But it's over now. Little, if anything, is going to be done over the next two years of his presidency.

There are several reasons for this. First, presidents who only have two years left in their second term are typically lame ducks. As their time as president comes to an end, their party begins to abandon them. Policies the White House might want to push becomes secondary to the agendas of the the Senate and the House. And really, the race for 2008, if hadn't begun already is certainly now in full gear. Within the next 10 months you'll start to see people from both parties declaring their intention to run.

And with the House and apparently the Senate both in Democrat hands, Bush is going to find it much harder to get anything done. There's going to be a lot of deadlock and posturing in the lead up to '08. Talk of bi-partisan cooperation today was such unbelievable bullshit I'm surprised that anybody could say it with a straight face.

Finally with Rumsfeld quitting/forced out, it's all but admission from Bush that he's doomed for the next couple of years. He couldn't do a damn thing with him there, he was too hated by Democrats and Republicans at this point.

So are the Democrats winning going to make things all better? Not likely. It probably won't make that much of a difference in the United States, much less the rest of the world. I appreciate there's a lot of rejoycing going on around the world today, but I don't see that it makes a lot of difference. The U.S. is still going to be in Iraq for several more years. That's not going to change. Maybe it will be better run that the debacle it's been the last few years. But they aren't leaving any time soon.

Nor am I convinced the Democrats will run things any better. One particularly funny comentator said today trusting the Democrats to do a better job of running the war is like firing a babysitter you're unhappy with and hiring Michael Jackson.

Like I said...I don't know that the U.S. or the world is a much better place tonight. Delay or Lott was right today when the said the Democrats didn't win the election, the Republicans lost. I didn't hear many great ideas from them during this campaign. Then again, when your opponent is self-destructing like the Republicans were the past few weeks, why say anything.

I think everyone feels better. It's like you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and please God, don't let it be a train.

I guess that's better than how people felt on Nov. 6

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A few links

It's hard work trying to write thousands of words each day. Between the blog, the novel, work and my school work, I'm writing an awful lot. So I'm taking it a bit easy this evening with a few links. Yes, it's cheating, but then again, when was the last time I did a post with links. Besides, I'm also watching U.S. election results. For some reason I appear to have a $10 bet on a House race in western Nebraska.

So this is what caught my eye today.

1. Come to Iqaluit, the place to see the stars. And not just the ones in the sky.

2. I realize the 5th of November is a couple of days in the past, but this is amusing. A guy dressed up in a Guy Fawkes front of the White House. Do you think he might have drawn a bit of attention from the Secret Service.

3. Britney Spears is getting a divorce. Ordinarily I wouldn't care, but you got to love Defamer's take on it.

4. Well, judging by this story I guess I'll be getting more search engine hits for people looking for naked curlers...

Monday, November 06, 2006

The day before the big day

The U.S. mid-term election will finally be over on Tuesday and I think I'll be a little bit relieved. Although this is American politics, so really, you get about a one year break before the serious ramping up for the 2008 presidential election begins.

I have friends in the U.S. who are eagerly looking forward to the election. Mostly because they hate the Republicans. I'm not sure they like the Democrats all that much, but I know they really, really hate Republicans. And that works, I guess. I certainly dislike far more Republicans than like them at this point.

I've always been fond of what John Rogers has written about American politics. I like this one, which is a follow-up to one he wrote last year. I also miss sensible Republicans. The ones who wanted lower taxes, less government and were very prudent on how money was spent. I don't always agree with everything that philosophy entails, but I can understand it. I can even have some appreciation for it. They're not bad ideas in the right circumstances.

But most American Republicans are far too religious and intolerant for my liking. It's...disheartening, really.

The reason for all of this is that we've been getting to watch quite the few political commercials the last few months. I think the first one we saw was for Dick DeVos back in February. But with the election only days away, the intensity has been growing pretty fast.

Most of our American channels come from Michigan, so it's been their gubernatorial race, senatorial race and some other minor contests that we've been subjected to. I think this is probably the first time I've watched quite this much mid-term election material. Part of it is most of the candidates can only afford limited amounts of commercial time during prime time television so they spend most of their money in the wasteland that is daytime tv. When we're home for lunch, we flick on the tv and get the full bombardment.

It's also interesting trying to get a feel for an election where you know nothing except what the ads tell you. That means reading no newspapers or websites, and not watching any of the television news about the local races. Why would you? It certainly doesn't impact us way up here in Nunavut. So, it gives you a very skewed version of reality.

Devos, for example, is the Republican candidate for governor. He also clearly has a ton of money. There are plenty of different ads, that run frequently and are quite slick. Apparently Governor Jennifer Granholm is just the worst thing that's ever happen to Michigan if you believe the ads. He's also been running them for a long time.

Granholm's ads have not been as slick, her attacks have been clumsy in comparison to DeVos and she hasn't been running as many ads. But it was interesting when myself and Cathy were watching some of the ads and she said "He's said she sucks, and he's brilliant, but he hasn't said what he would actually do."

Apparently others have noticed that as well. When curiosity finally got the better of me and I checked, Granholm has about an 11 point on DeVos, depending on which poll you believe (if you can believe any of them). So much for money in that case.

Then there is the senate race. Debbie Stabanow clearly had more money and her ads are slicker. However, she is currently kicking the ass of her Republican challenger. So I guess money and ads are a mixed bag. This year, it's just not good to be a Republican.

Although the ads in Michigan have been vicious, which is to be expected, I haven't see any of the really crazy ads that have been running elsewhere. The Daily Show ran a selection last week. They're enough to make you question American democracy sometimes. By the way, both sides are guilty of the crazy ads, although once again the Republicans seem to be producing them in greater numbers.

Anyway, it'll be all over tomorrow. Here's hoping the crazy people lose, regardless of political party. Because really, America is a great country. I'm as guilty of America bashing as the next Canadian from time to time. But now that I think about it, I think I'm crazy people bashing. I like American. I like most Americans I meet. It's just that I don't like really crazy people.

And I really don't like it when the crazy people are in charge. Or are president of the place.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I'm sitting in a comfy chair in the bedroom with my feet up as I write this, watching the sun set in a nice blaze of orange over snow covered arctic hills. It's quite a nice view, I must say. One of the times I'm glad we moved from the 6-story, so we could get views like this.

Of course, it would be nicer if there wasn't at least 15 telephone and power wires obscuring the view. One of the reasons why there's no photo. The lines do take away something from it. Oh, and the tide is out, so there isn't a nice ocean between me and the hills, but rather muddy flats. Plus, it's a little after 3 p.m. and the sun is going down. Best not to dwell on that.

sigh I really do know how to suck the enjoyment out of a nice scene without even trying. It's a gift.

Cathy's out right now walking Boo in the remaining daylight. We find it's easier to deal with him in the evenings if he's had a walk first to take some of the good out of him. I'm not out with them as I am arthritic cripple today. You wouldn't think curling could take that much of the good out of you, but if it's been awhile, the muscles you normally use can usually express their displeasure.

Curling also didn't end the way I had hoped. You know, you figure with a 6-2 lead and only two ends left to play you could win a game like that. Nope. Lost 8-6. Just a touch frustrating. But on the upside I think I finally learned to curl again this weekend. I also didn't win one of the two plane tickets that were up for grabs. But it was still a bit of fun, even though my muscles are disagreeing with me right now.

And now I should wrap this up and try and finish my word count for today. I'm happy with the way I'm doing. I'm doing a bit better than my word count each day, sort of a cushion should I miss a day or something. I have no idea if anyone is reading or not, but I'm relatively happy with the way it is going. I have it plotted out for the next couple of points. Still completely certain about the climax, but I have a couple of weeks to get that figured out.

More importantly, it actually feels like I can make it. Cocky thinking for a guy on Day 5, but it feels like I'm into a routine. I was tired last night, but I stayed up to make sure I got at least 2,000 words in before going to bed.

It doesn't mean I think it's going to get published or anything. It would be a miracle if that happened. But with a little luck I can give my friend Anne a very late Christmas gift...the book I promised her five years ago.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Slow start

I'm having a pretty decent day, but one where my brain clearly wasn't expecting to be up early and is thus is paying me back by not thinking straight so far.

I'm in a curling bonspiel this weekend. I didn't have a team so just signed up as an extra. And I landed on not a bad team. We lost last night, but against one of the better teams in the tournament. That dropped us to B pool, which meant we had to play at 9 a.m. this morning. I don't like being up at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to get ready to play a game. Still, I managed, didn't suck too bad in my shot making despite the ungodly hour. And we won. If we win again at 3 p.m. (which means I have to go shortly), then we're in the B final this evening.

The tournaments are a bit of fun and there are normally some half decent prizes. There are a pair of tickets to Ottawa from First Air up for grabs this evening, so that makes it a worthwhile day and a half of playing for me.

Anyway, after the game this morning, I ran up to the high school where the annual Christmas craft show was happening. Myself and Cathy weren't that impressed last year, disappointed that it was more garage sale/flea market than real crafts. Well, this year we either had our expectations lowered or it was just better. There was some nice stuff there and we picked up a couple of things.

However, I was later getting there which meant I had to line up. And this is where the not bright part of the day comes in. It's been a pretty mild fall so far in Iqaluit, but with windchill today it's about -20. So after the game, still sweating, I walked to the school without gloves or a hat. And then had to line-up for 15 minutes in the cold.

So yeah, I suspect I'll have the pneumonia by Monday morning. As I said, not bright.

But we did buy this, which I'm rather fond of...

So not a bad day so far. Now we just have to go and win two more games...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Current news

I wasn’t there, of course, but my count there were seven newspapers hitting the streets of St. John’s yesterday. There were three dailies – The Globe and Mail, The National Post (I assume someone in town still reads it) and The Telegram. Then there were three weeklies – The Express, The Scope and The Muse. And finally, just for kicks, The Current came out for its one a month bow.

That’s a hell of a lot of papers. The coffee shops downtown must have looked like a tornado hit it.

I recall being with The Muse and trying to prevent a start-up paper from being distributed on campus. Ludicrous idea now, but back then it was serious business. The Muse was highly dependent on the advertising we got that was directed towards students. Now, you have several papers targeting the university market. It must be an ugly, ugly business being in the newspaper racket right now.

Don’t worry, this isn’t another complaint about The Express (although honest to God, the story about oddest place you’ve had sex made me want to whack my head off something. The story was so...boring. How can you make a subject like that dull?), but building up towards a story in The Current.

As Dana pointed out in the comments section in a previous post, there was a story about blogging in the paper. And a couple of local bloggers were mentioned and a picture of this blog was used to illustrate the story. I have no idea why; there are many other blogs that have better graphic design than mine.

When Dana mentioned it, I thought “Finally, someone is going to catch on and do a story about the local blogging community.” Because I think it’s kind of cool. Then again, I find online communities interesting. I think I was the first to do a story about Blue Kaffee. I also did a story about a Newfoundland sex group that operates on Yahoo. And I think the blogging community that has developed around the NL Blogroll is also interesting.

I’ve made new friends through blogging and the list. I was warmed when several of them came to my defence when I got slagged by a couple of people last month for some pretty weak reasons. And I would do the same if any of them had some trolls swing by. It’s nice. I like it. Plus it has the benefit of learning more about people, their politics and beliefs and I get to enjoy some pretty decent writing. Even Cathy, who didn’t quite understand what the big deal was about blogs has come around and now routinely checks out several each day.

And yet, The Current story really didn’t touch on any of that. Instead, it was a kind of half-assed look at blogging, pointing out a couple of international links and a few local ones. There was a fun little story there to be done, I think. Nothing earth-shattering, but certainly interesting enough. And they shanked it. It’s a pity.

This isn’t crapping on The Current as a whole. I think it’s a decent enough newspaper. And it’s certainly improved since it went back to a monthly format. You could clearly see the strain when it was trying to come out every two weeks. It’s just too bad they missed this story. There’s one thing worse than missing a story and that’s doing it, but not a good job of it.

Oh, and to any one whom is visiting the blog for the first time because of the picture in The Current – welcome. And yes, I’m this grouchy all the time. Others will vouch for this. But I make up for it by being clever and amusing.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Curling and other punishments

I'm curling two nights a week right now. Tuesday nights is a men's league and Wednesday night is mixed. I'm using Tuesdays as exercise more than anything else. I'm only shooting lead or second stones, which means I'm doing plenty of running up and down the ice. Wednesday night is when I Skip the team, which means less running around, but tends to spike my blood pressure more.

I like being a Skip, but it does mean I have to behave when I make mistakes. Which is hard because I make mistakes so frequently.

Anyway, I've been doing well so far. The first three games I've been on the winning team. And the scores have been blowouts – 10-1, 11-1 and 14-1. Two of those games I was shooting lead stones. One I was skip. However, it's early in the season, there's a lot of new players and the string of blow-outs won't last forever.

It's also worth mentioning that it hasn't been my skills winning these games. I have, in fact, being playing terrible. What I need is about an hour on the ice just shooting rocks, but I haven't managed to get that so far. Anyway, I knew I was past due for a pounding, and I got it last night. The team I skipped was whipped 11-3.

It was also Cathy's first game curling. I literally had 10 minutes before the game to show her how to sit in the hack, how to push out of the hack and how to stay upright on the ice. Remarkably, she didn't hate it and wants to come back next week. And she also did pretty well. I wasn't asking for skilled shot making, just to get the rock in play. And I'd say about two-thirds of the time she managed to do just that. You can't ask for anything more than that in your first game.

I, on the other hand, stank up the joint. I've been curling on and off for seven years total. I haven't curled that badly since junior high. I made 1.5 shots out of 12, and one of those shots was to throw the rock through the house to blank the end. It was just awful.

On the upside, though, I managed to not freak out, which is an improvement. I love curling like some people love golf – it's fun if you're doing well, but it's a good exercise for your lungs when you're not. There is nothing like cursing and venting when things are going bad.

Anyway, I took a beating. I'll have to try and get some ice time to do better in the future.

I don't know why I thought to write this. I don't think I'll be doing a curling update every week. Perhaps it's the beating I'm taking in the previous thread about kids that reminded me of the beating I took last night. The mind works in odd ways...


Just a quick reminder that if you swing over to Doomed Writing the The National Novel Writing Month challenge has begun. Well, I've begun at the very least. There's no sign of the others yet, but I'm sure they will show up soon-ish.

By the way, there's the possibility that if I actually get on a roll with the novel, that posting here might slow down for the month of November. Kind of hard to find the time to write 1,700 words a day for a novel and a blog post of two. I'm not abandoning the blog by any stretch. Just be prepared for the odd day where I miss things.

Anyway, the first 1700 words were like pounding my head on a wall. Can't wait to see how the rest of the month goes....

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fake sincerity

You know, I really need to improve my fake interest in people's children more (specifically, my co-workers and strangers. My friends' children I have a great interest in because it's still bizarre to watch these people who used to do the most insane things reproduce. It's like an ongoing sociology experiment). My lack of interest is going to get me killed one of these days. Halloween is much like Christmas in that parents feel compelled to bring in pictures of their children, especially if they're less than two, in some kind of get up. Quite frequently the kid looks really unimpressed.

And yet, the parents will zip around waving the picture as if it is the most adorable thing ever committed to a memory card. Others will gather around, coo and make all these wonderfully adorable noises. And then, inevitably, they show the picture to me.

The thing is, I'm really bad at faking interest in something. It would likely make my life easier if I could do it, but I just can't do fake sincerity. Waving a picture at me while I'm trying to work of a kid that has only just grown out of the whole "Winston Churchill phase," trussed into an outfit that makes them a clown or a princess or something and he or she looks mightily unimpressed by this whole turn of events and then asking me "Isn't he the most adorable thing, ever?" is a recipe to get me into a lot of trouble.

Because as I've discovered, the whole "Ummmm, sure" is not the thing to say to recent parents. They take it poorly. It is somehow insinuating that their spawn is, in fact, not the most adorable child to grace the face of the planet, especially in his handmade costume that the mother spent three weeks making. And that you are a wretched specimen of humanity with a lump of coal for a soul to dare think otherwise and express it to them.

So yeah, that got the morning off to a good start today. Thankfully, most of the mothers also brought in chocolate to give away lest they eat it all themselves. So that worked out well for me. I just had to wait until they were away from their desks. Because evil people who do not adore their precious bundle are unworthy of a mini Kit Kat bar.

Look, I have a mixed reaction to the whole children thing. In some ways Boo is an excellent scientific experiment. If I can handle an irrational creature that won't do what I tell it to do, pesters me when I want to have some quiet time and makes an ungodly amount of racket when it gets riled up, then maybe, maybe I can handle having a kid one of these days.

But right now, that ain't happening. Nor am I getting any younger. So we're going to see about the whole having a kid thing. It will be several years before any serious discussion happens. Because I want to be ready for it. I want to have to patience for it.

But mostly, right now, I don't want to be the dad who trusses up his kid in a Batman outfit, blows out a 6 gig memory card and then takes all the photos to work makes his co-workers fawn over them...

...because if that happens, then the lot of you are going to come back and crucify me with this post. And then tell my kid what I was like in university.