MAY-BE: Day 1

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No, Not Really (Continued)

The OldMan got in touch with me the other day. He’s doing okay. Something the Docs aren’t entirely enthused about going on in his head. It’s a cloud of some sort. Like Joe vs. the Volcano, I just pretend every message from him might be the last, and hope the Docs are wrong, or at least mislead. There’s a lot of equipment in the OldMan’s head – I’m sure he’s literally erased more than I’ll ever store. Not unlikely there wouldn’t be a few pieces of gear that didn’t have complete installation dockets when they went in. Some didn’t have serial numbers, some didn’t have MAC addresses. Some of those serials were “0” and some of those hardware addresses had non-hex words in them.

Me? I’m okay. Trundling along, I guess. Can’t get back on my bike for a while yet, but that’s okay, ’cause it’s making me think about TaiChi again, which I never got into, but always thought I’d enjoy, given the chance. Maybe TaiChi would lead back into DharmaKhan again. Get me moving. Outta my head and into my body (and then absorbed back into my head). Funny thing about cycling for me – I do all this stuff with my body: my heart to run the show, my head to keep from getting run over by one of the silent auto-piloted mag cars that’re running old firmware and have “approximations” of the satmaps. Worn bright are the metallic curbs that the vehicles hug on turns that have been given the “best guess” turn info.

Where was I? Right, my heart to keep my legs moving, my torso to keep me upright, the halo of lights that repel the dogs that think anything that moves might be good eating, (including and perhaps especially tires, for some reason, must be the post-compost rubber).

All this physical stuff, and then my brain is doing what? Listening to music. I listen to music. Old stuff. They used to call him Chuck D, I think. Some band he was in back in the day. Before he was governor of the five Burroughs. Before. Before it was all connected. Ubiquity was a selling point, not something that cause alarm. Before the search engines learned more from you than you did from them.

So yeah, laying low for a little while still. Trying to clear my own desk before worrying what the OldMan’s health is doing. Oh,, right, sorry. He’s not MY old man. Not my father. More like they had in the mafia. He vouched for me once, y’know? Brought me in. Behind the curtain. Handed me a projectile weapon and a piece of the database in a dark alley while looking intensely behind us, and said “make a quick exit, and keep it quiet, this is only worth something if what they don’t know what they had.”

That’s the problem with steganography. Nothing looks like anything interesting any more. You don’t know what to keep and what to ignore. What to put in a safe and what to leave next to the dumpster. Means it’s easier to move the data around, but harder to keep track of who actually *has* anything any more. Leaves the submarine commanders doing weird things to see if anyone’s following them, just in case they have the transmit codes written on the side of their torpedo enclosures. Hidden in plain sight meant that a lot of people hid everything, just in case. Lying wasn’t always lying any more. Plausible deniability became a strength at first and then something to covet before being something to protect.

Maybe that’s what’s going on in his head – whatever that secret is caused the cloud. Maybe it’s trying to search him, not knowing that his mind isn’t part of the misty data realm. Not knowing that the lost memories aren’t just disconnects, but actual erasures.

Maybe it’s trying to figure out what state secrets his youth might be hiding under the facts of the matter. No way to know without the keys.

Maybe it’s just lists of names and numbers of people who know.

Maybe it’s just his life that’s the secret.

Posted on May 1st 2011 in asides, Friends

NaBloPoMovember: Day 29 (again)

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Yesterday should have been day 28, but since I was writing it after Midnight… whoops.

Instead of actually producing any content tonight, I’m going to point you to some of the blogs I read ’cause I have nothing to say much about today. Banablog Vodka and Shame XKCD Bad With Titles ClaireLand Dear Universe, Love Robynn Dreampepper MonkeyPants Moxie-Snacks No Pants Island Ramdon Ranblings The Cheeseblog The Life of a Sysadmin Whimsical Badminton Certified Bullshit Technician K8 TheBloggess A Softer World FFFFound Ill Doctrine Garfield-Minus-Garfield PassiveAggressiveNotes

annnnnd that’s it, ’cause I’m exhausted.  So tired I’m *ITCHY* and that’s just not okay.

Posted on November 30th 2010 in Friends

NaBloPoMovember: Day 13


Oh hi.

Just got in the door from an afternoon at Arwen’s mom’s place, and we’re sitting here in utter silence.  The kids are asleep, the cat is ignoring us, and the late night planes haven’t started coming in yet (their takeoffs and landings are actually pretty spectacular in the summer, when they really get going.  This picture is day 13 of Movember (couple more pictures and a donation link are somewhere on this page under Mo’10).

Made a mistake while at Beth’s today.  Got on a scale.  Been a long time since I got on a scale.  Creeping up higher than it was last time I was on one.  Of course, I’d spent the afternoon and evening putting away a few pounds of food, I’m sure, but still.  Woof.  Gotta lay off the takeout/mall food when at work, and not just for financial reasons.  Been looking at the daily photos I’ve been taking this month to mark my moustache, and it’s been somewhat alarming to see how blotchy my skin is.  I know it’s bad lighting, with a flash, *right* before going to be, so how shiny am I think I’m supposed to look, really, but still.

Actually, most of it’s probably just the picture flip thing.  I think I’ve talked about this before, that most people don’t like photos of themselves because their face is on backwards from what they see in the mirror a few times a day.    Maybe I’ll try that again, and you tell me which looks like me to you.

Camera 1

Camera 2

wow.  I bet the formatting on that’s going to be atrocious.

So yeah, ate a bunch of food, and then we decorated these cool little sugar skull things Beth bought and filled.  Pictures will be in the post once I figure out how to get my text where I want it.  Nope, I give up.  Went to the Farmer’s Market (Farmers?) at Nat Bailey stadium today, which was at least as big at the Summer market at Mole Hill, minus all the shitty “Oh hi, yes, lovely day, blessed to be living here, yes, management and board are causing us to move out, yeah, no sure, we love it” politics we used to have to deal with while downtown.

Bought some of the black bean homous from the bean guy (yay!) and the boys got actual real honest to goodness maple syrup on snow (okay, crushed ice stuff) on a stick.  It was extremely messy by the time our two monsters go through it, but they certainly seemed to enjoy it.  That reminds me, there should be a single maple leave thingie in a bag somewhere, ’cause I bought three of those, and Arwen and I only had one each.

Later, maybe.

Yeah, so last night was an odd experience for me.  Don’t know if it was caffeine overload, caffeine withdrawal, or good old fashioned physical exhaustion, but holy WOW was I uncomfortable in my own body right before crashing out to bed.  Just everything hurt, and itched, and was generally wound up.  I slept like a log last night, crashed on the couch for another hour this morning, and fell asleep in a chair at Beth’s (woke myself up with my own snoring, and then did some dishes).  Why is it always so much easier to do dishes at someone else’s house?

Here’s some sugar skulls.

"Despite what Amanda said, the icing was quite tasty" - Ripley, 8

I’ve got one in there around the 8 O’clock area.  I’m sure CakeWrecks looks forward to me following my bliss as an icing piper.

That’s it for tonight from me, gentle readers.  On the “but am I dying?” front, my finger seems to be getting better, though it still looks scary as heck.  I think the top and bottom layers have fused together again at the nailbed, and I try to ignore that I have a slightly frost-bitten feeling at the tip of my finger.

Give it six months, and it’ll be fine, I’m sure, but I might use crazy-glue as a temporary fill in the meantime (if I could figure out some way to do it, I’d probably include a zip-tie (zap strap? what’re those things called?)

My buddy who was in Malibu until about three weeks ago might be going back again next week, at least until we figure out how best to use him.  $Foundation purchased $Company1 back in Jan/Feb, and he doesn’t see where his Art Direction and storytelling is going to come in when it comes to a 2d-to-3d film conversion company.  I know the feeling, since I’m the IT manager, and don’t know where I fit in with a 90% Mac office right now.  Not my forte, y’know? (Didn’t I say that yesterday, too?)

Nice thing about visiting with Arwen’s family is that her sister’s partner is this very low-key, grounded, softspoken person who doesn’t seem the type, but has been talking about learning to spin, and bringing up bands (artists?) like eDIT and Burial.  I would LOVE to go to a club night somewhere playing something like that.  Maybe it’s more that I wish *I* could do that, so I instead want to help anyone else who’s interested in doing it.  Maybe it’s because I think if THEY can do it, that means maybe *I* could do it too.

Alsoplusand… if you want to hear the first overseas podcast we did since Jonny Vancouver went to China (of all the unmitigated GALL), please visit and enjoy my utterly blown-out microphone (tip: don’t use Skype, and then record it if you’re also participating, ’cause I think it somehow managed to record me at DOUBLE the input, or something – you’ll see what I mean the second you hit play on episode 36).

Oh, and if you’re on Twitter, come follow me in my grumblings about BCTransit, and weather, and you kids get offa my lawn. @zenrender

Nightie night, folks.

If I type sixteen more words, I’ll hit an even thousand.  Cool huh? Yep.

Posted on November 13th 2010 in Friends, General, Music, People, randomness

My Brain Hurts

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I got nothing for ya today folks, so I’ll just say a couple really quick things:

  • My half brother in law is back in hospital – think happy thoughts.
  • My dad’s in Mexico so I ended up doing a long distance support call
    • Last month, I did the same thing (remote connect) for my mom, in Juba
    • So then I had to try to troubleshoot the video camera of my half-sister in-law, too.
      • While THAT was happening, the emergency number called me, Vancouver studio was “off the map”
  • Had to zip into the office tonight to apply the technician proximity effect
    • Worked like a charm.  Everything was running again by the time I sat down at my desk.  Disaster averted.  Fire fought.  Action taken?  None.
  • Looks like my buddy Nilo might be heading home to LA in the near future.
    • I’m going to miss him a lot, he’s been a good friend, and I don’t have many.
    • Not sure if that’s because I lose them, or just don’t make them very quickly.
  • Ghost Whisperer is officially my guilty pleasure.  Stupid show, but entertaining, and Jay Mohr cracks me up.
  • Jonny Vancouver called tonight with a “humline” request, and I had no idea, Arwen was pretty sure she recognized it.  Told Jon to phone Delilah, ’cause she’d know something like that.  She heard the Chocolate Song by Buddy Whatshisname and the Other Fellers (true band name) ONCE, and a year later sang it verbatim, complete with odd key changes in the third verse.
    • For Real.
      • I don’t have many friends, but stuff like that is why I love the few I have.
      • PS: Duncan got the song title together before anyone else.

Posted on November 20th 2009 in Brainfarts, Friends, Music, People, randomness

Nevimbor Nenth Thoo Nousand and Tine

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“Seek the Yay. Avoid the Woo. Be Brave. Don’t Burn Yourself.” – The We Trip (1995 I think?)

Some of you are joining our program already in progress, while coming in from NaBloPoMo or Movember, so I thought I’d cop out on plot today and go for a little character development instead.

I work in IT for a film special effects company on Pender near Bute (after seven years of working for gaming companies), and generally try not to use any business-speak in anything I do, but it’s a proactive (not “reactive”) engagement of my skillsets going forward.


I’m married (6 yrs?) to Arwen (you might know her: she used to hang at the Passion from time to time when she wasn’t working graveyards at Blenz on Robson or Blenz on Davie.  We’ve got two kids (boys: Ripley is 7 and Tate is 4) and Arwen’s working on her 2nd novel (no, not a NaNoWriMo, but she’s editing her latest, so she calling it NaNoEdMo).  We moved this summer form Mole Hil (right behind St. Paul’s) to Marpole (waaaaaaaay out at 67th & Oak), and I’ve been ramping up to cycling to/from work (25km, round trip) since we moved.

Right now, I just finished reading a moderately terrible young-adult book about a young girl whose parents work in a museum but don’t know she can *see* curses writhing on objects.  I’m a long way from being 13/14 any more, but I’m pretty sure I would have still snickered at this book.  To cleanse my palette, I’m reading a collection of short stories by Stephen King while trying to ramp up for either Anansi Boys or Anathem, probably the former first.  I started listening to the audiobook of the latter on my iPod during commuting, but the chapter/track order was hooped, so I have a slightly shuffled version of the story in my head.  I sort of enjoy that I have no idea WHEN anything happened in the timeline of the book, or indeed who half of the characters are, but know only THAT it happened.

I suspect my iPod was playing it in the order I’m most-likely to remember in a year.

My last two vacations were accidental, in that they were due to layoffs.  In 2008, laid off by Electronic Arts, which seems to be doing another round as as we speak, gentle reader.  A good friend who worked right next to me for a year died two weeks later.  2009 brought the very sad closing of Nexon/Humanature Studio in Yaletown, which is possibly the shortest job I’ve ever loved.

Scotch seems to have become the drink I enjoy if I want to nurse something for an hour, and wine if I want to share with friends.  Sambucca sometimes because it reminds me of my grandmother, but also because of the weird things it does if you put ice in it (blasphemy, I know).

I don’t use “Zen Render” in person any more, unless I’m meeting up with old BBS/IRC folks from waaaaaaay back in the day – an old friend of mine from my IRC days found my blog based on my pseudo, and I was glad for it.  (Hi Nemo!)

That pseudo used IRL is attached to a pretty sad and painful time in my life, actually.  Didn’t really have much that I enjoyed as “John,” so I let Zen drive for a while.  Hurt less, I think, to be someone else while my scars healed.  The “Zen” of me wasn’t afraid to say and do things that were that half-step past my normal comfort zone.  Wasn’t afraid to call people on their shit, or worry a little less about what others were thinking, and say what *I* was thinking.  Wasn’t afraid to tell off a heartless ex-girlfriend on the phone instead of thinking how to get ex back all the time.  Just wasn’t (as) afraid of life.  Not a dark side, just a slightly less wounded side.

I still have fear from time to time, of course, but it’s rarely for *me* now, it’s usually for those around me.  My wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my Tribe.

Mostly, I go by Burton (or, as some have remixed it, “Burtoin.”)  I think only Briana calls me Zen consistently, but that’s the only name she ever knew for me, and we’re friends on the ‘net only, anyway, and I hardly ever talk to her, so maybe it’s okay that Zen kept at least one friend out of the separation.

Oh, and for those of you following my Movember progress, lord help us, here’s what’s going on at Chez Moustache.

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

Posted on November 9th 2009 in Friends, General, People, randomness

Got nothing for you tonight.

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I’m tired today, even though I slept through most of Spy Kids 2 this afternoon.

Spent two hours doing groceries, watched a movie, and then we went to Ikea for wandering (whoops, $100) and dinner before coming back, putting the kids to bed, and hanging with the beautiful and talented MoxieSnacks.

Today blew by.  Pweroom.  Zorp.  Flurm.  Ka-done.

Wide angle lenses do weird things to my eyes (and/or glasses)

Wide angle lenses do weird things to my eyes (and/or glasses)

Oh, and I’m starting to get the moustache that I’m going to be coping with for the next three and a bit weeks.  (See photo, attached).

(Right now, Arwen and Moxie are talking about holding their breath while underwater, and so they’re closing the backs of their throats and talking, leaving them sounding like Edith Anne from Saturday Night Live, or perhaps the Professor from the Simpsons, who’s actually Jerry Lewis.  So, to recap: the two women in my living room right now are doing Jerry Lewis impressions.)

Oh holy shit.  My blog.  The main page blog (I should probably pull that, since I’m not looking for work from the outside world), and the Podcast site were all GONE for the last 15 minutes.  The blogs were still there, but they were all asking me to enter the name of the blog, and my email address.  Total amnesia.  The good folks at Fused Network are freakishly awesome and fixed it up and I’m back.  I’m sure I’ll get a thing about my ticket in a bit, if I don’t close it first.

But first, I’m going to go back up the databases on all six of the blogs on this domain…  Just. In. Case.  *cough*

In music news, I’m nervously excited that Massive Attack has a new album coming out soon, and last night, without really trying, I managed to lock down some pretty tight beats using Torq and it was embarrassingly easy.  Maybe I’ll have to get one of them thar Torq Xponent things next time I have… oh… hmm… $750… whoops.  Maybe if/when I see one on Craigslist some time.  One day.

But yeah, “Housecleaning Mix” should be something doable in the next few weeks, for sure.

Posted on November 8th 2009 in Friends, Music, Software

I’m outta practice… Need. More. Sushi.

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Went out for dinner tonight with Arwen’s mom & faux pa, and since Fridays are kinda special for us, we chose sushi at Downtown Sushi in our old stomping grounds.  They’ve got a little upscale on some of the fancier rolls, bucking the standard Vancouver “sushi places almost outnumber Starbucks” pricing of $3-$4 for your normal California roll, and maybe $5-$6 for the “fancy” rolls.

Well these guys have gotten all fancy and done some really interesting and tasty rolls, but um… $12?  Srsly?  Ripley (who’s seven, and yet can do some serious damage in an all-you-can-eat sushi place) got a fancy “Ocean” roll, and an order of gyoza, and I think his portion of the bill was probably around $18.


But thankfully, Arwen’s mom was picking up the bill tonight, so Ripley didn’t have to make good on his offer to pay for himself (I think, if he’s lucky, he’s got about $4 in the whole world.)

It was interesting for me though, ’cause Ripley often offers to pay for something if he thinks he’s not going to get it otherwise, but tonight, I think he was honestly noticing that $12 was a lot for a single roll of sushi, and wanted to help out.  It was kinda nice to see that he isn’t entirely psychotic when it comes to sushi.  I think maybe part of it is that we don’t have as many restaurants, dollar stores, and drug stores (like Shoppers) near our house, so he’s not constantly bombarded with the need to spend money on a “thing.”

I get that wanting to buy things, too.  I’m like that.  If I don’t have a couple of bucks in my pocket for a few days, I start to feel meager, and that makes me do weird things in my head.  I start going into some odd form of hunter/gatherer, I think, and I start trying to figure out what I could do/sell/make that I could sell on Craigslist for $50 or something.

But if I find out I have a $10 in my wallet, I’m good.  I’m fine.  I don’t need to spend it, I just have it.  Weird.

Nanny 911 is on, and it’s the blonde lady who says “famleh” instead of family, and it makes me giggle and cringe at the same time.  I think Nanny911 and Canada’s Worst Driver should both be on a new cable channel called the “You’re Fine Dear, It’s Your Husband Who Should Be Voted Off the Island.”

Seriously?  I just.  These guys are… I mean…  Screw YOU, dude.  What the hell?  I guess that probably comes from growing up in a family of strong-willed people, and strong women in specific.  When my mom was 23, her dad died, and her mom became a widow with six (yikes – SIX!) kids ranging from 25 to 13 (I think), and so the entire family grew up watching a woman as the head of a house…

…so I’m always sorta flabberghasted when I see any of these shows that have a base premise (the kids are running the house, or people have been nominated as bad drivers), that invariably becomes (at least partially) a study in “Why the hell are these two people together?”

Of course, I’ve wondered that about a lot of people I’ve known over the years, and I’m sure there’s some friends who’ve wondered what the hell Arwen sees in me, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be editable by a television producer to make me look like such a… a… such a butthead about dealing with other people, especially your partner.

But what the hell do I know?  I’m just a person, too.  I’m sure everyone on those shows that was chosen because they “made for good TV” didn’t think there was anything odd about their own activities.  America’s Next Top Model has this down to a science – you can usually pick out the person who has no chance of winning, but is destined for a trainwreck of booze, crying, or just good ol’ batshit insanity before they are sent packing.

…and then I think of that sign – something about “There’s a {something} in every crowd.  Look around.  If you can’t find them, it’s you.” and I start looking around my circle of people to figure out who I can’t find – which role is missing, where’s the gap in the grill?

Whatever that gap is, whatever archetype is missing, I guess maybe that’s my line.  That’s the part I’m supposed to play.


Posted on November 7th 2009 in Brainfarts, Friends, General, People



Long post warning: You has it.

November 2nd.  No point in posting the picture of my alleged moustache, ’cause there’s hardly anything there unless I have *just* finished shaving with a Bic, and I don’t have a camera or the patience to even bother getting anything approaching a macro setting for some hairs on my lip.  Also, even though I initially thought I was going to go for some sorta triple-threat thing and blog every day AND grow a stache for Movember AND ALSO PLUS cycle to work every day, I can’t, ’cause my back tire has a slow(ish?) leak and is currently flat.  Yes, the back time with the kevlar tube guard thing that’ll stop anything sharp from getting anywhere near it unless that sharp thing happens to be on the road, I guess.  Oh!  Story about the crazy who jumped my bike last week.  I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow okay?  Okay.  Coffee?  What coffee, YOU shut up.  Ahem.  Starting now.

[Monty Python Man At Desk]: Good evening.

I like to think I type gibberish like that because it’s witty, somehow, but mostly it’s just that I’ve found that typing damned near anything will get me going off on some tangent, usually with way too many parentheses, and far too few periods.  Especially dangerous at work, lemme just say.

Is it a tangent if I wasn’t going anywhere in the first place, or just mental bumbering?

I remember reading once that one of the signs (not necessarily a warning sign, mind you) of Asperger Syndrome is “atypical use of language.”  This pretty-much includes anyone I’ve ever enjoyed spending more than about an hour around.  Whether it’s friends who enjoy odd sentence structures, or those that use of words that haven’t been in a newspaper or magazine in… oh, maybe a century, or just about anything by Soul Coughing’s front man, Mike Doughty

(and then, instead of continuing to write, I just went out bomping around on the ye mighty ‘net, looking for good examples of why I like Doughty’s stuff, and instead of finding one thing I found about eight and then went looking for a track he did with another guy who normally does music I’m not actually that into but thought that maybe all y’all would be a little more interested in his lesser-known…)

Whoo, lookit that little brain try to skitter away from what it doesn’t wanna do, huh?  Flip the lights on and watch ’em scatter.

Here’s what I’m not saying:  I’ve been thinking about death today.  No, that’s not true.  Not death.  Not even sipping tea and watching ferryman coming for us.  Just thinking about the grandfather figure I mentioned yesterday.  Ace.  He was one of those mythical creatures in my life that gained the less-than-heavy-enough title “Friend of the Family.”  He was a old dude who was a friend and coworker of my mom and step-but-not-really-since-they-married-years-after-I-moved-out dad.  {Imagine a ricochet sound, as I jump to the top of this post and type what you THOUGHT was the first paragraph, but actually the seventh, which ends at the phrase “Good evening.”}

Cool.  Brain doesn’t wanna go there.  Check that out.  Pyeerommm….

Here’s the short version: Ace, an old friend of the family, and, as he would put it “A good shit,” showed me that me playing with computers was something that was possibly a legitimate thing I could do as a job.  Turned out he was right, of course, but before I ever got to be enough of an adult to spend time doing these sorts of things, he died.  I don’t know how to tell his part of my story.  I had a C64, he had a C64, but when he got a C128, and then later a PC, he and I would sit around trying to figure out what we could make these things do.  I’m pretty sure he’s one of the first people I knew who owned a “pc.” annnnd he was a friend, ’cause he would sometimes swear around me, and there was no “Whoops I swore in front of the kid” moment.  He knew that at twelve, I’d heard swearing before, but he also knew that I’d mostly heard it from the kids at school, who had no sense of tone, timing, or delivery.  He would swear with gusto, like he meant it, and like it was okay.  It was fun, it was joyous, it was powerful.  Not everything that contained force has to be ugly or mean, his swearing said.

He and his wife were crazy hippie bastards who’d gotten old, but were still active and still fighting the good fight.  I think Marge may have been a Raging Granny at one point, but don’t quote me on that.  She may have been “A” Raging Granny, but not necessarily “A Raging Granny.”

Fuck it, there’s no short version of Ace’s story, so lemme just tell you my favourite story of Ace, even though I have zero first-hand experience of it, and was told that he always felt really bad about what happened (it’s okay: Ace stays a Good Guy through the whole thing, you don’t have to start reading through your fingers or anything).

Ace had a daughter (or was it two?) and she was grown and out of the house, but came home one day to visit and let herself in.  Ace came home and when she stepped out of one of the bedrooms and spoke to him, he was so surprised that he turned around, bringing both hands up and then down in a sort of air-traffic-controller-guy (with the orange cones) move, hitting her in both collarbones at once, breaking them (or maybe it was just one).  There was something about military training at some point in his younger years.  Something about it all coming back in that split second, when he heard a footstep and a voice behind him he wasn’t expecting, in his own home, when he knew his wife wasn’t in the house.

Something about hearing that story for the first time (when I was still a kid, maybe 14 or so) made me see, in crystal clarity that adults are humans who have lives we didn’t know about.  That parents are humans.  I knew that, of course.  They were people with past lives.  I knew that too.  They were people who’d maybe learned things they hadn’t used in a long long time.  I don’t think I’d really known that.  I just assumed that everyone went to school and then to work, and what they did day in and day out was the culmination of everything they’d learned so far from DNA up to that afternoon.

I came to the slow realization that sometimes people learn things they maybe didn’t want to use in the first place, and maybe never wanted to use again if they could help it.  Left me wondering if this six-foot-something gangly guy with a huge rockstar smile and tinted glasses had at one time been a bad mutha, and had maybe done things he had never quite healed from.  That he had pains that were more than just the limp that I was always told was from some of his many motorcycle accidents of his youth.

He also, without ever a word between us, showed me what a broken heart looks like when you spend your whole life with the person you love most in the world, and then they get older just slightly faster than you do.  He aged fast then.  He was still in there, still driving behind his eyes, but he didn’t have that same spark.  That same fight.  The old crazy hippie bastard who’d marched in peace rallies and swore with grace and warmth had kinda gone out of him.

Yeah, no, there it is.  That’s it.  The fight had gone out of him.  His “military presence” was gone.  He was an old man now.  Old and sitting in a Tim Hortons, having a coffee, by himself.  Thinking about things.  He was still teaching at the College (or the University, or whatever they hell they were calling it that month), and he was teaching old folks about computers.  20 years later, and he’d taking all the stuff he and I had cobbled together about what we thought about computers, and turned that into the end of his career.  Helping the little white haired grandmothers NOT send hundreds of thousands of dollars to Nigerian scammers, or something.  Helping them take whatever gumption they had left and get it online.

I only saw him for a few minutes, but he caught me up really quick on what he was doing.  Folks my age would call themselves techs, nerds, or geeks, but not Ace.  He was “still teaching.”  I got to introduce him to the woman who would later become my wife, and I could see him light up a little at that.  He could read in me that I was happy, and that I was full of all the fire and brimstone and alarmingly deep focus on a topic that he’d had when he was starting out way back when.  He knew I’d found love that’d keep me going until I was old, too.

He died less than a year later, I think.  Never really got to say goodbye.  Don’t think I could have, given the chance.  Wouldn’t have wanted to put him on the spot like that.  I wrote him in my head as a character for a story my buddy Rick and I came up with a few years later, and one that Arwen wrote a chapter for (but it didn’t include Ace).  He was the first line of my version of the same story.  In it, he was a fence for some sorta futuristic information pawnshop, hauling ill-gotten data around between buyer, seller, and thief, and cop.  He’d been caught in the middle of all of it one time too many, and the deal had gone wrong, but he hadn’t disconnected from the technology.  He’d hidden away the last little bit of what they’d come for deep in his mind, and then exported himself into a system that he’d knew our heroes would look through for clues.

He’d passed the torch, expecting us to… no, demanding that we pick up the fight.  That we understood the weapons, the dangers, and the loss of what was to come, but didn’t let any of that leave us standing in the middle of the room when the bad guys came back to clear out the rest of his memories.

Was that what I wanted to write?  Who knows.

Felt like that ricochet swung back round a bit though.

Posted on November 2nd 2009 in Brainfarts, Friends, Grumpy Old Man, People, randomness, Sad

NaBloPoCycloMovember: Day 1



I have decided to join a global movement that is bringing much needed attention to prostate cancer.  I’m doing this by growing a Moustache this Movember, the month formerly known as November. My commitment is to grow a moustache all November and I am hoping that you will support my efforts by making a donation.  The funds raised go directly to Prostate Cancer Canada.
What many people don’t know is that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men with 25,500 diagnosed and 4,400 dying from the disease each year.
Facts like these have convinced me I should get involved.
To make a donation, you can either:
•    Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account , or
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Prostate Cancer Canada’, referencing my Registration Number 273776 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, 145 Front Street East, Ste. 306, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.
All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Prostate Cancer Canada will use the money raised by Movember for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.
For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please click [HERE].
Thank you

Greetings everybody, all twelve of you that still check this feed.


Yep, check it.  I’m doing one of those NabloPoMo things.  Sorry Karla.

You’re excited, I can tell.

So, last year, I did the NaBloPoMo (National Blog Post Month) which went pretty well.  I *think* I did a post every day, and certainly grew a moustache, though it was a fairly odd one due to my silver hair not quite translating into anything more than salt & pepper and some cayenne in my ‘stache.

So yeah, the moustache part is for Movember, which started in Australia, it seems, and is all about “changing the face of men’s health,” whatever the hell that means.  I’m guessing/hoping that it means we’re looking like cheesy 70s actors in order to remind ourselves to NOT ignore our aches and pains, and to get checkups, and to see doctors when weird shit is going on, physically speaking.  Do not tough it out, I guess, is the message.  What do I know?  I haven’t even read any deeper than the posters and pre-scripted bumpf that comes with registration.  Maybe it’s a month of excessive chest bumping and high-fiving, but I somehow doubt it, even if it DOES come from Australia.  “High-Five” doesn’t seem very Australian to me, unless it’s the kids’ TV show, which is better than the Doodlbebops, but nowhere NEAR as good as the Upside-Down Show.

Uh, yeah, here’s my pre-scripted thing to ask for donations so I can shave raise awareness.  Of stuff.  Or something.

Mo Logo Stacked Medium


I have decided to join a global movement that is bringing much needed attention to prostate cancer.  I’m doing this by growing a Moustache this Movember, the month formerly known as November. My commitment is to grow a moustache all November and I am hoping that you will support my efforts by making a donation.  The funds raised go directly to Prostate Cancer Canada.

What many people don’t know is that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men with 25,500 diagnosed and 4,400 dying from the disease each year.

Facts like these have convinced me I should get involved.

To make a donation, you can either:

•    Click this link and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account , or
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Prostate Cancer Canada’, referencing my Registration Number 273776 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, 145 Front Street East, Ste. 306, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Prostate Cancer Canada will use the money raised by Movember for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer.

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please click [HERE].

Thank you

Yeah, no.  Seriously.  Don’t die at 40, like my friend Jan did.  Or at 43, like my grandfather did.  I was two when he went, so I never got to have a grandfather I could remember, (aside from Ace*, maybe.)  Get things checked out.  Mmkay?  Not that any of them had prostate cancer, that I’m aware of, but still.  Early this year, I had this harsh pain in my right calf muscle, and went to the clinic just to make sure I wasn’t hurting it more by walking around after some sorta pull, and the doctor there decided that she couldn’t let me go without scaring warning me that it could be a deep-vein thrombosis, and sent me to the hospital.  It wasn’t.  I was fine, but still.  I was okay just kinda limping around.  Women?  Women get stuff checked out.  Props to Arwen for getting me to the clinic in the first place.  I guess she didn’t want me dying of a blood clot from my leg.  A good sign she isn’t going to kill me in my sleep any time soon.

Or is that just what she wants me to think?  Sneaky.

So now that you read a little about me, and I have nothing more interesting to say than last night was fun with the 4yo and the 7yo running around Marpole and getting candy from maaaaaaybe every seventh or eighth house (c’mon people, don’t let the malls run Halloween.)  I bet the DND and collectible figurines place at Metrotown would be fun once they started having the odd drink under the counter, though.  Weird to think I used to work in that mall, way back in the day.

Wait, what?  Oh, yeah.  Now that you see I have nothing to say, maybe you can go visit a few of my friends (actual, live, in person, PEOPLE who I’ve MET) at their blogs, even though they’re not all involved in NaBloPoMo.

Arwen, Bubbledom, Claire, Barb, Monkeypants, MoxieSnacks, NoPantsIsland, Ramdon Ranblings, The (Mighty Mighty) Cheeseblog, St. Aardvark, Skonen Blades, Unknown Origins Podcast, and even Johnny Bliss from way over in Vienna.

And now, I shall stop procrastinating, and go fold some laundry, ’cause that’s what hardcore gangsta techie dads DO.

First pics of Movember will start later this week.  Stay tuned for that.  No point right now, ’cause it’s just day one, and that’d result in a picture of ME, not my stache.

Also, XKCD rocks my world.  I need a wall-sized poster of this.

* I’ll tell you folks about Ace some time this month.  He keeps pestering me from the back of my head to write him into a a book I haven’t done more than start the first chapter of.  He deserves space on a page somewhere, so maybe I’ll finally get to him online somehow.  He would have liked that, I think.

Posted on November 1st 2009 in Brainfarts, Friends, General, People

Happy Screaming Birthday, Tate

1 Comment »

We had 8 kids here today. Two of them were ours, and while there were a few tears, and lots of screaming, I think most of it was happy screaming.

I may have to steal the Nerf gun Tate got, though, or at least modify it so he can pull the pump on it.

The place is NOT a total shambles, and there’s only a little bit of Oreo cake on the carpet. Pin the tail on the donkey is still fun for the kids under the age of 10. Arwen (on her third trip through being 10) did pretty well, too.

I decorated (not my forte) and generally stayed outta the way when kids played, and tried to not get the same headache I had yesterday.

Mission accomplished.

Best moment: Tate rushing into the house announcing “I hafta poo!” and jumping onto the toilet. Okay, he made it. Great. I stuck my head around the door, and asked if he’d need any help when he’s done, and he said “Nah… Because I’m four now.”

Wish more of life was that obvious.

Posted on September 26th 2009 in Friends, General, Grumpy Old Man, People
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