NaBloPoMovember: Day 17

Sorry about last night’s cryptic and depressing post.  Had to process a little before I could express it at all.

Quick Version: Someone “found” Arwen’s wallet and cel phone last night, and figured they were going to get rich quick by returning it.  I’m not rich.  If I’m feeling played, the game is over.

Long Version: Arwen was out at a board thing, and I was expecting her to head home around 9.  9:05, phone rang, her cel.  Not-Arwen on the phone said she’d found Arwen’s wallet and phone, and that she was going to head downtown and we could come pick it up (we used to live downtown, and the address on the photo ID would show us being there still.)  Told her we were nearby, and that I could get into a car and come down there, and that I’d pay for a cab downtown for her or something, and then there was a pause.

A long pause.

“This phone’s worth a lot, y’know.  And all this ID would cost hundreds of dollars to replace.  Most people wouldn’t do this.  I could have just kept this.”

My alarm bells went off, and I wondered where Arwen really was – was she okay, had she been mugged and left in an alley somewhere by one of this person’s “friends.”

I ended up waking the kids and hauling them in the car to the Marine Skytrain station literally five minutes later, and getting into a shouting match with an addict who was convinced that she was owed $100 or more for not stealing the phone and wallet she “found on a side street.”  I gave her the $20 I had in my wallet, and after some more guilt-laden back and forth about how most people wouldn’t have called, I finally just said

“Actually lots of people would call.  Lots of people do, and when they do, they don’t ask for MORE money right away – they know they did a good thing today, and they’re happy with whatever they might get.  Look, here’s what’s going to happen, I’m going to take my wife’s phone and wallet back, and you’re going to take this $20 and we’re done.  That’s it, there’s no more money.”

“But I could sell that phone for-”

I took the wallet and phone out of her hands.

“I make a phone call, and this goes from ‘returning a wallet’ to theft and possession of stolen goods.  You want more money, and I don’t have it.  Sorry, but we’re done here.”

“Phone your wife, and see if she has any-”

I held up Arwen’s phone.  “And how am I going to do THAT?”

“Well, she’s probably home by now.”

Again, alarm bells went off in my head “Why would you think that?  If you know where she is, you’d better say so right now.  If not, I’m taking my kids home.  This is over.”

She followed me back to the car, yelling at me that she had “nothing” and that the $20 I had given her was “useless.”  Her friends had left her at the station, and what was she supposed to do now with only $20?

As I closed the door to the car, and the kids in the back seat were panicking, she yelled “I know where you live.  I know where you fuckin’ LIVE.”

I pulled out my Blackberry, and snapped a picture of her, and turned it around to show her, and said “and if anything happens to my house or my family, I’ve got your photo here, and the police and I will come looking for you.  Now get away from the car.”

A bus honked at her as she ran back toward the station, and I did a U-turn towards home.

We arrived at the house to see Arwen opening the front door and then being baffled as to why I was pulling the kids in PJs and jackets out of the back seat.

After explaining to our 8yo that “it was the drugs wanting more drugs” and settling them back to bed, I checked front and back yards, and stood quietly in the shadows near the house, watching.

I know that she probably did NOT have the address of our place (unlikely she would have written it down if she’d found it in the wallet, and as I said before, the address on Arwen’s BCID is two houses ago), but was still freaked out that she and some friends would come do something, and that feeling hasn’t gone away yet.  It’s ugly to think about how that went down, and I keep thinking about how it would have gone if there hadn’t been that pause.  If there hadn’t been the “y’know…” moment in that initial phone conversation.

I would have given more money, maybe even that magical $100, and would have felt really good giving it to someone with so little, even if they were going to spend it in some alarming way.  I would have been happy to give it, but it felt like a shakedown, and it felt wrong.

On the phone tonight, my mom (who’s taught in prisons) suggested that it’s common for “found” items to fence their way up to people who don’t set off the alarms quite so easily, usually women, but then those people have to pay first and then “upsell” whoever they’re giving the stuff back to.  So maybe she’d already given someone money for the stuff.  Maybe she was now out of pocket because she’s paid someone else who’d convinced her the cel and wallet were worth “a lot of money.”

I’m not feeling great about it, and I’m feeling bad I subjected my kids to that.

Not sure I had another option that I would have felt any better about.

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 http://www.geckotemple.com/podcast 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.

NaBloPoMovember: Day 5

Today was also a long day, but it ended on a happy note.  After many many hours of backing up data just in case the Isilon cluster decided to asplode when we upgraded the operating system, I finally shooed everyone out of the office and “pulled the trigger” on the upgrade process.

  1. Uploaded the upgrade to the cluster.
  2. Initiated the upgrade process.
  3. Selected the file from where it was on the cluster.
  4. Clicked Start.
  5. Watched as it started doing its thing.
  6. Watched while it started rebooting.
  7. Stared at the “The login screen will appear when the upgrade is complete.” screen.
  8. For
  9. Six
  10. Minutes
  11. (That’s a very very long time when you’re waiting to find out whether or not your entire weekend is going to be completely toast and you have to spend all your time on the phone with some cheerily determined technical support folks from Seattle, just so you can *barely* scrape your way into Monday morning in time for people to show up and start work again).
  12. You know the Public Enemy song Fight the Power?  Of course you do.  Same length of time.  Same amount of “Come on, come ON, YES!” energy was expired in that six minutes waiting for it to come back online.

So that was good.  Copied a few files to/from it just to make sure all was well, and then packed up to go home.

Time to get back to some of the topics I promised on Monday:

Screaming at the Children

So, I’m a dad of two, eight and five, and I think

(Wait: if you’re a Firefox user, and are running a version that does Personas, go put this on.  Very nice.)

and I think I’ve mostly got things figured out when it comes to parenting.  I make mistakes, and I overreact some times when my eldest does something that I find particularly evil, but it’s because I want to show him quickly and surely that there’s bad things that happen when you use your crafty powers for evil.  The other day was a pretty good example of this, and here’s why –

Tape gets used a LOT in this house.  Both the kids love to do artsy things, and scotch tape becomes a part of just about anything.  On Monday night though, youngest (5) comes downstairs and says to me in all seriousness

“Dad, don’t close my door upstairs, ’cause I-”

“You won’t be able to see ’cause it’ll be dark?  There’s your Ikea swirly blue ligh-”

“…won’t be able to get out of my room, ’cause Eldest taped the door.”

I take youngest back upstairs, and put him back to bed, and then look, and sure enough, the door has about four layers of tape around the doorknob, rendering it damn near impossible to turn (for me, and I’ve got some pretty good pickle-jar-openers if I do say so m’self), and so I rip it off the door, and walk into Eldest’s room, and flip on the light.

“Eld, what’s this?”

(Eyes wide) “I just wanted to see if-”

“If what?  If you could trap your brother in his room and cause him to be so scared he’s in there screaming and crying and banging on a door he can’t get open?  What if there’s a fire?  What if he needs to pee?  What if he thinks there’s a monster in his closet, and he CAN’T GET OUT and I CAN’T GET IN and he’s stuck in there?  HUH?”

(Tears in his eyes) “I didn’t think it wou-”

“WHAT IF IT’S 2 AM AND HE’S WAKING FROM A NIGHTMARE AND TERRIFIED OUT OF HIS MIND, AND THEN HE CAN’T EVEN SEE THE LIGHT FROM THE STAIRWELL?  DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT KINDA DAMAGE THAT CAN DO TO YOUR HEAD WHEN YOU’RE ONLY FIVE, AND YOU THINK YOU’VE SEEN A GHOST YOU CAN’T GET AWAY FROM?”

(Crying) “You’re scaring me…”

“YOU’RE GODDAMN *RIGHT* I’M SCARING YO-…”

(Whimpering) “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Younger, I didn’t think it would be-…”

“Next time you do something like this, I’m making you eat the tape.  Now good night.”

I walked back downstairs, and sat on the couch for a bit, and a felt bad.  Also thought about a study I heard about once in which they concluded that people under high stress will often place themselves in a position of more stress so they can get to a point where they explode, and yell and gnash their teeth because there’s a spot in your brain that finds that endorphin/adrenaline rush to be FUN.  Freaking the fuck out like that is ENJOYABLE, like going on a ride at the fair.  Like “WHEEEE…”

And even while I was yelling at Eldest, I knew exactly what he meant.  I’m that kid, too.  I worked at a video store for about two hours before I took the time to figure out how to get tapes past the security gates.  He was just going “Oh hey look, you can make the door not work by doing this.”  My best friend when I was a kid and I used almost exactly the same trick to get ourselves into a empty/condemned/closed office building after hours back in Chilliwack.  I remember we found a beer bottle that had something disgusting in it.  I remember thinking it was a mouse, or something organic and dead.  It was probably a paper towel from someone’s dinner.

But I look back at me then with my now-fatherly eyes and think “That wasn’t safe.  That was stupid.  That was dangerous.  You were in there on the weekend. There could have been others in there.  Others with drug habits, and make-shift weapons, and mental health issues.  You could have been hurt, either/both of you, and nobody would have known where to even start looking for you.”

So.

So when I lost it, I became the monster I felt my child should fear before messing with doors.  With locks.  With security.

Like we learn from monster/alien films: When creating the barrier, and locking the bad guys out, make sure you’re on the other side of the barrier from the aggressor.  Make sure you lock the bad guys out, instead of locking them in with you.

‘Cause sometimes you think you’ve got it all under control, and you realize the monster is you.

Stache pics tomorrow, I think.  Maybe after I go bike shopping.

After making pancakes for the kids, and letting Elder pour his own batter, even though the stove is hot.

Field Report: My mom in the T-dot today

Since yesterday’s field report was from someone other than me, I’m going to keep it going with one from my mom, who’s in Toronto today:

I am glad I had already changed my plans to travel to Kingston, as a result of the rail strike called for Sunday and Monday, because I wouldn’t have been able to get to Oshawa to get the train today anyway. The Go Trains and the subway and the buses stopped running at about 1 pm. No one in, no one out, as my mother used to say.

Things were going along fairly peacefully, and I was following the protest on Twitter. I decided, at shortly after 1 pm, to return to Eaton Centre, at Yonge and Dundas to go to Sears. I went there last night, and bought a skirt. The clerk did not remove the security tag, so I decided to head over to Sears to get the skirt detached from the ink-shedding security tag. Because you just never know when you’ll need to wear your brand new skirt.

All was calm, actually almost deserted, with bunches of security people around but not very many shoppers and strollers, and no police. The Twitter feed told me the demonstration was ‘peacefully’ headed down University toward the security fence, and the Canadian Federation of Labour was keeping everyone in line (no kidding).

So I got the button removed from my skirt, and slowly (I have a very bad leg at the moment) hobbled to the exit. The revolving doors aren’t.

I go out the remaining door and onto Yonge. Ever get that weird feeling something has gone terribly wrong? The streets were filled with people, no cars anywhere, and … no cops. No one seemed to be doing anything too bad, but … I got up Yonge a block to – yes – the Pickle Barrel – and turned back to see what was going on behind me on Yonge toward the security zone.

Only about a gazillion black hooded people rushing – it seemed to me – toward ME. I leapt into the Atrium right beside the Pickle Barrel and stood in the entrance with the security guy. None of the shops were open, but no one seemed too upset, so I did what any good Canadian would do under the circumstances, went down to the food fair and bought a coffee. Fortunately for me, I don’t have a thing for Starbucks.

Almost all the shops were closed, but the Pickle Barrel was open and I could see people having lunch. The music was playing in the food fair and I drank my coffee and wondered how far it was to Winners. Since I wasn’t going anywhere else anyway.

Twitter: Police car on fire (people should be required to say WHERE when they tweet this. They had enough letters)
Twitter: Eaton Centre in lock down (this is less than a block from where I’m sitting)
Twitter: windows are being smashed at Yonge and Dundas (guess where I am)
Twitter: Delta Chelsea is in lock down (about two blocks north on Yonge)
Twitter: second police car on fire (CAN NO ONE tweet DIRECTIONS???)
Twitter: American Apparel store windows smashed (roughly about twenty feet up the road from the Atrium)

The weird thing is I heard nothing. Could hear nothing but the tinkly music and the sounds of staff in all the food fair shops. People buying food from the Thai fast food folks. A & W french fries ordered. The whirl of the juice bar.

I sat in this Blackberry fueled limbo for about half an hour and then – went up the escalator to street level. The street was jammed with people walking north toward Bloor, but no demonstrators. Just – people walking in the middle of the road because there was glass all over the sidewalks. No one seemed particularly upset, and people were taking pictures of each other posed in front of these smashed store fronts.

About ten of the stores I had just walked past were windowless. I didn’t have the heart to look to see if the World’s Biggest Bookstore had been done in, because I was trying to figure out how to cross Yonge to get to my little alley that lead onto Gould Street and the Ryerson University Campus.I could see my little alley but … now I know how obstinate salmon must feel when everyone else is going up the river and I wanted to go down, or across.

Did I mention the bum leg? Next time, I’m taking a stick … although the cops were taking canes away from folks they determined didn’t need them. But that’s another story.

No cops anywhere but thousands of people. I don’t know if they were following these Black Bloc anarchists or what, but the street was packed. So I did what we Canadians do best: clutching my Sears bag and my shoulder purse to my chest, hoisting my fuschia umbrella, smiling gamely, I hobbled out over the glass, stepped down into the street and “Excuse me”d across the street. Ten feet down the little walk way and ta da – I was in the green splendour of Ryerson’s central common. Ten minutes or so of shuffling along with my best impression of “Knee? What knee?” I reached the International Living Learning Centre (am I the only one troubled by the lack of comma?) where no one even knew what was going on.

This must be what tornado aftermath is like. The destruction was horrendous, and yet – it all happened so fast. I see from the twitter feeds that the city is in chaos tonight; but outside my window, looking onto Jarvis, you’d never know the police are chasing the demonstrators and the demonstrators – the few nasty ones – are chasing the police all over the city core.

I sure hope those G20 folks are having a good meeting. They probably didn’t have to go to the Metro all night store, that closed at 7 pm, to get their dinner.

Even if I could have got to Kingston, I couldn’t have, as all transit was shut down until after six and the Bloor and Yonge stations keep opening and then closing.

On the other hand, this was my first experience using Twitter and the Web to get importance information about the situation. Although – I suppose if I had used the information AND my common sense, I wouldn’t have decided to return to get the plastic thingee off my new skirt in the first place.

And that’s me – live – from just off Yonge and Dundas. Over to you, Peter.

love you all

Glad you are not here
Wendy/Mom

Field Report

Pvts Burton are upstairs and lights out after a successful shoveling clean of the barracks, followed by R&R in the officer’s quarters. The Sword in the Stone was played for the amusement of the troops; popcorn, fruit, and cheese served for evening rations.
Unfortunately, the late arrival of the setting of the sun encourages the troops to chatter and scheme rather than achieving their requisite shut-eye. Disciplinary action may be taken.The master corporal is advised that well seasoned soup is waiting for his evening meal.
Sergeant Brenneman will go another day without her Section 8 being successful. She finds it rather frustrating that as a lady, wearing ladies’ things is not indeed seen as sign of insanity.

(this is why I love my wife – she’s insane)

End of NaBloPoMo 2009: Hooray, I Blew It!

Not so much.
Not so much.

So, National Blog Posting Month wasn’t exactly a action-packed thrillride adventure, but it’s good to at least feel guilty about not writing every day, so I have some reason to take note of the world around me, and at least think “Hey, I should probably write about that tonight, so I have something for Nablopomo.”  Oh well.  I think I only missed three or four days.  Not too shabby.

Today, during my ride to work, I was listening to something from an EP by Burial, and at the 3min mark of the first of two 9min tracks, I closed my eyes for a moment (I’d been reading Twitter feeds, and for some reason, sitting sideways on the bus was making me a little queasy), and was suddenly and completely taken away, lost in the track.  That hasn’t happened in a long time for me.  Music is something that keeps me motivated when I’m cycling, keeps me sane when I’m overloaded by the maddening crowds, and keeps me focused when I’m at work and there’s too many things going on that threaten to knock me off the task at hand.

But it’s been a while since music just pulled me completely out of what’s going on.  Not even an escape from, but instead an ejection of the moment at hand.  Just gone.  Used to happen when I was making music.  I’d just put together a bunch of noises, and bleeps and bloops and drums and samples and whatever the hell else I happened to have handy and then hit play and started slapping loops together.  I refuse to challenge myself to make another album, not just because I feel let down when I don’t do it, but because it reminds me of why I quit.  Not because we had a new baby in the house.  Not because I started a new job, but because at some point after my second album I actually started to get noticed, and it freaked me out.

Not because of the attention to the music, but because I didn’t know what I was doing, so I felt like such a sham.  I had the NinjaTune label ask if I could spin my own stuff, and I couldn’t so that was out for opening for someone (and I think I would probably just pass out cold if I had to stand up in front of a crowd and play something *I* made, even if most of what I made is just arrangements of sound, and not what I consider composition).  A few months later, I was asked if I could open for a fairly well-known electronic artist in Vancouver, and again said no because I didn’t know how to “play” my stuff live.  That spooked me away from live shows, and then on top of THAT, CBC2’s New Music Canada  (that’s the online component of the stereo wing of Canada’s Broadcasting Corporation) played my least-favourite song from my first album TWICE in as many weeks.

That was all becoming more and more intense, and while it was exciting, it was also scaring the shit out of me, ’cause I kept wondering when the unmarked helicopters of audio engineering were going to show up and take away my mouse so I couldn’t do it any more because I wasn’t a “real” musician.

And then I joined the one-day music group, Immersion Composition Society (Neptune Lodge).  If you can call participating once “joining.”  I mean, I met Tricky once, even shook his hand, does that mean I’m in his band?

The point is to make a brand new piece of audio in a single day, and play it for a group of other folks that evening.  You could do anything you wanted to, using whatever method you wanted, but you had to go from nothing to something in that one day.  It was terrifying, and exhilarating, and inspiring to hear the sorts of amazing weirdness that geniuses like Dave Cheong can come up with in a day.  But mostly, I felt like I failed.  Felt like what they were doing was awesome, and what I was doing was crap.  That everyone had something to say about the other pieces (myself included) and there was discussion and dialogue, and then when it came to what little bits of audio lint I’d scraped together, the collective response was “Huh.  Well.  Next?”

It hurt.  What made it worse was that it’s not like anyone was being a dick or anything, they were just responding with whatever they’d felt, which was, it seems, not much.

Haven’t done a full single track since, and that was almost eight years ago.  Woof.

Back to where I started. Buhbye biker dude.
Back to where I started. Buhbye biker dude.

In other news I shaved off my Movember moustache.  Planned ahead enough to get one last photo before I went two miles up and nuked the place (it’s the only way to be sure), didn’t actually look at whether or not the “before” picture was wildly out of focus before I grabbed the shaver and went crazy on the ‘stache.

Whoops.

Oh well, thanks for reading, and if you’re not someone who’s commented before, drop a line and I’ll add you to my RSS feeds.

Big talk, for a guy who’s never been in a fight.

Arwen’s been pointing something out to me over the last few months (maybe longer, and it’s only sinking in now) and it’s about violence.  In specific, it’s about me having violence as the go-to when it comes to why certain things just shouldn’t be done.

I was talking about something I saw on the Skytrain last night: The train was crammed on a rainy Vancouver evening, and at one of the stations, a few people tried to squeeze in, and managed to just make it in, and then there was this one last guy who came running across the platform like a linebacker, and crashed into the half-dozen folks in the doorway.  There were shouts of “Hey” and “What the hell?” and a moment later, a transit greenjacket pulled the guy off the train, and the doors closed.  The train pulled away without further incident.

So I told this story to Arwen, and was saying that it was probably a good thing they pulled the guy off the train, ’cause I thought things might’ve actually gotten violent on that train if he’d stayed.  Arwen suggested in no uncertain terms that this was the least likely thing to happen on a transit car full of commuters on a rainy Wednesday evening in Vancouver.  Dirty looks.  Rolled eyes, maybe, but then everyone would go back to their iPhones, Blackberries, and newspapers, and generally forget about Mr. Shove.

This is something Arwen has pointed out to me before: To hear me tell it, it would seem that in my day-to-day life, I’m generally a pretty easy-going and “no-no, after you” kinda guy ONLY because my primary reason for not being a pushy line-cutting* butthead (at least when storytelling) is to avoid getting my teeth punched out.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t walk around out there thinking I’m going to need to duck a punch if I step on someone’s shoes, nor do I think I’m going to partake in fisticuffs if someone steps on my toes.

Let’s face it, there’s a fair amount of truth in the joke “How do you make a Canadian say sorry?  Bump into them.” so I wonder why my first thought is often that you need to avoid the violence inherent in the system.

Two of my male friends have also said things to me over the years that make me wonder.  One of them was more about the strength of my hands, as in “Holy geez, look at those meat hammers – I’d hate to be on the wrong end of that.” and the other friend (who has waaay too much Aikido training) was just referring to my internal violent imagery, as in “You’re a nice guy and everything, but I can see you’ve got that crazy demon in there, and you need to get back into training to get that thing under control.”

So now I wonder if it’s been in that head-patting “Yeah, yeah, you’re rill rill scary.” sort of way.  I wonder what I think the point of those stories spun that particular way is supposed to be?  That I’m the Defender of Justice, so I wish people wouldn’t be assholes so I wouldn’t have to hold back the mob of angry villagers with the pitchforks and torches?

Huh.  Interesting.

Maybe it’s time for me to get into karate again.

Either that, or stop talking about people being pushy buttheads out in the world.  Just let it go, y’know?  There’s the studies that say that people build up stress and then have explosive rants because it releases all sorts of cool something-amine into your brain, which feels good.  So feeling stress is bad, but having stress but then freaking OUT is good.  At least, it feels good to do, but then leaves everyone around you with the impression that you’re this dramafest, when actually, you’ve let it go in the moment (at least in the instance of who/whatever was making you crazy).

…and now, I sleep.  Don’t wanna be a grump tomorrow, or I’ll uh… I’ll what?

Yeah, I’ll probably… nothing.  WooOOoo, scary stuff, eh kids?

*Queuing is Canada’s secret National pastime.

My Brain Hurts

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.

Bluesy Monday, That’s the One Day…

Oh man, I just sneezed, and now I instantly have a headache AND feel like I have a cold.  Yaaaaay.

Wow, today was a hardcore Vancouver rainy crapfest.  Welcome to Winter.  Last week was Fall, this week is Winter.  The way Vancouver works though, next week will be Spring, after our obligatory three days of snow (which then becomes slush, and then we’re done).

The moustache for Movember is finally starting to look like a moustache, BUT it’s almost impossible to get a picture of it because a flash washes it out, and NOT using a flash makes everything in the room yellow/orange.  The best part is that it looks sorta dirty-reddish brown to the corners of my mouth, but then goes completely white.  It’s like uh, what, it’s like Hulk Hogan or a two-tone biker or something, but with more crewcut, and less arms.  I dunno.  You guys tell me when you go check out the photos.  While you’re there, make the stupid moustache have a point and donate a few bucks to the cause, mkay?

Today I stumbled across the Bizarroworld’s version of FailBlog –  Succeed Blog, and along with something I Tweeted earlier about someone starting a dance party that goes from zero to 300 in three minutes.  Now THAT is what you call infectious dancing.  There’s also some insane juggling linked from there.  I mean, I can juggle three balls, and can do it pretty fast, but this guy can do stuff I can’t even track (and this is coming from a guy who has literally juggled oranges on acid*.)  I couldn’t even move my hands in some of those configurations, much juggle at the same time.

I think the thing that drew me to SucceedBlog was that it is all about the most insane, and amazing, and beautiful and truly awe-inspiring moments.  Some of the pictures are just sorta cute, which you could find at ICanHasCheeseBurger, or CuteOverload, but some of the video is just a big ol’ glass of freshly-squozed awesome.  The sorta stuff that makes you glad to be alive, glad to have a heartbeat today, instead of the kinds of things that just make you glad you’re not whoever that is in the cringe-worthy photo.

So yeah, a good find.  I hope they keep going, along with their ilk.  At least for the rest of the Winter.

Also, I watched Human Traffic last night, which is a movie about uh… a bunch of kids having a lost weekend (one of many) and all the stupid stuff they do, but it’s sweet somehow.  Think Trainspotting, minus any blood or overdoses, and a happy ending for everyone.  Two Word Review: Doesn’t suck.

OMIGOD, we’re watching a few minutes of Demolition Man before the Daily Show starts, and we just watched the bit with Dennis Leary going on a tear about having your life controlled by the man, which is fun, but just off his right shoulder is a very young, silent (and puffy-haired?) Jack Black, who looks like he’s maaaaaybe 22… could that be right?

* Hi Mom!

Oh hai.

So, today the phone rang, and it was my mom, sounding a little shaky, and she said “I’m homeless.”  I had visions of the roof of the house in Chilliwack collapsing or something.  We had a conversation like this once years ago when the University building she was staying in caught fire and she (while still not really awake yet) figured she needed to buy a computer, now, this instant.  I could hear the sirens in the background.  So when a conversation with my mom starts with “I’m homeless,” you take notice.

Turns out she was just between hotel stays with a checkout at Noon and the next checkin at 5 or somehing (geez, don’t DO that), and was looking for a place to kill a few hours, so we all got a free random visit, and a slideshow of elephants, giraffes, and South Sudanese folks in combat fatigues.  Yeah, really.

My mom’s become this total globetrotter, and she’s not doing the jetsetting “what a lovely hotel” thing, at least, she’s not setting out to do that during any of her trips.  Instead, she’s going to places like the South Sudan (Juba) and Bangladesh.  Who’da thunk it?  This teacher from Chilliwack zooming around the world.  Parents can be pretty surprising, given the chance, I guess.  I wonder if my kids’ll ever find me that surprising.  I sure hope so.

Her job now also means that instead of teaching some of BC’s natives to be teachers (so kids stop getting squeezed out before grade 12 because nobody understands why the spirit dancers get a little jumpy at certain times of the year), or teaching basic life skills to guys in prison (she had to convince herself they were all there for cheque fraud) she’s out teaching guys who have been soldiers for most of their adult lives.

That’s using the term “adult” loosely, as many of these guys were in their mid-teens when they were handed a gun (or had to get one because destabilizing forces were terrorizing their villages).  The stories she brings back home are beautiful and sad and uplifting and near-painful when you realize how much more work there is to do there, and that you can’t just throw money at the problems there, ’cause it’ll just be taken away from them.

You can’t take an education away from people, though, so that’s what she’s trying to help them do.  Educate themselves, and rebuild.  Civil war is totally alien to us here in a place like Canada.  Like North America.  Like a decent education and health system.

Like not being shot at, or threatened with death of your entire village.  Like not losing siblings and parents to violence before you’re old enough to go to a school, even if there was one to go to.

On a lighter note…

Nope.  Not so much with the lighter notes tonight.