Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Wings tonight

I'm getting together with some folk tonight at the Brass at around 6:00 pm. If anyone else is up for some beer and wings, feel free to drop by.

I spent the past two days going back over Geriatica, catching up on miscellaneous errands, and generally being lazy. The cottage is great for that. I also watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which, if you've never seen it, is a fantastic movie. Dog Soldiers, Seven, and Novocaine still have the shrink-wrap on them. Hopefully they get cracked open sometime this weekend.

Monday, November 29, 2004

I can't remember the last time the lake was this calm Posted by Hello

A dialogue

A: First, recommend to me:

1. a movie.

2. a book.

3. a musical artist, song, or album.

4. an artist (contemporary, manga, us comic, historical, whatever).

B: I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.

C: Then I want you to go to your journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything.

Chapter 1, Geriatica

Chapter 1 of Geriatica is now online. While it's still in the original novel format, I did make an effort to polish it and remove dated references before putting it somewhere anyone could see it. I may actually elect to do something with this piece of writing someday, so constructive criticism is appreciated.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Things you shouldn't do to orphans

Remind them that there's no reason to feel sad, just because their parents didn't want them.

Tell them that they might be able to find their parents if they looked hard enough on the Internet.

Tell them that you found their father and that he's coming to visit tomorrow, and then bring in a Catholic priest. Administering last rights is optional.

Use them as dryer sheets. "Mmm... orphan fresh!"

The day before their birthday, throw an elaborate birthday party for the orphanage hamster. Give the hamster cake, ice cream, and a tiny little party hat. The next day, give the orphan a bowl of warm gruel and a shirt that says "My parents abandoned me to the State and all I got was this stupid t-shirt."

Use them as an icebreaker at a local Cougar bar. By which I mean using their delicate little orphan-teeth to crush ice for your drinks.

Threaten to deport them to their home country of Orphanistan.

Organize the first annual Orphan-Wolf Cross Country Endurance Race.

Give them a bumper sticker that says, "My biological father coaches Little League."

Encourage a fledgling heroin addiction.

Report to the United Nations that you have a solution for their landmine removal problem. Then bring in a dozen orphans with clown shoes on their feet held on fifty-foot leashes.

Replace the normal game of Hide and Go Seek with Hide and Go Medicine Ball.

Instead of referring to each of the orphans by name, refer to each orphan by the likelihood of their parents ever coming back for them. "Hey! 3%! Get me a sandwich!"

Encourage them to pursue a career as a locksmith, private detective, or small business administrator.

Teach them to refer to policemen as "blue-skinned bacon-bodies".

Whenever a set of prospective parents arrives in hopes of adopting them, remind them how expensive vet bills can be.

Blast from the past

First off, Happy Birthday wishes to Erin, who celebrated her 20th last night at exactly 10:50 pm. For the record, I retract any statements I made, real or implied, about your hair turning gray.

I'll be turning 24 on December 9th but, seeing as I need to work that evening, will be celebrating on December 10th. Those of you who can drag your asses away from your textbooks for an hour, we'll likely be hanging out at Gusto's. More to follow on that closer to the night in question.

Does anyone know of a simple way to get file attachments other than pictures into Blogspot? I'm planning on digging through and posting some of my old writing, and want to find a convenient way to post large text files. Comment me if you have any suggestions.

Stand by for the official web release of the novel I wrote some six years ago about a senior citizens home's battle to become an independant nation - Geriatica. It reads as though it was written by a seventeen year old, but I still think it's a worthwhile premise and I hold out hope that, at some point, I'll have time to go back over it and clean it up. You, on the other hand, get the unedited version. Lucky you.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

That's right. They hate democracy. Jackasses.

The U.S. has threatened to cut aid to nations that don't sign on to the immunity accords that protect it from prosecution for war crimes. This falls on the heels of a decision to not ban small arms sales in Africa. And the refusal to ban biological weapons.

I think I will mention this to the next American who says that anyone not goose-stepping their way to the front on the War on Iraq "hates American freedom."

For the record, I'd like to say that I don't believe in the giant right-wing conspiracy manipulating our media. To be honest, I think that's giving them way too much credit. Do you have any idea what kind of coordination you'd need to pull something like that off? They can't even secure 380 tonnes of plastic explosives in a freakin' war zone. That they manage to show up to work without their suits on backwards is a major accomplishment.

To be honest, I think the "they're so big and powerful" line of reasoning is used by certain would-be activists as an excuse to not do anything. The sad and depressing truth is that most people honestly don't give a damn where their taxdollars are going. In turn, it's a lot easier to blame the woes of the world on the all-powerful Illuminati than it is to disapprove of a drinking buddy who thinks that the Sudan is something you drive.

But neither should people think that because things are this way now, they're always going to be this way. Think about thirty years ago, the kind of ideas that were in common belief that now we view as "quaint." Unequal salaries for men and women in the same profession. Homosexuality as a mental illness. Rampant, open racial discrimination. Bombing peasants in the Stone Age back into a different Stone Age because they might be Communist.

What ideas will we look back on twenty years from today and think, "Wasn't that silly..."?

Things can change. But first the vast majority of people needs to believe - not think, but honestly and truly believe - that by being knowledgeable about what's going on in the world and making those thoughts known to the people who run the show, that things will change. If people voted based on foreign policy, you'd better believe that MPs will pander to that. If people voted based on dwarf tossing, MPs would pander to that. MPs like to pander. But it's up to us to ensure they pander for the right reason.

That's it. If you need me, I'll be in my new Sudan.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Tri-plan is in effect

I heard back from King's College today, and the news was good - I have the minimum prerequisites to apply, and am being encouraged to do so. I'm trying to track down a good grad school for a Master's in international affairs and between King's and Carleton, it's going to be a tight race. Both the program from Carleton and the one from King's sound perfect, and the employment history of their professors and alumni read like a catalogue of Ryan dream jobs.

(It's important to note that I'm a gigantic geek when it comes to this sort of thing, and would prefer a job at the United Nations dealing with weapons proliferation to, say, a career as a Rockstar Jet-Motorcycle Stuntpilot.)

That puts me mid-way through the first stage of the Tri-plan, which is designed to eventually get me out of Kingston (I love you all, but I still need to get out of this town) and onto the next stage of life-ness.

The Tri-plan is essentially:

1.) Apply to graduate schools.
2.) If rejected by both, apply for government work in my field.
3.) If not hired, take a year to travel and learn a language or two. Restart Tri-plan next year.

A mere two hours until the weekend begins. I have errands to run this afternoon, but I will be at Eve's end-of-term shindig later tonight and then assist Erin with her departure from her teenage years on Saturday. Sunday and Monday are going to be spent out at the cottage, where I'm going to drink Cuban Death Coffee and smoke a cigar the size of a infant's forearm.

Good times.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Saying goodbye to an old friend

There are times in our lives when we see the paths walked by two close friends diverge. Regardless of the rhyme or reason, it's a time of intense, irrational sadness that can never be understood by someone who hasn't gone through a similar experience. Even after time passes on, the dull ache of the loss can come back without warning, keeping us awake at night and haunting our dreams.

I'm referring, of course, to my 1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic, which I lovingly referred to as "The Beast." While its replacement is arguably superior (see "Mercules" under Links) there was something about The Beast that no vehicle will ever replace, no matter how fast it goes or how little gasoline it leaks.

Perhaps it's the way that the breaks squealed whenever I rolled up to a stop sign. Perhaps it's the way that she hovered over the road, her suspension so loose that she would frequently bounce off the pavement when coming out of a driveway. There's no denying that when I sold her, a piece of my manhood was sold along with her, carefully hidden away in her $500 price tag.

I can still remember driving to New Orleans in The Beast. Many an hour I spent in the luxurious folds of her cloth seats, bathed in the gentle yellow glow of the 'Service Engine Soon' light. The thrill I used to feel when I'd stop every two or three hours to refill the 90 litre tank, just taking in all the admiring stares... it was beyond description.

"That's right," I'd say to myself, "This baby comes equipped with a Citizens Band radio."

Oh sure, The Beast may have had her problems. She never did like winter, and getting around Kingston with nothing but a pair of threadbare all-season tires and 3,000 pounds of rear-wheel driven steel could be a bit exciting at times, but she was my car and I loved her for it. I loved her when her muffler rusted through, and turned her purr of contentment to a lusty, bicyclist-deafening roar of passion. I loved her when her heater core exploded, driving an orgasmic explosion of lime green coolant into the pure white snow outside my apartment. And I loved her most of all, when she under-steered right into a sign post, sheering it in two like it was made of soft, signpost-shaped butter. I would caress the love scar that it left, thinking of all she had sacrificed in my name and in the name of my careless driving habits.

Sleep, my gentle princess. Know that you are in my thoughts and dreams. Know that Chris Johnstone, who I sold you to, who will use you to take his friends out to the cottage so they can get drunk and fight one another, will love you just as much. The torch must be passed. I would not have cleaned your dank, coffee-stained interior, not for any amount of money. No longer could I muster the enthusiasm to rapidly flick your turn signal on and off to make up for your blown fuses. Our time together, as special and magical as it was, had come to an end.

But know that I will never forget you. Your spirit lives on. It lives in Chris Johnstone. It lives in the cabs I ride in. It lives in the vehicles driven by elderly men that I get stuck behind. It lives in giant car heaven, where '79 Grand Prixs, '84 Cadillac El Dorados and '91 Caprice Classics frolic and play, with nary a fuel surcharge in sight.

I'll miss you, The Beast.

Fun for the whole family

If you're ever looking to kill a bit of time with friends, I'd like recommend a game that I invented a few years back that I like to call "Every Conceivable Perfection."

The premise is that you ask your friend to imagine the perfect romantic interest. They are perfect in every way - ideal personality, looks, intelligence, interests, the complete package. Now, you get to introduce a single critical flaw. The person being asked then has to decide whether or not they would get involved with this hypothetic person.


"Every conceivable perfection, but she has the voice of James Earl Jones. She's perfect in every way, but when the lights go off, all you hear is (deep booming voice) 'I want you inside me.'"

"Every conceivable perfection, but he windmills his arms 360 degrees while he runs. And he runs a lot. Also, he sometimes makes airplane noises."

"Every conceivable perfection, but she insists on having all of her food blended prior to eating it. Even when she goes out to a restaurant. You'll be sitting there, enjoying a nice filet mignon, and she'll be drinking out of a pint glass filled with a chunky, greyish green mixture."

"Every conceivable perfection, but he can't pronounce a hard 'E' noise. Instead, he says, 'eeeeeeeEEEEEEE!'"

It's a good way to break the ice, and you may learn something about your friends that you never knew before.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Links equals done.

The links are now up. This is the first time that I've programmed since I graduated with my dual computing / psychology degree. It was surprisingly satisfying.

Let me know if you spot any dead links. And if I've missed a friend's blog (or you stumble across mine and want me to give you a shout out) then post a Comment.

Also, I forgot to mention perhaps the most important trip: the plan to buy a beat up Jeep and drive down through South America. This is a serious time investment - we're talking a solid month, at least. But if you're down for partying in New Orleans, surfing in Tamarindo, and chilling in Rio then definitely let me know.

Bloggedy blog blog

So, this is blogging. Still working on getting the site up and running - I want to add the usual Friends section, Links section, etc. But for the time being, this is my official home on the Internet.

Odds are good that I'm going to start this off as a way to organize trips with friends, comment on articles, and go from there. I'm no stranger to putting my thoughts down on paper - I've kept a journal for years - but this my first experience posting them on the web. A little self-censorship may be required.

Anyways, the trips: next weekend at the cottage is likely December 4th / 5th, with a ski weekend to Tremblant and a few day trips to Calabogie once we get some snow on the ground. If you're interested in going, post one of those "Comments" that all the kids are talking about these days.

And for those looking to go a bit further abroad, there's Reading Week in either Costa Rica or Guatemala, depending on how plans unfold. And once March 31st rolls around, I'm officially a Man of Leisure again. Current trip options: St. Petersburg, Cuba, Bulgaria, New Zealand, Morocco, Greece, or Spain. Who's down for it?