Tuesday, May 31, 2005

My baby is born!

Name: Woody Scotcherson
Born: May 27, 2005
Location: Islay, Scotland
Weight: 255 Litres
Complexion: 3 ppm of peat

If you'd like to see my baby, you can click here.


Proud Father / Member of the Bruichladdich Barrel Boys

Monday, May 30, 2005


It's been a busy couple of days. Andrea, myself, Dan, and Dan's girlfriend all went to Wonderland this past weekend. This is the first time I've ever been to Wonderland (that I can remember, at least) and I have to say that I enjoyed it, albeit not as much as I enjoy the Disney theme parks. But I did go upside down on a roller coaster for the very first time, which is worth noting.

I have two days left before my contract comes to an end and I go on two days worth of summer vacation. That's the one downside of contract hopping is that I'm unable to take my leave when I really want to, and must instead take it at the end of each contract. That said, I'm really excited about going to the cottage this weekend, and having a few days off beforehand to just relax and take it easy.

I saw the new Fox show American Dad the other day, and I have to say it was pretty funny. At first, I thought I was watching Family Guy (the animation style is virtually identical) but realized quickly that I was essentially watching an inverse of Family Guy.

Ie. Take Family Guy, replace intelligent dog with German fish, replace fat everyman Dad with super agent, replace Machiavellian baby with alien, and you have American Dad. I'm pretty sure they realize how formula they're being, but that they're just playing along with it as a convenient platform for jokes. And really, it works.

I think A Helpful Suggestion (my other blog) is officially dead. I neither have the time nor the inclination to update it. It's a shame. I enjoyed the premise.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Last night, I was fortunate enough to sleep in a real bed.

I was warm.

I had food in my stomach.

I was not awoken by the crackle of gunfire or the distant thunder of artillery.

None of my loved ones were taken in the middle of the night simply because they had spoken their mind.

No one came to my house to murder me and take my belongings, or to kidnap me and hold me for ransom.

I slept through the night peacefully.

I am very grateful.

Perhaps, one day, everyone will be able to say the same.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hold the Scones

I checked my PO box yesterday, and word has come back from England that they don't want me in their grad school. Pip pip.

Thankfully, I'm about two months beyond wanting to be accepted at King's College (three cheers for aggressive job-hunting) and really couldn't care less if they did or didn't let me in. In fact, if they had let me in, odds are pretty good that I wouldn't have taken it.

Should I end up in a suitable government job, odds are good that they will look at sending me back for my Master's at some point in the not-too-distant future, and would pay me to do so. Can't beat dat.

I think I've entered into what we lovingly refer to as a "posting slump" at work. Essentially, I have but a single week left to finish off my handover training, then it's even money that I'll never be back in that office again once September rolls around. That said, I'll wait until I hear back from a potential employer before I put in for my transfer to Ottawa.

I went kayaking this morning. It was cold, but exceedingly fun.

It looks as though they'll be loading me on my Sergeant's course for this summer, which'll probably mean that I'll have most of August off. My other option is to go to Petawawa for two weeks so that I can run around in the bushes playing silly bugger. When you contrast that with spending a beautiful month at the cottage drinking beer and taking it easy, the proper choice becomes more and more apparent.

Thanks to the ever-impossible-to-deal-with Delta Airlines, it appears as though the sojourn to Costa Rica is going to be put on hold. We tried to see if we could get down / back to Costa Rica and/or Palm Springs using Delta Skymiles, but both seemed to be near impossible feets of Skymile daring-do. Andrea and I will either be cashing in my 2-for-1 Air Canada pass, or catching a charter out of Washington DC instead.

The bottom line: Two weeks in California.

I've reached a very appropriate level of "busy-ness" these days, but am starting to fall behind on my plans for the benefit dinner. I need to get on that. Soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


The little counter on this blog does more than just keep track of how many people come for a visit. It also tells me where people come from, how often they visit, and what pages they link from.

Before you accuse me of going Thought Police on you, be assured that it does not tell me your name (only your IP and location) or what pages you've been to, assuming that you did not click a link to get here. I have no knowledge as to anyones' *ahem* other Internet activities.

(Or, as my housemate used to call it, his "naked lady time.")

That said, here is a snapshot of the keyword referrals for the past 200 visits:

"I hate Fox" or some variation: 4 referrals
"I love scotch scotchy scotchy scotch": 1 referral
"Fistman" (this one always creeps me out): 2 referrals
"Tamarindo Irish pubs": 1 referral
"Lucasarts work environment": 1 referral
"Kingston Ontario restaurant aquaterra": 1 referral

Some other common search strings are "Neo Citron" and "I hate JetsGo."

The Two Four

Well, there was no tube floating this weekend. Nor was there much stepping-foot-outside. It was pretty stinking cold, and most of our collective time was spent inside the cottage.

But, that doesn't mean that it wasn't a good weekend. Andrea, Riz and I stayed out at the cottage, and my co-worker Brian and his girlfriend Joanna came out for a visit one of the evenings. Apart from drinking too much whiskey and smoking too many cigars (that was the sole outdoors activity) we did a lot of talking, watched a lot of movies, ate a lot of BBQ (including Breakfast Burgers) and played a highly addictive XBox game called Mojo. Even with the extra day, the weekend passed far too quickly for my liking.

The season finale of 24 was on last night, and I have to say that I was pretty impressed with how everything wrapped up. I know that some regular readers are both big 24 fans and have not yet made their way to the fourth season, so I'll avoid giving away too much, but apart from a few scenes where the special effects were rather lacking, it was a very good couple of episodes and I'm eager to see what they'll do with the next season.

While I have not heard anything official from my aptitude testing, we'll suffice it to say that I have good reason to believe that everything's coming up Duke.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Musical Baton

Riz passed this to me, so here we go:

Total Music Files on My Harddrive: We'll guestimate at 1,500.

Last CD I bought: Portishead, Glory Times

Song Playing Right Now: When I went running this morning, I listened to the new Offspring album, Splinter.

Five Songs That Mean a Lot to Me / I Listen to a Lot:

Black Monday, Lowest of the Low
Holiday, Green Day
Road Trippin', Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Sincero, Lowest of the Low
Hotel California, Gipsy Kings

I'm not passing the baton, but feel free to post something similar if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Biding time

I've checked my voicemail an unhealthy amount over the past few days. The more frustrating my current job becomes, the more anxious I am to move on and leave the old one behind. This isn't to say that I'd leave Kingston before the end of the summer - quite the contrary - but a sign that I have some form of permanent employment would be welcome, at this point.

They said that my results would be available in 3 - 6 weeks. It's been one week exactly, so far.

The healthy eating and exercise is going well. I've managed to get up for a run / exercise at 7 am every day this week, and will even be so bold as to go for a run tomorrow. Madness.

I picked up a game called Mercenaries the other day. The premise is that you're a mercenary trying to topple a North Korean coup. The combat engine thus far is unimpressive, but the game itself is expansive and entertianing, so I really can't complain. It's by LucasArts, a game renowned for putting out some of the best adventure games that have ever existed. If you have an old, legacy machine, I highly recommend both Full Throttle and Sam and Max Hit the Road, to say nothing of the Monkey Island series.

I'm going out to the cottage for the weekend. It might, might even be warm enough to float in a tube and have a cigar. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Settling In

There hasn't been word yet regarding my second aptitude test for the one job, but I did have the chance to write another aptitude test for another job over this weekend. The waiting is the hardest part.

I think I've moved the last of the essential supplies from the cottage to Kingston, which is a good feeling. I now have the requisite supplies for going jogging, and I'm looking forward to getting some more exercise after a long winter of beer-drinking and cigar-smoking. I've given up on the extreme diets (read: Atkins) and I'm concentrating on simple, long-term methods to developing a healthier lifestyle. This isn't about vanity - it's about putting in simple, subtle habits that are going to add years to my life in the long run.

Plans are underway for Andrea and myself to go to Costa Rica in the third week of June (ie. sometime soon after June 17th). For those of you who are interested in joining us, we aren't likely to fly there directly from Toronto, but I can help you make arrangements to get there on your own. I'll know more in another week or so.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Suggestion for a new interntional NGO: Punches for Everyone. Posted by Hello


It's amazing the difference the sun makes.

While I didn't realize it at the time, my body had been worn down by month after month of commuting in total darkness. Add to that the fact that, when at work, I was locked into a small, windowless steel room by myself, and you've got a pretty sure-fire recipe for some sort of mood disorder.

And now, this. Beautiful sunshine. Sitting-on-the-porch-and-drinking season is now in full swing, and I even went so far as to wear sandals yesterday. These are heady times.

Tonight, work is going to consist of myself and Andrea attending a barbeque and eating large quantities of red meat. Tomorrow, I'll be running a few small errands with the sunroof open, playing Splinter Cell, and generally taking it easy.

Next stop: Hawaiian shirts.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


It was a tight race. I came very close to failing one of the tests and there's another that I won't hear back on for a few weeks, but I made it to the second round of testing. That means I've got a good chance at being called in for an interview for sometime next month. Very exciting.

All in all, a difficult series of tests. We started with about twenty people (most of them veteran civil servants) and by the end there were four of us. Yikes.

Time to get some sleep. Thanks to all of you who posted comments of support (and those of you who just thought supportive thoughts).

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

H Minus 18

I'm leaving for Ottawa in less than two hours. I'd meant to study more over the past few days, but there always seemed to be other things to do.

Still, I feel prepared. I have a new suit, my reference books, my favorite pen, and a printed set of directions to the testing location.

By tomorrow afternoon, I should have a pretty good idea of whether or not I'm looking at a new career, or if I'll need to dive back into the job hunt again.

I feel eerily calm.

Monday, May 09, 2005

100 Things That Make Me Happy (Continued)

41. Slowly getting drunk during a really good meal.
42. Porches in summer.
43. Skiing untouched powder.
44. Creme Brulee.
45. A good, firm handshake.
46. Heartfelt conversation.
47. Good driving music.
48. The smell of sunscreen, ocean, rum, and sweat.
49. Splitting pitchers of draft.
50. Heroic sacrifice.
51. Barbeque anything.
52. Cars with heated seats.
53. My sisters' laughter.
54. The feel of a close shave.
55. Sword fighting with the cardboard tubes you have left over at Christmas, after you've used all the wrapping paper.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


Andrea and I just got back from Ottawa about an hour ago. It was a great trip, and we had really good weather for it. Most of it was spent in various bars and restaurants, but we did manage to get in a good hike down out in Gatineau on Saturday. We stayed with Jess and Peter (sister and brother-in-law, respectively), who were kind enough to both let us crash at their place and buy us both Italian and Thai food.

The benefit dinner is back in the forefront of my mind. I'm going to see if I can get the fine folk at AquaTerra to sponsor it, but that would be the ideal situation, and by no means the only option. I have a guest speaker, though, which is a lot further along than I thought I'd be, some few months ago.

I'm going to hit up a compterized GRE practice exam and see how I do. This should be a pretty good gauge of whether or not I'm ready to write the aptitude tests on Wednesday. I also need to buy myself a new suit. I hope they can hem the pants in 1.5 days because, as of Tuesday, I need to head back to Ottawa.

Apparently doing embarassing things in your sleep runs in the family. While once I spoke aloud as I slept, saying, "I'll get right on that," and began typing on the pillow next to me, Jessica once apparently said the phrase, "These Siberian huskies sure are tasty," when she was asleep. Winner: Jess.

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Passing of Colonel Hackworth

Colonel David Hackworth passed away today. Soldiers for the Truth is carrying a beautiful eulogy that explains who he was and what he stood for far better than I ever could.

All I know is that there are far too few men of honour and conviction in this world, and now there's one less. I never met him, but I'm going to miss him.

Study Along with Ryan

He was an erudite student, bound to be a professor one day.

There is an exigent need to exit the building when you hear a fire alarm.

Most of Fox’s network programming is fulsome.

When you use ten words when three will do, you’re being loquacious and garrulous.

9 months ago, Sophia was inchoate. Now, she’s my newborn niece!

Often when people are upset, they simply get laconic rather than addressing the real issue.

Spend a few days on a desert island and when you crack open a coconut you'll really appreciate that mellifluous stream of milk.

When I have tac-vest on and a rifle in my hand, I really look minatory.

I feel a sense of odium for people who only look out for their own best interests.

Fossils are ossified.

It sounded like I had a serious concern when I was merely making a joke. I was required to palliate my remarks before the evening could continue.

A really strong curry is something that certain people find quite piquant.

A good critical review will make use of a polemic argument to counter the author’s point.

My grandfather was a man of great probity. He was also very sagacious.

In the army, you come to feel a sense of great propinquity with your fellow soldiers.

International affairs is often a matter of first propitiating the respective parties, before the real issues can be addressed.

Cults often need to proselytize outsiders to keep their numbers up.

Most people would say Latin is very recondite; they have no desire to spend the time required to learn it.

A vagabond is quite ribald.

It’s salubrious to give up smoking. It’ll add years to your life.

After a few days in the field, it’s common to get moody and saturnine.

Some soldiers can be lazy. Others are quite sedulous.

You could also call a counterfeit dollar a spurious dollar.

Leaping off the top of the jumping rocks is an act of great temerity.

A cornered bear is a truculent animal.

People who covet money above all things are often foul people of great turpitude, as they don’t care who they hurt so long as they get what they want.

Credit card companies are usurers. If you don’t pay your bill quickly, it can cost a fortune.

Basic training instructors are known for their vituperation when jacking up recruits.

If I use any of this obscure verbiage after my test is done, please smack me.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

100 Things That Make Me Happy (Part deux)

26. Going through the Tim Hortons drive thru and ordering an everything bagel, toasted, with herb and garlic cream cheese. And a large coffee. With milk.
27. Having a shower after being in the field for a week.
28. Single-malt scotch with a small caraffe of water on the side.
29. Duty Free.
30. Cannon balls at the Jumping Rocks out at Buck Lake.
31. Naps.
32. Checking items off on a To Do list.
33. Witty one-liners.
34. Sunoco's 94 octane gasoline.
35. Going for dinner with by high school buddy Sean at the Cattle Baron, each time I'm back in Calgary.
36. Playing with numbers.
37. Fountain pens and unlined paper.
38. The lake at dawn, when the water's flat smooth as glass.
39. Sausages and cheddar.
40. Aviator glasses.


I woke up today to real, honest-to-goodness sunshine for the first time in ages. I'm going to have a cigar on the balcony after dinner tonight.

Andrea and I went for dinner at AquaTerra last night and we ran into the restaurant's designer, Clark Day. This is a guy who clearly loves what he does, and he's very, very good at it. He opened our wine for us, chatted with us for a bit, then bought us a round of after dinner drinks. Great times.

We've finally gotten caught up on the latest episodes of 24, and I have to say that they are redeeming themselves. At the very least, Jack Bauer is breaking all the rules in less-predictable ways again.

There are 6 days until May 11th.

I should get back to work.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

100 Things That Make Me Happy

Lang came up with this some time ago. I'll be doing this in irregular installments. Enjoy.

(In no particular order.)

1. Pulling blackjack off the draw.
2. Floating on the lake in an inner tube, drinking a bottle full of half-frozen lemonade.
3. Three piece suits.
4. Meat Lover's pizza.
5. Re-reading old, ratty books from childhood.
6. Pulling into a parking spot at high speed with perfect precision.
7. The smell of a warm, soft girl-bed.
8. Fleece track pants.
9. Running into friends at a bar.
10. Mixing drinks.
11. Cooking with alcohol.
12. Bad kung-fu movies.
13. The hiss my contact lens solution bottle makes when I've just gotten in from a flight and there's a pressure difference between what's in the bottle and the air outside.
14. Girls in white tank tops.
15. Catching 4 feet of air when tubing.
16. Nailing a multiple choice test.
17. The smell of freshly ground coffee.
18. The way my grandmother's eyes light up when she sees me for the first time in a while.
19. Turning off an alarm and sleeping an extra hour.
20. The slight give in the tip of a properly aged, rolled, and stored cigar.
21. The smell of wood smoke.
22. Dogs that are excited to see you.
23. Spicy cheeseburgers and cold beer.
24. Laughing until you cry.
25. Being told I look like my grandfather.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Busy, Busy.

This past weekend was interesting - first chance getting back in "the field" (Army slang for being on exercise) in close to a year. Unfortunately, it meant that I didn't get quite as much sleep as I would've liked. This weekend was actually better than average, and I was looking at the equivalent of around 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Much better than the 3-4 hours in a week that I've done on occasion.

Now that they're no longer allowed to physically abuse you to simulate stress, they use sleep deprivation. I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't just prefer a good, solid beating instead.

I know this is a little silly of me, but I'm very happy to see that there are now two loons in our bay. This means that the usual summer tradition (ie. the loons having little baby-loons, which slowly develop into adolescents over the course of the summer) remains intact. It also means more loon call. For my money, it doesn't get any better than falling asleep to loon call.

I'm looking forward to this weekend, when Andrea and I will be going to Ottawa to visit my sister Jessica and her husband Peter. I've been in at work every day since last Monday, so having a bit of downtime will be much appreciated.

The studying's going well. In my heart of hearts, I know that the longer and harder I work at this, the better it is that I'll feel should things come through. But a part of me still wishes that I could just skip the testing, interviews, evaluations, negotiations, etc. and start the job. Ah, well.