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Showing posts from December, 2008


We had company over, neighbours. Cooked a big turkey with all the fixings. Kids, running around, screaming, going up and down stairs, somehow not seriously mutilating themselves or otherwise providing the local emergency ward with cases that'll wake interns up, in a cold sweat, wondering why they didn't go into cabinetry like their brother-in-law. And the adults, sitting around the table, drinking, having at times awkward, at times HI-larious conversations that invariably revolve around kids or movies or any host of safe topics. If there's one thing you want to avoid, is having icy relations with your neighbours. So as much as you want to discuss fundamentalist Christianity and how it's slowing eroding the scientific rigour in teaching our youth, you realize it's better to keep your mouth shut so you can ask Hank for a powerdrill when you need to hang yet enough shelfing system with an unpronounceable name sold by a European multinational. I had to go upstairs, to

Snowy Terror

It's snowed about a foot here in the Pacific Northwest. Which would be no big deal if this were the East Coast, or Nunavut, or any place where they have more than 57 dollars budgeted for snow removal. Here, though, it shuts everything down. The city comes to a stand-still not seen outside of post-apocalyptic zombie flicks and grassroot Bush rallies. Everything is improvised. That's because, rightly, there's little point in investing in equipment/gear/tools that you're going to use 1 week out of the year. But that also means... CHAOS!! But not for the kids, thankfully. Snow is nature's Lego™ and Slip N' Slide ™ and hell's gateway to a glimpse into the Lord of the Flies mentality that lurks underneath a patois of Dora the Explorer and High School Musical 3 paraphernalia. With snow, you can go fast via the steerless miracles of sleds, you can build stuff and realize your genius in architecture until the inevitable next week's rain washes it away, or you can

Overthinking Ariel

I went by Staples to pick up one of those fancy digital frame doohickies, because I shoot quite a bit with ye old Nikon 70ds . While there, I was instructed to pick up some colouring books for Owlet, since it's easier than trying to clean crayon marks off our carpet. I wasn't hopeful to find anything at Staples; I think of cut-rate printing paper and poorly designed office furniture, not Dora or Thomas. Staples is the place where you buy overpriced pens to write out carefully considered grocery lists you can leave on the counter. A temple to paper and the pushing thereof. But low and behold, off in the corner, they do have colouring books! Little cheap booklets of paper emblazoned with market-tested intellectual property protected edutainment franchises! That they are; but they're also a source of entertainment that I, young liberal hip dad, doesn't feel too guilty about plunking Owlet in front of (minus the cutting down of our natural oxygen producers and acceleratin

Christmas Letter 2008

Another winter has caught us all unawares. That means a few harrowing near misses on the highway, the even more harrowing trip to the mall, and a Christmas letter from the Smiths; hopefully not harrowing. The biggest news is that we are expecting another baby this January. Apparently the mist of time has romanticized changing thirty diapers a day on no sleep. But, we're pretty excited. There is a marked decrease in our nervousness, under the rather false assumption that because we've gone through this before 2 years ago, we totally know what we're doing this time around. I suspect there will be many moments of us cleaning up the floor, table, and bedsheets muttering, “Oh yeaaah, I forgot about that.”. We're pretty certain it's a boy, which is good for balance. Visions of losing every video vote to another romantic comedy no longer haunt me. On the other hand, having to decipher the whole sports thing, should our son be into that, fills me with a new kind of cold, co

Fictional Stories For Facebook 'Friends' Who Are Obviously Gloating

So you know the 'facebook friend', the distant acquaintance that was not quite a friend but not an outright stranger that you might have shared a class with 17 years ago? Or the brother of a friend of friend whose wedding you were only invited to because you were in town and they needed you to pick up the bridesmaids' flowers? Whatever. Not really friends but not distant enough that you can easily remove them from your ever growing and ever estranged collection of ... people that you've crossed in your life; and not in the way a gunslinger might anger the head of the baddest group of bandits this side of the Sierra Madre. And, it looks like this stranger has had a bit of luck: a stunning spouse, a vocation doing photoshoots for nympomaniacal fashion models. And they find that one picture they 'share' with all their 'friends', capturing all their good luck in one nice shot. Yeah, I hate them too. These are the venom filled back stories I make up for them.

Bocce News Update #5 : Pacino Reporting

Another excerpt from a post I made to our work wiki, detailing our latest match in the company bocce tournament. We won again, miraculously. Al Pacino reporting There they were, on the field. The pitch. The battlefield on which future players will look to and say, "There strode heroes. TITANS!" It was cold, yeah, it was cold and you can stamp your feet and pull that scarf tighter but no weather bites quite so hard as the fangs of competition. The cold icepick that sinks in your chest when facing destiny, how everyone will remember you from this day to next, for all history as long as the annals of VP Students Portfolio Bocce tournaments are written. Team A faced Team B that cold day. Both teams undefeated. Both staring posterity with the unblinking eyes of champions. With the heart that has defined Team A's career, they surged ahead to a 6-1 lead. Team B, looked into their souls, they saw what needed to get done, they knew Team A would not go down without a fight, would

Chomsky Comments on Left 4 Dead

I think what's clear here, in this shot, is that it's the humans that have the guns, the mandate to power in this situation. The undead, these new immigrants to a world that's still very strange to them, they are, quite categorically, unarmed. There is a struggle for hegemony you can see here. Dominion over land, a fight for sovereignity. What would you do if armed strangers came through your land? You'd attack, naturally. You'd defend yourself, is what you'd do. And if we are even attempting to consider the justice in this situation, the undead are merely fending off the humans with their hands, their feet. How much damage could they do? But, time and time again, we see a disproportionate response to this from the humans. A call to arms, a god given right to take the lives of countless undead and for what? The opportunity to trespass , because, quite clearly, that's what's happening here, trespassing on the land of the undead. What is interesting to


I had to go to Home Depot to get a few things. Mainly to bumble about with and make a total mess under the guise of 'home improvement'. The only thing it improves, frankly, is my already impressive ability to swear while holding what I think is a philips head screwdriver. Could be a hammer, actually. I'm no handyman , is my point . I'm pretty good at putting on a grin and 'bearing through something until it's sort of done but nothing you'd ever show to polite company', though. Which is how I get into these situations, wandering through cavernous home improvement SUPER STORES looking for a flange or a shivel or god knows what other word they've devise for, say, a rubber washer. So I was there at Home Depot, with Owlet and The Dog. I went with them because having them around greatly reduces the chance that anyone will mistake me for a handyman and ask me for an opinion vis-a-vis the best method to route out a double iron casting tackle block; also be

Parking Lots + Cemeteries = Odd

Found via Metafilter. What's not awesome about cemeteries in parking lots? The very symbol of capitalistic fervour, the parking lot, set against the Great Equalizer. Because behind every sprawling tarmac is a Type-A personality with an implanted Bluetooth headset, a half-decaf no-fat machiatto, and a heart about to go coronary any moment. His suit shimmering with fine fibre of no-doubt Italian origin, his hair coiffed in what can be best described as 'slick', shades that cost more than my car, surveying the scene as he quibbles with contractors and city hall on how he's going to get the zoning permits in time for the next great paen to shopping box stores. But there it is. A damn cemetery right between the Odyssey and Passat. Filled with worm-food that once upon a time strove for the best and brightest, the mostest and richest that life had to offer. A parking lot is also a symbol for sprawling suburbanization: the big box stores and the shopping malls with two food-co