Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's funny how things work sometimes...

I received an email in my inbox today when I signed on. The subject line read: FWD: Christmas Virus (verified by snopes). Hmm, I said to myself, being the suspicious sort, that's just what I'd put into the subject line if I wanted to lull unsuspecting people into a false sense of safety so they'd open my little time bomb...were I one of those hacker types that think making little email bombs is amusing or fun or whatever (still don't understand the reasoning behind that, but that's another post).

So, being suspicious as I said and also in self defense of the few buddies that still think I actually know something about the net who are likely to get tagged by this very virus (should it actually exist) off I went to Snopes aka Urban Legends to find out if there was a Christmas virus that was indeed verified by Snopes.

The page isn't terribly userfriendly in my humble opinion, but hey they've been around for a very long time so who am I to judge. Regardless, in I went, thinking that the "what's new" link was a likely place to start. Scrolling down I found this.

Way back in the 'olden days' when I watched music videos for other than country music I recall seeing the video for Pipes of Peace. (Yay! for Wikipedia)

I'm not much of a PAUL fan. Ringo is and always has been my favourite Beatle. Paul's stuff has always been a bit too preachy for me :) and this video is a case in point really, :) but it still struck a chord deep within me somewhere.

Even back then, I believed that some wars are necessary. So while it's a lovely thing to know that there was a time in the history of war where men put aside their differences of right and wrong and simply met each other across a field of battle to see the similarities; I still believe that wars need to be fought, for any number of reasons, too many to enumerate here.

I have every respect for the soldiers who fight my battles for me and mine and all I can offer to their families who miss them at times like this is Thank You for giving me the gift of freedom and family on this day and every other day of the year.

Oh, and the 'Christmas Virus' thing? Go here, to see for yourself.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'll trade ya?

Along about this time of year, I start to become aware of the whole 'Happy Holidays' vs 'Merry Christmas' vs 'I don't celebrate this time of year and can't you RESPECT that? Have you no compassion? Do you not care that you are being POLITICALLY INCORRECT? How dare you make me, this child or that man uncomfortable by pushing your CHRISTIANITY DOWN MY THROAT?'

I am not politically correct, suck it up and get over it already. IF I INTEND to offend you it won't be in some innocuous way like oh... you know, celebrating my favorite time of year and my own religious beliefs. If for some reason that frankly is bad enough behaviour that I feel compelled to give you my opinion of you in public I'm going to tell you exactly what I think of you and none of it will be about the colour of your skin, your religious practices, how your culture treats women or where you were originally born. I might, however, ask you why you came here in the first place if where you're from, or what you believe and live there is so much better than how I live here, where I was born and enjoy my right to celebrate and live my religion and lifestyle.

Years ago, I used to be a door to door salesman (yes, salesman, that's what it's called, I wasn't a salesperson, saleswoman or representative). One of my customers had traveled to Europe to trace the trail of her great grandparents who fled Germany in the face of WW2 and all the atrocities that accompanied that time. She shared some of the story with me, and it came to light that our ancestors were from the same region. We never found out if they knew each other but in the kinship of the situation she presented me with a gift. A Star of David. A symbol of the Jewish religion. I am Greek Orthodox by baptism. I didn't care. That she would share that with me honored me. I wore the necklace. I treasured what it represented, not the divisiveness of the item, you see. Not the 'I am a Jew and you are a Christian and we must hate each other', not 'don't force me to look at your symbols'. I treasured that it meant that a world away two men may have passed each other in the street and lifted their hand in greeting to one another and that here, 50 years later, she and I could care about that fact.

So, to all those folks who insist on their way? I'll trade ya. I'll leave it be when you insist on changing the uniform of my national police force to suit your religious beliefs or ethnic customs. I'll turn away and shrug when you refuse to learn the languages (or at least like most of us born here, one of our languages) and make it difficult to not appear condescending as I try to make myself understood when I have to deal with you across a counter of some sort. I'll smile and encourage it when my children study your ways in school, because when it's all said and done, we're all in this together, even if your child can carry what no matter how you slice it (pun intended) is a concealed weapon and mine can't have a $2 pocket knife their grandfather gave them.

And you? All you have to do is one of the following. When I pay my bill, or talk to you on the phone or pass you in the street, and in the course of it, wish you Merry Christmas. Wish it back to me. And if you really, truly, no matter how you slice it, can not; just say nothing at all.

That'll be a fair trade to me.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Warning! Grumpy times ahead

Superficial people piss me off.

Check that, superficial people don't even sketch on my radar. Oh so cool people, particularly those with the proven ability of not being superficial; who strike a pose of superficiality to appear cool, in or cool by reason of a holier than thou I'm smarter than you are or better than you are because attitude PISS ME OFF.

I wish that tv shows that show these guys as the 'cool kids' would get the fuck over it already. Because I'm tired of telling my kids that they aren't really cool for being snotty to others. Because I'm sick of people who *get the fashionistas* ...frankly, how dumb are you all that because some pink haired androgynous type tells you that you aren't in anymore you run off and buy what they say is?

So for all you "challenged" types out there, here's a quick check list.

It's COOL to be compassionate.

It's IN to be helpful, courteous and pleasant.

It is COOL to understand that others have fears to face, insecurities to overcome, and little moments of triumph pertinent only to themselves. They don't need you to come round and tell them how lame they are. Frankly, the lame person in that situation is you.

It might not be cool but it certainly shows character to get a little teary eyed (or some semblance there of) when faced with an 'awwww' moment involving human spirit and said compassion.

It is NOT COOL to look down your nose at others for not being exactly like you. (note: don't you all want to be unique instead of ubiquitous?)

It is NOT COOL to be rude, pushy, snotty or impatient.

And it is particularly NOT COOL to hold others up for ridicule to make yourself look all that more cool.

It sums up into an old gem with a few added facets.

IF you do not want it said to, done to or felt by you, don't say it, do it or make anyone else feel it.

GROW UP already.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Cutest line...ever...

And so it begins. DD#3 aka B is 11. She rides with a 4H club and can’t wait to start sorting cows with the riding club we belong to. She plays Call of Duty 2 with her buddies at the Youth Centre, her nickname is Sgt Slaughter. Most of her buds in that game are boys. She got the nickname for picking them all off one by one before they asked her to join their clan. She is quite adept at Age of Mythology, and is teaching me some cool tricks. She reads more than I do these days (I think maybe even more than I did as a kid) and has a vocabulary that blows many adults out of the water.

She attends the Catholic school in the town we used to live in. She and her little sister commute with me, getting off at the bus stop 3 mornings out of five. It’s a good time for catching up, talking about our day on the way home and what’s going on, on the way in.

She complains about how all the boys want to talk about is hockey at school and hangs with the girls, only to complain about how boring the girls are and how she wishes hockey season was over already and what was wrong with boys anyway, mom?

My friend has two boys who live in another province; they join her for the summer holidays and Christmas. Her oldest, R is a great kid, not that O isn’t but R and I became fast friends when he found out that D & I had worked on a Japanese war film and been dressed as samurai. I have great drawings he did for me on my fridge and he drives his mom crazy asking when we’ll get together when he comes out to visit. It’s awfully cool to have that sort of connection with him and I hope it continues into his teen years.

He’s 12 and she’s 11. She’s a tomboy who cries while reading Chicken Soup for the Soul stories and he’s a sensitive soul who emulates samurai warriors and plays electric guitar. An articulate young man, one that were they 17 and 16 I’d have no problem trusting my daughter with. He’s a dreamer, full of the sense of ‘moments in time’. His brother is the flashy sort, the cute kid, with a touch of the devil in his eyes. I’ve told their mom that R will be the one with the girl friends, reading them poetry, taking them on picnics and O will roar up on his flashy bike and steal them away on his brother. 

R took quite a shine to B and very much wanted to ‘make an arrangement’ as it were. She came to me and told me that he wanted her to say she was his girlfriend, even though he was leaving for home and they wouldn’t see each other till next summer at the earliest. They were expecting to maintain contact through emails and letters and instant messaging online.

No. Sorry, but no one on one boyfriend/girlfriend dating till you’re 16. This was echoed somewhat vehemently by her eldest sister and brother. Dad just gave her ‘the look’, ‘nuff said there. She wasn’t really too bothered, maybe even a little relieved. You can be friends, I told her, there’s nothing wrong with that. But no way on the boy/girl friend thing, what was the point anyway? Keep in touch, a pen-pal friend is always great and since they are both fairly academic in nature, I thought maybe there’d even be a bit of cultural exchange as it were.

He said he understood but he kept trying, sending her emails about how much he liked her and how long they’d have to wait. A whole 5 years… oh my… 

He had read in a book or magazine (I’m not sure which) about how the world would be ending 2012. Coincidentally this is the same year B will turn 16, in July. The world, according to his reading, will be ending in Dec of that year. He told her that if they couldn’t date till she was 16, then they’d only have 5 months together as boyfriend/girlfriend.

Is that the cutest line ever, or what?

(thanks kiddo, for giving me permission to embarrass you this way.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

As I was saying...

It was bound to happen.

I had it in my head, given all the good signs we'd had recently that I would be able to get up on Mikey. He'd shown no aggression or even antsiness the last while and seemed eager to have me do things with him.

Even on Sunday, when we arrived and the boys came up to the gate for pets and cuddles, when I whispered to him that I was going to ride him, he took himself off to where we usually saddle up. I laughed and pointed it out to D. "I think he really understood me." D agreed and we unloaded the saddles and other tack and the girls and I ran off to do an errand before riding.

Darling Son and his g/f had come out to do some riding. She claims a lot of riding experience and since MY experience with horses makes me wary of anyone that goes around claiming they are 'an experienced rider', I limited her to Jack to avoid any drastic proof to the contrary. Son got up on Mel and it was comical as Mel put on his 'I'm stubborn I can't hear you' ears and stood around a lot.

Son hadn't seen the horses yet, and thought Mikey was the nicest looking of the bunch. :) His tastes (in horses and MOST other things (with a couple of notable exceptions) usually jibes with mine so I wasn't too surprised. DD#1 has it bad for palaminos, and DD#2 isn't into horses anymore after getting dumped rather soundly by Cricket. B and L are into the sorrels and chestnuts, although L has shown interest in a lovely blood bay filly that Carol has bred. A full sister to Jack, by the way, so maybe her taste will change. B's interest in sorrels might well be because Jack is such a sweetheart of a horse.

L was all cute on the phone, talking to her big brother. "You can use my horse," she intoned in that matter of fact, yes I do own the world voice of a 6 year old, "but you can't be rough with him. He's a good boy and if you ride him right he'll behave." Mel's take though, is the harder you work at making him GO, the less likely he will be to do so.

Anyhow, back to the Mikey incident. I got Jack and Mel saddled and Son and G/F up. Turns out she's not too bad on a horse. A little rusty and no idea of schooling or how to train, but would make a decent miler. Son had fun with Mel, although eventually he did get a trot out of him.

Mikey seemed a bit on edge when I saddled him, but I put that down to the green grass they'd been turned out on. (Nice, that it was done, but I do wish they'd ask us first. We sort of wanted to keep him on the low side of energetic :P and he's an easy keeper so really wasn't in need of the greenery.) Still, I was visualizing and all confident as I saddled and bridled him. He took the bit with his usual gentleman attitude and although he twitched a bit with the pad I really didn't think too much of it. Till later of course. Hindsight, thy name is truth.

I led him around and he seemed okay. I shifted the saddle back, making sure nothing was pinching and yet there was a tenseness about him. Still, nothing I can't deal with I thought. Off we went to the small corral. You know, the one with the slab fence. The slab fence just like the ones they use at feedlots. You know, where he'd been injured, and had that whole 'we'll ride him till we buck him out' episode where he went through one of those slab fences? However, that's where I'd tried to mount him before and he'd seemed ready to take me, so it didn't cross my mind. Until later. See above note regarding hindsight.

I discouraged son from leaning on the gate and watching me. Mikey had been bucked out and 'watched' a few times so I was trying to avoid any of the 'tells' that he'd dealt with before. I guess I forgot about the slab fences at feedlots. Sigh.

I placed my stool and he stood, as always, but as I put my foot in the stirrup and started to shift my weight to his back he trembled and bunched. I stepped off, but the stool wasn't solid in the ground and I overbalanced, falling back on my ass.

I had him facing into a chute and that's probably what spooked him as well as the slab fence. He hunched and popped, reared up and pivoted and there I was sprawled out on the ground pretty much under him. It's an awesome sight, let me tell you. But one I'll gladly not repeat. He pivoted as far as he could, I could see the muscles in his hind legs straining and the twist of his fetlocks. I'm not sure that he looked down at me, but I know he knew I was there.

I rolled, it probably all happened in an instant, he came down, despite seeming to have hung suspended in mid air till I could get around to moving, and his front hoof caught my thigh as he came down. Pinching it rather than slamming down on it, which probably saved me from a broken femur, but leaving a very good simulation of the old charlie horse, not to mention the flower bloom of a bruise that is just now starting to green and yellow at the edges. He bucked away past me. I think I felt the wind of his hooves on my cheek as I continued to roll up against the fence, but that could be the drama quee... er storyteller in me.

By the time I scrambled to my feet he'd bucked across the corral, reared and hung again, trembling then bucked again. D was on the other side of the gate, hands up, calling out to him to Whoa! Even though he respects that I need to do this myself he's always watchful and he was soothing him by voice already as I got to my feet. I threw up my arm, as I really had no wish to be trampled by him darting across the corral after that narrow escape and he came to a halt, head down, blowing, then off he went again. He bucked past me, banging up against the fence and finally stood blowing and snorting, trembling from hoof to ears. Slowly we approached him and managed to get the reins over his ears.

He stood there, trembling and all I could think was 'he thinks he's going to be beaten and he's going to hurt anyone who tries.' That is probably the saddest thing I've ever seen a horse doing. Even a cast horse, or one down with colic isn't quite so shorn of its dignity as one trembling with the anticipation of a beating. *sigh*

My heart cried for him. I stroked his poll softly, slow, easy strokes till his snorting softened and the tenseness eased ever so little. I leaned down and blew in his nostrils and he almost ducked his head, but then sniffed at my scent and the trembling eased a little more. "I still trust you," I told him, stroking the outline of his blaze with my fingers and his ears twitched, head lowering into the caress.

He was still quite spooked, and never really calmed down the rest of the time we were there. D was going to try to mount him but he was still too nervous, trembling and shifting his weight when he tugged on the saddle. He did rest his knee in the stirrup and lean his weight and although that went alright, we're still back to word go, again.

More ponying, more lounging, maybe some driving from the ground, and hopefully a deep snowfall at some point where I can wear him out enough to ride the buck out of him. He's still an eloquent equine, I'm just having a little trouble with the dialect but I'm confident we'll find a common language soon enough.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Eeek! Two for One. A Mikey update.

Just in case the previous post is a little too weird for some :) I'll update you on Mikey and Me.

The other evening after work we ditched the kids and took off for a ride. We've been saddling Mikey here and there over the last while. Although sometimes we don't do anything with him to get him wanting to be saddled. The last time, D got up on him and rode (read nudged him gently into following the rest of us on Jack and Mel (the girls took turns on Jack bareback) till Mikey stopped, waited till I came and led him back and got off) him a bit.

Note, at this point in our assessing of him and reconditioning him back into a usable trustworthy horse any ride that ends with D's feet hitting the ground of his own accord is considered a success.

To be fair to ole Mikey though, he's not offering any indication of being MR.BIG BAD BRONCO HORSE , but his reputation precedes him and we're not inclined to take any chances. He is a big, strong boy and should he decide to launch anyone off his back they're gonna go, so better safe than sorry even though it's unfair to the sweetheart I see in his eyes.

Anyway, back to the other evening. I was up on Mel and D got on Jack. I'd saddled Mikey with an older Eamor we've been lent and put on a bridle over his halter. I'd left the shank lightly looped over the rail while I saddled Mel. Without thinking I mounted Mel, rode up to the rail where Mikey's shank was looped and pulled it off. Really, for all the precautions and carefulness, I instinctively trust him to be a good boy. He came along with no problem (no surprise to me, of course, but D made mention of it) and off down the road we went for a ride. Jack was getting a lesson in how that long grass was tasty and so long as he didn't stop to graze he could snatch a mouthful here and there. Mikey came up on my left side, easy as you please. Mel was a little put out that he had to walk on the road instead of the grass but there you go, Mikey's heftier and sort of shoved him over. This trapped my leg between the two of them.

Never one to waste an opportunity to take a chance :) I rubbed and tickled, nudged and poked my boot into Mikey's side. He didn't even flick an ear. He was just glad to get out of that paddock and go with us for a change I think. The ride down to the next road went without a hitch and we even trotted a bit.

As an aside, I find this a little bit funny as Mel is the boy that pulled me out of the saddle while being ponied off Blaze. Ironic even? But he was good, and Mikey was excellent, staying right in place and giving no indication of MR.BBB at all.

Turning Mel out I saddled Jack and rode him (for the first time... another strange realization as we've had Jack for a while now, and even before that became official we treated him as though he were ours. I guess in all of it, I just left him for the girls to ride. He's a great little horse, a type of which I'm fond and could ride his jog for hours. B was a little annoyed that he'd jogged for me, as she gets trot and trot faster mostly :)) while leading D on Mikey.

Honestly it all went so smoothly that I do sometimes wonder what all the fuss is about. I really think that were I not being such a weiner about mounting horses (still left over anxiety from a while ago... if you ever fall off, get back ON NOW...) I could just throw a leg over and away we'd ride, Mikey and Me, without a problem. He nudges me and gets between me and the horse I'm trying to mount and gives me such looks that say it all. "Quit being such a chicken and let's go, let's go ride for hours like we both want to, find our quiet places within ourselves and let my back be the salve for your soul." (what can I say, he's an eloquent horse at times :))

Stay tuned, he's bound to buck me off eventually :P


how there's so many of 'us' and so very few of 'them' and yet, they rule the worlds we walk in, talk in and live in.

I didn't move around as a child. Actually had I not skipped a grade (cruel, unusual punishment that I hope the teachers involved spin in hell for)in elementary school I would have graduated with 7 of the 11 children I began kindergarten with. Not that I fit in terribly well before that happened but that was pretty much the kiss of death as far as my ability to find any peer group acceptance for the next 3-5 years. You know, jr and much of sr high? Definitions were drawn early on. I am a social pariah. People meet me and pretty much ignore me immediately. It's not something I'm seeking sympathy for, or whining about either, for the record, just stating a fact I've come to believe.

I've gone to any number of work related banquets, get togethers, birthday parties, even family reunions, weddings and funerals, pretty much any place where people congregate and sat alone. Time after time. Oh there's usually some kind soul who will attempt to engage me in conversation, but when I notice the tightening around their eyes and body language that screams 'let me go now' I make some excuse and allow them to have done with their good deed.

The odd part is, I believe I'm a gregarious person. I strike up conversations in elevators and standing in line at the store all the time. Pleasant, leave 'em chuckling or smiling conversations, that pass the time but do little more. Fact is, I'm not shy. The other fact is, I don't much like people, in general. Guess it's only fair they don't like me back, much. :)

This doesn't mean I don't have friends. I do. Very good ones, now that I've grown up enough to realize what really makes a friend a good one. Most of them are online. The odd few that aren't, worry about me for all the time I do spend on here.

I'm not whining. I am who I am. Online, when I don't have to 'look' a certain way, 'act' a certain way, 'dress' a certain way I fit in. I shine in fact :). I am a cerebral person. Like many of my online REAL friends, I don't care what people look like (mostly :)) how they eat, or what they wear. I care about what they think and how they articulate that...essence of themselves.

Sure, sometimes I crave human contact, but I don't live alone. I'm not an "untouchable" or afraid of being touched. I did have a touch of agoraphobia at one point but the meds are good (KIDDING!) (well mostly anyways). I work with the public, albeit mostly on the telephone, and I'm not bad at my job. I handle their issues, leave them smiling when I can and hopefully with a good impression of the business I work for. But it's all very superficial.

Maybe that's my problem. I dislike superficial people. I want to know what you REALLY think, not what's considered socially acceptable. When I get to liking someone I probe. I ask questions that socially one does not ask. I make assumptions but not based on just little whims of mine, assumptions based on body language, and syntax and expression. I catch little things like a hesitation before a word or a turning of the body and I interpret them into my assumptions, constantly processing and tossing out malformed assumptions to replace them with new ones. That probably makes people uncomfortable.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Me and Mandy Patinkin are through.*

He's done it again, damnit. Got me all hooked and excited about his characterization of Jason Gideon on CBS' Criminal Minds.

And now, this wonderful character is gone from the show. His every emotion, nuance, expression conveys more than most actors do during an entire movie. And it's over.


I first 'discovered' his career after seeing The Princess Bride (1987)and doing some research into the cast. That's when I realized that I'd already discovered and overlooked this treasure in Alien Nation (1988) and yes, I know that Princess was filmed and released first, but I saw them in reverse order. I was intrigued by this talent. This ability of his to pour everything out without it becoming maudlin. So rare. The only thing that gets to me more than his deadpan monotone repeat of "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father prepare to die." is to hear him discuss his preparation for the scene, in which he tells of how he decided that instead of the 6 fingered man he would be killing the cancer that killed his father. Of course, the other actor (Guest?) was rather convinced that Mandy was going to kill HIM. ;P

Oh my.

I was hooked. I was greedy and I wanted more. My joy was loud when I found him on Chicago Hope, another incredible character, Dr. Jeffery Geiger. The talented, eccentric, slightly crazy neurosurgeon with the sad, sad fate he carried with him every day.

And then he was gone.

Just like Gideon on Criminal Minds. I settle down to watch the season opener and a disturbing truth begins to percolate. He's leaving the show. I've learned not to read anything about the shows I like, (what is it with these idiot writers who have to OUT incredibly annoying) so I had no idea that he was leaving the show.

I listened to the 'letter' narration and watched the last scene with the gun in his hand. The sadness in his voice so achingly accurate as he wrote to whoever he expected to arrive at the cabin to find the letter and I knew it had to be Reid. Who else would it be? The others don't have the dependency on Gideon the way Reid does.

I swear off him during the week between the first and second shows of the season. I'm disturbed and annoyed that he will allow his character to commit suicide. I feel he's got more 'credit' than that. I'm all but petulant as I watch and becoming ever more intense as I lean towards the screen. "I knew it," I yell, disturbing my family more than you might expect :) when Reid reads the letter and the show brightens, cutting to the diner scene.

How will you know indeed, Mr. Patinkin?

You'll be back. An actor/performer such as yourself can't just walk away. Or so I believe.

*And so will I.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Alive and Well and living in exile

That’s what dialup feels like after a steady diet of ADSL for 4 years. I’ve always prided myself (yeah yeah, pride goeth before a fall etc) on being quite able to survive in the wild aka the country. Funny tasting water, septic fields and tanks (even … outhouses), limited channels on the TV, towns that roll up their sidewalks at 5 pm on a Saturday leaving only the local beer parlour open. Bugs, dirt roads, no air conditioning and a fireplace that you lit because there was a chill in the air, not because it was aesthetically pleasing; a fireplace that burns real wood from real trees (suck it up treehuggers, it’s a renewable resource and my family has been consuming and conserving for years before you came along) not some plastic monstrosity of an approximation of glowing logs that you plug in.

That was me, the country mouse. These were my norm and when I got my first (windows) computer and dial up came along all I could get was 33.6 while my city friends were getting ADSL and cable and raving about the lightning speed. I just grinned and patted my old P1 with its 512 mb of ram and was happy. I could play all the games (Spiritwars)I enjoyed. I talked to folks all over the world, often 4 or 5 of them at once with ICQ, I read my email including the MELFans list and I surfed the net. I didn’t care that it took 3 – 8 minutes for certain pages to come up. I had time. I was from the country. I was used to waiting for clouds to pass or the rain to stop, or start or for someone to come in from the fields to drive to town. Everything was worth waiting for and therefore waiting wasn’t a hardship.

Only now? I’m spoiled rotten. I’ve gasp turned into a city mouse. I like my quick as lightning webpages showing up, pictures and all as quickly as I can turn on the tabs on my firefox browser. I like it when my email downloads the 359 spam messages and the 30 real ones for me in 50 seconds or less. I like it …damnit… and I miss it

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What do you remember?

Hockeyman asks this question on his blog.

Like him, although more like age 2 than 4, I recall JFK being shot. For years I've wondered about this memory, was it a real one? Or one that I'd 'acquired' through the repeated rehashes of this assassination by the press and media through the years. It's taken me a while to be certain, but I believe I really remember watching JohnJohn saluting the coffin as it passed. We had a black and white tv of the old circle in a square variety up till 1965 and that's what I recall seeing it on. I vividly remember my mom crying and believe that's why the incident is so set in my mind. At 2 your world is you. Your mom provides for your needs and makes you feel safe; seeing her cry so has stuck in my mind all these years. I don't honestly recall her crying at anything else, although I'm sure she did at some point or another.

I do not recall Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination at all but I have a vague memory of RFK's. Neither evoked the emotion that JFK's did in my home.

I do, however, remember where I was when I heard about Elvis' death. I was traveling through the mountains of eastern BC with my then fiance and my mom and dad. I recall staring at the Three Sisters for as long as the twisting #1 highway through there allowed, listening to song after song of his. A certain quiet had entered the car and when the radio reception failed no one urged for another station. I am an Elvis fan. Have always been. Of his music, of his movies (laugh all you want, read some of the accounts by respected actors who worked with him, of his abilities and how they were under utilized. There was a lot of lost potential there, sadly) and later as I grew up and read many many versions of his life, of the man. One's life is what one makes of it, or allows to be made of it. (I think maybe that's a topic for another post.)

Another 'moment' in time that I recall is John Lennon's death. The poignancy of his re-entry into the mainstream music scene (so to speak) with Double Fantasy, made even more so by "(Just like)Starting Over" and ended so abruptly is not lost on me, even though I've never been more than a casual fan of the Beatles and a very uninformed one about John Lennon in particular. In fact, my favourite Beatle has always and remains, Ringo Starr. I was working as a security guard on the midnight shift, and recall sitting at the desk, greeting the workers as they arrived for work. Many of them wore sad expressions, nodding to the small radio I was listening to his songs on.

There are other, more...well, personal... incidences in time that I recall. Moments that a picture or a sound, sometimes even a smell can take me back to the emotions thereof in a heartbeat.

We have, in the past forty or so years, as the Chinese? curse is said to say, "...lived in interesting times" I'm sure many will never view the world the same after some of the more momentous moments of our time. I know I certainly don't. I don't really know if I regret that as much as I'd like to wish that I did. I'm not sure that having an eyeopening moment in your life is as bad a thing as one would normally assume. I know a lot of parents try very hard to shield their children from such moments as do I, myself. But there also comes a time when letting them see and feel and understand said feelings is more important that preserving their innocence.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Stolen quotes

"Knitting socks is like sex - if I love you I will knit socks for you, and if I don't love you, you CANNOT pay me enough for a pair of hand-knit socks!"

"Been there, done that, worn out the souvenir tee shirt."

"A true friend is someone who not only knows the song in your heart, but can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words."

Thursday, August 02, 2007

I hate Passwords

The chip card is coming! The chip card is coming!

Okay, sure, after my first reaction, it's not a bad idea. Probably will slow down the phishers and whatnot idiots that abound in this world for a time or a while, but they'll find a way around it. I'm sure.

But passwords in general, just offend me. One, I really dislike remembering important stuff. I'd much rather use my brain space remembering trivia about trivial things that no one else seems to give a shit about. I dun wanna have to think of a novel and unique way of spelling out easy to remember (for me) words and phrases. And L33Tspeak? Bah, that shit gives me hives. Mutter.

I hate the concept of passwords even when being used to protect crucial data. I realize thanks, that my personal data is crucial to me, but there's still a part of my reasoning that just doesn't see what I have that anyone else might want badly enough to spend the time cracking (about 30 secs I'm told by friends who despair of me ever using a password that doesn't suck) the ones I do use. To protect my very mundane information. (I'm still struggling with the idea that someone once actually actively worked on stealing my life by cultivating my friends, adopting my hobbies and personality, even my appearance, but that's another post.)

I'm not talking about banking info or insurance/life policies or other such. For one, I don't keep that stuff online. Nor for that matter, even on my computer.

I'm talking about why I have to have a *strong* password for my gmail account, or hotmail or for that matter even here. What really, do such people get out of this? What is the point of doing stuff like cracking into a blogger account just to piss someone off? Just messing with someone because they can? Frankly, my defenses are so minuscule that it's no big whoop to get through them, so I don't see the point as being the challenge of accomplishing it.

This goes further than mischief like tp'ing the crotchety neighbour's yard. It's malicious and rude. I see little value in being considered rude. Maybe that's just me but even among the teens I work with, rude only goes so far. They trade quips and smart mouth remarks with ease but there's a line they seldom cross, and quickly acknowledge and retreat to the other side of as well. Sure, there's the odd one that doesn't care but they are often and quickly ostracized until they get that glitch under control.

There's so many other things one could spend that sort of brain ability or time on. I do understand 'reverse engineering' and 'hacking' when done for the sheer fact of just 'knowing' how something works. I've taken more than one knitted or crocheted item and examined it, poked and prodded it, even unravelled parts of it just to figure out the pattern, so I could reproduce it. That's how many people, myself included, learn. (note to anyone reading who's ever tried to help me learn coding, just...shush...)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Time to put away the easter bunny...

Remember how when I was ranting about how JKR shouldn't be vilified for writing her story the way she wanted to? Damn straight, and she did too. Good for her. Anyways, I promised more on belief in that post and this would be it.

I have always believed that the act of believing in something was far more important than the something actually being true. The ability to believe is a beautiful thing.

Watch any group of 3-8 year olds and if they're lucky and their parents get *it*, even older than that. They'll meet at a playground and play with abandon. For hours they'll whoop and run and tag each other, slide down the slide in more and more intricacy. Ask the the name of their new best friend however, and they'll stare at you blankly. They're busy believing that's their new best friend. It doesn't actually have to be. In fact, in large cities perhaps they won't even see that person again but for that brief moment, their belief makes it real.

Oh sure, I get the whole self delusional thing and how dangerous that can be. I'm not talking about believing you can walk off a roof and live because you have superpowers.

I mean the so called little things like looking for the good in people. Things like 'smile and people will smile back', or 'always do your best' or 'winning isn't everything'. Homilies like those and dozens others have coloured my life.

I've always believed that just around the corner... No matter what's happening now, that something good is going to happen.

I always want to believe that the people I love are really who I see them to be, not who they tell me they are or who they act like they are at times.

And I hang on to that belief with all my heart, even when faced with incontrovertible truth to the contrary.

There comes a time, however, when one must face the truth, hear the reality and start accepting people as to who or what you want or wish or need them to be. It's difficult and unfair and frankly sucks but it's still something that has to be done.

Hang on to your dreams as long as you can. Letting them go before their time is wrong ... so is holding onto them past their expiry date. Learning when to stop believing is as important as believing, probably. But damn it, I sure wish I was wrong.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Will she kill off the One Who Lived?

There's a lot of speculation and a bit of nasty teasing :) about whether JK Rowling will kill off Harry in the 7th book. We'll all know within two weeks, because even those who haven't read the book will stumble across some bullshit teeshirt or website or news item that gives away the ending. Not that I'm bitter, or annoyed at that very thing happening to me twice now.

That's why my 11 year old and I will stand in line at midnight and have the damn thing read by the end of the weekend.

But that's just me.

If you read the comments on the above noted post you'll find some rather opinionated remarks about what a "bitch" JK will be for doing so. (I refuse to use the other word so deal).

This gave me pause.

I mean I get that people get attached to a character. No matter how many times I read Little Women I still cry when Beth dies. I could insert many examples of favourite books where something happens to a character that I didn't want to happen but gee, I learned a long time ago that if I want the story to go exactly how I want it to, I better write it myself. 'Cause, that was the author's choice in the story THEY WERE TELLING.

Where does it say, "write a book, make your characters breath and live beyond your story, endear them to an entire generation and thereby give up all right to their destiny in your story?" I totally and wholeheartedly understand what Ms. Rowling meant when she said she didn't want Harry to live on to be written about by other authors. The fact is, she created him. It's her story and just because so many people have embraced him and taken them into their hearts it's still not anyone's place to call her down or bitch her out or hate her or call her greedy for telling the story she's been writing, (living eating breathing) for what is it? about 10 years now? Maybe more. (Note: However with the prevalence of fanfiction, I kinda think that's happened already)

Not to mention the fact that she's repeatedly said that the ending of the book was written long before the phenomenon that is HP came about. I was somewhat saddened to hear about the reprieve she's given one of the characters. I certainly hope that was a necessary reprieve as per the dictates of how the story evolved and not as a salve to the cranky people (who, by the way, were not forced to plunk down their money or their library cards to read her books. And most of you, be honest now, most of you bought your copies at the larger book stores where they discounted it so much you couldn't pass it up, didn't you, now?) who somehow think she bloody well owes them a happy ending.

I've speculated here and there about whether the books we're now reading in their published form would have been the books she'd have written had the movies not come about.

Note...speculated, not bitched, whined or threw temper tantrums.

Do I, like so many, hope that Harry gets to live out his days in happiness, in a world without evil? Sure. I also like to believe that Elvis faked his death and went off to live on an island, probably somewhere near Hawaii instead of being hounded and pulled apart by all the people who owned pieces of him and his fans. Note, like to not do. (more on belief another day)

This article raises an interesting point. Is Harry too big to live? Could he ever live a normal life? Or is it as someone comments there, that he really will only be happy when he joins the people who loved him enough to die for him? His father and mother, Sirius and Dumbledore.

I guess we'll see.

I'm hoping that the first chapter's title is foretelling at its finest.

My hat is off to Ms Rowling for her creativity, her diligence and her willingness to share so much with those of us who could not get enough.

Monday, June 25, 2007

a question

why do you think that North Americans view a man who is besotted and willing to do anything for a woman as Pussy whipped while in other parts of the world that same man would be admired for his gallantry?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

A while checking my email at Yahoo I came across a e-bite for a new *designer* cat. A toyger. Yes, that's right, the cutesy idiot people who came up with labradoodle and cockapoo oh and let's not forget shichons(purposeful???? cross breeding with an 'oh so cute' name *GAG*)have struck again with, can you figure it out? TOY TIGERS.

Being a tiger fan and suitably in awe of tigers... Real tigers, with orange and black stripes on their skin and fascinating eyes and powerful jaws and massive paws and oh yeah, weighing upwards of 500 lbs. I had to have a look at least. Because I'm also suitably in awe of the abject stupidity of some people.


Are people truly so gullible that they will actually buy these? Short answer... yes :(.

Not only will they line up to buy these, there will likely eventually be a micro version, suitable for popping into your purse ala paridiot and chihuahuas. Eventually there will even be a micro lion complete with his own little pride of micro lionesses. Pursesized savannahs will abound.

Why why why do people see the need to do this? Microsizing perfectly respectable animals. Animals that can and should remain able to rip off your ridiculous head and do horrid things to your body. WILD animals. IN THE WILD.


I am not against zoos. I see them as a necessary evil in a world that while becoming incredibly tiny and accessible to many still remains a huge mystery to most. Not petting zoos (although I do confess to a burning desire to go to Tiger Island in Australia some time in my life) but real as close to natural as possible habitats, where the animals can be observed. Safari type zoos, more than caged enclosure types. I'm all for being the one in the cage for my own protection, rather than walking free while the animal is caged.

But back to my point.

Reading further through the website I see a plan of purposeful breeding with photoshopped possibilities of eventual changes to the breed. I don't really disagree with breeding for a purpose. One of my favourite breeds is essentially man made (actually most of them are if nothing else but by a group of interested owners/breeders breeding for a particular type) however I don't and will never see the point in microsizing animals for cuteness factor.

And what the hell is wrong with a society that thinks it's okay to put a dog in a purse as a fashion accessory anyways. Sorry, I know I'm behind the times on that rant but it's been bugging me for a very long time. Not only do I object to Paris Hilton on principle and not out of jealousy...I'd be embarrassed to be as morally bankrupt as she appears to be... but it's scary for me as the mom of two young daughters that people such as she might be a role model *MEEP*

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mikey and me.

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for a sob story. It's also no secret that I enjoy working with horses and love the feeling of triumph and success when I turn around a cantankerous type or so called bad horse. How cool when it all comes together.

A couple of years ago, shortly after we started training for C. she brought me a couple of older boys that hadn't yet found homes. They're nice horses, one a very light palamino/grey and the other a copper sorrel. Bullet (the pal) is racy and elegant, would look great under english tack and has attitude out the yinyang. He's able to leap tall fences in a single bound and has a way of tossing his head that would make him ideal for film if he were black.

And then there's Mikey. They called him Big Mike, to differentiate between him and Yellow Mike. He's a rather ordinary sorrel coloring. Attractive head, nice blaze down from his forehead to his nose. No snip and only the hint of a star. Solid. Strong. Not overdone and sleek when he slips into his extended trot.

Willing too. "Try him in a lunge," C. told me. I did. He moved out immediately. Willing and able to understand even my hamhanded signals. I asked him for a lope and the transition was smooth, 2 strides and he was in full gait. Same thing coming back down, no jerking or hesitation... if he were a car he might well be well, maybe not a ferrari maybe a viper. Raw power but controlled. No finesse to it, but only because it's not yet applied.

Yeah, I'm a fan.

C. then told me his story. Yard pet foal to easy break horse, sold as a working horse to a pen checker at a local feed lot who used him well and trained him up right. Then he had the chance to go south and rather than take his horses he boarded them at the lot, for use. Someone either put a wet cinch on him or had a wet wet day and didn't check it. He galled (cinch burn scar of white hair on his belly 4" wide by about 15" long side to side :( ) poor guy was likely mad with pain. And they rode him still. He turned mean, or so they said. Tried to kill off a cowboy or two who were intent on 'fixin' that sombitch' They rode him and rode him and he bucked them off. C. took him back. Rescued him more like. Took him to a local trainer who did well with him. Until the day there was a blow up (seems someone decided they needed past the buggy and honked and honked till there was a wreck) Mikey took a broken stay in the gut. C. again took him back and put him out to pasture. But now... I was his chance, she said.

I looked into his eye. You never really know but I fancy that I can tell when there's meanness there, and I didn't see one tiny bit of it. I fiddled with him and he let me do a lot. I didn't push but I did put my foot in the stirrup and let him feel my weight. He shifted his front legs to square up and stood stock still.

Over time I did little bits with him here and there. Not enough, but each time was successful. No wrecks, no blowups. D. was up on him the 3rd day we started seriously working with him. I blew into his nostrils and he snuffled me back. I told him in a quiet whisper that he had to behave because I couldn't ride him till he was proved safe. I swear he nodded at me. Could be he just liked the jingle of bit too, but I'm sticking with nodding. D. climbed up, both of us watching Mikey's head, me ready to hang off the bridle like an ornament, D. ready to bail out at the slightest sign of trouble. Mikey's a big boy, muscular, heavy but agile. You wouldn't want to take the chance of being tossed by him. I sure wouldn't. Mikey shifted his balance. Squared up his front legs and uncocked his hind leg. He stared at me and I back at him. Slowly I passed up the reins to D. letting Mikey see me do it. "Let him ride you," I murmured and stepped back. Mikey stood still. Up till now when I'd stepped back he'd squared to me and moved with me. A dance of sort, training he received from someone else. A matter of distance and parameters. Stay x distance from me and all will be good. If I move back, move forward till x distance is maintained. I play with it, sometimes and we dance. Stepping back and forth and side to side facing each other. But this time, I had handed off control and Mikey's ears flicked, once, twice then again and he turned his head, feet still firmly planted and snuffled me again. Then D. rode him. A few steps forward and a turn to the left, then another few and a turn to the right. The idea is to keep the horse turning thereby making it harder for them to buck if they are so inclined. It's also a great opportunity to teach or reinforce leg aids and reining.

Here's a short video of Mikey and D after this session. Mikey's wearing no bridle or halter and simply going for a wander around the corral. Mean horse...yeah... dun think so. (NOTE: link is fizzed, I'll fix it soon)

My time being not so easily arranged I didn't get to do much more with him. An opportunity came up for him to be trained as a bulldoggin' horse. C. talked to me, asked me what I thought and I thought it was best for Mikey. A chance to re establish himself as a good horse. I cried after I hung up the phone but knew it was for the best.

Now he's back. The bulldoggin' training didn't happen, so he had a nice holiday on pasture and he's full of green grass. On sunday we were out to the ranch. I wanted a crack at him, and C. had promised me that rather than meating him if the bulldoggin' didn't work out (life is like that here, horses are a commodity and not just pretty animals in the field, they cost money to feed and shoe and vet and must make money one way or the other) she'd give me one more crack at him.

Sometimes when karma is knocking I get a little hard of hearing but this time I heard loud and clear. Mikey was back, grab him my little voice said. I proposed a deal to C. and she agreed. The fix was in. If I could get on him and ride him he was mine. So sunday was the day. He acted up in the slab fence corral. Reminiscent of the feedlot I'm sure. And again when people hung over the fence in the other corral, again, memories of when he was to be 'fixed', I'm betting.

I lunged him and he got it together. The intelligence was back, evident in every motion of his head as he missed nothing. Tacked and looking good, a little hunched looking cause of the extra weight he's packing, we led him out. D. fiddled with him a bit then gave me that look. I stepped to Mikey's head and talked to him, snuffling and chatting, stroking his nose and focusing him on me. Slowly D. got into the saddle, settling in to an ear flick and the familiar shift of balance, squaring up his front end. I breathed again and relaxed. D. sat still and I stepped back, asking Mikey to step up. 1 stride 2...whoa I said and he did. D. still silent and still in the saddle, only providing the weight while I 'rode' Mikey from the ground using only my voice.

D. climbed off and I'm sure C. breathed a sigh of relief. While we stood around and spoke D. climbed up again and off and all was okay. After a time C. headed up to the house and D. took Mikey (I thought) to the barn to untack. "Hurry up or we'll get caught," his voice came around the corner of the barn. "Say what now?" I asked walking around the corner. D. had walked Mikey into what we use as a mounting block and grinned at me. I stepped up onto the cement platform and slowly put my foot in the stirrup. Letting my weight lean on the saddle I stepped down again. Then into the stirrup again and swung my leg on his rump, sliding it, and still he stood, stock still, patient and uncomplaining. Many horses fidget in that spot. It's tight and they are impatient, ready to go, eager to be off. Not Mikey, he was willing to wait. Finally I was sure, I'd watched his ears and was willing to bet the farm. I swung up, settling into the saddle without even the teeniest of flutters in my stomach at mounting a horse known to be unpredictable. I was so focused on not scaring him I forgot all about my own fear of mounting a strange horse. I sat there for a triumphant moment then remembered to breath. Slowly I dismounted and once I was back on the cement I let out a whoop and hugged Mikey around the neck. "He's really my horse," I breathed and grinned.

More on Mikey as his and my journey continues. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I guess I'm just selfish ...

Special K (scroll down she's been posting and I haven't) has a valid and very astutely written point about how we in the First World live in a bubble of comfort not enjoyed or hardly even dreamed about by the resoundingly large number of people that comprise the rest of the world. (I've never gotten that whole first third world thing by the way, I mean what happened to the second world?)

As I said, and do say with all due respect to K's incredible grasp of the English language and her extensive vocabulary that I admire and covet every time I read her posts, she makes a very valid point.


I don't care.

Say what you will, I'm *T*I*R*E*D* of people telling me how I should be more charitable, more considerate of those who live without the amenities and conveniences that I do. I have what I have because my grandparents settled in Canada. They worked hard to get here, and did so to benefit not only themselves but to give their children a better life. I have the opportunity to have so much more than they ever dreamed of giving to their offspring and it's up to me what I do with it. (yes, I'm aware that some in other places in the world do not have the right or ability to do as my grandparents did, that really isn't the point in what I'm saying.)

I don't =owe= anyone anywhere else for anything, especially not as an apology for having more than they do. I can have a cold and feel sorry for myself without having to think of those dealing with worse illnesses than I have. I can be hungry without feeling guilty about having the ability and opportunity to buy food to fix feeling hungry. And I can knit a hat because I want to, and save it for myself or for someone special to me without feeling guilty that someone somewhere doesn't have a hat.

I knit. I like to knit. I like to crochet and tat and use thread and needles to create other fabrics/bits/extras whathaveyou. I do not HAVE TO KNIT FOR CHARITY to have the right to knit. I knit for myself, because I enjoy knitting. Not because I owe someone a hat because they are cold.

Let's not misunderstand me here. I give to charity. I work for a charitable organization that's non profit and goes well out of its way to make sure that all have the same. And I see the inequalities right here on the streets of my own little home town every day. I do what I do about it, in my way, in my own time and without need of fanfare or accolade. And you know what really sucks? Even as I take this stand about not having to, I feel the need to defend myself by telling you that I do things for charity that don't involve knitting. bah...

What really offends me is this damned holier than thou attitude that so many of my fellow crafters adopt. "I'm a *good person* because I knit 734 hats for the homeless this weekend..." I mean, really. Great, good, I'm sure that the homeless (at least some of them) appreciate that contribution to no end. But.. um.. .why are you telling me about it? Why are you holding it up like some badge that you won?

Knitting is mine. FOR ME. Because I like to do it and because I like to bestow my loved ones and friends with handmade gifts that show them I've thought about them and value them. Why would I cheapen that sort of gift by handing out my talents to just anyone willynilly?

Bah. Excuse me while I go cheer at a rodeo.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A 'laughter' of clowns

I've searched with Google, pawed through Dogpile and even Ask'ed Jeeves, but the only collective noun I can find for clowns is an 'alley of clowns'.

Well, I can see that alley is a very good word and well used, as most local clown associations are called Alleys it's probably all official and what not. In fact, upon contemplation I expect that it comes from where the circus clowns would prepare for performances. Where are the clowns? They're all down that alley. Maybe?

But after spending a wonderful weekend at a local 21st annual Clown convention I think that a 'laughter of clowns' works much better. If you ever have wondered what it's like to be a clown, or just like them, find yourself a clown convention and go. I can't recommend a hobby/passion convention I've ever attended (and being the obsessive gotta do it to the nth degree type I've been to a few such) any more than I do this one.

To be around people so honest and truly comfortable, and watch them just play. No strings, no agendas, nothing but true sharing and caring. I've seldom been in better company.

I was there in the capacity of chaperone to a group of youth. Some of them had been to the convention the year before but a few of them were as new to it all as I was. Suffice it to say we dived right in. :) Thank fully I mean into classes and not a glass of water or a clown car ;P. In fact the only 'clown car' I saw was one made outta balloons and there were no cream pies anywhere. But there was laughter everywhere you turned.

Clowns have a bad rap thanks to "IT" by Stephen King and various other misuses of the makeup. Really, when you paint your face pure white, exaggerate your features with traditional black and red (did you know, I'm told that it was against tradition (searching for more info on that) to wear blue greasepaint?), then clap on a wig of colours seldom seen together no shit that's scary stuff.

When Bumper and Patches met us at the door, my 5 year old nearly climbed me like a tree to get away from them. Bumper, I'm told, is a traditional whiteface. While Patches is what is called an 'auguste' (pronounced awwgooose) clown. Although he claims to not play in the traditional auguste way :) and I have to tell you after watching him perform a bit I think he just likes to play but that's just my theory.

Bumper was great, when Littlest was so unsure of him. He told her that under the makeup and clothes he was a daddy and a grandpa and did ordinary things. Then he left her be till she was in facepaint herself. Then HE acted afraid of her, and totally got her to run over and give him a hug to prove she wasn't scary. It was important to him, anyone could see and a payoff he was willing to wait patiently for. I think that's why I was extra pleased to have spent a little time getting to know him and to be present when he was awarded clown of the year. Patches' letter of congratulation was enough to put me and many around me to tears at the true bond of friendship, respect and love between them.

There are other traditional types of clowns and each was expected to play in a particular way. The whiteface is usually 'boss clown' He's the one that the auguste is trying to play pranks on and often ends up being the dignified winner in a contest he didn't even know he was entered in. The auguste is often a prankster, thinks he's clever than he is and the whiteface is his target. The tricks he plans for the whiteface's tumble are thwarted by misunderstood or literally enacted instructions by the whiteface whose earnest attempts to complete them often has the audience cheering for him rather than the IMO more appealing mischief maker. Heh, I guess I'm a little leary of the whitefaces too.

Which makes this rather ironic.

Friday, May 04, 2007 the corners of my mind...

Recently I read a post on GutRumbles that made me start thinking about a lot of things. Primarily about how much *country* I really am, but also about how we are so sure we're all unique and we are, each of us, experiencing the world with our own personal opinions, life experiences and yet...

We think we're all so very different but really in a lot of ways we aren't. In fact right there in the job description for a vital part of growing up is 'disassociate yourself from your parents' beliefs, values, and morals...' what a lot of kids miss is the fine print that says 'until you figure out for yourself that those are good beliefs, values and morals and you could have saved everyone a lot of grief if you'd just thought about it for a bit before going off on that roadtrip...'

He spoke about watching a 100 best country songs and crying on the floor at various songs. I was surprised and yet not, to find that the songs he mentioned were ones that have been known to undo me as easily as they did him, although obviously for very different reasons. How so fitting I thought afterwards, the echoes of his posts long ago written, sending forth ripples of my own song associations through my mind. That I do believe is what some people mean when they say blogging is their way of reaching out.

Boobs spoke recently of how her son is becoming someone that delights her and yet surprises her. She recounts a conversation about being 'Goth' and how even though she was she didn't know. Yet again our differences become so much definition and not so much truly differences but variations. My daughters and son surprise me at every turn, even when it's what I expect them to do, they have their own spin on it.

I listen to a station called "Classic Country" in the Dodge. Somehow it seems to fit the car :P. I find myself bellowing out the lyrics along with Johnny and Marty, Waylon, Willie and the rest of the boys, surprising myself at how well I remember the words. The intonations and feelings that accompany these jaunts down memory lane are enlightening to me. Even if they do sometimes leave me wiping my eyes when I get to where I'm going.

People often talk about a song taking them back. I understood that, even though I wasn't someone who lined up speakers like headphones and laid on the floor between them to *experience* the sound. Music is background to me. That doesn't mean it's not important, just not the be all and end all I've imagined it to be to others. I've never spent a lot of money on records, cassettes or cds, content instead to listen to the radio. I admit I taped a few songs here and there and even *gasp* bought more than one collection for a particular song.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Another reason blogs are changing the way we think...

Well maybe... Scientific Sex postulates that once someone writes something down they believe it, even if they write about something they don't agree with or against something they do agree with. Further research (in the guise of calling up a couple of psychologist friends and searching a bit on the 'net) explains to me that while a complete and utter reversal of opinion isn't the usual result, a questioning as to why one believes as one does, in respect to disagreeing with the 'false' opinion written often occurs.

So that makes me wonder, when we write about something, when we 'blog' our opinions what are we blogging? Are we blogging well thought out stands on issues we are well versed in? Or... are we guilty of 'jumping on the bandwagon' when we read something well written (regardless of truth in what we've read).

I know I am, at least at times, guilty of just that. But...then when I read what I've written I become even more firmly convinced that yes, that is my opinion and why is anyone even questioning that I think that way. Too bad if not that long ago I voiced a different opinion. That doesn't make me wishy washy it makes me smart enough to realize when I'm wrong.

The next time I find myself writing with Passion, I promise myself that I will examine that passion to be certain that it is mine and not inherited second or third hand.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Recycled Post

Well folks, it's come to this. I liked this post when I wrote it but I posted it somewhere else. Now that I'm trying to gather my fractured personality into one place I thought I'd post it here as well. This was written and posted in December 2006.

I tried the NaNoWriMo novel. Which to those uninitiated is a challenge to write a novel in 30 days. The goal is 50,000 words in the month of November. That breaks down to 1667 words per day. I got to just under 42,000. Much closer than the 13,000 I arrived at the end of November 2005 with.

The idea is great. My novel, not so much. But that's not really the point. The point is to write something, anything really, every day and keep it up for 30 days solid to establish the habit. Sadly, when you allow it to either become such a priority that you end up resenting the fact that you have to write those damned 1667 words or such a barrier that every word is wrung from you with such effort you start to sweat just sitting down at your desk, it sorta defeats the purpose. Not that I got that way you see. :P Just that I can see how that whole let's establish a habit can backfire. :P

Meh, I suppose that's nothing more than justification :) But I did learn a few things about myself and my desire to be a writer. I really do want it; and I really need to stop believing those 'only from angst and strife comes good literature' stories I've been hearing. Writing has to be something I do because I enjoy it, not because it's ripped from me like some clinging tentacles that are unwilling to leave go. So when it's not on, it's not on and forcing it, working myself into a mood of anger, disgust or just plain depression will not feed any muses that are hovering nearby.

On the flipside? When the muse speaks I need to listen. I've learned to carry a small pad and pencil in my purse as well as a small tape recorder for those moments where writing won't work. And I need to record everything. Because if I try to write in an orderly fashion, telling that dream of an idea to just wait its turn it will dissolve into the ether, leaving only the barest of flavour to the air that surrounded it. A teasing touch on your tongue, a brush of whisper against your mind and then it is gone. Never to return, never to dance upon your heart again to send it quivering. Oh you'll think you've got it back but if you're truthful with yourself, there'll be some lingering word that just isn't quite right.

Writing can be painful :) but it doesn't have to be. And just because it isn't rent from someone's mind amidst the throes of angst and turmoil that frankly would just leave me with a headache doesn't mean it's not good enough to put out there to read. What some would call bubblegum for the mind, soft teen romance and a girlhood crush that turns to first love is just as important, just as hard to write frankly as any epic. Just ask Margaret Mitchell (author of the ultimate true love gone bad story, Gone With the Wind...which she wrote in long hand.)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Wild Hogs

There are certain movies that have to be seen in a theatre to fully appreciate the scope of the film. Epic type movies like Lord of the Rings and certain family favourites like the Harry Potter franchise which while not really needing the *big screen effect* certainly are a family tradition to see on opening day.

Wild Hogs is not one of them. Not because it's not a side slippingly genuinely funny movie that had us smiling fondly and laughing out loud, choking on popcorn within 10 minutes of opening. And not because the cinematography isn't awe inspiring for many of the long 'road trip' shots. And certainly not only because it's a very accurate assessment of why many people find the appeal of the open road and no helmet addictive.

No, it's because at home, you can REWIND to hear the parts you missed from laughing at the bit just before.

There's little time wasted setting up the premise, as it's not really that difficult a concept to grasp. Four friends, middle aged, a couple of them apparently friends since college like to get together for a ride on their hogs. Not that strange that one or two or even all of them for varying reasons are in a state of malcontent at the way life has turned out for them.

So in the eternal cry of moviedom solutions, a roadtrip is proposed.

The story plays out as expected, but not in a jaded, oh here we go again fashion. Allen is eloquent, although almost seems to be striving to play against type, Travolta sometimes appears to be mailing it in. Hennessey is miscast in my opinion, not to mention looking a tiny bit too skinny. Lawrence is the fallguy or maybe not. And William H. Macy is brilliant. Tomei, cute, sexy, honest. Liotta...mmmmm HOT in a badboy is only misunderstood sort of way with just enough of a nod to the old Rats&Mice version of bikers to make it not sit badly. The Easy Rider nod might not be so apparent to some of the younger crowd but I certainly got it :) as did many others around us. And for anyone who didn't, look it up.

Certainly not an *enthusiast's* movie, for that you might want to go here. It sure won't give you anything more than a jaded 'let's make 'em look like idiots to stop people being afraid of them' glimpse of bikers either. Then again, it's not a documentary, so why should it do anything more than entertain? Which for myself, it did very well. Well enough that a few minutes into the movie I found myself thinking, "I'm so buying this when it comes out."

My rating: 3.5/5

Friday, April 06, 2007

You gotta know how to celebrate the difference, is all I'm saying...

Without much hope of a change, despite the determinedly cheerful forecast by the poor guy on the weather channel last night; (I do believe that's one of the most thankless jobs around at times) I looked out the window this morning to a view of white with more falling from the sky. Did the weatherman not hear the date? I mean we changed to DST early and all for this? Oh sure it's beautiful, all pristine and still like that; the white flakes falling from the sky in silent splendour reminding me of the awesome implacability of Mother Nature. IN DECEMBER it's freakin' awesome.

We are now in April. 'nuff said.

'Move south' my american friends tell me. 'Come to God's Country' my relatives on the west coast and in the valley tell me. 'Come home' say the ones still living in Saskatchewan, adding 'at least you'll know what to expect', because when it's winter in Northern Saskatchewan it's WINTER and while it's brief, when it's summer time it truly, truly is.

Having grown up with seasons as distinct as that I have to say that as much as I bitch and complain along with everyone else I look forward to the seasons changing.

There's something about the scent of snow in the air in October that reminds me that all's right with the world and sends me into a Suzyhomemaker spiral that equates to a squirrel getting ready to hibernate. I bake, I cook, I organize my spice cupboard after much swearing because I can't find the nutmeg I bought last fall after running out and I go out and buy more. Somewhere in my house is a treasure trove of little orangeybrown tins of nutmeg. I pull out my wool for new winter wool socks and I revel in it anticipating the hours I'll spend watching the new seasons of various tv shows and knitting because it's too ugly to go out. And just when it's become very nearly unbearable to stay cooped up inside one more day, I catch a glimpse of a brave stem of grass poking through the muddy snow.

I know that spring will stir other, although similar, urges within me. My farmer father's genes run rampant and I have to fight the urge to rip up the soil and plant something, anything. Usually I manage to lay down and this urge goes away :)but sometimes I have to repot all my herbs and houseplants (the ones that survive in spite of me) and there's usually a new addition. Last year it was crocuses (crocusi?)in a lovely blue crockery pot and I'm rather curious to see if they will come back this year. I guess pulling the pot out of the storage shed and unwrapping it would help, hmm? After spring comes summer, days of lake time (if Miss gets a chance and life cooperates that is) and hot days. As little clothing as is legal or practical and corn on the cob grilled on the barbeque. But even that ideal fades as the summer winds to an end. A soft chill creeps into the morning air and takes longer to leave each day, and soon the dry scent of snow is in my nostrils and the cycle starts again.

Winter allows me to love summer, and summer allows me to love winter. I think that's why I firmly believe you can't know if you're happy unless you've experienced sadness, nor sad unless you've experienced happiness. Success is only truly embraced if you've experienced failure. Although I do believe that contentment is another matter, because it's a fine line between content and complacent with only a step or two to go from there to contempt. But that's another post.

I've learned that seasons change and nothing is forever, not even the idyllic 'hazy days of summer'; no matter what that phrase becomes a euphemism for. I know that life is a temporary state. It's also what you make of it. You can freeze your fingers and bitterly complain about the cold, walking around in clothing unsuitable to the climate, however no matter how much you complain the weather isn't going to change for you unless you move. Or you can bundle up and have a snowball fight, or make a snowman, knowing that even that emblem of fun will not last forever. It's all about how you choose to view the world.

Today, I'm choosing happy and let the snowflakes fall where they may.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ain't no altruism, at all

Thank you all for the kinds words about getting our good friend Special K up and running again. It's heartening to receive all this attention but like the good lady said. It was absolutely and positively not an act of altruism. Damn it all, I was going into withdrawal.

Most of my daily reads (with the exception of Acidman ... and his are archived posts being put up by a friend in his memory) are becoming somewhat lax in their posting. And yes, I am well aware of the irony in someone who has posted a grand total of what? 5 times in the first quarter of 2007 complaining about the lack of posting by others, but they were daily posters when I started reading them and now they aren't. So, I stand by my whine. ;P. I was running out of new stuff to read. I dislike that. It makes me crabby and whiney and I really needed to know about (let's call him) Mark and the status thereof, and Petey and RaisinDoug and all the rest of the wonderful characters that populate her world.

So, when the simple fact of her not having a computer could be solved by my taking one of the ones we had donated and cleaned up for our own personal little 'make sure everyone who wants one has a computer' thing, voila, easily done.

But altruistic? Nope. Pure, unadulterated selfishness on my part. The woman makes me laugh, think, cry and muse over her random and sometimes scary posts :P. I like that in a person. Don't you all?

So again, thank you but come on, be honest, any of you would have done the same if you'd had the wherewithal, opportunity or what have you. Cause face it, you were all in freaking SK withdrawal too, weren't you?

For those who don't really read comments here's a list of the pimped urls that have accumulated:

Now I'm off on my daily roll through the blogs.

See you in the comments.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

stolen idea

Heh, isn't that what memes are all about? :P

Crystal over at Boobs has a pretty cool idea. She's asked her readership to pimp their blogs. She also had the *gasp* courage to turn off her word verification for the post. As she said in the comments, here come the penis ads LOL.

I'd like to invite you all to do something similar here. I'm not turning off the word verification however :) I'm not that brave.

I'd like you to instead of pimping your blog, put a link to your favourite read. Be it blog, newspaper, sarcastic news site, entertainment whore site whatever.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some filler for a few laughs.


You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

How Leo are you:
You are 73% Leo

Seduction style:

Your Seduction Style: Ideal Lover

You seduce people by tapping into their dreams and desires.

And because of this sensitivity, you can be the ideal lover for anyone you seek.

You are a shapeshifter - bringing romance, adventure, spirituality to relationships.

It all depends on who your with, and what their vision of a perfect relationship is.

SNORT: Driver:
You Failed Your Driver's Test

You only got 5/10 correct.
If you have a driver's license, it needs to be revoked!

mythical creature:
You Are a Mermaid

You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.
While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.
Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.
You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I miss my car.

It took me a while to get back to the fun of driving. I'd gotten used to it being more of a tool than a possession, more of a needed thing than an identity. I even got to a point where I poked fun at those who did have an identity because of, or sometimes in spite of, their car.

I learned to drive in a toyota corolla in the midseventies. Rather I learned to love to drive in that car. I'd been driving tractors (badly, we won't mention the JD up the tree just now) a chevy truck of my father's with three on the tree that hated me, a fact I'm still convinced of some 30 years later, but when Sam let me take the wheel of that little brown toyota I fell in love with driving. I had no fear. I spun that little car through sand dunes and over gravel, revelling in the sensation of skimming over the pavement, caught in the hum of the tires under the country sounds on the radio. Driving got to me.

I've been horse crazed my entire life, so it only stands to reason that I'd be nuts about Mustangs. Still, I teased and poked gentle fun at the II on my hubby's car. He'd done a bit of playing under the hood, though and when he finally let me drive it I got pretty fond of that car pretty fast too.

My love divided then, between the slick handling of the toyota I remembered and the sheer let's do it power of that little Mustang.

Then we got practical. We got an Aerostar. *sigh*. Still a standard though, so that was some relief. After that, it was a succession of cars for transportation. Economy and price were the deciding factors.

Finally the Tempo pretty much died. I found a Supra at a decent price, getting it from the young fellow who needed to sell one of his two cars before his dad did it for him for half his asking price.

And I fell in love all over again. Here was the perfect blend of my two previous loves. The handling I remembered together with the speed. It was bliss. Driving to school was a pleasure that offset the need to go somewhere as the Aerostar had not done.

It died last summer. I killed another one (not quite the same, being an automatic, read the Mountain Dew post if you want to know how) and now drive a Dodge Spirit.

Here's the bumper sticker that the blog thing says should be on my Supra:

Your Bumper Sticker Should Be

Anything worth taking seriously - is worth making fun of

Here's the one that I get for the Dodge Spirit:

Your Bumper Sticker Should Be

Squirrel - it's what's for supper

Le sigh...sort of says it all, doesn't it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It was inevitable

I've been trying hard not to turn this blog into a mommy blog, or a knitting blog and reading back through my posts...well... I failed. So I might as well give in and write about knitting.

A while back I started reading (with great delight to find her blogging) The Yarn Harlot. Finding Steph posting on the net was like discovering an old friend. I used to read her on the KNITlist and often read her posts outloud to my family. That is when I could get the words out without falling outta my chair with laughter. Trust me, if anyone of you has ever read the skating while knitting adventure and didn't laugh then you just plain don't have any sense of humour what so all.

Her blog isn't quite as madcap as some of those posts used to be (I wonder if she's planned a book of those) but it's full of wonderful inciteful posts that will leave even the non knitter muggle thinking, I guarantee you that. She hardly needs more publicity :P I can barely get to her site some mornings over coffee because her non believer ISP has difficulty believing -that- many people want to read a knitting blog.

So in the interest of throwing up my hands and surrendering to one of my quiet passions here's a copy of a letter I recently wrote to Steph aka TheYarnHarlot.
Hey Steph,

Yet again I've read something in your blog that has inspired me.. gofigure :)

I tend to focus on the little throwaway stuff you toss in more so than the big check this out ones :) so a while back you mentioned acquiring Sea Silk. I promptly went to the link, checked it out and after a while (cause I tend to have wonderful intentions but a gold paved road) went back and found the link again and bought some.

I have to say, my initial take on it when my son picked it up for me (at the wool shop, in the city, where he had to go out of his way across town to get it for me...what a good boy he is...which would be said with a great deal less sarcasm if the daughter of the owner wasn't his age and a gorgeous doll that makes him nearly stammer when he talks to her LOL) was wow.. oh WOW it's even prettier than in the pictures. Yeah I know, it always is but I'm always surprised. Living life as an optimist has its perks :) .
Then I felt it. YUMMY. Smelt it..double YUMMY...

then... and then... oh the pain... I started to wind it on my ball winder.

Not so yummy.

It was a mess. It tangled and twisted and was generally a pain. Okay so it's me I decided and took up the other skein after fighting with the first one for two days. This time I told myself to besure to examine the skein ... find the right end and not try to wind from the middle out. That was what I was sure was the problem. Not so much.

Second skein same as the first. (will you forgive me if I say that sounding like Davey Jones? :))

I called the wool shop and whined and whimpered. They said they'd get in touch with handmaiden. A goodly time passed. Days, weeks even and I spent hours on the couch untangling the silk and ended up with about 6 balls where I had to break it.
This was intended to become a hairpin lace shawl so I wasn't too overly concerned with the breakage but the stuff that was too tangled that bothered me as I hate to not have enough. (hence my stash suitable for insulation of a bedroom according to hubby)

Long story short, by the time they got back to me I'd started and completed 3/4 of the lengths of lace so wasn't interested in their return the skeins and get new ones solution.

Even more cutting to the chase...

The shawl is nearly done, border to be crocheted on today.
And now after all that longwinded moaning, my question... any ideas on how much I can block this? And how to do so?

How has your seasilk experience been? I'd like to do more with it...not totally turned off it from the winding but definitely will be fortified with various libations to the knitting gods before I attempt another winding.


FYI the shawl was recieved with much gimmeegimmeegimmee of the recipient. Promptly put on and cuddled. Made its debut on a cruise and was pronounced perfect. So a happy ending nonetheless.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

In the Just when you thought it was safe department

I've only recently (ie in the last year or so) become a prisoner of my cellphone. Sure I had one years ago. We had one of the radio phones that was like a suitcase that you carried with you and believe me we had some elaborate charging system for that 10 mins of usage at a time. *GRIN*. Then we had the Motorola 650 which is one of the toughest phones we've ever seen. Hubby actually ran over ours with a semi, not once but two or three times. On pavement and on gravel. he'd get out of the truck to do his bihourly brake and load check and take the phone with him to call home. Inevitably he'd set it on the back tire to thump his tires and occasionally he forgot it there. After retrieving it for the third time it became a family joke that we needed to invest in Motorola and that he oughta get a job in their R&D department for destructibility.

I progressed and picked up a V100. ( ) A cute little laptop wannabe in opaque blue plastic. It was intended I believe mostly for use as a handsfree and had a convenient little beltclip and nifty headset thingie. When you opened it up it had a tiny little keyboard but it was cute, and I got it for cheap ($50 I think) too bad that the cellphone service provider I used wasn't so cheap on the text messages.

After a while of not having one personally but hubby using the MIKE phone sytem (yet again Motorola go figure..that whole stock option thing I guess) and being able to talk to him when he was on the highway, all over the states and Canada we started looking for cellphones that worked for us.

Eventually we decided upon the Solo system. ( ) Solely for the 10-4 capability. So we joined the current decade as my snarky children like to point out, and bought Sanyo 2300 phones. I tricked mine out with a MyTego tigerskin ( and away we went. Soon we picked up one for the 10 yo, because it's handy for riding. The horses are all used to the phones ringing and talking and when you're collecting cattle in the foothills it's great to not have to shout around the bushes and over the hill.

But now... this is going a bit too far... I have enough trouble with lost/misplaced cellphones, debit/credit cards without combining the two.