Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Satan rules my country

Last night was our federal election.

Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservatives (previously of the Alliance, previously of the Reform, previously of the National Citizens' Coalition, and quite possibly previously of the Nazi party) wound up winning a minority government. I could not be more disgusted. I just thank God it's a minority government!

Now, the Liberals, under the leadership of Paul Martin have run the country for the past 12 years, and yes, there have been some problems in that time, but the budget was balanced very shortly after they took over, and there were some great strides made regarding social policies. One of my personal favourites is the legalization of same-sex marriage.

The NDP (New Democratic Party) have long been the underdogs, but I've always been a fan. Luckily, my new member of parliament is an NDP, and he quite handily beat the Liberal incumbant. OK, it was only a few hundred votes, but still...it works for me.

I was so torn leading up to my voting last night. I had to consider whether to vote for who I would rather have represent my area, or vote for the person who would ensure the most seats in the House in opposition to the Conservatives. I went with my gut, and my guy got in.

I'm not really a big political follower, but I know what I don't like, and that would be my new Prime Minister. I have yet to see the man with a genuine smile. He looks evil. I saw a clip on the news the other night, and someone handed him a baby to hold. I thought for sure it was a human sacrifice. I was just watching, dreading that he might just unhinge his jaw and swallow the baby whole. I don't trust that man at all. Could it be his religious right stance on things such as same-sex rights, a woman's right to choose, or any number of other issues we have come to take for granted? Quite likely. But there is something else about him that just leaves me cold, and I can't really put my finger on it. Perhaps it's those dead, emotionless eyes that remind me of Karla Homolka's eyes....or that little kid in The Omen. You just know there is something in there that isn't going to be good when it comes out.

I was joking around with The Squeeze on Sunday night saying we had to go to city hall Monday morning and get hitched before Harper takes it away from us. He laughed. Apparently that's not a good reason to jump the broom.

We shall see what happens in the next little while. Apparently Dubya is quite happy that Harper got in. Now they can crawl into bed together. The sad part is that I think the rest of Canada will be the ones bending over and taking it dry.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


The tag stops here

Kathleen tagged me.

Since I really don't know anyone else with a blog, it looks like I'm "it" forever. I really must get my friends on board with the whole blog thing.

OK, here goes....

4 jobs you have had in your life:
maintenance crew in textile plant
carpet cleaner
hardware clerk
kitchen designer

4 Movies you could watch over and over:
Young Frankenstein
Muriel's Wedding
....hmmm....I'll get back to you on this

4 Places you have lived:
my hometown "Hooterville" (not its real name)
my current city (anonymity is everything)

4 TV Shows you love to watch:
Book of Daniel
Family Guy
The Office
The Simpsons

4 Places you have been on Vacation:
Vancouver, BC (with side visit to Seattle)
Canada's east coast (way too many towns to list)
Cottage country in Northern Ontario

4 Websites you visit daily:
and a few others that I visit a couple of times a week

4 of your favourite foods:
a good steak
a good pizza
anything with cheese

4 Places you would rather be right now:
I'm home right now, so that's pretty sweet
Vancouver (if the rain finally stopped)
my old family cottage on the lake up north exactly as it was 20 or 30 years ago

4 Bloggers you are tagging:
I'm assuming there are no tag-backs, so like I said, it ends here.

Friday, January 20, 2006



One thing that really annoys me are typos. Not necessarily little errors or mis-types found on many blogs (mine included, I'm sure), but in professional print.

For several weeks, I have driven past a pathetic little sign down the street from my house that was painfully hand made. It is on an oxidized chunk of ragged siding, with magic marker lettering. This in itself should offend. Worse is what is written on it:


Pre bred? So they actually go through the trouble to breed them for people? How considerate! At least we don't need to go through that agony of getting them to breed ourselves.

And what is a Himalyan kitten? I've heard of Himalayan...I wonder if it's related. I'll have to get a picture of this sign and post it here. I just need to remember to bring my camera with me, which I never do.

My hometown newspaper is norotious for typos. I think that's where my obsession with spelling started. I would scan the paper every week when the paper came out so I could see how many errors I could find. The worst one was a big bold headline on the front page:


Pleeds? Puhleeez! There's just no excuse for that.

OK, now that I've got that off my chest, I'm going to go scan my posts and look for errors before I get my nose rubbed in it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The Puppet

A while back, my partner and I were in the market for a new printer for our computer. We went to one of the area Future Shops to compare models and see what we could get. As we stood admidst the display of printers, we were approached by a tall young man and a short, humourless, slightly older woman, both wearing their required name tags. I don't exactly recall if he had an "In Training" button on, but his position on the technical food chain was painfully obvious.

He asked if we needed help, and we explained that we were looking for a new printer. Now I'm no technie, and I don't pretend to be, but my partner, on the other hand, is quite informed in the realm of bits and bytes. He asked the associates some question or other about the difference between two models, and what happened next left me standing with my jaw agape. The young man turned his head slightly and leaned toward the short woman and she whispered his response to repeat in his ear. He straightened up, looked at my partner and repeated whatever drivel the short woman whispered in his ear.

For ease of reading and writing, I will simply refer to him as the Puppet, and to her as the Puppet Master.

It was as if the Puppet Master didn't have her own voice. Everything had to be filtered through the Puppet to us. Every question we asked was handled this way. My partner, wanting to see how long this could go on, continued to ask questions, and without fail, every answer came about the same way. Puppet turns, leans, bends, listens, stands, repeats. I continued to stand there with my mouth open, thinking "are we on candid camera?". It was as if we were placed into a Seinfeld episode. Not once did the Puppet Master allow us to hear an answer directly from her. It all came from the Puppet. Even the comment that finally broke the deal. She whipered to the Puppet, and he repeated to us that we should use gold plated printer cables to improve the resolution. Well, my partner informed both the Puppet and the Puppet Master that gold plated cables would make no difference to what is being printed as it is only data being transmitted. (Don't ask me, it's all white noise to me. What I don't know about computers could fill a warehouse.)

It did, however, set me up in a very fun position. I turned to my partner and whispered in his ear, "I think we'll keep looking around."
My partner said, "I think we'll keep looking around."
I turned to him again and whispered, "Thank you for your help."
He repeated to them, "Thank you for your help."
I don't think they got it.

I'm not sure if that is how the Future Shop normally trains their new staff members, but I would offer that customers would probably feel more comfortable if the Puppet Master simply answered the questions and allowed the Puppet to learn from her interaction with the customers rather than treat the Puppet like an unprepared actor alone on a stage, calling out "Line?" after every cue.


The doctor will see you.....eventually

For the past few years, I have had to visit a cardiologist. Nothing wrong with my ticker, but there is a family history there, and it's a good thing to keep an eye on. Since my brother died five years ago from an unexpected heart attack, all my siblings have been going for checkups on a regular basis.

Many years before my brother's death, I thought I had some kind of heart problem. I noticed that many times that summer, I felt my heart skip a beat, which really freaked me out. I went to my regular doctor, and got fitted with one of those Holter monitors. Basically, I had a bunch of wires and electrodes stuck to my body which were hooked into a tape recorder that I had to wear for 24 hours. There were a number of other tests performed to try to determine what caused these skips. The mystery was finally solved when the doctor asked me a number of questions.

"Do you drink coffee?"
"Maybe 1 or 2 a week."
"Do you drink tea?"
"About the same."
"Do you drink a lot of Coke or Pepsi?"
"No, not really."
"Do you drink iced tea?"
"Oh. My. God."

That summer I drank more iced tea than any human being has a right to. I mean, it was bordering on a compulsion. It was nothing for me to have 3 or 4 cans a day. It went down easier than Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office. (rimshot, please)

So I made the decision to remove caffeine from my daily routine. On the occasions when I would normally have coffee, I had decaf. I drank caffeine free diet coke. I had decaffeinated or herbal tea. The skipping heartbeat disappeared. Excellent.

Years later, when I met my cardiologist for the first time, I had to do a stress test on the treadmill. I thought I was going to die! I have never been in good shape, and that day was certainly no different. I walked on the treadmill, and gradually, the machine would speed up and the incline would raise. I thought for sure the next thing I would hear is "CODE RED!!". It felt like my heart was going to bust through my ribs.

Even though I ran until I thought I was going to die (it probably lasted about 3 minutes...so out of shape!), I would still say that the worst part of it was having my chest shaved with a dry razor so they could stick those damned pads on me....in several places. I have learned a lot since then. Most of all, I have learned to take care of the shaving myself when I go in for a checkup. And so it was this week.

My appointment was for Monday morning (my day off), so on Sunday, I got the clippers out and buzzed down to stubble, and followed it with a proper shaving. Figuring that I hate to do a half-assed job (don't go there), I asked The Squeeze to do my back. Some of us guys are cursed with more than our fair share of body hair...in all the wrong places. If I had to name anything that my body resembles, I would say....Chewbacca. OK, maybe not that bad.

The Squeeze proceeded to use the clippers and then lather me up and shave my back while I stood in the bathtub. It seemed to take an awefully long time, so I asked if he was nearly done, and he replied, "Hey, it's a big job." Hmmmm....not sure how to take that. Not a great thing to say to someone with weight issues. But we had a good laugh about it. While showering after the shave, I noticed that the water seemed to bead off of me like water off a newly waxed car.

Monday morning arrived, and I made it to the cardiologist's office a bit early for the appointment - even after finding a parking space! The appointment was for 11:15. When I got there, there were at least a dozen people in the waiting room. It wasn't looking good. There are three doctors in that office, but averaging it out, that still leaves at least four people ahead of me. Since all of the chairs were taken, I wound up standing out in the hallway until about 12:45 when I informed the lady at the front desk that I needed to go out to feed the parking meter. Of course, she said "well, you're up next". So I said, "well, I've been waiting for over an hour and a half and I know I'll be in that room waiting another good chunk of time, so I'm sure I'll be able to make it to the meter and back before anyone misses me." Sure enough, I did. In fact, I still wound up sitting in the waiting room for about 10 or 15 minutes after I got back.

For the past month or so I have been stressing over this appointment because I thought the doctor would freak on me for not working out, and putting back on the weight I had lost. The last time I was there, I told him that I hadn't been on the treadmill because my knee was bothering me. Well, I still haven't been back on it, and I've gained back the weight I had lost when he saw me the time before that. I had made some very healthy changes in my life way back then. I was walking on the treadmill at home 45 minutes, twice a day, seven days a week. I had dropped about 35 pounds. I was feeling great. My cholesterol had dropped. One thing that freaked him out on my last visit was that my blood pressure was spectacular.

Well, again, my blood pressure is 110/78 which just astounds him. Sugar levels are good, cholesterol is ok (could be better though). I have decided to smarten up and get back into a routine of at least moderate exercise. Anything would be better than sitting here in front of the computer or planted on the couch watching TV. I have another appointment in August. So many things will be different by then. Not necessarily with my weight and exercise, but I hope that is the case, but by that time, that little baby of mine will be here if all goes well. And that is one huge reason to look after myself.

Hopefully, by the time of that next appointment, this itching from the stubble all over my chest and back will be gone too!

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