December 31, 2002

As usual, I'm the King of Indecision. I could go out to a New Year's Eve blow out with big crowds and lots of VERY loud music, spend it more quietly with some friends, or stay home. I'm leaning to the home idea ... The Big Bash idea, while nice, seems just too many people, too much music I'm not overly keen on, and just too damn long. However ... we'll know by next year my decision.

What a weenie ...

December 26, 2002

And here we are, the other side of the Christmas divide ... It's now Boxing Day and I appear to have the beginnings of a cold or flu. This is very discouraging. I am not liking it at all. Ah well ... the price of excessive festive spirit(s).

Hmm ... This post certainly was a waste of everyone's time.

December 24, 2002

And away we GO!!!!!

It's Christmas Eve day. Now, the shit really hits the fan. How many hours left to do all the crap I was supposed to do but haven't done yet? Why can't I get my skinny arse in gear?

Well ... I will now make an effort to get the whirlwind day this is about to become underway. Wish me luck. And happy merry jolly Christmas. Toodles!

December 20, 2002

Hmm ... I just posted something and now it has vanished. Was it me ...? Perhaps ...

I came across a brilliant idea on the Internet today. Mind you, it appears it's been up for some time, but better a Johnny-come-lately than a Johnn-not-come-at-all. Anyway ... The great idea is this:

A petition to have Peter Jackson write and direct the next Star Wars movie (that would be number III) and thus save it (and us) from the dismal fate that met the first two of this series. Great idea ... Not sure we can get Lucas to go for it ...

December 2, 2002

Joy in Piddleville. Shipment has finally arrived from Amazon. It includes: The Thin Man, Sunset Boulevard, and How to Murder Your Wife. (And last night, I watched The Bells of St. Mary's with Bing and Ingrid. Good, but I prefer Going My Way.)

Since most of the DVDs of contemporary Hollywood movies seem pretty dull and uninspired, I am taking refuge in older movies for the time being. Yippee!

November 28, 2002

I spend the larger part of my active, productive day doing shit I don't give a rat's ass about. My "career" has been about working for things I'm indifferent to. So ... when do I get to work on something I actually care about?

Ah ... there's the question we're waiting for the thin guy to answer.

November 26, 2002

November 25, 2002

Due to Grey Cuo entertaining, there was no time to update Piddleville. Heavens! There was no time to take in any new DVDs! Not that anything interesting came out this week. At least, not anything I gave a rat's ass about. But later this week? Who knows ...

November 22, 2002

Okay, I like this design fine except ... 1) it doesn't look like the rest of Piddleville and, 2) why would you put the dates in a column on the right, which is the last place anyone would look for them? Cute but dumb.

And everytime I post something I have to republish the entire archive! Damn!

November 21, 2002

November 18, 2002

Would someone please tell me where the eensie-teenie images I uploaded for The Burble went to? Ooooo ... This Internet thing is such a fickle so-and-so! I wish I'd stuck with pens and stamps!

Pens and stamps! That may be the name of my next enterprise ...

November 17, 2002

Once again, I am trying another template. Frankly, I don't like any of them.

November 13, 2002

I have made a template change. But this will be temporary, I think. I don't really like the available templates (teeny fonts, for one thing), but I lack the mental capacity or inclination to create my own (except for the simple one that was here before). But ... what the hell. I wanted a change.

November 9, 2002

It's a cold and snowy weekend. Therefore ... loads of movies on DVD. I'm about to head out to pick up a few ...

November 7, 2002

From my position of lofty ignorance beyond the U.S. borders:

Why do Republicans now control both houses? As with elections in other democratic countries, the parties that win tend to be the ones who talk the talk we want to hear. And it’s not just a question of what is talked about. It’s also how it’s talked about.

To use an extreme analogy, when someone’s house is on fire it’s difficult to get them to discuss the condition of their lawn.

“Would you cut your grass, please?”

“You idiot! My damn house is on fire!”

He’s right. The other guy’s an idiot. It’s not that the U.S. is in such a dire situation, such as their house being on fire. But there is definitely a perception that something akin to this is their situation. Republicans spoke to this perception; Democrats did not. And so we have the results of the recent election.

It’s also a leadership question. Bush is perceived to be a strong leader, thanks largely to world terrorism. The Democrats have … have … well, I’m not sure who the hell they have. But it’s a bad hand to have going into an election.

When the political landscape in any country adjusts to favour any one party to a great extent (such as the U.S. now, Canada with the Liberal party, the province of Alberta with it’s provincial Conservatives), it often says more for the lack of credible alternatives than it does for the heavily preferred party. Not all the time, but it does more often than not.

The Democrats have quite a bit of building to do now. For everyone’s sake, let’s hope they get their heads out of their bums, get a sense for where the world’s population, and especially the U.S. population, is and begin to speak to them as a credible alternative and not simply as the cranky guys who lost.

Without balance, we all tend to go overboard and this is the risk now with such a dominant Republican party in power.

November 4, 2002

Improvements behind the scene ... Sort of. I've added a couple of chips of memory as well as Windows XP over the weekend. Yes, the system works much better now - faster, fewer crashes. And this is good. The downside is my Outlook is screwed up (and God knows where the disc is to restore it), Zone Alarm works only occasionally and there are several other issues ... like little Microsoft pop up screens I could do without. Grrr ...

Anyway ... there was also time to add more reviews to the Movie Room. Have a gander.

October 28, 2002

It snowed last night as we slept. And that's about all I have to say about that.

(Good Lord, how bad is it when you start quoting movies? Talk about a barren imagination.)

October 21, 2002

The angst of October continues ... Waking in the early AM hours I found myself lost in the dark of an existential despair. I went to sleep, woke again later and discovered I had confused the gibberish of Sarte and Camus with snow.

Yes, it snowed in the night. A greybeard whiteness covers the lawns and trees. But it's not the stick-around kind. No, this is just the briefest of flirtations. A tease.

Let me tell you ... October in this part of the world gives new meaning to the word drab. So the snow can't come too soon, as far as I'm concerned. White is infinitely better than all this bland, boring grey and brown.

October 17, 2002

Dreams ... Go figure! For me, last night's dreaming was particularly stupid. Example: my neighbours seek my okay for laying sod. Not unusual except there is nowhere to lay sod where we live. Our domiciles open onto a brick covered courtyard. So the neighbours are putting in two 3 foot by 3 foot wooden boxes, like those buildings use for plants or small trees. But in this case, the earth is covered over with strips of sod.

Kind of dumb, but it gets odder still ... with several of my women friends, plus my sister, I go to a university to see a movie - probably some foreign thing. Naturally, I try to put my pants back on. (Yes, for some reason I'm not wearing pants - don't ask.) Someone hands the pants back to me but they're corduroy and therefore not my pants. I ask my neighbours, "Where are my pants?" but they're to busy laying sod to answer. (Yes, laying sod in small boxes outside our doors ... at a university where we're trying to watch foreign movies!)

The audience wants to see the movie. My friends go in search of my pants except they don't. They get caught up in conversations about everything except my pants, and I start getting pissed off. I'm in an impotent rage, "Where are my pants? Where the hell are my pants?"

Then I wake up. And of course, I'm not wearing any pants.

What a dumbass dream. (Aren't you glad I shared?)

October 11, 2002

If life is not a yo-yo, surely the weather is. I wake to a temperature of -1 Celcius. Expected high? 2. I'll repeat that: 2 (two). Yet in a few days, it's expected to be around the 15 degree mark. (Could be worse, I suppose. At least it's not Calgary, where it snowed yesterday.)

The past few days have been windy and chilly. From my window, I see at least one tree completely denuded. It shivers like a dog left tied to a pole on a winter night while some self-obsessed bonehead sits inside a restaurant eating. It is time; early though it may be. Bring on the snow! Send us something to drape the barren, lonely landscape and relieve this sense of apocalyptic desolation.

(Was that a little over-the-top, ya think?)

October 10, 2002

Here it is, several days later, and not only have I not corrected the numerous text mistakes I mentioned below, I've discovered there are even more. Yes, ding-dang-it ... I can't write to save my damn life, damn!

October 7, 2002

Oops. I've posted three new reviews in the Movie Room. Unfortunately, I neglected to proof them. Wow! Talk about your typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes. They look like they've been transcribed by a monkey. Hopefully I'll be able to correct them tonight. We'll see.

September 30, 2002

Day 3 of the Great Moan. Cold/flu things continues. Mood: generally bitchy. Activity: generally sleep and nose blowing. Ugh ... I'm too freakin' irritable to write this now ... Make it stop! Make it stop!

September 26, 2002

Well, the Cocktail page certainly needs some cleaning up. I haven't linked to it for a while. Today, I linked from a home page blurb and discovered a very old look to the page. Numerous apologies for it's appearance. When time allows, I'll fix it. And speaking of fixing things ...

I swear, I'm never adding new programs to my computer ever again. (I've said this before.) I tried Yahoo Messenger 5 and nothing but frozen screens, crashes and heaven knows what all else. I think it's a problem of the firewall really disliking it intensely. Whatever it is, it seems anytime I add something new it buggers up everything else.

By the way, re: my moans and groans about fall on the home page, I was in Vancouver yesterday and it was warm and sunny and damn 'em all for it! It's cold and crappy here!

September 20, 2002

A Little Something About Basic Web Effectiveness

Not that anyone cares a lot about this, but ... I went to a site and, waiting for it to load, I see it's also loading a popup ad. Tiresome, annoying but not unusual these days. But here's the thing: Suddenly a window pops up and asks if I want to run Flash 6. Apparently I don't have the latest version. But here's the question ... why would I update just so I can see an ad?

I said no and now I had a popup window (the ad itself) which, except for a blank yellow box in the centre, was empty. It didn't even have text saying who the company was or the name of the product. Nothing.

So ... why did these guys spend money creating and running this ad? Yes, there are loads of people on the Web with more recent versions of Flash and capable of running the popup. But there are many more who don't. Why run an ad when half the audience can't see it? It's not that it's in Flash; it's that it's in a version of Flash that isn't ubiquitous on the Web yet. It's like making a television ad and then running it in only some markets. Why exclude half your potential audience when you don't need to?

And this doesn't even touch on the question of how effective a popup is to begin with. Yes, there are all sorts of marketing guys who will throw numbers at you about the effectiveness of popup ads but very rarely do they have numbers that show a relationship between how many people click on an ad and how many actually ending up buying a product or service. Return On Investment (ROI) is the only stat that matters and this is the one they can't show.

Anyway ... it seems a huge waste of everyone's time and money. This popup was similar to grabbing someone, harrassing them by yelling, "Listen to me! Listen to me!" and when they, irritated, finally say, "What on earth do you want?" the answer is, "Uh ... I don't know."

September 13, 2002

What a world. I saw a news item today about a report concerning kids, tv and behaviour problems. The report recommended parents encourage their children to, "...participate in active peer relationships." Huh? Does that mean something like make a few friends? When I was younger, I don't recall ever having active peer relationships. All I had was friends.

Maybe the behaviour problems have more to do with the behavior of adults who can't communicate like real people. What kind of bonehead talks about active peer relationships? Whoever these clowns are, I'll bet they're the life of the party. I'll bet they have loads of active peer relationships.

September 12, 2002

On this day, one year after, I am most struck by the gap between what the media would have us feel and what people I meet really feel. This bears some scrutiny, but not tonight. It's too late and I'm too tired. But I'm thinking it may be time to finally talk about this business since what others are saying, more and more, simply pisses me off by the self-serving nature of the sentiments.

September 3, 2002

Yes, I'm slow with the updates. Except for some images. I have been watching new movies, though. None particularly overwhelming, but not awful either. The reason for the lack up updates is the addition of a cd-rewriter to my set up here. As usual, all kinds of issues due to the fact I'm stuck with a Microsoft O/S and not nearly enough RAM. I've been meaning to get more RAM since time began but, frankly, tooling with and tweaking my computer is a pain in the ass. I'm not a techno-guy. I just want someone to, "Make it go." Problem is, I'm the someone.

August 26, 2002

I recieved spam today with the subject line: Discover Why Printing May Be Obsolete.

Really? It seems to me people have been saying this for about the last 20 years or so. From roughly the beginning of the personal computer, the death of print has been heralded. However, rather than less print there has been more. Of course the implication in that subject line, and what people concluded once the PC appeared, was that everyone would read, create documents etc. electronically. It didn't happen, hasn't happened, and likely won't happen any time soon despite the efforts of those anxious for a world of e-publishing. (God, I hate putting an "e" in front of a word.)

A more attention getting subject line would have been: Discover Why Printing Won't Go Away. Now that would have been an e-mail I might have opened.

August 18, 2002

I seem to be on a movie review writing roll. A passle o' new entries in the Movie Room. They may be full of shit, but that's okay. It's interesting that the very act of making yourself write something down, of forcing yourself to find something to say about the film, forces you to think about what you've seen in a way you wouldn't have otherwise. I mean, there are loads of things I see that pass in and pass out of my consciousness because, once done, I move on to the business of living again. But making yourself write about them makes you think about them and then, quite often, you discover a good deal more in a movie than you initially thought. You start to understand what it is you like about the movies you like, what you dislike in the ones you dislike and, once you've starting discovering these things, you start to become aware of a few things about yourself. And that has to be good, doesn't it?

August 14, 2002

Hats off to the Canadian branch of Amazon. I ordered two movies around 11AM yesterday from and they arrived today, one day later, at about 11AM. Now that's fast.

I appear to be experiencing a noir phase. Arriving today were Kiss Me Deadly from 1955 and, from 1990, Dennis Hopper's unjustly overlooked The Hot Spot with Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen and Jennifer Connelly. Thanks to the Lileks site for reminding me of this one.

Tonight ... some DVD watching, to be sure.

August 13, 2002

Yes, I am full o' crap. Not so long ago I said I was going home to watch John Sayles Passion Fish ... but I didn't. Yesterday I said I was going to watch Howard Hawk's Ball of Fire ... but I didn't. And tonight ... well, I'm saying I'm going to watch Fritz Lang's 1953 noir classic The Big Heat. Third time the charm? You bet. I haven't seen this one in years and I just picked up the DVD. There's the exciting quality of something new here, even if it's old.

August 12, 2002

I registered another domain today. I have no idea what I will do with it; no idea what to do with any of the domains I have. (There are 10 in all.) Each would be its own site but I can't afford that many. Hmm. Must give this more thought.

Tonight I believe I shall watch 1941's Ball of Fire with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. I'm in the mood for a screwball comedy.

August 10, 2002

Note to self: Take more care with after work imbibing. Not feeling well today at all, at all. And I left my briefcase somewhere. Could be halfway to Guam now for all I know.

August 6, 2002

Good grief! I just took a look at how my mutual funds are doing. Take my advice: do NOT familarize yourself with the current status of your holdings without adequate medical supervision. And a change of pants.

August 5, 2002

I remember the Great Drought of Twenty Ought-Two because it was followed almost immediately by the Great Rain of Twenty Ought-Two or, as it's sometimes known, The Grieving. Having been so long clear and blue, easily earning its nickname of Big Sky, the heaven above Alberta has now turned grim and implaccable and very, very wet.

I don't wish any farmers ill, but since the drought conditions of June and most of July pretty much nixed any hope for this year's crop, I really don't see a need for all this water. Actually, farmers must feel as if they shat in the wrong person's breakfast cereal since now, having had crops wasted by lack of rain, what few stragglers remain alive find themselves now threatened by frost at night. Yes, frost. They have issued frost warnings. In early August.

If this isn't the result of global warning I suggest someone get off their ass and figure out what it is the result of because, frankly, it's fucked. And we're fucked along with it.

August 4, 2002

It feels like December. Really. It's another gray day. This has lasted longer than is decent. How can you go from 34 degree weather in one month (July) to single digits the next (August)? Only in Alberta. High country is not all it's cracked up to be. Living on the great central plain of North America means you're on a meteorological yo-yo. When the sun is out, it's hot as a griddle and you're the flapjack. When the sun ducks behind the clouds, the temperature plummets and you're the toe that needs amputating because it's so damn cold!

Actually, it's not so much the temperature that gets to you as the dull skies - a December ceiling with a wintry feeling. Of course, it's not nearly that bad out there. Not even close. But gazing at it from inside, looking out at a dreary street that seems to have been abandoned by humanity, it feels like December, the seasonal dung hole of every year.

Look ... someone just rode by on a bike, weeping and tearing at their hair. Okey ... maybe they didn't. But they might have! And who would have blamed them?

August 2, 2002

Could this day be more gloomy? Grey-brain skies lowering overhead. Endless weepy, drizzling water bulged clouds trundle by in a mass like an army of fatties and then there are the single digit temperatures (which perhaps sound more alarming than they are for those not using the Celsius measurement) … It all conspires to make the hapless worker wonder, “Why in the name of all that’s holy did I get out of bed today?”

It’s a question that admits no comforting answer.

Seeking refuge, I return home and immediately seek the cold comfort of beer and the Waterboys, Fisherman’s Blues to be precise. Meanwhile the freakin’ cat keeps running to the patio doors as if desperate to escape the confines of a warm domicile, yet as soon as the door is opened she sits back, considers the merits of outdoor activities, then flees as if from some unnameable horror.

It’s called a crappy day, cat. That’s all it is. And it, like haemorrhoids, will pass (though not before imposing a degree of discomfort to its luckless victim).

By the way, why does my word processor want to insert an “a” in haemorrhoids as if vowels, too, could be discomfiting inflammations?

I had thought I would redeem the day by picking up a DVD to help pass the evening hours but there was nothing to find that was interesting or, if interesting, not stupidly overpriced. So I’ll have to retreat to the collection. What will it be? Some contemporary flash and boom thingamabob like … I dunno. I forget the titles almost as soon as I see them. Maybe something classic, like a return to My Man Godfrey. Or, as I was thinking earlier today, perhaps something relatively recent yet, remarkably, with a story, like Passion Fish?

That’s where I’m leaning. Passion Fish. Have I mentioned I’m in love with Mary McDonnell? I am. But it’s a secret love. I haven’t told her. Thus, it’s an unrequited love. A tragedy of classic design. Ah me …

Life. Whacha gonna do?

Once again, a lengthy delay between jottings and precious little jotted when I do get around to it. However ... The weekend promises to be dull (as opposed to last weekend) and this may allow me to update, tweak, and generally make Piddleville less of hodge podge.

Of course, I'm said that MANY times before and accomplished sweet bugger all. But you never know ... Like they say, 117th time the charm.

Must go. Should be doing work now. Toodles!

Note: Looks like Blogger is back to proper functioning. The archive even updated properly.

July 28, 2002

I slept in today till about 10:15 or 10:30 for the first time in ages. Normally I wake up between 6 and 7 in the morning. So how did I manage it this morning? Easy ... I went to bed around 4AM.

Good heavens, I feel like crap today. It's been awhile since I felt this hungover. Did I at least enjoy myself?

I let you know as soon as I remember.

July 21, 2002

Although there isn't a great deal of activity here in the Burble, I have been adding bits and pieces to the Movie Room. And I'm still not sure what the story is with Blogger. Those 503 messages keep showing up yet, although slow, the posts do mysteriously appear. Wha's up? Hmm?

July 17, 2002

I just wrote a whole load of "stuff" about the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movies. Sadly, there are fistfuls of typos, grammar howlers and spelling mistakes. However, they won't be corrected till tomorrow because, well, I gotta eat!!! So if you plow through this material before it's fixed, try to pretend the goofs aren't there. Toodles!

July 16, 2002

I had a brilliant idea for Piddleville last night. Unfortunately, I can't write about it until I know if it's possible. Sorry. I guess I'm wasting everyone's time. Although the real reason for this entry is to see if the problems with blogger have corrected themselves. Toodles!

July 14, 2002

A Rash of Rain

This has a poor title. For one, it lacks any meaning since there has been little rain here (except for some sporadic trickling in the night and mumbling thunder). For another, the concepts of rash and rain fit together poorly; they don’t even have the merit of lame irony. Finally, it’s a weak stab at cuteness, one that falls upon the tiresome crutch of alliteration.

Clearly, my writing abilities have crapped out. Still, on we plod …

It seems I may not have a job soon. I won’t know for a month or so but uncertainty is in the air once again. This occurs every few years or so. It is cyclical, similar to (and tied in with) economic performance. When the economy tanks often the first pronouncement from companies is, “Get rid of the writers!”

Well, perhaps it’s not that overt. But it is true in the sense that few companies see any benefit in having writers despite the fact that everyone in a company is desperate for one, every company suffers from poor communications internally and externally, and writers are paid peanuts compared to upper management personnel.

I think writers are sometimes on the outs because they aren’t usually part of the golf crowd. That’s just a guess, however.

The effect of it all, for me, is a sense of irritable dismay. I’ll be honest, it terms of personal finances my ducks are definitely not in a row. Rather, they seem to be scattered like playing cards. So …

My trip back east is cancelled. (As a contractor, I don’t get paid when I take time off – this cost is compounded by the wildly high prices of Canadian domestic flights; going home is priced beyond me.) My debt load is higher than it should be (though not as bad as some). It has to come down – more funds must be funnelled in this direction.)

End result … a hot, grim summer worrying about money. How tedious.

(Why are so many blogs just so much moan and groan. Note to self: must change this. Who wants to hear someone bitch?)

July 7, 2002

I never knew who John Pilger was until I started reading blogs that ranted about what an idiot he was. Similarly, the little I knew about Noam Chomsky was restricted to ... well, whatever field of science or sociology he's in. (Or is it linguistics? ... can't remember.) The point is, these guys have far greater currency for their political views now due to the people who want them to shuttup and go away. It seems a bit self-defeating.

Anyway ... while both may have the odd point, from the little I've seen they're extremely tedious and have political positions that essentially amount to: we hate the United States and think it's evil. Not the most astute politcos, these boys. I mean, do they really think they'll sway American public opinion by crapping all over the U.S.?

As usual, it all boils down to a small group of noisy left leaning navel gazers ranting at an similarly small group of noisy right leaning navel gazers and putting the rest of us to sleep. There are far too many people out there who went to university in the 70's and never left. God help us.

July 5, 2002

Biometeorology and the Brain ... it's a small start. But who knows what it will turn into? Perhaps when I'm through I'll know more about why I get wonky. (That's the scientific term for the symptoms ... wonky.)

July 1, 2002

Son of a gun ... it's Canada Day!

While others engage in family outings as they enjoy the national holiday, I have gone DVD crazy. No less than 6 new reviews in the Piddleville's Movie Room this weekend. While not the most insightful or informed, they do have the quality of ... well, I'm not sure what. But who else is giving you reviews of The Quiet Man and Gosford Park?

Not sure what that means.

Adam Sandlar Update:

An unconfirmed report asserts Sandlar is taking diction lessons so he can learn to speak without mumbling. Insiders go on to say his agent is furious believing his career will tank if audiences can make out what he is saying.

June 30, 2002

Leading thespian Adam Sandlar, having established himself as Hollywood’s leading male actor following his moving update Mr.Deeds (revisiting the 1936 Frank Capra classic Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) has his sights set on even greater dramatic challenges. Or so unsubstantiated rumours would have us believe.

Sandlar’s next project is tentatively titled “Hammy,” a modern look at the Shakespearean standard, Hamlet. Our drunken sources tell us Sandlar will play a confused lifeguard, son of a leading head-of-state and heir to billions, whose father dies under mysterious circumstances. The Sandlar character will become despondent which leads to zany antics and shenanigans. His mother (reportedly to be played by Sir Anthony Hopkins) remarries and Sandlar shows his displeasure by trying to have sex with her. The film will conclude with Sandlar engaged in a fart challenge to the death with Kevin Smith (playing himself).

Other upcoming Sandlar projects include:

“Gone With My Wind” in which Sandlar plays “a classy southern gentleman” with flatulence issues. The film concludes with Sandlar setting the city of Atlanta on fire with an enormous fart.

Also in the works is “Close Encounters with My Behind” in which Sandlar plays an alien character with an overlarge bottom. The film concludes with Sandlar setting North America on fire with an enormous fart.

Finally, “Titanic – My Big Bum” is in the works for late 2004. In this film, Sandlar plays a character with a fat butt who takes a cross-Atlantic cruise on a really big boat. The film concludes with Sandlar sinking the ship after setting it on fire with an enormous fart.

Clearly, there are more than a few Oscars in Adam’s future.

June 28, 2002

Oh my. I just did a search on Google. Apparently the Piddleville site is comes up with some frequency and, more alarming, this Burble page. Problem? Visitors ... and the place is a mess! Hopefully by the end of this long weekend we'll have it somewhat less dishevelled. Yes, I did say long weekend. In Canada, this will be a long weekend. We'll be celebrating something but we'll be buggered if we know what. Maybe it's a celebration that the G8 waste of time and money show is over.
Still hot. Very hot.

"How hot is it?"

It's so hot, I can't think of a single punchline to do it justice. Now THAT's damn hot.

Meanwhile, in a world of wonders, Pamie returns. Can such things be? Apparently so. And now ...

Time for the nightly snooze. As with last night, it will be a heated challenge ...

June 27, 2002

Wow. Where'd I go?

Well, I dunno but for this brief moment I'm back. Hot today. VERY hot. At least for this part of the world. 34.1 Celcius. Whatever that is in old time temperatures. How hot? Listen ... in the winter, the windows here stay closed to keep from freezing my ass off and to keep the furnace from running non-stop. Today, I had to keep the windows closed to keep the heat out.

You cannot win! Not in this life!

Anyway ... now I'm off to see if sleep is possible. No air conditioning here, baby.

June 16, 2002

Major lacuna. Over a week without an entry. How did we survive? Now we're back and what do we discover? Big jpeg files! Sorry ... No way around that. Well, yes there is but I couldn't be bothered. But don't you think the story of Lechie is worth it?

June 4, 2002

It seems that whenever I have big ideas for changes to Piddleville, new sections and what not, they don't get much further than some file space on my computer before some other nonsense takes over my life and robs me of time, the thing the Web seems to feed on. So although I made the initial stabs at two new items, Another Day Without Brains and A Salute to Personal Living, both languish somewhere on my hard drive in a half-baked state.

I've also seen a number of movies recently that I haven't been able to scribble about yet and add to the Movie Room.

Hopefully, soon. Hopefully, soon.

May 29, 2002

Here. I'm demonstrating my blog. Whoa! It's very exciting.

May 26, 2002

Today I feel grand. If only because yesterday is over. (Actually, it is a glorious day. Weatherwise, this is the place to be today.)

What the hell happened with Saturday though? The whole day was spent with Advil and thumb-twiddling as I waited for the headache and general malaise to pass. Where do these days come from? Why is there no biological early-warning system?

A friend of mine suffers from major migraines. I’m willing to bet if I call her up she’ll tell me she was in bed all day yesterday with a doozy. (I don’t get migraines, just brain stupification … meaning dull-wittedness, vertigo, headaches, and aches in a variety of joints and muscles. Oh joy! Oh bliss!)

I remember reading (somewhere) that people who suffer migraines experience fewer with high pressure systems dominating and more frequently with low pressure systems. (Lighter, drier air versus heavier, moister air.) I also had a doctor tell me once that such things like migraine or arthritic flare ups are not so much affected by the air pressure system as they are by the change from one to another. Sounds good to me. I’ll buy that. (He could have been humouring me with a load of crap though.)

Yesterday, from the air perspective, was a gymnastic tumbling affair with wind shifting direction, moist air being hustled out like a loud drunk by bouncers. A windy day; an off and on cloudy day with big fart monster clouds whisking across the sky like white caps on an ocean or lake. It was entertaining in its way but would have been more enjoyable had I not been feeling like el crapo.

Really, I wish I knew more about the cause (since I am fully versed on the effect). It was an entire day wasted. Anyway …

It was not an entire loss. By the end of the day, the wind having settled down, I felt much better and sat down to watch The Sound of Music. Normally, I’m with Voltaire on these things: “What is too stupid to be spoken is sung.” (He was speaking of opera, but they’re close cousins, musicals and operas.) But how can you not love a boyish looking Julie Andrews and the songs of Rogers and Hammerstein? It is a nice break from “Baby, baby” songs. Melodies with non-throwaway lyrics – lyrics someone actually thought about and crafted. Imagine that!

Yes, The Sound of Music has got large doses of schmaltz but sometimes, when it’s done well and not too over-the-top, schmaltz is just the thing to cap a day of being the plaything of the inscrutable heavens.

May 25, 2002

This morning has yin and yang-ed me with a puzzling blend of the lovely and the vexing. The sky is sun-filled, the air is tumescent with possible rain and my head is pounding like shady loan collectors who’ve finally tracked down some poor schmuck who has missed a payment.

Why is this?

Could it be the full moon? The yank and release of tidal forces? Could it be the roughhousing of wrestling pressure systems, unseen but bulky and cross in the sky overhead? The biometeorological bullying of climate?

I dunno, I dunno. But whatever it is, I wish it would stop. It’s an otherwise delicious day.

May 21, 2002

Now this is a cool notion: the brain communicating with itself wirelessly. Geez ... my head hurts thinking about it.

No posts in the last few days - but that doesn't mean I've been idle! No siree Bob! I've been hard at work watching movies and upgrading the Movie Room.

May 15, 2002

In an effort to restore order to my personal Piddleville, I have generated greater chaos. I stupidly bought some cabinet type things at IKEA on weekend. They weighed far more than my limpid little limbs could handle, so I had them delivered. They arrived yesterday.

Bonehead! How could I have forgotten the nightmare of having to put that crap together? What was I thinking?

So ... now the clutter of home is increased as 3 large, elongated boxes sit idle as they wait for me to hunker down and tackle the Promethean task of trying to put this crap together. Is there anything less dignifying than meeting your own dull-wittedness face to face? I am so stupid ...

May 12, 2002

Many people don't know this ...

The late, great Sam Cooke is probably best remembered for his song 'Stand By Me'. This was not, however, the song's first title.

Originally, the song was called 'Stand On The Sidewalk'. But a year before the song really hit big Sam was at a gig in a small club outside of Detroit. After the show an auto worker, Bob Percy, who had seen the show, went up to Sam.

"Love the song, Sam," he said. "But you've got to change the title. 'Stand On The Sidewalk' just doesn't scan. And it really doesn't make a lot of sense to sing, 'No, I won't be afraid; no, I won't shed a tear just as long as you stand on the sidewalk.' What the hell is that?

"How about 'Stand By Me'? Wouldn't that work better?"

Well, the lights went on for Sam. He changed the words and the rest is music history.

Just think ... Would you have gone to see a Stephen King story turned into a movie if it had been called 'Stand On The Sidewalk'?

I don't think so.

(This story was first told to me by Crabs the Clown.)

Change. Coin. The rattling metal stuff in your pocket that weighs you down as if you were a New Jersey bookie who'd gotten on the wrong side of the wrong people.

What the hell do you do with it?

It litters my home, and clogs my pockets. I think - give it away! That would be easy. But, having experienced the discouragement of penury (being broke) and scrambling in sofas or anything for a few coins to buy something - anything! - to eat, I can't just give it away because ... Well, someday I may be broke again. And won't I be pissed knowing I'd tossed away a meal or two because I was a bit inconvienced by some nickels, quarters and dimes?

But my God ... it's everywhere!

You know something? One day when I'm gone and they're going through the detritus of my life, they'll find all this coin. It will be everywhere. And someone will add it all up and then say, with some surprise, "Damn! Can you believe it? This guy had more money than Bill freakin' Gates!"

May 10, 2002

Is there any better feeling than getting home after being away, especially if you've been away at something you didn't particularly want to do, in a place you didn't particularly want to go? (No offense Calgary - anywhere that isn't home is a place I don't particularly want to go to.)

Must stop typing "particularly."

Anyway ... Gonzo, the cat, is still talking to me. In fact, she won't shut up. This is the cat's revenge. Affection in excess.

Now it's DVD time. Snared by the digital siren call, I came home with Jerry McGuire, Ocean's 11 and Next Generation, Season Two. Must take next week off. I'm feeling unwell. ;-)

May 9, 2002

Hats off to the Exchange, the lounge in the Calgary Marriott hotel. I could have sat there all night. The music was aces ... Tom Waits, REM, Elvis Costello, Leonard Cohen and so on. Too cool. My music.

As for me, after tomorrow's class, I get to go home. Geez ... I'm a terrible traveller. I can't get home fast enough. Wonder if Gonzo is still talking to me ... (I also wonder what the damn bill for all this is. It'll be a corker, I'm sure.)

May 8, 2002

There’s a Little Feat song, written by Lowell George no doubt (or was it one of his solo albums?), called I’ve Got 20 Million Things To Do. Or something very similar. This is how life feels all the time. 20 million things to do.

In fact, there are so damn many things to do, the will do them evaporates because of the sheer impossibility to complete them. And so, as a result, 20 million things quickly becomes 40 million things because things to do continue to come in, accumulate, and beat down the will “to do.”

My will to do is done and gone. So … I sit indifferently watching the Ottawa-Toronto hockey game. It’s an apathy day. A sleepy day. A “leave me alone when I’m under the blanket” day.

And this is odd since the sun is finally shining in Calgary, the aberrant snow is disappearing, and the semblance of spring is slowly becoming manifest.

Calgary vs Edmonton: a draw. Calgary scores a point by being an actual city, with a real downtown. (Edmonton for unexplained reasons seems to shun the notion of a lively downtown – the preference for shopping malls baffles social scientists.)

Calgary loses a point however because, while it is a city, it is not my city.

Home’s home, even if it sucks.

May 6, 2002

I'm in Calgary now. And guess what? It's snowing! Snowing, snowing, snowing!!!

I can't escape it. Heading south on Highway 2, a little on the north side of Red Deer, we hit it. Snow. From there to Calgary it was snow freaking' snow every damn where!


(In the background, the radio lists school closings due to the snow ...)

May 5, 2002

I really don't care for travel. Flying is definitely the worst. This is why I'm taking the bus to Calgary. I'd walk if it was the only way to avoid airports. They are the most tedious, mind-numbing experiences imagineable. Want to have an impact on crime? Send the convicted to airports. That would show them we're not kidding around.

I don't mind destinations, however. Once I get someplace, after an adjustment period, I usually like the place. (Though this week may be an exception since it's a week in a hotel and taking a workshop I have no interest in.)

Anyway, today is a day of anxiety, reflected well in the dull gray sky and late fall temperatures, despite the fact we're into May. Running around making sure the cat has enough food, ensuring I actually have clothes that don't stink and aren't wrinkled to badly, and generally packing. Actually, I find I'm more concerned that I have books, CDs, laptop etc. to ensure there is something to do when I get bored than I am in clothes. Those are usually last minute things. Sort of like, "Oh shit! I better take clothes too."

Nothing worse than showing up butt-naked. The company frowns on that sort of thing.

May 4, 2002

It is May 4th. I look out my window. It is snowing.

God has abandoned us.

May 3, 2002

Next week promises to be … well, I’m not sure what. But I’m off to Calgary and hotel living. “Yippee-kay-eh!” as the Canadian cattle folk like to say. I’m not even sure why I’m going. I’ll be taking some workshop or classes or whatever they’re calling it on “Web-based Training Design Something-or-Other.”

When it’s done, I should be able to create, or at least describe, online tutorials and other Web-related thing-a-ma-bobs.

Perhaps I’ll make a tutorial on how best to experience Piddleville. A little something on how to make a good gin and tonic. (Limes are everything, and Bombay Sapphire is a must.)
This actually happened ...

At work, we had a meeting scheduled. Someone invited him/herself to the meeting. Then, having done so, they cancelled the meeting and rescheduled it because they couldn't make it.

(sound of head banging on table)
Forgive me, but I have to whine again. This afternoon it was about 16 degrees (Celsius). Currently, at midnight, it's 0. Going down to minus 7. Tomorrow's high about 3 or 4. Who have we offended?

On another note, I just watched A Few Good Men for about the 3rd or 4th time. This is such a good movie. Here's my suggestion for the Star Wars people: let George Lucas handle the special effects, but hand over the reins of the directing to Rob Reiner. Who knows? We might get a watchable movie. You know, something with vaguely real characters and a story elevated above the tedious level? Just a thought ...

April 30, 2002

And again (forgive the redundancy) ... It's a little before 8AM. It is 1 degree above (Celcius). Expected high of 7 degrees. I look outside and ... it is snowing. What the hell kind of Spring is this? Are we going to have to sacrifice virgins to sun gods? What does it take?

April 29, 2002

Here's some falderal I came up with based on a question I came across.

The Law of Creative Relevancy

The greater the apparent lack of relevancy (to anything) of a given object, person or thing, the greater is its potential creative value. Note: 1) Actual relevancy is not a factor; only perceived relevancy and, 2) actual creative value is not a factor, only potential creative value.

I have no idea what that means. But it sounds like it should be a deep thought.


April 28, 2002

Finally ... the sun is here, and it must be warm The cat is on the balcony stretched out in the light and looking pretty damned content. Now to the point of this post ...

Last week I experienced a pleasant kind of deja-vu. I stopped by a couple of the sites I drop in on fairly regularly, the Canadian DVD Users Group and USS Clueless. One, as the name suggests, is about DVDs, the focus being on Canada (which is nice since that’s where I am). The other is mix of politics, technology, and pretty much everything under the sun, since it’s a personal blog.

But last week, I went into the forums on these sites. It’s been a while since I went into things of this sort. Years ago, pre-Web, I was a regular Fidonet user. But things then went Web and there you go.

What I liked about Fidonet was the communication. The dialogue. For me, communication is really the only thing about the Internet I care about. Communication and information (it’s hard to have the former without the latter). What made the Fidonet echoes I went to especially appealing was the fact that they were relatively small and focused. Things like newsgroups or whatever they’re called are, for me, a waste of time because of the noise level. The difference was the same as trying to have a conversation in a large, loud crowd and talking in a small intimate café.

Anyway … What I liked about the forums last week was the smaller size and focus. Also, the writing. While varied, it seems much more intelligent, respectful and, particularly in the case of Clueless, literate. They write well, for the most part, and that’s a fairly rare thing on the Web. (The downside is that I’m much more aware of my own writing and its sloppiness.)

The upshot is that it was nice to come across this kind of conversation on the Internet again. Not that it ever went away, or that these forums are rare. They're not; they're everywhere. But I suspect I simply lost contact with this sort of dialogue (due to changing technology and the movement of people on the Internet).

Although I made the odd posting last week, I was largely a lurker. I basically monitor and read what people have to say. And that’s okay since any worthwhile conversation begins with listening.

April 27, 2002

With the grief and horror of waking behind me now, it turns out it is an excellent day. It has scored an average 8.5 from the judges (might have been higher but there are rumours about the French judge.)

The birds are all a twitter. Not exactly sure what that means. How does a bird, or anything, twitter? Checking dictionary …

Well, apparently if you chirp with a series of high tremulous sounds, laugh, speak quickly in a high tremulous voice, or chatter, it may be that you are twittering. Which is more or less what I thought it meant, but you can never be too sure.

Should you ever find me twittering, please, slap me silly till I stop.

To continue … the birds today are twittering. Somewhere on the branches by my balcony, there is a passle o’ robins. There are also some sparrows and maybe the odd shrimpy wren. This may seem less than remarkable to you, but if you had to live with mornings of magpies and crows, you too would be elated at seeing wrens, sparrows and robins.

Those magpies are freakin’ big buggers. And crows? We’ve got crows the size of small pigs here. Steroid designed crows. I half expect to see one swoop down one day, snatch up the cat and scarf her down like fried hot wing.

Don’t ever be misled by these ornithological hooligans. If a bird looks like Death come calling, it is.

Yesterday, while riding the bus to work, I saw small gulls swimming in the river. These were baby gulls. (Baby? What the hell do you call bird infants? Chicks? Doesn’t sound right somehow.)

I would call our gulls seagulls but it doesn’t seem right. They look like seagulls. They sound like seagulls. They shed seagull feathers. But … how can something be a seagull when its something like 1000 miles to open water? If these are indeed seagulls, they do a poor job of seagulling. They clearly have no sense of direction.

Perhaps they’re simply traumatized? One gull became misdirected, the others followed it, they found themselves in a barren, desolate landscape with strip malls and quickly thrown up (but fashionable) housing, and it all went to hell from there.

Somewhere around the Great Lakes, or perhaps the Pacific or Atlantic coasts, other seagulls mull around, chit chat, and say every so often, “Whatever happened to that group of gulls that kind of went north and left? Ever hear from them anymore?”

It’s a tragedy of ornithology and worth at least one episode on A&E (with a DVD to follow). I mean, if they can do the Shackleton documentary, surely there’s room for “The Lost Seagulls of Canada.”

Just a thought.

Oh … when I say I saw these gulls swimming in the river, I am speaking romantically. Lyrically. The river is not so much a river as a broad stream of flowing mud and corruption. Birds (or anything) do not so much swim or paddle in it as flail helplessly, rather like spasmodic mud wrestlers. It’s a hell of a thing to see. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Finally, to wrap up this ramble, I am listening to the Robert Michael disk Allegro, his latest CD. It’s very good, if you like the guitar thing. If you don’t like guitar music, this probably isn’t the disk for you. But if you do like it, this is wonderful. It begins with a peppy little thing called Café Allegro. Makes you want to wiggle your bum. Being beyond the prying eyes of the rabble, I do (and with some enthusiasm).

Shake it, Goatboy! Shake it!

(Note to self: work on butt exercises. Feels like your packing a bowl of Jell-O back there.)


April 26, 2002

Woke today with a major headache. Looked outside; it was snowing. The day went to hell after that.

Oddly, though I felt like crap through most of the day, though the skies were grey till about mid-afternoon, and despite a cold northeast wind biting at my ass like a platoon of spiders, it was a largely productive day. Strange. I guess discomfort enjoys a distraction.

But Mother of God, WHEN is the weather going to improve? Are the authorities working on this?

April 23, 2002

Can an entire province suffer from bad karma? Today is wretched. The timid hint of warmth we called spring has yet again been chased away as if by a bully. Northwest winds arrived overnight like hooligans and the trees' barren branches now wave in the air like the arms of lunatic Shakers. And I swear, when I looked out the window a few minutes ago it was snowing. Again.

Who did we piss off?

Clearly, the only issue of importance on the international "Things To Do" list is the Kyoto agreement (or non-agreement, to be more accurate). Global warming or capricious gods, it doesn't matter to me. Someone has to do something about this weather. It's just all fucked up.

Side effect: More unsettling dreams (due to new weather paying a call). Chases, labyrinths, and poorly maintained roadways. Don't ask me what it means. I'm just the dreamer, pal.

April 21, 2002

For whatever the reason (I don't remember anymore) this was written April 16 but didn't get posted. So ...

What in the world is wrong with me? Isn’t the purpose of sleep to wake refreshed, energized, and ready to take on a new day? If so, I appear to have it backward. I wake fatigued, sluggish, and about as interested in taking on a new day as embarking on another root canal.

Something ain’t right.

So another trip to the doctor I suppose. This time, I’ll catalogue my symptoms. Let’s see:

- Aches and pains in shoulders and back
- Fatigue
- Chest, odd feeling, perhaps bronchial thing
- Disinterest, apathy

Hmm. Any more? Well, depression I suppose. But is the depression caused by the symptoms that don’t go away, or does the depression cause the symptoms? I believe this is the real question. (I am such a whiner these days ...)

And how am I feeling now? MUCH improved (high pressure system moved in). However, the back and neck are still buggered up and I find I can't spend much time at the keyboard.

April 20, 2002

Good grief! I did a couple of searches today. First on Google where I found Piddleville coming up in the Webster dictionary of Jeeves under the word "congenial." (This is, of course, Piddleville - the congenial Web site.) Then I did a search for Piddleville on AskJeeves. Yikes! About 60 entries, the vast majority to pages here I had forgotten about. Some of them have the most appalling design imagineable. Shame, shame ... I suppose I should do some online housekeeping. It is, after all, spring.

April 13, 2002

I will ramble today. I shall burble.

To begin with – such a dream! Well, maybe not so remarkable for those people who are into this sort of thing, but for someone like myself, for someone who doesn’t recall his dreams often and doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about those he remembers, it was remarkable, in its small way.

(Am I using my commas correctly? I’m never sure about that. Troublesome, given that I make my living writing. But the dream …)

I found the dream fascinating because I dreamt I was waking from a dream. Yes; in the dream I woke from the dream. Then went downstairs.

Going downstairs was quite the thing too. I woke fully dressed, though dishevelled. I then got onto something like a ski-lift type thing and rode it downstairs. You see, “upstairs,” where I woke, was apparently up in the mountains (the Rockies). As I rode whatever it was downstairs (I was very high up) I had a marvelous panoramic view. I could see mountains everywhere – as far as the eye can see, as the expression puts it. And it was early to mid-June. Everything was green and lush, even the mountain tops. (They must have been very small mountains and it was probably a new experience for those mountains to have even their peaks covered with grass as opposed to snow.)

And was at home in Edmonton, which was something of a geographic marvel since you can’t see the mountains in Edmonton. They’re too far away. They were too close even for Calgary, so the dream was playing fast and loose with topography, as dreams will do.

Sadly, this was the only thing of interest in the dream. At least, that is pretty much all I remember of it. But imagine it. I woke “upstairs” at the top of mountains and went “downstairs” to the base of them.

The mind has its own sense of domestic interiors.

April 9, 2002

Got my pants back - finally! Thanks to Bob in Moncton. (Anyone know how to get rid of stains?)

April 5, 2002

Would whoever has taken my pants please return them? Thank you.

April 2, 2002

You have to be someone who doesn't use the Internet, or sees it as a kind of curious adjunct to other things, to imagine that interest in sex has left the Net. Only someone who has never gone to a sex site, purposefully or by accident, could think interest has waned. Perhaps, rather the declining interest, it has something to do with the high-energy, pop-up window assaults. Or maybe attempts to upload crap, perhaps even viruses and worms through those "Do You Want To Install ...?" pop-ups, have curbed some of the traffic. Or the insistance on giving up personal information to become a member and thus harrassed by scuzzballs for the rest of your life has dissuaded some people.

Sex is always interesting. However, people generally don't like paying for it. They don't like having their privacy compromised. They don't like carnival barkers yelling at them all the time. Blah blah blah ...

March 31, 2002

Talk about the heebie jeebies ... I went online today and searched my own name. Turns out I died September 11. I was the head of fire safety or something for the World Trade Center. Not a comfortable feeling.

(Of course, it wasn't me but someone with the exact name.)

March 25, 2002

Allow me to be as superficial as all the hype around the Oscars ...

Best looking women at the big ta-doo - Cameron Diaz, Sissy Spacek, and Helen Hunt. Also, as a piggish aside, Helen Hunt must have the best ass in Hollywood. Maybe the best ass in America.

(I am such a shallow man ...)

March 22, 2002

I just checked my Web stats and discovered I've had over 3.5 million hits in the last two days. And unique visitors? 4.8 million over the same two day period. An extraordinary feat!

Extraordinary, of course, because it's hard to figure how anyone can accumulate more unique visitors than total hits. I'm told, however, it is possible assuming you've an innate psychic ability to bend time and spoons. In other words, you need to be a dimensional juxtaposer. Or DJ, as the kids say.

OK, some guy just passed by and twisted my arm up my back as he threatened to beat bees and Jesus out of me. So - I lied! I didn't get half as many hits as I said. In fact, I got no hits at all! Worse, a dimensional juxtaposer was used to warp the blousey fabric of space and time and hits were actually taken AWAY from me. Suddenly, people who had visited my pages only last week could no longer recall having been there - because they hadn't! Those visits had been stolen from them together with a little of the something that makes us human.

Makes you want to cry.

(What the hell did I start out writing about anyway?)
Everyone's got a bitch about the Oscars, it seems. But really, the only bitch I have is the need to thank large faceless corporations. "I'd like to thank XYZ Corporation for making it all possible. Oh yeah ... and I wanna thank my wife and mom."

Why is a corporate butt kiss the first thing these people say?
It appears a Quebec cable company has struck a blow against spammers. (I'm just trying to put a positive spin on a screw up.)

March 21, 2002

Does online advertising get more annoying than this? Colour blotches crawling all over the screen. Yes, that certainly persuades me to buy whatever the hell it is they're selling. Who thinks up this crap? Do any of these boneheads actually use the Internet? What marketing school teaches that the more you annoy and piss people off, the more likely you are to sell products them?

March 19, 2002

Ah geez ... Anyday now CEOs will be using computers too. I'm mean, just look!

March 18, 2002

Today the IMDB home page (Internet Movie Database) asked this question: "How could the Academy have voted the entertaining lark Shakespeare in Love as Best Picture of 1998 over Saving Private Ryan?"

I'm probably reading far too much into this, but it seems to me it suggests that love is less important than hate, life less important than death. It implies that the latter film, Saving Private Ryan, is a better movie. Well, sorry, but after the visual masterpiece of the first 30 minutes it is really just another war movie, neither rising above the usual nor sinking below it. In terms of writing, Shakespeare in Love is a much wittier script and the parts cohere far better than those of Saving Private Ryan.

It never occurred to me to compare the two movies - frankly, I think it's an idiot's exercise. But I do find the notion that love and comedy are less "serious" than war and other tragedies to be, from the artistic view, even stupider. And sadder.

Bollocks, I say!

March 14, 2002

Saw Nicole Kidman on Tuesday's Tonight Show. She and Buzz Lightyear or Boz Scaggs or whatever his name is (the director guy) were doing the Oscar hustle. Nicole looked lovely as ever. One thing though: someone please buy that woman a meal before she disappears entirely.

March 13, 2002

For those of you at your wit's end trying to figure out where to set up that food processing plant, worry no more! Your answer lies in the land of snow and black flies.

March 12, 2002

Great googley-moogley! Have I lost my mind? I now have 7 domains registered. Seven! Hell, I don't have the talent or gumption to do one properly (i.e., Piddleville) and I have 6 more to create? I must be out of my mind.

Anyway ... Watch for Goatboy and the Burble appearing one day. Whether we want them to or not.
There are few things as wonderful as snow falling at midnight. The glow of streetlights reflects off the snow, everything is ... yellow. Yes, yellow. This is an urban area. Streelights don't glow white but a pale yellow, maybe a biege. Whatever the colour, it's a breathtaking look.

Oh, and when snow falls like this, it is never too cold. It's only when it stops that the temperature goes in the crapper.

For now, it is a spectacular night. (How I wish there were better words than "spectacular" and "wonderful" for describing this. How I wish I had a more poetic mind.)

March 10, 2002

As we get older the urge to chastise youth for its foolishness increases. It’s partly from a real desire to help them avoid making the mistakes we’ve made, or been witness to, but it’s largely just envy. Bastards! They’re young; I’m not.

I don’t worry too much about these feelings. It goes with territory. Young people will one day be older and annoying the generations that follow them the same way.

I bring this up because of a young man I’ve seen on the bus the last few weeks. He’s into that body-piercing, tattoo thing. And this is fine; there are some people who look damn cool with what they’ve done. But like everything else, it requires some artistic flair to do it well. It requires a sense of proportion; an absence of excess.

Well, this guy has none of this. His head looks like a prison yard bordered in chain link. His face looks like he could be a goalie for the Edmonton Oilers or New York Rangers. Or he could be a catcher in the majors, his mask welded to his face.

What was he thinking?

He’s not alone, though. There are many people like this. I recall last summer when I saw a young woman who appeared to have had an unfortunate but intimate encounter with a nail gun. Her skin might have been upholstery someone had fiercely tacked in place.

What was she thinking?

The guy I see on the bus has also splattered himself with tattoos. Bradbury’s “Illustrated Man.” His artwork included pricing code on the back of his neck (facilitating scanning procedures at the Safeway, I suppose.)

Here’s the thing: Young people have a difficult time looking ahead. This is natural. Why should they? Everything is now. I didn’t look ahead. Had I, I wouldn’t be experiencing the financial woes I now face. Nor would I have experienced the consequences of poor relationship decisions. (I mean, what was I thinking dating a female wrestler? And without sufficient health coverage?)

Older, I see ahead. I make an effort to peer into the future. I’m not always right, but I think I manage to side step the occasional fiasco.

So what is the future for the young man on the bus? Image being 70 or so with a face encased in chain-link. Imagine being 70, skin wrinkled and desiccating and covered in the verigris of aged tattoos – everywhere.

He’s a freak show.

Think of the grandkids.

“Daddy, did the Frankenstein monster look like Grandpa?”

“Well, yes. Pretty much.”

“We don’t want to visit Grandpa anymore. He scares us.”

“Grandpa scares everyone, kids. Everyone.”

I can’t think of too many things more unsightly, or frightening, than an old guy covered in tattoos and buggered up my chains and nails.

The other thing, of course, is our frivolous and changing tastes. While cool today, tomorrow tattoos and chains will be so 90’s. In fact, as you can tell by looking at a calendar, it’s already passé. I mean, think of it: the look came out of the punk surge of the late 70’s. In 2001, is this the look you want? It’s not like you can call it retro. We haven’t arrived at that point yet.

It just looks dumb.

March 8, 2002

On those rare occasions when I listen to the radio, I generally listen to a “lite rock” station out of Spokane. Yes, it’s pansy music but when I want background filler it’s the least offensive of the myriad wastes-of-time available.

Anyway … I keep hearing this public service announcement about “Intimate Partner Violence.” When was this term coined? How long has this one been in use? Like “ethnic cleansing” (used as an alternative to genocide or murder), it’s a comfortable term that makes no one uncomfortable. Unfortunately, like all such terms, it fails to communicate what it should be communicating. (It is like technical bafflegab except it is employed in the field of social issues.)

Mind you, it probably is more accurate technically than words and phrases like wife-beating, assault or rape. And it certainly avoids the gender issue. But really, what is the use of a phrase like this, for crimes like these, if it doesn’t communicate the essence of the problem?

“Did your husband kick the crap out of you for no good reason?”

“Well, I prefer to say my partner was intimately violent with me. That would be more correct since we’re not actually married.”

Of course, being a term no person would actually use outside a courtroom or medical facility, Intimate Partner Violence will be quickly shortened to IPV. In fact, I’d be very surprised if people aren’t already using this acronym already.

“Geez John, that new girlfriend of yours sure has the temper on her. You look like you’ve been the victim of a sound IPV-ing.”

You know, I don’t object to new words and phrases but I do have a problem with this moronic terminology that always gets turned into acronyms (since no one would ever actually use these two or three word, sense-diffused terms). There is more to words than their technical accuracy. As Twain said, the difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.

March 4, 2002

Following a weekend of excellent weather that included much melting and suggestions of spring, the weather here (Alberta, Canada) is going in the tank! It's going to be shit mother cold tonight and I don't care for it. Must speak to the management.

March 1, 2002

Great Burblations!

It is Friday, and I am free. I feel the need to burble.

Today, I rage rage rage against the machine! Well, actually all the code and crap I don't understand and can't be bothered to learn so I can make this site look like something more than some moron's ineffectual diddling.

So I rage ... "Curse you, Red Heron! You have shat me in the eye! Bungo, bungo! May you fall and cry!"

Cool. There was some rhyme and almost a bit of rhythm in that. Geez, when you're on you're on.

And if THAT's not a pointless, rambling burble then ...hell! I don't know what is!

Have a pleasant weekend. (By the way, Agent Vulga made me laugh.)
Thanks to Rob's Amazing Poetry Generator, which we came across thanks to Luminescent, we have this brief, effusive homage to Piddleville. In fact, I think it's called ...

Homage to Piddleville

Piddleville The entire Piddleville businessman Dick Whizzy a few
more. Mr. Whizzy
a peach of
the usual fiasco of International Skating Union ISU
judging. Unexpectedly, however,
strapped the bastard! were heard as
had been
anticipated, the usual
fiasco of a
more. Mr.

February 23, 2002

Art Stinks

And is it any wonder? Can anyone take this seriously? I'm sorry, this is just TOO stupid. But it's a good scam if you can get away with it (and apparently, some can).
Olympic news they don't want to report ... only Piddleville has it!

February 22, 2002

Ah, man! ... Just when you figure out how to pronounce Belarus, they get eliminated!

Now, we seem to have some bruised egos (or is it wallets?) at the Olympics. Here's my diplomatic solution: Everyone gets a gold medal! Everyone gets bribe! Everyone gets a product endorsement deal! Everyone gets a product logo tattooed to their ass!

February 20, 2002

Well, lookee ... A story about blog backlash. Apparently some people feel blogs are nothing but public masturbation. To which I say,

"Ya got a problem with that?!!!"

How long have I been on the Internet? I think close to 10 years now. I believe I was here a little bit prior to the advent of the Web. And I believe the Internet has always been about communication. About telling people stuff. What Eduardo Galleano would call the human voice, and the need to be heard. If blogs are in the millions now, then I would think it means there are a lot of people who want to be heard, are frustrated with being silenced by the Men in Black (no, not the one's from that bonehead movie). Actually, they are more appropriately described as the People In Grey. (Get The Kinks disc, "Muswell Hillbillies" to hear what I mean.)

Anyway ... Blogs are simply the latest manifestation of communication tools. Does anyone remember Fidonet and echoes? Using mailers to upload messages to bulletin boards and the threads of data-based conversations, arguments, debates that went on? Those were infant blogs. They're the same damn thing. The difference is blogs are Web-based and there's a hell of lot more people who have something to say - or, rather, there are just as many people as ever with something to say, there are simply new and more accessible ways to do it now.

Are there assholes with blogs? Of course. Are there assholes in traditional mediums? Damn right. As Theodore Sturgeon once said speaking of science fiction (poorly paraphrasing here), 90% of everything is shit, but it's the 10% remaining is gold.

February 16, 2002

Good golly, Martha! It's a dandy day out there! Just dandy! Warm as a bed with flannel sheets and sun shining like it just got laid. Dandy, dandy. Must stop wasting time on the computer and go out. (Not a good time if you operate a ski lift.)
Four new DVD purchases ... X-men (the special edition must be coming out - the price on this was considerably reduced), To Kill A Mockingbird (good price and, despite being an MGM movie, actually has legitimate bonus features), Ghost World (quite good but not as good as the reviews would suggest), and PBS's Ken Burns film, Mark Twain (which I've yet to watch).

Of the four (or three, since Mark Twain remains to be seen), hands down winner ... To Kill A Mockingbird. No contest.

February 15, 2002

Oh hey ... looks like Canada's skating duo may get that Olympic gold medal. My question ... What do these boneheads who keep screwing up skating competitions get? My vote - the Grand Heave-Ho! If you can't judge fairly, don't judge at all. This is the real problem for the IOC. Frankly, though it hurts athletes and others unjustly, they should ban the ISU from the Olympics until they get their shit together - and can convince us they've got it together.

Damnation! Why doesn't anybody ever ask for my opinion! I'd settle the world's ills damn fast!

February 3, 2002

I was talking to a friend of mine last night. She’s in Seattle now. Inevitably, we talked a bit about the latest planetary lunacy – the Afghanistan business, Iraq, terrorism, blah, blah, blah.

Interest is still quite high in all this. If it were a movie, it would be breaking box office records and plans for the DVD would require at least three, staggered versions with a second theatrical release just prior to the final (ha!) Director’s Cut.

The Web is littered with blogs and online news sites that are filled with stories about all of this. They range from the far right to the far left and all the shades between. You could spend the rest of your life just reading about the War online. And that’s without even going near the traditional media outlets like TV, radio, and print.

And here’s what I was thinking today: Beyond this stupid little rock, out there amid all the uncountable galaxies and stars, does anyone give a shit? I’m in my forties and I’ve concluded this crap NEVER goes away. It mutates, it puts on a new suit of clothes, sometimes it even changes its accent, but it NEVER GOES AWAY!

This is the hope and the horror of space travel. Sometimes (and tellingly) referred to as space colonization.

The hope is that one day we can get off this dust ball and in doing so leave the assholes behind to rant and bitch at each other and eventually blow themselves to hell and gone.

The horror is that we eventually get off the rock and take all the same shit to the stars, fucking up the universe the same way we fuck up everything else.

The rights and wrongs of all this business aside, the thing that most strikes me about it all is how tiresome it all is. The endless nattering about who did what to whom and how to deal with it and who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t and what we should and shouldn’t do and today we like the U.S. president and tomorrow we think he’s a screw-up and the day after that … It’s like an episode of some annoying TV show, a single episode, being rerun over and over endlessly. Are we talking about Reagan or Carter or Bush … and which Bush? And the names we can’t pronounce from lands whose names have never made it to prime time TV before …

We think progress is the advance of technology but good God! The middle-east has been going on FOREVER! Can anyone, anywhere remember a time when the middle-east wasn’t a principle news story? This is not progress. This is a car with a wheel in a rut spinning mindlessly, unendingly, and never going anywhere.

Good guys and bad guys – who’s who? Dunno – check the calendar and see what day of the week it is. Call Madge down the block – “Hey Madge! Who we liking this week?”

Last night, I turn on the TV and see the World Economic Forum, one of those asinine economic summits or whatever the hell they are. And the lead characters in the story? Serious suits with a variety of degrees by their names, political appointees with the charisma of dried mud and … Bill Gates. And Bono.

Bill Gates? BONO?!!! Argentina – your problems are solved! We’ve put U2 on it!

Afghanistan – we’ve put Microsoft in charge of the rebuild! Soon you’ll be able to effectively farm that massive abandoned parking lot with the aid of wizards and pop-up windows! Just be sure you download the right character set.

The entire world is locked into a dick measuring contest. Who has the biggest pecker? And don’t think if you’ve got the biggest, you’ve won anything. It’s like those lines in Revelation about Death on a pale horse. The guy with the small dick is going to have serious issues, and he’ll be ready to take on anyone. Hell follows the guy with the teensy pee-pee.

Now that’s a rambling rant if ever there was one.

February 2, 2002

According to the David Fincher site there will be a Criterion Collection 2 disc release of Fincher's The Game in April. On the other hand, a quick search of the Criterion site revealed nothing. We can hope though.

(The Game is, for me, the most interesting Fincher film, though I'm largely alone on this. And, in the game, Fincher's interest in fathers and sons is a primary theme.)
Good heavens! Even Dot Tots, people only hours old, have and maintain blogs better than I do. I am so deflated. Bested by an infant.
So what do we know? We know that the clown writing this blog can't keep it up (the blog entries, that is). Where do these other people find the time for all the writing and all the links they add? Buggered if I know.

I was out for dinner last night with some friends and we discussed this with serious, furrowed brows. No answers though. We just can't figure out where these people find the time. Also puzzling ... The only time I seem to update this thing is on the weekend, when I do seem to have a few minutes. But weekends seem to be when every other blog shuts down. What's the story? Either I have no life or the other bloggers only have one on weekends. Maybe both?

If I'm not mistaken, the Super Bowel is tomorrow. New England and St. Louis. Patriots and the Rams. Everyone anticipates a traditional Superbowl Blow-out. This increases the pressure on advertisers to spend gazillions hiring rock video directors, this week's top celebrities, and CGI wizards to create 30 second spectales that persuade us to increase our beer and runners consumption. I've been saving up for three months for this sudden urge to purchase, so I'm ready. Hope U2 is too. Rah rah! Go Mariah go! Gurgle .... more beer please ...

I'm considering a new name for this blog. Proposed title: Chilblains and Chips. I've kicked the idea upstairs to the executives and expect a decision any day now. I'll keep you posted.


January 29, 2002

January 21, 2002

Good heavens! A letter! (well, an e-mail) ...

Dear Goatboy,

Where have all our utopian dreams of yesteryear gone?

Halifax, NS

Oh Mudgy ... What a question. But easily, if sadly, answered. Unsustainable business model.

January 20, 2002

Oh geez ... Tim Cavanaugh doesn't like blogs. I think. It's kind of hard to say. I didn't really find his point till about 3/4 of the way through his article about war blogs. He had to list about a gazillion links first (each with an appropriately witty remark preceding it).

Blah blah blah ... I guess he had a word limit to make. But when he actually gets to where he's going, it's a legitimate observation - bloggers don't have an, "...our man in Afghanistan." To a large extent, they require the mainstream media for information. But if he actually read some of the blogs, he'd see this is not the point. The purpose is comment and critique on the information available, and how the information is presented. I don't think anyone is pretending to report the news - just reflect on it.

His column also illustrates the biggest weakness of many (if not most) blogs, although he doesn't pick up on it. It's the same weakness traditional media has with its commentary, discussions and so on. It's the absence of genuine debate (or dialogue, if you prefer). While points made are often good, they tend to be buried beneath mounds of name-calling and elaborate efforts to be witty. Umm ... kind of like Cavanaugh's blast at war blogs. Will any of these people (say, Andrew Sullivan?) ever change Noam Chomsky's opinions? No. Will he ever change any of their's? No. This is largely because they never talk to each other, and their heels are so dug in when it comes to a position. Each talks to him or herself, and to those who already agree with their opinions.

This "preaching to the choir" is not the province of blogs. It's the characteristic of human beings in an age where everyone talks and no one listens.

January 14, 2002

Last night, the People's Choice Awards. Yes, I watched some of it. I saw where the favourite movie of the year was between Shrek, The Fast and The Furious, and some other movie ... Pearl Harbor, I think.

OK. So ... The Fast and The Furious? Apparently the People Choice awards are geared largely to the trailer park crowd.

Shrek won, and I don't have a problem with that. But really, this show should be called The Awards Show We Have To Go To For Fear Of Alienating Audiences Even Though It's An Embarrassing Joke Awards. Tom Hanks looked utterly bewildered. "Wasn't Cast Away last year's movie?" he seemed to want to say.

These awards are largely based on who's been on "E!" in the last week have no apparent relationship to merit. What a dumb show. I feel bad for the clowns that have to go to it for fear of killing their chances in other award shows or pissing off the bonehead market. Sheesh!

January 13, 2002

If I do this correctly, you'll see me sporting the bewildered blockhead look to the left of this text. This is me encountering morning at far too early time of day. Dawn is always a startling and unwelcome experience, hence the expression.

Well! Apparently I didn't do this correctly! So it's an appropriate expression - though you can't see it.

For those who care, this disagreeable indecision of the weather has finally abated. It has made its choice and winds have shifted from a south-westerly, Pacific tinctured breeze to a chilly, northern hack and wheeze. The temperature descends. Oddly, I feel better the less pleasant it gets outside.

The human body is a confused organism. Toodles!
Here's the thing about these blogs ... You come across the oddest things. For example, I was directed by one site to Farting Dog Harmonics. Pretty mindless stuff. But think: someone took the time to put it together.

Bored world, I suppose.

January 12, 2002

Let me be brief and trivial ... I’m listening to a radio station from Spokane and they just played that Bryan Adams song, “Everything I Do,” or whatever it’s called. He simply HAS TO redo the vocals.

Every time I hear this song I want to tear my hair out, at least when he sings the hook, “Everything I do, I do it for you.” Why does he insist on putting the word “it” in there?

It throws off the rhythm of the line. It doesn't scan properly. And I’m pretty sure there’s some grammatical bungling happening there: the word "everything" suggests a collective, more than one, something plural. The word “it” is singular. One thing.

Either way, in my head I always correct it. I hear “Everything I do, I do for you.” But then in the background I hear this clunker beat, the “it,” screwing up the line.

Please, please, please … re-record the vocals! Drop the “it!” I can’t freakin’ stand it! It drives me buggy! (No pun intended.)

There. I’ve vented and feel immeasurably better for it. Please continue with your day. Toodles!
Burble is a preferable word to, say, babble or blather, prate or gush. I can’t imagine calling this “The Gush.” I can’t hear myself telling someone to go online to read my gushes.

Of course, I can’t imagine telling someone to go online to read my burbles either. But I have less difficulty with it than with gushes.

Actually, the only real problem I have with “Burble” is the moistness. Yes, it’s a wet sounding word to me. It conjures an image of a slow-motion moving mouth making soft, droning sounds as lips softly smack and spittle dribbles slowly from the corners – the right corner more so than the left.

Like a bus stop on a rainy day, it may be best to stand back a few feet when you read these burbles.

January 11, 2002

Okay, so there’s a serious issue with the title. I may have mentioned this before. This is clearly NOT a “Daily” rant and, let’s be honest, it’s only seldom anything resembling a “rant.”

It desperately needs a new name. I’m giving some thoughts to “The Burble,” but I really don’t know what that means. Hang on … let me grab my Canadian Oxford dictionary …

Yes, I think this is it. The name it originally had … The Burble – burble as a noun.

“ … 1) a murmuring noise. 2) rambling speech.”

Yes, yes. And you may call me The Burbler, if you so choose.

So why have I not been keeping this a daily sort of thing? Well, I keep spending too much of my online time visiting other people’s burbles. My favourite remains, Lileks. Cool site, and (unlike your host here) has The Bleat, which is new everyday, Monday through Friday. Where’s that guy find the time to do all the things he does? Baffles me.

And here’s an intriguing concept: what if he isn’t real? What if everything he writes about his child and dog, Minnesota, and everything … is entirely made up! What if he’s really a guy in a basement in Chicago spinning stories, whatever pops into his head, but doing it so well it’s utterly convincing?

Well, maybe not. But I find the idea intriguing.

Sadly, after writing the above I went off on an unanticpated tanget about Star Trek. But my laptop crapped out and it was lost. All for the best, I suppose.

For now, toodles!

January 3, 2002

Good weather today. Winds from the south-west, meaning Pacific air finding it’s way all the way up here (a long haul). Temperatures rose; ice did a Wicked Witch of the West thing, melting like a crone with a good dose of water.

Unfortunately, despite the pleasantness of the air, the winds are like Tramontanas. They make you bitchy; they make the bones and muscles ache; they make sleeping an off and on affair. At least for me. Like what Melville said at the start of Moby Dick about wanting to knock people’s blocks off. The world frowns on that though …

Today was a long, fruitless and grumpy traverse to its end. I accomplished next to nothing, starting a million things, finishing nothing. And bitchy? Everything annoyed me. I hate days like these.

The upside, I suppose, is tomorrow should be an improvement and it’s Friday. Everybody say, “Yay!” Thank you.

Weird, truncated week. No one’s yet into the, “Christ, I gotta work for a living …” panic mode normally associated with a working week. And this is good, though it makes the thinking person worry for what’s coming up next week. You know, the anal-retentives and business boys and girls back and energy charged as they bellow, “Build that bottom line! Extend those revenue streams! Grow that market share!”

Gad! Where do they find these people?

Hmm … I’m sounding far too glum. Must put a wrap on this. So …


January 1, 2002

Alarming. That's all I can say about it. Alarming! I refer to the Daily Rant as viewed through Netscape.

What's the story there? All the text is in bold! How'd that happen, huh? Geez ... The only reason I know is because I viewed the page from work using Netscape. I nearly crapped my pants. So ... please don't view the Daily Rant using Netscape. Use IE. (I can't believe I'm asking people to use a Microsoft product ...)