Archive for April, 2006

Somehow I blinked and missed April. I mean, wasn’t it March like three days ago? Stupid Einstein and his ‘relativity of time’ keeps screwing me up, especially with the changing of the seasons. Oh well, this is the mess we find ourselves in, so it’s on to bigger and better things. Case in point…

Warm weather and sun tends to darken our skin. It’s a natural phenomenon that we can’t really avoid, and most people don’t want to. All of this leads me to a difficult decision that I must make very soon. It’s about my beard. I’ve got a pretty healthy one going now (As you can see in this recent photo), and I have to decide if it’s going to be too warm and annoying in the summer months. If I wait until too late, or decide later in the summer that I don’t want it, I’ll have a weird half-face tanline with a pale lower jaw and a nicely bronzed forehead and cheeks.

So, the question I put before you, my loyal (0r even occasional) readers is… for the summer of 2006, beard or no-beard?

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I’ve got meetings most of today, so here’s a quick update…

1. Silent Talkie’s 10 issue pilot is over and there’s going to be a short hiatus for “re-tooling” and such. We’re still taking submissions, so send in your stuff and we’ll have a nice big re-opening.

2. The Tim Hortons near my work seems to have an unending supply of Roll Up the Rim cups. Awesome.

Sorry, that’s it for now.

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A lot has happened in the last twenty years, and although it pains me to say it… I know that the past twenty years have been in my living memory, and I can mark that for a fact specifically today, because today marks the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in the Ukraine.

I remember learning about nuclear disasters long before I should have (at 10 years old) and the fear all us kids had in Pickering, living within sight of a VERY large nuclear plant. Of course, representatives from what was then Ontario Hydro worked overtime to remind us all of the differences between Soviet reactors and our CANDU reactors. Ours were designed with safety in mind, and nothing could ever go wrong. Still, we were skeptical (and by the conditions at Pickering, we had cause to be) and the fear continued.

I remember looking at maps of Europe showing how clouds of radiation were moving. I remember hearing on the radio that some vegetables would hold the radiation lingering in the air longer than others and that some foods would be unedible for years, I remember watching a piece on CBC news about Nuclear Winter (and thinking it didn’t sound half bad), and I remember the photos of children and animals that began trickling out of the Soviet Union in the months and years after the disaster. It’s the photos that haunt me most.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but like most great things, it also comes with a burden of responsibility and a diligence that cannot waver. A decision made 20 years ago will continue to adversely affect all of us and our environment for years to come, and at the time, I’m sure it felt like a simple decision.

Just remember, all of this is happening in our world.

Chernobyl monument

A monument to the victims of the Chernobyl disaster at Mitino Cemetery in Moscow. Photo by Mikhail Estafiev.

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I think the greatest amount of traffic that comes here is from my post listing all the McDonald’s McDeals and what day each of them is available. Yeah… that’s what I’m famous for. Awesome. Anyways, apparently as of yesterday (April 24th, 2006 according to my calendar) the McDeal is McGone. I’ll give you a moment to grieve.

Instead, now there’s a whole list of things that each cost $1.39 plus tax. Those things are…

  • Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Junior Chicken
  • Double Cheeseburger
  • Small Fries
  • Small Soft Drink
  • Sundae (where available)
  • 2 Baked Apple Pies
  • Small Coffee & Muffin (where available)
  • Sausage McMuffin (only available during breakfast hours)

For fans of the combos, there is some sort of good news… three combos are $3.99 every day. Those combos are…

  • Bacon Cheeseburger
  • Junior Chicken
  • Double Cheeseburger

The combos still include a medium fries and a medium soft drink.

There. Now you know everything I know (from a flyer I got in a free commuter newspaper). Apparently it’s been like this in Winnipeg since at least this past summer, but when was the last time anyone cared about them? I keed, I keed. It seems that with its diverse population and isolation from the rest of the world, Winnipeg is a popular spot for companies to test market new products. McDonald’s frequently tries out new ideas and marketing schemes there first. So as long as it stays afloat, Winnipeg will remain our window to the future. (apparently the future is flat and covered in wheat)

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Sorry to all of you out there who were trying for hours and hours to get in here to read about my weekend (I’m sure there were at least two of you), but my web host was having some problems throughout the day yesterday. That meant I had sporadic email too, in case you sent me an email and are getting angrier every second I don’t respond. Or maybe I just trumped all this up so I wouldn’t have to respond to your email… but I guess we’ll never know, ’cause I ain’t telling.

So much has happened since we spoke last, that I don’t even know where to begin. Ah yes, the shoes.

My favouritest shoes in the whole wide world are nearly kaput. After a year and a half (a long life for shoes, regardless of the fact that I’m harder on shoes than all of you combined), my cool brown shoes needed to be replaced. Impressed by their longevity, I opted to replace them with the same brand… Caterpillar. Yes, the same company that makes bulldozers and workboots.

When all was said and done, I had my choices down to two shoes… one was the Tox and the other, the Nexus. (Yes, I research most of purchases online. Shut up.) It turns out that Tox are designed for men whose feet are 3/8 of an inch wide, which my fat, flat monsters are not. So Nexus it was.

After dropping a significant amount of cash, I discovered a serious design flaw in these shoes… the back of the heelplate curves back in sharply and rubs against your achilles tendon with a VERY rigid and rather sharp edge. Awesome. So after 12 hours, my tendons are swollen, bloody and sore. I’m going to give it a few days and then send a nasty letter to the fine folks at Caterpillar. Hopefully they won’t retaliate to this by bulldozing my house down.

Oh, and I still forgot to fix our thermostat. Another chilly night followed up with a freezing shower.

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I’m a little zonked after a particularly bad night’s sleep (more on that towards the end of the post), so things feel all out of order. I’ll try my best to make this post linear though. Did I mention that I’d try my best to keep this post linear? Okay, good.

Friday: A bunch of us Grace folks went up to Yonge and Eglinton to check out our new diggs (which are top drawer), and followed that up with a trip to the patio at The Black Bull on Queen West. Some pints were consumed, some pipes were smoked, and Brad was shipped off to another MBA school term at Mac in fine fashion. When the rain started to come down, we headed further west for coffee, dessert, and aperatif in the upstairs lounge at Epicure, and we all parted ways from there. I’ve got some great photos of the ‘group’ that will go online very shortly… I promise. No, really… I mean it this time.

Saturday: Our house was bloody freezing all freaking day! That kept me in bed until after noon, and I took it easy for the afternoon before rushing off to a stellar cocktail party chez Ted and Jeannie. Oh man, the food was awesome and it was great to chill out with some new friends, but my visit was brief as I rushed off to meet Shari-Anne, Elly, Paul, Braden, and Shauna for a ‘show’. Somehow we were under the impression that it was a concert at a small venue, but it ended up being a sound sculpture installation. A very LOUD sound sculpture installation. We found out later that the artist was a little upset that his subwoofer had conked out, which explains why the high end was screaming with no low end, and I can only assume that he turned up the main volume to try to compensate. It was easily the loudest thing I’ve ever heard. Still, the video component was interesting. If the same guy puts on another show, I’ll likely go, but I’ll know to bring earplugs.

Sunday: More sleeping in followed by a hearty homemade breakfast and a very damp trip to Yonge and Eg for our first service in our new space up there. It was awesome… except for sitting on stage with a laptop running PowerPoint. There’s nothing geekier than sitting next to another guitarist, but instead of playing guitar, you’re playing ‘keys’. Uh, terrible pun. Just wretched.

When we got home, Jared and I ordered Swiss Chalet (it had been a long time for me) and ate it while shivering under blankets in our frigid living room. Seriously. Cold. Like we’ve been doing for months now, we kept reminding each other that a frigid living room will be awesome in about two months. That’s a small consolation.

Monday (that’s today): After a long night spent shivering under one sheet, one large duvet, and TWO handmade quilts of the highest quality, I decided that I should take a quick gander at our thermostat. Either through what I like to call an ‘act of roommate’, or simply by some fluke, our thermostat appears to have reset. You see, we have a programmable thermostat which we can set to turn the heat/AC up or down at specific times on weekdays and weekends. We had it programmed to be just right, but when it reset, it automatically set everything for 16 degrees. That wouldn’t be too bad, but our thermostat happens to be in one of the warmer places in the house. So when the thermostat drops to 16 degrees, that means it’s like 12 (or lower) in our living room. For example, this morning when I left the house, it was warmer on our front lawn than in our front hall. Awesome. I know what I’m doing when I get home!

Oh, and shout-outs to the crackhead who played the drums on our iron fence at 3:15 this morning. What you lack in rhythm and talent you more than make up for in zeal and intensity. Rock over London, Rock on Chicago!

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Let me begin today’s post with a list of things I’ve learned this week; for your enlightenment and entertainment.

1. Finding a used condom on your front lawn is NOT unusual in our neighbourhood.
Apparently it’s a common occurence. Yikes. That makes for quite the display in front of our home… we have a beautiful daffodil patch in full-bloom, and right next to it? Yes, a used condom.

2. Old kitchen scissors that no longer cut well can still serve a purpose… pruning tree branches.
We have a fir tree that hangs over our driveway right up to Jared’s car. Because it cuts off the path to our door, we tend to cut across our lawn and we’re beating a path in it. So I trimmed the branches with scissors last night, and despite what both Jared I thought would happen, they worked great. Now that I know that, I’ll use them to trim our bushes and to dig a hole in our front garden for neighbours and passers-by to deposit their used condoms in.

3. When Mango Chutney gets on something, it stays there.
Shari graciously supplied some tasty Mango Chutney to garnish our Easter meal, and I’m starting to find dollops of it around the main floor of the house… on the floor, on our tables… It doesn’t like to come off. For some reason, that surprised me.

4. It’s Census season!
This week’s paystub included a little flyer from Statistics Canada reminding me that May 16 is Census day. Kudos to StatsCan for having a clever slogan for the Census. “Count yourself in”. Clever.

5. When in doubt for a blog post, go with a numbered list.
You don’t have to think as hard, and you can write in fits and spurts while doing other stuff… like work.

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Well, Silent Talkie: Issue 11 has been postponed until the weekend… at least. Mostly due to content problems… a lack of it. I place the blame squarely on YOU, the reader. You’re all out there… don’t think I can’t see you lurking behind your monitors, reading for free… taking without giving. It’s people like you that messed up FTP ratio sites (WAAAAAAAAAAAY back in tha day) by uploading the same stupid songs from your friend’s band. Wait, that was me. Then you’re the ones who downloaded songs from Napster (also back in the day) and then moved them to a different directory so they wouldn’t be shared. Wait, that was me too. Er… uh…

Fine. Mistakes were made, but let’s not play the blame game… while I’m in the midst of blaming you. I’m repenting for my latter-day sins by giving back to the world with poorly crafted stories of little artistic value that I slap together in 15 minutes the night before deadline. You’re welcome.

Let’s make a deal. You start submitting articles (or even ideas for articles) and I’ll start writing better stuff. Is it a deal? If you don’t feel comfortable with your writing skills, fire me off something and I’ll politely and caringly edit it for you… I know it’s your first time, so I’ll be gentle. Er. Um. Seriously though, we’ll be kind. Also, you can write under a pseudonym. My real name is actually Horst Leinlinger, but that doesn’t look as good on paper.

So, in summary… you suck, I suck, submit to Silent Talkie and we’ll both rule again. Good chat. Now let’s get out there, and I want to see some hustle!

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