Friday, July 30, 2010


There are some Blogs that talk about food. Some devote a day a week about an interesting thing they conjure-up, some post their week's meal plan, and some just sporadicly put up recipes when they come across them.

I've only done one food post (that I recall) about Andrea's Birthday dinner. There's a reason I don't talk about it a lot. While I was fortunate to marry a fabulous cook, that usually covers only one meal a day. While I'm at work, I usually live out of the vending machines. A little embarrassing, but there it is.

That changed this week. Have you ever heard of the cabbage soup diet? It's kinda like a week-long detoxing program. Along with this really awful cabbage & tomato soup (that we're not bothering with this time), you have:

Day 1: Fruits
Day 2 : Vegetables
Day 3: Fruits and Vegetables
Day 4: Bananas & Milk
Day 5: Beef & Tomatoes
Day 6: Beef & Vegetables
Day 7: Brown Rice, Vegetables & unsweetened fruit juice.

On Day 4, I loved the milk, since it's the closest thing to a carb I've had in days (on telling my wife this, I was informed that root veggies are also carbs, but I had the association of breads, and all that rich, heavy loveliness that I thrive on). I weighed myself yesterday morning and found that I'd lost 8 pounds (for the first time in too many years, I'm under 200 lbs). Now, I'm a little more tolerant of the deprivations!

Yesterday was the worst; my sugar-withdrawals had peaked! I was crabby as hell all day (and customers were crabby too, which led to a minor altrication. By the time it got to a supervisor, it got blown way out of proportion, and I got as talking-to.) I guess that there was plenty of toxicity to be purged from my system, eh?

Now, we're on beef day, and we'll be grilling steaks before noon – Heavenly! We're also trading tomatoes for grapefruit, since the acidity is about the same.

So here's hoping we make it before losing our discipline, or our minds. Oddly, I was something of a ditz yesterday; I had a hard time finding the words I wanted, with a whole lot of “ know, that thing...” Yeah, I was a barrel of laughs, and insightful...

Naturally, every food commercial I see makes me want to run to a supermarket or drive-through, but so far, I'm pretty pleased with the results, so hopefully, I can stick to a healthier diet. There will be more lee-way than I'm currently allowing, but not the over-indulgence I usually do. I'll have to adopt the Parent's Mantra here: “We'll see...”

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back At It.

Yesterday was a triumph. After about seven months of dormancy, I've dusted-off my Work in Progress (clever title, I know. Is it any wonder I fancy myself a wordsmith?) and did about 620 words. Last week, I had a 600+ word day and a more lax 340 word day. To the more experienced writers who read here, it may like small numbers, but I'm just tickled pink to be back at it.

I need to thank the Blogging community for this. I briefly mentioned my WiP awhile ago, and a few of you seemed interested, so I thought, “Time to get off my duff with this thing!” Another motivator is NaNoWriMo; I only heard of it last year, and I wasn't up to it, not by a long shot. So now I'm trying to get my daily output up, 'cause I think it needs to be about 1600 words a day for NaNo. (My Soundtrack post was over 900, so I'm optimistic.) My short term goal is to get to 1000/day by Sept.

So far, I've had a bit of a handicap (besides a full-time job). For those who haven't written fiction, there's two main strategies. Outlining, where you map out your story, then then go from that direction and flesh it out. Then there's discovery writers, who start with an element (character, scene, conflict, etc), then sit, type, and see where they wind up.

I've tried outlining this story, but somehow, my brain won't work it out. So I sit and type and see where it takes me. It's kinda like walking at night with a flashlight, I only see a few feet ahead, and figure it out as I get to it. So as I truck-along, I'm not only progressing the story and choosing my words, I'm discovering characters, naming them, and figuring out their role, taking up valuable writing time!

I figure that this way, I'll have a LOT of editing to do; this bad boy will need to be tightened right the hell up, because much of what I'm churning out won't serve the story, except in my own comprehension of it.

It would help mightily if I could do all of this in my head, and just spend my writing time producing something that's closer to a finished product. When I put the process down like this, it makes it look like I should try harder to outline. But I've heard that Steven King is a discovery writer, and Dan Brown said that he writes ten pages for every one he keeps. Maybe there's something to it.

What say you? How do you crank out your work?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This “Soundtrack” thread has been a difficult one to ponder, and I'm still not sure I've got it down.

To this day, I hate ti music that my mom introduced me to: 70's country. Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn, and the like. All the whine, and none of the rhythm. Then my step-dad introduced some more “B-Side” type music into the home, Cat Stevens, Captain & Tennille (sp?) and Rough Trade. The latter left a huge impression with “High School Confidential.” The pulsing beat and innuendo grabbed me as much as it confused me – the cover of the album had a woman, but the sultry purr seemed too deep. And just how was she “cream(ing) her jeans”? I pictured her in the bathroom with a tub full of dairy, doing something to her pants that looked like a cross between hand-washing and a tantrum (I was 8 at the time).

My first real “Soundtrack” choice would be “Synchronicity 2” by The Police. Rock video's were just becoming popular, and MTV (and it's Canadian cousin, MuchMusic) were just about to be born, and we just had the Friday night video show. As our parents were entertaining, my sister & I would eat in the living room, and enjoy this video, along with Duran Duran's “Wild Boys,” Pat Benetar's “Love is a Battle Field” (“how angry could they be if they're ending in a dance sequence?”)

To sum-up my later elementary school years, I've chosen “Christopher Tracey's Parade” from Prince's Parade album (which featured “Kiss”). It escaped the attention of the masses, and did what it wanted because it wanted to, while wondering why no one else “got it.” 'Nuff said.

For the first half of High School, Aerosmith's “Young Lust” seems to fit. Up-beat and blusey, talking a lot about wanting it, and not saying much about getting it. About sums up most of our High School experiences, don't it?

Then, for my second half of High School, I got religious. I'd found and accepting community that didn't focus on the “it” I wasn't getting anyway. Plus, I was always spiritually inclined, and a white guy in the Western world, ergo, I must be a Christian, right? RIGHT?! A suiting song (which finally just occurred to me, and I need to find the cassette to credit it properly) would be “My Jesus Is All,” by The Resurrection Band (or just plain “Rez”) with Grace and Glory from their live album...well, I can't find my cassettes just now, but it's a good song!

Then I went to Bible College in BC. The title track of Undercover's “Devotion” album (listed on my Dessert Island 15) would be played here. It's largely about frustration with the community:

“I just came here to find my way,
To find a way to find my way.
All you do is talk about people...
All I know is there's no answers here.”

Then resolves back to the point,

“Raise your hands it's time to fly higher,
Raise your hands, it's time to fly.”

After this, I started playing in a band with my best friend. I think that The Beatles “Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band” would go nicely here, and it reflects our shining optimism here. After a few years, it ended and he got married (play Pearl Jam's “Black”) and I found a home in another, much heavier band. I felt like we were five faces of the same persona, and it was the happiest I'd been in a long time, so I'll play Korn's “Got The Life” at this point. Then, like most bands (I'd say “All bands,” but I think all-inclusive statements are inherently false), it went to shit.

During this time, I got into a very unhealthy relationship, where she would try to make me feel worthless so I'd think I couldn't do better; how cliché is that? Enter Audioslave's Cochise:
Well I've been watchin' while you've been coughin'
I've been drinking life while you've been nauseous.
Go on and save yourself
Take it out on me.
Then, I finally came to my senses and moved out. From the same album, “What you are”
And when you wanted blood I cut my veins.
And when you wanted love, I bled myself again.
And here I go, far away, I know you, you'll find another slave.

Twelve years after I left, I returned to Ontario. I figured that my small town was lucky to have me, and I'd learn them a thing or two about urban sophistication. I found my home town had grown up, and I had some of that still to do myself. “Back to School” by The Deftones would suit this phase.

Then, seven months later, I met the woman who would become my wife. I'll go back to Aerosmith with “Deuces are wild.”

“I love to look into your deep (blue) eyes,
They talk to me and seem to hypnotize,
They say the things nobody dares to say,
And I'm not about to let you fly away.
My lover with no jet lag
Stayin' up all night in the sleepin' bag
got a heartbeat rhythm with the subterrain
I get stoned on you girl, there's no need to explain."

Then, four years later, Calli was born. Creed's “Arms Wide Open” says it all nicely, about how I want to teach her to embrace the world for what it is, and enjoy all there is to love about it.

And there you have it, the songs that illustrate my life. I'll probably think of more appropriate songs as soon as I post this, though :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Vacation Pictures.

Here, at long last, are some pictures from our vacation. In the New Post window, they're coming up as a lot of text, so I can't comment on them individually. As my long-term followers know, I'm not very practiced at putting up pics, so please bear with me in this weakness. Seriously, it's like the Matrix, where I'm expected to see images in the computer's language.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

They Were Here Just A Minute Ago...

Firstly, I have an apology to make. I totally forgot to mention the Podcast of fellow Blogger extrodenaire, Adam at Throwing Quarters. It's been awhile since I've heard a new one, but the beauty of the Podcast is that all of the previous episodes are available, so you can go back and enjoy them all.

A couple of weeks ago, the lovely & talented Jessica Bell of The Alliterative Allomorph wrote about losing followers. She wasn't sure why, and seemed to be feeling a little stung.

About three weeks ago, this happened to me too. Suddenly. I looked, and I was down by 2 followers, and I wasn't sure why. I don't think I had posted anything particularly offensive. I'm wondering if Blogger does occasional housekeeping and closes inactive accounts. I tried checking the Followers page, and I didn't see any way to see who had canceled their subscription, and I didn't recognize any absences. Oddly, I've gained about 6 new Followers since then, so it's nice that I'm still going onward and upward. But still...(Does anyone else find it a little awkward to refer to “Their Followers”? It sounds a little culty to me.)

As for myself, I haven't ever un-Followed someone. There's only one I no longer visit (on purpose), someone who mostly posts his own graphic designs (not you Matt), but never followed me back, or responded to my comments. Not that I automatically neglect those who don't comment or respond – one of my faves Followed me back, but rarely comments. That's cool, people are busy and when you re-follow everyone who signs up, it can get pretty busy in the ol' Google Reader. The issue I took with the first one is that I was one of his first Followers (on the recommendation of a Blogger friend of his), and he seems to be using his Blog as a resume. That, I believe, is a fabulous use of the Blogosphere, but since I'm not in his market, I'll spend my (precious little) computer time on the Blogs I resonate with, and especially with those who are more into the community of it. My pen-palls with less waiting!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Need A Fix...

There are two pretty serious addictions that I'm enjoying right now. One should run it's course pretty soon, and the other is ongoing.

While on vacation, our gracious hosts introduced us to the HBO show, True Blood.
We're almost through the first season (12 episodes), and it's like candy. The premise is set two years after vampires have revealed themselves to the public due to a synthetic blood that allows them to sustain themselves without being a threat to the population. The show is set in a small town in Louisiana, where they're encountering their first vampires. While there's plenty of fear, the protagonist (and her grandmother) are pretty liberal, as though they've learned everything they need to know about vampires from Oprah. It's a very adult show, with all the swearing and sex that entails. It seems that they're trying really hard to prove that they aren't re-packaging Twilight. I don't mind it, but some friends found it a little excessive. What I'm enjoying is the Southern Gothic flavour (Up yours, Spell Check, I'm keeping the 'u' in “Flavour”). If you'd asked me a week ago just what “Southern Gothic” was, I'd say that I'd heard of it, and that would be the end of my contribution. Now, I know what it looks like, and I must say, I'm finding Southern Gothic to be mighty tasty!

My other indulgence goes back about a year, and I can't believe there aren't more people into it. A couple months after I got my Ipod, I discovered Podcasts, and since they're all free (and we all know how that F-word will get attention:) ), I was free to experiment. For the uninitiated, it's like getting 15-90 minutes of talk radio on any subject you could imagine, and they release regular shows. (there are video Podcasts, but I'm not as familiar with those). Seriously, have you heard of “Thelema”? It's a Kaballa/Yoga-based belief system that maybe 1/10,000 people have heard of, and I've found 3-5 Podcasts about it. There are some good writing Podcasts too, my favorites being “I Should Be Writing” and “Writing Excuses.”
I lot of radio shows have podcasts, as do some magazines, such as the “New Yorker Short Fiction” Podcast. Another one I like is the “APM Dinner Party Download” for general conversation topics for – you guessed it – your next dinner party. `

Does anyone have any Podcasts that they like? Like I said, it's an addiction, and if you have a suggestion for my next fix, I'd be much obliged.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Happy Aniversary Vacation!

Thank you all for the well-wishes! Our time away was great. We got to stay in their only cabin (which I helped put the floor into last May) at Little Banff, which was handy since setting-up Camp Calli takes a lot of room. She even got her own room, which was helpful since we didn't want to go to bed at 7:30 when she did. We were also close to the lake, which was convenient on this super-hot week. It's been in the high-20's, which in Fahrenheit translates as DAMN HOT! I broke into a sweat changing her diaper. We got to enjoy several family soaks in the lake, with Calli enjoying her inner-tube with the mesh seat & hood for the sun. Being at the water front had another advantage; we caught a lot of wind through the cabin (see: Damn Hot!). I'll have pictures soon, but the camera was borrowed, so I'm just waiting on the email.

One of the owners has finally taken my advice (non-subtle prodding) and began writing a biography. She's led an interesting life, and has a talent for it. Just reading her emails, it's plain that she has a talent for it. When we were there, she was inspired to write about us. I leaned over and said “...handsome...clever...” I'm sure that is how I was portrayed. When it's due for release, I'll be sure to keep ya'll posted.

Even though we had all of our regular Calli-sustenance duties, it was a relaxing time. We went up after work on Sunday, got there about 6:30, and stayed until Wednesday afternoon. We would have stayed longer, but we had dinner reservations at Oscar's, an upscale restaurant in town, to celebrate our 3rd aniversary. I'm tempted to get all 'Foodie' on you, so I'll restrain myself to telling you about desert: Rhubarb & Rosemary Creme Brule. The Rosemary part intrigued us, and to be honest, it was great! Who's have thought, eh? They gambled, and they surely landed on their feet with that one!

I've still got a few days off, so it'll be a lot of relaxing, and a couple engagements. Hopefully, more relaxing than anything. And writing. Now that I've mentioned a work-in-progress, I feel more accountable to pick up that torch!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vacation! Huzzah! (that's Hebrew for 'Hurrah!')

I'm going to be gone for a few days; at 4:30 today, I'm starting vacation, and we're going to our friend's RV park. They always spoil us with a great trailer for our anniversary get-away, and fortunately, they were spared last week's tornado, though they were only about 20 kms (15 miles?) away.

Now, if I was one of those super-duper daily Bloggers, capable of bending the laws of time and space to get daily posts up, my absence would be more obvious. But I only got one post up last week, so I thought I'd drop ya'll a quick note to let you know my most recent excuse for being away. It will be more obvious in your Comment spaces, where I make an effort to let you know that I've been by with whatever poignancy I can offer with the one hand I'm not feeding the baby with.

Wish us luck with keeping some semblance of routine with Callie in a strange environment. See you real soon, and to our Southern neighbors, Happy July 4th. (You may have noticed that I didn't have a Grand Canada Day Extravaganza. It's not that I don't love my country, but I just got absorbed with my little suburban corner of the world.)

Friday, July 2, 2010


Damn, it's been crazy. I've barely had any time to myself to write, or anything. Two of my last four days off have been visiting family – always a good time, but being an introvert, it's not re-charging time. Yesterday was a total housework day, and we both worked like we expected the Queen to visit. Fortunately, Calli was in good spirits, so we could do what needed to be done. Then we had the oh-so-clever idea to reward ourselves with a bottle of wine on the patio. With a mix of fatigue and pollution, we weren't too productive today ;)

Calli got us all excited with her standing a couple weeks ago, but now she hardly does it! It's a little disappointing, but I know that once she's walking, there'll be no keeping up with her, so I'm just relishing it while it's relatively easy. When I was talking to my dad about it, he broached the topic of the leash. It seemed that he was trying to be delicate, expecting us to be 'Liberal' and free-range with our parenting. Andrea and I both have a healthy dose of Hippie, and believe she should be free to discover on her own. We also believe that she'll discover more if she doesn't get lost or hit by a car. We're all about the leash.

I was thinking of this when I saw a mother in a store tell her child to hold onto the buggy. I'm pretty confident that even the best-behaved child can get distracted and wander off, so perhaps some handcuffs would be in order. Of course, steel cuffs would be just cruel, we'd need the furry ones.

You may have heard that last week, southern Ontario, and the states in the Great Lake region got a natural hammering. First, there was an earth quake – the first I've heard of in this region. Then that night, tornadoes touched down. Midland, where my parents and sister work lost a car dealership, a factory, and – wait for it – a mobile home park. Really, I didn't just make that up. I'm really glad that we didn't just legalize gay marriage, of pot, or else we'd be hearing from Fundamentalists about how we were being punished, or warned. So, what were we being warned about? Well, it was days before the G8 & G20 Conferences. Then, at the end of the Conferences, Toronto experienced some flooding! They said it was from the rain, but I think it was from fire-hosing so many protesters!