Friday, April 30, 2010

Zen, Baby

As I'm sure you've noticed, one of the things I really enjoy studying is belief systems. I got well-educated in Christianity as a youth, and later, went on to study Eastern beliefs. One of my favorite's is Zen.

Buddhism actually began in India, but didn't get much traction there. When it reached China, it was similar enough to Taoism (from which we get the Yin-Yang) that it really took hold, and traveled further East to Japan, where it developed into Zen.

Zen has more to do with practice than belief. To practice Zen, simply sit and mind your breath. That's it. Just pay attention to the physical sensations as you're drawing, then expelling air. (This is where Buddhism came full-circle to the Yoga tradition, which is traditionally focused more on breathing exercises than stretching.)

If you've tried this, you will have quickly seen the difference between 'simple' and 'easy.' In order to pay proper attention to the breath, you must ignore the mental chatter that fills our heads at all times – that's the point. Most of it is either re-living the past (“ooh, I wish I'd have said that! That would have been perfect!”), or rehearsing/dreaming of the future (“Wonder what's for dinner?” “Next time I see Al, I need to ask him about...”).

Practicing Zen can really bring you into the now. I kinda wish I was more up-to-speed on my practice, but, you know, life happens. When I was practicing, I was surprised at just how much is going on around me at any given time, and just how difficult it was to be bored! Between the ordered chaos within my own mind and body, and the symphony of my surroundings, there wasn't a moment when there wasn't something fascinating happening.

More importantly, I realized just how much judgment happened in my mind. Somehow, instead of seeing things happen, my mind would layer “Meaning” from my own experiences. For example, I'd see an old station wagon with the imitation wood on the side, and I'd think of my grandmother taking us to the cottage, then I'd think of unpleasant family drama. BAM! It's just a car, but suddenly, I've got an eye-twitch and heart burn! None of this was impacting my life at that moment, and if I was being mindful, I could have the detachment necessary to see that.

At the same time, being mindful of what's going on in my head also gives me the mental tools to see when I'm hearing from a more Eternal Voice. Recognizing the mental chatter helps me seperate it from the more important messages.

A fascinating book that takes these practices and gleans the gems from the cultural color & trappings is “Wherever You Go There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Have you taken some time to just Be lately?

Thursday, April 29, 2010


One of the most infamous romances in Rock 'n Roll history began when John Lennon went to an art exhibit. In the foyer was a step ladder (that Yoko Ono had “borrowed” from her land lord) and a magnifying glass hung from the ceiling. When John climbed the ladder and looked through the looking glass, he found a tiny word written on the ceiling: “Yes.” He was instantly smitten with the artist.

There are few words one would rather hear. Sadly, as a parent, I'm afraid I'll need to use it sparingly. “Can I play in the mud?” No. “Can I play with your guitar?” No.”Can I play with your sword?” NO! “Can I have a cookie?” It's almost dinner time.

But, oh, how they light up when I do get to say 'Yes.' “Is Santa coming tonight?” “Yes, if you're in bed by seven.” Fat chance. “Is Gramma coming over today?” Yay, quarters and gum for all! “Are we going to the water park this weekend?” Yay, water-wedgies for all!
And, “Is the baby asleep?” YES! We've got half an hour, better make it count! Who says that romance loses it's excitement when a baby arrives?

Sometimes it's really difficult, like “Do it's time to start trying for a child?” We had a plan, and it was time to get to it, but there was a lot of fear involved. Thankfully, with an understanding wife, experienced friends, and Blogging, I was able to vent my fears in safe environments, and I'm so glad I said “Yes!”

Mostly, it's fun to say 'Yes.' Have you ever said 'yes' to someone who needed help moving? I swear, you can see three pounds of pressure drop from their face, and their shoulders loosen too! Or at work, when a customer is looking for an item. When I can track it down for them, it just seems to make their day. I may be blowing it out of proportion a little, but they are genuinely appreciative.

I'm sure that you say 'yes' to people several times a day, but try to be mindful of it; see the affect it has on them, and on yourself. See how it seems to brighten the room just a little.

Xandali the Faery Martyr

Xandali was the first of the Faery to propose the idea of cross-breeding with humans to infiltrate humanity (see my post from March 27), a generation before the project actually began. While the Faery population responded well to the idea if infiltration, poor Xandali couldn't convince them that the humans didn't carry a contagious pathogen that caused baldness. Faeries have always been quite vain.

Xandali appealed to their outrage at the Druids for scaring them underground with a giant paper mache hippopotamus, but only got the support of those who were mad at their fathers, being the most natural rebels of any culture. His true motives, however, were kept to himself.

There was a particularly lovely cat herder named Diloa. Xandali would hide behind rocks, and watch her, dreaming of excuses to “have relations” with her. Faeries were not, at that time, skilled in romance, so wooing her with tales of vengeance on the Druids was the best he could come up with. Getting his family in on the infiltration idea would be necessary, since his mother had her heart set on him marrying a certain cobbler's daughter.

After a discouraging argument in a Faery barber shop, trying to convince his brethren that the humans wouldn't think of them as “Easy,” Xandali went to the cat pastures for some voyeurism. Diloa was harder to find than usual; cats are not easily herded. Poor Xandali spent the day wandering, and wound up in a small town by the sea. The people of this town had never seen a Faery, and were awed by his red hair. They didn't believe his story that it was from falling asleep while picking raspberries, and assumed that he was a messenger from the gods.
Seeing that there was no escape from their adorations, he spent his days preaching a message of peace and tolerance of the balding.

When the Faeries of his home cavern discovered him missing, his followers spread the rumor that he had been abducted by Druids and spun into gold. Faeries hate being mistaken for Smurfs almost as much as they hate being mistaken for Leprechauns. Having a martyr got the hybrid-infiltration project the approval it needed to proceed.

Diloa was never seen again, and was presumed dead by salmon attack.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


It's been awhile since I've used this space for a larf, but Andrea & I were poking fun at some Warning Labels, and I thought, “Now there's a rich topic.”

One of Cali's favorite toys is her Exer-Saucer – it;s about 2 ½ feet across, and she sits in the middle, surrounded by toys. A warning label says “Do not spin child in the seat.” While the seat does rotate, there's too much friction to gain any speed. Unless, of course, you take it apart and add ball bearings, or grease. Paints a picture, don't it? “Betcha she'll sleep now!”

On a bag of shelled peanuts, it actually says this on the back; “Ingredients: Peanuts. WARNING may contain traces of peanuts or other nut types.” Ya think?

Here's some more that I found on WARNING: Do not read while consuming a beverage. Do not read with a full bladder.

"Do not use if you cannot see clearly to read the information in the information booklet." -- In the information booklet.
"Caution: The contents of this bottle should not be fed to fish." -- On a bottle of shampoo for dogs.
"For external use only!" -- On a curling iron.
"Warning: This product can burn eyes." -- On a curling iron.
"Do not use in shower." -- On a hair dryer.
"Do not use while sleeping." -- On a hair dryer.
"Do not use while sleeping or unconscious." -- On a hand-held massaging device.
"Do not place this product into any electronic equipment." -- On the case of a chocolate CD in a gift basket.
"Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking." -- On a toilet at a public sports facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"Shin pads cannot protect any part of the body they do not cover." -- On a pair of shin guards made for bicyclists.
"This product not intended for use as a dental drill." -- On an electric rotary tool.
"Caution: Do not spray in eyes." -- On a container of underarm deodorant.
"Do not drive with sunshield in place." -- On a cardboard sunshield that keeps the sun off the dashboard.
"Caution: This is not a safety protective device." -- On a plastic toy helmet used as a container for popcorn.
"Do not use near fire, flame, or sparks." -- On an "Aim-n-Flame" fireplace lighter.
"Battery may explore or leak." -- On a battery. See a scanned image.
"Do not eat toner." -- On a toner cartridge for a laser printer.
"Not intended for highway use." -- On a 13-inch wheel on a wheelbarrow.
"This product is not to be used in bathrooms." -- On a Holmes bathroom heater.
"May irritate eyes." -- On a can of self-defense pepper spray.
"Eating rocks may lead to broken teeth." -- On a novelty rock garden set called "Popcorn Rock."
"Caution! Contents hot!" -- On a Domino's Pizza box.
"Caution: Hot beverages are hot!" -- On a coffee cup.
"Caution: Shoots rubber bands." -- On a product called "Rubber Band Shooter."
"Warning: May contain small parts." -- On a frisbee.
"Do not use orally." -- On a toilet bowl cleaning brush.
"Please keep out of children." -- On a butcher knife.
"Not suitable for children aged 36 months or less." -- On a birthday card for a 1 year old.
"Do not recharge, put in backwards, or use." -- On a battery.
"Warning: Do not use on eyes." -- In the manual for a heated seat cushion.
"Do not look into laser with remaining eye." -- On a laser pointer.
"Do not use for drying pets." -- In the manual for a microwave oven.
"For use on animals only." -- On an electric cattle prod.
"For use by trained personnel only." -- On a can of air freshener.
"Keep out of reach of children and teenagers." -- On a can of air freshener.
"Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you." -- On a motorcycle helmet-mounted rear-view mirror.
"Warning: Riders of personal watercraft may suffer injury due to the forceful injection of water into body cavities either by falling into the water or while mounting the craft." -- In the manual for a jetski.
"Warning: Do not climb inside this bag and zip it up. Doing so will cause injury and death." -- A label inside a protective bag (for fragile objects), which measures 15cm by 15cm by 12cm.
"Do not use as ear plugs." -- On a package of silly putty.
"Please store in the cold section of the refrigerator." -- On a bag of fresh grapes in Australia.
"Warning: knives are sharp!" -- On the packaging of a sharpening stone.
"Not for weight control." -- On a pack of Breath Savers.
"Twist top off with hands. Throw top away. Do not put top in mouth." -- On the label of a bottled drink.
"Theft of this container is a crime." -- On a milk crate.
"Do not use intimately." -- On a tube of deodorant.
"Warning: has been found to cause cancer in laboratory mice." -- On a box of rat poison.
"Fragile. Do not drop." -- Posted on a Boeing 757.
"Cannot be made non-poisonous." -- On the back of a can of de-icing windshield fluid.
"Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage." -- On a portable stroller.
"Excessive dust may be irritating to shin and eyes." -- On a tube of agarose powder, used to make gels.
"Look before driving." -- On the dash board of a mail truck.
"Do not iron clothes on body." -- On packaging for a Rowenta iron.
"Do not drive car or operate machinery." -- On Boot's children's cough medicine.
"For indoor or outdoor use only." -- On a string of Christmas lights.
"Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." -- On a child sized Superman costume.
"This door is alarmed from 7:00pm - 7:00am." -- On a hospital's outside access door.
"Beware! To touch these wires is instant death. Anyone found doing so will be prosecuted." -- On a sign at a railroad station.
"Warning: do not use if you have prostate problems." -- On a box of Midol PMS relief tablets.
"Product will be hot after heating." -- On a supermarket dessert box.
"Do not turn upside down." -- On the bottom of a supermarket dessert box.
"Do not light in face. Do not expose to flame." -- On a lighter.
"Choking hazard: This toy is a small ball." -- On the label for a cheap rubber ball toy.
"Not for human consumption." -- On a package of dice.
"May be harmful if swallowed." -- On a shipment of hammers.
"Using Ingenio cookware to destroy your old pots may void your warranty." -- A printed message that appears in a television advertisement when the presenter demonstrates how strong the cookware is by using it to beat up and destroy a regular frying pan.
"Do not attempt to stop the blade with your hand." -- In the manual for a Swedish chainsaw.
"Do not dangle the mouse by its cable or throw the mouse at co-workers." -- From a manual for an SGI computer.
"Warning: May contain nuts." -- On a package of peanuts.
"Do not eat." -- On a slip of paper in a stereo box, referring to the styrofoam packing.
"Do not eat if seal is missing." -- On said seal.
"Remove occupants from the stroller before folding it."
"Access hole only -- not intended for use in lifting box." -- On the sides of a shipping carton, just above cut-out openings which one would assume were handholds.
"Warning: May cause drowsiness." -- On a bottle of Nytol, a brand of sleeping pills.
"Warning: Misuse may cause injury or death." -- Stamped on the metal barrel of a .22 calibre rifle.
"Do not use orally after using rectally." -- In the instructions for an electric thermometer.
"Turn off motor before using this product." -- On the packaging for a chain saw file, used to sharpen the cutting teeth on the chain.
"Not to be used as a personal flotation device." -- On a 6x10 inch inflatable picture frame.
"Do not put in mouth." -- On a box of bottle rockets.
"Remove plastic before eating." -- On the wrapper of a Fruit Roll-Up snack.
"Not dishwasher safe." -- On a remote control for a TV.
"For lifting purposes only." -- On the box for a car jack.
"Do not put lit candles on phone." -- On the instructions for a cordless phone.
"Warning! This is not underwear! Do not attempt to put in pants." -- On the packaging for a wristwatch.
"Do not wear for sumo wrestling." -- From a set of washing instructions. See a scanned image.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Verbal Girl.

One of the major mile-stones that all parents look forward to is when the baby utters their first word. Before that, there is a LOT of verbal activity. Cali's most immediate noise is the traumatized wail, which roughly translates: “AAH What a bright, cold world!” She quickly learned that the same noise would get her fed, so we got a lot of it.

The first pleasant noise she made was cooing during a feeding, my Papa told us to look for this one, as it had been a favorite for him. Eventually, she learned to make excited noises; little squeals when she sees something that takes her fancy. This is how we knew that she'd come to recognize the dog. She then moved on to making ambiguous vowel noises at us, as though she was mimicking the conversations she watched. My favorite, though, is the gurgling noises, she and I have had many a Wookie conversation.

Last weekend, my lovely girls went to Peterborough (about 2 hours away) to visit Andrea's best friend. (“BFF” would be appropriate, since they've been friends since Kindergarten) By way of a little back-story, this friend – I'll call her Caitlin – is like a fertility avatar. She has three kids, two of which are multiples. After she'd come for a visit a little over a year ago, Andrea tested positive for Bambino. Months later, when we went to visit her, was the first time I felt the baby kick. Last Saturday, Andrea called me from there at 9:30AM to tell me that Cali had said “Mum.” Andrea would have questioned whether she'd heard properly, but Caitlin and her girls were there, looking at her with saucer-sized eyes, and then chanting “mum-mum-mum-mum” to Cali to try to get a repeat-performance out of her.

As much as I'm sorry to have missed it, I'm not surprised. Firstly, because Caitlin is like a lightning-rod for childhood development (did I mention that she's a teacher?). Secondly, Cali and
I had a little chat months ago. “Cali,” I said, “you're mom's really doing the lion's share of the work here, so it's only fair that you wait for her to be present for your first word. I'd like to be there too, but the important part is that mom's there, cool?”
Atta girl.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Understanding -- Are We There Yet?

For “U,” I'm listening to Undercover, Balance of Power. Ten points (of bragging rights) to anyone who remembers Undercover. (Featuring Ojo Taylor, Gym Nicholson, Sim Wilson, and Gary Dean Olson)

For “U,” I'd like to share some thoughts on Understanding. When I was 18, I understood Life, the Universe, and Everything. Now, at (barely) 36, I still understand plenty, but not nearly as much. Through my 20's I often thought that I knew more than the people around me. To be fair, my studious nature didn't hurt; I could quote more than many of those I was conversing with. Having more answers isn't conducive to humility!

Then, I met someone I knew from high school – not a friend, but we shared some classes. The crazy thing was, it was ten years later, and we were in BC, 3000 kms from the school we shared. It so happened that we had mutually-satisfying needs: he needed a roommate, and I needed a place. The co-habitation only lasted a few months, but it had a more profound affect than the years previous. He had a different understanding of Life, the Universe and Everything, because he had been studying from a completely different point of view.

I hadn't necessarily been asking the wrong questions, but I had been asking from the wrong assumptions. At that time, I learned that my understanding had come from certain paradigm, and began the mind-blowing process of seeing the world from a foreign understanding. Thanks Chad, I haven't been the same since!

Seven years ago (when I was 29) was the last time I got a violent snap-back in my understanding. I had learned so much, that I felt I'd surpassed the rest of my species (no shit; I really was that cocky!). Then I heard a song that echoed my “superior” understanding; a song that I'd heard many times, but the concepts hadn't registered. It occurred to me, rather violently, “Oh shit, these guys were in on these ideas the whole time...” Since then, whatever I've learned, through study or experience, I just assume that others have understood it before. I've given others more credit for their cleverness, and I've understood that I'm not the only one who can 'clue-in' to what's accepted as fact by the more mature.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Tarnation, I'm late again! No cookie for me!But I'm off today, so I can get “T” done, and get all caught-up. For “T,” I'm listening to Tool, Aenima. Probably their most accessible album, as they can be something of a “Musicians Band.”

Something I get a lot of fun out of is teasing. Oddly, I used to be a little too sensitive to it. For that reason, I can be pretty “Light Weight” with it, such as “I was feeling pretty handsome before you got here, now I just feel average.” If I'm more comfortable with the person, “How's that ointment working for ya? That rash still giving you grief?”

About a year ago, I had an opportunity to visit with an elementary school principal in his office (regarding a volunteer project that never got off the ground) and he had a poster outlining the difference between Bullying and Teasing. I can't remember the particulars, but I was quite impressed that it was addressed. Teasing among kids is normal social behavior, and can teach people to not take themselves too seriously, which I think is vital to mental/emotional health. Bullying has been getting a lot of press, especially since Columbine, and I'm really impressed that teasing was, in that instance, differentiated, and put into context.

The principal made a fascinating point: in any given sitcom, the comedy is insult-driven. Now we can argue about how appropriate this all is, but when we're done, it will still be so. I don't think it's something to fear, but let's keep it in context. I hope to raise my kids with a sense of what's appropriate, and a knowledge of time & place. (it's easy to still be idealistic when she's 7 months old :) )

THERE! YOU SEE!? I wrote that in my head as a natural extension of my style, and as I typed it, I realized that it illustrated my point nicely. By not taking myself too seriously, I can keep an eye on the goal, while keeping my capacities in perspective.

At work, I get to encounter a lot of kids, and I've seen plenty of reasons to be hopeful. Sometimes, I'll give them a bit of teasing, like “Wow, you must be a really great kid, 'cause that's a LOT of broccoli. When I was your age, I had to clean my room, AND shovel the driveway before I got that much broccoli.” Or, “What a great helper! Want a job? We've got a lot of floor to sweep when the store closes. Don't worry, we have a really big broom.” Kids generally take this pretty well, and have a little giggle. In general, I'm not too worried, and it's one of many things I'm keeping in mind as the role of parenting progresses.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Am I Forfieting Trust?

For “S,” I'll be listening to System Of a Down, “Mezmerize,” if anyone's interested. I'll just warn you ahead of time, it's late and I'm pretty sacked-out, so this will likely be a pretty short post.

Something that's concerned me about parenting is Santa, and his Easter and tooth-loss counterparts. As parents, I'll need to rely on the trust of my children. When I say “(s)he's no good for you...” or “Heroin and crack will make you a useless leech on society, and will probably kill you.” I'm hoping that they will trust me enough to not go out shooting-up, or going into shady places because they need to see for themselves.

I may be taking a naive point of view on this, but it seems that if they spend the first 8-10 years of their life being told of Santa, and other fanciful creatures, they may not have the trust in their parents when it really counts. “Sweety, that car looks cool, but it'll cost you more than it's worth.” “Sure Daddy, ten years ago, it was rabbits spreading chocolate through the house, now you just don't want me to have this cool car.”

Of course, many argue that those fights of fancy are what make childhood so wonderful. What do ya'll think?

But “S” also stands for one of the best things about having kids; I now have an excuse to have Dr Seuss books in the house. Apparently, I've got a soft spot for nonsensical rhymes: “Ten tired turtles in a tuttle tuttle tree.” (Wrong letter, but that's the one I remember off the top of my head :P )

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Civil Rites

For “R,” I'm listening to Rage Against The Machine's first, self-titled album. I've listened to their other three more recently, and it was high-time I dusted this one off. Besides, Tim Cummerford is one of my all-time favorite bassists. I didn't have anything for “Q,” so I reverted to Pearl Jam's “Yield.”

Back when I was attending Church, there was a perceived dichotomy between spirituality and Religion, the former having to do with personal experience, and the latter being dry, prescribed Ritual. A conversation with a Believer at work last week showed that the distinction is still a hot-button topic. While I lean more towards a Gnostic belief, where experience is more important, I'd argue that ritual shouldn't be dismissed out-of-hand.

Part of my daily ritual is to spend the first 45 minutes of my day reading Blogs and drinking coffee. A couple days ago, I over-slept. While I made it to work on time, I was really thrown-off by not getting that predictable, slow wake-up time.

Another one is dressing; I won't put on work clothes until about twenty minutes before I'm due to leave, and it gets me into the right head-space for retail. Likewise, when putting on my 'grubbies,' I'm more into cleaning or yard work.

We use such rituals for Calli's comfort too: 7:40 is bath time, then a lotion rub, then a last feeding as she dozes off. Of course, that's flexible, but she goes to sleep pretty well now, and I'm guessing that the routine helps.

From another point of view, I heard a story of a non-practicing Hindu who's mother had died. He had been an Agnostic academic type, but for the funerary rites, the sons were required to wash the body. I think it sounds absolutely ghastly, (and it made me glad that I'm not a Hindu) but he found the experience to be very cathartic, and was more at-peace when he was done.

From a Christian point-of-view, it's good that they're focusing more on the relationship with their Maker, but if I went to one of your services, what would I see? I bet it goes something like this: A few songs, prayer, more songs, prayer, message, prayer, songs, dismissed. Why is this formula so popular? Because it works! Dozens or hundreds of people can be brought into accord, because they're all led into the same rhythm, and that syncronicity is powerful, like a concert, or a sporting event.

Of course, nothing is etched in stone (anything stiff is either dead, or close to it!), but rites and routines can be useful in their place as tools to get someone in a desired head-space. What little rituals are you using?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Some letters of the Challenge have left me wide open to dozens of topics, and some gave me some grief. I'm a little surprised that “Q,” of all letters left me with a tough decision between two topics. I thought that, perhaps, I would have an excuse to write about Qabala (also spelled 'Kabala' or 'Cabala,' but being a translation from Hebrew, with different letters and no vowels, the spelling is a point of preference.) The problem is that it's a huge topic, and it took me months with the most introductory books to begin to get my head around it. Putting that all into a blog post seems a little daunting, so I'll go with a second idea.

On Sunday, I had a chance to talk a bit with Kyle, who works with me, and plays in a metal band I enjoy (check out Breach and Entry on MySpace!) He had posted a Note on Facebook about how he didn't believe in Fate of “Soul Mates,” and my take was, “the jury's still out, so I'll argue the point from the other side. He took it like I meant it; more academic than contentious. Sadly, we couldn't settle the issue on my 30-min lunch break ( :P ), but it was fun to address the topic with a like-minded person. He honestly wanted to hear another perspective, with a full understanding that someone else might have some information that could influence his opinions. It was the Questions that were important, since the facts in this case were out of reach.

This reminded me of something from my childhood. In my French class (the language, not the kissing method. Our education system left us to figure that one out on our own.), our teacher had pictures on the wall to illustrate certain words. The picture for “Smart” had a boy & girl asking questions. This didn't make much sense to me (I was 12 or 13), and figured that smart people naturally had answers. It took years to realize that the truly intelligent people were the ones who kept asking questions; pretty abstract for me at that age (other students seemed to understand, but they could have just been nodding along. Or I was a late-bloomer. Wouldn't be the last example of that...).

Since then, I've remained grateful for one of the most amazing gifts we've been given: a reasonable mind with the ability to question what we've been presented with.

“When they think they know the answers, people are difficult to guide. When they know they don't know, people can find their own way.” Tao Te Ching

I Stumbled, but I'm Back

Pardon my absence, I was getting a little Petered-out (no offense, Pete). Plus, Parenting takes a lot of time, and Perhaps my emPloyment had something to do with it.

I got the clever idea this morning to pick relevant music from my collection as I'm writing, this morning, it's Prince, a life-long favorite. Maybe because Purple Rain was all the rage when I started listening to music, and he's so damn talented that I can still listen to it as adult, and appreciate it differently. I heard that he can play professionally on 12 instruments. I don't know if that was an exaggeration, but he often played all the parts on his albums, and had his bands for the live shows.

What I settled on for “P” was Paradigm. While it's official definition is “a pattern or model,” it became something of a 'Buzz Word' denoting a perspective, as in “we've got to get a new paradigm to reach this audience.” I guess that the definitions are compatible, and maybe even a development of the original intent; it's a great step forward for a person to recognize the Paterns that their thinking follows, then evaluate whether they are appropriate or not.

Cultural paradigms are really obvious in parenting books – what was considered appropriate fifty years ago seems ludicrous today. Many of us know someone who let an infant suck whiskey off their finger to ease teething. Another example is running to sooth a crying infant. Some say that they need to learn security & confidence, and know that parents are there for them in times of trouble. At other times, it's taught that they need to cry it out, and learn independence. Problem is, they can't tell us when they're lonely, or if a rash is making them cranky, and none of us remember what it's like to be alone in a huge, dark room, with no context. What's it like to know that some thing's wrong, but you have no language to tell others what it is, or no frame of reference to know yourself? Experts have always tried to know what baby's are thinking, and are doing their best, I'm sure, but have their own cultural paradigms filtering their research.

Learning about paradigms & filters really helped me see what's a reflection of my particular time and place in the world. And with parenting in particular, I try to mix research with instinct.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

When we first brought Calli home, we were a little concerned about our dog. Kuma was almost 14 months old, and had been all but an only child, with daily walks and bed privileges. The nurses in the mat ward weren't too worried; apparently, mixed breeds have a better reputation than pure breeds for playing well with others. (Kuma is part Collie, possibly some Shepherd, with Roti coloring. We can't know for sure, because his mom was an outside dog with plenty of 'gentlemen callers.' Trollop.)

Turns out that the nurses were right, after his initial confusion, he warmed up to Calli nicely. When someone came to visit, (which is often with a new-born), he'd stay close to make sure that all was well, and then sit at their feet, just in case... As an added bonus, he really puts on his Big Boy Voice now when someone comes to the door. We've laughed at a few sales people who have gone stumbling off our front step in a rapid back-peddle! These actions have caused us to call him “Captain Kuma; Head of Security.”

Now that we put her on the floor to learn a little more mobility, he's always close, often trying to lay on the same blanket. Often, he'll even bring her one of his toys. And when her flailing legs connect with the poor fellow's face, he just gives us a long-suffering look. We have no doubt that they're going to be life-long pals.

Now, Calli has taken a tangible step in reciprocating the affection, not that she hasn't found him fascinating up to this point. Since we started spoon-feeding Calli, Kuma has hovered by the table, being something of an opportunist (there it is – the “O” word that started me on this story. Been waiting with bated breath, haven't ya?). Well, Calli often is putting her fingers in her mouth, (along with our fingers, fabrics, and just about anything else that will fit in her hand) and feeding time is no exception. She found that when she dangles pablum-covered fingers over the side of the high-chair, she gets plenty of puppy kisses. Apparently, this is just fine with her, because she'll reach into her mouth and re-cover her hand to offer it to Kuma again. They're gonna get along just fine.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Early Propaganda

As most of you know, “Being Noble” comes from a comparison to the 'upper classes.' It seems that from Medieval to Victorian ages, the common masses were told that to behave 'nobly' was ethical and proper, but was it? With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we can see that the kings & others of their ilk tended to act like they were on Dallas. They exploited, tortured, and in-bred more frequently than their matrimonial vows allowed (not to mention serving girls & peasants). Giving 'Nobility' a moral superiority is as much of a propaganda trick as the Pharaoh's calling themselves the sons of gods, or the Persian kings calling the,selves the sons of gods, or the Asian Emperors calling themselves the sons of the Dragon gods (coincidence?).

But like Richard Prior did with the other “N-Word,” we've taken it from those who originally used it to bend to out purposes. Question is, how do we apply Nobility to our lives? I'm fortunate to live in a smaller city where people aren't as jaded by traffic and overall crowding, so I get to see random acts of senseless kindness from time to time. Working in retail, I see no shortage of dinks, but there's plenty of people who will let someone ahead of them in line if they have a really small order (I see this about once a week). There was also one instance where a woman's bank card wouldn't work, but when she left to call her bank, the rest of the line-up passed the hat and paid for her order ($400+), on the condition that their names weren't shared with the woman – now THAT'S noble! (I pray that they remember that when they reap what they've sown)

That extreme act is east to remember, but it isn't every day. What is every day though is what's going to make the world a better place. If I make eye-contact with someone, I smile & say hello (then often complain about the weather; an Ontario tradition). Often, the small daily acts are what take someone's teetering mood, and tips it from tears to laughter. Sometimes it seems that the world is getting more cold & brutal, but a closer look will show people rebelling against this, and share encouragement and light – the Blogging community has shown this over and over! Give yourselves a pat on the back, people!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Universal Language

So far, I've either been trying to write about things that I've long-wanted to write about, and took this Challenge as an excuse, or I've tried to write about what I was sure no one else would write about. Today, though I haven't checked yet, I'm confident that others will have written about Music.

It's one of the few topics that's truly universal. Years ago, I say a Discovery Channel special (Daily Planet, featuring Canadian band The Tea Party) that said that every culture, from Empires to isolated tribes had some form of music – no exceptions. I shouldn't have been surprised, but I hadn't thought of it.

This special also said that the only purpose that music served was community-building. I guess
While High School subcultures are often defined by their musical genres, you don't have to dig much deeper to see the effects music has on people.

While words spoken or written can speak to a persons spirit, they must pass through the mind first, and often don't get past the mental comprehension. Music will by-pass the mind, and go straight to the emotional and spiritual parts of a person. It will also impact your body in ways that words just can't – do you have a song that you can't help but move to? (I can't sit still if I hear Rag Doll by Aerosmith.)

I was fortunate to be in High School from '88 to '92. By then, MTV and it's Canadian version Much Music were well-established, and were, due to their random-ish play lists, cross-pollinating the musical genres. It wasn't a big deal for someone to listen to Guns N' Roses, Beastie Boys and Prince. (I still listen to all 3), so I don't feel limited, and rarely write-off an album out of hand based on the style.

So who's your favorite? (Since there's some Christians reading, is Rich Mullins still remembered?) What song keeps you from sitting still?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Little Banff

Again, I'm rushing to get something up for the Alphabet Challenge. The odd thing is, I wasn't at work yesterday, but I can hardly call it a 'Day Off.' We checked out a couple Daycare's, and believe we've found the one for us! The first one we visited seemed to be someone new to the game; when we asked about security latch's for drawers & cupboards, she said “I could get them...” First Aid? “I could renew it...” To be fair, the kids that were there seemed to be well-adjusted and in good spirits, so I'm sure she's doing a fine job. The second one has First Aid (as did her 14-year-old daughter), fourteen years experience (Coincidence? Not really) and had take-home sheets for every day stating what the child ate, their mood, how much play time they had, health issues & evacuations (a polite term for a poop-journal). We were duly impressed, and had agreed on her before we left her driveway. I said “if she'd offered me a coffee, I'd have wrote a check on the spot.” Then we had dinner with a friend & her parents, which dove-tails nicely into “L.”

These friends own & operate an RV park called Little Banff. It's such a charming place with about 50 trailers, one functioning cabin, and water-front to a shallow lake that warms-up easily! When Andrea & I take time off for our anniversary in July, we always spend a few nights in one of their rental trailers, and it's always a good time. The owners were both in our wedding party, and are some of our dearest friends.

Last night, we had dinner with them, and it was the first time since early March that we were able to sit & visit. The park's still closed for the season, so it was pretty quiet, but when it's in full-swing, it's a very social atmosphere. There are plenty of long-term renters, but they always make new-comers feel welcome. We've always felt welcome to join a conversation, or take a seat by someone's fire. Of course, we usually bring the dog, so he's a natural conversation-starter! And he's really sociable with anybody.

Also note-worthy, Calli didn't get too stormy last night! The last few times we went to visit family, she'd get cranky, and made-strange with the men present. Last night, she was fine with the other 2 men present, and made it to almost 9 before her fatigue caught-up with her. YAY, PROGRESS!!

Before I sign-off, I want to give a heart-felt thanks to all of you who have been by to read & comment! Without your input, I doubt I'd have the motivation to keep this up! You ROCK!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just Kidding

Again, I have the chance to write about something that I'd have a hard time fitting into another context.“Just Kidding.”

I don't think that those two words should ever be coupled. Perhaps, because I like my humor on the drier side, and this sounds like the equivalent of a laugh track. If you need to tell someone that you just made a joke, you probably didn't do it right. Of course, I've had to do that when I've either been too dry, or too obscure. I hadn't done it right.

The use of this phrase that really bugs me is when someone's dodging responsibility. For example, say someone says something really racist, then when you call them on their bullshit; “Oh, I was just kidding!” Grow up! Are you nine?

It seems that I've said all I've got to say on the topic pretty quickly. Well, off to the dictionary then. It seems that my dictionary is upstairs. Thesaurus will do the trick.

Knob? Known a few of those.
Kook? Known some of those too, and they're a lot more fun.
Kismet: chance, destiny, providence. Didn't know that.
Kinky? Haven't known much of that, so I'm far-from-qualified to discuss that. Besides, it's not that kind of Blog

Alright, enough wanking, Have a great day, and I'll try to have tomorrow's post planned better!

Monday, April 12, 2010


For “J,” I had an idea that I wasn't entirely comfortable with, but once it lodged it self in my mind, it just wouldn't allow another idea to take hold. So, I'll write of my old nemesis, Jealousy.

As most people know, jealousy is the fruit of insecurity, which we all have to varying degrees. Mine also came from childhood conditioning, and an unfaithful girlfriend when I was 16. (the guy was actually pleasuring her while I was on the phone with her. I don't have the words...) It showed itself several times when Andrea & I were early in our relationship, and when we were planning our wedding, she said that some of her friends may want to see strippers. I lost my cool, and said some pretty ugly things.

It was all but purged two summers ago. There was something I was uncomfortable with, and after about three days of stewing on it, I asked her about it. Her response was so sincere, I instantly saw how silly I had been. She offered to close her Facebook account (to avoid contact with the subject of my bilious feelings), and give me her email password. That put the whole thing in context, and since, my jealousy has been held pretty firmly in check. It has been invaluable to be with a woman who I can be totally honest and open with. It also helps that we're good at laughing at each other, so neither of us are taking ourselves too seriously.

Part of my problem came from my misunderstanding of the Club Scene. I've always been more of a metal/rock fan, so from the outside looking in, clubs look like a pheromone cult/meat market. (Thanks to Slipknot for the term “Pheromone Cult”) I didn't understand that people often go there to just dance and have a good time.

That was a difficult thing to learn, and I'm very grateful to have a woman who was so patient with me – Thanks Baby!

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I'm a little late getting this up today, which may seem odd since I have today off, but when I up until now, most of my posts were written before their post-date. “F” could have been for Foresight, but ya'll seemed to enjoy the baby pictures, with a record-breaking 11 comments – thank you all so much!

“I” gives me an excuse to write about something I had a hard time fitting into another context; Initiation. I have a keen interest in the Mystery School traditions, though I belong to none. All of these are marked by degrees of initiation, whereby a candidate studies up to a point, then moves on to the next 'level.' The best illustration has long-outgrown it's mystery; martial arts. As many of you know, a student begins with a white belt, and learns a first how to stand. If someone doesn't know how to be stable, and not easily knocked-down, nothing else matters. You can be precise enough to kick the screws out of someone's glasses, but if you're easily shoved onto your glutinous maximus, you've missed the point. Then you learn your punches & blocks, and graduate to more complex moves. Incidentally, did you know that historically, martial artists weren't awarded colored belts? They just kept the same belt throughout their careers, so an experienced warrior would have a very worn & stained belt. The more seasoned the Master, the blacker the belt. There, you've learned your New Thing for the day, and now you can coast. Your welcome.

This is how I view children. First, Calli had to be Initiated from the womb, and had to promptly learn to breath air. Slightly less urgent was the need to be initiated to bottle feeding, no more free rides through the umbilical cord! The journey is to independence, and their first day on earth, people get rapidly thrust in that direction!

And so it goes to solid foods, walking to cycling to driving (opening up a much larger world to them, as initiation is meant to!), from mom, to Mom & Dad, then Grandma's & Grandpa's, and Aunts & Uncles, then family friends and their children. By degrees, the world opens up to them, and if we, as parents, do our jobs right, she'll be as equipped as possible to face each new level of her time here. So easy to still be idealistic when she' barely 7 months old ;p

As parents, we've been gradually broken-in as well – for weeks, all she did was sleep, eat & poop, but initiations are often trials; we had to get through a lot of sleepless nights to keep our little miracle alive! And initially, she'll pretty much stay where we put her. Now we have to worry about her rolling off the change-table. Soon, we'll have to look from room to room to see where she's wandered off to. Then it'll seem like mere months before she's broken curfew, and we need to comb the streets and call her friend's parents to find her. eep. I think I'll go and make some silly sounds at her, and appreciate that she's still looking at my like I'm the only man in Creation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Harmony on Inner and Outer

“H” is another letter I've had to struggle with. I's called a “Challenge” for a reason....
The first thing that comes to mind is from the book my wife is reading: “The Law of Attraction” by Jerry and Ester HICKS. If you're so inclined to read their books, space them out. They can be pretty redundant if you read more than one in a row. Here's the gist of it: as I wrote on my “E” post, everything is made of really slow energy. Our thoughts determine the frequency of the energy we consist of, and therefore, transmit & attract.

The people and incidents we encounter throughout the day are in HARMONY with the thoughts and, perhaps more importantly, the mood we experience. Is it true? That's really too big a question for this lad, but it would answer a lot of nagging question, not the least of which being Karma/Reaping what you Sow. As with any soft science (a discipline with more theories than laws), there are a plethora of counter-explanations for every theory proposed. What I do know is that believing this can make one more aware of their thoughts, and more deliberate with their mental focus, and days after speaking to my wife about focusing on content for my Blog, I was approached with this alphabet challenge.

Something else we've been doing with this theory is to focus on what kind of HOUSE and HOME we want. We want a home where can entertain regularly, because friends are important. We also want a space for four children, and a personal library (we're off to a good start on both counts;) ). I'd also like a home recording studio, 'cause sonic creations are just fun! And horses, several horses.

Give it a try, seeing your life as you'd like to live it, doing the work you love, and coming home to a place that makes you go “Oh, Yeah!”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"The light at the End of the Tunnel may be you" Steven Tyler

This is the first time the Alphabet Challenge has sent me to the dictionary. My first thought was the “G” in the Freemason's square-and-compass logo, but if I ever wanted to join, they may not let me, since I proved to be a poor secret-keeper. My next thought was Gastro-intestinal, because it would open me up to plenty of juvenile jokes. I swear, sometimes it's like I'm 12!

What I've settled on was Guru, the ultimate mixed-blessing of all spiritual communities! I can't count how often I've been disappointed by “Enlightened Ones” of many traditions, but just as often, I've been surprised at some insight from an unexpected source. As the adage goes, “don't meet your heroes, you'll only be disappointed.”

At the end of the day, the problem was me; I was expecting too much from a human being. Ironically, it was one of the most disappointing teachers who pointed this out to me. The biggest epiphany of all this was that I needed to separate knowledge from the Guru. Not only does this allow Gurus to be human, it allows the seeker to learn from ANYONE AND ANYWHERE!

One of the quickest write-off's was the Hare Krishna's. While there is much to be admired about their ideology, I was put-off when I first went to visit them, and a monk asked if I wanted to be a monk. Whoa, dude! We just met; I'm not moving in with you just yet! And many of the adherents seemed high – I'm not sure if they were smoking grass, but having spent many years in Vancouver, I recognize that glazed and easily-distracted look! (I've been to a few protests and concerts in my day;) ) Years later, I was with friends and was approached by an HK adherent. After, a friend asked, “did he seem high to you?” I felt validated in my opinion. On the other hand, they had a vegetarian feast after a service I attended, and despite my pessimism, I was really impressed! Those folks are wizards with produce, and I'd highly recommend their food!

“To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.” Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fruit Feeding Faces

We read, in the wisdom of the experts, that it was smart to introduce vegetables before fruits. The logic being that once they had enjoyed the sweetness of fruit, they wouldn't have any interest in vegetables. Made sense. However, you can see that apples were't a hit.
Of course, being the model parents that we are, we couldn't help but to feed her more to get these great pictures!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Enjoying Energy!

I've been a divided in what to do for my E post. My first idea was “Enjoy.” Years ago, I read Steven Covey's classic “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” and he had an anecdote about his kid on a baseball team He was fumbling badly, and Mr. Covey was trying to flex his Performance Coach skills on him, to no avail. All involved were just getting more frustrated. After some soul-searching, Covey changed his tack, and realized that he was trying too hard. He decided to just enjoy his child for who he was. The child has flourished, and grown in his own right, into he's supposed to be, not what his parents would script for him.

Since then, I've tried hard to appreciate my loved ones without expectations. As a parent (about 12 years later), it's struck home. Fortunately, I have a baby who's just delightful, and we can giggle together a-plenty! Perhaps the next one will be more moody, but today, I can just talk nonsense to her, and watch her light up! She also loves to be sung to – yesterday, I was called the “Coolest Dad Ever” for singing Deftones and Rage Against The Machine to her. (I was showing-off, just a little)

My other idEa (cute) was Energy. I was struck many years ago to learn that it's what we're made of. As our technology gets better, we've seen that when we look past the cells that we're made of, past the atoms and molecules, the stuff that we're made of isn't very solid. In fact, it will alternate between particles (matter) and waves (energy). I haven't the time (or the education) to explore the MASSIVE ramifications of this, but what comes to mind first, is that Energy Never Dies (not a huge Black Eyed Peas fan, but they did say it really well!), it is transformed! And that can really do a number on your fear of death – it doesn't happen! But now I'm mixing science with belief. Fortunately, they finally seem to be in accord. Through this challenge, I've found a Blog that explored this better : Enjoy!

Monday, April 5, 2010

D is for Drama

When I got to work the day before the Easter weekend, my boss asked my to direct traffic in the parking lot. When I asked where the Drama was, she replied “Save the Drama for your Mama.”
We all love drama, to varying degrees. We understand most of what we experience through stories. When we see someone performing a random act of senseless kindness, we'll call them a Good Samaritan. When we're asking someone to dig deep, to do more than previously thought possible; “Use the Force, Luke!” (is my 'Nerd' showing?) And when we want to be persuasive, we'll slur about “an offer they can't refuse.”

Having said that, isn't it irritating when someone brings their Drama-philia to their regular social situations? This is usually a case of something being blown way out of proportion. That, my pretty's, should be saved for your mama. It's hard to blame us when most of us have been raised on TV.

On the other hand, let's have some fun with it! “That's like when I toured with Van Halen...” “Really?” “No, not really.”
“My cat washes dishes”
“There's a crop circle on my back.” Ew.
I've got one friend who I knew for about three weeks before I got a straight answer out of him. “How ya doing, Jay?” “My water broke.” Oh, for crying out loud... Loads of fun, that lad is (Pardon my Yoda-speak. Damn, my 'Nerd' is showing again!)

To shift gears slightly, I'd like to welcome a ton of new readers! Asides from the fire under my arse to write more, that's been the best part of this challenge. I've also discovered some great new Blogs! I hope you'll forgive me if you've commented and I haven't been by to your Blog yet. I've got a 61/2 month old in the house, and adding that to my other duties, including a full time job, it's been difficult to find the time. Don't doubt for a moment, though that I”m really appreciative! See ya soon!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

C is for Catholic

It's “C” Day, and I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about something that's been on my mind.
In January, I heard a radio report on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. radio station that the Catholic Church in Nova Scotia was selling-off a lot of their real estate assets to pay for law suits. They owed over 18 million in reparations for – you guessed it – sex abuse.

A few years ago, I had the same opinion of the Catholic Church as anyone else who watched the news, but my wife had her heart set on getting married where she had done her other sacraments. After meeting many members of that Church through the 8-week pre-marital course, I came away from the experience with a healthy respect for Catholics. I enjoyed the company of many Believers who were just like the Believers of any other faith; sincerely wanting to be involved in a healthy community, and serving their God in a way that was comfortable for them.

What stuck with me from the news item, though, was the selling-assets part. It's well known that the Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest organizations in the world, and that kind of wealth tends to influence a governing body in ways that don't serve their religious goals. Perhaps it's time for them to liquidate, even 60% would leave them with massive assets.

And let's not forget the good they've done with their stature. Asides from countless charities, it was the monasteries that kept copies of great literature around through the dark ages (Plato & Socrates, etc), and were the fore-runners to our Universities.

For the record, I am not a Catholic, nor will I be in the foreseeable future. What I believe in is not painting every member of a large group with the same brush.

Friday, April 2, 2010

B is for...Plenty

The Alphabet; Day 2
I actually had two ideas for “B,” as two of my favorite things start with that letter. The first was Bass, the instrument, not the fish. You see, years ago, a friend & I watched the 10-hour Beatles Anthology, and decided that we would start a band. He was confident that he could sing, and I could play several chords on the guitar. After about a year, we realized that bassists are hard to find, and I wasn't shaping-up to be any kind of guitar hero. Through the miracle of financing, I got a bass & amp and, lo and behold, I was pretty good at it. Playing bass also gave me an ear for what other bassists were doing, and I totally fell in love with the instrument, and what it could do for a song.

The other favorite thing is books. I can't walk past a book shelf without looking at what's there. I love the exposure to fresh ideas, new information, and how woven words can evoke the nature of an event, but also the emotional flavor, and layers of effects on people involved.

Then something else happened today. It was a crazy day in retail land, but most people were in good spirits. Then I saw a Regular, and we greeted one another warmly. I'll call her 'Betty,' to protect her privacy, but she does have a “B” name, so I'm not cheating. We spoke a little about how Calli is doing, and she had to share that her son had been accepted into Harvard. She and her husband were simply giddy, and I was struck with the beauty of the moment. Here we were, virtual strangers with a passing familiarity, and we took a moment to celebrate each others children! I'm glad that that's the most memorable part of a positively exhausting day!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A is for Anniversary

How's this for a great idea? I've been challenged to write thematically-based Blog posts for April, using letters of the alphabet. On Apr. 1st, an “A” theme, on the 2nd, “B”, etc. If you take Sundays off, it adds up to you posting “Z” on Apr 30th. So here goes:

This first one is easy, since it's an Anniversary. Five years ago today, Andrea & I had our first date. When I told a friend that our first date was April 1st, he said “Are you sure?” I am now!

We met the day before, and the conversation was so natural that I asked if she wanted to go for coffee, but she had to go visit a friend in the hospital. So we went for breakfast at a place called 'Jean's' (when I told a friend, she said “The convenience store?” I said “Yes, the convenience store, because when you date Will, it's class all the way”). Andrea spent the evening before the date doing her nails and tidying her place. I spent the evening studying her astrology signs to see what I was in for.

Breakfast turned into an all-day hang-out, then in the afternoon, we went to her place to watch “What the Bleep Do We Know” (kinda like The Secret, with more emphasis on the quantum physics). At one point, when complaining about the cold, she said “if it's true, we should be able to Think ourselves warmer.” to which I replied, “Well, I wanted to try the Quantum Sharing-a-blanket technique.” Pretty smooth, eh? Fourteen months later, I proposed, then on July 7 2007 (7-7-7 – Neat!) we wed.

There's my A post, and there's the challenge. Best of luck to y'all!

What the Hell was That?

Some of you may be wondering what the hell that last post was about. Well, a buddy at work was asking about the Blog, and I said “there isn't that much to write about.” “So why don't you make something up.” It was like an epiphany! As long as I'm not trying to convince anyone of some absolute blarney & jive, I figured it could be a lot of fun!

So what is happening? Plenty, and it's damn exciting, but it's hard to translate it to text. For example, not only is she grasping things now, Calli has realized that smacking certain toys will produce sounds and melodies. I find it absolutely amazing to watch her develop these skills that we take for granted, and to lay the mental ground-work necessary for everything else she'll learn, but who reads a Blog to find out that a six-month-old smacked a plastic tea pot to hear a jingle?

We've also learned that she doesn't like peas. Carrots are fine, but she makes quite the face when we try feeding her peas. Then she forgets, tries another mouthful, and makes the face that reminds me of the time a friend found a moth in a cookie. (that part's true, she was house-sitting, so had no idea how long those cookies had been in the cupboard. That'll learn ya!) Soon, Calli would just spit on the spoon.

She's really developing into quite the character. It's amazing how she'll light-up when she sees one of us. There's nothing better for making me feel like a million buck, especially after work when I feel like a million bucks just ran over me.

And there you have it, several weeks of development, and that's as entertaining as I can make it. Is it any wonder I presented some bullshit about Faeries and paper mache hippo's?