Happy New Year

Brief. It’s bedtime and I have to work in the morning.

Didn’t get a chance to do my usual year-in-review last night. I put Lilly to bed and was out for the night. Hopefully this weekend I’ll get the chance.

I got NHL 09 on Tuesday but I still haven’t played it. Haven’t had time. I will make time this weekend.

That is all.

Self-Checkout

Okay, I’m usually a pretty reasonable guy. I get along with people pretty well and I try to go along with whatever. However.

The time is 10:15pm. There is not one other person in line at the Save On Foods. Why, do you suppose, a guy would take his groceries to the Self-Checkout lane? Could it be to bypass the milling throngs clogging the standard checkouts? No? Could it be because he just wants to make his purchases and get the hell out of the store because he’s in an unsocial mood? Hm… Nah, this must be someone who needs a lot of extra attention.

Honestly, that must have been going through the Self-Checkout clerk’s mind as I strolled up because she hovered. And she wouldn’t take a hint. While I was pushing the lookup produce button, she told me to push it. Then she helped me find the pesky T button (for tomatoes). Good thing. I’ve been struggling with those pesky alphabetized letters since ’07.

She was trying to help me to make room in my cart for bags while I was trying to shoo her away. Then one of the bags I was filling with groceries disappeared from the filling area. I looked over my shoulder and she was putting it in the cart, with me holding a grocerous item, with no bag to put it in. So I bore it. I was the stone at the bottom of the river, allowing the water to flow over it.

Is it wrong of me to be so annoyed at a person who could not take a hint and apparently didn’t think I could find the letter ‘t’ without her help?

Battlestar Galactica

Note to the wise: This post will contain information and give away plot points for the first four and a half seasons. If you haven’t seen these episodes and want to preserve a virginal innocence with regards to the identity of Cylons, etc., please go away. I will post other stuff later on but this is what this is about so move along.

So, I’m all caught up on Battlestar Galactica. Some thoughts:

Colonel Tye is probably my favourite character. When he was identified as one of the final five, I was shocked but the way he dealt with it in the latest show was brilliant. It showed that Tye wasn’t changed by his discovery. Probably Torry wasn’t either – a power-hungry bitch is a power-hungry bitch. Nice to see that some switch isn’t just turning on and changing who they are.

As soon as Apollo left Galactica, I knew that he would be the next president. It wasn’t even something I had to think about. It’ll be interesting to see what they do with this. I think he’s been one of the weaker characters, even if his would-be romance with Starbuck is interesting.

The best: All of the stuff on New Caprica, the boxing match between the old man and the chief, everything that comes out of a hybrid’s mouth, Dean Stockwell, Helo

The worst: Early Tom Zerrich, Dee dropping Billy for Apollo (where did that come from?), Caprica 6 having visions of Baltar (seemed forced to me), Starbuck’s problems with training nuggets, waiting to watch the next episode.

So, it’s a brief babble on a good TV show and I know I didn’t do it justice but I wanted to get something out, maybe start a discussion. Nah, who wants discussion, especially about TV, on the internet?

My Christmas with Katie

On a Saturday morning where I was scheduled to drive out to Leduc to visit my mom, I took some time out to visit the cemetery to clean it up and put some decorations up.

Keeping in mind that it was -33, I hope you’ll understand that it was a quick trip.

Katie’s grave was pretty full of snow. 

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Fortunately, I’d planned ahead and brought my car scraper.

Some quick work dusting and sweeping, and recovering all the little people from the snow, and the work was done.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get our barbecue lighter to light but it’s definitely more festive.

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With my new job, mom in the hospital and everything seeming to come together just a little too quickly, I’ve definitely been feeling stress.  It was good to get away from that and gain a little perspective.  Even if it was just a short time. 

It’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I don’t care a whole lot

First post in a long time.  See title as to why.

I started a new job.  Most or all of you know that by now.  I’m contracting through Bisonweb Inc. and they have a contract with Xea Services Inc. who have a contract with 5D software who have a contract with the department of defense for software.  Convoluted but true.  Suffice it to say, I’ve been busy. 

The good:  I went into this job as a non-newbie.  This is the first job I’ve walked into since University where I felt like I knew the score and could come in and contribute right away, which is good, since contractors don’t generally have the same lee-way for learning on-the-job as full-time employees.  Thank you, Intuit, for making me ready to launch myself into my next position.  (I don’t rule out a return to Intuit someday, but it’s not entirely likely). 

The bad:  My mom is in the hospital and has been for several weeks.  She got an infection on her hip and she’s been receiving treatment for that. 

The not-so-bad:  The dishwasher is once again in the fold.  I had no idea how much I was relying on that thing until I had to live without it.  I guess a little perspective is never a terrible thing but it would have been nice for it to just have kept on working.

The long and drawn-out: Unit testing.  Testing, in general, is something that I don’t like to do when I’m programming.  I know it has to be done, and I know that I have to do some of it.  But the amount I’ve been doing since I started at 5D is a little out-of-proportion.  Still, they’re paying me to do it, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

The short and sweet: We’re having a baby!  Nature should take its course toward the beginning of July and we’re excited.  Especially Lily who says that she’ll share all her babies with the baby but if it’s a boy, it’s NIck’s.

The failure:  I gave up on Nano very early on.  Generally, it’s better not to try to write 1700 words per day when you’ve started a new job.

The win:  Barrack Obama won the election. Yes, I know.  Old news.  So what?  It’s still monumental.  And he actually won the election unlike our ground-breaking woman-as-a-Prime-Minister-by-default scenario.  My concern with Barrack Obama is whether or not he can do the job.  I wasn’t concerned on that score with McCain but Obama kinda came out of nowhere and smothered voters in charisma.

BSG:  We have one episode of BSG left until we’re all caught up.  Just in time for the new episodes.  Must… not… spoil.

Football:  Despite being eliminated from the playoff hunt, Houston looks poised to turn in their best record yet.  A win over the woeful and embarrassing Raiders, and a home-win over the Bears and they’ve got it.  If I could remove the RosenCopter from the annals, we’d be talking about a wild-card spot.  Stupid Sage Rosenfels.

Books:  I’ve gotten up to 38 books this year, the most since I started counting.  Yes, it’s not 50, but there *is* the new job, after all.  Best new book this year:  The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  It’s epic fantasy done right.  Doesn’t stretch too many boundaries, but that’s not what I read it for.  Good characters, good pacing, good world building and an underlying creepiness in the epic part.

Comics:  I’m reading the Sandman comics that James lent to me.  Really, really good.  Must… not… spoil.

Hockey:  Three times a week at the downtown YMCA, I’m playing floor hockey at 7 am.  Sean’s made an appearance and all hope is that we’ll see him out there again some time.  Nice to see I can keep up with a bunch of people I don’t know.

That’s all for tonight, folks!  Sorry there isn’t more but who knows?  Maybe I’ll generate enough energy and give-a-damn to squeeze out another post or two before Christmas.

If not, Merry Christmas.

Liam

A stab at something new

I started writing last night. Just kinda let myself go to it. I got just about three thousand words out but a lot of it wasn’t as good as this part. For what that’s worth.

———————————————-

PROLOGUE – What Came Before

I looked up and kissed her on the cheek when she said she was leaving. I’d probably have kissed her on the lips if I’d known she meant forever.

Both kids snug up in their beds, I was distracted and incurious when she stepped out. I must have assumed she was going to get something to eat or something but I can’t remember what I thought. It was just another night in front of the TV.

When I looked up and it was eleven thirty, I’m pretty sure I thought she must already be up in bed. That happened plenty, so I was careful and quiet when I went up to bed at two. I woke up early and got ready for work. She usually gets up – got up, pardon me – just as I am ready to leave. Kinda makes sense, now that I think about it. But she didn’t get up. So I put off leaving. When it was obvious she wasn’t coming down, I thought she was just mad or something. So I went up to see what was the matter. She wasn’t there. Her side of the bed was still made. My head tilted back and I started feeling sick to my stomach. I looked around the house. After all, she could have just made her side of the bed. She used to do stuff like that to make me help out around the house more. She gave it up pretty quick when she figured out I’m pretty happy whatever. “Like a pig wallowing in his own filth,” my mom used to say. But she wasn’t anywhere in the house. I looked out the window. No car. Oh, shit. She’s been in an accident. That’s what I thought, anyway. Wasn’t the case, though. I called her cell. She never leaves without that. Good move. One ring, two, and a small voice.

“Hello?”

“Hey. Where are you?” I was relieved but scared a different way.

“I’m on the highway.” Never one to give more than is asked.

“Why? Where you going?”

“I told you last night, John. I’m leaving.”

“I thought you were coming back.” That, I remember saying for sure, because it made no sense.

“I thought I was at first, too. Then I started driving and nothing in me wanted to come back.”

“Plenty in me wants you to come back. I think there are two others full of wanting you back too, Linda.” I don’t cry much. Maybe at those stupid movies where they always have a fight then get together, then have another fight and then they’re really together. And when my kids were born. Can’t forget that. But I started crying then. I guess it makes sense.

“I can’t, John. I can’t do it anymore.” Sounded like she was crying too.

“Can’t do what?” Like her life was so hard. That’s what I thought, then, but I didn’t say it. I was trying to get her to come home.

“Being a mother, being a wife. Cleaning. Always cleaning, and never any help from you with that. You come home and you play with the kids ’til they go to bed and then you watch TV. Every night.” She was letting it out and it kept coming out faster and louder until she was screaming at the end.

“I never knew you wanted anything else, Linda.” I got that out, even though it felt like I was punched in the stomach. “I never wanted anything else. I wanted a wife – you – and I wanted kids – Rob and Alice. I got what I wanted and never pined for anything else.”

“You’ve got more than that but you can’t see it. You’ve got a job. You’ve got control over the money. We never go anywhere. I feel like I’m locked up in a crazy house with those two every day and you don’t appreciate all I do.” She didn’t get loud this time, she got quiet. For some reason, that hurt even more.

I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to say that I worked hard at a crappy job for not enough money. I wanted to shout at her that it was her stupid idea that I should control the money, that if she wanted a job, we could get daycare. It was cheaper now that Rob would be going into school. I wanted to say all these things, but the more she talked, the further she got. She was driving away from me, but her heart was already gone. I had nothing more to give her.

“What do I tell the kids, Linda? You’re walking away from them and I don’t know how to tell them.”

She didn’t say anything. I could still hear the car motor and the faint sound of some Bobby Darin song. She always did love that Bobby Darin. I never thought he cared enough – I like my singers to care.

So, we stayed like that for a couple of minutes, her getting farther away in the car and me getting farther away in my heart until she said, “I gotta go.” And she went.

Doin’ the Dishes – System of a Down

I was doing the dishes tonight, and decided that I would listen to a single album and then post my thoughts on that album. It might become a series, it might be a one-time shot.

I picked System of a Down tonight for two reasons. One, it was on the iPod. Two, I was in the mood for something a little faster, a little heavier. So, with no further ado, here are my thoughts on System of a Down’s self-titled album:

I got System of a Down from James one day in 1998. I had originally thought that it was 1997, but Wikipedia, ever my faithful companion, tells me that the album did not exist at that juncture. This was during my “Roommates” phase with James. A time that was transformational and brought me out of a shell I didn’t even know I had around me.

James was into different music than I was. I seem to remember listening to a lot of Faith No More and some old-timey lounge music at the time. James was into Korn and a bunch of others that I’d heard of but not paid much attention to. He mentioned this album and it intrigued me so I borrowed it from him and made a copy tried it out.

For the next several months (during which I would have the tumultuous ending of a friendship, start and leave the bleach factory, build bikes, build golf courses and consort with waitresses servants of the great egg) I listened to a near-continuous stream of System of a Down. They were loud, they were fun, they were sometimes annoying but they were almost always on. I’ll give my thoughts on some or all of the songs below.

Suite-Pee – My only thought on this song is that my brother originally thought this was the title of the CD so my copy evaluation version actually has Suite-Pee as the title.

Sugar – My most vivid memory of this song is James singing it at Karaoke. Which also brings back the memory of Kyle and Erron fighting at Karaoke, which filled James with glee because he could run home (I remember him actually running down the street – boy got some quicks) yelling, “GREAT! I get to watch Buffy!”

Suggestions – I remember listening to this song on the way to and away from a movie at Silver City. I don’t remember what movie it was. It might have been the second Star Wars prequel but I’m not sure.

Spiders – This and War? are my favourite songs on the album, for completely different reasons.

War? – WE WILL FIGHT THE HEATHOOOOOOOOOONS!

So, that’s all I got for the first edition of Doin’ the Dishes. Maybe there’ll be a second edition. We’ll see. There’s always more dishes and I have lots of albums.

Week 7 Pick’em results

Week 7 was a much more successful week across the board. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that more games have been played and there’s a larger body of evidence on which to indict the crappy teams and elevate the good’uns.

Or maybe we got a lucky break.

Team Miasma surrounded everyone else, pulling the mists over our eyes and coming out on top with 11 wins.

SD@BUF – Buffalo. I really have nothing else to go on in this game but Buffalo’s at home.[Going by that, you picked the winner.]

PIT@CIN – Pittsburgh. Marvin Lewis should be on some sort of death watch about now. Every damn time I want to proclaim the Lions are the worst team in the league, the Bengals crap the bed.[The Lions and the Bengals… wow do they both ever suck.]

TEN@KC – Tennessee. I am honestly blown away by the Titans record, but I certainly can’t choose the utterly talentless Chiefs to hand them their first loss.[I wouldn’t say utterly talentless. Just mostly talentless. The way that Cary Elwes was mostly dead in The Princess Bride. And now they’re struggling to find a quarterback. Not that they had one before. HAW HAW HAW!]

BAL@MIA – Miami. Baltimore is to offensive success what France is to battlefield success in the last 200 years.[Hey, the Franco-Prussian war couldn’t have turned out too badly. There’s no Prussia but there IS a France.]

DAL@STL – Dallas. Haslett may have coaches up some bad Saints teams, but he also coached down some good Saints teams. Utterly mediocre coach, running an utterly mediocre team.[Haslett is the MAN! That’s all I got to say!]

SF@NYG – Giants. They’ll be ready to crush someone coming off that loss. Seeing how bad San Fran’s pass protection has been, O’Sullivan might be sacked 20 times in this game.[I don’t think it was that many but he did get knocked around some. Bring on Singletary! He’s the singletary man who could come in and save this flagging franchise. First black head coach in San Fran! WOO!]

MIN@CHI – Chicago. Orton beats Frerotte. Also, ‘Purple Jesus’ Peterson is the most overrated player of all time…Forte isn’t.[Purple Jesus makes me want to pee my pants. That’s funny. And what a god-awful game.]

NO@CAR – Carolina. I see a 27-24 type win in this one. Saints are solid, Panthers are better.[I think the Pants walked all over the ‘Aints, didn’t they?]

DET@HOU – Houston. If the Texans can’t beat the Lions, the need to be excommunicated from the NFL the day after.[They beat ’em, but it wasn’t pretty.]

IND@GB – Green Bay. Packers seem to FINALLY be cranking up their ground game, and the Colts run defense can’t do much more than just watch opposing backs run past them.[Stupid Peyton Manning.]

NYJ@OAK – Jets. I sense a really, really awful football game. Something like 13-10 with a total of 179 yards of offense.[HAH! Way off! it was 16-13. And Jones had a good day if nobody else did.]

CLE@WAS – Washington. Have the Browns hired a defense yet?[No. But they still held the Skins to 14 points. They still haven’t hired an offense either.]

SEA@TB – Tampa Bay. Seahawks are done. Bucs are scared their coach will devour their souls.[D-FENSE!]

DEN@NE – New England. I’m fairly confident I could put up 100 yards on the Broncos this year.[Did you see THAT pants-kicking coming, though?]

Team DEATH METAL tied for second place with a 10-4 record.

SD @ BUF: BUFFALO. I’m hesitant to make this pick, but I gots ta go with the home team. [Everyone likes the home team. That’s right. especially when they control the power.]

PIT @ CIN PITTSBURGH. Bengals bungle their way to another loss. This is my Death Metal Power Chord Lock of the Week.[On-key yet again, team death metal. Good job so far.]

TEN @ KC TENNESSE. I’m sold on the Titans. [Especially when the only other choice in the contest is a bona fide lemon.]

BAL @ MIA MIAMI. Better offence, and they’re playing at home. Over/Under on the number of times the announcers mention the wildcat formation? 14. [It was only run 5 times but I’m sure they mentioned the lack if nothing else.]

DAL @ STL DALLAS. Brad Johnson is good enough to lead the Cowboys to a victory over the helpless Rams.[Brad Johnson is not good enough to lead anyone to a victory over my son’s soccer team. BOO BRAD JOHNSON!]

SF @ NYG NEW YORK GIANTS. Superbowl champs at home. Dig it.[Dug, Doug.]

MIN @ CHI CHICAGO. The Vikings fall victim to the Kyle Orton attack.[Or the Chris Kluwe dismantling.]

NO @ CAR CAROLINA. Effective Cajun Quarterbacking all up in this.[Mon p’tit fou poutine! STEVE SMITH! JON STEWART!]

DET @ HOU HOUSTON. Not even the powers of Jesus can stand in the way of a Houston victory.[Jesus? Dave Krieg? Jake Plummer? I’m confused.]

IND @ GB GREEN BAY. I think this will be the game to watch this week. Green Bay wins a close, close game.[Stupid Peyton Manning.]

NYJ @ OAK NEW YORK JETS. Oh, those goofy RaiderZ. Sean’s team wins in a landslide.[Buried under what? Oh yeah.]

CLE @ WAS WASHINGTON. I’m stealing Liam’s comment b/c it is entirely accurate.Last week was a blip. For both teams.[Liam’s comment is all that is good.]

LVL @ TB TAMPA BAY. No Hasslebeck = no chance. Another Loserville loss, which, as we all know, brings me joy.[And me. Joy is important in this current economy.]

DEN @ NE DENVER. Just going with the gut on this one.[Going with the gut-punch on this one.]

Sharing second spot with Team Death Metal is team BisonWeb who remains the only team not to win a week yet.

SD @ BUF BUF I don’t really know what to expect from Buffalo on a consistency basis but it’s getting cold and Buffalo is at home.[Buffalo looks for real to me. They’re scary with Edwards in the game.]

PIT @ CIN PIT In general, I hate picking the away team but I don’t know what Cincinnati has at all. I have no faith that they could beat Pittsburgh.[Cincinnati’s contents are known to me now. It is tiger feces.]

TEN @ KC TEN The Inbred Children of Uranus will continue to dominate defensively and while I wish I could pick KC, my head overrules my heart on this one.[Maybe the Chiefs will bring in Daunte Culpepper now.]

BAL @ MIA MIA I don’t think Baltimore is better than Miami, so I have to take the home team.[When the chips are down and all is riding on one last toss of the dice, regardless of the result of the toss, things have gone horribly wrong.]

DAL @ STL DAL They lost last week and St. Loo won last week. St. Loo has Haslett. But I’m still picking the away team because they’re BETTER.[I still contend that the Cowboys have a better talent pool but I think they overlooked the Rams. I expect St. Loo to come back to earth next week.]

SF @ NYG NYG Home team, better team. Angry team. If Carr goes in, sink the season, fire the coach and wave goodbye to any good players.[Played like the better team. No Carr.]

MIN @ CHI CHI I don’t know who to take or what to believe but Minnesota BARELY beat what is possibly the worst team in the league last week.[And they keep finding ways to lose. Ugly, ugly game.]

NO @ CAR CAR I look for Carolina to bounce back against the Saints this week. Reggie Bush really scares me, though. He’s really good at getting touchdowns.[Reggie Bush isn’t scaring me so much for the next couple weeks.]

DET @ HOU HOU Two weeks in a row, looks like Houston is favoured.[TWO IN A ROW! (extend fist in celebration)]

IND @ GB IND Aaron Rodgers is looking like the real thing and the Colts seem to have injuries out the butt-hole but I am still going with the away team. Why? I don’t really know.[Butt-hole Peyton Manning!]

NYJ @ OAK NYJ I can’t stay away from the away teams this week. Kyle would be so proud.[This was one I should have seen coming.]

CLE @ WAS WAS Last week was a blip. For both teams.[>blip<]

SEA @ TB TB LOSERVILLE! HA![HA!]

DEN @ NE NE Rebound game? Dunno. I didn’t want to pick this game. Both teams make me sad.[Rebound game.]

Coming in fourth place, with a still very respectable 8-6 is Team Kraftverk. Pretty good considering you don’t know the players, I don’t think.

SD @ BUF : A sad buffalo is a dangerous buffalo. BUF[They charged the chargers and sapped the power.]

PIT @ CIN: Trapped deep in the pit of cin, I fear the PIT.[The pendulum swung their way this week.]

TEN @ KC: Everyone knows that ten inch kc is just a banana. Silly KC.[Just in KC (case) you weren’t paying attention, this game was rated a TEN.]

BAL @ MIA: bulimia isn’t good, but balamia is a BAL.[Mama-mia, bala-Mia.]

DAL @ STL: cowboys versus latte drinkers? I’ll take the decaf DAL.[The Latte provided much needed jolts of energy. Cowboys were roped in.]

SF @ NYG:Hulk smash, giant squash, NYG.[Hulk smashed and New York wished it would have been an away game.]

MIN @ CHI: I’ll chi-min (chime in) on this one in a MIN.[Shouldn’t have been so CHI.]

NO @ CAR: no car, no credit, no problem! nobody will be refused! You get CAR good time![warranty love you long time!]

DET @ HOU: House debt? That’s a different problem, a DET problem.[DET is the problem. HOU’s gonna win?]

IND @ GB: The G8 has the financial fix, trust the GB.[IN-D end, you were right.]

NYJ @ OAK: no joke, haha, ny joak at all, seriously… seriously.. I’ll take OAK[The only one to pick the winner in this one. Well-done, sir.]

CLE @ WAS: Looking at the clues (clewas)that WAS awesome.[if only you would have been able to CLEWAS (clue us) all in earlier…]

SEA @ TB: See a tub, take a bath, a bloodbath for the SEA.[Bloodbath was right, the outcome was wrong.]

DEN @ NE: no retarded egg will beat sweet, innocent Denney any more, run DEN, run![DENNY versus N-E was like a retard playing by himself against a professional football team, that’s for sure.]

That’s it. Schedule for next week should be up soon.

Until more later on!

Liam

Week 7 Pick’em Schedule

Once again, with the late publishing, I’m pushing the deadline to Saturday at Midnight. Go crazy!

SD @ BUF
PIT @ CIN
TEN @ KC
BAL @ MIA
DAL @ STL
SF @ NYG
MIN @ CHI
NO @ CAR
DET @ HOU
IND @ GB
NYJ @ OAK
CLE @ WAS
SEA @ TB
DEN @ NE