My friend Mark is going to his first-ever hockey game tonight after getting two free tickets to a local game in the Dallas metro area. He has never been to a hockey game in his life and he emailed me this morning asking for tips on how better to appreciate the experience. As a Canadian, I am naturally imbued with at least some knowledge of the game, even though I can barely skate, so I felt up to the task of instructing him at least.
He admitted to me that the last time he even SAW a hockey game on TV was in 1980 when the Americans upstaged the heavily favoured Russians during the famous Miracle on Ice.
That was 30 years ago, buddy! We're sure starting from scratch, eh?! Here, then, for the edification of all, is the summary I cobbled together for him this morning.
I get together with a small group of close friends once or twice a month (as schedules permit) for beer and hot wings at a downtown bar. We trace most of our relationships back to university, and our ability to get together socially over the intervening 12 years (holy cow!) has slowly but inexorably lessened. These few opportunities to drink and nosh and generally shoot the shit for a couple hours before heading home after work of a Thursday evening are quaint little treasures.
These outings are organised by one of the more socially adept (and persistent) of us, and she also makes a pretty mean seven-layer dip. She will be away, alas, in February, and I was quickly nominated to replace her in the capacity of ad hoc Hot Wing & Beer Committee Chair for the month.
The laconic nomination went thus:
I’m out for this week and I nominate Simon to take over the wing duties for February.
My rather more grandiloquent acceptance was then:
What is this yoke descried before me? The weathered grain of ancient wood shows all the years of ceaseless toil conducted through its unyielding fibres. Evinced by stains of sweat and blood and the salty streaks of unfettered tears, all shed in the thankless toil demanded of it. Yet in the wake of its straining has fertile earth been tilled and and the perennial hope of spring cashed in its currency for the patient growth of unending fields of summer verdure.
If sweat is the coin and strengthened bonds of friendship my yield in fair exchange, then gladly do I set my shoulders under this yoke! Though it weigh me down under its own mass and further demand of me the effort for which it was made, still do I rise up under it, for such is my ebullience at the task set before me that no tool so crude nor weight so pressing could stay me from my desired end. All labours are light and airy and all hardships are as the kindest favours when conducted under the auspices of love!
Tally ho, foolish friends! If you follow me into the depths of beer and hot wings for the month of February, I will expend all effort to ensure that all are led out safe again, into the blazing light of day, though your name be Orpheus and you glance back again and again at Eurydice in your moments of weakness. I give you this commitment and assure you I will not fail, but succeed beyond all hope and expectation.
Yours, cordially, in the spirit of 3rd Degree Hot Sauce,
Yours, cordially, in the spirit of getting carried away for no reason whatsoever,
A snippet from an article about how geeks (comme moi) communicate.
Geeks feel bothered when they hear people saying something incorrect or incomplete during a conversation. They also have a tendency to interrupt to mention the correct or complete answer. By incorrect I mean factually inaccurate ("Toronto is the capital of Canada"), and by incomplete I mean omitting certain elements of a set ("the seven dwarfs: Dopey, Sleepy, Happy, Doc, Grumpy, and two others I forget"). If the inaccuracies are not crucial to the story that the speaker is trying to tell, then non-geeks will usually 'let it slide' and let the speaker continue to talk. However, geeks have a tendency to interrupt the speaker mid-sentence to point out and correct the mistake (however minor), at the expense of interrupting the natural flow of the conversation.
Please feel free to read the entire article, you know, for completeness.
(More in this space later. Promise.)
I've read this set of two letter over several times, so thought that should be enough incentive to share it here, and perhaps find that to be sufficient goad to continue with a schedule of more regular posting. Stay tuned for that!
(Transcript of the letters follows beneath the posted pic.)
In 1897, on the advice of her father, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a short letter to the editor of New York's now-defunct newspaper, The Sun, in which she sought confirmation of Santa Claus' existence.
I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says "If you see it in the Sun it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 W.95th St
VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank GOD! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
via Letters of Note
It was way the hell back in March of 2007 when the United States Postal Service announced the impending limited release of a sheet of stamps commemorating the pure AWESOMENESS of Star Wars. Fitting, then, since 2007 marked the 30th anniversary since the original film's release and the birth of an unparalleled cinematic icon. The R2-D2 mail boxes were pretty frikkin' sweet, too.
(We won't go into discussion here on the wide array of opinions stemming from the re-release of the doctored original trilogy, nor the subsequent prequels and the descent of George Lucas into the depths of merchandise-induced lunacy. That is a talk for another time.)
No, here we will mention how badly I wanted to find a reason to venture into the gool ol' US of A back then. My Star Wars fandom is a deep-seated thing, not often stirred by the latest plastic gizmo issued for mass consumption. It borders on the sacred for me, and to sully that with cheap, throwaway toys from McDonalds just ain't my bag, baby.
But when something unique comes along, something rare, something that's offered for a Limited Time Only!, well then, I'm piqued. And when it's affordable? Even better. Thus my fleeting consternation at my Canadianinity and the stamps' obvious American-ness. Procurement might have been a problem.
Luckily, through the wonders of the internet, I have, over the years, acquired a small but useful menagerie of American friends, scattered through several strategic states in the union, a good number of whom share at least part of my passion for Star Wars. When I made my lamentations known, there was one who said something like, "Dude, like, I'll totally get those for ya. Chah!"
And I was appeased.
And then months passed.
And it was the winter of 2007, and also that of mine own discontent.
Then I realised, you know, I'm planning to meet up with this guy (along with one other guy) in the first guy's home town for what we colloquially coined The Blogfather Bash, in the spring of 2008. And he's probably planning to give them to me then. For sure.
And again I was appeased.
May of 2008 came to pass, I flew down to St. Louis to partake in a geek-filled weekend with two men I'd never met in the flesh before, and of whose flesh I only witnessed a heterosexually appropriate amount. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And I finally scored the stamps!
So I took them home and they sat there. For months. I forgot what they looked like. When I found them again I was all, like, Hey! These are cool! I should really do something with them.
So I finally did.
The frame job cost at least 10 times what the stamps themselves are worth, but it's all about the perceived worth, you know? I had the frame guy leave the back open (also covered with glass) since each stamp has accompanying text on the reverse side and I didn't want to cover it up. But that picture's really boring so I'm not posting it.
Instead you get this second picture:
Declan has (apparently) reached the point where his little brother's intrusions into his bedroom are causing him all sorts of consternation and general gnashing of teeth. Having a little brother of my own, I can relate. (Amy did the lettering to complement Dex's fine drawing.)
When Dex drew that up today Amy told him, "You know Dex, Tavish can't read any of this." To which our eldest boy gave the pragmatic reply, "Yeah, I know Mom. When he wakes up from his nap I'll bring him over here and explain what it means, 'K?"
(Dex can't read it yet either, but I don't think they got into that. He has all the words memorized.)
A meme, from vinny. I'm too busy playing Guitar Hero and training cute new hires to think and write anything useful.
bold = done it
italics = want to
strike = don't want to
Plus snarky comments
1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars. On a blanket out by the fire pit.
3. Played in a band. (Probably not Rock Band, eh?)
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland. (I'd like to be a professional sports player that gets paid a gross gob of money to say it after winning a championship. Only not like Patrick Roy. That guy totally flubbed his moment.)
8. Climbed a mountain. (RAN 38 km up and down a mountain, bitches.)
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo. (The shower totally counts.)
11. Bungee jumped. (Though I'd pick sky diving first.)
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. (I can juggle. That's art.)
15. Adopted a child. (2 of my own is enough.)
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of The Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables. (Have I mentioned my two kids?)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France. (In your underpants!)
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight. (Not wearing lingerie.)
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (Shh... don't tell.)
24. Built a snow fort. (And successfully defended it from interlopers.)
25. Held a lamb. (Well, parts of one. Just not a whole one.)
26. Gone skinny dipping. (More like chubby dipping then.)
27. Run a Marathon. (I'm gonna say that 38 km up and down a mountain counts.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice. (I'd pick my moment to say, "Ahh, Venice.")
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset. (This time of year I see both every frikkin' day.)
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise. (In a non-Katie Holmes sort of way.)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person. (Very wet.)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community. (Canada has Hutterites and Mennonites.)
36. Taught yourself a new language. (For a time I could read the "Dethek Runes" dwarf language from 2nd Edition D&D. Then I realised I wanted to have sex some day.)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David.
41. Sung karaoke. (Drunk in a friend's basement is always the best place.)
42. Seen the Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa. (I hear it's a really big place.)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight. (Plan to again in a week and a half. Mexico!)
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling. (See again: Mexico!)
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre. (I miss them around here now.)
55. Been in a movie. (I once worked with Nathan Fillion before he got famous.)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China. (It's Gr-r-r-r-r-r-eat!)
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies. (Eaten, yes. The cookies, I mean.)
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood. (110th donation tomorrow.)
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration camp.
67. Bounced a check. (It should be cheque.)
68. Flown in a helicopter. (Vegas, baby, on the company dime.)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy. (Several, in fact.)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt. (Wrong age and gender.)
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job. (That fucker had it in for me.)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car. (Does anyone else think immediately of The Price is Right upon reading that?)
83. Walked in Jerusalem. (Not these days.)
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible. (Like vinny, I'm counting the comic book bible I had in my fey youth. Delilah was so hawt!)
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one. (They're so hard to find again, after.)
94. Had a baby. (Participated, at least.)
95. Seen the Alamo in person. (Pee Wee's Big Adventure was good enough for me.)
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. (It would be fun to be so buoyant.)
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a mobile phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (Whither time, now?!)
The Christmas holidays started out with me being really lazy. I didn't bother shaving for a few days before I even stopped working. And I use the term 'working' loosely. What is there to do in that last week before the break, I mean really?!
This post is rated PG-13 for some sexual content and witty innuendo.