Will be leaving in a few hours to head to the Death Race.
I'll be toting my digi-cam along with me to take evidence of my impending success. I intend to have pics posted on Monday some time.
So I get home last night and begin to putter around in my usual fashion. The boy is still down for his afternoon nap, my wife is tucked into the sofa, similarly sleeping (this gestating foetus stuff knocks her right out) and the dogs are outside. The typical daily maelstrom seems to have wended its way through our abode. I jostle the requisite debris out of the way and get a head start on supper.
Dinner, dishes, bath with boy, bed for boy... sit and chill for a moment with my beautiful wife. I say, "Oh yeah, Honey, almost forgot to tell ya, got my raise today."
"You're just telling me now!? And?"
"It's kinda what I expected."
"So how disappointed are you?"
"Well, underwhelmed to say the least..."
I'm posting this month's new page banner a couple days early since I may be dead by the time August arrives. Consider this my last gift to the world wide what. Driving up to the Death Race tomorrow. Lawd have mercy.
I've also gone back to a simpler site design. Less cluttered. Focused more on the written bits. Comments on the look are welcome, and of course I reserve the right to ignore them completely; that doesn't mean I love you any less.
As always, all previous page banners can be seen --> la bas
There once was a Simian Farmer,
Whose wife sported chastity armour.
He spoke in her ear,
And then plied her with beer,
With a promise that fain would he charm 'er.
Farmer's efforts at first seemed for naught,
Twas his wife's ministrations he sought!
With a wink and grin,
He slipped himself in,
And now a new Simian's begot!
In lieu of another overlong post like the one I used to announce the commencement of our erstwhile attempts at procreation, I thought something shorter would be more appropriate (if less tasteful) to broadcast the fact that all I have to do is breathe the same air as my wife and she gets pregnant.
I've been sitting on this knowledge for almost a month (replete with angst and much gnashing of teeth), waiting for her first doctor's appointment (this afternoon), which went as smoothly as could have been hoped. Mark yer calendars for the first bit of March 2006: there's another baby coming down the canal...
Wherein I get to showcase the wonderful relationship between my son and my brother (Uncle Buster), thereby displaying gratuitous photos of the boy.
PB&J is always best served naked. At this age anyway.
My mother, who works with the public on a daily basis, recently ran into my grade 3 teacher. I was flattered to hear that I was remembered and polite enquiries were made into my well-being. I too remember her, though mostly for her strong English accent and mane of red hair.
I remember that I wove a colourful, woolen needle folder for my mother's sewing kit in that teacher's class on a cardboard loom. This woolen folder now rests in my own sewing kit, itself a return gift from my mother. I feel a mix of pride, at being able to sew my own buttons back on to my shirts, and shame, for actually owning a sewing kit; one with a wicker handle and which box is covered in flowers. I keep it in the basement but am secretly glad that I have it.
Most of the teachers from my formative years have descended into the innermost recesses of my memory, not being noteworthy enough to have made a life-long impression. The same nether region of my mind being home to such luminous memories as my early teenage years playing field hockey and my repertoire of dating experiences: notable for being steeped in mediocrity.
I lament the fact that there have been so few teachers I can claim to have resoundingly affected* my malleable youth through their educational influence. Those who, through their demonstrated passion for teaching, inspired in me a yearning to learn more than just by rote.
(*Please note I used the word 'affected' rather than 'impacted', which I strongly believe should be reserved solely for referring to wisdom teeth, what happens when meteors hit stuff and also what happens when Red Leader misses the thermal exhaust port of the Death Star.)
In fact, let's take a teacher-count:
In elementary school I can recall three names;
from junior high three also;
from high school only two;
and then three names stick out at me from my five years spent at university.
Which makes a total of 11 teachers I deem to have been more positively influential than what the curriculum at the time dictated to be a minimum requirement. These few culled from scores of others.
It takes a very special individual to want to open possibilities for the youth in their care rather than jamming the cracks with facts. I remember one such very distinctive example from my last year in high school, and it never took place in the classroom.
Though seemingly at opposite ends of the spectrum, I had one teacher responsible for both religion and gym classes. (The greatest value that has been inculcated in me from 12 years of catholic school religious studies is a polite disparagement for organised religion in general; not the institution itself so much as the underlying doctrine masquerading as Truth. But that's another different, very long, post.)
This one teacher, Mr. Burak, was himself enough to lure my mother to the regular parent-teacher interviews from his habit of wearing gym shorts in the school at all times of the year (regardless of weather) and having a rather fine physique with which to fill them out. Or so she inferred anyway.
I was turning the corner in the middle of class one morning when I came upon, from a distance, this same teacher engaged in what was becoming a rather heated argument with a belligerent student. I recall his type very clearly: unkempt hair, slouched and brooding posture, sneering mouth that a discerning spectator could see was turned inward while volubly extemporizing on the deficiencies of those around him.
The young man's vociferation was now directed well above the well-muscled and tanned legs jutting out of the ubiquitous gym shorts, and it was not falling on deaf ears. Even from a distance I could tell from Mr. Burak's gaze that he had had quite enough of being on the receiving end of this particular exchange. He had very steely blue eyes which, when combined with his premature salt and pepper hair, gave him a certain Presence at his relatively young age. He now engaged this presence for the purpose of looming.
It is difficult to pull off a good loom. And not the cardboard type I mentioned earlier. Though incorporating very little actual alteration in position, a loom is a highly complex manoeuvre. Even though already standing, one must instantly grow taller, become wider, lower one's voice by a full octave and dim all visible light without using one's hands. Any and all hints of mirth must instantly flee your face. In essence, a good loom is akin to taking on the characteristics of a black hole that just happens to have a steely blue gaze and a deep voice. And no mirth. Not, I hope you'll agree, something that comes without practice.
Mr. Burak loomed very well. He did then grow taller. Got wider. There was a noticeable dimming of light in the hallway. Mirth was way the hell and gone to partake in some quip just let loose in the drama class. And when Mr. Burak spoke, it was in a voice deep enough to feel from a distance as well as hear. The young man under the scrutiny of the two eyes gazing out of the black hole was listening with rapt attention at this point. He was suddenly wishing that mirth had left a little something behind. Even a bad pun would have been better than the stern visage presented before him.
"You have two choices* right now, son." (*This is an important part I'll be coming back to very shortly, but I just wanted to mark it here as being a key ingredient of all that was going on at this point, this crux, if you will, of my life.)
Mr. Burak carried on with, "We can continue this conversation in a more respectful and civilised manner like two mature adults or..."
-and this is where the loom became most effective-
"...I CAN SHOUT RIGHT BACK AT YOU AND WE'LL SEE WHERE THIS CONVERSATION ENDS UP!!" This second choice was accompanied by a bass reverberation throughout the hallway as well as a palpable darkness that lasted nearly a full five seconds. The return of light illumined the young man to have inadvertently taken a seat on the bench conveniently located behind him, hands clasped, and no hint of a sneer on his face. Though not likely collaborating with mirth, it too had fled the scene.
Mr. Burak then ended his brief tirade with a simple, "It's up to you." After which he gracefully unloomed.
I took a deep breath myself and turned back the way I had come. I don't think either the student or the teacher knew that I had just been privy to their lesson. You see, I have no idea what the root cause of the entire episode had been, nor is it now of any consequence, but what has stuck with me from then is this:
My teacher had both begun and ended his brief rant by giving his student a choice. Now in this instance the choice was rather obvious, but it was there, offered, all the same. And I'll never forget that.
I wish I had been gifted more teachers like Mr. Burak.
I don't like to get all linky too often on this site, since it distracts from my navel-gazing, but the odd time I feel obliged to post something I found damned funny.
What if World War II had been an online Real Time Strategy game (RTS)?
It has now been empirically determined that there are but two ways for a man, in a house with two dogs and a chronically curious toddler, to pee.
Regardless of whether or not there is, as Eddie Murphy put it so succinctly, a 'big brown shark' coming, he may sit. Alternatively, and this must be attended to with unceasing vigilance, he may close the door, tightly, and pass water in the more natural masculine milieu.
There is nothing quite so unnerving as hearing, and subsequently seeing, a stampeding herd of 12 limbs come galloping into a lavatory, carome off the linen closet and swerve unerringly for the only biped in the room who is, it can be said somewhat euphemistically, confined to a rather compromising position.
That is a lesson best learned but once.
With the May release of the final instalment of the theatrical saga, there really is no news worth waiting for on pins and needles. There is far more chaff than wheat on each to wade through. I don't need to know where Anthony Daniels will next be appearing at a convention, clinging to what fan fame remains to him, or where Ewen McGregor was last spotted in public. Mark Hamill's current animation voice-over endeavours are a pretty weak link to begin with. I waffled briefly when considering Natalie Portman, but then realised she's probably not coming to Edmonton any time soon. These trivialities concern me not.
I already know when the DVD of Sith will be coming out, and after that...
I'll just have to decide, when he's the appropriate age, whether to sit my son down and watch the entire saga in chronological or episodic order. I have a few years to ponder that one. That choice ultimately rests on how one believes Empire should be viewed.
Until then, I still have I Harth Darth to keep me entertained.