Monday, May 28, 2007

A Shoplifter Goes Down

The guy looked like he was moving in slow motion, and I wondered if he was ill, about to have some sort of seizure or simply crumble and roll down the stairs. And then, I realized that the two people behind him on the stairs that ascend from Dollar Rama in the Dufferin Mall had a good grip on his shirt and were holding him back. It made me think of those dreams where all you can do is run in slow motion. Despite his weight, which I estimated to be around 257 lbs, he was unable to free himself from the two female store clerks.

Security had been called, and, seconds later, I watched as two mall security guards sprinted down the hallway and took him down. I turned the stroller away so that my son would not witness the altercation. But, the boy kept craning his neck to get a good look. We strolled past a women with a four or five year old who scooped up her child and said something like: "look, ____, let's go see the guy in handcuffs." She ran over to the growing crowd of spectators, the kid bouncing in her arms. She was unwilling to miss any of the excitement and I wondered if this was an attempt at imparting some sort of life message.

By this time, the perp was face down on the cold and dirty Dufferin Mall floor, his hands locked behind him in silver cuffs. Soon, security had him on his feet and they led him to the interrogation room, probably room 101.

The thing that continues to perplex me is why steal from Dollar Rama?

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Meme Friday (borrowed from Anna May Won't)

Fill this out about your SENIOR year of high school! The longer ago it was, the more fun the answers will be. (And the older you'll feel.)

I don't think anyone in Canada uses the term senior year. For me, the last year was Grade 13, which has now been abolished and left to the history books.

1. Who was your best friend? - Keith O. & Stephen G.

2. What sports did you play? - Track (100 M, 200 M, 400 M, hurdles, relay); also cross-country team for a while.

3. What kind of car did you drive? - my dad's LTD, when he let me; my sister's boyfriend's for several weeks.

4. It's Friday night, where were you? - party, or at a friend's house with beer and movies.

5. Were you a party animal? - I guess so: there were always parties when you come from a small town.

6. Were you considered a flirt? - I have to say no.

7. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? - not in grade 13, but I was in the Jr band in earlier years.

8. Were you a nerd? - Jesus, I hope not.

9. Did you get suspended/expelled? - Never. I was never in any kind of trouble. I was a model student, obedient and respectful.

10. Can you sing the fight song? - What is a fight song?

11. Who was your favorite teacher? - Johnny L. He made me love history; it's probably fair to say I would never have gone to University if I hadn't taken his course.

12. What was your school's full name? - Well, that's a secret.

13. School mascot? - Falcon

14. Did you go to Prom? - Now, maybe my memory is fading, but I am not sure we had a prom (and, that is a term that is not used as much as it is in the USA). There was some sort of formal dinner, I think, but I am not sure it was school-sanctioned. I recall a formal prom-like dance at the end of grade 12. I went with Lisa K.

15. If you could go back and do it over, would you? - Yes, and I would be much better at it.

16. What do you remember most about graduation? - I remember that it was odd seeing all of these people that I hadn't seen for months at the ceremony. I recall that after the ceremony, we went to J.B.'s for a party. But, after I graduated, I remember feeling like I was broke, knowing that my parents would not or could not not pay for my education. That summer, all I could get was a job planting trees, until I got a job tending bar at a local dive.

17. Where were you on senior skip day? - What the hell is Senior skip day? I remember going to the beach one day when we all should have been in math class. Is that what this means?

18. Did you have a job your senior year? - No, and I didn't want one.

19. Where did you go most often for lunch? - Cafeteria. I ate (a packed lunch) and then played euchre.

20. Have you gained weight since then? - I weigh exactly the same now as I did then.

21. What did you do after graduation? - 1) A summer of bad jobs; 2) University, intermingled with summers of bad jobs; 3) worked for MasterCard; 4) MA, mixed with being a TA and an RA; 5) worked for MasterCard, and then the University of Toronto; 6) Master of Library Science degree with summers of mediocre jobs; 7) employment; 8) I will die some day.

22. When did you graduate? - In October

23. Who was your Senior prom date? - see question 14

24. Are you going to your 10 year reunion? - I don't think my class has ever had a reunion, but I would go if there was one.

25. Who was your home room teacher? - I have no idea.

26. Who will repost this after you? As Anna May said, "Anyone who wants a walk down memory lane."

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Burning Outhouse?

I think that the political correctness movement has gone too far. Whatever happened to the Burning Schoolhouse?

I mean, this was a feature of back yard fireworks for years, the final event, the thing that all the kids waited for. They wanted to see the schoolhouse go up in flames. It capped a great evening of amateur fireworks, like nothing else.

A burning outhouse conjures up the horrible realities of burning shit (if you'll excuse the grammar).

This was taken in my neighbour's backyard last Sunday night. Canada is the only commonwealth nation to celebrate Victoria Day, and it has nothing to do with Queen Victoria. It's all about marking the day when we can go crazy with gardening, and camping, and opening cottages.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Found Money?

Fading memory irritates me more than my generally aging body. The weakening back is predictable as are the occasional aches and pains that arrived unannounced when I passed 30. I am sure that my brain will be spared the ravages of Alzheimer's, but I get concerned when I forget minor and sometimes major things.

I can usually remember how to get home on my bike. And, I park my bike in the same place everyday, so that habit will lead me there. I recall once, when returning from lunch, a feeling of panic when I noticed that my bike was gone, and then I remembered that it was in the shop for repairs. I still expect it to be stolen, 'cause that's just what happens in these parts.

I once posted on the virtues of a fading memory (a guest post on Mister Anchovy). It seems that there are other benefits that I forgot.

So, the other day, I shoved my hand into my pocket and found a $5 bill! I exclaimed to the person next to me something like, "Look, 5 bucks! I love it when that happens. It's like free money." And then, reality set in when I realized that I had worn these pants the day before and it was change from some sort of purchase.

But, this reminded me that I used to hide money in books on my bookshelf when I lived at home so that my thieving, high school drop-out brother wouldn't steal from me. The only book he ever read was the Guinness Book of World Records. I just assumed that he was looking for a record he could break, like the most uninterrupted hours of farting, the longest belch, worst breath in the western hemisphere, and the longest time spent straining on the toilet.

Once, I did find a twenty tucked in the pages of my copy of Marx's Communist Manifesto. It was just the thing I needed on a Friday night with the essay done, and a crew of people waiting for me at a bar, back in the day when a bottle of beer was under $2.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

North by Northwest

Zydeco Fish is heading north-ish to a conference for three days.

Monday, May 14, 2007

On Choirpractors and Homopaths

Every time I speak with my father, I am reminded of the bizarre way in which people from my part of Ontario speak. I mentioned that in a post entitled Dropping the Dialect. In that post, I listed a few key phrases that my father uses. Since his diagnosis with prostate cancer a few years back, he has been seeing a homeopath. He believes that this treatment has helped, and I thinks that's great, even though I am not sure that the stinky tea actually does anything. After all of this time, my father (and my sister, for that matter) are unable to pronounce homeopath.

It is pronounced thusly: 'hO-mE-&-"path

In other words, is has four syllables, including a vowel after hom and before opath. My dad (and sister) continue to say homopath. I suppose that there is a very real possibility that my father is seeing some sort of practitioner with the name homopath, but what kind of medicine or pseudo-medicine this person would dispense is too bizarre to even contemplate so early in the day. Anyway, for some reason, I haven't summoned the courage to tell him that his pronunciation is off.

And this reminds me that my grandmother says sam'ich instead of sandwich. She also cannot say chiropractor. She says choirpractor, which I gather is someone who dispenses chiropractic medicine to large groups of singers.

Anyway, today is conference week. I am at a conference as I type, and will be again tomorrow, when I am presenting with two colleagues. Then, I will be attending another conference from Wednesday to Friday, so you may not hear much from me after today.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Dreaming of Drugs & Getting Stuff Done

Imagine drug dealers showing up with a dump truck filled with pot. I guess they overestimated the demand, and were quite put out when their buyer only wanted two or three ounces, and not several garbage bags of the stuff. There they were, two dudes in overalls shoveling weed into large bags, like it was cattle manure.

No one could have missed the huge truck stopped in the middle of the street, with these guys offering to sell Mary Jane to anyone passing by. I watched the guys do their business and then noticed a cop heading towards me. I took off and found myself in an appliance store (probably Sears) where I nonchalantly began appraising and comparing refrigerators and stoves.

Mr. Cop started to harass me and grabbed my arm tightly. I protested that watching a drug deal is a sociological event - something anyone would watch - especially given the scope of the operation. I didn't purchase any, never spoke to anyone, and only fled because I felt I had been mistaken for a buyer or seller. This cop had it out for me, and clearly wanted to take me downtown to book me on something or other. The dream ended there.

Clearly, I think the possession and sale of smallish amounts of marijuana should be decriminalized. One ought to be able to cultivate it for one's own use. Forget the wasted time and effort prosecuting small time users. That is crazy.


It's Friday and I have finally finished preparing for my presentation next Tuesday. Next week is conference craziness. I have one conference on Monday and Tuesday, and another Wednesday to Friday evening.

I have almost finished a short opinion article with a co-worker. Hopefully, that will go out soon, and then a co-worker and I have to start preparation for a major presentation for a conference taking place in a few months.

I'll be mostly away next week, so updates may not happen for a few days. Have a nice week. Don't do anything I wouldn't do. Catch you on the flip side.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ezekiel Klaar

Well, it's been a busy week. I attended a conference on Tuesday, followed by some free food, free wine, and socializing. It was cool. Last night, I went to an association dinner with awards, free food, free wine, and socializing. Next week is conference week. I am presenting at conference that runs on Monday & Tuesday. Another conference takes up the remainder of the week. There will likely be free food and free wine and socializing - at least I hope so.

You might be interested to know that many librarians are early adopters of web 2.0 technologies. Library 2.0 has been a buzzword for a while now. This might explain why so many librarians have blogs, wikis, and are Flickr and Facebook users. Lately, there has been great interest in online virtual worlds, like Second Life. Finally, I have bent to pressure from all sides and joined Second Life. Ezekiel Klaar was born on May 8, 2007. I am not happy with my avatar by any means.

So, to begin with, I visited the McMaster University Library, but the Second Life Librarian was not in. I did access some online resources in this virtual world, which was odd, to be honest. Somehow, I ended up in some sort of adult club, but, with no virtual money, it seemed pointless, so I fled to a beach, and then to some sort of dance club, where some scantily-clad and decidedly curvy female avatar walked up to me, stood silently next to me for a few seconds, and then walked away. A friend here pointed out to me that this was just like real life.

I am not sure that I need another web 2.0 distraction, so my visits will probably be few and far better, but if you are a member, feel free to friend me. I need a tutor, badly.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Happy Monday & Stuff

I have no plan for this post. It will be truly extemporaneous. It reminds me of the impromptu speeches we had to deliver in public school. I hated speeches and was quite relieved to be free of them, until grade 10, when our aged, decaying, and cranky teacher made us all deliver speeches. There was a mini rebellion along with a petition. But, it did no good. She even rolled out spelling tests, like we were back in grade 4.

Of course, now when I think of school, I think of Facebook, that addictive crack-cocaine site. I have some advice for the women out there: don't change your names when you get married! It makes it impossible to figure out who you are, especially when you use such crappy profile pictures. How am I supposed to know that Deb X is now Deb Y?

And another thing, I am not so sure about the choices Facebook offers to describe friendships. What does "they hooked up" mean? It sounds sexual, but who can be sure? I wish it would provide a fill-in-the-blank option, like: "They had a one night stand in Poughkeepsie 6.2 years ago;" or, "they met when he ran over her cat with his new Volkswagen."

And now, I am off to do some work. Thanks for listening.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007


Well, I am going to be away from my office on Friday. See, these incidental posts really add up. I am on my way to post 1000! ... and might get there in 4 or 5 years :-(

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Deeper into Facebook: Feathered Hair

Someday, Facebook will be banned from workplaces because it has a crack-like effect. I delve into it at lunch or during a break to see if I can uncover some familiar names or faces. There are the inevitable questions of just what exactly constitutes a friend in cyberspace, especially those you may not have seen in 20 years. Just because you knew someone, are they actually your friend? Strictly speaking, if I only added friends, in the true meaning of the word, I'd have about three friends, not the 28, or so, that I actually have at present on Facebook.

In the reality sucks part of life, I stumbled upon a certain alumni group from my high school, in which someone has posted a number of scanned images from one of my old yearbooks. The fashion disasters are rampant, dudes! I am constantly stunned by how we were all so easily duped into accepting certain fashion ideas, like feathered hair.

I had feathered hair and most of my friends had feathered hair. One could even say that, beyond the group of army cadets, most guys and girls in my school had feathered hair. This was one of those rare times in the history of civilization when men's and women's hairstyles were virtually interchangeable. And, we all know who to blame: it was Farrah Fawcett Majors.

The girls wanted to look like Farrah and the guys obviously felt that the only way to achieve any kind of relationship with her was to copy her hairstyle and try to date girls who were copying her hairstyle. But, feathered hair suited me back then: my hair was lustrous and soft and full and rich and feathery, even mellifluous.

There must have been lots of hallway conversations about hair, like:

George: What kind of hair?

Jerry: You know, long dark hair.

George: Flowing?

Jerry: Flowing?

George: Is it flowing? I like flowing, cascading hair. Thick lustrous hair is
very important to me.

Jerry: 'Thick lustrous hair is very important to me,' is that what you said?

George: Yeah, that's right.

Jerry: Just clarifying.

George: Let me ask you this. If you stick your hand in the hair is it easy to
get it out?

Jerry: Do you want to be able to get it out or do you want to not be able to
get it out?

George: I'd like to be able to get it out.

Jerry: I think you'll get it out.

I had planned an extensive discourse on velour, but that will have to wait for another day. OK, off to a meeting.

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